Point of Divergence
Point of Divergence
Author: Norgco <norgco[at]yahoo.com
Cautions: As usual with my fic, mention of Female/female sex and
romantic links, as well as f/m and f/m/f etc. If you don't like that
essentially any of my work will be a problem to you.
Summary: Another alternative path from the 'night of the zeppo', Faith does not respond well to a classic gift. At first.
Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with BtVS
Feedback: Please.Latest addition
The point of divergence, as alternate reality theory calls these
things, was when Xander Harris realized that Faith's tough girl act was
just that, an act because the idea that it was her being rebellious or
self destructive had never entered his head before. She was having sex
as often as he wished he did, he was horny and envious, and in the main
timeline it didn't occur to him that there was a problem.
The specific incident that changed the timeline was his decision to do something nice and traditional.
"What the hell are these?" Faith had angrily demanded to know,
shaking the object in question at the Zeppo across the library table.
"At a guess they are roses, though I could be wrong." Giles responded from the doorway to his office.
"They're a dozen long stemmed red roses Faith." Xander said, totally
unintimidated. He could see he had done something wrong, yet again. He
wanted to know what, and had long since realized that he would never
get anywhere if he let his fears stop him from doing what needed to be
done. Hence telling Buffy he would kill her if Willow died, hence
starring down Angelus and the zombie mad bomber. "Faith, if you tear me
limb from limb you will never know why I sent them, will you."
The dark slayer was badly thrown, first by the roses and the card,
and now by the total calm on the face of boytoy. Most people were
intimidated by her when she was in a bad mood, even if they just
thought of her as a skinny girl. Xander, the guy who kept getting
thrown around all the time, was just looking at her like one of those
Zen swordsmen in bad martial arts flick. She half expected him to say
'Ah, grasshopper, what troubles you?'
"Faith, if your allergic to roses I'll send Tulips next time."
"Tulips?" Faith screamed at him.
"A nice, low maintenance cactus maybe?"
Rupert Giles was watching the scene with fascinated incomprehension.
The Harris boy had, for some reason, made a romantic gesture to the
second slayer, who responded to it with anger.
"Giles, why is Faith angrily waving a bunch of roses in Xander's
face." Willow asked from the doorway. There was no answer from the
watcher except for a shrug, and a look that managed to say 'who knows
why American teenagers do anything?' The door opened again and Cordelia
"Giles, why is the skank angrily waving a bunch of flowers at looserboy?"
"Because I don't know what else to do!" The younger slayer yelled.
"Well you could say, 'thank you Xander, the flowers are beautiful',
though it might be a bit old fashioned." Giles replied. It seemed like
a simple, non-committal sort of response appropriate to the gift "That
would buy you enough time to decide on a more detailed response, such
as asking what they were for, or, if you already know that, suggesting
a response of your own."
"Faith, you did read the card, right?" Harris asked. He was going
over in his head what his alternatives were, from a lifetime of
experience of talking to people who could and would hospitalize him for
saying the wrong word. That the dark slayer was not his father just
meant she was more likely to connect with each punch, after all.
"No, I was too angry I..." The emotions running over the Boston
slayer's face were many and varied. "Damn you Xander, why can't you
just fuck me and forget me like everyone else?"
Willow was suddenly in shock; Xander did it with this tramp?
Cordelia was trying to decide whether to be angrier with him for
apparently forgetting her so quickly, or forgetting her with Faith.
Giles was dreading the explosion of teen angst he saw developing.
Xander looked calm and collected, because he was.
"Because Faith, if sex isn't fun and friendly, WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?
If we weren't before, we are officially friends now." He was standing
up and slowly walking around the desk to her, slowly so as to avoid
triggering the evident combat reflexes. "And I never forget or abandon
my friends. I would die first."
"Xander how could you?" Willow said, crying at the idea of him with
Faith. She was breaking down in front of him, and all he could do was
tell the truth. Too much damage had been done by keeping secrets.
"It was easy." The Zeppo said to his oldest friend. "You had a
choice between me and Oz, and you chose Oz. You have no right to be
angry with me for moving on. Cordelia refused to have me back, so she
has a right to be angry at me for what WE did, but not for my being
"Well I think, I, ah, need to double check my book index." Giles
said quickly, not wanting to be in the room when the various
sputterings from the girls turned into explosions. "Absolutely crucial
to the functioning of a good library after all, the cross referenced
book index, yes, ah, well, if you need me I will be in my office."
"Faith, whether you like it or not you officially have a friend now.
I don't abandon friends, even when they abandon me, as you'd know if
you've been following recent Scooby gang events." It was a calculated
risk and he knew it, the Boston slayer was clearly running on
adrenaline in a situation totally outside her previous experience.
Slayers in such situations seemed to respond with instinctive violence,
'when in doubt, kill' to quote the original Rambo movie.
"AHHH." Was Faiths verbal response to this explanation. Her physical
response, occurring at the same time, was to punch into the library
table in frustration, smashing it into two pieces. With this typically
Faith display over she stormed out of the room. Giles peaked around the
doorway nervously, teenage emotions had that affect on him, then walked
out to the pile of shattered timber.
"That went better than I originally thought it would." The Watcher said, in the ensuing silence.
"You mean skank-o-rama might have smashed up even more furniture?" Cordelia asked.
"She seemed ready to hit Xander at least that hard when she came in." Was the answer.
"Yeah Gman, 'cause getting all the blood off the books would have
been a nightmare." Harris the younger was looking at the broken table
and wondering how far through his body the dark haired slayers fist
would have gone if she had hit him that hard. "Well, at least she kept
The whole gang was in the room now, including Wesley, who, having
decided he needed to know more about the group dynamics before he could
take his rightful place as leader, was standing quietly in the upper
level absorbing everything. Oz was comforting his girlfriend, and
looking at Xander.
There is a 'Far Side' cartoon that shows how to tell a dogs mood by
its expression. All the expressions are identical regardless of whether
the animal is cheerful or suicidal. Xander, having been around the
werewolf for a while now, knew the reality behind the joke.
"Xander, what happened?" Buffy asked. The room turned to her; it was
bizarre for her to ask a question, since that implied thinking before
attacking. Thinking had never been the blonde's major strength, partly
because it made her head hurt, so she avoided doing it whenever
possible. Which was nearly always.
"A few nights ago I saved Faith's life and she took me to her place
as a reward. I sent her some flowers and card to say 'thanks.'"
"Yes Buffy, Faith stormed in here demanding an explanation, and it became rather tense after that." The librarian explained.
Buffy looked at the shattered table, the crying red head, and the
MAJORLY ticked off cheerleader and considered whether her watcher had
outdone himself in the understatement department.
"Ok." Her deep thinking quota for the month used up, the elder slayer walked out of the library to get a drink.
Faith's hotel room, later that night.
This time she had decided to keep him around afterwards to get an
explanation. They had gone on patrol together after meeting at the
Bronze, and she had dragged him back to her place afterwards. The
simple fact that a good prosecutor could have charged her with rape for
either of the two times she had used him for sex never seemed to occur
Although it did to Xander, it was one more thing about her to
concern him. The others were still angry with him after this morning,
which was at least consistent.
Cordy never had and probably never would forgive him for the
'clothes fluke' thing, which was understandable because he would never
forgive himself for it either. His having sex with Faith was one more
thing for her to be angry about, so she was.
Giles was bemused by the whole situation, but not actually getting
involved with it. Which, from Xander's soldier possession memories, was
a very bad attitude for a small unit leader to take. A NCO's primary
responsibility, arguably, is to keep personal frictions to a minimum so
the individuals under him function AS A UNIT. A sergeant who just stood
back and watched while his squad self-destructed would be a private
before long or the whole platoon would be so many corpses. The
slayerettes being untrained volunteers only made the team building the
Englishman was ignoring more important.
Willow was angry and hurt at him for sleeping with Faith. Normally a
crying Willow would have him holding her and comforting her, but his
oldest friend had chosen Oz for that role over him. Had, in fact,
deliberately moved away from him in her effort to secure her
relationship with Oz. Which he understood, logically. But now she was
angry with him for having a sex life that didn't involve her, and for
pointing out that she was pushing him out of her life.
Oz was supporting Willow. Having accepted her back, he was loyal to
her. Whatever else he might be feeling was hidden behind his
"So, Xman, ya never bragged to anyone about bagging the slayer?
Kinda weird of ya, being a guy and all." She was more talkative and
less closed off than usual tonight. Nearly staking the deputy mayor,
combined with drinking half a bottle of cheap vodka in one swallow, was
probably why he was here talking to her instead of outside holding his
"I didn't brag about saving all their ungrateful lives that night
either. Which means I indirectly saved the world, no offence but I
think that's almost as important as what we did that night." Xander
explained. She was nowhere near as hammered as a normal girl who had
drunk that much would be, but it took a second for her to speak again
"How'd that happen?" The slayer was finally over her automatic
hostility and suspicion, at least far enough over it to be willing to
listen instead of just yell. The younger slayer did not respond well to
the unexpected, too many of the unexpected things in her life had been
While the dark haired man told her the story of all the other things
that had happened that night she listened and thought. She had never
had a friend, not really, and had no idea how to handle the idea. She
would give the boy next to her a chance to live up to his words. She
decided to do something nice and safe as a 'lets be friends' exercise.
"Xman, how about we patrol early tommorrow, then go to the Bronze
and pick up a girl for a threeway?" Some people would have suggested
going out for dinner, and seriously, for Faith this was the equivalent.
She saw him smile at her and hugged closer. It was the first time she
had actually lay next to a guy after, and the extra body heat was a
surprise. A nice surprise.
Perhaps there would be other nice surprises too.
The sound of shots being fired in the Sunnydale night triggered
instant alertness in the patrolling pair. Xander had been thinking
about the shooting lessons Wesley had been giving him and the possible
uses for that training, Faith was scanning for vampires, demons, or
Microsoft salesmen. Something about Bill Gates and his firm triggered
alarms in her, that was all. It was probably nothing.
As they sprinted across to where the shooting was coming from, the
dark haired boy tentatively identified the sound as a 9mm, presumably a
cop sentenced to the night shift for some infraction. Some really
terrible breaking of the rules, like asking why with so many deaths
from 'gangs on PCP', no gang member had ever been arrested. There was
no OFFICAL death penalty for asking those questions.
Not that it mattered to someone like the man in the alley, backed up
against his damaged patrol car, popping off shots at the advancing
vampires. Impacting into the wall had smashed the car – Sunnydale
police driver training being as bad as everything else – and the boot
had popped open. The Zeppo saw the standard issue shotgun in its
holder, forgotten by the panicked rookie, and grabbed it. Time to see
if the junior Watcher's shooting lessons had achieved anything.
Xander had decided, after finding himself even more on the outside
than previously after the 'Faith and the roses' incident, to try to
bring the outsiders of the groups inside. Wesley was as much an
outsider as Faith, and presumably beneath the 'useless prat' persona
was something of value or he would never have been sent here.
It turned out one reason for the Englishman's insecure arrogance was
that he had gained top marks at things that either were in no short
supply at the council, like research, or were considered useless, such
as shooting. And he was a natural with any kind of ranged weapon,
anything that didn't involve hand to hand fighting. Since only
crossbows were considered useful in any way, and they were too slow to
reload to be VERY useful, no one cared about that skill.
"What are you freaks?" The apparently doomed cop shouted at the
ridge headed things coming at him, totally disregarding the bullet hits
to the torso they were suffering. In fact, the principle reason he had
lasted this long was the fact that they HAD ignored him, finishing off
the kill whose scream had caused him to drive into the alley in the
BOOM came the sound of a shotgun firing, and a vampire lost its
lower leg from a hit to the kneecap. The lost limb part dusted and the
vamp fell to the ground screaming and holding the stump. There was a
Chunk-chunk sound as the pump action was worked, then BOOM, the next
went down. The cop watched his attackers turn to face the new threat,
and he reloaded his pistol automatically. Someone had his shotgun; an
Ithaca 37 with 8 rounds loaded, and was making good use of it.
Faith was impressed by what she was seeing, 'so 21 century weapons
are not useless after all', was one thought. Another was to stay out of
the way and observe, which is how she noticed a demon and some vampires
dropping through a manhole cover at the far end of the alley. The cop
was kicking himself for letting the situation develop as it had,
wrecking the car, jumping out and running forward rather than stop,
think, and do something intelligent.
Harris the younger was feeling the exhilaration of the vindicated.
After kneecapping the vamps he had three rounds left, and went back to
the car for the spare ammo while Faith staked the cripples. There was a
small pack with spare ammunition, of which Officer Berkowitz had
brought plenty, being justifiably nervous about the transfer to night
shift. Walking over to the cop, who was clearly in over his head and
frozen with fear, he asked for the others name.
"Officer Seymour Berkowitz" was the reply. Xander was anxious to be
after the rest of the vamps, and handed the ammo bag and shotgun. The
bag was heavy; he would let this guy be his pack mule.
"Reload that, when I say 'feed me' hand me a loaded weapon, give me
your pistol, and KEEP UP!" The Soldier boy memories might have played a
role in what happened that night, or perhaps it was just that the
doughnut boy had real skills and a burning desire to not be ignored any
more. Then again, Faith was now a close friend, which was ego boosting
if exhausting. In any case he headed down the alley to the open
manhole, shone the torch he had also taken off Berkowitz into it, and
climbed down. "Faith, we have to finish this."
Two quick shots dropped the vamps that had hung back to ambush
anyone attempting what Xander was doing. Then he stepped up and, while
still well out of grabbing distance, fired a double tap into each blood
suckers head. The hollow points blew out the back of the head with the
first shot, then severed the neck with the second as the whole lower
skull came apart. The SPD officer finished climbing down the ladder in
time to see them dust.
"Next time, kneecaps, then head shots, huh?" The puffing cop said.
He had been wearing his Kevlar flackvest under his shirt all night, he
was carrying a heavy load, and he was trying to keep up with everything
that was happening. It was a strain.
"Kneecaps then head shots." Xander confirmed. DAMN it felt good to
be doing something useful for a change! He was seriously hyper by now,
and walked quickly away from the ladder towards the sounds of running
ahead. "Faith, I'll take point until we run out of ammo, you watch our
A warehouse a mile away.
The people kidnapped this and the previous night for the ceremony
were bewildered and only just beginning to feel some hope. The whoever
they were had gone out in force, leaving only two guards to watch the
cage they were in, and a much smaller group had come back. Now there
were frantic phone calls being made, and more were arriving from
elsewhere. As they arrived they tried to organize themselves. But it
was hard to hold a conversation with the sounds coming closer.
It was the sound of shooting, and screams. Normally that would have
frightened them even more, but anything that made these creatures
afraid might be good for them, and could certainly be no worse. The
sacrifices were referred to only as that, to their faces. The prospect
of your immanent execution focuses the mind wonderfully, as someone
"Feed me Seymour." The shotgun was slapped into his hand and the
Glock taken for reloading. There were side passages down here, and
Xander was following the memory of his Military Operations in Urban
Terrain, or MOUT, training. 'Make sure to leave no living enemy behind
you, clear every room you pass' being particularly memorable. BOOM and
a door blew open, chunk-chunk BOOM and a Mohra demon lost a leg,
spraying luminous green blood over the three humans. It waved a sword
from the floor as the next shot went to the face, smashing the red
jewel in its head and causing it to simply disappear in a flash.
The Mohra demon, like many that would die this night, was not
actually part of the ceremony to raise Lothuk; it was just here on
holiday to enjoy the hellmouth vibe. There was actually quite a tourist
trade in demons just visiting a place where they could do essentially
anything they wanted without repercussions, well, as long as they
avoided the slayer anyway. A lot of them lived, and now were dying,
down here. Seeing it was a dead end, the Zeppo turned and backed away
into the main tunnel, as Officer Berkowitz looked back at the vanishing
goop that was all that was left of a reasoning being.
"Boy sure looks like plant food to me." Was his comment. All the
'Feed me Seymour, Feed Me' statements had been getting to him, and for
all he knew this maniac might never have even seen 'Little Shop of
Horrors'. At least that green stuff was disappearing, he thought to
himself, like Xander and Faith not having the faintest clue what they
had just killed or the effect of it's blood soaking into their systems.
BOOM and an unidentified demon died. Chunk-Chunk and a fresh round was chambered.
"Lost his head completely, poor chap." Faith said in her best – not
very good - English accent. She sensed something and pointed to a
ladder heading up, something escaping. BOOM, chunk-chunk, thump, as it
fell to the ground. Then another BOOM, as its head was smashed but it
still moved, maybe a twitching corpse, maybe recovering. Chunk-chunk
BOOM, and the head was missing. If it wasn't dead now it certainly was
not going to be up to interfering with them tonight.
"Feed me!" The Glock was handed over and the shotgun replaced it in the policeman's hand.
"That's the last loaded mag. We either have to stop while I load the
empties or stick to the shotgun, and we only have 12 rounds left for
that." Berkowitz had been green as grass when he started asking
uncomfortable questions about the way things worked in this town. But
he did know the death rate of officers on the night shift, so when he
was assigned to a SOLO patrol car he responded by purchasing spare
magazines, extra ammo for both weapons, and this pack to keep it all
in. He had a full box of 9mm Parabellum ammunition for the 5 empty
magazines, but loading them would take time.
Time that the man he was following clearly did not intend to let
whoever or whatever they were killing have. Seymour fed ammunition into
the now very hot shotgun, noticing the girl take a sword in each hand
as he did so. Exactly how he would explain all this to the review board
in the morning was not a question he wanted to even think about.
The Sacrifices cage.
Linda Kolchak was possibly the only individual here who actually
knew what she was dealing with, or, more accurately, what she was being
dealt with by. Having arrived here early for college next year, she was
working and finishing off her high school studies by correspondence. Or
that was the plan up to the point the vampires had grabbed her and
taken her to this awful place.
The sound of shots and screaming came closer, but there was no sound
of sirens that would indicate it was a police operation. Sunnydale
police were, by and large, noticeable for their highly refined instinct
of self-preservation, leading them to drive at high speed, sirens
blaring, anywhere BUT to the sounds of screaming and dying.
Uncle Carl had chased things like this as a reporter for INS, and he
had told her about it. But, and it was a huge but, the Chicago, Seattle
and Las Vegas police had always at least TRIED to fight. They had
routinely failed to achieve much, and Carl Kolchak's descriptions of
the Chicago TAC squad being tossed around stayed with her to this day,
but they never actively chickened out like this bunch. Maybe she should
forget the journalism course and take the cadetship Tony Vincenzo was
offering in its place.
A cadetship with the Independent New Service under her Uncle's old
editor sounded pretty good right now. Rather like the sound of the
pistol shots that seemed to be directly under her, as the sound came
out of the manhole in the floor in the middle of the room. The demons
were standing well back from it, wary. The shooting stopped, and what
might have been 'feed me Seymour', followed by 'one, two, three', and a
slim, dark haired girl FLEW up out of the hole, landing, sword in hand
a foot or so away.
The tunnel, directly under the warehouse.
Officer Seymour Berkowitz was as tired as he had ever been in his
life, had ached all over, but he was also feeling good. Whatever they
had been fighting were clearly living by killing people, as the remains
of their meals that he had been force to step over repeatedly to get
here attested. He had originally signed up to pay for his writing habit
anyway, unpublished author being a good way to starve otherwise. He
really hadn't intended it as a career, and if he was thrown out after
this, who cared?
And so he stood looking up through the hole into the brightness,
hands still locked together with the other mans the way they had been
when the woman had been standing on them while they prepared to toss
her up into the light. Now they had to go up, and he would be going
last, since he was unarmed except for his baton.
Faith had been in the unusual and frustrating position of bystander
for the action so far, and her frustration was coming out now. Arms,
legs, and tentacles were sliced off at a rapid rate. She was trying,
and succeeding, in keeping them far enough away from the manhole for
Xander to come through without being attacked while helpless. She took
a head off, then turned and swung hard, slicing from above the right
shoulder to below the side of the ribcage of a green thing with scales.
It fell in two pieces in opposite directions, and the surviving bad
guys started running.
Faith's motel room, the next night
Faith was lying warm and comfortable next to her friend and
fuckbudy, Xander Harris. Having trustworthy friends was unknown to her
until him, he was her first. It was also nice to have someone she could
be open with, be herself with, and not be condemned for it. Outing
herself as bisexual was not as big a deal as it might have been for
others, but still a big deal and he handled it well.
Buffy had been kind of skittish when she was told, and Willow had
been, well intrigued was one way of phrasing it. After the Vamp Willow
incident Faith knew why, even if the red head was in denial to some
degree. If wolfboy ever left the scene though, the dark slayer
definitely was planing to move in on his territory. Hey, the girl had
been after Xander before now, it was the perfect deal.
So the Boston slayer lay and thought, of life, love and friendship.
Of whether she was in love with Xander Harris, or simply a close friend
with sex privileges. Like every time she thought about it, or for that
matter the time she had mentioned it to the man next to her, it was
decided it didn't matter. She would rather have him than any other man,
he always referred girls interested in him to her, explaining she
handled his sex life. Enough had actually done that for her to be, this
very night, enjoying the feeling of a woman next to her. She might have
fucked the girl before meeting Xander, but she would never have
considered SLEEPING with her.
Certainly not for the third time this week, which this was.
"I had to become Xman's friend before I got a girlfriend, how's that for odd?"
Los Angles branch of the Independent New Service, Editor's Office, later that month.
"Are you sure you are Carl's niece, not a reincarnation of him or
something?" The old man asked. He had been middle aged when her uncle
had encountered his first Vampire in Vegas, and age had not improved
"What do you mean Mr. Vincenzo?" Seymour Berkowitz asked. Being
officially credited with saving the 'terrorist hostages' had prevented
him from suffering a more severe fate than unemployment. His writing
interests and photographic skills made him a useful news cameraman.
Besides, Linda had insisted on it as part of her taking up the cadet
"Little miss innocent here goes to a small town to do some
waitressing before attending college. Instead she gets involved in a
terrorist incident that both of you insist was really a demonic
ceremony." His blood pressure was up again, he was going red in the
face. Well, he had hired a Kolchak, what else had he expected? "And you
get saved by the boy wonder here with the aid of no-one, if you believe
the official report, two black operations specialists if you believe
the rumors, or a VAMPIRE SLAYER and a man POSSESSED BY A HYENA if I
believe you two."
"Actually I think the soldier possession was probably more important to the outcome Tony." Linda blithely added.
"OK, ENOUGH, I GET THE PICTURE." Taking time to calm himself down,
the editor stepped back and took a few deep breaths. "I have a first
assignment for you, something nice and safe, a piece we can sell as a
'quiet, old fashioned Americana' story."
"What is it, boss?" The new photographer said. He had expected
something like this, a nice easy piece to get them started. Well, he
had the rest of his life to get juicier pieces.
"You are going to cover the Sunnydale High School Class of 1999 Graduation Ceremony."Home