The Pain of Change
(Set Two Weeks after Prologue)
Note: As this is a couple weeks post series for WL, Sophia survived her flip, and is a white wolf like Ruby. Also John Kanin was able to flip due to being injected with Ruby’s blood, and is a black wolf.
Faith bit back a cry as the strange aches and fever struck her again, her blood and flesh feeling like it was on fire. It was the ninth time in the past four days, and she was desperately hoping that it wasn’t some kind of payback for her crimes. She knew any number of people would have had easy access to her during the eight months she was comatose, and could have done something.
She lay on the thin futon in the corner of the small vacant she was squatting in, biting her fist as the pain wracks her body for several moments before finally subsiding. The former slayer remains still for a few moments, her creamy skin glistening with sweat and a few tears leaving tracks down either side of her face.
Finally she rises from the bed as the pain evaporates fully, and makes her way to the bathroom, kicking the door shut as she stripped off her sweat-soaked clothes and dumped them in a pile before turning the shower on with cold water and stepping into the shower.
About twenty minutes later she emerged again, wrapped in a large green towel and makes her way to the ‘bedroom’. She quickly redressed and then left her small home, taking care that no one saw her coming out and securing the plywood ‘door’ back into place. Last thing she needed was someone relieving her of her few and mostly stolen possessions.
After walking for a few minutes, she reaches the diner that she’d taken a job at, the now familiar sign reading ‘Deb’s’ hanging over the front entrance as she strolls up and goes in. The former slayer gives a small nod of greeting at Ava, one of the other wait staff on the five to one p.m. shift, and the one that had helped get her the job after they met at a club. The blonde and pink haired eighteen year old nods back as she passes the two plates she has come out from the back with to the two college students at the corner booth.
Faith is silent as she makes her way to the back room, and grabbed her diner ‘uniform’ from the locker she’d been assigned. She quickly shrugs it on and then grabs the bottle of painkillers she’d found during her other ‘job’. She pops the cap and shakes two of the pills into her hand and swallows them dry, even if there wasn’t pain now she didn’t want it to pop up again while she was at work. She quickly closes the bottle and tosses it back into the locker, closing it just in time for Ava to enter the room.
“Deb called a few minutes ago, said three of her afternoon staff left sick yesterday.” The blonde informs her. “She wanted to know if you wanted to cover, said she’d toss out and extra forty for it, on top of the overtime.”
“Sure, why not.” Faith replies as she pins her plastic name tag to the front of her shirt. “Nothing else going on tonight.”
Ava gives a nod and a smile in response, then turns and goes back out to the diner, Faith following behind a moment after, ready for a full day of work.
Sherman Blackstone was deeply troubled as he walked up the path to the Donner house, a piece of paper clutched in his hand. He reaches the door and knocks three times, then waits, hearing someone coming up from the other side of the door.
“Hello Sophia.” The Keeper of the pack greets the seventeen year old Skinwalker as she pulls the door open.
“Hey, Mr. Blackstone.” Sophia greets amicably, moving to the side to allow him entrance silently, and he strolls in, the door closing behind him.
“Is your father home?” the Keeper inquires, receiving a nod in reply. “I stopped by the station, but Kanin said he’d taken off for an early lunch.”
“Yeah, he’s in the backyard.” Sophia answers, leading the way through the house to said backyard. “Hey dad! Sherman’s here.” She calls out to the elder Donner, who is tinkering on an old motorcycle once owned by her uncle Eddie.
Matthew looks up and tosses the grimy rag onto the front wheel cover before making his way over to where his daughter and the keeper are waiting.
“What’s going on?” The town sheriff inquires.
“Good news, well kind of.” Sherman answers cryptically, holding out the piece of paper to Matt, who takes it and unfolds it.
“Who is this?” He questions, staring down at the paper with a picture of the young raven haired teenager, unnerved by the girl’s eyes which were eerily familiar.
“It seems that Eddie left something behind before he passed.” Sherman intones. “When he was in Boston, he conceived a daughter, her name is Faith Lehane.”
“Leave her be.” Matt snaps, throwing the paper to the ground. “If she’s a half-blood, she doesn’t need the kind of shit that Soph had to deal with before she flipped.”
“She isn’t a half blood, her mother was Skinwalker as well, only a nomad.” Sherman tells him. “The mother is also deceased, and its likely Faith doesn’t even know her heritage. She’s sixteen, and I’ve had a friend of mine keeping an eye on her. He says she’s within days of the change.”
“Shit.” Matt curses at the new revelation, and then suddenly realizes Sophia is still present, the girl having remained silent at the revelation that she had a cousin. “Sophia, go inside.”
“What?” Sophia replies, incredulousness in her tone. “No. If my cousin is in some kind of trouble, I want to help.”
Sherman smiled lightly at Matt’s scowl. “Can’t fault her there Matt.”
The sheriff remains silent for a few moments, his gaze shifting from the determined look in his daughter’s eyes to the amused and slightly worried one on Sherman’s. “Does Vivian know yet?” he asks at last.
“I was going to inform her of our unknown member after I was done here.” The Keeper tells the two Donners.
“You can’t, She’ll send Tyler after her.” Sophia exclaims. “God knows what he’ll do.”
“Mr. Creed is not going to be sent, Faith isn’t a runaway. I’ll be going to bring her here, hopefully before she flips.”
Both the father and daughter visibly relax, having full trust in the keeper.
“Don’t worry, she’ll be fine.” Sherman promises. “I just wanted to give you a heads up, since she’s going to need a place here.”
“We have room.” Matthew says instantly. “She’s family.”
Sherman grinned and gave the sheriff a respectful nod.
LOS ANGELES – Two Days Later
“That guy is looking at you.” Ava whispered to Faith as they waited for the orders to need delivering. Faith turned slightly to see the man in question looking back at her from where he sits at one of the tables lined against the front wall and window. Her eyebrow quirks as he raises his cup of coffee in her direction before taking a drink from it.
“Order up for table four.” Faith turns back to the food window and takes the plate from Steve, the cook who’d spoken a moment earlier.
“I got this one.” Faith says, walking past Ava and around the end of diner bar, before walking up to the table of the man who’d been staring at her. She slides the plate onto the surface of the table and remains standing in front of the table for a moment. “Why were you staring at me?”
“Sorry.” Sherman Blackstone replies, not sounding very apologetic. “I was just struck at how much you look like your father.”
Faith’s jaw dropped for a few seconds before she snapped it shut and glared down at the seated Native American man. “Nice try, asshole, but I ain’t even from around here. Ain’t no way in hell you know my father, hell I don’t even know who he was.”
“Of course not, your accent is clearly Bostonian.” Blackstone replies. “Eddie Donner on the other hand, hailed from Wolf Lake, Washington.”
Faith’s anger dissipates as she hears the name of the town, something about it ringing in her distant memory.
“My mother knew that town.” Faith breathed, her eyes wide now “Is my father there?”
Sherman adopts a sad look, and shakes his head. “I’m sorry, but he’s been gone for close to fourteen years.”
Faith deflates, the small hope that she had family still fading. “Figures. So why are you here then, if yah did know him but in Washington, I highly doubt it’s by chance.”
“You need to come with me, to your father’s hometown.” Sherman says, and Faith’s expression sours.
“Like hell I do.” The former slayer snaps. “If my father is dead, then there sure as hell ain’t nothing up there for me.”
“You have an uncle and a cousin that would like to meet you.” Sherman replies.
“Tough.” Faith spits out. “I got a life here, tell them to come visit.”
“It isn’t as simple as that, or they would have come here with me.”
“Well if that doesn’t sound like a cult, than my mother wasn’t a vicious drunk bitch.” Faith returns, turning to leave. “I don’t wanna see yah here again.”
Sherman watches her storm away, disappearing into the back room. His eyes sweep the room, briefly locking with the blonde waitress on the other side of the counter, who gives him a look of disdain. He turns away and quickly finishes his coffee, and drops a hundred dollar bill on the table and scrawls a message onto it. After this is complete, he stands, leaving his meal untouched as he departs the diner.
Later that Night
Faith was still having trouble with the thoughts of her unknown family up in Washington, and the strange man from the morning and the odd message he’d left behind. Letting out a groan as a fresh wave of pain hit, she slid off the bed and stumbled over to the bathroom so she could splash cold water on her face to alleviate the fever she could feel coming on.
She hit the light and made her way over to the sink, her hands rubbing at her head as she goes, partially obscuring her vision. She bends down and turns the water on, bowing her head closer to the faucets as she scoops water up with cupped hands and the two meet in the middle.
She repeats this several times until her flesh starts to feel a bit numb and then straightens up, letting out a scream as she sees the glow coming from her currently yellow-ish eyes. She starts to panic, but calms when the man’s note on the hundred dollar bill makes sense. She grabs the bottle of aspirin from the small cabinet and downs a couple of the pills with water, then returns to the ‘bedroom’ and grabs her wallet from the bed. She flips it open, removing the hundred and holding it up to look at it and the message upon it.When you see gold, give me a call. Sherman Blackstone. 1(210)555-2834
She grabs up her jacket, throwing it on her body, which is starting to tremble as she starts to feel her body heat rising. She stuffs the wallet and the money in her pocket and pulls out her sunglasses, quickly putting them on to hide her eyes.
She staggers out of the bedroom, each step adding fuel to the fire burning inside her. Moving as swiftly as she can, and with a look of extreme discomfort on her face she exits through the front ‘door’, quickly sealing the plywood back on. She hops off the stoop and begins walking up the sidewalk, her destination a bus station around the corner with payphones.
Adjusting the sunglasses as she entered the terminal, taking care not to let her eyes since she could still see the glow reflected on the backside of them. She pays little attention to the people around her, crossing the large room to where the row of phones lines a portion of the far wall.
Reaching the closest of the phones, she quickly jams the quarter from her pocket into it and dials the number on the bill. She waits impatiently as it rings a couple times and then speaks as soon as she hears the other end click on.
“I don’t know who the hell you are, but you clearly know more about who I am than I do. I need your help, with the gold thing.” Faith rambles off.
“Calm down Faith.” Sherman replies quickly. “Where are you?”
“Bus Station on 14th and Birch.” Faith croaks, her throat starting to itch.
“Wait for me, I’ll be there in about seven minutes.” Sherman tells her urgently. “Trust no one else.”
“Yeah sure, whatever. I’ll be outside on the corner.” Faith said, then hung up the phone. She quickly exited the building again, making her way to the corner and leaning against the building. She fishes out her pack of cigarettes from the left pocket, and lights one up between her lips before taking a deep drag. Her face turns red a moment later as the taste and smell of the tobacco overwhelms her senses and she coughs violently, throwing the cigarette to the ground and crushing it under her sneaker with a look of disgust on her face.
“Perfect.” She grouses to herself angrily, kicking the remains of the cigarette across the pavement.
“Faith?” She looks to her right as Ava calls out to her, standing about twelve feet away and walking towards her.
“Hey Ava.” She grunts out.
“You okay?” Ava inquires, concern in her voice as she reaches the former slayer.
“Five b-by five.” Faith replies with a little difficulty.
Both girls look over as Sherman’s car pulled to a stop on the side of the street and Faith locked eyes with him for a moment, before stepping towards the car.
“Faith, what are you doing?” Ava asks, recognizing Sherman from that morning. “Isn’t that the creepy guy from earlier?”
“He knew my father, and knows something about my past, something I don’t even know.” Faith replies, stopping briefly to regard the other girl. “I need to know.”
Ava gives a small nod and watches as Faith walks over to the car and gets in the passenger side, then as the car speeds off.
Inside the car, Faith turns to look at Sherman as he presses on the gas, reaching up and pulling the sunglasses off to show her eyes.
“I’m really hoping this is what you meant by gold.” The former slayer says, putting the glasses in her pocket.
“In the glove compartment, there’s a small medbox with a syringe inside.” the aging Native American says. “The contents will push the flip back for a day or so, long enough to get you to Wolf Lake.”
Faith’s eyes are wide as she looks at him, completely baffled. “What the hell are yah talking about? I ain’t sticking myself with no goddamn needle.”
“Faith, if you don’t there’s a very good chance you could die. Tonight.” Sherman tells her with the most serious look he can muster. She remains motionless for a couple moment, just openly gaping at him as he drives and then bites back a scream as a fresh wave of pain hit.
She struggles for a moment with the latch on the glove compartment, finally just hitting it in frustration and then grinning slightly as it pops open. She grabs the medkit and pulls it open.
“What’s in this?”
“Bloodthinner and a moderate sedative.” Sherman replies, honestly. “Not much can be done about the pain. Once it starts, it won’t stop until you’ve either flipped or dead. The bloodthinner slows the change for some reason.”
“What change?” Faith asks desperately, then cries out softly as the pain hits again. “What’s happening to me?”
“Your body is preparing itself to shift to your wolf form.”
“My wolf form?”
“Yes, Faith. You’re a Skinwalker, both your parents were.”
Faith vaguely remembered Diana mentioning skinwalkers once, shortly before the watcher had been killed, and had seemed to hold a respect, perhaps even admiration of them. She rolls an elastic up her arm and cinches it with the clip, then taps on the tender side of her upper wrist until the vein bulges up a little.
She primes the needle and then sticks it into the crook of her arm, depressing the plunger and injecting the syringe’s contents into herself.
“You’re awfully proficient at that for a sixteen year old.” Sherman comments, turning to look at her as he stops at a red light.
“My ma was into shooting heroin, watched her do it prolly close to a thousand times growing up.” Faith replies, tossing the medkit and its contents back into the glove compartment without putting them back in the kit itself.
“So Washington, huh?” Faith asks after a few minutes of silence, the sedative beginning to kick in and making her feel a little woozy. “Sounds nice.”
“We’ll be there by the time you wake up, Ms. Donner.” The native American intones.
“Name’s n-not d-Donner.. it’s Lee.. Lehane.” Faith mumbles out as she falls into a deep sleep, where she dreams of a silvery wolf.
“She’s left with him, and I’m too involved with her to not arouse suspicion by following her to Wolf Lake.” Ava says over the cell phone in her hand, then pauses as the person on the other end replies. “I understand, I’ll be on my way shortly.”
The dyed pink and blonde haired girl hangs up the phone, dropping it to the ground and then lifting her boot and bringing it down hard on the electronic device, shattering it into pieces with inhuman force. She looks up and down the street she’s on, then starts walking away down the dimly lit sidewalk into the warm California night.
To Be Continued…
NOTE: Sorry if some of the Wolf Lake characters seem a bit ooc, been a long time since I saw the series. Also in this universe, Faith’s slayer essence was responsible for inability to flip at the same age as most skinwalkers. When it was removed and she had awoken from the coma, the process of flipping was set off inside her.