Title: Faith Wayne
Feedback: In lieu of a Faithbot yeah.
Disclaimer: I do not own DC Comics or Buffy. Nor do I intend to make profit from them.
FIC: Faith Wayne (1/?)
“Thank you all for coming,” he began with a look around the dimly lit boardroom. His four guests, three men and one woman, were amongst the most powerful in the super-powered community with one exception, and the exception was one of history’s most influential manipulators. “As you can see from the notes in your hands, the notes that will be shredded before we leave here, our plan continues apace. Our lower-level operatives are busy recruiting the mid-level operatives to our ranks.”
”And no-body has any idea who is doing the recruiting?”
This question came from a bearded, powerfully-built alien of the same race as his greatest enemy, but he answered civilly enough. “Yes, I’ve used three levels of cut-outs, with the top level being an untraceable email account,” he smiled thinly. “The account belongs to an internet service provider owned by Queen Industries, and is one only I have access to.”
“How long will it be before we move?” growled their group’s oldest and least-powered member.
“A few weeks yet,” he replied. “An operation of this scale takes time to plan and get everyone into position, but once we’re ready, we’ll only have a window of opportunity for a few days in which to strike.”
“And the list of heroes that are to be attacked in our pre-emptive strike?” grunted the group’s solitary alien. “I have no problems with those selected for attack, they are amongst the super-hero community’s leading lights. With them removed, it will be so much easier to deal with the remains, but I am confused as to who we are sending against them.”
“A simple enough idea, my dear General,” he replied. “Familiarity breeds contempt, so let’s not allow our heroes to be too familiar with their attackers, being attacked by alien adversaries will make them more vulnerable than normal.”
“Won’t that go both ways?” queried the group’s only female. “Won’t our recruits also be off-balance as well?”
“No, not at all.” He shook his head. “My research into the meta-human community has been extensive, our recruits will have access to the files detailing their strengths and weaknesses, video of the heroes in action. Traps will be baited to draw in each hero and then we’ll simultaneously strike both at them and our other targets. They won’t be able to call on assistance and ultimately,” he smiled viciously, “ultimately they won’t be able to help one another.”
* * *
The group’s sole woman halted by the kerb, her heart pounding in unaccustomed fear. Normally she was the one to cause terror and not to feel it, but something about their group’s titular leader unnerved her. For most people he’d always been intimidating, his intellect, force of personality, and ruthlessness combining to cow people the moment they met him. Even so, she was used to battling the world’s super-powered defenders, but their leader was different somehow now, her soul quivered in terror in his presence, an effect he’d never had on her before, the magics that filled her seeming somehow inconsequential next to the power she sensed he now possessed.
Yes, he’d somehow been altered, by who or what, she had no idea, but whatever it was chilled her to her very core. Each of her fellow plotters had left via by a different route, but she had the skills to easily track them down and share her concerns.
Except she didn’t have the nerve. She who had unblinklingly faced the princess of the Amazons couldn’t summons the courage to do anything against the terror that she sensed had possessed their group’s already formidable ruler.
She shivered as her limousine pulled alongside her, the peak-capped chauffer leaping out to open her door. All she could do was obey their leader and hope for the best.
* * *
Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dr. Fate shook his head, the castings he’d just made confirming his darkest feelings, yet not giving him any more information about what was causing the dread he felt.
”You feel the same?”
He looked towards his guest, the exotically beautiful Madame Xanadu. “Yes,” he finally replied, a heaviness resting on his chest. “I don’t know what it is, I can’t track it down, something obscures what it is, but I can feel its power, the air vibrates with it. It could equal Neron, Eclipso, or the Spectre. Exceed them even!”
“Here’s another question,” his guest’s green eyes grew even more troubled, “this event is the sort that will shake the world, maybe even the universe. As you say, whatever is coming has fearsome power.”
“I’d agree,” Dr. Fate nodded even as he wondered where his fellow magician was going with her line of conversation.
”Then why hasn’t the Phantom Stranger warned anyone about it?” Madame Xanadu asked the unanswerable. “Where is he?”
* * *
Gotham City, USA
The emissary shuffled from foot to foot under the madman’s manic gaze, the warehouse’s grim drabness weighing down on him, but not as much as the gory reputation of the man stood opposite him. The five thugs loitering in the background were rendered unimportant next to their leader’s blood-splattered record. “I’m to be involved in a grand conspiracy?”
“That’s the general idea sir,” he nodded jerkily, forcing his eyes to meet his host’s. He couldn’t let him know he was scared. A hyena attacked when it smelt fear.
“Oh such excitement!” he blinked when the madman began dancing erratically, then suddenly halted, his wildly twitching eyes suddenly focussing. “And who’s leading our august group and what are their plans?”
“I don’t know,” he licked his lips. It was true he didn’t know, only that someone had bought out his gambling debts six weeks ago and he, and he guessed some more low-level hoods like him were hired to run various errands. But of all the errands he’d run, this was the most terrifying. If he didn’t instinctively fear his unknown boss so much, he wouldn’t be here at all. “I….I’ve n….never have any face to face contact with him, or her,” he added as an after-thought. “But they’ve got lots of resources and money. I could guess-.”
“If guesses were horses, I’d have your legs and arms tied to some!” The Joker let out a shrill laugh before suddenly stilling, eyes boring into him. “Who’s your boss?”
“I said I didn’t know,” he replied.
”Lies! Lies! And more lies!” The Joker began pacing up and down, dust scuffling up. “Grab him!” He gasped as the Joker’s hoods leapt forward and grabbed his arms and legs, holding him still despite his best efforts. “Let’s see what lies beneath your skin!” He moaned when the Joker pulled out a carving knife and started juggling it from hand to hand. Then the Joker rammed it deep into his gut and twisted.
* * *
Faith cricked her neck and smirked at her boy-friend as she stalked into the academy’s common room, complete with its blaring stereo. “Ready for ‘nother patrol lover?”
The one-eyed man sat slouched on the common room’s sofa grinned lazily back at her. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Faaaaaaith, why can’t we come?” wheedled one of the junior Slayers, a broad-shouldered former national-level high school gymnast.
“Not this time kiddo,” Faith winked at the blonde. “It’s only a walk through the docks, no biggie.”
”Besides,” her boyfriend commented. “You girls should be revising for that test tomorrow.”
The trio of Slayers sat on the room’s gaudily coloured bean bags exchanged triumphant looks before starting to chant. “Faith and Xander! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”
“Kids,” Faith winked at Xander, “we’re gonna be doin’ a hell of a lot more than just kissing.”
”My girl-friend,” Xander rose, “once again contributing to the delinquency of minors.”
”Damn straight,” Faith laughed. Life was good ever since the fall of Sunnydale, at least for her. Her and Wood had fallen apart pretty much by the time they reached LA, her idolisation of Angel being too much for him to take. Dumbass had given her an ultimatum, him or Angel. A one-night stand versus the demon who’d saved her?
Not even a choice.
Xan on the other hand, he and Angel would never be friends, hell they sniped at one another like a couple of kids, but he respected Angel’s role in her life. As for why they were dating now, it had all started when looking for something to occupy her once her fledgling relationship had died. She’d decided to throw Andrew out of the room he was sharing with Xander, and try and pay the man back for all the shit she’d done to him by being there for him while he grieved for Anya.
That sure as hell hadn’t been a cake-walk. Xander had been a complete mess, she’d had to drag him out of more than one bar that first month, some-times even over her shoulder. Then she’d started to connect, demanding that he sort himself out and reminding him of the new Slayers that needed experienced people to look after them. After another month he’d started to come out of his shell, and she’d nagged him into requesting a Council house of their own.
In the end Giles had given them one of America’s two Council houses, the Gotham City house on the east coast, the other Council house on the Cleveland Hellmouth, and Angel’s group of him, Spike, Illyria, Kate Lockley, Oliver Pike, and Groo running the west coast.
America had thirty Slayers, most of them were at Cleveland, but a dozen were here, together with any Slayers with bad reps, Xan and her having a rep for turning hardcases around. The Jesse McNally Memorial Academy served as a cover story for the group, an exclusive school\charity offering scholarships to young girls, the student numbers swelled by the sons and daughters of Watchers and support staff who worked at the Academy.
“You seem to be deep in thought.”
Faith’s full lips pulled up into a dimpled smile as she saucily winked at her man. “Nah,” she replied, “you know me better than that.”
“True.” Xander looked at the giggling trio of Slayers. “You all have tests tomorrow, I expect you to study. Get to your rooms.”
“Damn,” Faith snorted as the girls hurried out, “who’s a regular little Giles now?”
Xander pouted. “There’s no need to be rude.” Her boy-friend looped his arm around her shoulders. “So the docks.”
“Yeah,” Faith’s forehead creased. Thanks to its mysterious night-time protector, Gotham City was kinda slow for vampires and the like, but that was five by five, all the way down from Florida and up to Maine was her jurisdiction, so she got plenty of action. However, one of their contacts had warned them of a vampire gang starting to smuggle Orphesus, her skin crawled at the memory of the time she’d been drugged with it, into Gotham. Their first shipment was dropping off tonight, but somehow Faith thought there wouldn’t be another. “Let’s get this done.”
* * *
”Patrolling alone sir?” Alfred politely asked as he passed the dark grey cowl to his master.
The master shot him a wry and in his opinion all too-rare smile. “Tim wanted to come, but he has an exam tomorrow, I insisted he study.”
“You’re a harsh taskmaster, Master Wayne,” Alfred reproved as he fixed his master’s cape.
”Sometimes my conscience bothers me,” Bruce growled before sobering. “I’ll be on the docks tonight, one of my sources phoned in a tip about an exotic drug being smuggled onto Gotham’s docks tonight.”
“Be careful sir,” he warned.
“I wouldn’t be Batman if I was careful.”