FIC: Faith The Series Prequel (4/4)
“Did you see what Rosenberg was wearing today?” tittered Harmony. “I mean, dressed by her mother much?”
“What a dweeb!” agreed Aura.
Cordelia looked around as her friends descended into giggles, a deep loneliness filling her despite the presence of her friends. She sighed inwardly as they walked inside the school, its coldly impersonal corridors adding to her depression. There had to be more for her than the vapidity of her followers, the vanity of the jocks, and the general geekiness of Rosenberg and her lot.
Her life had to mean more than her mother’s. It just had to.
* * *
“I don’t see why I need ya.”
Giles gritted his teeth at his charge’s surliness as they strode through the hushed graveyard. “I’m here because,” he cast a wary gaze into the inky shadows surrounding them, “I’m your Watcher and it is my duty.”
“Yeah?” Faith shot him a scornful look, the Slayer dressed to kill in a pair of criminally tight jeans and a hooded grey sweatshirt over a purple gym vest. “What ya gonna do if there’s trouble, hold my coat?”
Giles bit back his reply. The teen rabble-rouser had become ever more difficult to handle in the month since she’d been Called. He supposed he should be grateful she hadn’t just absconded.
“Well she seems to be a livewire doesn’t she?”
“Oh dear,” Giles’ heart chilled as a ‘man’ stepped out of the shadows, his blonde locks combed back, his eyes cold and skin deathly grey, his clothes the baroque style of a well-heeled eighteenth century nobleman. This vampire had power and age, he could feel it coming off him in waves. His eyes widened as Faith started forward. “No!”
“Fuck!” Faith crashed to the ground when the vampire side-stepped her charge and caught her with a clothesline to the chest.
The demon stared down contemptuously at his charge even as he started forward, legs shaky as he attempted to put himself between the vampire and his adopted daughter. “Hot-headed and foolish,” the centuries old undead commented. “Even if you hadn’t bumped into me-.” The demon stopped and chuckled as he stepped in front of the downed Slayer. “Oh, her Watcher, how very gallant.”
Hand clammy with sweat, Giles raised his cross. “You -, ugh.”
“You know,” he gasped as the demon grabbed his wrist and twisted it, the cross falling from his hand as the vampire snatched him by the throat and flung him into a gravestone, ribs bruising on impact, “I really don’t like those things.”
”Then,” Giles felt a surge of pride as the Slayer kipped up and caught the vampire with a right to the jaw, “ya gonna hate this!” The vampire’s head snapped back under the impact, giving Faith chance to spin into a kick to the demon’s side.
”Cursed child!” the vampire cracked an elbow into the side of Faith’s head, staggering the boisterous beauty. “I have killed many of your number!” the vampire grabbed Faith by her hair and yanked her head back, the Slayer hissing in pain.
“Not her!” Giles was busy pulling himself up on the gravestone, its weathered stone cutting into his hands when a shadowy form crashed out of the darkness and into the vampire. Although the shape was immediately knocked off by the demon, that gave Faith enough time to work herself loose of his grip.
The vampire laughed mockingly. “Until next time!” And then just like that he was gone.
“Pike!” Giles blinked as the Slayer sped over to the grounded youth and helped him to his feet. “What the hell ya doin’ here?”
Pike shot him a bemused look. “I was coming ‘round to talk to your dad, when I saw you leaving the house and talking about demons, I figured you were in some sort of cult, so I-um followed you.”
“And saved our asses!” Faith shot him a ‘I-told-you-so’ look. “Ain’t he the bomb?”
“Indeed,” Giles nodded slowly. He had rather more reservations about the young man, but he had at least acted bravely.
* * *
After they’d gotten home, explained about Slayers and sworn Pike to secrecy, the dazed young man left, Faith spinning to face him the moment the front door clicked shut. “Why did ya jump in-between me and that vamp?”
“Well um,” Giles stuttered, caught off balance by the girl’s almost desperate sounding query, “um, you are my Slayer and I your Watcher, it of course falls to me to aid you in any way I can.”
Faith looked at him and nodded, her normally expressive eyes unreadable. “Yeah, I figured it had to be somethin’ like that.” Giles hid a grimace, sensing that an opportunity had been missed. The young woman paused. “I know I’m like a freshman, but Pike’s asked me to the prom a week on Friday.”
Giles opened his mouth to say no then closed it, brow furrowing in thought. He could forbid the Slayer, but he knew if he did, she’d more than likely defy him anyway, causing more ill-will between them, and it wasn’t as if Pike was a bad lad, not good enough for his girl of course, but hardly the shifty layabout he’d originally thought he was. “You’re in by eleven,” Faith’s mouth began to open, “eleven or you don’t go at all, entirely your choice.” The Slayer nodded, a sullen expression on her face. “Excellent,” Giles forced a smile, “and now to business, we need to find out who that vampire was.”
Faith pouted. “Can’t I go-.”
“No you cannot go and play on your bloody games console,” Giles interrupted. “Research is part of a Slayer’s duty.” Giles turned and looked at his stuffed bookcase, sweeping half a shelf into his arms, and carefully placing them on the coffee tables. “These are the tomes I have on vampires. Shall we begin?”
“There’s nothing here,” Faith declared as she slammed the last of the nine texts shut with a disdainful slam.
“No,” Giles took his glasses off and rubbed at his aching eyes, “there doesn’t seem to be. I’ll order some more books from our library.”
“I don’t know why ya all don’t invest in some computers, back yar libraries onto computers,” Faith commented.
“Infect our esteemed archives with those accursed machines?” Giles shot his charge a horrified look. “Certainly not.”
* * *
“Pike’s pulled up, he’s on his hog!” Giles felt his blood pressure double at his charge’s excited proclamation from upstairs. “How fuckin’ cool is that!”
“The bloody dogs’ bollcoks,” he muttered as he tried to read his newly arrived texts.
Of course his charge wasn’t about to let him. “So, how do I look?” The Slayer walked in wearing a leather mini that had marginally more material than a loin cloth, and a surely too tight to breathe black tube-top under her favourite leather jacket.
“Well um.” Giles reddened as he fought back the urge to tell Faith to get upstairs and change into the nice, full-length sack he’d picked out especially for her. “I thought it was formal wear?”
Well prayed actually.
”Heh, they’ll be just grateful they’re gettin’ me,” his charge confidentially proclaimed. “See ya later!”
“Yes I’m sure,” he murmured as the brunette beauty hurried out before shouting. “And remember your curfew.”
An hour later, he rose to stretch his back. “Oh bloody hell!” he cursed as his knee caught the bottom of his stacked volumes, knocking them off. Muttering curses under his breath, he crouched down and began picking the books up. Then he picked an open one up, brow furrowing as he recognised a picture on one of the pages as their attacker of the previous night.
“Lothos,” he whispered, blood draining from his face. “The Hungarian Horror, the Butcher of Bucharest, the Bulgarian Beast, Poland’s Pain, The Unwhispered Terror, here?” The book fell from his hands as he read the details of the vampire’s seven Slayer kills, he had to get to his charge.
* * *
Faith smirked as she strutted into the dance, knowing every eye was on her, her arm wrapped around her denim wearing companion. “I’ve got a gin bottle in my jacket,” Pike muttered, “wanna distract the stiff guarding the punch while I spike it?”
Faith glanced around the gaily lit gym room with its glitter-balls dangling from the ceiling, the banners hanging from all four walls, and the band at the far end playing with aplomb if not skill, their sounds blasting out of the black speakers in every corner, while the punch in question stood on a table just in front of the bleachers, surrounded by the traditional party snacks. Couples danced around the gym floor, the floor patrolled by eagle-eyed oldies. “This party needs something to get it started,” she agreed, her eyes suddenly snapping back to the commotion at the entrance. “What the fuck?”
* * *
Lothos smirked as he snapped a chatting teen’s neck, throwing the girl’s corpse to the ground, the screams starting as he and his minions entered the makeshift dance hall. “Guard the entrances,” he growled. “No one leaves.” He beamed as his eyes alighted on the Slayer. “We end this dance tonight.”
* * *
Faith’s eyes snapped towards Pike, her hand blurring into her jacket to pull out her spare stake and pass it off to her companion, grabbing the gin bottle off him as she did so. “Get them out of that entrance,” she nodded to one of the two side doors, “but hurry.”
”What about you-.”
”Just do it,” Faith snapped before starting towards the vampires, pushing through the panicked, screaming mob, the band having long since stopped playing. A vampire lunged out of the seething melee, Faith side-stepped it and continued on her way, ducking under a kick to the head before grabbing her assailant’s ankle and pulling the female vamp’s leg from under her, staking her as she landed.
* * *
Pike scowled as he rushed away from Faith, hating to leave her yet recognising she was far more capable of handling these things than he was. Speaking of which, he slammed a stake into the back of a vampire feeding off a girl he recognised as a cheerleader.
So no loss there then.
Charging past the exploding dust, he held the door open. “Come on!” he yelled, beckoning towards the screaming mob, “get out of here!”
Even as the pupils, teachers, and chaperones swarmed past him, he watched to see how Faith was doing, heart thumping furiously. And then he was grabbed around the shoulder and flung from the building, landing on his side on the unforgiving tarmac outside. “Faith!” he screamed vainly as the doors slammed shut, leaving his girl-friend alone with the remaining vampires.
* * *
Another demon came at her, Faith ducking under his wild haymaker and staking him, even as her free hand caught another demon under the chin, lifting her from her feet and dumping her on the ground. The downed female demon attempted a leg sweep that Faith jumped over en-route to landing beside the demon in a crouch and smashing her stake home.
”And then there was just us.”
Faith gasped as a clubbing right crashed into her forehead, knocking her onto her pretty ass. A chill ran through her as she saw a smirking Lothos stood over her. Before she had chance to react the demon had her by her throat and was flinging her through the air, Faith gasped as she crashed into the refreshments table, the force of the impact sending her and the table to the ground, food falling all over her.
Faith’s heart thundered as she struggled to her feet, all too conscious of the demon’s formidable power, it came off him in waves. And even if he defeated her, there was the seven or eight remaining demons still lining the gym’s walls.
In short, she was royally screwed.
* * *
“Pike!” Pike blinked as a car slammed to a halt beside him and Giles peered out of the door. “Where’s Faith?”
“She’s in there.” He pointed towards the ablaze gym.
”I trusted you with her!” The Watcher snarled. Before Pike had a chance to defend himself, the Watcher set off towards the burning building, steam flying up from the car’s tires.
* * *
“Little Slayer,” Faith looked towards the taunting vampire. “Thinks because she has a little power, she can stand against me.” Faith ducked a contemptuous backhand, her stake coming up at the vampire’s heart.
”Shit!” Faith gasped as the demon grabbed her wrist just inches from his chest, pain shooting through her forearm. “Ahhh!” She screamed as he twisted her arm, stake falling from her grasp, and rattling uselessly as it hit the floor. She swung her leg up in a kick to the demon’s side only to catch another teeth-rattling back-hand for her trouble.
And then she was flying through the air, crashing into the wooden bleachers at the other side of the hall. “Hell!” Faith wheezed, back arching in pain from the collision and lungs wheezing for breath.
”Oh little Slayer.” Before she had chance to blink Lothos was by her side. “So hurt, so weaponless.”
Faith forced a grin. “Wouldn’t go that far.”
”Aaaah!” Lothos reared back when she threw the gin she’d taken off Pike in his eyes. “You.”
”Bitch?” Faith interrupted as she pulled out her gold lighter, G wouldn’t let her smoke any more, but she kept it as a memento, lit it and threw it in the blinded vampire’s face.
”Aaaah!” the blinded vampire lunged at her, but Faith rolled out of the way, leaving Lothos to crash into the bleachers and burst into dust even as he ignited the seats. The bleachers erupted into flames, conflagration engulfing the wooden seats and quickly spreading to the other vampires. Faith turned and charged to the nearest double doors.
“Jesus!” Faith yelped as she grabbed hold of the door’s steel handle only to jerk away, the heat radiating from it threatening to burn her. Her eyes narrowed as she heard something above the flames, the roaring of something strangely familiar yet muted by the building. “Oh fuck!” Faith yelped as she leapt sideways, the door exploding inwards as she did so, her eyes widening in disbelief as Giles drove in. “G! How did you-.”
“We don’t have time for this!” Giles flung the door open. “Get in!”
In seconds she was diving head-first into the car, Giles not giving her time to close her door or even pull her legs in before reversing. “School’s out!” Faith laughed as the car screeched out of the burning gym. “And I don’t think I’ll be allowed back next year!”
“Oh there’s other schools,” Giles grimly replied. “And you’ll be going to one, somewhere.”
”Don’t I get any reward for kicking Lothos’ ass?” Faith groaned.
Giles laughed. “So young and so naive.”