Actions & Consequences (18/19)
Xander winced as he stared through the door’s window to the slumbering body inside. He himself had ended the night with a dislocated right shoulder, three cracked ribs, two broken fingers, and a concussion, but next to Faith he’d got off lucky. Her injuries consisted of two broken fingers, three cracked vertebrae, a cracked sternum, a broken right collar-bone, four broken ribs, a lacerated liver, broken nose and jaw, torn left knee ligaments, and considerable blood loss. It was a miracle she was alive at all, doubly so when you considered Buffy had driven the car to the hospital. If it wasn’t for that fact she was a Slayer she’d probably be walking with a stick for the rest of her life. As it was, Faith was looking at least a week’s hospital stay even with her powers. Whatever she thought of him, he grimaced as Wood’s words repeated themselves in his head, she really loved their kids.
“Daddy, is Mummy,” Hoppy took a rattling breath. “Is Mummy going to die?”
“No, of course not,” he smiled down at his two children. The last two days had been hectic, Faith had been such a mess that Giles, Angel, and him had jointly decided that it was best for both her and the children to keep them separate until she’d healed up some to prevent any upset.
At least that was the theory until Lex and Hoppy had started their obviously highly practiced wailing duet which had led Giles to comment ‘children of a Slayer? Wesley, be a good chap and see if there’s any prophecies about the children of Satan.’. After two days they’d caved in to the children’s demands. And for some reason he’d been volunteered for the duty just when he wanted to avoid all possible contact with the Slayer. “She’s a Slayer.”
“But Vi and Rona were Slayers and they,” Lex’s bottom lip began to tremble, “died.”
Xander’s heart tightened at the thought of the two Slayers who’d died protecting his children. ”They were hurt much worse than your mother.”
“Yeah,” commented his designated driver, “only Wolverine-.”
”Shut up,” Xander turned to his children. “When you go in be quiet and be sure not to touch your mummy.”
“Not even a hug?” now Hoppy’s eyes watered. “But mummy gives wicked hugs.”
“Your mummy’s very sore and you don’t want to hurt her, okay?” the two toddlers nodded. “Good. Now you go in and I’ll watch from the door.”
“Are you not coming with us daddy?” Lex queried.
”I want you to have some time alone with your mummy,” he lied. Right now he couldn’t stand to be in the same room as her.
* * *
Hearing the door creak open, Faith opened a swollen eye, a curse on her battered lips. All these fucking doctors prodding and poking at her, if she didn’t look like shit right now she’d think they were copping feels. Her curse died unspoken when she saw her kids stood in the doorway, nervous expressions on their beautiful faces. Heart pounding hard enough to hurt her aching ribs, she smiled, ignoring the pain in her jaw. “Hi babies, come to see mummy?” Angel and G had said they were okay, but until now, until she’d seen them, she’d not really believed it. Too much had gone wrong in her life for her to easily believe in something going right.
“Are you gonna be five by five mummy?”
Faith was stuck between amusement at hearing Lex use her catchphrase and guilty happiness at the worried looks on her children’s faces. Somebody, not just somebody her babies, actually cared about her. Her mom was wrong, she wasn’t worthless. “This,” she winked, “is nothing for a Slayer. I’ll soon be as pretty as ever. Now why don’t you come and lie next to me, one on each side. There’s nuff room.”
“Daddy said we weren’t to touch you ‘case it hurt you,” Hoppy commented, her voice timid.
“Hurt me? My kids hurt me, you wouldn’t do that would you?” her children shook their head. “Then that’s settled, over here now.”
Beaming smiles splitting their faces in two, her children ran over to her, one climbing on either side of her bed, the pain she felt from their slight frames resting on her pummelled body more than offset by the buzz she got from their closeness. She looked up to see her unsmiling fellow parent stood in the doorway, she’d kinda hoped he’d come to see her over the last couple of days so they could talk about their plans for the children, something to look forward to but nothing. “Hey X,” she greeted. “Wanna grab a seat?”
To her disappointment the man shook his head. “I’m fine here thanks, thought you could do with some alone time with them.”
“K,” Faith nodded. There was something else going on here, but she was lost as to what. She turned her attention back to her children. “Now, have you been being good for your daddy?” they both nodded their heads. She chuckled. “Somehow I doubt that.”
“We have momma,” Hoppy’s bottom lip quivered. “’Cause if we were bad, God might decide we didn’t deserve to have another chance at a mummy and daddy, and take you away.”
“Hey, hey, hey,” gritting her teeth against the pain, she pulled her babies closer. “Remember, none of this is your fault, okay? Now, what ya being doing that’s so good?” She listened with interest as Hoppy told her about Granpa Giles teaching her to spell everybody’s name and how Connor was teaching Lex to fence.
Before she knew it Xander was speaking . “Kids, time to go.”
“Lex,” Xander’s voice turned firm. “Your mummy needs her rest to get better. Besides Aunties Willa and Kennedy are bringing you tomorrow.”
“Okay daddy.” Lex kissed her on the right cheek just as Hoppy did on the other side. “Bye bye.”
“See ya tomorrow kiddos,” Faith beamed at her babies. Xander turned to lead the children out, licking her lips, she spoke. “X, can we talk?”
“I’m sorta of busy, I need-.”
“Please,” she pleaded. She hated to beg, but she had to know what she’d done. What if tomorrow morning he’d disappeared with the kids because he was pissed with her and she never saw them again?
“Fine,” Xander nodded before crouching by the children. “Now you two go and stand with your Uncle Andrew, and be good, okay?”
“Okay daddy,” the duo chorused. “Bye mummy!”
“Bye.” The atmosphere chilled by several degrees as the door closed behind her proudest achievements. For a long second the two of them stared at one another. Finally she spoke. “Pretty harsh bruises X, you get them off Wood?” G had told her about Xander dealing with the double-agent.
Bitterness flickered in Xander’s eyes. “Yeah, your wonderful ex.”
Faith was confused, was Xander jealous of her and Wood? No, that couldn’t be it, he wasn’t interested, unless… “I wasn’t thinking of grabbing the kids and going on the run with Wood or anything like that Xan, I wouldn’t do that to you-.”
The male Scooby’s bitter laugh interrupted her. “Sure you wouldn’t, yet you spent plenty of time telling him what a pitiful excuse for a man I was!”
“Uh,” Faith shook her head. She’d said so no such thing, whenever Wood had bagged on Xander for not talking to her she’d told him about what a great guy the founding Scooby was. “I never said that.”
“That’s not what he said.”
”And you believe him!” Now Faith was leaving confused behind and motoring straight on to pissed. “After all he tried to do!”
“It’s not like you and honesty have a great track record. Besides he knew ‘it was just skin’.”
Faith flinched as Xander flung her words from all those years ago back at her. Oh crap. “Xan, truth is, he asked me about all of you, what I’d done, Why,” she looked down, “why you hated me. Say,” she looked up, “he was awful interested in you, Wes, and G. Think he was trying to scope out a possible father?”
Xander’s look of distrust hadn’t completely disappeared. “Could have,” he shrugged. “Or just been playing the role of concerned boyfriend.” The man turned to go, then turned back to her. “What did you think of me back then?”
Faith took a breath. Time for the truth. “You were just B’s hanger-on,” the man winched slightly. “’Til the night you saved my life and we slept together. I mean first you give enough of a crap about me to risk your life to save me and then for the first time in my life a guy’s treating me like a woman and not a sex-toy. I might have laughed about you to B,” in fact she was pretty sure she hadn’t, “but it touched me. No guy ‘sides Riley who thought he was boning B at the time,” not her proudest moment she admitted, “as ever been so tender with me. I thought maybe we could have something.”
“Then why didn’t you let me help you?”
“Fuck Xan,” Faith shook her head. “I was sinking fast, first I just wanted to scare you away so I didn’t drag you down with me. When you wouldn’t leave I got mad, I was doing it for your own good, I didn’t mean-.”
Suddenly she was crying, memories of the night she’d nearly killed Xander together with the trauma of the past few days over-whelming her. “Hey, hey,” Xander’s arms were around her. “It’s okay, I just wore turtlenecks for a week and told everyone you gave vicious hickeys.” Xander paused. “Which was also true.” She giggled tremulously. “I’m sorry for believing him.”
“Not like you got any reason to believe me,” Faith looked up. “What about Wolfram & Hart, they’re still in the game?”
Xander grinned. “Wanna bet?”
* * *
“I’m sorry,” Buffy grabbed the several hundred pound reception desk, tore it up from the steel bolts pinning it to the ground and flung it across the lobby. “I don’t have an appointment.” a burly and extremely stupid security guard leapt at her, she grabbed his hand, squeezed until fingers broke, and flung him into the near-by wall. “But I’m jumping the queue. Anyone mind?” When no-body spoke, she beamed. “Gee. You people at W&H really are all about the common people.” In an instant her smile was gone. “Willow with me, Kennedy take the Slayers and kill anything vaguely non-human.”
* * *
Georgina Ram strode the boardroom floor, her face a mask of rage. The last few administrations had been singularly unimpressive. But that changed now. Why she was -.
She fell screaming to the floor as the wooden double doors exploded inward. “Nice trick Will,” commented the diminutive blond who walked in through the ruined doorway like she owned the building. “David Copperfield’s got nothing on you.”
“Thanks Buffy,” commented the pretty red-head who followed the blonde into the boardroom.
Buffy? Will? Ram felt the blood drain from her face. The longest-lived Slayer of all time who Death was afraid of? The Wicca who’d almost ended the world and just days ago had caused the empowerment of potentially hundreds of Slayers? Deciding bluster was her best defence, she rose and stepped forward. “Now see here, I’ll have you know that W&H employ a full body of security cam-.”
“Turned ‘em off before we entered,” the witch smiled. “It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of magic.” The Wicca winked. “Magic’s real you know.”
“Security will be -.”
“I think,” she gasped when the blond lifted her up by her collar and dropped her into the nearest seat, “they’ll be occupied with the other four Slayers looking for demons to kill.”
“Maybe we should have introduced a point system as an incentive scheme,” suggested the red-head. “You know, kill a fledgling get a watch, a Master a clock, and a Polgara a microwave.”
Buffy nodded approvingly. “Good thinking. I’ll bring it up at the next council meeting,” the blonde turned to her. “She’s the brains, I’m the muscle.” The legend’s face turned serious, her eyes growing cold enough to chill the room. “Listen up and listen good, Xander, Faith, and their children are off limits.”
Georgina remembered the first thing she’d ever learnt, deny everything. “I’m sure nobody at this law firm-.”
She was interrupted by the Slayer picking her up, flinging her onto the boardroom table and wrapping an impossibly strong hand around her throat. “I’m sorry contestant,” the Slayer said, her voice sing-song, “that’s the wrong answer.” Once again the small woman’s eyes hardened. “How many Slayers we got world-wide Will?”
There was a pause. “Three hundred and thirty-eig-, wait thirty-nine, another one’s just hit puberty and been called.”
“Three hundred and thirty-nine Slayers,” there was nothing soft about Buffy’s smile. “I’ve got my own little army. Your people take this office and move off dimension.”
“That’s not my -.”
“Willow, you got that list of Wolfram & Hart’s clients?”
“Fresh off their computers this morning.”
”I think I’ll start killing the A’s tomorrow,” Ram swallowed. “Soon every demon in this dimension will know that doing business with you is a very bad idea.” Buffy released the grip around her throat. “You’ve got 24 hours to close this place down or I’ll be back.”
* * *
“Angel,” Giles sat down opposite him. “I have a proposal to make. Watching your team work over the last few days has convinced me of the changes in both Wesley and yourself.” He opened his mouth to ask what changes but the Englishman beat him to it. “While in Sunnydale I always had the feeling you were in the fight for the sole reason of impressing Buffy. Here though, you’ve built something, pulled a group together who believe in you. To this end.” The middle-aged man’s voice trailed off.
“Go on.” Angel encouraged.
“I’d like to make Wesley the head of Watcher West, place maybe half a dozen Slayers here for training with yourself and the others. Both Wesley and Fred are more than adequate with the occult and yourself, Gunn, and Wesley are more than capable fighters.”
For a moment Angel stared at the Watcher, dumb-struck by the suggestion, before smiling. “If the others are interested, yes. Two conditions though, I’d like to hire my son and a detective Kate Lockley as Watchers too. You’ve seen how Connor can fight,” he grinned at the pride he heard in his voice, “and Kate is dogged and determined, a good role model for any Slayer.”
“I’m agreeable,” Giles nodded. “I’ll increase the numbers of Slayers to eight in that case.” The Englishman looked puzzled and then distressed as he glanced through the window. “Oh dear, I do believe your son’s lifespan could well be measured in seconds.”
Angel paled as he looked over his shoulder to where his son and the others were. “Oh crap.” And he thought Faith was an unwise choice.
* * *
Hel-,” Connor’s greeting died when he stared into Dawn’s eyes, mesmerised by the beauty he saw there. Holtz had always taught him the way to impress a young lady was to act with reserve. Drawing himself up to his full height, he spoke. “Good day Miss Summer-.”
”21st century Connor.” He was cut off by Dawn pressing the softest lips he’d ever tasted to his.
* * *
“Oh good lord,” Wesley commented.
”Perhaps somebody,” he glanced over his shoulder to see his fellow Englishman hurrying out of the office, “should warn him about Buffy’s psychotic tendencies regarding her sister.”
“Hey, this is the guy who threw us over for Jasmine,” Gunn pointed out. “I’m not warning him.”
“Gunn,” Angel protested.
”And locked you in a box underwater for three months,” Wesley added.
“Ah well,” an Angelus like look appeared on his friend’s face. “It would be a shame to interfere in young love and it’s not like he listens to me.”