FIC: Actions & Consequences (2/?)
Mar ’99 Sunnydale
“Boss, I’ve got a problem.”
Wilkins looked up, his customary smile slipping at the troubled look on his darling daughter’s pale face. She didn’t look well at all. “What’s wrong Faithie?” he asked. “Has something happened with those gosh darn Scoobies?”
“Nah. It’s nothing like that,” the brunette looked down at the floor.
“Come now dear,” he walked around the desk and put an arm around her slender shoulders, oh lordy she was just too thin, so tiny. “Has some boy with a fast mouth insulted you?” He smiled to himself as the beauty’s chocolate eyes rolled back and a slight smirk tugged at her full lips. He knew he overdid the folksy act, but if it brought a smile to his girl’s face it was worth it.
“Nah,” the girl swallowed.
“Come on,” he encouraged, squeezing her shoulders. “You can tell me anything.”
“Oh really,” he beamed. “That’s splendid news!”
Faith looked surprised and then relieved. “Really?”
“Yes, why we’ll have to build a nursery, hire some help for you.” Already his mind was whirling with plans. Just a few weeks ago, he didn’t have a daughter, now he was going to have a grandchild!
“No, I can’t keep it,” Faith whispered.
His head snapped towards the Slayer. “What?”
“I..I come from bad stock. I’ll be a lousy ma, like mine.”
“Faith, that’s utter nonsense,” he hastened to reassure the young girl. “You’ll make a splendid mother.”
“No I won’t,” the Slayer shook her head, her expression defiant. “This is a bad idea.”
“Faith,” he decided on a firmer tone. “I’m afraid I’ll have to put my foot down, I won’t allow you to have an abortion-.”
The brunette looked horrified. “Kill my baby?” she shook her head. “I’d never kill my baby. I want you to organise an adoption for it. A real good family, someone who’s got nothing to do with this shit and who’ll raise my baby proper.”
“Faith,” Wilkins decided to pull his horns in. “If that’s what you want.” At least that would give him time to work on Faith, get her to change her mind. “How far are you gone?”
He nodded. “And the father, does he know? Will he be a problem?” If the young man decided to make trouble, then he’d just have to disappear.
The Slayer smiled slightly, it was a bitter twisted thing that didn’t belong on his daughter’s sweet face. “Doubt it, seeing as we’re trying to kill him and his running buddies.”
“Oh good gracious,” his mouth dropped open. “You’re not telling me-.”
“Last guy I slept with without protection was Xan,” Faith nodded. “Last man I slept with period.”
* * *
Sept ’99, Sunnydale
Dr. Allen stared with wonder at the two new-borns. It was a miracle, a true marvel, those babies should be dead, as should their mother. He glanced down at the comatose teen, it was amazing that she still lived. He remembered the night she was brought in, the surgeons in attendance had been stunned she was still alive and sure she wouldn’t last the night.
Her injuries had rendered her a complete vegetable, a cripple with multiple fractures, a perforated kidney, a collapsed lung, and suffering considerable blood loss. And yet, not only had she survived, she was somehow healing, each day inching her way to consciousness. It was almost enough to make one believe in a higher power.
Except…. “What’s going to happen to you little ones?” he muttered sadly. Their mother in a coma, and even if she awoke, their mother’s adoptive father was dead and their own father nowhere in sight. “I only wish I could answer that.”
“Well I can.”
Dr. Allen turned to see a middle-aged man with slicked back grey hair and a striped suit stood in the doorway. “Who are you?” he glanced at the slumbering girl. He couldn’t be the babies’ father, he had to be three times her age.
“Mr. Jose Luis,” the man stuck out a hand. “Attorney at law.”
He looked with distaste at the man’s hand. A lawyer, he might have guessed. If he said a word about being the children’s father he’d be on the phone to hospital security so fast. “And what is your business here?” he demanded frostily.
The lawyer’s oily smile didn’t slip an inch as he reached into a briefcase and pulled out a sheaf of papers. “We were lawyers of record for Mayor Wilkins,” after the obligatory pause of respect for the revered public servant, the officer of the court continued. “Before his unfortunate demise he organised an adoption for those babies upon their birth.”
After passing the babies over to a nurse Dr. Allen gave the papers a cursory look. They seemed alright but he was hardly a legal-eagle. “The hospital legal department and social services will have to look them over before any hand over can take place.”
The lawyer nodded. “Take all the time you need. Wolfram & Hart can wait.”
* * *
May ’03 Sunnydale
Faith sauntered into the kitchen, her casual display of confidence hiding her nervousness. She’d sort of wanted this to be unobtrusive, just help out and then work out what she was doing, - going back to prison, fighting the good fight, or just running but that geeky asshole Andrew had screwed it up for her. Now every single one of the wannabes was staring at her with a combination of fear, loathing, and respect. She didn’t mind her cellmates looking at her like that, it meant they would leave her the fuck alone. But here, she’d wanted if not friendship, then at least acceptance.
Well thanks to the nerd that was fucked. If she ever decided to kill someone again, he was top of the list. Suddenly she heard the sound of a buzzsaw outside. “What’s that?” she allowed her hand to move towards the kitchen knives in case of trouble.
And got slapped across her knuckles for her effort. “I’ve just cleaned them,” Andrew scolded. She glared at the youth but he continued to speak, blithely unaware how close he was to getting a broken nose. “That’s Xander,” the sci-fi nerd’s eyes took on a dreamy look. “He’s so good with his hands. Great with an ax, amazing with a hammer.”
“Um, uh,” Faith gave the youth a look of thinly veiled amusement. Guess who had a major crush. Her good humour dissipated as she stood, she sure as shit didn’t want to do this but she had to. “That coffee just brewed?” Andrew nodded. “How does Xan take his?”
“Strong black,” the geek started to stand, a look of eagerness on his face. “You think I should take him one?”
“Sit down,” Faith instructed as she poured the steaming coffee. Damn, she hoped he did like it strong, ‘cause this stuff was thicker than oil. “I’ll take it.” Swallowing slightly she walked through the back door and stopped. “Down girl,” she muttered as she licked her lips. Damn, it had been a long time since she got some tail if she thought Xman looked tempting.
But he did look good, all stripped to the waist. He’d bulked up some, showing muscles that didn’t have the definition of a bodybuilder but were more rugged, functional. He hadn’t had those the night she’d boned him, or the night she-, forcing the thought away she stepped forward. “Hey Xman.”
After a second, the man looked up, his face anything but friendly. “Faith.”
Not a good start, she offered the cup. “Brought coffee.”
“Too busy to drink,” the man turned his attention back to whatever he was trying to make.
“Oh, okay,” Faith put the cup down on the windowsill. “Maybe you’ll be thirsty later.”
Shit, she’d got less hostility off a vampire pack than she was getting off Xan. “What you making?”
“Bookends for Giles,” the man didn’t look up.
Fuck, this was like talking to Angel in one of his broods, a comparison that neither of them would probably appreciate. “Xman, I just wanna-.”
“I’m busy here Faith,” Xander looked up. “And we’ve really got nothing to say.”
Defeated by the carpenter’s disdain she turned away, damn it, he was Mr. Second Chance, why wouldn’t he just let her try? What made her so different, so unworthy of another chance. “Five by five.” He probably didn’t care enough about her – not like Red and B.
* * *
Buffy was fuming, she’d been heading inside with the groceries she’d looted from the mall - and the new shoes but they were a necessity, and had seen Xander being so unxanderlike towards Faith. “Girls, take the groceries in through the front door.”
“But it’s quicker throu-.”
Rona’s mouth snapped shut at her glare. “I know it is, but I’ve some stuff to talk through with Xander.” She waited until the others had started towards the front before hurrying round the back of the house. “Alexander Lavelle Harris!” she exclaimed angrily. “That was so out of line!”
Xander looked up. The look in her friend’s eyes was cold enough to make her take a back-step. He’d looked at her like that twice before –when the Master’s disciples had kidnapped Willow and the others because of her, and when they’d found out about Angel’s return. It was moments like these that reminded her how truly dangerous Xander could be. “It’s none of your business Buffy.”
The man made to return to his work but she grabbed his arm and pulled him back upright. “It is so my business,” she corrected angrily. “You’re both living in my house and we’ve got enough problems without you acting like an ass towards her. And she’s come here to help us, she deserves a second chance.”
“Yeah, Buffy you’re real good at forgiving murderers aren’t you?” Xander snapped at her, she flinched. Xander’s face fell. “I’m sorry, that was out of line,” he took a breath. “I’ll be civil to her. But I’m not going to pretend like we’re friends okay?” Without waiting for her reply, the male Scooby returned his attention to the wood he was working on.
“Xander, you’ve got to -.”
Her friend’s face snapped up, his eyes blazing with a fury she’d never seen before, not even on the night Spike had slept with Anya or when the vampire tried to rape her. “You’ve no idea what she took from me so just leave it Buffy, okay?”
* * *
May ’03 LA
Daniel Wolfe drummed his fingers on the desk, his eyes flaring with impatience at the length of time the business meeting was taking. Finally he decided to cut to the chase. “And Ms. Morgan?”
“She’s been returned to the ninth dimension,” the speaker, a short mousy-looking woman in her late twenties.
Wolfe nodded in satisfaction. The ninth dimension was hell’s premier torture zone where the most evil human souls and the most notorious demons congregated to torture those foolish or incompetent enough to incur the wrath of hell’s overlords. Morgan had to pay for her failure to bring Angelus over to their side. “How long is she to be interned there?”
Wolfe shook his head. “That’s far too lenient. Make it a century.” A ripple of horrified conversation ran through the conference room. “People,” at his voice the room fell instantly quiet. Gratified at the fear he generated he continued. “The last administration was far too lenient, and as a result Angel and his motley band of do-gooders gave this law firm the run-around. This stops now. Our first priority is no longer to turn Angel to our side but to wipe him from the face of the earth!”
* * *
May ’03, Sunnydale
Faith took a breath, the smell of disinfectant clinging to the back of her throat and just the sight of the hospital entrance sign causing her blood to chill. This was the place where she’d spent eight months in a coma, where they’d taken her -. Forcing the thought away before she ended up in her inevitable flood of tears, she started towards the hospital doors; her usual grace deserting her replaced a nervous stagger.
She sure as hell didn’t want to be here but she had to be. She deserved to be punished but it was more than that, she had to make sure he was five by five. B was kinda distracted so getting reassurance from her was difficult but Dawn, and herself if she was totally honest, had to make sure he was gonna be okay.
As okay as someone who’d just had his eye gouged by a psycho fuck. Faith stopped, tears blurring her vision, seeing a toilet door she shoved it open and stumbled inside. “Damn it!” her side kick took the tampon machine off the wall even as she lurched inside the nearest cubicle to slump down on the seat, tears rolling down her cheeks. Why did it have to be him? Her, B, Red, hell even G had blood on their hands, but Xman all he ever tried to do was help people. She smiled painfully, she just hoped her babies got their Ma’s looks and the dad’s good heart. Fuck knows where their brains would come from though. Her composure returning, she used the cubicle’s paper towels to wipe her eyes before leaving. She could do this.
* * *
“’Cuse me,” Sister Thomas looked up to see a beautiful brunette in her later teens, early twenties, stood at the reception counter. “This is the ward Xan’s on?” At her puzzled look, the girl smiled in embarrassment. “Sorry, Alexander Harris.”
Oh yes, she’d seen him. Brought in with all those terribly wounded girls last night. Quite the incident even allowing for Sunnydale’s strangeness. “I’m afraid Alexander isn’t up to seeing visitors unless family. Are you family?”
“Uh, no. But I’m here for his little sis,” the girl babbled. “Her big sis won’t let her out to see him, ‘cause of you know..”
Sister Thomas stared at the girl, noting her slightly red eyes and puffy cheeks. Obviously this young man meant a great deal to her, perhaps she was a girl friend or something. After a second she nodded. “Very well . This is strictly against hospital policy mind, Mr. Harris is in room 301.”
The brunette treated her to a dazzling smile. “Thanks ma’am.”
* * *
“Red, Xman, how ya doing?”
Xander stiffened at the Slayer’s nervous voice coming from the doorway. He didn’t roll over to face her. “Fuck off Faith.”
Willow’s face paled. “Xander!”
“It’s five by five Red, don’t sweat it,” the Bostonian sounded hurt, that was good, make her feel some of the pain she’d caused him. “I just came in to say all the girls are missing him. See ya around.”
“Xander!” Willow stood and glanced towards the door. “That was so out of line.”
Xander chuckled bitterly. “You really have joined the sisterhood haven’t you? Taking Faith’s side.”
“It’s not about sides, it’s about doing the right th-, oh I’ll be back in a minute,” Willow hurried out of the room.
* * *
Willow hurried out of the room, her mind awhirl with a dozen conflicting emotions. Xander never behaved like this, she’d think it was his meds or the shock but from what Buffy said he’d already had one go at Faith and even Buffy when she'd tried to go to Faith's defence. Not at all like Xander. “Faith, wait!” the Slayer continued to walk away. “Oh balderdash!” knowing she couldn’t hope to catch up to the Bostonian through normal means, she muttered a quick spell. Instantly Faith slowed down.
The Slayer turned to face her, even at a distance, Willow could see the brunette’s chocolate-brown eyes were glistening with unshed tears. “Damn it,” she growled. “I’m not going to put up with your gloating, just let me go!”
“I’m not going to gloat.” Willow covered the last few yards in a rush. “I’m sorry about what Xander said. He was out of line.”
The brunette looked surprised then nodded. “Thanks Red.”
Encouraged by the other woman’s look of relief she continued. “He’ll come round Faith.”
“Why should he?” Faith replied bitterly. “I fucking tried to kill him remember?”
“So did I.”
“Yeah, but you’re his Willow, he’d forgive you sleeping with Anya and not videoing it.”
Willow giggled. “I doubt he’d forgive that,” she commented before hesitating. “Do you want him back?”
“What, me and Xan?” For the first time since she’d fled from the hospital room, the ghost of a smile played on the raven-haired Slayer’s lips. “Fuck no, Red. You know me, I don’t back-track.”
“Maybe you should.” The sultry Bostonian glanced at her, her eyes filling with surprise. Willow grinned. “Maybe I was against you last time, but in a choice between you and Anya.”
Faith cocked her head back and laughed. “Thanks Red,” Faith grinned. “I needed that.” The brunette’s smirk dissipated like the early morning mist. “No, I just remember how nice he was to me, always seemed to give a shit about me. Back in the day, I thought it was just his angle to get laid,” the brunette shrugged her shoulders. “Now I realised he’s just another endangered species.”
“A nice guy,” Faith looked down at the ground. “I thought there might be a chance I could get that back, have a bud, but that ain’t gonna happen is it?”
”Hey,” Willow squeezed the Slayer’s forearm. “Give it time.”
“Somehow I don’t think the son of a preacher man is gonna give us much,” the east coast native commented darkly.
* * *
May ’03, LA
Wolfe glared helplessly at the piles of folders littering the floor of his office. He’d been working for days now, going over the records of clients Angel had crossed, but nothing – either the victims were not powerful enough or simply too scared to face off against the souled vampire again, As a long-shot he’d turned his attention to the records of those he’d crossed before coming to LA, but again nothing. And now he was on the last file, that of Mayor Richard Wilkins. Suddenly his eyes widened. He had it, leverage.