They drive up to a dilapidated warehouse on the outskirts of town, parking in beside a blue Jeep. The other car disbands before them and Faith has to stop herself from laughing as the werewolves hurriedly finish their candy before getting out, attempting to look particularly intimidating.
“Come on,” Boyd says before getting out.
Faith follows them out sedately. Despite her initial reaction of reluctant amusement, she can sense the loyalty between the new pack, their courage. She doesn’t think that their alpha had told them about slayers, otherwise they wouldn’t have taken the candy from her quite so readily- but from what she can see, they’re not stupid. Just young and inexperienced.
And Faith knows better than to discount them because they’re teenagers. Hell, she’d almost ended the world when she was not much older than them.
She senses two more wolves, stronger, older- two
alphas, huh, before she sees them. One is younger, in his early twenties from the looks of it, tall, built like a brick shithouse and with the kind of face that should be raking in millions in Hollywood than playing house with a bunch of teenage werewolves in the backwoods of California. The other alpha stands a ways behind him, with the same kind of coloring- dark hair and pale eyes. Two related alphas in the same pack? Very, very interesting. Almost never seen.
Both of them are staring at her with much more wariness than she usually commands and Faith takes the initiative, used to over a decade of negotiating with nervous werewolves. She steps forward, keeping her neck nice and long but not bowed before them. “Hey,” she nods over at the both of them, “nice digs you’ve got here.”
The younger one with the truly impressive eyebrows and serial killer stare starts looking like he’s about to have a stroke at her words and Faith raises her eyebrows in surprise.
For someone so young, he’s certainly a broody and twitchy one.
“I guess your guys told you I was in town?” Faith decides to barrel ahead through the awkwardness. She’s never been one to mind people’s special brand of crazy and she’s not about to start now. “I’m Faith,” she steps forward and holds out her hand, wrist first as a sign of respect.
The older alpha huffs, shooting a dirty but kind of hilariously pissy look at his younger counterpart before stepping around him to shake her hand. “Peter Hale,” he smiles genially and his smile doesn’t reach his eyes, “and the silent, brooding one beside me is my nephew- Derek.”
The bottom of her stomach falls out and Faith feels like she’s about to start falling and never stand on her own feet again. Years of training keep her steady while her heart skips a beat at Peter’s words. He cocks his head curiously, obviously having heard the irregularity before frowning thoughtfully at her.
Which is when Derek snaps into action, growling low in his throat, fangs sliding out and eyes flashing a bright red. Peter drops his head ever so minutely, a gesture that a normal human wouldn’t have noticed but all the wolves look intensely relieved at it.
Distantly, the part that’s not standing stupidly still and freaking out, registers that there has
to be some kind of history here and Faith is suddenly torn. “I didn’t know that the Hales were wolves,” she blurts out and then immediately regrets it. What is it with this town and screwing with all of her normal reactions?
“We kept off the books,” Derek says with distrust, eyeing her with an ill-disguised sneer.
Great. Not two days in town and she’s already met the last members of her family and one of them is looking pretty certain on his road to hating her. Just her luck.
“Is that the reason for the Council’s visit?” Peter inquires politely, smiling genially.
“No,” Faith shakes her head automatically before stopping, “well- it’s a part of it. None of our registers listed Beacon Hills as being werewolf friendly.”
“And?” Derek growls and wow, rude much? Faith has to fight the urge to step forward and smack him in the forehead. This must be what family is, wanting to smack your nearest and dearest until they get less stupid but still wanting desperately to know them.
,” Faith steps forward, lip curled back, “if you were on the registers you’d know about the Council’s programs for were unity. We do retreats and conferences and the bigger packs know to come.” At this point, she’s not even sure about what she’s saying. Retreats? What? This isn’t her job, this is why Oz heads the were division and deals with the hot-headed alphas all on his calm wolfy own self.
“Yeah? So you can control them?” Derek scoffs easily. “Everyone knows exactly what your Council stands for and pardon me if I don’t want to be kowtowing to a bunch of killer assholes.”
“Hey!” Faith warns him. “Watch who you’re calling names.”
“Oh yeah? Or what are you going to do about it?” Derek sneers and rolls his shoulders back.
Somewhere out there, Buffy is grinning widely. Stubborn idiocy must really be a family trait of hers, Faith wonders despairingly right as Derek begins to growl.
“Derek, come on-“ Peter tries to stop him reasonably, shooting strange looks at her that Faith can’t decipher.
The pack around them are looking nervously between them, like they can’t decide whether they want to get involved between their alpha and a stranger.
Faith sighs before beginning to take her leather jacket off. She folds it in half before dropping it on the ground. The ground rumbles for a second and Faith is already side stepping in a burst of movement and jumping upwards to land on Derek’s back, thighs tightly clamped around his shoulders as she uses his forward momentum to bring him down. He lands a couple good punches before Faith takes the advantage and uses her knee to pin his clawed hands behind his back. Both of them are breathing heavily and she can feel the blood dripping out of her most likely broken nose as she stares at the other wolves.
“I’m not here for trouble,” she says, stupidly aware that she’s probably just brought down their alpha in less than a minute. He’s young though and she can feel the potential beneath his skin, the untapped power rolling below his skin and Faith knows that he’s somehow weaker than he should be.
“I’m sorry,” she leans forward, whispering into Derek’s ear, “this wasn’t what I came here for. You just pissed me off so freaking much,” Faith snorts, “and I’ve never been good at controlling my temper.”
“It’s fine,” Derek grunts out beneath her and Faith rolls off him with the icky, icky knowledge that she’s just had her thighs around a family member’s neck. She extends a hand to him, biting a lip as they both watch each other. Then, Derek shakes his head and his features shift back into a human’s and he grasps her hand, allowing her to pull him to his feet.
The pack rush toward them, all exclaiming widely about what they just saw and what happened and they couldn’t move.
Faith stands behind Derek and watches as the young wolves all rush to touch him, make sure that their alpha is alright. God, she’d forgotten just how tactile all weres are, touchy feely without any weirdness.
“What was that
?” the blonde- Erica after having ascertained Derek’s well being, stalks towards her. “What the hell
It’s Peter that answers them, watching Faith and not Erica as he says- “that, our dear little beta, was a slayer. And you couldn’t move because I’m guessing that our guest here, never meant Derek serious harm. Your wolves didn’t have enough incentive to break out of the instinctual hold of slayer power.”
There’s a silence before-
“Not just a slayer. That was Faith Lehane, President of NCI’s North American Operations and who I’m guessing is the oldest living slayer in the whole organization,” buzzcut kid is emerging out of the house, holding Faith’s ID pictures and old mugshot in his hand. He feels like jittery energy and too much adrenaline, like he’s about to start vibrating and Faith blinks, watching Derek instinctively take a step towards him before stopping, hovering in mid-step like he’s pained just watching the kid move.
“Am I right?” the kid grins widely, a huge, beaming smile of utter pride and happiness and unwillingly, Faith smiles right back at him. Jesus, what is it with the kids in this place if they’ve got even her wanting to coo at them?
“You’re right,” Faith smiles back at him, “I knew that I liked you for a reason, kid.”
“Stiles,” he says to her, with an awe-struck grin, “my name is Stiles.” He steps forward, hands trembling around the papers in his fingers as he goes- “and wow, can I just say, I think what your organization does is just so cool?”
“Stiles get away from her!” Derek barks out, dragging Stiles back by the scruff of his shirt.
“Oh my god,” Stiles bats his hands away, righting himself with a hilariously awkward little jumping shuffle, “what the hell is your damage?”
“She’s a slayer,” Derek says tersely, not looking in Faith’s direction at all, like she’s about to suddenly and hilariously get offended about the fact that he just called her exactly what she is. “They kill things like me, Stiles…And,” he swallows painfully, “she’s stronger than a wolf. Just, just keep where I have a chance of saving you.”
The silence in the air grows ever more awkward, Stiles and Derek staring at each other painfully and the wolves all doing their best to act like they’re not all watching what is essentially a mating dance happen.
“Um,” Faith raises a hand, “’scuse me?”
Both Stiles and Derek turn to look at her, whatever weird thing it was between them breaking.
Derek looks like he’s about to start committing acts of terrible violence at her, or at least try
and Stiles, the poor kid, just looks concussed and confused- like he’s not exactly sure of what just happened but he knows that he didn’t like it.
“We don’t actually make it a point of killing werewolves,” Faith clears her throat, “we just usually run nature retreats with them, which, you know- if you’re a fan of eating really rare steak over a campfire can be a hoot and a half. And we don’t control them either,” she turns to eye Derek nastily before he can bring it up again, “we prefer to work in cooperation. Even with the Called girls, the world can get really tricky and when I say really tricky, I mean that we don’t exactly have the resources to be dealing with every little thing that goes to shit in the supernatural world. That’s why we prefer cooperating with the peaceful supernatural beings, it’s just easier. We run a couple of wolfy camps and retreats and the packs in return keep an eye on any shenanigans that might be going on their territory. It’s actually a pretty good system,” Faith shrugs.
Derek!” Stiles twists out of his reach before bounding over to stop near the vaguely Mexican looking one that Isaac has a crush on. “She’s not a killer, she’s a slayer. There’s a difference.”
“Oh yeah?” Erica huffs and crosses her arms in front of her truly impressive rack. Vaguely, Faith wonders whether that’s a good push up bra working or whether she’s just truly that gifted. “We’re not talking about linguistic differences Stiles here. She’s still something called a slayer, which, after seeing her take down Derek, does not fill me with confidence!”
“You know the word ‘linguistic’?” Stiles stares at her.
Faith snorts out loud, liking the kid more and more, the more she hears from him. Erica gives her a dirty look but Faith’s already realized that her and blondie aren’t going to get along. It’s probably easier to ignore her since she’s twice their age and remembers being sixteen and hiding her fear behind anger and red lipstick.
“You’re Natalie’s kid, aren’t you? The one they took? You’re her… you came back.” Peter interrupts them and Derek freezes, an awful look stealing across his features, pain and loneliness and so much guilt that it’s almost like looking at Angel again.
Peter steps forward, bright blue eyes boring into her with an intensity that should be terrifying but instead looks almost nostalgically homey. This doesn’t bode well for the people that Faith chooses to spend her time with.
“Your smell, that’s why you smelled so familiar-“ Peter says creepily before inhaling deeply, “that’s why I couldn’t figure out why my wolf doesn’t treat you as a threat despite the fact that you’re a slayer. You’re Natalie’s daughter. That’s why.”
Faith stands there, in a town filled with people she doesn’t know. The town where she was apparently born, the town she was taken from- in front of the people that share her blood and the people that share theirs and she stares. Lets herself drink in the moment because the possibility of something good happening after this, let’s face it, with her luck, is slim to nil.
“Faith?” Peter steps forward and this time, there’s no more coldness in his eyes only a burning wonder.
“I…” her voice cracks and she’s thirty two years old, a slayer that’s almost died countless times, a murderer, a godmother to one perfect little girl back in Cleveland and she wants to belong. Desperately, with all of her being and her flaws and her shitty, shitty mistakes- Faith wants to belong.
“I might be,” she says. Notes
: I have a tumblr folks! It's full of shenanigans, sometimes story snippers, random thoughts on characters and sometimes background info. Come and play with me! :)
Also, I've started to archive all of my work at AO3, with the goal of moving everything, updates and all to there. I'm Shulik there too.