S2 Episode 11
Faith: The Series Season2 Ep 11 (22/???)
“That bollocking Slayer!” Spike snarled as he kicked a table over. “That little bitch!”
“Calm down laddie,” Angelus replied. “We’ll get her.” He turned at Drusilla’s entry into the main part of their draughty warehouse. “What do you want?”
“It’s my birthday soon,” Drusilla giggled. “One hundred and seventy-five years since my daddy made the stars bleed for me. Will we have a party with tea, crumpets, and entrails?”
“Oh you bet we will,” Angelus chuckled as his proudest creation began to wildly dance across the floor, scuffling up dust. “And I’ve even got a present for you.”
“Oh goody!” Drusilla dropped onto the floor and began to giggle. “Lots of pain and screams of terror!”
“I think I can guarantee it.” Angelus grinned.
“Oh bloody great,” broke in Spike. “While you two arses are eating jelly, what do you think that bint will be doing, blowing up balloons?”
“Oh I wouldn’t worry about her.” Angelus smirked. “I think my surprise will see to that little lassie.”
“Oh yeah?” his grand-childe looked intrigued. “What surprise is this?”
Angelus grinned. “If I told you that it wouldn’t be a surprise now would it?” His grin widened at Spike’s impotent glare.
* * *
“So you’re looking forward to your birthday?” Xander asked Faith as they made their way out of the school.
He blinked at his girl-friend’s firm declaration. “Uh, would asking why not get me Slayed?”
“Seventeen Xander!” Faith looked at him as if he was an idiot, a fact he confirmed with a confused shrug. “Three years and I’m twenty!”
“You’re worried about getting old?” Xander felt his lips twitch up in a smile.
“Ain’t funny,” Faith sighed. “Slayers don’t live long..”
“Oh right,” suddenly he understood. He wrapped his arms around his girl-friend’s slender shoulders, as always marvelling that such a tiny frame could carry such power. “Nothing’s going to happen to you, I won’t let it. Understand?”
* * *
Xander looked around as he entered the library. After his conversation with Faith last night he was determined to make his girl-friend’s party the best ever. “Hi G-Man.”
“Oh, good morning,” the normally reserved Englishman smiled at him. “Is everything in order for the party?”
“Yeah. You ready to get down, you funky party weasel?”
Giles peered over his glasses at him. “I’d thank you to never to refer to me in that term again.” The Englishman sighed. “I’d almost prefer G-Man.” The Englishman glanced towards the door. “Here she comes. Please, be discreet.”
“You coulda just said, 'shh!' God, are all you Brits such drama queens?” He winked at his girl-friend as she entered. “Faith, I feel a pre-birthday spanking coming on.”
Faith batted her long eyelashes at him. “Oh Xander,” she cooed. “You’re so masterful.” Giles snorted. “Only,” the brunette swayed over to his side. “After you’ve spanked me, I have to spank you.”
He gulped. “I think I’ll pass then.”
* * *
Angelus looked up as Dalton entered carrying a large wooden box. “I have your package.”
Angelus nodded towards the desk. “Just put it on the table... near the other gifts.”
The bespectacled demon nodded before walking to the table and placing it down.
“Is that the last piece mate?”
“Last but one.” Angelus replied to Spike’s question.
The Seer vampire entered and walked over to the table and started to inspect the flower arrangements woven into the chairs. “These flowers... are wrong.” The decoraters looked terrified. “They're all... wrong! I can't abide them!” Letting out an insane scream, the vampiress began to tear at the flowers.
Angelus looked at Spike. In a second the peroxide-blonde was at Dru’s side. “Let's try something different with the flowers then.”
After a few seconds, the former convent girl calmed down a bit and began eyeing the boxes on the table, slowly walking around them. “Can I open one? Can I?“ his childe looked to him.
Angelus shrugged. “Just the one.” Nodding to Spike, they moved to flank the insane demon. “They're for the party.” Dru let out an excited squeal before flipping the latch on one of the boxes and opening it. “Do you like it, baby?”
Drusilla threw her head back and laughed. “It reeks of death.”
Spike smirked at him. “That’d be a yes then.”
Drusilla sank to her knees, clutching the box to her chest. “This will be the best party ever.”
“Why is that luv?” Spike asked.
“Because...” Dru giggled. “It will be the last.”
* * *
Faith started at the computer teacher’s voice behind her. “SHIT!” she spun around to face Jenny. “I didn't see you there.”
Jenny smiled. “Sorry. Rupert wanted me to tell you that there's been a change of plans. He wants to meet us someplace near his house 'cause he had to run home and get a book or something.”
Faith rolled her eyes. “'Cause god knows there aren't enough books in the library.”
“He's... very thorough.”
“Oh I ain’t bagging on him,” Faith linked arms with the bemused tutor. “Shows he cares. Which is kinda cool. You know he cares about you?”
“Oh yeah,” Faith nodded. “He was a total moose when you guys broke up.”
Faith winked. “Wicked horny.”
* * *
Faith squinted when Jenny's Beetle slowed close to the Bronze. “Now G keeps books at the Bronze?”
“No, Rupert gave me an address. I'm just following his directions.”
Faith nodded. “Cool-,” she squinted into the shadows. “Slow down. Something going down.” Just across the road a truck was parked in a loading area with two men loading it. At this time of night? “Either something illegal or something paranormal,” Faith muttered
“Faith, be careful.”
Faith smirked. “What’d be the fun in that?” Still grinning, she climbed out of the car and hurried over. Spotting the bespectacled demon she’d last seen stealing the du Lac Cross, she shook her head. “I bet ya were a klepto before you got turned. A real nerdy klepto. Man,” Faith tilted her head to one side. “Life and unlife didn’t do you any favours did it?”
The truck's engine started. Faith turned and reached for the door handle. The truck door swung open before Faith could reach it. A vampire kicked out at her. Faith grabbed hold of the demon’s cowboy boot and flung him to the ground. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the nerdy vampire dragging something out of the truck.
Faith hurriedly staked the demon by her feet before starting after the geeky vampire.
Suddenly another vampire jumped out of the back of the truck, tackling her from behind. Faith grunted as she hit the ground, the wind driven from her body. “I’m gonna drink your blood.”
Faith couldn’t help but laugh at the vampire’s comment. “Cliché much?” She drove her head back into the demon’s face. The demon yelped in pain. Taking advantage of the slight easing of the vampire’s grip, she powered to her feet and thrust backwards, driving the demon into the back of the truck. Stunned, the demon completely let go of her. Faith spun to stake him only to catch a right to the face. Feeling the coppery taste of blood in her mouth, she growled. “Now I’m pissed.”
The vampire lunged at her. Faith grabbed it around the shoulders and twisted, allowing the creature’s momentum to carry it and her through a near-by window. Hitting the ground beside the vampire, she found herself on a stage and grabbed for a drumstick, driving it into the demon’s chest. “Surprise!”
Faith looked up at Cordy’s shout. She grinned as she realised she was in the Bronze, the entire place bedecked in decorations, a huge banner proclaiming ‘Happy Birthday Faith’, with all her friends there. “You guys did this for me?”
“Yes,” G approached, a look of concern on his face. “W-what happened?”
Faith opened her mouth to explain only for Jenny to come into the Bronze carrying Dalton's box. “Hey, can somebody give me a hand here?”
“Certainly Jenny,” Giles looked towards Jesse. “If you wouldn’t mind?”
“Those creeps left this behind.” Jenny explained as Jesse placed the box on a near-by table.
“What is it?” Faith queried.
G shook his head. “I have no idea. Perhaps opening it would provide some answers?”
Faith nodded. “Sounds like a plan.” She worked the latch on the side of the box, after a few seconds it flipped open. “Ugh, gross.” Faith grimaced at the thickly muscled arm clad in armour inside the box. She turned to ask G since when had demons had an interest in remakes of Robocop when the arm flew up, grabbed her around the throat and began choking her. Faith struggled to escape the arm, but found its grip inexorable.
Then X,G, and Jess were by her side, pulling at the arm. Finally it was loose. The moment it was back in the box, Jonathan slammed it shut. Instantly Faith doubled up, coughing and wheezing for air while Xander held her.
“Good heavens. Faith, are you all right?”
Faith nodded at her mentor’s question. “Man, that thing had major grip.”
“W-what was that?” Willow asked.
“Yeah,” Jesse put in. “Enquiring minds want to know.”
Giles stared at the box for a second. “There is a legend of a demon brought forth to rid the Earth of the plague of humanity... separate the righteous from the wicked... and to burn the righteous down. They call him the Judge.”
Cordelia raised a hand. “Um, still needing backstory here.”
“An army was sent against him. Most of them died but finally they were able to dismember him, but not kill him,” Giles continued. “The pieces were scattered, buried in every corner of the Earth.”
“So all these parts are being brought here,” Jenny put in.
“By Angelus,” Faith reported. “The vamps outside were his men.”
“To do what, reassemble the Judge?” Jonathan queried.
“And bring forth Armageddon,” Giles finished.
“Is anybody else gonna have cake?” Cordelia walked over to the pool table.
“We need to get this out of town,” Giles replied.
“What, the cake?” Cordelia put in. “I’m sure it’s fine.”
Giles shot the head cheerleader an irritated look. “No Miss Chase, the arm.”
“I’ll do it.” Everyone turned to Xander. He shrugged. “G and Jenny can’t go, they have jobs. You can’t leave,” he nodded towards Faith. “No one will notice if I take a couple of weeks out, not even my parents.”
”You’re sure Xander?” Giles asked. Her boyfriend nodded. “Well in that case I’ll ensure you have the funds you require.”
“When ya leavin’?”
Faith grimaced for a second before reluctantly nodding. She’d miss her guy, the first decent boy-friend she’d ever had, like crazy while he was gone. But she’d have to be some kinda stuck-up bitch to put her temporary unhappiness before the safety of the world. “Cool X. Just be safe, k?”
* * *
“You lost it? You... lost my present.” Drusilla began to scream.
Dalton backed away from the insane vampiress. “I know. I'm sorry. The Slayer. She came out of nowhere. I didn't even see her. She...”
Drusilla cut the bespectacled demon off by putting her finger to his lips and staring into his eyes. She took his glasses, dropped them to the floor, and stamped on them. “Make a wish.”
Dalton gulped. “What?”
Drusilla pointed two fingers at the demon’s eyes. “I'm going to blow out the candles.” Drusilla scowled. “You spoilt my party. Now you choose, eenie, meanie.”
Angelus glanced at Spike. After a second his grand-childe stepped up to Drusilla. “You might give him a chance to find your lost treasure. He is a wanker, but he's the only one we've got with half a brain. If he fails, you can eat his eyes out of the sockets for all I care.”
“I'll get it. Please. I swear.” Angelus hid a grin at Dalton’s frightened nod, nobody could intimidate like Drusilla, not even him.
Drusilla thrust both hands at Dalton, making the tiny demon flinch, only for her to pull back at the last second, bend down, and pick up the scholar’s glasses, setting them back on his face. “Okay. Hurry back then.” He laughed when she patted Dalton on his head.
* * *
“This ship takes me to Frisco in case Angelus has men watching the airport,” Xander explained as he carried the box containing the Judge’s arm in it in one arm, his other wrapped around his girl-friend’s shoulders as they made their way up the runway. “Then I catch a plane to Nepal, drop this off at a monastery. Should be gone ten days tops.”
Faith let out a rattling sigh. “I’m gonna -.”
Two vampires suddenly jumped at them from some cargo netting. One pulled Faith
off of Xander and threw her onto her back. The other began to fight with Xander. Ducking a right, Xander flipped his opponent onto his back. The demon got up immediately and swung at him, but he ducked the attack and slammed his right into the vampire’s gut. “Xander! The box!”
Xander looked around and cursed to see the bespectacled vampire rushing away with the box. “Damn it!” Catching a right to the face, he fell to the ground. His snarling opponent leaned over him with fangs bared. He responded with a kick to the knee, knocking the demon back a step.
Hearing a roar, he glanced up to see Faith’s opponent fling her over the dock railing. “Faith!” Leaping to his feet, he vaulted over the railing and into the water after her.
* * *
Giles looked up from his studying, the worry he felt for his charge tightening his heart. “Faith should be back by now.”
“Maybe Faith needed a few minutes to pull herself together. Poor Faith, on her birthday and everything.” Willow sighed. “Young love.”
Cordelia shrugged. “Yeah but what choice did she have? I mean the world vs. losing her boyfriend for a while? You’d have to be pretty shallow to make a show of that.”
Giles opened his mouth to comment on Miss Chase’s less than diplomatic although correct reading on the situation when the library door swung open and a bedraggled Faith and Xander entered. In an instant he was on his feet, the others following suit. “What happened?”
Faith grimaced. “Angelus’ guys ambushed us. They got the box. What’s the skinny on the Judge?”
Giles sighed. “The more I study the Judge, the less I like him. His touch can literally burn the humanity out of you. A true creature of evil can survive the process. No human ever has.”
Xander grinned. “What's the problem? We send Cordy to fight this guy, and we go
“Can this guy be stopped? Without an army?” Willow put in.
Giles shook his head. “Um, 'no weapon forged can kill him.' Not very
encouraging. If we could only stop them from assembling him.”
“What about a magical weapon?” Jesse suggested.
Giles stared at the youth for a second, surprised at his ingenuity. “A good but flawed suggestion I’m afraid,” he replied. “While such a weapon might work, we haven’t got any of the sort here. And they’re not exactly in plentiful supply.”
“We need to find his weak spots, and we need to figure out where they'd be keeping him,” Faith said.
“This could take time,” he replied.
“Better do a round robin. Jesse, you go first,” Xander instructed.
“Good call,” Faith nodded.
Jesse headed for the phone. “Round robin?” Giles asked.
“It's when everybody calls everybody else's mom and tells them they're staying at everyone's house,” Willow explained.
“Thus freeing us up for saving the world.”
“And all-night keggers!” Giles looked at the red-headed witch. “What, only Jesse and Xander get to make dumb jokes?” the young woman pouted.
“It is rather unprecedented,” Giles dryly replied.
* * *
Drusilla looked up at the newly-assembled Judge. He was a huge demon, close to six foot six in height and a build to match with a blue skin and burning eyes. “Goll...”
The Judge stood. He pointed at Drusilla. “You!”
Spike sauntered over to Dru’s side. “What’s up mate?”
“You two stink of humanity,” the Judge sneered. “You share affection.”
“Yeah,” Angelus commented from his position at the back of the chamber. “They make me sick too. But they did help to put you back together, so lose the attitude Metal Mickey.”
“Would you like a party favor?” Drusilla smiled, indicating the suddenly paling guests.
The Judge inspected the guests. His gaze settled on Dalton. “This one is full of feeling. Bring him to me.” Dalton turned to run but Spike grabbed him.
“Bloody hell mate,” Spike scoffed as he easily restrained the bespectacled demon. “What's with the bringing? I thought you could just zap people.”
“My full strength will return in time. Until then... I need contact.” The Judge stepped over to Dalton.
Dalton shook his head. “No. No! NO!”
“Be a man for once Dalts,” Angelus drawled.
The Judge put his hand on Dalton's chest. The screaming vampire soon burst into flames. “Do it again! Do it again!” Drusilla screamed. The Judge smiled.
* * *
Faith stopped pacing the floor. “I have a plan. I’ll go to the all the abandoned factories and warehouses, do recon, see if I can find them. You guys check any places the boxes could be coming into town. Shipping yards, airports, anything. We need to stop them from getting all the boxes in one place.”
Giles nodded. “Good plan.”
“I’m coming with you.”
Faith turned at her boy-friend’s whisper. “No, baby, this is-,” she sighed at the plea in his eyes. “Fine. Then let’s saddle up.”
* * *
Faith and Xander sneaked along the factory’s upper level, the third factory they’d checked out. Only this was different, in this one they’d found vampires. Faith’s heart dropped when she saw the Judge walk into view flanked by Angelus and Spike with Drusilla following. The Judge stopped and looked up, growling. “What? What is it mate?” Spike queried.
Xander gulped. “We gotta get outta here.”
“Good call.” Faith turned to run only to see the way blocked by vampires on both sides. They were brought down and forced to their knees before the Judge and the three Master vampires.
Angelus smirked. “Well, well. Look what we have here. Crashers.”
“I'm sure our invitations just got lost in the mail. The US. Postal service ya know?”
Her comment got her a bruising backhand to the mouth. “You bastard!”
Angelus chuckled at Xander’s exclamation. “Your turn will come boy.” The handsome vampire gripped her chin in his ice-cold hand, forcing her head up. The Irish vampire gently stroked her hair, laughing as she struggled to escape from the two vampires holding her arms behind her back.
Angelus turned at the Judge’s boom. “You want her do you pal? Aye, make it a welcome to the family present.” Angelus glanced towards Xander. “Now pay attention boy, you’ll be next.”
Faith was dragged to her feet by her two captors. She watched as the Judge approached, waiting until he was in range before leaning back and using the leverage of the two demons holding her to swing up to parallel with the ground and kick the Judge in the chest, knocking him backwards to beneath a huge piece of machinery hung by chains. In the confusion Xander broke loose from his captors and grabbed the chain holding the machinery, pulling it down on top of the Judge, knocking him through the floor. Faith lunged through the confusion to grab hold of her boy-friend’s arm. “This way!”
They leapt through the hole, landing next to the stunned demon. Faith flipped open the manhole and jumped down into the sewer beneath, landing on her feet, her boyfriend dropping on his ass beside her. “Graceful X,” she drawled as she dragged him to his feet. “Real smooth.” Above her she could hear the sound of Angelus bellowing at his minions to follow them. “Let’s get out of here.”
* * *
“The bus depot was a total washout. And may I say what a lovely place to spend the night.” Jenny and Giles looked up at Jesse and Cordelia’s entry.
“No vampires transporting boxes?” Giles queried, Amy, Willow, and Jonathan hurried from the back of the library, the trio having earlier checked out the harbour.
Jesse shook his head. “No, but a four-hundred-pound wino offered to wash Cordy’s hair. Didn’t come up with the cash though.” Jesse looked around. “What's up? Where's Xander and Faith?”
“She never checked in,” Jenny said.
“If the bus depot is as empty as the... docks and the airport...”
Jesse gulped. “Do you think this Judge guy's already been assembled?”
“The portents would seem to indicate that,” Giles nodded.
The boy’s eyes widened in alarm. “Then Faith and Xander could be... Okay, we gotta find 'em. Let's go.”
“And do what?” Cordelia queried. “Besides be afraid and die.”
Seeing Jesse’s eyes harden, Giles broke in before the two began to bicker. “Cordelia has a point. If Faith was harmed, then we don't stand to fare much better.”
Jesse glared at him. “Yeah? Well, those of us who were born with feelings are gonna
do something about this.”
In an instant Giles was on his feet. “Listen boy!” he growled. “Unless you want to spend the next few weeks in traction, never ever doubt my loyalty to my -.” Just then Faith and Xander entered the library, soaked to the skin.
“Faith!” exclaimed Cordelia.
“We were just going to rescue you,” Jesse claimed before shooting him a look. “Well, some of us were.”
Giles ignored the barb. “The Judge, is he...”
Faith shook her head. “No assembly required. He's active.”
“Oh, damn it,” Giles whispered as he removed his glasses
“He nearly killed us.” Faith smiled at her boyfriend. “X got us out.”
“Faith, the Judge, we, we must stop him.”
Faith nodded at his comment. “I know.”
“What can you tell us?”
Faith shuddered. “Not much. I, um... I kicked him. It was just like a sudden fever. If he'd got his hands on me...”
“In time, he won't need to,” Jenny commented. “The stronger he gets, he'll be able to reduce us to charcoal with a look.”
“Also,” Xander put in. “Not the prettiest man in town.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Faith shuddered. “Bet he never dated much.”
Giles continued. “I better continue researching, must look for a weak spot. The rest of you should get to your classes.”
“I'll go on the 'Net and search for anything on the Judge,” Jenny volunteered.
“Thank you,” Giles nodded.
* * *
Angelus shook his head at the Judge knelt in a corner facing a bunch of storage racks. Spike moved between him and the demon. “I'm not happy. The bloody Slayer is still alive. They know where we are, they know about the Judge. We should be vacating.”
“Aye,” Angelus agreed. “He’s not up to much is he,” Angelus raised his voice so the demon would hear him.
“I am preparing,” the Judge ponderously replied.
Spike rolled his eyes before turning to face the Judge. “Yeah. It's interesting to me that 'preparing' looks a great bit like sitting on your arse. When do we kill that bint already?”
“My strength grows, and with every life I take it will increase further.”
Angelus stood. “So let's take some. I'm bored.”
* * *
Xander slammed the book shut. “Nothing! This book mentions the Judge, but nothing useful. Big, scary, no weapon forged can stop him, took an army to take him down. Blah, blah, blah. We need some insight, a weak spot.”
“Well, we're not gonna find it here,” Jesse commented.
“What about the Judge? Where do we stand?” Giles asked as he walked in from the inner office.
“On a pile of really boring books that say exactly the same thing,” Xander replied.
“Lemme guess: 'no weapon forged.'”
“Yeah,” Faith commented, “or my personal favourite -'It took an army.'.”
“Yeah, where's an army when you need one?” Willow glanced at him. “What?”
Xander grinned. “Whoa. Whoa! I... I think I'm having a thought. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a thought. Now I'm having a plan. I have a plan.”
“Oh no,” Cordelia commented. “And there’s proof things could always be worse.”
He ignored that. “I think I may have a way to deal with this Judge guy.”
“What do we do?” Jesse queried.
Xander looked at his friends. “I think I may need Faith, Cordelia, and Jesse for this one. And we need wheels.”
“Care to let me in on the plan I'm a part of?” Cordelia demanded.
“Why not?” the cheerleader stood, with hands on her hips.
Xander grinned “Because if I tell you, then you won't do it. Just meet me at Jess's house in half an hour. And wear something trashy...” He stopped and looked at his best friend’s girl-friend. “Trashier.”
“This is Versace!”
* * *
“Right face, hu! Double-time, hu! Left, left, left, left...”
Xander glanced at the marching troops through the mesh fence. “Wait here. When you see that window open get out the ladder, come up, we'll pass you the package, okay?” Jesse nodded. Xander leapt out and hurried towards the army base, Faith, dressed in her tightest leathers and tinniest midriff top, and Cordelia, clad in her smallest mini and a low-cut t-shirt, followed suit. Once he’d used a pair of bolt-cutters to cut through the fence, Xander squeezed through it, and turned to the girls. “The security here really is a joke. I should, uh, report it.”
“Who am I supposed to be again?” Cordelia pressed him.
“You would be a girl,” Xander replied, his voice lecturing as if talking to someone retarded. “Think you can handle it?” He winced when Cordelia stamped on his foot.
They sneaked along the side of the supply building, Xander looked out from behind some crates piled up there. The coast appeared clear, so they continued past a truck. A group of soldiers could be heard quickly marching by. Xander peeked out from behind the truck. He grimaced as he noticed a soldier stood outside the supply building. “Damn it,” he turned to his girl-friend and Cordelia. “This is what I want you to do.”
Cordelia’s eyes widened as he talked. “You have gotta be joking!” she hissed. “I’m not doing that!”
“You mean,” Faith’s bottom lip quivered and her eyes filled with tears. “You don’t,” his girl-friend sniffed, “feel the same way?”
Cordelia glanced from him to Faith in disgust. “Fine, I’ll do it. But no inappropriate touching!”
* * *
“Halt!” Faith stopped at the soldier’s shout. “Identify yourself right the hell now.”
“Hey,” Faith put a note of fear in her voice. “No need for the gun, just me and my girl-friend.”
The soldier’s eyes widened as he stepped closer, looking from her to Cordy and back again. “Your girl-friend?”
“Yeah,” Faith put a breathless note in her voice. Fuck, she was enjoying this, both the look on the soldier’s face and Cordelia squirming beside her. “Guns get her hot-.” She groaned as Xander grabbed the soldier in a stranglehold from behind. Stepping forward she snatched the troop’s assault rifle from him. “Fuck X,” she groused. “I was having fun.”
“Glad one of us was,” Cordelia muttered as she pulled away.
“He’s out,” Xander declared. “Let’s get him inside so I can get the weapons.”
* * *
“You stole a rocket launcher?” Giles stared in disbelief at the crate sat on the middle of his inner office desk.
”No weapon forged by man,” Xander explained.
Giles smiled slowly. “Ingenious.”
“Yeah, now all you have to do is show me how to use it.”
“No.” Both he and Faith looked towards Xander. “This is a complex weapon, I can’t just teach you how to use it in a couple of hours.”
His Slayer’s mouth opened in protest but he beat her to it. “Xander, do you remember how to use it?” The young man nodded. “In that case you’ll be in charge of it. Don’t let us down.”
“But I wanna make things go bang,” Faith whined.
“I’ll let you use your Slayer strength to burst some balloons afterwards,” he promised with a pat on the head for Faith. He jerked his hand away at his Slayer’s growl.
* * *
Faith looked around the deserted factory. “Fuck. Too late.”
Giles looked around. “And we haven't a clue on where they would go?” Faith shook her head.
“Somewhere crowded! I mean, the Judge needs bodies, right?” Willow suggested. The red-head’s eyes widened. “The Bronze?”
“It's closed tonight,” Xander put in.
“There's not a lot of choices in Sunnydale. It's not like people are gonna line up to get massacred.” Cordelia commented.
Jesse raised a hand. “Uh, guys? If I were gonna line up, I know where I'd go.”
* * *
Angelus smirked as he looked around the mall, noting with relish the long line of people at the refreshment stand in the middle of the mall and the milling crowds of customers moving from shop to shop. Angelus glanced at the Judge, his childe, grand-childe, and their minions. “You ready?” At the others’ nods, Angelus shoved the doors open and walked into the mall proper. A man coming up the stairs was grabbed by the Judge, an arc of energy emanating from the blue-skinned demon to the man. The man’s eyes widened even as he exploded into smoke, leaving behind a stench of brimstone. Angelus glanced at his minions. “Lock the exits, boys.” He turned to the Judge even as the minions hurried to do his bidding. “It's all yours, Big Blue.” The Judge smiled.
* * *
Faith scowled as the elevator open, the panicked screams reaching her just before she saw the carnage. “X,” she winked at her boyfriend. “With me. G, Jess, and Cor, the rest of you in a group together. Stick together and damage control only. Me and X will handle the smurf.”
“You mean I will,” Xander smugly corrected.
“Shut up lover.” Faith’s amusement died as she watched the Judge took a couple of steps down the stairwell opposite. “Let’s get down and stop him.”
The Judge reached out, his energy arcs enveloping the ten or so people on the steps. Suddenly a crossbow bolt his the Judge in the chest, breaking his concentration. The arcs of energy disappear, and the people rushed away. The Judge grabbed at the bolt and pulled it from his chest. “Who dares?” he boomed.
“That would be me.” Xander stood from behind the refreshment counter, the rocket launcher on his shoulder.
“You're a fool.” The Judge replied. “No weapon forged can stop me.”
Xander grinned. “That was then. This is now.”
Faith saw the three master vampires exchange looks and begin to run. The Judge just glared at them. “What's that do?”
“Why don’t you find out?” Xander pulled the trigger. The rocket flew into the Judge just as the three vampires leapt off the stairway. The Judge disappeared in an explosion of flame and smoke. The mall’s customers began to scream and run. Bits
of charred Judge fall all around them.
Faith winked at X, bumping him with her hip. “Wicked cool babe,” Faith scowled as she noticed something. “Be right back hon.”
* * *
“You little bitch!” Angelus snarled as he charged her. “You ruined everything!”
Faith grinned through the sprinkling water and at the advancing vampire. “That’s what I’m here for lover!”
The growling demon threw a left hook at her head that she blocked on her shoulder before throwing a right that smashed into her rival’s chin, knocking him back a step. Anxious to press her advantage, Faith darted forward only to catch a foot in her chest.
The impact of the blow lifted her off her feet and sent her crashing into the hot dog stand, knocking both her and her trolley to the ground. Dazed, she could only watch as the Irish vampire swaggered over to her. “Not so cocky now are ya lass?”
“Neither are you!” The demon’s eyes crossed and he croaked when she slammed the point of her boot into his groin. Angelus dropped on his back. A vicious grin parting her lips, Faith snapped a leg off the hot dog stand before leaping to her feet. “You know,” she drawled as she strode over to the groaning vampire, “you ain’t all tha-, shit!”
Faith cursed as another vampire slammed into her side, knocking her to the floor, she rolled with her fall, allowing the momentum to carry her back to her feet. She met her on-rushing attacker with a roundhouse kick to the face that sent him crashing into the wall behind her. Before the demon had time to react, she spun to face her and slammed her stake home. “Easy as.” She turned to deal with Angelus only to see him disappearing out of the mall at the far end. “Aw fuck!”
“He get away?”
Faith spun around to face Xander. “Yeah,” she nodded, relieved to see her honey and the others were okay.
”You’ll get him,” Xander reassured her. Faith smiled wanly. But how many would die before that?