Faith just smiled. “Just giving you a friendly warning is all. Dawn turns 18 next week. If you're not back in England by the weekend after that, she's coming down here with a tranquilizer gun. She's going to knock you out and then drag you back to England to have her wicked way with you.”
“You came all the way to Africa to tell me that?”
“Not that. No.” Faith sighed before continuing. This was going to be uncomfortable. She wasn't used to sharing her feelings with anyone before Wood, and look what an asshole he'd turned out to be. Still, even he hadn't gone blabbing or trying to blackmail her with the personal shit she'd shared. So she maybe had the courage to do this now. “We fucked.”
Xander just nodded at this statement but his eye didn't waver.
Faith swallowed. “After I went... around the bend. You tried to talk me down. You were the only one who really tried to talk to me as a human. Almost every day, I think to myself, 'what if I had just listened to Xander instead of Angel?'. Everyone else, including Angel, saw me as a killer so I became a killer.” Faith stopped for a second. “I- I didn't realize it at the time. I thought it was you looking for another shot. Ya know? But that's really just who you were. Are. And it took me a long time to see that. I owe you one.”
“I thought you owed Angel one.” Xander stated.
“I did. But it wasn't for his skills as a counselor.” Faith smirked. “Now I just have one last debt to pay.”
“So, dragging me back to England is your way of making it up to me?” Xander smirked back.
“No. Letting you try to get yourself killed in Africa was my way of making it up to you. But time's up. It's time you rejoined the world.”
“And I'm going to be right there by your side, Wet Noodle.” Faith smirked.
Xander bowed his head to think for several seconds about that nickname and where he had heard it. He finally remembered referring to his muscles in that way when trying to talk to Faith that night. “I can't, Faith.” his head still bowed.
“These girls need more training than one watcher, no matter how good, can provide. We've got dorms, watchers, and experienced Slayers ready to train them. Hell, B even talked Giles into chartering a plane for you guys. Nothing fancy, but...” Faith informed him of the plans. “Do it for your girls.”
Xander raised his head and met her eye. “That's the problem with Slayers. They never play fair.” Then gave a wry grin.
“What were you doing in there?” Diana Dormer demanded.
“Wanted a beer. Asshole barkeep wouldn't give me one.” Faith deadpanned.
“You're 15.” DD replied.
“So I've been told. That's why I asked for beer instead of whiskey.”
DD scowled. “Let's try again. What were you doing in a demon bar?”
Faith looked up, slightly surprised that she was playing that card so soon. But if she was willing, Faith was willing to reciprocate. “Killing monsters. Got 6 vamps, 3 Fyarl demons, and about a dozen other assorted things that go bump in the night.” Faith answered.
“And how, pray tell, do you know about those things and that you could now kill them bare-handed?” Diana wondered.
Faith froze. She forgot that she shouldn't know that kind of stuff. “Oh, I've known about them for years.” which if you thought about it one way was true. “I figured I was strong enough to do something about it when I punched through a brick wall today. And I had
a knife. But I lost it in the fight somewhere.” Faith put the icepack back on her bruised and swollen cheek and adjusted the other one to a bruise on her side.
“You're going to be trouble, aren't you?” Diana wondered.
“You have no idea.” Faith grinned as much as she was able under her bruises.
Once Faith found out that it was late May she realized that Kendra must have died during the Alcatha incident. She knew that Buffy had taken off after that but school had been almost over, which Xander had said made things easier as summers tended to be slow. (no pun intended unless Faith was saying it) She knew there was no real rush to get to Sunnydale now. Buffy would make her way back eventually as would Angel and there was nothing she could or should do to hurry those events up. Besides there were people she had saved in the original timeline she needed to save again if she could.
So, she and DD (Double D – a play on her initials and her matronly appearance that Faith had invented the last time around) got to do all the same things as the first time. Getting her legally emancipated. Getting Faith moved into DD's apartment. Shopping for clothes. Faith's tastes had mellowed slightly over the years. She still liked to show off her ass (especially this tiny little thing she had again – had her butt really gotten that big?) but now picked out higher cut pants and lower cut shirts so that not everyone
had to see her ass-crack. Faith was pleased to see that even her more conservative dress scandalized DD.
The real change from the younger to the older Faith was that Faith no longer wore makeup regularly. And never while Slaying. For one thing, it made her look a lot younger, which had been a good thing back then. And for another, it got in the way of Slaying. Mascara running into your eye could be deadly when facing a demon.
Back at the apartment, Faith had whittled some stakes and was now working on her first spear.
“Really, Faith? A spear? We are trying
to be inconspicuous.” Diana reminded.
“Not always we aren't. Besides, they still use spears in Africa. Just think of it as a really long stake.”
“Spears? Who'da thought?” Faith shook her head.
“Not the watchers. That's for sure. A bunch of academics. The few African watchers they have weren't raised in the bush like some of these girls.” Xander mimicked Faith's reaction for a different reason. “Look out there, the ones carrying a metal-tipped spear along with their wooden ones. Those were the ones raised in the bush. They've carried those spears since they could walk; to help defend their tribe from animals and other tribes. And they already knew how to use them. I just gave them wood-tipped ones and let them do their thing. I don't know any way to train with spears, so I just give them dummies to practice on and they make up their own training regimen. But even without any help from me, you can see how much more effective spears are than stakes. So effective that all the girls carry at least one. I mostly gave up trying to teach them to use stakes and just required them to carry one as backup.”
Xander took a breath and pointed to the girl carrying the bow and arrow. “And that's Aziza. Found her in Somalia. Metal tipped arrows but wood shafts. She's the most deadly girl in the group. Doesn't say much though.” He paused. “I want you to understand something, Faith. I'm not bringing my girls to England to be trained by your watchers. I'm bringing my girls to England to train your watchers.”
Giles had offered to pick them up by plane wherever they wanted, but Xander had said he'd pick it up more to the North. He was using the traveling time to teach his girls a few things about England and the rest of the world, including wearing shirts all the time and what the word 'cold' really meant. It also meant that he and Faith could reacquaint and he got to show off the talents of his Slayers.
It didn't escape Faith's notice that Xander carried a spear and an AK-47 with him wherever he went.
One thing Faith didn't do was wait for Kakistos to come to her. It was only a matter of weeks before she was again fully armed and at least mostly trained. She had a good supply of holy water, stakes, spears, and a bow with some wooden arrows. It wasn't her
bow and arrow set, the one Xander had made for her, but Diana had bought it specially for her when she'd asked; and that made it special too. It was the strongest poundage bow on the market, though for her it still felt like a toy. But it was the thought that counted. Or the thought plus the fact that it would be more than enough pull to put arrows through normal vamps. But it wouldn't be enough for Kakistos himself. She remembered how hard it had been to drive a stake into him and wondered if he had secretly been wearing armor under that tunic. For killing him this time she was relying on her spears and a dozen Molotov Cocktails.
Faith supplied her watcher with the info about Kakistos' lair from her memory, which she admitted was pretty foggy and light on the details. She claimed that she'd beaten the info out of a vamp and DD hadn't pressed the issue.
The assault on Kakistos' lair started as planned. Faith and Diana took out the outer guards with their bow and crossbow respectively. (she didn't look it, but DD could be deadly when needed) Then she left DD with the car while she took her spears, two Molotovs, and a special spear she'd made just for the master vampire. Faith breezed through most of the minions. Faith was just too good, too experienced, and young enough to take full advantage of her knowledge. Only that black vampire, Trick, had lasted more than a few seconds against her spears.
Then the plan failed. Because there was DD, right where she was the first time and there was Kakistos with his hand/hoof wrapped around her neck.
“Drop the spears or she dies.” Kakistos ordered.
Faith did as he said. But only because that freed her hands to pull a Molotov Cocktail and light it. “Damn! Someone should have told your daddy that 'Bahah!' means 'No'.” She'd been waiting a long time to use that line. She even added the sheep sound effect.
“Put that down!” he ordered.
Faith threw it against the back exit which quickly went up in flames. She then pulled the second one.
“What do you think you're doing? I'll kill her.” he promised.
“I don't want to do this again.” she admitted. “I was going to retire soon anyway. Shoulda known that the Slayer retirement plan sucked ass. So here's the deal. If she dies. You die.”
“And you're willing to kill her to kill me?” Kakistos flexed his hooves menacingly.
Faith sighed. “It does seem to be her time. Maybe it's fate. But like I said; if she dies, you die.” she looked at the flames spreading out from the back door and up the walls. Pretty soon they'd engulf the door behind her and the point would be moot. “Anyway, you seem eager to die. So I'm going to make this easy for you. Release her. Or I light up the only other exit from this room and we all die.” Faith flicked the lighter and brought the wick close.
“Fine.” Kakistos let go of Diana's throat but not her jacket. “How do I know you'll keep your word?”
“We're the white hats.” Faith stated as she put out her lighter.
Kakistos let go of Diana and moved a step to the side. Faith moved a step the other way to let him pass. He was out the door a few seconds after.
Faith put down her bottle and picked up her special spear and took off after him. Trusting DD to find her own way out.
“Slayer. Should have known you wouldn't keep your word.” Kakistos spat.
“What word? I said if she died, then you'd die. I don't recall promising to let you live.” Faith spat back.
Unlike the rest of the vamps in the warehouse, Kakistos was a real challenge and she didn't have Buffy as backup this time. A full minute into the fight and there was no clear winner yet, but Faith was breathing hard and the warehouse was starting to fill with smoke. She had to end this quickly. Just as she was about to make her next move, Kakistos burst into flames. Faith looked up at the catwalk and there was DD holding her lighter in one hand and the other hand was open; having just dropped the other Molotov Cocktail on Kakistos. Faith went ahead and speared the vampire for good measure then she and her watcher made their way back to the car.
Back at the apartment it was time for the uncomfortable talk.
“Alright. Who are you?” Double D demanded.
Faith sighed and collapsed theatrically onto the couch. “I don't know whatcha talkin about.”
“Do you know how I was able to get you emancipated so quickly?” DD asked. Faith shook her head and DD went on, “I've been following Faith for almost six months now. Watching Faith and gathering evidence to have her placed in my care whether she was activated or not. Slayers often change a bit when they are activated but never this much.”
Well that was new. Faith had never known that.
“Also the speed at which your training has progressed and your foreknowledge of demons and vampires. None of which is damning in and of itself, but together with the other evidence paints a very clear picture.” DD explained. “So, I ask again. Who are you?” and this time she accompanied her demands with a small pistol.
Faith just scowled. “I just saved your ass from Kakistos and you thank me by pulling a gun on me.”
“I'll thank you when you tell me what you've done with Faith Lehane.” Diana said icily.
Faith sighed. This hadn't been in any of her plans. “I am Faith.”
“Let me finish. I just got a little extra with the Slayer package this time. Have a seat, put down the gun, and I'll explain.”
Diana didn't say anything, but she backed onto a kitchen stool and set down her gun. Far enough away that it would be close whether Faith could disarm her without getting shot.
“Like I said, I'm Faith. Ever heard of a vengeance demon? No? Well long story short – Their power comes from the W-I-S-H and the Scoobies pissed the whole lot of them off. But we hadn't heard from them in over a decade so I got careless and said 'I W-I-S-H I could do this Slayer thing over again. And BAM here I am right back in good, old Boston.” she explained. “So, I am Faith. Just with a couple decades of experience thrown in.”
DD took a few moments to absorb this. “I see. And how did you really know about Kakistos?”
Faith swallowed. “A few months from now Kakistos got us. He raped you and tore you in half in front of me. I was not going to give him that chance this time.”
Diana was stoic in the face of the news that she had died a very gruesome death. “So when you said 'It seems to be her time'?”
“It was because he killed you before. In that exact spot too. It was kinda eerie.” Faith admitted softly, not taking her eyes off her shoes.
“I just have one more question for you. Did you say 'decades of experience'?” There hadn't been a Slayer that old in centuries. Diana was almost drooling at the thought of the knowledge she must have.
Faith smiled at that. “Oh yeah. Longest continually alive Slayer ever. B don't count since she died a couple of times.”
“Buffy. Summers. Over in Sunnydale.”
“Oh, yes, well. I suppose you would
know about that. The council will be pleased to know about this.” DD went to get the phone but Faith was up and in front of her before she reached it, surreptitiously taking the gun DD had lost track of at the same time.
“No. No. No. No. No. And No. They are never
hearing about this. They completely
fucked up my life the first go round and they are NOT getting another shot. Is that clear? Cause if it ain't, I'm gone and you will never hear from me again. Got it?” Faith stared down her watcher. She knew how to be damn
intimidating if she did say so herself.
Diana was sufficiently cowed. “Okay. I understand. No reporting this to the council. Agreed?”
Faith allowed herself to relax a bit and shook the watcher's hand. “Sorry. But the council really fucked up big time trying to deal with me. Sent a fucking black-ops team to take me down. Didn't work. After that, they called me the Dark Slayer and it wasn't because of my hair.” she let herself collapse on the couch again.
“I understand.” DD insisted. That she had successfully evaded or even destroyed the council's retrieval team was enough to let her know that she didn't want to get on the bad side of this Slayer. “Is there anything else I should know?”
Faith looked up. “I trusted you last time and you died. So rule number one is 'Don't Die'. Rule number two is 'Don't betray my trust'. If you tell anyone about me, we're done.” Faith decided. “Oh yeah, and no Crucima-whatever. For me or B. I didn't have a watcher when I turned 18 but I heard all about the royal fuckup that was Buffy's test. And if I see that shit-for-brains Travers, he's going to wish he'd never joined the council.” Faith figured she'd given her watcher enough reason not to go to the council now.
Faith remembered one more thing. “Oh, and I should tell you now, when you died I went to Sunnydale on my own. I'll have to go there in a few months to take care of some shit. It'd be nice if I didn't have to hitch this time.”
“I think I can arrange something. When did you want to go?” Diana offered.
“It was about the time that school started, I guess. Didn't exactly enroll.” Faith informed her.
“Well, that's going to change this time.” Diana insisted.
“No buts on this. If you are going to be the longest lived Slayer, then you are going to have to do something with your life. A high-school diploma opens a lot more doors than being a high-school dropout does.” the watcher insisted.
Faith sighed. “I don't remember you being this much trouble the first time.”
Diana Dormer just gave her own wicked smile. “Then we must not have gotten to know each other properly. That is a mistake I hope we can rectify.”
Faith allowed herself only an inward smile as she thought, Me too.