5.The Finn residence, Grandview.
Bringing her old jeep to a halt, Faith switched off the engine and looked up at the house where Colonel and Mrs Finn lived.
“Nice,” she whispered to herself as she wondered idly if Willow and herself could ever afford something so big.
This thought brought a frown to Faith’s face, where Willow and herself might end up living hung in the balance after what she’d found out recently. Back in May, Willow and herself had been on a mission in New York City. The mission had gone fine, they’d eliminated the demon they were after, but they’d been held by the police for several hours afterwards. During this time Faith had been questioned by a detective with the weird name of Munch.
The cop hadn’t got anything on her, he was asking about some break-in at a sports store in a place called Sunnydale. As Faith had no memories of her short stay in Sunnydale, she didn’t even know how she came to be in the town, she could truthfully tell the cop that she knew nothing about any break-in. However it was what the cop had shown her that had really knocked her back on her heels. This Munch guy had shown her a photo taken from some CCTV footage; the picture was grainy and slightly blurred but she could recognise herself and right there with her was Mrs Buffy Finn, of course then she’d been Buffy Summers.
Faith had always believed that the first time she’d met Buffy Summers was in Iraq in 2005. She also believed that the first time she’d met Willow was in Jeffersonville in ’07. But the photo made that a lie. It was obvious from that picture that Buffy and therefore Willow had known Faith back before she’d lost her memory. So, why were they keeping this fact secret? What was their motivation? Did Willow really love her or had she some other agenda, was this something to do with herself being a government science experiment that’d gone wrong? Had Willow been sent to keep watch on her?
In the few weeks since New York, Faith had found out little that was new other than everything seemed to lead back to Sunnydale and something that happened before the year two-thousand. Sighing, Faith shook her head; now was not the time for doubts. There had been several attempts on Mrs Finn’s life; either that or they were botched attempts at kidnap. It also wasn’t out of the realms of possibility that ‘whoever’ was after Willow as well.
For all her recent doubts, Faith believed that Willow loved her; you couldn’t know or live with someone for two years without slipping up. Then there was Mrs Finn, she was a nice lady as well as being her C/O’s wife. Buffy Finn was one of these mysterious ‘Slayer’ women that sometimes worked with the army to take down monsters. Because she was a slayer and married to Colonel Finn, Faith’d been on a few training exercises with her; she was good but, Faith thought, not as good as her. The thing that held Mrs Finn back was she didn’t seem to have the killer instinct that Faith saw in herself and the other slayers she’d met.
Whatever, Faith shrugged as she reached over the back of her seat and grabbed a holdall containing some of her clothes; pushing open the door of her jeep, she climbed out onto the sidewalk. For a moment she just stood there looking up at the house, the thought went through her mind that the walls wouldn’t stop rifle bullets. Checking the position of the M22 pistol on her hip, Faith moved around to the back of the jeep and opened the tailgate before removing another bag. This one was much bigger and heavier than the one holding her clothes, this one contained weapons and spare ammunition. With a bag in either had, she made her way up the garden path to the front door.0=0=0=0
Just as she reached the front door it was pulled open by an overexcited witch.
“Faith sweetie!” Willow cried as she threw herself at Faith and gave her an enthusiastic hug in greeting.
“Hi Will,” Faith smiled as she dropped her bags and returned Willow’s hug; it was times like this that she was completely sure Willow really did love her, the affection that Willow gave her couldn’t be faked.
“Hi Faith,” Buffy called from behind Willow.
“Hi Mrs F,” Faith replied after disentangling herself from Willow.
Faith hadn’t seen Buffy in several months, their paths didn’t cross much anyway other than if they were on the same training exercise or they were attending the same army function. Obviously Mrs Finn hadn’t been on any exercises since she’d become pregnant; she’d also put on a few pregnancy pounds, her boobs were bigger and her face was slightly rounder. Her blonde hair seemed longer than Faith remembered it and her eyes appeared to be inspecting Faith with the same sort of intensity as Faith was inspecting her.
“Okay,” Faith said at last as she stepped into the house and Willow closed the door behind her, “Lets get this show on the road.” Buffy and Willow nodded expectantly, “From now on its first names only, okay?”
“I’m good with that,” Buffy smiled, “I was worried you were gonna start calling me ‘Ma’am’ all the time.”
“Does that mean I can’t call you ‘Sweetie’ any more?” Willow gave Faith a look like a kicked puppy.
“Best not to, Will,” Faith replied quietly.
“Lets go through to the kitchen,” Buffy suggested, “I’ve got herb tea, ordinary tea, coffee, juice there’s even beer if you want.”
Faith glanced at her watch, “Little early for beer, don’t you think?”
“Erm,” Buffy realised it was still early afternoon, “yeah, sorry.”
“You’ll have to excuse her,” Willow explained as she led Faith through to the kitchen, “Buffy never was that bright and being pregnant has just made her worse.”
“Willow!” Buffy glared at her ‘friend’.
The kitchen still showed the signs of the short gun battle that had taken place the night before, Faith had been briefed on this and the attempt on Willow and Buffy the day before that. It was time to get down to business and set a few ground rules. Standing by the breakfast bar, Faith watched as Buffy heaved herself up onto a stool while Willow busied herself making tea and coffee.
“Okay,” Faith took a deep breath, if there were going to be arguments this would be where they’d start, “from this point onwards no one goes outside without checking with me first. No one leaves the house by themselves and Buffy doesn’t leave the building unless I’m with her, roger that so far?”
There were nods of agreement from both Buffy and Willow, Faith breathed a quiet sigh of relief perhaps this was going to be easier than she’d thought.
“Good,” Faith went on to her next point, “anyone here know how to shoot?”
Her question was met by silence and a slightly shocked look from Buffy, while Willow’s expression remained neutral. Taking another deep breath, Faith turned her gaze onto Buffy.
“I take it you don’t like firearms, am I right?” What the hell did she think her husband did, f’christ’s sake, Faith asked herself.
“Yeah, I don’t I’ve had some bad experiences with firearms,” Buffy said by way of explanation.
“Buffy was shot,” Willow added, “she was nearly killed.”
“Okay, I get that,” Faith leaned forward and rested her fists on the table; she looked into the eyes of each woman in turn. “But these assholes that are after Buffy use guns, so, we use guns if and when they try it again, better than being tortured, raped and killed, roger that so far?”
Swallowing hard, Buffy slowly nodded her head, Willow squeaked a quiet, ‘roger’.
“Cool,” Faith smiled as she stood up straight and accepted a mug of coffee off Willow. “Next thing, I’m warning you now; I’ll be hiding a number loaded pistols around the house…”
“But you can’t…” Buffy started to say.
“Isn’t that dangerous?” Willow interrupted her.
“Only if you do something stupid,” Faith glared down at them, “and I know
no one here is going to do anything stupid, don’t I?”
This time both Buffy and Willow nodded their agreement.
“Good,” Faith smiled the type of smile that had turned the bowels of many a wrong-doer to water. “What I’m going to do is this, I’m going to hide some weapons around the house, if any of you find them, do not
touch them and f’christ’s sake don’t
move any of them, got that?”
Once again there were answering nods from around the table.
“So,” Faith smiled, this time with some hope that everyone might just realise how serious this situation was, “are there any weapons in the house?”
“Oh-oh!” Willow put her hand up like an excited schoolgirl, when Willow acted like this it always made Faith smile and love her just a little bit more.
“Yeah?” Faith quelled Willow’s obvious enthusiasm with a look.
“In the closet,” Willow got up and crossed the kitchen to open a closet.
Faith had sort of assumed that the closet would contain cleaning stuff or something. Walking up behind Willow she looked over her shoulder to see that the closet was actually full of swords, axes and crossbows. Typical slayer weapons, at least so she’d been told.
“No,” Faith sighed pityingly, “I meant proper
“B-but,” Buffy’s voice took on a slightly hurt tone, “those are my best weapons!”
“No, I meant firearms,” Faith clarified.
“Oh!” Buffy looked slightly embarrassed, “Riley has a lock box with some guns in his den.”
“Do ya have a key?” Faith wanted to know.
“No,” Buffy shook her head.
“Doesn’t matter,” Faith informed her, “but you can show me the room later, okay?”
“Okay,” Buffy nodded.
“Right, that’s all from me for now,” Faith informed them, “I’m going to check on my gear then walk the grounds and house, any questions, suggestions?” Faith didn’t give anyone any time to speak before saying, “Good!” and turning to leave the room.0=0=0=0
“Is she always that bossy?” Buffy wanted to know when Faith had left the room.
“Hey Buff,” Willow looked at her friend pleadingly, “did you like read that stuff Riley gave you about her?”
“Not really,” admitted Buffy.
“Look,” Willow leaned across the breakfast bar towards Buffy, “Faith’s been in the army, for what, nine years now?” Willow noticed she’d got Buffy’s full attention, “They totally musta made her a Chief Warrant Officer for some reason…like she knows what she’s doing?”
“Spose so,” Buffy admitted grudgingly.
“…and all those medals,” Willow pointed out; she was incredibly proud of Faith and all her medals and the stuff she’d done over the years.
“Hey!” Buffy sounded slightly hurt, “I coulda so
won loads of medals, but there wasn’t anyone handing them out in Sunnydale.”
“Yeah I know,” Willow sympathised with her friend, “what I’m trying to say is; that was your stuff this is Faith’s. She’s dealt with these kinda situations before, cut her some slack, huh?”
“Yeah, okay,” Buffy didn’t sound totally convinced.0=0=0=0
Up in the room she’d be sharing with Willow, Faith looked out of the window at the garden. There were no trees near her window but it would be an easy jump down to the ground. Not that she wanted to be jumping out of any windows with a pregnant Buffy in tow. Satisfied, she pulled her head back into the room, turned and picked up the heavy holdall that she’d brought up from down stairs and placed on the bed. Opening the bag she started to empty it; first out was her trusty AS2 assault shotgun and several ten round magazines and one of the bulky thirty round drum magazines. Next came an M4 and half a dozen spare magazines. Next, there were five 9mm Beretta pistols, each with two magazines. The bottom of the bag was lined with boxes of shells for all the weapons. There wouldn’t be enough, but what she had here would do until she called into Fort Drum and had them send down more ammunition and maybe some grenades.
Buffy had plenty of good quality edged weapons in her closet in the kitchen, plus there were those crossbows, a silent weapon might come in handy. A thought suddenly hit Faith, she’d just taken up the bow herself. Like any other weapon that she touched she seemed to be an expert in its use, but with the bow there seemed to be something special, a connection between her and the weapon. Making a mental note, Faith decided to have her bow sent down with the rest of her extra gear.
Reaching into the bag one last time, Faith pulled another weapon out into the daylight; it was a .38 revolver with a one-and-a-half inch barrel. The .38 was a simple, reliable weapon that did what it promised to do and would put most human targets down, no fuss no muss. Smiling she loaded it and slipped in into the waist band of the cargo pants she was wearing. Next she walked out into the corridor outside and starting to prowl around the upstairs of the house.
At the front of the house was Colonel and Mrs Finn’s bedroom with its en suite bathroom; the bedroom looked out over the street. Directly across the hall was an empty guest room; this had windows looking out on both the road and over the garage. This bedroom didn’t have an en suite bathroom.
Walking towards the rear of the house, Faith passed her own room, a separate bathroom and a couple of doors that lead to closets. There was a door just down from her and Willow’s room, which she opened to find a fully fitted out nursery with a window looking out over the back yard. Closing this door, Faith tried the last door, it was locked, probably Colonel Finn’s ‘den’; she’d need to see in there but it could wait.
Downstairs there was a large family room and dining room, the kitchen and a downstairs bathroom all of which led off the long hallway. Faith had to admit it, it was a nice place and probably expensive, she didn’t know anything about house prices but it looked pricey. Too rich for a Lt Colonel’s pay, so maybe Buffy had money…or the Colonel earned more than a normal Ranger Lt Colonel did.
Next Faith visited the garden; she found it a little overgrown but not enough to afford an attacker much cover. There was a tree with an old swing hanging from it and some over grown flower beds; obviously nothing much had been done to the garden for some time. Frowning she looked at the woods that bordered the rear and one side of the property. The house was situated at the end of a row of similar houses. There was a house to its left but on the right and to the rear there were deep dark woods that would cover the approach of any attacking force. Smiling, Faith wondered what Buffy would say if she told her she was setting up claymore mines to cover the woods; she’d probably give birth right there and then.
Laughing quietly to herself, a worrying thought hit Faith like a bucket of iced water. What if Buffy went into labour while they were under attack? Would Willow know what to do? Okay, Faith told herself, that was something else she’d need to find out. Sensing Willow walk quietly up behind her, Faith turned to greet her with a smile.0=0=0=0
“I was just coming out to tell you that Buffy’s going to start cooking dinner soon so not to start any major projects.”
“Cool,” Faith smiled into Willow’s eyes, “here I wanna show you something,” she pulled the .38 from the waist band of her pants.
“Oh my!” Willow took a step away from Faith in surprise, “That’s a big one!”
“Not really,” Faith shrugged as she unloaded the pistol and held the weapon out to Willow, “here feel the weight.”
“Erm no Faith I don’t think…” Willow began but stopped when Faith started to explain.
“Look, ya gotta get over this ‘gun-fear’ you have,” Faith started reasonably, “while I’m guarding Buffy I won’t be able to watch out for you.”
“But I’m mega witch,” Willow explained, “I can look after myself.”
“Yeah,” Faith placed her hand on her hip and looked at Willow disbelievingly, “y’know Colonel Finn told me how bad you were cut up after killing those guys last night…I know you Willow, I know you hate using magic for that kinda stuff, I just wanna give you another option and hey,” Faith gave Willow a really bright smile, “you might enjoy y’self.”
“What shooting people?” Willow reluctantly took the revolver from Faith’s hand.
“No, dumb-ass,” Faith laughed, “you might get to enjoy target shooting or something, it’s something we could do together.”
“You still want us to do stuff together,” Willow replied uncertainly as she studied the revolver in her hand, “’cause since New York you’ve not been too keen.”
“Hey,” Faith shrugged non-committaly, “I’ve had stuff on my mind…” she decided it was time to change the subject back to learning to shoot, “…come on Willow, let me show ya, you’ll probably never have to use it.”
“Oh okay,” Willow conceded, “as long as we’re both still good with each other.”
“We’re better than good,” Faith said as she stood behind Willow and put her into a correct shooting stance, “we’re five by five!”
Willow shivered a little at the phrase, just lately Faith had been using her old expression a lot more than she used to. 0=0=0=0Faith and Willow’s room later that night.
Looking at herself in the bathroom mirror, Faith brushed her teeth and decided that the evening had gone better than she’d thought it would. After a little initial frostiness, the atmosphere had soon lightened as she’d started telling funny stories about her time in Iraq. Soon she’d had everyone laughing at the misadventures of Doublewide, Mrs B and herself. At one point she’d made Buffy laugh so hard that she’d had a little ‘accident’, which had just made everyone (including Buffy) laugh even harder. Eventually, everyone had gone to bed while Faith had gone to patrol the grounds and lock up the house.
When she walked back into the bedroom she was sharing with Willow, Faith found her lover was preoccupied with casting the bones and what they were telling her. Willow collected up the bones again and rolled them across the bed once more, she frowned at the result.
“What-ya-doin’?” Faith knelt on the bed behind Willow so she was resting her chin on Willow’s shoulder and pressing her breasts into her back.
“I was getting fed up with not knowing what sex Buffy’s baby is gonna be,” Willow collected up the bones again, this time checking each one to see if it was damaged in some way. “So I thought I’d cast the bones and see if I could foretell the future, y’know like see the baby’s birth or something.” Willow tried to ignore the young woman who was at that moment playing with her nipples through her nightdress while nibbling on her ear lobes; Willow shivered with pleasure as Faith worked her lips down to her neck. “But, these bones must be worn out or something.”
“Why?” Faith could tell she wasn’t going to distract Willow enough just yet to make her stop; she’d have to let her get this off her chest before she could get on it.
“Well according to these,” Willow finally put the bones to one side and turned to face Faith, “there isn’t a future.”
“Dumb-ass bones,” Faith kissed Willow on the end of her nose, “they must be broken like you say…lets fix them in the morning, huh?”0=0=0=0