A/N: I have to credit my inspiration for this story from the fic Heroes and Villains by DreamSmith over on tthfanfic dot org. If you're not familiar with the author I recommend checking his work because he has done some fantastic Fuffy work along with other things. Heroes and Villains in particular is fun to read. This story will be based mostly in the Buffyverse and is a Buffy/Faith pairing. Story starts in Buffy season 1.
"Buffy, I've spoken to the Council and they have informed me that your Shield will be arriving soon," said Giles with an air of restrained excitement. Buffy just looked up at him where she was sitting in the library, confusion written all over her face.
"My shield? Do Slayers get a special shield? Because I've gotta tell you Giles lugging something like that around on patrol isn't going to help in staying incognito and I don't see how it would do much good in slaying vampires anyway," she said, Buffy's mind already half home thinking about how she was going to finish unpacking and setting up her room.
"Lugging around-? Good lord Buffy, are you telling you don't know about a Slayer's Shield?" asked Giles incredulously looking for all the world as if Buffy had just told him she had no idea who George Washington was.
Buffy shrugged, not really seeing what the big deal was. "What's the big deal? I don't need it to do the Slaying gig, obviously" said Buffy feeling somewhat resentful. When first arrived at Sunnydale a few days ago she had been praying she could leave the world of Slaying and monsters behind back in Los Angeles. Now it turned out she'd ended up moving to the number one demon/vampire hotspot on the planet. Buffy was so not amused.
Giles for his part looked falbbergasted, as if he's mind couldn't fully comprehend what his new charge was telling him. "But you had a Watcher before," he said almost to himself, "Have you not read any of the histories? Or the Watcher diaries? Surely you must have at least looked them over?" he said almost pleadingly.
"Nope. We never did any reading together, we didn't know each other for that long," replied Buffy, her mood turning a downward turn as she remembered the man who was her Watcher for a short time before he was killed back in Los Angeles.
"But... but it's in the Slayer handbook. Surely you must have read the Slayer handbook. It has an entire chapter on the Slayer's Shield and it should have given you at least a basic understanding," he asked, looking to Buffy for some sort of confirmation.
Buffy spread her hands as if saying 'oh well', "Slayer handbook? Never even knew there was one," she said cheekily.
Giles took off his glasses and started cleaning them furiously in distress, "Oh dear. Well there have clearly been some significant oversights in your education about your sacred calling. We must take steps to remedy the situation."
Buffy rolled her eyes, exasperated by hearing this same line again. "You know, I'm not at all convinced yet about this sacred calling nonsense. I have the X-Gene you know. I'm just another run of the mill freak not some mystical sacred warrior. It's not my fault that vampires and nasties just keep finding me."
Giles replied patiently, already having heard this argument from Buffy the day before. "Buffy while yes you do have the X-Gene and yes being a mutant – and you are a mutant not a freak – is what gives you some of your powers that is not by any means all there is to you. The dark creatures of the night will always seek you out as long as you live and you will be compelled to seek them out and destroy them as well. You've also been having the dreams, have you not?"
She had been having some dreams since her gifts manifested. Of girls throughout history fighting vampires and other creatures. Dreams of violence and death that felt more than just regular dreams. But Buffy knew that was silly, they had to be regular dreams. She wasn't having dreams of some long lost dead girls that had actually existed and she wasn't some magic warrior for good. Buffy was already a mutant, wasn't that enough freakness for one person in one lifetime?
"No, no dreams. No dreams whatsoever. I'm just a regular girl. Or a regular mutant. Anyway I don't buy any of this hocus pocus destiny thing and as soon as I can drop this whole Slaying gig I will. Even if the lot of you Council guys aren't crazy, which by the way I still half think that you are, you've got the wrong girl," Buffy insisted.
Buffy expected Giles to be angry with her or to at least argue but all she got from him was a sympathetic look. Instead he let the topic drop and brought the conversation back to the original topic.
"Be that as it may your Shield will be arriving soon so you must learn about that position so you will know what to expect," Giles said sitting down across from Buffy.
"Wait," Buffy said, sour mood momentarily forgotten and her curiosity piqued, "so this shield thingy isn't a thing? It's a person?"
"Yes, a very important person in the life of a Slayer. When possible all throughout history the Slayer has always had a person act as their Shield. It is essentially their duty to protect the life of the Chosen One at all costs. They are expected to fight side by side with the Slayer and lay down their lives to protect her if need be," said Giles in serious lecture-mode.
Buffy chewed this over, "So... basically you're saying this Shield person is going to be like my bodyguard?" she asked a bit frightened. Images of some ugly no-neck guy in a suit and sunglasses following her around and marking her as even more of a freak sprang into her mind. Her first day of school at Sunnydale was next week and she so did not need that kind of attention.
"No Buffy a Shield is much more profound than that. To be a Slayer is to be alone in fighting the forces of darkness, with no ties to family or the community for the safety of everyone involved and for the sake of the mission. However there is one exception to this isolation and that is the Shield. The Watcher must remain emotionally unattached because any more than strictly professional feelings towards the Slayer could compromise the integrity of the mission. However the sole duty of the Shield is to keep the Slayer safe no matter the cost to him or herself. As such feelings of fondness for the Slayer are not strictly discouraged per say. Historically they have been the Slayer's only true friend and confidant in personal matters," said Giles.
To Buffy the idea was nice in some way. It would be nice not to have to be alone out there fighting, even though she didn't buy the whole 'isolation from the community' and 'you can only have one Council approved' friend angle to it. Buffy knew she sure as hell wasn't going to let the Council tell her who her friends could and couldn't be. She didn't know how she felt about having someone ready to take the metaphorical bullet for her though.
"Ok so this best-friend bodyguard person," said Buffy something else occurring to her, "how are they supposed to protect me if I'm supposed to be the one person chosen to fight the evil of the world and stuff? I mean no offense to these Shield people but regular humans are just going to get in my way and get themselves killed."
"Quite right, a regular human would be completely unsuitable as a Shield. Since ancient times proper Shields have been very difficult to find and not every Slayer had them. A Shield had to be a person with some extraordinary abilities that would allow them to acquit themselves in battle against the forces of darkness. They were called gifted by the gods in ancient times. Nowdays we know that the supernatural abilities the Council sought in potential Shields come from the X-Gene."
"Wait... so all Shields throughout history have been mutants?" asked Buffy. Somehow it made her feel angry at the Council upon hearing that. They had grabbed mutants for probably thousands of years and turned them into weapons against things that went bump in the night. It smacked too closely to some modern atrocities for comfort, like when she had learned in class that Nazi's experimented on mutants to turn them into weapons during World War 2.
"We believe so but of course there's no way to go back and check," continued Giles unaware of Buffy's internal discomfort, "though the issue of finding more Shields for Slayers should no longer be a problem in the future what with the explosion of the mutant population in recent decades," mused Giles.
"Yeah, and if the Mutant Registration Act goes through the Council will be able to pick and choose who to brainwash to turn into a suicidal bodyguard for the Slayer, huh?" said Buffy her tone scathing. She was just a girl who could care less about politics but even she knew about the MRA being debated in congress.
Giles looked stunned by Buffy's acidic statement, "Buffy, it... it wouldn't be like that at all. The Council wouldn't do that," said Giles though one might have detected a lack of absolute certainty in his voice.
Buffy had had enough and she wanted to go home. The more she heard about the Council, the less she liked them even if Giles seemed to be for the most part an OK guy. Still he was trying to hoist all this Chosen One garbage on her shoulders so she wasn't about to go out of the way to be super nice to him. "Anything else you need me know about this Shield person or are we done here?" she said already standing up and grabbing her bags.
Giles also stood up for the sake of politeness, "I – I suppose not, only that they are scheduled to arrive the day after tomorrow. If you could meet me here in the library in the afternoon then we should be able to introduce you and get some details figured out. I'll see you for training tomorrow. And don't forget to patrol tonight and do be careful," said Giles.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Sure thing Giles. I'll let you know in the morning how patrol went," she told him. Yeah right, like she was going to go patrolling that night. She was just going to stay home, unpack and decorate her room just like she wanted it to be. Buffy knew that in a day or two that urge to go out and look for creatures of the night would get too strong to resist and she would go out and patrol then. But that was only because she liked the fighting and to cut lose, something that undoubtedly had to do with her mutation and the X-Gene. It was not because she was this mythic Slayer who was pulled to fight creatures of the night. She was just and average, everyday, ordinary mutant. If she kept telling herself that often enough she might even believe it.
Sitting in the library two days later, Buffy was feeling more than a little nervous as she waited for the mystery man to appear. Giles had for some reason refused to reveal any details about her so called 'Shield' and she didn't know anything about him except that he was going to be her constant shadow for the foreseeable future and that he was a mutant. Having no idea if the guy would be old or young or anything, she had dressed in a cute short skirt that wasn't too revealing but hugged her butt nicely, fashionable boots and a cute white top with a pullover. She almost felt like she was being set up for a blind date, which was totally silly but Buffy couldn't help but feel a bit nervous.
"Do calm down Buffy. They'll be here soon, I promise," said Giles from where he was reading a book and sipping tea.
"Huh?" Buffy asked intelligently.
Her Watcher made a vague gesture toward her leg which Buffy hadn't even noticed she had been bouncing up and down with nervous energy.
"Right. Sorry," she said, smoothing her skirt. This was getting truly ridiculous.
It was another ten minutes before the door to the library opened and a man Buffy was sure had to be her Shield walked in. He looked every bit the Council member dressed in a crisp gray oxford suit. He had short brown hair and a pair of glasses that made him look a great deal more bookish than he would have without them. The guy had a kind of stuffy look about him but on the plus side he was at most in his late twenties and he was sorta kinda cute.
"Ah," said Giles standing up and walking to the man, "Mr. Wyndam-Pryce I presume." Giles extended his hand and they shook very formally.
"Yes and you must be Mr. Giles," said the new man in a stuffy superior voice that made Buffy quickly reasess her thought that he was cute, "and this must be Ms. Summers, the Slayer."
Even though he wasn't giving the best first impression Buffy thought it would be best to be polite. Besides she was interested in talking to him, she had never met another mutant before until today. Buffy walked up to him and offered him her hand, "Pleased to meet you Mr. Pryce. I'm sure the two of us are going to work very well together," she said diplomatically. See? She could be nice. Didn't even tell him her theory that they were all nutters for thinking she was a legendary magical evil fighting fairy.
Giles tried to hide a smile at Buffy's comment while the new guy shook her hand. "That's Mr. Wyndam-Price Ms. Summers. And I'm afraid you misunderstand. I am not to be your Shield I am merely the man who has been training her, her Watcher if you will. Your Shield had to use the lavatory and should be here shortly."
"Hey Wes," came a new voice from the doorway, "blondie here the Slayer? Gotta say I thought she'd be a little taller."
By the doorway to the library stood a girl who must have been about the same age as Buffy. She had collar-bone length dark hair that was about half colored in dark violet. The girl was wearing a revealing tank top and leather pants that were so tight Buffy would have be surprised if she could fit a credit card in one of the pockets. She wore leather cuff bracelets in each wrist and wore a pair of seriously mean looking combat boots. There was something about the girl that screamed bad news, danger and predator all at the same time.
"Ah Faith you're here. Good. Well I believe introductions are in order. Faith this is Buffy Summers, the Slayer. Buffy this is Faith Darkholme. Your Shield," he said with self importance, looking insufferably pleased with himself.
Faith slowly made her way over to Buffy looking to the other girl for all the world like a wolf sizing up a potential threat or a meal or... something else. This was nothing like what Buffy had been expecting. In the first place she had been expecting it to be a guy and someone older than her at that. The dangerous looking girl across from her could have been in high school right along with her.
Buffy put up her shiniest smile, trying to get off on the right foot with this girl who was somehow supposed to protect her from baddies and keep her alive out there in the ugly world of monsters. She walked over ignoring the weird vibes the other girl was giving off and stuck her hand out.
"Hi, pleasure to meet you Faith," said Buffy trying to sound cheerful but having it come out just a little forced.
If anything the girl – Faith – looked amused by this. She took Buffy's hand with an amused little smirk on her face. "Right back at ya cutie," she said, winking at the other girl before letting go of her hand.
Buffy went a little red in the face, choking and stammering as she tried to form an appropiate response. "Umm... yeah, good! Great. Awesome! I'm sure we will work really good together," she said feeling flustered. It wasn't her fault, she'd never had a girl flirt with her before! She didn't know how to react!
Faith got an insufferably cocky grin on her face at seeing Buffy's reaction and Buffy started getting a little annoyed at her new 'Shield'. "Relax blondie, I'm just messing with ya," she said, looking rather smug.
Giles's cleared his throat, gaining everyone's attention. "Faith, I am Ruper Giles, Buffy's Watcher. Since the three of us will be working together closely I hope you will feel comfortable enough to come to me with any problems as you have done with Mr. Wynadam-Pryce," he said holding his hand out.
Faith snorted. "If you think I confide in Wes then he's been fudging his reports. But yeah, I hope we can work real well together," said Faith flashing Giles a flirtatious smile. Buffy's eyes widened at this but Giles seemed unsurprised and completely ignored it.
The purple haired girl seemed a little dissapointed not to get a reaction but something else flashed across her eyes. A little bit of respect maybe.
"Don't worry," she said, looking at Giles but Buffy felt it was directed at her too, "we'll play nice and keep shorty safe G-man" She said with confidence.
"Hey listen Faith," said Buffy getting irritated. "I'm right here. And my name is Buffy, not shorty or blondie or anything else you decide to come up with."
Faith held up her hands in mock surrender, "Wow chill out there B. Don't mean to offend ya, nothing personal. I give everybody nicknames," she said not sounding the least bad about offending anyone.
Despite her desire to get along with the other girl, Faith was really starting to rub her the wrong way. Before she could open her mouth to say anything though Wesley spoke.
"Well, if there is nothing else Faith an I need to see about finding accomodations. I think we can agree to meet back up here on Sunday evening for the ceremony, two days from now? By then I should be able to arrange everything in accordance to tradition and the bylaws of the Council," said Wesley.
"Perhaps if you and Faith find it agreeable, and Buffy too of course, the three of you could come over to my flat tomorrow night for dinner? It would be a lovely chance for the three of us to get further introduced and you can tell us more about the training you have been doing with Faith Mr. Wyndam-Price," said Giles.
This offer made Wesley absolutely beam while it made Faith look decidedly uncomfortable. "That is a most kind and intelligent offer Mr. Giles, we would be delighted to join you for dinner. Until then, Mr. Giles, Ms. Summers, farewell."
When Buffy's eyes flicked from Wesley to Faith she could have sworn she saw the other girl looking at her appreciatevely in the short skirt she decided to wear before the purple haired girl looked away. There was another round handshaking and goodbyes all around and Buffy could swear that she could feel the other girl's eyes on her when she wasn't looking.
Giles and Buffy stood side by side as the two others left, the girl noticing that Faith looked just as good from behind as she did from the front.
"Huh?" she said, snapping her attention back to her Watcher as she had only caught a bit of her own name.
"I asked what you thought of Ms. Darkholme. For sure she is rather unusual but from all accounts very enthusiastic about her duties."
What did Buffy think of her? "She seems a bit like a skank who uses her good looks to get what she wants. I dunno, I guess I'll give her a chance I mean we are going to be working together and all that. And I'm supposed to trust that she'll be there to save my hide so I guess I'll try to get over the whole cocky-annoying-nickname motif she's got going on."
Plus the other girl was the only other mutant she knew. She really wanted to get along with her but that might be really hard with how completely opposite their personalities seemed to be.
And had Faith been checking her out? Because Buffy soooooo did not swing that way. Even if it was kinda nice to be appreciated.
A/N: Next time; Faith and Wesley come over for dinner and Faith pledges to give up her life to protect Buffy. Look forward to it!