Chapter 18 – Faithfully Yours
: Some of these scenes are from the BtVS Episode Enemies. I’ve reworked them and added to them so they fit in with my story, but some of the dialogue is from the episode. Also, thanks to my beta, Kayla Shay.Chapter 18 – Faithfully Yours
Wednesday, March 10, 1999, Evening
Faith heads toward the Sunnydale Cinema. She spots Angel and Buffy across the street locked in an embrace and kissing lingeringly. As she stands there watching them, she can’t help the feeling of jealousy that rises in her. To distract herself from the disturbing feeling and to break up the makeout session that doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, Faith calls out with a smirk, “Check out the lust bunnies.”
Buffy and Angel stop kissing but don’t move apart. Buffy slowly turns to face Faith asking, “Patrol?” Faith can see the obvious tenderness between the couple. Afraid of revealing her emotions, she simply nods her assent to Buffy’s question.
“Council has you back on active duty?” Angel asks.
“Finally,” Faith replies, having gotten herself back under control. “They want us down by Mercer,” she informs Buffy.
“Okay.” Buffy turns back to Angel, whispering “Goodnight.”
“I'll see you soon,” Angel answers as she moves out of his arms.
Faith links her arm through Buffy’s and as they head off, she tells Angel, “Don't worry, big guy. Just keeping her warm for you.”
The two slayers walk the four blocks to the cemetery on Mercer Street silently, each lost in her own thoughts. Finally, Faith says, “Gotta tell you, B. The willpower thing, nice job.”
“Thanks.” After a moment, realizing what Faith just said, she says, “What?”
With a look of contemplation on her face, Faith adds, “But, the close but no cigar thing with Angel. I don't know if I could handle, you know, the way you're not handling it.”
Not wanting to dwell on the limitations of her relationship with Angel, Buffy (sounding more annoyed than she intends to) says, “Faith, when it comes to Angel, do me a favor- Duck!” Faith immediately ducks down; Buffy punches a demon with a bad complexion, who’s standing where Faith was a moment ago, right in the face. She and Faith slam the demon into the side of a mausoleum.
“Ow! Ooh! What are you, nuts? Going around punching people?” the demon howls.
“People?” Buffy asks as she removes the demon’s hat exposing his pointy ears and two horns protruding from his head.
“So what? I'm a demon. That makes it okay?” the demon asks affronted. Buffy and Faith raise their stakes in response. The demon raises his hands up in a defensive position, saying “Hold it, whoa! Stake me now, and you never find out what I got for ya, huh? Think about it. Demon seeks Slayers, highly unusual?”
“Talk fast,” Faith demands.
“How would you like to get your hands on the Books of Ascension?” the demon asks expectantly.
Buffy says, “Never heard of 'em.”
“Books of Ascension. Very powerful works and I'm not talking about the prose. They deal with some, ah, dark stuff. And the Mayor would hate for somebody to get a hold before he, ah, well you know.” A concerned look crosses Faith’s face as the demon is talking.
“Don't know. Before he what?” Buffy questions.
The demon refuses to answer, instead stating, “Hey, hey, read 'em and weep. That's all I got to say. Tomorrow, I get the books. Meet me here and if the price is right, well I give the books to you.”
“Not really looking to trade with a demon,” Buffy informs him.
“And if this were still a barter economy, that would be a problem. I want cash, Princess, five large for the whole set.”
Faith asks snarkily, “So you can buy, I'm guessing here, some skin care products?”
“Plane ticket,” the not amused demon says with a tight smile. “Out of the Hellmouth before its adios, Slayer Loco. So, five Gs, what do you say?”
Faith raises her stake again, saying, “I think ‘Die Fiend’ sums it up, wouldn't you say?” However, before Faith can stake him, he pushes his way pass the two slayers and manages to flee.
Faith’s about to pursue him, when Buffy stops her saying, “Oh, let him go. I don't think he falls into the ‘deadly threat to humanity’ category.”
“A demon's a demon.”
“I'd like to know about these Books of Ascension. Anything that would pin the Mayor down would be great.”
“Yeah. It'd be great,” Faith mutters distractedly.
Sunnydale General Hospital
Thursday, March 11, 1999, Afternoon
“So, hopefully those books will hold the key to the Mayor’s plans, right?” Xander asks.
“That’s the hope,” Faith replies.
“Good. The sooner we can take him down, the happier I’ll be.”
“Hmm,” she responds noncommittally. “This is nice,” Faith says as she carefully snuggles closer to Xander.
“Yes, it is.”
“I’ve never been able to just lay on a bed with a guy and him not expect anything to happen. You’re different.”
“Well, wanting and expecting are two different things,” he smiles down at her.
Looking up at him, she asks, “So you want?”
“I’m eighteen. Of course, I want. And while my hitting on you right now might be economical…”
“You know since I’m already in the hospital. They could just treat the new injuries right here. But, uh, I’m trying this whole new thing where I don’t get my ass kicked every week. In fact, my goal is to go a full month before having my ass handed back to me,” Xander says, crossing his fingers and looking hopeful. “I know, kind of unrealistic, but hey, a guy can dream,” Xander smiles.
Jack and Daniel enter Xander’s room loaded down with snacks and drinks from the cafeteria. “Okay, we weren’t exactly sure what you two wanted, so we got a little of everything,” Daniel explains as they place the items down on the rolling bed table.
“Actually,” Faith says as she rises from the bed, “I’ve got to get going. Duty calls.”
“Duty?” Jack asks, his interest definitely piqued.
“Somebody’s got to keep the hotties entertained,” Faith smirks as she wiggles her eyebrows suggestively.
“You’re a truly frightening girl. Has anyone ever told you that?” Jack responds.
“Not usually to my face.”
“Be careful,” Xander says quietly.
“I’ve been takin’ care of me, since I could remember. You won’t get rid of me that easily, Boy Toy.”
Faith leans over him, placing a gentle kiss on his forehead and lightly brushes his hair back. They gaze at each other another moment, then Faith nods and leaves the room. She walks down the short hallway to the elevator and gets in. A well-muscled man gets in behind her just before the doors close.
The demon is feverishly packing a suitcase when Faith slams the door open.
The demon spins around and greets her in a frightened voice. “Hey, Slayer! You know, I wasn't expecting company. Give me a minute and I'll have the place tidied up for you.”
Faith gets right down to business, asking, "You got the books?”
The demon states (with a small show of bravado), “Well, that depends. You got my money?” Faith’s response is a backhand punch to his face. “You're tough in negotiations and I respect that. Check 'em out,” he indicates toward the books. “Now, uh, that is quality merchandise. That's worth five grand easy.”
“Books of Ascension,” Faith murmurs as she leafs through the books.
“Mm hmm. Original editions and everything. Uh, great condition. Okay, it's a little worn on one spine, some slight foxing, but otherwise, perfect. Now, the five grand, it's, uh, you know, negotiable,” he says nervously.
“I don't like to haggle,” she says calmly as she pulls a knife, turns and stabs the demon in the stomach. He slides off her knife, falling to the floor. Faith turns to collect the books when the demon’s hand shoots out grabbing her leg and pulling her down. They engage in a down and dirty struggle, rolling around on the floor, but Faith manages to kill him. She pushes him from atop her and sits up, staring at her blood soaked hands.
Faith catches movement by the door from the corner of her eye. She springs to her feet, immediately falling into a battle stance. In the doorway stands the man who entered the elevator behind her in the hospital. Neither one moves, then Faith disgustedly says “You just gonna stand there? You’re the muscle, right? ‘Cause you sure as hell ain’t the brains. So use ‘em already and grab the damn books.”
Sunnydale General Hospital
Friday, March 12, 1999, Early Morning
Buffy, Giles and Wesley enter Xander’s room. Buffy and Giles greet Xander, while Wesley immediately begins the meeting. “I think the most expedient plan would be to find these Books of Ascension themselves. Buffy, you and Faith must find this demon, and soon.”
Xander looks at him a moment, then says, “Hey, Wes. I’m fine, thanks. You know how I hate it when people fuss over me. No, no, enough already, you’re embarrassing me.”
Wesley, looking flustered and embarrassed, stammers, “Yes, yes, of course, so sorry. Um, how are you feeling?”
Xander can’t help but smile. “I’m fine, thanks,” he repeated.
Buffy decides to take some pity on Wesley. “Well, I’ll go back to the scene, see if I can track him.”
Glad to be back on track, Wesley states, “Wait for Faith.”
“That could be hours. That girl makes Godot look punctual. I’ll just go myself.”
“Buffy, this a job for the both of you. This demon could be anywhere. If these books are as important as he says, he has good reason to hide. Finding him is going to be extremely difficult.”
“Found your demon,” Xander says as he hands Buffy a small piece of paper.
Wesley turns back to Xander his mouth agape.
“Fashion tip, Wes: Mouth looks better closed,” Buffy advises him. Wesley immediately snaps his mouth shut.
“Got his address,” Xander continues, pointing to the paper.
“How did you find the demon while in the hospital, Xander?” Giles asks.
“I called information.”
“The demon was listed?!” Giles is about to start ranting about the lack of standards demons possess, when Xander clarifies.
“No, but Willy’s bar is. Let’s just say I applied some pressure.” Buffy looks at him incredulously. “Or more accurately, that I asked politely, and then, uh, okay, I bribed him.”
“Over the phone?”
“Okay, fine, I lured him here with the promise of a bribe, which I followed through with by the way. I’m a man of my word,” he adds haughtily.
“How much?” Buffy asks.
“Twenty-eight bucks. Does the Council reimburse for that kind of stuff?” he asks Giles.
“Did you get a receipt?”
“Are you sure your uncle and Dr. Jackson won’t be visiting until this afternoon?” Giles asks for the third time.
“I’m sure. I told them I’d be in therapy all morning, so there was no sense in them coming until after lunch. Relax, Giles. We’re good.”
“Very well.” He proceeds to lock the door and close the blinds on the window, ensuring privacy. Turning and walking to Xander, Giles explains, “Normally, summoning this particular demon mage involves long hours of chanting complex incantations requiring the most stringent and precise pronunciation and articulation…and a living sacrifice.”
“But we’re not doing that here, right? That’s not why we’re doing it here, right?” Xander asks nervously.
Giles stares at Xander. “No, I see no need for a sacrifice unless you truly annoy me,” Giles smiles.
“Okay, so if we’re not doing the whole chanting and sacrifice thing, how are we summoning this guy? Does he have a phone?”
Giles holds out an octagonal talisman covered in some foreign script in his right hand at chest level. He then places his left hand over his right, completely covering the talisman. He closes his eyes and intones, “I, Rupert Giles, hereby summon the noble and exalted Jabir. I humbly beseech you grace me with your presence.” He opens his eyes and resumes his normal stance.
“That’s it?! How long do we wait?”
Xander hasn’t even finished asking his question when the shadows in the corner of the room move forward and separate into a figure wearing concealing long flowing robes. Only the figure’s eyes, which cast an eerie yellowish glow, can be seen. The figure steps up to Giles.
“Why have you summoned me, Rupert Giles?”
“It is my understanding that another will summon you soon to remove the soul from the vampire known as Angel. I am requesting, humbly, that you agree to do so, but in fact merely APPEAR to remove his soul.”
“You would have me dishonor my pledge.”
“Uh, well…just this once.”
After a protracted pause, the demon mage states, “So it shall be done to restore the balance between us.”
“Thank you. Peace with you.”
“And with you,” he replies as he steps back into the shadows and disappears.
“That’s just creepy,” Xander notes.
Jack and Daniel exit a restaurant; Jack looks around stretching his back as Daniel puts his wallet away.
“Isn’t that Faith?” Jack asks.
Daniel looks up, following Jack’s line of sight. “Yeah.”
“She look nervous to you?”
“Not really, no,” Daniel answers as he watches her head down the street away from them.
Jack shrugs, willing to let it drop for now when he sees a man detach himself from the shadows of an alleyway and head in the same direction as Faith.
“Jack?” Daniel says apparently noticing the man as well.
“Yeah. I don’t like that. We’ll just make sure she’s okay.”
Daniel nods his agreement and they follow the man shadowing Faith. They pursued them to a large mansion on the edge of town. They proceed into a courtyard attached to the mansion. Faith enters while her tail takes up a position outside. Knowing they can’t follow into the courtyard, without being spotted, Jack and Daniel circle around looking for a way in or at least a window that’ll give them a view inside. They find one that’s not covered by a heavy curtain. However, they have to crane their necks uncomfortably just to be able to see the main room Faith is in. Unfortunately, the window isn’t open, so they can’t hear what’s going on.
They watch as Faith talks to a tall, well-built, pale brunette, in an apparently intense conversation. They see Faith suddenly throw something at the man staining his shirt with what appears to be blood.
“What-?” Daniel begins but falls silent when the air surrounding the man begins to fill with swirling bluish lights. Daniel turns away for a moment, to see if Jack’s seeing the same thing. However, Jack isn’t looking at the man anymore. He’s looking in another direction. Daniel turns to look and sees a shadowy figure with glowing eyes. “Goa’uld,” he whispers.