Disclaimer. I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any characters associated with that television program. I am merely borrowing them to tell a story.
Author's Notes: Faith wakes up on time during what would be the events of season four in the normal way.The story is completely AU after she wakes up, though I do include mostly all canon events I merely alter the timing of them. Any changes will be explained in the story itself. If you have any comments, suggestions or advice, constructive critisicms please review. This story will most likely be merely a one shot or at most a two shot. Now on with the story.
The Mayor's Videotape:
Faith sat in the apartment that held memories of happier times. Times that she had spent with the boss, a man that had treated her like a daughter and a friend instead of a tool that would be used and discarded when it was no longer needed. Staring around at the broken window, which led to the balcony where she had nearly fallen to her death Faith tried to keep the tears from coming but it was a losing battle as the memories overwhelmed her. Over there the boss had given her the dress that made her feel like a little girl again for the first time in nearly ten years, over there he had promised to take her out for an ice cream cone, something that no one had ever done for her. And then it all ended when that bitch Summers attacked because Faith had poisoned a fucking vampire, but it just wasn’t any vampire, it was the one that Buffy was willing to spread her legs for.
Shaking her head Faith tried to keep herself from feeling the building rage that demanded she hunt Buffy down and make her pay, to make her suffer like she had. “Might as well see if I can salvage anything.” Faith muttered to herself. She made a quick sweep through the kitchen hoping against hope that there would be some food in there that hadn’t gone bad. Luck was with her when she found a few cans of soup that were still good. Sitting down in front of the TV Faith tried to enjoy the simple little meal of chicken noodle soup in peace but the quiet was aggravating her nerves to the point where she couldn’t take the sounds of Sunnydale’s nightlife wafting up through the window.
Getting up to turn on the TV Faith noticed a small tape sitting on top of the VCR labeled ‘Play Me’. Curiosity getting the better of her she popped the tape in and sat back down to see what it was.
“Hello Faith.” The voice of the boss caused her to look up in shock. There on the TV screen was the Mayor sitting on the desk in his office looking very tired and haggard, the dark circles under his eyes spoke of long nights spent awake worrying over something.
“As I’m making this tape you’re lying in a hospital bed in a coma. The doctors say that there it is very unlikely that you’ll ever wake up. I refuse to believe that, I know one day you’ll wake up and you’ll take a look around at the world and you’ll find all the familiar things that you knew gone. If I’m still around when you wake up then this tape will never be seen and the very fact that you are in fact now watching it means that I failed in my ascension.”
“Now before you get all angry and try to take your revenge on Summers I want you to promise me here and now on your soul that you will not take any action against her unless she deliberately provokes you or attacks you.” The Mayor said as he gazed out at her from the TV.
“But Boss!” Faith gasped, not quite believing what she heard. The Mayor didn’t want her to avenge his death?
“I swear it.” Faith mumbled.
“Good, now lets get down to business. I know that when you wake up you’re going to be confused and lonely.” The conviction in his voice when he said ‘when you wake up’ as if there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that she wouldn’t wake up brought a slight smile to her face. “But I have a few plans in place to ensure that you will never be alone or want for anything. Now the first thing you have to do is find this key, it should be in your bedside table tapped to the underside of the drawer.”
Faith was already moving towards the bedside table as the tape continued to play. She knew that she could always rewind the tape and play it again and again to get all the information that she needed if she missed something important. Opening the drawer she felt around inside for the key which she quickly found, it looked like an expensive key to one of those new Mercedes the ones with the laser cut keys. Walking back to the TV she found the boss merely sitting there as if he was waiting for her to get back, though with the amount of magic the Mayor knew he might have put a spell on the tape to alter its responses to her actions. Deciding to test that theory she held up the key and spoke. “Found the key Boss, now what?”
“Ahh good you found it, now that key unlocks a special vault in downtown LA. It’s a special branch of a bank set up for those of us who are long lived, demon or even for humans who have need of vaults with confidentiality agreements that are enforced by magical means. The vault that is waiting for you is registered in your name and keyed to you; no one else will ever be able to enter it or to take anything from the room without your express permission. But enough about the mundane details, all of that will be explained to you when you get there and present them with the key, they know all about the demon underworld so you don’t have to worry about hiding the fact that you’re the slayer from them.” The Mayor was now puttering around his office as if looking for something but was unable to find it.
Faith merely sat there on her couch tightly holding the key as if it were the most precious thing in the world. Which at the moment to her it was.
“Faith before this tape ends I just want you to know that you were like a daughter to me, though you weren’t related to me by blood I always thought of you as my daughter and I just wanted to say that I love you no matter what. Remember that.” The Mayor said with such a tone that it brought tears to Faiths eyes.
“Love ya too boss, love ya too.” Faith cried as the tape ended. For a long time she just sat there on the couch in the dark as she remembered all the happier times with the Mayor. She would do as he asked and not attempt to get revenge on Buffy even though she so wanted to punish the ‘perfect’ slayer who could do no wrong in the eyes of the scoobies who had shunned her when she first arrived. Sleep came quickly to her as she lay on the couch dreaming of a better future where she no longer had to continuously look over her shoulder for demons or the scoobies coming after her.
Early next morning Faith woke up to the sun streaming in thru the broken window. Standing and stretching out her tense muscles that hadn’t had a good workout in months she tried to figure out what to do. “Boss wants me to go to LA and find this vault but how the hell am I supposed to get there?”
Walking into the bathroom to begin her morning rituals Faith mulled over the fact that she didn’t even know where in LA the vault was located and LA was a massive city. It would take years to locate a specific location in the city especially with nothing more to go on than it was a bank that dealt with demons.
“Ugh, I’m such an idiot. I’ll just pummel a few demons till they point me in the right direction.” Faith slapped herself in the forehead for the stupidity of not thinking of this course of action earlier.
“Or you could try asking me for the information.” The Mayor said from the direction of the TV, which had mysteriously turned itself back on. The sound carried into the bathroom where Faith was staring into the mirror. Upon hearing the sound of the mayor’s voice she stuck her head out the door and saw him standing once again in his office but this time there was a slight smirk on his face as he sat on the desk.
“Really Faith, I taught you better than this. If you need help or information you only need to ask and I would do my best to insure you got it.” Mayor Wilkins chided gently.
“Sorry Boss.” Faith replied meekly not finding it all weird that she was apologizing to a magical taped recording of a man who had been dead for months. Hell in Sunnydale this was almost completely normal.
“It’s alright just don’t let it happen again. The bank you’re looking for is called the ‘Vaults of Eternity’ a pretentious name but mostly accurate. It’s in the downtown section of Los Angelus near the offices of Wolfram & Hart, you can find the exact street address merely by looking for it in a phone book.” With that the tape shut itself off with nary a flicker without giving her any more information or leaving her with a clue as to whether the tape contained any more messages from the Mayor.
“But how the hell do I get there?” Faith questioned.
“Don’t swear, it’s not ladylike. And as for transportation there is a suitable vehicle parked in the lot downstairs, keys are on the counter.”
“Well hot da—dang.” Faith said altering what she had originally meant so say knowing that if she swore the tape would probably admonish her again for her language. She shook her head and moved back fully into the bathroom planning on cleaning herself up before heading for Los Angelus to see what the Mayor had left for her. After a quick shower Faith wrapped one of the big fluffy towels around herself and headed for the closet to get some clothes to wear, what she saw infuriated her into almost a murderous rage.
Over half of her clothes, and she had never had that many to begin with, were gone. Those that remained half of those were slashed and had words written on them starting off with ‘slut’, ‘skank’, and ‘whore’ only getting worse as she kept looking through the closet. There was no doubt in her mind as to who had done this. Willow and Buffy must have gone through her belongings after she had been put in the hospital taking whatever it was that they wanted and destroying most of the rest, if it wasn’t for her promise to the boss she would have stormed out of there looking for revenge simply for them stealing her stuff.
Grabbing one of the few remaining outfits that was still intact, a pair of black skin tight jeans and a simple red tank top, Faith got dressed still fuming over what those two had done to her things. Though she did wonder why they had stolen her clothes it’s not like those two flat chested bitches would ever be able to wear any of her shirts without drawing attention to the fact that they were too small to properly fit into them. This thought brought a smirk to her face as she imagined the looks they would have gotten for trying to emulate her and failing.
After giving up on finding anymore of her clothes or jackets Faith moved off to find the keys that the boss said were on the counter. She wanted to get out of town as quickly as possible in case anyone reported that she had woken up from the hospital to the scoobies, cause they knew that the first place she would go would be to her apartment and she wasn’t looking for a confrontation with them just yet. Maybe in a few years she would attempt to see what they were doing, not to start a fight though she would give them one if they started it, but just to see what was going on.
Grabbing the only keys that were in sight off of the counter she bounded out the door but not before grabbing the tape out of the VCR, never know how much more information was stored on the tape waiting for her, also because it was the only remaining memento that she had of the mayor. Outside in the apartment buildings parking lot there was only one car that could have possibly been from the mayor, a compact little four door family sedan that seemed perfectly in line with the mayor’s thinking, sitting in the middle of the lot.
“It’s not a Lamborghini but it’ll do.” Faith exclaimed. She still couldn’t believe that the boss had actually gotten her a car. Even if it was to merely get her out of town and away from the idiot brigade who would no doubt want to either put her back in the hospital or in a shallow grave.
Pulling up to the street access Faith took a deep breath before looking both ways, she didn’t have a lot of experience driving cars but she had had enough to pass the requisite drivers test a few days before the attack by Buffy had put her in the coma so she didn’t have to worry about being pulled over and being found to not have a license. Feeling a gaze on her she turned her head to the left and stared at the familiar figure of Xander Harris standing on the sidewalk staring right back at her. For a moment she was extremely worried over what he would do, would he try to stop her from leaving or would he run to his precious Buffy to tell her that she was awake.
Xander stared at Faith as she sat in the car. ‘What was she doing out of the hospital?’ Thoughts raced through his mind as to how she was awake and what she was doing. ‘She looks terrified, why?’
Before he could stop himself he walked up and knocked gently on the drivers side window.
Faith sat in the car wondering what she should do. She could just drive away and never look back. But she wanted to know why he didn’t run, why did he stay here. She toggled the window control and waited for it to come down far enough that she could talk to him without actually opening it far enough that he could reach in to grab her. Not that he was much of a threat to her at all but in her slightly weakened condition she wasn’t willing to take too many risks. “What do you want?” Faith said coldly.
“Hey Faith, you’re looking pretty good for someone who’s supposed to be in a coma. When did you wake up?” Xander asked.
“Last night, came home to get some stuff before taking off. Now what do you want?” Faith answered curtly not in the mood to make nice. She just wanted to get the hell out of dodge before any of his little friends showed up to stop her.
“Where you going?” Xander replied trying to figure out what she was up to.
“I’m skipping town, its not like I got any reason to stay now that the boss is dead. Thanks to you guys I no longer have a home, oh and say thanks to those two little bitches for stealing what little I have.” Faith replied as she once again looked around thinking that his talking to her was just a stall to let Buffy sneak up on her or something. Seeing no one she turned back to him. “What the fuck do you want boytoy? If you’re not here to stop me then get the hell out of my way.”
Xander stood back a little from the car. “Faith I just want to help you, I’m sure if you come back we can work something out. Giles said that this isn’t the first time that a slayer killed a human and..”
“What the fuck, you mean other slayers have killed people?” Faith exploded with rage. Xander nodded numbly in response. “Then why the hell didn’t he tell me that when I went to him after Finch’s death, he just said that he would sort it out with Buffy. He didn’t say one goddamn word about it happening before. Oh I get it, he would have worked something out for his precious little Buffy but for me he would have shipped me back to be executed in chains. You know what, tell him to go fuck himself!”
Faith slammed her foot down on the gas and took off into the empty streets rapidly fading into the distance. Not even noticing that Xander watched her go until she was long out of sight and beyond. When she was long out of sight Xander just sighed and continued his walk down the street heading towards a hopeful job interview that could get him some cash to pay for an apartment.
A few hours later on the outskirts of Los Angelus Faith stopped at a tiny little gas bar on the side of the highway in hopes of getting something to eat and hopefully directions to the Vaults of Eternity so that she could pick up whatever the mayor left for her. It wasn’t a big place and it looked like it got most of its business from truckers but it did boast on its sign that it had the best cheeseburgers this side of Heaven. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t true she just hoped she had enough to actually get something to eat. Rummaging around the car she found a wallet stuffed in the glove compartment full of money, mostly small denominations but at least twelve one hundred dollar bills, enough to last her quite a while if she was careful.
“Thanks boss.” Faith whispered. She knew that even now he was taking care of her and no matter where he was now he was still looking out for her.
After getting something to eat Faith grabbed a phonebook from a payphone and began thumbing through it for the address to the bank. Finding it, she ripped the page out and hopped back into her car heading for downtown.
Vaults of Eternity turned out to be an extremely modern looking skyscraper at least twenty stories high directly across from the LA branch of Wolfram & Hart. The building was covered in black reflective glass and built out of what appeared to be obsidian colored metal framework. The main doors that opened up onto the street would look more at place on a bank vault that those of an office building and at least twelve openly armed guards stood in close proximity to the doors themselves. Steeling her resolve Faith carefully made her way through the thick crowd towards the doors and waited for one of them to attempt to stop her. She doubted that someone like her would be let in without at least an inspection for weapons or demand to know why she was there.
One of the guards stepped in front of her blocking her way. “Excuse me miss, but company regs force me to ask why you are trying to enter the building. Do you have any legitimate business to take care of inside?”
“Ya, I do now get out of my way.” Faith replied. She didn’t need this sort of crap from a rent-a-cop.
“Very well, have a pleasant day miss.” The guard replied actually tipping his hat in her direction before returning to his post. Faith glanced at him one more time wondering if he was really going to let her go by or if he was going to shoot her in the back the moment she wasn’t looking. Finally figuring that it was probably safe to continue Faith spared one last glance at the other guards before opening the doors and walking into the bank.
The first impression that she had of the place was that money really did buy happiness. The interior of the place was just like out of the movies, expensive rugs and artwork were everywhere, a massive crystal chandelier hung down from the ceiling and every single person was wearing top of the line clothing with jewelry that just screamed expensive as hell. Feeling incredibly out of place in her second hand clothes Faith tried to find a tellers booth or anyone who could help her out.
“May I help you miss?” Came a smooth sounding cultured voice from behind her. Spinning around Faith just stared at the distinguished middle-aged man who bore a striking resemblance to Sean Connery.
“Ya, uh I was told to come here cause you guys are supposed to have this vault for me.” Faith said. Looking around at all the finery and jewelry on the people walking through the lobby Faith had a passing thought as to how much she could get for some of it. Though it was on her second look through that she spotted it. On the walls and floors it was inlayed to look decorative but she recognized those symbols from one of the boss’s books. Runes of protection and to prevent violence against those who were linked to them, this place had some heavy duty magical spells protecting it and she didn’t doubt for a second that there weren’t more that were hidden away that would cut her down in a second if she turned out to be a threat to anyone in the bank.
“Very well, come this way.” The gentleman spoke as he moved gracefully towards a doorway off to the side of the main entrance. Faith followed him seeing as how he was the only one to actually speak to her; all the others had taken one look at her grubby appearance and stuck up their priggish little noses as they walked by.
Walking down a small hallway decorated in the same style as the main lobby they entered a mostly spartan office. “Please have a seat.”
Plopping down in the seat in front of the desk Faith almost put her feet up on the desk before being stopped cold by a look from the man. “Now then, my name is Reginald James Connery.” Faith opened her mouth to ask. “And no I am not related to the actor. I am the director for the inheritance vaults division, I assume that is why you are here?”
“Ya, the boss, uh Richard Wilkins the third. He was the mayor of Sunnydale; he said that he set up a vault for me. Told me to bring this key down with me to get into it. Uh the name on the vault should be Faith Lehane.” Faith managed to say without breaking into tears at the thought of the mayor, bringing out the key to show him.
Connery wordlessly moved a box of tissue across his desk so it was within easy reach of the dark slayer. Being the head for the vaults that were usually inherited after someone died either from natural causes, or considering some of the clients the company served unnatural causes, he was quite used to having clients break down when they showed up to claim their vault. While he waited for the young lady to compose herself he began the search for any vaults opened by a Richard Wilkins so that he could have the information ready for her.
When Faith had finally gotten herself back together she looked up to see nothing but sympathy in his eyes. No scornful remarks for not being tough enough, no pity just sympathy for her loss. Nodding to the tissue Faith quietly said. “Thank you.”
“It’s quite alright Miss Lehane. Are you ready to proceed or would you like a few moments to yourself?” Connery asked. He knew that sometimes it was quite difficult to accept the death of a loved one, that clients would have a hard time making rational decisions during these times.
“Ya, I can manage. Thanks though.”
“Very well. It seems that Mr. Wilkins set up one of our special accounts for you. The notations left in the file indicated that it would only be accessed upon his death, I assume because you are here that he has passed away?” At Faiths nod he continued. “Upon your accessing the vault I am to help you with any legal and or financial matters you might have along with doing the reading of his last will and testament. Do you wish to go to the vault now or do you have any questions at this point?”
“Nah, I guess we can go to the vault. Uh where is it anyway?” Faith asked.
Connery stood and motioned for her to follow him. Faith kept up with him easily as they walked down the hallway farther into the building. “All of our special vaults are kept in an underground chamber about two hundred feet down, it is only accessible by a member of our staff or by someone who has a key to a vault.”
Faith noticed that as they walked the runic symbols became more numerous and obvious until the hallway was completely covered in them. “Damn you guys take security seriously here.”
“In over four thousand years of service in multiple dimensions we have never once had a successful robbery. Many attempts, especially in the beginning of the company, but not one of the thieves ever lived to attempt it again. We are a neutral party in the universe, we offer no true aid to one side or the other.” Connery boasted.
“Cool, so how do we get down there? Don’t gotta walk down some stairs do we?”
“Certainly not, we have installed state of the art express elevators to take us to the required level. If you would be so kind as to place you key in the slot beside the door.” Connery asked pointing out the slot as he came to a stop before a double bank of elevators. Beside each elevator was a slot for a key like the one he pointed out to Faith and a guard who was wearing enough equipment and armor to make a member of the LA SWAT team jealous.
It took forever for the elevator to get them to the required level far beneath the surface but once the doors open Faith gasped at the sight before her. A tunnel farther than she could see stretched out in front of her. Every twenty feet along the sides a set of massive doors each covered in runic symbols barred access to individual vaults.
“Whoa, this place is fucking huge. How’d you build something this big without anyone noticing?” Faith asked still unable to believe her eyes as they stepped onto a moving platform that flowed down the hallway at a rapid pace.
“The vaults don’t actually exist fully on Earth. Once the elevator moved twenty feet below the basement it entered a pocket dimension that is occupied by the vaults, nothing else, which allows us to maintain security without having to worry about someone drilling in from the surface.” Connery explained as the platform came to a stop in front of a vault. “And here we are. This is your vault Miss Lehane.”
Faith just stared at the double doors for a long moment before remembering she was the only one that was capable of actually opening the doors. Sticking the key in what appeared to be the lock she felt a small burst of magical energy run over here before vanishing, the protection spells conforming themselves to her and her alone. The massive metal doors shuddered before moving to the side and letting her see inside.
She had been expecting to merely see a pile of gold and gems lying haphazardly on the ground but what she saw didn’t look like anything that she expected. The room itself was about twenty feet long by twenty wide, perfectly square, the entire far wall was taken up with shelving that was full of boxes, the left wall was covered in bookcases full ones at that, the right wall was covered in a tapestry of some kind with her name in bold letters at the top other than that it was completely blank.
Dotted throughout out the room were a few tables with items carefully placed on them, some that looked like weapons others like pieces of armor. “Whoa! This place is huge!” Faith exclaimed as she carefully stepped into the vault. Turning around as she moved farther into it to see if there was anything that she was missing on the wall with the entrance she noticed that Connery hadn’t moved from his position from the platform. “Yo man, what you just standing there for?”
“Without your express permission I am unable to enter the vault, if I attempted to do so I would be killed by the spells protecting it from unauthorized admittance.” Connery replied.
“Oh, well I give you me express permission to enter to help me. Does that work?” Faith asked. She knew that she would need his help to try and figure out what everything in here was and which things would be useful.
“Very well Miss Lehane. Is there anywhere in particular that you wish to start?” Connery answered moving to stand with her in the middle of the room.
“Ya what the hell is that?”
“ ‘That’ is a family tapestry, it will magically record the name of anyone that you declare to be family, also any members that are blood related to you and known will also be recorded on it. I believe that the most well known versions are those that have been popularized in the Harry Potter novels.”
“Oh, so I can just say a name and it gets added into it?”
“You must place your hand on the tapestry and utter the name along with what place they held to you such as father, mother, brother and so on. Though no blood descendents of theirs will be added to it, only your blood descendents will be added or if you adopt a child their blood will be considered yours as well, this will allow any children of theirs to be listed as well.”
“Oh.” Faith walked up to the tapestry and carefully laid her hand on it. “Richard Wilkins the first, second, third all one person, relationship father. Linda Evelyn Croft Pryce relationship mother.” As she spoke the names were appearing in fine lettering above her’s though there was no line connecting there two names, almost as if the tapestry knew that they hadn’t been together or weren’t the biological parents of Faith.
“Wicked. Now what?”
“Well there should be at least one copy of Mr. Wilkins official last will and testament within the vault itself we could look for it but that isn’t really required, I have another one in the files section upstairs that we could go over later. What we do now is up to you.”
“Do you know what any of this stuff is?” Faith asked waving her hand around to encompass the entire room.
“I believe the books are mostly rare items, some of magical nature though I’m not entirely sure about what. The armor and weapons should be fairly obvious though from what I read in the file before we came down is that they are again mostly magical and enchanted, probably enchanted to insure that only the owner can use them. Over here we have documents that you can use to set up a new identity if you so desire.”
Faith perked up at that. She knew that it would only be a short time before the Watchers Council was informed of her waking up and while they probably have magical means to track her through the Slayer’s Essence they could still use credit cards and other mundane methods to find her. Connery pointed out the table that contained the legal documents that she was looking for and she began flipping through them. Each folder contained detailed information on a separate identity, the top one being under her real name with a notation that all mention of the accidental death of Alan Finch and of the Professor would not be a problem down the road, the other folders had the same information but under the names of Faith Wilkins, Hope Pryce and..
“Charity Harris?” Faith giggled as she imagined the Mayor keeping a straight face as he had this ID made up.
“Miss?” Connery inquisitively asked looking up from where he was looking through another set of folders on another table.
“Private joke, its nothing. What you find over there?”
“Stock listings, international bearer bonds, details on various accounts hidden around the world, cheque books in various names, I assume you have the required identification in your hands there to be able to access each of those accounts, debit cards and a small briefcase with a note denoting it as immediate spending cash.”
“Ya I got the id’s, how much in cash?”
“A little over twelve thousand dollars in small non sequential bills of various denominations.”
Faith was floored, she knew the boss was rich but to just leave that much in cash lying around was beyond her. She remembered times before she came to Sunnydale that she was amazed to see anyone with more than a hundred bucks to their name. “Twelve large? Damn, I’ll actually be able to afford to get a place to live!”
“Miss, I believe I must point out that these folders over here contain information about a number of properties spread across the world which you are now the legal owner of. If I’m reading these correctly and I do believe I am there is an apartment in a rather upscale section of Los Angelus, one in Miami not to far from the shore, an apartment in Rio de Janeiro and oh my.
“Oh my what?” Faith practically shouted. As she heard him list off the things the mayor had left her she had become more and more astonished that he had seen fit to give her all these things when she hadn’t even known him for six months.
“I do believe that this it the title deed for a property in the Republic of Ireland in County Galway. Dunguaire Castle is now legally yours.” Connery informed her with a level tone. He had been quite the Irish history buff in his earlier years and had actually visited the site almost two decades ago when he had been backpacking through Ireland.
“I own a fucking CASTLE!” Faith screamed.
“Yes you do, it’s quite nice from what I remember seeing of it. In my youth I visited the sight and the restoration that had been done to the site was quite remarkable.”
“What the fuck can I do with a castle?”
“I believe that the restoration did include a small cottage inside the walls, I believe that the original owner of the property was obsessed with medieval history and felt compelled to live within the castle walls so the property should be quite habitable, if you want I believe that can I obtain more information about the state of the property when we return to my office to finalize some paperwork.” Connery offered.
“Ya, you do that. Any ideas what the armor here is, is it worth anything?”
“It is most likely quite rare and priceless, if you’re thinking of selling it to obtain money I would advise against it.”
“Why the fuck not?”
“From my limited understanding of Mr. Wilkins financial records I do believe that he was a very wealthy man, most likely there is a section in his will that will detail exactly what he has left for you. It would be my advice to wait until after its reading before you make any rash decisions on the contents of your vault. As I understand it the vault fees are paid for for the next thousand years, which is not a small amount to begin with, I don’t think you’ll have to concern yourself too heavily with minor details as to paying for the upkeep.”
“Shall we adjourn to my office for a informal reading of Mr. Wilkins will or is there something else that you wish to take care of first?”
“Nah, that’s cool.”
Faith and Mr. Connery both left the vault and stepped back onto the platform. As they did so the vault doors began slowly grinding back into place and with a flash of light Faith knew the protection spells to be fully restored. Once back in the office Faith plopped back down in the seat nervous to see what the mayor had left for her. The part of her mind that always spoke telling her things were too good to be true that something bad was always going to happen was extremely over-imaginative at the moment. That part was detailing out all the possibilities from the idea that this was merely a dream, that she was still back in Sunnydale hospital in a coma, to the idea that the mayor hadn’t left her anything.
Connery sat silent behind his desk as he quickly and efficiently began to read through the last will and testament of Richard Wilkins. The process was time consuming and arduous to understand all the details buried within the legalese that made up the document but it was also part of his job.
“C’mon man hurry the fuck up. I want to know what it says!” Faith groaned. She had been sitting in her seat waiting patiently for nearly forty-five minutes, probably a new world record for her she thought wryly.
Connery didn’t even look up but his tone was annoyed. “Miss Lehane, the last will and testament is a very lengthy document and it requires patience. It will only take me a short while longer to finish reading it over and then I will begin helping you through it.”
Faith just snorted in reply. Connery continued reading merely ignoring the increasingly nervous slayer sitting in front of his desk. After another twenty minutes of reading Connery looked up and sighed. “I have completed my read through. Now we shall get down to business detailing out the last wishes of Mr. Wilkins.’
“Firstly, you no longer have to worry about your financial situation. Mr. Wilkins was an extremely wealthy man, given that he was well over one hundred years old that is not surprising, the bulk of his estate has been left to you.”
“What!” Faith gasped. She had thought the boss would leave her some money not all of it.
“A great deal of his monetary assets are tied up in stocks and commodities with notations regarding any sale requirements before they can be sold off but the total comes in at just under six hundred and seventy-two million dollars.”
“Six hundred and..” Faith stammered, unable to comprehend the sheer amount of money that was.
“And seventy-two million. As I said most of it is tied up stocks and commodities but there is an immediate sum of fifty two million dollars that is to be transferred into an account of your designation in a country of your choice after this meeting is concluded. Would you like for me to continue or do you have any questions?”
“Nah, uh you keep reading.”
“Very well. The armor that you pointed out in the vault is the Armor of Achilles, it has been enchanted to be able to conform to the wearer with the ability to mimic whatever style of clothing you wish to enable it to be worn in public without it being obvious that you are in fact wearing armor. The weapons are enchanted weaponry designed to blend in with the armor and a few other items of interest that can be added to the suit to enhance its effectiveness.’
“Mr. Wilkins has video here that he wishes for me to play at this point.” Connery moved from behind his desk to a small TV built into the wall and put the tape in the VCR built into the TV. The mayor popped up on the screen, again sitting in his office.
“Faith, I know this seems quite overwhelming with all the items that I have bequeathed to you but it is no more than your due as my daughter. I never had children of my own but you are the one that I wished I could have had, I would have loved to have been there throughout your life. That being said I want you to live a full life, one of happiness and joy. I want you to find a place in the world where you belong and I don’t know how you would do that while still being the Slayer. If you can and still be the slayer then good but I want to offer you a choice, in San Francisco there is a trio of witches with the power to remove the Slayer Essence from you and send it on to the next potential down the line. If you so choose you can ‘retire’ from being the Slayer and live out a normal life without the fear of some demon getting lucky and ending your life prematurely.’
“Now I realize that you think that being the Slayer is the only good thing about you, that is just not true. You are a kind and gentle woman who can go far in life; you are beautiful and extremely intelligent. I want you to have all the good things in life and I’m merely offering you this as a choice, it is not a request. The decision is entirely up to you and whatever you choose know this, I will love you no matter what. Good-bye Faith.”
Faith sat in the chair, tears streaming down her face, as she once again listened to the message left behind by the man that she would have loved to call father. “Bye Boss, love you too.”
For a long moment neither of them spoke, Connery out of deference to his client and Faith out of indecision, she had no clue as to what to do. Did she really want to give up being the Slayer? After a few minutes of silence Connery gently asked. “Shall we continue?”
Connery nodded and returned to his chair behind his desk to continue reading out the will. It took nearly six hours to go over all the details, all the forms that were needed to be signed to complete the transfer of the Mayor’s holdings to her and to also satisfy the legal requirements of paying the taxes that were required upon death. The government could really be a bastard at times, though it really showed when someone died. Not only did the family have to deal with the loss of a loved one, they also had to deal with the government demanding their cut of the estate, which really infuriated some people. After a quick trip back down to the vault to pick the identification for Faith and property information on the castle in Ireland Faith finally felt ready to once again face the world.
“Remember Miss, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to give us a call. Our company will be more than willing to help with any legal problems regarding your holdings or any other problems that you might have. If we cannot help for whatever reason we are more than capable of at least finding someone who can.” Mr. Connery said as he escorted Faith back through the lobby towards the doors of the building.
Faith slipped the amulet that she had grabbed while in the vault over her head. The boss had left a note saying that the powers of the amulet would mask the signature of the Slayer’s Essence as long as she wore it. “Thanks, you guys have been a great help. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”
“It was our pleasure Miss. I only wish out meeting could have happened under better circumstances.”
“So do I, so do I.”
Faith in a rare moment smiled and stood on her toes and gave him a peck on the cheek. Connery blushed a truly alarming shade of red but smiled at the young woman who stood in front of him.
Walking back out into the city Faith just stood there trying to think of what she wanted to do. Should she go to San Fran and get the Essence removed or should she just continue being the Slayer. She knew that if she ever wanted to regain any of her powers that there was a crystal in the vault that could restore her to the level of a Slayer without actually giving her the Essence but right now she was seriously questioning the fact did she want to be a Slayer for the rest of her assuredly short life living a life of constant fear, always on the lookout for demons who were coming to kill her, or did she want to settle down and have a safe life.
Reaching her car Faith sat down and thought long and hard. Finally reaching a decision she pulled out onto the road taking the quickest route to the highway. Destination San Francisco.
Two years later in Sunnydale California.
Xander Harris literally rolled out of bed, landing on the floor with a godawful thump. Groaning as he painfully pulled himself to his feet he wondered why he ever attempted to keep up with Buffy during her nightly patrols through town. Over the years it had just gone downhill with all the shit that happened in this town. This year was simply taking the cake; it had started out badly with the group learning that Dawn wasn’t real which had proven quite a little shock. Then the revelation hit that an actual Hell Goddess was coming to snuff out all life on Earth in an attempt to get herself back home to her own dimension. The fight had been long and deadly, everyone had a few new scars from it but in the end Dawn had chosen to sacrifice her life in order to save everyone else’s.
Of course in this town no one stays dead for long. The magic’s that made up the Key had prevented her from dying completely, a little CPR and a trip to the hospital and now Dawn was safely back at the Summers house bitching away like she always did. Life was literally going to hell. Willow was attempting to go cold turkey, again, from her little foray into dark magic’s that had nearly ended her life; Tara was refusing to speak to her after learning that Willow had been altering her memories whenever she felt like it. Anya had simply disappeared, her last words had been ‘You’re going to fight a Hell God? You’re fucking insane, me I’m going to do the smart thing and get the hell out of her path.’ Giles was struggling to keep the Watchers Council from getting him deported on an almost monthly basis and his business at the Magic Shop was about to go under without the assistance of Anya who turns out had been the only one who really knew how to run a business of the group. And things with Buffy, aka Queen Summers, were better left unsaid. Ever since she had beaten, barely, Glory in one on one combat she had been insufferable.
Grabbing a pair of pants he roughly pulled them on and went out into the kitchen. The room was a disaster area, Xander had never really been one to learn basic housekeeping skills over the years and it showed in his rundown apartment. Putting the coffee pot on Xander carefully walked around the mess towards the door hoping to get the morning paper and to see if any mail had arrived. He knew that he had at least two bills due soon and the notices should be arriving soon, he just wondered how he was going to pay them. Slaying made it extremely difficult to hold a job with him having to leave at all hours to go prevent the world ending.
Quickly walking down to the mailbox in the lobby, virtually beside his front door since he was also the buildings handyman the only way that he had managed to hang onto this apartment for so long. Most other buildings would have kicked him out after the first missed rent check but since he was quite handy with power tools he had been able to cut a deal with the landlord.
Reaching in Xander grabbed the letters and went back to his apartment. Tossing the mail on the table he began to sort through them. “Bill, bill, junk, bill, junk, junk, and yet even more junk.”
Coming to the last letter Xander felt his heart skip a beat. In the upper left hand corner there was a name that he had not uttered in nearly two years. Faith Lehane, he had thought she had died two years ago the Council had said so when a new slayer had been called not long after she skipped town. Quickly ripping the letter open he was desperate to see what it contained.
I bet your wondering how I’m writing this letter. If my assumptions are correct the Watchers Council informed you guys that a new Slayer had been called not to long after I left town. Well its partly true, a new slayer was called, I went down to San Francisco and met a trio of witches with the power to remove the Slayer Essence from me and pass it on. I decided that being the Slayer wasn’t the most important thing in the world to me. I wanted to take the time to find myself and at the very least attempt to heal all the emotional wounds that I had never allowed myself to believe were there. It took quite a bit of time but I think I’m finally in a good place now.
You probably gathered from the post mark that I’m living in Ireland’ Xander spared a glance to the envelope and saw the postmark confirming that. ‘The boss had left me a few things after his passing, namely some properties spread across the world and this one seemed the most likely place that I could hide and heal. Not to mention that the information he left about it described the town as being made up of a few retired hunters and witches who just wanted to be left alone, there hadn’t been a demon related incident in it for well over a hundred years it seemed to be the perfect place to disappear.
I hope life has treated you well over the years, and it was that thought that prompted me to write this letter well that and one other. I remember all those years ago when I was leaving Sunnydale that you stopped me and tried to get me to stay. I realize now that you were only attempting to help and I wanted to say how sorry I am for the way I treated you, also I wanted to apologize for my actions at the Sunnydale Motor Lodge that night.
If you want there is a travel voucher at Los Angelus International Airport waiting for you, it is good at any time for use on any flight to Ireland. The address on the envelope is the one that I am staying at right now and will continue to stay at for quite some time. I wouldn’t mind a visit from you but if you decide not to come for whatever reason I will understand. I hope you find all the happiness you can in life.