Rating: R (for sexual situations, language, and violence, including torture)
Disclaimer: All of the materials borrowed from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon and to the entities and companies associated with their creation. I have borrowed them for creative and entertainment purposes only. No compensation has been or ever shall be received for the writing below. No copyright infringement is intended.
My Website: http://www.dragonwriter17.net/
Feedback: Yes, but only if it’s of the non-flamey variety: DragonWriter17@aol.com
Distribution: The Watchers Forum, The Mystic Muse, and my personal site (If you are interested in posting my story on your site, please contact me first for permission.)
Spoilers: BtVS Season 3’s “Bad Girls” and “Consequences”
Author’s Notes: (1) This chapter is mostly original material; I think I may have borrowed one line and put it into a new context. I’ve also borrowed two characters from the Watchers virtual series. (2) I’m continuing to use the alternating first-person points of view. (3) And thanks, as always, to Lilly for the beta read and edit!
Number of Chapters: 5
Story Premise: Buffy and Faith become involved with each another, but Faith’s accidental killing of Deputy Mayor Finch threatens to split them up.
Summary for Part 01: Buffy finally succumbs to Faith’s enticing sexual charisma but doesn’t know how to handle the aftermath.
Summary for Part 02: Just as Buffy and Faith begin to realize that their feelings for each other are more than just lust, disaster strikes.
Summary for Part 03: In the wake of Finch’s death, Faith and Buffy admit their true feelings. Their happiness proves fleeting, though, when Wesley’s betrayal comes to fruition.
Summary for Part 04:
When the Scoobies rush to Faith’s rescue, they’re shocked by what they find.
Now, normally I don’t condone hacking for monetary gain, but this was an emergency! We needed to fund five nonstop flights from LAX to Heathrow, and at $2000 a pop, we couldn’t just dip into the ol’ penny jar. I knew I’d have to deal with the consequences later, but for right then, I just did what I had to do. Thank God we all had passports.
By that afternoon, we were in the air—me, Buffy, Xander, Giles, and Mrs. Summers. Buffy had thrown a conniption when her mom had insisted on going along, but I guess you can figure out who won that argument.
I swear sometimes Buffy seems to conveniently forget who’s the mother and who’s the daughter in this family. Did she really think I was going to let her fly off to another country and lay siege to some super-powerful secret organization without me coming along?
My god, it was bad enough that those bastards had Faith in their clutches. I wasn’t going to stand idly by while Buffy risked her life. I didn’t have a clue what kind of help I was going to be, but I was going to be there, damn it, whether she liked it or not.
I just hoped and prayed that we’d get there in time and that Faith would be all right.
The flight was on time and smooth, but still quite difficult. It was, essentially, twelve hours of helpless, worried waiting. Having flown this way many times, I tried to encourage the others to sleep during the flight so that they wouldn’t be jetlagged when we arrived, but they were no more able to do so than I.
We arrived at Heathrow around noon the following day. After we had claimed our baggage, I rented a car—a four-door Range Rover—and drove us to Devonshire, where we met with Althenea Dimmons, a dear friend of mine, whose coven would be providing key support to our plan to infiltrate the Council.
Wesley was already there, sharing what information he could. Although he had been denied access to Faith’s program shortly after his call to us, he was still proving to be quite useful. I was concerned about how Buffy would react to his presence, though. When she finally did see him, she gave him a single blazing glare and then ignored him. He wisely stayed out of her way.
Several hours into our planning, however, he dared to approach her. He drew close and then spoke Buffy’s name. She slowly turned to face him, with hatred burning in her eyes.
“If you try to apologize, I swear I will beat you to death,” Buffy said with uncharacteristic savagery.
As Wesley silently slipped away, I stepped in to speak with Buffy. “I know you’re angry with him, but—”
“Angry? ‘Angry’ doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now.” Buffy pointed furiously at Wesley’s retreating figure. “This is all his fault! If he had just kept his mouth shut, none of this would have happened!”
“I know, but he’s helping us now. His detailed memories of the Council facility will allow the coven to teleport us exactly where we need to be.”
Buffy said nothing in reply. She just clenched her jaw tightly, turned on her heel, and stalked over to the Council floor plan Willow had printed and pinned on the wall.
There wasn’t much I could do, so I just hung out with Buffy’s mom. We were both feeling pretty useless, so we decided to label ourselves ‘Team Spirit,’ and when somebody needed a pep talk, we’d be there.
It was Willow who had been doing most of the work, actually. She had spent the afternoon cracking the Council’s online security. She’d been able to get a lot of information, but not Faith’s exact location. If she couldn’t break that secondary firewall by the next day, then she’d have to wait and do her hacking on-site.
At the moment, though, Willow was in witchy heaven. She was getting a crash course in Wicca Warfare 101. Even though Althenea was gonna be going with us, she wanted to make sure that Willow could handle a few basic spells.
At a break in the instruction, Willow practically skipped over to join us. We could tell she was really pumped up.
“Lookin’ good there, Obi-Wan,” I teased as she arrived.
“Oh my god, did you see that?” she exclaimed, referring to the shielding spell that she and Althenea had just practiced.
“I’m very impressed,” Mrs. Summers said. “I had no idea you were so magically talented.”
“Me either!” Willow replied incredulously. “I mean, yeah, I taught myself some things in Sunnydale, but this…I’ve learned more in three hours here with Al than I ever learned back home. She says, when this whole thing with the Council is over, you know, when Faith is back home safe and sound, I can come back and get some more training.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle as Willow bounced up and down with excitement.
We finished all of our planning and preparing late that night, but we couldn’t do anything until the following night. I nearly went crazy with all the waiting.
I understood why we had to wait. The coven needed time to generate the energy for teleporting, and the Council would be less populated during the midnight hours.
I just couldn’t stand thinking about what Faith must be going through; I hated that she had to keep going through it while we were stuck here waiting.
God, it hurt.
When I stopped pacing, when I stopped thinking and rehearsing, when I finally let myself be still and feel…it hurt so much. Across the country Faith was alone and afraid and hurting, and I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t save her. Not yet anyway.
All I could do was send her my love and tell her, “We’re coming, baby. You’re strong. Just hang on.”
The next evening, close to midnight, we gathered in the sacred space of the coven room. As Althenea’s coven members began to file in, Mrs. Summers, who would not be accompanying us, made her good-byes and dispensed much-needed hugs of encouragement. Once she had left the room, the coven encircled us and began the ritual.
When the energies had sufficiently built up, Althenea gave each of us an amulet, intoning a spell that made the gem in the center emit a faint glow. She put a similar amulet around her own neck, then added a second, before picking up a fist-sized multi-faceted crystal from which the amulets’ gems had been taken. As the crystal’s own glow began to pulse and intensify, she raised it above her head and belted out the final words of the incantation.
“Traiciamus! Let us cross!”
In a flash we were transported from Devonshire to London.
Holy cow! I felt like my insides were trying to come outside through my bellybutton. I bent over at the waist until the nausea passed, and then I straightened up and looked around.
We were in a dark conference room. The only light in the room was coming from the hallway through the narrow window in the door.
“Is everyone all right?” Giles whispered.
“If feeling like I just rode Space Mountain 27 times in a row without stopping qualifies as ‘all right,’ then yeah, I’m good,” Xander quipped.
After the rest of us answered in the affirmative, we went about our tasks. I pulled out my laptop, plugged it into a network jack, and booted it up. Giles and Xander armed themselves with a variety of weapons—a tranquilizer gun, a Taser, and a pistol. I tried not to be worried by the sight of the pistol. Buffy retrieved the wooden staff that she had strapped to her back and then walked over to Althenea.
“How long do we have?” she asked, pointing at the crystal that Al was tucking into her pocket.
Althenea shrugged. “Twenty to thirty minutes maybe? When the crystal starts glowing again, we can teleport back.”
Buffy nodded her understanding and then came over to me. She watched as I began my assault on the second firewall—the one I couldn’t get remotely, the one protecting the security systems, among other things. Once I got in, I made myself a secret door so that I could get back in any time I wanted. Might need to get back in here, and in a hurry, I thought to myself.
“I’m in,” I told her. “Just give me a second to get a handle on their security menus…”
As the others joined us, I first disabled the Council’s alarm system and activated the evacuation protocol that turned off the magnetic locks on all the doors. Then I released a bot into their network that would locate every electronic reference to Faith. The automated procedure would copy every single document and file about Faith to a remote server I’d already set up. Finally, I called up the security grid and zoomed in on the Detention Area. A small square on the screen began to flash.
“She’s here,” I said, pointing at the flashing square.
Giles referenced his hard copy of the floor plan and said, “Cell D4.”
“Okay, let’s go,” Buffy said.
“Wait, I can get a picture,” I said. “They’ve got that whole wing under total video surveillance.”
Within seconds I caught the live feed from Faith’s cell and displayed it on my screen. My heart stopped when I saw it.
Faith was in a small, well-lit cell, chained to the wall in a torturous stress position. Other than a cloth sack over her head, she was wearing only what appeared to be a hospital gown.
I zoomed the camera so that we could see Faith a little better.
She was kneeling with her arms shackled behind her back. The chain coming from her wrist shackles was bolted to the wall in a way that raised her arms straight and high behind her in a painful contortion. Another chain was bolted to the floor and must have been locked to something around her neck; it held her in a position that was halfway doubled over. The arrangement was obviously designed to keep her in as much pain as possible.
We all froze, completely horrified at what we were seeing. The only good part about it was that we could see Faith moving slightly, so we knew she was alive.
I looked up at Buffy and saw tears rolling down her face. Xander reached over and put his hand on Buffy’s back.
“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go get your girl.”
Buffy clicked into action then and led the way to the door. I quickly looped all the security cameras, shut my laptop, snatched up my network cord, and shoved them both in my bag. Then I hurried to catch up.
Thanks to the wily wizardry of Willow “The Whiz” Rosenberg, getting through the Detention Area was a piece o’ cake. The hallway doors just popped open, and the guards were nowhere to be seen. We hit a bit of a glitch, though, when we got to Faith’s cell. When Buffy pulled back on the knob, the door didn’t budge.
“What the hell?” Buffy said, looking to Willow.
Willow stepped in and examined the lock. “Oh, phooey,” she said. “It’s got a manual key lock, too.”
“Gimme that,” Buffy said, setting aside her staff and reaching for the knob with both hands, clearly intending to try and rip the door off its hinges.
Luckily, Althenea intervened. “Noise matters,” she told Buffy. “Let me try first.” Buffy reluctantly picked up her staff and stepped aside.
When Althenea pulled a lock-picking kit from her pocket, I saw Giles shoot her a raised eyebrow. She merely grinned at him and said, “Remnants of a misspent youth.” I knew there was a reason I liked the Wonder Witch!
As Al set to work on the lock, I noticed some kind of instrument panel on the wall. “Hey, maybe this thing could open the door,” I suggested.
Willow opened the panel’s hinged cover and studied the buttons and indicators for a moment. “No, I don’t think so. This is for climate control. Son of—” she suddenly exclaimed. “They’ve got this thing set on 50 degrees!”
“That doesn’t sound so bad,” I said hopefully, while trying to figure out what 50 degrees felt like.
“It’s about ten degrees warmer than your fridge,” Willow informed me.
“Oh,” I said, feeling kinda stupid.
I glanced over at Buffy to see if she had heard our conversation. The look on her face told me she had. She was ready to kill somebody. And I didn’t blame her. She let her rage slip away, though, when Althenea managed to trick the lock.
As soon as Althenea opened the door, we hurried inside the cell. Buffy instantly cast aside her staff and rushed to kneel beside Faith. Willow and Althenea quickly joined her. I motioned for Xander to keep watch at the doorway. Then I too turned to check on Faith.
The poor girl was shivering uncontrollably and drawing in shallow, ragged breaths as she mumbled incoherently from beneath her hood. When Buffy put a hand on her shoulder, Faith jerked in reaction, trying to pull away from the touch as best she could.
“C-C-Can’t...b-b-break...m-m-me...” she stuttered in a raspy voice.
“Faith, it’s me...we’re gonna get you out of here...” Buffy reassured her as Althenea began working on the locks of the shackles.
Buffy then pulled the hood off Faith’s head. She tossed the cloth bag aside and unbuckled the leather collar that kept Faith chained to the floor. Then she used both hands to gently lift Faith’s face into view.
Faith swayed unsteadily, still shuddering from the cold. As the brightness of the cell’s overhead lights now assaulted her, Faith squeezed her eyes shut.
In that same light, we could all clearly see the true extent of the torture Faith had endured. Her hair was slightly damp and matted from days of neglect. Her face was bruised and swollen in several places as if she’d been beaten repeatedly. Some of the bruises were new, but others were not. What stood out the most, however, were two small burn marks—one at each temple.
“Dear God,” I exclaimed in disgust when I realized what Travers and the Council had stooped to.
As Faith began slowly blinking her eyes open, Buffy gingerly touched one of the burn marks. “What did they do?” she whispered.
“Electro-shock therapy, if I had to guess,” I answered.
“Son of a bitch!” I heard Xander swear. “We should kill them...kill them all! Just blow this goddamn place to kingdom come!”
His curse was followed by a series of metal clinks.
“Got it,” Althenea said as she eased the now-unlocked chains from Faith’s wrists.
Free from her bonds but too weak to hold herself up, Faith immediately fell forward into Buffy’s arms. Buffy eased her over and held her in her lap.
“Faith, I’m here, baby, I’m here,” she cried.
Faith, however, didn’t seem to recognize that it was Buffy who was holding her. She made an ineffective attempt at struggling before mumbling once again, “C-C-Can’t…b-b-break…m-m-me…” Then she blinked groggily, and her eyes fluttered closed. Her head lolled to the side, and she stopped moving.
“Faith? FAITH!!!” Buffy tried to rouse the slayer but couldn’t. She turned frantically to me. “Giles!”
I rushed over and tried to feel for a pulse at Faith’s wrist. Her skin was cold and clammy, and I couldn’t get a good read, so I moved to her neck and felt for her pulse there. When I found it, I let out a relieved sigh.
“She’s alive,” I said. “Her pulse is weak but steady.”
“Thank God,” Buffy said, caressing Faith’s tangled hair.
“But we need to get her to a hospital, now,” I said, pulling off my coat and wrapping it around Faith’s upper body.
“Rupert’s right,” Althenea said, taking off her own coat and covering Faith’s bare legs. “She’s dangerously hypothermic.”
“Guys, we’ve got company coming,” Xander warned as he slipped back into the cell and eased the door shut.
At Xander’s words, I instantly pulled the teleportation crystal from my pocket and looked at it.
“Can we jump yet?” Buffy asked.
I shook my head. “Not yet. We need a few more minutes.” I pulled the extra amulet over my head and looped it around Faith’s neck.
“Xander!” Buffy commanded. Xander came running from the cell door to kneel beside Buffy. “I need you and Giles to take Faith,” she told him. “Keep her safe, no matter what. Don’t fire unless you have to. It’s close quarters in here.”
Xander did as he was told and took the unconscious slayer from Buffy’s arms. Rupert helped him pull Faith to the corner and re-cover her with our coats once they had her in place. Then they crouched in front of her, their weapons drawn.
As Buffy picked up her staff, I handed the crystal off to Willow and rushed to the door. I cast a quick spell and touched the facing of the lock. There was a spark of light as the metal inside welded together. I was just in time because we soon heard a key being tried in the lock. Then the pounding started.
“We can do this,” I heard Buffy say. “We just have to hold them off for a few minutes. Right, Al?”
I didn’t turn to face her. My attention was focused on what I was sensing on the other side of the door. “Shit!” I growled under my breath.
“Ohhh-kaaay, not the response I was wanting,” Buffy said.
“They have a witch,” I informed her as I turned to Willow, who was still holding the crystal. “I’ll take the witch. You take the teleporting.”
As I guided Willow to a position several feet behind me, she babbled in a panic, “Oh, I, but, you…”
“You can do it, Willow,” I told her with confidence. “But protect this crystal,” I warned. “If it breaks, we won’t be going anywhere.”
“Okay,” she replied in a high-pitched voice, gripping the crystal tightly.
I didn’t have time to panic, not really, because as soon as Al turned back toward the door, it blew open with a massive magical blast, nearly coming off the hinges as it slammed against the inside wall.
A tall, middle-aged blonde woman strode in. She immediately set her eyes on Althenea and rushed her. The air around the two witches crackled with power as they grappled with one another.
When armed guards began slipping in around the battling witches, Buffy moved in with her staff. Wham! Bam! Pow! Thwack! I was starting to run out of onomatopoeias! Buffy was just amazing.
But she was still just one girl, and it didn’t take long for a group of guards to disarm her and surround her. It was time for me to step up to the magical plate.
“Buffy, duck!” I screamed out, hoping she’d hear me. Then I let loose with my best magical blast.
It shot across the room and slammed into the circle of guards, knocking them down like bowling pins…unfortunately, right on top of Buffy. She had ducked, but now she had to claw her way out of a pile of stunned-senseless guards. Obviously, I was gonna have to work on the whole accuracy element.
About the time Buffy made it to the top of the pile, Quentin Travers stepped inside, accompanied by his own guard.
“Just kill them all!” Travers yelled.
The guard raised his automatic weapon and released the safety.
Before he could fire, though, Buffy was on him. She snatched the gun from him and smacked him in the face with it, sending him to the floor. Then she turned toward Travers. I saw him freeze in place, terror shining in his eyes.
“You have put me and my family through hell long enough,” Buffy said, slowly advancing on the man. “You bust into my house, attack my friends and family, threaten my mother, and then…this.” She gestured at the cell we were all standing in. “What you did to Faith…” She clamped her mouth shut and clenched her jaw before raising the gun and training it on Travers. “I think it’s time for some payback.”
Suddenly, I felt the crystal erupt into life in my hand. I didn’t waste a second. I spoke the incantation and then raised the glowing crystal into the air.
“Remitte nos!” I yelled. “Send us back!”
And in a flash, it did just that.
I waited inside the coven room with several of Althenea’s coven members. One was studying the gigantic crystal that was the centerpiece of the altar. I had been told that she was magically monitoring the team’s teleporting. Two others—a man and a woman—were checking and rechecking the items packed in their EMT bags. It made me feel a lot better knowing that we had trained medics on hand. I hoped to God they wouldn’t be needed, but I was glad they were there.
Suddenly, the woman at the altar called out, “They’re coming!”
There was a flash so bright I had to close my eyes, but when I opened them, I could see Buffy and the others in the center of the room. I hurried to Buffy’s side.
She was shaking her head as if trying to clear it. I let my eyes do a quick pass over her for any sign that she was hurt or injured. I couldn’t help but gasp when I saw the gun in her hand.
I had to shut out the mental images of men shooting at my daughter, of her shooting at them, of the danger she must have been in. I made myself focus on asking, “Buffy, are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” she said distractedly as she handed me the gun and turned to search the group. “Faith!” she cried out before rushing across the room.
I set the gun on the floor and followed after her. I held her up when I saw that the medics were already tending to Faith. “Let them help her, sweetie,” I told her.
She resisted for a moment and then burst into tears. I pulled her into my arms and held her.
“They hurt her so bad, Mom,” she managed to say through her sobs.
“I know, honey, I know. But she’s gonna be okay now. You got her out of there, and now she’s gonna be okay.”
As Althenea informed the medics about the condition in which we had found Faith, I left the coven room and found the telephone. I rang my brother’s direct line at the air base and waited for him to answer.
“Group Captain Reginald Giles,” he said when he picked up.
“It’s me, Reggie,” I told him.
“Rupert! How did the mission go?”
“We got her out, but…she’s in fairly bad shape, I’m afraid. I think we should bring her in.”
“I’ll notify the gate and have an escort waiting.”
“Thank you,” I told him sincerely. Then I hung up and returned to the coven room.
Within minutes, we had a two-car caravan headed to RMB Chivenor, where my brother commanded a squadron of the RAF’s Search and Rescue Force.
Thanks to Giles’s brother, we had been able to drive straight to the emergency room of the air base hospital. Once Faith had been taken back to the treatment area, it was several hours before a man in scrubs finally came out of the double-doors.
He scanned the group until he found Giles; then he walked right over. He held out his hand. “You must be Rupert,” he said with a smile. “I can see the resemblance. I’m Dr. Merritt.”
Giles shook his hand and smiled back. “How is she, Doctor?” he asked soberly as we all gathered around him.
“She’s stabilized,” he first told us, and we all sighed in relief. “We had to give her some warmed intravenous fluids, not only to raise her body temperature but also to re-hydrate her.”
“We haven’t gotten the results from toxicology,” the doctor continued, “but it’s clear that she underwent multiple injections over several days.”
Buffy turned to Giles and asked, “Do you think they gave her that Cruciamentum drug?”
“It’s likely,” Giles said. “I’ve asked the doctor to test for it.”
Dr. Merritt nodded and then went on, “Scans and x-rays didn’t reveal any broken bones other than her left wrist, nor any internal bleeding, although there is significant bruising. However, we did find some fluid in her lungs. Given the lack of cardiogenic and other causes, we suspect simple pulmonary aspiration.”
“In English, Doc,” Xander interjected.
“She inhaled water into her lungs,” he explained. “But all of these things will heal with time and pose no immediate or future threat. Physically at least. Psychologically is another matter entirely, of course.”
He paused in his summary, and we all exchanged worried looks.
“It’s her brain that concerns me,” he said. “The combination of head trauma, unknown drugs, and illegal electro-shock treatments…she could be facing significant neurological damage.”
“Like what?” Joyce asked.
“Mental confusion, memory loss, impaired cognitive function…we won’t know, really, until she regains consciousness.”
“She hasn’t woken up yet?” Althenea asked.
Dr. Merritt shook his head.
“Can we see her?” Buffy asked.
“Yes,” Dr. Merritt replied, “but only a few at a time.”
Buffy looked to her mom, and then they walked over to join the doctor. When Buffy looked back at the rest of us, Xander gave her a wave-away and said, “We’re good, Buff. You go. We’ll catch her later. You know, when she’s sittin’ up, complainin’ about the lime Jell-O…”
Buffy gave him a
warm smile, and then she and her mom followed Dr. Merritt through the
double-doors. I reached over and gave Xander a big hug. He could be a total
goof sometimes, but every once in while he’d say just the right thing. Like
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 05...