Usual Disclaimers in Part 1. Previous parts at In The Heart Of Darkness http://fangslover.0catch.com
Sunnydale, later late night.
"Geezus Keith, you could have let me drive. I have my permit, and I do know this town," Faith grumbled as they sat at a gas station, mad that he wouldn´t let her get behind the wheel while they tried to find the mansion following Angel´s directions. They had stopped because they had been driving in circles and hadn´t found the place yet.
"If you know it, why aren´t we there already?" he asked with a dark raised eyebrow looking at her slumped in her seat pouting.
"Walking around at night is different from driving, and I haven´t seen anything I recognize," she replied. "I was only there a couple of times and I was tailing Buffy, so I wasn´t really watching. So ask them already, and bring me a Coke. I´m tired from fighting that Moggola monster, and I want to crash," she added.
Shaking his head the tall, red haired Scotsman got out of the car, and went into what he noted was a heavily magick protected stationone way to do business at night in Sunnydale, and survive, he thought. A couple of minutes later he was back with Cokes for both of them. He handed dark haired slayer hers, got back behind the wheel, and they belted up. "Can´t believe we messed up so badly," he said more to himself than her. "We go left out of here, then right, turn at the stop sign, then two miles, before we get to Crawford Street."
"Good, as long as we get there sometime tonight. Giles told you everything got there okay?" she asked taking a drink of her soda.
"It looked like it. Everything is still packed. He didn´t want the movers poking around considering some of the things I have as a Watcher. He got us some groceries too so we don´t have to do that first thing, lassie," he told her concentrating on trying to follow the gas attendant´s direction through the quiet, ghost town like empty streets.
"I hate grocery shopping. Clothes shopping, now that´s different," she grinned devilishly back at him, trying to keep her nervousness about being back in town down to a dull roar.
"It would have figured you, and Cordelia would finally bond over clothes. Angel, and I will never give the two of you together no limit credit cards again to apologize for anything. You girls could have bankrupted us," he teased her.
"But we didn´t. We were good. Honest," she smiled innocently. "Besides slaying is hard on clothes. You ought to know that."
He just shook his head. "But no more shopping for two months. It´ll take you that long just to wear each outfit once," he shot back.
"Fine," she grumbled, not really mad, just teasing him like she usually did. At least he had a sense of humor, and got her references to pop culture, unlike most of Angel Investigations did. Cordy, and Gunn could always figure out what she was talking about, but Wesley was hopelessly lost as was Angel.
Keith Stuart coming into her life had been the best thing that had happened to Faith. She adored him, and would do anything he asked. He had won her total confidence, and respect much to the amazement of the others. He was firm, yet fair with her, giving her space when she needed it, and was there for her when she needed to really talk to someone. He did maintain a professional attitude with her, no matter how hard she tried to push herself on him, he ignored her. Which considering Faith, and how much an air of sheer animal sexuality she projected was a testament to his strong will. Gradually she had given up on trying to seduce both him, and Angel, and everyone had breathed a sigh of relief. She then channeled her frustrations into fighting, and had been learning meditation techniques to handled her after the slay highs, so she wasn´t such a cat in heat afterwards. He had also gotten her to start studying for her GED, and talked about her going to college like the a normal girl her age would be doing. He made her see possibilities in herself she didn´t know she had. Now life didn´t look quite so grim, and hopeless as it had. She still had a long way to go to really find herself, but she was way better than she had been ever in her short life.
The Scottish Watcher hoped that coming back her to Sunnydale wouldn´t undo all of her progress. He knew the troubled young woman still had issues with Buffy, her friends, and Watcher. And he knew from talking to Giles that they had issues with her too for good causes. It was not going to be easy, but he hoped that what problems there were could be worked out without too much pain, or friction on either side.
He, and Giles were also hoping that he could get through to the girl that now inhabited Buffy Summers´ body since the Watcher was used to working with youngsters with mental problems as a professional therapist. They had had many conversations about Elizabeth Wellington since the girl began withdrawing instead of adjusting to the changes that had happened to her. Giles had relayed what Spike had told him about his former fiancée, and what the girl had told him about herself when she did talk to him. The girl´s retreat from the world was troubling as was her pointed refusal to be a slayer, or deal with her nature. He also understood the tangled romantic nature of the problem too.
He knew Spike minus Drusilla from his younger days as a Watcher in training when the two of them had hung out in clubs with British rock bands. He hadn´t been too surprised to hear that the vampire was still around, but that he had switched sides completely on his own without a soul had floored him as it had Angel too. Then to find out the two vampires were related, and were love with the same slayer had further blown him away. Angel had not taken the news of his grandchilde, and Buffy having been together before the switch at all well, and had almost come to Sunnydale to have a discussion´ with the boy´ that involved pointy stakes. Cordy, and Faith had talked him out of it, along with himself. When the switch had happened the vampire had been further upset. The revelations from the Watcher´s Council about William, and Buffy hadn´t helped matters either. Angel like Spike was confused about this supposed alternate timeline where Buffy killed him as Angelus along with Darla, and Dru because he was still among the undusty. It was hoped that Keith might be able to help Giles find something that the Scoobies had missed in the papers the WC had sent that might switch the girls back.
Faith had met the chipped vampire during her last time here, though she wasn´t proud of what she had done that night to him, or to Buffy´s boyfriend Riley in Buffy´s body. She hoped she would be able to face the peroxide blonde without too much trouble. How she was going to deal with the other slayer no one knew. She had been jealous of Buffy, and theirs had been an on going competition to see who was better, and had a right to be the slayer, since their double existence was a pure fluke. Given the reports of Lizzy´s behavior, manner of dressing, and speaking like the girl she had been in the past complete with full blown Victorian moral standards, Keith was sure the girls were not going to get along. He had heard about the girl´s reaction to Willow, and Tara´s lifestyle, and given that Faith had a mouth on her still, and wore her clothes painted on, Lizzy was not going to handle her too well.
"Hey, Watcher-man, we´re here!" Faith announced as they neared the impressive mansion, and she recognized it, pulling him back from his rambling thoughts.
"This is it?" he asked going through the gates, and following the spacious driveway to park his shiny black sports car by the door
Faith peered up at the mostly dark house through the windshield with an excited look. "Yeph, I remember this place real well. I see Giles left some lights on for us," she said getting out of the car stretching her jean clad legs.
Keith opened the door taking in the neatly groomed moonlit grounds. "He said he would. Hope these keys work. Hate to have to go hunt up Rupert for his set," Keith replied, getting out and looking at the huge two story place that was giving him chills from where he stood. "Grab your stuff. I´m not making extra trips."
"Gee, what´s got you in a uproar? I´m doing it, see?" Faith grumbled bending back into the black car, and grabbing her bags from the back seat, and slinging the straps over her leather jacket clad shoulder. Slamming the car door, she followed him up the walkway to the front door.
The key worked much to his relief and, Keith let them in. Angel had told him the place was spacious, but he was still surprised at how big it really was. His furniture had come, and it had been roughly arranged by the movers, and possibly by Giles too. His personal belongings were still packed in their boxes, and sat haphazardly around the living room along with Faith´s boxes too.
"It looks, and feels better than the last time I was here," Faith commented as she sat her bags down. "Once we get your stuff arranged in here it´ll be a lot homier. I´ll going to go check out the upstairs, and see if the beds got set up. That okay?" she asked, trying to figure out his odd expression.
"Yeah, sure, lassie. Go do it," he told her standing like a statue in black in the middle of the main room distracted by the unpleasant energies still present in the house.
Giles, and Angel had both told him what had happened in the mansion, and in this room. There were times when he really hated being a sensitive´this was one of those times. He hoped it wasn´t anything more than what a good cleansing ritual would take care of. Or severalhe amended, gritting his teeth. The statue of Arcadia might be gone, but he could still feel the powerwisps of Hell energies left over from when the gates had been opened twiceonce to take Angel, and then to send him back. Then there were all the traces of vampires, their victims, and their games, plus other unknown magicks lingering throughout the building with the basement, and bedroom areas being the worst.
Giles, he remembered wasn´t psychic, and couldn´t really detect paranormal hotspots readily. He, unfortunately, did have full blown abilities which had saved him on a number of occasions. He was also a magickal adept, already ranking in the highest levels by Council standards. If he was going to get any sleep in the house he was going to have do something about the energies still present. Even though he was tired from the trip he began the warding ritual which would act as a temporary barrier against those energies until he could do a through job throughout the house. He had just finished when Faith made it back to the room. She had seen him use magick on a couple of cases so it didn´t freak her out as much as it had at first.
"I take it I missed the light show?" she asked flopping down on the couch tiredly.
"Just finished. I´m going to need to clean the place. Surprised you haven´t felt anything. Your slayer senses must be going off," Keith commented sitting down on the arm of one of the overstuffed chairs to rest from his labors.
"A little. I´m just ignoring it because it´s Memorex, not live. Cleansing this place sounds like a good idea. Lot of bad shit happened here," she said looking around the room, and trying to put her own memories away of events. "The beds are all set up, and Giles must have come by, and brought us sheets and towels. We still have to make the beds up, but at least we don´t have to try to figure out which box they´re in. I got dibs on the room at the end of the hall. You got your choice of any of the others," she told him.
He smiled at her. "Bet it´s the master bedroom."
"Nope, wrong, but it does have a bath. I just liked the view of the back yard, and it felt rightI guess. Though there were some freaky looking dolls in the closet, and old clothes," she said.
"Dolls? Sounds like that might have been Drusilla´s room," he cautioned her.
Faith shrugged indifferent. "So? It´s not going to bother me. I´ve never met the psycho twinkee. I do think I know which was Angel´s. It just feels like him, and it´s also the biggest one, but I didn´t like it so it´s up for grabs," she added leaning back in the chair, yawning. "What time is it anyway?"
He looked at his watch since Faith rarely wore hers. "About three. I told Rupert we´d show up in the morning. We´d probably ought to call it a night, and get some rest. We can worry about unpacking later," he standing up, and grabbing his bags.
"Sounds good," she said joining him, and picking up her own bags to race ahead of to the stairs, leading him upstairs. "Mine´s down there," she told him once they were on the second floor. "See you in the morning," the dark haired girl added vanishing through a door leaving him alone in the hallway shaking his head while he decided which of the many doors to try first for his bedroom.
End Part 49
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