Usual disclaimers in Part 1. Wow, I managed to make it to 50 parts. This is definitely going to be the longest novel I've done to date in any universe, or original SF. And this still has a ways to go yet. I thank everyone for the wonderful feedback I have been getting on this, especially on what I've been doing with the character developments of William, and the others. For new readers the rest of my story can be found at In The Heart of Darkness http://fangslover.0catch.com/buffynovels.htm
It was about eleven in the morning when Keith awoke. It took him a minute to remember where he was. His eyes tried to focus in the still dark room, and couldn´t. He had to reach over, and turn on the lamp on the night stand next to the bed to see. The blackout curtains were definitely going, he thought to himself. He had ended up in Angelus/Angel´s room. There was still a lot energy left over from the former occupant. He had warded the room, but his sleep had been troubled by events that had transpired in it. The vampire had had a very active sex life without his soul that was one thing that was certain, unlike the almost monk lifestyle he was now leading.
He just hoped that Faith hadn´t been similarly troubled in Drusilla´s room. Faith had calmed down considerably from what she had been like a couple of years ago, still the girl was a walking hormone factory looking to have her itches scratched. It had been made clear that her co-workers were off limits, so Faith had curbed her impulses. He hoped she would continue to do so here.
The Watcher decided he needed coffee, and a shower, not necessarily in that order. Getting up he headed for the large suite´s bathroom. Giles evidently figured he would pick this room because there had been a stack of clean towels, soap, and shampoo already in there for his use. He quickly used the shower, feeling better already. Taking the hair drier out of his travel bag, he blow dried his red long hair, and tied it back.
When he got back to the bedroom he noticed there was a steaming cup of coffee, so Faith must had been in, and gone. She could do some edible cooking now after patient lessons, and a few smoky disasters at the hotel. He took a couple of heavy swigs of not too bad French Roast before dressing. Since the weather had turned cool, he threw on a black sweater, some jeans, and his Doc Martin´s. His duster was still downstairs, he remembered. Grabbing his briefcase with some translations, and other materials Giles had wanted from Wesley, he went downstairs.
He found Faith dressed for the day in a modest for her scoop necked red sweater, jeans, and boots in the kitchen eating some cereal. "Hi, Watcher-man, find the coffee?" she asked looking up at him.
"Yes. Thank you. You seem like you slept well. Been up long?" he asked pouring himself another cup from the pot before joining her at the island table in the large modern kitchen. She had taken the blackout curtains down in the room, and it was very bright, and cheery now.
Faith shrugged. "Okay, I guess. Weird dreams though most of night. Kept seeing Dru, weird tea parties, dolls, and Spike. Should of had you do something I guess. I thought I was whacked out, she was totally off her gourd. Didn´t mind the Spike parts—they were… interesting," she grinned wickedly then ducked her head, and blushed.
"I´ll definitely get the supplies from the shop today," he replied dryly, shaking his head. "So have you had a chance to see what we need around here to get shopping wise?" he asked, she was good at figuring what they were out of food wise, she just didn´t like shopping for it.
"On top of it," she said handing him a list from her pocket which he looked over and agreed with.
"Cable?" he asked at the last item on the list.
"Please? Please? TV here sucks without it. It´s not like LA. Got to have something to unwind with, since you won´t give me my Playstation back," she pouted, getting up and taking her bowl to the sink, and rinsing it out.
"I´ll think on it. Do we have a phone?" he asked. He had been too tired to notice last night.
"Haven´t found on yet, but saw some outlets all over the place. Guess we gotta add that to the list. Hope the computers made it okay. The boxes are in the living room," she told him. "You gonna eat?"
"Not yet. I want to get this meeting over with, and see what needs to be done," he replied getting up.
"Nervous, huh? I thought you never got that way," she said following him to the living room.
"Depends. Just don´t show it. Aren´t you?" he asked picking up his coat, looking at her pointedly.
She just looked at him. "Yeah, bunches. But I promise to be good no matter how hard they try to bait me—Willow, and the Xanman are good at that kind of thing. Is Spike, or this other slayer going to be there?" she asked putting on her jacket.
"I don´t know. Let me give Rupert a call before we leave," he replied, getting his cell phone out, and calling the shop having to go near the uncovered French doors to the garden to get a decent reception for his phone.
Faith wandered off poking through the boxes while he made the call. After a couple of minutes Keith came back. "They´re on their way. Willow´s stopping by their house to pick them up. They should be there by the time we arrive. Rupert gave me the directions on how to get there from here," he added.
"Yeah, he didn´t have the shop before. We all used to meet at the library at the High school, or his home. Still can´t get over B bonking Spike, and Buffy´s mom being cool with it, then letting him live at the house. Then there´s Dawn, for some reason I don´t remember B having a sis, then I do. I know all about the "Key" thing but it´s still freaky, man," Faith told him as they left the house.
It took them about fifteen minutes to get to the shop. There were a few changes here, and there Faith noted as the scenery flashed by. She´d have to do a walking tour, and get herself re-familiarized with the territory again. They found a parking spot, and got out. Faith was tensing up, and bracing herself as she followed Keith into the store. The heavy incense laden air almost knocked her over as she walked through the door. Yeph, this was an occult—new age store, she thought as she recovered, feeling a bit lightheaded. As it was she almost missed introductions, but did manage a timid, "hi, guys" to the group at the table studying her. They mumbled back replies, and then tried to ignore, or not look at her. ‘Ohh, this was going to be so much fun—things just don´t change´, Faith sighed about their attitudes.
Without trying to stare, Faith looked over the Scoobies noticing changes. Red´s hair was shorter, Xander´s longer, the blonde witch, Tara, looked pretty much the same, so did Spike looking her over in return with a raised eyebrow, and a smirk on his pale face. It was ‘Buffy´ that threw her. If she hadn´t known about the switch it really would have unnerved her. The girl sitting at the table even looked like she was from the past with her hair up, no makeup, and the very modest, covering clothes. The girl was looking down shyly not wanting to meet her eyes. She was very nervous, seeming like she was going to bolt at any minute, and was not happy being there. Then there was the pretty, intense, blond girl behind the counter looking at her with a worried, jealous expression who had to be Anya, Xander´s girlfriend. The only one she didn´t really know was the brown haired young teenager, who had to be Dawn. The young girl sitting next to Spike on the steps to the loft was looking her over cautiously with puzzlement on her pretty features.
"Hey, Keith, you old sod, like the bloody beard, see you finally grew a decent one," Spike said with a warm smile getting up, and giving his old friend a hug, shocking the Scoobies who didn´t know about how really close he, and the Watcher had been in the past.
"And you´re still doing white hair bit. Thought you get tired of it," Keith quirked back, releasing him to stand back and grin at the vampire. The Scotsman was actually glad to see him, especially if he was one of the good guys now. He had liked the upchipped version years ago too because of the vampire´s ethics of not biting someone just for the sake of biting, his sense of fun, and intelligence.
"Dru liked it, so I kept it," he shrugged. "No word on my ex, huh?" Spike asked leaning against the counter nearby.
"Not a trace, sorry to say. The group has seemed to have dropped below radar for a while," he told him, and the vampire nodded in understanding. When Darla wanted hide she did quite well, and it was damned near impossible to find her. Then he turned his eyes towards Faith looking her up, and down suggestively with a slight leer, "So you´re Faith? Nice to met you in ‘your´ flesh," he grinned, making her blush.
"Yeah, thanks," she stammered wishing the earth would swallow her up. No, he hadn´t forgotten her stunt, and was going to tease her about it, but was all it was a tease nothing beyond that because of his feeling for Buffy.
Keith looked at both of them. "You two behave—got it?" he said at Spike, and Faith, and they both nodded, and Spike slunk back with a chuckle over to his spot by Dawn while Faith sat down on the step by the counter not ready to join everyone at the table yet. Then Keith turned his attention to Lizzy who had been watching the exchange with a frown. "So you´re Elizabeth?´ he asked.
"Yes, sir," she said with a precise British accent, really surprising Keith that the switch had also changed the girl´s manner of speaking. "Spike explained the situation with me last night. I am very grateful that there is another slayer, and she is willing to do this since I…"
"You won´t bloody do your job, Lizzy," Spike finished for her, disgusted. She whipped her head around to glare at him, then turned her attention back to Keith, her eyes reflecting all too well the hurt she was feeling.
It had taken Joyce, and Dawn persuading her to go to get her out of the house this morning because she didn´t want to come at all. Spike had also done his share of yelling at her too. Threatening to dress her himself if she wasn´t ready by the time Willow came to pick them up. His patience was starting to wear thin with her, and he knew it, and hated himself for it. The lovesick glances she kept giving him weren´t helping either. If Joyce and Dawn hadn´t needed his help he would have moved back to the crypt, but he refused to abandon Buffy´s family, feeling he had a duty to protect them all while the real Buffy was gone.
"Spike!" Dawn yelled at him shooting the vampire a look, while giving him a punch on the arm. She hoped that Lizzy didn´t burst into tears again. "Apologize," she ordered him.
He looked chastised, "Sorry, Nibblet. I´m sorry Lizzy, didn´t mean to get you upset, but truth is bloody truth. That is why Faith is here. If you´d just try to help…," he said, and saw her cringe back, and shake her head firmly no. He sighed, and went on, ignoring her since his words were falling on deaf ears. "Then I´ve been hearing noises around town through the grapevine that Glory might be planning something. I´m just bloody worried about all of us, understand?" he said trying to be reasonable.
"I do. If she does show up at the house I will protect Joyce, and Dawn, but I will not patrol—ever," she said determinedly, getting up, and going back to the training room to be alone.
Spike started to follow her then thought better of it, he looked to Faith, and Keith for their reactions which were both grim. "Now you understand what we´re bloody well up against. It´s not that she isn´t a slayer, it´s that she refuses to be one. And we´ve run out of ideas on how to make her be one," Spike explained.
"I got, it lad. She´s going to be a tough nut to crack. A real challenge," Keith told him, and felt Faith punch him lightly in the leg.
"And I wasn´t?´ she asked, with a grin.
"You still are, girl. You want to go introduce yourself to the lass, and see if she´s willing to talk to you?" he asked looking down at her.
"Might as well. She definitely ain´t B. And I kind of figure you want to talk?" she asked standing up, and casting a glance to the table of stone faced Scoobies before turning back to him.
"Aye, I need to be laying out things, and seeing what the score is," he told her meaningfully.
"Got it," she said, and went off to find the other girl, and check out the rest of the shop.
The still blonde haired slayer was sitting on the couch in the training room crying with a handkerchief crumbled in her small hands. She looked up fearfully at the approach of the other girl.
"Hi, I´m Faith. Do you go by Elizabeth, or Lizzy, or what?" she asked, keeping her distance to give the girl space.
The girl wiped her eyes, and blew her nose before replying as she looked up to the other slayer. "It doesn´t matter. I´ve gotten used to answering to almost anything now, especially from William. He, and Xander tend to get very creative with names. Are you hear to give me a ‘pep´ talk as they say?" Lizzy asked.
"Me, no. I figure you got to have your reasons why you don´t wanna. Seem like you´re pretty well set against it," Faith answered, still having a hard time with the idea of it being B´s body, but no B in it. But the girl that was looking at her did not look back the same way Buffy always had at her, nor was she acting, or looking appearance wise like the older slayer. Buffy would never be caught dressing so dorky, or non fashion conscious taking in the long black flowered skirt, the prim white blouse, red cardigan sweater, and sensible shoes. The two witches were better dressed than this girl was, and that was saying a lot, Faith thought. The girl screamed nerd, loser.
"I am. I just can´t. Even if I was sent back to my time I wouldn´t be able to. Though I would also hope that all my memories of this horrible place would vanish too," Lizzy said unhappily, straightening herself to face the other girl.
"I take it´s been pretty rough because you´re not Buffy? Been there. If you know anything about me, that´s one of the reasons I went a little psycho. All the Buffy worship around here. When I came I thought I was going to be the only one because you get called when the one before you bites it. I get here, and there she was with her friends, family, her Watcher, and going to school like she was all normal girl. That´s not how it´s supposed to work. When you´re a slayer you give up everything, everyone for your job. And I tried to fit in you know, be friends, but after a while I just gave up, and then Wesley showed up as my Watcher to replace Rupert after the Council fired him. That didn´t work any better. So I got mad, and switched sides with the Mayor who did treat me good. Then I went after B, her friends, and Angel to make them pay except I´m the one that paid with a coma for eight months. I woke up even madder, and went after them again, switched bodies with B hoping that the Watchers would drag her off thinking she was me, but she figured out how to unswitch us. I ran to LA, and made a bigger mess, and got sent to jail for awhile. But now I´ve got a real cool guy for a Watcher, and he treats me like a human being, and I´m not psycho like I was," Faith told her laying her cards out to the new girl.
Lizzy had heard bits, and parts of this story so she wasn´t as shocked as she had been initially. She realized if nothing else they had both switched bodies with Buffy, and also knew very well what it was like to be the outsider with this group. "It seems we do have much in common. Yes, they still worship her around here. I feel that if I did take up my duties that I would never measure up to her no matter how hard I try. Then there is William, or Spike as you know him. In the past we were engaged to be married, and would have been if I hadn´t been called, and when I vanished from his life it supposedly set him on a path where he eventually he became a vampire. As Spike, he is in love with Buffy, and refuses to have anything to do with me more than just as a friend. Then there is this alternate time line that the Council unearthed that shows my William marrying Buffy in the past. Besides being very confusing, it means no matter what I do I will not have his love once he meets her. And people wonder why I withdraw?" Lizzy said, bitterly, staring up at her for the other girl´s reaction, and seeing real sympathy for a change. Despite the others opinions of Faith she was really liking the dark haired slayer and feeling a kinship with her.
"That´s a real bummer, Liz, so she gets your guy no matter what?" Faith commiserated with her. "The only one of hers I was interested in was Angel, but with his lose his soul bit, I´m not risking it after I heard about how dangerous he is. Not that I couldn´t take him, or anything, but I like soul-boy the way he is. And old Spike, any stories you may have heard about him, and me-- was just my seeing how far I could push him using B´s body, not knowing he already had the hots for her. That blew me away finding that out. Though I did screw old soldier boy, and found out later she was pissed at him because he couldn´t tell," Faith smiled.
"Ohh," Lizzy blushed. "It seems Buffy was… rather…busy," Lizzy managed to say, blushing furiously.
"Ohh yeah! That body of yours has seen a workout, including with old blue eyes out there. That´s why he´s so upset about her being gone though I am surprised he hasn´t tried taking up with you," Faith said watching the girl´s shocked reaction to the news as to her it was news.
"They, as you say ‘slept together´?" Lizzy asked bluntly, getting angry. Spike had not told her that, only that they had been in love. No one else had said anything to her either. Her hands were balling into fist fists.
"Yeah, Spike, and Angel had a little childe to grandsire discussion about it. With Angel giving up his claims to Buffy. Kind hard no to hear about it as Angel exploded, and you could have heard him down the block ranting on and on, until Wes, Cordy, and Keith calmed him down. So you didn´t know?" Faith asked, seeing murder in the girl´s hazel eyes.
"No, no one has said a thing that they were that intimate. And I gather it was her spirit that also attracted him, since mine means nothing to him now," Lizzy spat, trying to control her hurt and rage.
"I guess. But judging from the look in your eye, he´s going to be lucky you don´t stake him," Faith said, feeling sorry for the girl.
Lizzy met her eyes, and nodded tightly as she said harshly, "I´m extremely close right now. The cad! He will get a piece of my mind for not telling me the extent of his relationship with ‘her´. I appreciate your candor, Faith. You are actually the first person besides Dawn, and possibily Joyce that I feel I can talk to. The ‘Scoobies´ are not my friends, they are ‘hers´. They put up with me. I do feel that you, and I do have much in common. I would very much like us to be friends, if that is possible?" she asked hopefully cocking her head, and not resembling Buffy anymore to the dark haired slayer.
"Yeah, I think I´d like that. I thought you wouldn´t like me because I get a little brassy, and mouthy," Faith said truthfully, surprised at the girl´s offer of friendship.
"I am getting used to you Americans, and your ways. I have to put up with Spike´s behavior every day. He is not the gentleman I once knew, and likes his crude ways. No, I find you very refreshing, and remind me of myself when I was home. I was not always so lady like, except he never knew it," she said with a secret smile.
"Ohh, feisty were you? It kind of comes with being a slayer, so this Lady Jane act is just that, an act?" Faith asked amused.
"For the most part so I didn´t have to deal with the lot of them. But I am still serious on the slaying—I won´t do it, not unless I really have to. If I did, then you´d be out of a job, and you just got here," Lizzy said, and Faith understood.
"That´s cool. Me, I live for my slaying to take out all my anger, and frustration with the world. Nothing like a good monster pounding, and seeing the suckers go poof when I stake them. So I get a little banged up, it´s no biggie. It just makes me feel alive," the slayer said with enthusiasm.
"While it terrifies me to be so out of control. The rush, I guess you call it—it´s so intense. I feel ashamed that I do enjoy it so much, and the power. That, and other feelings that I shouldn´t have," she blushed looking down at her hands.
"You get hot and horny, right? Yeah, I bet that would sort of unnerve you not understanding where it was coming from. And I doubt if you could talk about it to Giles, or Spike? I mean they´re guys. Luckily, my first Watcher was a woman, and explained the slayer facts of life to me. I already knew the real ones long before that, but if I remember rightly girls back in your day didn´t talk about such things. It wasn´t lady like?" Faith said understanding the problem, and not smirking at her.
"Exactly. It just wasn´t done. My first monthly terrified me, and it took Cook to explain what had happened to me as my Mother couldn´t. I had no idea what was going to be happening when William, and I got wed. All I was told was that I was to obey, and do whatever was asked of me as his wife no matter how shocking, or distasteful it might be," Lizzy told her.
"Wow, that´s harsh, Liz, being some guy´s property like that. I know I couldn´t handle it. So how old are you in your time? You just sound younger than me," Faith asked.
"Seventeen. I will eighteen in January. How old are you?" she asked not being able to tell.
"Eighteen going on nineteen in April. I got found when I was fourteen, and started training. I didn´t get called until I was sixteen though, so I haven´t been slaying that long, or as long as B. Tell you what if you want hang out, you can come over to my place? If want, you can help me unpack things?" Faith offered.
"Sound great, as they say. The only thing I was going to do was go home, and read after we got through here. I´m only here because Spike insisted. Your Watcher won´t mind?" she asked getting up.
"Keith, nay. He´s a cool guy. He, and I get along real well," Faith said with a real smile.
"Talking about me again, lassie?" Keith said from the doorway. "Everything okay in here? The others were afraid you might of killed, and eaten her," he grinned, seeing that the two girls seemed to be getting along very well which relieved, and did sort of surprise him.
"Yeah, they would think that. No, everything is five by five, Watcher-man. Got things sorted out with ‘them´?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
Keith nodded coming into the room. "Pretty much. We´ll meet Spike tonight as soon as it´s dark at the ‘Resthaven´ cemetery. He´ll give us a walking tour of all the current hotspots, and problems."
"The others aren´t coming?" Faith asked, not surprised, crossing her arms while Lizzy looked on staying out of the way.
"No, and Spike told then he could handle it anyway without them. Anya, and Willow are getting the ritual house cleaning supplies for me, so I can do that when we get home after we stop by the grocery. So you two ladies are getting along?" Keith asked coming closer studying the other girl carefully and noting how nervous she was with him. This one was going to need very patient and careful handing and he doubted if she had been getting the support she really needed.
"Yeah, I think we are. Lizzy wanted to know if she could come over, and help us get settled in. Is that okay?" Faith asked.
Keith was surprised. He really hadn´t expected that, and got a grin on his face. "Sure lassie, no problem. Love to have you over, Lizzy," he said speaking to girl now. "It won´t be causing any problems with Spike, or any of them, will it?" he asked, still trying to get a handle of the dynamics of this group.
"No. I was planning on leaving here alone anyway, and just go home. Joyce has recovered, and doesn´t need my help so much now. Dawn, and Spike were going to stay, and do research on Glory, and the Council papers. I just get in the way, and can´t take the arguing they all do. I do feel for Mr. Giles when they are all together. They are very annoying. I´d like to come over, if that´s okay?" she asked to be sure.
"Fine with me, if you´re sure?" he asked, going cautiously with her.
"Yes, very sure, and I think Faith, and I will have fun," she said to both of them.
"Okay. Let´s go see if they have my stuff ready, and get on the road," he said, heading back to the main part of the store.
And the trio went back in. Lizzy told Spike, and Dawn that she´d be back home later, that she was going with Faith and Keith which totally floored the Scoobies, and Giles. They had all expected the girls to hate one another. That they appeared to like one another worried them on a lot of levels as they still didn´t trust Faith. So when the three left together, the Scoobies just stared after them in shock.
"Is anyone else worried that those two like one another?" Xander asked breaking the silence in the shop.
"Lots," Willow replied, looking to Spike for his reaction which mirrored everyone elses.
He caught her look, and shook his head, mystified. "Hell, Red, I don´t know what´s up? Don´t bloody ask me. Lizzy has been real weird recently, and keeps to herself. But Keith´s with them, he´ll keep a eye on the situation. Maybe it´ll be a good thing. Maybe Faith will get Lizzy over her slaying phobia, since none of us have been able to," he answered, trying to think positively.
"Yeah, maybe," Willow said doubtfully. "Still it´s weird seeing the two them so chummy since I was sure Faith would totally disgust, and repel her. I mean, we are a lot nicer than Faith, and Lizzy can´t stand us," she added confused, and hurt that all her overtures to the girl had been repulsed, especially after Lizzy had found out she, and Tara were gay.
"No kidding," Xander put in. "Well, all we can do is stand back, and watch, and hope that Faith doesn´t corrupt the girl."
"She wouldn´t do that, would she?" Dawn asked, looking around the table.
"She bloody better not, or there will only be one slayer instead of two," Spike said, now worried about his former love, and wondering what she was really up to.
The group nodded in agreement to his sentiment, then dug into the pile of books, and papers on the table to begin their research for the day.
End Part 50
||Art Work 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10|
For Comments, Complaints or Suggestions: