Chapter Forty Six ~ Mama Said Knock You Out
***Hold on to your hats, kiddies - it's going to be a bumpy ride... ;) ***
Chapter Forty Six ~ Mama Said Knock You Out
“Listen to the way I slay your crew
Mama said knock you out.”
~ LL Cool J
Spike and Buffy left the warehouse at dusk. First stop: Faith’s apartment. Not a chance she was still there, but she might’ve left some leads behind. The duo made their way to a nondescript stucco block on the East side of town, stereotypically close to the railroad tracks. Spike dug the spare key out of its hidey hole and opened the door to the tiny apartment. Buffy tried hard to ignore the fact that her boyfriend knew where that key was. They both had ex-lovers and checkered pasts (Spike quite a bit more so maybe) it was best to just let it be. But still...it prickled at her like cactus spines in the skin. Why did Faith seem to be a part of everything in her life?! She’d laid her hands on every man Buffy had ever loved now. It ate at her, her anger was a steady, acid boil beneath the surface. A reckoning was surely due...
That thought drove her forward, searching the apartment relentlessly for clues. An inspection of the rooms made it clear the two girls had packed in a rush; there were clothes spilling from drawers and shoes toppling out of closets. Cupboards stood open in the kitchen and dirty dishes were piled in the sink, meanwhile the apartment itself was cold and dark. No one had been home for at least 24 hours. They searched the apartment from top to bottom and found a frustrating lack of leads. Even the phone was dead, so there was no chance of pulling a *69 or redial.
Damn Faith and her inability to pay a fucking bill on time.
Buffy thought bitterly. She was already tired of playing chase, felt like she’d been at this game for too many years already. They made a second sweep of the apartment and small side yard just to be sure. Nothing there but an ancient hibachi and some mismatched patio furniture. Buffy pushed away her imaginings of happy family barbecues, Spike manning the grill while Dawn laughed and Faith brought him beer and kisses. It was too easy to picture him here, fitting right in to the home Faith was clearly trying to make for Dawn. Buffy swallowed her bitterness and turned away from the battered screen door. Better to concentrate on the task at hand, ignore all these bad thoughts till... never. She didn’t want to look too closely at what might-have-been; Spike a happy house-husband here with Faith while she was chained to Riley living out the American Dream in nowhere, Iowa.
She sighed and tried to refocus. It looked like the next stop was a grand tour of Sunnydale’s finest cemetaries. Spike knew of at least 20 crypts that would accommodate the runaways and Faith would be in her element there. It made sense she’d go to ground somewhere familiar. It was going to be a long and tedious night - this little town was home to no less than a dozen graveyards. They’d have to comb through each one.
Spike rushed to reassure her that Dawn would be found soon, that she was absolutely safe and Faith would never do anything to harm her. “As far as she’s concerned Dawn’s her only real family. She loves her, would do anything for her. There’s no way in hell she’d ever hurt her, Buffy – I promise you.”
It was hard to mesh the picture he painted of Faith as devoted sister to the one Buffy had in her head. The Faith she knew was a monster, and so far this one hadn’t done much to make her think otherwise. But Spike had never lied to her and she didn’t think he’d be so calm if he believed Dawn was in danger, he loved her little sister almost as much as she did. She allowed herself to take comfort in his certainty.
Thank God he was here. She felt his strength and support deeply. Not since Angel had she felt this kind of partnership. But even then Angel had only been there when he chose to be, whether she needed him or no. While Spike’s loyalty and devotion were unflagging. He was always there, no matter what she said or did. He was rock-solid back up come hell or high water.
She felt her desire for him more powerfully than ever. In spite of the constant low-grade worry, in spite of everything really she wanted him now. Or maybe it was because of everything that happened today... She almost lost him, and how crazy and unfair would that be after they finally, really found each other? Spike was obviously feeling it too, he couldn’t seem to stop touching her, looking at her as if he were memorizing her face. While his restless hands wandered over her body constantly; caressing, teasing, tickling. Ramping up the tension between them to almost unbearable levels.
After everything that happened today, Buffy found herself wanting to touch him all the more, to be reassured of his wholeness and his presence. And Spike…well Spike had always been handsy to say the least. They patrolled the graveyards as a team for an hour before finally deciding to split up. They would cover more ground that way, not to mention it was far less distracting to be apart. Together they were preoccupied and kissy, far too easily wrapped up in each other. They were torn between tenderness and longing but couldn’t seem to decide which to focus on first.
It had come to an (almost literal) head not ten minutes ago. They’d gotten within an inch of making love in the Browning crypt; clothes undone, limbs and mouths a feverish tangle. It was only Buffy reminding him of Dawn that stopped that train. It was then Spike reluctantly put forth the idea that they separate. They couldn’t seem to contain the feelings that were now threatening to overwhelm all else - and there was so much to be done now, with so little time to left to do it.
“Can’t focus with you around, Luv.” He kissed her then. “Can’t keep my hands off you.”
“Could you ever?”
“No.” he laughed and kissed her again. “But now, almost losing you today-”
She silenced him with her mouth.
“Don’t say it. Please.”
He rested his forehead on hers.
“I know. Can’t stand the thought myself - but it very nearly happened.”
“No!” she hissed fiercely. “It will never happen.”
Spike raised his brow with a smirk.
“Fixin’ to cheat death, are ya, Slayer?”
“Yes!” she looked indignant. “I’ll fight death and Glory and anyone else that tries to pull us apart!”
Her chin was set in that stubborn way he loved. He laughed and pulled her into his lap.
“That’s my girl. Fighter to the last.”
“I’d fight anyone for you.” She said earnestly.
“And vice-versa, Pet. Have no doubts.”
“I know.” She hugged him tight and was reassured to feel his strength surrounding her.
“We should go." He kissed the top of her head. "Find Dawn. Get this whole Faith mess sorted.”
“Yeah.” She parted from him reluctantly, adjusting her clothes while Spike eyed her wolfishly.
“Close one, eh, Slayer?” he waggled his eyebrows at her.
“And you said you wanted to wait, Mr. Romance. Something about a proper bed…”
She stood on her toes to kiss him.
“S’what you deserve, Buffy.” His voice was husky. “But as for wanting to wait…”
He pulled her close and let her feel the evidence of all his want.
She inhaled sharply and pulled him down by the hair at the nape of his neck. Spike growled and devoured her with a hungry kiss.
“Could have you now, Slayer.”
“Now. Here. Anywhere…” She breathed. Buffy was barely resisting the urge to throw him down and ride him like a show pony.
He growled again, this time in frustration and set her decidedly away from him.
“Dawn.” He said firmly.
“Dawn.” She agreed with a sigh.
“So, apart then, Love?”
“Looks like that’s the only way we’re gettin’ anything accomplished.”
“You know... I've always considered gettin’ you off an accomplishment.” He gave her a wicked grin.
“Stop that, you! You’ll get us all riled up again and I don’t know how much willpower I have left.”
.“I’m with you on that one...” Lust-filled eyes wandered over her body as his tongue touched his front teeth in that smouldery way that made her melt.
“Don’t look at me in that tone of voice…”
He shook his head and sighed.
“So off I go then.”
“Yes.” She nodded firmly. “Good decision.”
“Meet you back at the warehouse at daybreak?”
Buffy nodded and looked him in the eye.
“I love you, you know.” she said quietly.
He smiled, loving the sound of those words from her lips.
“Love you too, Sweet Bit.”
He moved to kiss her then thought better of it.
That way lies madness…
“Promise me you'll be careful of Faith now." His brow furrowed with gravity. "She’s wicked jealous of you, Pet. She might try something. She might not hurt Dawn but she’d have no problem hurting you.”
“ I know.” She replied, equally serious. “She’s already done massive damage in my world.”
Spike dared only the briefest kiss across the back of her hand before leaving.
Buffy smiled as she picked her way through Restfield. He really was the sweetest thing. As if she couldn’t handle Faith. She’d put her in the hospital once already, she could certainly do it again. And the way she was feeling about Faith these days – she’d even enjoy it.
Thinking of their last fight turned Buffy’s smile into a grin. The thought of kicking that skank’s ass was downright relaxing.
A husky chuckle broke the stillness of the night.
“Well, well, well...if it isn’t Little Red Riding Hood, all alone in the scary woods without her Big Bad.”
From out of the shadows of a tall, stone tomb stepped the devil herself.
“So is this the part where I say ‘My what a big mouth you have?’ Because, hey - already there.” Buffy snarked.
Faith smiled mockingly as she sauntered into view. “All the better to eat you with, baby.” She purred with a nasty wink. “Or is it ‘rip you to shreds while you die screaming’? I can never remember.”
A hand flew out in front of Buffy and planted itself on the stone wall beside her head. Faith leaned mock-casually against the crypt, blocking her way. “Ya know, B. I’m gettin’ really fuckin’ tired of you tryin’ to take my shit.” Buffy crossed her arms, not the least bit intimidated.
“What a coincidence.” She retorted. “I’m pretty damned tired of taking your shit myself.” She shot the other Slayer a brightly vicious smile. “ ‘Sides, I don’t think I took anything that didn’t want to be taken.”
Faith fell on her with a roar of indignation.
“ You just have ta have everything don’t ya?” She ground out leveling a solid right at her face. “You want my job, my sister, my man?” Left hook. “ Whatsamatter, B.? Too pathetic to get your own life? Gotta steal mine?”
She threw a sideways kick to the jaw, which Buffy ducked neatly.
“ Look who’s talking!” She shot back. “Who came to my town to take over my life? Whose friends are helping you, Faith? Whose Watcher?” She wove like a snake, Faith connecting with her only every third time.
Buffy felt the full force of her very righteous anger and let it fly. The last 2 years of lies, manipulation and hurt came rolling off her tongue;
“ You know it’s just so funny watching you now.” She landed an uppercut to the jaw, knocking Faith’s teeth together with a sharp clack. “I knew you couldn’t keep it up. Knew you were just waiting for the moment to show your true colors.” She blocked a return blow and followed up with a sharp jab. “You’re a vicious, psychotic killer.” Buffy planted a boot solidly in the girl’s chest sending her thudding to the ground. “In any world.” She smiled triumphantly.
Faith leapt from the dirt, stake in hand her eyes black with rage.
“ Whatcha gonna do Faith?” Buffy taunted, circling her. “Stake me?” She mocked.
“ Wouldn’t be the first murder you’ve committed.”
That stopped her cold.
“ What’re you talkin’ about? I never killed anyone.”
“ Not here. Not yet.”
Faith eyeballed her suspiciously.
“What do you mean?”
Buffy stood tall to look her enemy in the eye, drawing on her strength and fury.
“You killed a man in cold blood in my world.” She spat. “You poisoned Angel. Tortured Wesley. And you did your damndest to kill me. But I’m too strong for you, Faith - and I always will be.”
Buffy didn’t hold back when she kicked her in the face. A bootheel to the jaw had Faith on the ground again. It felt so fucking good. Finally that trashy whore was getting all that was coming to her. For every betrayal, every hurt, every insult Buffy owed her pain. The Slayer stood over her rival and grabbed her by the collar of her t-shirt, lining her up for a punch in the face. There was something primally satisfying about the crunch of her knuckles hitting Faith’s cheek bone. The skin split and began to bleed and she found that was satisfying too.
It was time for a beat down.
Eros watched the two Slayers battle, seemingly to the death this time, and turned his bewilderment on Aphrodite.
“Mother, you cannot possibly have meant for this…this insanity to take place!”
He stood by in horror as Buffy picked Faith up by her lapels and threw her against the nearest tree. A lesser mortal would have suffered a broken spine and a cracked skull. Faith shook it off and crawled to her knees.
“Oh, but I did, Dear Boy. It was the will of the Powers – and beyond that, pure Fate is in motion here.”
“I don’t understand – wasn’t the mission to bring the Slayer and Vampire together?”
“In part, yes. It was important they become truly mated. But there are forces at work here you don’t yet realize. The Fates have created a tangled skein for the players in our little drama." She gestured to the dark-haired girl, bleeding on the ground. "Behold Faith; her soul owes much. That is why her path is such a difficult one. She must reach a turning point now or her true destiny will never be reached.”
Aphrodite turned towards Buffy who stood with fists raised, preparing to beat the life out of her adversary.
“Then there is the Slayer – fighting for what’s hers at last, claiming Spike in a way she never has. It solidifies their bond, you see. She also has issues to work out with Faith. Frankly she owes that girl a good thrashing.”
The Goddess looked at her son seriously.
“All that happens in this world will echo throughout all the worlds that are. Plans are being set in motion for the battle to come and things that happen here could tip the scales for good or ill. That is why we are still here, why we must guard these children closely and guide them as best we can.”
He shook his head in bewilderment.
“Mother, I had no idea. How could a simple love match be the foundation for so much?”
“Nothing is ever simple, Eros.” She smiled at him gently.
“Least of all Love.”
Faith landed a backhanded punch across the face and broke through Buffy’s hold on her. She sprung to her feet, eyes flaming, the front of her shirt in shreds.
“You’re a liar!”
“I’m a liar?” Buffy’s eyebrows rose to her hairline in disbelief. “You’ve done nothing but lie since you got here. ‘Oh my watcher’s on vacation. I’m just visiting’.” she mocked in a whiny voice.
“That’s not fair! I was scared. Kakistos-”
“But it never stopped, Faith! When you sided with the Mayor-”
“I never sided -”
“When you tried to fuck Angel and then poisoned him when he wouldn’t have you.”
“When you took my body and fucked my boyfriend.”
“ What? Riley??”
“But most of all when you killed a man. You killed him and you showed not one fucking moment of remorse!”
When she hit Faith this time the other girl didn’t even try to stop her. Buffy planted her feet solidly and backhanded her across the face full force, watching as she hit the ground.
“You’re the liar. And a thief and a goddamned murderer.” Her green eyes glittered dangerously.
She pulled her fist back for a follow up punch when the look on Faith’s face stopped her.
Her brown eyes were wide – and full of tears. She looked lost and forlorn and somehow innocent. If such a thing were possible.
“I don’t understand this. I don’t understand any of this...” Her tears spilled over and trickled down her cheeks. Faith looked up at her wide-eyed, split lip bleeding. “I’m not a killer…I’m the Slayer.” She said earnestly.
Suddenly all of the heat went out of Buffy’s anger. She felt deflated, like a balloon someone let the air out of. Faith didn’t look like Faith anymore. She bore no resemblance to the swaggering, loud-mouthed tramp she was used to. She looked for all the world like a little lost girl. Buffy was annoyed at the urge she had to comfort her and blot the large, juicy teardrops from her cheeks.
Faith looked up at her in bewilderment.
“I’m the Slayer.”
Buffy extended her hand grudgingly and pulled her up off the ground.
“Yeah, well. It seems to be going around these days.”
*** So how'd ya like them apples? Buffy got her beat down in & Cupid & his mama made a guest appearance (and you thought I forgot about them didn't ya?) So much more action, intrigue & juciness to come. New chapter in the next few weeks. XOX Rosie ***
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