Chapter Three: Captive
So this was what it all came down to. All that Slayer power and training and what was she doing? Bouncing drunks out of some club when they got a little rowdy. It had been fun at first; she got free drinks on her nights off, listened to some choice music while she worked. And she still found a special kind of joy in the look of shock that spread across the faces of the three hundred pound no-necks when she brought ‘em to their knees without even breaking a sweat. Yeah, that was a fucking kick.
Still… something was missing. She felt like she was just killing time here, and she wasn’t sure what she was waiting for. She’d sent Wesley some cash when she got her first paycheck. She could mark that debt paid in full, but she hadn’t seen him since that morning when she’d made him breakfast. One month and four days ago. Not that she was counting, she’d just become finely attuned to the passage of time since her stint behind bars.
Yeah, sure. She shook her head; she’d been thinking about Wes a lot lately. It didn’t help that she kept imagining she saw him everywhere she went. Some nights she swore she saw him in the crowd at the club, but when she stormed over to confront him there was no one there. Twice now she’d spotted him at the grocery store, but it was never him, and she was starting to think she was really losing it.
She needed to get laid, was what it was. She was focusing in on Wesley because he was the only guy she’d had any meaningful (yeah, right!) contact with since she got out. As soon as she had herself a little ride with a real man she wouldn’t be all Watcher-obsessed. Trouble was she hadn’t found anyone remotely interesting to take that ride with.
She glanced across the room. One of the other bouncers stood with his arms crossed, eyeing the crowd as he watched for trouble. Now there was a prime piece of beef. All big and hard and making it obvious every time she saw him that he wouldn’t mind getting her off all night long. Problem was, he was as dumb as a brick and she just couldn’t manage to work up the enthusiasm to fuck a brain dead idiot. She wondered when that had started to matter, didn’t take a rocket scientist to get the job done.
Her gaze shifted to the left. And then there was Mike; he was one of the regulars. Good looking, reasonably intelligent; he’d seemed like a good candidate until she’d had to save his ass from a mugger a week ago. He’d cried like a little girl, practically wet his pants, and that had been that. Sissified momma’s boys didn’t really do it for her. Why was she having such a hard time finding someone who measured up to these standards she’d suddenly discovered she had? Never used to be this hard; maybe this whole good guy routine she had going was screwing with her more than she’d realized.
She wove her way through the crowd on the dance floor as a throbbing beat started up. Working her way to the bar, she grabbed a seat and ordered a soda. She’d have preferred something harder, but the manager had been very clear about not drinking on the job. Jackass. Wasted, she could fight better than any guy in here when they were stone cold sober. Oh, well. Two more hours and she was off the clock.
She was almost finished with her drink when she felt it. A tingle in the middle of her back that told her she was being watched. She set down her glass, focusing in on the feeling as she glanced around the club. It wasn’t a vamp or a demon, but it was intense; she could feel that stare practically burning a whole through her skin. She stood slowly, turning around as she glanced up to the balcony. Who was watching her?
He watched as she made her way through the throng of writhing bodies below; she swayed slightly to the rhythm of the music as she approached the bar, and every guy she passed turned to watch her move. He’d been coming here every night since he’d first seen her here; he wasn’t sure exactly why. She’d almost caught him a couple times, but he’d managed to get out of there before he’d been discovered.
He wasn’t sure why he’d taken to following her. At first he’d been worried about her, hadn’t wanted to be, but he was. Once he’d seen that she was doing fine on her own he’d tried to go back to his regular routine, but night after night he found himself here. Watching her. Sometimes she was working, sometimes she just sat at the bar, and some nights… some nights she danced. She moved like a wild thing, twisting her way around the dance floor, lost in her own world. Her movements were a seduction, sex incarnate, but she never shared them with anyone. Sometimes someone would attempt to invade her space and steal a moment with her, but she eventually turned her back on them and went back to her solitary dance.
He hated her. Hated that she’d somehow gotten to him without even trying. Hated that he came here to see her instead of doing his job. Hated that she’d come to his house a month ago and disrupted his life and his thoughts. And he hated that she hadn’t come back since. God, he was pathetic.
He saw her tense suddenly, setting her drink down as she turned and stared right at him. He straightened from the railing in surprise; he knew there was no way she could see him up here in the darkness, but he could swear she was staring right into his eyes. She started towards the stairs and he vanished into the crowd.
Yep, she was definitely losing it. She’d searched the crowd on the balcony about a hundred times, sure that if she just looked hard enough she’d eventually see Wesley. He hadn’t been there, of course. She was just seeing his face all over the place again. Dammit. What was her problem? She leaned against the bar again, counting the minutes till she could get out of this place. Half an hour. Longest damn night of her life.
She took the long way home, thinking maybe she’d get in a little action. With all the business Angel and his pals managed to pull in she’d figured L.A. must be filthy with demons, but she hadn’t run into jack shit this past month. How was that possible? She’d always attracted trouble; you’d think a young girl walking alone at night in the bad part of town would at least rouse the human monsters, if nothing else.
As she rounded the corner onto her street and came even with the next alley a group of twelve, darkly dressed – What the fuck were they? Faith shrugged – twelve, darkly dressed… somethings stepped out in front of her, blocking her way. She smiled. Now this was more like it. Shitty odds, too so she’d get to work for it. This was definitely her kind of night. They just stood there staring at her for a long time, and she wondered what the deal was. Widening her stance, she spread her arms with a smile.
“Are you gonna bring it, or you just gonna stare at me all night? I mean, sure I’m real nice to look at, but I’m thinking you guys? More the fighting type. Am I right?” The guy in front pulled off his ski mask. Human, she noticed before registering the noise coming from behind her. Throwing a look over her shoulder, she noticed about twenty more of the ninja guys moving in behind her. Her smile slipped slightly. Wow, really bad odds. “Aw, look. You brought friends.” She turned towards the second group slightly, and snapped her leg out to the side to kick the human guy hard in the gut, knocking him backwards into his buddies. For a moment everyone was still and then all hell broke loose.
She almost panicked for a moment as they rushed her from all sides, but then she sprang into action. She grabbed the first two and slammed their heads together, watching as they dropped like stones. She smiled; maybe they were all human, make this much easier if they were. Two of them grabbed her from behind – nope, definitely too strong to be human – and the first guy managed to land a couple punches. Planting a foot against his stomach, she swung her other leg up, kicking him hard in the face, and he was down for the count.
Feet back on the ground she pulled her arms free, slinging one of the bastards to the pavement before spinning quickly to wail on the other one. More came at her, and suddenly she was lost in the fight. Punching and kicking, dodging and feinting, her blood pumping like crazy. God, she had missed this. She spun around, preparing to fight off another attack, and saw Wes step into the alley. She paused for a moment, confused. What the hell was he doing here? She had to hand it to the guy; he didn’t even flinch at the odds, instead moving quickly towards her, rushing to the rescue again.
She smiled slightly – what a little hero he’d become – but as their eyes met she felt something slam into her back, and a painful jolt of electricity shot through her body. She tried to warn Wesley, but she wasn’t sure if she’d managed to speak before losing consciousness.
He’d been so busy hiding from her that he’d missed it when she finally left for the night. Hurrying out the door, he paused for a moment before heading down the street that would take him to Faith’s apartment. He was almost there when he heard noises from the alley up ahead. There was no question that it was her, but he moved cautiously, not wanting her to see him if she was just fighting a random vamp.
Peering around the corner, he saw Faith fending off about forty attackers. She seemed to be holding her own, but he doubted she’d mind a bit of help. As he stepped into the alley she swung around, fists raised, ready to fight. She stumbled slightly when she saw him, her guard dropping momentarily in confusion. She’d just started to smile when suddenly her eyes widened in pain, her body convulsing slightly before she crumpled to the ground.
He wasn’t really thinking clearly as he charged them; all he knew was that Faith was hurt, and he had to help her. He managed to take down six of them before they even realized he was there, and then they were on him. Once he hit the ground everything got a little fuzzy. There was shouting and suddenly the beating stopped. Voices faded in and out as he drifted towards unconsciousness.
“…gonna have our heads…”
“…can’t just leave him…”
“…I say…load him up… deal with… later…” Then he was being lifted off the ground, and everything went black.
Where was she? She could hear the rumble of an engine and the low hum of voices in the background, but when she tried to open her eyes her eyelids felt like they’d been weighted down. She shifted slightly and realized that she was chained up. How many times was it now that she’d woken up in chains? God, she really needed to rethink this whole Slayer thing.
At least Wes knew she was in trouble; maybe he’d call in the troops. Wasn’t that his thing now, the big rescue? What had he been doing there anyway? Oh, god. What if he’d been hurt? They’d taken her down easily enough; what chance would Wes have had? Unless… unless this was his idea. What if he’d called those Council guys? They were probably still all hot to punish their disobedient Slayer, right? It would sure as hell explain why he’d been there. No! No, she knew he wouldn’t do that. He’d saved her from those pricks once already, and that had been back when he hated her. Yeah, and he’s just full of the warm fuzzies for you these days, right Faithy?
“Shut up!” Great. Now she was talking to herself. Time to wake the fuck up. Her eyes snapped open, and for a moment she couldn’t see anything as she adjusted to the darkness. She was in the back of some kind of truck, maybe a van. Feet were chained to the floor, but her hands, for some strange reason, were free. Well, not free, exactly; they were chained together, but they weren’t tethered to anything. A smile spread across her face. Idiots.
She glanced around and saw Wesley sprawled in the corner, leaning against the side of the van. Couldn’t see his hands, but his feet were tied together so at least she knew he hadn’t been in on it. Stupid jerk. Why’d he always have to rush in like some kind of tough guy? Now she was gonna have to help him escape, too. She twisted around and pulled herself up onto her knees.
“Well, this is… familiar,” she said with a smirk as she edged towards him. “Just couldn’t wait to get me all chained up again, huh? Kinky, Wes, I like your style.” No response. What was he, fucking asleep over there? “Rise and shine, soldier. No time for- Oh, my god!” His face was barely recognizable, covered in cuts and bruises and already swelling all over the goddamn place. Looked like they’d worked him over real good. He looked – she closed her eyes briefly – he looked dead. She checked nervously for a pulse, breathing a sigh of relief when she felt a nice steady rhythm pounding away in his wrist.
She made short work of his shirt, figured she’d better check for broken ribs or whatever other damage they might have caused. His chest and stomach looked worse than his face, if that was even possible, but nothing seemed to be broken. She needed to get him to a fucking hospital and soon; he could be bleeding internally right now, and there was nothing she could do about it. Running a gentle hand over his ribs, she wondered how he’d managed to survive such a severe beating. He shifted slightly, and his eyes fluttered open.
“Wes? Are you okay? Can you talk?” Faith asked. He just stared at her in confusion for a moment before glancing down at her hand on his chest. He looked back up at her, and she could swear he was smiling. Hard to tell with all the damage, though.
“You know, Faith,” he wheezed. “There are easier ways to get me out of my clothes.” She laughed in surprise. Jackass looked like he’d lost a fight with a semi, and he was cracking jokes. Impressive.
“Very funny.” She dropped down to sit next to him, stretching as far as her restraints would allow. “Thought you were dead there for a minute.”
“I’m sure that must have been very sad for you,” he muttered. “Scared you wouldn’t get the pleasure of killing me yourself?” She closed her eyes, clenching her fists to keep from popping him one.
“Have to get back to you on that one, little banged up at the moment.”
“I’m serious, Wes. Shut the fuck up.” She stared at her feet as an awkward silence fell. Inside she was seething. Fucking asshole. What? He thought she didn’t care that he’d almost been beaten to death for trying to help her? What kind of cold hearted bitch did he think she was? Maybe the kind of cold-hearted bitch who’d torture a man for hours, just for fun. She shook her head slightly. Stupid brain.
He watched her restrain the urge to finish the beating the others had started, and sighed in relief. Amazing. She had been worried. About him. He couldn’t believe it, wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it written all over her face when he’d first woken up. Of course now she was pissed off, probably thinking of how easy it would be to kill him here in the back of this van and get away with it, but he’d done that on purpose. It was easier for him to deal with her when she hated him. That’s how it was supposed to be between them, what he was used to. Angry Faith, violent, smart-ass Faith – that he could deal with. The soft concern she’d been watching him with before? Much harder to handle.
The van suddenly stopped moving, and the engine shut off. Faith shot him a startled look and quickly slid back to where she’d woken up. She motioned for him to be quiet then she closed her eyes, feigning unconsciousness just as the back doors opened, and he quickly followed her lead.
“Why is she loose?” someone asked. “I distinctly remember telling you to make sure both her feet and hands were securely fastened to the floor of the transport vehicle. The way you have her now gives her the chance to strangle whoever goes in to retrieve her.”
“Give her the taser again, just to be on the safe side.” Faith moved then, struggling briefly in an attempt to get away from the taser. There was a sickening sizzle as they shocked her, making him flinch, making him feel useless for not having been able to stop it. And then –
“What the hell is he doing here?” Wesley’s eyes snapped open. Lilah?
“He was there, helping her. We didn’t realize who he was until – well, we knew you wouldn’t want us to just leave him there.”
“Take him to the infirmary, now! And you better hope they can fix him up or you’re all dead.”
“Yes, ma’am.” As they hauled him out of the van; he tried desperately to think of something to do, some way to get out of this mess, but it was useless. The condition he was in – he wasn’t even sure he’d be able to walk, much less mount an escape with Faith unconscious. Maybe once he’d healed a bit he could get them out of here. He’d just have to bide his time.