Running For Our Lives




Chapter 20: Falling to Earth

"Fuck!!" Faith screamed, ducking as the roof of the Malibu caved in, clipping her scalp and sending a jolt of pain through her head. Beside her Wesley ducked low and opened the door, diving out of it and into the parking lot.

She followed his example and dived out on her side, hitting the pavement at a roll. She came up on her feet and glared at the demon on the roof. Her eyes widened when she saw the thing perched atop the car.

She looked like a featherless gryphon, veiny wings spread wide in a clear statement of her challenge, human breasts bare as she breathed hard and her short tail whipping the air. Her eyes were gold and stood out in the mottled red skin and they looked at her shrewdly, as if there was much more intelligence behind the eyes than you would think by looking at her. Faith caught the stark black tattoo over the golden eyes and cursed under her breath.

"Faith!" Wesley called, climbing to his feet as Cordelia and Angel jumped out of the truck. Cordelia ran to the bed of the truck and slid out two swords, tossing one to Angel and one to Wesley. "Orin!" The Watcher screamed the name as it flashed across his memory.

"Wes! No!" She said, waving her arms and distracting the demon as she leapt off the truck, taloned hands clawing the air where Wesley had been as he slid out of the way. She turned her attention on Faith and hissed, beak clacking.


"You got me! And now what are you going to do with me, huh? Your sisters sure as hell had a hard time deciding and they ended up with a serious case of dead." Faith said, taunting the demon and keeping her eye on the two men behind the thing. She saw Cordelia slide two axes out of the bed of the truck and heft one her way, waiting for the opportunity to throw it to her.

"Sssso?" Orin hissed, her anger taking away her ability to speak clearly. A growl rumbled her chest and her wings beat the air, sending the smell of rotten meat toward Faith. A moment later the demon leapt at her, claws extended, sharp beak open and ready to gore her.

"Cordelia!" Faith held up her hand and the Seer threw the axe at her, praying her aim was good.

Faith jumped up, muscles uncoiling and her fingers wrapping around the leather wrapped handle, just in time to bring it arching down at the sister before her. The edge of the blade caught her on the arm and sticky brown blood oozed from the wound. The demon wailed and swiped at Faith, cuffing her on the ear and knocking her backward.

Angel and Wesley rushed in, blades extended and flashing in the overhead parking lights. Cordelia circled them and helped Faith to her feet. "Wesley!" Faith shouted as soon as she was on her feet again. Cordelia pulled her back just as the demon's tail swiped at the air where she would have been.

With a wrench, Faith pulled out of Cordelia's grip and dived back into the fray. "You're welcome." Cordelia muttered and dived after her, axe held aloft.

Angel ducked another blow from the demon's talons, sword swinging and slicking off a finger. Blood sprayed in the air and he smiled widely, then swung the sword again. Yowling in pain, the demon jumped out of the way and went for the human next to the vampire, sharp talons catching him on the shoulder before he brought the sword slamming into her beak. A deep scratch on the red, hard flesh made her scream and kick out with her short legs. The human flew backward and slammed into the crushed car.

"Listen here, bitch! No one fucks with my Watcher!" Faith said, leaping onto the demon's back and hooking her feet around the wings. The demon wailed again as the blade of her axe was pressed to the smooth red throat.

"Faith! Watch out!" Cordelia called as the tail slammed into the Slayer's legs and nearly knocked her off. A luck swing with Cordy's axe and the tail was broken in two, bloody stump oozing brown blood everywhere. Orin looked back and shot out her leg, catching the Seer and sending her reeling into the pavement, the axe skittering across the lot.

"Cordy!" Angel screamed and swiped again at the demon, narrowly missing Wesley as the Watcher rushed forward and dived at the huge demon's middle. Orin screamed and thrashed at the human around her middle. "Wes! Move!"

Wesley ignored him and jerked his sword back and then buried it between Orin's ribs. The demon doubled over, Faith still clinging to her thick neck and trying to bring her axe up for a killing blow. Orin swiped at Wesley and he went flying, landing on the roof of the truck and falling off the other side.

Angel saw him go and rammed his sword next to the Watcher's, feeling it hit something vital and scrape against bone. The demon reared up and launched herself in the sky, the Slayer still clinging to her neck. Cordelia, on her feet now, swung the axe again and clipped the demon's toes as she flew off.

"Shit! Faith! Let go!" Cordy screamed as the demon pumped her wings harder, sending the Slayer and herself higher up in the sky. Blood rained down at them from the wounds they'd inflicted, but the demon was obviously made of stronger stuff than she looked.

Atop Orin's back, Faith clung with her nails, eyes wide as she saw the world fading away to a black dot below her. "Listen up bitch. Bring us down or I'm going to slit your throat right here."

"Kill ussss both?" Orin hissed, her wings pumping as she spiraled up higher in the black sky.

"Shit." Faith muttered and thought of a better plan. "Fine. I guess I'll just have to take control of this crazy train."

With that, she leveled herself up, booted feet pressing down on the demon's wings, all the power in her legs folding the demon's wings up against her body. With a wrench, Faith grabbed the huge head in her hands and forced her hands over the golden eyes. Wings folded and blinded, Orin reacted just like any bird would; she plummeted to earth, the wind cupping them as they shot downward.

Faith held on and hoped she hadn't just killed herself. And she hoped Angel knew how to catch.


"When did you last see her?"
Quentin Travers asked the dirty man before him, his nose wrinkled against the offensive odor of the Slayer's hovel.

"About five days ago, I think. I was going to wait a week before I turned her in, ya know?" Rob answered him, red-rimmed eyes liquid as he looked with some confusion at the Council of Watchers gathered around him. "Bout four days ago this big guy and this hot chick came looking for her. Angel, he said his name was, I think."

"The vampire. Do you think he'll be a problem?" Patil asked, his dark eyes gazing out at Travers.

"He always is. That must have been who Connelly was contacting. Either that or Mr. Wyndham-Pryce, although I would be surprised if he would be willing to help her, considering their past." Lydia clipped in a rushed voice, always eager to be the first with information.

"Mr. Wyndham-Pryce is a strange man, with strange loyalties; I would not put it past him to do the opposite of what is expected of him. No matter why the vampire with the soul is looking for her, she won't get far." Travers said in his gravelly voice, sharp green eyes sweeping the room and settling back on the dirty American before him. Rob shifted uncomfortably under that icy gaze.

"She won't get far with the Sister's after her." Patil said, patented sneer claiming his features and making him look like a jackal.

"I'm losing faith in the Five, dear Armand. Three are dead as we speak and Lian has stopped her pursuit of the Slayer. Our hopes hinge on Orin and her intelligence is reputedly dim. No, I'm afraid we'll have to track the Slayer ourselves and make her pay for her crimes."

"Good." Patil said, bloodthirsty glint in his eyes. Travers grunted and looked over at the probation officer, his nose wrinkling in disdain once more.

"If Faith comes back, ring this number. And if you keep her disappearance a secret a while longer, you'll receive a hefty reward." Travers said, pulling out a fat wad of dollars and flashing them at the man. His eyes got wide and he shook his head, nasty tongue darting out and licking his thin lips.

"Sure. Half now, half later?"

"Of course."
Travers handed him half the cash and then turned on his heel, beckoning his fellow Watcher's to follow him.

Rob looked down at the card and the money in his hands and then glanced up as the Watcher's swept out of the room. Whoever Faith had been before prison, someone hadn't forgotten about her. He smiled and pocketed the cash, realizing it was more money than he made in a week. Fuck, for that kinda cash, he'd sell out his grandma.

But what the hell was a Slayer? And did they mention vampires? Rob shook his head and lit a cigarette. "Weirdos..."


Angel looked up, his eyes much keener in the darkness than the two humans beside him. "Do you see her?" Wesley asked in a tense voice, his hands wrapped around the pommel of the blade and his eyes bulging.

Angel looked over at the former boss of Angel Investigations and shook his head, his fists clenching and unclenching as he searched the sky. Suddenly an ear-splitting shriek filled the sky and Angel picked out something red and fast pelting out of the sky.

"Fuck! They're going to hit!" Angel said, watching the Slayer growing closer and closer with each moment, the huge demon's wings folded into her sides and her yellow eyes covered by the Slayer's hands.

"Faith!" Wesley screamed in a strangled voice, his eyes bulging and his breath hitching in his throat. Cordelia's gaze flickered over at him sharply before she turned her attention back to the pair in the sky.

"Angel!" Faith's voice was wrapped around the wind and it assaulted his ears, sparking him into movement and knowing immediately what the girl had planned. He steeled himself and ran under her, feeling like a clown at a circus holding a sheet, but knowing it was much more serious than that. And this was going to hurt....

Through the darkness, he saw Faith launch herself off Orin's back and plummet toward him, dark hair streaming around her terrified face. Time slowed and he was vaguely aware of Orin's wings flaring and catching the wind, but not in time to stop her from crashing into the Malibu once more. A second later, he plucked Faith out of the sky, his knees buckling with her weight and his body slamming into the pavement, ribs cracking under her weight.

They rolled several feet, the wind rushing out of Faith's lungs and her head slamming against the pavement with a sickening crack. Her eyes rolled up in her head and she fell into darkness.



Cordelia, eyes so wide they looked like they were about to pop out of her head, was the first of the two to rush forward. She fell to her knees beside the motionless Angel and pulled him off the unconscious Slayer, his head lolling back.

"Angel...Angel are you okay?" She hit his cheek with the palm of her hand twice before his eyes flitted open and he groaned in pain. "Oh thank God!"

"Is she okay?" Angel said, looking over at the fallen Slayer. He watched as Wesley sank down beside her and pulled her head into his lap, fingers brushing against her cheeks and tears forming in his eyes.

"Don't leave me. Faith! Come back!" His voice was pathetic and child-like as he petted her cheek and rocked her in his lap. Cordelia exchanged a glance with Angel, confusion plain in her eyes. What the hell had happened the past couple of days?

"Wesley! She's okay...she's just knocked out. Come on...." Cordelia moved into action, tugging at the Watcher's arm as Angel picked the girl up. Wesley stood and took hold of Faith's limp hand and walking along beside Angel, his eyes glued to the Slayer's face.

Cordelia swung the passenger side door of the truck open and Wesley slid in, reaching out to take the girl from him. Angel placed her on his lap and watched as Wesley cradled her head as tenderly as he might a child. He opened his mouth to say something, but he caught movement out of the corner of his eye and he saw Orin stirring, talons scraping the air as she tried to move off the crushed Malibu.

"Uh...demon's alive!" Cordelia said, tugging on Angel's sleeve. "Kill it?"

"No time...we gotta get her to a hospital." Angel said, rounding the car and opening the door. Cordelia climbed in and he followed, squeezing into the space left and tearing out of the parking lot as fast as he could go. He pointed the truck toward L.A.
and slammed the pedal to the floorboard, glancing every two seconds over at Wesley, who was still holding onto Faith like she was his world.

Suddenly, the Slayer's dark brown orbs flitted open and she gazed up at Wesley, a ghostly smile crossing her lips. "That was wicked cool." A beat and then her eyes rolled up in her head again and her head slumped on his shoulder. Wesley laughed, worry still glinting in his eyes, and pressed his lips to her forehead in a tender kiss. Cordelia watched the exchange with wide eyes.

What the hell had happened between the two of them?

Chapter 21