Running For Our Lives

                           

 

 

Chapter V: Coming for Her

Two days later saw a broody Wes hiding out in his little corner. The notes on the Quototh were laid out precisely before him, but he wasn't concentrating on them. His thoughts were far away and lingering on a pair of warm brown eyes.

"Oh...you've got it bad. Turn down that aura, bro." Lorne said, perching himself on the edge of the cluttered desk. Wesley looked up and furrowed his brow.

"What? I...uh..." He stammered out, ink-stained fingers darting up to the puckered slash.

"Ease it down. I'm not going to tell them." The Host whispered, leaning down toward him, a conspiratorial glint in his eyes. "So, I take it it went sorta well?"

"If you consider well as the state of not knowing where she is or if she's okay; then yes, it went smashing." The irony dripped from his voice and he glanced back down to his notes.

"Pulled a Houdini on ya, eh? She's a wily one, that girl. But I wonder if she knows how big you've got it for her. That might make her come running home, oh me oh my." Lorne joked, white teeth flashing as Wesley's eyes widened. "Don't lay the guilt on so much. She's hot, she's young and from what I could See, she's a real sex kitten." Lorne chuckled and glanced around the lobby.

"Itís not like that. I'm her--I was her Watcher. I don't feel..." He started to say, but Lorne cut him off.

"Sure, just like you don't "feel" for a certain brown-haired Texan who shall remain nameless. Believe me bro, that ship will never sail and she's on her true path. Gunn needs her and she needs him. Kinda like you and Faith, if you catch my meaning." Lorne ran a hand over his horns and frowned. "You know, I should really charge you people for my advice. I'm like that hot-ass Miss Cleo..." Off Wesley's look he waved his hand and scooted off the desk. "Nevermind."

"Right..." He said, shaking his head. Lorne left him and trotted up the stairs.

Wesley watched him go, eyes shadowed and the line of his jaw hard. His eyes wandered and he spotted Fred and Gunn standing just outside the front doors. A pang shot through him as they kissed, oblivious to anything around them. It had been so long since he'd felt that. Well, not so long; he dimly remembered the world narrowing to the pain-filled face of the girl lying on his couch. He swallowed hard and stood, reaching for his jacket.

He walked past Fred and Gunn on their way into the hotel and ignored their quizzical looks.

"Where ya going Wesley?" Fred asked him, her lilting voice echoing in his mind.

"Out. I'll see you tomorrow." He answered, not turning his head as he reached for the handle of the door.

"Be careful man." Gunn called after him; the words were cut off as the door slammed shut on Wesley's back. He hopped onto the bike parked out front and kicked it to life.

As he sped off down the street he whispered through gritted teeth, "Wherever you are Faith, I'm coming."

*****

Faith sat down outside Wesley's apartment building, her shadow hidden behind a manzanita bush. She watched as he pulled up to the curb and walked his bike into the stairwell of the apartment building. Her breath caught in her throat as he stopped and glanced in her direction, his brow furrowed. A beat and then he closed the door, leaving her in the darkness.

She watched the shadows moving in his apartment and she wondered what he was doing or if he was thinking about her. Not that she cared; she didn't need anyone, let alone Wesley.

So what was she doing here? She didn't know the answer anymore than she knew why she had run out of his place. Why she was pissed at herself for telling him so much and why she was worried about him and his apparent guilt over what he had done to Angel. Why she found herself smiling whenever she thought about the way he had showed up just in time to rescue her from herself. Why last night she had imagined him touching her as she touched herself, wishing it was his fingers, his skin and his lips at her flesh. Why she woke with his image on her pillow.

But she didn't need him. She didn't anyone.

With a disgusted sigh, she stood and walked away from his apartment. She didn't need him, not when she had slaying. As she patrolled, she felt her soul hardening. She could do this alone and she could be good. But as a vampire dusted in front of her, something happened. The rush, the piece of her soul that had always been filled in, didn't. Empty. It meant nothing to her; it was just another kill. She was just another killer.

She collapsed in the dirt and her face crumpled into a sob that took her and shook her and reduced her to a crying child. It wasn't enough, not anymore. Thoughts and words that she didn't want to entertain came calling in her mind and she pushed them away. She wanted more than to exist and to kill and she mourned the loss of the hardness she had tried so hard to achieve.

And she blamed him.

****

"Our invited guests have finally joined us. They have agreed to be of service to the Council once more." Quentin opened the door and Andras's eyes widened as their guests walked into the already crowded room.

"They're here?" Lydia squeaked; Andras's gaze flicked over to her face and saw her eyes were wide, her face pale. From the depths of his memory, Andras pulled out what information he could remember about the Five. It was obvious that Father Abernathy's descriptions were woefully out of date.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the Five." Travers announced formally, bowing to the five women before him. Although calling them women was hardly accurate, Andras thought as he watched each one of them in turn. Sisters they may be, but they were as different as night and day. The only thing they held in common so far as looks were concerned was the half-moon branded in the skin around the curve of their right eye. As he watched them, the fear and concern rose in his throat, threatening to choke off his air. Faith was in danger; much more danger than even he had realized.

"Ladies, you will depart for Los Angeles immediately. And remember, we want Faith dead. No playing with her." Travers said, eyeing the child-like sister as she trilled in excitement. Andras gulped back a protest and bit his lip. Now was not the time to get into another argument with Travers on the finer points of keeping a perfectly good Slayer alive, nor to tell him that Faith was no longer idle in her chosen craft.

As the Five turned and walked out of the little office, the rest of the Watchers followed behind them a bit warily. Andras watched them go, plans forming in his mind. Watching the Five, his brow furrowed as they stepped out into the street and suddenly broke from the close-nit group and scattered off into five different directions. They were gone in an instant.

His mouthed gaped open and he realized they were making a game of this; the first to Faith wins some sort of brutal prize; he shuddered to think of what it could possibly be. He turned back to the mansion, knowing that now was the time to act. If only Mr. Wyndam-Pryce was willing...

Chapter 6

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