Running For Our Lives

                           

 

 

Chapter VI: Calling

Three Days Later

Wes trudge wearily up the steps to his apartment, thoughts turned inward. Three days of searching the area around Elysian Park had turned up nothing, although he had found a stake in the alley he had rescued her in. And it wasn't one he recognized from the arsenal of the hotel; it must have been hers. His eyes glued to the sharp, rough object in his hands, he didn't notice the lithe young woman sitting with her back against the door of his apartment until she spoke.

"Oh hey, you found one of my stakes." Faith said, looking up at him soberly. She was bleeding from a wound on her hand, the knuckles split and raw.

"Your hand!" He exclaimed, crouching down before and taking the bruised hand in his own. "Come inside and I'll clean that for you." He said as he helped her to her feet.

Once inside, she sprawled across his couch, head tilted to the side as she watched him puttering around in the kitchen, a collection of bandages and medications in his arms.

"Jeez, I think a band-aid would have done it." She chuckled; he sent her a look of extreme annoyance and she quelled the words that threatened to tumble out of her mouth. A long pause filled with the quotidian sounds of the street below and he finally looked up at her.

"I didn't think I'd see you again."

"Me neither, ain't that a pisser?" She said earnestly, one hand running through her slightly wavy hair.

"So why are you here?" He asked, setting her now bandaged hand onto her knee as if it was made of glass. "I don't think it was for the complimentary patch-up."

"Why? Do you want me to go?" The edge in her tone told him what her words did not.

"No. I want you to stay; we have to talk." He said forcefully, looking into her eyes. "Why did you leave the other day?"

"Why did you tell Angel I was out of prison?" She countered, mouth turning into a frowny pout. Hurt spiderwebbed through her eyes and Wesley winced.

"I didn't. He doesn't know." He told her in a stony voice, averting his eyes.

"Why didn't you tell him?" Surprise graced her features as she looked at him.

"Because, frankly, it's none of his business. You are no longer the killer you were and I don't see any reason why he has to know. If you want to see him, that's your business." He answered back, shrugging his shoulders and settling down onto the couch beside her. With a pang of jealousy, he hoped she didn't want to see Angel at all.

"So you're not going rat on me?" He shook his head and stared up at the ceiling, a sigh heavy on his lips. Once more silence filled the space between them and she tugged absently on the gnarled fuzz on his couch cushions. "Thanks."

"My pleasure.
Now what are you doing here? I mean, what do want? I'm sure itís not to eat my cooking and watch Hollywood Squares with me." He replied, not tearing his eyes away from the cobweb in the corner of his living room. "Although I do a killer impression of Bruce Valanch..." And suddenly, his vision was broken by a pale face looming over him, eyes squeezed shut as she straddled his lap. Her lips crushed over his before he could utter a protest. Her tongue was sweet and she tasted like a caramel apple as she explored his mouth fully. Her fingers slid themselves along the curve of his jaw line and he wanted to tell her to stop whatever the hell she was doing because it wasn't right, it was wrong, very, very wrong and my God she felt so warm sitting over his crotch, her sleek thighs brushing his ribs....

He broke off the kiss and grabbed hold of her shoulders, shaking her with teeth-rattling force. "Faith! What are you doing?" A beat and then realization dawned in her eyes and she shuddered, head lowered with shame.

A single tear rolled down her cheek and she collapsed against his chest, head buried in the soft cotton folds of his shirt. "I'm disgusting." She moaned out, a sob lodged in her throat. He gathered her against him, ignoring the still tingly sensations quaking in his belly as she rubbed against him. He desperately willed his hard on away and concentrated on the girl in his arms.

"You're not disgusting, love." He murmured into her hair, one hand smoothing down the wrinkles of her tank top.

"Yes I am." She sniffled and sat up, eyes raw and red-rimmed. "I'm a killer."

"No, you were. You're better now." He said, his hands pressed to her face, his thumb wiping away the tears.

"No I'm not. I thought I could be normal but I can't be. There's something inside of me that needs to kill and I can't stop it. At first I was just scared, but then I just thought that I was slaying because it was right. But itís not right and itís killing me." The words tumbled out and were so leaden with guilt he was nearly crushed under the weight of it.

"I think...." He said slowly, forming his words carefully, "I think that you're confusing killing with slaying. Slaying is good and it's your calling. You can no more ignore that part of yourself than I could ignore my thirst for knowledge. It's a part of who you are. But that does not make you a killer; a killer has no conscience about their actions. You've just proven you've changed."

"But how do you know? I could kill you right now..." Her words ran a chill up his spine and he looked down at her hands, which were filled with more strength than he could ever have possessed.

"Yes you could. But you won't." He said with much more certainty than he felt. "I trust you Faith."

"I want you to be my Watcher again." Her gaze was sharp, her voice sharper. Surprise flashed in her eyes and he wondered if she even knew she had said it.

If her words were totally unexpected to her, it surprised him and shook whatever comforting words he had prepared from his lips. "What?"

"I can't do this alone. I need you. Say you need me. Please?" The words were desperate and tear-filled; he felt her pathos as plainly as his own and he folded her up in his arms, protecting her from the world.

"I need you Faith. I need you." He whispered to her hair, sobs wracking her frame as he willed strength into her.

"Will you?"

"I will. I promise."

Suddenly, the phone rang, making them both leap and surge on each other. Wesley colored and Faith slid off of his lap, wiping at the tears with the back of her bandaged hand. He reached for the phone and picked it up, slightly out of breath.

"Hello?"

"Mr. Wyndham-Pryce?" Came a harried, panicked, very English voice on the other end of the phone. Wesley started and answered, wondering what was going on.

"Yes, this is he. May I help you?"

"Oh thank God! I've been trying to ring you for days. It's Faith."

"Yes...what about her?"
Wesley said hesitantly, staring down at the sniffling Slayer.

"She's free. The Council...they're going to kill her. You have to--" And suddenly the line went dead, the dial tone ringing in his ear. Wesley's eyes went wide and he stared back at Faith, who turned her coffee brown eyes toward him imploringly.

"What?" Was all she got out as something dark and small crashed through the window, twin swords flashing.

*****

Andras stared numbly at the hand atop the hook, which effectively cut him off, leaving silence on the other end of the phone. He turned very slowly, meeting the face that the hand belonged to with much more bravery than he felt. Any surety he had felt that his actions had gone unnoticed was lost to the ether as he met a familiar pair of green eyes.

"Tsk. Tsk. Mr. Connelly. You had such a bright future with the Council." Quentin Travers said, one corner of his mouth twitching as he took a step back from the bright red telephone booth. Behind him, Andras could make out the black-clad forms of several Council Operatives standing in the shadows of the darkened street.

"How did you find me?" He asked, face impassive.

"We're the Watcher's Council, Andras. There is nothing you have ever done that we do not know about." Travers said, smirking at the younger man.

"You're going to murder an innocent girl." He choked out as something cold and hard and metal was pressed against his temple. From the corner of his eye, he saw Patil holding the gun steady, a bloodthirsty smile on his lips.

"Faith is no innocent." Patil spat, eyes blazing.

"You're wrong about that." Andras protested, jaw clenched.

"You'll never know. Goodbye Mr. Connelly." Travers nodded his head slightly, eyes steady. Andras squeezed his eyes shut; praying for himself and the girl he knew was surely going to follow him. Silence. And then...

Patil pulled the trigger.
 

Chapter 7

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