|How Much You Really Want
Author: 26Rye J PM
Sequel to I Have Loved You Wrong.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Angel & Buffy S. - Chapters: 33 - Words: 54,052 - Reviews: 96 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 01-12-13 - Published: 04-27-12 - id: 8065234
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 32: When It's Over
Buffy watched the officers bustle around the station. Much had happened, but glancing at the clock, she realized the night remained young.
She held the phone closer. "Hi Lil."
"I have Gemma, and don't worry - Sunny did all the driving."
"Home. Her pick."
"Good to hear. Listen, I'm back at the Police station."
"She told me you needed to help someone else. Faith push them too far?"
Buffy sighed. "I don't know how long it will take to clear this one up."
"Maybe this time you can't."
"I get that I can't save everyone." An officer passed her. "Trust me, I do, but I need this to be one of life's fixable things."
"What can I do?"
Nothing, she thought, but she answered, "Take care of Gemma. Call Cyn over so she doesn't feel out of place. I remember them being roommates for a while."
"That's good." She scanned the precinct. "You can handle things there, right? If I get stuck here?"
"Take as long as you need. We're all good."
Buffy nodded to herself. "I'll check in soon."
Officer Peterson escorted her back to her holding cell.
Looking at Faith he informed her, "Yours will have to wait."
She shrugged, "It can wait forever for all I care."
There was only one bench in the small cell, so Buffy took a seat beside her. Faith's snarky attitude didn't help her troubled mind, but given their situation, she didn't think it mattered. Either way they were locked legally, physically, and socially.
She gazed at the opposite wall and its aging grey paint. There's a phrase people say . . . 'if these walls could talk.' Closing her eyes, she hoped they never did. Walls shouldn't know what happens in their rooms lest they grow weary of human troubles. In her whole life, she witnessed less than this one wall and she was already weary.
"Can I ask you something?"
Hearing her hesitant tone, Buffy kept her eyes closed. "I may not answer."
"When I came to Angel's office, that wasn't the first time you'd seen me, was it?"
She opened her eyes and saw the wall. "No."
"And back there, with the stealthy reprieve - that wasn't the first time you've stepped in to save my ass."
"This isn't some top dog crap, I just want the truth. I mean, as far as skulking protectors go - I prefer the tall, dark, and dangerous variety - but I ain't choosy."
She rolled her head a bit toward her. "It's those type of protectors that can get you in trouble - just saying."
"So we're finally gonna to talk bout the Angel thing."
"Did it sound like we were? cuz we're really not."
Faith moved turned her hand over. "Come on B, you were actually doin the undead, what's that like?"
"Honestly . . . confusing, scary, and the reason why you were there and I'm here."
Faith inferred, "So the Angel reunion wasn't a welcome one."
"I'm glad he's alive, but no, I wasn't pleased to find him in L.A." Faith smiled at the understatement. She knew what it was like for the past to follow you and 'not pleased' didn't really cover her reaction.
"How'd you end up working there anyway?"
"A.I., it's worthwhile work, and I could help."
"You'd think slayer would be 'worthwhile' enough for ya."
She smiled at herself. "One would think."
When Faith spoke again, her tone had that hesitant quality to it. "How do you do it? work for a vampire, in a city full of boogie men, and still leave the slayer cap at home."
Hearing her genuine curiosity, Buffy let out a deep breath and gave her a genuine answer. "I'm still figuring that out. The job with Angel definitely complicates things, but so far it's been okay." Since Faith put off the posturing, Buffy put off her defenses and let truth roam free. "I patrol my area and kill any demons I come across. I guess I demoted myself from active vampire slayer to just a regular demon fighter."
"And that works for you? turn your back on the destiny thing and live out the rest of your days slightly left of center."
"I don't buy it."
Buffy stood up and stretched. "Don't need to."
"Being a slayer, it's not about handbooks and watchers; it's in our blood. We were meant for more than nine to five jobs and picket fences. Don't tell me you can't feel that."
"All the time." Closing her eyes, Buffy cracked her neck. "That pulsing strength, that urge to fight and win."
Faith leaned forward as Buffy leaned against the wall. "How can you live with that blood pumping in your veins and not act on it?"
"By remembering the cost."
"Slayers fight, they die, that's just the gig. If there's anyone that understands that it's me. But you can't turn your back on it because you're scared."
With her back against her wall, Buffy placed her hands behind her. The concrete felt cool and rough, predictably uneven. "Do you know how you were called?"
"One girl strikes out next one's up."
"I mean why you're not the one?"
"You broke game rules by coming back."
"I drowned, when I was sixteen, and another girl, became a slayer. Her name was Kendra. I fought with her in just about every way one can fight." Recalling their spats and battles, Buffy smiled ruefully. But it was only a flash; then, her expression flattened. She looked Faith in the eye and confessed, "I got her killed. Technically, cause of death was vampires but she met them alone because of me. I found Kendra's body about the time you were called." She looked at the wall again. "You and I are a slayer removed; you couldn't possibly understand me."
Standing up, she shot back, "So you figured you'd seen enough death and decided to close your eyes and pray it all goes away."
Buffy straightened, "I decided I'd caused enough death - and pain and suffering. I learned too late why slayers should be alone. We bring destruction and death with us everywhere we go. It's what we are, it's why we're here." Buffy looked into her eyes determined to follow through on her commitment to truth. "Everyone I knew, including myself, either suffered or died because I accepted the role of slayer. I'm not making that mistake again."
Faith stepped closer. "I've lost people too, but I didn't give up."
"Neither did I."
"It's Anne now," she corrected. "Just because I rejected destiny doesn't mean you can't live yours." She leaned back against the wall. "I know you're looking to me for some kind of guidance, but don't. We're different people who may come up with different answers to big questions. If you want to fight the fight, do that. If you want quit, do that, but decide for yourself what's right." Faith didn't respond. She just stared at her curiously. "What?"
Slowly, she sat back down. "I spent a while looking for you, then livin' in your town I spent even more time asking about you." She scratched the back of her head. "I don't know what I wanted to hear. Figured I'd know it when I heard it. I think I just did."
Buffy looked to the floor and breathed out. She felt more exhausted but lighter somehow too.
Angel put down his newly-grimed axe to answer the phone.
"Your girl and I were arrested tonight."
He recognized Faith's voice immediately. "You were arrested with who?"
Sensing an officer nearby she made sure to say, "Anne, and we're going to need help."
"She can't get you out?"
"Apparently, not even her connections can change the fact that police everywhere are fighting over me. Kind of flattering when you think about."
"Why did they arrest her? I thought Wesley and Cordelia were the ones looking for you."
"She covered for me remember? the murder suspect."
"So, you need bail money."
"They're sending us to Sunnydale for the hearing."
"We can work with a transfer scenario."
"No!" At the stares from the other officers, she lowered her voice again. "We could have kicked out any time, but she doesn't want to make this worse. I think it's already more police tangled than she can handle. "
"What does she want us to do?"
"Find someone to get us out of this. She told me to say that Anne McDonald needs a lawyer."
Careful of listening ears, he replied, "Anne wants me to ask Wolfram and Hart for legal services."
"Sounds pretty whack to me. They're the ones trying to kill you, right? But, she's really freaking out about this. All she's asking is that we pass on a message."
"Involving them could create bigger problems later on."
"Man, that's guaranteed, but your girl is locked down for harboring a felon. If they can't make this go away, later on won't matter." Lowering her voice, she spoke deliberately, "Whether convict or fugitive, Anne's life here is over. . . and that means Buffy's is too."
Angel hung up the phone without coming to a decision. Buffy needed legal help, but did that necessarily mean help from Satan's law firm? Granted, he didn't know any other lawyers, and Wolfram and Hart were masters at getting supernatural entities out of the judicial system, but no good could come from revealing her identity as the slayer.
He looked at the clock anxiously. Police would hold them overnight and probably transfer them early tomorrow. Buffy did not want to return to Sunnydale. It certainly wouldn't help her legal troubles. In LA she was wanted for harboring a felon, in Sunnydale, she was one. If the police put Anne's record together with Buffy's, she'd be in the same situation as Faith.
Angel ran his hand across his face. Faith was right, if he couldn't find a legitimate way to get them out of this, Buffy would never be able to return to her job, those kids, Lilly. She'd have to start over in a new town with a baby on the way and no friends to back her up.
Picking up the phone, he knew he didn't have a choice.
A young voice came on the line, "Wolfram and Hart, how may I help you?"
"Yes, I'd like to speak with Holland Manners." He hesitated before adding, "This is Angel."
"May I tell him what this concerns?"
He clenched his free hand into a fist. "Legal counsel."