Chapter Five: Anything But Ordinary

Scott found the officer's hand on his elbow to be very intrusive. He didn't have much to complain about, he wasn't under arrest; they simply needed to verify his story and wanted him to stick around. Somewhere along the way Jean had managed to disappear. Scott wasn't sure if he liked the implications, especially once he glimpsed his destination.

Five officers guarded the only door in this corridor. It was reserved for special prisoners, those that couldn't be held in the general population for any number of reasons. They were relaxed, yet poised almost weary, as if they anticipated the some sort of commotion.

It was the room Scott was being led to. He closed his eyes, squeezed them tight. What did you do Jean? He knew the answer, even if he didn't want to admit it. Her powers had been growing almost exponentially, taking quantum strides over the past several months; ever since Magneto and the Statue of Liberty and again at Alkida Lake.

It had been a close call, they almost didn't make it. She had used her telekinetic power to funnel the on rushing water around the Blackbird. It was like squeezing a bar of soap in a massive fist. The lake was the fist and the Blackbird the soap. The strain on Jean left her unconscious for the better part of a week. The Blackbird suffered major damage, but was still flight worthy and got them cross country to the Nation's capital. They had reached the president in time, gave him reason to hope.

When Jean had finally woken up, there had been a subtle difference in her. She was much freer with her power, didn't tire as quickly, and recovered much faster. It was odd seeing her so uninhibited.

He knew Charles was worried about her, whether she would control the power or it her.

Scott didn't concern himself with that.

It was Jean and that was all that mattered. He loved her more then life itself and would do whatever he needed to, to prove that every single day.

"Rigo," One of the five greeted his escort as the pair came close. "What you got there?"

Rigo shrugged at the question, "Need to hold onto this dweeb until we can verify his story."

"Toss 'em in one of the holding pens," Marcus suggested irritably. These assignments always grated on him. Giving special treatment to prisoners. They were murders, rapist, thugs, and thieves, and deserved whatever happened to them.

"They're full up," Rigo answered. "Shouldn't be more then half an hour. Who you got in there anyway?"

"You don't know?"

Rigo shook his head as he said, "Someone special?"

"You're kidding me right?" The first guard laughed. He crossed the hall with an air of leisure, he cocked his head at the thick, metal gray door. "We got ourselves a celebrity. This is none other then Hank Summers."

"Ain't this a coincident? We got Scott Summers here."

"Hmm," Kelly grunted. "Think there might be some kind of relation?"

Marcus glared at Scott as he said, "Wouldn't surprise me? Way I hear it guy's daughter burnt down her high school gym. Second school blew up during her graduation… Guess she wanted to go out with a bang."

Scott tried to keep his expression neutral; it was hard considering how much the man's voice grated on him. The fact he just meant him didn't bode well. The only other person who irritated him this much with even less exposure was Logan.

"What about it?" Rigo pushed.

"Hell," The third said. He looked Scott up and down, nothing cruel or belligerently, simply giving him the once over. "Doesn't look like much. Go ahead."

Marcus' grimace hardened even more. If he were in charge then Summers, the pair of them, would be in general holding. See how they held up when the kid gloves were taken off. Coddling criminals did nothing but set a bad example.

He was a grizzled veteran of nearly thirty years service, the white stubble decorating his chin had more in common with steel shavings then the peach fuzz he tried cultivating as a teenager. His gray eyes were shadowed with bitter experience.

As a teenager he had marched alongside the closest thing to a saint mankind has ever known, Martin Luthor King. That was saying something for a Mississippi hick with a devout Catholic upbringing. His first love, Mary Turner, the girl he married, the mother of his five children, god rest her soul, was a colored girl from the poor side of town; not that there was a rich side.

When his father discovered his little secret, he tossed him out of the house once it became obvious his feelings weren't going to change no matter how sever the beating.

He was as cynical as an old man as he was idealistic in his youth. The years hadn't been kind to him, disappointment and betrayal had smelted a bitter blade and used it to carved the naiveté from his eyes. It started with King's assassination and kept growing with each passing year. People still said all the right words, Peace and equality for everyone, but their tone, so long as my piece of equality is greater then yours, spat in the face of King's dream, and their actions would bury it under a mountain of kindling that would set the blaze for the next great race riot.

His only wish remaining was to be dead a good fifty years before that came to pass. With everyday that drifted by that was looking less and less likely.

Senator Frank McCellum wasn't King, but he was the closest that's come along in the past thirty years. And scum like Summers, with their hatred and bigotry and small minded pettiness, who couldn't stand seeing something beautiful being built had to tear it down, deface it, put a torch to it.

Marcus grabbed hold of the handle and twisted. With a sour sneer he pushed open the door. "Your suite."

"Thanks," Scott answered graciously. He stepped past Marcus, the slight grin touched nothing but his lips, and into the room beyond. The door snapped closed with the sound of finality.

Just like that, he was in a room with his father for the first time in memory. He looked at the man, and for one of the few moments in his life, didn't know what to do next. It was as if Logan's adamantium laced knuckles made solid contact with his chin and his head swam in a sea of molasses.

The man sitting in front of him looked old, far older then his memories suggested. Then again close to thirty years had passed since the last time he has seen Hank Summers, he had to be closing in on sixty, but that wasn't what made him old.

Physically he didn't look a day over forty, there were a few lines creasing his face and his hair retained its natural color… Although that could be chemically achieved.

It was in his eyes that his true age could be seen. They were haggard, haunted by ghost he couldn't stop seeing.

Gray orbs settled on Scott, curiosity wrapped in weariness. There was something oddly familiar about the man though he doesn't recall ever setting eyes on him before. He was tall, but from the perspective of a man that didn't quite stand five foot eight, anything close to six feet was nearly giant stature.

The way he stood screamed military; stiff back yet loose, relaxed somehow coiled and ready to act or react. His cheek twitched slightly, a sure sign of stress, but his eyes were hidden behind a stylish pair of red sunglasses.

When the door closed behind Scott, Hank didn't lower his guard for a moment. With every day that passed he expected some sort of retaliation from the mutant community, and given their various powers and abilities, he didn't think a few police officers and some stone walls would stop them.

Not being able to see his eyes didn't stop the feeling that he was being carved into little pieces. The glare was that intense. He found it damn irritating. Not being able to look him in the eye. The way he just continued to stare at him.

"Why?" Scott's soft question was like a screech shouted into the silence. Xavier told him everything he gleaned from his father's mind; there was nothing new the man could tell him. He might know more about Hank Summers then Hank Summers did.

Hank tensed even more. He stood up saying, "I don't know how you got pass my… Doesn't matter?" The man was more then half his age, looked to be in extremely good shape. There was no doubt in Hank's mind that this kid could kick his ass.

"You think I'm scum… That I ought to be strung up from the nearest lamp post, but I didn't kill that Senator guy. Most of the time I can't even remember his name so why would I want him dead. Far as I'm concerned, mutants are as human as anybody else. I ain't got any probl—"

"Why did you leave?" There was definitely a harsh under current cutting through Scott's tone. He should just stand off to the side, not say a word, and wait patiently, silently to be let go. They would be able to confirm his story quickly enough.

Only he needed to know. Needed to hear it from the man himself. In his own words. In his voice. "What—"

"Scott," Hank whispered starring hard at the young man standing in front of him. Words vanished from his vocabulary; the entire English language disappeared in a puff of smoke as he tried to give voice to the turbulent emotions crushing through him with thunderous upheaval. He looked so different from what he had imagined, all grown up when he expected to see a boy. It was stupid bordering on insipid, he knew that, but it didn't stop the fantasy that he would find Scott exactly how he left him. He was older then Buffy, but still…

His hair had darkened, was now a deep brown compared to the sandy colored he had last seen. He looked so much like his mother, not feminine…

"Scotty," his voice was louder, more sure, with more raw emotion bubbling over the edge, barely contained. "Scotty," he said again.

Scott clenched his jaw. Fought to keep his own emotions held in check. The last thing he was going to do was have an emotional breakdown right now. He was determined to maintain his composure, even if it killed him.

Suddenly, Scott wasn't sure how, but Hank crashed into him, arms wrapped around him, crushed him in an incredible tight embrace. "God," his voice thick, the word was nearly indecipherable. "I've looked so long. Thought I was losing my mind, that I imagined you." His grip tightened even more. "I ain't ever gonna let you out of my sight again. Never."

For a moment the words stopped and the two men stood there, not quite in the middle of the room, a large conference table to their side. One holding on to the other as if he were the greatest dream made reality. A reality that could be snatch away from him on whatever cruel and fickle whim fate had in store. The other simply held onto his resolve, his determination as if they were the final tufts of grass keeping him from plunging thousands of feet into a black swirling mass of the unknown.

After a time, a short amount but one that stretched on far longer, Hank pulled back holding Scott out at arms length as he tried to memorize every detail of him. The smile that split his face in two would have looked far more appropriate on a madman.

"I can't believe you're here, really here. My god it's been…"

His eyes lost their focus and his face slackened losing its animation, its emotions. It passed in an instant. Too fast to be seen by the unmindful eye, but Scott had been watching him closely and didn't miss it. Jesus! Fuck! He could hardly believe the outrage he felt, had thought he was pass caring about this man. Despite the emotion he still managed to keep his features schooled to stillness. Whatever was done to him, it's still there.

"… You've grown so much. Let me get a good look at you." He looked him over, his eyes savoring every last detail. "I can't believe how much you look like Felecia."

"I look like mom?"

Hank nodded as he said, "More like her father, Allen. You've got his face, not as harsh though. The color of your hair is almost an exact match." He reached for the ruby quartz glasses covering Scott's eyes. "Let's get rid of these ridiculous looking things and I can get a decent look at all of you."

"No!" Scott snarled savagely as he slapped Hank's hand away.

"What? What is it?"

"I can never take these glasses off," Scott admitted softly.

"Why?" He asked. It was a cautious word. "What's wrong with you?"

Scott grimaced and said, "Nothings wrong with me." He took a breath and exhaled. It didn't help him relax. He had never actually had to tell anyone he was a mutant, at Xavier's it was common knowledge and he didn't have any friends outside of the school. There was nothing to do except open his mouth and say, "I'm a mutant."

Hank blinked at the comment. It certainly wasn't the answer he expected. He thought there was something wrong, some type of scaring or disfiguration.

A mutant though. That had come out of nowhere. Almost as far out of nowhere as Buffy and her secrets. Mutants were known; vampires, slayers, demons, and all things supernatural, weren't.

"Is that all?" Hank asked after a brief pause. "I thought there was something wrong."

"It's uncontrollable."

"What is?"

"My optic nerves tap into an alternate dimension. When I open my eyes massive amounts of pressurized force are released. The only thing capable of containing my optic blast is the synthesized ruby quartz laced into my glasses. Without them, I'd turn this building to rubble."

Hank's face sagged as the implications hit him. His son's eyes were connected to a completely different dimension. Suddenly he wondered what Dawn; sweet, innocent Dawn was hiding from him. Scott could level a sky scraper with a glance; Buffy fought vampires and averted apocalypses on a bi-annual basis. He didn't even want to contemplate the possibilities. Mainly because he wasn't smart enough to envision all of them. "I have one screwed up family."

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Faith squinted as she stepped out of the harsh New York sun field and into the subdued ambience of the restaurant she had followed Lockley and Lindsey into. Fortunately for her, her eyes adjusted to the sudden dimness. Slayer powers were a handy thing to have.

The Restaurant, whatever it's name; was the sort of place people like her never dreamed of entering. This was where all the well paid professionals went.

It was easy to pick out the doctors and the lawyers, the accountants, stock brokers, ad execs, and bankers, from people like her. It was simple because there weren't other people like her in here. Not that anybody here was paying her the slightest attention

She wouldn't be here if she hadn't spotted Lindsey schmoozing Lockley out of the courthouse. That just didn't play on the level in her book. Lindsey left a trail that made slime seem like scented bath water, the type of scum Lockley used to put behind bars.

They had been crossing the lobby of the courthouse as she made her way down the stairs, mingled in amongst all the other sheep. It was slow going after her morning activities, she's never felt so satisfied in her life; no man has ever managed to satiate her hunger before. It was unbelievable.

Most of the time, she would have to finish herself off; after she tossed the guy to the curb. Other times she would be so frustrated she'd go out and find something that needed killing and just ended up even more frustrated.

Now, she understood what Buffy kept going on about, when she explained what sex with Spike had been like. Granted the guy hadn't been an undead, soulless demon, she didn't think he was a soulless demon anyway. Conversation, meaningful dialogue at any rate, didn't pop up during their forty-five minute session in the Judges chambers.

Bonus points for not being undead though.

With a carefree swagger, that came from knowing you were untouchable, that wherever you went, you were the toughest, baddest person, that when people messed with you, they did so at their own peril, Faith made her way to the long wrap around bar. It was made from a dark mahogany with plush, high backed stools evenly spaced in front of the rich wood. They were close enough to encourage fraternization among the patrons, but not so close as to make people feel they were being crowded.

The bartender, a mid thirty year old, barrel chested man, smirked in a knowing way at her approach. He had a large head, but his face, especially his cheeks, were thin. His arms, neck, and shoulders were thick, roped with heavy muscles. "What can I get for you?"

"Whiskey," Faith answered with the cocky assurance of somebody who is going to get exactly what she wants. "Straight up. Put it in one of those fancy, wide bottom glasses and make sure you fill it to the brim."

"Sure thing, just as soon as I see some ID," he sounds as if he expected her to turn around and go away.

Faith smiled at him, it was a smile meant to ease tension, but with Faith's dark, smoldering eyes, caused the man to frown. Faith crocked a finger, gesturing him closer. With a bit of hesitancy he did so.

"You look like a smart guy," Faith began in a too sweet voice. It dripped with venomous honey. Slowly, with an unspoken sensual promise her right hand took hold of his black tie, it felt like silk and her fingers began to slowly massage it, gently knead it between her skilled and nimble fingers.

He swallowed, tried to work the moisture back into his mouth at the blatant overture. It didn't do him any good.

At times Faith absolutely despised the fact she still looked so young. The fact she had only turned twenty a few months before her early release and was still half a year away from reaching twenty-one was one she easily ignored.

With swift savagery Faith twined the silken cord around her small fist and jerked, pulling Jacob toward her. He managed to get his hands under him, bracing them on the bar, and brought his forward momentum to a grinding halt. At least he thought he had. He began to doubt his assessment after a few moments of pushing back as hard as he could. He didn't budge and there wasn't even the slightest strain on her face. She just continued to smile up at him, only now there was a predatory gleam in her eyes, or maybe it had been there all along and he had simply been too blind to see it.

"Now I'm just wondering why, for such a smart guy, you'd want to go and make this harder then it needs to be?"

"Enjoying yourself Faith?" Lindsey asked as he slid into the space next to her.

Faith shrugged indifferently as she said, "Passably so. You know how it is, girl's gotta get her kicks somehow."

Lindsey smiled at her laughing silently, a bemused chuckle. He had always found Faith's straight forward approach, her honesty and indifferent, let the cards fall where they may attitude, to be quite refreshing. In the high pressure world of Wolfram & Hart, with the intrigue, maneuvering, and backstabbing Faith was quite easy to be around. Her straight forward, unabashed approach toward dealing with the world left little doubt about where one stood with her.

You never relaxed around her, never let your guard down because the girl was deadly dangerous and her moods often shifted. Handling Faith was like handling a rattlesnake. If you were careful you just might walk away unscathed. If not…

"Tell you what," he said reaching into his pocket, "you let Jacob here go and he'll fetch you that drink you wanted." He placed a bill on the counter and slid it across the polished surface. "My treat."

Faith's eyes nearly popped out of her skull when she spotted the large denomination. She managed to maintain her composer, but it was hard. "In that case make it a double and the good stuff, Dess-something other. The one with that there commercial."

Jacob still looked doubtful even though his hand rested over the thousand dollar bill. "Go ahead Jacob," Lindsey encouraged. "If you get in trouble I'll represent you myself."

With that Jacob quickly left the pair.

"And the devil whispered words with a honeyed tongue," Faith spoke with quite conviction.

Lindsey practically gushed as he said, "I'm flattered you think so highly of me, I'm hardly worthy of such lofty praise. I'm nothing but a simple mouthpiece these days."

"There's hardly anything simple about you." Faith managed to keep the growl out of her voice, barely, but she did manage it.

"As much fun as this barb and jab session could be Faith, I doubt if you being here is much of a coincident. So…?"

Faith waited as Jacob poured her drinks. Of the money Lindsey had given him there was no sign, and since he hadn't been anywhere near the cash register she was confident none of it would find its way to the till. As soon as he was done filling the first glass, Faith picked up the large sifter and threw the fiery liquid down in a single swallow. She sighed in deep contentment. "That there was some real fine shit, way better then the rot gut most of my dates buy me."

"Faith," Lindsey admonished gently. "You're supposed to sip fine whiskey."

"Slayer metabolism, Lindsey. That was a sip." She twisted her head around, just enough to glance at Lockley out of the corner of her eyes.

"Ah," Lindsey breathed out. "So that's what you're here for."

"I don't know what you've done to Lockley—"

"Kate? It's incredible, isn't it?"

His easy admission brought Faith up short. She had expected him to deny it, to squirm and wiggle as he lied to her. Honesty hadn't even crossed her mind as an option. "You're not even gonna try to convince me?"

With a shrug Lindsey said, "To what end? You obviously know the truth, suspect it at any rate."

Faith set her shoulders, determination crystallized in her eyes, quickly spread throughout her face, transforming her smoldering beauty into a mask of righteous anger. Lindsey's hand on her forearm wasn't an obstacle; she could have broken free with little effort. The single word he spoke, "Don't," with such desperation that she actually felt her resolve quickly evaporate. She wasn't sure what, if anything, she could do that would break the spell.

"You'll destroy a good person," he whispered too low for anyone but her to hear.

Cold, merciless eyes pinned Lindsey to his seat as Faith turned on him. "You've already done that," she hissed.

"Me?" Lindsey said in genuine surprise. He shook his head dismissively as he said, "You're barking up the wrong tree on that one." He picked up Faith's second glass of whiskey and took a sip. "I was as surprised as anyone when I get this package with instructions to memorize—"

"If you didn't do it…?"

Lindsey nodded toward Serena and said, "She did."

"You're full of it. The lady I knew—"

"The lady you knew fell a long way after you breezed through town. Did you know she tried to commit suicide?" He paused a second, "Sorry, that she did commit suicide, with Angel standing in the doorway with that annoying little barrier keeping him out. He was forced to stand there, watching helplessly as she died." He shrugged a little as he added, "At least that's the way I heard."

"Still doesn't explain…"

"I know," Lindsey agreed. "That's why I did a bit of digging. Appears the brood master perform CPR, brought her back from the great beyond, all very melodramatic. Or so I've been told. Anyway, seems her father was a bag man for some very unsavory individuals, the type you tend to run across every now and then. The man had accumulated quite a lot of dirt on the people he moonlighted for.

"One way or another," he shrugged a small hitch of his shoulders as he took another sip of the whisky, "all that juicy information made its way into Lockley's hands. She found out who would pay a small fortune, I mean enough to live like a king for the rest of your life, only she didn't want money. She wanted this, what her father wanted for her—"

"Bull," Faith growled, but there was little conviction in the solitary word.

"Look at her Faith, really look. She's happy here, happier then she ever was in Los Angeles. She's doing what she always loved, putting the bad guys in prison and her life isn't crumbling around her-"

"And let me guess," Faith interrupted. "Nobody's supposed to remember her."

"Something like that," Lindsey agreed. "Angel and his crew think she died, same with the precinct house."

"Yet me, you, and Buffy all remember her?" Faith pointed out.

Lindsey shrugged again, "One of the benefits of working for Wolfram and Hart, there's this sort of blanket protection on all employees. The higher your position, so on and so forth. I'm sure you get the gist."

Faith nodded impatiently and said, "Still doesn't explain Buffy and me?"

"I got nothing for you," Lindsey admitted. "Maybe it's because your slayers? Gives you some kind of natural protection maybe."

A small frown creased Faith's mouth. It was plausible; she might have bought it if not for Dawn and all the implanted memories. She was glad Buffy had told her about Glory and the Key and the monks.

"You might not have been given a very high priority, life sentence and all. Plus New York, California. I was sure surprised as all hell to see the pair of you out here? Can't imagine anybody expected a Summers to get themselves arrested for murder in the Big Apple, let alone the estranged father of the legendary Buffy Summers. That's causing quite a stir in certain circles. Nothing serious, but if you know how to listen—"

"And you know how to listen?"

Lindsey smiled at her. It made him look so young, so innocent. Before he could say anything though a new presence intruded upon their isolation. Faith turned her head the moment she sensed Lockley. The blonde was as striking as Faith remembered, but didn't appear to be as harried. There was far less tension in her face, and she seemed to possess more poise then Faith recalled.

Not that Lockley wasn't poised, but that was more on the balls of her feet, always ready to react and move in whatever direction she needed to go. This was more the set of her shoulders, a sort of natural serenity about her. A feeling that nothing could disrupt her idyllic world.

It was the sort of look Faith saw on plenty of faces. Normally those that had absolutely no idea about anything supernatural.

The Scrutinizing, appreciative gaze that meandered over her body wasn't one Faith expected from Lockley. It wasn't blatant, if not for her slayer enhanced senses, Faith never would have noticed. With her slayer senses, blue eyes became ethereal hands caressing heated flesh, gently kneading steel like muscles, finger nails grazing silk smooth skin.

"Fuck," Faith breathed out heavily. She grabbed the whiskey Lindsey had been lazily toying with, an all too knowing smirk lighting his face. What the fuck? Am I nothing more then sex on a stick today? She tossed down the liquor so quickly it simply seemed to have vanished from the glass. She hastily gestured for a refill.

Being with a woman wasn't new to Faith, and she definitely wasn't adverse to the idea. She had spent more then one night trying to get the stake out of Buffy's ass so she could insert other accoutrements and or digits.

And while she hadn't taken any of the inmates up on their offers, it certainly wasn't because of a lack of interest, there was plenty of that. At first a few even thought they could take what she wasn't willing to part with, it hadn't taken her too long to disabuse them of that notion. She was in prison because she killed a man, beat another, and tortured a third. Prison was supposed to be a penance not a buffet.

"Lindsey," Serena called out as she came close enough so she wouldn't have to shout. "For a moment I thought you had abandoned me." Her voice was the same as Faith remembered, but there was a fundamental difference to its overall quality.

If Faith didn't know better she would say it was happiness.

"Sorry about that," Lindsey replied and Faith could swear it was sincerity, "but I happened to spot an old colleague from L.A. Serena Southerlyn, Faith. Faith, Serena." If Serena was intrigued by the lack of a last name it didn't show on her face.

Blue eyes flashed with surprise as she shifted her gaze from Lindsey to Faith. "No offense, but aren't you a little young to work for Wolfram and Hart?"

"Don't let Faith's youthful looks fool you. She's a real go getter, did a bit of freelance work for Wolfram and Heart."

"Didn't really care for it, the place felt like it was sucking the soul right out of you."

Serena inclined her head, "I know what you mean. I was so glad when Lindsey finally got out of his contract with them. He changed so much after he started working for Wolfram & Heart."

Faith shrugged as she said, "Wouldn't know about that," she picked up her drink, "he always seemed a little slimy to me, but I'm not particularly fond of lawyers to begin with."

"That's too bad," Serena murmured too low to be heard, or so she thought. The way Faith stared at her made Serena reassess her assessment. The girl looked at her as if she knew her, but was seeing her for the first time. It was a speculative look, dark eyes filled with speculation. "So, what are you in New York for, business or plea- personal?"

"A friend of mine, her father's in trouble, so I tagged along. Offer up a little moral support."

Serena's gaze tightened as a brief memory flashed in her eyes. The courthouse, sitting with the Summers, Faith had been there. "Buffy Summers. That's who you're here with. Your friend."

"We go back a way," Faith said leaving the insinuation hanging there. She had no idea why she was flirting with Serena. It was Lockley and she never would have flirted with Kate. Only Lockley was more like a concerned aunt and Serena… Wasn't, but she was. It was all too mixed up for her to sort out.

Much easier to just go with it. Let things sort themselves out later.

Doing that, taking advantage of the situation. It would make her worse then whoever cast the spell in the first place.

Much, much worse.

The door fell into her field as her gaze shifted; trying to find any place to settle that wasn't Lockley. Instantly her mind calculated her chances of exiting the restaurant with a whole skin.

"You'll join us for lunch?" Serena insisted. Her voice sounded forceful… yet pleading, too much of both for her liking.

Faith opened her mouth to decline the invitation when the door burst open, a quartet of black clad thugs, faces covered by dark ski masks, surged into the building, guns held at the ready, aimed at the patrons as they spread out with military like precision. "On the floor!"

"Everyone get down!"

"Get on the floor!"

"Out of there!" One shouted at the bartenders. "Now! Move!"

"Move it! Move it!"

People screamed, quickly moved to follow the orders. Those that hesitated, frozen with fear and indecision, were herded towards the center of the room.

Faith used the mass panic to her advantage, picking up the heavy shot glasses still on the bar. If she hesitated, if she let them gain control of the room her chances of taking them down, without casualties, would be impossible. Right now, with confusion on her side, she had a chance to end it before it became serious.

The heavy sifters flew through the air like guided missiles, each one crashed into a gunman's skull. In a heartbeat half the threat was eliminated. She moved like a dervish as she closed with the third, her left arm whipped back and forth. Her heavy thick bladed knife seemed to appear in the fourth man's right forearm. He screamed; the forty-five fell from his suddenly nerveless hand.

Blood dripped from the wound, ran down the gleaming, razor sharp edge as Faith closed with the last man standing. He must have sensed the danger pressing down on him and spun around to face it, twelve gauge shotgun braced against his hip.

Too late.

Faith was on him.

She slid in low, beneath the barrel of the shotgun. Her right foot kicked up, the blade of her foot striking the shotgun's underbelly, her left foot snapped out, collided violently with his shin and the gunman suddenly found himself doing a split. Muscles tore and his hip popped as he sat awkwardly on the floor. Faith grabbed the shotgun's barrel, the cold steel slapping against her palm. Negligently she smashed the barrel into his forehead. Brown eyes rolled back and the man collapsed in a heap.

Faith scanned the crowd, assessing the situation. Three of the gunmen were down; the only one still up had a knife through his forearm. He was on one knee, gun held in his left hand, it was held steady, but wasn't aimed at her.

Following his aim Faith was only mildly surprised to see he had drawn a bead on Lindsey as he hustled Lockley to the end of the bar. Faith contemplated letting the man take his shot, it might make her life a little easier if he was out of the picture.

Only that would be wrong.

She snapped the stock from the barrel and hurled it like a Frisbee. It spun round and round, slammed into the side of his skull, knocked him over sideways, unconscious before he hit the floor.

Once again she looked around the restaurant; people were starting to get back to their feet. Some already had their cell phones in hand, pressed to their ears. That meant the cops would be here in a couple minutes and they would have a distinct interest in her.

Police having any interest in her was not in her best interest, especially since she was still a wanted felon.

Faith caught Lockley's eyes, saw the wonder in them. And the fear. The woman was afraid of her. Bounding to her feet Faith bolted out the door without looking back.