Ashes

Disclaimer: I don't know about you, but I want to thank Joss Whedon for giving us such fun characters to play with. Thanks, man. You rock!

Author's note: Hi, again. If you've been following along, this is a fourth 'installment' in a loosely linked series of stories about Faith's time before  meeting Buffy. The first story, Fade to black, dealt with her meeting her watcher, and learning about her destiny. The second, Providence, showed Faith's growing relationship with her new Watcher, and another side of her watcher. The third, "Chosen" chronicles Faith gaining her status as a slayer. And now, Ashes, the fourth in the series. Sorry, gotta read it to find out what it's about. Thanks for reading it, and hope so far it's amused. If you find time, let me know what you think. Peace out.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Ashes

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Faith was golden

This was her time. Her time at the peak. Her life was coming together, getting on track. Under the tutelage of Ms. Haversham, Faith actually was beginning to like school. She found interest in things that before had bored her. She found a love of learning, of knowledge, she didn't know she had. Even in her off hours, she would devour books, enjoying the nuances, finding the hidden meanings. She was feeding her brain, and her brain loved it.

But it wasn't only school that was different for Faith. Since the day she received her powers, accepted her destiny, her whole life started to go through changes. She had a more positive outlook on how her life would be. She saw she had a purpose in life. To kill vampires and demons. She no longer thought her life was only to live fast and hard and crazy til you died young. Now, she found a reason to want to live. To do something with her life. To achieve something more than just being another party girl. She saw she didn't have to be a pile of debris on the side road of life, she saw she could be more. Much more. And she began to want more. To be more. Even though the power she had received made training easier, she worked harder. She goaded herself to new limits, constantly pushing the envelope, trying to break through to yet another level. Even though Ms. Haversham continued to try to press her, Faith became her own harshest critic, her own taskmaster. Even when praised, she still found fault in her performance, and worked to improve it. She was driven to achieve the best possible; this was a new feeling for her. She wanted to be the best. No, she HAD to be the best. She wouldn't settle for less.

On patrol, she constantly tried to find new ways to slay. She developed a style all her own. She found she liked the motion, the energy, and the high she got from slaying. It was a buzz she'd never had before. The adrenal flow, the blood racing hot in her veins, her heart beating fast. All of it combined in her to create this incredible sense of sensual pleasure. It was another form of sex for her. And the dark side of her slayer, the one every slayer has had since the beginning, craved the raw power, the violence of the kill. It was the huntress in her coming to the fore. The slay fed this need to find, target and kill. Along with the rest, she got a primitive, almost animalistic pleasure from the hunt and slay.

"I don't know how to explain it. It was like having an orgasm and a high at the same time. Slaying. It's…awesome. There's this incredible feeling coming up from your gut. This need consumes you. It can only be fed by the kill. The hunt, the stalking of the vamp, is totally cool. The fighting is awesome. It's just like…so real. So right there. Punchin' them, makin' them hurt, it's like…god, it's like foreplay. Man, it's so totally up. And then, the slay, dusting them. That moment is like the orgasm. It just takes you over. Whatchin' them dust is just so totally. There's nothin' like it. Nothin' I've done til now makes me feel as good as slaying does."

"God, even the partying's better. With the slayer in me, I feel the music in my blood, in my gut, in my bones. I don't even have to think about it, the fuckin' rhythm is just there. I get on the floor to dance, and my body takes over. Every bit of me, the muscle, the nerves, the body, just knows what it wants, where it wants to go. And the energy never goes. I can dance for hours, and still feel like I've been resting. It's beyond cool."

"And sex, oh God is sex so much better. Fuck me, I didn't know it could be this good. Man, when I got it in me, it's like so totally hot. It's …damn, I'm getting wet just thinkin' about it. I lay my little stud muffin down, and rock his world, but especially mine. I love the control. Watchin as I got em where it hurts, and making it hurt so damned good. I even love the dumb goofy looks they get when they cum. And I love the feel of it explodin' in me, makin me explode to. I like it rough, and hard, and long. And I don't let up til I get what I want."

"I just started doing it with women, too. And it totally rocks. It's so different, but so damned good, too. The touching, the feelings are so different, so goddamn hot. The smell, the tastes just …fuck me, now I 'm really getting wet. But it's like so different, and it fills me in a different way. God, I think I just like sex, period !!!  People think I'm a total slut, but if it feels that good, who the fuck cares?"

The best slayers, the one's who are truly great, find some balance. A balance between their lives, and their destinies. A balance between the light and dark forces pulling at them. A balance in their heads, to keep them from losing it. For this moment, Faith had that balance, that blend of  all the elements. She was on top. She was there.

But even the universe has balance. The good is balanced by the bad. Good and Evil are constantly battling for supremacy,  neither winning because the Universe itself , and the Powers That Be are constantly struggling to maintain the balance. And as the universe goes, so goes Faith's life.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

She'd found him. She'd found him, and she felt her time for revenge was achingly close.

Ellen Haversham's interest in Kakistos had become an obsession. With Faith obtaining her gift, her destiny,  the forces were coming together to exact what to her mind was justice. The destruction of the evil that'd killed her daughter. She'd been patient. She'd learned to submerge her feelings. She'd worked hard to get a field position, one that would allow her the opportunity to train a slayer. She'd picked Faith, after reading her profile. She knew she could shape Faith to her ends, mold her into the necessary weapon to destroy the monster. She'd taken her in, fed her, clothed her, bonded with her, all in the quest to find this monster, exact her revenge in his destruction, and finally find peace in her heart.

It hadn't been easy for her. She'd had to call a truce with those on the Council she held responsible for bungling the raid on Kakistos in the first place.  She'd put on a smiling face, when she'd wanted to torture each and every one of them for her daughter's destruction. But she did it because she, for now, needed their 'expertise'. So she'd spent long nights meditating, subverting her anger until phase one of her goal was complete. She'd also spent long nights researching Kakistos, and tracking him. And planning. And finding Faith, and training her. All to her own ends. For in the end, Faith was her new weapon. Her means to pay back those who'd made her life hell.

And now he's here. In Boston. She didn't even have to travel to find him. Evidently after 2000 years of plaguing the Old World with his evil, the monster decided it was time for a change. To explore the rich possibilities of the New World. So, he was setting up shop here, in Boston, to find his new prey.

It was perfect. Almost as if Fate herself had intervened in Ellen's behalf. All the patience, the waiting was beginning to pay off. Soon, she would begin her first phase, to destroy Kakistos. The thought of it made Ellen near giddy with anticipation. To be so close to achieving  this part of her dream was exciting and maddening at the same time. But patience was a virtue with Ellen, and she wasn't about to ruin it by rushing in too quickly. She still had to train and prepare Faith. Once she was ready, it could go forward.

Then, with Kakistos dispatched, she could plan phase two. The elimination of those council member that had bungled the original operation. Their destruction, even more than Kakistos, would be sweet. If not for their incompetence, her Jessica would be alive, and Kakistos would be no more than dust in France. Yes, it was time for them to pay for what they did, to finally get the punishment they so richly deserved.

In her head, she went over the names of those who would pay. Quentin Travers, leader of the operation. Sylvia Payne, who planned it. And the survivors of the strike team: James Pennington, Nettie Jones, Robert Thomas Fairhaven, and Rupert Giles. Those incompetents that allowed Kakistos to escape. All of them, all of them would suffer, as she'd suffered these 4 years since Jessica had died.

Soon, very soon, all her plans would come to fruition.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

"Faith. Pay attention. This is very important!"

Faith broke off her weapon drills. She'd developed a particular fondness for knives, though she excelled in all weapons. The knife, though, particularly interested her. Unlike the sword, it took power on part of the user to be effective. Unlike the bow, it was intensely personal.  It was light, and easy to carry and conceal. All in all, it was in Faith's mind, the perfect weapon.

Faith walked over to Ellen Haversham, and plopped herself down in front of her. Putting on her trademark smirk,  she kicked back and made ready to listen.

"Ok, Boss lady, I'm here. Rock my world" Faith said.

"There is a new threat in Boston. One that is going to test all your skills and powers" Ellen said

"Really? What is it? Super vamp? Can it jump tall gravestone's in a single leap, or somethin?" Faith grins.

"Faith, this is serious. The vampire's name is Kakistos" Ellen replied, a little sternly." Have you ever heard of Kakistos?"

"Uhhh… no . So, what is Kakistos?   Some new  brand of chips?" Faith asks, giggling

"Very amusing. Kakistos is Greek for "Worst of the worst". He is one of the oldest known vampires in existence. He's thought to be at least 2000 years old" Ellen replied " He's so old, his body has changed. His hands and feet are cloven."

" Don't these guys believe in retirement? I mean, isn't there some "old vamps home" they can go to?" Faith asks, not taking it at all seriously.

"Faith, please. This is serious. He poses quite a threat. He didn't get his name for being nice. He's particularly sadistic, his specialty being tearing his victims apart. Unlike a number of older vampires, he still enjoys the thrill of the kill. He takes particular delight in maiming and torturing his victims, his signature being to tear them into unrecognizable parts."

" So, he needs to be taken out. Gotcha. We hunt, we kill, we party down" Faith says.

"Faith, you're not paying attention" Ellen scolds, her tone harsh. " This isn't your average slobbering vampire. He didn't get to be 2000 years old by being stupid, or easy to kill. He has followers….lots of followers. So, get it in your head that we're not going on a  outing here. This is serious stuff, and requires careful planning"

"Ok, geeze. Don't take my head off" Faith complains. "We'll do it your way. So, what IS your way, anyway?"

" He's not going to be easy to kill. The old ones never are. So, we need to intensify your training, and I want you to start working with a broadsword.  I know you like knives, but this one needs more …how would you put it?… oomph behind the weapon. It might be easiest to behead him, rather than stake him. He is very, very strong… much stronger than your average vampire. So, keeping away from him is a good idea. Maybe, we can  work more on your crossbow training, too." Ellen says, musing over the possibilities. "But most important, Faith. We need to isolate him. He is going to be hard enough to handle, without his cadre of followers  to deal with. We have to set a trap, and have him walk into it. Once he's alone, then we have a chance to stop him. Once he is gone, his followers will not be a problem".

" So, what's you're plan?" Faith asks

" I'm still working on it. I'll have it ready soon, then I'll share it with you. In the meantime, I need you to train more on those things we mentioned… The broadsword, and the crossbow"

"Gotcha. Just let me know when you're ready to take out this Taquitos dude" Faith said, grinning.

"Kakistos, Faith" Ellen said, not amused. " this isn't a joke".

"Alright, alright, geeze. Might want to get that stick removed from your butt" Faith mutters, and walks away.

Ellen watched Faith leave, hoping she'd be ready for what was coming.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Faith was bored.

Ever since Khakidoritos (Ok, don't get smart, I know it's Kakistos, but I'm bored, ok?) showed up, Ms. H had been totally in Obsession-land.  Training had become more intense, but always concentrating on the broadsword and crossbow. Geeze, please already. Give me a break. Or something else to play with. And this had been going on now for 2 weeks.

And the true pisser was that Faith couldn't sneak out. No party hearty for Faith. Ms. H caught her sneaking out, and like grounded her til she was 25, or something. "Got all weird, like I'm so gonna get myself killed. PUH-LEASE!!! But ever since this Kakistos dude showed up, she's been all weird. I try to like, get her to talk about him, and she gets all bitchy. It's like " Train, Faith, school, eat and bed. MAN, this totally sucks lemons. She won't even let me patrol. Says it's a waste of focus. HUH? Wasn't it in the job description? Lets see. " Get powers, kill vamps" Yeah, so what's her deal?".

Faith was getting itchy. She never before voluntarily confined herself( c'mon, you think Faith really could be held her if she didn't want to be? No school, juvey hall or prison built Faith couldn't get herself out of, especially now with the slayer stuff), and it was telling on her. She was getting edgy, and her concentration was not sharpened, but scattered. She needed some kind of release. And it pissed her royal that Ms. H wouldn't even tell her anything about Kakistos. "C'mon, I gotta face this dude. So, how come I can't know nothin' about him? Is he some kinda secret, or somethin? Ms. H. said she'd tell me when I need to know. Well, damn, I need to know that now, 'k?"

It's because Faith's bored that she decided to try one more time to get Ms. H to let her patrol. Begging is an option; if she doesn't get out of this house, she's gonna go nuts. It was the only reason she went to Ms. H's study these days. Mostly, she tried to avoid her. She already was acting loony tunes, far as Faith was concerned. She was hiding something. No one gets this obsessed with someone, unless there was some personal reason. That also bugged Faith. She had begun to think of Ms. H as more than a keeper… and she was kind of hurt that Ms. H wouldn't at least confide in her. " She just thinks I'm some kinda kid, and I wouldn't get it. Believe me, I'd get it. Anyway, I gotta get outta this place for awhile. I'm gonna go fruitcake if she don't let me get out".

Faith came to the study door, and saw it was closed. "Damn, she's probably out. Great, I'm stuck her, and she's out. That really is crap". She knocks on the door, but no response. She tries again, same thing. She's about to leave, but something in her mind says try the knob. It's open. Cool. She opens the door, and sees that Ms. H isn't in. Faith's curiosity takes over. Maybe she can snoop around a little, find out more about this Kakistos. Maybe find out what the deal is with Ms. H, too. She eases herself into the study, and closes the door behind her.

She looks around at the books, but nothing really seems to relate to Kakistos directly. More, occult reference books. " Banyard's Demons, monsters and creatures" " Demonology by Rah-Shayif " " LeJune's  History of Witchcraft". Not exactly light reading, nor on topic. She looks around a little more, and is about to give up, when she finds some unmarked volumes. The only  title on them is "Journal". Hmmm , this might be interesting. She opens one, and starts perusing the pages. She realizes that these are the journals Ms. H. has been keeping for the last 5 years or so. Fascinated, thinking maybe she can get some answers, she starts to read them in earnest. Forgetting where she is, she sits down, and consumes the thin volumes.

When she reads the story about how Jessica, Ms. H's daughter is killed, she is horrified. Her heart goes out to the woman. It must have been so hard for her, she thinks. She can understand her obsession with this monster. Why didn't she tell me, she thinks? I woulda so helped her in any way  I could. As she continues, her face changes. She starts to read about Ms. H's revenge scenarios. Her face becomes troubled… she sounds less than sane in these passages.

She begins to read about Ms. H's plans, and her plans for her. And her face goes blank. But inside, she's feeling like someone stuck her with a hot poker. She reads how Ms. H schemed to be assigned the role of her Watcher. How she researched  Faith's situation. How she "Must convince the girl I'm on her side. Get her to trust me, as it will be necessary when I implement my plans. To mold her into the proper tool, the perfect weapon for my revenge, I must have her trust and confidence. Poor pathetic child, she's had a hard life. But that makes her psychology perfect for my uses. She will be looking for a mother figure, and I will do my best to encourage that bonding. I will need those feelings to make sure she is of the proper frame of mind to carry out my orders. With the proper training, combined with using her needs for an authority figure, I should have her ready for my plans by the time her destiny comes upon her. She will be perfect, I know. She's bright, but not overly so, resourceful and tough. With the right guidance, she will be a perfect tool.

I hope that I'll be able to exact my revenge without casualty. But I can't let worry for the girl's safety be of a prime concern. Most important is to destroy Kakistos, and those members of the Council that through their actions destroyed Jessica"

There was more. More about Ms. H's plans, and her other thoughts. But Faith didn't care. She kept re-reading those passages, and her blood began to boil. She felt betrayed. She felt angry. She felt stupid.

"Goddammit, I gotta be the dumbest asshole on the planet. What the fuck was I thinking? That some rich bitch would really take an interest in me?  I'm a total dope. What the hell was I thinking, anyway? I should know by now that all they want is to use me. Fuck me, I should be shot for being so damned stupid.

What? What did I do? I mean, why did she even do it. I know why, cause she needed some little stupid soft headed girl to use to get her revenge. Someone who was so messed up, so fucking desperate, that she'd fall in line like a good little tin soldier. Someone so desperate to be needed, that she'd do anything to please the one who 'needed' her. How many times, Faith, you gotta get kicked in that brick you call a head before you get it? NO ONE WANTS YOU!!!! THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU!!!! All they want is to use you, and when  they're done with you, throw you away. Fuck, this one wouldn't even give a rats butt if I die. Not as long as her fucking revenge goes off. When ya gonna learn, baby. Look out for Faith, and fuck the rest of them. That's all that counts. No one's ever gonna care whether you live or die. You're just a joke, Faith. And you still don't get the punch line."

Faith's face changes. Her mouth turns down, her lip begins to quiver. She acts tough, but this really hurt. She wanted so much for Ms. H to really want her, and finding this out, is like being stabbed.

"Why? How did I screw this one up? I thought I was doin' good. I really was tryin, this time. Tryin' to do good. I really worked hard at it. And… she … WHY? Why can't no one love me? What's wrong with me? I'm such a fuck up, that no one can love me. It hurts, it fucking hurts. She treated me so good, I thought… I thought maybe this time she'd want me. Want ME. But who the fuck am I kidding? I'm nothin', never be nothin', just a piece of trash. Somethin' ya kick in the gutter. That's all I'll ever be. I'm worthless, and too stupid to see it. I hate myself. God, I just wish I were dead."  Faith is so wrapped in her thoughts, she doesn't hear the study door open, or see  Ellen Haversham standing there, staring at her. She stands, head down, fists clenched, lost.

" Faith! What are you doing in here? You know you're not supposed to be in here…" Ellen says, then sees the volumes Faith has been looking at. She stops, confused.

Faith looks up. Her face is a blank mask, her mouth frozen in a cynical smirk. Her eyes, so expressive, are cold and hard.

"What'm I doin? What're you doin, bitch?" Faith sneers.

"Faith! I don't like that kind of talk!" Ellen says, her mind racing.

"Well, excuse me. I guess the dumb little tool ya picked up just don't get it!" Faith says, her voice like acid.

"What are you talking about, Faith?" Ellen replies, but her heart sinks to her stomach. She knows exactly what she's talking about.

" Aw, c'mon, Ms. H. How long did ya think you could keep it a secret? Ya think I'm that dumb, don't ya?. But I guess I'm not quite the dope ya think I was. I can read, ya know? And ya left your study open. I sees how ya been actin' since this Kakistos showed up. But ya wouldn't tell me squat, would ya? So, I had to find out for myself. And I found out a lot more than ya wanted me to know, didn't I?" Faith says, her voice cold.

"Faith, please, try to understand. I wrote that …when I was hurting over my daughter's death…I don't …." Ellen says, but Faith interrupts her.

"Damn you, quit tryin' to make me stupid. I'm NOT STUPID. You're just pullin' more of your fucking tricks on me" Faith, angry, lashes out, sweeping her arm across Ellen's desk, sending the stuff on there crashing to the floor.

"Faith… please, I …." Ellen starts again.

"SHUT UP!!!! SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!! I'm tired of your lies. You lied to me, just like the rest. You're no different from the rest. Ya just wanted to use me, didn't ya.? 'The perfect tool, the perfect weapon!' Well, I'm done bein' used. Get it? I'm tired of being somebody's toy. I HATE YOU. DO YOU HEAR ME. I HATE YOU!!!! You're worse than the rest. At least with them, they didn't pretend to care about me. YOU'RE THE WORST. HEAR ME??? THE WORST!!!!"

"Faith… I'm sorry…please…" Ellen is pleading. She really has started to care for the girl, despite what she wrote.

"SCREW YOURSELF!!" Faith screams. " You made me feel good, now I feel like some kinda cheap fucking whore! You're my pimp, and I'm you're fucking whore. And I hate feeling that way. Goddamn you. I can't believe I felt sorry for you when I read how your daughter died. Ya know what ? YOU DESERVE IT. YOU DESERVE THE PAIN. You called Kakistos a monster. But YOU'RE THE MONSTER!!! You're nothing but a cold hearted bitch. And I'm done here. I'm done being your whore. Got it? I'm outta here. As of right NOW!"

Faith storms towards the door. Ellen makes to block her, but Faith just shoves her out of the way, into a wall. She stops, and turns, looking down on the form of Ellen Haversham, who is staring up at her.

"Ya know what I wish? I wish that you get what you wanted to do to that thing, Kakistos. I wish he finds YOU, and kills YOU. You don't deserve to breathe. You're nothing but a waste of space!" With that, she stomps out of the room, and up the stairs. She grabs a few things, and then storms out of the house.

Ellen Haversham, distraught, sits where Faith shoved her, her body not responding to her commands to get up, stop her, and try to explain.

She knows, in some small place inside her, that Faith is right.

She deserves the pain. She is the monster. She became the very thing she wanted to destroy.

And she used Faith. Used her badly. She was nothing but a hypocrite.

Because she never expected what happened to her, to happen.

She started to care about Faith.

She started to love Faith, like the daughter she'd lost.

And she lost her.

She just wished she were dead.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Faith woke up as the sun hit her eyes.

She didn't know where she was, really. Another fucking motel room, she guessed. Her head hurt, her body ached, she was feeling a little nauseated. She was sleeping next to some guy. Some guy she'd picked up in some club or bar, somewhere. Now, the morning after, she was hung over, sick and sick in her heart.

She'd spent the last two weeks trying to forget. Forget the life she'd been living. It'd been one long party for her. She'd dance, she'd drink, she'd get high, she'd have sex. Anything to keep her from thinking. Because when she started thinking, it hurt too much.

She got out of the bed, and half staggered to the bathroom. She wasn't sure if she wanted to vomit, or what. All she knew is she wanted to get out of that bed. She felt more like a whore than she'd ever felt before.  Before… before she'd met Ms. Haversham, it didn't matter to her. She figured that was all her life was about. Partying, dancing, fucking. That was the whole of her existence, and  she did it with abandon.

Now, she knew that there was more. More to life than that. And she felt cheap, and dirty and ugly. She hated feeling this way. She hated herself. And she hated Ellen Haversham the most, for showing her a life she'd never have.

She looked in the mirror, and she looked bad. She had dark rings under her eyes. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her hair looked like a cat crawled up in it and died. Her head felt like someone was hammering on it, and her stomach…oh, god …her stomach felt like…oh shit….

She hunched over the porcelain throne, and vomited. As the stinking spew came out, her stomach heaved more, until it was empty. Then she had the dry heaves for awhile.  Finally, shaky, but done, she flushed, and put down the lid, and sat on the toilet.

She started crying, and she didn't know why. Her heart hurt, that's all she knew. She hated living this life, being this slut. But she didn't know what else to do. She couldn't go back. No way she could go back. Not after what she'd learned. What Ellen Haversham had done to her was 100 times worse than any of her previous 'guardians'. She'd… given her hope, then  snatched it away. When she'd learned of Ellen Haversham's plans for her, it'd been like she'd been staked. Her life turned to dust, and she didn't know how to get it back. Ever.

Faith stumbled into the shower, still partly drunk, and let the cold water wash over her. Her head began to clear, and all the bad stuff came rushing back. The discovery, the fight, her storming out of the house. She tried, but she couldn't stop the tears. Her body shook with pain, and she leaned against the tiled wall, trying to make it go away.

Despite what'd happened, she still wanted to go back. God, she was stupid, but she wanted to go back!!!! Despite what Ms. H  had done, she … tears, sobs, and more tears…she still loved her. She loved her like the mother she'd never really had. Despite the fact she'd been used, she'd gotten something too. Something she'd never had before. Self respect. She'd worked hard, she'd made herself better. She WAS better than before. She knew things now she hadn't known then. And despite the betrayal, she knew in her heart that Ms. H had given that to her. She didn't want to believe it. She wanted to be angry, to hate her. But she couldn't do it. She just couldn't hate her.

She wanted to go home. She needed to go home.

Admitting that to herself, her heart felt lighter. She…hadn't realized how much she missed being home. Feeling cared for, even if it were a sham. She'd work it out, somehow. With Ms. H.  Somehow, they could come to some arrangement, some accommodation. Something. She knew she couldn't live like this anymore. Not now. Not when she knew there was better.

She left the bathroom, and looked around for her clothes. Finding them, she stuffed them into the bag, her entire life in that bag, and pulled out something that was cleaner. She needed to hit the laundry before going home. She didn't want to look like trash. Not anymore. and she wanted to get something to eat, try to sober up, before going home. It was going to be hard enough, without starving and having a hangover.

She slipped out of the motel room, and looked at the sky. It was noon, and that meant she wouldn't get home til dark. But that was ok. Because  the last 2 weeks had been a lot darker for her.  Maybe in the dark, Ms. H wouldn't see how dissipated she looked. But it didn't matter, right now. If she had to beg, she'd beg. Because she just couldn't go on like this anymore.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Something was wrong.

Faith could see that as soon as she approached the house. The lights weren't on. Ms. H never let the house be dark. Something is definitely wrong.

Anxiety began to build in Faith's chest. What if… what if she left? Went back to England? I … what if I blew it totally, and she just left me? Oh God, please. Don't let it be that. I fucked up, I know. But I'm so sorry. Please, please give me a break here. Let her be here. Let her not hate me, please God.

She walks to the front door, and the second odd thing hits her. The front door is ajar. THAT never happens. Now Faith gets really worried, but for a different reason. What if burglars broke in? What is she's alone, and hurt…or worse? Oh, man. What am I gonna do? Fuck this, I gotta go in. I gotta know. I … maybe she's ok… but I need to see…oh God, I hate this so much….

But when she went inside, her slayer sense went into overdrive. Something was here…something big… and evil. Forcing down her panic, she quietly started through the house… and that's when she heard the screams.

They were awful, soul wrenching… and coming from the basement. Whatever it was, was down there. And they had  Ms. H with them! Damn. DAMN ME.

Faith, trying to keep her head, quietly made for the weapons cabinet in Ms. H's  study. Finding it locked, she broke the lock with slayer's strength, and picked up some stakes, a crossbow and a sword. She quietly as possible made her way out of the study, and headed for the basement door.

The light was on in the basement, and Faith was shocked at the scene that confronted her.

About 6 vampires were milling around where  Ms. H was shackled to the wall. Next to her was the largest vampire she'd ever seen. He must have stood six and a half feet tall, and weighed over 300 pounds. Not fat, all muscle. His hands were…cloven, looked like hooves. And he held a long thin blade… which he was using on Ms. H.

Kakistos ran the blade over Ellen's body, cutting another strip of her flesh off. She screamed in agony and terror. Her eyes were wide in fright and pain.

"So,  stupid woman, you thought you could capture me, did you? Thought you could kill me?" Kakistos laughed, and his minions laughed with him. " You're pathetic, nearly as pathetic as that Watcher's Council you belong to." He sliced another wedge of flesh from her body.

" You humans amaze me. You keep coming at me, despite the fact that I've killed each one that tried to capture me. I'll concede you're brave, but you're incredibly stupid, too." He cuts another slice of flesh " Now, I'm going to kill you, and then find that Slayer you were training. And kill her, also"

At that moment, Kakistos hears a scream. He turns just in time to see one of his minions turn to dust. At the top of the stairs, Faith reloads her crossbow, and shoots another one through the heart, dusting it.

"So, Tall, fat and stupid. You wanted the slayer? Well,  Steer face, I'm here. C'mon, big boy, let's party!" Faith sneers, and shoots a third vamp. Dust to dust, so to speak.

"Ahhh…the mighty Slayer. God, you're small. They just don't grow them like they used to. Well, since you're here, I guess I can dispense of this" And with that, he takes the blade, slicing it across  Ellen's neck, decapitating her

"NOOOOOOOOOOO" Faith screams, running down the stairs. " You're so gonna die for that" Faith yells, going into slayer mode.

" Idle threats, little girl. It's four to one, and you're going to die like you're watcher". Kakistos laughs, a very unpleasant laugh.

" Not for long, Tubby" Faith says. Before they can even react, Faith, sword in hand, beheads two of the remaining vamps, making Hoover material out of them. The remaining vampire, on guard, kicks at faith, hitting her just above the knee. She goes down, and he looms over her, ready to kill her. She comes up with a stake, and it's just Faith and Kakistos.

"Impressive, but pointless. You can't kill me so easily, slayer" Kakistos says, bringing his own blade around, slicing her on the arm. It cuts , causing a wound to her arm.

"Don't want it to be easy for you, Steer boy. I  want it to be slow, and hurt like hell" Faith says.

She raises her broadsword, ready to bring it down on him. But he counters with his blade, and it slips off…instead of catching him in the neck, it slides over, and strikes him over his right eye, wounding him.

Kakistos screams, and backs up. He's half blinded, and this slayer is proving not to be as easy as he thought. He needs to go, regroup, and bring back more of his companions. She'll be dealt with on his terms, not hers.

"This isn't over, Slayer." Kakistos says, as he backs up the stairs. " When I'm done with you,  you'll beg to be killed" He retreats through the cellar door, holding the wound over his eye.

Faith follows him up the stairs, trying to catch him. But he's gone… for now. She heads back downstairs, and goes to the body of her watcher.

She kneels before it, and starts to cry. Her heart is breaking. She never got the chance to make it up with Ellen Haversham. She can't forget her last words to her, wishing that Kakistos would kill her. The guilt, and the pain, is too much, and she gives into her grief.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Later, when she recovers, she stands.

She knows that monster will be back for her. And she'd better be gone. Long gone. But first, she has to take care of something.

Going upstairs, she finds a blanket to wrap the body of Ellen Haversham in. Grabbing a shovel, she carries the body with her out to the backyard. She digs a grave, shallow but sufficient to bury Ms. Haversham. She covers the body, and stands for a moment, looking down on her. She swears, that someday she'll get justice on that monster for this. That Kakistos will pay.

Turning away, she heads back into the house. Going upstairs, she packs everything she can carry into a carryall bag. She knows right now, she's not ready to face Kakistos. She needs to get distance between him and herself, so she can figure a way to destroy him. To live long enough to destroy him. She knows that he'll follow her. He'll want vengeance for that wound she gave him.

Walking out the front door, she takes one last look at the best life she ever had. It's gone now, probably forever. It's all ashes, bitter to the taste.

 Now she has only one choice. She has to get away, find somewhere else to be. He'll be back, and he'll bring help. So, she has to go.

She has to run.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

To be continued in next story, entitled "RUN". Coming soon( as my brain figures it out).

Thanks for reading. Review if you will.