Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters except for the new ones that I created like Audrey.
Author's Note: This story takes place a little while after the fight in the alley, it'll be different than some of my other stories as there won't be to many happy reunions, though the couples remain the same, but both Spike and Angel have a chip on their shoulder as to Buffy and Giles and the Scooby gangs effectively turning their backs on them, Angel and Spike don't take rejection to well and Buffy and the gang will find that out the hard way.
CHAPTER 1-RUDE AWAKENINGS
One Month Ago…
The bile rose up in his throat and after a few seconds he could no longer hold it in. He forced himself up onto his forearms long enough to expunge the contents of his stomach, mostly so that he wouldn't drown in it. When that was over the pain set back in. Every nerve in his body seemed to be on fire, sending their signals of action to the brain a mile a minute. He convulsed violently for several seconds before everything became calm. The world spun around him in a sea of blurry images and a deafening cacophony of sound. The scars at various points on his body felt like they were being unzipped, all at the same time, and the original wounds suffered through again. His breath caught in his throat and for what seemed like an eternity he struggled for each and every breath, something that was only hindered by his cold sweats and the shock to his system of suddenly materializing on the beach in the middle of the night wearing nothing but his birthday suit. Painful images of his last few moments of life flashed through his mind, the archduke, the knife, Fred. Each flash of memory brought with it a wrenching jerk in his stomach, very nearly bringing forth another torrent of vomit. The muscles of his arms and legs seemed to daringly refuse to work and allow him anything more than to blindly flail around in the surf. The salt water stung his eyes and sent even more shivers through his system. He was just about to pass out into nothingness when she appeared, standing beside him in the surf, appearing like an angel out of thin air, beaming with hope.
"Come Wesley, you still have a lot of work to do, my time is short and there is a lot that I need to tell you," Fred said with a sad but yet encouraging smile on her face as she knelt down beside him in the surf and gently caressed his cheek. As her hand came into contact with his face all of the pain and misery instantly vanished.
"F…Fred," Wesley very weakly mumbled out with a look of utter disbelief on his face as he struggled to look upon his love for only a moment before darkness took him and he collapsed into the surf.
"He'll be okay Fred, you just have to make sure that he gets there in time, otherwise she could die, and if she dies…," Cordelia said with a very worried look on her face as she stepped calmly into the surf and also knelt down beside him.
"Then all is lost," Fred finished with a very nervous and even scared look on her face before there was a bright flash of light and the three disappeared into the dark night.
Two weeks ago…
The plane touched down at the airport just like any other had that day. To the woman sitting in a window seat in the middle of the plane the sun was shining to brightly through the small window, forcing her to slide the shade closed. Her stomach was still giving her fits and she had just woken up from a particularly exhaustive and intense dream. When her eyes had snapped open she had noticed several of the other passengers and even a couple of the flight attendants staring oddly at her. She had thought about shouting at them to mind their own business but remembered that she was here on a mission. Buffy had sent her here to Los Angeles to find out what had really happened to Angel and his team. A little more than a month had passed since the fall of the Wolfram and Hart tower. Not three days later the tower was back in place, looking pristine and serene right next to the other buildings, with no one being the wiser that it had fallen just days earlier. Buffy and Giles had made their instructions very clear, find out at all costs what had happened and report back to them using a number that she had scribbled on a scrap piece of paper that she had stuffed into her pocket just before boarding the plane in Rome.
Her hands were all clammy and her mouth tasted like a mix between bile and black licorice. The passenger in the seat next to her had scooted over as far away from her as they could and looked ready to bolt the second that she was allowed to. Deciding against making a sarcastic remark Faith simply bade her time and waited until she had collected her bags and stepped out of the terminal to let out the breath that she seemingly been holding in since leaving Europe. She was finally alone and out on her own again, far removed from the painful memories of opening her heart up for the first time in years and getting it stomped on when she had found the man that she thought loved her sleeping with another woman. That had only been a week ago and she had been eager to take any assignment that would take her far away from Rome. She put her sunglasses on and hailed the first taxi that she saw, giving the directions to the driver before flopping back in her seat and letting the breeze waft her hair around on the way to her first stop.
"This is pitiful," Spike grumbled with an unhappy scowl on his face as he slid his duster off and laid it over the back of a chair.
"Not now Spike," Angel grumbled back with a painful expression on his face as he did his best to get in a good verbal shot on his granchilde without moving too much and aggravating one of his injuries.
"I'm just saying that this is not where I thought I'd end up when I signed on to your little army," Spike said back with a less than thrilled look on his face as he stared angrily up at the only source of light in the room, a bare bulb hanging loosely from the ceiling that was about half shot.
"Then you shouldn't have signed up, look Spike we didn't ask to be here but this is where we ended up, we're just going to have to deal with the hand that we've been dealt, simple as that," Nina said before Angel could open his mouth as she walked across the room holding two bags of blood.
"Easy for you to say, you can still travel around freely up there, Peaches and I would be killed on sight," Spike said back with an unhappy pout on his face as he took the bag of blood that Nina handed to him and slipped his game face on.
"You call hiding in the shadows and running from alley to alley free, sorry but the three of us are public enemy numbers one, two, and three, Wolfram and Hart went so far as to leak our likenesses to the authorities under the notion that we're murderers wanted for a string of killings," Nina shot back with an over anxious and tense scowl on her face as she walked around the edge of the couch and sat down next to Angel, doing her very best to keep from jostling him any more than was absolutely necessary.
"Not exactly a lie about me and Angel luv, though you're still an innocent, haven't killed anyone yet," Spike replied with a useless breath as he shook his head and then bit into the bag of blood, gaining strength and beginning the mending of some of his injuries with every drop.
"Still we can't stay here forever, the only reason that we're not out of here is because Angel can barely move with his injuries," Nina said back with a very serious and worried look on her face as she gently laid her hand on Angel's arm.
"Well boys and girls I don't think that the ole senior partners are going to wait until Peaches here is fit to fight again before they send their best after us," Spike said back with a slightly sing song tone of voice as he finished off the bag of blood and slipped back into his human visage.
"They think we're dead Spike, they're not going to send anyone after us, the cover story to the police is just a precautionary measure, just in case," Angel countered with a very tired tone to his voice before he went back to slowly draining the bag of blood dry. When he tried to make the holes that his fangs had made a bit bigger he spilled a bit onto Nina's hand and arm. He started to apologize but Nina simply shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
"It's okay, you're hurt so I'll let it slide, besides the wolf in me tends to get a little antsy ever now and again and a little blood helps to calm it down, even though it almost makes me want to gag," Nina said with another shrug of her shoulders and a defensive expression on her face when Spike and Angel stared oddly at her after she brought the blood marred hand up to her mouth and began to lick it off.
"That is just wrong, I thought only vampires drank blood," Spike stated with a slightly queasy feeling in his stomach as he sat up in his chair and looked over at Nina.
"I don't drink blood, and like I said, I only take a little when the werewolf acts up…most of the time I just have a steak that's barely cooked, since the blood that I got for you two was from pigs it's pretty much the same thing right, but you should try to explain a hungry growl to a class full of art students sometime, they all probably think that I'm a few bricks shy of a load by now," Nina replied with an embarrassed look on her face as she finished licking up the rest of the blood and then reached for a towel.
"This has all be very informative really, but since I still feel like shit I'm going to have to suggest that you two try to keep from arguing for two seconds and let me get some sleep," Angel said with a subtle smile on his face as he slowly drifted away into dreamland, leaving Nina and Spike to try to keep to his wishes.
Things hadn't gone as she had planned. Not more than two days into her stay in LA things had gone from bad to worse. The nightmares that had plagued her for several days before accepting the assignment had not ceased and to make matters worse she was having no luck in finding anything out about the disappearance of Angel and the rest of his group. The woman at the front desk of the Wolfram and Hart branch in Los Angeles had said that she'd never heard of anyone named Angel or Wesley. It had taken Faith all of her willpower to keep from assaulting the woman right then and there and it was only as she was leaving the building that Faith passed by a trashcan and glanced down briefly, noticed a soaking wet copy of an old newspaper and brought it back to her hotel room with her. After the paper had dried she used tweezers that she had lifted from a nearby gas station and carefully peeled the pages apart. The article that had caught her eye had Angel's name in big letters with what looked like a picture of Wesley underneath. Though in truth she hadn't thought that it was Wesley at first as he looked very different from how she had remembered him. He looked nothing at all like the virgin watcher that had showed up in Sunnydale and tried to run her life. Gone was that innocence and optimism, replaced by self-loathing and pain.
She knew those feelings all to well and she had found that the only time that they abated briefly was when she was around someone else that was in her same predicament. The knowledge of the fact that she had forced him down a path on the darker side of life and had taken pleasure in it now made her have to bite her tongue to keep from vomiting. She could feel the tears threatening to come but forced them back as she squinted and tried her best to read the article. Her eyes widened considerably as she read on about how the Wolfram and Hart tower that she had just been in a few hours before had unexpectedly come crashing down in an instant and that the head of the Los Angeles branch, and all of his senior staff, of Wolfram and Hart had perished in the collapse. There lying in front of her was the answer that she had been sent to LA to find, though something was gnawing at her in the back of her mind that it wasn't as simple as how the newspaper made it seem. She knew that Angel wouldn't go down that easily and she believed that Wesley would have been smart enough to stay clear of a building collapse. She went to sleep that night with those thoughts, amongst the dark myriad of others, in her head. So it was no great shock when in the middle of the night the denizens of the hotel that she was staying in were awoken suddenly by the panicked screams of a young woman, though herself fully asleep. By the time that Faith regained consciousness and discovered where she was she found herself bound in a straight jacket chained to a chair and staring across an old table at a psychiatrist, with several small paper cups in front of him, each filled undoubtedly with one antidepressant or anti-psychotic or another, ready for use.
One Week Later…
The drugs kept her in a state of dreams. Most of the time she didn't know what was real and what was simply a figment of her very active imagination. Being a slayer and having slayer dreams certainly didn't help her out any and it was usually just when she was starting to get a handle on things they'd dope her up again and everything would be lost once more. All of her personal belongings had been sealed into Ziploc bags and placed into a bin marked with her identification number. Somewhere in that bin was the number that she was supposed to have called every day with her progress. Giles had thought about sending someone else, even going so far as to openly discuss the matter with the new watcher's council; most of whom were retired watchers combined with the gang from Sunnydale. But in the end it had been decided that Faith had simply forgotten to check in and that any day now she'd call and everything would be set right again. During the night Faith was restrained heavily in her cell, mostly due to the fact that on her second night on the ward she had broken one of the orderly's arms.
More than one of the other orderly's had felt her up while she was either to doped up to notice or to heavily restrained to do anything about it, though with her small ounce of sanity and clarity she had put their faces and names away into memory for retrieval later when she was freed. On her eighth night on the ward there was a terrible lightning storm and the old lights in the building stayed on but began to blink in and out and varying intervals. That night she had been led out of her cell and to one of the small rooms where sat an aged psychiatrist flanked by a gaggle of interns that would furiously scribble notes down on small pads of paper whenever the doctor would ask Faith anything and she would respond. The inquisition, as she saw it, lasted for almost two hours. It was almost midnight when she was finally led out of the small room and started back towards her cell.
No one noticed him walking calmly up to a side entrance and slip past the guards. The security cameras did not capture his image either. He walked calmly and quietly through the shadows of the long and dark hallways, punctuated only by a stray bulb that had decided to stay on for a little while. He wore a long coat, long enough to hide the bulge of the weapons underneath. Rather than outfit himself with an entire arsenal he had only decided to bring the necessities. Two pistols, a sawed off shotgun slid into a holster that was tied to his left leg, and an ancient knife that he knew would both peak her interest and curiosity and be useful in freeing her from the straightjacket and then in defending herself from the guards. In one of his back pockets he carried a small vial that he had been given that was supposed to instantly counteract the effects of whatever drugs they had pumped into her system.
As he climbed the stairs and opened up the door to her level he casually pulled out the two pistols and stepped calmly down the hallway, only once stopping to notice his grizzled and haggard reflection in a mirror that was situated up on one of the walls to help the guards look around the corner. His glasses long gone and the jagged scar across his neck back in its rightful place he looked like a psychopath, and had anyone known what he had been told in the days and weeks leading up to this night they would have thought him insane as well. Though tonight he had a mission to accomplish and nothing would stop him.
The first guard to notice him immediately asked him to return to the waiting room and that he was in a restricted area. Without the slightest hint of emotion in his face he aimed and pulled the trigger, blowing out the guards knee and splattering the nearby wall with blood in the process. With an almost callous indifference he knelt down and retrieved the ring of keys from the guards belt, ignoring the guards screams of pain until he could stand it no longer and smashed the butt of his gun into the guards temple, knocking him out cold. Finding the right key he unlocked the door and passed through the first checkpoint completely unnoticed. He ducked into a darkened room as one guard made his rounds, and then continued on down the hallway, checking his watch every few feet. He slid into the shadows behind one locked gate and waited. A few minutes ticked by before they led her around the corner, still bound in her straightjacket and shackled hands and feet. She looked to be resisting somewhat but her attempts were only halfhearted, as she seemed to be drugged as well.
"Is she really that dangerous that we have to pump her full of drugs every time we move her," One of the guards asked with an unsure frown on his face as they neared the gate. As they got closer something clicked in Faith's mind and her slayer senses went into overdrive, warning of extreme danger nearby. Seemingly snapping instantly out of her stupor she began to violently thrash about as best she could, forcing the guards to focus all of their attention on keeping her in line. One of the guards finally pulled out his nightstick and brought it down on the back of her head. Stars filled Faith's field of vision and she came close to passing out before she sensed another presence in the hallway. Almost immediately after that the guards seemed to figure out that they weren't alone as well.
"Is someone there, step into the light," The other guard started to say with a nervous tone to his voice as Faith began to thrash about again when several shots rang out through the hallway. The echo nearly broke her eardrums and for several seconds afterwards all that she could hear was a great ringing sound. She felt and saw the two guards that had been transporting her slump to the ground, riddled with bullet holes. Out of fear and shock she stumbled to her knees and began to shake as she raised her head, fully expecting to die in the next few seconds.
"Hello Faith," Wesley said softly with an almost glad to see her smirk on his face as he stepped into the light, his guns still smoking.
"Wes…what," Faith stammered out through trembling lips before he holstered his guns and unlocked the gate. He was beside her almost instantly, holding her up with one arm while fishing around for something in his jacket with the other. More than once Faith nearly lost consciousness before Wesley slid down the wall into a seated position and pulled her onto his lap. He turned her sideways and used the arm that was holding her up to push her chin up while he popped the top of the small vial that Fred and Cordelia had given him. He poured it down her throat in one quick and clean motion, using his free hand to hold her mouth shut so that she wouldn't try to vomit it up. Fred had told him that she might try to do that and that he must not allow that to happen. He dropped the small vial and held her as tightly as he could when her eyes rolled back in her head and she began to violently convulse.
He had been told to expect this as well though actually being there with her made it all much worse. Had he tears to shed he would have then. After a few moments she convulsed one last time and then went still. As he tried to calm his breathing down Wesley did his best to get her out of the straightjacket. He had just finished in pulling it off of her when she moaned softly and squinted her eyes even though they were still shut. Wesley pulled her close and then just as her eyes faintly opened he brushed the hair away from her face and off of her forehead. She stared at him like she thought him a ghost, almost as if she didn't recognize him. He tried to remain calm and let her sort out what had happened as he continued to hold her tightly and calm his breathing. With a feeble hand she reached up and gently brushed her fingers across his cheek, almost instantly yanking them back as if she was surprised that she had touched something solid.
"W…Wes," Faith mumbled out softly with a look of both disbelief and relief on her face before she couldn't help but allow a kind of awkward smile to creep onto her face.
"It's okay Faith, I'll explain everything later, but first I have to get you out of here, you're not safe here anymore, you're only safe with me," Wesley replied with a calm and controlled tone of voice and look on his face as he slowly helped her up into a seated position, though she kept her gaze locked onto him as if she were still deciding whether or not he was actually real and not a hallucination. "I'm not a bloody figment of your imagination Faith, I'm actually here, see these scars…they're from the ropes that you used to bind my wrists to the chair when you tortured me," Wesley added with an anxious expression on his face as he pulled back his sleeves and showed her the small rope burn scars on his wrists. With a very trembling hand she reached out and hesitantly touched the scars, getting an instant shock of memory of that night in her mind. The tears suddenly came very freely as he pulled her closer to him, before she soaked the front of his shirt with her tears. When she was done she leaned back and seemed to have fully regained her composure.
"If this is a rescue then we should get going, wouldn't want to keep Angel and the others waiting," Faith stated with a very calm and collected tone of voice and sly grin on her face as she brushed the dirt off of her hands and then stood up.
"They're all gone Faith, I'm all that's left," Wesley replied with a very somber and humiliated tone of voice as he kept staring straight ahead at the spatter of blood on the wall before he pulled himself back up to his feet and reached into his pocket for the keys that he had taken from the guard earlier.
"What…how," Faith exclaimed with an utter look of disbelief on her face as she stopped brushing the dirt off of herself to stare up at her old watcher.
"We took on the Senior Partners and lost, Cordelia fell first, then Fred, then it was my time, after that Gunn went next with the others following soon after the fight in the alley, Wolfram and Hart sent everything that they had after us," Wesley answered with a very guilty and haunted look in his eyes before he turned and started off down the hallway, leaving Faith to stare down at the bodies of the guards for a few seconds before she turned and took off after him. The guards' bodies would be found almost half an hour later but by the time that the call went out Faith and Wesley had already slipped away into the night.
END OF CHAPTER 1