An Alternate BtVS Season 3: "Mortal Friends; Mortal Foes"

Author: Sherman Barnes aka "Ironbear"

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series, and all characters from those series belong to Mutant Enemy, Joss Whedon, 20th Century Fox Television, Kuzui Enterprises, UPN, Warner Brothers, and David Greenwalt Productions. I'm only borrowing them for the purposes of fanfiction, and only the plot and storyline, and those characters of my own creation belong to me. No profit is being made from this endeavor. Faith's back story draws loosely from that shown in "Go Ask Malice: A Slayer's Diary" by Robert Joseph Levy; Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Episode events and episode dialogue quotes, where used, are drawn from the transcripts and summaries at , Wikipedia, and the shooting scripts at (/buffyverse.asp)

Author's Note: What if Faith had arrived earlier in Sunnydale and Buffy had returned a month later? What if the Mayor had had a slightly different goal? What if Spike never made it out of town following the love spell disaster, but met a different fate? Just how far apart is the line between "good slayer' and "evil slayer"? Diverges drastically from canon in many places, especially following "Lover's Walk" and "Bad Girls".

Synopsis: Following the events of Becoming Part I, Faith's watcher was killed by Kakistos, and Faith left Boston on Sunday, June 21, 1998, arriving in Sunnydale Tuesday, October 13, 114 days later in canon. Instead, because of a chance encounter in NYC, Faith arrived earlier on Tuesday, July 28th, about 6 weeks - 41 days - before school starts. It makes a world of difference for all concerned...

Word Count: 40,744 total. 39,833 sans Disclaimer, Previouslies, and Credits.

"Night Watchmen"

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Alternate Season 3 Prequel

Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Sunnydale High School Library: Even fighting all out, Kendra can't seem to gain the upper hand against Drusilla - the insane vampiress blocks or leans away from her best attacks. Mr. Giles unconscious, Willow under a crashed bookcase, Xander with a broken arm, still strugling. Only Cordelia manages to escape in teh confusion. Crooning, Drusilla sways hypnotically around her until Kendra make the mistake of making eye contact with the vampire and finds herself frozen, her gaze captured by the dark haired vampire's thrall. Drusilla lashes out once, her sharpened nails slashing viciously across the Caribbean slayer's throat and darkness closes in about her as Kendra falls...

Boston: It came upon her at the dinner table, a rush of power shooting through her with an electric shock as though she'd bitten into a high tension wire. Electrified. Wired for sound, larger than life, 110 alive and humming with strength and energy. Professor Dormer stares at her in concern as she stands bolt upright from the table, putting one hand on her shoulder to steady her and offering her a drink. She gets the glass almost to her lips when it shatters, slicing her palm with a spray of water going everywhere. Strong. Chosen. Faith Lehane, Vampire Slayer.

Sunnydale, the Crawford Street Mansion: Angelus taunts a bleakly enraged Buffy Summers as they fight, saying, "Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends... No hope." As Buffy closes her eyes and steels herself, he gloats, "Take all that away... and what's left?" As the sword strikes toward her, Buffy claps her palms together on the blade, halting it and meets his eyes evenly, merely replying, "Me." She shoves the sword through his chest, even though she knows he's once again Angel, not Angelus, and the portal sucks him in ending Acathla's threat for good...

Sunnydale: Unknown to the rest of the gang, Buffy stands far away hidden and looking on , giving her school and her friends one last look before turning away and heading to the bus station. Hopping on a bus, she gazes sadly out the window as the bus leaves Sunnydale behind, and Buffy faces an unknown future...

Boston: Minutes before she was kneeling before the ancient vampire, Kakistos, watching as he mocked her and tore Professor Dormer in half. Vampire hands hold her on her knees, stripping her weapons away and whispering vile threats in her ears about what Kakistos and Trick were going to do to her, next - Kakistos maenads writhing obscenely around him. Then something primal, deep inside of her, snarls and stands on its hind legs and she exploded, a whirling thunderclap of violence. Kakistos howls as the hidden tanto comes out, slicing upwards between his legs. A snatched torch is flung into the dry rafters at the top of the Dyers crypt, maenads shrieking and fleeing. Dust falls about her as she fights toward the entrance, snatching her axe off the crypt floor and flinging it to split Kakistos ugly mug in two over his yellowed eye. Then there is only Trick between her and the exit, and the tanto slices him across the belly as she kicks him away. Up and out, hearing Kakistos snarl "You won't get far, Faith. You're mine."

Prologue: Chance Encounters -

Monday May 25, 1998; Helen's Diner, LA.

Buffy Summers squared her shoulders, and put her hand on the door to the little diner. 'Ok, look confident,' she told herself in her best mental 'firm' voice. 'Confidence and Buffy are a very mixy combination'.

Truth was, confident was the very last thing she'd felt since leaving Sunnydale after sending Angel into Acathla. This would make the fifth place she'd hit looking for work just today, and the others hadn't been very receptive. Not only that, her tiny bit of savings she'd managed to grab were looking as though she'd been far too optimistic on how they'd stretch. Sighing internally, she lifted her chin and pushed the door open anyway and strode in. Spotting an older, tired looking woman behind the register, she headed that way.

"Grab a seat and we'll get you fixed up, honey," The woman pushed a strand of dirty blonde hair out of her eyes and favored Buffy with a disinterested glance.

"Oh! I'm not here to eat," Buffy shook her head, slightly derailed from her planned speech. "I uh, are you Helen?"

"No, I'm Janice. Helen's the previous owner," the woman responded. "What can I do you for?"

"I'm, uh, here about the job?" Buffy winced inside. 'Way to go, confident girl', she thought.

Janice nodded, looking her over with more interest. "We could use someone." She ran her eyes up and down Buffy's frame in a critical look-over. "Runaway?"

"Me?" Buffy said, or rather, almost squeaked. She widened her eyes slightly and gave it her best earnest look, "Oh no, I just moved to the area, and... "

"It's all right," Janice waved her hand dismissively. "I really don't care. You're not the first young woman who came to LA to hit it big in Hollywood and found Hollywood hits back." She gave Buffy a not completely unsympathetic look. "Ever wait tables before?"

"Uh, no," Buffy admitted. "But I'm a fast learner!"

"Good. Hope so," Janice nodded. "Be here at eight am tomorrow and I'll show you the ropes. After that, if you work out, I'll find a shift for you." She glanced to the door where a group of customers were coming in, "What's your name, honey?"

"Uh, Anne. It's Anne," Buffy nodded, firmly.

"Ok, Uh Anne. See you tomorrow morning," Janice smiled tiredly, then turned away to the other customers.

Buffy smiled back, and shook her head and turned to leave, thinking, 'Well, that went well.' If her luck held, maybe she could find a cheaper place to stay to stretch her money out as far as possible before her first check came through.

...

June 22, 1998, New York City.

Bus stations are always in the badder parts of town, or at least that was Faith's experience. This one was no different - she'd barely stepped off the bus and into the terminal before she'd been hit on by a half a dozen drug dealers, panhandlers, and a chicken-hawk looking for fresh meat to add to his string of girls. That one had gotten something other than what he'd been shopping for - she'd let him lead her off just far enough to be out of sight of the station before she'd thrown him and his muscle man into an alley and taken them down with a set of brutal movements.

Faith doubted that her former Watcher, Diana, would have approved... but Diana wasn't around to approve of anything any longer. Kakistos had taken care of that for her.

She shrugged her shoulders to settle the straps of her backpack a bit more comfortably and shivered at the memory of what the Greek vampire and Trick had done to her Watcher, and almost to Faith. 'Nothing for it now,' she thought. 'I lived, and if I want to keep living, I need to stay ahead of the Greek Freak unless I want to end up like Diana. California, here I come. Joy.'

Giving the unconscious pimp one last kick in the ribs to remember her by, she grinned and riffled the thick roll of bills she'd lifted off of him. His bodyguard had donated a smaller roll along with a nice, matte chromed .45 auto currently resting in her pack along with everything she owned: her axe, tanto, and knives, her Watcher's diary and her own journal, and a few changes of clothing. Well over a grand between the two rolls, not bad. Between that and the little bit of cash she had left from what she'd taken from Diana's stash before heading out on the run, she had enough to keep her eating for quite some time, possibly with a cheap motel room here and there as an alternative to sleeping on the streets.

Made for an even better alternative to having to do petty crimes or take time out long enough to work odd jobs, possibly leaving trails that Kakistos minion Trick could follow. There were pimps and chicken hawks at every train and bus station, and no one cared much if they got knocked unconscious and rolled for the cause.

After a quick glance out to make sure she was unobserved, Faith casually left the alley heading away from the Trailways station. Best to put some distance behind her before finding a place to crash - that chicken-hawk wasn't going to be too thrilled with her when he woke up, assuming he didn't become a vamp snack beforehand. Faith couldn't manage to get too worked up about the possibility: scumbags who preyed on teenage girls for a living deserved whatever they got, in her book.

Twelve long blocks away from the station, muffled curses and sounds of fighting mixed with the distinctive guttural snarl of a brassed off vamp drew her attention. Faith paused, chewing her bottom lip as conflicting impulses ran through her mind. Last thing she needed was to start dusting vamps this close to Boston - the longer she could keep word from drifting back to Kakistos or Trick that there was a slayer working the coast, the longer a head start she'd have. But ignoring the sounds of someone about to become vamp-chow didn't set well with her...

A choked, pain filled grunt from the direction of the fight decided her, and she set off running for the brawl, cursing herself under her breath the whole time.

'Screw it,' Faith thought to herself, sourly. 'The Chosen One isn't supposed to let people become vamp food. Hope I still feel all virtuous and shit when Kakistos is torturing me to death.' She shrugged off her pack as she ran for the alley the fight sounds came from, carrying it by the straps in one hand.

Setting her pack down silently inside the alley mouth, Faith paused for a moment to take stock of the situation. Two vamps in game face, one a seedy Caucasian and the other a skinny looking hispanic, were fighting with an elderly looking black man near middle of the alleyway. The old man appeared to be giving a decent account of himself for a normal human, muttering curses and keeping the snarling vamps back with vicious swings of an ornate cane. Couldn't last, though: Faith knew that human muscle would give out long before vampire strength would, and it was obvious the vamps were toying with their food. As she silently slid up to join the fight, she saw the old man spot her and he redoubled his efforts, his mouth set in a grim, disapproving line.

The handle of the cane cracked the Hispanic vamp across the face and she could tell that play time was over by the change in the vampire's body language. The Caucasian vamp grabbed the cane and ripped it from the old man's grasp, sending it clattering to the ground between themselves and Faith as the Hispanic vamp smashed a kick into the old man's side before slamming him up against the side of the nearby dumpster.

Faith snagged the cane up from the alley floor as she lunged in, jamming it between the seedy vamps ribs and back out before he even registered her presence. She reached through the dust cloud and ripped the Hispanic vamp off of the old man as he was setting his teeth in to feed and threw him against the alley's wall hard enough for him to bounce.

The surviving vamp shook himself and gave her what he probably thought was a ferocious snarl as she shifted her grip on the cane. Faith noted absently that the bottom end of the cane was tapered enough for a makeshift stake, made out of some sort of dark, carved wood, and she gave him back a feral grin.

"Chica, dunno what you think you are, but... " the vamp lunged at her before he finished, hands reaching out to grapple her. Faith ducked under the reaching arms and, letting the vamp stumble past, jammed the end of the cane through his chest.

"Slayer. Vamp," she yanked the cane back out before it could disintegrate with the vampire. "Dust pile. Thus endeth the lesson."

A groan drew her attention back to the old man, and she took a step towards him, looking him over. "You ok?"

He nodded carefully, holding one hand to the side of his neck and met her gaze with a pair of the blackest eyes she'd ever seen. "I believe so, Ada m oma." His voice wasn't what she'd expected: rich, warm, and he spoke cultured English with a slight lilting accent. Straightening, he groaned and put his other hand to his ribs.

"Sure you are," Faith shook her head. She took in the blood running into his collar from under his hand, and rolled her eyes. He'd be vamp food before the night was out, left to himself, the smell of blood drawing them in like wolves in a neighborhood like this. 'Can't let him bleed to death, that'd kind of ruin the point of this little exercise.'

Faith sighed and plucked the handkerchief out of the breast pocket of the old man's suit, folding it into a rectangle. "Here, hold pressure on it with this," she said. "Let's get you to an emergency room before you bleed out."

He lifted his hand for her to place the makeshift pad over his wound, and pressed down on it. "Modupe," he gave her a shrewd look and nodded, repossessing his cane. "Thank you."

"Yeah, well... " Faith shrugged, uncomfortable with the gratitude. She scowled, "Don't get used to it - this is about as 'nurturing' as I get."

He gave her a broad and startlingly white grin and nodded, "Ose gan lëkànsi. Understood."

"Right." Faith put a hand under his elbow and guided him to the mouth of the alley, collecting her pack along the way. "Let's motorvate. You gotta name?"

"Nkuyu Lungombe," he replied.

"Right. That like, African or something?"

Lugombe chuckled, "It is very like African or something. It is Yoruba, from one of the West African dialects."

"Wicked." Looking around, Faith spotted a cab stand some distance away and headed them towards it.

...

Taxis really don't always like picking up strange passengers late at night - especially when one was a bloody, albeit well dressed elderly black male and the other was what appeared to be a possibly underage young girl. Faith had managed to snag one by the expedient of waving a handful of twenty dollar bills under the cabby's nose without too much argument.

On the up side, the hospital was a long way from the bus station and an almost certainly pissed off pimp, assuming that Mr. Chickenhawk ever woke up. Also, she'd seen several fairly inexpensive motels within walking distance. A long walk, true, but still walking distance for a slayer.

Lungombe had insisted paying for the taxi over Faith's token - and half hearted at best - objections. She tossed the cabbie a twenty for a tip along with a rather manic grin and dragged her backpack out after herself.

"So," Faith gave the older man a diffident look as she shrugged into the pack straps. "Here you go."

"Thank you again, Ada m oma," he gave her a wide grin and managed a slight bow while still holding the bloody kerchief to his neck. "I believe I can manage from here."

"Cool," Faith gave him a blank look, "'Adam oma.' Like, what is that?"

"Ah. It means 'First Daughter' in Yoruba."

"That's like, a good thing, right?"

"Yes, it is." His eyes twinkled, and she found herself grinning back despite herself.

"Cool." Faith shrugged, and shifted her weight impatiently from one foot to the other, "Well, better get that taken care of. I'm off."

"Wait." She turned back to him, somewhat irritated, to find him tucking his can under his elbow and digging into a pants pocket of the archaic suit.

"Keep it," Faith scowled, "Don't need it. Didn't do it for money."

"Ah." Lungombe chuckled. "A good thing, then, that this isn't money," he dragged a small chain out of his front pocket with a round disk attached and held it out to her.

"Oh. Right." Faith scowled deeper, feeling slightly foolish, and kicked the toe of her boot against the concrete walk. An embarrassed Faith is an irritated Faith. She stuck her hands in her jeans pockets and cocked an eyebrow at the object, "What is that?"

"A small token," he replied. "It will change your fortunes for the better."

"Wicked cool," Faith reached her hand out for the amulet, then paused, narrowing her eyes suspiciously at it. "Not going to throw some weird curse on me, is it?"

Lungombe laughed, "No. Not hardly."

"Good." Faith nodded decisively, and snatched the amulet before he could change his mind. "My fortunes could use some changing," she allowed. She looked it over curiously before tucking it into a pocket of the tight jeans. It was rounded, and of a slivery metal inscribed with wavy lines, and with some sort of curving design cut into it.

"What will you do now?" Lungombe gave her a searching look.

Faith opened her mouth to tell him 'None of your business', and instead found her gaze caught by those piercing and warm black eyes. Instead, she shrugged and said, "Dunno. Find a place to crash, then head to the train yards and out of here, I guess."

Lungombe nodded. "Travel well then, Faith, and may you be favored by the Loa."

"Right." Faith turned on her heel and headed down the parking lot toward the street, leaving him to navigate the emergency room on his own. She never saw him watch her til she was out of sight from inside the doors, nor him vanish silently without notice.

She was several states away before she remembered that she'd never told him her name.

...

Ada m oma - "First daughter"

Modupe - "I give thanks"; ose gan lëkànsi - "Thank you very much, again"