Title: Time and Place Mean Everything
Author: WesFan aka crayonbreakygal
Summary: Wesley and Faith must make a decision that might possibly change their world.
Rating: T (for now) for sexual situations, violence, and character death
Disclaimer: Hey, I'm only borrowing them from the mega genius that is Joss.
Author notes: -- Spoilers for everything, including the first through fifth season of Angel and the third season of Buffy through the seventh season. Hey, I gotta include the Scooby gang somehow. Not sure how much at this point. They will be mentioned. This is an AU story, taking place in different time periods throughout the Angelverse timeline.
Chapter One—Let's Blow This Popsicle Stand
"We have to change it."
Wesley shook his head no. In his mind, this was right, just. To just go back and change it all for the person before him was ludicrous. Fairness didn't come into the conversation. Why would this be fair to him and his charge? They hadn't done anything wrong.
"Why would I want to?" he asked the person in front of him.
"Because it's the right thing to do."
"The right thing for you. Definitely not for myself or for Faith. You're on your own. There is no way I'm going back."
"Whoa. Are you sure? Cuz I wouldn't want your watcher friends gettin' all huffy and shit."
Faith had her meager belongings directly in front of her, as did Wesley. Two small bags, way too much excess baggage in their minds.
"Let's blow," Faith announced with little fanfare.
Wesley had no idea what on earth she was speaking of, unless it was something sexual in nature. He had come to realize that almost everything she did was sexual in nature. Slaying, eating, sleeping, walking. Or maybe that was his interpretation of Faith.
"You do realize that if we leave, there is no turning back?"
Faith rolled her eyes at him and picked up her duffel. "That's sort of the point Watcher Boy."
How long had he known her? A few weeks at the most. Did he know what he was getting into? Not in the least.
"Faith, my name is Wesley."
She rolled her eyes again, picked up his duffel and threw it at him, taking him down to the ground. Instead of possibly laughing in his face, she actually acted like she cared and rushed to help him.
"Dude, sorry. Don't know my own strength sometimes."
He'd have to watch to make sure he wasn't in her way when she slayed. Wesley definitely didn't want to end up in the hospital. Lucky wouldn't begin to describe his life up until that point. He was lucky to have been assigned Faith, or any slayer at all. He was sure that strings were pulled, in the form of his father. Now the girl stood before him, raring to start anew, away from Sunnydale and the OTHER slayer.
It hadn't taken long to convince Faith that the way out was the way out of town. She'd even told him that the Mayor had approached her with a job. In the back of his mind, he was almost certain that he'd saved her from something much bigger than she was. Plus, the Mayor of Sunnydale gave him the willies.
Their only form of transportation at the moment was a beaten-up, old motorcycle he was able to purchase with his meager salary savings. Living frugally had not hurt him much. It was amazing how cheaply one could live in Sunnydale. They'd have enough money for gas and occasional lodging until they reached Cleveland. He hoped they would have enough.
Faith had taken his offer, stewed on it for a day, and told him why the hell not. She wasn't doing anything else at the moment was her comment. Saving the world from unspeakable evil wasn't nothing, but that wasn't the way she saw it. She thought that slaying was fun. Adrenaline rush and not in a good way he thought.
The problem in his mind though was the fact that he would have to back her up now that they'd decided to join forces and go on the road. Neither had said a word to the Scooby gang as they liked to be called, although he did believe that Angel might have already figured it out. Since the vampire with a soul didn't always share people's comings and goings, he didn't think Angel would rat them out.
Strapping their bags to the back of the motorcycle, Wesley handed Faith her helmet. She didn't look very pleased with the prospect, but relented in the end when he glared at her. As she wrapped her arms around his torso to hold on, the first thing that entered his mind was "she could crush me with those arms faster than I could go from 0 to 60". Not a pleasing thought.
Wesley was taking a chance on Faith. A chance that she needed to escape the fact that two slayers could not operate in the same town much less region without getting in each other's way. Their styles were different. Buffy knew the area, which put Faith at a disadvantage. Buffy also had friends and family to rely on, where Faith only had her newly appointed watcher to look after her. The odds were in the original slayer's corner.
So it was decided to start fresh. He just hoped that Faith trusted him enough to see her through to Cleveland, where he heard a Hellmouth was forming. It should be the adventure of a lifetime.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, Faith thought as she saw her new watcher walk to his motorcycle. What had she gotten herself into this time? Dammit, she was gonna get him killed or herself trying to save him. Not that she wasn't heading down that path. The Mayor was going to kill her when he found out she rabbited on him. He was one evil dude. Nice on the outside, rotting on the inside.
Faith had decided that she didn't want to rot inside and out. She'd seen enough of that in her lifetime. It was time to be a man, or in her case, time to be a slayer. Not to be in Buffy the Perfect Slayer's shadow. Now was the time to blow this taco stand for greener pastures.
Adios Sunnydale. Nice knowing ya.
As she wrapped her arms around Wesley, she felt his ribs literally sticking out. Jeez, he was skinny. Way too skinny, which probably meant missed meals. She bet they didn't pay much at the Watchers' Council. Hell, Giles had a day job. Kept him in tea and books. Wesley had nothing other than the duffel on the motorcycle.
At least he knew how to ride a motorcycle. When he had suggested this form of a ride, Faith had tried to tell him that they could hitch. The rolling of his eyes at her suggestion was lost on her. Wesley had no legs to show, no breasts to flash. No one would pick them up. He was right. But they definitely would need to score a new ride soon. Her ass would be sore tomorrow because the seat springs weren't all that great.
She didn't think they'd be able to sneak out of Sunnydale without someone noticing. That was the problem though. No one noticed. That told her no one would notice for a while. By the time they did, she and Wes would be long gone. Neither had any friends or family to tie them down.
The trip to Cleveland could be long and boring, especially with Book Boy along for the ride. She didn't need to go looking for trouble at this point. The more miles she put between herself and the Mayor were for the better. He and his band of merry demons planned to take over Sunnydale, or that's what she had thought. Maybe the world. Buffy would take care of him eventually. They certainly didn't need her input. Giles was already suspicious. Smart guy that he was, she knew they'd do their jobs.
Now her job was to get her damn Watcher to Cleveland in one piece. The guy couldn't even hold a sword, much less fight off a vampire. Why'd she agree to do this?
As they hit the open road, Faith breathed in freedom. The kind of freedom she had craved, even with her first Watcher. She was so young back then, scared, didn't understand what was happening to her. It was amazing how much she had learned in a year. While her first Watcher had been experienced and older, Wes was young and impressionable. She'd be able to mold him into what she wanted. He'd jump when she said jump.
At least the guy was good with the books, just like Giles. All she needed was a little research and then boom, take care of business. The story of her life.
They stopped a few times for bathroom breaks and fast food, but kept on riding until the sun started to set the next day. Faith noticed that Wes limped a little as they walked up to the motel by the freeway. Only thing they could afford, he said. Didn't matter to her. A shower and a bed was all she needed, at least at the moment.
As they entered the run-down lobby, the grubby guy behind the counter leered her direction. Her leather jacket was unzipped to expose her very short shirt underneath. Pervert, she almost said, but realized they needed a room for the night.
Wes checked them in, handing over the cash. Did he just jerk the key out of that guy's hand? She hadn't been paying attention to what they were saying because she was spacing. Not enough sleep in the past few days with trying to figure out what in hell she was going to decide made her brain a little fuzzy.
Wes stomped out of the lobby, pulling his and her duffels off the bike. He didn't even hand hers over, just stomped on over to their room, flinging the door open and slamming it home after she entered. Faith could see the color on Wes's face, like he'd run a marathon, or was mad as a hornet.
"Hey, what's up?" she asked as he threw his bag on the floor.
"The manners of that man. I ought to show him a few manners."
Whoa, her watcher had a temper. The guy must have said something to tick Wesley off. What could he say to get the man's shorts all in a bunch? Faith shucked her jacket, threw it on the only chair in the room, and fell onto the only bed in the room. Jerk had not told them that there was only one bed. She could go back and ask him nicely for another room.
Wesley sat down beside her, putting his head in his hands. He had sneaked a few peeks at her, but mostly was just pouting. Curiosity was getting the best of her, so she finally asked him what was what.
The man had no idea about modern day word stuff, especially stuff regarding teenage girls.
"What'd he say to get your shorts all in a bunch?" Faith said as she spread out on the bed, arms and legs splayed across the double bed.
Wesley turned to look down at her and sighed. "I don't wish to repeat what that scum of the earth said."
Crap, now she'd have to drag it out of him. She hoped that he didn't keep this drama queen attitude up the whole trip. Kicking him in the leg, she rolled over and scowled at him.
"He said something I'd rather not repeat in mixed company."
"Oh, because I'm a girl? I'm a big girl. I can take it," she told him, almost laughing. Was he defending her honor? She'd lost that long ago.
"He implied, well, said, that we, oh blast it."
Wesley took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. Whoa, she could actually see his eyes. They were the bluest blue she'd ever seen on a guy. Dropping his chin down, he closed his eyes and started to spill.
"He asked how long we needed the room. I told him only one night. Then he asked how much I had paid for your services. When I informed him that was not the nature of our relationship, he then proceeded to ask if my wife knew that I was slumming it with some two-bit floozy."
Damn, no wonder Watcher Boy was all in a tizzy. She probably would have punched the guy's lights out. While she had fun and loved to party, she never had to prostitute herself to survive. It had almost come to that once or twice, but she somehow had figured out another way to eat and survive. It hadn't been pretty, but she'd done it with her dignity somewhat intact.
Wesley had really defended her honor back there. Maybe he wouldn't be such a bad guy after all.
"Whatever," she dragged out, hoping that Wes would calm down and that would be the end of it.
"So you're not bothered by that man's assumptions?"
Faith sat up right next to Wesley, touching knee to his. He didn't jerk back in surprise, but did raise his head to look directly into her eyes. Gah, she wished he hadn't done that. The man wore his emotions on his sleeve, or in his eyes. She could probably play poker with him and win everything he had, which apparently wasn't much if they had to bunk at the Motel 8.
"Not worth the bother. People have been saying shit like that about me for a while now. I gotta let it go. Badder things out there than shitheads like that."
Wesley smiled a little in return. "You're a better person than I am."
"Not likely," Faith answered as she pushed him down on the bed, scrambling up for the bathroom. "I call first shower." She slammed the door quickly, rattling the flimsy wall in her wake.
Waking up the next morning to rain that was coming down in sheets, Wesley thought they could make good progress that day, but with the rain, they'd have to decide whether it would be worth traveling, getting all their belongings drenched, including themselves.
Leaving Faith to catch a little more sleep, Wesley walked over to the office of the hole in the wall Motel 8. They looked to be the last guests by the lack of cars in the parking lot. As he entered the lobby, Wesley noticed that there was a fresh apple in a basket by the door. Grabbing it, he walked over to see if the clerk would let them stay another night.
Not seeing anyone in the vicinity, he grabbed a brochure, taking in the fact that they were near nothing of interest. Taking another bite of apple, Wesley thumbed through yesterday's newspaper. Blast it, where was the clerk? Didn't he or she know that this was a business?
As he walked to the counter again, he decided to see if the clerk could be in back instead of working. Since there was no bell to ring, he knocked on the counter, hoping the clerk would hear his impatience.
"Hello," he called as he walked around the counter.
Only he didn't make it any further, seeing that the clerk from the night before was lying on his side, throat ripped out viciously by something that still could be lurking in the shadows. Dropping the apple, Wesley backed away slowly as he looked around for the culprit. He wished he had Faith's sense for danger. Instead all he had was his wits. That didn't amount to much.
Deciding that leaving the half-eaten apple wasn't such a grand plan, he bent to pick it up, only to have something jump on his back. That something did not seem human, so he didn't hesitate to use his elbow on it. Only that didn't phase it. It had him by the neck. He could smell the decay and rot on its breath. If it didn't let go soon, he'd pass out for sure, ending up like the sleazy clerk. Slamming it up against the counter, he struggled with it but couldn't make any headway.
Just as suddenly as it had jumped on his back, it was gone. Wesley gasped for air while leaning on the counter. He could hear behind him fists being thrown. Turning, he saw that Faith was taking care of his attacker. The snap of a neck wasn't far behind. Faith dropped the ugly creature at her feet, wiping her hands on her pants right after.
"Oh, shit, that thing smells. What in hell happened? You leave for a few minutes and a demon attacks you."
He was glad that Faith had actually dragged on pants because the night before all she had on was a shirt and her underpants. Her hair was a tangled mess, she looked like she had just rolled out of bed, but he didn't care one iota. She had saved his life yet again.
"Not just me," he managed to gasp out, pointing behind the counter.
His neck hurt along with his back. Faith walked past him, checked out the dead body of the sleaze that had treated them unfairly last night, and walked back, unfazed.
"Dude, that's just gross. Job done though."
"Hardly," he explained to her. "If the authorities find the body, or both bodies, they could start asking questions."
Instead of him gasping for air, Faith let out a gasp as she walked behind him. "Your back doesn't look so good."
His back didn't feel so good, but they couldn't worry about that now. They needed to clean up this mess and get back on the road as soon as possible. They were lucky no one else was staying at the motel for the moment, but with the rain, there was sure to be guests sooner than later.
He and Faith rolled up both bodies in the rugs in the office and deposited them out in the dumpster. Surely someone would find them there, if just for the smell. He just hoped that no one would see them there in the early morning and report some strange occurrences. Wesley shut and locked the door to the office, placing the closed sign in full view.
Faith was ready with their things as he approached the motorcycle. It was still raining somewhat, but they needed to escape before any trouble started. There was no way they could explain what had happened. The pain in his back didn't matter at the moment. Getting Faith out of this situation was all that mattered.
As Faith grabbed his back, he gasped out in pain. She immediately dismounted, made him scoot back and took charge. He was so glad that she could actually handle the bike. He just didn't have it in him.
They drove for what seemed like hours before Faith decided to stop. The fact that he felt like he was going to fall off was probably the reason that she pulled over. Fishing in his bag, she found a pain reliever and handed him one. Downing it dry, he shook his head that he was fine.
Usually he liked traveling in the rain. The open road, the beautiful countryside washed clean was appealing. His neck wound had been forgotten with the pain from his back. He knew that the drugs he just took wouldn't do much, but any kind of relief would make it easier to stay on the bike until they had to stop. They needed to put as much distance between the Motel 8 and themselves as they could.
At lunchtime, Faith pulled into a greasy diner, complete with worn seats in the booths. She found parking under an overhang, no that it mattered at the moment since everything they owned was now drenched, except for his few books, which he kept wrapped in plastic for just this problem. Slowly, he made his way into the diner. Sitting down, he asked for coffee while Faith made sure the motorcycle wouldn't get any wetter.
Faith handed him more pain reliever as she sat opposite of him in the booth.
"Not sure I can eat," he announced quietly.
"You eat," she demanded. She definitely looked a little older when she bossed him around.
The diner was small and cozy with unlimited refills on coffee. While the smells at first made him nauseous, he found that just by sitting on a softer surface, his back pain eased up a little. The caffeine revived him somewhat as did the simple fare that they ordered. Faith attacked her food like no other, finishing it in record time. As she sat finishing off the rest of his meal, he watched her move. She acted like she didn't have a care in the world. How little the outside world knew about her.
Her hair curled wildly around her face, undoubtedly because of the rain. Her face was devoid of much makeup, which just showed how young she really could look. The white t-shirt she had put on the night before was tight across her shoulders and breasts. It was threadbare but clean, like she had owned it for quite some time, but took care of it. He suspected that everything she owned wasn't in the best of shape. How they would survive was on his mind constantly.
He did have a little money saved. They would have to find ways to earn cash to fund their endeavor sooner than later though. Getting hurt was par for the course in this job, especially for Faith. He had basic supplies in his first aid kit, but nothing like what he should have. What if she was injured and he couldn't take care of her? The Council would definitely not fund their journey, much less the two of them setting up shop in another state.
"You look like shit," she finally said, rubbing her stomach.
"Thank you for your assessment."
"No prob. Should probably look at your back," Faith commented as she finished the rest of her soda.
He didn't want to think about his back. If he didn't move, the pain was less severe. When they stopped for the night, he would clean out the wounds. For now, he would be able to handle it.
"I can survive. We need to put as much distance between us and our last stop."
He was being vague just in case someone was listening. The place was packed for lunch and he didn't want to draw any attention to them. Other than the occasional admiring look at Faith from the male of the species, no one paid them any mind. If luck was on their side, they would make good progress.
Chapter two: the plot thickens, or whatever the saying is. Please review!