Notes: Written for the The Comic Covers Ficathon (now with less comics) with the prompt being the cover for No Future For You II.
2: 37AM on May 2nd 2010
Kneeling by the koi pond, Giles felt the moisture creeping through his tweed-clad knees and chill of Faith's skin on his hands, but he didn't stop performing CPR. The inferno raged on in the mansion behind him. A window exploded with a shatter. Screams of the demons they had trapped inside, echoed throughout the oriental garden. He could hear sirens in the far distance filtered through the hallows and the trees along the lonely country road to the forested estate. The wet silk of her blue gown made his hands slip as his efforts grew more frantic. An old man's ambition, an old man's schemes, an old man's folly had led this inglorious end. It was all his fault.
Late February 2010
A damp chill lingered in the morning air when Giles stepped out of the chauffeured car to see the assembled troops.
All in a row, in front of the isolated academy, the serious slayers looked ahead as he walked along the long driveway. None were older than twenty. Faith smiled and stood by the wide doors of the courtyard.
"Hello." He didn't return the smile when he reached her. His reports told him that Faith wasn't abiding by the revised manual and he was sent to straighten out the matter. "I'm taking control of your school as of now."
Faith glared at Giles from across the training room before she strode to him.
The slayers practiced with the quarterstaff along the guidelines of the Queensbury rules. Something unheard of during Faith's tenure. The only sounds in the room were the crack of wood against wood.
Setting down his clipboard, he prepared himself for another argument.
"What is this Queensbury shit?"
"Its centuries old and proven effective." Giles sighed, unwilling to go into depth yet again on martial history, as he cleaned off his glasses. "Buffy and I both agreed to it."
"Last time I check, out on the streets, there were no rules." Faith shook her head before walking away. "I was teaching them how to survive."
Early April 2010
Giles didn't even know the dying slayer's name when she was brought in by a rescue squad.
Faith did and was the only one to make sense of the girl's last words. Murder shone in her eyes when he approached. "This is what happens when you fight by the rules," she spat as she rose from the dead slayer's bedside.
"Paxoi, the vampire that your sources said was dead, has shacked up in a mansion of doom outside Cleveland. She barely escaped." Faith turned away from him to walk out the sickbay door. "Shoulda listened to me and sent more for the recon."
He grabbed her arm. "Don't turn your back on me."
"First of all, fuck off." She shook his grip off easily. "Second, I've been walking this beat for four years before you came in here acting like a big man who knew shit so don't act like I'm the jackass who caused this. Just 'cause I'm not Buffy, doesn't mean I don't know how to slay."
Late April 2010
Giles could feel Faith's eyes boring into the back of his skull throughout the whole intelligence meeting. Once he had dismissed the slayers, she confronted as he had suspected.
"You know, this party is our chance to take this guy and his buddies down, right?" Faith punched her fist against her palm. "Ambush them when they are heading home all fucked up. Pick them off when they walk back through the garden to their cars. Lots of trees to hide behind."
Giles shook his head. "This requires more finesse." He knew that he had been more than aggravating to Faith and had to give her some task to keep her out of his hair. This Paxoi seemed to be the best way to distract her from his reforms. "Its a masked ball. Perhaps we should send someone to crash it and gather more intimate intell." He smiled. "I'm sure you can find a suitable gown."
Faith crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes as she thought before she nodded."Guess that's cool. This dress is going on the Watcher's dime, though." She swaggered from the room.
"Ball gown, Faith. Anything but black and slinky." He smirked at the rude hand gesture she made.
May Day 2010
Giles sat, eating a sandwich, in the reconnaissance van as he watched the computer monitors. Faith's mask had a camera, hidden as a clump of sequins and feathers, and he could see all that she did.
She had taken it off when she went to the ladies. She picked up the mask where she left it by the sink with a mocking smile. Muttering to the tiny microphone on it, she said, "These guys are wicked boring for demons. I'd rather be having target practice in the woods. In some jeans. Fuck this petticoat bullshit."
The door opened with a crash and the mask fell.
Giles dropped his sandwich, he saw Faith's high heels as she fought holding up her skirt, before picking up the cellphone and calling for back up. He heard the shuffle of many feet and her cursing as she was over powered.
The last image he saw on the screens was Faith being dragged away and a boot crushing the mask.
May 2nd 2010
Giles led the slayers in a charge through the ballroom. Council mages battled with their demonic counterparts in a hail of witch's fire. Turning towards the gardens, he saw her fighting, dress ripped on the bottom, with a vampire by a small waterfall and pond. Her taffeta petticoat lay abandon and pale in the moonlight. He ran for her, a crossbow in hand and fear in his heart, berating himself with each step.
The vampire grabbed her by the neck and threw her into the pond to hold her down.
Her legs kicked furiously to no avail.
"Trap them and torch the place." Giles ordered into his headset for the other slayers as he pumped his legs faster before taking aim and shooting as soon as he could.
The vampire disappeared in a cloud of ash but Faith didn't get up.
2:43 AM on May 2nd 2010
The crowd of slayers grew around him but he didn't stop. All he could think of was how beautiful and lively she looked when she stepped down the stairs in her blue gown back at the academy. He had almost lost one slayer this way like hell he would lose Faith too. She had been right in the end and he was wrong and it had cost her dearly.
His secretary touched him on the shoulder. "She's gone. We have to leave."
He looked up, vision blurred by tears of regret, in despair.
A hand grabbed his wrist.
Giles looked down, breath caught in his throat.
Faith sat up, spitting up pond water, before wiping her mouth. "I'm not dead yet." She coughed. "Now, what do you say? Faith, you were hella right. My plan sucked."
He laughed as he raised her up. "You were, ah, hella right, Faith."
She put her arm around his shoulders. "And?"
"My plan sucked." Giles smiled.
"Damn straight it did." She said as they hobbled into the gloom together with the slayers surrounding them.
Giles knew he'd never hear the end of it and he couldn't be more thankful.