Author's note: A million thankyous to my beta Waverly, who continues to be incredible and brilliant as ever.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, Faith, Dawn and everything Buffy-related belong to Joss Whedon, Spencer Reid and everything Criminal Minds-related belong to CBS.
Faith let herself into the small Baltimore apartment she shared with Dawn. She headed straight for the shower, stripping along the way and leaving her slime-covered clothes where they fell. The water had barely gotten warm before Dawn was knocking on the bathroom door.
"Faith?" she said.
"Yeah, D?" Faith replied, shampooing her hair thoroughly.
"Can I assume by your gooey clothes all over the floor that you stopped that Oseroc demon?"
"Course I did."
"And next time you get covered with slime, blood or other drippy substances from something...?"
"I'll try and remember," Faith said with a bit of apology in her tone.
"Good. I think excessive carpet stains might lose our security deposit." For a while Dawn was silent as Faith continued to scrub away the grime left by sewer crawling and Oseroc slaying. Then: "Faith?"
"Police thought the Oseroc was a serial killer."
Oh yeah. Faith forgot that not every town had Sunnydale Syndrome—the cops weren't just going to forget about six brutal murders, and neither would the families of the victims. "We can't exactly tell them it was a demon," Faith said.
"I know," Dawn replied. "But we should tell them something, so they don't waste resources trying to find a person who doesn't exist."
Faith sighed, suds sliding down her body. "You're right," she admitted. "Once I get all the goop out of my hair I'll go to the police station."
Two hours later, dressed head to toe in (clean) leather, Faith walked into the Baltimore police station. She had, reluctantly, left all her weapons at the apartment – well, all except for a stake hidden in her boot.
"Can I help you with something?" a police officer asked.
"Yeah." Faith rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet. Red had cleared her file, but cops and the thought of prison still made the Slayer a little twitchy. "I need to talk to whoever's leading the investigation on that serial killer guy."
She was shown to a smaller room where she and the police officer were joined by a well-dressed blonde woman. "Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer Jeroe," she introduced herself.
"Faith Lehane. You in charge of the investigation?"
JJ glanced out the door. "My team is assisting the locals with the case," she clarified.
"Who's in charge of your team?" Faith asked.
"SSA Aaron Hotchner."
"Then I want to talk to him."
"I'm afraid Agent Hotchner is busy out in the field right now. But anything you need to tell us, you can say to me."
Faith crossed her arms. Refused.
And found herself escorted to an interview room, cooling her heels and staring at the one-way glass.
SSAs JJ, Derek Morgan, and Emily Prentiss stood on the other side of the glass, observing the young woman. The case had been hard on the whole team: few leads, bloody crime scenes, families desperate for answers. The youngest victim had been only seventeen.
"When will Hotch and Reid be back?" Emily asked Morgan.
"Not for another forty-five minutes or so." He leaned against the doorframe, studying Faith. "Look at her. It's like she doesn't even care."
It was true. She'd been left alone for a quarter of an hour, but Faith had her chair balanced on two legs and seemed totally absorbed in checking her manicure for damage.
"I'm gonna try talking to her," Morgan decided. "See if I can get anything out of her. We haven't had a single solid lead this whole case."
When he walked into the interrogation room, Faith gave a wolf whistle and let her chair fall back onto four legs. "Hello, handsome," she purred. "Are you Agent Hotchner? Honestly I expected someone less like sex-on-toast."
"SSA Derek Morgan. Agent Hotchner is still out in the field."
"I know." Morgan waited for her to say more. She didn't. "You said you have information about the Unsub?" he finally said.
"Is that what you call him?" she asked, tilting her chair back again. Dawn never said she had to be nice to the cops, after all.
"It stands for 'unknown subject'. Look, Ms. Lehane—"
"Call me Faith," the Slayer insisted.
"Faith. If you know anything at all about these murders or the man who committed them, you need to tell us."
Faith continued to tilt her chair, leaning so far back Morgan worried she'd fall over. "I told the other agent, I'll talk about it to the guy in charge. You and me, though..." She gave a predatory smile. "We could talk about some other things, I'm sure."
And so it continued for a quarter of an hour, with Morgan trying to steer the conversation towards the murders and Faith flirting relentlessly without sharing any information. Eventually Morgan gave up. Faith, totally unphased, was left in the interview room. Emily and JJ waited for Morgan, barely able to suppress their laughter.
"She sure is... something," JJ said.
"Yeah," Morgan said. "I'd like to know more about her," he added, pulling out his cell phone and calling Penelope Garcia.
"Goddess of Knowledge, awaiting your prayers," the tech answered.
"Hey there, baby girl," Morgan said. "We've got someone here who might know something about our case, but I want to know more about her."
"You know that's what I do best," Garcia replied. "Name?"
"Faith Lehane. I'd say mid-twenties, got a Boston accent and no wedding ring." As far as a starting point went, it wasn't much, but Morgan knew that it was enough for Garcia.
"I'm on it. I'll call you when I've got something."
"You're the best, Garcia."
"Yeah, I know," she replied with a smile in her voice.
Garcia still hadn't called back when Hotch and Reid returned from the crime scene they'd been taking another walk through. The two of them were quickly filled in on the situation and Hotch went in to talk to Faith.
She had pulled a bottle of rust-red nail polish out from somewhere and was fixing the chips in her manicure while she waited. The whole room reeked of the stuff. Though she wasn't leaning her chair back this time, she did have her heels perched on the corner of the plain metal table.
"Faith Lehane?" Hotch asked.
She looked him up and down, taking in the suit and the serious expression, and put away her nail polish, holding her hands delicately to let the polish dry. "That's me."
"Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner."
"God! Finally! Been waiting for you," Faith said. She swung her feet down from the table and sat properly in her chair. "Look, so, this case you've been working? You don't need to work it anymore. It's all done."
"What has your magic worked?" Morgan said as he answered the phone.
"See here's the thing," Garcia said quickly. "I found her. I did. Faith Lehane, born 1980 in Boston. Mother Rita Lehane picked up several times for prostitution and possession of drugs. No serious jail time for the mother. Father George Patrick Lehane was found guilty of murder in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison. Few CPS hits here and there, ER visits, up until she's thirteen years old. Then all of a sudden she vanishes. Not a single thing on her record, no school, no job, medical, taxes, criminal, until she's twenty-two years old and working for this company called IWC."
"Nothing?" Morgan asked.
"And what does IWC stand for?"
Reid's ears perked up at that, glancing from the window to Morgan.
"I have no idea," Garcia said. "Nothing, I would guess. All the documents, it's just IWC. It's some company in England. I can't even get at what it is they do."
"But Lehane is an employee of the IWC?" Morgan clarified.
"Yeah. Our girl, she's got a British passport. American citizenship but British passport. No bills in her name, no cell phone or credit cards or anything, no property, no car. She does seem to have an apartment there in Baltimore, provided by her company. But that's all I got. There's nothing else to get."
"Wait!" Reid said, suddenly. "Let me talk to her," he asked Morgan. A little stunned, he handed over the phone. "Garcia!"
"Reid?" she said.
"Is—this IWC, could you find another employee for me?"
"Ah, sure, Reid. Give me a name."
"Xander Harris. I—I don't know if it's the same company. Xander, Alexander."
"Okay, just, one second." There was the sound of computer keys clacking as Garcia ran the search while the rest of the team watched Reid strangely. "Yeah, there's an Alexander Harris, AKA Xander. Why? Who is he?"
"Thanks, Garcia, thank you so much," he said, ignoring the question. He hung up and handed the phone back to Morgan. "I need to go in there," Reid announced. A photograph of a bunch of IWC employees flashed through his memory, along with a voice saying "We have watchers, we have witches, like Willow, and then the slayers. That's Buffy, and that's Faith..."
"The thing that's been murdering those girls, it—uh, he, won't be killing anyone else." This whole explaining-things-without-explaining-things wasn't really Faith's strong suit. Honestly, she couldn't figure out why she hadn't made Dawn do it—Dawn was an expert at the Slayer-related half-truths.
"Do you know that the media call him The Jackal?" Hotch asked. "He trained animals to eat his victims alive. Most animals wait until a thing is dead before they feed on it. His animals don't. So tell me, how do you know he won't kill again?"
"I just do. I—"
Reid burst in through the door, cutting Faith off. "Hotch," he said. "I, uh," He stalled, seeming to realize that he had just burst in on his boss during an interview but quickly recovered. "I need to talk to Ms Lehane. Alone." He stood there for a moment as Hotch stared.
"Alright," Hotch said finally, standing. As he passed Reid, though, he whispered, "This better be worth it."
Reid didn't move for a minute when the door closed. When he did take Hotch's vacated seat, Faith was watching him with great interest.
"And who're you?" she asked.
"Dr. Spencer Reid. You work for the IWC." She stared wordlessly at him. "Mr. Harris tried to recruit me a few years back," he said.
"So, you, uh, you know what we do. What we deal with." She was warier of him than she had been of Hotch or Morgan and it showed in her eyes.
"I do. Our unsub was... one of yours, I take it?" Reid copied Faith's careful avoidance of what exactly the IWC dealt with—he didn't care to explain demons or vampires to his team after this conversation was over.
"It was. Took care of it personally."
Reid let out a breath. "So there won't be any more murders. No one to face justice, no face for the families, but no more murders."
"No more murders," Faith confirmed.
"I'll spread the message, but I don't know if I can keep you from being interrogated," he warned gently. God knows nothing can hold a Slayer if she doesn't want to be held he thought. "The way you've been talking—it's going to come across as vigilante."
Faith smiled. This she was well-prepared for. From a long, nearly invisible pocket in her leather pants she pulled a sheaf of papers. "That's okay," she told Reid, laying the papers on the interview table. "I have diplomatic immunity. They can't hold me."
Not everyone in the IWC had diplomatic immunity. Just Giles, the Scoobies, Faith, a few of the Minislayers who got into more legal scrapes than most, and their Watchers. Giles had even given them each a strict lecture about using other methods to deal with police if at all possible, and only revealing their diplomatic status as a last resort. "Diplomatic immunity, it draws attention," he told them, "and if we can avoid that attention, we would rather. But if you've no other options, we do not want you in jail for doing your jobs."
Reid read through the papers. "But you're an American citizen."
"British passport, Britain-based company," Faith replied. "Keeps me covered everywhere in the world."
And so it fell to Dr. Spencer Reid to explain to his team why they should stop investigating The Jackal and why Faith Lehane was simply walking out of the station.