Title: Without Faith

Spoilers: none

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters would that I did. So please just don't sue me because you won't get anything, I'm just an unemployed college student.

Feedback: is my friend. I'm a feedback whore. And if you're a female or gay, well then I'm sure I could offer you something else for your feedback.

AN: This is an answer to "In Another Life Challenge." The challenge was to write a one chapter story about what would have happened if a character had done one thing differently.

Summary: What would have happened if Faith had saved her first watcher from dying at the hands of Kakistos?

Without Faith

They reached the opening to the cavern. Faith backed up to the wall, pulling Patsy back into the shadows with her. She stood there taking in the scene that lay before her. Candles, lots of them. She counted about five henchvamps, not as bad as she'd expected. And then there was Kakistos, the evil dead thing that she was there for.

He was sitting on a throne of stone that had naturally formed in the wall of the cave. He was so much worse than she had ever imagined. He was gargantuan, seven feet tall at least. His face was in the permanently bumpy way of being, and his feet and his hands were cloven. Faith watched as he lifted his arm and pointed his hoof at something. Her gaze followed along his arm to the far wall. Humans, four of them. They were chained up and badly beaten. It was obvious that they had all been bitten already but they were still alive. It was as though he was using them as blood machines, never fully draining them so that they could always make him a meal for another day.

One of the henchvamps approached the hostages and began to unchain one, a boy about her age.

"Are ya sure about him? He looks a little…sickly. Maybe you want something a little fresher?" Faith stepped out of the shadows into the open area.

"A slayer I presume? No one else would be idiot enough to come down here."

"What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment. Nice place ya got here. Like the candles," Faith reached out and grabbed a candle off of a large stand, "although I really don't think it's a good idea to be playing with fire when you're so combustible," she took the candle in her left hand and extended her arm. A vampire that had been trying to sneak up on her burst into flame and exploded into dust.

"If it's punishment you crave, that can be arranged," Kakistos glanced around to the four remaining vampires and nodded his head. They surrounded her and slowly closed in.

"Oh no, you've sent your lackeys after me. See me with the quaking," Faith mocked. She kicked her leg out to the right and sent a vampire sailing into the wall of the cavern. She dropped her bag to the ground and quickly bent down to pick out two stakes, one for each hand.

"So, who's first in line to get shish-kabobed?" Faith looked around at her four attackers and singled out a gangly toe-headed vamp to the right of her. "Looks like blondie here wants first go," she approached her first victim and sent her foot crashing into his stomach. For the split second it took him to recover she circled him so that she was on the other side of him and all four vampires were in her sight. She had to try to take each opponent on one by one but at the same time never forget about the others.

She thrusted her stake at the flaxen vamp but he blocked her with his left arm and punched her in the stomach with his other. Faith flew backwards for a couple of feet and landed with a thud on her butt. The two stakes she had held fell from her hands and clattered beside her on the stone floor. Only one was in her reach. She grabbed it, jumped back up and approached her chosen opponent. A couple more blows were exchanged before the other lackeys began to close in on her again. She had to move the fight, to keep them separate.

She kicked her chosen adversary with all her might sending him flying across the room. She charged past the others through the open spot Blondie's departure had allowed. She was on him in a second. He was still lying on his back and without a moments pause Faith sunk her stake into his heart. She didn't wait for him to explode before choosing her next opponent but she could tell by the screechy, explosive sound behind her that he was dust.

Next a vampire with a big nose approached her and mounted an attack. He jammed his fist into Faith's chin and her head went soaring backwards. The pain was excruciating. She was sure that if he had hit her any harder her head would have fallen off completely. She didn't have time for pain though, so she ignored it and repeated the act on him. Out of the corner of her eye she saw something then, gleaming on the ground. She glanced down and spotted her weapons bag right below her. "So, do you want the stake or what's behind curtain number three?" Big nose growled at her and lunged. She ducked and he went flying right over her head. "The curtain it is." She stood up and in her hand she wielded a large ax. She swung it and the vampire's head toppled to the ground and burst into dust mingling with the ashes from the coal.

Three down, two to go. She scanned the room for the other henchman but when she found them she didn't attack. Her feet were planted solidly on the ground.

"You didn't tell me you'd brought a guest, how very impolite of you," the vampires were standing in front of Kakistos each holding one of the watcher's arms.

"Patsy!" Faith called out. "Get away from her."

"But she looks so damn appetizing."

Faith slowly began to move to the left so that Patsy no longer stood between her and Kakistos. "I said get away, and it might behoove you to learn that when I give orders I expect them to be followed," she raised the ax she held in her hand and sent it flying at Kakistos head. The weapon impaled itself in the vampire's face directly across his right eye. The vampire screamed in agony, tearing at his visage. Without a moments pause, Faith charged the monster. She reached him a tore the ax from his face. The slayer swung the weapon and it slid into his neck for a few inches and then stopped.

"Awh fuck!" she pulled the ax out with such force that she stumbled backwards a few steps. It didn't faze her, she was back on balance in a split second and she swung the ax again. This time it went straight through and Kakistos exploded.

The slayer turned and looked at the two remaining vamps. Their game faces turned back to their normal facades. They dropped Patsy's arms and ran.

The blonde slayer crept through the darkened alleyways, behind the warehouses, near the docks. Her mind was buzzing, trying to figure out how she was going to handle this. Those Eliminati guys had been there in legions when she'd scoped the place out the previous night. She was sure there numbers hadn't dwindled in the past twenty-four hours. She was beginning to think she should have taken Willow up on her offer to help with the slayage but she knew it was too dangerous. There were too many of them, this was clearly slayer work, and there was only one of her.

For a while that hadn't been the case. It had been the chosen two. Every time things got too hairy on the hell mouth Kendra would show up with her take-charge attitude and commitment to her destiny and the two of them would kick vampire butt together. But Kendra was gone, dead at Drusilla's hands. And now she was alone again, one girl in all the world. Well, in all honesty it was still probably two, Kendra's death had certainly called forth a new slayer, that was the way the gig worked, but Buffy had seen neither hair nor hide of this new slayer.

So Buffy was in this alone. She walked on. A few more blocks and she'd be there, but her enemies obviously didn't feel like waiting. Buffy stumbled backwards a few feet as a vampire Eliminati jumped down on her. Then another one. Buffy pulled Mr. Pointy out from her waste band quickly and jabbed it at the first vampire. He blocked her and shoved her backwards right into his cohort. The second vampire grabbed her by her arms as the first approached her. She pulled her knees up to her chest and thrusted her legs out into the demons stomach, he stumbled backwards in pain. Buffy quickly head-butted her captor and he released his grip on her. The first had yet to fully recover from her attack and she didn't waste the opportunity. Dust. She turned now to the only remaining Eliminati. He threw a punch and she caught his fist centimeters from her nose. She twisted his arm around so violently she could almost here it snap. The vampire howled in pain and the howling quickly turned to the screeching sound of him exploding as Buffy retracted the stake she had dusted him with.

"At least I got to warm up," Buffy mumbled to herself as she rounded the corner. Another vampire lunged at her. This one was easy, dust in the blink of an eye, but she sensed another one approaching her. She grabbed him and threw him against the wall. With her stake back ready to strike, she stopped. Something was off. Not a vamp. She lowered her weapon and looked at the man. He looked slightly familiar but she couldn't quite place him.

"What are you doing out here? You could get hurt," Buffy took a step backward and reached her arm out to help man up.

"I…I have something to…I need…need to talk to you," the man stuttered.

"Now's not such a good time. I have, kinda a party to get to," And then under her breath, "or a massacre."

"I know who are. That's why I need to…you're the only one who can stop him," the man pulled a folded piece of paper out from the pocket of his suit and handed it to Buffy.

"Stop who?"

"I have to go. He'll start to wonder if don't get back," the man began to walk away.

"Wait!" Buffy ran a few steps to catch up with the man. "You can't just leave. What's this all about?"

"I can't. If he finds...finds out I w…was talking to you," the man stammered

"WHO?" Buffy was getting exasperated.

"The mayor."

"The mayor?"

"I have to go," he went to turn again and Buffy grabbed his arm.

"You can't just leave. I need to know. I can't help unless you tell me what I'm helping to do."

"It's all in the letter. I have to go," and at that the man scurried of.

"Great," Buffy brought her hands up to her temples as though the conversation she'd just participated in had given her a terrible headache. She looked down at the letter in her hands and then over at the warehouse where Balthazaar was waiting with his army of vampires. "I guess fatso isn't going anywhere just yet."

"Oh god, oh god," Wesley whined. He stood, hands tied behind his back next to Giles in a large warehouse, surrounded by about a dozen vampires and a grotesquely fat demon.

"Doesn't look to promising, does it?" Giles commented calmly.

"Stay calm, Mr. Giles, we have to stay calm," but Wesley himself was beginning to freak.

"Well, thank god you're here. I was planning to panic," the ex-watcher remarked snidely. Had he ever been this annoying? Wesley knew absolutely nothing about being a watcher, with his pompous attitude and show-off knowledge. Being a watcher wasn't about book smarts, it was about handling difficult situations and in that Wesley was clearly not prepared.

"What is that thing?" the newcomer cried. This certainly hadn't been in his watcher training. Everything always worked out just as planned. The watcher told the slayer about what she was fighting, the slayer went out and slayed and the watcher remained out of the fray. That was the way things were supposed to work.

"That would be your demon. You know, the dead one."

"There's no need to get snippy," Wesley moaned.

"Bring them closer," the deep throatily voice of the demon, Balthazaar ordered his minions. A couple of vampires shoved the watchers up towards the tank where Balthazaar was trapped. "You know what I want," the demon directed his comment to his captives.

"If it's someone to scrub those hard to reach areas, I'd like to request that you kill me," a vampire punched Giles squarely in the face.

"Are you out of your mind? This is hardly the time for games!" Wesley scolded.

"Why not, we're about to be tortured to death anyway," Giles raised his eyebrows at his companion.

"He's not wrong about that," Balthazaar agreed.

"Now hold on! We can deal with this rationally. We have something you want. You have something we want," Wesley tried to reason.

"Ah, a trade… intriguing. No. Wait. Boring. Pull off his kneecaps," Balthazaar ordered the Eliminati.

"NOO!! The slayer gave it to someone! A tall man! A friend of hers! I'll tell you everything!" the newer watcher caved.

"Shut your gob, you ninny! You'll get us both killed!" Giles reproached.

"But… I like to have… my kneecaps…" Wesley cried back in a panic.

"You will tell us everything," Balthazaar ordered.

"Yes…sir," the younger man agreed.

"What is this friends name?"

A sudden realization dawned on Wesley and he grew deathly pale. "Ooh. Didn't actually catch it."

God, that ninny was screwing up everything. Giles had to do something. He turned to Balthazaar, "Tell you what. Let Captain Courageous go and I'll tell you what you want to know. How's that deal?"

"There is one deal! You will die slowly or you will die quickly! The man who has my amulet - what is his name?"

"His name is Angel," the souled vampire leaped into the warehouse, game face on.

"Angel!" Giles cried. His attention focused on his ally, the watcher failed to notice the Eliminati behind him as he raised his sword into the air above Wesley's head. Giles continued to yell across the room to Angel. "Where's Buffy?"

"Buffy! There you are," the redheaded witch exclaimed as her best friend walked through the doors of the school library.

"Will! What are you doing here? Where's Giles? I need to show him something," Buffy looked down at the letter she held in her hand.

"I'm looking for you actually," Willows voice got softer at the next part. "Angel came by, he was looking for you. They have Giles."

"They what?" the slayer gasped.

"I told Angel to go ahead back to the warehouse, to get Giles out of there, and the new watcher too, Wesley. I told him I'd find you. I was ah…" the witch looked down at her feet. "I was gonna do a locating spell."

"Will!" the look in Buffy's eyes showed her displeasure at Willow doing unsupervised magicks.

"I know, I just…I had to find you quick. If something were to happen to Giles..."

"I know Will," Buffy looked up and gave Willow a grin that quickly faded back into the worried look she had on before. "I gotta go help them," Buffy stuffed the letter into the pocket of her pants and turned to walk out.

"Wait. I'm coming with you," the redhead scurried to catch up with her friend.

"I don't know if that's such a good idea Will. This is major stuff here."

"I know, but I have to help. Besides mint-y fresh protection, remember?" Willow held up a small satchel filled with a powder she had conjured to offer them extra protection.

"Alright, you can come just…try to be careful."

"I will."

"Watch out!" Angel screamed instead of answering Giles question about Buffy.

Giles turned around just in time to see a giant broadsword come crashing down on Wesley's head, crushing right through his skull. Wesley slumped to the ground dead.

"Oh my god!" Giles bent down to exam Wesley's dead body. He hadn't liked the bloody wanker but he certainly hadn't wanted him dead. The vampire who had delivered the fatal blow lifted his sword again this time above Giles head.

"Giles get up!" Angel was on him now, just in time. He grabbed the vampire's fist in mid air. With his other hand he grabbed the sword and pulled it from the vampire's grasp. He kicked him and the vampire flew backwards. "You have to fight." His attention directed back to Giles. "Willow's looking for Buffy, they should be here soon but until then you have to help me fight them," Angel used the sword he had taken from the Eliminati to slice through the ropes binding Gile's wrists. "Take this," Angel handed the watcher the sword.

"Yes, yes of course," Giles mumbled, still in some shock. He took the sword and the feel of the weapon in his hand quickly brought him back into the fold. It was just in time as a vampire was quickly approaching him. Giles swung the sword at the vampire who successfully blocked the swing. The two remained engaged in a sword fight for a few moments before Giles managed to push the vampire out of the way. He slowly began making his way towards Angel who was locked in a fight with two vampires. Giles didn't make it there before another vampire attacked him.

"Unacceptable! Unacceptable!" Balthazaar screamed as he looked on at the fight. He held his arms out in the direction of Angel and sucked the souled vampire into his grasp.

"Angel." Giles cried out, but it was pointless. With a sickening crunch Balthazaar snapped Angel's neck and he exploded into dust.

"Xander?" Buffy asked; stake paused in mid-air. They were standing in the parking lot of Sunnydale High.

"The one and only," replied her friend.

"OK, little tip to the wise, don't sneak up on the slayer after dark," the blonde girl lowered her stake.


"What are you doing here?" Willow asked her best friend.

"Did you want something?" the slayer inquired, "Kinda in a rush here."

"Just here to help."

"Xander, this isn't a good…this is heavy stuff here, maybe you should stay behind this time."

"No can do. If this is as big as you say it is, I'm not just gonna let you two go off on your own. I wanna help."

"But Xander you're…" Xander cut Buffy off before she could get any further.

"I can hold my own Buffy. Three years I've fought by your side. I may not have super powers, but I can hold my own," Xander spoke with a confidence that was rarely seen from him.

"Fine, but try to stay out of trouble. Both of you," She looked from Xander to Willow.

"So, where we going?" Xander asked his friends as they began to walk.

"Warehouse on Deverau," Buffy informed.

"They have Giles," Willow added.

Xander paused for a second from the shock then he pushed it away. "What are we dealing with?"

"'Bout a dozen vamps and a big tub 'o lard."

"Tub 'o lard? What are the vampire's gonna do? Kill us all with high cholesterol?" Xander cracked his usual inappropriate joke.

The girls didn't bother to answer him and they walked the rest of the way to the warehouse in silence.

Oh god, how was he going to break this news to Buffy? She would be beyond devastated. Well he wouldn't have to break it to Buffy if he didn't get out alive. Giles looked around, four vampires and Balthazaar; the odds weren't in his favor. He had to get out, that was all the mattered, but the line to the door wasn't clear, he'd have to fight his way out. The watcher started backing up slowly.

"No!" came the demons throaty cry. "You will go nowhere if I do not have my amulet." He screamed. Balthazaar held out his hands as he had done with Angel and Giles was pulled into his grasp.

"Let him go!" Buffy charged into the warehouse staking two vampires without breaking stride.

"Slayer! Give me my amulet or your watcher will die."

"Hmm, that's kind of a lose-lose deal there, Dontcha think?" Buffy said calmly though she looked around desperately for a way to stop Balthazaar and save Giles. Her eyes stopped on an overhead light fixture just above Balthazaar's tank. "I've got a better idea," she leaped up and grabbed onto the light, causing it to come crashing down into Balthazaar's tank.

The demon quaked and flailed, electric sparks shot out of the water, it was awful. More awful, still, was the realization that Balthazaar and not released his grip on Giles. Buffy screamed and she heard the voices of Xander and Willow join her. She had to do something. The slayer reached out to pull her watcher for the monster's grip.

"Buffy! Nooooooooo!" Willow shouted from behind her but it was too late. The slayer had grabbed hold of Giles and her shouts of terror turned to screams of pain. The slayer flailed and thrashed with her watcher and Balthazaar. And then it just stopped. Balthazaar went limp in his pool and Giles dropped from his grip laying unmoving on the ground with Buffy's lifeless body next to him.

"Buffy! Giles!" Willow charged towards their bodies.

"Will! Stop. The vampires!" Willow heard Xander's warning and she reached down to pick up a sword that had been left on the ground when one of the other vampire's had died. She swung it at an approaching vampire and his head toppled off. Dust. "Whoa Will!" Xander exclaimed. His best friend turned to him, a look of fury in her eyes. She turned that look to the one remaining vampire and he fled. The witch ran the rest of the way to the bodies of her friends, Xander followed suit.

"Buffy?" Willow sobbed as she kneeled down by her best friend.

"Will?" Buffy's eye's fluttered open for a minute.

"Buffy, you're…you're gonna be OK." but the slayer's eyes had closed again and her chest no longer rose and fell.

"Buffy? Buffy!" Willow sobbed.

"Giles is…uh…he's gone Will." Xander said softly, tears forming in his eyes. Willow brought her head down and cried into Buffy's chest.

After a few moments Xander spoke up, "Will, we should…we should go. We need to…to get someone," Xander helped the redhead up. They stood there for a moment and looked at the bodies, then they turned and walked away.

Faith was walking through the cemetery, looking for her next kill. It had been fairly quite lately and she was just itching to get a good dusting in. She stumbled suddenly and fell with a thud on her butt. She was suddenly very nauseous and dizzy. She stayed down for a few seconds, head between her knees until the feeling went away. She stood up again.

She wasn't worried, she knew what it meant. That was how she had felt the day she'd first been called. Buffy Summers was dead now, Faith had no doubt. She could feel Buffy's strength channeling into her. The Bostonian was stronger now. When Buffy had come back to life that first time, she had kept some of her powers, transferring only some of the slayer essence into Kendra, Faith's predecessor. Now the slayer essence was complete again, Faith could feel it. She had thought that she was strong before, it was nothing compared to what she was now.

Faith knew what she had to do, just as she knew what had happened to her. The answers were there inside her. Patsy had been great to her, there was no doubt. Her watcher had been her surrogate mother. Something was still missing from the slayer's life though. In Patsy she had found a mother, but she still had no father. Somehow she knew she'd find him, now that Buffy was gone.

Faith pulled a wad of bills out of her pocket. She straightened them out and counted what she had. She nodded to herself; it should be enough for a one-way ticket to Sunnydale. The slayer turned around and walked off towards the bus station.