Summary: The third stor in my A Creature I Don't Know series.
The first part is here: s/8467907/1/A-Creature-I-Don-t-Know
and then the second story Busy can be found here: s/8575381/1/Busy
A/N: This story will follow, vaguely, along the lines of series 6. Buffy died.
Disclaimer:Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, UPN and WB Television Networks own the television shows, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel". Dark Horse and IDW own the Comics. No copyright infringement is intended, no money is being earned by myself. The title of each chapter, and the story as a whole, come from a Regina Spektor song title.
Thank you all for your kind words and support for my last story. I hope you enjoy my continuation of it. I would love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. Many thanks.
2. Blue Lips
She woke up in hospital. Instinctively one hand went to her head as the other felt down her thigh and she focussed on moving her legs. Her head was fine, as was her right leg, she feared to look down at her left. It was itchy though. Itchy was good. Itchy meant it was there, that she could feel it.
She shifted her position so she was sitting up, she found her left leg was in a cast. A cast was good, a cast meant it was there, a cast meant it could be fixed; healed.
"You might be on crutches for a little bit," she searched for the voice and found a soldier, arms crossed tight across his chest, leaning against the doorframe. "Said that wouldn't be a problem for you. Said you could handle yourself pretty well on those things."
"G.I. Joe." Faith smiled at him. "How long was I out for?"
"We sedated you back in the jungle," Riley told her, pulling out a chair and sitting besides her bed, "while I told them you could handle the pain my medics over ruled me. Plus you were cussing the whole damn place out."
"How long was I out for?" She asked again.
"Two days. One for travel, one under anaesthesia while we fixed your hip."
"Where are we now? Sacaba or La Paz?"
"There's a Bradford in Bolivia?"
"No..." The moment he dropped eye contact was the moment she realised, "but there's a Bradford in Florida."
"Hence the day's travel..." She sighed turning away from him.
"Would of been less but we were in the middle of a jungle. Hey," he slapped her across the shoulder, "you saved me and my men, least we could do was save your leg."
"Your men-" she pointed at him, "-would not have needed saving had you not been playing Slayer!"
He dropped his head and looked at his hands, "Begs the question," he looked back at her to check her mood before he continued, "what were you doing playing Slayer in the middle of jungle... Last I heard the Hellmouth was in California."
She didn't answer him though, merely found something interesting going on outside her window.
"How long my leg going to be in a cast?"
"Doctors say 9 - 12 weeks."
She considered this for a moment, "So about 3 weeks tops then?" He simply looked back at her blankly. "Slayer healing."
She held up her hand to silence him. "Don't. Don't say it. Don't tell me. Don't want to know."
He knew better than to question. He knew the girl before him well enough not to protest. "You think three weeks?" He gestured to her leg and received a nod in reply. "Keep up with physio and show the medics you're as good as your word and they'll probably only keep you a week."
"Keep me? Keep me?" She practically spat at him.
"We're the military," he slapped his knees as if using them to help push himself to a stand, "just be grateful you don't have a chip in your head." He walked to the door and knew she was inspecting her temple once more. "Its a joke. I can joke." He smiled at her from the door. "Also, its Lieutenant Colonel now."
She managed just 40 minutes in the confines of her bed before hobbling out and finding some clothes. She then lasted only two hours within the halls of the military hospital. Her hip was roaring with pain. It was on fire from the punishment she was putting it through. Pain was good. It was if she didn't feel a thing she could worry. Pain was good.
It took the military only 20 minutes to track her down and march her back to the hospital, back to her bed.
She received visitors.
Over the stretch of three days she had met all of Riley's squadron again.
By the forth she was telling stories to strangers. Stories of alligators, of monsters that could bathe entire towns in silence, of demons that could split men in two, of hellgods.
By the fifth day he arrived.
"Hello Faith." He smiled kindly at her, a brown bag of grapes in his hands.
"Hey." She smiled back at him, reaching out from her seated position to bring him into a hug. "Sorry about…" He merely shook his head, it was forgotten.
"I would have been here sooner," Giles explained, "but I was told you were in a base down by Miami."
"It has a Queen, a warring parliament and its raining. How are you?"
"Got a metal plate in my hip. Oh," her smile broadened and a mischievous grin, a look he hadn't seen on her face for months, years, since she was so much younger than she was now, crossed her face. "I'm a goddamn hero!"
"So I hear." He sat himself down in one of her chairs and offered her the grapes he'd brought. "What happened?"
"Demons. Lots. Nest." She shrugged. "I was just passing through, the military was invading-"
"Maybe there was oil." He muttered.
"-lucky I was there, managed to save the day-"
"To be a goddamn hero." Giles stated lacking all of Faith's enthusiasm. "Are you ready to come home now?"
"Home?" She practically scoffed at him. There was no home he could offer her. "To England? To Sunnydale?"
"Its up to you." He told her, had she been looking she would have seen him avoid catching her gaze. Yet she was far from him. She would not be found so easily.
"They've asked me to come on board... To be a special advisor... To stop them from wandering blindly into massacres or to help them if they do. To-"
"To be a goddamn hero?"
She merely shrugged once more. He watched her move from the bed, to chair, to standing at the window. If she was in pain she wasn't showing it. If she was in pain he wasn't to know.
"Last time I saw you, you were on a self destructive path... Last time I saw you, you were in mourning."
"People we love?"
"She... Buffy..." She corrected with regret, "didn't love me."
He joined her by the window and looked out at the soldiers outside. At the soldiers obeying orders without question, without thought. Their lives were regimented, were controlled. Theirs was not the place to question, to think.
"You can't know that."
"She told me she loved me." There was a slight turn of her head. For a fleeting moment she may have met his eyes. But just as soon as the moment came, it was gone again. "But she was never mine…I realise that now…Jungles tend to lend to the perspective having." She shrugged.
"Buffy was never to be anyone's. I discovered that within the first week of meeting her. The council discovered that. You should have known that."
They fell back into the silence that had filled Giles' house those first few weeks she inhabited it. They fell back into silence while Giles tried to find a way to fix the small girl before him, if she would allow herself to be rebuilt a second time. If she would ever trust him enough to do so.
"Buffy's alive." He told her softly as she continued to look out of the window. "She's back."
She turned back and met his gaze. It was more than fleeting this time. He looked back at her and found there was nothing there.
There was nothing left behind her eyes.
Thank you all for your kind words and your follows after just one chapter. I'm really enjoying writing this third instalment. I would have quite happily skipped past season five (its an amazing season, I just didn't write it very well) but I needed Buffy to die. I wrote the last chapter before I had even finished A Creature I Don't Know.
So, in short, thank you very much for supporting this new project. Circus.