Chapter 16

“Hero” is written by Howard Gordon and Tim Minear.

“Isn’t this great?” Faith asked while hitting the punching bag.

“Yes it is darling.” Doyle said, while he held it, badly.  He nearly fell over several times and did actually fall down once.

“Oh, working for Alex is the best.  I got money for new clothes, cable and stuff,” she said slamming her fist into the bag.  “And all I gotta do is stuff that I’m good at.”

“What? Staking vampires?”

Faith stopped punching for a moment and gave Doyle a sharp look.   “And I can go to clubs—If I had five seconds of free time.  Can you cover me one night so I can go out?  I haven’t gotten laid in well—let’s just not go there—“

“She’s not interested in me.”

Faith stopped punching the bag.

“I did warn you.  She only has eyes for Shortcake.”

“But I figured, I figured—“

“Maybe you’d be an acceptable alternative?  Listen, I was hoping that she’d settle for you now that she knows Lindsey’s situation.  But you’ve seen her.  You’ll have better luck with Harriet.  How is she by the way?  We got to talk on the phone.  She sounds cool.”

“Don’t rub it in and she’s fine.  All married again—“

“I wish I could’ve met her.  I can’t imagine anyone wanted to marry someone like you.”
 Doyle chuckled, but Faith realized she should probably keep her mouth shut about Harriet.

“Sorry we could get to the bachelor party, but duty called.  I would have loved to hang out and party for one night.  Between Alex and Wesley and Angelus, I barely got time to sleep.”

Doyle smiled.  “It was better that I didn’t see her.”

“Listen,” she said, slamming her fist into the bag.  “Lindsey and Cordelia.  They only got eyes for each other. Sure, it ain’t ever gonna happen. I think Lindsey would want you to take care of Cordelia. I could set you guys up or something.  I’m sure Lindsey would like to forget how much he loves her, but she loves him too much to give up on him.  Even if she’s never gonna have him.”

“It’s obvious considering their indiscretion.”

“She told you,” she said and punched the bag hard.

“Hey there,” he said.  “Remember I’m not as strong as you.  No, she was so happy, she could barely contain herself.  I think she looks at me like I’m her brother or something.”

“He promised he wouldn’t see her again,” she said, punching the bag harder.  This time it nearly knocked Doyle over.

“Whoa there,” he said and she stopped punching.  “Am I sensing a hint of jealousy here?”

“Jealousy? Of Lindsey and Cordelia?  I hope he makes it out alive so he can be with her.”

“Oh,” he smiled.  “Come on.  You two have this secret kinship going on with your cute little pet names.  And I know he sees you more as a sister than anything else.”

“I’m not interested in Lindsey, except to get him out of Wolfram and Hart alive—That’s all,” she said, but some defensiveness crept into her voice.

Doyle did not get a chance to respond, because suddenly he pressed his hand against his head and cried out.  Faith had to catch him before he fell over.  Doyle quickly regained himself.

“What did you see?” Faith asked when it was over.  She comforted her friend who she knew got a massive headache after each vision.

“Some people, huddled together, hiding, frightened—“ he said and Faith saw an immense amount of fear in her friend’s eyes.

"Pretty low rent, even by demon standards," Doyle explained to Faith.  They were in the building that he saw in his vision.

"They’re hiding,” Faith said.  “But they’re here.” Doyle’s voice had changed.  He seemed a little shaken and Faith could not realize why. It had something to do with what he saw in the vision. “They’re scared.”

They entered a room with a meal still sitting on the table.

“Looks like they left in a hurry,” Doyle explained.  He took a bite of the food.  “It’s still warm.”

“That’s disgusting.” Faith remarked, but she was feeling hungry too.  Suddenly  she heard something.  She looked at a torn piece of carpet, then pulled it away.  There was a trap door beneath it.

Faith pulled opened the trap door while Doyle shined the flashlights into it.  There were a group of demons huddled together.   They were all scared out of their wits and it was the same fear that Doyle had.

"Oh man,” Faith said.  “Don't be afraid.  It's okay.  We're the good guys here." She looked at Doyle.  He looked even more afraid.

"We gave all our money to a man who promised to get us passports and safe passage on a ship.  We didn't know.  It was stupid of us.  He disappeared with our money and the ship never came,” the demon whom seemed to be the leader explained.  Faith could not place what type he was, but she could smell he had a human soul.  These demons were all half-breeds.

"Where are you going?" Faith asked.

"Briole.  Small island off the coast of Equador.  Others of our kind have found sanctuary there."

"Sanctuary? What are you running from?" Faith asked and also wanted to ask why it made Doyle so afraid.

He did not get a chance to answer, because two demon kids came running to the room.  They were both out of breath and looked scared out of their minds.

"They're close.  They almost got us."

The demon Faith was talking to put his hand on one of the boy's shoulder.  "Rieff, we have a guest.  It’s the promised one."

"Terrific,” Rieff said, with a tone of sarcasm in his voice.

"Umm—Promised one?  What the hell are you talking about?" she asked.  “You talking about the slayer, right?  Don’t you mean the chosen one?”

The demon smiled. "No, the promised one.  Many of our prophecies are cryptic, but on one thing they are all clear: In the final days of this century they promised one would appear and save us from the Scourge."

"The Scourge?  What’s that? A new death metal band?"

"She doesn't even know who they are and she makes jokes.  How's she supposed to protect us from them?" Reiff said.

Faith got up and stood right in Reiff’s face.  “Now, listen here, dick-head, fuck prophecies.  All I can tell you is that I’m strong and I’ll protect you from whatever this scourge is.”

“What makes you so tough?” he said, not standing down.

“I’m the Slayer.  Slayers are born tough, long before they are even called into active service.  So what are these scourge?”

“They kill half breeds,” the older Demon said.

"This is crap, I ain’t no promised savior,” Faith laughed.   Faith and Doyle met alone to try to figure out the best way to deal with the situation.  She stopped when she saw Doyle’s face. “You been this way ever since you got the vision.  What’s the deal?  What the hell is this scourge?”

“I’ve meet up with them before.”

“The half demons?”

“No the Scrouge.  They’re death.”

“So you gonna let me in on what they did or am I gonna keep running around looking like an idiot?”

“It’s not something I’m proud of darling,” he said, looking down.

“We’ve all done things, spill it.”

Doyle sighed, but then decided to talk. “Lukas, he was a Brachen demon like me.  He came to me in desperation. He was the only one left of his clan.  The scourge had killed them all.  They are an army of pureblooded demons.  They have a big hate-on for us mixed heritage types.  Very into pedigree.  They hunt us down like animals."

"No one fights back?  You guys are still demons.  Maybe not as strong as the pure breds, but you still strong--"

"Sure they do.  All the time.  You can kill them, but these guys believe in what they're doing.  They're ready to die for their cause."

“Sounds like they’re nuts.”

Doyle sighed and looked down.  Faith felt bad.  She knew that she would get pissed off if someone made jokes where she was talking about her past.

“Sorry, go on.”

“Anyway, Lukas wanted me to help hide some people until they could get out of town.  Said we were family.  I resisted, told them I couldn’t do it. I punked out.  I'd only just found out about my demon side.   The idea of having family obligations with guys that looked like big blue pin cushions, it was just a little bit to much to take on.” Doyle took a deep breath.  He looked down. Faith touched his shoulder.

“Keep going, I’m your friend.  I won’t make any judgment on you.  You can tell me anything.”

“Then it was like Knock knock, powers that be here given you a vision that feels like a stroke. I saw them all die, all of the survivors.  I thought it was a dream, but later I saw them,” he continued to look down. He was hiding the tears.  It was the one vision that stayed with him always.

Faith hugged her friend.  “It’s okay, Doyle. That sucked, but it’s kind of what you roped me in to, you know, taking Angel’s place except without the mind numbing headaches and all the massive Nazi-like death.”

Doyle pulled away, but not harshly.  He just wanted to talk some more.

"These people are going to need more then their mythic promised one. You can't fight the Scourge, Darling.  They are like hundreds of Angelus’, except they’re all willing to die to make sure they aren’t stopped.  I don’t think Angelus wants to be killed for anything.”

“I think I know a way that we don’t have to fight them and get all those guys to their safe haven.”

“I’m sorry I gotta do this again—“

“What, ask me to use my Wolfram and Hart resources to save a bunch of lives?” Lindsey joked.  “Listen you’re right the Scourge are here and they have a new weapon.  Even Wolfram and Hart don’t like to deal with them, not that they would ever want to deal with an organization that works with half-breeds.  I’m going to send a van to pick you up and take you to a ship in San Diego.  It should be far enough away, get them out now and the scourge won’t catch up to them.”

“Thanks shortcake.  You sure this won’t get you into trouble?”

“It might,” he said, “but it’s all worth it.  Don’t worry, I get clients out of the country all the time.”

"We don't have time for this.  What's wrong with that boy?" the elder demon asked Doyle when the van pulled up.  Faith smiled at the driver and handed him a fifty dollar bill just like Lindsey told her too.  It was her own money.  There went a night of club hopping.

"What is it?" Doyle asked.

"Rieff.  He took off.  He does this every time.  He'll be back."

"No he won't.  He says there isn't any promised one.  He wasn't going to stay here and get killed like he rest of us,” another demon said.

"We're not going to get killed, are we?" The older demon asked.

"No one's gonna get killed,” Faith said, opening the door of the van.   “You’re all gonna get your ass on this van and it’s gonna take you to San Diego.”

“I’ll get him,” Doyle said and sighed. “And I’ll meet you at Alex’s place and  we’ll drive them down from there, okay.  We got to get these people to the ship.”

Faith nodded.  She watched Doyle disappear, wondering if it was the right thing to do.  Rieff probably did not go that far.

“You’re worried about your friend,” the older demon said.

Faith nodded.

“Why don’t you go help him.  We can get into the van ourselves.”

“Okay, listen—I want you to give us ten minutes, then get to Alexandria Taylor’s office.  Don’t worry about us.  If we ain’t there in an hour go.  We’ll drive Reiff down to San Diego ourselves.  Tell Alex to give the driver another fifty if he gets impatient.”

"Rieff!  Wait.  Wait. You're fast." Doyle said, running towards Reiff who was walking to fast in defiance.

"I'm walking.  You're just old," he said and did not look at Doyle, despite he was standing right next to him.

"Yeah, okay.  You know what, we ought to go.  Faith's got a way out, a ship.  There is a van waiting for us, come on, let’s go."

"Great.  Have fun.  Take some Dramamine."

"You're not coming with?"

"You can't make me."

"You're right.  You're old enough.  It's your choice."

"Right,” Rieff said, annoyed.  “A choice.  Where do I want to be hated?  You wouldn't get it.  You're passing.  My mother was the same way.  You can walk down the street.  She took me out with her one day.  I was so excited.  Just out in the neighborhood with all the other kids.  Guess what day it was? What day was it?"

Doyle sighed.  "It was Halloween."

"So that's my choice: I can be hated by humans because they’re scared of me, or by pure-bloods who want to kill me.  It's so easy, it's not much of a choice."

“Seems to me your family is one place where you know you belong.  I did not have a family for a long time, but no matter what I feel, I belong with them. They welcomed me with open arms and did not care when they saw my demon face. Hey, come on, you’re gonna be missed.”

"Yeah, well, they are probably all dead by now.  Or might as well be.  They're coming again.  I can feel it."

"It's going to be different this time.  They’re already on the van.  They’re already on the road.  But I came back for you."

"Why?” Reiff said and finally Doyle could see he was getting through to him.  “Because your friend is the promised one? You know that’s not true.  It’s a bunch of crap."

"It doesn’t matter.  But she’s one tough cookie with a good heart.  I wouldn’t mess with her.  She’s got contacts up to the wazzo.  Trust me.  She’s got a ship all waiting.  But the van, we gotta get on it.”

"My hero."

"You have to find faith, Rieff--

His thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of things breaking.  Reiff had frozen in his place for a moment.

"They're here,” he said.

"Then let's go.  We aren’t too far from the van."

They ran down a street just as a soldier appeared in the exact spot they were at before.

Doyle pointed to an abandon building.  "In here.  Get to the top floor and wait for me there.  I’ll take care of them.”

Doyle watched as they smashed windows, kicked trashcans and set a car on fire.  One of the soldiers came towards their building.

"Doyle," Reiff said and Doyle could sense his fear.

"Stay here.  You understand?  I am going to get help.  For once in your life listen to someone else.”  Reiff looked at Doyle, then ran up the stairs.

He nearly screamed when a hand grabbed him by the shoulder. He turned around only to discover it was Faith.

"They're coming." Doyle told Faith.  “But the boy is still trapped.”

“Good, I got all the demons out, but you two.  I don’t know when they’re going to set their weapon on, but I want to be home drinking hot cocoa when it happens.  I want you to wait outside the building. I’m sending the kid down.”

“What about you?  They’d love to kill a slayer.”

“I’m a big girl, I can take care of myself.  I want you to get out of here. You got one hour to get that kid to Alex’s house.  Shortcake says the boat is leaving tomorrow.  I want that kid on it.”  Doyle did not say anything.

“Doyle, I don’t care what happens.  No matter how much danger I’m in. You get that kid on the boat, whether I come down or not.  Understand.”


“If you don’t get that boy on the boat, I’m going to kick the living snot out of you.”  Doyle did not say anything.  “Doyle, you listen to me or I swear to god we will never be friends again.”

“Excuse me,” Faith said, looking at up at all the demons.  “But you shouldn’t be trashing this nice place.” All the demons about 10 of them, stopped and looked at her.

“You smell like a slayer,” the lead one said.

Faith smiled.  “Cause I am.  Anyone ready to take me on.”  Instead of running towards them, she ran to the room where the boy was and slammed the door.  She pushed her weight against it.  “Hey kid, it’s the messiah, come on out!”

Reiff relunctantly came out from his hiding place in the closet.  Faith went to the window.  The outside was clear.  “Get out that way.” She said, just as the door broke through.  “Go!” The demons charged her.  Faith jammed her fists through the glass.  She pulled a large enough piece out for Reiff to go through.  Faith grabbed him and pushed him through.  Reiff landed on the fire escape.  He looked for just enough time to see the demons grabbed her.

Reiff climbed down the side of the building.  Doyle grabbed him as he moved towards the bottom.

“She’s still inside,” he said, teary eyed.

“I know, she can handle them,” Doyle explained, but he did not even believe himself.   “Let’s get out of her while they’re still fighting.” Doyle grabbed Reiff’s arm and ran towards the direction of the van.

Chapter 17


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