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Story Notes:
Warnings; Adult language, spoilers post S7, Torture



Disclaimer: Buffy the vampire slayer is owned by Fox. All characters bar original characters are copyrighted by Fox and Mutant Enemy.



The fic is set ten years on from the events in Five by Five.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Warnings; Adult language, spoilers post S7, Torture



Disclaimer: Buffy the vampire slayer is owned by Fox. All characters bar original characters are copyrighted by Fox and Mutant Enemy.



The fic is set ten years on from the events in Five by Five.
A curved piece of glass tumbled, arcing end over end, its polished and broken facets briefly refracting the streetlight as it spiralled down towards the floor of the alley. Then the finality of the shattering impact, the shards and granules of glass exploding outward before coming to a final rest.

Faith watched the fragment fall, her eyes tracked its progress and destruction but her thoughts were not with that dark fragment of a Bud bottle. Certainly she saw a piece of glass fall but not the same piece of glass. Hers was clear and stained with blood along one edge and she watched it nonchalantly as it fell towards the alley’s floor.

The two pieces had fallen almost in synchronicity, one in the heartache of the now, the other in the desperate sickness of the past. But she saw them both. Hard to believe that almost ten years had passed. Ten years in which so much had changed and yet so much remained the same. Yet here she was again, not the exact same place to be sure but close enough that even she wasn’t sure when or where she was. Well that wasn’t exactly true. The sick feeling in her stomach and the tears that gently rolled down her cheek told her that she wasn’t the same person. Hell her name wasn’t even the same but that was part of what made the here and now worse, much worse.

She screwed her eyes shut as she fought a losing battle to keep the tears in, struggled to keep the wail that she could feel building within her. Only a supreme effort of will enabled her to force her eyes open, their brown lustre that usually brimmed with life and mischief dim and almost absent. She surreptitiously wiped her face. She didn’t want the monster to see that he had finally got to her. That she was near the end of her tether.

She groped back trying to find her old self, the one that knew nothing of happiness and love. She needed her strength, her madness; she needed to live in that moment again to see that face, the face of a man long dead, rather than the face of the monster. But it was so hard. She knew her edges had been smoothed away by cherished caresses.

No! She was still Faith, still the same woman who had committed those acts she reviled. Now she needed that imbalance, that feeling of being out of control. Of being capable of anything. She needed that edge back in order to do what she had to do, to torture the monster who had stolen her daughter away from her second birthday party.

"What’s keeping you Faith? Losing the stomach for it? I always knew you were a coward," the monster crowed.

Hot anger surged in her at hearing that voice. So familiar yet so cruel. Taunt upon taunt had passed those lips and while intellectually she knew it was the monster talking not …. The words still screeched down the blackboard of her soul. She spun around, strode across the room and backhanded the grinning face.

"Yeah baby, you know it. That’s how I like it," the monster coughed his yellow eyes regarding her malevolently from underneath his ridged brow.

"You bastard! Where is she?" Faith growled, clouting the monster around the head so hard the chair nearly overturned. The monster grinned up at her clearly pleased with the effect he was having on her wavering self-control.

Her heart stopped for a moment and she steadied the chair with her foot. Damn! She had almost given him what he wanted. An opening. That momentary glimpse of weakness that he could pounce on, use in some way to achieve his goal.

She grabbed his chin, wrenched his head around, and stared into his eyes. Her slayer strength easily prevented him from moving his face away even though he tried, struggling feebly against her grip.

"Where is she, you bastard? Where is my daughter! Tell me dammit!" She tried to keep the words level but couldn’t help the quaver that worked its way into her voice.

"Tell you what. Give me a ride for old times sake and maybe I’ll tell you what I did with little Joy," the monster leered running his tongue along the inside of his razor sharp incisors.

"Tell me what you have done with her you sicko, or I swear to god I’ll …," she fumed, the knife had appeared in her hand almost as an afterthought.

"Or you’ll what, Faith," the ridges smoothed and the incisors retreated and he looked at her. His face bloody and bruised from the cuts and punches she had rained down on him. His arms no longer straining at the cuffs and tape which bound him to his chair.

The same mop of tousled brown hair, same brown eye sparkling now with what she knew was fake concern, its matching false compatriot too close to tell it wasn’t real unless you knew. Same sardonic grin.

The face of her husband.

No! She bit down hard on her lip, drawing blood and stepped back harshly as his face morphed at the scent of her slayer bloodline burgeoning as it was with the promise of new life. No! This was the face of the monster that had killed her love, the face of the demon that had taken all that she had ever loved and destroyed it.

Taken her beautiful two year old Joy, and hidden her away as bait in a trap.

Taken her Xander.

She stepped away and moved back to the work surface replete with the instruments of torture she had used in an attempt to wrest the location of their daughter from the monster that was busy chuckling behind her. No, she scolded herself, Joy was her daughter alone now.

She remembered that other room. In many ways it had been just like this one, it also had been in an old rundown and abandoned warehouse. She snorted to herself as she put the knife down and trailed her had across scalpels and pliers. Revulsion and determination warred in her head.

Then it had been Wesley in the chair and if truth be told she had kind of gotten off on what she had done to the Englishmen. Course then she had been batting for the loony tunes, as Xander would so aptly put it when they had started seeing each other. Even that brought pain lancing through her head as she realised that never again would she pretend to be outraged by some nut ball comment he would make. Even, no especially, if it had been aimed at her.

Never again.

She steeled herself and counted back, all the while she desperately trying to picture Wesley’s face. Anything to avoid looking at the demon wearing her husband’s as she did what needed to be done to save their daughter. She hated to do it, to so misuse the memory of a man who she had come to like and trust but she knew in her heart, courtesy of a visit to a Orpheus brothel, that Wesley would understand the reason why she needed to torture him again.

She picked up the soldering iron, " Of course, so far we have only done three of the five basic torture groups. What say I warm you up a little?" She could feel the warmth of the torch as she walked towards him but inside she still felt cold.

Every touch of the iron blackened a piece of her soul. And with every scream, she could feel new Faith screaming inside, begging her to stop, pleading and crying but she shut her away, locked her down tight. She wasn’t needed now. Eventually her construction of Wesley’s face started to waver a little and as each piece flaked away she died a little more inside. In the end only the nausea caused by the burning flesh caused her to stop.

The monster looked chastened now his eyes darting from side to side as she paced backwards and forwards alternatively twirling and un-twirling the silver cross. She had made certain he had seen her wash it in holy water.

She looked over at him. She could tell the monster was trying to play her again, having shifted his face back to his normal Xander shaped guise.

She grinned maniacally as he caught sight of her wandering towards him.

"You know I’ve forgotten what fun this torture racket can be," she dangled the cross gently across his exposed arm, leaving it to settle for a while. Ignoring the nausea the gently wafting smell of burnt flesh brought as bile rose up her throat.

"Yeah, you know this brings back memories. I mean good for you; you lasted better than Wesley did. Course he had Angel to pull his fat from the fire," she leaned in close and sniffed him slightly, biting down on the reflexive urge to gag both from the smell and from what she intended to do next.

"Not so much for you," she straddled him and then leant in and kissed him, she could feel the bile rising in her throat.

"Xander please, tell me where little Joy is. Tell me and I promise I’ll make it easy," she tried to force down the pleading note in her voice.

She heard the wheezing first, followed by the laughter.

"Oh Faith, you really are so easy. But then you always were. Nothing but an easy lay. You know I only ever banged you because you acted like a whore in bed. Why should I be surprised when that is all you were anyway," the yellow eyes regarded her with amusement and he lunged forward breaking the restraints, which had previously bound him to the chair.

She landed heavily on the floor the impact jarring an agonised grunt from her lips.

He was fast and heavy and then he was on top of her, his body pinning her down, his monstrous face leering down at her as his finger gently traced the swell of her breasts.

"Just like old times," he hissed his breath cold and smelling of death on her face. She could feel the tear as it trailed down the corner of her face. She had failed. How could she, she had failed Joy. She had failed Xander. She struggled futilely against his strength as she lay pinned to the floor, pieces of furniture scatted around them.

"Hey bitch! Stop struggling. Guess what? Once I’m done with you and you’ve finished squealing. I’m going to show you just where I stashed our little Joy. Then it will be just like it used to be. We’ll be a family again," he leered down at her running his tongue up her cheek.



She shivered, revulsion warring with memories of times past and then with a heave fuelled by white-hot rage he was flying from her, propelled across the room and smashing into the wall on the other side of the rundown flat.

She was across the floor before she knew it raining down blow after blow on his head and chest. Hoping through violence to erase the sullying, disgusting memory of his touch to prevent it from polluting with its essence those older happy memories of a touch made by those same hands but oh so different.

He grappled with her twisting in towards her neck as he pressed her up against the window, then suddenly there was the sound of breaking glass, and they were both falling.

They landed in a heap on the wet alley floor. She pulled herself to her feet quickly her legs protesting. She screamed in agony as she plucked out a splinter of wood that had punctured her leg. A swift kick to his head and he lay prone before her.

She landed on top of him using her legs to pin him beneath her, " Where is she?" She smacked his head violently to one side.

The monster with the face of Xander glared up at her, his ridged brows cut now, his arm stuck at a funny angle from the fall, "Fuck you bitch," he laughed, "although been there though done that. Who knows what I might catch."

"Bastard," she snarled trying but failing to stop the tears that started to leak from her eyes.

She slammed the silver cross into his mouth and forced it shut. She had to tighten her grip as he started to buck and writhe in agony underneath her. She steeled herself against his muffled screams which gradually descended to pathetic mewls. She pulled the cross out.

"Tell me," she threatened her tone cold and hard.

"Spill! And no funny business."

He grinned at her then his face morphing back to normal, "Oh I promise no funny business babe. I just thought you’d like to know that little Joy squealed like a little pig when I drained her."

For a moment her heart stopped. She couldn’t breathe; all she could taste was dust and the ashes of all her dreams and hopes. There was a sudden absence of weight underneath her and she was on her knees. The rain running freely down her face washing away the dust of her lover and husband as she struggled to comprehend. Somewhere a woman was screaming.

Someone was calling her name. She gradually became aware of a shape in the edges of her blurred vision a distortion in the darkness. The name was repeated again and more senses worked their way into her conscious mind. Cold. She was so cold, she could feel her rain soaked clothes plastered to her body as she started to return to awareness and someone, no she was crying, great anguished sobs that wracked her body.

"Faith," she heard her name clearly now. Some part of her recognised the voice knew it was a friend.

"Mommy."

She stopped, all movement, she didn’t dare to breathe. Didn’t want to believe the lie that her senses were playing on her.

Then as she turned her head she just had time to catch a glimpse of a rushing tiny figure, long brown hair plastered to her head before she was bowled over.

She smothered her. Held her tight, aware that she was still crying but she didn’t care, all she could think was that she was alive. She crushed her daughter to her, she savoured that word, her daughter Joy Buffy Harris.

"Slayer strength. Ouch!" Hearing the echo of her Xander’s words from her daughter was almost more than she could bear.

Faith released her grip slightly at least far enough so that the two-year-old seemed content to remain in her looser embrace. She was still dressed in her party clothes although they were a bit bedraggled now. Faith frowned when she saw the evidence of rope burns.

"Uncle Angel rescued me from the bad men," she exclaimed proudly although her lower lip trembled indicating something of the ordeal through which she had been.

Faith looked up then and saw then the figure in the darkness. Angel sent her a worried look before stepping a little closer.

"Where?" she asked.

"By the docks, just a few blocks over," he answered.

"Thank you," she answered a small sob catching in her voice.

"Where’s daddy?" asked Joy.

"Daddy had to go away," Faith answered her voice quavering slightly.

Angel looked at her and she could see concern written clear upon the face of her mentor and friend, the man who had saved her and now had saved her daughter. She didn’t know what to say, how she could ever thank him. She could feel her control wavering as more and more she returned to the now, she could feel her daughter clutching tightly to her leg not ever wanting to let go. She needed to be strong for her sake but she could feel the wail building again. She bit down on it. Not now; there would be time to grieve later.

"Xander?" he asked.

"Sla….," she sobbed and then he was there again his arms gently going around her, holding her tight whilst she sobbed her despair onto his chest. All the while she kept fast hold of her daughters tiny hand and all the while the rain fell just like it had all those years ago.





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