Word Count: 1,313
Rating: PG-13 (eventually R)
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for A Hole in the World and Shells.
Summary: Faith arrives at Wolfram and Hart, and Angel fills her in on their latest crisis.
Faith had only been on an airplane once before. When she was eight years old her mom had taken her from Boston to Florida to see her dad in jail.
It was nothing like this.
“Can I get you another drink, Miss Lehane?” the flight attendant—who looked more like a butler out of one of those weird BBC dramas—asked.
“Uh, yeah, sure. Diet coke please?” Faith handed her plastic cup to the man and leaned back into her seat, her eyes lingering on the soft white clouds that swiftly passed by outside the window. Never in a million years would she have thought that she’d be travelling in a private jet.
Angel had explained very little the night before, but he did tell her that he was now working for Wolfram and Hart. Faith didn’t like the sound of it. She knew from experience that the law firm was bad news; but she also knew that he couldn’t get into specifics on the phone, so she hadn’t pressed the issue. All she really knew for sure was that something bad went down, and they needed her help. That was enough for her to decide to go to LA.
Saying goodbye to Robin had been awkward. Deep down it seemed that they both knew she wouldn’t come back.
For what it was worth, she said that she would.
Once Faith’s plane landed at LAX, a chauffeur was waiting with a sign that said her name. It was a relatively quick ride to the law firm, despite the traffic, and Faith was grateful that there was a wall of glass between her and the driver. She didn't feel like making small talk.
When they arrived Faith reached into her bag to get some money, but the chauffeur waved her off, saying that it was already paid for.
“Thanks,” Faith got out of the limousine and waved goodbye, clutching her backpack as she looked at the imposing building before her.
“Never thought I’d be here again,” she mumbled to herself as she made her way up the steps.
When she was inside she felt a bit overwhelmed--but then she saw a familiar face.
“Oh hey, Faith!” Harmony jumped up from her desk and ran over. “Angel told me to send you to his office as soon as you got here.”
“You work here too?” Faith looked skeptical. Things were getting weirder and weirder by the minute.
“Oh, heh. Yeah, I’m Angel’s secretary. Wes hired me!”
“Uh huh.” Faith tried to smile, despite her trepidation. The place was packed with vamps and demons, and she wasn't sure how she was supposed to react to that.
“Hey watch it!” she shouted as a three-horned demon in a suit rudely brushed past her, his face buried in paperwork.
“Oh, that’s Bill. He works in accounting,” Harmony explained.
The brunette slayer quickly turned and saw Angel advancing.
“I was just about to send her to your office, bossy,” Harmony piped in.
“Thanks, Harmony; I’ll take it from here,” Angel said, putting a hand on Faith’s shoulder and leading her into a fancy room that Faith could only guess was his office, though it looked like it could house a family of ten comfortably. And the view was insane.
“Man, you can see whole city from here!” Faith exclaimed, dropping her bag on the chair in front of Angel’s desk. "Hey…wait a minute. It’s sunny…and you’re not---"
“---on fire? Nah. Special glass.” Angel smiled.
Faith sat down on one of the chairs next to the window.
“So...what’s the deal, Angel? Why’d you call me here? And specifics would be nice.”
Angel’s face darkened, and he was silent for a moment. Faith felt her heart beat faster in her chest.
“It’s Fred. She…she’s gone.”
“Oh my God, Angel—I’m so sorry!” Faith stood up.
“Yeah,” Angel sat down in a chair opposite her, gesturing for her to sit again as well.
“She was working in the lab, and got infected with some kind of…ancient demon god. It took over her body—liquefied her from the inside. All that’s left is a shell.”
“I don’t understand,” Faith frowned. “What do you mean a shell?”
“The demon god that infected her—Illyria—is now living in Fred’s body. Problem is, Fred’s body isn't going to contain her for long. She’s powerful, Faith, and whatever is inside is eventually going to come out. When that happens, the world as we know it will be destroyed.
We’ve got her trapped in a containment spell for the time being…but we needed someone strong enough to fight her if she somehow breaks out of it. That’s why I called you.” Angel looked toward the other window that separated them from the lobby. “Things are just—well, a mess around here right now. Gunn is in the hospital because Wesley stabbed him, and Wesley…well, let’s just say he’s seen better days. “
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Faith broke in. “Back up for a minute, Angel. Wes stabbed Gunn? Why the fuck would he do something like that?”
“Gunn signed some papers that allowed the sarcophagus containing Illyria out of customs and into Wolfram and Hart. Wesley was…grieving. He and Fred were dating, I guess. Of course, I didn’t find out about that till she was on her deathbed.”
Wes and Fred.
For some reason it irked Faith a little to hear that, though she didn’t really know why.
“We need Wesley to find a way to get Illyria back into the deeper well,” Angel continued. “The trouble is—I’m not so sure that that’s his number one priority right now.”
“He’s not doing so well, Faith. I thought…I don’t know—I thought that maybe you could help with that too."
“Yeah, cause me and Wes are best buds?” Faith scoffed. “Why on earth would he wanna see me right now? He just lost the woman he loves, and now the girl who nearly tortured him to death is here to pay her condolences? I don’t know, Angel.” Faith sat back in her chair. “I don’t think you really thought this through.”
“Maybe not. But besides us, you’re the only person that connects Wesley to this world. You were his slayer, Faith. That’s gotta mean something.”
“Yeah, it means that to him?—I’m just another failure.”
“You’re not, Faith. You proved that last year. I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for you, and Wesley knows that. I know that he wouldn’t admit it out loud, but I think something in him healed after you were here in LA the last time. I think that seeing how much you've changed gave him hope. I know he felt responsible for your downfall…and let’s face it, in a lot of ways he was. I also know how much it meant for him to make amends with you.”
Faith frowned. A part of her believed what Angel was saying, because she’d also felt that way after working with Wes. At the same time she knew that there was no way she could ever make up for what she did to him. The past would never go away completely, and Angel’s arguments for why she could now be of any use to Wesley seemed much too tenuous.
Still, she wasn’t about to tell Angel to go to hell. Not after everything he’d done for her. And if this Illyria thing did get loose from the binding spell, they were definitely going to need her help.
“Ok,” Faith finally relented. “I’ll do what I can.”