moscow_watcher: (Faith)
[personal profile] moscow_watcher
Title: Black Magic White Lies
Chapter 11 - In Which Buffy Finds About Xander's Secret
Timeline: BtVS, alternate season 5
Genre: drama, mystery, action
Characters, pairing: general, Xander/Faith
Rating: R (for intense situations).
Summary: Xander thinks he has a little secret. He doesn't know that his little secret is a part of a big fat conspiracy.
Disclaimer: They all belong to Joss. He said I could play with'em, so there.
Author's notes: Much thanks to my wonderful betas [personal profile] lusciousxander and [personal profile] deird1 who encourage me, help me with character voices, fix my bad grammar and style. All mistakes are mine. This is my first plotty multi-character fic, so concrit is very welcome.



The story starts here

He has to tell Buffy.

That's all he can think about as he helps Faith make herself comfortable on the couch in his small living room.

...No, he's not scared. He's just paralyzed with overwhelming dread, that's all. As soon as they arrived in his apartment, Willow called Buffy, told her about the ambush, and Buffy promised to come over straight after her patrol. If only she could patrol non-stop for the next week - or, better, the next month, or the next year...

"Do you want to borrow my cookie recipe?" Willow asks him.

"Cookie?.. Oh. No, baking cookies won't help me. To lift at least fifty percent of my guilt I'd have to have a big fat barbecue. But I'm pretty sure even the barbecuing wouldn't do much for the inner turmoil."

Faith watches them with amusement but Giles isn't amused at all. "Children, enough! We don't have time for this. Somebody is trying to kill us. Faith's baby is reacting to magic oddly. We have to focus."

"Maybe it wasn't my magic that was hurting you?" Willow suggests as she sits on the couch next to Faith. "Maybe it was - I don't know - a contraction? How are you feeling now?"

Faith shrugs. "I'm fine, I think. As soon as you stopped doing your mojo, it stopped hurting." She rubs her belly absent-mindedly. "Maybe you should try some kind of spell on me? Just to be sure. Do you know a nail-painting spell? Or a lipstick-applying spell?"

Is Willow's smile a bit flirty? Xander suddenly feels a pang of jealousy.

"I'll try to read your aura," Willow says. "There'll be a directional magical effect, very faint but stable. Tell me if it hurts."

Giles is watching them closely. Willow touches Faith's cheek. Then her hand slowly descends down her chest. Xander feels another pang of jealousy. Then Willow touches Faith's belly and Faith tenses.

"It hurts," she says. "A bit."

Xander feels a different kind of pang - a pang of fear. Something is wrong.

Willow jerks her hand back. "Sorry."

Faith frowns. "So... what is it?"

"I don't know," Willow admits. "Your aura is clear. Maybe somebody's done a spell to protect your baby from any magical influence. Or it could be a side-effect of a protection spell. Or something else."

"There's one thing we know for sure now," Giles says gloomily. "Those creatures who assaulted you - they were after your baby."

"Great," Faith mutters. "Just great."

Xander tries to suppress the blind panic that surges up in his chest. "Could it just be a mistake? I mean - why would anybody be after the baby?"

Giles regards him with a speculative eye. "We'll start researching it first thing in the morning. But there are several things we have to talk about right now. First of all, I want to apologize to Faith for... for my inappropriate comments about you and Xander." He furiously polishes his glasses. "It was a terrible misunderstanding that led to my unforgivable rudeness. If only Xander had told me..." He glares at him.

Faith winks. "Don't worry - I'll make him pay for it." Off Giles' embarrassed glance she relents. "Okay. Water under the bridge."

Giles sighs with relief. "Now, there is another thing. The Council has appointed me your temporary Watcher until your permanent Watcher arrives next week..."

"I don't care if the Council appoints the Queen of England as my Watcher," Faith says smoothly. "I don't work for the Council anymore."

"Should I remind you that the Council got you out of jail? Right now you need the Council more than it needs you."

Here we go. Xander was almost sure that the Council wouldn't leave Faith alone.

She looks at them with bitterness. "And I almost believed you wanted to help me."

"Listen, Giles, that's not going to work," Xander murmurs. "First of all, it wasn't the Council who got her out of jail. It was Willow's magic. Sure, the Council covered for her, but they didn't do anything."

Giles stares at him in disbelief. Xander has never defied him - until today.

"No offence, but we still don't know the Council's role in this matter," Willow puts in. "The Council could've been behind these attacks - you know, to put her in a corner and then make her an offer she can't refuse."

"It's unthinkable," Giles says flatly. "The Council...

"I don't think Faith needs the Council, " Xander interrupts. "She has a place to live, she has a Hellmouth to patrol..."

"...she has friends to count on," says Willow softly.

Xander wonders who is more shocked by Willow's little statement - Faith or Giles. Or himself.

"Listen, you don't have to get your panties in a twist because of me..." Faith murmurs.

"Faith," Willow interrupts, "you hurt Xander - I turn you into a horned toad. Understood?"

Faith nods, her eyes shining too brightly.

It takes a lof of effort to play cool. Xander swallows a lump in his throat. "Giles, please. We need you. Your experience... and your ability to defy the Council. We need you to convince the Council that you should stay Faith's permanent Watcher."

Xander hopes he doesn't sound too pleading.

"All right, we'll get back to this matter later," Giles says slowly. "Right now we have more pressing problems. And, if you don't mind, I, as Faith's temporary Watcher, will ask her some uncomfortable questions." He turns his attention to Faith. "I'm afraid this is going to sound inappropriate - but did you have sex with other partners around the time of conception?"

Faith snorts. "No."

Giles frowns.

"Of course. You don't believe me."

Giles thinks it over. "Actually, I'm inclined to trust you in this matter. I have the impression that you care about your baby... and realize the gravity of the situation. You won't aggravate the danger by lying. Were there any unusual circumstances of the conception?"

"The absence of condoms. See, I was just out of coma and hadn't taken care of that yet. Unless you guys stuck something in me when I was in the hospital." Off Giles' shocked stare she adds, "I know the Council was watching me the whole time. I had a heart-to-heart conversation with one of the thugs you sent after me in Los-Angeles. Oh, and since we're talking about the Council, could somebody explain about Ms. Dormer and the Levantine order?"

"Your first Watcher was a member of a secret organization that deals with magic," Giles explains.

Faith is genuinely surprised. "You mean - another one, besides the Council? So, what? You think they magicked my pussy? Or Xander's joystick?"

Xander blushes. Willow's snicker embarrasses him even more.

"As outrageous as it sounds, there is something in that," Giles muses.

"We can check it," Willow says.

He is horrified. "You're going to check my... my...?!"

"No, silly. There is a spell to see spells. Well, it's rather a trance to see spells, but, you get the idea. It's called Tirer La Couture."

Giles nods. "Good idea. The Tirer La Couture spell was created in the sixteenth century by a French sorcerer named Cloutier. It is a ritual that puts you into a trance wherein you can see the traces of the spells around you."

"I knew we might need it so I took the necessary ingredients," Willow says. "I don't know if we could do it on Faith because magic hurts her, but I can do it on Xander. If he's okay with it."

"Okay," he says quickly. He's ready to do anything to protect Faith from another ordeal.

Willow starts explaining about the ritual: he should seclude himself in a closed space, burn the incense and pour the powder around him counter-clockwise... The doorbell interrupts her explanations and Xander opens the door to find Buffy.

His stomach plummets. Time to tell her. Oh, no. Anything but that.

He notices Spike standing next to Buffy and is thankful for the temporary distraction. "What is he doing here?"

Buffy lowers her eyes. "Willow told me about the attack. I think four fists are better than two fists." She sounds unexpectedly timid. "Xander, please. Invitation."

He hesitates, looking Spike over from head to toe.

Spike snorts. "How much does it take to blurt out an invitation?"

Xander grimaces. "You can come in," he says reluctantly and looks at Buffy. "If he tries anything, he's out of here."

Spike starts saying something, but Buffy elbows him sharply and he closes his mouth with a snap. She looks at Xander with concern. "He's not the one you should be worried about." She glances pointedly at Faith.

He throws hands up in the air to stop her before she says anything more. "Buffy. There is something you have to know."

She nods as she slowly takes in the tension in the room. "What?"

No, he can't. He feels paralyzed. "Buffy," he starts again. "Just don't get nervous."

Her eyes widen. "Mom? Did you get a phone call from the hospital?"

"No!" they all exclaim.

"Then what? Another apocalypse?" She looks at them, alarmed and confused. "Guys. Just tell me."

Xander opens his mouth but this time no sound comes out. At all.

"Hey, B. Xander wants to say that the bun in my oven," Faith pats her belly, "is his. We're about to check if his magic penis made a very special baby everybody's after."

Buffy laughs shakily. "You know, I'm way too tired to appreciate your gallows humor, Faith. Now, could you tell me... " She falters, as she notices Xander's mortified face. "It's a joke, isn't it? Because - not funny."

"Speak for yourself, Slayer!" Spike roars with laughter. "And - thank your lucky stars that Harris didn't shag her when she was in your body!"

Next: Chapter 12 - In Which Xander Looks Into Abyss
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