moscow_watcher: (Faith)
[personal profile] moscow_watcher
Title: Black Magic White Lies
Chapter 14 - In Which Xander Finds Out Something About Faith
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

In the bedroom Faith is sleepy and relaxed. She gives him a welcome grin and unceremoniously drags him down and he plops on the bed next to her. She smiles briefly and, for a while, the illusion of normalcy is almost complete.

"So, what now?" she murmurs.

He nuzzles her hair. "Sleeping. Resting."

"And then?"

"Then we'll buy a crib. Consider a baby shower?"

"You're way into this baby stuff, aren't you?" she says with a little chuckle.

"I'm way into this baby stuff. And this baby's mother stuff. What about turning my spare room into a small gym? That is, as soon as I throw the lumber out of there. You'll need a gym to get back into a good shape. Also, I plan to talk to my construction boss. He promised me a promotion, and it's time to remind him. The pay will be better and we'll start looking for a bigger apartment..."

"Whoa, Xander." She laughs, incredulous. "You're serious."

"Dead serious."

She stares at him with an unreadable expression, and he tenses. "What?"

"Sounds good. Especially about the gym. I'm disgustingly swollen." Her tone clearly implies "worship my cute pregnant tummy."

He smiles. "You know, male superheroes have huge dicks. A female superhero should have a huge womb."

She snorts. "You know how to compliment a girl."

"Seriously. You're the biggest female superhero ever."

"Thanks." She rubs her belly, smiles reluctantly. Her eyes are sad. "Playing house is wicked sweet."

"Playing?.."

"Now tell me the truth." Bedroom eyes gone, she speaks quietly and urgently. "Stop fidgeting. I know you're lying. When you came out of that room after the spell, you couldn't look me in the eye. What is it that you saw?"

He tries to quell the rising panic. She looks at him and softens a bit. "Don't be afraid, tell me. I'll die? Me and death - we're such close friends."

"Faith, I don't know what's gotten into you..." Bad choice of words. Very bad. "I mean, your fears are totally unfounded.... And - it's not what you think it is."

"Oh, really?" She gives him a hard look. "That's what Cyvus Vail told me before I killed him. The thing inside me isn't what I think it is."

"He was messing with your head!"

She chuckles bitterly and looks away. "You're messing with my head too."

He slumps against the mattress. There must be an easy, non-threatening explanation of whatever happens to them. Except there isn't. "But it's really not what you... It's just... I remembered what really happened that night."

She looks at him askew. "And?"

"Nothing. No, really. Nothing. It's just a false memory."

"False?"

"In reality, we didn't meet. That night I was looking for you, but you disappeared. I guess the father of your baby, whoever he is, doesn't want you to remember him, so he changed our memories."

She lies, motionless, staring at the ceiling.

"Faith, listen, it doesn't mean..."

"Well, it's... good. Isn't it? I didn't try to stab myself. I didn't try to kill you... again."

He is relieved. Apparently, she was bracing herself for worse. She even smiles but her smile is forced.

"And it's good for you - the baby isn't your responsibility."

"Faith..."

"Don't worry, tots. It's just for a few days. As soon as I drop the kid, I'll be out of your way."

He knows her bravado is a cover-up, but he can't restrain himself. He didn't know words could sting so much.

"Screw your pride, Faith! I know a lot of bad things happened to you, but it doesn't mean it should always be like that! Accepting help isn't shameful! No matter how hard it is, people can share, trust each other, and they can..."

They can love. Desperately, hopelessly, against all odds.

But he can't bring himself to say it.

She still doesn't look at him, but her hand finds his among the sheets and squeezes it - lightly, tentatively.

"You know, I - I know it didn't happen but that's how I remember it - that night I only wanted to die. To have a bit of fun and then die. I remember why I couldn't bring myself to do it. Not because I was afraid, but... I suddenly imagined you holding my guts, trying to stop the bleeding, calling 911, telling them it was your fault and getting arrested, all bloodied and... I just couldn't."

He steals a look at her. Her eyes are closed, her face impenetrable. "When my bump started showing, I was about to escape to Mexico to have my baby there. But my source tipped me off about Vail's lair and I decided to quit in style. My bad. You know, I didn't believe Vail when he said my baby wasn't what I think, but I got scared. There are so many urban legends about demonic pregnancies, brainwashing and memory spells in Los-Angeles. So I went to the police. I decided whatever was inside me would be less dangerous in a prison. But I didn't tell them I was pregnant. My bump wasn't showing much yet, so I kept my mouth shut. Maybe Wesley noticed - after all, he had been my Watcher. But once I was in the prison, settled life and all, I ballooned instantly. They sent me to the hospital ward, did the ultrasound, showed me the pic of my baby. When I realized it was human, I cried all night. I decided it was your baby, after all..."

She trails off. Apparently, she is embarrassed about sharing so much.

He doesn't dare to ask what she was thinking about these nights in her cell - alone, lost, afraid that a demon was growing inside her.

"I read about your arrest. I borrowed Willow's laptop and read all I could find. Three little articles in criminal chronicles. Since that day I've had dreams. About visiting you in prison. About helping you to escape. About turning into a brilliant lawyer and winning your case. About the Earth being destroyed and the two of us escaping in a comfy space ship..."

She smiles mirthlessly. "I guess our encounter was their oversight."

He is at loss. "Their?"

"Powers That Be. Or whoever deals with my fate. They made a stupid mistake when they let us meet each other. And now they're doing - I don't know... damage control. It wasn't supposed to happen, you know?" She crinkles her brow. "How much of our past do you think they changed?"

He thinks it over.

"A lot. It's not only us. That night, when we met Spike, he was our enemy. He said he wanted to watch you kill us. But in my current memories he has helped Buffy since he got the chip."

She snickers. "Maybe in reality I was the good slayer and Buffy was the bad slayer?" She raises herself on the elbow and looks him in the eye. "Do you think our first time, when I popped your cherry, was a mind trick too?"

"No way!" He hopes he sounds confident enough. "No, it was for real. I remember thinking about it in the previous - real - reality."

Faith smirks. "Liked it, didn't you?"

"The aftermath kinda ruined it for me," he says honestly.

She purses her lips, and shrugs. "Guess it would."

"But, I think… I think I loved you even in that reality. Maybe not as desperately as I love you now, but I - I felt for you."

"Yet you were on Buffy's team." Faith looks at him, grim and determined. "Xander, you have to understand. If you're with me, you have to take my side."

"What do you mean - side?"

"Are you planning to tell them?" The implication is too clear.

"I have to tell Willow. She is helping us. She'll find the guys who are trying to kill you."

"Not me. My baby." She nurses her stomach. "I knew from the start that those bastards were after my daughter."

"Are you sure? How do you..."

"Because they tried to gut me." She turns away. "Your friends will do the same when they find out it's not your baby."

He shakes his head, horrified. "How can you say that? It's paranoid to think that..."

"I won't let them kill my daughter. What if they try to drug me, or bind me with magic? Are you with them or with me?"

"They? You mean The Council?"

"The Council. Giles. Buffy and her vampire. Why do you think she brought him here and made you invite him to your apartment? As soon as they find out the baby isn't yours..."

"That's ridicul... No. You're overreacting. You know what they say - eyes of fear see danger everywhere."

"Exactly. They read those apocalyptic scrolls, they believe them and they're scared witless."

He tries to smile. "Given my predisposition to demonic relationships, an apocalyptic baby is the logical next step." Off her hurt look he amends hastily, "Shit, sorry - nasty habit of talking before I think can't be stopped sometimes. And - and you should have ripped out my tongue that night - except that night didn't happen, so..."

She sighs. "And on with the lame-ass jokes."

"I'm a moron."

She smiles reluctantly, and, encouraged, he adds, "And you're a paranoiac. A pair of lemons."

"I'm not a paranoiac. The Council doesn't give a damn if it's a human baby or not. They see a potential threat - they deal with it."

"Faith, I just want you to survive..."

In a quick sweeping movement she straddles him. He realizes that her weakness and vulnerability was a show and she is much stronger than he thought. She talks slowly, imprinting every word in his brain.

"Xander. A child - any child - is born innocent. I'm a killer, but I was innocent when I was born. If a mother brings up her child in love, he won't become a monster. He might be different, is all. Different doesn't necessarily means evil..."

She tenses.

"What?"

"Nothing." She feels her belly. "Just... heaviness. Like a pile of bricks inside. Hurts a bit."

Xander tentatively presses his hand to her taut bulge. It's as hard as stone. "Maybe it's a contraction?"

Faith looks at him with frightened eyes. "Oh, no." She shakes her head vigorously. "No, it can't be a contraction. Contractions means real pain and I only feel a bit of discomfort..." She gasps. "Oh, shit!"


Next: chapter 15 - Light! Camera! Aaaand - action!
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