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Devil's Instant

by Shadow

"I guess that means you have a job opening."

She steps inside, the door closes, a click that makes her wince with everything it imports.

Betrayer. Slayer betrayer. It would make her laugh if she didn't think that laugh would come out harsh and jagged, the kind of laugh her mother had, cleaning frantically, singing "Mama told me not to come/That ain't the way to have fun, sooooooon!" right before she'd locked herself in the bathroom, and it wasn't until she'd seen the red on the carpet that ten-year-old Faith had called the numbers written in the same red on the phone sticker.

From then until she'd been called, she'd been in foster care. The man standing before her now looked kind of like Dad #5, only much less drunk.

The Mayor walks slowly past her, sits down at the desk and just looks at her.

Faith squirms, uncomfortable with the scrutiny, sensing no humanity in the steady gaze. "It walks, talks and acts like a man," she thinks, "but it's evil to the core."

The Mayor purses his lips, begins to adjust his nameplate with fussy movements. She watches, mildly fascinated.

"So why do you want us dead anyway? Think we'd be doing you a favor...keeping your voters alive and kicking."

He folds his fingers together. "You killed my deputy mayor."

She shrugs, looks at the walls, the cabinets, anything but him. "Accident."

"He was coming to you. To expose me. Any idea what he had to tell you?" he says shrewdly.

Faith shakes her head. "He got dead before he could mention it."

Smiling a little, the Mayor looks critically at his nails. "Allan was frightened." He looks up, suddenly, eager to catch her reaction. "I'm a scary guy, you know."

Faith feels it then, the power balance in the room. She has none of it, even though she would place good money on the fact that she could kill him in a moment.

Like you killed Finch

Her power though, is nothing like his. She knows this. He knows this. They come to an understanding, in that instant when she finally summons the balls to look at him directly.

Buffy would never be here, looking at this man with any smile other than "you are in for some serious hurt". Buffy, damn her fake blonde hair and perfectly manicured pastel nails, would probably choose to serve in heaven rather than reign in hell.

Fine. Let Buffy have the angels, in all their sickening golden light. Faced with a decision, Faith had always chosen to dance with devils and demons, swinging her fists and hips, confident in her existence as danger incarnate, to man and non-man alike.

"So what was the deal with you and Trick? Need a vamp to do your dirty work?"

He doesn't answer the question. "I like you, Faith. You're straight to the point, and you know to pick the winning side."

"Winning side in what?"

"Have you ever heard of an Ascension?"


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