by cheebs!

There was no other choice, really.

Faith could not be allowed to live.

Rupert Giles told himself that he was doing her a favor by ending her delusional suffering. The lie was far from convincing.

He went ahead with it in any case.

He'd tracked her to New York City, following her none-too-subtle trail of violence. He'd made his presence known in the city, certain she'd come after him.

He'd been right.

She attacked him one evening at dusk, pulling him into an alley so dark he couldn't see her face. But he knew it was her from the low voice that growled in his ear, detailing how she'd practice all five torture methods on him, then ride him until she tired or he died.

She never had the chance.

He jabbed the syringe firmly into her bared abdomen, the only part of her body that was within reach. She shrieked in denial and outrage, pushing him away with such ferocity that he became airborne. She stared down at the hypodermic that stuck out from her grotesquely. In the light from a flickering bar sign he saw the flesh was paler than the rest and surmised it to be Buffy's handiwork.

Then she looked up at him, and the psychotic glint in her eyes convinced him he'd just done the right thing. Not bothering to remove the thorn in her side, she came straight toward him, apparently wanting to finish him off before the drug cocktail took effect. He watched helplessly, temporarily crippled from his flight and subsequent landing on the hard concrete, as her eyes glazed over and rolled slightly. She stumbled, caught herself on the wall, lurched forward and stumbled again before finally keeling over.

When he finally regained use of his limbs he taped her mouth and bound her firmly with enchanted rope, with knots that would put a Japanese bondage master to shame, before bundling her into the boot of his car (rented under a false identity, of course, in case he'd been spotted). He drove many hours out upstate, to a spot he'd chosen before his arrival.

When he opened the boot, she glared at him fiercely. His heart nearly leapt from his chest in fright; such was the effect this sadistic girl had on him, even now. He watched her strain against the ropes and smiled cruelly.

"That will gain you nothing."

Her scowl darkened. She continued to struggle, seeming not to realise she was powerless.

"The rope is enchanted, and you could never undo my knots."

He regarded her persistent exertion with some amusement.

"Then there's the matter of what you were injected with...."

At that she ceased moving altogether.

"Did Buffy ever tell you about her eighteenth birthday gift from the Council? I wasn't really certain."

Her eyes grew wide with realization. He thought he could smell her fear.

"As long as you remained in coma, there was a chance that whatever effect Wilkins had had over you might be gone upon your awakening." He sat on the rear bumper as he spoke, looking directly into her eyes, the pupils dilated so far they appeared black. "But since you've proven yourself to be downright homicidal...well. You've left me no other choice."

Then he Watched, from a dark place within himself, as her nostrils flared with her last breaths before he reached down and pinched them shut.

She thrashed about with the complete lack of strength of a malnourished, physically and emotionally exhausted and quite mortal seventeen year old girl. Stared at him accusingly, tears streaming down her face, until at last she stilled and shat herself.

Methodically he gathered her into his arms. If his mind hadn't closed off, he might have marvelled at how tiny and light she really was, or grimaced at the stench that rose from her.

He walked to the old well on the abandoned farmland the Council had bought at his urging. In their desperation they'd welcomed him back with open arms, stipulating only that he "dispose of their problem." Which he was about to do.

He set her down at the side while he pushed the stone cap from the well. Something like guilt tickled his conscience as he finally allowed himself to notice what he'd just done, and what he was about to do. But it was too late for regrets; the deed was done, and now he needed to hide the evidence. Thankfully that task was made less by the girl's complete lack of...well, anyone.

Somehow that wasn't reassuring.

He dropped the body over the edge and listened for its impact, but heard nothing. Satisfied with the well's depth, he replaced the cover.

Only when he was back in his rented car did he finally react, driving away as quickly as he dared, hands trembling.


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