Title: Wolf Pack
Chapter Title: The Punishment
Author: Baby Blues
Disclaimer: Not mine, but the story is.
Summary: Faith is sentenced by a Family Trial.
Dedication: To . . . Corbin, *lol* because hes just hilarious.
~Angelus: You led a pack member to the hands of the Initiative for your own selfish reasons. How do you plead?
~Faith: . . . Guilty . . .
Judgment day arrived the following afternoon. The entire clan was in a somber mood, quiet and lost in their own world as they prepared for Faiths trial. They didnt know what to expect, what it should or would feel like to punish one of their own. But one thing was for sure, this wasnt going to be as easy as they thought.
Faith brought it on herself, Xander supplied.
I still feel bad for her, Willow mumbled, snuggling closer to Oz as they sat quietly in the gazebo outside in the gardens.
Cordelia snorted. Feel bad? she asked her friends with a roll of her eyes, If you want someone to feel bad for . . . feel bad for Buffy, she reminded them as her hand tightened around Gunns.
The handsome black man smiled at her with assurance, lending her his strength as well as his support.
Goddess of the Moon help him.
He really was whipped.
I think thats pretty much a given, Gunn sighed.
You have to admit though, Oz said, looking at his girlfriend, trying to defend her pity towards Faith, She might have took her jealousy too far . . . but what have we done to prevent that?
What *could* have we done? Xander chuckled bitterly. We tried our best to allow her within our group . . . yet all she could do was bitch and moan.
How would you have felt if . . .
Willow, please, Cordelia interrupted. Faith had the right to lash out at us for most of the shit we had put her through, she said, looking at everyone with serious brown eyes, But Buffy never deserved that from her . . . nor the clan who had taken her bitchy ass in and took care of it.
The group was silent as their unspoken thoughts ran through their mind. They knew that their behavior towards Faith, their inner rejection towards her, was not something the brunette deserved from the very beginning since theyve known her. But Buffy . . . the one person who had tried to make Faith included wasnt the person she shouldve betrayed . . . and because of that, their entire clan had been brought down into a level of much threat and danger.
You shouldve seen Angelus this morning, Kendra said softly as Xander hugged her closer to him. He was an even bigger mess, she told everyone, I dont even think he slept last night.
He didnt, Xander confirmed with a shake of his head, I heard Joyce and a few of the other women talking this morning . . . He stayed up all night with Buffys engagement ring in his hand . . . and just kind of staring out of space.
Theyll get through this, Spike finally said as he leaned against the entrance of the gazebo and looking out into the fields of flowers with Buffy walking through them like a fairy.
Love . . . real love . . . is not something that can just go away, he explained with a small inaudible sigh, turning his eyes away from the beautiful picture of the blonde goddess floating among the sea of flowers, Itll take time . . . but in the end, theyll both come out winners.
Hey guys, a little girl, warily making her way towards the gazebo, greeted shyly.
Everyone gazed at Dawn with a smile, lifting their faces from the shadows that had marred it moments before. She was dressed in a yellow shirt and blue jeans, looking quite like a tiny angel with her straight brown hair up in two pig tails, her blue eyes wide with wonder and innocence.
She was only seven years old . . . and already she has the memories and the trauma of someone five times her age. She had watched her own mother die, and each member of her clan disappear and get tortured one by one. And yet the small child still maintained her innocence . . . her beautiful innocence.
Hey, Dawn, Spike greeted with a grin before hoisting her up in his arms. What are you up to? he asked in mock suspicion.
Aunt Joyce told me to come get you guys, she giggled as Spike tried to bite her small hands, She said the trials about to start.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Angelus stared out of his study room window, gazing at Buffy who had gone against his wishes for her to stay in bed and was now in the gardens, walking through the flowers like a wood nymph . . . alone.
He should be there, by her side and holding her hand. Instead she was unaccompanied . . . and it didnt seem right . . . didnt look right without his large body next to her small one.
He gazed down at the engagement ring in his hand. For the entire night he had sat in his study room in the dark, twirling the small ring between his fingers and just staring at the glittering jewel that had been wrapped around Buffys ring finger like a fitting embrace.
He hadnt slept that night . . . he couldnt, not when her room was right next to his . . . and not when she had just gone through hours of torture and tests in the Initiatives hands.
How is she? he replied instead.
Hows who? the voice asked in confusion.
Buffy, Angelus said, How is she?
Fine? Gunn shrugged with a frown. Why dont you just ask her yourself?
I cant, he answered simply.
Okay, but the . . .
Hows Dawn? Angelus interrupted once again, continuing to watch as Buffy kneeled by the rose bushes to gather some of the flowers for the mansion.
Peachy for a young girl who had just been saved from a locked cell for God-knows-how-long, Gunn replied coldly. As I was saying . . .
How about the rest of the clan?
Theyre fine. Everyones fine, Gunn said with a roll of his eyes. He wasnt his secretary, if he wanted to know, then he should go find out for himself. But . . .
How about the others we saved? Angel asked again.
You know, Gunn snickered with a shake of his head, I came up here to tell you that the trial is about to begin . . . not as your personal connection to the world outside this study room, he said before slowly turning to walk out the French doors.
I could kill you for your insolence, I told him with serious graveness.
Gunn smiled over his shoulder. You wouldnt, he said. Ever since Buffy . . . that ice inside you has melted.
Oh, yeah? Angelus challenged, watching Buffy as she cut the roses and placed them carefully inside a basket, Ever since youve met Cordelia youve become that Titanic guy; all sensitive like a pussy, poetic and corny. You might as well prance around in a skirt.
Engarde, Angelus, Gunn said, knowing he had to take this as it went. Angelus had gone through hell for the past two . . . three days. His bitterness and harshness would only be a natural occurrence . . . especially when the woman he loved was the one in danger during these past fateful days.
Be down stairs in ten minutes, he informed his friend before finally leaving the room.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Angelus stared down at Faith with deadliness in his brown eyes. There was no mercy within him for those who had betrayed him, and Faith had betrayed him and the entire pack with her selfish actions . . . no matter what the reasons were. And because of that, the woman he loved wasnt talking to him . . . and he couldnt forgive the brunette for that . . . ever.
You have condemned yourself with your own actions, he said angrily through clenched teeth, You deliberately endangered the pack . . . and led one of your own . . . MY mate . . . into the hands of murderers of our kind.
Faith bowed her head, fighting back the tears. The entire clan surrounded her, looking down at her kneeling form as they stood or sat in one of the chairs in the living room. She couldnt read their eyes, didnt want to . . . because she knew she would only see disappointment and anger within them.
You are now considered a danger to us all . . . a traitor, Angelus continued, circling her with his hand behind him.
He was furious, there was no doubt about that . . . but there was also pain in his appearance that everyone can only conclude came from Buffys refusal to attend the trial . . . thus the lack of support from the person who truly mattered to him. How do you plead? he growled down at her, his eyes blazing.
Faith looked up at him with a tearful gaze, but he didnt even wince at the regret and the utter pain written clearly on her face. Guilty, she breathed quietly before continuing on, My life is in your hands . . . and I will not beg for it . . . for I deserve the judgment you, and the rest of the pack, give to me, she added honestly in a shaky voice.
And that is nothing . . . Angelus whispered harshly before turning towards the others. . . . but your death, Faith, he said with his back towards her. You are to be left out in the woods in wolf form with no food, no water . . . and left to die there, he told her coldly, Its what you thoroughly deserve after the hell you put US through . . . what you put ME through.
Faith let out a strangled sob at the announcement of her punishment. She was loosing her family, the people who had brought her up since she was a babe . . . and she was going to die in their hands.
Those who do not agree with my verdict, speak now . . . Angelus called out, daring anyone to challenge his penalty.
All eyes landed on Buffys golden form as she entered the living room and made her way towards the middle of the circle where Faith and Angelus stood.
Willow gazed at her friends with question in her eyes. She had told Buffy that about the trial, but the other girl refused to attend, telling the redhead she wanted nothing to do with it. And the quiet and shy werewolf didnt push since Buffy would only get upset, and she shouldnt have to considering the fact that she had gone through a torture just the night before. So to see her in the trial, defending the woman who had basically shoved her into the Initiatives hands with a smile on her face, was more than a bit disconcerting.
Buffy stared at Angelus with fierceness as he gazed back at her with surprise and power. I will not let you do this to her, she confronted him with the self-confidence needed to speak so callously towards the dominant male of the clan.
Then what is it you wish for her? Angelus asked his goddess, trying hard to keep up his dominating pretense with his equal before him.
Buffy gazed down at Faith who didnt bother looking up at her. Her shoulders were shaking from the quiet and muffled cries she was unsuccessfully trying to hide from everyone. You are to be cast out, Buffy said softly, Banished from the clan. You are to continue on living with the knowledge of what you put your pack through, she locked eyes with Angelus as she continued on talking, And to have the burden of your actions upon your shoulders for the rest of your existence.
Faith tightly closed her eyes. She didnt know if she should rejoice because of the fact that she was free to live . . . or cry because shes being imprisoned in a life of complete isolation. Without the pack, without her clan, without her family . . . what was her reason?
Angelus nodded. The Moon has called it, he finally said.
The Moon has called it, came the reply from everyone.
Buffy kneeled down by Faith and lifted her face, her hands on either side of her cheeks. Brown eyes met blue before the blonde softly kissed Faiths forehead and whispered in the brunettes ear, Be glad that my unborn child still lives . . . for you wouldnt have either.
Continue to Chapter 34: The Facts
Back to Chapter 32: The Heartache