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Black Magic White Lies, chapter 1

June 1st, 2009 (01:41 pm)
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Title: Black Magic White Lies
Author:moscow_watcher
Chapter 1 - In which Xander discovers a 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 lusciousxander and deird1 who encourage me, help me with character voices, fix my bad grammar and lack of style. All mistakes are mine. This is my first plotty multi-character fic, so concrit is very welcome.



"You don't know what's in your slayer, do you?"

(Moments of truth always catch us unawares. Later, Xander realized it had been one of those moments, but back then it was just unsettling. Together with Buffy and Willow he came to the hospital to visit Joyce, and when he lingered behind in the corridor, a patient in a straight-jacket suddenly turned to him, winked conspiratorially and whispered this question. How did this lunatic know about the slayer? He was about to ask him, but a nurse approached, and Buffy called him, and he caught up with his friends and put the incident behind him.)

Maybe he should tell the others about it. Right now, as Xander, Willow and Giles sit in the Magic Box and talk about some mysterious murder they're investigating, about Buffy's problems and her mom's illness, about Wesley Wyndam-Pryce's call from Los-Angeles and Angel spinning out of control and turning to the dark side. Again. Not that it's a big surprise, that guy has always been a loose cannon...

"...And I want you to forget about it as soon as it's done," Giles says to Willow. Xander flinches. Obviously he zoned out a bit. Has he missed something?

"Sure, Giles," Willow's fingers dance on her laptop keys. "After the Initiative encryption programs this one looks easy-peasy..." She stares, surprised. "Um... Are you sure this is the server you need?"

Giles nods curtly. Willow looks at him with concern and frowns.

Xander is intrigued. Pity he's sitting across the table and can't see the screen. Is Willow hacking The Watcher Council's site? Or what?

"Who are you hacking, guys? Pentagon, or FBI?"

Giles looks at him with barely concealed irritation.

"I have to make certain enquiries, privately. This is a rather delicate business. The less you know about it the better."

Xander hopes his sulking isn't too obvious. He looks at his watch and sighs. Anya should be here already. He goes to the window to look at the street and lingers there, his back to them, so, thankfully, they can't see his face when he hears Willow's next words.

"I wish I could do a memory spell to make myself forget that I just hacked the server of Northern California Women's Facility. It's not about an upcoming apocalypse, is it?"

Xander realizes his hands are balled in fists. It's a coincidence, he thinks. It must be a coincidence. Thousands of women serve their time there.

He steals a look at Giles and Willow. Giles is polishing his glasses - never a good sign. "Not at all," he says dryly. "Like I said, it's a little private enquiry. Hopefully, nothing serious..."

Xander turns away to the window again. He's not eavesdropping. First, they know he's in the room. Second, there is nothing to eavesdrop. Giles is checking something for somebody. Big deal. And it's just a coincidence that he needs information from Northern California Women's Facility...

"...I'm sure Mr. Wyndam-Pryce is overreacting," Giles concludes.

Xander's stomach knots. No, it's not a coincidence. Something's wrong. Wrong with her.

"We're in," Willow says. "So, what are we looking for?"

"Medical records".

Suddenly, Xander feels so dizzy he has to take a deep breath to clear his head. Something bad has happened to her. She's dying. No, she's already dead. No. No. She's a survivor. Maybe it's nothing serious. Maybe she just got sick. Slayers get sick. He remembers Buffy falling ill and him visiting her in the hospital and confronting Angelus and feeling utterly helpless against his insolence... But why does Giles need medical records? Maybe she's got some weird mystical illness. Please, God, nothing nasty. And, please, anything to delay Anya who is - he checks his watch - a quarter an hour late. Anything to delay Anya's arrival until Willow finds out that nothing's wrong with her. In a minute Willow will find her file and tell Giles that there is nothing to worry about...

"Thank you, Willow," Giles says. "I'll take it from here. I hope it's all right to borrow your laptop for an evening."

Willow furrows her brow. "Are you sure?"

"I think I can manage." Giles' smile is forced. "I may not have your computer skills but I definitely know how to use the cursor and hit 'enter' ".

Xander demonstratively looks at his watch as Giles sees Willow to the door. He's not eavesdropping, he's not hanging around, he's just waiting for Anya, who is terribly late, by the way...

"Anya is late," he says, although Giles doesn't ask him anything. "We planned on meeting here."

Giles averts his eyes. "Of course." He takes off his glasses, and starts polishing them absentmindedly. Is he just fidgeting?

Xander heart sinks. Does Giles know? Maybe he just suspects something. Or maybe Xander is just imagining things, and Giles is impatient to send Willow and him on their way as soon as possible and to focus on his oh-so-mysterious research. The research that has nothing to do with her.

When Giles returns to the table, he sits down, his back to the wall, making it impossible to look at the screen without being noticed. Xander loiters about, trying to come up a reason to get closer and look over Giles' shoulder. His mind is blank, he can only think about her, sick, wounded, dying in her cell. Screw the excuse - he just has to pick the right moment to look, as soon as Giles finds her records.

Interminable minutes pass. Giles is deft with books but slow with computers. Every time he clicks a key and peers at the screen, Xander tenses, ready to spring to the monitor, but every time Giles shifts his gaze back to the keyboard and slowly clicks the keys again.

The phone rings, shrilly, making Xander jump. He grabs the receiver without taking his eyes off Giles. "Anya, what happened?" Anya chirps something about a new beauty parlor and how trendy it is and how many women are lining up for it and about being sorry for ruining his evening... Xander listens with half an ear and tries to reply coherently. "Sure... Yes, of course... Next time. No, I don't mind at all..."

Suddenly, Giles raises his head and looks Xander in the eye. It's the mix of guilt and curiosity on Giles' face that makes Xander decide.

"So, why do you need Faith's medical records?" he asks as he puts the phone down.

Giles is appalled. "How have you... I mean, what a strange, ridiculous idea..."

"Just 'cause I didn't do college, doesn't mean I can't use my head." Xander hopes his face doesn't betray him. "Faith is serving her time there, right? I can put two and two together, you know."

"How did you know where she is incarcerated?"

"You told us. Or maybe Buffy did." He knows he's bluffing heavily but he has no choice. "Besides, you said her former Watcher had asked you to check the files."

"I did?"

"You said something about Wesley overreacting. Giles, can you just tell me what's going on?"

Giles deflates and looks away.

"Don't misunderstand me, Xander. There are things you're better off not knowing. For your own good."

Whatever it means, it doesn't sound good. Cue for a lame joke. Hopefully his smile doesn't look particularly phony. "So, you're protecting our innocent souls."

Giles snorts. "Or, rather, your sarcastic little arses."

Xander hesitates. After all, he has nothing to lose. Maybe Giles doesn't know anything.

"Mind if I help? No offence, Giles, but you're a lousy hacker."

Giles smiles wryly. "I bet this thing is possessed," he murmurs. "Every time I have to double-click my fingers suddenly stiffen".

Xander snorts and comes closer. Now he can see the screen with rows of files. They're labeled by numbers. Giles clicks the next file, it opens. He looks at the photo and, after yet another tussle with the disobedient mouse, closes the file. It takes him about thirty seconds to do it.

Xander sighs. There are thousands of files. At this rate they're likely to spend the whole night here.

"Why don't you rearrange them by date?" he asks.

Giles looks at him in awe. "You can do that?"

Xander shrugs, feigning indifference. He takes his stand behind Giles' back and reconfigures the order of files. Ms. Calendar's computer classes turned out to be pretty useful. His hands itch to start checking June 2000 entries but he restrains himself. Giles shouldn't suspect that he knows when Faith was transferred there.

"Check the June files," Giles says. Xanders suppresses a sigh of relief and starts the search. Double click - look at the photo - close - next - double click - look - close - next... His fingers move quickly, automatically - computer games are good practice.

"You haven't answered," he says. "Why do you need her records?"

"Just a precaution." Giles' voice is tired and flat. "She's refusing to meet anybody. The last time Mr. Wyndam-Pryce saw her was when she was transferred there in June. He said he got the impression that she was..."

Giles falls silent. Xander's heart skips a beat.

"Mr. Wyndam-Pryce hoped to get a chance to talk to her. To ask her. To clear it up. She refused to see him. He tried to make official enquiries..."

Xander bites his lips. He's on the verge of screaming with frustration. Double click - look - close - next - double click - look...

Her photo leaps out at him from the computer screen like a slap in his face - stubborn mouth, challenging eyes, tousled hair. Xander reluctantly tears his eyes off her mug shot and feverishly scans the words onscreen.

"Oh dear," Giles says softly and closes the lid of the laptop. "Xander, I'm extremely grateful for your help, but it's... It's no concern of yours, really. Thank you."

Xander nods automatically. He lets Giles to show him the door of the Magic Shop because he's too stunned to resist. He hasn't read everything on the page but he had enough time to catch the gist.

Faith is pregnant.
Next: Chapter 2 - "No! It's not what you think"

Comments

Page 1 of 2[1][2]
Posted by: draconin (draconin)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)

Ah, ha! Suspected that was the case! :-) Interesting.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)
BMWL

Thanks!

Suspected that was the case!

Points at the title of the next chapter and whistles innocently... :)))

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 10:29 am (UTC)

"Not what you think"? The only suspect I can think of is the random guy in "Five by Five".

Hmmm. Nice start.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 10:36 am (UTC)
BMWL

Nice start

Thank you!

The only suspect I can think of

*evil cackle*

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 10:52 am (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 11:01 am (UTC)

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 11:40 am (UTC)

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)

Interesting start. I liked the oblique angle on the revelations , half overheard conversations and hinted information. Xander's inner thoughts were intriguing. Always like seeing Willow use her computer skills.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
BMWL

Interesting start.

Thank you. An appreciation of a Faith/Xander writer means a lot to me.

oblique angle on the revelations

These ain't revelations yet. It's just warming up.

Xander's inner thoughts were intriguing.

I hope I don't write him OOC. Xander voice was the hardest part of the project. I started writing this fic because I wanted to get into his mind and soul - to understand him better. I can only hope I could give him his dues without Marty-Stuing him.

Always like seeing Willow use her computer skills.

Um... OK, I will keep my mouth shut. I will only say that this scene gives the impetus to the chain of events and some of the consequences won't be revealed until the last chapter.

Posted by: do do do do (sentine)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)

Very intriguing start!
Plotty Moscow Watcher is as good as Comedy Moscow Watcher :)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)

Very intriguing start!

Thank you!

Plotty Moscow Watcher is as good as Comedy Moscow Watcher :)

Recently I realised, much to my frustration, that I just can't write a serious story about Buffy and Spike or Buffy and Angel. I can't bring myself to torture them seriously. And, since good writing always implies torturing your heroes, I tried to torture them light-heartedly. But I wanted to explore season 5 mythology in a more serious story - and Xander seemed a perfect candidate for the lead role.

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kevin Jones (mulder200)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)

Wow! Now that's what I call an intriguing beginning.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
BMWL

Thank you!
I hope I won't dissappoint.

Posted by: brunettepet (brunettepet)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)

This is a very entertaining start. I could feel Xander's tension at the myriad reasons Giles would need information about Faith, though I was still surprised at the reveal.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this all leads.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

This is a very entertaining start.

Thanks!

I could feel Xander's tension at the myriad reasons Giles would need information about Faith, though I was still surprised at the reveal.

And it's just the first surprise and the first reveal... :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Scoobies

Hey, Stephen - if you have the editing option - could you edit out the first line?

Srsly. You're WAAAAY TOO CLEVER. It's frustrating. :)

Northern California Women's Facility at Stockton CA

I couldn't find anything on it when I did my research. My bad. What source have you used?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)

Posted by: dragonsconsort (dragonsconsort)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)

Hey! Hurry up with the next part please. You got my attention and just left me hanging there. Great job. Liked it.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

Hurry up with the next part please.

I'll try to post a chapter a week.

You got my attention and just left me hanging there.

What can I tell you, baby? I've always been bad... :))

Great job. Liked it.

Thank you!

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)

Yay, you posted it! I'm so happy to see all the feedbacks, the story so deserve it sweetie! Chapter 13 will be sent to you tonight... once I get my annoying baby boy to sleep.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
BMWL

Yay, you posted it!

I realized that if I continue rewriting, the story will eventually become All.About.Fuffy. And, no matter how I love the pairing, that wasn't my intention when I started writing. :)

I'm so happy to see all the feedbacks, the story so deserve it sweetie!

Thank you! I'm a bit surprised, really. My f-list is mostly Spuffies, BAers and slashers so I pimped myself on Xander-centric communities. But I realise that in that part of the fandom I'm a new and unknown author, so I could only count on Xander's popularity as a character. It was nice to discover that people still read non-slash Xander-centric stories.

Chapter 13 will be sent to you tonight...

Thank you, honey. Now that we have a solid reserve of chapters that you have already betaed, I can regularly post a chapter a week.

Chapter 13 will be sent to you tonight... once I get my annoying baby boy to sleep.

Yes, I've just got it! (*sends virtual hugs and kisses to your sweet baby boy*)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)

Posted by: foreverxkisses (foreverxkisses)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)

Wonderful! I love Giles on the computer haha.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
BMWL

Thank you!

I still remember how I was coping with my first computer about 20 years ago.Believe me, Giles here fares much better than me. :)

Posted by: windandsummer (windandsummer)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)

Wait, any chance its Xander's baby? Thanks so much for sharing. This is rather good.~Bee

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
BMWL

Wait, any chance its Xander's baby?

You'll find out in ch.16. :)

Thanks so much for sharing. This is rather good

Thank you for your feedback - I'm happy you like the story.

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)

Oooo great start! I don't I've ever read a Faith-is-preggers fic. Can't wait for more. :)


Out of curiosity, what's your word count on your rough draft so far?

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
BMWL

Oooo great start!

Thanks!

I don't I've ever read a Faith-is-preggers fic.

I hope it will turn out to be much more, thematically, than "Faith-is-preggers" story. Although, the temptation to make her weak and helpless and oh-so-in-need-of-a-manly-man-to-protect-her was overwhelming. But I resisted :)

Can't wait for more. :)

A chapter a week. Promise.

Out of curiosity, what's your word count on your rough draft so far?

32,000 words. 20 chapters.

Posted by: texican5x5 (texican5x5)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)

X/F! Really cool. I'm intrigued...more please.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
BMWL

Thank you! Yes, there will be more... soon.

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)

Ah, interesting.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

Thank you, Deb!
I appreciate your interest, given that it's not your pairing. I'm not sure I will be able to sustain it through the story - but I'll try. This fic is, besides other things, an experiment with different storytelling devices, at attempt at manipulating the audience, making people guess what is really happening...

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)

Posted by: keith5by5 (keith5by5)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)

Very cool story, great start. Can't wait to see more.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
Faith

Thank you! Yes, there will be more... a lot of things to come. :)

(love your avatar :)

Posted by: keith5by5 (keith5by5)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)

Posted by: keith5by5 (keith5by5)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)

60 Read Comments
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