This layout was created by
Some dialogue has been taken from the original episode, Who
Are You? and Somnambulist,
which for those of you reading this, gives you a clue as to who Faith runs into.
I decided to delay the swap reversion, to lengthen the episode, and to give more
of an insight into Faith's mind during this, and how she feels about the Mayor's
gift to her, at least from my perspective, nonetheless true, I believe, and I
hope I manage to argue such convincingly. Enjoy.
BELL, BOOK & CANDLE.
'Doe to the book, quench the candle, ring the bell.'
ceremony of excommunication.
Faith stopped running when she had passed four blocks. Catching her breath, she surveyed her surroundings, trying recall the geography of the town at night from her coma traumatised mind. She was about half way between Revello Drive and Crawford Street, the part of the hellmouth were houses bordered on that fine line between rich and comfortable. She could not afford to stay here long, even in this body, for obviously they knew who she really was. Anger and resentment flared inside her, each one struggling for sovereignty.
Wilkins had done her a disservice with this device. He had failed to understand that although she wanted to be the first and only slayer, she didn't want to be Buffy. The girl was too blond, too slender, too slight for her tastes, if she had been into that kind of thing. Nor did she want Buffy's life. College, Scoobies, hell even Angel were all too serious for her.
True the vampire had one
heck of a body with the intelligence to match, but he was too safe now to attract
her. Spike would be an interesting experience, but Faith was so used to roughing
it that she doubted his chip would survive the sex.
She heard a scream
rapidly muffled, causing her to glance around once more, just in time to see a
bloke snatch the girl in his grip into the alley between to houses across the
street. Her slayer radar identified the guy as a vampire and she broke into a
silent run to trail the demon, coming to a halt on the threshold of the area in
He held the girl against the wall, his hand pressing hers
behind her back against the wooden slats which covered the house. A steel gloved
finger grazed the girl's cheek in the shape of a crucifix as he revealed his fangs.
Unaware of his audience, he sank his teeth into his victim's neck, draining her
"Love the tat," Faith commented by way of greeting,
making the demon turn, causing the body behind him to slide to the floor.
"Good opening," he returned. "Care to follow it with a name?"
"I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours," Faith replied.
"Penn," he revealed. "Nice to meet you, slayer."
"Faith, actually," she corrected. "I'm thinking of a change
He stepped closer to her. "How about eternal
"Without sunlight?" Faith mused. "I may
like living dark, but night murders the complexion."
"With every gift comes a price."
"You're telling me,"
Faith agreed. "However, I do know of a way to get sunlight. As long as you
can stand working with a slayer."
"I'm intrigued," Penn
murmured. "How do we go about this?"
"First, we need wheels," Faith replied. "Then we need a base. Preferably with bling. And then I'll tell you what I have in mind."
When Buffy came too, she found herself under the close scrutiny of two chocolate
pupils she knew almost as well as her own hazel ones. The memory of the previous
minutes before her unconscious came rushing back to her as she realised that he
held her gently but firmly against the floor. Doubt entered her mind as she met
his gaze, instinctively praying that he would see through the darkness into the
truth of her soul. Although they had known the possibilities of this device, they
had never dreamed of testing it, for fear of being unable to return her to her
body. She never thought Faith would use it. Her 'sister' had many faults and frailties,
but body insecurity was never one of them. Buffy had envied her easy confidence,
the raw if somewhat eerie sensuality she conveyed in every word or look. Now it
seemed, she didn't know her as well as she previously believed.
her Angel seemed to come to a decision. His gaze lost the scrutiny, transforming
into a look of tender compassion and devotion. "Buffy," he uttered,
the one word coming like manna from his warm lips.
"I love you,"
she replied as he released her and helped her up, wrapping her into his comforting
embrace as soon as she was standing. For a moment she closed her eyes and breathed
in his scent, relishing the kisses he pressed to her hair, feeling them penetrate
the strange mask she wore to the soul deep within. Then she drew apart to gaze
into his face. "What happened?"
"Somehow Faith managed
to inject your mother with the sedative," Angel replied, turning her gently
in his arms so she could see that Joyce was sleeping safely on the sofa, under
the watch of Giles, who offered her a cautious smile. "When we got here,
she was already gone. Giles and I checked the both of you, then moved your mother,
whilst I checked to see who you were you." He frowned at the last part of
"Does it seem weird?" Buffy asked him softly.
"Incredibly," Angel replied. "I can feel you inside her,
I look into her eyes and I see you hiding behind them, but Faith's standing before
me. And I know it must freak you out just as much. This is gonna take awhile to
get used to."
"Hopefully you won't have to," Buffy replied.
"'Cause I don't plan in staying inside this body for long. I don't imagine
Faith wants me to either."
"How are you feeling?" Angel
"Strange," Buffy answered. "It's an out of
body experience, literally. And one I don't want to repeat or prolong. So let's
get about finding her."
A knock on the door caused them to look
up, and Giles to move from his place before Joyce to open the wooden barrier cautiously,
speeding up when he recognised that it was Wesley standing on the other side.
"We have another problem," he announced, brandishing a newspaper
as he walked inside. "One highly lethal vampire is also stalking the streets.
The body of his latest victim was found just four blocks from here."
Buffy, Angel and Giles clustered round the article; the souled vampire
blanched as he took in the drained corpse of a young woman, a crucifix scarring
her cheek. He knew that mark well, all too well.
"I did some checking,"
Wesley added. "This guy has been doing this for centuries around the world,
leaving the same gruesome symbol of his signature. He follows a pattern, the same
type of victims every occasion. He's never seen, never captured. And these date
as far back as the Puritan era."
"Great," Buffy murmured. "We've got three homicidal maniacs on the loose."
"You're kidding," Penn remarked as he surveyed the blond woman before
him in their new digs; an empty second home several doors down from the murder
scene. "Angelus is souled? I don't believe it."
me," Faith replied. "I've seen both examples and souled boy pales in
comparison to the sadist vampire you used to know. But that's gypsies for you."
"Romania," Penn murmured in understanding. "I wonder why
we didn't meet with in Italy like he promised. We were gonna set Turin ablaze.
Darla must have been upset."
Faith frowned. "Who's Darla?"
"His sire and lover." Penn looked at her. "You never met
"I think she did," Faith replied, recalling the
information she heard from Willow and Xander once, over a year ago now. Another
lifetime. "Dusted, by his new beau."
Penn replied. "Or rather your body."
replied. "Believe me, I'm loathing the sit. But it was the only way I could
escape from her. Now, on to the plan. We wait for them to return to their mansion,
seize them, beat the crap out of them until they give up whatever it is he wears
to go out tanning, then kill them."
"You were right m'dear,"
Penn drawled as she rose from the chair to stand before him. "demonic vampire
would be lost in you. You're much more evil."
evil," Faith murmured, her tone sultry. "I'd say we have a few hours
to kill before B gives up searching for me. I'm sure we can think of something
to fill the time."
"I promise not to bite," Penn remarked
as he clasped her waist.
"Oh you can bite," Faith uttered. "Just don't drain."
"There now, isn't that better?" An Irish cultured lilt queried.
His blond companion rose from his crouch and surveyed the victim lying
on the pebbled alleyway before them. "Better."
kill. Aptly done," Irish lilt complimented.
Blond smiled, his
human features belying the demon who resided within. "It's strange. She was
"And yet you feel nothing," Irish lilt
"No, I feel hungry," Blond corrected.
Irish lilt smirked. "Ah, you do learn very quickly."
Blond sighed. "My father would disagree."
placed a hand on his shoulder and led him away from the body. "Ah, then perhaps
it's time you shared with him just what a fine student you've become."
"My father, yes," Blond agreed. "They'll all be sitting
down to dinner now."
Irish lilt grinned. "A feast. Excellent.
When they invite you in, savour it, Penn. You'll not recapture the moment. Family
blood is always the sweetest."
As the two vampires walked out
into the world of eighteenth century Galway, centuries later one of them woke
with a swallowed gasp of unneeded horrified breath, before turning to meet his
beloved's eyes in another woman.
"Angel?" Buffy queried,
Faith's voice coming from her and saying her words sounding strange to both their
ears. "What is it? Faith?"
"Something worse," he
replied, his hands falling to rest clasp on his half bent knees above the bed
sheets. "I think another of my sired is in town."
sired," Buffy corrected. "Who? Druscilla?"
his head. "You haven't met them. His name is Penn. He's one of the first.
Angelus taught him everything he knew. He's the one Wesley briefed on us earlier."
Buffy frowned. "A real psycho-wan Kenobi." She moved from the
bed to grab her clothes, forced to borrow something from Faith as nothing she
owned fitted. "You didn't connect the dots then?"
did," Angel confessed. "I just hoped I was wrong. I haven't heard anything
about him since I was cursed."
"Blessed," Buffy corrected.
"Your demon is the curse." She turned to examine the time. "We
better make a move."
Angel followed her out of bed, grabbing his
clothes. He paused when he had finished fastening his pants, a horrible thought
penetrating his consciousness. "What if Penn is working with Faith?"
Buffy froze mid buttoning of her blouse. "You know, I wouldn't put
it past her." she paused as the consequences of such a partnership worked
through her mind. "What do you think they would do? Seize us?"
"Got it in one, B," Faith remarked as she and Penn grabbed the two of them from behind.
When the soulmates came to, they found themselves restrained; Buffy to a pillar
in the double height living room of the mansion; her wrists secured behind her
with rope, her body chained to the supporting stone stand; Angel chained to the
hooks by the previously empty hearth in which a fire was blazing.
should be careful storing logs, lighter fuel and matches in the same house, B,"
Faith remarked as the slayer opened her eyes. "Put those things together
and some one might get burned unalive."
"Faith, still the
same penchant for initials," Buffy returned. "Isn't this a tad unoriginal?
Giles will figure out something's wrong, and where the hell is Spike?"
"I persuaded him to go on patrol," Faith replied. "I was
tempted to ask him up to my room, but I know you would never try with it him.
Still little miss goody too slayer." She pressed the dragger she was holding
to her check. "I gotta say one praise though; you've improved on the weapons.
Raided your chest and there's some quality stuff. Even chains. I never knew you
had it in you, B."
"What do you want, Faith?" Buffy
asked. She felt strange seeing her body stare back at her, knowing it was not
a reflection of herself.
Faith shrugged carelessly. "Little things.
Money, fine clothes, palaces, cars. Penn here would like the charm which Angel
uses to acquire that fine tan he has. As for me, I'd like my body back."
"Feeling's mutual," Buffy replied. "But I don't have the
device. Giles does."
"Oh really?" Faith queried, her
free hand going for the pocket of her prisoner's jeans, watching her face fall
as she clasped something metallic. She smiled as she drew the talisman out to
see. "No longer the actress. Loosing your touch."
are you," Buffy replied. "If you switch back now, I'll be free."
"Oh I'm well aware of that, B," Faith replied. "Which is
Penn and I will be torturing your souled vampire first."
wrestled with the chains which tried her, as she watched Faith join Penn by Angel,
who remained splayed before the fire, his gaze fixed on her, as if somehow he
drew strength from seeing her restrained but unharmed. Buffy did not like the
expression on his face. She had seen that grim determination only once before,
when he declared that he would rather die than let harm come to her. She hoped
that he would not put that vow to the test tonight.
"Well, I can
see why you surrendered if this is what having a soul brings you," Penn remarked
to Angel as he reached behind him for something.
fought quite hard against this," Angel informed him.
I have no doubt of that," Penn replied. "He was probably envious that
he never thought to use this torture against someone else. He did have quite the
sadistic mind. I enjoyed learning from him. Though I you'll find I have far surpassed
him by now. The student has become the master."
for what I did to you, Penn, for what I turned you into," Angel remarked
with gentle compassion.
Penn smiled. "First class killer? An
Artist? A bold re-interpreter of the form?"
hack," Angel replied. "Look at you. I bet you've been getting back at
your father for over two hundred years. It's pathetic and cliched. Probably got
a killer shrine on your wall, huh? News clippings, magazine articles, maybe a
few candles? Oh, you are so prosaic."
"You're right Angelus,
my work was getting stale," Penn replied. "I appreciate the critique.
So I thought I try this for something new, innovative, something shockingly original.
Just think of the worst possible thing you can imagine, and you'll experience
"I already did once," Angel replied. "I
have no desire to experience it again."
Faith performed a mocking
gagging motion. "Oh please, don't treat me to the star crossed lovers thing
again. I thought you two would be better at now you can actually have it without
him losing his soul."
"I think m'dear is eager for this
to begin," Penn remarked, bringing the object his hand had reached for into
view. From her place before the pillar, Buffy blanched as she saw the glowing
"Penn don't," she pleaded. "I'll give you what
"How can you possibly do that?" Penn asked.
"Because Angel's talisman that protects him from the sun isn't on
him," Buffy replied, suddenly realising her chance. "It's on me."
Faith frowned as she glanced at herself. "How is it on you?"
"Actually, it's in me," Buffy replied. "His soul is anchored
to mine, and with it comes my humanity."
"Red's grown into
quite a wicca," Faith murmured. "So we can't replicate it?"
"I'm afraid not," Buffy replied.
"In that case
there's only one thing left to do," her 'sister' decided, walking towards
Buffy once more. She came to a halt before her and untied the chains. "Penn,
grab her before she escapes."
"Why should I?" the vampire
countered. "They have nothing to give me as protection against the sun. Our
agreement is null and void."
"You're right," Faith agreed.
She turned and with one deft flick of her wrist, a stake was thrown across the
room, on a direct course to his chest. Penn dodged the wooden implement, causing
it to glance Angel's abdomen instead, making him growl in agony. His childe leapt
towards the slayer, causing Faith to turn from Buffy, who negotiated her fingers
to the back pocket of her jeans, where the real talisman was secured. She was
grateful Giles had the thought to produce a fake copy, although she wished that
they had substituted it for the real one in her hand into that box when they first
discovered the Mayor's parting gift for Faith during the summer. Juggling the
object in her fingers, she guided it to the rope which secured her wrists together
and began to tear at the coils of hemp, hoping she would be able to undo them
Faith directed her fight with Penn towards Angel, punching
his demon's childe before grabbing the stake and wrenching it out of his body
to use as a weapon once more. Angel growled again at the violent removal of the
object, before closing his eyes and summoning what was of left of his strength
to try and snap the chains which secured him to the wall. All three warriors struggled
with their obstacles, feverishly trying to overcome each one in less time than
would normally be possible, and to her surprise Faith was the first to succeed
grabbing Penn by the hand which held his metal gloved finger, raising it to the
sky as she thrust the stake into his chest. He transformed into a rapidly rotting
corpse before the dust and poker fell harmless to the floor.
turned back to Buffy, just in time to receive the full impact of her leg aiming
a roundhouse kick to the midsection of the body she resided within. She doubled
over and fell to the floor as darkness claimed her.
When Faith came to, she found herself still in Buffy's body, but tied to a chair
in the living room of the Mansion on Crawford Street. She looked up to see her
own body with Buffy inside sitting next to her, also tied up, while in front of
her stood Angel and Willow, and another girl she did not recognise. Barely had
she time to realise all of this, before she felt the metal talisman being placed
in her hand again, and a bright flash of light erupting in the space between the
two chairs, whereupon she was welcomed back to the blackness the hypodermic needle
which Joyce had tried to send her to before.
"I think this Draconian
Katra device is designed purely for switching souls," Willow remarked aloud
while Faith's body was still inert.
"How long would a soul survive
in someone else's body?" Buffy asked as she helped Angel untie her from the
Willow shrugged. "Depends on the body's strength and if
it accepts the soul. Could be for only an hour, or it could be forever."
"And if the body the soul belongs to dies?"
switch is permanent," Tara informed the slayer solemnly.
rose from the chair and glanced at her sister slayer's inert body. "I didn't
think she'd do it," she whispered softly.
"You mean you knew
about this Katra?" Tara asked.
"We learned of its existence
during the summer, after the new mayor announced he was selling her apartment,"
Buffy revealed. "Plus certain rumours amongst the demons and vampires who
were eager to tell us anything if we could in return provide them with the chance
to escape from the clutches of the Initiative." She paused as she reached
out and smoothed down Faith's brown hair. "We left it in the box as a kind
of test, in the hope however, that she would never use it." She turned to
face Willow and Tara. "I think you better destroy it, if you can."
The two girls nodded then turned and headed to the entrance. As they opened
the door to leave, they were greeted by the arrival of someone else. A green coloured
demon with red horns and a flamboyant dress sense.
said you were expecting me? Name's Lorne."
Buffy was surprised
but stepped forward. "Hi, I'm Buffy." She indicated the person on the
chair. "Do you think you can help her?"
"When she wakes," Lorne remarked, "we can but try."
Meanwhile, back in the sewers, some other types of evil were deciding to create
mischief for the Slayer and her clan, in the shape of four vampires.
was too crowded," one, clearly the leader, remarked. "We gotta hold
out for a few hours, pick up a straggler, some drunk. Can't be calling attention
to......" he trailed off as they turned a corner and encountered someone.
"ourselves," he finished.
"I've been thinking,"
Adam remarked. "About vampires."
"This is my place."
The leader remarked.
"Your place," Adam agreed. "Yes.
The sewers. You hide from them, crawl about in their filth. Scavenging like rats.
What do you fear?"
"Kill this guy already," the leader
said to his underlings.
One vampire charged forward, only for Adam
to grab it in a choking by its neck. "You fear the cross. The sun. Fire.
And, oh, yes...," he paused to rip the vampires' head from it shoulders,
turning it into dust. "I believe decapitation is a problem as well."
"You can have the place," the leader vampire capitulated. "I
mean, we don't have to stay here anymore."
"You fear death,"
Adam continued. "Being immortal, you fear it more than those to whom it comes
naturally. Vampires are a paradox."
The leader sighed. "Ok,
we're a paradox. That's cool."
Adam ignored his sarcasm. "Demon
in a human body. You walk in both worlds and belong to neither. I can relate.
Come. We have a lot to talk about."
The vampires shrugged and
followed him into the darkness.
Adam led them into one of the conduits
and motioned for them to sit down.
"I have a gift," he began,
"no man has. No demon has ever had. I know why I'm here. I was created to
kill. To extinguish life wherever I find it. And I have accepted that responsibility.
You have lived in fear and desperation because you didn't have that gift. But
it's time to face your fear."
"Tell us what to do,"
the lead vampire said.
"You are here to be my first. To let them
know that I am coming."
The lead vampire looked at the surviving
members of his gang, received agreement, then turned to face Adam. "We're
"Then ask yourself, what is it?" Adam asked. "More than man, more than anything else. What is the thing you fear?"
Faith opened her eyes to find herself back in her body,
and her sister slayer crouching before the chair, looking at her. She fixed her
eyes on B, returning the gaze steadily, assuring her that she was awake and ready
to listen to whatever it was B wanted to say.
not going to ask why," Buffy began, seeing she had Faith's full attention.
"I'm not even going to wait in silence for to say why you did this. Instead,
I'm going to tell you a story. After that, you can talk.
discovered the Mayor's little party trick after the new one informed us that he
was selling your flat and needed someone to clear out the stuff. During said clear
out, we found the little box of horrors and watched the video. We put them back
in storage, deciding to leave the decision of whether or not to use it up to you.
At the time, we thought all we had to worry about were the usual numbers of vampires
and demons which came to Sunnydale attracted by the mouth of hell. Boy, were we
"During the summer after graduation, we discovered
that the possible after effects of blowing up the hellmouth was the least of our
worries. There was a new fighting force, operating on the campus, run by a government
committee and a college professor, calling themselves the Initiative. As oppose
to staking vampires and killing demons, they preferred to capture them and conduct
experiments on them, turning them incapable of attacking humans, by inserting
a chip inside their brains, which sent shocks of pain to their nerves, every time
Buffy rose up from her knees and sat
down on the chair facing Faith before she continued. "The college professor
in charge of the Initiative was not content with experimenting on demons and vampires.
She gave steroids and enhancing but highly addictive drugs to her men, and gathered
parts of demons to create her own Frankenstein. This creature, called Adam, came
to life last week. His first act of existence was to kill his creator. His second
was to eviscerate a small boy, just to see how his body worked. Since then he
had been running rampant over Sunnydale, killing and dissecting wherever he goes."
Buffy paused to lean forward, clasping her hands together. "I'm not angry
with you for what you did. I'm not sure I understand why you did it, but I'm not
asking you for explanations. All I'm asking, is that you agree to wiping the slate
clean, and help us with this new problem."
then what?" Faith queried, trying to sound unaffected by the speech she had
just heard. "You'll send me to jail?"
something you can't avoid," Angel said from his place by the large, well-lit
fire and surrounding hearth. "You killed a man. Whether accidentally or deliberately,
you cannot go on escaping justice. You tried to hide his body, to avoid the magnitude
of what you, a slayer, had done. You need to deal with it, else you'll never be
Faith turned to the demon in the room. "And
what are you here for?"
Buffy answered. "He reads the destinies of souls, through music. He and Giles
are old friends. He mainly runs Caritas, a violence free demon and vampire bar
in Los Angeles."
"You want me to sing?"
Faith asked him sceptically.
"Normally, yes, but
you darlin', I can read loud and clear." Lorne rose from his seat to stand
by the slayer. "All your life, you've wanted to be special. You thought the
slayer gig made you so. And when you discovered you weren't the only one, you
resented your predecessor. Since your coma, you've become ashamed of what you
did, you want to change, but you also feel that you can't trust us to believe
in the new you. So you keep your old self up front to protect yourself."
Lorne paused here, just as the phone began to ring. Buffy
rose from her chair and picked it up. "Summers and O'Connor residence."
"Turn to Sunnydale CNN," Giles replied without preamble.
Buffy picked up the remote and switched on the television,
before tapping in the number required.
was in the mid-sentence when the picture came up; "...and barricaded themselves
in the church with at least twenty parishioners. One of the few who escaped described
the three men as frighteningly disfigured, almost inhuman. So far, one escapee
has since died of severe neck wounds."
the Mansion fell into a hushed silence. They knew what neck wounds and frighteningly
"There is no report on the condition
of the parishioners still trapped inside," the anchorman continued, "but
their assailants have vowed to kill all of them if police attempt to storm the
Buffy spoke in to the receiver. "Giles,
we're on our way. I think we'll need Spike for this one too. That's if you can
find him. Faith sent him on patrol."
Giles replied. "Watching Passions. I'll be glad to get him out of the apartment
and back to you."
Buffy smiled. "Thanks I think."
She put the phone down and opened the weapons chest stationed
behind the sofa which back on to the dining room. Angel moved to stand next to
her, taking the weapons she handed to him and storing them in his jacket.
Faith watched as Buffy and Angel armed themselves for the
fight, thinking over everything that had happened. "Buffy," she uttered
softly, making the slayer look up. "I want to help."
Buffy did not hesitate. She handed her a dagger. "That should cut through your rope. When you're free I'll fix you up with some stakes."
Inside the church, the twenty parishioners were huddled together in the pews,
staring fixedly at the vampires who wandered up and down the altar area, and spoke
to each other in awed tones.
"It's hard to believe," the
vampire leader said as he walked before the large glass-stained windows. "I've
been avoiding this place for so many years, and it's nothing. It's nice! It's
got the pretty windows, The pillars... lots of folks to eat. Where's the thing
I was so afraid of? You know, the Lord? He was supposed to be here. He gave us
this address. Well, we'll just have to start killing off His people, see if He
The congregation muffled screams, each one of them
praying that they would not be the first. The vampire gestured to his minions,
who went into the huddle mass and picked out three victims.
grabbed the chosen victim of his choice by the neck and raised them up off the
floor. Then they lowered them down and laid the neck before their fangs.
the lead vamp uttered.
Suddenly the silence was broken by the large
double doors opening to reveal.... a vampire with bleached blond hair.
he remarked. "I saw this on the news, wondered if I might join ya."
The lead vampire paused before beginning his feast. "The more the
"Good," the bleached blond said. "'Cause
I brought along some friends."
Spike opened the doors to reveal
Buffy, Faith and Angel, stakes at the ready.
"I told the cops,"
the lead vampire said, "they send any one in, I start the whole massacre
"Well, we're not the cops," Buffy replied. "We
just come to pray."
The vampire grinned. "Really? Well, now's
a good time to start."
"Is it?" Faith asked before grabbing
vamp number three and tossing him up into the air. He landed smack against one
of the pillars, and slid to the floor.
He did not even attempt to get up.
The lead vampire looked at Faith with a new respect. "You're the slayer."
"Not just me," Faith remarked. She gestured at Buffy. "Today
you get two for the price of one."
"Plus two arse kicking
vamps for free," Spike added.
"You think we're afraid of
you?" The lead vampire asked rhetorically. "We're not afraid of anything
"Then let all these people go, and all three of
you can take us on," Buffy remarked.
"I got a better idea."
The lead vampire said before swinging at her.
Buffy dodged the swing,
and hit him in the stomach. She turned to Angel and Spike. "Get them out
of here," she said, gesturing at the parishioners.
leader bent from the punch, then straightened up as his still standing mate came
Buffy glanced at Faith. "I'll take the one on the left."
"And I'll take the one on the right," Faith replied.
advanced forward and performed a high kick with their legs moving simultaneously
to strike both vamps at the same time.
Spike reverted back to his human
face and helped Angel get the parishioners out. When the church was empty of its
congregation, they barred and locked the large double doors, before turning to
watch a sight which neither of them had ever seen before; that of two slayers
The vampires were back to back now, exchanging hand to hand
punches with Buffy and Faith, who blocked and defected every one of their attacks.
The strikes changed to kicks with their legs, which were returned. The slayers
were in perfect sync; watching them was like watching something which had only
been perfected after many takes of film, constant editing and camera angles until
the director was satisfied with the final cut.
A noise diverted Spike
and Angel from watching the fight. Vampire number three began to rise from his
place by the pillar. He opened his eyes, saw what his comrades were doing, then
spotted the spectators. He made his way over to them.
Spike and Angel
glanced at each other as vampire number three came to a halt before them. He growled,
"Prepare for your deaths," he uttered, before
throwing out a punch.
Angel caught his fist, while Spike took out a
stake and shoved it through his body. "Been there, done that, mate."
They watched the pile of ashes crumble to the floor.
easy," Angel commented.
"I entirely agree," Spike added.
They turned their attention back to the slayers.
reversed since they last watched them. The vampires were now outwards, while the
slayers were standing back to back, calmly deflecting each attack as it came at
Suddenly they glanced at each other, and then launched themselves
into the air, pummelling the chests of the vampires with their booted feet.
"Where did they learn that trick from?" Spike asked.
Matrix," Angel replied. "Buffy and I saw it during the summer. Then
we took the rest of the slayerettes for tips on fighting techniques. I think she
told Faith about it on the way down here."
"Remind me to
rent it," Spike murmured as he continued to watch.
landed back on the floor of the church, hands still at the ready. The vamps continued
to fight, not letting up for a moment.
No one noticed how long the
fight took, no one even cared, as long as the vamps continued to resist the onslaught.
As if by magic Faith and Buffy produced their stakes. The former managed
to strike hers first, turning him into dust.
The lead vampire drew
back from his fight with Buffy. "I have strength you couldn't dream of. Adam
has shown me the way, and there is nothing you can do to stop us."
Buffy queried before taking a risk and throwing her stake at him.
It landed square in his heart, turning him into dust, leaving Buffy and Faith regarding each other steadily.
"I'm not sure why I did it," Faith began. "When I woke up, I wanted
to change, hell, I just wanted to be a normal slayer. But as I watched him on
the tape,...... I don't know, something just came over me."
were back at the Mansion, Faith, Buffy, Angel, and Spike. With them were Lorne
and Giles, who was conducting a telephone conversation with the Los Angeles police
department and a friend of his who also happened to be a district attorney, trying
to get Faith suitable arraignment deal.
"I wasn't even too sure
what it would do," Faith added. "Wilkins was pretty vague on the details.
When you and me fought and the switch happened, I was stunned. No offence, but
as much as I wanted to fit in, I didn't want to take someone else's body over
to do it. I'm pleased you were prepared, 'cause I sure as hell wasn't." Faith
paused, then added in a different tone. "He treated me like a daughter, you
know. I thought he knew well, but as he gave that gift, I guess I was wrong. He
was some father figure. But, all the same, he was the only one I ever knew. I
wanted him to be proud of me, even if that meant sliding deeper down the dark
path that I was ready or wished to." Her voice dropped to a mere whisper.
"I just wanted to belong."
"Thank you," Giles remarked
into the receiver at this moment before setting it down and switching off the
conference call button. He walked over to where both the slayers were sitting.
Faith looked up at him. "What's the verdict?" She asked.
"Five years maximum," Giles informed her. "With the option
to be granted parole in two, providing you plead guilty to the charge of manslaughter."
"Where will she be held?" Buffy asked him softly.
Faith nodded her head. "Five years," she mused.
"I thought it would be longer."
"It would have been
if they hadn't heard of your heroic actions in the church today," the watcher
replied. "The freeing of the hostages spoke well in your favour."
"Will there be a trial?" Buffy asked.
"Yes, in the summer."
"I'll come as a character witness,"
Buffy promised her.
Faith looked up and touched her hand. "Thank
you, for everything."
"One final thing," Giles said,
making them look up. "Wesley said, when you get released, that there's a
place for you at Pryce Investigations, if you want it."
you'll always be welcomed to the Scoobies," Buffy added.
"Thank you, I'd be honoured." Faith smiled at them, feeling, for the first time, like she actually belonged.
"You like her," Angel remarked.
It was the early morning
of the next day. Faith had just been driven away by Giles to the Los Angeles police
court where she would be officially sentenced and escorted to jail. Buffy and
Angel had risen to see her go, then returned to their bedroom.
slayer turned her gaze from the window in front of her, to the face of the half-human,
half-souled vampire who held her in his arms. "I do," she replied. "I
always have. Despite the little incident with her and Penn last night." She
groaned. "God was it only last night?" She shook her head. "We're
sisters of fate, of our callings, born to do things no one else can do. I also
know, that I could turn out like her, if I don't make sure everything I kill is
demonic, not human." She turned her gaze back to the window. "I'll miss
Angel smiled, in awe of her compassion, at how much she
grown from the sixteen year old he fell in love with. "I'm sure you can arrange
to see her while she serves her time."
"I know, but it won't
be the same," Buffy objected. "We could also do with her on the team.
Adam is going to get worse, I can feel it."
"We are going
to have to find a way to deal with him," Angel agreed.
worry is," Buffy added, "what will happen if we can't?"
problem has a solution," Angel reminded her. "And we have thousands
of occult books to hand. One of them is bound to have some key to defeating him."
"We just need to find out what he wants. And what his weakness is."
Buffy turned in his arms to face him completely. "Now, lets think of better
Angel raised eyebrow. "Such as?"
fact that we both have an extra hour before our first classes today." She
ran a finger down the buttons of his shirt. "And you were hauled up before
a fire for a long time yesterday. Why I don't you make it up to you."
"Thank you for reminding me," Angel remarked before kissing her.
He drew her into him, deeply and powerfully, breaking off only when he felt her
short of breath. "And you were chained too. Plus in someone's else body.
I feel I need to get to know your truth self all over again."
This time it wasn't the luxurious comfort of the mansion on Crawford Street, but
one of the more public restrooms located within the depths of the college campus.
Buffy peered into the small mirror before the sink, a wad of damp toilet
paper pressed to her mouth, partially hiding the expression grim determination
which had settled on her face shortly after she had been forced to seek this temporary
refuge. The wad pressed against her mouth was slowly transforming into mulch,
white changing into pale red as remnants of what she had coughed up lingered on
Her skin was pale, her eyes a little bloodshot, and exhausted,
a state she was fast becoming accustomed to. She had hoped that Faith might have
noticed something, the brief time she swapped bodies with her, and blurted the
symptoms out to the gang, saving her the trouble of trying to find the words.
But they had been too prepared for the swap, and thus Faith was sedated before
she even had time to adjust to a new body.
Dumping the wad of mulch
in the nearby bin, Buffy ran the cold water, cupping her hands to contain the
liquid before splashing it upon her face. Blinking as the water dripped down her
face, she sought for her clarity and resolve. It was past time for concealment.
She should have told Angel and Giles long ago.
She had to tell them
Before it was too late.
To Be Continued In
Nutrisco et Extinguo.
Note: The popular phrase for ceremonial excommunication- banishment from the Roman Catholic Church. The ceremony traditionally concludes with the words; 'Doe to the book, quench the candle, ring the bell' whereupon the priest closes the book, snuffs out the candle and rings a church bell as though someone is dead. The book symbolises the book of life and the candle the soul being removed from the sight of god and of man.