Which still doesn’t really explain why we were called in. We’re at slayer central, sat around a table while Giles explains.
Over the last three months slayers’ve been disappearing and then turning up dead. We’re all here to try and get something worked out. But that still doesn’t tell me why we’re here. It’s not like there aren’t thousands of slayers to deal with this stuff. We’re reserved for special cases and rogues.
“So what makes this a special case Giles?” it’s Malaki that speaks my point for me. “I mean yeah, slayers being killed is bad, but why call in the big guns when you’ve got thousands of not as big guns?”
“Because this isn’t some random thing Malaki.” Meaning? Giles catches my questioning face and continues. “This is about the pact. Actually only half of it. You remember that warlock who held the coven hostage in Virginia yes?” I nod for him to continue. “It seems killing him upset someone to the extent of killing slayers to get your attention.”
“This isn’t gonna be the same as his brother Faith.” It’s Will that’s talking now. “For one thing he isn’t dead.” She pauses as she looks directly at me. “Yet.” Damn right. “For another I very seriously doubt his brother didn’t send him a mental telegram before he died.” Fuck. Which means he has the mystical signature of the Ghost Saber.
Will hands as me small, flat metal disk. “He’s gonna put up a mystical barrier too, slam that against it and the sheild’ll be absorbed by it.” Oh goodie. Then we get a clear shot at killing this fucker.
“I’ll be teleporting you guys to right near where he is. He’s got some strong barriers set up so I can’t get you in the same room, but you’ll be able to sense him when you land.”
Oh good. Wouldn’t wanna be wandering around lost while he sneaks up on us and stabs us in the back.
I stand up straight and wipe the back of my hand across my mouth. I’m not sure which’s worse; throwing up food you just ate or throwing up bile. I wince as I hear Buffy retch again.
Will was totally right though. Now I don’t feel like I’m turning inside out I can feel this guys power rolling over me in waves. Not as powerful as warlock boy was but damn. It’s still making the hair on my forearms quiver at the raw power.
When we’re all done with the stomach emptying fun we walk over to the edge of the pit we know the brother’s at the bottom of. Dusk drops a backpack on the floor and starts pulling the repelling harnesses and ropes out.
I sigh as I bend down to pick up a harness to start putting it on.
Into the deep I guess.
When we get to the bottom I take a second to look back up from where we just came from. This pit’s a coupla miles deep and the entrance’s just a pin prick of light in the distance above me.
Damn. How the hell has no one ever found this place before? He’s gotta have some magical crap around this place. Stop people knowing it’s there. It’d probably be a pain in his ass if people were trying to investigate this place.
“Alpha.” The sound of Dusks voice in my head makes me look over at her. She nods towards a tunnel off to the side. The power’s almost stealing my breath now and that tunnel’s where it's coming from.
I nod and start leading the way. Lets go get some payback.
I doubt anyone’d have a problem following me even if I wasn’t alpha.
We enter a small cavern that’s lit by what seems like candle light but I don’t see any candles. More magic. There’s a guy stood behind a stone alter, bent over something, and he doesn’t even seem surprised that we’re here.
“Ah I was wondering when you’d get here.” He stands up fully and looks towards us. He doesn’t seem even a little afraid of us being here.
Let’s see what we can do about that. As I draw my swords I hear Buffy flick free her knifes and everyone else draw their weapons. He doesn’t even blink, just sends me a really creepy smile.
“Ah ah. We’ll have none of that if you don’t mind.” He picks up a little silver ball and twists it. I feel a flicker over the room and take a quick look around. Every single Amari in the room’s frozen. Aw fuck.
He picks up another silver ball. “And now for you Ghost Sabers.” He twists it and we all freeze in place too.
“Now let me just make this clear; you’re never leaving this room.” He picks up a knife I’m pretty damn sure is silver and points it at Kyra. “You Amari’re gonna go quick. None of you had anything to do with my brothers death, after all.” He then points the knife towards five jars he’s got lined up on the alter. “You Ghost Sabers, however, are gonna be begging for death, even though you know it’ll never come.”
And how’re we gonna do that if we can’t move? He sends me another one of those creepy smiles, as if he heard me. “You don’t need to be vocal to scream.” He taps the lid of one of the jars. “It’s gonna be hard, but I’m gonna remove your souls and put them in these. You’ll still be aware, your bodies’ll still be here, but when I’ve done it, you’ll never be in them again.”
The fuck we won’t.
I flick my eyes to Buffy and she’s already grasped what I want. In a move that’s nothing but a blur her arms shoot up and her knives are slamming into his hands and pinning them to the wall behind him.
He’s shocked that me and Buffy can move but he’s not shocked enough to neglect putting a barrier up around himself. I’m guessing even we can’t breach it.
He gapes at us for a second before he can talk. “But.. how..?”
It’s Buffy that answers his unfinished question. “I seriously wonder about the intelligence of most of the magical community.” As she’s talking she walks over to Mist and draws one of her knives free. “You need specific magic to keep a slayer still, you need specific magic to keep a Ghost Saber off you. You never, for even a second, thought you’d need a mix of the two to keep a Slayer Ghost Saber at bay?” she shakes her head sadly as I reach into my pocket and pull out the little disk Will gave me.
I send him a smug smirk before I slam it against his barrier. With a crackle it’s absorbed. I rest the tip of my light sword against the hollow of his throat.
“I just want you to know; if you’re a screamer? Feel free.”
I don’t know how much time’s past since we pinned him to the wall. But I do know he’s not gonna last much longer.
I pull myself off the wall and walk over to where he’s pinned. Weaving in and out of the frozen bodies that are in the way. They’ll stay frozen until he’s dead. I’m sure there’s a fancy name for that kind of spell.
As I draw near Buffy’s cleaning off the knife she borrowed from Mist. He barely resembles a human being any more. Blood coats most of his skin in a thick wash but I can still see the cuts, bruises and burns through it.
“Twelve slayers died because of you. Twelve live were wasted because you didn’t think we’d come otherwise.” I shake my head at him as I once again rest the tip of one of my swords at the hollow of his throat. “If you’d just asked, we would’ve come anyway. Slayer blood didn’t need to be spilled. We would’ve just killed you instead of making you scream for what you’ve done.” I take a firmer grip on my sword, pressing into his skin a little harder.
“I hope you burn for it.” Without anymore words I put my weight on the handle of my sword. There’s no resistance as it cuts through his throat and slams into the wall behind his neck. He gurgles for a second before the light leaves his eyes and his body snags under the dead weight.
The moment his heart beats its last the rest of my pack sag in relief as the spell holding them breaks. We all take a few seconds to look at his now bloody, mutilated body. We turn as one and leave the cavern, not even a backwards glance.
He wasn’t worth that much.
Malaki opened a portal that’d get us out of that pit. None of us felt bad about how the brother died but we weren’t up to giving any explanations just then.
And now I’m calling Will.
“Faith?” her voice sounds a little worried. We’d been gone for quiet awhile.
“All accounted for. Can you keep the G-man at bay for a day or two?” I sounded tired even to my own ears.
“Need to take some time to just.. breathe.”
“It’s done then?”
“Oh yeah. Never thought I’d have reason to use the five basic torture groups again. Brought up some shitty memories I gotta get a handle on again.” There’s a second of silence while she takes it in. He’s dead and he paid for the slayers he took. I’m not sorry he’s dead, or what I did to him. I’m sorry for the shit that happened before.
I’m never gonna forget what I did to Wesley, and I’m never gonna forgive myself for it either. I just need a little time is all.
Buffy understands it, even if I haven’t actually told her. When the call’s finished she gently takes my hand and leads me to our bedroom. Right now she’s gonna show me that while my past’s ugly, I’m not.
Giving me exactly what I need from her without ever having to say a word.
We’re led on the bed naked, but we’re not doing anything but holding each other. And the only reason we’re naked is because she knows that I need to feel her. As many inches of her skin pressed in to mine as I can.
I just need to know that she’s there.
She shifts against me and her lips brush against my collarbone. She’s not trying to move away from me. She’d trying to get closer. She’s trying to tell me everything I need her too, without ever saying a word.
I wonder if she’ll be able to settle me this easily forever. As her arms tighten slightly around me and her breath softly puffs out against my skin, I find myself smiling at a realisation. It’s one I’ve had many times and it still makes me smile.
It doesn’t matter if we’re getting sweaty, it doesn’t matter if we’re doing nothing but laying together in the dark. It doesn’t matter if she’s comforting me or just lending me her strength for a while. I always end up smiling when I realise all over again.
That even though there are parts of me that’re ugly, she knows, and she’s gonna be there. That she loves all of me. Even the parts she can’t see.
Even the darkness within.