Trials and Restorations
by Faith Boreanaz
Summary: Conclusion to the "Trials" series. Contains Het and Slash
Dedications: To all of the people that caused the morphing of a short (ish) 'Trials and Tribulations' into a three part series! :)
Feedback: I figure if I tell you to give fb, you wont. So, don't give fb, ok? Hahahaha Reverse psychology at its best. Hahahahaha!
A/N: I just wanna make it clear that this was written solely for the people who wanted 'Trials' to end on a happier (not happy, just
happier) note. Now, be warned, this one is gonna be soppy. So if you don't like all of that romantic let's-all-share-our-feelings kinda
stuff, then the 'Trials' series ended with 'Complications' and 'Restorations' doesn't exist. Did that make sense? Anyway, I'm
keeping all the details about this fic, including the pairings, pretty close to chest 'cause I don't want to give too much away. So,
read on for a happier ending to 'Trials' or not…'Sup to you :)
"Oh God," Joyce exclaimed when allowed access into the cramped containment room. She ran to the slumped form of the dark slayer and knelt beside her, calling her name. "Faith. Faith, say something."
When met with the brunette's unconscious stir, she turned to beckon assistance.
"I swear," Faith mumbled, causing Joyce to return her attention to her.
"Swear what?" the blonde inquired in a bid to engage the fallen slayer in conversation, while attempting to aid fellow soldiers to lift her up.
"I swear," Faith repeated, stood on the porch of her and her lover's Sunnydale home.
"Even when I'm old and grey?" Buffy continued to ask.
Grinning, Faith returned, "Even when you're old and grey." She paused, adding, "Besides, by then I'll be old and grey too and I
probably wont be able to get play elsewhere anyway."
Seeing this statement have a negative effect on her girlfriend, the younger slayer quickly backtracked. "I'm kidding," she assured, wrapping her arms around her waist.
"That's just it," Buffy explained, shrugging out of her girlfriend's embrace. "You always do that."
Confused, Faith asked, "What?"
"Make a joke whenever I ask you to tell me how you feel."
Laughing, the brunette responded, "Aw c'mon. You know how I feel."
"But why can't you tell me?"
Exhaling audibly, Faith asked her, "You want me to tell you how much I love you?"
The fairer of the two nodded lightly.
Appreciating this, Faith took her lover's hand and placed beneath her left breast. "You feel that?" she asked.
Buffy nodded again.
Looking the older woman in her eyes, the taller slayer told her, "It's doing that for you and only for you."
Speechless, all the slayer could do was smile.
"How's that?" Faith asked.
Looking up at her other half, Buffy told her, "You are so hot right now," while ridding the brunette of her jacket.
Joyce looked down to the infirmary bed as Faith came to.
"Faith?" she quietly called.
Slowly opening her eyes, the brunette looked up and was brought back to reality.
"Yeah," she silently answered, sitting up.
Dismissing the medical staff on guard, the cadet moved to be beside the patient. Throwing her arms around the slayer, Joyce was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief for the first time that evening. "You scared me so much. I thought you'd gone." The blonde released the older woman. "The doctor thinks you've been starving yourself. What's that about?"
"Kiddo, it's in the food," Faith told the teen, throwing the bed covers from her body and moving her legs to the side of it.
"What's in the food?"
"The drugs. The shit they're giving me to keep my strength down. It's in the food."
"Exactly," Faith returned, attempting to stand, but immediately succumbing to gravity's pull.
Catching and keeping hold of the taller woman, Joyce ordered her, "Faith you've got to eat. Look what's happening to you."
"It'll wear off. It only takes about a week for the stuff to get out of my system."
"But in that time, you'll get real sick," Joyce informed, her voice laden with concern.
Sitting back down on the bed, Faith remained silent. The young woman eventually asked, "So what am I supposed to do, huh? Just stay here like this until they decide you don't need me anymore and do me in?"
"I'll always need you."
"They don't care. Once you graduate, they'll ice me anyway." The slayer held her face in her hands. "We've gotta get the fuck out of
here before that happens. We've gotta get back."
"What d'ya mean?" Faith returned. "Home, J. We've gotta get back home."
"To America?" Joyce asked, taking a seat next to the slayer.
"To Sunnydale. To your mom."
"They'd never let us and we're in the middle of nowhere. You aren't exactly in the best shape and I can't take them all out by myself."
"You don't have to, kiddo. Look, I've just gotta go a couple more days without eating the shit they give me and I'll get my powers
back. Then none of these fuckers'll be able to stop us from leaving."
"I can probably hide some of my food in my clothes," Joyce thought aloud. "And I can bring it to you every day after class."
Ruffling the adolescent's hair, Faith smiled.
"We're going home kid," she whispered to her, causing Joyce to beam.
"Shit," Faith muttered, as she and Joyce came to a dead end in the wooded area, their path now covered with bramble. Holding onto the
young soldier for support, she scanned the area for options.
"What do we do?" Joyce asked, reminding the slayer, "They're right behind us."
"Kiddo, we're not gonna make it together. You have to leave me here and find a way out."
"You're kidding right?" Joyce asked her. "No way. If I leave you, they'll kill you for sure. I'm leaving with you or not at all."
"I'm not gonna make it though and we're just going to get caught."
The both of them turned as the roar of motor vehicles became louder.
"Maybe not," Joyce decided. She lifted the slayer, placing her near the side of the path and out of danger.
"Where-?" Faith began, cut off as the girl sped off.
Waiting impatiently for what felt like hours, she listened intently to her surroundings. Upon hearing the roar of an engine nearing, she desperately attempted to stand, but found the pain too much, letting herself fall back down. Temporarily blinded by the glare of the land cruiser's headlamps, she broke into a grin when the vehicle parked beside her.
"Fuck, J. How-?" She started to ask.
"We've got to hurry," Joyce instructed, leaving the motor and moving to help Faith to her feet. Placing the slayer in the passenger seat and strapping her in, the blonde ran over to the driver's seat. Entering herself and starting the engine, she reversed before heading in the opposite direction, attempting to keep the vehicle as quiet as possible by going slowly.
After spending a while keeping watch of the area behind them, Faith turned to stare at the driver, the look of amazement quite apparent on her features.
Noticing this, Joyce glanced toward the slayer. "What?" She asked returning her gaze to the road.
"You've got blood on your hand," Faith noticed. "Kiddo, how d'you get this car?"
"You told me to do whatever I had to do," the cadet answered. When Faith remained silent, she added. "I didn't kill them if that's what you're thinking."
"I wasn't. But there was a 'them' and you have their car and their blood on your clothes. How do you want me to be?"
Unable to answer the question, Joyce continued to drive along the narrow road. "We're about twenty minutes from the nearest town," was all she could say.
Sat watching the arrival and departure of the local people from a café outside which the truck was parked, Faith looked up when Joyce returned to the vehicle.
"She said that there's a train that will take us near to the airport and we can get tickets from hawks down there," Joyce informed her, asking, "What are hawks?"
"They're people that sell cheap tickets down at the airport gates," Faith told the younger girl allowing her to help her stand. "They're illegal, but they'll get us to America at least."
"Ok," Joyce agreed, entering the café, holding on to Faith. The blonde set the taller woman down at a table, before seating herself in front of her.
"Begrijpt u het Nederlands?" A waiter asked, upon his approach.
"Een weinig," Faith replied. "Maar, wij zijn Amerikaans."
Smiling, the waiter replied, "In that case, what will you have?"
"Two large breakfasts," Faith told the man. "A coffee and juice."
"Coming up," he told them, leaving.
"I'm going to go to the restroom," the adolescent told her stand-in mother, leaving the booth after receiving an approval.
Faith watched after the young girl as she made her way. She studied the child's long flowing blonde locks and remembered the only other person she knew to have had such beautiful hair.
Returning home, flustered from her run, Faith beheld the awesome sight that was her lover in a silk robe. She smiled.
"How was your run?" Buffy asked.
"Good," the brunette replied. "What are you doing back so soon?"
"Aren't you happy to see me?" the older slayer asked. Taking a bottle of champagne from the fridge and putting it inside the bucket of ice on the counter. "Even after I went to all this trouble?" In reference to her robe, she added with a pout, "And I'm naked under this."
Her grin's size increasing, Faith walked over to her girlfriend. "Of course I'm happy to see you - especially after that. But, baby, I gotta go take a shower before I pounce all over you."
Taking the brunette by the hem of her trousers, Buffy told her, "Forget the shower; pounce away. I'm only going to get you
sweaty again anyway."
"In that case," Faith decided, taking hold of the petite slayer beneath her arms, lifting her up and placing her on the counter. "I should really get to thanking you for going to all this trouble."
Smiling, Buffy agreed, "I think you should." She watched in anticipation, as the brunette nodded and moved to their drawers.
Taking a clean dish-cloth from within it, Faith used it to wrap around the older slayer head, covering her eyes. Once convinced that her blindfold was secure, the brunette released the rope holding her lover's robe together.
Her vision impaired, Buffy could do little more than feel and listen, as Faith reached for the champagne on ice.
Removing the bottle from the bucket, Faith took hold of a cube of ice from it. Leaning in to kiss, the older slayer, she drew the blonde into a passionate lip-lock before replacing her lips with the ice.
Biting lightly on her bottom lip, Buffy tried to keep from smiling as she slowly sucked on the cube of ice, eventually taking it into her mouth and swallowing it.
Feeling her arousal mounting and taking another ice cube from the bucket, Faith rubbed the frozen water over her lover's sun-kissed body. Starting from beneath her neck and working down to her nipples, she grinned as the contact caused Buffy to wince.
"Is that too cold, baby?" the slayer asked, despite having absolutely no intention of stopping.
Buffy moaned her reply, aware that her answer was irrelevant.
Exhaling audibly, Faith enveloped her lover's breast with her mouth; the warmth of it providing a welcomed contrast to the ice.
Enjoying this, the older slayer entangled her hand in her girlfriend's hair, intent on keeping the brunette fixed in her
"Are you thinking about mom?" Joyce interrupted the slayer's thoughts, upon her return to the table.
"Yeah," Faith admitted, taking a mouth full of the cup of coffee that had been delivered. She took hold of her cutlery and began to eat the food that had been laid in front of her.
Pausing for a moment, Joyce eventually voiced, "Do you think she still remembers us?"
"Are you kidding?" the older of the two asked, in-between bites. "When we get back, it'll be like we never left. I'm sure she
misses you like crazy."
"And you," Joyce supplemented. When the slayer neglected to comment, the youngster pressed on. "Faith, why wont you tell me why you and mom broke up?"
"Kiddo, eat your meal," Faith ordered, gulping down the first meal she had had in almost a week.
"Was it Dad?"
Ignoring the question, the brunette continued to eat.
"What's so bad that-?" the adolescent started, her voice trailing off once her gaze was distracted. She looked through the café window to the outside as soldiers made their way towards the building.
Following the teenager's gaze, Faith spotted the uniformed officials, making their way inside."Shit," she muttered. She realised, "They're probably tracking the cruiser."
"What do we do?" Joyce asked, starting to panic.
"It's cool," Faith assured. In a bid not to draw attention to them, the slayer subtly scanned the area for exits. Her gaze setting on the toilet door, she asked the blonde, "Any exits in there?"
"No," Joyce answered.
"Oh. Yeah." The young girl nodded.
"Can you get through?"
"Ok. In three, act normal and go back in there and wait for me, ok?"
The youth waited for the third count and casually made her way to the bathroom.
Keeping an eye on the soldiers; two of whom were approaching the front desk, while another two were questioning seated patrons,
Faith looked to the vehicles the militia had come in. Spotting them unmanned, she carefully stood when another customer made her way to the bathroom, taking her table knife with her. Following her, she entered the ladies. Faced with Joyce's concerned look, she signalled for the blonde to stand in front of the door.
Convinced that the three of them were alone, the brunette took hold of the other woman and produced the knife.
"I'm really sorry," she told her, holding up the utensil and motioning for her belongings. "I need you to give me your purse and the keys to your car."
Her expression a mixture or shock and disbelief, she looked to the other female barricading the door. Not finding the girl offer any assistance, she handed over her purse.
"I am so sorry," Faith told her, taking it.
"En toch rooft u me," the smaller woman, stated her sarcasm apparent.
"Het spijt me," the slayer replied. Throwing the key to Joyce, she cocked her head toward the bathroom's only exit. "Red convertible," she told the adolescent.
Nodding and catching the key, the youngster made her way to and opened the window, leaving through it.
The knife still now at her captive's throat, Faith waited for Joyce to leave, before releasing her. "Ik ben droevig," she repeated, leaving after the blonde. Spotting Joyce at the door of a car, she ran towards her as quickly as she could in her weakened state.
Entering the car, Joyce started the engine and drove toward the slayer, urging her to hurry as she watched out for the soldiers who had been alerted by the roar of the engine.
Faith opened the door and entered the vehicle, as the youngster sped up the car.
"And then I told her that everything'd be alright... Then she looked up at me and I kissed her real soft... And it felt like we'd never been away from each other. Like everything was back to normal, y'know?"
Joyce nodded. "Then what happened?" she asked, quietly.
"Nothing," Faith replied, inserting the card from her hand and into the machine. "I didn't wanna push it, so I left to go and find you. I figured that when I brought you home, everything'd fall back into place." She looked to the pin-prompt screen. "What d'you reckon her pin is?"
Reading from an ID card taken from the purse in her arms, Joyce told the slayer, "Try fourteen, eleven."
Keying in the numbers, Faith looked around alarmed as the ATM audibly informed the user that the pin she had entered was incorrect.
"Two more chances, J," she uttered, smiling at intrusive by-standers.
"There are no other four digit numbers, I can see from in here. It must be something else."
"We gotta give it a shot," the slayer told her junior, assisting her in looking through the woman's personal items.
"Oh..Er...Try fourteen, sixty-nine," Joyce instructed.
Doing so, the brunette slayer breathed a sign of relief as she the machine asked for the withdrawal amount. She laughed,
as she chose to take out four hundred Euros.
"Serves her right for making her pin her birth date," Faith told the soldier, taking the money and pocketing it. When she found the adolescent un-amused, she qualified, "I'm kidding, J. I'm gonna put it back when we get home. Ok?"
Taking the girl by the hand, the two of them walked back to the seating area of the airport, looking up when approached by a young woman.
Seating herself astride the taller brunette and with a, "Here you are," the woman handed her a packet.
Opening the pack, Faith verified its content. "Are you sure these'll work?"
"One hundred percent. They'll get you in, but you have to make sure you get rid of them when you get home, because they'll start to trace them."
"Ok," Faith agreed, handing the woman the money.
"Enjoy your trip," the brunette told her, checking the amount before leaving the girls and resuming her original position near the duty-free stores.
"C'mon," the slayer told Joyce, taking her by the hand and walking to an airline information desk. "Hi," she greeted its staff. "Is it too late to get a flight to America today?"
"Not at all," Faith was told. The man clicked away at his computer. "Now, because it's last minute, it's going to be a little
"Not a problem," the brunette assured him, handing over her newly acquired credit card.
"We actually have a flight leaving for the States in two hours. It's going to JFK. You can make it if we hurry."
"Sure, yeah. Put us on it."
"Ok. How would you like to travel?"
"Do you have any space on first class?"
"Then first class."
"Ok. That'll be two thousand, five hundred Euros."
Nodding, Faith looked to a worried Joyce, the both of them hoping that the credit card would be authorised.
"If you could just enter your pin number here," the receptionist prompted.
"No problem," the slayer replied, doing so.
"Ok then, Miss Vriesman. Enjoy your flight."
"We will," Faith assured him with a smile.
"Her car's not in the drive," Faith noticed, approaching the door bearing the number sixteen hundred and thiry of Rovello Drive. She slowed down and allowed Joyce to overtake her. "Kiddo, you knock. I can't feel my hands."
Laughing, Joyce pressed the bell. She looked up as the door was opened by a man seemingly in his twenties.
"Can I help you?" he asked.
"Hi," the soldier started. "We're looking for a Buffy Summers. She lived here."
"I'm sorry, Doctor Summers doesn't live here any more," The tall male told them. He added, "Why don't you try the clinic in the
morning, you might have some luck there."
"D'you have a forwarding address?" Faith interjected. "The clinic's not open 'til Monday and we need to see her tonight."
"I'm sorry," the older brunette replied, his tone sympathetic as he shook his head.
"Ok," Joyce conceded. "We'll do that. Thank you for your time."
"No problem," the man replied, closing the door to the strangers on his doorstep.
"Who was that?" his wife asked, as he entered their living room.
"Some kid and her mom looking for Doctor Summers," he told her, resuming his seat beside her on their sofa.
"Why didn't you let them in?"
"Because, baby, work is work and home is home - they shouldn't mix. Don't worry, I told them to go down to the clinic on Monday and see you there." When his wife's expression refused to change, he added. "Plus, you know how it ticks me off when people call you by your maiden name, Mrs. Anderson."
Rolling her eyes, the slayer smiled, as she received her husband's kiss.
Panting, the young psychiatrist found himself experiencing tremors laid atop his wife. Climbing off her, he held onto the slayer as the building around them shook and items around the room were dislodged from their original positions. In an embrace until the wave finished, he looked at the mess the quake had created around them.
"Wow," he commented wide-eyed. Looking down on his blonde lover he asked her, "Did the earth move for you too?"
"Funny," was all Buffy could say, remembering the symbolism for Sunnydale earthquakes. They were hardly ever meaningless. She looked towards her bedside telephone as it rang and almost immediately knowing whom the caller was she sat up to answer it. Watching her other-half alight the bed and cover himself, she picked up the receiver.
"I'll go and check on Rory," he told her, leaving the room.
Nodding, Buffy answered, "Hello."
"It's me," she heard. "Did you feel that?"
"Yeah, Giles, I'm pretty sure the whole of California did. What's the good news?"
"I'm afraid there is none," the Brit continued. "How soon can you come down here?"
"Okay. I'll go and see if I can find Amanda and have her here too."
"See you soon," Buffy replied, dropping the receiver.
"Who was that?" Scott asked, returning, sitting down and bong tng the baby on his knee.
"Work. I have to go out for a minute, will you two be ok?"
"Of course we will," the brunette replied, asking the child, "Won't we, buddy?" He turned to the slayer. "You should have seen him all wide-eyed and everything. The little guy's first earthquake!"
"Yeah," the slayer agreed, leaving the bed and getting dressed. "I'll be right back."
"Take your time."
Opening the front door to her newly acquired four bedroomed house, Faith faced a uniformed employee.
"Hi," the postal worker started, glaring at the slayer. "I've got a package here for a Ms. Rosenberg. Will you sign?"
"Yeah," Faith replied, taking the clipboard and reading its details.
"I'm Mike," the man introduced. When silence followed, he continued, "Y'know, I'm new to this town and I thought what's a better way to make new friends than to be a postal worker?" He began to chuckle.
Smiling, the slayer handed the blonde back the signed document.
Looking at it, he continued, "So, Willow, you go out much?"
"I was just thinking that maybe, if you're not too busy, you could show me around town; be one of those 'new friends' I was talking about."
"I don't think my girlfriend'd approve of that."
"It's none of your girlfriend's business who you date," the postal worker spat. When the slayer's expression changed to one of mocking, he realised, "Oh, your 'girl-friend' girlfriend."
"Yeah. My 'girl-friend' girlfriend," the smaller of the two echoed.
"That's a shame," he told her.
"For you," Faith replied.
"Oh. Who's that?" Mike asked, leering at the petite blonde walking behind them and into another room.
Disgusted with the reference, the slayer replied, "Get off my doorstep before I knock you off."
Startled, the postal worker moved, met with the door slamming in his face.
"Who was that?" Joyce asked, as Faith entered the front room. "You sounded pretty mad."
"The postman… With a package for Willow." She looked at the box, studying it in a bid to figure out its content.
"I know what you're thinking, but Willow might be back soon and I don't think she'll like us opening her mail while she's on holiday."
"Yeah," Faith agreed, tossing it aside. "You ready?"
"Yes," the girl replied, putting on her trainers.
"Alright, let's go." She decided, leading the way into the hall. Picking up two sets of keys of those hung on the wall, she asked, "Regular or convertible Merc?"
"We took the convertible last time, so regular."
"Regular it is," the slayer announced, replacing the other key and opening the front door.
Waving goodbye and closing his front door, Scott Anderson made his way into the living room of sixteen-thirty Rovello drive. Sitting on the sofa, he looked to his wife. "It's hard giving him back, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Buffy replied, watching through the window as Xander carried his child. "He's a great kid."
Seating herself next to her husband, she allowed him to take her into his arms. "Honey, tell me again why we can't have one of those."
Sitting up, the slayer affirmed, "Scott, I told you, I can't go through that again. You don't know what it's like..." She stopped herself. "I just can't."
Sighing, the brunette told her. "You're right. I don't know what it's like to lose a child and I am so sorry you had to. But, Buffy, I'm here now and things will be different. You won't have to worry about losing a child ever again, because it'd be over my dead body that'd happen."
"My God, Scott, that's what I'm worried about. If anyone were to ever come after me, you and our baby would be the first things they would target."
"You don't think I could handle myself against disgruntled patients?"
"That's not what I... Never mind. Scott, please, just drop it."
"I can't. Buffy, I know you would make the best mom in the world and I'd be a pretty damn good father and you've given me all these excuses why you don't think we should have a baby, but you haven't told me that you don't want to. I see the way you are when Xander drops Rory off - and I see the way you are when he leaves and I know you want this as much as I do." Giving the slayer a chance to speak, he continued when she failed to do so. "Okay, you've gone into 'no-response' mode, so I'll drop it... For now. But, promise me you'll think about it."
"I'll think about it," the slayer told him, getting up. She picked up her coat. "I'll be back around eight."
"You're going to back to work?"
"Yes. I have tonnes to catch up with."
"But this was supposed to be our afternoon off together and you've already been in."
"The patients aren't going to see themselves and the clinic must be understaffed with the both of us here."
"Okay then, I'm coming with you," the brunette decided, standing up.
"You don't have to."
"I want to. I don't want to leave things like this between us and let them fester." Holding her, he asked, "We're okay, right?"
"Let's just go, okay," Buffy told him, leading the way.
Entering the silver Mercedes, Faith slammed the door.
"Today's her afternoon off. And the stupid desk-clerk wouldn't give me her address." She told Joyce attaching her seat-belt. Banging her head on steering wheel, she murmured, "It's like a freaking ghost-chase."
"We'll find her," Joyce assured. "We can come back tomorrow and see her then."
"Yeah, so they can tell us that she's gone to lunch or she's taken a vacation for a year."
"At least we know she'll be back," the youngster replied, looking for the positives of the situation. "We've waited three years, Faith. Another couple of days isn't going to kill us."
Smiling, the slayer agreed, "Yeah. And it'll be worth it, just to see the look on her face."
Joyce returned the happy expression. "So what do we do now?"
Starting the engine, Faith replied, "Let's go to the mall."
Walking inside and staring at the blonde in front of her, a smiling Faith asked,"How're you doing?"
"Faith?" was all the blonde could almost speechlessly enquire.
Noting the same shocked expression on the employee's face as that on most of the people she had met that day, Faith laughed.
"Cut me some slack, dude," she pleaded, walking into the store. "I've been getting that response the whole day. Though the woman at the bank was a little more impressive with her near-heart attack."
Rushing forward, Robert threw his arms around his former workplace superior. Pulling away and clearing his throat, he adjusted his suit, telling her, "I'm not surprised." He exhaled audibly. "You realise that half the town went to your funeral a couple of years ago."
"So I'm told," the slayer replied. Looking at the man before her, she smiled. "So what's up, Rob? How've you been?"
"Don't even try that!" the store-worker berated. "Where've you been all this time?"
"It is one long story, dude. You got all year?" She looked around the store. "Man, this place has changed so much," she noted. "And what's with the new name? What the hell's a FLog?"
"You're kidding, right?" the bottle-blonde asked.
The slayer shook her head.
"Oh man, after you.. well, died... Buffy bought the place and renamed it."
"F. Logan. But they haven't finished putting up the neon lights yet. Buffy wants the name done up in time for Christmas."
Stood silently for a moment, "She did that?" was all the slayer could eventually ask, unable to prevent herself from beaming.
"Yeah. Didn't she tell you all this?" the acting store-manager asked, his disbelief apparent.
"We haven't seen her, yet. It's like she disappeared off the face of the planet! This was my last try before I was going to call the cops. Went down to the old place and there was some man there. Tried the clinic, she's off. Went to all her usual haunts and nothing. Do you know if she'll be heading here for closing?"
"No, she doesn't really get involved with the store." Robert paused before clarifying for himself, "So she doesn't know you're back in Sunnydale?"
"Not a clue. It'll be a great surprise, don't you think?"
"Sure," the store assistant replied, attempting a degree of enthusiasm. Looking silently at the brunette with concern, he decided to attempt to busy himself with other things.
"Man, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," Rob told her, with the hope that he sounded sincere.
Unable to figure out the problem and too tired to yry, Faith told him, "Anyway, we thought we'd say 'hey'."
"Yeah. Joyce's is with me. She's ju-"
"Little Joyce?!!!" Rob screamed, searching behind the brunette. Again having to clear his throat, he lowered his decibel level asking, "She's with you?"
"I heard my name," Joyce semi-accused entering the store. She looked to Faith, telling her. "Nearest place is some place called the Espresso Pump."
"Oh my God! Little Joycey Summers and all grown up!"
Smiling, Faith introduced, "J this is Rob. He used to look after the store every time I had to rush down and pick you up from somewhere."
Chiming in, Robert continued, "You hear that? I was a huge part of the reason you made it home safe most nights."
"Well thank you for that, Rob," the youth told him, her gaze focussing on items around the store.
Noting the girl's disinterest, in a bid to cover the silence, Robert looked to Faith.
"So are you guys back for good?"
"Why wouldn't we be?" Faith asked, now ready to decrypt the blonde's continued double-speak.
Suddenly interrupting, Joyce tugged on the taller brunette's jacket asking:
"Hey, Faith, what's a FLog?"
"F. Logan. D'you know them?"
"What?" Buffy asked looking up from her reading, her attention caught by her husband's question.
"A courier came by," Scott explained. "Dropped this off and said it was urgently requested by an F. Logan. Should I run it next door?"
Taking the parcel from her hubby's arms, the slayer merely uttered a, "No." Ripping open the packaging, she looked inside and sifted through to find the pack containing her ex's personal belongings.
"So, where have you been all day?" Scott asked, endeavoring to keep his tone nonchalant.
"I told you," Buffy replied, taken aback when catching an official document bearing her ex's photo. Gritting her teeth, she fought to listen to the further interrogation she was being subjected to.
"No, you said you were going to be at work for the rest of the day. I called up about a half-hour after I left and they said you weren't there."
"So you're checking up on me now?"
"Only because you say you're places that you aren't. Honey, why are you lying to me?"
"I didn't feel you needed to know where I was going."
Visibly angry, the brunette retorted, "Why not?"
"So I have to tell you where I'm going at all times?"
"No, not at all times - just today."
Shaking her head at her husband's abruptness, the slayer replied him with a sigh and a, "Scott, drop it."
"Why is it that that's all I hear from you these days? You come home at all hours sometimes with bruises you can't explain and dirt on your clothes. Strange people turn up at our doorstep and you tell me that I should drop it? I want to know what's going on, Buffy and I'm giving you one more chance."
Caught off-guard, the good-looking brunette could only laugh in disbelief before he picked up his jacket and car-keys. "Don't wait up, will you," he called, storming out of the house and into the barely lit street.
"One Mocha-latte with lots of chocolate sprinkles and a cocoa, please," Faith ordered, taking a seat at the counter of the mostly empty Espresso Pump.
"Chocolatey Mocha? A girl after my own heart." Hitting the switch on the coffee-maker and starton ton the hot-chocolate, the waitress glanced over at the sultry brunette's much younger companion sat at one of the coffee-house's booths. In attempt to make conversation, she asked, "Is she your sister?"
"Something like that," Faith replied, watching the woman work.
"You look alike. Both got that really gorgeous smile." Smirking, the waitress added, "Except you have those really sexy dimples." She handed the brunette the freshly made cup of cocoa.
Grinning, Faith took the drink to her booth before promptly returning to her seat at the counter and to the pretty blonde behind
it. Pouring the steaming espresso into a mug, the woman introduced, "I'm Delana by the way. In case you wondered."
"I already read your name tag," Faith confessed. "That's a beautiful name; a little unusual though."
"I'm from Long Island; nothing's usual there."
"I dunno," the slayer disagreed. "I know the greatest guy who's from all over New York and he has nothing but great things to say about it."
"Don't get me wrong," Delana clarified. "New York's a great place. It's just that sometimes.. it gets a little unusual."
"I don't know," the uniformed worker replied. Unable to explain, she diverted, "Wow, this guy's really got you loving The Big Apple. Is he your boyfriend? Ex? Brother?"
"None of the above," Faith clarified. "He's a guy I met in the army."
Creaming the espresso, the waitress looked up. "You're in the army?"
Handing over the Mocha latte, the waitress confessed, "Well you've certainly got the body for it."
"Is that a compliment?" Faith had to ask, taking the handle of the cup.
"If you're free some other time, maybe we could meet up and I could tell you."
"Maybe," Faith told her. "If I'm free." The brunette handed the woman a five-dollar bill.
"This one's on me," the waitress told her. "But the next'll have to be on you."
"No problem," the slayer assured, flashing a grin. "'Til next time, D." Leaving the table, the slayer ordered her lighter-haired companion to her side, the both of them leaving the coffee house.
Placing hand-picked flowers on a grave, Buffy stood, fighting back the impending urge to shed tears.
"I miss you," she whispered, gazing at the engraving on the concrete slab. "I really miss you."
Taking a deep breath, the slayer straightened her clothing. Wiping now emerging tears, she attempted to return to a calmer state. Slowly leaving the graveyard, she joined her patrol partner.
Walking silently beside the older slayer, Amanda felt compelled to suggest, "I can finish the last cemetery alone, Buffy. You can go home if you want."
"Are you sure?" the fairer of them asked.
"Positive," Amanda returned. Cutting in before Buffy could give her the usual orders, she added, "I'll check in before I go to bed."
Nodding, Buffy formed a smile. Waving goodbye, she took the quickest route back to her car. Entering the vehicle, the slayer started the engine and accelerated toward her home, her convertible BMW speeding past an emerging clearing in the bushes.
"You're gonna spill that," Faith warned Joyce as they took a short- cut through the more wooded areas of Sunnydale. Letting the youngster through the created clearing, she followed, glancing around. Suddenly stopping, the slayer took Joyce's hand her senses alerted to trouble in their proximity.
"Uh-oh," She exclaimed looking toward the low growling she was picking up and watching a group of vampires approaching a lone young woman across the road from her. "We got ourselves party situation." The slayer broke off a branch from a nearby tree, instructing Joyce to, "Wait here."
"Oh, let me come," the younger girl pleaded, clutching her newly bought cup of hot chocolate.
"C'mon then," the slayer shouted back to her, tearing off towards the scene where the woman was now engaging in combat with the fiends.
Taking on two of the five, the brunette made quick work of the vampires, her fighting skills quickly returning after laying dormant for so long. She round-housed the tallest of her foes, flooring him and inserting the branch from her hand into his heart. Looking to her partner, she found the adolescent having trouble with the vampire she had chosen to fight. Picking up a heap of mud and gravel from the ground, the brunette called:
"J, duck," waiting for the girl to obey, before throwing the dirt at the attacking vampire. Capitalizing on her distraction, the slayer plunged her make-shift stake beneath the undead's left breast and watched her foe turn to dust. Helping the other woman with the last vampire, she took the male by its upper arms and held him steady as the younger of the two staked the vampire.
"Thank you," the stranger decided to say. "It got a little hairy for a moment there."
"Nice moves you got there," Faith observed, dusting the remains of their former adversary from her clothing.
"Thank you," the young woman replied. "You too. Are you guys some sort of freelance demon-fighting team?"
"Something like that," the slayer replied. "You?"
"It's kind of my job. My watcher- I mean my w-w-"
"You have a watcher? You're a slayer," Faith realised, her discovery more a statement than a question.
"You know about slayers?" the girl asked.
"A fair deal," the brunette replied. Looking to Joyce, she proceeded to ask the stranger. "Who's your watcher?"
"An ex.. well.. ex-ish slayer actually." Smiling sheepishly, the brunette awkwardly stuck out her hand. "I'm Amanda."
"Nice to meet you," Faith told her, briefly shaking the hand.
Laughing, the longer-haired brunette prompted, "Now you're supposed to tell me your name."
"How 'bout we skip the intro and go back to what you were saying about Buffy."
"Buffy?" Amanda snapped, defensively. "I didn't say anything about Buffy."
"The ex-slayer? Who else could it be?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," the brunette attempted. Alarmed and looking from the Missouri girl to the silent youngster, she quizzed, "Who are you two?"
"Stop kidding around," Faith instructed advancing towards the younger girl, feeling herself getting worked up. "Are you talking about her or not?"
"Leave me alone," the slayer ordered, back-stepping and moving into a run, calling behind her, "Stay away from me!"
"I think you scared her off," Joyce observed.
"She was being retarded. It was a simple question."
"We should go after her and explain," the younger female attempted before being pulled back by the brunette.
"Nah. She's useless."
"But she might know where my mom lives."
"And the chances of her taking us now are about slim to none." Calming, Faith decided, "But that's kind of cool. At least she's
looking out for her."
"Why didn't you let me tell her who we were?"
"'Cause kiddo, what if she isn't who she says she is? I don't really want too many people knowing we're back in town." Faith took the younger girl by the hand "Don't worry, we'll catch your mom tomorrow."
Walking into Sunnydale's brightly lit psychiatric clinic, Faith strolled up to the receptionist's desk, holding Joyce by the hand.
"Hi," she started, prompting Joyce to also greet the clerk before continuing. "I-"
"You were here yesterday," the desk clerk observed, chiming in. "Looking for Buffy."
"Yeah," Faith replied. "Is she here?"
"Yes," the man replied, smiling. "Let me give her a call and tell her you're here. The name was..?"
"Okay," the receptionist replied, dialing a number on the phone.
Listening for a few moments, he looked up. "It's busy," he told them, dropping the receiver. "Just take a seat and wait."
"Can you point us to her office? It's real urgent." the slayer pleaded. "C'mon man we can't keep coming back."
"Sure," the man appreciated. "It's down that hall, turn left. Follow that hall way to the end and it's the last brown door."
"Cool, thanks." She motioned to Joyce, "Kiddo, c'mon."
Following the brunette, Joyce made her way with the slayer down the hall, turned left and found the door at the end of the second corridor, reading the names on each door they passed.
"Jesus!" Faith cursed reading the engraved-plaque on the brown door at the end of the hall. "The moron thinks we're looking for a freaking Dr. Anderson." She knocked loudly on the door. "Maybe D.A. can tell us where she is."
Listening for a reply and not getting one, the slayer huffed. "Aargh! I'm gonna go back and get proper directions." She
told the youngster.
"Okay, I'm right behind you," Joyce replied. "I'm going to try and see if I can find it myself. I'll look down here and then come and find you."
Laughing at the blonde's eagerness, Faith nodded and made her way back toward reception. Looking around, Joyce decided to go in the opposite direction, standing completely still when she heard a familiar voice from behind her ask,
"I'm sorry, I was on the phone. Can I help you?"
Turning, the youngster looked to woman asking the question, barely able to utter, "Mom?"
Glaring dumbfounded, Buffy felt herself experience a double-take and immediately recognising the girl standing in front of her. Falling to her knees, she opened her arms and caught her child as the eleven year old sped into her. "Joyce," the slayer whispered. "Where..? What..? Oh God, Joyce."
"Mom," Joyce repeated with a smile. Beholding the woman she had obsessed about seeing every day for as long as she could remember, she beamed. Stroking her mother's long, now golden curls. Joyce noticed that besides her hair, the slayer had not changed. "I've missed you so much," she whispered. "They told me I'd never see you again, but
Gazing at the youngster in her arms, the slayer asked, "Who told you? Where did they take you?"
"To the army. In the army. We were there forever and we had to keep moving everywhere-" Joyce started, before an interruption forced her to stop.
Hearing her name, the slayer stood up, wiping the tears emerging from her eyes.
"Oh God, Scott. Look. This is Joyce; my Joyce. My daughter- Joyce."
"Your daughter?" He asked, dazed. He looked to the smaller blonde, the resemblance between she and his wife extremely obvious. Joy Joyce," he added, the surprise he was feeling written all over his features.
Recognising the man from a few nights before, Joyce shook his extended hand, realising what she felt she should have before.
Silently seething, remembering how he had turned her and Faith away, she let go and looked to her mother.
"Let's go inside," Buffy decided, leading the crowd into her office and closing the door behind them. Silent for a while as both her
husband and daughter seated themselves, she inhaled deeply before moving to kneel beside Joyce. Still in awe, the slayer could think of no other question but, "Are you hungry?"
"No," Joyce replied. "I ate already."
Nodding, the slayer looked at the girl unable to mask her joy. "Joyce, how did you..?" She stopped. "You know what, why don't
we save the questions?"
"Please, because I have to go to the restroom."
Taken aback, the young mother offered, "I'll take you."
"No. Mom, I can find it. I'll be right back."
"Sure, it's the third door after..." the psychiatrist began, letting her voice trail when her seemingly uninterested youngster bolted out of the room. Reluctant to not chase after her, Buffy decided to give the child space. Watching after her, she stated, "My God. Scott, that was her. I didn't just dream that, did I? That was Joyce. My little girl."
Standing up and holding his wife, the brunette affirmed, "Apparently so."
"And she's back," the slayer uttered as if to force herself to believe it.
Looking at the petite blonde and feigning shared excitement, he repeated, "And she's back."
"Yeah, she left," the receptionist told the young girl. Fiddling with paperwork on his desk, he told her. "Now you have to go; I'm busy, busy, busy."
"With what?" the blonde asked. "You were playing on your cell when I got here."
"I wasn't playing. I was sending vital infor-"
"This is really important," Joyce interrupted. "About Faith, when you say she left, what do you mean? She wouldn't have just left. What happened?"
"She came here about five minutes ago, telling me that my directions were 'wack' and she asked for Doctor Summers' office. I told her Doctor Summers had changed her name earlier this year and she left." He added, "Sorry, kid."
"Oh, God. Did she look mad?" Joyce asked.
"A little, yes," the clerk replied. "What is your deal with the Andersons?"
"No deal," the youngster told him. "Just…Can you ring my mom's office and tell her that I have to go and take care of something;
that I'll see her at her house later?"
"Sure," the receptionist replied, picking up the receiver. "What's her name and number?"
"Buffy," Joyce told him. "Buffy's my mom."
"No way! Doctor Anderson has a daughter? She never said. What's your name, kid?"
"I don't have time for this," the girl told him in a hurry and leaving. "Just tell her, okay?" she called behind her.
Part Seven I (of II)
Finding herself having to go around to the back of the house for lack of answer at the front, Joyce looked up at the window through which she had first gained access to the Rosenberg-Rodgers household. Seeing it open, the ex-soldier took hold of the drain pipe using its sideways protrusions to propel herself upwards and scale up the back of the house. Looking down at the clear and inviting swimming pool almost beneath her, Joyce inhaled sharply and turned away from the large drop she would make, should she fall.
Under the cover of dusk, the blonde slipped inside the four bed-roomed home, jumping into its bathroom. A little edgy noting the
darkness inside the home, Joyce made her way through the small near-mansion.
"Faith," she called, walking slowly and lightly in a bid to hear the slayer call for her. Turning on light-switches as she found them, the blonde continued through the rooms of the upstairs.
Unsuccessful, she proceeded down a level to the downstairs of the house. Bracing herself, the youth tried the back room. Illuminating it, she cried out when she saw the brunette huddled in the corner of the room, surrounded by broken glass.
"Oh my God, Faith, what have you done?" Joyce asked, removing the pieces from in front of the slayer with her foot, to allow herself space to kneel.
Unable to speak, the brunette grit her teeth, shielding her eyes from both the glare of the light and that of the young girl.
"Faith, I'm sorry," Joyce told her, holding onto the older woman. "I'm so sorry."
Throwing her head back against the wall, the slayer wailed out, her cries coming out in short, strained sobs.
Holding tightly onto the brunette, Joyce tightened the embrace gently rocking the despaired slayer.
"We should call the police," Buffy suggested, opening the curtains and looking out of her living room window.
"Or maybe you should calm down," Scott replied, standing up and taking his wife by the shoulders. "She's twelve years old, she can handle herself. We have things to talk about."
"She's not twelve yet and she's out there... God knows where and you're telling me to calm down? Do you care so little about her?"
"You're asking me if I care little about my wife's daughter," Scott asked. "Of course I care about her, but Buffy when she took off, she left you a message. That's more than most kids. And she's not alone."
"That's exactly what I'm afraid of."
"That's not what I mean," the older of the two clarified. "She's traveling with someone; a woman."
"What? How do-"
"She was the one," Scott interrupted. "She came to our house a few days ago looking for you and she was with someone."
"Joyce came here?"
"And you turned her away?"
"I didn't know who she was."
Shrugging out of his hold and turning to him, her disgust clear, Buffy asked, "Does it matter? A little girl came to you for help and you turned her away."
"Wait, you kne-"
"Scott, how do you really feel about Joyce being back in my life?"
"I'm happy for you, you know that."
"You're happy for *me*?"
Exhaling angrily, the brunette rephrased, "I'm happy for the both of us."
"Are you? Scott, do you not want her here?"
"What? Buffy, you're twisting things."
"Am I? Are you honestly telling me that you'd be okay with Joyce being out so late if she was yours?"
His exasperation exploding, the man raged, "You know what?! You want her back here? I'll go and look for her. God knows it's better than staying here with you right now."
With that, the psychiatrist left the home, ensuring he slammed the door on his way.
Faith looked into Joyce's attentive hazel eyes. She shivered, continuing, "And all those days when they would hurt me, I told
myself that I was taking it for her. That when I saw her again that it would have all been worth it."
"It's not your fault," the slayer uttered, drained of energy, her voice hardly audible. "It's hers. Everything. All of it. It's hers. They tortured me... because of what I did; because I killed him...and it was all for her." Faith used her hands to mop the tears coming in short streams from her eyes. "She used me," she told the youngster in a whisper, exhaling sharply and audibly before repeating, "She used me."
"Faith, no. She doesn't know. I didn't tell her. She doesn't know."
"She doesn't care. She's always got some boy-toy screwing up her mind and I got caught in the fucking crossfire." The slayer paused, laughing. "She really did a number on me. I did all that fightin' when I could have just walked away." She looked to Joyce, her expression menacing. "I even brought back her kid all safe."
"Faith, you're scaring me," the youngster confessed.
Taking the youngster by her sides in a bid to move her aside, Faith lifted the blonde, forcing her to stand.
"Go home, Joyce," she ordered.
Looking solemnly, Joyce knelt in front of the slayer again.
"This is my home, Faith," the youngster replied, taking the brunette's hand, emphatically clarifying, "My home is wherever you
"You've got your mom now," the slayer told her. "That's where your home is. So, go."
"I'm not going to leave you like this, Faith. I can't."
"I won't tell you again." The slayer paused, softening her tone. "I'll be alright," she reassured. "And I'll call."
No other argument coming to mind, the former soldier remained silent. She looked into the slayer's eyes; so full of anguish.
"Do you promise?" Joyce eventually asked, unsure but aware of her inability to make Faith change her mind.
"Of course, kiddo," the Missouri native assured, avoiding eye contact. "Now get out and make sure you go straight home. My
wallet's on the table in the hall, take some money and get a cab. Or take a key and drive yourself, I don't ca-.. Mind. Turn the light off on your way."
Wiping at her eyes and with a shaky voice Joyce told the brunette, "I'll be back in the morning. Please don't hurt yourself,
Faith. I love you."
Forcing a smile, Faith confessed, "I love you too, kiddo. I'll be ok, I promise."
Nodding, Joyce weakly gestured a wave and left the room, turning off the light.
Sat in darkness, Faith felt more untamed tears stream down her cheek. Utterly bewildered, she cried.
Opening the front door, a relieved Buffy allowed Joyce inside, "Where have you been?" she asked her daughter, taking the
girl by the cheeks before hugging her.
"I... I was just..." Joyce could not find an excuse.
"It's ok. We don't have to talk about it now," Buffy decided, not wanting to cause the girl discomfort. "C'mon, there's some pepperoni pizza in the kitchen with your name for it."
Following the slayer, Joyce took a seat at the kitchen counter and watched as she was served.
Taking a pizza slice from the box, Buffy put it onto a plate, re-heating it in the microwave. "So," the slayer started, in a bid to coax the truth from her daughter rather than force it. "Scott seems to think that you were
going to see someone that you were traveling with."
Pensive, Joyce felt obliged to reply, "I did," before looking down onto the empty plate in front of her to avert her mother's gaze.
"Is she from the army too?"
Joyce merely shook her head.
"Okay," Buffy told her. "I won't pry. As long as she's a nice person. Maybe I could meet her sometime?"
Looking uncomfortable, the younger female shuffled in her seat. "I guess."
"Joyce, what's wrong?" Buffy asked, attempting to be as inviting as she could, to allow the girl to share. "Maybe I could help."
"I can't tell you. I kind of promised I wouldn't." Joyce's features gave her away before she confirmed, "But I'm really worried."
"About the woman?"
The youth nodded again.
"Okay, you can't tell me," the slayer summarised, nodding and keeping her tone light while putting the heated pizza slice on a
plate. "But I can guess, right?"
Thinking about it, Joyce felt she should agree.
"Okay. So this woman... Did you know her from before or after you left?"
"Right," the older blonde replied. "Do I know her?"
Joyce nodded emphatically.
"So, well." Removing the pizza box from the counter table, the slayer knocked over the package she had left there earlier, spilling its content. Bending to pick it, she paused, a realisation striking her as she stood. Looking into the sorrowful eyes of her daughter, she uttered, "My God... Joyce. Who is she?"
Desperately needing confirmation, the slayer begged,"Joyce please tell me." She took a deep breath before venturing, "Joyce is she Faith?"
The blonde youngster slowly nodded."She came with me to the clinic and she found out from the clerk that you were married."
Near dumbfounded, Buffy could only ask,"How? No... Where is she?"
"She made me promise."
Locating her car keys, the slayer screamed,"Joyce you don't understand. I have to see her. Now."
Appreciating this as the truth, Joyce relented. "She's at Willow and Kennedy's house."
"Stay here," Buffy instructed. "I have to go and talk to her."
"Mom, I don't think that's a good idea. She's really mad."
Ignoring the statement, Buffy gave her daughter a kiss. "Finish up your dinner and get some rest, okay," She replied, taking her jacket and rushing through their back door.
Part Seven II (of II)
The blaring music barely masking the smacking sounds created by the talent less mouth of her prospective lover, Faith pulled away looking into the eyes of the female next to her in the booth of Sunnydale's infamous nightclub.
"Less tongue," she whispered to the woman. When the blonde nodded, Faith took her by the jaw, drawing her mouth closer and kissing her.
Having missed the intimacy that she had been unable to enjoy for so long, the slayer slipped her hand from the position it had acquired on the girl's thigh and held her by her bare mid-section. Breaking their contact, the blonde whispered, "Faith, I'm really wet," taking hold of the slayer's arm, intent on showing her.
Pulling away, Faith took hold of the drink in front of them. Downing it, she stood up. "Let's go," she ordered. Walking toward the exit, she felt her latest conquest tug on her arm.
"My sweater," she remembered.
"It'll be here," was all the slayer would say, scanning the perimeter of the club. Waiting, she turned, obstructing the entrance of one of the regulars.
"'Scuse me," she asked, walking past the dark beauty.
Inhaling and approving of his scent, Faith glared at the brunette, holding his own gaze.
Mouthing a, "Hi," and with a smile, the brunette carried on walking, making his way inside. Her curiosity piqued, the slayer followed the man who was walking in the direction of the bar, crossing the dance-floor after him.
Dressed in the tightest leather trousers she could borrow from Kennedy's closet and a shirt that left little to the imagination,
Faith found herself shimmying between a dancing couple. Pressing herself against the elated male of the pair, she laughed as his
expression quickly changed under her shove, as the slayer stole his dance partner.
Shaking his head at the woman's audacity, the six-foot tall stranger watched as the femme took his ex-partner by the hips, dancing with her. Unwilling to cause a riot, he decided to leave her to it. Watching as the scuffle caused her target to turn to her in his seat at the bar, Faith kept eye contact with him as she gyrated on the dance floor. Smiling at his visible excitement, the brunette left the dance-floor and made her way to him, leaving her startled dance partner in her wake.
Approaching the bar next to her mark, she leant over it. Purposely exposing her midriff while doing so, she beckoned the bartender.
"That was not unpleasant," the brunette complimented, the observation a drastic understatement.
Ignoring the comment from the stranger, Faith asked for, "Another beer - iced."
"It's on me," she heard from behind her. With an added, "And can I get a Tequila?"
"Sure," the bartender replied.
"Save your money, man," Came Faith's reply to the offer as she took her beer. "I'm leaving."
"Not on my account, I hope."
"If you must know," Faith told him. "It's not. But let me save you some time and tell you that you're not going to get into my pants."
"Whoa," the stranger replied. "That's not even close to what I hoped to do." He raised his left hand, pointing to his third finger and
showing his wedding ring. "I just thought I'd buy a beautiful woman a beer."
"Uh-huh. So if you're not interested, why does it matter that I'm beautiful?"
Smiling, the man placed his hand over his heart. "Why don't we start over? Hi, I'm Scott. I'm only sat here because this is the only place that you can get alcohol in Sunnydale at this time." He prompted, "Now you."
Putting the name to the face, she grinned. "Thanks for the drink."
"Ouch!" he exclaimed, as the slayer sat next to him. Turning to her and looking as if in a bid to remember the sexy brunette, the married man asked, "Have we met?" Realising himself, he laughed. "I'm sorry that sounded like such a line. Let me rephrase,
I feel like I'm having a bar deja-vu; like I've bought you a drink before."
"We've never met," the slayer replied. Satisfied that her outfit along with the layers of make-up and the lack of lighting were
helping conceal her identity from him, she returned to facing the bar and took a sip of her drink.
"Did she say she was going somewhere?" A worried Buffy asked her daughter.
Joyce shook her head.
Beginning to pace, the slayer abruptly turned to the smaller blonde. "I don't understand this. How is it possible? Amanda was called. She could have only been called if Faith had died."
"The night that they took us, the doctors made Faith's heart stop," Joyce explained. "They wanted you to scare you, so that you wouldn't come and look for us." The youngster looked down, unable to keep eye contact with her mother.
Sitting on her bed beside her child, Buffy took the eleven year old's hand.
"Is that what you think? That I stopped looking for you?" She asked. "Joyce, I looked everywhere, contacted the police, the
government. They just denied that the Initiative even existed and told me that I was crazy. I had lost my baby girl and the love of my life and everyone was just telling me to let go. Eventually I just shut down. I just hoped that one day, when you were old enough that you would come back to me." The slayer smiled. "And you did."
"Because of Faith. Mom, what are you going to do about her?"
Sighing the slayer admitted, "I don't know. She must be hurting so much right now."
"No way!" Faith hollered. "She said that?"
"Like I was the one being unreasonable!" I mean, why do you women do that? When I say 'Sure, you can go out tonight,' I mean 'Sure, you can go out tonight.' When a girl says it however, it means 'You go out and you're dead.' I mean, why can't you just say that?"
"Because it's our way," Faith told him, feigning a laugh.
"Well it just causes complications," Scott told her, downing his tequila. "Like tonight, my wife and I had this huge fight and over the silliest thing."
Ordering a refill for the man, the slayer told him, "I know it's none of my business, but maybe if you tell me, I can help you out."
"I shouldn't need help," he told her. "I'm a psychiatrist, this is what I do. Just goes to show that it doesn't matter how much you study and learn about the human mind, as a man, you can never understand women."
"Maybe I can help, give you our side of things," Faith offered. "What's the problem?"
"Okay," Scott decided, nodding. "So, my wife, has this friend who just brought home her daughter from another relationship and she wants her boyfriend to just accept her daughter just like that. But it's complicated you know."
"So what does that have to do with her?"
"She thinks I don't care," the brunette told his drinking companion, guzzling down another spirit. "And I said to her, 'Buffy', that's my wife's name. I said, 'Buffy, I do care. I'm happy for you.' and she got angry with me because I didn't say I was happy for us. I mean, what did I do wrong?"
"Doesn't sound like you did anything to me," the slayer judged. "Sound's to me like your wife's trippin'"
"Yeah, man. It's not a girl thing, it's a Buffy thing."
Smiling, Scott repeated, "It's a Buffy thing, I like that."
"Some days they wouldn't let me see her," Joyce explained to her mother. "They'd tell me that she wasn't feeling well or make up
something else. But then a few days later, I'd go to her and she'd have her arm in a cast or her lip'd be swollen or sometimes worse. It seemed like when the soldiers had a bad day, they'd just go to the containment room and take it out on her."
"My God," Buffy uttered.
"And those were the days when she was conscious. Some days I'd be talking to her and she'd just black-out-"
Not wishing to hear any more, the slayer stood abruptly, interrupting the youth. "I'll be right back," Buffy excused.
Leaving her daughter's room and turning into her own, the slayer attempted bravery but could not stop herself bursting into tears.
Stood weeping for as long as she could not control her sobbing, Buffy took a deep breath, attempting to steady her emotion and
display strength in front of her child. Unable to shake the harrowing accounts that she had been told, the slayer's course back to her child's side, was altered by the knocking coming from downstairs. Proceeding downstairs to answer it, she opened the door and let Xander inside.
"Sorry it took so long," he apologised, adding, "How is she?"
"She's fine," Buffy answered. "She's upstairs."
"Okay," the construction worker replied, with a nod. "How are you doing?"
"I'll be better as soon as I find Faith."
Stood outside her acquired home, Faith led Scott to her front door. "Thanks for the ride. I don't think I would have made it back otherwise, I am so wasted," the slayer lied, taking house keys from her pocket.
"Not a problem," Scott replied. "Thanks for listening. It's nice to just talk to someone with no strings."
"It was a pleasure," the slayer declared. Opening the door and letting herself inside, she listened as Scott followed her.
"This is a great place you have here," he complemented closing the door behind him and looking around.
"Yeah," Faith said in a whisper, unexpectedly turning to face him. Inching toward him, she placed her hands on his shoulders, running them down and rubbing his arms. She looked up and into the eyes of taller brunette.
"What are you doing?" Scott asked softly, the question lacking power.
"I thought I could do this," Faith asked, pulling the psychiatrist by his shirt and pressing her lips against his.
Part Eight I (of II)
Straddling the psychiatrist at the waist and undoing the top button of his pants, Faith roughly inserted her right hand into his jeans.
The both of them now sat on a chair, the brunette raised her left arm, resting it on his shoulder. She momentarily raised herself upward to allow herself enough access to take hold of his penis, rubbing him roughly and almost instantaneously getting the reaction she wanted from the brunette. Smiling satisfied, the slayer told him, "See, that wasn't so hard." She winked, asking him to, "Excuse the pun."
Proceeding to bite his bottom lip and draw it into her mouth, she groaned before releasing it.
"I can't say I see what Buffy sees in you," she confessed. "Though I gotta hand it to you, you are very well equipped; you must be a regular stud between the sheets."
Looking at the silent man, she furrowed her brow. "Oh. My bad," she uttered staring at him. "How can you talk with this in your mouth?" Removing the gag she had created for her captive, the slayer mocked him as he screamed.
"Dude, no-one cares," she reminded him. Tonguing the brunette's open mouth, she laughed at him before standing up. She moved to retrieve the knife she had been holding until the psychiatrist had caused her to throw it in anger.
Blood pouring from his bound arm, cut where he had tried to fight his much stronger captor, Scott attempted to focus on events at hand rather than his looming need to faint. Throbbing almost everywhere and red-faced at his inability to resist the sultry brunette the psychiatrist tried, "I swear to you, I had no intention of having sex with you tonight, I just came to the bar to cool off."
Studying the man's features and approving of his apparent honesty, Faith decided, "Wow. Buffy really has found herself a good one, hasn't she? Well we'll just have to see what we can do about that. Before I fuck you and then probably eventually kill you, I just have a few things I want to know - is that ok with you?" Faith took the taller brunette's blank expression as a sign of concurrence and continued, "How long have you known your wife?"
Raising the knife and resuming her position on the man's lap, Faith ran the tool along the brunette's neck, tracing his jugular
vein. "You married to someone else?" she asked him.
His fear escalating, Scott stuttered, "No.. I..A year."
"Huh. Where d'you meet?"
Glaring worriedly at the woman, he felt obliged to disclose, "At her store."
Feigning interest, the slayer wondered aloud, "I bet it was real romantic. Did you fall in love with her when you first saw her? I mean B is easy on the eyes - you two must look great together."
In an attempt to stop the slayer's impending emotional descent, the psychiatrist decided to attempt to distract her, "Look, you're obviously hurting about something. Please, talk to me about it - I can help."
"Shit, you're boring," Faith concluded, replacing the gag into the man's mouth. "I thought you'd at least be like – I'm sorry. Please let me go I'll do anything." She shook her head, telling him. "I should kill you right now." Looking at the terrified expression on the man's face, she slapped him repeatedly and patronisingly. "Relax, Scottie. I still have plans for you."
Chuckling, she was forced to stop and turn by the call of her name from behind them.
Immediately standing up and moving to stand behind her prisoner, she grabbed hold of his short chestnut hair pulling his head back and causing him to cry out. Putting the steel blade in her hand, to his throat, she warned,"I wouldn't come any closer."
Utterly bewildered at the sight of her bound and apparently bleeding lover, she looked to her knife-wielding ex.
"Buffy. Nice of you to join us."
"Faith, what are you doing?" the blonde slayer asked. "Scott hasn't done anything to you."
"True," Faith admitted. "But how much would it hurt you to watch him die right here?"
In disbelief, Buffy struggled to ask her former girlfriend, "What happened to you?"
"The Faith I knew wouldn't kill someone like this. It's not you."
"What about Riley?" the younger slayer reminded her past lover. "I gutted him. Stuck my knife inside and rolled it
around, 'til his blood spilt on my shoes. You should have been there, baby. It was quite a sight."
"I'm so sorry," was all Buffy could think to say. "I did this to you."
"Don't flatter yourself, girlfriend. I did this to me. I let you whip me for all those years, dealing with all your shit - well this is payback." Raising the knife, Faith paused when asked to do so.
"Why?" the dark slayer asked. "It's funny, I didn't hear you whine this much when the army took me off to use as their punch-bag for nearly four years." Looking at the psychiatrist in her clutch, she asked his wife, "Tell me, B, what's so special about this guy? Why him?"
Unable to answer the question, Buffy attempted to reason. "I know I hurt you, but if you could give me a chance, I want to explain-"
"That ship sailed the minute you crawled into bed with this loser,"
Faith told her ex. "What was it that did it for you? His boyish charm, his sincere eyes - or the fact that he has a cock? Or is it the fact that he's someone you can use."
"In your dreams, babe. I just feel sorry for you and for him actually." Resolved, she decided. "You two deserve each other."
Using the knife to cut Scott's hands free, Faith kicked the chair forward, sending the psychiatrist hurtling forward onto his hands and knees.
Moving to his aid and physically supporting her husband who was barely able to stand, the slayer looked to Faith; her former
vivacious lover now the shell of the woman she once knew.
"I have to take him home," Buffy voiced, disconcerted as an unresponsive Faith walked away.
Part Eight II (of II)
"1630 Rovello," Buffy instructed the taxi driver. She looked to her husband sat in the back seat.
"I don't want you alone with her," Scott pleaded, holding his tattered shirt to his bleeding arm. "Please, Buffy."
Smiling tenderly at her lover's concern, the slayer assured, "I'll be okay. I just need you to go home and get some rest."
"You think I can do that knowing that you're with that... that loon. Buffy, that woman is incredibly strong."
"I'll be... What are you doing?" Buffy asked, rushing beside Scott, the brunette furiously tapping away at his mobile phone.
"Calling the cops," he answered, putting the cell phone to his ear.
Relieving the mobile phone from her lover, Buffy ordered, "No."
"Scott, please. Just go."
She nodded at the driver who started the car, before leaving the vehicle herself.
Shaking his head, the male psychiatrist tried, "Buffy."
"I'll see you at home," Buffy told him, ignoring his protests as the car drove away.
Turning her back to the passing car, the slayer braced herself, re-entering the home of her Wicca friend. Making her way through the darkened home, she listened out, following the only noise she could hear coming from the outside. Walking out into the garden, Buffy beheld her ex, sat beside the clear-blue swimming pool, making mini-waves with her feet.
Taking a moment to admire, the dark slayer's effortless good looks when bathed by the moonlight, the older woman approached, standing behind her.
"I sent Scott home," Buffy explained. "I figured we should talk without him in the way... without him involved."
"I have nothing to say to you," Faith told her, staring ahead at the still water.
"That's good," the blonde decided. "Because I have a lot to say to you."
"Save it," Faith told her, standing up and walking past her. "I don't want to know."
Taking hold of the passing brunette by the arm, Buffy ordered, "You're going to have to."
Looking down at the arm on hers, Faith locked eyes with the slayer, "You wanna let go of me?" she asked, menacingly.
"If you're going to listen to me."
Shrugging the slayer's body from hers, Faith left, making her way back inside.
"So that's it? You're not even going to give me a chance?" Buffy called, following her. "That's really mature. God! Why are you
always so pig-headed?"
Whipping around, Faith stopped. "Pig-headed?" she asked. "Okay, you wanna explain? Fine, explain. Are you or are you not married?"
Not expecting the question, Buffy paused, finally admitting. "I thought you were dead. I mean, what was I supposed to think?
Amanda'd been called the same night you were gone."
"That means nothing and you know it. I was called and you're still alive. You knew that there was a chance the rules could have been bent, but you didn't care. Admit it Buffy, didn't it make it easier for you that I was off the scene?"
"Aw, c'mon. Wasn't life great without your not-good-enough-for-Dr.-Buffy-Summers girlfriend hanging around? I bet you take Scott to all your little Dr. meetings and show him off to all your Dr. friends."
"He's my husband."
"Yeah he is and a fine one too. D'you know he came here tonight thinking he was going to screw me?"
"Scott would never-"
"So what was he doing here?"
Taken aback by the question and unable to think of an answer, Buffy diverted, "Why are you doing this? You want to prove a point? I get it; you're angry that I moved on. I'm sorry. Did you expect me to stay hung up on you all this time? To pine for you and wither away alone. Would you be happy then?"
The brunette's silence seemingly answering her question, Buffy continued,"Or are you angry with me because I'm with a man? Tell me, Faith, would you be this upset if I were with a woman?"
When the brunette failed to answer, Buffy ordered, "Tell me, because I really want to know this. Are you this angry
with me because I'm with a man?"
"Okay," Faith decided. "Yes. I am pissed off that you're with captain penis. Happy now?"
"That is so not fair," the blonde slayer told her ex. "You can't judge me because I've had more relationships with men than women."
"I'm a firm believer that if you want to make a choice, you should stick with it. Why were you even with me anyway? You never loved me and it's obvious that you need trouser snakes to keep you happy."
Glad that it was now the golden slayer's turn to be silent, Faith told her. "You should go home, B. The hubby'll be wondering where you are. Besides, we have nothing to talk about anymore."
"We still have you to talk about," Buffy replied. "Faith, I need you to know it means the world to me that your back. You don't know how many times I wished you would walk back into my life. Fantasized that you'd turn up at the house or meet me at the movies... If I'd have known you were ever going to come back, I would have... I never thought it was possible - I laid flowers on your grave last week for God's sake."
"I shouldn't have even had a grave," Faith told her. "Because you should have been out there looking for us! Or was it too convenient for you to have a clean slate? Without your mistake of a kid or your-"
Interrupting, Buffy asked, "How dare you? You're way out of line. You know how much I love my daughter."
"So much, you signed her away to low-life bent army guys."
"For you. I signed my daughter's life away and missed three whole years of her life, for you. To get you back. Had I have known that you would have turned into this monster, I might not have bothered."
Before turning to leave the speechless dark slayer, Buffy added, "Faith, you can accuse me of some of the things that went
wrong between us, but don't ever hide behind the lie that I never loved you. You can't accuse me of that."
Rendered near-speechless and feeling guilty, a remorseful Faith called out after her fellow slayer, "Buffy!"
To which she received no reply.
"Oh my God."
"What?... Oh my God... What happened?"
"Wait... Ssssh! Someone's here."
Picking up her suitcase and using it as a shield, Kennedy took a hesitant step forward in the hallway of her home. "Hello?" she
called out. Looking to her equally perturbed girlfriend, the brunette took another step forward when ushered to do so. Calling
out again and getting no reply from the source of the noise in the kitchen, the woman stopped. "Maybe we should call the police," she suggested.
"Yeah," Willow agreed, looking to find the phone missing from its usual position on the table in the foyer. "The phone's not there."
Her expression mirroring her fear, Kennedy forced herself to relax. "It's ok. We'll just go in there and offer them money. Maybe
they'll go away calmly without incident."
The two of them slow-stepping toward the kitchen and past their open back room, Kennedy glanced at the contents of their second lounge; most of them in disarray and spread all around the place.
"On second thought," she decided. "We can drive to the police station."
Herself and her girlfriend tiptoeing backward, toward the front door, they froze when confronted by the apparent intruder.
A piece of toast half-hanging out of her mouth, a smiling Faith greeted, "Oh. Hey guys. How ya been?"
Each looking to each other to see her girlfriend staring back with the same blank expression, both Kennedy and Willow looked back to the brunette in front of them.
Laughing at the silence upon them, Faith introduced, "It's me...Faith."
"We know," Kennedy replied, her expression still showing disturbance. "It's just that-"
"Well, Faith. Honey, you're dead." Willow completed, looking sorry for the brunette. "It must have been the spell," she told Kennedy."My "My God," Kennedy agreed. "Now she's a ghost."
Bursting into laughter, Faith walked towards the redhead and her girlfriend. "Guys I'm not dead."
Shaking her head, Kennedy sympathised. "She thinks she's not dead. Willow this is all your fault, we should have just let her rest."
"My fault?" Willow questioned. "Hello, Buffy's the one-"
"Guys, I'm not dead," Faith repeated. "If I were dead, could I be eating this piece of toast?"
"You're not dead?" Kennedy asked.
"No," Faith replied.
"You're alive?" Willow asked. "Though, that really goes without saying."
Smiling, Faith asked, "What does a not-dead slayer have to do to get some sugar 'round here?"
Mirroring, the brunette's excitement, Kennedy threw her arms around the slayer. Reeling from the intensity of Kennedy's hug, Faith found that she had to back-step after Willow joined in, throwing her entire body atop theirs.
"This is huge!" Kennedy exclaimed.
"Oh my God!" Willow cried, releasing the slayer. "Does Buffy know?"
"Is she ready?"
"I think so," Buffy replied.
"Buffy, I need you to be sure," Giles told her, taking a seat next to the blonde and showing her a page in a reference book. "Last night, Amanda said she saw this. She didn't fight it, which I'm glad about because this may be her most powerful adversary to date."
"Is this it?" the blonde enquired, studying the picture of the quadruple headed beast.
"The first sign." Giles placed the book down and stood up. "Buffy, we may actually be facing the end of the world."
Sitting back, the slayer seemed unphased. "Giles, we've faced the 'actual' end of the world, what twice now?"
Looking in disbelief that his former slayer did not understand the gravity of the situation, the Brit replied, "This is different."
"Yeah," Buffy agreed. "The last two times I was alone. Now there are three slayers. Giles, relax."
"Three slayers?" Giles queried, pacing. "When did that happened? Why wasn't I informed? Where is she? A potential was called and no-one told me?"
"Again with the 'Relax, Giles'," Buffy attempted to calmed him. "No-one was called. Faith's back."
"Faith?" The older watcher queried, needing clarification. "Faith's back?"
"Can you say bitter-sweet?"
"How is she?" the ex-watcher asked, the question his prime concern.
Sighing, Buffy answered, "Not the best she's ever been. Turns out the army took her and my daughter away to be their little play-monkeys." She seethed continuing, "Needless to say, as soon as this is all over, I'm going to go and pay them a visit."
"So she's with Joyce?"
"No, Joyce is upstairs; safe and asleep."
In an attempt to process the information he was being given, Giles rubbed his temples, "So where is Faith now?"
"Staying at Willow's."
His disapproval apparent, Giles sat down beside the slayer. "Buffy, do I really have to tell you that an ordeal like that can not have been good for someone who has been through what Faith has," he told her, his tone expressing his concern. "Remember the very people who took her for all this time are the same people for whom Riley was working. Honestly, I can't believe she's not here with you."
"Don't you think I tried?" the slayer-turned-watcher asked him. "I went to talk to her last night only to find her with a knife to my husband's throat. Giles, she's displaying acute symptoms of post-traumatic stress right now; the best thing to do is just to give her time."
"Time to what? Fester away? Buffy, you are not Faith's psychiatrist and you cannot treat her like she is your patient. You were her partner and right now she needs you... More than ever, I would say. Might I remind you that you are the reason she-"
"Breakfast is served, m'lady," Scott announced, entering his living room and interrupting the greying former-librarian. "Oh. Mr. Giles." The brunette looked to his wife and then to the older man. "Sorry, I didn't know you were here. Again."
"That's okay, I was just leaving," Giles told the taller man. He looked to Buffy. "I'll come by later and we can finish this."
The slayer nodded, seeing her ex-watcher out.
Listening to ensure that the coast was clear of their visitor, Scott watched his wife return to the sofa and engage herself reading a book. "Why is he always around here?" the brunette asked. "I mean how much do you and the librarian at your old high-school have to talk about?"
When his question appeared to have been taken rhetorically, the psychiatrist knelt in front of his better half. "Honey, what's up?"
"Nothing," came the emotion-less reply from his spouse. Followed by the flip of the page she was reading.
"C'mon," he further tried. "That's the first word you've said to me since you got back. What happened at that woman's place?"
"We just talked."
"A lot of things," Buffy toim. im. "Including you. Scott, why were you there last night?"
"I met queen 'few slices short' at a bar and she needed a ride home. I offered her one and she jumped me when I took her inside. I pushed her off and the next thing, I'm tied to a chair bound and gagged."
"Do you usually give rides to strangers?"
"No. But someone reminded me last night to get in touch with my more compassionate side."
Standing up and leaving her lover staring after her, Buffy merely replied,
"I didn't tell you to go to bars and pick up girls."
"Buffy," Scott tried, springing into action and taking his wife by her arms. He lowered his voice. "Buffy, I didn't go to a bar to pick up girls. I went there to get wasted."
"And you were supposed to be out there looking for Joyce." She looked to him with disappointment pasted on her features. "Do you even know that she's upstairs?" the slayer asked. "Do you even care?"
"Of course I do and of course I do. I was just as worried as you were."
"But you managed to get over that and make your way to the club."
"I knew she'd be okay."
"How? How did you know?"
In attempt to lighten the mood, Scott drew the slayer into his arms. "She's got your blood in her. That means she's a survivor."
Shrugging from his embrace, Buffy ordered her husband, "Let me go." When his grip only became tighter, the slayer found her push become stronger, sending the taller psychiatrist off his balance and into the wall behind him. Glancing at his hurt expression, Buffy made her way upstairs.
"This is so huge!" Kennedy re-stated, staring wide-eyed at the slayer across the table from her.
"Feel free to stop saying that anytime," Faith told her, feeling bashful.
"But it is. I can't believe it. Faith, you're here. Alive."
The older brunette nodded.
Kennedy whipped around to her entering girlfriend. "You are the best witch ever."
"I know," Willow admitted, placing a tray of food in front of Faith.
"Really, Red, I just ate like eight pieces of toast."
"Oh," Willow uttered, not hiding her apparent impending nausea. "Maybe we'll just save these for later."
"So where've you been?" Kennedy asked. "And why were you there for so long?"
"The initiative took us. They weren't real keen on letting us go."
Both of the practicing wiccas concerned, Willow voiced, "You both must have been so scared."
"I'm a fighter, so I was alright. But J? I gotta give that kid credit, she held it together," Faith told them. "Like, the first few
weeks they took us there, the bastards wouldn't let me see her and she musta felt so alone. But she held it together."
"You too," Kennedy chimed in. "There should be, like, an award for you."
Faith smiled. "What, the 'Your-girl's-kid-was-kidnapped-and-you-went-to-go-save-her' award." She paused correcting, "Ex-girl."
"I don't understand," Willow told the slayer, in a bid to distract her. "I get why they took Joyce, but why did they keep you too?"
"I dunno," Faith lied. "I guess to keep J with a familiar face. Leverage in case she messed up."
"Kinda like, be good else Faith gets a kickin'."
"My God, did they hurt you?"
"Only, every other day. But I'm kinda used to it. I guess some people have their roles in live and mine's to be the punchbag."
"I spoke to the principal at Sunnydale High," Buffy told Joyce. "He says that you can start next week. He seems a nice guy and his name's Robin Wood, so he must have a sense of humour."
"Do I have to? I'll be academically at least two years ahead of the people my age."
"You can't not go to school, Joyce," was all Buffy would say.
Looking down defeated, Joyce could think of nothing she wanted to speak to her mother about. Looking up suddenly, she asked,"Can I go see Faith now?"
Caught off-guard, Buffy decided, "I don't think that's such a good idea."
"Do I have to give a reason?" Buffy questioned. She softened her tone. "Joyce, Faith isn't... I don't think you should be spending so much time with her. At least not right now."
"You saw her, didn't you? What happened?"
"It is the longest story," Buffy merely replied, choosing not to answer the question. She stood. "Look, I'm thinking I should blow off work today and the two of us can spend the day at the mall. What do you say?"
"I wanna go and see Faith."
"I already told you, you can't."
"But I want to," Joyce repeated, feeling herself worked up. "You did something to her."
"No I didn't."
"Then why wont you let me see her?"
"I told you-"
"No you didn't, you just said that I can't see her. You're not the boss of me you know."
Shocked by her daughter's rudeness, the slayer wore the angriest expression she could muster. "I'm your mother," she reminded the youngster. "And sometimes I'm going to have to tell you what you can and cannot do. Even though you may not agree with what I decide, you're going to have to accept it. Okay?"
When the soldier gave a slow nod, the slayer felt compelled to leave.