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Queen of the Slayers

by Liz M


Notes: Ending Trilogy of small series...starting with Original Sins then isle de muerte . A new enemy rises, forcing all to question just who the chosen one really is.



That's what I'd become. Food for the fish, for the monsters, for God knows what..... and not just in a physical aspect either......Looking back over the last week or so I'd been haunted by my past, so scared that I couldn't even deal, that I almost broke down beyond recovery but I was saved at the last second, only to be plummeted into a different kind of darkness.

I had dug my way out of hell itself, made whole again by hope, need and love. I found my way back only to find out that my girls had went awol; went off on a mission to save the lost, only to become lost themselves.

I went after them aided by a couple of allies. Some came back, some didn't. That's a fact that'll haunt me forever. Even the saviors couldn't be saved. Our numbers fell and so did our hearts.

I'd lived again, barely pulled from the jaws of death by sturdy loving arms, held firm to watch as the last of our numbers faded out like small lights, watched in hope and dread as a new enemy emerged through the embers.

I held firm to B as the last of our line was threatened. Determination and vengeance ran rampant as we watched the beast rise, heard his words and silently retreated, living to fight another day.

Chapter 1

We huddled together in the boat, silently licking our wounds. I wasn't a stranger to pain and loss but this was..... personal, that 'thing' made it personal and this hurt like hell.

I looked at B, leaned closer against her, stared into her eyes, tears building almost to the brink of overflowing my eyes. I slowly bridged the gap between us, my lips resting softly, briefly against hers before a light sob gasped its way out. Tears ran freely, fast, sobs broke free.

She held me, soothed me, touched my heart, mind and soul with her soft spoken words. I melted into her touch, not caring who saw, who heard. No one existed, no one but me and the woman giving me comfort.

The entire boat ride was spent wrapped up in her arms, my lips grazing against her neck, whispering things, declarations of needs, wants, desires, love, of what ifs, and thank gods', my arms stayed tight around her, feeling her, feeling us together.

"We're here....... Guys, we're here." Xander's voice cut through.

Quietly we all climbed out of the boat. Internally I counted our numbers, counted our loss, mentally did a roll call. Mentally listed the names that would now adorn our small memorial, Rhona, Kelly, Beth, Jill, Holly, Ashley, Melissa and Sherry.

I closed my eyes, not wanting to cry again, felt as B tugged at me. "I'm coming." I whispered, slowly climbing out onto the dock, letting my hand fall into hers, our fingers lacing firmly together. I pulled her to me again, embracing her, whispering, "I love you." Pulling back I cupped her face, bringing my forehead to rest against hers.

"Buffy.......Faith." Xander's voice again broke the spell we were under.

As we turned to make our way up the dock to the waiting van, something stopped me dead in my tracks, off to the side, I saw our original boat, parked in its slip. "No way. It can't be." I mouthed to myself.

I stepped away from B, anger, confusion and agitation taking over. "What the fuck?" I walked to the slip and jumped down into the boat. I started rummaging through it, looking, hunting. "This can't be right."

"Faith?" B asked.

I looked up at her, at all of them. "This is our boat B, this is our god damned boat."

"Are you sure?" She asked.

I looked to Vi. " What do you think?" I questioned.

She walked around it looking. "It looks like it but it can't be, it just can't." She scratched her head looking confused. I lifted up a tarp revealing some initials that I'd carved into the fiberglass. She lowered her head, relenting, shaking her head, acknowledging that I was right.

I climbed back onto the dock, my leg stinging from the earlier attack. "You know what I think. Something took our boat, left us stranded out there either by accident or on purpose and we need to find out what or who, now and fast, cause I don't see much of a choice, either one or more of the girls escaped or some of those things got loose."

"Things?" Buffy questioned.

I sighed, looking at her. "Dead things B. It didn't even matter if they were human or not, both walked as one but not like your usual zombie, these had a purpose..... so I'm betting that something was controlling them, most likely that ugly assed thing that we pissed off."

I started walking toward the van, missing the fact that Willow had pulled Xander and Buffy back and off to the side.

I noticed that Buffy wasn't with me anymore, I stopped, turning, looking at them, questioning them with my eyes and body language.

Willow finally spoke up. "If this thing could animate the dead.... How can you be sure that it couldn't infiltrate a living human host? How can we be sure that we're not taking something back to the rest of the girls?"

I stepped forward. "We're alive."

They stepped back from me, too quick for comfort, stopping my ascent. As a matter of fact everyone stepped away from each other. I looked to the three standing against us, Buffy, Will and Xander and looked to the accused me, Vi, Amy and Libby.

They stared and I stared back, my lips starting to curl up at the sides.

Chapter 2

I laughed it off, well I tried to but anger got the best of me. "You got to be kidding me!" I yelled, becoming pissed off. "After all we've went through, after all we've lost, you want to put more distance between us." I stepped forward.

"Faith...." She held her hand up, telling me to stop, come no further, adding, "surely, you know it's better to be safe than sorry."

"I got your fucking sorry!" I growled out, stepping closer. The others joined in, becoming angry, yelling comments of their own. "Do I look like a fucking monster? What about Rhona, you're doing this and she's at the bottom of the ocean. I just want to go home." They advanced alongside me, screaming, tears and emotions boiling over.

She pulled a gun and pointed it at us, stopping my forward momentum, my rant, stopping theirs. I stared into her eyes. "Buffy, you're pointing a gun at me."

Tears flooded from her eyes. "I'm sorry Faith. We have to do what's best for the group as a whole..... you get that right? You're all acting..... scary. Just stop it, please, just stop." She asked, voice straining.

I nodded, looking at the others. I get it, I really do. I looked to her, relenting. "Sorry, I wasn't trying to scare you, any of you." I stated, shaking my head. I turned from her, walking silently toward the van, hurt, feelings of betrayal flowing through every pore. Then it hit me, that familiar pang, a presence. I stopped, searching the surrounding area, seeing nothing but feeling some kind of current.

The others' accused passed me, climbing into the back of the van, the noise breaking me from my search. I started to climb in, stopped, turned to face her, them. "Just something to think about. We've been all over each other." I motioned back and forth between B and myself. "How do you know I didn't slip her a little something other than a tongue?" I arched a brow, smirking, turned my back to them, taking a seat.

I felt the seat shift and looked into a pair of glaring eyes. I eyed her up and down, feeling her anger hit against me. "Burns, huh?" I asked, amused as she folded her arms over her chest and faced front.

I looked to Vi, Amy and Libby, who exchanged half smiles with me. I had to admit that it felt good. I laughed in spite of myself, looked into B's eyes, smiled, gave her a wink. "Better safe than sorry." I nodded. She finally nodded, looking at the ground.

The ride back to Angel's was extremely long, everyone was quiet, not talking, not knowing what to say to each other. I had my body plastered up against the side of the van, looking out the window. I was still upset, a feeling I didn't think would go away anytime soon.

I ended up getting some mock stitches as our wounds were checked, doctored and cared for. I also ended up singing for Lorne, we all did, only we went one further, we lined up everybody, checking just to be sure. I might not have liked it but I knew, it had to be done. It was a mild inconvenience now but if left unchecked could prove to be devastating at a later time.

So I sang, was cleared and left to find a room. I needed privacy, a place to think, vent, cry, a place to be alone so I could maybe find some kind of peace of mind.

It wasn't long before I heard a familiar knock at the door. I turned from my position on the window sill, sighing, not ready to deal with this or have the conversation that was sure to come. I ignored the knock and turned away from the door when I heard it slowly open, ignoring her presence as she entered my sanctuary.

"Hey." She said.

She stepped closer, demanding my attention. "I'm sorry..... I was just scared and I had to do what was best for everyone, the same as I'd expect you to do. It kind of happened quicker than I could think about it." She lowered her eyes.

She touched my arm. "Talk to me Faith, don't just shut me out. I love you, you know I do."

I looked straight into her eyes saying, " and a gun to the head says it so much better than a hallmark."

She lowered her eyes, whispering, "no. Can I explain?" She asked.

I blew out a breath, got off the window sill, secured the window, made my way to the bed and laid back against the pillows. "No need. I got it the first go round, really, I understand. If faced with the same thing, the way we acted, against those things on the island.... I'd of done the same thing, I wouldn't have had a choice. I just didn't and still don't like it.... But I do get it."

She eased her way over, sitting on the bed, her hands making their way to my flesh, to connect. "You still love me?" She asked lowly.

I looked at her nodding. "Yeah, I always have, probably always will. It's just... everytime I think we're doing so good, something bad happens and I just don't want to live my life feeling like some kind of a damned yo yo. It makes me question everything we've accomplished and takes me back to when we were kids. I just wanted more than some kind of love/hate relationship. I want something real. I don't know if I can do this, it hurts too much when things go wrong. I have some doubts now and I just need time to think on them.

"Oh." She said. "I guess I should leave you alone to think then."

I blew out a harsh breath. "Honestly, with my track record..... I think leaving me alone would only make those doubts and insecurities grow into something uncontrollable." I smiled up at her.

She half smiled, moving closer. "We couldn't have that now could we."

I nodded, signifying no.

She stretched out beside me, draping herself across me, holding me.

I finally wrapped my arms around her, pulling her tight against me as a stray tear finally broke free from my eyes.

"Shhh." She soothed, kissing the tear away, whispering words, promises, things to come, our eyes locked, breathing became sparse as she gazed into my eyes. Her touches blazed over my skin like fire, searching, learning, marking me forever. I moved to stop her exploration. "Please." She whispered. I let her hand go, watched her eyes shut as she internally mapped me out. Relenting, I melted against her touch, my lips softly brushing against her skin as she peeled away our layers, barriers, leaving us exposed, open.

I relaxed against her, her touch becoming eager, bold, sexual, my rigidness fading away with every stroke against my skin, body, soul. I stared through the window, out into the night as she found a rhythm against me . Bolder, faster, her breaths gasping out, pushing me to a high I hadn't known in a long time. It felt as if the night itself coursed through my veins, dancing, echoing, throbbing. I closed my eyes against the feeling, the pull and held on tighter.

Breaths broke free, sighing out against the darkness, she moved against me, breathed into me, pushing me further, tendrils of electricity hit every nerve ending. I joined her, moving against her, feeling, touching, teasing, rocking against her rhythm, tasting her lips. We moved in unison, needing, wanting, pushing each other further along.

My eyes caught the light of the moon and burned bright, my heart raced. I dug my nails into her skin, pushed my fingers into and against her harder, my friction growing stronger second by second, building until it overflowed. I gasped out and as quickly as the feeling came it went. I shuddered, my breaths falling from my body labored and quick.

I continued moving against her, watching her face through the darkness, feeling her breaths gasp out against my lips and neck, faster, harder, her body finally shuddering, quaking, quickening, then falling against me, her lips brushing against mine as breaths broke free.

We stilled, fingers laced, hearts thundering.

Chapter 3

"I'm not gonna stay locked up here waiting to die! You don't own me. You can't tell me what to do! I do what I want, when I want and I don't want to be here."

"There's nowhere to run. You can't hide from this. Look around."

"I'm looking...that's why I want the fuck out! Me too. I want to go too!"

"Buffy... Faith." A loud knock accompanied the voice on the other side of the door.

"What are you telling them for? They don't own us, they're not my mother. Would you just shut up for a minute. Make me, you're so bad!"

"Buffy,.... Faith!" The knocking persisted.

My eyes fluttered open. I glanced down to the form draped over me, hair strewn haphazardly over my frame. I nudged her, " someone's at the door." "Uh huh." She mumbled, saying, "be quiet, maybe they'll go away."

The yelling grew louder, accompanied by crashing objects. I winced as someone or something got thrown up against the wall.

The knocking grew more persistent, our names still being yelled. Without warning the door swung open, crashing back against the wall.

"You didn't lock the door." I mumbled.

"Guess not." She replied.

"Are you guys having sex?"

"If we were would you leave?" I breathed out.

Giles burst in through the doorway, stopped, taking in the view. "Oh good lord. What's going on in here?" He questioned.

Buffy raised her head up, looking at him, saying, "nothing really, they're just watching us have sex."

"Breast!" He pointed, lowered his eyes and started fidgiting with his glasses.

She looked. "Oh!" She said, immediately bringing her hand up, latching it directly over my exposed breast, covering my nakedness.

I watched her eyes widen and her face flush as she realized what she just did. "Heard Giles in the background, "Dear Lord." Heard as the room got awkwardly silent. She lowered her head, hand still firmly planted over me, pushing her face into my flesh, her heated features heating up my skin.

I got impatient. "Is there something that you all want or are you just gonna stand there all day gawking at us?" I spat out, annoyance lacing every word.

"Oh yes..." Giles stated, immediately ushering the girls out.

I cut in. "Short version please."

He cleared his throat. "We've had a calling card and some of the girls are trying to run, we've tried to stop them and fighting ensued.

Buffy answered, her face still hidden, voice muffled. "We'll be there in a minute."

He nodded, backing out the door, coming back in to pull the door closed behind him.

"Are they gone?" She asked.

"Yep." I answered laughing. "I can't believe you felt me up in front of everybody."

She raised her head, looking right into my face, scrunching it up, "I know." She half laughed, putting her head back against me, mumbling. "We'd better go before they come back." I gave her a nudge to get us going.

We finally made it downstairs, stopping as the source of the arguments came into view. Writing adorned the walls. I made out the large dripping red letters. ' You belong to me.'

I walked over to the writing, a feeling of dread crawling up my back. I reached out touching the paint. "Angel." I stated, asking for answers with just one word.

He stepped forward, nodding. "It's blood."

I turned yelling, "do a head count. I want everyone accounted for!"

I looked to B, "Call home, put them on the alert, better yet, safety in numbers." She nodded and ran to make the calls.

I looked to Angel. "Everybody sang, right?"

"Yeah, every last one, my crew included." He answered.

"Damn it... It's here..... We let it off that island." I breathed out, disgusted.

"You don't know that yet, don't jump to conclusions." He looked at me, offering me his strength.

I looked deeply into his troubled eyes, saw the hurt and pain dancing in them, realization hit home. "I'm sorry Angel..."

He interrupted me, "no need to be. It was inevitable.... Just be happy." I nodded.

Shouts cut our talk short. Xander ran up to me, out of breath. One missing, your girl Jayme, she's gone."

A scream cut through the air.

Chill bumps raised up along my skin. I ran down the hallway toward the scream, pushed through the people blocking my path. I slowed, moving past the girls who were crying, ignoring their pleas and up to the now closed door.

I breathed in, sturdied myself, felt as B stepped up beside me.

We pushed open the door.

"Jayme." I whispered, closing my eyes.

Chapter 4

I opened my eyes slowly, stepping inside the room, only pausing long enough to whisper to Angel, "get these girls out of here."

I looked around, looking everywhere except at Jayme. The window was locked, only one way in or out, no signs of a struggle that I could see.

My eyes locked on the blood pooling on the floor, slowly I looked up, taking in the full effect. She was suspended from the ceiling, upside down, her arms dangling from the force of gravity.

I felt the others enter behind us, stopping in disbelief, shock, sorrow. "How'd she get so high up?" I asked myself.

I studied Jayme, took in every inch, memorized it, filed it away for keeps, someone or some thing would play for this. Her feet were tied together by a rope and strung through the rafters, her throat slit. She was slaughtered, hung like a pig and butchered.

I turned to Giles. "Find out where Vi, Amy and Libby were, better yet, find out where everybody was." I barked out orders, turned to look at B. "I was with you all night, right?" She nodded yes. "Are you sure?" I asked again.

She moved closer, touching my arm. "I slept on top of you, I'm sure." I blew out a nervous breath.

"What do you think?" I asked, looking to her for answers.

She looked around. "Inside job or maybe she let it or them in." She shrugged her shoulders.

I shook my head, growing agitated. "She wouldn't let in a monster B, she was having problems with the whole slayer gig, she was scared to death. She wouldn't have opened a door or window for just anyone. It had to be someone she knew." I walked back and forth a bit, rubbing my temple, stopping abruptly. "the ones missing, with the exception of Kelly, Beth and Rhona, cause we know they're dead but the others, we don't really know if they're dead or not, I mean, its not like its easy to tell if one of them is infected or whatever, they look normal, they just stare at you and grin cause they know they're fixing to get a meal. It could have been one or more of the unaccounted girls. How else could the boat have gotten back? Who else would she have let in, except for us or some of the other girls?"

Buffy walked closer to Jayme, looking for a sign, a clue. "Don't get too close." I warned.

"Xander." I called. He walked over, his eyes avoiding the gastly scene. "How many did you count earlier?" I asked. He took in a deep breath, "not counting us, twelve girls." He answered. I nodded, adding, "count them again." He left quickly, herding all the girls into the lounge area.

I looked to Angel. "Any suggestions?" I asked.

He shook his head no, saying, "other than you two stay here, clean up, secure the house. I'll hit the streets, see if I can find out anything."

I looked to B. "B, get back, its not...." The body moved fast, feverish, cutting my words short. I started to move, little too late. Its hands jerked outward in a blur, grabbing Buffy by the head, pulling her closer by her hair. Her feet slipped in the blood and she went down. It started lifting her up toward its mouth.

"Buffy!" I yelled.

I ran, drawing back my fist, grabbing hold of Buffy, righting her, hitting at it, connecting between its eyes repeatedly until it loosened its hold.

Jayme stilled, then quickly lurched for us, a sick smile playing over her face. "You can't win. I made you." Her animation quickly ended, she was gone again, hopefully this time for good.

Sirens cut through the air. Angel ran in. "One of the newbies freaked out and called the cops." He sighed. "She's just a scared kid." We all looked to each other, with a 'what now' expression.

The cops took over, took Jayme, pictures, names, addresses, came pretty close to taking me. Thank God I had an alibi, one that had to be stressed more times than either of us felt comfortable with, lets face it, if it weren't for B and her can do attitude I'd be one sorry assed ex con.

Hours later we piled into the lounge. "Xan, what was the head count?" I questioned.

"Eleven, not counting Jayme." He answered.

I closed my eyes, took a breath before continuing, " so she let it in." I looked at the girls. "Did anyone see Jill, Holly, Ashley, Melissa or Sherry?" I asked.

Just about everyone raised their hands.

"Damn it!" I yelled, walking away, punching the wall. "How could we be so stupid?"

"Faith, we didn't know, we can't blame ourselves for what happened, we can only try to make sure it doesn't happen again." B moved closer, wrapping her arms around my torso. "They're killing my girls B." I choked out. She pulled me tighter. " I know, mine too. Lets fix it so that no more die." I agreed.

I turned to Vi. "Make sure they know everything, if those girls show up again, you know what to do." She nodded, adding, "I'm not sure I can....."

Giles stepped up. "I'll take care of it." He said lowly.

"Come on Buffy, lets go." I said. She looked at me confused. I sighed. "We've got to make sure Jayme doesn't walk again."

"Be careful." Giles said as we were leaving.

We sat in the shadows waiting for everyone to leave the local morgue, quiet and dread filled the void. When time came we broke in through a back window easy enough and after some trial and error we finally found the vault. It was cold, our breaths visable in the moist air. Bodies adorned the area, laid out on slabs, covered in plastic.

Slowly we moved inside, checking the tags, one after the other, sleek and stealthy.

Finally, "Got her." B called out.

I looked to B, then noticed our surroundings. " Uh...are you sure it's not us that's been got?" I asked.

She looked at me, then peered around the room, her eyes growing wider.

The bodies moved, sitting straight up.

Chapter 5

"Shit!" Buffy spat out.

I looked at her, dumbfounded. "What, you thought it was going to be easy?" I questioned.

She stared back, "well, actually, yeah, I kinda did."

I looked around the room then back to her. "Run?" I questioned.

"Oh yeah." She replied, nodding.

We ran through the bodies, pushing our way out, knocking things over right and left. If I hadn't of been scared, I would've laughed, those things looked like mimes trying to find their way out of a box and the best part was that they were so wrapped up.... We didn't even have to fight them. Thank God for plastic!

We burst through the door, me running head on into the beast. I bounced back, steadied myself, lunged, pushing my fist hard, fast, into its face.

His head rocked backwards, snapping back. He growled, lashing out, knocking me backwards so hard that I crashed through the door, landing in a heap on the floor.

"Slayer." He growled, stepping closer to Buffy.

She resumed a ready stance. "What do you want?" She asked through gritted teeth.

He smiled moving closer. "Only what's mine." He stated, his voice rumbling like thunder.

She tightened her fist. "Quit with the cryptic, what do you want?" She spat out, voice full of anger and annoyance.

Closer he came. "I want what was taken from me and given to you." His breath floated across her face and body, making her shiver.

I got up, saw that the formerly walking dead had... well died and focused on the beast. My anger flowed through my veins, giving me a huge adrenaline dump. I tore back through the doorway, snarling. "Back away from her!" I growled, low, feral.

He looked at me laughing, waving me off. "This is none of your concern, it's between me and the slayer." His eyes burned into me, trying to push me back but only angered me more.

I stepped forward, sizing him up. "You got a problem with the slayers, then you got a problem with me." I said, moving in.

His laugh shook the walls. "You?" His look turned to one of repulsion. "You're nothing but a half breed. Look at you."

His words stopped me cold. Then I felt the change that he was referring to. I noticed a darkened hue on my hands, felt something surging through me, felt the subtle sharpness of all my senses, felt my adrenaline building beyond a normal capacity. I looked to B, who's eyes gave away what he said as truth.

"Brethren." He whispered, repulsed by his own words.

I moved closer, drawing back. "Faith!" Buffy's voice cut through my haze of anger. "Don't ." She whispered. I backed off, moving to the side. He smiled at me, mocking.

"What do you want?" She asked again.

Anger flushed his features. "I want my power back!" He screamed out.

"How?" She yelled back. "By killing us all one by one?"

"If need be." He smiled again.

"How?" She questioned again.

He smiled, moving closer. "It won't be easy. I can't just take it back.... I must win my power back."

"That's it." She stated. "You want a fight and if you win you get your power back....and we lose the slayer legacy, right?" She asked.

He nodded confirming.

She continued. "If we win, everything stays the same?"

He shrugged. "Undetermined. If you win, things will most likely remain as they are, if you lose you'll be lucky to live." He laughed lowly.

What if we won't fight you?" She asked.

"We?" He questioned. "You are the leader, it's your power you divided, these others only exist because of you. Take back what's yours and fight me." He growled out, challenging.

"What if I won't fight?" She asked again.

He laughed, his eyes darkening. Then I'll kill everyone, slowly, painfully, one by one, until you're all that's left. Trust me, you'll want to fight me. You have three days, after that no one will be safe."

"Where?" She asked.

"You'll know." He laughed out, turning to leave us.

I watched as he left, felt the need to do the same so I headed for the exit, wanting to get away from all of this shit.

"Faith." She called out, running after me.

I kept walking.

"Faith... what about Jayme? We came here to do a job." She called out.

I turned, not stopping. "Do you really think it will matter B. It's obvious he can control the dead... All of them. I've wasted enough of my time." I picked up my pace, my anger still firm in place.

She ran after me, grabbing my arm, stopping me, looking firmly into my eyes. "Why didn't you say something? Why didn't you tell me something was happening to you, that you might be changing?"

"I didn't think I was." I jerked my arm away from her, turned, walking away. I stopped turning back to her. "What did you see, what did I look like, what?" I asked.

She walked closer. "Well you had a little darkening thing going on, kind of like Illyria, just subtle hues, especially your eyes. You looked.... Like you could take names and kick ass."

"Then why did you call me off, you made me feel like nothing.... Like I'm a second. I'm a slayer B, regardless of what type of blood I have flowing through me, I'm a slayer." I breathed heavily, the weight of those words held down far too long.

She nodded. "I know. I've just been fighting so long by myself that I forget."

I nodded. "I get that... been there myself."

She moved closer, changing the subject. "About you, are you done.... Changing?" She asked low, not wanting to upset me.

"Well, yeah, all I basically seem to have got was a heightened sense and a bigger adrenaline rush. It's not like I'm gonna sprout a tail out of my ass or anything." I shot out.

She smiled. "Shame, nothing wrong with a little tail."

I smiled in shock and disbelief, shaking my head at her.

Chapter 6

We walked back to Angels' in silence. I had a lot on my mind... I mean, my very existence was being questioned. If I wasn't a slayer, what was I? Without the legacy I was nothing. It's the only thing I ever had that made me special and yeah I took it for granted, abused it but I endured, got over and became what I was meant to be, the kind of person I was supposed to be.

I guess B could hear my internal battle, she touched my arm, drawing me close to her. She didn't speak, she just waited for me to come to her. Finally, I spoke up. "I'm still a slayer." I said matter of factly.

"Without a doubt." She added, nodding.

I looked at her, hard, trying to see if there was anything she wasn't saying before continuing. "It's just that he said I wasn't, that I didn't matter" I scrunched up my face, creasing my forehead, his words still burning inside of me. "He called me that name and it stung like an insult or something"

She looked at me, comforting me with her touch and her smile. " I don't think the word itself was the insult, I think it was the way he said it." She squeezed my arm.

I nodded, thinking about what she said. As we approached Angels' place, I slowed. "You're not going to tell them about me are you?" I asked.

She sighed, stopping to look me in the eyes. "I think it's best if we tell everything, at least to Giles and Angel, it might help in the long run. Don't worry about it, let's just go in and deal with it head on." She tugged me along.

I sat quietly watching them listen to Buffy, watching their faces, their actions, reactions, saw them glance at me from the corners of their eyes, refusing to look at me head on. I should've known that when B started talking her bucket wouldn't hold water. I looked to Angel, he smiled as only he could, offering me reassurance with his eyes.

Finally the tactical talks began, options, what they were, how many. I sat there still, quiet until one stung me out of my passiveness.

"What?" I jumped up, almost yelling. "You can't be serious.... You can't strip all of us of our power!" My voice rising with my temper.

Giles spoke up. "It's an option, that's all." He turned away from me, as if I didn't matter, as if what I thought wasn't worthy.

I was still upset, the thought alone was too much. I stepped closer. "Still, it's not smart. These girls can't fight it without strength... and even if you strip our powers, giving them to B, who's to say that she won't get into trouble and need help.... And guess what.....there won't be anyone there that can help her." I waited a few seconds. "And what about me, huh? I wasn't given my power by default.... I was chosen. You can't take that away from me!" I stated adamently.

Giles became frustrated. "It's not up to you. You don't seem to be involved in this." He disliked his choice of words the moment he heard them echo back to him.

"Not involved." I repeated. "I'm not involved?" I asked more like a statement than a question. I just stood there staring at them.

Giles decided to continue. "The beast wants Buffy, it's only natural that she should decide." He looked at me, not wanting to meet my eyes.

"Buffy should decide?" I repeated his words again, mainly to make sure I'd heard what I thought I did. "So I'm out? I don't get a say in this?" I questioned.

Giles became upset. "For God's sake girl, people are dead. It's up to us. We gave them their power, it's ours to take back. We'll do whatever we feel is the best course of action, regardless of your thoughts. So unless you have something beneficial to add, we have work to do and important matters to decide."

I stepped up closer, anger taking me over.

"Faith." Angel called. I looked to him and he shook his head at me.

I breathed out slowly a few times, getting control of myself before I continued. "It can't beat all of us. If anything, have Red hide our power, making it look like B got hers all back. We'll surprise him and take him down. There's power in numbers." I said low, through clenched teeth.

Giles nodded. "That's an interesting theory, we'll consider the option."

I huffed. "Consider this." I flipped him a finger, turned and slammed the door on my way out.

I heard the door shut behind me as I was halfway down the steps.

"Faith..... wait. Please." She called out, coming after me.

I turned. "Oh now you wanna say something. Why didn't you speak up in there? Back me up.... Something... anything?" I yelled.

She looked at me, frustration playing across her face. "I wanted you to stick up for yourself. You always just sit back and take shit, thinking you deserve it because of your past. You can't back down from what you believe just because you think you owe everyone. You paid your dues and that's a lot more than the rest of us did." She smiled at me. "I was proud of you in there, worried, yeah but mostly proud; not only did you kind of stand up to Giles, you came up with a good plan." She gingerly took my hands in hers, moving closer. "You might need to work a little bit on the flying finger thing you have going on but other than that, you're doing well. We'll do what's best for all of us, I promise. So come back and let's do this, together." She gave me a brilliant smile, leading me back to the door.

As the door closed, I felt an old familiar feeling come over me, a feeling that reminded me why I didn't do relationships. I felt trapped.

Chapter 7

I followed B back into the lions den. They all just looked at me quietly, keeping their reservations and opinions to themselves. I looked at the toes of my boots until B pulled me into a sitting position next to her on the sofa.

"So what do we have?" B asked, placing her hand on the top of my thigh.

Giles looked up, acknowledging her. "Well, not much, just the same two options as before. We can reverse the previous spell or we can try to pull a hoax on the demon like Faith suggested. That's basically all we have at the moment and I think that'll be our only two courses of action." He finally looked into my eyes before focusing back on Buffy.

I scooted closer toward the edge of the sofa, determined to include myself in the discussion. Turning to Red, I asked. "Can you do it?"

"Of course she can." I looked into the faces of the two new players, Kennedy and Dawn. Ken went right over to Willow enveloping her in a hug. "Not a problem."

Dawn immediately sat near B, getting and giving a sisterly hug before asking, "What's the plan?"

I blew out a breath, turning my head to the side. For some reason, I didn't think that I'd be the only one throwing a fit.

At least Red was smart, she had enough sense to escort Ken off to another room. It didn't take long before I heard the screaming. "What? Have you bumped your fucking head?" Then came the slamming of a door, their voices now muffled but still loud enough to echo out their disagreement.

I clapped my hands together, trying to draw their attention away from the argument, but
actually I was glad I wasn't the only one who didn't like one of the options. I blew out a breath, asking, " so.. did you find out anything about this demon, maybe weaknesses or something?" I asked looking to Giles, trying to ignore the argument a few rooms over.

Giles looked at me, relieved it seemed. "My contacts in England are going through old texts to try to find some useful information and just to be on the safe side, we're taking turns watching the perimeter, so we should be able to see if something's coming."

I nodded. "Maybe we should get a good nights sleep, discuss battle plans tomorrow morning." I added. "It's been a long day."

They all agreed, slowly departing to their rooms. I looked to B. "You ready?"

We got up and she slowly pulled me over to the side, whispering, "I think I should stay with Dawn, just to be safe." She held my gaze.

"Yeah, right." I stated. "You should, I don't know what I was thinking." I half smiled, slightly embarrassed for forgetting about the kid. "You want me to walk you up?" I asked.

She smiled, nodding. Our hands laced together as we slowly made our way to the room. Once there Buffy spoke up. "Dawn, why don't you go on in, I'll be in in a few." Dawn just gave us a 'yeah, as if' look and went into the room.

I leaned back against the wall as she walked closer to me. "You okay with everything?" She asked.

I sighed. "Well either way it sucks.... And I'm in full agreement with Ken on this... I mean regardless of whatever happens, I don't want my power messed with. It's all I have."

"It's not all you have." She said, a broad smile covering her face.

I moved just a bit closer to her, whispering, "what else do I have?"

She brought her face inches away from mine, her body softly falling against me. "Me." She whispered.

I slowly moved toward her lips, descending with purpose until I met her soft flesh. She moaned softly into my mouth as she returned the kiss.

"Ewww." Dawn burst out into the hallway. "I'm NOT sleeping in there." She pointed into the room, scrunching up her nose. "Tell me those sheets aren't sexed up.... Tell me." She said louder than necessary.

Buffy slowly pulled her lips from mine, looking at Dawn. "We can change the sheets." She said.

Dawn widened her eyes. "So not the point." She said, still loud.

"Just go in the room, I'll fix it." Buffy stated lowly, between gritted teeth.

She shrugged at me. "Kids.......I'd better go. You gonna be alright?" She asked.

I smiled. "Yeah, I'll just get another room and see you in the morning." I closed the door behind her and made my way to an empty room.

To say I was restless was an understatement. After what seemed like hours but was actually minutes of tossing and turning I finally fell into a fitful sleep. Dreams plagued my mind, haunting yet real.

I woke up wringing wet, trying to get up but only managing to fall to the floor clutching my chest, hardly able to pull in a breath. The paralysis lasted a few minutes before I was able to move or breathe freely again. I looked to the clock, it'd been two hours. "No." I whispered, pulling on some clothes as fast as I could.

I heard crying, yelling, confusion as I threw open my door. I ran out into the hall, blinked a few times as I took in the chaos. I started to run to the lounge area but slipped on something. I got up checking myself, only to notice that I'd slipped on blood coming out from underneath a door.

I walked to the door, pushing it open. There hung another girl, a note attached to her body. I read it before discarding it to the floor. The beast knew our plans.

I ran downstairs, searching. I didn't have to hunt long. I could hear Ken talking loudly, her displeasure apparent in her tone and her teared up eyes, clearly upset over what had recently transpired. I walked closer, took in the scene before me. 'Willow surrounded by herbs, candles, all cast inside a circle. Reality hit me hard. "You stripped our powers didn't you? Didn't you?" I yelled.

Buffy ran over to me. "Faith, we didn't have a choice, we couldn't keep the demon out. He knew about the plan to trick him and killed another girl, he gave us a matter of minutes to do this before he killed someone else. We just didn't have a choice." She sounded as if she were pleading with me to understand.

"Why didn't you come and get me?" I asked but it sounded more like an accusation than a question.

She lowered her eyes. "It happened so fast. We didn't have a lot of time, no one knew what room you were in, there just wasn't any time, not enough to find you." She admitted.

I nodded, "but you had enough time to involve ken?" I asked, not waiting to receive an answer. I turned from her, leaving.

"Faith." I kept walking. "Faith, she was sleeping in the room with Willow, if she hadn't of been there she wouldn't have been included." I kept walking.

"Faith." She called. " I need you here to help me."

I stopped, turning to face her. "No you don't. You got everything and everyone you need. Me, I need some air." I turned again, walking through the door.


"Faith! Don't leave. We need you... I need you."


Chapter 8



I ran out after her, grabbing her by the arm, stopping her retreat. "No." I said. "I can't do this without you."

She rounded on me, her eyes flashing hurt, anger and a glimmer of something new to me..... abandonment. She pulled her arm away from my touch, her words cutting me deeply. "But.. you already did B. You already did what you felt you had to do and it didn't once include me. This is my life you're playing with. It might not be much but when the shit hits the fan and I'm all alone, it's all I got." She started to walk away again, stopped, turned and came back continuing full force. "You know what....you give your little speech about wanting me to stand up, move beyond, trust myself so that others will trust me too..... well that's pretty rich coming from you. You shoot your mouth off at all the others about how much I've changed, that they should trust me and you...you know what you do?......You show them that you don't even trust me yourself."

I steadied myself. "You know what Faith. You are wrong." I said it slowly and deliberately, wanting the words to sink in. "I tell you what, you go, get your air, whatever you need. I'm trusting you to come back, trusting you not to bail on me, trusting you to help me through this. I'm not the only one with issues here, we both are....... Me for remembering and you for not forgetting."

The words hit home, sunk in, her temper deflated. She closed her eyes, nodding.

I moved closer. "Talk to me." I whispered.

She looked at me, her eyes glassy and brimming with tears. Finally she spoke, her voice low and shaky. "Everything just seems to cut me. Words. Actions. I can't help it. I always feel inadequate. Everyone else has always had the power, the strength to bend me to their will and it hurt, it still hurts. I don't want to fight, hell I don't even want to argue. I just want to be included and I never have been, not really." She took in a deep breath before continuing. "I just want to finally have some kind of control over what happens to me. I want to be treated like your equal not like your charge."

I sighed, getting her to make eye contact with me. "Okay." I said.

"Okay?" She asked, confused.

I smiled at her. "Okay as in okay, I hear what you're saying and I agree.. and I admit that I fall a little short when it comes to your needs."

"You do?" She stated, disbelief playing over her features and in her tone.

I nodded. "So from now on when I fall short....you remind me. Do whatever you need to get my attention and make me hear you."

She finally laughed, easing the moment. I moved closer to her, trying to touch her again. "So do you still need some air?" I asked.

We were interrupted. "Buffy." Giles called, beckoning me over to him. I turned in mid stride, silently asking her to come with.

"Go ahead." She said, giving me a wave, her way of telling me to go on.

I walked up to Giles, "Willow needs to talk with you." He moved aside letting me into the house.

"Faith, could I talk to you." He asked.

She moved closer. "Yeah."

He looked at her hard. "I need to say something and I don't want you to take it the wrong way." He thought for a minute before continuing. "Buffy's got a lot going on, a lot to think about and don't get me wrong, I'm not concerned one bit about the two of you, that's your business, as long as she's happy.... however, you're very distracting at the moment, needy and you're interfering with her focus and she's got to focus for this, otherwise.....you understand what I'm getting at, right?" He asked.

"Yeah." She said. "Loud and clear." She added, entering the house.

I saw her come inside and I motioned her over to us. I looked back to Willow, finally hearing what she was talking about. "so I think someone should go home, get the hammer, scythe and this list of things that I'll need."

Faith spoke up too quickly. "I'll go, just tell me where they are and I'll get them."

I looked at her, surprise and disbelief dancing in my eyes. "Faith, are you sure you want to go get these things? It's not a problem if we send one of the newer girls." I searched her eyes, trying to read what was running through her mind.

She shook her head no. "Nah, I'm good. I could use a breather, let you get into battle mode. I think the weapons are a good idea, they'll come in handy and we'll need the extra strength." She half smiled, then frowned, asking. "So.. you didn't need the scythe to work that spell?"

She looked to Willow who shook her head no.

I watched as she smirked, her eyes flashing mischief. "I'm impressed." She smiled lopsidedly. "Maybe you can show me a few things, well I have one thing I'd like to learn when you have the time." She explained.

Faith immediately looked at me, grabbed me, pulling me into a big hug. "I better go." She said. She disentangled herself from me and walked out the door.

I walked into the lounge, looked at everyone, set my shoulders. "I don't want anyone giving Faith anymore grief. Is that understood? She's here, She's a part of us and that's the end of the discussion. Any questions, complaints or concerns?" I asked, quickly adding, "Good!"

Angel came into where we were, I glanced at him, waiting. "She's taken care of." He said. I nodded understanding that he took care of the newly slain slayer. "Probably be best if everyone camped out in here, with one or more keeping watch." He added.

I nodded. "Good idea." I looked him in the eyes. "I'm gonna need you, Willow and Illyria as my backup. You three are the strongest line of defense after me. Second line will be, Faith, Vi and Kennedy, they'll have the use of the special weapons. Giles, you'll have the third line, spells, incantations, whatever will help us." He nodded. "If it doesn't look good for me, I want Willow to pass out the power again, give these girls a fighting chance, so you'll have to keep her in the clear." I looked at their faces, all solemn, quiet. "Any idea where the fight will take place?" I asked.

Angel spoke up. "Rules of engagement. He threw the gauntlet, you pick the place."

I walked around thinking. "Well, I think that mound at Fountain park would be the ideal place, its out of the way, that'll keep outsiders from being in the mix." I stated, shrugging. "Besides, if he wants to play king of the hill, might as well play it right."

I looked to Xander. "Now that we have a place and are in the know, I want you to scout ahead, set up anything that'll give me an edge." He nodded. "I'm on it."

I smiled. "We're going to kick this things ass."

Chapter 9

I left quickly, looked over my driving options, not much style wise. You'd think the hero's of the world would get better cars. I had a choice of old, older or prehistoric. I sighed, looking over the cars. Something covered up in the corner caught my eye. I flippantly unveiled it. It was Wesley's motorcycle from his rogue watcher days. I smiled, throwing my leg over the beast, bringing it to life. "Lets get in the game Wes." I softly patted the bike before taking off.

I pulled into the nearest station, that strange forboding feeling coming over me again. I peered around as I filled the tank with gas. I felt chill bumps prickling up all over me, the fine hairs at the base of my neck became electric, standing on end. I capped the tank, looking into the dark. Seeing nothing I backed away, turning, coming face to face with her. I pulled in a sharp breath, startled.

"You!" I stated/asked, excited and fearful all at once.

"Faith." Her voice echoed around me. She brought her hand up, caressing my cheek.

I found myself smiling at her. "You've been following me since the fire?" I asked. "Why?" I questioned.

She smiled back. " I wanted to see what you were. You're not normal, what are you?" She asked in a low voice.

I laughed. "A slayer." She looked confused so I elaborated. "One born to fight the darkness....A champion." I smiled, looking at her, asking, "and you?"

Her eyes burned into mine. "Same as you, only now I have a few extra attributes. I heal quickly, I'm stronger, faster and my senses are amplified."

I nodded, telling, "mine too. I seem to sense you so I guess we're connected in some way." I looked hard at her, remembering her words to me. "I guess you're not the last of your kind anymore?" I added feeling way to comfortable with this stranger.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Selene." She said, her voice seeming to vibrate through me.

I looked at her, questioning. "And we're.... Brethren?"

She shook her head. "No... we're blood."

I looked up at her, hard, fast, my eyes boring into hers, the weight of her words becoming clear, making sense.

I shook myself out of my current shock, remembering what I was supposed to be doing. "I have some important errands to run." I looked at her as I straddled the bike, paying the attendant. "Come on." I said, motioning to the bike.

She smiled, getting on. As she settled in I revved the bike to life, heading for home.

We rode in silence all the way to the house, the dark masking us, a natural camouflage. I parked the bike off from the house,using the shrubbery to hide our arrival.

I crouched down low. "You feel that?" I whispered.

She nodded, whispering. "Yes." Raising her eyebrow, she asked, "errand huh?" She smirked.

"Tell me about it." I whispered back, a smirk adorning my features.

"You got a weapon?" I asked, watching the perimeter. She held up a gun, a big gun. "You?" She asked.

I sighed. "Even if I did it wouldn't do much good right now, I'm kind of running on empty here." I shrugged at her. "Besides I've never needed one before. I'm the weapon."

"You think?" She asked amused.

I looked at her dumbfounded. "We're fixing to find out." I said, getting ready to make a run for the house. "Come on."

We ran, crouched down, low, keeping to the shadows. That prickly feeling rising the closer we got. I ran up the steps, fumbling my key into the lock, opening the door, letting us in.

I closed the door behind us. "Hi Faith." They said. Their smiles evident in their tone.

I turned, my stomach churning. "Hey girls." I said, my voice void of all emotion.

We all stood deathly still, not moving, not breathing, waiting, watching each other.

"What do you want?" I finally asked.

"You." They laughed.

I stepped back, putting my weight on my back foot, getting ready. "Well I am a yummy treat." I smirked, agreeing at least halfly with them.

They moved quickly, Selene moved quicker. She pulled her gun firing, taking each one down with precision.

"Damn." I muttered, handing her Red's list of goodies, pointing her in the direction to get them.

I ran into the storage room, throwing open the weapons chest, grabbing up the weapons. "Where's the hammer?" I asked myself.

"Here." The voice said.

I turned taking a harsh blow to the head. I flew backwards, crashing through furniture, my face and head bleeding profusely from where the hammer struck me.

I tried to get up, tried to focus but my eyes were playing tricks on me, they had to be playing tricks on me.

She ran closer, knocking me flat on the floor, her hands clasping around my throat.

"Andie." I choked out.

She became furious, her demon visage coming out full force. "Don't say my name.... You don't have the right. You left me alone, took my family, took my life and now.... Now you're mine." She squeezed tighter.

I felt myself losing consciousness just as the weight was lifted off of me. I coughed, struggling to breathe. I batted my eyes numerously, trying to focus my blurred vision.

Stumbling to my feet, I made my way closer to my attacker, seeing her clearly for the first time, I felt sorry for her. Selene had pinned her to the wall, she hung limply, growling in pain.

"Andie." I whispered.

She morphed back into the girl I once knew, the family I once had, the family I watched destroyed. "Faith, it hurts, please let me go. I'll be good, I promise." She started crying, begging, playing on my emotions, my memories.

I shook off the remaining cobwebs, focusing, willing myself to do what had to be done. "Who brought you here?" I questioned.

She remained quiet. I nodded to Selene, who twisted the spikes that were embedded in the girl.

She screamed, a high shrill sound.

I closed my eyes, supressing a wimper. I hardened my heart and my voice. "Who brought you here?" I asked again, louder.

Quiet filled the void, followed by screams.

"Who?" I yelled.

She screamed out. "Let me go and I'll tell you."

I stepped closer. "Tell me and I'll set you free."

She nodded, agreeing to my terms. "A demon, I was just supposed to keep you busy, keep you out of the way." She cried out as Selene continued to slowly twist the spikes.

"Why?" I asked.


Selene pushed the spike in deeper. I shivered, feeling sick at my stomach.

The demon screamed. "So he could win back his power without you interfering" She yelled, tears starting to fall from her eyes.

"Why?" I asked again as Selene thrust another spike into her shoulder.

She yelled out in pain. "Because you're the slayer... but he doesn't have to fight you, he only has to fight a champion, anyone can stand in your place, so he got them to relinquish the power, giving it back to the rightful heir, tricking them into thinking it was someone else. He knew I'd be able to distract you, mess with your head, so he tracked me down, it's not like he gave me a choice or anything." Her body slumped from the pain.

"Me?" I questioned as I broke a chair into pieces.

"It's the truth." The demon screamed. "I swear it. One died but was revived, still another was called. The next died and you were called. The first one died again but no one was called. No one was called because the slayer line ended with you. The power belonged to you. You're the slayer."

I nodded, moving closer with my make shift stake.

Her eyes widened. "You said you'd let me go!" She yelled.

I wiped away fresh fallen tears. "No, I said I'd set you free." I moved closer to her, sadness and longing building up inside of me. " I love you Andie, enough to finally let you go." Long lost sobs finally broke free as I pushed the wood into her heart, felt the quickening and watched as she slowly disappeared. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." I whispered, my body shaking violently.

I felt Selene behind me, offering her hand in comfort. I took in a few deep breaths, sucked in my emotions, pulling out a cell phone, quickly dialing Angels', absently wiping at my reddened eyes.

Fear took over as the automated response clicked on. ' This line has been temporarily disconnected.

I looked to Selene, she nodded.

We ran for the bike.

Chapter 10


I looked into the tired faces. "So that's it, we're all set, all we have to do is wait for the weapons....maybe figure out how this thing keeps getting in. Any Ideas?" I asked, looking at the others, throwing myself into a chair.

Giles cleared his throat, removed his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Well it pains me to say this but I think Faith's right." He looked up sharply at my raised eyebrows. He continued, stuttering, "the pain being what she thought, not her." He shook his head. "I think he's being let in and I think Faith's first instinct was correct. It has to be one of the survivors, the one's exposed. There's just no other explanation."

I nodded, letting that thought sink in. "Everybody's in the lounge right?" He nodded, confirming, so I continued, "well, that'll make it easier to watch them." I sighed heavily, worry lines appearing fluidly. "Has Faith called in? She should have been back an hour ago. We've got what.... three hours until sunrise? If she's not back by then I'm going to look for her."

A crash echoed through the foyer. I got up, running from the kitchen into the next room. A body came hurtling at me, crashing against me, knocking me off kilter and to the floor. I pushed it off of me, faintly aware of the warm sticky substance covering it and now me.

I heard Dawn call out. I made my way into the other room, knowing but not wanting to believe. Anger flowed through me as I saw her being held by the beast, his hand wrapped around her throat, holding her in stasis.

I started to run to her on instinct, only stopping as I realized that the closer I got the tighter he squeezed his hand around her neck.

I stood firm. "What? Is there no honor among monsters? You said three days. We have one day left to go." I spat out.

He smiled, laughing slightly. "I changed my mind."

I looked at Dawn, her eyes pleading with me to help her. "When?" I asked.

He laughed. "Now."

I shook my head no.

"No?" He questioned. "Are you sure? It seems like I have your answer right here in the palm of my hand" He smiled slowly, deliberately.

I saw Angel out of the corner of my eyes, slowly moving toward the beast.

"It's not time. I'm not ready to fight yet." I said stalling for time.

He growled, squeezing Dawn tighter. "Don't." He snarled, his tone and actions stopping Angel in his tracks.

"I don't want to fight yet." I tried again.

He moved closer to me. " I have faith....that you will." He chuckled deep and low.

My eyes widened in response, doubt slowly seeping up my spine, fearing his words were a hint about why Faith hadn't returned.

I became furious. "Lets do it then." I drew back my fists, moving in."

Ken yelled. "Buffy here!" She threw me a taser.

I caught it, dove into a roll, coming up at the base of the beast, sticking, stinging, watching as the current flowed. He dropped Dawn. She fell to the floor, riding out the waves of electricity.

I was caught off guard, paying attention to Dawn and not enough to my attacker. He lashed out, hitting me between the eyes, grabbed me up and hoisted me through the glass window. I felt the pain, heard his laughter and pushed myself up, stumbling slightly, thinking, this hurts way too much.

He came right through the broken window after me. The others running out the front door, firing weapons, trying to help. Their assault slowed him but nothing seemed to stop him.

I blew out a breath, rolled my shoulders, barely caught a sword that Giles had thrown to me. I parried, ducked a blow and drew back to strike, the weight of the sword making me slow and off balance, as the blade came down, he struck out quickly, hard, causing the sword to miss and clamber off to the side. My eyes widened.

I brought my leg back, thrusting it, throwing a roundhouse kick. He caught my leg, held it firm against his side and struck out, hitting me in the face. My head rocked backwards, my body following it as I fell hard to the ground.

Willow stepped up, reciting a spell. I saw a blast of light, watched as it hit him, saw him shake it off and barrell right into her, sending her flying backwards.

The others joined in, one by one they fell, struggling to get back up, fighting the pain in order to help me.

I pushed myself up, raised my fists, moving in with nothing but determination to keep me going.

I hit him as hard as I could, used everything I had and he laughed. He laughed! Realization sunk in as I looked directly into his eyes. 'I'm through.' I thought.

He growled fiercely, grabbing hold of my shirt, pulling me toward him, his hand drawing back. He smiled, pushed his fist hard, relentlessly against my head, face, skull.

With each hit the pain subsided, quickly growing into numbness. I felt my body racked from the force, my legs finally buckling, my arms hanging limp.

I felt myself lifted, raised high, readied to be snapped in two.

A scream pierced through my haze, the familiarity forcing me to open my eyes. "Faith." I croaked out.


We drove like bats out of hell, the bike pushed beyond its limits, the engine squealing from the built up pressure.

Onward, right into the madness, war, we arrived. People were everywhere, slung all over, most trying to right themselves. The bike spun out as I tried to stop it, us tumbling off from the momentum. I hoisted myself off the ground, grabbed the scythe from the bag, pulled Selene up and into action. I pushed the scythe into her hands, "Find Will, get her to share the power."

I looked around hunting, searching, that's when I saw it. I moved forward, fast, as he pummelled her, broke into a full out run as he lifted her high.

I closed in fast, screaming out in anger, frustration. I brought my leg up swift, hard, making painful contact with him, right between his legs, the family jewels to be more exact, well where I hoped they be, yep, bullseye.

He dropped Buffy, doubled over, trying to ease the pain from the blow. He slowly turned to look at me. His eyes widened as I drew back, dropping low, swinging my fist upward hard, fast, delivering a massive uppercut.

He went backwards, the force of the blow knocking him off balance. Down he went, eyes wide, disbelieving. I looked around, saw Red working her magic, motioned for Selene to pull Buffy back to safety.

When things were finally in place, I smiled, giving him a little footwork, courtesy of Ali, thumbed my nose twice at him, gave him a wink and a fake kiss, taunting, "Who's your mama?" I asked, mocking him, trying to make him angry.

It worked. Anger rolled off of him. He jumped up, lunging at me, slicing his arm through the air, aiming at my head. I flipped backwards, doing a somersault, edging myself away from his grasp.

I righted myself, landing on my feet, immediately cocking my leg, thrusting it forward, aiming for his knee. Contact. I heard the snap, felt the satisfaction.

He screamed, throwing a right cross, landing it alongside my temple, opening up my previous injury. I staggered back, stepped forward, releasing my own fist, connecting with his left eye, the skin giving way, drawing blood.

Again he punched, connecting, my head rocked from the impact. I snapped back, gritted my teeth, releasing another punch, hitting him between the eyes.

He kicked, his leg hitting against my side, doubling me over. I took shallow breaths, trying to recover quickly. He grabbed me in a bear hug, squeezing, pushing the air from my lungs. I looked around, thinking, watching Red work her magic, watching B slowly get up.

He laughed.

I forced my head back, looking him in the eyes. I smiled, descended quickly, sinking my teeth into his flesh, grinding my teeth together.

He bellowed, releasing me from his hold.

He eyed me cautiously, gingerly touching the bite mark, then ran head on, fast, hard, bulldozing his way toward me.

He neared. I threw my hand up toward his face at the last second, hard, fast, palm side up, hitting his nose, driving it up and into his head. He stopped, appeared shocked, confused.

I kicked his knee again, using full force, bringing the monster down. I stood over him and relentlessly pummelled his face.

"Who am I?" I yelled between punches.

"Who am I?" I screamed. The others gathered around, watching but not interfering.

"lehane." It gasped out.

"Louder!" I yelled, adding more punishment to his already existing wounds.

"LEHANE!" He yelled.

I grabbed him, pulling his face close to mine. "What am I?" I growled out.

He coughed, blood splattering slightly, answering sluggishly, "the one, you're the chosen one."

I looked around, taking note of the people watching me. I motioned for the scythe. Selene snatched it up, tossing it into my waiting hands.

I drew back, stopping, then offering the final blow to B. She walked closer, taking the weapon. She looked down at it, looked back to me and smiled. "No, it's your place, your right." She handed it back.

I nodded. "Then I say we do it together." I walked behind her, placing the scythe in her hand, my hand falling just above hers on the hilt. We drew back and pushed the blade forward, ending the beast once and for all.

I watched as everyone came to stand around us, they just stared, quiet. Family, friends alike, all there for one common goal, each other. I smiled wrapping my arm around B. I looked around, meeting each ones gaze. "Lets go home." I said, turning, stopping to look at Selene. "You coming?" I asked. She looked at me quietly, surprise covering her face. I smiled. "You're family." I said, watching as a smile took over her face.

I turned back to B. "Walk you home?" I asked.

"Uh huh." She nodded smiling.

"What do you want to do?" She asked leaning on me for support.

I smiled. "Settle down, raise a few kids." I nodded for emphasis.

She raised her eyebrows in disbelief. "Really?" She asked. "What happened to the get some, get gone girl?"

I laughed, looking at her. "well, seems like she got something too good to let go of and besides I am the chosen one, so what I say goes. I'm pretty much a queen." I nodded, being dramatic.

She stopped, folded her arms over her chest, smiling. "A queen? Well what does 'the queen' require?" She asked, feigning attitude.

I smiled. "Well for starters, I think you should get on your knees and worship me."

She laughed, falling back against me. "Oh don't worry, I'm pretty sure I'll be on my knees, lots and lots."

I gasped out slightly, smiling bigger. "Is that right?" I questioned, moving closer, grazing my lips softly against hers.

Dawn cut in. "Am I gonna have to worship at the house of faith too?"

We turned our heads simultaneously, shouting. "NO!"

Laughter echoed, brightening the coming day, brightening us.

I smiled big, unrestrained, showing off my dimples, moving in for another kiss, whispering. "It's good to be Queen."


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