Chapter Thirty Nine
Willy's tip turned out to be right. We just left the warehouse, and it was crawling with vampires. I wasn't sure if they were the right vampire group until I saw all of the little kids. I almost started crying when I saw them. There were at least fifty. At least fifty children all under the age of ten have been murdered. At least fifty families have been completely destroyed by those monsters. Faith had to hold me back, but eventually she calmed me down enough so we could leave.
Now I'm headed back to the library to tell Giles what we found. Faith went home. She's going to check on Samantha, maybe read her a story, and tuck her in. It wasn't her idea, but I insisted. She protested at first because of what's going on right now, but I said that now it's more important than ever to spend a little extra time with her daughter. I didn't say it out loud, but I'm afraid we might not come out of the battle alive. If that does happen then I want Sam's last memory of her mother to be a good one, not being yelled at for acting up at dinner.
I know that kind of thinking isn't helpful at all, but I'm going to do everything I can to make sure Faith gets home to her daughter, even if it means giving up my own life. I've always been a little bit of a martyr; what better way to go out then saving the person you love more than anyone? What the hell am I talking about? We're going to come out of this. We're going to come up with a plan, and it may not go as smoothly as we want it to, but it will all be ok. I've already died once, like these vampires can do any worse.
But I'm getting totally off track. Maybe I need to talk to someone about my lack of mental focus. Hmm, I wonder who you would talk to about something like that. Damn it, there I go again! I need to focus now because I'm finally at the school, and I can feel all of the tension coming from inside. Giles isn't the only one waiting for us. Xander, Willow, and Wesley are there too. Possibly Oz and Cordelia, but I really hope not. Well, I hope Cordelia isn't there, not Oz. I'm kind of hoping Oz is there because when he's around Willow seems to be nicer to Faith. He keeps her grounded. Oh my God, again with the not staying focused. Maybe I do need help.
"Giles, we found them!" I say as soon as I'm through the library doors. Everyone turns around and stares at me, and now I feel a little on the spot. Maybe I shouldn't just crash through a door, and make a big announcement like that. But this is important, social awkwardness be damned. "They're staying in a warehouse near where Spike and Drusilla were staying." I stand next to the table and everyone looks a little nervous now. I guess they didn't think the information would pan out. And I can't blame them, judging by the source.
"That's great news," he says and takes off his glasses, and starts cleaning them. I guess it's a little too much for him to take too. "Did you get a good look at their numbers? We need to at least try to figure out how difficult it's going to be to eliminate them completely." Should I get right to it or mess with him a little? Who am I kidding? Messing with Giles might as well be on my resume, I'm so good at it.
"Why yes, Giles, I'm ok. It was a very risky mission, but I wasn't spotted. Thanks for the concern," I say and he gives me that look. You know the one I'm talking about. It's his 'if you don't get on with it I may strangle you' look. "Alright, fine. I'm not sure how many. Lots from what I could tell. Faith thinks there may be at least a hundred, not including the children. I think there are at least fifty kids that have been turned." The room goes dead quiet while everyone lets that information sink in. Willow looks like she's about to burst into tears.
"And where, exactly, did Faith run off to?" Wesley asks, and I hold my breath and count to ten. He promised he wouldn't tell anyone about Sam, but he's being a huge pain about it. Every chance he gets he'll ask something like that, forcing one of us to lie, and I know he's just waiting for one of us to slip up. I send him a little glare but he doesn't back down. He just gets that smug look on his face, and holds his head up a little higher.
"She had to run back to her place," I say and try to stay as calm as possible. He's wasting time just to try and spill Faith's secret in front of everyone. I should introduce him to what a slayer can really do. "She had a personal emergency on the way back and needed to get some clean clothes." I raise my eyebrow at him a little bit, and it's a challenge for him to keep talking. Maybe using the menstruation card is a little immature, but if it gets him to stop talking then I'll use it.
"I'm sure she'll be here soon," Giles says and also gives Wesley a little glare. I take a small glance at the others, and they look confused. I can't blame them. All of this tension, and Wesley being a bigger douche than normal would be confusing if you don't know the whole story. "Now, Buffy, did you get a look at the building itself?" Thank God Giles is getting us back on track because I was about to hit Wesley really hard in the face.
"Not really, no. We didn't want to risk getting caught. If they're as organized as the rumors say they are, then we wouldn't have made it out alive," I say and sit down. I look over at the clock on the wall and let out a little sigh. I have English first thing in the morning and I'm not going to be prepared. It's already eleven thirty and I haven't even started the reading. Stupid slaying getting in the way of normal teenage life. But it's worth it because if I wasn't a slayer, I never would have met Faith. I just need to keep that in mind when this job gets really frustrating.
"Faith and I talked about it and we both think the best thing to do would be to seal off all the exits and light the warehouse on fire," I say and Giles nods his head a little bit. He's not actually agreeing with me. The faraway look in his eyes is a clear sign that he's thinking it over. "I know it isn't going to be that simple, nothing ever is, but it's a good start, right?" Giles nods again, but he still doesn't say anything. I think maybe he's suffered one too many blows to the head.
"Burning down a public building. Is it just me or does the Buffster have a pyro-bug?" Xander says, and I send a little glare his way. I'm also smiling a little so he knows I'm not really mad. This is the first time I've been able to make eye contact with him since Willow and I had that talk, and I think I'm starting to get over it. As long as no one brings it up ever again then I'll be able to forget about it.
"Ok, so maybe I could be considered a repeat offender, but it's the safest way to take these guys out. There's a lot of them and only two slayers. Those numbers don't exactly inspire a lot of confidence." Willow gives me a look and I know exactly what it means. Uh-oh, I need to tread carefully. "Plus you guys. Two slayers and a group of Scoobies still isn't even close to a fair fight." She still looks irritated, but there's nothing I can do about that now.
"I agree," Wesley says and I give him a skeptical look. There's going to be a "but," I can tell just by the look on his face. "However." Close enough. "Setting a fire that large could have devastating consequences. You run the risk of it spreading to other buildings in the immediate area, and eventually it could make its way to a residential area if the wind is blowing in that direction." Ok, so he does have a point, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with him out loud.
"There is that risk," Giles says and I let out a little sigh. I've never been good at the waiting around for a plan thing. Maybe it's slayer-related because Faith gets impatient, too. But she can be a little more reckless than I am, so I don't think that's a fair judgment. "I do believe with some precautions, and a call to the Sunnydale fire department after we make sure the threat has been eliminated, we'll spare any more human casualties." His tone of voice sends shivers up my spine and a sick feeling settles in my stomach. He sounded so…military, so emotionless just now. I know we're fighting a battle, but does he have to sound like a real general?
"Sounds like a good plan," Xander says, and rubs his hands together. He always does that when he's feeling a little anxious about something. He also does it when Faith and I spar. Damn it! I was just starting to forget about that. Now I have to start all over again. "So where do we get, say, fifty gallons of gasoline or lighter fluid in the middle of the night in a small town where the store clerk will be able to give a decent description to the police when a large building just happens to go up in flames a few hours later?" Ok, so Xander has a really good point. Stupid police and their efforts to become more efficient. Slaying is getting harder and harder with all these cooks in the kitchen.
"We don't need any," Willow says in that perky tone she gets when she's figured something out. Oh, how I've missed perky-Willow. Lately all I've been seeing is jealous-Willow, and pouty-Willow; perky-Willow could not have come soon enough. "There's a spell I've been working on, how to make fire out of ice. It took a few tries, but I finally got it down. Next time I won't try something like that on the new bedspread, though." Giles looks like he's about to say something. He doesn't like that Willow is dabbling in the witchcraft, but we really don't have time for a lecture right now.
"Willow, that's brilliant," I tell her, and she gets one of those big Willow-smiles. "All we have to do is buy as much ice as we can, and cover the building with it. You do the spell, and Faith and I will watch the perimeter to take out any vamps that find a way out. How much ice do you think we'll need, Giles?" He takes off his glasses and starts cleaning them. He has a problem with the plan, I can tell, but it's the only one so far that's possible. Lighting the building on fire is the only way to avoid any major casualties, but we can't do anything obvious without getting into trouble with the police.
"What you said before about getting as much as possible was accurate, however," he's cut off when door is slammed open. Everyone jumps at the loud noise, it sounded like a freaking gunshot, and we look at the person responsible. It's Faith, and she looks really angry. I think it's safe to say she looks downright homicidal. And she slammed that door so hard it broke. Oh, Giles is going to get so much crap from Snyder for that.
"Where is she?" she screams, staring right at Wesley as she marches up to him. Before he has a chance to say anything, she grabs onto him and slams him up against a bookcase, and holds him there. She barely held back the slayer strength because even the bookcase groaned in pain. "Where did they fuckin take her? And if you even think about lying to me, I'll snap your fucking neck. Don't you dare think I won't." Ok, what the hell is going on?
"Faith, what in God's name are you doing? Let him go this instant," Giles says and steps forward. Not a good idea, but points for bravery. Faith doesn't listen, she doesn't even look over, it's like she has tunnel vision and all she can see is Wesley. A sour feeling settles in the pit of my stomach, and I think I'm going to be sick. I walk up to her and stand beside her, but I don't touch her. Touching right now would be of the bad.
"Faith, what's wrong? What are you talking about?" I ask softly, and that seems to snap her out of it, at least a little bit. She hasn't let go of Wesley, and she won't take her eyes off of him, but she did let out a little sigh so I know she heard me. Don't ask me how I know for sure, I just do. Call it a slayer thing if you're one of those annoying people who always have to have an answer for everything.
"I went back to your place to check on Sammy like I said I was gonna." I think correcting her grammar right now would be a really bad idea so I'll just let that go. "Your mom was knocked out." What the fuck? "She's fine, and when she woke up she said these two British guys in suits had knocked on the door sayin' they were from the Council. She invited 'em in to wait until we got back, but as soon as they were in the house they knocked her out, and Sammy's gone. They snatched her right outta her bed." Her face gets so contorted with rage after she says that, she doesn't even look human anymore. "So where the fuck is she, you fucking lying traitor?" She pulls him forward by his jacket then slams him against the bookcase again.
"I've no idea where she is, Faith. I didn't tell the Council about her, I swear it. And the Council doesn't make it their business to snatch little girls out of their beds," Wesley says, and I guess that was the wrong thing to say because she slams him against the bookcase again. If she keeps that up there's going to be permanent brain damage. And I'm going to be the cause of it too because as soon as she gets tired I'm going to take her place slamming him against the bookcase and possibly ripping his spine out. If he even has one.
"Faith, you need to back away from Wesley before you break his back," Giles says, but Faith doesn't move. Her eyes are boring holes through Wesley's face and if we're not careful that's going to turn from figurative to literal. This is the Hellmouth, after all. "Faith, Wesley cannot tell a lie to save his life. He's telling the truth right now, and every second you waste trying to get information out of him that doesn't exist is a second Samantha may not have to spare." That did it. Faith breaks eye contact with Watcher-boy and looks over at Giles. Her gaze is just as deadly, but he doesn't back down. He's dealing with the slayer right now, not so much Faith's personality, but also raw maternal instinct, and flinching right now could be bad.
Faith lets out a little sigh, like she's finally made a decision, and she pulls Wesley away from the bookcase, but at the last second slams him against it one last time before letting him go and walking away. She runs a hand through her hair. She must have run the entire way here because it's even wilder looking than normal. Any other time I could say that it looked sexy, but right now she just looks even more unhinged.
"Who's Samantha?" Willow asks and my eyes snap to her. She's sitting next to Xander and they both look really scared and confused. My heart starts racing wildly in my chest and my gaze slowly goes to Faith. She isn't breathing, and she has that 'deer in headlights' look. She's been working herself into the ground trying to keep Sam a secret, trying to keep her daughter safe, and for what? I'm not going to say this out loud, but maybe if Faith had told we would have had more help and this wouldn't have happened.
"Faith, if they're going to help it would be best if they knew exactly what has been going on," Giles says in the softest tone I've ever heard him speak. I walk over to her and gently rub her back. I'm surprised she's letting me touch her, but there's really no point trying to hide anything anymore. As soon as she opens her mouth they'll know she's been staying with me, Xander is going to ask how I could have kept something this big a secret, and I'll have to tell him. Hopefully Willow will be a little more understanding since she already knows I'm head over heels for this woman.
"Alright," she says and sits down at the table. I stand behind her and rub her shoulders, trying as hard as I can to keep her somewhat calm, but I think I need this more than her right now. I need something to keep my mind busy because just standing around while Samantha is out there somewhere is driving me crazy, so I can't even imagine how Faith must be feeling. "Samantha's my daughter. She'll be four in two month's. I split up with her dad a couple months ago and I've been living with B. Mrs. Summers pretty much insisted on it. I made B keep her mouth shut about it so don't be pissed at her."
I watch the others very closely and for a second it even looks like Oz is about to have a facial expression. Willow is looking at me with those big eyes, and she looks hurt, and now I feel really guilty. Xander looks shocked. His face has gone white and his mouth is hanging open. I hope he doesn't get mad or jealous or any of the other things that have caused conflict between us in the past. If he could barely contain his hatred for Angel just imagine how emasculated he's going to feel because I'm dating another girl.
"Holy cheese balls, Batman," he says and rubs the back of his neck. I hear Faith let out a huge sigh, and I gently squeeze her shoulders. Hopefully she gets the message. I'm here for her no matter what happens. "And you didn't think that was something we should have known?" That was the wrong thing to say. I can tell because Faith's muscles are so tense now. Her shoulders feel like they're about to snap.
"My daughter is none of your business, Xander, and my only priority on this planet is keeping her safe. My old Watcher told me if the Council found out about her they would take her away. I didn't even plan on staying in Sunnydale this long but other shit came up," she snaps at him and his eyebrows furrow, and his jaw tenses. I can tell he's about to say something, but Willow reaches over and places a hand on his arm. Whatever he was about to say dies on his lips.
"Guys, we don't have time to fight about this. Faith has a little girl. We kept that a secret because we thought it would keep them safe. Lets just move on and find her," I say and that doesn't quite snap everyone out of it like I hoped, but the shock is starting to wear off. "If the Council wasn't a part this, and I still say they could be, then who else would want to take her?" Faith shrugs my hands off her shoulders and crosses her arms over her chest.
"The Council did it, B. Just because Wes doesn't know shit about it doesn't mean they didn't do it. So how the fuck do we find them?"
I let out a little sigh and rub my face with both my hands. I cover my eyes for a second because I need a moment to just hide. If the Council is involved, how are we going to track them down? It's not like I can beat the information out of Willy or patrol the cemeteries until I find something.
"Willow," Giles says and he has that 'Watcher voice' that he always gets whenever he has a plan, or at least the beginning of a plan. I come out from my hiding place and look over at him. The look of determination and calmness on his face gives me some relief. "Get on the computer and hack into the airport database. If this was the work of the Council then there will be two, maybe three, traveling to Los Angeles from London. They will have come exactly five days ago to stake out Buffy's house and decide the right time to snatch the little girl. Wesley, come with me. You and I are going to perform a locator spell. Faith, go back to Buffy's and grab something of Samantha's. The more sentimental value it has for her the stronger it will be."
"What can I do, Giles?" I ask as Wesley goes into Giles' office, and Faith takes off like a shot out the broken door, and Willow gets on the computer and starts typing away. He lets out a sigh and rubs his temples. I guess there aren't enough assignments to go around. But there is no way I'm going to just sit here while my baby - I mean, while Faith's baby is missing. God only knows what must be going through Sam's mind. How scared she must be. I really don't want to think about it because I feel like I'm going to throw up.
"You, Xander and Oz run to every grocery store and gas station in the area and get as much ice as you possibly can," he says and hands over a set of keys to Oz. Last year Giles bribed the janitor for keys to the school in case we need to get into any of the rooms after hours. "Store it in the cafeteria freezer. We will find Samantha." He looks me dead in the eyes when he says this, and I can feel the anger bubbling just under my skin. "But we have to stop these vampires before they go through with whatever it is they are planning. If they succeed all of Sunnydale could be lost, and if they gain control of the Hellmouth..." He lets it hang there. He's right, and I know he's right, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
"Fine, but if Faith gets back before I do, tell her I won't be gone long," I tell him and he nods his head. I look over at Xander and then Oz and we make our way towards the library doors. I hate this so much. I hate that for once I can't just be normal. I can't just be Buffy with my girlfriend Faith and her daughter Samantha, and one day soon we're going to live together, and the apartment will probably be small and awful so we'll save and buy a house, and get a dog, and have a baby. We'll be predictable, and boring, and fit in with everyone else. Yeah, that'll be the day.