Chapter 6: Fear
There was a new face in Sunnydale. Perhaps not a very friendly face, but a new face nevertheless. Of course, Sunnydale wasn’t that isolated that its people would faint at the sight of someone new. This new face stood out, however, for several reasons.
The first and foremost reason, was because the new man, was currently staying with the Spencers. Ah, the Spencers. The name provoked many a reaction from all who was once confronted with one of the Spencer girls.
The ones who had only ever met Frankie Spencer, would start fidgeting uncomfortably at the mention of the name. Truly, Frankie Spencer had that effect on most people. The good people of Sunnydale had never quite met such a woman. Some would absolutely detest Frankie, but be afraid to speak out about their feelings. Others would simply shake their heads sadly, feeling as though she was simply having trouble fitting in.
The ones who had met little Faith… Well that was a whole different story. Our little brunette was undoubtedly a very charming troublemaker. Anna Benson, her second grade teacher would at first rant about the little girl’s antics. She would get worked up talking about what happened during the Thanksgiving play and she would get tears in her eyes simply thinking about the field trip to the beach. But at the end of her frustrated outbursts, she would shake her head, a fond smile lighting up her tired features. The twinkle in her grey eyes rebuked any monologue she had about the little girl.
But we seem to be drifting from the topic at hand.
The second reason the new face stood out from any other visitor, was his appearance. He had been spotted at the local store, buying beer, in a completely dishevelled state.
Unshaven and in dirty clothes, he grunted instead of saying ‘thank you’ as he checked out. Sam, the store owner, had barely gotten used to the impolite manners of Frankie Spencer, and now this complete stranger had stumbled his way into Sam’s store, grunting away all attempts at conversation.
Yes, many things stood out from this man. The way his eyes always seemed blood-shot, the way he never seemed to stop scratching his left arm,…
To Buffy, only one thing had truly stood out since the man’s arrival. Faith suddenly seemed to return to her introvert ways.
The two girls would be reading comics in Buffy’s bedroom, Buffy would look up at Faith and she would find her staring blankly out the window.
Usually, Faith would be completely caught up in the comic book. Little Buffy enjoyed watching her friend as she read. How her expressive brown eyes would widen every so often, how she would bite her lip when things got exciting. Lately, however, Faith was closed off. At times, Buffy would even get the feeling Faith was scared.
What really confused the seven-year old though, was the time she had wanted to scare Faith by sneaking up to her and grabbing her side.
The brunette had been lying on her stomach on the living room floor, doing her math homework. Buffy had gone to the kitchen to grab a juice box. Returning to the living room, which had become homework central, Buffy had thought it was a perfect opportunity to help Faith loosen up. The little brunette seemed distant and rather melancholy to Buffy.
She sneaked up behind her friend, leaned over slightly, and grabbed the little girl’s waist.
Faith had yelled out.
This was not surprising.
But Faith had yelled out in pain.
She had then began kicking wildly and flailing her fists, apparently an instinctive reaction. The shocked little blonde had received a small foot in her stomach and lost her balance, falling on top of her hysterical friend.
As Buffy yelped in pain and surprise, Faith seemed to calm down instantly. She quickly crawled backwards from Buffy, her brown eyes wide in shock and fear.
Faith’s t-shirt had riled up from the incident and Buffy’s own eyes widened as she received a glimpse of Faith’s bare abdomen. Black. Purple. Blue.
Catching Buffy’s gaze, Faith looked down and pulled her t-shirt back in place. The little brunette then panicked and ran away as fast as her legs could carry her.
Buffy sat frozen in place, in the middle of the living room.
Chapter 7: Innocence Lost
There is panic in Sunnydale. Police sirens blare through the usually quiet streets, lighting up the dark night with an eery red glow. Small children wake up and crawl in bed with their parents, seeking comfort in their warm embrace.
Buffy Summers wakes up to the sound of her mother's voice. The little girl sits up in her bed, immediately awoken. She has never heard her mother like that. Buffy jumps out of bed and peers out her window to the street below. Something has happened in Revello Drive.
"No, where is she? What happened?" She hears her mother yell.
There are police cars everywhere. Buffy can see three in her line of vision, but she knows there are more. The street is swamped by people in uniform and trenchcoats and worried neighbors.
"Honey, calm down. Let him talk." Hank rubs his wife's back in an attempt to calm the poor woman down.
"I don't want to calm down, Hank, I want to know where Faith is. Is she okay?" She asks the man in front of her urgently.
"Ma'am, I'm afraid I can't tell you any more than I already have. Now please, let me do my job." The man answers. He proceeds to take out a notepad from his long brown coat and clicks a pen. "Tell me exactly what happened tonight."
"I-..." Whatever the worried woman was about to say, dies in her throat as she sees a body-shaped black bag wheeled out of the house next to hers. "Oh god..." She buries her head into her husband's chest.
Hank blinks away his own tears of horror and holds his wife tightly.
Both Joyce and Hank freeze. The woman looks up, aghast to find her seven-year old little girl wide-eyed at their doorstep. Hank turns around.
"Buffy, get back in the house." He tries to hold his voice steady, to seem as if he has any semblance of control over the situation.
"What's going on?" Buffy looks upon her mother, begging her in a trembling voice for answers, begging to wake her up from this nightmare.
"Sweetie, get back inside." Joyce repeats. She watches as Buffy finally notices the black body-bag being loaded into a car.
The little girl looks back to the neigboring house in complete horror and fear.
"Faith?" She whispers to herself. "Faith?" She screams.
"Baby.." Joyce runs over to her little girl but Buffy moves too quick, slipping out of her protective arms and running towards Faith's house.
"Faith!" She screams again.
"No!" A police man yells as she pushes her way nearer. Another police woman scoops Buffy up, but quickly lets go as she receives a small fist to her nose.
"Buffy, calm down." Hank takes hold of his daughter and holds the struggling blonde tight. "Calm down, baby." He soothes her to no avail.
"No!" She screams. "Let me go! Where's Faith? Where's Faith! Let go!"
"Shh, honey, calm down. It'll be ok, sweetie, calm down." Hank desperately searches for more comforting words, more truthful words.
Buffy claws at her father's arm, violently trying to get away from his firm grip. Sobs wrack her small body as her screams turn into incoherent whimpers.
"Look, Mr Summers?" The same man talking to Joyce sighs tiredly. "If you and your family would like to get back in your home, detective Roberts and I will come 'round in about five minutes. We need to know what happened here."
Hank nods weakly at the short middle-aged man.
"I understand." Joyce leans down to kiss the top of her now silent daughter's head and together they walk back numbly to their house.
Detective Boggs watches as they leave and can't help feel sorry for them. The short man scratches at his beard and curses himself.
"Mrs Summers?" He calls out.
Joyce turns to face the detective, looking ten years older than she had just an hour ago and truly tortured. Detective Boggs sighs again. He had to do this. He briskly approaches the tired woman.
"Faith Spencer?" He asked. "Seven years old?"
Joyce's eyes widen and she nods, afraid of what the man in front of her might say.
"The girl... We didn't find her."
The woman holds up a hand to her mouth and gasps. Her mind is immediately filled with even more questions and a suffocating fear.
"What does that mean? What are you saying?" She chokes out.
"It means..." He shrugs helplessly. "It means we didn't find her." The man awkwardly wraps his brown coat tighter around him. He didn't want to give this woman any false hope. The missing girl might be dead. But as long as they didn't find a body, she might still be alive.
"She might still be alive, Mrs Summers." He states. "I'll drop in and ask some more questions in five minutes, alright?"
This was enough for Joyce. She might still be alive. Faith might still be alive! She quickly ran back to her home in search of her husband. She found Hank in the living room, comforting their devestated daughter curled up on the couch.
"It'll be okay, sweetie, it'll be okay..." He mumbles helplessly.
"Hank?" Joyce stands by the doorway and gestures for him to come nearer. He stands up, confused to see his wife suddenly energetic.
"They haven't found Faith!" Joyce says in hushed tones. "She might still be alive! Boggs, he told me, she might still be alive!" She repeated.
"Oh, god..." Hank lets out a sigh of overwhelming relief, but it is quickly replaced by more worry. "Where is she? Where would she g-..."
But his wife is already gone. Joyce dashes up the stairs, nearly stumbling.
"Faith?" She calls. She barges into her daughter's room, her eyes searching. "Faith, sweetie?"
Downstairs, Hank has caught on and he checks the back yard.
"Faith, are you here buddy?" He checks the porch, the kitchen, everywhere. He enters the living room again, to find his wife with a disappointed look to match his own.
"Do you think they took her?" Joyce's voice cracks and she hugs Buffy tightly.
The family sits in silence, fighting off the feeling of defeat and desperately trying to hold on to any sliver of hope. The silence is broken by a short but firm knock on the door.
Hank gets up to answer the door.
"Maybe you should..." He gestures towards their shocked daughter.
Joyce nods and lifts Buffy in her arms.
"I'll take her to our room."
Hank opens the front door for the two detectives and steps aside to let them in. He silently leads them to the dining room and they sit down in heavy silence. Just before detective Boggs could ask if Joyce was joining them, she enters the room and seats herself next to her husband. She holds his hand for support and nods at the two men opposite them.
The taller, blonde detective coughs.
"Mr and Mrs Summers, we need you to tell us exactly what happened tonight. Did you hear anything out of the ordinary? Did you see anything?" He says in a monotone voice. His partner, detective Boggs places his notepad in front of him and waits for them to begin.
Joyce and Hank look at eachother and decide who will begin. Hank nods and squeezes his wife's hand gently.
"Well... I woke up around two AM. I didn't know what woke me up, I'm a deep sleeper, really but..." He weaves his right hand through his hair. "A few seconds later I heard gunshots and screams."
"That's when Joyce woke up." He adds. " I told her to call the police and I ran outside. It was really dark, and I could barely see it, but two men got into a dark... I think it was black, car and sped out of the street. It..." Hank coughs. "I didn't catch the license plate. It was so dark and...the screams... It was Frankie..."
Joyce holds her husband's hand tightly as he finds it difficult to hold in his tears. Hank looks up at the detectives, his eyes haunted.
"Is she..." He isn't capable of finishing the sentence.
The detectives look at eachother. Detective Roberts nervously taps his fingers against the table and looks down. Boggs places his pen on his notepad and looks at both Hank and Joyce.
"Mr and Mrs Summers... We found two bodies. We identified one as a known drug trafficker and junkie, Johnny Ramirez. The other... was Frankie Spencer."
Hank shakes his head in disbelief and Joyce swallows in her sobs, finding strength in her husband's touch.
"Were you close with your neighbors?"
The Summers' shake their heads no.
"Frankie... She was a difficult woman. We didn't see her often, she always sent Faith out." Joyce answers.
"Were you aware that your neighbors were trafickers?" The younger blonde detective asks.
Hank clears his throat. "No."
"Were you aware that both Johnny Ramirez and Frankie Spencer were intensive drug abusers? More specifically heroïne and coke?"
"No." Hank repeats.
"We-..." Joyce wipes away her tears. "We had our suspicions about Johnny... He's only been here a few weeks. We didn't know." She buries her head in her hands. "Oh god, we didn't know..."
Hank wraps his arms around his wife.
"Did you see or hear Faith?" Boggs asks softly. Hank shakes his head and his shoulders sag in defeat. The detective nods and looks at his partner.
"If Faith got away, where do you think she would go?" Robertson asks.
"We thought she would come here." Hank sighs. "We don't know where else she would go."
Robertson nods and waits for Boggs to finish writing his notes.
"Alright. Mr and Mrs Summers, I think that's all for now." He reaches into his coat pocket and takes out a card. "We'll call you if we need any more information, but that's our number in case something comes to mind, ok?"
The two detectives stand up slowly.
"Detectives?" Joyce whispers. She looks up at the two tired men. "Will you find her?"
Boggs looks away from the woman's gaze.
"We'll look, ma'am. Don't you worry." His partner answers.
"Detective." Joyce stands up, wipes cheeks dry and straightens her shoulders bravely. "Please... What are the chances of finding her?"
"Look, Mrs Summers..." Robertson sighs and looks away from the woman. "The odds aren't good." He concedes.
"We'll find our way out." Boggs finishes and leads him and his partner outside.
The sun is beginning to peek out in the horizon and the sky, as always in this small California town, is painted a beautiful blush pink, gently pushing away the rich dark purple and blue.
The streets are quiet once again. And if you didn't know any better, you would almost think nothing has changed in this small town. But sadly, you do know better.
And sadly, so does little Buffy Summers.
Chapter 8: Nine Years
Time can not be stopped. Time is a constant flow that can not be held back, slowed down or reversed. Time is life. And at seven years old, Buffy Summers learned to hate it.
As the weeks following Faith's disappearance went by, Buffy attempted to stop it. No, she wouldn't get out of bed, she was waiting for Faith. No, she wouldn't go to school, she was waiting for Faith. No, she wouldn't eat, she was waiting for Faith.
The little girl had even run away several times, determined to locate and bring back her brunette friend. But to her dismay, the painful truth would inevitably turn its head and she would realize once again that she did not know where Faith was, nor did she have a clue how she would find the girl.
And as months crawled past the broken little child, she learned of the nature of time. The nature of life. And at first she could barely go ten minutes without thinking of Faith. But after a longer while, she could go an hour without thoughts of the little brunette.
Yet after nine years, Buffy Summers can still not go a day without her lost partner.
Things have changed in Sunnydale. Or perhaps they haven’t; only Buffy has.
She now looks upon the quiet town through the eyes of a huntress. She now knows of the beasts hiding in its shadows. She knows of her calling. Barely sixteen years old, Buffy carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. It is a burden unfit for a girl so young. It is a burden unfit for any person alone. And she had considered denying her calling, denying the dark creatures she now knows roam the night. However, she can not shake the question: Did Faith fall upon one of these monsters in the night she was lost?
So Buffy gets out of bed, she goes to school, she eats and she slays. But, perhaps even unknown to herself, she is still waiting for Faith.
The bright afternoon sun shines over Sunnydale High school. Buffy Summers, now sixteen, can be found sitting in the grass opposite the school. Glaring at the building.
"Maybe I should stake him."
The blonde, though nine years have passed, is still small for her age. Her features have become more pronounced and she has grown into a rather beautiful young woman. She doesn't interrupt her glaring as she takes a sip of her water bottle. The years have been hard on the girl, losing her best friend at such a young age. Being confronted with the dark side not only of man, but demon alike at very extreme measures. Luckily, the blonde has found friends, who not only support her through the daily routine, but also in her nightly calling.
"You can't stake the principal, Buffy."
Willow Rosenberg. A soft-spoken wicca who stood by Buffy's side through all the hardships the years had brought. They had known each other since kindergarten but their friendship never truly blossomed until after Faith's disappearance.
"Because he's human, right?"
Xander Harris. A clumsy young boy with a heart of gold who, although shaking in his shoes, also remained beside Buffy in her battles against evil. He too is a Sunnydale resident since birth and since birth also inseparable from Willow. Together, they had approached a then seven year-old Buffy who seemed lost without Faith on the playground.
"That's debatable. But what if I hire a vamp to turn him?" Buffy grimaces as she realizes her own words. "I wouldn't really be killing him, you know. He wouldn't be dead. I'd be...unkilling him."
"Oh, well if you put it that way..." The brown-haired boy deadpans.
"Don't worry, Buff, you nailed that History test. As long as you keep your grades up he can't really do anything." Willow attempts to comfort the blonde.
"Yeah but what happens next time he catches me sneaking around the basement with a sword?" The agitated girl sighs. She looks down at her water bottle and sighs again, noticing it's empty state.
"Here." Xander offers his own bottle. "New energy drink. Low on fat but high on zest!"
Buffy smiles ruefully and gulps down the rest of the beverage. Immediately after, her eyes light up.
"Oh wow, this stuff is good!" She exclaims enthusiastically. "I feel all...tingly and energized!"
Willow and Xander exchange a suspicious glance and watch the small blonde as she stands up and jumps on her toes.
"Um... It's just cherry coke, Buff. I lied." Xander admits slowly.
"Are you sure?" Buffy asks. She then seems dazed, confused even. She looks around, as if searching for something and then shakes her head. "It wears off quick, though. Do you have any more?"
Willow stands up, still eye-balling the strangely behaving Buffy and swings her backpack behind her shoulder.
"Xander, what did you put in there?"
"Nothing, I swear!" Xander proclaims and joins his friends as they stroll back towards the school. "But fine, see for yourself."
The confused sixteen year-old boy pulls a can of cherry coke out of his shoulder bag and hands it to his blonde friend. Buffy quickly opens the can and takes a sip as she walks through the high school doors. She nearly chokes on her drink and stops walking. Surprised, Willow pats her on the back, frowning at Xander.
"I didn't do anything!" He exclaims again.
Recovering from her coughing fit, Buffy stands up straight and stares at the can in her hand.
"No, he didn't do anything. It's just..." She smiles at her friends. "Wow, this stuff is amazing! Here, Will, take a sip."
Willow accepts the can and sniffs at it suspiciously. She glances at Buffy and at Xander before finally taking a hesitant little sip. The excited blonde watches the redhead expectantly.
"Well? Don't you feel all... tingly and warm and completely rejuvenated?" She asks.
"Um... Not really."
Buffy's face falls.
"But it's really good! And...sugary and... with the little bit of cherry in it. Yum!" Willow quickly adds, taking another sip of the can.
"Nevermind, Willow... Let's just go." says Buffy, and the trio continue their way to the library, only Buffy with a strange new skip in her step.
"Maybe it's a slayer thing." Xander suggests as he himself drinks from the mysterious beverage. "Maybe cherry has a strange effect on you."
"I can't believe you don't feel it though! You guys are missing out. And it's getting stronger too." The girl knows perfectly well that this feeling was far from normal, but it simply felt so good. So for now, she decides to simply relish in it and perhaps stock up on cherry coke.
The trio enter the library and find Giles talking to someone in the weapon's cage. He turns toward them, looking completely baffled.
"Ah, you're here." He says and replaces his eyeglasses on his face. "I'd like to introduce you to someone."
The tall watcher steps aside and a brunette girl appears from the cage. The girl is holding an axe, appreciatively looking down on it, her long brown locks hiding her face. She then looks up, causing her hair to fall behind her shoulder, leaving her face exposed.
"This-" Giles begins, pausing a little for dramatic effect. " is-.."
Chapter 9: Strange Behavior
The air is thick with tension. The breathed out whisper of Faith's name seems to have frozen the odd group of people. Or at least it seems that way on the surface. There are certain things, small things, that people do subconsciously that gives away their thoughts and feelings.
Taking a closer look at Giles, there is a small crease on his forehead. The watcher is confused. His eyes dart from the brunette next to him to Buffy. His mouth is just the slightest bit open, hinting that if nothing is said soon, he would have to break the silence and ask some questions.
Willow stands a little ways behind Buffy, her mouth is closed tightly and her eyes are wide. Her eyes, as Giles', dart between the two other girls. The silent redhead is tense, anxious to know how Buffy will react to the sudden reappearance of Faith. Her eyes rest a fraction longer on the brunette, as if comparing the now older Faith to the one of her vague memories.
Xander stands in an odd position, freezing in the middle of his actions, his hand is still stretched out a little in front of him. His eyes look as if they might bulge out at any given time, but unlike Willow and Giles, his stare rests solely upon Faith. And unlike Willow and Giles, he shows no hints of thought other than utter shock.
But at this time, the three of them dare not move. They dare not make a sound. This moment revolves completely around the little blonde and the prodigal brunette. It's as though the very world has stopped turning, every single being in existance waiting for one of the two young girls to make a move.
Faith, not surprisingly, makes the first. The brunette cocks her head slightly to the side, a smile gracing her before expressionless face.
"Hey, B. Miss me?"
One would think the importance of this moment is lost on the girl. Her casual words defying the electricity that so obviously travels the air. But her words are not meant for the world. Her words are not meant for the confused Giles, anxious Willow or shell-shocked Xander.
Her words are meant for Buffy. And as silence once again falls upon the dusty library, Buffy's incredulous, almost suspicious look, turns into one of final recognition and tremendous relief. In a flash, the little blonde is hugging Faith, causing the girl to drop the axe she was holding. Buffy wraps her arms tighter than humanly possible around the brunette . Her face is buried in the girl's long brown mane and tears fall freely from her eyes. Her body shakes uncontrallably and if she wasn't smiling, one would almost think Buffy was under unimaginable grief.
"It's really you..." The blonde whispers through her sobs.
Faith stands awkwardly with her arms hovering around, but not touching Buffy. She seems uncomfortable with the situation, looking down at the blonde, surprised. She then closes her eyes and sighs. Slowly, she places her arms on Buffy's back. She returns the hug, finally settling in the emotional blonde's embrace.
What a sight to see. After nine years, the girls are finally reunited. They have changed, that much is obvious. But as they hold on tightly to eachother, in their own little protective bubble, everyone and everything else forgotten, it seems that both Buffy and Faith never let go in the first place.
"Eh... I assume they already knew eachother?" Giles eventually breaks the silence. He looks at Willow and is surprised to find her teary-eyed and sniffling. She is smiling and nods affirmatively at Giles. "Absolutely bizarre..." He mumbles to himself. He then proceeds to take off his glasses and thoroughly clean them, still mumbling incoherently.
Eventually, Buffy breaks away from Faith but refuses to distance herself more than a step away. She looks the brunette up and down, finally resting on the girl's face, spell-bound. She hastily wipes her tears away and giggles nervously.
"Look at you." She smiles warmly. "And you said you were never going to wear make-up." The blonde touches the brunette's arm lightly.
Faith gives a short laugh, grinning at the girl in front of her. Her head slanted to the side and her eyes lazily travelling down the blonde.
"Look at you, B. You must've grown a whole inch." She looks up at Buffy, a familiar mischievous glint in her eyes.
The smaller blonde lets out a half-sob, half-laugh as she hugs Faith once again. Faith chuckles, a new smoky quality in her voice. She hugs Buffy back with one arm, only now noticing Willow and Xander.
"Hey, guys." She holds up her free hand as a way of greeting and carefully disentangles herself from the clinging blonde. "I'm Faith."
Buffy bedrudgingly releases her hold on the girl and settles on standing closely at her side. Willow smiles widely at Faith.
"We remember." She says, blushing. Faith cocks an eyebrow and then smiles apologetically.
Xander awakens from his bedazzlement and steps nearer to the two girls.
"Yeah, you were the queen of the playground." He adds. "You saved me from Gary Waldek once. Big guy. About ye high." He holds his hand by his waist.
Recognition is seen in Faith's eyes and she nods, grinning.
"You're the kid with the Wolverine obsession, fake sideburns and all. X-man!"
The brown-haired boy smiles a little embarassed.
"That's me. Fake sideburn-boy." He admits.
"And you..." Faith points at Willow. "Little Red!" She smiles, surprised to find her memories, however vague, coming back.
Buffy gently nudges her.
"That's Willow and Xander. You used to call them the Liamese twins." She teases.
Faith laughs and nods. Shrugging at her childhood mistake. And then the bell rings. She steps away from the little blonde. Buffy immediately misses the proximity and fights the urge to pull the girl closer again.
"Guess that means you guys gotta get to class, right?" Faith inquires.
Buffy stares at the brunette, incredulously. They hadn't seen eachother in nine years and Faith wanted her to get to class? Before the blonde can protest, however, Faith has already retreated towards the library exit.
"I got some stuff to do, but I'll meet you after school? I'll be back here in three hours, alright?" She points at her with both hands for confirmation, still back-tracking on the way out.
"No. Faith, don't go." Suddenly Buffy sounds as she would have nine years ago. Her voice is small and almost pleading. Her fear of losing Faith once again freezes her in place, no matter how much she wanted to just grab the brunette and make her stay.
Faith drops her arms, already at the door and looks at Buffy sincerely.
"Buffy. I'll be here. Three hours." She gives her a small smile, which turns into a grin. "An education is important, ya know?" She mimics their second-grade teacher.
She gives one last wave, before turning around and disappearing from the library, leaving Buffy and the others confused behind.
"Ah, yes. Well..." Giles breaks the silence once again. "Perhaps the rest of you would like to meet me back here after class and tell me how long you've known of another slayer."
Buffy nods, distracted, and hurriedly walks out of the library.
"Sure Giles..." She mumbles and also disappears out of sight.
Both Willow and Xander glance at eachother, worried and not entirely understanding what had just happened or what was expected of them to do.
"It's rather important to know how this came to pass. It isn't every day that two slayers are called. It's rather unique, even. Quite bizarre." He tells them.
"Sure Giles..." Xander says and shrugs at Willow. "See you after class."
The two turn around and begin walking away, until Willow abruptly stops. Xander pushes open the doors but then turns back, noticing Willow's absence beside him. He watches confused as Willow slowly turns back to Giles, her mouth agape.
"Giles... What did you just say?"