DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all the slayerettes belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To thedatajunkie[at]gmail.com

Chosen Three
By The Datajunkie


The outrageousness of the house was only part of what had appealed to Faith, but she wouldn't say what the rest was when asked. Buffy could feel the various eyes on her as she approached the front door and wondered again why anybody would want that many gargoyles sitting around their roof.

She and Willow had tried to convince Faith to take the estate on the other side of her own, but Faith had been adamant. This was the house for her. Which disturbed Buffy on quite a few levels. Flinching as the knocker banged against the door with the sound of a thunder clap, Buffy considered the very real possibility that Faith simply had no taste.

Buffy followed a servant through the darkened house, finding herself uneasy at what she was seeing. Bad taste aside; the rooms they were passing were completely empty. Maybe Faith's furniture hasn't arrived from New York yet. I'll sic Willow on that. She paused in the entrance to the dinning room.

At the far end of the table sat Faith, her chin resting on her hand as she idly pushed food around on her plate. She was alone, somewhat lost in the room and Buffy was suddenly struck with the awareness that Faith was lonely.

Lonely for the things that friends brought a person. Conversation, laughter, camaraderie. Her relationship with Willow, Tara and Kennedy was something she treasured above all else and she often credited it with her long survival to date. Occasional bouts of sex were no replacement for that and Buffy was ashamed that she had not realized this sooner. Okay, lesson learned. Time to move on. She walked into the room, her heels clicking lightly and alerting Faith to her approach.

"Hey. Mind if I join you?"

Her eyes lighting, Faith smiled widely. "Hey B! Come on in, grab a chair. Have you eaten yet? I could have the gobs rustle something up for you."

Buffy took the chair next to the dark slayer before answering. She looked at the barely touched steak in front of Faith and summoned a smile. "No, I haven't had dinner yet," she lied, letting Faith summon a servant.

Within moments she had a glass of wine and a basket of fresh bread before her. "So Faith, are you settling in okay? Any problems?"

"I'm golden, B. No problems." Faith took a bite of steak, her appetite returning. "The territory you gave me to patrol is jumping. Nice for a change."

As her own plate was set in front of her, Buffy wondered again how she had managed to miss the signs of unhappiness that Faith was now showing. "I'm just glad you're here. So much stuff happens in this town it's impossible to catch it all."

"Well, we'll kick this burg into shape in no time."

"Absolutely." Buffy chose a slice of bread and glanced around. "So, where's Fred tonight?"

Faith snorted. "Out with her boy toy."

"Her… you mean Xander?"

"Yep. She's out the door with him the second we get back from patrol. It's a wonder the guy can walk the way she's riding him."

Buffy sipped her wine, careful not to reveal how disturbed she was by this news. "Kind of hard to scribe if you're not around isn't it?"

Shrugging, Faith finished her meal. "I just catch her up on anything she missed."

But the whole point of a scribe was that they had been trained to see everything, even stuff that seemed innocuous. You couldn't tell what might be important later, so everything was recorded. Plus there's the added benefit of a Slayer never having to be alone. Buffy only half listened to Faith's tale of an adventure she'd had in New York as she made plans.

Buffy entered the great hall, coming to a halt as she spotted Willow in an animated discussion with several of the hobgoblins. She was nodding and holding her hands out in a placating manor. The hobgoblins seemed upset by something but Buffy couldn't hear their muffled words from where she was. Willow glanced up at the ceiling and nodded again. Then she shook her head and placed a hand over her heart. The servants seemed satisfied with this and left. Willow's sigh of relief was audible even at this distance. She watched the redhead cross the length of the hall towards her, her eyebrow raised in question.

Willow shook her head again as she reached Buffy's side. "Quelling a minor revolt."

"A revolt?"

"Yeah. Apparently while the hobgoblins are fully prepared to clean up demon blood and vampire ashes, they draw the line at having to clean chocolate syrup off of the bedroom ceiling." Willow rolled her eyes. "I had to promise them that it wouldn't happen again. I think it's a height issue."

"What, we don't have a ladder?"

"No, I mean I think they're afraid of heights."

"Oh. Another interesting piece of trivia learned."

Willow chuckled then donned her resolve face, causing Buffy to step back a pace. "Um, Will?"

"Now I'm going to have a word with Miss Tara about the proper care and handling of a syrup bottle."

Buffy left the witch to her task and laughed all the way to her office. She was still smiling when she entered, a fact that made the person sitting in front of her desk somewhat nervous.

Giles shifted slightly, barely able to stop himself from pulling off his glasses. Buffy's ruthless handling of the council was still very fresh in his mind and not for the first time was he glad that he had taken her side during the conflict.

Buffy sat down and schooled her features to project a more serious air. "Morning, Giles. I was wondering if you could teach Fred how to be a watcher."

Surprised at the request, Giles sought clarification. "I don't understand, she's already a scribe."

Buffy nodded her eyes troubled. "Yes, but she's not doing her job. She's caught up with the whole Xander/romance thing and has been bailing on Faith as much as she can to be with him."

"I see. That isn't good of course, but why change her position? Wouldn't it be easier to let her go altogether?"

"Yes, but I don't want to lose my Fixer and if Fred goes back to New York then I'm afraid I will. A watcher doesn't have to be with the Slayer 24/7 the way a scribe does."

"I understand. Well the training for a scribe and a watcher are similar so it wouldn't be that difficult, but what about the scribe position?"

Buffy picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory. "We just requisition a new one. Hello? Maggie? It's Buffy. I need a scribe."

Faith sat beside the large bay window, watching the sunrise, dreading the coming of another day. At least when she was slaying she wasn't bored. That her boredom might have stemmed from something else was not something she would let herself think about.

She was back in Sunnydale, back to killing vampires the way it was supposed to be. Her nights were full and if her days were a little empty then it was only because she was thinking about it too much. Faith nodded, emphasizing her point. Less thinking, more slaying, fucking and sleeping. Resolute, she rose and retreated upstairs to the oblivion that sleep offered.

Pushing open the door to her bedroom, she stopped, her eyes locking on the mischievous pair looking back at her. Buffy was lying on her stomach facing Faith, her naked body illuminated by dozens of candles scattered around the bed. "Hey."

"Hey back." Buffy propped her chin on her hands and let her eyes roam possessively over the dark slayer's body. "One of us is over dressed."

Faith closed the door and leaned back against it. "Guess it's me." Reaching down, she pulled her boots off, tossing them into a corner. "Don't tell me that all three of your handmaidens got a headache?"

"Nope. Just a hard night's slaying deserves a hard day's…fucking."

The word fell from Buffy's lips and burst into flame between Faith's legs. "Oo, such a nasty mouth!" Her shirt hit the floor, quickly followed by her pants.

"No undies? Who's calling who nasty?"

Faith sat down on the edge of the bed and ran her hand down the length of Buffy's naked back. "You know me, B. I like to be prepared."

Buffy smiled up at her and remained where she was, letting Faith choose the way.

Faith bent closer, her tongue flicking out to taste the shoulder before her. Buffy's giggle changed to a groan as teeth followed tongue, tiny nips of pain soothed with warm, wet strokes. "Kinda glad you're here B. I haven't had dessert yet."

Buffy's hands slowly clenched around fistfuls of bedspread as Faith straddled her, her damp curls rubbing against her buttocks. "I could go… get ice cream."

Faith eased over her, her breasts pressing into the blonde slayer's back as she resumed her nibbling. "Naw, what I got here is better." She sucked a mark into being on the back of Buffy's neck. "And I'm going to enjoy every bite."

Hands stroked over her, claiming her through touch and Buffy sank willingly into the dark woman's hold. Faith raked her teeth along the side of a flattened breast, causing Buffy to tense. She instantly soothed the scratch with her tongue, as her hips began a slight rocking against Buffy's ass. "Shh. I haven't even gotten to the cream filing yet."

Her hand pushed underneath Buffy's hips, slipping between her legs and cupping the warmth she found there, spearing it with strong fingers. "So wet." She withdrew her fingers and touched them to Buffy's lips, pushing them into her mouth. "Taste."

Her senses swam as her own musky essence flooded her mouth. "Unngh. God Faith!" She licked the offered digits clean and looked back the woman sitting on her butt. "You make me insane."

Delighted, Faith scraped her nails down the flawless back, raising almost bloody weals. Shuddering at the onslaught of sensation, Buffy began thrusting back against Faith, illustrating more clearly than with words that she approved.

"Oh yeah." Encouraged, Faith's bites became harder, her hands more grasping. "It feels good doesn't it?" She tasted blood in her mouth and was rewarded with Buffy's strangled cry. "That little kick that tells us we're still alive." Pulling Buffy to her hands and knees, Faith spread her legs a little, opening her to exploring hands.

"Faith!" Fingers inside her, opening her wide, filling her. "Please!"

"Please what B? This?" She ran her thumb over the hypersensitive nub. "Or this?" Slicked with arousal, Faith sent a lone finger pressing into the tight swirl of flesh, causing Buffy to buck wildly against her hand.

Buffy began crying out to deities, impressing Faith with her apparent first name basis with several of them. "Ohh, she likes that." She sank her teeth into a silky buttock and began introducing a second finger. "So Lady B is a backdoor girl at heart."

Moving so that she was pressing against Buffy, Faith began to thrust, rubbing herself against the firm smoothness of her ass. "Jesus!"

Buffy's head was whipping back and forth as she moved against Faith's hand, mindlessly chanting, "Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!"

Keeping her fingers deep inside the blonde, Faith used her free hand to grip the slippery nub that would finish Buffy off. "Time to fly." She twisted her fingers and Buffy came apart in her hands with a long shuddering scream. Her own release crashed over her, making her pound into the flesh beneath her. Buffy's second orgasm robbed her of the ability to make any noise at all, though Faith's hoarse shouts more than made up for any lack.

Faith locked her tired muscles, aware that she was in a position to hurt Buffy if she wasn't careful. A tiny whimper escaped Buffy as Faith carefully withdrew and she dropped to the bed, exhausted and shaking, unable to hold herself upright any longer. Great gulps of air did little to ease the whirlwind her mind was in as the blood in her body tried to figure out where it should be now.

Faith fell face first onto the bed beside her, unable to summon enough energy to do much more than lie there.

Buffy laid the katana in the center of the dinning table and meet Faith's questioning gaze. "Here's the deal. This sword is centuries old. It's enchanted, blessed, guaranteed to slay vamps and demons alike, and probably makes some really nifty fries." She grinned. "There's only one and I've decided to be fair about this. I propose a contest."

Faith leaned forward, her eyes never leaving the weapon. "What kind of contest?"

"Slaying. One night. From dusk to dawn. The one with the most kills, demon or vamp, wins the blade."

Obviously excited, Faith nodded. "Sounds good. How do we keep score?"

Buffy gestured to her assembled house. "The scribes will keep a record of the kills." She saw Faith shooting Kennedy a doubtful look. "And to make things fair, we're going to swap scribes for the night. Kennedy will go with you and Fred can come with me."

"And to make the odds even more even, I'll go with you as well." Tara smiled warmly at the dark slayer.

Buffy nodded. "Right, any kills made by our respective witches will count towards our killscore. Any questions?"

Faith thought about it a second. "Just to ask when and where."

"Tomorrow we'll meet here one hour before sunset. There are no boundaries to the hunt and any graveyard is fair game, but you must be back within one hour after sunrise."

"And the winner gets the spoils."

"Yes. The hobgoblins are preparing a celebration for afterwards so the loser can drown her sorrows at least." Buffy winked at Faith. "So you'll have something to do besides drool over my sword."

Faith snorted. "I'm going to be too busy laying you out on this table and fucking you blind with my sword, Lady B." She was pleased at the blush that suddenly bloomed in the blonde's cheeks.

Clearing her throat, Buffy decided it was time to change the subject. "There is one other thing I wanted to run past you Faith. If you're agreeable then Giles wants to train Fred to become your new watcher."

"I guess if she wants to. But what do I do for a scribe?" Confused, she glanced at Willow and Kennedy, knowing damn well that Buffy wouldn't let them that far away from her.

"A new scribe will be here in three days."

Three days? Faith's face revealed her suspicion. "Were you asking me to make Fred my watcher or telling me?"

Holding her hands up in defense, Buffy explained. "I was asking you Faith. But we both know that Fred isn't doing her job. I mean, where is she now? We are sitting around the sword of Jouzai, planning its fate. Shouldn't somebody be writing that down?"

Kennedy shifted a little, tapping the notebook in front of her with her pen. "She's got a point."

Faith backed off, not sure why she was defending Fred anyway. "Fine, whatever."

"Good evening everyone and welcome to the first annual Slayerfest. I'm Xander Harris, your handsome host and I will be officiating tonight's event." He smoothed a non-existent wrinkle from his rented tuxedo and smiled into the camera that was being operated by one of the hobgoblins. "Tonight we bring you the ultimate sporting event. Two Slayers. One prize. One winner."

Faith leaned over and whispered to Tara, "Why are we letting him do this again?"

"Temporary insanity?" She looked down at herself and thought that insanity might be a little too close to the mark. Blue strips of material had been tied around her upper arms, identifying her as a member of Faith's 'team' along with Kennedy.

Across the driveway, Buffy was standing beside her 'team' the crimson bands clearly visible against the black of their patrol clothes.

Fred looked decidedly uncomfortable but had vowed to see the event through to the end. Seeing Xander in a tux was helping her a great deal in that respect.

Willow was talking to another camera-bearing goblin, apparently giving him some last minute filming instructions.

Xander glanced at his watch and raised his voice. "All right combatants. The time is drawing near. The goal is simple: Slay as many evil creatures of the night as possible before dawn. The one with the most kills wins. And what do they win you ask? The coveted Sword of Jazai! Magically enchanted, razor sharp and yet still fashionably trendy, it's truly a grand prize." He looked at his watch again. "The contest begins at sunset exactly which is in.. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go!"

Buffy rolled her eyes and climbed behind the wheel of the Durango. The rest of her team followed suit, as did their 'cameraman'. She started the truck and they were off. "The next time I agree to a bet with Xander, will somebody smack me?"

Willow's grin was huge. "Sure thing, honey."

Buffy just scowled at her. "This is your fault, you know."

"No, this is your fault for making the bet in the first place."

"God Will! I never thought you'd actually do it!" Heat suffused Buffy's cheeks at the memory.

Unrepentant, Willow chuckled. "Now you know better."

In the back seat, Fred listened to the exchange with half an ear as she took notes on the evening so far. This might be her last night as a scribe but she had a feeling it was going to be a doosie.

Faith let Tara drive, wanting to let her focus to be totally on the hunt. She stared out into the rapidly fading light, her hand lightly stroking the stock of her crossbow. "So Kennedy. What's up with Xander?"

"He and Buffy made a bet. She lost."

"A bet? About what?"

Tara snickered. "He bet Buffy that Willow would do a striptease on the table in the great hall if Buffy asked her to. In front of everybody."

"D-Damn! She really…?"

"Oh yeah, she didn't even hesitate."

"Whoa. I can't believe it."

"It was… surprising." Privately Tara thought that Willow was the one who had arranged the whole thing because she just couldn't see Xander having the guts to suggest such a thing to Buffy's face without prompting. And a guarantee of protection.

Faith was trying to shake the image of Willow dancing across the table from her mind when they reached the first cemetery. She stepped out into the cool night air and grinned as her slayer senses alerted her to the presence of vamps. "Showtime."

Buffy emerged from the thick fog of ash coughing roughly. She waved a frantic hand at Willow who tossed her a bottle of water. Buffy took a mouthful and swished it around before spitting it out again. "Gah! Icky!" She rinsed again, trying to get the taste of vampire out of her mouth.

Fred added seven more vampires to Buffy's score and looked up in time to see the sire of the dusted vamps swing at the slayer with what appeared to be a six-foot broad sword.

Buffy leaped into the air over the blade and a stake flew from her hand, catching the elder vampire in the throat. "Well darn it! I don't have time to play with you tonight." A roundhouse kick to the face was delivered with enough force that the already weakened neck simply parted, effectively beheading the vamp.

Making a special note as to how the vamp was dispatched, Fred trotted after Buffy and Willow as they swept the cemetery. This was their fourth tonight and Buffy was racking up some serious body counts. Five demons and sixteen vamps so far and there were still three hours until sunrise.

Willow was keeping her own mental tally and even she was surprised at the numbers of vamps they were finding. Eh, life on the Hellmouth, I guess.

The Mohra demon was giving Faith a bit of trouble and that was pissing her off. "When the hell did these things wise up and start wearing helmets?" She glared at the thick metal protecting the demon's one weakness: the ruby embedded in the center of its forehead. Faith ran up the trunk of a nearby tree and flipped into the air, coming down behind the monster. Leaping onto its back, she gripped the helmet and yanked it off, tossing it away. Infuriated at the time this kill was taking; Faith wrapped her legs around the Mohra and twisted him to the ground where she proceeded to bang his forehead against a gravestone until the ruby was crushed.

Tara sat the unusual helmet into the back of the truck as Faith came jogging up. "Nice move." She handed Faith a bottle of water and watched the slayer drain it in a few long gulps.

"Thanks. And thanks for picking that up. I want Buffy and Giles to see that. Either this one was smarter than most or somebody helped him come up with this."

Kennedy knocked against the side of the truck and pointed behind them. "Um, two hours left till sunrise and that's either a suicidal vampire or a very lost human."

Faith got no feeling of vampire from the teenager and she hustled him out of the cemetery with a warning that taking dares in Sunnydale was the equivalent of committing suicide. "Jeez what's with these kids?" That she wasn't much older than the kid in question didn't occur to her.

Xander was waiting back at the mansion, still tuxed much to Fred's delight. "And here they come! Welcome back Slayers! And now I will ask that the official score keepers come forward with their totals." He took a piece of paper from each of the scribes and read them quickly. "And second place, with 33 kills, goes to Buffy!" Xander realized that they hadn't arranged for an actual second place prize and after a quick glance around, he shrugged and pushed Willow into Buffy's arms. "Congratulations."

Faith blinked as she realized that he had said second place. That meant… "Yes!" She pumped the air with her fist and turned to share high-fives with her teammates. "Hot Damn!"

Xander carried the sword over to the winner and presented it. "Our first place winner, with 35 kills, Faith!"

Faith took the weapon and bowed as the rest of her friends applauded. "Thank you! Now let's party!"

The Mohra helmet somehow came to be sitting in the center of the table, a macabre centerpiece that Willow tried to dress up by sticking flowers in the eye holes. The large piece of armor now stared at everybody with pink carnation eyes.

The night's battles were recounted by the scribes, some causing laughter, some causing a new gleam of respect.

"I can still taste the ash." Buffy complained as she sipped her wine again and took the accompanying laughter in good grace.

Faith couldn't remember a time when she felt so content. She looked at the people around her and felt like her heart was going to burst, which immediately made her defensive. Sliding her chair back, she stood and left the room.

Seeing the dark slayer leave, Buffy followed. She caught up with Faith in the library. "Faith? Are you okay?"

Faith was sitting by the now dying fire, running her hands over the sword in her lap. "Yeah, I'm fine B. Just catching my breath." She tilted her head to the side and studied the other woman. "I'm getting the feeling though that there was more to this little game than deciding who gets this sword."

Buffy shrugged. "Nah, just wanted to have some fun."

"Right." Faith's smirk clearly showed her doubt, but she let it slide, not wanting to get into anything that might cause either one of them to get sappy. "I was thinking though, Not really fair to keep this thing all to myself."

"Well that was the point of the contest. Besides, I'm tickled pink with my second place prize." They shared a smile.

"Yeah, but how about we change the rules?" She tapped a quick beat on the sheath with her fingers. "How about I hang onto this for the next six months and then we have another contest to see who gets it for the next six months after that?"

"Never let it be said that you're just another pretty face, Faith. That's a great idea."

Faith shrugged and stood, slinging an arm around Buffy's shoulders. "Can't fight perfection B." She murmured softly into Buffy's ear, "Let's go see if Xander and Fred have bailed yet. You and I have an appointment with a table and this sword."

Buffy's face was flaming, but she went willingly with Faith back to the dinning room.

The taxi pulled to a stop in front of the house, disgorging its passenger and her luggage before zipping off as if being chased. Jenny Calendar tilted her head back and stared at the ominous spires that were thrusting towards the sky like some crooked and clawed hand. I can't blame him.

She picked up her bags and climbed the stone steps to the front door, eyeing the gruesome lion's head in its center, which was holding a large metal ring. Gingerly gripping the cold metal, she lifted the ring and let it fall, unsurprised at the thunderous boom that resulted.

A moment latter the door swung slowly open and she was presented with a dark opening. Jenny started to reach for her bags again when something emerged from the darkness. She straightened, keeping her eyes on the gnarled face of the goblin that took possession of her luggage. He grunted, which she assumed was an invitation to follow him so she did, stepping into the shadows lying beyond the threshold.

The only light in the entryway came from a few candles, making Jenny wonder if there was some kind of power outage. She saw another goblin coming towards her from the gloom. "I am the new scribe. I believe the Slayer is expecting me?"

He shook his head and jerked his thumb towards the left side of the house, muttering indistinctly.

"Next door? What's next door?"

Another mutter.

"Okay then. I'll just pop over there." She turned to leave and then thought of something. Facing the goblin again Jenny waved a hand at the dark room. "While I'm gone why don't you guys do something about getting some light in here?"

Stepping back outside, Jenny looked around and spotting the small path leading around the house, she followed it until she came to another wall. A wrought iron gate provided a way to the other side and she strode briskly along the path to the large mansion on the hill. So this is where the other slayer lives.

She was almost disappointed to find a normal doorbell by the front entrance even if it was brass. Jenny pressed the button, wondering at the disparity between the two homes. They're probably at each other's throats all the time.

The door opened and she found herself facing another goblin. "I'm looking for Faith. I'm her new scribe."

Plainly doubting that, the goblin never the less let her enter and then pointed to the stairs. His muffled comment froze Jenny in mid step, but before she could ask him to clarify, the demon had disappeared down the hallway. Surely I misheard him.

The staircase was wide enough for three people to walk down side by side comfortably and carpeted in a rich crimson. As Jenny climbed, she took note of the variety of weapons covering the walls, broken only by the occasional portrait of young women from different periods. This must be the traditional home of the Chosen.

Wondering how Faith had come to be housed in the gothic nightmare down the hill, Jenny stopped at the edge of the landing and studied the series of closed doors in front of her. If what the hobgoblin said was true then she's probably behind one of these.

As she walked past the doors, the unmistakable sound of a feminine scream reached her. She stopped and turned the knob on the door in front of her, a little smile playing across her lips.

She wasn't disappointed. The door closed behind her with a quiet snap but no one on the bed was paying any attention. Jenny realized that she wasn't going to be able to speak with either of the slayers until they were finished, so she chose a chair which provided her with a good view and settled back to wait.

To pass the time, she counted heads, finding five separate women in the complex tangle. At least she assumed it was only five; as the knot of sweating bodies moved it was hard to tell where one woman ended and another began.

It wasn't long before there was a cry of pleasure that could only mean release, quickly followed by another. More shouts followed and Jenny had to smile at the display of enthusiasm and athletics. She was startled and a little concerned when a sheathed sword fell from the intertwined bodies and landed on the floor with a dull thud. Hmm. Kinky. I think I'm going to like it here.

Tara was the first to untangle herself from the throng and she eased off the bed and stood up into a long stretch, rising on her toes and reaching for the ceiling.

Jenny smiled in appreciation at the sight. "Beautiful."

Tara blinked and dropped back down to the bed with a distressed sound, which caused Buffy to jerk upright from her position between Kennedy's thighs. "Tara?" She saw the woman sitting across the room and leapt from the bed. "Who are you? How did you get in here?"

Willow unlocked her legs from around Faith's waist, the dildo sliding out of her with slight sucking sound that made her flush. Faith ditched the harness she was wearing and came off the bed to stand beside Buffy, her stance one of battle readiness. "She asked you a question."

Jenny beamed cheerfully at them. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset anyone. As to whom I am, I'm Jenny Calendar. I was told that I would find Faith in here by one of the servants." She crossed her legs and straightened her skirt, completely unfazed both by what she had seen and the hostile looks being focused on her now.

Buffy forced the tension from her body and looked at Faith. "Your new scribe."

Faith rolled her eyes. "Figures."

Willow handed Buffy a robe identical to the one she was now wearing and the one Tara was hastily pulling on. Buffy tied the belt, glaring at the black-haired woman who had just destroyed her chances of a post-coital nap. "I was told that you would be arriving tomorrow."

Faith ignored the robe that Willow was trying to hand her and instead treaded into the adjoining bathroom.

Jenny watched her go, her eyes drawn to muscles moving in such a sensual rhythm. Ooo, the possibilities. She looked over to find Buffy scowling at her and exhaled. "I hardly think you can blame me for appreciating beauty in one of its more enjoyable packages."

"You'd be surprised at what I can blame you for." Buffy stabbed a finger in the direction of the door. "Now I suggest you go down to the great hall and wait for us there."

Jenny stood, humoring the girl. "All right, I'll wait downstairs." She opened the door and then paused. "You know, after being in bed with four women, you'd think you'd be in a better mood." Not waiting for an answer, Jenny left.

Buffy was turning an interesting shade of purple and Willow was quick to soothe her. "Now that she's gone, why don't we all hit the bathroom?"

"I'd like to hit something all right."

Willow took Buffy's hand and pulled her into the bathroom where Faith was already soaking in the huge tub. "See? There's bubbles and there's Faith. The perfect bath time toy."

Faith snickered and sent a spray of water at the redhead. "Yeah, come make me squeak Lady B."

Despite her attempt to stop it, a smile escaped onto Buffy's lips and she slid into the water next to the dark slayer.

Willow and Tara followed, and then looked expectantly at Kennedy. "Well?"

Kennedy shook her head at the madness of trying to fit them all into the tub, but gamely lowered herself into the water.

They had to do some arranging but soon everyone was comfortable. Buffy was absently soaping Faith's shoulder, her mind obviously on the woman waiting for them downstairs. "Not the best way to meet somebody."

Kennedy looked up from her careful scrubbing of Tara's foot. "I know her. She was one of my teachers during my training."

That got everyone's attention. Willow dropped her soap and had to go fishing for it, making Buffy jump. "Sorry." She focused on Kennedy again. "Why would they send a teacher?"

Since no one had an answer, Tara cleared her throat and pointed out that the answers were waiting for them downstairs in the great hall. "Not that I want this to end." She punctuated this by pressing a kiss to Faith's cheek.

Buffy's sigh was resigned. "Come on. She's not going to go away."

Faith grinned. "That's not a bad thing. B. She's kinda hot." She sputtered through the tidal wave that was sent in her direction and yanked Willow's foot, pulling her under. The situation quickly escalated.

The group descended the stairs together, save for Willow who was trying to explain the vast amounts of flooding to the house staff.

"She's going to kill us for leaving her to deal with them." Buffy's muffled laugh belied the seriousness of her warning.

Faith merely smiled her attention on the woman rising to meet them. "So, you're my new scribe. Hope you last longer."

Jenny easily read the challenge in the young girl's eyes and responded in kind. "Oh you'll find I have more than enough stamina to keep up with you."

"Ooo, I like you!" Faith slumped into a chair and ran an assessing gaze over her new scribe. The neatly tailored suit the scribe was wearing would have been the perfect thing for a meeting of stuffy scholars save for one thing; it was made of black leather. A fact that had Faith sitting up and taking notice. The dark material made already dark eyes black, enhancing the pale skin that seemed to glow.

Jenny was well aware of the interest being expressed by her slayer, but she stayed focused on the others and the conversation around her. If Jenny chose to act on her attraction to the dark girl the she would, but it would be her decision. She could see that the young slayer was used to getting what she wanted, when she wanted it and that peaked Jenny's love of challenge. We'll see how long it takes her to fall in line.

She turned her attention to her former student, who was sitting vary close to her slayer. "So Kennedy, I see you're shaking up the status quo like always."

Kennedy blushed and started to pull her hand away from Buffy's shoulder. The blonde slayer caught it and put it back where it belonged, her glare daring the older woman to comment.

Jenny laughed suddenly and gave Kennedy and thumb's up. "Good for you! I always did think that rule was ridiculous." She tossed her hair back and looked at Tara. "And you would be Buffy's Second. I've heard a great deal of good things about you."

Tara's face was aflame and she ducked her head shyly, not answering.

Willow sailed into the room, her expression perturbed. "I can't believe you left me up there." She plopped down into the Slayer's lap and glared at her playfully.

Buffy shrugged apologetically. "Sorry honey, but you know they don't like me. It's that slayer thing."

"Hmm. Funny how that only comes up when there's trouble." Willow stared at her lover through narrow eyes. "Still it's all right. We worked out an agreement."

Something in her voice made Buffy tense. "An agreement? What kind of agreement?"

"Swimming pool."

"We don't have a swimming pool."

Willow nodded. "Right. But we will now. And the hobgoblins want swimming rights."

As an image of a green, wrinkled goblin in Speedos ran screaming through her mind, Buffy vaguely heard Jenny greeting Willow.

"So you're the girl that tamed the Slayer. I see your reputation is well deserved."

Once back at Faith's house, Jenny was pleased to find that the hobgoblins had followed her orders and got the lights on throughout the house. She looked around the empty expanse and shot Faith a questioning look. "Is this a political statement or an abstract expression of minimalism?"

"Just haven't gotten around to getting anything yet."

"Well I hate to break it to you but most people like chairs to sit on instead of floor. And even tables to eat off of. Maybe even a desk to write on."

Shrugging, Faith waved a hand in Jenny's direction. "Knock yourself out."

Jenny's smile was sly. "Just remember, you asked for it."

Choosing to ignore the… comment? Threat? Faith smiled at Jenny, her intentions obvious as she moved to stand close. "So, anything I can do to make you feel more at home?"

Jenny shook her head and traced Faith's cheek with a fingertip. "I doubt it, but I'll keep your offer in mind." She strolled out of the living room and upstairs to her room.

Grinning, Faith watched her go, confident that she would 'welcoming' her new scribe soon.

Giles handed the folder to Buffy, his expression conveying its contents.

"Ouch. That bad?" She read the outline of portents, signs and the cosmic indicators that the Chosen was destined to fall in five days time and another called. "Well that sucks."

"Of course there's no guarantee that this will come to pass, the signs are merely possibilities…" He stopped and took his glasses off before rubbing his face wearily. "Buffy I…"

Buffy raised a hand to silence him. "Don't. It's all right Giles. You're just the messenger. So get that guilty look out of your eyes."

He cleared his throat and spoke quietly. "It could be Faith."

"No. Not if I can help it." Buffy stood and moved to her filing cabinet. She unlocked the bottom drawer and dropped the file inside before locking it again. "This stays between us, understand?"

"But Buffy-"

"No. I've had a good run Giles. She deserves the same." Buffy wrapped her arms around the taciturn watcher and hugged him firmly. "I've had my second chance. And if a Slayer must die then it's going to be me."

Buffy spent the next five days getting her affairs in order and spending as much time as she could with her handmaidens. If they noticed the extra attention they didn't mention it and Buffy worked hard to keep them distracted.

Entrusting Giles with letters to be delivered to her wives and family in the event of her death, Buffy began preparing the way for Faith to take her place.

She wasn't planning on dying if she could help it but she wouldn't let Faith be the one who died either. Faith was only twenty and to Buffy that felt like a lifetime. She was the elder; the one with the most experience and it was up to her to take care of her younger friend.

Careful study revealed that the Hellmouth was the likely spot of the trouble and she designed the coming night's patrol patterns so that Faith would be nowhere near there.

The night spiraled out of control quickly and as Kennedy struggled to document the events and stay alive at the same time, she realized that she might possibly be going to record the death of her slayer.

The demons had poured from an apparent crack in the Hellmouth itself and as Tara and Willow frantically tried to seal the rip, Buffy had her hands more than full. The long crack in the earth began to close slowly, but there were more than enough nasties out now to overpower the slayer.

Kennedy ducked behind a tree and flipped her cell phone open, dialing the other slayer. "Faith! We need you at the Hellmouth now!"

Buffy whirled upon hearing this, dropping her guard. "No! Kennedy, tell her to stay away!" She went soaring past Kennedy's head, crashing into the tree she was just behind.


Willow heard the cry and flinched. Please! Please let her be all right. She and Tara had almost sealed the tear but they couldn't stop until the job was done.

The roar of an engine suddenly added to the sounds of battle and Faith's truck came bouncing over the hill, running down any demons in her path. The dark slayer jumped out of the vehicle, a bolt gun in each hand. "Somebody call the cavalry?"

Three demons went down almost instantly and as a fourth found himself starring at a bolt through his chest, the remaining force realized that there was a new threat and scattered.

Faith gave a cheerful battle cry and gave chase, her shots true. She jumped over the fallen body of a Chaos demon and took aim on one she didn't recognize as it ran away. Faith never saw the demon that got her. One second she was firing and the next she was in agony.

The scream pierced the night air, freezing everyone with its intensity. Jenny was out of the truck in an instant, the crossbow in her hands firing into the large demon behind her slayer. The twin arcs of energy that the monster was attacking Faith with began to falter and Jenny wasted no time in reloading and firing again. The beast fell and she was beside the dark slayer. "Faith!"

Kennedy stumbled as her head swam and she fell to her knees. An indescribable feeling was rushing over her, making her nauseous and dizzy.

Buffy sent the head of her opponent flying and had only a brief pause between attacks to see Jenny trying to breathe life into her fallen friend. No! It's not her time! She threw herself at the remaining demons, her sword nothing more than a silver blur.

The gap was finally sealed, leaving Tara and Willow free to fight. Fireballs and shock waves began shooting across the clearing, engulfing the fleeing demons.

The battle ended quickly after that, the demons no match for a furious slayer and two powerful witches. Buffy threw her stake at the last monster with all her considerable strength. It fell and she instantly went to her sister slayer. It was supposed to be me.

Jenny was shaking her head as she looked at Tara, an action that sent Buffy's heart plummeting.

A hand rose into the air and grabbed Jenny's shirt, pulling her down. Buffy saw Faith's eyes open and heard her complain, "Can we try that again with me awake this time?"

Kneeling beside the three, Buffy grinned down at Faith, giddy with relief. "Comfy?"

Faith shrugged and instantly regretted the action. "Not really. There's this rock under my ass that's killing me."

They eased the slayer into a sitting position and then to her feet. Faith was wobbly but moving. "Hell B. Next time you throw this kind of bash, warn me and I'll bring my tank."

"Yeah, sorry I didn't provide the proper-." Buffy froze as she spotted the crumpled form a few yards away. "Willow!"

She had no memory of moving but she was at Willow's side, easing the witch onto her back. "Willow? God Will, please?"

Green eyes fluttered open and Buffy could breathe again. "Hey… ow."

"It's okay Will, you're going to be fine." She saw Kennedy staggering towards them. "Get the truck Kennedy!"

The scribe nodded and ran for the vehicle, her feet barely touching the ground.

Buffy burst into the mansion, barking out orders as she carried her burden towards the stairs. "Kennedy, get the doctor here now! Tara, we need the first aid kit, hurry." She was up the stairs and into the bedroom within moments.

Willow couldn't stop the cry of pain as Buffy eased her down onto the bed and she immediately chided herself as she saw Buffy's flinch. The slayer stared down at the blood her First was losing and felt light headed. "We should have gone to the hospital."

"It's not that bad Buffy."

Looking down at her hands, Buffy muttered. "Your blood. That's bad." She mentally kicked herself again for not making the girls stay away tonight. You were selfish and now Willow's paying for that.

Willow ignored the pain radiating through her arm. "Buffy. This kind of thing is bound to happen. You can't protect us all the time."

"I can try." She turned to take the first aid kit from Tara and stopped, the blood on her hands making her hesitate.

Tara smiled reassuringly "I've got this Buffy, why don't you go wash up?" She sat down on the edge of the bed and helped Willow remove her torn shirt.

Willow waited until Buffy had left the bedroom and then dropped the spell she had used to conceal her pain. Tara was startled to see how pale the witch was and she urged Willow to lie back down. "Willow? What did you do?"

"Didn't want Buffy to see… " Willow looked down at her arm and Tara's eyes followed.

"Oh Goddess!" The entire right side of Willow's body was covered in blood, but that wasn't the most frightening thing. No, that was the foot long stake imbedded in her right shoulder.

Willow made a shushing noise. "Quiet. Now head Buffy off… tell her to… wait for the doctor." Tara was reluctant but was no match for Willow's pleading gaze.

Buffy didn't want to but Tara managed to convince her that her anxiety was only adding to Willow's stress. When Tara returned to Willow's side she cast a quick spell to make sure that there were no other glamours being used.

"I couldn't let her see this." Her breath was coming in shallow pants, her stomach roiling from the pain. "You have to help... It has to come out."

"But the doctor.."

"Buffy won't stay away that long!"

"I don't understand, Willow. Why hide this from her?"

Willow wrapped her hand around the wood and grimaced. "It's her stake."

"What? How?" Tara caught Willow's hand, trying to stop her.

Smacking her hand away, Willow hissed in pain and frustration. "Buffy threw the stake at the demon… I was behind it. It went through."

Understanding now, Tara gripped the stake with one hand and placed her fingers on Willow's shoulder around the wound. "Silentio." She pulled the weapon out, seeing Willow's head fall back in a scream of pain, silenced by magic.

Tara quickly pressed a wad of bandaging against the hole and brought Willow's hand up to hold it in place. She pulled the rest of Willow's stained clothes off and bundled them together with the stake. Tara shoved the bloody package out the window and turned to lift the mute spell from Willow. She paused, seeing the pain the girl was in. "Willow I have to break the spell now."

A hesitant nod and Willow clamped her teeth together.

"Sonitus." Tara ran to the bathroom and filled a bowl with warm water, hurrying back with it and a washcloth. She proceeded to clean the blood from Willow's body, careful not to jar her. Once that was done she dumped the water in the sink and then returned to remove the bedspread that Willow was lying on.

She had just pushed the cover into the laundry chute in the bathroom when she heard Buffy and the doctor enter.

The doctor didn't waste anytime in shooing the slayer out again, though for a moment it looked like the blonde was going to be stubborn.

Once Buffy was gone, Dr. Frasier turned to Willow and smiled knowingly. "Now let's see what you're trying so hard to hide, shall we?"

After cleaning and suturing the wound, the doctor ordered bed rest for next few days and no strenuous activity. If her eyes were drawn to the metal headboard with all its rings and chains as she spoke then it was to be expected. She cleared her throat and smiled at Tara, handing her two prescriptions. "This is for a strong antibiotic. I've already given her an injection of it to kick things off. Make sure she takes the whole prescription, even if she's feeling better. And this one is for pain. I've given her a shot for the pain already, as well as a muscle relaxant. She should be comfortable until the morning but please call me if she shows any signs of a fever or nausea."

Dr. Frasier packed up her things and caught Tara's eye, motioning her to join her outside.

Tara tucked Willow in, seeing the drowsy look creeping over her lover's face. "I'll be right back, sweetie. I want to make sure Buffy doesn't jump the doctor on the way out."


Once in the hallway, the doctor explained her concern. "The next forty-eight hours will be critical. When I was cleaning the wound, I found what I assume was demon blood. She doesn't seem to be reacting at the moment but you must watch her carefully."

"S-Should she be in the hospital?"

Dr. Frasier shrugged. "Truthfully? There's not much more we could do for her there. You're probably better able to deal with this kind of thing than we are. See if you can find out anything about the demon that the stake went through. Perhaps you can find out whether or not there really is anything to worry about."

Buffy was wearing a hole in the floor as she waited for the doctor to finish treating Willow. She paced off the distance of the great hall, trying to get the sound of Willow's cry of pain out of her mind.

A hobgoblin appeared, carrying a silver tray. Buffy stared blankly at the cordless phone a moment and then picked it up impatiently. Doesn't anybody realize that we're having an emergency? "Hello? Oh, Hi Faith. How are you feeling?"

Buffy continued to prowl, glaring at the empty staircase periodically. "The doctor is up with her now. Tara seems to think it's not that bad."

She banged her foot on the coffee table and swore, making Faith laugh. "Glad I could amuse you this evening." Buffy ran a hand through her hair and exhaled. "Sorry. I didn't mean to snap. So how's Jenny doing after her first official night as your scribe? Heh. A raise already? Tell her that raises are only given after she gets some more experience."

Buffy blinked as Faith passed on Jenny's reply. "Um, I'm not sure I'm old enough to hear things like that." Crimson was washing up her face. "As a matter of fact, I'm sure I'm not. I'm going to go harass the doctor, Faith. I'll talk to you later. Night."

Once the doctor had left and Buffy was upstairs with Willow, Tara summoned Giles and Kennedy into the library. "We need to find out if that last demon that Buffy killed had poisonous blood." She filled them in on the doctor's revelation and they immediately grasped the urgency of the matter.

Soon books were piled across the long table, and the quiet murmur of research-mode filled the room.

Buffy entered the library the next morning and found Tara, Giles and Kennedy slumped in various corners. She gently shook Tara's shoulder. "Tara? Wake up?"

Tara came awake suddenly. "Willow?"

Buffy patted her arm and brushed a tangled strand of hair back behind her ear. "Willow's fine. She sent me down to find you and bring her back some breakfast." She waved a hand at the others. "What's with the book-cracking?"

Tara rubbed her face, trying to wake up fully. "Um, just trying to find out more about that last demon you slew."

"Why? It's dead." Buffy picked up the notebook by the witch and scanned the list of facts. She paused when she got to the one about its blood not being poisonous to humans. It had been underlined three times. Buffy met Tara's guilty eyes and realized what had spurred the all night research mode. She laid the notepad down on the table and drew a deep, calming breath. "You should have told me."

"W-we weren't sure Buffy. We d-didn't want to w-worry you anymore than you already were." Tara's hesitant explanation was stopped by the press of Buffy's lips against her own. She sighed, sinking into the caress and parting her lips for the invasion of Buffy's tongue. The kiss deepened even more, until her blood was racing and all she was aware of was Buffy.

Buffy ended the kiss and picked the tired witch up, carrying her upstairs. As they climbed, Buffy lectured Tara on why it was bad to keep secrets and what punishment she could expect to receive after Willow was better.

Kennedy stretched as she stood, trying to work the kinks out of her back from the long night's sitting. There was no sign of Tara but she thought she heard her and Buffy laughing quietly. She stepped into the hallway but it was empty. Shrugging, she went to wake Giles.

Once the watcher had been shuffled off to one of the guest bedrooms, Kennedy headed for the kitchen, the rumble of her stomach calling her loud and clear. Something to quell the beast in my tummy and then it's off to bed. Gee, I sound like Willow. Giggling at the thought, Kennedy realized that she was sleep deprived and not just a little punchy.

She found a glass and filled it with milk, shutting the refrigerator door with a bump of her hip. The appliance rocked alarmingly and she stared at it in confusion as it went still again. Earthquake?

The room stayed motionless though, so she put it down to uneven floors and made a mental note to tell the goblins. Draining the glass, Kennedy then set it in the sink, watching in astonishment as it shattered in her hand. The sharp flare of pain across her palm distracted her and she wrapped a clean dishtowel around her hand before heading upstairs for the first aid kit. Okay, it's official. I am a hazard to myself. I have to get some sleep.

Faith caught Kennedy in her arms and swung her around. "Hey baby! Feeling better this morning?"

Kennedy slid down Faith's body, smiling at the pleasant sensation. "Well you certainly are chipper for somebody who died last night."

"Hey, I'm here now and that's all that counts. Looks like somebody's been playing with those Number 2 pencils again. I thought Buffy took them all away from you?" Faith gently ran her thumb over the bandage wrapped around Kennedy's right hand.

"Eh, broke a glass in the sink last night. I was wiped out from the all-nighter."

"Whoa! You guys had an all-nighter and didn't invite me? I'm crushed!"

Kennedy tapped Faith on the nose. "Not that kind. We spent the night getting down and dusty in the books." She straightened the edge of the gauze around her hand and realized that the tape was coming loose. "Drat. Why don't you head up and see Willow? I'm going to go slap more tape on this thing."

She took a moment to watch Faith's bottom sway its way up the stairs before following her up. Kennedy ducked into the bathroom and pulled the first aid kit out again, biting back a curse as she knocked the peroxide down. The cap was loose and the liquid splashed over her bandaged hand, soaking it. "What is wrong with me?" She cut the now wet gauze off and reached for the half empty bottle of disinfectant and poured it over her palm, washing away the crusted blood.

Kennedy froze as the wound became visible. Where last night there had been a deep gash, now there was only the thin line of a newly healed cut. What on earth? She dried her hands and touched the scar, but that's all it was: a scar.

Capping the bottle tightly, she set it and the first aid kit back into the cabinet. I better ask the others- A shout of laughter from the bedroom made her jump and she heard her name being called. Kennedy recognized the pleading call for rescue from Tara and knew that Faith was probably tickling her mercilessly again. She grinned at her reflection, remembering how the last tickle fight had turned out. "Kennedy to the rescue!"

Later that night, Kennedy stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around her head before taking another for her body. She walked out of the steamy shower area and sat down at the dressing table, an irked sound escaping her as the towel around her chest came loose. Grabbing the ends, she started to re-tuck it around her and hesitated as she saw her tattoo. Kennedy rubbed her thumb over the mark, puzzled. Is it just me or is this fading?

Tara appeared behind her and started the water running into the bathtub as Buffy came in leading Willow by the hand. She forgot about the mark as she watched them work out the logistics of bathing Willow while keeping her bandages dry.

Three days later found Willow restless, bored and itchy. She was still forbidden to go outside without somebody with her but at least they were letting her go downstairs freely now. The late afternoon sun was edging across the floor in the great hall when she entered and the redhead smiled happily when she spotted her comfy pillow already waiting for her. Willow lay down onto the couch next to Buffy and rested her head in the slayer's lap. "Me tired."

Buffy dropped the magazine she was flipping through onto the table and began running her hand through Willow's hair. "My poor Willow. Shoulder ache?"

"Mmm. Can we just stay here like this forever?"

"Absolutely." Buffy shifted them so that they were lying together on the couch. "Can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be."

Snuggling closer, Willow felt her eyes drifting shut. "Love you."

"Love you more."

"Nuh uh. Me love you more."

Buffy chuckled and kissed the scarlet head resting on her chest. "Go to sleep Willow."

"You'll hold me?"

"Always and forever."

Kennedy had been outside watching the bulldozer excavate the swimming pool and had idly picked up a rock, flinging it at a fallen pinecone a few yards away. To her amazement, she had hit it. Kennedy chose another rock and threw it, again with the same results. Wanting to test this new found skill, she had headed inside.

She slipped into the training room and took a knife from the weapon rack. Kennedy stared at the target dummy a long moment and then threw the blade. It sank perfectly into the red heart and she looked down at her hands. "Wild."

She returned to the rack and within moments had hit the target several more times. Her aim was perfect and that was impossible because Kennedy knew that she couldn't throw a knife worth a damn.

Only she was.

"I gotta talk to Buffy."

Buffy listened to Kennedy's hesitant confession without speaking. She was pretty sure she knew what had happened to her scribe but she needed to be positive. Picking up the dagger from her desk, she stood up and walked to the far end of the room. Whirling, she hurled the weapon at Kennedy's head, hoping she was right.

The scribe stared at Buffy in horror and shock. "What the hell was that?" She waved the blade at Buffy, not realizing what the action meant. "You could have killed me!"

Buffy laughed quietly at the girl's outrage, remembering her own reaction to the test. "Nope. It takes more than that to kill a slayer."

Kennedy scowled, still not getting it. "To kill a slayer, maybe. But I'm… a…scribe?"

"And she catches the clue along with the knife." Buffy sat down on the edge of her desk and grinned at Kennedy. "Welcome to the club."

"But I can't be a slayer. I-I-I I'm too old!" At twenty, she was positively ancient to be called as a slayer.

Buffy shrugged. "Yeah, usually a slayer is called before they turn seventeen. We'll sic Giles on it. Let him figure it out."

"So what now?"

"Well, you get to start training and I have to order another scribe." She groaned at the thought. "Better yet, I'll just ask Willow to be my scribe again. Then we only have to get you one." And I can keep Willow safe. And Tara can keep her company and that will keep Tara safe. Perfect.

Kennedy dropped into a chair and buried her face in her hands. "This can't be real."

"Well the knife thing could have been luck I suppose." She hopped down and retrieved a poker from the stand near the fireplace. Gripping it between her hands, she bent the iron into a U shape and handed it to Kennedy. "See if you can bend that back."

Hesitantly she took the misshapen metal and began trying to bend it. To her surprise it gave way easily and she stared down at the more or less straight poker. "Oh boy."

Her whispered exclamation was not one of excitement but one more of astonishment. Buffy knelt beside her and placed a comforting hand on her arm. "I know it's a lot to take in, but I want you to remember that you're not going into this alone. We're all here with you and we'll help you adjust to this."

Kennedy let the metal fall to the floor and sank into Buffy's arms. "I guess this means that I can blow my IRA."

Buffy leaned back far enough to look Kennedy in the eyes. "I'm not going to give you the rose-colored glasses version of a Slayer's life. You know that no Slayer has lived past the age of twenty-five. While that doesn't mean that it isn't possible, it does mean that it's likely we won't."

Burying her face in the slayer's neck, Kennedy refused to acknowledge this exciting and terrible new truth, wanting to hide instead in the strong arms around her. Reason dictated that she deal with this, but as she clung to Buffy, she decided that it would be okay pretend for a little while.

Faith jogged down the stairs and into the living room, instantly having to stop as she found a long leather couch in her path. She looked around her in amazement. The room had furniture in it. Not only did it have furniture, the stuff actually fit the style of the house.

A medieval tapestry hung over one wall, flanked by crossed maces on either side. A large oriental carpet now covered the dark floors and Faith was thrilled to see an actual suit of armor standing in the corner. "Wicked!"

Jenny glided into the room, smiling at the expression on the slayer's face. "Like that huh?"

"Absofreakinloutely! This is beyond cool!"

Jenny took her arm and guided her towards the next room. "Wait 'til you see the iron maiden in the dinning room."

Buffy exited the bathroom and smiled at the picture before her. Willow was tucked under the covers, Tara beside her reading Winnie the Pooh to the redhead. Struck by the obvious absence, Buffy interrupted the narration to ask, "Where's Kennedy?"

"I haven't seen her since dinner." That had been a very memorable occasion. Buffy's announcement of Kennedy's change had floored everyone and Giles had rubbed his glasses so hard that he popped a lens from the frame.

Willow frowned thoughtfully. "I saw her go into her room after Giles left."

"Wonder what's up?" Buffy went in search of her former scribe, concerned that she had said something to upset Kennedy. Should have kept my mouth shut about the whole short life thing. She knows that already, I didn't have to beat her over the head with it.

She knocked on Kennedy's door. There was no answer but Buffy could feel the slayer beyond. I'm surprised I didn't figure out what had happened to her sooner. She turned the knob and pushed the door open. "Kennedy? Are you all right?"

Kennedy was sitting naked on her bed, her knees drawn up to her chest.

Buffy sat down next to her. "What's wrong?"

"I… it's gone," She answered miserably.

"What's gone?"

Kennedy straightened her legs out, revealing her breasts. Buffy's eyes dropped and she immediately saw what had happened. "Oh."

The mark of the handmaiden had disappeared.

"I didn't do anything, I swear! It was just gone when I woke up this morning."

So that's why she was so wound up today! Buffy took the new slayer into her arms and rocked her gently. "Hey, its okay. I was almost expecting this." She stroked Kennedy's hair. "You're a slayer now. A power in your own right. You can't be my handmaiden."

Feeling the girl in her arms flinch at her words, Buffy spoke quickly, wanting to reassure her. "This doesn't mean that I don't want you anymore or that I don't love you just as much. That mark is one that you might choose to give to your own handmaiden one day. It's one of the perks of being the Slayer."

Buffy cupped her face and tilted it up to look at her. "The only thing that this changes is that now you're going to be harder to pin down and ravish." She kissed her, a gentle, reverent caress that made Kennedy sigh. "Come on Tiger, let's go to bed."

Giles' only theory to Kennedy's being called despite her age was that with the Hellmouth open as it was that night, the powers that be had chosen the closest potential to the situation.

"In all probability it was simply a matter of convenience."

Kennedy was disgruntled at the conclusion. "Don't I feel special. Chosen cause I was handy."

Buffy was quick to reassure her. "If you'll remember, I was called in the same town as a master vampire that was trying to rise into power. It may just be the way this being called thing works."

Andrew stumbled up the steps to the front door and promptly dropped his suitcase. It clattered back down the stone stairs and he chased after it, losing his balance on the bottom and pitching face first into the driveway. His briefcase flew into the air, crashed against the stones that paved the drive and burst open, spilling its contents in a glorious shower.

From the now open doorway, Kennedy and Tara watched the flurry of papers settling over the lawn with identical stunned expressions. As the young man scrambled to his feet and began running after the wind-blown pages, Kennedy looked at Tara in horror. "He's my scribe, isn't he?"

Tara nodded slowly, her expression full of sympathy. "I think so." She went down to the lawn to help the frantic new scribe collect his things while Kennedy thumped her head against the doorframe… twice.

Clutching his bulging briefcase, Andrew dropped his suitcase to shake hands with Kennedy, stammering apologies for the mess. The battered luggage fell open and the front hall fell under siege of a deluge of clothes and plastic action figures.

Buffy carefully stepped over the scantily dressed form of a Princess Leia slave doll and shot Kennedy a small grin. "So who do we have here?"

At the sound of her voice, Andrew spun around and gasped. "It's you! I mean, you're her! The Slayer. The first one I mean."

"You must be Andrew, Kennedy's new scribe." Buffy smiled warmly and Andrew lost his already tenuous grip on his briefcase. It exploded onto the rest of the tangle in the floor. "Why don't we just leave this here, and let the hobgoblins take your luggage up, alright?"

Andrew let out a startled scream worthy of any frightened heroine in a 1940's thriller when one of the servants in question appeared. He was behind Buffy in an instant, peering out at the small figure suspiciously. Buffy bit her lip, hard. Once she had control she turned and took Andrew's arm, leading him into the great hall. "So Andrew, tell me. How long have you been in training as a scribe?"

She felt him stop walking as they entered the room and glanced over to find him staring at the walls in rapture. "Andrew?"

He walked forward, pointing to the painting closest to him. "That's Elizabeth Brandwyth. Chosen in the year 1858. She was the first slayer to be Chosen in America!" Andrew moved to the next portrait. "Wow! That's Lena Radjabov! She was known for her practice of burning vampires with a torch and a mouthful of vodka!"

He didn't seem to be slowing down so Buffy pulled him towards the couch and sat him down. "Obviously you're well versed in Slayer history. How are you are scribing though?" She was only teasing and was surprised to see a look of pure panic enter the young man's eyes. "What's wrong?"

Andrew blushed furiously. "I… you see, it's like this…" He cast a desperate look at Tara. "May I have a glass of water please?"

A whimper escaped him as a servant appeared, but he bravely took the glass from the tray, though he didn't breathe easier until the goblin had left. He gulped the contents down and then blanched when he realized that he didn't have anything else to stall with. Sighing miserably, Andrew stared down at his feet and muttered, "I'm not officially a scribe yet."

"I'm sorry? You…" Buffy's humor was rapidly disappearing. "If you're not a scribe then what are you and what are you doing here?"

Her tone made the would-be scribe cringe and it took a moment for him to speak. "I… There wasn't anybody else available."

Buffy sat up at that. "Not available? Why not? Did they stop training scribes or something?"

"N-no, but none of the others would come."

"Oooookay. Want to tell us why?"

If possible, Andrew turned an even darker shade of red. "All of the other trainees are women. They didn't want to come after what happened to the other girls who were sent here."

Buffy was nonplused. Of all the ridiculous…!

Kennedy had her hand clamped over her mouth to muffle her laughter. She saw Buffy's face though and that was it. Her hand dropped and then she was gone. She gripped her sides, as she continued to laugh, unable to control herself.

Willow snickered at the sight, adding fuel to the fire. Tara was trying very hard, but one look at the blonde slayer's rising indignation and she too succumbed.

Throwing up her hands, Buffy glared at her handmaidens and stalked out.

Jenny pushed against Faith's shoulder; keeping the slayer from moving them both back to the bed. "My you're in a rush." She slowly ran her finger down the material of Faith's shirt, her nail pressing through to stimulate the flesh beneath. "Patience is its own reward, dear Faith."

Gritting her teeth, Faith resisted the urge to simply strip them both and get on with the good part. This proved even harder to do as her scribe moved to stand behind her, lightly tracing the muscles of her back, an erotic scratch of nails against cloth. "If you don't want to do this then just say so. No harm, no foul."

Jenny gripped Faith's arm and turned her around. "You think I'm stalling?" She smirked. "Perhaps you're right, Faith. Maybe when you're a little older. A little wiser." She knelt in a poised move and retrieved her shirt, slipping it back on and walking to the door. "I wouldn't want to cause you any harm and you're obviously not ready."

Insulted, Faith reached past her and pushed the door closed. "Hurt me? What are you, nuts? I'm the Slayer. You couldn't hurt me if you tried."

Her smile indulgent, Jenny leaned against the door and shook her head sadly. "You see? I said harm, but you only heard 'hurt'. There's a difference Faith. And until you learn that then what I could do to you would be too much for you to take." She patted Faith's cheek and opened the door again.

Faith shoved it closed. "I can take anything you can dish out."

"Oh please! Faith you don't have any idea of what you're saying. Why don't you call Buffy and have her scratch the itch that's in control of your mouth? It'll be better for you in the long run." Opening the door again, she wasn't surprised when Faith slammed it shut. "Okay, this is getting monotonous."

"You think you can bitch slap me and walk out? Girl, I can have you begging in less than five minutes."

Jenny sighed, her patience wearing thin. "First off, I'm a woman. Not a girl. Second. Yes you probably could bring me to orgasm in five minutes. I can also wash my hair in the same amount of time and be more satisfied."

Faith obviously didn't know what she was talking about and that saddened her. The problem was one that would lessen with time and experience, but Faith would in all likelihood never have either.

"Look, let's pretend that you're first remark was correct, okay? I'm calling a halt to this. No harm, no foul, right?" She opened the door again, and this time Faith didn't stop her.

"Prove it."

Jenny glared at the Slayer over her shoulder. "What?"

"Prove it." Faith spread her hands in a wide gesture. "If you're so damn hot then let's see it."

Jenny swung around and laughed. "I don't need to prove anything to you Faith."


Her dark eyes were filled with challenge and Jenny could feel her palms begin to itch. The urge to wipe that smug expression from the girl's face was strong. Maybe we can both have what we want. "All right, Faith. I'll give you a small demonstration." She shut the door and pointed to the bed. "Turn around and grip the bedpost with both hands."

Faith didn't move at first, suspicion clouding her features. "What's the catch?"

"You can't let go of the post, no matter what. If you do, then I leave and this will never happen again."

Something clenched deeply within Faith at these words, her body reacting as if somebody had just touched the hot spot inside her. She nodded, still trying to figure out how two sentences could have her this hot, this fast. Turning around, she wrapped her hands around the thick wood, wondering what the scribe was planning.

Jenny approached her slowly, giving her time to think, time to worry. "It's a little frightening isn't it? The first time with someone. It's all new and shiny but at the same time… scary."

She lightly placed her fingertips on the slayer's back, tracing the curve of her shoulders and back again. "They don't know what you like; you don't know what they like. You don't know what to expect." Jenny brought her hands down Faith's sides, letting them rest above the waist of her jeans.

Faith shifted her stance, feeling her nipples straining against her shirt.

"Will there be pain?" Nails flexed lightly, causing no pain but demonstrating the capability of it. "Or will there be a pleasure beyond you wildest fantasies?"

Warm breath stirred Faith's hair as unseen hands brushed it aside, exposing her neck. A tiny brush of a tongue that Faith wasn't sure she hadn't imagined. Her heartbeat was picking up, compensating for the lack of blood in her brain.

Arms slid around her, stroking her stomach, rubbing the cloth of her shirt against her. The friction of the material became Faith's only focus as skilled hands learned the front of her body. After what seemed like an eternity, deft fingers slipped under the edge of a button and twisted it free. Another followed, leaving Faith's shirt loose, but still closed to the bottom of her breasts.

"I've always been fascinated with the erotic nature of clothes." Jenny traced the seam down the center of Faith's body. "Clothes are our shields, our armor. They protect us from the elements and hide us from those that we don't want to see us."

She ran the tip of her finger under the edge of the material. "So when someone breaches that armor…" The finger went deeper, touching flesh for the first time. "It's a violation of a kind." The finger moved out and then her hand was creeping into the opening. "A taking." Her fingers brushed across the skin of Faith's chest, above her breasts, gently, softly.

Faith's breath was growing shallow, her mind completely focused on the words being uttered so seductively into her ear.

Her hand pushed into the slick material cupping Faith's breast and eliciting a groan. "I am inside your walls. In the places that are hidden." She found the hard tip of a breast. "The private things that you don't want the world to know." Jenny played with the nipple, as her free hand eased the tail of Faith's shirt up. The slayer jerked in reaction when the hand met flesh and Jenny heard the creak of wood under strong hands. Her fingers dipped below the waistband and Faith shuddered. "So many secrets." A fingertip sank into Faith's navel. "So many places to seize possession of."

Faith was hanging on to the bedpost with a death grip; no longer sure her legs would hold her.

The hand slowly penetrating the layers of her clothing soon reached the heart of her, shielded now with only a tight nest of curls. "The final barrier between the world and yourself." She pushed her finger through it and beyond. "No shield really. No way to stop the penetration of your body." Jenny could feeling the shudders coursing through the girl in her arms and smiled. "Strange hands in private places." She curled her fingers into the wet opening and invaded Faith's body. "But now they are no longer private. They are mine."

Faith's orgasm rumbled up through her like the eruption of a volcano, subtle at first, building in intensity until the pressure was too much and it had to escape, consuming everything in its path. Her startled cry only partly covered the sound of splintering wood and Jenny saw the bedpost fall as Faith did. She eased the girl to the floor, amazed and pleased to see that she was still clutching the wood.

Shaking. She couldn't stop shaking. Wha? How did? Unable to form a coherent thought, Faith stopped trying, letting herself float. She was vaguely aware of Jenny prying something from her hands and she opened her eyes to see her scribe setting the bedpost aside. She stared at Jenny, bewildered.

Understanding her reaction, Jenny brushed the sweat-dampened hair away from Faith's face and smiled reassuringly. "You'll be fine. I remember what a mess I was after my first time."

Faith tried to protest that, but the words were still a bit scrambled. Jenny pressed a finger to her lips. "Shh. Just rest. I'll talk." Jenny moved to lie along side the slayer on the floor, and dropped her hand to Faith's still clothed mound. "When sex is just here it feels great, but there's another level." Jenny dropped a tiny kiss to Faith's forehead. "I wasn't seducing your body. I was seducing your mind. Tonight your mind climaxed with your body."

Once Faith regained her ability to speak, she found that she had nothing to say. Jenny had warned her and she hadn't exaggerated, Faith felt as if she had been shown something so fantastic that her mind couldn't process it. She looked down at herself and chortled. Didn't even get my boots off.

Still she knew she should say something so she looked at Jenny… who was watching her with knowing eyes.

"It's okay Faith. You don't have to say anything. I think I'll head back to my room and get some sleep. We can talk, if you still want to, later, alright?"

Frowning, Faith started to protest, "But you didn't-"

Jenny smiled at the slayer's naivety. "Didn't I?" She rose to her feet and left Faith lying on the floor wondering how the hell she was going to get to the bed.

Xander felt the eyes watching him as he patched the drywall where a knife had missed the target. This had been going on since he had arrived this morning and he was starting to get creeped out. Whirling, he caught sight of his stalker and pointed his drywall knife at the culprit. "Just what's your problem buddy?"

Andrew blanched and tried for a nonchalant shrug. It came off more as a nervous spasm but he was too focused on Xander's eyes to notice. "I, just. That is… would you like some coffee?" His voice broke halfway through his question but he gamely persevered. "I mean, I could get you a cup.. if you want one."

"No, that's okay I'm fine." Xander watched him scurry off and rolled his eyes. He turned back to the wall and wished, once again that they had sent a woman scribe, preferably of the lesbian variety.

Buffy was staring at Faith in confusion. Usually the dark slayer was bouncing of the walls before a patrol, but tonight Faith was sitting calmly next to Jenny and discussing the planned sweep.

"So what's going on Faith? You seem… different."

Faith glanced at Jenny and then back at Buffy, a smirk her only answer.

"Oh God. You seduced your scribe." Buffy groaned. "The council's never going to let us have another one you know."

Jenny leaned forward, her hand on Faith's leather covered thigh. "Actually I did the seducing. Just to set the record straight."

Intrigued, Willow raised a brow in question. "You seduced Faith? Is that even possible? I mean, the word seduce implies a certain amount of coercion and Faith," She waved a hand at the habitually libidinous girl. "She's a walking orgasm waiting to happen." Willow blanched as she realized what she had just said and dropped her head onto Tara's lap with a muffled groan. "Can we sew my mouth shut now?"

Tara patted her head. "No honey, cause I love that thing you do with your tongue too much."

Willow's head shot up and she stared at the normally shy girl in shock. "Tara!"

Kennedy watched the vampire explode into dust and turned to Andrew… who was now hiding behind a tombstone. "Its okay, Andrew. The bad old vampire is dead now."

His notebook clutched to his chest as if it was a shield, Andrew edged out from behind the protection of the headstone. "R-Right. One vampire dead. I'll just, jot that down, shall I?" He gripped his pen with a shaking hand and drew a hash mark on the paper.

Sitting down on a gravestone, Kennedy pointed to the one next to her. "Have a seat Andrew. Let's take a break." She made sure her radio volume was set so she could hear the others and then took the notebook from the terrified scribe. "Okay, we need to get a little more information down here than body count." Taking his pen, she began to write. "The vampire was male, blonde hair, 5' 11'' or so. His clothes were fairly current so he was either a newbie or had good fashion sense," she joked, trying to draw a smile from Andrew. It didn't work. Kennedy made a few more notes, about the time of the kill and the location and then handed it back to the silent young man.

"I know this is hard Andrew, but the most important thing you should remember is that I'm not going to let anything happen to you, okay? It's my responsibility to keep you safe out here and I'm going to do that." She clasped his shoulder reassuringly. "I'm wondering though why you volunteered for this?"

He didn't answer at first, staring at his dangling feet. "I… I wanted to be a watcher. Like my granddad." Andrew shrugged. "I flunked the languages part of the exam."

"So how did you become a scribe?"

"I was hanging around the school, trying to talk the council into letting me be a watcher assistant or something when Buffy's request for another scribe came in." He cleared his throat nervously, muttering, "I swiped the request form from a desk and caught the first plane out."

Kennedy was shocked. "You just… made yourself my scribe?"

He nodded miserably. "I know it was wrong! But I just wanted to help. To be part of this!" He waved a hand at the graveyard.

Kennedy was quiet as she considered this new information and then she started to laugh. Slowly at first, then gaining strength until she was howling.

Andrew frowned at her mirth, feeling as if he was the object of her laughter.

Finally getting herself under control, Kennedy wiped her eyes and smiled at her scribe. "Well, I guess I'll have to show you the ropes. Shouldn't be a problem. I know a little about the whole scribe thing." She stood and pulled him to his feet. "Let's go find some more vamps and I'll give you your first lesson in observation."

Not sure whether he should be happy or afraid, Andrew swallowed hard. "Oh. Great."

Buffy crossed paths with Faith during their sweep. She playfully punched the dark Slayer in the arm. "So how was it?"

Faith exhaled and grabbed her heart. "Blew my mind, B! I've never felt anything like that before."

Surprised at the intensity in Faith's voice, Buffy teased, "You falling for her?" She dodged the fist swung half-heartedly at her.

"Cut it out. It's not that…" She fell silent and Buffy realized that it might be that indeed. Faith spoke again. "She… what she did was… I didn't even get naked! I was on the floor after, trying to figure out how the hell I had gotten there. Jenny… it was like she was inside my mind, giving me stuff I didn't even know I wanted."

The remembered passion made her voice husky, a sound that curled Buffy's toes in delight. "Sounds like quite a ride."

"It was a total mind fuck." Faith grinned, draping her arm around Buffy's shoulders. "And I hope we do it again real soon."

Later, after the group had reconvened at Buffy's a little after midnight; Jenny was presented with a very provocative proposal. Faith wanted to go 'play' with the others but she wanted Jenny to come along.

While Jenny had been known to indulge in the occasional threesome, or on one memorable occasion a foursome, she was not willing to become the sixth in an already tangled web. "Really, Faith, you go ahead and enjoy yourself. I'm fine."

Unsure, but really wanting to spend time with Buffy and the others, Faith turned only to swing back. "Why don't you come watch?"

Jenny blinked. "Sounds appealing but I don't think the others will go for it."

Buffy's voice echoed down the stairs. "What's one more? Come on up."

Once inside the bedroom, Jenny was greeted by the delectable sight of four naked women. Willow and Tara were sitting on the huge bed and Kennedy was standing beside it. Buffy stood at the foot of the bed, half glaring, half grinning at Faith. "Took you long enough."

Jenny waved her sketchbook. "Anyone mind if I amuse myself?"

Willow and Tara exchanged smiles. "Not if we get to choose one." A lasting image of a night with the three most powerful women in the world.

Some weird form of manners compelled Buffy to ask again, "You're welcome to join us if you like."

Jenny was gracious. "I can't think of anything more beautiful than watching you all together."

"I can. Could you do the word thing?" Faith looked at the others as she discarded the rest of her clothes. "It's fuckin amazing."

Jenny was reluctant. "Perhaps they have other plans Faith.

Buffy shrugged, interested despite herself. "No, I'm willing if the others are."

Jenny couldn't help but smile. "All right, but you have to give yourself to it completely or it wont work." She pointed at Willow and Tara. "You two. Stand facing the bed, one of you in front of either post. Grasp the bedpost with both hands and don't let go.

She sat down in the chair farthest away from the bed. "Buffy, Faith, Kennedy. Come kneel in front of me and close your eyes."

The slayers did as they were bid, feeling their other senses sharpening at the lack of vision.

Jenny leaned towards them and began to speak. "Within each of you three lies a hunter. It's in your blood, in your soul. It calls to you on the wind and from the darkness that you dwell in." She touched a fingertip to Buffy's lips. "Your muscles move with grace and strength, giving you the speed to catch your prey. " Jenny ran the finger down Kennedy's shoulder. "You are powerful, you are leaders. Your blood swims with your passion, urging you to hunt, urging you to mate."

She looked at Willow and Tara. "You're sense of smell is keen and you can taste them on the air." Buffy's nostrils flared and she tensed as Willow's distinctive scent filled her senses. The spicy taste of Tara rolled across her tongue and her heart began to thud.

"Your prey is frozen, trembling with fear and arousal. Their bodies are ripe and ready, urging them towards you even as their minds want to flee. The drive to mate swells within you, blinding your mind to everything but your needs. Want. Take. Have. They hear you and falter, shying away. Want. Take. Have. You can hear their hearts pounding; feel the heat of their bodies."

The slayers were crouched now, minds focused on the overwhelming images flooding them. Tara and Willow were shaking, wanting desperately to turn around and look, but terrified to. The feel of being stalked was unnerving and arousing. A low grunt from behind them made Willow gasp, which set off more primitive sounds from the hunters.

Jenny saw the rising tension in the women at her feet and smiled in pleasure. So passionate.

"They want to run, and you can feel it. The need builds within you, stronger and stronger, taking you over. Want. Take. Have. Chase. Seize. Mate. Chase. Seize. Mate. Chase. Seize. Mate. Chase.Seize.Mate.Chase.SeizeMate!" Faster and faster until the slayers could hold themselves in check no more. With a snarling cry, Buffy sprang to her feet and whirled, her eyes locking on her prey. Kennedy and Faith were right behind her, their eyes dilated with something indescribable.

Willow looked over her shoulder at the noise and a high sound of distress escaped her as she stepped away. The sound and the motion triggered the slayers and she screamed as they surged forward.

Jenny watched Buffy and Kennedy grab Willow and throw her onto the bed as Faith did the same with Tara. The two witches were quickly held down as the slayers, clouded with lust, began devouring them. Willow's head thrashed wildly as Buffy buried her face between her legs, her hands lifting her up to her mouth.

Tara's drawn out cry as Kennedy consumed her breasts spurred Faith on as she suckled the dampness between her legs. Endlessly the hunters played with their prey, teasing them and then pouncing. Tara was lost in a sensual storm as Kennedy lay under her, her mouth latched onto her clit, while Buffy thrust herself into her mouth. Faith slipped her leg between Willow's, bringing their mounds together and began thrusting, claiming the witch in a timeless dance.

From her position nearby, Jenny watched the display, her hands busy as they sketched the erotic beauty laid out before her. Tara's face, drawn tight as her release broke over her. Willow's breast held lightly between Faith's teeth. Kennedy's triumphant snarl as Willow's head bobbed between her legs. Page after page was filled as the night continued and Jenny had to admit that these Slayers had stamina to spare.

As the sky lightened outside the windows, the activities happening on the mammoth bed began to wind down. Willow had fallen asleep some time ago, as had Tara, leaving the three slayers. The tone of the play changed, as gentle caresses were dropped in favor of rough grasping. The strength of each woman allowed the introduction of an intensity that was not possible with the witches.

Faith hoisted Kennedy's legs up over her shoulders and began biting and sucking the tender flesh between her thighs.

Buffy had straddled the new slayer's face and was riding her way to orgasm as Kennedy scraped her teeth over the swollen folds above her.

It wasn't long until the room was filled with screams and shouts, leaving the slayers collapsed upon each other, replete at last.

Jenny stood carefully, her own legs weak from several orgasms and made her way to the bed. She climbed onto the bed and curled up next to a sleeping Faith. As she drifted off to sleep, she wondered vaguely if she hadn't bitten off more than she could chew…


The End

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