DISCLAIMER: This story contains F/F romantic/sexual interaction as all my stories do. The rating above will say just what kind of interaction. So if you are unable to read that sort of thing for reasons either personal or legal, don't. This is a work of fanfiction and is meant to play homage to the original show, and not to challenge any existing copyrights. Though anything that happens to be created by the author as a result of this fic will be property of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Who here has not been pissed off by season 6? I'm not talking the usual plot twists or story complications. I mean the full fledged "What the **** were they thinking?" kind of pissed. So I am channeling my anger, and the way the seasons going it looks like this is going to be a rather long story. I thought this story dead, long dead, but recently reading the stories of one Kinetic Kid (who's email I STILL can't get to work for me) left me feeling inspired to write after a long 4 year absence, and this was one of the stories that I resurrected. Or in the case of this story just dug back up.
SPOILERS: Set in season 6 soon after "All the way." So anything up to that point, and probably a few things after.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Dark Wyldchilde
Dawn Summers paced a pattern onto the grass, muttering quietly to herself. "Come on Buffy... wake uuuuuuuuuupppp..." Dawn was only able to trace her pattern around the freshly dug grave a few more times before her sister's hand emerged from the soil at which point Dawn grinned. "Finally."
Kneeling down beside the grave she grabbed Buffy's hand and helped her sister pull herself free. Buffy blinked, even though the eyes she was now blinking were those of a vampire in its natural state. "D-dawn?"
Her younger sister smiled and continued to help as Buffy pulled herself out of her grave entirely. Looking behind her Buffy could see that was in the literal sense as it was where she had been buried after sacrificing herself to close the portal Glory had opened.
"I know, I know. It's kind of confusing. Especially if you have Giles coming to "save" you just after you've risen."
Buffy was shocked. Dawn looked like she always had, like Buffy always remembered in both her real and implanted memories of the youth. "H-he turned you?... I-I knew you were faking sick."
Dawn nodded like she had just told Buffy she finished her homework. "Yeah. It kinda sucks that I'm going to be stuck in this body forever, but I'm immortal, so it's cool."
Buffy sat back down next to her grave, and in an all too mortal act Dawn sat down next to her and rested her head on her sister's shoulder. Without even thinking about it Buffy raised her hand to run it through her sisters hair. "And you turned me?"
Dawn nodded from where she rested against Buffy. "Yeah.... I-I know where you were. So I figure this way that part of Buffy can go back to heaven while the rest of her can stay here with me... Ewww Buffy, you getting grave dirt in my hair." Dawn solved the problem by resting Buffy's hand on her shoulder instead.
Her hand didn't stay there however as Buffy quickly jumped up. "You TURNED me?"
Buffy was shocked when she saw how her sister wasn't at all shocked and instead Dawn calmly stood up. "Don't tell me you're not grateful. You're free Buffy. You're free of being the slayer, you're free of everyone's expectations of you. Even mine." When she saw Buffy get confused at that statement Dawn grinned. "I mean I can take care of myself now. You know that social worker who was talking about taking me away?"
"You KILLED her?" While Buffy found she didn't care about the fact a person had died she had trouble picturing her sister carrying out the act.
Dawn actually grinned at her sisters amazement. "And drained her..." Dawn's voice then got kinda quiet and distracted. "She was kinda old..." Then she focused back on her sister. "But I also took my file. So now if anyone tries to split us up again they'll get the same."
Buffy sat on her headstone and Dawn walked up and put a hand on her shoulder. "Come on Buffy. You have to be hungry right now. Let's get you something to eat."
To her own surprise Buffy thought that was a great idea.
Several days later Buffy found herself surprised by how easy it was to hide her current state from the Scoobies. All she had to do was say she was going on extra long patrols and nobody noticed... heck, except for her developing a greater interest in the darker parts of her wardrobe, they seemed happy she was in such good spirits. Buffy chuckled to herself because if there were any spirits they were all bad.
Of course the talk of extra long patrols wasn't a lie really. She still killed vampires but a lot of it was to keep up appearances, and weed out the weak. Many times she was able to hunt for her and Dawn just by killing some sloppy newborn and taking their victim for herself. It actually gave her a good feeling because now it was easy to provide for herself and Dawn. Between the blood in their bodies and the money in their wallets the Summers girls were in the best shape they had been since Buffy dragged herself out of the grave... the first time.
But that wasn't enough. As she walked down the hallway of her home she knew what was missing, and the thought made her now dead heart beat twice as fast. She let herself into what was her mother's bedroom without knocking and watched the room's sole occupant gently tug a brush through her soft golden hair.
She became so enraptured watching that she was as nearly as startled as Tara was when the Wiccan realized she wasn't alone. "Buffy!" While Buffy had no desire to frighten Tara the quick pounding of her startled pulse made Buffy's demonic hunger grow to match her human arousal. The former Slayer used her iron will to clamp both down.
Instead she gave a warm smile. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."
Tara was able to smile back but it was rather breathless. "You-you didn't, just startled I guess. I-I didn't s-s-see you." Buffy realized that was because Tara should have been able to see her in the mirror and quickly stepped so her lack of a reflection couldn't be seen.
Buffy walked further into the room and while the smile stayed on her face she felt it turn hungry. Tara saw the hunger and her smile started to fade. "W-w-w-w." Tara paused and took a calming breath. "Was there something y-y-you needed?"
Buffy almost wanted to laugh at the question but instead sat on the bed, on the side Tara slept, and laid back taking a deep breath to inhale her fragrance. She then turned her head to Tara. "Did you ever wonder what would have happened if I had went to the Wicca meeting?"
Buffy bit down a groan of need when she saw Tara's face twist into an adorable expression of confusion. "B-b-but your not a w-witch."
Buffy laughed and then sighed before sitting up to speak. "No, I'm not... I mean what might have happened if I had met you before Willow did?"
Tara blushed deeply and stammered terribly. "B-b-b-but you h-h-had R-R-R-Riley."
Buffy stood up and stepped close to Tara, not invading her personal space, but rather sliding into it. Something that made the witch back up so she was pressed to the dresser.
"Riley was an excuse..." Her voice then dropped to a whisper. "An escape."
While Tara was easily taller when she looked into Buffy's eyes she felt much smaller, vulnerable. "Y-y-you're n-n-not..."
Buffy looked away and then looked into Tara's eyes. "Gay?" She then got a small, rather wicked smile. "You don't give yourself enough credit."
Until now Tara looked like she wanted to escape but couldn't. Then her breathing calmed and her voice became sure. "But I love Willow."
Buffy's once lidded eyes grew sad and she reached up to touch Tara's cheek. "I know, that's what's worst of all."
Tara reached up and put her hand on Buffy's. "I n-n-n-never kn-kn-knew you h-h-had feelings f-f-for m-m-me b-b..."
Buffy shook her head. "Not feelings Tara, love, but that's not what this is about."
Tara's confusion was obvious as Buffy reached down to the flower sitting on the dresser her new senses knew had come from the spell Willow had cast.
She brought it up and ran it along Tara's cheek in a feather's caress, and to her delight not only did Tara not push her away, but she gave a soft gasp of pleasure. "Do you know what this flower is for?"
It took a second for Tara to focus and it didn't help when Buffy couldn't stop herself from putting a hand on Tara's hip. When she saw the look of confusion on Tara's face she used the hand on Tara's hip to guide her to sit on the bed while the other grabbed a small book she had smuggled in with her.
Opening it to where she had placed a bookmark she handed it to Tara as she kneeled next to the witch. Sadly Tara didn't show any signs she realized what Buffy was trying to say with the gesture. Instead she scanned through the page until she found the flower that she held in her hand. "Used for augmenting spells of forgetting and mind control?"
When she looked to Buffy she had tears in her eyes. Even the demon inside her wanted to make that hurt go away. Of course her demon wanted to do it by making Willow go away but her human half tried to soothe the witch's wounds. "I'm so sorry Tara. I've been denying my feelings for a long time, but when I realized what Willow had done to you... I had to do something."
"H-h-h-h." Buffy laid a finger on Tara's lips already knowing what she would be asking. "Dawn told me about you two fighting, and then about how you two seemed to make up real quickly... if that hadn't been enough to get my slayer senses tingling finding the flower did."
Tara crumpled even further and Buffy slid up to sit next to her before pulling Tara into her arms and rocking her against her chest as she sobbed. "I'm sorry Tara. I'm so sorry." She was too, she was sorry that Tara had to hurt, but after Willow doing what she did Buffy knew that she had to be entirely honest and as she felt Tara's sobs drift into whimpers she explained further.
"After... well after knowing she messed with your mind I knew I had to be completely honest. That's why I had to tell you I... I love you. Tara crumpled into Buffy's side at the words and Buffy actually laid down with the motion and kept Tara cradled against her. "I wanted you to know I can take care of you."
Tara looked up with teary eyes going wide as she realized what Buffy was talking about. "I can Tara... if you just let me." Buffy then put a cool hand on Tara's fevered cheek and leaned in by her ear. "I can make it go away Tara. All the pain, all the fear. I can take it all away."
Her moves were on instinct, but Tara wasn't fighting against them as she snuggled into the comfort of Buffy's arms. "P-p-p-please."
In response to her moving closer Buffy was now nuzzling and even kissing along Tara's neck. "No begging... I love you." With those last words she reached to the hem of Tara's blouse sliding her hands just underneath she softly gripped the flesh of the woman's hips. Wrapping her arms around Tara's waist she pulled Tara into a kiss.
The kiss started raw, hungry, Buffy felt as if Tara really needed Buffy as much as Buffy needed her, but it changed.
While the need was still there it became calming, soothing, both of them letting the moment unwind, letting the kiss be a kiss. That one kiss drew forth another that led to another.
Eventually Buffy broke free but before Tara could ask why Buffy was taking off her own top. Normally Buffy's duties as slayer required she wear a bra but when she planned this seduction she had left it off. Now Tara was able to see Buffy's naked, and obviously aroused flesh from the waist up.
Tara looked as if she was about to begin undressing as well, but then she saw Buffy begin to unfasten her pants and could only watch as the last traces of clothing were removed and Buffy stood naked before her. Finally able to breathe once more Tara spoke. "So beautiful."
Buffy leaned in over Tara not just naked, but enjoying her state, enjoying Tara seeing her body. She looked into mortal eyes now dilated with desire. "So very beautiful." The way she said it let Tara know Buffy was talking about her. Buffy then shifted so her body was leaning into Tara and she let the woman explore her body freely.
Skin now a soft, cool white was like silk under Tara's fingers until she reached light pink nipples that were pebbled with desire. When Buffy's eyes drifted shut Tara looked up, and found her touch had just overwhelmed Buffy. Feeling braver she gently pinched the textured surface and was rewarded with Buffy making a soft sound of her need.
Moving her hand's from the tips of Buffy's breasts Tara ran her finger's down Buffy's rib cage until her fingers were resting on Buffy's hips. When that happened the hips shifted under her hand as Buffy scooted herself closer to Tara, her legs spreading as she did so.
Looking down Tara whimpered with her own desire when she saw how wet Buffy was and her fingers slid down to glide across the wetness. She looked up into Buffy's eyes and saw they were naked with need for her.
"Do you see what you do to me?"
Tara looked down at what she had done to Buffy and after looking up again for Buffy's silent permission her fingers found Buffy's lips, and then slid between them. When she felt Buffy's muscles grip tightly around her excitement surged through her veins, but then it stopped. "You-you-you're cold."
Buffy rocked against Tara's stilled hand, her own hands reaching up to caress Tara's cheeks before pulling them face to face. "You're not. I need you Tara." The heartfelt words rang true and Tara leaned in as they kissed again, and this time their passion was there and it was there to stay.
Tara pulled both her hands away but not before Buffy's hips had rolled with the movement. She then reached her hands to begin undressing herself but Buffy caught them and smiled. "Let me." Tara's eyes got wide and nervous, but then she smiled shyly and dropped her hands to her sides.
Tara had dropped her gaze as well but Buffy pulled it back by reaching to her chin and pulling her eyes back up. "Please Tara, let me see your eyes." When the Wiccan agreed Buffy let out an audible sigh of pleasure.
As Buffy undressed Tara she touched more flesh then fabric. Flesh that became more heated, more aroused. When she was done she eased Tara to lay on her back and Buffy stood up. The parts of Tara that would have been uncomfortable had been beaten back, the parts that would have been self-conscious driven off. Tara lay naked before her beautiful and unashamed, and Buffy knew that once she delivered the killing blow to those forces restraining Tara all that would be left was the magnificent creature she now saw.
A magnificent creature Buffy knew she had to taste, but instead of giving into the urge to reveal her true face she forced herself to keep her human guise and dropped to her knees in front of the bed. Even before she had finished the maneuver Tara had slid forward and spread her legs. As Buffy lowered her head between them Tara let out a drawn out helpless sound and lay back on the pillows.
It was better then Buffy had ever imagined. As Buffy lapped up the first taste of Tara the vampire marveled, wondering how much better her blood would be in comparison to the already delicious fluid on her lips. The human was just as amazed as it was far better than she had ever imagined, far better then the mortal dreams that had been denied upon waking, far better than the flickering images she had been forced to bring up in order to achieve release.
Once she had met Tara she had been caught, and as she pleasured her Buffy realized her sister had been wrong. There was one thing Buffy was not free of, but as she heard the sounds of Tara's pleasure and felt the witch's body move to her touch Buffy knew she would be willingly bound. That she would happily be Tara's eternal slave.
She had hoped her devotion showed in her eyes as they were the only point of contact between her and Tara besides her mouth at the woman's sex and her hands on each thigh. That connection was true as the witch's arousal was flowing fast while the rest of her body bucked and writhed. Their other point of contact was shown to be just as strong in the gaze Tara returned, but also in the tenderness that underlie the woman's cries of passion.
While Tara had been the first woman Buffy had made love to she could tell that she was nearing release by the way her pleasured sounds had devolved into incoherent moans and near sobs with only the occasional cry of Buffy's name. It could have been an intimate connection to her lover, or simply familiarity with her own body, but when Buffy quickly slid one of her hands to Tara's sex and penetrated her love with a finger Tara crested and fell, her whole body convulsing once before rolling to its side.
Again Buffy followed the motions of her lover's body and quickly stood as she pulled the trembling witch into her arms. While Tara was already helpless in the throws of delight her surrender to the embrace was still obvious. Buffy then realized Drucilla was right, vampires could love because she felt it tighten it's grip even further around her heart. She knew that it was now time.
Tara had so surrendered to her touch that the witch didn't even notice, or even care, when Buffy rolled her head to expose her neck. She actually shivered as Buffy brushed her hair away. There was a soft sound of pain as Buffy first broke the flesh as she penetrated, but after the blood flowed Tara gave into the sensation.
As Buffy drank she found her own release, but even as her body shook her lips remained affixed to Tara's neck. Tara was warm, and sweet and her essence consumed Buffy entirely. It had never been like this before but that didn't surprise Buffy. It was always Tara, it was only Tara, and as she heard the blonde's pulse go from the rapid pulsing of her climax to the slowed beats as she gave herself over Buffy knew it would be Tara forever.
When the beats stopped she rolled Tara's now limp body back and Buffy felt her face revert. She had taken life, and now it was her turn to give it. Reaching her fingernail up she scratched the same place on her own neck where she had bit Tara and pulled Tara's lips to the wound.
Even though her heart had stopped Tara had enough life left in her to affix her lips to the side of Buffy's neck, and as the blood crossed her lips that life grew. Each crimson drop that crossed her lips and rolled down her tongue suffused her. Not only returning the life Buffy had stolen, but adding some of Buffy's life to her own.
Tara could hear it, each pulse corresponding to another jet of life filling her. Then she heard a second pulse matching it. Beat for beat in perfect time and Tara realized it was because their hearts now literally beat together. Her heart now beat in time with Buffy's. It was her last realization as the liquid life reached her brain and pulled it under.
Laying Tara down on the mattress Buffy reached out to smooth wildly strewn blonde locks. The woman Buffy Summers loved was now dead, but soon Buffy's mate would rise and she sought to prepare her. Still naked as she moved to the bathroom, Buffy stepped to the stairs to peek down and see the head of her sister and sire Dawn.
The youngest Summers had been standing guard in case Willow deviated from her schedule and returned home early. While they didn't want to reveal their true nature yet bringing Tara across was vital and she had instructed Dawn to do whatever was necessary to keep Willow from interrupting. They also didn't want to kill the witch right away because they wanted to make her pay for the hurt her magick had caused.
So there the girl sat, with the headphones her sister had insisted on affixed over her ears and a bored expression affixed to her face. Buffy grinned to herself and resolved to find a way to repay Dawn. She had been eager to help with Buffy's plan to turn the Wiccan but Buffy still wanted to reward good behavior.
Padding her bare feet the rest of the way to the bathroom Buffy gathered the materials to clean herself and Tara and quickly returned to the bedroom. After cleaning Tara and herself Buffy dressed Tara in her favorite outfit and clad herself in the dark leathers she had been developing a greater taste for. Cradling Tara like the treasure she was Buffy carried her down stairs where Dawn quickly jumped up from the couch.
The teen had a wide smile on her face. "Did you do it?"
Buffy just grinned at the girl's enthusiasm and nodded while pointing her head at the door. "Yeah. Now let's get going." The vampire's had planned well because the rest of the Scoobies were all at the Magic Box researching some whispers Spike had heard about some new dark power rising amongst the vampires.
When they had first planned to bring Tara across they weren't sure where they should bury the witch, but they knew they weren't going to use some hole in the ground. It was after Buffy admitted why and how she was going to turn Tara that Dawn suggested using Buffy's grave. The teen's reasoning had been that if they were going to share a bed then why shouldn't they share a grave as well? Buffy found herself agreeing with the sentiment and liking the fact that she could find shelter within a mausoleum that allowed her to keep watch over Tara's grave during the full day the blonde had to lie dead.
Dawn had tried to dissuade her sister from what she thought was a needless chore, but looking into Buffy's eyes she realized the sun itself couldn't keep Buffy from watching over her Tara. So Dawn gave a sigh and returned home before the sun rose.
This time home was the Summers residence rather then the numerous crypts and similar places Dawn would spend her days when she was supposedly at school. Of course it was a weekend so she should be at home, which would allow her to see Willow's face when she got there and Tara was gone.
While Dawn had liked Willow when she was mortal but when she realized that Willow had dragged Buffy from Heaven her feelings turned to hate. After she had died Buffy's discovery of the mind control spell actually had the teen ready to kill Willow and be done with it, but Buffy had suggested that they prolong the suffering and Dawn readily agreed. The fact she got to be the first to hurt Willow was just gravy.
Walking through the door she found Willow pacing the living room and was proud of herself that she was able to keep the grin from her face. Not only did she keep the grin from her face, but she feigned confusion at Willow's worried state. "DAWN! Are you ok?"
Dawn shrugged. "Sure. Are you?"
Willow managed a nervous smile at the question. "Just worried. I mean I got home form the Magic Box and nobody was here. Not Buffy nor Tara, and they were supposed to be, and Giles thought they were going to be so he went driving around to try to find them. Have you seen them?"
Dawn nodded slowly, making sure to exaggerate the expression that she thought Willow was a crazy woman. "Just a little bit ago. How do you think I got home?" What she didn't include was that Buffy had been teaching her how to fight and Dawn had no trouble staking one dumb fledgling that couldn't tell her apart from the mortal herd.
"So? Where are they?" Willow had seemed initially calmed, but the teen's demeanor was getting to her.
Dawn shrugged again and started walking to the kitchen. She wasn't actually hungry as she had run into some foul mouthed former classmates of hers who had told her all sorts of nasty things they wanted to do to her. She trumped them by killing and feeding on one of them before dragging the other three to Buffy for Tara's first meal.
Still the maneuver had the effect of agitating Willow further, especially since Dawn refused to make eye contact as she looked through the cupboards. She did however speak. "There looking into the new Big Bad."
Willow tried grasping at the straw. "Buffy knows something about the new Big Bad?"
Dawn was glad she had her head in the cupboard because she couldn't hide the grin, but she got rid of it before she responded. "Looks like it."
Again Willow tried fishing for more information. "And she took Tara with her to look for him?"
She didn't know if it would make Buffy mad or not, but she decided to play a little bit more. "Actually Buffy's sure it's a she."
Dawn then pulled her head from the cupboard and looked Willow in the eye as the sorceress spoke. "You mean like a Queen of the Damned?"
Dawn nodded and then twisted her face. "Well I doubt she's all Aalliah like with the chest armor and stuff, but yeah."
"We should tell Giles. He should be back soon, but you should get ready for bed little lady." Willow was smiling more genuine now and while it made Dawn want to snarl slightly she managed to keep the smile on her face.
"I've been up all night already. I might as well stay up until Giles gets back, but I'll go get READY." While Dawn would usually get ready to sleep at this point so she didn't have to dodge sunbeams while brushing her fangs she was playing the difficult teen and decided to keep it going.
She was in her pajamas when Giles got back and she filled him in on the little details she had given Willow. Up to this point she had been enjoying herself, but she felt bad lying to Giles. While she had a long list of the grudges with the Witch her memories of the Watcher, both mortal and vampire, were good ones, but they were making an omelet and that meant breaking eggs.
To their surprise Dawn quickly excused herself to bed, but while the sun rose and they talked Dawn buried herself under some of the biggest and thickest blankets in the Summers' house. Downstairs Giles and Willow talked.
Giles cleaned his glasses as he spoke. "I must say that it is rather unusual for Buffy to be gone all night with out some form of contact..."
Willow was back to pacing as she interrupted. "With Tara."
Giles sighed as he put his glasses back on. "Yes, but perhaps she needed a witch to help her uncover more about this new vampire queen."
Willow might have been listening, but she didn't seem ready to accept what she was being told. "Well then why didn't Buffy get me? I mean I AM the better witch... Tara says so herself."
Giles had his own thoughts on that, but chose to keep them to himself. "Well you weren't here. Tara was."
While Willow was obviously frantic she showed she still retained her faculties. "But she still could have called. I mean you could have drove me here from the Magic Box if Buffy needed a witch."
Giles realized that she was correct. If Buffy had needed a witch she would have probably called Willow. While he had reservations he couldn't deny the redhead's power, and more than that Buffy seemed far more relaxed around Willow, but perhaps that was it. "Maybe she just decided to involve Tara more. You had mentioned Tara had been feeling a bit left out. Perhaps Buffy was trying to make her feel welcome."
Willow smiled, but then the smile vanished. "Yeah, and that's great and all, but still. All night? What could they be doing all night? I hope they aren't hurt."
Buffy wasn't hurt, but her eyes were. Her transformation had made her night vision even more acute then it was when she was a slayer, but it also made her eyes all the more sensitive to daylight. Sunglasses helped, but even then her eyes screamed at the glare reflecting from her own tombstone. Yet Buffy refused to look away.
Tara was there. Her body was finishing its mortal death and transforming to begin its immortal life, and Buffy wasn't about to let a little eyestrain keep her from watching over Tara as that happened. Of course the dangers to Tara were minimal as any newborn vampire has the instinct to avoid the sun but Buffy feared a nosy Scooby deciding to pay her grave a visit. Or just some graveyard groundskeeper wondering why the earth had been torn up twice in rapid succession.
So she watched, and waited as the discomfort in her body first grew as the sun traveled across the sky, and then waned as it sank. While she had secured herself far back enough inside the crypt to avoid being burned all vampires could feel its passage. It was why they usually slept through the day. Only then did they not feel the burning orb's travel over head.
When the sun slipped past the horizon banishing the last traces of day the target of Buffy's vigil moved. First, just a bulging of dirt from something pressing upward from underneath; then a delicate white hand that was followed by a long slender arm.
By the time the arm had come in view Buffy had streaked across the distance and grabbed hold. While Tara was showing herself fully capable of digging herself out of her grave Buffy wanted to make sure she felt something pulling to her other than that first craving for blood.
As Tara's head emerged the normally soft planes of her face were replaced by the hard lines of her vampiric visage, but that was to be expected. Buffy just put an arm around Tara's waist and led her into the crypt that had concealed Buffy during the day.
The moment Tara laid eyes on the three bound mortals instinct took over and she pounced on the first, actually braking his neck in her vigor to tilt his head out of the way. The other two began screaming through their gags as they watched their friend's blood being devoured, but even if Buffy cared she was too busy watching Tara indulge her new state.
Dropping the third and final body to the ground Tara turned back to Buffy and was back in her human face, albeit a human face with blood running from it's lips, cheeks, and chin. She then gave Buffy her patented half grin and held open her arms. Buffy quickly stepped into the embrace and lapped on the blood that was now starting to run down Tara's neck.
While Buffy enjoyed the taste of the blood and the fear it carried, the taste of Tara was far more powerful. As she cleaned Tara's face of the traces of her first feeding some got on her own face, but once her mouth was clear Tara began cleaning Buffy in a similar fashion until the two girls were sharing the blood as they shared a kiss.
Breaking the kiss Tara pulled Buffy's face to her chest and spoke her first words since rising from her grave. "Thank you."
Pulling back from Tara's bosom Buffy looked into her eyes. "I love you."
Tara responded with a passion she had never allowed herself when she was mortal. "I love you too."
Buffy's expression then dropped. "While I want to make love to you right here and now we should probably get you cleaned up. Willow's going to be wondering where you are."
At the mention of her former lover's name Tara's face reverted to it's vampiric state. "Why would I care about her?"
Buffy reached up and ran her fingers over the harsh lines. "So that we can make her truly suffer for what she's done."
Tara got a feral smile. "I could truly make her suffer."
Buffy grinned and gave her a kiss. "That comes later. Trust me."
Suddenly Tara's face slid back to it's human state. "Always."
Realizing what Tara meant Buffy blushed. "Then I need you to trust me now. We need to let Willow know about us in the most painful way possible."
Tara gave another one of her truly unique smiles and Buffy smiled back. "But first. Are you full? I mean you can't go plotting revenge on an empty stomach."
Tara ran her hand down Buffy's neck to stop right above her chest. "There's only one person's blood I want to taste, but that could leave a mark the Scoobies could see."
Buffy's smile grew to a grin. "You've gotten better at the spicy talk."
Tara grinned back. "I guess dying agreed with me."
Buffy was still grinning as she took her hand and led her out of the mausoleum, having one last thought she voiced it. "It must have... you haven't stuttered."
Tara's voice was soft and her eyes were distant, contemplative. "I don't have anything to be afraid of anymore."
Dawn was the first to notice the two getting back, but since it was her vampiric senses that told her they were there she had to play like she was as dumb as the rest of the Scoobies. They had gathered there when no one had heard from either Buffy or Tara in twenty-four hours. Except for Dawn of course, but she could tell that they didn't take her seriously. While it left her wanting to rip their throats out she knew that Buffy's plan for them would make it all worth while.
The only glitch so far was Spike. The Summers sisters had been deliberately avoiding Spike, and now with Tara as a member of the family they knew the odds of detection were that much greater.
Luckily Spike had elected to spend the day sleazing around the sewers to see if anyone had anything on Buffy, Tara, or the rumors of a vampire queen. So he had only gotten there after sundown, but even then he kept looking at Dawn like he wanted to ask her a question.
For her part Dawn was ready to stake him if he asked, but when her sister got back Spike's vampire senses picked up the arrival of the two people and they all got up to greet them. Of course "greet" was probably a little too polite a term. It was more of a friendly interrogation, Xander being the first to begin the questioning. "So why you looking so rough Buff? Not to mention the tattered Tara?"
Willow had already moved up to begin examine Tara herself, and while the newly sired vampire managed to smile at Willow's look of concern Dawn could tell both Tara AND Buffy had tensed up as Willow was touching what she thought was her girlfriend.
Giles then took the lead. "Were glad to see you both alive and well..."
Even though the three girls were now vampire's they all felt a brief bit of guilt at deceiving the kindly Watcher, but it quickly passed as he kept speaking. "So can we assume your condition is related to this new evil?"
Buffy nodded and as she took a breath to speak Dawn wondered what she would say. Since she didn't know about Dawn telling them the new evil was a woman, but as Buffy spoke Dawn realized they were on the same wavelength. "Giles... Could a slayer be turned?"
The Watcher was taken back as were the rest of the Scoobies, though Spike got a look in his eye none of the three other vampires liked. Yet when he stayed silent they did as well. Giles however tried to respond to the question. "It's unprecedented. All known attempts to turn a slayer were ineffective. Can you describe her?"
Before Buffy was left to come up with an answer Tara leapt to her aid. "Um M-M-Mister Giles? M-Maybe we can l-l-l-look at s-s-s-some pictures?" She punctuated her statement by leaning into Willow like she was tired.
Buffy wanted to growl at Willow touching her Tara, but instead she followed her lover's lead. "Yeah Giles. I mean me and Tara have been going nonstop and could REALLY use some rest."
Giles nodded. "Of course. I think we could all use some sleep. In the morning? At the Magic Box?"
Buffy smiled. "We'll probably be asleep. If we are could you bring it by the house?"
Giles smiled. "Of course."
The group then broke up. Xander, Anya and Spike heading for their own residences while the residents of the house got ready for bed. Both Buffy and Tara paused as Willow lead Tara into their bedroom.
When she closed the door behind them Buffy was staring a hole in it. Dawn walked up and put a hand on her sister's shoulder. "Don't worry Buffy. If Willow tries anything I'm sure Tara will just go ahead and kill her."
Buffy actually smiled at the thought. "You're right. Ok, as soon as Willow is asleep. The three of us are going to pay Spike a visit."
Dawn's face grew serious. "You saw it too?" Buffy just nodded.
Inside the bedroom Willow noticed Tara's scattered clothes and the disarray of their bed, but she was grinning as she looked at Tara. "Honey? Did you have... fun while I was gone?" Willow blushed as she said it but Tara got what she meant.
Of course Willow thought Tara had done it alone, but that just made Tara grin all the more, but she looked away shyly so Willow would think she was right. "Y-y-yes."
The two had changed as they talked and then proceeded to crawl under the covers as Willow spoke in a seductive whisper. "I guess that mean's you probably wouldn't want some... help?"
While Tara wanted to agree before getting up and heading into Buffy's room instead she faked fatigue and yawned. "A-actually I'm kinda sleepy."
Willow relented and snuggled into Tara's side. "Ok honey. Maybe in the morning?"
Tara was glad Willow's head was snuggled to her shoulder because her face had transformed, but she shifted it back before speaking. "M-maybe."
In another bedroom Buffy's face was also in it's vampiric visage, and for a similar reason, the desire to rip out Willow's throat and drain every last drop of blood from her. Again the vampires were able to restrain themselves and Willow was promised another day of life.
In Dawn's bedroom the young vampire was playing a Game Boy Advance she had stolen when she had first started spending her school days in a crypt. Something that made her the last to emerge from her bedroom. Buffy was the first because she didn't have anything to do except come up with what Willow might be trying to do to her Tara and ways to punish the witch for trying.
Tara was next and that was mostly because after she slipped out of Willow's arms she had to resist the urge to wrap her hands around her former lover's throat and strangle the life out of her. Compared to the time it took to overcome that urge getting dressed was a breeze. Though as she put on her old clothes she thought she might want a wardrobe change more befitting her new state.
All those thoughts vanished as she stepped into the hallway and saw Buffy. The only thought that remained was the one she acted on when she pulled Buffy into her arms and began kissing the former slayer passionately. The two lovers then rested against each other, Buffy finally being the one to speak in a whisper. "Feel better?"
Tara took hold of Buffy's hand and nodded but then gave her half grin as she whispered back. "I think I'll need to kill someone though... preferably someone with red hair." Buffy matched Tara's grin as the two walked into Dawn's room without knocking. Dawn looked up at them and then nodded, turning off her Game Boy and setting it aside. Just as quietly the three walked to the backdoor. After listening to make sure the breathing of the Watcher was deep and even in sleep.
The Englishman they went to visit wasn't sleeping, but he also didn't need to breathe. He did so however as the three entered his crypt. Buffy walking up to engage him while Tara and Dawn stayed back, the vampiric witch resting her hands on the girl's shoulders.
Spike took a breath and then addressed Buffy. "Is it true?"
Buffy played dumb, dumb and angry. "Is what true?"
Spike sighed. "Are you her? The new Big Bad? The slayer who got turned?"
Buffy then played disgusted and Spike looked ready to apologize as Buffy grabbed him by the throat and slammed him back against the wall. As he hit the stone she was in game face. "You're smarter than I thought."
She stepped back and was smiling as she shifted back into human appearance. Spike however was stunned. "How?"
Dawn puffed up her chest where she was standing and both Tara and Dawn gave a grin. Spike however was horrified. "Nibblet? But how?"
Dawn shrugged. "Giles was a little late to the rescue."
Spike still didn't want to believe. "But you killed him, that Justin boy."
Again Dawn shrugged. "Angel killed his sire. I killed mine... both with an arrow. Kind of ironic, especially since we did it for the same person."
Buffy then picked up the story. "She then realized where the spell had taken me from and she realized that she could send me back while keeping me here with her."
Spike wasn't in denial anymore, but he was still confused as he looked to Tara. "What about... her?"
Buffy got a lazy, sensual grin as she looked over her shoulder to Tara and Tara matched the grin as she walked from one Summers to the other, wrapping her arms around Buffy's waist from behind. Spike's jaw dropped. "You too?"
Buffy giggled. "She just has that effect. Of course she had more to work with than most people realized. I mean look at the men in my life. Could I have been more repressed?" Tara just kept grinning as she reached up a nail and scratched Buffy's cheek. She then leaned in and licked up the trail of blood.
Spike found the move eerily familiar and sank into a chair to deal with his thoughts. "So I'm guessing you didn't come here to ask me to keep your secret in the name of vampire solidarity?"
Dawn huffed and walked closer to the rest of the group. "It's not like you haven't betrayed the Scoobies before. Just pretend you're working for Adam again."
Spike arched a brow at the girl. "Yeah, but he promised to remove my chip. Can you promise that?"
Buffy smiled brightly. "No, but I'm pretty sure I could remove your head."
Spike slunk into his chair. "You forget Slayer. Now that your a vampire there's nothing stopping me from killing you."
Buffy slipped from Tara's arms and leaned over Spike chair from the back. "Face it Spike, you couldn't beat me when I was alive, and now there's nothing keeping me from killing you."
Tara stepped around in front of Spike's chair. "Let me sweeten the deal..."
Spike interrupted with a crude grin. "Now your talkin."
Before Spike could continue to talk Buffy slapped the side of his head with her full strength, and her new might made Spike visibly wince at even that casual contact.
Tara just smiled. "Thank you darling."
As Buffy smiled back Tara addressed sole man in the room. "Listen Spike. All you have to do is keep your mouth shut, and in return I will begin research on a spell to remove your chip."
Spikes eyes got wide. "You can do that?"
Tara shrugged. "I'm not sure, but I will see if I can find a way."
Buffy was looking unsure as she spoke to Tara. "I thought you said magick couldn't help with mom's brain tumor."
Tara walked forward and caressed Buffy's cheek, heedless of the vampire sitting between them. "I'm sorry Buffy, but your mother was alive, and there was too much that could go wrong. Since Spike is dead the odds are better."
Spike held his hand up to attract their attention. "Wait a second. Better, but not sure right?"
Tara nodded. "I won't lie to you Spike. I'm not sure how, or even if it can be done, but I will do all I can."
Dawn then piped in. "And until then I can hunt with you and I'll do the killing."
Spike actually seemed to shudder at the casual way Dawn spoke, but her sister chimed in. "She's better than you'd think Spike. She killed her first slayer at fifteen."
Spike was still in shock, but when he saw all three girls grinning he slowly started to grin himself.
Spike still wasn't trusted entirely, but they had shown him a few of the crypts that Dawn hid in during the day so they could have a place to plan. While Spike had made his crypt rather comfortable the Scoobies knew where it was and were known to crash it at any time of the day or night.
The elder vampire had no trouble agreeing with their reasoning and seemed happy to join them. Especially so since the former slayer had run down some refreshments on her way there. He had already suggested the girls start looking for a more permanent residence, as the Summers home was better known than his crypt.
Now he was suggesting ways they could get their revenge on the Scoobies, and Willow in particular. "I don't see why you don't just 'come out' to them. That alone will tear them up pretty bad."
Tara looked up from where she was running her fingers through Buffy's hair. "No, because then they will just blame the fact that we're vampires. We have to make sure they realize that we hated them back when we were mortal."
Dawn then spoke up from the coffin she had hopped up on. "That's where Spike could come in. Buffy told him how the resurrection spell had taken her from heaven."
Spike then gave the now wicked witch and her consort a sly grin. "And if you two just do what comes naturally I'm sure it will hurt Red plenty."
Buffy turned her eyes from Tara to Spike. "Do what comes naturally? You mean lock them inside the Magic Box and then burn it down?"
Tara corrected her lover. "Buffy!" The three other vampires looked confused at the reprimand before Tara finished the sentence. "You take out all the books and artifacts. Then when they are wondering who committed the robbery you lock them in and burn it down." The other three grinned at her little joke. "But I think Spike was referring to the OTHER thing we do naturally." She finished with giving Buffy her half-grin, but one with a decidedly wicked edge.
Buffy returned both the wicked look and a full fledged grin as Spike spoke. "Exactly. You two do what you do... then I lead Red by where she can 'accidentally' see."
The lovers had started kissing as he spoke until Buffy pulled her lips away. "I don't think she's the one you want to see it Spike."
Before Spike could answer Dawn spoke up. "I could do it." Seeing her sister about to object Dawn kept speaking. "Don't worry Buffy, just be sure to keep it PG-13. Then sweet, innocent Dawn can tell her she thought she saw Tara go this way... and *gasp* there's Tara making out Willow's best friend Buffy."
Spike nodded. "Nibblet's got it. She may want to blame your being vampires when she finds out, but before that Tara can make sure to let Willow know what it's really about. The fact is pets the Scoobies won't want to think you're really mad at them no matter what you say. All you can do is let them know your mortal gripes before they find out your not mortal anymore." As they nodded their agreement Spike had to add something else. "You'll also need to worry about them trying to bring you 'back'."
The Witch elaborated on his thought. "You mean cursing us with our souls." As Spike nodded she nodded with him. "The first thing we should do is buy up any Orbs of Thesulah in town, and get rid of any traces of the curse."
Spike lit up a smoke. "That's a good start, but Red's cast the spell herself. The only thing you'll do is delay the inevitable by keeping her from her tools."
As Tara bit her lip Buffy spoke up. "Could you do something to protect us from it, Tara?"
The Witch looked over with her eyes narrowed in concentration. "I don't know."
Dawn then felt the need to comment. "I don't want my soul back. It was all weak and whiny."
Buffy looked over at her sister. "Don't worry. We'll have time once we get rid of the orbs and stuff. Then if worse comes to worse we'll just kill Willow. Kinda spoils the whole revenge thing, but beats getting saddled with our souls."
Tara then added to Buffy's idea. "We need to take it slowly though. At least until they find out about out us jumping the fence..." The lovers shared a grin. "Missing orbs and bloodless bodies would cause questions."
Buffy picked up on Tara's train of thought. "So sneaking in instead of breaking in?"
Tara took a breath. "And leave the Magic Box for last."
Dawn then started smiling. "HEY! What if we just replaced the orbs? You know? Orbs that look like the real thing, but won't work for the spell."
Spike gave the teen a wink. "You were right. She does have a knack for evil."
Later Spike wasn't sure if he was being evil or not, but he didn't hesitate as he slipped in to the Magic Box through its sewer door. Reaching the main part of the store he moved around looking in every corner and shadow, ignoring the looks of confusion Anya and Giles were giving him.
Eventually the Watcher had enough and took off his glasses as he addressed the vampire. "Spike? Was there something you wanted?"
He ignored the question and instead asked one of his own. "Is Buffy around?" When the Watcher shook his head he asked another. "What about Tara or Dawn?"
The Watcher sighed and put his glasses back on. "Dawn is at school, and I'm assuming Tara is as well."
The vampire scoffed. "You'd be assuming wrong mate." He actually braced himself before he spoke his next sentence. "I'd suspect Buffy, the little bit and Tara are all in some place nice and shadowy."
Giles became exasperated quickly. "Would you please tell us what you're talking about?"
Spike sighed, and began to elaborate. "When is the last time you saw any of them out during the day?"
Anya then spoke up, but her voice was heavy with confusion. "Well... Dawn and Tara go to school."
Spike held up a hand. "Has anyone seen them at school? I'll bet that if you ask Red about any time she tried to schedule lunch with her honey Tara always had a class, or studying or something similar until after sundown."
Giles then spoke. "So what is it you're trying to say?"
Spike slammed a hand on the counter hard enough to rattle the glass. "Damn it man! You know what I am saying! I'm saying the greatest fear of your bloody Council has come true! I'm trying to say what your own damn slayer hinted at! A slayer has been turned! Buffy the Vampire Slayer is now a VAMPIRE!"
Anya was babbling. "That's ridiculous... Buffy a vampire... I mean I was a demon I would know. You can tell about this sort of thing. Tell him Giles."
Giles however was in shock. "Do be quiet Anya."
Spike looked the Watcher in the eyes. "You're doing the math aren't ya? Buffy's excuses for not going out during the day. Her no longer looking at her reflection in the mirror every morning..."
The former librarian took a calming breath. "Then what about Dawn, or Tara?"
The peroxide abusing blond looked genuinely sad. "We were too late on Halloween. By the time we got there that Justin boy had already had his way with Dawn and she had risen." Giles looked like he had been physically stricken and there were tears forming in Anya's eyes. Spike swallowed before continuing. "Little Bit then figured out where you had really plucked her sister's soul from and figured she could send it back while keeping something of Buffy here for herself."
Giles himself looked ready to cry as he interrupted. "What do you mean? 'Where we plucked her soul from?'"
Spike lit up a cigarette. "Come on, mate. You know all the good she did, all she sacrificed for others. Where do you think Buffy's soul would end up?"
Giles walked over to the front door and flipped over the sign to closed while Anya slumped to the floor. "B-but if she was a vampire she could have lied."
The vampire shook his head. "No, she told me when back when she was mortal. The problem is the mortal Buffy didn't want you to deal with the guilt while the immortal Buffy wants to make the whole lot of you pay."
Anya had found her feet and the two mortals found chairs at the round table out on the floor. "Is that why she turned Tara? Revenge on her and Willow?'
He sat on the stairs to the balcony before answering. "No, it appears our slayer has always fancied the fairer half of the species, but was too hung up back when she was among the living, and of the fairer Buffy found Tara the fairest of them all. From the way the two were all over each other Tara seems to return the feelings."
Anya objected. "But Tara loves Willow!"
He shook his head. "Loved. Till Buffy told her about Red working a little mind mojo on her to make her forget a fight they had."
Both the mortals looked like they wanted to object to the idea of Willow doing such a thing, but the words never left their lips. Instead Anya offered a more feeble objection. "But Tara helped with the spell too."
He blew out a lung full of smoke. "I guess Buffy was too busy boffing the blonde to hold a grudge."
Anya then stood up. "I need to call Xander." When Giles looked over his shoulder she amended her statement. "And Willow."
As she did that Giles looked over at Spike. "What's in this for you Spike?"
He held up his head. "I didn't fall in love with a vampire... and I can't stomach the idea of Nibblet killing."
Up above him Nibblet slunk back further into the shadows, creeping to the sewer entrance. Not only did Spike keep them from telling the Scoobies in their own way, but now she owed Buffy five bucks.
Soon the two mortals turned into four and one of them was in a state of shock. Willow was shaking her head and she spoke in a ragged mantra. "It's my fault. It's all my fault."
The second arrival tried to comfort her. "It's not your fault Willow. You had no way to know where Buffy's soul had been." When Willow didn't respond Xander paled. "Did you?'
Willow spoke through fresh tears. "Not if I wanted to bring her back. The stars were aligning and I had to get ready for the spell, and if I spent time finding-finding which dimension she was in I-I wouldn't have been able to bring her back."
Spike lit up another in a long chain of cigarettes. "Couldn't you have had your honey look for her spirit while you prepared?" No one answered the vampire's question directly, but Willow's silence gave all the answer necessary.
Xander ran his hands down his face, and when she spoke his voice was much lower. "And the memory spell on Tara. DID you cast that?"
Willow hung her head down. "I just didn't want us to fight. I was wrong and I wanted to fix it."
Giles didn't bother hiding his anger over Willow's actions since he had already talked to her about them. "And what was the fight over?"
Willow's voice was barely a whisper. "My using too much magick."
Spike actually laughed, and while everyone looked angry they didn't speak. "Looks like the lot of you are in for it. I mean a vampire is bad when they're just playing with you, but you have three REALLY pissed off vampires hungry for your blood."
Anya tried to help. "Well, they're newly sired. I mean how powerful could they be?"
Spike bit off a second laugh. "You mean besides a former slayer? Well Nibblet might not be much, except for the fact she pulled off a feat vampires have been trying for millennia. As far as Red's ex? Well Red, you tell us? How much damage could your former honey do with out a soul holding her back from using all those spells even you wouldn't touch? They might be young, but that just means they have a lot of room to grow."
Xander then turned to Spike. "Yeah, but you just betrayed them to us. So I think you're in the same boat."
He exhaled. "No, if I'm lucky they'll just stake me. They'll probably take their time with the rest of you."
Giles cleared his throat to call them to order. "While I hate to say it, the only solution I can see short of destroying them is to have Willow cast another spell." Willow looked up at him, mirroring the confusion coming from the rest of the rooms living inhabitants. "The curse to return their souls."
Willow started nodding, but when she spoke her voice was numb. "That's it. A spell. I can give them their souls back. I can fix it."
Spike was already shaking his head in disappointment. "Drag her soul from heaven a SECOND time? Still Red, you better get to work. They knew you would think of that and are busy replacing the actual Orbs of Thesulah with fakes and grabbing up all copies of the curse."
Willow wasn't the only one who got to work, something the girls were able to discern without the use of their vampiric senses as soon as they entered the store later that night. The numerous mirrors set up to cover every area of the store were enough. Then the crosses around every mortal neck were glaringly apparent, but they didn't look like they had anything to hide as Buffy and Tara walked in the door holding hands. Only letting go once they were sure everyone had noticed.
Buffy looked over at Dawn and Tara and the three shared an decidedly evil grin at the preparations. Buffy then looked back at the group and strode forward, her dark smile growing as they all shrunk back. "Guys? Is something wrong?" Her exaggerated innocence was exaggerated even further by the way she deliberately stepped in front of the mirrors to display her lack of reflection.
Giles stepped forward and looked at the form of his slayer. "Buffy... we know."
Buffy then looked over to Spike. "Spike? You told." She then looked over to Dawn and made the hand gesture for "pay up". They could have settled their bet before coming to the store, but Buffy had wanted to add to the drama. True to her part Dawn trotted forward and paid her sister the $5.
She then looked at the rest of the Scoobies. "So what now? Crosses? Holy Water? Stakes? Or are you going to try to reason with us first?"
All the while the freshly composed eyes of Willow Rosenberg tried to connect to her former lover. Her former lover noticed this and walked forward to stand behind Buffy before wrapping her arms around the ex-slayer's waist.
That caused Buffy to look up and see the freshly injured expression on her one time best friend's face. "You know the drill Will, your girlfriend's dead."
In response Willow straightened her back. "That's the only reason she's with you. When Tara was alive she loved me."
The mated vampires looked at each other and giggled, Buffy then looked back to Willow. "Sorry Will, but I tasted her long before I ever sank in my fangs."
It was obvious Willow was devastated, and when she looked to her former lover she knew it was true. Xander however wasn't willing to believe it. "That's bull! Tara would never cheat on Willow!"
The woman in question stepped from behind her consort and took a step closer to the young man, who again took a step back. "Look at her Xander. She knows it's true, she even recognized the signs of my pleasure... she just didn't realize I had company."
Xander's face twisted with anger. "But why?"
Tara looked over her shoulder at Buffy. "Because I finally had someone who was willing to let me in. Someone who didn't just look at me as someone to help them relax after dealing with their problems, but someone who wanted me there with them every step of the way... but ask Anya. She could tell you what I mean. When Buffy gave me her blood it was just a physical expression of the life she wanted to share with me."
Giles looked over to Dawn, his vice heavy with both guilt and grief. "What about you Dawn? Why do you hate us?"
Dawn shrugged. "I don't, but I finally have my sister with me, and if she wants to kill you guys I'll help."
The Summers sisters shared a brief smile before the eldest of them turned back to Giles and her expression looked sad. "But we don't hate you, Giles. You've been a friend, a father, and so much more. Don't think this reflects on your abilities as a Watcher in any way. We even talked about turning you, but we knew that you would never want that. So we know you'll fight us, but for what it's worth whatever is left of the Buffy Summers you knew says, 'Thank you.'"
Tara and Dawn repeated Buffy's last words before Tara linked hands with Buffy and the three vampires walked out of the store.
A person would think that a store in Sunnydale would know that they should not have a person close a store on their own, but sure enough when Buffy Summers and her little family walked in the door there was only one clerk to greet them. The girls felt sorry enough for the poor woman to kill her quickly before they began to feed.
Once their bellies were as full as their pockets from emptying the till the girls started looking for clothing they felt better suited their new skin tone. Tara's style hadn't changed dramatically, but it lost its color to be replaced by plenty of blacks, deep purples and dark blues, accented with leather.
The former slayer found that the leather gave off the look both the girls were going for, and no longer needing to breathe made it much more comfortable. Her little sister seemed to be trying for a similar look, but Buffy grinned at the display. "You look like Faith Jr."
Instead of being insulted Dawn smiled. "You think so?" She ran her hands over the leather and then sighed. "I kinda miss Faith. You think they'll send her after us?"
Since the mirrors were not an option the girls had to help each other style and Buffy and Tara were currently adding each others finishing touches as Buffy answered the question. "Probably, but not right away. They've kept her locked up this long so I doubt they'll get her out until their desperate. I'm more worried about Angel." Then she looked Tara in the eyes. "Is it ready?"
Tara nodded lightly in confirmation and in reward Buffy gave her a quick peck on the lips. "Perfect, but we need to do something to keep the heat on so we can be sure they'll call in Angel." Packing their selections into the bags they grabbed from behind the counter they used the clerk's keys to lock up the store behind them.
Dawn then spoke up. "So? Who should we kill first?"
Over in the Magic Box Anya was asking the same question. "So who do you think they'll kill first?" Willow looked horrified at the question, but before she could say it Anya defended her position. "Well they are vampires. Killing is what they do."
Willow however shook her head. "They won't kill anyone. We'll give them their souls back and it will be ok."
Spike however continued to be the voice of reality. "Sorry Red, but they've killed already. Each and every one has tasted blood, and even if you give them their souls back that doesn't mean they'll be ready to thank you."
Xander scoffed. "Yeah, what would you know about it?"
Spike voice grew quiet, thoughtful. "More than you would. I remember what it's like to be human, vaguely. Scared, hungry, hot or cold, always wondering if that bloke just likes the cut of your suit or is planning on killing you and taking it. When you become a vampire you leave all that behind. You want something, you take it. Someone tries to hurt you, you kill them. Mortals get sick, they grow old, and they die. As long as vampire avoids the sun and sharp wooden things death is no longer an issue."
Xander scoffed again. "So what? You're saying that even with their souls they'll want to kill us?"
The vampire shrugged. "Maybe not, but they'll still be vampires. They'll still look at you and hear your pulse. You pick up a knick in a fight, or even just shaving it'll be like waving a needle of heroin under a junkie's nose."
Giles spoke up. "He's right. Even once we manage to curse them with their souls, things will not be easy."
Anya then chimed in. "Speaking of vampires cursed with souls... should we call Angel?"
Giles shook his head. "Not yet. We're not ready to perform the curse, and if we bring others in TOO early it will just give Buffy more time to hunt them."
Xander then dropped his hands loudly to the table top. "Well Giles. I think it's safe for you to cancel your travel plans... or include the rest of us in."
Shopping bags were piled up to be thrown away in one corner of their crypt. Buffy had known Spike's feelings for her would lead him to betray them, but by letting him think they trusted him they had been able to hide their true nature a few nights longer.
Those nights had allowed them to move their personal possessions out of the Summer's home and into their new crypt. Of course it wasn't actually new, not even to them. It was the place she had spent most of her years as the slayer... the ruins of Sunnydale high.
Not only was it a place of great significance to Buffy, but it was right over the Hellmouth and Tara found her magicks were made that much more powerful by the center of the mystickal convergence. They hadn't left it untouched however. The dirt and grime had been cleaned away and the charred and ruined furnishings had been replaced by more modern and stylish fare.
Buffy and Tara were sitting at a table brought into the library to replace the old one the Scoobies held their meetings around. Dawn was lying on her back on the upper level and starting up at the ceiling. "We should get followers. You know? All the cool vampires have followers."
Buffy smirked at her sister. "Your still going to have to do the homework Tara gives you."
Dawn rolled over to her stomach. "I don't see why. I mean I'm immortal."
Buffy gave an exaggerated nod. "Yes, and I don't want you going through eternity unable to do long division. You think that Master couldn't do long division?"
Dawn narrowed her eyes at her sister. "Buffy, I doubt the Master could turn on a TV set. Which is something else we need."
Tara was smiling at the banter before she turned to Buffy. "Dawn is right though. We should establish a following if we wish to control the Hellmouth, and now would be a good time since Spike is the only serious fighter opposing us."
Buffy took Tara's hand and kissed it absently as she thought, rubbing it against her cheek she finally spoke. "You're probably right, but I don't want to just grab people off the street. We want the cream of the crop. Both human and vampire."
Tara had become just as thoughtful as she rested her head to Buffy's shoulder. "I was thinking about that. We don't have to settle for vampires." Feeling Buffy's body shift Tara turned to look into the suddenly interested eyes of her queen.
"There are many spells for the summoning and control of demons." Buffy had turned over Tara's hand and kissed the palm as she circled her thumb at Tara's wrist. "I also think we should get someone good with technology, because right now that is one area the Scoobies have a large advantage in."
Buffy looked over at Dawn as she spoke next. "That may be one area we should have Dawn study up on."
Dawn jumped up. "WHAT?"
Buffy smiled as she arched her brow. "Relax Dawn. I'm not saying you have to take on Willow tomorrow, but we can't get complacent about our personal power. That happens and you'll turn into Spike."
Dawn shuddered and sat back down pouting. "Fine."
Buffy then turned to Tara, giving a smile. "Now, what do you need to start your summonings?"
Tara shrugged. "Ingredients, spell books. I know some places that sell that kind of thing."
Buffy's face twisted in confusion. "How?"
Tara looked shamefaced as she replied. "Back when I still cared about Willow I was afraid she might get into summoning magicks and so I looked into it."
She wasn't the only one, but Andrew found his summoning ingredients far less interesting as he ducked back around the isle in the musty old occult store. The severed head of some sort of reptile watched his actions with disinterest as Andrew turned to his companions. "Oh God! Oh God! Oh God Oh God!"
Warren was exasperated with his ally's antics until the young man pointed around the corner. After looking he ducked back with a curse. "Ok, it's the Slayer... Don't panic."
Jonathan was calm as he pointed to the third member of their band. "Too late."
Andrew didn't notice either of them as he conjured up monsters inside his mind. "She knows. The Slayer knows and she's here to get me."
Warren thwapped him in the side of the head, his voice now an angry whisper. "Shut up! Or she WILL come over here and get you!"
Andrew managed to silence himself by holding his breath as Warren peeked back around the corner before ducking back again. "Ok, it's just Buffy and the dyke's girlfriend."
Jonathan smiled. "Tara? Oh she's nice."
Warren gave Jonathan a withering look as he peaked back around the corner. "Apparently you're not the only one to think so... now this is interesting. It appears our young Miss Summers is more adventurous then we thought."
He pulled his head back around the corner and his two companions were looking at him in confusion, Andrew now breathing normally. Warren sighed in frustration. "Buffy and Tara are looking rather intimate." Which was a heavily watered down description of Tara keeping her customary hold around Buffy's waist as Buffy leaned back into the contact.
That got their attention. Jonathan started pushing to get a look but Warren shoved them back even farther.
When Buffy and Tara stopped talking, Jonathan quickly pointed at the man behind the counter, muttering something under his breath as the clerk moved to assist the girls with their purchases. With that distraction the three would-be villains slipped out the door and into the night.
Outside Warren turned to Jonathan. "Good thinking. Now, why was the Slayer in the shop?"
Andrew looked about ready to panic once more. "She was looking for me!"
Warren sighed. "She doesn't know it was you, you doorknob! At best she was looking for how someone could have summoned the beasts you sent after her on the construction site."
Jonathan shook his head while staring into space. "I don't know. She looked like she was going through ingredients."
Warren nodded quickly. "You're right. So what do you think Andrew? What ingredients was she looking at?"
Andrew stopped and looked like he was going over the items he saw them looking at. "It was some pretty dark stuff. Stuff Buffy would never use."
Warren stared and him and shrugged her shoulders. "So... She was just browsing? Come on, what would they do?"
Andrew focused on Warren. "Call up some nasty stuff. The kinda things she normally kills off, man eaters and stuff."
Warren shook his head. "That doesn't make sense. Buffy doesn't kill. She's like Miss Virtue."
Jonathan squirmed a bit. "Yeah, but she normally wouldn't mack on other people's girlfriends either. Heck, last I heard she liked boys." He looked at his shuffling feet before speaking. "There's something else going on, maybe she's realized she has humans after her."
Warren shook his head. "Yeah, but she still wouldn't be out to kill us. I think there's more going on than the girl on girl action." The three men couldn't keep from grinning, but Warren quickly got them back to business. "But before we take any action we have to understand what this all means."
Jonathan appeared thoughtful. "Would this require surveillance? Because I could take care of that."
Warren sighed. "Fine dude, you can keep any girl on girl stuff we get."
At the Magic Box Willow sighed and Xander noticed. "No luck?"
Willow's head shook from side to side. "No, whatever Amy did to turn herself into a rat... well in most spells you put in a backdoor, sort of an escape clause..."
Xander squinted in confusion. "Like a lifeline?"
Willow nodded without lifting her eyes from the tome she was reading. "Yeah, and in an animal transformation you do something to keep you, you, or them, them if you're doing it to someone else. But Amy wasn't trying to transform just one person. She was shooting for the whole crowd and you can't do that many lifelines."
Xander flinched as he remembered when his attempt at casting a love spell on Cordellia wound up with Buffy turned into a rat. His face then fell as he thought of what his friend had been transformed into now. "Well, there was that time she turned Buffy into a rat. Maybe that would give you some clues?"
Willow bit her lip in a move he knew she had picked up from Tara. "Maybe. I guess I could check Giles' Watcher diaries. You think he'll mind?"
Xander made a show of looking around the store. "I don't see him here. He went home to get some sleep like Anya did and I am about to do, and you should too."
Willow shook her head in a more forceful fashion. "No, I need to figure out how to transform Amy back."
Xander brought his chair closer. "But why, Will? I mean Amy may be a rat, but she's alive. When Buffy's done with us we might not be able to say the same. So why work on it now?"
She looked up into his eyes. "Because I need someone to cast with. I have plenty of spells I can do on my own... I can even do some of the normally paired spells solo, but some spells need two... and with Tara gone..." He gave a sad nod as she paused before continuing. "Anyway were going to need to cast three curses in rapid succession. I figured Buffy and Tara first, but if we got one before the other..."
Xander finished her sentence. "Then the one we didn't get would bring Dawn here and start killing us all. Do you think Amy would be up to casting the curse?"
Willow didn't look sure. "She'll have to be."
He still wasn't ready to let up. "Still Will, you'd probably have better luck coming back to it fresh in the morning. Not to mention not having to worry about your ex paying a visit to the currently public building your now in."
Willow paled. "I don't want to go back there."
Xander pulled the red head into a hug. While she had recast the invitation spell on the Summers home where Willow and Giles were staying, it was still the house she and Tara had spent the last several months in. It was the house where both Buffy and Tara died. "How about you stay the night with me and Ahn?" She looked up and nodded weakly.
Inside the Bronze, Buffy and Tara were enjoying a slow song. While Buffy tended to favor the faster beats she couldn't help but like pressing her body against Tara's. Something made even more pleasurable by their relative heights as it allowed Buffy to rest her head against her darling's ample bosom.
Sitting down both had found the earlier, faster beats had worked up a thirst, but it was their slow dance that had provided them with an answer. The answer looked at them from across the room in the form of Buffy's former classmate and one night stand, Parker Abrams. He had been watching the familiar and intimate way the two girls held each other.
Once they had sat down Parker made his way over. "Buffy, Hey. So who's your friend?"
Buffy quirked her grin in her own trademark way and looked over at Tara. Looking back at Parker she evened her voice and her expression. "Parker, this is my GIRLfriend, Tara."
While it was obvious that was what he was expecting his eyes still bulged, but his smile never wavered. "GIRLfriend? When did this happen?"
Buffy laughed. "Well it's been sort of an ongoing process, but you of all people shouldn't be surprised."
His smile dropped at that, but it faded into a carefully done expression of hurt. "You're not saying I'm responsible are you?"
Buffy shook her head. "No, no, no. I'm saying that I was obviously repressing when I slept with you."
The wounded expression and the smile seemed to meld together on Parker's face. "You wound me."
Buffy grinned. "Not yet, but the night is young." That got her girlfriend to smile, but Tara's expression turned into a semi-pout as Buffy continued to speak. "What I mean is I was obviously so worried about all the pretty girls I was NOT having feelings for that I jumped at the first guy who showed interest in me."
Seeing Tara's forming pout she grinned ad she leaned in and gave those pouty lips a lingering kiss. "I guess it's a good thing I found the prettiest of them all huh?" That made her mate give a reluctant smile, and at that Parker Abrams started smiling too.
Buffy heard the metal actually dent as Tara pushed her back against the burnt locker while kissing her hard. The witch drove her tongue in and out of Buffy's mouth with an intensity that made the other vampire groan under the passionate attack.
Pulling back Tara's eyes were wide and even though she had no need to breath her chest heaved with passion. "You've been a bad, BAD girl."
Buffy's grin grew sly and she dropped her hands in a submissive gesture. "I guess that means you'll have to punish me."
Tara gave an inhuman growl of desire as she put her hands at Buffy's hips and lifted her up. Buffy wrapped her legs around Tara's waist as she felt her lover carry her to the four poster bed they had set up in another part of the burned out school.
Once it was actually in sight she tossed Buffy onto the bed and before Buffy got back up she found Tara crawling over her and securing her hands to the bonds they had affixed to each of the four posters.
By the time she registered her hands being tied her feet were bound. The demon within her raged at being restrained, but it just added to the sensations coursing through her body and by the look of wicked glee Tara returned when Buffy looked into her eyes it was obvious that Tara was enjoying controlling Buffy as much as Buffy was enjoying being controlled.
Tara reached to the collar of Buffy's t-shirt and gave it a sharp tug, making the first rip and then tearing the shirt down the front before pulling the tatters away. Buffy's bra met a similar fate as Tara tore it into two pieces and cast it aside.
Buffy was still wearing a leather jacket, but it wasn't keeping Tara from the flesh she so wanted to touch. Straddling her lovers hips Tara allowed her fingers to explore Buffy's toned abdomen. Fingers that first pressed into the rippling muscle and then moving up to cup her mate's breasts, giving the nipples a hard pinch that made Buffy's breath catch and her eyes widen.
Tara then leaned in to soothe each nipple with swipes on her tongue. Swipes that continued until Buffy's eyes drifted to mere slits. At that point Tara wrapped her lips around the hard little tips and began sucking, continuing until Buffy actually purred her pleasure.
A purr that turned into a growl when Tara pulled back from lavishing her loving attention on Buffy's chest. Buffy's pants were as dark as her jacket, but had been made of denim instead of leather, so that just meant less time before their remnants drifted to the floor.
That left Buffy clad only in her leather jacket and a pair of panties damp with her arousal.
After letting her eyes drink her in her mates aroused body Tara met her darling's eyes and the lovers let out identical low pitched growls.
Soon Buffy was only wearing her leather jacket and a few more tatters of clothing had found their way to the floor. She was struggling against the straps lashing her to the bed frame, but both the straps and the frame had been carefully selected and held under the onslaught.
Her lover's struggles made Tara grin until Buffy settled back down. Then her hand crept down to lightly stroke at Buffy's nether regions. Buffy's back arched, which just pressed her lower body into the contact that much harder.
Tara had laid out beside Buffy with her free hand supporting her head so she could watch the actions of her hand, periodically looking up into Buffy's eyes. It grew to be too much and Buffy tried to reach her head out to kiss Tara.
Tara pulled away while sighing and shaking her head. Getting up she straddled her lovers hips once more and reached up to cup her own breasts through the royal purple of her dress. Giving the generous mounds a pinch she looked down at Buffy. "And you were being so good."
Buffy wondered what Tara was going to do to her as punishment, but as the other blonde got more into rubbing her own chest Buffy's eyes got wide with horror... Tara wasn't going to do a thing to her. "Tara? No! Tara! Plllllllllleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaassssssseeeeeeeee..."
Tara just let out a giggle at the long drawn out helpless noise as she unzipped her dress from the back and began running her hands over her own flesh while stripping to the waist. When Tara had removed her bra so she could stimulate her nipples directly Buffy arched up against her, but Tara just pressed down, forcing Buffy's hips to remain still on the mattress.
Then Tara began removing her last undergarment, but instead of tearing it free like she had done to Buffy she shifted her hips. Moving one leg, and then the other, rolling against Buffy as she finished undressing. Resuming her position sitting on Buffy's hips she raised up to her full height.
Looking up at her Buffy was already trembling with need. "You are in SO much trouble missy."
Tara took one hand to her breast while the other slid down her stomach. "That's not being my good girl." The next sound she made was a gasp as her fingers made contact with her own aroused flesh. That was followed by a whimper as her muscles instantly gripped the invading digit that crept it's way between Tara's swollen folds.
A second finger joined the first and Tara began to rock. Her head rolled back as her body moved and underneath her Buffy head pushed upward to see more. Without thinking about it Buffy found her hips moving in time with Tara's.
Something the witch seemed to notice as she spoke. "There's my good girl."
Even through the red haze of her arousal Buffy smiled and started making the motions more deliberate as she rocked against Tara's body. She swore she could almost taste Tara's nipple in her mouth, but instead the hungry, tight flesh had to make do with the pinching and twisting delivered by Tara's own fingers.
With only one hand was occupied with her breasts while the other worked between her spread thighs both hands had reached a fevered pitch, and it was obvious she was close.
Buffy arched up harder against her consort. "Yes!"
Tara's head now lolled forward as her eyes drank in her actions. "Oh....Buffy...."
Buffy was whimpering, she felt the restraints at her wrists and ankles bite in, but it was just another delightful sensation amongst many. "Yes, Tara!"
Tara's mouth hung open. "Oh!... Buffy!... Oh! Oh!"
Tara's head shot back as she moaned. "Aaahhhooooohhhhh!"
While she was still sitting up Tara had folded in on herself as her body hung there limply, until one eye opened. While Tara was still feeling the aftershocks of her orgasm she could see Buffy was shaking with desire.
Her body now coming to life she nuzzled Buffy's neck while laying down next to her. Placing her lips under Buffy's ear she whispered. "You ready to be my good girl?"
Buffy's head shook as she whimpered her reply, her face stuck in it's vampiric mask. "Yes! Your girl... your good girl."
Tara laid out next to Buffy, resting her leg over the smaller vampires hip. "What does my good girl want?"
Buffy turned to look into Tara's eyes. "Love me."
Tara grinned, kissing one of the ridges above one of Buffy's reptilian eyes. "I already love you."
Buffy whimpered a long, helpless sound. "Touch me!"
Tara took the two fingers already slick with her own arousal and pressed them to Buffy's entrance. With a single push they slipped inside as the thumb pressed against the bundle of nerves at the top of the opening. "Like this?"
"Yeessss!!!!!!!!!!!!" Buffy was already so close, so ready. The performance put on by her lover had her on the edge, and now that her mate was stimulating her there wasn't that far to go, and it was obvious how close she was as she used all of her available range of motion to rock against Tara's hand, making the sturdy frame of the bed creek with her exertions.
Then a deep, animalistic growl reached Buffy's ears and she opened her eyes to find her lover's face in its vampiric state. That was followed by the sensation of Tara's teeth tearing their way into the flesh on her neck, and then the dizzying ecstasy of being fed upon. That caused the dam of her mortal arousal to break and her climax crashed into the feel of Tara feeding from her.
While most vampires know the pleasure of drinking blood many never know what it was like to have their blood drank. Except for when creating new vampires it's never done. Early on in their lovemaking Buffy had discovered it was like the first time she had been fed on by Tara, even better because now her lover knew the full pleasures of their immortal flesh.
When her senses had swam their way back to the mortal world Buffy felt that her face had shifted back to the smooth planes of it's mortal guise. Already feeling Tara laying over the left side of her body Buffy turned to find her partner apparently sleeping.
If she was Tara quickly woke up and smiled, lips still bloodied by Buffy's own essence. Buffy stretched her neck out to kiss those lips and Tara's smile stayed even as they mashed their mouths together.
Parting from the kiss Buffy grinned. "Wanna untie me know?"
Tara crawled back on top of Buffy, laying the length of her body out on top of Buffy's smaller frame. "I dunno... I kinda like you this way..."
Buffy's eyes rolled up towards the head of the bed and then back at Tara. "We could go see if Parker's still alive."
Tara shrugged and then reached up to release Buffy's restraints.
Climbing off, Tara didn't bother to dress as she watched her lover rise. Buffy also stayed clad in just her leather jacket as they walked hand in hand out the door and down the hall to the library where Parker Abrams was chained to the wall.
He saw the two naked women enter the room, but more then their nudity his eyes were attracted to Buffy's bloodied neck and Tara's bloodied lips. "Wh-wh-what are you?"
The pair looked at each other and sighed in unison. "Boys."
She picked up the wicked blade she had kept from her battle with Faith. Buffy looked at it as she twirled it in her hand. She then looked at Parker. He watched fearfully as she approached and brought the blade to his arm. He screamed as she cut him deeply, but he screamed even louder when she pressed her lips to the wound and drank.
Buffy put on a surprised expression. "What? I thought you had wanted me to use my mouth on you?" As Buffy stepped away Tara brought her mouth to do the same thing. It had been a small gesture, but they had kept from showing their true faces so he thought he was still dealing with human beings, and when he let out another hysterical scream they knew it had been a good idea.
Across Sunnydale another one of Buffy's school friends was already aware of Buffy's new un-lifestyle. He and his two cohorts had just finished watching the footage the three of them had found of the confrontation in the Magick Box between Buffy and the Scoobies and it's aftermath.
The first one, Warren, had questions for Buffy's former schoolmate Jonathan. "I thought you said a slayer couldn't be turned."
Jonathan groaned. "She can't! I mean think about it. If a Slayer could be turned there would be an army of them by now."
Warren held his arms wide in question. "Should I show you the thermograph we recorded when Buffy and her girl grabbed that Parker guy? Buffy's pretty lively for being room temperature."
Jonathan exhaled. "I know, I know! But I don't know how it happened!"
Andrew spoke up from the seat where he had been watching the start of the argument. "Giles thinks that it's because her sister was turned first."
Warren shrugged. "What would that have to do with it?"
Jonathan ran to a bookcase a pulled out a tome. "It could mean a lot." The other two were obviously curious, but remained silent as Jonathan started to speak. "Ok, we know that Buffy died last year to close a portal opened by the hell god Glorificus, but it was a portal opened by her sister's blood."
Warren interrupted. "So?"
Jonathan glowered. "SO if their blood is so interchangeable that when Justin changed Dawn it was like he was changing the slayer. However, since Dawn wasn't the actual slayer she didn't have whatever it is that keeps a slayer from being turned so it worked. Same thing would apply when she transformed Buffy, but in that case it was like Dawn was feeding Buffy her own blood, the blood of a turned slayer."
Warren didn't look pleased with the development. "Does that mean Buffy could turn other slayers?"
Jonathan met his eyes. "I don't know."
Parker Abrams' eyes were still wide in panic and pain, but they were now forever opened, forever staring at the horrors that preceded his death, until Rupert Giles reached out and closed them. Over his shoulder he heard Alexander Harris whisper to Willow Rosenberg. "Well Will, it looks like someone took you up on the idea of axe-murdering him."
Willow shushed him as Giles stood up from the floor of the training room in the Magic Box. "These wounds were not made with an axe. I fear Mr. Abrams took several days to die."
Xander spoke up once more. "Looks like Buffy's settling up with all those who wronged her."
Giles nodded. "And I believe she just started with Mr. Abrams so that we knew her vengeance was just beginning."
Willow looked away from the body, her face dead and her skin draining of what little color it held. "Any ideas who's going to be next?"
Giles sighed. "None, but we may wish to compose a list of possible candidates to try and predict their actions."
Leaving the training room for the moment Xander shut off the lights. "At least she didn't pose him."
Little did they know the girls had already moved on to the next name on the list, but in this case it was Maclay. Standing in the largest open area at the college campus, the senior Maclay didn't realize this however and seemed to think he was the one in power as he lorded over his daughter. "So have you finally come to your senses?"
Tara forced herself to appear even smaller and more afraid. "Y-y-yes sir. I-I-I'm sorry s-s-sir."
In typical form Donnie stood at his fathers shoulder, seeming to strain to get to Tara as he helped his father drag Tara down. "You should be. You know how hard we've had to work since you've been gone?"
She forced herself to stammer even more. "I-I'm... I'm s-s-sorry D-Donnie."
Donnie glared at her. "You should be."
Their father stepped in. "Ok, that's enough. Let's get in the car and go get your things."
Donnie reached out and grabbed Tara's shoulder with what was obviously supposed to be bruising force. Of course Buffy applied more pressure when they were playing, but it would have been enough to make the old Tara have to bite down a whimper.
The new Tara just wanted to bite down, and she was not the only one. Concealed nearby both of the Summers sisters were in their vampiric visage, but so angry their eyes seemed ready to turn from their monstrous yellow to a hellish red.
Dawn's nostrils were flaring in her rage, but she managed to keep her growl quiet. "Let's do this!"
Buffy gripped her sisters shoulder. Dawn growled at the unspoken command, but the growl was quieter and she held back.
They watched as Tara's mortal family climbed inside their vehicle and brought the engine to life. While Buffy's speed had reached even greater preternatural heights she didn't need to run any faster than her sister since they both knew where Tara was going to lead them, and were waiting as the vehicle pulled to a stop.
Donnie was the first out and he took in the burned out remains of Sunnydale high school. "Do you live HERE?" Tara followed, and then her father and her cousin Beth finally got out after watching the exchange from the backseat.
Tara shook her head. "I-It's a shortcut."
From her position Dawn grinned in fierce glee. "A shortcut to hell maybe."
Buffy gave a more even grin. "Don't worry Dawnie, they'll see hell soon enough."
Her father had already started growing suspicious. "I never heard of housing being built close to a school." Her cousin was noticeably quiet, as if the reality of Tara being brought back now upset her.
Tara partially deflected his question by walking into the school as she answered. "It was b-b-built a-after the school was b-burned."
It wasn't until Tara led them into the library that more questions were raised, again by her father. "Are you sure it's safe to be in here?"
Buffy thought that the perfect moment to step from concealment, with her human face hiding her vampiric state. "Not for you."
Her father turned and glared at Buffy. "You're not wanted here. Tara made her decision, she chose her real family. Isn't that right Tara?"
Everyone then looked over at Tara, who had her hair hanging over her face. "That's right daddy. I chose my REAL family. You were right, I do have an evil in me." Tara then flipped her hair back to show her face in it's demonic form. "I just needed to meet the right girl to bring it out in me."
Buffy smirked. "After what you brought out in me..." The lovers then shared the smirk before Buffy shifted. "Well one bad turn deserves another."
Her family had recoiled from Tara's demonic face, but when Buffy turned they found themselves trapped between two monsters.
When Dawn stepped out she was also in her demonic mask and they didn't even have superior numbers on their side. "Can we kill them now?"
Tara shook her head. "We need them alive."
Dawn sighed and showed she was still the teenager by pouting. "Fine!"
Her father tried to reason with her. "B-b-but Tara... we're your family."
Tara shifted back to her human face and stepped closer, anger marring her features. "Mom was my family. The only thing you did was make her and my life miserable. Telling us we were evil, we were demons... trying to BEAT the evil out of us. Telling us we deserved every bruise!"
Tara then grabbed her father by the throat and lifted him into the air. "There's an evil in me daddy, and you put it there." She turned and tossed him against the wall near a shadowed corner where chains were concealed and bolts were affixed to the wall with the chains run through.
While Tara moved in to chain her father to the wall Buffy advanced on Donnie as the young man took a swing at her. Buffy could have blocked or dodged, but instead she let the fist connect, to absolutely no effect.
She then grinned in wicked glee. "Try again." He did so and again the blow had no effect except to spread that awful smile on Buffy's face. "Sorry Donnie. I'm nobody's victim anymore, least of all yours." He tried another futile swing, but this time Buffy sidestepped and pulled him to her as she moved behind him. grabbing his chin she forced it to the side as her fangs started to descend.
"BUFFY!" Hearing Tara's admonishment Buffy reverted to her human face, and blushed. "Sorry, got a bit carried away." She then kept him in a hold as she dragged him to the chains Tara had set up.
Dawn was bringing Beth over, but instead of laying her hands on the woman Dawn had just stayed in game face and pointed to the wall where the two men were already being chained up. At first Beth looked like she was ready to make a break for it but when Dawn crossed her arms over her chest the small traces of resistance left of Beth's face vanished and she hung her head as she walked over to the wall.
Once Beth was chained and gagged like the rest, Dawn changed back to her human face with a grin that was apparent in both forms. "Didn't have to lay a finger on her."
The other two vampires grinned with Tara throwing in a "Good work".
The three moved to the other side of the library to speak, and Buffy took the lead. "So how long until you can perform the actual ritual?"
Tara shrugged. "Whenever. The only key ingredient was the remainder of my mortal family. Luckily the Maclay clan was never that big."
Buffy clucked her tongue. "Will the rituals normally require that sort of thing?"
Tara looked over at the three mortals staring fearfully at their captors. Turning back to Buffy she wiped away the smile. "It depends. Lesser beasts are easy to summon and control, but they are just that... lesser. The bigger the beastie the more involved the ritual, and the harder it is to control them. In this case I am not going to be trying to control the demon I summon, but instead bargain with him."
Dawn filled in the blanks. "So we serve this demon up your family and he does what you say?"
Tara nodded. "But in this case I will be bargaining for personal power instead of something to follow my orders."
Buffy clapped her hands together. "Then shall we get to it?"
Tara smiled and started gathering ingredients. "Let's."
Unknown to the three vampires someone else saw as they cleared the space right in front of the Hellmouth. Tara drew a ritual circle as Buffy and Dawn checked the pre-placed leg and ankle restraints. As the three set to work the person ceased watching and called out. "ANGEL!"
The vampire rushed into his office with the ex-Watcher Wesley Wyndham Price and Charles Gunn. Angel was the first to speak as he moved to support the huddled form of Cordellia. "Cordy? What's wrong? What did you see?"
Gunn however was confused. "I thought the visions weren't supposed to hurt anymore?"
Cordellia looked over with eyes still showing traces of the horror she had seen. "It wasn't the vision... it was what it showed me."
Angel spoke to her as he guided her to sit. "What did you see?"
Cordellia took a steadying breath. "Buffy... she's dead."
In his typically brusque fashion Charles Gunn spoke up. "Again? Doesn't that girl know how to stay dead?"
Cordellia looked over to Charles. "Apparently not... she's been turned."
Angel's eyes were already wide at the revelation, but they quickly clouded with disbelief and denial. "But that's impossible. Slayers can't be turned."
Wesley however had slowly risen to his feet and when he spoke his voice was a grim whisper. "No, but their little sisters can, and when their little sister happens to have been formed from the slayer's flesh and blood it makes it possible."
Angel had sunk to the floor and his eyes stared straight ahead. Since he was obviously not ready to ask the questions that needed to be asked Cordellia asked them for him. "You knew?"
Wesley nodded. "Giles informed the Council and my friends on the Council informed me. They also told me that he was going to call us when he was ready."
Cordellia stood up. "Ready for what?"
Wesley met her eyes. "Ready to cast the soul curse on the three of them."
Fred had wandered in the room at this point, but she seemed to realize that now was not the time to ask to be brought up to speed. In fact the other two men looked confused at that point as well, but again Angel's power of speech seemed limited.
So Gunn was the one to ask the question. "Ok, then who's number three after Buffy and her little sis?"
"Tara." As Wesley spoke the name he saw the confusion on the faces of everyone gathered. "Willow's girlfriend... FORMER girlfriend."
Angel had finally regained the power to speak as he rose to his feet. "Why did they turn her?"
Wesley sighed in resignation. "Well it appears the both Summers girls had grown close to her."
Angel narrowed his eyes. "There's more."
Wesley sighed again. "And from all reports Buffy and Tara have grown... close since Buffy transformed Tara."
Fred's face twisted in confusion. "If Buffy was the one to turn her then wouldn't that mean they were probably close before then?"
From the opposite rooftop Buffy observed the Magic Box as Angel's car pulled up and the Angel Investigations team piled out. She ducked back as the ensouled vampire looked upward, but she was smiling. "That's my boy."
Dropping off the roof she was perched on she met up with the other two members of her family and smiled. "Looks like the ritual was enough to tip off The Powers, they're here. Now let's go." She then looked at Tara. "You're sure this is going to work?"
Tara smiled an indulgent smile. "You were there Buffy... you felt the power enter us."
Buffy blew out a breath and then smiled back reluctantly. "I know, I know. Let's go." With that the three vampires piled into the classic car they had stolen and aimed it for the city of Los Angeles.
Inside the Magick Box neither group heard the car departing, as the weight in the air smothered any sound.
At least until it was cracked as Rupert Giles stepped forward and it broke as he extended his hand to Angel. "Thank you for coming."
Angel's nod left it in question if he was accepting the thanks or dismissing them as unnecessary but as he spoke he was all business. "Do we know what they are up to?" The downcast expression on the Scoobies faces told him the answer.
So instead Giles asked a question of his own. "Now you say Cordellia's vision showed the three of them killing Tara's mortal family? Could she tell where?"
Everyone looked over to the seer in question, but she shook her head. "No, the main attraction was the ritual they were performing."
That got Giles interest. "Do you know what ritual they were performing?"
She just pointed over at Wesley. "That's his department."
The Watcher in question stepped forward. "I haven't come up with anything so far, but I have to believe that the ritualistic murder of Tara's mortal family members has some significance."
Cordellia looked up as her eyes got wide. "It wasn't just her." Everyone focused on the ex-cheerleader as she repeated herself. "It wasn't just Tara. All three were performing the ritual."
Fred interrupted the thought. "Even the little girl?"
Cordellia's expression soured, but she nodded. "All three, Tara was just the leader."
Xander clapped his hands together. "I think we all know what comes next."
From the looks on the face of Gunn he didn't Then when Cordelia nodded towards the books expectantly, he shook his head no. "Sorry, but not my scene. I'll hit the streets. In a small town like this I should be able to shake something loose pretty quick."
Nobody moved to stop him, but Angel did speak to him as he was leaving. "Be careful, Gunn. Sunnydale may be a small town to mortals, but it's a metropolis to demons."
He nodded. "Right, Hellmouth, city built on the ruins of the last and all that. Got ya."
Dawn was standing up in the back seat as she shouted. "I LOVE THIS PLACE!" Her sister and Tara were grinning at her outburst as she sat down with a smile just as wide as theirs. "What? This place is almost as evil as Sunnydale, but with better malls."
Sitting in the driver's seat, Tara's smile was tolerant. "Remember Dawnie, we're not here on a shopping trip."
Dawn laid out on the back seat. "I know, I know. This is a business trip, but couldn't we stop afterwards?"
Buffy shook her head. "We gotta be sharp Dawn. We know the Scoobies, so we can play around with them more, but Angel's a question mark."
Tara supported Buffy's argument. "Your sister's right. While you two know Angel, Cordellia and Wesley I don't know them at all."
Buffy was nodding while looking over her shoulder. "And then we haven't seen them in years. On top of that Angel has some guy named Gunn and a brain named Fred."
Dawn sat up with an expression somewhere between a pout and a scowl. "I hate to say this, but we are seriously outnumbered in the brains department." Both of the older girls gave Dawn a glare and she quickly amended her statement. "I mean with the science stuff."
They held the look until the teen began to squirm, but then Buffy agreed. "That's one of the reasons we have to stay sharp. They do have an advantage and right now it's one we have no way to counter."
Tara gave Buffy her questioning half-smile. "Right now?"
Buffy's grin was smug. "I'm working on it." When Tara added an arched brow to accent her half-smile's question, Buffy relented. "Ok, do you remember that Warren guy who made Robo-Buffy?"
Dawn piped up in an overly done innocent voice. "You mean so Spike could play checkers with it?"
Buffy glowered at her little sister. "Yeah... anyway he's gotta be a genius, and since I already owe him for making the damn thing I already have reason to hurt him if he doesn't do what we say."
Dawn chimed in again, but in a questioning tone. "So we're not going to turn him?"
Buffy scoffed. "Please, any of you willing to feed him your blood?" When the other two girls made sour faces she continued. "No, he'll do what we say when we say it or we'll skin him alive."
That made Dawn sit up. "Can I do it?"
Buffy grinned. "Only if your good."
Dawn made a special show of sitting up straight and facing forward.
Faith sighed, solitary confinement sucked. It hadn't even mattered that she was only defending herself. Nope, everyone involved in a fight was locked down. Since Faith found herself in plenty of fights she also found herself spending plenty of time alone.
Considering the kind of people she would have been spending time with that wasn't necessary a bad thing. Still, staring at the blank walls she was left with the familiar burn of rage, instead of the guilt she felt most of the time.
She was really trying, she had turned herself in, made a full confession and she was still getting shit on. On the inside the guards and inmates marked her as a victim, either to be fucked up, or just fucked. When she shoved a groping guard the whole lot of them beat on her, and when one of the other girls tried to make Faith her bitch... Faith found herself in solitary.
This was supposed to be justice? She knew she had done wrong, but didn't the right things she did strike some balance? Giles had been about as bad as Faith when he was her age, but he says sorry and trades his leathers for tweed and all is forgiven? What about the other watcher, Mr. Wesley Windam Price? It was his kick while Faith was down that helped push her over that edge, but all he lost was his job?
Faith took a calming breath... this is what got her there in the first place. Trying to place blame, trying to shift it off herself. Angel was even worse than she had ever been, but unlike everyone else he faced the things he had done.
Her thoughts were interrupted by footfalls, far too light to be those of a guard. If Faith didn't know better she would say the person's stride was almost familiar. "Buffy?"
When the door opened it was the other slayer, though she was wearing a guards hat and carrying his keys. Faith was expecting anger, but the pity on Buffy's face was even worse. "Ohhh Faith... they've turned you into me."
She stood up from her bunk. "Last I heard you hadn't served time, B."
Buffy then smiled widely. "B, I've missed that... No Faith, I mean they have you so guilty, and so scared that you'll do whatever you're told."
Faith shook her head slowly while shoving her hands in her pockets. "I have plenty to be guilty about."
Buffy shook her head right back, but instead of the shake being slow it seemed almost lazy. "No you don't Faith. You turned to the Mayor because I turned you away. Before that you had just screwed up. I was just so messed up by all my guilt that I tried to put it on you."
Faith's face twisted in confusion. "So what changed?"
Buffy reached up to adjust her guard's cap as she spoke. "Funny you should mention that." When she pulled her hands down she took the cap off and when she looked up she was showing her demonic face.
Faith's response was immediate as she leapt up and grabbed the door frame above Buffy's head. Swinging in the same motion she drove both of her feet into the vampire's chest, sending Buffy crashing into the corridor outside the cell.
While the wall showed where Buffy impacted that was the only sign as Buffy seemed unphased, even pleased as her hellish visage twisted into a grin. "There's my girl."
Faith followed into the hall while taking a defensive position. "Buffy? What the hell happened? How did it happen? We can't be turned!"
Buffy had taken a defensive posture herself, but it seemed rather half-hearted as she shrugged. "You'll understand soon enough."
Faith's already pale skin approached a gray shade as her eyes widened, but Buffy was trying to be consoling. "Don't worry. You'll thank me later, but it would probably be easier if you didn't bother fighting me."
Faith seemed to agree as she turned and started running. That made Buffy laugh, fondly, as she began chasing.
"That doesn't look like the ritual." While some people would have thought the question a bit abrupt, Willow wasn't offended. Mostly because she knew Fred's history and thought that the woman was rather well mannered for having spent so long in a demon dimension.
Pulling her eyes from the book Willow put a bookmark in and closed the tome. "It's not. I'm hoping to conjure us up a little help."
Fred sat down next to Willow and pulled her chair closer. "Like a spirit?"
Willow shook her head tightly and nodded just a shortly to where she had set up Amy's habitrail. "No. You see that rat there? Her name is Amy, and she went to high school with all of us before she turned herself into a rat."
Fred got up and walked over to hunker down by the cage. Amy noticed this and sniffed at the new person looking at her. Fred then turned back to Willow. "So is she really good at magick?"
Willow shrugged. "She was. I mean I've probably surpassed her by now, but she was working dark magicks back when I was still floating pencils, then one time she tried to transform a mob into rats, Amy seems to like turning people into rats, anyway it was too much for her and the spell backfired."
Fred fished the thought. "Turning HER into the rat."
Willow nodded in the same tight fashion. "Now I am trying to find a way to turn her back. With Tara... gone, I need someone to help me with spells."
Fred kept watching Amy as Amy kept watching her. "Has she helped you with this one?"
Willow smiled, a bit confused. "How could she? I mean she's a rat."
Fred shrugged loosely as she turned back around to face Willow. "Her body maybe, but her mind may still be there. At least some of it."
There was a long stretch of silence before Willow picked up a different tome and began paging through it quickly.
Willy's normal demeanor often left it hard to tell when the man was scared because he seemed to be in a constant state of mild panic. Of course bartending for demons can do that to a person, but as Gunn questioned the man it was obvious to any who knew him that he was worse off then usual. "Hey any friend of Angel's is a friend of mine. So how's the big guy doing in LA?"
Gunn crossed him arms over his chest. "He's not in LA right now."
Willy nodded in quick, nervous motions. "Back visiting old friends huh?"
Gunn's chin titled up. "What would you know about it?"
Willy shrugged. "About as much as him. The fact his ex has jumped the fence, in more ways then one."
Gunn's face remained set in stone. "What else you know?"
Willy shook his head. "Nothing, you gotta remember fella. This is the Slayer. She knows where you guys would go for information because she used to go there herself."
Gunn's face changed a little bit into a scowl. He didn't like it, but the snitch made sense.
Willy's voice then grew quiet, and that got Gunn's attention more then anything. "She did come in though..."
Gunn nodded. "And?"
Willy looked right at him for the first time since the lean black man had walked in the door. "She said to thank Angel Investigations for coming to Sunnydale."
Gunn didn't even spare a nod as he turned and quickly left the bar. As he watched him go he started wiping the counter more calmly. He had delivered the message as he was told. Willy knew how to tell which way the wind was blowing and he could tell the former slayer was going to be the eye of that hurricane.
Buffy blocked out the shouts of the women inmates as they reacted to the hunt. Several guards had reacted as well, but since they could actually interfere Buffy had quickly dispatched them. They hadn't realized they were dealing with anything out of the ordinary as Buffy had shifted back to her human face.
Not only did it free her to focus on Faith, but it also put the reformed slayer at a disadvantage as she still cared about protecting human life. Something that showed as the pointy end of a broken off mop handle thrust down at her from the second floor balcony of the cellblock.
Twisting Buffy took the blow to the shoulder where it still penetrated her leather jacket, but was only able to scrape the skin. The tingle of pain brought a smile to her face, and the smile grew as she finished the turn and grabbed Faith by the arm.
Faith managed to break the hold as she hit the ground by turning her wrist just a little past as far as it should go and sweeping Buffy's legs. The combined maneuver left Faith free, if hurting in her shoulders and wrist.
Buffy looked damaged as well as she jumped back up, but she didn't seem to recognize the damage to her dead body as much as Faith felt the damage to her living one.
Faith just had one question whispered out in an angry voice made ragged by pain; as the chosen two circled each other. "Why?"
Buffy's voice was soft, almost compelling. "You already know that Faith. You said it, I have it in me, the lust. If I wasn't meant to be this way I wouldn't have been born this way. I let everyone convince me otherwise. Let them tell me it was wrong, that it was something to be repressed and controlled." Then the former slayer's voice became pleading. "That's why I want you with me, Faith. You were the first to show me what I really was."
Faith's face first looked hopeful, then it hardened. "What if I don't want to be that way anymore?"
Buffy gave a lopsided, mocking, grin. "You think it just goes away, Faith? It never left me, no matter how much I wanted it to." Faith's expression faltered, but her defensive stance didn't waver so Buffy kept speaking. "You feel it now don't you? When you wake up, when you go to bed. It never goes away because it's who we are."
Faith's face then grew angry, and it carried to her voice. "Not anymore."
Buffy smirked at the slayer's rage. "Who you trying to convince? I've been there, Faith. I've felt that pounding in my heart, the blood SCREAMING in my veins... I know you're feeling it right now." Faith's face showed a second where her concentration broke and Buffy leapt at the opening literally as she hurled herself bodily at the Slayer.
Faith's mind snapped back to attention, but it was too late as Buffy threw the improvised stake away and straddled Faith's hips while pinning her arms over her head. Faith kicked for a moment, but quickly seemed to realize the combination of slayer strength and vampiric might was too much for her. She resolutely locked her eyes on the wall.
"Do it already!"
She felt Buffy's face pull close to her neck, and then she felt her face being turned back to look into Buffy's eyes. Eyes that were both the familiar one's of her sister slayer, and yet deeper, more vibrant then she ever remembered.
Eyes that held her as Buffy pulled her an arm away from holding Faith down and reached up to touch her cheek tenderly. As the vampire spoke the words crossed her face in a phantom caress. "No, Faith. So many people have tried to tell you what to be. The Council, Angel, Me... you have to choose this."
Faith looked like she wanted to believe, but just couldn't as she spoke a feeble protest. "You'll kill me if I say no."
Buffy smiled lightly as she nodded. "I'll have to. We both know you would hunt me if I let you go, but I promise it won't hurt. One minute you'll be here, and the next you'll be gone. You and I know you've repented your sins. So you'll go to a better place, but that doesn't have to be the end."
Faith's voice was weak, she tried to tell herself it was because she was tired from the chase, but she knew it was because Buffy was battering down her defenses. "No, I'll just be a demon."
Buffy shrugged her shoulders, and let her head follow the motion. "Kinda. The council just wants to tell us it's a demon and that it's all right to kill it, but the fact is even when the soul goes on there's still plenty of the person left. It's just like the inherent good of the soul is replaced by the inherent evil of the vampire. You'd still be you Faith, but the part of you that feels guilt will be in Heaven sipping champagne with that part of me."
Faith didn't speak, but her mouth opened as Buffy leaned in closer, her face shifting to expose it's demonic ridges and it's vampiric fangs. "So, what do you say, Faith?"
Angel slammed the book closed. "It's in LA! Whatever they're after is in LA."
Cordellia was confused. "But why would they send me a vision of Sunnydale if the bad thing was going to happen in LA?"
Wesley sighed while rubbing the bridge of his nose to try to stave off a growing headache. "Most likely because they knew where it would end up."
Gunn summed it up nicely. "So we've been played is what your sayin?"
Giles cleaned his glasses. "I'm afraid so, and I fear that they're probably close to finding it, if they haven't already." Seeing the questioning looks he elaborated. "Buffy wouldn't have left the message with Willy if she wasn't sure she would find it before us."
Wesley nodded with Giles analysis. "Still, I believe it would be best if some of us went to LA to try to determine what it is they are after."
Angel nodded. "You, me and Gunn. We know LA."
Cordellia then spoke up. "What about me and Fred?"
Wesley looked over. "You continue with your research and call us if you find out anything or have anymore visions."
Cordellia didn't look pleased, but remained silent, Fred did the same as the rest of the room and not another word was said as the three men walked out the door.
Angel's mind was quickly pulled from its frustration as he walked into the main lobby of the Hyperion Hotel, his hotel. The sun had risen and that kept him from helping Wesley and Gunn try to figure out what the three vampires were after, but that became the last thing on his mind when he smelled human blood.
"A-Angel?" Faith staggered into view still clad in the denims she wore as an inmate with some notable rips and tears, as well as a bloodstain running from the wound on her neck. A type of wound Angel was all too familiar with.
"FAITH!" His preternatural speed allowed him to catch her as she stumbled and he quickly carried her to the couch in the office. "Faith! What happened?"
The Slayer seemed delirious as her eyes couldn't focus and he voice was weak, but she answered the question. "B... she's..."
Angel saved her the trouble. "I know. So she came after you?"
Faith shook her head weakly, and Angel flinched in sympathy when he saw the wound bleed with the motion. "Wanted to..." She took a labored breath, it hissing in the wound on her neck. "Wanted to turn me. I fled while she fed."
He took her hand. "Did she say how?" Though deep down his mind was filling the blanks.
Faith managed to croak a single word. "Ritual."
He covered her with his jacket. "Rest, I have to make a call." The call was quick and Wesley got back to the hotel quickly as well.
Faith was still lying on the couch and Wesley kept his voice to a urgent whisper as he spoke with Angel in the main hall. "How is she?"
Angel replied in a similar whisper. "Bitten, badly."
Suddenly another voice spoke up, loudly yet calmly. "I got a little too enthusiastic." Looking in that direction they recognized the young woman from the picture Willow showed them.
Tara was standing at the large glass doors that led to the stairs, and she had her arm over the shoulders of Dawn Summers who smiled and waved at the horrified vampire. "Hi Angel!"
From the office another voice spoke up. "Don't worry about it, Tar. We had to make the bite look authentic." The two women shared a wicked grin while the teen had her own smirk.
Behind the men a final voice sounded all too close, and almost intimate. "Hello Lover."
Angel shuddered at Buffy appropriating his name for her when he was Angelus, but the moment was broken when Dawn nudged Tara. "I think she's talking to you."
Tara smiled at the undying teen as Angel turned to look back at Buffy. She was smiling at her sister's words and it just made her look all the more beautiful. While all vampires loose some of their natural color upon being turned she still had the silken skin he remembered. The only difference was that her hair was now cut to a place right above her shoulders, and off to the side Faith had to comment. "So that was the 'thing' you had to take care of?" It was obvious Faith was amused by the idea.
Buffy sniffed. "Yes. I thought Tara would like me looking a little more butch."
Faith was grinning as she rolled her eyes and both former slayers turned to look at the person in question. Tara just grinned. "We should take care of business now, and I will show you how much I like it when we get back to Sunnydale."
Faith laughed. "So you're not going to punish me for teasing you while I was in your girl's body?"
Tara shrugged. "You weren't entirely wrong, and either way we're family now." Faith's smirk actually melted into a smile that tried to match the warm smile Tara was giving her.
Buffy was ready to speak when Wesley pulled an axe from inside his jacket and swung it at Buffy's head. The only thing it connected with was her hand however as she caught it in mid-swing and yanked it out of his hand. "Hey! We're trying to have a conversation here. If you want me to hand you over to Faith already you just have to say so."
The ex-Watcher's eyes got wide as Faith reached under her prison issue wardrobe and pulled out the knife first given to her by the Mayor, and given back to her by Buffy. Walking up to Wesley she smiled a predator's smile while admiring the blade's gleam. "Where were we Wes? When you betrayed me to the Council and put me in chains? No, no we covered that when I was cutting into you last time."
When she took another step closer Angel took a swing at her, but Faith's unholy enhancement showed itself as she ducked underneath the punch and buried her knife up to the hilt in his stomach.
"Wait your turn, Angel!" She then shoved him off her blade and towards Buffy where he was grabbed and held fast by the other undead slayer.
That didn't keep him from trying to struggle and Buffy whispered into his ear. "Come on, Angel. I thought you were supposed to be helping people? How much suffering do you think Wesley and his council is responsible for? It wasn't just Faith either. Do you remember Kendra? I doubt they do. I doubt she made one full year as a slayer before she died and Faith was called."
Angel continued to fight as he watched Wesley try to back away from Faith only to have her take another step closer. "He quit the Council."
Buffy looked up to Faith. "Well there was your problem Faith! It wasn't the whole evil thing. It was the fact you hadn't given two weeks notice before turning evil."
Faith slapped her head with her free hand. "I knew I forgot something!" She then landed her first blow on Wesley when the same hand lashed out from it's place at her forehead and struck him in the face.
Buffy gripped Angel tighter. "And he didn't quit, Angel. He was fired, that's it. Faith on the other hand gets assassination squads sent after her."
Angel groaned when Buffy changed her hold to squeeze his knife wound. "You wanted to kill her yourself the last time you were here."
Buffy nodded. "I was wrong then, and I apologized."
Faith looked away from where Wesley was nursing a bloody lip. "Technically B, you killed me now." The four female vampires laughed and then Faith started speaking again. "Still, you made me immortal. We're square." Buffy smiled, Faith smiled back, and they both nodded in unison. Wesley tried to punch at Faith while she was talking to Buffy but the newly risen vampire sidestepped, brought up her knife, and then kicked him in the privates. When he fell to his knees she drove her own knee into his face.
That drove Wesley onto his back and Faith got down and straddled him. She looked ready to speak, but then shrugged and brought the bloodied knife down.
Angel had been bound to one of the pillars at one point during Wesley's lingering death, but once the former Watcher ceased breathing he ceased struggling and was now looking around the room, anywhere but where his friend's broken body was splayed out on the bloodied floor.
Faith had left to change out of her bloody prison uniform and Dawn had left even earlier. So it was just Angel, his former lover and the former lover's current love.
While Angel had been trying to conceal the motion of his eyes, both women were paying close attention and Buffy finally stepped to the pillar he was chained to. "Looking for Gunn aren't you? He's busy burying his buddies. You know, the thrill kill demon hunters? We needed a first meal for Faith, and when we heard about the little blow out at Caritas it seemed a great way to make sure we could keep things more private, more intimate."
She then stepped over to the broken and mutilated body of one Wesley Wyndham Price. "I have to say Faith is showing some nice potential."
Tara agreed with her sweetheart. "If she learns to control her excitement she could really get good at torture."
Buffy smiled over at Tara. "I don't think that will happen. Faith always gets into what she's doing. It's one of the things I like about her." She then turned to watch Angel trying desperately not to look at his fallen friend. "What? Nothing to say, Angel? I would think you of all people could give Faith tips on her torture techniques."
Faith walked back into the main hall in her more familiar leathers. "I don't think he has ANYTHING to teach me B. I'm starting to think you two have the right idea."
Suddenly Dawn came charging back into the main hall. "Gunn's got a gun!"
Something the demon hunter proved as the door was kicked in and he started shooting a fully automatic weapon from the hip.
Since Dawn didn't have far to go to get out of his line of fire she was able to drop to the floor and scramble to safety. Tara wasn't so lucky because despite her inhuman speed her back was turned she wasn't able to get out of the way of Gunn's fire, but since she was already dead the bullet that tore into her had little effect.
Buffy and Faith faired better as they both had the inhuman speed of the vampire combined with the enhanced agility of the slayer. They also both had experience with being shot at. While Buffy was trying to figure out a way to get to Gunn without being rendered immobile with a bullet in a limb Faith was pulling out her knife and hurling it side arm.
As all this was happening Angel managed to turn himself so his bonds were in the line of fire, and while it put two slugs in his side it also freed him. Freeing him so he could get a good view of Faith's knife imbedding between the surprised eyes of Charles Gunn.
The next sight he saw was that of the two undead slayer's locking the reptilian eyes of their vampiric forms on him. Knowing that his two friends were beyond help Angel hurled himself out the glass doors at the back of the lobby and used his vampiric agility to scale a wall.
Before either could take chase Faith growled. "Look after your girl, I got him." She used similar speed and agility to follow the same path Angel had, leaving Buffy to do what she had suggested.
Dawn had already found her way over and was cradling the wounded witch as Buffy dropped down to examine the wound. "TARA? TARA?"
The witch smiled and put a hand on Buffy's arm that was resting on her chest. "It's all right darling, just painful." She then concentrated and the bullet inside her lifted out as the flesh sealed with no trace of it ever being injured.
Buffy was still worried as she pulled Tara to her chest and held her tightly. One hand held the blonde by her hip while the other caressed Tara's back, and strangely Tara was left to comfort Buffy. "It's all right Buffy. I'm all right."
Dawn had sat back and actually grinned. "Remember Buffy, she's immortal."
Buffy loosened her hold but still kept Tara in her arms. Exhaling her body gave a final shudder as it stopped shaking. "I know." She gave another shudder. "I know, it's just Tara... and the bullet... and the blood."
Tara reached her arm up and pulled Buffy down to kiss her. One kiss turned into several, but when they were through Buffy seemed much calmer as she rested her head to Tara's.
They were in a similar state when Faith returned, but Dawn had wandered off to the office. Where the teen still noticed when her new sister had returned. "So how'd it go?"
Faith smiled and threw an arm over Dawn's shoulder. "Gave the big guy a good run, made sure he thought I was really trying to catch him. So what's up with those two?"
Dawn shrugged. "Buffy freaked when she saw Tara shot. Kinda sweet, but kinda goofy since she knows Tara's immortal."
Faith chuckled softly. "Sounds about normal for B."
Buffy heard that as she stood up and took hold of Tara's hand. "I heard that."
Faith smirked with an all too familiar arrogance. "I meant you to."
Buffy gave a playful glare and then straightened her expression as she turned to Dawn. "Did you load up all their computer gear?" Dawn nodded. "Books and files?"
Dawn nodded again. "Filled up the trailer as well as the trunk."
Faith scrunched up her face in disgust. "Research?"
Buffy smirked. "Fraid so. We need to see when Angel and his friends have been up to, and if we can get anything out of it."
Faith sighed, and followed as Buffy led them out of Angel Investigations, pausing only long enough to allow Faith to retrieve her knife from Gunn's forehead and clean it before she put it away. While Faith did so Buffy made the comment. "I really didn't expect you to kill him."
Faith shrugged as she put the knife away. "Not a problem, is it?"
Buffy shook head. "Oh no, just admiring your initiative."
Faith smiled as they got into the car.
As Tara drove they all talked, Buffy sat next to her while the other two sat in back. Faith was the first to speak as she asked a question. "So B, you three going to mix your blood some more and turn other slayers?"
Buffy shook her head from the front seat. "We can't. The only reason we could do it this time was because the three of us had the blood of a vampiric slayer AND we sacrificed Tara's mortal family to one of the big bad big wigs to get our blood juiced up enough to turn you."
Faith leaned forward. "Well, couldn't I kill my family to do it?"
Dawn answered the question from where she laid back in her seat. "Nope, you'd still need a key in the family, and since the only key is me you're one of a kind Faith."
Faith smiled her surprise as she laid back. "Me? Unique?"
Tara looked over her shoulder and smiled at Faith's surprise. "Yes, while Buffy was transformed by a mystick loophole you are the only slayer successfully, and deliberately turned."
Faith smiled even wider. "Cool. So why me?"
Buffy looked back. "Because you were already one of a kind, and because I wasn't going to miss out on that potential again."
Faith shook her head. "B, I'm not holding any grudges and you shouldn't either. It's like your girl said, we're family now."
As the sun came up in Sunnydale another family was going to be mourning two of their own. Angel stumbled up through the sewer entrance and his entrance was loud enough to be noticed as Giles hurried back to help the vampire.
Assisting him into the main room everyone gathered around as Angel started speaking, already aware that they would want to know what happened. "Wesley and Gunn are dead." Cordelia and Fred comforted each other as they cried at the news.
Giles tried to find out how the other Watcher had died. "Was it Buffy?"
Angel shook his head and took an unnecessary breath. "It was Faith."
Willow's head shot up. "I knew it! I said that whole redemption thing was just an act!"
Angel looked over to her. "She was a vampire."
The whole room looked over as Willow replied. "But... I-I thought that couldn't happen. I mean Buffy was turned because her sister was they key. How would they turn Faith?"
Giles sighed wearily. "The ritual I would imagine. Somehow it allowed them to turn another slayer AND lured away the only group that could have had a chance to oppose them. This complicates things dramatically. Willow, are you almost ready to begin casting the curses?"
Willow had been clenching and unclenching her hands, but stopped as she answered the question. "Y-yeah. I want to try to turn Amy back one last time, but once that's done I can get right to it. So who should we curse first?"
Giles began cleaning his glasses. "Buffy must be our first priority. After that I would say Tara should be next as she may be trying to come up with a way to counter the curse itself. We'll have to hope that Buffy can restrain Faith until we can place the curse on her. Finally we would return Dawn's soul. The big problem is that we've only been able to acquire three Orbs of Thesulah and I fear what could happen in the meanwhile now that there is another vampiric slayer."
Angel pulled himself together and sat up. "I hate to say this, but you may want to worry about Buffy, Faith and Tara as they are the real threats."
"So why are we after this Warren guy again?" Faith looked between the three members of her family as they were walking the streets of Sunnydale, but it was Dawn who was the first to answer.
"He built the Buffybot."
Faith laughed. "The WHAT?"
Buffy turned around, her voice unnaturally resolute. "The nothing, the thing he did not build because it did not exist."
Surprisingly it was Tara who answered. "Warren built a robotic Buffy love doll for Spike."
Buffy was aghast. "TARA!"
Tara turned to her lover and spoke mater-of-factly. "Well he did, and it just reminds me why he's going to deserve everything we're going to do to him."
Faith's smirk was teasing Buffy before she even started speaking. "So? Was she FULLY interactive B?"
Dawn had a similar smirk. "Could play checkers and everything."
Faith was confused, but Tara grinned slightly at the joke. Buffy however was not pleased and sped up so she was walking in front of the group. At least until they got to their destination, but instead of walking to the front door like they expected Buffy walked to the driveway.
They found her walking around a black van that was partially concealed by a tarp. Tara walked up and took Buffy by the hand. Her voice was quiet as she spoke. "Is this the black van?"
Faith looked like she was about to question, and Dawn slipped up next to her, also speaking quietly. "Around the time I was turned Buffy was followed by the black van, and anywhere the van was Buffy had bad things happening to her."
"Someone trying to kill her?"
Buffy then joined the conversation, but sounded like she didn't want to, as she moved to the driver's side door. "No, nothing fatal, just really, REALLY annoying." Grabbing the handle, there was the sound of metal rending, and then breaking as Buffy forced the door open.
Faith stepped up next to her. "Umm B, you coulda just broke the window."
Buffy paused, looked at Faith, looked at the mangled lock and then looked back at Faith. "Yeah, but this made me feel better." Faith just grinned as both the former slayers looked inside to find a technological treasure trove. Inside were computers, cameras and devices beyond their limited technological understanding.
Faith then pulled back to motion to Tara. "It looks like there's magick stuff in here too."
Tara replaced Faith and Buffy put her arm around her girlfriend as they looked inside. Turning to Buffy, Tara nodded. "There's things here for both spells and summonings."
Buffy smiled. "Anything you'd like?" Tara then smiled back as Buffy reached her hand to the van's horn. "But there's one last test." Pressing the car's horn the vehicle began playing the first strains of the Star Wars theme.
Buffy sighed and closed her eyes wearily, before she crossed her arms over her chest as she pulled herself out of the car to face the house. The other members of her family turned as she did and they did so right in time to see Warren, Jonathan and Andrew charge out of the house and almost run into them.
All three had a moment of panic as they found themselves face to face with the vampires. After their shared moment of terror each expressed that fear in their own way. For Warren that meant trying to conceal it by taking a defiant posture with his arms at his sides, his shoulders squared and his head held high. Jonathan seemed to try to conceal his fear by shrinking back to conceal himself and hoping Buffy hadn't recognized him, but he soon realized it was pointless and stood dejectedly. The third member of the Trio looked between Warren and Buffy as if he was deciding whom to follow.
"So slayer, you finally found us." Warren's voice had an exaggerated depth to it as he spoke.
Buffy rolled her eyes and then laughed. "What's going on here Warren?"
He crossed his arms like she was. "What's going on here is that you've just met the people who are going to take over Sunnydale."
Buffy dropped her arms. "Is that so? Well then I guess I better kill the competition now. Faith? Kill the little one."
Faith was happy to follow orders as she looked to Jonathan, but the diminutive sorcerer yelled. "Wait! Why is it everyone goes after the little one?"
Buffy looked down at the small man. "Because I saved your life a dozen times or so and this is the way you repay me?" She gave Faith a nod and Jonathan found his head pushed back as Faith changed into game face.
Warren was then lifted up by a blur that grabbed him around the throat. That blur resolved itself into Buffy Summers as she began strangling the life out of him.
Andrew found himself caught in an invisible pull as Tara gestured at him and as she motioned he was dragged towards her. A place Andrew desperately did not want to be as the vampire displayed her demonic gaze.
While all three members of the human band were occupied the fourth vampire wasn't pleased. "Don't I get to kill anybody?"
Faith grinned and hurled Johnathan at her. "Dig in. I'll get any people inside the house."
Dawn giggled as she caught him, and had no trouble holding him as he was near her own height, but before any of the vampires could feed Warren tried croaking out words. "W-Wa-Wat-Wait!" Buffy adjusted her grip so her hand was grabbing his jaw instead of his throat. For several seconds the mortal took in the desperately needed oxygen, but soon he began to speak. "We could team up?"
Buffy shook her head. "I was going to offer something like that when I came here, but now I think I'd rather just kill you all."
He seemed like he wanted to shake his head, but Buffy's hold prevented it. "But you know I could help you."
Buffy released her hold and he dropped to his feet, where he stumbled but did not fall. She gave a nod and the rest of the vampires released their captives. Warren seemed to be regaining his confidence as he regained his color, but as he spoke he rubbed at the area Buffy's hand had been wrapped around. "You're powerful Slayer, nobody doubts that, but it's going to take more than that to take over Sunnydale."
Buffy shrugged. "It's been good enough so far."
Warren shook his head. "That was just when you were protecting Sunnydale. If you want to control it you're going to need alot more. Just ask the slutbomb over there."
Faith immediately rose to the comment. "What did you call me?"
Faith had drawn her knife and marched towards the surprisingly confident mortal. His confidence grew as Buffy caught Faith and held her back, but then again he didn't hear Buffy's whisper. "Just a cut." He did see Faith's angry expression turn to a grin and his own confidence seemed to falter. It turned into a yelp of pain as Faith brought her dagger in a slash across his cheek.
As Faith pulled back Buffy addressed Warren curtly while he touched the wound in disbelief. "Ok, here's the deal Warren. We're not teammates, we're not partners, and we sure as hell aren't friends. You are a henchman, a stooge, skilled labor. I don't NEED any of you. You just make things easier, but that means if you start making things difficult for me I'll kill you. Are we clear?"
Warren growled as he pulled his hand away. "Clear."
In the main room of the Magick Box the Scooby gang was attempting to recruit their own help as Willow chanted feverishly. A spiraling green light matched the speed of her chanting and in the center of the spiraling green light the tiny form of Amy the rat moved with the flow of the forming green vortex.
As the chanting continued the tiny form became less tiny. As it grew in size it changed in form, its front legs twisted into recognizable limbs as its hind legs began to resemble feet. This transformation was accompanied by her midsection elongating and becoming hairless.
The rat's snout shrunk back as the entire face grew while the rest of the body lost its hair and the remaining hair grew in Amy's human color as it flowed from her head. The process continued as the features of the rat faded and then flowed into those of the human Amy, but since the rat was undressed the person was as well and Giles immediately sought to resolve the situation as he draped his coat over her shoulders. She looked around and began to cry, but the smile on her face showed they were happy tears.
While the tears were eventually dried away she was still smiling as she was now fully clothed and sitting as the center of attention in the closed down occult book store.
Giles had laid his jacket over the counter once she was done with it, and now he walked out from behind that counter to address the young woman. "Do you feel you understand the situation?"
Amy made a scoffing sound as she nodded. "I'd say, you have TWO undead slayers on your hands. That's gotta suck. So when did you get this store?"
Everyone looked around uncomfortably before Giles cleared his throat. "After the previous owner's untimely demise. Willow can fill you in on the things you missed while you were... away." The red headed sorceress gave the Watcher a glare but he ignored her. "But we are going to need your help cursing them, as well as the two other members of their group."
Amy nodded. "Right, Buffy's little sister... when did she get a little sister?" When no one volunteered an answer she shook her head. "And some girl named Tara... who is she anyway?"
Willow's voice was deep with grief. "My everything."
Amy's eyes were wide as she looked to Willow.
Jonathan whispered urgently to his comrade Warren. "Why did you invite them in? Now they can come back anytime they want and kill us!"
Warren, his cheek freshly bandaged, rolled his eyes. "What can I say? Seeing Faith licking my blood off her knife was pretty persuasive." Faith looked up from where she and the rest of her family were looking over the wide assortment of technological devices, occult supplies and collectable toys to be found in the Trio's lair. When she met their eyes she winked.
Both men looked up in shock when they realized they had been heard talking. Pulling Jonathan farther away Warren turned on a computer and hoped the hum would mask their speech. "Because if we didn't they would have just killed us now."
It hadn't helped as Buffy showed she could still hear them by replying to the statement. "You're right about that."
Warren looked between Jonathan and Buffy and finally resigned himself as he walked over to Buffy. "Any questions?"
She nodded once. "I want to keep a closer eye on the Scoobies, and after looking in the van I think you're just the guys to help me. So what do you have that could keep an eye on them? Especially during the day."
Warren squinted in concentration. "Not much, most of my surveillance gear is in the van. Andrew and Johnathan could use spells or creatures to do it, but you have your own witch for that sort of thing."
As Warren spoke Faith's eyes scanned the room and she gave a noticeable sniff of the air. In one moment she was still scanning the room, and in the next she was in game face and bending Andrew backwards.
Warren held up his hands. "HEY! Killing us is not a good way to secure our full cooperation."
Buffy smirked. "I think that's Faith's way of saying she doesn't think we HAVE your full cooperation."
Faith hadn't bit yet and instead turned her reptilian eyes to Warren. When he didn't respond right away she shrugged and brought her fangs down towards Andrew's neck, but before she broke the skin she broke Andrew himself. "THERE'S HIDDEN CAMERAS!"
Warren muttered under his breath. "Wuss."
Faith let go of Andrew by literally letting go and he dropped to floor unnoticed as the vampires gathered around Warren.
For his part Warren sighed and then squared his shoulders before moving over to a bank of computers. Sitting down he began typing and on monitor after monitor video images appeared. The Summers residence, the Magic Box, Xander's latest construction site and anywhere the Scoobies would gather.
Buffy arched her brows and her voice betrayed a note of surprise. "Not bad."
Warren couldn't help but smile. "You know what they say. Know thy enemy."
She nodded and chewed her lip thoughtfully. "I assume you're taping this?" He nodded. "Good. Right now all I want you to do is make us copies."
Warren was shocked as he looked up. "That's it?"
Buffy smiled at him. "That's it. I might have more later, but right now all I need is a second set of eyes on the Scooby gang."
He nodded. "We can handle that."
Buffy stood back. "Ok, I want you to make copies of anything you have so far. Then you will put together everything you get on a weekly basis."
He looked up at her from where he was sitting. "And if something comes up I think you should know?"
Buffy smiled knowingly and even gave a soft laugh. "You know where Willy's bar is? Leave a message there. Once I get something set up I'll give you a phone number. A villain has to be careful now a days or you'll find just anyone tromping through your lair." She gave a louder laugh. "Let's go girls."
After an inordinately long pause to make sure they were gone, Warren jumped up from his chair as he swore. "BITCH!"
Tara was first to speak as she held hands with Buffy. "You know he's going to betray us don't you? He would never let a woman be in control of him."
Dawn agreed. "Tara's right. You should have let me hang behind and spy on him." It had become Dawn's role as of late. Her size helped her to be an ideal scout and spy.
This time however Buffy showed she didn't feel a spy was necessary as she shook her head. "I know, but I also know that Warren is weak and if we keep too close he would be too timid. He's going to betray us, but in the meanwhile I need him to be giving 100% to carrying out our orders."
Tara smiled and kissed Buffy on the cheek. "Giving him enough rope to hang himself?"
Buffy nodded and twisted her head quickly so she could return Tara's kiss on the lips. "Exactly, and I'm the one holding the noose."
Faith nodded along with her sister slayer's plan. "So we finally going to get phone service in the lair?"
Buffy nodded. "We checked the lines and we can still get power though them... heck, they never shut off power or water after the school blew up. Just turned it on when they built the new building I guess, but as far as phones go I want to keep us cellular. Both Willow and Warren are skilled enough they could be able to track us by a regular phone call. That's why Warren wanted to know how to contact us."
Faith scoffed. "So what? They show up, we kill them."
Buffy smiled. "No, because that would mean THEY are calling the shots. When they die it's going to be when we say." Faith gave an knowing smirk, and Buffy's smile shifted to match it. "But right now we're going shopping. Did you find any cash to grab?"
Both Faith and Dawn gave short nods to the affirmative as they both pulled out bundles of cash looted from the lair they had just raided. While Dawn's skills lent themselves to spying and the occasional theft, Faith's were pushing her back into the role of assassin that she played for the late Mayor Wilkins. They still served as she and Dawn pocketed all the loose cash they could find. In the lair of the would-be super villains that turned out to be quite a bit.
As they both pocketed the funds Faith shook her head. "I still don't get it. Why didn't we take Warren's stuff? I mean he had plenty."
Tara was the one to answer the question. "Because if he's going to do our bidding, he'll need his tools."
Buffy agreed with her consort. "That and the fact he'd be too familiar with the stuff for my liking. "Off the shelf might not be as good as his, but he won't know exactly what we have available. Now Dawn, what can you do for us?"
Dawn squirmed. "I could hook up cable. If we got one of those satellite dishes, and a black market converter."
Buffy patted her sister on the head. "It's a start."
Faith and Tara found themselves on their own expedition, but the dusty, musty environment they had just entered showed they were not looking for technological equipment. Faith led the way into the storage room deep inside city hall. "Well, if there's anything left that belonged to the boss it should be here. This is supposed to be where his possessions were taken after he ended up on the losing side of Buffy."
Tara frowned. "Are you still angry about that?"
Faith shook her head. "No, not really. I miss him still, but he didn't really give B any choice. He made her fight and she happened to win. Can't blame her for that. You sure WE'RE good? I mean I was pretty harsh on you."
Tara smiled serenely. "No, we're family now. More than that, I respect you."
Faith looked up at that as they walked up to the various storage boxes. "Huh?"
Tara's smile grew and Faith would have actually blushed, had she still have a pulse as Tara started to speak. "I mean it. The Tara I am would have scared the mortal Tara."
Faith cut in. "Well we are demons." As they kept speaking they started opening boxes.
Tara nodded distractedly as she continued. "Technically, but there's still plenty of who we were left. I mean if you put four new wheels on a car it's still the same car."
Faith arched a brow. "Ok, I know you love Buffy and all, but I think you've been hanging around her too much."
The two women laughed at the jest as Tara then continued. "I know it's more complex, but much of the original person remains, only most of the good parts have been replaced with evil ones."
Faith's brow crept back up. "Most?"
Tara looked Faith in the eyes. "I love Buffy."
Faith looked at her closely. "You do, don't you?... I knew, you know? On some level I knew about her."
Tara giggled. "From what Buffy told me about you I'm willing to believe that. Where I was going earlier was that was one of the reasons I respect you. The whole 'want, take, have'. For me the transition from human to vampire was an immense one, for you it was more a matter of just finalizing."
Faith laughed. "So what, are you saying I've always been evil?"
Tara shook her head gently. "Unrestrained. If you had managed to cast off your last bits of mortal morality you probably could have helped Buffy come to terms with being gay long before she met me."
"Wouldn't you have been afraid of the competition?" Faith punctuated her statement with an over-done expression of arrogance.
Tara just gave her trademark smile. "No. Do you really think you and Buffy could have...?"
"I dunno, at one point maybe. The tie between me and B has always been... intense... maybe she could have brought something out in me too." Faith then turned back to the crates as Tara gave her a smile and continued to examine them. A few minutes later she spoke up again. "You know, you were the only Scooby I respected."
Tara gave a skeptical glance. "You sure didn't sound like it."
Faith gave a short nod. "That's because I had just met you. No, you got it because you realized I wasn't Buffy even though I was in her body. You see, at one point or another I've played every last Scooby, and while they figured things out eventually I still managed to play 'em. You on the other hand saw right through me. It pissed me off to no end, but it also got my respect."
Tara smiled at Faith's compliment. "Probably because they were so dependant on Buffy that she could have dropped to all fours and barked and they would have accepted it."
Faith's jaw rolled. "Dropped to all fours and barked?' Why do I have a feeling you didn't just make that image up?" When Tara remained silent, but grinning Faith laughed. "Man, I could tell you stories about Buffy and her Super Friends."
Tara tiled her head. "I'd like to hear them."
Faith shrugged. "It's a date." She then took a look at the books and artifacts they had been piling up and looked to Tara.
Seeing the question in Faith's eyes she looked at the same pile and nodded. "These are the valuable items. Let's go."
The four circles were placed at the four compass points in the Magick Box with each circle carrying the components for the soul curse. Two of the circles were occupied by Willow and Amy, each of them trying to curse one of the slayers. Willow had taken on the burden of returning the soul of her best friend Buffy while Amy was trying to bring back the soul of the other slayer Faith.
If things went according to plan they would return the souls of the slayer's and then immediately move to the circle to their right where Willow would try to bring back Tara's soul and Amy would try to recover Dawn's. Of course things rarely went according to plan, but they showed themselves ready for that by the circle of armed people forming a protective wall around the casters.
What they hadn't prepared for was the camera sitting inside a skull sitting on a shelf in the shop. A camera that was relaying the scene back to the villains lair and the villains. Assembled around the monitor was Warren, Jonathan and Andrew as well as their undead monitor Dawn. They had been surprised that Buffy would have left her sister alone with them, but before Buffy left her with them she explained that if any harm came to her sister Buffy would start with them when looking for the responsible parties.
Jonathan and Andrew had pulled away from the monitors as Dawn gave him instructions to help her gather all the information she could from the electronic image. Jonathan was the one to speak as he leaned into Andrew. "I wonder who's the babysitter here?"
While Dawn's hearing wasn't as sharp as her sisters she showed it was acute enough. "Don't think of it that way Jonathan. Just think of it like a sleep over."
Andrew smiled and spoke quietly. "I never had a girl sleep over."
Dawn looked over her shoulder. "That' doesn't surprise me." As she turned back she saw Jonathan hit Andrew in the shoulder.
Warren broke into the conversation. "I have to say you seem pretty calm having a sleep over while they're trying to return your soul."
Dawn just grinned at the technician. "I do, don't I?"
Looking back to the monitors everyone could see the spell was growing as the Orbs of Thesulah glowed, but while the rest of the group seemed to be smiling in anticipation a look of concern and confusion was growing on Willow's face.
It remained there as the spell drew to a conclusion as the light flared before it killed off all the lights in the Magick Box, but it wasn't her who asked the question. Anya's voice cut the darkness. "So? Did it work?"
It was Angel's voice that answered. "No, I think something went wrong. Wonderfully, WONDERFULLY wrong."
Over the camera Warren had switched the feed to a light magnification image and it showed Angel's face had switched to it's demonic stare. As the men took in the image a grinning Dawn Summers pulled out a cell phone and hit a number programmed into it's memory.
Fred's voice was the one to ask what he meant, but the tremble in her speech conveyed fear for the entire room. "What do you mean?"
Angel's voice seemed joyous as he replied. "Let me demonstrate."
His demonstration was lit up by light coming through the doorway as it splintered and flew into the main room. In his arms the limp and pale body of Fred was hanging bonelessly as he drank greedily from the bite in her neck.
Buffy had stepped through the ruins of the door and as she kicked the remnants away Tara followed behind her, both women's faces matching Angel's. He smiled at the sight. "Buffy! You're looking well."
She smiled back. "I'm feeling well."
Angel shook his head. "I don't know Buffy... how is she really feeling Tara?"
Tara smirked at the vampire's obvious double entendre. "She feels wonderful."
He gave an overdone shiver. "I remember."
When both the vampires gave him a warning look he held up his hand's and dropped Fred's bloodless body. "Remember, a fond memory, but nothing more. I have to think I'm in your debt."
It seemed Angelus was the only demon concerned with his debts as Spike turned and tried to run out the backdoor, only to come sailing in as a boot crashed into his chest and sent him sailing back into the main room. The boot was attached to a leg that was encased in leather and the leg was attached to Faith. Who walked into the room with the same yellow-eyed gaze as the rest of her family.
That first blow started the melee as Xander swung at Angelus with the axe he was carrying while Giles fired an arrow at Buffy's heart. The elder vampire had no trouble ducking under the blow, and while Giles shot was directed dead center at the slayer's heart she was able to catch the bolt in flight and return it before Giles could duck out of the way, though their respective heights put the projectile through his lung instead of his heart.
Tara stepped forward as she and Willow started chanting, but before Amy could join in Faith had charged at the witch. While she was able to break the casters concentration Cordelia had moved to intercept Faith and was able to do a surprisingly skilled job of fending off the young vampire with a long sword.
Angelus was grappling with Xander over the axe, but each time he tried to simply wrench the weapon free with his superior strength Xander would change his grip, and so they struggled on. The fact that Anya was hitting him with a mace wasn't helping the struggle either.
Finally he growled in frustration and shouted to Faith. "TRADE YA?"
She nodded as she stepped away from the longer reach of Cordelia's blade and gave Angelus enough space to grab his own discarded sword and swing at Cordelia. While the ex-cheerleader was able to dodge out of the way her expression was far less confident while Angelus was now grinning from ear to ear. A grin that only grew as his own sword got inside Cordelia's guard and drove it's point through her chin and into her skull.
Faith moved to fight Xander, and took out Anya in the process as the sudden switch left her open while she raised the mace to swing and Faith was able to slide in her knife up to the hilt just over Anya's right hip. The move nearly let Xander take her head off, but her build was slimmer then Angel's and the blow came up short.
Amy had recovered, but instead of joining in with the lashes of dark purple energy radiating from Tara or the black lightening crackling from Willow she took a different path then either of the black eyed witches. Namely because Tara's current lover had joined in and seemed determined to keep Amy from helping Tara's ex leaving her busy just trying to keep herself out from under Buffy's fang.
Buffy's former opponent Giles had collapsed when the projectile had hit him, but Buffy had noticed Amy about to help Willow fight Tara and she had been unable to finish the Watcher off. Instead he had been gathering ingredients for a spell that even Willow had been unable to cast, but this time it appeared to be working as his wheezing pronunciation made a ball of sunshine, but as he was casting he realized that his words were what was feeding the light source that had all five vampires reeling. "GO!"
The mortals and the one vampire who was working with them looked hesitantly at the Watcher, but his elder eyes seemed to convey the truth of their situation. Someone had to be sacrificed to keep the vampires at bay, or they all would die, and Giles had determined it would be him. Willow had been unwilling to accept that, but Spike managed to grab her and drag her away even as his skin smoked and sizzled.
Once the sewer door slammed and locked the will that had been running out of him with his lifeblood finally failed, and as he collapsed the sphere of sunshine faltered. For a long moment the vampires still cowered, but their brains finally registered that the pain was gone and they stood up.
Angelus was the first over, but he looked disappointed as he looked into the fading light in Giles eyes. Buffy had followed right behind him and he turned to look at her. "It was a nice throw, but it's not going to be any fun torturing him now. Unless Tara could heal him?" He threw a hopeful look over his shoulder at the woman in question.
Buffy never looked up from her Watcher. "Go."
Angelus gave her a look. "Go? Go Where?" He gave a light laugh.
Buffy finally looked up at him, but it was obvious she hadn't wanted to. "Go, get something to eat, go run down the rest of the Scoobies, I don't care. Just go!"
Faith had walked up and grabbed Angelus by the elbow. "Come on Big Guy. They need some time alone." He was now looking at Faith like she was crazy, she just shook her head. "It's a slayer/watcher thing. Come on, let's get out of here."
She had sunk down so she could lay her Watcher's head in her lap, but still Buffy looked up in gratitude at Faith and her dark counterpart just nodded as she led Angelus out. Tara walked over and kissed Buffy on the forehead before she followed the other two vampires from the building.
Buffy had smoothed out Giles hair and seemed to be trying to comfort him as he passed. His voice was raspy, but the cloudiness in his eyes seemed to clear as he looked up at her. "It's poetic... after the number of times I got you killed..."
She shook her head slowly. "Shhhhhhhhhh..."
There another long silence until he spoke again, but his voice had already gotten feint. "I-I don't know what to say."
Buffy reached down to hold his hand. "There's nothing to say."
He blinked rapidly. "I don't want you to... I mean I don't want to be..."
Buffy shook her head slowly again. "I know, I won't."
It was after she made that statement Dawn ran through the doorframe. "Is he?"
Buffy looked up at her sister and shook her head. Dawn immediately dropped down and took the Watcher's other hand, and both creatures of the night looked like they wanted to cry.
On the streets of Sunnydale Angelus looked over to Tara, and tried to put his arm around her while they walked. "So, I suppose I have you to thank?"
Tara ducked under his arm as Faith shoved him from behind. "Yes, it was a simple matter of knowing where Willow kept her copy of the curse and slipping in an altered version... Now a good way to start showing your gratitude is by not touching me."
He laughed quietly. "Fair enough, but I hope it's not because of the past between me and Buffy."
Tara shook her head. "Not exactly, it's about what you represent... or at least what Angel did."
Both Angelus and Faith were confused by that comment, but he was the one to say it. "What do you mean by that?"
She exhaled. "While I won't say that Buffy didn't love Angel he was the biggest obstacle she had to coming out of the closet."
After a moments thought Faith jumped in. "I get it, B could say she was 'with' someone, but since Angel couldn't do it with any regularity she couldn't realize why he wasn't really doing it for her."
Tara nodded. "He was safe."
Angelus had to object. "Hey, I'll admit I don't know what Buffy's like now, but that doesn't mean I wasn't able to satisfy her back then."
Tara nodded. "Physically maybe, but why do you think she was so insecure about her performance?"
Angelus shrugged. "All girls are their first time."
Faith snorted as she smirked. "I wasn't."
Tara grinned at Faith before shaking her head at Angelus. "Perhaps in part, but there was the fact it wasn't like what she had expected. It wasn't like when she pleasured herself."
Faith snickered. "Probably because it was a girl's hands then."
Tara gave Faith another grin. "So, she felt that if it wasn't as good as it was supposed to be for her she was afraid it wasn't as good as it was supposed to be for you."
Angelus shook his head while shrugging his shoulders. "Why are you telling me all this?"
Tara stepped in front of him and stopped while putting her hand to his chest to get him to do the same. "Because you have to understand. The Buffy you knew wasn't the real Buffy. That Buffy was afraid all time, afraid of her friends, her family, everyone. She was so scared that she wouldn't match up with their expectations that she practically created another person to meet up with everyone's image of her. This Buffy has realized her power, her beauty, this Buffy is not afraid to let a woman touch her." Tara allowed herself a lazy smile, but then her expression grew serious. "This Buffy, MY Buffy, is the real Buffy."
Faith sighed. "I have to get a girlfriend."
Angelus looked over. "You too?"
Faith shrugged. "Well I WAS in prison." Angelus laughed and even Tara giggled but Faith shook her head playfully. "But even before that I could tell there was something building between me and B, and... I wasn't scared by it."
Angelus sighed. "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to... Hey, that reminds me, I haven't had a real meal in ages." The girls grinned as they followed Angelus while he dusted off his hunting skills.
Another trio was talking about Buffy, but in this case the tones were ones of shock and confusion. Warren was the first. "Ok, so what was up with that? I mean Buffy puts an arrow through the guy and then comforts him while he dies?"
Andrew seemed to be mimicking Warren in his own comments. "That's messed up."
Jonathan however had his own ideas. "Well, he WAS her Watcher. I mean everyone knows that there is something left of the person when they become a vampire. I guess Buffy loved her Watcher enough that she wanted to comfort him even after she killed him."
Warren shook his head in a short motion. "Yeah, but then why would she hurt him in the first place?"
Jonathan shrugged plainly. "She's still a vampire and he was trying to return her soul."
Warren shuddered lightly. "Still, it's pretty damn creepy. All the more reason we have to take advantage of Buffy's distraction and put the plan into motion."
No matter how confident Warren was Jonathan feel any better later as he paced in front of their not-so safe house. It had left him so wound up that when the person he was waiting for showed up he yelped and leapt in place.
Of course it could be argued whether Tara Maclay could still be called a person, but it would never be known just looking at her. In her human guise she had the same soft smile, and the same warm eyes that had made up mere parts of her mortal beauty.
While he knew that the eyes could go reptilian in an instant and the smile could grow fangs in a heartbeat he felt himself calmed by her presence in spite of himself. She smiled as she watched him relax. "Are you ready?"
He squirmed nervously where he stood. "I guess, I mean I don't know what you need me for, but I'm guess I'm ready."
Tara smiled reassuringly. "I need a second person for a spell I want to cast, and I understand you're the caster of your group?"
He nodded but his eyes still betrayed worry. "What kind of spell?"
She gave him her half-smile. "It's a small spell to recover a ring I want to give to Buffy."
He blinked once. "A location spell?"
She shook her head once. "It's a little more complex. I heard that it had been destroyed, so this spell brings it to me from that point through space and time, and I need a secondary to create the temporal fold."
He nodded, but he seemed to try to hard to agree. "Is it dangerous?" She shook her head while smiling gently, and he nodded once. "Do you have the ingredients?"
She nodded serenely. "They're already set up." She then walked off, and the instruction to follow was obvious, but after a few steps she spoke over her shoulder. "We're not being followed are we?" He shook his head so forcefully Tara thought he might hurt himself and in comparison her nod was almost imperceptible.
Inside the house they were standing before Warren, already hunched over a monitor, pulled in closer. "I don't need to follow you, ya little undead dyke." On the monitor there was a video image that looked to be coming from the collar of Jonathan's jacket.
A video image that showed Tara turned to smile widely at the small sorcerer. "Then as soon as you remove Warren's surveillance device we can go." The camera didn't show Jonathan's mouth open and close like a fish, but it did catch Tara's reaction. "Otherwise the only thing he will see is me gnawing open your throat... do I even need to show my fangs?"
The next images were a confusing blur, but Warren could tell that it was Jonathan ripping the miniature camera off and tossing it into the driveway were it lay on it's side as it taped the two casters walking away.
Walking away to a place in the park where they met with the vampire Angelus, something Jonathan wasn't ready for. "W-why's he here?"
Angelus grinned at the little man. "Tara was kind enough to let me perform the ritualistic murder this time."
The mortal's eyes got wide. "There's a sacrifice?"
Tara was smiling as she sighed and shook her head. "No, there's no sacrifice. Angelus is just providing the final component to the ritual, aren't you Angelus?"
The vampire grinned as he overdid a sigh. "Right you are." At that he pulled out a folded piece of paper which was revealed to hold a drawing of a ring with a large round stone, but as he handed it over he muttered under his breath. "Since I was the last one to see it."
Tara smile sweetly at the elder vampire's discomfort, but it suddenly vanished as he made his expression far more friendly. "It's a sweet thing your doing for Buffy, but I have to wonder if it's the best thing for the family?"
Tara arched her brows. "And what makes you say that?"
Angelus rolled his shoulders sluggishly. "Well... you know what they say about putting all your eggs in one basket. I mean we all know Buffy's power as both vampire and vampire slayer. Is giving her the Gem wise? I mean in my hands, or yours we'd be able to fight on the same level as she does. OR we could give it to Dawn, while I love her like she was my own we have to be honest that the little thing doesn't have much power of her own."
Tara pursed her lips before finally speaking. "Of course if you were able to fight on Buffy's level you could challenge her authority that much easier, and if we gave it to Dawn, it would be as good as giving it to you now wouldn't it? No, we'll do it my way."
Angelus did a mock salute coupled with an over done bow, but there was a slight sigh of resignation as he spoke. "Yes ma'am."
"Now Angelus, there's no need to be that way. Why don't you go torment Willow? I heard you had quite a bit of fun doing that the first time you got out."
His expression brightened immediately as he seemed to get lost in fond memories. "I'll be going then, but don't you want someone to stand guard?"
Tara smiled as she shook her head. "Faith and Dawn are coming by after they finish hunting, and I figure that will give me time to teach Jonathan the spell."
He nodded and spared a glance for Jonathan that told the young man that he had been beneath the vampire's notice until he was mentioned. "Good enough. You want me to pick you up anything?"
She smiled brightly. "That's sweet, but I'm fine. You run along, be sure to send Willow my love."
He laughed before turning to walk away. "I'll be sure to tell her who sent me." As he started walking away he began whistling a jaunty, if nonsense tune.
Tara's prediction was shown accurate because as she taught Jonathan the things he needed to know to cast the spell Faith and Dawn were heading that way after a successful hunt. Despite the changes Dawn's voice was still young and light, and right now it was carrying a note of uncertainty. "You sure there's no way we could bring Spike into the family?"
Faith shook her head. "Sorry kiddo, but your sis said it best when she quoted his ex, he's lost. Spike's head's been so throughly messed with he's damaged goods, and even if ya have feelings for him ya have to realize that. I mean look at me, when I went evil I went evil. I may have had some doubts, but didn't let them slow me down."
Dawn didn't seem to want to, but she nodded as Faith continued. "It's kinda like why we haven't just went and turned Willow. Looking at her your sister would see the one who tore her from heaven and Tara would see the bitch who had her way with Tara's head."
Faith threw a conspiratorial arm over Dawn's shoulder. "Now Angel on the other hand came with an on/off switch. Most everyone knew it except those self-righteous Scoobies. Both his sides were cool in their own way, but they were distinct individuals."
Dawn smirked as she turned her head up to look at Faith. "Technically weren't Buffy and I some of those same Scoobies?"
Faith laughed softly, almost to herself. "Technically you were a big ball o' energy, and your sis... she finally found the fun. The fun just happened to be on the other side of the fence."
Dawn laughed back, so soft it was close to a giggle, but then she got serious. "So how do you think the recruiting's going?"
Faith paused to consider the question. "I'm sure your sis is having fun either way."
While the smile on Buffy's face said Faith was right the truth was that Buffy was starting to get frustrated. She had come up with a simple first step in the recruitment process, but she had yet to meet a vampire who could make the grade.
What the process entailed was Buffy going on one of her normal patrols, but it changed when she found any number of undead. They didn't know it, but when she started attacking a clock was ticking. It was ticking down from one minute and those who weren't dust at the end of the mintue showed they had the survival skills necessary to serve her.
The problem was she was either too strong, or they were too weak. She was inclined to think them too weak and too stupid because even those who ran didn't have the presence of mind to look over their shoulder so they could see Buffy hurling the stakes into their backs.
While many vampire's would have had a trouble with them running, Buffy wasn't one of them. Maybe it was her experiences leading the all too mortal Scoobies, but she realized there were times the foe was just too strong and a noble death is still a death. No, she wasn't looking for fighters. While more warriors would be welcome. Between herself, Faith and the time to time assistance of Angelus fighting would be well taken care of.
That did not however mean she would take just anyone off the street, or out of the sewer. Trying to control the Hellmouth would invite numerous other monsters to try to take it from them, and the fact she was a former slayer meant demon hunters from around the globe would be lining up to try to take her down.
Simply stated, if a vampire couldn't survive one minute with Buffy then there was no way they would survive the battles to come The problem still remained, there were no survivors on the Hellmouth. Perhaps she had been too efficient as a mortal and wiped out all the strong ones, but whatever the reason she was coming to the conclusion she would have to start recruiting mortals and rewarding them with eternal life in exchange for eternal servitude.
As she stepped through the dust of one of the last to fall she sighed in resignation. The first thing would be talking with Tara, the wise woman of the family. She always had some bit of helpful advice. Of course the wise woman was also HER woman and always took care of Buffy's stress. Memories of her wise woman's tender touch had her smiling from ear to ear.
The fact Buffy suddenly found the smile trying to grow had Buffy wondering if The Powers That Be had a dark counterpart because that was the only explanation for the sight that was making her smile expand. Riley Finn looked like Buffy's memories of the soldier in his black ops finest. That was taken literally as the man was wearing black body armor over a black sweater. The only changes were a shorter hairstyle and a scar across his right eye.
When he saw her he responded to her smile. "I had a feeling I would find you here."
Buffy didn't miss a beat even as the smile on her face grew. "You know how vampires are. Night time is the right time."
"That's why I'm here, but it's not vampires this time. This is something far worse, this is something that calls for a slayer." While he had returned the smile hesitantly his expression grew grim.
Buffy's expression however was still smiling and bright. "No problem, heck we've even got slayers on a buy one get one free special." She saw the question forming on Riley's lips but held up a hand to forestall it while she pulled out her cell phone.
After dialing a number from the phones memory she held it up to her ear and after a second started speaking. "Dawn?... No I know Tara's surprise isn't ready yet. I have a little surprise of my own, Riley's come back." Buffy giggled lightly into the phone.
"No I haven't told him yet, now Dawn I need you to listen. He's here tracking something bad and needs my help. I want you to have Faith meet us outside the movie theater. It's a spot we will all know... I didn't call her because I have several things I need to get done and I THOUGHT calling you and letting you handle them would be faster. Ok? Now, once you've sent Faith I want you to call Angel and tell him to track us down. If he doesn't have his cell phone on, which he probably doesn't, I want you to wait until Tara's ready and send her to meet us while you go find Angel. Ok?"
She shook her head with a touch of amusement as she hung up and tucked the phone away. Once that was done she noticed that Riley was giving her a quizzical brow. Buffy have a grin and a helpless shrug and then took a breath to start explaining."Angel's back, Faith's all better, and I've realized the value of modern technology can have to a slayer."
He nodded a few times, once for each question. "I thought he had set up shop in LA?"
Buffy forced a sad expression up. "He lost most of his staff and regrouped back here in Sunnydale."
To his credit Riley looked genuinely sympathetic. "I know what it's like to loose people. What about Faith? Is she... better?"
Buffy gave a long, acknowledging nod. "Faith is... still Faith, but we've settled our differences."
"And the rest of the Scoobies?"
Buffy paused, and this time the pain was not forced. "We lost Giles... Xander, Willow, and Anya... aren't working with us anymore."
He was also saddened by the news. "I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear about Giles. Was it the same thing that got Angel's people?"
Buffy gave a far shorter nod. "Same group."
He flexed his hands. "Have you gotten them?"
Buffy shook her head in another short motion. "They are still around."
"Once I've taken care of the creature I'm here after I'll lend you a hand."
She gave him a warm smile while fighting to keep the evil gleam from her eye. "I'm sure you'll be a great help."
They saw Faith lounging by the theaters exit doors. Walking up to the pair she gave Riley the once over and her smile developed an edge. "I have to say Beefstick, you look even better with my own eyes."
The gaze Riley returned was angry and the anger hadn't had the chance to fade when he looked back to Buffy. For her part Buffy just shrugged helplessly. "She's still Faith."
He flicked his eyes back to her. "And you've been able to forgive all that? Even stealing your body?"
"Hey. If Tara can get into her pants, why can't I?" When she saw Riley's eyes get wide she bit off a laugh. "Oh! Hadn't gotten to that point huh?"
Buffy looked at the ground, but there was a smile on her face. "Yeah Riley, that was the thing I hadn't told you about yet."
Riley's eyes were still wide and he looked back and forth from the smiling Buffy, to the nearly laughing Faith. "So you... and Tara? Is that why Willow's not around?"
Faith's smile vanished. "Sorta, Red was casting spells on Tara when she got out of line, and at that point not even the closet could hold B back."
Buffy nodded and she quirked her mouth as she pointed as Faith. "What she said, and when I stepped in Willow stepped out and Tara and I became close... I guess that's why WE never quite connected."
His eyes were skeptical and his lips formed a straight line. "What about Angel?"
Buffy sighed and then forced herself to meet his eyes. "He was mysterious enough to attract me, and then when I found out about his curse he became the perfect way for me to pretend I was straight. I could tell myself that I WOULD have sex with him, but just couldn't when the fact was I didn't really enjoy it."
He looked away and then looked back into her eyes. "So you're...?"
Buffy gave him a friendly grin. "Gay... 100%, swinging with the Wiccan lifestyle, You name it."
He looked over to Faith. "And you?"
Faith rolled her tongue in her mouth as she gave Buffy a combination of a grin and a leer. "When I first came to Sunnydale I would say I was straight, but I think B's been trying to convert me."
Buffy was open mouthed in shock. "I have not!"
"Right B, you telling me I never gave you a low-down tingle?"
Buffy was stuck silent and before she found her voice Riley interrupted. "Umm... ladies? I'm sorry to interrupt, but we don't have the time."
The got both girls attention and when they looked at him again they were all business, Buffy taking the leadership role. "What've we got?"
Riley took a breath before speaking, and as he did so her took out what looked like a cell phone, but was actually a tracking device. "Suvolte demon, rare, lethal... nearly extinct, but not nearly enough." Buffy grinned lightly while Faith gave a single nod and Riley continued speaking and using some sort of tracking instrument to them to the demon.
"We've been tear-assing through every jungle from Paraguay up, taking out nests. As soon as we put one Suvolte down, a dozen take it's place. It's a good thing you're here, Faith because they're breeders. One turns into ten, ten becomes a hundred. This thing gets out of hand and there's a war with humans? Humans are going to loose."
Faith was biting down a smirk, but Buffy's glare helped her to force it all the way down as Buffy spoke. Or at least was ready to speak as they saw a demon that looked like the child of one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a alien from the movie Aliens.
Riley turned to Buffy and his voice was all business. "You girls ready?" The reason he was just talking to Buffy was because by the time he turned Faith was already charging the beast.
The soldier tries to shout out the word "Alive!" but it was ignored as Buffy joined Faith in battling the Suvolte demon. "Alive!"
Faith was able to tear her awareness away enough to reply. "What?"
Riley was shouting at this point. "Alive! We need it alive!"
Unfortunately his shouting was proven unnecessary as Buffy managed to break the creatures neck, and everything fell silent so she was able to speak clearly. "What?"
Faith was grinning, and that just pissed Riley off more, which actually seemed to make Faith's grin larger. "Come on Big Guy, heat of battle and all. Things happen."
Buffy was still confused. "What's wrong?"
Riley sighed. "We need to find it's eggs. They've already been laid and someone called "The Doctor" is brokering a deal to sell them."
Buffy was smiling as she patted Riley's cheek fondly. "Then that's no problem. You've got money, demons, and shady dealings... you've got Willy."
Willy's Bar was never too large a part of the Sunnydale nightlife, but it was about as busy as the demonic dive got as Riley held the door for the sister slayer's.
Willy had looked up, and looked pale when he saw Buffy and Faith, an expression that melted into confusion when he locked eyes on the commando. "Evening Ladies."
The ladies responded in unison. "Hi Willy."
He then nodded at the commando. "Been awhile Finn."
Riley nodded back. "Not as long as I'd like."
"So what can I get for you? The usual?"
Buffy's eyes narrowed since their "usual" had changed since Riley was last in town. "Eggs Willy, we want Suvolte Eggs."
"What would you be doing with Suvolte Eggs?" The confusion on the mans face seemed genuine since he looked from the vampires to their human companion and wondered if the eggs would be destroyed or employed.
Faith smirked as she ran a finger down the bar towards Willy. "Omelet, a really BIG omelet."
That seemed to make the already nervous man worse until Buffy cut in. "Riley is here to make sure that the Suvolte Eggs don't hatch and eat everyone in town. Since we feel the same way we thought it best to help."
He nodded a bit and even recovered a bit of his color, and picked up a glass he started wiping down. "Ok, ok, I get that. So you're looking for the Doctor right?"
Riley stepped up. "Right, do you know who the Doctor is?"
Willy was nodding, not meeting anyone's eyes. "Yep, I do, and so do you. Bottle blonde, with a fondness for blood?"
Buffy was giving Willy a glare that promised she was going to enjoy his blood when Riley then spoke. "Spike!"
Willy nodded. "Yep. Word is he's looking to leave town, and is hoping selling the eggs will give him enough capital to get away for good."
Riley turned to look fully as Buffy Summers. "Does this mean you've reached the point you're ready to take care of him?"
Buffy's expression was calm and sure. "Yeah... So Willy, is Spike doing this from his own crypt?"
Willy shrugged. "Probably, if he's got another place he's hiding out I haven't heard of it."
"Thanks Willy." Turning to her two companions Buffy gave a nod. As they left Faith gave Willy a long look, then shook her head and followed the other two out.
Buffy was grinning at Faith. "Behave yourself."
Faith was making a quarter-hearted attempt to look innocent. "I mean it Faith, we're working."
Faith held up her hands in surrender. "All work and no play..."
All that got was an arched brow, both from Buffy as well as Riley and his wife Sam, who had received a similar greeting from Faith as her husband. Faith made a show of looking contrite and the quartet were smiling as they headed towards Spike's crypt.
Buffy and Faith's smiles remained, but gained a dark glint as they dropped back out of the range of the human's hearing. Faith spoke in a whisper. "We are going to turn them, right?"
Buffy was smiling the same way and speaking in a similar whisper. "That's the idea. Perfect fit to fill our hole."
They found themselves in a literal hole once they got to Spike's lair. In the crypt's sub-basement the eggs were there, and since they were not properly stored they were on the verge of hatching.
Faith chuckled. "How the hell did this looser get the title of Big Bad?"
There was a resounding slam as the stone entry to the sub-basement was shut behind them. That was then followed by a resounding clang sounding muffled, but still immense from behind the now sealed entry.
Buffy seemed distracted as she was making a detailed examination of the room. "It was self-bestowed, but I think this might actually have been one of his better plans..."
Buffy was still looking around as a speaker behind the eggs sounded with Willow Rosenberg's familiar voice. "It was mostly mine, but Spike helped bring all the pieces together."
Riley's confusion was obvious. "Willow's turned evil!"
Faith and Buffy shared a grin and spoke in stereo. "Not exactly..."
The speaker spoke up first. "Riley?!"
Buffy was smiling. "Yep, Riley came marching home again, and brought the Misses with him."
Willow's voice was despairing. "Oh God!"
Riley was looking to his wife, and then to the other women. "What is going on?!"
The two vampires looked at each other and put on their demonic masks in unison while Buffy answered the question. "Their still the good guys, were now the bad guys, and we're damn good at it."
Riley stepped in front of the wife. "Then why are you helping us?"
Buffy smiled, still in her undead mask. "Sunnydale is still my town, and if all the people are eaten by Suvolte my family will starve."
Willow's shaky voice came over the speaker again. "Actually the Suvolte Demons will eat vampires too."
Faith's eye were locked on the now stirring eggs. "Gotta figure since they were part of your trap for us!'
Riley's eyes added the eggs to their darting. "Family?"
Buffy's grin was fading as she grew focused. "I was hoping to make you members, but right now it's looking like it will be posthumously."
One of the eggs opened and Faith Struck it down with her knife. "Technically B, that's how everyone enters our family."
Willow's voice came over the speaker. "Just stay alive Riley, we're on our way."
Both Finn's had their guns out, but they were wavering from the eggs to the vampires.
Buffy shook her head at the humans. "A truce?"
Riley nodded once and trained his gun on the hatching eggs. "We'll go from the back up and you worry about the front to back and we'll see who's still standing when the smoke clears."
Speech stopped at that point and the living and the dead worked to a common goal, survival.
As the battle continued the sounds of conflict found themselves joined by sounds of the clanking of chains and gears lifting a large metal weight from the door and the door being thrown open. Willow drops through with magickal energies crackling around her. She was followed by Spike, with Xander trailing in last.
At this point the eggs were mostly destroyed, but the vampires were nearly in a similar state as the close quarters combat had left their undead flesh savaged.
Willow finished the eggs off with a little aid from Spike. Then noticing the vampires condition she shouted. "Get em!"
The vampires growl was almost in unison with Buffy turning to the Scoobies while Faith faced the Finns, who had quickly recovered, and realized the truce had expired.
Spike's uninjured condition quickly showed as he knocked Buffy back where Willow was able to nail Buffy with a ball of black flames.
Faith was fairing little better as the Finn's riddled her with the remainders of their weapons magazines.
Spike was straddling Buffy with a wooden stake in his hand when the screaming blur shaped like Dawn Summer's hurtled at him, knocking him off of her sister. Spike was trying to rise, but the stake holding the hand was firmly in Dawn's grasp as she used it as a lever to help her leg connect to his ribs with that much more force, several times in rapid succession until Spike was able to pull himself backward enough to hurl Dawn in the direction of her motion and past him entirely.
Xander dived around Willow to escape Angelus as he dove into the cavern. Willow managed to dive back as well while the elder vampire pulled the Finn's attention away from the downed ex-slayer. They hadn't had time to reload, so Riley moved towards Angelus with the wooden stake he had already drawn while his wife advanced on the downed Faith with similar intent.
Before she could reach her however the wall at the back of the cavern seemed to melt and form into a doorway. Tara Maclay strode through in a game face made all the more horrifying by it's obvious rage. Samantha Finn's reflexes showed themselves to be top notch as she switched targets without pausing, and drove her stake into Tara's heart.
The seemingly immobile Buffy Summers screamed in rage and managed to lever herself up, and even in Faith's condition she let out a despairing moan.
Tara however was still smiling as she grabbed Samantha Finn by the collar with her left hand while her right drove into the woman's stomach.
The two woman seemed locked in an embrace as Sam twitched and a trickle of blood came out the right side of her mouth.
"SAM!" Riley's voice was a mix of horror and rage.
Sam dropped to the ground as Tara pulled her hand free from the hole she had made in the woman's chest, the dripping heart still firmly in her grasp.
Spike was the first to realize what was going on as Tara used her left hand to remove the stake while her right hand lifted the heart to her mouth so she could drink deeply of it. "She has the Gem of Amarra!"
Willow threw up a cloud of fog, and with her next words screamed. "Get out of here."
Spike had to drag Riley away as he howled a protest, but they had managed to get out of the crypt before Tara could summon a wind to banish the fog. Dawn and Angelus seemed ready to give chase, but Tara shook her head. "Leave them. Dawn, help your sister. Angelus, pick up Faith. Let's go home."
"Well B, did you ever think we would end up in bed together?" While Faith's voice was weak the amused tone was undeniable.
Buffy's voice was the same. "Do you mean recently or in general? In general I thought there were several times we would end up pouncing on each other in one of the graveyards. Recently I figured Tara would be there."
"Is that so?" The voice of the vampress Tara was soft, amused, and a bit laden.
The two women in the bed gave each other a long look before Buffy replied. "Well... yeah."
It had been several weeks now while the ex-slayers were recovering under the tender, if stern care of Tara Maclay while Angelus focused on the hunting and Dawn continued in her spying role, keeping an eye on the Scoobies and their new recruit Riley Finn.
"You can't blame her blondie. I mean you've keep us naked pretty much since you got us back to the lair."
"That's because it's easier for me to check your wounds." Tara was smiling as she sat down on Buffy's side of the four poster bed.
Faith was grinning a bit while Buffy was darting her eyes from one woman to another. The brunette however had a faked pout in her voice. "Is that the only reason?"
Tara's right hand was gently brushing along the top of the sheet covering the slayers. "I didn't say that."
The two then looked at Buffy to see her reaction, and found her grinning. "What, did you expect me to get all uptight over it? I love Tara with all my un-beating heart, including the spot Faith made for herself in it. So if you two are telling me that I can also enjoy both of your beautiful bodies do you expect me to complain?"
The other two women were grinning as they gave each other a look. Tara then stood up with her back to them as reached around to unzip her dress. Two sets of hands were starting to reach for her, so she stepped forward out of their grasp as she let her dress fall to the floor.
Buffy and Faith rise to grab at her now naked form, and to their surprise she not only doesn't pull away, but leans back into their eager hands.
Buffy was about to go high and expect Faith to go low, but the brunette bumped her out of the way with her bare shoulder. "Sorry B, but I've had to look and not touch this amazing rack for too damn long."
Grinning as Faith wraps her arms around Tara and takes a breast in each hand. "Enjoy, that just means I get to focus on these lovely hips." Matching actions to her words she wraps her arms around Tara's waist and runs her nails through the downy curls above Tara's sex.
Something that the undead witch enjoys, even as her voice carries warning. "Buf-fy..." There was a small hitch in Tara's voice as Faith skips past the teasing and give the full mounds in her hands a firm squeeze.
Buffy was grinning as she kissed Tara's back and Faith's abdomen. When she spoke her voice was full of over-done innocence. "Yes Tara? Is something wrong? You seem to be stuttering again."
Tara threw her head back to where it rested on Faith's shoulder, and looking to the side shared a grin before sharing a kiss that started soft and grew into a fierce plundering of each others mouth.
Buffy watched the kiss grow heated and felt her own passion rise up a hitch as she took one hand off of Tara and placed it on Faith. Putting it in a similar spot she found herself moaning as she slid her fingers inside the cool, moist bodies of each of her partners.
They moaned as well, and looked downward into the now wickedly smiling face of the former slayer to see her pleasuring them both simultaneously.
Keeping her rhythm both smooth, steady, and maddeningly slow the hips of Tara and Faith ended up moving in time since the hands inside them were doing the same. Their eyes met and Faith's expression held a question.
Tara just grinned, speaking in a passion-thick voice. "Buffy likes to tease."
Buffy laughed and kissed Tara's hip while Faith spoke before diving in to plunder Tara's mouth once more. "Imagine my shock."
From where she was Buffy found her head swimming. It wasn't so much a matter of her non-existent pulse, but rather all the sensory input the two other women were feeding her. The way their most intimate of muscles were gripping Buffy's fingers, the feeling of their arousal coating her fingers, the sight of their bodies grinding together as well as the resulting sounds of pleasure the women were making.
Yes, Buffy liked to tease, but Buffy found herself unwilling to control her desires like when she would leave her witch panting and begging for release. So without conscious thought Buffy found her hands picking up their pace while still pleasing the women identically.
That broke the kiss as Tara's head fell back and Faith immediately started kissing her neck. Tara's increasing pleasure made it difficult for her to speak, but what words she was able to get out took the form of a command. "Bite Faith, It's ok, it's ok to bite."
Ironically that made Faith pull back for the flesh she was savaging without breaking to look down at Buffy, to see an encouraging grin. The brunette seem to take a moment where she just laid her forehead to the blonde's shoulder and moaned under Buffy's unrelenting ministrations, but when Faith lifted her forehead back up it was showing it's vampiric ridges.
Tara saw that and cried out. "Yes! Now Faith, now!"
The penetration of Faith's fangs was neither slow nor gentle, but that seemed to be exactly what Tara wanted and she wrapped her arms around Faith and held the former slayer to her with crushing force as she shook with her release.
For the former slayer herself the sensations were more then she ever dreamed. She had known sex, and more recently she had known blood, but as the thick, rich, vampiric blood of Tara seemed to jet into her mouth Faith knew she hadn't known a thing. The resulting fury of her climax mixed with the heady drug of Tara Maclay's essence so much that while she didn't want to pull away from that wellspring of the witches life she didn't have the strength to resist as Tara pulled her back.
Looking into the stunned expression of the relatively newborn vampire Tara was smiling as she caressed Faith's ridges. While she began kissing the same the two women noticed Buffy's hands had slowed, stopped, and then slid out of them before she came up and wrapped her arms around Faith from behind.
At least that's what Faith thought she felt, but her senses were so confused, so high that she had to look over her shoulder when she felt the second woman's body pressing into her from behind. Buffy's expression as Faith looked back was highly amused, but also very tender as she took in Faith's stunned state. Meeting the gaze of the other woman keeping the fledgling from falling over the blondes shared a grin as Buffy spoke. "I think we broke her."
Tara was grinning back as Faith's eyes started to focus and her face shifted back to it's human expression. "Like hell you did. I just, I mean I didn't realize."
The other two lovers shared a soft giggle as Buffy replied. "You never do, you can't, not till you try it."
Faith was looking between the two senior vampires. "But I'm ok now."
One of Tara's pale eyebrows arched. "Are you now?" Pushing the other blonde back to fall on the bed she guided Faith to lay on top of Buffy where the youngest found her mouth at the apex of Buffy's sex. "Prove it."
The hand Tara used to guide Faith downward tangled in the luxurious mane as Faith kept her human face, but gave a vampiric growl before plastering her mouth to Buffy's now dripping entrance.
Neither blonde new if Faith was "better", or just going off instinct as her tongue pleasured Buffy Summers. Neither one cared however as Buffy started to buck under the eager attention of Faith's mouth.
Tara's free hand moved to Buffy's hips to keep them immobile to the second ex-slayer could continue her work while the eyes of the two blondes met and held each other's gaze.
One of Buffy's hands had reached up and was caressing Tara's cheek, but as Tara saw her loved draw closer and closer to release the hand stopped so the wrist was at Tara's mouth. Without even thinking the witch assumed her vampiric guise, but it still twisted with concern as she examined her lovers, seemingly healed, condition.
Before she could voice the question Buffy whimpered. "Please!"
The vampire's inhuman gaze still managed to somehow soften as the hand that had been tangled in Faith's hair used the hold to tug Faith's still eager mouth to one of the major arteries in Buffy's thigh, but before the young one could sink her teeth in Tara barked a single command. "Wait!"
Faith was in her undead face as she looked up in question, and then dropped her eyes to where the hand that Tara freed from Faith's hair sank into Buffy's aroused pussy easily.
Realizing what was happening she kept her eyes on Buffy's writhing form while she teased the woman's thigh with her razor sharp teeth.
Tara smiled at the young vampires understanding and got a quick smile in return before she looked into the face quickly approaching orgasm. "Just say when sweetie, just say when." As she kissed Buffy's wrist.
"NOW!" Was the only word Buffy could manage as she surrendered to the sensations controlling her, and the two women sank their teeth deeply into her flesh to take the already unbelievable sensations to what would have been a breaking point were Buffy still human. The sensation of her two lovers drinking of her very life only drew the moment out into a series of aftershocks on par with the original moment.
As Buffy returned to her normal senses she found Faith again being eased back from the feeding and couldn't help but give the younger vampire a grin. An expression that was returned, if a little guilty as Faith licked Buffy's blood from her mouth and shifted back to her mortal face.
Buffy's smile was fond, but it got a little fiendish as she met Tara's similar expression. "Someone's been getting greedy." Faith seemed ready to respond, but Tara didn't bother as she jerked Faith into a kneeling position while the two blonde vampires quickly bared their fangs and sank them into the sides of Faith's neck.
To Faith's joyous. "Fuck yeah!"
"Angel, you don't want to go in there." While both vampire's were familiar with the scents that passion can arouse Dawn had been around for her sister's coming out of the closet and subsequent, frequent moments with her beloved Tara.
"Why? It's not like I haven't seen Buffy naked before, and seeing Tara would be a treat." The undead elder was smiling as he walked into the sleeping chambers of the two senior blondes.
"And what about Faith?"
"What about Faith?" Angelus was looking at Dawn, so it took a moment for him to look up and see Faith, all of a gloriously naked Faith where she was lying on her side curled around Buffy's right hip. Tara was in a similar condition, but curling around the upper half of Buffy Summers on the left hand side.
There was a sort of irony in the fact that while Buffy was in a similar state of undress the way Tara's arm was draped across her chest and Faith's arm lay across her public mound she was both covered and bare. Much in the way her two partners were naked, but with their most intimate parts concealed where they were pressed against Buffy's sides.
"No!.. No! No! No! That's just not fair! It's greedy! I mean one slayer is one thing, but two!" Angelus appeared entirely mortal, presumably because his frustration came from an entirely human source as he glowered at Tara.
Her amusement seemed entirely human as well as she smiled widely back at him. "Ummm, humm, TWO slayers... I'm lucky I'm already dead or they would have probably killed me."
All three women gave a giggle at that. Dawn was noticeably not looking, and Buffy noticed that. "Dawn? Are you ok?"
The teen nodded. "About the gay thing? Yeah. I'm even cool about the threesome thing. I mean hello, demon, but you're still my sister, and still naked."
Buffy laughed at that. "Fair enough. Did you two have a good hunt?"
Dawn continued to nod. "Yeah, we chained up a few back in the library, and we're going to go now."
With that she grabbed Angelus by his right arm and started to pull him away. "Now, now, no need to be hasty..."
Buffy however disagreed. "No, hasty is good."
Tara gave a soft. "Yep."
Faith chimed in with a. "You still here?"
Angelus stopped struggling with their obvious unanimous decision and allowed himself to be pulled away.
As they got out of the burned out remains of the high school she gave Angelus a critical eye. "Are you going to have problems with this?"
She watched as the elder vampire seemed to consider what he was going to say next. "Nah, the fact is Dawn, I'm tired. I'm over 400 years old at this point and three quarters of that was with a soul, with three quarters of that being spent in a hell-dimension being tortured along with my better half. At this point I feel quite content simply helping your sister set up a healthy, strong domain. Being a seneschal of sorts."
Seeing nothing but confusion from the teen he tried again. "A consigleri?"
She was still confused. "That's a mob thing right?"
That got a nod. "Right, a seneschal made sure the master's hose was in order without plaguing them with little details. A consiglieri does the same for a Don, but includes tasks like finding a hitman when the Don wants someone killed. Of course I'd be a bit more hands on it that case."
Dawn gave a little laugh. "Of course."
"But basically I'll be there to help make sure that our master vampire, Buffy, and her queen, Tara are able to run Sunnydale smoothly."
Dawn quirked her brow. "What about Faith?"
Angelus didn't blink. "I see her as more a captain of the guard type who I'd work with when we would need to put together a large assault or that sort of thing."
"Or accompanying the families spymaster to find out what the Trio has been up to while we've been away?" That received a smile as he laced his arm and hers as a gentleman of his age would do and used his other arm to motion her to lead the way.
Neither the spymaster or the seneschal were happy at what they found since the Trio's lair appeared deserted. Dawn voiced the thought. "Oh yeah, they're gone."
Angelus nodded. "Makes sense, you were planning on them betraying you. This would have been the perfect opportunity. With any luck though they'll have left a clue."
The elder vampire was about to walk in when Dawn put an arm over his chest. "More likely they left traps." At the incredulous expression Dawn didn't budge. "Remember, these guys think they're Bond villains. While they were raised on comic books and stuff they actually have the skills to pull it off. It's why we went after them in the first place."
There was a reluctant nod. "Doesn't mean they didn't leave anything behind though."
Dawn was looking thoughtful as her eyes kept scanning back and forth over the house. "Granted, but at the very least..." She paused when she found where the power lines ran into the house and followed it over to the nearest pole. "At the very least I would like to cut the power before we go in. Come here and help me."
It was obvious she wanted Angelus to help her push over pole, but he stopped and took off his jacket. While she observed his actions he draped it over his hands and jumped up so he could yank the power line free. While the two vampires watched it hiss and spark Dawn gave him a respectful nod before he addressed her. "When did you become so cautious?"
Dawn was casual in her reply. "Back when I was mortal actually. As the Slayer's sister I was almost constantly in danger, and after Buffy had to save me from Harmony I had to make a change."
That got a laugh. "Harmony?"
Dawn grinned reluctantly. "Yeah, Harmony. It wasn't so much the danger as the fact I as caught by that moron. It was at that point I resolved to be a little smarter."
Her caution proved warranted as the pair found a combination of stake shooters and UV lamps that had booth been rendered useless by their dependance on external power sources. Angelus was proven just as right however as besides a painted "Too Late" there was several remaining files indicating a list of targets that the self-titled super-villains had been preparing for.
Buffy had finished looking over the recovered files, and had listened to her sister's recommendations. "Ok, I think those three have outlived their usefulness. By a good several weeks at this point."
Faith had just gotten back from her turn at body disposal. "What three?"
Dawn supplied. "The Trio."
Faith blinked. "The who-o?"
Dawn smirked. "The guys who made the Buffy-bot."
Buffy growled, but Faith grinned. "Right, right. Don't worry B. There's no way they could have made her as good as the real thing."
That got a rather wicked smile from both Buffy and her queen that was still lingering as Buffy spoke. "Quiet you. Yeah, those three. Dawn's been studying up, and at this point I'd rather be a little behind the curve then having to worry about them any more."
Faith laughed at that. "You're worried about those three?"
Buffy gave a look. "Faith? You know even an idiot can get a lucky shot, and if it happens to be a lucky shot with a wooden stake were still just as dead."
Faith gave a reluctant nod while Buffy continued. "They were useful to bridge the gap while Dawn studied their gear. Now their more of a concern then a resource. So it's time to kill them." She looked over to the strangely smiling Angelus. "What?"
"Nothing, I just like seeing this side of you."
The assembled vampires would swear that if Buffy still had a pulse she would be blushing, but it didn't affect her as she continued. "So how are we going to find them?"
As was becoming a bit of a custom Dawn started supplying useful information. "Well Tara could help us track their either with a spell, or by tracking their supplies for their spells. Otherwise I cold hack into the power company and look for HUGE illegal taps. I would however recommend we start shadowing their targets. That way if we time it right we could get them AND whatever they're going after."
Buffy was nodding along with her little sister/sire. "Not to mention they'll be distracted. Ok, we're going to split up." She gave a smirk at her sister's derisive snort. "I can't se the Trio being a terrible threat, but I can see the rodents darting about while we try to step on them. So Faith, I want you to go with Angel and Dawn while Tara and I will cover our own targets."
For her part Faith nodded casually and was similarly relaxed as she was walking with the two other vampires. Angelus was a little more tense however as he regarded her carefully. "Are you sure you're ok with this? I mean didn't things go bad last time when Buffy left you out?"
Faith laughed. "She isn't leaving me out. She's making me her... well not her equal cause I don't want to worry about a lot of that planning and stuff, but she wanted two teams and she's trusting me to lead up the other one."
Angelus smiled at that, but Faith interrupted. "Besides, I left that insecurity bullshit behind with my soul."
Angelus did speak up at that point. "Feels good doesn't it?"
Faith smiled back, with a wink. "Damn good. Now, there was actually something I wanted to pick your brain over big guy. While I'm cool with us splitting chores around the lair and all I want us to get some minions, but some decent ones. I mean as a slayer I've killed plenty of the minion types, so I know they can be pretty worthless..."
Angelus took his turn to interrupt. "But no matter how capable you are there's only one of you."
Faith's head was almost more bobbing then simply nodding. "EXACTLY! I mean between B and I most threats don't stand a chance, and when you are Tar are added in with D over there giving us all the info we need we can keep our family totally safe."
Angelus interrupted again. "But if we want to actually GAIN anything we need more. You're not wrong Faith, we've got a sweet set up here, but any vampire who sets up a long-term haven looks to build there numbers. I mean it's our greatest strength really. The trouble is that good help really is hard to find. While it makes building our numbers tough in the short term the fact that Buffy and yourself actually know a lot of the minion weaknesses is going to mean that once we are able to start increasing our numbers we'll have better minions for it."
Faith sighed. "But until then we'll be short handed?"
Angelus didn't seem phased. "Hey, it's like you said. We've already got what it takes to keep our family safe. The rest is just a matter of making things easier."
Faith then turned to Dawn who had been quietly leading the way. "So what's our first stop kiddo?"
Dawn gave a quick look over her shoulder at the question. "Armored truck. I'm half tempted to hit it either way because while we CAN steal most things we want cash is always nice."
Faith was rolling her shoulders in a stretch. "Makes the world go round."
The Trio seemed to agree, or at least they assumed it was the Trio as the vampires heard the sounds of the armored car being tipped over and then ripped open.
Angelus grinned. "Places everyone."
Faith turned to Dawn. "Angelus and I will charge. You hang back."
Dawn looked ready to protest, but Faith grinned at her. "AND hit them from behind once they are distracted."
That got a reluctant smile from the younger Summers sister.
With that Faith charged Warren and landed a left cross to his chin from a charge. Checking her momentum she hit him with a right fist, and then brought her right arm back in a forearm smash to the left side of his head. Only to find she seemed to be doing more damage to her fists then his face.
Angelus seemed to be having better luck as he had a third of the Trio in each of his hands, held by the throat as he throttled them. Looking back over his shoulder he saw Faith's problem and shook his captives. "How's he doing it!"
Surprisingly the normally cowardly Andrew was defiant. "Go to hell!"
Angelus warped to his vampiric face. "Been there." Shouting over his shoulder he hurled Jonathan to Dawn. "Catch, make him tell you the source of Warren's power!"
Dawn's face had transformed as well while she nodded and wrapped her own hands around her captives throat.
Warren however was not being idle and was starting to head to Angelus even before he hurled Jonathan. Faith however was not being idle and was attempting to pin Warren's arms behind his back. There was a bit of a struggle until he was able to shift his weight enough to hurl Faith over his shoulder to the ground before him. The former slayer however didn't seem phased by the impact and braced her hands underneath her to kick up and drive both her feet into Warren's face.
While he was rattled slightly he still managed to withdraw a wooden stake and raise it over his head in a two handed grasp to drive it into Faith's heart. She took a similar grasp to keep it away, only to find that whatever was enhancing Warren enhanced his strength to a level that was slowly but surely pushing the stake closer to Faith's heart.
The grin on his face was short lived however as Faith quickly took her right hand away from holding the stake at bay and broke the stake itself.
The then stunned expression turned towards Dawn and Jonathan as they heard Jonathan scream. "The orbs! In the fanny pack! Smash the orbs!" Faith and Angelus were watching as well and could see his answer had been motivated by Dawn shoving her fingers into his chest cavity.
Faith however was quicker on the uptake and grabbed the fanny pack off his belt to smash it on the ground where it gave a purple flash as it was destroyed. A similar flash came off of Warren and Faith tested him by bringing up a foot into his chest, which with the grip on his hands hurled him in a direct line from on top of her to on his back across from her.
While she could have did a kip up to regain her feet instantly Faith took her time rising to her feet, now in vampiric gaze, her inhuman eyes locked on Warren, who was trying to crawl away.
Over her shoulder Angelus was watching the proceedings with a fiendish glee. Looking down at his own captive he had an expression of distaste before snapping Andrew's neck.
Dawn was off to Faith's left as she got up and managed to use Tara's heart removal technique.
Faith strode to stand over Warren, and then knelt down to tear off Warren's other set of orbs.
Dawn's expression was frustrated. "I don't know how you made it look so easy."
Tara smiled as held out one of her arms. "I have longer arms, so it's easier to get up under the rib cage to the heart."
Buffy was obviously enjoying the exchange, but grew serious. "Ok Dawn, have you managed to figure out the Trio's cameras?"
Dawn expression became focused. "Yep, and it's a damn good thing I did. The bastards had edited out where Willow went to England to pick up a new slayer, 'pick-up' being the operative term there."
That got a look from everyone, and Dawn continued without prompting. "Her name is Kennedy, she's gay, and if the wiretaps are showing right has a HUGE white knight complex."
Everyone gave Tara a questioning look, but the woman simply smiled. "I've moved on. While I still might give Kennedy to Angelus as a plaything it would be more to see the smile on his face then out of any desire to see Willow suffer."
Angelus first smiles and receives one in turn from Tara before growing somber. "I wish I had been so wise. Those old ties can't be severed simply by ripping your father's throat out and drinking his blood. By the way thank you for understanding the difference between Angel and Angelus."
Tara smiled and the other three ladies looked confused, then nodded.
Dawn then continued with her report. "That's not all either. While Riley's superiors seem unwilling to come back to Sunnydale he's been calling a whole bunch of his army buddies."
That got Tara's attention. "Really?" That got everyone's attention and Tara continued. "Well, we've been looking for quality minions. This could be just what we're looking for."
Buffy was unsure, but looked to be still considering it. "I dunno, the guys will all be veteran demon hunters. Riley wouldn't bring in anything but the best."
Faith however seemed to be swayed to Tara's side. "That's the idea B, once turned their skills would be ours."
Angelus was on the fence with Buffy. "It's a matter of risk versus reward. While I'm all for increasing our numbers we'd run a significant risk of losses on our side."
Dawn had her own contemplative look. "Maybe not. They don't know that we're watching them. I could use that to find out when they would be split up. Heck, I might even be able to infiltrate their system and give false info that would split them up."
Faith was grinning. "A little divide and conquer?"
Dawn was nodding. "And as long as we avoid confined spaces like under Spike's crypt we should be fine."
Tara didn't seem fine however when the rest of their family joined her in front of the Magic Box. The blonde's expression was an equal mix of confusion and concern at the "For Sale" sign in the store's window.
Buffy didn't even break stride as she walked up and slammed both open palms on the door, sending the entire thing off it's hinges, to land on the floor intact.
The vampires walked in, and Angelus was the first to speak. "I don't know what you were planning on taking Tara, but your not going to find it here." He, like everyone else was taking in the empty racks and shelves.
"I was going to start our killing with Anya and take whatever struck my fancy, but that's not the point."
Buffy held up her hands for silence. "Ok, ok, the fact is that Anya has wanted to leave town before. It could be that this was finally enough to make her decision. Faith, I want you and Angelus to go to Xander's apartment and see if he's still there while Tara and I go to my house."
"This is fucking unbelievable!" Faith was pacing in the empty living room of Alexander Harris, and the fact that the pair had no trouble entering told them that the former owner had permanently vacated the premises.
Angelus was obviously not pleased, but he also wasn't so obviously enraged. "I bet you your eyeteeth Buffy and Tara are finding the same, but I want to at least stick my head in the door of Spike's crypt before we report back."
"But what about all the stuff Dawn saw?" Faith seemed unwilling to believe.
Angelus however was more pragmatic. "With Willow's technological expertise she would have been able to both find, and fool the cameras. I mean Warren was good, but we both know she's better."
Buffy had indeed found her house in a similar state, though the furniture was still there the fact that she and Tara were able to enter freely again stated that the home had been abandoned. The only sign of the Scoobies presence was a sheet of paper on the kitchen table with the familiar handwriting of Willow Rosenberg.
Standing close together Buffy picked up the paper and held it so they both could read.
"You've won, most definitely for now, and most likely forever. While it's true we've got the new slayer it was to help us get safely out of Sunnydale. She would have been hard-pressed against one of you when you were alive, and would be no match for the both of you now that you are dead."
"It wasn't easy to decide to leave. For Xander and I Sunnydale has been our home all our lives, and for everyone else it has been the home they had never found anywhere else. All of us however had to make a choice whether to live elsewhere or die in Sunnydale, and except for the grieving Riley Finn the vote was unanimous. So while I won't promise you anything I will say this."
"We want to live."
Tara looked worriedly at her beloved, only to find a grin on Buffy's face. A grin that blossomed into full blown laughter. That gave Tara a few giggles while Buffy calmed down. "Sorry, sorry. It's just that in all the things I planned for them to do I never thought they would do something so... sensible."
Tara's grin remained. "It does seem a bit out of character."
Buffy scoffed. "It's totally unprecedented."
Tara's expression looked confused. "So now what?"
Buffy shrugged. "Frankly I'm feeling all wound up from not getting to fight anyone. So I'm figuring I'll head back to the lair with you over one shoulder and Faith over the other."
Tara gave a sly grin. "And tomorrow?"
Buffy rolled here eyes. "Tara, baby, we're immortal. We've got nothing but tomorrow... nights. If the Scoobies come back then we'll kill them, and if they don't I'm sure some other threat will pop it's head up so we can rip it off." She slid a couple fingers inside the bodice of Tara's dress. "Right now however I want to enjoy the fact I'm young AND immortal, as well as in love twice over."
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