A/N: Sorry it took so long for this chapter to come up, my room mate crashed my hard drive and I had to wait for our paychecks to come in to repair it. Anyway, again, thanks for all the reviews and I hope you enjoy this chapter. I'm suffering from major writer's block!!! Grrrr…argh...lol.
Cordelia snorted derisively, her glowing red eyes narrowing into slits. She gave a quick glance at Faith before she slowly blurred out of sight.
The blonde sighed, running her fingers through her perfect golden locks before turning around and gracing Faith with a tender, loving smile that the dark Slayer never thought would be directed to her. Her eerie white eyes softened and she reached out to clasp one of her hands. Faith held her breath at the touch; never feeling so elated in her life.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. "Something the matter?"
Faith shook her head, trying to form a clear thought as she tried to ignore the peaceful buzz coating her. It was kind of hard seeing as the blonde's hands were roaming across her arms and gliding down her back. Buffy moved closer, placing a soft kiss on Faith's cheek before moving down to her neck. Little sparks of pleasure shot through her at the light contact and for once Faith cursed her overactive libido. She always knew she had a thing for the blonde. She didn't know if it was love. She'd never been in love to know what it felt like, but she always enjoyed Buffy's company and she was always dying for the blonde's attention or affection.
Suddenly the blonde jumped back, with a surprised look on her face. Her head tilted to the side curiously as she studied Faith's face and body. Faith could almost feel those eyes scorching a path down to her very soul.
"No," Buffy muttered. "No, impossible." She sounded more confused than anything. The blonde shook her head disbelievingly, her eyes crackling tiny bolts of lightening. She reached up to cup Faith's face, forcing the brunette to look her in the eyes. "Your eyes…so much pain" She looked away as if it were unbearable to look at her. "A human now. What have they done to you?"
"Shit," Faith mumbled under her breath. Guess the jig is up. "No one's done anything to me, I'm not…well, I am Faith, but not your Faith."
Buffy's gaze harshly met hers, her white eyes crackling. "Slayer?"
"Yah," Faith sighed. "I'm a Slayer. Just like you."
Again, one of Buffy's hands reached up to caress Faith's cheek. "Not like me." She closed her eyes as if concentrating on something before opening them again with a small grin. "Not yet."
Faith frowned. "What? What do you mean 'not yet'?" She moved her hand over Buffy's and moved it away from her face, but didn't let go.
Buffy smirked maliciously, sending a chill down Faith's spine before her eyes moved down to where their hands linked. "You have power." Her eyes moved back up to meet Faith's, softening slightly. "My love…" She moved forward quickly to plant a soft chaste kiss on the dark Slayer's lips. "You do not understand do you?"
Faith shook the fuzz out of her head, the kiss leaving her feeling lightheaded and confused. "No, not really." She moved away from the blonde, knowing distance would help her think better. "Care to clear things up for me?"
A grin formed on the blonde's features. "So alike, yet so different." A hand moved delicately to lightly touch Faith's chest, just above her left breast where her heart beated steadily. "You still feel me inside, do you not?" She picked up one of Faith's hands and gently placed it over her own heart. "I still feel you."
Faith closed her eyes, focusing on the power she felt radiating from the small blonde and the peace she felt surrounding her. The bond she felt was so different, yet agonizingly familiar, like a taste long forgotten that has now been experienced again. It felt like the Buffy she knew, only different, stronger.
The dark Slayer let out a shuddering breath before opening her eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Buffy tilted her head in a perplexed manner, as if wondering why Faith didn't get it yet. She smiled softly as if realizing something and clasped their hands together again.
"Come, we shall discuss this with the others," Buffy replied softly.
The others, Faith thought frantically as she felt herself being pulled away by the blonde. Great, be prepared to meet the twisted version of the Scooby Gang.
* * *
Dawn slept peacefully among the large fluffy pillows and blankets. As peacefully as one can when under the roof of a mystical and powerful stranger that looked exactly like a certain reformed psychopathic Slayer. A pale hand reached out from the shadows to sweep Dawn's long brown locks away from her face. Her green eyes fluttered open sleepily.
"Buffy?" The young brunette yawned and rubbed her eyes.
She looked around the room that seemed empty, but she could feel the strong presence. Her sleepy eyes widened instantly as it landed on the familiar figure of Faith. She was illuminated by the silver rays of the moon, making her eyes appear brighter and her skin paler than it normally was.
"Wh-what are you doing here," Dawn stammered, trying not to sound afraid.
Faith smiled softly at her, almost sadly. "I wanted to see you." She moved forward to move a long strand of dark hair behind Dawn's ear just as Buffy always does.
Dawn took a shaky breath, fearing that those hands would swoop up and snap her neck. "Why?" She swallowed, gaining more courage. "I'm tired of being messed with while I'm sleeping, that's how…" She closed her eyes mournfully before opening them again.
Faith frowned as she stared at the girl, her eyes crackling angrily. "Dionysus? He dared to poison you with his filthy spirits while you slumbered!"
Dawn watched her, half afraid of what she was going to do, half amazed that even this version of Faith cared for her.
Faith calmed, placing a surprisingly warm hand against Dawn's. "He will not harm you anymore. Nor shall I." She appeared to be saddened. "You think that I would harm you?"
Dawn shook her head immediately. "No…it's just…well, you are kinda scary with the lightening eyes and godlike powers."
Faith sighed, lightly sitting on the edge of the bed. "You are not from here." Her gaze moved to the large French windows.
Dawn watched her cautiously, her gaze following hers to the window. Faith always did like a view.
She remembered that their Faith almost always had a knack of looking out windows as soon as she entered a room. Almost like she couldn't take being cooped up for long and that the window was the only means of gaining some semblance of freedom as she looked outside of it.
"Do you know where I'm from," Dawn questioned with a small voice, curiosity getting the best of her.
"Dawn." Faith turned back to look at her, an eyebrow slightly raised. "I can not use you. You have the power now, but I can not use it."
"Power?" Dawn frowned, becoming confused. "What? I don't understand…"
Faith placed a hand on her cheek. "You are the Key, are you not?" Dawn stiffened at that and Faith stood up walking back into the shadows. "I must go. Sleep now."
She waved her hand in front of Dawn and the young girl immediately fell softly back into bed in deep slumber. Faith carefully pulled the blankets back over the sleeping form and slowly disappeared into the shadows.
* * *
The gang waited anxiously in the extensive library. Giles was going through some books, while Dawn tried to catch a glimpse or two next to him. Xander and Anya lounged sleepily in their chairs, while Tara and Willow went through spell books.
"So what's with the meeting," Xander questioned. "Did you guys find anything new?"
Giles looked up from his research. "I'm not exactly sure, Buffy wanted us here."
"So where is she? She gets us up early, but doesn't bother to show up on time," Anya replied with an annoyed expression.
At that moment, the heavy double doors slowly creaked open, and the group stiffened in fear for a split second before relief washed over them at the sight of Buffy walking in with a hollow expression. At the sight of her friends and family, the blonde Slayer gave a weak smile.
"Finally," Anya snorted.
Buffy's smile widened despite herself. She could always count on Anya to be as tactless and sarcastic as ever no matter the circumstances. "Sorry to keep you waiting. I wasn't able to drag myself out of bed."
Giles nodded. "It's all right, Buffy. At least you're getting some sleep. I know the past few weeks haven't really been…" He trailed off, not knowing exactly how to describe the last few weeks. Buffy nodded in understanding. "So, what is it that you wish to speak with us?"
"Actually, I wanted to ask you something," Buffy replied. "Faith told me last night that she was a Slayer…but my powers are nothing compared to hers."
"And you were wondering if I knew the source of your powers," Giles figured. He sighed softly, his brow wrinkling. "I'm sorry, Buffy, but the Watcher's Council…no one actually…knows exactly where your powers come from."
"What about the Greek gods," Buffy asked, her gaze moving to the two Wiccans. "The First Slayer was chosen from Artemis' tribes right?"
"It's n-not for sure," Tara replied sheepishly.
"There's no record of the First Slayer," Willow continued, smiling affectionately at her girlfriend. "We just know that one of Artemis' women were Chosen and she was recorded as the First Slayer."
Giles' face brightened as if he had an epiphany. "Hold on."
He disappeared into one of the many long, sky-high aisles of books and within minutes reemerged with a small pile of books cradled in his arms. He dropped them on the already overpiled table and a cloud of dust rose up, which Dawn wafted with a disturbed expression. The old librarian picked one of the old, tattered books and began flipping pages.
"Ah, here." He stopped on a page and scanned it briefly. "Artemis's tribe, the…er…Amazons, they were the first to be tainted with demonic blood, turning them into vampires. She merely found the Chosen One among her people and imbued her with the sacred duty of killing them." He paused as he read further into the book. "Not long after, Dionysus also possessed her tribe with his demonic spirits, seeing as they were easy targets and were already trained warriors." He closed the book. "That's all there is, just war among the gods. Nothing about the source of the Slayer's powers."
"What about the Key's powers," Dawn suddenly asked.
The gang looked at the young girl with sympathy and Dawn stared determinedly back at Giles and her sister.
"We already told you everything we know about the Key," Giles answered delicately. "We don't really know much else. The Key predates the written word, like Glory."
Buffy raised an eyebrow. "Why so curious?"
Dawn crossed her arms. "Just curious is all."
"You do know what happened to the cat right," Xander replied amusingly.
Dawn smiled at him from across the table.
"Why don't you just poof her into another dimension," Anya finally said irritatingly. "Get it over with and get her out of her. She doesn't belong here."
"We tried that already," Willow said softly. "It seems she doesn't belong anywhere else either. It's like she is Faith…but not."
"What? That's impossible. Out of all the dimensions and realities, she didn't go in any of them?" The ex-demon's eyes grew large with shock.
Buffy turned to look at the former vengeance demon. "Do you know why?"
Anya glanced from between Tara and Willow, her brows creasing slightly. "I'm not sure why. That's very strange." She frowned as she continued thinking. She shifted uncomfortably as their eyes continued to stare at her.
"Anya, if you know something…anything that might help…could you please tell us," Buffy replied, her voice almost pleading.
The ex-demon sighed, chewing on her bottom lip. "There's this myth, back in ancient Greece…" Her face brightened at some lost memory of her demonic days. "I was summoned there because this woman was thrown out of her harem in Athens and she wished the owner…"
"Anya," Xander quickly interrupted, not wanting to hear about her glory days. "Please, stay on subject."
Anya frowned, her lips pouting. "Sorry, but you should have seen the size of his…"
"Anya," Buffy interrupted, her voice edgy.
"Right, anyway, there was this cult. They were condemning the pagan gods," Anya began explaining.
"You mean, the Christian factions, right?" Dawn looked at her hopefully. "Because I've been studying Greek lately and it said they didn't like Christianity back then…hence Jesus being crucified and all…"
Anya frowned at her. "You do know that Jesus…" Off Buffy's warning glare, she changed back to topic. "Well, anyway, it wasn't the Christians. The cult had this prophecy. All the gods were going to be destroyed, including the One God of the Jews, hell gods, anything deemed superior to the other races. The dimensions and universes were going to be destroyed…" Dawn swallowed at that and Anya smiled lightly. "Oh, but not by you. You just open them up. Anyway, the cultists were all killed because they weren't pagan believers."
"What does that have to do with Faith not being able to get into any of the dimensions," Buffy questioned.
Anya gazed at her, her brows scrunching in fear and concern. "Well, the myth, all the gods dying…" She sighed as the blonde hadn't caught on yet, but apparently the others did.
"Think about it, Buffy," Willow replied. "The spells…we always have to pray to a god."
"And the spells won't work if there isn't a god to pray to," Buffy concluded, finally catching on. She looked hard at Anya. "Has it started already? The god killing?"
Anya shrugged. "Well…yeah…didn't you guys kill Dionysus?"