Chosen

Disclaimer: As if we didn't know that Joss still owns them

Author's note: Well, seems there is another story in the 'Pre-Buffy' Faith series. Here it is ..

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Chosen

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"Come on, Faith, harder. I know you can do better"

Ms. Haversham was egging Faith on. She found that Faith worked better if challenged, even if sometimes it seemed beyond her present capabilities. Somehow, the young girl would reach inside, and pull more out. Even when  it seemed she didn't have more to give.

Tonight, looking at Faith, her face seemed to be a study in irritation . She was doing cross kicks to the padded arm braces Ellen Haversham was wearing. She was sweating profusely, and her face was flushed with exertion. But still she worked, kicking back and forth, back and forth, trying to improve her speed and punch. Working on her balance. It was tough on anyone, but especially on a tired fourteen year old. And she was pissed; you could see it in her eyes. She was hurting, but she kept at it. Kick,  cross kick, kick. Over and over.

Finally, whether from exhaustion, or she just miscalculated, she lost her balance, and fell on her butt. Hard. Her face went through changes: Anger at herself, Anger at Ellen, hurt, pain, and humiliation. She jumped back up, threw up her hands, made a frustrated noise, and started to walk off.

" Faith, we're not done here yet" Ellen said, sternly. She was a great believer in discipline and rules.

"We're done," Faith muttered, not listening. She'd had enough

"Faith, I said, we're not done" Ellen insisted. She was in charge, she would not brook insolence.

"We're DONE!" Faith shouted, turning back, her face red with anger. She'd busted her butt to try to please this…grrr…and still she pushed at her. Well, she can stick it.

"Faith, it's important you finish what you start. You can't just stop in the middle. That won't work in slaying, and that won't work in life" Ms. Haversham lectured. This girl has to understand she has a purpose, it's not all malls and candy and boys.

Faith struggles to keep her temper. She can feel her control slipping, but is she loses it, Ms. H has won.

"Why're you riding me so damned hard?" Faith says, her voice edgy. " I'm working my ass off here, busting my butt. Really busting my butt" She whines, rubbing her now sore rear. " I don't get it. I'm not EVEN a slayer yet. I don't got superpowers or nothin' So why give me all this crap? What good is it? When, and IF I get these "powers" you talk about, it'll all be diff. But right now, it's pointless. I can only do so much. So, take a chill pill. Let it ride a little. Geeze!"

"Faith, do you think vampires are going to "take a chill pill?" Are demons going to " let it ride a little"? No, they're not. They're going to come at you with everything, and you have to be ready. There are no 'do overs' when you slay. It's kill, or be killed. That's the rules. If you're having to think about it, if you're sloppy, you're dead.  There are no second chances. You think I'm hard on you, but I'm trying to keep you alive!" Ellen declares.

" I aint gonna be living too long if you kill me in training. This body, hot as it is , can only do what it can do. So, I'll work on doin' better, if you get off your stick and ease up some." Faith replies.

"You knew the deal coming in, Faith. I told you I would work you hard. So, don't complain about it when I do. If you can't do it, maybe you're not as capable as I thought. Maybe you should quit. Take your chances alone" Ellen pulls out her ace in the hole.

"No…no" Faith says, " Ok, ok, I'll try again" She is aching, and it shows as she limps over to Ellen, getting ready to begin.

Ellen watches Faith, and feels compassion for the girl. She has been training hard, and is doing better than  even Ellen thought she could. She doesn't smile, her face is still set. But she says, with a gentler tone " Ok, Faith. Maybe it has been enough for tonight. Take a shower, and  rest up a bit. We hit the books in the morning".

Faith makes a face internally, but doesn't let it show. School. God, she hates school. But it's part of the deal. Sighing, exaggerating her limp for sympathy, she hobbles out.

Ellen watches the young woman limp out, and smiles to herself. She is more, much more than she'd hoped for. She exhibits all the keys to being a successful slayer. She's resourceful, she's coordinated. She pushes herself to the limit, and beyond. She has a sense of duty, even though she rebels against it. Though not a natural athlete, she drives herself harder to achieve physical prowess. She's driven to do well. Though she doesn't let Faith know it, she's well pleased at her progress.

She'll be perfect. The means for me to get my revenge. To destroy Kakistos, and those others who are responsible for the death of Jessica. She is strong, and will be stronger, once the current slayer dies. She is resourceful, she is bright. But most important, she's malleable. She can be molded to my purpose. No one will interfere. Who cares about her, except me? I couldn't have asked for better if I created her myself. I know she has an untapped source of rage. One I'm willing to exploit.  I'll use that anger like fire, to make her tougher, stronger, harder. I'll burn out the weakness, and only leave the steel. When I'm done, no one will be able to stand against Faith. No one.

Yet, under this twisted desire for vengeance, on a deeper level, changes were occurring in Ellen. She was beginning to bond with the girl. She was developing an almost maternal affection for the young  raven haired slayer to be. Her toughness, her charm, her determination all affected Ellen. She found them admirable. At the same time she wanted to use her, she was starting to want to protect her, too. When Faith did particularly well, she felt a deep sense of satisfaction, a certain pride. Even her rebelliousness, her stubbornness, evoked positive feelings in Ellen. It's not unusual for lonely people, thrown together because of circumstance and tragedy, to bond. And that's what was happening here. Ellen missed her daughter, terribly, and in some little way saw Faith as a substitute.

This could also explain why Faith worked so hard to do well. . She was working hard, harder than ever in her life…and it never seemed enough to please Ellen. She always demanded more… and more. And something deep in Faith wanted to give it to her. To make her proud of her. Faith, even more than Ellen, needed someone she could bond with. Be close with. Love. That more than anything motivated Faith to push herself as she's never done before. She never knew her father. Her mother abandoned her, and died. She was alone. Faith was human, and despite her airs of sophistication, her toughness, her attitude, she was still a little girl. She needed someone to love her. Needed it as much as she needed air, and water, and food.

When Faith left the training room, she'd been angry. Very angry. But mostly at herself. She felt humiliated , and shame at not doing better. She wanted so much for Ellen to approve of her. She couldn't figure it. "After all, she's just some crazy old broad that has some nutty fantasies about super chicks or somethin. Like, I could ever fight some vampire. That monster almost had me for breakfast. But is she wants to pretend, so can I. If she wants to give me stuff, and a place to live, for a little sweat, no big. I mean,  It's better than having to earn it on your back, ya know?". That's how she rationalized it to herself, but deep in her soul, she felt a …joy when she made Ellen smile and nod in approval. It didn't come easy, but that just made it sweeter. That nascent desire to please, the one she'd shoved down and buried deep, was beginning to resurface. She didn't know it  consciously,  and if she did, she'd never admit it, but she wanted a mom, and Ellen is taking that role for her.

But Faith is hardly saint material. Along with wanting a mom , she wanted to be herself. She played nice while 'on duty' but off duty, well…that was HER time, wasn't it? First night she arrived, she figured how to slip out unnoticed. For the next couple of nights, she did her wandering, or, as she liked to call them, her walkabouts. Took her awhile, but she found a few dance clubs she could sneak into. Helped that she looks older than she is. Also helped that she snagged Ellen's purse, and 'borrowed' some bucks, to get a fake ID. 'Cause in her 'off' hours, Faith liked to party.

Fun was faith's art,  and she was a dedicated artist. What was most fun to Faith was dancing. With faith's body and looks, she naturally got attention, and she loved it. She loved being the object of attention, the drool factor. Shaking her ass, sidling up close to the guys, she knew she made them crazy, and it thrilled her to no end. She was the queen, the adored one. The hot little chick that made them all nuts to be with her.

But even more than that, she loved moving. It was like a drug to her. It was something she shared with a certain blonde slayer(who will remain nameless, because this isn't HER story, is it?). The feel of her body through space, the blood pumping , her heart racing, her adrenaline flowing, all made her feel free.  When she danced, she felt powerful, alive. She had a natural grace, which made up for her lack of technique. But even more, the sheer joy she got from dancing, from moving, was infectious. People around her couldn't help but notice her.

And tonight, they were tripping over each other noticing her. She'd dressed  in a very low cut blouse, a pair of hip huggers that looked painted on her, and some stylin' high heeled boots. She'd emphasized her eyes and her full lips, and she frankly looked like sex personified. She moved, and heads turned. She danced, and mouths went open. Tonight was her night, and she was loving it. She'd already lit the desire of many men tonight, she knew how to rub against them to make them hot. But still she was looking for the one she wanted. The one to cool the fires burning inside her. And there he was.

He was tall, he was lean, but muscled. He was nice eye candy, and she could tell by the look in his eyes, he wanted her. Badly. She reached out, and with her fingers did a little " come to me, baby" gesture. Like the obedient dog he was, he came. She worked him long, and worked him up. Her body moved against his, and she could feel his growing excitement. They danced, a sheen of sweat growing on each of their bodies. The dance was the ritual, the call to connect.

The dance ending, she grabbed her new toy, and led him out the back. Once there, she locked her mouth on his. Tongues slashed against each other, as she rubbed herself against him, firing him up. But something in the back of her mind noted something odd. He was…cool. She ignored it, and hopped on his hips, wrapping her legs around him. She started to rock her hips against him, getting the lay of the land, so to speak, when something happened. Not something she was expecting.

She heard a growl, and looking at him, his face had morphed. OH, FUCK ME A VAMPIRE!!!! He was going in for the bite…the bite that would put a quick halt to her short life. Out of instinct, or fear, or something, she brought her fist up, and smashed him in the face. It didn't hurt him, really, but it bought her enough time to unwrap herself and get some distance between him.

He lunged at her, and she felt herself being pushed over. Her heart was racing, but she tried to keep a cool head. Remembering her training, she used his weight against him, and somehow managed to throw him up and over herself. She got up quickly, but he was already up. He ran towards her, and she …stuck out her leg, tripping him . looking around, she saw a piece of board sitting in the alley. Running quickly to it, she picked it up, just as he was getting himself up. Not thinking, not allowing him time to recover, she ran over, and plunged it into him. But, in her panic, she missed the heart. He grunted, and got up to attack again.

"Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me" Faith screamed in her mind. " What the hell am I gonna do now?". She panicked, and turned to run. But he grabbed her, and pulled her in. But Faith was the veteran of many street fights. Vampire or not, there is one place that will disable the bastard. She brought her knee up hard, and letting out a howl, the undead one keeled over, grabbing his crotch.

Seeing her chance, she ran around behind him, grabbed out the makeshift stake, and reinserted it, this time hitting the target. A great cloud of dust came up, and vamp boy was toast.

She stood there, sweating and panting. Her body was tired, and she was shaking in fright. But also, she felt… exhilarated. She'd done it. All by her lonesome. She'd staked her first vamp. She did a little victory dance, moving her feet and pumping her arms. Man, she was so totally hot. 'I don't EVEN have super powers, and I'm totally a vamp killer'. It was like a drug to her, even better than the dancing drug. She totally loved the feeling, the rush of it. She knew it was right, she was right for it. She felt powerful. She felt like a warrior.

And then the aftereffect kicked in. All of a sudden, she was starving. Man, she needed something to eat, bad. A burger, hell … just bring em on til I pop. And then the second aftereffect kicked in.

"Aw, Fuck. I'm still horny!"

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The next morning, Faith felt weird.

She  sat up in bed, and replayed the previous night in her head. She still felt a mixture of fear and elation, like it had  just happened. She still couldn't believe she'd killed a vamp, and it was so totally cool. Now she was beginning to realize what all the training was about. She'd just fought, without thinking, without planning her next move. It was just there. Little sparks went off  in her head. She should be dead, grave fodder. But she'd kicked ass. It was the best feeling she'd had in her short life. She didn't want to lose it.

She jumped out of bed, and her tummy rumbled. She was still starving. On her way home last night, she'd stopped and practically vaporized a burger, fries and coke. That'd taken the edge off, but hadn't satisfied her. As for the 'other' craving. Well, after laying awake for an hour, itching, she'd finally taken matters into her own hands, so to speak. And it'd been intense. God, she loved this gig.

Throwing on a robe, she padded towards the bathroom, to do her dailies. In the shower, the rush of warm water over her stimulated her. Again. Her nerve endings were like jumping, and she was all hot again. She took care of herself, and when she came, her body shook with the most intense feeling she'd ever had.  Afterwards, letting the water cascade over her, she zoned . She didn't know what this drug was, but she wanted more… a lot more of it. If she'd known killing monsters would be this crazy great, she'd never woulda bitched about it.

After dressing(nothing too tight, she was still tingly), she headed down to breakfast. She so could eat the refrigerator, she was so hungry. Entering the kitchen, she saw a small surprise awaiting her. A wrapped package, and a small cake with candles. Holy crap, in the excitement of her kill last night, she'd forgotten today was her birthday. Woo hoo, totally cool. That slay was her gift.

Actually, Faith wasn't big on birthdays. Never mind in the 'system' they'd for the most part been ignored. She didn't care. She remembered her last(and only) birthday party.

She'd been 5 years old that day, and her mom, in a rare sober moment, had remembered it was her birthday. She'd even gotten her a cake with candles, and the whole bit. Her current boyfriend was there, too. They hadn't been getting along well; mom carried the bruises to prove it. But they did somehow manage to at least try to make it a special day. But Faith, feeling the tension, or being frightened by the boyfriend, had started crying. "C'mon, firecracker, it's your birthday. No need to cry" Mom had tried to cheer her up. But it wasn't sadness, but fear that made her cry, and she couldn't stop. The boyfriend, always Mr. Wonderful , made a crack about whatta crybaby she was(hell, she was 5 for Christ's sake), and her mom and him started to argue. Then it got louder, and louder, and more violent. Finally, the cake ended up on the wall, and they were going to it, blow for blow. Faith, scared to death, ran away, and hid. The boyfriend finally stormed out, but the day was shot. Mommy drunkest did what she did best, got blotto, and that was the end to Faith's 'special' day. After that, she just tried best she could to avoid birthdays. Thinking about them, celebrating them, anything to do with them.

But, she didn't want to upset Ellen, so she plastered on a fake smile. She dutifully blew out the candles, and then Ellen nudged the wrapped gift towards her.

She opened it, and was surprised. Inside was a silver cross. It was hung on a silver serpentine chain. It had elaborate scrolling etched into it. She turned it over, and on the back was inscribed " To Faith, Best of them all". She blushed.

"Thanks. It's beautiful. But why a cross? I'm not really religious, if you aint noticed" Faith said, still loving her gift.

"I know, Faith. But it has a practical purpose. Vampires don't like the cross. It's for your protection" Ellen said, smiling. " Like it?"

" Love it" Faith said, her smile becoming genuine. She put on the cross, and liked the way it felt. Now she felt real, like a real slayer. It was so cool after last night. But , she couldn't tell Ellen about that, or she'd be so grounded… forever!

"So, are you hungry, Faith?" Ellen asked. Like, this girl was never hungry. But still, best to ask.

"Starving!" Faith said. Sitting down at the table, she started eating with gusto. Ellen watched her. She …seemed different, somehow. Her energy was in high gear, not a Faith thing in the morning. And she was demolishing breakfast, even more than usual. And something in her look, her eyes, said something was different. Something had happened.  Ellen decided not to press the girl. She'd tell her in her own good time. Right now, just relax and let her enjoy her breakfast. And enjoying it she was. She seemed not to be able to get enough. Finally, after practically cleaning the table, she sat back and let out a small, happy sigh. Ellen just smiled.

"Well,  Faith, after we clean up,  we hit the books" Ellen said, her voice going into watcher mode.

Faith made a rude noise, and groaned. " Aw, c'mon. It's my birthday. Couldn't we skip it this once?" Faith whined.

"No, Faith. It's important. To be effective as a slayer, your body and mind have to be sharp, and fed. You've fed your body" Ellen mused, looking at the wreckage of what was once breakfast. " Now it's time for your mind".

Faith just rolled her eyes at the basic unfairness of life, and started clearing the table.

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It happened while she was training that afternoon.

She was working at the punching bag, developing her strength and speed in punching. She'd been at it for 30 minutes, and was feeling pretty bushed.  She looked over at Ms. H, but she seemed to be of the mind that Faith still had some fight left in her, so she continued boxing with bag. And then it hit her.

At first, she felt dizzy. Almost to the point of fainting. She grabbed the bag, and swooned a little. Ellen, a bit concerned, got up and started over. ' Maybe I'm pushing her too hard. This doesn't look good'. Just as she reached Faith, however, Faith recovered.

Pushing off the bag, Faith felt what was like a jolt through her body. It was ….like  sticking your finger in the electrical socket, but more intense. Every bit of her felt like it was buzzing, and glowing. She felt this incredible rush of energy flow through her, like someone had plugged her in. Then, somehow she felt powerful, like she could break down doors. Something happened to her. Something intense, something that would change her life forever.

She had met her destiny. She'd been chosen. It was her time.

Ellen watching her, grew worried. She seemed so… disoriented. Then she noted, for a brief second, Faith's eyes glowed. With raw power. She knew. It'd happened, Faith had come into her destiny.

Faith, feeling more alive, more powerful, more everything than she'd ever felt in her life, started punching the bag. She punched it harder and harder, and it started swinging wildly on its hook. Finally, giving it a one – two combo, she literally knocked the bag off its hook, and it went flying across the training room, hitting the far wall. Faith just stood there, in shock.

"Holy crap. What the hell just happened?" She muttered, surprised and shocked.

"It's happened , Faith. You've been chosen. You're destiny has come on you. You're the Chosen one, The Slayer". Ellen said, herself surprised at what happened to the bag.

"Whoa. What are you saying? I mean, I thought this was all a joke, or something." Faith said. She's not so sure she's ready for this.

"No joke, Faith. You're the Chosen One, now. The last slayer must have…." Ellen doesn't finish, not wanting to freak out Faith.

" Must have what?" Faith asks, getting a sinking feeling. "What're you tellin' me?"

"Faith, for the new slayer to be called, the old slayer… dies" Ellen said, watching Faith carefully.

"Whoa. Wait a minute. You never said nothing about dying. I didn't hear the D word in any of the little talks we had!" Faith said, starting to freak out a little.

"Faith. It's ok. It's ok. Being the slayer, having the power itself, isn't going to kill you" Ellen says, trying to reassure the young woman.

"Yeah, right. But it sure will make it more tempting for those monsters to come do the job, won't it?" Faith said, feeling the panic in her stomach. Fuck this crap. She was way too young to die!

"Faith, that's why we train you. That's why I've been pushing you so hard. To help you. To make the odds better. You're good, Faith. In all my research of the former Watcher's diaries, I've never seen any mention of a slayer with your natural gifts. And, you've even exceeded my expectations for you. You've got a better shot than most to live a …longer life" Ellen says.

Faith sits down, feeling winded all of a sudden. She sits, looking at her hands. Ellen, concerned for her charge, comes and sits besides her.

"Faith" Ellen takes Faith's hand in hers. " It's going to be ok."

"How can you say that?" Faith asks, her panic high. " How do you know? Have YOU ever been a slayer? How …what am I gonna do? I…don't want to die!"

Ellen take Faith in her arms, and holds her. Faith puts her head on Ellen's shoulder.

"I don't want this. I don't want to be a slayer!" Faith says, her voice low, but full of anxiety. " Not if it means I have to die!"

"Shhh…shhh…Faith" Ellen says, holding her. " You're not going to die. It's going to be ok" Ellen rocks the girl until she begins to calm down.

"Faith. I'm sorry. I should have prepared you better for this. It's a lot for a girl of 15 to absorb. It's never easy to face your destiny" Ellen says, gently. " I can't promise you that you'll always be safe. It's dangerous. But I can promise you I'll be with you every step of the way. I'll train you,  I'll be with you. I'll do my best to see that you outlive me, Faith. That's my promise to you" Ellen is not lying. She's become fond of this young girl… fond as any mother would be of her daughter. She plans to keep Faith safe and alive as long as possible.

Faith is quiet. She's trying to process all that's happened to her today. Her heart is heavy, because she's just beginning to realize exactly what being a slayer entails. She'd been so jazzed last night, killing that vampire. She'd forgotten the danger she'd been in. Now, she'd be in danger every day. Her life as a child had ended. She no longer could be the same girl. She cursed, because it was so damned unfair. It stunk. 'Why me? I never had a chance anyway, and now this crap. Why should I be the one? Who decided this? I… want a life, too'.  She thinks about her life up to now, and realizes that this has been the best she's had. This was her life now, like it or not. No choice, this was it. No choice at all. She steeled herself to accept the inevitable.

Faith was many things. But one thing she wasn't. A coward. She hated what had been put on her. She hated that she had no choice. But, since this was what it was all about, she accepted it. 'And dammit, if my life's gonna be short, I damn well gonna enjoy it. Not gonna mope around, wasting it. Fuck that crap, right now!'

"Faith?" Ellen asks, " Are you alright?"

"Yeah," Faith says, her voice more confident. " I'm peachy.  I'm 5 by 5"

"Will you be ok here for awhile? I have to report this to the council. They have to know where the new slayer is." Ellen says.

"Why? So they can put me on their Slay-dar? Know when to activate the Bat-signal so they can call me out for the vamps?" Faith quips. She's beginning to feel better. And this new power is really making her feel a lot better.

"We might be required to travel, Faith. Since there is only one slayer, we have to go to where the demons are. Especially if there are a bad bunch" Ellen explains.

"Hey. Didn't know this was a traveling gig. What, is this 'Have stake, will travel?' or something?" Faith asks." Hey, do I get a costume or somethin?"

"Er…no, Faith. You're identity has to be a secret. For your protection, and to…well… the protection of those around you" Ellen says.

"Well, that blows! Not even a costume!" Faith pouts. Ellen stands up to leave.

"Cheer up, Faith. I'm sure we can figure something out, as long as it's not obvious" Ellen smiles. She turns, and walks up the stairs.

"Cool beans" Faith says to herself. " Bet I'd look hot in leather"

She smiles to herself, contemplating her new role

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Faith is getting restless, and bored.

She's been waiting for Ms. H for an hour, and she's still not back. All this energy coursing through her needs an outlet. So, now what?

She smiles. Hey, I'm the slayer. Time to test out this puppy. See if I'm as bad-ass as they say. Beats sitting here on my ass, waiting for Ms. H to show up.

She wanders around the room, looking for some weapons. Most of the stuff is locked up, but there are a few stakes lying about. And a wicked looking knife. Cool. This'll do for now, she thinks. She gathers the weapons up, and starts upstairs. Hmmm…better be quiet about it. Don't want Ms. H putting a stop to my fun, now do I? She pauses at the top of the stairs, and listens. She can hear Ms. H, still on the phone. Cool… no big there. Just quietly let myself out the front, before she's done. Moving quietly, she heads for the front door. Grabbing her jacket off the coat rack, she quietly slips out the door.

Faith is enjoying the night. She finds invigorating, being out and about. She notices some differences. Her night vision is better, along with her hearing. And she moves a lot quieter. Hey, if I weren't the good guy here, boy what a burglar I'd be, she chuckles to herself. She walks along, looking around. She notices a group of people, out of the light…a bit off the sidewalk. She feels a…sense that something's not right here… whoa…what's THAT about? She quietly approaches, and notices the 'men' in the group seem to be surrounding the woman, who looks frightened. She calls out to the group.

"Hey, whazzup?"

"Get lost, shrimp" One of the 'men' say

"That's rude. Why should she have all the fun?" Faith asks, pointing at the woman. " I like to party too"

"Hey guys" one of the 'men' says to the other "Desert!"

The three chuckle. They approach Faith.

"That's it, dudes. I'm really sweet. Come get me" Faith says, standing her ground

"You shoulda beat it while you could" One of the 'men' says, his face morphing.

" Ooo…that looks awful" Faith says, commenting on the morph. " I hear they have ointments for that now"

The first vampire lunges at her. Faith kicks him, sending him flying back on his ass. The second, seeing her move, is a little more wary. He circles around, trying to get behind her. Faith flips over, and is right next to him. Before he can do anything, she has her stake out, and he's adding to the dust on the sidewalk. The other two vampires, seeing this…back up.

"Aw, c'mon guys, we're just getting started" Faith taunts them. "Can't two big strong vamps like you handle one little 'shrimp' of a girl?"

The first vamp rushes her. She sidesteps him, and trips him. Kneeling down over him, she stakes him through the back, hitting his heart. More  Hoover material. The third, seeing her attention away from him,  sneaks up on her. He grabs her, and throws her. She lands on her butt, and winces. Then  she's up, facing him. He is wary. He moves in, and  with a feint to the left, goes right. Faith, for a second thrown, moves left. But she recovers quickly, and kicks him , sending him flying on his face. She puts her foot on his neck, bends over, and dusts him. She looks up ,but the woman who was the intended happy meal is long gone.

"What? No thanks? Gee, that's rude!" Faith says, but is feeling buzzed. This is totally cool. She walks away, humming a little to herself.

She continues to do a walkabout for about an hour, but doesn't run into any more vamps. Hey, guess the words out huh? New slayer in town. Watch out , fang boys, I gots your number. And it don't look lucky for you. She chuckles to herself, and heads back home.

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

She is greeted at home by one worried and angry Watcher.

"Faith! Where the hell have you been? I thought something happened to you! Why did you go out without telling me?" Ellen's voice is low, but it has a hard, worried edge to it. Damn, first night as a slayer, and already she's giving me more gray hairs!

"Chill,  Ms. H. I just  decided to take this puppy out and give it a test drive" Faith says, holding up a stake. "Works real nice".

"Damn it Faith. I thought we agreed we'd take this slowly, carefully. You're new to this, even WITH training. So, what do you do? First time my back is turned, you're out and about, getting killed for all I know" Ellen was scared to death when she couldn't find Faith.

"Hey, what's the big? I walked around a little, dusted a few vamps. Isn't that my job?" Faith complains. Geeze, take a pill already!

Ellen just stares at Faith, more than a little upset. God, is this the same girl that a couple of hours ago was all afraid she was going to die? KIDS! I swear, she's going to give me a heart attack one of these days.

"Faith, in the future, let me know before you go out to 'test drive' a stake. I might be a little less worried, and a bit less nervy when you get back. Oh, and before you go patrolling again, we're going together a few times. I want to see you in action. Concentrate your training on your weak areas" Ellen says, resuming her reserve.

"Aint no weak areas here, Ms. H." Faith smirks, pointing to herself.

"Don't get cocky, Faith. There's more out there than vampires…and more dangerous. No more solo patrols for you for awhile".

" Geeze, you just love killin' a girls fun, dontcha?" Faith pouts.

Ellen just looks at her.

"Anyway, I had an interesting talk with the council. Found out some rather interesting news. Interested?" Ellen asks, trying to pique Faith's  curiosity.

"Yeah?" Faith says, sounding bored. "What do  the over the hill gang gotta say?"

" They were a little surprised to hear about you becoming a slayer. Seems  they didn't know that Kendra was dead. She'd been working with the other slayer in Sunnydale, California. My guess is that Mr. Giles hadn't reported it to them yet." Ellen watches Faith to see if she catches the real news.

"Whoa….wait a minute. Other slayer? I thought you said there was only ONE slayer at a time!" Faith says, a bit taken aback." Who …what is this  'other ' slayer?"

Ellen smiles. Nice turn of the tables, considering Faith had just worried her half to death with her little jaunt.

" That's why I was on the phone for so long. Seems the council didn't see fit to keep me up to date. Seems about 8 months ago, Ms. Summers, the slayer in Sunnydale, died. For 2 minutes. She drowned, and was revived. Evidently, dead is dead, to the Powers that Be. Because even though she survived, Kendra was activated.  She was sent by her watcher,  Sam Zabuto, because there was a " dark threat" arising in Sunnydale. Only she found out Buffy was alive. They took care of the threat, and Kendra returned home. But, she went back when another threat arose. This time, she wasn't so lucky. She died" Ellen stops for a second. " But the first slayer still is alive, and dealing with the threat in Sunnydale. The council doesn't seem to think we're needed there. But, this is a first. Two active slayers. Never been done before".

" So, does this "First slayer" have a first name?" Faith asks.

"Buffy" Ellen replies.

"Buffy?" Faith says, laughing. "What kinda name is that?"

Ellen shrugs.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer… nawww…get real. You're kidding, right?"

Ellen doesn't say anything, she just shakes her head.

" God, she must be some kinda joke. So, when do I get to meet … Buffy?" Faith asks, giggling a little. Buffy. God, sounds so Nob Hill,

" Not in the immediate future. We still have your training, and we have other things to take care of". Ellen says.

"Really? What?" Faith asks, her curiosity awakened.

"All in good time, Faith. All in good time"

~~%~~%~~%~~%~~

Fin for this part. More to come later