Death is a mysterious thing. It comes when you least expect it. When you least want it. Death is always there. Lurking in the shadows. Waiting for the right moment. The right instant to come in and take what it wants.
For some it comes early. For some it comes late. But, it always comes.
These thoughts kept running through Faith's mind as she sat in her jail cell in Los Angeles. She wanted to die. She deserved it. She had nothing left. She could've had everything, but she had blown all her chances. She was bad. Life was bad.

* * *
"Be careful this year, dear," Mrs. Granger said to her daughter.
"I will," Hermione said hastily. The Hogwarts Express was about to pull off and her parents wouldn't let her go.
Summer had gone too quickly for Hermione. She had only been home for the first few weeks of it. Then she had spent a month with Viktor Krum her boy- well, she didn't want to call him a boyfriend. She wasn't really sure what he was.
"Don't get into any trouble," Her father said, a twinkle in his eye. Her father thought of her as being his good little girl. If he only knew about some of the adventures she'd had with her friends Harry Potter and Ron Weasley….
"I won't," she said quickly. "I'm a prefect now. You really don't have to worry about me."
Her mother started bawling at this. "Our little baby!" she got out between sobs. "All grown up and a-" she paused "What's a prefect, dear?"
Hermione glanced at the clock. The train would be leaving any second. "I have to go." She said, hugging her parents. "I'll send you an Owl when I get there."
Then, before they could object, she scooped up her belongings and hurried through the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 just as the Hogwarts train started to whistle.

* * *
Giles jumped slightly at the sound of the insistent knocking at his door. Placing his book on the table, he hurried to open the door only to find Buffy looking panic striken.
"Did you see the news?" She asked breathlessly. Giles guessed she'd run all the way to his house.
"Buffy! Won't you come in." He said calmly, completely ignoring the urgency on her face.
"Did you see the news?" She repeated. Giles studied her face. Her eyes were watery as though she was trying to hold back tears.
"Erm, no I was just absorbed by this text I found-"
"Faith's dead." She said abruptly.
"What?" Giles stared at her in shock.
"The guards found her body this morning. They think she slit her throat last night."
"They um they allow prisioners to have sharp objects with them?" Giles asked, confusion spreading across his face.
"They think she did it with her nails. God, I can't believe she did this."
"Was there any-"
Tears started to run down Buffy's face. "She wrote 'Sorry, B' on the wall with her blood."
"You erm think she left that as a message for you?"
"No. I think she left it for Willow. Can you not do the naïve British man routine now please?" Buffy snapped. Giles stared at her, a look of hurt and concern in his eyes. "It's just. This is all my fault. If I had been more understanding or" her voice trailed off. "I could've done something. She obviously needed help."
"Well, there was someone who did manage to get through to her."
"Angel." Buffy said forlornly and put her jacket back on. She opened the door to leave.
"Buffy, do you really think it is wise for you to-" He started, but stopped when he saw the look of stubborn determination in her eyes. A look he knew all too well.
"Tell my mom I'll be back in a couple days and there's left over pot roast in the fridge."

* * *
Hermione glanced up from her book and surveyed their compartment with disgust. The Hogwarts Express had only left the station 20 minutes earlier and already Ron and Harry had managed to spead their belongings everywhere. Ron couldn't find Ginny's new rat Caley and was convinced the rodent was hiding in one of their trunks.
"Hey, Hermione," Ron called from the other end of the compartment where he was digging through his trunk. "Maybe she's in your trunk."
"Or maybe Crookshanks ate her." Harry said mischievously.
"Crookshanks would never do that." Hermione said defensively, stroking her cat's neck.
"She's not in here." Ron replied. His eyes darted everywhere.
"Did you check your pockets?" Hermione asked.
"Of course I did! What kind of idiot do you think I am?" Ron scowled. But, he stuck his hand in them anyway. They were empty.
"What about your robe pocket?" Hermione continued.
Sure enough, the rat was curled up in a ball in the pocket. Ron lifted it up triumphfully and handed the rat back to Ginny who was glaring at him.
"That's the last time I let you hold my baby." She said cuddling Caley in her arms protectively.
"Like I want your stupid rat anyway. He isn't as fun as Scabbers was."
"Yeah, and he's not in league with Voldemort." Harry joked. Ron, Ginny, and Hermione jumped at the mention of You-Know-Who causing Ginny to drop Caley.
"Sorry." Harry said sheepishly.
Ginny got down on the floor and started crawling after Caley who was darting around frantically. She almost had her cornered when the compartment door swung open and Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle strode in. Their usual smirks were there, but they also seemed slightly wary of them. Hermione couldn't blame them after the last ride on the Hogwarts Express.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Ron snarled.
Malfoy smiled slyly. "Just wanted to let you all know there were no hard feelings."
"Good," Hermione replied in a mock sweet voice. "We've been so worried you were mad at us."
"Why would they be mad at you?" Ginny called from the back of the compartment where she had finally caught Caley.
Before anyone could answer, Neville fell through the door. He picked himself up awkwardly and announced, "We'll be there in 5 minutes. The conductor told me to tell you."
"Well, look who it is." Malfoy said cheerfully. "Neville, old-buddy." Crabbe and Goyle grunted their usual laughter. "It's good to know you're still a bumbling, clumsy oaf."
Neville turned bright red and stammered, "Um- I'm- um" He looked around at the others helplessly.
"Leave him alone, Malfoy." Harry said, pulling out his wand.
Malfoy glared at him, but didn't answer. He just mumbled something to Crabbe and Goyle and they left the compartment.
Neville sat down and Harry and Ron started to do the same. "Ahem." Hermione said, nodding at the mess they'd made. The boys reluctantly started shoving their things back in their trunks while Hermione and Ginny left to change into their Hogwarts robes.
Ron and Harry were struggling to close Ron's trunk as the girls came back in.
"How much stuff do you have in here?" Harry asked as he pushed the lid as hard as he could.
"It all fit when I left." Ron said with his teeth gritted together so it didn't make sense.
Hermione and Ginny walked over and tried to help. The boys let go, shaking their hands in pain.
Hermione stared at the trunk for a second, then pushed the lid slightly. It snapped shut immediantly. Everyone stared at her in shock. But, no one was as surprised as Hermione.

* * *
Buffy could not believe her luck. She had planned to go to Los Angles to see Angel, but all the buses were canceled until morning because of a hurricane that was expected to hit them that night. She started to walk home when she heard a voice behind her call, "Where are you going?"
Buffy turned around to see a familiar face behind her. "What's it to you?" She called over the howling wind.
Whistler shrugged his shoulders and answered, "I just thought you'd want to know what your priorities should be at a time like this."
"Are you going somewhere with this? 'Cause I'd really like to get home."
"There's a new Slayer."
"Is she evil?"
Whistler smiled slightly. "No, just young. As young as you were."
"Poor kid." Buffy replied, a genuine note of sympathy in her voice.
"We weren't planning for this to happen. We don't have a Watcher ready for her."
"I thought the Watcher's Council was always prepared." Buffy couldn't help the little smirk from crossing her face.
"I didn't mean the Watcher's Council." Whistler replied in his usual mysterious way.
"Ok. So there isn't a Watcher for her. What does this have to do with me?"
"She doesn't know what she is yet. I just thought you might like to-"
"Tell her about her destiny. Be her mentor until the Watchers are prepared."
"Exactly." Whistler said, a smile crossing his face.
"Uh uh. No way." Buffy said firmly. "I am not going to be responsible for ruining someone's life. She's better off not knowing. I can handle all the slayage."
"She needs to know. She's a danger to herself and others if she doesn't."
Buffy stared at him, debating whether he was bluffing or not. "Where is she?"
Whistler paused. "That's the problem. It's a little hard to get there."

* * *
All around her people were smiling and greeting eachother cheerfully, but Hermione did not feel happy. She usually loved the start of the school year. It meant being back at Hogwarts with her friends, classes, and books, but something was bothering her. She felt different for some reason. She watched as Ron and Harry talked happily to some of their fellow Gryffindors. She was glad they were happy after everything that had happened at the end of the fourth year. At least the year was starting off normally, even though she sensed it would not be safe for long. As usual, everyone was quiet instantly as Dumbledore stood up to give his usual opening speech.
Hermione felt her mind wander throughout the whole speech and the sorting of the first years. She was still surprised that she had been able to close that trunk so easily. Usually, things like this wouldn't bother her, but today was different. Ever since she had woken up weird things kept happening. She had made breakfast for her parents and had burned herself when she picked up a hot biscuit, but it didn't hurt when it should have. That was another thing she would have shrugged off if it wasn't for the nightmares she kept having.
She had woken up screaming 5 times while she was at the Krums' house. She was surprised they hadn't asked her to go home. In her dreams, there was a man with a hideous face who kept saying he would kill her soon. She was in a graveyard with a blonde girl who kept trying to help her. The girl told her she knew what she was going through and she needed to trust her. Hermione never listened to her though. And in the end, she always died.

* * *
"What do you mean a little hard to get there?" Buffy asked cautiously.
Whistler studied her face a moment. "She goes to a school in England. We cannot find the school and there is no way to get to it."
"Ever heard of the Yellow Pages?"
"This school wouldn't be in them. It's a special school."
"Special? As in mentally disturbed?"
"As in magic."
"Ohh. Right. That explains everything oh so clearly." Buffy said sarcastically.
"There is a way to get there, but it isn't fun."
"Do I have a choice?"
"I have a friend there who can get you in. It's just-" Whistler paused. "Have you ever used Floo powder?"
* * *
Hermione watched as Ron's owl Pig took off into the night. Ron had let her borrow Pig so she could send an Owl to her parents. They had been unusually worried about her this time and she wanted to keep her promise and let them know she had arrived safely.
Harry and Ron were busy tying a letter to Sirius on Hedwig's leg when Hermione turned around satisfied that her letter was on its way. Harry wanted to let his godfather know he was back at school and not to worry. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened yet.
Once Hedwig was on her way to wherever Sirius was, the trio went downstairs to the Griffindor house. Hermione said goodnight to the boys immediantly and climbed the stairs to her room. She knew it would be empty now since her room mates were sitting around in the Common Room talking. Hermione collapsed on her bed the instant she got in the room. It was nice to have some time to herself. Except, she wasn't actually alone.
A voice from behind her asked cautiously, "Hermione Granger?"
Hermione bolted upward and gasped. The girl standing there was the same one she had dreamt about.
"Um, hi." The girl said. "My name is Buffy Summers." She paused for a moment. "You are Hermione, right?" Hermione nodded. "I just wanted to let you know you're a Vampire Slayer."

To Be Continued…