Not long after their reunion Faith Summers found herself in the home of Alexander Harris and Dawn Summers. The three-story structure's exterior was very well maintained while the interior looked as if it had been retrofitted for its new occupants. As she surveyed the first floor she couldn't help but notice how everything was very neat and tidy. Judging by the exercise equipment and padded floor Faith determined that this was to be Xander and Dawn's training room. While Faith was determined that she would not to be pulled back into active slaying, she realized the benefit of having this equipment around.

Faith didn't get to look around the first floor for very long because Dawn led her by the hand to a freight elevator and when the door closed Xander took them up to the second floor. When the door opened Faith was in awe of how amazingly cool this place looked. The walls had pictures of the Summers Clan, active slayers (that Dawn was friends with), and a few fancy pieces of art. It was obvious to anyone present that Dawn had been the main influence in how this place was decorated, but it did have the occasional Xander reference.

"Very nice digs Dawnie, Xander." Faith commented.

"It was a gift from dead boy. We told him where we wanted to move to and he bought it for us. This place and all the trimmings came out of Hell Incorporated's covert ops fund. The building is 100% ours and the property taxes have been paid for the next ten years." Xander informed the brunette slayer.

"Sweet." Faith retorted. "You sure you got enough room for all three of us to be comfy? I don't want to take Dawn's room from her and force you two to sleep in the same room." Faith said ribbing the two lovers. Xander was still kinda sore about the whole stake thing but let it go. Faith obviously had guessed that neither Dawn nor he had informed Buffy of the change in their relationship and decided to just let it be. She'll find out soon enough anyways, she always does. Faith thought.

Dawn then decided to continue playing hostess. "There are four floors, connected by the stairwell over there," Dawn informed the older woman pointing to Faith's left, "and a service elevator that you obviously know about. The first floor is fairly empty, save our Bowflex, the treadmill and exercise bike, but we were thinking of turning it into full a workout room/training area soon."

"Never woulda guessed." Faith replied sarcastically.

"This floor, obviously, is the second floor that contains the kitchen, dinning area, and the lounge. As you might have guessed I picked out most of the d├ęcor but Xander helped me when I couldn't decide between some of the sets. The third floor is the living area with four bedrooms. The Master bedroom is ours..." Dawn paused and gave Faith a look that implied she needed to keep her mouth shut, "and you can pick one of the three remaining bedrooms. There are two full bathrooms, one of which is part of the master bedroom. You'll be able to find the other bathroom easy enough."

"What's in the basement?" Faith inquired.

"That's my bat-cave. Top secret, keep out this means you." Xander adamantly stated.

"Okey-dokey Batman." Faith said saluting the dark haired older man.

"Mock, scoff and laugh all you want, but trespassers beware and I hope your insurance premiums are paid in full." Xander stated and proceeded to head to the kitchen to make dinner.

Faith walked over to the lounge area and planted herself in the black leather love seat. As she looked around she couldn't help but think that this was infinitely better than any hotel and she didn't even have to pay to stay here. Good company, good food (if Xander could still cook) and good digs.

"Comfy?" Dawn asked as she sat on the matching couch.

"Very. This is a sweet pad. I'll have to call Angel and see if I can sweet talk some nice digs out of him." The slayer said in a playful tone.

"Don't you dare, I haven't seen you in ages and I am so looking forward to spending time with you." Dawn ordered in a huff. It reminded Faith of all the times Dawn had thrown a tantrum when they were younger, even though that never really happened.

"Thanks Dawn, I know it's been hectic since you left the country but I'm glad to see my sister again." Faith stated.

"Yeah, I missed you too and it is sooooo nice to finally have a cool sister." Dawn implored.

"I still can't believe Buffy strong armed your dad into adopting you Faith. Given that Angel pushed the paperwork through so you wouldn't have to appear in court, but still..." Xander added.

"It was all Buffy's idea. After Sunnydale was destroyed the three of us bonded in a way that I can't explain..."

Dawn nodded. There was no love lost when she thought about her estranged father. He divorced their mother, made the occasional appearance for the first few years afterwards then did the whole disappearing dad bit. Dawn knew that he was probably sleeping with girls old enough to be any one of his daughters. "Yeah well dad owed us for the lack of his involvement in our lives. Buffy and I wanted you to be a part of our family, and personally you fit in perfect. Enough about that though, I'm surprised you didn't ask about Xander's eye." Dawn whispered and motioned towards her boyfriend who was making a ruckus as he prepared dinner.

Faith grinned. "I'm surprised you didn't comment about my knowing about Cordy's funeral earlier."

"Didn't seem like the proper time when we originally mentioned it." Dawn inquired.

"Angel called me cause he knew I was in the immediate area, that and we're tight as you might guess."

Dawn just nodded. He knew the two had a very special (plutonic) bond.

"He arranged for me to be picked up and I was there to say my farewells to her. Even though Queen C and I were never best buds, particularly after I elbowed her face, I still liked her. I didn't want to impose on you comforting Xander, by the way you two looked absolutely adorable." Faith said. "Anyways I saw the two of you there and noticed Xander didn't have the patch on and that his eye was normal. I asked Angel and he said that it wasn't an artificial eye, but his original eye fully restored." Faith explained. She then waited for her beloved younger sister to pick up the story and fill in the missing details.

"It was a parting gift from Cordelia. Her spirit returned, in corporeal form no less, to help Angel find his way again. Before venturing to the great beyond Cordy visited Xander in his dreams to give him a parting gift." Dawn explained.

Faith smiled at that. "Cordy was one of a kind that's for sure."

"Agreed. While I didn't care for her when they were dating..." Dawn was about to continue but was cut off by her sister.

"That's because you were jealous that Xander was dating anyone but you." Faith replied with a chuckle.

Dawn responded to Faith's comment by maturely sticking her tongue out at her sister, much like she use to do to Buffy all the time.

"Cordy's last words before departing was that he love me as much as I loved him, he kissed me the very next night."

"Have you two..." Faith began but was interrupted by Dawn.

"I am eighteen years old Faith, whatever I do or don't do is entirely up to me." Dawn replied.

"So that's a yes?" Faith inquired in a flippant tone.

"Oh god yes." Dawn said giggling.

Faith sat upright and the two women began talking in low tones much to the ignorance of Xander who was making dinner to music in the kitchen specifically so he would not hear what his girlfriend and her sister were discussing.

Somewhere in another part of town, deep under the city a figure sits upon a makeshift thrown awaiting her lieutenant's return. The master vampire, not old by any standards but more vicious than many that have come before her, waits impatiently for the vampires to return with dinner and any news that bears reporting. As her patient's wears thin the door to her inner sanctum opens and she returns to the shadows. Only those most loyal to her have ever seen her face, it helps ensure security, so that any that would wish to see her destroyed would not know who it was that wished to kill. Fifteen of her servants return, a fact that immediately irritates the Master since she sent out eighteen vampires.

"Master, we bring food and ill news." Joshua, the first and most faithful of the Master's servants says as he lowers himself to one knee before his master. He bows his head and does not look at his queen until she speaks to him.

"Where are Mo, Lar and Curl?" The Master asks in an annoyed tone. Despite how stupid the trio of vampires are they do have their uses. Tardiness is not tolerated and as such will be dealt with. However the Master is ill prepared for her lieutenant's response.

"The trio have been slain my master. They saw a very appetizing target and chased her into an abandoned building. While they did so the rest of us rounded up our tributes for you. Unfortunately when we returned to the building they were at the object of their desire was not as "choice" as they thought and all that remained were the trio's remains."

"I see, and the girl who was to be part of my evening meal?" The Master inquired.

"Escaped. They were gone long before we returned. From our investigation however there were apparently two others that helped her. This is only speculation though. We would have been more through in our search for clues if the local police hadn't chosen that moment to drive by.

"Casualties are expected... still, I want all to be on the look for this girl who dispatched three of my minions."

"Master... do you think the girl is a sl..."

"Silence dog." Joshua barked at the lesser vampire that had dared to speak out of turn in the presence of the Master.

"No Joshua... let him speak." The Master ordered. "Step forward." She commanded.

The vampire walked forward and paused just in front of Joshua who was now standing. The vampire kneeled to one knee and bowed his head low not looking at the woman who commanded ten times more vampires than the ones gathered here.

"Speak." The Master ordered.

"I... I... if the trio were indeed dispatched by a single girl Master...." The vampire nervously uttered. "Perhaps... perhaps she might be a slayer."

There were soft murmurs at this statement.

"What is your name minion?" The Master Inquired.

"Randal." The vampire replied.

The Master then turned away and said, "Joshua." Randal didn't even see the vampire draw a short sword, nor did he feel the blade sever his head from his shoulders. The room watched as Randal turned to dust and exploded.

"Such is the fate of cowards. Whether the girl is a slayer or not is irrelevant. Find her, and either bring her to me, or kill her yourselves. None may oppose me or the plans I have set in motion." The Master declared.

"You all know what to do," Joshua stated, "Find the girl and kill her, any who bring her back alive will be richly rewarded if she is indeed a slayer."

"Oh and remember my minions..." The Master interrupted before the group dispersed, "Failure and cowardice are rewarded with death... no exceptions!"

The group bowed and left the vampire sanctuary.

Joshua knelt before his Master and awaited any further instructions. The female vampire stood again and walked towards her servant.

"Joshua, I suspect that the girl is indeed a slayer. Ever since May of last year reports in the Vampire Kingdom have recorded numerous slayers all over the world. There are currently only a handful of combat experienced slayers so we must tread carefully." The Master stated as she came into the light. She wore a rather revealing black leather outfit and her long brown hair shined as if it were recently washed. "I do not want you to engage her in combat unless absolutely necessary." The female vampire stated.

"What would you have me do Master?" The vampire asked in an obedient tone.

"I want you to study her, video surveillance and photographs. I want to know who and or what I am up against." The vampire master stated. "I need to see her strengths and weakness."

"Thy will be done." Joshua stated as he rose to his feet, bowed and departed.

To Be Continued....