Faith let Wes take the lead while she stripped. A last burst of speed once she knew where the pool was should do the trick. Wes was always bitching at her to think things through. She usually left the thinking to her Watcher, but that didn't mean she couldn't do it if she needed to.
Faith undid the last button on her shirt and watched Wes as he made a left turn. She made an embarrassing little eep sound. The boy must've come out of the door to the right but he seemed to have appeared from out of nowhere. His overalls were torn and his knees were bloody. The only clean part of him was the pale streaks the tears had left on his cheeks. Faith didn't know whether to be thankful or not that the kid had stopped crying to stare at her.
"I see your bellybutton," he said, as if this were the naughtiest thing ever. For a moment, she wondered if she should hide her bellybutton. Faith had only so many options for cover having dropped her shirt and didn't want to turn around and bend over. It wasn't that she was shy but this was a little kid! "Are you running away from your bath time? I thought you were brave."
Faith didn't know what to ask first. Are you hurt? might make him start bawling again and What are you doing here? could scare him. "Where's your mom?"
"Mama's home. The haints and ghoulies have Katie, you gotta help her."
"First the old guy with the stakes and now you. Does everybody in this town know I'm the Slayer? Look, why don't you close your eyes so I can get my clothes back on? Then we'll see about Katie."
The boy very seriously said, "If I close my eyes I'll go away and you won't see me."
"Just do it kid, and no peeking, I'm getting cold," The boy's eyes filled with tears and when they closed he disappeared.
"Shit!" The kid was telling the truth. What the hell was going on? It didn't look like this Hellmouth was going to let them have any playtime. Faith ran left to get Wes and then doubled back to grab her clothes and dress on the way. Pulling up the zipper on her jeans and struggling back into her shirt, as if she's been caught in the wrong bed. She found Wes just as she did the last button. He was it the pool with his hair was slicked back and all he wore was a wide, shit-eating grin. "I hate like hell to say this, but dry off and get dressed. We have company."
"Shit!" The kid was telling the truth. What the hell was going on? Faith ran left to get Wes and then doubled back to grab her clothes and dress on the way.This is confusing; not clear that she gets the clothes before seeing Wesley It didn't look like this Hellmouth was going to let them have any playtime.
She found Wes in the pool. His hair was slicked back and all he wore was a wide, shit-eating grin. "I hate like hell to say this, but dry off and get dressed. We have company."
"Neighbors at the door?"
"Yeah, it's the special Hellmouth welcome-wagon." She fumbled with her last buttons while explaining. "Red hair, freckles, straw hat, looked like Huck Finn, only younger. He's too old for diapers, too young for school. So maybe three or four years old? He vanishes when he closes his eyes. I'm thinking ghost but you're the research guy."
"A child that age might think if he can't see you that the reverse is true and the reality of spirit is often shaped by its perception. Did he attack or threaten you in any way?"
"Weren't you listening? I said he was a little kid."
"That doesn't preclude a violent nature." He had that guarded look in his eyes again. Wes had loosened up enough to walk through a house naked, but there were still things they hid from each other. That was fine with her; Faith had her own scars.
"The kid only stopped crying for his friend long enough to laugh at my naked bellybutton. I doubt he's a big bad. Bellybuttons must be a lot smuttier than I thought or something." This seemed to get rid of his dark mood and Wes got out of the pool with a filthy grin on his face once more. Before he could say what was on his mind she took the towel from the table next to her and threw it his way. "Dry off and cover you're your a- butt. We got company, remember?"
"Hello, Buffy, I'd like Faith back now, I've become fond of her."
"Very funny, now how do we help this Katie? Ghoulies and whatever haints are, are in my job description right?" Faith asked.
Wes tucked his shirt into his jeans and said, "We aren't going to be able to do much until we have more information."
"The kid's gone. How're we going to get the 411 hold a séance?"
"Ordinarily I'd say yes, but it's a risky thing to do on a Hellmouth like this. If he wants our help, then the only thing we can really do is wait for him to show up again."
"Well, I hope he pops up before bedtime," Faith complained. "I didn't pack PJs and I'm not giving him another eyeful."
They wound up going from room to room calling for the kid. It was a beautiful place but too freaking big, in her opinion. When Faith looked in the kitchen pantry she found it was fully stocked and her stomach growled loud enough for Wes to hear. "It's a good thing the grocery fairy came. I say we postpone looking for Casper and scare up some food," she said. "I'm starved."
Wes got lunchmeat from the fridge, "I asked the housekeeper to stock up for us," he explained.
Faith eyed the Dukes mayonnaise and sniffed it with suspicion before spreading it on her bread. "This place is weirder than your average Hellmouth."
"Because of the salad dressing?"
"No, because we've got a friendly ghost and a housekeeper I don't have to tip. Me living in a place like this is surreal. I don't see why a trailer wasn't good enough for you."
"I would've made do but I wanted better for you." He said it very casually, but their there was a intense look in his eyes that made Faith squirm.
"You know I'm kind of worried about Katie; what if she's the same age as Casper? He's just a baby."
"I'm not a baby! I'm a big boy!" The ghost popped into being right in front of them looking as solid as they both did, and very mad. " I'm 4 'n a haff , and I'm not Casper, I'm Gordon. I'm Gordon Jamison." He added the last name as if it was definite proof that what he said was true.
"I didn't realize you were 4 and a half - that is big. You scared us popping in that way. Did you see Wes jump? He hasn't done that in a while." Wes took Faith's hand and gave it a little squeeze. She could tell he was impressed with the way she handled the kid.
"It was funny," Gordon said.
"Gordon, does your friend Katie still need help?" Faith asked.
"Golly, yes, I was just there with her. There's other girls too and they're hurted and tied up. I can show you, come on!" Gordon said, obviously upset he had been distracted from his mission.
Wes got weapons from the car and they followed Gordon outside. He led them to some caves right beside a large tree marked with yellow paint. "They're in there," Gordon said, pointing.
Wes said, "Talk about nerve, that's our property line!"
"The Council isn't renting the place for us is it?" Faith accused. "Buying property on a Hellmouth is a stupid ass thing to do. You're lucky we have just haints and ghoulies to spelunk for."
"It's not a good idea to just go in there blindly. We don't have any idea what we are really facing." Wes said, ignoring the issue of the house for the more important problem. He'd asked Gordon how many monsters there were on the way over and the ghost's answer had been very vague.
"You'd rather we keep the all you can eat kiddy buffet open for business in our back yard?" Faith asked. "And if somebody in there is hurt we can't afford to wait and see."
"I didn't say we shouldn't do it. I just said it wouldn't be wise to."
"You can always wait out here with Gordon."
"I'll be right behind you," Wes said.
"I never had a doubt, Scruffy."
It turned out to be a cakewalk. Three redneck vamps and a slimy something or other in a cave well lit by battery powered lanterns. The fight didn't take very long. Wes took care of the demon with his axe and Faith dusted all three vampires without breaking a sweat.
The only surprise was the age of the captives; all three were in their late 20s. They were too late for one girl and had to stake her before she rose. One was an unconscious blonde, and the last girl's name was Rose. Rose was a little battered and had twisted her ankle trying to escape her captors, but she was otherwise okay. Because he was taller and it would be less awkward, Wes carried the blonde. Faith hoped they hadn't failed to help Gordon.
When he saw the blonde in Wes' arms Gordon smiled widely and said to Faith, "Ma'am, I gots to go; Mama's calling."
"Okay, Gordon," Faith said to the little ghost.
"Promise when she wakes up tell Katie I miss playing with her 'k?"
Kate looked at Faith like she was nuts when Faith relayed the message. The only Gordon that Kate had remembered playing with had been her for imaginary friend a few years. She hadn't "seen" him since she was seven. The young women were already explaining away the vamps as disfigured rednecks. She thought it was sad that they had taken her to the cave she and her older sisters used to play in. Well to be honest she'd played with Gordon, while her teenaged sisters smoked and talked about boys.
Wes' research revealed that in 1930 Gordon Jamison had been found dead in that cave. Faith looked for him his body?the little ghost but never saw him again. Saving Katie must've been what allowed him to go home to his mother at last.