"What is that, Summers?" Xander towered over Buffy looking confused and slightly hurt, his eyes piercing hers relentlessly.
"Xander, your eye!" The tiny blonde bounced on her heels a few times, smiling. "You've got two eyes!"
"Haven't you heard?" He asked sternly without blinking. "I'm the 6 Million Dollar Man. Now what is that?"
"Huh? What is what?" Buffy peered around, trying to figure out what her friend was going on about. They were standing in the middle of Sunnydale Cemetery, amidst the L stones. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
Xander sighed in frustration and lowered his rifle. "Your clothes, Summers! Your attire! We agreed no neutral colors."
Buffy glanced down at her outfit with raised eyebrows; simple pants and tank combination. "Uh, Xander? My shirt is red."
"You call it red, Slayer. I call it an accident waiting to happen."
"Give her a break, Harris," a familiar Iowan accent approached from behind; Riley Finn, dressed in civilian clothes but wielding a crossbow. "That's the Slayer you're talking to. She knows what she's doing. Besides, I think it suits her. All dressed up like Big Sister; it's very becoming."
"Riley! Oh my God!" Smiling, Buffy ran up and gave Riley a welcoming hug, which he returned with one arm, his other hanging at his side with the crossbow. "What are you doing here? I didn't think you were coming to Graduation."
Grinning a toothy grin, Riley replied, "I know I'm running a little late, but there's no way I'd miss this for the world."
Xander approached grimly, throwing his rifle across his shoulder. "What kept you, soldier? Report."
"Uh, yeah. We had an accident," Riley scratched the back of his head. "I shot Osbourne in the back.."
"Osbourne?" Buffy repeated. "As in Oz!?"
"It's okay," a placid voice called out. "He hit mostly padding."
Out from the shadows stepped Daniel Osbourne, dressed in a wolf costume with an arrow protruding from his left shoulder blade.
"Oz, why are you wearing that?" Buffy asked, examining the cheesy wolf suit. Oz's ever indifferent expression peered out from the open mouth of the rubber snouted beast.
"Wolf in wolf's clothing. She'll never see it coming." He replied.
Buffy looked around in confusion. "Okay, are we all turning into our Halloween costumes again, 'cause I didn't even know it was...Wait, who won't see what coming?"
"You only wish it was Halloween, Slayer," Xander said, maintaining his stern military composure. "At least then you'd have a reason for this foolish masquerade. Osbourne here is simply being strategic; what's your excuse?"
"Xander, I have no idea what you're talking about."
Before Xander could even open his mouth, a static covered voice rang out from the walkie-talkie clipped to his belt.
"Enemy sighted! Rogue Slayer seen headed towards the mausoleum! Over."
"This is it, team!" Xander cocked his M16 and spat into the grass beside him before addressing his company.. "Finn, you're with me. Slayer, you're with wolf-boy."
Buffy glanced frantically around at all her friends. "'Rogue Slayer'? Guys, what's going on?"
Completely ignoring Buffy's plea for explanation, Riley loaded five rounds into his crossbow and held it at the ready. He and Xander nodded to each other and were off without another word.
Oz patted Buffy on the shoulder, "Come on, Buffy. Target's on the move."
"But..." Buffy hesitated before finally running to keep in toe with Oz. "Who're we hunting, exactly? How come I didn't know about this? I'm the Slayer. Shouldn't I know about these things?" Once again, Buffy was ignored.
"Oh right, that reminds me," said Oz, handing her a small yet weighty bundle wrapped in what appeared to be a bloody handkerchief. "You're gonna need this."
Confused, the slayer gently unraveled the object in question. Her eyes grew wide in horror as a glint of steel poked out from underneath the cloth. It was a dagger. Right away she recognized the familiar, unique and deadly design of the weapon in her hand. Buffy felt her stomach sink as she suddenly became very aware of who they were hunting.
"I can't use this..." She said softly while gazing intensely at the orange and crimson stains that plaqued the razor-sharp blade. "Oz?"
Looking up, Buffy saw that she was now completely alone. There was no sign of Oz anywhere. She was alone with nothing but the sound of the wind rustling the leaves of the trees surrounding her.
"Hello?" The slayer looked around, but there was nothing but headstones and foliage in every direction. Wrapping the dagger back up and tucking it into the waist of her jeans, Buffy began walking through the cemetery with cautious steps.
Minutes later, still not having found her friends, the Slayer's cautious steps soon became frantic steps, which then grew into full on sprints. As she ran, she began to notice a thick fog growing around her. She couldn't tell whether or not she was running into it or if it was chasing her.
Not entirely sure where she was or where she was heading, Buffy glanced behind her, only to collide head-on with another speeding object. The impact sent her to the ground where the unkempt grass broke her fall.
"S'up, B?" Buffy looked up to be greeted with that familiar crooked smile that could only belong to one person.
"Faith." The blonde accepted the hand of the younger slayer standing above her and was pulled to her feet. "I'm not too sure what's going on, but everyone's looking for you. And not in a good way."
Faith shrugged, "What else is new?"
"Faith, I'm serious, you need to get out of here."
"Wish I could, but it's not that simple."
Buffy's eyes grew wide in desperation, "They're gonna kill you, Faith!"
"Look, if you're so concerned then help me out," The brunette Slayer shoved her hands into her back pockets and shrugged. "You're the Sheriff 'round these parts. Get me out of here."
Buffy stared sadly into the eyes of the young woman in front of her, who just stared back with the tiniest of smiles spread across her lips. The blonde slayer forced herself to look away.
"Sure you can," Faith reached out to touch the tiny slayer's shoulder but she stepped away, still unable to meet her gaze.
Buffy shook her head, "The team's counting on me. My friends are counting on me."
"So what?" Faith chuckled. "They'll get over it. This has nothing to do with them, anyways."
"Really? Because I'm pretty sure an assault rifle, a crossbow and Oz in a wolf suit would suggest otherwise. They're hunting you! Why are you being so stubborn?"
"They're only hunting me because of you," Faith said very matter-of-fact like.
Buffy's mouth dropped, "Me!? If they're hunting you it's because of what you did!"
A beat. Even she felt the sting of her own words as soon as they left her mouth.
Non-surprisingly, Faith looked taken aback.
"Ouch, B. God, and here I am thinking we were almost done with all this. Shoulda' known better, I guess."
"Hey, don't worry about it. I'm a big girl. And you and I both know a lot about running, don't we?"
Buffy stared at the ground, unsure of how to respond.
"So if that's what I have to do here, then so be it." Faith shrugged. "A few extra laps after all this time won't make much of a difference." She stepped up in front of Buffy, forcing her to look up again. "But if you're not gonna help me, you can either stand in my way or get out of it."
The older slayer stood still but tore her glistening eyes away from Faith's.
Faith sighed, "Right. I guess it is what it is, then." She pushed her way past Buffy without a second glance. "See you around, Blondie."
Buffy closed her eyes, listening to the sound of the other slayer's footsteps beating the grass beneath her as she ran in the opposite direction.
A few minutes later when Buffy lifted her eyelids she was met with a sheet of white and grey. The fog had completely closed itself around her. She could just barely make out her own feet. She ran a few steps forward but it felt as though she was jogging on the spot. It was very disorienting; the slayer could feel herself starting to panic as she spun around searching for a sense of direction and stability. She heard voices shouting off in the distance but couldn't get a grasp on what direction they were coming from.
She called out. The shouting continued, but no matter which direction Buffy ran, the voices always seemed to be drifting in the opposite. So she stopped, stood still and let the fog swallow her whole as she strained to hear past the sound of her pumping heart and heavy breathing.
Soon there was nothing but screaming silence. Then two cracking shots rang out through the air, followed closely by a bellowing, involuntary cry from the depths of Buffy's lungs.
Her eyes flew open, and screaming the other slayer's name, Buffy shot up from her sleep, leaving the fog behind her.