Disclaimer: I own nothing. Legalese, legalese.
"Move, move, move!"
The brunette slayer came flying out of the dim doorway, a spray of bullets peppering the doorframe in her wake. She grabbed the arm of the wide-eyed redhead standing there, nearly lifting her bodily before the girl could tell her feet to get in gear and spare herself the ignominy of being carried down the hallway.
The two slayers ran fast down one hallway after another. The guns still popped behind them, but further back as the girls made a skidding detour into one of the many stinking alcoves the abandoned building offered up. They breathed hard, ears turned to the sound of any following footsteps. Hearing nothing yet, the redhead looked over at her mentor, arching an eyebrow.
"Ok, that sucked." Faith admitted, arching an eyebrow in return that said like you knew that was coming! "Vamps aren't supposed to have machine guns!"
"New York City. Duh!" The younger girl sassed, earning a playful swat to the head, and going on in a sing-song tone "If you'd just let me get in there, but nooo, you made me wait outside."
"Well, I'm sorry. Next time I promise you can make your ass like swiss cheese and I won't stop you." Faith shook her head in mock disbelief, asking the leaking ceiling. "Why they gotta send me the ones with delusions of grandeur?"
"So what are we going to do now, oh fearless leader?" the younger girl asked, her nose wrinkling a little from the stench of alcohol and urine in their current hideaway.
The brunette slayer straightened her shoulders and gave it her best professorial shot: "A slayer should be prepared for any contingency. Like a girl scout." The other girl snorted, and Faith abandoned her shtick to lean in and give the other girl a wicked smile. "I think these vamps are with the terrorists, not against them, so I say we kick some blood-sucking ass."
"Ooh, ooh, teacher, pick me!"
"Yes, Angie Marie?"
"What about the machine gun?"
Faith grinned. "That's a one-trick pony." She picked up a couple of bottles from the corner, swishing around a little of the liquid left behind, then pulled a lighter from her front pocket. "Not gonna be so useful when they're on fire, Ang. Now let's find some rags and have ourselves a little cocktail party!"
An hour later, the two girls looked like any two girls out for a Friday night in the Big Apple. They laughed easily, feeling strong, one-upping each other with stories about the looks on the vamps' faces as they hurtled pell mell out of the building right into the waiting stakes of the dark slayer and, under her watchful eye, her redheaded mentee. It may be New York City, but vamps were still stupid, and slayers were still better. And, at the moment, hungrier and hornier.
At the bar, they shot some pool and wolfed down fries. When Angie picked out a beautiful stud for the evening, Faith just winked and gave her charge a little shooing motion. The girl had been on her own for four years before Willow tracked her down, Faith knew she could take care of herself now. With a last pull on her beer, the dark slayer left for the apartment she and Angie shared, stopping for a couple of pizzas on the way. When Angie came in several hours later, Faith slit one eye open from the couch, watching the girl make her quiet way to her bedroom before putting the remaining pizza in the fridge, turning out the lights, and taking her own little self to bed.
Across the continent, another redhead leaned back at her desk, feeling each vertebrae complain at being hunched over for so long. Strong hands were on her shoulders in seconds, ready to help with the kinks. Looking up, Willow saw her lover's face looking down at her, smiled and closed her eyes.
"You work too hard."
"I know, Ken," Willow kept her eyes closed, enjoying the gentle kneading pressure. "Who knew it would be so much work setting up the school. So much to do, so many girls! I swear we're going to need Xander to set up more electrical outlets in the dorms...too many curling irons means kablooey fuses, not to mention a fire hazard!"
The brunette slayer smiled down at Willow, shhing her. "If these are the problems we've got, we're in good shape."
"I know, I know." The redhead relaxed a little. "Things are good. I've got you. Buffy seems pretty happy, you know, with there being no current apocalypse. Xander's even got a girlfriend. Yes, you're right. Things are of the good! I resolve to henceforth stress less."
"I'll believe that when I see it," the blonde slayer's voice chimed in through the open door. Willow looked over from her chair, smiling at the friend who knew her so well. Buffy leaned against the doorframe, cup of hot tea in her hands, looking...well, serene. That last thought made Willow smile even more, knowing that Buffy's peace had been fought for...hard. It was still too new to be taken for granted, but, since the battle with the First, Buffy was counting blessings and becoming a better leader. Just in time for a horde of slayers-in-training, all wanting to impress the California girl who was more than she seemed.
"And just what are you doing up, little missy? Nobody likes a cranky slayer." Her eyes widened a little as she saw the bandage peeking out from the shoulder of Buffy's tank top. "You're hurt?"
"Oh, no, Kennedy, now I've got to deal with Resolve Face." Willow mock-glared at Buffy while Kennedy chuckled and leaned in to kiss her tired witch. Buffy smiled and yawned, "Don't worry, Wills...I was just attacked by a vicious tree branch—lot tougher than the vampires tonight, as it turned out. Thankfully, between six slayers, we managed to fend it off. You two don't stay up too late—and try to keep it down this time. Slayer hearing, you know." Willow blushed, but managed to break the kiss long enough to wag a salacious eyebrow at Buffy, turning back to matters at hand as Buffy pulled the door shut and went across the hall to bed.
Buffy's bedroom was the upper corner of the big house they'd been lucky enough to find in an old Cleveland neighborhood. The moonlight reflected the home it had become in the last year: the window seat Xander had made for her (complete with built-in weapons chest!), pictures of the Scooby gang before all the mess of death and the First and Sunnydale becoming a big crater of nothing, a photo of her and Mom and Dawnie—the Summers women taking a moment to be happy. From the large bed, Mr. Gordo watched her: the oldest slayer, though you wouldn't know it, except by her eyes. As Buffy slipped between the sheets, she could hear Willow and Kennedy still talking softly; hear Dawn down the hall, listening to music; Xander's snores; Giles still riffling pages from the first-floor study; and, from the dorms, the occasional late-night whisperings and snickerings of the constant slayer slumber party there. It was all some sort of music to her. An easy slay earlier, friends all around, a nice bed and cute pajamas...what more could a girl want?
Buffy knew it was a dream because her hair looked great. I mean, really fantastic. Well, that and she was back in Sunnydale, with it looking less, you know, obliterated. She was walking towards the Bronze, which was really rocking. Music poured out of the open steel door and the darkness inside. It seemed familiar and she quickly placed it once she walked inside and glanced at the stage. The Dingoes. Of course! She spotted Oz, frowning a little at the thought of Willow's wolfy ex, remembering their last meeting. Oz looked at her with a half smile—or quarter smile, given that it was Oz—and winked. Buffy's eyebrows furrowed in confusion as she walked further into the dim club.
Lots of people. Lots of sweaty dancing bodies. She swore she caught a glimpse of her dark counterpart wearing those same insane pants she had worn when Buffy had followed her and K.C. & the Sunshine Band boy outside, intending to save the day. Someone else couldn't really have those same pants, could they?
In the crush of bodies, Buffy found herself pushed towards the dance floor and, what the hell, dancing. It'd been a while since she danced, Cleveland not being exactly dancing mecca and all. She'd chaperoned a few of the younger slayers on a well-deserved night off from patrol. Been once or twice with Willow, Kennedy, Dawn, and Xander. But now she was really dancing! Head thrown back, the music just sounded like a roar. She was sweating and moving, her hair tangling around in her face, flipping back, and she closed her eyes and just danced, ignoring the boys and girls dancing around her and trying to dance with her.
The music was still pounding, but her eyes snapped open, sensing something new. And suddenly she was no longer in the Bronze, but running, at full slayer speed, through one dark cemetery after another. She hurdled gravestones, startling a vamp who didn't even know he was dead until she was past, tasting his ash in her mouth. And, in spite of it all, it tasted good. Sooty and vaguely metallic.
Then she was panting in her old bedroom, wide-eyed.
"Okay, those are so my pants."
She spun to face the other Chosen One behind her, and then looked down to see that she was, indeed, wearing leather pants. Still breathing heavily, she looked up again to watch Faith as she stood across the bed. She looked as though she had been dancing, too, the pulse in her neck throbbing just visibly, her hair wild and flecked with vampire ash. Thank god she wasn't wearing those pants from the club, though! Just regular smooth, black leather. Like Buffy's.
"Good to see you, Faith. Wore my special pants just for you."
"Gee, thanks, B. Been slayin'?"
"I can tell."
"Nothing I couldn't handle."
"Sure, B." Faith flipped her hair back, swept her dark eyes around the room, and brought them back to Buffy. "So...why do we always meet here over your bed?"
"Mind out of the gutter, Faith. You think I'm in control here?"
"Sure don't know who is."
Buffy watched the dark slayer, thinking that she looked a little wiser, a little older.
"That hurts, B. Just hadn't had time for that facial, you know." Faith heard her thoughts and stuck her bottom lip out in a mock pout that made Buffy smile, until both slayers heard something from under the bed between them and went on full alert.
"Um, B. Does your bed usually growl?"