An Alternate BtVS Season 3:"Mortal Friends; Mortal Foes"

Author: Sherman Barnes aka "Ironbear"

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series, and all characters from those series belong to Mutant Enemy, Joss Whedon, 20th Century Fox Television, Kuzui Enterprises, UPN, Warner Brothers, and David Greenwalt Productions. I'm only borrowing them for the purposes of fan fiction, and only the plot and storyline, and those characters of my own creation belong to me. No profit is being made from this endeavor. Faith's back story draws loosely from that shown in "Go Ask Malice: A Slayer's Diary" by Robert Joseph Levy; Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Episode events and episode dialog quotes, where used, are drawn from the transcripts and summaries at , Wikipedia, and the shooting scripts at (/buffyverse.asp)

Author's Note: What if Faith had arrived earlier in Sunnydale and Buffy had returned a month later? What if the Mayor had had a slightly different goal? What if Spike never made it out of town following the love spell disaster, but met a different fate? Just how far apart is the line between "good slayer' and "evil slayer"? Diverges drastically from canon in many places, especially following "Lover's Walk" and "Bad Girls".

Synopsis:Synopsis: After an encounter with a particularly strong and crazed vampire nearly injures Oz, Faith and the Scoobies make a priority of tracking down the vampiric drug and eliminating it. Buffy's relationship with Pike undergoes strain when he discovers some of what led to her leaving Sunnydale, and she has an encounter with an Irish half-demon who causes her to reaffirm her decision to turn back from her destiny as the Slayer. An exhausted Scooby Gang prepares finally for returning to school, badly needing a vacation from their summer vacation.

Note: This episode is both a bit longer than the previous three, and a bit shorter on action and longer on character interactions.

Word Count: 52,370 total. 49,454 sans Disclaimer, Previouslies, and Credits.

"Night Watchmen"

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Alternate Season 3 Prequel

Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Sunnydale: "I realize that Buffy took off on her own, by choice. And I realize that Faith needs a Watcher." Cordelia cocks her head, and gives Giles a frank look, "No. Faith needs you. She likes you. Someone like Kendra's absentee reprogrammer Watcher would do more harm than good." Cordelia's face goes unreadable for a moment, "It's not all about Buffy, Giles." Giles opens his mouth, and decides that he really doesn't have anything to say to that, and closes it again. Instead, he shakes his head slowly and looks through the bookcase just above her head. The megawatt smile comes back, and Cordelia says, brightly, "And on that note, I'm off. Later." She sweeps out, and he can hear her heels clicking out through the main doors and down the hall for a long time...

Los Angeles: Gunn and the rest of his people are gathered around the courtyard of the old apartment building when Buffy walks in trailing behind Pike. Still uncertain about the impulse that has led her to show up at Pike's workplace when he was getting off, Buffy has to resist the temptation to make herself unnoticeable, or try to. "Hey, Pike," one of the other members of the group calls out - another young black male possibly Gunn's age. He glances over at Buffy with a smirk. "So, Barbie decided to make it after all, huh?" Buffy's spine straightens with a snap, and she glares at him, biting back the impluse to comment. "Yo, Rondell.," Gunn calls out from where he was working at the trigger guard on a crossbow with the help of a slightly younger black woman. "Girl's kind enough to show up to help - she don't need no attitude, hear?" He waves her and Pike over to his direction...

Sunnydale: The cluster of thin, dark figures digging into a fairly fresh grave might not have heard them if they'd walked normally, so intent on their task were they. Dirt sprays up, back, and behind them in all directions as they dig into the soft ground with both hands, like dogs. The wind changes slightly, blowing back towards Faith and the Scoobies suddenly, bringing with it a foul smell of rot and fresh putrefication. "Whoa! Eew." Cordelia says, gagging and waving a hand in front of her face. Willow turns a kind of pale greenish and bends over suddenly with a moan, making retching sounds. Faith hears Xander and Oz both swallowed hard, and she really can't blame any of them: she's too busy trying to keep her own dinner from clawing its way back up. She's smelled better aromas from three week dead former vamp meals in a lair. The two closest of the digging figures' heads snap up at the sounds, and two sets of red, lambent eyes - three per figure - sweep around the area and came to rest on the five hunters. One of them made a guttural squealing noise and four more sets come up as figures scramble hastily out of the partially dug into grave and also focus on Faith and the Scoobies. "Uh," Xander clears his throat nervously, and says in a shaky voice, "Since the element of surprise is now blown, let me just say: my what a wonderful smell we've discovered."

Los Angeles: "No, I... " Buffy's voice comes out weakly. She shakes her head, and says it more firmly, "No." She makes herself meet Gunn's eyes evenly, "I don't mind giving a hand on something like this, when it's too much, but... that's not me any more. I put that behind me and I'm not going back." She spins on her heel and headed to where Pike was talking animatedly to Arturo by the truck, blinking dust out of her eyes. Dust, that was it. "Right." Gunn's lazy drawl follows her away. "Whatever you say, girl." Definitely dust. Vamp dust...

Sunnydale: "So what do we do?" Faith asks, her eyes dull. "We go on, and we do what we can," Giles gives her a tight smile. "For now? We let these people clean you up a bit, and look at and take care of your injuries so we can leave. From Xander and Oz, I'm given to understand those creatures have foul nails and fouler mouths." He gives her shoulder a tight clasp, "And then you go home with your friends and you take care of each other." "Right." Faith nods slightly and searches his eyes as if she were trying to push her gaze through the back of his skull - or possibly somewhere deeper. "Home." She nods again, more firmly and her chin comes up, "I have a home now." Giles watches as an orderly and a nurse lead her into one of the trauma rooms for care, sticking his hands in his pockets. "You most certainly do, child. You most certainly do."


Prologue: Restless Dead, Storms Ahead -

Tuesday August 25, 1998; Sunnydale, Restfield cemetery, night.

The sad thing was, it wasn't even some huge linebacker or WWF star of a vamp. This guy looked like a scrawny, undead accountant with brow ridges and fangs, complete with thick glasses. Rick Moranis on steroids.

Fifteen seconds into the fight, Faith shook her head dazedly, trying to push herself up to her feet against the headstone and get the scene in front of her down to at least stereo vision rather than quadraphonic. Xander was sprawled on his back several feet away, shaking his head and one hand groping for his dropped airrow air-rifle.

A burst from Willow's super-soaker drenched the vamps head and neck in holy water, but instead of shrieking in pain and stumbling back, he shook like a dog, snarling. A slap turned Cordelia's sharpened pole into kindling and sent her stumbling back with a shriek as Oz dove in and tackled the vampire around the midsection.

The vamp stumbled slightly, then grabbed Oz by the collar of his light jacket and peeled him off like a limpet, slamming a fist into the little musician's side and tossing him rolling. As Willow screamed, Oz levered himself up to one knee and then groaned, an arm clutched to his side. Accountant vamp spun on Cordelia and took a long step forward -

- And the butt end of an arrow from Xander's air-rifle stood out from his back briefly before he burst into dust with a wooshing sound. Xander fell back onto his elbow, groaning.

"Jeeze," Faith managed finally to push herself all the way up on her feet and stood, swaying. "Who hit me with a bus?"

"We grow 'em tough on the Hellmouth," Xander remarked. He came up to his feet by inches and stood there somewhat absently checking himself for injuries, wearing a dazed expression. Some yards away, Oz was reassuring a panicking Willow as she helped him to his feet.

"Whoa," Cordelia wandered over to the two of them and slumped heavily against the headstone Faith was supporting herself on. She pushed hair back from her eyes. "You guys all right?"

"Uh... " Faith closed her eyes tightly, then opened them. "Kinda?"

"Yeah," Xander nodded. "Can you help me find my spleen? I'm sure I had a spleen when we started out... "

"Ok, you're fine - you're managing to make jokes," Cordelia stated. "Oz?" She gave the guitarist a worried look.

"Cracked ribs," Oz said. He managed a tight smile, "Otherwise ok." He and Willow came over to join them, Willow supporting him with an arm across her shoulders.

"Think I need a vacation from you guys' summer vacation," Faith said. She blinked, "But at least I'm only seeing one of everything now."

"Wow." Willow said, still looking a bit shell shocked. "Dilbert the Master Vamp?"

"Maybe not," Cordelia put in, frowning. "Look what our Pointy-headed Vamp dropped back there when Xander ripped his jacket... " She held out her open hand.

There was a crumpled, empty glassine packet and a full one containing a familiar reddish crystalline substance lying in her palm.

"Huh." Faith remarked. "Think figuring out what that stuff is and shutting it down just moved way up on the list."


Tuesday August 25, 1998; Los Angeles, Buffy's apartment, late night.

Sheets bunched around her legs, Buffy turned fitfully, struggling to wake up before sinking deeper into a restless slumber.

"You're hurt," Angel says, puzzled. Feeling his soft touch on her arm, Buffy looks down at her wound. Ignoring the cut, she steps forward and he embraces her tightly.

"I... I feel like I haven't seen you in months," Angel says, wonderingly. "Decades even. Oh, my God, everything's so muddled. I... " Buffy accepts the fact that he's really here, surrendering to the embrace. Angel pulls her tighter, "Oh, Buffy... I... I... "

He shoves her away abruptly, his face turning demonic. Buffy stares up into his eyes, horrified. "I think you should go straight to Hell where you sent me," he snickers, cruelly, and Buffy feels taloned hands grasping her arms. She struggles, her face wild, as the scaled demons fling her into the surface of Acathla... "So long, Honey."

Tossing about restlessly, Buffy rolled over in bed, somehow knowing she was asleep. There came a sensation of falling and she struggled to open her eyes as her stomach rushed up into her throat.

With a thump, she comes back to herself, blinking as bright sunlight strikes her eyes.

'Desert,' she wonders, seeing nothing but sand and smooth rolling dunes as far as her eyes could reach. 'Why am I in the desert?'

No - not quite 'nothing'. Ahead, near the top of the nearest dune, she can just make out a small line of figures walking heavily through the sands. Squinting and shading her eyes with one hand, she recognizes Giles, Willow, Xander, and a small purple-haired figure that has to be Oz. The taller dark-haired girl with an arm around Xander's waist then has to be Cordelia... but she can't quite make out the shorter brunette at Xander's other side.

"Hey!" Buffy yelled out, waving her arms over her head. None of her friends turn, or even seem to hear her, continuing up the dune to the crest, appearing to talk and gesture animatedly to each other. "Hey! Wait up!"

Setting off at a run, Buffy takes off after them as they crest the dune and disappear over the other side. Struggling through the sands to the top, she stops, frustrated. The line of her friend's figures were even farther away now than when she'd set off - half way up the side of another hill two dunes over. They disappear over the top even as she sets off again towards them.

"You'll never catch them that way."

Buffy skids to a halt, her feet buried in soft sand as a girl, slightly taller than herself, appears in front of her and farther down the slope of the dune. Appearing to be around Buffy's age, she has dark wavy hair tumbling down her shoulders, and dark brown eyes. A great deal of tanned, bare skin shows around the slashed soft leather short-shorts and tattered halter that's her only apparel, and she leans lightly on the shaft of a long spear.

Dimples appear in the girl's cheeks as a wicked grin spreads across her lips. "You left them behind, and now they're returning the favor."

Hands on her hips, Buffy glares at her. "Who are you?"

"You mean ye don't know?" Another voice speaks from behind her, and Buffy spins to face it.

"Kendra?" Buffy's eyes widen as the name came to her lips. The Jamaican girl smiles mockingly, the side of her throat gaping open and dried blood crusting her neck, chest, and her blouse. "But, you - you're... "

"Dead?" Kendra nods. "And it is on you, I tink."

"No... I -" Buffy started. Looking down, she sees blood dripping from her hands. "No!" She backs away, frantically wiping her hands on her pants legs. Bumping into a soft form behind her, she whirls, her eyes wide. A stake appears in Buffy's hand and the blood runs down to the point.

The dark haired girl gives her a sympathetic look, her face now covered in white clay and stripes of red and black mud and pigment. "No matter how fast you go, you know, you'll never get back to where you were." She cocks her head, smiling, "All that's left is forward."

Kendra chuckles behind her, a wet, horrid sound. "Your time has passed, someone else's comes."

"Maybe she's right," the dark haired girl remarks, shrugging, "Oh well - gotta motor. My friends are waiting." She straightens from her spear and turns, trotting easily across the sands to where the small group waits on a dune top some distance away.

"No! Those are my friends!" Buffy starts off after her, only to feel a dizzying wrench as the world shifted around her, leaving her facing away from the other girl and the dune where the Scoobies stood. She turns back, only to have it spin around her again.

"They need you no more, I tink," she hears Kendra call from behind her. "Choose, and choose again." There's a cracking sound, and the stake shatters and falls in splinters from Buffy's grasp.

Protesting words on her lips, Buffy twists to face the Jamaican Slayer, only to find herself faced with yet another figure - this one dark of skin and matted of hair, with feathers and bones woven in her dreadlocks and streaks of mud cracking on her face. Eyes as black as night, and as devoid of conscience or mercy bore into her own.

"You think you know what you are." The dark woman crouches, glowering in a predatory fashion, "You have no idea."

Before her eyes, the form melts and shifts into that of Buffy's mother, still naked and caked with mud and woven with bones and feathers. "If you leave, you can never come back."

Joyce Summers steps forward, eyes bright, and puts her hands to Buffy's chest and shoves - hard. With a cry, Buffy falls back endlessly, twisting...

"Pickup, Anne," Janice snaps in a harsh voice, and Buffy comes to herself by the order window at Helen's, naked and holding a tray. Table twelve's been waiting on their blood and yak bile for twenty minutes now." She fixes an unsympathetic glare on Buffy. "You've been acting like you're a million miles away, all day. Find yourself and get with it."

Gasping and wild eyed, Buffy sat bolt upright in bed. "Jeeze... "