Back to the Hellmouth
Giles moved to his office, keeping an eye on the group assembled. Something in the back of his mind was telling him that it was about time to give up. He tried to shake the thought from his head as he dialed the Summers' phone number. It rang five or six times before someone picked up.
"Hello?" an unfamiliar voice answered. It sounded like a child, perhaps seven or eight.
"Is Joyce home?" Giles asked. It was worth a try.
"There's nobody named Joyce here. I think you have the wrong number, Mister."
"Oh, it appears so. Very sorry. Thank you." He hung up and ran a hand over his neck. It wasn't entirely unexpected that with the changes Buffy had made in the past, it could have affected her mother. He silently walked back into the main library.
"What did she say?" Willow asked.
"Um, well it appears that Joyce doesn't live there. I think it's fair to say that she never moved to Sunnydale."
Willow and Xander exchanged glances. "I wonder what else is different," she sighed.
"Maybe Snyder isn't the principal anymore?" Xander suggested rather eagerly.
"Maybe Principal Flutie is still around…maybe he didn't get eaten by hyena people," Willow added.
"Perhaps we should focus on more important matters, like trying to determine where Buffy ended up?" Giles interrupted.
"Where exactly do you think we should look?" Faith asked.
"Well…I suppose we should continue looking through the Watcher diaries. They seemed to chronicle her presence through the 1880s," Giles replied.
Oz flipped to the end of the book in his lap. His brow furrowed as he read the final entry. He let out a noncommittal noise of interest.
"What is it/" Willow asked.
"Not sure. It's the text of a letter the Council sent to an Anne Summers in London in 1889. It says they are aware of her circumstances and not to be concerned. There is another Slayer in China."
"Well it could be any number of things, illness, travel, financial difficulties…"
"Popping out a kid?" Faith interjected.
"Childbirth is a possibility I suppose," he agreed.
"No…it says here that in August of 1888, Buffy had a daughter. Guess it's kind of hard to slay if you have a little runt to take care of."
Willow couldn't help but let out a sigh of adoration. "Buffy has a daughter…that's…wow."
Xander picked up the next book on the top of the pile and flipped open. "Sweet mother of…she had another one!"
"Let me see that." Willow pulled the book from her friend's grasp and looked at the entry. "Aw it's a boy. She's got a boy and a girl."
"Guess she took some serious time off Slayer duty," Faith muttered. "You know I would have figured B to be all about the job."
"Well the nineteen century is markedly different from this one. Roles were more narrowly defined. She would have to devote time to raising her children."
"Giles?" Willow asked after a brief silence.
"Does the Watcher's Council always keeps such close tabs on the Slayer?"
"Well…not generally no. But Buffy was a special case. Perhaps they changed their methods when they realized that two Slayers existed simultaneously."
"You mean you don't remember anything from Watcher school?" Faith laughed.
"So maybe we look for entries on the Slayer in China…see if it was a new thing the Council tried," Oz suggested.
"Yes, very good, Oz,' Giles murmured.
The library fell silent as everyone combed through the remaining texts. They found references to the Slayer in China but nothing as detailed as what the Council had compiled on Buffy. Around the turn of the century however, the information began to dwindle for both Slayers. It appeared the Council either lost contact or interest.
"Look, it says that the last contact the Council had with Buffy was shortly after the turn of the century," Willow said excitedly. "They copied it down. It says that she and her family are moving to America"
"Does it happen to say where in America?" Giles asked, setting his book down.
"Just says the West Coast."
"What if…what if Buffy knew about the Hellmouth being here and moved to the US to protect it?" Faith said, jumping off the table.
"It makes sense. It's not like she could change where the Hellmouth is. She couldn't do that…right, Giles?" Xander asked.
'Oh, right. One does not control where mystical convergences appear."
The afternoon sky was grey with clouds as Buffy ushered JoAnna and Matthew along the docks. William walked behind them carrying the larger bags.
"JoAnna, keep up with your mother," he scolded as the twelve-year-old dawdled at the side of the wooden platform.
"I don't want to leave London, Father," she groaned as they reached the boat that would take them across the Atlantic Ocean to America.
"We have no choice. And it is not proper for a young lady to complain so loudly," he reminded her as he handed one of the dock hands their luggage.
Matthew stood quietly by his mother, his blue eyes looking at every person that passed by. JoAnna had told him frightening stories before bed about monsters that try to eat you for supper.
"Matthew, honey. What's bothering you?" Buffy asked, bending down to his level.
"I don't want to get eaten by monsters," he whimpered.
"You're not…has JoAnna been filling your head with stories again?"
The boy nodded and Buffy let out a breath. She turned to her daughter and gave her a stern look.
"JoAnna, no more telling your brother frightful stories."
"But there are monsters that want to eat you," JoAnna protested.
"Not in the daytime," Buffy said softly. She took both children by the hand and led them up the gangplank to board the ship.
They moved to one of the less crowded areas of the boat and stood together. Matthew looked out over the throngs of people bustling on their way near the docks. He was going to miss living in London but a part of him was curious about where they were going. They hadn't been told much.
"Mother, where are we going?" he asked.
"California," she replied.
"Why there?" JoAnna added.
"Because it's a very beautiful place…I'm told."
"Will it be cold there?" the ten-year-old questioned.
"Of course not silly. It's warm in America," JoAnna said haughtily.
"How would you know? You're a girl…and besides…you've never been there."
"Rosemarie who lived down the street said her brother moved to America and he wrote to her and said it was always warm there," she retorted.
"That's enough out of the both of you. I want you to go below deck and stay there," William ordered.
JoAnna and Matthew shared a disappointed look but did as their father told them. They hung their heads a little as they made their way below deck. They knew it mean their parents wanted to discuss something not fitting for youthful hearing.
"What is so important in California, Anne?" William asked in a low voice.
Buffy looked around at the mass of people crowding onto the boat. She took her husband by the hand and led him as far away from the group as she could.
She let out a breath. "Hellmouth. It's a mystical convergence. It's a gateway for demons and vampires to enter this world."
"And you're certain it is in California?"
"Yes. It's located in Sunnydale. It's a fairly small town, only been around for a few years. But it needs a Slayer to guard it."
"Then to Sunnydale we will go."
The library grew quiet as books began to get put away. No one wanted to say anything that might spark up more 'what if' scenarios. They had to accept that they weren't going to get Buffy back. And from the accounts from the Watcher's Council, she was happy in her life in the past. She had a family and she still managed to get to Sunnydale.
"I can finish up here. Why don't you three go home and get some rest," Giles said, looking at Willow, Xander and Oz.
"Yeah…sleep sounds good," Xander agreed, failing to stifle a yawn.
"I guess I should go home…parents are probably wondering where I've been," Willow sighed.
"I'll drive," Oz said, handing Willow her jacket.
"I…I wish we could have done more," Giles muttered.
"Uh…guys. Not to add to the depressing situation but…where did our hostage go?" Faith asked.
Everyone began to look around the room. Ethan was nowhere to be seen. The chair was empty and the ropes that had bound Ethan's hands lay in the seat.
"Berk. Slipped out on us," Giles grumbled.
"Should we go after him?"
Giles shook his head. "No. Not worth it now. The Council wouldn't be able to do anything and there's noting the police can do."
Faith slowly nodded her head, looking disappointed. "Yeah…guess not."
With small waves, Xander, Oz and Willow left the library. Giles and Faith stood opposite each other, not speaking for a long time.
"I want you to patrol tonight."
"You sure about that?"
"Yes. You are a Slayer after all. Report back to me tomorrow."
"You got it, boss."
The moon was high in the sky as Faith walked through the gates of Restfield Cemetery. She had to admit she was glad Giles sent her out for the night. She needed the air and the exercise. She hadn't been able to get her nightly rush of vampire ass kicking in three days and all the energy sat pent up in her system. She moved through the grave stones, listening carefully to the sounds around her. She stopped short when voices began to drift towards her on the wind. Faith raced forward, clearing a tombstone in her way like a hurdle. She came to a halt behind the cover a tree as a young girl about her own age stood face-to-face with a vampire. She looked familiar but Faith couldn't place her.
"You better run little girl," the vampire said.
The girl said nothing, her hands shoved deep into her jacket pockets. The vampire reached a hand out and clamped it around the girl's neck, lifting her off the ground.
"Not very talkative? I guess I understand," she taunted as the girl began to squirm in the vampire's grip.
From within her pocket, the girl pulled a stake and the vampire let the girl go. She took several steps backwards, nearly tripping over a tombstone. The vampire slowly began to revert to her human appearance when it finally clicked in Faith's head.
"Darla," she breathed. Angelus' old flame.
Faith watched the girl took a few steps forward, jamming the stake through the creature's heart. Darla looked as surprised to find herself slain as Angelus had. As the dust cleared, the girl slid the stake back into her pocket and turned to continue on her way through the cemetery.
"Holy crap!" Faith exclaimed, making the girl stop in her tracks.
Faith emerged from where she'd been watching and walked up to the girl. "Nice slaying."
"I'm Faith. The Slayer around here. You are?" Faith extended her hand and the girl shook it.
"Alden Summers. I'm…sort of new around here."