Title: McSteamy versus the Rogue Slayer.

Author: Shulik

Downloaded From: .org/Story-20078

1. Chapter One

Faith belongs to Whedon, Mark belongs to Rhimes.

Enjoy and please review!!!

When Mark was paged into an incoming case in OR Two, he had way too many problems bogging down his mind to really look at the patient that was being brought in. Oh sure, he took in her overall injuries, consulted on the possibilities for her recovery, but he never *looked* at her. If he had, he would have pronounced her features unsalvageable. Lying there, on the hospital bed, she looked like raw meat that had been stretched into a human like shape. All he knew about her at that moment was that she saved Miranda Bailey's life. She and her unborn baby now owed their lives to Jane Doe who had less that a ten percent chance of waking up due to the severity of the injuries sustained when she pushed Bailey out of the way of an oncoming Mack truck.

*Where am I?...Oh Jesus, what did I do?...

Is that pregnant chick ok?

Am I dead?

Please, somebody help me…

Am I dead?..*

Her wallet was lost in the chaos and passersby's weren't able to identify her or who she might have been with at the time. When the ambulance brought her into the OR, they had to cut away her clothes. The leather had gotten so mangled into the flesh and bones it took both Karev and Yang to carefully remove pieces of it from where it had melded into her body. Numerous broken bones, a punctured lung, skin ripped off her back from being dragged across the asphalt, gashes running bone deep, bruising on every surface of skin that managed to survive the collision. Jane Doe could have served as a medical encyclopedia for trauma residents. Mark Sloan was sure that the young woman in front of him would not survive through the night.

*Oh God it's dark…

If I died I don't think it would be this dark and quiet…

Please somebody help me! I don't want to be alone in the dark…

For fuck's sake, I keep Christmas lights in my house year 'round, I don't like the dark.

Please somebody help!!!

Hail Mary, full of grace…*

The next morning he got the shock of his life when Derek, almost hopping with excitement told him that not only was Jane Doe alive, but her brain function signaled no long term damage. It was a miracle, one that Sheppard was planning on fully exploring.

*I can hear voices around me…

I can smell the people sitting by me, the antiseptics in the air…

I'm in a hospital, I'm not dead, thank you, I'm not dead…

Wake up Faith…

Open your eyes.*

A week of very close monitoring and the whole of Seattle Grace was watching the progress of Jane Doe with bated breath. Seven days after flatlining during one of her numerous surgeries, the young woman began breathing on her own. Ten days after that, when the Chief of Medicine was checking out her charts he almost had a heart attack when in the silence of the hospital afternoon, Jane Doe took a deep, shuddering breath. It was like hearing a swimmer break through the waves after almost drowning.

As she began to recover, Mark started noticing just how beautiful the young woman was. It seemed like he had reproduced her individual features on thousands of patients, but had never seen them together on one person. One afternoon, when he and Bailey were checking her stats they began discussing her options for reconstructive surgery. Mark was sure that she would need it, after having an up close and personal meeting with the front of a truck. Just as he started waxing lyrical on the joys that his services would bring to the girl's life, her hand shot out and pulling him down towards her with surprising strength, she rasped out "You touch my face, I break yours. Understood pretty boy?" Besides being beautiful, and now having seen her violent tendencies, Mark found that she was also quite smart. Intelligence shone in her eyes as she warily watched him go about his duties. Three weeks to the day of her admittance, she spoke to him, her voice raspy from trauma and disuse.

"Dr. Sloan? Where am I?" it seemed that she had actually kept track of the people around her. Smart cookie.

"You're in Seattle Grace Hospital. You were brought in three weeks ago with massive blood loss and trauma that we, frankly speaking, didn't think you'd survive. Can you tell me your name?"

She breathed out "Faith Lehane. Is the pregnant woman alright?"

"She's fine, she's better than fine actually. She's a doctor here, she's been to see you every day. She's part of a very large number of people that want to see you get better. Now do you have somebody we can contact for you?"

The young woman smiled, relief evident in her features. Mark, his face inscrutable was startled to discover that he felt a growing protectiveness of his newest patient. She almost died and the second question out of her mouth was whether Miranda was okay.

"Dr. Sloan, I need you to get some salt and chalk for me. Please, it's urgent."

Mark raised an eyebrow at her, "why would you need chalk and salt?"

"It's for a religious practice, ummm, just making sure to stay alive and healthy."

He could tell she was lying, but decided to comply anyway. He was curious for one he got back with what she asked for, she took the chalk from him, drew a little circle on her palm and sprinkled salt inside of it. Then she began speaking in a low tone, Latin it sounded like. As she finished, she lay back down on her bed, a smile creasing her battered face.

"My friends are coming; Willow will be here by tonight."

Mark raised an eyebrow again, wondering whether Sheppard missed brain damage in his previous assessments. Just then, a phone began to ring nearby in the nurse's station, urgently, frantically. The young woman turned her head towards the window that looked out at the station; the night nurse who was now speaking in hushed undertones was periodically looking at the direction of her room. A smile graced her lips and she went back to sleep.

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2. Scoobies

Disclaimer: The usual. I don't own Whedon's characters, and I certainly don't own Rhimes's work. Otherwise the last season of Grey's would not have happened.

Timeline: Season two for Grey's, post-Chosen for Buffy.

You watch her breathe as she sleeps. Her hair dark, with golden strands, it illuminates the stark bruises on her skin, her paleness almost blending into her covers. She looks young, soft, vulnerable when she's not putting up her defenses, when she's not trying to get on your nerves with every word. Her eyes are closed, dark lashes fanning against her sharp cheekbones. She should start putting on weight now that she's back on solid food, you frown at your thoughts, clucking over her like a mother hen. When she sleeps you can't see her laughing gaze directed at you, the whiskey depths mocking with every glance. You can't hear her throaty voice calling out "Hey Marky-mark", a ridiculous new nickname she's come up with to pass the time. She's much calmer, less threatening, less brash when she sleeps. You decide that you like both sides to her.

Mark frowned as he neared Faith's room. , he mentally gave himself a kick in the head. When had he started thinking of his miracle patient as Faith?

There are voices coming out of there, teenage girls' voices, along with Faith herself, and a man's laugh that makes Mark scowl as he hurries inside.

There are five extra people inside his patient's room. Three of them are sitting near Faith, a young red-headed woman in her twenties and a man with an eye-patch that seems to be the same age. Gesticulating wildly while telling a story that's making Faith laugh is a younger woman with long chestnut hair down to the small of her back, and a breathless voice that is carrying on too fast for Mark to make out the story. As he comes into the room, he notices that the two teenagers who were propping up the chairs near the door are now standing at attention, their backs to the exit, their gazes wary. Mark is reminded of soldiers, of Hunt at his most dangerous.

"Hey Marky-mark, so what's the haps today?" she grins, her eyes sparkling.

"Good morning Miss Lehane, I see that you have visitors today. Let's try to have them out before you collapse again, alright?"

She had collapsed two days previously, when a short blonde named Bunny came to visit her and ended up shouting at her about accepting her duties as a leader. A leader of what, Mark had to wonder, Faith didn't seem like the ambitious type, and try as she might, Bunny just didn't seem to strike the fear of God into him the way Bailey did. Maybe they were part of a sorority. Mark almost smashed his car into a pole, driving home after work once thoughts of barely clothed coeds having pillow fights began to invade his head.

Faith's voice brought him back to reality.

"Chill dude, it won't happen again, besides, me an' B, we were just having some logistical disagreements."

The guy who Mark had managed to ignore up until now sounded his opinion of her words "Logistical eh? You been reading the dictionary while enjoying the high life in Seattle?" Everyone grinned at his words, and Faith gave a snort of amusement.

"Yeah Xand, I pushed the preggo out of the Mack truck's way for amusement. Don't you know, almost dying is how the oldies get their shits and giggles in our field of employment?"

The atmosphere dropped a couple of degrees of amusement. Everyone shifted and the redhead looked guiltily at the younger brunette.

"anywayyy, this fine specimen of doctor-hood, is Mark Sloan. He's going to make sure that my amazing good looks and healthy appreciation for living come back to me fast enough to be out of here for the May festivities. This is Dawn Summers, Willow Rosenberg and Alexander Harris. My associates and sometimes family." Faith introduced him to the people surrounding her, Mark scowled when she mentioned Alexander.

"So who are the silent twins near the door then?" Mark felt a little belligerent once he took note of the way Cyclops's hand was resting on his patient's shoulder.

" Junior associates." Faith smiled sunnily, and for some inexplicable reason Mark's heart skipped a beat. Her whole face lit up when she smiled, she even had freaking dimples.

Willow and Xander exchanged looks of incredulity at the interaction between the former rogue slayer and the handsome doctor. Between him giving Xander the evil eye, and Faith smiling at him with a real smile not one of her 'Come and fuck me' smirks, the situation was getting very interesting.

"Well alrighty folks, we're going to go. We're staying at the Hilton for a couple of days, just to make sure that Faith here has everything she needs to be able to recover swiftly. We'll be back tomorrow." Xander stood up stretching his hands over his head.

Willow leaned down to brush a kiss over Faith's forehead. "Faithie, get better. We love you, we worry about you. You know you're a part of the fam now, come back to us. Who else is going to make Giles so flustered that he has to buy a new pair of glasses every month? I swear, he hasn't O Lorded in three weeks. It's unnatural is what it is."

They stood up, the girls at the door snapping to attention, Dawn gave Faith a light hug and waved at Mark as they filed out. Xander nodded at him, his eye roving through the doctor as if he could see every thought taking place in Mark's head. The two teenagers filed out at the end, shoulder to shoulder, almost looking like bodyguards to the three people preceding them.

Mark glanced over at Faith, she was half sitting up, her arm in a sling, the bruises marring her skin, and yet she was watching him with the same inscrutable gaze that she first awarded him once she had awakened. The easy manner that she had with her friends had slipped off her face as soon as they left, careful blankness over her features.

Mark felt unsettled, tired almost. He was torn between the absolutely alien desire to sit next to her, envelop her in his arms and make sure that she couldn't leave him, wouldn't leave him, and the desire to run out on the woman making him terrified.

So like a true manly man, he took the second option and bolted without saying anything.

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3. Screw up

Previous disclaimers apply

Mrs. Westerson had come in for a routine rhynoplasty. The fourty something blonde woman was fit, healthy, had looked after herself for as long as she could remember and could have easily passed for a catalogue model. Not runway mind you, but catalogue. She looked approachable, human but beautiful. Mark as one of the eastern seaboard's most successful plastic surgeons could easily distinguish the difference.

Nothing should have gone wrong with the surgery, it was routine, mundane, almost boring. Then when everything went to hell, and Mrs. Westerson's blood pressure started dropping, it became that much more complicated. Her vital signs started zigzagging, her heart rate dropped almost instantly. Her nails, beautifully manicured but clear of polish, started turning blue.

Mark worked feverishly to bring her back, he wasn't an OR surgeon, he wasn't even freaking Derek. His patients didn't die on his table during routine surgeries, they came in, got whatever they needed fixed and left all the while thinking themselves better, more beautiful. Ten minutes after one of the nurses had cheerfully remarked to Mark that the surgery was almost finished, and whether he had any plans for this evening he called the time of death. was dead, an allergy to the anesthesia. Something that should have been caught early on in the game, she should have known about an allergy to one of the most common anesthetics, but yet she didn't. They should have dug deeper in her patient history, they should have asked more questions. Done something to make sure that they wouldn't have to be talking to her kid about the fact that his mom had gone to fix her nose, and was now lying pale and broken on a gurney, waiting to be taken to the morgue.

He walked down the halls, numb, devastated, confused. It wasn't the first time he had lost a patient, hell, he'd done enough "fix its" on car crash and disaster victims to know that shit happens. People die. But for some reason, today is different for him. He can't come to grips with the fact that he's lost a patient, someone that wasn't even concerned with the possibility of a fatality when they came to him. He carried on walking, his legs automatically shuffling along, hands wringing his surgical cap- he was too tired to feign surprise at the fact that even moving on autopilot, he still came to see Faith. She of the loud mouth, the obnoxious questions and the whiskey colored eyes.

He stood at her door, waiting for something, a signal, anything to remind himself why he came to see her. Looking up from where he had started to studiously count the tiles on the linoleum floor, he noticed that she was sleeping. Well, he could deal with that, he reasoned to himself. Turning to seat himself in the chair by her bedside, Mark was shocked to find that his mouth had already opened and began to spew the tale of his horrific day. The discovery that no matter how hard he worked, he still couldn't bring back a patient that he should never have lost in the first place. The guilt, the anger, the hurt. He found himself pouring out everything in a furious whisper, glad that she wasn't awake to ask him why he was sharing with her, not Derek, not even freaking Addison. He talked on and on, emotions rolling off him in waves until the moment when he couldn't speak anymore. He just sat, exhausted, blank. The overload of the day's emotional crap had finally caught up to him, and he was feeling disoriented, empty. He stared out of Faith's window, the leaves outside fluttering in the breeze, his guilt coming back up to swamp him like a monster from an oldies horror movie. And just as he was about to really start brooding, he got the shock of his life. Because at the moment when he hit the emotional bottom, his right hand felt the unmistakable squeeze of a much smaller, daintier hand. And as he lifted his gaze up in shock, from looking at the bruised hand with the two missing fingernails that was his current lifeline, he found himself falling into a deep, empathetic gaze. Whiskey colored eyes gazing at him with such sorrow, compassion and understanding, Faith lifted his hand from where she was clutching it, and softly placed a kiss on the inside of his wrist, burning him with her breath and making him shiver in anxiety that he thought he had lost twenty years prior.

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4. Complications

Usual disclaimers apply.

A/N. Muahahahha. I'm about to do something really evil with everybody's expectations regarding the main pairing of this fic. My muse has run amok on me while cackling something about the "hot feebies". *BUT* fear not! Faith will end up very happy with somebody who will be very good for her.

It had been a week since the "unfortunate incident", as Faith had taken to dubbing it in her head. In that time, Mark had not come back, and Faith had come to rue ever setting her gaze on the playboy doctor. She was healing at such an accelerated rate that Bailey, who had taken on the role of her attending doctor, was almost salivating on the prospect of interviewing Faith and testing her other reflexes for a prominent New England medical journal. Faith being Faith told her to screw off, but then added that she'd never, *ever* consent to such a procedure and that she was happy Bailey was alright.

Being stuck in the hospital was making the slayer snappy and rude, not being able to kill demons was making her skin crawl with unrestrained anxiety and a barely contained rage. Plus, the whole thing with Mark totally threw her off her game.

All of this added to Faith feeling mighty pissed the morning that Dawn and Xander appeared wearing official IWSC badges in her room. They were both grim faced with the news that they would be bringing to the Second Slayer in Charge. When they walked in Faith was in the middle of bitching out a nurse because of the disgusting hospital food they had. She took one look at their faces and immediately asked the nurse to leave, who was only too happy to oblige on of her most uncooperative patients.

-Is it a situation?" Faith immediately asked the pertinent question.

-Yes. It's bad." Xander cleared his throat and handed Faith a file.

She opened it almost hesitantly, the subconscious fear that this would be the apocalypse that she wouldn't survive, making her hands shake a bit.

Pictures of young girls peppered the pages, their statistics, which House they belonged to, who was their Head Slayer, when they were called.

Faith looked up.

-"What is this?"

This time it was Dawn that spoke up.

-"This is a list of all the missing slayers in the Seattle area. Girls have not been coming back from patrol for the last week and a half. Two hours ago we got a call from the Deputy Director of the FBI informing us that our girls have been discovered in a mass grave fifty miles outside of Seattle, the local PD has asked the FBI's BAU for their help. They think it's a mass murderer targeting a specific group, namely our students. In about half an hour, the BAU plane touches down

and then they'll be coming to see us."

Faith growled, a sound of rage, anger and incoherent thought stuck in her throat.

-"Why the fuck didn't we know that girls were disappearing? Why did no one sound the alarm?"

She eyed Dawn who worriedly looked at Xander.

Faith turned her head towards him.

"Who's the fucking HS in Seattle?"

A silence descended on the room.

"ANSWER ME! I wanna know who the fuck is responsible for making sure that I get to talk to these girls mothers' about how they died heroes!" Her roar shocked Mark who had been coming into the room, but stood in the doorway unnoticed by the occupants.

It was Dawn who finally gave out a name.

"Kennedy."

The rage that descended on Faith at Dawn's simple answer was enough to make both Dawn and Xander take a hurried step back away from the bed. Faith sat there, knowing that Kennedy would never have called Cleveland House knowing full well that her ex was heading up a Wicca patrol there. She would never have called to ask for Buffy's help, or God forbid to admit that she actually needed some. She was proud, she was reckless, and now because she didn't want to admit that she kept losing slayers, she was responsible for the death of five sixteen year old slayers.

Faith swung her feet around to step down from the bed and Mark chose that moment to step into the room. Everyone looked at him with varying degrees of hostility, but it was surprisingly Xander who took the first step.

"Hey Doc Sloan, how's the fascinating world of plastic surgery today?"

Mark could only gape at the switch in the young man's demeanor. Two minutes ago they were discussing death and somebody related to the Kennedys, now he was grinning and punning like there was no tomorrow. In the interest of not looking like a fool, as he was unable to come up with a comeback, Mark chose to ignore the one-eyed man and sidestepped

him to face Faith and Dawn. They were standing together, their poses mirroring each other in an almost comical way, both with glaring at him with their hands folded across their chests. In a moment of rare masculine stupidity, Mark couldn't stop a smirk coming across his features at the thought of what these two feisty girls could do to him.

", you shouldn't be out of bed yet. In fact, by all medical standards, you shouldn't be eating solid foods yet.

Knowing you though, why don't we just stick to keeping you immobile so you don't impair your healing process?"

He gave both Faith and Dawn one of his patented charming grins and was shocked to see that it wasn't working. In fact, it seemed to make both women glare at him even harder.

Faith eyed him with her long patented, 'up and down' gaze.

"Marky Mark, both me and you know that I'm not going to be lying down much longer. I'm already healed to almost 80 percent of my capacity, I'll be fine within the week. Now I have an emergency to deal with, so be a good boy and get Bailey for me."

Dawn just raised an eyebrow and gave Mark an evil looking smirk while Xander stiffened his spine at Faith's words. The girls had spent the previous night discussing what happened and had come to the conclusion that Mark was a horny idiot.

That plus the current crisis were all contributing factors to Mark's less than cool welcome in Faith's room.

The man at whom the patented slayer glares were directed at, decided that it would be best if he did in fact find Bailey to deal with an increasingly hostile situation and backpedalled out of the room throwing out one last phrase.

"I'm sure Doctor Bailey will be persuaded that it is in fact in your best interests to stay in your room for the nearest future,

I'll make sure to send her in."

Faith just sighed and turned to Dawn, "Little D, I hope you brought me some threads. Especially if we're going to be dealing with the Feds." She gave a mock shudder as Dawn grinned and reached into a bag that she was carrying with her to pull out Faith's favorite pair of leather pants and a comfy long sleeved shirt. She hurriedly explained her choice in the top when the dark slayer raised an eyebrow at her conservative fashion choice.

"I thought that you wouldn't want them to see the bruises, we don't need any extra attention and besides you need to be projecting a good image if we're going to be working with the Federales. There's no way in hell we're letting some randoms find out what happened to our girls without us there."

Faith smirked at Dawn's heated diatribe, but inside she was seething. It was always painful when one of the mini-slays died, but when seven of them did and within the space of such a short time- Faith was going on the warpath to see justice extracted for their deaths.

An hour later, a visit by an incredulous Bailey who was cajoled, bullied and finally whined into letting Faith out of the hospital *at least* for a couple of hours, the three Scoobies stood in Faith's room tensely waiting for the arrival of the BAU's best and brightest. As they were talking quietly among themselves, a cough sounded in the doorway surprising nobody as everyone had been able to sense the six extra humans standing outside Faith's room but nobody had wanted to make the first move.

As they filed in, Faith mentally picked out the leader of the group, her Slayer senses automatically cataloguing the new arrivals by their threat capacity.

A dark haired man in his late thirties stepped towards Xander and the two girls and introduced himself as Special Agent Hotchner, the Italian older man behind him as Special Agent David Rossi, a brunette with blunt bangs as Special Agent Emily Prentiss, a young blond woman as their liaison Jennifer Jareau and two men that stood close together as

Special Agent Derek Morgan and Dr. Spencer Reid. Both Faith and Xander automatically identified Morgan and Rossi as the most dangerous ones out of the group and made mental notes to keep a closer eye on the two men.

Meanwhile Rossi continued from where Hotchner left off.

"Mr. Harris, you and have both been identified as the heads of the North Americal ISWC branch including the Joyce Summers School for Girls. We are very sorry to inform you that we have found your missing students, and that we need to ask you some questions in regards to your work with them."

The BAU team was a little wary to see that the mention of their missing students did not solicit any reaction from the three young people except for a flicker of sadness passing through the younger brunette's blue eyes and a flash of rage briefly projected in the movements of the older one.

"I'm Faith Lehane, this is Alexander Harris and Dawn Summers. Both me and Xander head the North American branch of the ISWC, and Dawn is Deputy Director of the European branch. These girls were our students, but here's the real nitty gritty of the situation. Besides heading a school for gifted girls, we also do contract work with the US government and as such we're authorized by the Head Honcho himself to invite ourselves into any Federal, Local, hell, *ANY* investigation in the free world. I know you're going to want to check that, so go on and skedaddle to do whatever the hell you do, while we wait and you get told that *yes* we are coming with you, and that *yes* we do have the authority to investigate the deaths of our students. It ain't a conflict of interest, we *have* done this before and if you play *real* nice, then we'll even answer some of your questions. Got that buckos?"

Everyone was left speechless by Faith's words, the BAU even more so because it seemed that they were either dealing with some twenty year olds that had more security clearance than the whole FBI combined, or they had just walked into a madwoman's room. Either way, Morgan quietly got his cell phone out to call Garcia to check up on Faith's words.

Dawn looked at Xander who cast a worried glance at Faith. It seemed that the dark slayer was heading on the warpath, and damn anyone that would be getting in her way.

Now if only he could convince himself that it would be a good idea to give Seattle House a warning to get Kennedy out of the country before Faith came looking for her.

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5. Words

All the characters in this story belong to their respective creators.

Derek Morgan was shocked; he was flabbergasted with wonder about how a group of twenty somethings could have security clearances higher than any of the big-wigs in the Bureau. He was also wondering how a pardoned ex-convict managed to become head of an international organization with ties spreading wider than the UN's.

Outwardly though, his demeanor showed none of his concerns, his usual black sunglasses helping him keep an even gaze on the situation without looking as freaked out as he felt. Faith Lehane was twenty five years old, had served three years for a murder two conviction, had been pardoned by both the governor of California in 2003, and then the US president in 2004.

She completed a GED by distance education when she was twenty one, she was currently employed as Head of the North American branch of the ISWC and she was a Sagittarius.

Summers seemed to be the typical geek in their little group, always providing the answers to whatever questions Lehane growled out at her and staying by Harris's side. Her eyes too big for her face, she seemed somber when Lehane raged; she was quiet when Lehane yelled and she provided the soothing touch to Lehane's beast. She was also knowledgeable in things that a flighty twenty one year old shouldn't be, she was educated with a PhD completed already and she asked too many questions about FBI procedures.

Derek felt responsible for her already in the hour that it took them to contact the President and to ensure that Lehane and Summers, the girls having decided after a quick conference with Harris that they would be taking point on this and would contact HQ only for backup as needed. She was annoying, she was beautiful, and she was beginning to feel like a particularly irksome younger sibling. Morgan had her firmly grouped with Reid in his mind, the two very young geeks almost comically alike.

Lehane on the other hand, well… She boggled his mind, the predator vibes coming off her making him edgy and twitchy. She prowled the floor of her hospital room, and Derek was still fucked up with incredulous thoughts that three weeks ago she was hit full on by a Mack truck and now was standing right before him. And when she wasn't prowling the room, she stood near the window with her eyes closed and Morgan could have sworn that he saw her meditating on her feet a couple of times.

Finally Garcia had called back and informed Hotch and Rossi that not only had the President approved of their little add-ons, but he had also wholeheartedly recommended them as the best of the best.

JJ approached Faith as the leader of the two and handed her a file with a grim, resigned air. She hated this part of her job, and knowing that the victims were seven sixteen year olds was a particularly gruesome experience that she never wanted to repeat again.

"These are the files we've compiled on the murders so far, including the crime scene evidence and the photos."

The team watched warily as Faith's eyes slowly widened while looking at the pictures.

"What the fuck is this? What the fuck happened to them?"

Dawn moved closer to Faith so that if need be she could offer support of at least distract her from attacking the team as

Faith was looking highly unstable.

Hotch frowned at the two very young girls in front of him.

"We are partners in this investigation; I will not censor my words around you because you knew the victims."

Dawn eyed him coolly, "Special Agent Hotchner, just spit it out. We're fine and we'll stay this way."

"The girls were all mutilated before they were killed. Their hands and feet were cut off and then they were tortured before being killed by two gunshots, one in the heart, and one in the back of the head. We are currently compiling evidence on the torture methods that were used, but you should be warned. It's one of the ugliest crime scenes I've ever seen."

Dawn gagged a little in her throat at his description of what the girls went through, but then she automatically glanced at

Faith and really wished that this day wasn't happening to them. The older slayer was deathly pale, her pupils dilated in obvious fear. Distress radiated off her body. Faith turned to her,

"Oh God, Dawnie. They cut off their hands and feet, they cut off their sources of power. Without our limbs we're useless, we can't fight, can't move. And then they fucking executed them… Whoever did this was human, Dawn. A fucking person killed seven of our girls."

Dawn was horrified to realize that Faith was right, whoever killed the girls knew exactly what they were and what their biggest fear as slayers would be- helplessness. They broke them physically and psychologically before executing them for a reason that they still had to figure out. A human had killed seven slayers, maybe even several humans, and Dawn was terrified of what she would find at the end of this investigation.

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6. Animal.

Disclaimer: Faith and Dawn belong to Whedon.

The Criminal Minds characters belong to their respective creators.

Faith stared at the scene before her. She was one of the Council most experienced field slayers, she had experience with things that would be giving the Feds around her nightmares for weeks to come. But *this*. This was a whole new level of horror. Dawn had that careful blank look on her face that she got when looking at human bodies, the Feds were doing their own thing- talking to the local PD, taking notes on the case and trying to profile the victims. All Faith could do though, was stare blankly at the seven mutilated bodies. She knew two of the girls personally, had in fact supervised their transfer from Cleveland House to Seattle. They were both young, enthusiastic about their new calling and bursting with energy. Now they were nothing but horrifying reminders of what really befell a slayer in their world; death, torture, pain.

She turned around and headed straight to Hotchner and Rossi who were busy conversing in quiet tones away from the local cops.

", can I ask you a question?" Rossi was beginning to get the look on his face. The look where questions like: Why would somebody bother to torture seven sixteen year olds from the same school? Why did their school supervisors have to come down themselves to investigate their deaths? Faith knew that sooner or later they'd have to have a round of Q and A's and she really wasn't looking forward to explaining the supernatural to Federal agents.

"Ask away, but call me Faith. We're going to be working together on this and I sure as hell won't be calling anyone Special Agent this and that every time I need to speak to you guys. Takes too long."

Hotchner almost grimaced at Faith's insistence on breaking protocol but Rossi had a fleeting smirk playing on his lips. She could see that he was amused by her and it was unnerving to see a Fed that didn't want to take her down for her crimes and that thought she was funny.

She turned to Hotchner again.

"Our school is special, private. It's for students that share certain traits, you might even call them gifted. Chosen. Everything else about our school is classified, but I will tell you one thing. The rosters of our students are behind some heavy duty security, only certain people have access to them."

Faith finished with her speech and started walking back to Dawn. It never ceased to amaze her how much she had grown up and matured since Sunnydale. Twenty five years old, she was calmer than she'd ever been before in her life, she was more secure in her position as a slayer and she finally felt at home with the Scoobies. This scene though, seeing the bodies of seven of her girls. If she wasn't a slayer this would have killed her. As it was though, all Faith could think about was that she wouldn't let this happen to any other slayer. Every one of the girls knew that they would most likely die a violent death, but they all assumed it would be by supernatural means. None of them had ever thought that they would die because a human specifically targeted slayers.

She turned to Dawn who was walking around the scene with a small digital camera to make sure that she had proof to send back to Headquarters, and told her to contact Seattle House.

"I want them all on lock down. As of now, nobody goes in, nobody goes out."

Dawn nodded wearily, the understanding that they'd have to now confront the girls who were probably friends with the murdered lay heavy on her. She knew Faith would love to deal with Kennedy on her own, but that she would actually stop and listen to the other members of the council.

"I also want to contact the Council Heads. We need to start getting a move on with the Kennedy situation, find Willow first and have her do a 'locate and lockdown' on Kennedy."

And there it was, Faith's growled order that would lead to Kennedy getting her ass kicked.

After the destruction of Sunnydale and the activation of all the potentials, the Scoobies who had now expanded to include Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Faith, Oz and Dawn, decided that in order to be able to function better- the mini slayers, after going through a year long training regimen in Headquarters, were to be divided into squadrons as needed in the world's major metropolitans. They were to be headed by the older slayers who in turn were vigorously trained under Buffy and Faith.

The world's oldest living slayers had to be absolutely sure that the young girls they would be sending to fight would be safe with their House Heads. The Slayer Houses were bases of operation, run by a House Head- an older slayer approved by the Council Heads, and by a House Watcher- somebody that the council trusted to keep the girls safe both on and off the field. The new generation of watchers were fighters and academics, they would research and they would slay right along with their girls. It was a good system, one that worked and worked well. At least until Kennedy slipped through the cracks. She had passed through the physical tests and training with flying colors, channeling her natural aggression into spectacular fighting. Her psychological training left a lot to be desired, the ex-military psychologist who headed the training programme made constant recommendations that Kennedy, before being allowed to lead a squadron, should have to undergo psychological profiling and counseling. All slayers were territorial and aggressive, this is why the House Heads had to work so closely with , a calm orderly man that Buffy had managed to steal away from the military. He came with glowing recommendations, he knew his business and he had experience in working with war veterans in order to make them cohesive parts of their unit. Reggie was the shiznit, as Faith declared, and Reggie repeatedly told the Scoobs that Kennedy was not ready to lead twelve girls without the threat of Buffy and Faith violence hanging over her head. The Council had a very difficult time making the decision on whether or not to send Kennedy into the 'real world', and it all came down to a vote between the Heads. Buffy and Xander decided to support their best friend in her new relationship with the slayer in question and so they voted pro. Faith and Vi voted con, they had worked with Kennedy in the field and knew exactly what she was capable of and in no way or shape did they want her leading twelve young girls. Giles hemmed and hawed but eventually decided on pro, he wanted to 'give the young woman a chance.' Eight months after the decision was reached, Kennedy and Willow had broken up. And six months after that, seven girls went missing to turn up dead, with limbs torn from their bodies and their eyes full of pain and betrayal that the bright future they had been promised would never come.

As Dawn stood talking on her cellphone to Willow and Buffy, Faith turned around to see Morgan coming up to her. And my, my, my… In different circumstances, Faith would have loved to see him naked and writhing under her. He was beautiful, his skin the colour of great milk chocolate and his body honed by years of physical work like chasing down criminals. 'Like me,' Faith had to remind herself that she and Morgan were indefinetly on different sides of the fence. She now worked with the Feebs, and was counted as a part of law enforcement. But at the end of the day, Faith Lehane, was the non-conformist, the punk that would forever rejoice in surrounding herself with chaos. And Derek Morgan, no matter how beautiful, was still a cop with serious eyes and a government sanctioned gun that he probably slept with. Faith snickered at her thoughts and then turned her full attention to Morgan who didn't seem to notice that she'd tuned out quite a while ago.

"…we're going to continue with the investigation. We have to talk to the girls' parents and we still have to take a look inside the school. I assume that you're coming with us."

"Hell yeah lover, can't be missing out on you getting to know our girls. Besides, Auntie Faith's going to be supervising the removal of the current head of our Seattle branch. She's been a real bad girl, can't have her be in charge of the kiddies anymore."

Faith licked her lips as she treated Morgan to her patented 'elevator gaze'. Up and down her eyes went, with an extra long pull into his gaze. He raised an incredulous eyebrow at her antics on a murder scene and stalked back to his unit.

'What the fuck is wrong with me?' Faith was mentally banging her head against the wall for acting like a slut when seven of her indirect charges had been found murdered. Unfortunately Dawn was standing right behind her and had been a witness to Faith's shameful little innuendo laced talk with Morgan.

"What the fuck is going with you? I *know* you've changed. I *know* you've got your shit together. What the hell? Why are you reacting to the Fed like this?"

Dawn was pissed off and incredulous that the twenty five year old woman in front of her, had just reverted to her seventeen year old persona within the space of thirty seconds. Hence she was swearing a little more than usual.

"I have no frickin idea little D. All I know is that something inside of me reacts to that man so fast, all I want to do is climb him like Mount Everest, stake my claim on him by tattooing my name on his chest and then show him what stamina really is."

Faith was actually blushing as she said this. Maybe it was the slayer part of her, but whenever she was around Morgan- her most primitive reactions usually turned themselves on, and all she could really do was respond like the predator she was deep inside.

She tried to switch the subject to the matter at hand.

"Did you call Willow and B?"

"Yeah, Wills is calling an astral meeting as we speak. We should get you back to the hospital, because in about thirty minutes you're going to go into a mystical sleep. I'd much rather it be somewhere where your vitals are monitored, we still don't know if you're fully recovered after the Mack truck incident."

Faith nodded her head, she was too confused to really start arguing with Dawn plus she knew that her proposed plan actually made sense.

"Alright, let's bounce. We still gotta check in on Seattle House, I wanna know what the plan is for Kennedy and if they have a lockdown on her yet. I'm sure she ain't sitting in her room, waiting for punishment to come strolling through the front door."

Dawn flung her purse onto her other shoulder, it was heavy- filled with a camera, several texts, a notebook, a water bottle and some grape Kool-aid.

"Yeah, alright. But we're still going to try to get to the bottom of your little thing with Morgan. You can't be going all call of the wild whenever you get near him, we still have a whole investigation to work through together."

Damn it, Faith groused to herself. Just like older sis, whenever Dawnie got her little claws in something, there was no way in hell she was letting it go.

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7. One

Usual disclaimers apply.

Please enjoy the story and review if you like it :)

Positive reinforcement gives my muse the happies and makes me work on the story in the middle of my lunch break.

As they came back to the hospital, the first person they saw as they walked through the doors was Mark talking to an attractive redhead near the nurses' station. From their body language and the heat between them, both Dawn and Faith could see that they had a long history. Mark looked agitated as he gesticulated at the woman while she looked worn out and tired. Finally she had enough and snapped something at him, Mark immediately looked chagrined and a little wistful. Dawn looked at Faith with worry, she knew that the older woman had a connection with the doctor who was staring after the redhead with such heartbreaking longing. Therefore she was very surprised not to see the expected pain on Faith's face, the slayer had a lopsided smirk playing on her lips. She turned to Dawn and whispered "Holy shit, this hospital has more drama than Passions."

Dawn looked at her askance.

"You've spent waay too much time with Spike. Cut back on the soaps woman."

Faith grinned and started to walk towards Mark who was standing with a defeated slump to his shoulders. She leaned on him as she slipped a friendly arm into the crook of his elbow.

"So that was the infamous Addison. You going to be okay there Marky Mark?"

He looked a little startled at her words.

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"I dunno, but I'm guessing the little love triangle you've got going on there is a wee bit stressful."

Mark looked even more startled and he narrowed his eyes as he took in her smug grin. Faith smiled even wider.

"You guys *really* ought to keep your personal biz out of the workplace. The nurses here gossip like crazy, one of you goes on call and they make bets whether any of the others will be joining for an afternoon delight."

Faith snickered at her words but abruptly stopped as a mask of anger slid onto Mark's features. He looked furious.

"Stay out of it," he snarled but as he turned to walk away from Faith, she grabbed his arm with shocking strength.

"I'm sorry. Shit… My mouth is just running away on me today. You're right, it's none of my business, but I like you Mark. Come by my room at ten tonight, we need to talk."

He nodded tersely, still a little wide eyed at her admission that she liked him. He acknowledged Dawn with a curt 'Miss Summers' and started the walk to the OR, his mind full of Addy's biting words.

Dawn sauntered up to Faith with a very Spike-like raised eyebrow.

"So… I see that you're making friends everywhere you go today."

"Yeah, I don't know why I like that guy. He's an asshole and kinda a slut."

Faith had a small smile on her face.

"*But* there's something a little broken inside him. From what I hear, he's made a pretty big mistake and doesn't know how to fix it. He's too fucking proud and his hormones are still stuck at a teenager's level. It's a shitty combo Dawnie, especially for somebody who's trying to redeem himself. He's just a little too fucked up to be normal."

Dawn smiled her first genuine smile of the day.

"So, you basically like him cause he reminds you of you?"

"Well yeah, basically." Faith grinned and started the walk to her room.

"Only you Faithie, only you." Dawn shook her head with bemusement and followed her friend.

Derek opened his eyes. The heat around him was stifling, the air was heavy with the oppressive silence. There was a flickering somewhere far beyond so he turned towards the only source of light in the darkness and started walking towards it. As he came closer, he could see that it was a raging fire in front of which stood a familiar dark haired shape. Faith stood there, hear head high, shoulders squared back and her feet at shoulder width. She looked calm with anticipation, her gaze directed at the other side of the fire, at the darkness which lay heavy beyond its crackle. Wearing all black she looked almost demonic. The flickering of the flames reflected in her eyes and they glowed gold for a second. Her long brunette hair swirled around her face and all Derek could think of for a second was that he was unarmed and alone with somebody that looked like she could give nightmares to the criminals the he usually hunted.

She turned her unusually somber gaze towards him.

"You shouldn't be here. She's coming."

"Who's coming? Are we in danger?"

Derek would give his left nut to have his gun with him at that moment.

Faith smiled a sad, small smile.

"I'm not."

At her words the fire crackled louder and the flames increased in size. As he looked deeper into the darkness, a crouching shape began to move forward to him and Faith. Derek instantly went on the defensive, without his gun he was still a trained FBI agent. There was no way in hell he was going down without a fight.

As the shape became clearer, Derek could see that it was a woman. Wearing white rags that swathed her body, she had long dreadlocks and dirt smudging her face in warrior stripes. She looked him over with a feral, almost animalistic gaze and dismissed him. Derek was shocked to realize that the primitive warrior in front of him did not consider him to be an attention worthy threat.

"You should be alone," she hissed at Faith who still stood at the spot as before. She shrugged carelessly.

"I didn't invite him in here."

"Liar!" the primitive warrior rushed Faith with rage contorting her features. Derek started to help her but stopped as Faith elegantly sidestepped the attack before telling the woman, who she called Sineya, to stop it.

Sineya moved away from Faith, still crouching, still furious. Her movements were slow, wary, and yet one could see that she was poised for danger, the ever present aura of ruthlessness sticking to her. She started circling Derek and the dark-haired young woman beside him.

Now that he was relatively sure that they wouldn't be attacked right at that moment, Derek turned to Faith.

"Who is she?"

"A girl. Just like me."

He looked at her closer, and in that moment the girl in front of him changed. It was now Faith who crouched warily in an attack pose. The rags wrapping her body stood stark against her sun weathered body. She bared her teeth in a predator's snarl and surged forward to attack him.

Derek gasped and stumbled back only to be caught by the Faith wearing leather and a small smile.

"You see. We are all one." She seemed so sad when said that and Derek marveled at his desire to comfort her. Faith broke from her reverie and started circling him. Her eyes glowed gold and she looked dangerous as she watched him while moving.

"We are one.

We are power.

We are death."

He really, *really* wanted his gun now.

Faith snarled at him again.

"You think you know what you are.

You think you know what she is.

You haven't even begun."

Her low cadence lulled Derek into a false sense of security and as she finished speaking, she stalked into this personal space and slowly kissed him. The kiss was everything he ever wanted and didn't know he was missing. The heat between them ignited into a raging wildfire, her tongue was hot and wet and she moaned as he bit her lip. Suddenly she shoved him away from her, she stood with tears in her eyes and whispered a barely audible 'I'm sorry.' Something touched his shoulder and as Derek whirled around, Sineya stood in front of him. He watched with horror filled eyes as she raised a large, ornately carved knife and plunged it into his stomach. Gasping in pain as the knife slid into him, all he could see on his shirt was an almost obscene looking wooden handle and a rapidly spreading red stain.

'She buried it in me to the hilt,' he realized and then he gasped as a shudder went through him.

A/N

Astral meeting with Council Heads next chapter.

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8. Oops

Usual disclaimers apply.

Special Agent Derek Morgan woke with a loud gasp in a chair at the Seattle 12th Police Precinct. Reid was sitting at the table across from him and he was almost at Derek's side right before he realized that it was all a dream. A disturbing one, but still a dream.

"You okay man?" Reid asked him. The day's crime scene was one of the most horrific he'd ever seen and the almost nonchalant reactions from their ISWC colleagues were making Reid seriously worried. Faith Lehane scared him at a deeply primal level, her eyes when she looked at the crime scene looked dead at a first glance and yet she radiated such a potent mixture of hate and danger that Reid's subconscious almost shut down at his stray thought of what would happen if he ever pissed her off.

Derek nodded that he was fine and pulled out his ever present cell phone. Dialing a number that he knew by heart he got the expected hello from the person on the other side of the country.

"Hey baby girl, I need you to look into somebody's records. Find me anything you can on a Faith Lehane."

Garcia rapidly clicked on her keyboard and gave a small gasp as all she could come up with was Faith's picture and a note requesting a security clearance.

"All her records are sealed, and none of my FBI codes are working to break them open.

Who is she? She's pretty."

Derek coughed at the understatement.

"Garcia, can you try to hack into her medical records?"

There was a pause on the other side as Garcia processed the fact that Derek had just ignored her initial question.

"Sure lover, give me a sec."

Derek listened with increasing trepidation. As an ex-cop he knew that sometimes a gut feeling would lead you in the right direction, and his gut was telling him that something was going on with that knife.

"Derek, wow… This is one of the weirdest medical records I've ever seen. Up to the age of thirteen she was admitted to 's Hospital in Boston almost monthly with numerous breaks, sprains, burns, cuts. This girl was definitely abused and nobody filed a complaint! Then there's nothing until she turns nineteen and falls into a coma for eight months after getting an abdominal knife wound and breaking her spine. The records just stop there."

Derek paused, the thought of all that Faith had gone through making him strangely angry.

"Alright thanks baby girl, I'll talk to you soon."

"No problemo doll," and Penelope hung up on him.

He got up from his chair and stalked up to Hotch who was quietly comparing notes with Rossi.

"Hotch man, I think we need to get to Seattle Grace. Something's going down with Lehane, we need to be there."

Hotch raised an eyebrow, the new expression looked almost comical on his perpetually scowling face.

"And you know this how?"

"It's just a feeling, but I'm asking you to trust me on this one."

Hotch nodded and immediately began issuing instructions on who would be going with Derek to see the strange young woman.

And this was how Derek Morgan, Spencer Reid and Emily Prentiss ended up going into Faith's room just as she slipped into a mystical sleep which they, along with half of Seattle Grace's finest, mistook for a coma. Dawn, who was sitting by Faith's bed just shook her head. Boy, was Faith going to be pissed when she woke up to an audience.

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9. Dream

Usual Disclaimers Apply

Reviews give me the happies and make my muse work overtime on the story!

Faith's Interlude.

B once told me that when all is said and done, we're only regular girls.

We feel pain, heartbreak, loss. We fall in love, we lose our way, we pin all our hopes on unattainable dreams. B said that now, with all the potentials turned into slayers, me and her can finally have a normal future. That was before she went on her big European exploration trip and met the Immortal. Yet another vampire. Figures that blondie would be in denial over what was normal. Cause banging corpses is abnormal in my book, even more so if you're a freaking vampire slayer.

But enough about that, I can go on bashing B for a very long time. Fact of the matter is that she's still the closest thing to a sister I've got. I may not like her half the time, but I would kill for her in a heartbeat.

Back to the point. B as usual was dreaming or bullshitting, either way she was wrong. We're never going to be regular girls. They'll never know about the predators that stalk the night, watching, waiting for them to slip up and separate from their friends. Regular girls will never have the call to war sing in their veins. They'll never know what it's like to have your bones on fire, the slayer spirit screaming at you with pain to go out and kill. Regular girls will never have animals bow down to them because every one of nature's creations knows they're the ultimate Alpha.

So you see, B was wrong. We're never going to be regular girls.

We will always be the predators, watching, hunting the darkness that would make regular girls their prey.

Faith opened her eyes again. She wasn't in the desert anymore, the warm sunlight streaming through the window showed that it was probably morning. She looked around her and realized that she was standing in Buffy's old house in Sunnydale. Willow's custom made spell allowed the Heads of the International Slayers and Watchers Council to gather for meeting on the astral plane. They figured that all of them gathering in reality would be too dangerous; the combined magical signatures of the Alpha and Omega slayers, the Key, the Head of the International Werewolf Council, the White Knight and the last Chosen Watcher- the magic would act as a homing beacon to the various nasties wanting to do a repeat of the Great Council Bombing of 2003. So aptly named by the Activated Slayers.

So the whole Scooby group gathered only twice a year- on Christmas and the anniversary of Sunnydale's demise. Twice a year from all over the world, the core scoobies would convene on ISWC Headquarters where the amount of slayers and witches available, plus the extra heavy duty wards on the mansion itself- all combined to guarantee a virtually impenetrable stronghold. All the other times they would use magic and technology to contact each other.

Buffy's voice interrupted Faith's thoughts.

"I never knew that my house was a safe haven for you."

Willow's spell shaped the surroundings of the astral plane according to the needs of the person who requested the meeting. Because whoever called the others was usually in trouble, Willow added a little extra to the modifications and the dreamland became whatever constituted a safe haven to the Scooby that needed it most.

"Yeah well… I always felt safe here. Even when trying to kill you." Faith chuckled without humour.

Buffy came into view. Wearing all black, Faith knew that the other slayer had just come in from patrol wherever she was. Your astral shape corresponded to your physical one, as they found out when Xander was too lazy to put on a pair of pants before Willow called him in, and had to sit the whole meeting in his Tweety boxers.

"Oh Faith… I'm so sorry…"

For about the second time in all of their acquaintance, Buffy swallowed Faith into a full hug. No matter what happened, no matter how much they fought- they were still the last of the Chosen slayers.

"Yeah, I know…", Faith extricated herself from Buffy and turned to run her hands over the marble countertop that Joyce had installed back when they first moved to Sunnydale.

There was no way that Faith would allow herself to cry. She coughed to clear up the lump from her throat.

Turning back to Buffy who stood there with unshed tears glistening in her eyes, Faith changed the subject.

"Did you get a lockdown on Kennedy?"

"No she's gone. The coven can't get a lock on her aura, we think she's working with some really strong dark magics."

Faith's eyes widened.

"But she doesn't do magic."

"I know… She's probably working with an accomplice who does."

"Shit…" It was the exact situation that was the biggest fear on every Scooby's mind. A slayer turning against them, and if she was working with others- that meant that the situation became so much worse. Once you got admitted into their world, if you decided to go rogue you had access to contacts and artifacts that no evil doer had ever dreamed of.

"Willow's flying in. She's going to work with the coven to track down Kennedy," Buffy's voice was soft as she said this. If Willow was flying in, then that meant that Kennedy was officially up shit creek without a paddle.

Bitterly Faith asked "So what does Red think we should do about her homicidal ex-honey?"

Buffy looked guilty as hell at the memory about how hard she and Xander fought to get Willow's ex-girlfriend a promotion. And now, her decision contributed to the death of seven slayers. She took a deep breath and started on the second part of the plan.

"Fai, I know that they were yours.

I know that nothing I say can make it better. *But* I talked to the others, and everybody agrees that unless you need us, we're going to let you and Dawn handle it. You're in complete control of the situation. Willow's going to work with the coven to find Kennedy, and when we do, you're going to be the first person we call."

Faith nodded her agreement, she would be the one to deal with the traitorous bitch either way, but now she was officially sanctified to find her and hurt her.

Buffy's eyes glittered dangerously.

"Faith, we don't kill people. We can't. But we can hurt them. I'll back you up on

anything up to the kill."

The dark slayer's eyes widened in shock. Oh hell, Buffy had just given her explicit permission and approval to hurt Kennedy as much as she wanted. A strong slayer could withstand a lot of damage before dying, and now Buffy was saying that she would support Faith in finding out just how strong Kennedy was.

Buffy cocked her head to the side listening to something only she could hear.

"I gotta go, a nest of Kr'vnk demons was just discovered. I'm heading a team on a Search and Destroy."

She looked Faith in the eye.

"I will support you in doing whatever you need to. I trust you."

'Now that you've fucked up, yeah you trust me,' Faith thought. With a shimmer Buffy was gone and Faith felt the tug at her navel signaling that she was coming back to her body.

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10. Wake up, the birds are singing.

Disclaimer: None of the characters below belong to me, but to their respective creators.

None of the pictures below belong to me either.

Dawn settled in to watch the show. The magics in the room were rapidly shifting, changing from the dormant hum that signaled the slayer's sleep to the electrifying buzz Dawn felt whenever near an awake Faith. After Sunnydale, Dawn trained with Willow to tune her natural magical abilities into the energies around her. They figured that they would always need somebody to control and keep track of the magic levels the Scoobs gave off; Dawn, Willow and two other wiccas were those responsible for the task.

When they activated all the potentials the whole gang was dismayed to find out that the slayer line now ran through Faith. Buffy who had died for a second time had no potential called after her second death, so the former rogue slayer was now the de-facto mother to three thousand super charged teenagers. Needless to say, Faith didn't take it well at all. In fact, she spent the first six months after the activation traveling the US on her bike, getting into scrapes with both demons and humans. She never hurt anybody, but she took needless risks that could have gotten her killed. It took both Dawn and surprisingly Buffy to pull her off the ledge, but both were now closer than ever to the wild child that had tried to kill the sisters in the past. After Faith came to terms with her position, she decided to accept her responsibilities and travel North America, checking in on the Slayer Houses, doing trainings for the House Heads whenever needed. She and Buffy became two sides to a coin, the blonde exemplifying the almost miraculous nature of the new breed of slayers, and the brunette showing how much good slayers were capable of no matter their past. In the years after Sunnydale, when Dawn was studying for her degrees, it was Faith that became her closest confidante. The older woman never put pressure on her, she never expected miracles- she just supported the former Key in whatever endeavors she undertook.

The magics shifted in the air again and Dawn knew that Faith was waking up. The low hum spiked into a screech that made Dawn wince and then settled into the usual buzz that the Key was much more accustomed to.

Bailey had two of the interns monitoring Faith's vitals but she, herself and most surprisingly Mark, were pouring over Faith's charts trying to find the cause of her unexpected coma. The BAU had left Reid and Morgan behind in what was supposed to be interpreted as a goodwill gesture, but Dawn knew it to be a 'keep an eye on the potential criminals' situation on their end. She knew that trying to explain what happened to the various scientifically minded folks around her wouldn't work. And what would she say anyway?

'Hey, don't worry about my friend over here. I just hypnotized her into a mystical sleep with some herbs and chanting so that she'd be able to talk to my older sister about the supernatural army they both lead. Oh and by the way, they're both mystically endowed warriors and every soldier in their army is just like them.'

Yeah that would go over real well, not even slayer speed would be able to stop the Feds and the docs from carting her off to the nearest loony bin. So Dawn did nothing, she just sat in her armchair and waited for her friend to come back from her meeting. If the worst came to pass, she always had a couple of nifty spells cooked up to make humans a little more pliable to suggestion. And while she hated to mess with people's heads, she would put the safety of the slayers first.

She could feel Dawnie sitting next to her, but there were more people around. A lot more people than the situation fucking merited. Faith would never tell anyone this, but judging by his smell, she knew that Morgan was pacing near the window- the odour of fear came off strong from him. It was involuntary, but just for a second, the predator in her almost broke out, the fear coming off the man was intoxicating and Faith wanted to tear him apart finding the source of it. She winced internally, the conflicting emotions Derek raised in her plus the stressful situation with Kennedy all added into a very pissed off Faith.

She opened her eyes, and yup, just as she sensed it- Derek was pacing by the window; Mark and Miranda were hunched together, their voices too low to hear properly; Reid was standing uncomfortably right beside Dawnie who was curled up in an armchair by her bed. Faith's eyebrow rose, it seemed that the young Doctor Reid was already comfortable enough to be putting his hands on the back of Dawn's chair dangerously close to her hair.

"Faith! I'm so glad you're awake!" Dawn comically widened her eyes.

'Yeah right, like you weren't keeping track on how long I was in there. Little liar,' Faith was very fond of Dawn's innocent look. It usually signaled that trouble had either come, or was coming.

Miranda rushed up to her with Mark sauntering behind.

"How are you feeling?"

"Peachy with a side of keen doc, you mind telling me why the hell do I have all the company after hours? Not that I mind of course, but a girl's gotta have some privacy."

"Faith, you've just come out of a two hour coma. You vitals signaled the shutdown of seventy percent of your organs, your brain waves showed no response to stress simulators. You almost died in here." Mark sounded almost reproachful, and now that Faith had taken a closer look at him, she could see the worry lines on his forehead signaling that the last couple of hours had been very hard for him. She felt a great rush of warmth for the big manwhore.

"Oh is that it?"

Everybody's eyebrows rose in incredulous silence, here she was told that she almost died and all she had to say was 'Is that it?' Reid eyed her in nervous anxiety, almost like an antelope sizing up the lion on the Serengeti. Derek looked stormy as hell, though why he would look like that, Faith had no freaking idea. Miranda just busied herself looking at Faith' s vitals, and Mark stood there staring at her with slight strains of worry tingeing his soft gaze. Dawnie was the only who looked amused, and Faith wanted to smack her for not keeping the doctors away.

The slayer eyed the people around her, Derek looked resolved to find out what the hell happened here and Reid was brimming with scientific curiousity, even if he looked like he'd drop dead of nerves any second. The doctors were hustling and bustling trying to find out what the hell was going on. Faith knew that they would not leave her alone to conduct the rest of her business without some magical intervention, so the only thing left to do was have Dawnie cast a forgetting spell on everybody involved with her sudden coma.

She whispered to herself "Penitus sermo" * (Inward Discussion)

"Dawnie, can you hear me?"

"Yeah Fai, loud and clear."

"Kay, good. First things first, what the hell! Couldn't you keep them away from here?"

"I couldn't, the Feds stormed in the place with Bailey and the only thing I could get out of them was that Derek had some kind of dream about you. After they found you like this, they just wouldn't leave and you know I can't pull you out by force. In a non-life threatening sitch it just uses up too much unnecessary magic."

Faith narrowed her gaze at Dawn who had the good gaze to look somewhat repentant.

"Alrighty then, can't believe a Summers girl got beat by a couple of Feds."

The slayer grinned at Dawn's indignant look.

"Second and most important thing. I need you to pull a 'forget and let go' on the whole coma thing. We're going to be tracking down Kennedy who is apparently building a fucking team against us. We're gonna need to be able to move freely, can't have the good docs putting me under house arrest."

"Alright, but you know I hate doing this right?"

"Yeah little D, but what choice do we have really?"

"I know…"

Faith sadly smiled to herself, Dawn sounded so wistful at that moment, she could see that the younger woman really didn't want to mess with the humans' memories but there was nothing to be done about it. They needed to get to Seattle House as soon as possible, and the docs along with the Feds wouldn't allow her to leave. Of that she was sure.

Dawn closed her eyes and tapped into her magic. Like always, it was there, just beneath the surface like a green ocean with waves gently lapping.

"Alieno quod Amitto" * (Forget and Let Go)

A foggy green mist enveloped the room and suddenly the non-magical visitors stopped in what they were doing and stood with their eyes closed, their breathing even.

Faith glanced at Dawn, she looked like she might be a little sick, messing with people's memories always reminded her of Willow and the time the witch tried to kill her. Faith cleared her throat and decided to take the situation under control.

"I was never in a coma, in fact I'm going to be discharged today. Miranda and Mark came in to visit and say their goodbyes to me, Reid and Morgan came to consult further on the case."

They looked just like before, their eyes closed, their faces blank. Faith could have been talking to a roomful of mannequins that's how creeped out she felt.

"Is that it?"

Little beads of sweat were starting to pop up on Dawn's forehead, the effort of maintaining a spell for this long was making itself known.

"One last thing. I need to make sure that they'll leave me alone after I'm gone, I don't need doctors hounding me about my recovery time."

Dawn nodded with strain.

"When I leave here today, Miranda and Mark will make sure that nobody tries to dig deeper into why I heal so fast. I will not be pursued, and any interest in me will strictly be in a non-doctor capacity."

She turned to Dawn and nodded for the spell to be finished.

"Audite meus lacuna , meus ero perfectus" (Hear my words, my will be done)

She slumped breathlessly in her chair as the green mist swirled and lifted from the room.

The doctors were the first to open their eyes and then Reid and Morgan followed suit.

Miranda bustled up to Faith and started removing the various tags on her body that monitored her vitals.

"Alright , you're getting out today and against my better judgement I'll be signing your documents. Everything looks like it's back in working order, so *please* no more stress on your body and try not to jump in front of moving trucks anymore."

Faith grinned up at the small woman, she looked just like a mother hen trying to make sure that the stupid chick wouldn't be making any more mistakes than necessary.

" eh? Miranda, I saved your life, I'm pretty sure you can call me Faith by now. Besides, you brought me back to perfect condition, so we're pretty even by now."

A small smile lifted at the doctor's lips.

Mark cleared his throat.

"Yo Marky-Mark, don't think I've forgotten about our date."Faith winked at him and surprisingly some color stole onto his cheeks. Was he blushing? Couldn't be.

She was so preoccupied with her harmless flirting with Mark that she didn't see Morgan grind his teeth and squeeze the windowsill until his knuckles turned white. But Dawn did. "Let's reschedule it for tomorrow night, we can talk then. Besides, I haven't had good beer and wings in a while." She stretched her hands above her body and angled her spine like a bow, the muscles almost moaning in pleasure after her mystical sleep.

Dawn watched in interest as Derek stared at Faith, his mocha colored eyes turning dark chocolate in an emotion she couldn't identify. Yet…She wasn't Head of Research for nothing, and the little triangle Faith had found herself in would be a lot of fun to watch over. The Dark Slayer, the Manwhore doctor and the Stoic Fed. It was a trashy romance novel come to life, and all of it centered around her good friend. Dawn smirked and turned her gaze back to Faith who was shooing people out of her room.

"ALrighty folks, you've come, we've said our goodbyes. Some of us have even shed a tear or two, despite their badass reps." She fake coughed and did a pointed stare at Bailey who grinned at Faith's theatrics.

"Now let the young hot ex-patient of yours put her clothes on. We still need to take care of our shit, no rest for the wicked huh Dawnie?" Faith winked at her.

Dawn shook her head and gave a little grin in return.

The interns shuffled out first followed by Miranda who gave Faith a warm smile and a wave.

Mark reached into his pocket and pulled out a card.

"Give me a call when you're feeling better." He was almost leering as their hands touched but Faith just looked delighted with the fact that he forgave her earlier verbal blunder.

"Sure thing Marky Mark, have a good time digging around in people's insides."

Mark shook his head in amused resignation and headed out too.

Faith turned to Dawn, "So Dawnie, where are my normal clothes? The minis are waiting, I'm friggin *starving*, plus the whole hospital shtick does not float my boat at all."

Dawn reached into her tote and pulled on Faith's leather pants, and the usual white tank. Faith immediately began pulling the pants on, not even minding the fact that there were still two Federal agents in the room.

Reid coughed to mask his embarrassment.

", perhaps we should step out to give you some privacy?"

Faith raised her head to meet his eyes, "Come on Spence, live a little. Call me Faith, and besides, I'm pretty sure that there's nothing here you haven't seen before. It ain't like I'm going commando. This time." She gave a wicked little smirk at the widening of his eyes.

Derek looked irritated.

"Faith, we've come to find out what you've learned so far. We need to get the investigation moving before more bodies start coming up."

Dawn gave a little gasp of shock at the thought of more baby-slayers coming up dead, but Faith just narrowed her gaze in his direction.

"Our security team believes that we might have a leak in our Seattle branch. The security measurements couldn't have been bypassed by an outsider, so it makes sense that there's a team working on our girls. We've put in a lockdown warning in effect all over the state as soon as we heard what happened, nobody goes in, nobody comes out. Only seven people in our organization now have the newly changed codes, we're the only ones that are going to be able to bypass security to talk to the girls."

Reid was writing all this down in his little notebook that he carried around with him.

Morgan looked at Faith a little warily.

"Why would a private school have security codes that change every twelve hours and state-wide lockdowns like that?"

"That's classified, just ask your techie." Dawn decided to take matters in her own hands and gave a sweet little smile.

By now Faith was standing in her leather pants and a black bra that she shamelessly demonstrated to the world.

"Kay then boys and girls, let's get this show on the road. The next stop is our Seattle branch of the ISWC School for Gifted Girls. I gave the whole name for your benefit Spence, so get writing; I know how you Feds love your records."

Derek scowled and Reid nodded his head. They looked at each other and some form of silent communication seemed to pass between them.

'Interesting,' Faith thought to herself but refrained from commenting.

"We'll wait for you outside," Morgan motioned to Reid and they left the room, the air seeming to clear almost instantly from the heavy tension that hung there before.

Dawn snorted lightly, "Well that was the most fun you can, have without actually having any."

"I know Little D, but the situation just turned a whole lot shittier. I couldn't actually tell you with the others in the room…"

"Hold on," Dawn interrupted her and quickly whispered "silencio."

"Kay, go."

"Buffy and Willow think that Kennedy's working with a magic user, and that she probably has outside help."

"Fuuuck…" Dawn's eyes turned huge with shock at the revelation.

"Yeah, she had access to our records, to the lists of baby-slays. She knows our weaknesses, and she knows who our allies are in the magic community. Right now, we're waiting for a lot more damage to be done, so for the next while- none of the baby slays in the state are going on patrol. Buffy's sending a squad of the Sunnydale girls to cover for them, but even the older ones will be patrolling in groups of five along with a level two wicca. Nobody's going out alone."

The Sunnydale slayers were the ones with the most experience next to Buffy and Faith, they were trained specifically by the Omega and Alpha for situations like this. They had guts, ability and the desire to kill anything that threatened their younger sisters. The wicca support would come in handy if they encountered a magic user trained to specifically cast against slayers. All in all, Faith knew that they were preparing for the worst. And what made it hurt even more was Kennedy's betrayal against her sisters, the link between slayers ensured that no matter what they were loyal to their own first. If Kennedy was able to sidestep that, Faith didn't know how the other girls would react to the news that they had a real combat situation with one of their own.

Faith finished dressing and gathering her stuff into her bag. She held her hand out to Dawn who took it with a quite gratefulness, the touch of a friend feeling like a lifeline in a world where loyalties were tested and little girls were killed because of something they had no control over.

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11. Fire

Disclaimer: None of the characters below belong to me, but to their respective creators.

None of the pictures below belong to me either.

Reid drove silently, Dawn sat beside him clicking away on a white laptop and Morgan slept in the back with Faith snoozing quietly beside him. The black SUV hugged the curves of the road and not for the first time, Reid wondered what kind of school would be so isolated from the main part of town. The trees whizzed by them and the countryside never seemed more serene. All Spencer Reid knew at that moment though, was that he was driving with two highly dangerous people and a young woman that was beginning to affect him far too much for his liking. She was smart- almost as smart as him, highly sarcastic, loyal to her friend but she had a huge minus going for her. Both she and Faith, who he was beginning to calm down around, were hiding a huge secret. And secrets never boded well in Spencer's experience.


Derek opened his eyes. He was in what looked like a girl's bedroom. The walls held some posters, some photographs. There was a mirror with a settee behind him. And in front of him stood a big bed with an ornate headboard. Yet again Faith was there, she stood in front of the window. The overcast clouds moved lazily across the sky and the air was thick with the grey mist that signaled a coming thunderstorm. He moved to her side. This time she wore all white and her face was bare of makeup, she looked gorgeous but Derek still felt strong vibes of danger coming off her. Then she looked up at him and smiled a wide, innocent grin. Her eyes crinkled and just for a moment he could picture a little girl in her place.

"Hey D, you keep coming here. Nothing better else to do?"

"Where are we Faith?"

She turned around and motioned with her hand to the room.

"This is Buffy's old bedroom from Sunnydale, a lot of shit went down here."

Grinning a little self-deprecatingly, she asked him,

"What does it say about me that even my dreams center around Buffy's old shit?"

Derek shrugged, the files he had on the ISWC showed Buffy as the previous holder of Faith's position. She was now employed on retainer with their organization only coming in to consult when needed.

"Why are we here?"

She looked at him a little oddly.

"How the fuck should I know? You're the one that keeps popping up unannounced."

Derek sighed.

Faith turned back to the window. The clouds rolled faster and the first crack of thunder smashed into the air.

"A big storm is coming D, are you sure you're up for it?"

Derek shrugged again. Whatever these girls were into, he had no choice but to get involved now. He hated leaving innocents behind, and besides the seven bodies that flashed whenever he closed his eyes, there were the strange feelings he was beginning to feel around Faith.

So he looked around again, Faith was still staring out into the window and Derek knew that only in a dream would he be able to be so bold with someone that defied his every expectation. He gently cupped the sides of her face, her eyes boring into him with a fiery intensity. She was still quiet so he decided to proceed further. He ran one hand through her chestnut tresses and marveled at the detail of the dream, her hair smelled like cinnamon just like it did in real life. He brought her face closer to his and heard her breath hitch a little, Derek Morgan slowly tasted Faith Lehane's lips and for the second time in his life he was lost in the intensity of the fire between them. She gave a breathy moan he pulled away and began raining kisses on her neck, collarbone and chest. Angling her head a little further back to give him easier access, she flexed her fingers against the nape of his neck her nails breaking the skin. Morgan growled at this, the fire burning inside threatened to consume him, his usual level headedness was rapidly leaving him and the biggest thought pounding through his body was a primal 'MINE'.


Dawn was chewing on a strand of her own hair as she rapidly typed in the information on Kennedy. The report would have to be sent out as soon as possible so all the Heads would have information on the newest threat. A change in the magics alerted her and she whipped her head around to the back of the car just in time to see both Morgan and Faith jerk themselves awake with shuddered gasps. Realizing that they were in the car driving to Seattle House, they settled back into their seats. Dawn observed their gazes meeting and was once again surprised by the fact that the Fed was able to withstand the slayer's full attention with her shields down. She knew she'd have to have a serious talk with her friend regarding her little thing with Morgan, but at that moment she couldn't resist cracking a smirk and asking a sarcastic "Good dream?"

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12. Smackdown

The usual disclaimers apply.

This picture comes from the lovely site dedicated to Faith the Vampire Slayer. .com/spots/faith-slayer/images/903488/title/faith

I cannot for the life of me work with photoshop, so if anyone wants to contribute art to the story- it would be mucho appreciated and mucho loved.

As always, reviews make me a very happy girl.

Many thanks to Missingviolet for always reviewing a new chapter, you rock the casbah!

Jewell, keep sticking for the ride, hopefully you'll enjoy it!

The mansion was huge, impressively overhanging and somewhat gothic looking. If Reid was the type of person that babbled, he'd be going on about Dracula and monsters, as it was though- he just said "Huh.." and tilted his head to stare up at the iron gate.

Dawn stared at Reid. Man oh man the guy was pretty. And smart. And pretty, can't forget the pretty. He was like a twitchy, Giles-y version of a really hot walking encyclopedia. He seemed to throw out random facts about the weirdest subjects, especially when he was nervous, which more often than not was when Faith was near him. If Dawn hadn't grown up with the Slayer, she would have been slightly jealous. She knew that Faith had no control over her aura, though she knew she projected 'PREDATOR' to anyone who might even think about harming her. Reid though, he seemed to be affected by her just like a Beta wolf would be affected by an Alpha. She plain scared the shit out of him, and Dawn knew that he didn't know the reason for this.

Faith was standing a little to the side with her cellphone by her ear, trying to reach the inside of the school and Derek was standing to her right looking as stoic as usual. She snapped her phone closed and sidled up to him, all leather and sinewy grace. Derek allowed his eyes to flicker over her backside for a moment, and then he raised his eyebrow in question.

"We're cool dude, they're confirming who we are as we speak, G-man's going to call me back with the new codes in a couple of minutes." Her accent was definitely East coast, her voice lilting and smokey hued.

She nodded over at Reid and Dawn who were quietly talking in front of the gate.

"What's up with the mini-geeks?"

Ahh, that was really the question of the day. There was a couple of times during the last day that Derek had actually caught Reid doing something so subconsciously physical to Dawn that he was shocked. Nerdy genius Spencer Reid was actually putting out the 'Don't Touch!' vibes whenever he got around the young brunette. He constantly put his limbs near Dawn, whether by sitting a tad too close to her, or by leaning against the chairs that she slinked on. When Faith was in the hospital, Derek actually caught Reid pulling back from touching Dawn's hair and he could swear he saw him sniff the silky mass before he freaked over what he was doing and walked out of the room.

"They're just friends," he shrugged. 'Yeah, right… And I just want to hold your hand.' Very deep inside, Derek Morgan was as straightforward as they came.

"Mhm, I'm gonna go bust up the friendly party before they start holding hands. No fraternizing between agencies," Faith flashed him a brilliant grin and practically skipped with the gleeful intent of busting up her friend's flirting session. Derek just shook his head and continued wondering how a private girls' school could afford a place like this.

"Hey kiddos, did'd ya miss me?" Dawn groaned, she really, *really* wanted to smack the slayer, and she would do it too. If she wasn't sure that she'd get a split lip in return. She looked at Spencer and was happy to notice a fleeting look of disappointment in his hazel eyes before he turned back to the building in all its gothic mansion glory.

Dawn glared at Faith. "Yeah Fai, you know I can't go two minutes without missing your annoying presence by my side. You rock the casbah, you sexy bitch you."

The dark slayer just smirked in return, "and don't you forget it." Apparently Faith was immune to sarcasm. She put a friendly arm around Dawn's shoulders and squeezed ever so gently which of course meant that Dawn would have a bruise on her shoulders tomorrow, stupid slayer strength.

Faith's phone started ringing, Nirvana's "Come as you are" ringtone oddly appropriate in the early morning. She picked it up on the third round after bobbing her head along to the melody.

"Yo homie. Yes, Lehane… I know…Who's coming? Kay kay, well get the hell off the phone and let's get this show on the road."

She grinned and bounced on the balls of her feet.

"Gather up children, we're going to see the Wizard."

At that moment the gate swung open and they could see three heavily armed girls standing before them. A redhead in dark jeans and a pink t-shirt with two crossed swords behind her back, a black girl with dreadlocks carrying what looked like a crossbow with two wicked looking daggers strapped to her thighs and a brunette with a katana. They all head carefully blank faces as they gazed at their visitors but Dawn could see a spark of hope when they looked at Faith.

Faith looked at them with a raised eyebrow and barked out, "Ladies! Electus!"

And then it was like sunshine broke through the clouds as they all grinned and replied with a militaristic shout of "Unus!"

"Faith!" and then there was shouting of joy, hope and something that a non-slayer could never understand. They rushed at her like a pack of over-enthusiastic puppies carrying very sharp weapons and Derek had to squash down his first instinct of 'Holy Jesus Run!' because they weren't doing anything dangerous at that moment. They were just hugging the older woman, laughing as they jumped up and down, their shoulders together, a unified front against anybody that would dare divide them.

Dawn was standing there, smiling on the periphery of the roughhousing group and all of a sudden an arm pulled out of the ball of limbs and dragged her in there. Pop, and now no more Dawn. Only DawnFaithandthreeyoungneedygirls.

Derek cleared his throat and all of a sudden he had four very still predators looking at him through the eyes of young women, and a young woman who looked like she was about to start beating on him for interrupting a moment of camaderie. The predators, even the one he was starting to really like all watched him with a wary stance. He shuffled his feet in a show of agitation, feeling like he was five again and his sisters were about to start something he really didn't want to finish.

The black girl stalked towards him with an otherworldly grace, she circled around him then shifted her eyes to Reid.

"Cop?" she growled out the question.

Faith answered her in a weary voice, "Fed. Behavioral Analysis Unit, they're going to help us track Ken and whoever's helping her."

The redhead snapped at that. "She stopped being Ken when she went against us."

Faith rolled her eyes but a look of rage had settled there at those words.

"Alright guys! Enough of the posturing, we're working with the Feebs, get used to it. These two nice gentlemen have been through quite enough today so let's not keep them out any longer."

The girls lined up again, and Derek saw that the two with the swords flanked the one with the crossbow.

Faith motioned with her hand at the redhead- "This is Vi, don't get between her and ice cream and you two will get along juuust fine."

She moved over to the dreadlocked predator who was still giving Derek the stink eye. "Rona, who will be your best friend if you prove yourself to her. I'd watch out in the meantime, she has issues with authority." She patted his bicep in commiseration just as Rona got a look in her eyes that put Derek in mind of a funeral director sizing him up for a coffin.

"Last and not least, the lovely Caridad. She's a firecracker, no distinct instructions on this one. Smile, nod your head, and if you ever manage to piss her off just make sure that I'm around to save your ass." The brunette bared her teeth at that, the gesture not quite the smile normal people had.

"Ladies…" Faith gestured broadly at the two Federal agents who had instinctively moved to stand together at the impromptu introduction, "these are Spencer Reid and Derek Morgan. I expect them two survive us and maybe even walk away with all their limbs attached."

She then grinned jauntily, "maybe their limbs will even be attached at the right places. Who knows? It'd make a change from the way things usually work!"

Reid paled noticeably and Derek's hand automatically twitched towards his gun.

The teenage girls, and Derek could see that they were just freaking teenagers, all smiled at Faith's introductions. All of a sudden there was a loud boom and the gate exploded, the iron spike flying into them in slow motion. Out of the corner of his eye, Derek saw Dawn move her hand and whisper "Contego" (Protect). Amazingly some kind of green force field erected between the group and the explosion, the now harmless shards clattered noisily to the ground.

Dawn was pissed off, it was one thing to know that you were under attack, but it was quite another to get attacked just as you were settling in. She held up her hand to strengthen the protection spell and turned to shout at Vi, "Is the school warded?"

"Level one magics all around. Nothing's going in."

"Good" Dawn gritted out and then focused on her magic. She could see two shapes coming toward them, a young man who was accompanying… Holy Jesus, even she wouldn't be that suicidal, would she? Apparently she was, because Kennedy herself was sauntering up to the four slayers a cocksure smirk twisted on her lips.

Instantly the postures of the young girls changed, they reached for their swords and only Faith was able to move. "What the FUCK?" she bellowed in rage.

"An immobility spell targeted specifically to those slayers activated by the scythe, ya like?" Kennedy's smirk turned impossibly wide at the sight of the impotent rage displayed by the three girls before her, and then her eyes widened imperceptibly at the sight of Faith grinning in bloodlust.

"Fee fi fo, fucking fum. Here comes a slayer for a smackdown." Faith moved towards Kennedy and stood into a defensive stance, Vi's katana raised away from her body.

She made a 'Let's go' motion with her two fingers and whistled sharply.

"Let's go newbie!"

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13. Kill

Standard Disclaimers apply, i don't own anything except for my dog. And even she gives me trouble sometimes.

Please, please don't forget to review. They make the author happy and feed the plot bunnies to keep trekking through real life.

Derek stood outside the mansion, the air was so peaceful and calm it seemed unlikely that the area had witnessed such horrific violence just four hours earlier.

Faith was laid out in the hospital wing with Reid resting by her side, her breathing labored but getting better every hour thanks to her slayer healing. He was still unsure about the whole supernatural thing but seeing a sixteen year old girl bend a rebar into a perfect circle was certainly an enlightening experience. If nothing else, he would forever be grateful to whoever was in charge of these things for not giving this responsibility for his sisters to bear. As women, they already had too much to bear. Having the weight of the world on their shoulders would be unfair and cruel.

When they first explained their world to him and Reid, feelings of deep seated insecurity and childhood rage combined into an explosive mixture that he was sure would have made him explode into a million tiny sparkles glittering with his anger. Reid was disbelief personified, bringing up his statistics, suggestions that they were mistaking something banal for the mythological. A couple of knives thrown at each other by the fifteen years at point blank range, Rona holding him upside down by his foot and Spencer Reid was a convert.

A door opened behind him, Dawn stepped out spilling sickly yellow light onto the twilight enveloped front porch, two cups of coffee in her hands. She handed him one with a small smile and sat down on the steps. After a thought Derek joined her, sipping his coffee gratefully, the rush of caffeine running through his veins.

He was the first one to break the silence.

" I had two dreams about her."

They both knew who he was talking about.

"And I've known the two of you for only three days."

Dawn smiled at him.

"Yeah, she's like that. If she gets to you, chances are it'll be fast and for keeps."

He shook his head, scrunching his eyebrows in concentrated effort on how to better to explain.

"No it wasn't like that. It was really strange, we were in the desert and a woman attacked us. Faith called her Sineya."

He conveniently forgot to say anything about his second dream where he actually kissed Faith, a desire to keep it to himself was strangely illogical and Derek was in no mood to explain why he was dreaming about kissing one of the most dangerous people he had ever met.

Dawn inhaled sharply, and her breath hitched at the possibility that Derek was sharing Faith's slayer dreams. What did this mean? Did he have some latent supernatural power that he didn't know about? She decided to wait until she talked to Faith and then they would combine their efforts to find out what was really happening, strangely a small part of her was saddened at the fact that the girl she considered her best friend still didn't trust her enough to talk about something this important. She resolved to have a serious talk with Faith, especially after the revelations about the blonde doctor at the hospital. Glancing at the agent beside her she was once again reminded about how far the divide between their worlds really was. He looked so lost, so conflicted and she knew that no small part of that were his developing feelings for the girl sleeping off an injury that would have killed a normal human.

Derek looked like he had made up his mind about something as he turned around to her and positioned his long legs so that he would be comfortable. He cleared his throat and Dawn raised her eyebrow for him to proceed.

"How do you deal with it?"

"With what exactly?" He was really vaguing this up.

"Knowing that the whole world rests on the shoulders of teenagers, this shouldn't be the way it is. They should be thinking about prom, about boys, not about whether they'll die tonight."

He was getting more agitated with every word that left his lips. Dawn looked at him curiously.

"What's this really about?"

Derek sighed and looked out into the trees where he could see the last of the dying sun slowly sinking into the horizon.

"Nothing makes sense anymore."

"Ah…"

Dawn got it…Sort of… She had grown up in the supernatural world, translating ancient prophecies and then going to work on her essays for class was a normal, run of the mill thing for her. She knew that there were several apocalypses to be avoided every year, she knew which demons were likely to kill you on sight and which ones just wanted a place to call their own and some kittens for recreational purposes. But she did get it, after all when she found out about being the Key she had freaked out herself. It took a year of constant whining, screaming and fighting with her sister to take her out of her funk but she had finally accepted that she had a bit of an unusual start in life and learned to deal with it. She understood Derek with his doubts that he kept so carefully hidden away, his misgivings about his chosen profession, his desire to connect with his team members, his protectiveness of Spencer- she understood it all. She just wondered whether she'd be able to see him overcome the difficulties that lay ahead of him.

She sighed and started to speak.

"It's not all black and white Derek. There are no clear lines between the wrongdoers and the victims. The lines have become so blurred, that those of us fighting this war don't even see them anymore. At the end of the day, all we can really ask of the people standing by us, is that they keep us alive to see another sunrise; that they help us survive so that we can hug our families, kiss our lovers." She knew that deep inside, he was worried about Faith, about her past.

Dawn paused, her eyes huge in the dying light of the day. She sighed and at that moment Derek realized how truly young she was, a twenty one year old fighting a millennia old war. And wasn't that a kicker? For all the good that Derek Morgan did, it would never stand on the same scale of what these girls had accomplished while being led by a double murderer and a girl just past her teens. They had started to talk about the other Scoobies, but for the moment all he really had to go on was them. Dawn and Faith, leaders, friends, heroines.

Dawn continued speaking, her voice soft and full of revelations that Derek wasn't sure he wanted to hear.

"Every day, I have to live with the fact that my work may send a teenage girl to her death. I'm twenty one years old and I feel old next to most of these girls, some of who will die before they ever reach my age."

At her words, the familiar rage was back, boiling his blood, demanding that he do something to stop these foolish children, because DAMN IT, they shouldn't have to do this. Derek became a cop so that innocents would be protected, but in this- he was an innocent himself. And the protectors were scarier than he could ever become. Their bodies still evolving through the arduous process of puberty, half formed chests sheathed in battle leathers and wild gazes sharply in contrast within children's faces.

She turned to look him straight in the eyes and he marveled at her serenity after the storm that had taken place earlier.

"Look, I like you. I think you could be good for us, good for Faith even if you guys don't admit to anything yet. But if you're going to stick around, you really need to understand the fact that we're all tainted here. Faith has killed people, and not a day goes by when she isn't seeking redemption for her actions. My sister died because of me, because of who I am. All of these girls are touched by something darker, greater than them. Something that allows them to protect everything light. So you really need to make sure and ask yourself if you can live permanently in the grey, we're not cops Derek. There are no unsubs or vics, we do what we need to so that the world goes on spinning for yet another day. Think about it, and if you decide that you can't deal, then leave. Because if you stick around without having decided anything, and if she gets attached to you, and you leave…." Twenty one year old Dawn Summers flashed a grim smile as she stood up to go in, "If you deliberately break her heart, then I'll break you with my bare hands. Federal Agent or not, don't forget…" She leaned closer and winked conspiratorially, "I know magic."


4 Hours Previously

"Protect them!" Faith yelled out to Dawn and both of them automatically glanced at the men beside them. Derek had already pulled his gun out and was pointing it at the warlock who began to cast in Latin at that moment. Reid had his gun trained on a smirking Kennedy. Dawn shook her head.

"You can't do this now, fuck, we don't have enough casters to stop the warlock and protect the guys."

Faith looked uncharacteristically somber for a moment as she said,

"yeah well… You try telling this psycho that we need to reschedule." Then she grinned her usual dimpled smile.

"Worry about the normals. I'll be fine."

She sprung out of Dawn's protection circle and stepped forward to the younger slayer. As soon as she left, Dawn threw her hand forward to concentrate her power and whispered a Sumerian protection spell. She turned to the Federal agents,

"put the guns down. He's already cast an anti-ammunition spell, plus chances are that they won't work within the mansion grounds or you'd just end up hitting Faith." She glowered.

"And trust me, if either one of you shoots Faith, I won't be a fun girl to hang around."

They all turned at the sharp grunt as the slayers began fighting. Kennedy threw the first punch which Faith sidestepped with practiced ease, she retaliated with a vicious uppercut to Kennedy's jaw which had her head snapping back at the force of the hit. She quickly came back up with a kick to Faith's gut which was countered as the older slayer swiveled and did a backflip which turned into a sweeping roundhouse kick that connected with Kennedy's kneecaps. They began fighting with vicious grunts and yells, the flurry of punches, kicks and hits was astounding to watch even for Dawn who was used to seeing slayers fight. Apparently slayers going all out against each other was different than them fighting the various demons that tried to end the world on their watch.

The magic in the air changed again, it now felt coppery against Dawn's senses, it's bloodlike quality signaled that nothing good was coming. The warlock was smirking as he raised both his palms to the sky.

"SHIT!" Dawn dropped to the earth and began pulling magic from Gaia to counter the black magic assault against herself. Morgan swore loudly as he saw her hair start to bleed black, her eyes onyx, green lighting started crackling on her skin. She screamed as Gaia writhed under her assault, the pain was incredible, she was being electrocuted as her nerve endings flared from the earth's anger at Dawn's intrusion.

Faith punched Kennedy with a straight hit to her nose, blood sprayed out as the sound of crunching bone was heard. Kennedy barely had time to raise her blood filled face before Faith raised her knee against her gut, swiftly cracking the young slayer's head on the bone three times in quick succession. She moved in for the kill but Kennedy screamed out an anguished "John!!!" and the warlock was sending out power to fuel his accomplice as Dawn's eyes widened at what she was witnessing. Kennedy jumped back up with triumph and malicious glee shining in her eyes as she advanced on Faith, throwing her best punches against the increasingly bloody older brunette.

"It should have been me!!! I was the fucking best and everybody knew it!!!"

"Dawn?", she raised her eyes to Reid crouching warily on the ground beside her. Blood was now freely pouring from her nose, the magic was flaying her nerve endings with increasing fire. She knew that pulling power without the proper rituals was considered black magic, and she knew that Darth Rosenberg could have been her twin sister at that moment. That's why she was so shocked when Reid asked her,

"I don't know what's going on, but if there's anything I can do to help, just tell me." He slowly touched her shoulder to emphasize his point and Dawn shuddered at the layer of untapped magic running in his body.

" I need you to give your magic to me, we're getting fucking slaughtered out here and I'm going to pull from you." Reid looked confused for a moment and then visibly flinched as Faith screamed when Kennedy broke her hand with a loud crack that reverberated in Dawn's bones.

"Do whatever you need to." And Dawn clutched at his hand with her other palm still pulling from Gaia, she screamed with increasing pain as the magic doubled and she sent power out to Faith.

'I can't fail, I can't fail. Please don't let her die, please… I can't fail.' The fear of failure became like a mantra in her head, pounding with blood through her veins, her heartbeat joined by Reid's increasingly frantic one.

Faith grinned a bloody smile as she kicked Kennedy in the chest sending her flying ten feet in the air.

"You weren't the best."

She punched her in the ribs, breaking several by the sound of the scream that followed.

"You weren't even the fucking runner up."

Kennedy was on the ground, and Faith's bloodlust shone in her eyes as she kicked the young slayer sending her flying up into the air, no sound could be heard as she landed on her back with a thump, her eyes searching to the warlock.

Faith cracked her neck as she slinked up to finish the little bitch that started a war.

"John, please…" the whisper was deathly quiet and Dawn only heard it through the magical energies swirling around the battle.

The warlock screamed as his hair and eyes bled black, symbols started etching into his skin all the while he hollered in what Dawn knew to be unbearable pain.

He raised his hand to Faith who raised her eyes to meet Dawn's horrified gaze.

"NOOOOOO!!!!" Dawn pulled from Gaia, begging for an ounce more, for help, for salvation, for anything.

Faith closed her eyes as she flew through the air and she grunted as her body was impaled on the spike of the destroyed iron gate. She hung there like a grotesque scarecrow, blood pooling from the corner of her mouth, hair hanging limply around her bruised face.

Dawn started running to her as she heard the sound of teleporting from the grounds and the spell being released from the three younger slayers.

"Faith!"

"Oh my God, oh Faith, Oh God.."

In their screams of horror and confusion at getting her down from the gate, nobody noticed that Reid had collapsed from the exhaustion except for Derek who sat on the ground with Spencer's head cradled in his lap, eyes shining with shock.

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14. Fai/B

The usual Disclaimers apply.

Please review, it's like getting california sushi rolls smothered with happies!

By the way, there's a prezzie in this chapter for those who read carefully.

Let me know what you think!

As Faith woke up the afternoon rays sifted hazily through the window blinds, leaving dust particles dancing in their paths and the room crisscrossed with a strange pattern of fading sunshine. She blinked lazily and stretched, testing out her wounds. The stitches would need to come out within the day, but she would be at peak condition within twenty four hours.

She reached over into her jacked, folded neatly on the chair beside her bed and pulled out her cell phone, all the while careful not to jostle her rapidly healing wound.

She needed to get this conversation over with so she could know what to expect from the future, so she dialed the number two on her speed dial and waited for the other line to pick up.

"Hey B, what's going on?"

"Nadda. Yourself?

Nobody had told Buffy about what happened and Faith really didn't want to be the one to break the news.

" Just calling to check in on you, see what's the what…"

Faith knew that Buffy felt guilty about Kennedy and a small part of her, the part that still felt like a lonely seventeen year old kid rejected by the people she thought were her friends- that part felt gleeful and smug. The adult, twenty five year old Faith still had some issues to work through before she could claim herself to be completely drama free, but for now she had the control to keep those thoughts to herself.

"B, I know you didn't mean for it to get here. I get, it ain't cool, but I get what happened. I don't hold it against you for the most part, it's just anger at Ken. We trained her, fuck, she came into her potential with us right there, and now- she's just another bad guy for us to take out."

There was silence on the other end of the line, and then Buffy sighed deeply. There really was nothing to be said further about the situation that would make it okay, so the two slayers decided to switch topics.

Faith remembered her dream and probed Buffy for more info.

"B, listen. While we're on the phone, I have a question. And don't get weird on me."

She laughed at the incredulous sputtering on the line of 'I don't do weird!'

"Hahah, you forget that I know you. Hell, I got called after you. I have all your memories, I know how weird you can get…"

It was a rarely mentioned fact that Faith and Buffy were the last two slayers to get the complete memory packages of the whole line that came before them. When Willow had activated the potentials through the scythe they did a careful compilation of the memories best suited to show the girls what they would be facing, the new slayers knew most of what the Omega and Alpha had gone through. They just didn't know everything.

Faith cleared her throat, all of a sudden uncomfortable.

"B… Umm, have you ever shared slayer dreams with somebody?"

"Yeah, you."

"Nah B, not a slayer. Although our wicked special connection always gives me the tinglies."

Even though Buffy couldn't see her through the phone, Faith leered as she purred the phrase about their connection and surely enough Buffy laughed with the poorly hidden innuendo.

"What's going on Fai? Who are you sharing with?"

Buffy's voice had taken on a somber edge, questions of slayerhood always made the girls a little wary of their shared destiny as the last of the Chosen ones.

"Don't worry about that, just answer the question."

Buffy paused.

"Yeah, I used to share with Angel. And then Spike. Although I'm not sure if I really shared the dreams with them, or they were just present there. Hell if I know, but I did talk to Whistler when he came down after the collapse. It was one of the questions I asked him."

The silence grew deafening.

"He said that as the last of the Chosen, the PTB's have given us a gift. We can share the dreams either with each other, or with our soul mates… Because you and me share the same lifeline, the slayer line- we're going to be forever connected. But the people we share the dreams with, they share a part of our soul, so I really don't know what that means." The blonde slayer's voice was tremulous, uncertain.

Faith's mind was spinning with Buffy's revelations but she decided to deal with the easiest emotion first- anger.

"What the fuck B? You found this out and didn't tell me?"

Buffy stopped her, "No Fai, it's not like that. I was only able to tell you cause you asked, Whistler said the PTB's locked the deal on us. We could only find out about this if we started dreaming with someone else, we couldn't be told about the whole shebang."

Faith snarled "Why?"

"Because it would kill us to know that we could have had soul mates and didn't." Buffy answered.

Then the blonde changed her tone, transitioning immediately into her California cheerleader persona.

"So who're you dreaming of? Is he hot?"

Faith laughed humorlessly.

"Yeah, he's wicked hot, smart, protective, knows his way around weapons and can fight."

"So then, what's the problem?"

"He's a fucking Fed."

"Oh, shit…" Buffy swore uncharacteristically.

Faith decided to stay off the topic of Derek for now.

"So were Spike and Angel the only guys you dreamed with?"

Buffy snorted inelegantly into the phone and Faith smiled at the familiar sound.

"Yeah, strangely enough I've been dreaming about this guy who calls me princess every time we talk. He's cute, but a total asshole. Has a big thing about protecting his little brother, which I *totally* get… Still doesn't make him any less of an asshole though…"

Faith laughed, only Buffy would find it endearing if a guy was getting overprotective over a younger sibling. She and Dawn still believed it to be a miracle that Buffy let her out of the state, but they knew better than to question the elder Summers on her decision.

A knock sounded at her door and she yelled out an invitation, two seconds later Derek entered the room, all panther like grace and quiet testosterone.

Faith eyed him warily, she really didn't want to deal with a cop after he'd been told about the supernatural- but there was nobody else to deflect attention onto, and so she resigned herself to her fate.

"Hey B, gotta go. I'll talk to you soon."

Buffy said bye and Faith shut her phone off, instinctively knowing that she wouldn't want to be interrupted.

-------------

15. Sisters

Usual disclaimers apply.

"So how are you?"

Derek moved cautiously around her bed to sit at the ever-present bedside chair where Faith had flung her leather coat not two minutes previously.

She eyed him incredulously and then swallowed the instinctive sarcastic remark about to come out of her mouth.

"I'm good, I feel like shit swirled in a blender but I'm still good." Apparently her version of non-sarcasm wasn't the same as most people's.

Derek grimaced at the disgusting imagery her words provoked and looked her over carefully. His cocoa colored eyes felt like they were trying to puzzle out all the pieces that made her up, he shook his head in consternation as Faith raised an eyebrow in silent enquiry.

"I was worried, really worried."

She nodded at him to keep going.

"Crap Faith…"

He ran his fingers through his head, the lack of hair made it difficult for him to find anything to grasp so he just ended up stroking his scalp. Faith still thought it was sexy as hell though.

"I mean are we going to pretend like nothing's happening here with us?"

Faith started, she had thought that she was the only that really felt the connection. Hell she wasn't even sure if he was truly sharing her dreams, or if it was just her wickedly screwed up subconscious trying to mess with her yet again.

"Who's pretending big D?"

He snorted at that and asked.

"Why big D?"

"Cuz Dawn's little D, it's already taken."

He nodded his head sagely at her answer and she smiled despite her misgivings about the whole soulmate situation.

She decided to ask him a question that had been hounding her for a while.

"When were you born?"

He blinked and then smiled at her, that slow sexy dangerous smile of his that made Faith melt into putty.

"June 6th, 1973. You?"

"December twentieth, nineteen eighty one."

"There's an eight year difference between us."

Faith grinned cockily.

"Eight and a half, I'm a winter baby."

Derek shook his head in exasperation.

"Do you have any siblings?" he asked her.

Faith frowned, once again remembering what happened with Izzy at the hospital.

"Yeah, one. A sister. You've met her actually."

Derek looked surprised.

"The blonde at the hospital, Izzie. She's my older sister. Doesn't look much like me, does she?"

Shocked, Derek tried to remember any blonde Izzies and then the memory came up in his mind. A tall, curvy intern with warm hued skin and a guilty gaze when staring at Faith. Even then, Derek absently noted to himself that she was probably a bottle blonde, her brown eyes a smidgeon too dark to belong on a natural blonde. He remembered the scene when the two doctors came in with the interns, Miranda Bailey rushing and whipping everyone into shape so that her patient would have a better chance of getting better. The blonde, Izzie had looked absolutely flabbergasted when she first laid eyes on Faith. She stood in the doorway for several minutes, her breathing short and laboured and her fists clenched as she stared at the figure on the bed. She only moved when the Korean intern shoved her through, muttering about not getting on the nazi's bad side that morning.

And now, it turned out that the reason why she hadn't been able to step inside the room was that she was related directly to the patient lying there.

Faith winked at him, the usual twinkle in her eyes dimmed a notch.

"Bet'ya didn't think we were sisters when you saw us right?"

"You don't look much alike, except the eyes. Your eyes give you away Faith," he murmured softly and gently traced a finger around her temple. She sucked in a breath as his touch left electrical tingles racing down her spine, her body shivered involuntarily and yet again Faith Lehane marveled at the sap she was becoming around one Derek Morgan.

"What happened between you?"

For some reason his silky voice reached into her depths and emerged with the answers to her long buried past trailing after it. He was the Pied Piper and Faith was the suicidal mouse, happy to follow him just to bask in his presence for a moment longer.

"She left me. When she was sixteen, our mother pissed her off so much that I guess she didn't even think about her little sister to take me with her when she left. She knew that our moms was a raging alcoholic, she knew that I would have followed her to the end of the earth and she left me."

For as long as Faith could remember, her older sister Isobel had been a hero to her. Beautiful, smart, driven she encompassed everything that Faith wanted to become. For their little trailer in the ghettoes of Boston, Izzie sure could dream big though- she wanted to go to medical school to become a surgeon. Faith didn't know how she thought to be able to afford it, but she believed in her sister enough to be sure that Izzie would be able to accomplish anything she wanted. And so she continued to live, braving her mom's boyfriends, ignoring her mom's drinking and believing in her older sister- the ordinary hero with dreams too big for their lives. Then their mom had spent all of Izzie's savings for university on lottery tickets and booze. That was the end of life as Faith knew it. Because that had been the straw that broke the camel's back, Izzie snapped- a screaming fit that lasted for hours resulted in beautiful, smart Isobel picking up the last of her belongings and storming out of the trailer. Twelve year old Faith ran after her, bare feet slapping against the still hot Boston asphalt, skinny legs flashing through her denim cut offs as she chased her older sister to the train station. She found her there, eyes dry and gaze furious. Izzie had just managed to scrounge together the last of her paycheck and it was just enough to leave. She promised Faith that she would be back for her, she cried as she held her younger sister and gave her word that the dark haired little girl wouldn't have to live with their mother any longer than was necessary. And God, Faith believed her. She needed to believe her, because if Izzie wasn't telling the truth- then that meant that every certainty Faith might have had in the world was wrong. Years had passed, her watcher came and got killed and Faith still hadn't heard anything from Isobel. The day that Diana died, Faith realized that she couldn't keep waiting for a sister that had abandoned her. So she left, stealing her mom's wallet and braving the journey to California to meet Buffy- her last chance at salvation.

Derek interrupted Faith's musings with a gentle squeeze of her hand.

She laughed, "sorry I zoned on you."

"Hey it's ok, being impaled on a freaking gate gives you the right to zone all you want."

She tugged him towards her and gave him an awkward one armed hug, her other arm still in a sling around her neck.

"Derek, I'm going to be fine. Slayer healing, I'll be up in two days max."

He nodded and gave her a small smile.

"Don't think I'm not freaked about this."

Moving back, he sat on the chair.

Faith straightened and sat more comfortably. Derek rushed up and helped her adjust the pillows behind her back so that she would be able to talk more comfortably.

"Yeah, it's a fucked up system, but it's all we've got to work with."

He looked like he was about to interrupt.

She signaled for him to stop.

"Derek let me finish, if you have any questions, ask them later."

He sighed and nodded for her to continue.

"Like I said, it's fucked. But we've changed the rules. Slayers can now lead normal lives, we give them a choice. All we ask is that they go through the year long training at headquarters, and then if they choose to do so they can go back to their homes. It's pretty wicked yo, all we ask is that they check in with us by email every day to give us updates on any supernatural occurrences that may happen where they are and so we know that they're still okay. The girls that decide to stay and fight are given monthly allowances, we only patrol in squads of three. The big stuff me and B get called in for."

She really wanted him to decide to stay, he had already found a place in her heart and she really didn't know what she'd do if he decided that he had too much with the supernatural and with her.

He was silent as he kept looking at her, Faith felt a bit unnerved by his piercing gaze. She wanted him to stay and at the same time she desperately wanted him to leave. She really hated giving anyone this much power to have over herself, because from past experience Faith knew that big emotions led to big heartbreak. Her mother, her sister, fuck even the Scoobs once upon a time all pounded the lesson into her head: Stay alone and stay safe, let someone in and you get mindfucked. The only constant in her life so far was Dawn and now she was planning on letting Derek in. It took every bit of effort she could muster to lower her shields enough to let him see the vulnerability inside her eyes, but she did. Because Buffy's words laced through her brain, his status as her soul mate terrified her and calmed her at the same time. It meant something that they shared a part of their souls with each other, and right now Faith was feeling hopeful.

"Alright, I'll go with this for now… But only cause I want to get to know you better gorgeous," he smiled his sexy grin at her and Faith sighed in relief.

"Yo big D, me and you can get to know each other as much as you want," she drawled and 'saucy Faith' came back with a vengeance.

He took her cool hand into his warm one and leaned back more comfortably against the back of his chair.

"So what's going on with Dawn and Reid?... I saw them sitting really close together in the library as I was coming up, something about researching magic and genes…"

Faith grinned at him happily.

"Yeah, that's the geek's version of a mating dance. Next thing you know, they'll be sharing tips on how to stay freaking smart and kill the rest of us with their gigantic brains."

He laughed, a warm rumbling sound that reached to pool at the base of Faith's spine. At that moment she was content with her life, gaping wound in her gut, reappearing sister and psycho slayers be damned.