It was mid-afternoon and Willow was dozing comfortably. She had been meditating for the past few hours, both alone and then, upon Giles' insistence, with the scythe. Which hadn't turned out to be as bad or weird as she had expected. Quite the opposite in fact. Although they didn't have a whole lot of information on it, she had still learned some things about it.
For one, Buffy had been right. It was powerful. There was magic laced into the core of its being. Magic that practically reached out and begged Willow to try wielding it.
As well, it was old. The power inside it wasn't dark per say, but it had an ancient taste to it. Willow had held her share of old magical artefacts before, but never something quite like this. She wasn't even sure if the research books downstairs would have anything on their mystery weapon.
Which meant it was up to her to figure out what it was, what it did, and why it was important.
Willow sighed contentedly. She was reclined back on the bed; red hair fanned around her and arms lying loosely at her sides. The scythe was lying next to her, still humming at her in request to explore its power.
The witch's head felt much better. Even though the meditation had been rooted in production and not relaxation, the hours of simply being and letting everything inside her settle back into its normal levels had worked wonders. She was drifting on the edge of sleep, but she was no longer exhausted, and her magic was no longer at dangerously low levels.
The door opened slightly but she didn't look up. She was too relaxed to want to move. Her whole body felt like jelly; in a good, comfortable way.
"You awake?" Faith asked quietly.
"Mmm, mostly." Her eyes blinked open slowly and she sat up, seeking out the brunette. The Slayer was someone she would move for, despite the jelly state. Faith was crouching at the side of the room, her back to Willow while rooting through her bag for a clean change of clothes. Her hair was damp and she was clad in only a towel. "F-Faith?"
The Slayer stood and turned around, "Yeah?" She looked casual, one hand clasping the towel covering her at the top of her chest, the other still holding the bag of clothes.
Whatever words Willow had intended to say died in her throat.
Faith was doing that thing again; the thing where she managed to take the redhead's breath away.
Her hair hung loosely around her face and draped over her shoulders, almost dry and in gentle waves. The deep forest green of the towel she was holding made her skin stand out sharply, making it appear much paler than normal. The tattoo on her arm stood out too, a black tribal design on fair skin.
The towel didn't leave much to the imagination. Although it easily covered the brunette's breasts, it only reached partway down her thighs. It made her legs look very long, with a few beads of water still sliding down her skin and-
The witch forced her eyes back up to Faith's face and then quickly turned away, "Sorry," she mumbled.
"What? You too modest to see me standin' in a towel?"
"You're doing it on purpose, aren't you?" Willow asked, still facing the wall and feeling her face grow hot.
"You betcha," Faith chuckled. After a moment of rustling, "'Kay, you can turn around now."
Willow slowly looked back at The Slayer, who was now standing in the middle of the room in shorts and a tank. The witch's eyes couldn't help themselves as they roamed over Faith's body once more, taking the time to notice how muscular yet feminine her form was. They slid down her legs again, which were almost hypnotizing, until…
"You bled through your bandage."
"Yeah," Faith said dismissively.
The redhead patted the bed next to her, "Sit. I'll take a look." She stood and moved the scythe to the floor and then pulled the first aid kit out from under the bed. She turned back to Faith; she was sitting with her leg crossed under her and her bad leg stretched out.
Daintily, Willow began removing the damp material of the bandage. "Maybe you should have taken it off before you showered."
"Yeah, no. Have you actually seen it? Slayer heeling works wonders, but soap would still hurt like a bitch."
Willow had to agree. Once the bandage was peeled away, she could see that although it didn't look as bad as it had when Faith had first arrived back at the house, bleeding and nearly unconscious, it still looked pretty nasty. The skin was raw and pink, the gash the angry red of a cut that had only party healed over before being opened again. "If you stayed off it, it might heal faster. How can you even walk without it exploding in pain?"
Faith winced as Willow dabbed the small amount of fresh blood away before adding some ointment and then a fresh wrap, "I'm used to pain. You grow up with Lara, you learn not to complain."
A small frown fell into place on Willow's features as her hands stilled, "…Oh."
"It's no big deal. I just mean, dislocated shoulders, bloody knees, whatever, I learned not to complain if it hurt. Sometimes she'd take pity and we'd go to the doctor. Most of the time I'd just end up listening to her yelling about how ungrateful I was. And, I mean, Slayer? I'm kinda used to gettiin' beat up. Comes with the territory."
"That's not a very positive outlook."
"I'm not dead yet, am I? I'd say that's positive. Hell, I'm doing better than B."
Willow smiled and rolled her eyes.
"And plus, who needs to be optimistic when you've got my good looks? That's all I really need."
"You are so full of yourself."
"Admit it, you dig this," she gestured to herself. "Totally saw you checkin' me out."
"You were in a towel, it was kind of hard not to."
Faith leaned forward, letting her warm breath touch Willow's ear as she whispered, "And did you like what you saw?"
The witch's eyes fluttered closed as her lips met Faith's. Just a gentle brush was all the invitation she needed; she was quickly growing fond of Faith's lips. They were soft and smooth and very kissable. Very kissable. She very much enjoyed kissing Faith's lips, in the same way her lungs enjoyed oxygen.
Willow's hands tangled themselves in Faith's hair as the Slayer's tongue ran along her bottom lip before pushing forward to meet the redhead's. Willow shivered at the sensation.
Her hands moved down and ran slowly along Faith's arms as they continued kissing, their tongues swirling with each other. Faith was inching her weight forward, slowing pressing down on Willow until the witch complied, leaning back on the bed. Faith followed, her mouth not breaking contact with Willow's.
Regrettably, the redhead pulled away, needing to catch her breath. Faith didn't seem to notice, instead continuing to kiss the witch along her jaw line down to her ear, where she kissed and circled her tongue around the lobe before sucking it into her mouth. When her teeth nibbled on the tender skin Willow couldn't contain the moan that escaped her throat.
Faith lifted her head, an easy smile present on her lips. Willow saw nothing but compassion and desire in her eyes. Her hands squeezed Willow's hips as she brought their lips together again.
The redhead sighed into the kiss, knowing Faith was enjoying herself just as much as she was.
But I think it's time we turn the tables, Willow thought as she flipped their positions, allowing her to be the one resting atop Faith.
Said girl blinked in surprise, "Hey."
"You don't get to have all the fun," Willow smiled before leaning down to capture Faith's lips with her own once more.
Time seemed to slip away as they continued, hardly pulling away long enough to get air into their lungs before kissing again. Willow's fingers were playing with the bottom hem of Faith's shirt as she kissed down the Slayer's throat, nipping playfully at the other girl's pulse point. Faith growled.
Willow smiled to herself as she soothed the area with her tongue. However she smile receded quickly as Faith pulled away. "You're gonna want to sit up now."
"I… wha?" Willow asked, confused as to why she was no longer kissing the other girl.
"Sit up," Faith answered, frowning slightly. "Trust me."
Willow complied, pulling away from the brunette and sitting up on the bed, "Why-?"
"Three," Faith counted quietly to herself, "two, one."
Willow was puzzled, but the feeling didn't last long as there was a quick knock at the door. The person on the other side didn't wait for an answer, instead opening it and inviting themselves inside.
Heart jumping into her throat, Willow leapt from the bed, putting some distance between her and the Slayer. They had almost been caught.
Faith had known someone was about to walk in on them. She had known and only broken the contact seconds before they had been interrupted.
Willow shot Faith an unhappy glare before turning to see just who had almost walked-in on them.
It was Buffy, with a chipper looking Dani skipping along behind her. The younger girl plopped herself down next to her sister, "What are you doing?"
"Hey Dan," Faith said, and Willow could see the forced smile she gave as she too tried to calm her racing heart. "Red was just redoing the bandage," she pointed to her leg.
Daniela looked at the bandage, frowning. "Not fun."
"No," Faith laughed, "it isn't."
"Well my injury from down in the Hellmouth is healing just fine."
Faith snorted at the blonde, "You didn't exactly have the muscle all but ripped off, did you?"
"W-what's up Buffy?" Willow asked, hoping her voice sounded close to normal.
The blonde Slayer didn't seem to notice her stutter. She picked the scythe up off the floor, "What'd we find out about it?" She asked, swing it back and forth as she mimicked fighting an imaginary foe with the weapon. She seemed to be in a good mood.
The redhead blinked slowly, forcing herself to focus. "Well," she began, "I can see the connection it has with you."
"You what?" Buffy asked, stopping mid swing.
"You and Faith are connected by your Slayers, right?" Both girls nodded, "Well," Willow continued, "Picture a… a ribbon running between you two. It's always there; it's faint, but it's there. It's how you two are able to sense each other."
Buffy nodded again in understanding, "Because our Slayers are one and the same."
"Exactly," she sat down in the chair next to the vanity so she could face both girls, "I reinforced that bond when you two re-lived the Slayer dreams, made it easier for your spirits to connect with each other, but your Slayers were already connected. And the scythe is too. There is a tendril of power running from it to each of you."
Willow suppressed rolling her eyes as Faith inspected the weapon Buffy's hands for said ribbon of power. "Not literally, Faith. You can't see it without magical sight. And even then, I can't see it unless I'm actually looking for it. It's not like my own magic."
"You can see that?" Dani asked, eyes lighting up. "What colour?"
The redhead smiled, "It depends on what I'm doing. It changes."
"Okay, so," Faith spoke up, "it's connected with us. Still doesn't explain why we've never heard of it."
"Or why the First Slayer had it," Buffy added.
Willow knitted her brows as an idea came to her, "What if it isn't hers?"
"Buffy, what if, okay," she took a breath then began, "The First Slayer is really old, right? She was active as the Slayer well before Common Era; before Christ." Willow tried to speak slowly and not let her ideas tumble out of her mouth too quickly. "This though," she gestured to the weapon in Buffy's hands, "It isn't as old as the Slayer line. Giles might have a better idea of how old it is, he's better at artefacts and dates than I am, but I don't think it was used by the First Slayer when she was alive. It isn't that old."
Buffy was restless and began pacing the room, swinging the scythe again so the metal sparkled in the sunlight. "So why'd she have it in the dream?"
The witch paused for a moment, thinking of how she wanted to describe this. "It's possible that you didn't actually see the First Slayer during the dreams." When both Faith and Buffy gave her a sceptical look, Willow continued, "She's the first one, so she has a connection with all the girls who've ever been Slayers after her, right? So what if what you saw in your dreams was more of… a conduit for all the past Slayers?"
"You mean, it's her form, but it's really all of them?" The blonde clarified, leaning back against the bureau.
Willow's head bobbed up and down in enthusiasm, "Exactly. That would make more sense as to why the First Slayer was telling you about the scythe. It isn't hers, but because she essentially is every girl that's been a Slayer, she knows about it and was trying to guide you to it."
Willow was very pleased with her rational, until Faith spoke again. "That answers question two, what about question one. Why hasn't anyone heard of it? If the Watcher's know everything about the Slayer, why didn't G-man know what it was?"
"Actually," the blonde said, "I think I may have this one."
Faith laughed as she leaned back on her hands, "Really?"
Buffy glared, "Please, no blonde comments from you, Miss Dropout."
The younger Slayer shrugged, "High school dropout, college dropout. Same thing."
Willow watched Buffy roll her eyes in irritation, but she smiled and continued with her idea. "It's possible that the Watchers Council never knew about this," she held up the scythe. "I mean, Sineya didn't have a Watcher. She had the Shadow Men, but it was probably a long time before any sort of organization of Watchers was set up. And a long while before it became a council of 'people in business suits that sit on their asses all day pretending they're important.'"
The redhead wasn't quite grasping it. She tried following Buffy's line of thought, "Okay, meaning…?"
"Well," the blonde continued, "if the idea that the Watcher's Council of Brittan is new in comparison to the Slayer line, then wouldn't its customs be new too? Maybe the reason this isn't in the Watcher Diaries is because it predates them?
She pushed off from the bureau and began pacing the room again, wearing her Deep Thought expression, "Wasn't it like, in ancient times only church people knew how to write?" Willow cringed at Buffy's attempt at history, but didn't bother to correct the girl. "Once the idea of a Watcher was established for the Slayer, any information was probably only passed along by word of mouth for a long time."
"That's a big leap, B."
Buffy shook her head slowly, "No, not really. I mean, I haven't read them, but I know Giles read like, all the Diaries. And he wasn't reading stories on papyrus paper written in blood."
Willow cringed again.
"His books can't be older than one, maybe two hundred years," the older Slayer went on. "And if the Council did have older records, there were probably only a handful of them kept in a vault somewhere, so they don't decompose or whatever it is old books do.
"So my point is that, when this was made," she handed the weapon to Faith, "The Watchers were relying on word of mouth to pass on any information. And if it was the Slayer's weapon, and there was some big nasty battle and she died and the scythe was lost somewhere, then her Watcher would have told the new Watcher that there was a weapon, but they may not have been able to find it.
"And they could have spent however long looking for it, but if it was never found, then the fact that there was a weapon made just for the Slayer would only be kept alive from Watcher to Watcher. If it was never officially written down, as time went of it could have been forgotten."
That is actually a pretty logical answer, ignoring her attempts at history. Buffy was never that good at history in high school. But still, that's a really rational explanation.
The brunette Slayer considered Buffy's reasoning, "'Kay," she drawled, "I can dig that. But one last question. How exactly did it end up here?"
Buffy opened her mouth, going to say something, and then closed it again. She didn't have an answer for that.
"Magic," Dani chirped.
Faith looked at her sister, "How's that?"
Dani shrugged, "Willow said its magic, so…"
The blonde Slayer disagreed, "Just because it is magic doesn't mean it can do magic." She turned to look at the witch, "Wills? Thoughts?"
Hmmm, Willow thought. How to make this sound right? After a moment of organizing her thoughts, she spoke, "Okay, we've established that the First Slayer has a connection with all the girls. And what you saw in the dreams was most likely a conduit of all their memories placed in one singular form.
"From a magical standpoint, if the scythe is connected to the Slayer – and I'm talking a strong bond here – then Sineya, basically being the embodiment of all the past Slayers, would have a spiritual connection with it. Even though she isn't real, she only exists in a temporal plane, she would still have a link to it. Like how when a person dies, they have a really strong connection with something – say the location where they died a violent death – they are able to cross over the veil between dimension and haunt their old house. They have ties to it that stretch farther than one plane of existence.
"It would be the same with the First Slayer. Through her link with all the past girls she has an infinitely strong bond with the scythe, so she was able to draw it from its location, wherever it was lost to history, and bring it into her dreamscape. She is the spirit of the Slayer. And because you two are the embodiment of the Slayer you were able to bring it from the dreamscape to our dimension. Like… I guess like a form of teleportation. It isn't so much the astral projection of the weapon as the instantaneous relocation of the real thing."
Faith wasn't convinced, "So why us? Why'd she give it to us and not any other Slayer in history? Why didn't she just give it to the girl who came after the one who lost it?"
Answering that was easy. "Because you two are the first to connect with her in such an intimate way."
Buffy raised her eyebrows, "Um… meaning what?"
Willow turned to the blonde, "Buffy, when did you start having Slayer dreams?"
"They started right before I was Called."
The girl shrugged, "Same."
She looked back at Buffy, "Okay, and when was the first time Sineya came to you in your dreams?"
Comprehension dawned on Buffy. "Oh."
Willow beamed, proud of herself; this was why she was number one at Scooby research.
"Wanna shed a little light, B?" Faith asked, "I'm still in the dark about all this."
The other Slayer launched into an explanation, "The first time I dreamed about Sineya was during my first year of college. We, um, we kind of used a spell to combine our abilities – me and the Scoobies – and ended up invoking the essence of the First Slayer to help us defeat a big and nasty. Then she kind of tried to kill us all in our sleep because she didn't like the way I slayed. But that was the first time I saw her."
"After we released her," Willow added.
"But, wait. What about the Hokey Pokey thing in the desert with Giles?"
"You… what'd where with Giles?" A taunting smirk pulled at Faith's lips.
Buff huffed, "No, you perv. Giles told me about this vision quest, a thing Slayers can do to get themselves back on track and learn what it means to be a Slayer. When I did it, I saw the First Slayer again." She looked at Willow, confused, "I know it wasn't a dream of her, but if I saw her there, couldn't other Slayers have seen her too?"
Willow clarified, "Magically speaking, a vision quest is different from a dream-walk, especially when we consider how important dreams are for the Slayer."
Here we go with Research Gal mode, Willow giggled to herself before she began.
"Vision quests began as Native American traditions; you take a spiritual trip to find yourself and get your life back on track, usually as a sort of coming-of-age thing. Some sort of spiritual manifestation or guardian animal will come to you as a guide to help you find what you are looking for. The manifestation you saw, Buffy, happened to take the form of the First Slayer, because she is connected with you on a Slayer level, but also because you had a link with her after the enjoining spell. It's possible other Slayers saw her when they went of the vision quest, but it's just as possible that they saw other long dead Slayers. It's a matter of chance and what you need as a guide. That's the point of a vision quest. To guide you back to where you are supposed to be.
"With the dreams, it's different. From what we know from the Council and Giles' lectures, Slayers all share a psychic link that is manifested in their dreams."
"You dream you're another girl in another time." Faith said softy.
"Exactly. These happen even before you are Called, right? So that's the groundwork for the dreams, connecting you to the past girls. But we also know they have another role, being prophetic to upcoming emergencies. A Higher Power guides these, giving you the message you need to stop whatever crisis is coming. And this was how the First Slayer came to you know, in your own dream space in order to connect with you. Since that has never happened to any other girl, I think we can assume it's only because of our spell a few years ago. Our spell essentially broke down a mystical wall, allowing a deeper connection to run between you and past Slayers. That's why Sineya gave the scythe to you two and not anyone before you."