A/N Love the alerts and favorites. Always appreciate the reviews. Hope you enjoy this one!

Chapter One: People Die Here

"Buffy! I'm about to kill Faith! Is that a problem?"

Dawn raced down the hallway before pounding on Buffy's door with a frantic urgency. She didn't get any response and stomped in frustration. "I'm serious! You can kick her ass for me right? Dammit, Buffy! Open the-sweet baby Jesus!"

She had flung the door open to get an eyeful of Spike's naked butt on top of her sister. Dawn's hands flew to her eyes while Buffy scrambled out from under him. Spike threw his arms up in frustration before flopping on the now empty bed and pulling up the covers to cover his lower half. "Lil' Bit, it's called bloody knocking!"

Buffy was already clothed in a tank top and boy shorts and blushing furiously. An amused Faith came up behind a traumatized Dawn, her toothbrush still dangling in her hand. "She did knock. And she yelled. Nice tent, by the way, Blondie."

Spike smiled proudly before Buffy smacked him. "Do not respond to that," she warned. "Dawn, what do you want?"

"A time machine to undo what just happened and lots of therapy?" Dawn groaned. "And my sweater which Faith took even though I had washed it just for the first day of school. Which she got blood on!"

"First of all," Faith defended herself. "You can just take one of mine and school is stupid anyway."

Buffy glared at Faith. "School is not lame. Besides it's a whole new school, hopefully with less evil things lurking around. Complain to me about school when hyena people eat your principal. "

"Or a sexy blonde vampire crashes your back to school night and you fight your instant attraction for him and then-omph! Love, you smack me one more time and I'm taking off this cover!" Spike growled.

Dawn rolled her eyes dramatically. "I hate all of you. You are all horrible people," and she stormed back into her room. Buffy could hear her rummaging in her closet. She narrowed her eyes at Faith who held her hands up.

"Look, I didn't know it was a fucking special sweater!"

"First day of high school outfits are important," Buffy sighed. "Despite your personal love of leather pants and tight tank tops. Which is not an option for Dawn."

"Just because you've outgrown your short skirt high school phase, you think you're a fashionista now?"

"You realize Dawn is doomed if we're the grown ups around here," Spike sighed.

Faith looked insulted for a moment before nodding in agreement. "Yeah, she's pretty screwed. Speaking of screwing," she said slyly. "I'm gonna leave you two alone now. At least one of us is getting ass around here."

Once the door was closed, Buffy released a frustrated sigh. "That killed the mood."

Spike wiggled his eyebrows. "You don't have to drive Dawn for another half hour."

Buffy smiled and came over the bed. "Half hour isn't nearly enough time," she purred. "But when I get back, you owe me."

"Thought English and stuffy was coming later," Spike inquired casually.

"Yeah, Giles got word that Potentials and their guardians were getting killed. Watchers are disappearing too. Since the Council cut us off, we're a little late to the party but the new Slayer is missing."

Spike seemed concerned. "The First?"

"Seems too large scale for low level baddies."

Buffy had spent every day since the First came to visit her in the basement on edge. It hadn't returned and evil on the Hellmouth had actually quieted due to Buffy's new found powers and Faith being around as well. Giles and Anya were doing very well at the Magic Box and he had moved into an apartment nearby. Xander and Anya had committed to postponing the wedding until Willow returned. Except that Willow hardly talked to the group anymore, even Xander. But Giles had reports from Oz that she was practicing only good magic. She had refused to return after her initial rehabilitation and even enrolled in school in England. Buffy figured having her as far away as possible was the best thing but this seemed to be the time to really address the issue she had been happily avoiding.

Spike watched Buffy worry before he gestured for her to come back into bed. She bit her lip and leaned into his chest while over the covers. He kissed her forehead while his hand gripped hers. "There's going to be apocalypse if Dawn doesn't find a proper outfit. First day of school is important to girls for some reason," he tried to tease her. She looked up at him, her lips curving into a small half smile.

"I blew up both my high schools. How bad can it be?"

Buffy and Spike heard Dawn and Faith yelling again and groaned. Buffy had actually agreed to Dawn patrolling with them every once in awhile. Buffy was fast enough to keep anything from really harming Dawn. However, that meant the three girls spent a good amount of time together and Faith and Dawn fought worse than Buffy and Dawn did.

Buffy patted Spike's hand. "Put some clothes on. I think we need to referee this one."

While Spike dressed, his back was turned and he nervously asked, "Are you going to talk to Giles about...you know?"

When he was faced her, Buffy looked uncomfortable. "Not my favorite topic to bring to him but we need to know what you're getting into. What it might do to you."

"Or you," Spike added.

Buffy saw that a glimmer of hurt danced across his face and her heart seized. She wrapped her arms around him tightly and he buried his face in her neck. "I love you," she whispered. "Even if we can't, it doesn't change that. I don't need this to validate what we have. Do you?"

"No, I don't," Spike lied. But he couldn't help but wonder if Buffy's hesitation wasn't just about the unknown side effects. There was a reason he had never brought the issue of claiming up with Drusilla. Mostly because, in a way, he knew she didn't belong to him. But he knew Buffy did. His demon was getting restless without the claim and it was growing harder for him to not press the issue.

He felt her withdraw from the embrace and tried to ignore his doubts.

Buffy, Faith, and Dawn were driving to the new high school. Somehow the solution to the problem was to let Dawn burrow Buffy's clothes but Dawn seemed to be calmer now. As they approached the school, there was a crowd of concerned parents and students surrounding an area secured by yellow police tape.

"This school's slogan should be 'People die here'," Faith said dryly.

Buffy parked to the side away from the crowd. "Let's check it out."

They managed to force themselves through the crowd. Dawn was talking to another girl who seemed to be excited that school was cancelled for two days since they found a girl in the hallway. Dawn tossed Buffy a concerned frown and Buffy watched as a young girl with red hair was escorted to the ambulance. She heard a man's voice booming from her right.

"I'm Robin Wood. I know this isn't the best foot to start on, but I'm the new principal. I'm sorry but for the safety of the students, I'm going to have to close the school until this matter is settled. Please go home."

Faith whistled next to her. "Now if he was principal when I was at Sunnydale-"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Let's not share with the class, OK? Take Dawn home and I'm staying with the girl."

"B, not every dead person that turns up is because of the First," Faith warned. "This could be anything."

But Buffy was already making a beeline for the principal. He was getting in the ambulance when she caught up with him. "What happened?" Buffy asked gruffly.

Robin raised an amused eyebrow at the demanding blonde. "And you are?"

"A concerned parent. Overly concerned if anything."

Robin seemed to chuckle for a brief moment under his breath. His eyes seemed to take her in with a curious interest. "I found this young lady in the hallway. She was stabbed and barely breathing."

The EMT began to struggle to restrain Finley as she began to jerk on the gurney. Buffy could see he was going to lose this battle so she easily pinned the girl down by her shoulders while the EMT gave her a surprised look. "Who is she?" Buffy growled at the young man.

"I don't know. I asked her what her name was but she keeps saying 'get Buffy'. Hell if I know what that means," and he left the gurney to begin to open the ambulance doors. Buffy's eyes met the green eyes of the panicked girl who had stopped trying to get out of her restraints.

"I'm Buffy."

The girl's eyes grew wide and she took an almost relieved breath. Her hand reached up to grip Buffy's forearm and Buffy released her hold on her shoulders. She reached up with a shaking hand and pulled off her oxygen mask.

"Fin...ley," she choked out. She attempted a pained smile and licked her dry lips. "Slayer."

The EMT returned and eyed Buffy warily. "I have to take her to the hospital."

"I'm coming," Buffy said with an expression and tone that left for no objections.

Finley had floated into an unconscious state halfway to the hospital. Buffy still wasn't sure about the situation as it wasn't clear if this mystery girl knew Buffy was the Slayer or if she was trying to say she was the missing Slayer. Buffy held her hand the entire time and decided to interpret the calm demeanor of her demon as an indication the girl wasn't a threat. Buffy just had to pray she made it long enough for her to get a chance to be healed with Buffy's blood. She had managed to tell the doctors and nurses she was Finley's cousin. If anything could be said about Sunnydale's doctors and police force is that asking questions led to less answers or more information then you never really wanted to know.

Finally, Buffy was alone with Finley as the nurses had gone to schedule her surgery. She quickly modified the IV so that her blood mixed with Finley's. She kept her senses hyper alert to listen for anyone coming in. Finley began to regain color in her cheeks and her eyes flew open. They darted around the room frantically before landing on Buffy.

"Where is she?" she whispered, still a bit groggy.


Finley blinked a few times and her hands pulled up her gown to reveal the blood soaked gauze wrapped around her abdomen. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion and a flash of disappointment and grief flashed in her deep green eyes. "I'm not dead?"

"I'm Buffy. We need to get you out of here before people notice how unstabby you are."

Finley wasted no time and began to extract herself from the medical devices. "They'll come back for me," she moaned, her voice cracked with genuine fear. She darted out of the bed and paused for a moment when the expected pain or stiffness didn't come. "How am I not all stabby again?"

Buffy approached her carefully. "I did that. I'll explain later. But who is after you?"

"They don't have eyes. They killed my Watcher! I came here and find you and Faith. Look, I'll tell you everything but we need to leave right the hell now," she growled. She was so hurried as she rushed to the door that she almost swung at Buffy when she was pulled her behind her suddenly. She gasped at the speed in which Buffy had relocated her and from behind Buffy she saw her crouch slightly as she discretely sniffed the air.

"Someone is coming," Buffy whispered. "It's human," she clarified when she heard Finley's sharp intake of breath, hoping that would calm her for the moment. The door opened and Robin came in to find two very suspicious Slayers glaring at him.

"That's the guy who found me," Finley whispered.

"Is there a reason why you're putting the extra pal in principal today?" Buffy asked him gruffly. Robin sensed her defensive stance and tone and realized he needed to come clean.

"I'm going to shoot straight here. My mom was a Slayer. I know who you are, Buffy. All of it," he emphasized. "I'm here to help."

He watched as Buffy's eyes gaze raked over him, almost as if she was sizing him up as prey. Her body language shifted as she seemed less on guard and she grabbed Finley's hand turning to face her. "Stay behind me."

Buffy approached Robin and gave him a steely glare. "Whoever you are, you can either get outta my way or come with us. I'm making all kinds of new friends today. Lovely."