It was a week exactly until Glory would be able to rip a hole between dimensions at Solstice.
Wesley was in the hospital, Buffy was in the hospital, Xander was in the hospital, Faith had been sneaked out of the hospital by Willow and Kennedy and hadn’t woken up in the past two days.
“She should really be wakey wakey by now.” Willow leaned over Faith’s prone form anxiously. “I don’t know why she isn’t. She must want to be asleep.”
“Well you whammied Faith into fuckin’ slumberland, whammy her back into the land of the livin’!” Will Hunting demanded impatiently. Everyone was using his apartment as a temporary save the world headquarters; ‘Everyone’ being Willow, Kennedy, Robin, and Oz.
“It’s not that simple,” Willow said stiffly. “It’s not like I can wave smelling salts under her nose.”
“We need a slayer, Will.” Oz was staring at Willow like she was a piece of dirt on his shoe. “But hey, Faith shouldn’t haven’t feelings about her sister getting abducted, god forbid, so you made her unconscious.”
“Faith was attacking Buffy,” Willow snapped at him. “What was I meant to do? Let her injure Buffy more? What would you do, Oz, turn into a wolf and bite her?” She bit her tongue too late. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean...”
“Sure you didn’t.” Oz drawled, gratefully accepting a coffee from Morgan.
Until physical fighting was needed, Morgan figured he could best help save the world by supplying junk food and beer to the thinkers in the party. Oz pointed out that coffee would be better than beer for any serious thinking to get done.
“No pressure or anything, and not to downgrade your magic expertise but we need a fighting fit slayer. Buffy’s still going to have a broken right arm on Solstice and her stomach won’t have properly healed so wake Faith up before we all die next week,” Robin ordered Willow curtly.
“I’m trying!” Willow turned to Will Hunting. “Can I borrow your lighter?”
“You take up fuckin’ smokin’, now?” Will handed his lighter over to her incredulously.
“I’m going to walk in Faith’s mind and tell her to wake up and get with the grippage of herself,” Willow explained cockily. “I can fix things.”
“Yah gonna stroll in Faith’s mind and tell her to up and atom?” Will Hunting sucked on the cigarette hanging from his lip thinking now he’d heard everything. “Enjoy the view, Rusty.”
Willow walked into the main bedroom and firmly closed the door behind her, She placed three blue candles on the small table beside the double bed where Faith lay in catatonic splendor. She lit the candles carefully and then perched on the corner of the bed facing the slayer.
Willow put her hand gently on Faith’s face and entered her mind.
Willow found herself in a dingy living room overcrowded with shabby furniture in an old triple decker wooden house. A faded picture of the pope hung on the wall in a futile attempt at decoration. Willow blinked in confusion.
She made her way slowly forward, looking around. She walked up to the mantle piece and saw family photos of people who resembled Faith. Eventually, Willow turned away, sensing a presence in the room.
“Hey, Willow.” A dark haired little girl was shading in a picture of a lion in a coloring book. Her hair was braided neatly into two plaits and she wore blue dungarees and a pink t-shirt.
Willow smiled involuntarily, “Why Faith, weren’t you just the cutest thing?”
“What are you doin’ here?” Faith paused from coloring in her lion and glared suspiciously at Willow.
“Actually, I'm, uh...” Willow tried to appear non-threatening, “looking for you.”
Faith snapped her crayon in half in frustration. “Now look what yah’ve made me do, I’ve gone over the lines.”
”Faith ... what are you doing here?” Willow scratched her head in bewilderment.
“Colorin’ in my lion.” Faith rolled her eyes at stupid grown up Willow.
Willow knelt down beside her. “Hey, Faith, we need you. You have to wake up.”
“Why?” Faith seemed unconvinced.
“To help Dawn, Faith,” Willow said gently.
”Oh that starts today.” Faith glanced over at the front door just as it opened.
“Hey firecracker!” A young woman walked into the room with her mother holding a baby behind her.
Faith’s face lit up into a huge smile. “Mom!” She flew to her mother and tried to hug her around the waist.
“No!” the woman pushed Faith violently away. “Mommy’s had an operation to get the baby out and I’m wicked sore.”
“I told her to be careful of you, Kathleen, but you know Faithie, in one ear out the other.” Faith’s grandmother looked around crossly and addressed Faith. “Where the hell’s your grandpop?”
“He went to get smokes, he said he’d be back soon. I’m bein’ good,” Faith promised.
“Well that’s a freakin’ miracle.” Faith’s grandmother squatted down to her level. “Do you wanna see your new sister? Be careful with her. You can kiss her if you want.”
“She’s beautiful.” Faith stared in fascination at her half sister, Dawn’s devoted slave on the spot.
“C-section babies are.” Faith’s mother laughed. “I’m goin’ to bed. Help Grandma with Dawn, Faithie, and behave.”
“What do you want me to do?” Faith offered immediately to her grandmother.
“Stay out of trouble for five minutes?” Her grandmother cuffed Faith on the head affectionately. “How ‘bout you hold her for me while I get a formula bottle ready.”
Faith held out her arms eagerly and Dawn was placed carefully in her arms. Dawn whimpered and Faith rocked her slowly as she’d seen her countless female relatives do to their own offspring.
“That’s good, hon, you’ve got the knack.” Her grandmother praised her, surprised.
“Grandma’s nice, ain’t she?” Faith said to Willow as her grandmother disappeared into the kitchen.
“Yes, I suppose she is.” Willow thought the grandmother was a trifle hard on Faith.
“Grandpop’s mean. And he’s comin’ home now.” Faith flinched with fear as the front door opened once more, clutching baby Dawn tightly. “He hits me with a belt when I’m bad. I’m bad a lot. I don’t mean to be.”
The room flashed and Willow found herself in a newish apartment.
“Dawn didn’t mean to be bad either.” Faith was suddenly twelve. She was getting a frozen bag of corn out of the fridge. Faith looked resigned as she walked over to her crying six year old sister who was sporting a black eye. She pressed it against Dawn’s face.
“I told yah, Dawnie, don’t bug Mom when she’s hung over, for Christ’s sake!” Faith berated her younger sister.
“I wanted to watch the cartoons,” Dawn whimpered. “They weren’t too loud. Mom’s mad because Grant left her last night, is it my fault he left?”
“I dunno.” Faith shrugged. “Didja like him, brat-face?"
“Yeah, he was funny.” Dawn sniveled, “Why did he leave, Faith?”
“All of mom’s boyfriends leave, Dawn.” Faith reminded her. “That’s what always happens sooner or later. And weren’t you happy when Harold finally walked out on her last year?”
“Yeah,” Dawn nodded, her pony-tail swishing in firm agreement. “Harold’s a fuckin’ douche.”
“Do you know what a douche bag even is?” Faith smirked, tugging at her little sisters pony-tail with affection.
“An asshole like you,” Dawn deadpanned.
Another blinding flash made Willow close her eyes. She heard the sound of distraught gulping behind her and spun around to investigate the source.
Willow found herself in another living room even more dismal than the first. It reeked of stale alcohol and cigarette butts.
A ten year old Dawn was sobbing face down on a shabby sofa.
“What’s wrong?” Willow asked Dawn kindly.
“She can’t hear you. Don’t waste your breath.” The adult Faith leaned against the wall with her arms folded defensively.
Willow was aware of muffled sounds coming from behind a closed door.
Sounds Willow didn’t want to register at all.
“Ow, you fuckin’ little bitch!” Came a man’s voice from inside the room.
“Get offa me!” The sixteen year old Faith could be heard screaming in the bedroom for a second. There was the sound of flesh meeting flesh in a god almighty slap. The bed-head knocked against the wall at the impact of two bodies fighting tooth and nail against it.
“Why don’t you get the hell out of my mind, Willow?” Adult Faith ordered her resentfully. “I don’t want you here.”
“I’m trying to make you wake up,” Willow reminded her. She truly didn’t want to be in Faith’s mind either. “So you can help Dawn.”
The room flashed.
Faith’s mother grabbed an eight year old Dawn and stubbed her lit cigarette out on her arm.
Dawn squealed as her flesh sizzled. ”But you weren’t home!” Tears of pain flooded her furious eyes. She hunched, expecting to be hit.
“I said pass on fuckin’ phone messages straight away! Don’t you ever listen to a word I fuckin’ say?” Faith’s mother screamed at her cowering daughter. She punched Dawn in the head.
“Oh my god,” Willow couldn’t bear the fresh dysfunctional scenario.
“Leave her alone, you wasted bitch.” Teenage Faith intervened and blocked the next incoming blow directed at Dawn.
“Who the fuck do you think you are, you little slut? Talking to your mother like that?” Faith’s mother grabbed Faith by the hair and slammed her face against the wall. “I think I’m owed fuckin’ respect in my own fuckin’ house.”
“I don’t owe you nothin’,” Faith spat back at her mother. She twisted around and rubbed her bruised forehead. “And I’m goin’, I’m goin’ to Ronnie’s.”
“You cheap little tramp.” Faith’s mother slapped her across the face. “You’re not fuckin’ goin’ nowhere.”
“Where would I learn to be a tramp from, ‘Kathleen’?” Faith arched one insinuating, insolent eyebrow, to be slapped in the face once more for her troubles. Faith snapped, raised her own hand and slapped her mother back twice as hard.
“Kodak moment there, Will, first time I hit my mom. I’ve always fought back and I’ve always wanted to help Dawn,” Adult Faith commented, puzzled. “So why am I still asleep?”
“I don’t know.” Willow decided to get out of Faith’s mind, she didn’t know what to do to make Faith wake up.
Willow opened her eyes, Faith was still lying comatose on the bed and Willow had got nowhere with her.
Willow made her way out into the living room.
“I couldn’t get her to wake up,” she admitted to the others. “She’s remembering all these terrible things from when she was a child. I don’t know what to say to her. But I’ll try again.”
“Can you get someone else in her mind?” Will Hunting looked over security tapes from the hospital he was pouring over with Robin, searching for any kind of a hint as to where Glory might have taken Dawn. “Because I know a guy who helped me wake up to life. He’s called Sean Maguire, he’s from Southie originally, he’s not a fuckin’ hypocrite and he can fuckin’ fix people.”
Sean Maguire took most things in life in stride. An expert psychiatrist, who specialized in helping Vietnam veterans, the twinkling eyed man in his fifties was just the person who could help Faith; at least everyone hoped so.
“It makes a change not having to read case files. If I’m going into my patient’s mind directly.” Sean scratched his beard, bemused, as he sat down on the bed beside Faith.
“You’re sure this is safe?” Will Hunting paced the bedroom floor.
“Now you worry about that, you little punk?” Sean teased him. “I’ll be fine, Will, and if the world ends next week, well - at least this is my part to help stop that. I’ve had a good life. And maybe I can get inside Skylar’s mind next and help her, so you both can have good lives too.”
“I’m working on a spell to help them,” Willow butted in anxiously.
Sean smiled at her warmly.
Willow recognized a living saint when she came across one. She made him lie down beside Faith and placed her hands on both their faces.
“It’s done.” Willow crossed her fingers.
“No flash?” Will Hunting expected more.
Willow grinned, “Flashes are too flashy.”
Sean stood in front of the little girl coloring in. She looked up suspiciously and narrowed her eyes.
“Who are you?” Faith pressed down hard on the paper with her crayon.
“My name’s Sean Maguire and I’m a friend of Will Hunting, he said you might need my help.” Sean sat down beside Faith and appraised her picture. “Nice work, very neat. I paint and sometimes I use crayons, too.”
Faith frowned and colored in the grass green.
Dawn glared at Glory. Her mouth was gagged with a cloth and she was tied to a chair.
“My minion, Slurk, is gonna give you a drink now. Try and hold off on the Tourettes Syndrome outpouring so you can hydrate,” Glory advised with concern untying Dawn’s gag. “We need your veins big for slicing.”
“Screw you, you can go fu..” Dawn had Glory’s hand clamped over her mouth once more.
“You’re really pissing me off, kid.” Glory took her hand away. “And yet I feel sorry for you. Why is that?”
“I don’t know, I don’t care and I’m not a kid.” Dawn sucked down her drink through the straw. “You got any cookies? I feel like having a pig out.”
“We could get you some. Cookies aren’t very nutritious are they? How about we get you some chicken soup or something?” Glory clapped her hands in delight at the idea.
“I don’t have a freaking cold, I want cookies or I’m not eating, period,” Dawn demanded snottily.
“You really aren’t in a position to be making demands,” Slurk pointed out.
“Its cookies or nothing, mutant,” Dawn sneered at him. Maybe if she pissed Glory’s crew off enough they’d kill Dawn in a fit of rage and she could save the world that way, because it sure looked like Faith wasn’t getting off her ass to come rescue her.
19th December 2003
“Excuse me,” Willow appeared in the middle of Faith’s dream therapy session with Sean.
Sean and Faith looked up from where they sitting on a park bench overlooking Boston Harbor.
“What the hell are you doing?” Faith asked in amazement as she saw Willow produce a knife.
“Well, seeing it’s been six days and you’re still not out of your coma and Buffy’s developed a nasty bacterial infection that’s kept her in the hospital, er, um, I’ve thought of a spell to activate Kennedy as a slayer but I need your blood to do it.”
Willow cut into the crook of Faith’s arm with a silver knife. “I’m doing this in real life.”
Faith watched her blood drip into a glass vase Willow held underneath her arm.
“Found Dawn yet?” Faith checked anxiously.
“Had a good lead on that one, you just be all concentration factor on coming out of your mystic sleep.” Willow patted Faith on the shoulder reassuringly. “Catch you later.”
“Yes, well, as I was saying, Faith…” Sean blinked as Willow disappeared. “It’s not your fault.”
“Yeah, I know.” Faith breezed, “I was just a kid, how could any of it be my fault?”
“It’s not your fault,” Sean repeated compassionately.
“Yeah, I know,” Faith folded her arms, “Are you expecting me to break down in tears or something? I know it’s not my fault. I had real good therapy in Belmont for Christ’s sake. I get Wesley loves me and ain’t leaving anytime soon, I understand that I did the best for Dawn that I could. Why aren’t I awake, Sean?”
“I’m haven’t a fuckin’ clue.” Sean scratched his beard perplexed, “For someone with your background you’re very resilient and vampire slaying is a safe outlet for your violent tendencies. I’m stumped.”
“Well don’t take it personal, you helped me see Wes loves me and gave me good strategy shit to get on better with both him and Dawn if I ever wake up.” Faith shrugged, and then cheered up. “Do you wanna go back in time with me to my first Pats game?”
Sean put his arm around her shoulders, “Why not?”
In the living room Willow hurried out with the vase containing Faith’s blood.
“Okay, if everyone can sit around in a circle, um Oz and Ginger, if you can be either side of me, I might need to suck your life force slightly to boost my power, nothing to be of the worryage about and Robin, your arm’s alright I guess?”
“What’s a pint of blood between friends, hey Ginger, do you mind?” Robin sat down on the floor.
“Sorry.” Ginger stopped sniffing in the direction of Robin’s bandaged arm, “Time of the month.”
“Alright,” Willow beamed at everyone cosily. “Now I’m just going to harness forces to activate this shadow lantern that used to belong to Robin’s mom and send Kennedy through the portal it will create to send her back in time to get activated as a slayer, I called up the Watcher’s Council and confirmed a coven in England successfully pulled this spell in 1803.”
“What kind of forces?” Will Hunting lowered himself down on the floor and stubbed his cigarette out in an ashtray.
“Natural ones, magic’s very natural.” Willow rolled up her sleeves assembling the figures in the shadow lantern. “There will be a demon that emerges after Kennedy goes into the portal as we know and that’s why we have the natural cage all ready.”
The figures around the shadow lantern began to spin rapidly and a shining window of light appeared above the lantern.
“Bring me back in an hour, I don’t want to be stuck in ‘Out of Africa’.” Kennedy jumped through the window of light and disappeared.
“Wicked cool,” Morgan felt it needed to be said.
Another window of light and a snarling, hulking brute of a demon fell out of it.
“Less cool,” Morgan sprang up with the other men to wrestle the demon into a wooden cage.
Kennedy tumbled out of the portal and landed on her bottom in the middle of a desert.
“Ouch,” Kennedy rubbed her bruised behind and cautiously approached a nearby cave that had chanting coming out of it.
“Yoo hoo, anyone home?” Kennedy stuck her head in the cave mouth.
Three black men wearing robes holding staffs were sitting on the ground.
“We know who you are and we know what you want.” One of the men said, he spoke a language Kennedy didn’t recognize and yet somehow she understood him.
“Guess introducing myself is redundant then.” Kennedy looked around the cave, “Okay, where’s the bottle that says ‘drink me’ or something? I need to get powered up.”
“Power has a price, you may not want to pay it, potential.” One of the men warned her.
“End of world approaching, no slayer available, and I’ve always wanted the power.” Kennedy confessed, “So whatever the price, it will be worth it.”
“Very well.” One of the men stood up and led Kennedy to a stake with shackles on it. “It will hurt gaining your heart's desire.”
“Always does, doesn’t it?” Kennedy stood still as the men tethered her to the stake. Her heart was pounding with apprehension.
“This is the source of slayer power,” The man in the middle informed Kennedy as he opened a wooden carved box. A black tentacle cloud drifted from the box and snaked its way over to Kennedy. “It is the energy of the demon - it’s spirit.”
“That doesn’t actually surprise me.” Kennedy made herself stand still as the cloud surrounded her body, entering her every facial orifice, her mouth, her nose, her ears.
It was extremely painful but Kennedy kept resolutely still throughout the ordeal, she wanted this, she had wanted this since she was thirteen and first found out she was a potential.
Any ordeal was worth gaining the power.