Tru surreptitiously slid her hand under the table and squeezed Luc’s thigh, her boyfriend turned slightly towards her and raised an eyebrow. Tru dismissed any erotic fantasies from her mind and brought her attention fully back to the present. The motel dinning room was done up in the same fake frontier décor as the rest of the place. The food, however, was excellent and the service was friendly and efficient.
“Well the way I look at it,” Tru’s brother Harrison had that calculating look on his face that he got when he had seen a way of making a killing. “You just fix up some of these cabins, clear out some of those graves, and Pinetop Cabins Motel is Pinetop Cabins Resort and Spa.” Nobody replied as Harrison turned to his girlfriend, Lindsay, “Am I boring you honey?”
Lindsay had a far away look on her face; she gazed across the room towards a grey haired man in his fifties who was eating alone in the corner of the restaurant.
“Hmm?” Lindsay shook her head as if to clear it of sad thoughts and turned to look at Harrison. “Oh, no,” She smiled half heartedly. “It’s just that poor guy; all alone I think its sad is all.”
Everyone at the table looked over at the grey haired man; honestly Tru didn’t think he looks that sad or lonely. Tru and Lindsay were best friends, but even Tru was first to admit that Lindsay could be a little over sensitive at times. Tru nodded towards a same-sex couple who were sitting at a table two tables down from them.
“Now there’s a couple that don’t look lonely.” Tru was hoping to lighten the mood a little, this was after all supposed to be a weekend break so they could all get away from the pressures of their jobs and maybe get to know each other better. This was particularly true for Tru and Luc.
Everyone in Tru’s group glanced over at the two women gazing into each others eyes as they held hands across the table. Tru could see the couple were very much in love, she smiled and found that she was a little jealous. She bet the women did not have weird stuff happening to them all the time that screwed up their personal lives. Tru looked at the brunette of the couple, she was very pregnant. Now that spoke of real commitment, IVF treatment was not cheap for a start. Tru sighed wistfully and turned her attention back to her table.
“Maybe he wants to be alone. Who cares?” Harrison waved his knife and fork about as he spoke; he was still talking about the old guy.
“I care, I think it’s sad.” Lindsay did not look happy, and not just about the ‘lonely’ guy, she was getting really pissed with Harrison.
“Aww,” Harrison mocked unhelpfully.
Tru desperately tried to head off a full blown argument. “Some meal huh?”
“Are you getting anything?” Whispered Kennedy from across the table.
“Darn it no!” Willow let go of Kennedy’s hand and broke the connection between them.
Willow had been using an eavesdropping spell while tapping into Kennedy’s enhanced Slayer hearing. But there were just too many people in the room and too much background noise for it to be effective.
“They’re all about to have an argument, I think.” Willow explained as she picked up her knife and fork and started to eat.
“What about?” Kennedy asked around a mouthful of green salad.
“I caught something about the cemetery and the old guy over there.” Willow nodded towards the older man in the corner, Kennedy resisted the urge to turn around in her seat and look where Willow had nodded.
“Is it Faith, that’s the big question?” Kennedy started in on her very rare steak; Willow winced as her girl devoured the almost raw meat.
“There is something odd about her, it’s not your usual Slayer aura,” Willow paused while she took a mouth full of her chicken chasseur; it really was surprisingly good food here. It made up for the dankness and the air of shabbiness that seemed to pervade the place…and the graveyard next door of course.
“Maybe she’s Faith’s evil twin.” Willow glanced over at the four young people, Kennedy nearly choked on a piece of potato.
Coughing into her hand Kennedy wiped at her eyes with her serviette and grinned at Willow.
“Evil twin huh?” Kennedy asked after regaining control of her breathing, Willow looked at her questioningly.
“Yeah why not?”
“Well,” Kennedy was still grinning, “She’s not got a goatee for a start! All evil twins have to have a goatee…it’s in the rules, bottom of page twenty-seven.”
Willow pursed her lips and gave Kennedy a hard look, “Well, if you’re not going to take it seriously…”
“Oh, come on, Will. From what I know of Faith’s past that girl could be the good twin!”
Willow pondered the idea for a moment. She looked at the argument from all sides weighed up the pros and cons before saying;
“Maybe she’s an evil robot.”
“What is it with you and ‘evil’; she could just as well be a ‘good’ robot y’know?” Kennedy put down her knife and fork after she had scrapped her plate clean. She rested her chin on her hands as she lent her elbows on the table.
“Experience says she must be evil.” Willow muttered darkly.
“Sweet?” asked Kennedy.
“No it’s not sweet it’s darn annoying!”
“No, I mean do you want some sweet?” Kennedy looked around for a waitress, “I wonder if they have Spotted Dick?”
“Spotted what?” Squeaked Willow.
“With custard of course.” Added Kennedy.
“Looks like even the lesbians are arguing now.” Luc whispered into Tru’s ear.
The meal had been going down hill since the middle of the first course.
“Who’s still got some room for dessert?” Tru tried desperately to avert the disaster that was Dinner.
With all the inevitability of a train wreck Lindsay and Harrison got more and more annoyed with each other until Lindsay turned to Tru.
“Can I talk to you?”
“Yeah,” Tru’s heart sank.
“In private?” Lindsay stood up and headed for the door.
Tru slowly stood up and started to follow her best friend out of the restaurant; she cast Luc a pleading look as she passed.
Buffy sat in stunned silence; she could not quite believe what she had just seen. Surely, she thought, there were laws against this sort of thing. Sally stood ginning in front of her dressed in her cheerleader uniform. The girls had cleared an area of floor in the family room so that Sally could show off her new cheerleading routine. Buffy could not help but think that cheerleading had changed a lot since her day.
“Well,” Tammy broke the silence, “If that’s what you’re doin’, I don’t think any teenage boy within, say five miles of you, is gonna be paying much attention to the game!”
“Are you sure?” Buffy found her voice; it had been hiding in embarrassment somewhere down around her feet, “Are you sure your coach signed off on that routine…I mean it’s very good…and you performed it brilliantly, but don’t you think it’s a bit…umm risqué?”
Buffy suddenly found herself the focus of attention for five teenage Slayers who were all looking at her as if she was someone’s maiden aunt or something.
“I mean doesn’t it hurt?” Buffy looked questioningly at Sally as she put down her pom-poms, “All that…bouncing around…it must…” Buffy’s voice faded away under the unblinking stares of the Seattle Slayers.
“It’s okay as long as you’ve got a good sports bra.” Sally explained as she sat cross-legged on the floor.
“Ms Summers has a point,” Tina had been watching Sally’s performance avidly and was now sliding her arm around her girlfriend’s shoulder, “I mean it could be dangerous…”
“Yeah,” Alice snuggled up to Tina, “You could put someone’s eye out with one of those!”
Everyone giggled except Buffy; she was thinking she was going to have to have some hard words with Willow when she got back. Surely this was no way to run a Slayer house and who knew what effect it was having on Tara. Buffy gasped and put her hand in front of her mouth, she suddenly realised she had turned into her mother!
“Oh no!” Buffy said out loud.
“What’s wrong?” Tina the de facto ‘senior’ Seattle Slayer asked.
“Nothing!” Buffy looked away guiltily, ‘Oh, what a thing to have happen,’ she cried out in her mind, aloud she asked, “Time for patrols isn’t it?”
Tina nodded her head and started to assign patrol partners. Buffy noticed, with approval, how she did not take her girlfriend Alice out with her. Tina partnered Alice up with Tammy while she took Sally out. This left Shannon to go out with Buffy, the patrols were worked out so that there would always be at least one Slayer team on patrol until about two in the morning and one team was always at the YSWA house to defend it and look after Tara.
Buffy was impressed with the efficiency of the way the girls worked, obviously Kennedy had trained them well. Willow, however, needed a talking to; she was supposed to act as ‘den-mother’. Buffy found she did not approve of how Willow let things go on at the Seattle house - like lending Tina and Alice her bed so they could sleep together while she and Kennedy were away.
As for Sally and her cheerleading, Buffy thought it was more akin to ‘exotic dancing’ than any cheerleading she knew of and… Buffy stopped that train of thought dead in it’s tracks, her mother had come out to play again…maybe she needed to speak to that Psychoanalyst guy, Doctor Crane, she seemed to be channelling her Mom…this could not be normal!
Buffy watched as the girls went off to change and collect there weapons. Maybe she should have a talk to Sally, warn her that she was going to be fighting off boys for the next three years or so. Maybe it was just as well she was a Slayer she would not have to put up with any crap from football jocks who would not take ‘no’ for an answer. Then again maybe she should have a word with whoever worked out the cheerleading routines at Sally’s school.
Buffy clenched her fists and stamped her foot, “MOM!” She cast her eyes skywards, “Stop that will you?”
Willow and Kennedy sat on the sofa in their cabin and watched the fire as it danced in the fireplace. Willow put her arm around Kennedy’s shoulder and turned to kiss her girl. Kennedy put her hand over her mouth and burped!
“Oh, very romantic I must say!” Willow removed her arm from Kennedy’s shoulder and leant away form her girlfriend.
“Sorry,” Apologised Kennedy as she burped again and followed it with a hiccup, “I must’ve eaten something that disagreed with me.”
“Yeah like the waitress!” Willow got up and went over to her bags, she started to search for something adding, “And the two servings of Black Forest Gateaux!”
“Well they didn’t have any Spotted Dick!” Kennedy sulked defensively.
Willow came and sat back down by Kennedy and handed her a large white tablet, Kennedy looked at her questioningly.
“It’ll stop you belching all the time.” Willow explained.
Kennedy took the tablet and put it in her mouth and sucked.
“You know you’re going to have to lose all this extra weight after the baby’s born?”
“Yeah, no problem,” Kennedy kept sucking on the tablet, while Willow looked unconvinced at her girlfriend’s boasting.
Willow remembered the struggle she had had after Tara was born, it had taken her months to get her figure back. Not that Ken had seemed to notice any difference in how she looked.
“Look,” Kennedy sat up and looked into Willow’s eyes, “Slayer right? Weight should just fall off once I get back into training and slaying, and I’ll be breastfeeding, that’s supposed to be good for losing weight…I’ll be like one of those ‘Slimfast’ ads…Before,” Kennedy blew out her checks and contrived to look even bigger than she was, “And after!” This time Kennedy sat up straight and sucked in her checks trying to look thin.
They both laughed and fell into each others arms, Willow made another attempt at kissing her best girl; Kennedy hiccupped.
“Sorry!” Kennedy tried not to laugh at the expression on Willow’s face, “The burps have gone, but now I could be hiccupping from here to maternity!”
“I don’t think I’ve got anything for hiccups.” Willow sounded miserable.
“Look,” Kennedy shifted on the sofa, “Find me some ice and I’ll show you how to stop the hiccups.”
Faith flitted from tree to tree using the shadows to hide her approach to the cabins. With a final wraithlike rush she came up to the first cabin. Flattening herself against the wall she crept along until she came to a halt under a window. Standing up straight she looked into the room beyond. She saw a young guy with mousey blonde hair sitting morosely on the bed by himself.
Faith shrugged her shoulders and moved on to the next cabin.
Here she found a dishy dark haired guy pacing across the cabin’s floor. Faith looked the guy up and down appraisingly. What was it with the women round here? Leaving two good looking guys alone in their cabins while they ran off to do god knew what! If she had not been on a mission and with Xander (even if she wasn’t talking to him right now) she would have screwed either of them or both! Maybe just the one…the dark haired guy was cuter.
Faith moved on to the next cabin, repeating the process she looked through the window, old guy. She moved on to the next cabin, looking through yet another window she saw Kennedy and Willow sitting on a sofa in front of a blazing fire and immediately felt jealous, all she had to look forward to tonight was a cold lonely night in the SUV. Maybe she should make up with Xander… NO! She had to be strong; he had dragged her out into the cold damp wilderness, Buffy was not available so it was Xander who had to suffer.
Willow suddenly got up and headed towards the door, the two women had just been about to kiss then Kennedy sort of jumped and Willow had pulled away. What was wrong with people? Faith watched as Willow opened the door and left the cabin. Silently Faith ran around the cabin to see Willow standing in the middle of the parking lot looking about herself in indecision.
It would be unwise to get too close to Willow, thought Faith as she watched from the shadows. You could never be sure what spells the witch might have running; it would not be a good idea to be turned into a rat by mistake. Willow started to walk off into the night. For a moment Faith did not know what to do. She was supposed to look out for Kennedy. But Kennedy was not the one walking about in the middle of the night near a graveyard.
Kennedy was locked up nice and safe (and no doubt ‘warm’) in a cabin, probably surrounded by all types of weaponry. While the witch was wondering about the night unarmed and unprotected. Faith considered for a moment. It probably would not do Kennedy any good if her girlfriend was eaten by a vamp! Faith followed Willow.
“Ohjeez! God!” Squealed Lindsay as she nearly collided with Tru.
“Whoa!” Tru reached out to steady her friend.
“You scared me!” Lindsay put her hand on her chest, “What are you doing?”
“I was just getting ice,” Tru laughed self-consciously, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah sorry,” Sighed Lindsay. “I just…I thought I heard a noise in the woods,” Lindsay laughed nervously, “This place is just sorta creepy.”
“What, the motel with its own graveyard?” Tru smiled in the darkness.
“Go figure.” Lindsay shrugged her shoulders, “See you.” She headed off towards her cabin leaving Tru alone in the dark.
“Help me.” Tru turned at the sound of the man’s voice.
Willow stood not six feet away from the Faith-a-like hidden by a ‘You-can’t-look-at-me’ spell. The incident with the blonde girl had seemed innocent enough, now why was the evil-Faith-robo-twin starring off into the woods like that.
“Please.” Whispered the voice.
“Is there anybody out there?” Tru strained her eyes to see into the woods; slowly she started to walk towards the trees.
Faith looked around herself, somehow she had lost Willow! She dodged into the shadows as a pretty blonde woman walked by heading for the cabins. Following her Slayer instincts Faith went around another cabin and headed towards the woods. Sure enough she saw someone moving up ahead of her. Like an assassin she ran silently towards the woman as she plunged into the woods.
In the space of a couple of seconds Faith noticed two things; first just out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of Willow. Obviously hidden by some witchy stuff, if it had not been for her Slayer abilities Faith would never have seen her. As it was, if she looked directly at where Willow stood the witch vanished. But what stopped her in her tracks was the woman Willow was obviously following.
Faith stopped dead in her tracks as her mouth fell open…she was looking at herself.
“Kevin?” Tru moved between the trees.
The voice sounded like the guy who had tried to hitch a lift with Luc and herself on their way up here.
“I need you.” Yes, the voice was definitely Kevin’s.
Something white caught Tru’s eye in the darkness, she bent to find Kevin’s dead body lying on the ground, his throat had been cut from ear to ear. There was a newspaper clipping in the shape of a heart placed on his chest, and a blood stained knife lying next to his body. She stood back from the body and stared at the knife in her hand that she had automatically picked it up.
“You!” The red head from the dinning room suddenly appeared beside her.
“No!” Tru stepped away from the woman in shock, “I didn’t…”
Kevin’s dead face turned towards Tru.
“I need you!”
“Willow!” Faith stepping out of the shadows prepared to defend the Witch against the murdering bitch who was her double.
“Faith I…” Willow tried to speak as the world began to rewind around her.
Willow stood on the brakes of the SUV and brought it to a screeching halt on the damp road. Kennedy was thrown against her seat belt and woke out of her nap with a start. She looked around searching for danger. Looking over at Willow she asked;
“STOP!” Faith made a grab for the steering wheel.
Xander automatically stepped on the brakes as he fought for control with both Faith and the road conditions. The big Cherokee skidded along the road for a while before coming to a halt half on and half off the road. Turning to Faith Xander asked;