Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural.
Setting: As for the Buffy verse, you don’t need to know anything about the comic series (Buffy Season 8), but I might draw a few elements from that for this story. All you really need to know is that it’s been over a year since the repercussions of Season 7’s series finale. As for Supernatural, we’ll get to that in the next chapter.
It wasn’t always so. When she’d been . . . sick, she’d had nightmares, but not anymore. Now she enjoyed her sleep.
Dreams were good. Most people would assume that a convicted murderer would dream of blood, of sin and hellfire. But Faith enjoyed her dreams. She’d thought about how funny that was, how ironic it was that the other girls, slayers, she’d met had nightmares, and that she, the black sheep, was blessed with sweaty fantasies and images of a life of sundresses and day jobs.
Faith knew why. It was because her own life was so screwed up. Dreams were the only escape she had from the real nightmares that haunted her during waking hours. Which was probably why she was pissed to have her happy time taken from her.
“You’ve got the wrong girl,” she snapped, squinting into the bright desert landscape before her. “I’m out of the loop. Call B if you wanna play this game.”
An approaching mirage, the first slayer appeared before her at a half squat. The Primitive’s dark skin was flushed gray from the white painted across her face. Her strength was in her grace as she approached, her limber limbs twisting at every angle as she bled in and out of existence, appearing before her, then beside her, where a boulder disturbed the rolling landscape.
In a blink, the first slayer was on top of the huge stone, her back to the sun hanging there. Faith was nearly blinded by the bright light surrounding the Primitive.
“A slayer’s gift,” the Primitive hissed, staring down. “A slayer’s gift is death.”
Faith would have rolled her eyes if they weren’t stinging. Long, twisting locks of her dark hair slapped her in the face as she tilted her head up, refusing to look away.
“Yeah, friend of a friend told me about this song and dance,” Faith bit. “Death is our gift, got it. Call me Santa. Now let me get back to sleep.”
The first slayer jumped down from the boulder, hunched over, her thick mane resembling a lion’s coat in all but color. “Death is his gift,” she said.
“I guess you don’t hear too well,” Faith replied. She paused, raising a brow. “His?”
The First Slayer disappeared out of existence, leaving the full might of the sun glaring at Faith. The slayer winced, looking down.
“She’s a little vague.”
Faith took a step back, recognizing the voice. Buffy was standing beside the boulder, her arms crossed in front of her, the same expression she always gave the other Chosen slayer on her face: distrust and disappointment.
“You’re not B,” Faith said, only half certain.
“Nope,” Buffy said, false pep in her voice. She approached slowly, staring off at the land behind Faith, her eyes distant and old. “So, redemption, huh?”
Faith didn’t answer.
“I know you want it,” Buffy continued. “The real me, too, knows, deep down. It makes you something very close to her old squeeze, so she doesn’t mention it. But I guess you probably know that already.” Her light eyes darted over to Faith. “After all, we are inside your head.”
“OK, I’ll bite,” Faith said. “Who are you and what do you want?”
“The spirit,” Buffy answered. “I am Sineya and all those proceeding her. I am the slayer in your blood and in your soul.” She cocked her head, taking in the darker slayer. “I’m spread thin these days.”
“That’s half my question.”
Buffy smiled slightly. “I need someone to go.”
Faith blinked, her tight muscles rolling under her skin. “I’m not ready.”
“Not to die,” Buffy scoffed. “Jeeze, Faith. I thought I was the dramatic one. Nope, I just need a slayer to do a job. And it requires a change of address.”
“Slayer dreams aren’t usually this. . .”
“Informal? Informative?” Buffy, the slayer spirit, provided. She shrugged. “Only one way of getting through that thick head of yours, I guess.” Her slight smile faded. “Even now, after all this time, they still see you as the dark one. As the unforgivable one. That’s why they make you do the dirty work, Faith. No matter how many good deeds you do, you’ll never be clean again.”
Buffy stepped closer. “Not in this world, at least.”
“I’m not trying to find forgiveness,” Faith said. Her frown was heavy and pulling at her cheeks. She fought the urge to swing out at the other slayer’s form. “I do what needs to be done.”
“Like take down those vampire children?” the spirit asked, amusement in its ancient eyes. Before Faith could reply, Buffy continued, “You do what needs to be done, I know. That’s why it has to be you.”
Buffy jerked her head in Faith’s direction, her eyes on something past her. Faith turned, surprised to find a bed sitting on the desert sands. She was somehow less surprised that there was a man lying, stomach first, over its soft covers, fully dressed in jeans and a long sleeved button-up. This was more like her usual dreams. Granted the guys were usually awake and halfway to their birthday suits, but a girl couldn’t have everything.
“Nice,” Faith commented.
Buffy didn’t answer, so Faith approached the bed. The man muttered something in his sleep, a name, and rolled his head against the pillow, his dark bangs tangling beneath his head. He gripped at the sheets with a tight fist, jerking slightly in his sleep. A nightmare. Faith wasn’t sure why, but she felt the need and sat down on the bed beside him, putting her fingers in his soft hair.
“You do what needs to be done,” Buffy said. “That’s why it has to be you.”
Faith looked up sharply. “What are you saying?”
“His name is Sam Winchester,” Buffy said.
“You want him dead,” Faith said, refusing to give her emotions away. “And I’m the one who kills humans.” She stiffened slightly. “What’s in it for me?”
Buffy sat down beside Faith, a hand on the young man’s leg. “A new world where no one knows what you did. A world without other slayers.” Buffy smiled again, her white teeth shining in the sun. “There is no such thing as redemption, Faith. Not here. Not for you.” She gripped the man’s jeans. “But this one can give you your freedom. And you can have your chance to save the world, without standing in someone else’s shadow.”
“Who is he?” Faith asked.
“Just a man.”
Faith shook her head. “What he do?”
“Does it matter, Faith?” Buffy asked. “Would it matter if he was innocent, if his life is the one that needs to be taken? For the good of the man.” The spirit stared at her. “Buffy says she could do this kind of job, but she wouldn’t have it in her, not when it comes to such a pretty face. I know. I’m in both of you. But you can get past this skin he wears. You can kill him before he becomes a monster.”
Buffy leaned closer. “You can save yourself in the process.”
Faith released a shallow breath, pulling her hand off of the man. “What do I have to do?”
The spirit’s grin returned, and blinked out of existence. The Primitive took her place, coiled like a predator on the bed beside Sam. Her answer was clear.
Buffy, having forgot her headset, held the cell phone against her ear with one shoulder, using her free hands to grab hold of a vampire and toss him in the direction of Tabby, the blue haired junior slayer to her right. Knowing the girl would rid her of that one, the older slayer turned back to the fight before her, tossing a high kick into a thin female vampire’s face.
“Say again, Xander?” Buffy called into the receiver, attempting to hear. The battle between the team of slayers and the vampires was loud and made even more so by the tall walls of the warehouse.
“I said,” Xander sighed, “Our witches just got in contact with Will. Any way you can hold Darien off for another two minutes before she gets there.”
“I can do that,” Buffy said. She snapped the phone shut. It was kicked out of her hand before she could pocket it. She glared at the offending vampire. “That was my third this month,” she snapped.
He was dust in an instant.
Buffy pushed her way past the dozen vampires charging her way, leaving them for the other girls to clean up. Her eyes were on the warlock, Darien Smith. He was standing at the warehouse’s center, before a large symbol drawn onto the cement floor. His arms were outreached, his lips moving. Buffy could barely hear his chant over the noise.
Her body tightened, her knuckles white where she was gripping the sword in her hand. She didn’t want to use it. Not on him. Darien was one of Willow’s Wiccan students, one of the few males she’d started teaching. His sister was a trusted slayer currently working southern Australia. He was one of theirs. And he’d turned on them in less than a week’s time.
Buffy shook her head, unsure of what to think of the chaos around her. The guy was still a human, she knew, even though he had called together a small army of newborn vampires, gaining their ‘loyalty’ through promises of an apocalypse and slayer’s blood. The vampire army was weak, and the seers working under the New Council had foreseen nothing remotely resembling an apocalypse coming from Darien’s actions.
But outsiders had died from Darien’s little gathering. And now he was playing with magic. This had to end.
Buffy swallowed hard, trying to close herself off as she approached him. She was surprised when a hand touched her shoulder. She turned, swinging out and barely missing the brunette behind her.
“Faith?” Buffy snapped. “What the hell are you doing here?”
Buffy’s answer was a fist to the face. She bounced off the floor, a few feet further back than she had been.
“Sorry, B,” Faith called.
Faith was nearly at a run, and the slayer was a yard away from the warlock when the floor opened up in front of him, a perfect circle where the symbol had been painted. A pool of white light took its place. Faith grabbed hold of Darien and tossed him behind her.
Buffy stood, her brow furrowed as she watched the other slayer look over her shoulder once more. Faith threw an unfriendly gesture in the air before taking a short leap into the center of the circle. The dark haired slayer disappeared in a flash of light.
Darien cried out as the portal began to fade from existence but remained on the ground, an arm’s length away.
Buffy ran towards the warlock, grabbing him up by the collar of his shirt. “Where’d she go?” she growled, holding him high. “Where’d you send her?”
Darien laughed softly.
“Somewhere fun,” he said with a wide, menacing grin.
His eyes turned an inky black and Buffy dropped him, letting him fall, butt first to the cement. Buffy took a step back, her eyes wide and her sword raised to one side, ready to strike. The warlock kept his grin a moment longer before his head snapped up and his mouth flung open. A cloud of billowing black smoke rose out of his body and arched over his head, slamming into the symbol painted on the cement.
Darien fell back onto his elbows, his head lolling lazily. His eyes focused on Buffy.
“What’s going on?” he asked, his voice tired. He jumped at the blade beside him. “Don’t hurt me,” he begged.
Buffy lowered the weapon, her expression dumbstruck. She heard Tabby’s steps as the younger girl approached from behind.
“What was that black thing?” Tabby asked.
Buffy shook her head, remembered a time that wasn’t hers: chains and old men, holding a young girl to the earth. A force ripping through her body, giving her a gift and stripping her of her humanity.
“A demon,” Buffy answered.