What makes a Hellmouth
Disclaimer: Don't own SPN or BTVS. But if I did…
A/N: Set an undetermined amount of time after the previous chapters, but during early BTVS Season three, after Buffy's return to Sunnydale.
There were moments- snapshots in time- when Faith realized that she was in precisely the place, with precisely the people, that were precisely right for her. Maybe it wasn't destiny, or fate, or the way her life was supposed to be, but she felt it, deep in the core of who she was. She was made to do this- hunt evil- and her heart sang that the family she had chosen for herself got that. This part of her; this Slayer that could have- and would have- been so scary and unbelievable to the girl she used to be: Faith Lehane wouldn't have known what to do with her.
But she was a Winchester, and they'd been kicking scary and unbelievable's ass long before she became a Slayer. The only difference now was that she took point, not John or Dean. And she certainly couldn't complain about that; the Slayer in her loved taking point.
Like now, for example- inside, Faith was experiencing her moment of clarity; of gratitude and appreciation. Outside, she was toe-to-toe with big ugly and smashing its face in was her new favourite hobby. She'd have liked something sharp and shiny to take its head off with, but she was willing to find out if she could disconnect it using only brute force and lethal training.
"Faith, catch!" Of course, that's why her backup was handy- sharp and shiny came flying through the air, a perfect throw followed by a perfect catch and shortly after, a textbook beheading. She wiped the blade on the corpse and turned to check on her family- big and ugly had been the muscle, not the brains, and Sam had been chanting an exorcism last she'd heard. Dean had been on civilian duty, getting the sacrificial lambs to safety and out of the way of collateral damage. And John had been knocked out early on, but still came through with a weapon when she needed it.
"Everyone still alive?" Dean sounded amused, watching the black smoke dissipate as Sam finished his exorcism. "Or conscious, Dad?" It was so rare that John Winchester got knocked out that all of his children turned to check on him and watched as he scowled darkly.
"You're lucky I'm concussed or I'd kick your ass, Dean." There was no malice in his voice; no slurring either, so he wasn't even badly hurt. Wasn't hurt at all, Faith thought, given how well he'd thrown that machete.
"Yeah, yeah, you can bitch about it later. Faith, drag those bodies outside; Sam, check dad over, please." Dean didn't notice, sometimes, when he took over from their father- usually it only happened when John was injured, and it was rare enough that the eldest Winchester didn't complain. Even John could follow orders, sometimes.
Faith piled the demon corpses outside on the muddy ground, retrieving the blades that had gotten stuck during the fight, and checking them over for weapons or information- the things that a decomposing demon body held still amazed her. But not this time- these were bodyguards and they'd barely been armed. She was liberal with the salt and kerosene and watched as they burned to nothing.
They left that town peacefully for once, with no fighting and only minimal injuries- definitely counting in the win column- and got back to home base, Gilford, Wisconsin, just in time for school on Monday morning. Dean dropped them off with a wave and a smile and even Faith didn't have the energy to complain about it. The day passed slowly; incredibly slowly, and when she woke from a Slayer dream in the middle of study hall, it didn't even surprise her that she'd fallen asleep. Sam had always been able to sleep in the car but she'd never managed more than an hour or two and even that had lessened since she'd been called.
She came back to reality with a gasp, ignoring the curious stares from the students around her- and the supervisor, too. Faith was just grateful that she hadn't screamed or started crying or any of the really bad shit that sometimes happened when she dreamed. She didn't even look at the supervisor; never met the woman's eyes- just gathered her things and ran, out the door, out of the school and all the way back to the crappy apartment that they were staying in. They'd been here less than a month, but Faith's dreams didn't lie. It was time to go.
Dean and John woke instantly when she opened the door; hunter's instincts that almost matched her Slayer sense. Dean glared at her, bleary eyed and collapsed back onto his bed, asleep again before his head hit the pillow.
"Faith, what is it? What's wrong?" John glanced back at Dean once and led her outside, into the sunshine and brightness of early October.
She made sure there was no-one watching before she told; her nightmare vision of what was to come- of what would happen if they didn't move.
"You're sure?" She nodded firmly, fear lancing her heart with the action.
She was needed; they were needed on the Hellmouth. Where the Watchers were waiting for her, it seemed.
"Okay. Wake your brother and I'll make some calls." If he was bringing his kids to the Mouth of Hell, he wasn't going in unprepared. "We'll leave tonight."
She nodded once, relieved to have her Dad make the call- she'd been afraid that he'd say no; refuse to bring Dean, and her, into the spotlight of the Watchers Council. She should have known better- saving people, hunting things. Winchesters don't run from a fight just because they might get hurt.
Dean woke easily and accepted her words with a nod. He rolled out of his bed and was packing up before John returned.
"Bobby's going to meet us there. Caleb has a hunt in Wyoming but he'll head down when he's free." Dean didn't even blink- telling his sister that this was something they had planned.
"It's dangerous, Dad- they could be hurt." If her tone was more petulant than normal, no-one commented.
"They're grown men, Faith, and they volunteered." And that was it. Discussion over.
By the time Sam was finished school and home, they were packed and ready to go. He complained, a little, but relented with surprising ease.
The Winchester clan rolled into Sunnydale, California, as the sun was rising two days later. The town was coming to life slowly, cautiously. They drove the streets in convoy, Dean following the truck closely and keeping a nervous eye on the streets. The Hellmouth had a bad reputation for a reason and his siblings were sleeping in the car. Looking out for them was his job, dammit, and he wasn't going to let anything creep up on them if he could prevent it.
Bobby was waiting for them, in a safe house that some Hunters used when they visited the Hellmouth. Normally, John wouldn't consider staying on someone else's property- he had his pride, and lots of it,- but this was a Hunter's safe haven, warded to the gills with every protective magic known to mankind and some which had since been forgotten.
Much like everywhere else the Winchester family stayed, it was a shithole- falling down and falling apart, but there was electricity and running water and they weren't in much of a position to complain. The rest of the homes on the street were better, but not by much- peeling paint; overgrown gardens; abandoned cars. Faith was pretty sure that less than half of them were even occupied and there were 'for sale' signs on every second house.
Whatever the rest of Sunnydale was like, this street didn't seem out of place in a town atop a Hellmouth.
Bobby waited 'till they were all seated in the kitchen before demanding answers. Faith hadn't realized that he could be so patient, and she disguised her laughter with a cough.
"Faith had a Slayer dream. There's a vampire- a really old, really mean, vampire- on his way here." Some of John's anger slipped through into his expression.
"He's called Kakistos." They had a sketch of him that Jim had tracked down and Sam handed it across the table to the other Hunter. "He's so old that he doesn't even look human anymore." Bobby said nothing, but he studied the image carefully.
"The Watchers Council had people in Boston back in June, searching for me." She swallowed heavily, pushing down the guilt. "The Vamp found them instead and wasn't too happy that they were in his territory. He killed three and left the fourth, blind and crippled. He's coming here to kill the Slayer and if we're not here, she'll die."
"Any idea when?" God, she loved Bobby. Lay the scariest shit in the world on his doorstep and he'd just accept it and move on.
"Not yet." Her dad, in contrast, would curse and get angry and then accept it and start planning.
"Do we know this other Slayer's name or where to find her?" Four heads shook; no.
"She's young and she's a Slayer. We'll start with the schools and the cemeteries." Dean frowned. "And the demon bars. There's bound to be more than one of those in this town and those guys will definitely know who she is."
Bobby nodded and even John agreed.
"I'm gonna get some sleep. We hit the streets at dusk." Bobby and John retreated to the bedrooms at the back of the house and the three younger Winchesters exchanged glances. Dean grinned and waved the Impala's keys in their faces.
Family tradition dictated that they explore their surroundings ASAP. In normal towns, that meant locating the nearest grocery store, school, church and bar. In Sunnydale, they quickly noted that there were a lot of churches, few bars and only one high school within walking distance from their new, uh, home. Dean's job, ever since he'd turned sixteen, was to scope the schools and get the kids settled in as soon as possible.
This was the Hellmouth though and while John hadn't specifically ordered him not to be seen, Dean was pretty sure that wandering around the town when there was a threat of Watchers hanging over his head was a pretty bad idea. But really- when had that ever stopped Dean from doing something? The kids were looking at him, too, with wide, pleading eyes and Sammy was doing that thing where he looked all hopeful and excited and Dean just groaned and nodded, opening the driver's door and getting out of the car before he had a chance to change his mind.
The campus was quiet- classes had started and all the kids were inside, busy little learner bees or whatever. Dean headed straight for the office with the younger two trailing after him, whispering and giggling like children- they really needed to get some sleep and he shouldn't have stopped for ice-cream. Ice-cream always made Sam hyper and Faith was bad enough normally, anyway. There was a sour-faced secretary busily filing, or whatever, in the office and she scowled at Dean when he approached. But, please- Dean Winchester had been charming battleaxe school employees since he was five years old and he wasn't going to lose his touch now.
She was putty in his hand seconds after he directed the mega-watt grin in her direction.
"Ms. Watts- may I call you Janice?" She held his gaze for a second before blushing, grinning and dropping her eyes. Dean allowed himself and internal victory dance and Sam, behind his back, made a gagging motion while Faith giggled. "Janice, my family and I have just moved here and I really need to see about getting these two enrolled in school as soon as possible." He leaned in over the desk and dropped his voice to a whisper, forcing her to lean in to hear him. "You know what kids are like- if I don't keep them occupied, they'll get in all kinds of trouble." She nodded solemnly and rooted out the registration documents, mounted on a battered clipboard.
"You take this honey and get it filled out and I'll get your brother and sister all signed up this morning." She reddened again as he thanked her profusely and called her sweetheart. Dean motioned for Sam and Faith to take a seat and proceeded to fill in their information with practiced ease and questioning Janice about the school; the teachers and the town at the same time. Faith doubted that the woman would ever realize that Dean was pumping her for information- Dean was good at it; he could be subtle and charming when he wanted, drawing people out so that they wanted to help him.
The same went for the short, irritable, school principal- Snyder. He emerged from his office half-way through Janice's explanation of the gang culture in Sunnydale, and Dean had been acting appropriately shocked and resolving not to allow his family get involved. Snyder looked like the kind of man who was eternally unhappy and who never had a good word to say about anyone- it took a little longer than with Janice, but a few well-placed compliments about the school grounds and the inferior leadership styles of other school principals and Snyder was offering to show them around the facility himself. Sam and Faith compounded the good impression by being polite and offering handshakes to the little angry man and Dean was complimented on the good manners of his siblings.
He offered Janice a wink as he left the office, trailing after his siblings and the principal as they began their tour. It might mean they were forced to listen to a dozen boring anecdotes about the school; the teachers and the history of the town, but John had always told them that a little deference in the right places would buy them endless leeway later- you only get one first impression, after all. Dean did his best to always make a good one, when it counted.
They endured the tour for almost thirty minutes before stopping outside the library. Snyder glared in through the glass in the door and turned to the Winchester children.
"If you know what's good for you, you'll stay far, far away from that girl in there and her friends- Troublemakers, every one of them." He sneered and Dean pasted a concerned expression onto his face as Snyder turned to him. "And keep these two away from that librarian, too. The first chance I get, I'll be sending him back to England."
Dean nodded slowly, his heart almost stopping when he put two and two together and got five. It wasn't too unusual to find Englishmen working in the states, but what were the chances of meeting one in a school on the Hellmouth? Snyder moved to push the door open and show them inside but Dean put out his arm to bar the way.
"No need, Mr. Snyder. I don't want my family exposed to people like that." Sam looked disappointed and Faith frowned a little, but Dean forced a grin onto his face and stepped away from the library doors. "Why don't we go back to your office and I'll get that paperwork finished up for Janice? I would really love to have the kids start here as soon as possible."
Snyder just agreed with a grin. Clearly, these kids were going to be a real asset to the school. And the older one was just so respectful.