Buffy felt like her entire being was on a knife‘s edge. It took all her will to stay seated in Bobby’s truck as they drove on, leaving yet another house with the bloodied remains of a Hunter. There was a deep anger rising inside her. Anger at whatever was killing these people who could have been friends, and even a little anger at herself because she should have been able to save them. Though she was able to bury those thoughts, she knew still they were there, lurking in her mind and waiting for those times when her guard was down.
They had found the two Hunters dead in their own homes. Bobby hadn’t said a word at the loss of his friends., though she knew it troubled him. The pair of Slayers living in the area, Sarah and Kitty, were away on a case, for which Buffy had been grateful. They were sisters who lived together. Active Slayers, and at one time members of Buffy’s dojo, they were both cheerful, happy girls who met everything they did in life with enthusiasm. It was hard not to like people like that.
As they Drove, Buffy thought of the her life over the past three years ago. After the whole Angel/Twilight saga she had moved to L.A. with Dawn and Xander, who were just dating at the time. She had had no idea on what to do for money, so she opened a Dojo, specializing in training women. It became a hangout for Slayers, at least the ones still talking to her, but the majority of their members were regular women. They seemed to enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and camaraderie. Buffy taught classes three days a week. Right now her classes were being covered by Claire, a young Slayer, proficient in all forms of defense. Buffy missed her classes, but it wasn’t unusual for someone to pinch hit for her either. She just hoped she could get back home soon.
Thinking of home made her think about her sister and Buffy looked back at her phone. It was three in the morning there in L.A. Too early to call, she thought. But then memories of years of unpleasant and rude wake-ups came to her and she felt her lips curl into a sweet smile of revenge.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
“Buffy?” Xander’s voice came out muffled and Buffy felt a little bit of guilt slice through her. She knew he had to get up early for work.
“Hey Xan, let me talk to Dawnie.” Buffy said, able to hear her sister mumbling in the background and her guilt left. The phone was passed, or more likely grabbed, and within seconds Buffy could hear her sister’s voice.
“Buffy? Are you ok? What’s going on?” Even in the middle of the night, her sister still managed to talk a mile a minute. It was endearing in a way.
“Yeah I’m fine, here with Bobby still,” Buffy replied as Dawn sucked in oxygen, knowing it could be her only chance to get a word in. “Listen, you need to put all the girls on alert. Something is going after Hunters and Slayers. It seems to be localized to this area but I don’t want any chances ok.”
“Is this about Olivia? So, she’s really dead then?” Dawn asked, finally slowing down and speaking thoughtfully as she remembered the fallen Slayer.
“Yeah, she’s dead. We think there is some kind of ghost going after Hunters or something,” Buffy said, looking at Bobby. She knew he had to be hurting after the loss of his friend, but he stoically looked ahead. “I want you give everyone the heads up but I’m staying here till this is taken care of, ok.”
“That the only reason you are staying?” Dawn asked archly and once again Buffy really felt the urge to throttle her sister. “Nothing to do with dream hunk? Come on, tell if he is was as good looking in person as you said he was in you dreams!”
Not for the first time, and probably not the last, Buffy really regretted telling Dawn about her dreams. For over a year Dawn had been trying to hook Buffy up with any number of guys in the attempt to make the Slayer as blissfully happy as she was, and each one had ended before the second date.
“Dawn, just make sure everyone is on guard, ok. Give Xander my love.” Buffy said and hung up the phone. Talking to Dawn could be more exhausting than slaying.
“Bobby? Do you really think a ghost is doing this?” Buffy asked as they drove down the darkened highway.
“I don’t know. Evidence looks like it. But I ain’t ever seen a simple ghost do that kind of damage.”
“Me neither, although I don’t usually deal with spirits. But something in my gut says there’s more to it than we know.”
They drove into Bobby’s place a little after daybreak. Both were exhausted but the demands of the job never ceased. The older hunter went out to take care of his dog, Rumsfeld, who stayed in the junkyard during his owner’s absence. Buffy, on the other hand, went straight into the house. Face grim, she went to the den to begin searching for anything that could help them vanquish whatever it was haunting and killing Hunters.
The house was quiet and Buffy settled into an oversized chair with a large tome, tucking her feet under her as she began reading. The minutes passed and still she hadn’t heard Bobby come into the house. Starting to worry, she deposited the book onto the ground next to the chair and stood up, trying to pick up any sound within the house. The silence was frightening. All her senses were burning hot.
“Bobby?” Nothing. Buffy pulled a wicked-looking dagger from the sheath hidden in her pocket, and held it tightly, ready to strike. Walking quietly from room to room, Buffy was mentally reviewing everything Bobby had told her about ghosts. Iron, he had said would repel them for short time. She looked around the house, knowing there would be iron items around because that was just Bobby.
A chill passed over Buffy, as if the temperature around her suddenly dropped thirty degrees and she shivered. The lights flickered overhead, drawing her gaze to the ceiling. She knew this wasn’t the effect of faulty wiring. When her eyes looked toward the doorway, a part of her really wasn’t surprised to see her there.
Dean pushed the Impala dangerously fast around the road’s curve in the early morning light. He was only ten minutes away from Bobby’s house, but that did nothing to lessen the tension in his body. It had been over an hour since he had talked to the old Hunter. After finding the ghost of Henriksen attacking his brother, Dean had been worried about Bobby and Buffy.
“You know we can’t help them if you kill us before we get there.” Sam said, bruised face grimacing at his brother’s reckless driving. Dean only grunted in response, eyes never leaving the road. When they finally arrived at Singer Salvage, both men jumped out and grabbed the shot guns loaded with rock salt rounds.
The sudden burst of barking from within the junkyard stopped both men in their tracks. Dean motioned straight toward the house with his right hand and then in the direction of the noise, silently telling his brother Sam to check the grounds outside. Sam nodded his head in the affirmative and the two of them separated.
The house was eerily quiet and it unnerved Dean Shotgun pressed tightly into his shoulder, he rounded the corner into the den. Nothing looked out of place, he thought as he scanned the room.
"Bobby? Buffy?" Dean pushed back the door that lead from the den to the kitchen. The hinges creaked and the sound nearly made him jump out of his skin. He cursed under his breath at his own jitters.
"Come out, come out, whoever you are," Dean said. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise. The temperature plummeted and the air rose from his lips in a white vapor cloud.
"Dean Winchester. Still so bossy."
"Kendra?" Buffy said, confusion and fear rising up inside her. Why was Kendra’s ghost killing hunters and slayers?
“Buffy,” There was a deadly coldness to girl’s dark eyes that Buffy had never seen before. She tried to tell herself that the person standing in front of her wasn't her friend. “Did you really tink tat you would never have to pay.”
“Pay for what?” Buffy asked warily, slightly shifting on the balls of her feet. She didn’t know what was going on and why the ghost of a Slayer she hadn’t seen in eight years was haunting her here and killing others.
“Don’t you know? D’ere were so many of us to choose from. Do you even remember all their names?” The words were lilted with the pronounced accent of her Island heritage. Buffy remembered her dream, still vivid in her mind.
“The Slayers,” She answered simply. She saw Kendar nod her head.
"D’ey followed you. D’ey trusted you. And you betrayed d’em," Kendra said. "D’ey are dead because of you. I am dead because of you."
Buffy could see the anger and anguish in her. She felt the constrictive rope of guilt tighten around her chest.
"I never meant for anyone to get hurt. Especially you Kendra. When I found out..."
"What? You would have killed her? Killed Angelus? You were weak. You didn't kill them and I had to pay the price. It should have been you!" Buffy could feel the pain and anger rolling off the former Slayer. Her own feelings of guilt rose and she pushed them down as she concentrated on the apparition before her.
"I'm sorry, Kendra. If I had known, I never would have gone. Please, I'm sorry," Buffy tried to explain. She needed to find Bobby. He would know what to do. Until then she would do her best to keep the spirit from getting too angry.
“That’s not good enough! You have to know,” Kendra said. “I did everything they ever told me to do. I trained and I learned. I gave up me family and friends. I gave dem everything but you were the one who lived. What makes you so special? Why should you have it all and not me?”
“Kendra, that wasn’t me. It was the Watchers. They did it. You need to see that, please.”
“No! It was you. You chose dat vampire over all of us. You let me blood run because you were too weak to kill him.” Kendra’s voice rose and instinctively Buffy shifted into a fighter’s stance. It was not a moment too soon because the ghost Slayer launched herself forward, tackling Buffy to the ground. "You are going to feel every drop of blood drain from your body, like I did."
"You don't recognize me?"
The woman standing in front of him was vaguely familiar but he couldn't place her. She was pretty, with soft brown hair that fell to her shoulders.
"This is what I looked like before she cut off all my hair and dressed me like a whore."
Suddenly Dean had a flashback of her with cropped blonde hair and wearing red leather.
"Meg?" Dean must have tightened his grip on the shotgun because the woman before him held up her hands.
"Hi. It's ok. I'm not a demon."
"You're the girl the demon possessed?" Dean asked. He didn't know why the ghost was taking her form. Sam and he had thought it was taking the forms of people they hadn't been able to save.
"Meg Masters. Nice to finally talk to you when I'm not, you know, choking on my own blood. It's okay. Seriously, I'm just a college girl. Sorry -- was. I was walking home one night and got jumped by all this smoke. Next thing you know, I'm a prisoner...inside my own head. Now, I was awake. I had to watch while she murdered people."
"I'm sorry," Dean said, not knowing what else to say. Suddenly overhead he heard a thump large enough to make the chandelier move. He raised the shotgun level but she wasn't there.
"You won't be able to save her you know," the ghost of Meg said and instantly he knew she was talking about Buffy. He brought the shotgun level but Meg was too fast. She kicked him hard in the gut and he dropped the weapon on reflex. "She's going to die and there will be nothing you can do."
Dean struggled to stand up but the ghost kept up her assault. More sounds drifted down from the next floor and he tried again to fight back and reach the dropped gun.
"You never even tried to save me. You shoot first and ask questions later. Or should I say you throw people out the window first. Did you ever once think what would happen to me!" She emphasized her message with a jarring kick to the stomach. Dean tried to roll out of the way, but he still bore the brunt force of the blow. He wasn't the only one taking a beating, if the noise upstairs was any indication. The chandelier rocked again. The iron chandelier. Dean reached painfully for the backup handgun he had stashed and drew it.
"Come on, Dean, did your brain get french-fried in Hell? You can't shoot me with bullets."
He ignored the ghost and took aim at the rope holding the fixture.
“I'm not shooting you.”
The two Slayers tumbled into the hallway, slamming hard into the wood-paneled wall. The spirit was surprisingly strong, more so than Buffy had expected. Kendra was on top of her, her fingers grasping for her neck. Buffy wedged her knee between the ghost and pushed her off. She quickly scrambled to her feet and ran toward the front of the house. She needed to get to her bag. It held the only weapon she had that would fight off a ghost, the scythe. Then she had to find Bobby. She knew it wasn't good that he hadn't come into the house yet.
She made it to her bag, reached in and grabbed her scythe. Kendra hasn't reappeared. With cautious steps, Buffy walked through the house. She had just made to the top of the stairs when the not so friendly ghost Kendra appeared, taking Buffy completely by surprise. She raised the scythe but ghost Slayer had been too quick, kicking her in the pit of her stomach and sending her tumbling down the flight of stairs.
Damn that hurt, thought Buffy. Her left shoulder was banged up pretty bad but she didn't let that stop her from standing and running back up the stairs. This time she was ready for the attack and blocked the kick with her right arm, sending Kendra stumbling back.
Once on the landing, she swung the scythe in a graceful arc. Kendra dodged the blow but was forced to retreat backwards, which was what Buffy wanted. She just hoped her plan would work. A hard hook sent Buffy to the ground but she came back up with a front kick of her own that sent the spirit stumbling back.
Buffy continued to wield the scythe, slowly backing her former friend into the small bedroom at the end of the hallway with each thrust. She had her on the defensive.
The ghost continued to avoid the weapon in her hand, confirming in the Slayer's head her suspicion that the power of the scythe could vanquish ghosts.
Kendra was almost in position. The door was open and inside she could see the bag of rock salt sitting on the floor. And I thought Bobby was just being paranoid, she thought, remembering when she found it the last time she was there.
Her plan clear in her mind, Buffy doubled her attack, pushing her adversary deeper into the room. With one swift swipe of the scythe, Buffy ripped open the bag of rock salt and grabbed a handful. She hurled it with all her might directly into the ghost's chest. It wasn't enough to vanquish her, but it did buy her time. The scythe sang as the Slayer swung it through Kendra's body, which began flicker in and out before totally disappearing.
Taking a deep breath, Buffy took a second to calm herself. She needed to find Bobby. She was just about to leave when a sudden chill racked her body. A voice called to her, a voice she never thought she would hear again.