The Slayer of New Gotham

By Erin Griffin


Rating: R - sexual content and language

Pairing: Dinah/Faith, among others (Birds of Prey/Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover)

Disclaimer: The book mentioned within is an actual book called Accidental Love, but I forgot who it is by. I don't own that, either. I was broke when I saw it in the store I was in, so I didn't get a copy. Choking on Stardust is an original story that I was working on, and I am hoping that it will someday become a published bit of writing. The Birds of Prey characters belong to the WB people, and the Buffy people belong to Joss Whedon. All other characters used to belong to me until I traded them in for a stamp of a kitty cat...

Spoilers: All Birds of Prey episodes, just to be on the safe side, and just about all of the episodes for Buffy. Also, most of the information I have on Faith I got from other fanfiction, so it might be wrong.

Summary: Hmm... metahumans Dinah can handle, but vampires?

Author's Note: Okay, I am writing this for Bardly, who wanted to make my life a little bit difficult by giving me a crossover to work with, and she wanted a Dinah/Faith paired fic. (Love ya'.) So, here it is, Bardly. Thank you everyone who participated. Everyone who emailed me had the right answer for my riddle (FRUIT). Good job you guys. I will have to find a harder one for you writers and lurkers. You're too smart.

Author's note #2: There are a lot of things going on in this story, and I hope it doesn't get too confusing. There are a lot of happenings in Underground Gotham. If there is an actual map of the Underground then I totally didn't see it. You will know somewhat where they are by what building is above the character(s) in the Underground. Also, I don't care if in the show, Faith has taken many elevators before. She's still afraid of them, because I said so, damn it. Don't ask me why I thought that would be fitting for her to be afraid of, but she needed a physical, not just mental/emotional fear to make her seem that much cooler.

Author's Note #3: I used a quote from the finale in here. I might get sued... I might not, as no one from the WB reads these things. Or not... I dunno... I forgot where I had used it, though. Maybe you can tell me. Uhmm... You can tell near the end here that I am a Tara fan, lol. Me no like Kennedy muches, so uh, a tad bit Kennedy bashing here. Don't like, don't read. The Sunnydale stuff happened in August, then the New Gotham stuff happened in the following February instead of the other way around.

Extra Warning: There is character rebirth. You have been warned... ;)

Sometimes I wonder if my feet would ever get tired of wandering, but I know by now that it never will. I wandered from Boston to Sunnydale to find my destiny. Boy, did I ever find it; I just didn't know it would involve a mayor, jail, redemption from a vampire, and the awakening of hundreds of Slayers. I miss B an' Dawn. Buffy decided she wanted Dawn to be grounded- no more ex-Key demon fighting, so she stuck her in a school where Dawn's new Slayer friend Georgia attended while I trained the new Slayer in the afternoons. After a while, though, they both wanted to stay. They are living near Chicago, which is where our paths separated. The rest of the Scoobies- Willow, Xander, Giles, Kennedy, the remaining Potentials (now slayers themselves), and Andrew- decided to continue the search for more Slayers. I decided I wasn't going to join them when they had asked me to. To tell the truth, at the time I was jealous. Being Slayers was the only thing that no one but me and B had. We were Slayer Sisters, the Chosen Two. Now I am a part of a Chosen Two-Hundred-So-Far.

I'm over that now. I figure there may be more of us, but Buffy and are the best at what we do, and that is just fine with me. I have never been good at anything but screwing everything up, making all the things my mother ever said about me true. So now I am on my own again, wandering to wherever I get the tug to go, and slay a few vamps along the way. This method somehow got me to Albany New York, where I am reading the newspaper at a cafe. When I had hopped the bus to go to New York, I figured the tall buildings (great for hiding in shadow), busy people (too busy to give you a second glance, a third judgment), and busy night life would be just my style. There has got to be loads of night time slaying action there, and with the rumors of freaky happenings going on, it seems to be a place to at least visit.

I look through the obituaries to read about who has died, and then I look at the articles. I see that one of the articles is about a murder in a smaller city called New Gotham. There were victims of many different crimes reporting that their attacker had been stopped by some shadowed angel, yet still one body was found with the usual wholes in the neck. "Whack jobs." I mutter when I see that. Supposedly, there are abnormal people there all the time getting arrested.  If that doesn't spell out a demon gathering, I don't know what will.

So now I am on yet another bus, headed a good 6 or 7 hours east to New Gotham. Part of me (a very small part, mind you, and I am talking microscopic) feels scared, and I want to turn back, but then I think 'Who is there to go back to?’ I don't want to go back to Chicago with Buffy and Dawn as much as I love and miss them both. I want to be... Actually, I don't know what I truly want. I guess I am afraid to want anything anymore in fear of finally getting it, then having it taken away... or my doing something to make it somehow go away. So I stay in my seat, sitting next to a fairly nice woman except for the fact that she's breathing, and in front of some 12 year old boy who doesn't know the meaning of 'Please stop kicking my seat' (or rather 'Stop it, punk, or your face is going to get a makeover!' He still didn't stop because he knew it was an empty threat), and I think about maybe starting a new life back in Boston or possibly even in New York after I find out what is going on in New Gotham. All I know now is that a slight shiver keeps traveling through my body, telling me I am alright for now, that there's something more than this. Something is going to be different there in New Gotham at least, I can feel it.



The air isn't as cold as I was told it would be by Freaky Fred, the weather guy on the channel 12 news tonight. He lied to me, or maybe this is just a lesson to never listen to someone who goes by Freaky Fred to begin with. Either way, I am feeling quite warm in the jacket I am wearing as I walk side by side with Helena. She looks as chic as ever, as if she had walked out of a beauty magazine and said, "Hey, I wanna be a superhero now." She is ready for a good fight tonight. She was telling me earlier about some jerks who now come to the bar often and they are rowdier than her normal crowd. Also, she had come to the Clocktower the night before, bleeding and looking very angry, which only meant she was in a fight and didn't win. If she had come home bloody and she'd won, she would tease me by putting her bloody body part in my face and watch me go from either horrified to disgusted, or from horrified to worried to disgusted. Also, she would be grinning from ear to ear as she has Barbara fuss over her wounds, which she almost always claims 'is nothing'.

The look of frustration that was on her face the night before is in her face now as she walks with me, and at first we are silent. "I still don't see why you wanted me to come along on sweeps. I mean, on any other night I would be thrilled, but... Those metas you fought seemed... almost enhanced, and they all seem to fight the same. It is as if they have the same power. Barbara said that isn't possible." Helena seems to shake from her thoughts (most likely the many ways she would seek her revenge on those whom she'd fought the night before), and she looks at me. Her eyes are fierce and I fight the urge to cower. Her gaze softens a little bit.

"You need to get out more, Dinah. Barbara's worried about you. Alfred's worried about you. I'm worried about you. You stay in the Clocktower when you aren't in school, you don't call Gabby anymore unless you dream that she is in trouble, and you're being pushed way too hard in the training room." All this is true. I know it. We all know it. I think even Gabby on some level knows that after what has been known to me as 'her invasion', everything has been different. (I'm sure she just thinks that it's because Mr. Brixton was my favorite teacher other than Barbara, and I wasn't even in his class. She probably thinks I am grieving for him, and that is true as well.) My grades went up, but only slightly due to less distractions during school, and I know I am becoming obsessed about being better at the whole meta lifestyle, making sure that 'her invasion' will NOT happen again as long as I am alive and there to stop it. I don't mind it when Helena pushes me harder in the training room, in fact, the harder she pushes, the better I feel after each session. I know I sometimes push her just as hard when she feels she wants us to quit for the day.

"I go on walks around the city after dinner. I DO get out of the Clocktower," I say in my own defense. Helena looks at me.

“Yes, but you are always alone now.”

“I know. I'm sorry. I am not sure if there is anything I can do at the moment to help you, I mean you fought just one of these metas last night and still he easily got away."

"Not EASILY. He bled... I think. Made him whimper in pain a few times, though. That was fun."

"Yet he still got away, Helena." I stress.

"Which is why I need you here with me tonight to help fight. That bugger won't stay down, but if you are mad enough, I'm sure you can... I dunno, throw garbage cans at him, tie him up with a power line, or... something." She finishes with a shrug. I look at her and my mind wanders a bit. Helena stops walking, and I do as well. I stare at the ground for a split second. "Dinah? Tell me what's on your mind." This startles me, since those are not words that come out of Helena's mouth often if at all. I would expect them from Barbara in a heartbeat, but Helena? I'm sure that is why I decide to answer her truthfully.

"I-I'm afraid." I say, ashamed to admit that after all that I had seen and gone through in the last few months I have lived with my new family, that I am afraid of a few metahumans. "We've been in situations we almost couldn't handle before-"

"Almost, Dinah. Almost."

"I don't want this to be an almost. I don't want to wonder if this 'almost' will truly be it." Helena drapes her arm across my shoulder and hugs me to her.

"You are a fighter. You have proved that time and time again. You seem to have always survived these things. If you feel this an almost is a miss, it is a miss, and you survive it. You want to know what I think?"

"What?" I ask, curious. Helena's voice had become lighter after her little speech, almost mischievous, and I can't help but wonder what is going through that brain of hers.

"I think these metas just need to be whooped a few times. Even if they don't stay down, maybe we can whoop them together as a team, and maybe they will know who this city belongs to. So, what do you say? You in for a good fight?" I nod, feeling better. "Come on. We'll split up for now, we might find them faster. I will be overhead, and you see what you can find down here on ground level. Be careful, Kid." For a few seconds I had hope, but all hope deflated. I had hoped that Helena and I would bond, and for a while there, we did. I thought we would be equal in fighting, but then again, it will always be the same. I am still 'Junior Super Girl' or worse yet, 'Kid'. I nod again, pretending the nickname doesn't bother me, and Helena's arm leaves my shoulder, and she disappears, showing off her elegant features as she jumps from rooftop to rooftop in search of bad guys.

I am left on the ground, walking in no specific direction, almost waiting to be captured or something. I am sort of bait, and the capturers don't find out that their move was a bad one until I am in the middle of beating them down (or watching Helena do it). Works like a charm. I walk down 5 or 6 blocks, heading towards the worst part of town where Helena had fought the meta the night before. As the heat of the night (barely cooled by a small wind) finally forces me to take off my jacket and wrap it around my waist, I start to feel as if I am being watched, then as I start walking again, I feel as if I am being followed. "Oracle. Oracle, you there?" I whisper to the air.

<I am here, Dinah.> Comes a reply, which makes me feel safer.

"I think I've got company. You better tell Helena to get here."

<She says she's on her way.> I nod, but I know she can't see it.

"Thanks." I whisper. I walk about, still feeling the presence behind me, but I never see anything when I look back. This is starting to scare me, since I have never had the feeling of being 'hunted' before. Now I know how Helena's victims feel before she beats them down. It is a creepy feeling, not sure when I'll be attacked, but knowing that it will be at any second. I round another corner when strong hands grab me, rip me from the ground, and throws me against the nearest wall. It is too dark to see what my captor looks like, but he feels like he isn't too much bigger than me. He smells as if he has been sleeping in a morgue. I hear footsteps and the smell gets slightly stronger.

"I'll tell you, James. These people have the best tasting blood. It's almost s'good as Slayer blood," says the voice in front of me, which is slightly gruff. It is the voice of my captor.

"How would you know, Derek? Have you ever HAD Slayer blood?"

"Well... Nuh, but I know a friend o' our sire was the one who had killed a Slayer or two in his days. William the Bloody. Never EVER wanna cross that one, I tell you," the first voice replies.

"So who gets the first bite of this freak? I'm hungry." Hungry? Bite? Who are these people? Were these some of those teens I have heard about that had rituals in the woods and called themselves 'Lords of Darkness'? Fear is almost rippling through me now. They somehow know that I am meta. Perhaps one of them have the power of sensing that in me. Either way, I am uncomfortable. Maybe this was a bad idea. I struggle in this man's hold, only to feel pressure against my ribs. It is hard to breathe. My captor is strong, and I can imagine now why it was so hard for Helena to keep the upper hand on the meta she'd fought the night before.

"I caught 'er. She's mine first."

"Hurry up then, and don't hog i' all. It took you a good part of the noyght just to catch her." It was hard to tell where these men were from. It sounded as if they spent a good amount of time in both England and Australia. The two accents were mixed somehow.

"It would have taken less time if you weren't such a bleedin' coward!"

"I'm not a coward!"

"You ran from that guy who can throw knives and that tyke who turned into a tree." Derek growled.

"His branches looked a little too sharp for my liking." What the hell are they talking about? Had they tried to 'bite' other people? I decided I've have enough. Gathering courage, I concentrate on the rock the sidewalk behind him and it flew to my captor's head. He jerks forward, then turns around. When he isn't looking, I kick him in the shins, forcing him to let go of me. The second guy, 'Jake', looks like he wants to run away as well, but he also wants to prove to 'Derek' that he isn't the coward he claimed he is. He advances on me, ready for a fight. I plan to give him a good one.



I cautiously step off of the bus, cracking anything that would make noise as I try to get rid of the stiffness that invaded my body, and look around, hoisting my backpack over my shoulder. New York looks nothing like I'd imagined it would. I thought I'd see lights or bars on every corner and maybe a Chippendale's or Deja Vu strip club down the street. Instead I see a Starbucks on one corner and an internet cafe down the street to my right. Along the sidewalk are various shops selling everything from collectibles to cheese to computer bits to hand me down clothing, but mostly I see three coffee shops in my line of vision. It was then that a weird thought enters my mind, 'Do demons drink coffee?' I'm sure some types do, but I'm not going to hang out all day in a coffee shop to find out.

Right away, my Slayer senses start going haywire, but where the vamps are is a mystery, as I can't quite tell. The strongest pull was straight ahead of me, so I start trotting in that direction After a couple of minutes, I stop dead in my tracks (no pun intended). Even thought my eyes can adjust to the dark, there is something about this place that seems even more in shadows, and that sends a small shiver down my spine. There is a fury of fighting, and the blur of movement almost stops my heart. It's her! Blonde hair, nice body, and graceful moves, including the one where a Dumpster flies from out of nowhere and lands on the vamp closest to her... Well, that is certainly new, but with Buffy, who knows, she could have picked up some magic in the 3 months we have been apart. I want to run to her, but I am frozen to the ground. She seems to be holding her own for a little while, but a good kick seems to knock her to the ground for a second, and she hesitates in getting up. Her coat, which was up until then wrapped around her waist, falls to the ground, but she doesn't seem to care.

Then she turns around. It isn't Buffy. Now that I have a closer look, I am not sure why I would believe she was. Sure, this girl is blonde, but her hair is lighter than Buffy's and she is about 4 inches taller. Damn, could she fight though. I haven't seen anyone who fought like that since Buffy. Sure, this girl's moves are often miscalculated, but it is apparent that she had done her homework. She knows what she is doing. So who is she? A new Slayer perhaps? Does that mean that Willow has made her way here already and that the rest are near somewhere? No, the last I heard, she was headed to Seattle. Lots of major activity in the downtown area was reported last I heard, and so she went in hopes of finding a Slayer there to keep things under control. So again, who is she?

"Oracle, I REALLY need Huntress' help right about now," the girl shouts. Faintly, from somewhere near her (almost as if she is on the phone, yet there is nothing in this girl's hands), I hear a reply.

<More metas cornered her on the roof above you. These seem like the average meta, as she is taking care of herself up there, but she wants me to tell you that you are doing a good job on your own, just hold on for a few more minutes.> So, the only clue about her is that she works with a woman named Huntress. Obviously, that can't be her real name, but then, I know a girl named Willow. Something tells me though, that she only uses this name at night, so I wonder what this girl goes by at night. She also works with a woman named Oracle, an older woman it sounds like. Nicknames are given to a person for a reason. I was the Dark Slayer for a good reason... the Psycho Slayer... also for a good reason... An Oracle is someone who sees... everything, so maybe she is the eyes of this city. She sees what goes on in the city, and tells Huntress and Dinah where to go and help them out. Huntress... Well, that sounds self explanatory.

"I don't think I can hold them" *SMACK* "off that long. I am already tiring out."

<Just hold on, Dinah. She'll be there to help you shortly.> Dinah... sounds ordinary to me. You'd think people who hide behind nicknames would go by something like Night... Guy or something more original. I slip my hand into my right leather pocket and feel a tingle of anticipation as my fingers slowly run over the smooth wood I'd carved just the day before yesterday. I see one of the vamps sneak up on this 'Dinah' girl. He's about to hit her with something metal. I rush past her and shove her to the ground. Actually, I move her out of the way. I forgot about my Slayer strength and she falls to the ground at the force of my shove.

"Hey-" she yelps, rolling and quickly regaining her balance. I ignore her cry of protest and stare down the vampire with a grin upon my face while I can see the other girl look at me with a look of confusion on hers. I turn and take my backpack off, using it to beat the vampire, but nothing is more effective than my fist.

<Dinah? Are you alright?> I hear. I take my stake out of my pocket and show off a little for this girl, twirling the wood between my fingers expertly as a way to tell her I have been doing this a while. Dinah shakes her head as if she can't believe her eyes.

"What a pretty stick you've got there, little girl." the vamp says with a slight sneer.

"It'd look even prettier lodged in your chest." I say, faking innocence. The girl seems to realize what's going on, or at least she knows that I am about to attack. I attack first as I almost always do. The vampire that was buried in a pile of trash from the trash can a moment ago dramatically groans with each attempt to get up. He sees me and freezes, which gives me more quality time with is buddy, whom looks at him as well, and shouts at him.

"JAMES!! You get the blonde, I will handle this one.”

“D-Derek? Do-Do you know who that is?”

“Should I?” Derek asks, annoyed that James has even bothered to speak.

“She’s the Sl-Slayer. O-Or one of them.” James says nervously.


“Well, the stake kind of sets her apart, but that is definitely a Slayer. One of the Chosen T-Two. My friend’s sire was dusted by her back home.” I smirk at that one. I try to think of who his friend's sire could have been, but then I think 'So many vamps so little time. Who can keep track?'


“If I told you my name, I’d have to kill you.” I say as I punch Derek in the nose. He looks as if he wants to say ‘No fair’, but he doesn’t, which is lucky for him, for if he had said it, I would have staked him faster. We have a good fight; I’m winning of course. Dinah and Jeff are just standing there, too shocked or scared to move. I hear the familiar sound of leather, and the vamp I’m fighting disappears before I realize what’s going on. Another woman, a year or two older than me, is now beating Derek.

“Remember me?” She snarls. She has the look of a predator, and I know that this is the 'Huntress' Dinah was calling for. She has the same look on her face that I get when I know I am going to enjoy something after being denied for so long. I had that look on my face when I staked my first vamp after escaping from prison. This Huntress is the better fighter of the pair, and she fought with smooth moves and quick reflexes. She knew where she wanted her opponent, and she knew how to get them there. It is apparent Dinah learned what she knows from her, and from the looks of it, Dinah still has a lot to learn (and I bet she is eager to do so).

I decide after a minute or two that playtime is over, even though I know I can fight with them all night. I doubt I can say the same for the newcomers, though the ‘Huntress’ looks as if she is having fun and can spend a considerable amount of time kicking the vampire’s ass. The stake in my hand seems to be calling for that vamp's heart. I raise my hand and aim for the vamp's heart, but when I move my hand to plunge it, my hand slips off of the stake and I feel a sliver enter my pinky. I look at my now empty hand before looking up, sucking on my little finger. The stake is suspended in midair.



'What the Hell is going on? Who is this girl?' I wonder as this new brunette watches with growing agitation as the vamps speak of her being a- a Slayer. A new term in the book of witchcraft? Is this girl supposed to be a dark version of whomever they are supposed to be? And if that is so, why is she beating them up, helping me? Before I can truly comprehend what a Slayer could be, I see that she's taken out a stick and was running towards the pale men. Interesting weapon, but a weapon none the less. I am stunned though, that she can move so quickly and fight off these men with a few quick moves. After a couple of minutes, Helena helps her out, and it is fun watching Helena beat people up when they deserve it, as mean as that sounds. After a moment of fighting, though, this new fighter raises her stick into the air and I know she is going to use it to kill the man Helena is fighting. I quickly use my mind to stop the stick in her hand from going into to the other man. I stopped it in midair in my panic, even though I had meant to take it from her. Oh well, I did what I wanted to do, even if it was in a different way.

"What are you doing?!" the longer haired brunette asks angrily.

"I don't know who you are, what they think you are, or where you come from, but we don't kill." I tell her boldly as I sweep my hand in Helena's direction. This new girl's eyes shoot daggers at me. She scoffs.

"Well, that won't be a problem. They're already dead!" At this, the shock of her words make me lose control of her stick, and it drops to the ground. She picks up the stick with a glare on her eyes. I look at Helena for a split second, and see that she is watching this girl very closely, seeing if she is going to make any move. She does, too fast for Helena to stop her. The stick goes into that Derek man's heart, and he looks stunned. "By the way," she says gruffly, "the name's Faith." Instead of falling to the ground dead as I expect he would, he vanishes into a pile of foul smelling dust. I watch as the small winds blow the dust away, leaving behind no evidence that a man named Derek was ever there. She turns to stare at both Helena and myself, then twirls towards the other man, James. I forgot he was even here. At the moment, he is trying to sneak away. "Ah ah ah..." Faith says as if the vamp was caught with his hand in the cookie jar, "Everybody gets a turn." She throws the stick at this man as if she was using a throwing knife, and James too, turns to dust when it gets him in the back directly behind his heart.

Huntress saunters over to me, and places a hand on my left shoulder. "You okay?" she asks. I only continue to stare at this 'Faith' girl, who slips a backpack over her shoulder.

"Y-Yeah." I say, looking up at Helena to show I was telling the truth. She searches my eyes to see if I am lying, as I knew she would, and seems to approve. She nods, but does not back away as if she wants to hide me from Faith's view. "Hey, what kind of name is Faith? I mean-"

"I dunno, what kind of name is 'Dinah'?" Faith retorts, putting her stick back into her pocket. She does not look at me.

"What she means," Helena says through gritted teeth, "is why you chose that as an alias."

"It's no alias," she replies in a curt manner, "That is my name." I nod slightly as if to silently tell her I understand, even though I don't believe that Faith is her actual name.

"What were those men?" I ask her. She looks at me then, but there is no glare. There is a look of disbelief on her face instead, as if she was secretly wondering if I am stupid.

"You've got to be kidding me. You mean the stake to the heart isn't a big tip off?" I search my brain to see what could possibly be described in that manner, only to remember movies like Dracula that I used to watch with Helena before Harley Quinn's attack on the Clocktower.

"Vampires? You're trying to tell me that what you just -er- vanquished were VAMPIRES?" I ask, my disbelief matching hers.

"Well," she counters, "what did you think they were? Something tells me that you were expecting something else, and it isn't of the cuddly kitten variety." I raise an eyebrow. She is smarter than she looks, I will give her that credit.

"You have no idea." Helena mutters, bringing me back to the conversation at hand when her grip on my shoulder tightens.

"I assure you you're wrong," is all Faith says, but it is enough to make Helena's hold on my shoulder turn into a death grip. I struggle out of it, not meaning to let out a small squeak of pain.

"Shit, sorry Kid." She says.  My eyebrows twitch as I fight my frown.

"S'okay. You're stronger than me, and you keep forgetting that, s'all." I murmur. I can tell that both Helena and Faith heard me. I look down, then I remember that Faith had saved me only moments before, and though I wasn't sure what to say to her, a bit of gratitude is the best way to start a conversation. I look up at Faith and struggle to keep eye contact. "Well, uh, thank you for uh...-"

"Slay. I slay vampires, hence my title." she says coldly. 'So much for that.' I think bitterly. I look up at Helena, who gives me a look that says 'Want me to beat her up for you? I will do that you know...' I put my arm out to half heartedly hold her back. As if my scrawny hand alone could ever keep Helena back, even if I was putting any strength behind it, but it does. She doesn't move, but her body's stiff and ready to attack if necessary.

"Right." I say. I sigh, look at Helena, and say, "I think I'll head back. I doubt there are anymore of them, and if there are, we know now what to do." Helena nods, then truly sees me since the appearance of Faith. I can see that she wants to go let out more frustration, and I would bet all of the Wayne fortune if I owned it that she is more than likely going to antagonize her victim first. If she, for whatever reason doesn't catch anyone, then she would more than likely go to Barbara and give her a full report on Faith. Helena knows that I would more than likely try to talk to Faith, and I can tell she wants none of that. At this point, she hates Faith. Helena is the soul protector of this city, and I respect that. I just help out from time to time if my homework is done and I have been a good little Poptart all week. That is how it has been the last month and a half since 'her invasion'.

Helena winks at me, giving me a look I know so well. This is the look she gives to the would-be victims after she mysteriously leaves, jumping the roofs right in front of their eyes. I see that she is on her way back to the Clocktower. By the time I get there, I will have to tell Barbara my side of the story, and I know I am in for a long night as Barbara, all seeing and all knowing, will want details as she figures out this new mystery of vampires and a slayer. Or two... James had mentioned that Faith is one of a 'Chosen Two', whatever that refers to. I guess we'll find out, and by 'we', I mean Barbara within 20 minutes, I'm sure.

When I cannot see Helena anymore, I walk three steps closer to Faith, who moves back, and bend down to grab my jacket. Actually, it is Helena's jacket, but so far I have not gotten yelled at for having it. At least it didn't get ripped or blood-stained. It only got that dust on it, and I hope that comes out in the washing machine with a little Febreeze or some of that  Oxycleaner wannabe stuff Alfred uses. Flipping the jacket over my shoulder, I head back to the Clocktower, taking the long way even though Faith stood in the street alone and didn't even move. It hardly looked like she was breathing before I left her standing there. All the way home, I make sure I cannot hear footsteps. I hear none. I am alone.



I thought there would be more questions about Slayers and vampires from that girl Dinah, but she just turns and walks away without another word after she got her friend Huntress to go. She knows that this place, like Sunnydale, is no place for a girl to go walking alone, but she knows where she is going, and can probably get just about anywhere blindfolded. She proved that she can hold her own. Part of me wants to find her and ask her a bunch of questions about how the Dumpster had flown, or how my stake had just stopped in midair; both things I know were somehow her doing. Is she a witch? She'd be pretty powerful if she is, but if she fights like that, I'd have to guess that she's been around like this for a long time, meaning she'd used magic often. This cannot be so, since Dinah doesn't look to be more than 18 years of age. Someone her age would have worn herself out or killed herself with that much magic by now, and she seems to be going strong in that; it is just her fighting that needs work. Besides that, Willow, the Council, or some other witch would have sensed that much magic being used and would have gone to investigate where it was coming from and see if she was a friend or foe. Plus, I didn't hear her mutter any spell to make my stake freeze like that. It is as if she stopped it with a thought.

So what is she? Demon? No. I don't think she's a demon, otherwise my Slayer senses would have still gone strong after the vamps were staked. Not all demons are bad, anyway. What else could she be? I know both she and her friend aren't quite human. They seem to be something... more. I mean, the Huntress had slits for pupils like a cat. Letting my mind wander, I walk in the other direction from where Dinah had gone a few minutes before. I was feeling foolish just standing there in the middle of a darkened street. I hope to find a few more vamps, but I know that it is hopeless. The dull tingle inside me told me that there were vamps somewhere, but I don't know where they are. Not knowing anything about this city, I let my feet wander to keep up with my mind. New Gotham is nothing like Sunnydale, where most of the vampires I dust used to be that hot guy I flirted with in the Bronze just the night before I stake him. And speaking of which, I'd just about kill for something to eat, and with the... let's say 'side effects' of slaying, that could go two ways. I walk around this new city for the rest of the night.

It is about 7:30 according to the New Gotham Clocktower when I make a turn towards the diner I had passed sometime around 2 AM. I am ready for breakfast. I can see it clearly in my head: 2 stacks of pancakes, 10 slices of bacon, a large plate of hash browns, some sausage, about a quart of maple syrup, and a gallon of orange juice. I check my mouth to see if I am drooling as my eyes glaze over at the thought of food. My lips are dry, reminding me how thirsty I am. I hear voices, teenagers going to the high school there on the street I am on. Part of my mind clicks on, thinking about Dinah, and I wonder briefly if she goes to this high school, New Gotham High. As if I summoned her, I hear a voice I know I heard the night before. That voice that belonged to that woman who calls herself 'Oracle'. Actually, Dinah was the only one who called her that. Part of me wants to see what she looks like.

"I'll see you after school, Dinah." I hear her say. Is she her mother? A mother/daughter team by night? I doubt it. It wouldn't explain Huntress. She looks nothing like Dinah, so I know they aren't sisters, and the way Dinah looked at her suggested otherwise as well. I look for a place to hide. I walk casually next to one of the girls walking into the tall building, fitting in with the scenery, then I stop by the door and slip behind the bush that decorates the front entrance of the high school. At this view, I can see the blonde from the night before, though instead of wearing jeans and a t-shirt under a fake leather jacket like she did the night before, she is wearing a pair of black stretch pants, and a pink t-shirt that says 'Angel' on it. The 'G' has horns that holds up the tilted halo. Over her shoulder with two fingers, she holds her denim jacket.

The woman in front of her isn't older than 35, this I know. She could not be Dinah's mother. She looks nothing like her. She could be an aunt of hers, but I doubt that, too. If I hadn't ruled out the fact that Dinah could be a Slayer as well, I would have guessed that this woman is Dinah's watcher, but as I knew, she is no such thing, as Dinah didn't even know that vampires existed. What they fight is a whole other breed of evil.

Her hair is a dark red, and her eyes are green behind a thin framed pair of glasses, which she takes off before she examines Dinah. I see that she is in a wheelchair, which seemed to run on newer technology. The buttons were different, instead of a steering stick as my grandmother had a few years ago, long before I ran away.  Perhaps wherever she works now she is pretty rich. How else is she to afford that wheelchair? Certainly not on a teachers' salary.

I realized then that Oracle had called the blonde 'Dinah'. That is her real name, otherwise she would not have said it in front of all these people. "You have enough for lunch the rest of this week?" she asks.

"Yeah, I've got enough, Barbara, for the rest of the week. And next week." Dinah says, adding in the part about next week after a short pause to think about it. Barbara. Oracle looks like she can be a 'Barbara'. I wonder what she does during the day, and how she's related to Dinah and her night life. Dinah starts to walk towards the steps, towards me. Just when I am about to move away, I see Barbara reach out and take Dinah's arm quickly, telling me that she has been trained for that fluid movement. She might have also had a history of fighting whatever Dinah and Huntress now fight. It might even be the reason she is in the wheelchair now. Whatever happened to her must have been a good few years ago. Barbara's voice brings me out of my thoughts of what could have put her in that chair, and why it made me angry to think of anyone doing that to her. She seems like a nice person, but I don't know her. 'You don't know her, Faith, or any of them, so why are you getting attached to them? This will only be a repeat of what happened Sunnydale.' I think.

"Wait," Her voice is filled with an authority that would make even the scariest of vamps stop in their tracks. Though her voice is hard, her face is soft, and I know there is no reason for Dinah to be afraid of this woman, in fact, I am sure Dinah trusts her with everything she has, even if she has a couple of things behind her eyes that she doesn't share with her. "Do you know if Helena is coming over tonight? Did she mention anything to you?" Helena. That could only be the Huntress from last night. This is starting to come together a little more for me, but I have to find out more, and from the looks of it, I will only get anything out of Dinah. Barbara has never seen me before, and Helena only looks at me as if I ran over her cat. Thinking back, I understand now why Dinah had asked me what kind of alias Faith is. She was wondering how my name had related to what I do, but I wasn't lying to her when I said that it wasn't an alias. I don't think Dinah believed me, though. Dinah turns to look at Barbara, and the older woman's hand leaves her arm slowly.

"She's working at the Dark Horse tonight. She told me that there's a new crowd of guys that come in and make all kinds of noise. She calls them wusses because they always want wine. She hates them and wishes they would just leave, but Lennard tells her to grin and bare it. If she comes over at all it won't be until after midnight." Dinah says.

"Right," Barbara replies, as if she had also been told that, but had forgotten. I don't think she is the type to forget anything, even if she desperately wanted to. "Well, we have to figure out..." Her voice lowers, and though the people around them can't hear her, I can still hear her as if she is talking at her normal volume. "what's going on and who that 'Faith' is." At my name, I try to move even more behind the bush.

"She seems good." Dinah says automatically, which surprises me.

"Quinn seemed good at the time too, didn't she?" is all Barbara says at first, getting Dinah to quiet immediately. "We can't take anymore chances. We need to do another check on her, but I doubt the search will get us any closer than last night. There was no one that matched the description you gave me. I think she was erased from the system." 'Thanks, Willow.' I think. "She must be running from something. Anyway," She looks at her watch, then at the Clocktower for the time. "we will talk about this later." Dinah leans down and places a kiss on Barbara's forehead, earning a fond smile from the older woman. Even if this woman is not Dinah's mother, it is apparent that Dinah respects her, and loves her as one. Even though she lives the night life she lives, she is probably safe, as this woman would not let anything hurt her.

"Bye Barbara."

"Bye Dinah." Dinah walked up the steps and I dodged out of view. She turns, as if she felt my presence, but she looks back at Barbara, who is entering the building on a ramp that seems to have been built less than 5 years ago. I am about to emerge from the bush and talk to Dinah when another blonde almost skips up to her first. 'Shit!' I think. 'More of them? Is she in a large team of these people? If so, where was she last night? What can she do?'

"Hey Dinah."

"Hey Gabby." The new girl had curly blonde hair and blue eyes that had 'filled with innocence' written within them. She wasn't like Dinah, who had straightened blonde hair and blue eyes with a hint of something dark within them. I calm down, knowing somehow that this Gabby was not important to Dinah's night life. "Did you tape COPS last night?"

"Yep. Told you I would." she says, rummaging through her backpack and taking out a video tape labeled 'COPS and Voyager'. "Like it says, I taped Voyager on it as well since you told me once you used to watch that show before you came here. So, there's my side of the deal."

"Alright, alright. Here's the receipt for the order. You just have to go downtown and get it after school." she says, holding out a piece of printer paper with what looks like numbers and titles on it.

"Thank you. You know I would not have had you look up those books for me if-"

"You and you mother didn't live on the same planet. I know she would freak if she caught you looking for lesbian romances online." Dinah nods slightly as Gabby blushed with a hint of guilt on her face, then the two of them walk into class. I know I cannot separate her from the other girl without someone getting suspicious or without a scene, so I stay where I am. From inside, I can hear a giggle and whispers.

"Hey Zipper Girl!" Someone calls to them. I don't know who it was for, but it is Gabby who answers the call.

"Shove it, Jamie!" The doors behind her close and almost all noise cease within as the bell rings, signaling the start of yet another school day.

"I've gotta find out about this girl. If she is going to do a search on me, then I will do the same, only I've got somewhere to start at least. All she's got is a first name. I have a first name, and school records. That should give me a little more. I will have the upper hand. But first I need food." I mutter to myself, thinking out loud. I look up at the Clocktower. Its hands say it is 7:46. "Breakfast time."



School. Compared to everything else in my life, school seems to be the most irrelevant. I mean, sure I need it for something to do during the day, but I just can't concentrate on my work anymore. At first, I used my school work as part of my outlet for my rage, but now I have no desire to do any of it. I haven't told Helena or Barbara any of this, of course. I just pretend I care. I would rather be at the Delphi looking for Faith. I need to know why we haven't heard of these vampires existing outside of books and movies before now. Part of me knows that they have to be real. I saw them turn to dust, and I know that metahumans can't do that, unless that one meta has that power... So far we haven't encountered one that can, so it is a possibility. But there were two of them, and they didn't look alike, so they can't be twins with that power. I have no choice now but to believe that those were vampires, or if not vampires, something else not even human at all.

I listen as Gabby breaks a rule and turns around to talk to me about one of the books I had ordered online for her. It all jumbles together. It is the same thing. I pretend that I care. It seems exhausting pretending I care about the book, about the assignment that was just handed out, about anything inside this building's walls. I nod and focus back on the plot of this book she had read once on the internet, and her reaction when she found out it had been published about a year later. The story actually seemed good, about a woman who drives home drunk and runs over this younger woman named Rose. She takes Rose home and takes care of her to avoid getting arrested, and they fall in love as Rose heals on the outside and the other woman, named Veronica, I think, heals on the inside. Gabby had originally found the story on a site called A Room Of Their Own, a place that has many lesbian stories that are novel sized.

My disinterest in my daily 'normal' life is a lasting effect of Harley's attack on us. In wanting to train hard to prevent it from happening again, I have stepped a little more into the meta lifestyle, my world. A world that Gabby does not know about... a world that, to keep her safe, she CAN'T know about. It's a world I can't let her into, for that is a mistake that Barbara had made, a mistake that cost a life. For this reason, it is hard for me to talk to Gabby about the ordinary, and I know that I look down on her because she is just human. Sometimes I wonder if I am jealous of the fact that she is 'just human', or if I feel higher than her on the food chain for being metahuman. Either way, it isn't fair to Gabby, for she can't help either situation, nor can I. It makes me feel badly when I do it, but I look at her sometimes and it makes me angry that I can't just say 'Guess who Helena and I met last night? She slayed a couple of vampires that we thought were metahumans.' and have her say 'Seriously? Did you get a few good punches in first, though?' You know, have an actual conversation about it.

"So, is there a sequel?" I ask, trying to get more into it. Gabby is still my best friend. I am not going to abandon her because she isn't like me. I'm not. If I keep doing that, I will be living in a lonely world, and I am outside of it as it is, and Gabby is the one person who takes my hand and pulls me back in, if only for the seven and a half hours in the school day that I see her.

"To this one? Not that I know of. There is a sequel to Love's Journey Through Frominot, the one about two sorceress' going through this other world together trying to get back home. I think it is called Return to Frominot. If the first one is good, I will get the second one to see what else happens." I nod. I had spaced out when she had told me about the other book. In total, Gabby had me search for 5 books, two of which she had already read, and the other three she had seen the summaries to and wanted to read. Our teacher, Mr. Callaway, stares at me, and I make a motion for Gabby to turn around. She knows that the teacher was looking at her back, and she rolls her eyes, emitting a small grunt as she turns in her chair. Yay, class has officially begun... Whoo joy...



With a stomach full of food, and a bottle of water in my backpack, which also held a couple more stakes and the clothes I wore the night before (I changed in the diner's restroom; I am now wearing a black T-shirt that says "...and WHEN was the wizard going to get back to you about that brain?" in blue print, a pair of jeans and no coat, as it is in my backpack), I am ready to do a little research on Dinah, and maybe learn a little bit about Barbara and Helena in the process. Maybe I can look up her records to see who she really is. But then again, Willow is a bookworm and all the teachers who had her loved her. No one would have ever guessed that she almost destroyed the world with her magic after Tara died. And you learn early on that nothing is ever what it seems, and I am sure Dinah has learned that lesson at least on one occasion. Perhaps, though, I can get a last name, fake or otherwise, and maybe I can at least know how to get a hold of her. It's a start. A small start, but a start. I still have the upper hand. I take out a scrunchy that belonged to Buffy. She had given it to me as a way to remember her. As if I could ever forget her. It still has her sent. I put my hair up with it. I had once put my hair up to keep it out of my eyes while I trained Dawn and Georgia, and Dawn had said I looked like I went to her school, younger, more naive.

I can hear inside the classrooms as I walk past them. "... hope you did your reading this lovely Friday morning, otherwise, you have homework over the weekend." There is a small chorus of groans as I walk away from classroom 103, walking towards room 105.

"Joseph? Megan? Tiffany... R.?" I hear a tiny voice say 'Here', before I near room 107 and 109, a joined classroom with two teachers inside.

"... to remind you that headphones are not allowed in my classroom or they WILL be confiscated and given to my son for his birthday." I walk away, and walk up one of the stairs before I hear some voices in the boys' bathroom.

"Yeah, and then he ran away with that girl in his arms when I told him I had to get home before the sun rose or my mother would kill me. He looked scared when I said that and ran away, just like that. I bet he did something to that girl. At least one of us got laid-"

"Are you lost?" The voice startles me, making me lose the conversation that the boys were having. I jerk towards the voice. It is Barbara who spoke. Having not seen me, but heard the description of me, she may not know who I am, and probably thinks I am new. I try to keep my voice from going lower and deadly (a defense mechanism) as I answer her.

"Um, can you tell me where the office is? I have been looking for about 5 minutes."

"Oh, you just walked by it. Are you new?" Barbara asks, watching me closely. If she is half as observant as Willow, she would see that I don't have very much in my bag, not enough to even pass for school supplies, and the shape of my bag has a ball shape than the flattened shape as it would if I had a notebook in it.

"Yeah, I transferred over here. My mom travels alot. I probably won't be here very long." I say, pretending to be nervous, and some of it isn't an act. I am getting fidgety under her gaze. I don't think I'm going to pull this off. She finally looks away.

"Must be tough." she says casually, as if there isn't much sympathy in those words at all.

"Not really. Not after you've done it a few times. You get used to it, but when I go to college in a couple of years, I will feel a little more grounded." I say, looking around and shrugging. I know this can't go on for much longer, but I have to keep this up if I want to get past her and get to Dinah's records. "So, are you a student here?" I ask, knowing the answer is 'no'. She looks startled, then starts to laugh.

"Me? Not for many years. I work here. I teach in that classroom there." She points down the hall a little ways. "I'll show you where the office is to get your transcript, since I see you don't have one now, and you if you have any questions, you can come to me if you want to." I nod.

"Thank you, Mrs..." I pause, leaving it open for Barbara to introduce herself. She looks at me and closes her eyes as if to mentally call herself a spaz. I smile weakly. I know this is an act as well. She is not a very good actress, though I give her points for effort.

"My name's Ms. Gordon, but most students just end up calling me Barbara anyway, so you can call me either."

"I'm Nina. Nina Carmichael." I say, using my mother's maiden name for a last name, and the name of my favorite 'Just Shoot Me' character as a first name. I extend my hand to shake hers and she takes it; it was very firm. I pretended it hurt. "Wow, my father always used to say that it was good to have a firm handshake." I say with a smile. "So, uh, where is the office at? I need to hurry, I have a class in 10 minutes. Mom had car trouble, and I know I already missed my first period. I have no clue what it is, anyway." Barbara nods, then motions for me to follow her, and I do. We stop in front of a door that I must not have seen on my way in. It even has the word OFFICE on the top of the doorway in ugly yellow paint. "Don't I feel dumb." I say. If Barbara was watching me closely, waiting for a wrong move to give me away, I think I just made it, but to my surprise, she says nothing for a second.

"Happens to the best of us." she says. "Come to my room if you need anything. Don't hesitate to ask, okay?" She says. I nod and she wheels away. That was odd. I know for sure she saw right through me. I can see it in her eyes that she did. I slowly walk into the office, where I see a guy at the front desk who is in serious need of acne cleanser. Badly. I smile shyly at him, anyway. I hear that Barbara's chair has gotten further away, but she isn't going to the classroom she said she works in. It sounds as if she is going towards the elevator that goes to the 2nd floor. Is she going to go get Dinah? Will she tell her about seeing me, and possibly her suspicions of me? If she definitely did know that I was the girl Dinah had described to her the night before, why didn't she just stop me? I know that she has the ability to do that even with her disability to walk.

And if she just let me go, is she waiting for me to take the files first? That doesn't sound like the move of someone who is all seeing all knowing like an Oracle, unless she has something else up her sleeve. Or, I hope, she doesn't even know who I am and did, in fact, think I am a new girl here, a theory I highly doubt. Either way, I better hurry up and get out before she does find out who I really am, and... I dunno. I don't want to think about the consequences. I won't wait around to find out.

I realize then that the boy is looking at me expectantly, and has asked me a question. "I'm sorry, I am a lot more tired than I thought I was. What was it that you said?" I ask in the same voice I used to talk to Barbara.  The boy was taking the time I was spending staring into space as I thought of the teacher to stare at my breasts. I roll my eyes, but let him look, knowing that this is the most (and best) he's gonna get for a long time. When I had asked him the question, he looks up, and blushes.

"Uh, I asked if you needed something." he repeats.

"I am a TA for-" I look around, making a sweep of the room, hoping to see a hint of some teacher's name. Somewhere in the back where a woman was on the phone, I hear the name 'Mike Callaway' roll off of her tongue as she requests to see Fred Green so he can take his medication, as he had forgotten to do so earlier. "Mr. Callaway. He asked me to get the school records for Dinah." I realize then that not knowing her last name, this idea might not work. I hope upon everything that this will work.

"Last name?" the boy asks. 'Shit!'

"How many girls named Dinah could possibly go to this school?" I ask, more to myself than to the teen in front of me.

"Eh... right. Dinah Redmond. I have 5th period with her. Strange one, she is, but I s'pose she's nice." he says as he goes to retrieve her file. A minute or so later, he is back. "Here ya go, Dinah Redmond." He places the folder in front of me, and I pick it up. "Are you new here?"

"Yeah, just got here a week or so ago." I say.

"How come I haven't seen you around before?"

"I guess we just run in different circles." I shrug. "Anyway, I better go before I get in trouble for taking so long. See you around." I say. 'Or not.' I think. He nods.

"Bye." I walk out of the office, looking around cautiously to see if anyone is around, but no one is, which is a surprise, since I am sure the first period would have been over by now. I hurry silently down the hall and slip into the girls' bathroom, and rush to a stall as soon as I know no one else is in the room. I sit on the toilet in the second stall (the first having no door at all, as if it had been recently ripped off, its hinges going with it) and open the folder, which seems rather small.

The first thing I see is a school photo, most recent, for it looks no different from the face I saw this morning. It looks almost as if Dinah was faking her smile at the time, silently begging the photographer to 'just hurry up'. She looks nice none the less, though, wearing a black sweater vest with a white shirt underneath it. I move the photo aside after finding nothing out of the norm about it (it wasn't altered digitally like I have seen Willow do to some of the Slayers that had records of violence in their schools, and some that had even gone to jail once or twice for assault), and see her school records from Opal, Missuri. Where the hellmouth is that? It seems she used to be a below average student, and there were even some notes from the school councilor saying that she lies about some things to make her feel better about things, like having no friends. 'She speaks of imaginary women, whom she claims she will someday find, to help her cope with the lack of friends around her, and the possible abuse she has at home.' was what was written on one report. There was one other, from the middle school in Opal which has a record of her getting into a fight because she told an older boy that he was raped by his father, and the boy got angry and hit her. From the records, she was suspended for spreading lies.

She hasn't been here in New Gotham High for very long, but it seems that she is under the care of a B. Gordon, whom I know is Barbara. There is a phone number for where to call her. There was also an address, but something tells me she doesn't actually live there. Looking at her records here in New Gotham High, she seems to get better grades, mostly B's and C's, but lately, she has been getting them raised from what it says on her most recent report card, which was given out almost 3 weeks ago. She is now almost an A average student.

Dinah hasn't joined any clubs or extra curricular activities, but her English teacher had submitted a poem she had written to the school's newspaper. The poem is called Fallen Hero, and my guess would be that the title explains it all. That was written over a month ago.

Her grades, a mention of a someone named Quinn, the poem... Something happened to this trio of night hunters, and it wasn't good, in fact, it nearly destroyed them. What was it? Is that why they are so suspicious of me? I know I deserve it now, with me sneaking around on their turf, slaying vamps like it is a normal occurrence to the rest of the world as well as just me. I know that if one of them had come to Sunnydale, Boston, or even LA, strolling around looking for... whatever it is they deal with, I am sure I wouldn't waste anytime figuring out who they are and why the heck they are in my territory.

I am just about to look over the personal information again to memorize the address and/or phone number when the door to the bathroom opens. I quickly move my feet upwards to block the door so no one can enter, and maybe if someone just does a quick sweep to see if anyone's in here, they won't see my legs. It seems as if whomever has come in does just that, then I hear the wisp of clothing as this person moves a body part. Then I hear the familiar whir of Barbara Gordon's wheelchair and I know it can only mean one thing: Barbara and Dinah are in here, and I have no way to escape without being seen.

'Shit, shit shit!' I curse silently, feeling my hands start to slightly shake. I cannot explain my fear of these people or this place. Actually, I think I am afraid of this Barbara person. I know she is the Oracle for a reason, and I am afraid she will just look at me and see... everything, whether she wants to or not. Or maybe it is the fact that I was never really afraid before because I had Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies helping me out before my betrayal and after my redemption. Between that time, though, I wasn't scared either. I knew I was a Slayer, and that life sucks and then I die way before my time, fuck the consequences.

So why do I care now? I am still a Slayer... Life still sucks.... I'm still gonna die before my time, so why am I scared now? Is it because I am alone for the first time in almost a year? If I mess up, I am the only one at fault. I am on my own and I am the only one to ensure my safety, and even that will never be possible because of the constant threat of vampires and possibly the threat of whatever this trio fights night after night. Maybe that is why I am scared. Though I know more about them than they know about me, they know what is out there more than I do. They know what roams around in this city as well as just vamps.

"There is no one in the stalls. We're clear. So what's up?" Dinah asks.

"There is no records of a woman named Faith in New Gotham. That is no surprise. I checked everything, buses, trains, everything. She got here with cash, and maybe not a lot of it. She could be running from something." This isn't new information, as Barbara has said this earlier before Dinah and Gabby had entered the school together.

"Other than the whole vampire slaying thing, she didn't leave any other clues as to who she is." Dinah says in almost a whine.

"Well, did she have any accents?"

"She didn't. She just sounds like one of those women you see in movies on the Oxygen channel who just bust out of jail and are out for revenge... Not that I stay up WAY past my bedtime watchin' those, or anything." she covers up quickly. There is a slight pause. I think Barbara is giving her some sort of look that says 'Yeah right'.

"Maybe I can check the penal system and try to find her." Another pause. "Look Dinah, I think she is here. In the high school. I think she is doing the same thing we are trying to do. She's trying to get information on you. How she found out you go here, I don't know. She might have just guessed because of your looks that you aren't old enough to be out every night fighting metahumans." Metahumans? What the hell?

"I doubt it, Barbara. Something tells me that if we can't find her thus far, then I don't think we'll find her at all." There was a small pause. "Why do I get the feeling that you're laughing at me on the inside?" Dinah asks, and I hear a slight giggle from Barbara. I must admit that it is a pretty sound.

"You said 'thus far'."

"Yup, you're getting to me. I actually did my vocabulary homework for this month and decided I like the word 'thus'." she says. "Hey," Dinah says as if she just thought of something. "Do you think we are looking in the wrong places?"

"Where do you think we should be looking?"

"We're trying to find where she's from. If she's running from something, or maybe even TO something, then we should start there. She's here now. Let's say that vampires do exist, because I am still not too sure-"

"Why? Why is it so hard to believe?" Barbara's question surprises me. Actually, the question itself doesn't surprise me, it is the person who says it. I would find Barbara to be someone who believes what she sees. She hasn't seen any vamps, so why should she believe in them? "I mean," she continues, "you've fought people who walk through walls, turned into water, and spat acid. Hell, your crime fighting partner has catlike abilities, and vampires are hard to believe?" 'Spit acid? Is this what metahumans do?'

"So, let's say they ARE real," Dinah continues, "they will be doing... vampire stuff... the blood sucking thing. Find where they are, we find where she is. Look up some of the weird deaths that just seem odd the last few days. The wholes in the neck or something, or a disappearance of people who could have been turned into vampires." Barbara seems to think this over. Dinah must know a lot about vampires, even if it is by reading too much Anne Rice, and even some of that isn't true. It surprises me that she knows where I would be.

"Alright. I'll check the morgues and all that to see if anything is going amiss. I shall do that during lunch-"

"Can I eat lunch with you today?" Dinah asks quickly.

"You can eat lunch with me whenever your popular daytime schedule has room to squeeze me in."

"I'm sorry I-"

"I'm kidding, Dinah. I am glad your life isn't always about THE life. I'm glad you aren't making the same mistake I did." she says quietly. "I will look forward to spending some time with you during lunch. Now go, get back to class before you're late for second period."

"I'll be getting to class in a minute. I have to go." she says. Something tells me that Barbara doesn't believe that, but she leaves anyway. I hear the whirring of her wheelchair faintly as the door closes, and I wonder if I have time to escape before Dinah leaves, but I doubt it. There are footsteps, and then they stop right in front of my stall. 'Oh no, oh crap.' I panic. "You can come out now, you pervert." Dinah says with disgust. 'What? Pervert?' I think to myself.

The door jerks towards me, and I know she is trying to get in. Suddenly, the door swings out towards her, breaking off of the hinges. My feet fall to the floor and my whole body jerks forward with the loss of support in my legs. She sees me and her eyes widen. She wants to scream, I can tell, but she doesn't. "I-I thought you were a guy. Tim Ross likes to hide in the girls' bathroom stalls to see what girls talk about, that sicko." She says in a rush. Then she calms, looking me up and down, her eyes landing on the files on my lap. Her eyes narrow, and she looks angry now. "What are you doing with my file?" I know she knows the answer to that question. I stand up and she backs away. She is scared of me, which is funny, since I am kind of scared of her. I mean, she did that to a door, and she didn't even touch it. But something within me becomes cocky, the 'old Faith' comes back a little. I just stare at her with this knowledge of her fear, and use it as a crutch to keep my own chin up.

"Same as you, I s'pose. Research." I turn towards the sinks, and walk to the mirror. I see her take a step or two behind me, but she stops before she can get too close. "I know who you are, where you live, where you go to school, but I don't know what you are." I say a little coolly, masking the small tremble I feel.

"I am human, just like you... or maybe not like you." She says in the same tone. I think I hit a nerve with the words 'what you are'.

"Yikes, retract the claws... Or is that to be said to Helena- Oops, I mean, Huntress..." That was going a little too far, I know, but bringing her down brought me up, an old defense which was always my best offence. Dinah tenses. She isn't going to say anything back, maybe because she can't think of anything clever to say, as not knowing about me gives her no ammo against me. It is then I realize this is not fair, and I am returning to old ways. "Look, I am sorry for that. I hadn't wanted to get into this when I came here. I just wanted to know a few answers and find out who you are, how you moved that Dumpster last night, and why you do what you do... who you fight against every night. That's all. I know you have questions about me, too, but the main thing is, I have seen a lot of things out of the ordinary in my life, but I have no clue where you fit into the things I know. You are unlike the things I'm used to."

"You've got that right." Dinah says a little bitterly. "You know a whole lot about me already. I know nothing about you. That is enough. Go back to wherever you came from." she says. I don't know what I was expecting. I wasn't expecting a full detailed report about her, but I wasn't expecting her rejection like that. Maybe a few questions of her own, since her trio seems so into finding me, but she just turns around and pretends that she doesn't care about anything. I know that she does, though. She cares a lot.

"Look," I say, walking towards her. She concentrates, and I can't move my feet.

"Stay away from me, you hear me? Stay away from my family. Whatever you came here for, forget it."

"I'd be lying if I told you I didn't come here for something. I came here to slay vampires. That is what I do. But when I got on the bus to get here, I felt there was something here. I can't explain it, but... Have you ever gotten the feeling that once you go somewhere or do something, things will be alright?" I ask. She stares me down, but a flicker of recognition crosses her eyes.

"This place has that effect on people, despite the people that go bump, clank, or whatever in the night." she states slowly.

"I helped you get rid of those vampires which you thought were something-humans, right?

"Metahumans. We are called metahumans, Faith." she says wearily, placing emphasis on my name.

"Well, I know that vamps don't travel alone most times. Someone's got a pack around here, and they've moved in. I'll do what I have to do, and I'll be gone for good. We don't even have to cross paths whiles I'm here. Can I just ask you one question?"

"You can ask. Don't mean I'll answer." Dinah says in a lower tone that I never thought could come from a girl like her.

"Fair enough. You are metahuman. What is a metahuman? Is it anything like a witch? Demon?"

"You mean witches exist, too?"

"Yeah. Have a friend named Willow who did some bad ass spells in her days. She's Helena's age." If I keep talking, and keep her interest,  maybe things will settle down. I don't know where exactly she got the idea that I wanted to hurt her or her family, but I don't want to hurt anyone except for a few vampires as I pass through. Whomever this Quinn character is, she sure has messed things up for everyone. "She's real smart, too. Probably would be fast friends with Ms. Gordon." I say.

"I'll tell you what. You tell me what a Slayer is, what they do, and I will tell you about metahumans." Dinah says after a long silence. I nod. That sounds fair. I am actually surprised she offered even that after the little outburst less than a minutes before. I move my feet and I find I am unstuck, but I do not move towards her.

"Alright. There used to be only one Slayer. That was B- er Buffy. Buffy Summers. A Chosen girl who is called after the Slayer before her dies. This new girl gains abilities that are more, faster, better than a regular human being so she can fight off evil that walks this earth. God, I think Giles has rubbed off on me." I say. "Anyway, Buffy had died, but only for a couple of minutes or so, but that was still just enough time to call for another Slayer."

"You?" Dinah asks.

"Actually, a girl named Kendra. I do not know her, I never met her. Buffy spoke highly of her though, and the Scoobies loved her, too. From what they tell me of her, I would have liked taunting her for a reaction, just like I used to do to Buffy. When Kendra died, I was called. So then there were two of us. Buffy and me. The Chosen Two." Dinah nods as if she understood something, probably the explanation of the Chosen Two title that James had given me the night before. "A lot of bullshit happened between us, I betrayed her, went a little mad, then walked the long path of redemption with the creature that I was trained to kill, a vampire named Angel. He helped me out a lot while I was in jail, and convinced me to go back to Sunnydale where-"

"Sunnydale? That town that caved in 6 months ago?" Dinah asks.

"Yeah." I raise my hand slowly, pretending to be guilty. "Sorry about that. I went back there to help Buffy with the Potentials. They were to be Slayers when Buffy or I died during the battle we were fighting. We never did. Willow had saved us, did a spell that made all potentials into actual Slayers, and helped us win. Now there are Potentials everywhere, untrained who are now Slayers, hunters."

"So, you are faster, stronger than actual humans." she states as if to get it all right in her mind.


"So, are you looking for other Slayers, these ex-Potentials?" Dinah asks. I shake my head.

"No. Willow does, but I don't." I say. She nods again, trying to fit things together in her mind. "So-" the bell rings and she looks up at the ceiling, where the sound was coming from.

"Look, I better go. I'm late for class as it is. I-I want to talk to you. I have my end of the deal to fulfill, too. Do you have a place I can meet you at?" I shake my head.

"Haven't checked into any hotels yet, but I was looking at the one next to that Clocktower. I like being in the shadow of tall buildings."

"Yeah, so does Helena. Better for capturing whomever she's after." Dinah says in a softer voice.

"You can meet me outside that building then after you are finished here. We can talk then. Just do me a favor and leave this between me an' you for now. I dunno, that Barbara makes me pretty antsy." I admit. Dinah nods.

"Yeah, and if Helena found out what you know and that I am talking to you now, things could get ugly even though I know you can handle her." Dinah hikes her backpack over her shoulder, and I walk to the stall, and pick up my own.

"So it's a date then." I say. She nods and walks out of the bathroom, and I follow her until I get to the door to the main sidewalk in front of the school. "Oh, Dinah." The blonde turns to look at me with a look of curiosity and a small hint of fear. "Two things. I know what it is like to have your world torn apart in one fell swoop." 'Why did I just say that?' "Also, I recommend the book Choking on Stardust for your friend." I say, speaking of a book that Willow had read from cover to cover so many times that she wore its spine. Never read it myself, but I heard from both Kennedy, Willow and even Andrew that it is a good novel. Dinah nods, then continues her trek to her classroom. Part of my mind wonders if she will actually keep it between the two of us for now, or if she is headed straight for Barbara right now to tell her where I am.

'I have to put some trust in her now.' I think, walking out the door, down the steps, and onto the sidewalk. The Slayer senses are dull, but still bugging me. It is making me crazy, but right now, I have no clue what to do about it. I hope to find out soon, and something tells me that these people are the ones to go to ask for help. I don't know this city like they do, so their knowledge and my Slayer strength might be what will get this city back to its normal state, whatever that may be like. My heart felt a slight weight in it as it thought of being apart of something again, if only for a couple of days.

I break into a run and sprint towards the Clocktower, where there was that hotel across the street. I get there in about 12 minutes, and slow to a walk when entering the building. Checking in is easy; I just give the font desk clerk the cash and my ID with just the name Faith on it, then he gives me my key, not really even looking at my card. Now I am sitting on the bed, bored.



That has got to be the second weirdest conversation I have ever had (the weirdest conversation being with Helena about the speed of dark when she was drunk and I was bored one afternoon about a week after Frosty died). I wish I had more time to talk to her. Slayers, witches, Potentials, and vampires, oh my! When I see Faith again, I am going to ask her if Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster exist, too. No, I won't do that. I get the feeling that she risked a lot just to find out who I am, and to tell me where she will be takes a lot of trust that I haven't even earned from her. I am not going to give her a reason to feel she can't trust me. She knows more about these vampires than we do, even if she tried to explain to me what is going on in her world. So why is she telling me these things? Doesn't she know that I could easily turn her into Arkham, or if I dig deep enough, I could get her in a world of trouble? I'm sure she's probably killed someone, or was linked to some murder or disappearance of the people killed by the vampires... I wouldn't do that, though. Maybe that is why. She knows I wouldn't do that. So far she hasn't given me a reason to do something that drastic. I wonder as I walk into my second period classroom what Faith is up to, and if she is out hunting those vampires now.

No, they would lurk at night, or at least, that is how it is in the movies. They lurk at night and grab their victim (mostly female) and bite them if they haven't seduced them first. So, if they hate sunlight, and they lurk at night, where would they be during the day? Somewhere else darkened? Like- Oh Shit! They'd be in Underground Gotham, where there is no sunlight, and if they can just walk about underneath the city and can emerge from any place into another building's shadow... Maybe it was actually vampires causing trouble in the Dark Horse Bar. If they wanted to be spotted, they would have made their move by now, but I don't feel comfortable knowing that Helena is right there living above these creatures at night when she isn't serving their wine.

I walk slowly into the classroom, where Ms. Allen looks up from the overhead projector, and only stares at me. "Well, I am glad you have decided to grace us with your presence. Please take your seat. You're holding up the class, Miss Redmond."

"I-I'm sorry." I say. 'Bitch.' I sit down in my seat next to where Tim Ross sits. He's absent today. I let myself get lost in thought. I want to tell Barbara that I found out where Faith is, but I sorta promised not to, besides, I wonder what she would tell me with just me being there. She might hold in some facts if the others were with me.

These thoughts continue to bother me throughout the morning until lunch time. I get a Pepsi, a bag of Cheetos, and a bag of M&M's before I walk down the hall, and into the main building where Barbara's classroom is. "Hey Dinah. Are you alright?" she asks when I enter. I shrug, placing the candy in front of my guardian. "So this is what you get with your lunch money." Barbara says.

"Hey, if you don't want it..." I say, slowly reaching for the yellow package. Barbara slaps my hand and grabs the M&M's, holding it to her.

"No. Mine." She says playfully.

"And you're supposed to be the mature one of our trio."

"No, I'm the smart one. Alfred's the mature one." Barbara uses her teeth to open the package. "Damn, I'm hungry today." she murmurs, eyeing my chips and soda.

"Uh uh. Mine." I say in the same tone as she had used seconds before. "What's with the Helena impersonation?" Barbara shrugs, but then seems her normal self when she looks at me. Actually, she doesn't just look at me. She watches me, calculating each move as I even think about making them. This is new. She doesn't normally stare at people when she observes them, at least, she's not this obvious.

"What did she say?"     

"Who?" I ask.

"Faith, or should I say 'Nina Carmichael'. Her presence was very strong in the bathroom, not to mention the scent of that hand soap." She shudders slightly at the thought of the cheap, foul smelling soap.

"I didn't know the scent of the soap bothered you while we were in there." I say slowly, thinking things over. What is going on today?

"I didn't either. Don't change the subject. You're not as slick as you think you are. What did she say?"

"Nothing. She ran off after you left. She just barely made it out the window." I say. Barbara knows I am lying. 'It's for a good reason.' I think to her. The plea seems to show in my eyes, because she turns the chair towards me more and looks at me again.

"You promise to tell me in a couple of days when I'm sure we will meet her again?" I nod. "And you promise to stay on comms.? Even if I can't hear what you are saying, I can still get a reading on how you are."

"You mean where I am." I say. Barbara sighs. "All I can say is that I will not be long, but Barbara, I want you to contact Helena."

<I'm right here, Kid. What's going on?> I jump. I glare at the wall after my heart beat returns to normal.

"I want you to be careful. The vampires are hiding in Underground Gotham, o-or I think they are. I have a strong instinct feeling that they are there, and I don't like it. I know that one of the entry/exit ways for the Underground is right there by the Dark Horse Bar." I don't mean to say the last sentence, and cover my mouth with wide eyes. Barbara looks startled.

"How do you know?" Barbara asks. I don't want to tell her that every once in awhile I sort of do a patrol around those areas to see if Harley Quinn has any goons hiding out there. They don't know that I have gained a couple of connections through Gibson there. Only two, but still, if anything is going on down there, I will know about it... that is, if they aren't dead. I wouldn't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case, since I haven't heard from them since a week before I saw the documentary on the mystery of Sunnydale about 3 weeks ago. I will have to contact Mary Jacobson and Brian Hampton tonight after I talk to Faith.

To Barbara I say, "I'll tell you later." Another lie, for now. I am hoping she will forget it. I know she won't, but I am hoping to avoid my eventual punishment from both Barbara and Helena as long as possible. I find it hard to look Barbara in the eyes now. "Just.... Helena be careful, okay?"

<Hey, you're forgetting who you're talking to, Dinah. I'll be fine. Thank you.> She says the last part quietly, and my heart melts a little bit. I shouldn't be keeping things from them, but I have to keep a couple of them. They want to keep me safe, but they don't know that my seeing Faith this afternoon will keep them safe, or at least help me believe that I am protecting them. I don't know... I just know that I feel I have to do this for them, and I will tell them about it later. They will know about both Mary and Brian... after I know for sure that they're dead or alive. I say nothing more, and Barbara is talking to her about being on guard anyway. I nod in my agreement, but when she turns off the comms., there's nothing but silence for a minute.

"You WILL tell me what is up with you soon, but I will forget it for now if you let me have some of your chips." I stare at her. I hand her the chips with an eyebrow raised.

"Would you like my pop to go with it?" I ask sarcastically. Her look says 'yes please', but her hands say 'now'. She takes the pop off of the desk I had set it on and starts to drink it. Actually, she gulps it. I look at the clock on the wall. Three more hours of this bullcrap and I can go see Faith and see if we are in any further danger from these vampires. "I'm gonna go. I was already late for 2nd period. I don't want to piss off Gerret."

"Language, Dinah." I try not to roll my eyes.

"I'll talk to you later."

As I walk out of the classroom, I hear Barbara call, "Thanks for lunch Dinah" in her laughing voice. I resist the urge to say something back, and walk on, up the stairs to Physics.



Damn it, she's late. She better get here soon. I will not wait forever. I pace, wondering silently of something has happened to her along the way. Part of me wants to go find her to see if she is in danger, but the other part of me just figures that she was held up in a conversation with Gabby or Barbara. I hear footsteps, and then I see her. "Hi. I'm sorry I'm late." she says, walking slower as she nears me. I want to tell her that I won't hurt her, but I know she wouldn't believe me anyway, so it is no use. I just shrug my shoulders as if I wasn't waiting for the last 20 minutes almost wracked with worry.

"It's five by five." I say in almost a mutter.

"Five by Five? What does that mean?" I say nothing, but I give her a grin that says 'Wouldn't you like to know?'. I motion for her to follow me, and the two of us walk inside the hotel, up the stairs to my room on the second floor. Elevators make me feel claustrophobic. Dinah doesn't seem to mind that we have taken the stairs to my room. This room is better than anything I could have afforded in Sunnydale. It isn't the best, but then, I wouldn't feel comfortable in a big fancy hotel anyway. I sit down on the chair which has my backpack draped over its back, and Dinah stands for a second more before slowly lowering herself to sit on the edge of my bed. The silence makes Dinah start to fidget. It isn't my intention to make her feel uncomfortable, but I do not know where to start. "So... Again, what are metahumans, and why was Barbara talking about people spitting acid?" Dinah seems relieved that I broke the silence, and that she didn't have to.

"Metahumans are people with an added... part of themselves that gives them powers beyond anything so called normal people can comprehend. Don't ask why some people are metahumans or even what makes them so, because if Barbara doesn't know, then I don't know. I just thought it had something to do with genetics, since my mother was metahuman, and so was Helena's." Dinah says.

"So, can many people spit acid?"

"No. As far as I know, it is rare for two metahumans to have the same power. I am a touch telepath and telekinetic. No one else has these powers. Same with Helena. No one else has her powers."

"What is Helena's power? Jumping high?"

"That is part of it. She has catlike abilities, night vision, better agility, quicker movements, stronger hits. All that."

"Is Barbara meta... human?"

"No. She is quote unquote, 'normal'. She is human." Dinah says. I nod, though I still feel confused.

"These metahumans are what you fight every night?"

"No. We are vigilantes; we fight crime in general, but metahumans play a big role in that, since metas are hated by the general public, therefore cast away. There is alot of anger within most of them, and they take it out on the city and the innocent people within."

"Okay." I say, staring at the floor. "I want to ask you another question."

"Same rules apply. You can ask, but I am not necessarily gonna answer it."

"I know, I know. I heard the name 'Quinn'." I can see muscles tense up. I know right then that I had made a wrong move.

"She's a murderer. She nearly destroyed my family. If I never heard the name Harley Quinn again, it would be too soon." she says darkly. I want to say something, anything. "It is because of her that I am scared of you now. Not scared really. I can see many dark things in your eyes Faith, but I know that things aren't like that anymore." I look up at her. She shrugs at my worried look. "Don't worry, I don't know what exactly you've been through. I have to touch you to see that."

"Maybe you have to see it to know that I am telling the truth when I say I am not out to hurt you, that I just want to slay some damn vampires and move on." I say, my tone somewhat hardened, but mostly in a childlike whine that says 'No, I didn't break that toy, it was broken before I got here.'. Dinah nods, but nothing else is said or done.


"Go ahead and do it." I blurt out, almost impatient. I stand up and walk towards her. She stands up as well, and then backs away. We are nose to nose, and what little irritation I was feeling was gone. This is going to get us nowhere. I stare at her, and see she has pretty eyes, lighter than B's, but somehow darker than hers as well. This is a little bit creepy, since B's died and then gone back to the Hellmouth, and nothing can be worse than that, but I am being told differently by the gaze in this woman's eyes. Whether anyone else realizes it or not, I believe that Dinah is a woman, despite her age. She has seen an done more than anyone at age 70 has, and yet here she stands, and if I didn't scare her or make her uncomfortable, I'm sure she would be smiling, as she was this morning in front of her friend. I look down and clear my throat. "You can do whatever will make you feel you can trust me. I know I said that you won't ever see me again if you just let me do what I have to do here, but I think if I get the help of your little team, I can be gone that much faster." Dinah nods.

"I think we need you and you need us. I must warn you that I will see everything. The good and the bad."

"Yeah. I have seen some pretty nasty things in my life. I hope you don't get nightmares." I say inching closer as if not wanting to spook her. She steps into me, so close that I can feel her heartbeat instead of just hearing it pick up pace.

"They're just dreams." she says, her voice lowering to a whisper. "Nothing can be worse than the nightmare we already live in. Besides," She leans in to kiss me, and I meet her half way. I feel as if my head is crowded, yet I easily push that feeling aside as I concentrate on Dinah's lips.

'I've seen some pretty nasty things in my life, too.' I hear faintly. I feel fingers on my neck, so slender, so soft. They are gentle at first, slowly testing the waters and running smoothly on the skin there, then they seem to grip me a little, pushing me towards the blonde a little more as our kiss deepens. 'Helena-' The thought is soft, just barely there, but I still feel it. It is almost a plea, the way she calls for her crime fighting partner, a cry that isn't heard by the one she longs for.

My eyes snap open. I pull away quickly, and I walk quickly to the other end of the room. What the fuck was I thinking? How could I let myself get into this situation? She's a fuckin' minor, for one, and she's in love with someone else. "Did you see what you needed to see?" I say after a few minutes when I know my tone won't reveal anything other than boredom.

"Enough." Dinah says. She's guilty. "Faith, I-"

"Good, so you trust me now, right?"

"Yeah, I do, but the rest of my family won't be so easy to get through."

"I don't care about that right now. We need to find out more about where the vamps are hiding and why they have chosen now to start messing with this place."

"They are hiding Underground-"

<Dinah?! Helena needs your help at the Dark Horse. Bring Faith. I know you're with her now. Hurry!> It was said so quickly, and I hardly heard it and understood what it meant before Dinah grabs my leather jacket, throws it at me, and starts running out of the hotel room. I am surprised that Dinah can keep up with me so easily as we run. I am not sure where the Dark Horse is, but I am sure that running through an alleyway isn't going to get us there, but I follow Dinah anyway. There is a dead end at the end of the alley, and Dinah makes a sharp turn into the wall, and to my surprise walks through it.

"It's a hologram, Faith. One of the metas at No Man's Land made it to hide some of the secret entrances to the Underground. Take a few steps back, and then walk towards my voice as you look at the wall. You will see what I am talking about.” I do as I am told, and I watch the wall as I walk towards it. I see my shadow on the wall, but then I see Dinah inside it, and when I stop, I can see that she is inside someplace that is darkened. I walk towards her and walk through the hologram, and it seems like we are in a dark hallway. In the dark, I see her start walking ahead of me, feeling the walls, then she starts to descend. Stairs. There are stairs. We are walking further into the city, and are entering ‘the Underground’. “Shortcut.” Dinah says in a murmur. I hear voices, but we seem to walk away from them, and in a diagonal direction under the city streets. We seem to walk only a block and a half in silence before Dinah grabs my sleeve and drags me to the left. We enter what looks like an old elevator. I stop in my tracks. “It won’t be long, and it is safe, I promise.” I hear Dinah say. I nod and walk into the elevator. She closes the door and presses just a button before we move steadily upwards. I close my eyes, and only open them when we stop moving. I look to see we are in (surprise surprise) another alley, though deep in the alley there is a phone booth, which is what we are standing in.

“What the-”

“Pretty cool, huh? I bet Barbara doesn’t even know about these places.” She tugs lightly on my sleeve again and we walk out of the booth and towards the main sidewalk before taking a left. Right there was the sign to the Dark Horse Bar. I hear the clatters and crashes inside, and I know that Helena is having a ball. Dinah hears one particular bang, and rushes inside, me trailing behind her. The Dark Horse Bar doesn’t smell much different from the Bronze: like rotting flesh, smoke, alcohol, various perfumes and colognes, sweat, and vomit. Ah, memories... “Helena?!” Dinah calls, running towards the scene gathered near the scene of the fight. I’m not sure if the bystanders think that this is some sort of staged show or if they are just plain stupid. Any smart person in Sunnydale would have ran at the first sign of a commotion.

All of the demons are vamped out, and Helena is trying not to show her fear. Since James and Derek had yet to show their game faces the night before, they just looked like normal men. There are 4 vamps rushing towards Helena, and Dinah lifts bottles of alcohol and chucks them at their heads. At least, she does so with her mind. She is trying to get the vamps to pay attention to her, and get their attention away from Helena. I remember doing things like that for Buffy, and she for me. Back when we were the Chosen Two. “Hmm. Looks fun.” I say to myself. I had stupidly left my stake in my backpack. I hadn’t expected to leave the hotel so quickly. I grab the stool next to me and break it against my knee, shattering it into 3 sharpened pieces. “How convenient.” I say sarcastically. “DINAH!” I call to the other girl. She looks up at me. I call her name just as Helena growls obscenities at the vamp Dinah is fighting right before the oldest of us grabs him and start to pound on him. I toss her the stool leg and she catches it. “The heart!” I yell. She nods her understanding. I hit the nearest vamp to me in the nose, and he staggers. He growls angrily, rubbing his nose before hitting me in the face. ‘Ow...’ I feel anger well up inside me, and I knew I am going to enjoy this. This is my release, and I am only minutes away from freedom, it seems.

I touch my jaw. “Not bad for a newbie.” I say, staking him. “But I’m just better.” He turns to dust, but I haven’t the time to watch it swirl to the floor. I  twirl to see Helena backed up against the wall, the vamp she was fighting only centimeters away from biting her  neck. I shove the stake in his back, and he turns to dust. Helena coughs.

“That is foul!” She says, dusting herself off. She rushes off to fight the two vampires who are advancing on both her and Dinah.

“Helena!” I call, tossing her the other stool leg. She catches it, snatching it from the air. I pound my heart in a motion to tell her what to do with it. She turns away from me, saying that she has seen vampire movies before. “You’re welcome.” I say with an eye roll. I watch as Dinah struggles with the same vampire that she was fighting with when we got here, and then she seems to remember what to do with the stake when the vampire is on the ground. She stabs at his chest, but it is too far to the right. He groans, bleeding stolen blood, and she looks up at me quickly before she aims again and it goes into his heart. His eyes widen before he turns to dust. The wood I hold in my hand is taken from me and I turn just in time to see it lodge into the chest of a vamp that was trying to attack me from behind. I turn around again to look at Dinah who had a look of concentration in her eyes. “Thanks, Dinah.” She only nods. I take a quick look around, and see that it is silent. Where’s Helena?

“Jack ass!” she screams from behind the bar. She jumps up on top of it, dragging the larger vamp with her as if he weighs nothing. She slams him to the bar and holds him with her elbow in his throat. “I just bought this jacket!” She rams the wood in her hand into his heart, and he is just dust on the bar. She covers her mouth with her sleeve, where I see a long rip. Then she surveys the scene and checks to see if we are in any further danger. All three if us try to catch our breath. Actually, Helena and Dinah are winded, I am fine. Naturally.

“Shit!” I hear the hiss from the far back corner of the room, where the emergency exit is, but when I look in that direction, I only see the swish of a trench coat as the door closes behind the figure. I start to walk towards the figure, but my arm is grabbed by Dinah. I wince.

“Faith, you’re hurt!”

“It’s okay, Dinah.” I grunt. “Slayer healing, remember?” Dinah watches my arm, and sees it slowly close. It would be nonexistent within an hour. It wasn’t a very large cut. The blood isn’t even dripping down my arm. It's as if I nicked myself with a razor blade. She nods at me. I look up at Helena as we all silently wonder what to do or say next. Had Helena and Dinah heard the surprised exclamation as well? It didn’t seem like it, even though I know that Helena has advanced hearing. My hearing must be better than hers. I look around again, looking for any clues that the figure might have left behind, but of course, there isn’t one.

<Everyone report to the Clocktower.> I hear in both Helena and Dinah’s direction. It’s Oracle. ‘Even me?’ I think to myself, startled. Helena looks me up and down with obvious distaste, and then puts two fingers to her ear.

“Even Faith?” she asks, echoing my own thoughts.

<Even Faith.> Helena’s got a look of surprise on her face, and then she frowns.


<Dinah thinks she is good, and I trust her judgment, now hurry up and get to the Clocktower.> It is then I realize what she had said. The Clocktower! Their operation is right there all along! They are just right across the street from me. I look at the woman mentioned. She has a look of slight surprise and pride on her face. She looks pleased to hear this, as if she, too, wasn’t trusted by the other two in the trio. Helena sighs, frustrated, then turns to leave, Dinah and me following after her in silence, trying to ignore the glances we got from the small crowd. I notice as I walk behind Dinah that she breaks the leg in her hand into a smaller sharp piece of wood, then pockets it. Smart girl.


*Someone’s POV*

They’re not going to be happy with me when I tell them what I know. They looked to me months ago for a new place to hide, a new place to feed. So I found them a place where they’d fit in among the people like they had in Sunnydale, California. I took them to New Gotham. I took them to the Underground, where they could feed and do pretty much whatever they wanted and no one would care, since the legal system is up on the main streets. The Chosen Two would not even know they are here, since they don’t know their way under. This place is great. Filled with freaks, so they would have been mostly overlooked if they stayed quiet.

Then He had to be a fool and go against my warning to stay here where no one will get hunted. He had to surface after feeding on one of the freaks, claiming that their blood was almost as heavenly as Slayer’s blood. His small clan, His family followed him, as they always do and they caused trouble. I bet that is why she is here now, the Slayer. Why did it have to be the Dark Slayer? She hasn’t got a good reputation, which is why many of the vampires, including Him are scared of ever encountering her. I might have been able to temporarily stop the blonde, but Faith? No. She fights with a fury that would leave a man begging for death instead of what she would (and has) put men through. It is up to me to find her and stop her, as that is what He would have wanted. He is not a very nice vampire. No one but a rare few know His true name, and so he goes by Master, Sire or He/Him. I call Him all three at times.

Slowly I enter the Underground through a passage I had found (by ‘found’ I mean tortured a freak until she squealed out the location) about 2 weeks ago. I walk slowly, letting my eyes get used to the dark. Unlike vampires, it takes me a couple of minutes. Finally, I pick up speed while walking down a long set of stairs, a good 60 of them, I’d counted out of boredom. I walk for two minutes (also calculated out of boredom) and then turn to the door on my right. Right away, I see them. I pull out my wallet and hand Him a $50 bill, what I had stolen from a man that lives near the Gladiatrix. He stands, but remains silent. They go quiet as well. I feel all eyes on me. Finally, he speaks. “Have you come baring good news?” His voice is in a low growl, not unlike that of a large bear if one could speak. I am quiet, refusing to speak, for I have not been given permission to do so." Well?!” He asks, growing already impatient with me. This cannot be a very good sign.

“I am afraid I have not, Sire.” I say. At this, they all laugh in howls of amusement, as those around the room find it funny that I call Him 'Sire' when I myself have not been turned, but I will soon prove myself worthy to be his childe, as has my sweet Cierra a few years ago. We will be together again, and this time in immortal life. All I have to do is find a better place within the Underground for them, and He will find me worthy to be in his family, His clan, for He is choosy about who joins him in this afterlife. (He is choosy, wanting nothing but the best of everything in afterlife.) So now I serve him. As His servant, I have no name. He stripped the name I had from me when he made sure I no longer exist outside of this room. He has promised to give me a new name when I am turned, and I look forward to it. Some of them call me Someone, as in ‘Someone’s got to do it’ or ‘Someone killed that freak yesterday, not me’.

“Do not make me have to kill you myself.” He growls, taking me from my thoughts.

“W-Well, Sire... Two of your kin and three of Thomas’ kin were slain today.” His eyes widen. Because of His choosiness of his family, it isn’t very large, just barely over 10 members throughout the 300 years He’s been turned. Most vampires have many more than that, damned near an army of vampires. He doesn’t turn anyone unless he feels they are strong or good enough at something to be a part of His family. The exception to that is a small man of about 30 years of age (my age) when he was turned. His named used to be Gregory Smith, but he has been known as Wild Cat for the last 87 years. He became a part of the clan simply because He wanted him. They’ve been lovers since. Because vampires have no souls, they tend to do what (and who) ever they want to do, so when it came to sex, the gender doesn’t matter. I know that He really loves him. I know that He really loves His kin, and I can tell it hurts Him whenever one is dusted. Wild Cat put his hand on His arm, stroking it softly. I am sure that it is because of this slight movement that I owe him my life. A touch from Wild Cat saves more lives than I can count, for it soothes His temper in a heartbeat (for those who have one).

He closes his eyes and then turns to Wild Cat. “I don’t know what to do now, My Love. James and Derek were dusted just last night, and now two more are gone. My family... It is wasting away.” His eyes seem to burn red when he looks at me next. “Who? Who did this misfortune bestow upon?”

“Mystic and Sunny.” I say, my voice trembling.

“Who did this to them? Answer me now!! Who did this to my children?!”

“The Dark Slayer Faith. She had help, but she told these new people how to kill Sunny.” He says nothing, which is more unnerving than when he is yelling and threatening my life. I only stay in this creepy silence.

“I want Someone out there watching the Slayer. I want her.... I want her and whoever she is working with DEAD!!” I nod. “What are you still doing here?!" he barks. "MOVE!!” I jump and hurry out the door, their laughter following me.



I stand in silence next to the Delphi monitor system as Helena and Faith have a staring contest. Part of me wants to stand between them, but the other part of me (the stronger part) knows that this is a silent challenge between the most skilled of hunters, and that I am in no position to stop it. I stay where I am, watching, waiting for someone to break, but I know that no one will for a long time. Barbara speaks up after a minute. “How about you give Faith a small tour of the Clocktower, Dinah.” she suggests. I nod, hoping that she give Helena a good talking to while we are out of the room. She winks at me, and I know that she will. Whether it changes anything is a totally different thing, but at least Barbara will tell her to chill out.

“So, um... follow me.” I say. Faith seems to give Helena a look that says she somehow won before walking with me up the stairs towards where I sleep. We walk a little into the room. “Nothing special here. Just a bed, an alarm clock, my closet with two items of Helena’s clothing that I know she’d kill me if she ever found out I had them, a window with the view of a gargoyle’s ass, and a Lillix poster. Any questions?” I ramble to her. She looks around quickly, and nods with appreciation at the 4 women hanging over the headboard of my bed.

“Did Helena use to sleep here?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she crashed here when it was too late or if she was too drunk to make it home. She could have also lived in this room when Barbara and Helena were first brought together a few years ago.”

“Her presence still lingers in this room.” she says. I nod, then shrug. It is hard finding things to say to Faith since we kissed in her hotel room earlier this afternoon. It is mainly hard because the one thing I want to say to her is that I'm sorry. For everything. For the kiss. For her cruel past, unsure present, and almost nonexistent future. For the monsters, real or otherwise that she has battled over the 21 long years of her life, and those that still haunt her today.

 Her biggest demon involved this other Slayer, Buffy. Faith was, and maybe still is, in love with Ms. Summers. All of the darkness that rose from Faith 3 or 4 years ago began when she’d realized this and knew that Buffy would never feel the same for her. She may have told others that she was jealous of Buffy and the things she had, and maybe that was partly true, but only a very small speck of it was. She was torn by the revelation that things were never meant to be between them, and the mayor had come along at the wrong/right time and offered her everything she wanted from Buffy, love, security, guidance... She took it. When she had gotten out of the coma, her rage blinded everything else, including her love for the other Slayer. When she had switched bodies with Buffy, she wanted her to walk in her shoes and maybe feel what she was feeling at the time. She didn’t care then that it would change everything between them. She cares now.

I know that Faith wouldn’t want my apologies or sympathy, so I say nothing. Faith leans against the doorway to my room, lost in her own thoughts. “So, why do you guys live in a clock?” I decide to make the moment a little lighter, at least for me.

“So Barbara won’t be late for anything. She hates that.” Faith smiles, and I can’t help the small chuckle that escapes me. It was more of relief than amusement. I'm glad that got something out of her.

“I tell ya’, if Barbara were gay, she would be Red’s soulmate, not Kennedy, the Whiney Slayer Baby. So, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah, I guess-so.” I say with a shrug. At this point, she could ask me anything and I would tell her, since she sacrificed so much to show me what’s inside her.

“What’s up with Helena? She keeps looking at me as if I stole her boy toy or something.”

“Helena’s got the abilities of a cat, remember? Which also means she takes on the traits of a cat as well. You do something to make her happy like, say... stocking the kitchen with her favorite type of cereal or something, she smiles with her eyes in a slight squint rather than with her lips. Cats do that, did you know?" Faith shakes her head. "Yeah, they smile with their eyes like that. You go near something that’s hers, she gets territorial. I learned that when I first got here and borrowed one of her sweaters. Since... Her, Helena’s gotten more protective of what’s hers, as she has so little to protect anymore. Just keep your distance for now, and you won’t have to worry about that part of her. If you stick around long enough, she won’t see you as a threat to her and she’ll come around. I doubt that, but you never know, you might end up liking New Gotham. Anyway, Barbara’s probably told her to take a chill pill, and if anyone can get through to Helena, it's Barbara.” I want to smack myself. I’m babbling, but Faith doesn’t seem to mind it too much. I walk towards Faith and she moves out of the doorway, allowing me to pass her. I walk a few steps, then turn back to look at her. “You wanna see the training room?”

As I expected it would, Faith’s whole body seems to perk up at this. “Hell yeah!” she exclaims. I smile at her child-like anticipation. It is almost creepy how both Helena and Faith get excited at the thought of violence and destruction, even if they both don’t actually plan on actually doing it. I lead Faith to the training room, where her eyes light up. I bet it is a lot better than the library of Buffy’s school before it was destroyed, or more recently, Georgia’s back yard. Her eyes scan the punching bag, which has as of late gotten a lot of use out of it from both myself and Helena. Faith walks over to it and touches the large patch of duct tape from when I had hurled a throwing knife at it with my mind. I hadn’t even thought about doing that then, and still it happened. It was then that Barbara’s words really sunk in. If I really want someone dead, they would be. From then on, I have tried to keep my mind open to just physical movement during training.

I watch Faith inspect the weapons with great interest, muttering ‘Nice’ here and there. I barely train with them unless I am with Barbara, but the last 2 months, Helena has been my main trainer, and she doesn’t like to use weapons to spar. She prefers the hand to hand, powers to powers version of sparring. ‘Your powers are the most important weapons you’ll ever use out there, Super Kid.’ she’d said not long after my mother died, and it has always stayed in my head, though sometimes I still like to spar with staffs with Barbara, who (I found out) only does that after watching a Xena rerun. I smile at the thought. Faith turns to me. “Hey, I’ve still got a lot of energy left over. How about you an’ I have at it? Think of it as a test. I wanna see what you’ve truly got.” Though I must admit that the adrenalin is still flowing through me, I know that I won’t be a good person to match Faith. I tell her this fact.

“Um... you’re stronger than me. I am no match for you.”

“Come on, I promise I’ll go easy at first, then slowly raise the bar to your level. Whatta ya’ say?”

“Alright. I don’t have Slayer strength or Slayer Healing, so try not to get too rough.” Faith smiles in a cocky manner as if to say, ‘Me? Rough?’. I shrug, then lower to a defensive position on the mat. Faith smiles, takes off her jacket, and then does the same. She jumps at me as if to intimidate me, and it works. She laughs when she sees me jump back, but she isn’t expecting my punch, though small it is. She easily dodges it when she realizes it is coming her way, then sends one my way. I block it, and continue to block her moves, which are getting more and more furious by the minute. It felt good to block these moves, and to see the look on Faith’s face when she raises the bar higher than she ever thought she’d have to for me, and I know I am still ready for it to raise on me again, though slightly. She sees my slight struggle to keep up with her and she keep things at that pace. Suddenly, I duck under all of her kicks, and do a leg sweep, making her almost lose her balance. She does a small dance to keep herself on her feet, then she stops for a second, staring at me. "Are you alright?" I ask.

“ Yeah, five by five. I knew I shouldn’t have let your sweet face fool me.”

“You don't even know what 'five by five' means, do you? Besides, you’re the one who thought I’d be easy to beat, and I know you are actually trying, if only a little, to beat me.”

“You brat.” Faith says. I am surprised by that. Faith doesn’t seem like the older sister type, but she sounds just like she could be just then when she says the word ‘brat’. There is a look of mischief on her face as if she’s thinking of some sort of revenge. I smile, and I can’t help the next sentence that escapes me.

“Yeah? What are YOU,” I point at her, wiggling my finger in a juvenile way , “gonna do about it?”

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to taunt a Slayer?”

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that I don’t care if you’re a Slayer or not? That this mere metahuman has you breakin’ into a sweat, and we haven’t even gotten started?” I say. Faith’s eyebrows raise, then she jumps towards me and grabs me. I at first think she is going to try to hit me or something, but no, she... tickles me. I start laughing as I squirm in her grasp. Ah, the pains of Slayer strength (or lack thereof).

“You give? You gonna admit that Slayers rule and metahumans drool?” I hadn’t heard that saying (or rather, 'girls rule and boys drool') since I was in early middle school, and I laugh at the memory of taunting the boys with that rhyme.

“NEVER!!” I shout triumphantly, wrapping my leg around her calf, just barely getting her to the ground (though I think she let me do it). I fall with her, and I wrestle with her to try to get her back for tickling me. “Let me see if Slayers are ticklish.” I start to tickle at her sides, and she starts to laugh. “Ooooh!” I squeal, “Me-thinks they are!”

“Ugh! Grrrr-offa me!”

“What was that?! I couldn’t hear you over the howls of laughter.” I tease. She pushes me, though I know she could have easily done that a couple of minutes ago, and I fall on the mat, giggling like crazy.

“I SAID, ‘Get the fuck offa me’!” she says, pouncing on me and trying to grab at my sides again.

“What the Hell is going on?” The new voice stops us both cold. There, leaning in the doorway, is Helena, and she is steamed. I’m sure the position we are in, my being on the mat and Faith sitting on top of me, straddling my waist and my hands up trying to push her off of me before she started to tickle me isn’t going to help the situation already, and I know what Helena is thinking. She is thinking that we are about to kill each other.

“Nothing, Helena.” I say. “We were sparring, and-”

“YOU WERE WHAT?!” Helena roars. Okay, maybe that wasn't what she was thinking... Oh... OH! Helena’s got a dirty mind. She is no longer leaning against the doorframe anymore, though. She is standing straight now, and I watch in horror as Helena grabs Faith and practically throws her off of me. Faith just barely breaks her fall towards the weapons casing, and starts to walk towards Helena. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” she says in  low warning, and Faith stops, dusting herself off. “Dinah!” she barks, “Go change. We’re going on sweeps in a couple of hours.”

“Helena, I-”

“NOW!” She growls. I jump, and Helena closes her eyes for a second, then opens them again. They are now her familiar catlike slits. “Now, Dinah.” She says in a softer, though firm tone. I give Faith an apologetic look, then do as I am told before I get in anymore trouble.



I watch as Dinah scurries away. When she is out of sight, and out of my hearing range, Helena advances on me. “So, you want to spar, Slayer?" She says through clenched teeth, "You want to get some... aggression out? Why don’t you pick on someone who can actually take you? Like me?”

“Down Lassie, we were just having a good time. It was harmless.”

“Who’s to say anything with you is ‘harmless’? Come on Slayer,” she hisses, “you want harmless? If you’re so great, I’m sure you won’t get a scratch.” she challenges.

“You’re not worth my time, Helena.” I say coldly. She freezes, but then relaxes a little bit, knowing now that Dinah told me about her. That I now know her real name.

“Oh? But beating up on the Kid is?”

“Let me give you a bit of advice. If you must call Dinah by some sort of nickname, call her something other than 'Kid'. It hurts her.” I find myself saying. I don't know what it is about Dinah, but I feel something more than mere friendship for her, yet I feel I must also watch out for her while I'm here, as if it is my fault she is possibly in danger again. It is almost as if she is a mix of the Summers sisters. I want to kiss her sometimes and tickle her at others, like I felt towards Buffy and Dawn.

“How the Hell would you know?”

“I can see it. If YOU’RE so much better than me, you would have seen her wince every. Sing Time. You call her that.”

“You don’t know me or her.” Helena says.

“I’m just trying to help. Trust me, you need it.” I shrug as if it doesn’t mean anything to me one way or the other, but in truth, I hate the look Dinah gets every time Helena calls her Kid. It makes me angry. The look of a slightly fallen spirit is there each time, as if it falls a little more every time.

“You? Help me?” Helena snorts. My anger rises to its peak.

"I helped you at the bar didn't I?"

"If I had known they were vampires when they got in, I would have taken care of them by myself."

"You didn't know they were vamps? How could you not know they were vampires?! They were a bunch of pale guys sitting around drinking Marlot!" I say with exasperation in my voice.

"I dunno, I just thought they were really gay!" Helena defends herself, "I don't need you here. I can take care of this city by myself."


"As if you can do much."

“You know what? If you don’t want my help, then fine, but don’t speak to me as if I am incapable of doing so.”

“Oooh, big words for a Slayer. It appears you CAN read. And here I was thinking that slaying was all you do.” she taunts.

“I read people. Much more interesting than Emily Dickinson. And reading behind the mask tells me that you are nothing but a scared little girl.”

“ME?! You have the tits to judge me?! Bitch-”

“Oh, and you haven’t passed some bullshit judgment on me? You already assumed that I can’t read just because I look the way I do. Sure, I dropped out of school, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped learning. You don’t know jack shit about anything, Helena, so shut your fuckin’ trap before you have to eat through a straw for the rest of you life!” I say, my voice raising both in volume and octave in my anger. Her eyes flash a small rainbow of colors, from yellow to aqua to blue to a light violet before darkening to a shaded blue. I swallow the speck of fear. I know my mouth has ran too far, but I am not one who talks and then doesn’t walk the walk.

“You don’t have the gall...” She doesn’t finish that sentence, as I am running towards her. She steps out of the way, but I still swing almost blindly at first, then I start to calculate my moves as I concentrate on getting my moves exact. I don’t get to her, though. She is a lot better in person than she seemed when I watched her the night before. A large blow to the abdomen leaves me gasping for breath for a second before I just barely dodge a kick in the face. She is wearing boots, and though I know the cut that would eventually come from those would heal quickly, it would surely hurt in the mean time. I get a quick jab to her stomach, but I think it hurt my elbow more than her stomach. Helena’s fist connects with my face, and I know that I’m gonna bruise.

“Lucky shot.” I say lightly, though we both know otherwise.

“You... wish.” Helena counters. She grabs my shirt and throws me to the mat. I grunt in pain. I roll over and kick her side. She hunches over and I kick her again on her wrists where she holds onto herself. I use this time to get do a backwards summersault to get back on my feet. She’s quick in recovering, going now on the attack. This goes on for many more minutes, and I can tell she is wearing down. One large kick sends me against the wall, and with her elbow, she pins me there, like she had pinned the vampire in the bar this afternoon. “Had enough, Slayer?” she snarls.

“You’d like that wouldn’t you, Huntress?” I reply, spitting blood from my split lip in her face as I said her code name. Helena raises her hand to send a large blow, but there isn’t one. I look down to see Barbara’s hand holding Helena’s elbow and squeezing it. Helena is wincing, and I fight my smug smile.

“What did we talk about not even an hour ago?” Barbara asks, her voice is sharp, and she isn’t very happy.

“Rerrrmgr-ambimmmshink.” Helena grumbled in a way that I couldn’t even hear her.


“We gotta be nice or something...”

“You, to the TV lounge.” Barbara says to Helena. The older brunette firmly pushes me against the wall in a huff, and then leaves the training room. I glare after her. “You, follow me.” I nod, and walk behind her wheelchair. She slows down to the point where I am walking beside her now. “She hurt you badly? I mean, something that needs to be splinted until Slayer healing fully fixes it?”

“No, just bruises. I will be fine. Since Willow done that spell, my healing’s been faster. I will be fine in a couple of hours.” I know she doesn't know who Willow is, unless Dinah told her, but I doubt she could have told her all that in the short amount of time she was away.

“I’m sorry about her. She’s going through some pretty rough times right now. I think you are just another outlet for her anger, which isn’t right.”

“I can handle her.” I say almost defensively. We enter their kitchen area, and Barbara makes an ice pack. She looks me over, handing me the ice, and I put it to my jaw.

“I know you can." She changes the subject. "Helena always gets hungry after a fight, and I am not sure if you have eaten since you left the hotel. Would you like a sandwich or something?”

“A sandwich would be nice, thank you.” I say in a whisper. Barbara nods, and turns to open the fridge, picking out the things that make sandwiches.

“How do you like it?”

“However. Food’s food.” I say with a shrug. She smiles and gets out mayonnaise. We are silent as she makes two sandwiches, then sets them on a plate and puts a bag of chips next to each of them. Then Dinah and Helena come in a few minutes later, Dinah sits down and joins us, but Helena leaves shortly after, carrying a bag of chips into what I think is the den area. Dinah sits next to me and put a hand on my shoulder in her silent apology. I sort of shrug it off, and begin to eat the sandwich Barbara set in front of me.

"Dinah and Helena are going on a sweep tonight. You can stay here with me and tell me more about vampires. I think I have an idea, but I will need your help in that." I nod.

"Okay." I say meekly. Dinah also nods, though I think she is not really in the mood to go on these sweeps tonight.

"I hope I get an excuse note or something tomorrow..."

"I hope so too." the redhead says. Barbara tells me about some device that she was tinkering with. It had been used to weaken some guy's metapowers, but if she took it apart and got some new parts she could-

"Barbara!" Dinah says loudly, cutting her off. "Technobabble." she says, which is a different version of Willowbabble, as the Scoobies like to call it. Barbara blushes a little bit, scratching her leg. Dinah notices this and looks over at me. I raise an eyebrow.

"Right, sorry. Anyway... Look, you just eat for now, and I will explain it to you later." Barbara says. "You need to rest and let yourself heal." she says. I can only nod, as I have food in my mouth. Barbara leaves, then I lean into Dinah.

"I thought people who are paralyzed cannot feel anything below the waist." I say in a whisper after  I swallow the mouthful.

"I thought so, too."

"But she scratched her leg, she's not supposed to feel it itch."

"I think this means something good, but I don't want to jinx it for her by saying anything. Let's just hope this means what I think it means, and not just some nervous twitch." Dinah says. I nod.

"I hope so."


*Someone's POV*

"You... what?" I ask slowly to the man against the wall. He is a member of Ben's clan. He has the biggest family of the 5 families living in Underground Gotham, so it won't do anything to his little army if I just dusted him. His name is Jimmy or something, and he has been following me for the last 2 hours, spying on me, but then I turned the tables on him, and that is how he found himself hanging by his throat. Though he no longer breathes, this still hurts him. I bang him twice against the wall. "You what?!" I repeat, watching his head hit the wall.

"I- I know where you can go." he spits out in his fear. "You know the legend of Batman?"

"How can I not!" I snap. I am getting impatient. I must report to Him within the hour, and I am nowhere near knowing where that Slayer has gone. I know she was in the hotel across from the Clocktower, but then I lost track of her after I left to report that Sunny and Mystic were dusted. I haven't caught sight of her since. I don't know where she is. I have given up for now, and have gone back on my search for the new hideout. I meet up with this moron, and he wants to waste my time with bedtime stories about Batman. Ah, Batman. The people down here still talk about him as if he is going to walk through that door right now and save their sorry asses again, just like old times. They don't know that he got tired of their ungrateful attitude, and just skipped town, leaving his teammates to die.

"W-Well, he had a secret entrance to his hide out, and it was buried with the rest of Underground Gotham. I hear rumors here and there, but I think I know where the Batcave is."

"You are aware of the stake to the heart you will be receiving if you're wrong, aren't you? I have no time for your games, asshole!" I look him up and down. "I am not a cheap man." I tell him, "I will give you all the money I have on me and more to come if you are right, and you will be staked if you are wrong, hear me?"

"Loud and clear." I drop him to the moldy ground. He groans, but quickly regains his footing. "Follow me." I make a jerky movement that tells him to lead the way, and I follow him. We are headed north of the city, near Wayne Manor.

"Why are we going this way?!" I ask, stopping.

"This is where they say it is. You DO want me to show you where it is, don't you?" Jimmy looks confused, but when I start to walk, he turns around and leads the way again. We take a right after a few moments, and then he stops and freezes. There is nothing there but another wall. He stammers. "I-I know it is here. Harry wouldn't l-lie to me about this-" I grab him and throw him against the wall. I am about to stake him, when a whir is heard, and I see some number key there on the wall next to Jimmy's face.

"You have no clue how lucky you are." I growl. I look to see that there are cracks, as if there is a door here. I couldn't see it in the dark. I take out my key ring, and use the mini flashlight to look it over. It IS a door. I start to press a few of the keys on the keypad, but a shock surges through me. I know for sure now. There is something behind it, something important.  Possibly the Batcave, possibly something better, a secret entrance to Wayne Manor, a place that has been almost condemned for a few years. Rumor has it that his butler was senile and stayed in the Manor for a year or two after that, convinced that the master of the house would come back, so he stayed and took care of the house until he supposedly died. He was this old guy. Either way, it is empty now, and if I can just get through this door, He will have his hide out, and I will get my reward. I threw Jimmy out of my way.

"I-I have a friend who lives in the Old Gotham bank, and she might know how to get past this door, sir." Jimmy says slowly, as if to indicate that the price will be higher if he went to get her. At this point I am desperate. I need this door open, it is my only obstacle to my goal.

"What do you want?"

"I want one of the Slayers, or a freak. I can't seem to catch them myself, but I want to taste one." He says with a hungry glint in his eyes.

"I'll tell you what, Jimmy. If you can help me get my ultimate reward, I will tell you a secret that will get you to a secret hideout of those freaks. You will feast on them, and never have to go back to feeding on the likes of mere mortals. I know of a vampire who used to be one of them, and she still has her power to find them." I say, thinking of Mary Jacobson, whom I had encountered. She nearly bit me when I first got here, but when I gave her my master's name, she gave me some of her service and showed me where I can find a freak with knowledge of the Underground. More knowledge than what she knew about it.

"Done, and done. She should be in now, but once we get to North Field Boulevard, I cannot go any further with you."

"Why the hell not?!"

"She is human, and she lives in the Old Gotham Bank for a reason. It is located right next to this chick's shop, and there is a protection spell over it. No vampire can enter a 2 block radius of this spell, I'm sorry." He says.          

"It isn't your fault. Someone here knows magic, huh? I must find out who this is and pay her a visit. Fine, tell me where to go. I will get there myself. I haven't been to North Field Boulevard." I say to him, my heart feeling lighter now that I am closer to getting my love in my arms. This dream will be a dream no longer, and I will have Cierra in my arms again for the rest of eternity. It is the twisted fairytale I used to tell my niece.

"You just keep going on this road. Take a right when you get to the ruins of Gotham City High School. When you get to North Field Boulevard, you will see a large B, and that is the bank. Ask for Maria McDowell, though she's a bit crazy. She believes her name is Jennifer Calender, so if she doesn't answer to Maria McDowell, call her that. She'll look up and acknowledge you then. I will wait for you here." I nod, then start walking.

As Jimmy says, I take a right at the old high school, where a couple of teenagers are smoking pot, and then I see the large B of the Old Gotham Bank. I start to walk faster. I cautiously walk into the building and step over some of the rotten floor boards and broken tiles and walk to what I think was supposed to be a desk. I knock on a wall. "Hello?! Maria McDowell?!" I call out to her. I hear shuffling.

"No need to yell."

"Maria-" She isn't looking at me, she is reading a text about some demon, which is bookmarked by a newspaper clipping of the caved in city of Sunnydale. I walk up to her, but she still doesn't acknowledge me. "MARIA!" I say. Still nothing. What the hell? Softly, I mutter the names that Jimmy might have told me that she goes by. "Jessie?" Nothing. "Jenny?" She looks up.


"I have a friend who told me that you might be able to help me with a certain problem. I need help decoding something. Do you have any suggestions?"

"Who sent you?"


"Radcliff! I told him that I do not serve vampires!"

"If I am a vampire then how come I am here talking to you? There is a protection spell on this street, is there not?" Jenny seems to think things over.

"Well, you're a friend of his, and I don't like him- I don't care if you do, Maria. I don't work with vampires." she says. I frown as this tall strawberry blonde woman looks up and pats her head as if to rid herself of an annoyance. She hears voices. She's nuttier than I thought. I wonder briefly if Jimmy was lying to me, but I don't think so. I know his type. He wants those freaks. If he knows where they hide, he can show that knowledge off to his sire, and he will be the most trusted, and it is like a high ranking within his family. If he knows where they are, he is almost like the second to his sire.

"I see..." I take out my knife and press it to her throat. "I have something that says otherwise. I want you to-" The knife melts in my hand and I am left with nothing.

"That's the advantage to being reborn into a metahuman's body. The disadvantage is the fact that I have to live here." she finishes in a mutter. I feel heat against my skin and back away from her. "I suggest you leave before Maria gets angry." she says. I am confused. She speaks as if she is two people. Jimmy never told me that I would be doing business with a schitzo. I have no choice but to leave. I walk down the street some until I see a small shop that sold knick knacks mostly, and survival kits. It is destroyed now. Right next to it is another small shop, but it seems to be open for business. I walk inside, and hear the bell on the door. There is a woman not older than 25 years old at the desk. She had brown hair and hazel eyes. She is reading a Playboy magazine as if it is the newest Cosmopolitan, but when she sees me, she slowly sets it down as if not wanting to look up from the article she was in the middle of reading. She doesn't look ashamed for having the Playboy in her possession, in fact, she leaves it in plain view. Shannon Dourty is on the cover of it.

"Welcome to Madame Linda's Unique Shop for the Mysterious, how may I help you?"

"What a name." I mutter.

"I didn't name the shop, Madam Linda did. I just own it now, and get to keep all the prophets."

"Where is Madam Linda?"

"She's dead. She died not too long ago from the asbestos in this place, but I am immortal, so it doesn't bother me. So, how can I help you?"

"I want a spell that will open doors."

"You have hands, you can open a door yourself. You did a good job getting into this room." She folds her hands together, then rests her chin elegantly upon them as she peers at me. "Do you mean you want a spell that will open doors to different realms? I can't sell just the one spell, but I can sell you the book. You'll have to keep all those other spells. I give no refunds." I glare at her. I am not sure I like this woman. She is infuriating, but something tells me that she doesn't mean to be most of the time, she just speaks her mind and says what she sees.

"There is a door that I need to open, and it is locked." I try to explain to her.

"Maybe it is locked for a reason, so that you don't get in."

"Yes, but- Do you want my business or not?"

"Yes, I want your money. What kind of door is it?"

"I think it is steel."

"Oh, so you want to blast it open. I can whip up a good potion to throw at the door. That will blow it up." she suggests. I rub my chin and the sharp stubble before I nod thoughtfully.

"How much?"

"How powerful do you need it?"

"Pretty powerful, but I only want the door blown up, not the room itself. I need to get into the room."

"Oooh, I think I came across a potion that will repair the door not long after it blows up. You have a few minutes to keep it open though."

"Are you any good with codes?"

"No. I'm not a redhead." That escapes me. I am not sure what being a redhead has to do with decoding anything.

"Oh." Is all I say. Then, "I'll go with the potion then." I decide.

"Okay, that will be 75  dollars, and if you come back in a couple of hours, I will have it ready for you." I nod, and set the money on the table in front of her. "It was a pleasure taking your money, and please come again."

"Yeah, I'll be back by 8 tonight."

"Yeah, it will be ready by then." I nod and leave the shop, wondering who that woman is. I look back to see she is engrossed into her Playboy again. (AN: You get a cookie if you figured it out before this point.)



Helena is silent as we walk down the sidewalk. We are about to split up at our normal spot when she grabs my arm. "Ki- Dinah, I'm sorry for the way I acted today."

"Why are you apologizing to me? Faith's the one with the fat lip." I snap at her. I realize that she didn't call me Kid. I sigh. "You know what, it's fine. Let's get this over with. Faith says she will leave after she's done slaying her vampires here." Helena leans down and kisses me on the cheek.

"Be careful, D." she says.

"I will, Huntress." I tell her. She's never called me 'D' before. Faith once or twice called Buffy's little sister that, but then she was Dawny or Half Pint to her after Sunnydale caved in. I find I like the name 'D', and hope Helena keeps calling me that. Helena jumps to the nearest rooftop, and then she's gone. I wonder what has brought on the change. Did she finally relieve some stress when she fought with Faith? Did Faith say something to her that had hit a nerve? And another thing, what was that with Barbara? It was a small movement she had done, but it could change everything. I have known her for over 9 months and I have never seen Barbara scratch her leg. It could have been a nervous twitch, since I have noticed she is a little edgy around Faith, if not more so than Faith is around her. Something isn't right.



I sit next to Barbara at her Delphi system. She looks like she is in her zone at this oversized computer. She types in many different commands, then sets the programs to an automatic, so she says. "We have an errand to run. We need to get some parts in the Underground, and also, I need to get holy water and some garlic."      

"The garlic doesn't do too much. You can just get the holy water."

"I know a woman from high school opened a shop Underground after the earthquake. She liked to practice witchcraft and all that. I used to think she was all talk when she spoke of once moving a pencil, but things have changed since I was 16, and with you here, I don't see why we can't check out her shop." Barbara says. "As far as I know she doesn't get much business, just enough to make a semi-decent living Underground. Mostly teenagers who have watched 'The Craft' too much buy from her store." I smile at that.

"Yeah, mostly kids who thought dark magic wasn't real, but looked cool usually bought from the Magic Shop, a store Giles owned." I say.

"So, that is where we are going. Is your jacket in the training room still?" I nod. "You go get it, then we will go."

"Okay, be right back." I walk back up the training room. It is then I notice how trashed it is because of Helena and my fight. I didn't notice the various weapons on the floor when I had left the room earlier. I pick up my coat, and then walk back out. Barbara has her coat on as well, and she points to the elevator. We both get in, and then my Slayer senses go off as we reach ground level. I look at Barbara, and she seems to fidget. "Are you alright?" She shakes her head.

"I'm scared, actually, but I do not know why. I fear for... someone, but I don't know who. Something big is about to happen, I can feel it." When we step out of the elevator, I see Barbara twitch out of the corner of my eye. This isn't right. What is going on with her? From what I have seen, Barbara Gordon isn't a twitchy person. We stroll along at a quickened pace. We travel at least 6 blocks before I see Barbara look up at a building with a sign that says 'No Man's Land Collectables'.

"What is this place?" I ask as we walk inside. The building looks brand new, and it even smells like fresh paint. I watch another customer look about the shop at various nick knacks.

"The entrance to the Underground is in here." Barbara whispers. There is a young man at the counter reading a comic book of the newest X-men series. He has light brown hair and green eyes. He's actually kind of cute, and reminds me too much of Xander. I guess everyone's got to have their own cute geek. This young man looks up at the two of us, his eyes switching from  me to Barbara, then back at me.

"Ms. Gordon! Pleased to see you've made it to my corner of New Gotham. How can I help you?"

"Well," Barbara says casually, "I need one of those Scooby Doo Pez dispensers that I saw in here before vandals hit your store. I was looking for them all over the Internet. Even Ebay didn't have any of Scrappy Doo." she rambles. This man nods. "Sorry Gibson, I've been a little scatterbrained since my apartment was robbed. Anyway, I also need the newer keyboard you fixed for me last month." This makes Gibson's eyes shift quicker, as if unsure of me. He's not sure if he should say anything in fear of me finding out their odd little code. I already understand it, but only because I was told where we are headed before hand.

"Th- The new keyboard?" he asks. "But I thought you said you didn't want it yet."

"My computer is acting up lately, and I need that keyboard for my computer so I can continue my searches. Do you still have it?"

"O-Of course."

"Have you met Dinah's cousin, Faith? She wasn't expected to come visit her until next week, but there was a miscommunication, so she is here this week." Gibson smiles politely. "Dinah told her about the robbery." She says. I reach out and take his hand, shaking it.

"Nice to meet you." I say.

"Same. Come on, then. I think I left it in the back. Ma'am?" He calls out to the woman looking around. She looks up. "I am going to help these lovely ladies out, then I will be out here in a second to assist you if you need it. It should only take a second." Gibson smiles at her and she nods in her understanding. We enter the back room, which for the most part looks like a normal storage room filled with various items for the shop. In the far back is a small door, which has a box in front of it. Gibson easily moves the box and opens the door, and then turns to look at us. "Be careful down there. We both know how dangerous some parts are." he warns. Barbara nods and pats his arm.

"Thank you Gibson. We will find a different way back, but this way is the quickest-"

"No need to explain. I know you ladies do the odd things you do for a good reason. I trust you're up to something, and I bet we'll have you to thank for saving our butts once again." he says. He steps out if the way and allows us to walk into the small elevator. Oh crap. I hate the Underground. Gibson turns to leave and return to his other costumer in the store, and I see his back before the door closes.

"Dinah told me of your claustrophobia in elevators. I'm surprised that you were so calm in the one in the Clocktower."

"Unlike some people." I say.

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"You weren't very calm in there, and I was worried about you. I guess I didn't think of my own fears." She doesn’t say anything for a moment, then she shifts the topic to me again.

"If you are feeling so uncomfortable, take my hand and give it a squeeze." she says simply, as if that isn't a childlike thing to do. I don't say to her that I am no longer 4, and that she isn't my mother, but when the elevator starts to move, I grab on to her hand, shutting my eyes. It is mostly when the elevator descends that I feel scared. It feels like the walls slowly shrink in towards me while the floor stretches away from me.

"Lemme know if I squeeze too tightly."

"You're doing just fine." she soothes. The elevator stops just a moment later and I let go of her hand. "Are you okay now?" she asks as soon as I am out of the elevator. I nod, but wonder the same for her, since I know I should have crushed her hand, but she didn't seem phased by it. I feel the familiar triangle of vampires near by, but as soon as I take a couple of steps it is gone completely, like shutting myself into a soundproof room while Mardi Gras continues outside my door. This isn't good. Or perhaps...

"Yeah. I think there is a protection spell around here."

"That would be Linda's work. She said she wanted to help Batman protect the city with the biggest protection spell in the history of witches. I guess she never found it."

"Who's Batman?" Barbara sighs.

"It's a long story, Faith."

"Does it end happily ever after?"

"I'd assume you would know the answer to that."

"No story really ends that way." I say.

"Rarely. If we have time later, I will tell you more about him." 'If we have time later.' 'If you stay longer than a couple of nights...' Barbara takes out a flashlight as if nothing happened in the elevator and starts moving. There is a small light coming from a small torch where a streetlamp used to be. We move towards it, and are in the main street.

"North Field Boulevard..." I murmur, reading the just barely visible sign. We travel down this darkened street, lit with torches along the way like streetlamps, even though it is the middle of the day. In a little bit though, it will be night here, and something tells me all Hell will break loose tonight. We see a large B, and it appears to be a small part of the sign.

"That was the Gotham City bank. Always had to repair that place because it was robbed every other month or so." I feel eyes on me and search the building. Behind the large B is a smaller figure, more feminine than the usual sense of man. I look around, but I do not see anything. We walk up the street some more, and see a shop with the sign 'Madam Linda's Shop for the Mysterious' above it, not much different from Gibson's shop. "Only Linda..." Barbara mutters with fondness. She must have been a pretty good friend to this Linda, even though she didn't believe in her hobby then. Crossing the street, I feel a familiar presence, and for a second, I feel as if I am back in Sunnydale. A small bell sounds to announce our arrival. Sitting at the counter, actually ON it, is a woman with long blonde hair, which is pulled back in a long ponytail. I stop in my tracks. She looks up at us, but doesn't seem surprised to see me here. She has a look on her face that says she wouldn't even care if she were told she won all the money on the planet.

"Wow, what has the wicked slayer from the West coming into my humble little shop?" She doesn't acknowledge Barbara.

"Anya? You're- I thought you died."

"Yeah, dead as a door handle... or some weird human phrase I've already forgotten and don't ever care to repeat anyway." she says dryly.

"So... what happened?"

"When I got to Morrow, the demon version of Limbo, I asked Chicnerache (Sheek-nurr-ack) a couple of simple questions, and he got mad at me. He sent me back here for eternity as an immortal with no powers so that he wouldn't have to deal with me again." I let out a whoop of laughter.

"Ha! Only you would piss off the demon St. Peter!" I say. "Seriously, Ahn, I am glad to see you again. Xander and Freak Boy were in a large slump when I left."

"I miss Andrew. He was weird, but nice."

"I have the number to Buffy's house in Chicago. I can probably get a hold of him for you and tell him to give you a call." Anya shrugs.

"I don't know if I want to go back to that life. I like living in this shop, even if it does get lonely here."

"Where is Madam Linda?" I ask her. "We need to talk to her."

"She's dead." For the first time since we got here, Barbara speaks up.

"Dead?" Anya looks at her.

"Yeah, as in doesn't see anymore because the cemetery guys sewed her eyes shut before locking her in that damned casket." she snaps. She looks down at the counter and hides her tears.

"H-How?" Barbara asks. Anya wipes her eyes.

"She told me that she was getting sick from the asbestos in this old building, but I think it was something else. She knew she was going to die. When I first got here, I found this shop when I sensed the protection spell. She let me work here even though this place doesn't get too much business. She told me that she knew I was a demon from the start, but knew I was no harm to her demonically. She asked me to care for the shop for her, since she said she was thinking about going to see her brother, Chad. I thought she meant she was leaving for like a week for a vacation, but the next morning she was gone. She died in the night. I found out that Chad was her brother that had died when this city was called ‘Just Gotham City’. I think it was all the potions and spells she cast over the years that had eventually killed her. She wasn't a real witch like Willow or Tara, and I think the magic must have been taken from her body energy."

"She once mentioned that she wanted to cast her own spells, but knew she didn't have her own magic. She says there is a spell she once found that allowed her to turn the energy within her, but needed a 'real witch' to cast the spell upon her." Barbara tells us in a soft slow tone. "I guess she found her 'real witch'." She says darkly. There is a couple of moments of silence.

"So..." Anya wipes her eyes again, then looks up at me. "Did you some here for a chitchat, or do I get to take her money now?" I didn't think Anya knew enough about human emotions to be able to hide them behind a subject change or a humorous (or what I think it is supposed to be a humorous) remark. This makes Anya seem more human than before, when she didn't understand what it meant to be polite or coy or anything over the surface of what it really was that she was feeling. She still has the attitude that we all have come to mostly ignore when talking to her, and she knows exactly what not to say at the wrong time, but she always tells the truth, or at least the truth according to her. I respect that about her.

"We need the usual vamp hunting stuff. Well, I made stakes while she was on the computer, but we need holy water, axes... 3 of them, Helena and Dinah will need one... and three crosses." Anya looks about the shop and stares at Barbara while she gets the order together.

"Okay..." Her eyes are light at the business she's getting. "She a Slayer?"

"No, she fights something that already lives here."

"Oh, those empowered people who like to slowly kill themselves down here." Anya says.

"Yeah, them." I say, rolling my eyes a little.

"So, you forming your own little Scoobie gang here?"

"No. I won't be here long enough to form one." I say. "So, how much will all that cost?" I say, reaching into my backpack, but Barbara had slapped down $500 on the counter.

"It doesn't matter. Keep the change." She says. Anya comes back with the things we ordered, and then leans against the counter.

"Thanks." she says. She puts it all in a box that she had found, then places the money in a drawer. "Faith?" She asks as I move towards the box, getting ready to lift it up. "I-" I look at her, watching her. "I missed you. You are a lot like me. I mean, you're not a demon, but you weren't really acknowledged by Buffy's gang too much when you came back. I was wondering if..."


"Will you come back and see me? Before you skip town? You know... to say goodbye?" She rolls her eyes as if what she is asking is too foolish for me to even consider. There was an insecurity in her voice as if she was sure I would say no, and that I would never want to see her again once I leave this shop. It is something I had planned to do anyway, but to have her ask me to makes me feel wanted.       

"Of course, Ahn. I'll come see you before I go."

"It's a shame you're not going to stay. It would be nice to be a part of a team again."

"I work alone, Anya." I say in a low voice. I don't think Barbara hears me. "Eventually, I always end up working alone."

"I suppose. Just know that I will miss you, and if you run into Xander out there, tell him I miss them too." I nod, but I can't seem to move. It feels as if there is something else I am supposed to do, something is supposed to be said before I leave, but I can't seem to figure it out. "OH!" Anya says suddenly, looking at Barbara. She jumps off of the counter and walks to the other end of the shop, and then removes a book. She flips through the pages as if looking for something, then throws it behind her. She then reaches behind the place where the book had been. Then her hand emerges with a small silver box. She walks over to Barbara and opens the box, taking out a medallion. It is in the shape of a golden spiral, and on the spiral are small yellow jewels. Anya starts speaking in a language I have never heard before, only recognizing what could be a disfigured version of the Latin word for 'Health'. She put the medallion over Barbara's head, letting the jewels rest on her chest, and says, "Do not take this off." She says something else in (I think) Russian. Barbara seems to understand this time, and she frowns in though.

"Come on, Faith. We still have one more place to go." She grabs my jacket sleeve, and semi-urgently pulling me out of the shop. I shoot Anya a quick goodbye look before following behind the redhead. I look around to find the presence is gone. I am glad, because it creeped me out.


*Someone's POV*

"My sire, I have come baring good news." I say, kneeling to one knee as I bow to Him.

"Is it about the Slayer?" I sigh.


"What is it?"

"I have finally found the perfect hiding place for the family. It is much more grand than this." This... This is a shoddy little apartment where the landlord let us live for free when we threatened his life. It stinks of vomit and the piss of some animal I do not care to identify, and there are cracks in the walls, the floors, and just about anywhere else.

"You better not be lying to me."

"I tell no lies, sire. I speak only truths, as I serve you and you alone."

"Look at me." I do as he says. He looks deep within me, and it almost hurts. I know all he sees is the truth and the love I hold there for my Cierra. "Very well, where is it then?"

"The Batcave." A hushed silence falls. "I bought a potion that will open its doors, but I know where it is now, and I shall open this space to you. If the rumors are true, it will be a part of Wayne Manor."

"You're saying that you've gotten your way into Wayne Manor?"

"Yes, Sire."

"Take us there. If you indeed have succeeded in fulfilling your task and finding our new home, you will be ceremoniously rewarded." The usual growl in his voice is gone, and He sounds pleased with me. I smile as I gaze at the dusty floorboards. The only thing that could ruin my moment of glory is if that potion I got doesn't work, but I will never know for sure if it does or not until I use it in front of them. "We will wait until Chase gets back from  wherever that fool went, then we shall go. You will show us to our new home." I nod.

"Yes Sire."



"This sucks." I mutter. I have been walking around doing nothing since before the sun had set on us. After what happened the night before, I am not too eager to roam these streets by myself. It is strange, though, that I feel I can patrol Underground Gotham on my own unarmed with the exception of my powers, yet here I am with a stake in my coat pocket, and I am scared to roam the streets I know, which are well lit compared to the Underground.

"Hey! Dinah!" I jump at the sound of my name. This isn't a very good street. It isn't very busy, and it is near the dark part of the city where I was attacked last night. I turn to see Tim Ross standing by the Laundromat, smoking a cigarette.

"Hi." I say slowly. Tim and I are not friends. In fact we only know each other because Tim is friends with Matt, and Matt and I are sort of friends. Other than that, if we didn't have classes together, we would not ever cross paths. I don't see why he would be talking to me. Then again, he was absent today. He might just want the homework or something.

"I was just wondering if you had the homework for 6th period." See? I'm right. Paranoid much, Dinah?

"Miss Carter handed out a worksheet for us to do." 'Which I still haven't even started. Bad Llama!' I scold myself.

"Shit," he hisses as he flicks his cigarette butt away angrily. "I really need that credit. You think you could give me the questions over the phone later? I'll be in your debt for life."

"I am busy now, but I will call you in the morning. Do you have a pen?" I ask. Tim searches his pockets, taking out a $5 dollar bill, 2 dimes, a penny, a lighter, his pack of cigarettes, his New Gotham High School ID card, and finally a Bic pen. He smiles sheepishly, then shoves everything back in their rightful places. He then motions that he'll write it on my hand for me. When he takes a step closer to me, I catch a whiff of the air and back away from him. I look him in the eyes and I can tell he knows that I know what he is. He put on his 'game face' as Faith had called it in her mind.

"I always knew you're an odd little bitch, runnin' around as if you owned the place, but you? One of those freaks? It was so obvious, yet I never saw it coming." He starts reaching towards me, ready to grab me, but I roughly swat his hands away before taking the stake out of my pocket. "You're no Slayer. That much I know. You'll never be fast enough to stake me." he says in a cocky manner.

"Maybe not," says a rough voice above us, "but I am." Helena jumps down from the roof 4 stories above us, landing smoothly and gracefully between us in a slight crouch. She slowly straightens up as Tim just stares. "This is the part where you run towards me screaming 'Grr, Argh!'." she says. "You, scary ugly vampire, me scared helpless little girl who can't do nothin' but scream and run." she grunts in a very Tarzan-like voice that almost makes me giggle. "Ring a bell there?"

"N-No!" Tim says in terror. He turns and runs for his afterlife.

"Oh...Kay..." Helena says, disappointment in her eyes and voice.

"I think he thought you were Faith." I tell her. Helena's lip curls a little in disgust at the thought of the other brunette.

"Faith," she snarls, "I'm nothing like her. She's just a bitchy little girl with a major attitude problem." I don't say anything. 'Hmm... sounds like a certain meta I know...' I think. I don't point out that they are almost too alike at times. Both of them lost so much, grew up too fast. I don't tell her that she, too, is that way, as a mask to hide what she truly is. "Work here's done, Dinah. Let's go home." I nod. Barbara and Faith would be back within the hour if they hadn't already made it back before us, then we can find out tomorrow what is going on and what we can all do together to stop it.

Helena and I walk back to the Clocktower, Helena mostly talking about how much she was looking forward to a fight with Tim Ross. After a while, I fall into my own thoughts. I wonder what it would be like to do this kind of thing night after night. To shove a stake in to the heart of something with the face of a human's. It just goes against everything Barbara has told us about how we do not kill. I feel as if I had killed someone today when I stabbed that vampire with that stake, or at least, I did until he turned to dust and I reminded myself that the face wasn't human, that the eyes shouldn't have been yellow like that. Would I always have that thought of regret for the first milli-second of staking them before they turn to dust? I wonder what it would be like to run into someone I used to know before they got turned. What if I have to continue to fight these vampires with (or without) Faith, and I have to go up against a vampire I used to know, used to love? What if I had to fight Gabby? Barbara? Helena? Gibson? Alfred? Even Faith herself?

"Dinah? D? What's wrong?" Helena had stopped sometime within the time I was thinking, and when I kept going she had grabbed my arms to snap me out of my thoughts. My head shifts slowly to look up at Helena, and I feel tears fall down my cheeks at a slightly faster rate. Helena doesn't wait for an answer. She gathers me carefully into her arms and holds me to her.

"Helena," I whisper, "I was just- I was j-just-" Why can't I talk?

"Shh..." she says quietly. "It's okay, Dinah. I'll protect you, I love you. I'll protect you." The words are heard, but just barely over my sobs. I feel safe within her arms.  She holds me as an older sister would while I am still trying not to think of the horrible things my mind has come up with. "I'm here," Her hand rubs circles on my back before it strokes my hair, and I cry, dripping tears on her trench coat. "It's okay." When my hiccups subside, she still does not let go or back away from me. Only when I let go a couple of minutes later does she move at all.

"Thank you." I mew. I clear my throat. She stares at me, as if to silently wonder something, what I was thinking to make me break down like that, but she says nothing for a moment.

"Anytime." She whispers. She puts her arm on my shoulder as a way to comfort me further, and we continue to walk back to the Clocktower in silence except for the scuffle of our shoes.



The shop we go to next is called Bitz 'N' Pieces. The first thinking I see when we enter the shop is a mechanical woman who just stands there waving. 'Look, it's Andrew's girlfriend... well, if he wasn't gay.' I chuckle at my own lame mental joke, causing Barbara to turn and look at me with a raised eyebrow. I only wink at her in a slightly seductive way. She shakes her head and continues into the shop, approaching a woman with short and spiky orange/red hair. 'I thought it was funny.' I think with a small sigh.

"Barbara! Still working on that gadget of yours for your spine?" Barbara thinks it over as if she wants to say 'yes'. She instead shakes her head, looking at the woman.

"No. No, I've given up on that." I can tell it is a brand new decision. She wants to say something else, but doesn't.

"Well, what can I do for ya' then?" Barbara rambles off a short list of things she needs; the only words I understand are 'bit', 'square', 'parts', 'that thing' and 'plastic'. Other than that, all the rest was 'technobabble', as Dinah called it earlier. I actually like that phrase. The other woman (not to my surprise) understands everything, and has her things for her within 3-5 minutes of wondering around her store. When she gets them all, Barbara pays the woman, pats my shoulder blade, and wheels out the door. I look at the other woman in surprise, then follow the whir of the wheelchair.

"That was fast."

"Stacy's great. She already knows where all of the parts I normally use are. I think she memorized them because I might be her biggest customer." I smile at that.

"I can see that."

When we reach the Clocktower, I slowly walk into the elevator, and sigh. "Hey," Barbara says, causing me to open them again. "If you aren't up to the elevators again, there are stairs in the visible entrance. It is just blocked off to the general public." She sees my relief, and laughs, her emerald eyes twinkling. "I must warn you though, that it is a long climb."

"I can handle it. I need the exercise." Barbara takes out a small set of keys and takes one of the smaller ones off of the keychain. She hands it to me, and I take it from her after setting down the weapons from Anya's store.

"Alright. I guess I will see you at the top, then." I nod, then step out of the elevator, watching it close before I walk around the building to the main entrance. It was locked with a chain, and a small lock. I use the key to open it, and walk in. Right away, I see the stairs and start climbing them one by one. I wonder what Barbara's got up her sleeve, as I am sure she has quite a few things up there for these vamps. I know she's going to create some sort of gadget to help fight the vampires, but what could she make? She started to tell me something earlier when she made me a sandwich, but she never got around to 'telling me later' after I rested in the den and watched Sponge Bob Square Pants, allowing myself to be easily amused by the show.

"And what is up with Anya?" I wonder out loud, hearing my own voice slightly echo. What did Anya give to Barbara? Will it help? In what way? And what the Hellmouth did she SAY to Barbara? What language did she say the (what I'm guessing) spell in? When I get to the top, I open the door and see Dinah sitting on a chair in front of the Delphi, but she isn't looking at the screens. Her face is reddened from crying. I rush to her and kneel in front of her, ignoring Helena's hardened stare.

"Are you alright?" I ask, my voice worried. My hand rests on her knee for balance after I set the key on the desk next to her, and I look up into her face to see her response so I know if she is or isn't lying to me.

"She's fine." says Helena through clenched teeth. Barbara hit her lightly on her knee, the closest thing to her. Helena growls a little bit, but says nothing else.

"Dinah had some scary thoughts about vampires. She's afraid of running into one with a face she loves. She ran into a classmate tonight, but he ran away." I look up at Barbara as she speaks, then look back into Dinah's eyes. She seems to ask me something, and I know what her question is.

"Look, I am not gonna lie to you an' tell you shit like that don't happen, but Dinah, you have to keep in mind that who you knew isn't behind those yellow eyes and fangs. They are by then gone." I tell her.

"Do-too they eve-ever cross over?" She says between hiccups. "Like my mom got to, or Helena's mother?" Helena seems to go stiff at the mention of her mother.

"I would like to think so." I say to Dinah. "Vampires have no souls, meaning they left the body before it was turned. Now... Where did it go? I would like to think they cross over then." I say. In reality, I never really thought of it like that, only coming up with the explanation on the spot to help the younger girl get some peace of mind. I always thought that the person wasn't even a person anymore, so who cares if they cross over or not? Dinah seems to accept this answer and the logic behind it. I stand up, picking up the weapons by Barbara's side. I stretch my legs, then go put the supplies near where Barbara is building her do-hickey. When I look back at the trio, I feel my heart sink slightly. Helena's right, these three people are a family. They need each other and did fine without the likes of me. They are perfect, these three. Divided, they are alright. They can all certainly hold their own by themselves, but together, they are defeatable. I can tell that this Harley Quinn character did a number to them, but here they are now, stronger than ever.

Each woman has their own strenght to add. Helena is the muscle: strong, brave, quick. Barbara is the brain: logical, witty, clever and stubborn. Dinah is the heart: caring, young, free. Helena toughs it out, being and staying strong willed, Barbara directs the other two where to go and how to outsmart the bad guys, and Dinah is the almost innocent that remind them all exactly why they're fighting the long battle to begin with. It is an excellent team. One I don't belong in even if I had my own thing to bring to it. I would never be a part of a team like that again. If I am, though, lucky enough to find one, I am bringing Anya with me, and I will make her leave that shop in the almost hell hole of the Underground. I would do what I can to help her open a shop in a better city in like Florida or somewhere, where she can make tons more money, and I know she wouldn't say no to that. I know we all overlooked Anya most of the time like we had for Cordy, only really acknowledging her as Xander's girlfriend except for when we needed her knowledge of demonology, but other than that we just... tolerated her. Well, most of us. We didn't even mourn her death with Xander and Andrew. We just kept moving, and I feel badly for that. We just kept moving, finding more Slayers, trained them, then kept moving some more, heading as far away form what was left of Sunnydale as we can. That was the goal.

I look down at my shoes, not able to look at the sight much longer. I'll stick to that goal. Just keep moving. If I find another Slayer along the way, great, I will tell Willow about her. If not, I'll be the Slayer in that town or city for a night or two. I cough loudly, which gets Helena's attention. She's annoyed with me for interrupting their Kodak moment. "I'm gonna bounce. You guys try an' get some sleep. Dinah, try not to think about that alright? It will only drive you bonkers. I don't want to see a frown on that face of yours, or worse yet, more tears." I turn and enter the elevator, too tired to want to take the stairs again. It is as if I fought the longest battle with my brain again, and it mentally wore me out. I look down at the floor as the elevator doors close and I don't see or hear them anymore. I put my knuckle up to my mouth and bite down as I descend.


*Someone's POV*

It is almost 11:30. Where is Chase? I have been pacing the creaky floor while they (Eagle, Miranda, Kenneth, and Paw) sit on the floor and the moldy couch watching the news on a TV with shoddy reception. It's the best we can get down here. "Would Someone sit their ass down?! The pacing is driving me mad." Paw shouts at me.

"He's afraid He's not going to like his guano cave he found for us. It would surprise me not if He sliced your throat because he hates it. No mere mortal has what it takes to please Him." Miranda says with a slow smile. She is the only one here who still has her old name, since He found she didn't really fit into any name he had for her. She has as of late taken on the look of the mortal gothic teenagers, wearing black everything, white makeup, which doesn't make much of a difference to her complexion, and has chains and chokers all over her, making her look like the bitch she is.

"So why are YOU here, Murr-rand-duh?" I say, drawing out her name. "Did you get down on your knees and ... 'pledge your love for Him'?" I snap. Miranda understands my innuendo and insult. She jumps up and grabs me by my collar, pushing me against the wall.

"You asshole! I'm gonna-"

"Do what? Bite me? Kill me? I'm already dead, so go ahead and do it. I'm sure Master would love to come out here after making it with Wild Cat and see my corpse out here before I get a chance to show Him his new home, an event he's been waiting 6 months for."

"I'll hide the body." She growls, not responding to the second half of my remark.

"You're too lazy to, and even if you somehow bribed Eagle, Paw, Kenneth, or Chase to do it with your imaginary money, He knows my blood's scent. He will smell it on your breath." Miranda huffs, knowing that I'm right. She shoves me harder against the wall, then drops me purposefully on the floor. There I stay in silence, glaring at the pigs in font of me. It makes me wonder why I want to spend the rest of eternity with them as my family, but then I think of my Cierra. Dark beauty with almost blackened eyes, and hair just as so. The way my Nubian Queen looked at me or said my name in that African accent that hasn't left her blood after 10 years in America. I sigh as my heart aches for her, to see her, hold her. I do not know where my Master has her hidden, but I will see her again; that, he has promised me. I will see her again when I do what is asked of me. He has her hidden so she would not distract me. I'm sure the wait will only make my heart grow fonder. Even as a soulless, heartless being, I know I will fall for her time and time again, and I look forward to the moment I can tell her this.

I am shaken from my memories and thoughts by the sound of the door to our shithole slamming. Chase walks in with a large bag he got from the Gap, but inside is not clothes, as no clothing store is open this late. He sits on the floor at Kenneth's feet and starts to take out the bag's contents. Everyone in the room is silent, looking at the older vampire of almost 50 with interest. It is more interesting than what is on the boob tube. Chase takes out 4 jars of blood, two packs of cigarettes, a Penthouse magazine, and a box of Poptarts. He hands a jar of blood to everyone but me, then throws a pack of cigarettes at me, and another pack at Kenneth, and then he places the box of Poptarts in front of Paw. He then opens the Penthouse as if his gift giving isn't something out of the blue.

"What's this for?" Paw asks, opening his jar of blood. He sniffs at it, then moans in pleasure. "Meta blood. Still warm, too!"

"What blood?" Chase asks.

"Meta. Those freaks have a fancy name for what they are. They like to be called metahumans." Paw explains as he opens the Poptarts, then dips them in the blood. He's done this for the last 2 months since he was turned. He used to be named Brian Hampton, or something, but He named him Paw, because he turns into a bear, which is his freak power. He can still do it, but it is as if he's almost forgotten how to do it. Vamping out easier than shifting into a bear. He take a huge bite of his blood covered Poptart, and I look away, opening the pack of cigarettes before Chase realizes who he gave them to. I don't want him to forget I am not his family member yet, but he looks at me, placing his hands in his pockets.

"Does Someone need a light?" I nod not that I know he had actually meant to give me the cigs, and he searches his pocket, finally tossing a book of matches. He turns back to Paw. "Well, only the best for my family. I caught one today. Bit him good in the neck, and I felt gooooooood. I wanted to share it with you, since I know you are all hungry. The smokes, money, and Penthouse were on him when I killed the man, but I bought the Poptarts for you since you can't seem to stomach just blood yet. I think it is the 'meta' in you that says you can't, but as you forget how to turn to a bear, you seem more capable of digesting the blood. I was just looking out for ya's."

"Well, thank you." Kenneth says, snatching the matches out of my left hand after I lit my cigarette.

Chase looks at Miranda. "You get the mag after I jerk it. There's a few girls in here I know you'll get off on." he says.

"You don't have much to jerk, so I'll not be waiting long for it." she says, earning a howl of laughter from Kenneth. I know that about 10 years ago when she was bitten, Miranda was a shy mousy little girl, about 18 or 19, but she knows her way around a computer, which is why He has her. He knew that He would need someone like that in this new millennium, so he got Sunnydale High's computer geek at the time, though I know there are a few others better than her now. The reason Kenneth laughs so, is because Miranda has gotten better with innuendos because she didn't understand them before, but now she gives them as well as she receives, and that can be taken anyway you like. Chase only smiles, knowing that her statement is true (from what I've heard) and then laughs as well at the joke. He got up then.

"These are for Him an' Pumpkin." he says, setting the bag down next to Kenneth, whom he trusts the most in the family, being the second oldest member of the family. He was bitten not long after Chase was. "Give it to them as soon as they get out here. You know how He gets after rough sex." He says, closing the bathroom door.

"And for God's sake, clean up after yourself, man! I almost slipped last time!" Paw whines after him. All that is heard from Chase is laughter. I light up my second cigarette, feeling all stress leave my body along with the smoke that I exhale. "Those are bad for you, man." Paw says to me.

"Fuck off, Furball." I say, taking a drag.

"I'm just sayin'-"

"Eat your fuckin' Poptarts before I-"

"Aw, Someone leave him alone." Kenneth says, and I stay quiet, not finishing my sentence. I watch as the credits for the news is shown, and the late night line up is on the screen. Some late night TV talk show comes on after that.

"Awww..." Miranda complains. "I've seen this one! There ain't any hot chicks in it either." She flips the channels that have semi better reception with her feet, and settles on some sci-fi show called Andromeda, and drools over a character named Rebecca. The door to His room opens, and the last two of the family walk out.

"Turn that off!" He barks. Miranda watches the screen until Rebecca is no longer seen, then taps the switch with her large toe, which makes the screen go black. He grabs Wild Cat's hand and turns to Paw. "Chase back yet?"

"Yes, Sire. He's in the bathroom."

"At least he does that nonsense in private." He mutters dryly.

"He brought us all freak blood." Miranda speaks up. He smiles fondly at Miranda, His only daughter. Then He picks up the first jar he sees, handing it to Wild Cat. Then he gets his own. Their jars are nearly twice as large as the rest, but no one cares about this fact. While He feeds on the blood with the same murmurs of 'still warm' that Paw had given earlier, Chase emerges from the bathroom, tossing the Penthouse at Miranda.

"Page 31 is a sight to be seen." He mutters as he passes her. She takes a peak, then closes the magazine, clearly aroused. "Told ya."

"Thank you, my childe for the nourishment. I feel stronger already. As you know, Someone's been looking for our new home. He found it, or so he says." He looks at me.

"I have, sire-" I protest.

"SILENCE!!" I shut up immediately with a broody look upon my face. Miranda snickers.

"When are we going to go?" Chase asks after a moment of silence.

"As soon as Wild Cat and I are finished feeding, we will go."

We leave at midnight, exactly. He gets impatient after a mile and a half of walking, accusing me at first of leading Him astray, on a wild goose chase. "My Love, calm yourself. We haven't been on this street, so how can he lead you in circles? I think Someone knows where he is going, you just need to be patient." Wild Cat soothes.

"I am just ready to see this Batcave that the people down her talk so much about."

"I am too, Love. I am too. I saw a sign for Wayne Boulevard a couple of blocks past. I think we are almost there. Right, Maggot?"

"Almost." I say. I clutch the small bottle of potion in my pocket, stroking it lovingly with my fingers. Then, ten minutes later, we are there at the wall Jimmy had shown me to earlier today. I take out the potion, and hold it high above my head for the family to see. "Stand back. I bought the strongest potion she had." They all take a step back, though a couple of them laugh as if this is a big joke they are in on that I am playing on Him. I frown at them, then throw the potion at the wall, holding my breath.

It works! I can't believe it works! The wall has opened without a sound, then after everyone walks inside, it closes again. "Miranda!" He barks when the alarms sound, but she is already at the computers typing commands  into it. Soon, the alarms are off. The room is quiet as He looks around. There is a large whirring sound, and the round shape on the floor opens up, and we all move back. Slowly, we see what was underneath us. The Batmobile! So it isn't a myth. I look up at Him, who is staring at me, and he's... Yes, I'm not going mad. He is smiling. He looks about again, then climbs the stairs near the computers where Miranda plays around, and turns on a switch. It turns off some sort of hologram that seemed to be more of the wall, but I notice that it is a door. He walks over and opens the door, and there are stairs... leading up... into Wayne Manor. "So, you really have found the Batcave, and Wayne Manor is right above us. the myths and rumors of Bruce Wayne being Batman aren't false." He is silent for a few seconds, and I am almost fidgety under his stare. "This is perfect for our family. I owe you what I promised. Kenneth! Paw! Call all your friends. I am throwing a party, and make sure that Cierra Chembia is invited!"



I feel badly. Not only does my head hurt, but my heart does, too. I saw the look on Faith's face when she left on the elevator. She doesn't look 22 when she wants to cry. She looks 12. I wanted to go to her and hug her, but I was in Helena's arms then like I always dreamed to be, and I let my selfishness take over me. "As much as I hate to say it, Faith is right, damn her." Helena says, getting up slowly. I nod. I still have to go to school tomorrow. School is almost over in a couple of months, and I don't want to end it badly. As if to read my mind, Helena adds, "If you're late for class, Miss Allen might get the weird idea that you want to stay with her over the summer." Barbara, who had gone to the balcony only a moment before, comes back with a metal doohickey that looks like the disk that had unstablized Cam Henderson's powers. I don't ask what it is, or what it will be. I am tired, and I am ready to go to bed. Asking Barbara would have her talking, trying to explain it for at least an hour.

"Yeah," I yawn widely. "I'll see you to in the morning. Thank you," I look them both in the eyes. "For everything." I get weak smiles from the both of them. I walk up to my room and stare at the Lillix poster, then I settle into bed, not bothering to change out of my clothes and into pajamas.

{Faith is walking across the street and towards her hotel when she suddenly looks up and smells the air. Then she starts running. Down the street she goes, towards the middle school not more than 3 blocks away. She turns the corner of that street, and sees a vampire about to bite into a larger set woman's neck. The woman zaps the vampire with her hands and he let go. "Oooh, electrifying."

"So that's why it smells like a crematorium over here." Faith says, causing the vampire to turn and look at her. The woman, smart lass, takes this distraction and uses it to run for her life. The vampire runs after her and has Faith hot on his trail. The vampire, a tall man of maybe 25 years of age before he died, catches up to the frightened metahuman. She screams. Faith tries to reach them in time, but a knife enters the woman's stomach. Faith sees she is still alive, but her eyes are wide as she slumps to the ground.

"I've been looking for you, Slayer."

"Hmm. What a coincidence. You found me." Faith takes out her stake and tries to stick it into the vampire, but she underestimates the vampire, who blocks and dodges all her 5 attempts. "Oh, you're one of those guys who knew Martial Arts before they died. How annoying." Faith says. "Show me what you've got."

"Gladly." The vampire and Faith fight, and no one seems to win or lose either way. A blast of electricity hits Faith in the back, and she falls.

"Oh my God!! I meant to get hi-" The meta stops talking and screams when the vampire advances on her.

"Thanks for your help." he says before he grabs the woman and bites into her neck-}

"Dinah! Dinah. DINAH!!" I look up at the voice's direction, then sit up. Helena is at the foot of my bed.

"Helena! We've got to go find Faith."

"You're right, 'we've got to find Faith'. People or vampires or whatever have just found their way into the Batcave!" This makes me jump out of bed.

"What?!" How?!" I screech.

"We don't know, but I'm thinking Faith'll know." I follow Helena out of my room and next to Barbara, who has tools and lots of metal everywhere, but she is ignoring it now. She is now typing like mad at the Delphi. I look up at the screens and see 6 or 7 vampires at the Batcave's main computer turning off the alarms, or at least the flashing lights around them. It is then that I notice that there is movement on the screens, but no sound. I can tell that Barbara is trying to get in to the Batcave's main systems, but the female vampire had gotten to it first and has done something to keep Barbara out of it.

"Do you have an alarm here for the Batcave? It seems no one would have known that the Batcave is being in..." I have a hard time saying the word as memories flash in my mind of Harley Quinn. "...vaded." I say.

"I did have an alarm before the Clocktower... before that, and in the middle of getting it repaired again, it must have slipped my mind to have it put back in place." she says, looking ashamed.

"It's okay, Barbara. We'll get through this."

"I know we will." Helena says. Then a thought hits me.

"We have to get to Faith. Oh god! How could I have forgotten? I-I had a dream about her, one of the real ones, and she is in trouble now." I run towards the elevator, and Helena runs after me.

"Bring her back here." Barbara orders as if I would do anything else. "I will see what I can do to help her Slayer healing- if she's still alive."

"Don't say things like that, Barbara." I say as horror creeps into my voice. With that, the elevator closes. I tap my foot impatiently as it does down.

"I may not like Faith, but I don't want to see her dead." Helena says.

"She's not dead." I say, more as a way to convince myself than Helena. "She- My dream didn't end right when she had fallen, and since the dream was about her, I would have to think she isn't dead, or it would have just been abrupt." I say, but I don't even believe my own lie. As soon as the elevator stops and opens the door, I turn on my comms., then take the path Faith had in my dream. I see her on the ground and go to my knees. I look at her and then around to find that the body of the woman is there. Not only did that vampire suck her dry, he'd also snapped her neck. I am surprised that both bodies are there and that Faith wasn't killed when the vampire had the chance to. I am surprised that the vampire didn't take her body to his sire or whatever and show off that he'd wounded and possibly killed a Slayer, a goal for most vamps from what I saw in Faith's mind.

Before I can check for anything, Helena says, "She's still alive. I can hear three pulses." I lean in and check anyway, and she is right. I sigh a big sigh of relief. We (okay Helena) carry Faith back to the Clocktower. As soon as Helena places Faith on the floor, Barbara crawls out of her wheelchair, and a medallion I didn't notice earlier (as it must have been in her shirt the whole time) peeks out. She takes it off and places it on Faith's chest cavity. The spiral on the medallion has jewels on it, and they one by one begin to glow, slowly moving towards the middle of the spiral. When all of the jewels lit up, Faith squinted, as if waking up to someone rudely turning on the light after being in darkness for so long.

"Am... I dead?" I hear Faith ask. I look at her, but before anyone can answer, she slowly shakes her head. "No... Barbara. I see... Barbara." Her eyes widen and she sits up quickly. "Wait, Barbara's not dead, is she-?" Barbara places a firm hand over the medallion, and pushes Faith back down.

"No, Faith. I'm not dead. Calm down."

"But- But you're glowing." she says.

"You're glowing." Barbara counters. Faith looks down and sees the medallion. She attempts to sit up, but slowly this time. Barbara allows her to.

"The... the woman is she-"

"He killed her."

"I couldn't save her."

"No, I guess you couldn't, but you tried, and I bet you would have won if she didn't get you with her energy blast thingy." I say. Faith shakes her head and lowers them to her knees.

"Helena, Dinah, go to Wayne Manor and try to find a way in. Take the crosses and axes on the table. You've already got the stakes."

"Vampires?" Faith asks. "I'm in. I've got unfinished business." She stands up and grabs the axes and bottles of water, passing them to us.

"You should rest, Faith." Barbara says halfheartedly, as if she knows that she isn't going to win anything.

"Look, I want to help you. You just saved my life." Faith walks back to Barbara and picks her up, then places her back in her chair. Barbara wasn't expecting that, and she jumped, as if a static electric shock went from Faith to her. Maybe there is some left in her from that metahuman. Faith places a kiss on Barbara's forehead, and put the medallion on her neck where it was before. "Thank you for what you did."

"Anya said, 'do not take it off.' then she said, 'Let it heal.' I was thinking she meant me, but I let it heal you. I hope it fully healed you, Faith, because I know nothing I say will keep you here." Barbara turns to us, Helena and me. "If you need help, let me know immediately." We nod and the three of us take the elevator down. Faith leans against the back wall of the elevator and has her eyes closed. I smile. She seems better now, since she's taken the elevator 3 times at least today. Hopefully her claustrophobia will go away, and she will fear nothing.



We enter the Underground by stairs thankfully, since the entrance on Old Gotham Way is accessible by a ladderway hidden under a Dumpster. So that was how Dinah was able to throw that Dumpster with her mind. She's been doing that for a while. She must go to the Underground more than I thought, since she so far knows of 2 ways in and out. Apparently, Helena didn't know this fact, that Dinah knows her way around the Underground- "When all of this is said and done, you're talking. We're gonna have an extra long chitchat." She says in a low growl. Dinah doesn't say anything, but jumps down the darkened hole, while Helena motions for me to go first. I don't argue, and jump in, moving out of the way when I hear Helena jump as well. The fall isn't very long, and it surprises me that we don't have far to fall. I figure that it couldn't be a large fall, or Dinah would have gotten hurt. I look over to see she is fine, and she didn't even wait for us or look back to see if we landed safely. She already knows that we have, if she was able to so easily.

We walk a couple of blocks and end up at a dead end. "Here. This is right under Wayne Manor." Dinah says, not looking at Helena or myself. She looks instead at the wall that is supposed to be the Batcave wall. I cannot hear anything on the other side of the wall, but my Slayer senses are going hog-wild. I watch Dinah, as does Helena. She seems to know what the blonde is doing, but I m clueless, yet still I stay still and quiet. Then, a light blue orb emits from her left hand, and my eyes widen some. The orb grows slightly, and then when it is about the size of her and, she throws it at the wall. Nothing happens, but when I look closely, there is a small dent in it. Dinah looks a little dizzy, but she frowns. "Damn it."

"Shit!" I say, looking at the wall. I am not sure if I am more surprised that the wall didn't budge at this orb hitting it, or that Dinah even had an orb. I look at Dinah, whom is not good at hiding her disappointment.

"That was the strongest looking energy blast I have seen you do, D."

"It didn't work." Dinah pouts. Helena put a hand on her shoulder, and Dinah finally looks at her.

"It put a dent in the wall, look." Helena says. Dinah must not have seen it before then. She looks at it, then nods as if telling herself something, then mentally agreeing. She sits down and closes her eyes. She has her hands in front of her, fingers spread, and each hand is about 5 inches apart from the other. After a moment, the blue light appears between them. Then she just seems to hold it in one hand as it gets larger.

"Help me stand." She says through clenched teeth, and I know she was trying not to break concentration, and that it is hard for her to even say anything in her deep concentration. Helena picks her up, and Dinah stands. "Al... Alright. Count of three, both of you hit... wall and-" She stops talking, as she staggers a little bit. This energy blast is taking a lot out of her, and all I can think about is what Anya had said about Linda and how she might have really died. "One..."

"Dinah don't-" I start to walk to her, but Helena holds me back. I get out of her grip, but only after a hard struggle.

"Let her do this. We have to work together. If we hit the wall along with that energy blast, I think we will get through that wall, but I need you with me on this. Your Slayer Strength along with my meta abilities. Let her do this. I know she can. Come back and get ready to knock this motherfucker down!"

"Alright." I say reluctantly, standing beside Helena at the wall, poised and ready to give it my best shot.

"Two..." Dinah says. She is sweating now. She is shaking really badly. I fight the urge to snap her out of it, but Helena is watching me, coldly shaking her head, saying not to do it. "Three-"

"STAND BACK!!" I look up to see a small bottle in the air. I recognize it and push Helena out of the way. I'm not close enough for Dinah, but before I hit the ground, I see the energy blast leave her control and hit the wall at the same time the bottle of potion does, and the loudest boom in the history of the noise is heard, and the Underground shakes. I hear a bunch of murmurs of 'what the hell happened' and 'what's going on?'. When pieces of the wall stop falling, I stand up and hold out a hand for Helena to grab. She looks at it hesitantly, then grabs the offered hand. I pull her to her feet and we both look around.

"Dinah?!" We shout at the same time. We both look at each other, and smile slightly, though reluctantly. She still has a grudge on me for treading on her territory, and I still have a grudge on her for kicking my ass for almost no reason.

"Dinah?!" Helena calls again.

"We're over here!" I hear. I look through the debris and see Anya covering Dinah with her own body. I see a couple of red spots on her arms that I know are going to bruise later, and she has a few cuts on each arm and a blood stain on her back from the wall debris hitting her.

"That'll bruise." She says as if to read my mind.

"Thank you... whoever you are, for saving Dinah."

"Anya, how did you find us?" I ask.

"Your redhead called me. Said she couldn't get through a door and needed something to open one. I figured she was talking about the same thing that man had wanted earlier, so I took his leftover potion and came over." Anya gets up and pulls Dinah to her feet, but she is shaky. Helena grabs the girl and lets her lean on her.

<Are you three alright? I heard a large boom, then there was a small earthquake up here.> Oracle asks, concerned.

"We're all fine." Helena says. "I thought there were only 6 vampires."

<There were before the security cameras shut off.>

"There's a hellova lot more than that now!" I turn to look inside the hole Dinah and Anya have made. Inside about 40- 50 vampires stagger to their feet with the exception of a large vampire who held onto a dead body with one arm, and a smaller vampire male in the other, the larger vampire helping the smaller one keep his balance.

"Oh shit!!" I cry.

"We're gonna die. Well, you three are. I am immortal." Anya states. "I might make it through this if I don't get decapitated." Helena shoots her a hard look. "What?"

"Oracle, we're way outnumbered." Helena says. "Dinah's weak."

The vampires that have regained balance look at us before the large vampire yells "ORSHNECARR!", which I am going to guess means something along the lines of 'look at me', because that is what they all do, as do Helena, Dinah, Anya, and I. The large vampire holds the dead body over his head, then says, "Rise and meet your new life, a life you will live with Cierra. Rise now and claim your reward of eternal life." We all can only stare at this display, not sure what is going on. The man's eyes snap open, yellow and demonic. The vampire puts the newbie vampire down, and he instantly goes to his knees in a low bow, kissing the large vampire's feet.

"Thank you, Sire." The larger vampire motions for a dark skinned female vampire to emerge from the door. The only thing I can think is that she looks like she walked off the of Queen of the Damned. Behind her, I could just barely make out stairs. She walks up to the man as the large vampire tells the new vamp to stand. He takes the man and the woman vamp's hands and combines them, and the man looks into the yellow eyes of the woman.

"You're still warm." she says to him. A dark hand touches a light skinned cheek, and the new vampire's eyes close as if he wanted to live like that for the rest of his afterlife.

"From this day forth, you are no longer a mere mortal. You are apart of my family. You are no longer Edward Green, or even Someone. You are now Coyote. So tell me, Coyote, are you hungry?" At this everyone howls at him. The new vampire nods. He does not look up at the larger vampire.

"Yes, Sire. I'm starving."

"Then take your fill of a Slayer and two freaks."

"Oracle! We're in trouble." Dinah says in a small voice.

At the same time, Helena screeches "Freak?! Who are YOU calling a freak, Ugzilla!"

"Kill them. Bring me the Slayer. Do what you will with the FREAKS." Helena growls, eyes flashing.

"Over your dead bodies!" She yells, making me smile. That was a good one. Oracle says something to Helena and Dinah, but I cannot hear it over the sound of foot steps.

"You shouldn't have called her a freak..." Dinah shouts after Helena punches the first vampire to her.

"Helena!" I call. She pushes a vampire to the ground, then looks at me. "This city, this Batcave is yours. Take it back... Let me help you." Helena has a look of surprise as I rush towards her, kicking a vampire coming at her. I reach out my hand, and she shakes it in that weird warrior's way I saw once on Xena. Our fingertips almost touch the other's inner elbow. Helena nods.

"You heard the Slayer. This is my city, so get the fuck out!" She gets a her stake out, and I do the same. Dinah follows suit, even though she is shakier than us in doing so. She seems stronger now, but not by much. Anya picks up the 3 axes, throwing 2 in our direction. Helena and I catch them. Helena's eyebrow raises as if to ask me if I'm ready to party. I nod quickly.

"Let's do it."



Never have I been in a battle with more than 20 people to fight against at a time. Here I am now with 40 or more vampires, stronger than the average human. I take my stake out anyway, and dust the 60 something year old vampire closest to me. A woman with long black hair grabs the wrist that hold the stake, and I can't seem to move it. She squeezes down, and I swear I hear as well as feel the bone snap. "Ah-ha!" I scream in pain, tears welling up in my eyes. I reach into my pocket and open the small bottle of water with my teeth on the cork, splashing it on her. She screams, then seems to become engulfed in fire before turning to dust. An arm finds its way around my neck, and I elbow the vampire in the face a couple of times with my unhurt elbow, holding the broken bone to my side. I use my mind to hurl pieces of the broken steel wall at the heads of various vampires that tried to go near myself, Helena, or Faith as they fought one on one, two on two, or two on one with the vampires.

They move in sync with each other now, almost back to back as they fight vampires, dust filling the air enough to give any asthmatic an attack for life. Faith throws one vampire into the one that Helena is fighting, and then at the same time, Helena and Faith bring their stakes down on the vamps, and they are both dusted. "Ha! There's 4 for me. I am getting good at this." Helena shouts.

"Not bad for a beginner, but I think Dinah has you beat. She's already got 6." Helena looks up at me, and I smile slyly at her before ducking a blow from a short, large set woman. She wasn't very fast, and I easily dodged her moves, though each step I took moved my hurt arm around. When I find an opening, I stake her as well. What is left of the water goes onto the vampire behind her, but it is barely enough to make him shield his eyes with his hands. I throw the bottle in a random direction, and it hit another vampire, which makes him angry. He runs towards me, but is pushed down by Tim Ross. He walks slowly to me, hitting anyone in his path between us. When he is close enough to me, he runs the rest of the way and knocks me to the ground. I scream as my broken wrist gets jostled around. I punch him with all I had in my left arm, the good one. He looks away for a second with the force of my blow, but he looks back at me with a smile on his face, holding his jaw.

"Do you know how long I have been waiting for this moment?"

"Uh- A couple of hours maybe?" I say in a hopeful tone as a suggestion.

"Don't be smart." he growls.

"Well," I say in a slight scoff, "if I can't be, then who will?" I ask. He stays silent, not seeming to get my insult of his intelligence, or lack thereof, and I use this time to push him off of me. "My point exactly." I say, staking him. He turns to dust and I unexpectedly feel satisfaction, as if I am having fun with this. No, this is wrong. I am not supposed to like this... but I do. I do. I am loving this. I want revenge for my wrist, for my family, for my mother, for my past... and I plan to get it. Now. Supposedly, a Slayer is given the gifts of added strengths that will help her defeat these demons. I am no Slayer, yet still I am able to slay them, and that fact makes me feel good about myself that I can take care of myself, even hurt like this.

I look quickly at the fallen wall that was blasted open, and my eyes widen at the sight of a blonde woman who has a crossbow raised and she is ready to shoot. I look at her target, which is in the direction of the vampire that had turned the newbie vampire that Faith is now fighting. She fires, and the wooden arrow hits the smaller vampire next to him. It is a perfect shot. The taller vampire holds onto the smaller vampire. " Wild Cat, My Love!" He shouts.

At the same time, the smaller vampire says, "I love you, Charles." The smaller vampire has it written in his eyes before he turns to dust, and for a moment, I am saddened by the look on Charles' face as he tries to grab at the dust in the air, holding on to what he could of his lover. He stares that the dust that settles on the ground. Charles seems to realize that he is gone, his Wild Cat, and after a second, a tear falls from his face. Then he rushes towards the blonde haired woman, and being quicker than her, grabs at her.

"YOU! I shall have your head! I will mount it on my wall along with the freaks and the Slayer, and I will laugh as I drink my wine and blood under them!" The blonde woman holds out a hand and a ball of fire is seen. She throws it at him, but he dodges it.

I hear a growl and turn quickly in time to see a furry, bulky vampire, as if he had tried to turn into a bear. It's Brian! That was the power he had.

"Like my new look, Dinah?"

"Oh definitely. I like the fur and fang look you've got going on there. I think it will become a new fashion statement in no time." I say sarcastically, but inside, I am scared. This is exactly what I was afraid of. I met Brian in No Man's Land, and though he is older than me, or he was before he died, he was a nice man to talk to. Now he seems to be a half vampire and half metahuman still. "A half vampire is still a vampire." I say, closing my eyes as I ram the stake through his heart. I heave a few deep breaths as I repeat that it wasn't really Brian anymore... that his soul passed on before I staked that... monster. I look back up at the blonde woman to see she is on the ground, hardly able to get up. Then, I see Barbara wheel up behind her, wearing UV lenses over her glasses. She presses a button on her wheelchair and small wooden sticks shoot from the armrests, one going into the Charles' heart, and the other in the heart of one next to him. Both turn to dust.

Then something strange happens. Barbara's legs begin to twitch madly, as if she is having some sort of seizure. I can only stare. What is happening? Barbara doesn't seem hurt, as only her legs seem to be moving. They seem to after a while tap the foot rests as if feeling fidgety, like she really wants to do something, but has nowhere to go. "HEY!! YOU... DINAH!" I look over and see Anya. "Vampire!" I look about and try to block his advance. There is a blow to the head, and then it goes black.



"HEY!! YOU... DINAH!" I look about to see what Anya is shouting about as a sharp pain sears through me for a split second. It is a familiar feeling, but it can't be. I can't be feeling this now. A vampire is running at Dinah, and then there is another running towards her side." Vampire!" When Dinah looks behind her, the one at her side hides her, then takes her axe.

"HELENA!!" I yell. She looks up from the woman vampire she had just staked, the one that was at the controls, and doesn't watch her turn to dust. She sees what I am pointing at, and she rushes towards her young friend. The vampire that hit the girl is about to cut into Dinah' flesh when a flash of red is seen, and the vampire is dusted.

"Take Dinah and find shade." Barbara orders in her Oracle voice, kicking at an oncoming vampire.

"What?!" Helena asks, looking at Barbara with shock in her eyes. I am looking at her just as so, not able to believe she is walking, let alone kicking the ass of two vampires at the same time.

"Go! Find-" She steals Helena's stake and plunges into both vamps' hearts, then looks up at Helena as if to wonder why she was still there, questioning her orders. "Find shade. You too, Faith." Barbara dodges the oncoming hit at her stomach, and with a swing I have never even seen on a baseball player, she hits the female vamp to the ground. She does a couple of flips to dodge other vampires, ending up next to her wheelchair. On the seat is the metal disc she was working with, the one she said had done some freaky shit with some dude's powers. I run with Anya, who has the blonde woman over her shoulders and was hiding with Helena and Dinah behind the main computers. I watch Anya look over the other blonde to see if she is okay. She seems fine, but wobbly on her feet. I peek over the computer, and see Barbara adjust the glasses on her nose, then slide the disc on the floor. "Things are about to heat up," she says darkly.

A vampire picks up the disc and just looks at it. Nothing happens and he just laughs at it. Then, a hot light emits from the disc, and the vampire drops it. The light covers the whole Batcave, and every vampire in the room is engulfed in flames before they are dusted, as if they were outside in the sun. 'Go find shade.' Barbara had said. Maybe that is what just happened. They were in sunlight. Barbara's disc must have somehow trapped sunlight. Man, she sure does know how to make Slaying look easy. I could get off on watching her. When the light is gone, I stand up and look around. There is dust everywhere.     

"That was wicked cool." I breathe. There are a couple of spots where blood was spilled, but other than that, all is still. Anya and the other blonde metahuman slowly stand as well. Helena stays where she is, looking down at Dinah, her fingers touching her cheek. We are silent as we watch her. It seems almost too intimate to watch, and the urge to leave the room is strong within me. I can still hear Dinah's pulse, though slower, and her right wrist is dangling on her stomach, swollen. Barbara walks over to them both and kneels by Dinah's side.

"D, wake up. It's time to go home. We won." Helena says, though she knows that Dinah might not even hear her.

"Where's the medallion I gave you?" Anya asks, looking at Barbara, searching for it with her eyes. Barbara touches her neck, and it is not on it. "For-" she starts to say, and I can feel that she is about to rant. "I swear! You tell someone not to take off Sisten's Medallion, and what do they do? They take it off!!" She put up her hands in surrender. "I give up."

"Calm down, it's in my pocket." Barbara says, then I hear her stomach growl. I look at her sideways. My stomach growls back at her. She smiles at me.

"I still told you not to take it off." Anya pouts. "Put it on her."

"Way ahead of you." Barbara says, putting it on the blonde girl's chest cavity as she had done for me, and the jewels on the spiral, all ten of them, start to glow one by one, slowly going into the middle. Each jewel took about 10 seconds to light up after the one before it had, and it seemed to take a long time. Finally, Dinah is engulfed in the glow. It is the same glow I saw around Barbara (making me at first believe she was an angel). Dinah's eye brow twitches as I watch her wrist shift back in place. The strawberry blonde newcomer looks like she is going to be sick at the sight of her wrist moving as it is. Dinah slowly opens her eyes and touches the place where she had been hit.

"Immunna kick his ass." she mumbles.

"Already taken care of. Barbara did it." At those words, Dinah looks at Barbara, who kneels above her.

"You're walking. Helena said no to that-"

"Slayer Healing." I blurt out, interrupting Dinah's slight scolding. This causes everyone to look at me. My brain seems to click on after that. "Barbara's an ex- Potential, now a Slayer. This explains it." I murmur. "When I first met Barbara, something about her made me nervous to be around her, and I couldn't for the life of me figure it out. Then, I saw her scratch her leg, and that was weird. I thought it was a nervous twitch, which then made me wonder what would make her so twitchy to begin with. Just now, it hit me. Slayer senses. Her Slayer senses were starting to bother her. Her Slayer strength was helping her Slayer healing... a-and I bet even that medallion was healing her spine as well." The more I speak, the more it all makes sense, no pun intended.

"Me? A Slayer?"
"Why's that tough to believe?" Dinah asks, repeating Barbara's words earlier in the bathrooms of New Gotham High School. "Do you, Miss All Seeing, All Knowing, have any freaking clue how you are suddenly able to walk?" she asks.

"Language, Dinah." Helena says.

"I said 'freaking'. That's not cussing."

"What do I keep tellin' you about the F word?" Dinah thinks this over, then smiles at what is obviously an inside joke.

"Sorry," she says. Barbara bites her lip uncertainly, and I shift from one foot to another to hide my arousal. She sure does know how to get my Slayer senses all riled up, and after the large battle we just had, it is not a hard thing to do.

"I don't know... It all seems farfetched to me."

"Hell-o! A medallion which held MAGIC just healed me, we just slayed like 50 vampires, and we won, mind you... the 4 - 5 of us." Dinah says, looking at the newcomer, nodding her thanks to her. "How's that for farfetched, not to mention what we do nightly on a regular basis."

"Yes, but..." Barbara trails off.

"Why you?" I finish for her.

"Yes," she replies meekly. I shrug.

"Why any of us? Why Buffy? Why me? Why not Dinah, or Helena, or any male for that matter? Why NOW?" I ask. I shake my head. "We may never know for sure. You are who you are, and there's no going back." All 4 women look at me as I think over what I just said. 'That was wise, like Yoda.' I think proudly to myself.

"So, if she's a Slayer, then there is one way to find out for sure right, Faith?" Anya asks. To my surprise, she winks. "She just 'slayed like 50 vampires' with her little machine, which I think counts, not to mention the couple dusted on her own with your stake, I might add... So she'd be hungry and horny like you always get after slaying." Dinah, Barbara, and the newcomer blush. "If she's a real Slayer like you say, she'll want multiple orgasms after a box of pizza. Sounds hot." She finishes.

"Right..." Helena says, but after she closes her mouth, her eyes slowly widen a bit, looking over at Barbara. I look over at Barbara as well, smiling because I know that what Anya says is true.



I look between Faith and Helena as they look at Barbara. She blushes even more so than she had when Anya made her first comment about Faith's after slaying side effects. The look on Barbara's face says it all, then Anya repeats it. "See, she is hungry and horny. She's a Slayer." she says. She turns back to Faith. "So, now that you have solved that, can you solve the mystery that is this woman?" Faith studies the woman.

"Nope." She says simply. The blonde woman steps forward a little, towards Anya.

"It is complicated who I am, but I suppose you all are used to that. I am actually two people in one body. When I died, I somehow ended up in Maria's body. It is like a bad case of schizophrenia. My name is Jenny Calender. I am borrowing Maria McDowel's body until I can figure out how I got into this body and how to get out and cross over. Something tells me it was a gypsy spell a relative had put on my as a baby. I have a cousin who placed a spell on his sister, and know she lives still as a farmer in Kentucky after her car crash. Anyway, until I figure out how to get out of it, I will be here with Maria."

"Jenny Calender... Jenny Calender... I know I have heard that name at least once back in Sunnydale or even when we were out of Sunnydale in Chicago or somewhere." Faith says. Then it clicks, I can see it in her eyes. She looks over at her and says, "You were Giles' girl."

"Yeah, I was," she says sadly. Helena watches their exchange with interest as she slowly strokes my hair. I want to sleep now.

"Why didn't you go back to S-dale and see him?"

"Maria doesn't like flying, and she didn't want to leave- Yes, I did. Quit using me as an excuse-!" Jenny (or was it Maria?) sighs. "It doesn't matter now. It is in the past, and Sunnydale is gone."

"But I can get a hold of him! I know how to. I still have Buffy's number, and she can tell me where Willow and the gang went." Jenny doesn't say anything. I slowly get up off of the ground and walk up to Barbara. I hug her. She seems surprised at the sudden movement, but she doesn't seem to mind the contact with me.

"I'm happy for you." I say.

"I'm so glad you are all safe. Let's get out of here." Barbara says as we part. As soon as we all leave the Batcave and drop Anya at the shop and Maria/Jenny across the street at the Old Gotham Bank where she lives, the rest of us walk towards the Clocktower, where I am forced by Barbara to show them the exit there, which leads to the alleyway where the elevator is, the entrance way I always took. it always looked as if I was just walking around the block a few times when I was in the Underground if Barbara ever looked at my status on the Delphi. Barbara and Helena's eyebrows raise, but they say nothing. We get onto the elevator, and Faith almost doesn't seem phased by it. Almost. We all sit down at the table with the exception of Barbara, who stands (because she can) behind my chair.

"So what was that gadget you made? I saw you take it off of the balcony earlier." I say, turning in my seat to look at the new Slayer. "Or a piece of it anyway."

"I used to be the device I made to unstablize Cam's genetic makeup. I took it apart and reversed the-" She stops talking when she sees that we aren't all following her, least of all Faith.

"You took it apart and made it into something that collected sunlight, right?" Faith asks.

"Roughly, yes." Barbara says with a small smile.

"That was really cool. Where were you when I was starting out?"

"Probably still in physical therapy for my back after I was shot."

"You were shot?" Faith asks, her eyes going wide.

"Dinah didn't tell you?"

"No. Never got around to it." Barbara nods, thinking. It is quiet as Barbara slowly turns to the refrigerator and starts fishing out different things, finally starting to make sandwiches, like 12 of them. She set two in front of me, two in front of Helena, and 4 in front of herself and Faith before she sits down with 4 cans of soda. "It happened about 7 years ago." Barbara says. She tells Faith everything, about Batman and Nightwing and Batgirl, about the shooting, Helena's mother, my dreams, my running to them, Helena's dislike for me at first, my mother, Al Hawk, and finally Harley Quinn's invasion of the Clocktower and the murder of Wade Brixton. I step in after that, telling them all about my fears of my new family tearing apart, and going to the Underground as a way to help protect them by using my powers on many metahumans to gain entrance and exit ways. I tell them about my knowledge of these places and gaining more during my little patrols when I 'went for a walk'.

Faith takes al of this information in, then she tells Helena and Barbara her story, about Boston, about her watcher, about Buffy, the Scoobies, demons, vampires, the Mayor... everything I saw within her... Well, not everything. I watch my guardian's face she takes in all of this information. All is silent for a while, then I get up, mumbling an excuse me, and then I leave out to the balcony.



I watch as Dinah leaves the room. I am not sure what is on her mind. Maybe she just can't stand the silence, or maybe she just wanted to see the sunrise, as she was standing next to the gargoyles while she looks out towards the city with a refreshed look upon her face. I watch as Helena walks out with her to see if she's alright. "Faith," Barbara says as a way to get my attention back to her. I look back at her. "I need to talk to you." Her voice is almost hushed. I tilt my head in a manner that asks her what's up, though I think I already know what this is about. I say nothing as I rip into my 3rd sandwich. Barbara studies me, and I wish she would just say what it is she needs to say. Her gaze is turning me on faster than the flip of a light switch. I slowly chew, then I swallow my bite before putting down the food, no longer feeling hungry... well not for that at least. "About this Slayer thing..." I start to tense a little bit. She looks at me, her eyes raking my body.  She continues to speak as I shift a little bit in my seat. "I don't know anything about this at all. I thought I was all seeing all knowing, but here is Dinah going Underground, and I didn't even notice it, and there are vampires everywhere for who knows how long without my knowledge... Listen, what you said back there in the Batcave... I know you know more about this type of thing than you lead on. I know that you know what you are doing, and I know that when it comes to vampires, I don't. And what about these Watchers? Aren't they supposed to train these Slayers?"

"You're the mentor now, Babs." I say.

"Babs... I haven't been called that in a long time."

"Well, I'd call ya' B, but that is taken, and I would call you Red, but well... That's taken too, so Babs it is."

"Dick Grayson called me that when we were younger. Before my chair," she says with a slight fond look on her face. She turns to me as if she was broken from her thoughts. "I need a mentor now Faith, since I am a Slayer."

"It's not that hard. You shove a stake into a vampire's heart and POOF, they're dust. Nothing that requires training, since you were all big and bad when you were Batgirl." I slowly stand up, wanting to follow Dinah and go out and join the gargoyles. I walk a step or two away from the table, away from Barbara. She stares at me as if she can't believe her ears. She crosses her arms over her chest.

"And what of the other demons that you and Buffy fight?" she challenges. I shrug.

"I doubt they'll come this way." I say half-heartedly.

"Why? The vampires moved this way." Barbara points out. I sigh. 'I am not the sharpest stake in the weapons chest...' I think to myself. “By the way you are speaking, I would guess that you don't want to be here," she accuses, "but I know that’s bullshit," she spits out. She is getting a little angry. I know that my almost nonverbal answers are getting to her. "I saw the way you interacted with Dinah and with Anya. You want to stay here. I can see it in your eyes right now." She’s right, but I am not going to say it.


"Why are you fighting this, Faith?"

“I don’t belong here, Barbara, and you know it. We both do.”

“What makes you think you don’t belong here?”

“I  just know.” I say.

“Very convincing answer,” she says dryly. “You think you’re destined to be alone. Is that it?” she asks. “Well? Is it?”

“I am destined to be alone. That is the way I am. I cannot be around other people for very long before I fuck up their lives.” I step back a couple of steps, but Barbara stands up, getting out of her chair. She walks next to me, but when I back up more, she stops.

“You didn’t ‘fuck things up’ here, Faith. You helped Helena, Dinah and I get the Batcave back.”

“Well, given time something would happen and I’ll fuck it up for all of you with only myself to blame. I am just not going to take that chance.” I say, my voice rising. I am starting to fight back tears, as well as everything else. I hate when I cry; it makes me angry when I break down, showing just how weak I am. Just how much of a coward I am... I am getting angry now. Why won’t she just let this go? Why is this so important to her? I am nobody.

“I know you look at Helena, Dinah and myself and think we are abnormally perfect as a family.”

“It is almost sickening.” I say, putting a hand to my eyes to hide the fact that a tear has fallen. I wipe it away angrily.

“We’ve all made mistakes here, Faith. I let someone into our other life, and he got killed. Helena trusted the wrong person, and Dinah almost killed her mother’s killer. You murdered someone, but it was an accident.” She says. Flashes of the night things went wrong go through my mind, but Barbara’s voice cuts through them, making me look at her and listen to her words. Her voice softens now that she knows she has my attention. “That vampire, Angel, believed that you can change, and you have.” She stresses the last three words of that sentence. “Why can’t you believe that, too? I know you said it often enough to- what did you call them, the Scooby gang?- but do you believe your own words?” Barbara walks around the table, and I fight every urge to run, the elevator for once being my savior. I don’t move.

“Just let it go.” My voice is shaky. ‘Was that a plea I heard, Faith?’ I taunt myself, inwardly rolling my eyes. I turn away from her. 'What is she doing to me?' I watch Helena and Dinah as they stand in silence, watching over the city as they always will. Hopefully one day they will be watching the city hand in hand. My Slayer senses are buzzing so loudly it almost deafens me. I can feel that Barbara is right behind me.

“Fine.” She says this almost curtly. “I’ll let it go, but you must know that you are needed here, Faith.” I wonder why she keeps saying my name in almost each sentence like that. It almost unnerves me. I feel her breath on my neck, and the hum of arousal overrides the Slayer senses. Damn it, I want her. As much as I fight myself on this, I know the Clocktower calls to me, and the temptation to stay is so strong.

“You don’t need me here. This is why I must go.” ‘I don’t want to hurt you. For some reason, I can’t let you hurt anymore.’ I take a deep breath as that thought creeps up on me. I push it down as far as I can. “You’re all doing fine without me.” I tell her, screaming at my body as I fight the urge to turn around.

“So you’re going to come here, slay a few vampires, drop a bomb on me that changes my whole world, then just leave like that? I-”

“That is what I do!” I shout, turning fiercely. I am surprised at how close we really are. I thought we had maybe 6 or 7 inches between us before, but there is almost no space between us now. Barbara says nothing. She just looks at me with a sadness that makes me even more angry. “What?!” Barbara shakes her head slowly.

“I don’t believe that, but I promised to let it go, and I will.” she is quiet for a moment, then she looks me straight in the eyes. “I wish you luck wherever you go, whatever you decided to do.” She leans in to kiss me on the cheek, but I turn my head at the last moment, letting her lips touch mine in a peck. She backs away quickly.

“I’m sorry.” I say, but deep within me, I know that I am not. I want to kiss her again, a real kiss this time with tongue and heart and soul, but I cannot tell what she is thinking, for her look is masked. I can hear that her heart rate is quicker though.

"I want you," she says, stepping  closer to me again and recapturing my lips. I kiss her back, biting her lower, then upper lip. I wonder briefly if I'm hurting her before I realize she's a Slayer as well, so I didn't. In fact, she seems to encourage it. She slowly breaks away, "to stay." She finishes her sentence while she looks deep within me. My hands lower, leaving her body. "Faith...” I move away. I don’t know what to say, what to do. Actually, I know what I want to say, what I want to do, but is it right?



I am surprised that Helena is now by my side. Actually, no I am not. It seems she'll always be by my side, doing her best to protect me and Barbara, although I know now that Barbara will be the one doing more protecting. I am surprised, though, that she was so close behind me when we left. I want to turn to her and start talking, but I don’t know what to say to her now. Besides that, the sight of the sunrise makes words unnecessary. I inhale the scent of the brand new day, a day I lived long enough to see, and I am going to enjoy it while it is young. It is nice to have her company; it feels like sharing with her when in reality, it isn’t mine to share. I wonder briefly what goes on inside that head of hers, but I never have the courage to just ask her. Maybe I am afraid that she won’t talk to me, or maybe I am afraid of actually hearing the truth, whatever that might be.

As I watch the sky get lighter by the minute, I think about Gabby and how glad I am that I can see her again. I realize that she is a part of my complete existence. With Slayers, metahumans, vampires, ex-vengeance demons, a two souled human, and Alfred, it is a sigh of relief that I have Gabby there to balance me out. It is okay that she is 'just human'. In fact, that is why I love her much as my best friend. It is nice to just spend a day laying on your stomach on the floor, talking about your crushes while taking dorky magazine quizzes to find out how well you know your best friend or your favorite celebrity. It is nice to escape from the madness of my life. Sure, it still sucks that I can't talk to her about it, and who knows, maybe one day I will have no choice but to tell her, but for now, I'm willing to settle for giving her the mysterious look that totally drives her nuts whenever she asks me why I couldn't make it to the movies or something. That is the best part about being a superhero, that Look. “You okay?” I finally ask the feral woman beside me when I feel Helena’s body shift some. She looks at me, seeming to be at ease with herself and her surroundings. Her eyes squint in her ‘Helena smile’, and nods.

“Yeah. You alright, D?”

“Yeah.” I say. “It just brought back memories when you told me that vampires had taken over the Batcave last night. It seemed easier last night when we fought vampires, when the last time it was just humans we had faced.” Helena pulls me into a hug. I am not really sure what to think of this newer, more protective cat Helena has become, but I like the hugs. I like the fact that there are more of them.

“You’re a tough cookie, Dinah.” she says. I smile at her compliment.

“I’m glad we got through it.”

“Yeah, me too.” There is silence for a moment or two. “You know that if you need anything, I’m here. You know that right? You don’t have to hide stuff like that from Barbara an’ me anymore. We’re here. I’m here.” I don’t say anything for a moment, and I think of the last time I heard Helena say ‘I’m here.’ She had also said ‘I love you’, though at the time, I was still in my own thoughts about Helena as a vampire and my having to turn her to dust. “Dinah?” Helena asks.

“Yes,” I whisper. “Yes, I know.” My mind wonders what that ‘I love you’ could have meant, and I try to leave it alone. Surely it is just a big sister thing. When her arms leave me, I try not to shiver, but I do anyway. I look up into her eyes, and I want to kiss her so badly. I gently touch her cheek ‘- talk to me. Should I tell her?’ “Tell me what?” I ask out loud. Her eyes widen. “I-I’m sorry. I-”

“It’s okay. I can’t- I was just...” I don’t say anything. I am confused, really. Why doesn’t she want to tell me? I look up into her eyes and I can tell she’s scared, yet she still tries to speak “I-” I don’t let her finish. If I can be the one to kiss Faith first, then I will be the one to kiss Helena first. I am expecting her to pull away from me at any moment and shun me for doing this, but she doesn’t. I am surprised. ‘I love you, Helena.’ I think to her. She breaks away, and it seems it is hard for her to breathe. she leans in and gives me a shorter kiss. “You have no clue how long I’ve waited to do that.”
“Give me one.” Helena whispers, her forehead touching mine.

“Since before I met you... face to face that is...” I trail off and look away briefly. 'I can't believe I admitted that.' It was a secret I had planned to keep locked away in the farthest crevice of my heart, but here I am her arms and I am spewing out my feelings as it wasn't all that important for me to keep in the first place. Helena looks down at me and smiles.

"I have to admit that you were a pain in my side at first, but I watched you a lot because of Barbara and all... but after your mother died, I saw you, and you were no longer a kid to me, even if I still called you that. It wasn't meant to hurt you, Dinah. It was all just teasing until Faith told me that you don't take it that way." I broke away slightly so that I can look into her eyes.

"I know you didn't do it to hurt me. I just didn't like it when you thought of me as Kid."

"I don't. You were, like I said, 'a pain in my side', but you've grown so much because of what the Redmonds did to you, and I understand that the young naive girl you come off to be is just an act, it is your mask, like the broodiness is mine...or so Barbara says. Listen, can I... I mean just for a little while.... hold you?" It was a small request brought on by an even smaller voice that I know I would never say no to. I nod. Before Helena could make a move towards me, I hear Faith shouting something to Barbara, but I can't hear exactly what is said. Helena turns to go see what is going on, but I grab her arm.

"Don't- I mean, it's probably a Slayer thing." I say. Helena listens for a moment more then she puts an arm across my shoulders, pulling me to her. I like this. I like this a lot.



"I'm sorry, okay?!" I shout back at Barbara. "What more do you want me to say?!"

"Say you'll stay! With us... with me!" She replies. I'm not expecting that, but still I shake my head.

"I can't." Barbara stares at me for a moment more, then she leaves, going to the elevator without another word. Not sure what else to do, I walk up to the training room after seeing Dinah and Helena in a cuddly embrace. "Good for you, Dinah." I say to myself. I stand in front of the punching bag and start to punch the bag a few times weakly, then allow my hits to become faster, stronger. I'm beating all of my pain, my happiness, my love, my hate, my sadness, my wondering/running feet... everything into it simply because at the moment, it bares my face. I stop long enough to stare at the long taped up rip in the bag. "Damn, Dinah sure did a number on that thing. Hate to be the one she really wanted to kill." I murmur with some admiration. Of course, I know who it was that she wanted to kill now. She was thinking about Harley Quinn at the time. I know that if she saw that bitch again, she would kill her, and I'd bet all the money I've ever owned on her. I know she can. She could rip her in half no problem, and she wouldn't even have to lay her pretty manicured hands on her. It comes as no surprise that she is that powerful, actually, as she did rip a door from the hinges with her mind just the day before, and she did just lift a full Dumpster with her mind only a couple of hours ago. I halfheartedly hit the bag once, twice, three times for good measure, then I just stare at it, not feeling anything as I gasp for air. My body is screaming at me to go find Barbara-Damnit! Why won't I just listen for once?!- It would be easy enough with the Slayer to Slayer connection we have and all, but I fight that, too. "I can't." I repeat. 'I must move on.' I think to myself. 'You can't stay here, Faith. You don't belong here.' I tell myself; it's like a mantra running through my head. 'You don't belong anywhere.' Footsteps are heard not long after that, and I automatically tense up.

"Knock knock." The voice makes me jump. "Down Lassie." Helena says, repeating my words from the last time the two of us were in the training room alone. I look up at her slowly. She is standing in the doorway with the world upon her shoulders. Unlike the last time though, she looks like she's comfortable about wearing it. She saunters over to me and inspects my face.

I am not sure what to think about Helena now. We fought side by side, sure, but Helena's a predator and would do anything to protect her territory, even if it means joining with the enemy, then ripping them apart when all is said and done. I must admit that it felt good fighting side by side with someone again, fighting with someone who was strong, fast and graceful enough to watch my back at the same time I watched theirs. Now that all is said and done... Now that Helena's gotten her daddy's hideout back, is this the part where she rips me apart? Is this the part where she continues to tell me how useless I am here? Things I already know? A noise that I never knew could come from a Slayer escapes my throat at the thought of hearing words like that. I can't stand even the thought of hearing them now. Not from these people. From anyone else, maybe I would have been fine with it, but not here. I start to back away from her approaching form, and I try to find a way to leave the room. Helena sees this and as if to read my thoughts, she blocks my way towards the door. I am forced to look into her eyes. They are unexpectedly warm, soft, concerned.... guilty. She clears her throat. "Look Faith, I want to say I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done what I did-"

"You don't have to Helena-" Her hand shoots up, to silence me, I know, but still I cower from it. Her hands fall to her sides immediately. She looks down at her hands as if to scold them.

"Please hear me out?" she seems to plead with me. I slowly nod. "Faith, I shouldn't have done that. I-" she can't seem to find anything else to say. "I shouldn't have let my jealousy ge-"

"Whoa whoa whoa! Jealously?" I ask, looking at her as if she had just grown another head, which actually wouldn't really phase me considering where I'm from. I as shocked at her words. "What have you got to be jealous of? I have nothing. You have family, though unconventional, but still a family none the less. You have wicked good looks, fighting skill to make Jackie Chan envious, Dinah's affections... You have everything I could ever want. It is I who should be jealous of you..."

"I was jealous of the fact that all this shit happened to you, anyone can tell just from lookin' at you... You have that vibe that anyone can pick up. You had all this shit happen to you, and you act like you don't care. I was pissed because I can't be that calm about the things that have happened to me. At the time, I didn't know I had 'Dinah's affections', either." Helena uses her fingers as quotation marks, then she blushes. "I thought she would go out with you or somethin' and..." She looks down, not able to finish her sentence. I know what she's going to say next. 'I thought she would go out with you and that you were trying to take her away from me'.

"I was." I blurt out. Helena's head shoots up to look at me. "I was," I repeat when she looks at me in disbelief as if she wasn't sure that she had heard me correctly. "I mean, don't get mad, but I saw her and thought she was cute. I admire the way the chick fights, even if it doesn't yet compare with yours." I look away from her, wondering if I should say the next words that come to my mind. "She kissed me yesterday, but-" Helena's face turns from almost neutral to... well hurt. "I said 'But'." The fare woman before me looks back at me and tries to hide her feelings, wiping them from her face as quickly as she can. "She chose you, Helena. In my head, I heard your name. I was a substitute for you, and now that I think of it, Dinah may have at the time been a substitute for Buffy."

"And what about Barbara? When you kissed her, is she a substitute for Willow?" There is no bitterness in Helena's voice and I realize that it is a genuine question, though how she knows about our kiss is a mystery. "Uhm... you have her... lipstick..." Helena says somewhat shyly, though there was a knowing smirk that rose at the sight of me blushing.

"No. I never really liked Willow and she hated me. Barbara is no one's substitute. She's too unique." I find myself admitting. there is silence for a minute or two. It is like a small challenge to see who can go the longest without breaking this silence first.

"She really wants you to stay." My heart skips a beat, my palms start to sweat, my face turns a little red, and just about any other cliché you can think of from romantic movies happen to me at that statement. I know she wants me to stay, but I can't hurt her. Even though I know I can find myself falling head over heels again, I can't hurt her. For once I am not running because I am afraid of being hurt. Fuck that, it's all been done, and I will deal, but to see any pain on their faces... Well, I can't handle that. She deserves a helluva lot better than me. "She needs you here to take the place of her Watcher that she was gypped of getting as the privilege of being a Slayer. Even mentors need to be taught." I don't say anything, and I know she knows I'm about to say no again, so she keeps going in order to draw me in. "You haven't even been here all that long. Just barely two nights. And a day. That isn't hardly enough time for tourism. I can show you the night life. Well, I'm sure you've seen the height of our night life, but I know you like dancing, and maybe it won't be like The Silver back in Sunnydale, but it will still be kick ass." She's rambling, and it is... cute. She'd surely kick my ass if she heard me say that out loud about her.

"The club was called the Bronze," is all I say.

"Oh, well, you get my drift though right?"          

"Why do you care, Hel? Just yesterday you couldn't wait for me to leave. Why are you tryin' so hard gettin' me to stay?"

"Because I was wrong." She stresses each and every word in her sentence. "Okay? I'm only metahuman here, alright. Believe it or not I AM wrong once in a blue moon." She grins as I give her a look that plainly says 'Surrrre...', but I don't say anything. After another moment of silence, she says, "Fine, Rock Paper Scissors." I raise an eyebrow. "Best of three. I win, you stay a couple more weeks, lemme show you around here a little more, and help Barbara with these new Slayer powers. You win, you can go back to doing your Slayer... things and move on if you must." What the-

"That's kinda leaving shit up to chance, isn't it?" I ask a little bit nervously. She has a challenge in her voice, one I cannot back away from, as it is in my nature not to.

"Well, I thought that was what your life is all about. Want. Take. Have? Screw everything else? Take chances? Ring a bell?" I look down for a second then back up at her with a grin. "What do you have to lose?" 'Everything.' I think to myself, but I don't want that thought to show on my face. Helena has her hand flat out towards me, and she slowly (as if to not spook me or something) places her fist on top of it. This is my last chance. My 100th opportunity I have been given to stay... I may not get another one, and I know I will have made a mistake 5 minutes later if I pass this one up. 'I am not going to fuck this up. I can't.' I finally give in. I copy her motion.

"Alright smart one. Best of three." We pound our palms twice then both of our hands are flat. "Paper." I smirk. We do it again, and I have my fist rested with two fingers out pointing towards Helena, who has just her fist on her palm. "Damn," I say.

"Rock crushes scissors..." the older woman sings.

"I know, I know." I say in a semi- growl at her gloating words. She smiles. We do it again, and I'm scissors and she's paper. I smirk again, but I don't say anything. We nod to each other and do it again. One, two...



I watch as Faith and Helena wrestle. "Helena!" I scream when she bumps against the coffee table, which as my homework and my Cherry Pepsi on it. I hold the drink still as the rest of the table wobbles a little.

"No! Metas will always rule!!" she shouts, getting the younger slayer to the floor and straddling her. She hold her flailing arms down. "Slayers drool vampire saliva!"

"Eww.." Faith pants, "Visual." she grunts, struggling still under Helena's pin.

"Helena, leave her alone." I say to her.

"Aw, its' okay, Dinah. I'm showing Helena who really rules." Faith says.

"Says the one pinned to the ground like a chump." Helena replies.

"Sounds kinky." I blurt out, but I don't look like I want to blush like I usually would at that moment if Anya would have said it.

"Your girlfriend needs to stop hanging out with Anya so much in her shop." Faith says. "She's starting to scare me." Helena chuckles.

"She scares everybody." I look up at them both, watching Faith as she struggles out of Helena's firm hold.

"That's not what you said last night, and if you want a repeat performance, I suggest you watch what you say while I'm in here." I raise an eyebrow to challenge Helena and see what she has to say about that, but a whoosh of air cuts off what Helena may or may not have had as a reply.

"How about we just don't go there." I stand up and see Batgirl walking towards us. I look at the window in the training room and smile, even though I will never get used to that.

"Show off." Helena says. She gets up with a laugh, then holds out her hand for Faith to grab on to, and like always, Faith stares at it for a split second, as if she still doesn't trust it. She needs to learn that Helena won't hurt her, though after what happened a week ago, I am not surprised that she's a little hesitant, but one of these days, that outstretched hand could be the difference between life and death if she hesitates. Faith grabs it finally and bounces back up.

"Heh..." Batgirl says sheepishly.

"How was sweeps?" I ask, looking at the superhero. She no longer has the cowl to her Batgirl suit, but the rest of it is there. As for the mask, she has one that covers her eyes, but other than that, her hair flows free when she's out there fighting off metas and vampires.

"It was great, but listen. We need to reconstruct our system of working at night. I don't know what to do about the Delphi when I'm out there, and it worries me." Faith walks over to the redhead and places a hand upon her face and Batgirl leans into her touch. She does nothing more, but the longing is there in her eyes. "We need to find someone else to permanently tackle over the Delphi. We need Anya, Jenny/Maria, and Gibson out there with us at night now, as there are more places to cover. As much as I like Alfred watching over us, it isn't his job to do it 24 hours." Batgirl looks at the clock face. "Dinah, go page Gibson and tell him that you're going to the Underground to see if things are under control there, and I want you two back at a decent hour. If something happens, go to Anya's store and wait it out, but no matter what happens, be careful. I need to make a few more stakes. Last guy took it with him when he was dusted. how the Hell that happened, I have no clue..." I smile as I walk to the Delphi to page Gibson.

An hour and a half later, Gibson and I are walking through the Underground, and we hear shuffling behind us. "Seems like someone wants to give us a surprise attack." I murmur to Gibson.

"It appears so." he agrees. We don't do anything, instead, we keep walking pretending we were innocent metas walking through the underground, most likely going to Pyro, the small dark bar there which is a block away from the upper lever of No Man's Land. When the presence behind us gets closer, almost directly behind us, we turn around, Gibson pressing the trigger to his little squirt gun filled with holy water, and myself with a stake in my hand, raised and ready to pierce his heart. I am about to, but something stops me, a squeak, and then a rustle of clothing as someone steps between myself and the vampire, a grey haired man who might not have done much. The blur dusts the vampire, and I look annoyed.

"Damn it Faith, I had that one!" Gibson nods in agreement. I somehow know it isn't Faith. Knowing the Slayer, she would have some witty remark about how old the vampire was or something like that, but there was none.

"Ex-CUSE me?!" A voice filled with attitude shifted the wind around my neck and I know I made a mistake. Who is she? Words are muttered, and a small light engulfs the figure. It is another brunette girl about my age, maybe a couple of years older. "Do I look like Faith?"

"Uhmmmm... Yeah?" I say, looking from the brunette girl to the redhead at her side holding her hand, and then finally, my eyes land on a blonde haired boy who just stands there trembling with a cross outstretched at us. When he sees that we aren't shying away from it, he looks at it as if it was broken or something. The redhead's gaze burns my flesh it seems, but I stare back at her.

"Do we know you?" the redhead asks, looking at me, then at Gibson.

"No, we haven't met, but I know of you. I've heard stories and such, and I saw.... I saw you..."

"You saw me?"

"I'm a friend of Faith's. From what I saw, you weren't... Not really."

"Yeah, because she was a psycho bitch."

<I heard that, and I'm telling her you said that.> I hear in my ear. For Anya, she had been quiet in my ear as she guided us. I do not know why she's been quiet this long, but when I hear her voice, I jump. the brunette Slayer looks around looks around frantically, looking for the source of the voice.

"I know that voice." She says in a low growl.

"You should." I say sarcastically, but I don't tell them who it is, for they think she's dead.

"Where have I heard that voice?" She glares at me, as if it is my fault she's confused. Honestly, no wonder Faith doesn't like her. I smirk slightly.

<Ignore her. She's just hot air.> I snicker.

"So, you know Faith?"

<Want me to get her so she can sorta get you out of this awkward moment? She sounds scary.>

"Yeah." I say, only who I am answering is a mystery, but it works both ways. The redhead, Willow, looks thoughtful. Other than that, there is silence. Gibson stares at the frightened boy, Andrew, and seems sympathetic to his situation. He too hates sweeping the Underground, but his guilty conscience made sure that he was ready to come with me when I went. He made me promise that I'd call him or page him before I left. So he knew how he felt chasing after these girls because he wanted to be a part of it all in case he can stop something bad from happening.

"Shouldn't you be at home watching some chick flick with your girlfriends?" the Slayer, Kennedy, asks with a scoff. I know she thinks I am too young for this line for work. I don't say anything.

"Shouldn't you be at home making out to a chick flick with your girlfriend?" asks a new voice, a familiar voice that made me snort my laughter. Kennedy glares my way, but I ignore her. I know that now I have Slayer back up if she really wanted to hurt me, but I doubt she would even if she wanted to. Willow would stop her.

"Faith." she says with almost a snort. She reminded me so much of Helena then, you know, when she hated Faith.

"Potential." she says back in the same manner. I grab Faith's arm.

"Um, speaking of girls, where's ours?" I ask. Faith smirks at me knowingly.

"Batgirl needed a cold shower, and Huntress went to the Dark Horse for a little while to bug Lennard. She's trying to get him to turn it into more of a dance club." she tells me.

"Oh." I say meekly. She chuckles softly, then turns back to her friends, or semi-sorta friends... I am not sure what Faith truly considers them to be anymore. I mean she cares for some more than others obviously, but it is hard to tell who she cares for more than who. I watch as they start to talk.

 "What are you all doing on my side of the universe?" she asks, looking at the three in front of her.

"We heard you'd come this way from Dawn, and we wanted to see if you needed any help. Will did some research on the place and thought you could use some back up." Andrew says. Faith smiles at him.

"Long time, no see, Freak Boy."

"As to you, Faith." he says.

"So, we did a location spell for you, and it lead us here. Actually, it led us to a hotel room. The spell just takes us to the first place you or something of yours spent more than 24 hours in. Then Kennedy felt some vampire around here, so we sorta followed it here. Then we dusted them, then followed these two when we found one more sneaking up on them, then Kennedy dusted him, and we started talking and we..." So this is Willowbabble... It's cute.  As if to read my thoughts, Faith starts to laugh.

"Oh, it's nice to see you again, Red. Really, I think we have things here. Is it just you three?"

"No, Giles is at that hotel across the street from the Clocktower. That is where the location spell had originally brought us when we were looking for you." she repeats.

"We were just about to leave the Underground. Gibson tries to get it over with as fast as he can, since he gets the creeps down here. Come on, we'll go to the exits and get the heck out of here... How did you get down here anyway?"

"Followed the vamp down here." Willow says slowly.

"Right." Faith says as if she hadn't thought of that.

 I walk closer to Faith, wishing she would shield me from Kennedy. I don't like the glares she's giving me as she says, "So, are you going to introduce your new clan or what?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I'll introduce you to them as soon as we all get together for a little shindig..."

"Faith...?" I ask slowly.

"Well, Batgirl's always tellin' us that she wants to meet the S-dale gang."

"Yeah, but-" Faith looks up at me.

"What are you afraid of?"

<Willow's girlfriend.> Anya blurts out. I can't help but snicker.

"Listen, it won't be nothing like when... well, nothing like that, okay? I know them. I trust them... well most of them..." She says, giving Kennedy a saucy look. Kennedy rolls her eyes.

"And I trust you, so... Let's go, I guess." Faith makes a quick head movement that signals for everyone to follow her, and we all do, walking through the barely lit streets and alleys. I feel a tap on my shoulder. It's Faith. "Which way do we go from here to take the steps?" she asks in a whisper. I smile and point to our left. "Cool." she says, and we take a right and climb the 50 or so steps.

"I'll go back to the store then, and check on teens. They tend to get rowdy on movie night." Gibson says when we reach the top of the steps and reach the main streets near the high school. I smile warmly at him. I squeeze his shoulder in a silent goodbye.

"See you later, Gibs." I watch as he walks down the street towards No Man's Land. I wish we could have gone a couple blocks west and used that exit way, which is what we might have done if Faith wasn't there and so afraid of the elevators, but I  don't understand that she will use the elevator in the Clocktower, yet she won't use elevators other than that one. That elevator goes up 50 or more stories, when the elevators in the Underground only go one story. Faith looks at Willow for a second and has a look on her face that says she wants to say something, but she keeps her mouth shut and lightly tugs at my jacket just to mess with me. I push her a little bit then follow her down the block, going in the opposite direction Gibson had taken. I only hear shuffling as we walk through the city, and I can tell that Faith is alert.

<I see you two are about a block away from the Clocktower.> Anya says. <Are all of you coming up?>

"Is that okay?" I ask slowly. I am not sure if Barbara will actually allow them in the Clocktower.

<Head Honcho says it's alright. Any friend of Faith's is a friend of ours.> I am confused, really. We were way too cautious with Faith when she got here, but I guess now that Faith has earned our trust, they are cool with her. I shrug. In the Clocktower, Barbara's word goes, so Faith leads us all to the entrance to the Clocktower. Willow looks at Andrew, then nods her head towards the hotel across the street, and he nods in understanding before he trots off across the street, nearly getting ran over by a small brown truck that had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting him. There are shouts of his enraged cursing and then the sound of him apologizing before I look back at the rest of the group. Faith is looking at me and my facial expression turns to puzzled. She seems to ask me what I think so far of her friends, and I give no visible reply. She lets out a silent chuckle, then she places an arm around my shoulders.

A few minutes later, Andrew returns with an older man in his late 40's. This, I know is Mr. Rupert Giles. If Rupert Giles and Jenny Calender were lovers once, I wonder what would happen when they meet up. I mean, I'm sure they are both different now. I wonder if they could even give things another try. Mr. Giles looks like he is tired beyond belief and seems to be asking Andrew if this could wait until later. Then he sees Faith and he brightens some. "I was beginning to think you had moved on, and that you weren't here after all."

"Nice to see you G-man." Faith says. They hug quickly, then we enter the alley where the elevator is. Faith enters the code, we all walk into the elevator, myself standing next to Faith and holding her arm again as she closed her eyes. Usually it is Barbara holding her arm, but she isn't with us. She is at the top. Andrew, Willow, Kennedy and Giles seem not sure about the elevator after a few floors. They all seem to be asking 'How many floors ARE there?' I smile a little, then when the doors open, I see Helena first, then Barbara when she walks into view. Faith opens her eyes when she feels the other woman's presence. A grin crosses her face.



I look around at the people in my life and smile. I have already made all of the introductions and we are now at a loss for words, really. I think it is sorta funny, yet I cannot find any words to say either. Part of me wants to just spill out everything. I watch as Giles looks at Jenny, wondering if he's met her before. Jenny has a look on her face that plainly says yes, even though she had only introduced herself to Giles as Maria, or she just let Maria do the talking. Mostly, the laughter is caused by the look of shock on their faces upon seeing Anya. She looks back at them as if she isn't sure what the big deal is. "So, how are things in Seattle?" she asks finally.

"Uh- uh, well, we couldn't find a Slayer there. There was one in a place a few hours away, but she was only 6." Giles says slowly. I nod. "H-How-"

"There was no others in the state of Washington?" Anya asks, purposely cutting him off. I don't think she feels like talking about her death right now.

"We were about to look when heard where you were."  Giles says as he looks at me. "Willow's been dreaming of you lately and they were pretty scary."

"The lying dead in an alley somewhere one?" Dinah asks.

"Yeah." Willow admits.

"Oh, been there, done that." she says with a shrug, leaning against Helena. I roll my eyes at her. She is such a mouse when none of the others are around, but when Barbara, Helena, Anya or I are around, she is a smart ass. I wrap an arm around Willow's shoulders.

"I think it is time to tell you about metahumans, my friend. Sit down, this will take a while." I try my best to get my friends to understand metahumans, which is hard, since I barely understand them myself. Well, I understand them, but not the concept of how or why. Willow seems to understand, and so does Giles, but Andrew and Kennedy still seem lost.

"There are actually people who are born with mutant powers like in the X-men?" I give Helena a warning look.

"Sorta, but they are called metahumans. You could get killed calling them mutants." I tell him gently. He nods. He looks like he is enjoying this, as if he is dreaming his geek dreams again about kissing Jean Grey or something. If I think about it, it is almost like that for me. I get to kiss a hot redhead, only she isn't a telepath/telekinetic, as that is Dinah, but Barbara still moves me every time... "Each has their own power. It cannot be duplicated." I say. Kennedy raises her hand. "You aren't in school, Ken." I say. "What's up?" She slowly lowers her hand.

"That's the part that gets to me. Why is it that no one has the same powers as someone else? If there are so many of them around, you'd think two would run into each other and have the same powers."

"I'll just say what Dinah told me. 'If Barbara doesn't know, then I don't know.' " Barbara smiles at that and looks at the teenaged meta. "It isn't really known why, Kennedy." The youngest of the Slayers seems to accept this as an answer. "This is why I came here. I thought that the supernatural like happenings around the city were vampires, and of course some of it was, but I think for the most part, it was the metas."

"It does seem as if things are alright with you now." Willow says, then turns to the immortal ex-vengeance demon. "I can't believe you're alive, Anya." she breathes. "I don't know how, but I am glad." Anya smiles.

"I keep getting the feeling I've met you before, Maria."

"Uh, her name is Jenny as well." Dinah says meekly. Jenny/Maria glares at her.

"Jenny?" Giles seems interested now.

"Yes." Dinah says.

"It's my-"

"Jenny Calender." Willow breathes. I look over at the young redhead and see that she is slightly glowing. "I knew there was something familiar about you."

"Anyone else who's lost say 'Aye'." Dinah says, even though she knows somewhat what's going on. Andrew, Kennedy, Barbara and Helena all raise their hands.

"Aye!" they chorus. Anya sighs.

"Alrighty, Giles, meet your girlfriend that you thought was dead but is now sharing the body of some unsuspecting soul who happens to be a pyro metahuman. Jenny... and Maria, meet Giles, the guy you were too chicken shit to meet because you were afraid he'd look at you like you're a nut job... not unlike the look he's giving me now. Alrighty, now that we are all friends, lets go to sleep."

"It is quite a lot to keep up with..." Helena says slowly.

"I- but..." Giles takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes. "I do believe a rest is in order. Will you ladies be available to talk in the morning?"
"No problem." Barbara says, trying not to laugh at the older man.


"Rupert-" Jenny/Maria says, but she says nothing else.

"Good night to you all, then." Giles and Kennedy walking back into the elevator with Willow following after them. Andrew, who is looking at the Delphi system, looks around and seeing as his gang is leaving, he hurries after them. The way he was drooling over the many monitors and the pictures of missing people that were on them makes my mind turn a little bit. Maybe...



I think I have a headache. A really big one. His name is Andrew, and he won't shut up, and actually seems to understand the technobabble that Barbara is telling him about the Delphi. While they go into the various types of monitors... blah blah blah, I zone into my one thoughts and think about the last 36 hours that passed since we met the Sunnydale gang. Mr. Giles and Faith's other friends had come back the next day a little before noon looking for answers, and we tried the best we could to give them some. We mostly spoke of Anya and Jenny/Maria, explaining how they have come back from the dead, but not back to Sunnydale. When Jenny Calender had joined with Maria McDowell, Maria didn't notice it at first because Jenny was too weak to do much. Still, she felt twitchy more often when she was up in an area that had other people in it. After a while, she could see the things that Jenny had, as if her memories and Jenny's had combined. She had gone to a shrink for a little while about these things, but her therapist only told her that they were dreams and that she needed to separate the dreams from reality, but she couldn't seem to do that. She had broken down after a while, and ended up in Arkham for many months to about a year as Jenny had gotten stronger, and Maria started to understand. When Jenny and Maria had come to a compromise, Maria was then considered cured and was let back into society, where she hid Underground.

As for Anya, she was actually open and honest with her thoughts as she told Giles that she didn't want to go back and be apart of the Scooby gang like before. She told them that she wanted more than 'the occasional rough sex with Xander'. She says that as much as she misses the Sunnydale gang, she thought it was time for her to move on. Which, after a large celebratory dinner out, where they spoke of good times and the bad with Faith, is what they did as well, going back to Seattle to continue their search for Slayers. Jenny said she wanted to go with them and help them out. There were no objections, as they all were thinking of the same thing. Maybe together they can figure out what has happened to Jenny and how she can cross over. After Barbara and Faith had some sort of discussion, they asked Andrew if he would like to stay with us. I thought this was sort of a surprise, but when they explained that he seemed to know what he was talking about when it came to the Delphi, I realized, he could be the person to take Barbara's spot as Oracle.

It surprises me how quickly, though, that Andrew understands this stuff, whereas my brain shut off after the first few seconds due to an overload. He nods eagerly as Helena laughs. I think it is great that she get along with Andrew so well. She doesn't see him as any sort of threat, and knows that him being here will help us as well as him. When he was with the Scooby gang, he wasn't liked because of his background, and now, like Faith, he is out seeking his redemption, and I hope he gets that here. He is training hard, trying to learn the commands and his way around the Delphi, and by the looks of it, he might even be able to become OJ (that is what Helena started calling him earlier today after Faith called him Oracle Jr.) tonight while the rest of us are out on sweeps. With his reading glasses on like he has them now, it is creepy how much like Barbara he actually looks. He could almost be her son.

At this moment, he is looking at me expectantly, as if he is waiting for me to come back to reality. I realize then he has asked me a question and that Barbara has left the room. "I'm sorry dude, what was that?" I ask.

"I asked you if you could go into the training room for a moment, please. It is time for an experiment."

"Are you trying to imply that I am a guinea pig?" I ask, sounding slightly hurt, though my face plainly says I'm not.

"Only in the nicest way possible." he jokes. I smile and walk up the ramp and into the training room.

<Alright, anyone who can hear me, please meet me at the Delphi.>  I hear in my ear about 3 minutes later. I smile again at the excitement I hear in his voice, and I walk out down to the Delphi. I am met by Helena, who was in my room, Faith, who was on the balcony, Barbara, who was in the elevator, Anya, who was in the kitchen area, and Gibson who was on the staircase where they hid as part of this experiment. "ALRIGHT!!" Andrew cries in his excitement, happy that he has gotten us all online by himself. It is like a test he has passed.



<Alright, no more middleman walkie talkies. You hear everyone, right?> Andrew says in my ear as I am last to get on the elevator and start sweeps. It's been a few days, and it seems everything is going well with Andrew at the Delphi. I think it was a good idea, and I am glad that Barbara allowed us to try this.

"I'm not sure. Everyone say something."

<Like what?> Anya asks in a confused voice, but I know she's being funny... I think...

<Metas rule.> Helena says in unison with Gibson and Barbara's



<I'm here.>

<Good. Barbara and Helena, you two go to Genesis Memorial and make sure none of the families rise tonight or any other. Faith and Dinah, I want you at The Holt cemetery in the downtown area. I don't like the lack of activity at Benny's Jewels. From your history, that place used to get robbed all the time. If you can stake some vamps along the way, that would be awesome, too. Anya and Gibson... You two go to the Underground and check the entrance and exit ways. I don't want any vampires surfacing anytime soon.>  I can hear typing in the background, and I feel safe knowing he's watching over us like a guardian angel. It feels like I want to take that safety and give it away to the rest of the city. Is this how Dinah felt? With Barbara in her ear, she knew she wasn't alone. With Andrew in my ear and Dinah by my side as I meet her on the corner, I know I am not alone.

<Man, you sound like you're liking that chair a little too much.> I hear Barbara say, and I can't help but smile, knowing that she is there, too.

<Jealous.> I hear a smile in his words, and I laugh, imagining him grinning like the dork he is as he watches our little dots move about one of the screens. I know what Barbara is going to say though. She's not at all jealous.

<Not one bit.> See? Told you. <As much as I miss Oracle, as Oracle, I missed Batgirl more.>

"Y'know, you were hot behind the glasses, sitting there typing like a maniac at the Delphi like that..." I know my eyes are glazing over a bit. Dinah nudges me. "Wicked hot."

<I'm hotter with the mask and the cape. It shows of my ass... sets better.> I think about some of our more heated moments together, and my body heat rises. Damn it.

"Have to agree with that one." I say in a husky tone. "But I might need some research data to back that up, you know to make sure it is correct." I say suggestively.

<Hey! No orgasms until after sweeps... and maybe a little foreplay.> Knowing Barbara, who isn't quite used to Anya's excessive use of the 'O' word, she is blushing like mad, but her next words throw me off.

<Slaying IS our foreplay.> she says, and it is my turn to blush.

<Alright, TMI.> Gibson says, though his tone is a cross between 'Ew' and Tell me more'.

<Okay okay, let's get this over with. The sooner we get this done, the sooner Anya and Faith can get back and take a cold shower.>

<Together?> Helena asks. Dinah laughs.

<I'm game.> Anya says in a joking manner.

<Hey, it's on. Orgy in the shower at midnight.>

"Dinah! I'm shocked!" I say.

<Enough.> Andrew says.

"Yessss SIR!" I say in a playful growl. Andrew sighs, but the lines go quiet.

Thirty minutes later, Dinah and I are walking as quietly as we can through The Holt cemetery to take the shortcut to Benny's Jewels. From where we stand, it seems all is quiet, and in a place like this, that isn't always good. In fact, sometimes that is the one thing to fear. It means there is a big conspiracy or something going on. Dinah shuffles a little bit, and I look at her. She shrugs as if she was afraid I'd get mad at her for it or something, but in reality, I didn't care if she woke the dead... uh, so to speak. We need a little action around here. "I don't sense anything." I murmur to both Dinah and Andrew. "I don't think anything is here.

<I don't either, and Batgirl and I split up, dividing the memorial spot.> Helena says, heaving a heavy sigh.

<Batgirl?> Andrew asks. There's no reply. <Damn it, if this is her revenge for all the times you went off comms. as some sort of rebellious thing, I am gonna kick your ass, Huntress, meta or not. I've got connections.> Huntress only laughs. <I'm serious. I'll sic Faith on you!>

"Leave me out of this. You're on your own, Freak Boy-"

<Aw, that's because your scared I'll whoop you. You know that metas rule, and you don't want me to prove it.>

"Oh now it's on. You, Me, Clocktower, 1 AM. You're going down." I say.

<You... wish.> she says. I freeze for a second, then start to laugh in unison with Huntress. Dinah smiles, and we walk towards Benny's Jewels, though I know I am not going to find anything. Dinah follows after me. We roam around between those two places for another 15 minutes or so, and both Helena and I are disappointed. <Not even a newbie to play with.> Helena whines, though it is my thoughts as well.

<That was time wasted. I could have had two hours of sex.> Anya complains.

<With who?> Helena asks.

<Well, no one, but if I did have someone, I would have had major sex with them in the time it took for us to walk around these stupid streets.> Anya grumbles.

<Alright, ladies. I get the hint. Come on back to the Clocktower. I think the city is dead... haha. Where the Hellmouth is Batgirl?> Andrew demands.

"I don't know-" Suddenly I see her as we exit the cemetery, seeming to fly on her cables as if they extend from her hands like Spiderman. She lands expertly next to me, letting her cables gather to her. "Show off." I say with a smirk.

"I hate to have to do this to you, Dinah, but-" She shoots her cables upwards the nearest building, and she grabs on to my waist.

"OH SHIT!" I scream when my feet leave the ground unexpectedly.

"Hmm. I'm here, Andrew." She laughs at Andrew indistinct muttering. "Me Batgirl, you Faith." She says in a caveman-like voice.

"Didn't take you to for one who likes the kinky sex games, but I'm all for it." We land on the roof, and I fall forward, but Barbara catches me, and holds me against her. I look up into her eyes, and I swear my knees refuse to work for a split second.

"My dear Faith, you can take me anyway you want." She says in a purr. Man, for someone who blushes at the word orgasm...

<Could you two please turn off comms. when you whisper sweet nothings into each other's ear? Some of us all knowing DON'T want to know who likes it how.> Andrew whines.

"You like it, Freak Boy. Makes you all tingly inside to think about it." I tease.

<Hell-o! Gay here!>

"So is everyone else in our group." I say, gasping when Barbara's hand roams under my shirt. I raise an eyebrow at Barbara, but I don't say anything.

<Alfred's not.> Andrew says.

At the same time, Dinah asks, <Gibson and Anya are gay?>

<Alfred's almost like a Watcher, therefore he is like a totally different species altogether.> Anya says.

<I beg your pardon?> Alfred says in the background at the same time Andrew bursts out into a small fit of giggles.

<Tell Pen-man I meant no harm.> Anya remarks.

<No harm done, Miss Anya, though... Next time you're over in the Clocktower, might I suggest you avoid drinking the tea.>

<Was that a threat, Alfred?> Helena asks.

<No no. Not at all, Huntress. It was a promise.> I ignore the rest of the banter as Barbara kisses my neck.

"How can you stand it? The side effects are driving me crazy. You've dealt with it for years, and I've only dealt with it for a couple of weeks."

"Got some action out there in the cemetery, huh?"

"Not nearly as much as you're about to get." Barbara growls.

"Clocktower... now." I say breathlessly. Barbara's eyebrows raise, and then we start heading back to the Clocktower at an alarming rate. About ten minutes later, I don't notice that we are in the elevator, as Barbara's making sure I'm distracted. "Ooh, gropage... Groping's nice." I say. As the elevator nears the top, I groan, hearing the unique 'vampire alert' shriek of the Delphi monitor system. The elevator doors open to reveal the rest of the group, including Alfred. They were looking at the many screens. I walk to Helena's side.

"What've we got?"

"This, ladies and gents, is why the nights been so dull." Andrew says, pointing to the monitors.

"Yay! Big battle time. My favorite time of the month." Anya says in a sardonic tone. Dinah and Gibson laugh at this while Andrew only shakes his head. On the screens I see a gathering of vampires causing mayhem at a club called Draco's Club.

"Babs an' I woulda been able to sense them halfway across the city!" I protest.

"From the slight yellowish tint to their skin, they seem to have auras. Vampires don't have auras; the exception being Spike and Angel, since they have their souls back. I think it's a spell-" Andrew says, but he is cut off by Anya.

"X-trake." Anya blurts out, not looking up from the screens. "Linda sold it in the shop, but when I took over, I made sure I got rid of it." Andrew nods, but Dinah, Helena, Gibson, Alfred, and Barbara are all confused.

"So, what is X-trake exactly, and what does it do? Make it look like you have a soul?" Anya smiles at Dinah's question.

"It's a potion, and yes, that's exactly what it does. It's to disguise demons and vamps from the likes of us. Those that can sense them like Slayers, witches, and other demons." She explains, happy to have some info to show off. "It was a big seller in the store among the teens, and afraid that one day someone would buy it off of a teen, I got rid of it. It doesn't harm mortals. It just seems like a mango flavored energy drink or something equally delicious."

"Well," Helena says, looking at me with knowing look. "It appears hunting season has come early this year. After all, the family that preys together..." She let herself trail off, a predatory smirk enters her face as her eyes change to their feral state. I return the smile. I hold out my hand towards her, not unlike in the Batcave when I told her I was there to help her get it back. She grabs it in that same warriors' grasp. We shake once, then I look around at the rest of the group.

"C'mon," I say, "the faster we get this shit over with, the faster we can come home." Home... It is such a wonderful word now that it finally has a meaning for me.

The End

Erin Griffin BVS Birds Of Prey Main Index