Series: Popular: the Raven

Title: Torn

Author: Melanie M./Shai/Misty AKA


Archive: please ASK if you want to archive it.

Pairing: If you read the first part you already know N/A, but this one has a special treat for one and all. Read if you like.

Rating: R, possibly leaning toward NC 17

Disclaimers: I don't own anything attached to any mentioned shows/characters and I'm making absolutely nothing off of this fic.

Well, accept for maybe feedback. Special thanks to Natalie Imbruglia for the title. Love ya Nat!

Comments: I need feedback. Remember, FEED ME!


Nick looked up, his eyes still partially closed with sleep.

"Sure," he muttered as the blonde poured two cups of steaming liquid.

"So how was training last night?"

"She's a fast learner and a good student so far," Amanda replied, trying to cloak her smugness.

Nick smiled. He knew what happened. He could always read Amanda. They were connected like that. He was usually right when it came to his friend but he'd been wrong before.

~<>~ Flashback ~<>~

He leaned in and kissed her lips. She jolted back. "I can't."


"Us. You're my friend Nick and I won't jeopardize that for anything."

"I'm sorry, I. . ."

"Don't apologize and make excuses. It doesn't become you. I'm not sorry but I know nothing good can come of this. You know it too. I don't think of you like that."

He bowed his head. "I know. We're still friends, right?"

"Forever. . .well, until I die anyway."

~<>~ End flashback ~<>~

Blinking a few times he returned from the memory. "So, I'm assuming you're giddy because of Nicole, right? Cause if not then I'm missing something."

"What are you talking about?" she replied cautiously. She really didn't want to talk to him about this right now.

"Amanda, you can't hide things like that from me. I know you slept with her because you're glowing. Why are you hiding it?"

Amanda ducked her head. "Nick, you know why. I do think of others sometimes."

~<>~ Flashback ~<>~

"So you like um younger?"

"I guess."

"Not sure then mate?"

"Not really."

A tall blonde brit smirked, "another Long Island for the Yank."

"So what's your name? I'm Sandy and that's Les," their Irish friend added.

"I'm Nick."

"It's a pleasure Nick. What brings ya here?"

"Drowning my sorrows," he replied.

"Know how that goes," Les agreed.

Sandy smiled. "Well, I better go. Gettin too late on me."

"I should probably head off too mates. You're welcome at the condo anytime Nick," Les reminded with a grin.

Nick knew what they meant. Les and Sandy lived together but they both had their own rooms and two different cars. He'd never really considered their offer but now he thought he would. After his scene with Amanda he needed something to lose himself in. "Sounds good to me. Just one thing. How'd you get your names?"

"I use to do drag for Miss Gay San Francisco. The most inspirational figure for me back then was Olivia Newton John in Greece. I've used the name Sandy ever since," he explained with a soft shrug of his small shoulders. He was rather weakly built but he was a cutie.

Nick laughed. He'd never been around guys this gay before. Sure he'd known gay guys but they were all macho officers or construction workers. "What about you?" he asked the blonde man at the table.

"My mum was in love with vampires. My name was Vlad until 95. Then she and I decided on Lestat. I rather like it," Les replied, his lips twisting into a black smirk. He had a bit more muscle than Sandy and he wore clothes only the Crow would go near. He loved wearing the black lipstick but he refused to let anyone touch his soft, wavy blonde hair. This made him stick out like a sore thumb.

Nick couldn't help but smile. "So, who am I following to your guys' place?"

"Just follow my rainbow convertible. You can't lose it," Sandy replied.

Later. . .

"What do you guys wanna do?" Nick asked innocently as he stretched on the bed.

They didn't waist any time in pinning him down. Les was the first to answer. "What do you think?"

~<>~ Laughing is heard and fades with the flashback ~<>~

Nick motioned for silence. "Look, I don't care who you're dating but I want details. I'm your friend, remember?"

"Nick, are you feeling ok?" she asked, feeling his forehead.

"Don't change the subject," he growled playfully as he batted her hand away.

Amanda raised a brow. He'd never really acted this way, well at least not when other people were within earshot. "Seriously, are you alright?"

"I'm fine. I just got a whole new aspect on life (NO PUN INTENDED!). You probably haven't seen it because we've been really busy but I've been this way for a while."

"Like what?" she asked, trying to draw it out of him. She knew. She'd always known which was why she couldn't understand how they got along so well.

"I like men. . .and women," he replied with a smile.

"I know. So why the sudden interest in my love life?"

Nick frowned. So this wasn't going as well as he wanted but he would still stay in the conversation. "Because I think you need somebody to talk to and I'm the only one you trust. I'm also being a little selfish because eventually when I find him or her I'm gonna need some advice too."

"So you're not doing this to get back at me for turning you down?"

"No," Nick choked. "You know I'd. . ." he smiled, "I hate when you test me. Anyway, so what's up between you and the kid?"

Amanda suddenly became serious. "Nick, I'm scared. I think I'm falling for her," she confessed.

"You can't stop falling for her. You know that. The heart wants what it wants. You haven't been in a serious relationship for quite a while. You need to let go of the troubles and fears. Let her teach you how to feel that way again. And don't give me that crap about getting your heart broken," he reasoned.

Amanda smiled. "Since when did you become Dr. Love?"

Nick laughed. "I'm not a doctor, I just know you and you need to loosen up. Try to enjoy life even if yours never ends."

She nodded. "I suppose you're right. Thanks," she whispered, enveloping him in a hug.


"So, who's warming your bed now?"

"Brookie, what on Earth are you talking about?"

"Nic, I know you slept with that sexy blonde number so don't even try to front. I'm your best friend. You can't hide anything from me."

Nicole blushed. "Her name's Amanda."


"I think I'm falling."

"Nic. . ." Brooke paused then threw her arms around her best friend. "I'm so happy for you."

"Brookie. . ." Nic couldn't bring herself to actually say what she was thinking.

Brooke backed away and touched the other blondes cheek. "Hey, let it go. I know you're not good with emotions but take this chance. There's something different about her. She's not like those others. I don't think she'd intentionally hurt you and if she does I'll have to hurt her myself. You've been waiting a long time Nicole Julian. Take this opportunity cause you might not get another chance."

Nicole smiled brightly. "Thanks B." Looking into her best friend's tired, sorrowful hazel eyes she began to worry. "Brookie, are you ok hun? You look a little down," she cooed.

"I'm just. . .I dunno. I guess I'm lonely and maybe a little jealous. Since Lily left I've been a wreck."

"I know but it will get better. You just need to find the right woman."

"How will I know? You know how bad I am with women."

"You'll know her when you see her." They both smiled broadly. "Let's go find our guests," she suggested.

"Great idea."


She stalked the area silently. Something didn't feel right here.

She couldn't tell if it was her prey or some other force but she had to complete her mission. Search and destroy. A blanket of purples, blues and reds inched across the sky. Dusk would be upon them soon.

Glancing at the building once more, she made her final decision. She snuck inside, silent and quick as the night itself. She'd acquired and perfected this art by now and it served her well. Following she shadows, she searched for the creature that challenged what she stood for. She'd read up on his kind and found he was not like them. He was a murderer.

Suddenly she was shaken. Finding a blade to her throat, she panted half from fright and half from surprise. She studied the person wielding the object. She'd seen her before but now was not the time for chit chat.

"Who are you?"

She swallowed hard, debating lying to the blonde. "Faith."

"What are you doing here?"

"Get that shit away from my throat and I might cooperate," the brunette growled.

Amanda eyed her cautiously. She knew she wasn't immortal but there was something different about her. She couldn't be completely human, she was too daring. She lowered the sword, aiming it inches from the woman's heart. "Why are you here?"

"Who the fuck are you and how do I know I can trust you?" Faith hissed.

"My name's Amanda and it would be wise of you to trust me considering your current position."

Faith sighed. "I'll give you the short version. I came to Santa Monica to hunt down and kill a ruthless Highlander named Kaitou. He's killed a pregnant woman here and too many others in LA. I gotta get him, it's my job."

Amanda sheathed her sword. "I know a cop on the case. He can handle it."

"No, he can't. Not if he's human. Kaitou's too smart. He's a mage."

Amanda nodded. This one knew a lot of magik but she too knew these arts. "I can help you."

Faith narrowed her eyes. She knew she'd better make this one an ally rather than an enemy. "What do you want?"

"Your word."

"You got it."

The blonde nodded. "Follow me." She escorted the woman into the fencing room and leaned against the wall.

Nicole, Brooke and Nick walked in, unaware of their guest. Looking toward Amanda they all noticed the brunette. Chocolate eyes, cherry lips and raven hair topped with cream colored skin, black leather pants and a skin tight blood red shirt. She was a knock out. She flashed them a smile as Amanda approached the small group.

Nicole and Nick listened while Amanda explained the situation but Brooke couldn't keep her eyes off of the woman. She studied her carefully, hungrily. There was something different about her, something exotic, something erotic, something. . .dangerous.

"This is Faith," Amanda introduced.

Nicole elbowed Brooke bringing her back to reality. Brooke blushed as they watched Nick approach the woman. He shook the brunettes hand. "My name's Nick."

"Nice meeting you," Faith replied. She hadn't really looked them over but she did know this one was the cop. He had that cop feel. Looking at the two blondes, she waved a hello.

"I'm Nicole," the blonde clarified, waving back. Realizing her friend couldn't speak she added, "And this is Brooke." Brooke waved shyly. She really didn't know what to say. It was like her whole vocabulary had been erased in a matter of seconds.

Faith froze when she saw Brooke. She was gorgeous. She completely took her breath away. She'd never believed in love at first sight but now she did. She couldn't understand how she could be so drawn to somebody she'd never met before. She stared for a bit before bowing her head. This was so not like her.

Amanda smiled. "I think we should wait until mourning to find Kaitou."

Nick nodded. "We'll be more prepared."

"We'll also have more time to train," Nicole added.

"Then it's settled. If anyone needs me I'll be at the shooting range," Nick confirmed, heading out.

Nicole examined Faith. "If you wanna lift or whatever, you can go to the gym Faith. I'm sure Brookie wouldn't mind showing you where it's at," she offered, noting that Faith was rather fit.

Faith smiled, regaining her ability to speak. "Sure. You got a punching bag?"


"Then I'm there."

Brooke motioned for Faith to follow her while Amanda and Nicole began training. Their walk to the gym was full of silence. As they entered the large room, Faith whistled. "Wow, guess Blondie's got some bucks. This place has everything."

"Yeah, her mom's a millionaire but she's not the nicest person on Earth," Brooke whispered.

Faith smiled. "So are you and Blondie close?"

"Nicole? She's my best friend. We're on the cheer squad together. I'm her better half," she replied with a grin.

"What's she like? Ya make her sound like a real bitch."

"She can be, depending on who you are. I think she likes you though. Getting her on the first impression is a miracle."

"Really? I was just being me. So, you know how to fight?"

"Not really. That's Nic's department."

"What do ya mean?"

"Nicole's always been the one to physically stick up for me and Mary Cherry. She doesn't like her friends to get their hands dirty."

"She sounds loyal. Seems to me she ain't as bad as people think."

"She's very loyal and people think she's cruel because she use to want them to. She didn't want them to see her because she didn't want to get hurt. She acted like a hellbitch but she's really a teddy bear."

"Sounds like me way back. I wanted to be hated so I wouldn't get hurt. I know that feelin. So, you wanna learn to fight or you just gonna watch me?"

Brooke smiled. "I'd love to learn. Just be careful, I bruise easily."



"Wow, you're learning quickly. You caught my mistake. Very impressive. You're almost ready for your first real duel."

Nicole smiled. "Thanks. Again?"

"I think I'm gonna hit the showers. I need a warm bath before bed," she replied with a grin.

"Ok. I think I'll take a walk. It's a nice night."

Amanda set her sword down, staring longingly into the other blonde's hazel eyes. Kissing her softly, she whispered, "be careful."

"I will," Nicole whispered before kissing her lover again. "Amanda. . ."

Amanda held her breath and nodded.

"I. . .I think I'm falling for you."

Amanda exhaled, closing her eyes. Smiling she replied, "don't be scared. I think I'm falling for you too. I'm not. . .my emotions are really. . ."

Nicole stopped her with a kiss. "Shhh, it's ok. I know. I'm like that too. We can do this. We can teach each other."

Amanda buried her face in the crook of her lover's neck with a sigh. She'd never felt something like this. It was so overwhelming. Wrapping her arms around the young blonde, she felt uneasy. "I'm gonna go take my bath," she whispered, hoping Nic would go with her.

"I'll be there in about twenty minutes," Nicole replied, pulling away wearily. She was uneasy too but she passed it off as fear.


"How am I doing?"

"Pretty good Queen B. Try it left handed now," Faith replied, running at the blonde.

Brooke threw her over her shoulder and onto the ground before her. "Like that?"

Faith gazed up dizzily. "Yeah," she huffed, closing her eyes.

Brooke straddled the brunette's hips. Leaning in, she whispered, "are you ok? I know first aide."

Faith opened her eyes, brown meeting hazel. Her expressions lost all emotion as if she were in a daze. Leaning in, she pressed her lips gently onto Brooke's. They kissed tenderly, longingly. Their hearts both yearned yet feared what could come of this.

Brooke broke the kiss, her eyes still shut tight. She felt her breath against Faith's lips as the other woman spoke, "you ok?"

Brooke opened her eyes as she replied, "I asked you first."

"I'm good."

"Me too."

There was an awkward silence before Brooke crawled off of Faith to sit on the floor. "I'm sorry," the brunette apologized with a bowed head.

"Hey. . ." Brooke cooed, lifting Faith's head with her hand. "Don't be. I'm not. I. . .I liked it."

"Really?" Faith whispered as she met the girl's eyes once more.

"Yeah. I like you, a lot. I'm usually not this forward with strangers but I feel like I can talk to you. It's like we're. . ."


Brooke nodded. "Can we talk more later? I wanted you to teach me more."

"Sure thing QB."


Her hot breath, white with the evenings freeze, floated off and faded as she prowled the grounds. She came to a complete halt when she saw the small building. Studying it, she smiled. It was only a small cottage but she knew its past, its story. Her parents had lived there. The land had been owned by her family for ages, even before Mexico owned what is now California. The Mexican's claimed the land at one point but when the Americans won it, her family received their land back. Since then the land had been sold off acre by acre. Now they kept what they could afford which was quite a spacious lot.

Standing in the doorway she caressed the wood of the frame. After all these years it still remained smooth. Opening the door she smelt the Night Queen that had been burned before her time. This place seemed to hold in all of the memories her parents couldn't tell her about. Amanda had described it and she had remembered it.

She studied her surroundings. Her father had lived here long before he'd met her mother. As she approached the bed she smelt the kerosene from an old gas lamp that rested on the wooden nightstand beside the bed. Lighting it she realized there was a lamp and electricity. She knew her father had put in the wiring and it made her proud. He'd done a good job.

Laying on the bed she let her senses take her. She'd killed a very inexperienced highlander that dared to challenge her and though she felt no quickening she was a bit high off of the adrenaline. The air tasted salty and the sheets were stiff. It was warm and comfortable like a home should be. Then she realized she could smell something familiar. This place smelled like Amanda. She chuckled to herself. Amanda had been here years before yet she could smell it as if the woman had left moments before. Her advanced senses were amazing. It was like feeling the past even though she couldn't see it.

Rolling around on the bed she smelt both her mother and father. She vaguely remembered her mother smelling like white roses and vanilla but it was strong now. Her father smelt musky and intoxicating. She couldn't tell what it was but she was almost sure it was cologne.

Suddenly she felt something strange. Unease crept over her sending chills up her spin. Something was very wrong here. She stood, cautiously heading for the door. Stepping outside, she looked around. She saw nothing but her breathes in the chilled air. She took a few more steps.

Then she felt something thin and strong wrap tightly around her neck. She gagged, grabbing at her throat. Everything went black. She could feel life slipping away. That was when the pressure on her throat stopped. She couldn't move but she was aware of what was happening. She was being dragged off somewhere. She prayed her head would stay attached and that if she did die that it would be quick. Little did she know that it would be long and torturous.


"So, ready to hit the showers yet?"

"Why? Are you tired?"

"Nah, I just don't wanna work you too hard. Don't want you to be too sore to train tomorrow."

"True," Brooke replied, pulling Faith's sweaty body to hers. Staring into those gorgeous chocolate eyes she whispered softly, "you wanna come with me?"

Faith smiled. "Throw in a slow CD and candles and I'm there," she purred, pressing their bodies closer.

Brooke tilted her head back with a low growl. She hadn't felt anything like this since her first time with Lily. But this felt very different. It felt right. She grabbed the brunette's hand and led her upstairs.


Drying her hair, she yawned. `I wonder if Nicole's back,' she thought. Hearing more giggling she grinned. Faith and Brooke were in the tub at the moment and they'd been giggling like school girls for the past hour. Combing her hair she decided to go search for Nic.

Walking out of the bathroom she got an idea. Knocking on another bathroom door she heard the laughter stop. "Don't worry, I won't rat you out. Have you guys seen or heard Nicole around?"

"Last time we saw her was when she was with you," Brooke replied. "Why? What's wrong?"

"Thanks," Amanda replied as she left. Walking quickly down the stairs she paused to think of where her lover would go. With a grin she opened the door to head out.

Nicole's limp form fell toward her, crashing onto the hard floor.

Amanda didn't scream though she wanted to. She didn't want to scare Brooke. Picking the blonde up she shut the door then headed to the nearest empty bathroom. Setting her down in the tub, she gathered supplies.

She examined the body closely. This was no regular murder case. Somebody wanted Nic to suffer like this, somebody wanted her dead. What Amanda couldn't figure out was why they had let her live. She began cleaning the wounds starting with the teen's face.


Brooke stretched as Faith ran a finger up the blonde's spine. "You wanna dry me off?" the blonde purred, biting her bottom lip.

Faith grinned. "Who could say no QB? It's an honor," she replied. Grabbing a towel she began to dry the other woman off. Sliding the cloth up the girl's thigh she became hesitant. She didn't know if this was what they both wanted or if it was too soon. Looking up, she hoped Brooke would understand.

Brooke swallowed hard. This felt a little awkward. It felt good but she wasn't sure she wanted that right now. Feeling the brunette hesitate, she smiled. "It's ok. You're just drying me off, remember?"

Faith relaxed, continuing. "Yeah. So QB, you ever done it on the first night?"

Brooke choked. "Actually, no. I just can't. Waiting is a way of me making sure things feel right. What about you?"

"I've made mistakes but I never get down on the first night. It ain't me."


Faith finished, tossing the towel aside. She bowed her head as she whispered, "yeah. Done some pretty horrible shit but I don't feel like talking about it now. I. . ."

Brooke kissed Faith gently. "Hey, you'll tell me when you're ready. Don't think I'll run off either because you're stuck with me."

"What if we fall through?" Faith whispered, almost positive the truth would scare Brooke off.

Brooke touched the brunette's cheek. "I won't stop caring. We're connected, remember? I'll always watch out for you even when we're fighting. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we're friends with benefits, you know what I mean?"

Faith nodded with a smile. "I don't mean to be all soft or anything but you know I feel the same way. I just. . .sometimes. . ."

"I know. I need reassurance too. Come on, I'll show you Nic's game room."

"Lead the way QB."


Amanda stared down at her dead lover. Once morning came her lover would live again but there was still time to kill. Seeing Nic like this made her wonder if she could do this. A tear fell from her eye as she whispered softly, "it'll be ok baby."

Touching Nicole's cheek was like holding ice. Could she handle Nicole dyeing like this? Would she be able to sit by and let it happen? She knew death and how it worked so she knew she could handle her lover dyeing but knowing she'd be gone for good some
day made her crazy. She knew she wouldn't let it happen and that was her only flaw. She cared and she would do anything for the young blonde. "You'll wake soon sweet angel. I know you can hear me so I have a confession to make. I've never fallen so fast or hard before. I've never felt this kind of love and I never want to lose this. I'm scared angel. I won't be able to protect you all of the time and I know you can take care of yourself but I'm still scared. I don't know what I'd do without you. I want you to know I'll be here when you wake up. I won't leave you," she whispered, laying beside the cold, lifeless body.


"You good QB?"

"Yeah. You?"

"These beds are great. Very comfy."

Brooke smiled. "You can scoot closer, I won't bite. Well, not yet anyway," she giggled as she turned over.

Faith scooted closer. She hadn't cuddled in ages but she still remembered how amazing it was. Wrapping her arms around the blonde she began to relax. She noticed Brooke was a little tense. "Hey, you ok?"

"I'm not use to this," Brooke confessed. She'd never cuddled with Josh and Lily hadn't been too fond of it either so she'd never really done it.

"Relax. It's just me and you. My arms around you, holding you close to me, close to my heart. Let your sense take you," Faith cooed with a grin.

Brooke eased as she buried her head in the crook of Faith's neck.

They both began to move, finding the perfect, most comfortable position. They fit together perfectly as they fell in to a deep sleep.


The next morning. . .

"I don't understand."

"You're a full fledge highlander now. Once you've died your first violent death you cross over to being a true immortal."

"So? What's different about crossing over? And why the title highlander?"

Amanda smiled. "The quickening. It's the essence of the immortal. That's what you feel when you sense them. The quickening includes things like memories, abilities and strengths to name a few. When you kill another immortal, the quickening flows into you, creating all of the chaos you witnessed yesterday. As for the name question, it's simple. It started with the MaCloeds from the Highlands of Scotland. You can pretty much figure out how they got the name. Immortals that are after the prize, like us, started using the word highlanders to separate us from other immortal factions. From what I've heard there are a lot of other immortal groups around here."

Nicole scrunched her brows. "I wouldn't know. Up until a few days ago my biggest worry was what I would be wearing to school Monday. I'm still getting use to this. I mean, I've fallen in love, been in a duel with my best friends sister, seen you kill another immortal and now I've died. What more could happen to change my life?"

"Do you wish none of this had happened?"

"Amanda, I didn't mean it like that. I'm blessed to have you here with me. I just need some time to come to terms with everything. It's only been a few days and the world I know is crashing down, in good ways and bad. You're the only good thing I have."

Amanda blushed. "Is being a teenager that bad? I can't remember. Back in my teen years I was fending for myself and stealing for a living. I didn't find out what I was until after my first death.

What I'm trying to say is keep your head up. Things will get better after a while."

"But not before they get worse right?"

Amanda sighed. "Just brace yourself. Whoever killed you knows exactly who you are and what you can do. I'm not sure what they want but we'll find out soon enough."


That night. . .

"Brookie? Hey! What brings you to my neck of the woods?"

"I came to um. . ."

"To see Faith?"

"Well, yeah."

"So, you two hit it off? Way to go B! I'm happy for ya."

"Thanks. Do you know where she is?"

"Her and Amanda are on their way back from the training room. They'll be out in a minute. You wanna go for a walk with us?"

"Where to?"

"Just around the grounds."


Faith and Amanda waltzed out of the mansion laughing. As soon as they saw Brooke they became silent. Amanda grinned as Brooke tackle hugged the raven haired woman.

"Hey Brooke," Amanda greeted, still grinning. Those two made a cute couple.

"Hey Amanda. So where are we headed?" Brooke asked as they began roaming a small area of the grounds.

"Good question QB. Looks like we're headin toward the orchards."

Nicole smiled. "I'm taking you all somewhere very special."

Amanda knew where they were headed and she took this as a sign. Nic had come to terms with what had happened to her parents and she'd forgiven them. "If it's this far out I'm guessing it must be pretty special."

"It is."

As they approached a wooded area Nicole, Amanda and Faith stopped. They all stared in the same direction. Something was wrong. "Stay here," Nicole ordered.

Amanda tried to reach for her lover but she was gone. "We should go with her. She doesn't know what she's in for," Amanda informed as she and the others followed Nic.

They arrived to find Nicole starring down a handsome man with jet black hair. Sam was on the ground with the man's sword to her neck. "I'll take her place. She's not qualified to
fight you, as you can see. I challenge you," Nicole growled.

He smirked. "Very well. I'm Kaitou. I accept your challenge little girl but don't think I'm through with her just yet," he laughed, throwing Sam at Faith and Amanda. "Prepare to lose your head." He took his stance, examining her closely. He could tell she was new but she was strong. He could feel it.

Nicole took her strongest stance. Bowing, they circled each other. Kaitou didn't appear threatening but Nic knew how deceiving looks could be. He had pale skin, no muscle, tight clothes and a very weak left knee. His weakest point, however, was his ego. She could already tell by the way he acted. Finding her chance, she swung to begin the fight.

Kaitou laughed as he countered. They went back and forth yet he didn't even seem amused. This was child's play to him. He'd seen chess games more fierce than this. Guarding his left leg he spun into the air and vanished.

Nicole closed her eyes. Concentrating, she tried to sense him. She'd learned this years back in Tai Chi Chuan but she still remembered the training. Finding his energy she stabbed him in the side.

He came crashing to the ground, now visible. Jumping to his feet, he touched his wound. "Foolish child. Look what you've gone and done. I just had this shirt dry cleaned. Well I suppose it's the price I have to pay for toying with my victim. No more playing, time for business," he growled. His body became tense and glowed forest green.

He went to speak but Nicole cut him off by shoving her blade in his stomach. "Shut up and fight."

He coughed blood. "That wasn't very nice," he spat. He moved faster than she could see, hitting her multiple times with his hands, feet and even the nabyshi of his sword. Jumping back he prepared to take her head.

She stood there dizzily, bleeding and nearly unconscious. That was when she realized she knew this man. Her eyes shot open as he swung his blade. She caught the blade and threw him back. "How dare you. Why?"

"Your father," he spat.

"What's your quarrel with me bitch boy?" she hissed as they continued dueling.

"I killed him and swore his bloodline would vanish thanks to my vengeance but then you had to show up. Your whole bloodline is cursed and you will be the next to die!"

They fought faster, fiercer. They tore at each other and screamed insults as the small group watched. Some in horror, some in shock, some in hope and some in confusion. This battle would end soon but nobody could tell who would claim victory.

"Wearing down half pint? I'm not even breaking a sweat," he laughed.

Nicole grinned, standing very still. "Who said anything about being tired? I'm just warming up. C'mon, I know you can do better than that."

Mumbling under his breath, he grinned. Nicole suddenly flew back into a tree. He threw her around as he laughed. Suddenly she stopped moving. He frowned, trying to move her with his mind. "What the. . ."

Cracking her neck, she smirked. "Cheap tricks won't cut it bitch boy. You just annoyed me," she said calmly as she stopped floating and landed on the ground. Leaping from where she stood she began to beat the crap out of him. She went after him with a vengeance but soon the tables had turned. He was winning again. He swung, aiming to take her head but she ducked, taking out his left knee with her blade. Flipping back a few steps she gave him one last look before she beheaded her fathers murderer.

Lightning crashed as the wind began to roar. Windows shattered and alarms sounded as the quickening rose from the limp form. It sunk into Nicole's body, shaking her slightly. All that had belonged to Kaitou now flooded her mind and body. She could feel the power in her veins, on her skin and all around her. Her surroundings calmed as she fell to her knees. She'd never felt something so strong let alone possessed it.

Amanda knelt by her side. "It gets easier. C'mon, lets go back to the house."

Sam stood. "Nicole. . ."

She looked up, her vision returning. Her mouth fell to the floor. Sam had just called her by her name and not some snide nick name. Blinking a few times she decided to speak. "What Sp. . .Sam?"

Sam walked over to the two blondes and held her hand out to Nicole. Nic cautiously took it. "Thanks," Sam whispered as she pulled the other woman up.

Nicole was about to make a snide comment when she realized now wasn't the time or place. They all headed toward the house in silence. "Hey Spam?"

"Yeah Satan?"

"You wanna train with us?"

Sam smiled. She didn't want to fight with Nic anymore. It was getting old. Sure they'd still have their battle of the wits but if she took this opportunity it could make things in Santa Monica a hell of a lot easier. "Sure. Who are your friends?"

Amanda smiled. She knew in the future that Sam and Nicole would duel but that wouldn't happen until everyone they both cared about had passed on so this alliance was good. She knew she could teach Sam quite a bit but she also knew the two teens would learn things on their own. "I'm Nic's girlfriend and sparring partner Amanda," she informed, shaking the brunettes hand.

Sam nearly fainted. Nicole Julian was gay? Now that was shocking (well at least to the characters that know her but us writers on the other hand, let me tell you, we know how gay Nicole REALLY is. We do write this stuff though, don't we?). "N-Nice to meet you," she stuttered in shock as Amanda let her hand go.

Faith smiled. "I'm Faith, QB's trainer and girlfriend," she said as she pointed at Brooke.

Sam's eyes widened as she stared at the four of them. "Brooke, this is a joke right?"

"Sammy I've been meaning to tell you but you've been really busy lately. I didn't want you to take it the wrong way. Sorry."

"I understand. I am one of Lily's best friends. And no, I won't tell her. BTW, I organized your Maxim, Stuff and FHM collections. I got bored. Oh, and I borrowed your Sarah Michelle Gellar Maxim issue."

"I still don't know what you see in her. Eliza's WAY hotter."

"Your opinion doesn't count. I have my own tastes."



"So now what?"

Nicole frowned. "Who's staying and who's going?"

"You ain't gettin rid of me yet Blondie. I got nothin to go back to and I've become kinda attached to QB, ya know?"

Nicole nodded then looked at Amanda. She felt a lump in her throat and her stomach was turning wildly with unease. She knew Amanda but she didn't know if this connection had been convenient or if it was fate. She was in love with the other woman but the feeling of impending doom still lurked within.

Amanda was surprised Nic even had to ask if she was staying. The answer was written all over her face but she knew the teen couldn't read her that well just yet so she replied with a kiss. "Like I told you before, I won't leave."

"Awwww," Sam mocked with a smile. She was glad both Brooke and Nic had found their soul mates but she was also a little jealous.

They all looked at Nick who was deep in thought. He was concentrating very hard when he realized they were staring at him. "What?"

Amanda laughed. "Where have you been Nick? Are you staying here or going back?

"I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to explain this whole Kaitou situation to my new boss. He's not gonna buy it unless I get proof. And besides, I'm sure stranger things have happened in the Hellmouth."

Amanda grinned. That was his way of saying he would stay and this pleased her. The only thing she didn't understand was this talk about a Hellmouth. "Hellmouth?"

"Yeah. It's not here in Santa Monica but it's near by, in a place name Sunnydale. The Hellmouth is literally the mouth of hell. Years ago a slayer made sure it didn't open and destroy the world. Even though it's dormant it still attracts a lot of attention in the immortal world."

"The slayer? Interesting. I've heard the legend but I didn't know she really existed. Maybe we should check it out," Amanda replied.

"That's what I was thinking. I mean it couldn't do any harm, right?"

"Wrong," Faith growled. "If any of you want to stay in one piece you'll stay here. The Hellmouth ain't a place you wanna fuck with."

"Sounds like you know it," Amanda stated.

"I do."

Nicole raised a brow. "I don't care how well you know it, I'm going. It's not like I have anything to be afraid of."

"You know what Satan, you have a point. The most we have to worry about are other immortals, so what's the big deal?" Sam added.

"What's the big deal?" Faith boomed angrily. "I'll tell you what the big deal is. Every day new demons come to town. Each new group is smarter, faster and more lethal. Each faction brings more death, more sorrow. I ain't going back," she screamed, on the verge
of tears. So many she'd known had died the last time she was in Sunnydale and she wouldn't let that happen to these people.

Sam, Nicole, Brooke and Nick stared at her wide eyed. They'd never seen her like this. She'd never really showed any emotions around them but they saw every emotion now. Fear, pain, anger, sadness. Amanda frowned. There had to be a reason Faith had been there and left. "Why were you there?" she asked cautiously.

"I had to go back. It was my duty. Angel sprung me outta the pen and I decided to help him as payback. I got too close. B called up and said she needed us so we went to Sunnydale," she whispered, rubbing her temples.

"Your duty?"

"Yeah. I'm a slayer."

Nick narrowed his eyes. "A slayer? There's only one! You're lying."

"You wanna test me to fuckin find out cop boy? There are two slayers. B was summoned first. She was drown by the master. She was only dead for two minutes before they brought her back but they summoned this other chick to be the slayer. When she died they summoned me," she hissed.

Amanda gave Nick the "shut up, I'll handle this" look then sat next to Faith. "What happened?"

"Me and Red had to check out the graveyard. We went to see if Spike would help us. He wasn't there. That's when we saw the others in a fight. We jumped in and the enemy ran. Later me and Red found a cave. We checked it out. They trapped us and a lot of others. They almost had Red but . . . I pinned her to the floor as they ripped innocent people apart limb from limb. They ripped their skin off, drank their blood and ate their flesh. They. . .they let us off easy. They needed us to send a message to the slayer. Kaitou was their leader. He left that night. I sent Red to tell B that she was dealin with some flesh eatin vamps and since I knew she could handle them I was leaving. I went after Kaitou myself and followed him here. You know the rest," Faith replied somberly.

"How many of them were your friends?"

Faith closed her eyes. She saw Codelia and Angel dancing along a smooth marble dance floor as Gunn and Fred joked about how serious Wes always looked. Wes stood at the punch bowl smiling as she approached. The memory shattered as she opened her eyes. Blinking away a tear, she whispered, "four."

Amanda bowed her head. "I'm sorry."

The others were speechless. Faith had good reasons for wanting them to stay here. Nick felt bad for the way he'd treated Faith when she'd said she was a slayer. He knew how it felt to lose but he'd never seen anything near what Faith had been put through. He stood behind the others with a frown. Maybe going there wasn't such a good idea. "Maybe. . ."

"We should still go but we have to make a pact. Nicole, Sam, Faith, we need to protect Nick, Brooke and any other human mortals at any cost. We can't let anyone else die like that."

"I'm in. We can tell our parents we're going somewhere with friends, right Brooke?" Sam replied.

"Right," Brooke confirmed, glancing at Faith. She knew the slayer was hiding something but she wasn't quite sure what. She decided not to worry about it. After all, she'd ask Faith about it tonight.

Faith nodded. "I'm going if QB is. That shit ain't happenin again."

Nicole smiled. "Then it's settled. We leave at dawn."


"So Miss Slayer, what are you hiding? I know you didn't want to say something in front of them and I respect that but it's just me now. You don't have to pretend around me," Brooke whispered as she laid beside the brunette.

"Hiding? I don't know what you're. . ."

"Don't even go there," Brooke interrupted. "You know exactly what I'm talking about so don't even play it off like you don't."

Faith smiled. Brooke read her in ways Buffy never could and that made her thankful. She knew this girl was THE one and she thanked the powers for every second she was spending with Brooke. She'd never loved anyone the way she loved Brooke and it kinda scared her. She didn't want to ruin this. "It's a fucked up story QB. You don't wanna know about it."

Brooke snuggled closer. "I'm not gonna run off Faith. I don't care about who you were, just who you are. If it's an important part of you then I wanna know about her," she replied, not realizing she'd slipped. So what if she had suspicions about this "fucked up story", she had a right to.

"Her name's Buffy. We. . .we use to be more than friends but she couldn't deal. She hurt me so I hurt her back. I hurt her worse than she could ever hurt me. She's gentle, soft and fragile like glass. I broke her cause she didn't want her perfect little straight world to crumble. But it did and I made it happen. She never really wanted me. She wanted to make Angel jealous and when it didn't work she shattered me. That's when I joined the dark side and tried to take over the world with the mayor. I shot Angel with a poisoned  arrow and the only way to save him was the blood of a slayer. B came after me. When we fought I could taste him on her, smell him all over her. It made my skin crawl. I was disgusted with myself for letting her use me and pissed cause I actually loved her. I still  kinda do. She put me in a coma. When I came back Red was a dyke and had a cute little Wiccan girlfriend, B had a new boy and I was alone. The mayor lost against B but he left me a toy. I switched bodies with her. It felt amazing. I felt at home in her body, like I belonged there. She figured out how to switch us back and she did. I ran. I had to get away from her. She looked sorry but I couldn't let her hurt me again. I went to LA and ended up turning myself in for a bunch of crimes I'd committed. I was there for a few months when they let me out on good behavior and bail. Angel took me in. I'd forgiven him and I got close to him and his friends. My friends. Buffy needed our help and I told him to let her deal with it. He reminded me that B's his top priority and that I should keep him as a friend rather than an enemy. I went and my friends died. I didn't even see Buffy before I left. Her and Angel have made an enemy they don't want. It's their fault that Cordi, Fred, Wes and Gunn are dead," she nearly sobbed, trying to hold in her tears and

"I'm sorry baby. I didn't mean to upset you," Brooke cooed. Holding Faith tight, she whispered "let it out Faith. I won't tell anyone."

Faith felt the tears rain down her face as she sniffled, "why? Why did they do this to me?"

"I don't know baby but I won't let those fuckers hurt you again. If they wanna mess with you they'll have to go through all of us first," Brooke reassured as she took her lover in her arms and rocked her to sleep.


"What do you think of Faith?"

"I like her. She gives me good vibes. For some reason I feel very connected to her and I don't know why. Wish I did though."

"Maybe she's just like you. I mean, she does have a different story but you both have social and emotional problems. You pushed people away through anger and made them fear or hate you so they wouldn't get close. But both of you have changed."

"Because of you and Brookie. We couldn't have done it without you two. We would have been lost and blind forever."

Amanda smiled. "I know what you mean. You saved me from something I couldn't control. I'm sure Brooke feels the same about Faith. Nicole, I love you," she confessed, not realizing she'd said that out loud.

Nicole half turned her head toward the other woman. With a smile she whispered in reply, "I love you too Amanda."

For the longest time it was silent. They didn't move nor speak. The only sound that filled the room was breathing. Then Nicole felt something soft crash into her side. She looked down to find a pillow at her feet. Meeting Amanda's eyes she grabbed the pillow and
jumped at her. They rolled around on the bed in a fit of laughter as they swatted each other with the pillows.

Brooke sighed as she approached the door. They sounded like they were having fun and she hated to disturb them but she had to talk to them. Seeing Faith like that drove her crazy. Tapping on the door, she pause to wait for their word.

They paused, frozen in their position. "Come in," Nicole said softly.

Brooke stepped in, shutting the door behind her. "Hey."

"Brookie? What's up? You look worried."

"I need to talk to you guys about our trip to Sunnydale."

"What about it?" Amanda asked curiously.

"It's about the other slayer. Watch her carefully. I don't like her nor do I trust her," she whispered coldly, gritting her teeth.

"What did she do to Faith?" Nicole whispered, her temper flaring.

"I can't tell you. If Faith wants you to know she'll tell you but I will say it was really fucked up. We need to make sure she'll be ok. I don't want her to get hurt."

"I won't let anything happen to her. She's our friend and I'm very protective of my friends," Amanda replied.

Nicole nodded. "Yeah, we'll do all we can Brookie."

"Thanks you guys."

~<>~ TBC ~<>~

So, are you interested in seeing the next part? You are? I must be losing my touch. Anyhow, tell me what you think so I can post more when I come back again in a month.

Lots of love,
~<>~ Mel ~<>~

PS I'm working as hard as I can on the next part of By the Gods but it's a LONG one so it may take a while.

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