THE BUFFY TAPES
Disclaimer: All of the materials borrowed from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon and to the entities and companies associated with their creation. I have borrowed them for creative and entertainment purposes only. No compensation has been or ever shall be received for the writing below. No copyright infringement is intended.
My Website: http://www.dragonwriter17.net/
Feedback: Yes, but only if it’s of the non-flamey variety: DragonWriter17@aol.com
Distribution: The Mystic Muse and my personal site (If you are interested in posting my story on your site, please contact me first for permission.)
Spoilers: BtVS Season 3’s Faith episodes and Season 4’s “This Year’s Girl”
Author’s Notes: (1) I have borrowed some from the episodes above, but mostly from “This Year’s Girl.” I have used the transcripts from the Buffy vs. Angel web site for the scenes that I borrowed, modifying them as needed. Thank you Buffy vs. Angel! (2) Some parts of this story are set in Season 3, but they are occurring “behind the scenes.” That is, I tried to write the scenes as if they could really have happened in between the actual aired episodes or in between the scenes of the actual aired episodes. (3) I’m writing this one in modified Watchers style. This means that it uses scene headers from screenplay format, but the text is written in fiction format. Unlike Watchers, though, I may occasionally show a character’s thoughts in italics. (4) And thanks, as always, to Lilly for the beta read and edit!
Number of Chapters: 3
Story Premise: Faith awakens from her coma and finds that the Council has been recording surveillance of her hospital room. She finds a stack of videotapes that contain recordings of Buffy’s visits to see her. What do the tapes reveal? And how does Faith react to seeing them?
Part 01 Summary:
After months of nightmares and observation by the Council, Faith wakes up
from her coma. She escapes from the hospital and finds Sunnydale a very
Buffy fluffed a white sheet in the air and let it fall over her bed. The late afternoon sun shone through her window, lighting the room. She smoothed the edges and smiled.
“They smell good, don’t they?” she said.
She looked up across the bed at Faith, who was smoothing the sheet on the other side.
“What?” Faith asked.
Buffy’s smile grew. “Clean sheets. Like summer.”
Faith shrugged. “I wouldn’t know.”
Buffy’s smile went away. “Right. I forgot.”
“I noticed,” Faith said.
“I-I-I wish I could stay,” Buffy started to say, “but...”
“...you have to go,” Faith finished.
“It’s just with...”
“Little sis coming,” Faith said. “I know. So much to do before she gets here.”
The two slayers had finished with the sheet and were now standing beside each other at the foot of the bed.
“Now I really have to—” Buffy said regretfully.
“So go,” Faith told her. “Don’t let me keep—”
Faith stopped and looked down. She saw two blood drops staining the pristine white sheet. Two more drops also hit the sheet.
“Damn,” Faith said to Buffy. “Just when we made it so nice.”
Faith straightened up and looked down at her body. She lifted her eyes to meet Buffy’s, but the blonde’s expression was coldly stoic.
Faith’s face creased in concern. “Are you ever gonna take this thing out?”
Faith looked down to see Buffy’s hand wrapped around the handle of a large knife—the one the Mayor had given to her, the one Buffy had stabbed her with before Graduation Day. The knife was embedded in Faith’s stomach, and blood seeped out around the blade.
Faith looked pleadingly into Buffy’s eyes, but the blonde was completely emotionless. Suddenly, Buffy violently jerked the knife upwards. Faith opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out.
Faith’s eyes were closed, but her head jerked as if she were dreaming. The rails that lined the bed, the IV tube that fed into her arm, and the sound of the rapidly beeping heart monitor attested to her still comatose condition.
Her room was dim and drab, clearly neglected, but today Faith wasn’t alone. As lightning flashed through the small basement window, two women stood next to Faith’s hospital bed. One was short, heavy-set, and dressed in a nurse’s uniform. Her hair was graying, and her nametag read “Doris.” The other was tall, thin, and impeccably dressed in a dark suit; her hair was long and blonde, and at the moment, she lightly rested well-manicured fingers across Faith’s arm.
“Any change?” Doris asked.
The other woman didn’t answer; she kept her eyes closed and her focus on Faith as she read the sleeping slayer’s mind.
Dr. Margravine Petrova, psychic and psychiatrist in the employ of the Council, opened her eyes and looked at Doris, who stood across from her.
“Is she still salvageable?” the nurse asked.
“Very much so,” the telepath answered, her English tinged with a slight Russian accent.
Doris frowned in response.
Margravine sent Doris a narrowed glare. “Tell Quentin that if he is looking for an excuse to order a termination, he shall not get it from me.” She sighed and turned back to Faith, giving the girl’s forehead a gentle caress. “If anything, she is even more troubled than ever.” The blonde woman’s face creased into a frown. “So much pain...so much darkness...”
“Darkness?” Doris asked in a concerned voice.
“Not in the way you think, my friend,” Margravine told her. Then her face grew sad. “There is no brightness in her, no light, and no hope that there shall ever be any.”
Now it was Doris’s turn to look sad.
Margravine’s lips grew tight as she angrily shook her head. “If Quentin Travers had ordered for her the intensive therapy that I requested when I first examined her as a potential, she would not be here today. Any blood she has shed...it is on his hands.”
For a moment the two simply stared quietly at the sleeping Faith. Then Doris finally spoke up.
“Do you think she’ll actually wake up?” Doris asked.
“Oh yes,” Margravine instantly replied. “And soon.”
“The doctor says her brain waves have changed, but not enough to signal an awakening. He says it’s useless to hope otherwise.”
The blonde telepath gave a loud scoff. “Doctors...they cannot see what I see. Her thoughts, her dreams, they are...” She held one hand in the air with the palm parallel to the floor; she put the other beneath and wiggled her fingers. “...they are closer to the surface now. You understand?”
“Watch her carefully, and call me at once if there is any change,” Margravine said before turning to look at Faith once again. She saw Faith smile faintly in her sleep. “It will be soon, very soon indeed.”
Flashback To Before
Buffy and Faith moved like lightning among the gang of vampires that had been hunting near the Bronze. After dusting at least a couple in the first sweep, the two slayers were now back to back, each fighting off two vamps in almost identical patterns of ducking, punching, deflecting, kicking, and finally staking. When it was down to the last two vamps, they sank their stakes in at same exact moment, sending a final sheet of vampire dust swirling around them.
“Hot damn!” Faith called out as she smacked Buffy’s palm in an exultant high five.
“Slayers six, Vampires zero!” Buffy added proudly. “Total count for the night: sixteen.”
“God, that was awesome!” Faith said, pacing around, clearly pumped up by the experience. “I could do this all night!”
“Unfortunately for our count board,” Buffy said as she began brushing the dust off her own clothes and Faith’s, “I think tonight’s line of evil has been tapped out.”
“You think? Really?” Faith said, disappointed.
“Never fear. A slayer’s work is never done, and tomorrow is another day...or another night in this case.”
Faith was pouting, but then an idea popped into her head, and the pout became a smile. “Hey, wanna go inside and dance? It’s too early to go home now.”
Buffy looked at her watch. “It’s pretty late. It’s probably only an hour till closing...”
Faith gave her a full-dimpled grin complete with raised eyebrow, and Buffy easily caved.
“Okay,” Buffy replied, matching Faith’s smile.
Since it was near closing time on a weeknight, the club was sparsely populated. There were a few couples tucked into the dark corners and the bartender himself. And, of course, Faith and Buffy, who were heating up the dance floor all by themselves.
As a fast number boomed from the speakers, the two slayers were dancing wildly and hotly with one another, oblivious to the world around them. When the current song ended, it segued immediately into a smooth slow song. Upon hearing the change, Buffy started to leave the dance floor, but Faith reached out for her hand.
“Hey, where ya goin’?” Faith called out as she pulled Buffy into her arms.
“Faith...” Buffy said in a chiding voice.
She tried to pull out of Faith’s grasp, but Faith wouldn’t release her. She eventually stopped trying altogether and just let Faith hold her. Soon she placed her own hands at Faith’s hips.
“What’sa matter? Never slow-dance with another girl before?” Faith asked in a teasing voice as they moved to the music.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Not since I was eight at my aunt’s wedding reception,” she answered.
“High time, then,” Faith said, flashing that magnetic smile of hers.
Unable to resist the dark slayer’s charisma, Buffy smiled back and gave herself over to the dance.
A couple of minutes into the song, Faith’s smile became an impish smirk, and she leaned over to whisper into Buffy’s ear.
“See the bartender?” Faith asked.
Buffy surreptitiously cut her eyes toward him. He was staring right at them and practically drooling on the bar.
“He can’t take his eyes off us,” Faith said. “Wanna yank his chain?”
Buffy pulled back so that she could look into Faith’s eyes. Then she quite purposefully matched Faith’s impish smirk. Faith took that as a yes.
Faith’s smirk became a hungry, devilish grin as she slowly and sensually ran her hands from Buffy’s shoulder blades down her back. She brought her hands around to the front, running her fingertips up Buffy’s arm to her shoulders and then down her back once again, this time pulling her even closer. Not stopping there, Faith used both hands to caress Buffy’s ass through her tight jeans.
Buffy was breathing hard, running her hands possessively along Faith’s back, nearly moaning when Faith gave her ass cheeks a final squeeze. When Faith leaned close and nuzzled against Buffy’s neck, the blonde let her head fall back a bit and closed her eyes.
“Is he still watching?” Faith whispered huskily in Buffy’s ear.
It took a moment for Buffy to respond. Then her eyes shot open, and she glanced over at the bartender. “Oh! Ummm, yeah.”
She is loving this, Faith thought to herself. She is so busted. Faith chuckled and pulled back until she was nose to nose with Buffy.
“Should we give him the payoff?” Faith inquired.
Buffy was confused. “The payoff?” she asked, still breathing hard.
Faith winked before puckering her lips into an air-kiss for clarification. Buffy’s mouth fell slightly open for a moment; then she swallowed noticeably. But she said nothing in reply; she seemed frozen in place.
At that, Faith just grinned and said evilly, “Nah...let’s make him suffer.”
Then Faith pulled away, draped her arm over Buffy’s shoulder, and led her off the dance floor. She guided them right past the bar.
“Night...” she called out to the bartender in a sweet sing-song voice.
As the bartender dumbly gave them a little wave, Faith hurried Buffy out the door, beginning to snicker as they exited.
Flashback To Between
“Lover’s Walk” and “The Wish”:
Faith and Buffy were finishing off a particularly large demon that had taken them nearly an hour to track and slay. When it was over, they were on the ground, panting from the exertion, but wide smiles were on their faces. When they looked at each other, they felt something move through them. It was the thrill of the hunt, the glory of the fight, the climax of the slay; it all combined with their growing attraction to one another and created a very powerful wave of slayer lust.
Faith got up and stumbled over to Buffy. She held out her hand. “You okay?”
“Yeah. You?” Buffy said as she took Faith’s hand and allowed the dark slayer to pull her to her feet.
Once Buffy was up, the two slayers should have released hands, but they didn’t. They just stood there, looking into each other’s eyes, seemingly mesmerized, as they finished their conversation on automatic.
“Five by five.”
It was Faith who made the first move. She used her grip on Buffy’s hand to tug the blonde toward her. Then she slipped her free hand beneath Buffy’s hair at the base of her neck, pulling her into a crushing kiss.
It happened so quickly that Buffy didn’t have time to resist. She surrendered herself to the kiss, returning it eagerly, letting her hands roam freely over Faith’s back and sides.
Suddenly, something snapped in Buffy, causing her to abruptly end the kiss. She pushed away from Faith and took several steps back.
Without making eye contact with Faith, she held her index finger in the air and said, “Okay...that was a mistake.” She began pacing the area. “That should not have happened.” After pacing a bit more, she ventured a glance in Faith’s direction.
Faith had a look of disgusted disbelief on her face at what Buffy had just said. “Are you kidding me?!!” Faith shot back in a frustrated voice.
Buffy was already in denial mode. “Seriously,” she said, crossing her arms and shaking her head. “I-I-I don’t know why I did that.”
“Because you wanted to,” Faith answered for her. “Because it was hot.”
“No,” Buffy explained in a logical voice, raising her finger once again. “I’m with Angel and—”
“No, you’re not,” Faith pointed out. “You can’t be. Remember? And if you’d stop wasting time wishing for what you can’t have, maybe you could move on!”
“Move on to what?” Buffy countered angrily. “Hot but meaningless sex with whoever’s convenient?”
Faith didn’t have a reply.
“That ‘get-some-get-gone’ M.O. is your thing, Faith, not mine.”
While Buffy walked off, Faith stayed behind, her face twisted into a scowl. Once Buffy was out of sight, though, Faith’s expression changed into something more sad than mad. Buffy’s final retort kept replaying in her mind. Every time the word ‘meaningless’ was repeated, Faith felt a sting in her heart. She hung her head and closed her eyes.
After a long moment, Faith opened her eyes and forced herself to shake off the encounter. Then she headed off in the direction opposite from the one Buffy had taken.
Flashback To After
It was late on Christmas night at the Summers home. The snow that had fallen earlier in the day still remained. Although Buffy hadn’t returned until mid-afternoon that day, she and her mother and Faith had had a very nice time, eating dinner together, opening presents, telling stories.
After sharing an eggnog toast by the fire with the girls, Joyce finally announced that she was going to bed. She made her good nights and left the two slayers alone.
With her mother gone, Buffy dropped the festive façade that she had been maintaining. She set aside her barely-touched glass of eggnog and plopped wearily onto the sofa. Faith downed the rest of her eggnog and then sat on the edge of the couch near Buffy.
“Rough day, huh?” Faith commented.
“You could say that, yeah,” Buffy replied.
“But...Angel’s okay?” Faith asked tentatively, dreading the answer.
Buffy nodded, then leaned up and rested her elbows on her knees. “I think he’s free of the hold the First had on him. I’m sure he’ll be fine now.”
“Good. That’s good,” Faith said mechanically before glancing away.
The two fell into awkward silence. Faith’s eyes darted around the room, landing anywhere but on Buffy as she struggled to come up with something appropriate to say. The sudden sound of a stifled sob made her turn immediately to Buffy. She found the blonde covering her face with both hands and crying hard.
Hesitantly, Faith moved closer and placed a hand on Buffy’s back. “Hey, a-a-are you okay? What’s the matter? What’s wrong?”
At first, Buffy only sobbed louder. Then she leaned up and dropped her hands. “Everything,” she whispered in a choked voice. “I almost lost Angel today.” She turned to face Faith and made a helpless shrug. “He was going to kill himself. Just let dawn catch him on an isolated ridge.”
“But...you saved him, right?”
Buffy shook her head. “Not me. I tried, but he wouldn’t listen, and then time ran out, and—”
Buffy slumped for a moment, as if giving up on how to explain what had happened. Then she got up and walked to the window. Faith followed. Buffy opened the curtain and gestured at the snow outside. Faith got it: heavy cloud cover plus showers of snow equal no sun.
“It was a miracle,” Buffy said, but without any awe or elation. Instead, she had hopeless tears streaming down her face. She looked at Faith, who stood beside her. “I should be happy. Angel’s alive, and we even got to walk around town together in the middle of the day...I should be happy, but I’m not.”
Buffy’s crying was turning into sobs again, but this time into angry, frustrated ones. She went on in a shuddering voice as she paced the living room floor.
“It doesn’t change anything! One stupid snow-day walk doesn’t change a single thing! It’s just a cruel reminder of what Angel and I can never have!” Her rage temporarily spent, Buffy stopped pacing and brought her hands to her face again. “It’s not fair,” she sobbed, “it’s not fair...”
Faith hurried over to Buffy and quickly pulled her into a warm hug. She gently stroked Buffy’s back as the blonde cried against her. “It’s okay,” she told her. “It’s okay. I’ve got you.” Faith repeated those words many times before Buffy’s sobs finally subsided.
Buffy pulled back from their embrace but not away. Her eyes were anguished as she met Faith’s concerned gaze. “What am I going to do?” she pleaded hoarsely, tears still trickling down her face. “I—”
“Shhhh,” Faith whispered, reaching up to brush the tears from Buffy’s cheek with her thumb. “Don’t worry about that right now. Everything will be okay. You’ll see.”
Buffy’s eyes softened in heartfelt gratitude, and when Faith leaned forward and placed a comforting kiss on her lips, she couldn’t help but respond. She lifted her hand to Faith’s cheek, caressing it as she returned the dark slayer’s embrace.
But then, as before, something inside Buffy made her stop, forced her to pull out of the kiss and place her hand against Faith’s chest. “I can’t,” she whispered, her eyes downcast. “I just...can’t...”
Faith cupped Buffy’s cheek and waited for her to glance back up. When she did, Faith softly asked, “Why not? I know you want to.”
Buffy’s expression was agonized as the two slayers stared deeply into each other’s eyes. After what seemed like an eternity, Buffy pulled out of Faith’s arms and backed away.
“Because I’m too screwed up right now to even think about another relationship,” Buffy answered, her gaze averted. After letting out a deep breath, she added ruefully, “Besides, I know this is just a fling for you, and I—”
Faith cut her off with a question. “What if I told you it wasn’t?”
Buffy’s head shot up. Shock was on her face when she saw the sincerity in Faith’s eyes. For a moment, she seemed to consider Faith’s unspoken offer, but then she dropped her gaze and silently shook her head.
Faith glanced away. She felt tears forming in her own eyes, but she gritted her teeth and clenched her jaw and forced the sadness down. “It’s late,” she said. “I should go.” She headed for the front door.
“Faith!” Buffy called out.
Faith ignored Buffy’s plea. She continued toward the door, talking over her shoulder. “Thanks for inviting me. I’ll see you around.”
Without another word, Faith walked out of the door and into the cold winter night, alone, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Flashback To The End of “Consequences”:
It was mere minutes since Buffy and Faith had fought for their lives on the docks against the Mayor’s assassins—Mr. Trick and his minions—and mere hours since Faith had accidentally killed Allan Finch and then blamed Buffy for it, since Buffy and Angel had tried to reach out to Faith, only to be foiled by Wesley and his Council thugs.
Now the two slayers walked in silence as they made their way from the docks back into town. Eventually, Buffy spoke up.
“Thanks, by the way,” she offered.
“For what?” Faith asked.
“For taking out Trick,” she answered. “For saving my life.”
Faith shrugged in reply. “You shoved me out of the way of those pallets. Seemed only fair.”
“A-A-And for not running,” Buffy quickly added. “I really think it’s the right thing to do.”
“Easy for you to say,” Faith grumbled. “You’re not the one they’re gonna throw in jail.”
Buffy stopped walking, so Faith stopped, too.
“That’s not gonna happen,” Buffy told her. “You’ll see. Giles said accidents like this have happened to other slayers. The Council will fix this.”
Faith scoffed loudly and started walking again. “If chains and armored vans are their idea of ‘fixing’ things, then I’ll take my chances on the road.”
“Please,” Buffy begged. “Please don’t.”
“Why not?” Faith said bitterly. “No one here is gonna miss me.”
“I will,” Buffy said.
Faith snorted derisively then said, “You’d just miss having another slayer around. You wouldn’t miss me.”
“That’s not true,” Buffy insisted.
Faith stopped walking and pointed her index finger at Buffy. “Prove it,” she dared. “Stop this little dance of denial you’ve been on and tell me you care.”
“Of course I care!” Buffy blurted. “Why do you think I went down to the docks to stop you?”
Faith folded her arms and glared. This was not what she was asking Buffy to say, and Buffy knew it. Still, the blonde could not bring herself to say the words. She sadly dropped her gaze and said nothing.
“Never mind,” Faith said sharply. “Just forget it.”
Faith turned off onto a side street and walked away.
“Faith!” Buffy cried out.
Faith ignored her and walked on, roughly wiping away the tears rolling down her cheeks and steeling herself against any tears to come.
“Do you think it’s gonna rain?”
A barefoot Faith was lying on a picnic blanket. She was wearing a light blue shirt and a bright pink skirt. Mayor Richard Wilkins was lying on the other side of the blanket, eating a sandwich. Faith just picked at the grapes on her own plate.
“Nonsense,” the Mayor answered. “It’s a beautiful day. Now eat your sandwich.” He wiped his mouth with a napkin.
Faith viewed the sky with concern. “I don’t know. It’s just...it always seems like it starts raining right about now.” She popped a grape into her mouth.
“You’re too young and too pretty a girl to start wearing worry lines on your face,” Wilkins told her. Suddenly, he saw something and sat up to take a closer look. “Well, hey, hey hey,” he said as he picked up a small grass snake that was slithering across the blanket.
Faith frowned when she saw it.
“Hey there, little fella,” Wilkins told the snake as he chuckled. “I don’t know where you belong, but it’s not here with us.” He set the snake down and pointed it towards the grass. “There you go.” After releasing the snake, he turned back to Faith. “You see? There’s nothing that’s gonna spoil our time together. Who wants cheesecake?” He gave a light laugh.
Faith smiled as the Mayor turned to open the picnic basket. Horror suddenly filled Faith’s expression. “NO!” she screamed in alarm.
A black-clad Buffy was suddenly standing in front of Wilkins, holding Faith’s knife in her hand. Buffy swung the blade down across the Mayor’s throat. He gagged, but before he could fall, she thrust the knife into his chest. She pulled it and let him fall, then fixed her emotionless gaze on Faith.
“I told you I had things to do,” Buffy said.
Terrified, Faith started backing away. Then, in a panic, she turned and fled on her hands and knees.
Holding the blood-covered knife raised at her elbow, Buffy calmly stalked after her.
It was now nighttime as Faith ran for her life through the trees, looking over her shoulder. She emerged from the trees and raced across the street to a cemetery. She was no longer wearing her bright clothes; now she wore a dark jean jacket over a red tank top, black leather pants, and heavy boots.
Somewhere behind Faith, Buffy continued to calmly walk through the trees after Faith, the large knife still in her hand.
Faith was making her way through the many headstones, running as fast as she could. But she didn’t seem to be putting any distance between herself and Buffy.
Still in the coma, Faith’s body was now jerking as she dreamed. Her closed eyelids were fluttering.
Faith was still running through the cemetery. She looked over her shoulder at Buffy, who seemed to be gaining on her.
Now Faith’s closed eyes were moving even more rapidly.
Breathing hard, trying to run faster, Faith almost hit a headstone. She stumbled and looked over her shoulder. Before she could regain her balance, she fell into an open grave.
Buffy stepped up to the edge and looked down into the grave. The blonde’s face was completely emotionless. Frightened, helpless, Faith could only look back up at her.
Buffy took a step forward and dropped into the grave, out of sight. At the same time, thunder crashed, and it started to rain heavily. From the grave came the sounds of fighting. There was grunting, then the sound of a knife hitting flesh, then only silence.
A hand reached out of the grave and clutched the edge. Faith’s head became visible as she grabbed another handful of wet grass and struggled to pull herself out. The rain had already soaked her by the time she finally stood up. She pushed her hair out of her face with her hands and tried to catch her breath.
A few feet away from the grave, Faith looked up at the sky, letting the rain hit her face. A burst of angry lightning streaked across the sky, illuminating Faith and the ground around her. Raising her arms, Faith cried out at the world...
With a sudden intake of breath, Faith woke up, from her nightmare and her coma.
Faith slowly turned her head to the side and saw the monitor beeping in time with her heart. She raised her left hand in front of her face. It was bandaged at the wrist where an IV line was fed into a vein. She closed her hand in a fist.
Faith threw off the bed covers and sat up. Then she grabbed the wires hanging from her body and pulled the leads off her chest. The heart monitor instantly flat-lined. When she got out of the bed and stood up, she felt the IV line tug on her arm. She ripped it from her wrist and threw it on the bed.
“Ouch,” she said softly.
Faith stepped out of the room, holding her wrist.
Faith saw a corridor that was very much like the room she was just in: dark, secluded, ugly walls. In her bare feet and hospital gown, she padded down the hallway. She heard a female voice over a PA system somewhere up ahead. Except for Faith, the wing seemed deserted. Hospital equipment, boxes, lunch carts, gurneys lined both walls, set there for storage or just forgotten.
At the end of the hall was a double door with an EXIT sign above it. She was still several yards from it when a side door opened, and a white-clad nurse stepped out.
Doris jumped in fear when she saw Faith standing there. “M-M-Miss Lehane?” the nurse stuttered. “W-W-What are you doing out of bed?”
Faith looked behind Doris, into the side room, and saw a bank of monitors and video recorders with the cameras clearly filming the inside Faith’s now-vacated room. Faith glared and rushed the nurse, wrapping a hand around her throat and shoving her back inside the side room and shutting the door.
Doris was stripped to her underclothes, bound and gagged on the floor of the side room. Now dressed in the nurse’s uniform, Faith was casually searching the contents of the room.
“Council’s been keeping tabs on me all this time, huh?” Faith said as she ran her finger along a line of videotapes on one of the shelves. “Musta thought I’d wake up, then.” She turned and smiled at the helpless nurse. “Gotta love that slayer healing.”
When Faith turned back, she noticed a cluster of tapes sitting on a separate shelf. She moved closer and read the labels. All listed Buffy’s name along with a date, the earliest starting with May 20, 1999. The dates ranged over a period of eight months. Faith turned and looked at the nurse.
“Buffy came to see me?” she asked in disbelief. “And more than once?”
Being gagged, Doris couldn’t answer, so Faith ignored her and turned back to the tapes. She grabbed an empty box and scooped the “Buffy” tapes into it. Then she snatched Doris’s coat from the back of the chair and headed for the door.
“Love to stay here in these luxurious accommodations the Council has provided,” Faith taunted as she backed out of the door, “but I really gotta run.”
Doris rocked her wrists back and forth for the hundredth time, systematically stretching the electrical cord that Faith had used to tie her up. Finally, she was able to widen the gap enough to squeeze one of her wrists out. After that, it took her only minutes to free herself completely.
She didn’t waste one second worrying about her nearly-naked condition. She went straight for the phone and rapidly punched in a number.
When someone answered, all she said was, “It’s happened. Send the team.”
Doris now had a hospital-issue housecoat wrapped around her body. Dr. Hill stood in front of her, an incredulous look on his face as Doris related her story. Next to him, Detective Stein took notes.
When Doris finished, Dr. Hill just threw his arms up in disbelief and then pointed at the nurse. “Check the logs and monitors. I want to know exactly what happened here. Coma patients do not just get up and walk away!”
Detective Stein stopped Doris before she could leave. “Did she say anything?” he asked the nurse. “Give any indication of where she might be headed?”
Doris shook her head.
“Did she make any calls? Take anything with her?”
“Just my clothes,” Doris complained, deliberately omitting the fact that Faith had taken the videotapes of Buffy’s visits.
Exasperated, Detective Stein turned back to Dr. Hill. “You knew this woman was wanted for questioning in a series of murders. There’s no security on this wing?”
“You don’t understand,” Dr. Hill told him. “There was no way that girl was gonna wake up.”
Faith stood in the meadow across the street from Sunnydale High School. What was left of the school anyway. She hugged the stolen coat around herself and stared forlornly at the ruins.
It was still early enough in the evening that the street was quite populated. People were out and about, walking up and down the street, window-shopping, heading into restaurants and stores.
Unlike them, though, Faith seemed lost as she walked down the middle of the street, taking in the sights all around her. She saw a small girl pulling on her father’s hand as they crossed the street toward the movie theater.
“Dad, come on,” the girl said. “We’re gonna be late.”
Faith watched the father and daughter as they passed in front of her, but they took no notice of her. In fact, no one paid any attention to her at all as she continued down the street.
Cautiously, Faith walked down the steps to the courtyard of Giles’s apartment building. She crept quietly towards his front door but made no move to knock. Instead, she ducked under the small window next to his door and peeked inside.
Inside the living room, Giles was rousing the flames in the fireplace with an iron poker. Buffy was leaning against the mantle. In the chair next to her was a man Faith didn’t recognize. On the couch nearby were Willow and Xander.
“The puzzle, it seems to me, is why Adam has stayed dormant as long as he has,” Giles said as he moved from the fireplace to stand at the end of the couch.
“When he’s not making performance art out of other demons, that is,” Willow replied.
“He’s probably working off an autonomic power source,” said the man Faith didn’t know. “Because he’s straight out of the box, he needs to charge up a while.”
“Okay,” Buffy said as Giles disappeared into the kitchen. “What’s he charging up for?”
“Based on the clues, I’ll go with killing spree,” Xander said.
“And that’s a best-case scenario,” said the unknown man. “I suppose a little fire power would be a good idea right now.”
He picked up what looked like a blaster from the coffee table and flipped a switch on it. Small lights on the side of the weapon started blinking as it charged up, ready to fire.
“Hey!” Xander called out, surprised. “How’d you do that?” He hurried around the table and grabbed the weapon, trying to find the switch. “Is there like an on/off button somewhere in here?”
“Blasters are easy,” the man said, sitting back in his chair. “Adam won’t be.”
Buffy sat down on the arm of the chair and put her arm around the man’s shoulders. Then she gave him a kiss on the temple.
Faith slumped down from peeking in the window. She let out a weary sigh and closed her eyes. After a moment, she clenched her jaw and opened her eyes. Then she rose back up to look inside the window.
“Since Professor Walsh designed it,” Willow ventured, “any chance she left instructions lying around somewhere?”
“Well, if she did,” Buffy replied, “they’re going to be in the Initiative.”
Giles returned from the kitchen with a tea tray and set it down on the table. Then he began pouring his tea into a cup.
“Which we can’t get into without mounting a major offensive,” Giles pointed out.
“Speak for yourself,” said the mystery man. When the others looked at him, he quickly added, “I’m just saying.”
Giles considered the matter. “I must admit, a man on the inside would be, uh...”
“...a really good idea,” Buffy finished. Then she turned to the man in question. “Are you sure you want to be double-agent guy?”
“I’m not exactly sure what you’d call me,” he said, “but...I will share information. It’s the least I could do.”
Xander gave the man a stern look before turning to the others and saying, “Riley’s right. It is the least he can do.”
“Riley, huh?” Faith whispered disgustedly to herself as she continued to peer inside the window.
Suddenly, Giles’s phone rang, and a look of fear came into Faith’s eyes. She saw Giles cross the apartment to his desk and answer the phone. Faith moved slightly away from the window as he got closer.
“Hello. Y-Y-Yes, she is.” Giles held the phone out towards Buffy. “Uh, it’s for you.”
Buffy got up from where she was perched on Riley’s chair and walked over the Giles. He handed her the phone.
“Hello. Speaking.” Buffy listened for a moment. “What sort of emergency?” She listened once again, and her expression became solemn. “Um, no. I haven’t.”
As Buffy moved towards Giles’s desk, Faith backed away from the window even more.
“Thank you. I’ll let you know,” she heard Buffy say.
Certain that her
former friend and fellow slayer now knew about her escape, Faith dashed
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 02...