It Starts With Faith
Buffy frowned at the tall building before her that seemed both ancient and overwhelming.
"That's our dorm?" Buffy whined, adjusting the huge box of stuff she had in her arms. She was feeling a bit cranky about having to carry so many items. Even though they all happened to be owned by her. "It's too far away and it's on top of a huge hill. Strike that, on top of a huge hill that's obviously on steroids due to its mountain envy."
Buffy was the last person in their group to move into the dorms. Xander being the first, his full scholarship including free housing, causing him to eagerly move every last one of his belongings out of his parents house.
Now all he had to do was get used to his roommate. The guy was loud and rude and yeah, he happened to be the son of Mikey the Slimebag. Making him a demon, actually a half demon since his mom was human, but he was better than Xander's parents. Then again, you'd have to be a total monster to be worse than them.
Amy was going to room with Buffy but the blonde Slayer was late with sending in her housing information. Which meant they both were going to end up with random roommates that the school chose for them based on how they had filled out their applications.
Part of Buffy was nervous about who'd she be sharing a room with. Because when it came to the part of the application that asked how late she stayed up and her coming and going habits... well. She wrote down for the bedtime: three a.m. if I'm lucky. Then for her coming and goings? She scribbled hastily: all of the time. Making very sure to emphatically underline the word 'all'.
Buffy really wasn't sure she wanted to meet the person the University of California at Sunnydale felt would be able to deal well with these two things.
Despite helping Buffy move, Willow decided to stay at home with her parents for her first year of college. They were still understandably protective when it came to their only daughter and she wanted to be near them after all that had gone on during the past year.
Noticeably missing from their ultra late moving Buffy into the dorm party was Faith and Cordelia, the acknowledged center of their group of friends. When it came to their absence, the simplest explanation was the correct one.
Cordelia was a vampire now. A souled vampire who was attempting to recover from what her soulless counterpart had done to her friends, but she was still a vampire.
UCS demanded students move into the dorms between the hours of ten a.m. and five p.m. Those were most definitely sunlight hours.
Sunlight wasn't good at all for vampires.
Hence Cordelia not being present. And Faith? Well, these days anywhere Cordelia was that's where you'd find her. The group hadn't commented on this or tried to discourage it. Eventually things would work out and they would get their lives back to normal.
Their own Scooby version of normal, of course. But for now they had to move Buffy and her never ending supply of stuff into the dorm.
"Hold on and I'll use my amazing mental powers to move the dorm," Xander squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his fingers to his forehead. When he opened them, the building was in the same exact place. "Damn," he said with a grin. "What do you know? It didn't work."
"Ha ha, see me laughing, that was just SO funny," Buffy said in her most sarcastic voice. She now adjusted the boxes she held so she could barely see over them as she continued her walk up the huge hill.
"You're just upset that we got our stuff moved in way before you did, Bufficus," Xander pointed out. "Don't be all cranky, we're helping you out, aren't we?"
"I know," said Buffy petulantly. Part of her realized she was being a bitch but she was tired and to top it off she had to walk up the huge hill five more times to get the rest of her stuff. Why did she have to be such a packrat anyway? Life wasn't fair. "I'm sorry."
Hoping to distract Buffy from her grumpiness, Amy said, "Have you guys heard the story about our dorm yet?"
"Story?" asked Xander curiously.
"I haven't heard any stories," Buffy frowned. "What? Is it an evil story? Do we have homicidal ghosts?"
"Uhm... no," Amy laughed, her nose scrunching up as she switched the heavy suitcase full of clothes from one hand to the other. "Apparently our dorm has a nickname because... well..." Amy trailed off, trying to think of how to explain. "No one that lives in it ever leaves. At least, they don't leave until they graduate. Like, as in the sense there are no dorm transfers or movings."
"And that's weird?" Willow spoke up.
Out of everyone, Buffy had given the fewest amount of items to the redhead to move. In fact, she had went so far as to supply a little red wagon for Willow to pull the sparse amount of items up the huge hill. Which was exactly what Willow was doing right now.
"Yeah," Amy nodded. "Because there's a lot of weird stuff that goes on there. I mean, it's unusual as the only coed dorm on campus, but..." Amy blushed, there had to be some way to word it politely.
"Just say it Ames," offered Buffy wryly.
"Okay," said Amy with relief. "Our dorm is the dorm for the 'freaks'. Anyone who has a record of trouble or is just seen as different is placed there. And there are always mishaps going on, like explosions and things. Then this one time they found a huge stash of women's under things just stacked neatly in the elevator."
"To think I used to wonder at how I got so lucky as to be dorming with my lady and one of my best friends," Xander drawled in teasing tones. "Now I know what did it, all of my fun juvenile pranks with fire."
"Freak?" Buffy repeated, looking offended. Adjusting the boxes she held in her arms, she hopped up and down a bit. "I'm not a freak! How can they think I'm a freak?! There's no consequential proof!"
Several girls passing by heard this and stared strangely at Buffy before quickly scurrying away. Noticing this, Buffy looked extremely sheepish as she turned to Amy who had a smirk on her pretty features.
"Sorry," Buffy apologized.
"Why are you apologizing to me?" asked Amy, her smirk growing. "You just embarrassed yourself, not me."
Buffy groaned loudly at this. "Moving sucks and my school has already dubbed me a freak."
"What's the dorm nickname?" asked Willow, genuinely wanting to hear the rest of the story.
Instead of replying, Amy pointed to the weather beaten wooden sign that hung precariously on top of the entrance to their dormitory.
Written in huge block letters in glow in the dark paint was the name of an all too familiar television show.
The Twilight Zone.
Suddenly, Willow heard the eerie theme music running through her head and shivered. Then she realized that it was Xander being goofy and humming it.
Reaching out to hit him lightly on the arm, Willow accused, "You know that song creeps me out."
"Sorry," said Xander, grinning and not looking apologetic. Although this was fairly evident when Buffy stepped inside and he said in a spooky voice, "You are entering The Twilight Zone."
Shaking her head at her boyfriend's antics, Amy murmured to herself, "Dorm life should be interesting."
Cordelia observed the hint of sunlight that was blocked by the heavy curtain they used for the bedroom window. She could tell that sunset was arriving and was happy for it.
Soon she could go outside safely. Be with Faith and their friends, and try for awhile to forget what she had become.
Hearing the sleepy murmur, Cordelia turned her eyes towards Faith who curled closer towards her, tightening her hold on Cordelia's waist. In a soft touch, Cordelia brushed back Faith's thick locks to better see her face. Leaving a tender kiss on the Slayer's forehead, she trailed her fingers down her girlfriend's cheek.
"Faith," Cordelia murmured. Her fingers continued the bare movement of skin tracing skin. "You're so beautiful, inside and out. I've told you that." She lightly moved her caress towards full lips. "Much too beautiful for me."
Studying Faith closely, Cordelia slowly dipped her head down, breathing in the fresh scent of her hair, nuzzling her cheek as she murmured, "I love you."
"M'too," Faith mumbled.
Drawing back, Cordelia smiled as she watched the dark Slayer blearily open her eyes. "Hey," she whispered in fond tones. "You finally awake?"
"No," Faith kept mumbling and reaching up, she pulled Cordelia down on the bed then proceeded to bury herself in the taller girl's embrace. "I'm asleep."
"Mmm," chuckled Cordelia, kissing the top of Faith's head. "I think you're lying. You seem awake to me."
Snuggling closer to Cordelia, the Slayer yawned then mumbled again, "Asleep."
Holding Faith against her, Cordelia reveled in the closeness that filled her entire world with warmth. It was during times like this that she almost forgot.
"Time izzit?" Faith mumbled some more.
However, this time as she mumbled, she lifted her face from where it was pressed into Cordelia's neck. A good sign that the dark Slayer was becoming cognizant.
Cordelia tilted her head back to gaze at the alarm clock resting on their night stand. "Five," she informed. "We're supposed to meet the others in an hour and a half." Hazel eyes now twinkled mischievously and she added, "That's plenty of time for a nice long shower."
"Together?" Faith peered at Cordelia, looking hopeful.
"Is there any other kind of shower?" asked Cordelia, smirking as she watched the Slayer move. They lay silent for a moment then Cordelia tilted her head and gazed at Faith who was back to comfortably lying on top of her and not moving. "So? Are we showering?"
"Inna minute," Faith mumbled, moving closer to Cordelia and sighing with contentment. "You feel nice."
"I'm glad you think so," Cordelia smiled softly, reaching down to play with Faith's wavy hair. Pushing some of the dark strands behind the Slayer's ear, she gave a thoughtful study of the other girl. "Faith," she began slowly. "Have you ever thought of wearing your hair in a ponytail?"
Instead of replying, Faith stared at Cordelia with an expression that plainly said: why did you ask that? The tall brunette chuckled at this reaction and said, "I just think you'd look pretty with your hair pulled back."
"Huh," Faith remarked and went back into the loving cocoon of Cordelia's embrace. "Can mess with it if you wanna. After shower an' all."
"Faith," Cordelia murmured again, still playing with strands of the Slayer's hair. "When are we showering? Is it sometime during this century?"
"B'fore then," Faith mumbled with amusement. "Maybe."
For a response, Cordelia simply heaved an exaggerated sigh and rolled her eyes. Then she held Faith even closer and realized quite warily they would really stay there for a century if physically possible. Simply because of one fact and one fact only.
There was no other place they rather be.
"Perfect!" Buffy exclaimed happily, placing her hands on her hips and grinning widely. "It looks great."
"Whee," Xander groaned from where he was collapsed on Buffy's bed with Amy sprawled out next to him.
"Double whee," echoed Amy, sounding just as tired.
Frowning at the couple, Buffy said, "What's with you two? We've only been decorating for..."
She trailed off, looking at her nearby cutesy bunny rabbit picnic clock and tried to figure out how long they'd been decorating. Then from the bed, Xander slowly pushed his body up by the elbows and stared blankly at her.
"Three hours, Buff," said Xander slowly. "We've been decorating for three hours. Before that we were moving and putting away tons of stuff for another three hours."
"T-i-r-e-d," Amy spelled the word out wearily, moving to her side and hugging Xander's waist who smiled at her. "I don't think I can recover... feeling energy wane away..."
While Buffy looked perplexed at this, Willow shook her head and turned towards the blonde Slayer. "They're only acting this way because they're hungry. I'm guessing they want to be fed. Preferably some desert like treats."
"How do you know that?" asked Buffy curiously.
"Old trick from when we were kids," Willow supplied. Glancing back at the couple who now barely had inches between them and were talking quietly, she added, "But back then, they weren't nearly as close."
"Huh," said Buffy thoughtfully. Sighing as she watched Xander and Amy giggle softly at whatever they were discussing, she coughed loudly. When the couple looked up at her, she asked, "Anyone want ice cream? I'm paying since it was me who caused today's torture."
"Ice cream!" the couple cried together, bouncing to attention and looking utterly cute as they did so.
"Told you," Willow said, looking somewhat smug.
"Oh boy," Buffy rolled her eyes at this while Amy studied the other half of the dorm room. The side that belonged to the Slayer's roommate.
"Buffy, what's your roommate like?" asked Amy, her eyes fixing on the person's belongings. On the other side of the room there was a collection of various instruments and a strange assortment of obscure band and movie posters that were strewn all over the walls. "You called her right?"
Despite having spent six hours helping move Buffy into the dorm, they hadn't met the blonde's roommate. When they arrived, the right side of the room was taken, already neatly arranged and filled with items. So they just took to helping Buffy move her stuff in on the left side. All while expecting to meet the person Buffy was living with during this process. But she just hadn't shown up.
Digging through the back pocket of her jeans, Buffy produced a crumpled piece of paper and squinting at it, she read aloud, "Veruca Tah... Tag... Tag-lee..."
"Tagliacozzo," Willow pronounced smoothly, smiling softly at Buffy from where she was looking at the paper.
"Thanks Wills," Buffy returned the smile. "Anyway, her name's Veruca and she's from L.A." She paused to look a little sheepish then added, "I was supposed to call her?"
"Yeahhh," said Amy slowly. "The school advised us to call our future roomies so we'd be more comfortable when we met them in person. You know, to help get along?"
"Did you call your roommate then?" asked Buffy, giving Amy an expectant look.
"Of course," Amy grinned. "I'm a good girl, you know. It turns out we have a lot in common, she's a wiccan."
"Down with the magic groove thang," Xander added. "Even though she is a," he looked around then covered his mouth with his hand and gasped, "older woman!"
"Older?" Buffy repeated. "How much older?"
"Not much," said Amy, giving Xander a playful push on the arm. "Tara's a sophomore, that's all. I've talked to her four times on the phone now. She's really nice."
"You talked to your roomie and didn't tell me?" asked Buffy, pouting now. "How could you?"
"Sorry Buff," Amy looked sheepish. "But you've been busy with our favorite redhead lately and I told her."
When Buffy fixed her gaze on Willow, the singer laughed nervously and offered, "I forgot?"
"I'm always the last to find out anything," Buffy grumped. "It just isn't fair. I bet Faith never goes through this."
"Yes, but you aren't Miss Faith," said Xander wisely as he fished through the pockets of his jacket. "If you were then I couldn't do this!" Pulling out an instant camera, he got a few quick shots of an irritated Buffy. "Success! I've really captured the spirit of her first day in the dorms."
"Yeah, severe annoyance," growled Buffy lowly. A knock sounded on the door and everyone locked eyes.
"It's your room," Amy reminded impishly.
"Fine," Buffy heaved a sigh. "Come in!"
The door slowly opened and a very mellow looking brunette who's face and eyes were obscured by the hat she was wearing entered the room. "Who's Elizabeth?" she questioned, looking at the group.
"Me, but I like to be called Buffy," said the blonde Slayer as she stepped forward.
Studying Buffy closely, the brunette shrugged and said, "Whatever floats your boat, kid." Fixing her gaze on the others, she asked, "You guys new residents too?"
"We are," said Amy, gesturing to her and Xander.
"I live off campus," said Willow, smiling hesitantly.
"Spiffy," said the girl dryly. She approached Amy and Xander and handed them flyers before walking back to Buffy and doing the same thing. "Here's the deal: I'm Lee, chosen errand girl for the dorm's head resident advisor. Those are your information flyers about the meeting we're having tonight. Try to make it because if you don't you'll just piss off the fuehrer and that's bad."
"What meeting?" asked Amy while Buffy studied the flyer that Lee handed her with a frown.
"Usual stuff," said Lee with a shrug. "Fuehrer just likes all the newbies to know the rules or lack thereof before they start classes. All the info is on the flyer. I'd love to gossip but I've got to find more fresh meat."
With that, she walked out the door leaving them all feeling rather perplexed. Looking at the flyer, Xander remarked, "The meeting's at nine and it's mandatory."
"That would explain the try to make it part," said Willow slowly. "But why did she keep calling your head R.A. the fuehrer? I don't think that's a good sign."
"Tara said the R.A. was okay," Amy said lamely. When everyone stared at her, she laughed and corrected, "Well, she said that she never had problems with her."
"Suddenly I have a bad feeling," said Buffy in her voice of doom. A voice that she was using a lot lately.
Moments later, a gurgling sound resounded in the air and everyone stared at Xander who made a pathetic face.
"Can we go eat?" he asked. Glancing at the clock, he pointed out, "It's almost six thirty. Lets wait downstairs for Faith and Cordelia to get here then we can get food."
"You do owe us treats," Amy reminded Buffy.
"Yeah, yeah," said Buffy, groaning. "I remember."
"We're going then?" asked Willow with a smile.
"We're going," Buffy nodded, putting the flyer down on her desk and heading towards the door.
"Food! Yay!" Xander cried happily, jumping to his feet and grabbing Amy's hand, pulling her out the door.
Shaking her head, Buffy smiled softly at Willow who stood by her side. "Is this really college life, Wills?"
"Far as I know, it is," Willow replied, hooking her arm in Buffy's and smiling up at her still. "Do you like it?"
"Some parts," said Buffy, returning the smile.
It was a beautiful night. The stars were out, the moon was high in the sky, and Faith smelled like fresh strawberries.
Latter being due to the new shampoo they'd gotten. A smile gracing her lips, Cordelia squeezed Faith's hand and pulled it up to kiss her knuckles lightly. The Slayer really did look adorable with her hair in a ponytail.
"Sweets?" asked Faith, tilting her had to one side, her dark eyes questioning. "What's up?"
"Nothing," Cordelia assured. "I'm just happy, that's all."
"Ah," said Faith with a chuckle, swinging their hands to and fro, leaning into Cordelia. "Same here. Then again," her voice lowered into a sexy drawl. "I'm always happy when I'm with you."
"Charmer," Cordelia teased, moving to capture Faith's lips with her own for a soft kiss.
The kiss lasted longer than the couple intended and reluctantly pulling away from her girlfriend, Faith said, "If we keep this up, we're gonna be late, sweets."
"We can't have that," said Cordelia with a smile.
"No," Faith shook her head, agreeing with Cordelia even as she stood higher and closed the distance between them. "We really can't, can we?"
"Of course not," Cordelia murmured, kissing Faith again.
They would've kept on kissing if they hadn't heard a scream and the sound of a nearby struggle. Frowning, Faith whirled around and growled, "We got trouble."
The dark Slayer took off in a run, heading towards the screams with Cordelia following after her. The taller girl felt on edge as she followed after her girlfriend, she could sense them. Her brethren, her kin, her fellow vampires.
But she wasn't one of them. No matter what she was, she'd never be one of them. She wanted to help Faith destroy every last of their kind.
That wasn't entirely possible, but it's how Cordelia felt.
Moments later, they came upon a group of four vampires overpowering a pretty blonde who was trying her hardest to fight them off. Cordelia watched as Faith leapt into the fray, attacking the vamps who were all too shocked at her sudden appearance.
Narrowing hazel eyes, Cordelia moved into a steady walk which soon escalated into a full on run as she grabbed the vamp who was edging towards Faith. Flinging him back, she gave into the urge rising in her and the face she hated most, the face of her monster self, rose up.
"Whoah, chickie, calm down," said the vampire who looked like either a former surfer or a current pothead. "It's cool, there's plenty of munchies for all of us."
"I'm not interested," Cordelia's voice rumbled low, her eyes flashing. Producing a stake out of the pocket of Faith's black leather jacket she had on, Cordelia smirked then added, "And I never will be."
His eyes going wide, the surfer exclaimed, "Hey! Vamps don't stake vamps! What sorta trip are you on?"
"One back to myself," snarled Cordelia, lunging at the frightened surfer who dodged her quickly.
"You're serious, aren't you?" the surfer shrieked. Waving his hands at her, he said, "That's just not kosher!"
Frowning severely, Cordelia studied him for a moment and then, in a sharp movement, she punched him square in the face, sending him flying across the grounds with her vampiric strength. Striding towards him as he pushed himself up, she said lowly, "I'm going to kill you. Not just because you are a creature of evil, but because it's right."
"Dude, you're messed," the surfer announced. "You're a vamp, just like me. You can't do right stuff. That isn't how we work. What're you trying to pull?"
"Nothing," said Cordelia, looking him right in the eyes and the face of the monster left her, replaced with that of her true self. "Unlike you, I happen to have a soul."
And with that, she drove the stake into his heart, watching as he turned into dust. Turning around, she saw the last of the vampires fleeing, not wanting to face Faith's strength.
Walking towards the Slayer, she smiled softly on hearing her girlfriend asking the blonde girl if she was all right. "I got one," commented Cordelia casually.
"Good job, sweets," Faith complimented with a grin. "Believe it or not, our new friend here helped me out with some witch fu. Flying pencils from her backpack. Got one of the suckers trying to double team me."
"Really?" Cordelia studied the girl curiously.
Now standing, she wasn't quite as tall as Cordelia, but definitely taller than Faith. Soft blonde hair that ran down her back at an even length barely obscured her pretty features and stormy blue eyes.
"How did you know?" she asked quietly.
"Know what?" Faith frowned, moving near Cordelia and reaching down to hold her hand.
"That I... that I used magic," the blonde ducked her head.
"It was wicked obvious," said Faith with a shrug, wondering why the girl was so shy. It wasn't like she acted like knowing magic was a bad thing. "I checked you talking to yourself and seconds later, poof! Vamp to the left of me is gone and I see a floating number two pencil. I'm not a genius but hey, that's a simple formula."
While the girl mulled over this and their easy acceptance of what she did, Faith and Cordelia exchanged a look.
"What's your name?" asked Cordelia. "Do you want us to walk you to your dorm? If you live on campus, that is."
Blinking at this, the blonde said, "It's all right. I think I'll be okay. I'm sorry if I seem distracted but this is the first time anyone's seen me do magic and you... well..."
"We're acting really calm about it?" Faith supplied with a grin. "It's no big to us just because we've seen tons of junk like that. Plus we got a friend into the spell scene."
"Oh," said the blonde thoughtfully. Her blue eyes widened and she exclaimed, "I'm sorry! I'm Tara." She looked definitely sheepish as she asked, "And you?"
"Faith," said the dark Slayer easily. She smiled sweetly at Cordelia and added, "This is Cordelia."
"You're a vampire," Tara said quietly, looking at the tall brunette with lidded eyes.
"Yes," Cordelia responded, feeling her defenses rise even while Faith squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"But you're not like them," Tara continued, studying Cordelia closely. "I can tell, there's something different."
"Sweets has a soul," Faith informed. "She's a good person and she'd never hurt anybody. You got my word on that."
Looking from one girl to the other, Tara's expression remained pensive for a moment then she broke out into a beautiful smile. "I believe you," she said. Reaching out, she offered Cordelia her hand. "Thanks for saving me."
Cordelia focused on the hand that was presented to her for a long moment before she clasped it in a firm handshake. "I was happy to do it," she murmured truthfully.
"Hey, I helped too y'know," said Faith in teasing tones, beaming on seeing Tara and Cordelia's interaction.
"I'm sorry," said Tara, her blue eyes twinkling. Giving a slight bow, she said seriously, "Thank you ever so much for saving me, Faith. How can I hope to repay you?"
"She's a goof," Faith remarked, smirking at Cordelia who smiled back at her. "I like her already." She then blinked as something came to her. "Actually," she began, looking at Tara. "You could help us out. Do you know if we're headed the right way to find Egerson Dorm?"
"T-Zone?" said Tara with recognition. "Yeah, it's just over there," she gestured. "That's where I was headed. It's been my dorm ever since I got here last year."
"We end up walking you home anyway," said Faith, hooking her arm in Cordelia's as they started towards the dormitory off in the distance.
They lapsed into a compatible silence until Tara ducked her head and looked curiously at the girls who seemed so happy in each other's presence.
"Are you two...?" Tara trailed off.
Exchanging another look, Faith and Cordelia smiled softly and raising Faith's hand to her lips, the tall vampire kissed it softly.
"We're in love," Cordelia stated firmly.
"Always have been," Faith added. She looked a bit sheepish when Cordelia arched an eyebrow at her and she revised, "Well, almost always."
"Oh," said Tara, her eyes wide. Blushing now, she ducked her head even more then said, "That's nice but..."
"But what?" asked Faith with a frown.
Looking up at the couple, Tara's cheeks were a rosy hue as she said, "I wanted to know if you were freshman who were new to the campus."
"Oh," the couple said together, feeling embarrassed.
"It's okay!" Tara said quickly. "I mean, I don't mind. I understand, in fact I... well, yeah. It's fine. But are you? You know, freshman?"
"Yep," said Faith, giving a nod and grinning. "Starting tomorrow we're groovin' UCS freshman."
"I'm taking a night class," Cordelia said idly, wearing a sardonic expression that was humorous. "Obviously."
Laughing softly at this, Tara ducked her head again, causing her companions to wonder why she kept hiding such pretty features. Before they could comment though, they took in another sight.
The sight of their friends dormitory sitting on top of what had to be the biggest hill either of them ever saw. It was a dorm that also appeared to have fireworks launching out of it along with several wild shrieks. Then there was the matter of the eerie green glow the building gave off.
"What the hell is that?" Faith muttered in shock.
"The Hill House?" suggested Cordelia wryly.
Smiling at the couple, Tara said, "It's The Twilight Zone."
Despite not knowing exactly what that meant, neither Faith or Cordelia much felt like asking Tara to explain it. Especially with that freaky building in front of them.
College was already getting strange. And that pretty much ensured one thing for the couple and their friends.
That they'd fit in quite nicely.
"You're tense," Jenny remarked. "You should relax."
The Watcher was doing precisely what her job implied, she was watching. And what was she watching? Nothing other than her very favorite blonde cop pace back and forth across the living room of her new townhouse.
When she called up Kate at work and heard the other woman's voice, tired and weary, Jenny thought it'd be good to invite her over... get her mind off her troubles.
Except Kate refused to forgot them. Which left Jenny watching as Kate continued in her pacing and her rant. It didn't much bother her though, because Kate was a rare kind of beauty when she was upset.
"I can't relax, they drive me nuts," said Kate with a growl. She stopped to stare at Jenny and continued, "How would you feel if you worked with people who were completely clueless about how you want to help them? Who have no idea how close they are to dying?"
"Frustrated," said Jenny, leaning back on her couch and resting her legs on her coffee table, as was her right. "I do know how it feels, Kate," she murmured, her eyes dark. "I wasn't exactly the favorite of the Council. The only reason they let me in was because of my family."
"Your family?" Kate echoed. A frown marred her sculptured features and stopping in her pacing, she looked at Jenny. "Why would they matter?"
"My family," Jenny began with a drawl and a slight chuckle. "Are fairly infamous in the world of supernatural goings on. Remember what I said about gypsies?" When Kate nodded, she said, "That's what we are. A clan of the most well known and powerful gypsies." Her expression thoughtful, she added, "Although there are other clans we would consider far more dangerous."
"And that's why the Council let you in?" asked Kate, folding her arms across her chest. "Because they wanted to use you to get close to your family?"
"Basically," said Jenny, shrugging. She leaned back to gaze up at the ceiling. "It never bothered me too much until I figured out they weren't listening to any of the ideas I had to improve the Council. They're stuck in the past and I doubt they'll change anytime soon." Moving her head, she met Kate's gaze. "To them Buffy is a Slayer, a mystical warrior meant to fight evil and serve good. She shouldn't do anything else but this. But to me..." Smiling softly, she added, "And to Giles as well, Buffy and Faith are simply young women. Brave young women, who have a destiny too big to handle on their own. Deserving every bit of happiness they get thrown their way."
"That's why you quit," said Kate with quiet respect.
"That and they're bastards," said Jenny, chuckling more. She studied Kate for a moment, then giving a slight leer, she patted the couch cushion nearest to her. "Now come on, why don't you sit next to me and calm down?"
"I am calm," said Kate dryly.
"Well, then just sit next to me." Jenny batted her eyelashes prettily at the blonde cop and held her hands up as if in a prayer. "Pretty please? I need your protective yet sensual presence. It makes me feel safe."
"You're crazy," Kate accused, forming a smirk but still moving near Jenny and the aforementioned couch.
Instead of responding, Jenny simply patted the cushion again and rolling her eyes, Kate plopped down next to the dark haired Watcher. They stared at each other for a long moment, then Jenny slowly reached out, and Kate froze as she felt gentle fingertips push a stray strand of hair behind her ear. When Jenny pulled her hand away, she swore the world felt a little hazier than it had before.
"Tell me about your family," requested Jenny softly.
"What do you want to know?" asked Kate, looking at the floor. "I had a mother, I had a father, they're gone now."
Studying Kate closely, Jenny leaned back into the couch and was quiet before she said, "My father owns a vineyard outside Athens, he still runs it with my younger brother, Jerome. Mother tries to get him to retire but he says that he needs something to occupy him since he let Julian lead the family. Mother," Jenny's expression was wistful as she sighed. "She spends her days making the most beautiful tapestries but don't let that fool you, no," Jenny laughed now. "The magic she knows can scare a man so his hair turns white permanently at the thought. She taught me everything I know about spells."
"They sound nice," Kate murmured, locking eyes with Jenny. "I'd... like to meet them some day."
"Father would love you," Jenny smiled, shaking her head. "He enjoys women who talk back to him. That's probably why Julian and Jerome insist I'm his favorite."
"Fathers love their little girls," said Kate, her expression longing and sad. She remained lost in her own thoughts as Jenny studied her quietly. "I was Daddy's little girl, all my life. It was just him and me... I never knew my mother, she died when I was born. So I grew up with him and I built myself around him. That's why I became a police officer, because I saw him at work and how proud it made him, to be able to help others. I loved that so much..."
Kate trailed off as her face grew tight with pain. In a slow movement, Jenny moved to clasp Kate's hand in her own and the blonde looked at her and smiled softly.
"He died two years ago, in his sleep," Kate revealed, her eyes full of unshed tears. "I remember thinking that I was glad he died that way instead of in duty. Because it seemed more peaceful. The doctors said it was some kind of aneurysm. That it happened so fast that even if he was awake there'd be no time for him to feel pain."
The two women were silent for a long while, then Kate took in a shaky breath and turned to face Jenny who was watching her with dark eyes. Tracing her hands up in an elegant gesture, Jenny wiped away the hint of a tear that trailed down the blonde's cheek.
"Thank you," Jenny whispered. "For trusting me enough to tell me that. I know it must've been hard for you."
"It was," Kate confessed, unconsciously leaning into Jenny's touch as the brunette caressed her cheek. "But it wasn't so bad, because it was you. Jenny," she said in soft tones. "I... I feel like I can trust you. I haven't felt like this in a really long time."
"Me either," said Jenny in a soft admittance. Leaning forward, she rested their foreheads together so their eyes would lock. "I don't want anything to ruin it. So if I get out of line and you want to smack me--"
"Go ahead and do it?" Kate smiled wryly.
"No," Jenny chuckled. "I was going to say tell me and I'll stop but leave it to you to take the abrasive option."
"Hey, I'm a cop," said Kate in playful tones, her blue gray eyes sparkling. "It's what I know."
"Kate," whispered Jenny, her voice low and husky as she traced her hand down the side of Kate's face to gently rest on her neck.
"What?" Kate asked rather breathlessly, heart racing from the feeling of Jenny's touch and the tone of her voice.
"Go out with me tomorrow?" asked Jenny, rubbing the Detective's soft skin as she said this.
"Are you asking me on a date?" Kate blinked.
"I figure it's time I made an honest woman out of myself and did the proper thing," Jenny smiled slowly. "But if it doesn't appeal to you, we can just keep on teasing each other until the end of time."
"No," said Kate in extremely dry tones, shaking her head. "I'd much rather go out with you."
"Wonderful," said Jenny, her entire face lighting up and Kate felt her breath still in her chest at the sight. She had never seen the other woman look so beautiful. "So," she began in a playful voice. "Do you kiss on the first date?"
Smirking at this, Kate leaned forward to whisper in Jenny's ear, "You're going to have to wait and find that out for yourself."
It was a wait that Jenny was looking forward to.
"My stomach's imploding," Xander moaned as he clutched it. He was sitting on one of the three couches set up in the downstairs lounge to the dorm. Amy was at his side, her head resting on his shoulder, listening vaguely to his hunger complaints. "I'm gonna die."
"Can a stomach implode?" asked Buffy, looking at Willow with a humorous expression.
"I'm not sure," said Willow with a smile. "But according to Xander, we might have our answer pretty soon. If it's true I'm sure the scientific community will be all a buzz."
"Hear that, Xan?" said Buffy, smirking at him. "Stop whining, this is all for the good of science."
"No one understands my pain," Xander moaned. When Amy lifted her head to give him a somewhat arch look, he revised, "Except my precious Amykins."
"Uh huh," Amy mumbled, her stomach rumbling. When Buffy and Willow's eyes widened at this, she said, "Girls get hungry too, you know. Excuse my less than feminine stomach noises while I starve with my boyfriend."
Ignoring this comment, Buffy studied their surroundings and for the first time, she noticed the eerie green hue the building was covered in. "Why are we green?" she asked.
"We're green?" Willow blinked. Looking around, she saw that Buffy was right, the walls had a strange green glow to them that was ethereal. "Hey, we are green!"
"This was a nuclear power plant dump site," Xander informed while he and Amy adjusted their positions on the couch. Amy now sat on the far end and Xander had his head in her lap as she played with his hair. "That's how we got all this land so cheap."
"Funny," said Buffy in droll tones.
"I'm not joking," Xander continued. "Why else would the building be glowing this way? When I told Wyatt that this was the dorm I was in he told me all about it. It's such a torrid story, really it is."
"We're staying in a nuclear dumping ground?" Buffy said, giving a scowl. "That's just perfect!"
The blonde Slayer remained upset until she saw the huge smile spreading across Xander's features and Amy giving a familiar giggle. Next to her, Willow shook her head and said, "You'll be the perfect partner in drama class, Xander."
"I know, I know," said Xander, turning his head in Amy's lap and smiling widely at Willow. "We'll be the best little actors in intro to drama, Willster."
"You two," Buffy growled. "Are the worst."
"Actually," said Amy with a giggle. "I think they're the most talented actors out of all of us. We should be proud."
"Proud of what?"
Together, the group turned their heads and took in the sight of Faith and Cordelia standing in front of them with a pretty blonde at their sides.
"About time," said Xander in grumbling accusation. "I'm dying of hunger and we just have two hours to eat."
"Sorry, X," said Faith with a chuckle. "Sweets and I ran into some trouble in vamp form. But we got ourselves a nice new pal outta the deal, so it's all cool."
"That's Buffy and Willow," said Cordelia to the blonde, who smiled at the pair and nodded. Wearing a definitely fond expression, she gestured towards Amy and Xander who remained on the couch. "And those are our resident practical jokers, Amy and Xander. Everybody," she put a hand gently on the girl's arm. "This is Tara. She helped Faith out in the fight with some magic."
"Totally useful kick ass magic," Faith added, smiling. "Made a pencil go all floaty and dangerous to stake a nasty vamp for me."
Instead of responding, Tara stared at Amy who returned the stare. Then suddenly, the two witches cried out each other's names at the same time.
"Wow," Buffy blinked. "That was weird."
"I'll go with that," Faith agreed with a nod.
"No, you guys," said Amy excitedly as Xander pushed himself off her lap so she could stand up. "This is Tara, my roommate Tara, who I told you about."
"You didn't tell us about any roommate," Cordelia frowned as she looked at Faith.
"Yeah," enforced the dark Slayer.
"Well, I would've told you if you weren't so late and... wow," Amy beamed at Tara. "It's so great to finally meet you in person! You're just like I imagined. Except taller and prettier and you wear skirts..."
"Thanks," Tara said, blushing and ducking her head. Pushing back several strands of blonde hair, she smiled sweetly at Amy. "You're just like I thought too, Amy. And you have really nice friends." She looked over at Xander who stood behind Amy and said, "It's good to meet you. Amy talks about you a lot."
"Ignore it all," Xander said, looking solemn as he clasped his girlfriend's shoulders. "I'm a good boy, really I am."
"We were going to get some food," Amy said. "You want to come?"
"I'm not really hungry," Tara began hesitantly, looking like she might refuse. But as she saw all the friendly faces staring back at her expectantly, she continued, "But can I still come along?"
"I never eat, so why not?" said Cordelia in dry tones that hardly matched the warmth of her gaze.
Squeezing Cordelia's hand, Faith said, "So where are we gonna get our munchies guys? Got a place picked out?"
Immediately, this launched the group into an argument over just where to eat and it was another fifteen minutes before they finally decided. But once they did decide and arrived there, they had a very nice meal.
Their first as college freshman.
Which made them feel all the better. Until some of them remembered about the meeting they were supposed to be going to. The one they would most likely be late to thanks to this first meal of theirs.
That thought was a little less nice.
Despite Tara's reassurances that the head R.A. really wasn't all that bad, the Scoobies that were living in the dorm were more than a bit nervous as the ran into the lounge, late for the mandatory meeting.
Faith and Cordelia, along with Willow and Tara opted to head up to Amy and Tara's dorm room and wait for them to get done with the meeting. A good plan for them since they really didn't want to attend and get yelled at.
Since it did look like Amy, Buffy, and Xander would get yelled at as the girl in charge of the meeting glared at them. They assumed she was in charge since she was the one standing on top of the coffee table in front of one of the couches where the new students were gathered.
"You," the girl announced in bored yet somehow threatening tones. "You're late, that's just so... freshman." Her eyes narrowed and she said, "And you are?"
"Xander Harris," squeaked Xander quickly.
"Amy Madison," said Amy, more subdued.
"Buffy Summers," said Buffy, glaring at the girl.
"Got that?" the girl asked, looking over at the mellow brunette, Lee, who they recognized from earlier. "It looks like everyone who's going to show is here so I'll just start with my traditional spiel. I'm Anya, your head resident advisor who's in charge of the little country that is this dorm. If you cause any trouble and get me in deep crap with the school you WILL go down. Just ask around, my wrath is infamous and very much feared. So here's a tip, don't cause any trouble for me."
Anya paused to shake her finger back and forth, seeing the questioning looks on several faces. "Now, if I can read newbie minds, and I know I can, you're all wondering just how you don't cause trouble for me. This is how, if you're having a party and it gets too loud and I stomp into your room and say stop the party. Guess what? You stop it. If I tell you anything... you do it! That's how you don't make trouble for me. Just follow this one simple rule: do what Anya says, and you'll be fine horny munchkins."
"Oh, and one more thing," Anya continued, her refined features appearing totally bored. "I'm not your counselor, so if you have major issues, don't bother me with them. I have to help you... somewhat. That's why I get my lovely free quarters here, but I'm not your confessional. Keep that stored away before you knock on my door."
A hand slowly rose up among the crowd and raising an eyebrow, Anya said, "What is it?"
"What about... the rules the school sent us?" a shy strawberry blonde asked.
Anya paused to exchange a look with Lee and the two women burst into laughter. Still laughing, Anya reached out to hang onto Lee's arm. "It's too much..." she began. "You tell them for me, all right?"
"This is Egerson Dorm," said Lee in plain tones that resounded with 'you're an idiot' as she spoke. "Otherwise known as The Twilight Zone. The school's rules don't apply to us. They don't even want to know what we're up to. All they want is for us to behave... minimally. It's martial law here, ladies and gents. Or rather," Lee smirked at Anya who finally stopped laughing. "It's the fuehrer's law, since she's in charge."
"Exactly," Anya drawled with a slow smile. "Now I can see some of you are quaking in your booties so I'll be nice and end this meeting. Get some rest or go to a party, I don't care, but remember," her eyes flashed now. "I run the show here and I probably always will."
With that, the meeting was over and Anya walked away with Lee following at her side. Leaving the students in her wake feeling more than a little afraid.
"This dorm," Buffy began quietly. "Is messed up."
Amy and Xander could only nod for a response.
"If this room isn't magic filled, I dunno what is," Faith chuckled, inspecting both Amy and Tara's sides that had shelves stuffed with magic books and other things. "If you two didn't already know you were witches it wouldn't be hard to guess, y'know?"
"Amy has a lot of spell books," Tara murmured, eyeing them from her side of the room. The blonde sat on her bed while Cordelia sat on Amy's across from her and Willow was at her friend's desk. Faith, meanwhile, was peering at the collection of books she'd just mentioned. "She comes from a family of witches, right? That's what she said. I guess they gave her all of them..."
"Yeah, that and Jen," supplied Faith with a grin, looking back at Tara. "She's Amy girl's magical hook up, running the shop and all."
"The one in town?" Tara's eyes widened. "I go there. You mean you guys know the owner? The pretty one?"
Cordelia quirked an eyebrow at the word pretty and drawled slowly, "We know both of them. Even the not pretty one, Giles."
"I'm sorry," Tara blushed deeply. "I just meant..."
"It's all right," said Willow in reassuring tones, smiling at Tara. "Jenny is pretty. Even if she's... well..."
"Obnoxious?" offered Faith, smirking.
"Faith," Willow said, sounding both affectionate and exasperated.
Just then, the door opened and the remaining members of their group trooped into the room. Looking everyone right in the eye, Buffy pronounced slowly, "She's pure evil."
"Your R.A.?" asked Willow.
"Who else?" said Buffy, walking over to Willow and leaning against Amy's desk. "She was just so..."
"Bossy," Amy supplied, sitting on her bed next to Cordelia while Xander followed after her.
"And scary," Xander added with a groan, flopping back on Amy's bed to lie on his back.
"Anya just seems bad at first," Tara offered. "Once you get used to her, she's really sort of nice." When those who had been at the meeting looked at her like she was insane, Tara laughed softly and said, "I'm serious. Anya's done a lot of good things for people who live here. She might act like a tough case but she does take care of her residents. Plus she gives us a lot more freedom than most R.A.'s. It's pretty much anything goes at this dorm."
"If you say so," Xander said, pushing himself up on his elbows and looking at Tara. "She still seems scary."
"She's sort of... brusque," Tara admitted. "That might just be because she's been here for awhile. She's a super senior after all. This is her fifth year and she does have the most popular campus radio show."
"You seem to know a lot about her," Buffy commented, studying Tara closely. "You conspiring with the enemy?"
When Tara turned bright red at this remark, Amy glared at her best friend and said, "Buffy! Don't embarrass her."
"What?" asked Buffy, appearing innocent. "I just--"
"C'mon Buff," interrupted Faith before the blonde Slayer could dig her hole even deeper. "It's that time."
Blinking at this, Buffy took a minute to realize what Faith was talking about and said, "Oh yeah!" She frowned then said, "I take one side you take the other?"
"Yep," Faith nodded, smiling up at Cordelia as the tall vampire stood at her side. "You're left, I'm right."
"Gotcha," said Buffy about to head out the door when she noticed Willow was standing at her side. "Wills?"
"I want to come with you," Willow said quietly, her tone not brooking an argument. "I want to help."
Studying Willow for a moment, Buffy shook her head and said, "All right. I won't argue with you. Just stick close."
Smiling widely, Willow nodded and the pair headed out the door after Faith and Cordelia. Leaving Tara alone with Amy and Xander and a bit confused about this interaction.
"What was--" Tara began slowly.
"Vampire slaying," Amy and Xander said together.
"Oh," said Tara, her eyes wide.
Staring at the older girl, Amy and Xander were glad that she was at least a wiccan. That meant she wasn't going to find their explanations for Faith and Buffy's role in life less... well, unbelievable.
Which was a definite plus.
The cool night air blew over them as the man looked at his companion. Her short dyed blonde hair blew in the breeze, a reminder of how she'd changed, inside and out since it all happened. Like she was trying to change who she was so everything would hurt less.
Like that would really happen.
"I'll be fine, Sally," she murmured, reaching out to hold his hands in her own. They were so warm, just like they'd always been since they were little kids. And just like then, she was trying to protect him. Even though she was the one in pain here. "Once I do this, I'll be fine."
"Vee," said Sal, sighing quietly. In a smooth movement, he pulled her against his burly frame, holding her in the gentlest of embraces. "I'll tell Gran you said that. Even though she's the one most against this whole thing."
"If it was her," she said firmly, her coffee colored eyes dark and solemn. "And this had happened... she knows she'd be doing exactly what I am now."
"Yeah, but it's not her," Sal murmured, cupping her face in his large hands. "It's you and you oughta know by now how much you mean to the family." When he saw an all too familiar light spark in her gaze, he pressed his finger over her mouth. "And it's not because you're the heir. You know that too. It's because you're you, Vee."
"Sally," she sighed softly, resting her head against his chest and moving into his arms. "I wish I could stay with you all, I really do. But I can't rest until I take care of this. It has to be done for me to move on."
"All right," said Sal quietly. Pulling back, he formed a loving smile and caressed the side of her face before he leaned forward to kiss each cheek softly. "Good luck."
"I don't need luck," she said with quiet ferocity. "I'm a Tagliacozzo and we always get what we want."
"Right," Sal smiled, his voice just as ferocious as hers. "Now you go get what you want then come back to us and your birthright."
"I will," she promised before turning on her heel and walking away from Sal as he watched her depart.
And as he watched her, he murmured, "Return to us soon, Vee. The family just isn't the same without you."
So began Veruca Tagliacozzo's life in Sunnydale.
They were just another group of vampires. That's what Cordelia told herself as they fought them. Then she got a closer look and she recognized their faces.
Just like they recognized her.
"You," the leader snarled. "You led us with Kakistos, you wanted to make this world burn and now... now you take back up with the Slayer? This isn't who you are!"
Seeing her girlfriend freeze on hearing these words, Faith's eyes narrowed and she barreled towards the vamp, kicking him hard in the midsection and staking him as he looked up at her. Cordelia remained absolutely still as the dark Slayer ran through all of her opponents, staking them one after another until they were all dust.
Tucking her stake into the pocket of the blue jacket that she'd borrowed from Cordelia long ago, Faith looked back at her girlfriend who stared at her with empty eyes.
"Sweets," began Faith quietly, walking towards her, hand outstretched as she approached. "They're gone, I got rid of them all. It'll be all right, I promise."
"He was with me," Cordelia whispered dully. "When I killed the first one. I remember... we laughed about it and he said I was truly the Childe of Kakistos."
"Hey," Faith said, holding Cordelia's face softly in her hands and locking their eyes. "That's not you. Whatever happened back then, it wasn't you, sweets."
"No," Cordelia sobbed, shaking her head as she buried herself in Faith's arms. "There's so many of them that I killed with... so many wrongs... I can't ever fix..."
"Shhh," Faith soothed, running her fingers through Cordelia's hair, rocking her in a comforting movement. "Don't worry, I'll take care of everything."
Dark brown eyes gained a hard glint as Faith said in a dangerous growl, "I'll take care of them all."