The biggest problem with the new plan was that one of the team was out: Angel couldn't go with them during the day. Buffy didn't think that was a problem since they were simply going to track down a lawyer outside of the Wolfram and Hart building but the others seemed to think differently. They argued about it but in the end Buffy assured them they didn't need any extra help. She figured she could provide the muscle needed to take down a lawyer or two.
The other problem was that while Buffy wanted to leave Faith at Cordelia's so she could rest, she really didn't want to leave her side. Or really, she felt she couldn't leave her side without further harming Faith. Since Faith had admitted that she was feeling weaker and had whispered to Buffy that she was even hearing things during the day, she was afraid of what would happen if they separated. Wesley had said the spell would only continue to speed up.
That meant Faith would have to go with despite several objections, though Faith insisted she would be fine. Buffy only told her not to try anything stupid, a line that got a sarcastic remark from Cordelia but she let it go. She wasn't about to chastise someone who Faith had hurt. It wasn't the time and frankly, she knew how Cordelia felt in some way.
Finding out where Lindsey McDonald and Lilah Morgan wasn't hard and in the end, Buffy decided only to take Wesley and Giles with along with Faith. Her watcher was the person she trusted would look after Faith and Wesley knew the area and the lawyers. She knew Cordelia wouldn't want to go and her friends weren't much in the way of muscle. Instead, Wesley gave them a list of what was needed to destroy the stone so that everything would be ready once they got it in their possession.
"Here! Stop right here," Wesley said as Giles pulled up in front of an upscale apartment building.
"I see it. You don't need to yell," Giles said as he gritted his teeth.
"Well, since you missed about three turns on the way here I think a little yelling is necessary," Wesley remarked as he got out of the car.
Giles looked back at Buffy, who shook her head. "Hit him later. We need him now."
He nodded and got out, something both slayers did as well. They looked up at the building and Buffy suddenly felt nervous. She didn't want to go up there and be wrong. There wasn't a backup option and if Cordelia's vision was correct, Faith would be dead within the next day.
"Evil pays well," Faith commented as they walked into the building and past a doorman that went to sleep the moment they walked past thanks to a spell Wesley muttered out quickly.
"All you have to do whatever evil thing the senior partners tell you to do and you can live the good life until they decide you've outlived your usefulness to them and they kill you."
Buffy raised your eyebrow at Wesley. "Well, when you put it that way . . ."
The comment got a quiet chuckle out of Faith but they were otherwise silent as they rode the elevator to top floor. Once they got to the door to the apartment Buffy thought about knocking but wanted to keep the element of surprise. She looked to Giles and he seemed to be thinking the same as her as he only nodded. That was all the approval she needed to jump up and kick the door in. Even though it was a heavy, almost reinforced, door, it had nothing on slayer strength and it easily gave way.
"What the . . ." a man ran into the living room and Buffy had to assume that he was Lindsey. "Have you heard of knocking?"
"I wasn't sure if you'd let us in," Buffy commented as she walked toward him. "Now you don't have a choice."
He looked at all of them and gave a little smirk to Wesley before turning his attention to Buffy. "You must be the other slayer. The first one, right? We read up on you after our . . . incident with Faith."
Buffy let out a sarcastic laugh. "Are you telling me your big, bad law firm didn't know about slayers?"
"We thought you were a myth," Lindsey said, looking far too comfortable for Buffy's liking as he put on his jacket and sat down. "We definitely didn't think there would be two."
"I think we're getting off track," Giles said as both he and Wesley stood behind the two slayers. "Where is the stone?"
Lindsey laughed as he leaned back. "At least someone gets to the point." He paused almost as though he enjoyed making them wait. "I don't have it but it's really doing a number on you, isn't it, Faith?"
The look on his face only made Buffy angrier, not liking how calm he was while he knew about what was going on with Faith, and she walked over to him, picking him up by his tie. "We don't have time for this. Where is it?"
"What is it with you people and violence?" Lindsey asked. "First you break my door down and now this? You won't find the stone this way."
Buffy looked at him hard before letting him go. "I only get violent when people avoid my questions. You will answer my questions or I will hurt you."
"No, you won't," he said. "You're the good slayer, right? You don't hurt humans like Faith does, right, Faith?"
"Yeah, that's me," Faith muttered.
"Who has the stone if you don't?" Wesley asked as he stepped toward Buffy and the lawyer. "From what I've read it would glow once Faith is close and you do not seem to be glowing. So that leaves all of us with the same question: where is it?"
"Honestly, I don't know much about it," Lindsey said. "Holland wasn't impressed with how the Faith situation turned out once he found out and he's all about proving loyalty right now."
Buffy loosened her grip on him. "So who has it?"
"This whole thing was Lilah's idea." Lindsey took a step away from Buffy, realizing that she wasn't focused on hurting him any longer. "Holland was impressed, especially when she even volunteered to wear the stone."
"Trying to make sure the Senior Partners don't think you're disloyal," Wesley commented. "Isn't this going a little far? Faith was already out of your way. She wasn't even LA any longer when the spell started. There wasn't a threat to Wolfram and Hart."
"Obviously the assassin we hired originally didn't work," Lindsey said as he worked on straightening his tie. "This spell works without us having to lift a finger. I'm impressed it hasn't completed yet." He looked at Buffy. "I'm guessing that's your doing."
Buffy narrowed her eyes but didn't answer him. Instead, she turned to Wesley. "We have Lilah's address?"
He nodded. "Yes and we can do a tracking spell if needed."
She turned back to Lindsey. "You're coming with us."
"Not a chance."
"I might not kill you but that doesn't mean I won't hurt you," Buffy said as she move close to him again. "Slayers fight evil and you're definitely not good. How do I know you won't try to warn Lilah or anyone else that we're coming?"
"You're assuming that I like her." Lindsey laughed. "Go ahead and do whatever. Like I said, this wasn't my idea."
"Buffy," Giles said, getting her attention, "I don't feel we need him to make sure Lilah gives us the stone. He may just get in the way."
"He's right," Wesley added. "The lawyers at Wolfram and Hart only align with each other for selfish reasons. If he has nothing to gain by Faith's death he won't lift a finger to warn anyone we're coming for the stone."
Buffy looked at Faith. "Leave him?"
"Yeah," Faith said. "I don't think he doesn't care what happens to anyone there."
She nodded and turned back to Lindsey. "If we're not able to get the stone today you better believe I'm coming back for you."
He smiled as he straightened his tie. "I don't doubt it."
Buffy only glared at him before she turned and the group left quickly, knowing they needed to be fast in the hopes of catching the other lawyer before she got to the Wolfram and Hart offices.
The building Lilah's apartment was in was a few miles away from Lindsey's but it looked like more of the same. Buffy imagined she lived in the same type of place, all sleek and expensive. She figured that had to be the reason the pair worked for the things they did was for the money, so they could live how they did. Her mind threatened to get away from when she started to think about what situations and upbringings would make someone choose to work for someone or thing with such evil intentions but she shook the thoughts away. Now wasn't the time for that.
When they got out of the car in front of the building Buffy heard Faith groan and she turned to look at her. "You okay, Faith?"
Faith met her eyes and shook her head. "It's really starting to hurt."
"That means the stone must be close," Wesley commented. "The closer you are to it the more you'll feel it. That means it must be on Lilah. That means we must have gotten here in time and she's still in the building."
"Let's go then," Giles said quickly. "We want to get the stone so we can do the spell quickly. Who knows if this woman will put up a fight."
Buffy nodded to her watcher and took the lead, walking into the building. She knew Faith was right behind her and hoped Giles would keep an eye on her. Faith looked weak and she wasn't sure what would happen once they encountered Lilah. She wasn't sure where Wesley's loyalties would lie given his past encounter with Faith but she knew Giles would look out for her. Someone needed to while she got the stone.
After Wesley took care of the doorman in the same way he did at Lindsey's building they walked to the elevator and Buffy looked at the rest of them. "If she won't give up the necklace, we knock her out and take her with us if we have to. Does she have to be the one to remove the necklace?"
"I'm not sure," Wesley admitted. "Nothing I read spoke of that but the details of this spell are shaky at best. It was lucky we were able to find information on it to begin with."
The bell on the elevator sounded as they reached their floor and Buffy readied herself for another meeting with a lawyer. She was really beginning to dislike the people who seemed to want Faith dead so badly, mostly in that they were human and should know better.
It turned out they didn't have to look far for Lilah Morgan. When the elevator doors opened she was standing on the other side, waiting to get on. Buffy looked her in the eyes as they stared at each other and she could see that the other woman knew exactly who she was. The moment she did she backed away from the elevator and turned to run back to her apartment.
"Do you really think you can outrun a slayer?" Buffy asked before she could get too far. "I know you're smarter than that."
Lilah and turned. The smirk on her face was something Buffy didn't expect. "You are correct about that." She looked at Faith. "How are you, Faith? Good?"
"Bitch," Faith muttered under her breath. Buffy looked back and noticed she was leaning against the wall and breathing heavy.
"Oh, that's not the way to treat an old friend," Lilah said easily, like she was comfortable none of them would harm her in any way. "You should've known there's a price to pay when you don't do what you were hired for."
Buffy looked her over, inwardly impressed that she was keeping her composure. Then she noticed something: her wrist was glowing. "I think you have something that belongs to us."
"No," Lilah said quickly. "I have something that belongs to Wolfram and Hart. They have decided that Faith as a former employee, albeit short-lived, has outlived her usefulness. This is how they intend to remedy the situation."
"How you ever stopped and listened to yourself?" Buffy asked as she took a step forward. "This is not how normal people deal with things. When people leave a job that doesn't mean employers kill them? That's some messed up logic you have."
"You and I don't deal with 'normal', or people for that matter," she said. "Which is why you won't be getting this stone."
There was a noise behind her and when Buffy turned to look she noticed Faith had stumbled back and was now resting against Giles. He only nodded to her as if to say he would look after the other slayer while she did what she needed to do and she was grateful for that.
Buffy turned back to Lilah and took another step closer. "We both know that I won't kill you," she said. "I'm not a vampire or demon. I'm a slayer and I don't kill humans, which is what you still are . . . kind of. But that doesn't mean I won't rough you up a little in order to get what I need to in order to help one of our team."
Lilah looked her up and down. "I don't think you will."
Within a second Buffy was within inches of her but Wesley spoke up before she could do anything. "Lilah, don't be stupid. You're challenging a slayer. I don't think if this little assignment fails it will hurt your standing."
"Yeah, but it was a little fun," she said, a prominent smirk on her face. "I don't like it when things don't go my way."
Buffy looked her up and down. "Yeah, I bet you're a really go-getter."
They seemed to be at a standoff for a minute and Buffy noticed that the bracelet on her wrist was now showing. She has expected the stone to bigger for some reason. In her mind, she felt something that was causing Faith so much pain shouldn't be the size of a small marble. It definitely shouldn't be something small enough to pass as part of a bracelet.
Finally, Buffy just groaned and reached for Lilah's wrist, essentially ripping the bracelet off. "You can tell your bosses they should stay out of my business."
Lilah rubbed her wrist as she looked at her. "I can't make any promises."
"I don't think I'd believe you if you did."
They looked at each other for another couple seconds before Lilah laughed and walked away, seemingly back toward her apartment. Buffy fought the urge to smack her around for being okay with what she had done and turned back to Wesley, Giles and Faith. She wanted to smile but immediately frowned when she saw how Faith looked.
"Faith, how do you feel?"
She was still leaning against Giles and Buffy didn't think she'd ever seen her so pale. "Never better," she said, smiling for a second before her eyes closed and their watcher had to grab her in order to keep her from falling to the floor.
"Faith!" Buffy yelled as she rushed to the other girl.
"Buffy, stop," Wesley said and put his arm out to stop her from getting closer to Faith. "It's the stone. It's too close."
Buffy looked down at her hand and couldn't believe how bright the stone in her hand was. "She can't get this close to it?"
"From what I've read if it touches her she will die," Wesley said as he moved Buffy further away from Faith. He opened his hand carefully. "I'll hold the stone so you can get Faith out of here and into the car. I'll doubt she wake up until this is over now."
She looked to Giles who nodded as he placed a hand on Faith's forehead. "I believe she's running a fever. We need to get back to Cordelia's apartment immediately."
The concern on her watcher's face made Buffy quickly hand over the bracelet to Wesley. He gave her a short nod and wrapped the bracelet in a black cloth before placing it in his pocket. Once he did Buffy moved to Faith and took her out of Giles' arms. The other slayer was unconscious and she had broken out into a sweat as well.
"Faith?" Buffy whispered into her ear, hoping that the other girl would respond to her. Faith didn't though and Buffy carefully picked her up. "How far away does she need to be?"
Wesley shrugged as both he and Giles stood a couple feet away. "I don't know but this can't be good. We must leave. Now."
Buffy nodded and lifted Faith into her arms. She wished Faith would have been somewhat able to assist it getting her out of the apartment building but she was out cold. Instead, she got her into the elevator and into the car outside as quickly as possible, hoping that not many people saw. No one would know what to think if they saw someone her size carrying another person as if it were no trouble at all.
They walked to the car as quickly as possible and Buffy carefully placed Faith in the backseat. She slid in next to her and as soon as she shut the door the car was moving, racing back to Cordelia's apartment.
"What happened to her?"
"Wesley thinks she's too close to the stone," Giles said as he moved aside to let Buffy in, who was carrying Faith.
"I thought getting the stone was a good thing," Willow said, a confused look on her face as she watched Buffy gently place Faith on the couch.
"It is a good thing," Wesley insisted and looked to the group that had stayed behind. "Now, did you get everything that we need for the spell?"
Cordelia nodded. "Yes, but if you wreck my apartment with this I will hurt you."
Buffy raised an eyebrow as she knelt beside the couch, keeping a hand on Faith as if she could still help her in some way. "You're kidding, right?"
"In case you haven't noticed, we are already down one office location," Cordelia commented. "My apartment will not be the next casualty."
She shook her head and knew it was pointless to say anything else. There was also a point to her logic that Buffy refused to acknowledge vocally but the comment made her think about the knockdown, drag-out she had with Faith at her house. Her mother couldn't have been thrilled with the damage done and she could see why Cordelia wouldn't want to wreck her apartment.
"Move aside the furniture and put everything for the spell in the center of the circle," Wesley said as he began to create a circle in the living room.
Buffy moved away from everyone else as they set everything up and concentrated on Faith. Her skin had become cold and clammy since they'd gotten to the apartment and every once and awhile her body would twitch ever so subtly. Buffy wondered if that meant she was having another nightmare but there weren't any wounds on her body that she could see. At least, not yet.
"Buffy," Wesley said, getting her attention, "you'll need to say with Faith and make sure she's okay. I have to admit I'm not sure this will work."
She nodded and let the remaining six of them get in a circle. She noticed Angel was looking over at Faith with a concerned look on his face but Buffy gave him a nod, hoping to show that she would take care of the other slayer. He seemed to believe her because he only gave her a nod in return before turning his attention back to Wesley.
"Faith," Buffy whispered into her ear as she held her hand, "you're gonna get better so stay with me, okay?" She paused in hope that Faith would respond but of course, she didn't which caused her to sigh. "Stay with me."
Wesley started reciting out of a book in a foreign language and when Buffy turned away from Faith she could see that everyone was holding hands with the stone in the center of the circle. She was amazed by how bright the glow was and hoped that had more to do with what their old watcher was saying than with anything it was doing to Faith.
She moved Faith enough so she could sit on the couch, making it so the other slayer's head was now resting on her lap. There was a part of her that wished to know more about the spell that was taking place, especially now that there seemed to be a small fire starting in the middle of the circle.
After a few more seconds of chanting the stone was so bright Buffy couldn't even look at it. She shielded her eyes as best she could while still keep a hand on Faith. Her instincts were screaming at her that something was going to happen and it was only a few more seconds that she was proven right as the stone exploded, causing debris to fly all over the room.
"Shit!" Xander yelled as a piece hit his head and the others move to cover their heads.
The room filled with dust seconds later and Buffy tensed for a minute as she listened to everyone coughing and yelling for one another. It was a small room but she could barely see Faith and she was holding her. She gripped her a little tighter, trying to protect her from whatever was happening. Again the thought entered her head that she wished she knew more about the spell.
"Buffy!" Giles yelled out. "Buffy, are you and Faith okay?"
"We're fine!" she yelled back. "Wesley, what's going on?"
"It should clear in a minute," he answered. "I believe this is a sign it worked."
Cordelia groaned. "You are so cleaning my apartment."
Buffy could only hope that was the case and she waited for the dust to clear. It seemed to take forever but soon she could begin to see objects in the room again and the rest of the group wiping dust off their clothes and bodies.
There were some movement next to her and Buffy looked down, a smile immediately appearing on her face. Faith shifted on the couch and let out a quiet groan before opening her eyes. Once their eyes met Buffy knew. She knew the spell worked.
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Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Chapter Fifteen || Chapter Sixteen
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