Just like Buffy had suspected, Giles was okay with her and Faith going to investigate the warehouse that may or may not be important. They had been researching for days without getting any payoff so it was an easy decision to do some recon in the seedier area of Sunnydale.
Buffy ended up waking up later than she wanted and quickly realized that Faith had probably been working for a few hours already. It made her feel a little guilty that she didn't have to do anything like that but she knew that Faith wouldn't complain about it. She knew all she was thinking about was the day she had her own place.
She went for a quick run then walked to the gallery to talk to her mother about some of the things she would need to get before she moved into the dorms. Joyce had been busy so the talk was short but Buffy left feeling a little better about being prepared for college.
By the time she left it was almost noon and she figured Faith must have been done with her shift by now so she began walking toward Giles'. It would be better for them to do their recon work in the middle of the day. No one would probably pay any attention to them and if it was a vampire hideout, all of them would be inside and unaware they were checking the place out.
Buffy looked out and saw Faith was walking toward her. Her eyes automatically roamed her body, noticing the jeans and tank top that hugged her curves just right and was suddenly thankful she was wearing sunglasses.
"Hey," she said as Faith met her, "I was just going to see if you were ready to check out this mystery warehouse."
"Sounds like a plan," Faith said with a grin on her face. "I think I might even know where it is."
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean is I work in a warehouse." Faith kept her grin as they began to walk together. "A warehouse that near several other warehouses. I mean, I work in a better area but the rundown and abandoned ones aren't far away."
"Good and bad areas are never really far away from each other in Sunnydale, are they?"
They walked in silence as they walked out of the residential neighborhoods and toward the downtown shops and businesses. It was a perfect sunny day so there were people everywhere, shopping or eating at some of the local cafes. Buffy almost wished she sit back and waste away the day like some of the people seemed to be doing but the work of a slayer never seemed to be done.
"You wanna grab some lunch?"
"Don't we have to find the warehouse?"
Faith shrugged. "It's not like the sun's gonna set soon. We have plenty of time and I'm starving. Did you already eat?"
Buffy shook her head. "Guess I wasn't thinking about it."
"Sometimes I can't believe you're a slayer," Faith commented, laughing. "I'm always hungry."
"I think that's a Faith thing, not a slayer thing." Buffy looked at her and smirked. "Do you have somewhere in mind?"
She nodded her head toward the end of the block. "Come on."
Buffy smiled and followed Faith to a diner that was a little more rundown than the cafes they had passed. When she walked in behind Faith she took off her sunglasses, noticed booths and counters that looked like they'd seen better days and she almost wanted to ask if this was really the place they would be eating at. It didn't look very sanitary.
"Faith," the waitress behind the counter said as she as she saw them walk in, "I can't believe I'm seeing you without that uniform on."
Faith grinned. "Already worked today, Sara. Just stopping in with a friend."
"Take a seat. I'll be there in a minute."
They sat in a booth and Buffy raised an eyebrow. "So people know you here?"
"Kinda." Faith shrugged. "I come here a lot when I have to work odd hours. It's the only decent place that dares to be open 24 hours. Doesn't ever get attacked."
"Demon owns the place," Faith answered. "Don't worry, I checked him out when I found out. Decent enough, doesn't attack humans and he's big as shit so vamps never come in here to try and make a meal out of a waitress or something. I think they're afraid of him."
Buffy sat back in her seat and looked toward the kitchen. "He's not back there cooking, is he?"
Faith shook her head. "He's the night guy. He's all right, B."
Buffy was about to respond but the waitress suddenly appeared and seemed to look her over before looking at Faith. "So what brings you in today if you're not working?"
"Stuff for the other job," Faith said and winked. "Thought we'd get some food first."
She laughed and turned to Buffy. "You must be Buffy then. Faith's said lots about you."
"She has?" Buffy raised an eyebrow again and could've sworn Faith was fighting a blush.
"Uh, maybe we should order," Faith said quickly. "B, the cheeseburgers are real good here."
"Sounds good to me."
The waitress smiled. "I'll just get ya what Faith always gets."
Buffy waited for her to leave before leaning across the booth toward Faith. "Okay, my brain is overloaded with questions right now. The biggest being, does she know about the slaying?"
"We get to talking sometimes, you know? It's not like she's gonna run to the press or the cops or anything about it. Her boss is a demon, B. I think she's okay with the not so normal."
"Still doesn't mean you can go ahead and tell everyone what we do. I know Giles didn't even like that Willow and Xander knew at first."
Faith shook her head. "B, the first night I walked in here I saw a demon through the doors in the kitchen and freaked a little. I damn near jumped the counter to take him down but he knew who I was and was very quick at explaining himself. We have an understanding now. On the nights we're not patrolling together or when I'm walking home I make sure the place is okay just in case there's something stupid enough to try and wreck up the place. He makes sure I eat for free."
"Okay, and how does the waitress know a lot about me?"
"Sara keeps me company while I eat and we talk," Faith said. "You are the person I spend the most time with. Your name is bound to come up."
Buffy noticed that Faith was beginning to look uncomfortable now that the questions were about that she was talking about Buffy so she decided to let it go. Not only did it look like Faith didn't want to answer but a part of her didn't want to know why either. It could venture into dream-like territory and that wasn't what she wanted. She was already starting to feel that Faith might know about the dreams. That was all she could handle at the moment.
"Fine . . . so how good is the food here?"
"I think this is it."
Buffy and Faith stood in front of an old, three story brick warehouse on a street that looked to be abandoned. They hadn't met a single person the last two blocks they had walked and Buffy wouldn't have been surprised to see a tumbleweed blow by at this point. It felt as though people knew to stay away from the area.
"All the windows are even blacked out like the vamp said," Faith commented.
"Think it's condemned, too?"
Buffy walked a few steps toward the side of the building. "The front doors are boarded up so they must getting in through the side or back doors."
"Probably only one of 'em though. Can't run an operation like this without having control of how people get in and get out." Faith looked up and down the street. "Even in the daylight this street is creepy."
"Your senses on high alert, too?"
They walked down the alleyway between warehouses, trying to find the entrance to the warehouse that they were sure was Devon's hideout. At the back of the building, near the dumpsters that were overflowing and looked as though they hadn't been switched out in months was a jumbled stack of boxes and grates that looked like they were thrown there on purpose. It looked like there was a door behind them.
Buffy and Faith looked at each other and Faith smiled. "They make it so obvious, don't they?"
"It's like they want to get staked," Buffy said as they walked over to the stack.
It only took a minute and a couple of moved boxes to see the entrance and the reasons the boxes were there in the first place. The door was new, secure and looked very out of place being attached to a warehouse that was close to falling apart.
"Don't think we should bust in there and just start staking, do you?"
"Nah," Faith said. "Then I might get vamp dust all over these clothes and I might lose my sunglasses. I just bought these, B."
Buffy laughed. "Fine. I don't think we're exactly prepared anyway."
Faith nodded and they looked over the back of the warehouse more. Unlike the front, the back looked to be well traveled. There were tracks everywhere but what Buffy found curious was that there wasn't just shoeprints. It looked like there might be some prints that weren't of the human variety as well.
"This is weird, Faith. I think there are demons here, too."
"We never saw demons being recruited. Just vamps."
"Yeah, but look down. These tracks aren't from vamps or humans." Buffy pointed to a few as Faith stopped at her side and looked. "See?"
"Guess vamps and demons play together now," she said then looked at Buffy. "Just fucking fantastic."
Buffy looked up, trying to see if there was any way someone from inside the warehouse could see that they were investigating the door. Vampires couldn't walk outside to confront them but demons could and there wasn't a single person around that could see them. The thought made Buffy more uneasy than she would care to admit.
"We should circle the place, see if there's anything else unusual," Faith said. "That way when we come back here tonight we won't be surprised."
"So we're coming back here tonight?"
"Why not?" Faith asked. "If we know this is a place where all the planning and action is happening then this is where we have to be. I'm not spending another night tracking recruiters when we have a good idea that this is where they are."
Buffy sighed. "We better come prepared then. From the feeling I'm getting this place is gonna be crawling with vampires after the sun goes down."
"Better get to it then."
The rest of the afternoon was spent planning with Giles and trying to come up with a way for them to check out the warehouse without being in any unnecessary danger. They had walked around the entire building and the only working entrance was to the door they had found. Every other area had been boarded up or bolted shut.
One thing Faith noticed that both of them found a little curious was that there was sewer access close by. In fact, several of the tracks they saw only went from the entrance to the sewer. They thought there might even be an access point inside the warehouse as well. It definitely would be a desired feature of a building for a vampire that needed tunnels and sewers to get around during the day.
The pair separated for a few hours so Faith could take a much needed nap and Buffy went home to have dinner with her mother. The afternoon had gone so well that she almost wanted to ask Faith if she wanted to come over for dinner but she could see how tired the other girl was so she decided against it. It felt like tonight would be a very long night and it would be better if they were both rested. Who knew what they were going to encounter inside the warehouse.
"Why didn't Faith come over for dinner tonight?" Joyce asked as they cleaned up.
"She needed some sleep before patrol," Buffy answered as the doorbell rang. "But maybe she thinks she can still catch the end of it."
Her mother laughed as Buffy walked out of the kitchen to the front door, opening it to find Faith standing there. She had on her leathers and a tight tank top underneath her leather jacket. Buffy liked that she looked more rested, too. A better rested Faith meant better backup for her.
"Hey, I thought we were meeting up in a little bit," Buffy said.
Faith shrugged. "I woke up and got ready. Didn't really think about the time since it's getting dark. By the time we get there I bet there's gonna be a lot going on."
"You got weapons?"
"Couple of stakes, a knife," Faith answered. "You got more though, right?"
Buffy nodded. "Yeah, let me grab some stuff and we'll go."
She ran upstairs quick and rummaged through her weapons chest, grabbing a couple stakes of her own and some other handy weapons before walking back down to meet Faith. Of course, she found her in the kitchen eating some leftovers.
"B, if I knew you'd be having chicken tonight I would've stopped over earlier."
"Funny," Buffy said quietly. "Come on, let's go."
They said their goodbyes to Buffy's mother and began their walk to the warehouse. Neither of them said anything as they walked, maybe not having anything to say to each other. Buffy was busy hoping that they wouldn't get into too much trouble tonight. She wanted to find Devon and end whatever it was that he was doing but she didn't want the two of them to get in over their heads. At the end of the night she wanted them to be very much of the living.
When they were within a block of the warehouse Buffy could already begin to hear voices coming from it. All the surrounding buildings were just as dead and dark as they had been during the day but their warehouse was the exact opposite. They could already see vamps walking around outside.
Faith grabbed Buffy by the arm and pulled them out of view of the street. "Here, B," Faith said as she handed her a black stocking cap. "I think we gotta blend in a little more."
"So we look like bank robbers?"
"No, so we look less like us," Faith clarified. "Remember, we can't really sneak in. We're just gonna have to try and disguise ourselves a little."
Buffy knew she was right so she put the hat, adjusting it as best she could before walking back onto the street with Faith. She noticed that there were only a couple of vampires outside the warehouse now and most of the voices and yells were coming from inside.
"It looks like the few outside are guarding the place," Buffy whispered to Faith. "If we just stake them we might be able to walk right in."
"Let's do it." Faith began to walk faster, keeping to the shadows, and Buffy followed her.
The first pair of vamps that were sitting at the front of the building were no problem. They were drunk and so distracted in the conversation they were having that neither slayer even had to throw a punch before staking them. Buffy only hoped the rest of the night went as smoothly but by the sounds of that were coming from inside, they may be up against a few dozen vampires and who knows what else.
As they walked around the corner of the building, they noticed there were three vampires hovering around the entrance. The two of them shared a look and Faith nodded that she was ready to go. Buffy was very relieved she didn't just break out in a run toward the trio, something she might have done a few months ago. That would have caused unnecessary attention and they really needed to get into the warehouse without being detected.
Thankfully, the vamps doing the guarding weren't doing a very good job. They were talking and looking away from the entrance of the alleyway as Buffy and Faith were casually walking down. Once they were about ten feet from them the pair shared a look and Buffy made a sign that they should stay silent. Any of the quips they loved to say would ruin the element of surprise they wanted.
They first staked the two facing away from them in the back, something neither of them liked doing but it was necessary for the situation. The third vamp began to panic immediately but Faith jumped the bench the vamp she'd just staked had been standing in front of and tackled him, staking him before they hit the ground.
"You okay?" Buffy whispered as she helped Faith up.
Faith stood and dusted herself off quickly. "Yeah. Let's go in there now before they realize all the guards are dust."
Buffy nodded and they cautiously entered walked through the open door. She looked around as she did and noticed all the boxes that had covered the door during the day were stacked neatly off to the side. The manhole covering the sewer access was also gone.
The inside of the warehouse was wide open. Aside from the pillars scattered throughout the area there wasn't much there aside from the vampires walking around and talking. There were boxes packed with what looked like supplies and maybe a few weapons but other than that there was nothing. It made Buffy wonder if it had always been that way or if Devon and his cronies had cleared everything out on purpose.
No one seemed to notice their presence as they walked inside even though there were more vamps than they could take on with just the two of them. If they were discovered they would have no choice but to run.
"Faith," Buffy whispered as she pulled at her arm, "let's stick to the back. There's too many here."
Faith nodded but didn't say anything. Her eyes were constantly moving around the room and it looked like she was counting how many vamps were there. Buffy looked around and noticed toward the front of the room were a trio of vampires in suits and behind them were two large, dark green demons.
"B, those big guys in the front are the same kind of demon as the one who owns the diner," Faith whispered.
"Is one of them the one you know?"
Faith shook her head. "No, but you better believe I'm paying him a visit after we leave."
"Everyone shut up!"
The whole place immediately became silent and they turned to the front of the room. The three suited vampires now stood on a table, making sure they were able to look down at the rest of the vamps. Buffy noticed how they stood with confidence and that a demon stood on either side of the table, like they were ready to beat down anyone who would dare try to act out while the three were speaking.
"We're very happy to see so many of you have made the right choice in joining us," the vamp in the center said. "The ones who have not are now your enemy. Look around! This is your family now."
The vamps began to cheer and it looked like some of them were drunk. Buffy wondered if the fact her and Faith weren't cheering would make them easier to pick out of the crowd but they trio began to speak again so she didn't have time to consider it further.
"The time has come for you to meet the one responsible for you being here. The one who will bring us a new age where vampires are in power and humans are nothing but slaves and food!" He paused as the crowd began to cheer again but they silenced immediately when he put his hand up. "It is my pleasure to introduce our leader!"
His voice doomed and suddenly a vampire from the crowd jumped up on the table and the trio immediately stepped down like they knew their place. His hair was short, dark and spiky and he wore a loose-fitting, eighties-style suit. Buffy almost laughed because of how clichéd he looked and when she looked at Faith she could tell she was thinking the same thing.
"Who's ready to take control?" he yelled. "Who's ready to do what they want, to whoever they want?"
The crowd yelled out their wish to do just that and it was easy to see that Devon loved any second of it. He'd only said two sentences and he already had complete control of the crowd.
"It's time to do that, boys and girls," Devon said once the crowd began to calm. "There is no reason for us to live as second-class citizens to humans. They are weak! We should be in control and they should be nothing more than a food source."
Buffy and Faith looked at each other then and Buffy could tell Faith wanted to yell something back badly. Instead, she only rolled her eyes and turned back to Devon. Buffy quickly looked around to make sure they hadn't been spotted then did the same.
"It's gonna take a little work first. We have big plans here and everyone needs to do their part."
"What do we do?" a vamp in the crowd asked.
Devon looked like he didn't like to be questioned but he quickly hid the displeasure on his face. "We are going to open the hellmouth." He paused. "And we need the slayers to make that happen. Not to kill though, not right away. They have something I need."
The crowd started to talk amongst themselves and Devon did not look pleased that he was starting to lose the crowd. That was when Buffy could swear he looked right at her. She tried not to make any sudden movements for fear she would cause attention to her or Faith. Even with that, she tugged on Faith's arm discreetly to get her attention.
"Stay alert, Faith," she whispered under her breath, knowing her slayer hearing could pick up on it but the others around them probably wouldn't.
"What I need is for all of you is to make sure the slayers know they have targets on their backs," he said as a grin formed on his face, "but I think they know."
"Oh, shit," Faith muttered.
"The slayers have decided to grace us with their presence tonight," Devon boomed and many of the vampires followed his stare to Buffy and Faith.
"Faith . . ."
"B . . ."
"What are you all waiting for? Get them!"
Buffy took Faith's hand quickly. "Run!"
Not liking their chances with running through the streets, Faith had chosen to jump down into the sewer and Buffy had no choice but to follow her. They had been running for about 10 minutes before Buffy knew for sure that they were completely lost and stopped in frustration. It took a few seconds for Faith to realize she'd stopped before stopping herself and walking back.
"What are you doing?"
Buffy tried her best not to look disgusted as she looked Faith over but she was sure she looked just as bad, the unfortunate result of running through the sewers. She threw her hand up, gesturing in the air around them. "I don't hear them anymore . . . maybe they're just as lost as we are."
"Nah, they're not lost," Faith said as she looked around. "They might not know where we are anymore but they probably know the sewers and tunnels way better than we do. I bet they know we're gonna get lost and decided to either find us another way or have moved on to something else."
"Sure." Buffy's tone wasn't very convincing as she looked around. All everything looked the same to her as they had run and she had no idea how to get out. She couldn't even remember the last time she'd seen a ladder that went to the surface. "We need to find a way out."
Faith's eyes roamed her body quickly and Buffy suddenly felt very self-conscious. "You okay, B? Not injured or anything?"
She reached out and touched Buffy's shoulder, causing her muscles to stiffen briefly and she had to fight the urge to back away. All it seemed to take was one touch from Faith and she had a flash of one of her dreams. This thing she flashed to one where she'd come home to her apartment, their apartment, to find Faith waiting with a candlelit dinner and flowers everywhere. They didn't end up making it to dinner.
The sex parts of the dreams didn't faze Buffy anymore. As much as they put her on edge they showed a side of Faith she expected. That Faith was all sex and passion and everything was hard and intense. It was the caring, sensitive, loving Faith that haunted her. The thought that she was capable of such things scared her. She wasn't completely sure why but it scared her to thing Faith would ever care for her that way.
Their eyes met for a split second then before Buffy blushed and looked away. Faith looked down and took a couple steps back as well.
"The dreams are really gettin' to you, huh?"
Buffy's head shot up and she looked at Faith, who was still looking away from her. "You know? Who told you? Was it Will? Damn her!"
"Wasn't Willow," Faith said quietly. "You told her but not me?"
"I needed to talk to someone . . ." Buffy stopped, eyes widened. "If no one told you, how do you know?"
Faith finally looked at her and Buffy couldn't read the expression on her face. She'd never seen it before. "Were you the only one there, B?"
Buffy's jaw dropped slightly and she had no idea what to say. Faith was really in the dreams with her and she hadn't said anything. That made her breathe a little sigh of relief because now she couldn't be the only one going insane. Now she figured it had to be a spell or something that was making her dream what she was dreaming. It was the only option that made sense.
"Shit, B, not even a comeback? Nothing?"
"Why didn't you say anything?"
Faith's only response was to shrug but Buffy knew there was more to it. Maybe she felt the same as her: that the dreams were slowly driving her insane. That was the only way Buffy could describe it and hoped that if Faith felt that, too, maybe they could figure out what was going on. It could have even been a weapon Devon was using after all. It seemed like something he might think up given what they saw of him earlier.
"Faith, if I knew all this earlier we could've found a way to stop them," Buffy said. "Hell, if Devon's doing this . . ."
"That's what you think is happening?" Faith cut in quickly, her eyes only meeting Buffy's for a second at a time before darting away.
"But then what . . ." Buffy started but trailed off as her mind began to more quickly. Willow was right about Faith having the dreams, too, but Buffy was sure they were a result of a spell. The only other possibility was that they were slayer dreams and she doubted she'd be having so much sex in dreams that were supposed to help her with slayer-related events. Outside of that, the only explanation left was . . .
Faith looked away from her and Buffy's mouth dropped. She wasn't sure what shocked her more: that Faith had been having sex dreams about her for weeks or that she'd been able to visit them. It was all so unbelievable to her. Could Faith be interested in her? Before today Buffy would have laughed off the question but not now. There had been too many relationship-type dreams for her to laugh it off.
Buffy walked up to Faith and carefully put a hand on her shoulder, thinking it might be the only way to get her to look at her. Thankfully, she did and Buffy tried to show more calm in the look she had. It wasn't easy to do either given how confused she was. "Are they yours?"
"Yeah," Faith answered quietly and Buffy didn't think she'd ever seen her look so uneasy before.
"Am I supposed to be visiting them?"
Faith's eyes widened and Buffy knew she was taking the question as an accusation. "You think I'm making it so you, the real you, is showing up? Nice to know what you really think of me, B."
"That's not what I meant," Buffy quickly corrected. "How long have you been having . . . those dreams?"
"Since you stood up for me." Faith's eyes focused on the ground again, refusing to look at Buffy.
Buffy only became more confused with the answer. "But that was a few months before I started having them. How did you even know it was really me?"
Faith looked at Buffy again and Buffy thought she almost looked a little defeated. "Your eyes. One night there was something different about them and then you couldn't even look at me the next day. After a few times it didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on." She paused. "Then I could always tell when you were there and when you weren't."
"But . . ." Buffy was having a hard time taking it all in. Now she wished she would have talked to Faith long ago. Then everything would have been settled and she'd be able to sleep again. Then again, the questions she'd always had would have remained unanswered and now they were practically screaming at her. "Faith, do you have feelings for me? Sex dreams are one thing but we're together in those dreams."
She dared to put a hand on her arm again as Faith looked at her. The look on her face made Buffy want to give her a hug and she was sure in any other situation she would have. Faith looked scared, maybe even a little panicked, and Buffy figured if they weren't lost she'd probably be running.
"Yeah," Faith answered quietly as she tried not to look Buffy in the eye. "Think it started as a crush or something but now . . . I really want ya, B."
Their eyes met as Faith spoke and Buffy could tell instantly Faith was finally being honest with her. As she looked into those dark brown eyes she secretly always loved, she could see everything for once. Faith was finally trusting her.
Buffy placed a hand gently on Faith's cheek and almost smiled when her eyes closed at the feel of her touch. She suddenly felt so wanted, completely wanted, and it surprised her how much she liked that the person wanting her was Faith. There was nothing she could say, nothing that could describe what she was feeling, so she slowly leaned in and lightly pressed her lips against Faith's.
Both their bodies froze at the action and Buffy could tell Faith was shocked. It only took a few seconds for her to snap out of it though and soon Buffy felt Faith's arms around her, making sure her body was pressed against hers. Even with that, the kiss remained light until Buffy thought she heard voices and pulled away.
"What's wrong?" Faith asked quietly and Buffy thought there could be a hint of panic in her voice.
"Do you hear something?"
Faith kept her arms around her but looked away, likely listening to the surroundings. Buffy did the same and after a few seconds she heard the faint sound of voices echoing off the walls.
"Hear that?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah," Faith answered, nodding. "We need to get out of here. Last thing we need is them finding us down here."
Buffy nodded. "Except we don't know where we are."
"First ladder going up we see we go up. We both know the town well enough to get to Giles' from wherever we end up." She looked in the direction they had been running toward. "When we get outta here we're definitely continuing whatever we got going here."
Faith let her go and took off before Buffy could respond and she started to run after her a second later. Even with everything that was going on between them Faith was definitely right about one thing: the needed to get out of the sewer.
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Prologue || Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Epilogue
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