Buffy sighed with relief as she walked through the large double doors and found the library familiarly empty. There was no way she could get into weird slayer type dreams when any other students were around. They already thought she was weird enough; the last thing she needed was for them to believe that she was getting some kind of weird dream-counseling from the school librarian.
"Giles!" she called out, unceremoniously dropping her backpack onto a nearby table as she passed and headed toward his office.
"Buffy?" Giles called out as he peeked out from his office. He placed the sandwich he'd been eating back on a paper napkin and stood up, making sure he was tidy and presentable. "Shouldn't you be in English class?"
"I should, and Mrs. Neary is so going to call my mom and blow me in for leaving but . . . I had to. So I was sleeping, right? And I was having this great dream. I'm talking Brad Pitt in leather pants, motorcycle ride across the desert; you know, the stuff teenage female fantasies are made of."
"Buffy, I know it's not my place to scold you in regards to academic matters but perhaps you should try to pay more attention in class and save the naps for after graduation."
"Giles, is there any way we could postpone the lecture until, oh, I don't know, never? English is an easy A. Besides, the dream took an interesting turn into slayer territory and I think it's something that might be worth putting on our research hats for."
"If you're suggesting research, I know it must be something truly horrific. What kind of evil did you see this time?" he asked, somewhat amused.
Buffy looked down at her hands which suddenly began to fidget nervously with the bottom of her shirt. Taking a deep breath, she looked back up at Giles, a serious look upon her face.
Giles didn't smile or laugh or get angry or let on that he was feeling any emotion in particular except for the small hint of concern across his features as he sat down on his old wooden chair and folded his hands over his stomach.
"And what did you dream about Faith?" he asked quietly, his concern a bit more noticeable now.
"I don't know where she was. It was someone's house, there was an older man there. She had a knife in her hand and it looked like she was going to use it. Never got the chance though. Three men dressed all in black charged in with big nasty guns. Faith didn't make it." Buffy's voice was low and quiet and, despite the fact that Faith had switched sides shortly after Finch's death, it was still obvious that she was concerned about the girl.
"I see," Giles said, taking a moment to form his thoughts. "Perhaps it was just a dream, Buffy. Faith was a big part of your life – all of our lives -- until recently. I wouldn't be surprised if your psyche is finding ways to punish her for the anger you still feel toward her."
"It's not so much anger as it is . . . disappointment," Buffy said, choosing her words carefully as she sat down on a wooden chair opposite Giles. "Don't get me wrong, I have anger aplenty. Faith was stupid to go to the Mayor and even stupider to think she could get away with trying to play both sides. I don't think a severe case of disappointment would make me want to see her die though, even in a dream."
"Was there anything else to suggest that maybe it was a slayer dream or a prophetic vision of some type?"
"I can feel Faith. I don't know how to explain it other than it's some kind of slayer bond. Now I don't know where she is or what she's doing, but I know she's there; I feel the connection. Even when I don't want to feel it, it's there. I felt it in the dream, clear as I can right now, but when those guys shot her and she . . ." Buffy stopped herself, unable to finish that sentence, ". . . I couldn't feel her anymore, Giles."
The tension and concern between them was palpable. Both Giles and Buffy were concerned for Faith; who wasn't? She went from a shitty situation before Sunnydale to an even shittier situation while there, and no one had paid that any attention until it was too late. And that's why things were suddenly tense; it was too late. Faith had switched sides; went to the Mayor, and wasn't looking back. Even if they wanted to help her now, how could they go about doing that when their help was the last thing she would ever accept.
"I suppose we could read some of the old slayer diaries. Several former slayers wrote about prophetic dreams. Perhaps we could make some sense of this if we had a better insight to how the dreams work."
"That's as good a place to start as any," Buffy said as she stood up. "I'll wait for Willow outside of class and fill her in so she can help. I'll be back though; there's something I need to take care of first."
She turned to leave but stopped when she heard Giles tentatively call her name. He understood what she needed to do; he just wasn't sure it was the best idea right now.
"It might be in your best interest to postpone any contact with Faith. If she's had a similar dream she might believe you're somehow involved. It would be best to avoid any physical altercations for the moment, at least until we can get a handle on the situation."
Buffy mulled it over for a few moments, her hands still working nervously on the hem of her shirt. She finally made eye contact with Giles again, a regretful look on her face.
"I know. I . . . just humor me Giles, okay? I'll be safe and if she decides she needs to get punchy, I'll run. I have no intention of fighting her."
Giles studied her for a minute before nodding, then watched her turn around and make her way toward the exit, grabbing her backpack from the table on her way out. When he was certain that he was alone, he picked up the phone and dialed a long series of numbers and waited patiently for the call to connect.
"Hello, Quentin," Giles said, a bitter smile on his face.
"Rupert. To what do I owe the pleasure?" His sarcasm wasn't lost on Giles.
"I was hoping you wouldn't mind telling me why you're sending a Council assassination squad here to do your dirty work?"
There was a long pause on the other end of the line before Quentin answered,
"Those details are classified. The only thing you need to know is that the situation in Sunnydale is out of control and measures must be taken."
"Buffy has seen what's going to happen and I can tell you without any degree of uncertainty that she intends to prevent it."
"Then let me give you a warning, Rupert, seeing as that we're old friends: keep a tight leash on your slayer. My men won't hesitate to eliminate her if she interferes with their mission in any way. Just sit back and remain uninvolved if you wish Miss Summers to remain unharmed."
The line went dead then and Giles slammed the phone back on the hook, more concerned now than ever. Buffy's life could now be in danger as well. He knew better than anyone that once she was focused on something, there was no turning her back.
There wasn't much time now and things were only going to get more complicated. He needed to figure this out. He needed to save Faith.
He needed to save Buffy.
Quentin looked up from his desk at the three men who'd just witnessed the phone conversation. He gazed up and looked all three of them in the eyes individually, conveying the seriousness of the situation with just a simple look.
"You know what to do. Don't let me down," he told them as the three men stood and left his office, their long black coats swaying behind them.
Buffy pounded on the door of Faith's hotel room for the third time in a row now. If Faith was inside, she was certainly going to be pissed off when she opened the door.
"You're wasting your time, you know," came a voice from just to her left. Buffy looked over to see a middle-aged man with a dirty white wife-beater pulled over his beer belly and a pair of torn up sweat pants on, leering at her from the next doorway down. "That little piece o' pie ain't stayed here all week."
"Did she move?" Buffy asked, confused and slightly creeped out.
"Don't know. She ain't been stayin' here though. Comes by now and again to pick up some stuff but never stays long."
"Uh, thanks," Buffy said, offering the man a quick smile before hastily jogging down the steps and as far away from him as she could get.
If Faith wasn't staying there, where the hell was she staying? It was highly unlikely that the Mayor was letting her stay at his house. Imagine the public scandal if people found out he had a teenage runaway living in his house. No, the Mayor was smarter than that. He'd have her stashed someplace else. All Buffy had to do was check the hundreds upon hundreds of residences in Sunnydale and try to find the Faith in the haystack, or something vaguely like that.
It seemed hopeless, and it probably would have been to anyone that wasn't her. But like Buffy had explained to Giles earlier, she had some kind of connection with Faith. If she could just focus and open up that connection, she might be able to pinpoint exactly where the girl was hiding.
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Buffy focused on the hum that traveled from the base of her spine to the tips of her fingers. It was always quiet, subdued, something she could – and did – shut out when she'd wanted to. But focusing on it, drowning out her other senses and focusing only on that pull, she felt it stronger than ever. Her scalp prickled and the tiniest of a smile crept up on her lips.
She opened her eyes and began to walk, where to she wasn't sure, but she knew that her feet were leading her to Faith. She only hoped that Faith wouldn't run in the opposite direction.
The three sisters lay prone on the stone floor, smoke from an old pipe billowing from a stone table beside them.
Euphemia suddenly tensed up, her body trembling gently as her eyes stared at some far away place. A guttural sound came from her throat, alerting her sisters to the vision she was having.
Syntyche watched and Hypatia listened, their bodies twitching as they began to receive the vision.
"It has begun," Hypatia announced.
Events had been set into action. The only thing left to do was sit back and watch them play out as they had in their vision. They only wondered if the vision they'd sent to the blonde slayer would effect the outcome.
Sometimes toying with fate was their only form of entertainment.
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