Chapter Twenty-Seven

The sound of trickling water woke Buffy from her slumber. She opened her eyes to find that she was no longer in her bedroom but someplace completely unfamiliar. There were a few candles lit in the distance but it was dark, so dark, and she had trouble focusing her vision. She could detect a thin layer of smoke in the air but she couldn't tell where it was coming from.

Trying to adjust her senses to the darkness, she slowly began to take steps with her arms out in front of her, blindly groping for a wall or something that could guide her. The floor was rough and uneven and, that paired with the sound of trickling water, she assumed that she was in a cave of some sort.

She crept slowly along, inching her way around stone columns that got in her way, to find that she was indeed in some kind of cave or den and that she wasn't alone. Her heart beating hard and fast, she peeked around yet another stone column – or was that a stalagmite? – to find three withered corpses laying on the middle of the hard ground.

Squinting her eyes, she detected movement and suddenly realized that they weren't corpses at all; they were old women! And they were alive!

Gasping quietly, Buffy tried to duck behind the column again when one of the women glanced in her direction. It was too late though; she'd been spotted.

"She is here," one of the women said.

"Come, child," another said. "There is not much time."

"For what?" Buffy asked, still hidden behind the pillar. "For you to suck my youth out so the three of you can be young again? I don't think so!"

Yep, she'd read one too many scary fairytales when she was young.

"We haven't been young for over a millennia," the first woman croaked. "We've left those years behind and look now not for our youth but for our continued existence."

"For the continued existence of the world and all its inhabitants," the second woman added.

Deciding to give them the benefit of the doubt, Buffy stepped out from behind the column and approached the three women, studying them intently. She could see a stone slab just off to their side with a smoking pipe set atop it. The smoke gathered above their prone bodies and appeared to be trapped in some kind of swirling magic.

"I don't mean to be rude but haven't you ever heard that secondhand smoke kills?" she asked, waving her hand around in front of her face.

One of the women slowly sat up and shuffled around, trying to get to her feet. Buffy's initial reaction was to help her but instead she stood there, afraid to get too close. That was how the witches in the books always got the unsuspecting princesses!

Her brow furrowing as a thought crossed her mind, she opened her mouth to speak but then closed it again. After a few moments, she tried again.

"You gals wouldn't happen to be the seers on the Council's payroll, would you?"

"Nine hundred and ninety-nine years is the time on our sentence, punished for meddling with events determined as destiny," one of the prone sisters said. "I am Hypatia, and these are my sisters Syntyche and Euphemia."

"We were the strongest coven of white witches for decades," Syntyche continued. "Powers greater than us dictated that we were not allowed to interfere with destiny."

"But we did," Hypatia continued. "Our first punishment was immortality; that we shall live – and age – so long as the Earth turns."

"Our second punishment was the binding of our powers and the bestowment of visions; allowed to see horrors but able to do nothing to stop them," Syntyche said. "Nine-hundred and ninety-nine years of helplessness."

"And our third punishment was our eternal servitude to the watchers of the Slayer; the one girl who is bestowed with the privilege to change destiny by fighting for it," Hypatia said.

"But one thousand years have passed and our powers have returned," Syntyche continued. "Still, we are trapped here by our eternal sentence from the elder powers. We continue to receive visions, but with our returned powers we now have a way to send them out; to enable others to do something since we cannot leave here."

"We cannot interfere directly . . ." Hypatia began.

"But you can interfere indirectly through me," Buffy finished. "I get it. I'm your puppet. What's in it for you? And why is she so quiet?" she indicated Euphemia who was slowly heading for the stone slab. "Cat got your tongue?"

Euphemia slowly turned toward Buffy and smiled a toothless grin . . . then opened her mouth wide to reveal the gaping hole where her tongue had been removed.

Buffy grimaced and took a step back, ignoring the way that Euphemia seemed to be amused at her reaction.

"Okay, sorry I asked. Let me guess, you're the one that talked back," she said. Euphemia merely turned and slowly began to head for the slab again, silently confirming Buffy's suspicions. "That's way gross. But still, unrelated. Why did you send me the vision of Faith's death?"

"Because only you could stop her," Hypatia explained. "We showed you her destiny and you changed it."

"That may be true but something got screwed up along the way because she died anyway," Buffy said, shaking her head slightly as she tried to understand. "Maybe it was only for a few minutes, but a new slayer was called and the Council planted her into my life as my sister. I don't know who she is or where she came from but she certainly isn't my . . ."

"She is your sister," Syntyche interrupted. "We know this because we created her that way."

Buffy blinked and she felt her stomach drop like she'd just fallen off of a cliff. She shook her head slowly, unable to comprehend what she'd just heard. Seemingly able to sense this, Syntyche continued.

"We used the energy of the earth to create Dawn from you; your blood, your memories; your life. The slayer already exists in the very essence we created her with because it is your essence. It is why, when the council chose to end Faith's life, we were able to interfere with who was next called. We used strong magic to settle her into this world; anyone who might remember Dawn now remembers her. It is as if she has always existed; even to the council. They were uninformed of our meddling and still are."

"Okay," Buffy began slowly, taking in a deep breath. "Serious violation of me aside, why did you want her called? I mean, aren't there like hundreds of potential slayers out there just waiting for their turn? Why would you create a person from me to have her called as the next slayer, and more importantly, why would you magically stick her in my life like that? I don't . . ."

She paused and closed her eyes, feeling suddenly wobbly. Her legs felt like jello and her heart fluttered in her chest.

"She is waking. We are running out of time," Hypatia said to her sisters and quickly gestured to Euphemia who began to walk toward Buffy with the smoking pipe in her hand. "Now listen, child. We created her because it was the only way that the council would leave both you and Faith alive."

"But Faith died . . ." Buffy tried but was interrupted.

". . . and yet she lives. The council wouldn't have stopped; they would have given chase until they found her and carried out their plan. By giving them Dawn, they have their new slayer; and by making her your sister, they won't be able to hurt you or Faith because in doing so, they will lose their hold over their slayer – your sister."

"But why is it so important to the three of you whether Faith and I live or not?"

"Because you must," Hypatia answered.

"It is the only way," Syntyche added.

"Together you will save us all," Euphemia said using her mind-speak.

Buffy looked over toward the slowly approaching Euphemia and took a few steps back, then looked back at the other sisters.

"What, you mean, like, bust you guys out of here? Sure. Just tell me where here is and Faith and I can come and save you just as soon as we can," she said, her confidence wavering on the last part.

"Not us, the world," Hypatia corrected. "It shall begin with Richard Wilkins III."

"The Mayor is going to destroy the world?" Buffy asked, confused.

"He is only a minor threat," Syntyche replied. "This battle will be a test; the outcome of it will let us know if our meddling was worth the sentence that will surely be carried out once the elder powers find out."

Buffy took another step back, her brow furrowed.

"A test of what?" she asked.

Suddenly she looked to her side to find Euphemia standing there, puffing hard on the wooden pipe.

"To see if you are ready for this," Euphemia replied using her mind-speak. She then blew a long mouthful of the smoke in Buffy's face, stunning the girl.

Suddenly Buffy's eyes clouded over and she looked out into the distance as a vision began to appear to her. She wasn't exactly sure what she was looking at but she could see her friends; they were fighting off a horde of robed demons aside a tall but shoddy metal tower. A flash of blonde hair caught her vision off to the side and she looked over to see herself holding up a huge hammer and hurling it again and again at a curly-haired blonde woman.

The woman barely seemed fazed by the crushing blows and continued to come at Buffy again and again.

A spark of blue caught Buffy's vision and she looked over toward the tower to see a huge portal opening beneath it. It grew in size as the seconds ticked by and giant flying demons began swarming out of it. The ground began to quake and as Buffy looked down at her feet, she saw a chasm beginning to open up between them. Just as she was sure she was about to fall down it and to the fire waiting below, a thick smoke poured over her. She closed her eyes tight and when she opened them again, she was back in the cavern.

All three sisters were once again lying on the ground, staring up into the swirling smoke above them, twitching gently.

"What was that?" Buffy asked, tears stinging her eyes, her heart beating hard in her chest.

"That is a god, and in less than two years time, she is destined to open a portal between her world and ours," Hypatia croaked.

"And our world will die," Syntyche finished.

"But why show it to me now?" Buffy asked angrily. She clenched her fists tightly at her sides, her fingernails cutting into the skin of her palms. "Why show me the end of the world if it's already destined to happen?"

"Because you can change it," all three sisters answered at once.

"One slayer cannot do it all," Hypatia explained. "But now there are three. The portal cannot be opened without your blood . . ."

". . . and Dawn's blood . . ."

". . . and Faith's blood."

"So the three of you will fight together, and as a team, you will save us all," Euphemia said with her mind-speak.

The three witches went rigid and suddenly the swirling cloud of smoke above them shot toward Buffy, entering her through her nose, mouth, eyes and ears. She gasped and nearly fell over, but that was when she saw it: the vision. Only it was different this time.

Faith and Dawn fighting minions while Buffy chased the blonde god up the tower; Faith and Dawn joining her at the pinnacle; the god falling into her own portal, closing it back up for good as the earth shifted back to normal in its wake.

"Is this real?" Buffy asked, her voice trembling. "Can we really beat her?"

"That is up to you," Hypatia answered. "Teach your sister. Train her properly. Defeat your Mayor as one. If you survive – if the three of you survive – the world may stand a chance."

Feeling suddenly woozy, Buffy dropped to her knees on the hard ground. She put her hands out and fell forward onto the cave floor, feeling the coolness of it on her cheek before finally succumbing to the haziness that settled over her.

Waking from a deep sleep, Buffy could tell that it was already morning and probably time for them to be getting up for the day. The birds were singing outside and she gently stretched one of her arms above her head, getting it tangled up in the blankets. Humming contentedly, she lingered for a while on the border between sleep and awake. It was a perfect slow intro to the morning.

Something was niggling at her though; something she needed to remember or do . . . something that would require her to fully wake up and think about. But she felt too good to stop dozing, all snug and comfortable in her nice soft bed. Besides, Faith was so warm against her and her lips felt so nice . . .

Wait, Faith's lips?

Waking up just a little bit more, enough to realize that she was being kissed over her chest and tummy, she made a happy little noise in the back of her throat. The kissing stopped for a moment but then started up again when Buffy didn't move.

She was enjoying the soft kisses far too much to stop them, but when she felt those soft, pouty lips moving even lower, she furrowed her brow a little.

"What are you doing?" she asked sleepily.

"Just kissin' you," Faith whispered.

"My lips are up here."

"Not interested in those lips right now. Interested in these," Faith breathed, then began kissing over Buffy's panties.

Buffy smiled sleepily, a breath escaping her parting lips as Faith continued to kiss over her. It was only when she felt fingertips creeping over her hips and slipping under the sides of her panties to tug them down that she fully realized what was going on.

Though she didn't want to, Buffy forced herself to fully wake up and opened her eyes to find that . . . she was under the blankets. In fact, both of them were. Faith had apparently been doing some rearranging and there was a blanket draped above them, hanging over the headboard and draped all the way down to the desk chair that she'd moved over to the foot of the bed. There were pillows propped up around them keeping the blanket just high enough that it made a small tent around them.

"If there are cameras, they sure as hell ain't under here," Faith said quietly.

"But what if they have sound and they can hear us," Buffy whispered.

"You'll just have to be really . . ." Faith's tongue darted out and swiped over her slit through her panties, "really . . ." she did it again, "quiet."

Buffy fought back the groan that was trying to escape her throat and instead brought her left hand up to her face, pressing the back of it against her lips. She didn't resist when Faith's fingers began to tug her panties down and instead lifted up her hips to make it easier. Faith easily removed them and tossed them to the side and Buffy spread her thighs just a little bit, giving Faith ample room to nestle between them.

It was Faith who groaned this time as she looked over Buffy's pussy, then leaned down to take a taste. Her tongue swiped over her softly, gently, and Buffy's right hand found its way to the back of Faith's head, encouraging it down a little bit harder.

Buffy could hear Faith chuckle softly at that but then all she could hear was the sound of her own blood pumping hard in her ears as Faith's tongue began to flick over her clit again and again, stopping now and again to slide down to her hole to gather her wetness up on her tongue. Faith was groaning against her soft, wet flesh, obviously enjoying herself just as much as Buffy was.

Letting Faith take total control, Buffy didn't fight when she felt Faith shifting around a bit on the bed. Without moving her mouth away from Buffy, Faith moved one of the blonde's tanned legs so that it went up over her shoulder, effectively pinning her to Buffy. While at first Buffy wasn't sure what she'd moved her leg for, she soon found out when Faith's amazing tongue slid down her slit and pushed inside of her, making her hips lift off of the bed.

"Oh Faith," Buffy breathed when her hand fell away from her mouth.

She quickly lifted it back up and began to bite on the knuckle of her middle finger. She was almost positive that she was going to bite it clear off when Faith began to move her tongue slowly in and out of her, then she was even more sure that she might lose her whole damn hand when Faith's thumb started to rub against her clit.

"Fuck!" she murmured around her finger, purposefully trying to ignore the soft creaking her bed frame was making as her hips began to buck up to meet Faith's thrusts.

She audibly whimpered when that decadent tongue, so soft yet filling her so perfectly, slipped out, leaving her feeling like she was spinning on the edge of a high cliff with her eyes closed.

"Gotta be quiet, B," Faith whispered and then lowered her head back down, earning an appreciative moan from Buffy as her tongue found its way back to her clit.

Buffy reached over and grabbed one of the pillows to her side that was holding up the sheet above them. She put it over her face and pressed it hard against her mouth, hoping beyond hope that it would muffle any of the noises that were accidentally escaping her.

She gasped when two of Faith's long fingers slid deep inside of her, curling up to send her hurtling over the side of the cliff and on a freefall that seemed to go on for ages. She wasn't sure when she'd lifted her upper body off the mattress but she collapsed back against it a minute later, breathing hard and biting on her lower lip.

In no hurry to move – she couldn't feel her legs anyway – she tossed the pillow back over to the side of the bed and sighed contentedly. Her body jerked as those dexterous fingers languidly slipped out and Faith kissed over her still sensitive clit a few times.

Finally managing to open her eyes, Buffy smiled as she watched Faith sliding up under their blanket fortress, a sexy grin on her face as she did so. They were still wearing their t-shirts but Buffy could feel the heat of Faith's skin through them, so comforting and familiar even though they'd only been together like this a few times.

She brought her hand up to Faith's lips and brushed her thumb over them, clearing her lingering wetness away.

"If that was ‘just kissing' there's no wonder why you're so popular," Buffy said and laughed when Faith grinned even more and pinched her side.

"Yeah, well . . . our house-hopping-while-hiding and the Montana trip aside, this is the first sleepover I've ever had. Wasn't really sure about etiquette or whatever but I kinda wanted to try out the whole morning sex thing."


"And?" Faith asked, smiling. "Guess I've been missin' out. It was pretty awesome."

"Yeah, for me," Buffy replied, laughing. "You still haven't gotten your turn."

Faith raised one of her eyebrows playfully. "That so?"

"Uh-huh," Buffy said. She rolled them over in a swift motion, coming to rest atop Faith.

The blanket above them sagged down and shrouded them in white cotton but they didn't seem to mind. The light coming in from the window was bright and they could still see each other well enough even in their own little fortress of white sheets.

"And what exactly will this turn consist of?" Faith asked, her hands sliding up Buffy's thighs and coming to rest on her hips.

"Anything you want," Buffy whispered, moving her hips just a little as she stared into Faith's eyes. "So long as you direct me around the curves."

Faith groaned aloud at that and Buffy grinned; she liked having that effect on Faith with just her words. She leaned down to capture Faith's lips in their first kiss of the morning – sex breath be damned – but jumped back when there was a loud thud on the other side of the wall. The sheet now over her head and making her look like she was wearing a homemade ghost costume, Buffy quickly pulled it off when there was a loud crash in her room, messing up her already messy morning hair

She immediately spotted the wooden shelf that usually hung on her wall, now lying on the floor with its contents spilled around it.

From the next room over, she heard Dawn's muffled yelling, "God! Slayer hearing, here!"

Her eyes wide, Buffy grasped the fallen sheet and wrapped it around her, falling down onto the mattress and hiding underneath it, mortified.

Faith chuckled beside her, trying to lift the blanket to look beneath it. "She might not be your real kid sis but she sure as hell acts like it."

It was those simple words that sparked a memory within Buffy.

Her mortification temporarily forgotten, she remembered her dream – or whatever it had been – and what had been revealed to her. She looked up at Faith, trying to process her thoughts.

The three sisters; Dawn; the Mayor; the future.

"But . . . she is," she said after a moment.

Faith looked confused as she asked, "She's what?"

"My sister," Buffy replied, barely able to believe what she was saying. At Faith's questioning look, she continued. "It's a long story. I'll tell you all about it when we get to the library. Meet me downstairs in twenty minutes, I need a shower."

She sat up and gave Faith a quick kiss before putting on her robe and heading out of the room and down the hall, leaving Faith sitting there in utter confusion.

"Dawn! We're leaving in twenty minutes," she called out as she passed by her sister's room, ignoring the grumbling that came from within it.

With the looming question of Dawn's origin and sudden intrusion into her life out of the way – at least for now - her mind was racing with possible ways to overcome their other, bigger problem.

She walked into the bathroom and immediately undressed, going over every detail from the dream that she could possibly remember. There were things that she still didn't understand and probably never would, but one thing was clear: it was time to stop treating Dawn like the enemy. She was her sister, as fucked up as that reality was, and she was a slayer.

An equal.

They had only two days until graduation and if it was going to take the three of them working as a team to defeat the Mayor, they needed to start learning how to do just that before it was too late.

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