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Author's Note: I have changed the ending for this episode, in order to give part two a proper extension. Other than that, is episode has some dialogue taken from Joss' cannon; This Year's Girl. A lot of the symbolism in the dreams was meant to be an allusion to my original plot line for Season Five, which was to make Buffy pregnant. I have however, changed that, as I felt that particular element has been used far too much, so I settled for bringing in a young innocent to be saved to play Dawn's role. Fortunately, the symbolism still works as a reference to where Buffy stabbed Faith, and the old biblical adage of an eye for an eye. Enjoy.


Faith's Transcendent Dower.

Enough, if something from our hands have power
To live, and act, and serve the future hour;
And if, as toward the silent tomb we go,
Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendent dower,
We feel that we are greater than we know.


'The River Duddon' (1820) no. 34 'After-Thought'
William Wordsworth 1770–1850
English poet; brother of Dorothy Wordsworth

It was the night before morning, and all through the mansion on Crawford street, not a creature was stirring, not even a vampire.

In the master bedroom, next to her half-human, half-vampire soulmate, slept the slayer. Buffy dreamt the dreams of her calling, dreams she had not dreamed since the night the Gentlemen arrived.

She was in hospital, standing over a bed she had not visited since graduation day, when the high school and the mayor had exploded into the mouth of hell. In the bed, hooked up to countless machines and saline drips lay her sister of sorts, the second slayer called after her brief 'death' at the hands of the master; Faith.

Peacefully asleep. Buffy felt her dream-self reach out and take her hand, watching over her in a way she would never have dared to do all those months ago during the chaos that was her high school graduation day. Faith had the paleness of those suffering from a long illness, the kind no one expects them to survive.

Buffy almost felt sorry for her.

"I know what you're thinking," a familiar voice said suddenly, causing her to look up. Faith stood beside her, attired in a short sleeve top and jeans. Another aspect of dreaming; doubles of beings in the same at the same time.

"She needs help," the Faith standing beside her continued. "The question is B; do you really believe you can bring her back?"

Buffy felt herself look from the one Faith to the other lying in the bed. But that Faith was no longer there. In yet another quality unique to the land of dreams, the location had changed too; she could tell as much by the sheets.

They were in the Mansion, the third floor to be precise; in the third ensuite bedroom. Before her was the queen size bed that belonged to the room, waiting to be made.

"Catch me if you can."

She looked up to see Faith standing across from her, on the other side of the unmade bed. Just in time Buffy caught the oxford style pillow which her sister slayer had thrown to her. She felt her eyes examine the white cotton material that covered it, noting the bloodstain which seemed to appear out of nowhere.

She looked up to see Faith bleeding too, from the wound where she had stabbed her nearly a year ago.

"Damn," Faith said, "just when we'd made it so nice." She grabbed the dagger with both hands. "Aren't you ever gonna take this thing out?"

Buffy felt her dream-self walk round the edge of the bed to Faith. She watched her hands take hold of the dagger and slowly pull it out.

Just as the point had become visible, the location reverted back to that hospital room. Her dream-self was back by the bed where the unconscious Faith lay again, holding her pallid hand in her tanned one.

Then Faith opened her eyes, sat up and stabbed her visitor in the abdomen.

 


With the sound of a half-swallowed scream Buffy woke up. For a moment she sat still in the bed, regulating her breathing until the pounding of her heart had faded into its barely perceptible but normal rate. Then she lifted the duvet, and was relieved to find that her abdomen bore no scar or gushing wound from the attack which had felt so real.

The mansion that had been so deathly quiet before now woke with her, or rather before her, as the slayer realised she could hear the ringing of the phone. Just as she had gathered enough of herself to have the strength to answer it, another shock proved to be in store, in the form of a hand on her shoulder.

"Relax, its me," Angel said to her softly after Buffy felt herself touch the mattress beneath them both once again. She turned to look at him as he asked her, "are you okay?"

Buffy nodded. "I'm fine. But we need to get up."

"No we don't," Angel remarked just as the second line clicked in from the answer machine on his beside table, copying the ringing sound of the main phone downstairs. "I can answer it from here."

"There's no need," Buffy uttered, forestalling him with her hand on his, "I know who's calling. We have to get to Giles' and Jenny's."

Angel had known his beloved long enough to descry the expression which was on her face at that moment. Without further questions he obeyed her, rising from the bed and walking over to the wardrobe to change.

Buffy followed suit, grabbing her patrolling clothes from the night before. They rushed through their ablutions, calling for Spike to get up on the way.

Minutes later the roofed convertible was screeching to a stop outside the entrance of the apartments on Oakpark Street. Barely a second after that Buffy led the race to number 523B, Angel slightly behind, and Spike, with a large blanket to protect him from the 'sunny' elements following.

Giles opened the door just as she had raised her hand to knock. Still at his ear was the phone, from which she could hear the message she and Angel used on the mansion's answering machine.

"I've been trying to reach you," he greeted the trio with, before standing back, and holding open his front door to let them in.

"I know," Buffy answered as Spike dashed past them all into the relative safety of the living room. "Faith's awake," she added, to the room at large as she entered.



Xander was the first to recover. "I'd say this qualifies for a 'Worst Timing Ever' award."

The rest of the scooby gang had already assembled in Giles' and Jenny's apartment, summoned by phone calls with no explanation, waiting patiently for everyone else to appear for this emergency meeting, before the news was broken by the last to arrive.

"What did the hospital say?" Angel asked Giles.

"That one minute she was in a coma, and the next she had just opened her eyes," the watcher answered. "Now she's in the middle of a verbal fight with the entire hospital staff on the ward, trying to convince them that she can be released on her own terms, without anyone coming to collect her, as we arranged."

"We'll have to collect her," Buffy remarked, "before the verbal fight becomes a physical one."

"What about Adam?" Willow asked.

"I'd hate to see the pursuit of a homicidal lunatic get in the way," Xander paused for emphasis, "of pursuing a homicidal lunatic."

"I think Faith takes precedence here," Wesley commented. "At the very least, we had can get her somewhere where she is not in a position to do harm to anyone."

"Oooh! I have an idea! Beat the crap out of her!" Cordelia commented.

"Good plan on paper," Wesley replied, "but we still have a decision to make. Do we hand her over to the cops? They wouldn't know what to do with a Slayer even if they knew such a being existed."

"What about the Council?" Tara asked him.

"Been there. Tried that," Xander answered for Wesley. "Not unlike smothering a forest fire with napalm as I recall."

"There's no way around it," Buffy said. "Faith is back, and whether I like it or not, she's my responsibility. We don't know what she's thinking, what she's feeling..."

"Who she's doing," Cordelia broke in with.

"Tad difficult in a coma, don't you think, Cordy?" The slayer countered.

"She's woken up," the former cheerleader pointed out. "I wouldn't give her being above using seduction to get out of hospital."

"She could be terrified," Joyce remarked, continuing her daughter's theme. "Maybe she doesn't even remember. Or maybe she does and she's sorry."

"Perhaps there's some form of rehabilitation we just haven't thought about," Jenny pointed out.

"There might be," Giles remarked from his seat by his desk. He pushed his chair back and opened one of the drawers from which he retrieved his address and phone book. "There's a contact I know from my pre-watcher days. He might be able to help us."

"Not called Ethan by any chance?" Oz asked.

"Don't worry he's not human. He's an expert in alternative therapy. He has the ability to read people's souls, their destinies." Giles paused to open the address book and begin searching for the number in question. "He's currently based in L.A, so he could be here in two hours."

"In the mean time," Wesley said to the room at large, "what do we do with her? We can't put her back into a coma, as helpful as that would be."

"We'll take her in," Angel decided, gesturing at himself, Spike and Buffy.

"I agree," Buffy answered, causing most in the room to look at her with surprise. "We have the space, and what with a slayer and two vampires, one chipped, the other half-human but still full strength, we can contain her well enough."

"She'll need picking up from the hospital then," Giles commented, still flicking through his address book.

Buffy rose up from the seat she shared with Angel. "We'll do that now."

The Art History professor followed suit, while Spike grabbed his blanket before doing likewise. "I suppose I'd better get the place ready. A psychotic slayer," he mused aloud, as he neared the door, "that should make for an interesting houseguest."

"Why do I think they'll get along like a house on fire?" Willow commented after Spike had dashed outside to access the sewer route home.

"Better not say that to Faith," Oz pointed out, "she might get ideas."

"I'll let you know when my contact arrives," Giles said to Buffy and Angel as he accompanied them to the door.

"Thanks. In the meantime, can you guys keep a watch out for Adam?" The slayer asked them all. "Thirteen of us should be able to look after two homicidal lunatics at a time."

 


"Are you sure you're okay with Faith as our houseguest?" Angel asked his beloved while they were in his car en-route to the hospital.

"I'm sure," Buffy replied, briefly touching his hand as he moved it from the steering wheel to the stick to change gear. "Whatever her motives were, she was acting under the orders of the mayor when she shot you. Any feelings of revenge which I had that gave me the desire to attack her, wore away when she gave the key to the mayor's Achilles' heel. All her troubles date back to the moment she killed his deputy and our failure to help her deal with it then. She may be a slayer, but she's also something else. A girl who had to grow up too soon because of the responsibilities of our calling."

Angel glanced at her for a moment before returning his gaze to the road view from his windscreen, checking her expression. "You think her actions were your fault, don't you?"

Buffy nodded. "In hindsight we could have done things differently when it came to dealing with her. Not calling in the Watcher's Council for one thing. And I should have gone to Giles the moment after I watched her kill the deputy mayor, instead of holding back."

"It's not your fault," Angel countered, causing her to look at him instead of the passenger side window. "I hold responsibility in this too. I could have counselled you more convincingly when you first told me what happened. And Faith for that matter."

"Let's not quarrel any more about who should be blamed when it comes to Faith," Buffy remarked, taking his hand once more. "Let's just try and help her now."

"Agreed," Angel nodded as he turned into the exit for the hospital.

They pulled into the semi-busy carpark and he put the car to a stop in one of the empty spaces reserved for visitors. Then he and Buffy got out and walked into the building.

 


"Pulling out an IV like that generally causes the entry wound to bleed. I'd advise you to wait until the doctor clears you."

"Clear me already, I'm five by five."

"Faith," the doctor began in a trying-to-calm-the-patient-down voice, "if you will just wait for the tests to come back, and someone to arrive to collect you, then you can have the IV taken out and you can go home."

"I don't need a babysitter, I'm perfectly well."

The doctor's expression seemed to portray that he believed otherwise, but then he happened to look up and find that his worries concerning his current patient were solved for now, by the arrival of one of the people who held power of attorney.

"You can go ahead and clear her, doctor," Buffy uttered, "we're here now."

"Miss Summers?" The doctor sought to confirm as he rose from the bed. "Mr Giles informed me of your future arrival a few minutes ago. Thank you."

"Is there anything she needs?" Buffy asked him. "Medication, or the like?"

"No, but you should check back with me in a few days when the tests are back. I'll have a clearer picture then."

"Hey B," Faith remarked.

"Hello Faith," Buffy returned.

There was a moment of silence as the two slayers stared at each other, trying to see what was hiding behind their eyes. "Are you gonna take this thing out then?" Faith asked the nurse abruptly breaking the stare.

The nurse obliged and extracted the end of the IV drip. Faith rose up and grabbed her jacket, having managed to dress herself before the staff had discovered that she was awake. She walked over to Buffy. "Let's go."

Buffy inclined her head in a goodbye to the doctor before leading her sister slayer down the corridor and outside.

"Wow," Faith remarked as they came upon Angel, who was leaning against his car in the visitors parking, waiting for them. "The tanned look suits you, Angel."

"Thank you," Angel replied before straightening up and opening one of the rear passenger doors. "I wasn't actually sure I would get one."

Faith halted in her tracks to look at the car. "Nice wheels. A 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX. If I'd know you had such great taste I wouldn't have tried to kill you."

"Thanks I think," Angel uttered as he ushered in and closed the door.

Buffy walked quickly round to the front passenger door and got in. Angel followed suit and there was an uneasy silence while he started up the car and drove it out of the hospital parking into the road.

"So, where's my prison awaiting?" Faith asked when they were on their way.

"The Mansion," Buffy answered. "And you're not a prisoner, you're our houseguest. Your old apartment was sold by the new mayor when he came into office."

"Yeah, so I heard from the doc when I asked what happened on graduation day. Gotta say I'm glad I missed my former boss turning into a snake. Loved to know who blew the High School up though."

"That was Giles," Buffy informed her.

Faith raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Really? Colour me stunned. So, you've moved into the mansion, now?"

Buffy nodded. "Yeah. There's also one other houseguest, by the name of Spike."

"And what's his trauma?" Faith asked.

"Angel is his grandsire," Buffy replied.

"Is he souled too?" Faith queried.

Her 'sister' shook her head while inwardly shivering at the thought. "No, just chipped. Turns out there's a secret army government project concerned with rehabilitating vampires that operates on Sunnydale campus. They're speciality is giving them shots of pain whenever they hit a human. Naturally, the vamps aren't too happy about this. And Spike is not renowned for his mild character. He used to drive railroad spikes through his victims, and he killed two slayers."

"Sounds like my kind of guy," Faith mused as the car pulled into the driveway of the mansion.

The trio got out and walked inside, to find the vampire in question waiting for them; in the disarmingly deceptive casual pose of leaning against the staircase newel post, a leatherbound volume in his hand.

"Writing poetry?" Angel asked him as they entered.

Spike glared at him before turning to the stranger. "You must be Faith."

Faith smiled and stepped forward to take his outstretched hand. "And you've gotta be Spike."

The vampire grinned. "Glad to see my reputation still has pull."

"Spike," Buffy began, making him turn to her. "Can you show Faith around and keep her company? I have classes, and Angel has lectures."

"Sure," Spike agreed, his eyes still on Faith.

Buffy and Angel reluctantly turned and walked out of the house.

"You think Spike will keep an eye on her?" She asked Angel as they got back into his car outside.

"I think so," Angel answered, only half-convinced himself.


"So, I guess I ought to give you the grand tour," Spike commented when the door had closed, leaving him and Faith alone.

Faith nodded curiously. "Please, I never got a chance to fully look at this place the last time I was here."

"Right, step this way." He walked into the living room. "Here we have your typical first floor open plan style which has become so popular of late. This is the living room."

"Very creature of the night," Faith mused.

"Isn't it just?" Spike agreed before continuing his estate agent spiel. "You'll be pleased to learn that all furniture is included in your stay as houseguest. Now if you follow me further into the open plan on this floor, you can see the elegant dining room. That door there leads to the enclosed garden, which features everything your modern vampire needs, including midnight-blooming jasmines. The dining table can seat fourteen, as well having the strength to withstand human weight should you at any time want to ravish a vampire."

The slayer raised her eyebrow intrigued. "Let me guess; B and Angel have put that theory to the test?"

Spike leered. "Correct. Moving on rapidly; here through this door we have the state of art kitchen, complete with all modern appliances. As you can see, it is large enough to hold a separate breakfast area."

He led her back through the living room. "If you look up, you will notice that part of the this floor has a double height ceiling. And here we have the grand staircase leading to the first floor."

They walked up the stairs.

"This floor holds the Master suite," Spike continued, his English accent turned posh to fit into the part of estate agent. "And master ensuite bath. Access to further floors is obtained by this spiral staircase.

"On the second floor are bedrooms one and two, both ensuite. These are currently unoccupied as the master suite has yet to be soundproofed. And here on the final floor, are bedrooms three and four, also both ensuite. Mine is the one to your right."

"I think I'll take the other one," Faith decided.

"Excellent choice," Spike remarked before opening the door and showing her inside. "As you can see room is nice and large and has built in wardrobe space, as well as a queen size bed and spacious ensuite, with shower and bath."

"Thanks. Any of my stuff from my old apartment here, you know?"

Spike shook his head. "No, its in storage. Angel and Buffy said they would pick it up on the way back from campus. Speaking of which, you wanna hear what's been happening in dear ol' Sunnyhell while you were sleeping?"

Faith smiled. "Love to."


The afternoon light was slowly fading into that of a summer evening when Buffy and Angel returned to the mansion at the end of their classes.

They walked into the living room to find Spike and Faith sitting in across from each other in the long sofas, chatting.

"Hey, B," Faith remarked. "Hey Prof." She got up and walked to stand before Buffy. "That for me?"

"Yes," Buffy replied, handing her the box she had been carrying. "There's more, but Angel's car couldn't carry all of it, so we arranged for one of the storage company's vans to bring it round tomorrow."

"Thanks. Mind if I go and have a look at this now?"

"No. We'll see you for dinner."

Faith nodded and walked up the stairs to her room, holding the box above her head when she came to navigate the spiral staircase.

Once inside her bedroom she put the box down on the bed. Silently she sat before it and began to empty its contents.

There were a few knickknacks, a couple of books, some scarves, a video tape, and a small, dark box.

Faith turned her attention to the video tape first. She put it in the VCR below the television set in her room and pressed the command for play.

The picture revealed the Mayor, sitting on his desk in his office. "Hello Faith," he remarked into the camera. "If you're watching this tape, it can only mean one thing. I'm dead. And our noble campaign to bring order to the town of Sunnydale has failed. Utterly and completely. But on the other hand, heck, maybe we won. And right now, I'm on some jumbo monitor in the Richard Wilkins Museum surrounded by a bunch of kids sitting Indian style and looking up at my face filled with fear and wonder." He laughed, before adding, "Hi kids!"

Faith smiled, a sad nostalgia falling over her.

The Mayor's laughter faded. "But the realist in me tends to doubt it. Now, Faith, as I record this message you're sleeping. And the doctors tell me you might never wake up. I don't believe that. Sooner or later you will wake up, and when you do, you'll find the world has gone and changed on you. I wish I could make the world a better place for you to wake up in. But, tough as it is to accept, we both have to understand that even my power to protect and watch over you has it's limits. See, the hard pill to swallow is that once I'm gone, your days are just plain numbered. Now, I know, you're a smart and capable young woman in charge of her own life, but the problem, Faith, is that there won't be a place in the world for you anymore. By now I bet you're feeling very much alone. But you're never alone. You'll always have me. And you'll always have this," he picked up the box which Faith was holding right now. "Go ahead. Open the box. Don't worry. It's not gonna bite. That's my job." He laughed. "Go ahead. Open it."

Faith obeyed, lifting the catch. A metallic, fold-away device was inside.

"Surprise!" The mayor continued. "You won't find these in any gumball machine! See, when you've been around as long as I have, you make friends. And some of them forge neat little gizmos. Just like the one you're holding right now. And here's the good news. Just because it's over for my Faith, doesn't mean she can't go out with a bang."

Faith looked at the device. Then she looked up and waited for the mayor to tell her the rest of his plan.

When the tape had finished, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.


"Dinner's served," Spike called out from the dining room, making Buffy and Angel look up, put down their assignments, and make their way over to the dinner table.

"You cooked?" Buffy queried as they cautiously took a seat.

"I'll have you know I was quite the chef in my day," Spike commented as he began to serve. "Plus this is in honour of our new houseguest."

"How was she?" Angel asked.

"On the road to recovery, I'd say, though I'm no psychiatrist," Spike replied as he continued to serve what actually looked a very edible meal.

"Speaking of which, I better go and get her," Buffy decided before dashing to the stairs to the third bedroom.

Spike continued to dish out dinner, until he and Angel heard the slayer's voice call them up. The underlying terror in her voice convinced both of them to abandon the dinner and rapidly join her.

They found her standing in an empty bedroom, the window open.

"Faith's gone," Buffy uttered.

 


"Do you think it's gonna rain?"

She was dreaming again. Somehow between the chaos that was involved in summoning yet another emergency meeting of Scoobies, this time at the Mansion, telling them what had happened, and then catching up on the discovery of Adam's latest victim; a vivisected Fryal demon whose body bore a startling resemblance to one Buffy had seen laid out on a mortuary examining tray when she had toured the Initiative complex, she had fallen asleep.

There were three, including her, in the park. She was standing, watching Faith and the Mayor eating food from a picnic basket.

"Nonsense," Richard Wilkins replied in answer to Faith's question. "It's a beautiful day. Now eat your sandwich."

"I don't know," Faith persisted. "It's just . . . it always seems like it starts raining right about now."

"You're too young and too pretty a girl to start wearing worry lines on your face." He paused to pick up a little snake which was slithering across the blanket. "Hey there, little fella. I don't know where you belong, but it's not here with us. There you go. You see? There's nothing that's gonna spoil our time together. Who wants cheesecake?"

"Yes please," Buffy heard her dream-self answering.

Faith rose up from the blanket and came to standing before. In her hand the dagger suddenly reappeared. "Sorry, we only have enough for two," she uttered, before thrusting it into Buffy's abdomen.


Buffy woke up with another half-swallowed scream, clutching the material of her top around her waist.

"Buffy?" Giles queried. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," She uttered glancing around, taking in the expressions of everyone there. "Where's Mom?" She asked her watcher as she found one missing.

Giles' expression turned grave. "Her phone line's been cut," he informed her as he set down his cell, having been trying to contact her for the past few minutes.


"Hi Joyce," Faith uttered before pushing her down and stepping inside 1630 Revello Drive. "Mind if I come in?"

Joyce woke to find herself handcuff to her bedstead. And Faith going through her lipstick collection.

"Ruby sunset.... burgundy skyline... harlot. Mmmmmmm, way to go Joyce. Now, normally I wouldn't be going for something this dark. But I read in some magazine that eight months in a coma will damage a girl's natural skin tone. Good thing pale is in this year. Or was it last year? Anyway, for real now. I wanna ask you something, and I want you to promise to be honest, and to not spare my feelings just because I could kill you. You promise?"

"I promise." Joyce answered calmly.

Faith smiled. "Ok. How do I look?"

Joyce decided she had nothing to lose in lying so she opted for truth. "Psychotic."

The insult didn't even phase the slayer. "Mmmmmmm. I was shooting for sultry, but hey. Bet I know what you're thinking."

"Really?" Joyce queried.

"You're thinking 'You'll never get away with this!' Moi?" Faith guessed.

"Actually I was thinking my daughter is going to kill you soon," Joyce replied.

"That a fact?" Faith mused.

"More like a bet." Joyce assured her.

"Whoa. You got a mouth on you, Joyce, I like seeing that in a woman your age," Faith remarked. "Guess you can afford to talk that way. I mean, in the world according to Joyce, Buffy is gonna come crashing through that door any minute. And you'd think, with a crazy chick like me on the loose, crazy chick with a wicked grudge against her no less, she'd call, give you a heads up. But Buffy's too into her own deal to remember dear old mom."

Joyce shook her head. "You don't know the first thing about Buffy. Or me."

"Don't I?" Faith countered. "I know what it's like. You think you matter, you think you're a part of something and you get dumped. It's like the whole world is moving and you're stuck. It's like those animals in the tar pits. It's like you just keep sinking a little deeper everyday and no-one even sees."

Joyce frowned, wondering if Faith was starting to crack. "Were you planning to slit my throat any time soon?"

Faith ignored her. "Don't tell me you don't see it Joyce. You've served your purpose, squirted out the kids, raised her up, and now you might as well be dead. Nobody cares, nobody remembers, especially not Buffy fabulous superhero. Sooner or later you're going to have to face it. She was over us a long time ago Joyce. Too busy shacking with the love of her life to give a thought to the people who matter. I mean, you're her mother, and she just leaves you hear to die." Faith grabbed a knife.

Suddenly the glass of the window broke as the slayer landed in the first floor bedroom.

"Hi mom," Buffy said as she punched Faith.

"Hi honey," Joyce replied.


While Joyce called Giles, Buffy and Faith continued to fight, rolling down the staircase and picking up where the punches left off in the living room.

"I tried to welcome you," Buffy began, holding her sister slayer against the wall. "Took you into my home, gave you a room, a bed. But you just wouldn't learn, would you?"

"Sorry, B, but after having my own place, the mansion just kinda falls short," Faith head-butted her then used the opportunity to throw Buffy against the wall.

"And now," Faith added, holding up the metallic device, "it's time for me to demonstrate the wonders of a little gift the Mayor left me. Thanks so much for having the courtesy to not take the precaution of checking the box first."

She opened the device out and clasped one part of it in her hand. Then grabbed Buffy's hand and closed it round the other end.

There was a bright flash of light, causing both of them close their eyes. When they opened them, Buffy found herself looking at her own at body.

"Surprise," her voice said from her lips before punching her.

"You okay?" Joyce asked as she came.

"All things considered," the slayer answered.

"What is that?" Joyce asked, gesturing to the metallic device which had fallen to the floor.

"Weapon of some kind," she replied pretending to study it. "Didn't work."

"You sure you're okay?" Joyce asked her.

"Five-by-five," Faith, in Buffy's body, answered.

"Good. Oh, and by the way, I'm sorry," Joyce remarked before grabbing her arm and thrusting a hypodermic needle forth.

What happened next Faith saw in slow motion. She watched the needle touch her skin, then she saw her hand sweep forward to knock it before it could inject the sedative in to her blood stream. Her hand seemed to have the dexterity to grab the needle and use it against her attacker, who slumped to the floor over her daughter, who still lay unconscious in Faith's body. For a moment she gazed at the couple from her position on the floor, the room around her settling into a hushed ominous silence.

Then she heard the unmistakable sound of an engine at full throttle racing down the suburban road. Faith rushed to feet and headed for the back door.

To Be Continued In:
BELL, BOOK & CANDLE.