| Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | End Season 1 - Epilogue |
| Begin Season 2 - Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16. | Ch. 17 | Ch. 18 | Ch. 19 | Ch. 20 | Season 2 - Epilogue |
| Ch. 21 | Ch. 22 | Ch. 23 | Ch. 24 | Ch. 25 | Ch. 26 | Ch. 27 | Ch. 28 | Ch. 29 | Ch. 30 | Season 3 - Epilogue |
| Toilet Demons Project |
| Ch. 31 | Ch. 32 | Ch. 33 | Ch. 34 |

TITLE: It Starts With Faith
CHAPTER: Twenty One
AUTHOR: Dreiser
EMAIL: Dreiser1@ix.netcom.com
ICQ #: 37674780
HOMEPAGE: http://www.lvdi.net/~reddeath/dreiser.htm
ISWF ARCHIVES: http://www.pinkrabbit.simplenet.com/ http://members.aol.com/xwpmom/dreiser.htm
CONTENT: F/F romance. Don't like it, don't read it.
SUMMARY: An alternate reality series that places Faith as the one true slayer aka the chosen one for her generation.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but my cup of tollway quarters. Ah, the tollways of Illinois. How I hate thee.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Well, here starts season three and I honestly have to say without the input of two very cool ladies, Amber Dragon and Shaych, this probably wouldn't be happening. Amber encouraged me to stick with F/C and Shay? Heh. Shay's pretty much responsible for half of the plot twists and turns for this season. Hugs to you both.

It Starts With Faith
By: Dreiser

-Twenty One-

Top L.A. Detective To Help With Rosenberg Case
Staff Reporter: Jules Quincy

With the start of today Willow Rosenberg, 16, honor roll student, singer of the local band Prophecy Girl, and a girl well loved by her friends and family, has been missing for two weeks. And for everyone that knows her, most of all her parents, Sheila and Ira Rosenberg, this has been two weeks too long.

The Sunnydale Police Department have been pushed to their limits in their search for the girl. All signs say that she left her home on May 20th of her own will but to do what no one knows. Her boyfriend, Vince Kesler, 17, dropped her off at her house and watched her walk inside around ten at night. What happened to her after this point is anyone's guess. There were vague reports of people having seen her walking into downtown Sunnydale later that night but she didn't enter any establishments.

Though this is being called a missing persons case there are theories that find otherwise. Soon the case might find itself being called one of kidnapping. There's no proof that Willow Rosenberg's disappearance was of her free will. She did leave her house on her own and she was seen walking in the streets of Sunnydale calmly later that night. But all of her friends who've been interviewed say that Willow Rosenberg wouldn't leave town without telling anyone.

Of course, that's all they're telling according to Police Chief Robert Ewels. "They're cooperative, they answer our questions, but there's more to the story than what they're saying," says Ewels. "We all know things go on with our kids that we don't know. But before now I never thought those things would make them disappear into thin air like what happened to this girl."

Perhaps it was this attitude that caused the Rosenbergs to enlist the help of a Private Investigator, David Benard, who then referred to the L.A. Police Department for further help with investigating this baffling case.

"This isn't a missing persons case. This is a kidnapping, that's plain to me," Benard stated in a joint interview he and the Rosenbergs did with the press. "And when it comes to kidnapping time is of the essence. That's why I asked for some help from my friends in the L.A.P.D. The important thing is to find Willow and find her as soon as we can. We should all remember that."

Sheila Rosenberg then gave a plea to whoever might be holding her daughter captive. "Please bring our Willow back to us. Whatever you want, we'll give it to you, just don't hurt our little girl... please... if you have any human kindness don't hurt her..."

After giving this statement, Mrs. Rosenberg was lead away by her husband in tears and the interview ended with Benard stating that Detective Kate Lockley of the missing persons department of the L.A.P.D would soon be arriving to help conduct the investigation.

"With the arrival of Detective Lockley I hope to find Willow and find her soon," said Benard firmly before he went after the departing Rosenbergs.

That is a hope that all the citizens of Sunnydale share with him. The hope to see Willow Rosenberg back in her home and safe with her parents once again.


"She's not gonna be able to help."

Giles didn't respond as he watched Faith finish cutting out the article and then place it inside the leather bound photo album with the rest. The Slayer had taken to storing anything having to do with Willow and her recent disappearance in the book over the last two weeks.

Like it was her way of keeping Willow with them.

"The cops don't understand," Faith continued, shutting the album and looking to Giles. "They don't know what's going on here. Who took her and why. We're the only ones who can help Will and they're trying to stop us with their damn spying and questions."

"They do have reason to be suspicious, Faith," reminded Giles gently. "We haven't told them all that we could in order to aid with their investigation."

"Yeah, but we can't," said Faith harshly. "I never much liked cops but now I'm starting to hate them. They're just getting in our way and stopping us from finding Will. I bet you anything this new cop from L.A. is gonna cause us some trouble." She sighed, then said, "At least she's gonna work with Dave. He seems to know some of what's up."

"He was raised here in Sunnydale," murmured Giles. "And has interests in the occult. You never know, it might be possible this acquaintance of his is the same."

"Somehow I'm doubting that, G-man," said Faith.

Sighing at this, Giles looked to the clock and said, "Buffy and Vince will return soon from investigating. They think that the more they talk to the local demons the more information they might discover about her whereabouts."

"How about Jenny and Amy?" asked Faith, wandering over to the hall closet and pulling out her blue jacket to gently hold it in her hands.

"They're going to miss our meeting tonight," Giles replied. "Xander as well, he's taken it upon himself to try and gather all the appropriate materials for this stronger version of Amy's normal locating spell."

"Hopefully this one will work," Faith said, her eyes locked on the jacket. In a slow and almost unconscious movement she lifted it up to breathe in its scent. Vanilla, the smell of Cordelia. Of the girl she loved. "Sweets," she whispered in hoarse tones. "I miss you so much."

Observing this silently, Giles eyes were sad as he asked softly, "Have you been able to contact her yet?"

"Still no luck," said Faith roughly. Dropping the jacket away from her face, she shrugged it on. "Every time I try to leave a message at that hotel they just refuse to write them down." Laughing wanly, she muttered, "The last time they even had the stupid Manager come and yell at me before they hung up." Watery brown eyes lifted to meet Giles gaze. "She won't even talk to me, she won't even let me explain. Cordelia just left town with her folks, believing that I betrayed her. That I... that I don't love her anymore. How could she do that? How could she think that?" Ducking her head, Faith grimaced and looking full of self hate, she said, "How could I let that happen?"

"She'll come to her senses soon," Giles reassured, moving forward to clasp Faith's shoulders. "Cordelia must know that you love her, after all you've gone through. You should believe that, Faith, and believe in your love."

"Come to her senses," Faith gave a hollow and sarcastic laugh, pulling away she hastily wiped her tears away. "I dunno if I believe in that happening, G-man. I mean, it's not exactly going on with Buff now, is it?"

"Buffy," said Giles with a sigh. "Buffy believes--"

"She loves me, yeah, I know," Faith interrupted a bit harshly. She walked over to a nearby table that was full of weapons and stuffed several stakes into her jacket. "It seems like Buff thinks a lot of crazy things lately. Lucky for her she's put them aside while we look for Will. That's what we gotta be doing now, G-man. Focusing on Will and how to get her back from Kakistos."

"Faith," said Giles in tones that sounded slightly reprimanding. "You can't ignore the situation with Buffy. It's something that you'll have to deal with. As it is, you both can barely work together now and if we're ever to rescue Willow from Kakistos we need teamwork."

"Don't worry, I know that I gotta work with her," said Faith lowly. She shoved the last stake inside of her jacket then added, "I just won't enjoy it much."

Before Giles could reply, there was a knock on the front door of his apartment. He walked over to open the door and the object of their discussion entered the room along with Vince. Both couldn't help but notice the uncomfortable feeling in the air.

"Going somewhere?" Vince finally asked, referring to the blue jacket that Faith wore.

"Not yet," said Faith coolly. She sat down on the edge of the couch and said, "Just got a little antsy waiting for you guys to get back. You find anything out?"

"Mikey says everyone knows it's Kakistos who has Willow," said Buffy quietly, avoiding meeting Faith's eyes as she'd been doing for the past two weeks. "But they have no idea where he's keeping her. I know that much they're not lying about, not after the beatings I gave them."

"The problem is," said Vince with a sigh. "Is that apparently Kakistos has tons of places he holes up in for just this area alone. He's also said to have some places in L.A. and San Francisco. Willow could be at any of them. Most of them aren't even known to us or the demons in this area." His face tightening and his eyes going dark, he then muttered, "The bastard sure covers his tracks."

"So we'll just have to uncover them then," said Faith firmly. Rising to her feet, she walked out the door and said, "You up for fighting more nasties, Buff?"

"Yeah, I'm up for it," said Buffy quickly, following Faith as the other Slayer walked out the door.

"G-man, call up Amy girl and Jen, huh?" Faith continued. "See what they came up with. Maybe you can help them out. We need all the leads we can get."

With those final words, the front door to the apartment slammed shut signaling the Slayers exit.

Giles slowly turned to meet Vince's eyes and noticed they held the same look of apprehension that his did. Things in their group were falling apart at the seams and Willow's disappearance was just the start of their problems.

If this continued, finding her would prove problematic indeed. And like David Benard stated in his interview, they didn't have any time to waste.

They had to find her as soon as possible.


Search For Local Girl Increases As Suspicions Arise 
Staff Reporter: Jules Quincy

"At this point, we really can't help but suspect her friends, I'm afraid. They are the obvious link."

These were the words of L.A.P.D. Detective Kate Lockley at today's press conference. Detective Lockley made it clear that the friends of Willow Rosenberg, who has now been missing for three weeks, are being totally uncooperative in the eyes of the Police Department.

This comes from all of the numerous times the Police claim to have asked those considered to be the closest friends of Miss Rosenberg only to find themselves blocked from information.

"The night of Willow's disappearance remains a mystery to us," said Detective Lockley. "How can we find her when we know next to nothing about the night that she went missing? We have to know these things to try and determine just what caused this."

Apparently the Rosenbergs and their Private Investigator, David Benard, both of whom are actively working with Detective Lockley on the case, agree with her opinion. Right now, they all consider the people who claim to be Willow Rosenberg's friends their biggest obstacle in finding her.

"It's obscene," Ira Rosenberg stated at the press conference. "If they were really my little girl's friends then they would tell us about that night she went missing. They say they have nothing to hide but if that's true then why aren't they cooperating with the police?"

While the Police and the Rosenbergs deal with these difficulties, Willow Rosenberg still remains unfound. It almost seems with the numerous problems arising this one fact is beginning to be forgotten by everyone.

The fact of why they're doing all of this. And that's to find Willow Rosenberg before it's too late.

Let's pray that happens.


"This reporter is starting to annoy me more than the damn cops," Faith commented dryly as she placed the article inside of her photo album. "Of course, at least the reporter isn't snooping around like that cop, Lockley. It looks like she has it in for us."

The room was quiet for a moment and the only sound was that of Monet's soft humming purr as he sat in a contented ball of fluff in Faith's lap. She reached down to lightly scratch behind his ears and he rubbed his face against her hand with an affection that couldn't possibly be false.

Finally, Xander spoke in rather sheepish tones, "I think we sort of irked her last night at the magic shop. She came in when we were arranging the stuff for the new spell. It seems like she knows what's up. Right, Jenny?"

"Mmm, maybe," said Jenny, her eyes narrowing and a hint of a smile on her lips. "Lockley is a hell of a lot more persistent than the other cops, Faith. And I think she and David are onto us, I caught them following Buffy and I when we went to check out the possible L.A. hideouts of Kakistos the other day. It's clear that they consider us suspects now."

"Great," muttered Faith. "This is gonna make us trying to find Will about twenty times harder."

"We almost have all of the spell ingredients though," reminded Amy softly, her blue eyes caring and full of support as they met Faith's. "Once Buffy and Vince return from investigating in San Francisco and come back with the demon's root, then we'll be ready to cast."

"And then we'll be able to find Will," finished Faith, giving a small smile as she held Amy's gaze. "We hope."

"That's our plan," Giles corrected. His voice was gentle but reassuring and he clasped Faith's shoulder in a movement full of encouragement. "And it will succeed. We must believe in that, Faith. It will give us strength."

"Yeah," said Faith softly, her eyes diverting to stare at Monet who was purring as he gently rubbed the side of his face up against her stomach. "That's something that I definitely need more of now, G-man."

"Have you heard any word from Cordelia?" Giles asked sympathetically, unable to help wincing as he saw Faith flinch at his question. "I assume that's a no?"

"Yup," said Faith in gruff tones, her attention focused once more on Monet. She was rubbing the tabby cat's stomach now as he flipped over in her lap. "I keep on calling that hotel that Maria told about but I get no answer. Sweets just doesn't want to talk to me I guess. But I... I don't know how I can make things right if she won't even give me the chance to explain. To show her how much I love her and tell her that what happened meant nothing to me."

"Nothing? Are you sure?" asked Amy softly.

Turning sharply to fix an accusing dark brown gaze on the blonde witch, Faith growled, "I'm sure. The only person that I'm in love with is Cordelia. Nobody else, no matter how much Buff might want otherwise."

On seeing everyone's reaction to her harsh declaration, Faith's angry features softened and she wore an expression of regret. She then looked to Jenny whom she knew would be the most upset. The Watcher had her eyes narrowed and was almost glaring at Faith.

"I'm sorry," Faith murmured, holding Jenny's gaze. "I know how you all feel about Buff. Hell, I still feel the same about her. I love her... just not like that. But..." Faith trailed off and her face constricted. "She knew that, she knew I didn't love her the way she loves me, and she still kissed me and now... because of that I may have lost Cordelia for good. That's hard to deal with." Running her fingers roughly through her wavy hair, Faith continued, "And we keep looking for Will and we keep coming up with nothing. The cops are after us and... I dunno," she paused to look at Monet and lightly rubbed his stomach as he purred. "I just feel like I'm falling apart, like everything is falling apart."

"We all feel that way," said Jenny softly and when Faith lifted her head she saw the Watcher standing in front of her. "This whole situation is out of control and scary for us all but we have to keep on going, Faith. For Willow and for our future, we have to keep fighting."

"Yeah," Faith whispered. "I know."

"We'll find her," Giles added confidently, moving to sit next to Faith on the couch. "Because for us, there's no other option but to find her, is there?"

"No," said Faith, smiling. "There really isn't."

And looking into Giles warm gaze Faith felt her heart fill with hope for the first time in weeks. She could only wish that it was a feeling that would last.


Somehow, the last girl that Vince ever imagined that one day he'd be sharing a motel room with would be Buffy Summers. And this belief was shown clearly in his anxious movements, standing on the other side of the room, his eyes glued forward as he stared out the window.

They had just gotten done with their search. Each and every safehouse that belonged to Kakistos in the city of San Francisco had been checked out. And none of them had what they were looking for.

None of them had Willow.

Had his girlfriend, had the only person he'd ever truly been in love with, had his only joy in life.

Vince was starting to wonder if they'd ever find her. Reaching up to touch the glass of the window with a gentle touch, he said hoarsely, "Please wait for me, Red. I swear that I'm going to find you. I won't stop until I do."

Moments later, he felt a soft touch on his shoulder and Vince turned around to meet Buffy's sympathetic gaze with his chocolate brown eyes. He gave her a wan smile as he leaned back against the wall. The Slayer, she looked just as bad as he did. She looked drained and tired, so very tired of coming up empty with every search.

Perhaps they were both losing spirit.

"We'll find her," said Buffy quietly, her voice soft but laced with steely determination. "I promise we will."

"Thanks, Buffy," murmured Vince. "I appreciate it... you putting up with me. I know I can sorta slow you down in the vamp fights but you always ask me to come along because... you know I want to help too."

"You do help," Buffy reassured, reaching out to touch Vince's hand lightly as she sat down in one of the chair surrounding the tiny table in their motel room. "If it wasn't for your support I'd..." She trailed off and her eyes grew dark and lonely. "Well, I'd be less focused."

Eyeing Buffy with a knowing look, Vince sat down at the table with her. Sitting down, he took off his less than fashionable square black glasses and set them on the table for both of them to look at.

"I used to hate wearing my glasses," Vince confessed. Ducking his head, he caused his dyed blonde hair to fall into his eyes. "I thought they made me look like a bigger dork than what I am. Plus... they're old and my family, we're not exactly rich so I can't afford the cool new frames that everyone wears. Hell, they don't even look retro, do they?" he asked with an impish smile.

"Vince... what does this have to do with--" Buffy began but was only cut off by him gently.

"I still don't like wearing them," continued Vince, locking his gaze with Buffy's as he reached down to put the glasses back on. "But they help my eyes see just a little bit better and I figure, maybe with that little bit better I can spot things, see clues that I normally wouldn't and they'll be what ends up leading us to Red. So," he looked at Buffy with an earnest expression. "That's why I wear my glasses." He paused and seemed to drift off as he got lost in the memories. "That and Red... she liked them. She'd always say they made me look cute and studious when I'd have them on while writing songs."

"You really love her, don't you?" asked Buffy, her eyes full of unshed tears and her heart constricting.

"Yeah, I really do," Vince replied. He moved his gaze back to Buffy's and said, "And she might love me but she loves other people too. She probably always will. I can handle that because love, you can't control or fight it. People who try to do that just end up unhappy with their lives and their hearts." Studying Buffy with careful brown eyes, he said, "Don't feel bad for how you feel about Faith. You can't help who you love, no one can."

"I could've helped what I did," said Buffy sadly. "I didn't have to kiss her that night and if I hadn't... she and Cordelia would be together still. My feelings for her are selfish and I... I just shouldn't have them anymore."

"No," said Vince in quiet and firm tones. He reached out clasp Buffy's hands in his own. "Feelings of love are never selfish, Buffy. Even if they're not returned."

"Yeah, well, if you say so," Buffy said, pulling her hand away to wipe at her teary eyes. Looking at Vince, she smiled and asked, "How do you know so much anyway? You're like a guru on emotions here."

"My Mom's a new age hippie and my Dad likes to read tons of psychology books," Vince confessed, offering an easy grin. "Plus I'm dating Red and she's taught me a lot about just how unselfish real love can be."

"She can do that, can't she?" said Buffy, smiling.

"Yup, she sure can," Vince agreed. He was quiet for a moment then said, "Follow your heart, Buffy. Just do that and you'll never be unhappy again. Follow it no matter where it takes you and don't feel any regret."

"Thanks," Buffy said in husky tones full of emotion as she blinked back the tears again. "I will."

Vince smiled softly and rising to his feet, he said, "We should get to bed. It's kind of a long drive back."

"Yeah, you're right," Buffy said with a smile.

Together, two pairs of eyes fixed on the one bed in the room and they both proceeded to turn beet red. They weren't sure how, but somehow they forgot that the only open room in the motel they could afford had one bed.

Coughing loudly and looking up at he ceiling as he valiantly tried to stop blushing, Vince said, "I'll take the floor."

"No!" cried Buffy quickly. When Vince stared at her rather oddly, she blushed again and said, "I mean, that isn't fair. You helped pay for the room too that means you paid for half of the bed. Can't we share?"

"Share?" Vince asked a bit roughly.

Turning even redder, Buffy said, "Not share, share! Willow would kill me and you! And despite rumors I don't like ruining relationships. I meant... you know, you keep all your clothes on and so do I and we sleep very far away on either side of the bed. Nice and platonic."

"Very nice, very platonic," Vince agreed with a fierce nod. "To make it even more so, you can sleep under the covers and I'll sleep on top. How about that?"

"That's even more nice and platonic," said Buffy, nodding as well. "Good, good!" Her eyes trailed off as she stared at the empty bed. "So..."

"So..." Vince echoed also.

"Bedtime?" Buffy suggested.

"Bedtime," Vince nodded.

With that, the two teenagers got into the bed. Buffy under the covers and on the right side, Vince on top of the covers and on the left side. After Vince took off his glasses and placed them on the night table, Buffy reached for the lights and they were enveloped in the night. They were quiet for a long while before the tension finally got to them.

"Hey, Buffy?" asked Vince after a moment.

"Yeah?" replied Buffy into the darkness.

There was a slight pause and Buffy swore she felt impish vibes coming from Vince. That was when he asked with a slight chuckle, "Am I the first guy you've slept with?"

Seconds later, Vince found his face bashed in with Buffy's not so fluffy motel pillow. That then led to a truly epic pillow fight the likes of which have never been seen.

Mainly because the lights were still out. But somehow, despite all of this and them sharing a bed, Vince and Buffy's relationship still remained the same.

Nice and platonic.


Sunnydale Residents Die In Flight 903
Staff Reporter: Robert Maylen

It was with a heavy heart that it was learned today that three of the passengers on Flight 903, New York to Los Angeles, were residents of Sunnydale. Residents that made an important difference in many peoples lives.

Local lawyer, Jonathan Chase, who had defended so many in the courthouses found himself helpless on the night of June 12th when the airplane that he was riding on experienced horrible engine troubles. Jonathan, along with his wife Marilyn and only daughter, Cordelia, were killed along with all of the passengers on board the flight.

The reason for the crash remains a mystery and already some investigators for the FAA suspect that some type of sabotage may have been involved. The statement an FAA representative gave was this, "Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a possibility as of now. Unfortunately, we can't say anything substantial at this time as we've just started to look into the cause behind this tragedy."

Jonathan Chase was a respected lawyer in the community, often donating money to charities all around the surrounding California neighborhoods along with his usual donations to help his hometown of Sunnydale. His wife, Marilyn, was active in the community as well, often sitting on the boards of several local organizations and was known for helping raise money for cultural exhibits at the local museums and playhouses. Their daughter, Cordelia, was an honor roll student and member of the Varsity Cheerleading squad at Sunnydale High School.

All of them will be missed. A community wake is being organized for this Saturday as there were no next of kin to take this responsibility upon themselves.


Faith stared at the article. She stared at the article like she'd stared at it for the past four hours. It was all she did ever since she first read it. Ever since she first heard of Cordelia's airplane crashing.

She couldn't think, she couldn't feel, she couldn't do anything but stare at this damn article.

This damn proof that Cordelia was gone. Taken away, torn out of her grasp before she could explain what really happened that night. Before... before... she could tell Cordelia once again that she loved only her.

Now it was too late, Cordelia was gone, and she would never return to Faith again.

Because Cordelia was dead.

Her girlfriend was dead, the love of her life was dead, Faith's soulmate was dead.

Faith crumpled the article in her hand only to smooth it out again. She needed it, she needed any meager scrap of Cordelia that she could find. It was the only way to keep Cordelia alive, to keep Cordelia with her.

As if on cue, Monet jumped onto the bed and rested himself in front of Faith, his head on her legs as he peered sadly up into her eyes. Gazing down at him and seeing the depression in his gaze, Faith wondered if he somehow knew what had happened.

"She's gone boy," whispered Faith, reaching out to stroke his head with a shaky hand. "Cordelia's gone."

Monet released a pitiful meow and rubbed his head against her hand in a comforting movement. Faith made no sound, no noise, after this. She simply sat perfectly still, staring blankly ahead as she petted the tabby cat.

Almost as if she was unwilling to feel anymore.

Then a knock on the door sounded Faith out of her stupor. She scowled immediately, knowing who it was. It had only been a half an hour and already he was back.

"I told you!" Faith began with a merciless shout. "I wanna be left alone, G-man! I can't talk about it!!"

Unheeded, the door to her room slowly opened and Faith whirled around to meet someone she definitely hadn't been expecting. Her dark brown eyes immediately darkened and she hissed dangerously, "Buffy."

"Faith," replied Buffy in even tones, despite the nervous look her hazel eyes gave off.

"Leave. Now," growled Faith. "Before you make me do something that I'll just regret later."

"No," Buffy said firmly. She closed the door behind her and continued, "You need to talk to someone about this, Faith. You can't keep it bottled inside--"

"Yeah, not like you!" Faith snarled. Averting her eyes, she looked down at Monet and instantly, her gaze softened by an amazing degree. Lifting up her last living contact to Cordelia off of her lap and onto the bed, Faith stood up to face Buffy. "Where do you get the right to come in here and lecture me about what I have to do?! You were the one who caused all of this, Buff!"

Buffy winced at this verbal attack, but held her ground as she said, "I know what I did was wrong, Faith. But so is you keeping this inside. Cordelia's--"

"Cordelia is DEAD!!" screamed Faith, her eyes wild, her hands clenched into fists and shaking at her side. "She's dead and because of you she died thinking that I betrayed her! That I don't love her anymore, when that's the furthest thing from the truth!" Clenching her jaw so tightly that a tick in it was visible, Faith seethed, "I never really hated anyone before this, Buff. But you... I think if I hate anyone right now, it's gotta be you."

"I'm sorry," whispered Buffy, lowering her head. "I never meant to... all I ever really wanted was to tell you how I feel about you. I never thought Cordelia would see us and all of this would happen." Lifting her gaze, Buffy's eyes suddenly hardened though she said softly, "She's dead, I know that but I didn't cause that. I'm sorry for what she might have thought because of me."

"You're sorry?!" Faith repeated with an incredulous laugh. Tipping her head back, Faith shouted at the ceiling, her voice thick with sarcasm, "Whoop de doo! Buff is sorry for ruining my relationship with my now dead girlfriend who died thinking I cheated on her! I'm so damn happy about this I'm gonna..." She trailed off and glared at Buffy and snarled, "I'm gonna..."

"Beat me up?" Buffy supplied, her voice even and steady as she met Faith's gaze. "Do it. I want you to if it will make you feel better. If it will make you deal with all of this."

Narrowing her dark brown eyes, Faith studied Buffy for a long moment before she suddenly launched herself at the blonde Slayer with a rage that was that of a wild animal. Buffy allowed Faith the advantage, not resisting as the dark Slayer slammed her into the wall and began releasing a series of punches onto her body but then the punches somehow melded into a fierce shaking. Faith slamming Buffy again and again into the wall as she shouted at her while tears streamed uninhibited down her cheeks.

"WHY?! Why did you?! Why did you do it?!" Faith shouted, slamming Buffy into the wall with lessening strength as the tears continued to flow. She slammed the blonde into the wall one more time before she fell weakly against Buffy's chest, weeping as she grasped at the edges of the other Slayer's shirt. "Why? Why did she die? Why did Cordelia have to leave me? Why, Buff? Why?!"

"I don't know, Faith," whispered Buffy brokenly, collapsing down on the ground from both her injuries in the physical and the emotional sense. "I don't know."

Faith didn't respond and instead buried her face into Buffy's stomach, sobbing with all her might while the blonde Slayer gently stroked her back, offering every bit of comfort and security that she could manage.

Not that it would do Faith any good. Not that anything right now would do her any good. Because Cordelia was dead.

And she wasn't coming back.


Flight Manifesto Reveals Chase Girl Missing 
Staff Reporter: Robert Maylen

It was found through the investigation of the crash of Flight 903 that Cordelia Chase was never in fact on the plane the day that it crashed. The fact that she wasn't there has been proven through documented evidence belonging to the FAA and video cameras in the New York aiport the flight departed from.

The problem is that everyone assumed Cordelia Chase was on that flight. Including this reporter. She told all of her acquaintances she was leaving with her parents on this trip to New York but something apparently went wrong along the way. Cordelia Chase, like Willow Rosenberg, her close friend before her, has disappeared without a trace.

"We can't say right now if the two cases are related," said Detective Kate Lockley during a press conference. "But right now there's too many coincidences not to arise some suspicion. Both girls were good friends and both disappeared suddenly out of their day to day routines. They were supposed to be places, they had even gone so far as to plan to be places, and then the next day they vanish out of thin air. We see a pattern here."

Through recent interviews with the long time maid of the Chases, Maria Alonzo, now on her summer vacation in her hometown of Houston, Texas, it was found that she spoke with Cordelia only minutes before she left with her parents for the airport. Somehow, between that time on their way there and arriving in Los Angeles for their flight, Cordelia Chase was taken from her parents.

"I don't know how this could have happened," sobbed Mrs. Alonzo over the phone when called for an interview. "I saw her leave with her parents. She was safe then. Cor was safe when I saw her last! Safe!"

While the Police investigation mounts, the case of the missing Cordelia Chase grows more and more complicated, just like the case of her friend Willow Rosenberg. Both of which lead back to their still uncommunicative friends.

"These kids don't want to talk," said Detective Lockley. "But they're going to have to, now more than ever because now there are two girls missing. That's not something I'm going to stand for. I'm thinking that the rest of Sunnydale feels the same."

How right you are, Detective Lockley.


Cordelia was alive.

Cordelia was alive and now so was Faith. Her heart was alive. Her thoughts were alive. Her life once more had focus to it.

All because Cordelia was alive.

Unable to stop the smile from leaving her features, Faith carefully placed the article inside of the photo album. Cordelia was alive and that was all that mattered. That and finding both her and Willow and finding them quickly.

"Kakistos," Faith said sharply as she closed the album and her soft smiling face transformed to one of all business. "He was behind this, just like he's behind what happened to Will. He nabbed them both to get to us."

"Psychological games," agreed Giles, nodding his head. "That's his logic behind this, most likely."

"I rather play Yahtzee," said Buffy in bitter tones. After she said this, Vince reached out to gently clasp and rub the blonde's shoulder and she smiled up at him.

Vince then turned to look at Jenny and asked, "Do you think that maybe Kakistos is holding them together?"

"Probably," said Jenny. Her eyes growing thoughtful, she turned to pick up a large and ancient looking book and flipped through it. "All documented history of Kakistos says he liked to play cat and mouse with the families of his victims. Kidnapping them, leaving proof that they're alive, and then, finally killing them before the people tried to rescue them."

"Nice m.o," Faith snarled. Clenching her jaw, she said tightly, "All right. We know what we gotta do." She looked to Amy then said, "You got all the stuff for that new locating spell, Amy girl. Do you think you can do two of them? One to find Willow and one to find Cordelia?"

"You bet," said Amy with a nod. Turning to Xander, she reached for his hand and said, "Help me get all of the stuff so we can start the spell?"

"Sure," Xander said quickly, rising to his feet and heading out the door with his girlfriend.

As they headed out the door, Faith felt the hope return in her heart once more. Cordelia was alive and that kept her alive. That kept her hope alive.

Things had to get better, they had to, because Faith sincerely doubted that they could get any worse.

She didn't know just how wrong she was.


The room was dark.

That much they knew for sure. It was dark and it was empty and it was cold.

But most of all it was dark.

The darkness seemed to surround them, fill them, as they sat inside of their dank cell. If this was really a cell, it was hard to know with the darkness being everywhere.

Perhaps the darkness was why the voice scared them so much. The disembodied voice that would come to them in the night, the day, whatever time it was they just couldn't tell, but the voice would come. It would come and it would torment them with details of their life.

Of their friends, of their loves, of their secrets.

How the voice knew all of this was a mystery to them. Then again, so was how they ended up here. It was hard to recall but they remembered, just barely, that their capture was their fault. Caused by feelings confused from the current events in their lives.

Feelings of love, feelings of betrayal.

Was that it? They couldn't remember. Honestly, they couldn't. They wondered sometimes if the voice was behind their loss of memory.

Had the voice drugged them somehow?

No, that was ridiculous. The voice was just a voice. It was a tormenting, vicious, and cruel voice that spoke all of their worst fears out loud but it was still just a voice. There was nothing that it could physically do to hurt them. At least, that's what they prayed.

The voice should be here now.

They knew that, they had gotten so used to the voice appearing from nowhere that they almost had a sort of schedule by now. But the voice, it wasn't here. They wondered where it could be. What it could be doing.

Was it capturing other people like them?

No, they doubted that. The voice said that they were special. That they had been captured for one very specific reason and one reason only. That they were a prize to be cherished.

But still, they couldn't help but wonder... what was it doing? Where was it now? What were its plans?

Why had they been captured? And... and... would they ever get out? Would they ever remember things?

Would this eternal darkness ever cease?

All of these thoughts and more ran through their head, uncontrolled and unfettered. It was so confusing to be living this lack of a life now. They somehow knew they were used to more. Used to actually living.

And that they were not used to being in the darkness. They were one of those meant for the light found outside. It was their only hope that some day the light would find them again. Because this constant darkness was starting to become more than they could stand.

And more than they could survive.


Tom Fiore had a good life.

He ran a successful business, had a beautiful wife who loved him, and two wonderful children.

In fact, his life had been everything he ever dreamed of and it had all come true. His life was a good one and he enjoyed it. He loved it even.

Yes, Tom had a good life.

Had a good life as in the past tense because right now, as of this second, his life was ending.

The knife was cold, just like his body became as it entered him, and staring at the person who had stabbed him, Tom wore a look of wide eyed disbelief that they could do this to him.

That they could do this to anyone.

He would've sank down on the ground but the person, they grabbed him as his last moments of life began to fleet away, and laid him down on the ground. Their eyes were fierce and burning as they looked into his own.

"Know this and know it well," a harsh whisper filled his ears. "You're only the first of many."

"Why?" Tom gasped with his final breaths.

"Because," they formed a vicious smile of utter delight as they shoved the knife into Tom's belly again and pulled it upwards in a clean slice. "I'm just getting started."

With that, the final moments of Tom's good life became that of a horrifying nightmare. 

To be continued...

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