Der Weidedamon Der Weidedämon
by Shadowlander
Chapter 1

Spike was worried, well maybe not quite worried, more like irritated actually. He was a demon. He didn't get worried, he got irritated. He told himself forcible, scowling for good measure. It was all Red's fault, she knew she was supposed to bring him some blood while he hid-out in the old Kelly Street mansion from the commando boys looking for him. It wasn't like he was going to go back to the Crawford Street mansion, too many memories of Dru and Angelus for his taste, and the crypt had proven somewhat unsafe.

"Where is she?" he growled prowling the main room like a caged tiger. "She should have been here by now." He added, continuing to stalk through the lower level, trying to contain his growing 'irritation'. It wasn't that he cared for the girl. She just served a purpose for the time being while he had the chip in his head. She brought him blood and helped to keep the commando boys away from him, and for that she would get to live once he got that annoying piece of metal out of his head. Well maybe not exactly 'live', he would have to turn her once he broke her in properly; make her into his little plaything for all of eternity.

He had such big plans for his little Red, couldn't wait to introduce her to his brand of affection...sure he'll keep her mortal for a few years or so- just until he had her well trained to his touch, and then...then they would rule the night. He could almost taste all the things he would do to her; as he stripped away her sense of self and remade her into his favourite little fuck toy.

Pushing aside such thoughts, he focused on Red's continued absence from his side. Time enough to punish her later once the chip was out of his head. He would have plenty of time then to express his displeasure of her willful acts of defiance and of her association with the Slayer twit. Some things would not be tolerated, and once she was his, the Slayer and the moron being two things that would immediately be removed from his presence.

Meanwhile at the Sunnydale Bus Station...

Faith wearily climbed off of the out-of-town bus, trying to restore some kind of circulation to her right leg that had fallen asleep somewhere outside of Las Vegas. It was just her luck, the only nonstop bus from Vegas to Sunnydale had to be the oldest, if not the most useless, bus in the history of modern transportation. But it had been worth the nightmare ride to get back to Sunnydale. She couldn't explain the sudden need she had developed a few weeks ago to return to the hellmouth. A part her had hoped to never see the misleading little town - with its barely closed gateway to the neither world, or it's endless supply of vampires and other night creatures - ever again. But fate and two nerve-wrecking prophetic dreams convinced her that she should give up her soul-searching journey and get back to Sunnydale as fast as she could. She just wished she hadn't of been in Southern Florida when she had gotten the first of the aforementioned prophetic dreams.

Shaking her head as she collects her one battered duffel bag, she recalled Red's last email. The one recounting the latest and somewhat undesired addition to the Scooby Gang: one bleached blonde vamp named Spike. Faith wasn't too sure if she liked the thought of a bunch weird of commando groups running lose over the hellmouth. There was too great a chance of Red being picked up by one of the soldier boys one night while she was out saving the world with B. She would just hate to have to break into a highly classified government installation to kill a bunch of people because they had hurt Red. She'd do it, but she was sure she would have at least one or two sleepless hours because of it.

'Red,' she thought shouldering her duffel and setting off for Giles' flat, no one knew she was coming back and the walk would do her some good. At the very least it would get her leg to wake up before dark. Before she'd maybe have to do a little slaying. 'Eight months on the road and I still haven't figured anything out regarding her.' She said to herself, shifting the duffel on her shoulder a bit. Shortly after graduation, the dark-haired Slayer had left town, after talking things over with Wesley, something that she was still a bit in shock over. She had actually gone to her Watcher for advice and the hellmouth didn't open and suck the entire world into hell. Who would have thought it? Although, there was no way in heaven - or the hellmouth - that she was actually going to admit that Wes had given her some pretty sound advice. It would offset the whole Slayer/Watcher dynamic for generations and B would never forgive her.

While she was no closer to figuring out her relationship with Red, she had found a few answers. Like Oz's death hadn't been her fault. He's the one that chose to side with the nut mayor damn near getting Red killed in the process. That she had been defending herself that night she had gone to reason with him; trying to get the cure for whatever it was he had poisoned Fang with. It had taken her six thousand miles and one hell of a barroom brawl to sink that little fact into her thick head. If she had known that was all it would take, she would have stayed in town and torn apart Willy's a few dozen times. However, she was still no closer to figuring out just where she stood with Red, the one person who had ever took the time to really get to know her, warts and all. She excepted Faith like no other ever had. If she thought Fang and/or B wouldn't have nailed her hide to the nearest wall, she would have been chasing after Red form the moment she had first seen the quiet redhead in the library. "Oh god, I'm beginning to sound like B!" She swore to herself with mild disgust, deciding that the bus ride had addled her mind somehow if she was beginning to channel the other Slayer.

Two hours later, Faith found herself at Giles' front door, patiently waiting for someone to answer her knock. The walk from the bus station took a bit longer then she had first thought, but that was only because her leg had refused to wakeup for the first ten minutes.

She pulled her wondering thoughts together as the door opened and she found herself standing before B's Watcher...well former Watcher. Although it really didn't matter, G-man would always be B's Watcher, just like Wes would always be her Watcher...rather she liked it or not.

"F-faith," Giles said by way of greetings, covering any other discomfort he might have had at her unannounced appearance on his doorstep.

"G-man," she replied, once again pushing down her irrational fear of librarians. Every since the fourth grade when her class had gone on a field trip to the public library back in Boson, she had had an unexplainable fear of all librarians. It wasn't something that she could easily explain, but librarians creeped her out more then vampires or demons ever did. And there was no way in hell she would ever admit to said fear. Although she was certain that G knew all about her little fear, 'He probably has it written down in that damn Watcher's diary of his,' she ruefully thought for the thousandth time.

"Oh! Would you please come in?" Giles replied after a moment, stepping aside to allow her to cross the threshold his mind already working. Taking in her overall appearance as he followed her into the living room, he noted the worn duffel bag over her shoulder, "I take it you are back from your road trip?" He asked trying to make small talk.

"Got to Florida and ran out of coastline," Faith replied dropping onto the couch with a tired sigh. "Figured I'd head back here and see if the place was still in one piece or not." She couldn't help but add with a smirk. Running a hand though her dark hair, "I've been having a few dreams that pretty much say I have to be here." She added after a moment, suddenly finding something of real interest on the floor to study.

The reaction was almost immediate as Giles shifted from host to Watcher in the blink of an eye. "Really? Just what have you been dreaming about?" He asked his total attention focused on her, his mind racing. 'If Faith is having prophetic dreams, why isn't Buffy?' he asked himself wondering if there was something he may have missed with his own Slayer.

Taking a deep breath she collects her thoughts for a moment. The dream images still making little sense to her even after having two weeks to think about them as she made her way back to California. "Its confusing, I see Red, Fang, and who I think has to be Spike. I just know it's a bleached vamp with them and...Red is feeding off them." She says raising her head to stare into his eyes. "But she's not a vamp...I don't know how but she's not."

For possible the first time in his association with the dark Slayer, Giles found himself looking into her terrified eyes. Not even when faced with the snake-like mayor trying to kill her, had he ever saw such an emotion ever enter her eyes. And then it struck him: she was not scared for herself, she was scared for another...possibly the one person she held above all else - even herself. She was scared for Willow. "Tell me exactly what you saw." Giles commanded in an even voice, already well into full research mode.

"Not much to tell. I'm in one of the underground lairs, not sure where...but Blondie is with me. I think we're there looking for Red...but I'm not sure." Faith begins; suddenly getting up to pace the living room restlessly. "Fang and the cheerleader are there too...we're fighting a bunch of vamps trying to get to Red. And there is this human there, never saw him before, but he's...." she continued, stopping and turning to the still seated Watcher. "He's the one hurting her...the one I'm going to kill." She finished coldly, her eyes hard and determined.

About an hour outside of Sunnydale...

Angel had the gas pedal planted firmly on the floor as he drove like a madman down the highway toward the hellmouth...or in the very least like a vampire possessed anyway. Beside him, Cordelia set ramrod straight in the seat; her eyes focused intently on the road ahead, almost as if she was willing the vehicle to go faster. She had not said much since her mind-shattering headache, a little over an hour ago back in Los Angeles, other then that they had to get to Sunnydale immediately. Willow's life depended on it.

There really hadn't been anything else to say, not when she had recognized a few of the people surrounding the redhead in question. She wasn't quite sure when Faith had gotten back into town. She knew Willow would have mentioned it in one of the emails the two of them had been sending each other since graduation if she was already there. And so as long as the dark-haired Slayer wasn't in town, they still had time to save Willow...and kill Ethan Rayne.

Spike was on his twelfth circuit through the lower level of the mansion when he heard the front door open. 'Finally!' he growled making an immediate course change and heading directly for the main room; he had a redhead to see. 'Time she start learning her place,' his demon fumed, 'chip or no chip she will learn to obey me!' Only to stop in his tracks as he stepped into the room and found the Watcher and what felt like a Slayer stand there, both looking around intently.

"Where's Red!" Faith demanded taking a menacing step toward Spike, immediately recognizing him from her dreams.

"Faith, calm down." Giles interrupted; stepping between the two before anything got out of hand. "Spike, is Willow here?" He asked turning his attention to the vampire, trying to remain calm for her sake. Once she was safe he would gladly let the two of them growl at each other all they wanted too.

"What?" Spike asked momentarily thrown by the question. "No the little chit hasn't been 'ere all day...she forgot to bring by my blood." He continued with an offended look.

"You bleached idiot...Willow doesn't forget things, she's missing!" Faith growled trying to push past Giles and knock some sense into the vamp.

"What!" Spike demanded; his demon pushing forward and the damn chip going off in his head at the aggressive turn of his thoughts. No one touched his Red, she was his...or would soon be once the chip was gone. Then he could claim her and wipeout the bloody Slayer and all her little friends. Forcing down his demon, he tries to calm himself, to think things through until he got his Red back, then he could work on getting back at the dark Slayer. 'Yes. Get Red back and kill whatever foolish git touched her in the first place,' he firmly decided.

"Enough! This is getting us no where." Giles roared; effectively getting both the vampire and Slayer's undivided attentions. "Faith tell Spike what you saw in your dreams. Maybe he can recognize the lair you saw." Giles directed. "And you," he added letting a bit of the Ripper show through to the vampire. "Shut up and listen, apparently you two are suppose to find Willow together. So do it and not another word about your damn blood or I'll stake you out to watch the sunrise myself." He threatened, before taking a seat and waiting for them to get on with their respective orders and find Willow.

Ten minutes after sunset found Spike and Faith prowling the streets looking for information and ducking any stray commandos they happened across. Giles has retreated back to his flat to gather the rest of the Scooby Gang and organize the search, once he had been certain that Spike and Faith had focused themselves on the task at hand and not arguing with each other. Once the two of them had gotten down to business they had immediately sensed the other's affection for Red and were willing to put they differences aside until they got her back.

'At least, I'm not stuck with the blonde twit,' Spike told himself scanning the shadows for anything that shouldn't be there, like one of the commando boys trying to recapture him. He had more important things to do then put up with their nonsense, and since he apparently had the support of a rather ticked off Slayer, he was pretty sure a few of the commandos would be winding up in hospital if they did try something.

Chapter 2

Faith and Spike had just finished pumping Willy for information when the black convertible came roaring past them in a 35-MPH zone, going about 90, only to make a hairpin turn and coming back up the street to stop beside the two.

"Where is she?" Cordelia demanded climbing out of the car with a determined look on her face. Trying to keep the growing fear for Willow's safety at bay, 'rescue Wills first then have the nervous breakdown,' she told herself firmly.

"Slutty is at the Watcher's" Spike replied in annoyance. 'Just what I need the great poof and the cheerleader in town.' He thought in disgust wanting to get rid of the two and go get Red back.

"Not Buffy," Angel growled his game face slipping on. "Willow! Where is Willow?" He demanded climbing across the front seat to join Cordelia in the sidewalk with Spike and Faith.

"Fuck me, you had a vision." Faith said, slapping her forehead in understanding, remembering Willow mentioning it in one of her emails.

"Yes, now where is Willow?" Angel demanded again rapidly losing his patience.

"The old Master's lair," Faith replied with a jerk of her thumb toward the graveyard they had been about to enter when the others had arrived.

"Okay. Cordelia, you and Wes..."

"As if, deadboy I'm going with you guys. Wesley can deliver the messages to the others." The ex-cheerleader cut him off; poking him in the chest for effect before pushing past a somewhat stunned Spike and entering the graveyard on her own.

"Well don't just stand there, lets go get Red!" Faith said after a moment, briefly wondering when the cheerleader had gotten so protective of Red.

Exchanging a quick nod with the silent Watcher who had spent most of the trip praying for his survival as Angel tried to set a new land speed record, the dark vampire and his favoured childe disappeared into the graveyard after the two determined women.

The Ruins of the Master's Lair...

Ethan Rayne delivered one last punch to the half-unconscious girl tied to the makeshift altar, before turning his attention to his hired helpers. "All right Lads, as soon as I'm done here all of you can bag yourselves a Slayer!" he announced gleefully. 'Stupid vampires, as soon as I'm done here all of you are going to be fed to my new demon army,' he thought smugly, an evil light entering his eyes.

Entering the corridor leading to the main hall, Spike merrily staked the hapless minion on guard duty, almost bouncing off the walls in his excitement. At first he thought he wouldn't be getting any action because of the chip in his head, after all according to Willy it was a human that had his Red. Thankfully the human had a few minions working for him, so Spike could take his irritation out on them all he wanted to, kind of as a makeup for missing out on his dinner thanks to that stupid human. He only hoped the Slayer and peaches let him watch as they beat the hell out of the human once they got Red back.

Behind him Cordelia moved into the corridor her eyes searching for any more minions to stake. Thankfully she had gotten her vision while she had been in the gym, and for once she was actually wearing sensible shoes to go sneaking around tunnels in. She had also gotten a bit stake happy since moving to LA or it could have been her concern for Willow's safety, the after images of her vision still running through her mind. Unlike Faith, who had gotten pretty much the same images in her dreams, Cordelia recognized all the players and understood just how dangerous Ethan could be.

Bring up the rear; Angel put a restraining hand on Spike before he could go charging down the corridor. "All right, this is the plan," he said in a low voice. "Spike and I will handle the minions, Cordy your job is to protect Willow. Faith cover her until she gets into position."

"What about that mortal git?" Spike hissed, his yellow/gold eyes shining with hate. He didn't want to talk, he wanted to kill something.

"Don't worry Blondie, he ain't leaving here alive." Faith swore, tightening her grasp on one of the stakes Cordelia had handed to her earlier. Once again wondering just how in the hell the cheerleader had gotten; fire stakes, a large water gun - filled with holy water - and two heavy crosses all in her purse without ever once drawing any attention to herself back in LA from the police. She was fairly certain that the stakes would be considered concealed weapons.

Back in the main hall, Ethan had begun the ancient chant that would resurrect a race of demons, long thought extinct, unleashing then onto the hellmouth. Soon he would have his revenge against that annoying little bitch Slayer by stripping away her sacred powers. He could almost taste his impending victory, already dismissing the bruised and battered young redhead tied to the alter. He had hoped that she would survive long enough to watch her precious best friend fall from grace, but needed her energy to complete the spell. No bother, the little witch would serve as the catalyst to destroying the Slayer's power, he could gloat about it later as he killed the bitch.

A quarter of the way through his chant, Ethan was interrupted by a loud ruckus that filled the hall as a very ticked off Spike made his displeasure known to the entire room. Taking the time to growl at the human before turning his full rage against the minions stupid enough to rush him, Spike started to make a path toward the human bastard standing over his Red. Behind him, he could feel Angel and the dark Slayer making their own paths through the small gathering of minions, all of who were too young to recognize the two master vampires. If they had they would have had enough sense to duck out the nearest exit and kept on running, at least until they met the second rescue team just entering the old lair, led by the other Slayer.

Cordelia made it to Willow's side in moments, only having to spray a few of the vamps to get them to move into either Faith or Angel's way for staking, in her trek. With single-minded determination she took up a position in front of the alter, water gun in one hand a cross in the other, ready to fend off any stray vampire that got too close to her or the unconscious Willow.

With Spike and Angel busy fighting minions, and Cordelia guarding Willow, Faith heading straight for Ethan, who had stepped up his chanting in hopes of completing the spell mispronouncing a few words in his haste. Stopping in front of him, Faith smiles sweetly before kicking him right in the groan effectively bringing him to his knees. Taking a moment to enjoy his strangled cry of pain, she wings out a booted foot kicking him in the head and into unconsciousness.

"Faith!" Cordelia called out, getting the Slayer's attention. Turning away from the sprawled out body before her, she moves over to the alter and the cheerleader frantically pulling at the ropes binding the still redhead they had come to rescue.

"Son of a..." Faith growled once she got a look at the battered face of one of her closest friends. Willow had been beaten repeatedly, her face covered in bruises with a cut just above her right eye and a split lip. Faith could make out dried blood on her arms and wrists, Ethan having tied the ropes a bit too tight. "Fang, get the other side," she grunted to Angel who had finished off the last of his attackers and had turned his attention to the women.

Spike had finally grown bored with beating the hell out of his last opinion and just staked the minion, when the second rescue party came barreling into the chamber, Buffy leading the pack with Giles close behind her. "You're late," Spike said smugly enjoying the look of irritation that crossed the blonde Slayer's face at his words.

Choosing to ignore the two, Giles made his way to the alter and the three people who seemed very interested in it. "Dear god," he said in a low voice once he got a good look at what was on it.

"She's alive," Angel said absently, freeing the ropes on his side of the alter with a quick pull. He could feel his demon trashing about inside of him at Willow's battered appearance, quietly entertaining thoughts of slowly torturing Rayne to death. Which surprised him a bit, his demon was very angry over Willow's abduction. Having been screaming of the heads of her kidnappers almost from the moment he had learned of her disappearance. Then is occurred to him that his demon had formed a respect of sorts for Willow, since she was the one that had re-cursed him. The demon wanted to be the one that would kill the little redhead, not some useless mortal.

Spike forcibly shoved Angel out of the way as he slide to a stop beside the alter, his own demon firmly in control and very upset at what he saw. It almost didn't look like his Red he raged, the chip sending pain throughout his skull at the violent thoughts he was having concerning one mortal and several spikes. Pushing aside such thoughts for another time, he carefully runs his hands down the side of her ribcage, almost sighing with relief at the solid feel to most of her ribs, just as the action was being mirrored on the other side by Faith, although she was frowning a bit over one area.

"I think she's got one or two ribs cracked over here," Faith reported turning wide eyes to Giles, silently begging him to make her better.

Giles opened his month to reply when a low groan interrupted him. Turning sharply Faith and Spike found themselves being stared at by one green eye. "Wills?" Cordelia questioned, breaking the silence that had descended on the room after the groan, her eyes hopeful as she leaned over the alter to get a better look. Angel also leaning forward from the head of the alter one hand carefully brushing tangled blood matted hair away from her face. Another lower groan signals Willow slip back into unconsciousness, even as the rest of the Scooby Gang gathered around the alter trying to get a look at Willow.

Chapter 3

As most of the Scooby Gang gathered around the makeshift altar to get a look at their friend, Wesley moved over to the sprawled form of Ethan Rayne. Taking a moment to check for a pulse, he noted his Slayer's work with a touch of pride. Only Faith would hit someone below the belt then kick them in the head, recalling the last time she had done such a maneuver during the graduation ceremony. Although why she had decked the principal was still a bit of a puzzle to him. Granted while Snyder could have been classified as a demon, if you used the Xander Harris Demon Classification system, he still didn't see the need to attack the annoying little trollkin. Of course Wesley had decided years ago not to ask too many questions about his Slayer, some things he was just happier not knowing. Like how Faith's bank account suddenly gained several thousands dollars right after the mayor-snake got blown into little pieces.

Once satisfied that Rayne would indeed live, even though he would regain consciousness with the world's worst headache, Wesley turned his attention to an old book laying not far from the alter. "Giles," He said raising to his feet and turning toward the other former Watcher. "Does this look familiar?" He questioned, flipping through the ancient text with a frown. Something was tugging at the back of his mind, telling him that the book was important, in fact quite dangerous in the wrong hands.

Stepping over to the younger man, Giles accepts the book with a frown of his own. After a few moments, "Dear god, man. What where you doing?" He says himself, wondering if his old friend had taken leave of all of his senses after all, and not just the hundred or so brain cells he had originally thought Ethan had lost in their misspent youth. Closing the book, Giles makes a quick decision. They needed to research the book, there was no telling what spell Ethan had been attempting. Even if they did there may not even be a way to reverse it. "We need to get out of here." He said getting everyone's attention. "Angel, if you don't mind taking charge of Ethan," he continued his mind all ready going into research mode.

"Hey why is deadboy bringing him along!"? Xander demanded after a moment finally tearing his eyes away from the sight of his best friend lying on the altar. He had been silently entertaining thoughts of feeding Ethan to that bog-beast that was passing through town - the one that had slimmed Agent Finn and all his little commando buddies last week in front of most of the Scooby Gang. Xander just wished he'd had a camcorder at the time, the look on the commandos faces when their little ray guns only seemed to annoy the bog-beast as it slimmed the lot of them, was classic. He had never laughed so hard in his life, especially after Clarence the bog-beast just turned on his heel and departed into the night whistling a happy little tune.

Hoisting Ethan over his shoulder, "He's going to tell us exactly what he did to Willow." Angel vowed, nodding briefly to Wesley and Giles, before heading for the surface. "Even if I have to beat it out of him." He added lowly, feeling his demon moving toward the surface, eager for the fun to begin. A part of him, the part that felt remorse and had a conscience, was strangely not voicing any objections to the acts of torture his demon half was all ready envisioning. Then it occurred to him that for the first time in countless decades, his soul and demon were actually in agreement. Angel wasn't sure if he should be glad that his two halves had finally found some kind of common ground, or terrified that such an event had actually occurred. Granted his demon and soul had radically different reasons for wanting to inflect massive amounts of pain on the person of Ethan Rayne over a long period of time. The demon annoyed that Rayne had touched someone that 'he' had made long term plans for. Plans that included turning and molding Willow into a vicious vampire to help run his little empire he was planning to build over the hellmouth. While his soul was enraged that Rayne had kidnapped and beaten someone 'he' thought of as a younger sibling. Either way, both halves were screaming for Ethan's blood.

Shrugging off his trademark duster, Spike carefully wrapped Willow in it, before picking her up and wordlessly following his sire out of the old lair. He could feel his own demon thrashing about inside of him, demanding the head of the worthless mortal that dared to touch 'his' Red. 'She's mine!' the demon fumed. 'Mine to punish and bruise, as I see fit...not some lowly human.' Pushing down his rage as the pounding in his head increased, Spike shifted his dark musings to other things. Like finally being able to get Red into his bed, where she belonged. Because there was no way in Sunnyhell he was going to allow her out of his sight anytime soon, not until he was sure she was under his full protection and that wouldn't happen until the chip was removed. Red would be moving into the Kelly Street mansion with him, he decided firmly. Granted a bit sooner then he had originally planned and under different circumstances, but she would be where he could properly look after her.

"He's up to something." Faith dryly noted before following the retreating vampires. She didn't like the look of possession Spike had been giving Willow, not one little bit. 'May have to do something about that,' she said to herself.

"You THINK!" Cordelia commented, putting her prized water gun back in her purse, and joining the rest of the little group heading for the surface.

Taking one last look around the old lair, a place she had hoped to never see again, Buffy Summers let out a tired sigh and joined the others. The events of the last few hours weighing heavily on her mind, even before Giles rang to meet him back at his flat, she had been out looking for Willow. It wasn't like her roommate to miss class, hell as long as she has known Willow, she had never once missed or cut class. It was one of those annoying little quarks in Willow's personality that really got on her nerves. Well that and the redhead's ability to understand Wesley and Giles when they go into their "Watcher speak". Which tended to totally confuse the hell out of all those who had not had an incredibly boring childhood, or where the offspring of Watchers to begin with. In Buffy's opinion, there was just something totally wrong with Watchers being allowed to just seemed unnatural somehow.

Later - Kelly Street Mansion...

Willow drifted toward consciousness as Spike carefully placed her on the couch in the main room, he had refused to allow anyone else to hold or carry her from the moment he first picked her up back in the lair. Not wanting the Watcher or the Slayer to get any ideas about taking Red away from him. With a low, animal-like groan she opens her eyes only to find herself staring into a strange face.

Xander was leaning over the back of the couch; reluctant to let Willow out of his sight while Spike was so close to her, when she opened her eyes. His moment of joy was cut short however, as Willow jerked away from his smiling face and scrambled off the couch as fast as she could toward Cordelia's waiting arms.

Cordelia held the trembling form in her arms, trying to calm the redhead down. As long as she had known Willow Rosenberg, never once had she seen that type of reaction out of her toward Xander. "Shhh, its all right," she cooed gently rocking the figure that seemed like it was trying to curl itself into her body.

Exchanging confused looks with one another, each trying to figure out just what the hell was going on with their friend. They could only stand there in stunned silence as the little drama plays out in front of them. Sharing a look with her fellow Slayer, Faith makes the first move, determined to get to the bottom of this whole weird little mess that surrounds the shy hacker. Crouching down in front of Cordelia and tentatively reaching out, she pushes down the jealousy threatening to overwhelm her at seeing Willow in Cordelia's arms. That annoying little voice in the back of her head, the one that shares a room with her "inner Slayer voice" - which was just as annoying - growling that Cordelia had no right to be comforting Red like that.

"Hey Red, it's all right, you're safe now." Faith said putting a comforting hand on Willow's shoulder. Giving a reassuring smile, which on the dark Slayer doesn't always have the intended effect, as the redhead turned to regard her with eyes that seemed to glow from within as they bore into Faith's own dark ones. For one fleeting moment she could have sworn that she saw Willow's normally green eyes flash red before returning to their rightful colour. Little knowing that at the exact same moment her own eyes flashed the same colour. However, she did notice something else, almost equaling important about the redhead. "What the..." she said in a near whisper, watching in disbelief as the cuts and bruises begin to close and fade before her eyes.

Faith had little time to dwell on this new development as Willow climbed out of Cordelia's arms into her own. 'Did she just purr?' the dark-haired Slayer asked herself, once Willow had settled herself into a comfortable position.

Chapter 4

"We need to get her cleaned up," Faith said after a moment, shifting the redhead in her arms as she stood. "Blondie where's the bathroom?" She questioned a scowling Spike, a look of eternal disgust firm on the vampire's face.

"Upstairs fourth door on the left," Spike grunted, trying to appear unconcerned about the recent turn of events. All the while, his demon screaming to kill the lot of them, mind shattering headache be damned. This was his home, damn it, the one place in Sunnyhell he wasn't reminded of the demon he once was, thanks to that bloody chip in his head, or have to put up with the slayer twit and the moron. Now Watchers, Slayers and his blasted sire had overrun his safe haven, there was truly no justice in the universe, he decided with a scowl. "Here, let me help you get her cleaned up," he said, an evil little grin forming on his face. 'This is the perfect time to see what my little Red is going to look like once she's mine,' he said to himself, as he started to follow Faith up the stairs Cordelia not far behind her. Visions of a naked Willow at his feet for all eternity already dancing in his head.

A firm hand grabbing a hold of the back of his shirt halted his progression, as he was not so subtly reminded that he wasn't alone. "Don't even think about it," Buffy growled in his ear before giving him a quick jerk that sent him sprawling against the sofa.

"What?" Spike demanded trying to look innocent momentarily forgetting just who in the room with him.

"Spike...Faith will castrate you if she even thought you were planning to 'help'." Buffy said in a voice usually reserved for mothers reprimanding small children. "And that's only if Cordelia doesn't get to you first." She added with a smug little smile, secretly hoping that the vampire would try something underhanded. Anything, just as long as it gave her a good enough excuse to smack him around a bit. However, she felt she owed it to Willow to at least warn him about Faith's little knife fetish, for some really bizarre reason the hacker seemed to like the vampire. Just why she did was way beyond her understanding and would probably never be known, but Buffy wanted to be able to tell Wills later that she did try to protect Spike from a very overprotective Faith.

Meanwhile upstairs...

Faith and Cordelia found the bathroom relatively easy, the ex-cheerleader leading the way to get the door for the Slayer and her precious cargo. "Where the hell did Blondie find this place?" Faith asked no one in particular, giving a low whistle as she took in the room before her. It had to be the biggest bathroom she had ever seen outside of the shower room at the 'Y'.

"Who knows," Cordelia replied absently, opening the large walk-in shower door to turn on the water. "Oh yeah, he's up to something alright." She noted with a smirk at the site that greeted her. The shower stall could not only easily hold four people without crowding but also had three showerheads. One on either end of the stall and one suspended from the ceiling. "This place used to be a high priced brothel back in the eighties early nineties I think." She added with a shake of her head.

"Leave it to the bleached wonder to own a former whore house," Faith commented, carefully maneuvering Willow into a standing position facing her so she could get the redhead's clothes off.

"Makes you wonder if he's mad that it had been closed down years ago," Cordelia couldn't help but add, once satisfied with the water temperature. "Here let me help...I think it would be easier if we both got into the shower with her." She said suddenly serious, a look of concentration on her face as she helped the Slayer remove Willow's bloody torn shirt.

"Makes me wonder how you know what it used to be." Faith said with an evil little grin.

"Oh please! My father was a regular." The cheerleader snorted as the last of Willow's ruined clothing was removed. Her attention was drawn away from the highly amused Slayer and back to Willow, who had turned around with a look of confusion in her green eyes. The redhead seemed to be studying her and it was really beginning to freak her out. The last time she had seen a look remotely similar in Willow's eyes was that one time in the Library when they had been searching for a way to kill that locust-demon that had taken a rather unhealthy liking to Giles. The hacker had come across a part of the Watcher diaries concerning witchcraft, and had been almost non-responsive to any outside stimulus for nearly two hours before Giles caught her and confiscated it before she could memorize too many of the spells.

She was brought out of her silent musings by an annoyed little growl that seemed to come from the redhead and a tugging at her gym shirt. It seemed that Willow had discovered what was bothering her about the cheerleader and was taking steps to remedy the situation. Apparently Cordelia was wearing way too much and Willow didn't like it one bit.

"Come on, let's get Red cleaned up and settled in." Faith said after a moment, stepping out of her pants and underwear in one motion. "Hey, Red lets get wet." She offered placing her hands on Willow's shoulders to get her attention, a naughty little grin forming on her face. All the while, that annoying little voice, that shares a room with her inner slayer voice, is jumping up and down crowing with joy. 'Yes, yes! We're going to be naked together in a shower, just the two of us...and well Cordy.' It kept saying as all sorts of possibilities started to run through her mind in vivid detail.

Willow looked over her shoulder at the woman standing behind her, a frown in her eyes as she tried to place a name with the face. Something about her seemed very familiar, as did the other dark-haired one. They bother were familiar to her, but she couldn't remember who either of them were. 'Pack-mates perhaps?' she questioned herself cocking her head slightly. 'Family? Mates? My mates? Why can't I remember?' The questioned continued to run through her mind as strange and bizarre images begin to bombard her, confusing her even more. None of it made sense to her, not even the language her possible pack-mates spoke to her or the "others" that had followed them to this odd place. But the two women were here, as were the two males, and they seemed to like it here. So she would stay too, at least until things cleared up a bit more for her.

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