Everyone was back inside the Bronze sitting in their alcove again. Faith had joined them and was relating one of her stories to them. "The whole summer it was, like, the worst heat wave. So it's about a hundred and eighteen degrees and I'm sleeping without a stitch on. And all of a sudden, I hear this screaming from outside. So I go tearing out, stark nude, and this church bus has broke down, and there's these three vamps feasting on half the Baptists in South Boston. So I waste the vamps, and the preacher comes up, and he's hugging me like there's no tomorrow, when all of a sudden, the cops pull up and they arrested us both." She reached for a muffin.
"Wow. They should film that story and show it every Christmas." Xander said. Cordelia, sitting next to him with her arms and legs crossed, turned her head to him and gave him a look.
"God, I could eat a horse." Faith said as she tore into the muffin. "Isn't it crazy how slayin' just always makes you hungry and horny?" The others all turned their heads to look at Aurelia.
She stared back wide-eyed and suddenly uncomfortable. "Sometimes I-I crave a nonfat yogurt afterwards."
A look of sudden revelation washed across Cordelia's face and she smiled. "I get it. Not the horny thing. Yuck! But the two Slayer thing. There was one, and then Buffy died for, like, two minutes, so then Kendra was called, and then when she died, Faith was called."
"But why were you called here?" Willow asked.
"Well, I wasn't." Faith said. "My Watcher went off to some retreat thing in England, and so I skipped out. I figured this was my chance to meet the infamous Buff and compare notes. So, B, did you really use a rocket launcher one time?"
"Oh, um…." Aurelia was grateful when Xander interrupted.
"So what was the, uh, story about that alligator? You, uh, said something…. before."
"Oh, there's this Big Daddy Vampire out of Missouri who used to keep them as pets. So he's got me rasslin' one of 'em, ok? The thing must have been twelve feet long and I'm…."
"So was this, um, ahem, also naked?"
"Well, the alligator was."
"Xander?" Cordelia said. "Find a new theme."
"I tell ya, I never had more trouble than that damn vamp. So what about you? What was your toughest kill?"
Aurelia lowered her eyes and had another flashback to stabbing Cassius in the chest with the sword and his look of surprise and pain. She came back and shook herself out of her reverie. "Um, well, you know, they're all difficult, I guess."
"Did you know she's not really Buffy!" Xander said.
Faith nodded. "I'd heard something about her being a reincarnated something or other. That's a recent event, right?"
"Yes." Aurelia said. "My name is Aurelia and I'm really Buffy, but I just have…. New memories."
"How's that work?"
"It's a…. long story."
"Something occurring." Oz said. "Uh, now, you both kill vamps, and who could blame you, but, I'm, I'm wondering about your position on werewolves."
"Oz is a werewolf." Willow explained.
"Hey, as long as you don't go scratchin' at me or humpin' my leg, we're five-by-five, you know?" Faith said.
"Fair enough." Oz said.
"The vamps, though, they better get their asses to DEFCON ONE, 'cause you and I are gonna have fun, you know, Watcherless and fancy-free."
"Watcherless?" Aurelia asked.
"Didn't yours go to England, too?"
Giles stood at the end of the library table the next morning with his hands in his pockets, reminiscing about the gatherings. "There's a Watchers' retreat every year in the Cotswolds. It's a lovely spot. It's very s-serene. There's horse riding and hiking and punting and lectures and discussions. It-i-it's…. it's a great honor to be invited. Or so I'm told."
"Oh, it's boring." Faith said. "Way too stuffy for a guy like you."
"Um, maybe I should introduce you again." Xander said. "Faith, this is Giles."
"I see him. If I'd've known they came that young and cute, I would've requested a transfer."
"Well, um, uh, leaving aside for a moment my, uh, youth and beauty, I'd-I'd say it was, um, fortuitous that Faith arrived when she did." Giles said, coming back from the counter with a newspaper.
"Aha!" Willow shouted. They all looked at her. "Sorry. I just meant…. Aha! There's big evil brewin'. You'll never be bored here, Faith. Cause this is Sunnydale, home of the big brewin' evil."
"Yes, well, I don't know how big an evil it is, but, uh, two people have disappeared from the Sunset Ridge District." Giles handed Aurelia the newspaper.
"I'll patrolling tonight, but it will have to be late. I promised mom I'd be home for dinner."Aurelia said. Willow nodded toward Faith while looking at Aurelia with big eyes. "Um, to which you're also invited, of course, dinner with us." She added to Faith.
"Dyin' to meet the fam. I'm in." Faith said.
"Fantastic, then we can patrol."
"Hey, don't you have that health science makeup?" Willow asked.
"Oh, yes. Actually, I could use a little help."
Willow hopped off of the table, smiling, and looked at Faith. "You know, you can hang out with us while she's testing. You wanna?"
"Say yes and, uh, bring your stories." Xander said with a smile as he walked out past Faith.
"Ok." Faith said. "Hey, later." She to Aurelia before turning to Giles. "We will talk weapons." She followed Xander and Willow out of the library.
"This, um, this new girl seems to have a lot of zest." Giles said. Aurelia looked up at him. "I-I-I've been having a little problem with the, uh, binding spell for Acathla. I-I-I'm lacking the, the requisite details to perform it correctly. Now, physical location. Acathla was facing south?"
"You're not getting my help on this." Aurelia said. "I've got makeup tests to pass, missing people in Sunset Ridge, and a zesty new Slayer to feed. Good luck on that prophecy." She walked out of the library.
Aurelia came hopping down the stairs and joined Xander, Cordelia, and Willow. "I'm two for two with makeup tests." She noticed them all staring at something. "We're looking at what?" She looked and saw Scott talking and laughing with Faith.
"Does anyone believe that is her actual hair color?" Cordelia said, rolling her eyes in disbelief and walking away.
"I haven't seen him laugh like that." Willow said. "Hey, maybe Faith and Scott could hit it off."
"It would get him off my back." Aurelia said.
"You really do need to find the fun, B." Willow said. Aurelia looked at Willow in surprise. "Aurelia." She quickly amended.
"Bye." Faith said, walking back over to the others. "He's a cutie. Is he seeing anybody?"
"No." Aurelia said brightly. "Please, feel free to do whatever you please to him."
Joyce was serving dinner to Faith that night and saying, "So you're a Slayer, too. Isn't that interesting! Do you like it?"
"God, I love it!" Faith said.
"You know, Buffy never talks that way. Why do you love it?"
"Well, when I'm fighting, it's like the whole world goes away and I only know one thing: that I'm gonna win and they're gonna lose. I like that feelin'."
"It certainly beats the dead feeling you get when they win and you lose." Aurelia said.
"I don't let that kind of negative thinking in."
"Right. That could get you hurt." Joyce said. "Buffy can be awfully negative sometimes. See, honey, you gotta fight that." She noticed Faith's empty glass. "Oh, Faith, can I get you another soft drink?"
Faith handed over the glass. "Oh, you bet."
"Right." Joyce got up and went into the kitchen.
"She's really cool, huh?"
"Excuse me." Aurelia stood up and followed her mother.
"I like this girl, Buffy." Joyce said as she poured Faith's coke.
"She's very personable."
"You know, there are some things I'd be happy to see you share."
"Like the slaying. I mean, two of you fighting is safer than one, right?"
"Unless, I mean, you heard her. She loves the slaying. Couldn't she take over for you?"
"Mom, no one can take over for me."
"But you're working on getting Cassius back…."
"The only way you get a new Slayer is when the old Slayer dies."
"Then that means you…. When did you die? You never told me you died!"
"No, mom, it was just for a few minutes."
"Oh, I hate this. I hate your life. Look, I-I know you didn't choose this, I know it chose you. I have tried to march in the 'Slayer Pride' parade, but…. I don't want you to die."
Aurelia shook her head and gave her mother a warm hug. "I'm not going to die anytime soon. I know how to do my job. Besides, like you said, I've got help now."
"Does she know about your…. New self?"
"Yes. Apparently the whole Watchers Council has told everyone about me."
"They're not very good secret keepers."
Aurelia laughed. "And they're supposed to be the best."
There was construction equipment lying around in a wide alley that Buffy and Faith strolled down, looking around for any vampires. "Didn't we, um, do this street already?" Faith asked.
"Yes. But vampires will hit a street even after you've been there. They have no manners." Aurelia said.
"Mm. You've been doing this the longest."
"Yeah. Maybe a little too long."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Have you got a problem?"
"I'm five-by-five, B, living entirely large, actually wondering about your problem."
"Well, I may not sleep in the nude and 'rassle' alligators…."
"Maybe it's time you started, cause obviously something in your bottle needs uncorking. What is it, the, the Angel thing?"
"What do you know about him?"
"Just what your friends tell me: big love, big loss. You oughta deal and move on, but you're not."
"From now on, we don't hear from you on Angel or anything else in my life. Which, by the way, is my life."
"What are you getting so strung out for, B?"
"You know nothing of what Cassius and I have. It's lasted thousands of years. You do not 'move on' from that. So, please shut the hell up." She shoved Faith aside as a vampire attacked, making her fall to the ground.
Aurelia punched the vamp in the gut and he went flying onto his back. A second one came in and took a swing at Buffy, but she ducked him. She blocked his wide punch and his next punch before throwing two of her own at him, hitting him in the face and gut. She took his head in both hands and twisted. His body followed the motion and he rolled down to the ground.
A third vampire ran in and punched Aurelia in the face. He went around behind her and tripped her with his outstretched leg, making her fall to the ground. One of the others dove for Aurelia when Faith took out the vampire that had tripped Aurelia, but she rolled out of the way and onto her feet, immediately crouching down and staking him in the chest.
Another grabbed her from behind and pulled her away, throwing her onto a stack of plywood. She hit the wall behind it, but quickly got to her feet. The vampire jumped onto the stack just in time to be kicked in the stomach. He flew back and landed on a dumpster hard on his back, rolled off, and fell to the ground. Aurelia flipped her next opponent in an awkward open front layout and he landed hard on a large duct pipe, which crushed under him. She looked over at Faith, who was whaling away on her vampire with continuous punches to the face.
"Faith! Stake him already and give me a hand!" Aurelia ordered.
Another vampire grabbed her by her jacket and threw her to the ground. She landed on her stomach near a piece of wood lying there. The vampire and her original attacker both made a grab for her. Aurelia reached desperately for the piece of two-by-four in front of her since Faith was still whaling on her vampire.
"For Kakistos we live! For Kakistos you'll die!" The vampire above Aurelia said.
Aurelia glanced up at him for an instant, then continued desperately clawing for the hunk of wood. "FAITH!" Faith paid her no attention and just kept punching her vampire to a pulp.
With a growl, Aurelia finally managed to grab the board and she swung it up and hit one of the vampires in the face with it. She turned to the other and kicked him off of her, quickly getting to her feet and looking over at Faith. "Faith!" The one she'd kicked off made a grab at her from behind and she instinctively turned and jammed the makeshift stake home. Aurelia dropped the hunk of wood, reached into her jacket for a proper stake, and headed over to Faith who was still whaling on the vampire, long after he was too dazed to fight back. Aurelia came up behind her, grabbed her by the waist, and pulled her off of him. She staked the beaten vampire and dusted him and, without skipping a beat, she confronted Faith. "What is wrong with you?"
"What are you talking about?" Faith demanded.
"I'm talking about you 'living large' on that vampire!"
"Gee, if doing violence to vampires upsets you, I think you're in the wrong line of work!"
"Yes, or maybe you like it a little too much."
"I was getting the job done."
"The job is to slay demons! Not beat them to a bloody pulp while their friends corner me!"
"I thought you could handle yourself." Faith walked off, leaving Aurelia to glare after her.