Rachel was dozing off in an extremely tedious physics lesson that she knew for a fact to be utter bollocks thanks to her Revan memories that gave her knowledge of a much more complete and accurate study of the science when she felt the disturbance. Something new and powerful had entered Sunnydale. It was new but at the same time familiar in its form and it had a wild, untamed edge to it. Luckily she had developed her senses somewhat over the last few days. She immediately closed her eyes and sank into a light meditative state to try and get more information.
First she took in the presences of those in the room. Most were utterly unremarkable but Willow's presence burned with untapped power and potential. It was quite terrifying really the amount of magical power Willow had. If someone had that much strength in the Force - which she didn't even think was possible - they'd be able to do almost anything! She made a note to talk to Giles because someone with that amount of power needed proper tuition and guidance or seriously bad things would happen. The temptation to abuse her powers would be staggering once she truly learned how to tap them instead of learning random, individual spells from whatever books she could get her hands on.
Then she extended her senses over those present at the school. Some had minor magical potential but nothing of any real interest. No Force sensitives or magically strong at least. A deeper meditation might reveal more if she had the time. The only one outside the classroom but still inside school ground with any real points of interest was Giles. Hmm. He had more magical ability than he let on. He also had an interesting aura stemming from his use of several different types of magic. The aura was mostly light these days but it was still shot through with black streaks from his use of dark magics and grey from his use of chaos magics.
With that done she spread her senses wide and thin over the whole town. When she was fully trained she would be able to analyse the entire town's population at the same level that she could the school but for now she simply flitted around looking to see if she could find something of interest, what had caused the disturbance she had felt. Whatever it was it had to be damn powerful for her to feel it over the interference of the hellmouth. If it was a demon, they were in trouble.
"Miss Giles!" said a screeching voice that jerked her out of her meditation. "If you're so bored that you can afford to go to sleep, then perhaps you can solve the equation I've written on the board?" said the annoyed looking teacher.
She narrowed her eyes and took the equation in. Difficult as all hell by high-school standards but by what Revan knew - and what she now knew with her increased ability to recall those memories with her training? Hardly. She immediately rattled off the answer and closed her eyes again.
"A week's detention!" she cried as she left the classroom with Willow. "Not far, not fair at all!"
"Well you did kinda call her a pompous windbag," said a scandalised looking Willow.
"You heard the lecture she was giving me, right? All because I happened to not be paying attention to a class I could teach myself? Bloody little Hitler she is. You can tell she was hired by Snyder."
"That'll be another week's detention," said a gleeful looking Snyder as he passed her.
Rachel swore. Loudly.
Rachel spent the rest of the morning sulking. Three weeks of detention! Bloody sodding bastard teachers should all be strung up their short and curlies as far as she was concerned. Three weeks! All of that because of some bloody idiot excuse for a teacher who took offence at her not finding her class difficult enough. This was even worse than the masters back at the Jedi Temple who'd constantly lecture her when she finished her work too fast because she wasn't absorbing it properly.
She took a deep, cleansing breath and pushed the annoyance aside as she walked out to the front of the school with Willow and Oz. What's done is done and holding onto it won't help anything. Snapping at her friends certainly wasn't going to accomplish anything.
"I'm giddy," said a smiling Willow.
"Oh, I like you giddy," said Oz. "Always have."
"It's the freedom!" said Willow. "As Seniors, we can go off campus now for lunch. It's no longer cutting. It's legal! Heck, it's expected! Wow, it's, uh, also a big step forward, a Senior moment, one that has to be savored."
Rachel repressed the small smile that appeared on her face at that. Same old Willow.
"You can't just rush into this, you know?"
Rachel glanced over at Oz and with exchanged nods they each grabbed one of Willow's arms and began to pull her across the street.
"Oh!" exclaimed Willow, resisting. "No, I can't!"
"Oh, you can," said Rachel with a smile.
"See, you are," said Oz with his typical lack of expression.
"Oh, but, no! What if they changed the rule without telling? What if they're lying in wait to arrest me a-and, and throw me in detention and mar my unblemished record?"
They'd reached the other side of the street by that point and it was all Rachel could do not to burst out into a fit of laughter. "Breathe, Willow," she said with a fond smile on her face. There was just something right about hanging out with Willow like this.
"Okay," she said. She took a deep breath. "Hmm."
Oz took Willow by the hand and they began to head over to the small park near the school. "This is good! This is... Hey, we're Seniors!" said a much more relaxed Willow. "Hey, I'm walking here," she said with a giggle.
When they spotted Buffy she was in the process of setting out a picnic on a blanket she'd laid out underneath a palm tree. "Ah. Buffy and food," said Rachel. "Almost makes up for this morning. Almost."
Willow giggled but then turned serious abruptly. "Maybe we shouldn't be too couple-y around Buffy," she said.
Rachel pondered that for a moment. "You might be right."
They were up to the tree, just outside of Buffy's view, when Oz spoke. "Okay, prepare to uncouple." A couple more steps. "Uncouple." And just like that they parted. They plodded over to Buffy and plonked themselves down on the blanket - Willow maintaining a careful level of distance from Oz all the while.
"Buffy, banned from campus, but not from our hearts, how are you and what's for lunch?" said Rachel.
"Oh I just threw a few things together," said Buffy.
"Since when were you all Martha Stewart like?" asked Rachel with a grin.
"First of all, Martha Stewart knows jack about hand-cut prosciutto," said Buffy while handing out the drink bottles.
"I don't think she slays either," quipped Rachel.
"Oh, I hear she can but she doesn't like to," replied Oz.
"Second of all, way too much free time on my hands since I got kicked out of school," said Buffy as she opened her bottle and took a drink.
"You're not missing much, believe me," grumped Rachel.
"I sense dirt. Dish."
"She got three weeks of detention," weighed in Oz. "Quite impressive."
"Three weeks? How?"
"I may or may not have called Mrs. Stenhouse a pompous windbag in class and then called her a Little Hitler when in hearing distance of the troll. And then I may or may not have swore rather loudly in response to getting said detentions while still in the presence of the troll."
Buffy giggled. "Oh I wish I'd been there to see that."
"It was definitely worth the price of admission," said Oz.
"Ooo, Scott Hope at eleven o'clock," said Willow, causing Buffy to quickly look in the direction Willow indicated. " He likes you. He wanted to ask you out last year, but you weren't ready then. But I think you're ready now, or at least in the state of pre-readiness to make conversation, or-or to do that thing with your mouth that boys like," babbled Willow.
Rachel had honestly never seen anyone's head snap around quite so quickly as Buffy's did at that and the shocked look on her face was absolutely priceless. Willow realised her slip-up very quickly and then she slipped into full-on Willow babble mode. "Oh! I didn't mean the bad thing with your mouth, I meant that little half-smile thing that you . . . " She stopped herself there and gave Oz a very mild glare. "You're supposed to stop me when I do that," she said.
Oz just smiled and shook his head. "I like it when you do that," he said.
Scott passed them at that point and exchanged greetings with Buffy.
"I think that went very well. Don't you think that went very well?" said Willow.
"Definitely," said Rachel. She left the, "he has a pulse and won't try and kills us all," unsaid - that was a sore point that really didn't need to be poked at no matter how bitter she was about what happened.
The conversation went into inanities about Buffy and dating at that point which Rachel only paid a very small amount of attention to. Buffy's love life really didn't register on her radar anymore as long as there wasn't going to be murder and destruction spawned by it, and she didn't have the inclination or the patience for girly talk about relationships and such. In fact, she could think of little that would be more boring. Except clothes shopping.
Being a girl really did suck sometimes, thought Rachel. Mostly it wasn't all that bad once you got used to the changes but dealing with the walking bags of hormones that called themselves boys really did get old fast. It didn't help help that he'd been morphed into someone who could pass as Revan if that universe was real and Revan had been very, very attractive even if it was in a cold, distant sort of way.
So that was why she found herself lurking in the shadows at the Bronze, hunting for any passing vampires who'd decided to get themselves a high-school aged snack. Lurking in the shadows! It was far too Dead Boy-like for her tastes as a rule but here she was lurking away like a pro.
Life just wasn't fair. It really wasn't.
Anyway the Bronze was pretty much dead. She did wonder just where the Hell everyone was because this was pretty much the only to go in town for people their age unless they had a taste for demon bars. It wasn't like they were going to be doing - and she shuddered at this thought - homework or something. Ah well. Less people hanging around meant easier hunting.
And with that thought she spotted an especially attractive girl that looked to be around the same age as the gang dancing in a rather provocative manner with someone who was so very obviously a vampire that it was a wonder that he hadn't gotten himself staked yet. Honestly, wearing seventies disco clothes and dancing like some crazed disco dancer? Cordelia would probably go into shock if she saw this guy.
Anyway, back to the important thing. The girl was a serious eye catcher. Rachel hadn't caught a good look at her face yet but her body . . . damn. And the way she moved. Sex on legs . . . Definitely. This was not a girl who would ever have trouble getting a date. Actually, rewind a moment. The way she moved, there was something off about that. There was a predatory edge to her movements that she'd missed at first glance. Heh. She was one to complain about teenage hormones.
At the point where the dancer gestured disco-boy outside, Rachel decided it was time to leave the shadows. Judging by the way Buffy and the gang -except Oz, of course - jumped she'd definitely caught them by surprise.
"Vampire," she said pointing at the couple who were just to say leaving the club.
Buffy just glared at her. "You are so going to be wearing a bell if you do that again."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Heil!"
Buffy would have probably snapped off a retort to that but she obviously realised that the whole vampire thing was a bit more important, as she bit her tongue and left it.
"Stop struggling. This won't hurt a bit," said disco-boy as he leaned into the girl and vamped out.
What followed was one Slayer-sized ass-kicking. The vampire never had a chance really. It didn't manage to land so much as a single blow all the while and the girl managed to maintain a running - albeit one-sided - conversation all the while as she beat the hell out of it right up to the point where she tired of the fight and grabbed the stake out of Buffy's hand and finished the vampire off with a clean shot through the heart.
"Thanks, B. Couldn't have done it without you," said the girl who was apparently called Faith as she handed back the stake before walking past the dumb-founded Buffy and back into the Bronze..
"Safe to say she's not a council-drone like Kendra I suppose," said Rachel.
"Ya think?" snarked Cordelia.
Rachel shook her head and took the high ground of not getting into a slanging match with Cordelia as the group moved back into the Bronze.
Rachel kept a careful eye on Faith as the newcomer related one of her stories to the group that was arranged around her in the club alcove. She definitely put on a good front but she had a nagging feeling that there was more to Faith than what she showed to the world. The rest of the group seemed to be completely enthralled but she knew that Buffy at least saw more than she let on at times and did a decent job of reading people. Faith had moved on to a new story now and Rachel was careful to listen and take it all in.
?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," she said as a waitress set a tray of muffins down on the table in front of her.
"And all of a sudden, I hear this screaming from outside. So I go tearing out, stark nude," said Faith, causing Rachel's brain to pretty much short out with pleasant images as her eyes took a distant look, "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."
Rachel missed what Buffy said to that but what Faith said next drew her out of her thoughts in a most abrupt manner. "So you bat for the other team, huh?"
"Pretty much," admitted Rachel easily.
"Cool," said Faith, seeming completely unfazed before she grabbed a muffin and started to tear into it with gusto. " God, I could eat a horse. Isn't it crazy how slayin' just always makes you hungry and horny?"
Rachel couldn't help but smirk. "Buffy may have neglected to mention that."
The wide-eyed, uncomfortable look on Buffy's face was yet another classic as far as Rachel was concerned. "Well... Sometimes I-I crave a non-fat yoghurt afterwards."
At that point a look of sudden enlightenment passed over Cordelia's face. I get it!" At that point everyone gave her confused looks. "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."
Faith gave her a nod.
"But why were you called here?" asked Willow.
"Well, I wasn't. 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," said Faith drawing a small smile from Buffy. "So, B, did you really blow the mall up one time to kill a demon?"
Lies. Mostly. A thread of truth covering a lie. Interesting.
"That one was all Rachel's fault," said Buffy. "As if I'd blow up the mall!"
"Home-made explosives are my crime of choice," said Rachel with a mischievous grin. "But they exaggerated the destruction. I blew out all the glass and left a deluxe-sized crater where the demon had been but that was all. Didn't have time to make a real bomb."
"And thank God for that," said Cordelia fervently as Faith laughed.
"So what was the, uh, story about that alligator? You, uh, said something... before," said Rachel.
And that set Faith off again on another story with lots of enthusiastic hand gestures. "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, okay? The thing must have been twelve feet (3.7 m) long and I'm . . ."
"So was there any nudity involved here?"
"Well, the alligator was," said Faith with a teasing grin that Rachel couldn't help but respond to in kind. " I tell ya, I never had more trouble than that damn vamp." She turned her head to face Buffy. "So what about you? What was your toughest kill?"
Buffy lowered her head for a moment at that before replying, obviously reliving bad memories. "Um, well, you know," she smiled weakly, "they're all difficult, I
guess." Faith took a bite out of her muffin, obviously waiting for some kind of story. "Uh . . . Oh! Oh, do you guys remember the Three?"
A whole lot of blank looks greeted that statement. The Three? From what Rachel remembered - and it was admittedly a rather foggy memory - the Three had been sent packing pretty quickly when the spineless coward known as Angel had actually done something for a change.
Buffy continued. "That's right, you never met the Three. Well, there was three . . . "
Oz interrupted at that point saving Buffy from the lamest story of all time. "Something occurring. Uh, now, you both kill vamps, and who could blame you, but, I'm, I'm wondering about your position on werewolves."
Willow put her hand on Oz's shoulder. "Oz is a werewolf."
"It's a long story," said Buffy with a grin.
Oz shrugged. "I got bit."
"Apparently not that long," said Buffy.
Faith considered that briefly. "Hey, as long as you don't go scratchin' at
me or humpin' my leg, we're five-by-five, you know?"
"Fair enough," said Oz.
"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," said Faith while smiling and pointing at Buffy.
"Watcherless?" said a puzzled looking Buffy. "Didn't yours go to England, too?"
"Think I'd have noticed if my guardian had disappeared off somewhere," said Rachel.
The introductions went as expected right up to the point where Faith made a comment about Giles being both young and cute.
Anyway, introductions were made, Faith was given the grand tour of the high school and the locations where near-death was experienced by the gang, and everything seemed fine. Well, Buffy's nose seemed to be a little out of joint, but Rachel was beginning to get the impression that Slayers just didn't play together all that well. It was sort of like having two Cordelia's around. And that was in no way a cheery thought at all except in the fantasy sense where people didn't do much talking.
It turned out that a couple of people had gone missing - and that came as oh such a massive surprise, honest - and Giles wanted the Slayers to go and investigate it at some point. It didn't seem all that big a deal but she had a gut feeling that something was up there and she'd long since learned that those gut feelings were the Force warning her of something.
So she volunteered herself to go on patrol with Buffy and Faith that night.
"You sure that's a good idea? I mean, you're not a Slayer or anything," said Faith looking a little puzzled.
Rachel waved Faith's concerns aside. "I'll be fine."
"If you say so," said a very doubtful looking Faith.
And with that it was set: patrol for Rachel that night.
Patrol was slow for most of the night, especially by Sunnydale standards. This was a place where vampire-hunting was normally like playing whack-a-mole at the arcade but for some reason that night was quiet. They were walking down a rather dingy looking alley for about the third or fourth time when Faith spoke up.
"Didn't we, um, do this street already?" asked Faith with a bit of a sarcastic air.
"Funny thing about vamps. They'll hit a street even after you've been there. It's like they have no manners," snarked Buffy in reply.
Faith shrugged. "Mm. You've been doing this the longest."
"Yeah. Maybe a bit too long," said Faith.
Buffy's head snapped around to face Faith. "Excuse me? What's that supposed to mean?"
Rachel rolled her eyes. It was always the same. Really it was only a question of whether Slayers just didn't play well together or if it was because Buffy didn't play well with others in general. Either way, two Slayers together always seemed to cause friction.
"You got a problem?" demanded an irate sounding Buffy.
Rachel let loose a piercing whistle attracting both their attention. "Enough already. Christ almighty, we're here to fight vampires not each other. Even Cordelia managed that much."
"That was a low blow," huffed Buffy.
"Yeah but it was accurate," said Rachel. From out of nowhere a chill ran up and down her spine. She immediately drew her rapier and settled into a relaxed but prepared stance. "I think we're about to have company."
"Nice blade," commented Faith as she started to eye up the area looking for any vampires. "What makes you think that vamps are around? I can feel something now but I thought that was a Slayer thing."
"I'll tell you once patrol's done. It's a long story."
"Any idea how many?" asked Buffy, all business now.
"Not a clue. My senses aren't all that attuned yet and vampires are damn good at hiding themselves."
Without a moment of warning all Hell broke loose at that point. Buffy suddenly leapt forward and shoved Faith to the ground out of the way of a vampire that was coming lunging in at her back, and Rachel found herself confronted by a couple of particularly ugly-looking vampires in game-face, one female and one male. The male of the pair attacked straight away lunging at her and was neatly decapitated for its troubles.
Seeing that, the female grabbed a length of piping from the floor with her right arm and came in more cautiously. Rachel decided to take an offensive approach to the fight, making a quick slash aimed at the vampire's right arm, and winced at the sound made when the vampire blocked the blow with the pipe. This was not going to be good for her sword.
"Kakistos will reward me greatly for the death of a Slayer," hissed the vampire before swiping at Rachel's head with the pipe, a move which Rachel easily dodged out of the way of.
"Do I look like a Slayer?" said Rachel. At the vampire's puzzled look she thought for a moment. "Ah. I probably do these days, I suppose. No matter"
And with that she lunged at the vampire with impossible speed and ran it through with her blessed blade, drawing a blood-curdling scream from the vampire. Rachel tried to yank the blade out to finish the vampire off but cursed loudly as she found it to be stuck in the vampire's ribs. She released the blade and the vampire stumbled backwards before collapsing onto her back, still screaming.
Rachel almost felt sorry for the demon. That looked and sounded really, really painful. She smashed a nearby crate and immediately thrust a piece of it into the vampire's heart, abruptly ending its screams. She grabbed her sword and took a quick look around, evaluating the situation. Faith was tenderising a vampire with one serious berserker rage and Buffy . . .
Rachel immediately leapt over to where Buffy was with force-enhanced muscles and lopped the head off the vampire that had her pinned to the ground.
"Are you okay, Buffy?" asked Rachel as Buffy bounced to her feet. Buffy just ignored her, looking deeply pissed and stalked over to Faith.
"What is wrong with you?" demanded Buffy in a harsh tone of voice.
"What are you talking about?" replied Faith sounding honestly confused.
Rachel watched on as Buffy and Faith had themselves a little tiff over Faith's less than stellar teamwork. The words of argument itself weren't all that important but it was all building towards her impression of Faith and things were beginning to add up to something bad. Faith was definitely on the side of the angels but something was very, very wrong.
"Giles, I think we might have a problem," said Rachel after she let herself back into the apartment.
"And what makes you say that, Rachel," said Giles, looking over his glasses at her from his chair where he was comfortably sat with a cup of tea in one hand and a musty old book in the other.
"Faith. Something's not right with her at all. Her story about her watcher? Smells off to me. I got this gut feeling that she was hiding something and my gut feelings tend to be right these days. That and her fighting style is just off. She pounded one vampire to a pulp, long past the point where she could have staked him, and ignored the others, who almost got Buffy. She's got some serious anger in her."
Giles blinked and placed his book and cup of tea on the arms of his chair before commencing with the polishing of his glasses. "You are correct: This is most alarming. Is there anything else?"
"Kakistos. One of them said that Kakistos would reward her greatly for killing a Slayer."
Giles paled at that. "Good Lord." And then he disappeared off to his book collection and pulled out a book that Rachel recognised as his text on famous vampires and started leafing through it.
"I take it that this Kakistos is bad news then?" said Rachel dryly.
There was a silence that dragged on for several moments before Giles replied. "If you would call a vampire that's older than even the Master, then yes, you could say he was trouble."
"Ah. And he's showing up the same time as Faith . . . I think I can guess what's going on."
It turned out that Buffy agreed with Rachel. Agreed rather strongly in fact. The fact that she didn't seem to like Faith or Faith seemingly filling a very Buffy-like space in people's lives to Buffy didn't come in to it at all, of course. So with that in mind, Rachel accompanied Buffy when she went to talk to Faith because no-one wanted to have to peel one of the slayers off the floor when they were through with their Alpha female posturing. Honestly they were worse than Hyenas.
To say that the hotel that Faith was saying in was 'roach infested would be an insult to cockroaches: even dumb insects would have more taste than to stay somewhere like this if they had a choice. It honestly looked like the place hadn't seen soap and water since it had been built and the noises . . . well it didn't take much imagination to figure out what this place was being used for. Hello, glorified brothel and drug den, aren't you a truly suitable place for a teenage girl to live?
She was definitely having words with someone about this at the first opportunity that came along.
"Room-mates are extra," said the scruffy-looking man who was in the room with Faith as Buffy and Rachel stepped in.
"I'm just visiting," said Buffy immediately.
"Me too," said Rachel. With the, 'I would rather sleep in a ditch', going unsaid.
The guy seemed to give up on whatever he was after at that point and left, leaving them alone in the room. As Buffy shut the door, Faith spoke up. "So what brings you to the poor side of town?"
"The wonderful smell of course," said Rachel immediately. "I've missed the smell of stale booze and vomit so much, you know."
That got glares from both of the Slayers. Score one for the art of making friends and influencing others.
"Cloven guy. Goes by the name of Kakistos," said Buffy once she'd finished drilling holes through Rachel with her eyes. Go Buffy. She'd obviously mastered the arts of subtlety and leading into a conversation gently.
Faith looked utterly gob-smacked for a moment before she wiped the expression off her face. "What do you know about Kakistos?"
?gThat he's here," said Buffy. The fear was radiating off Faith by that point. "We're not happy to see old friends are we? What did he do to you?"
Faith began to stuff her belongings into a bag. "It's what I did to him, alright?"
Score one for Faith. Laying a good hurt on a vampire as old as Kakistos was easier said than done. Buffy'd face two in that bracket and she'd been bloody close to death both times. With the Master she'd actually been dead for a while even.
"And what was that? Faith, you came here for a reason. I can help," said Buffy.
"We can help," interjected Rachel with a small glare at Buffy. "Killing vamps? Kinda our speciality around here."
"You can mind your own business. I'm the one who can handle this," said Faith, sounding distinctly tetchy.
"Yeah. You're a real bad-ass when it comes to packing," said Buffy, getting a distinctly sour look from Faith. "What was that you said about my problem? Gotta deal and move on? Well, we have the 'moving on' part right here. What
about dealing? Is that just something you're gonna dump on me?"
"Can't be any worse than Lothos or The Master," said Rachel. "He's old and he's tough but he can die the same as any other vamp. We can deal with him Faith. Just let us help you."
Ignoring the whole stakes don't work on him thing of course. Buffy looked distinctly surprised at her mentioning Lothos. As if she wasn't going to look up her old watcher's diaries!
"This guy's the worst of the worst," said Faith. "Those two were bad but this guy makes them look like wusses. You haven't seen what this guy does to people. You don't know what he put me through."
"I think I have a pretty good idea. I've seen what Dracula did to someone who pissed him off," said Rachel. That got surprised looks from both of them. Did that philistine Buffy not read Hellsing or something? "We really can help you."
I can take care of myself," said Faith as she made for the door after a moment of indecision. The fear really was strong in this one.
"Like you took care of your watcher?" said Buffy. That stopped Faith dead in her tracks. "He killed her didn't he?"
"They don't have a word for what he did to her," said Faith with some serious fire in her voice.
They were interrupted by a loud knock on the door at that point. Faith sighed in frustration and looked through the peep-hole. "Oh what now?"
"Faith, you run, he runs after you," said Buffy.
"That's where the head-start comes in handy," retorted Faith as she opened the door.
And that's when the manager's corpse fell through the door frame revealing one seriously ugly looking vampire. "Faith," he said, sounding distinctly pleased with himself.
"Some head-start," quipped Rachel.
The ugly bastard roared at that point and grabbed Faith by the throat, which considering the state of what was passing for hands on his body was some achievement. Faith tried to pull him off her but she couldn't manage it and looked like she was panicking so Rachel reached out with the Force and slammed Kakistos into the wall across the hall.
"This is a joke, right?" she said. "What sort of retarded excuse for a vampire thinks it's a good idea to go after two Slayers at once?"
The vampire roared in fury at that and lunged at Faith again only to be thrown back at the wall again and holding him there.
"How does someone so stupid live for so long?" asked Rachel with an air of mock-confusion. "God you're pathetic. Demon trash like you are all the same, little more than animals without the intelligence to realise when you've picked a loosing fight."
Kakistos was thrashing around in an attempt to free himself but Rachel's grip on him was like iron with no yield in it whatsoever. "I'll give you a quick lesson then. Faith and Buffy here are vampire slayers. You are a vampire. Do the math. Two plus two is four and all that."
"I will hang you by your own intestines for this, girl," roared the vampire. "Your suffering will be legendary."
"I'm shaking in my boots," said Rachel dryly. "Who is it that's got who immobilised here again?"
Buffy and Faith were just staring at her in shock. It was quite funny really. "Well is someone going to finish him off or do you expect me to hold him there all night?" she asked.
Faith immediately pulled a stake out of her pants - and how she'd managed to fit it in there was beyond Rachel - and lunged forward to plunge it into Kakistos's chest. It had no effect whatsoever.
"Looks like you'll need a bigger stake, girl," he laughed, the utter moron.
Rachel pulled her sword out of its sheath and tossed it to Faith. "Try that," she said.
It took a couple of goes to get the sword all the way through Kakistos's neck but she managed it and the ugly bastard promptly dissolved into dust.
"Well that wasn't so bad" said Rachel.
"How the FUCK did you do that?" blurted out Faith. "I thought witches had to do all that crap with herbs and stuff before they could do anything."
Rachel smiled. "Whoever said I was using magic?"
Faith blinked. "Huh?"
"I suppose I'd best explain. Buffy you might want to stay for this being that you missed a lot over the summer and we haven't really had time to talk about it yet."
Buffy just nodded dumbly. She'd been told that Rachel was a little more dangerous now but it seemed that it hadn't quite sank in till now.
"So you're a real Jedi? Where's your lightsabre then?" asked Faith, looking like a kid in a sweetshop.
"Sorry to disappoint you but I don't have one," said Rachel. "This world just doesn't have the technology needed and the focussing gem would cost an arm and a leg, literally. We're talking crown jewels of England size here."
"That sucks," said Faith. "A Jedi should have a lightsabre. It's just not right without one."
Rachel smiled, she'd never have taken Faith for a Star Wars geek or a geek of any description really but here she was. "I agree but there's not a lot I can do about it."
"Angel really tortured you?" said Buffy dumbly.
"Yeah. Giles got the worst of it but the bastard seemed to get a real kick out of working me over for some reason. Guess he wasn't too happy about all the times I insulted him when he had a soul," replied Rachel. "Let that be a lesson to you, Faith: insulting vampires with a reputation for being sadists, not always the best idea," she followed up with a wink.
"I'm so sorry, Rachel. If I'd stopped him earlier . . . "
"Yeah, you probably should have dusted him straight off, but no-one's perfect and it can be hard to kill someone who looks like someone you love. I know, remember? I had the whole thing with Jesse back at The Harvest and I still don't know if I'd have done it if someone hadn't knocked him onto my stake," said Rachel. "I knew he was a monster then and my friend was dead, but I still couldn't do it."
"Still . . . "
"Stop beating yourself up, Buffy. What's done is done. You dealt with the bastard in the end and all you can do now is learn from your mistakes. Just because you're a Slayer doesn't mean you have to be perfect."
And with that it was hugs all around in an almost embarrassingly female display of emotion.
The next night Rachel felt an absolutely massive disturbance in the Force, a disturbance the likes of which she had never felt before and could not pinpoint. The energy given off was massive but it was cloaked in some way she could not defeat and she had no idea where the disturbance had taken place or what had happened. Whatever it was, it was big. That sort of energy . . . there couldn't be many things that could produce it. It didn't feel dark or evil but if whatever produced it was capable of concealing itself from her senses to this extent then it could certainly fool her into not realising it was of the Dark Side if it felt like it.