A loud alarm woke Buffy Summers from a dream. She had been dreaming about Faith. That was odd. She hadn't dreamed about Faith in a long time though she had thought about her often over the last twelve years since Sunnydale and the Hellmouth were destroyed. The last she had heard anything about her things hadn't worked out between her and Principal Wood and she had taken off alone while Wood stayed behind to be a part of the new Watcher's Council. Buffy had stayed on to lead the Slayer army for a few years but had soon found they no longer needed her and she decided to put slaying aside in favor of trying a new life.
Buffy hit the alarm and snorted a little to herself. She had tried to have a normal life. And in the small north-eastern town she had chosen to make a new life she had believed she would be safe from things that go bumpy in the night. But even with an army of Slayers it wasn't possible for them to be everywhere all the time and some vampires came to the town for much the same reason she had: to be somewhere the slayers weren't.
Unfortunately, it was also somewhere her friends weren't. Willow was in London. Things between her and Kennedy had gone sour years ago and she met another witch who she later married. Dawn taught a course on mythology at a University in the mid-west. Xander had surprisingly chosen to stay on to help with the Slayer army. He had a few girlfriends here and there (none of them demons apparently) but none of them ever seemed to work out. Giles had also of course chosen to stay on as the head of the new Watcher's Council.
Most of the others she had completely lost contact with. She had one meeting with Angel a few years back but nothing really came of it. He seemed preoccupied and distant. It had been longer since she had seen Spike. A couple years after Sunnydale had become a giant crater Spike had shown up. Apparently things had gone south in L.A.... really far south. Spike stayed around for awhile both as her friend and an excellent fighter to help train Slayers. But over time even Spike moved on.
For awhile she had found her life alone hard even though they still sometimes all met up for holidays. But she adjusted and even managed to have somewhat of a love life. She met Diana at the high school where she worked as a counselor (she had decided to become a full counselor which was a decision that surprised even herself.) Diana was the librarian there and Buffy thought it was sort of appropriate that another high school librarian would play a significant role in her life.
They dated for awhile and eventually even moved in together. Buffy had even revealed that she was a Slayer to her and Diana had actually accepted it with grace. But relationships aren't always easy and Diana decided to take a job in the city and Buffy was unwilling to follow. The breakup was hard but Buffy had managed. She had survived sending Angel to hell and leaving Spike a pile of ash buried in the Hellmouth so she supposed this should've been easier. But it wasn't really. Something told her that Angel and Spike would always be a part of her life but she wasn't so sure if the same was true about Diana. She hoped it was.
Buffy groaned and got out of bed. As she went about her morning business the only thing on her mind was her dream about Faith. Buffy was back in Sunnydale and she was still friends with Faith. Faith had never joined up with the Mayor or tried to kill Angel or switched bodies with her. But Faith was in danger in the dream from some unknown force and Buffy wanted to save her. And then she had been woke up by the alarm. Buffy decided to dismiss the dream because she was certain her days of prophetic dreams were long past. She wasn't the chosen one anymore.
Her day went on as normal. Lots of time spent talking to kids and chatting with teachers. She always went by the library in the morning but the new librarian wasn't very friendly, well at least not as friendly as Diana had been.
It wasn't until after dark when Buffy got back home. Immediately, she felt that something was wrong but once inside she could find nothing amiss. This happened to her a lot. All those years of slaying had made her perceptive to things, perhaps overly perceptive.
Buffy stood alone in her kitchen and said, "Relax, Buffy. There's no creepies crawling." She sighed and went to take a shower. After the shower she laid on the couch and watched a couple of old black and white movies on TV as a part of film-noir marathon. She was up late but tomorrow was Saturday so it didn't really matter.
Awhile later she woke up on the couch and Faith was casually sitting by her feet.
"Hey B," she said.
"Faith... what are you doing here? Oh... this is just a dream isn't," Buffy replied as she sat up.
"Damn, I thought for sure I'd at least get a hello," Faith said.
"You're just a dream."
"So you keep sayin'," Faith answered.
"Well, why am I dreaming about you? I mean why now?" Buffy asked.
Faith shrugged. "Beats me, B."
"I had another dream and you were in danger," Buffy said.
Faith smiled. "Do I look like I'm in danger?"
Buffy looked closely at Faith. She looked mostly just how she remembered her. Maybe a few lines on her face were a little deeper but Faith seemed unchanged and unharmed. But this wasn't Faith. This was just a dream.
"No," Buffy answered. "But you're not you. You're dream you."
Faith stood up and walked around Buffy's living room.
"Nice place," Faith said.
"Thank you. Hey!" Buffy exclaimed as Faith picked up a figurine of a ballerina off her mantle. "That's valuable!"
"Alright, Chill B," Faith said and put it down.
"So what's the sitch?" Buffy asked. "This dream means something right? It's a message from... well wherever."
"Maybe you just miss me?" Faith answered with a wink.
Buffy crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. But then she sighed and said, "I guess I do... a little."
"How's 'bout a hug then?" Faith asked and stuck out her arms. Buffy jumped because Faith's hands were covered in blood. "Oh that's not good," Faith said and collapsed to the ground.
"Faith!" Buffy yelled and fell to the ground next to her. Faith had become deathly pale and rolled her head over slowly to face Buffy.
"I guess I'm not okay after all," Faith said and then she went still.
Buffy's eyes filled with tears and she brushed a hand over Faith's face to close her eyes.
Buffy woke up with a jolt from gunfire on the TV. Her heart was pounding and she was surprised to find actual tears in her eyes. She turned off the TV and dragged herself to bed. But she had trouble sleeping. She needed to find out where Faith was.
The next morning Buffy got up late, still exhausted. She decided if anyone knew where Faith was it was probably Xander. She dug through a desk drawer in her office and found his number that she had written down a couple of years ago. She hoped it still worked.
She dialed and for awhile the phone just rang. But finally he answered: "Hey Buffy. What's up?"
"Xander, have you heard from Faith?"
Xander didn't say anything for a moment. "Buffy?"
"Yes? Faith, Xander. Have you heard from her?" Buffy repeated.
"Yeah, I heard you. I just thought maybe you misspoke and meant someone else, like Giles or Spike or Andrew, maybe," Xander replied.
"Nope. Faith. I need to find her, now-ish," Buffy insisted.
"Okay, okay," Xander said. "Last I heard Faith was in Miami."
"Miami? Okay. Thank you," Buffy said.
"Wait, Buffy, don't you wanna catch up? How are you? How is Diana?"
Buffy went silent for a moment and pulled the phone away from her ear.
Slowly, she pulled the phone back to her ear. "Diana is gone."
"What? No! She moved out. We broke up. I'm... I'm sorry I didn't tell you... or anyone else. I just didn't want to talk about it."
"Oh, I'm so sorry Buffy."
"Thank you, Xander."
"I'll contact the Slayers in Miami and let them know you're coming and to be on the lookout for Faith," Xander said.
"Okay. Goodbye Xander."
"Talk to ya later, Buffy."
Buffy hung up the phone. She began to pack for Miami immediately. The drive was going to suck and she needed to figure out something to tell work but she couldn't shake this feeling that Faith needed her help and fast.