The remaining Hellmouth in Cleveland is guarded by a building full of delinquent new slayers. Finding herself in over her head, Faith reluctantly admits to needing help and Buffy and Giles both answer the call, setting up headquarters with Faith at an abandoned four-story YMCA.
Picking up stray girls who had fallen off the straight path, Faith and Buffy have collected themselves a variety of talents. As the inhabitants there grow in numbers and a new Big Bad emerges with powers the team hasn't ever faced, Cleveland becomes a veritable hub of demon activity.
Welcome to Slayer Rehab.
Vegas was conspiring against them. It was obvious. They'd started by hitting the New York New York blackjack tables. Counting came as easily to Reid as breathing. He even did it when he was watching cards on tv so needless to say, he'd won a bunch of money. Enough money that they'd comped him a penthouse suite. A suite with a giant king sized bed and a massive in room jacuzzi. This might seem like a good thing but Faith, who had been hanging all over him while they were playing cards, pulled away when the make out session got too heavy. At that moment, the rollercoaster had roared by their window and Faith had jumped away declaring that they needed to get on the rollercoaster NOW. Reid had naturally indulged her. The rollercoaster had stopped at the top of one of the hills, broken down for a full fifteen minutes. That was when Faith had decided another makeout session was in order. She was killing him because the makeout session continued while the rollercoaster was in motion. It slid to a stop at the end of the ride and Reid got out, grabbing his cane and started toward their room, Faith in tow. She stopped him suddenly before they got back to the elevators.
"There's this vampire show I want to go see...it's starting now."
And that was how they ended up here, at a show with topless 'vampires' and bad magic. Faith wasn't pushing him away completely. She was half in his lap while they watched the show so he didn't really get it but they were having fun so he went with it.
"Did you see that? He had it hidden in his sleeve," Reid whispered, pointing out the mistake in the magician's trick.
They kept her tied down most of the time but today she'd been good. She'd taken her medicine, she hadn't attacked any of the orderlies and she'd talked to the shrink. As a result, they'd taken her restraints off and let her have a little bit of freedom. She stayed in her room anyway. It hurt when she tried to interact with everyone else. It reminded her of a life that wasn't real and friends she'd made up. Right now she was sitting in the corner, her back shoved against the wall, her head resting against the opposing wall and she was very lightly hitting her head against the wall. She wasn't self destructive, not in the sense that she wanted to hurt herself. She just wanted to get rid of all the memories in her head that hadn't ever been. The best cure for that was the constant soft, bounce of her head against the wall. Her fingers traced invisible patterns on the wall as well. Patterns that were names and words and actions of things she'd never said, never done and never seen.
The ticket was at the airport. How a junior slayer had the funds or even the means to leave him one was beyond Xander but, he was thankful. Or, Giles had taken care of it and even then, he hadn't ever been a favorite of his. He made the decision to not call him G-man this go-round. Not right away, anyway.
He touched down early in the evening before renting a car and heading off to what Faith liked to call Slayer Rehab. The building was quiet, dark, and from what Xander could tell - nobody was there. He didn't need to go in to see signs of a disturbance. That kind of common sense came with living your young adult life out in Sunnydale.
Not that Giles hadn't already given him directions. He just wanted to make sure. Yeah, the Y looked emptied out. Turning on the ignition again, Xander glanced back at the building before setting down the paper with which he had written the directions on, on the passenger seat and driving off in the direction of the address he had been given.
It wasn't too far from where they had been and from what he could tell nobody else occupied the block they were on. He was impressed.
Looking down at the note as he parked he couldn't help but think thank God he hadn't absentmindedly stuck his gum inside it. That sounded like a Xander thing to do.
Walking up to the doorway he waited, huffing before knocking. That's what he could do, right? Knock?
The smell of hospital coffee did little to shake Rupert out of his quiet panicking. His footsteps echoing ahead of him as he made his way back to the ICU where Faith was hanging on by a thread didn't even register in his ears. All he heard was the sounds of screaming and maniacal laughter chasing after the group as they fled the YMCA. That and a buzzing in his ears, as if someone had turned a radio on to a station that wasn't broadcasting any longer.
Once he stepped into the room and crossed to hand Reid a coffee with an obscene amount of sugar in it, the sounds faded away and he focused on the problem at hand. Rupert didn't speak -- the plans in his head were still rolling together, trying to get organized and make sense of what was happening. He flipped open the cell phone the girls had all badgered him into carrying to check for any news from Abigail and finding the phone blank. What was the point if no one was going to use it?
Rupert sighed, paced back across to the doorway without looking down at the battered slayer. Getting angry at the moronic technology wasn't going to help anything. Standing around here wasn't going to help either, but he wasn't sure he could pry Spencer from the bedside. He wasn't even sure he should try.
He flipped the cell phone open again. No message back from Angel, either. Rupert wasn't unused to having to lead and dictate plans but he didn't like doing it with Buffy missing, Faith out of commission and most of the younger slayers unaccounted for. Probably dead. Hopefully that surprise bunker that Cassie and Jack had presumably built was enough of a safehouse for now. He'd forbid the rest of them from coming to the hospital, and instructed Hellboy to take point as best he could. At least until Angel's arrival, if in fact he'd gotten the message and would answer.
Spencer looked completely ravaged. He'd been healing well but the rings under his eyes were turning red, and Rupert hadn't seen him eat since they arrived. He spoke quietly, in the attempt not to startle him or disturb the tone of the room. "Spencer. The food court's still open; I think you -- well, it's best if you keep some sort of strength up. Perhaps you'd like something to eat? Or maybe a nap."
Angel didn't really understand why Buffy had told him to call Faith. The ramble had gone something like this 'There's a thing with a guy and the thing with the whole mayor's assistant sticky pokey oops so she thinks I wouldn't get it. Which I don't but the guy would but she can't talk to him because it's about him so you need to call her because you'll get it and she needs to talk'.
At some point a few months after living in LA, he'd lost his fluency in Buffy. Of course telling her that had prompted a fight. Lorne had saved the whole conversation. Anyway, that was defused and now Angel was curious and a little worried. As far as he knew, Faith didn't really do things with guys. Certainly not things that require conversations. He dialed the phone number, not entirely sure how he was going to start the conversation. When Faith answered he started brilliantly of course.