Another Year Older

Story by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Written by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Directed by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Produced by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by: Kate
Sound Department: Steff
Art Director: Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Chantal, Mytryk, Cynthia Taz, CN Winters

To the WaTchers staff members – Thanks guys for having faith!

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TEASER

Fade In
Int.
Vampire's Lair – Dawn
Cleveland

Seward looked bored. He took a lazy glance around the lair, frowning at what he saw, and yet appearing as if he could not muster the energy needed to kick some minion ass.

"Gretz!" he called out. The minion scampered over to where Seward sat.

"Yes, Master?" he whimpered. "How may I serve you?"

Seward sighed. "May all the pestilent gods of the underworld spare me from simpering minions," he declared. The minion remained silent, his eyes cast submissively downward at the master vampire's feet.

"I want to go out," Seward said. "I'm in the mood for a party, for a little debauchery and fun. Think you and your siblings are up for some fun?"

"But Master," Gretz said. "The Watchers? The Slayers? They've been all over town. We don't dare…"

Seward angrily sat up in his chair, his hands gripping the arms in a tight hold. "Do I look like I care about a bunch of humans?" he hissed.

Gretz cowered in fear. "No Master, of course not."

Seward reached down and hooked a sharply nailed finger under Gretz's chin, pulling the minion up until his face was only inches from his own. "Of course not!" Seward agreed. "And do you know why?"

Gretz was too paralyzed with fear to answer, but Seward didn't expect him to as he continued. "Because this is my town. I made it my own when the French were still trading furs to the Hurons. I was here when the last of the Eries buried their dead and the Moravians moved in. I was here when the courthouse was built and that nimrod Elliot Ness was run out of town. So don't stand there and tell me that just because some do-gooders have come to my town that all of a sudden I can't have a party. Do you understand?"

"But…but the Presidium? They told us to lay low, Master and…"

Seward's hand clamped itself around Gretz's throat, cutting off the minion's words and his sharp nails dug cruelly into the skin.

"When are you going to learn not to question me, my boy?" he asked almost fondly. "The Presidium has its uses, but when it comes to my entertainment, they are not my concern and by extension, they are not yours. Understand?"

"Yes, Master," Gretz whispered.

"Good," Seward said. He let go of Gretz and sat back down, lazily picking up a newspaper and pointing to the ad in the corner. "Now. I believe there's a new pub opening up this week."

"A new pub, Master?" Gretz said, rubbing his throat, wiping away the blood leaking out. "That…that sounds like it has possibilities for fun."

Seward smiled. "Of course," he said. "Now you're thinking like a vampire."

"Thank you, Master," Gretz said and then smiled as if he suddenly felt bolder. "Besides…I don't think those tight-assed Watchers would be caught dead in a place like that."

Seward laughed in pleasure. "That's for damn sure, my boy! And even if they dared, that's what they would be…caught dead."

Fade Out

Fade In
Int.
Willow's Suite – Early Morning
Bedroom

The early morning sun was just beginning to shine through the window, falling on the closed eyes of the awakening Slayer.

"Mmmm," Kennedy purred, burying herself deeper into the blankets as she rolled away from the light. She cracked one eye open and smiled at Willow's sleepy yawn as the redhead lifted her arms over her head in a lazy stretch. "Good morning, sweetheart."

"Morning yourself," Willow replied, snuggling closer to her lover seeking out her Slayer-generated metabolic warmth. She peeked over Kennedy's shoulder to look out the window and groaned.

"What?" Kennedy asked, amused.

"Frost," Willow groused. "I see frost again."

"What's the big deal about frost?" Kennedy said. "It is December, you know. We've had frost for a while now."

"Big deal?" Willow said, leaning back to look incredulously at Kennedy. "You know what frost is, right? Deposits of tiny ice crystals formed when water vapor condenses at temperatures below freezing. Freezing being the operative word here. Zero degrees…well, thirty-two for metrically challenged Americans. But…yeah, it's December and there's frost and a good chance there will even be more snow. A-and it snowed once the entire time I was growing up and even then it was totally gone the next day and we had a heat wave the following week. Kennedy, the snow we had two days ago is still on the ground and judging by the shoreline, I seriously suspect the entire lake is gonna freeze up a-and just the thought of that much frozen water…"

Kennedy leaned in and pressed her mouth against Willow's until Willow's breath was taken away by something other than babbling. Finally satisfied, Kennedy pulled back and smiled warmly.

"Oh," Willow breathed.

"Yeah," Kennedy agreed. "Don't worry, sweetie. I promise to keep you warm all winter." She frowned at the dark look which briefly passed over her lover's face, but then Willow's green eyes twinkled mischievously as a lusty smile broke over her features.

"Well…in that case," Willow drawled as she slowly moved herself over Kennedy. "I better go down to where it's much warmer."

As Willow disappeared beneath the blankets, Kennedy's eyes closed and she arched her body sensuously. "Oh yeah," she gasped. "No frost in here."

Fade Out

Fade In
Int.
Willow's Suite – Morning
Bathroom

Willow was freshly showered, dressed and busy applying the final touches of her make-up when Kennedy walked into the bathroom and grabbed her hairbrush.

"You know you really don't need that stuff," Kennedy remarked at Willow's reflection in the mirror as she began working the brush through her thick brunette locks.  

"Thanks," Willow smiled. "But we're interviewing a teacher candidate this morning so I want to at least look professional. A-and then after lunch I'm training with Ro and of course lessons with Marsha before patrol. How about you?"

"Just as busy," Kennedy remarked. "Weapons drills and then maintenance afterwards. Doesn't sound like much I know, but those junior Slayers keep me running. Especially that little spitfire of yours."

"What did she do now?" Willow sighed. "Hang Andrew's oven mitts from the crest in the lobby again?"

Kennedy laughed. "No. What is it about Andrew, anyway? What's she got against him?"

"I don't know, but I intend to find out," Willow smiled. "One of Giles's favorite sayings: 'Know thy Slayer.' I'll figure out why she's being tricksy."

"That little twerp," Kennedy chuckled.

"Hey you, say hello to the kettle," Willow pointed her mascara brush at the Slayer. "I seem to remember a certain someone with her own tricks. How's that flu of yours?"

"Worked, didn't it?" Kennedy smirked.

Willow nodded in agreement. "Let me know if she gets to be too much," Willow said turning the conversation back to business. "I don't want to discourage that spirit…it's one of the things that kept Buffy alive. But on the other hand, I don't need her getting too cocky."

"She'll be fine, Will," Kennedy assured. "She's the best of the bunch, and she's got the best Watcher looking out for her."

Willow smiled then turned back to the mirror to finish with her lashes.

"So Will," Kennedy started. "Where do you want to go tomorrow night?"

"What?" Willow said, panic breaking out on her face. "No, no going out. No…no…"

Kennedy took the brush from Willow's hand before she could poke out her own eye and moved in to hug her lover. "Yes, going out," she said with a kiss. "Maybe a nice, romantic birthday dinner and afterwards…there could be dancing, and I don't only mean at a dance club."

"Dancing?" Willow said. "No, no dancing at clubs. Besides you…"

"I…?" Kennedy asked.

"You dance like a white girl," Willow smiled.

"You mean like you do?" Kennedy laughed.

"Pretty much," Willow nodded.

"Come on, Willow," Kennedy said. "It's your birthday. I want to do something special for you."

"Oh and what?" Willow asked pointing back into the bedroom. "That thing a little while ago wasn't special?"

"Mmmm," Kennedy nodded. "The screaming part was very special, I agree. But I still want to take you out, just the two of us, for your special day."

"I don't know, Kennedy," Willow protested. "I'm not used to anyone caring enough to make my birthday a big deal. I mean the most I could expect was Xander showing up with Twinkies and pop."

"You mean your parents never did anything for you?" Kennedy asked with a frown.

"Well, after that whole pony thing I think they put it completely out of their minds. Their accountant used to remind them every year to send me a check. Mail come yet? I'm sure there's one waiting," Willow tried to disguise the bitterness in her voice. "Although this year will probably be the last, thank the goddess."

Kennedy smiled playfully again in an obvious attempt to change the mood. "Well, look at it this way…if you don't wanna come out and play with me, I'm sure I can get the gang to throw you a huge party here."

"You wouldn't?" Willow asked, narrowing her eyes.

Kennedy quirked up one eyebrow as if Willow really expected an answer to that question.

"You would," Willow sighed in defeat.

"I'm taking that as a yes," Kennedy smiled in victory. 

Willow sighed as there was a welcomed knock on the door. Giving Kennedy a sour look she left the bathroom to answer it.

Cut to:
Int.
Willow's Suite – Morning
Living/Dining Room

Willow pulled open the door to her suite to reveal Andrew.

"Hey Andrew. Come on in," she said opening the door wider to allow him entrance as she moved to gather papers into her briefcase from the dining room table. "Can I get you anything? Still some coffee left."

"Um, no thank you, Willow," Andrew said, nervously wandering around the room. Willow frowned as she watched him pick up a small statue of the Eiffel Tower that rested in front of a picture with Buffy and Dawn in Paris.

"Andrew?" Willow said, sensing his agitation. "If you need the bathroom, I'm sure Kennedy is done in there by now."

"Oh uh…no, thanks," he said, hastily putting the statue back on the shelf with a loud bang. "Umm, Giles asked if you could come down to his office right away…if…if that's okay with you."

"Sure," Willow said, snapping the latch on the briefcase closed.

"What's up?" Kennedy said, pulling on a warm-up jacket and zipping it closed.

"Giles," Willow said. "Let's go."

Cut to:
Int.
Giles's Office

The senior Watcher was sitting behind his desk, a stern, but amused expression on his face as Willow, followed by Kennedy and Andrew entered his office.

"You're late," he said.

"I'm so sorry," Willow said, hastily moving towards the desk. "I didn't realize the interview would start so early."

She turned toward the figure sitting in the high-backed leather chair facing Giles. "Please excuse me for…"

Willow stopped cold and her briefcase dropped to the floor as she looked at the scruffy person giving her a wry smile from the depths of the plush chair. Her expression went from shock to happiness to concern and then back to happiness in a flash of an eye.

"Xander!!!"

 

Fade Out

End of Teaser
Onto Act One