Lessons Learned

Story by Coll, 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 and Amazonchyck
Sound Department: Steff
Art Director: Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Sarah and CN Winters


Fade In
Watcher Library – Night

Giles stood in front of Willow, Xander, Rowena, Robin and Andrew. They sat around the large table for the meeting that the senior Watcher had called to begin.

"Where's Faith?" Giles asked. "I wanted to have her here for this."

"She decided to patrol," Robin told him. "I didn't push."

As if sensing there was more to the story but not sure if he should get into it, Giles proceeded, "Very well then…what is our Council lacking that the former Council possessed?" Giles asked the group assembled in the library.

"More Watchers who could handle all these incoming girls?" Willow joked dryly.

"I think he means aside from the obvious," Rowena answered with a grin.

Giles ignored their bantering and continued, "Think about what Faith said – these girls are violent with no real regard for their actions. They do whatever it takes to achieve their means and they have the power to do it."

Andrew bounced in his seat. "Oh, an Omega Force! You know, some secret team that goes around doing the dirty work of an organization under the cover of darkness."

"Andrew, you're reading spy books again, aren't you?" Xander accused. "I don't think that's what Giles has in mind."

"Well, actually, Andrew's hit the mark," Giles muttered.

"What?" Rowena and Willow both replied with the same surprised look that showed on everyone else's faces.

"Think about it," Giles proposed. "There will be times when this Council needs to put on, how should I say, a little pressure. We train our girls to fight vampires, to protect mankind. But these girls are different from Slayers, although they possess Slayer strength. We can train these girls as well, but since they have an edge, as Faith mentioned, we have to appeal to their basic instincts. And as the Council, if we're going to survive we need…"

"Leg breakers?" Andrew asked.

"Once again, in a less than attractive light…he's correct," Giles admitted.

Robin moved forward in his seat. "So you want a goon squad and you think these girls will fit the bill?"

"I do."

"Okay," he drawled as he nodded. "But who's going to oversee them? I mean, you need someone who can be firm with these girls so they don't overstep their bounds. As it is, they're pretty standoffish, if they're anything like Julia, and you need someone that's got the guts to go toe to toe with them. Someone that can be an ally when need be or a dictator of the Watchers Policy in situ. Oh damn, I just talked myself into the job, didn't I?" Robin asked.

Giles grinned. "I was hoping you would take the position of seeing to them if they decide to stay. You've worked with all kinds of girls and boys as a principal and you know –."

Giles stopped as Robin raised his hand. "Yeah, I was a public school principal in what qualified as a war zone toward the end. I get it. Firm hand, soft heart and all that stuff. But this is different. I'm not sure if I can get through to these girls. Yeah, it's nice to have a cannon in the arsenal; I'll give you that. But if that cannon's a loose one, it could be bad all over."

"I agree with Robin," Rowena told Giles. "We don't know what kind of problems we could be opening ourselves up to."

"I don't know," Xander piped in. "I think Giles has a point. Let's be realistic. These girls aren't all sunbeams and moon drops. They get their kicks by kicking ass and they don't seem to care whose butt it is."

"That's exactly my point," Rowena told him.

Xander held up a finger. "Yeah, but I didn't finish."

"Sorry," Rowena said sheepishly.

"Point is," Xander continued, "some of the folks we may come up against – demon or human – might be the same way. They won't play by the rules. We need people in this organization that will…"

"Sink to their level?" Andrew chimed in.

"For example," Xander nodded acceptingly to Andrew before he went on, "Maybe if we appealed to that innate 'let's do some damage and have some fun' mentality, it will work out for everyone. The trick is to turn a negative into a positive and give them a focus for their energy. I mean, look at Buffy and Faith."

"What do you mean?" Robin asked.

"I get it," Willow nodded to Xander and he prompted her to go on. "Oh, uh, they both were, or are, Slayers, but they each have a different style. Buffy was always part of the team, or we were part of hers," Willow answered before shaking her head. "Cutting to the chase now. Buffy worked well with a group but Faith was always a lone wolf kinda Slayer. I mean they patrolled together, but Faith was always an outsider by choice. It took some doing and time, but I think everyone here can agree that Faith has grown. I mean she can work for the team now or she can be the leader on her own and make decisions. I think what Xander's saying is that these girls might be rough around the edges, but we might be able to use that to our advantage."

"I can't speak for Xander," Giles added, "but that's pretty much what I was thinking."

"And again, I'm outvoted," Rowena sighed.

"No," Robin told her as he touched her arm in camaraderie. "You're not alone in being concerned here," he said before turning to the rest of the group, "and I'm not just saying that because I don't want the job. If we decide to do this and you feel I'm the best person, then I'll do it, no questions asked. I'm not a Slayer or a Watcher, but both at one point or another, trained me for over 18 years. So I know I can do this, but I think we should assess the situation and get to know these girls first before we say anything to them about it."

"I think if we don't tell them of our idea, we'll lose them from the start. They'll walk out and not return," Giles countered. "Then what? We have a gang of hooligan Slayers wandering the streets and our resources become stretched even further protecting civilians from not only the demon threat of Cleveland, but our own Slayer threat as well!"

"But what's the greater danger here?" Rowena asked. "Letting them run wild or having them directly associated with us and slitting whatever throats they please because they don't give a damn what we tell them?"

"Rowena," Giles began.

"I'm just concerned," she told him. "I realize that the Watchers Council, if it's going to survive, can't be hearts and teddy bears, as Xander put it."

"Sunshine and moon beams," he corrected quietly.

"Whatever," Rowena dismissed with a wave of her hand. "The thing is, I don't think these girls should be given carte blanche to do as they feel. If we make them believe they are invincible and can…move around the law without breaking it…then we could be setting ourselves up for a real disaster."

"I agree," Robin answered.

Xander and Giles both shook their heads in disagreement and all eyes fell to Willow and Andrew.

"What?" they both asked as they felt the gazes.

"I don't have to be split decision gal, do I?" Willow whined. When no one said anything, she sighed. "Okay fine…I think we should go with Giles's plan." Rowena and Robin looked frustrated for a moment. "But," Willow added firmly, "I don't think we should give them all the details of what we have in mind. Tell them enough to entice them to want to stay here, but wait to hand them the job of being undercover ops until we know they can handle it."

Andrew timidly offered in a low voice, "What she said," as he pointed to Willow.

Everyone looked at everyone else with a feeling of acceptance.

"Works for me," Robin told her as Rowena nodded her approval.

"Good," Giles agreed. "When Faith comes in tonight, Robin, please have her come see me. I'd like to review what she feels might be the best approach."

"If I see her, I will, " Robin answered as he rose. Everyone else followed suit and left the room.

Cut to
City Graveyard – Same time

Two vampires took on Faith at once as Julia watched from the shadows. One vampire ducked and Faith missed connecting with his jaw, losing her footing for a moment. Trying to take the fallen Slayer, the vampire lunged but Faith quickly pulled her stake, shoving it in his heart as he descended upon her. As he dusted, Faith threw the stake at his on-looking pal. Pushing herself back up to her feet, Faith removed her stake from the vampire's chest before she turned to dust. Casually, she put the stake back in her coat pocket and heard Julia applaud as she stepped out of the darkness.

"Impressive," Julia nodded her head in approval.

"Thanks, you should come out with me some night. I might be able to show you a thing or two."

"Oh boy," Julia sighed. "Not another Big Brother/Big Sister of America speech I hope?"

"Okay then," Faith shrugged. "Don't come. It's your choice."

Faith started to walk away but Julia followed behind her. "Yes?" Faith asked, turning around to face her. "I thought you were done talking to me."

Julia looked away but didn't say anything so Faith continued, "I think I owe you a 'thank you' for helping me figure some stuff out. So although you don't want my help, I'd like to thank you for giving me yours."

As Faith began to walk away again, Julia followed behind. "And how did I help you?"

"I realized that I did change. I am a different person now."

"Not so wonderful being a puppet, is it?" Julia sneered.

"Well no, probably not. But I really wouldn't know what that's like. 'Cause ya see, I'm not a puppet and the changes I've gone through, I chose on my own. The truth is anybody can change if they really want to – even you."

"Ah, here comes the speech," Julia said stuffing her hands in her pockets. "I knew it couldn't be too far away."

Faith grinned as she kept her cool. "No speeches, I swear," she added holding up her hands. "Just a moment of clarity that I have you to thank for. I spent all night tonight thinking about what you said and I realized that you and I, we're not alike, but someday, when you want more out of life, you'll remember to look me up. Okay, I'm puttin' away the soapbox now."

Faith continued to walk on, her back to Julia. "Don't expect to find me there tomorrow."

"Whatever," Faith called out with a wave. "You do what you gotta do."

Julia set her jaw and walked away in the opposite direction.

Fade Out

End of Teaser
Onto Act One