Rash Decisions

Act One

Guest Starring:
Carly Schroeder as Marsha, Indigo as Rona, Felicia Day as Vi, Stephanie March as Bonnie, Audrey Hepburn as Sister Sin and special guest star Gina Gershon as Valerie.

Fade In:
Int.
Watchers Council Headquarters – Night

Faith, Marsha and the two younger Slayers trudged into the Council lobby. Seeing they were alone, Giles and Willow both rose to their feet.

"Where's the rest of the team?" Willow asked as she walked over to greet them.

"Bringing up the rear," Faith sighed.

"Bad night?" Giles asked.

"Yeah, my windpipe needs a bit of straightening. But on a good note your Slayer saved my life tonight, Will," Faith said with a grin and patted Marsha on the shoulder.

"Really?" Willow asked.

"Hey, don't sound so shocked," Marsha told her, placing her hands on her hips. "Fragile Slayer ego here."

"Well no," Willow told her. "I'm sure it was an excellent slay. I just thought this was one of those observe-y missions, not a hands on kinda thing."

"It was," Faith told her, "…until…"

"Until what?" Willow asked.

At that moment, Kennedy and Rowena entered the building, both with scowls on their faces.

"Go get washed up," Faith told the girls as she pointed toward the dorms. "Time to call it a night," she added.

"But I wanna see what happens," Marsha protested lightly with a grin.

"I bet they suspend her again," one of the other girls added in a bored tone.

"Go," Faith said more sternly and pointed again.

Wearing maudlin expressions the girls walked toward the Slayer Quarters as Faith nodded Willow back toward the front desk. She went with Faith but watched as Kennedy wordlessly followed the girls toward the dorms. Willow watched Rowena walk toward the computer terminal. She looked back at Faith and opened her mouth to speak but her attention turned sharply when she heard Rowena casually drop her crossbow causing a clang on the floor.

"What happened out there?" Willow finally asked Faith.

The Slayer just rolled her eyes and shook her head.

Cut to
Int.
Abandoned Building – Night

Six demons sat in a circle on the floor that resembled a pentagram – three vampires and three horned creatures. A crystal was placed in the center and a candle sat in front of each demon in the circle. One demon in particular looked exceedingly nervous.

"Are you sure this is going to work?" he asked the fellow next to him.

"Positive," he nodded.

The words didn't appear to reassure him when he looked up and noticed the conjurer was bobbling the book he held as a seventh demon in a robe stepped forward.

"Uh, spirits of the, uh, of the underworld, I implore you," the demon read in a shaking voice. "Take this demon as our offering for, uh, release. Bring Sister Sin to our aid and see that our will is done. We humbly ask you, our dark lord."

Dropping the book, the demon branded a dagger and plunged it deep into the chest of the robed creature beside him. As he collapsed the blood flowed toward the crystal.

The blood cascaded under the crystal for only a second before it exploded and filled the room with wind, blowing out the candles.

"Oh, I don't like this," the scared demon said trying to look around the darken room.

Suddenly a bright light flashed, lighting up the area, and before them stood a nun-looking creature with glowing eyes. She looked around the circle at the demons that surrounded her.

"Wow," the demon muttered in awe with a growing grin. "We really did it."

The leader stepped forward and extended his hand. "Sister Sin," he began. "I welcome your release into this world. As your master I command you to…"

Sister Sin raised her hand and the demon began to make a gurgling choking noise before he dropped to his knees. Everyone in the circle shot to his feet and with the wave of her hand a fireball raced toward another demon, catching him on fire.

"Everybody run!" the scared demon announced and they all scurried toward the exit.

With another wave of her hand the door they were trying to flee through slammed shut.

"You are all unworthy," she told them menacingly. "You will pay the price with your existence and His judgment will reign supreme."

"Open the door!" one of them shouted.

The timid demon fumbled with the knob as fireball after fireball was hurled in their direction. Demon after demon fell to the ground, rolling in pain, trying to put out the fire. Before he could be hit the demon got the door open and stumbled into the other room. Not stopping to look behind him he shot to his feet and ran out of the building and down the street.

Cut to
Int.
Watchers Council – Night – Same time

Willow watched a weary Faith head up to her bedroom and then walked over to where Rowena was sitting behind the computer terminal typing away. She came up behind her to read the screen.

"Making your journal notes?" Willow asked.

"Yes," Rowena answered coldly, not bothering to look at her.

"Wanna tell me what happened out there?" the witch asked.

"Not really," Rowena answered with the earlier scowl still on her face as she continued to type.

Willow reached over and grabbed the keyboard away, finally getting Rowena's attention. "I think you owe me an explanation."

"Excuse me? I don't answer to you," she said reaching for the keyboard again. It was fruitless as Willow pulled it further away. "I'm a senior Watcher and –."

Willow interrupted her. "When I entrust my Slayer to you for the evening to observe and she ends up engaging it becomes my business. So what happened out there?"

Rowena sighed and ran her fingers through her hair in obvious frustration.

"Kennedy decided to work over a vampire while three others tried to kill Faith. I really didn't have an option other than to put Marsha and the girls into the melee."

"You had no right to order my Slayer into action," Willow countered.

"Your Slayer or not, she is still a Slayer. She has a duty and tonight she needed to fulfill that. I'm sorry I didn't have the chance to call and ask your permission," Rowena said sarcastically. "But with a life at stake I did the only thing I could at the time."

"That's not the point," Willow answered.

"That's exactly the point!" Rowena said, coming to her feet. "I realize you're fond of your Slayer, Willow. I do. And no Watcher wants to see his or her Slayer injured or killed. But the fact remains the same. She is a Slayer. She did what you've been training her to do."

"Look, I don't want her ending up like…" Willow trailed off.

"Like what? My Slayer?" Rowena challenged. "Go ahead and say it…I'm a very good Watcher, Willow. I was one of the best. At this point I'm one of the few left in this world. So if you want to criticize me, you better think twice."

Willow eyed Rowena for a moment without saying anything. "Perhaps we should assign Giles to look over Kennedy instead so something like this doesn't agai –."

"I can handle this," Rowena answered shortly.

"Not from where I'm standing."

Rowena looked back up at Willow who had a defiant look in her eyes. With a brief flash of anger Rowena took the keyboard back. "Let me do my job," she said as she set it back down.

Willow watched a moment as she began typing again. "Something has to be done here."

"I realize that," Rowena answered absently as she typed.

"So, what then?" Willow persisted.

Rowena stopped and turned to face Willow. "I'm working on it," she said before turning back to the monitor and placing her fingers over the keyboard.

"Any ideas?" Willow asked. Rowena sighed. "Hey, I'm just trying to help," Willow added with a hint of anger rising in her voice again.

"I don't need your help, Willow. In fact, I'd say you've…" Rowena trailed off and held up her hands. "Okay, I think we should discuss this in the morning because I have the overwhelming sensation that I'm going to say something that I'll regret."

"Like what?" Willow pushed. "Just go ahead and say it," she added in a mocking tone to Rowena's earlier comment.

Rowena opened her mouth but then closed it with a snap. "No," she replied. "It has nothing to do with the current business at hand, so instead, let's just say there's a problem and I'll figure out a way to solve it. Case closed."

"Fine," Willow replied throwing her arms up. "But my Slayer won't be going out again unless I'm there to accompany her."

"I'm a competent Watcher," Rowena countered.

Willow didn't reply. She simply turned and walked from the room.

Cut to:
Int.
Willow's Apartment – Minutes later

"Hey Red, you got a minute?" Faith asked when Willow opened the door.

"I got lots of minutes, whatcha need?"

Faith didn't say anything. She simply handed Willow her registrar's slip. "I need some time off."

Willow looked at it and then at Faith and back to the slip again. "Is this what I think it is?" she asked.

"Yeah but nobody knows. If I flunk out I don't want anyone to know so I'm not sayin' anything, okay? Thing is, it's Tuesday and Thursday nights. I wondered if you could switch patrols for me."

"Oh absolutely," Willow told her. "This is great Faith, really. A-And if you need any help whatsoever you know I'm the best tutor money can't buy."

Faith gave a grin. "Better watch that. I might have to take you up on the offer."

"Really it's no problem – the time off or the study buddy. Just let me know okay?"

Faith gave Willow a nod. "Thanks, Red."

"No problem."

Fade Out

Fade In
Int.
Watchers' Dining Room – Next Morning

"What's with the oatmeal?" Faith asked as her spoon played in her bowl. "Do I look like a horse?"

"Hey," Rowena remarked. "I slaved over a boiling kettle and a box of instant oats to make that," she teased.

Faith raised the spoon and shook it but the oatmeal didn't fall off. "Don't quit your day job," she told her with a grin.

"It won't kill you," Robin told Faith. "In fact it's much better for you than –."

"Nah ah," Faith shook her head pushing her bowl away. "This is not real breakfast food. Will, can I have half of your bagel?"

"Sure," Willow said, handing it over. "Where's our Julia Child anyway?" Willow asked of no one in particular at the table. "Not off causing me more hours of apologetic phone calls to L.A. I hope."

"Now come on, Red." Faith grinned. "He had to be the man and, what the hell did he say, flex the Council muscle a little?"

"No need to remind me," Willow told her as she shook her head. "His flexing wasted half my day on the phone with calls to Angel, Wesley and Fred trying to explain what happened. Well, Angel spent most of his time laughing actually."

"Angel? Laughing?" Faith asked. Willow just bobbed her head. "Did ya work some mojo over the phone on him?" Faith added.

"No, I did not," Willow said firmly. "The more Angel heard the real story the more humorous he found it, thank the gods. All Andrew had to do was call us once Angel's crew had Dana and he even goofed that up. He's just damn lucky that mentally disturbed Slayer didn't kill him."

"Speaking of which," Robin added. "Any idea of what we're going to do with her, the Slayer I mean?"

Willow shrugged. "The doctors are trying to keep her sedated for now and Giles has that specialist from London coming over to help the medical team but aside from that I'm not sure. I started to look into magical cures but no go on that front. Besides with something like this magic might make it worse so it's best to let them try."

"Well, I gotta give Andy credit," Faith piped back in. "Aside from him playing up the cloak and dagger routine about all of us at least he got her back here. And it couldn't have been that torturous for you. I heard you giggling to Fred," Faith teased.

"I don't giggle!" Willow replied defensive. "I chuckle, yes. Sometimes I chortle. But I don't giggle."

Faith acted like she was holding a phone up to her ear and began to mock Willow, "So what's your thoughts on the Orthopedic principal," Faith said in a love sick tone.

"It's the anthropic principle a-and I did not say it like that. Besides, I enjoy talking to Fred. I respect her mind."

"Doesn't hurt that she's a looker either, huh?" Faith licked her lips and smirked from across the table.

Willow opened her mouth to argue but snapped it shut. With a sigh she started again. "Anyway, back to my original question, where's Andrew?"

"Shopping," Rowena answered. "I saw him this morning in the kitchen before he left. He asked me to make breakfast so I did."

"You made that?" Willow asked pointing to the bowl and stretched her neck to get a better look inside.

Rowena nodded.

"Hmm," the witch remarked.

"Want some?" Rowena offered.

"No, but I've got this loose tile on my bathroom counter that could use some grout," she answered in deadpan.

Faith began to chuckle.

"Fine," Rowena sighed. "Suit yourself," she added with a total lack of mirth.

"I will," Willow countered.

"Go ahead," Rowena muttered.

"Always gotta get the last word in, huh?" Willow said, turning to face Rowena.

"Oh and you don't?"

"See? You're doing it again," Willow muttered.

"I am not," Rowena insisted.

Faith and Robin just looked at the bickering pair with confused expressions before looking at each other and then back to the two women.

"I'm sensing some tension in Watcherville," she remarked to Robin, shielding her mouth behind her hand but still saying it loud enough so both women could hear.

Rowena and Willow then both turned and cast their disapproving glares in her direction instead of at each other. In response Faith licked her lips nervously before hiding behind her coffee mug under the guise of taking a drink.

"Oh good, you're all here," Giles said as he rushed inside, taking a seat. "Haven't started without me, I hope?"

"Oh no, we've been marveling at Rowena's incredible lack skills," Willow told him as she pointed to the bowl at the table.

"Okay, that's it. Enough of the passive-aggressive," Rowena said dropping her spoon in her own bowl. "No more attacking my skills. I understand that you're upset about last night, all right?"

"I was talking about your cooking skills," Willow said as she pushed the bowl briskly toward Rowena.

"The hell you were," the blonde Watcher countered as she pushed it back.

Trying to keep things light, Faith grabbed the sliding bowl and held it up to Giles. "Oatmeal?" she asked, extending the bowl.

"Uh, no, no thank you," Giles said moving away slightly. He paused and looked to Willow and Rowena who both sat at the table side by side with their arms crossed. When the conflict seemed to die down he went on. "I just got off the phone with Brell but before we get to that, and although I might regret asking, have you made a decision yet, Rowena, concerning the events that transpired yesterday?"

Rowena gave a sigh. "Suspension," she told him. "I really don't know what else we can do at this point but she's too unstable to be out there right now."

Faith looked up from her bagel to see Willow playing with the rim of her coffee cup, avoiding eye contact with anyone.

"This isn't your fault, Red," the Slayer told her, making the witch's head shoot up.

"Oh, I know," Willow answered. "I'm not her Watcher," she added off-handedly. Rowena issued what sounded like a growl and closed her eyes.

"Are we gonna have to separate you two?" Faith asked with a grin before Rowena could issue a retort.

"I'm fine," Rowena replied.

"Just peachy," Willow added.

When the table sat in silence for a few beats Robin ventured to continue the conversation. "What's wrong with her?" he asked. "Is this about the…well you know…" he added as he pointed to Willow.

"You can say it," Willow assured him. "I broke up with her and sent her life into total chaos a-and shattered what little heart she had left in this lonely, desolate world but you know, no guilt."

"I, uh, wasn't thinking that exactly," he added nervously.

"No, but she does." Willow explained. "I made the mistake of casually asking how she was the other morning. Guess I picked the wrong morning to speak with her, huh?"

"There really is no good time to speak to her," Rowena addressed the table. "I tried again last night but no such luck."

"Well I was too pissed last night," Faith added. "After she left me hangin', she's lucky I didn't choke her."

"Which is why I feel it's best to keep her off the streets," Rowena added. "If it had been a less experienced team and not Faith, someone might have been hurt."

"Hey, someone did get hurt. I'm not a crybaby, okay? But my throat still hurts and that nose of yours hasn't gone down all that much."

"Point taken," Rowena conceded before turning to Giles. "So it's my opinion that the council put her on suspension for at least another week."

"Hi-dee-ho Watcher-y type people," Andrew said as he entered the room carrying four plastic bags. "I got goodies!"

"Anything in there resemble food by chance?" Faith asked.

"A few items, yes," Andrew told her. "The girls are bringing the groceries up now. This is just my personal stuff. They had my deodorant on sale but as luck would have it, it was sold out so I had to go with another lesser-known brand and I was a bit apprehensive because of sensitive skin and all. Then I –."

"This is riveting. Really," Faith told him sarcastically. "But when's the food coming?"

"In about 30 minutes," he answered, digging in his bag.

"Great!" Faith told him as she pitched a thumb toward the kitchen. "Get egg crackin', would ya?"

Andrew sighed and trotted off. "Fine, but you'll have to do with scrambled today."

"Well, getting back to business," Giles told the assembly. "Brell mentioned that there's a shooting gallery in the location our second team of Slayers went last night but they didn't report anything in their sweep."

"Is that one of those 'vamps and humans trade drugs and blood' places?" Faith asked.

"You've heard of them?" Giles asked.

"Yeah, Wesley took me to one in L.A." Faith remarked casually. Noting how Giles's eyebrows shot up suspiciously she quickly added, "Oh, not for fun or anything. We were following a lead when we were tracking Angelus last year."

"If we do have a gallery in town we might want to get it closed down fast," Rowena mentioned.

"Well perhaps," Giles shrugged.

"What do you mean perhaps?" Rowena countered. "This is dangerous. The mix of drugs and bloodletting to get high can be lethal."

"It's their own choice," Giles retorted. "Any participants of the activity go in fully aware of the consequences. It's not the same as a vampire attacking someone walking down the street. I think we should patrol the area more thoroughly for sure but I suggest we hold off on dismantling any organization that might be out there."

"I'm sorry Giles but I don't think so," Rowena countered. "Willing people aside, it's our duty and that of our Slayers to see that the vampires in this world are vanquished."

"Well, let's not debate it just yet," Giles told her, trying to stay diplomatic. "Brell might be mistaken or have an inaccurate source. If the situation presents itself we can see how we should deal with it then. Agreed?"

Rowena looked reluctant but nodded.

Fade Out

Fade In
Int.
Watchers Lobby – Later that Night

Andrew looked up from the computer terminal where he was typing to see Kennedy dressed in a pair of well fitting black jeans and a jean jacket.

"Where are you off to?" he asked, making her stop.

"Didn't know I was under house arrest now too," Kennedy said as she turned around.

"No, you're not," Andrew answered as he rubbed his hand under his armpit. "I was just asking in case we need to get in touch with you. That's all."

Kennedy scrunched her eyebrows in examination. "You got a problem?" she asked as she watched him continue to dig.

"I think it's this new deodorant. I can't stop scratching."

"Sounds like a personal problem to me," Kennedy said as she turned around and began to walk out.

Andrew called out again, "So where are you going again? Just in case –."

He stopped talking when she walked out the door without saying anything more. With a sigh he plopped back down into his chair, still scratching.

Cut to
Int.
The Alcove – Minutes Later

Kennedy walked up to the bar and the bartender came over.

"The usual?" the barkeep asked.

Kennedy just nodded and watched as she set up a rum and coke. Kennedy began to toss some money on the bar when a five dollar bill was thrown down.

"This one's on me," a sultry voice purred close to her ear.

Kennedy turned to see a stunning brunette smiling at her and she automatically reacted with a smile of her own.

"Thanks," Kennedy answered. She took a sip of her drink and offered the vacant chair beside her to the woman. Suddenly Kennedy lost the happy expression and began shaking her head. "Figures," she sighed.

At first the woman looked confused but then began to smile again as she sat down. "Oh that. Well we can't all be perfect can we?" she asked.

"No, but being human would make a good start," Kennedy countered. "And you're a vamp."

"And you're a Slayer, aren't you? I heard that the rules had changed. I guess there really isn't just a Chosen ONE anymore. So tell me, are all Slayers as sexy as you, Darlin'?"

Kennedy began to laugh. "Boy, the twists and turns my life has taken," Kennedy sighed.

"Sometimes it's not all bad, you know?" the vampire offered. "I'm Valerie by the way."

"Nice to meet you, Valerie. I'm Kennedy," she said offering her hand to shake. "And you do realize I'll have to kill you, right?"

Instead of shaking it, Valerie took Kennedy's hand and kissed the back of it.

"Always about the slay, huh?" Valerie said it more as a statement than a question as she let Kennedy's hand go. "You realize there is more to life than just that, don't you? I mean you do know that everything isn't in black and white, right? Vampires and humans can peacefully co-exist."

"Let me guess – you've got a soul or a chip or some kind of good demon thing going on? Spare me, please. No one is innocent in this world."

"No, I'm just a gal who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Truth is this world…it's a crock most of the time," the vampire answered. "People you think you know…come to find out you never really knew them at all…so what's the point?"

"Maybe," Kennedy shrugged.

"Maybe?" Valerie scoffed. "Look around here. How many women you think will hook up tonight thinking they found 'the one' only to realize that their lover never showed her true face. How many humans are in this room but in the end are only demons in their hearts and minds. Quite a few, wouldn't you say?"

Kennedy didn't say anything, she just took a few swigs of her drink.

"Point is," Valerie continued. "I don't put on false airs. What you see is what you get. I don't look for happily ever after because there is no such thing. I don't go roaming the streets either looking for a snack. I don't have to."

"Is that so?" Kennedy asked. "I thought every vampire has to feed or are you special?"

"Oh I feed, Darlin'," Valerie chuckled. "I feed on some of the sexiest women in this city but they all give a little to get a little, if you follow me. And I make sure to keep 'em coming back for more."

"And you want a little from me?" Kennedy retorted.

"Oh, I want quite a bit from you. I'd imagine Slayer blood could keep me sustained for over a week. But I also know that you might not like my offer and decide to try your hand at some of the human gals in here."

"I'm not looking for any company at the moment," Kennedy told her.

"Is that so?"

Kennedy nodded.

"Liar," Valerie laughed. Kennedy shot her an indignant look but Valerie went on. "I could tell the minute you walked in you were hunting tonight and it wasn't for vampires." Valerie licked her lips and took a drink from Kennedy's glass before letting her hand linger over Kennedy's a moment. "I know what you're looking for and I'm offering it. All I want is a little something in return. That's all."

"So you're not evil. Is that what you're trying to tell me?"

"Oh no. I'm quite evil, I assure you," she told her with a playful grin. "The engaged waitress who stops in to experiment before she walks down the aisle. The married cop who needs a little girl on girl action on the side that her husband doesn't know about. I've got no soul holding me back to tell me it's wrong. I feed enough to live and give them all the action they need. It works because then neither of us has to hunt in order to get through this life. What I'm giving you is the opportunity of a lifetime if you wanna take it."

Valerie slipped gracefully from the barstool and leaned over to whisper in Kennedy's ear.

"Point is this, Slayer, I need you and I want you and if you let me…I'll take you to places you've only dreamed about…like all the girls I've met, the choice is yours."

Valerie walked to the front door and Kennedy watched her every move. The vampire paused a moment and gave her a sly grin before slipping outside. Kennedy let out a ragged sigh and downed her glass before getting to her feet and walking out the door.

She looked around outside before focusing on the back alley. With careful steps she continued until she saw Valerie standing in the shadows.

"We're alone, Slayer," she told Kennedy when she saw the reluctant look on the brunette's face. "Reach out – I know you can feel it."

Kennedy closed her eyes briefly as if letting her Slayer senses take hold for a moment. More confidently she strolled back until she was a few feet away from the vampire. She pulled out her stake and came closer.

"You know this isn't personal," Kennedy began. "But I've got a job to do."

Valerie walked over slowly and with great gentleness reached for Kennedy's hand, covering it with her own. She pulled the Slayer to her until her own back was up against the wall. When Kennedy didn't make any sudden movements, Valerie pulled the hand she was holding over her heart so that the stake was mere inches away.

"If you think you need to stake me then do it," Valerie began. "But give me this chance to taste a Slayer first."

"I'm not letting you take my blood," Kennedy told her.

"Who said anything about blood?"

Valerie ran her free hand through Kennedy's hair, pulling the Slayer's head back and began to kiss her exposed neck. Kennedy closed her eyes as the vampire began to hum in delight.

"Hmm, tell me Kennedy," she began, "how delicious is the rest of you?"

"You really want to find out?"

Valerie didn't reply. She shifted them swiftly so that Kennedy's back was now to the wall. Kennedy made a jerking movement with her stake but Valerie kept a firm hold on it. Not waiting a second longer the vampire began to kiss the Slayer on the lips and soon started to unbutton the Slayer's jeans one-handed. After a few moments, Kennedy began to return the kisses as her own free hand worked its way into Valerie's hair.

Letting go of the hand that held the stake, Valerie's own hand slid between Kennedy's breasts and between their closely pressed bodies. All of a sudden, Kennedy's closed eyes shot open and her head practically slammed into the brick wall behind her.

"Oh God," Kennedy muttered.

"Just a taste?" Valerie whispered.

Kennedy closed her eyes again and nodded, offering up her neck. Valerie smiled and her face shifted into vampire form. Instead of immediately going in for Kennedy's pulse point in her neck, she casually licked the Slayer's skin first making Kennedy moan.

"You need to be good and wet first," Valerie told her before she gave a small growl and pierced Kennedy's flesh with her fangs.

"Oh God," Kennedy sighed over the sound of Valerie's sucking and the movement of Valerie's arm between them.

Without any more words the stake fell from Kennedy's shaking fingers and clanged softly as it hit the sidewalk in the darkened alley.

Fade Out

End of Act One
Onto Act Two