Watchers Council – Day
Willow, Kennedy, Andrew, and Robin each directed contractors and delivery people around the newly purchased building. One man in particular entered, his deep voice booming above the bustle.
“Hey! I got an order for an Andrew Wells?” he shouted over the commotion.
Darting over quickly, Andrew announced himself. “That would be me.”
“Shipment from Offices Unlimited. Ten oversized dry erase boards. Sign here please,” he said handing over a delivery confirmation form.
“Fantastic! Big boards! Bring ’em on in and I’ll show you where to go,” Andrew instructed as he scribbled his name.
The man nodded and walked to the door to retrieve Andrew’s shipment, passing Kennedy who was making her way over to Willow. Kennedy found her girlfriend lying on the floor under a large ‘L’ shaped desk; recognizable only by the jeans she wore. Kennedy smiled before she spoke, looking down at the redhead who lay mixed in various cables and wires going to six computer terminals.
“I’d know those legs anywhere,” the brunette teased, giving a kick to the foot that stuck out underneath.
“Hey Kennedy! How goes it?” Willow called out from under the desk, unable to rise.
“Looking for Faith. Have you seen her?”
Willow slowly wiggled herself out from under the immense desk and dusted herself off after she was upright. “She hasn’t come back yet?” she asked, brushing some dust from her hair as she spoke.
“No,” Kennedy answered, plucking a few bits of sawdust from her lover’s hair before starting to play with it. Willow gently swatted her hand away with a soft smile. “Think she ‘took the money and ran’?” Kennedy added.
“No,” Willow said firmly. “She told me she had some errands to see to, but she’ll be back. I’m sure.”
“Looking into a company car,” Willow explained. “How’d the meeting with your weapons dealer go?” she asked, nodding for Kennedy to follow her.
The two of them walked behind the terminals to a small enclosure about the size of a large broom closet. There sat another, larger computer with an array of wires coming from it. Kennedy checked it out as she began to speak.
“Should have seen his face,” she said with a chuckle. “I don’t think he gets many requests for 20 crossbows, 10 maces, 15 swords, and 30 quarterstaffs. But I think he bought the Renaissance Faire story I told him.”
“Good. Discretion is the better part of valor,” Willow teased.
“Well,” Kennedy said, looking outside the small room to the host of human bodies moving about, “it’s hard to be discreet with this many people coming in and out of here.”
“It’s only temporary. Once we’re set up it will be different.” Willow paused and put her finger over a large button on the server that stood before her. “Wish me luck,” she said, closing her eyes and pressing the button. An array of lights filled up the face-plate and she motioned Kennedy back out to the office area. “Now for the real test,” she told her as she sat down and began to boot up one of the computers.
“Delivery for a Giles ‘slash’ Rosenberg,” a woman said, making her way into the center of the room.
The woman walked over with a clipboard. “Sign here, please.”
“What am I signing?” Willow asked as she took the pen.
“Not sure. Big overseas media delivery.”
“Oh! Giles’ library! Great!” Willow said as she hurriedly signed her name and handed the registry back to the woman.
“I’ll grab Vi and Rona to start unloading. Third floor, right?” Kennedy asked.
“Yep. Thanks, Sweetie,” Willow answered with a grin.
Kennedy gave Willow a quick peck on the cheek before leaving to round up her helpers. After watching her leave, Willow went back behind the computer desk again. She double clicked the mouse and found the results she’d hoped for.
“Yes! I am the techie goddess, ” she hissed triumphantly.
“Booted up and ready to play?”
Startled, Willow blushed at being overheard and looked over to see Robin and Andrew approaching.
“Oh – ah, no. No play. Strictly for business use,” she told them firmly.
“Not even a few rounds of Quake III?” Robin asked.
“Oh, that would be so cool,” Andrew added. “You on one end, Robin; me on the other. We could do battle in the same room and not even see each other unless we turned around. I call dibs on that one,” Andrew pointed.
“No dibs. No computer games,” Willow emphasized.
Andrew gave a defeated sigh.
“Willow’s the I.T. department here, so what she says goes,” Wood conceded to Willow, who went back to checking the rest of the computers. He then whispered to Andrew, “You. Me. Here. Midnight sharp.”
“You’re on. I’ll bring the software. You bring the Cheetos,” Andrew added conspiratorially.
“Anyway,” Robin said in a louder voice, walking over to Willow as Andrew followed. “I called that list of interior contractors – they should be dropping off plans for the second floor living quarters.”
“That’s great…but slightly unnerving,” Willow frowned.
“Why?” Robin asked with a confused look.
“Everything seems to be going according to plan. A-and I’m not used to that.”
Robin chuckled. “Well, if it will make you feel better I think the plumbing in this place is going to be a major and costly undertaking. More than what we first expected.”
“See?” Willow nodded. “Now that makes me feel better. A little angst is a good thing,” she added with a grin.
At that moment, Giles and Faith made their way inside, talking to each other as they approached the group, finishing their conversation.
“From the line?” Faith asked.
“Zero to 60 in five seconds,” Giles answered.
“Damn!” she said with a laugh, as they closed the distance to see Willow.
“Good news,” Willow told him. “Your library made it safe and sound…well I think it did. I mean I haven’t seen it yet a-and perhaps Olivia forgot a few things but the point is the girls are unloading the truck as we speak.”
“Excellent!” Giles said with a pleased grin on his face.
“Cool, but not as cool as Giles’s new wheels. You guys gotta come check this out,” Faith said, pitching a thumb outside.
Willow got a concerned look on her face but rose and followed the gang, who were heading outside.
Watchers Council – Moments Later
Once there, they found Kennedy, Rona, and Vi had all taken a break to get a closer look at the car. They turned around as everyone came over.
“Is this sweet or what?” Rona asked. “I will say this for the Brits, they’ve got great taste in cars,” she added, giving Giles a playful chuck on the shoulder. He smiled proudly at this.
Willow’s mouth dropped as she looked at the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante that was parked before her.
“Oh yeah,” she began sarcastically. “It’s a beauty alright, but Giles, how the HELL are we supposed to fit everybody in there? Is this like a clown car? Can we load body after body inside?”
“Well, it does have four seats,” he pointed out.
Willow peered in the back before turning to Giles. “You call those seats?”
“Look, I realize it’s not exactly what we discussed but –.”
“Not exactly?” Willow exclaimed. “It’s not even close! We talked about an Avalanche or a-a-an Explorer or even a Grand Cherokee. Hell, even a minivan would do fine and you bring me….this!”
“It was a steal,” Giles defended himself.
“A steal, huh?” Willow asked. “Do I want to know how much you paid for this…this…useless mid-life crisis mobile?”
“Probably not,” Giles muttered.
“Then it has to go back, Giles,” Willow told him. The entire group moaned about it. “Who are you now? James Bond?” she asked Giles.
Before he could answer Faith spoke up.
“Oh, come on. It’s a classic, man. Besides, he can’t just walk back in and say ‘I changed my mind.’ And we need a car that conveys that we’re the bomb – top of the world. This car says status. This car says power. This car –”
“Is going back,” Willow finished. The group groaned again, but this time Willow added, “Unless Giles wants to pay for it from his $100,000 dollar advance for the year.”
Willow turned to the watcher and waited for his answer.
“Well, I would…” Giles told her with hesitation.
“But?” Willow asked.
“The $100,000 wouldn’t cover it,” he said softly.
Willow made an exasperated sound. “A steal you say?”
Faith threw her hands up in the air. “So Giles bought us a car he thought was cool. What’s the big, Will?” she said, as she strolled up the building’s steps and leaned in the doorframe. “It’s not any different than you and your ‘must haves.'”
“What are you talking about?” Willow asked, honestly confused.
“All that computer crap in there,” Faith countered, nodding toward the building. “Besides you and the geek wonder…” she said pointing to Andrew, “who the Hell is gonna use that stuff?”
“I think Faith makes an excellent point,” Giles concurred. “I know I’ll never bloody well use it.”
“No…it’s not the same,” Willow told them. “I NEED that equipment.”
“Hey, I don’t know much about computers, okay?” Faith began. “But I took a few classes during my brief incarceration and I know that you can fit tons of information on one computer. You don’t need five of ’em all connected in order to do that. Or the 50 more that are sittin’ upstairs.”
“Yes, I do. I need –.” Willow stopped herself. “Look, I don’t have to explain my actions to you –.”
“But Giles does?” Faith challenged. “What are you now? His keeper?”
“You know what Faith –.”
Suddenly everyone began arguing at once, except for Kennedy, Rona, and Vi, who looked on in wonder. Well, at least Rona and Vi did. Kennedy began to shake her head and when the voices rose even more, enough was enough. She put her fingers in her mouth and whistled, getting everyone’s attention.
“You know it still astounds me, even to this day, to see what money does to people,” Kennedy began. They all looked guiltily at each other but said nothing. “Now you all have to make a choice – right here, right now. Are you gonna let a couple hundred grand come between years of friendship and the desire to stop the evil in the world… or are you all gonna bicker about who bought what and why?”
“I just think it’s a sweet car,” Faith said.
“I’m not saying it’s not,” Willow retorted firmly. “That’s not the point.”
A few seconds later everyone was yelling at each other again about who was right, who was wrong. Their voices mingled together as they fought over who was going to pay for it and if they should even pay for it or send it back. This time Kennedy didn’t bother to whistle.
“Heyyyyyy!” she yelled, making them all stop. “Willow, you got your computers. Giles, you keep the car. Faith you can keep your cycle. As for –.”
“Cycle?” Willow asked. “What cycle?”
“That cycle,” Kennedy pointed behind them.
“This is your motorcycle?” Willow asked Faith.
Slowly, Giles and Willow walked over to examine it.
“Dreamy, huh?” the older Slayer asked rhetorically. “It’s an Indian Chief. Top of the line cruiser – Powerplus 100 cubic-inch , 45-degree, V-Twin engine and man does it ride like a dream. And just like Giles I got it at a steal. Just under 25 grand. I hated the wheel covers so I had it customized, hence the errands today.”
“You paid a quarter of your yearly salary on something you can only ride four months outta twelve?” Willow asked.
“Well they did throw in a cool jacket for free,” Faith argued. “Bet Giles can’t say that.”
Willow then turned to Giles. “You realize this is the same woman who’s defending YOUR purchase.”
“Well it is her money to do with as she pleases, Willow,” Giles answered. “To paraphrase her – ‘we’re not her keepers’.”
“Yeah, well, she used her own money too, Giles, not the Watchers account to buy it,” Willow countered.
“If we’re going to be important we have to look important. We need a vehicle that conveys what Faith mentioned: the style, grace, power,” Giles insisted.
“Funny. I see – pretentious, expensive, and impractical when I look at it.”
“You all have valid points,” Kennedy chimed in when she felt another heated debate about to arise. “But like I said, don’t forget what’s important here…Willow, can the Council afford this car in its budget?”
“That’s not the point –.” Willow began to argue.
“Sweetie, that’s not what I asked. Can it afford it? Because if it can, then Giles and everyone here worked pretty damn hard to get this pretentious, overpriced car.” Kennedy then turned to the watcher. “No offense Giles, but my father owns one. I see pretentious too when I look at it, but you’ve got a point. People do see him as the big shot software guru so it makes sense. However, I see Willow’s desire for something that we all could use. I think we should compromise, is all.”
“What do you suggest?” Giles asked honestly.
Kennedy turned to Willow. “If the Council has the funds I say we keep it. But I also think you should go out and buy a car that we can use as a group – something bigger like you mentioned. Faith’s bike was her choice with her money and she can’t be faulted for that. She’s the one who has to find something else to drive in the snow. So there’s no sense getting vexed over it. And as for your computers – put one in every damn room if you like.”
“I just need them for the watcher training program I’m making,” Willow said, shooting a look at Faith, as she explained her reasoning. “I don’t need them in every room, just the classrooms and lower reception area,” she added.
“Think it’s possible?” Kennedy asked. “We keep the car and you keep your computers. They are both needed on some level.”
“I’m with Brat on this one,” Faith nodded.
“Me too,” Robin added.
“Me three,” Andrew rang in. “If anyone cares.”
“Well, all the money doesn’t mean much if we can’t get along,” Willow answered Kennedy before turning to Giles. “I’m sorry, Giles. Keep the car.”
“No Willow,” he told her. “I’m sorry. It was… an impulse purchase. I’ll see about returning it.”
“No,” Willow began. “Kennedy and Faith have a point. We have to look important sometimes and a car like this… it will come in handy. We’ve got the funds, so don’t worry about it.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Then tomorrow we’ll go shopping – together,” Giles told her firmly. “A-and we’ll find something that you think is practical. Agreed?”
“Agreed.” Willow nodded.
“Awwww,” Faith sighed with a smirk as she came down the steps to join them. “Does everyone love each other again?” she chuckled.
Willow and Giles both tried not to smile.
“You, my dear, are a smart ass,” Giles retorted with a smile.
“Why thank you,” she said with a grin and wink. “Now let’s get those books of yours unloaded so you watcher types can start work.”
Library of the Watchers Council – Day
The next morning the group assembled in the library, organizing the items they found.
“Okay,” Andrew said, “Spell books in that pile over there and Demony stuff on the shelves, right?”
“Yes and in alphabetical order if you would,” Giles added.
Faith looked at the cover of one book. “This one is definitely for the demon pile,” she muttered.
“Oooh! Can I see?” Andrew asked, heading over. He looked at the cover and opened it up, thumbing through the pages. “It’s a spell book actually,” he said.
Willow turned and caught a look at the cover. “My God!” She took it from Andrew and began to thumb through it. “It was in England! I must have left it there last summer.”
“What is it?” Giles asked.
“It’s one of Tara’s spell books,” Willow told him. “One her mother gave to her, and her mother before her a-and so on and so forth. It’s probably over a century old. I couldn’t find it for my duffle bag – you know the day of the big battle? A-and I thought I lost it. Then when Sunnydale fell into itself I REALLY thought I lost it. But,” Willow ended with a sigh before adding, “This is just… wonderful! Oh, I have to call Olivia and thank her tomorrow.”
“Looks like she did a thorough sweep of the cottage,” Giles smiled.
“It’s a shame it didn’t work out for you, Giles. With Olivia, I mean,” Willow told him.
“Well, I try not to dwell on it,” he said with a grin. “A-and we did part as friends. I can’t blame her for not wanting to be a part of this kind of life. It’s not an easy road to walk and a bit insane at times.”
“And yet here we all are,” Faith added to Robin, as she put another book on the shelf and they shared a smile.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” Giles prefaced himself to Willow. “Do you ever hear from Oz?”
“An email on occasion. He was in Europe last time he wrote.”
“I could make a joke about werewolves in London here, but I won’t,” Giles added cautiously.
“Paris,” she told him with a grin. “A-and no wolfiness to speak of. He still takes his herbs and meditates. Seems I really am the catalyst, or at least high stress levels are.”
Faith tapped Kennedy on the shoulder. “So tell me, Brat. Is that true?”
“Will’s got the power to turn people into wild, uncontrollable animals?” Faith added a sexy snarl and a snap of her teeth, which made Kennedy chuckle.
Willow overheard the conversation and turned around to face them. “Don’t answer that question,” she called over.
“I’ll never tell.” Kennedy answered Faith with a coy grin. “But you can use your imagination.”
A small silence filled the room when Robin spoke up, “Do you really think that this life is all that insane? I know I’ve got a biased opinion and all. But I’ve been in it since I can remember. I was raised by a slayer and then a watcher.”
“The life might not be insane but we all sure are,” Faith quipped.
“How do you figure?” Robin asked.
“Well, look at us. We’re a group of felons out to save the world,” she explained.
“That’s not really true,” Robin protested.
“Okay – show of hands. Who here has NOT committed a major crime at some point in their lives?”
Robin confidently raised his hand, as did Kennedy. The others, however, looked around nervously at each other.
“Oh come on, really?” Robin asked, finding it hard to believe that he and Kennedy were the only ones.
“Murder two. 25 to life. For the record.” Faith told him. “And as for Giles, I know he killed at least one guy in college.”
“And Will?” Faith prompted
“See? Not to mention a bit of creative bookkeeping with the old Watchers Council’s funds that would put her away for quite awhile. Of course it would be one of those ritzy, high-class prisons, but still a prison just the same,” Faith added. “And if I’m not mistaken,” she went on, pointing to Andrew. “Weren’t you an accessory to felonious assault, murder and grand theft? Oh, not to mention the slice and dice of your old buddy, Jonathan?”
“I don’t really talk about my dark side,” Andrew retorted.
Willow harrumphed. “You wouldn’t know dark if it came up and bit you in the behind, Andrew.”
“Hey, I have dark here! I have things I regret. I know what I did to Jonathan. And you think I don’t feel responsible for what happened to Buffy and Tara? I do. ”
“Let’s drop this discussion right now,” Willow told him, before going back through the books at her feet.
“Okay, but you should know that I’m sorry. I never said that before but I am. If I had turned in Warren, changed my evil ways sooner, he never would have been at Buffy’s house that day. He never would have shot anyone and –.”
“I said drop it,” Willow said, before filling her arms with books and leaving the room.
Kennedy scolded Andrew with her eyes before coming toe to toe with him. “Smooth move. Don’t you ever take a hint?”
“She needs to know I’m sorry,” Andrew argued. “I’m partly to blame for her losing the love of her life – her soul mate – and I think –.”
Kennedy gave him a disgusted look and stormed out of the room. “Where are you going?” he called out.
“Poor choice of words,“ Giles told him.
“What did I say?”
Faith leaned over and gave him a light smack behind the head. “Yo dude, think! Love of her life? Brat’s been trying her damnedest to fill that position.”
“Oh…” Andrew muttered, more to himself than anyone.
“Why don’t we take a break?” Robin suggested to ease the tension in the room. “Grab lunch?”
“Excellent idea,” Giles answered, setting down the book he was holding as they all left the room.
Willow’s Coven Room – Watchers Council – Moments Later
Kennedy walked downstairs to the first level and found Willow in her coven room. Half of it was drywalled; the other half unfinished, the brick still visible. Willow sat on the floor looking at the books she brought with her as Kennedy crept inside.
“Although not intentional,” Kennedy began, “Andrew can be a real ass sometimes.”
Willow didn’t bother to look up. “Yeah he can.”
“You okay?” Kennedy asked, as she moved closer and took a seat on the floor beside Willow.
“I’m fine,” Willow answered, still not looking over.
“Really?” Kennedy said, leaning over to look at Willow’s face. “Because you’re grinding your teeth and your forehead is making those funny looking waves like whenever you’re upset.”
Willow gave a slight grin. “You recognized that, huh?”
Kennedy paused and ran her hand down Willow’s back, but the redhead still refused to make eye contact.
“You wanna talk about it?” Kennedy asked.
“No. Not really,” Willow answered as she continued to organize her books.
Kennedy looked a bit nervous and unsure, so she decided to remove her hand.
“Hmm?” she asked absently.
Kennedy paused for just a moment and then took a deep breath.
“I love you,” she declared softly.
Willow ignored the books and finally looked at Kennedy with a mix of shock and contentment on her face.
“I know I haven’t said it before,” Kennedy continued, now being the one unable to make eye contact. “I had lots of chances but, I’m saying it now. Sure there’s been other girls, but it’s not the same. I mean I just look at you sometimes and i-it’s like I can’t control myself. It’s intense and urgent and…And I think your babble infection is contagious now so I’ll shut up,” Kennedy finished with a chuckle before looking up to see Willow’s reaction.
Willow gave her a soft smile. “I love you, too.”
“You don’t have to say it just because I did,” Kennedy told her.
“I know that,” Willow replied with a growing smile. “But it’s nice to say.”
“Well, it’s nice to hear,” Kennedy said, leaning over and kissing her softly on the lips. “And try not to be too upset with Andrew. He’s trying.”
“I know,” Willow sighed. “Really I do but… I didn’t want to go there.”
“Yes and he wouldn’t give up. I get it,” Kennedy told her with a grin. “But that’s just Andrew.”
Willow smiled too and looked past Kennedy to the doorway.
“We’re getting lunch,” Faith said, poking her head inside. “You girls wanna come? We’re not above duct-taping Andrew’s mouth shut, just so you know,” she added with a smile. Kennedy and Willow both chuckled, and Kennedy nodded for them to follow Faith.
Computer area of the Watchers Council – Afternoon
A while later the group sat around Willow’s computer terminal on the first floor, eating pizza and drinking pop. Wood fed Faith a slice while Giles and Willow each had their noses buried in some books.
“I think I found it,” Willow said as she got up, taking the book to Giles.
“Found what?” Andrew asked.
“It’s a spell – kinda like the ‘find the potential slayers spell.’ But only this one locates potential watchers.”
“Potential watchers?” Ken asked.
“Yeah,” Willow answered. “From what Giles and I have managed to uncover, watchers are not only linked genetically-slash-generationally, each family has special powers – or mystical skills you could call them.”
“Giles is a mystical being, huh?” Faith teased.
“Well no, not like that,” Willow said with a chuckle. “But it isn’t just anyone that can be a watcher, just like it isn’t anyone who can be a slayer. See what I mean? Giles has near total recall. He can remember volumes and volumes of text or conversations from years past. Not everyone can do that.”
“You can,” Kennedy pointed out.
“Well, I can’t say I’m anything like Giles, but there are a few areas I excel in. I mean, I’ll admit to picking up most languages quickly yeah, except for Latin,” she ended with a mumble of frustration. “But when it comes to formulating spells a-and deciphering computer codes and such I can do those things pretty well, but Giles is phenomenal in the demonology department. I can’t claim to have near his skill.”
Giles finished reading the book and handed it back over. “I believe you might be onto something here.”
“I’d have to adapt it, of course. I mean, I don’t need it picking up you since we know you’re a Watcher, but this might come in handy for rounding up the folks we’ll need to oversee all of these slayers.”
“Think you can do it?” Giles asked. Willow just quirked an eyebrow. “Stupid question to ask of the woman who activated all the potential slayers in the world. I guess the real question is how long will it take?”
“Hmm…I’ve got an idea right now but if it goes kapoof it might take more research, maybe a couple of days. I’ll get my supplies set up out here.”
“Splendid,” Giles answered as Willow walked away, going to her coven room. “Oh! Speaking of which, did you research those coordinates Willow gave you, Andrew?”
“Oh yeah,” he said, pulling out a piece of paper. “Seems the slayer in the States with the most demon activity surrounding her lives on the south side of Chicago.”
“Great!” Robin exclaimed, “Well, not great. I’m sure she’s been scared witless but you know… when do we leave?”
“I’m still trying to narrow in on the location,” Andrew added, “but I should have it ready in the next day or two. From that point you and Faith can just hop a plane.”
“Na ah, no flights, no background checks,” Faith told him. “We gotta drive, remember?”
“Oh riiight,” Andrew answered. “I keep forgetting, you’re a wanted prison escapee. Damn cops. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just tell them you’re reformed?”
“Somehow I doubt they’ll buy my story,” Faith told them, before mimicking a conversation with an arresting officer. “I pull for the good guys now.”
“Yeah, and although true, they might not take you as the most credible source,” Robin teased.
“Ya think?” Faith asked with a teasing grin.
“I gotta feelin’,” Robin retorted with a smile.
Computer area of the Watchers Council – Moments Later
Giles, Robin, Faith, Andrew, and Kennedy sat by the computer terminals in a semi-circle. Willow was seated in the center of the room. The area was mostly empty, but a few half packed boxes were scattered around. Willow set up three candles, along with a few other various items, before taking a seat in the center.
“Now I don’t know if this will work, but let’s give it a shot,” she said looking back at them before squaring her shoulders.
“Goddess of Knowledge, Goddess of Change
We call upon thee Katalyst to guide us.
Lead us to those we seek.
Lead us to those who seek.
Knowledge is power.
Let knowledge be our guide.”
As Willow finished, a ball of bright energy floated through the air, hovering around inside the building. After a few moments, nothing else seemed to be happening with the glowing light.
“Damn,” Willow sighed.
“Why’s it just sitting there?” Kennedy asked.
Ignoring Andrew, Willow continued to watch the light bounce in front of all of them.
“It must be a bust,” she decided. “I goofed it somehow. Or-or it’s picking up on Giles maybe.” She rose from the circle and started toward the group. “Looks like the long shot didn’t pay off. I’ll have to hit the books some more.”
At that point, the light darted from its hovering position, streaking across the room until it shattered around Willow, the force of it knocking her back a few steps.
“That was a helluva thing,” Kennedy remarked, before shaking it off and racing to Willow’s side.
End of Act One