Computer Areas – Watchers Council Day
The group looked on, wide-eyed at what just happened, and Willow began to ramble.
“I must have done it wrong or something. O-or maybe it should have gone to Giles or maybe…”
When Willow trailed off Faith spoke.
“Or maybe you’re a watcher?” Faith offered. Giles looked on with a growing smile.
“B-But I’m not,” Willow insisted to the group. “I’m not even watcher-y. I have no sense of discipline, no sense of authority, no watcher family history a-and I hate tweed…This can’t be right.”
“Breathe, Will,” Kennedy told her as she watched Willow wringing her hands together, nervously.
“This is so cool,” Andrew said, coming over. “Congratulations!”
“Congratu –? No, no congratulations. I-I’m not supposed to be a watcher. I’m here to help Giles with research a-and re-build the Watchers Council. I’m a Wiccan who’s studying the magical arts a-and dedicating her life to its tenets. I don’t –.”
“Yeah, but weren’t you once Jewish and driving stick, too?” Faith threw in.
“Driving Sti –? Oh!” Willow began slightly confused but then understanding the euphemism. “That’s not the point,” she added.
“Yeah it is. People change, Will,” Faith added. “You’re just changing some more.”
“I’m tired of change. I’m sick of change a-and if I change anymore I’m, I’m… Giles, help me out here?”
Giles still smiled. “Do you want me to say I’m disappointed? I could if you like.”
“Please?” Willow begged with a nervous smile.
Giles’ smile grew even wider. “I’m terribly horrified by this news.”
“Could you at least ACT despondent while you’re lying to me?” Willow quipped.
Giles gave a light chuckle and came over putting a hand on each of her shoulders.
“You’ll make a fine watcher, Willow. I have no doubt of that, even if you do. And t-to be perfectly honest I’m not surprised. I think it was more than coincidence alone that pulled you into the Slayer’s circle. I think this is proof.”
“Meaning?” Willow prompted.
“You can’t escape your destiny and every thing that happens to us, everyone we meet – it all comes about for a reason. Your friendship with Buffy, your need to continue her work even after high school, or even you taking on the leadership role prior to her resurrection… all that had a deeper meaning and I think we’ve discovered why.”
Willow gave a deep sigh and closed her eyes briefly. “I’m just… overwhelmed right now,” she conceded.
“As you should be,” Giles told her. “It’s a big responsibility but it isn’t something that you can’t rise above. I know you can handle the challenges that lay ahead.”
“Besides, Will,” Faith joked as she hopped from her stool and pitched a thumb toward Kennedy. “You’ve been getting plenty of experience lately in slayer watching. Lotssss of experience,” she added with a chuckle.
Kennedy pouted her lips as she tried not to smirk and upset Willow any more.
“Don’t you have someplace to be?” Willow asked Faith, her eyes narrowing. “I’m pretty sure there’s a scared girl out there who’s probably in danger right now.”
“Yeah, great idea.” Robin stepped in before tensions could rise any further. “What do you say, Faith? Ready to hit the highway? Andrew can give us the location once he’s cornered it?”
Faith gave Willow an apologetic smile and then nodded at her lover. “Yeah big guy, let’s get goin’. Later all!”
With Andrew following them out of the room, the couple left. Kennedy approached Willow and ran her hand slowly up and down her arm.
“Hey, Will,” Kennedy said softly. “It’ll be okay. I mean, a watcher. That’s the coolest thing. I loved my watcher. He was closer to me than my own father.”
Willow looked into Kennedy’s soft brown eyes and gave her a slight smile. “I know, Sweetie. I’m…I just don’t know. It’s too much. I, I need to think.”
Kennedy nodded as both she and Giles watched Willow rush from the room toward her coven space.
“Giles?” Kennedy’s voice held the unasked question and Giles understood, giving her a firm nod.
“She’ll be fine, dear,” he said. “She’s one of the strongest persons I’ve ever known.”
“You really love her, huh?”
Giles smiled. “I’ve known her since she was a child on the verge of womanhood. I’ve watched her grow from a shy, insecure teenager into the powerful woman she is today. So, yes, I think it’s safe to say I love her.”
“Will you talk to her? I think she needs you more than me at the moment.”
“She does need you, Kennedy,” Giles stressed.
“Oh, I know she does,” Kennedy nodded. “But with this kind of stuff, I’m not the greatest. All action-girl here, you know? Besides, chances are I’ll say something dumb and make her feel worse by accident. So, please, talk to her?”
“A-Alright,” Giles said and left the room. Kennedy began to clean up from lunch, her expression thoughtful.
Willow’s Coven area of the Watchers Council – Moments later
“May I come in?”
Willow heard Giles’ voice and turned around.
He began to walk inside despite not receiving an answer, taking in the décor of the room. “It doesn’t look like very much right now, but it’s going to be lovely for the coven.”
“What coven?” Willow harrumphed as she put more books on the shelf before her. “Have you forgotten already? I have a new destiny now.”
“Is that what’s troubling you? You feel your Wiccan life will be affected by your watcher duties?”
“Well, isn’t it obvious Giles? I have to make a choice.”
“Says who?” Giles countered. He watched Willow give a deep sigh and take a seat on one of the benches she had near the far wall of the coven room. Quietly he walked over, taking a seat beside her. “May I tell you a story?”
“Is this gonna be one of those ‘black magic, when I was Ripper’ stories? Because to be honest, I’m not sure if hearing about your former evil deeds is gonna cheer me up,” she asked.
“Another time perhaps,” he answered with a crooked grin. “No, i-it’s not about me. It is about an English watcher though – one of the first English watchers on record, in fact. He was a wizard as well as a watcher.”
“A wizard watcher?”
“Well, I don’t know if it’s a true story but, as I said, the Council deemed it as factual – one of the many watcher history lessons we learned. Should I go on?”
“Sure.” Willow shrugged.
“Well, this watcher was a wizard. A very powerful one, and he was given a charge. But even for all his magical skills, he wasn’t able to foresee her death. She was killed by a vampire and her death haunted him profoundly. He –.”
“I thought this was supposed to cheer me up? So far it’s pretty depressing.”
“I’m getting there,” Giles told her. “A-Anyway, after his Slayer was killed, he focused all his energy on improving his magics, being a better person, trying his best to help people. That focus eventually became an art; a skill – it gave him the ability to envision the future. Not long after he found a young man – a peasant. He saw great things for this man with the right guidance. And he made it his personal goal t-to oversee the young man in every step of his life. You see, the wizard was no longer a watcher in the strict sense but he still had the heart of one – that never left. So in reality, he never ceased being a watcher. He also never stopped using magic and he found a way to merge the two.”
“So who was this watcher guy?”
Giles gave a small grin. “His name was Merlin.”
“THE Merlin? King Arthur’s Merlin?”
“One and the same,” Giles nodded.
Willow chuckled and slapped Giles’ arm playfully. “Oh! You’re making that up!”
“I kid you not. Merlin WAS a watcher but he was also the most powerful wizard the world had ever known. H-He used his magical skills to assist Arthur in everything from t-the king’s battle plans to his love life. Sadly, Arthur didn’t always heed Merlin’s warnings but as the watcher he was destined to be, Merlin stayed at his side until the end.”
“So you’re saying I don’t have to choose. Is that it?”
“Precisely! I’m not saying it will be easy. Your time will be sparse and it will be a difficult road to juggle both. But in the end, there truly isn’t anything that says you must choose. And I’m not remiss in saying that Merlin has finally found some competition in the magical spectrum. If anyone can do both Willow, it’s you.”
Willow tried not to grin. “Are you sure you’re not just saying this to make me feel better?”
“No Willow, I assure you I’m not,” he insisted. “I just don’t want you to close the door to all the possibilities of what you might become. As Faith mentioned, people change. But it’s not always a bad thing. And as I told you, I think you’d make an excellent watcher and Coven leader. But the decision is ultimately yours – just keep your mind open.”
“I will, Giles,” Willow nodded.
“That’s all I can ask,” he added with a grin, as he patted her knee and walked away.
Willow watched him, considering his words. “Hey Giles,” she called out as he nearly cleared the coven room’s threshold.
“Yes?” he asked, turning around.
Willow gave him a small grin. “Thanks,” she said sincerely.
“You’re very welcome.” Giles grinned and continued on his way
Apartment/Flat – Morning
There was a knock on a studio apartment door. From the nearby couch a young woman in her mid-twenties placed the book and paper work she had in her hands down on the coffee table before her. She rose hesitantly and made her way over. She looked out the peephole and saw a delivery person out front. Making sure the security chain across the top was secure, she unlocked the door and opened it slightly.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“Lexigram. I have a telegram for Rowena Allister. Can you sign for it?” he asked, pushing the clipboard through the small opening. The woman took off the letter and scribbled an indecipherable signature before handing the ledger back to him.
“Have a nice day ma’am,” he said with a nod, then briskly walked away.
She closed the door, making sure to relock it before opening the envelope. Making her way back to the sofa she read the notice inside.
The Council has assembled. Your presence is needed. Confirm Immediately. Phone 441717300666.
She took the letter to the phone and dialed. She paused a moment before announcing, “Rowena Allister calling for James Tyrell.” She folded the letter back up as she rested the phone on her shoulder. “…Yes, James. I’ll be there.”
Street in Chicago, IL. – Early Evening
Faith and Robin sat in Giles’ Aston Martin, watching the activity on the ghetto-looking street as they staked out the address that Andrew had phoned to them.
Faith turned to Robin, who sat in the driver’s seat. “Think we stick out like a sore thumb here?” she asked, waving at the cars that surrounded them.
“That thought did cross my mind, yes.” He grinned. “Surprised the cops haven’t patrolled by here wondering what we’re up to.”
Faith settled back into the seat. “Hell, I’m surprised no one’s walked up yet looking to score a little. I dated a guy once who had a car like this. Porsche, actually. Couldn’t go anywhere without someone looking to buy drugs.”
“So what happened?” Robin asked.
“To the car?”
Robin chuckled. “No, the guy.”
“Oh, him. Just another joker. Eventually I had to face up to my destiny as a loser magnet.”
“Well, that’s comforting,” Robin quipped.
“Sorry, but it’s true. You seem like a great guy Robin but…”
“I gotta admit I’m waiting for the other foot to drop.”
“You mean shoe,” he told her.
“Foot. Shoe. Whatever. Point is, one day you’re either gonna wake up and realize you’re wasting your time with me or I’m gonna find out I’m wrong and you’re not unlike all the other guys.”
“That’s a helluva way to live.”
“That’s how I’ve managed to survive. Get a little and get gone. Start playing with that emotion stuff and you’ll get burned.”
“I’m not out to burn you, Faith. I told you, I think you’re a remarkable woman. And I know you’ve got walls but I’ve got something all those other ‘jokers’ don’t.”
Faith grinned. “And what’s that?”
“Don’t forget pretty,” Faith joked.
“That too.” He nodded with a serious look before cracking a grin.
Faith just chuckled and looked back out the window when she saw a girl walking down the street with an older man. Her face grew more serious as she examined them. It fit the description that Andrew had given them. Faith nodded out the window toward the approaching pair.
“What do you think?” she asked.
“Good call,” he said, opening his door. “Let’s check it out.”
The man and young lady had already entered the house before Robin and Faith could greet them, so they walked up to the porch.
“Let me do the talking here,” Robin told her.
“Why you?” Faith grinned, teasing him.
“I’ve got the people skills. Former principal and all that.”
“Go for it, Ace,” she answered, patting him on the back.
Robin knocked on the door, and after a few moments the man they saw earlier opened it. “Yes?”
“My name’s Robin Wood and I’d like the opportunity to –.”
“Whatever you’re selling, I’m not buying,” the man said curtly.
“I’m not selling anything, sir. I’d like to have a few moments of your time to discuss your daughter’s education. We run a boarding school of sorts that teaches girls the skills they need in the world today.”
“Look pal,” the man answered again. “Does it look like I can afford a boarding school? Go away.”
He began to close the door, but Faith put her foot inside, stopping him.
“Let’s cut the BS,” she told him. “Your daughter’s been experiencing some pretty strange things lately, hasn’t she? Stuff you might have seen but can’t even believe.”
The man suddenly looked nervous. “Who are you?”
“Like he said, we run a school. Your daughter isn’t the only one that’s seen some freaky shi – stuff in her life. It’s hard to believe. I remember the first time I saw a demon. My mom said I was nuts. Then she drank a fifth and passed out. Point is, someone came to me soon after, looked after me and I’m alive today because of it. We’re offering your family the same help, free of charge.” Faith paused for a moment and motioned to Robin. “The card,” she told him.
Robin reached into his pocket and handed his business card to the man.
“Now,” Faith continued, as the man examined the card. “We’re here for both you and your daughter. But since our help isn’t wanted at the moment we’ll move along. We’ve got a lot more stops to make and more families who need our assistance. Give us a call if you change your mind.”
Faith removed her foot and nodded for Robin to follow her as she started toward the porch steps. Without argument, Robin followed her lead.
“I didn’t believe her at first,” the man called out, making Faith and Robin stop and turn to face him. “But the other night we went to the movies and… we haven’t told anyone what happened.”
“Whatever it was, chances are no one would believe you if you did,” Faith told him straightforwardly. “But we would. We’ll help if you let us.”
The man opened his door wider and motioned for them to step inside as he walked into the recesses of his home. Faith simply smirked at Robin.
“Don’t gloat,” he whispered to her. “You might have gotten us in but I’m still prettier.”
Cleveland – Night
Willow and Giles walked into the video store taking a look around. The place was well lit but vacant of any customers. The clerk nodded a hello to them as they made their way over.
“Hi. I’m Willow Rosenberg and this is my associate, Rupert Giles. Would you happen to know how we could get in touch with Gregory Marshall, the owner?”
“Well, I’m Greg Marshall. Is there a problem?”
“Not at all,” Giles said reassuringly. “We’ve done some checking and we noticed that you were once a watcher with the council. I’m a watcher myself and we’ve begun a Council here in America.”
“Is that so?” Marshall said, sounding interested.
Giles and Willow both grinned at each other optimistically.
“Yes,” Giles told him. “In fact we’re looking to recruit watchers who can oversee slayers, and your skills as a former watcher could be of great use to us.”
“I’m not a watcher anymore. I own my own shop, as you can see.” Marshall moved around the counter, taking some video boxes with him.
“I realize that,” Giles said with a nod, “but things have changed since you were last with the Council. According to the records we’ve uncovered you were assigned a potential from 1984 to 1989. But you left the fold in 1989, is that correct?”
“Yes, I did,” he told them reluctantly, trying to make himself look busy by adding and straightening out some videos. “She was killed by a group of vampires. I walked away from the job after that.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your loss. That had to be awful,” Giles told him.
“It was,” he answered with sadness in his voice. “I couldn’t do it again. To train a girl and watch her fall… It was too hard.”
“As I said, things have changed. My associate, Ms. Rosenberg, is a powerful Wiccan and she performed a spell that activated all the potential slayers. Now all the girls that might have the power do have the power. There is no longer a Chosen One but a Chosen Many. We’re looking for these girls as well as potential watchers to look after them.”
“Many? Well I’ll be,” Marshall said with a slight grin. “So you want me to Watch again?”
“That’s what we’re hoping,” Willow added. “We need people who are interested in rebuilding the council to fit the needs of today and –”
“Rebuild?” Marshall asked.
“Yes,” Willow told him. “Something called the First Evil attacked the watchers and potentials of the world, trying to eliminate the line. Mr. Giles, his slayer Buffy Summers, and myself averted the threat, but we need to rebuild the Council now. The attack was a brutal one and we know of only two experienced watchers left in the world – Mr. Giles and our contact in England named Mr. Robson. We’ve had no communication with anyone else.”
“Everyone else is gone?”
“It appears so,” Giles added.
“No offense, but what did you avert? Sounds like this First came out the winner.”
“Well, the First’s goal was to fill the world with demons,” Willow told him. “It didn’t happen because of the slayer spell. We had a small army of slayers that did battle in the hellmouth at Sunnydale which caused its collapse.”
“I knew it!” Marshall smiled. “You know, when I heard about the Sunnydale earthquake something told me it was more.”
“Much more,” Giles added, “And now we’re in a position where we need to rebuild and face the evil that still exists in the world.”
“So,” Willow asked, “Will you help us and bring your knowledge to our council?”
“The idea is certainly a righteous one, but I’m afraid I can’t help.”
Willow and Giles both looked at him, obviously confused.
“May I ask why not?” Giles prodded.
“Like I said, it’s too much on the heart and besides, I like my life now. I’m not making millions of dollars, but I provide a service, set my own hours. It’s a good life. I did my stint with trying to save the world.”
“Mr. Marshall –,” Giles tried to begin.
“Mr. Giles, the answer is no. But thank you for the offer.”
Willow gave a defeated sigh as Giles reached into his pocket and handed him a business card. “If you change your mind don’t hesitate to call,” he told him.
“Thank you,” Mr. Marshall said politely. “Sorry I can’t be of help.”
Giles didn’t reply. He simply nodded Willow toward the door and they both left quietly. Once gone, Mr. Marshall walked behind the counter and opened up the register. He placed the business card inside the tray before closing it back up.
Looking over to the front door to see that they were gone for good, Marshall walked over to another door that looked like an office. He slowly opened it to reveal a vampire feeding on a woman. The vampire looked up at the disturbance with mild annoyance and a growl.
“We’ve got trouble,” Marshall told him in a concerned voice.
End of Act Two