Guest Starring: James Spader as Mr. DeVeer and Edward Woodward as James Tyrell
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Night
“Oh, hey. Isn’t it kinda late for you to be out alone?” Willow asked the small child, a boy of about eight years old, who stood before her. “You should be home in bed. There’s school tomorrow, isn’t there?” She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, then touched the tips of her short hair, wondering when she had cut it again. With a shake of her head to regain focus, she looked back at the boy.
Receiving no response, only a blank stare, Willow took a step forward and crouched down in front of the child.
“Are you alright? Are you lost?” she asked with genuine concern for the child in front of her. “Where are your parents? Do you want me to call them for you?” Still, no answer.
He stood there, very still, as he continued to make eye contact with Willow. She noticed his brown eyes seemed dull and lifeless. He hadn’t moved an inch since she’d first seen him, and his facial expression was blank. She looked up behind him to see a balding man with round reading glasses holding a serving plate filled with various cheeses. “Dairy builds strong bones,” the man muttered. Willow ignored him and turned her attention back to the child.
Just then, she reached out to the mute boy. The witch listened closely when the child opened his mouth to speak. She heard the boy whisper to her, “Must hide it. Cannot let him find it.”
Willow looked at the child with questioning eyes, her confusion obvious.
The young boy darted past her and out the door, letting out an agonizing scream as he ran.
Watchers Council – Slayer Training Room – Night
Kennedy was nearing the end of her training session when she saw a small girl of about eight years old standing silently behind her. Kennedy jumped slightly in response.
“Oh geeze! You scared me,” she said, then added, “Who are you?”
Kennedy stood there, first taking off her boxing gloves and then taking a drink of water, waiting for the child to answer her.
“Okay, what are you doing here? I’ve never seen you around before. Do the others know you’re –” She was cut short when the small girl interrupted her.
“You must hide it. Do not let him find it.”
The young slayer stood there for a moment before she replied. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Kennedy asked, clearly confused by the girl’s riddle.
The child turned and darted out the door. Seconds later, Kennedy heard a loud, painful scream.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Night
Faith was in the kitchen getting a midnight snack when she shut the refrigerator door and turned to the island. She saw a young boy sitting at the table, seemingly waiting for her to finish her late night sandwich run.
“Whoa, where’d you come from, Sport?” she asked as she took a bite of her food. She heard another voice behind her.
“Don’t forget the Swiss.”
She turned to see a man holding a serving plate filled with various cheeses.
“It’s cool, Dude,” she told him. “I’m all set.”
She turned back to the child. “Okay, not big on the talking thing, are ya? What’s your name?” Still no reply. She put her hand on her hip. “Look kid, who let you in here? Was it Giles? I need to go have a talk with him. He didn’t tell me we were expecting –”
“Must hide it. Can’t let him find it,” the small boy interrupted her.
“What are you talking about?” she asked the child. He screamed as loud as he could, then jolted up and ran from the room. Faith shrugged and continued eating her sandwich.
Watchers Council – Study – Night
Giles was researching something in one of his books when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. He turned slightly to see a small girl standing at his side.
“Oh, hello. I didn’t hear you come in,” Giles said to the small girl. “May I help you with something?” he asked.
The child stood still, emotionless.
“Cannot let him find it,” the small girl replied.
“Pardon? Find what?” the watcher asked.
The small child just turned and zipped away, letting out a loud scream as she did so.
Watchers Council – Library – Night
Robin was looking at some maps and going over the plan to pick up new slayers when a small boy standing in front of him caught his attention.
“Oh, hi there. What’s your name, little guy?” he asked the child politely, so he wouldn’t scare him away. After not receiving an answer he said, “I’m Robin,” as he reached out to shake the small child’s hand. After getting no response and no movement from the boy, he continued, “Are you here with someone? Your parents?”
“Must hide it. Can’t let him find it.” The boy promptly ran out, startling Wood with a loud, shrill scream.
Watchers Council – Andrew’s Media Room – Night
“Let’s see… I have the first six seasons of The X-Files. I never got seven because I thought it was lacking in merit, you know? Oh! And as well as the first six seasons, I also have the 1998 theatrical release X-Files: Fight the Future,” Andrew said. He held up the DVD of each item he mentioned in his overloaded arms. The small girl sat there staring blankly at him. “Oh, okay, well, I guess I could just pick one for us to watch… if you don’t want to,” he said. “How about the ‘Big Blue’ episode? That’s one of my favorites and I don’t think it’s too scary for you, but I’ll warn you now… Scully’s dog gets eaten. But don’t worry,” he added quickly, “it doesn’t happen on camera.”
The standard FBI warning at the start of the disc came up on the TV and Andrew turned to the small girl, “So, what’s your name? I’m Andrew.”
“Must not let him find it.”
The girl ran away screaming, leaving Andrew puzzled.
“Hey! What about the DVD?” he yelled to the child. After a moment, he threw himself down on the couch, crossed his arms and mumbled, “Goofy slayers.”
Watchers Council – Day
Willow and Kennedy walked into the dining room to see Giles, Faith and Robin already there. As they took their seats, Andrew came in with their breakfast.
“So, how is everyone this fine morning?” he asked as he set the plates down on the table, happy that they were eating this morning.
“Oh, fine, thank you,” Giles said with a smile as he watched Andrew serve their meal. Giles then looked down the table at everyone else. “Looks wonderful, doesn’t it?” he added, prompting the others for a compliment.
Willow, the first to pick up on the hint, quickly commented, “Oh, look! Eggs… my favorite!” She then smiled at Andrew.
“Please,” Andrew started. “Don’t patronize me.”
“I’m not being patronizy,” Willow countered. “It really does look good, a-and yes, Giles mentioned you were feeling a little under appreciated,” she added with a brief pause. “But we really do need your help. So we’re sorry if you feel overlooked,” she added sincerely.
“Apology accepted,” Andrew nodded with a smile. “So how was your trip?” he questioned Faith and Robin across from him.
“Very good,” Robin told him. “We’ve got a slayer from Boston coming in this week, and a potential watcher from New Jersey, too. Looks like we’ll be making a run out west next week.”
“Very cool,” Andrew complimented. “And Mr. Giles, how are you doing? I heard you up in the study pacing last night.”
“Sorry if I woke you,” Giles told him.
“Nah, I was already up.”
“Well, I didn’t sleep very well,” Giles told him. “Figured I’d dig out some old texts.”
“Me neither,” Willow added. “Kinda restless.”
“I know what you guys mean,” Andrew told them. “I had the strangest dream last night,” he casually continued as he himself sat down to eat. The group prepared themselves to be thrown into boredom. “I was standing in front of the TV, getting ready to watch my X-Files DVDs. I didn’t care for season 7, so I didn’t get it. But I do have the first six seasons, including the 1998 theatrical release –”
Faith stopped his rambling. “Cut to the chase already.”
After a slight pause to cast an indignant look her way, Andrew picked up the rest of his story. “Anyway,” he continued, “there was this little girl sitting on the couch and I naturally thought she was a new slayer. So we were deciding what to watch. But she never said a word, so I told her I’d choose for us. I asked her name and she still didn’t say anything. Then she said –”
“‘Don’t let him find it,’ or something like that?” Willow offered.
“Yeaaaaah,” Andrew agreed with a nod. “You had the same dream?”
“Whoa, me too,” Faith chimed in before Willow could answer. “But mine was a little boy, not a girl,” Faith told them. “Anybody else have the same or are we just the psycho squad?”
“Well, I had a similar dream also about a small girl,” Giles told the group. He looked at Kennedy and Robin and asked, “Did you two have this dream?”
They both nodded as well. Willow picked up her pen and started to make some notes on the pad next to her.
“Yeah, a young girl,” Kennedy told her. “I thought maybe she was a slayer. We’ve got so many girls flocking this way now. It just felt natural to see a girl in the training room, so I didn’t think anything of it.”
“Mine was about a boy, not a girl,” Robin answered. “And yeah, he said something that rhymed.” He paused as if trying to remember. “Must hide it. Can’t let him find it,” he told them, snapping his fingers
“This has to mean something,” Willow said, “I think we should look into it.” She looked to Giles for confirmation.
“Ah yes, I agree. We may find something useful,” he told her, nodding.
“Come give me a hand, Andrew, after you clean up,” Willow said. She got up from the table, taking her juice in one hand and juggling her plate and notepad with the other.
“Sure thing, Willow,” he replied enthusiastically.
“It’s the simple things that amuse him,” Kennedy quipped to Faith, who just smiled.
Willow noticed Hank Malloy walking towards the dining room as she departed. She politely nodded while adding, “Good morning.”
“Mornin’,” he replied, then continued to walk past her to find Giles. Reaching the dining room, he greeted Giles with a handshake. “Good morning, Mr. Giles.”
“Oh, Mr. Malloy, good morning.”
Looking at the rest of the table’s occupants, Giles introduced them. “This is Faith, Mr. Wood, Kennedy and Andrew, whom you met yesterday,” he said with a smile. Each person gave a polite smile and nod when Giles spoke their name.
“Well, it’s good to meet you all,” Hank said with a smile of his own.
Andrew casually mentioned, “Yeah, I think we were really lucky to find someone who had worked on this building before. It helps to know the place a little better, huh?”
“Yep, sure does. I’m glad I get to work here again – this is such a great building. You’ve already done so much in such a short amount of time,” Hank remarked.
“Well,” Giles began, “our budget allowed us to hire crews to work three shifts.”
“Well, I’m glad to help put the finishing touches in place.” Hank smiled as he turned to walk out and begin his carpentry work upstairs.
Leaving the others to finish their meal, Giles quietly got up and joined Willow at her computer.
“Ah, I wanted to ask you if you’ve narrowed down where the vampires’ lair may be,” he said as he sat down at her side.
Willow looked up from her computer. “Actually, there’s a program I still need to use on the data. It’s gonna take a little time to get it all figured out.”
“Oh, right then. I think we should make that our first priority. It is a known threat that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.”
“Okay, I’m on it. I should have something in a while. After breakfast have everyone come by, I want to get a few more descriptions of everyone’s dream.”
“Becoming a Freudian?” he teased.
“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” she answered with a grin. “But all of us having the same dream? It’s worth a little examination.”
Street Outside the Watchers Council – Day
Everyone inside the new council was busily going about their daily lives, too busy to notice the black van parked across the street. To a normal passerby, there appeared to be no occupants.
But inside the vehicle a group of three men gathered around small television screens, wearing headphones, with a mass of control panels and buttons in front of them. On the screens they saw everything that was happening with the council. One screen even showed the mail being delivered, just as it had been in the days since they’d arrived.
Watchers Council – Later That Day
“Hey,” Kennedy said as she walked up behind Willow. She wrapped her arms around Willow’s shoulders, hugging her from behind.
“Hey, leaving already?” Willow asked, just as Kennedy bent down to share a kiss.
“Yeah, the sun’s gonna set in about an hour. We don’t wanna waste any more time than we have to. Might as well get started early,” Kennedy explained as the others came into the room, Vi leading the way. “Get anywhere on the search?” Kennedy asked.
“Yeah, I got the vamps narrowed down to a sewer drain. Seems that’s the undead’s main route in Cleveland, too. Now I’m working on the whole weird dream thing. There’s really not a lot to go on,” Willow said, a far away sound entering her voice as she looked back at her screen.
“Well, Faith is staying behind tonight, so the Council building isn’t unwatched, pardon the pun.”
“Ha. Ha,” Willow answered with a grin.
“Hey! We don’t need another ‘I’m an evil vamp now, let me in’ incident,” Kennedy explained. “Any more frantic calls from the headquarters on my walkie-talkie might give me a heart condition.”
“We’ll be fine,” Willow reassured her.
“With Faith here I believe it, but just in case,” Kennedy replied with smirk, “Vi’s with me and Rona’s leading the second team out tonight. So call if you need us.”
“Will do,” Willow answered. She leaned up for another kiss, which Kennedy was happy to bestow. “Maybe when you get back I’ll have more info than references from The Interpretation of Dreams.”
Giles was quietly standing in the doorway, watching the exchange with concern in his eyes.
“You can do it,” Kennedy said confidently. “I’ll be back soon.” She turned and began to lead the teams out into the night.
Once the Slayers were gone, Giles slowly walked into the room to join Willow at the computer. “Um, i-is something the matter? You seem a bit distracted this evening,” he asked, concern showing on his face.
“What makes you say that?” Willow said with a sad smile. She turned from the computer screen to face him.
“Well, after seven years I can tell when something’s upsetting you. Is it about your watcher duties? I know we haven’t had much time to begin training but I promise once we –”
“No, it’s not that,” she said. She opened a drawer in the desk and handed him a postcard.
As he held it up to look at it, he saw the name Xander written on it. “From Mr. Harris?” he asked with a smile as he began to read it.
“Yeah. I got it this morning after breakfast. I’m just worried about him being out there all alone, Giles. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know how he is. A-and I know he’s got plenty of money but I don’t know how he’s, you know, surviving. It’s just…I wish there was more that I could do for him. I guess I feel kinda helpless, you know?” Willow explained as he handed the card back to her. “He disconnected his cell phone number, so I can’t even call him.”
“Well, he doesn’t sound too terrible. He’s always wanted to travel through some national and state parks.”
“It’s not what he’s saying that worries me,” Willow answered. “It’s what he’s NOT saying. Read it again and tell me if that sounds like the Xander we know.”
Giles looked at the card again, then handed it back to her. “I see,” Giles said as he took off his glasses. “No cheerful Xander-speak. Is that what you mean?”
Willow nodded. “He just doesn’t seem to be himself. I mean, I know after losing his eye and Anya and well, everything, he’s been despondent. And I respect that he was honest and said he couldn’t take up our fight. The hard part is not being able to help, especially after he did so much for me after Tara’s death.”
“Well, perhaps we could call Buffy? See if she can reach him or knows of his whereabouts?”
“Maybe. All I know is he says he’s fine and that the postcard reminded him of me, so that’s why he had to send it,” Willow said, smiling sadly at the picture of a goat on the front of the card. “I remember the petting zoo we went to as kids,” she told him pointing at the picture. “Obviously he does too but…”
“Do you think we should search for him – I mean a real search? We could find him and try to speak with him,” Giles suggested.
“No, no. He left because he wanted space from all of this, to get away from it. I think we should respect him enough to at least give that to him,” Willow replied.
“What about the healing spells you’ve been looking into?” Giles asked.
“I’ve found a few, but only a couple of dark magic rituals that involve some kinda sacrifice. A-and we’re not talking the cute, fuzzy animal variety but human types. I’m willing to make certain sacrifices to try to help Xander but not ALL sacrifices, if you catch my drift?”
“As you should,” Giles agreed. “But if you need my help Willow…”
“I know where to find ya,” she said with a grin. “Third door upstairs on the right.”
Giles handed her back the postcard. With a slight grin, he ran his hand down the back of her head affectionately, before patting her on the shoulder.
City Street – Night
“I don’t understand why it’s been so quiet tonight,” Vi mentioned as she and the others patrolled the street.
“Who knows,” Kennedy replied, “Usually when things are quiet, it means something’s about to go down. We should be ready for it.”
Meanwhile, keeping a steady pace behind them, an unseen blonde followed their every move with a cross bow strapped to her back. Quietly following them, she watched their movements and listened to their conversations with keen awareness.
“Hey, let’s check down there really quick. Then we’ll head back to the east side of the city,” Kennedy said, pointing to a manhole.
The group headed down the ladder with the blonde still behind them, yet following far enough back to be detected. None of them noticed the black van that moved down the street.
Watchers Council – Same Time
“Huh, look at that. This city does have a bit of a past,” Willow said out loud, getting Giles’s attention. Leaning closer to the screen so she could see it better, she began to read the information to Giles, while he put his book down and walked over to her.
“There were six child murders last year. The chief suspect was a homeless man, Richard Malloy. He died from a fall off of the roof of this building last winter. No murders since then,” Willow said, glancing up at Giles.
“The homeless man our real estate agent mentioned,” Giles added. The two glanced at each other before she typed in another search. Suddenly, another screen came up.
“Well then, it seems we’ve stumbled upon something quite interesting, doesn’t it?” Giles remarked as he pointed.
“Sure is,” Willow told him. “According to the police records our repairman Hank and Richard are brothers – twins I’d say, according to the photos here. Well, that just makes things more confusing and complicated than I prefer.” As she finished speaking, Willow saved the newfound information to a disk.
Sewer System – Same Time
“Rachel! Look out!” Kennedy yelled as she turned to take out a vampire of her own.
New recruit Rachel turned just in time to stake the vampire that was coming up from behind. The vampires awakened by the commotion in the sewer now descended on the small group of Slayers in their lair.
Unnoticed by either group, their blonde observer watched everything happening in front of her from the shadows. A slight grin played on her lips as she watched the melee, the slayers taking out vampire after vampire. Just then, something happened that caught her attention.
“Hey! Behind you!” she yelled to Vi, who was battling two vampires in front of her as she raised her crossbow.
Kennedy turned towards the noise and watched the action unfold. She tried to battle her way to Vi’s side to help, but the demons continued to block her immediate path. Not bothering to stake them, Kennedy simply knocked them out of her way, to speed up her arrival at Vi’s side.
Busy with her own vampires, Vi hadn’t seen the two undead sneaking up behind her. She turned and quickly pushed her stake into one vampire, while the other one suddenly turned to dust. Not sure what happened, Vi looked to see where the shot had come from and saw the blonde, holding an empty crossbow and quickly trying to reload it after her last shot.
The other vampires also noticed the stranger and headed straight for her. Unable to reload the crossbow in time, she was tackled to the ground with a loud thud. Around her, the battle raged on in the small tunnel.
Leaning in, the vampire on top of the woman taunted, “I haven’t had a good meal in a while. I’m gonna enjoy this.”
The blonde shut her eyes and tried to push him away with all her might to keep him from biting her, but he bore down on her slowly. Suddenly, she felt her hands thrust upward and was covered in dust. She opened her eyes to see Kennedy standing over her, hands on her hips.
“Hi, who the hell are you?” Kennedy asked, offering her hand to the blonde.
She looked around quickly and noticed that the battle was now over, the Slayers obviously victorious.
“Rowena Allister,” she finally answered, coming to her feet.
“Are you a slayer?” Vi asked. “Because the headquarters aren’t far from here. You could follow us there if you’d like.”
“Oh, no. I don’t slay unless I have to,” the blonde said with a slight grin, brushing the vampire dust off of her clothes. “I’m a watcher.”
Kennedy’s eyebrow arched as Vi’s jaw dropped.
End of Act One