Act 4

Fade In:
Watchers Council – Street Level – Evening

Giles grabbed Rona as she trotted past him. “Rona,” he said. “I want you to do a headcount. Make sure everyone is out safely.”

“Right,” Rona said. She sprinted back toward a group of girls, who were standing in a bunch, itching to get back into the dormitory building. Smoke was no longer pouring from the ground floor windows as the firefighters inside continued to do their jobs. A small throng of onlookers crowded the sidewalk on the other side of the street across from the Council building, with several police officers keeping them at bay.

“They’re getting more dangerous, Giles,” Willow said. “What if this happened early in the morning when the girls were asleep? Loss of property aside, someone could have been killed…and not just us, what if the fire had spread to the neighborhood?”

Giles’s face was tight as he squinted at the crowd across the street. Suddenly he took off, his long legs eating up the distance as he moved swiftly.

“Okay?” Willow blinked at where Giles had been standing a moment before. “Am I talking to myself?”

The Wiccan turned on her heel and followed Giles, catching up to him a moment after he had grabbed a smiling Vincent DeVeer by the coat collar.

“How long is this going to go on, DeVeer?” he growled in the other man’s face. “Until someone’s dead? That’s not what watchers are about!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Rupert,” DeVeer said, his grin slipping only a little as the angry watcher tightened his grip. “You have the knowledge and the power to stop this at any time. The Council’s orders were quite explicit

“Interestingly…I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Council’s orders,” Giles snarled.

“How unfortunate for you,” DeVeer said, trying to pull Giles’s hands away.

“Uh, Giles,” Willow said.

“I want you to give a message to Tyrell for me, DeVeer,” Giles stated. “Think you can be a good lackey and do that?”

“Giles,” Willow tried again.

“What message?” DeVeer hissed.

“Tell him that Kennedy’s sister better be tucked safely in her bed before the night is over, or he’ll be getting a little visit from Ripper tonight. Is that clear?”

“There a problem here?” a Cleveland police officer asked, tapping his nightstick on Giles’s shoulder.

“Is that clear?” Giles repeated, ignoring the officer.

“It’s clear,” DeVeer said. “But once again, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Giles finally let go of the man, backing away slightly. “Yes, you do…move the hell on.”

DeVeer simply gave Giles a smirk and turned his back, walking away. 

“Sir, are you the owner of this building?” the policeman asked.

“Uh, yes Officer,” Giles said, his anger finally receding. “My associate and I both are.”

“The fire department needs to speak with you,” the cop replied.

“Thank you,” Willow told him. They returned across the street to the group of officers from the fire department standing near the entrance to the building.

“Ma’am. Sir,” the fire captain said, first shaking Willow’s and then Giles’s hand. “We’re all done here,” she told them. “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to cite you for numerous code violations. Your sprinkler system did not operate as it should have and your alarms were deliberately turned off. Fire exits were either blocked or locked and clear escape routes were not posted.”

“Captain, we’ve just moved in, we haven’t had time yet to ‘get up to code’.” Giles protested.

“And yet you have people using the facilities, Mr. Giles,” the captain noted. “We’ll have the inspector out in a few days. If those problems have not been taken care of by then, we will have to close the building.” The woman handed Giles a sheet and once again shook his hand.

“Thank you,” Giles mumbled as he and Willow moved off. He looked at the citation, cursed under his breath, then handed it to Willow.

“Oh crap!” Willow said, looking at the paper.

Rona came up and watched a moment as Giles just pinched the bridge of his nose. “Uh, Giles? Everyone’s accounted for except Andrew. Vi and that blonde watcher left shortly before the fire broke out. She said she needed to go get something, so I sent Vi with her.”

“Andrew was with us when we left the building,” Willow said.

“There’s Rowena and Vi now,” Giles noted, looking down the street.

“What happened?” Vi asked, grabbing Rona’s arm.

“Fire broke out in the dorms,” Rona said.

Rowena and Willow stared at each for a moment. Rowena looked as if Willow would once again blame her for the chaos. Willow’s expression was unreadable.

“That the gold foil?” Willow finally said, nodding to the leather case the watcher was holding.

“Yes,” Rowena said, handing the box over to Willow.

“Thanks,” Willow said, then turned to Giles. “I’ll get this to Faith and Ken.”

“A-alright,” Giles said as Willow walked away.

“Was anyone hurt, Mr. Giles?” Rowena asked.

“Fortunately not,” he sighed. “But Andrew appears to be missing.” He turned to Rona. “Send the girls around the grounds to look for him.”

Rona nodded and jogged away.

Rowena followed Willow to the Jeep’s window to speak with Faith. The slayer was sitting in the passenger seat, with her booted feet up on the console. Kennedy was tapping her hand on the steering wheel impatiently.

“Hey,” Faith nodded to Rowena as she approached. “Thanks for the weapon. Of course, I could do without this.” She picked up the end of the pink toga she was wearing. “Feels like I’m gonna go trick-or-treating, or to a frat party.”

Rowena gave her a small grin. “I realize it’s not the most flattering garment, but it’s necessary….I’d like to go with you,” Rowena said to Faith.

“Why?” Willow asked. “They can handle it.”

“I know they can,” Rowena said. “But I’d like to be there to observe the feqlor if it morphs into its true form. Not much is known about them and this is an opportunity to learn more.”

Willow nodded. “You’re right,” she said, chagrin on her face. “Normally, I’d go too, but

“Both you and Mr. Giles are needed here,” Rowena interrupted, looking into Willow’s eyes. “I can do this. It’s what I’ve been trained for.”

Willow thought a moment, returning Rowena’s gaze. Finally, she nodded. “Okay, but be careful. All of you!” she emphasized, turning to the slayers.

Rowena pulled open the back door of the Jeep and hopped in.

“Later, Red,” Faith said. Kennedy gave Willow a little wave before putting the truck in gear and driving off.

Fade In:
Lenore’s Chamber Occult Shop – Alleyway – Evening

“What’s taking so long?” Kennedy asked. “This Roman garb is not the most subtle of fashion statements. We’d attract less attention naked.”

“Speak for yourself,” Faith smirked up at her, while continuing to work the lock on the magic shop’s security gate.

“Come on,” Kennedy urged in a quiet yet demanding voice, looking around them to see if anyone was near the back entrance observing them.

“Hey, give me a minute, okay Brat?” Faith said. Suddenly she smiled as a soft “click” sounded past the subdued city’s background noise. “There! Who says crime doesn’t pay?”

Faith pulled open the gate, then jiggled the lock against the door. “This one’s easy. Ready?”

Kennedy nodded and both slayers took position in front of the door. With a synchronized move, they lashed out with heavily booted feet and the wooden door flew open under the assault.

Rowena followed the slayers into the darkened shop. The back room was a simple storage area. Musty, overflowing cartons filled the steel shelves. A crusty coffee pot and stained and chipped mugs sat on a folding card table pushed against one corner. Kennedy disappeared for a moment through the heavy curtain leading to the front of the shop.

“Didn’t figure you for breaking the law, Ro,” Faith said, looking around the area. She used the tip of the gold foil to push back a threadbare carpet on the floor. “B&E was a crime last time I checked,” Faith teased absently.

“We do what we have to, sometimes,” Rowena told her. 

“Shop’s empty,” Kennedy reported, rejoining them. “Bird’s not here.” She walked along, then seemed to stumble on something and looked down. “What’s that?”

Faith noticed a lump under a throw rug and pulled it back to reveal a trapdoor. A heavy padlock secured the bolt to the floor.

“Surprise, surprise,” Faith said as she smiled. She rummaged around on a shelf for a moment, but didn’t find what she needed. She looked into what appeared to be a supply closet and stepped inside. After a moment, she emerged, walking back over to the others with a short, thick pipe.

“Hold this,” she said, handing her foil to Kennedy. Kneeling, she wedged the pipe under the bolt, and with a grunt heaved until it pulled out of the concrete with a squeal. She threw back the heavy door, revealing a flight of wooden steps leading downward. A dim glow illuminated the bottom of the steps.

“Come on,” Faith said, dropping the pipe and taking back her foil from Kennedy. As Rowena followed the slayers, she reached out and grabbed the pipe.

The passageway at the bottom of the stairs made a sharp turn into another, dimly lit passage, which opened into a large basement under the shop. Bare light bulbs hung from fixtures dangling from the ceiling. Illuminated underneath one, a figure was slumped over, arms secured to chains.

Faith strode quickly over and lifted up the figure’s head to reveal Andrew, just coming back to consciousness. “Dude! Bondage looks good on you!” She laughed.

“Wha…?” Andrew said groggily. “Faith?”

“Yeah,” Faith said, testing the chains. “What happened?”

“Edgar,” he began, then began to dry heave.

Rowena pressed a handkerchief to the back of Andrew’s head. It came away darkened with blood. “Concussion, it looks like,” she said grimly.

Faith and Kennedy tried briefly to pull his chains from the ceiling, but before they could have an effect, a raucous screech filled the air and a black shape whizzed by both their heads.

“What the…?” Kennedy said. She ducked when the bird dive-bombed them a second time.

“Stay with Andrew,” Faith ordered Rowena as she raised her foil to defend against the third attack. Both she and Kennedy stood back to back, waiting for the bird to fly by again. As it did, Faith swung the gold weapon in a sweeping arc, catching the raven under its wing. The bird screeched in protest and crashed into the corner.

“Ha!” Faith said triumphantly, but then she looked at the sword as the bird flew back around toward them, seemingly unharmed. “What the hell?”

“Uh, Faith,” Kennedy said, her eyes wide.

“They’re foils!” Rowena shouted as they both looked over to her. “You can’t slice with it. You have to stab.”

The slayers turned back and watched as the bird’s began a metamorphosis into something… else. 

“Oh this is not good,” Faith said, as they all watched the shape of the bird shift and transform into a hideous two-legged, eight-foot tall demon, with a half-dozen tentacles attached to the end of each arm. Kennedy was a bit late in dodging the feqlor’s attack and one tentacled arm lashed out, sending her flying against the wall.

“Okay, big, bad and ugly,” Faith hissed, launching herself at the demon, foil cutting through the air. “Time to say goodnight!”

Rowena watched as Kennedy picked herself off the floor and joined Faith in battling the feqlor. She heard a noise, turning as a new figure rushed towards them.

“Help me get–” Edgar was able to get out before Rowena slammed the pipe against the side of his head. He crashed to the ground.

“No!” Andrew protested weakly. “I told you, he’s not the wizard!”

“What?” Rowena said, confused.

“Look!” Andrew said, painfully jerking his head towards the unconscious Edgar. Rowena bent down and pulled away a set of keys, still clutched in the young man’s hand. She quickly unlocked the shackles. Andrew fell to his knees and started pulling Edgar toward the basement hallway and away from the feqlor’s battle with the slayers. After a moment, Rowena stuffed the pipe into the back of her waistband and helped him. 

They struggled for a few feet with Edgar’s dead weight, but then stopped as the doorway was filled with the hulking figure of Edgar’s father.

“He dead?” the man said in his booming voice, pointing a finger at his son.

“Uh, we’re sorry to bother you, sir,” Andrew said.

“Shut up, worm,” he said, absently waving a hand. Andrew clutched at his throat, his mouth silently moving.

“Slayers!” the man hissed, looking at the fighting pair. Kennedy’s toga and shirt had been torn and red circles from the demon’s suckers wept blood. “I knew I should have killed them!”

As the man pointed both hands at the slayers, a low bassoon chant came from his voice. Concentrating on his task, he didn’t see Rowena grab the pipe and heave it towards his head. The heavy metal crashed into his head and he went down with a cry.

The demon heard its wizard’s call and turned away from both slayers for a moment. Without hesitation, the slayers took the opportunity and plunged both foils through its body, completely skewering the feqlor. It fell to the basement floor and began thrashing about, its tentacled arms swinging through the air. Faith and Kennedy both jumped out of the way. 

The wizard screeched even louder as his pet demon writhed about in its death throes. With great effort, Rowena pulled the resistant Andrew away from the unconscious Edgar. Finally, when the demon’s movement ceased, the wizard’s cry was cut off. A moment later his body hardened into a sculpture of salt.

“You okay, Andy?” Faith asked, helping the blonde boy to his feet.

Andrew cleared his throat, then said, “Testing…one, two, three…testing. Uh, yeah. I’m fine. Head hurts, though.” He winced as he put a tentative hand to the back of his skull.

“We’ll get you and your pal here to the hospital,” Faith said, pulling the toga off her body to reveal her street clothes underneath. “What the heck are you doing here anyway?”

“I came to tell Edgar what his father was doing,” Andrew said. “I knew he wasn’t the wizard, so it must have been his father.”

“So his dad decided to cut the competition for his son’s scholarship?” Rowena asked.

Andrew nodded. “When I got here, Edgar told me the story. His father wanted him out of the way and off at school. Edgar didn’t say anything because he was afraid his dad would target him next,” Andrew explained. “I had just convinced him to come back with me to the Council when I was hit from behind. I think it was the raven. Stupid bird.” Andrew glowered at the demon’s body.

“Well, for whatever it’s worth, Andrew,” Kennedy said, “you were right about your friend. But going off on your own wasn’t the smartest move.”

“Yeah, good call dude, but be careful,” Faith said, then turned to Rowena. “And just what the hell is up with these stupid swords? They worked like crap! We practically had to bludgeon that thing to death!”

“Like I said, they’re foils,” Rowena said. Both Slayers just looked at her with blank expressions on their faces. “You know…practice weapons. They’re called foils because they’re foiled weapons; rendered useless.”

Faith and Kennedy looked at each other in astonishment. Finally Faith turned back to the Watcher. “Next time, give me something I can slay with, you know…a useful weapon.” Faith shook her head as she picked up Edgar and flung him over her shoulder in a fireman’s carry.

Kennedy looked at Rowena a moment more, then thrust the watcher’s trophy back to her. When she didn’t take it immediately and pointed to the blood, Kennedy sighed and used her toga to clean it off. Only then did Rowena accept it back with a grin. Kennedy rolled her eyes and walked away. 

“Uh, thank you,” Rowena called out. 

Kennedy pulled the slime-covered toga off her body, letting it fall to the ground. “Really, don’t mention it.”

Fade In:
Grace Hospital – Emergency Treatment Room – Evening

Kennedy leaned against the wall as the doctor finished bandaging Andrew’s head. Despite his best efforts, obvious pain showed in his expression.

“There, that should do it,” the doctor told Andrew, before turning to Kennedy. “Make sure your friend gets plenty of rest. Watch for any dizziness, irritability or prolonged headaches. No strenuous activity for a while, at least until he’s had a follow up visit with your regular physician, okay?”

“Sure thing, doc,” Kennedy said. “We’ll take good care of him.”

“Good,” the doctor replied. “I’ll send the nurse in with your discharge papers. Good luck to you, Mr. Wells.”

“How’s Edgar?” Andrew asked as soon as the doctor had left the room.

“Faith said he was gonna be okay,” Kennedy said. “Ro either hit him a lot harder than you were hit or, more likely, you’ve got a harder head. They’re gonna keep him overnight, just to make sure he’s alright.”

“That’s good,” Andrew said with a relieved sigh.

“Hey, Andrew,” Kennedy said, helping him into his jacket. “I’m glad, for your sake, he wasn’t evil. I know he’s special to you, even if he’s got a dumb crush on me.”

Andrew shrugged. “I knew he wasn’t evil, Kennedy. And he’s really not that special. Just, you know…a special friend, that’s all.”

“Yeah, I got one of those…her name’s Willow.” Kennedy laughed. 

Andrew leaned heavily on the slayer as she helped him off the examining table. “Not like that,” he insisted. “I can’t think about things like that. I’m a man on a mission of redemption,” he stated overdramatically. “I have a lot of bad things to make up for before I can worry about being…you know…happy.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, Andrew,” Kennedy said, looking into the young man’s eyes. “Yeah, you got a lot of making up to do, but you’re only human. We all make mistakes, y’know.”

“Not you,” Andrew said. He shrugged her off and headed for the exit on his own.

Kennedy watched him a moment longer and then whispered under her breath, “Says you.”

Fade In:
Watchers Council Entrance – Evening

Willow, Robin, and Giles were waiting for the demon hunters to return from the hospital, and helping clean out the water-soaked barracks, when they saw the Jeep pull up outside. All three of them went outside to meet the team. Willow smirked at their appearance and Giles gingerly took his battered trophy from Faith.

“All taken care of,” Faith said. “Defective weapons and all.”

“Well, they’re the only gold weapons we have,” Giles defended. “Or at least had…” He continued examining the bent foil. “Thank you so much for slaying my trophy.”

“No problem!” Faith said. “Demon’s dead. Wizard’s dead and Andrew’s head is gonna survive its encounter with the feqlor.”

“Good to hear,” Willow said, looking at Kennedy’s torn and tattered appearance. ‘You okay?’ she silently mouthed to her lover, smiling when the slayer nodded.

“Er, Rowena,” Giles said, clearly uncomfortable using her first name. “A lot of the slayers are bunking over on this side tonight in some of the guest quarters, but we’ve found a place for you if you wish to stay.”

Willow looked to Giles with a bit of disbelief. “Why is she in the club?” Willow asked him.

“Hey!” Rowena protested. “I really am trying to help here.”

“Thank you for all your assistance tonight,” Giles said, ignoring the bickering pair.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Giles,” Rowena replied with a slight glare to Willow, who simply shrugged it off. “If I can have access to a phone and a computer, then I’d like to start contacting some members of the Old Guard still in England. They might know where Kennedy’s sister is. I don’t think all of them agree with Tyrell’s methods.”

“You realize that if you continue to assist us, you’ll be putting yourself and your family in even more danger,” Giles pointed out.

“I know,” Rowena said. “It’s a chance I’m willing to take.”

“Thanks,” Kennedy said, a small pout on her face at having to show gratitude.

Willow nodded, “Yeah, thanks.”

“Well, I’m gonna hit the showers,” Faith said, pulling her sticky shirt away from her body. “That feqlor stunk.”

Before they could get more than two feet towards the lobby doors, a car pulled up and Agents Ford and Walters from the INS strode over with two uniformed police officers following them.

“Mr. Giles,” Agent Ford began. “You are hereby placed under arrest for violation of Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 75, Section 1546 of the US Immigration Code, specifically fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents. If you are found guilty of such violations you may be subject to not more than 15 years imprisonment or deportation. Would you like to contact an attorney, sir?” 

“Giles?” Willow asked, fear in her voice.

Black Out


To Be Continued…

End of Untimely Arrivals


On the next episode of Watchers

With the struggle between the old and new versions of the Watchers Council coming to a head, Rowena is forced to make a choice between her past and her future.


Click here to read “Broken Allies” now!