Old Guard Mansion – Afternoon
Jordon Tyrell towered over Rowena’s slumped body, which was strapped to a wooden chair. He lifted her head up by the hair to look at her face. Her right eye was swollen, almost shut and blood trickled from her mouth and her nose.
He let her hair go and her head dropped down again. Then he casually strolled around the chair and lit a cigarette, inhaling and exhaling slowly.
“I’m getting tired of asking this question, Rowena,” he told her as he paused in front of her. He brought the cigarette down until it barely touched her skin. A small groan escaped her mouth as she felt the heat. A series of burns already lined her arm. “Where is the book?”
“What book?” she retorted smugly.
Jordon clenched his teeth in frustration and slowly pushed the cigarette into her skin, making her scream.
“The Opus Obscurum! Where is it?!” he yelled.
Rowena took a deep breath and closed her eyes, as if to shut down the burning nerve endings in her arm. She began to chuckle in defiance and Jordon’s face turned red.
“Say, any chance of me getting back my laptop that you stole?” she quipped, even as her head bobbed back and forth at the effort of trying to stay upright.
Jordon replied with a backhand that shot Rowena’s head back into the chair. She tried to rise up, but her body was giving into the stress. The veins in Jordon’s temple bulged from anger as he grabbed Rowena by the throat. She began to choke, but then started to move her mouth, as if to try to talk.
At this, Jordan let her go. “Tell me!” he screamed.
“You know.” She coughed briefly before continuing. “This isn’t the first time I’ve been choked this week. But I gotta admit, the woman who had me by the throat, she was more man than you. Probably better in bed, too,” she added with a chuckle.
Jordon howled in frustration and reached into his jacket, pulling out his nine mm handgun from his shoulder holster and cocking it. He raised it to her forehead as one of the guards rushed up to his side. Rowena didn’t flinch. Instead, her good eye bore rebelliously into Jordon’s, refusing to break contact, as if challenging him to do it.
“James said we can’t kill her,” the guard reminded him.
“That’s right,” Rowena smirked. “Ask Daddy, Jordon, and he’ll tell you… knowledge is power.”
Jordon paused a moment before quickly pistol-whipping her, knocking her unconscious. Stuffing the gun back into his shoulder holster, he turned to the two guards.
“That’s it! Get her outta here!” he bellowed as he stormed out of the interrogation room.
The two guards untied Rowena and began to drag her down the hall by her arms.
Old Guard Mansion – Cell – Moments Later
Giles shot to his feet as he heard the door unlock. He watched as the guards pulled Rowena’s battered body inside. He raced over and softened her descent when they simply let her drop. He watched them leave and relock the door before looking down at her.
“Dear Lord,” Giles exclaimed softly. “Why are they targeting you?”
Giles lifted his shirt over his head and took off his undershirt, using it to tend to Rowena’s battered face as she came back to consciousness.
“Better get dressed,” Rowena told him weakly. “Don’t want the cavalry coming in here and seeing you half naked. They might get the wrong idea.” She tried to grin.
He gave a half-chuckle and grinned as well. “You certainly have spirit,” he commended. “You remind me of Buffy, a-and even Willow, in that regard.”
“Spirit is overrated,” she said, trying to sit up. “It just leads to more torture, I’m learning.”
“Again I’ll ask, why you? I could see Tyrell wanting revenge on me.”
Rowena motioned Giles closer with a crooked finger and whispered in his ear. “They think I have the Opus Obscurum. Ever heard of it?” she asked with a knowing grin.
Giles pulled back with a look of surprise but quickly nodded before Rowena pulled him closer again. “They’re only half right.”
“Meaning?” Giles asked.
“I figured they were on to me, so I pulled a switch. It’s in your library. Third floor. Third bookcase. Behind the third row. So if I make it out alive, and no matter what you decide regarding my place in your Council, it’s yours, Mr. Giles. I heard what you told Tyrell that night – it’s not about control or status. It’s about fighting evil. You and your Cleveland crew are trying to do that. Tyrell and the Old Guard don’t deserve the information that’s inside…I’d like to not screw up. I’d like it to be something that I get right for once.”
“I-I don’t know what to say,” Giles told her, overwhelmed with emotion, his voice cracking slightly. “I-I think you’re selling yourself short, Rowena. You survived incredible odds and you succeeded in your mission.”
“Well, tell me you won’t let them have it – under any circumstances,” she answered. “It’s hard to see the accomplishment here. My potential is still dead because I was on a quest for Travers when the Bringers arrived.” Rowena paused as if she was remembering the events. “I returned just in time to watch the Council go up in flames, everything I had known destroyed. I was too late to help her. I was too late to help them.”
“You can’t do it all,” Giles told her. “We all worked together for years in Sunnydale, each one of us doing our part. The destruction of the Council, or even the death of your potential shouldn’t be on your shoulders. Like all of us, you did what you could.”
Rowena gave him a dismal grin. “Yeah, like Tyrell who was going to save the Council, right? When I saw what he was doing, putting together a group of dinosaurs and misfits like DeVeer to rebuild the council, I waited. I told them I failed in the mission but kept it with me. Obviously Tyrell’s smart enough to know that failure is not an option in my life. Lucky me, huh?” she added with a half-hearted chuckle, her battered face wincing in pain. “I don’t think he realizes how terrible I feel about it all. I got the book, yes, but not without a price. So I just hope and pray it’s safe with you Mr. Giles.”
“I won’t say anything,” Giles insisted. “You have my word.”
“Good,” Rowena grinned. “And you should know I’d heard of you,” she added. “I mean long before Tyrell gave me the detailed report to use in my examination of your Council.”
“Yes well, I can’t say my methods matched the Council’s expectations.”
“But that’s exactly why you were known, and I’m learning it’s not a bad thing,” Rowena complimented. “You were THE Watcher, Mr. Giles, to THE Slayer. Many men and women were envious of your position, but I think if they took a closer look they’d find that status doesn’t come without a price too. You didn’t have the luxury of the safety of the council walls. And sadly, as many of them found out, those walls weren’t as safe as they assumed. You put yourself in the battle where they did not. And guess who’s alive today?”
“It was luck, really,” Giles said with a shrug.
“No. It was years of experience,” she insisted. “Everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know why at first. But the survivors are the ones who recognize that, Mr. Giles.” Rowena paused and swallowed hard. She licked her dry lips before continuing. “They try to learn and understand their history, like you have, because it helps them stay one step ahead. Look at me a moment, shall we? Two weeks ago I was safe in a London flat. Now I’m bleeding in a cell in Cleveland. I mean, come on! Of all the places I could die did it have to be Cleveland?” she quipped. “Seriously though, there’s a reason I’m here…I just don’t know why yet. Or maybe I’ve already served my purpose by giving you the book and now the rest is up to you. Who’s to say?”
“Well,” Giles began as he softly ran his fingers through her hair. “I assure you when we get out of this – and t-that’s when, not if – you’ll have a place in my council should you decide to stay.”
“How can you be so sure we’ll make it out of here alive?” she asked sincerely.
Without hesitation, he answered her. “Because Willow is leading them now.”
“I’ll take your word for it then…And for what it’s worth, thank you, Mr. Giles, for the offer.”
“Call me Giles or Rupert,” Giles paused a moment in consideration. “Actually, call me Giles – everyone else does.” He grinned down warmly at her and she quietly returned the expression.
“Okay Giles, with that bit of business out of the way, do you mind if I just pass out for a little while?” she asked as she rested her tired, battered body against him.
He simply continued to stroke her hair.
Old Guard Mansion – Gates – Afternoon
Willow crouched beside Kennedy as a group of five slayers knelt behind them, awaiting instructions. Willow unhooked the walkie talkie from her belt and pressed the side button.
“Are you there, Faith?”
A static sound came over the radio and they heard Faith reply, “Yeah. South and East seem pretty wide open. Not much activity over here. You?”
“Not much to the West but the North seems pretty heavily guarded. I’ve counted five men. Seems they’ve assembled at the front of the house, probably guessing we’d never show up,” Willow answered.
“They figured wrong.”
Willow grinned upon hearing the smirk in Faith’s voice come through the handset.
“Let’s come in from the East and the West,” Willow told her.
“Meet in the middle?” Faith asked
“If all goes well,” Willow answered with a grin. “What’s your time?”
“Ah, 3:32,” Faith answered.
Willow reset her watch after handing the walkie talkie to Kennedy for a moment. “We all go in at 3:42. Agreed?” Willow said after taking it back.
“You got it, Boss. Over and out.”
“Copy that.” Willow stood up and strapped the walkie talkie back on her hip and took a deep sigh as she watched the house. “Okay, we’ve gotta move these girls to the West.”
“I wish you hadn’t done that,” Kennedy said softly as she also rose to her feet.
Willow looked confused. “Done what?” she asked.
“What you said back at the Council. I have to lead these girls and cutting me down in front of them doesn’t help,” Kennedy replied.
“Neither does undermining my authority,” Willow countered.
Kennedy rolled her shoulders nervously. “Yeah, well, besides that…it hurt.”
Willow’s expression softened after seeing the pained expression on Kennedy’s face. “It wasn’t personal,” she insisted.
“It sure seemed personal to me,” Kennedy countered.
Willow sighed and ran her hand up Kennedy’s arm. “The only thing personal at the moment is my need to get in there and rescue Giles in nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds,” she told Kennedy as she pointed to her watch. “What I said at the headquarters had nothing to do with us. It was strictly business. Honest. Did ya think I wanted you gone?”
Kennedy took a deep breath. “You tell me.”
“Of course not,” Willow went on. “But I had to maintain order and I need all those girls to fall in line and do as I said, including you.”
Kennedy sighed. “Yeah, okay. It’s just…” She paused a moment. “I’ve never seen you like that – authoritative, dominating.” Slowly a grin came to Kennedy’s face. “Actually, I kinda liked it in a way, but still,” she said, shaking the smirk from her face.
“This from the woman who wears a slave bracelet as costume jewelry,” Willow teasingly muttered. Her face grew serious again though and she pointed to her watch. “I don’t have much time to explain this, so don’t take offense, okay? I respect you. I’m thankful to have you in my life. But I can’t always give you what you want. You told me yourself you’re a brat. Just know there will come a time, like today, when I have to put my foot down. Doesn’t mean I ever stop caring. It only means I’m doing what I have to do. In fact it’s because I care for you – and all these girls – I’m so adamant that we take precautions here. Understand?”
“Yeah, I get it,” Kennedy told her. “And I’m sorry I gave you a tough time. You’re only doing your job.”
“It’s good to question authority sometimes, but now is not one of those times because I’m right…Oh God, I am a watcher. Not only am I turning into Andrew, I’m turning into Giles too.” Willow smiled and looked at her watch again. “Go on and start leading the girls around the side.”
Kennedy gave her a reassuring grin. “Ma’am, yes ma’am.” She winked before leaving.
Old Guard Mansion – East Wing – Minutes Later
Two men heard a knock at the door and looked at each other. They both got up and answered the call. Faith stood in the doorway, hands on her hips.
“Hi, I’m Faith,” she told them with a polite smile. “I’ll be rescuing some watchers today.”
With cat-like speed, she grabbed both men by the hair, crashing their heads together and knocking them unconscious. Quietly, her team of girls crept inside.
Old Guard Mansion – West Wing – Same Time
Two Old Guard members opened the door to find Andrew standing before them holding a box. “Good afternoon, kind Sirs. I’m with the Boy Scouts of America and I was wondering if you’d like to buy some cookies. They’re made with –”
They began to close the door but Kennedy pushed her way through, knocking one of them to the ground as the girls began to pile inside. The other man began to run toward what looked like a control panel of some kind and Willow announced, “Encase,” in a firm voice. The man froze in position with a glowing light around him. He opened his mouth to scream but with a wave of Willow’s hand he was left mute.
“Is he stuck that way?” Andrew asked the Wiccan.
“For now,” Willow told him. “Once we get out I’ll release him. No permanent damage.”
“Unlike you,” Kennedy said to the unconscious man at her feet. “You’re gonna feel that in the morning.”
Vi and Rona came over to Andrew. “Boy Scout cookies?” Vi asked. “That was the best you could come up with?”
“It’s all that came to my mind, okay?”
“Boy Scouts don’t even sell friggin cookies,” Rona added.
“Can we save the cookie discussion for later?” Willow said. “Watchers to rescue here – come on and focus, people.”
“Right,” Rona nodded. “Where to?”
“We need to find a link into their security system. Someplace private,” Willow told her.
Kennedy, who had worked her way down the hallway, pointed to a room and asked quietly, “Will this do?”
Willow and Andrew looked inside the room, saw it was filled with computer equipment and shared a smile. “Nicely,” Willow said, looking back into the room.
Old Guard Mansion – Hallway – Moments Later
Faith led her girls down a vacant hallway, then motioned for them to stop when she heard voices coming from inside a closed door. She moved a bit closer and listened in.
Old Guard Mansion – Room Interior – Same time
“You did what?” Tyrell asked his son.
“What you told me to do!” Jordon answered, his voice rising. “I questioned her. Simple as that.”
“By nearly beating her to death?” Tyrell challenged.
“You have your methods, Father, and I have mine.”
“We are not a group of dime store thugs, Jordon! As my son –”
“Your son? Face it father! Rowena is more your child than I ever was! She was a watcher. She was the destined one. And to this day you still protect her! What about what she did to me?”
“Now is not the time for personal vendettas, Jordon!”
“Can we put the family dysfunction on hold long enough to resolve the real matter?” DeVeer asked, who until that point sat silently in the corner.
“Yes,” Tyrell answered. He straightened out his suit jacket, getting back to business. “Jordon,” he continued as he turned to address him, “You are no longer to have any contact whatsoever with Rowena Allister. Do you understand me? Vincent will handle her from this point forward, as well as keeping watch over Mr. Giles.”
Jordon acted like he was about to reply when DeVeer took a few steps forward and put a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry,” DeVeer told Tyrell with a formal nod. “I’ll see to them both personally.”
Old Guard Mansion – Computer Room – Moments Later
“I’m in,” Andrew announced as he typed away on the keyboard.
A series of camera views came up on the monitor but one shot in particular caught their eye. It was a room with Giles and Rowena sitting on the floor. Andrew tapped a few keys to maximize the view so the others could get a closer look.
“Is Giles shirtless?” he asked.
“That ole dog,” Kennedy added with a chuckle.
Willow looked in closer. “Andrew, move in on them. I want a better look,” she told him.
“Okay, that’s just plain kinky,” he said, tapping at the keyboard again.
Willow slapped him lightly on the back of the head. “Just do it!” she told him, trying to keep her voice down but get her message across.
He did and the group let out a groan in unison upon seeing the battered Rowena and a bloody undershirt in Giles’s hand. “That’s what I thought,” Willow told them. “We’ve got to get them out – now. Which room, Andrew?”
He examined the monitors and typed a bit more before turning around to face her. “South hallway, third door, but I can’t pinpoint right or left from these diagrams.”
“Okay,” Willow said, taking a deep breath. “Ken, you and the girls stay here.”
“What? I don’t think so,” the brunette protested.
“Andrew has to keep tabs on them and someone is bound to come back to this room. He’s our ears and eyes. You have to protect him.”
Kennedy opened her mouth as if she was going to argue, but quickly shut it. She gave her a grin instead. “Yes ma’am,” she answered with a nod.
Willow gave a knowing smirk and turned to Vi and Rona. “I need you two to head toward the west wing and meet Faith. Tell her where I’m at, okay?”
“You got it, Willow,” Vi nodded.
“But be careful,” the witch added. “Remember, stealthy not crossbowy. We’re dealing with humans, well, except for DeVeer, and I have my doubts about Tyrell. Follow me?”
“We gotcha. Demon casualties okay. Human casualties no,” Rona replied for the both of them.
“Right. Okay, let’s go,” Willow said, nodding them outside. She turned to leave but Kennedy snagged her by the arm.
“Hey,” she began. She leaned over, kissing Willow softly on the lips. “You be careful too, Red.”
“Always,” Willow responded, before she too exited the room.
Old Guard Mansion – Giles’s and Rowena’s Jail Cell – Moments Later
DeVeer walked up to the two attending guards. “Take off, boys,” he told them. “I’ve got it from here.”
They looked at each other, unsure for a moment, but then handed over the key and walked away, happy for the respite. Once they were gone, DeVeer grinned and unlocked the door.
Rowena was lying against Giles with her eyes closed when she heard the door unlock.
“Oh God,” she muttered. “No rest for the wicked, obviously.”
She opened her eyes to see DeVeer standing over them. Subconsciously both she and Giles tried to back up as they watched his eyes go black.
“The Old Guard wants you under control. But the Presidium wants you gone. Either way, it ends here.”
“Presidium?” Giles asked, as if trying to remember the name. “You have another boss I’m assuming?”
“Now I can’t tell you everything, Mr. Giles,” he tisked with his finger. “That would be like tying you to the railroad tracks before Dudley DoRight comes in and saves the day. Then again, you don’t have any Dudleys around to save you, do you?”
Suddenly DeVeer felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around.
“You?” DeVeer replied, obviously shocked.
Brell stood before him, with a determined expression on his face. “Me!”
As he answered, the tire iron Brell swung connected with DeVeer’s jaw and he dropped to the ground, totally out.
“Can’t kill Brell by stabbing!” the demon smirked at Giles and Rowena.
At that moment, Willow and Faith both raced through the open door, arriving at the same time from opposite ends of the hallway. They moved slowly inside to find Brell smiling over the fallen demon.
“We’re here to save you?” Willow announced to Giles with a hint of uncertainty. She looked around the small room and sensed no immediate danger.
Rona and Vi helped Rowena to her feet as Faith leaned down and tossed Giles his sweater.
“You know,” Faith said, taking in Giles with an appraising eye, “for a guy your age, you’re still in damn good shape, Giles.”
Bashfully he put on his crewneck. “Can we just make our escape now?”
“What about him?” Willow said, nodding to DeVeer.
Giles paused a moment. “I’m going to find Tyrell. You girls take Rowena home. Get everyone else out.”
Willow crossed her arms. “I’m not leaving you here alone, Giles.”
“Nuh-uh. No way. Not gonna happen,” she insisted.
“I’m staying too,” Rowena told him.
Giles gave a heavy sigh and faced Rowena. “You are in no condition –”
“No,” Rowena insisted. “It ends here. Today.”
Giles looked at both women and ran his fingers through his hair, considering their words.
“Alright then,” he relented. “Faith, see that the girls get out and we’ll follow behind you.”
“Brell stay too!” the demon told them.
“No Brell,” Giles insisted. “You go with the Slayers. They’ll get you home. You’ve got a wife and spawn, remember? You’ve done more than expected already. Go home, my friend. We’ll meet soon.”
Brell paused a moment and then nodded. “Be safe,” he told them, handing over the tire iron to Giles.
“I’ll get ’em all out,” Faith told them before she too headed for the exit.
“Faith,” Rowena called out. “Do you have a knife on you?”
Faith lifted her pant leg and took a short dagger out of an ankle scabbard, handing it over.
“Will this do?” she asked.
Rowena examined it for a moment. “Perfect,” she answered with a grin.
Old Guard Mansion – Tyrell’s Office – Moments Later
A groggy looking DeVeer appeared in the doorway of the office, making Tyrell and Jordon look up.
“Room for four more?” Rowena said, peeking out from behind DeVeer as she used him as a shield.
Seeing she had DeVeer by the throat with a knife, Jordon drew his gun, but Tyrell motioned him to put it down as Giles and Willow followed behind Rowena. Both men walked from behind the large bureau to face them.
“I see good help is hard to find,” Tyrell said in a disapproving tone to DeVeer.
“More than you obviously realize…What’s the Presidium?” Giles asked Tyrell.
“Excuse me?” Tyrell asked.
“He hasn’t a clue,” DeVeer told him with a snort. “They aren’t a real threat to the Presidium…Now, you on the other hand…”
Tyrell continued to wear a confused expression so Willow explained. “Seems you’ve got a demon double agent working for you, Mr. Tyrell.”
“What? That’s impossible!”
Rowena cut DeVeer’s cheek and yellow blood poured from the wound. “Guess again.”
DeVeer elbowed Rowena in the face and raced toward Tyrell. Jordon opened fire and the watchers all dove to the ground. Even after Jordon emptied his clip into him, DeVeer continued to advance. He threw Jordon against the wall with ease, knocking the wind out of him.
DeVeer grabbed the older Tyrell by the lapel of his coat, his third eye making its appearance on his forehead and his eyes turning pitch black, but suddenly DeVeer stopped with a pained expression on his face. His body fell to the ground and Tyrell could see Rowena standing and holding the dagger, now covered in yellow blood.
“Fadus demon,” she told him. “Only lethal weapon is a blade.”
Tyrell looked shaken for a moment but tried to regain his composure. He looked over to see the other committee members cautiously looking inside from an adjoining door to check on his well-being.
Mr. Meyer looked over at Rowena. His mouth opened wide as he walked inside and the others followed. “My God, Rowena! What happened?” he asked, noting her battered appearance.
“Ask Jordon,” she replied coldly.
“What’s going on here?” Meyer demanded of Tyrell.
Tyrell ignored the question and looked at Rowena. “This doesn’t change anything,” Tyrell told her. “You are still no longer a Council member.”
“You’re wrong. I am a Council member,” she retorted, looking back to give Giles a grin before facing Tyrell again. “And it’s all of you who’re mistaken. And speaking on behalf of the Council of Watchers,” she said, turning briefly to look at Giles again. “May I?” she asked him.
“Absolutely,” Giles nodded, prompting her to continue.
Rowena turned back to Tyrell. “Your team will leave Cleveland at once. You are hereby put on suspension pending an internal examination. If we deem you worthy to continue working within the Council, you will report to Mr. Robson, who heads our European bureau. Is that understood?”
Meyer shook his head and walked over to Rowena, still trying to catch up to the action. “Ro, sweetheart, what’s going on?” he asked less formally, getting a better look at her wounds as he approached.
“As if you don’t know,” she challenged. He looked genuinely bewildered and Ro’s attitude seemed to soften. “Jordon and the goon squad kidnapped me and Mr. Giles. They managed to have a Fadus demon join the ranks,” she said, pointing to the now dead demon at her feet. “Oh, and let’s not overlook the fact they tortured me.” She pointed to her face.
Meyer turned to Tyrell quickly with a fire in his eyes. “You did this?”
“No,” Tyrell insisted, then pointed to Jordon. “The boy got over zealous in his interrogation, that’s all.”
Meyer walked over, coming nose to nose with Tyrell.
“The council doesn’t turn on its own. Regardless of how you, or your son, feel about Rowena,” he stressed, “this matter was handled shoddily at best.”
“Now wait!” Tyrell began. “We all agreed that desperate measures –”
“Yes, you said you wanted the book, but physically torturing a watcher for something she might or might not possess is going too far, James. I’m sorry, but you don’t have the proper judgment to run a bake sale, let alone the council. So consider yourself relieved of your duties as Chief Officer.” Meyer turned to Rowena. “I’m sorry for what’s happened here,” he told her sincerely. “You have my apologies.”
“I don’t need your apologies,” she told him firmly. “Nor do we need your approval. But speaking personally, Mr. Meyer, thank you. Now the same condition applies to all of you that applies to Mr. Tyrell. If you plan to continue working for the Watchers Council, you will all report to Mr. Robson. Got it?”
Meyer took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. He gave her a small bow. “I’ll see that the team leaves in the next forty-eight hours and I will personally contact Mr. Robson with a list of members, Ms. Allister.”
“Very well then,” she told them. She started to leave but then turned sharply and threw the dagger at Jordon. He looked up from examining his gun to see the blade sticking in the wall inches away from his head.
“You missed,” he smirked.
“I know,” she told him. “If I was a lesser person you’d be dead now,” she said. She walked over and pulled the knife from the wall and placed it under his chin. “You so much as breathe in my general direction ever again, you will be.”
Rowena turned back to the room. “Our work here is finished. You have your orders.”
Holding back grins, Giles and Willow followed her as she left the room.
Old Guard Mansion – Hallway – Moments Later
“Think they’ll listen?” Willow asked.
“I don’t feel they have a choice at this point,” Giles replied.
They walked a few more steps in silence before Willow spoke. “Well if that’s the case, you know what this means, don’t you?” Giles simply waited for her to continue. “I have to break your heart Giles. The engagement is off,” she said, bumping shoulders with him.
“Pity,” he said with a grin and paused a moment. “Does that mean I get the ring back?”
Willow grinned. “Hey, we’re parting as friends. Don’t push your luck.”
He gave a light chuckle as they walked along side by side.
Watchers Council – Rowena’s Living Room – Night
Rowena sat on her sofa with a cotton patch over her battered eye and a straw in her mouth, sipping from a glass. There was a knock at the door and she rose to answer it.
“Hey, mind if I come in?” Willow asked from the doorway.
“Not at all,” Rowena answered, letting her inside and closing the door.
Willow turned to face Rowena once she was inside. “How’s the arm doing?” Willow asked.
“Still stings like hell,” Rowena told her, yet managed to keep her grin.
“That’s what I thought,” Willow said knowingly. “Skin damage is one of the worst because it’s kinda linger-y. Had a run in with a flesh-eating demon, so I speak from experience. But I thought I might be able to help a-and speed things up a bit.”
Willow just nodded politely. “I-I know some people have a magic aversion. I mean it’s not like it’s mandatory and if you’d rather wait it out then –”
“No, no aversion. It’s okay,” Rowena reassured her. “What do I have to do?”
Willow pointed over to the sofa. “Let’s go over there. It’s just basic meditation, really, and you might experience some burning and itching at first, but that’s good because it means it’s working.”
Rowena rolled up her sleeve and took a seat on the middle cushion so Willow could sit beside her.
“Okay, give me your arm,” Willow said, opening her hands. “A-and just do some deep breathing for now.”
Rowena moved her bandaged arm over but instead of closing her eyes she started to grin.
“What?” Willow asked. “I know this seems silly but it really does work.” She nodded down to Rowena’s arm that she held in her hands.
“No, it’s not that,” Rowena told her. “It’s good to be around people again. I’ve been isolated this last year and…well, you might not realize it but you’ve got a wonderful team here.”
“Trust me. I realize and I thank the goddess every day for them,” Willow answered.
“Well, I know we got off on the wrong foot and I must confess I still don’t understand some of the things Mr. Giles does, but he’s effective. And intelligent…”
“Giles is the best,” Willow said sincerely.
“I don’t doubt that any longer,” Rowena countered. “I want the chance to start over and do things right, I guess.”
“That’s all any of us want in the end, I think,” Willow told her. Rowena nodded and took a deep breath. “So are we ready?”
Rowena gave her a nod and closed her eyes and Willow did the same.
“Thank you, Willow,” she said softly before they began.
The redhead grinned with her eyes still closed. “No problem.”
Fade to Black
End of Broken Allies
On the next episode of Watchers…
Halloween brings back old allies with much needed warnings, and also a powerful demon bent on world domination.