Guest Starring: Yancy Butler as Eemia, Carly Schroeder as Marsha and Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
“Why Anya?” Willow asked herself out loud. “Or better yet, why me? I did everything the way I should. Right herbs. Right method. A strong emotional attachment to the dead. A big fat check to all of the above. Of course, I didn’t stop to think that emotional attachment would be… antagonism?”
Anya hadn’t waited for Willow to finish. She too was busy talking to herself.
“Naturally I had to make contact with you,” Anya muttered in frustration, waving an arm in Willow’s direction. “Couldn’t have been any one of the millions of witches in the world. Not the cute guy in Texas who reminded me of Xander or that girl in Boston. Had to be Willow. In Cleveland, of all places.”
They both stopped when they realized that they were speaking at the same time but neither was listening to the other. There was a moment of silence. Willow was the first to break it, her expression seeming to soften before she spoke.
“So Anya, what can I do for you?” she said, rather perturbed.
Anya, equally agitated, replied, “Why should I tell you? It’s not like you listened to me when I was alive. Why would the fact that I’m dead change anything?”
“Well if you –”
Anya just kept talking.
“And let’s not forget the fact that Spike’s little fashion accessory destroyed Sunnydale, which means everyone is pretty much scattered to the wind because no one wants to live in a big hole. Did you know it’s just a hole now and did you know my body is someplace under that hole? With not so much as a headstone, I should add. At least Tara and Joyce got a headstone when they died. I mean isn’t that part of the ritual and the grieving process? And what about the mall? It’s totally gone and it was one of the best in California, if you ask me.”
“What?” Willow replied, shaking her head, trying to follow her logic. “Anya, you’re dead. You don’t need to go shopping,” she said.
“I know. But I’m an intangible spirit. I can at least go and browse,” Anya pointed out.
“Exactly,” Willow said pointing to the door. “You can go to any store in the world – Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Fifth Avenue in New York – Oh! The Miracle Mile in Chicago a-and…my Goddess, I can’t believe I’m arguing with you about this.”
Anya was silent for a moment, and then spoke up again.
“That’s beside the point. And that’s not even my biggest complaint.”
Willow crossed her arms and looked at Anya skeptically. “Really? This should be a real gem.”
In reaction to Willow’s demeanor, Anya took a similar pose with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
“Yes, really. You left my body behind to get swallowed up with everything else, as I said, but it would have been nice to have a decent funeral – now I know for a fact you have to have those when someone dies.”
Willow looked at Anya in shock. “At least we held a memorial service. Aren’t you happy with that?”
Anya let a small, but sad, smile creep across her face. “Yes. I was there. It was nice, but it wasn’t just for me. It was for everyone and damn it, I thought I was important.”
Willow’s expression softened again and she stood up, taking a few steps closer as Anya continued.
“I never realized until that moment that things would be different for everyone. I just thought that people might miss me. Even you, Willow, despite all of our differences.”
Willow looked like she was going to begin to cry at that. “I do miss you, Anya,” she admitted. She moved to hug Anya, but simply passed through and stumbled, nearly breaking the circle.
“Careful. I’m still non-corporeal,” Anya said. “And be careful about the circle. If you break it without properly banishing me, I won’t ever be able to return to this plane.”
Willow looked at her quizzically. “Really?”
“Yeah. I don’t know how I know. I just do. I guess it’s one of those knowledge things you just kinda get when you die,” Anya said with a shrug. “Everything comes into focus and you have a greater understanding of how life and death and the afterlife works. Death really is great! I know you’re still on the mortal plane and you’ll never understand it until you die, but for once, take my word. Death is only terrible for the living.”
Willow considered her words a moment but then took a step back to her supplies. She bent down to pick up a bag of herbs, different from the ones she used earlier. As she did, she spoke to Anya.
“Well, if that’s really all you have to say, I guess –” she began, but she was cut off by Anya, again.
When Anya spoke, however, she was no longer a glib or sarcastic woman. Instead, worry dripped from her voice like melting ice cream. “Actually, no. That’s not what I’m here to say. You need to find Xander.”
Willow, having noticed the worry in Anya’s voice, dropped her herbs and looked intently at the spirit. “What about Xander?” she asked.
Watchers Council – Library – Night
Books were splayed about at the end of the long table. In the distance, Rowena was walking with an open book through the stacks when she spotted Giles on the other side of a shelf.
“So, what exactly are we researching?” she asked, peering at him through an opening in the stacks.
“The general history of Cleveland,” Giles responded, without looking up from his book.
“Well, that narrows it down,” she answered with a grin.
“The city has a long history of odd occurrences.” Giles told her as they walked back to the table together and met at the end of the stack. “I’d like to know about them in case we’re faced with them again in the future. With more and more watchers and slayers coming in to begin training, it’s important that we begin putting together lesson plans.”
Rowena looked ready to reply, but the door opened to cut her off. In walked Robin, trailed by Kennedy and Faith.
“Hey, Giles,” Faith said as she walked in. “You might wanna rethink that whole demons and vamps hating Halloween thing. Ken and I just finished dusting two of them.”
Giles and Rowena both snapped their heads in Faith’s direction, both suddenly very attentive.
“Really?” Giles asked. He took a seat at the table, as did Rowena. “Wha – what happened?”
Faith and Kennedy looked at each other. Then back at Giles.
“Nothing, really,” Faith said.
“Yeah, just the standard punch, kick, poke, poof,” Kennedy finished.
Robin spoke up from behind them. “Tell them the rest.”
Faith turned and looked at him, confused.
“Huh,” she said. “Oh yeah! One vamp said something just before I dusted it. ‘If you kill me, she shall rise’ or something weird like that.”
Giles bolted out of his chair. He moved around to the bookshelf behind him and grabbed a book off the shelf.
“What is it?” Robin asked.
Giles set the book down on top of the other one he’d been going over.
“Tonight is a very special night…” he began.
But Kennedy interrupted him. “Yeah. Willow told me about it,” she said. “Something called Samwise.”
“Samhain,” Giles corrected, pronouncing the correct ‘sow – en.’ “And yes, it is special because of the thinning of the dimensional barriers. But I mean this particular night.”
He flipped through the pages of the book. He stopped suddenly and started to skim down one of them. He stopped about half way down the page.
“Yes,” he exclaimed and turned the book so Rowena could see it. “There, you see?”
Rowena picked up the book. She read the section Giles had pointed to.
“It says here that every thousand years, on this night, the barriers are particularly thin, allowing certain demons to cross into this world from a certain dimension,” she paraphrased from the book. “Only thing is, this doesn’t reference the demon or the dimension.”
Giles grabbed the book out of her hands and began to read for himself.
“What about that Opus book of yours you let yourself get bludgeoned over? Will that explain it?” Faith asked.
“Well, that book contains the most famous slayer conflicts and the history of the watcher line. If she’s popular then she might appear in it, but if not, then…”
“Hitting more books?” Robin asked.
Rowena grinned. “And you thought your days of being the student were over, huh, Mr. Principal?”
Giles closed the book and turned to Faith and Kennedy.
“We need to see the spot where you fought these vampires right away,” he told them as he rushed out the door. The others looked at each other, momentarily confused, before following.
Cemetery – Moments Later
The group arrived at the cemetery and Faith showed them the location. There they found a large hole in the ground. Faith walked up to it.
“Okay, now that wasn’t here before,” she observed.
Kennedy stepped up beside her. She picked up a rock and dropped it in. They never heard it land.
“Wow,” Kennedy said. “That is a deep hole.”
Robin was the next to join them. “What kind of vampire would rise from that deep of a grave?”
From behind them, Giles spoke. “Oh, bloody hell.”
They all turned around to see Giles and Rowena looking at the book. Both of their faces had fallen into looks of despair and shock.
“What is it?” Robin asked.
“This isn’t a grave,” Giles replied. “It’s a dimensional portal. Something much, much worse than a vampire has risen here.”
He stopped and simply stared at the hole in the ground.
“Well, what is it?” Faith asked impatiently.
But the voice that answered was not Giles’s. Nor was it human.
They all whirled around to see what had answered. The demon was nearly seven feet tall. She looked similar to a vampire but her features were much more bat-like in nature, except for her full head of hair. She was dressed in the tattered remains of what looked like Roman ceremonial garb.
Giles handed the book to Rowena and moved to stand between the demon and the rest of the group.
“I know who you are,” he said, “Eemia, the Corrupter.”
“Oh good,” the demon responded mockingly. “I’m glad one of you does. I’ve been under for so long, I thought maybe everyone had forgotten about me.”
Eemia began to move closer to the group and Faith and Kennedy braced themselves for an attack.
“Things have changed since the last time you rose,” Giles continued. “There is no longer just one slayer.”
“All the better,” she laughed.
“It only took one to defeat you before. The world has hundreds now,” he said.
“Yes, I know. I’ve been keeping tabs on this world for the past thousand years. Quite interesting.” She stopped and sneered at Faith and Kennedy. “I can even smell the power on these two. It won’t help you though. I’m stronger now – much stronger.”
That was the last straw. Faith had been holding herself back the whole time. Now she lunged at the demon. “We’ll see about that!”
“Faith, no!” Giles shouted.
But it did no good. She tried tackling the demon, but it merely swatted her away like an annoyance. She landed hard on the ground but it didn’t faze her. She just sprang back to her feet and confronted it again. Without wasting a second, she delivered a right cross to its jaw. It used the momentum to spin around and hit her with the back of its fist, sending Faith flying again.
At first Faith didn’t move and Robin ran up to her, kneeling at her side.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Fine,” she answered, trying to stand up. “But now that bitch’s got me pissed.”
Kennedy jumped in at that point, but instead of swinging with her arms, she went into a slide. She managed to knock Eemia’s legs out from under her, but in doing so the demon landed next to Kennedy, instead of on her back. Kennedy rolled, hoping to pin her to the ground.
“Hmmm,” Eemia said with an evil chuckle. “You look as if you like it on top.”
Kennedy, however, didn’t stay that way for long. Eemia gripped her arms and rolled her over again. She held her in place and ran her hand up her arm to her neck. The demon’s hand moved along Kennedy’s neck and caressed her face like a sick, sadistic lover might. Kennedy struggled against it, fear and anger enveloping her .
“We need to call a retreat,” Rowena told Giles. “Now.”
Before they could issue another warning, Faith returned to the battle. She jumped and kicked the demon in the shoulder. The kick had little effect aside from knocking the wind out of Faith when she landed squarely on her back. The demon looked over at her and chuckled as Faith winced from the pain.
Not able to stand back any longer, Robin, Giles and Rowena ran over and combining their strength they managed to work Kennedy free enough so Faith could deliver another kick. The two watchers grabbed Kennedy, while Robin pulled Faith away before she could continue the fight.
Once clear, the group began to back away from the demon.
“Is that all you have? Two little girls and the ability to run away?” Eemia taunted, malicious but still casual. “I figured in the millennia I’ve been dormant, humanity would have found a way to grow stronger. Instead you’ve grown fat, stupid and weak. I don’t know why I would even bother with any of the lot of you, except for you,” the demon pointed at Kennedy. “You look good enough to eat, little girl, so don’t worry about the girlfriend who you think pines for her dead lover.”
Kennedy stood motionless, her mouth agape and her feet rooted to the ground. As Eemia began to walk toward them, the group, except for Kennedy, turned and broke into a sprint back to their vehicle. Rowena looked back to see Kennedy um-moving. She darted back toward the slayer and pulled her along.
“Come on,” Rowena said, with a tug to Kennedy’s arm that got her attention. With that, the two ran for the car.
Eemia began to laugh but didn’t give chase. “Maybe returning to this plane won’t be so bad after all,” she snickered.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time
“What’s wrong with Xander?” Willow pressed. “Is he in some sort of danger?”
Anya simply glared at her in shock. “Of course he’s in danger, Willow,” she yelled, frustrated. “I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
Willow began to pace around the circle, trying to think.
“Well, what kind of danger?” she asked.
“The worst kind.”
“Mortal danger?” Willow questioned.
Anya sighed. “Yes, but it’s much deeper than that. He’s in spiritual danger too, you know?”
Willow clenched her jaw in frustration. “Look, Anya, just because you’re dead and an intangible spirit doesn’t mean you can get all higher powery with the riddles and answering a question with a question,” Willow scolded. “Can you spell it out for us death-deprived?”
Anya sighed again and began to calm. In a steady, even voice she spoke, with a hint of urgency. “If you don’t find Xander and get him back here soon, and I mean, matter of weeks soon, he’ll be lost to all of us. Including me. I will never be able to find his spirit again.”
Willow looked at Anya with resolve. “Anya, I need to know more. What exactly are you saying?”
“I’m saying he’ll be dead, Willow.
End of Act One