Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Night
“Dead?” Willow asked. “Why dead?”
“Why do you think? He’s lost his spirit to go on and it’s getting worse each day. You need to find him,” Anya said, incredulous.
Willow rolled her eyes. “Obviously,” she said. “I don’t even know where to begin but you seem to, since you can see him.”
Anya took a deep breath, more for the dramatic effect of calming herself than out of a need for oxygen. “I’m not sure actually. I figured you would know, since he’s your best friend, after all.”
“Yes, he’s my best friend, but he wanted space. He didn’t want to be a part of this life anymore,” Willow answered. “I mean, you are a spirit. You can find anyone or anything you want, right?”
“Well,” the other woman began, clearly frustrated. “Apparently there are limits even to that. According to the higher powers, if his emotions and thoughts with regards to me are skewed far enough, I won’t be able to find him. It doesn’t matter how much I care for him. It’s almost like he has unknowingly set up a barrier against me.” Anya paused for a moment. “It’s kinda like that silly show you and he used to watch together. The dead can hear the living, but only if you’re talking to us. He’s not talking.”
“Xena wasn’t a silly show!” Willow defended. “It was full of history a-and mythology. Not much of it true or accurate, mind you, but –”
“Let’s not forget, full of half-naked women,” Anya interrupted. “Which is the real reason you and Xander were glued to the TV every week.”
Willow blushed. Trying to change the subject, it was Willow’s turn to take a deep breath. “Anyway,” she exaggerated, “the last time I heard, he was going to go do the ‘get in touch with nature’ thing. Is that where you saw him?”
“Yes,” Anya responded. “He was in some beautiful mountains, but very depressed. He had a beard and long hair – rugged, but not in the sexy, manly way. And before he left he did try to get a job somewhere in western Washington. Seattle I think, but because of his missing eye they wouldn’t hire him. No one will, it seems. That’s when he went to go live like that psycho man who sent bombs in the mail to people like you who worship technology. And although I don’t think Xander would ever hurt anyone else, he’s hurting himself. He’s losing faith in everything in life.”
Anya paused. Willow looked bewildered as she tried to pull all the information together.
“Willow,” Anya said, interrupting her thought process. “If Xander kills himself, he might be lost to me forever.”
“How so? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want Xander dead, but you said death was just peachy,” Willow prodded. “I figured the sooner you had him back, the better, right?”
Anya shook her head. “No, it has to be a natural death, when it’s his proper time. But if he checks out early because he can’t go on living…” Anya paused a moment. “How can I explain this to a living mortal?” she muttered to herself. Her head shot up and her eyes went wide. “Karma! It’s like a cycle, and if you don’t complete your cycle, it’s like a skipping record. You stay in one place over and over until you get that push to get you going forward again. What that means is…”
“It could take lifetimes until you and Xander ever have the chance of meeting again,” Willow filled in.
“Exactly!” Anya told her. “You’re really good at grasping this, Willow. I must confess, I’m amazed and impressed,” she added in a perky voice. “But the fact remains the same, I’m worried about him and now that I think about it, I know why I ended up here. You’re the only one that can really help him.”
Willow tried putting a reassuring hand on Anya’s shoulder, but it simply passed through Anya’s body. “Sorry,” she said, backing away. “I keep forgetting.”
“It’s okay,” Anya said quietly. “I’m still trying to get used to it. It’s an interesting ability, being able to pass through things.”
Willow couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “I know,” she said. “I remember my night as a ghost.”
Anya looked at her quizzically. Then it clicked and she smiled slightly and nodded her understanding. Then Willow returned to serious mode.
“Look,” she said. “If I’m going to find him you need to tell me where he is.”
Anya shrugged. “I’m not sure. They’re mountainy mountains.”
“Well, are they snowy mountains like the Rockies? Misty mountains like the Smokies? Give me something to work with here, Anya.”
Anya looked as if she was thinking hard about it, trying to remember. Suddenly she got a look on her face as if the proverbial light bulb had gone on.
“I know…they were big mountains,” she said with a wide grin.
Willow sighed. “Well, he was in Washington, so that gives us someplace to begin,” she said. “He may be in the Cascade Range, but November is when the snowfall there really begins to pick up. That means we may have less time than we thought or he’s moved on. Either way, it’s going to be a difficult search at best.”
Both women looked at each other, the worry written all over their faces.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time
The group from the cemetery walked in, exhausted. Faith and Kennedy both sat down on the couch in the lobby. Robin stood behind them, while Giles and Rowena both stood in front of them. Faith spoke up first.
“Okay, what the hell was that thing?” she asked.
“Eemia,” Giles said calmly.
“E-mail?” Kennedy asked, perplexed. “That’s an odd name for a demon.”
“Eemia,” Giles corrected.
“Oh,” Kennedy said, slumping back into her seat.
“A female demon. We don’t often see that. But hey, the spawn of the underworld gotta have a momma, don’t they?” Faith piped in. “And I’m sure the guys in Demonville have to get their rocks off every now and then.”
Everyone got a very disgusted look on their faces.
“Okay, I’d rather not think about that, thank you,” Robin said, “Giles, what do we know about her?”
“Well, when a human is turned into a vampire, a demon takes the place of the human’s soul,” Giles began. “These demons come from a hell dimension whose mystical borders are very close to our world. When the vampire is slain, the demon returns to that dimension.”
He opened his mouth to continue, but Faith interrupted him. “That’s fascinating and all, but what does it have to do with our girl here?”
“I was getting to that, Faith,” Giles admonished. “Eemia lives in that dimension. She can throw out a kind of mystical net to catch these demons. She then consumes them, gaining their strength and knowledge.”
“Wow,” Kennedy said. “Sounds like the quickening in Highlander.”
Everyone turned their attention to her and simply stared.
“What?” she asked, innocently. “Andrew’s the only one who’s allowed to compare these ‘end of the world’ things to science fiction? We all can have a bit of geek in us.”
Giles simply shook it off. “Well, at the risk of exposing my inner geek, Kennedy’s analogy is not entirely inaccurate,” he said. “As she consumes more and more of the vampire demons, Eemia continues to gain strength. Once she has enough, it is simply a matter of waiting until the mystical barriers between worlds are weak enough for her to break through.”
“And that’s tonight?” Rowena asked.
“Yes. Samhain is generally the night when those barriers are thinnest, but this year they were thinner than they had been in a thousand years.”
“But you said it needs the vampire demons to rise, also,” Robin commented. “Up until a few months ago there were only two slayers killing vampires. And one of them was in jail.” This remark was rewarded with a sharp jab in the ribs from Faith. “Ow! Surely between a solo slayer, plus accidents, and the few regular people killing them, Eemia couldn’t get enough demons to rise.”
Giles took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He then replaced them and looked back up at the former principal.
“I imagine she may have been close to getting enough of them,” he explained. “But with only the one slayer, then two of them,” he motioned to Faith, “Eemia would not have gotten enough to rise tonight and would have had to wait another thousand years for the barriers to be thin enough. Now that we have many slayers around the world slaying vampires, the amount of demons Eemia has been consuming the past few months may have increased by an alarming amount.”
“So, it’s our fault she’s here,” Kennedy said.
“We couldn’t have had any way of knowing that this would happen,” Giles said comfortingly. “We do, however, have to be prepared for things like this. A spell that strong and that far reaching must have some very dire consequences to go along with the good it’s done.”
“Not to be melodramatic or anything like that, and with all due respect, but it might have been nice to know that before it was done,” Robin piped in.
“I did say there could be dire consequences,” Giles retorted.
“Actually, Giles, I think this was the one time you didn’t say that,” Faith said.
“No,” Giles replied. “I distinctly remember telling Buffy that as much bad could come from it as good.”
“No, your exact quote was,” she said, before adopting his accent, “I think it’s bloody brilliant.”
Giles looked at her, then up at Robin, who simply nodded his agreement. “Hmmm, could have sworn I gave some warning,” Giles scolded himself.
Faith turned to Kennedy. “Old man’s gettin’ senile with age.”
Kennedy gave a slight chuckle.
Giles shook it off and took a more serious attitude.
“Regardless, we must deal with the disaster that is here now,” he began. “Rowena, check police reports for the last hour or so. I imagine Eemia will try to find some weapons, no matter how strong she is. Robin, go upstairs and get the rest of the girls. We’ll need all the slayers we have to fight this one. Faith, Kennedy, start getting out all of the weapons. Now, Eemia doesn’t have the same aversion to wood that vampires do, so focus on swords and the like.”
They all jumped up to go to their assigned duties. Rowena stopped on the way out.
“What about Andrew?” she asked Giles.
“What about him?”
“Thinking tonight would be demon-free, I told him to go ahead and take some of the younger girls trick-or-treating.”
Giles thought for a moment. “He did take a phone with him, right?”
“Yes,” Rowena answered.
“I’m on it,” Robin told the room as he walked toward the phone.
City Street – Same Time
Andrew watched as the girls ran back down the walk of the condo structure they had just hit up. His cell phone began to vibrate inside the pillowcase containing his candy haul, but he never noticed.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time
Robin hung up the phone and walked around the desk toward Giles.
“Andrew’s not answering his phone,” he said.
Giles looked up from the book he was looking through, worried.
“That’s odd,” he observed. “Stay here and keep trying to reach him. I want the younger slayers back where they’ll be safe.”
Robin nodded to him and turned back to the phone.
“A report just came over the police scanner that an antique sword shop was broken into about ten minutes ago,” Rowena said as she walked back into the room, taking a seat between Giles and Kennedy. “The only witness still able to speak said that the assailant was, quote, ‘androgynous and horribly disfigured’.”
Giles mulled this over for a moment. “She’s gathering weapons,” he commented. “Any word on what was taken?”
“Just swords. Emphasis on the plural,” Rowena answered.
“Very well. We’ll have to hurry then,” Giles told her. He turned to face Robin. “Keep trying to reach Andrew.”
Robin nodded and dialed the phone again. Kennedy walked up to Giles with a sword and placed it next to him.
“Here,” she said quietly.
Giles turned and saw the troubled expression on Kennedy’s face. Before she could walk off, he placed a hand on her arm to stop her.
“Kennedy, I’ve noticed since I briefed everyone on Eemia, you’ve been somewhat contemplative about something. Would you mind telling me about it?” he asked her in a comforting, caring way.
She bit her lip and sighed, stuffing her hands in her back pockets.
“I can’t – I can’t help but feel at least a little bit responsible for this,” she said quietly.
“Kennedy, there is no need for you to,” he protested. “This demon rising has nothing to do with you.”
“How can you say that? Since Willow activated all the slayers, the slayage rate has seriously gone up,” Kennedy said. “Yeah, we’ve got the strength and power to face the demons night after night, but at what price? Are we making things worse? Are we putting more people in danger?”
Giles gently placed his hands on her shoulders and held her at arms length so he could look her in the eyes.
“There was no way we could have known,” he told her, firmly but still comfortingly. “You should not blame yourself, nor should any of the girls who received the same gift. It was a decision made by the whole group in a desperate time. And I believe infinitely more good has come from it than evil.”
Kennedy looked up at him and smiled slightly. “Thanks, Giles.”
“Is there something else bothering you, Kennedy?” he asked as he let go of her shoulders, and turned away to inspect the gathered weapons.
“What do you mean?” she asked, stiffening again defensively and looking away.
“You seemed distracted at the cemetery,” he said. “I know having an ancient demon jump on you can be a little unsettling, but –”
“It’s nothing,” she said. “Let’s just find out how to kill this thing, okay?”
Giles looked at her a moment longer, then turned back to his book. She moved next to him to look at it as well.
“Now, I’ve learned of some new information. I think you and Faith should expand into getting out stakes and crossbows…”
City Street – Later that Night
Eemia walked down a sidewalk not far from the Council. She has just turned a corner when suddenly a teenager in a monster mask jumped out and attempted to scare her. Eemia simply grabbed the boy and spun him around. She bared razor sharp fangs and bit into his neck. This all happened before he could issue a single plea for help or mercy.
Next she turned him back around. With one hand, she cut a line across the opposite wrist. She pulled his head back and held the wrist over his open mouth, allowing blood to drip into it. After she was pleased with the amount he had consumed, she merely dropped him on the ground.
She placed one hand over his chest. An orange glow formed around his body. It began to coalesce around her hand. She stood up and held the newly formed energy ball in the palm of the hand. She looked at it a moment before closing her figures around it, pushing it into her body. She gave a satisfied moan.
At her feet, the teenage boy stirred.
“Stand up,” Eemia commanded.
The boy did so. He looked at her with dead, unseeing eyes. His face morphed into a vampire’s visage. She smiled at him.
“Good boy,” she said as she patted him on the head. “Now, we have work to do before we have some fun.”
She turned and motioned for the boy to follow her. He did so, right on her heels.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
The remaining slayers left in the barracks had arrived downstairs. They took up positions on the couches and chairs, but most just stood as they listened to Giles.
“…And though Eemia cannot be killed by wood like a vampire, she can create vampires which can,” he finished.
Rona was the first to speak up. “So these vamps are just like the normal ones we kill every day?” she asked.
Rowena stepped up to field the question.
“Not quite,” she said. “They aren’t inhabited by demons like regular vampires. She creates them like any other vampire, but when the demon comes to inhabit the body, she consumes it. She then has full telepathic control of them.”
“Zombie vampires,” Faith commented. “Mindless, but under outside control.”
“More or less, yes,” Rowena acknowledged. “But telepathy isn’t her only skill. She can see into the minds of her enemies. She knows their deepest insecurities, even if they themselves don’t realize them. She plays with those insecurities, throwing them off balance. Not only is she physically strong, but she can emotionally batter any opponent.”
“So that’s why she said that about Willow. She knew that I’m feeling…” Kennedy trailed off. “What a bitch,” she ended instead, with a sigh.
“But the key,” Rowena stressed, taking a brief pause, “is not letting it get to you. Easier said than done, I know.”
Giles prepared to speak up then, but was interrupted by loud applause coming from the entrance. Everyone turned. In the doorway stood Eemia. No longer in the tattered clothing she rose in, she now wore a pair of khaki trousers and a muscle shirt which read, “Nunquam Lamiae Morde Me Dice” and in small letters underneath read “Never say ‘bite me’ to a vampire!” On the belt that held the trousers up, she had a sword in its sheath.
“Well, that was an exceedingly boring speech,” the demon laughed. “Of course, as I recall, that’s all you watchers are good for – giving the exposition for every adventure these quote, un-quote, Chosen Ones have.”
“You’re about to find out why I’m Chosen,” Faith said, coming to the front of the crowd.
Eemia simply laughed at her.
“Yes, or I could just beat you down like the miserable tramp you are. Much like Kakistos did. Oh, don’t even get me started on the fun he had with your watcher,” Eemia sneered.
“Yeah, you might want to ask him about that but oh…wait…I shoved a two by four through his chest. And guess who’s next?” Faith returned.
The other slayers all grinned at the comeback, ready to stand up and cheer, but Giles waved them off.
“Robin,” he said quietly. “Get the girls out through the back.”
Robin began to shepherd the girls out of the room. The only slayers who stayed were Faith and Kennedy. Rowena and Giles took up positions at their sides.
Eemia paused a moment and a sly grin came to her face. “But that’s not what worries you most now, is it?” she began to taunt. “You’ve slayed many demons, but you’ve got so many more of your own running around in your head. Oh, where to start,” Eemia put a wrinkled finger to her temple.
“Ignore it,” Rowena called from behind Faith. She watched Faith clenching and unclenching her fists.
“It’s him,” Eemia said sarcastically and pointed at Robin as he led the girls out. She began to laugh. “Oh please. Don’t fool yourself. He just provides stud service for a worked up Slayer Girl, that’s all. And you’re right about one thing. You’re nothing more than a remembrance of the mother he lost. There is no ‘happily ever after’ for you two. There never will be, because you fear it too much.”
“Shut up,” Kennedy said, resolute.
“Oh look, it’s my favorite of the bunch, ready to add her thoughts on the matter,” Eemia observed, moving closer to Kennedy. “Look at her. So strong of will. And yet, you have such a tender side. I like that. But you wonder, don’t you? Is it enough for your lover? I’ll tell you now…it’s not.” She turned to the others.
That was the last straw. Kennedy charged ahead.
“Ken, no!” Rowena shouted.
Kennedy had already closed the distance and swung at the demon, connecting with her jaw. Eemia immediately recovered and simply tossed Kennedy aside. The demon followed to finish the job, but Giles picked up a sword sitting not far from him. He swung for the demon’s neck. But she drew her sword too quickly for him and blocked it easily.
“Nice one,” she observed. “You really could have killed me.”
She shoved her sword to push him away. Giles used this momentum to swing around for her abdomen. But again she blocked it.
“Hmm, with moves like that, maybe I should worry more about him than you slayer bunch,” she taunted Kennedy as the girl started to get to her feet.
Eemia failed to notice Faith creeping around behind her. She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around. Even before she had turned completely, she was met with a right cross that sent her to the ground.
“I told ya, you’re about to find out why I’m Chosen,” Faith said sarcastically. “I guess you really want a serious ass kickin’.”
Eemia merely chuckled. She stood up and spat some purple blood onto the floor. “Oh, whatever shall I do?” Eemia taunted in a casual tone.
She lifted her sword high over her head and ran for Faith. With each swing, Faith simply ducked out of the way, each swipe narrowly missing her. Finally, Faith took an opportunity and kicked up at Eemia’s head. She nearly connected, but the demon caught her foot and spun her around. Faith was caught off balance and landed squarely on her back. Eemia raised her sword for a killing blow. She began a down swing. The sword stopped abruptly with a metallic clank. She looked up to see Giles with his sword.
“I decided to end things here, but the more I think about it…” Eemia paused a moment. She began backing to the door, Giles following. Both had their swords ready to attack or defend. “You amuse me. I’ll keep you around a bit longer. What’s life, and death, without a little fun?”
Eemia sheathed her sword and casually walked out the door. Giles lowered his sword and followed Eemia as she left.
“Good God,” he sighed, making the others come over to examine what had caught his attention.
Outside, they could see twenty minions beginning to follow Eemia down the street.
“Okay, what was the purpose of that?” Rowena asked Giles. “Why not kill us all?”
“She’s confident she’ll win regardless, but she wants to taunt us first. She thrives on the rush of causing pain and that’s something a quick kill wouldn’t allow her.”
Rowena approached Giles. “Which is why you had Robin take the girls out back? You knew she wouldn’t try to kill us yet.”
“I assumed as much, yes,” he explained, “We must pick our battles wisely. I just hope that when the final fight comes, Willow will be finished with her spell.”
“Shouldn’t we go now and get her?” Rowena stressed.
“No,” Giles said firmly. “She has matters that she needs to address. We can handle this until she’s done and then she’ll lend a hand.”
“But how will Willow be able to help?”
“By being the one weapon that Eemia doesn’t know we have.”
Fade to Black
End of Act Two