City Street – Moments Later
“Hi,” Andrew said as he noticed the group standing there. “Out for a walk?”
“Where is your phone?” Willow asked pointedly, not hiding her frustration with him in the least.
Andrew paused a moment in thought and then set his pillow case down, digging through the bag of goodies. “Oh popcorn balls! My favorite.” After a few seconds he felt the vibration. “Oh,” he added in a mutter, pulling it from the pillowcase.
He looked up at Willow with a worried expression and she reached out for the phone. Gingerly, he gave it to her before moving his hand back quickly. She hit the call button and didn’t bother with pleasantries.
“We found him, Robin…Everyone’s fine and we’re bringing the girls back now…Okay.”
Everyone in the group cast a disapproving glare as Willow shut the phone off and handed it back to him.
“I take it something’s going on,” he said with a cautious grin to the group.
Willow just shook her head in irritation and turned to one of the slayers behind her.
“Can I have that?” she said, pointing to the ax the girl held.
Without question, the slayer turned it over to her.
“Oh god, don’t kill me,” Andrew cried as he began to cower away.
“I’m not gonna kill you!” Willow rolled her eyes. With another head shake of disbelief, she turned to Faith. “Keep patrolling the area and I’ll escort Major Pain back to the Council.”
“I’m not a Major. I’m Colonel Jack…” Andrew trailed off when he saw the scowl on Willow’s face deepen with every word he spoke. “Lead the way.”
Cemetery – Minutes Later
“Do you think this is wise?” Andrew asked Willow, who still held the ax.
“This is the quickest way home,” she told him.
“But a cemetery?”
“All the monsters are on the street looking for victims,” Willow countered.
Suddenly another voice entered the conversation. “I wouldn’t say that.”
They all turned to see Eemia standing before them. The group of young girls, and Andrew, squealed in horror as they all ran behind Willow.
“Go, Andrew.” Willow whispered to him, without pulling her eyes off Eemia. “Get the girls home, now!”
Andrew looked unsure for a moment, then began to push the few girls next to him along. “Come on,” he told them. “Keep moving.”
“More running?” Eemia asked. “Don’t you folks ever get tired?”
“Aradia, nuoc il mio nemico,” the witch shouted. Dropping the ax, she whipped her arm out, hurling a huge energy ball in Eemia’s direction.
Eemia pulled the metal scabbard from her back and, like a baseball player, she ‘bunted’ the light back to Willow. The Wiccan saw it returning but was unable to avoid it.
The magical projectile smashed against her chest and she let out an agonizing groan as it sent her into a nearby gravestone. Her head smashed against the rock and she landed promptly on her bottom, unconscious, as Eemia began to stalk toward her.
Hearing Willow’s cry, Andrew turned around and watched Eemia approach the witch. Quickly, he grabbed the blonde slayer next to him by the arm.
“Marsha, lead the girls back. Two blocks up and two blocks right, okay?” Andrew ordered her.
“You can’t take that thing on alone,” Marsha insisted.
“Maybe not, but I can’t leave Willow here either. Now go!”
Andrew raced over and picked up the ax, then ran up to Eemia. Marsha stood by with the other girls and watched as he advanced on Eemia’s turned back. Eemia suddenly heard Andrew’s approaching footsteps and swatted him away like an annoying insect.
“Foolish man,” she told Andrew, who was now struggling to get back to his feet fifty paces away from her. “I have no use for you. But this one,” she said, turning back to Willow. “Now she has incredible power I can use.”
Marsha watched as Andrew tried to stand up once but failed. Eemia snickered at her prey as Willow lay unconscious on the ground.
“Oh, that hag is history,” Marsha announced in a determined voice. “Who’s with me?”
She didn’t wait for an answer. She simply raced into the battle and the other nine girls followed. Stopping behind Eemia, Marsha retrieved the fallen ax.
“Hey! Tall, dark and ugly,” she called out. The demon turned around and saw the ten preteens standing behind her – the sight making her break out in laughter.
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“Why don’t you come show us what you got?” Marsha taunted. “Or are you afraid of a group of little girls?”
Eemia bared her fangs and stalked menacingly toward them. “I’ll show you fear, young one.”
“Fan out,” Marsha told the group in a quiet voice. “Then circle her.”
As Eemia advanced on Marsha, who was still holding the ax, the other girls did as she ordered. Soon they had formed a complete circle enclosing Eemia. Andrew crawled his way over to Willow to see she was trying desperately to regain focus.
“You honestly think you can stop me?” Eemia laughed.
“Yeah,” Marsha said confidently. “But first, we’re gonna play a little game.”
Eemia gave a diabolical laugh and asked, “Just what did you have in mind?”
Marsha gave her a self-assured smile. “Why, monkey in the middle of course? And guess who’s the monkey?”
With that Marsha threw the ax, whipping it through the air so fast that Eemia didn’t have a chance to react. The Slayer behind Eemia did, however, and she caught it with ease.
“Nice try,” Eemia said, pointing at Marsha to taunt her. But as she did she noticed her hand and stopped. It was missing. With a quick look to the ground she found her appendage in the grass. “Why you little –”
Suddenly Eemia heard the noise of something else falling and looked down at her feet again to see her other hand had been cut off. Now the slayer two down from Marsha held the ax with a grin. Eemia turned back around quickly to look at the slayer that had severed her other hand when she heard the ax flying again and ducked.
“Head,” Willow muttered as she leaned against the headstone, still blinking blearily.
Andrew strained to hear her words. “What?”
“Her head,” Willow said again.
“Ohhhhh,” Andrew replied, before shouting over to Marsha. “Go for her head.”
Marsha nodded to Andrew and the slayers began to close the circle a little after each throw. Eemia began to swing madly with her arms, but the slayers ducked her with ease and kept moving the ax back and forth to each other, making sure to get the strikes in where they could. Soon Eemia couldn’t keep up and began to stumble around.
“Ligare,” Willow said, pointing at Eemia. Suddenly the demon froze as the ax was tossed back to Marsha.
“Who’s laughing now?” Marsha asked.
The girl jumped straight into the air to meet Eemia’s height and delivered a mighty slash. The girls ‘ewwed’ collectively as Eemia’s body fell quickly to the ground, accompanied by the sound of Eemia’s head rolling along the ground. Almost instantly she turned to dust. Marsha dropped the ax and smiled at her handiwork as the other girls looked on.
City Street – Night
Kennedy and three other slayers were battling three zombie vampires. She reared back her arm, but before she could deliver the stake to its heart, it suddenly combusted all on its own.
Bewildered, all three slayers looked at each other having experienced the same thing. Collectively they shrugged.
“Wish they were all that easy,” Kennedy joked.
Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Night
“It was soooo cool!” the Texan slayer said excitedly as Faith, Kennedy and Rona listened with smiles. “It was like boom, bam, boom, bam and then poof! She was nothing but dust!”
“I know I won’t forget this Halloween,” the young Asian girl added.
“No doubt,” another girl added.
“Well, despite all the sugar highs and excitement, it’s time to hit the hay, kiddos,” Faith told them. She got a grumbled protest. “Come on, now,” she added with a grin. “Don’t make me show you all the pain an ‘experienced’ slayer can inflict. Let’s move it out.”
They all got up to leave but Faith called out, making one of them stop. “Marsha, c’mere a second.”
The girls made teasing noises like she was in trouble but all left the room.
“Yes ma’am,” Marsha said formally as Kennedy and Rona looked on.
“What you did was pretty damn brave tonight,” Faith began.
The girl smiled in response.
“But it was also pretty damn stupid.”
Suddenly her happy expression dropped.
“I don’t want you going out there thinkin’ you can take on the world because of one vampire you capped. You’ve still got a lot to learn, kid. You should have sent at least two girls back for reinforcements or called the Council somehow. Now don’t get me wrong – what you did was pretty heroic. But don’t make it a habit. You follow me?”
“Yes ma’am,” Marsha nodded.
“Okay then,” Faith nodded. “And just so you know, we realize you had no idea of proper procedure. So, with that said, we’re moving you up. We’re gonna start taking you out on nightly patrols with us. Not every night but at least twice a week. I’ve received orders from the Council that Willow Rosenberg will be assigned as your official watcher and you’ll begin private training in addition to your regular regimens. Is that understood?”
Marsha tried to hold back a smile. “Yes ma’am,” she nodded.
“Alright then, go get some sleep,” Faith said, motioning to the door.
Marsha hustled from the room. Once she was out of earshot Kennedy turned to Faith.
“So what do you think? She got the stuff?”
“They all got the stuff,” Faith told her. “But she’s already got the attitude.”
“Attitude is everything,” Rona teased.
“Ya got that right, sister,” Faith said with a smile.
Watchers Council – Faith’s Bedroom – Night
“How’s our little hero?” Robin asked as Faith made her way inside, carrying her coat.
“She’s okay,” Faith answered absently.
“No more zombies either?” Robin quizzed.
Faith looked up for a moment and paused, as if computing the question in her head. “Yeah, killing the demon wiped all of ’em out, from what the Watchers are saying.”
“Hmm, a good night then.” Robin came up behind Faith and began kissing her neck. Suddenly her shoulders tensed up. “You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Faith told him.
“Really? I’ve felt bow strings with less tension,” he told her.
She turned in his arms and looked into his eyes, then let out a ragged sigh.
“Why are you with me? And don’t give me the usual ‘you’re exceptional, beautiful, powerful’ stuff. I mean really. Why are you still here?”
“Should I make a list?” he asked with a grin. She didn’t seem amused and his own grin began to fall. “What’s wrong, Faith? Having second thoughts?”
“Hell,” she sighed. “Second, third, fourth thoughts. I got lots of thoughts lately.” She paused and licked her lips. “I’m scared here. I’m real scared. And don’t laugh at me for saying that,” she added defensively.
Concern took shape on Robin’s face. “Have I ever?” Robin asked. When Faith didn’t add more he asked, “Did I do something wrong somewhere here?”
“No,” she told him. “That’s the problem. You’re like…perfect. And it’s scary.”
“So, what? I should knock you around a little, call you a few nasty names?”
“That, I’m used to,” Faith answered. “But no, I don’t want that either.”
“Then what do you want?”
Faith took a seat on the bed and Robin followed to sit beside her. “I just, I want to know why you’re still here. The sex is great, don’t get me wrong, and don’t even try to play it off like it’s not.”
Robin finally chuckled. “You’ll get no arguments, believe me,” he answered with a smile before putting his hand affectionately on her knee.
“I just…I guess I want to know how you really feel about me.”
Faith simply nodded.
“Well, sometimes you really piss me off,” Robin told her. “You can be annoying, argumentative, frustrating.”
“Dude, I sound like a real catch. Quick, don’t let me get away,” Faith added sarcastically.
Robin smiled. “Look, even in light of all that, for every extreme negative, there’s something about you that’s just absolutely amazing. There’s no middle ground with you, Faith. You don’t have many ‘gray areas’ of your life – it’s one way or another, all or nothing. Given my upbringing with a watcher, and my former profession, I admire that hard line approach.”
“So you like the fact I’m a hard ass?”
“Absolutely…I think you’re funny; you make me laugh even when things seem terrible. At the risk of offending you, yes, you’re beautiful, but it’s not just the outside package, it’s what’s inside.”
“Yeah, well, what’s inside isn’t all that beautiful.”
“No, it’s not,” Robin agreed. “…but even though you got that darkness there, I know there’s more than what most people see.”
“Yeah, really. I know it because I see the way you care for those girls every night or the way you’re there for our friends. You could have told Giles to forget it – Willow’s a big girl who can take care of herself – but tonight you made the extra effort to stand by her until she calmed down. That’s all admirable. And that’s why I’m here. And that’s why I’m staying, if you let me.”
Faith gave a satisfied nod.
“Now your turn,” Robin prompted. “Why are you here?” Faith gave an embarrassed grin but didn’t say anything. “Now, fair is fair. I was honest with you. So gimme some of that Slayer honesty you’re known for – even if it’s something I might not want to hear.”
Faith rolled her shoulders. “You’re cool… and pretty,” she said with a smile, bumping shoulders with him. “And you don’t look down on me. You’re this super smart guy who used to lead a school and I’m not real good with the books, ya know? But you still talk to me about the world and life and all that kinda stuff without making me feel like I’m some kinda moron. It’s like my thoughts on more than just slaying seem to matter to you. I never really met anyone that could make me feel important for just being me,” Faith paused and in afterthought added, “Well no one that wasn’t evil that is.” She shook it off and continued. “Anyway, like I said…that scares me.”
Faith paused and took a deep breath. “I never wanted a guy for more than a weekend. But with you…I’m scared because I’m afraid of losing you…Do you get it? I’m afraid because for the first time I’ve got this fear that you might leave. And then that scares me even more because it means…”
“You need me?” Robin finished.
“Yeah,” Faith said softly. “I need you. And I told myself years ago that I never needed anyone but myself. So I’m worried that…someday you’ll go like everyone else did that I ever gave a damn about.”
Robin nodded. “I can understand that, but that’s not gonna happen. And don’t you think I’m worried that the day’s gonna come when you get bored with me and find some sexy, younger stud out there to service you?”
“Wouldn’t have guessed that. You just seem so…confident.”
“Yeah, but the reason is I don’t dwell on it. I just try to enjoy what I have now and do what I can to show you that I’ll be here. If you’re afraid of losing me then I guess I’m doing my job right on some level, but apparently not good enough.”
“You’re great, Robin. It’s me that’s screwed up.”
“You’ve been burned, Faith. You’ve opened your heart but you’ve done it with the wrong people. That’s all. And I can’t convince you that I’m not one of them. I can only take one day at a time and earn your trust. Maybe someday you’ll see, I’m not like the others.”
Faith got a wicked grin and took off her top and followed with her pants. She moved to the head of the bed, crawling under the covers and patted them for him to join her. He crawled inside as well and she kissed him passionately before snuggling into his embrace.
“You’re not just here to service me you know?” she told him just above a whisper, with a strained sound in her voice.
Robin grinned and kissed the top of her head. “Prove it,” he told her.
Faith kissed him gently and blew the candle out. She settled back down into the blankets, closing her eyes. “Goodnight, Ace,” she said softly.
With a smile he closed his eyes and tightened his embrace around her. “‘Night, Faith.”
Watchers Council – Willow and Kennedy’s Living Room – Night
Willow picked up the phone and dialed. She opened her mouth as if to speak, then stopped with a frustrated look and waited a moment.
“Hey Buff. It’s Will. Guess what? I’m officially the watcher of a high spirited, high energy blonde slayer. Go figure, huh? I even got knocked out tonight for a brief moment, which helps cement my watcher status even more, ’cause, y’know – unconsciousness and watcherhood kinda go hand in hand, but…Uh, the reason I’m calling though…it’s Xander – or lack of Xander. Have you heard from him? Because Anya’s spirit contacted me tonight a-and I’m worried. I thought I’d try you first, so call when you get this message. Doesn’t matter what time, okay? You and Dawnie take care. Love ya both a-and hope to hear from you soon.”
Willow carefully hung up the phone.
Fade to Black
End of Samhain
On the next episode of Watchers…
Dawn makes her first visit to the Council, just in time to run into Ethan Rayne.