Watchers Council – Coven Room – Hours Later
The coven room was filled with soft, romantic candles and a beautiful quilt lay sprawled out on the floor. Next to it were two glasses of wine and a wine bottle. A feminine hand reached out pouring more into a glass.
“More, Master?” the demon asked as she offered the glass to Andrew.
“No, thank you, Mora,” he told her. “I’m good. Now let’s continue, if we may,” he said in a seductive voice.
Mora smiled and looked down toward her lap as she sat cross-legged directly across from Andrew.
“G-6,” she called out.
Andrew smiled and held up a small piece of plastic.
“You sank my battleship,” he told her, wiggling his eyebrows. “You vixen.”
Mora continued to smile. “Would you like to play again?”
Andrew looked a bit unsure. “Well, what would you like to do?” he asked.
“Serve you, Master,” she answered. She crawled over the forgotten game board and took a seat in Andrew’s lap. Suddenly Andrew’s eyes went wide as Mora began to playfully nip at his earlobe.
“Hehehe,” he giggled nervously. “That tickles.”
“What the hell is going on here?”
The boom of Willow’s voice made both of them jump and Andrew turned around to find Giles, Rowena and Willow watching them with horrified expressions.
“Uh, hi guys. We were just playing Battleship, the game of hits and misses. Care to play?”
Giles blinked dramatically, before turning to look at Rowena.
“Is that an actual woman on Andrew’s lap?” he asked in disbelief.
“It better be a woman and not some jailbait Slayerette,” Willow said before Rowena could answer. She walked further into the room, the other two following. They all began to squint, trying to get a better look at the woman. Willow cleared her throat before asking, “Are you…?”
“Purple?” the three watchers asked in unison.
Cleveland City Street – Same Time
Jeff walked down the street with his hands in his pockets, not paying much attention to his surroundings, when three men stepped out in front of him.
“Oh great,” he sighed.
Hearing a noise behind him, he turned briefly to see three more men approach.
“I’m broke,” Jeff began. “So if it’s money you’re looking for, you picked the wrong guy.”
“We don’t want money,” Gretz told him, his face morphing into his vampire visage.
“Grab him!” one of the vampires yelled.
Jeff ran to the other side of the street, pulling a stake from his inside coat pocket. Realizing he couldn’t outrun them all, he turned, showing them he was armed.
“Ooh,” a vampire taunted. “A boy with a stick. You think you’re a big man, huh?”
Jeff noticed a garbage can near the alley behind them and closed his eyes in concentration. Nothing happened for a long moment, then suddenly the can flew through the air and knocked two vampires flat on their faces. Jeff used the diversion and launched himself at the vampire that had taunted him. He plunged the wood deeply into his heart. The vampire exploded almost instantly, but before Jeff could run up the street, the other vampires moved in, grabbing his arms.
“Pick him up,” Gretz ordered, pointing to Jeff’s feet.
The boy began to kick wildly, but soon they had him subdued. Suddenly a Dodge Neon pulled around the corner, its tires squealing as it hopped the curb next to the group. The drive immediately threw open the door and exited the vehicle, gun drawn, but when he pulled the trigger he unleashed streams of water instead of bullets. Startled, the vampires turned and began to get doused with water. A few of them started to smoke and they dropped Jeff unceremoniously.
At a scurry, the vampires took off up the street, leaving Jeff damp and dazed on the sidewalk. He turned to see a blue hand reaching down to him.
“Brell,” the stranger announced.
Still confused, Jeff looked up and examined him more closely to see he had a high-powered water rifle in his hands.
“Holy water,” Brell told him, holding up his gun. “And jet stream action,” he added, giving the gun a few more pumps to build up the pressure. Looking a bit hesitant, Brell asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I think so…Who are you?”
“Brell,” he repeated. “I take you to watchers? Watchers not far and they will help you home safe.”
“You know the watchers?” Jeff asked.
Brell nodded. “Yes, I help sometimes. I help you now if you want.”
“I live there,” Jeff told him as he picked himself up and began to dust off his backside. Jeff shook his head at his unconscious mimicking of Brell’s choppy speech pattern. “I mean, I live there with my mother.”
Brell cocked his head. “You too young to be watcher.”
“I’m not. My mom teaches demon lore and I’m a coven student.”
“Oh, the Red Witch! Willow teach magic? You magic student?”
“Yeah,” Jeff nodded.
“Climb in car,” Brell told him. “We go there now.”
Jeff looked a bit apprehensive and Brell seemed to understand. He held up a finger and hopped back inside, taking the car off the curb. He parked it along the sidewalk and grabbed the gun before leaving.
“We walk there with gun,” Brell told him. “You feel safer walking than in car,” he added, nodding in understanding.
“No offense,” Jeff replied. “Yeah, you saved me and all but, I’m just not sure who to trust tonight and until I–”
“No worries,” Brell told him, patting his arm. “Come, Council not far,” he said, nodding Jeffrey down the street. The pair took off at a brisk walk.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Night
“I..uh…made it myself…Her I mean. I made her,” Andrew sputtered.
“Figures,” Rowena and Willow sighed together.
“How did you make a purple woman?” Willow added.
“In all fairness, she’s actually mauve,” Andrew replied, “not quite purple but not quite pink.”
No one said anything and their looks of disapproval began to smother him. Andrew bit his lip and gingerly handed Willow the spell he used. Mora hooked her arm around Andrew’s and began to run her fingers through his hair. He tried to look as casual as possible while Giles and Rowena looked on with utter disbelief as Mora proceeded to mess up his hair.
“A demon,” Willow muttered. “You made a demon?”
“No, I didn’t,” Andrew insisted. “I read it very carefully and it said–”
Willow turned the book toward him. “The fine print.”
Andrew winced after he read it, then tried to smile. “Oops,” he muttered. Collectively, the group rolled its eyes. “But look at her,” he argued. “She’s not a demony demon. Not really. I mean she’s not a threat or anything.”
“No, not yet,” Rowena countered before he could go any further into his sales pitch. “But we need to find out more about what you…created.”
“Yes,” Giles offered. “She poses no threat now, it appears, but until we know for sure we need to take precautions.”
“You guys aren’t gonna kill her, are you? You’ve said it yourselves – the world has good demons.”
Giles opened his mouth to reply, but was cut short by a voice from the lobby.
The small group left the coven room and walked out to see Brell escorting Jeff, who was looking a bit dirty and wet.
“What happened?” Willow asked.
“You want the long or the short version?” Jeff asked.
Gretz’s Lair – Same Night
“Let us go back,” Gretz plead. “We can get him this time.”
The group of vampires who sat around the circle nodded in agreement. Bonnie sat in a chair across from Gretz and his lackeys, saying nothing. She regarded Gretz with a look of disdain, the loathing overflowing from her clenched jaw.
“Actually, I should let you return,” she told them.
Gretz nodded and rubbed his hands together, excited for a second opportunity.
“It would be suicide for you, and that way I’d be done with you and your bumbling misfits.” Gretz lost his happy expression and looked down at the floor in guilt.
“Vampires,” Bonnie sighed. She stood up and began to stroll around the darkened room. “You realize if the Presidium didn’t need every undead creature and demon in this area, you, my dear friend, would be ashtray fodder.”
“I assure you–” Gretz tried to begin.
“I don’t want assurances. I need results!” Bonnie shouted, making everyone in the room jump. “Do you realize that you’ve alerted the Council to our interest in Jeffrey? Don’t you see that they will be protecting that boy even more now?” Bonnie shook her head as she muttered, “Buffoons.”
“Again, I apologize,” he told her. “Perhaps we –”
“Perhaps,” Bonnie said, stressing his word as she cut him short, “you’d like to tell the Engineer himself why we don’t have the boy for him yet?”
Gretz began to look even more concerned and fell into a chair. “The Engineer has arrived?”
“He’s overseeing the final construction,” Bonnie nodded. “So perhaps you’d like to explain your ineptness to him yourselves?” Gretz began to fidget in his chair. “Just as I thought,” Bonnie continued. “Hapless and spineless.”
Gretz cleared his throat. “If we go back–”
“You won’t be going back,” Bonnie informed him as she walked toward the exit. “This fiasco now requires serious clean up. We have just the creature in mind. And guess what? It’s not a vampire.”
“Bonnie, please reconsider,” Gretz said to her turned back.
“Word to the wise, fellas,” Bonnie told them, ignoring Gretz’s pleas. She turned one last time and faced the room. “The sun will rise in about five hours and this area will no longer be yours. Consider your lease up as of tonight. If you’re still here come morning, you’ll end up wishing you were dust.”
“There are three ways to kill a vampire,” she told them with a wicked grin. “And many more ways to torture one. Have a nice night, gentlemen.”
As she departed and the door closed behind her, the group looked at one another for a brief moment before they began to dash about the room, madly gathering up their belongings.
Watchers Council – Lounge – Night
Willow and Giles sat at a table, a few yards away from Andrew and Mora. A host of books sat around the watchers, some opened and others closed. As they looked on, Mora fed Andrew some grapes while he read her a comic book out loud on the sofa.
“It’s kinda like seeing a car wreck,” Willow muttered. “As much as I know I should look away, I just can’t.”
Giles sighed and shook his head. “It is peculiar,” he commented. “I mean they seem to be hitting it off quite well. She loves to give attention and he craves it. For all practical purposes, it’s a perfect match.”
Rowena walked back up to the table and cast a look to the watchers, then to Andrew, then back to the watchers again. “Mesmerizing, isn’t it?”
“Utterly amazing,” Giles garbled.
“Don’t be getting any ideas of doing the same,” Rowena warned him with a grin.
The comment got Giles’s attention and he gave a grin. “I intend not to.”
With a shake of her head, Willow turned to give Rowena her full attention as well. “Slayers have been warned?” she asked.
“Yep. On both fronts – the Jeffrey attack and Andrew’s version of I Dream of Jeannie,” she nodded toward the giggling couple cuddled up on the sofa.
“I am curious about one thing,” Giles mentioned, still unable to tear his eyes away from the pair.
“One thing?” Willow asked cynically.
“Yes,” he nodded. “Why?”
“Why what?” Rowena asked.
“Why on Earth did he bring her here?” Giles asked.
“Well, I can sum that up in a sentence. He’s Andrew,” Rowena answered.
“Well, actually,” Willow began in confession, “he did mention maybe getting some help to run things. And I kinda…brushed him off this morning.” Willow sighed and stood up. “Let me go talk to him while you two do a little Q and A with our latest addition.”
“Good idea,” Giles complimented as he stood to join her.
They both walked over and Andrew looked up from his pampering. “Hey guys! Want some grapes? Red seedless, yum!”
“Ah, no thanks,” Willow told him, then paused briefly. “Do you mind if I talk to you?” she asked. “Alone,” she added as she nodded to the two of them.
“Sure,” Andrew answered. “I’m gonna go with Willow for a moment,” Andrew told Mora.
“You’ll return, right Master?” she asked. “You’ll be safe in her company?”
Andrew paused, as if asking himself the same question. “Uh, sure,” he told her. “I mean, she only tried to kill me that one time, but she’s better now and–”
“Andrew…” Willow interrupted, the warning clear in her voice.
“Um…” Andrew said uncomfortably, looking at the redhead. “I’ll be fine. Willow just wants to talk.”
“Yes,” Giles piped in, “and we’d like to speak with Mora, if that’s okay?” He pointed to the table where Rowena now sat.
“Master?” the demon looked worriedly towards Andrew.
“It’s okay, Mora,” Andrew assured her. “Mr. Giles and Ms. Allister won’t hurt you. I’ll be right here, okay?”
The demon looked doubtful, but stood up anyway.
As Giles escorted Mora away, Willow took a seat on the sofa.
“Before you say anything,” Andrew began, “just let me remind you again that I had no idea she would be a demon. I just–”
Willow held up a hand to stop him. “We get that. I’m just worried about you, Andrew.”
“Don’t be. Mora is great!” he told her. “She’ll help me cook and clean and lots of stuff. She even likes D & D, too. Well, she’ll pretty much do anything I tell her to, but the point is, she’s happy here.”
Willow paused, not quite sure what to say next. “Maybe, but she doesn’t belong here. We’ve been doing some checking on the spell you used and it looks like you didn’t create her so much as you summoned her. She’s from another dimension. This isn’t her home.”
“What are you saying?” Andrew asked, growing concerned.
Willow gave a sigh. “I’m saying we have to send her back.”
“No,” Andrew whined. “She just got here. Let her stay a little bit longer.”
“Well, for now, she will, because we don’t have a choice. But I don’t want you getting too attached to her. I’m not sure how to get her back yet, but I’ll figure it out eventually. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Yeah,” Andrew answered, defeated. “You’re gonna take my friend away.”
“She’s not your friend,” Willow pointed out. “She’s your servant. And yeah, I’ll admit there’s an appeal to having a beautiful woman cater to your every whim…I’m not sure I’d be spending all my time reading comics.” Willow lost track of her train of thought briefly and her eyes took on a distant look.
“Graphic novels,” Andrew corrected Willow in a sing-song voice.
“Sorry…point is,” she said, refocusing, “she’s not a true friend, Andrew.”
“Says you. She’s the closest thing I’ve had to a friend since I got to Cleveland,” he countered.
Willow looked away guiltily, detecting the bit of sadness his voice held.
“I realize that, Andrew. I do. Truth is, none of us have had much time for personal relationships these last few months, not as much we’d like, anyway. But creating new friends from spells or bringing them from other dimensions isn’t the way to go. Besides, maybe she has friends that she’d miss, friends that might miss her. We really don’t know.”
Andrew considered her words for a moment.
“I get it, Willow. Honest. It’s just nice to have someone for me, you know? You’ve got Kennedy, Giles has Rowena – well, I’m not sure if he HAS Rowena but you know what I mean – a watcher pal…Faith is with Robin all the time when she’s not training, so…I just feel a little in the shadows, I guess.”
“Well, when I got back from England after studying with the coven there, I had my friends around, but I felt a bit lost, too.”
“How’s that possible?”
“Well, Buffy and Xander had their new jobs,” Willow explained. “Dawn was busy with high school. So I felt… displaced, I guess. The house was full of people but some days I felt totally alone.”
Andrew gave a slight grin. “You do get it, huh?”
“Yeah, but what helped was I knew deep down I wasn’t really alone. My friends didn’t always have the time I wished they had, but I always had their love. The same is true here, Andrew. I know we tease you, but honestly, you’re important to us, to the Council, and we love you too. So please, for me, your friend, no more demons, okay?”
Andrew gave a nod.
“Good,” Willow grinned. “Now, I haven’t talked to Giles yet but I see no problem with us hiring someone part time to help you with your morning and afternoon duties. We can’t ‘buy’ you a friend,” Willow teased. “But if we hire someone you think you can get along with, you might not feel so stressed. Agreed?”
Andrew’s face finally began to brighten. “That’ll be great, Willow. Thank you.”
“You’re quite welcome, but the condition still stands – no demon summoning.”
“You got it!”
Presidium Cave Lair – Device Control Room – Night
Bonnie took a nervous breath and looked around at the eldritch equipment surrounding her. “My Lord,” she said, “Gretz was unsuccessful in his attempt.”
She watched as a demon of about seven feet straightened at the obsidian lectern where he had been working. He gestured to one of his minions, who walked over, coming within a few feet of Bonnie. At first he said nothing. He simply examined her quietly.
“The Engineer does not have time for cleaning up after your messes. I assume you have handled the matter, then?” he finally asked.
She nodded. “I have. A Vutch demon is arriving today to see to the abduction.”
“A Vutch demon,” the creature nodded. “Good thinking. And what of the vampires?”
“I put the fear of the Presidium into them, as you asked. They scurried away, I’m sure, but they couldn’t have gotten far with daylight approaching.”
The towering figure at the lectern turned slightly, then spoke. Bonnie almost fell back a step as the terrible voice washed over her.
“Bring them here.”
Bonnie opened her mouth to ask a question, but swallowed the impulse. “As you wish,” she answered with a humble bow.
End of Act Two