Cleveland Street – Continuous
“Oh, Amy,” Rowena sighed excitedly. “I have to know everything…where have you been, what have you been doing? You look so great! Have you settled down? Can’t in Sunnydale, can you? You did hear about Sunnydale, right? That was sooooo weird.”
Amy watched the twittering blonde as if the woman were a Siekla demon.
Rowena saw the look on Amy’s face. “You…you don’t remember me, do you?”
“We went to Sunnydale High together. Millicent Patton? Millie? Don’t you remember? Well, maybe you don’t. We didn’t have any classes together…but we did try out for the cheerleading squad the same year. Remember that? Those bitches all made…first string.”
“Oh, you don’t even remember me from that, do you? Oh…” Rowena said, crestfallen. “Oh well, that’s…that’s okay.” She put her hands in her jacket pockets and looked down at the sidewalk. “Not very many people remember me,” she continued her ruse. “I’m not very memorable…and you probably have a really great life and put all that stuff behi –”
Amy’s eyelids fluttered rapidly. “Oh! Millicent! Of course! I just didn’t recognize you,” she lied. “Have you lost weight? You seem taller…”
“Ooooh!” Rowena squealed. “Give me a hug, it’s so good to see you!”
Amy did her best to smile pleasantly and leaned in awkwardly for a hug. The blonde reached her arms to hug Amy around the neck and…
Amy’s body went suddenly rigid as her breath was knocked out of her. She was unconscious before she hit the pavement.
Rowena stood over her, the taser in her hand still sparking. “Skanky, evil-magic ho,” she said under her breath. “Bet lots of folks have told you that, eh?”
“Hey! There they are!” Kennedy’s voice sounded from somewhere behind Rowena. “C’mon, there’s trouble!”
Rowena heard the sound of pounding feet as Robin, Kennedy, Andrew and Brell ran up to her and the unconscious Amy.
“What the…” Kennedy began as she examined the scene. “What happened?”
Rowena just looked at her three companions. “I found her.”
“Witch dead?” Brell asked, concerned. “Can’t take spell away if witch dead.”
“No, Brell, not dead. You’re right. We need her alive. I just gave her a time-out.” Rowena held up the taser.
“Well, let’s get her off the street before some do-gooder stops,” Kennedy said. Shr grabbed Amy under the arms.
“Like Brell’s not blue enough to attract attention?” Robin asked as he reached for Amy’s legs.
“Back there, Robin.” Kennedy indicated the opening to an alley a few yards away. They moved Amy there.
“Andrew,” Kennedy said, holding out her hand. He pulled a roll of duct tape from his pocket, tore off a piece and handed it to her. The slayer stuck the tape over Amy’s mouth while Robin cuffed Amy’s wrists. Kennedy then secured the witch’s ankles with plastic riot restraints.
“Where’s Ro?” Kennedy asked, realizing the watcher was no longer with them.
“She get car,” Brell called to them from where he stood on the sidewalk. He was turning from side to side, distracting motorists and causing at least one near-accident. “Brell is look out.”
Kennedy rolled her eyes. Before she could say anything, Rowena pulled up in front of Brell and got out of the car.
“Bring her, hurry up!” Rowena called. “Brell, get in the car.”
The demon obeyed immediately, taking the front seat.
Rowena opened the back passenger door and looked around before waving Robin and Kennedy on. Rowena continued to keep watch as Robin got in the back seat and pulled Amy in while Kennedy loaded the witch’s feet from the sidewalk.
“I thought watchers played by the rules,” Kennedy grumbled as she fought to get Amy’s bound legs into the car.
“There’s no rule against tasers,” Rowena said absently.
“Not talkin’ about that.” Kennedy stood, leaving Amy’s feet dangling out of the storage space of the Jeep. “I’m talkin’ about goin’ off alone like that and takin’ her down before Robin and I got here.”
“The feet, get her feet in,” Rowena said irritably.
Kennedy reached down and struggled with Amy’s legs. She finally got the witch’s feet in and closed the latch on the trunk.
“No chance you did this to impress my ex-girlfriend, is there?” she sneered at Rowena.
“What are you talking about?” Rowena asked.
“I’m not dumb. And don’t you play stupid,” Kennedy countered quickly.
“Look, I tried to call and couldn’t get through, so I sent Brell to find you, which he obviously did. I couldn’t let her get away.”
“So that’s it?”
“Yeah,” Rowena said defensively. “So get in the friggin’ car.”
She started to walk to the driver’s side, but stopped and turned, going to the back again where Kennedy still stood.
“I’m sorry,” Rowena apologized sincerely. “I’m just really scared and really tired right now, but I know that’s no reason to take it out on you. So can we please leave now?”
Kennedy didn’t say anything. Instead she just took a spot in the back, where Robin was already waiting. Rowena shook her head and stepped around to the driver’s-side door, getting in the jeep and slamming the door shut. She then gunned the engine and drove their ‘catch’ toward the Council Headquarters.
Watchers Council – Outdoor Training Grounds – Day
“So,” Xander said, throwing a stick as far as he could in the outside training area. “I was thinking if I ever get through puberty, again, that maybe I’ll ask Rowena out – like a real date. You probably know what kind of movies she likes, so give me a hint here.”
When he didn’t get a response, he turned around and watched Willow playing with the hem of her overly long shirt.
“Will? Did you hear –?”
“I heard,” she cut him off softly.
The dog returned and Xander absently threw the stick again. “So, any ideas?”
Willow looked up and licked her lips. “Do you love her?” she asked.
“Are you kidding? I think she’s great! And she’s really opening up to me. In fact, I bet I know something that you don’t know. Rowena isn’t her first name.”
“It’s Blanche,” Willow said in a monotone.
“It’s Blanche!” Xander said, as if one-upping her. “Huh? How did you know?” Xander sat down beside her.
Willow stared at the dog, who was now tossing the stick around in the field on his own. “She grew up in a little fishing town.”
“Yeah, uh, Thorncook.”
“Thornkirk,” Willow corrected. “Population of about two thousand. Chief occupation is fishing, next to services, which are mostly positions like food servers, gas station attendants, and a post office that has three rooms total…”
“Need I say you’ve looked into this place?” Xander joked. “Planning to move there someday?”
Willow turned to Xander. “You never answered my question…do you love her? Would you give up your life to save her?”
“I’d sacrifice myself for just about anyone, Will. You know that.”
“Yeah but would you give up your existence just to see that she could go on? Would you cease to be so that she could have more days of laughing or-or listening to the rain or training people that could better this world? Because if it came down to a choice, me or her…for me, it would be her.”
Willow returned to playing with her hem as Xander regarded her. “Damn, Will…I didn’t know…”
“No clue, huh?” the witch muttered.
“Okay,” he admitted with a sigh, “maybe some clue, but…I really like her…so what do we do here?”
Willow said nothing at first, but then rolled her shoulders.
“She likes fish out of water comedies,” she started. “Like My Blue Heaven and Uncle Buck. Drama’s good too, but not sappy, disease-of-the-week-type stuff where the lead dies in some angsty way. She’s not into action that much either because, like she says, she sees enough of that on a day-to-day basis. Last thing she wants to do is spend her free time watching that.” Willow gave a light chuckle before looking serious again. “And if you take her to dinner she likes Thai or Mexican, spicy stuff. I thought maybe seafood at first, but again, she grew up with that, so it’s kinda old news. Oh and if you –”
Xander put his hand on Willow’s knee, stopping her from continuing. “You don’t have to say anything else,” he told her.
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
Giles watched from the window of the library as Xander and Willow sat talking. Ethan’s dog was lying near them, occasionally looking at them and wagging his tail.
“He’s all yours, Giles,” Rona said as she and Vi escorted Ethan into the library.
Giles turned and regarded the three of them dourly. “Yes,” he sighed, “thank you, girls.”
“You want us to stay and make sure Prince Charming here doesn’t pull any fast ones?” Rona asked.
Ethan looked knowingly at Giles, amused.
Giles stared grimly back at him for a moment.
“No. Thank you, Rona, I’m sure I can handle it.”
“Well, we were really just worried about what you might do to him,” Rona smirked.
“But not that worried,” Vi quipped.
Ethan continued to stare at Giles, his amused expression unchanged.
“Thank you. That will be all,” Giles said and turned away.
Rona shrugged at Vi and they left the two men.
“Why are you here, Ethan?” Giles said wearily. “When I let you go the last time, I was truly counting on it being the last time.”
“Oh, come now, Ripper, you knew I’d be back. Besides, I’m here by request. The Little Red Witch needs me and I…well, who am I to turn down the money?”
“If it’s money you want, Ethan, just tell me how much.” Giles reached into his pocket and pulled out a fat wad of bills.
Ethan blinked, then smirked. “Well, you came prepared. That’s crass even by my standards.”
“How much?” Giles asked flatly. “How much do you want?”
“You couldn’t afford it,” Ethan stated, suddenly serious.
“No, it’s you I can’t afford. I can’t afford to have you here…”
“You don’t seem to get it, old mate,” Ethan said, sternly. “I’m here to help the Little Red Witch. Of course, I’ll be well-paid, but not for leaving the job undone. I am incorrigible, yes. But I honor my contracts. It’s often the only thing that keeps me alive,” he added, half-smiling.
“I have no contra –”
“I have one with the Little –.”
“YOU…” Giles checked his anger and took a deep breath. “You have nothing with Willow.”
“I’ve offered to hel –”
“She doesn’t need what you have to offer, Ethan!” Giles turned angrily from him and looked out the window to see Willow and Xander, still deep in conversation. “None of us do,” he added quietly.
Ethan regarded him seriously for a moment, then looked at the long reading table, stacked with piles of books in a haphazard arrangement. He walked over to them and began to scan the spines.
“For god’s sake, Ethan,” Giles said resignedly. “Did you have to name the bloody beast Rupert?”
A slow smile crept across Ethan’s face. “What’s wrong with Rupert?” he asked. “Rupert’s a fine name.” Giles continued to stare out the window at the youngsters and the dog. Ethan walked to the table and pulled a tired, old volume with a faded, red cover out of one of the piles of books. He looked at it narrowly. “Most of my best friends were named Rupert,” he said, teasing mildly.
Giles turned to him. “That ploy may work with Willow,” he said, “but not with me.”
Ethan’s smile faded a bit, but soon returned twice as mocking as before. “You’re right,” he agreed. “It never has.”
“Let’s have at it, then,” Giles scowled, striding to the table and taking a seat. “The sooner we find a reversal spell, the sooner you’ll be gone.”
Ethan continued to smirk at Giles and sat down to help him search.
Watchers Council – Parking Lot – Moments Later
Willow, Xander and Rupert the dog rounded the corner of the Council building at a run.
“Hey! You guys found her!” Xander cried as Robin and Kennedy eased the limp Amy out of the back seat of the car.
“We heard you drive up,” Willow told Rowena. The blonde made no comment, instead just staring at the ever-younger Willow. “We should bring her to one of the holding cells,” Willow said, self-conscious under Rowena’s stare.
Becca walked over to Willow and put an arm around her shoulder. “That’s a good idea, isn’t it, Ro?”
Rowena blinked a couple of times and looked at Becca. “Uh? Yeah. Robin! Kennedy!”
“We’re on it,” Robin said as they maneuvered Amy’s limp form.
“Brell help,” Brell said. He lifted the witch bodily out of Robin’s and Kennedy’s arms, then threw her like a sack over one shoulder. “You show Brell where holding cell at.”
“Strong little sprout,” Kennedy commented with a shrug, then pointed. “This way…”
“It’s so nice to have a demon in the house, isn’t it?” Becca smiled as she put her other arm around Xander and led him and Willow inside, along with the rest of the search party.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Moments Later
Andrew’s eyes shot wide open. “Uh oh,” he said. He looked down at his trousers. Something was moving inside them in a disturbing manner. He clapped his hand down onto the fabric and felt a strange vibration.
He reached inside his pocket and grabbed the opalescent-green amulet. It could not be turned off, so it vibrated even harder and got very hot.
“Ooh, ahh,” Andrew exclaimed with his hand in his pocket, trying to fish it out for several seconds before finally getting his fingers around it. “Gotcha!” he announced.
Rona and Vi walked into the kitchen, still laughing about Ethan.
Surprised, Andrew let the amulet slip from his hand. The amulet began to spin inside his pocket. He groped for it, but it eluded him.
“Hey,” Rona said, “is there any pop in the…Andrew! What are you…?”
“Nothing!” Andrew said, yanking his empty hand out of his pocket.
Vi and Rona stared open-mouthed at his dancing trousers.
“I know I’m gonna be sorry for asking this,” Rona said, “but what the hell do you have in there?”
“I…I…it isn’t wh-what you think…”
“Ugh!” Vi said, “let’s not even go there.”
“It’s something that’s supposed to help us find Amy Madison,” he sighed in frustration and continued to fidget.
“Like a divining rod?” Vi asked.
Rona looked at her and shook her head. “Bad choice of words, girl.”
Vi slapped her fellow slayer’s arm with the back of her hand.
“No…” Andrew said, “It’s a powerful magic tool, but it tickles and I’m all tense.“
Vi and Rona exchanged grossed-out glances. “Eew,” they both said.
Watchers Council – Holding Area – Day
“All right,” Rowena said as she tightened the last restraint holding a groaning Amy Madison to a wooden chair. “Everybody out. Time to get to work.”
Becca saw Willow look first at Amy and then at Xander. She watched as something unspoken passed between the two preteens.
“Ro…” Willow began. “Xander and I are stay –”
“No,” Becca told them firmly. Willow blinked and looked down at her feet. Becca sighed and said more gently, “I think it would be best if you and Xander go with the others. Take a Rupert with you. Go ahead. I’ll stay here and make sure Ro doesn’t get too…medieval…on Amy’s butt. Okay?” Amy’s eyelids fluttered as she started regaining consciousness. “Go on,” she coaxed. “It’ll be alright.”
Again, Willow and Xander exchanged glances. “Okay,” Willow said. “B-but don’t let her turn you or herself into anything! Oh and if she starts to talk in Latin or call on Hecate, tape her mouth again.”
“We got it covered,” Becca said.
“C’mon, Will,” Xander pulled her by one shoulder. “Let Ro do what she’s gotta.”
Willow cast a worried look at Amy. Xander tugged her out of the room and closed the door behind them.
Rowena turned her head toward Becca. “I think you might want to leave this little question and answer session, too,” she said without emotion.
Becca ignored Rowena. She stepped up to Amy and bent down to look her straight in the eye. “We’ve got questions,” she said smoothly, ” and you’re going to answer them.”
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
Ethan rocked back and forth on the back legs of his chair, causing its joints to creak rhythmically.
“There’s no answer here.” Giles sighed and shut another book. He dropped it onto a large discard pile on the floor next to him.
Giles opened another book, trying to ignore the sound.
He flipped through several pages, and searched a paragraph or two.
He cleared his throat and re-read the paragraphs.
Creak. Creak. Creak.
Suddenly, Giles kicked out at the back legs of Ethan’s chair, causing it to hit the ground and pitching the Sorcerer forward. Ethan’s chest nearly smacked against the table and the book he was holding flew out of his hands, landing facedown on top of the old, faded, red book.
“Now see here,” Ethan scolded, “you’ve made me lose my place!”
“You’ll lose more than that if you don’t stop that bloody racket!”
“Oh come now, it’s nothing you aren’t used to. Remember when we’d go to the library and drive old Professor Nickelsworth…”
“Whatever…insane by rocking back in our seats?”
“You drove him insane by rocking…and me, too!” Giles grumbled. “I drove him insane with pencil-tapping and burping loudly every time he turned away.”
Ethan giggled, “Yes, and by completely re-shelving all the books in the Western Civilization section in reverse order. ”
“Took him a term to put it all back to rights again,” Giles smiled faintly.
“Allowing you the time you needed to reorganize his card file…”
“I was bored that year.”
“Only when you weren’t with me.”
“Don’t flatter yourself.”
“Why not? You haven’t in ye —”
Giles slammed his hand down hard on the back of Ethan’s wrist, pinning it to the table. He tightened his grip on it and Ethan feigned pain.
“Shut up,” Giles said, “if you wish to survive this.” He gave Ethan’s wrist a painful twist and the sorcerer grimaced in earnest.
Giles let go and picked up where he’d left off in his book.
Ethan said nothing, but pulled another book towards himself and absently flipped through a few pages. He observed Giles out of the corner of his eye. Giles was absorbed in reading again. Ethan began to casually riffle the top corner of the pages of his own book.
Frrrrrrriiip Frrrrrrriiip. Frrrrrrriiip. Frrrrrrriiip…
The sorcerer smiled.
Watchers Council – Holding Cell – Moments Later
Amy looked wildly from Rowena to Rebecca.
“I think we should ask something simple first,” Becca said. Becca’s eyes settled on Amy’s fingers as they clawed the arm of the chair to which Amy had been tied.
“Tell me, Amy…” Becca said slowly. “Are those fingernails fake?”
Becca’s arm moved suddenly.
Rowena saw Amy’s eyes go suddenly wide. A squeal rose up from Amy’s throat and breached the duct tape affixed to her mouth. Rowena looked over Becca’s shoulder and saw blood trickling from Amy’s fingertip.
“Guess that one was real,” the Watcher said dryly.
Becca glanced back for a moment at Rowena and turned her attention back to Amy. “And we’ve got nine more to check,” she said.
Amy began to move violently in the chair, causing it to hop and scrape along the floor. Her mouth worked against the duct tape as she struggled to make a coherent sound.
“Settle down,” Becca told her. “Compose yourself. I don’t talk to children who have tantrums. Once you’re calm, maybe we can have a nice chat. Of course, if you decide you don’t want to speak to us, we can always skip the fingernails and see just how real those long, pretty fingers are.”
Amy, her eyes wide with fear, stopped moving. A single whimper escaped her.
“But first we’ll need a few medical supplies – cutting saw, scalpels,” Becca told her.
“Wire cutters would work too,” Rowena offered.
“Great idea,” Becca complimented. She then lightly slapped Amy on the cheeks twice. “Don’t you go anywhere. We’ll be right back,” Becca said in a chipper tone.
Becca and Rowena left the chamber without another word.
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
Giles walked toward the reading table with two glasses of Scotch. He set one down for Ethan, who was humming lazily as he regarded a block print of two demons in the throes of a rutting curse.
Giles disgustedly watched Ethan turn the book first one way, then another and yet another trying to make out the correct angle.
“Bloody hell,” Giles muttered.
Ethan looked up. “What? My humming disturbing you?”
Giles slipped his hand under his glasses and rubbed his eyes. Then he sat back down and picked up another book.
There was a single knock at the door and Willow, Xander and Rupert the dog came bounding in.
“Giles! Giles!” “Hey G-Man, guess what?” and “Roo-woo-woo-wuf!” all broke the quiet at the same moment.
“Honey, the children are home!” Ethan declared, making Giles groan. “How was your day, darlings?”
“Giles, Ethan…they found her!” Willow said, “Ro and Ken and Robin…”
“And Brell,” Xander added.
“…found Amy. They have her in one of the holding bays downstairs, but Becca and Rowena kicked us out.”
“Ruh, ruh.” The dog punctuated.
“What do you think’s gonna happen?” Xander asked Willow. “I bet they rough her up good. Rowena looked PO’ed.”
“Uh huh,” Willow nodded.
“Now maybe we’ll get some answers.” Giles stood, an unpleasant look in his eyes.
“Here, here now,” Ethan soothed. “This is no time to go getting all Ripper on everyone. We still need to find a reversal spell and if I know our dear Ms. Madison, she’s not going to be very helpful.”
“Willow, Xander,” Giles said, “tell us what Rowena finds out.”
“Okay,” Willow said, heading out the door.
“Gotcha!” Xander nodded, following Willow.
“Ruh!” the dog said and wagged his tail.
“And take this bloody beast with you!” Giles yelled.
Ethan looked at the dog and nodded. The animal turned immediately and followed on the heels of Willow and Xander.
Giles sighed. “Since when do you work with a Familiar? You always worked alone.”
“Famil…? No, no, Rupert’s not a Familiar. Found him on Christmas, running loose, no collar, no home. He’s just a pet. You’ve one yourself. A rather nice one, by the looks. Long legs, lean ribs, ample chest, round firm rump and –”
Giles grabbed Ethan by the hair on the back of his head and yanked back hard. “Help me find the spell,” he said from behind clenched teeth.
Watchers Council – Outside the Holding Cell – Moments Later
“You think she’ll call our bluff?” Rowena asked Becca.
“It’s not a problem if she does. I meant what I said.”
“I think Giles told you too many Ripper stories,” Rowena smirked, but the smile faded quickly from her lips when Becca showed no reaction. “Wait a second. You’re dead serious, aren’t you? That’s a bit extreme.”
“You don’t understand. I’ve waited twenty-five years for a family of my own. And that…witch is not gonna screw around with the one I’ve found. She is not gonna take that away!” Rowena said nothing. “Besides,” Becca added, “it’s not all that different than you going lone wolf and risking your neck, is it?”
Rowena remained silent for a moment. “Someone had to do something. We’re running out of time and if we can’t fix this problem Willow…they could be in serious trouble and…”
Becca took a step closer to Rowena when the watcher trailed off.
“When you love someone,” Becca said more calmly, “there’s very little you won’t do for them.” She paused and looked at Rowena. “Am I right?” Rowena stared down the passageway and blinked. Becca sighed heavily. “Look, I plan to scare her more than anything, but if she doesn’t give us a choice then I’m not above sinking to her level. Just watch her, okay? Just until I get back with a few supplies and Giles in tow. I won’t be long.”
Becca turned and walked briskly away.
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
“Here it is! I’ve found it!” Giles exclaimed.
Ethan looked over, eyes twinkling. “Oh, I think not.”
“Yes, yes I have. Look here!”
Ethan leaned to his left, draped his arm over the back of Giles’s chair and looked down at the spell on the page.
“Ah. No. You’re out of practice because that won’t help. Will make it worse, really. They’ll be nothing more than horny…quite literally…teenagers all their lives with that one.”
“No! This is it! This is –”
“Here,” Ethan tapped the page two-thirds of the way through the spell. “You don’t want to be casting that, now do you? Or,” he said with a lecherous grin, “do you? Could be fun to see what ‘pops up’.”
Giles realized his error. “We could modify it. I’ve got several books on…”
“No,” Ethan said simply. “There are only two ways to modify that. One would put the children in a hell dimension for…pretty much eternity. The other would more than likely turn this world into one. Even I don’t want that much chaos.”
Giles’s face fell.
Ethan tilted his head, his nose nearly grazing the corner of Giles’s eyeglasses. “Oh, c’mon, Ripper, why so glum?”
“We don’t have the spell and we’re running out of time. They’re regressing too rapidly, getting younger and younger…”
“We have plenty of time,” Ethan said, snapping a book shut.
“Ethan…we don’t have the spell we need…”
“You don’t,” Ethan corrected with a mischievous smile. “I, however…” He reached his right hand over to the worn, red book, the first one he had pulled from the pile of books on the table. He casually placed it in front of Giles.
“I’ve been having you on, mate. Read page 212,” he said to Giles’s incredulous face.
Giles opened it and found the page. He read carefully at first, then faster.
“It’ll need some modification,” Ethan told him, “but I know exactly what to do. All else it requires are some simple ingredients that I’m sure Willow will have readily available in her own stores.”
Giles finished reading and a look of hope spread over his face. He spun to face Ethan, knocking the sorcerer’s arm from the back of the chair.
“Ethan! How long ago did you find this?” he asked dangerously.
“Relax, I haven’t been holding out that long. A half-hour perhaps. All right, an hour tops.”
Then Giles broke into a wide grin and grabbed the Sorcerer on either side of the face. “Damn you! If you weren’t such a bloody bastard, I’d kiss you!”
“Oh honestly, Ripper. Promises, promises.”
“Hem-hem,” a cough sounded from the doorway. “Should I…come back later?”
Giles looked up over the top of Ethan’s head.
“Ah. My competition is here,” Ethan smirked between Giles’s hands. Giles looked at him, confused. Ethan made a perfunctory ‘kiss’ at him and Giles pulled his hands away as though they’d been scalded.
“Have you found a reversal spell?” Becca asked.
“Yes,” Ethan turned and beamed. “I have.”
“Great! We have Amy downstairs and I think she’s ready to talk.”
“Is she? However did you manage that?” Ethan asked, impressed.
Becca looked at Giles when she answered. “Just a little power of persuasion.”
“Mmmmm…” Ethan cooed seductively, “Imagine what I could be persuaded to do if you –”
Giles flat-handed Ethan across the back of the head and he stumbled forward slightly.
Giles went quickly to Becca and pulled her by the wrist toward the door. She looked back at Ethan, who was rubbing the back of his head. “Rupert! At least bring him with us!”
Giles turned. “C’mon, Ethan!” he gloated. “Come boy. There’s a good boy!”
He pulled Becca out the door with him.
“You forgot to say heel…ow!” Ethan grimaced, continuing to rub the back of his head.
Watchers Council – Outside the Holding Cell – Moments Later
Giles, Ethan and Becca turned the corner to find Rowena slumped by the door.
“Ro! Oh, Rowena, are you alright?” Becca asked as the three of them dashed over.
Giles and Becca lifted the Watcher up, cradling her gently between them. Shock registered on their faces when they saw her lips had been completely sealed. She had no mouth.
“Oh my God!” Becca cried out.
“Ethan!” Giles called as the sorcerer trotted up to them.
Ethan glanced down at Rowena, then motioned Giles to move over. He cradled Rowena’s head in his left arm and covered the stricken area with his right hand. He looked at Becca, who was on the verge of tears. “There now,” he quieted her. “This is the work of an amateur. Easily reversed.”
Giles began to roll his eyes, but stopped when he caught the hopeful look on Becca’s face. Ethan chanted low and meditatively. A slight glow emanated from between his fingers.
“Ow!” he cried, pulling his hand away to reveal a bite mark on his palm.
“Unnnnn…sorry,” Rowena said.
“Amateur,” Giles needled under his breath.
“What happened?” Becca asked.
“Amy got loose somehow. Said something about ‘Eye for an eye,’ and…” Rowena raised her hand to her bruised forehead, “I don’t know what happened after that.”
Giles went to the intercom. He dialed three numbers and pressed the button. “Kennedy? Amy’s escaped. She couldn’t have gotten far, so send all the girls on a search.”
“Copy that,” Kennedy answered.
Giles had returned to kneel next to the two women when Becca grabbed Rowena’s hand suddenly. One of Rowena’s fingernails was missing.
“Lucky for me she didn’t mean the eye thing literally,” Rowena said, looking at her hand.
“We do have witches who can fix that,” Becca joked gently. “Ask Xander.”
Rowena looked at Giles and chuckled lightly. “For a fingernail that would be what? Some light petting? It’s not as complex as an eye after all…”
Giles tried to suppress his grin and shook his head instead as he lifted Rowena to her feet. Becca stepped between them. “Here, let me take Ro,” she said. “You boys better start on the spell.”
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Minutes Later
“Well,” Ethan said, “the last time I actually cast for an audience was during that bacchanal in ’78…”
“Ethan,” Giles squirmed.
Willow and Faith laughed.
“Is this gonna hurt?” Xander asked.
“No…would you like it to?”
“Oh, bugger. Here, tell you what, Rupert, go on, go into the circle.” The dog got up from Ethan’s side and stepped into the circle with Willow, Xander and Faith. He lay down before the three of them, happily wagging and reassuring them as Ethan finally closed the circle and set out to reverse the spell. A bright light illuminated the room and Giles released the breath he’d been holding when he saw all three of them age back to their proper age.
Cleveland Streets – Moments Later
“Any sign of her, Slayer-two?” Kennedy’s voice crackled over the walkie-talkie.
“Nada,” Rona said. “Even Andrew’s amulet’s nothin’ but a paperweight right now,” she added, looking at the still, green stone in his palm.
“Looks like we lost her. Damn it! Slayer-one, out.”
“You think Amy’ll come back?” Andrew asked Rona as they turned to head back to the Council.
“Hard to say, but let’s not give up just yet,” Rona told him as they walked on.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
Three adults, Willow, Xander and Rowena, headed toward the Council lobby.
“I’ve been wanting to ask you something,” Xander said to Rowena, making all three of them stop. Willow quickly shut her open mouth and looked away. Rowena turned to him, expecting him to continue, and Xander spared a glance to Willow to find her looking at the ground. He grinned slightly. “I’ve been thinking…” as if changing his thought process in mid-stream, “I got an idea for a new weapon and Kennedy mentioned you shoot a crossbow.”
“Yes, I do,” she answered.
“Can you stop by to see the blueprints later? She likes the idea but I wanted to get a watcher’s opinion, too.”
“Sure,” Rowena said with a nod.
“Cool,” Xander said. He pointed to the woodworking area. “I’ll be out there after we all get some sleep, so you gals stop by when you get the chance.”
Willow gave Xander a small grin, which he returned. Bowing slightly before turning to leave, he walked down the hall. In silence, the two women started on their way again.
“Ro,” Willow began, “I wanted to thank you for finding Amy.”
“Don’t thank me. It was just something I had to do.”
“I appreciate it. I do. But ya know something?” Willow stopped. “You’re an idiot.”
Rowena stopped in mid-step and turned back to see Willow with her hands on her hips, looking very cross.
Rowena stood, her mouth open in surprise. “What? Why are you angry?”
Willow shook her head. “To quote Giles, it was profoundly stupid. I mean, going after Amy alone like that could have gotten you killed, or worse.”
“I didn’t think there were worse things than being dead,” Rowena tried to joke.
“There are, and Amy definitely could have inflicted them.”
Rowena held up her hands. “I wasn’t alone. Brell and Robin and Kennedy were –”
“In no position to help you! They told me what happened.”
Rowena thought about that for a moment. “You’re right,” she nodded slowly at the witch. “I realize that what I did was pretty foolhardy…”
“Hardy har-har,” Willow mocked, lamely.
“And if I had it to do over again, hindsight being 20/20, I’d…” Rowena looked Willow in the eye. A gentle smile spread over the watcher’s face and she took a few steps closer. Tentatively, her good hand reached up and the back of her fingers stroked Willow’s cheek for a moment. “Who am I kidding? I’d do exactly the same thing.”
Rowena’s smile began to slip from her face and she looked everywhere but at Willow. Swiftly, she turned and headed for the lobby, leaving the witch standing open-mouthed in the hall.
“Now what the hell was that?” Willow muttered in frustration to herself.
Watchers Council -Hallway outside Lobby – Later that Day
Faith and Robin were in each other’s arms, two very happy adults.
“Hey!” Xander called out to them. “How’s it going?”
“Five by five,” Robin smiled.
“So,” Xander mused, “everything’s back to normal.” He started toward the door again, but stopped and turned around. He paused for a moment, watching them continue to kiss. “I’d tell you two to get a room but you have one. Why don’t you go there now?”
Faith just waved him away and continued to kiss Robin. With a shake of his head, Xander walked off.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Becca and Rupert the dog both looked from Giles to Ethan.
“She’ll be needing one. And sooner rather than later,” Ethan said.
“And it will not be you,” Giles countered.
“Who then? One of Althenea’s?” Ethan shot back. “You know as well as I do that she’s ultimately not going to survive unless she harnesses the dark and balances both forces within her. Willow needs a dark arts teacher! I understand if you don’t want me to do it. But she trusts me and I…I’m rather fond of her…”
“Ha! Of her powers, you mean.”
“I can…recommend someone else. Someone I know who…well, isn’t as good as me,” he said smugly, before growing serious again. “But at least she’d learn enough to stand on her own! You can’t protect her anymore. You proved that this time.”
Giles said nothing.
“Think about it, it’s all I ask,” Ethan said.
Giles waved his hand disgustedly at Ethan and walked to the table to make out a check for his services.
Becca approached Ethan. “Look…Ethan…thank you for being here for Willow. For all of us really.”
“My dear,” he looked her up and down, “I’m here at the ready for anyone who needs my…services.” He took her hand in his and brought it towards his lips. Suddenly, Giles shoved the check between Becca’s hand and Ethan’s mouth.
“Out you go. You and that bloody cur.”
“Giles!” Willow’s voice in the doorway got everyone’s attention.
“Lighten up, big guy,” Xander said, putting a large hand on Giles’s shoulder. “Ethan, ” Xander extended his other hand and shook Ethan’s, “thanks.”
“What a firm grip,” he said, smiling at Xander. “Why don’t you teach old Rupert here how to shake like a man?”
“Ethan, the option of letting you leave with your commission is not set in stone,” Giles said, smoothly snatching the check from Ethan’s fingertips. Ethan took the check back from him.
“Point taken,” Ethan replied.
“And thank you, too, Scooby Ru,” Xander quipped, looking down at Rupert the dog. The dog got up and lifted its two front paws onto Xander’s chest and panted heavily in his face.
Xander chuckled and ruffled the dog’s hair.
Willow approached Ethan slowly, a wistful smile on her lips. “Thank you for coming. I know you didn’t have to,” she said. Her eyes were suddenly tearing up.
Ethan opened his mouth to make a remark, but stopped. Instead, he reached his hand out and touched her shoulder.
“Ethan has to leave now,” Giles said flatly.
Willow blinked back a tear and smiled as Rupert the dog walked up to her and nuzzled her hand. “Bye Rupert,” she said. “Come back again soon.” She knelt down by the dog and he put his paw out. Willow giggled and “shook” it. The dog whined sympathetically and then licked her face before taking his place beside Ethan.
“Aren’t you forgetting someone?” Ethan asked. The dog’s jaw worked up and down for a moment and suddenly he was paws up on Giles, his large pink tongue lapping kisses against Giles’s face.
“BLOODY HELL!” Giles roared.
“C’mon, Rupert,” Ethan called, “Don’t want to overstay our welcome.” The dog pushed off and followed Ethan toward the door.
Willow, Xander and Becca were so busy chuckling at Giles that they didn’t actually see the sorcerer and his dog disappear before reaching the front door.
“Hey,” Willow said, seeing something on the floor. She reached down and picked up a piece of colored paper. “Giles…Ethan dropped his check.”
She handed it to him. Giles turned it over and frowned. “He didn’t drop it,” he said.
She looked down at the check. The contracted amount written in Giles’s neat hand was gone and three words were now scrawled in their place: “Be seeing you.”
Cleveland Street – Night
Amy was out of breath, running toward the train terminal. A car pulled up beside her and the window rolled down, revealing Bonnie.
“Get in,” she told Amy.
Relief flooded Amy’s face. She ran to the passenger side, tossed her bag in and hopped inside. As they sped off, something caught her eye. She looked behind her to see a large demon in the back seat.
He paid her no mind and she turned back around.
“Bonnie,” she began, “Thanks for…”
“The spell you did, Ms. Madison. It was only to be used to render the slayer, Faith, useless. It was not intended for the witch, or the man.”
“Yeah. Well, relax. The witch was payback. I owed her for not using her powers to help me. A few years ago I had to turn myself into a rat and she let me stay like that for three years! She said she didn’t know how to reverse it. But she had plenty of time to experiment for her own problems and raise the slayer from the dead while I ran around on a silver wheel in a –”
“You had explicit instructions, Ms. Madison, hamster wheel notwithstanding. We needed Willow to be fully capable. Now we’ll need to find a way to give her powers back.”
“What are you worried about? Just because it’s an advanced spell? I hate to say it, but it doesn’t matter, ’cause Willow will figure it out. So, no big. Right?”
“I suppose not,” Bonnie said. She pulled the car over to the side of the road.
They slowed to a stop. Amy looked at Bonnie quizzically for a split second before the demon reached forward, grasped her head, and snapped her neck.
Amy’s puzzled look remained on her face as her body held upright for a moment, then fell forward against the dash.
Bonnie stuffed an envelope into Amy’s blouse. “Be a dear and pass that along to them, would you?” she told the dead woman.
Cleveland Street – Moments Later
The passenger door of Bonnie’s car opened and the demon pushed the dead girl out onto the pavement a few yards down from the entrance to the Watchers Council.
The car sped away, the door swinging shut on its own.
Amy’s body lay lifeless and face-up, the puzzled look etched there forever as Kennedy rounded the corner and saw the limp form.
She sprinted to the unknown figure and her mouth fell open when she saw the witch there. After taking her pulse and coming up with nothing, Kennedy removed the envelope from Amy’s pocket and read the outside.
“To Willow Rosenberg. With Love, The Presidium…whaddya know? They like to be ironic.”
Kennedy tore the letter open just as Vi caught up and looked over her shoulder.
“What is it?” the petite slayer asked.
“It’s a reversal spell,” Kennedy said, turning around to face Vi. “Turns out Willow’s got friends in low places.”
Fade to Black
End of Child’s Play
On the next episode of Watchers…
A visit from Willow and Rowena’s mutual friend Althenea is disrupted by the Presidium putting a spell on local religious groups to attack the Council.