Watchers Council – Library – Day
“So,” Willow said to Giles. “How’d the big talk with Becca go?” Giles looked at Willow but said nothing. “Just as I suspected, huh?” Willow asked.
Giles looked at Buffy and Willow, who both sat grinning at him. “May I ask a question?” he prodded.
“Sure,” Willow told him.
“Why on earth are women so pigheaded?”
Willow turned to Buffy. “I told him she’d say no go.”
Giles sighed. “Yes, you were right. I knew you would be right, but I hoped I could appeal to her logic.” Giles tried to pour some coffee, but only a small stream came out. “Figures. I’ll be back,” he said, taking the pot with him.
“Actually, I’ll come with,” Buffy told him. Together, the two of them walked out of the library and down the hall.
“Okay,” she began after a moment, “This is where we have the talk.”
“Oh yes, the talk,” he nodded.
“You don’t know what I’m going to say.”
“Yes I do. If something happens to you, I’ll promise to look after Dawn, see that she graduates and has a place to live and call home.”
“Okay, so you do know the talk,” Buffy shrugged.
“But as I can tell you –”
“Everything will be fine,” Buffy answered in a bad British accent. “It is a moot point and you’ll have many years left to antagonize your sister.”
“Dear lord,” Giles sighed. “Are we both that predictable?”
“Obviously,” Buffy answered dryly. “But seriously, Giles, if I don’t make it out of this one –”
“Dawn will have a home. I promise,” he finished.
“Thank you,” she said sincerely.
“You’re quite welcome,” he answered, putting his arm around her shoulder.
Bike Trail along Lake Erie Shoreline – Same Time
Kennedy knelt down next to Mia and put her head down to listen for any noise.
“I couldn’t find a pulse,” Mia told her.
Next Kennedy put her fingers to Rowena’s throat. After a few seconds, she gave a nod. “She’s alive, but her pulse is weak and her breathing is pretty shallow. Go see to the injured slayers,” Kennedy said, nodding toward the field.
“How about you, for starters?” Mia said as she pulled her over-shirt off, leaving her in her t-shirt underneath. She ripped the shirt down one side and then the other and took Kennedy’s bleeding hand, wrapping it tightly.
“Not every day a beautiful woman gives me the shirt off her back,” Kennedy joked.
“True. I’ve learned the world can be full of stupid women. But some are worthwhile,” the Asian slayer smirked before getting to her feet with the other half of her shirt in hand. “I’m gonna see what we’ve got.”
Kennedy watched Mia walk away as she radioed the Council.
“Slayer One to Council. Over?”
“Go ahead, Slayer One.”
Kennedy took a moment when she recognized Robin’s voice. “Robin, we need a medical team down here at the lake. We got ambushed. Over.”
“Where’s Faith?” he asked.
“I wish I knew,” Kennedy said out loud, but she waited before hitting the button to convey the message. “We got separated. Rowena’s injured and we’ve got a few slayers down – injured, possibly dead. Over.” There was a long silence and Kennedy pressed the button again. “Confirm. Over.”
Finally she heard Robin’s voice. “Confirmed. Medical unit’s on the way. Over.”
Presidium Van – Moments Later
Faith’s eyes shot open and she tried to move, but her hands were bound and her feet shackled. She looked around at the other occupants of the van, all demons.
“Y’know, guys,” she said, “a simple invitation would have done here. I’d even R.S.V.P. and everything.”
“Quiet,” one of the demons told her as the van came to a stop.
The demons hopped out the back and pulled Faith along and out of the van. On exiting, she looked around to see that she seemed to be in some sort of large cavern.
Presidium Lair – Moments Later
“I will say one thing,” Faith said as she looked around at the busy center of the Presidium’s lair. Demons ran in all directions, most ignoring her. “You guys really get a workout with a trek this far to get to the office.” Faith looked at a sphere-shaped object in the room that tweeted and hummed in time to an array of lights illuminating on its flanks. “Pretty…”
Larmin approached the Slayer and gave a bow. “So you are the one known as Faith, the Slayer.”
“And who wants to know?”
“Forgive me,” he said with another slight bow. “I’m Larmin. I oversee this facility.”
“Well, I gotta tell ya, Larry. You really need an interior designer, queer eye for the demon guy or something like that. But then again tacky, brown cave walls are in this season I hear.”
“You are very humorous,” he told her.
“Yeah and I see how neither one of us seems to be laughing. Care to tell me why I’m here, Lar?”
“Let us just say that your presence is required.”
“They’re gonna find me. You know that, right?”
“We are counting on it,” Larmin answered with a grin, before motioning to the demons holding her. “See that she is placed in Cavern Two C so the next phase can begin.”
One of the demons reached around and placed a gag in Faith’s mouth. She started to fight, a frightened look on her face for maybe the first time. “So nice chatting with you. But I have work to do,” he told her as he shooed the group away with his hands.
Watchers Council – Garage Entrance – Moments Later
Vi and Rona met Mia and Kennedy at the garage entrance and Kennedy pushed Bonnie toward them. “Take that bitch to the library and tie her down. We’ll be up soon.”
Vi and Rona each took one of Bonnie’s arms and pulled her in the opposite direction from Mia and Kennedy, who walked briskly toward the Watchers Council lobby.
“Now what do we do?” Mia asked.
“Report in. Tell ’em what happened,” Kennedy said shortly.
“And what exactly did happen out there?”
Kennedy ran her fingers through her hair in obvious frustration. “We got sucker punched.”
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Willow, Giles, Andrew, Xander, and Buffy all waited for Kennedy and Mia in the Council lobby, and all rushed forward as they saw Kennedy and Mia approach.
“Any word from Lori?” Kennedy asked.
“Not yet,” Giles told her.
“The medical guys are bringing everyone in who’s injured right now,” Kennedy told him.
“What happened?” Buffy asked.
“They set us up and outnumbered us. Simple as that.”
“So the Presidium is making their bold move then?” Xander asked.
“Sure looks like it from where I’m standing.” Kennedy nodded. “We’re just lucky Ro had the intuition to call in a larger team. It might have been a lot worse. We could have the girls go back to the area, but I honestly don’t think that…Willow’s hearing a single word I’m saying.”
Willow looked startled. “No, no, go ahead. Outnumbered, I heard.”
Kennedy watched as Willow appeared to be almost shaking. “She’s alive. I don’t know how bad it is, though,” Kennedy told her. “So why don’t you go check her out?”
“No, I should stay here. You need to tell us –”
“You’re not gonna focus until you see her, so go. We’ll fill you in.” Willow still looked undecided. “Go on,” Kennedy added, nodding toward the direction she came in.
With a short nod, Willow left the huddle and quickly started toward the infirmary.
“Did we lose anyone?” Andrew asked, his voice obviously pained at the thought.
“Not on the way over, but some girls – they aren’t just gonna bounce back from this. We’re talking major, major damage. Bleeding from the mouth and nose. Some from the ears. They went to town on us.”
Kennedy looked over and saw Robin sitting in the far corner. His elbows rested on his knees in a hunched position. Quietly, she walked over to him.
He looked up at her when she was within a few feet. “I tried to stop them,” she explained. “Tried to buy the girls more time to wrestle her free, but…”
“I’m sure you did all you could,” he answered softly.
“I don’t think they’ll kill her, Robin. They could have done that in the field, but instead they loaded her in –”
He held up his hand. “I don’t need to hear anymore right now.”
Kennedy simply nodded.
“So now what?” Andrew asked. “I mean, do we just wait for Lori to call or should Willow try casting another locator spell, because the first one went kablooey…”
Realizing what he said, Kennedy turned around. “It didn’t work? Why wouldn’t it?”
“Because she’s probably dead,” Robin said. Without another word, he stood up and left the room.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Moments Later
Willow walked inside cautiously, as if she was afraid to be there. She looked to the far corner of the room to see a doctor examining Rowena . The blonde watcher was awake and talking to her doctor, but she was strapped to a board with a neck brace in place. Willow quickly wiped her eyes and inhaled deeply before making her way over.
“We’ll be back in a few moments to get some x-rays,” the doctor told Rowena. “Until then, don’t move. We want to be sure about what we’re dealing with.”
“Thank you, Mindy,” Rowena answered.
Willow leaned over the bed and looked down at the Watcher. “Hey,” she called down softly.
Rowena began to grin. “And here I thought exercising was healthy,” she joked. “Teach me, eh?”
“Does she know what’s wrong?” Willow asked, sparing a glance to the doctor before turning back to Rowena.
“Thinks I might have some broken ribs. Guess that’s to be expected when a Snakle demon falls on your chest. But she’s just being cautious for now, until we can get x-rays to be sure.”
“How are you feeling?” Willow asked.
Rowena continued to grin. “Like I got run over with a Zamboni machine.”
“Leave it to the Canuck to make an ice reference,” Willow replied. Rowena tried not to laugh. Her smile darted away, replaced by a look of pain. Willow cringed guiltily. “Maybe I should just leave you alone and quit asking questions, huh?”
Rowena tried to look down and couldn’t, so instead she wiggled her fingers. Willow took the signal and put her hand in hers. She grinned when she felt Rowena return the grip.
“Don’t. I’m glad you’re here,” the blonde watcher whispered.
Willow licked her lips, but before she could reply, the infirmary door opened and she turned to see Kennedy walk in with Mia. Carefully Willow slipped her hand out of Rowena’s and rose as the two slayers approached. She noticed the makeshift bandage on Kennedy’s hand.
“Mindy,” Willow called over, making the doctor who was leaving the room turn in their direction. Willow pointed to where they all stood. “Can you get Dr. Miller?” she added, motioning to Kennedy’s hand.
“I didn’t think you noticed,” Kennedy told her.
Willow looked between Kennedy and Mia and a small grin formed on her lips. “I notice lots of things you might not realize.”
“You’re not the only one,” Kennedy answered.
Mia looked between the two women, unsure of what to say or do. Finally, she found her voice. “I’m gonna head back to the dorm and get another shirt,” she announced.
Kennedy nodded and watched as Mia walked away before turning back to Willow, who still stood at Rowena’s bedside. “How you doing over there, Ro?” she called out.
Unable to turn, Rowena answered to the ceiling. “Been better. Waiting on x-rays. How you doing?”
“On the bad side, a sliced up hand, but on the good side, we’ve got an evil real estate agent tied up in the library.”
“Bonnie?” Willow and Rowena both said at the same time.
“That’s how I got this loving Presidium parting gift. She was driving the van that took Faith away, so I broke the window.”
“The Presidium has Faith?” Rowena asked.
“Yeah, you were napping at the time,” Kennedy quipped. “But we’ve got Bonnie upstairs and Giles looks…is there a word for beyond pissed?”
Dr. Miller arrived in the room and motioned Kennedy to follow him. “You got a minute, Will?” she asked.
“Yeah, sure,” she answered before leaning back over Rowena’s bed. “I gotta go, but I’ll be back later.”
“Don’t bother. I love the company, but someone needs to make sure Giles doesn’t kill Bonnie. Go find out what you can.”
Willow gave her a firm nod and started to follow Kennedy out of the room.
Watchers Infirmary Hallway – Same time
Dr. Miller walked ahead of Kennedy and Willow, who strolled side by side.
“How are you handling all of this?” Willow asked. “Honestly.”
“I’m focusing on getting Faith back right now and not on how she was taken. It’s helping.”
“That’s good, because –”
“Was I a fool?” Kennedy interrupted suddenly.
“What? No, I’m sure you did everything right. In fact, you captured Bonnie –”
“No, I mean us – you and me. Did you call it quits with me because you fell for her?”
Willow shook her head, but didn’t answer immediately. “No, the falling didn’t happen until after. I swear.”
“So it’s true? You are in love with her?” Kennedy stopped and faced Willow a few yards from where Dr. Miller had ducked into another room. “I just want you to be honest, Willow.”
“I am being honest, Kennedy. I didn’t trade up, if that’s what you think.”
“It just feels that way. I see how you look at her – hell, how you look at each other. Kinda makes me feel like an idiot that I didn’t see it sooner.”
“That’s because there was nothing to see,” Willow repeated firmly. “I spent months after we broke up examining what I wanted, but Ro was never a part of those plans. It just sorta…happened. Kinda like you and a certain geisha girl.”
Kennedy smirked. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you sound a bit jealous.”
“Maybe I am,” Willow confessed. “Maybe I’m jealous you’re making better strides than me in this department. And maybe…maybe I’m a little jealous of her too. She seems to connect with you in a way I couldn’t.”
“Kennedy?” Dr. Miller’s voice called as he peeked into the hallway.
“Yeah, coming,” she told him, before turning back to the redhead. “I gotta go but…thanks, Willow,” she said sincerely.
Willow reached up and stroked Kennedy’s cheek with the back of her fingers. “Go on. Get yourself patched up. Maybe Rowena was being facetious, but I know the truth. I gotta save Bonnie from Ripper. Well, at least for now.”
“If you get a location –?”
“You’ll be the first one I tell.”
The two women smiled at each other, then walked in opposite directions.
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
“Where did they take her?” Giles asked, growing short on patience.
“Again, I can’t discuss it,” Bonnie answered. Her wrists were tied to the arms of a rolling chair.
Robin slammed his hands down on the table in front of him, making the entire room jump. He charged over to Bonnie and kicked the chair with such force it coasted across the floor until it hit a filing cabinet and tipped over. He raced over to where Bonnie had fallen and uprighted the chair in one fluid movement. Inches from her face he started to scream.
“Tell us where she is!”
Bonnie was breathing hard and a line of sweat beaded at her forehead along with a growing bruise where her face had just hit the floor. “It doesn’t matter,” she finally answered. “It’s too late anyway, and with or without her, you won’t win.”
Robin reared his arm back and backhanded her across the face. “I said, where is she?!”
It was only after he spoke the words that he noticed her body had gone limp in the chair. Frustrated, he stormed from the room. After a few seconds passed, Andrew asked, “Did he kill her?”
Giles walked over and roughly picked up Bonnie’s head by her hair. Her eyes were closed, but her face couldn’t quite hide a grimace of pain. He gave a devious smile. “Playing possum, luv?” Giles asked. Slowly, Bonnie opened her eyes. “You’ll soon find out that he gives up much more easily than I do.”
“Is that so?”
“Oh yes. He’s also not as…creative…as I can be. Did you know there are forty-eight nerves in a single human hand? It’s true. And I’ve just as many ways to remind you of that fact. So I ask…where is our slayer, Faith?”
Bonnie said nothing at first, but suddenly she screamed out in pain and began to pant.
“One,” Giles said coolly, coming eye to eye with her. “Only forty-seven left. And I promise, none of them will get easier.”
Presidium Lair – Same Time
“So you’ve completed your task?” Larmin asked.
“Yes, but… are you sure about this?” a vampire asked Larmin. “They have Bonnie as we speak.”
“I realize that,” he answered. “She’ll be loyal to our cause.”
“But what if she starts to talk?” the vampire pressed on. “She could send them right here.”
Larmin rose to his full height and looked down at the vampire, whose nervousness only grew. “In that case, all the more perfect.”
End of Act Two