Originally broadcasted 5/11/04

Fade In:
Watchers Council – Lobby – Evening

Faith walked back into the lobby, looking at a book as she spoke. “Okay guys. When I agreed to –” She stopped as she saw Buffy standing near the doorway, with Dawn and Skye entering behind her. “Boy, look what the cat dragged in.”

“How are you?” the blonde slayer asked.

“Five by Five. Yourself?”

“Can’t complain.”


Faith and Buffy just stared at each other for a moment. No one in the room spoke.

“I thought I’d lend a hand,” Buffy told her. “Looks like you guys could use it judging by the weirdly dazed angry mob we saw leaving right as we got here.”

“We got it under control,” Faith told her. “But thanks, B, for taking time out of your globe trottin’ to ride in on your white horse at the last minute. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”

“Faith,” Willow warned.

Giles gently tugged Willow’s sleeve and shook his head, silently requesting that she stay out of it. Faith walked closer to Buffy, totally ignoring the witch, and the blonde slayer also closed the distance between them.

“I knew you’d have a problem,” Buffy sighed.

“Got that right. I’ve been busting my ass here for months and suddenly you just pop in to save the day. All the glory but none of the work. Is that it?”

Buffy shook her head. “That’s not why I’m here. You’ve got something big going down and –”

“You don’t have to tell me what we have, B. Believe me, I know. But it’s what WE have, not you. You can go back to your merry life and we’ll handle things.”

“That’s not gonna happen,” Buffy replied soundly.

“Faith,” Giles said as he approached the pair. “Buffy came here of her own free will.”

“Did you know she was coming?” Faith accused.

“No,” he answered honestly. “We didn’t request her presence. We simply told her the situation and that we were searching for all the slayers we could find.”

Faith looked at Giles a moment longer and then turned back to Buffy. “Fine. But I’m not taking orders from her.” Slowly, she turned back to Giles. “If that’s the case, I’m gonna be the one headin’ off to Europe.”

“I wouldn’t expect you to relinquish your role as leader to these girls,” Giles told her sincerely.

Faith paused and handed the book back to Giles. “You take care of the study group. I suddenly feel the need to hit something really hard.”

Faith left the room and Xander rubbed the back of his neck.

“Well,” he began with a grin, making his way over. “Welcome to the Hellmouth, Buff. As you can see, not much has changed.”

She grinned warmly at him and opened her arms for a hug.

“Not exactly the entrance I was hoping for,” she confessed as Willow and Giles walked over.

“Despite what you just heard, we’re really glad you’re here,” Willow said. She also pulled Buffy into a hug, then looked over Buffy’s shoulder at Dawn and Skye. “And you must be Skye,” the witch commented as she walked over. “No disrespect, but I’ve heard so little about you,” she told the young woman in a perky-yet-sarcastic voice.

Skye’s smile widened and she chuckled a little before she offered her hand. “Dawn told me you were a little upset she didn’t say anything while she was here.”

“Oh she said all right. She said lots,” Willow countered. “Just not to me.”

Willow glared at Dawn for a few seconds before a slight grin worked its way to her lips.

“I’m never gonna live that down, am I?” Dawn asked as Willow walked over and hugged her.

“Nope,” Willow answered. “And as much as I’m glad to see you guys, I really wish you hadn’t come.”

“I tried to tell her no, but she refused,” Buffy sighed. “And Skye’s argument was, and I quote, ‘I’m a legal adult so if I want to go to Cleveland I will.’ And there you have it – the daring duo on my coattails.” Buffy turned around and looked at Giles. “And how are you holding up these days?”

He gave her a warm smile and pulled her into his arms. “Thank you for being here,” he said softly.

Buffy tightened her hold before pulling back to look at him. “Come on. If I had the choice between sitting in Venice drinking wine or hanging out with my family who’s facing unspeakable evil…where do you think I’d really be?”

Buffy beamed and Giles returned the sentiment with a grin of his own. He then turned around sharply. “Oh, this is Rowena Allister, one of our senior watchers. Rowena, this is, well, my slayer, Buffy Summers.”

“Nice to put a face to a name,” Buffy greeted pleasantly.

“Likewise, but I must confess…”

“What?” Buffy said. She quickly looked down to examine herself under Rowena’s appraising eye.

“Oh, nothing bad,” Rowena said quickly. “I just expected you to be…I don’t know…taller. You’re quite the legend in these parts.”

“Oh, I’ve heard a few tales about you too,” Buffy said, just before Willow forcefully grabbed her by the arm. Quickly, Buffy switched gears. “Oh, like that Opie book, for starters.”

“Hey, Buff,” Willow interrupted. “Why don’t I show you to your room a-and maybe Rowena can take the younger demon fighters over to the dorms?” Willow said, nodding her head toward Dawn and Skye.

“Sure, sounds great.” Buffy had barely answered before Willow began briskly pulling her along. In the distance, Buffy gave a guilty shrug and Willow whispered something heatedly in her friend’s ear. Rowena smiled as she watched the pair and then made her way over to Dawn and Skye.

Cut To:
Presidium Lair – Same Time

Larmin sat at his terminal as Bonnie approached, giving him a slight bow upon arrival. “Everything is in place. We’re just awaiting your word.”

“We’re taking a big chance here. You realize that?” he told her.

“You can’t be in a war without risks. But the Presidium needs to thin the slayer herd and this is our best option.”

“And the scouts are sure the watcher will be there?” Larmin asked.

“They’ve been surveying her for weeks now and they’ve found the perfect location.”

Larmin gave a thoughtful nod. “Very well then. Put the first phase of the plan in motion and see that the slayer Faith is captured alive.”

“Alive and unharmed?”

Larmin paused for a moment again, then grinned. “Just alive will do.”

With a nod, Bonnie left the lair.

Black Out

End of Teaser