Watchers Council – Giles’s Apartment – Same Time
“Are you okay?” Giles asked Becca from his position on the sofa, from inside the woman’s trembling body.
“No, I’m not okay! I’m you! You’re me!” Becca answered, bordering on hysteria, in Giles’s familiar baritone.
Giles stood up from the sofa and took Becca by both arms. As he gripped them, he gave an extra squeeze and a slight smile came to his face.
“What?” she asked looking down at his small hands clutching her biceps.
“I’m just in better shape than I imagined,” he said proudly.
“Rupert, this is not the time to compare and contrast, okay?” Becca snapped.
“Right, right…Just take deep breaths. We’ll figure this out.”
“I’m leaning towards blind panic myself,” Becca answered.
“I realize that,” Giles said soothingly, “but I’m sure there’s a logical explanation here.”
“Being?” Becca asked, prompting with her hands for him to continue.
Giles paused. “I haven’t a clue right now.”
Becca reached up to pinch her nose, but instead her fingers hit the unfamiliar glasses resting there. “This is going to take some adjustment,” she observed, as she pulled the glasses from her face.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Same Time
“Oh God,” Willow said, as she started to pace in Rowena’s body.
“Calm down, Will,” Rowena told her, before becoming distracted by the red hair over her shoulder. She picked it up and examined it for a moment.
“Why is it that when I kiss a woman the first time, bad things happen?” Willow asked. She ran her fingers through her hair and came to an abrupt stop. She looked at her hand and then shook her head, as if remembering her hair, Rowena’s hair, was short and not the length she found familiar.
“Technically, this wasn’t the first time,” Rowena answered. “And second, it might not be just us.”
Willow paused and began to nod. “Right, right,” she said nervously. Suddenly dread returned to her face and she started to pace again. “Oh, who am I kidding? I know it’s me.”
Rowena sighed and shook her head. “Oh, this is fun.”
Watchers Council – Workshop – Same Time
“What’s going on?” Xander asked, as he looked at his body sitting across from him.
Andrew and Xander’s eyes widened and they let out a high-pitched scream before running away from one another in opposite directions.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Same Time
Bonnie and Skye stared at each other in shock. Bonnie, in Skye’s body, recovered first, reaching out and opening the refrigerator without a problem. She smiled broadly as she began to feel herself all over.
“Hey! Get your hands off…me!” Skye ordered.
A look of realization washed over Bonnie. “I’d stick around, but I have things to do,” she answered as she started from the room.
Skye reached out and grabbed her arm. “Get back here with my body!”
As Skye reached again for Bonnie, the real estate agent pulled back and swung, connecting with Skye’s chin. Skye staggered a step or two, but when she tried to charge Bonnie, she was thrown against the wall by mystical energy and slammed to the floor.
“Hmm, so that’s what happens if I try to hurt someone. Interesting,” Bonnie said as she grinned down at Skye. “Oh well,” she sighed. Bonnie walked casually from the room, leaving Skye, and her own body, behind.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
The confused sounds of panicked conversations echoing through the lobby as Giles and Becca entered, holding each other’s hand tightly. He cleared his voice and tried to speak, but the group paid no heed. He pursed Becca’s lips in a very Giles-like manner and rolled her eyes. Then he whispered something up in his companion’s ear.
With an amused grin, Becca gave her best Giles impression, made easier by being delivered in his own voice, “All right, everyone, just calm down.” She turned and indicated the shorter woman at her side, as all eyes turned to her. “A little attention for the lady,” she grinned, and was rewarded by a fascinating look at her own expression when she was murderously pissed off.
Giles turned from her with a long suffering sigh. “Good Lord,” he murmured. More loudly, “All right. Who are we missing?” he asked the group, giving Becca’s voice as much calm assurance as he could manage under the circumstances.
“Willow,” Kennedy spoke up in Marsha’s body. “And Rowena,” she added in a smaller voice. Faith looked over and shook her bald head in merriment at Kennedy’s disgusted tone, and Kennedy found herself unable to hold back a grin.
“Oh god, Skye,” Dawn said in a cracking teenage male voice. She turned to Jeff, who was in her body.
“She went to the kitchen,” he added to the group.
“I’ll go check,” Xander told Dawn as he began to walk away. “You start the study group on what’s got us all hocus pocused.”
“Buffy and Tracey too. They were setting up for lunch,” Andrew spoke up in Xander’s body as he watched his own body walking away. He stared for a moment and then shook his head, pushing away the distraction. “This is so freaky…but kinda cool.” He ended with a slight chuckle and turned to see Dawn, in Jeff’s body, scowling at him.
“What?” he asked, his brown eyes not making contact.
At that moment, Buffy and Tracey walked in side-by-side, chuckling about something that amused them. They both came to an abrupt halt when they found nearly everyone gathered in the lobby, just standing around.
“Lemme guess,” Buffy asked, taking in the expressions around her. “Another apocalypse?”
“Buffy?” Giles asked the petite blonde. “Is that you?”
“Umm, yeah,” she answered. “We have met before, Becca, remember? I guess Giles didn’t tell you I was coming in.”
Giles shook his head and a wayward strand of his blonde hair fell into his eyes, forcing him to push it back. “I am Giles. Everyone at the Council got…switched with whomever they were with approximately ten minutes ago.”
“Not everyone,” Buffy told him as she turned to Andrew’s assistant. “I’m still me. Tracey?”
Tracey felt her own face, chest and thighs. “I feel the same,” she replied with a shrug.
“Well, perhaps you were too far away from what’s affecting all of us?” Giles remarked thoughtfully, considering that option.
“That can’t be right,” Kennedy offered, and everyone turned to the small blonde. She pointed at Buffy and Tracey. “You guys were in the dining room, right?”
Buffy and Tracey both nodded.
“Marsha and I were in the gym,” she said, pointing to the brunette standing beside her. “That’s farther away from the central location where all of you were,” she said, now pointing around the room. “So is the workshop where Xander and Andrew were, come to think of it. So why didn’t these two switch?” she asked, indicating Tracey and Buffy.
“This might be a stupid question…” Everyone turned at the sound and looked to the top of the stairs, where someone who looked like Willow stood. “But did anybody here…”
“Yes,” a chorus of voices called out nonchalantly.
“It’s not just us, Willow,” she said, as she waved the witch from the room in the hallway behind her. The group watched as the blonde head popped out and looked around before stepping out of the doorway completely.
“You two swapped places?” Giles asked.
“Looks that way,” Rowena answered as she walked down the stairs, her red hair bouncing with each step and Willow following behind her.
“At this time we’re trying t-to deduce how this happened,” Giles began, the stutter seeming strange coming from Becca’s mouth. “Everyone seems to be affected, with the exception of Buffy and Tracey. Perhaps there is some common link.”
“Meaning?” Faith asked, as Robin’s deep voice echoed against the lobby walls.
“What was everyone doing at the time of the change?” he asked, looking at Rowena and Willow first.
“Well,” Willow began, “actually, we were –” Before she could finish, Rowena cut her short.
“Talking, in her living room.” She paused and looked down at her body. “Well, my living room. In Willow’s living room. Anyone confused yet?” Everyone held up their hands. “We need name tags, quick,” she added.
“We need to figure out what caused this,” Giles told them.
“Oh!” Becca exclaimed. “The vase!” The look of triumph on the tall man’s face was so familiar and reassuring, it caused several in the room to relax just seeing it.
“Vase? What vase?” Rowena asked.
“From the swap meet. I started to polish it, and that’s when it happened. Maybe it’s like Aladdin’s lamp. Instead of three wishes, you get condemned to life outside your body, or something along those lines.”
Rowena cocked her head in curiosity as she listened to Becca speaking in Giles’s body.
“Where is the vase now?” Robin asked with his newly-acquired Boston accent.
“Upstairs,” Becca answered. “I’ll go get it.” With that, she bolted up the stairs.
Rowena pointed toward Becca as she took off up the stairs. “Did anyone notice that?” she asked.
“Notice what?” Kennedy asked.
“She has an accent,” Rowena answered.
“Well, she is Giles after all,” Marsha replied, as Andrew took a step closer to listen to the conversation.
“No,” Rowena told her. “Accents are strictly mental. a speech pattern that’s developed in the mind. Becca should still sound like Becca, even if she looks like Giles.”
“So you’re saying…?” Marsha prompted.
“Maybe more than our bodies got switched.”
Giles turned to Dawn’s body. “Dawn,” he began. He watched as Jeff raised his hand behind the young woman he was looking at directly in front of him.
“Over here,” she reminded him.
“Bloody hell,” Giles sighed. “Willow, please go make some name tags immediately.”
Willow’s blonde head bobbed before she walked away. Giles then turned back to Dawn and Jeff. “Can you both start collecting books and looking through some of the computer files?” He looked to his left and added, “Ro-Willow will give you a hand.”
“Hey guys!” Xander shouted, in the form of Andrew, before they could move. “Skye’s gone, and Bonnie’s unconscious in the kitchen. Better get the doctor.”
“Why do I doubt that’s Bonnie?” Giles asked rhetorically, as Dawn and Jeff dashed toward the kitchen.
“I’ll get the doctor,” Jeff announced, as Dawn followed Xander.
“She ran,” Kennedy answered. “Brand new skin that no demon will be looking for, so why stick around? I’ll go round up the girls out on the run.”
“No,” Marsha spoke up, resting her hand on the shorter young woman’s shoulder. “I’ll go. I’ve got your body. You run faster.”
Before anyone could protest, Marsha sprinted out the door.
“So, what do we do now?” Andrew asked Giles as Becca returned, vase in hand.
“I suggest we just go back to our normal routines, if we can,” the head watcher said. “We’ll research and try to keep things quiet until we figure out a solution.”
“Robert is watching the shop,” Becca told them. “I’m supposed to be there in less than an hour.” She looked at her wrist, only to be reminded that Giles wore his watch on the other hand. She raised it instead and noted the time, a little awkwardly.
“That’s a good point,” Faith said, her deep voice resonant as she stepped forward, towering over Robin in her new body. “Who goes out on patrol tonight? Me or Robin?” she asked, pointing between them.
Giles held his hand up and closed his eyes as if trying to concentrate. After a brief pause he opened them. “I’ll go close the shop and give Robert the rest of the day off, so we don’t raise suspicions. As for patrolling, both of you should go out together. Robin has exceptional fighting skills, so I’m not concerned. Agreed?”
Everyone nodded and Giles began to walk toward the staircase but stumbled in the heeled shoes he was wearing. He managed to catch himself before falling and cursed inaudibly, under his breath.
“I’m getting out of these death traps and picking up a pair of flats,” he shouted, without looking back.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Moments Later
“Just keep the ice on it for twenty minutes on and twenty off for the next hour or so,” the doctor told Skye. Then he left the room, leaving her, Dawn and Buffy alone.
The young woman, now trapped in Bonnie’s body, glanced at her girlfriend.
“So how do you feel about older women?” Skye teased as she looked anxiously at Dawn.
Dawn looked down at her male body, taking in her own altered appearance. “How do you feel about dating a guy half your age?”
Skye smiled, but then a look of frustration took over her face. “Oh, this is a mess,” Skye sighed as Dawn took her hand.
Buffy ran her palm over the back of Dawn’s head. “I’ll find her. I promise.”
“When you do,” Skye told her, “just remember not to rough her up too much. But I think that goes without saying,” she added as she motioned to the body that wasn’t hers.
“I promise. No broken bones,” Buffy replied with a grin as she walked out.
“Or teeth?” Skye yelled toward the hallway. “Six years of braces, I’d like to keep them a while longer.”
City Street – Moments Later
Marsha raced along in Kennedy’s body and spotted Vi leading the girls back toward the council. “Vi?” she called out.
The redheaded Slayer stopped her team and jogged the rest of the way until they met.
“What’s wrong?” Vi asked, sensing the concern in the voice.
“You’re…you, right?” she asked.
“What? Uh, yeah.”
Marsha opened her mouth to say something but looked over to see Rita in the group and a wicked smile came to her dark face.
“One sec,” she said as she jogged over to Rita. “Drop and give me one hundred!” she snapped in her best Kennedy drill sergeant imitation. Rita looked confused, and Marsha added, “Now, maggot!”
Looking scared, Rita fell to the ground and began doing pushups. Marsha’s smile widened even more. She then ran back over to Vi, who looked totally confused.
“What in the world is going on, Ken?” Vi asked.
Marsha grinned as she watched Rita. “Some just desserts. But let’s get back to the Council and the watcher folks can explain.”
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
“How goes the search, Will?” Buffy asked. She watched the blonde head swivel around.
“She stopped at the bank, withdrew funds from an ATM – $5,000 in cash.”
“Cool! So the locator spell’s a-locating then.”
“I wish,” Willow harrumphed. Buffy looked bewildered. “Her bank called,” Willow confessed sheepishly.
“Score one for corporate America. So she’s looking to run big time, I take it?” Buffy asked.
“Yeah, but she’s only got three options, really. I don’t see her risking getting caught by stealing a car, and she can’t rent one because she’s not twenty-five or older while in Skye’s body. So that leaves –”
“Planes and trains,” Buffy finished.
Willow nodded. “And buses. I’ve got Kennedy leading a team out at the train station. Faith and Robin are hitting her old haunts, and four other teams are now enroute to the airport and bus depot. As soon as Vi gets in, we’re sending her and Marsha out too.”
Buffy began to grin and nodded her head. “Look at you!”
“You, all with the organizing of troops. Pretty soon you’ll be wearing tweed, indexing for fun…you better be careful.”
Willow grinned. “I’ll have you know this isn’t how I thought we’d spend your trip here. I missed you, but as you can see…” She waved a hand over Rowena’s body.
“Hellmouthy stuff strikes again. I get it, so don’t worry. Besides, I’ll come around again soon. In fact, I was thinking…I like Europe so…maybe Robson might need a hand.”
Willow’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped. “Are you serious?”
“Nothing full-time,” Buffy said, holding up her hands. “Just a little slaying on the side, between classes.”
“This is so cool! Did you tell Giles yet?”
“I haven’t told anyone,” Buffy confessed.
“Just you.” Buffy smiled.
Willow squared her shoulders and looked proud. “Thanks! At least there’s one woman in my life who lets me in on things first.” Buffy looked confused, but Willow brushed her off. “Never mind, just venting. But this is great! You can be like-like our delegate to the European office.”
“Would there be more pay for that position?”
“Oh, not a chance,” Willow said seriously, before cracking a smile.
Watchers Council – Library – Moments Later
Vi walked inside with Marsha, still in Kennedy’s body, to see the group all sitting around the large table.
“Good,” Giles said, as he rose from the table wearing a label that said, “Hello my name is Giles.” Vi looked around and began to read the other labels. “Did Marsha explain the situation?” he asked.
“Yeah…weird,” Vi said, looking a bit unnerved to be addressed by Becca in such a proper voice.
“Well, we have a larger problem, believe it or not. Bonnie appears to have left in Skye’s body and is taking this misfortune as an opportunity to start her life over again. We need to find her.”
“We don’t even know where she went,” Marsha reminded him.
“True, but she couldn’t have gotten very far. We already have teams out there, but we need all the Slayers out searching. Understood?”
“Sure, but when we find her, then what?” Vi asked.
“We’re working on it right now,” he said as he reached for Becca’s coat. “But so far we’ve yet to find information about the vase. When we do, hopefully we can reverse its effects.”
“Where are you going?” Vi asked.
“Off to be a shop proprietor again,” he answered wryly.
Becca’s Books – Minutes Later
Giles opened the door to Becca’s Books to see a dark haired man in his late thirties sitting on a stool, reading a book.
“Hey, the blonde vixen has returned,” the man said as he climbed off the stool to stand behind the counter.
Giles pursed his lips at the comment and licked his lips, as if tasting the lipstick for the first time. Instead of dwelling on it, he walked inside.
“Yes, sorry, I got detained-ah-held up. But I’m here now, so you can go,” he answered, struggling to fight down his British phrasing.
“I don’t have anywhere to be,” Robert answered. “Let me get you a coffee.”
“No, really, Robert –”
“It’s no trouble. Besides, I missed you when you were in Austin,” he said, already walking back to the storeroom.
Giles scowled in the man’s direction as he took a seat on the stool, fighting with adjusting his skirt. He sat with his legs open, at first, but then closed them with a snap before the man returned from the back.
“You don’t say,” he answered with as much neutrality as he could muster while he fought with the proper way to sit. Finally he crossed his legs at the knees, resting his hands on his upper thigh.
“Yeah I did…now don’t take offense but, I have to ask something,” he replied as he returned with two cups.
“What?” Giles asked.
“You’re a beautiful woman, Becca. I just can’t see why you’re engaged to an uptight Brit who’s probably only looking for his green card. Honestly, what does that guy have to offer?”
Giles clenched his teeth for a moment. “That’s not your concern,” he said, taking the cup.
“No, it is,” Robert answered. He put a hand on what he thought was Becca’s knee. “I think you could find someone better, is all.”
“Look Robert,” Giles began. He gave a feral grin and peered down at the man’s unwelcome hand. “Number one, you take it off or I break it off. Number two, stay out of my private life.”
“Becca,” Robert whined, giving the knee a light squeeze. “I only say this because I care about you.”
“You only say this because you want into my knickers,” Giles countered, trying to keep his reserve.
“Knickers? My God, it’s already happening. You’re starting to talk like him, too. Listen,” he said, shaking his head, “Yes, I’m physically attracted to you. I admit it, but it’s more than that.”
“And you think you’d be the better choice for me?” Giles asked.
Robert’s fingers began to trace a lazy pattern on his employer’s leg. “When you called and told me about the engagement, I promised myself that when you got back I’d be honest with you. And yes, I know I’m the better choice…so what do you say? Will you at least consider it?”
Giles grinned and cleared his throat. “I say you’re fired.”
Robert began to chuckle and Giles slipped from the stool and walked over to the front door and opened it. Slowly, Robert made his way over. He reached up and stroked Giles’s feminine face. The watcher turned away.
“Touch me again,” Giles warned quietly, “and you’re not only fired, you’ll lose some teeth.”
“Wooo,” Robert taunted as he grabbed Giles by the waist.
The jab shot out so fast that Robert didn’t even have the chance to move. He stumbled backward and grabbed his face before he looked into his hand.
“You broke my nose!” he shouted.
Giles raised his fist. “Beg your pardon. Must have missed. Should I aim for the teeth again?”
“You’re insane! What the hell’s wrong with you, Becca?”
“You have a great deal to learn about women, Robert. No means no. And at the moment,” Giles said, as he grabbed Robert by the collar and tossed him to the sidewalk, “out means out!”
Giles slammed the door shut and locked it. After that he promptly turned the open sign to closed and shut the blind. “Stupid git,” he muttered as he rubbed his knuckles.
Giles turned around and walked toward the counter, locking the cash register and briskly taking the key. He was reaching for the lights when he heard a knock on the front door.
“Bloody bastard. Now what?” Giles sighed. He angrily turned around to see someone waving frantically through the small window of the door.
Quickly, he walked back over and opened the door. “What are you doing here?”
“Mistress Giles,” Brell nodded formally. “You okay? I saw man fall from your store.”
“Come in,” Giles answered, then relocked the door behind them. “That man is insufferable. I’ve never liked him, and now I know why.”
“He hurt you, Mistress Giles?” Brell asked.
“I’m not Mistress Giles.”
“No? A twin?”
“No Brell. I am Mr. Giles.” Brell appeared obviously confused and Giles continued. “Something happened at the Council that changed everyone. I was just coming by to close Becca’s shop and…Look, everything is fine. Thank you very much for being concerned and stopping. I’m sure Becca would appreciate that, and I know that I do.”
Brell gave him a wide grin. “So you really Mr. Giles? Not Mistress Giles?” he asked.
“Yes,” Giles nodded.
“Then this for you,” Brell said, as he reached into the book bag he held. “I bring to the Council, but I saw man and stopped. I give it to you now – save Brell trip,” he said happily, but then looked concerned. “Not that Brell not like to see others at Council. Only Council itself…Brell lost brother Tram there. Still hurts. But Brell must get book to watchers.”
Giles flipped through the pages of the very battered-looking book in what appeared to be several unfamiliar languages. “What is this?”
“From my homeland. Scholars who remained, still lived, wrote all they know about Vor. About Presidium. This last book of kind.”
“How on earth did you get this?” he asked.
“Not on this earth. Went to gateway. Met with scholars. Get book. Come here.”
“You went back into your occupied homeland for this?” Giles asked. Brell simply nodded. “What if you’d been captured?”
Brell gave a guilty shrug. “Brell lost brother. Brell knows Presidium not give up easy. Brell knows too, if anyone save new homeland, it be watchers. Brell thought knowledge worth risk.”
“I-I-I don’t know what to say Brell,” Giles told him with a growing smile of admiration. “Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
Brell gave a bashful nod and went to the door. “Tell Red Witch Brell say Hi.”
“I will,” Giles said absently.
Quietly, Brell closed the door behind him. Giles continued to examine the pages of the book, excitedly flipping through them.
City Street – Early Evening
Faith, Robin and Mia walked along the city street, observing everything around them. A middle-aged woman got out of a cab and Faith saw her wallet fall from her purse as she exited and began to walk away.
“Hey!” Faith shouted to the woman.
The woman turned toward the noise. Her eyes widened in fear when she saw a black man shouting at her. She quickly turned away and started up the street.
Faith looked down and retrieved the wallet from the street in her large, dark hands.
“Hang on, guys,” she told the pair, then began to give chase to the woman. “Hold up! You dropped somethin’!” she yelled, but the woman took off into a sprint.
She quickly closed the distance between them and grabbed the woman by the arm. The woman responded by screaming hysterically in her face. Faith pulled back sharply.
“Calm down,” Faith told her.
“Don’t hurt me,” the woman cried. without making eye contact.
“Hurt you? You dropped your wallet,” Faith said, handing it back to the woman. Shaking, the woman took it.
“Sorry,” the woman said softly. “Thank you, Sir. I just thought…”
“What? That I was going to rob you or somethin’ ?” Faith answered with a half-chuckle.
The woman didn’t answer the question and instead thanked Faith again, before briskly walking up the street.
Robin and Mia finally caught up and Faith turned to face them. “Did you see her flip out?” she asked. “Jesus.”
“Gotta remember, Faith. You’re not in your skin anymore,” Robin said. He was interrupted when he had to push back the raven hair blowing irritatingly in his face. “I need a hairnet or something,” he added to Mia in a low, frustrated tone.
Faith looked down at her dark hands and then back to Robin. “People do this to you all the time?” she asked.
“Not all the time, but yeah,” he answered. “Walk into a gas station or a diner late at night, sometimes people let their imagination and prejudices get the better of them.”
“I’ve been with you a year, Ace. I never noticed.”
“They never look at you. Welllll, sometimes they do, but it’s more along the lines of check out the hot chick, rather than I wonder what she’s up to,” he told her with a melancholy grin, waving a hand up and down the body he now wore.
“Damn, I’m sorry,” she replied.
“Not your fault,” he said comfortingly. “You’ve always judged everyone by who they are and not what they appear to be. But you’ve learned by being a slayer, evil comes in all shapes and sizes, and yes, colors too.”
A tense quiet settled over the trio, until Mia added, “Especially that purple thing this summer. He was colorful and evil.”
She waited to see Robin’s reaction. He paused for a moment, fixing her with a withering glare. But he couldn’t keep it up, and a moment later he started to laugh. Faith and Mia soon relaxed as well.
“Had you going, huh?” he asked. “Thought I was gonna break into an I Have a Dream speech or somethin’, didn’t ya?”
Mia smiled nervously. “Not trying to offend. Just wanted to lighten things up.”
“And they are officially lightened,” Robin said with a slight bow, before fighting with his hair again. “Maybe I’ll skip the hairnet and just get Nair,” he added.
“Hey, don’t forget, that’s my hair. You’re just borrowin’ it for right now,” Faith warned, pointing a large finger at him.
“Oh, fine,” he sighed, giving up trying to hold it back. “But we’re stopping at the first drug store for a bobby pin or ponytail ring or something. This is just ridiculous.”
Aggravated, Robin began to move up the street in Faith’s body and Mia tried to hold back a laugh. Faith smiled at her.
Presidium Citadel – Panopticon – Same Time
The Lover stood surrounded by her images, with a small grin on her face.
“Do you not find this fascinating?” she asked over her shoulder. The Flayer, standing some distance behind her, gave a quiet but derisive snort.
“The Suth crescent mages were reputed to be physically impossible to kill,” he said out loud, “yet when I buried their still-living heads beneath the freshly dismembered remains of their kin and young, the matter of their brains turned to fire and destroyed them. That I found fascinating. This,” he sneered, “is beneath tedious. Not to mention yet another delay.”
“Patience,” the Lover said calmly, still with her back to him. “And endeavor to broaden the scope of your thoughts. Would it not provide you with much insight to walk in their skin?” She paused, a thoughtful expression on her face.
“If I had any need of their skin, I would take it from them,” the Flayer snarled quietly, then raised his voice to add, “They are a contemptible people. I see no reason for this…farce.” He spat the final word.
“It is because I wish it,” the Lover said, turning and striding out of her sphere, standing toe-to-toe with the towering Flayer. “Would you deny my will?”
“Highness,” the Flayer replied, “I would encourage you to turn your will to more pressing matters, such as the invasion of Earth you refuse to expedite.”
“I see,” the Lover replied. With a quick motion, she plunged a claw into his chest, bringing him to his knees. “Your insolence does not find favor with me,” she whispered, withdrawing her hand just as quickly, leaving the Flayer unscathed. “The Galas hell is next to be conquered. Take your place at the head of our armies there.”
“Galas!” the Flayer protested. “Why should I deign to command such a trivial conquest?”
“Think of it as an opportunity,” the Lover said calmly, “to remove yourself from my presence before you try my patience further.” She stared at the Flayer, as if daring him to challenge her.
The massive demon slowly got to his feet, then bowed. “As you command, Highness,” he replied stiffly.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport – Day
Bonnie stood at the airline ticket counter in Skye’s body. “One way to Tokyo, please,” she told the clerk.
“Identification?” the clerk asked. Bonnie grinned and reached into her back pocket, pulling out Skye’s driver’s license and handing it over. “Thank you,” the clerk said politely.
Bonnie smiled again and played with a red lock of hair, curling it around her finger, as the ticket agent began to type.
End of Act Two