Watchers Council – Skye’s Dorm Room – Later
Dawn’s eyes slowly opened in the darkened room. She stretched her arms above her head and let out a yawn. When she brought her arms back down, her fingers came into contact with flesh…someone else’s flesh. Dawn turned over and saw the peacefully sleeping face of her girlfriend.
Dawn let out a contented sigh and a smile slowly spread over her features. She leaned up the short distance and placed a gentle kiss on the redhead’s lips, causing her to lightly whimper in her sleep. Dawn’s smile widened before she burrowed herself back down into the covers and closed her eyes.
Watchers Council – Library – Moments Later
“I’m just not so sure I can pull off something that big without the help of the gods,” Willow said emphatically. “The last time I tried magic, it blew up in my face…literally.”
“Will, that was nearly a week ago. You might have some more of your ability back by now. After all you made two wolves just earlier tonight,” Rowena said, placing a gentle hand over the witch’s.
“I know that, and I really wish I could say it was all my doing, but it wasn’t. Everything was in harmony. What you guys are suggesting…it’s different.”
“Well, that’s just great,” Xander sighed.
“Xander,” Rowena reprimanded him. “A little compassion here, if it’s not too much trouble.”
Willow’s face fell at his words, and she averted her eyes from her long-time friend. Rowena then turned to her lover.
“Willow, don’t listen to him,” Rowena insisted.
“Will…I’m sorry,” he began. “I didn’t mean that. It’s just my foot-in-mouth disease,” he apologized.
“It’s okay,” Willow said in a low voice. “We just have to find a back-up plan, is all.”
“Already done,” said Faith from the doorway. Everyone looked over at the returning slayer.
“Faith,” Giles said, standing up. “Where’s Kennedy?”
“I’m not sure, but I hope she knows what she’s doing.”
“What does that mean precisely?” Giles asked with a sigh.
“We ran into that Van Helsing chick in the graveyard. She said something about pool, and Kennedy took off after her.”
“Dear Lord,” he sighed, the. slumped back into his chair.
“Don’t worry,” Faith said. “She said she’s gonna try to reason with her, you know, get her to abandon this whole revenge kick.”
“Kennedy?” Willow asked, surprised, in a tone that mimicked Faith’s earlier comment.
Faith just smiled. “Hey, it’s better than just letting her case our joint and plot revenge.”
The redhead just nodded mutely.
“Well then, I guess all we can do now is pray that Kennedy’s able to get through to her,” Giles said, looking around at everyone. “For all our sakes.”
The Alcove – Moments Later
Music played in the background as Kennedy walked into the bar and started to scan the room.
She noticed the pool tables set up in the far right corner and a huge crowd of women surrounding one table in particular.
They suddenly started clapping and cheering, so she went over to investigate.
Kadin held her hand out as another woman placed a series of bills in her hand one by one. “Thanks, Bertha,” she smirked, tucking the bills into her pocket.
The other woman started to lunge for her, but Kadin’s reflexes were quicker. The pool stick flew up off the table and was against the bigger woman’s throat before she could even blink.
“Back…off,” Kadin said sternly.
“I think you should get lost,” Kennedy added, stepping in front of the angry woman, “before something bad happens.”
The rough-looking woman scowled, but then slowly backed away and disappeared into the crowd.
Kadin dropped the pool stick back to the table and glared at the slayer. “You didn’t have to do that. I could have taken her in my sleep.”
“Yeah,” Kennedy scoffed. “Maybe after she knocked your ass out.”
Kadin crossed her arms. “Look, is there something you want? Or do you just make it a habit to stalk people you just met?”
“I’m not stalking you. I just want to talk.”
Kadin smiled. “Your little friends send you after me? You the only one brave enough to chance a dive like this?” she asked, taking a casual seat on the pool table.
Kennedy smirked. “Actually, I’m kinda fond of this…dive. In fact, I think they may even have a drink named after me.”
“Oh, really?” Kadin responded, amused. “Well, why don’t I buy you one, and we can find out?”
Kennedy swallowed hard. “Ah, sure.”
“Perfect,” Kadin said with a smile, hopping off the pool table. “Then we can…talk.”
Kennedy nodded mutely and followed the other woman to the bar.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Later
Willow’s head lay in Rowena’s lap, as the blonde stroked the red strands.
“What do you think she’s doing?” Willow asked Rowena quietly.
“Who?” the blonde asked.
“Kennedy. What do you think she’s saying to her?”
The watcher shook her head. “I have no idea, Willow, but I have faith. She’ll handle it accordingly, I’m sure.”
Willow closed her eyes and rolled away from Rowena, though she still lay in her lap. “Why are you here?” she asked softly.
“Because you asked me to come up.”
“No,” Willow replied. “I mean here. With me.”
“I don’t understand,” Rowena answered.
“I’m useless now. I can’t protect Oz and his wife. I couldn’t even find you. The slayers did that. Why don’t you just cut your losses and get out?”
Rowena’s hand slipped down Willow’s arm to rest on the witch’s hip. “I say this in love, Willow, but that is the most asinine question I’ve heard in a long time.”
“I thought the only stupid question is the one not asked?” Willow countered.
Rowena paused and hummed. “No, that one was pretty stupid,” she said in a half chuckle.
Willow grinned for just a moment, but then rolled over to look up at Rowena. “I used to be special,” she told her.
“You still are,” Rowena said.
“I’m not. I’m –”
Rowena placed her finger over Willow’s mouth, stopping her words. When she had Willow’s attention, she began to speak. “No one’s ever broken through,” Rowena told her in a gentle voice. “No one but you. And it wasn’t magic. It was stolen glances I caught. It was the crack in your voice when you tried to be bold, but felt unsure.”
“Okay, that was then,” Willow replied. “But this is now. Now I don’t do any of those things.”
“No,” Rowena agreed. “Now you look in my eyes, and you see my soul. The crack’s been replaced by a sexy purr that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. None of that has anything to do with spells or potions or the supernatural. In fact, it’s all natural. It’s All-Natural Willow.” Rowena smiled, making the redhead slowly grin. “Maybe the gods won’t favor you anytime you like,” Rowena added solemnly, “but I’ll thank them everyday for bringing you to me.”
Willow gave her a genuine smile. Then her eyes took on a playful glint. “Well, technically,” she teased, “they brought you to me. I was already here.”
“You giving me a hard time?”
“Uh huh,” Willow nodded with an impish grin.
Rowena paused for a moment, then quickly attacked, squeezing Willow’s kneecap repeatedly until the witch was howling, trying to squirm away, but failing. She stopped for a moment to let Willow catch her breath and leaned down. “I have discovered one benefit to your temporary loss of power,” she pointed out.
“Yeah, you can’t threaten to turn me into a snake during a tickle fight anymore.” Rowena smiled and then went right back to grabbing the witch’s knee.
The Alcove – Same Time
Kennedy knocked back a shot of dark liquor and slammed her glass onto the bar. She made a sour face and coughed. “Damn.”
“I thought you said you could handle your liquor, slayer?” Kadin needled playfully from the barstool right next to her.
“I can,” Kennedy replied, clearing her throat. “But this stuff should have an octane rating.” She picked up her glass of water and took a long swig.
“It’s not that bad,” Kadin said. Then she knocked back her own shot in seconds and slammed her glass down. “You just gotta know how to swallow.”
Kennedy choked on her water, spurting it from her mouth onto the bar.
“Whoa,” Kadin said, laughing. “I guess first you should learn how to keep it in your mouth.”
The slayer looked over at her while sheepishly brushing the water from her chin. “Most of the time, I can.”
“So I see.”
Kennedy wiped the water from the bar and then stared down at her napkin. “Look, Kadin,” she started slowly, “I don’t want you to think that I’m here to, like…ambush you or anything, but I would like you to listen to what I have to say.”
Kadin sighed and motioned to the bartender for another shot. “Doesn’t look like I have much of a choice.”
Kennedy looked over at the other woman with sympathy. “I know what happened…what she did.”
“You do, huh?” Kadin said, taking the shot and downing it. She turned to meet the slayer’s eyes. “Is this the part where you say how sorry you are for my loss and then tell me your own sad story, so that we can bond over our shared pain and suffering?”
“Heard that angle before, have you?”
“More than you know,” Kadin said, gazing into her empty shot glass.
“It was my mom,” Kennedy added after a beat.
“My mom. The one that I lost. Only…I didn’t have the chance to meet her before it happened,” the slayer said sadly.
“Some vamp,” Kennedy replied, looking down at her own shot glass. “Doesn’t matter, though. He’s dust now.”
“Does it make it hurt any less?”
“Not really,” Kennedy said, glancing up with a small smile. “It doesn’t ease that deep ache, and it doesn’t make the nightmares go away.”
“Well, thanks. That’s comforting,” Kadin said sarcastically.
“That’s my whole point,” Kennedy pleaded. “Killing Camille is not going to bring your father back, and it’s not going to change how you feel inside. Only time can heal those wounds.”
The hunter looked over at her with a harsh expression. “I’ve had time. I’ve had too much time, and you know what?” She leaned in closer to Kennedy, their noses almost touching. “It hasn’t healed a damn thing.”
Kennedy just sat there, lost in the other woman’s deep, expressive eyes. She could see the rage burning like wildfire in their dark depths, and it started to pull her deeper inside.
“Pork chops!” Kennedy said suddenly, standing up and backing away as if she’d been burned. When Kadin looked at her like she was crazy, Kennedy explained. “Andrew’s cooking those lemon pork chops tonight…the ones I like so much, a-a-and I don’t want to be late for dinner.”
Kadin slowly leaned back onto her barstool and nodded. “Well, then…I guess you better get back. I’d feel terrible if I knew I made you miss your…pork chops night.”
Kennedy nodded emphatically and pulled her jacket back on. She met Kadin’s eyes one more time before quickly walking away.
“Hey,” Kadin called to Kennedy’s back. “I never did catch your name.”
“Kennedy,” the slayer answered with a smile.
“Well, Kennedy,” Kadin said, slowly standing up, “I hope you know this doesn’t change anything.” She took her duster from the back of the chair and threw some bills onto the bar. She pulled her long coat over her shoulders and walked towards the motionless slayer. Kadin stopped right beside Kennedy and looked at her over the side of her shoulder.
“I’m still coming for the beast, and I really hope you don’t stand in my way,” she said sincerely. “I’d really hate to have to put you in the hospital. You know…now that we’ve bonded.” She kept her eyes locked with Kennedy’s for a moment, then walked out of the bar.
Kennedy stood completely still and let out a long breath. Then she turned to face the door.
“Well, that went really well,” she said. “Not.” Then she groaned, “Crap.”
She shook her head and left the bar.
Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Later
Kennedy put her key in the lock and quietly opened the door. She slipped into the apartment and eased her jacket onto the hook behind the door. She sighed and crept towards the bedroom.
Kennedy’s Bedroom – Moments Later
Kennedy slowly opened the door to the bedroom. She peeked her head around the corner to see Mia deeply asleep in their bed.
Kennedy’s face fell as she stood, staring at her girlfriend. A few moments passed before she walked through the door to her bedroom and shut it softly behind her.
She tiptoed over to the bed and carefully sat on its edge. As she kicked off her boots and started to undress, a familiar voice came to her ears.
“Where have you been?” Mia asked, leaning up in bed.
“Just out,” Kennedy sighed, as she stood up to slip her pants off.
“Out? Out where?”
“I told you,” Kennedy said, pulling off her shirt and climbing into bed. “Just out.” She turned her back to Mia and placed her head on the pillow with a heavy sigh.
Mia leaned over her, and the distinct smell of alcohol drifted into her nostrils. “You’ve been drinking,” she said angrily. “And there’s only one place in this town you go to do that.” Kennedy closed her eyes. “You’ve been at The Alcove, haven’t you?” Mia accused angrily.
“Mia, just drop it,” Kennedy answered. “It’s not what you think.”
“No, I won’t just drop it,” the other slayer shot back. “Who is she, Kennedy?” she asked after a tense silence.
“God, Mia,” Kennedy said, suddenly sitting up. “Now you’re gonna accuse me of cheating? After everything?”
Mia shook her head with a mock smile. “I can’t believe you. How could you do this to me?”
“I’m not doing anything except trying to sleep!” Kennedy shouted, rising from the bed.
“You know what? I don’t even care anymore,” Mia said. She fell back onto her pillow, turning away from the other slayer. After a few moments, the sounds of Mia’s crying pierced the silent room.
Kennedy watched as her girlfriend’s body shook with sobs, and her anger instantly vanished. “Mi,” she said, falling back into the bed. “I’m sorry you’re upset, but I didn’t…” she whispered, resting a hand lightly on the woman’s shoulder.
Mia didn’t answer. She just continued to cry softly. Kennedy sighed and wrapped the woman in her arms, holding her tightly as she cried.
Watchers Council – Giles’s Living Room – Same Time
Giles reached under his Christmas tree with a smile on his face. He picked up a package with red, shiny paper and gold ribbon. Becca sat on the floor, wrapping a gift.
“I hope Andrew likes these new knives,” she remarked, as she finished putting on the last piece of tape.
“Just be sure he gives you two cents,” Giles remarked as he came up to sit behind her.
“If you give the gift of knives and the recipient doesn’t give you two cents, it will sever the relationship,” he explained.
“Lemme guess? This is an English thing?” she asked.
“You’ve never heard of it?”
Becca just shook her head.
“Then perhaps it is,” he told her. “In any regard, be certain he gives you two cents.”
Becca gave a light chuckle. “For a guy that prides himself on his knowledge, it’s amazing how superstitious you can be sometimes.”
“Please just do it,” he asked.
“I will, I will,” she promised.
Giles took the package she finished wrapping and placed it aside, handing over the one he had picked up by the tree.
“Here, open this one,” he told her.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Something I think you’ll enjoy,” he said brightly, before nodding for her to unwrap it.
Slowly, she pulled off the ribbon and then tore at the paper. She found a box and opened it to find tissue paper inside. “Too heavy to be a sexy nightie,” she teased. “And at this rate it probably wouldn’t fit,” she added, motioning to her growing stomach.
Giles reached around, put his hand over hers and rested his chin on her shoulder. “Go on,” he prompted.
Becca pulled back the tissue paper. Her mouth widened, but no words came forth. Finally, she found her voice.
“Is this what I think it is?” she asked with a growing smile.
“Yes,” he told her, unable to hold back his own.
She pulled the book from the box, opened the cover, and read the inside. “A signed first edition? Where on earth did you find this, Rupert?”
“I have connections,” he answered playfully. “Go on. Read me a story.”
Becca turned and kissed him soundly on the lips. Then she carefully, but excitedly, thumbed through the pages. Giles sighed happily as she cleared her throat and began to read.
“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
Watchers Council – Dining Area –Next Morning
Faith walked into the dining room with her breakfast tray in hand. She stopped to survey the room, then spotted her target sitting at a table near the far back window.
She smiled and headed over.
Watchers Council – Dining Area – Moments Later
“Hey there, Slick,” Faith said, plopping down into the chair across from Kennedy. “How’d it go last night?”
Kennedy sighed and poked at her eggs. “It went.”
“That good, huh?” Faith said, then took a bite of her toast. The other slayer just nodded, still playing with her eggs.
“Did you tell the others yet?” Faith asked after downing some milk.
“What others?” Kennedy replied in an amused tone as she dropped her fork onto her tray. “Oh, you mean the whack jobs that were beating down my door this morning at six a.m.? ‘Cause if that’s who you mean, then yeah, I told ’em.”
“What’d they say?”
Kennedy sighed and sat back in her chair. “They said, since appealing to Kadin’s rational side didn’t work, then we may have no choice except to fight.”
Faith watched the emotions play across her friend’s face for a moment before speaking. “Why do I get the feelin’ you don’t agree?”
“‘Cause I don’t,” the brunette said under her breath.
“Well, you got a better idea?”
“Actually,” Kennedy said, leaning across the table. “I do.”
“Well,” Faith said, leaning in herself. “Let’s hear it.”
A slow smile spread across Kennedy’s face.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Later
Willow walked into the kitchen, sipping on her coffee. Rowena sat at the table, her nose buried in some papers.
“Whatcha reading?” the redhead asked. She peered over Rowena’s shoulder while running her hand down the back of Rowena’s head.
“Oh, just doing some research on our new friend that Robson faxed over,” Rowena said, moving over so that Willow could sit next to her.
“Anything useful?” Willow asked, looking down at the papers.
“Not really,” the blonde said with a sigh. “Just the basic stuff that we’ve all heard before. You know, the Van Helsings and their big battle against evil, nothing could stand in their way…yada yada.”
Willow nodded and peered at the picture of Abraham Van Helsing driving a stake through a vampire’s heart. “There has to be something in here that –”
A sudden knock on the door caused both women to turn their heads.
“I’ll get it,” Rowena said, leaving the table to answer the door.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Moments Later
The watcher pulled the door open to reveal a smiling Faith on the other side.
“Mornin’, Blondie. Is Red decent yet?”
“Yes, she’s in the kitchen,” Rowena said with a slight blush. She opened the door and motioned the slayer inside. Self-consciously, she tightened her robe.
“Thanks,” Faith said as she walked in, heading straight for the kitchen. “Hey,” she called, causing Willow to look up from the book.
“Faith,” she said smiling. “What brings you here so early?”
The slayer took the apple that Willow had been eating and bit into it.
“Hey,” Willow protested.
Faith ignored it. “I heard Slick filled you in about last night.”
“Yes,” Willow sighed. “She did.”
“So,” the slayer said between chews, “what have you watchers been able to cook up for this one?”
Willow shook her head. “I’m not sure. We, ah, we haven’t really decided…yet.”
Faith snorted and took another bite of the apple. “Figures.”
“Hey!” both watchers said at the same time.
The slayer just shook her head and hopped down off the counter. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that it’s not an easy decision to make, ya know? This is a human life we’re talking about here.”
“Don’t I know it,” Willow sighed. “But Camille’s just as much human, well…” she trailed off. “My point is, she deserves a chance just as much as Van Helsing does.”
“I agree,” Faith said, throwing the apple core over her shoulder. It thumped off the wall and landed in the trashcan. The other two women looked at her with raised eyebrows, but she only smiled and wiped her hands on her jeans.
“And so does Kennedy,” she said seriously. “That’s why we’ve got ourselves a nice little plan – one that leaves everyone with all their body parts intact and gives me a little…payback.”
“Faith,” Willow said worriedly. “What have you two done?”
Faith shook her head innocently. “Nothing. We — well, mainly Slick — came up with a solution to our little problem, and I really think it’s gonna work.”
Willow looked over at Rowena, and after a moment, the blonde nodded her consent. The witch sighed and turned back to the slayer. “All right then, let’s hear it.”
Fade to Black
End of Act Three