Watchers Council – Infirmary – Day
The nurse had just finished checking Kadin’s latest vital signs when Dr. Miller walked in, medical chart in hand. He looked down and scribbled on the chart in his hands as he approached her bed.
“Okay,” he said, handing the chart over to the nurse, “Looks like Ms. Van Helsing here is going to be just fine. Would you please inform Ms. Rosenberg of her status?”
“Yes, Doctor,” the nurse nodded. She accepted the chart before quickly leaving the room.
Dr. Miller placed his hands in the pockets of his coat and stood for a moment, staring down at the unconscious form of the monster hunter.
“Huh,” he said, slightly perplexed. “Nothing seems out of the ordinary. All your vitals check out, and besides the obvious, there are no signs of severe trauma.” He paused as he took a step around the bed to stand directly on Kadin’s right. “So what caused your little flop?”
Beginning a more thorough examination, the Doctor leaned over the bed, pressed on all the normal spots that would incur internal bleeding. He came up with nothing.
He had just about given up when his hand came into contact with a slight obstruction on the hunter’s right side. Intrigued, he reached his hand down to lift her shirt. Suddenly Kadin’s hand suddenly flew up and grabbed his own.
The doctor jumped back in shock. “Don’t,” Kadin said in a deep, raspy voice. She stared at him with glazed eyes.
“But you–.” he began.
“I’m fine,” she interrupted. She then released his hand as she started to slowly and painfully sit up.
“Ms. Van Helsing. you should let me examine you,” Dr. Miller pleaded as he came to stand in front of Kadin, but she only shook her head.
“I’m fine. It’s not that bad.”
“Not that bad?” Dr. Miller asked, surprised. “Your trauma is severe enough for your blood pressure to drop so low that you passed out.”
“I said I’m fine,” Kadin said coldly, as she looked up to stare the doctor down. “And I don’t think I need to give you the whole ‘Don’t tell the others’ speech.”
The doctor stood, exasperated, for a moment, but then he threw up his hands in defeat. “Of course, Ms. Van Helsing. Since you are not a member of this Council and therefore have no obligation to it, I cannot break confidentiality. It would be unethical.”
“Good,” Kadin said, nodding. “Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to get the hell outta here.”
The doctor stared down at her for only a moment before nodding. “All right, but if you won’t let me help you…” He walked over to the medicine cabinet and pulled out a bottle of pills, then threw them over to Kadin. The hunter caught it easily with one hand.
“For the pain,” he said with a smile, and then left the room.
Kadin sighed and looked down at the pills for a moment before twisting the cap and popping two into her mouth. She closed her eyes and let out a deep breath before shoving the bottle into her vest pocket. She reached over and pulled her duster from the end of the bed, then pulled it on as she quickly left the infirmary.
Watchers Council – Infirmary Waiting Room – Moments Later
“So that’s it?” Kennedy asked the nurse, slightly confused. “He just gave her a band aid and sent her on her way?”
The nurse smiled slightly and nodded. “In a manner of speaking, yes. Ms. Van Helsing has been cleared by Dr. Miller.”
“Well, damn,” Faith said from her spot behind Kennedy. “Even with our slayer healing, we don’t recover that fast. This must be one lucky chick.”
“There’s one explanation,” Kadin said from behind them, drawing their attention. Everyone turned to see her face plastered with a smug grin.
“Look, enough of this, okay?” Kennedy told her. “You want my help or not?”
Kadin looked back at her defiantly before replying. “Yeah, I do.”
“You do? Okay then, fine, start being straight with me,” Kennedy said, surprised at Kadin’s quick surrender. “Let’s walk and you can tell me just what it is that you need.”
The other woman nodded and headed for the exit. “I’ll be right back,” Kennedy said, looking over at Faith with a stern glare, then she walked out after Kadin.
Faith stared at Kennedy’s retreating form, the worry evident on her face.
Bucharest – Dark Lair – Same Time
A man dressed in a black robe bowed down in front of a high medieval chair. The flames from a nearby pit danced in the golden tones of its armrest, while the black clad arm of its occupant rested against the warm surface.
“You…lost her?” a vampire’s deep accented voice said from the chair.
The robed man looked up in fear, before quickly bowing his head again. “Yes, Sire,” he replied in a shaky voice. “She was able to elude the Servants we placed at the airport. We seem to have underestimated her abilities.”
A sudden growl emitted from the chair. The robed man looked up, eyes wide in fear, right before he felt an otherworldly grip take hold around his throat.
The vampire was dressed in elegant black attire, with a dark red ruby ring on his right index finger. His eyes glowed a deep, burning red as he held onto the smaller man’s throat, easily holding him far above the ground.
“You could never begin to fathom her abilities,” the demon growled. The smaller man shook in fear as he gazed into the burning eyes of the vampire.
“Of course, Sire…b-but we did manage to track her down.”
“Oh really?” he replied, dropping the man onto the floor. “How…interesting.”
The robed man pulled himself onto his knees and bowed before his master again. “Yes, Sire. She has traveled to a place known as Cleveland. It is in the States of United America. We believe she went there to seek the help of others,” the robed man finished nervously.
“Not others. Just one,” the vampire replied solemnly.
The robed man looked up to meet the vampire’s eyes, before quickly bowing again. ” My sire, she barely escaped by herself the first time. Why would she only request the help of one other?”
The vampire lifted a ringed finger to his chin as he gazed into the burning fire pit. “Because…she did not go to request the help of just anyone. She has gone for a Kresnik.” The vampire stared into the fire pit, its flames dancing wildly in the deep red of his eyes.
“The slayer?” the minion asked rhetorically. “Perhaps we should go somewhere else, Sire. We could–.”
“Let them come,” he told the robed man, stroking his face. “For centuries, I’ve wondered what a slayer tastes like. Now I’ll have my chance.”
Cleveland – City Street – Moments Later
“Thanks for hearing me out,” Kadin said nervously as she walked along with Kennedy. “I know how much Faith’s opinion means to you.”
The slayer nodded. “Yeah, it does mean a lot, but I can make my own decisions.” She stopped to turn and look at the hunter. “That includes who or what I hear.”
Kadin smiled appreciatively, then turned to sit on a nearby bench. She folded her hands in her lap and stared down at them quietly. Kennedy watched the woman’s odd behavior for a moment before taking a seat next to her.
“So…” she said, looking off into the distance. “Here we are…sitting…on this bench.”
“I’m scared,” Kadin said, still looking down at her hands. “For the first time in my life…I’m scared.”
“Of the bench?” Kennedy asked.
“No,” Kadin replied with a sigh, shaking her head. “Not the bench.”
“Well, good,” Kennedy said, relieved. “Cause that would just be weird. Right up there with people who are afraid of telephones or plastic baggies.” She trailed off when she noticed the look of anguish on the other woman’s face. “Hey, I’m just trying to get you to relax,” she said softly. Kadin slowly looked up to meet her eyes. “Seriously, what’s going on, Kadin?”
Van Helsing let out a deep breath and ran a hand over her face before falling back onto the bench. “It’s a vampire.”
“Okay,” the slayer responded, but Kadin just continued to sit in silence. “And we couldn’t tell the others this because…?”
“This is different.”
When Kadin didn’t continue, Kennedy asked, “Is there more to the story or is that all I get? ‘Cause I’m pretty good at figuring this stuff out, but even Sherlock Holmes would have trouble with this one.”
“His name’s Drachen,” the hunter said, sitting forward again. “He’s about four centuries old, three of which he’s spent trying to eradicate my bloodline. He loves to seduce and then murder women. He has his own little group of minions known as the Servitude, but don’t let the name fool you, they’re some tough bunch of blood suckers.” Kadin found her hand subconsciously dropping to her injured side.
Kennedy sat silently for a moment, letting the information sink in. “Okay Kadin, I heard all that, and still I gotta ask…what do you need me for? Why don’t you just stake the bastard and be done with it?”
“Well, Kennedy, that’s just it,” Kadin said, looking over at the slayer with a slight smile. “I can’t.”
“Because,” Kadin said, her smile growing, “I’m not a Kresnik…you are.”
Kennedy just looked at her for a moment before replying. “Huh? How did you…?”
Watchers Council – Faith’s Apartment – Same Time
Faith was sitting in the chair facing the TV, staring at the blank screen.
The sudden sound of a knock on her door broke her out of the silent trance. With a sigh, she got up to answer it.
The slayer pulled open the door to meet Willow’s sympathetic smile.
“Hey,” the witch said softly. “May I come in?”
Faith stood staring back at her for a moment, before stepping back away from the door. Willow smiled and crossed into the apartment.
Watchers Council – Giles’s Apartment – Same Time
Rowena stood nervously at the watcher’s door. She lifted her hand to knock and then quickly dropped it again. She stood for a moment more, then turned to walk away.
“Rowena?” Giles’s voice came from the doorway just as she left. “Is everything alright?”
“Actually,” the blonde said, turning back, “I think there is something we need to discuss.”
Watchers Council – Faith’s Apartment – Moments Later
Willow and Faith sat on the couch, facing each other. The witch reached out and placed a gentle hand on Faith’s knee. “I’m asking…don’t jump in like you did earlier. Do you understand what I’m saying here?” Willow asked as she looked into the slayer’s dark eyes.
Faith let out a deep sigh and nodded. “I worry about her, you know? Ken’s got a big heart, and there are plenty of jerks out there just waiting to take advantage of that.”
“And you think Kadin is one of those jerks?”
Faith looked up guiltily. “I know it’s not fair. I mean, I barely know the chick. but there’s just something about her. Bad vibes. I just don’t trust her ‘helpless and alone’ shtick.”
“So you think she’s leading Kennedy into a trap?” Willow asked, suddenly interested in the theory.
“I don’t know,” Faith said, exasperated. “It just doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, the last time we were face-to-face, she was looking for some serious badass revenge, and suddenly, she shows back up all wounded and helpless?” She looked over at the witch. “I’m no Ben Stein, but that just don’t add up to me.”
“First, it’s Einstein,” Willow said carefully, “and second, what makes you so sure she’s not being truthful? What if someone or something really is out to harm her, or the world, and she really does need our help? Are we supposed to just turn her away because we think it may be a trap?”
“I’m not saying that,” Faith said defensively, springing to her feet. “Look,” she said, releasing another deep breath. “If she really is telling the truth, then that means there’s something out there bad enough that it’s got a Van Helsing running scared, and personally, I don’t want Kennedy going after it alone.”
Willow slowly rose to her feet, her face deep in contemplation. “I see what you’re saying. If there is something out there that’s beaten Kadin that badly…there’s a good chance it’s way more than one slayer, even Kennedy, can handle.”
“Exactly,” Faith said, nodding. “Aside from why the secrecy, my only question is…what the hell is it?”
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
Giles and Rowena sat across from each other; a few files open on the table between them.
“Are you certain?” Giles said, looking at Rowena over the rim of his mug.
“Yes,” the blonde nodded, taking a sip of her Earl Grey tea. “She said only Kennedy can help her, and I saw her injuries first hand. To be honest, I’m surprised she’s able to stand on her own.”
“Was she really beaten that badly?”
“Yeah, she was,” Kennedy’s voice came from the door. “But it wasn’t her body that got the worst of it.”
“Kennedy,” Giles said standing. “Rowena told me you were speaking with Kadin. How is she?”
“She’s breathing,” the slayer replied with a shrug.
“Oh, well, that’s good.”
“Could you give us a sec?” Kennedy asked Rowena.
“Yes, of course,” Rowena replied, before picking up her files and quickly leaving the room.
The slayer watched her leave before turning back to Giles. “There’s something I need to discuss with you, if that’s alright.”
“Of course. Please, have a seat,” Giles said, motioning to the chair across from his own. Kennedy walked over and fell into the chair, with the elder watcher sitting down after her. He looked at her with a smile and waited for her to begin.
Kennedy cleared her throat nervously.
“Okay, so, the thing is…” She began, before sighing, leaning across the table and beginning again. “Kadin’s in big trouble with this really old, really evil vampire who wants her blood, figuratively and literally, but the big thing is that she can’t kill him ’cause she’s not a Kresnik. I thought this Kresnik deal was a temporary thing.”
“The magic, yes, but you have been a Kresnik. And who might this vampire be?” Giles asked carefully.
“His name is Drachen. He’s originally from Madrid, but apparently he chased her halfway across Europe to Bucharest. That’s where she was when he caught up with her and sent his lackeys out to kick the crap out of her so she wouldn’t be any match for him. Sounds like a coward’s way, if you ask me.”
“So, from all this I gather she’s asked you to come back to Bucharest with her to kill this vampire for her?”
Kennedy smirked. “I knew they didn’t call you the boss for nothin’.”
“With age comes wisdom, my dear,” Giles replied cheekily.
“In that case, shouldn’t you be up for a couple Nobel prizes by now?” Kennedy said. She chuckled at the glare she received.
“Other than to insult me,” Giles said with a slight grin, “why did you come to me with this information?”
“Why else?” the slayer replied. “I need some of that fatherly advice you seem to be so good at giving.”
“Advice?” Giles said with a creased brow.
“Yeah, you know,” Kennedy said with a smile, “I come to you with a problem, you give me your take on it, then I ask you what to do and you tell me.”
“Ah, that advice,” Giles said, smiling. “Well, I hate to disappoint you, but I think I’m going to sit this one out.”
“What do you mean?”
Giles reached across the table and placed a hand over Kennedy’s. “I’m going to tell you something that it took many years for me to learn myself.”
Kennedy watched him anxiously, hanging onto his every word.
“There are three kinds of decisions in life, those that you must make with your head, and those you must make with your heart.”
“Well, what’s the third?” Kennedy asked, confused.
The watcher just continued to smile. “The third kind of decision is those that you must make between your head and your heart, and those, my dear, are the most difficult.”
“Oh,” the slayer said. “So you think this is a decision that I have to make between my head and my heart?”
“I don’t know, Kennedy. I think that’s a decision only you can make.”
“What is it with you watcher types and your damn riddles?” she said with a smile.
Giles returned the smile as he sat back in his chair, sipping on his tea.
Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Moments Later
Mia was lying in bed watching television, slowly drifting in and out of sleep.
A sudden, loud knock on the door woke her all the way up. She peered over at the nightstand to see that it was only one in the afternoon. With a heavy sigh, she got up to answer the door.
Watchers Council – Hallway Outside Kennedy’s Apartment – Same Time
“I don’t think this is such a good idea,” Willow whispered to Faith. She stood nervously beside the slayer, outside her ex-girlfriend’s apartment. “I mean, don’t you think it’s kind of childish running to her girlfriend to tell on her?”
“Hey, maybe she can talk some sense into her. No one else can.”
“I don’t know. Things have been rocky for them lately.”
Faith looked over at Willow with a raised brow. “You know, so I’ve heard,” the witch quickly added.
Faith was about to reply when the door swung open to reveal a groggy looking slayer on the other side.
“Hey Mia. I hope we didn’t wake you,” Faith said with a smile.
“No, no I was just lying down,” she said with a yawn. “Kennedy really wore me out…” Her cheeks reddened and she found herself suddenly very awake. “…is more information than you need. Please, come in.”
“Thanks,” Faith said with a smirk, as she stepped into the apartment. Willow nodded politely and stepped in right behind.
“Kennedy isn’t here,” Mia told them as she closed the door. “She just called me from her cell and said something about some unfinished business she had to handle.”
“Actually, we’re here to see you,” Faith said with a nod.
“Me?” Mia asked, surprised.
“Yes, you.” Willow smiled. “But to be completely honest, we’re here to see you about Kennedy.”
“What about her? She’s not in any trouble, is she?”
“Well, we’re not sure,” the witch said nervously. “Maybe, well possibly…she could be headed in the direction of trouble.”
“Okay. I’m not liking the sound of that,” Mia said, beginning to panic.
“That makes three of us,” Faith said, plopping down onto the nearby chair.
“Okay, is someone here going to tell me what this is all about?” Mia asked in a rush.
“The kind that’s about five foot seven, dark hair, goes by the name Van Helsing,” Faith answered flippantly.
“Van Helsing,” the other slayer repeated. “Kadin Van Helsing?”
“The one and only,” Faith said.
“Why would Kadin have anything…wait,” Mia said, deep in thought, “Kadin is back? Here in Cleveland?”
“Yes,” Willow nodded, “and from what little information we could gather before she passed out, well, it appears she’s here for…Kennedy.”
“Kennedy? Why would she come back for Kennedy?”
“Well, not Kennedy in particular, more like Kennedy’s help,” Willow answered.
“Kennedy’s help with what?” Mia asked, frustrated.
“She wouldn’t say. All she said was that she needed to speak with Kennedy privately, and then they left.”
“You mean Ken actually just left with her? Without a second thought?”
“That’s pretty much how it played out,” Faith said, folding her arms over her chest. Mia closed her eyes and let out a deep breath.
“Look, Mia,” Willow said, taking a step closer, “we didn’t mean to upset you. We just thought you should know.”
“No, I’m glad you told me,” the slayer said, opening her eyes. “At least now I can stop her before she does something stupid.” She walked over to the coat rack and pulled on her coat. “Let yourselves out, okay?” She nodded to the two women then left.
Willow looked over to Faith. “That didn’t go the way I expected,” Willow answered.
Faith shrugged. “I stand by my earlier statement. I didn’t hit Kadin, but judging by that look on Mia’s face, I’d say she might.”
Willow’s eyes widened and she raced from the room. Casually, Faith got up and followed.
Watchers Council – Library – Moments Later
Kennedy held her cell in one hand and a small piece of paper in the other. She pressed the last number on her phone, then lifted it to her ear.
“Hey, it’s me.”
Cleveland Hotel – Room 212 – Same Time
Kadin sat on the edge of the bed, her cell to her ear.
“Hey, I was wondering if you were going to call,” she said, relieved. Then after a long, tense moment, “So…have you decided yet?”
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
“Uh, yeah,” Kennedy said into the phone. “That’s actually why I’m calling.” She sat silently for a moment, nervously picking at the worn leather on her boot. “I’m going with you.”
Cleveland Hotel – Room 212 – Same Time
Kadin closed her eyes and let out a deep breath. “Thank you,” she breathed into the phone. “For a moment there, I actually thought I was gonna hafta get down on my knees for this one.” She smiled at the nervous chuckle she heard from the other end. “No, really Kennedy,” Kadin said, suddenly serious, “I’m not the begging kind, so…I can’t thank you enough.”
Watcher’s Council – Library – Same Time
“You don’t have to,” Kennedy said smiling. “I mean, after all, it is about ridding the world of the undead, you know, evil. Kinda comes in the job description.” Kennedy didn’t hear anything from the other end, so she asked, “So, how do you want to do this? Should I come there…or what?”
Cleveland Hotel – Room 212 – Same Time
“No, we can just meet at the airport. The flight leaves at seven tonight, gate 27,” Kadin said, looking down at the pair of plane tickets in her hand.
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
“Wow, okay,” Kennedy said looking down at her watch. “That gives me five hours to pack, which is about four hours and forty five minutes too much.”
Cleveland Hotel – Room 212 – Same Time
Kadin laughed and threw the tickets on top of her bag. “Sounds like me. Everything I own fits into one duffel bag.” She suddenly stopped laughing and turned her head to the side slightly. “Damn, that’s depressing.”
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
Kennedy smiled into the phone. “That’s not so bad. What’s a girl need with more than that, anyway?”
“More than what?” Kennedy heard a voice behind her ask. Kennedy turned in her chair to see her girlfriend standing behind her, her arms folded and one eyebrow raised. The brunette let out a sigh and turned back around.
“Look, I gotta go right now, but I’ll meet you tonight at seven.” After a brief moment and a whispered “Bye,” Kennedy hung up her phone and placed it in her jacket pocket. She slowly stood and turned to face Mia.
“Well?” Mia asked, after a moment of silence.
Kennedy stood awkwardly for a moment before speaking. “It’s not like I was just gonna leave without telling you. A certain pair of my meddling ex friends seem to have beaten me to it.”
“Yeah well, if it weren’t for those meddling friends,” Mia replied angrily, “you’d be running off to god knows where to do god knows what for some woman you barely know.”
“If you haven’t caught on by now,” Kennedy retorted with anger of her own, “that’s all we ever do. That’s what we are. We protect the innocent, rid the world of evildoers. Ringing any bells for ya, Mi?”
“You know this isn’t the same,” Mia said, deflated.
“Oh really?” Kennedy said as she closed the distance between them. “How is this mission different from any other? How is she different from any other innocent?”
Mia just stood silently for a moment, looking back at the other woman. “You tell me, Ken. You’re going halfway across the world for her.”
Kennedy took a few steps closer. “This isn’t about the mission, is it? This is about her.” Mia winced at the accusation, looking away uncomfortably. “I’m right, aren’t I?” Kennedy said with an amused smile. “You let Faith and Willow convince you that Kadin has some ulterior motive.”
“That’s not what they said…” Mia began, but she trailed off when she noticed Kennedy’s cold stare.
“Save it, Mia,” Kennedy said, all amusement gone from her face. “You know, I thought we were really starting to get somewhere in this relationship, but the second someone raises even the tiniest doubt in your mind, you come running to me, all ready to forbid me to do whatever it is you’re worried about.”
“I didn’t come here to forbid you of anything, Kennedy,” Mia replied. “I just…”
“You just what?” Kennedy said, becoming exasperated. “You came here to politely request that I don’t help Kadin because you don’t trust her? Or did you come here because you don’t trust me?”
Mia just stared back at Kennedy. “I never said anything about not trusting you, but now that you mention it…”
Kennedy shook her head. “I don’t know what dictionary you’ve been using, but obviously you don’t know the meaning of the word relationship.”
Kennedy pushed past Mia and angrily left the library. Mia turned to watch her go, then fell into a heavy chair. She sat for a moment, staring out into nothing before a single tear slid from her eye.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
Kennedy was walking towards the dorms when Faith turned the corner.
“Hey, Slick,” the elder slayer called out. Kennedy didn’t respond, though a scowl appeared on her face at the sight of Faith. “Mia’s looking for–.”
Before Faith could finish, Kennedy pushed Faith against the wall.
“Mind your own business! You got that?” Kennedy warned.
Willow, who had just rounded the corner, saw the display and raced over, trying to push Kennedy away. The distraction was enough that Faith had the chance to push Kennedy back, making her release her hold.
“What do you think you’re – ?” Willow began to ask.
“And you!” Kennedy yelled, pointing a finger at Willow before folding her arms across her chest, “Go play chess and footsies with blondie and stay out of my life.”
Without looking back, Kennedy walked down the stairs. Willow and Faith just looked at each other. They turned to see Mia standing in the library doorway. After a moment, she slipped back inside without a word.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport – Gate 27 – Evening
Kennedy walked up to the gate with her bag thrown over her shoulder. She stopped and looked around through the crowds of people.
“Glad to see you made it,” Kadin’s voice startled her from behind. She turned to see the smirk on the hunter’s face. “Jumpy?”
Kennedy smiled. “Only around you, it seems.”
Both women shared a moment of uncomfortable silence. Then Kadin cleared her throat and reached into her vest to produce two plane tickets. She handed one to Kennedy. “First class round trip.”
“First class,” Kennedy repeated with a smile. “Now that’s incentive.”
“Hey,” Kadin said, as she pulled the strap of her bag further up onto her shoulder. “You’re literally saving my life here, the least I can do is make it an enjoyable experience.”
“Not too enjoyable, I hope,” Kennedy muttered under her breath.
“What?” Kadin asked, but Kennedy just shook it off.
“Nothing. What time does the flight leave again?”
Kadin looked down at her watch. “In about thirty minutes,” she looked back up and nodded towards the gate. “You wanna head on?”
“Lead the way,” Kennedy smiled. The hunter returned the gesture and headed for the gate. The slayer stood still for a moment, letting out a deep breath. “What the hell are you doing, Kennedy?” she whispered to herself, but before she could think it over, the sound of Kadin’s voice broke the moment.
Kennedy smiled and nodded. “Don’t even think it,” she whispered to herself, as she headed over to board the plane.
A man dressed in an expensive suit turned from a nearby payphone just as Kennedy passed by. He reached up and adjusted the glasses on his face.
The blue tint of his eyes suddenly faded, replaced by a deep burning red.
And he smiled.
End of Act Two