Felicia Day as Vi, Norika Fujiwara as Mia, Lindsay Felton as Skye Talisker, Laura Prepon as Lori, Brad Dourif as Brell, Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist and Thora Birch as Tracey
Jordan Baker as Sheila Rosenberg, Sam Waterston as Ira Rosenberg, Brian Cox as Jacob Allister, Catherine O’Hara as Betty Allister, Pierce Brosnan as Reginald Giles, Bonnie Hunt as Roxanne, Sharon Gless as Hannah, Francesca Buller as the Lover, Duncan Young as the Flayer, Stephen Austin as Reteesk, Tyler Mane as Creed and Rowan Atkinson as Niles Walker
Shopping Mall – Morning
Giles and Becca walked side by side. He had one hand on her hip and carried a shopping bag in the other.
“So what do you think?” Becca asked. “Blue, pink or neutral yellow?”
“I’m rather fond of blue,” he told her. “Pink is just too…girly. And I’ve already invested too much time teaching Andrew to be manlier. I don’t want him to regress because of a pink cummerbund,” he said with a slight grin.
“And do I want to know how you teach someone to be more manly? I mean, is it about how to grab your crotch and spit ‘bacco?” Becca teased.
Giles grinned as they walked along.
“Honestly,” he told her, “the wedding details mean little to me. You can have whatever type you choose. All you have to do is show up, say ‘I do’ and I’m happy.”
“Well, we need to make a decision so they can order the groomsmen colors. We’ve only got one week left,” Becca replied.
“Which is why we’re here today. I prefer black throughout, but since those are my only options, then my answer is blue.”
“Good,” Becca nodded firmly. “Then blue it is!” After a few seconds, she asked, “What shade?”
Giles gave a light chuckle. “We’ll decide today. I promise.”
As they walked past an appliance store, Giles stopped and looked at the televisions. Becca turned back and moved to his side.
“Wedding shower gift?” she asked.
Giles looked at the multiple screens, all of which showed the same report: “Cleveland Earthquake.” He pulled Becca gently by the hand. “Come with me.”
As they walked inside, he listened to the newscaster. “Although no structural damage was reported in the city, the quake did register 2.4 on the Richter scale in our area, with shockwaves felt from the upper peninsula of Michigan to the mouth of the Mississippi.”
“Interesting,” Giles muttered.
“Why? There’s a fault line in the Midwest,” she answered. “It could be mother nature.”
Giles scratched his chin. “True, but it could mean more.” He shook off his musings and turned back to Becca. “Anyway, let’s go make me look dashing,” he told her with a smile, as they began to leave the store.
“You don’t need a tux for that, mister,” Becca said as she put her arm around his waist.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Morning
Willow and Rowena walked into the conference room to see Andrew clumsily handing Robin a stack of newspapers. Faith tried to help them in a failed attempt to keep any from falling.
“Now I took out all the fluffy stuff and advertisements. It’s ‘just the facts ma’am’,” Andrew told him.
“Facts on what?” Rowena asked.
“The earthquake last night,” Faith answered.
“Yeah, Detroit registered a 3.9, according to the Free Press,” Andrew said, pointing out the paper to Robin. “And Sears has Halo 2 on sale for $35.99. That’s a good price…” He trailed off as everyone in the room looked at him. “But that’s not relevant, I know,” he added softly.
Willow and Rowena looked at each other. “Hold on,” Willow began. “What earthquake?”
The trio at the table appeared confused.
“You guys didn’t feel it?” Faith asked. Again, Willow and Rowena looked at each other and shrugged. Faith began to grin and gave a light chuckle. “Knowing you two, you were probably busy little beavers… y’know, what with all the research.”
Rowena blushed and looked away, “Oh, look. Coffee,” she said as she walked over.
Willow chastised Faith silently with her eyes, but the slayer just chuckled.
“Anyway,” Willow said authoritatively. “What do we know?”
“Very little, I’m afraid,” Giles said, as he walked in with Becca next to him. “Except that, after much debate, I finally got my way, and we’ll all be wearing black tuxes.”
“Hey guys,” Willow greeted, waving to both of them. “Black tuxes, huh? Does that mean I get one too?”
“No,” Becca said, cutting her short. “You’ll still be in your dress.”
Willow frowned. “Okay, but what if it doesn’t fit? I have been putting on weight lately.”
“Don’t talk to me about putting on weight,” Becca answered. “Besides, don’t you like the dresses? You said you did.”
“Oh I love them! It’s just, you know, I always wanted to wear a tux to a formal gathering. That’s all.”
“Guess we know who the butch is now,” Robin muttered to Faith, who gave a snort.
“Ha, ha,” Willow retorted. “I’d say more but…maybe you’re right.” Willow then turned back to Becca. “No, the dresses are beautiful, and I’m happy to be a part of it all, tux or no tux.”
“And I’m happy you agreed,” Becca answered. “Any word from your extended families yet?” she added, looking at everyone.
“My watcher’s flying in,” Robin told them.
“And my mom too,” Willow added to the conversation. “Not sure about Dad yet. Oh, and Xander said his folks will be coming, much to his disappointment.”
Becca grinned and shook her head before she turned to Rowena. “How about your family, Sweetie?”
Rowena licked her lips nervously. “I left a message but…I haven’t heard from them.” She took a timid seat next to Willow with her coffee in hand.
“That’s okay,” Becca said gently. “Besides, you’ve got lots of family here already.”
“Thank you,” Rowena told her with a small grin.
“Well, as for my family…” Faith waved her hands at everyone in the room. “You’re looking at ’em. Besides, I don’t think you want a man and a girl at your wedding who tried to kill me. I know I don’t.”
“Same here,” Andrew added. “Brother’s in prison now, and I’m not sure where my mom moved to. I get an email every now and then, but no response to the invitation yet.”
“We’ll have plenty of space for everyone, I’m sure,” Giles said.
Becca turned to Giles and patted his arm. “I’m going upstairs. Join me for lunch if you get the chance?”
“Certainly,” he told her. He gave her a kiss, then she waved to the room and slipped out.
After Becca was gone, Giles turned back to the room. “Andrew?” he called, making the young man look up. “Have Dawn and Skye search the Internet. See what we can find out about the earthquake and mystical phenomenon, while Robin and I examine the newspapers.”
“You got it, Mr. Giles,” Andrew replied on his way out the door.
“How is Lori doing?” Giles asked.
Faith sighed and leaned forward, her elbows resting on the table. “Same,” she answered shortly. “Still no powers and the hits she took are still healing. They should have been gone by now.” She ran a hand over her face in frustration.
“Anything in the literature?” Giles asked, turning to Rowena.
“Nothing. I’ve got a call in to Robson to check to see if he’s got any slayers as old as Lori is, to see if our preliminary theory that this is age-related bears merit. If it does…” Rowena trailed off, then continued in a very quiet voice. “I-I don’t know what to do about it.” She looked down at the table.
“I called Althenea to see if she thinks it could be the activation spell…if maybe it’s starting to wear off or something,” Willow added before Giles could ask. “She pointed out that we’ll be in big trouble if that’s the case, but she’s got the entire Coven doing research and testing theories.”
“All right then, no point in panicking just yet. We’ll hold off on it for now.” Giles turned back to address the rest of the group. “I’d like to make a suggestion to all of you. With the wedding coming up, and my future wife’s insistence that my health could be in peril, I’m going to be…how should I put this…”
“Leaving?” Willow asked, concerned. “You can’t leave, Giles!”
Giles gave a half chuckle. “I have no intention of leaving. Not yet anyway. No, I’m merely suggesting that we all share the responsibility a bit more, t-to give the Council a more equal voice.”
“What do you have in mind?” Robin asked.
“I want to create three divisions,” he told them all. “The Watcher Division,” he said, nodding to Rowena. “The Coven,” he added, motioning to Willow. “And the Slayer Division,” he concluded, pointing at Faith.
“Executive, Legislative and Judicial?” Faith asked.
“In a manner of speaking,” Giles said with a nod. “This way power and opinion is shared equally. Since there are three heads, that means the majority can rule on any decision.”
Faith smiled. “Boy, who woulda thought all that government crap in night school would come in handy?”
“The reason I want to do this is…well, I know I won’t be around forever, and the power shouldn’t rest in the hands of one person or even in one department alone. The Old Guard learned that lesson all too painfully. When we faced the First, things might have been different if Buffy had a voice, if the Coven had a voice. Perhaps we would have had access to more information about the First before the Council was destroyed. I took what I could carry but…” Giles trailed off with a look of frustration.
“You did what you could, Giles,” Willow said sympathetically.
“I know,” he told her with a warm grin. “But when I think about how many more people might have been saved, girls who might still be alive…The point is, I don’t want to make the same mistakes. So…what do you all think?”
Faith, who had been chewing on her bottom lip in thought, leaned forward. “So you’re saying you want me to make all the decisions for the slayers?”
“Not all the decisions. I want you to be their majority leader. I want the girls to come to you with their ideas and concerns, and you bring them before the Council board each week, and then a decision is reached. It can be anything trivial, like more soda in the dorm machines, to more important things, like new fighting techniques or weapons on patrols.”
Faith nodded. “Okay, I think I can do that.”
“Good,” Giles said with a nod. He turned to Rowena. “We’ll oversee the watchers who have been trained, while Robin will bring us concerns of the watchers-in-training. Again, with three of us, we can reach a majority decision on which action to take.”
“And me?” Willow asked.
“You, my dear, will continue to run the Coven. When something comes up and a vote needs to be cast, you will be the voice for the Coven majority. I’m also considering a training program for slayers who would like to learn magic. It always seemed to help Buffy at times, and with Kennedy’s latest foray into the magic arts, it seems like a good idea. However, since the Coven is your sector, it will be left to your discretion who will be trained.”
“Yeah, but where do I start? My days are already pretty much filled with classes and the regular Coven activities,” Willow explained.
“Faith will make a suggestion if she sees a slayer with great promise, but you will have the final call as to whether that slayer receives training after your Coven researches her history.”
Willow nodded and slowly began to smile.
“So,” Giles began, “what do you all think?”
“I like it,” Robin replied immediately. “The only thing that worries me is what might happen in those high intensity moments. I mean, we can’t sit around arguing about what to do during the middle of a fight.”
“No, we cannot,” Giles agreed, “but if it’s something that’s a physical fight, then the slayers will do what they need at the time. If it’s a mystical or magical foe, then the Coven will be the first to react. The watchers will do as they’ve always done, supply informational backup to both the Slayer and Coven Divisions.”
Everyone in the room began to nod.
“I’m not saying it’s fool-proof,” Giles admitted. “But it’s better than what the Council ever did before. Plus it gives us, as the New Guard, more direction. As I said, I won’t always be here. We need a system to ensure that even after I’m gone, well…after all of us are gone, actually, the Council will remain and it will be efficient.”
“Okay,” Faith said. “I’m in.”
“Me too,” Willow added.
“Me three,” Rowena answered with a nod.
Giles turned to Robin.
“Count me in too,” he answered the silent question.
“Okay then,” Giles said, before clearing his throat. “For our first official voting procedure, how does the Watchers Division vote in regard to putting this plan into action? All in favor, say aye.”
“Aye,” Robin and Rowena said together.
“Motion passed,” Giles answered. “Now as for the Division leaders, say aye.”
“Aye,” Willow, Faith, and Giles answered.
“Good,” Giles beamed. “Now if only I had a gavel to bang, to make it really official.”
Everyone looked at each other in the room and smiled.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Kennedy stood on the opposite side of the meeting room door as the group began to file out.
Rowena was talking to Giles as the door opened. “I’ll see about getting a secretary for meeting minutes.”
“Thank you,” Giles answered, putting on his coat.
“You okay, Slick?” Faith asked when she saw Kennedy standing there.
“Yeah, I need to speak to Giles, if that’s okay.” Her voice seemed void of any emotion. Faith just gave her a nod and continued out of the room, saying nothing more.
“Come in,” Giles said. He motioned Kennedy inside as the others went on their way.
Once inside, Giles closed the door and turned to Kennedy.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I need your opinion on something. It’s not slayer-related. It’s…personal. And I can’t really go to Faith with this because – hello? – I’m still pissed at her right now.”
“Yes, I heard things were a bit…tense when you left. And judging by the icy glare, I see it’s not better.”
“Yeah, well, that’s not the real problem.” Giles simply cocked his head and waited for her to continue. “It’s Mia. Or I should say Kadin. Something happened in Romania.”
Giles looked confused at first, but then realization washed over his face. “Ah,” was all he said.
“I didn’t cheat on Mia. Well, I did. Just not a lot. Just a little. But a little or a lot really doesn’t matter, does it? I mean…it was just a few kisses. Some very intense kisses. And yes, if she hadn’t been hurt, it probably would have been much more. Like all the way more and I –”
Giles held up his hand, making her stop. “That’s enough details, I think. I’m assuming now you feel guilty?”
“Yeah. I love Mia. I do. And I didn’t plan to hurt her.”
“So she knows?”
Kennedy shook her head. “No, that’s why I’m here. I didn’t tell her, and I’m not sure what to do.”
Giles thought about it a moment. “Do you want to stay with Mia?”
“Yes,” Kennedy answered. “I mean, I think so…Okay, I’m not sure, but I know I don’t want to hurt her.”
“Then what does telling her accomplish?”
Kennedy appeared confused. “I don’t understand.”
“I’m not condoning what you did,” Giles began. “Think about why you’d want to tell Mia. Is it to ‘come clean,’ as you might say?”
“Well, yeah,” Kennedy answered.
“You would feel better for telling her, but how would that make her feel?” Giles posed.
Kennedy paused. “Mad, hurt, betrayed.”
“Right,” Giles answered. “So, would you be telling Mia for her sake, or for yours?” Kennedy looked away. “If you really want to build a future with Mia, then perhaps it’s best to carry this guilt on your own shoulders – a reminder, so that it doesn’t happen again. And if you don’t believe the relationship will work, then let her go. So, if you want my opinion…” Giles said, letting the sentence hang. Kennedy nodded in the affirmative. “…then admit to yourself you were wrong, carry your guilt and don’t push the infidelity off onto her, regardless of what you want to do. But if she asks if something happened in Europe, then be honest. Tell her you didn’t mention it for fear of hurting her, because you truly love her. I believe she’ll be far more likely to forgive you at that point.”
“It’ll be hard,” Kennedy said. “I don’t want her thinking I lied to her.”
“I realize that. But you’ll do her much greater harm, in my opinion, by telling her of your indiscretion. Of course, in the end, the choice is yours.”
Kennedy nodded. “Thanks, Giles. I’m sorry I bugged you about this. I know you don’t have a lot of time lately.”
Giles grinned and put a hand on her shoulder. “I always have time for our slayers, especially you. Now, go see to your troops. I’m sure they’re thinking they’ll get out of P.T. today.”
“Aye-Aye, Cap’n.” Kennedy said with a smile and a salute, before she left the room.
Watchers Council – Computer Room – Later that Day
Rowena looked over to see Willow frowning at nothing in particular.
“Okay…what’s the matter?” she asked, while looking back down at the reports in her hand.
Willow seemed to come out of a small daze. “Oh, nothing.”
“Nothing nothing,” Rowena answered, looking back to her lover. “You’ve got worried Willow face.”
Willow gave a short grin, but seemed nervous. “I’m just wondering if he knows something he’s not telling us.”
“Giles. All that talk about not being around and the Council going on without him…it scares me. Maybe he’s sick, or sicker, I mean. Like it’s something new he found out.”
“You could always hack into Dr. Miller’s private charts,” Rowena said with a slight grin. Willow got an excited look. “I was teasing,” Rowena added quickly. She watched Willow’s face fall. “Why don’t you just ask him?”
“Like he’d tell me,” Willow replied sarcastically.
“Chances are he’d tell you before anyone else on the Council,” Rowena answered. “Honestly, I think if Giles were ill, he’d be smart enough to make plans.”
Willow made an exaggerated gesture with her hands. “Hello? Were you at the meeting this morning? That’s exactly what he did!”
“Will, Sweetie, calm down. Okay?”
“I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you,” Willow apologized.
“I know. Just relax. You’re so wound up and I really think it’s over nothing. If you ask me, we’re way overdue for these types of changes. So it’s good that Giles is considering everything. It proves that he’s an effective leader.” Willow started to speak, but Rowena placed a finger over her lips. “And before you say, ‘it might be because he’s sick or dying, again,’ if something serious was happening at this moment, then he would tell you.”
“Are you sure?” Willow asked.
“Positive,” she replied. The watcher leaned in and kissed Willow softly on the lips. Rowena gave a short hum in approval. “One more,” she added, as she went back to Willow’s lips. She had begun to close the distance again when something caught her eye and she looked over to their left. Rowena shot away, and Willow opened her eyes to follow Rowena’s line of sight.
“Hello, Rowena,” remarked the woman standing only a few feet away.
“Mom?” the watcher asked, shocked. “What are you doing here?”
The woman looked over her daughter’s shoulder.
“Ms. Rosenberg,” Rowena’s mother said, nodding to Willow. “You’re looking…well.”
Willow looked tense, as if she could physically feel on her skin the acid in the woman’s voice.
“You too,” Willow said timidly.
Mrs. Allister turned back to face her daughter. “Since we got the invitation to come to Cleveland, your father wanted to take you up on it and surprise you. He’s in the lobby with the bags.”
“Oh, well, let’s go,” Rowena said, starting to rise.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
“Dad?” Rowena called out, making the man turn around. He smiled upon seeing her and opened his arms. Rowena returned the smile and rushed over into the embrace. “Did you guys just get in?” she asked.
“Yeah, we took a taxi here,” he answered.
“You should have called. I would have sent a car,” she told him.
“That’s okay,” he told her. “We didn’t want to inconvenience you.” He looked over Rowena’s shoulder to see Willow standing nervously with her hands interlocked together. “Hi Willow. How have you been?”
Willow gave a short wave. “Good. Yourself?”
“Can’t complain,” he replied with a kind smile.
For a long moment, everyone in the lobby just stood looking at each other, saying nothing.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
Xander and Willow walked slowly, side by side, down a stretch of hallway.
“They came just out of the blue, huh?” Xander asked.
“Yeah, it was mega-uncomfortable. Not so much Ro’s dad, but her mom…That woman hates my guts, and the rest of me for that matter, a-and I know it’s hard on Rowena.”
Xander grinned. “From your tone, I’d say the feeling is mutual.”
“I don’t hate her. I-I just…She thinks I’m an evil person, but I’m not. Well, not anymore…but you know what I mean. I turned her little girl into a heathen.”
“I see the closed mindedness at play here.” Xander nodded. “So…where are they staying?”
“With Rowena. She’s got the extra bedroom.”
“Well, if she likes, I’ll trade her. My parents for hers?” Xander offered.
“Are you kidding? I’d like to keep the girlfriend I fought long and hard to get, thank you very much,” Willow said with a teasing smile.
“Damn,” Xander sighed.
“Sorry, Bub, you’re not getting out of this one. You invited your folks, and now they’re a-comin’…Anyway, topic change. Something cheerful. Oh! I know. Is Alex coming to the wedding? You know how women love you in formal wear.”
“I’m not sure,” Xander shrugged. “I haven’t asked her yet.”
“It’s only a week away, Xan. You better get crackin’.”
Xander sighed and nodded. “I know. I’m not sure if she’s the right one, is all. When you invite someone to a wedding, it’s like a trial run.”
“Excuse me?” Willow asked.
“All the talk of ’til-death-do-us-part and lifelong commitment. When you take someone to a wedding, it’s like a pre-nup nuptial or something. Like you’re testing the waters to see what the other person wants out of life. I’m not sure Alex is wedding-guest material.”
“Ahh…well, if you’re wondering if she’s the one, then that’s a good indication that maybe she’s not,” Willow replied.
“Yeah, but I felt the same about Cordy and Anya at first, too.”
“And we know how both of those turned out,” Willow retorted.
“True, but An was different. I got spooked and made the worst decision of my life.”
Willow wove her hand through his. “She knew you loved her, Xan. She did.”
“Well, let’s just say a prayer that Giles doesn’t get cold feet too,” he said. He reached out to the doorframe they were passing to ‘knock on wood.’
“Or Becca,” Willow added, as she knocked on the doorframe on her side.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Afternoon
“Thanks for helping me plan the wedding cake and video. I know it’s not much of a present, but I hope Becca and Giles enjoy it,” Andrew said. He was visibly nervous, although trying to sound casual. He sat next to Tracey at the kitchen island, going through wedding cake design books while she fiddled with his video recorder.
“No problem. I’m glad I could help do something for the big event,” Tracey said with a broad smile.
Andrew shifted fretfully in his seat. “I was kinda wondering if you’ve got anyone you’re taking to the wedding? Since Giles and Becca are nice enough to get a caterer, we’ll be able to celebrate.”
“I was thinking of someone,” she confessed shyly.
“Really? Please tell me it’s not that Steve guy,” Andrew asked, concerned.
Tracey smiled. “Steve guy is history.”
“Oh good!” Andrew smiled, but rapidly looked concerned. “Not that you shouldn’t have someone in your life,” he added quickly. “Just not him.” A small silence passed between them until Andrew spoke again. “So…is there somebody that you’d like to take to the wedding?”
“Yes, there is,” Tracey answered. She grinned as she watched Andrew try to play off the news by burying his nose back into the magazines. “Only problem is he hasn’t asked me yet,” she added.
“Oh?” Andrew said, unsure of what to say next. “It’s someone here then? It’s Jeff, right? It’s probably Jeff. I mean, there’s not too many people here our age, but then again, maybe you like older guys – men, I mean – and that’s okay, too, I guess…just as long as they treat you right, and Jeff –”
Tracey leaned over and gently kissed Andrew on the lips. “My problem is, since he likes to babble and won’t ask me, I’ll have to make the jump…Andrew, will you be my escort to the wedding?”
Andrew appeared shell-shocked, and the only sound that came out of his mouth was a slew of unintelligible mumbles.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Tracey answered.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
Jeff walked inside to see Dawn and Skye giggling with each other, and he held back rolling his eyes. The pair looked over upon hearing him enter.
“So Jeff,” Skye asked, “who’re you taking to the big formal?”
Jeff looked at Dawn for a moment and then looked away. “No one yet, but there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of teenage girls around here. I’ll ask someone.”
“I’m gonna go get this to Willow,” Dawn said, holding up a box and quickly making her way out.
Once Dawn was gone, Skye closed the distance between herself and Jeff, then cleared her throat.
“I’m not blind…I know you want her.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jeff answered, too quickly.
“Yes you do,” Skye told him firmly. A silence passed between the two of them as they stood, facing off. “I didn’t say anything in front of all those people the other day at the reading. It wouldn’t be right. And I sure as hell wouldn’t say anything with Dawn around. But here, alone…you better realize something right now. You might think you love her, but I know I do. And if you do anything to sabotage my relationship with Dawn, all the magic in the world won’t help you.”
“I don’t like being threatened,” Jeff warned.
“And I don’t like people thinking they can just take what’s mine.”
Skye said nothing more and just walked from the room. Jeff let out a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair.
Fade to Black
End of Act One