Originally broadcasted 4/19/05
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Day
Willow quickly slid inside the conference room door and quietly crept toward her seat in the conference room. Giles was standing and addressing the group that had already gathered, which consisted of Faith, Robin and Rowena.
“Nice of you to join us,” Giles remarked dryly, as the redhead took a seat next to Faith and across from Rowena.
“Sorry,” she muttered apologetically.
“Anyway,” he continued. “As I was saying, I think we need to ban Jeff from the coven, effective immediately. All in favor, say aye.”
“Hold up,” Willow said to the group. “Yeah, sure, it was his bad messing with stuff he wasn’t ready for, but he’s a powerful young man, Giles.”
“We’ve already discussed this, Willow. If you wanted to issue an opinion, then you should have been here on time.”
“Gee, I’m sorry. I was trying to catch up on my sleep after the wacko weekend I had,” she said sarcastically.
“In any event,” Giles said, brushing her off, “Let’s vote.”
“Damn it, Giles!” Willow said, slamming her hands down on the table. “You can’t expect him to learn his lesson and then just toss him out. That kid is strong – very strong. And he’s better off as an ally than an enemy.” When no one around the table said anything or even looked at her, she asked, “Can’t any of you see that? Rowena?”
Rowena looked away, and an uncomfortable silence filled the room.
Willow turned to Giles. “You of all people should know what can happen if powerful magic is left unchecked. You’re lucky to be alive, no thanks to me.”
Giles ignored this final remark and turned back to the group. “All in favor, say aye.”
Everyone collectively voiced their agreement with Giles, except for Willow. She began shaking her head in disgust, and she looked down at her hands to find them beginning to tremble. The purplish-green veins began to turn pitch black, She closed her eyes tightly, then opened them, only to see that her skin was still changing.
From across the table, Rowena’s mouth began to widen, as if she was going to say something, but couldn’t quite. To Willow’s left, Faith rolled her chair away.
“What the hell’s happening?” the slayer asked Giles.
Giles was speechless as Willow slowly stood up. Raven locks replaced her red hair, and the dark veins now spread across her forehead and face. Her eyes were as black and cold as onyx.
“I say we take a recount,” she said in a slow, merciless voice.
“Willow,” Giles began, diplomatically for the first time in the conversation. “Listen to me.”
“I’ve listened to you for too many years,” she answered. Then she waved a careless hand in his direction and instantly set him ablaze.
Once the initial shock wore off, Faith charged toward Willow, as Robin leapt over the table. Rowena reached out to stop Robin, but it was no use. The man was quicker and stronger than she was.
Willow made a pushing motion with her hand, which threw Faith into the back wall. When she struck the wall; she too combusted into flames. Although it was hopeless, Robin raced over to help Faith but, with another wave of Willow’s hand, he met the same fate.
During the commotion, Rowena had worked her way behind Willow and tried to slip out the door. She was only a few feet away when Willow turned to face her, stopping her in her tracks.
“Where do you think you’re going…lover?” Willow asked.
Rowena covered her mouth. as if she were trying to hold back the urge to get sick.
“You said you knew what you were getting into, remember?” Willow taunted her. With the wave of the dark witch’s hand, the door slammed shut.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Same Time
The sound of Willow’s front door shutting made the witch bolt up from her sofa with a gasp and look around in confusion. She glanced over to the entryway to see Rowena hanging up her coat. Rowena turned and saw Willow peering over the back of the sofa, looking confused and frightened.
“I’m sorry,” the blonde apologized. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.” She walked over to the sofa as Willow righted herself.
“Don’t be sorry. I’m glad you did,” Willow replied.
Carefully, the blonde took a seat next to her. “Having another bad dream, weren’t you?” she asked. When Willow simply nodded, Rowena asked, “Who was it this time?”
“Giles, Faith and Robin,” Willow answered softly.
Rowena put her hand around Willow’s shoulder, and the redhead rested against the crook of her neck. “It was just a dream,” Rowena reminded her. “Dr. Millenti said this was to be expected after what happened.”
“I can’t help but think it’s something more,” Willow told her. “If I go back to that –”
“You won’t,” Rowena assured her.
“How can you be so sure? Shadow loaded me up with Goddess knows what.”
“Because you’re stronger than anything she could dish out. That’s why,” Rowena told her with great certainty. Willow, however, still appeared unconvinced. “Come on,” Rowena said, rising from the sofa and offering Willow her hand. “Giles needs to speak with you and Jeff.”
Willow released a heavy sigh and took Rowena’s hand.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Moments Later
Willow and Rowena walked to the entrance, then Rowena nodded Willow inside. “I’ll be out here after you’re done,” she told her, letting Willow go ahead.
Upon hearing Willow approach, Giles glanced at her briefly, before turning back to Jeff.
“I’ll allow the two of you a few moments,” he told the young man, then he acknowledged Willow with a wan smile and walked toward the exit.
“So,” Willow began, “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” Jeff told her with a short nod.
Willow released a sigh and pulled the chair next to the bed a bit closer before taking a seat.
“Is this the part where you tell me I went over the line, stepped out of bounds?” he asked.
Willow shook her head. “No, I’m sure everyone else has already told you that. And I know that you know that I agree with them.” Willow sighed again and then continued. “I’m honored that you felt the need to save me, but the means you used –”
“Could have been better. I know.”
Willow paused for a moment. “If something like this comes up again, and I’m not here, will you promise to ask Rowena first before going through the restricted area?”
“She would have said no,” Jeff countered.
“Giles would have said no…probably. But Rowena would have kept watch to make sure nothing was taken except for what was needed. She probably would have even helped you research, and I can tell you first hand, she’s pretty good at it. So…promise me?”
Jeff gave Willow a committed nod. “I promise. It’s just –”
“You’ve got a lot of power, and you want to push yourself to do bigger and better things.”
“Yeah!” he said enthusiastically.
“So did I, Jeff, but I didn’t have anyone to catch my fall. Not when it came to magic. I want to see you do bigger and better things, too. I do. But you have to go in steps, not leaps and bounds, ’cause that’s the mistake that I made. So, starting next week, I want us to do some tutoring, privately. Just you and me, okay?”
“So…instead of barring me from magic, you’re going to train me?” he asked skeptically.
“Absolutely. I know you’re going to continue this, so I have two choices. One, I can look the other way and hope your desire for power goes away. Or two, I can stay at your side and help guide you away from making some potentially hazardous or fatal mistakes. I’m going with number two,” she ended in a chipper voice.
“Thanks Willow. I –” Jeff’s words died in his throat when the sound of gunshots from above them rang out. “What was that?” he asked, concerned.
“Upstairs,” Willow muttered. Then she raced from the room.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time
Giles and Rowena were already heading toward the staircase to go to the second floor when Willow ran to catch up. When they got to the top, they heard another shot ring out from Bonnie’s apartment. As all three of them ran to the door, Giles took Willow and Rowena by the arm and pulled them behind him.
“Stay here,” he ordered as he approached the door. He gave it a firm knock and called out. “Bonnie! Bonnie, open the door!”
When Bonnie pulled the door open, he looked inside and saw her holding a smoking gun at arm’s length. Quickly, she turned toward him. Faith was lying in the middle of the apartment floor, bleeding from her chest and forehead. She wasn’t moving.
“Bloody hell,” Giles said in a trembling voice.
End of Teaser