Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist and Helen Shaver as Becca Giles.
Rhona Mitra as Alex Neel
Special Guest Starring:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, Robia La Morte as Lucifer and George Clooney as General Boeing
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Early Morning
Kennedy worked the punching bag in practical darkness. Willow paused for a moment in the doorway before entering the gym.
Kennedy noticed her approach from the corner of her eye and stopped her workout to turn and face the witch.
“What are you doing up?” Kennedy asked.
“Couldn’t sleep. I’m still a little wired, thanks to the vacation in Hell. You?” Willow asked.
Kennedy shrugged. “I didn’t feel like sitting in the apartment alone,” she replied.
Willow gave her a soft smile. She pushed a piece of loose hair behind Kennedy’s ear and stroked her face.
“You’ll never be alone, Ken. Never.”
“This from another woman who dumped me? Maybe you and Mia can start some kind of club?” Kennedy asked, with slight sarcasm but a playful grin.
Willow grinned in response. “You know what I mean…It didn’t work out for us, but I didn’t leave a-and I still want to help. You know, if you let me.”
Kennedy wiggled her eyebrows and pulled Willow playfully toward her by the hips.
“You wanna help me, huh?” she asked seductively with a smirk.
Willow let out a nervous giggle and swatted lightly at one of the arms still holding her.
“Again, you know what I mean.”
Kennedy didn’t release her hold and simply nodded.
“I know…and thank you,” she added sincerely.
The two smiled at each other a moment longer as Rowena rounded the corner. She watched as Kennedy closed the distance between herself and Willow, their lips meeting in a lingering kiss. Rowena’s jaw set for a moment, and she appeared to take a deep breath before clearing her throat.
The sound made Willow and Kennedy both turn to the doorway, and Kennedy casually dropped her hands from Willow’s hips.
“Ro, what are you doing up?” Willow asked.
Rowena didn’t answer immediately. “I heard you leave. I wanted to check on you, but I see you’re doing fine. I’m gonna go.”
Before Willow could reply, Rowena’s back was turned, and she was already out the gym door.
“Ohhh, damn it. Look Will, I’m sor –” Kennedy began.
Willow just held her hand up. “Don’t worry about it. You want to have breakfast tomorrow…well, okay, in a few hours?” she asked as she looked at her watch.
“You don’t have to do that,” Kennedy answered.
“No, but I want to. Meet me in the dining hall at nine,” she said, waving a finger as she backed out of the room. “I’m expecting you to be there.”
“Ma’am, yes ma’am!” Kennedy saluted with a smile.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Moments Later
Willow walked inside her bedroom to see Rowena curled up in bed, and the priestess forced down a slight smile.
“I know you’re not asleep,” Willow said. When no sound came, Willow waved her hand toward the nightstand. “Igneous,” she muttered. Suddenly, the lamp beside the bed went on, and Rowena slowly sat up.
She leaned against the headboard and folded her arms across her chest, cutting to the chase.
“Don’t deny it, Will. I saw you kissing Kennedy.”
“Oh Goddess,” Willow sighed.
“Praying won’t help you at this point,” Rowena said shortly.
Willow shook her head and started toward the bed. She took a seat at the foot. “This is going to sound clichéd, but…it’s not what you think.”
“Was it someone else’s lips I saw on yours then?”
“Nooo, it was not,” Willow answered firmly. “She kissed me, that’s all. Platonic, no strings a-and I didn’t even kiss back…much.”
Rowena chewed on her lip before saying, “You should stop while you’re behind.”
Willow seemed to fight the urge to chuckle and shook her head instead.
“I have to admit…this is cute.”
“Cute? What’s cute?” Rowena asked.
“You. Miss Cool-As-A-Cucumber getting jealous,” Willow replied.
“I am not jealous,” Rowena said defiantly. Willow simply looked at her, and Rowena’s resolve fell. “Okay, I am jealous. I’m jealous. There. But I’ve got reason to be. You leave our bed, you go to the gym, and the next thing I see is you locking lips with her. If you want her –”
“Stop right there,” Willow said, making her way to the head of the bed. “I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to wake you, and when I went for a walk, I heard someone in the gym…It was just a friendly kiss for promising to be there for her. That’s it. Case closed. Put a fork in it – it’s done.”
Rowena didn’t say anything and refused to meet Willow’s eyes.
“Hey,” Willow said, as she pulled Rowena’s chin up to look eye to eye. “You have nothing to worry about, got me?”
“Do I?” Rowena asked.
Willow looked confused, and Rowena went on.
“Do I have you? Because I know Kennedy’s…adventurous…and I’m…” Rowena stalled, as if not sure what to say, but simply finished with, “I’m not.”
Willow leaned in and kissed Rowena softly on the lips.
“You, my dear…sometimes you’re pouring coffee in your PJs a-and I want you. Don’t think for a second anyone else would do…okay?”
Rowena began to grin and played with the edge of the blanket at her waist. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I’m acting like a lovesick teenager,” she said, frustrated.
“That’s okay…But realize, I’m where I wanna be. I wouldn’t sneak around behind your back, Ro. Cross my heart.”
Willow made an ‘x’ motion across her chest, and Rowena took the hand pulling it closer.
“Well,” she began shyly. “Since I’m awake now and you’re awake now…”
“Say no more,” Willow replied with a grin. She reached over and turned the light off by hand.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Morning
Rowena knocked on the door to see Giles open it.
“Good morning,” he greeted her. “Would you like some coffee? Tea?” he asked.
“No, I’m good. You wanted to see me here?” she asked as she walked in and he motioned her to his sofa.
“Yes, well, you see…I-I’m not sure where to begin.”
“The beginning is usually a good starting place,” she said with a soft smile.
“Very well then…I’m considering retirement,” he began. Rowena’s eyebrows shot up, but she said nothing. “I know this might seem sudden, judging by your expression.”
“Oh no, I’m just surprised that Xander won the pool,” Rowena answered.
“Excuse me?” Giles asked.
Rowena blushed. “Well, Andrew was taking bets as to how long it would be from the baby to when you decided to hang it up. Xander said within a week. Everyone laughed, but I guess he nailed it.”
Giles shook his head. “Nice to know my life is good for some amusement and illegal gambling. In any regard, I’d like to call a Council meeting and propose that you take over as the Chair. I’m coming to you first because I don’t want to put you on the spot to-to take a position you don’t want. The Council will need to vote, of course, but I want my support to go to you.”
Rowena sat slack-jawed. “I-I don’t know what to say. But thank you seems to be in order first.”
“You may want to hold your thanks. This is not an easy position to be in, Rowena. And it’s quite possible that a new title could put you in some…direct conflicts with other Council department heads.”
“Like Willow,” Rowena answered knowingly.
“Yes, like Willow,” he went on. “So if you are reluctant, I’ll understand. The situation might present a challenge from time to time, but I believe that you, Willow and everyone else on the Council will see that the decisions you make will be from the head and not from the heart.”
“Even after the Mizor incident last year?” Rowena asked skeptically.
“Especially,” Giles replied. “You now see it’s necessary sometimes to act for the good of all, and not just for yourself and those around you…But consider it carefully, and keep this between us for the time being. I’d like to make an announcement in the next few weeks, days if possible.”
“When are you leaving?” Rowena asked.
“Not until the Council is in order, I assure you.”
Rowena gave him a nod of approval. “For what it’s worth…we’ll miss your presence here.”
Giles smiled fondly. “If you truly need me, I’ll always be a phone call away,” he told her. “Just try to keep the calls to a minimum, if possible,” he added with a raised finger.
“I think we can manage that.” Rowena smiled.
Watchers Council – Dining Hall – Morning
Willow, Dawn, Skye, and Buffy all sat at a long folding table with their breakfast trays. Willow was looking over her shoulder when Buffy got her attention.
“Looking for your Sweetie?” the Slayer teased.
“What?” Willow said, turning around, “Oh, no, looking for the former Sweetie. Kennedy was feeling a little blue last night and promised to have breakfast.”
“Feeling a little blue, huh? I didn’t know she was seeing Brell now,” Dawn remarked with a short laugh. When no one said anything, she added, “Get it? Feeling blue. Brell’s blue.” Everyone continued to look at her, and she picked up her spoon. “Okay, I give up,” she finished before stuffing her mouth.
“Sorry I’m late,” Kennedy said from behind Willow, making her turn.
The witch’s eyes went wide. “You cut your hair,” Willow said in amazement.
Kennedy blushed and ran her fingers through it as she took a seat next to Willow. “Yeah, that’s why I’m late. If I can’t change from the inside out, then maybe I’ll change from the outside in,” she replied.
“Looks cute, perky,” Buffy said cheerfully.
Kennedy scoffed. “Yeah, that’s just the look I was going for,” she said sarcastically. “I’m gonna let it grow out.”
“Ignore her,” Willow said, waving Buffy off. “I think it looks very spiffy,” she added supportively. Kennedy smiled.
Two hands suddenly and forcefully appeared around Buffy’s throat.
“If I were a demon, you’d be dead, B,” a voice said above her. “You’re slipping.” Faith pushed the group to scoot down and took a seat on the end of the bench. That’s when she saw Kennedy. “Whoa! You weren’t kidding when you said ‘change.’ It’s cute, dare I say…perky.”
Dawn and Skye covered their mouths to hide their laughter, and Kennedy rolled her eyes. “I’m gonna get some juice,” was all she said as she rose.
“What?” Faith asked the table.
“Never mind,” they all said at once.
“So, how’s Robin holding up?” Buffy asked.
“Sleeping right now. Sleeping a lot the last few days. Hey, Will? Can I have that half?” she asked. pointing to Willow’s bagel.
“Go for it,” the witch replied casually.
Willow and Buffy looked at each other with concern, as Faith reached across the table and didn’t add more.
“So, when you leavin’, B?” Faith asked.
“Pushing me out the door already?” she replied.
“Just curious. Maybe you’d like to do a little patrolling tonight,” Faith answered, before taking a bite of the bagel.
“Sounds fun,” Buffy answered. She paused, then looked around the table with a curious expression. “Did I just say that out loud?”
“Yep, you’re busted,” Skye said.
Buffy shrugged and looked at Kennedy behind her, still grabbing her breakfast. “I didn’t want to say this with Ken here but…” She turned back around to look at Willow. “She looks like Jenny,” she whispered as Kennedy approached. Willow didn’t have time to reply, but her face registered surprise, and she answered silently with a slight nod.
“Slick,” Faith began. “You mind heading patrol tonight? I’m gonna fly solo with B, if that’s okay.”
“Fine by me,” Kennedy replied, taking her seat again.
Buffy nodded over Willow’s shoulder. “Your Sweetie is here,” she said.
Willow turned to see Rowena approach, and she smiled. Rowena began to smile too and leaned down to kiss Willow.
“Meeting with Giles go okay?” Willow asked as they broke away.
“Fine…What’s for breakfast?”
“Eggs,” Willow answered.
“I’m convinced Andrew’s trying to kill me,” Rowena sighed. “I’ll be back in a few after I raid the kitchen.” She started to walk away, but suddenly she stopped and swiveled around on her heels.
“You cut your hair,” Rowena said to Kennedy.
“Don’t tell me it’s cute and perky,” Kennedy threatened.
“Actually, I was going to say it looks sexy…Well, I’ll be back,” she added, before starting her journey to the kitchen again.
At first no one said anything, but Buffy began to grin.
“Looks like Will might be cutting her hair again soon,” she muttered. A pack of sugar hit her square in the forehead, and she simply looked down to where it now sat in her lap. “That was uncalled for,” she added dryly.
Alex’s Law Firm – Lobby – Morning
“Mr. Giles,” Alex said, extending her hand as she walked toward him.”Sorry I kept you waiting. It’s been one of those days…What can I do for you?”
“Oh, nothing,” he began, shaking her offered hand. “I just wanted to come down and personally thank you for the protection and t-to offer my condolences at your loss. I’m sorry we weren’t able to defend the archangels better.”
Alex held up a hand to stop him from continuing. “Their duty was to defend you, which they did.”
“Yes, and without them we wouldn’t have been able to get everyone through the portal to escape and re-group. So again, thank you doesn’t seem to be sufficient enough, but sincerely, thank you.”
“Miss Neel,” the receptionist said to their right, from behind the law firm’s front desk before Alex could reply. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but Lucifer is at halo-room two.”
“Lucifer?” Giles asked in disbelief.
“You have no idea what a pain in the ass he is,” Alex sighed to Giles, then turned to the receptionist. “Can Eddie take it?” she asked.
“He only wants to talk to you,” she said sympathetically.
“Figures…” She sighed. “Walk with me, Mr. Giles?” she asked.
“Certainly,” he answered, as they started down the hallway. Giles began to grin. “I must admit, I’m surprised to hear you deal with someone, o-or something, that…evil.”
“Lucifer is one of many,” Alex answered.
“Meaning?” Giles prompted.
Alex stopped and faced Giles, and he did the same.
“If you ask any religious sect if they’re right in their beliefs, the answer automatically is yes. But the truth is…are you ready?” Giles nodded, and she continued. “There isn’t one single be all/end all of the universe. The Powers That Be are just that, Powers – not one, but many. So whether it’s Buddha, Jehovah or Zeus, to name a few, it doesn’t matter. No one controls everything, and that’s the way we feel it should be.”
“So what are your duties, then?”
“Keeping the balance,” Alex answered as they began to walk again. “Much like you do at your Council. Consider this: People kill each other everyday – Jews and Muslims, Catholics and Protestants – if there’s someone who believes one thing, there’re ten others who believe something else. Sad part is, they’re willing to kill for their beliefs and none of them are 100% right. Crosses hurt vampires, but Stars of David don’t. Why is that? Same God, after all…Do you see where I’m going with this?”
“No, quite frankly, I’m confused,” Giles said, scratching his head.
Alex smiled. “I know it’s a bit mind blowing, but the bottom line is…no one is right and no one is wrong. Things just are as they are. And my job is to see that the balance between good or evil doesn’t shift too far to one side or the other.”
“But if evil were gone from the world then, pardon my stupidity, but…wouldn’t that be a good thing?” Giles asked.
“If there is no evil, what do you think would happen?”
Giles shrugged. “Harmony, I suppose.”
“And if we have total harmony, how are we to truly know those that are worthy? How would we know who truly deserves a place in the Kingdoms? Humans must be met with adversity…sin…evil. The value of a man is not weighed in his deeds alone –”
“But his misdeeds as well,” Giles finished.
“Exactly.” Alex nodded. “It’s every person’s choice of what path they’ll follow in their life – so good and evil are options that they must have.” Alex pointed to the door. “We’re here. Would you like to come in?” she asked.
“And meet the devil?” he asked.
“Sure, but don’t be surprised if Lucifer does something a little bit…unnerving,” she answered.
Giles looked reluctant. “Well, all right, I suppose,” he answered.
“Don’t worry. Whatever this S.O.B. tries to pull out, you’re perfectly safe, I assure you.”
With that, Alex walked through the door and allowed Giles inside. It was a dark room, with a projection screen on the far wall. Alex walked to a control center and flipped open a lid that protected a flat sensor pad. As she placed her hand on the pad, a series of lights and noises began, and Giles looked on with interest.
On the screen a familiar face began to form, and Giles took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
“Good morning, Rupert,” the familiar voice said in greeting.
Giles stood in shock as Jenny Calendar welcomed him.
“I hear you have a wife and a new baby now,” she said casually. “You’ve moved on. Good for you! But I’ve got a question…Do you honestly think you’ll protect them any more than you did me?”
Nervous and unable to speak, Giles turned to Alex. She simply rolled her eyes.
“Okay, enough Lucifer,” Alex said. “You’ve had your fun at Mr. Giles’s expense. What do you want?”
“Oh, not just yet,” Lucifer went on. “Did you know I almost had this one, Miss Neel? Almost. Years ago he was quite the hellraiser, if you’ll pardon the expression…Who knows? If things go right, maybe someday I still might get him.”
Jenny wiggled her eyebrows. Giles slumped down in a nearby chair, as Alex took a defensive stance with her hands on her hips.
“Is there a reason you’re calling?” Alex prompted. “I’m a busy woman.”
“As a matter of fact, there is,” Lucifer went on, ignoring Giles. “Your client is in violation of our agreement. I think they’re stacking the deck in their favor, and to be honest…I don’t like it very much.”
Alex shook her head. “We have no reports of anything unusual going on.”
“And you wouldn’t tell me if you did, I’d imagine…girl scout,” Lucifer muttered. “Anyway, my legions have mentioned some direct interference taking place, and my numbers are down.”
“Ah, strictly hearsay then…Sorry, Lucifer, but just because your minions are performing incompetently, that’s not enough to warrant an investigation.”
“It’s not about incompetence,” Lucifer argued.
“You do realize your information isn’t coming from the most reliable of sources? They’re evil. They’ll say anything to save their asses, and if they’re not performing, it makes sense they’d blame the other side,” Alex said, exasperated.
“Look, I missed quota last month. I don’t want the runaround. I want you to personally look into it, Miss Neel.”
Alex folded her arms across her chest. “You do your own homework, Lucifer. If you and your legions can’t corrupt those you’re aiming for, that’s not my problem. My job is to make sure you continue to have the power to corrupt. Now if you’ll excuse me…”
“Listen, mortal!” Lucifer roared. “You do not want to cross me!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Alex said in a ho-hum voice. “Fire, brimstone, blah, blah, blah. Bye Lucifer, and don’t bother me again unless you have something concrete.”
Alex sighed as she put her hand back on the sensor pad, making the screen go off. Lucifer seemed on the verge of saying something else, but blipped from the screen abruptly.
“Putz,” Alex grumbled, as she closed the lid again and walked over to Giles. “Told you Lucifer was unnerving,” she said. “The first conversation with me, he looked like my father the entire time. Freaky.”
Giles took a moment to compute the information. “So…Lucifer is the First Evil. He can take the form of any dead person?”
“No, not the First and no, my dad is still alive in Canton,” Alex explained with a smile. “Like I said, Mr. Giles, there isn’t one be all, end all – not for good and not for evil. Lucifer is one of many.”
“I-I don’t know what to say,” Giles replied after a couple of seconds.
Alex smiled and took him by the elbow, bringing him to his feet.
“Don’t say anything. You just keep saving the people of the world from the minions of evil, and I’ll deal with the top brass, so to speak. Come on, I’ll buy you a coffee before you go,” she said, as she led him from the room.
Watchers Council – Faith and Robin’s Apartment – Early Evening
The sun was nearly below the horizon when Faith came in the front door of her apartment and walked to the kitchen. She pulled a glass from the cupboard and went to the refrigerator. She pulled out a pitcher of water and filled the glass. Taking a drink as she put the pitcher back, she turned and saw Robin sitting on the sofa. She coughed, slightly startled.
“Jeez Ace,” she said. “I didn’t expect to see you there.”
“Think the cripple can’t move? Is that it?” he countered with acidity.
Faith took a deep breath, as if to calm herself, while she walked to the small doorway between the kitchen and the living room.
“Nooo,” she countered. “I just thought maybe a ‘Hi Babe’ when I walked in would have been nice. That way you don’t scare the hell out of me.”
Robin looked out the window and didn’t say anything more. Faith shifted on her feet, as if unsure of what to say herself. Finally, she made her way into the living room, taking a seat in the chair across from him.
“Think you’ll be up for a while?” she asked.
“Why?” he responded.
Faith took a drink before she continued. “I was supposed to go patrol with B tonight, but since you’re up now, we can hang out,” she answered.
“I don’t need a babysitter,” Robin answered.
Faith sighed openly. “You’ve been asleep because of the painkillers, so I haven’t seen you. I thought maybe you’d like to see me, but hey,” Faith said, shrugging her shoulders and rising. “I won’t stay where I’m not wanted.”
Robin grabbed a crutch, pulled himself to his feet and turned his back to her.
“You’re not the one who’s unwanted,” he told her.
Faith practically bit her lip open, then the dam burst. She threw the drinking glass across the room and through the small open-air window, making it shatter over the kitchen sink.
“Damn it! Enough of the ‘woe is me,’ Robin!” she yelled. “At first, yeah I got it. But –”
“You got it?” Robin shouted back. “You don’t understand this, Faith. I’m a goddamn cripple now, a-and you’re still a-a superhero. Look at me! Take a good look!”
Faith shook her head. “Screw this. Okay? Screw THIS! I’m not gonna stand here and argue with you,” she said as she stalked toward the door.
“Where are you going?” he asked hotly.
“Patrol. I’ll be home when I’m home,” she answered.
Before Robin could reply, the door was already slamming shut.
End of Act One