Act 2



Fade In:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Continuous

Willow moved closer to the microphone and began. “For the last eight months, we’d been trying to establish a foothold in Vancouver, British Columbia. We’d had a small team of slayers positioned there almost since we got Robson to help us out, but with the completion of this new facility, we were hoping to increase that force.”

“How many slayers?” Robin asked, carefully jotting down notes on the pad in front of him.

“We had seven posted there full-time and a rotation of slayers who would stay for a few weeks at a time each. We also had one watcher positioned there full-time, Donovan Smythe. He’d worked with Robson in London and taught Ancient Languages. He was selected largely on the strength of Robson’s recommendation.” Willow was calm as she rattled off the statistics.

“And in your party?”

“Three. I was there to examine the watcher side, Slayer Violet Joston was to evaluate the slayer division, and Alexander Harris was responsible for weapons inspections,” Willow replied.

“And you arrived in Vancouver two days ago, is that correct?”

Willow nodded. “Yes.”

Cut To:


Vancouver International Airport – Morning

The three stepped out of the private jet, carefully negotiating the steps down to the concrete. Vi rolled her head from side to side, trying to massage the effects of a four-hour flight out of it.

The wind blew in from the Pacific Ocean, driving relentlessly towards the Rocky Mountains. Willow self-consciously pulled her jacket more tightly around her body. She dropped her small bag on the tarmac as she fastened the buttons of her coat, shielding herself from the late fall wind on Canada’s west coast.

Xander stretched his arms out as he slowly turned in a circle, taking in the foreign airport.

“Canada, eh?” he commented with a smile. “Even the airport looks cleaner.”

“I’ve never been to Canada before,” Vi commented. “Makes me wish I hadn’t spent all this time throwing out my Canadian change. I’d be a rich woman here.” She glanced quickly at her two companions. “Anybody feel more polite now?”

“No,” Xander told her. “But I’m suddenly developing a love of hockey and a massive inferiority complex. And I have a strange urge to apologize for…something.”

“You’re still a handsome, manly stud nonetheless,” Vi complimented with a grin.

Willow just shook her head at the pair. “Welcome to Vancouver, people, home of the largest Chinatown in the Western Hemisphere,” she announced.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“We were greeted by Chastity Holmes,” Willow added. “She’s the head slayer in Vancouver, although how she got that position is a bit of a mystery to me.” Willow frowned.

“Why’s that?” Kennedy asked.

Cut To:


Vancouver International Airport – Morning

Chastity walked up to the three, holding her hand out to Willow as she did so.

“Hi! I’m Chastity!” the woman chirped.

Willow failed miserably to suppress a wince at the young woman’s shrill voice.

Chastity continued, seemingly oblivious to Willow’s discomfort, and in spite of the large stick of chewing gum occupying a substantial fraction of the volume of her mouth. “Vi, right?” she said.

“No,” Willow replied with thinly-veiled annoyance. “That’s Vi,” she said, nodding to the slayer standing behind her. “I’m Willow Rosenberg – watcher and head of the Cleveland Coven. And this handsome stud is Alexander Harris – Xander for short.”

Xander playfully swatted at Willow for the remark, making her smile.

“Is this everyone?” Chastity asked, twirling her fingers idly in her hair and continuing to smack her gum.

Willow nodded. “Were you expecting someone else?”

“Did Miss Allister miss the plane?”

“Ro? No, she’s not coming.” Willow frowned. “Sorry,” she added, almost as an afterthought.

“Oh, no biggie,” Chastity said, waving off the apology as she ushered the trio towards the waiting SUV. “I was just hoping to meet her, is all.”

“Really?” Willow asked, with a bit of suspicion in her voice.

“Absolutely!” Chastity continued. “Tales of her are legendary. Didn’t you know she’s the only watcher to successfully find the Opus Obscurum, after centuries of searching?”

“Yeah, it’s a book,” Willow replied dryly.

“Not any book, but the book. The largest, oldest record of watcher and slayer activities known to man and demon. It has some of the most fascinating stories! You know, I heard she had to defeat an entire horde of Rancher demons single-handedly to get it!”

Willow tried to hide her grin. “I’d be the first person to sing her praises, but I’m not sure if it was as…elaborate…as all that. Tales tend to grow pretty tall the more people tell them.”

“True,” Chastity agreed. “But I’d still like to get the chance to meet her.”

“Well, she’s got a lot on her plate lately,” Willow stated. “She’ll probably be visiting at some point, though. Maybe next year some time.”

Chastity’s shoulders slumped significantly at the news. But as she led the three back to the Cadillac Escalade, she perked back up.

“Well,” she said cheerily, “it’s time for the grand tour!”

Cut To:


Vancouver – Cadillac Escalade – Morning

The three passengers in the large SUV tensed in unison, as the vehicle wove through the early-morning traffic on the Vancouver freeway. Chastity was chattering incessantly from the driver’s seat as she guided the vehicle haphazardly through tiny spaces in the rapidly-flowing traffic.

“I imagine that our little operation will be nothing compared to what you’re used to,” Chastity said, turning briefly to the watcher sitting in the passenger seat. “But I think you’ll probably be impressed with what we’ve done here.”

“Um, eyes on the road!” Willow cried. She reflexively stomped on the floor where the brake pedal would be, were she driving.

“Oh, right,” Chastity whispered to herself, “watch the road, watch the road…” She wrenched the steering wheel to the right, narrowly missing a small sedan in front of her.

Willow gritted her teeth and pressed her fingers against her temples.

“You okay?” Chastity’s voice actually rose an octave or two when she was concerned. “I’ve got some Advil in the glove compartment if you need some.”

“No, I’m fine,” Willow replied, frustrated. “You have a team of seven here, right?”

“Seven slayers,” Chastity replied. “One watcher, but our new facility can house three times that number. I’ve arranged private quarters for each of you.”

Vi and Xander quickly shared a glance and then began to protest in unison. “No, that’s really –”

“No, don’t worry about it,” Chastity shrilled as she made a dismissive gesture with her hand. “We have lots of room. Nobody’s living here yet.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“The Council headquarters in Vancouver was certainly smaller than we were used to, but they’d done remarkably well setting up a full-fledged branch in the coastal city. Those dollars we were sending them were a little stretchier than we expected.” Willow smiled thinly. “I guess the exchange rate works in our favor sometimes.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Foyer – Afternoon

“Donovan Smythe,” the middle-aged gentleman introduced himself, holding his hand out to Willow. “Welcome to Vancouver.” His hand was almost shaking of its own accord as Willow took it and gave him a friendly nod. “How was your trip?”

“A four-hour flight followed by a thirty-minute mad dash through Vancouver’s streets?”

Smythe smiled warmly. “Yes, Chastity does like to drive a little fast, doesn’t she?”

“Well, she personifies the whole ‘more people die on the ground than in the air’ dictum,” Willow offered a half-smile.

Smythe chuckled. “Don’t let that fool you. She’s one of our best,” he told her. “I don’t know what I’d do if she weren’t here.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“That Smythe figured the Council in Vancouver couldn’t have operated without Chastity worried me a little,” Willow commented.


“Because I’m pretty sure that I’ve worn shoes smarter than her,” Willow answered.

“You don’t think she was capable of running the Council in Vancouver?” Kennedy spoke up.

“Absolutely not,” Willow replied, her voice firm. “I even wrote a note in my notebook that evening to have her replaced.”

“How was that day spent?” Dawn asked.

“Xander spent most of that day with Chastity, making sure that the headquarters was well armed and making notes about what else they were going to need. Vi went over the training regimen with the other six slayers and I spent most of that day in their library, seeing what volumes they needed, but didn’t have,” Willow answered. “All in all, they’d done a good job of setting the place up. I’m not sure I can say the same about the people running the place.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Library – Afternoon

“As you can see, we lack your extensive collection,” Smythe gestured around the small library. “But we have set up an Internet connection with your databases in Cleveland.”

“Well, I just want to make sure that you at least have the basics, so let’s run down the list, ‘kay?” Willow cocked her head slightly to the left as she flipped over a page in her notebook. “Hume’s Paranormal Encyclopedia?

“Yes, I believe we have that one,” he replied, slowly.

“You believe? Are you sure?”

“Well, we’ve only just finished setting up, and I haven’t really been directly involved in the book orders. Usually…”

“…Chastity deals with that sort of thing,” Willow finished for him, in a reasonable emulation of his voice. She let out a long, calming breath, then continued with her list. “The Hezengal Codex?


“You’re sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

Sir Albert Kant’s Guide to Half-Demons?

“No, we don’t have that one,” Smythe told her.

“I’ll place an order for you,” Willow replied.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“In all, we spent about two hours in the library, going over what they had,” Willow summarized. “It was probably better-equipped than the Magic Box ever was, so I wasn’t too worried.”

“How about their coven room?” Dawn asked.

“Quite nice, actually.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Coven Room – Afternoon

Willow quickly scanned the walls of the small Vancouver coven room. Countless bottles lined the shelves, which, in turn, lined every single wall of the room. The sun hung low above the horizon outside the window.

She stopped in front of an unusually large bottle sitting on one of the shelves.

“What’s this?” she asked.

Dit da Jow,” Smythe replied. “An ancient Chinese herbal remedy for bruises.”

“Does it work?”

Smythe nodded. “Chastity found it for us,” he said. “We have something of an interdisciplinary coven room here. This is designed to work across a number of different magics and philosophies.” He gestured around the room. “Wicca, Buddhism, Taoism.” He pointed at a yin yang adorning one of the walls. “Even Christianity,” he added, gesturing at a crucifix a few feet away. “Chastity, for example, is trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She’s been our bonesetter for most of our minor injuries. We don’t have the facilities for anything greater than a broken arm, and even for that, we need to take them to the hospital. For minor cuts, scrapes and bruises, however, Chastity’s acupuncture has proven remarkably useful and effective.”

“Why all the diversity? Why not just find something that works and keep it simple?”

Smythe shrugged. “Vancouver is a diverse city. We have the largest Chinatown in North America and one of the largest seaports in Canada. People from all different cultures and countries visit our city at some time or another, which means that demons of all different cultures and countries visit us at some time or another. We need to be prepared to deal with them, and the only way to deal with diversity is to understand it.”

Willow nodded.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“The coven room wasn’t exactly traditional,” Willow admitted. “But it would have served nicely for them. I had already arranged for Althenea to send one of her witches from the Devon Coven to act as their local Wiccan.”

“What did you do then?” Robin asked.

“Vi, Xander and I met in my room for a private consultation. Comparing notes, that kind of thing.”

“What time was this?” he asked.

“About five p.m. Pacific time. The sun wasn’t due to set for another few hours.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Guest Quarters – Night

The three representatives from Cleveland stood in a small circle, talking in hushed voices.

“Okay, what do we got?” Willow prompted.

Xander spoke first. “They’re well-equipped weapon-wise,” he told her. “I’ve got a few gadgets that they could probably use, but overall, they’re pretty well set-up. They’ve got all the basics: crossbows, swords, axes, stakes and they’ve got a few more exotic weapons as well: Scholar swords, three-section staffs. Chastity’s a fan of the Kwan halberd, herself.”

Willow looked at him blankly.

“Chinese long weapon. Short staff with a large, heavy blade at one end and a stabbing point at the other. She had it silver plated and tipped with wood – probably an idea she got from our reports on Kadin,” Xander explained. “She’s pretty good with it, too. You wouldn’t think a weapon like that can look graceful, but she pulls it off.”

Vi crossed her arms, and her eyes narrowed.

“Vi? How about the other slayers?” Willow asked.

Vi paused for a moment, still looking at Xander, before turning her attention to Willow. “They’re well-trained, and loyal to Chastity in a way I can only describe as fanatical,” Vi told her.

Willow bit her lip, her brow furrowing in concern.

“Seriously, they’d walk a mile barefoot over red-hot coals if she asked them to,” Vi emphasized.

Willow blinked. “Why?” she finally asked.

Vi rolled her eyes. “Damned if I know,” she said with a shrug.

“C’mon, guys, she’s not that bad,” Xander put in to defend the Canadian slayer.

“Figures,” Vi muttered.

“What does that mean?” Xander asked.


“Seriously, Xander,” Willow said, trying to defuse an impending argument by changing the subject slightly. “Would you follow her into battle?” she pressed.

“No,” he admitted quietly. “But they would, and you’re gonna have a really tough time breaking that bond.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“We decided to see these slayers in action,” Willow explained. “We wanted to know what they could do and how they could handle themselves in a relatively low-threat scenario.”

“Low-threat?” Robin’s eyebrows arched. “How low?”

“There were rumors of a gang of vampires that had started raising hell in Vancouver’s Chinatown for the last three weeks or so.”

Three weeks?! ” Kennedy interjected. “What were they waiting for?”

“That was my exact question,” Willow remarked.

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Foyer – Night

Three weeks?! ” Willow was incensed. “What are you waiting for?”

“Well, we were collecting more information on these vamps,” Chastity tried to explain. “They don’t appear to be what you might call normal. In fact –”

“How many are there?” Willow asked abruptly, cutting her off.

“Six to nine at the most, but –”

“Do you have any idea how many people they’ve killed?” Willow asked pointedly. “If we’re dealing with six of them, hunting every night, each killing just one person, that’s something like –”

“A hundred and twenty-six victims,” Vi supplied.

“A hundred and twenty-six innocent victims.” Willow’s eyes narrowed. “And that’s the minimum.” She took a deep, calming breath. “When lives are at stake, we don’t necessarily have the luxury of sitting and waiting.”

“I understand,” Chastity said, her head dropping, as if she felt suitably chastised.

“A group of six to nine vampires is a difficult match for a team of seven slayers, but not impossible,” Willow told her, her voice still firm, but significantly calmer. “I’m all for caution…hell, Ro’ll tell you I invented the concept of ‘wait and see,’ but people are dying here.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Chastity nodded.

“I’ve read your reports, and you’ve handled demon groups this large before,” Willow observed.

Chastity nodded again.

“Then let’s go get ’em.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“How many did you take with you?” Kennedy inquired.

“All seven slayers. With Vi, that was a force of eight. Xander wanted to see how they handled their weapons and what modifications might be necessary.”

“Against a force of nine vampires at most?” Kennedy clarified.

Willow nodded.

“They should have just torn those vamps apart,” Kennedy observed.

“They should have,” Willow told her. “But…it didn’t quite play out that way.”

“No, it certainly didn’t,” Robin added sadly.

Fade to Black

Fade In:


Watchers Council – Dining Hall – Later that Night

The steady drone of several simultaneous conversations drew to a grinding halt as Rowena stepped into the dining hall. Eleven pairs of eyes, in unison, turned to bore into the tiny blonde. She looked uncomfortably around the suddenly-silent room. The ticking of the clock on the wall behind her pounded deafeningly into her ear drums.

She looked down sadly, not trusting herself to meet any of their eyes, as she made her way across the room to the kitchen.

“Could I have dinner to go, Andrew?”

“Sure,” Andrew replied, turning to the stove behind him, “what can I get you?”

“Whatever’ll get me out of this room in the shortest time possible,” Rowena replied.

Andrew looked across the counter at her sympathetically.

“I’m fine,” Rowena rasped at his unasked question. “Just get whatever you have ready and send me on my way.”

Andrew produced a styrofoam package that he pushed across the counter to her.

“Do I want to know what’s in this?”

“Green chili chicken enchilada,” He told her.

“You didn’t make that in thirty seconds just now,” Rowena told him.

“No,” Andrew told her gently, “I had a feeling that you might want to make your visit to the kitchen a short one.”

Rowena closed her eyes for a moment before she met his gaze again. “Thank you,” she said sincerely.

She turned and stalked to the door of the eerily-quiet room.

Then, as abruptly as it had cut off, conversation recommenced in the room, as if she had never entered.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Rowena’s Apartment – Minutes Later

Rowena closed the bedroom door behind her and flopped onto the large canopy bed. She rolled onto her side, shutting off the lamp that sat on the bedside table. She turned to face the window, her expression troubled. She watched the yellowing leaves of the large tree shake, wave-like, in front of her.

The phone on her bedside table rang. She rolled over to pick it up. Then, without lifting it to her ear, she replaced it on the cradle, closing the connection. She then lifted the handset from the phone, laying it, unhooked, on the bedside table.

She turned back to face the window, bringing her legs up to her chest and rolling her body into a tight ball.

Fade to Black


End of Act Two

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