act 3



Fade In:


Watchers Council – Rowena’s Apartment – Morning

Still clad in her nightgown, Rowena trudged sleepily to the door and opened it.

“Good morning, Giles,” she said with a yawn. “If you’re looking for Willow…”

“Willow told me you were here,” Giles said. “It’s you I need to speak with.”

“At five in the morning?”

“I can come later if you…”

“No, it’s fine.” Rowena stepped aside to let the elder gentleman in. She eyed him carefully, her eyes scanning the features of his face analytically. “What’s wrong?”

“The Council headquarters in Vancouver has been destroyed,” Giles replied softly.

Rowena’s eyes closed as her face twisted in a pained expression.

“Jesus,” she muttered.

“I tried to call you last night, here, but…”

“Oh. Yeah, the phone was off the hook.” She took a long moment before she asked the unavoidable question. “How many did we lose?”

“No one was in the building when it came down –”

Came down?! ” Rowena exclaimed. “As in, the building is gone?”

Giles nodded sadly. “Obviously, it was some kind of counter strike for our attack.”

“Is Smythe…?”

“He’s fine,” Giles told her. “He’s in England.”

Rowena made no effort to hide the relief on her face.

“He’s…” Giles fidgeted uncomfortably. “He’s officially resigned his commission with the Watchers Council.”

Rowena nodded sadly. “I’m not surprised. This is the kind of thing that causes even experienced watchers to resign.” She looked down at her hands, deep in thought. “He turned down a position at Oxford a couple of years ago to stay with the Council. I’ll talk to Robson to see what chains we can pull to get him that position.”

Giles nodded. “With our connections, we can get him tenure.”

She looked up to meet the elder watcher’s eyes and nodded. When he didn’t move to leave, she asked, “Anything else?”

Giles’s tone softened. “Are you okay?” he asked gently.

Rowena gave a bittersweet grin. “Only you and Andrew have asked that question.”

Giles winced. “Well, I certainly hope that won’t be held against me.”

Rowena motioned for him to take a seat on the sofa and dropped heavily into the large, comfortable armchair. She held her head into her hands for a moment before looking up to face Giles.

“Don’t think for a minute that I don’t appreciate you offering me this job,” Rowena said, “but some of the decisions…”

“I wish I could tell you that it will get easier, but it won’t.”

“With you, it was different,” she told him. “They listened to what you had to say. With me…they just hate me for putting my friends on trial…or so they say.”

Giles paused a moment, then cleared his throat. “You will always have hard decisions to make, and it’s your ability to make those hard decisions that made me choose you to take my place,” he told her calmly, as he took the seat across from her.

“My ability to make hard decisions?” Rowena grumbled. “Tell me…could you put Becca before a tribunal? Or Buffy? Because that’s what this feels like.”

“If it meant finding answers that could save lives in the future…yes,” he replied. His tone was infinitely gentle when he spoke again. “Rowena, the simple truth of the matter is that you will be wrong on occasion, and in your line of work it’s inevitable that someone at some point will die as a direct result of your actions. But, in my opinion, what’s worse is lives lost because of inaction.”


“I have seen many watchers paralyzed to act for fear of making the wrong decision. Yes, you’ve made wrong choices. But what’s important is that…you made a choice.” He smiled warmly at her. “Plus, you’re trying to prevent something like this from happening again. A good leader will make mistakes, but a great leader will take time to learn from them.”

Rowena was silent for a long time before she spoke again. “How did you do it?”

Giles looked genuinely confused for a moment. “Do what?”

“You sent Buffy into the field every night for seven years. You trained her. You took care of her. You made her into quite possibly the strongest slayer ever to carry the lineage…not to mention looking after the Scoobies, to boot,” Rowena commented. “How did you do all that without knowing you were making the right choices?”

“By believing that they could take care of themselves,” Giles replied. “And for whatever you consider it to be worth, I believe you’re doing the right thing here.”

“Maybe you could tell them that,” Rowena said with a half grin. Giles gave her a knowing smile in response. “Yeah, yeah,” she said, brushing him off. “I have to be a big girl and do this on my own, don’t I?” Giles simply nodded, and she began to smile. “Thank you, Giles,” she said sincerely, as a sober look returned to her face.

He rose and placed a hand on her shoulder, which she covered with her own hand.

“Just….hang in there, they say,” he told her with a slight grin.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Day

Vi looked somewhat ragged as she sat in front of the panel. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her hair was noticeably tangled.

She looked tired. Her shoulders slouched as she leaned heavily on the oak table in front of her; her breathing was slow and labored. Dark circles, which she had unsuccessfully attempted to hide under a layer of makeup, hung under her eyes.

“Begin when you’re ready,” Robin prodded gently.

“Well, the flight took forever, but we finally got there sometime that morning,” Vi began.

Cut To:


Vancouver International Airport – Morning

“It beats the airlines,” Vi commented, as she stepped unsteadily onto the tarmac. “But four hours in a tin can will really wreak havoc on your system.”

“Canada, eh?” Xander looked around. “Even the airport looks cleaner.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“What was your initial impression of the slayer…” Dawn quickly flipped back in her notes. “…Chastity Holmes?”

Vi’s expression immediately darkened.

Cut To:


Vancouver International Airport – Morning

“Chastity Holmes,” Chastity introduced herself. The low-cut bodice she wore exposed far more of her cleavage than some considered socially acceptable. She held out her hand to Willow. “Vi, right?”

Willow shook her head. “That’s Vi,” she said, indicating Vi with a quick nod. “The handsome stud is Xander.”

Chastity quickly stalked over to the young man. “Handsome is right,” she said. She arched her back as she ostensibly struggled to look into the taller man’s eyes.

“Chastity my ass,” Vi muttered under her breath.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“She was…aggressive,” Vi said, finally. “Strong, definitely intelligent.”

“Intelligent?” Kennedy sounded confused.

“Well, not dumb, certainly,” Vi clarified. “She seemed to know exactly what she was doing, in fact,” she added, seemingly speaking more to herself than to the panel. Then she forced herself back on track. “Anyway, she drove us to the headquarters. It was a little smaller than we’re used to, but it seemed to fit their purposes well.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Foyer – Afternoon

Smythe’s voluminous robes flowed around him as the old eccentric glided across the small foyer to where the three new arrivals waited.

“I am Donovan Smythe,” he said, holding out his hand to each of them.

Something about the door behind them appeared to capture his attention, and he drifted past them for a moment, looking carefully around the doorframe.

“Um, Mr. Smythe?” Willow gingerly attempted to attract his attention.

He whirled around, almost surprised to see them, but then composed himself once again. “Ah, yes. I trust you had a pleasant journey?”

“Four hours of abject boredom in the air, punctuated by thirty minutes of complete terror on the road,” Willow commented.

“Ah, yes, well, Chastity does like to drive a little fast.” He walked up to each of them in turn, closely inspecting them. Finally, he stepped back slightly. “But clearly, you’re all still alive and unharmed, so perhaps we should get on with the inspection.” He turned to Xander. “I imagine that Mr., um…” He paused, searching his mind for the name. “…Harris will want to inspect our arsenal of weapons.”

Chastity immediately leapt to Xander’s side, latching onto his arm. “I can show him my weapons,” she announced.

“Wait –” Vi held up a hand to protest, but was cut off.

“It’s decided then,” Smythe agreed. “We’ll be walking right past the training room on our way to the library, which I believe Ms. Rosenberg will want to see. The slayers are training there as we speak. You’ll be able to see our training first-hand, Ms. Joston.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“So, we thought that it was best to split up,” Vi told the panel. “I spent most of that morning in a typical training session with the other slayers.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Training Room – Afternoon

Two staves collided with titanic force. A pair of slayers faced off with each other, sparring brutally with the wooden sticks.

To the side of the practice mat, Vi and a younger woman stood watching the impressive display of skill and finesse from the paired-off slayers.

“Barbara, right?” Vi said, turning to the slayer beside her.

Barbara nodded. “You call me ‘Babs’ and I’ll break your arm, though.”

Vi grinned at the jibe. “The staves they’re using,” Vi asked, “what are they made of? They don’t look like the oak we use.”

“Chinese white waxwood,” Barbara replied. “It’s stronger than oak, almost as light as balsa wood and almost as flexible as willow. And stabbing a vamp with one of those staves kills them quite nicely.”

“Where do you get your staves?”

“Chinatown. Chastity gets ’em by the truckload,” Barbara said, ignoring Vi’s visible bristling at the mention of Chastity’s name. “They’re strong and damn near impossible to break, even for a slayer. But we still go through ’em pretty fast.”

Vi winced sympathetically as one of the slayers before them took a hard shot to the stomach from her opponent’s staff. “Ow,” she muttered. “You always spar full-force?”

“Always,” Barbara replied. “As Chastity puts it, what’s the point in developing the skills if you panic in a fight the first time you take a hit?”

“So instead of sparring safely, you actually knock the stuffing out of each other?”

Barbara nodded. “I know that sounds bad, but the bruises are gone in a couple of hours. Chastity says that the winner in a fight is almost always the one who can take a hit and keep coming. She figures that if you can take a punch full-force from a slayer, a hit from a vamp will hardly even make you flinch.”

“So you beat each other senseless, and it’s all Chastity’s idea?”

Barbara nodded.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“So, they don’t wear any protective gear whatsoever?” Kennedy asked.

Vi shook her head. “Barbara said that it slowed them down, made it harder to move and react.”

“Did you mention the Council policy on slayer training sessions?” Robin asked. He flipped through the notebook in front of him and read out loud: “During combat training, all slayers will be required to wear…”

“…protective gear as deemed necessary for the safety and security of the participants,” Vi finished for him. “No, I didn’t.”

“Why not?”

“It was clear that the slayers hadn’t received any permanent injuries,” she answered with a shrug. “And besides, Barbara kinda had a point.”

“Do you believe that the slayers could have sustained injuries during their training that contributed to the events of Wednesday night?” Robin continued his line of questioning.

Vi shook her head. “Nobody had any visible signs of injury, and the time between their last training session and the events in question was almost ten hours, easily enough time for slayer healing to do its stuff.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Training Room – Afternoon

“How about your training with longer-range weapons? Crossbows, throwing knives, that kinda thing?” Vi asked Barbara.

“We train with them some, but we’ve found that they aren’t very effective. Most of the vamp activity we have is in Chinatown. The streets there are narrow and winding, so it’s not a good place to use a crossbow. By the time you’re close enough, you might as well be using a stake.”

“You think that’s a good idea? I mean, no real training at longer ranges?”

Barbara shrugged. “Chastity sets up the training regimen, but so far it seems to have worked out pretty well. Besides, crossbows run out of arrows sooner or later, but you’re never gonna run out of sword.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“That didn’t throw up any red flags for you?” Kennedy asked. “Did it concern you that they weren’t getting any solid training at longer ranges?”

“Not at the time,” Vi admitted. “You customize the training for the terrain you’re fighting on. Besides, it’s kinda hard to argue with success.”

“And their hand-to-hand?”

“Solid,” Vi stated firmly.

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Training Room – Afternoon

Barbara twisted slightly, bringing her forearms up to redirect a perfectly executed kick at her head. Vi winced slightly at the hard impact, then allowed her leg to drop to the ground. She dropped low to the ground, pivoting on her newly bruised right leg, and swept her left behind Barbara’s knees, forcing them to buckle.

The blonde slayer dropped to the ground, the air in her lungs blasting out in a hard whuff.

Vi was on her feet in an instant, dropping over the slayer in a strike designed to crush the woman’s rib cage against the hardwood floor.

Barbara’s foot slammed into her abdomen, forcing the redhead backwards. She took advantage of her opponent’s momentary distraction to kick up to her feet.

Vi countered with a roundhouse kick aimed at the woman’s head.

Barbara charged into it. At such close range, the redhead’s kick generated practically no force. Vi’s thigh hit the woman’s rib cage with an effect analogous to a small rodent attempting to redirect a stampede of elephants.

Her long legs effectively out of the fight as long as Barbara stood in such close proximity, Vi attempted to drive the slayer back with a series of palm strikes.

Barbara took a step closer, dropping into a lower stance. Vi’s left hand whistled past her right ear. She closed the distance and locked her left leg behind Vi’s. With a quick snap of the hip, she deposited the redhead unceremoniously on her back. Her knee dropped onto Vi’s left bicep, while her left hand gripped Vi’s right elbow, effectively pinning the taller woman to the ground. She drew back a fist, poising it to shatter Vi’s skull.

Then, she stood up, releasing her opponent.

“Not bad,” Vi said, between hard, labored breaths.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

Very solid,” Vi emphasized.

“Could they have handled a vampire if they had to?” Kennedy asked.

“They could handle an army of vamps if they had to,” Vi told them. “They’re that good. In another year, they’ll be –” she stopped, then corrected herself. “They would have been an amazing team.”

She paused for a moment as she collected her thoughts.

“So, you met in Willow’s room that night, correct?” Kennedy continued.

Vi nodded. “I met with Xander on my way, and we chatted briefly before we made our way to her room.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council – Hallway – Afternoon

“Um, so, how was your time with Chastity?” Vi looked over at Xander as the pair walked side-by-side towards the room Willow would be occupying for the next few days.

Xander turned to eye her suspiciously.

“It was good,” he said finally. “She’s got a rather impressive set of weapons.”

Vi frowned. “I’ll bet,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Okay, what’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Vi responded with fake cheer.

Xander quickly stepped in front of the slayer and looked into her eyes. He scanned her face, then stepped back, a slight, one-sided grin on his face.

“You’re jealous,” he said with certainty, as the two of them continued down the hallway.

“I am not,” Vi objected.

Xander’s grin widened. “Oh, well, then. My mistake.”

Vi fidgeted as the duo walked silently for a few steps. “You think I’m jealous of someone you didn’t even know existed three hours ago?”

“Yep,” Xander nodded.

“That’s insane.”

“I know it is,” Xander said with a smirk.

“So we’re agreed: I’m not jealous.”

“If you say so,” Xander replied, his voice neutral.

The pair walked in silence for a few moments. “But just so I know, she didn’t try anything, right?” Vi asked.

“Not jealous, huh?” Xander said, giving Vi a nudge with his elbow.

“Of course not.”

“Well, that’s good. ‘Cause for a second there I could’ve sworn that your eyes were turning green.” He glanced over at his girlfriend’s green eyes and added, “-er.”

Vi didn’t respond. She merely glared in Xander’s direction.

“Not knowing is just killing you, isn’t it?”

“No!” Vi insisted. “A little,” she amended.

When Xander didn’t say anything, she prompted, “Um, Xander?”

“She didn’t try anything, Vi,” Xander replied, evoking an expression of enormous relief from the redhead. “Although I must say that I find it flattering that you think I’m that irresistible.”

“Well…she is evil,” Vi muttered.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“We got to Willow’s room around about eight o’clock and started comparing notes,” Vi told the panel.

“Eight?” Robin frowned and flipped back in his notes to Willow’s testimony.

“It felt like eight,” Vi clarified. “I was still on Cleveland time. Jet lag always screws me up.” She shrugged.

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Guest Quarters – Night

Vi yawned loudly as she and Xander stepped into Willow’s quarters. The sun hung low on the horizon, waiting to sink into the Strait of Georgia.

“Tired?” Willow asked sympathetically.

“It’s been a long day,” Vi admitted. “My body doesn’t like air travel.”

Xander’s eyes quickly scanned the length of her body. “Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say –” His comment was cut off by a backhanded slap from Willow.

“Enough with the body talk. What do we know?” Willow’s tone was businesslike.

“They’re pretty well equipped weapons-wise,” Xander told them. “Their weapons tend toward the Oriental, which is not surprising considering the Chinese population of Vancouver. I think I’m going to send them one or two of our repeating crossbows.”

Vi shook her head. “They already tried Chinese Chu Ko Nu,” she pointed out. “Pretty similar to your repeating crossbows. But yours are much better,” she added quickly. “They didn’t work very well for them.”

“Why’s that?” Willow asked.

“The slayer I spoke to said that most of their work is in Chinatown. The streets are narrow and winding,” Vi told her.

“That’s consistent with what Chastity showed me of their weapons,” Xander agreed. “The longest-range weapon they have is a staff. Chastity herself favors the Kwan Do.”

“What’s that?” Vi asked.

“Basically a staff with two angry ends. A big slashing blade at one end and a stabbing point at the other,” Xander told her. “It’s heavy, but Chastity uses it well.”

Vi frowned. “Figures,” she muttered.


“Nothing.” Vi’s voice was overly cheerful.

Willow paced the room for a moment before she spoke again. “Am I the only one who’s having serious doubts about the people we have running this place?” She gestured around the room. “The facility is great, don’t get me wrong. A lot more than I expected, frankly, considering the amount of money we put into this place, but I’m worried about who we’re leaving these resources to.”

Vi and Xander shared a glance, then, slowly, they nodded in unison.

“The slayers are well-trained, but not well-rounded,” Vi said. “They need to learn more techniques. They’ve gotten a fair amount of experience while they’ve been here, but they’re loyal to Chastity in a way I can only describe as fanatical.”

“Fanatical?” Xander asked. “Isn’t that overstating it just a little?”

Vi let out a long, aggravated breath before she answered. “Let’s just say that I’m pretty sure Marshall Applewhite had less fanatical followers than Chastity does.” Vi looked off into the corner. “Wiggles her butt, bats her eyelashes, and the whole of creation turns to putty in her hands,” she grumbled to herself.

“Excuse me?” Willow and Xander asked simultaneously.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“Fanatical?” Kennedy’s eyebrows arched slightly.

“Hey, I stand by that descriptor,” Vi insisted. “Those girls would walk a mile over thumbtacks if they thought Chastity would consider it important.”

“Loyalty isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Ask Faith,” Robin pointed out. “In a team of slayers, it can be a good thing.”

“Yes, it can,” Vi replied, “if that loyalty is earned like Faith has earned it.”

“You don’t believe Chastity has earned that loyalty?”

“A trained monkey deserves more loyalty,” Vi said bitterly.

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Guest Quarters – Night

“Look, in all fairness, it’s a little early to make a decision about the people running this branch when we’ve known them less than six hours,” Willow said. “Maybe the best thing to do is wait a couple of days and see what we think then.”

Vi frowned, deep in thought.

“Out with it, Vi,” Willow told her.

“Well, I was thinking that maybe the best thing to do is see them in action,” Vi said. “You can tell a lot about a team of slayers by what they do when they’re under stress.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“So you suggested seeing them in action?” Dawn asked.

Vi nodded, not speaking.

“Could you verbalize your answer please?” Robin calmly indicated the microphones in front of her. “We are not videotaping these proceedings.”

“Yes.” Vi’s voice was almost inaudible.

“Louder, please,” Robin gently prodded.

Vi closed her eyes and took a long, deep breath. “Yes,” she said more loudly. “I was the one who suggested the attack on the nest of vampires.”

Dawn and Robin began scribbling furiously on the legal pads in front of them. Kennedy leaned forward, her brow furrowing as she focused upon the slayer in front of her.

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Guest Quarters – Night

“There’s a nest of vampires that set up shop in Chinatown about three weeks ago,” Vi told Willow and Xander. “Low threat, nine vampires at the most. It might be just the opportunity to see them in action.”

Three weeks?! ” Willow demanded. “What are they waiting for?”

Vi shrugged. “Maybe you should talk to Chastity about that. She seems to have more pull here than the resident watcher.”

Cut To:


Vancouver Council HQ – Foyer – Night

Willow stood with her hands on her hips as she confronted Vancouver’s head slayer.

“I’d love to hear your explanation,” Willow said sharply, “of why you have a team of slayers who aren’t doing a damned thing about a nest of vampires practically on your doorstep!”

“We wanted more information,” Chastity told her. Then the slayer’s gaze fell on Xander and she flashed a blinding smile at him. “I have to be sure of the safety of my girls. And I have reason to believe –”

“Your girls will never be completely safe,” Willow told her. “You have a dangerous job.”

Chastity’s head dropped forward as she looked unhappily at the floor. “The vamp activity is restricted to Chinatown. As far as we can tell, they never leave it.”

“That’s not the point,” Willow reprimanded.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume (Saturday)

“To her credit, Chastity had done a good job of tracking the vamps’ movements through Chinatown,” Vi admitted. “We found them within an hour of sunset.”

Cut To:


Vancouver – Chinatown Building Roof – Night

Willow, Vi, and Xander stood atop a small, three-story building with Chastity and her slayers. They watched a group of vampires file out of a small nightclub.

“I count nine,” Vi whispered. “Against a team of eight slayers, it shouldn’t be too tough.”

Chastity, standing on Vi’s left, silently nodded. “I’ve got to say,” she commented quietly, “I really don’t feel good about this.”

“Don’t worry,” Vi said reassuringly. “We’ve got a team of slayers, a weapon’s specialist, and a kick-ass witch with us. Nothing will go wrong.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“We traced them from the nightclub to a warehouse on the Strait,” Vi told the panel. “We prepared for an attack.”

“You were planning to attack them in their own lair?” Dawn asked.

“Actually, we were counting ourselves lucky,” Vi told them. “The entrance was a huge set of double doors that faced the east. At sunrise, we figured we could turn that place into a big vampy blast furnace.”

“The time of the incident was recorded at 11:04 p.m. The sun wasn’t due to rise for another six hours,” Dawn observed.

“No, it wasn’t,” Vi said quietly.

“Get impatient?” Kennedy asked.

“No…we got bushwhacked.”

Cut To:


Vancouver – Chinatown Alleyway – Night

A pair of arrows slammed into the chest of the slayer to Chastity’s right. A third arrow sank into the slayer on her left. 

Almost in unison, and with an eerie, almost peaceful slowness, both slayers dropped to the ground. A last shuddering breath, accompanied by a slight tensing of their bodies, was the only indication of the passing of their respective spirits.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

“So, when you arrived at the warehouse, they were waiting for you?” Robin asked.

“Yes,” Vi replied simply.

“They were expecting a fight?” Robin pressed the line of questioning.

Vi took a long time to answer. “Wrong question. What happened with those vampires wasn’t a fight.”

Robin looked at her, confused.

“It was a massacre.”

Black Out


End of Act Three

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