Luna’s Lair – Same Time
Dawn remained tied to the bed, numerous laser guns pointing at her, as Andrew, Tracey and Skye looked on. Luna walked confidently around the room holding a small black box in her hand, as Madame Fliffertop II followed her. She gave the box a little shake and showed it to everyone. Pressing her stereo remote “MMMBop,” began to play in the background.
Tracey held her fingers in her ears for a moment. “She really is one sadistic bitch, isn’t she?” the cook said, motioning toward the stereo.
“That’s right,” Luna told them. “I know all when it comes to effective torture, and with one flip of this switch, your precious Dawn will become as toasty warm as a Pop Tart. This is really advanced technology. You probably won’t be able to understand it if I tried to explain –”
“They’re lasers,” Skye interrupted.
Luna hesitated for a moment. “Okay, so you do know. BUT the point remains the same. With Dawn out of the picture, it’ll just be you and Me again. Skye and Luna. Can’t you see how perfect we are for each other? Our names even fit!”
Andrew raised his hand gingerly. “Umm, technically, so do Skye and Dawn,” he added.
“Minus the insanity factor,” Tracey whispered toward him.
“SHUT UP!” Luna shouted at them, before turning back to Skye. “NOT to mention the fact that I consulted a fashion expert. He said our eye colors were perfect complements, too.” Skye looked on, dumbstruck. “Look, I have a plan here, and I’m not about to let some meddling kids stop me from getting away with it,” Luna finished.
Tracey tried not to laugh, but she turned her back to Luna and placed her pinky finger on her lips. “She probably wants ‘One melllllllion dollars’ too,” she said.
“I WANT SKYE!” Luna yelled at the top of her lungs.
“Oh Lord, enough of this, Luna,” Skye said. She walked over to the stereo and reached for the power cord.
Madame Fliffertop II took that exact moment to jump into Luna’s arms. Trying to catch the cat, Luna dropped the control in the process, and Tracey and Andrew scrambled to recover it. By that time, however, Skye had the cord of the stereo in hand and pulled it out – turning off not only the stereo, but the lights on the lasers above Dawn, as well.
“What the…” Dawn said, looking above her.
Luna tossed Madame Fliffertop II to the ground again and ran toward the opposite side of the room.
“Untie Dawn,” Andrew told Tracey, as he took off after Luna.
As Andrew and Skye gave chase, Tracey began to untie one of Dawn’s hands. Luna, for her part, flipped a switch and began to laugh menacingly. Tracey managed to get one of Dawn’s legs free, while Dawn worked on her other hand. Quickly, Tracey went over to Dawn’s other foot.
“Always have a back up plan,” Luna told them. With that, she pressed a button on the wall that was just labeled “Back Up.”
The lasers began to hum, and the lights returned.
“Get out of there,” Andrew shouted, as he pulled his gun and pointed it toward the bed. Dawn and Tracey both screamed.
“Oh God, she was right. You did come here to kill me,” Dawn said in a rush.
The lasers groaned even louder, but before anything else could happen, Andrew opened fire on the riggings and the contraptions fell to the bed clattering, sizzling and eventually blinking out. Dawn rolled out of the way at the last moment, finally free.
Luna gave a hysterical scream and raced toward the bed, but Skye grabbed Luna by the arm and swung her around to face her. Skye’s right hook landed squarely on Luna’s chin, sending her to the ground.
“Listen, you psycho bitch,” Skye said as she leaned over Luna, who was now physically shaking in fright. “It’s over. Finished. Kaput. I found someone sane to spend the rest of my life with, and it’s not you – it’s Dawn. So get over it!”
At that moment, a weary looking Vi and Xander entered the room.
“Okay, who shot the gun?” Vi asked.
Meekly, Andrew held up his hand. “Uh, sorry.”
Vi walked over and quickly grabbed Andrew by the arms, which made the young man flinch. But then, unexpectedly, she pulled him into a hug.
“You scared the rest of bug patrol and they ran off,” she explained. “Thank you.”
Andrew gave a small grin. “Twas nothing,” he replied.
Dawn tapped Tracey on the forearm. “I guess there is more to Andy than meets the eye. I stand corrected.”
Tracey smiled. “That’s my guy…But where the hell did he get a working gun?” she wondered aloud.
Abandoned Warehouse – Same Time
Willow and Giles stood in the shadows with the team of slayers Heli had assembled. They both wore curious expressions as they looked at a group of vampires sitting in a circle. One vampire stood up and cleared his throat, and Willow and Giles exchanged a confused look.
“My name’s Bill,” the vampire told the group. The group replied with a “Hi Bill.” “It’s been 62 days since I last fed on a human.” A small round of applause went up for Bill, and he grinned. “Thanks,” he added.
Willow and Giles both looked at each other again and slowly began to grin.
“It’s not easy,” Bill went on. “In fact, it’s really tough sometimes. Like last week…Oh, man. I was down by St. Clair and there was a car accident. Just a little fender bender, but this lady gashed her head pretty bad and it was…well, you know, bloody…But I just decided, I’ll keep on walking and I’d stop by the market. And lucky for me, Stan – you guys know Stan – he just got in a large pork order. so he had some grade A top of the line stuff that he let me buy and…”
Bill trailed off and pointed over to the back entrance where Willow, Giles and the slayers emerged.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Giles began, “but…”
Another vampire stood up and faced them.
“Look, this is a closed meeting, okay? You guys shouldn’t be here.”
“We’re from the Watchers Council,” Willow told him.
A few of the vampires looked concerned and scooted their chairs back, but the leader remained calm.
“Hey, we don’t want any trouble, okay? We’re trying to find a better way if you don’t mind. We didn’t choose this life –”
“Death,” one of the vampires corrected.
“Whatever,” the leader chastised, without looking over his shoulder. “Point is, we’re not all blood thirsty, ‘let’s turn humans so they can enjoy this living hell too’ type of guys. Some of us are trying to change, trying to grow, so if you don’t mind…”
“So you’ve all…gone straight?” Willow asked.
“Yeah, that’s exactly it.”
“Well…” Willow stumbled for a moment, unsure of what to say next. She instead turned to Giles. “The kills are less than they would be for this number of vampires, but there are still people dying. I don’t get it.”
“You’ve got deaths in this area?” the leader of the group asked her.
Willow nodded. The leader then looked around at his charges.
“Okay, who’s fallen off the wagon?”
Everyone in the group looked around at each other, but two in particular avoided everyone’s glances. The leader strolled over to them.
“What’s the story, guys?” he asked.
At first, they said nothing. They simply looked at each other, until one suddenly stood up.
“Look, it’s an addiction, man, and we need help. You can’t expect us to just give it ALL up cold turkey. I mean cow and pig blood’s fine and all, but not when you compare it to a human. What’s wrong with you guys? You’ve never had the urge?”
“All the time,” the leader answered. “Just like Bill mentioned tonight. But we don’t give in.”
“I know. I know,” the vampire went on. “I just…we need help here, man.”
Giles moved next to the leader and stood in front of the vampire spilling his heart out.
“I can help them,” Giles told the leader, with a cock of his head toward the offending vampire.
The vampire began to back up and the leader also took a step back, giving Giles room.
“Obviously, we can’t help them, so…Go for it,” the leader said, with a wave of his hand.
The other vampires put their hands in front of themselves, tripping over their chairs as they backed away from Giles. The slayers had already moved in behind them, preventing any escape, as Giles pulled a stake from the inside of his waistband.
Abandoned Warehouse – Same Time
From inside, the sound of two vampires dusting was heard. After a few moments of silence, the front doors opened and the Council team emerged.
“They’re still soulless,” Willow said, as she and Giles walked side by side with the slayers behind them. “Can we really trust them?”
“No,” Giles answered. “But we can at least observe them, see if they are sincere in their quest to improve their lives.”
“Deaths,” Willow corrected with a grin.
“Whatever,” Giles said in fake exasperation that mimicked the leader moments before. They both grinned at each other, before Giles looked serious again. “Honestly, they know the rules. If we find they’ve been up to typical vampire behavior then we’ll have no choice but to issue the same help to the rest of them.”
“A kinder, gentler breed of vampire – who woulda thunk it?” Willow said with a small chuckle.
“Yes, and a smile from the High Priestess tonight – who would have thought that,” Giles countered.
Willow gave a sheepish shrug.
“It hasn’t been too happy around here since you’ve stepped down, Giles. In fact, having you around tonight is what made me smile. Sure you don’t wanna come back? Maybe just a little?” she added hopefully.
“I’m ignoring that,” Giles answered, as he put his arm around her. “Just know that it’s going to be difficult for the time being. Everyone is testing their wings, and Rowena’s no exception, neither is Faith, nor are you. You’ll all have to move into these new roles and expect a few bumps.”
“These bumps feel like the Rockies, Giles,” Willow answered.
Giles couldn’t hide his smile. “Perhaps, but in hindsight you’ll see that it’s just what you needed, in the end, to forge a path that works for everyone. Just don’t lose sight of what you want in the long term when you focus on the problems that happen today.”
Willow didn’t speak for a long moment as they continued to walk down the sidewalk. “I just hope that Dawn and the rest of the gang are okay,” she finally said.
“The gang is far more capable than any of you realize, I’m sure,” he told her confidently.
Giles made a crossing motion against his heart.
Luna’s Lair – Same Time
Vi escorted out Luna, her hands bound, still yakking away while they walked.
“And another thing,” Luna went on. She tried to turn around to talk to Skye as Vi pushed her along, “I got so upset when you left that I let down my guard and spilled to my dad about us. He disinherited me! That means all I got was my mother’s paltry ninety million, but only after I went to the trouble of having her killed! Now I’m girlfriendless, motherless and poor thanks to you!”
“Don’t forget prison bound,” Vi said, as she gave Luna a slight push, moving her away. Andrew and Tracey created a barrier between her and Skye. That didn’t stop Luna from continuing to ramble. Behind them all walked Dawn, Skye and Xander.
“She’s like the worst aspects of Cordelia and Harmony combined!” Dawn said, “What on earth was the attraction?”
At first Skye said nothing. But Xander nodded and asked, “It was her rack. Am I right?”
“Xander!” Dawn chastised.
Skye paused for a moment and then said, “Yeah. Pretty much.”
Watchers Council – Lobby – Later that Night
The troop walked in laughing about something and Willow stood up from the lobby desk. Her eyes focused first on Rowena and then on Dawn. “Everything okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine, but I think I’m going to call it a night guys,” Dawn told everyone. They all issued their goodbyes to her and Skye as they walked away.
Xander noticed the tension between Rowena and Willow, but he took Andrew to the side instead. “Andrew, I wondered if you might have something I can borrow.”
“Sure. What is it?” Andrew asked.
Xander simply pulled Andrew toward the walkway to the dorms.
Faith and Rowena walked over to the desk, as Kennedy and Robin excused themselves to their rooms.
“Giles and I took care of the vamp problem,” Willow told them.
“Really?” Faith and Rowena both said.
Willow nodded. “Yeah, but it’s late, so I’ll bring you all up to speed at tomorrow’s meeting.”
“Sounds good to me,” Faith agreed. “I’m beat. I’m gonna grab some finger foods, if the slayerettes haven’t scarfed them all down. See you guys later.”
Rowena and Willow both said goodbye to her, then stood in uncomfortable silence.
“I should get to bed, too,” Rowena answered. “It’s late.”
“Hold up,” Xander said to her, from the far doorway to the dorms. “Andrew’s getting something that I need you both to check out. Meet me in the Watchers Lounge in five minutes?”
Rowena and Willow both looked at each other for a brief moment and then shrugged.
Watchers Council – Faith & Robin’s Apartment – Moments Later
“Robin?” Faith called out as she entered the living room.
“In the bedroom,” he answered.
Faith walked in with her plate to find Robin lying naked on the bed. She started to grin slightly.
“Well, this is a surprise,” she answered as she put the plate on the dresser.
Robin smiled too, but leaned forward to take a closer look at Faith.
“Are you blushing?” he asked.
Faith began to nervously rub her shoulder. “I gotta admit, this was the last thing I expected tonight. Caught me off guard, Ace.”
“But okay, I hope?” he asked.
“Hell yeah,” she answered. “I just…wow…What brought this on?”
“Rowena,” he answered.
“You’re expectin’ Blondie to show up? ‘Cause if that’s the case…”
“No,” Robin answered with a laugh. “We talked, and she brought up some good points. I’m still worried about what you think – I mean, how I look now, but…Aww damn it, I’m not saying this right. I miss you, Faith, and I hope that you miss me too.” Faith looked unsure and avoided looking his way. “Or maybe you don’t miss me,” he said, reaching for the covers and pulling them up.
“No,” Faith said quickly. “It’s not that…I…I’m just not sure if I can. Not because of the leg, Robin…it’s ‘cuz of the drinking. I’ve had one man in my life who was an alcoholic, and I’m not goin’ down that road again.”
“I know,” he agreed. “That’s why it’s been over a week since I’ve had a drink,” he told her. “I can still take it or leave it, and at the moment I’ve decided to leave it…but I don’t want to leave you. Or I should say, I don’t want you leaving me.”
Faith began to grin again and worked her way over to the bed. With a single hop, she flew in the air and landed on her side next to Robin. She smiled at first, but then a serious look took over her features.
“I don’t wanna leave, Robin.”
“Good,” he said, leaning over so their foreheads touched. “Prove it,” he answered, beginning to smile.
Faith smiled, too, and pulled his face up to kiss him soundly on the lips.
Watchers Council – Watchers Lounge – Later that Night
Xander sat between Rowena and Willow on the couch in the lounge. Both women had dumbfounded looks on their faces. He clicked the remote just in time to freeze the video on the last frame. He then looked back and forth between them.
“Now what have we learned here,” he said.
“You have a deep appreciation for Fritz Freleng and Chuck Jones,” Rowena answered.
“Aside from that,” Xander whined. “Willow? Help me out here.”
“I haven’t the faintest idea, except that this is ten minutes of my life I’ll never get back,” she replied.
“Don’t you see?” Xander said, looking back and forth between them. “You two are Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf!”
“Come again?” Rowena asked.
Xander stood up so he faced them both.
“Willow, scoot down,” he said motioning to the sofa.
Willow looked unsure and glanced at Rowena for approval, which Rowena gave by waving her over.
“Now,” Xander began, “Ralph and Sam both have a job to do – Ralph steals sheep and Sam guards them. They’re on opposite ends, but it’s just a job. They beat each other to a pulp at work, okay, Ralph gets most of the beating, but still…”
“Xander,” Willow sighed, as if hoping he’d get to his message soon.
“The point is,” Xander said, getting back on track, “they realize that it’s just a job, so when they punch out each day, they still get along.” He then reached out, took Willow and Rowena’s hands and put them together on Willow’s lap. “After all you guys went through to find each other, I think you need someone to remind you of that…Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a slayer waiting for me in bed who’s probably getting cold right about now…Goodnight.”
Xander left the room without looking back and Willow and Rowena continued to sit on the couch, their hands locked.
“As crazy as this might sound, he’s got a point. I’m not sure if I’d go the Warner Brothers route to prove it, but still…” Rowena finally said, breaking the growing silence between them.
“So, what do we do?” Willow asked, not looking in the other woman’s direction.
Rowena shrugged. “Two options – we take the advice of Ralph and Sam or…or we call it quits now.”
Willow licked her lips. “Which one do you want?” she finally asked.
Rowena took a deep breath and blew it out. She tightened her hold on Willow’s hand for a moment.
“I want you,” she said sincerely. “But only if you still want me,” she added in a softer voice.
Willow finally looked in Rowena’s direction to see a pain-filled expression on the watcher’s face. As if on pure instinct, she leaned in and kissed Rowena soundly on the lips, which the watcher, after only the briefest hesitation, returned. As the kisses progressed, Rowena released her hold on Willow’s hand. Without breaking their kiss, Rowena maneuvered herself around so she straddled Willow’s hips.
As their lips continued to find one another, Willow’s hands shot to Rowena’s hips, pulling her closer, and the watcher groaned hungrily in response. Taking the cue, Willow then guided Rowena’s back to the sofa and the watcher reached up, pulling the witch’s shirt over her head. Willow then returned her lips to Rowena’s before making her way down to her neck, while Rowena started to hastily to unbutton her own shirt.
“Maybe we should take this party upstairs,” Willow suggested in Rowena’s ear.
“No,” Rowena answered. Her mouth seized Willow’s again and she continued to unbutton her blouse until it fell open. “Right here, right now,” she told the witch.
Willow looked surprised for an instant, but quickly fell back into the moment as Rowena stroked her hair. The tranquil minute was interrupted however, as Rowena forcefully grabbed a handful of the red locks, demanding the witch’s lips return again. Willow obliged.
Carefully, Willow worked her way from Rowena’s lips.
“Right here?” Willow teased as she nuzzled Rowena’s ear.
“Here,” Rowena answered in a short, husky tone.
“Right now?” Willow asked again, as her tongue snaked along Rowena’s neck.
“Now,” the blonde answered in what sounded more like a beg than a statement. She met Willow’s eyes in an intense stare.
Willow’s right shoulder began to rise and fall, and Rowena’s mouth fell open. The watchers’ eyes closed and her back arched off the sofa, as she began to moan.
Watchers Council – Dawn’s Room – Same Time
Dawn lay wrapped up in the blankets with a smile on her face. At the closet Skye slipped on one of Dawn’s sweatshirts, then picked up a pair of shoes.
“Can I steal these?” she asked.
“Sure, I’ve given you everything else tonight, why not my footwear too,” Dawn teased.
Skye smiled and walked back over to the bed. Dawn curled around her.
“I’m sorry,” Skye said sincerely.
“For what?” Dawn asked, moving to a sitting position.
“Luna, everything that happened tonight,” Skye answered.
“Evvvverything?” Dawn teased.
“Not that,” Skye said knowingly, before leaning over and giving Dawn a kiss. “The other stuff, I mean – kidnapping, attempted murder – that’s not what I had planned for a fun night out.”
“Aaah, don’t worry,” Dawn said, waving her off. “Just another day for Dawn at the Council,” she added.
“Maybe,” Skye said with a grin. “But still…it bothers me to think I put you in danger.”
“I have to admit the Hanson thing…That nearly got me,” Dawn answered seriously before a grin broke over her face. “But you’re even worth listening to bad boy-band pop.” Skye smiled wider and leaned over to kiss Dawn on the lips again. “Hmm, I wish you could stay,” Dawn told her as they broke away.
“Me too,” Skye answered. “But I gotta get some sleep for that test tomorrow.”
Dawn nodded. “I understand. Just make sure Heli sees you home, since you won’t let me leave this bed,” she pouted. “But she better not give you a kiss goodbye.”
“Cross my heart,” Skye answered.
West Park Station – Night
The sound of Skye tapping her foot echoed across the gray stone of an empty Rapid platform and came back to her three-fold. She sighed and checked her watch again.
“I didn’t miss the train, did I?” she quietly wondered out loud.
“I don’t think so,” Heli answered. “The last one’s at 2:20.”
Skye waved Heli off. “It will probably be here any minute. You can take off, Heli.” The slayer looked unsure. “Really, I’ll be fine. Besides, my loony ex is in custody and it’s Halloween – a vamp day of rest, right?”
“Yeah,” Heli agreed. “But really, it’s no trouble to stick around.”
“Despite what the Council says, I can take care of myself,” Skye added. As she finished her words, the train pulled up. “See? Almost on time, as usual. Go ahead and go back.”
“If you’re sure,” Heli said.
“Positive. Now go on,” she said, as she stepped on to the mostly vacant train. “I can finish the last two blocks on my own.”
“Okay then. Night,” Heli said. She gave Skye a wave, which she returned as the doors closed.
As the train began to move again, Skye plopped herself down into a seat.
Outside University Heights Campus – Night
Outside the station, the street was empty, devoid even of cars parked along the sides. The nearest streetlight winked out, plunging the scene into darkness as Skye walked along.
As she approached a row of bushes, she saw a shadow dart toward her from behind. Just as she looked back, she was suddenly grabbed, a hand covering her mouth before she could scream. The figure picked her up and, though Skye kicked all the way, dragged her back into the bushes and off the sidewalk.
End of Luna
Next on Watchers…
Lives and loves are hanging in the balance when quests for a lost Monarch, a lost Idol, for closure, and maybe for a lost girlfriend all come into conflict with one another.