act 3



Fade In:


Watchers Council – Coven Room – Continuous

“What do you mean Skye doesn’t exist?!” Dawn exclaimed.

“Well, a-according to the spell, she’s just not there,” Willow tried to explain. “The mixture, the dust…it should have concentrated on her general location, but instead i-it vaporized.”

“Maybe she’s just not in Cleveland,” Jeff offered.

“Even then, the dust would’ve settled off the map,” Willow said. “It wouldn’t’ve just disappeared.”

“Oh god…” Dawn said in a choked voice. “Skye must be

“No, no,” Jeff immediately cut Dawn off. “Something must be wrong with the spell, o-or someone’s interfering with it. Remember when Willow was kidnapped by that Shadow woman? She was blocking our attempts to locate Willow. Maybe something like that is going on now.” Jeff looked at Willow hopefully.

“That’s true, I suppose,” Willow said. “A-and there was that time when I got back from the rehabby thing with Giles in England a-and I couldn’t locate you, Xander or Buffy, a-and you were all fine.”

“We should do the Janus spell from the Visiones Vatium,” Jeff said suddenly. “It worked before, and –”

“No, absolutely not,” Willow replied. “It’s too dangerous. It nearly killed you, Jeff. Rowena told me how close it was. If you hadn’t gotten the vision when you did and stopped the spell, you probably would’ve died.”

Jeff looked as if he were going to object, but then he just slumped in acquiescence.

“We’ll find Skye,” Willow told Dawn firmly. “We’ll just have to do it the old-fashioned way.”

“We can go see the security guard on campus tonight,” Jeff interjected. “He should be on duty.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll even go with you,” Willow said.

At that, the three of them left the coven room.

Cut To:


John Carroll University – Library Lobby – Night

In the lobby of the campus library, Dawn and Jeff and Willow were talking to Sal, the security guard who had been on duty the previous night.

Sal handed back the picture of Skye to Dawn. “Yeah, I know her. I see her in here all the time. Keeps a lot of late hours. I always offer her an escort, but she never takes me up on it.”

“Did you see her last night?” Dawn asked.

“No, I sure didn’t,” Sal replied.

“Are you sure?” Jeff prompted. “She had a test today, might’ve been in early in the morning, before sunrise?”

Sal shook his head. “Nope. Sorry.”

“Thanks anyway,” Willow said, as the three of them turned to go.

“What are we going to do?” Dawn said desperately. “We’ve looked everywhere, tried everything.”

“Not everything,” Willow said.

Cut To:


Police Station – Front Desk – Hours Later

Dawn stood at the front desk of the local police station, talking to the officer on duty. Willow and Jeff stood protectively behind her.

“So let me get this straight,” Dawn said angrily, “we’ve been sitting here, waiting to file a report, only to find out that you can’t – no, you won’t – do anything, because technically Skye hasn’t been missing more than twenty-four hours?”

“That’s right,” the sergeant said, folding his arms across his chest.

“Why couldn’t you have told us that before?!” Dawn demanded. “We could’ve been out looking for her instead of wasting our time with you!”

Jeff and Willow pulled Dawn from the front desk and guided her several feet away. Before they could say anything to her, Dawn yanked her arms from their hands, gave them a mean glare, and then started toward the exit. Jeff immediately started to follow her, but Willow stopped him. She handed Jeff the keys to the Council van.

“Stay with her, keep looking,” Willow said. “I’ll see what I can do here.”

“Okay,” Jeff said. Then he ran after Dawn. Then he ran after Dawn.

Willow walked back up the front desk and glanced at the officer’s name tag. “Officer…Jameson, I’d like to see your supervisor, please,” she said in a firm voice. She reached into her back pocket and flipped out her Council badge. Then she added, in a scary voice that sent the desk officer scrambling, “Now.” 

With another flip, she snapped her badge shut and put it away.

Cut To:


Police Station – Captain’s Office – Moments Later

Willow sat in a chair before the desk of the station commander, Captain Max Butterfield. The Captain leaned forward, holding out his hands in an apologetic gesture.

“I’m really sorry, Ms. Rosenberg,” Captain Butterfield said. “Jameson’s a new guy. Hasn’t been briefed on all of our, um, unwritten protocols, so to speak.” 

“I see,” Willow said.

“Just so you know, I’ve already spoken with Ms. Allister about Ms. Talisker’s disappearance,” he continued.

“You did?” Willow said, surprised.

“She called a while ago. I told her we’d issue a bulletin, but there’s not much else we can do. There’s a national Union meeting in town, and we’ve got every available officer on traffic and security for that. I just don’t have anyone to spare. Have you tried the campus police?”

“Yes, but according to Dawn and Jeff, the chief wasn’t very helpful. The night-watchman from the day before hadn’t seen her.”

“Well, try not to worry,” he told her. “I’ll have my teams keep an eye out for her.”

Willow gave a grateful smile as Captain Butterfield picked up his phone to call.

Cut To:


Watchers Council — Willow’s Apartment – Same Time

Rowena sat at the dining room table with a stack of books in front of her. She read a few lines in one of the volumes, then looked up at the clock. She brought her eyes back to the book, but soon repeated her nervous glance at the time. She sighed and tried to focus. She looked up abruptly when the front door opened and Willow came in.

Rowena stood up and met Willow in the living room, giving the witch a warm hug. “Did you find Skye?”

Willow shook her head. “There’s just no trace of her. The locator spell didn’t work. None of her credit cards have been used. I’m waiting to hear back from the transit authority on the surveillance cameras at the train stations.” Willow gave a defeated shrug.

“I’ve had the younger slayers out going door to door, and Andrew’s been monitoring online. I also spoke with the police captain down there,” Rowena said.

“He said you called, and I have to admit I was surprised,” Willow said, as she moved over and sat on the couch.

“Surprised?” Rowena asked.

“Yeah, you didn’t seem too concerned during the meeting. Dawn was kinda pissed – okay, she’s a lot pissed.”

Rowena shook her head. “I just needed to get Faith’s teams set for Reteesk’s search. Ten minutes of discussing Skye wasn’t going to find her any quicker, and Faith needed to get out there with a game plan. After I got that settled, I assembled a team to look for Skye…but you both had left by then,” she said with a small grin.

“No, I get it,” Willow answered. “And I didn’t want to leave, but I had to talk to Dawn.”

“I get that, too,” Rowena said. “Skye is a Coven member. Plus, she’s important to Dawn…and Dawn’s important to you so…I’ve got people looking.” 

“Thank you,” Willow said sincerely.

“You’re quite welcome,” Rowena said, stroking Willow’s face. “Now, how’s Dawn taking it all?”

“Not good,” Willow answered. “She’s worried sick, and so am I now, to be honest. It’s not like Skye to disappear like this. Something bad’s happened, I just know it. But I’m trying to keep a brave front for Dawn.” Willow looked at Rowena hopefully. “Isn’t there anything else we can do?”

“We’re doing all we can,” the blonde watcher replied. “We’re spread too thin as it is: looking for Reteesk, looking for the Beluferae, looking for Skye and keeping up with at least some of our usual patrolling. With Fenris threatening, we’ve got to focus most of our efforts on that.”

“I know,” Willow said reluctantly. “I just wish there was more we could do.”

Willow was silent for a moment, a troubled expression on her face. When she finally spoke again, it was with clear frustration in her voice.

“I just hate being in this situation all the time. Save the world or save my loved ones. It’s not fair.”

“I hear ya,” Rowena said. “Comes with the territory, though.”

Willow’s frustration lessened, and her face grew sad. “It’s like when Glory was trying to use Dawn to open the doors to the hell dimensions. We were working so hard trying to come up with anything to combat Glory, but all I could think about was how to help Tara.” Willow paused and then stood. “I don’t know how you do it, Ro.”

“Do what?” Rowena asked.

“Make all these decisions and act like it doesn’t bother you. You must have skin made of Teflon or something.”

“Is that what you think?” Rowena asked, standing to face Willow. “That I really am some kind of Ice Queen who doesn’t feel anything?”

“It seems that way sometimes,” Willow said, with a hint of disappointment.

“You’re referring to the Tabula Rasa spell?”

At first Willow said nothing. Finally she answered, “Yes,” in a firm voice.

Rowena was silent for a moment, then took a deep breath.

“Will, that was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I know you think that I don’t care about the means, only about the end…that I don’t care about how we violated that man’s mind and how that violation might come back to haunt us…that I don’t care how much that decision must have hurt you. But that’s not true.” Rowena gave Willow a pleading look. “I do care, and I do feel, and that decision tore me up inside, and I hate that you were put in that situation.”

“Then why did you do it?”

“Because it was necessary,” Rowena answered.

Willow stared at her for a long time before she finally looked away. “I don’t believe that,” she said. “There had to be another way.”

A long silence hung between the two lovers. “I don’t want to continue to argue about things that are done and over,” Rowena answered. She paused, just for a second, then asked, “Do you?” When Willow didn’t answer, Rowena sighed heavily and headed for the bedroom. “Are you coming to bed?” the watcher asked.

Willow didn’t answer right away. Then she said, “Yeah, in a minute.”

Rowena nodded sadly and went toward the bedroom. 

“Ro?” Willow called out, without turning around. “What was number one?”

“Excuse me?”  Rowena asked to Willow’s turned back. 

“You said the Tabula Rasa spell was one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever had to make. What was the hardest?”

“Going back to England after you said you loved me,” Rowena answered without hesitation. Willow merely sat there, staring off as if she were deep in thought. “Like you said, duty or love. Sometimes you have to choose, and it’s never easy, even for an Ice Queen.”  

Willow opened her mouth, but said nothing. Not getting a response, Rowena started on her way to the bedroom again.  

“‘Night, Will,” she called out. Then she walked into the bedroom and turned out the light.   

Fade In:


Watchers Council – Coven Room – Morning

Rowena and Willow stood in the Coven Room with Gregor, Andrew, Giles, Faith and Kennedy. All were anxiously waiting for Dawn and Jeff to arrive. When the two youngest Coven members finally walked in, they were still in their same clothes from the night before and looked exhausted. When Rowena saw them enter, she called out to them.

“Oh good, you made it,” Rowena said with a sincere and grateful smile. “Now we can get started.”

“You mean you actually waited to start?” Dawn grumbled. “That’s a first.”

Rowena stiffened, but remained civil. “You and the rest of the Coven are critical to the meeting,” she said evenly. “I didn’t want to begin without you.”

“The Coven’s critical?” Dawn shot back. “Not all of us, apparently.”

“Dawn…” Willow tried to intercede.

Dawn ignored Willow and stayed focused on Rowena. “You don’t give a damn about Skye being missing.”

“Now, Dawn,” Giles said, “you know that’s not true.”

“No, I don’t,” Dawn replied. “We were out all night searching for Skye. What was she doing? Writing up reports in triplicate, devising a strategic analysis on the pros and cons of sitting on her ass, while Skye is –”

That’s enough!” Rowena boomed, silencing Dawn immediately and making everyone jump. “I’m sorry about Skye. I really am. But I’m afraid the impending apocalypse of the demon lord Fenris re-entering the world trumps the missing co-ed.”

“She’s not just a missing co-ed,” Jeff said hotly. “She’s a member of this organization, and she’s our friend. We should have every single person at the Council on this.”

“Hate to say it,” Kennedy interjected, “but I’m with Rowena on this one.”

Faith nodded in agreement with Kennedy. “Yeah, from what Uncle Kick-Their-Ass here tells us…”

“Kalderash,” Gregor corrected. “It’s Kalderash.”

“Whatever,” Faith said, cutting her eyes. “Point is, this Fenris dude is bad news. If those demons get their idol and use it to bring Fenris back, then Cleveland – hell, the whole damn world – is gonna be up the proverbial creek, you know? Including Skye once we find her.”

Andrew leaned forward to make his contribution to the debate. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” he pronounced dramatically.

“Or the one,” Rowena finished. Andrew raised his brow in amazement.

Dawn looked at Rowena and Andrew with a shocked expression. Then she exploded. “This is not some stupid Star Trek movie! This is my girlfriend!”

“Dawn, I promise you. We’re doing all we can,” Rowena said. “I’m sorry, but I can’t divert all of our resources to Skye right now,” Rowena tried to explain.

“The way I see it, you haven’t put any resources on it at all,” Dawn said.

“That’s not true,” Rowena countered, “and if you had stuck around last night, you’d know that.”

Willow moved closer to Dawn and briefly touched her arm. “Dawn, she’s had slayers looking, going door-to-door. She even called the Police Captain herself after we left the meeting yesterday.”

Dawn seemed taken aback for a moment.

Rowena sighed and took a deep breath. “Dawn…I’ve got to look at the big picture, see exactly what’s in the balance…for everyone. And right now, the Fenris thing takes precedence.” Rowena turned to Andrew. “Did you have any luck on the computer search on Skye?”

Andrew shook his head. “If Skye’s out there…I mean, wherever Skye is, she’s not using her cards. And there’s been no sign of her at the…” Andrew glanced quickly at Dawn, “at the you know.”

Rowena turned to the slayers. “Faith, is there anybody else you can spare to help with the search for Skye?”

“I’ve got just about every available slayer out searching for the Fenris demons,” Faith replied, “but like you asked, I’ve got a coupla teams of junior slayers doin’ a physical search, goin’ door to door. Lori and Shannon are headin’ those up – keeping things organized.”

“They’ve found nothing so far, though,” Kennedy added.

Dawn looked in Rowena’s direction, appeared to soften, then looked away.

“Okay then,” Rowena said, addressing the group, “keep the computer tabs running, and keep two teams on the Skye mission. In the meantime, let’s hear what Mr. Kalderash can tell us about the Beluferae demons and how we can modify our operations.”

Rowena gestured toward Gregor, indicating that he should take the floor. As Gregor stepped forward, Rowena ventured a look in Dawn’s direction. When the two watchers made eye contact, Dawn stared for the longest time before finally giving Rowena a slight nod. Rowena smiled and returned the acknowledgement.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Coven Room – Later that Morning

As the others watched, Jeff attempted to duplicate Gregor’s blasting spell. The young witch braced himself and held his hand up, directing his palm toward the sparring dummy on the far side of the room. Then he calmly spoke the incantation.

Immediately, his hand began to glow, and within seconds, a ball of energy burst from his hand and rocketed across the room, toppling the dummy. The force of the blast hit Jeff like the recoil of a shotgun, thrusting him back several yards to where Willow and Andrew caught him.

Jeff chuckled sheepishly, then said, “Thanks.”

“You forgot the counteraction,” Willow whispered to him.

“Ahh…yeah,” Jeff said.

Gregor called Jeff over and got him set up for another try. He spoke intently with the young man for a long time. Jeff gave the older man his undivided attention, clearly taking in all of his words of advice. Gregor gave Jeff a final pat on the back for encouragement, then stepped away, letting Andrew and Willow supervise his next attempt. He walked over to where Dawn stood, alone.

“I wanted to apologize,” Gregor said softly, for Dawn’s ears alone, “for the diverted resources. I can see how important Ms. Talisker is to you.”

“Thank you,” Dawn said coolly.

“If the need were not so great…” Gregor tried to explain, before trailing off. Then his tone became more urgent. “We cannot allow Fenris to return. This world would become a torturous hell for all of us, and–”

“I get it,” Dawn interjected, but not angrily. “I do. More than you know.”

Gregor turned to Dawn and looked at her earnestly. “I swear to you, once the Fenris idol is destroyed, I shall do all I can to aid in your search for Ms. Talisker.”

“Thank you,” Dawn said, this time more fervently.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Weapons Room – Afternoon

With his staff in his hand, Gregor followed Xander through the weapons room, nodding in approval at what he saw lining the walls. He walked over to a sword lying in a rack and ran his fingers along the flat of the blade.

“Impressive,” Gregor said.

Then his eye caught a weapon out of place in the heavily medieval collection. He walked over to it, set his staff aside, and picked up the kwan do. He examined the short staff carefully, admiring its stabbing point at one end and its heavy curved blade at the other end. He touched the metal of the blade.

“This one is already silver plated,” Gregor commented.

“Yeah,” Xander said with a shrug, “I got the idea from…a colleague…in Vancouver.”

“It’s very well done,” the old man said, setting the weapon back in its place. “If you can do this, you will not be needing my help in this department.”

Xander accepted the compliment with a small nod. “Actually…I hear that’s one souped-up staff you got there. I was hoping I could take a look.”

Gregor smiled and took up his staff. “I must confess…I am rather proud of it.”

He stepped away and gave the staff a few practice swings. Then he stopped and moved closer to Xander to show him the staff’s secret device. He slipped his thumb into a small cavity in the shaft and tripped a lever. Instantly, a narrow, double-edged blade popped out of the end of the staff and locked into place. A closer look revealed that it was plated in silver.

“Shiny,” Xander said with a wicked grin.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Later that Afternoon

Gregor and Giles sat at a table with a pile of books before them. The two men were leaning toward one another, completely engrossed in their discussion.

“So you actually have a copy of the Volumina Vetita?” Giles said incredulously.

“I do,” Gregor confirmed.

“Remarkable,” Giles said in amazement. “I had thought that only one existed, and that copy was lost when the Council’s original headquarters were destroyed.”

“I can make a copy available to you, if you would like,” Gregor offered.

“Yes, I’d like that very much,” Giles replied. “It would be an invaluable resource to us, to the Council I mean. Thank you.”

The two men sat back in their chairs, at an obvious pause in the conversation. Where they had once seemed comfortable with one another, they now appeared uneasy, fidgeting a bit and not making eye contact. Finally, Gregor cleared his throat and spoke.

“I understand that you knew my niece,” Gregor said.

The watcher’s face creased in a fond smile. “Yes…yes, I did.” After a moment, his smile faded.

“You loved our Janna?”

“I did,” Giles said with sincerity. “Very much.”

“And you were happy together?”

“For a time.”

“A time, yes,” Gregor said, clenching his jaw. “Until Angelus took her from us.”

Both men were silent for a time. Then Giles hung his head. “I blame myself…I should have protected her.”

Gregor’s eyes burned as he looked at the watcher. Then his gaze softened. “It is in the past now and cannot be changed.” He took a deep breath as Giles lifted his face. “Do not dwell on what might have been, on what you believe you should have done. Just…remember her…honor her with your memory.”

Giles frowned for a moment, but then his smile returned.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Late Afternoon

Gregor paced slowly in front of multiple teams of slayers, speaking into a wireless microphone which carried his voice to the whole room. Kennedy and Faith stood nearby.

“The Beluferae must not be underestimated. Though they are rather tall, they are not by any means slow,” he explained. “And they are virtually impervious to standard weapons. Blades will simply bounce off their skin, for example.”

At that pronouncement, more than a few slayers shifted in place uneasily.

“Their invulnerability is not complete, however,” Gregor continued. “They have one key weakness: silver. Magically enhanced silver, to be exact.”

The slayers looked on with interest as Gregor took up the kwan do that Xander had prepared. Its silver plating gleamed in the bright lights of the gym. Gregor made several sweeps with the shiny weapon.

“With weapons like this, the Beluferae shall fall before you. They shall…how do you say…?” Gregor looked over at Kennedy and Faith. “They shall…go poof, yes?”

Kennedy and Faith grinned at each other and then nodded enthusiastically at Gregor. An appreciative murder went through the crowd of slayers.

Cut To:


Watchers Council — Kennedy’s Apartment – Evening

When Kennedy had finished her supper, she stood up from the couch and took her tray into the kitchen. She washed her dishes and silverware and picked up the towel to dry them. She stopped when she heard a knock at the door, then dried her hands and walked over to answer it. When she pulled it open, she found Gregor standing in the hallway.

“Gregor,” Kennedy said, surprise in her voice. “Uncle Gregor,” she amended quickly, with an apologetic grin. “Wanna come in?”

“Yes, thank you,” Gregor said as he stepped inside. “I looked for you in the dining hall,” he commented, as Kennedy shut the door and led him inside.

“Yeah, I kinda needed a time-out, ya know?”

Gregor chuckled. “Of course. I understand. It’s been a very busy day.”

Kennedy brought Gregor to the couch and they sat down. They both appeared more than a little nervous.

“You said you wanted to talk to me,” Kennedy prompted. “About what?”

“About your mother,” Gregor said. “Your real mother.”

“Jenny Calendar,” Kennedy said. “Or Kalderash, I should say.”

“I thought perhaps you’d like to hear a little about her…about Janna.”

Kennedy shrugged, but her eyes were anxiously eager. “Yeah, sure,” she said. “I mean, Dad never really told me much.”

“What did he tell you about her?”

“That they had broken up, and she couldn’t take care of me, so she signed over her parental rights,” Kennedy replied. “And then he never saw her again.”

Gregor seemed to peruse this information. Kennedy looked concerned.

“What?” she asked. “Is that not true?”

Gregor shook his head. “No, for the most part, it is true.”

Gregor paused and looked at Kennedy intently, apparently putting the ball in her court.

“So…why did they break up?” she finally asked. “Why did she…” Kennedy dropped her gaze. “Why didn’t she want me?”

Gregor reached over and took Kennedy’s hand. He gave it a sincere squeeze. “If there’s one thing that I want you to know about your mother, Kennedy, it’s how much she loved you,” he told her as he pulled his hand away. “She wanted to keep you so badly.”

“Then why didn’t she?” Kennedy asked, frowning slightly.

Gregor paused and thought deeply, as if considering how much to tell or how to tell it. Then he took a breath and began. “Janna’s family had a plan for her,” he said. “A role that she was duty-bound to fulfill. A child would have interfered with that plan. So they forced her to give you up and to leave your father.”

Kennedy’s eyes blazed with anger. “Why did they do that?”

Gregor shrugged apologetically. “Tradition…the old ways,” he stated. “Duty to family, to our people, always comes first.”

Kennedy leaned back and crossed her arms tightly.

“It was the hardest decision of Janna’s life, and it very nearly killed her to do so. She fell into a deep depression and became very ill. It was many months before she emerged from it. She resumed her duties to the family, but…she was never the same again.”

Kennedy uncrossed her arms, and a pained expression came over her face.

“Always distant. Always aloof. Never allowing love to touch her heart,” Gregor continued. “Until Sunnydale.”

“When she met Giles?” Kennedy asked, leaning forward.

“Yes,” Gregor said. Then he smiled knowingly. “I’m sure she imagined that he would be another of her temporary conquests – a short-term companion to ease her loneliness.” Gregor smiled even wider. “But…she fell in love. And for a time, she was happy.”

Kennedy’s face tightened. “Until Angel killed her.” Gregor nodded silently. Kennedy didn’t speak again for a long moment. When she did, her voice was quiet and vulnerable, and she didn’t meet Gregor’s eyes. “Did she ever ask about me? You know…wonder what I was up to?”

“On occasion,” Gregor answered, “but she never wanted the details.” When Kennedy looked hurt, he quickly went on. “It hurt too much, you see…to hear about what she could never have.”

Kennedy seemed to consider this. Then she said, “When the Council came for me – the first time, anyway – I didn’t know who they were. For just a second, I thought, ‘Maybe Mom sent them, maybe she’s trying to find me’.” Kennedy sighed. “Turns out I was a potential slayer. I was assigned a watcher and began training.” Kennedy looked down at her hands. “He told me I was special, but…” Kennedy trailed off.

“You are special, Kennedy,” Gregor insisted. “And not just because you’re a slayer. You are Kalderash, a Romany, and magic is in your blood.” Gregor took Kennedy’s hand once again. “Use it. Embrace it. It is who you are.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Weapons Room – Night

As Xander laid out the final batch of newly-plated silver weapons, Dawn and Jeff and Willow prepared the last enchanting spell.

Suddenly, Shannon burst into the room and ran over.

“Someone’s being brought in…from John Carroll!” she exclaimed. “I heard them alert the infirmary.”

Dawn gave her companions a worried look, then dashed for the door. The others followed right on her heels.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Infirmary – Moments Later

As Dawn came running into the lobby of the infirmary, she saw a team of slayers pushing through the door alongside a stretcher. She rushed over.

“Skye?!” she called out desperately as she reached them.

When she was able to get a glimpse of the figure on the stretcher, her face fell. When Willow and Jeff reached her side, they too looked and saw, not Skye, but Reteesk.

As the slayers moved Reteesk toward an examination room, Dawn stood frozen in place. Then with a sudden sob, she fell crying into Jeff’s arms. The young witch looked surprised at first, and then he just focused on comforting Dawn. Willow put her hand on Dawn’s shoulder and shared a concerned look with Jeff.

Cut To:


Regency Hotel – The Penthouse – Same Time

L’min ducked as a crystal glass flew at his head. He watched the glass crash to the floor and growled unhappily, turning his eyes back to his employer.

How?! ” demanded Vital’yevich. “How could you let the Council take possession of the Monarch?!”

“My lord,” L’min began, “they found him first. They– ”

Don’t give me your excuses!” the man barked. He then fell into a severe coughing fit.

His white-clad attendant moved closer, but stepped away at an annoyed gesture from the old man. After regaining his breath, Vital’yevich glared dangerously at the Beluferae.

“I have something you want,” he told them with forced calmness. “The Council has something I want. Perhaps you should take something they want.”

L’min thought for a moment, then smiled deviously.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Infirmary – Later

Reteesk, having been treated by Dr. Miller, now sat up in his hospital bed, speaking with Rowena, Willow and Faith. Brell stood nearby, smiling happily, clearly relieved that his friend had been brought in safe and sound.

“So you don’t have any idea why these Beluferae demons are after you?” Rowena asked.

Reteesk chuckled ruefully. “I assure you, my dear lady, I haven’t the faintest clue as to why those wretched beasts were so determined to accost me.”

“They called you ‘the Monarch’,” Willow pointed out. “Is there some connection between your former position and what they want? Is it possible that your family may have acquired this Fenris idol that they’re after?”

“I have no knowledge whatsoever of any such idol that may have come into the possession of my family,” Reteesk replied in his typically cultured tone. “Even if it had, it would have been lost long ago, destroyed in the Presidium’s near-annihilation of my people.”

Willow looked at Rowena and Faith, who both shrugged.

Just then, a knock sounded at the door. When Reteesk bade the person to enter, the door swung open, and Andrew and Tracey came inside, bearing a tray with a cover and a small bouquet in a vase. They smiled when they saw Reteesk sitting up.

“Reteesk!” Andrew said in greeting, as he carried the tray over and set it on the side table. Then he rolled the table into place in front of Reteesk.

“We’re so glad you’re okay,” Tracey said, setting the vase on the nightstand. “We were really worried.”

“My thanks to you, my thanks,” the Vl’hurg said with a small bow of his head.

Then he began to sniff the air, distracted by the enticing aroma seeping from under the tray’s cover. He pointed at the tray in disbelief.

“Is that what I think it is?” he asked.

“I certainly hope so,” Tracey said, pulling off the cover. “I tried my best to duplicate it, since Brell said it was one of your favorites.”

Reteesk stared at the steaming plate, almost mesmerized by its contents. His tentacles began to quiver and a deep hum came from his throat.

“I have to tell ya, though,” Tracey continued. “Goats’ eyes are hard to come by on short notice.”

“My dear, dear lady,” Reteesk said. “This is a gift beyond measure. I am…why, quite simply, I am moved beyond words.” Reteesk took Tracey’s hand and whispered conspiratorially, “If you were Vl’hurg, I would marry you.”

As Reteesk chuckled and his eyes glowed with merriment, Tracey giggled and blushed. Andrew shifted nervously in place and looked around at the group, as if he were gauging whether or not he should intervene. He finally settled on clearing his throat.

Tracey and Reteesk instantly separated, and Tracey stepped back, but not before casting a slightly embarrassed glance at the others. Andrew immediately placed his hand on Tracey’s back, and she turned in his direction. She gave a smile of reassurance, and he smiled back. Rowena and Willow both smirked at each other, and then Rowena turned to face Reteesk, who was now digging into his garlic linguini.

“Reteesk,” Rowena told him, “we will find these demons and deal with them, I promise you.”

“Mmm, mmm, of course you will,” he said, his mouth full and his eyes firmly on his plate. “I have every confidence.” He swept another bite into his tentacled mouth. “Mmm…”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Infirmary Waiting Room – Moments Later

After leaving Reteesk’s room, Andrew and Tracey paused in the waiting room outside the infirmary.

“I’m sorry we can’t go to the movies tonight,” Andrew said.

Tracey shrugged. “Ah, it’s no biggie. I understand. Duty calls, and all that.” Tracey moved closer to whisper in Andrew’s ear. “We could always arrange a special, private viewing, at my place.” Tracey stepped away and flashed a sexy smile in Andrew’s direction.

“That would be good,” Andrew squeaked. Then he cleared his throat and said in a deeper, manlier voice, “I mean, I’d like that.”

Tracey laughed lightly. “Call me,” she said, before heading out of the waiting room and down the hallway, alone.  

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Front Grounds – Later that Night

A large number of Council members gathered on the grounds outside the Watchers headquarters. Faith, Willow, and Rowena were organizing the crowd into teams of slayers, each with a senior slayer in charge and a trained Coven member added to its roster. As the three branch leaders made the patrol assignments, Xander and Gregor handed out the modified weapons.

“Faith!” came a voice yelling in panic over the din. “Faith!”

The dark-haired slayer turned to see Jaye running towards her. The younger slayer skidded to a halt in front of Faith and handed her a manila envelope.

“I found it at the gate,” Jaye said, breathing hard from her run. “Look inside!”

As Faith opened the envelope, the other Council leaders came near and circled around her. Faith pulled out a folded sheet of paper and a Polaroid picture. She turned the picture over.

In the picture was a frightened Tracey, being held by the Beluferae. Written on the bottom of the photo were the following words: “Give me the Monarch or the human dies.” Faith passed the picture to Willow, who looked at it and passed it to Rowena.

Andrew pressed his way to the center of the circle. “What is it?” he asked. “What did you find?”

Rowena frowned at the photo, then looked at Andrew sympathetically.

Andrew’s expression became concerned. “What?” he repeated.

Black Out

End of Act Three

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