Erios’s Room – Same Time
Rowena, Willow, Faith and Robin waited for Erios to continue. Eventually, Faith said, “We’re waiting.”
Erios gave a heavy sigh. “If I tell you, do you promise not to tell Richard’s parents where he is?”
Rowena looked to the group, who gave a collective shrug, then turned back to Erios. “We promise. However, we do have to see him and let his family know that he’s okay. Agreed?”
Erios said nothing at first, but then nodded.
“Okay,” Rowena said, “where is he?”
Erios took a deep breath and then, in a quiet voice, said, “He’s staying at my cousin’s place. I can’t take you because I’m sure my dad will follow me, but I can tell you where to go.”
Warehouse – Later that Night
The team walked into a large, vacant area of a warehouse, where three young men were standing around a foosball table, distracted by an intense game between two of them.
“He shoots! He scores!” one of the young men proclaimed.
“Excuse me,” Robin said. All three of them whipped around to face him. “Richard Caperlet?”
“Who wants to know?” one of the young men said, as the Council team walked towards them across the empty warehouse.
“Robin Wood, Watchers Council,” he announced. “Erios said we could find him here.”
“Oh man,” the young man in the back of the group sighed and stepped forward. “She wasn’t supposed to say anything.”
“Your folks are worried, Richard,” Robin told him. “They think Erios’s family kidnapped you, so she told us where to find you.”
“Don’t tell them where I am, okay?” the young man asked.
“I agreed not to,” Rowena answered. “But we are going to let them know that you’re all right…you are all right, aren’t you?” She warily eyed the other two other men.
“Dude,” one of them said, slapping Richard on the arm, “they think we took you.” He started to chuckle.
“I’m fine,” Richard answered, ignoring the other man. “This is Bernie and Freddie,” he said, in introduction to the two men on his left and his right. “They’re cousins of Erios’s. And technically, they did kidnap me.” All three men began to laugh at the inside joke. When the Council team didn’t look amused, he went on. “Uh, not really. They were gonna pick me up to bring me here, but instead decided to nab me in the alley and scare the hell out of me.”
As Bernie began to chuckle, Richard grabbed him by the shirt and they began to wrestle. The team looked at one another in frustration until Willow whistled, bringing a halt to the playful scuffle.
“As much as we’d love to stand here and watch WWRaw,” she said, “we have to let your parents know that you’re okay. So why don’t you start by telling us why you’re here and not home?”
“I had to blow that place,” he said, with a wave of his hand. “Don’t get me wrong, my parents aren’t bad. I just wish they’d stay the hell outta my life. But since they can’t, I decided to leave. I’m eighteen now, a legal adult, so I can go where I want, when I want.”
“So your plan is to live in a warehouse?” Robin asked.
“No way, Dude,” Richard answered. “When I get some more money saved, Erios and I are gonna split this town. I’ll have a whole thousand bucks at the end of this month, and then it’s smooth sailing.”
“And then what?” Faith asked.
“What do you mean?” Richard asked, sincerely confused.
“What are you gonna do after you leave?” she went on.
“Ohhh, I’m gonna get a job someplace, an apartment, maybe buy a car. Those new Dodge Chargers are pretty cool, maybe one of those.”
“And school?” Faith asked. “Have you graduated yet? And what about Erios?”
“Phh,” Richard said, brushing off the idea. “I don’t need a diploma. Besides, I won’t be around come this June to finish. And Erios won’t need anything but me, and she’s got that.”
Faith snorted. “So let me see if I got this right: neither of you have a diploma nor plan to get one. You’ve only got a grand to your name. No car. No place to live and you plan on getting a job good enough so you can afford a new Dodge Charger, which I might add has a retail value of around thirty grand.”
Richard looked at the ground and kicked some pebbles away. “I didn’t say it had to be a new Charger,” he finally replied.
“Kid,” Robin began, “You’d be lucky to find a job that pays enough to buy an ’85 Plymouth Turizmo.”
Faith began to laugh, while Rowena and Willow tried to hold back their smiles.
“Okay, so maybe the plan needs work,” Richard admitted, to which Faith rolled her eyes. “But you don’t understand, nobody understands. I was meant for Erios, and she was meant for me! And we’re going to be together! We’re grown ups now!”
“So that’s why you’re sneaking off?” Rowena asked.
“Yes! No,” Richard answered just as quickly. “We’re not sneaking off so much as…running off. There’s a difference.”
“Richard,” Rowena began. “Grown ups don’t run from their problems. They face them.”
Richard just shrugged her off. “What do you know about it?”
“More than you, obviously,” she countered.
“Oh really?” he prodded. “Then let me ask you this: have you, Miss High and Mighty Watcher, ever loved someone to the depths of your soul, so much that you need them as much as you need air to live? Have you loved someone to the point that you’d be willing to walk away from everything you’ve ever known just to be with them? Have you?”
“I have and I do,” Rowena answered firmly. “But not at the risk of ruining her chance at a better life. If I did that, it would be selfish of me, and that’s not love,” she added, with an indication towards Willow.
“You two are a couple?” Richard asked. “Really?”
“Let’s see a kiss,” Bernie told them. “A nice slow one. And please, take your time.”
All three of the boys began to hoot, whistle and laugh. Willow turned to Robin and Faith.
“God, they sound like Xander,” she muttered. “What is it with you men?” she asked Robin.
At first, Robin seemed tongue-tied. “The idea of two naked women being intimate is appealing,” he said casually. “Women are…beautiful.”
“And what about two naked men being intimate?” Willow pressed on.
“Men?” Robin asked incredulously. “No, men just…men look funny naked. Women have curves, dips, valleys,” he added, motioning with his hands. “Put two of them together and…” He trailed off and seemed to bite his tongue as he realized Faith had started to examine him with a grin. “I’m shutting up now.”
“You ole horn dog Ace,” she teased. “Who knew you had a streak of kink? I don’t know how I missed that.”
“Can we please get back to focusing on Richard?” Rowena asked, interrupting them.
“Hell, no,” Faith answered before anyone else. “This is getting interesting.” She turned back to Robin. “So who do you want to see me naked with?” Robin rubbed his temple, as if trying to hide his face from embarrassment. “Hey, what about Slick? She’s single and she’s pretty hot. I should know, I’ve seen her naked in the showers.”
“Ro’s right,” Willow said, quickly waving her hands. “Let’s refocus.”
Faith and the three boys all began to laugh.
“You know, Red, I’d say you had it all, but…” Faith paused and gave Rowena an appraising eye. “Blondie’s got it goin’ on too, I’m sure.”
“Are you finished?” Rowena asked her pointedly.
Faith continued to chuckle. “For the moment. But don’t worry, I’m sure I can add more to this conversation later.” She chuckled.
“Anyway,” Rowena said, turning back to Richard and his friends. “Please don’t run out of town just yet. We also promised Erios we’d try to help so…for her sake, will you let us?”
Richard looked undecided for a moment, but then finally nodded. “Okay, but I don’t want you to tell my folks where I am.”
Rowena made an ‘x’ motion across her chest. “Cross my heart. Call us if you need anything,” she added, handing him a business card. “Come on, guys.” She motioned to the Council team to follow her.
As they began to walk away, Faith still had a wide grin on her face.
“I thought you stopped being evil,” Willow condemned her in a whisper.
“Hey, I didn’t get to kick any ass on this mission. I gotta get my thrills somehow. Making you squirm is fun.” As they continued to walk, Faith asked out of nowhere. “What about Red?” she asked Robin. “I’m sure Blondie wouldn’t mind if I borrowed her for a sex spell or something.”
“Ignore her,” Willow whispered to Rowena.
“Lord knows I’m trying,” she replied back, her eyes rolling back in her head.
“Too bad Mia left huh?” Faith mentioned out loud. “Then you could see a little Asian/Caucasian action.” She gave Robin an elbow and started to laugh.
“God, help me,” Robin muttered.
“God, help us all,” Rowena added.
Giles’s House – Morning
Giles opened his front door with a smile on his face and Elizabeth in his arms.
“Come in,” he said happily as Willow crossed the threshold.
Before she could get her coat off, Elizabeth was already reaching for her. Willow quickly took off her outerwear and hung it on the coat rack before taking Elizabeth from him.
“She remembers me,” Willow said. She began to play with Elizabeth’s tummy, making the baby laugh.
“It’s only been a few days, and she is quite astute,” he replied.
“Nah, you just have a jaded opinion because she’s yours,” Willow teased, before turning to Elizabeth. “Huh? You’re daddy’s little princess, aren’t you?”
The baby cooed in response.
“See?” Willow told Giles. “She’s already learning how to be a heartbreaker. You’re gonna have to beat the admirers off with sticks.”
“I’ll leave that task to Xander. I’ll be too old to swing by then,” Giles answered with a smile.
“Oh no, you won’t,” Willow told him. “I know how protective you are of this little one and her momma. You’ll find the strength.”
“This way,” he said, motioning to her. “I’ve got coffee in the kitchen.”
Giles’s Kitchen – Moments Later
The sound of Giles and Willow’s laughter floated toward the doorway to the kitchen, where Becca stood grinning.
“Something’s funny,” she commented.
“Oh, hi there Becca,” Willow greeted, as Elizabeth sat on her lap.
“Willow was just telling me about the latest mission,” he replied.
“Not a mission so much as thwarting young love,” Willow went on. “At least that’s how the young lovers see it. But anyway,” Willow said to Giles, “Richard’s parents were relieved to hear he was okay. Now we’ve just got to think of a way to keep the pair in town before they run off and ruin their lives.”
“It must be a slow week,” Giles said with a grin.
“Very,” Willow replied. “But I’m not sure which is more tiring – apocalypses or dealing with teenagers. It’s hard to believe that I was ever that way.”
“Well, all of you were quite mature for your age. You, Xander, Buffy. You didn’t have much of a choice.”
As Giles spoke, the coffee mug in front of him began to travel across the table on its own. He put a hand over top of it with a sigh and moved it back to its original location.
“What just happened here?” Willow asked, pointing to the mug.
“We have a…a ghost problem. That’s why the house was a steal,” Becca explained.
“Why didn’t you call me?” Willow asked.
Giles brushed her off. “I know how busy the Council can be. I didn’t want to burden you with it, a-and it’s not a malicious spirit or spirits – we’re really not sure if there is more than one. It’s mostly annoying things like missing car keys, moving mugs, that type of activity.”
“Is it getting worse?” Willow asked.
Giles shrugged. “The activity around here has risen ever since we started painting a few rooms.”
“I don’t think they like my taste in décor,” Becca added to the conversation.
“I’ll tell you what,” Willow said, rising and handing Elizabeth to Becca. “Let’s see what we can do.”
Giles’s Rec Room – Moments Later
“Brr,” Willow said as she walked down the stairs. “You weren’t kidding. I shoulda grabbed my coat. It is cold down here.”
“This place is colder than anywhere else in the house and it’s grown even colder recently. But most of the activity takes place here in the rec room. In fact, we hardly come down anymore, but now it seems to be spreading through other areas of the house.”
“What happens here? Aside from the arctic freeze,” she said, looking around the room. As she finished her question, a book flew off the bookcase in her direction, narrowly missing her.
“Things like that,” Giles replied dryly.
“Well, that’s not good,” Willow commented. She leaned down and picked up the book. “Do you still have the spell books from your private collection or did you leave them at the council?”
“I have a few. This way,” he said, motioning her toward one of the shelves along the wall.
Willow ran her finger over the spines of a few books, then said, “Ah, this will do. Let’s hit the spice rack and give it a shot.” She pulled a book off the shelf and started to leaf through its pages.
Giles’s Rec Room – Minutes Later
Giles held some herbs, while Willow began to read an incantation in Latin from a book. Before she could finish, however, an unseen force pushed between them, knocking them away from one another.
“Well, that was pretty rude,” Willow commented. “My guess is they aren’t too keen on leavin’ just yet.”
Giles gave a frustrated sigh.
“Since exorcism isn’t working, let’s try something else,” she said. She took a piece of paper and a pen from a desk on one side of the room and sat cross-legged on the floor. She took a few deep breaths. Closing her eyes, she put the pen to the paper and waited. After a few moments in silence, she asked, “Who are you?” Her hand began to write something, but her eyes remained closed. She opened them and then asked the next question, “Are you alone, Patrick?” Again, Willow began to write. “Who else is with you?” she asked. After making a short note, she asked, “What do you want?” Upon reading the answer, she asked, “Can’t you all stay here?” Once more, Willow closed her eyes and began to write. This time, however, she wrote for a much longer span. Upon stopping, she opened her eyes again and began to read. A slow smile worked its way to her face and much to Giles’s confusion she began to chuckle. “Did you replace a chandelier?” Willow asked Giles. The retired watcher’s mouth opened, but he said nothing. “I’ll take that as a yes,” she answered. “First, put the chandelier back. He says you dumped it in the attic.”
“O-Okay,” Giles replied.
“He also mentioned something about handprints down here. I think this word is cement,” she said. She stood up and showed Giles the paper.
“This was all cement. We just had the carpet and hardwood laid, and there were handprints in that corner.”
“Well, pull the carpet up in that area. They belonged to his son and he wants to be able to see them. He wants you to know that he and his wife are still here and that this is their house.”
“Really? Then ask him who’s got the bloody deed?” Giles replied in frustration.
At the comment, several books flew off the shelf and in his direction, but he side stepped them.
“Please stop, Giles. You’re pissing him off.” Willow remarked casually.
“Then what am I supposed to do? Move?” Giles asked.
“No, they just don’t want the house altered much more. They don’t like the changes, with the exception of Elizabeth’s room. They like her room a-and they like her, especially Patrick’s wife, Katherine. So, that’s good to know.”
“But they hate me and Becca?” Giles asked.
“They just don’t like the remodeling. It’s not personal,” Willow answered sympathetically.
Willow then turned her back to Giles and announced, into the emptiness of the room, “Patrick, if Rupert here makes minor repairs and replaces the things you mentioned, do you promise to let them all stay here in peace? If the answer is yes, then, uh, turn out the lights.”
Total darkness immediately descended on the room.
“There’s your answer, Giles,” Willow said in the dark. “Think you can live with that?”
“Bloody hell,” Giles sighed. “Yes, we’ll make the changes,” he said, speaking to the room at large.
With that, the lights came back on. “Why aren’t all jobs this easy?” Willow asked rhetorically.
End of Act Three