Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Same Time
Kennedy stood in her darkened room, her arms wrapped tightly around herself as she stared out the window into the Cleveland night. All was silent on the streets except for the occasional gust of the snow-filled wind. The slayer shivered and reached over to pull the window all the way down, latching the lock.
She slowly turned and eyed up her large and empty bed. The white sheets were slightly ruffled from another night of restless non-sleep.
It was taunting her.
Letting out a frustrated sigh, the slayer quickly left the room.
Kadin’s Cabin – Kitchen – Moments Later
Kadin waited nervously, her fists clenching and un-clenching with every passing second. She had her head cocked, as if tuning her hearing to pick up the sound of crunching snow or the sudden howl at the moon, but she was only met with silence.
Kadin swallowed back hard and took a hesitant and tentative step backwards. The sudden creek of a floorboard under her foot nearly made her jump out of her skin. “Relax, you idiot,” she scolded herself in a whisper, shaking her head.
After a moment of tense silence, the hunter slowly started to creep backwards out of the room, heading straight for the weapons chest sitting next to the front door. She glanced back over her shoulder as her feet, covered in thick socks, stealthily maneuvered backwards over the hardwood floor.
She lifted her foot to take the final step towards her chest, but just as she was about to place it on the ground again, a low growl was audible through the darkness.
Her foot hovered an inch about the floor as her eyes darted around the room, searching for any sign of impending threat. Her stare began to waver when her eyes apparently started to burn in their sockets. Without thinking, she lifted her hands to rub at the irritation, but suddenly lost her balance. She fell backwards, her feet slipping out from underneath her.
Her back slammed into the weapons chest, and her head hit the wall before she tumbled to the floor, her vision slowly going dark.
Fade to Black
Kadin’s Cabin – Living Room – Night
The hunter’s ears faintly registered the sound of her name. She peered around in the darkness through bleary eyes, but found no sign of life.
The voice was louder this time, and she whipped her head to the side as if she had felt something against her arm. There she came face to face with a red-eyed and snarling werewolf. The beast stared her down, its canines dripping with saliva. It slowly opened its mouth, then let out a loud howl.
The hunter’s eyes suddenly snapped open and she jolted upright, her fist shooting out in the direction of the beast.
“Whoa,” Kennedy said, weaving her head to the side just in time to narrowly miss the blow to her jaw. “Easy slugger,” the slayer soothed, grabbing Kadin’s arm and slowly lowering it back to her side. “Are you all right? Looks like you took a pretty nasty fall there.”
Kadin took a moment to regain her bearings, shaking her head to rid it of the hazy stupor. “What…what happened?” The hunter lifted her hand to the back of her head to rub at the ache. When she pulled it away, her fingers were covered with blood.
Kennedy nodded to her hand. “Looks like you fell and hit your head pretty hard. Do you remember how long you were out?”
Kadin gave the other woman a confused look. “Out?” she repeated, a little uneasily. “I…I don’t even remember fallin’.” Kennedy slowly began to help her to her feet. “I remember…ouch,” she moaned, lifting her hand to her side as Kennedy pulled her back into a nearby chair.
“You might have a few bruised ribs, too,” the slayer added. She helped the other woman settle into the chair, then took a step back. “You can’t remember anything before the fall?”
The hunter closed her eyes tightly, partly from the pain and partly from the effort to remember. “I went to the kitchen to get a drink,” she said, nodding toward the other room. “And the next thing I remember was…this burning in my chest and then…the werewolves…”
“Whoa,” Kennedy interrupted. “Let’s stop the train right there.” She looked down at the other woman, confused. “Werewolves?”
Kadin just nodded. “Yeah,” she answered. “A whole bunch of ’em, and they were comin’ for me. I…I tried to make it to the chest…but I didn’t.” She paused and looked up at Kennedy for a long moment. “And then…I saw one. In here, right above me…and then you were here…” The hunter trailed off, the haze slowly beginning to lift. “What the hell are you doin’ here?”
Kennedy backed off considerably and stared down at her feet for a long moment before slowly pulling her eyes back up to meet Kadin’s.
“I was…I was worried. You know, about that necklace thing, and I couldn’t sleep, so I…” She trailed off and averted her eyes.
“You have that problem too, huh?” Kadin broke the silence after an awkward moment. “Sleepin’,” she filled in, at Kennedy’s blank expression. “Don’t seem to be gettin’ too much of it lately myself.”
Kennedy looked up at the other woman’s obvious attempt at levity.
“Yeah, well,” she began with a smile. “I wouldn’t recommend it too much right now,” she pointed towards Kadin’s head. “Not when you got a potential concussion.”
“Oh, well,” Kadin said, smiling, as she lifted her hand to the back of her head again, “I’m glad you’re so concerned. I’m touched, really.”
The slayer shook her head. “You got a first aid kit around here somewhere? I can get that cleaned up for you…stop the bleeding, at least.”
“It’s in the bathroom above the sink,” the hunter answered, nodding down the hall. “First door on the left.”
Kennedy quickly disappeared down the hall. Kadin pulled her hand away from the back of her head to see her fingers still sticky with blood, though less so than before. “Great, I’ll just slowly bleed to death,” she mumbled to herself.
“You’re not gonna bleed to death,” Kennedy corrected as she walked back into the room with the kit in hand. She placed the box on the table next to Kadin and began to rifle through its contents. “It coulda been a lot worse,” she stated, pulling out some gauze and tape. “You coulda fell face first.”
Kennedy lifted the hunter’s hair and brushed it to the side as she examined the wound. “Well, the good news is, I don’t think I’ll have to shave your head.”
The slayer gave a brief smile, but it soon faltered. “But the bad news is that it’s gonna need stitches. I’m guessin’ you’re not a fan of late night emergency rooms?”
“How’d you know?” the hunter replied sarcastically.
“Well, I guess I’m just gonna have to do it myself.”
“Uh,” Kadin began a little warily. “You sure you know how?”
Kennedy was already searching through the first aid box for a suture kit. “Live on the Hellmouth long enough,” she said, turning back to the other woman with the kit in hand, “and you kinda pick up on the basics of emergency medical attention.”
“That’s comforting…I think,” Kadin replied with a half smile.
Kennedy had the needle in her right hand, hovering over the wound. “This is probably gonna hurt…a lot.”
Kadin’s voice was calm and steady. “I’m not exactly a stranger to pain.” She steeled herself, gripping the arms of the chair and setting her jaw. “Just…do it.”
The slayer’s hand shook as she pushed the needle into the other woman’s skin. Kadin flinched slightly, but never said a word.
Kadin’s Cabin – Kitchen – Later
The two women sat at Kadin’s kitchen table, laughing and drinking from a glass of ice tea.
“Tell me you’re kiddin’?” Kennedy laughed.
“Nope,” Kadin smiled, shaking her head. “He even had the sequins and all. Tried to talk like him too.”
“A vamp that thought he was Elvis incarnate?” Kennedy repeated with a raised brow, before shaking her head with a smile. “Only in Vegas.”
“Well, you know what they say about Vegas,” Kadin said, taking another gulp of the tea.
“Yeah,” Kennedy nodded, still smiling lightly. “But I’ve never been. So, it’s not like I’d know firsthand or anything.”
“You gotta be kiddin’,” Kadin replied in disbelief. “You’ve traveled halfway around the world, but you’ve never even been to Vegas?”
Kennedy shook her head. “My job doesn’t exactly come with the benefit of paid vacation. Or any vacation, for that matter. If it ain’t official business, it ain’t gonna happen.”
“No rest for the wicked, huh?” Kadin finished, with a half smile of her own.
Kennedy just nodded. “Something like that.”
“Well then, you’ll just have to take it then. There’s like what, a thousand of you slayers now? I’m sure one of you takin’ one night off to have a little fun isn’t gonna throw the universe into cosmic upheaval.”
“Cosmic upheaval?” Kennedy repeated with an amused smile. “Where do you get this stuff?”
“I was tryin’ to make a point,” the hunter deadpanned. “All work and no play’s really gotta be gettin’ a little old by now.”
“I play,” Kennedy defended. “I play a lot. Just the other night, I cut patrol early and went by the Dairy Queen, and I didn’t even radio back to tell ’em.”
Kadin smiled, but never said a word as she lifted her glass to her lips and took a quiet drink.
“My life is very sad,” Kennedy pouted, letting out a long sigh. “I mean, I love my job…I love my life. It’s just…night after night and day after day of the same thing, chasing demons and saving the world…it can just get a little boring after a while.”
Kadin reached over and rested a gentle hand over the slayer’s. Kennedy’s eyes slowly lifted back to meet the hunter’s. “You were chosen for this life, Kennedy. Nobody ever said it was easy, but it’s what you were born to do.”
Kennedy was silent for a long moment before a slow and gentle smile slipped across her face. “It’s gotta be like two in the morning. I really should be gettin’ back.”
Kadin shook her head, slowly removing her hand from Kennedy’s. “I got plenty of room here. Why don’t you just stay for what’s left of the night?”
Kennedy remained speechless for a long moment. “Thank you,” she finally replied.
“Not a problem,” Kadin rose from the table and placed her empty glass in the sink, then pointed down one of the hallways. “The guest room’s down there. Second door on the right.” She began to make her way toward her bedroom. “And if you need extra blankets, they’re in the closet by the bathroom. G’night.”
“Oh, no,” Kennedy said, making Kadin stop. “You’re sleeping with me tonight.” Kennedy and Kadin’s faces showed equal surprise. “Not sleeping as in…you know…Not that the idea is hideous – far from it, but…Look, can I start over?”
Kadin smiled. “You mean the head thing,” she said, pointing to herself.
“Right!” Kennedy exclaimed. “I just think it would be safer if you just had, you know, someone to watch over you a little longer. That’s all.”
Kadin’s smile got even wider. “Come on, Ms. Nightingale,” she said, waving her toward the bedroom.
Kadin’s Bedroom – Seconds Later
Kennedy looked over Kadin’s sparsely furnished bedroom as she entered. A bed made up with a blue comforter was against the far wall. A table with a lamp and small clock was placed next to it. The only other furniture in the room was a comfy chair and a mirror facing the single bed.
Kennedy smiled, as if not at all surprised at the state of the room. Making her way over to the bed, she pulled back the fluffy comforter and climbed inside. She motioned Kadin over and gave the bed next to her a pat.
Kadin grinned as she walked over. “I promise to behave. Head trauma and all that,” she quipped.
Kadin joined Kennedy and snuggled in. It wasn’t long before the slayer looked over to see Kadin’s eyes closed, smiling in response.
Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Morning
Faith lifted her hand to knock on the door. “Slick?” After she received no answer, she reached forward and swung open the unlocked door. “You up? Time to train.” She stepped into the apartment and looked around expectantly for any sign of her friend.
“Yo, Slick?” Faith smiled. “You wouldn’t be tryin’ to hide from another impending ass kickin’, would ya?”
She made her way through the apartment to the bedroom. When she noticed the door was slightly open, her voice took on a tinge of worry. “Ken? You in there?”
When she didn’t get a response, she pushed the door open slowly, only to find Kennedy’s bedroom was also empty.
“What the hell?”
Kadin’s Cabin – Bedroom – Moments Later
Kennedy was suddenly awakened by a strong knock at the door of Kadin’s bedroom. “Yeah?” she called out, her voice thick with sleep.
“Just wanted to let you know breakfast’s ready if you want some,” Kadin’s voice responded from the other side. “I put some towels in the bathroom if you wanna grab a shower first. I’ll be in the kitchen when you’re done.”
Kennedy listened as the hunter’s footsteps retreated from the door and back down the hall. She blinked her eyes groggily, letting out a slow breath before falling back against the pillows.
Kadin’s Cabin – Kitchen – Minutes Later
Kadin was sitting at the table, quietly eating her breakfast and reading the paper, when Kennedy quietly crept into the room.
“Wire tapping, secret torture camps,” Kadin said to herself as she closed her paper. “Land of the free, home of the brave, huh?” The hunter looked up and smiled at seeing Kennedy. “Did the clothes fit? I wasn’t sure if you’d need ’em, but I didn’t think you’d want to wear the same ones home.” Kadin returned to eating her breakfast.
“They’re great,” Kennedy finally answered. “Thanks.” She made her way over to the stove and piled a plate full of the enticing breakfast. Taking her seat at the table across from the hunter, she began to eat quietly. “I’m sorry,” she added between chews. “I must have fallen asleep at some point.”
“No problem. I told you I was fine…Look, you’re welcome to stay as long as you want,” Kadin told her sincerely, putting her fork down on her empty plate. “But I gotta catch a flight at noon today, and I’ll be packing for a while. Won’t be much of a hostess, unless your idea of entertainment is watching someone else stuff clothes into a suitcase randomly and then gettin’ pissed when they don’t all fit.”
The slayer stopped mid-bite and dropped her fork back onto her plate. “Flight?” she repeated slowly. “You goin’ somewhere?”
“Amsterdam,” Kadin answered. “Gotta find out what this thing means,” she nodded down to the necklace hanging around her neck.
A sudden look of realization flashed over Kennedy’s face. “The necklace,” she repeated in a whisper. “Your birthday,” she added in a louder voice.
“Please, don’t remind me.”
“Happy Birthday,” Kennedy said with a grin.
“Thanks,” Kadin replied, a light flush coating her cheeks. “That’s the first time someone’s said that to me in a while.”
Kennedy’s smile faltered a bit at the admission, but she quickly recovered.
“So, this trip to Amsterdam…you didn’t book the last seat on the flight, didja?”
Kadin met the other woman’s eyes. “What?”
“Well, I was just thinkin’ I should take you up on that advice about the vacation. I’ve never been to Amsterdam, either.”
“No,” Kadin managed in a choked voice. Clearing her throat, she corrected, “I mean, no, it’s not booked. It wasn’t even half-booked last night. Doubt it’ll be much fuller today.”
“Perfect,” Kennedy said optimistically. “You can pack while I book my seat. Then we just swing by the Council to grab my stuff on the way to the airport.”
Kadin returned her smile briefly.
“But…what about your friends? I remember them not being too thrilled about the idea the last time. What makes you think they won’t try to stop you again?”
“Doesn’t matter what they think,” Kennedy answered firmly. “This is just as much me needing a vacation as me wanting to help out a friend. They can either be happy for me or deal with it.”
Kadin smiled. “Guess we’re going to Amsterdam.”
Watchers Council – Lobby – Morning
Kennedy swung the door open and stepped inside. “You can wait down here, or you can come up if you want,” she said over her shoulder, as Kadin followed her inside. “I’ll just be a minute.”
“I’ll just wait down here,” the hunter replied. “Wouldn’t wanna get in the way.”
“Cool,” Kennedy nodded. “Be back in a bit.”
Kadin watched as the slayer bounded up the stairs and out of view. She turned and made her way over to one of several nearby chairs, taking a seat and turning to stare out the window silently.
“Kadin?” Willow’s voice suddenly broke her silent vigil. “What are you doing here?” the woman asked with a smile.
Kadin turned to face her. “Uh, I’m…” she attempted to explain nervously. “I mean, I’m…just waiting…for Kennedy.”
“Waiting?” Willow repeated with a scrunched brow. “For what?”
Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Same Time
Faith was walking by on her way downstairs when she noticed the door to Kennedy’s apartment hanging wide open. She stopped mid-stride and peered into the apartment. “Slick? You in there?”
“Back here,” Kennedy called out from the bedroom.
Faith made her way through the apartment until she reached the open bedroom door. “There you are,” she said with a smile, stepping into the room. “Where were you this morning? I came by to make sure you weren’t gonna skip out on our training again.”
Kennedy had her back to the slayer, leaning over the open suitcase. She stopped packing long enough to answer. “I was at Kadin’s. I sorta spent the night there.”
Faith’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head. “Really? Way to go Slick!”
“Don’t make a case outta it,” Kennedy huffed, as she made her way back over to the closet to grab her favorite leather jacket. Meeting the other woman’s eyes for the first time, she sighed. “Nothing happened. I went over there last night to…” she trailed off, her eyes focusing in the distance. “Actually, I’m not really sure why.” She made her way back over and clamped the suitcase shut.
“Going somewhere?” Faith asked, folding her arms over her chest and leaning into the doorway.
Kennedy turned and shot the other woman a glare. “Don’t start, Faith. I really don’t wanna fight about this.”
Kennedy remained silent for a long moment. “I’m going with Kadin to Amsterdam, and I don’t want this to turn out like Bucharest. We’re not going to chase down some big evil. She just wants to try and figure out what being a Van Helsing really means.”
“And she’s gotta have a chaperone to do it?” Faith asked.
Kennedy took a deep breath and forced her temper under control. “I don’t get you, Faith. Just yesterday you were tellin’ me to ‘carpe diem’ and now that I’m tryin’, you’re turning all schizo on me. What’s your problem?”
All the anger drained from Faith’s face, and her eyes grew softer. She unfolded her arms and tucked her hands into her pockets. “You’re my best friend, Kennedy. I really care about you, and I just don’t wanna see you get hurt. The closest this woman can come to any type of relationship is one that doesn’t last for more than seventy-two hours. You said it yourself…I don’t want you getting your hopes up, that’s all.”
Kennedy dropped her jacket onto the bed next to her suitcase and made her way over to stand next to her friend. “I know,” she smiled. “And I love you too.” She pulled Faith into a gentle hug. “But seventy-two hours or not, I’m going.”
The gentle embrace lasted for a long, quiet moment, then Faith pulled back out of the hug and shrugged it off. “Yeah well, you better get moving,” she nodded towards the door. “Wouldn’t want you to miss your flight.”
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Kadin looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps. When her eyes met Kennedy’s, she smiled and rose to her feet. “Ready to go?”
The slayer eyed the other woman warily, before slowly nodding.
“After you,” the hunter smiled and motioned towards the exit. Kennedy returned the smile before slowly turning and heading for the front door.
Kadin’s smile instantly vanished, and she took in a shaky breath before following the other woman from the building.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport – Gate 21 – Later
Kennedy accepted her boarding pass from the clerk with a smile.
“Thanks.” She pulled her bag tighter over her shoulder and turned to face Kadin. Lifting the ticket, she grinned. “First class. Is there any other way?”
Kadin shook her head with a smile as they began to walk down the concourse. After a few yards, they plopped down into the nearest chairs. Glancing down at her watch, Kadin sighed. “Only ten thirty. Still got a while.”
“Just enough time for a nap,” Kennedy yawned and closed her eyes, leaning back against the head-rest.
A nervous smile crossed Kadin’s face. “Umm, actually,” she ventured, shifting in her chair a bit, “I was kinda hoping we could talk about…stuff.”
Kennedy opened her eyes and looked over at the other woman. “Uh, sure,” she said slowly, as she pushed herself back up. “What’s up?”
Kadin glanced down at her folded hands. “Well, I…wanted to say, you know…” She paused and looked up at the other woman. “Thank you. For coming with me. I kinda didn’t wanna do this alone.”
Kennedy smiled. “Hey, what are friends for?”
The hunter returned the smile. “Yeah.” After a pause, she added. “But uh, what I…what I really wanted to say was that…” Kadin averted her eyes and reached up to scratch at the back of her neck. “Just, you know…that things might not go as planned and if they don’t, well…” She met Kennedy’s eyes, an almost painful expression in her own. “I don’t want you to interfere. If it’s meant to be, then it just is.”
Kennedy studied the other woman’s face for a long moment before reaching out and placing a hesitant hand over Kadin’s.
“I’m not here to get in your way or keep you from doing whatever you feel you have to,” Kennedy said calmly. After a beat, she added. “But if you expect me to stand by and watch while everything goes to hell and you’re put in danger…” she paused, leaning in and dropping her voice. “Then you don’t know me as well as I thought you did.”
Kadin stared back at the other woman, her breathing becoming slightly deeper. Her gaze flickered between the slayer’s eyes to her lips and back again. “Kennedy, I…” The words died off as quickly as they began.
Kennedy remained silent. Her eyes never left Kadin’s as she slowly leaned in.
End of Act Two