Originally broadcasted 2/7/06
House Near Watchers Council – Night
Same Night as “Roses Are Red”
Three people carrying automatic weapons moved in military fashion to all corners of a quiet house on a quiet Cleveland street. Three sets of legs walked up the unassuming cement walkway to the front door.
Marissa, the Black Ops leader, dressed in full uniform, cocked her weapon. Vi and Jeff stood on either side of her. Marissa began to point her gun at the door, but Jeff gently pushed it down.
“Why don’t we just try knocking first? I heard that usually works,” he said.
Marissa took a begrudging step back as Vi knocked on the door. After a few moments, Dr. Miller’s head appeared in the window, and he quickly opened the door.
“Oh God, what’s happened?” he asked upon seeing them there.
“We’d like you to come back to the Council, Doctor, and answer a few questions,” Vi said politely.
“Oh, okay, I’ll get my coat,” he replied.
“Quickly and where we can see you,” Marissa added.
Dr. Miller stopped moving and looked at Jeff and Vi, who only shrugged.
Watchers Council – Lounge – Same Time
Rowena slowly walked into the lounge to see Robin sitting in one of the chairs. His cell phone was in his hand and his head hung low, looking at it.
“No luck yet?” she asked softly.
He shook his head without looking up.
“No,” he answered, and then finally raised his head. “How are things on your front?”
“Quiet, for now. I’ve got the Black Ops, Vi and Jeff going to collect Dr. Miller to bring him back here for…testing. Willow and Jeff did the magic mojo earlier, so that’s finished.”
“How are Dawn and Ken?” he asked.
“Will’s at Dawn’s right now. And Ken…I think her ego is more bruised than her face,” she said with a slight grin, “but it’s a close call there. She looks pretty rough. I called Kadin to see if she would watch over Ken tonight, since she won’t go stay in the infirmary. Faith did one hell of a number on her, but Ken says Faith probably looks worse.”
“No argument there. She didn’t look good when I saw her last,” Robin replied. “But not just her face. It was more than that…and I’ve been sitting here, kicking myself that I didn’t see it sooner.”
Rowena said nothing for a moment. “Why do you think she left, Robin? Honestly, was it because of me?”
Robin took a deep breath and rolled his shoulders. “Not exactly. Faith’s…Faith puts on this act – carefree, nothing gets to her. I think it’s closer to the truth to say she’s really a perfectionist. If she can’t do something right, she’d rather not do it at all. It’s odd…”
“What do you mean it’s odd?” Rowena asked.
“Before she left, she ran down this list of stuff that…I really thought she’d put behind her, but I was too blind to see it, I guess. Like her ordeal in Vor…”
“What about it?”
Robin closed his cell phone and leaned back in the chair. “She never mentioned it to me all that much. She was back, and that was all that mattered, she’d always say, but…then all of a sudden here it comes, out of the blue. Truth is, maybe it wasn’t out of the blue. Maybe Perfectionist Faith saw her capture as a weakness, but she never acknowledged it.”
Rowena ran her fingers through her hair.
“With Faith gone, things have gone from bad to worse,” Rowena sighed. “Actually, I take that back – they’ve gone from worse to worse.” She rose. “If you get ahold of her, will you call up to Will’s place? I might be elsewhere, but leave a message, please.”
“No problem,” Robin answered. As she began to walk away, he called out, “Hey Ro?” She turned around. “When she gets back…what are you going to do to her?”
“Beheading is out of the question,” she answered. “But really, let’s just get her back first. I need to talk to her face to face, okay?”
Robin waved his cell phone. “I’ll keep working on it.”
With a short nod, Rowena left the room.
Highway – Same Time
The wind whipped through Faith’s exposed hair as she sped down the darkened highway on her motorcycle.
Faith slowed the bike and pulled into a gas station with a small convenience store. She parked her bike next to one of the pumps, pulled out the key and took off her helmet. She then headed for the door of the tiny store.
Gas Station Store – Seconds Later
Inside the small store, the attendant, identified as Ernie by his name tag, sat with his feet up on the counter, reading a magazine not suitable for young children. He looked up as the bells above the door gave a quick jingle.
Faith walked in and strolled right up the counter. She pulled out an envelope of money and said, “Give me a pack of Parliaments, filtered.”
Ernie quickly put his magazine down on his chair and got the cigarettes. He returned to the counter and took the five dollar bill she had set down.
As he reached the register, Ernie glanced over to Faith. “Jesus Christ! What happened to your face?”
Faith ignored his question and avoided eye contact.
Ernie continued as he turned to get the cigarettes. “Are you in a gang or something?” Faith remained silent, and he placed the pack next to the register. “You know, I’m not one to criticize, but maybe you shouldn’t be smoking right now.” He opened the register, put in the five and extracted some coins. “You look terrible, and it’s a filthy habit.”
“Yeah Ernie, well, so’s reading Penthouse,” she replied, taking the Parliaments off the counter. “Keep the change,” she added, walking out without as much as a glance back at him.
Gas Station – Moments Later
Outside the store, Faith pulled the plastic packaging off her newly purchased Parliaments and plied a cigarette out with her thumb and index finger. She flipped open her lighter and carefully lit the tip. She took a long drag and exhaled slowly as she walked back to her bike.
She passed a man on the way in and stopped him.
“Can you tell me where I am?” she asked.
“Ontario,” he answered.
“Canada?” she asked, confused.
“No, Indiana,” he replied. He examined her a bit closer. “Do you feel okay? You don’t look too good, and if you’re not sure where –”
Faith held up a hand and continued to walk. “I’m fine. Thanks.”
Faith’s pocket suddenly buzzed as her phone began to vibrate. She reached into her coat and retrieved the cell, glancing down at the screen, which read, “Robin calling…”
Quickly she turned off the phone and dropped it, the cigarettes and the white envelope of money into the bag resting securely on the back of her bike.
High above her the sky gave a low rumble as several droplets of water found their way to the ground. Faith looked up at the ominous, overcast night and sighed. “Great, just what I need.”
She took another drag of her cigarette, dropped it to the pavement, and snuffed it out with her shoe. She mounted the bike, put on her helmet and started the engine.
Highway – Moments Later
The headlights of Faith’s Sabre streaked through the night as the sky poured buckets of rain upon the long stretch of highway. In the distance, a flash of lightning stretched from the sky to the ground, followed seconds later by a loud boom.
Faith brought the bike to a fast stop and looked up at the sky. “Screw this.” She quickly wheeled around and tore back in the direction she had come from.
Another bolt of lightning plunged to the earth, this time only a second out of ear shot. Faith tightened her grip on the throttle and kicked up her speed to over ninety miles per hour.
Ahead of her, the gas station lights became increasingly visible once again. She had closed to within half a mile when a final bolt of lightning came crashing down. The blue stream of energy stopped just centimeters above the small of Faith’s back. She glanced back curiously as time almost seemed to stop, just for a moment. The lightning spread outwards leaving a trail of blue energy in its wake. The energy seemed to hang over her, defying the laws of physics, until her whole body, and the motorcycle, were engulfed.
Before the boom of the thunder had finished echoing through the night air, Faith and her motorcycle vanished from the dark and rainy highway, leaving a trail of flames on the ground in front of the gas station.
Deserted City Street – Seconds Later
A brilliant flash of light erupted into the night air, seemingly out of nowhere. Faith’s motorcycle roared out of the illumination and sped onto the street. The light disappeared behind her as she tried to stop the speeding bike. The motorcycle did not respond fast enough and collided with a large sign that stood at the end of the street, throwing Faith off in the process. She landed on a patch of grass and rolled to a stop.
The motorcycle skidded to a halt a few feet away from her. Faith slowly sat up with a moan and did a quick body check. “Good thing I brought the helmet,” she mumbled as she stood up. She took off her helmet and held it for inspection; it was cracked. “Beautiful,” she said sarcastically, before tossing it over her shoulder.
Faith moved towards her bike. She cringed as she saw a series of scratches along the side. Hastily she pulled the bike upright and, after a quick sweep, started it up. The engine roared to life without any hesitation.
She mounted the motorcycle and steered it back onto the street. Once back in the lane, she stopped and looked around. “Wait a second. What happened to the highway?”
Several feet away the sign that Faith’s bike had plowed through rested on the side.
The sign read, “Welcome to Sunnydale.”
End of Teaser