Act 4

Fade In:



Cut To:


Carnegie Avenue – Continuous

A car horn blared as the vehicle swerved around Kennedy. The Council’s Lead Slayer was lying face down in the middle of a six-lane road. She noticed that her microphone was dangling at a strange angle. Removing her headset, Kennedy saw that it had broken into three pieces, connected only by wires. She dropped the device on the asphalt and got to her feet, getting her bearings.

Somewhere nearby, a car alarm was going off. Kennedy turned to look at the flaming hulks of her van and the car it had crashed into. She walked towards the burning vehicles, avoiding first one passing car, then another. The sound of a girl screaming gradually got louder and louder. Kennedy began to run. She hopped up onto the sidewalk and reached the opposite side of the van. She found Marie standing there, stock still and staring into the distance. Closer to the vehicle, Chamique, who had been the one screaming, was trying to drag something further onto the sidewalk. Denise was pulling on the African-American’s girl’s shoulder with one hand, her other arm dangling uselessly.

“The van blew up,” Marie observed, her voice strangely distant. Blood was running down the right half of her face and scorch marks marred her neck.

“Okay, everybody, roll call!” Kennedy shouted.

“We need help over here!” Chamique yelled.

Kennedy ran over to the girls, but put her hand over her mouth and turned her face away when she saw what Chamique was trying to drag away. It was Morgan.

“She’s gone,” Denise said softly.

No!!” Chamique screamed, pushing the younger slayer away. “Can I get some help?!” she yelled again.

Kennedy didn’t answer for the moment, gathering herself and walking back over to Marie.

“Is something ringing?” Marie asked. She looked confused.

“Marie, I need you right now,” Kennedy told her. “Are you here?”

“I don’t have a cell phone…”

“I know this is bad,” Kennedy said, “but you’ve gotta snap out of it. This isn’t the first time you’ve blown up one of our vans. Remember how mad I was last time?”

“Oh yeah. Are you mad now?” Marie asked, looking worried.

“No, I’m not,” Kennedy reassured her.

“Good,” Marie said, her voice still distant. Without changing tone, she continued. “Skye’s gone.”

Kennedy quickly glanced around, but found no sign of the vampire.

“Has anybody seen Skye?” she asked loudly.

“No,” Denise answered, turning away from Chamique as the other girl cradled Morgan’s body in her arms. “Maybe she’s dust.”

“Or maybe she’s running around somewhere trying to pick the lock on those handcuffs,” Kennedy said angrily. “Dammit!” she shouted.

Kennedy took a couple of deep breaths, calming herself down. “Okay,” she said, almost to herself, “we just need to stay calm. Keep our heads. We’ll work on the bomb concept, then we’ll worry about…”

“She’s over there,” Marie said, pointing.

Skye was leaning on the corner of a nearby brick building, a few singe marks on her forehead the only sign she’d just escaped being toasted. She was still wearing the handcuffs. Kennedy stared at her.

“Like you guys could ever find this thing without me,” Skye cracked. “Oh, by the way,” she continued, pointing down the street, “we’re here.”

Kennedy’s eyes followed in the direction Skye indicated. She saw the tan, futuristic mass of the local sports arena. A computerized billboard advertised an upcoming “Disney On Ice” show, above which a neon sign proclaimed the building’s name to be “The Q.”

“Oh my God,” Kennedy said, realizing. “The game.”

Cut To:


Terminal Tower – 42nd Floor – Same Time

Willow slowly dropped to her knees next to the woman behind the reception desk. The Black Ops slayers were nowhere to be seen, but Willow remained.

What’s your name?” Willow asked, her voice tremulous but friendly.

The office’s secretary wore a bright yellow blouse, against which the blood draining from her wounded arm showed bright red. “I– I’m Jessica,” she managed through gritted teeth.

“I called 9-1-1,” Willow told her, “but it might take them a while to get up here.” While she spoke, Willow ripped a sleeve off of her shirt at the elbow, then ripped it lengthwise into two. “Give me your arm, Jessica.”

The woman looked hesitant. Willow managed a small smile. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The secretary, her eyes still wary, acquiesced. Willow began to tie her sleeve around Jessica’s arm, creating a makeshift bandage. The wounded woman grimaced.

“What…” Jessica trailed off. “Who are you?”

Willow’s smile faded slightly. “It doesn’t matter,” she said quietly.

“It does to me,” the secretary gasped. Willow was putting pressure on the woman’s arm. “I deserve that, at least.”

Willow examined the woman’s face for a moment. “We’re here to protect you.”

Jessica looked shocked for a moment, then, suddenly, began to laugh. The sound was loud and rueful. Willow looked horrified.

It took a moment for the secretary to stop laughing. “Coulda fooled me,” she said.

“Me too,” Willow agreed after a moment. The sound of helicopter blades outside the window caught her attention. Willow looked towards the office’s windows. For a brief moment, they were illuminated by the lights of the Council Helicopter. Then the sound of the rotors began to fade away into the distance, and the night-time lights of downtown Cleveland returned to view.

“Isn’t that your people?” Jessica asked.

“Yes,” Willow told her.

“Then why are you still here?”

Willow seemed to consider the question for a moment before answering. 

“Because it’s not about saving myself anymore,” she said. The witch took a deep breath before continuing. “And because now I know what I have to do.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

“– tried to do a universal disarming spell?” a young watcher asked Rowena. “Would that work?”

“It might,” Rowena said, “if there was any such thing, which there isn’t.” The Council Chairwoman seemed somewhat harried. She clicked on her radio headset. “Xander, we’re well under fifteen minutes here. Can you give me an update? …Not now,” she said, holding up her hand to an older female watcher who had approached her.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – War Room – Same Time

Xander leaned back in his chair. “As you know, Jeff’s lead turned out to be a false alarm.”

“What about Black Ops?” Rowena asked.

“Marissa called in,” Xander answered. He hesitated before continuing. “It was a bust.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

“What happened?” Rowena prodded. There was silence on the other end of the line. “Xander, what happened?”

“I’ll tell you in fifteen minutes,” Xander told her, “if we’re still around.”

The blonde watcher raised an eyebrow. “Is Willow okay?”

“She’s fine,” Xander replied.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – War Room – Same Time

Xander opened his mouth to continue, but stopped when another voice came over his radio.

“This is Slayer Four to Base. We’re here now,” Heli’s voice announced. “The van is parked in front of Severance Hall. Still nothing from Andrew. D team awaits further instructions. Over.”

Xander sighed then went back to speaking to Rowena. “The other teams…well, Heli just called in, says she’s in front of Severance Hall, no leads.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

“Tell her to patrol the area, stay vigilant until…further notice,” Rowena instructed. She waited a moment for Xander to relay her message, then asked “What about Kennedy?”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – War Room – Same Time

Once again, Xander hesitated before telling her the news. “We’ve lost contact. Her radio’s gone dead.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

Rowena closed her eyes, pinching her nose between her fingers.

Xander tried to reassure her. “That could mean –”

Black Out



Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

“– any number of things.”

“I know,” Rowena nearly whispered. “I know.” She opened her eyes and spoke normally again. “I think it’s time for Jeff to try the spell.”

“It’s a little late for that, isn’t it?”

“Xander,” Rowena said firmly, “we’re not going out until we exhaust every –”

Cut To:


C Team Van – Same Time

“– are we going?” Lorinda asked.

Faith was stoically driving down a suburban street, while Jeff slumped in the passenger seat, sullenly staring out the window.

‘We’re doin’ our jobs,” Faith told her flatly.

“But what does that –” Lorinda began, but she was hurriedly shushed when the radio crackled to life.

“– Base to C Team.”

Faith adjusted the volume on her headset. “This is C Team, go ahead.”

“Rowena thinks it’s time to pull over and let Jeff do his thing.”

“I agree,” Faith said immediately. “Is that all?”

“For now,” Xander replied. “Good luck. Base out.”

Jeff turned to look at Faith. “Thanks for giving me a chance to decide for myself,” he grated.

“It’s gettin’ down to crunch-time, dude,” Faith told him. “Ya gotta put up or shut up.”

“You’re angry with me,” Jeff told her, his tone matter-of-fact.

Faith bit her lip, but then shook her head. “You know what? I am angry. I’m angry that you wasted my time, not to mention put the entire city in jeopardy, over a damn pimple!

In the backseat, Sarah’s lip was quivering. She grabbed frantically at her pants pocket.

“There’s more to it than that,” Jeff said, as Faith turned into the parking lot of a small strip-mall. “You thought that if you found the bomb, saved the day, played the hero…” Faith pulled the van into a parking space and stopped abruptly. She turned to look at Jeff.

“You thought you’d get your old job back,” he finished. Then Jeff opened his door and got out of the car. Faith stared after him for a second or two, then did the same. In the back of the van, Sarah muttered as she worked a set of rosary beads.

Cut To:


The Hot Corner – Same Time

“– a water, thanks,” Shannon told the bartender, who nodded and went about his business.

Vi, Dawn and Shannon sat forlornly on three consecutive bar stools in a high-end corner bar. Dawn leaned on one elbow, her eyes downcast.

“Does this mean we give up?” she asked.

“I guess so,” Vi replied un-enthusiastically. “You hear about Kennedy?”

“Yeah,” Dawn answered. “Hope she’s okay.”

The bartender set down a glass of water in front of Shannon. The young girl lackadaisically leaned down and took a long sip through her straw. She sighed.

“I wish I’d told Xander,” Vi said out of the blue. “I wish I’d told him…I forgive him.”

“Vi, this isn’t…” Shannon began.

“It’s okay,” Vi interrupted. “I’m…fine with it. Had to happen eventually. I just wish I’d told him, you know, actually came out and said it.”

“Didn’t you totally smooch Xander right before we left?” Dawn asked.

“Well, yeah, but lately we really haven’t talked much. Other things seemed more important, but now…”

“I think he got the message,” Dawn told her. “Seriously, don’t worry about it.” The trio was silent for a moment. Shannon absent-mindedly glanced at the Cavaliers game on the TV flickering above the bar.

“I wish I’d told her how much I appreciated everything that she did,” Dawn offered.

“Skye?” Shannon asked.

“Buffy,” Dawn clarified. “She gave up her life for me…I don’t think I ever showed her how grateful I was. I hope she isn’t too…I hope she can keep…” but Dawn choked up and couldn’t continue. She wiped the tears away from her eyes.

“She knows,” Vi assured her, putting a hand on Dawn’s back. “Of course she knows. She has to be very proud of you.”

Dawn managed a little smile. “Yeah, I guess.”

Both girls looked at Shannon, as if the younger girl was going to join in the confessional. She took another sip of her water before answering.

“I don’t have anything,” Shannon said. “I mean most of my problems are about other people sucking. I’m not terrible. Y’know, except for the possible –”

Smash Cut To:


Outside Severance Hall – Same Time

Heli’s radio headset shattered into several pieces against the side of the van, then clattered to the ground, leaving a small dent in its wake from the sheer force of the blow.

Poika ita sotkea!” Heli yelled at the top of her lungs, still following through from her angry throw.

“Do you know how much each of those costs?” Andrew asked. Heli shot him a hostile look. He quickly held up his hands defensively. “It’s a good thing we have plenty of them already, isn’t it?”

“Nobody on the other end, huh?” Marly asked. “So what do we do now?”

“I don’t know!” Heli shouted. “I don’t know.”

“Well, we have to do something,” her roommate pushed. “In, what, six, seven minutes the whole city’s gonna be incinerated, right?”

“I am aware of that,” Heli grated sarcastically, “thank you.”

“So what’s our incineration prevention plan?” Marly continued.

“Do you want to be in charge?” Heli asked angrily.

“Maybe I should be,” Marly said. “You’ve been saying this whole time how you can’t handle it.”

Andrew interceded between the two slayers. “Whoa, guys, let’s take a step back, before anybody says something they…”

“Maybe you’d be better off if you spent some time in the real world instead of sitting on your ass studying and playing Chinese Checkers every night!” Marly spat.

“…regret,” Andrew finished.

“It’s called Go!” Heli yelled. “Maybe you would be in command if you didn’t spend so much time chasing boys!”

“You’re just jealous because you’re too much of a tight-ass to get laid!”

Heli’s response was to punch Marly in the mouth, sending the other slayer to her knees.

“Guys!” Andrew pleaded. Marly slowly righted herself, one hand to her lip, where a trickle of blood was now visible.

“You want a piece of this?” Marly asked, raising her fist to strike, but she was grabbed simultaneously by three of the other slayers on D Team and dragged backwards before she could deliver the punch. Another slayer, Alisa, joined Andrew in stepping in front of Heli.

“Let me go!” Marly was shouting, trying to break her arm away from Zoe’s grip. “She deserves it! Let me go!”

Jahka I-Kirjain olen valmis, te jälkisäädös olla edellä!” Heli shouted back. “Te kuulla we? Edellä, te naida letukka!

As Marly furiously tried to throw off the slayers holding her back, Andrew turned to the Australian girl next to him.

“This isn’t going to end like in the movies, is it?”

Cut To:


Outside “The Q” – Same Time

The sheer wall of the sports arena rose above the small group until it reached the building’s modernistic roof. Kennedy, Marie, Denise and Skye gazed upwards, looking smaller than usual.

“It’s up there?” Kennedy asked.

“Yep,” Skye told her.

“Okay,” Kennedy sighed.

“Should we have left Chamique back there?” Denise asked.

“Someone had to stay and try to get the radio to work,” Kennedy told her, not moving her eyes from the high edge of the arena.

“I just mean, should we have left her alone after…?” Denise trailed off.

“I hate to be the devil’s advocate here,” Marie said, “but how are we supposed to get up there and defuse this thing in…” She checked her watch.

Black Out



Cut To:


Outside “The Q” – Continuous

“– four minutes,” Marie finished.

Kennedy didn’t reply. Instead she leaned down and unbuttoned a pocket on the side of her jeans. She pulled out a small black device, shaped like a gun. She stepped forward and pointed the device skyward, pulling the trigger. A long black cable shot upwards until its end disappeared over the edge of the roof.

Kennedy waited a moment before pulling on the end of the cable to test whether it had caught. Finding it sturdy enough, she grabbed the cable with her other hand and braced her weight against the side of the building. She hesitated and glanced back at the others.

“Watch her.” Kennedy motioned to Skye. “I’ll see you guys when I get back.” With that, she began to climb

For a moment, Marie, Denise and Skye just watched as their team leader ascended the wall with incredible speed.

“I guess it’s down to her, then,” Marie commented quietly.

Skye grunted. “Yeah. That’ll end well.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time

Red emergency lights illuminated Xander’s face as he ran down a Council hallway. An alarm was sounding, a loud, rhythmic buzz. Several people passed him, also at a run, in the opposite direction.

“All personnel, please report to designated shelter areas. This is not a drill,” repeated a preternaturally calm female voice. It might have been Tracey’s. “All personnel, please report to designated shelter areas. This is not a drill.”

Xander skidded to a stop outside the library, then burst through the swinging doors. “Ro!” he yelled, but she was nowhere to be seen. “Rowena?”

Rowena was in another part of the library, looking frantically through a pile of books on a table.

“Come on,” she muttered. “Where is it?”

“There you are,” Xander exclaimed, relieved, as he rounded the nearest set of shelves.

“I can’t find it!” Rowena told him, sounding upset.

“Find what?”

She didn’t answer, instead beginning to search through another pile.

“You have to get to the basement bunker,” Xander told her. “We can’t afford to lose you, too.”

We are not going to lose anyone!!!” Rowena screamed, slamming down the books she had in her hand. She struggled to catch her breath, her face red under the dim emergency lights.

“We did everything right,” she said evenly.

“I know,” Xander reassured her.

“Here it is,” Rowena said quietly. The Opus Obscurum was sitting on top of the next pile of books.

“Are you gonna come with me now, or do I have to get out the ice cream and lure you into my trap?” Xander asked with a half-smile.

Rowena tucked the Opus under her arm and nodded. “Let’s –”

Cut To:


“The Q” Roof – Same Time

With a grunt, Kennedy finished pulling herself up onto the roof of the arena, collapsing for a moment from the effort.

“Hello,” said a soft, female voice. Kennedy shot to her feet, grabbing a large dagger from inside her coat.

Not far away stood a small, young-looking female Molna, her skin pale and her hair tied into knots, like the demon that had blown up Kennedy’s van. She wore a flowing gray dress, its folds blowing in a sudden wind, and her hands were folded as if in prayer. She bowed slightly in Kennedy’s direction.

At the Molna girl’s feet sat a small, simple wooden box.

“You’re not what I expected,” Kennedy said. “You’re a little…young.”

“You have no way of knowing how old I am,” the girl said, her tone friendly. “Or of knowing anything about me. But I know about you.”

“Really?” Kennedy asked sarcastically.

“I do,” the girl insisted quietly. “We’re not so very different, you and I.”

“Not so very different?” Kennedy mocked. “I’m a slayer, you’re a terrorist. I protect people, you kill them. I think you got your knots crossed. And I’m running out of time.” She took a step forward.

“I wonder what the Canadian girls would say about your Council’s protection,” the girl said. “I wonder what the reporter would say, if he could remember it. I think of my Grandfather, and I wonder what those atop the spire would say.”

“What spire?”

“It is of little consequence,” the girl continued calmly. “I see my family dying from malnutrition, when I can remember when we had so many chickens that we had eggs to decorate at Kal’Bak. I must do what I can to protect them, just as you do what you can to protect those you love.”

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t kill you?” Kennedy asked. “I shouldn’t stop you?”

“You will do as you must, just as I do,” the girl replied. “That is all anyone ever does. The difference is that I will become one with Vak’Nesh, while you will spend an eternity tortured by your own mind. I see with a clarity you wish for in your deepest dreams.”

Kennedy lunged forward, grabbed the girl, and thrust the dagger into her stomach. The girl gasped and slowly turned her head, her wide eyes staring unquestioningly into Kennedy’s.

“Did you see this?” Kennedy asked.

“Yes,” the girl told her softly. “I am…Molna.”

The demon girl collapsed to the arena roof. Her body was still. Kennedy looked down at her for a split second, studying her almost human face.

Then she hurriedly knelt down in front of the wooden box the girl had been guarding, opening its lid carefully. Her breath caught when she saw the contents.

Wires of several different colors filled the box, along with a few exotic-looking leaves. Many of the wires led into an anachronistically modern LED display, like one would see on a clock radio. It read “00:00:41”, and it was counting down.


Cut To:


The Hot Corner – Same Time

Shannon smiled at Dawn, motioning up at the TV over the bar. “LeBron’s having some game, isn’t he?”

Vi put her cell phone up to her ear. “Hi, Angie. I thought I’d call…no, nothing’s wrong. I’m not allowed to call my sister?…Well, I just…” Her voice broke. “I just wanted to hear your voice.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Vault – Same Time

“– know how much time, exactly?” Jackson asked, as Rowena shut the vault door behind her with a loud clang. She held the Opus Obscurum in her free hand.

“No,” Markham told him. “We don’t know anything.”

Robin and Xander, who had already entered, both nodded to Rowena. She returned the gesture.

Cut To:


Suburban Strip Mall Parking Lot – Same Time

Within a hastily drawn sacred circle, Faith held an unmoving, shirtless Jeff in her arms. She took his pulse with one hand.

“Is he okay?” asked a genuinely panicked Lorinda in a distraught voice. “Is he…is he dead?”

Faith looked up at her charge. “Does it really matter to you? I thought all you cared about was yourself?”

Cut To:


Terminal Tower Observation Deck – Same Time

Willow leaned over the railing, looking at the lights of the city spread out below her. Her red hair unfurled behind her expressionless face in the cold wind.

Cut To:


“The Q” Roof – Same Time

The clock now read “00:00:11”. Kennedy grabbed first one wire, then the next, trying to figure out which one was correct.

As the clock’s countdown continued, Kennedy took a step back and closed her eyes. The same wind that had caught Willow atop the Terminal Tower now reddened the slayer’s cheeks. The clock was at six seconds, then five, then four, then three.

Kennedy turned her attention back to the wooden box and swiftly disconnected a light blue wire from the clock at the center. The countdown stopped, the clock stuck at “00:00:01.”

Kennedy began to let out a relieved breath.

Black Out



Fade Out

Fade In:


Elapsed Time: 00:59:23

Black Out



End of 59:23


Next on Watchers…

Willow and Rowena reach a crossroads and must come to terms with the differences in their perspectives on both life and the Council.


Click here to read “Skin Deep” now!