Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist, Alicia Silverstone as Heli and Rachel Hurd-Wood as Lorinda
Watchers Council – Hallway – Morning
With a confident stride, Rowena marched down the apartment hallway swinging a tan file folder in her right hand. As she passed the half-opened door to Kennedy’s apartment, Rowena grinned at the sight of Marsha the dragon perched on the end of the sofa watching, through the sliding-glass door, a pair of birds flying in and out of a large oak tree.
Continuing down the hall, Rowena slowed as she passed Faith and Robin’s apartment, where the muffled sounds of The Who could be heard coming from the crack at the bottom of the door, before coming to a complete stop in front of Willow’s door. She raised her arm to knock but stopped it mid-motion. Uncertainty washed over Rowena’s face as she stood still at the entrance to the apartment.
Suddenly the hall filled with the sound of electric guitar as the adjacent door opened and Faith stepped out. She came up short upon spotting Rowena. The two stood awkwardly for a moment until Rowena finally spoke.
“‘Won’t Get Fooled Again?'”
Faith shook her head. “‘Baba O’Riley’…it helps dull the pain.” She closed the door behind her, cutting off the music, and pointed down the hall. “I, uh, was just going to ask Ken if she wanted to get breakfast.” There were several more seconds of awkwardness. “So I guess I’ll see you later.” She turned and put her hand on the door.
“Faith,” Rowena called. The slayer turned back, but Rowena hesitated, as if unsure what to say. “I…I just wanted to say that everything that’s happened…Faith, you have to believe no one here wanted this.”
Faith let out a deep sigh. “Ro, you don’t have to…”
“Just hear me out,” Rowena insisted. “Please.” Faith slowly nodded, allowing her to continue. “We can figure something out. Find a way for you to stay on. Just…please don’t leave again. We need you. Hell, you’re the best slayer I’ve ever worked with.”
“I heard that!” Kennedy yelled through her open apartment door.
Faith lowered her head and gave a silent laugh. “Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. My guy lives here, after all, so that means so do I. I guess I’ll just have to figure out where I fit in now.” She grinned. “Or find some really good dirt on Ken so I can boss her around again.”
“I heard that too!” Kennedy yelled again.
Rowena allowed herself to smile. “I promise I’ll do all I can. I am really sorry about all this.”
Faith sighed and leaned against the wall next to her apartment. “Don’t be. I brought it on myself. Plus, things could be worse. I’m not dead. I’m still a slayer, and my sex life’s never been better.”
Rowena looked uncomfortable. “That’s a good attitude.” She paused for a moment. “I did want to ask you something.”
Faith looked over. “Sure.”
“Would you mind sitting in on the meeting this morning? I’ve got an announcement to make and, official part of the Council or not, I’d really like you to hear it.”
“Everything okay?” Faith asked, her expression now one of concern.
“Yeah, everything’s fine. I just wanted to make sure you were included, and I don’t give a damn what anyone at another branch has to say about it. It’s still my Division and I can have whoever I please there.”
Faith smiled. “Yeah, sure, I’ll be there.”
Rowena returned the smile. “Great. I was going to make sure Kennedy was there too, but I’m sure she can hear me now, since she’s eavesdropping.”
“I’ll be there,” Kennedy shouted, making Faith and Rowena grin.
“So I guess I’ll see you later,” Rowena said to Faith and then turned, continuing down the hall. After passing three doors she stopped and walked back towards Faith, who was still leaning against the wall. Faith looked up curiously. Rowena held up her folder uncomfortably and pointed to Willow’s door.
“I actually came up here to talk to Willow.”
Faith quickly stepped away from the wall. “Okay, I’ll get out of your hair.” With that, the slayer moved down the hall towards Kennedy’s door. As she turned to enter the room, Faith stopped when she saw Rowena still standing at Willow’s door. She watched for a moment as Rowena stood with her arm raised and a hesitant look on her face.
“Something wrong?” Faith called.
Startled by Faith’s words, Rowena looked over quickly. “What? I…no, I was just about to knock.” She turned back to the door and hesitated again.
A smirk crept across Faith’s face and she crossed her arms. “Uh huh.”
“No, I’m going to do it,” Rowena answered quickly. “I am…right now.”
“So things are still shaky with Willow,” Faith said wisely.
“Is it that obvious?”
Faith uncrossed her arms and moved towards Willow’s door. “Here, I’ll help you out.” As she reached the door Faith raised her arm to knock.
“No!” Rowena exclaimed. She quickly grabbed Faith’s arm and pulled it backward forcefully. The resulting motion forced Faith’s arm back into her face. Rowena gasped and put her hand over her mouth as Faith doubled over in pain, clutching her nose.
“Ohhh! Faith, I’m so sorry.”
“Nice shot.” Faith groaned, as she pinched the bridge of her nose. “Is it bleeding?”
Rowena placed a hand on Faith’s shoulder and examined her injury. “No, it doesn’t look that bad…just a few drops,” she muttered.
“Damn, girl. Let’s put you on patrol,” Faith teased. Rowena continued to wince.
“Let me see,” Rowena said. She cupped Faith’s face and raised it slightly just as the door to Willow’s apartment opened.
“Is someone out…”
The witch trailed off as she took in the scene. Her eyes spotted Rowena’s hand on Faith’s shoulder while the other hand held her face, with only inches between them.
Quickly, Rowena removed her hands from Faith and said, “It’s not what you think!”
An awkward silence swept over the hall until Faith finally spoke.
“I’ll leave you two to talk.” She turned and walked down the hall. “Wonder if Ken’s got some tissues or cotton balls?”
Both Rowena and Willow watched Faith disappear into Kennedy’s apartment, closing the door behind her.
“Did you need something?” Willow asked, in a tone of pure professionalism.
“Yeah,” the watcher answered softly, making eye contact with Willow. “Have you got a few minutes? There’s something I need to tell you.”
“Ro, if it’s about us, I really don’t want to…”
“Please,” Rowena begged. “Just five minutes and then I’ll go.”
After a few seconds, Willow nodded and beckoned Rowena inside the apartment.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Seconds Later
Willow closed the door and turned to face Rowena, who was standing uncomfortably in the middle of the living room.
“So what’s up?” Willow asked, her tone still very stiff.
Rowena looked down at the sofa and paused for a moment, as if considering whether to sit down or not. Looking very tense, she took a deep breath, turned to face Willow, and then began. “As of ten this morning, I’m announcing my resignation as head of the Watchers Division.”
Willow’s expression quickly shifted to one of confusion.
“What?” Her tone softened and she took several steps towards Rowena and began to stammer. “A-Are you leaving the Council? Leaving Cleveland?”
“No,” Rowena said quickly. “I’m not leaving the Council, or Cleveland. I just…”
“Here, sit down,” Willow said, motioning to the sofa. They both moved over and sat down. “I don’t understand. What are you going to do if you resign?”
Rowena took a deep breath and relaxed her posture a bit. “I’m not sure, exactly. I was thinking of taking on a new slayer. Maybe getting back into the field. Maybe research. I’m not sure yet, but being head of the Watchers Division isn’t an option.”
Willow’s expression bordered somewhere between compassion and uncertainty. “This is all…what made you decide this?”
“I’m surprised you have to ask,” Rowena answered. Willow looked confused. “It was you.”
“What?” Willow replied. “Me?”
“It’s clear that I can’t keep this job and still be with you.” Rowena paused. “So I’ve made a choice.” She leaned in closer to Willow, making sure to catch her eye. “I want to be with you…that is, if you’ll still have me.” Willow remained silent. “I didn’t expect an answer right away. I’m just asking you to consider it.”
Willow leaned back against the sofa and frowned. “But what if the answer is no?”
Rowena squared her shoulders. “Then I’ll accept it, but my decision to leave the position won’t change,” she answered. There was a moment of awkwardness. “I should get going. I’ve got to meet –”
“Ro, wait.” Willow grabbed her hand to stop her. “I’m going to need some time. So I guess my answer is…maybe. There are still things…” She paused, as if unsure how to explain.
“I know,” Rowena replied in a reassuring tone. “You feel betrayed. Some of it’s imagined and, well, some of it’s not. So I don’t expect you to welcome me with open arms. What I’m asking for is the possibility.” She smiled as she looked down at Willow’s hand, which was still tightly wrapped around her own.
“Can I say maybe?” Willow asked.
“I can live with maybe.” Rowena grinned slightly. There was a small, less awkward moment of silence. “I’m planning on nominating a replacement at the meeting this morning, so I’d like you there.”
Willow looked up curiously. “You found someone already?” she asked, as both women moved to their feet.
“Well, let’s just say I managed to convince someone to un-retire, and they’re upstairs waiting right now.”
Willow stood up quickly. “You’re kidding!”
With a grin, Rowena gave an innocent shrug before moving towards the door. Willow followed quickly behind her.
“Hey, wait for me!”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
Rowena strolled down the hallway, still holding the folder, with Willow right at her side. Willow spoke excitedly, “I can’t believe it. How did you convince him to come back? What did you tell him?”
“I’m not saying a thing,” Rowena teased. “You’ll just have to wait. And besides, did I say it was Giles?”
Willow stopped in her tracks, causing Rowena to stop as well. Willow pointed a finger at Rowena. “It’s gotta be Giles, right?”
Rowena rolled her eyes and continued down the hall.
Willow watched her. “Is that a yes?” She quickly ran off to catch up.
Watchers Council – Rowena’s Office – Moments Later
“I knew it!” Willow shouted. She rushed into Rowena’s office toward a very surprised Giles, who was sitting on the corner of the desk. She quickly pulled him into an enormous hug. “Oh Giles, welcome back.” She held him tightly for several seconds as Rowena approached from behind her.
“Air please,” Giles begged with a raspy, oxygen-deprived sort of voice. Willow immediately released him and looked up apologetically. He took a deep breath and said, “Thank you. But I am not taking up my old post.”
“You’re not?” she said dejectedly. “Well, then who…”
With a cough, Buffy made her presence known from her place in the corner. She put down the small statue she’d been examining near the table. She gave Willow a small wave. Rowena took position beside Willow.
“Buffy!” Willow said, with an expression of astonishment. “What are you doing here? Do you know who…” She stopped mid-sentence. “Oh.” She quickly looked from Buffy to Giles to Rowena, who were all smiling. “Oh!” Suddenly her brow furrowed. “But you’re not a watcher.” Buffy looked shocked. Willow turned to Rowena. “She’s not a watcher,” she repeated.
“Boy, the lack of enthusiasm is overwhelming,” Buffy quipped. “I can just imagine how the rest of the gang is going to take it.”
Willow quickly rebounded. “No! There’s enthuse here. I’m just…confused.” She gave a small, desperate laugh, as Buffy crossed her arms.
Rowena spoke up. “Yes, it is true that Buffy isn’t a watcher, but there are a lot of reasons why I asked her.” The slayer, the witch and the elder watcher all turned to Rowena with looks that begged her to continue. Rowena quickly caught on. “Which I will explain in detail at the meeting.” She checked her watch. “The one we are all going to be late for if we don’t hurry up.”
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Same Time
Xander and Dawn stepped through the double doors of the conference room in mid conversation. “…and she didn’t say anything to you either?” Dawn asked.
“She did not,” he replied, as he pulled out a chair for her near the middle of the table. Across from them sat Robin and Faith, who were quietly conversing. “She would have said something if it was important, though.”
Faith looked up. “Talking about the meeting?” Xander nodded and she continued. “Well, I talked to Ro this morning. She said everything was cool.”
“What’s cool?” Kennedy asked as she took a seat next to Xander, dropping a crossword puzzle in front of her.
“Apparently everything,” Faith said, snatching the crossword from Kennedy.
Dawn leaned forward and looked down the table towards Kennedy. “Rowena stopped Xander and me this morning and asked us to sit in on the meeting.”
“Did she say why?” Kennedy asked.
“Nope…” Faith added as she looked down at the puzzle. “Hey, anyone know who played Bones in Star Trek. Deforest something…”
“Kelly,” Xander answered immediately. “K-E-L-L-Y.”
“That’s only five letters,” Faith said, counting the boxes. “I need six.”
“It’s spelled K-E-L-L-E-Y,” Andrew called from the doorway. He took a seat at the end of the table closest to the door and looked over to Xander. “Don’t worry about it, it is a common mistake.”
“Hold on,” Kennedy said, turning to Andrew. “Did Rowena ask you here too?”
Andrew nodded. “Yeah, when she stopped by for coffee this morning.”
Dawn looked uncomfortable. “Something is definitely up.”
“I’m not sure we should be speculating just yet,” Robin said in a calm voice. “It’s been a while since we’ve all touched base. She probably just wants an update from every…” He trailed off when he saw Willow and Giles enter together. Willow whispered something to Giles as they took seats at the head of the table. Robin looked as if he was at a loss for words.
“Can we speculate now?” Kennedy asked, eyeing the room’s newest occupants.
“Sorry I’m late everyone,” Rowena said as she entered the room, closing the double doors behind her. All eyes focused on her as she moved to the head of the table and placed a large green binder and a tan file folder down on the table. She picked up the gavel and brought the meeting to order with two loud bangs. “I call this meeting to order.” She paused slightly before continuing. “I know you’re all probably wondering why I called you here today, so I’ll just get right to it.” She opened the folder and took a deep breath. “As of this morning, I will be resigning as Head Watcher.”
Ignoring the shocked expressions on the faces of everyone except Willow and Giles, Rowena continued. “So as my last official motion, I would like to nominate my replacement –”
“Whoa!” Robin said from his place beside Faith. “Is this a joke? You’re not serious.”
“Completely,” Rowena replied. At this, there was a surge of chatter from the center of the table, as everyone began to speak at once. “Hey!” Rowena called out, regaining order. “I know this might come as a surprise to some of you, but trust me when I say this was a long time coming.”
“Ro, are you sure about this?” Robin said, in almost a pleading tone.
“Yes, I am,” she answered calmly. “And I promise that I will explain my reasons to you.” She looked up. “And anyone else who would like to know. But for right now, I’d like to get the issue of my replacement settled. So if you’ll all allow me, I would like to make a nomination.” Rowena looked over to Robin, who thought for a moment before nodding. The rest of the room followed in turn.
“Who did you have in mind?” Kennedy asked, leaning back in her chair.
Rowena took a deep breath and looked down the length of the table. “Andrew…”
“I object!!” Kennedy bellowed as she leapt from her chair.
Faith raised her hand. “I know I don’t get a vote, but I object too because…Well, actually, I don’t think I need to explain why.”
“Ditto,” Robin added from his seat next to Faith.
Rowena glanced over at Willow, who had her hand over her mouth, fighting to contain a fit of giggles. Next to her, Giles was sporting a rather large grin. Rowena smiled and looked at Andrew, who had a horrified look on his face.
“Andrew.” She paused. “Would you mind opening the door so she can come in?”
“She?” Kennedy asked, looking between Andrew and Rowena. A look of understanding spread across her face. “Oh.” She sat back down. “Sorry, my bad.”
Andrew looked a lot less horrified and released the breath he’d been holding. He stood up and left the room. Seconds later, he returned with Buffy on his heels.
No one said a word. All eyes followed Buffy as she walked to the front of the room and took the seat next to Willow. Rowena took several sheets from her folder and began.
“I hereby nominate Buffy Summers to take up the post of…”
“But she’s not a watcher,” Faith blurted out. She looked up to see everyone staring. “Uh, sorry, just thinkin’ out loud.”
Kennedy raised a hand and shifted her gaze from Faith to Buffy to Rowena. “Can we call a recess?”
Rowena, looking a little bit disappointed, glanced over at Buffy, who was already standing up.
“I know some of you were probably surprised to see me come through the door, and to be perfectly honest, I was just as surprised when Rowena first called me.” She paused. “But right now, we’re just voting to discuss the nomination.”
The room was silent as Buffy took her seat once again. Rowena spoke, “There is now a motion on the table to discuss the nomination of Buffy Summers as my replacement. Are all divisions ready to vote?”
Rowena looked over at Willow, who nodded quickly. The watcher then turned to Kennedy, who pursed her lips nervously. She leaned across the table and shared a few whispered phrases with Faith, who nodded as the younger slayer spoke. They parted and both sat back in their chairs. Kennedy straightened her back and spoke very clearly. “The Slayer Division is ready to vote.”
Rowena picked up the gavel. “All in favor of the nomination discussion say ‘aye’.”
Willow, Rowena and Kennedy all said “Aye” in unison.
“The motion has passed,” Rowena continued. “I will now address questions that any of you may…” She looked up to see Faith already raising her hand. “Yes, Faith?”
“Why her?” Faith began. She crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair.
“Yeah,” Dawn added. “I finally have a life of my own, my own slayer. I love Buffy and I love having her visit, don’t get me wrong, but I love having her visit, not stay. And now she’s not only my sister, but my boss too.”
“Dawn, how often have we talked about your assignment since you’ve been given to Shannon?” Rowena asked.
Dawn muttered, “Once.”
“Thank you. Your work life won’t be greatly affected by Buffy’s presence,” Rowena replied. “Next issue,” she added.
“If you were gonna choose a non-watcher to be the boss, why didn’t you ask one of us?” Faith asked. “Yeah, I know I got kicked out and all, but still…what about Kennedy? Or Robin? I mean he is a watcher.” She looked from Rowena to Buffy. “No offense B, but you’ve been gone a long time. I guess this just seems like we’re…”
“…back in Sunnydale,” Kennedy finished.
“…again,” Dawn mumbled.
“To be perfectly honest,” Rowena began, “I didn’t think any of you would want the job.” She looked around the table. “Would you?”
“Oh, hell no,” Faith said quickly. “But it’s the principle of the thing.”
Rowena smiled. “Okay, Faith. Next time a job opens up that I know you would never in a million years take, come hell or high water, I’ll be sure to offer it to you first.”
“Good,” Faith replied with a nod.
“Well, what about me?” Robin said, looking both hurt and confused. Everyone quickly turned their attention to him. “Nothing against Buffy in the slightest, but it’s no secret that I can’t exactly go into the field anymore. And with my past experience, I think I fit pretty well with the job description. Did you even consider asking me?”
Rowena’s face fell. “Robin, of course I thought of you.” She sighed and looked around the table. “It’s no secret what this job did to my personal life.” Willow shifted uncomfortably in her chair. “And that’s a big part of why I’ve decided to resign.” She turned back to Robin. “I didn’t want to put you in that same position, because I’m sure we’ll find some way to have Faith reinstated…”
“What makes you so sure?” Faith asked.
“Because I believe in you, and I’m not going to quit until you are,” Rowena answered, “which is yet another reason why stepping down is a good idea. I’ll have more time to devote to your dismissal-of-service appeal. Besides, Robin, I wouldn’t wish this job on my worst enemy, and especially someone I consider such a close friend as you.”
Now it was Buffy’s turn to look uncomfortable. “Gee, thanks a lot?”
Rowena looked horrified. “Oh…I didn’t mean it like that…You see, having a romantic couple as the division heads –”
“It’s alright,” Buffy said with a smile, cutting her ramble short. “I was just kidding. I understand where you’re coming from.”
With a relieved smile Rowena continued. “Well, moving on, you all know Buffy’s record. She spent over seven years as an active slayer and averted eight separate apocalypses, not including helping out with a few of our own.”
“Was it really eight?” Xander asked. He began muttering various events and counting on his fingers.
“I thought there were more than that,” Dawn added, as she began counting them herself. “Are we counting the one with Adam? Because he wasn’t really trying to destroy the world. Just start a demon war.”
“Yes, but there’s no telling how far the demon war would have spread if we hadn’t gotten involved,” Xander replied.
“Right, so we have to assume it wasn’t a real apocalypse,” Dawn argurddd. “Otherwise you could say I saved Kennedy’s life this morning when I gave Marsha a snausage because she might have gone on a murderous rampage since she was so hungry.”
“Wait a minute.” Kennedy interjected. “Marsha would never attack me. Faith, maybe, but never me.”
“Whoa!” Faith said quickly. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. That dragon loves me.” Soon both she and Kennedy were arguing, as Robin tried to play mediator.
At the same time Dawn, Xander and Andrew entered a debate over the validity of various apocalypses.
From the head of the table Rowena called for order. “Hey!” If anything, her attempt only made all parties speak louder. Faith and Kennedy were now standing, looking ready to spar a few rounds. Then Rowena jumped as three deafening bangs shook the table. All conversation ceased as everyone turned to see Buffy holding the gavel. She placed it down in front of a grateful Rowena.
“Right,” Rowena began. “We seem to have gotten a little bit off topic, so I’ll bring my point to a close by saying that we all know Ms. Summers can do the job. Her record shows that. I know some of you are thinking, as Faith accurately pointed out a few moments ago, that she isn’t a watcher. That is true. But I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing. Recently, our division heads have had some trouble…resolving certain internal conflicts.” She avoided Willow’s eyes. “Maybe this type of change is just the thing we need to help bridge the gaps in our leadership, to start communicating like we’re supposed to. I was formally trained in the ways of the Old Guard.”
“And look what happened to them,” Faith muttered.
“Exactly,” Rowena replied. “And although I might not be as rigid as Travers or Tyrell – Kennedypleasenotaword,” she added quickly, before the slayer could say anything. Kennedy began to grin silently, but let her continue. “I’ve got a ways to go when it comes to ‘standard procedures.’ Buffy and Giles did just fine on their own, without Old Guard interference. I think if anyone here can bring about a new Council order, that person is Buffy, with continued limited assistance from Giles. The bottom line is, we need all divisions to work together.” Rowena paused for a moment before looking over at Buffy. “Would you like to say anything?”
Buffy grinned. “What, and steal your thunder? No thanks. Plus I’m not big on speeches.” From across the room, Faith let out a loud chuckle.
“As you all know the vote to replace a Council Head must be unanimous.” Rowena’s eyes fell on Kennedy, who seemed deep in thought. “Are we ready to vote?”
Willow nodded immediately, but Rowena wasn’t looking at her. Her gaze was still fixed on Kennedy, who hadn’t moved a muscle. “Kennedy?”
With a look of deep concentration, Kennedy turned to the head of the table. “Yeah,” she replied with a slow nod.
Rowena returned the gesture and spoke once more to the whole room. “There is a motion on the table to elect Ms. Buffy Summers as Head Watcher of the Cleveland Branch of the Watchers Council. Robin?” She turned in his direction. “As my second-in-command, I won’t vote yes unless we’re in agreement.”
Robin took a moment, but eventually nodded his head. “Then I say yes.”
Rowena smiled gratefully. “The Watchers Division votes in favor of the appointment. How does the Coven vote?”
“The Coven votes in favor,” Willow replied almost immediately.
“So then I guess that just leaves the Slayer Division,” Kennedy said looking very uncomfortable. “I guess I vote –”
“Rowena,” Giles said, quickly cutting off Kennedy’s answer. “Could I request a five minute recess?”
Rowena looked down at him incredulously. “Giles, what? We’re in the middle of a vote.”
“I understand that, but this can’t wait,” he replied calmly. “Just five minutes, please.”
Rowena looked down the table at Kennedy, who looked equally as confused. Slowly, she took the gavel from Buffy and banged it on the table. “We’ll recess for five minutes.”
Immediately, Giles rose from his seat and moved towards Kennedy. As he approached he lowered his head to her ear and whispered, “Would you please come with me?” He stepped back and headed for the door.
Kennedy paused for a moment before following him out.
Watchers Council – Rowena’s Office – Moments Later
Kennedy entered the room and closed the door behind her. Turning to face Giles, she still looked quite perplexed. “Why did you do that?”
Giles leaned against the side of Rowena’s desk, removed his glasses and began cleaning them. “You were going to vote yes, weren’t you?”
Kennedy paused. “I was, but how did you know that?”
“You looked a bit…apprehensive.” He held up a hand to keep her from objecting and then replaced the glasses on his nose. “I only mean that you seemed rushed. I was worried that maybe you felt pressured to make a decision immediately.”
“Wait, I’m confused,” Kennedy said, crossing her arms. “I thought you wanted Buffy to be voted in. Isn’t that why you came?”
“Kennedy, I came here today in support of the Council and all its members, which includes you,” he began. “You’re a very good leader, which you’ve proved these last few months. However, acting effectively in battle is a great deal different than acting effectively as a decision maker in a boardroom. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
“Yeah, I get it. You’re saying that there’s no timer ticking down, so I should think out all my decisions and not do what I think you all want me to do,” Kennedy answered. Giles nodded and she continued. “Then can I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” he replied.
“Giles, how can I vote for a slayer to replace a watcher? I mean isn’t that kind of a conflict of interest? Wouldn’t that give the Slayer Division more power?” She thought for a moment. “Suddenly wondering why I’m objecting, ’cause this helps me.”
Giles smiled at her comment. “Well, I can’t say I know what it is like to be a slayer,” he replied. “But you do. And as a watcher, I can say that I’ve cared greatly for my slayers. So, could you see yourself switching roles?”
Kennedy sat down next to Giles on the end of Rowena’s desk. “Well, I guess I could. I mean I already spend most of my day bossing around slayers.”
“And is that all that a watcher does? Boss around slayers?”
Kennedy grinned. “No, I just meant I’m used to giving orders, looking after the girls. And watchers…they’re tacticians. They look at all the angles and form plans of action that slayers carry out. They research things that will work…Actually, it’s kinda what you and Buffy did when she was just the Chosen One, or one of the Chosen Two, as Faith would point out.”
“And what about you? You have these same skills, I’d say…Could you look over the Watchers Division, if need be?”
“I’d be open to listening to the concerns of the other divisions, ’cause we all have to work together.” Slowly she looked up to face Giles, her face very serious. “I think I’m ready to vote.”
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Moments Later
“Kennedy?” Rowena asked, gavel in hand. “How does the Slayers Division vote?”
All eyes fell on Kennedy, who looked a great deal more confident. “The Slayers Division votes yes.”
Rowena couldn’t help but smile as she pounded the gavel on the table and said, “Motion passes.” Immediately the room filled with the sound of cheering and clapping. Rowena set down the gavel, rose from her seat and backed away from her chair, offering it to Buffy.
Buffy rose from her place next to Willow and took the seat Rowena had vacated. The blonde slayer picked up the gavel and instinctively twirled it around with her fingers. “Not exactly a mystical scythe, but I think I can get used to this.” Both Willow and Giles smiled at her comment.
As the applause died down, Rowena took the now empty seat adjacent to Willow and pushed both the green binder and tan file folder towards Buffy.
“This is what you might call the CliffsNotes version you’ll need to get yourself started – Council procedures, guidelines and personnel.” Buffy’s eyes widened as she opened the green binder, which appeared to hold several hundred pages of text.
“Get me started?”
“Yeah, that just covers the basics,” Rowena explained. “There are several more volumes for specific situational procedures, a lot more on Council policy and a few that our lawyers sent over so we don’t get sued,” she answered, taking no notice of the horrified look on Buffy’s face. “You won’t need to worry about that green binder just yet, though. The tan one is for this meeting. You’ll find the first page details the standard talking points for each of our meetings.”
With a dull thud, Buffy closed the binder and pushed it aside. She opened the tan folder and read the first page. “Okay, so the first item says we hear from the three divisions.” Buffy looked up. “What say you, divisions?”
Kennedy and Willow exchanged a look. “Umm…I guess I’ll start,” Willow began, and Buffy looked on attentively. “The Coven has nothing new to report.”
“Slayers Division?” Buffy asked.
“Well, last night Heli’s team found a body out on Woodbine Avenue,” Kennedy answered, taking a folded piece of paper out of her pocket. She opened it up and examined the print. “She called in a retrieval team at 11:23pm and accompanied them back to Dr. Miller for autopsy, because the wounds looked ‘demonic in nature’.”
“Is that her report?” Buffy asked, eyeing the paper.
Kennedy nodded. “Yup.”
“Can I get a copy of it after the meet…” Buffy trailed off when she saw Rowena waving her hand, as if she wanted to speak.
“There’s actually a copy in your folder,” the blond watcher said.
Buffy shuffled around a few pages and found the report. “Right. Okay, great. Thank you Kennedy.” She examined the paper and continued speaking. “Do we know when the autopsy will be finished?”
“It’s already finished,” Robin answered, holding up a sheet of paper he had placed on a yellow legal pad in front of him. “Dr. Miller sent it out this morning.”
Once again, Buffy rummaged through the tan folder and found the desired page. “Got it!” She examined the page, which was completely covered in small font text. After several seconds of reading, Buffy put the page down and turned to Robin. “Do you think you could just summarize it for me?”
Robin grinned. “Sure.” He looked down at his own report. “Dr. Miller ruled that the cause of death was deep gashes to the face and torso two inches deep, in a pattern consistent with a five-fingered hand. The victim’s left Achilles tendon was also severed, and several ribs were missing.”
“Oh gross!” Buffy exclaimed. Everyone looked at her. “Uh, sorry. Please continue.”
Robin turned back to his report. “The only other point to mention was a claw found inside the wound. It was consistent with the slashes. I’ve got a group of junior watchers typing the demon as we speak.”
“Good,” Buffy said with a nod. She turned to Kennedy. “I’d like you to take a team of our more experienced slayers to do some recon. Start with the street where the body was found and then move outward, looking for any signs of a nest. If you find anything, report back.” Buffy turned to Faith. “Faith, since you’re not technically a part of the Council anymore I can’t order you to get involved. So…” She eyed the recording device at the center of the table. “…whatever you do, don’t meet Kennedy at Woodbine and help with the recon.”
Faith nodded, with a rather large smile on her face.
Looking back down at her talking points, Buffy said, “I’m going to hold off on addressing all old business until I’ve had a chance to go over all this sh…” She eyed the large green binder. “…stuff. So since that’s everything.” She picked up the gavel. “Meeting ended.” Two loud bangs sounded throughout the room and Buffy rose from her chair. Everyone else stayed put.
“It’s ‘meeting adjourned’,” Rowena whispered behind her hand.
Buffy quickly backtracked to her seat and grabbed the gavel once more. “Meeting adjourned,” she said clearly, before banging the wooden mallet twice more.
End of Act One