Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist, Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Helen Shaver as Becca Giles, Steffani Brass as Shannon, Robert Picardo as Dr. Miller and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Amanda Tapping as Dr. Regina Wagner, Gillian Anderson as Gabrielle, Rhona Mitra as Alex Neel, Claudia Black as Ms. Lynette Doran, Richard Belzer as Mr. Lewis Mitchell, James Callis as Michael, Christopher Eccleston as Uriel, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Robert Devlin, Reba McEntire as Joelle Hansen, Hugh Mitchell as Norman Hansen, Jennifer Connelly as Althenea Dimmons and Felicia Day as Angie
Rocky Hillside – Day
Megiddo, Northern Israel
Dr. Wagner stood within a sandstone structure, conversing with Lewis Mitchell and Lynnette Doran, when Lewis motioned toward something behind Wagner. She turned her head slowly, and then the rest of her body followed. With a small grin on her lips, she began to walk forward, with Mitchell and Doran following behind her.
“I see you made it,” Wagner began.
From the other side of the structure, Gabbie walked forward, with two men following behind her. She came to a stop and crossed her arms.
“The question is,” she began, “why am I here?”
“Oh, you know why,” Wagner teased. Gabbie, on the other hand, did not look amused.
“Holding this meeting here doesn’t mean anything. You realize that, right?” Gabbie asked.
“The great kings are set to meet here – Meggido, the beginning of the end. As it is written, so it shall be,” she said in a mocking tone.
Gabbie glanced back to the two men behind her, then faced Wagner again. “One, we’re not kings.”
“Not in the flesh, but you have the ear of some pretty powerful people, Gabrielle. As do I,” Wagner answered.
“And two,” Gabbie said, as if totally ignoring the comment, “although this is the place, it’s not the time.”
“The hell it’s not,” Wagner emphasized. “Tell that boss of yours that sometimes you don’t have a choice. And we’re going to show you and every creature on this earth why that’s true. We both knew this battle was coming. I’m just telling you that it’s much sooner than you thought, and I know your troops are not prepared for this war.”
“Save yourself the time,” Gabbie answered. “Humanity won’t let you control this world, whether we intervene or not.”
Wagner’s grin widened and she motioned Gabbie closer to her. She came within inches of her ear and said, “Thanks to your Council…humanity won’t know what hit ’em. But maybe we can find some way to motivate that boss of yours off their rump for once. Whatta ya say?”
Wagner pulled back, her grin still in place. She offered her hand to Gabbie.
“So, may the best team win?”
“Unlike some,” Gabbie replied, finally grinning herself, “I don’t make deals with the devil, or his associates, for that matter.” Wagner rolled her eyes and dropped her hand. “But I will give you this,” Gabbie added. “You are, as always, a fierce opponent. And as we’ve discussed in passing, it will be quite a battle. So, until then, I guess…”
At that point, Gabbie offered her own hand, and Wagner took it in a firm shake.
“Until then,” Wagner replied.
Giles’s House – Front Porch – Day
Kennedy was almost to the porch, holding a colorful wrapped package, when she stopped to notice that Kadin wasn’t following next to her any longer.
“Something wrong?” Kennedy asked.
Kadin’s eyes seemed to focus anywhere but at Kennedy. The slayer walked back down the few steps she had already taken and returned to where Kadin stood mutely.
“Everyone’s in there,” Kadin finally said softly.
“Annnnd?” Kennedy said, letting the question hang.
“None of them like me,” Kadin replied.
“None of them know you. You’re pretty scarce most of the time, so it’s not like they’ve had the chance.”
“I know I’ve been on the road a lot,” Kadin said. “And I know you’ve got to stay here.”
“Please don’t turn this into something about us,” Kennedy told her. “I accept the fact you’ve got your things to do and I’ve got mine. This is about them getting to know you and vice versa. And this is something we can do so that they can get to know you.” Kennedy took Kadin by the arm. “Come on. Just stick close to me, but don’t be afraid to say something if you like. They don’t bite, really.”
Kennedy finished her journey, this time with Kadin next to her, and pushed the doorbell.
Giles’s House – Foyer – Same Time
“I’ll get it,” Willow shouted to the group in the living room. Using her crutches, she made her way over to the door and opened it with one hand. She smiled upon seeing them and scooted back. “Hey, you guys made it!”
“Of course,” Kennedy replied as she walked in, giving Kadin a slight pull inside. “Everybody here?”
“Yeah,” Willow answered. Then she turned to Kadin. “I heard your flight got delayed this morning, so it’s good to see you made it in.”
“I should have warned Ken. London flights usually never leave on time – fog and all that.”
Willow grinned. “You’re here now, so that’s all that matters,” she said in a chipper voice. “I’d offer to take that present off your hands, but as you can see…” She slightly raised a crutch.
“That’s fine,” Kennedy remarked. “Why are they putting the cripple to work as the butler?” she teased.
“I was passing through on my way to the little girl’s room when the bell rang,” Willow remarked.
“How did you break that?” Kadin asked, looking at the cast.
“The usual – scary tomb, earthquake, boulder on my foot, ankle and foot breakage ensued. You know…standard day in the life.” Kadin gave an understanding grin, and Willow smiled in response. “Everyone’s inside, guys, so go on in. I’ll hobble my way over in a few.”
As Willow proceeded down the hall, Kennedy and Kadin made their way to the living room.
“Hey, the daring duo are here,” Rowena said, holding up her glass from her position next to Giles. “Come over and have a drink, guys.” She motioned the women over.
“Didn’t you learn your lesson about drinking too much?” Kennedy chastised playfully, before nodding to Kadin to follow her.
“Just fruit punch today,” Rowena said, handing a glass over to each of them.
“Sorry we’re late,” Kennedy said, as she looked around at the wrapping papers.
Elizabeth was buried in a sea of paper and gifts, but she seemed to take more interest in playing with the empty boxes than the actual gifts themselves. Xander was off in the corner with Andrew, putting together a red Radio Flyer wagon, while Vi and Tracey supervised.
“It’s my fault, actually,” Kadin added in a quiet voice.
“Nah, mother nature’s,” Rowena kindly corrected her. “I remember how London could get some days.”
Silently, Giles nodded his agreement.
“Not like this kid needs another gift at this point but, here you go,” Kennedy said, as she handed their package over to him.
“Thank you, ladies,” he said, as he reached for it and brought it down to his daughter.
“Liz made quite a haul, it looks like,” Kennedy remarked.
“Heck yeah, she did,” Faith said with a smile. “I think she got more today than I did in eighteen years of living with my parents.”
“I think she got more than all of us combined,” Robin added, making Becca smile from the chair behind him. She gave him a slight push for emphasis, which made his grin larger.
“I plan to spoil my kids,” Becca told him. “Just not spoil them rotten.”
“Yeah, spoiling is fine, but no whiny brats, please,” Faith said, “or Auntie Faith will have her running laps until she gets shin splints.”
Giles now had the wrapping paper off Kennedy’s package, with Elizabeth’s help. Slowly Willow came back into the room to stand next to Buffy, across from Rowena. Giles opened the top of the box to reveal a stuffed Elmo doll, which Elizabeth promptly hugged. She pulled it back briefly and began to chew on his eye. Elmo giggled.
“Guess we picked a winner,” Kennedy said to Kadin. “Of course, I did have a bit of inside information.” She winked at Becca, who smiled.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” Robin prefaced himself, “do you plan on having more kids?”
“Yeah,” Buffy added. “Gonna try for a mini-Giles?”
Giles turned around from his spot on the floor and looked up at Becca. She gave him a shrug, and he cleared his throat.
“Well, yes actually…Becca’s just passed twenty nine weeks.”
The screwdriver in Xander’s hand dropped to the hardwood floor, breaking the silence in the room. He, Andrew and their ladies began to make their way over to the group upon hearing the news from the center of the room.
“Ha,” Faith exclaimed, as the party began to chatter. “And here I thought she was just gaining weight, but I sure as hell wasn’t gonna say it. Congratulations, guys!”
“Me too,” Robin agreed. “And yeah, if I’ve learned anything in my thirty-three years on this planet, it’s never ask a woman if she’s packing on extra pounds.”
All the women in the circle nodded silently in agreement.
“Smart guy,” Andrew commented softly.
“So when are you due?” Rowena asked.
“In August,” she answered.
“And you’re just telling us now?” Willow asked, sounding a bit hurt.
“We didn’t want to say anything in case something went wrong. And although I’m sure you guys would be ultra supportive, the constant question of ‘How are you doing?’ after something bad can be a bit of a burden,” Becca replied.
“Been there, done that,” Buffy agreed softly.
“Truthfully,” Becca continued. “Rupert’s been chomping at the bit to tell someone, so I’m surprised he managed to keep it a secret this long. I promised him we’d say something today, since everyone was here…Well, that and it’s starting to get harder to hide it.”
“Is it a boy or a girl?” Kadin asked shyly. Kennedy seemed to look proud for a moment that her girlfriend had spoken, but looked back at Becca for the answer.
“We don’t know,” Becca replied. “I like the surprise of finding out once they’re here.”
“But you’re both doing good?” Vi asked.
“I had some spotting early on, and the doctor ordered me to stay off my feet when I can. Rupert’s been wonderful about taking care of things, especially Liz,” Becca said.
“But things are okay?” Willow asked, looking at both Becca and Giles. “I mean, you’re okay, the baby’s okay?”
“Thankfully, no problems, according to the recent tests,” Giles answered.
“Good, that’s-that’s great news,” Xander added, still sounding a bit surprised. “Wow.”
“Can I?” Buffy asked, holding her hand out. Becca nodded, and Buffy put her hand on the oversized shirt Becca wore. “There it is!” she told the group. “She’s got a little baby bump.” The slayer giggled.
“Lemme see,” Willow said, leaning over. Soon everyone came over for a feel and Becca began to chuckle.
“Okay, okay,” she said, holding up her hands. “Now that everyone’s felt me up, maybe we can get on with the cake and ice cream.”
Willow let everyone go ahead of her, and Rowena waited for her. As everyone filed toward the kitchen, Giles picked up Elizabeth in his arms and Kennedy came over with a raised eyebrow.
Giles gave her a guilty grin. “You have no idea how many times I came close to telling you all,” he explained. “But I made a promise to Becca that I wouldn’t.”
“You’re an honorable man, Giles. Too honorable, sometimes,” Kennedy teased.
Giles smiled wider. “Come on, girls,” he said, motioning with his head toward the kitchen. “Do you like chocolate cake, Kadin?”
“I like any cake,” she answered.
“Well, you’re in luck today,” he replied. He kept Elizabeth in one arm and put the other around Kadin’s shoulder, leading her into the kitchen. From behind them, Kennedy smiled.
Giles’s House – Front Porch – Later that Day
Kadin was inside the foyer helping Kennedy with her coat, while at the same time Willow and Rowena were saying goodbye to Becca and Giles on the porch. Rowena held Elizabeth while Willow leaned in to give the birthday girl a kiss on the cheek.
“We’ll see you later,” Rowena said casually, as she began to walk away with Elizabeth still in her arms.
“Uh, aren’t you forgetting something?” Becca asked, pointing to her daughter.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t notice,” Rowena muttered as she reluctantly brought the baby back. After Becca had her, Rowena took Liz by her little chin. “Be good for your momma and daddy, little girl, and keep practicing those steps. Chasing you around will keep ’em both young.”
Giles and Becca both smiled.
“I’ll be at the Council on Monday,” he told Rowena. “We’ll pick up where we left off.”
“Sounds good,” she answered.
“Come on, guys,” Faith shouted from where she stood waiting outside a Council van. “If you want a baby that bad, why don’t you just make your own?” In a low voice she added, “It’d be a lot quicker than the time it takes you to leave.”
“Technically, they can’t,” Buffy answered, making Faith chuckle.
“True. Maybe Giles will help – he’s quite the stud, obviously. And with that DNA of his and Ro’s, it’d be like a SuperWatcher. Kid’ll be able to index by age three.”
Buffy just smiled and shook her head. “Stud and Giles are two nouns that should never appear in the same sentence.”
As Rowena watched to make sure Willow made it down the stairs okay, Kennedy and Kadin emerged from the house.
“Thanks again for inviting us,” Kennedy remarked.
“No, thank you for coming,” Becca replied. “I’m glad you both could make it. Now, if you don’t mind, I better try to lay her down for a nap so she’s not too cranky.”
Becca walked inside, and Giles watched her for a moment before turning back to Kennedy. From the street, Faith helped Willow inside the van as Rowena gathered her crutches.
“Thank you for the, uh, Elmo,” he told the slayer. “I’m not sure what the appeal is, but she absolutely adores him, so that’s all that matters.”
“She’s absolutely adorable, so it’s a good fit,” Kennedy replied. “I’ll catch you at the Council.” She gave him a wave and turned toward the stairs with Kadin.
“Remember,” Giles told her. “You’re always welcome here if you ever need anything. You too, Kadin.”
“Thanks,” they both answered. “I’ll see ya soon,” Kennedy added, with another wave.
As the couple made their way down the stairs, Giles slipped back inside the house and closed the door behind him.
“He’s a good guy,” Kadin said absently. “Becca’s cool too.”
“Yeah, Giles is the best.”
After a brief pause, Kadin said, “He reminds me of my father a little bit.”
“How so?” Kennedy asked as they walked along the sidewalk.
“Little things – warm smile, sincere voice. Good or bad, you always know where you stand with him. Am I close?”
“Yeah, that sounds like Giles,” Kennedy said with a smile. She turned to face Kadin for a moment as they walked. “So, was it as painful as you thought it’d be?”
“No, and it’s getting easier, I think,” Kadin admitted.
“Good,” Kennedy replied. She slipped her hand around Kadin’s waist, coming to rest in her back pocket as they walked together. “Told you that you’d have nothing to worry about.”
Kadin grinned and leaned into Kennedy for a moment as they moved along.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Day
“Here ye, here ye,” Buffy said as she walked inside the conference room. “I now call this Watchers Council meeting to order.” She took a seat at the head of the table. Seated around her were Willow, Kennedy, Robin and Rowena. “But seriously, sorry I’m late, guys.”
“That’s okay,” Rowena answered. “Robin and I were just going over the notes for Faith’s appeal.”
“Yeah, what’s up with that?” Buffy asked.
“Well,” Rowena began, “I’ve decided to let Robin plead her case. He’s not the most impartial, I know, but impartial is kinda what got Faith kicked out in the first place.”
“Sorry,” Kennedy muttered.
“No,” Rowena answered immediately. “You made the right call, Ken. The other Councils made the wrong one. But getting back to it, truth be told, Robin might appear more impartial to the other branches, since I know pretty much everyone there in London where the hearing is set.”
“But don’t all the Councils have to vote?” Buffy asked.
“Yes, but because of the teleconferencing you asked to be put in place, Robin can give his address and everyone can reply to each other instantly. Of course, the folks over in Asia might not be thrilled to be working in the middle of the night, but at least they can all talk together.”
“Then why go to England at all, if we can conference from here?” Buffy asked. She quickly followed up with, “Is that a stupid question to ask?”
“Not at all,” Robin replied. “The reason is that England still has a great deal of pull with the other branches. If I can win England over by taking the time to show up in person, then I have a much better chance of winning the other branches, too.”
“So you’re going to play politics and schmooze them, in other words?”
“In a nutshell,” Robin answered with a grin.
“You’ve already got the Devon Coven’s vote,” Willow remarked to Robin. “I talked to Al yesterday.”
“Good job, Will,” Buffy commended. Willow gave an embarrassed shrug. “Did you guys need any help from me for your reports?” Buffy asked Rowena and Robin.
“No, I think we’re all set,” Robin answered.
“Thank God,” Buffy muttered. “No paperwork there, at least.”
“But…” he added. “I might need something once I get to England tonight, so try to stick around.”
“When do you leave?” Buffy asked.
Robin looked at his watch. “As soon as I’m finished up here. I’m already packed.”
Buffy nodded and turned to Willow. “What’s with the crutches, Will?”
Willow looked confused as she glanced around the table. “They, uh, they help me walk?” she answered dryly, with a hint of confusion in her voice. Kennedy and Rowena both grinned at the comment.
“No, why do you still have them?” Buffy asked. “Being the Witch Extraordinaire, I figured you’d have that ankle fixed by now.”
“Oh, well, it’s not that simple. I need lots of energy to do it.”
“I’ll help,” Buffy replied. “We grew you a new tummy before.”
Willow’s cheeks reddened. “Thanks for the offer, Buff, but this is more than just skin. There’s a bunch broken down there – skin, bones, muscle, cartilage. It’s pretty yucky.”
“Yeah, but…slayer strength over here.” Buffy motioned to herself.
Willow opened her mouth to speak, but then stopped to grin for a moment. “This is more of a…Xander kinda spell…if you catch my drift.”
At first Buffy looked confused, but then she gave an “Ahh, I gotcha” in response. “Yeah, I see. Time heals all wounds, then.”
“I’ll help,” Kennedy offered, wiggling her eyebrows.
Willow chuckled. “Thanks for the offer. But I don’t think Kadin would approve a-and, although nice, she’s the kind of woman I wouldn’t want to piss off.”
“Well, does anyone have anything else?” Buffy asked.
“Dawn,” Willow answered immediately. “I’m not sure what to do with her.”
“I thought she was banned from doing magic?” Buffy answered.
“Yes, she broke her oath, but she’s powerful – powerful enough to get to another dimension on her own. I can order her not to do magic, but there isn’t anything I can do to stop her, so…I’m at a crossroads here.”
“Meaning?” Kennedy asked.
“Meaning, should I stop teaching her magic, or do I spend more time with her, giving her the ins and outs of it? I can’t help but wonder if things might have been different had I gone to Al’s Coven before, and not after, everything went to hell in a handbasket. Y’know?”
“So you’re considering educating her more, as opposed to making it forbidden?” Rowena asked.
Willow nodded. “I was mad, and for good reason. Her own soul started to slip away when Jeff and I got there, and she put all of us in a very bad spot trying to save her. A-and I was scared. I still am, actually. I don’t want Dawn repeating my mistakes – a slow descent into something that’s next to impossible to recover from. So like I said, do I train her more in the hopes that she’ll get it, or do I just lay down the law and pray she listens?”
“Well,” Buffy began, “Dawn listening to anyone is about as likely as you having another boyfriend someday. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.”
“No offense, Buffy,” Rowena spoke up, “but aside from this incident, Dawn’s shown incredible maturity in the last year or two. She’s pulled Jeff out of his shell, she’s bonded with Shannon more than I ever expected and she does a wonderful job as a watcher.”
Willow nodded her agreement.
Kennedy said, “Mini-Giles in the making,” with a small grin.
“Essentially,” Rowena agreed. “The woman is an absolute whiz when it comes to language, and she’s as good as, if not better than, Giles when it comes to that.”
“Except for Hebrew,” Willow added absently to no one in particular.
“Yes, except for Hebrew,” Rowena agreed. “Dawn’s Hebrew is like Willow’s Latin.”
“It sucks,” Willow whispered with a shrug.
“Okay,” Buffy answered, “I’ll give you the fact that I haven’t been around to see it myself, but –”
“Point is,” Rowena began again, “I can see why Will’s not sure what to do, but if you want my opinion…?” She let the sentence hang and looked to Willow. Again, the witch nodded. “I say train her, Will. Send her back through Wicca boot camp,” she added with a slight grin. “Then if she does seem to get it, you can always reinstate her, and if not, then you can at least have closer tabs on her activities. Besides, there might be times when the Coven truly needs her. But in the end, it’s your Coven, your call. I think our division needs to stay out of this one.”
“Agreed,” Kennedy answered. “It sounds like a Coven problem, but I gotta go with what Ro says. If Dawn realizes she’s got a shot at getting back in, it might motivate her to listen this time around.” Again, Willow nodded her thanks to the group.
“Well,” Buffy sighed, “here’s another problem, but I’m not sure what division it falls under: Skye. What do we do with her?”
“Stake her,” Kennedy answered. “Dawn didn’t get her soul back. She serves no purpose now.”
“But I thought Dawn said part of her soul never left?” Robin added. “Or something along those lines. She wasn’t really sure she understood it all.”
“When a vamp is staked, the soul goes free from what we know, right?” Kennedy asked. “That’s why slayers kill vamps.”
“Perhaps,” Rowena answered. “Perhaps not.”
“What are you saying?” Kennedy asked. “I’ve been killing a bunch of people all these years?”
“Maybe,” Rowena replied. “Maybe not.”
Kennedy rubbed her forehead. “Can you just give me a straight answer here?”
“There might not be a straight answer, Kennedy,” Rowena replied. “We know of a few different breeds of vampires, but perhaps there are more out there – maybe more than we ever realized. The Council was always very hush-hush about the nature of vampires. You can even ask Giles, who trained long before me. There’s precious little knowledge when it comes to what happens during the vamping process. Skye’s sire might have come from a particular breed of vampire, but if we stake her, we’ll never know.”
“What do you think, Buff?” Willow asked. “Did you have any ideas for her?”
Buffy looked around the group for a small moment. “What if we let her go?”
Kennedy and Robin both rolled their shoulders.
“Now there’s a shocker,” Kennedy answered.
“No doubt,” Robin muttered.
“Just hear me out, guys,” Buffy replied. Simultaneously, Kennedy and Robin both crossed their arms as they prepared to listen to what Buffy had to say. “I would need Willow’s help, and if she couldn’t do it, the answer would be a big fat no, but…could you do a spell that prevents her from harming anyone?”
“Like a curse?” Willow asked. “Because I don’t do curses.”
“No, not like Angel’s curse. I mean a spell that would stop Skye from hurting a known human.”
“You mean like a government chip?” Willow asked.
“No,” Buffy sighed. “I’m obviously not saying this right.”
“You wanna give your sister a vamp lover. Like sister like…sister,” Kennedy answered.
Again, Buffy sighed. “Stay with me a sec…What I’m suggesting is that Willow do a spell that will automatically kill Skye should she intentionally, physically harm a person. I’m not talking a pain to the head. I’m talking poof. No second chances. Can it be done?”
Willow shrugged. “I dunno,” she answered. “I can look into it, but again, it’s a risk. Skye’s an ex-Coven member. She might find a way to counteract the spell.”
“It sounds too risky,” Robin answered. “I like Kennedy’s plan.”
“Thank you,” Kennedy replied, nodding to Robin.
“Have you two talked to her at all?” Buffy asked.
“I have,” Kennedy replied. “And each time she’s tried to feed me some BS about knowing what evil is. Don’t tell me you’ve fallen for it,” she added.
“I haven’t fallen for anything,” Buffy replied. “But she does make a valid point. There are vampires in the world who can do good.” Robin began to shake his head. “And I’m not talking about Spike or Angel,” she added. “I’ve been reading the green binder from hell, and I saw the reports on that Vampires Anonymous group. So if anything, observing Skye can help add proof to Ro’s theory.”
“Which is what exactly?” Robin asked.
“That maybe different kinds of vamps do exist, because different types of demons exist. When a good demon like Brell enters a body, maybe the vamp is different,” Buffy answered. “I mean, that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?” she said. She turned to Rowena, who nodded. “And if we staked Skye tomorrow, we’d be losing a valuable source, right?”
Rowena nodded. “I’d say that’s a fair assessment.”
“And Knowledge is Power,” Buffy told them. “At least that’s what the signs around here all say. What I’m suggesting is we gain more knowledge on vampires as a species. The more we know, the more we have control over them in the future.”
“I’ve found that wood to the heart is a really good method of control,” Kennedy remarked.
Robin put his hand up, and Kennedy smacked it from across the table in a high five.
“Then let’s put it to a vote of everyone here,” Buffy said. “All opposed to letting Skye go as long as Willow can do a spell, say Aye.”
Robin and Kennedy both said, “Aye,” at the same time.
“All those in favor of letting her go under those same conditions, say Aye.” Buffy followed it up with an “Aye,” which was mimicked by Rowena. All eyes then fell to Willow. “Will?” Buffy prompted.
“I really hate it when it comes down to me…As long as I can find the proper spell, the answer is Aye,” she answered. Robin and Kennedy both sighed. “Guys, I have to vote yes.”
“Because Buffy says so?” Kennedy asked.
“No,” Willow answered. “Because Skye is the only link we have to uncovering some truths about vamps, which means she does still have something this Council needs – knowledge. But I agree with her release only if I can find a spell I’m comfortable with. Otherwise, she stays in that cell. I hope you guys have enough trust in me to know that I wouldn’t just let Skye go if I wasn’t sure she could be controlled.”
Robin and Kennedy both gave a half-hearted shrug and finally nodded.
Buffy nodded. “Okay, motion passes under the condition that Willow discovers a spell that will impose fatal consequences for Skye should she harm a human. Rowena?” The watcher turned to Buffy at the sound of her name. “I’d like you to head up research on this. Talk to Skye, the AA vamps and any vamps we might get in captivity. Get them to tell you all about their lives as vamps and see if you can’t use that big brain of yours to start categorizing them. Think you can do that?”
“You want me to be the Dr. Kinsey of vamp studies?” Rowena asked.
“More or less,” Buffy said. In afterthought, she added, “But you don’t have to videotape them having sex or anything.”
Rowena grinned. “That’s good to know. Thanks.”
“Besides,” Kennedy began, “you’ve got an expert on that right here.” She nodded toward Buffy. Robin snickered and Buffy grumbled. Kennedy turned to face Buffy. “Oh come on, you walked right into that one.” She chuckled softly.
“And from what I’ve heard,” Buffy replied, “she could ask you, too.”
“Touché,” Kennedy replied.
“If that’s all, meeting adjourned,” Buffy said, knocking her gavel and trying to hold back a grin.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Late Afternoon
Andrew sat behind the front desk with a PSP in his hand, his fingers moving rapidly. Hearing the front door open, he looked up to see Giles holding the door for Alex Neel as they both walked inside.
“Mr. Giles. Ms. Neel. What a surprise,” he said, putting the game down and getting to his feet. “What brings you guys by?”
“To be honest, I’m not sure,” Giles remarked. “Ms. Neel came to my house and said it was imperative that I come to the Council. She has an announcement.”
“Oh?” Andrew remarked.
“Yes,” Alex nodded. “It’s important that every division head of the Council, and anyone else involved,” she said, nodding briefly to Giles, “are present. We’ll be in the conference room and expect everyone there in five minutes.” Without waiting, she moved toward the conference room.
“Well, one second,” Andrew said, making her stop. “What’s this all about?”
“The end of the world is coming,” she said calmly.
Without looking back, she started again toward the conference room. Giles and Andrew looked at each other with unsure expressions. Then Andrew quickly picked up the phone and Giles followed Alex.
End of Act One