act 3



Fade In:
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Morning

Rowena peeked her head out from behind a makeshift curtain. She quickly ducked back inside.

“That’s it? That’s everybody who showed up?” she asked Willow, who stood crutch-less next to her. “There’s like a dozen people, tops.”

“Yeah, but C-SPAN is there,” Willow replied, trying to sound optimistic.

“Ten people watch C-SPAN, Will,” Rowena sighed. “So much for spreading the word.”

Kennedy walked up to the two of them with a man twice her size, in both height and muscle.

“We’ve got everything ready to go, so whenever you’re set,” she told them. Kennedy did a double-take at Willow and looked down the witch’s cast-free foot. “Did Buffy change her mind about her offer to help?” she teased knowingly.

Both Rowena and Willow blushed at the comment, but Rowena still managed to turn to the man. Her eyesight was level with his waistline and she had to crane her neck to look up at him.

“Hi there. I’m Rowena Allister.” She thrust her hand upward.

“David,” he answered, gently taking it.

“Thanks for coming by today,” she said politely as she shook it.

“Glad to help. I’ve never been on TV before,” he replied.

“Based on our poor media attendance today, I can’t promise you ever will be,” Rowena joked.

“You ready?” Kennedy asked.

“Yeah,” Rowena said, waving the note cards in her hand. She stepped out from behind the curtain and started toward the podium.

“So…” Willow began casually, “how’s Kadin?”

“Mad as hell, thanks for asking,” Kennedy replied.

“S-Sorry,” Willow said nervously.

“Not your fault. It’s not even Rowena’s. Truth is, I should have told her. I didn’t because, to me, it wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t change the way I felt about her – Kadin, I mean. But Kadin, on the other hand…well, now she thinks I’m a two-timing snake.”

“Maybe-Maybe we can all talk about it together?” Willow suggested, still sounding nervous.

“Nah, I’ll try to work it out with her,” Kennedy answered. “But if not, I might take you up on that offer.” From the other side of the curtain, Kennedy heard Rowena introduce her. “Looks like I’m up,” she said, Then she walked onto the makeshift stage.

Rowena stood at the podium as Kennedy walked over.

“Now Kennedy is the head of our Slayer Division here in Cleveland. Each Council Headquarters has three divisions, as I stated, and she’s here to demonstrate the strength a slayer has when facing demons. For safety’s sake, we’re not going to have her engage in combat with a demon. Instead, we have David…” David then walked out, waving to the small crowd. “With this demonstration, we’re going to show you just how strong a slayer is. As you’ll notice, David is considerably larger than Slayer Kennedy – at least twice her size.”

One of the reporters joked from his seat, “Sure he’s not Goliath?” which got a few chuckles from the small crowd.

David turned to him. “Like that’s the first time I’ve heard that joke.” He then turned back to Kennedy. “Ready?” he asked.

Kennedy motioned her hands toward herself. “Bring it on, big guy.”

The handful of cameramen present continued filming the exercise as David raced forward. He threw a punch at Kennedy with all his might and Kennedy took it across her jaw, making the audience gasp and rise to their feet for a better look as she fell.

But just as quickly as Kennedy hit the ground, she rolled and came up standing to deliver a kick to David’s stomach that made him double over. Taking the opportunity, she grabbed him by the arm and flipped him on his back. Before he could react, Kennedy grabbed his head, but then she stopped.

“Now here’s where I usually snap a demon’s neck, but since David’s been such a good sport, we won’t go that extra step,” she teased. “You okay?” she asked, looking down at him.

“Never better,” he replied in a wheeze. “Need air to lungs.”

Kennedy helped him to a sitting position on the sparring mat.

Rowena began to speak again. “Slayers have extraordinary speed and strength. They –”

Before Rowena could continue, a reporter stood up. “They can also do a good bit of acting too, it seems. This proves nothing,” he told her. “With proper martial arts training, I could do the same thing.”

“Yes, you might, but we also have another demonstration you should see,” Rowena said. She gave a nod toward the curtain, and this time Vi emerged, pulling Skye behind her in chains.

“I feel like King Kong,” Skye remarked softly to Vi as they walked along.

“Just remember you’re not the eighth wonder of the world,” Vi whispered back.

At the side of the makeshift stage, Angie and Xander stood together proudly. They waved to Vi, who just smiled back at them.

“This is one demon species, a vampire,” Rowena announced.

“A vampire? It’s a girl wrapped in chains,” one of the reporters teased.

“So you would think. That’s one of the attributes that make vampires hard to distinguish from normal people. They can appear normal, but can be hurt by crosses, holy water or sunlight. Decapitation or striking a wooden stake through the heart kills them. And it should be noted that not all demons can be killed in this fashion, and some demons aren’t a threat at all. For example, there is a small breed of demons known as Brells.” Rowena motioned to a screen behind her, which showed a slide of Brell smiling. “These demons pose no threat, and in fact have aided the Council and mankind on several occasions. Their bodies are not able to change shape. Vampires, however…” Rowena pointed toward Skye and nodded to the young woman.

“No, I don’t want to change,” Skye answered sarcastically.

Rowena’s jaw set for a moment. “Excuse me,” she said, walking over to Skye. Once she was two feet away, she quietly told Skye, “You morph or I dust you. Either way, they’re gonna get a show. So what’s it gonna be?”

Skye suddenly shifted shape. She snarled and lunged at Rowena, making the watcher yelp and jump back, although Vi was already pulling the chains back. Skye, in vampire face, started to laugh. The audience, however, looked at each other in a mix of horror and disbelief.

One reporter from the crowd said, “I have a question, Ms. Allister.”

Rowena turned toward the voice to see the man standing.

“Robert Devlin of the Plain Dealer,” he began.

Rowena gave him a melancholy grin. “Yes, Mr. Devlin?”

“To be perfectly frank, this sounds like something out of a sci-fi or horror movie. Do you think people will actually believe there are girls with superhuman strength, monsters that roam the streets at night or magical spells invoked by mystical covens? Aside from a few flashy parlor tricks, there’s no evidence to support what you’re saying.”

Rowena walked over to the podium again and pulled a black crystal from her pocket and held it up.

“Several months ago, Mr. Devlin, you showed up at our doorstep with video tapes of our slayers in action.” Devlin looked confused. “But you don’t remember. At the time, you asked pointed questions about our activities, and we answered them in the hope that you wouldn’t run the story. We felt doing so might cause a world panic and put our girls in jeopardy while on patrol. When you decided to go to press anyway, I performed a spell, the Tabula Rasa. In the hopes of protecting everyone, I…I stole your memories to keep our organization secret. But as it turns out…it’s one of the worst mistakes of my life…” Rowena paused and looked over at Willow, who still waited in the wings with an equally pained expression. The watcher then turned back to the small gathering. “A battle is coming, folks, one the world has never seen the likes of in recent history. You can believe us now or believe us later, but if mankind is expected to survive, you all need to heed this warning.”

Rowena then dropped the Augustine Crystal to the ground. Picking up her foot, she smashed it firmly under her heel.

“Oh…oh man,” Devlin said, holding his temple. A few reporters near him rose to steady him as he swayed. He looked at Rowena with an expression of shock and pain.

“I’m so sorry,” Rowena answered the unasked question in his eyes, her voice cracking for a moment. “I know you’ll take whatever action you feel you have to against us, against me. But I ask that you wait until this battle is over. I know you owe me no favors, but I’m not asking for my benefit…I’m asking for mankind’s. You’re a good man, Mr. Devlin, and I truly apologize.”

“My tapes?” Devlin muttered.

Rowena reached under the podium and tossed him a satchel. “They’re all in there.” Devlin didn’t say anything as he caught them, and Rowena turned to the crowd. “Thank you all for coming. This press conference is concluded.”

Instead of going to Rowena, the small crowd began to gather around Devlin, while the watcher walked away unnoticed.

Cut To:
Georgia – Hansen Home – Same Time

Joelle Hansen had a smile as she watched a rental car pull to a stop in her family’s gravel driveway.

“Norman?” she called toward the house. “You’ve got company.” Before Joelle had time to turn back around, Norman raced past her in a blur, jumping from the porch, not bothering to take the steps. “Be careful,” she warned, although the boy was already on the ground and in a sprint toward the car. Joelle just smiled and shook her head as she walked down the steps.

“Hey Shrimp,” Shannon said, as she got out of the car. “You sprouted,” she added. “You’re almost as tall as me now.”

“And someday I’ll be taller,” Norman countered.

“Maybe, but you’ll never be faster,” she said casually. With that, she took off into a run.

“No fair, wait up,” Norman said, taking off after her.

Dawn smiled at the pair and walked around the car to meet Joelle.

“I see he’s doing good,” Dawn replied.

“He’s never been healthier. For the past two weeks, all we’ve heard about is all the stuff he’s gonna be doing with Shannon, so thanks for bringing her.”

“It’s my pleasure. She’s been pretty excited, too, but she’s playing it cool.”

“So you said trouble might be brewin’?” Joelle asked.

Dawn shrugged. “We’re not sure, which is why we were thinking of canceling the trip, but Buffy – and Faith too – both of ’em said we should come down.”

“Well, we’re glad y’all made it,” Joelle replied. “I just wish Faith could’ve come along.”

“She would have, but she needs to be at the Council right now…the hearing and everything.”

“I understand,” Joelle replied. “It’s a shame, though. What they decided, I mean. I know good people, and Faith’s good people. She didn’t have to help my Norman…and now look at him.” Joelle pointed to where he and Shannon were now climbing in the tree. “A year ago, he was layin’ in a bed lookin’ like death. She gave my boy life…twice.”

“So everything’s working out okay then?” Dawn asked.

“Wonderful. His doctors are amazed at his recovery. They’ve never seen a marrow transplant so successful. ‘Course, chances are they never had anyone receive slayer marrow, either.”

“That’s great news,” Dawn replied. “Faith wants us to call her tonight if that’s okay.”

“Are you kidding? ‘Course it’s okay,” Joelle said. “Come on inside. It’s hotter’n heck out here today,” she added, taking Dawn by the elbow.

Cut To:
London – Watchers Council Lobby – Same Time

Robin walked through a pair of double doors, briefcase in hand, and moved toward the reception area.

“Mr. Wood,” a British female voice called out, making him turn.

“Althenea,” he replied with a smile as the witch approached. She opened her arms, giving him a short embrace.

“Glad to see you’ve arrived,” she replied.

“I got in yesterday, actually,” he answered. “Sorry I didn’t get the chance to call you. My days and nights are still a bit off.”

“No worries,” she told him. “I’m assuming Willow’s told you that you have the Coven’s vote – as you did last time, I should add.”

Robin looked left and then right, and then led Althenea away from the coming and going human traffic in the lobby of the London Branch.

“What happened here last time?” he whispered. “With the vote? Any information you can give me might help me get Faith reinstated.”

Althenea sighed heavily. “The Coven voted in Faith’s favor last time, but we were outnumbered by the Watcher and Slayer Divisions. The Slayer Division was iffy in the vote, and it only passed by a small margin. Personally, I think if you can appeal to the Slayer Division and just change a few minds, the London Branch will give you what you ask.”

“But how do I do that exactly? What was their main beef?” he asked.

Althenea gave him a confused look. “You mean their complaints, the reason for the dismissal?”

Robin grinned. “Sorry, that’s my Yankee coming out,” he replied. “But yeah, why did the vote go the way it did?”

“There are some here who know of Faith’s past deeds and…quite frankly, they don’t trust her.” He looked frustrated for a moment. “As I said, I know better, and my Coven trusts my judgment. But if you can win these slayers who were sitting on the fence, as you say, you have a real chance of winning London. If you win London…”

“The other branches will likely follow,” Robin finished.

“Yes,” Althenea replied. “Remember, Mr. Wood, the World Headquarters might now be in the United States, but we’ll always have a powerful hold on the other branches of the world.”

“Hence me being here personally,” he replied.

“Which will help considerably, I assure you,” she answered. She looked at her watch and then motioned to the door. “We still have well over thirty minutes before your meeting with Robson. Why not grab a cup of tea with me and we can talk strategies?”

“Not that I’m ungrateful but…why the extra help here? You’ve met Faith, I know, but…how well do you really know her?”

Althenea smiled. “I love Rowena, and I love Willow. They love Faith. When it comes right down to it, Mr. Wood, that’s all the world has ever been about. It’s what drives us. What makes us strong.”

“Love?” he asked.

“No,” she replied, receiving a confused expression from Robin. Althenea gave him another light grin. “It’s about doing what you can to help people – those you love, or even total strangers. Rowena and Willow trust Faith, and I trust them. So…shall we?” She motioned toward the door.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Dining Hall – Later that Morning

“So only ten news teams showed up?” Jeff asked the table. Seated around it were Vi, Angie, Xander and Rowena, who all nodded sadly.

“I think Coast to Coast A.M. had someone there,” Vi added.

“Isn’t that the supernatural radio call-in show that books guys who claimed they captured Bigfoot?” Xander asked.

“That’s the one,” Angie replied. “George Noory did a show on aliens and stargates last week that was pretty good.”

“Oh Lord,” Rowena sighed. She shook her head, her fork playing with the pasta on her plate.

Rowena looked up when two pairs of legs stopped at the end of their table. Slowly, she looked up to see Kennedy and Kadin there.

“Hi Ro,” Kennedy greeted.

“Ken,” Rowena said with a slight nod.

“I want to talk to you,” was all Kadin said. Then she walked away toward the far wall.

“And the hits just-a keep on comin’ today,” Rowena whined. She looked up to Kennedy briefly. “I’m not going to have to break out my fencing equipment, will I?” Rowena asked Kennedy as she stood up. Before Kennedy could say anything, she added, “Please don’t answer that.”

“You gonna finish that?” Vi asked, pointing to Rowena’s plate.

“Go for it,” Rowena said, then got up to make her way over to Kadin.

Vi happily slid it over in front of her, as Angie shook her head.

“It’s gotta be a slayer metabolism thing,” her sister said. “If I ate as much as her, I’d be bigger than this Council building.”

Vi held up a fork of noodles. “Want some?” she offered.

Angie just waved her off, and Jeff and Xander smiled at the pair.

Cut To:
Doctor’s Office – Same Time

Elizabeth sat in the corner, playing with some toys that were provided by the doctor. Meanwhile, Giles’s voice rang out in a chastising tone.

“Becca? Are you insane?” he asked.

At a desk sat a doctor on one side and Becca and Giles on the other.

“Oh, this from a man with a heart condition who goes wandering into caves for kicks,” she countered. “All I did was sweep the kitchen and dining room floors.”

“And don’t forget, moved the furniture,” he added.

“Well, who’s going to do it?” she asked. “You’re in no condition right now.”

“Neither are you,” he countered. “But having a clean floor is not a priority at the moment, and chances are the house will be a mess for the next eighteen years. I can live with that as long as I have a healthy family.”

Becca harrumphed and waved him off. “I got a little bit of a sore back. That’s all. Besides, I’m nesting.”

“Nesting doesn’t happen until the third trimester,” Giles countered. Becca seemed surprised he knew that fact. “You should know by now, I’ve read all the baby and pregnancy books backward and forward.”

“You gotta give me points for trying,” Becca grumbled.

Giles sighed, but wouldn’t look her way. Instead, he turned to the doctor, hoping she could reason with his wife.

“Perhaps you can find someone to help you for the time being?” the doctor tried to suggest neutrally.

“Who?” Becca asked.

Giles looked at her ridiculously. “Who? We’ve got an army of babysitters available at a moment’s notice. I’m sure they would push a broom too, if we asked.”

“I don’t take charity well,” Becca said with a sigh.

Giles took his glasses off and pinched the bridge of his nose as he spoke, “Again, it’s not charity. Dawn and Shannon both have offered to come by mornings after patrol to help us with anything. They do it because they’re family, just the same as I would help them.”

“But that’s different,” Becca replied.

“How so?”

“They’re still kids, Rupert,” Becca argued. “I’m an adult.”

“An adult who’s 47-years-old, Becca,” the doctor reminded her. Becca looked away. “I’m sorry, but you’re not a young woman, no matter how young you might feel some days. So please, just try to avoid any physical or emotional stress.”

“Married to Mr. Adventure here?” she said, pitching a thumb at Giles. “You’re asking a lot.”

“Rupert has a point,” the doctor told her, ignoring the jab. “You need to stay off your feet and get your rest. So the floor isn’t cleaned every day or every week. Big deal. You’re dilated to two centimeters. Not huge, mind you, but given your age, Becca, and approaching your seventh month, I am concerned. While there’s an 80 to 90 % survival rate they are often born with disabilities. The longer we can put off delivery, the better it will be.”

“Look,” Giles said, turning to Becca, “we’ll hire a housekeeper if it bothers you to have the girls come in, but either way, you’re not doing it anymore. Understood?”

“Oh, is that you putting your foot down?”

“It is,” Giles replied. “I love you. I love Elizabeth, and I love this new baby, so, for all of us, let someone else do it.”

“I love you all too, Rupert, but it’s a waste of money,” Becca argued.

“You know money is not a concern for us. I received a very nice retirement package that will keep us and the children set for years…so please…get your rest for now.”

With a roll of her shoulders, Becca finally relented. “Oh, fine. We’ll see if some of the girls can come over now and then.”

“Thank you,” Giles sighed.

“Now see?” the doctor told them. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

They both looked at the doctor and then at each other. The serious expressions fell away, and they both began to chuckle and grin at the same time.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Dining Hall – Same Time

Kadin stood leaning against the wall, her arms folded across her chest as Rowena approached.

“This is about what Alex said, I assume?” Rowena began.

“Yeah, it is. But first, let me say, I know you don’t like me –”

“That’s not true,” Rowena put in.

“Then how do you explain that little test I had to go through this year, huh?”

Rowena took a deep breath. “You are not an official member of the Council, and by not being such, we needed to address the issue with girls being hurt in your presence. It wasn’t personal, Kadin.”

“Hunting monsters is all I’ve done for over twenty years. I staked my first vampire when I was five, and I’m willing to bet I’ve been doing my job longer than you’ve been doing yours. So for me…demon hunting is personal, because it’s who I am. But let me get back on track by mentioning the reason I’m here.”

“Go on,” Rowena said, nodding.

“Kennedy told me that she didn’t say anything because she thought it was meaningless.”

“Which is true,” Rowena agreed. “Kennedy has no interest in me, and I have none in her – at least not romantically.”

“Or sexually?”

Rowena hung her head. “It was a drunk, mistaken, split-second decision that ended up hurting you, Kennedy and Willow. All I can say is…Kennedy didn’t mention it because she didn’t see a point to it. To her, it really was nothing. So let me say I’m sorry, and it won’t happen again. I swear.”

“Fine,” Kadin said, and then she started to move away.

Rowena reached out and grabbed Kadin’s sleeve. The hunter looked down at Rowena’s hand on her arm, and Rowena’s hand shot away in response. “Wait a second. There is something you should know about that night, or I should say the next morning.”

Kadin got a concerned look that quickly seemed to be becoming one of anger.

Nervously Rowena cleared her throat. “That next day, Kennedy was talking about you.”


“Yeah,” Rowena answered. “She told me that when she wakes up, she smiles, because her first thoughts are of you. Whether you’re next to her or thousands of miles away…you make her happy. I’m not sure if you realize how much Kennedy cares for you, but let me tell you this…You can stay mad at me for the rest of our lives. I don’t want that, but if that’s the way it has to be, so be it. Kennedy, on the other hand, cut her some slack, okay? She was only looking out for someone that night, and that someone happened to be me – who, I’ll repeat, was behaving quite stupidly.”

Kadin looked over at Kennedy, who sat at a table watching the two of them. She turned back to face Rowena. “I’ll take you at your word, but if I find out you’re lying…your ass is mine.”

Rowena held back a grin. “I assure you, neither one of us has anything to worry about.”

Kadin nodded to Rowena and slowly walked back over to Kennedy. Rowena let out a long, relieved breath.

Cut To:
Giles’s House – Late Morning

Becca entered the house first with her keys in hand, while Giles carried Elizabeth in his arms.

“Is there anything you need done right now?” Giles asked as he passed the threshold. “I can call Buffy to send a few girls over.”

“No,” Becca replied. “Everything’s good.”

Giles gave her a look as if he didn’t believe her, but she smiled. “Really, everything is fine right now, but I promise,” she said, holding up one hand and putting the other over her heart, “I will call if I decide we need something done. Or I’ll tell you.”

“That’s what I like to hear,” he complimented, as he leaned over and gave her a gentle kiss. “Go relax, and I’ll get lunch started before I head to the Council.”

Giles took Elizabeth over to her playpen, while Becca walked toward the kitchen. She looked out the patio door and began to cock her head. She changed direction from the kitchen and stood in front of the door, still looking out the window in amazement.

“Rupert?” Becca called out.

Giles looked up from the playpen, where he was making the Elmo doll dance for Elizabeth, much to her approval.

“What is it?” he asked.

Come here,” she answered, not bothering to take her eyes away from the glass door.

Giles handed Elizabeth the doll and walked over to Becca with a curious expression.

“The patio chairs had better not be on the table again,” he replied. “I put back the bloody chandelier already.” As Giles moved behind Becca, his jaw slowly fell open. “Dear Lord.”

“What’s happening?” Becca asked.

Outside the sky was filled with what looked like thousands of birds moving east. On the ground, a caravan of animals – from deer to squirrels – were moving in the same direction.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Becca muttered in amazement.

Concern began to take shape on Giles’s face. “Stay inside. Let no one in. I have to go to the Council.”

“What’s going on?” Becca asked.

“The animals sense the end is coming,” Giles replied.

Black Out


End of Act Three

Go Back Next Act