The Clinic – Consultation Room – Same Time
Dr. Colton looked suspicious. “What kind of deal?”
“This,” Dawn said, passing the folder to the doctor. He opened it to briefly check that she was being serious. “There are good and bad in all races, colors and creeds,” Dawn further explained, “but we can see where your services can be abused by others – demons who want to look human in order to go undetected and commit acts of violence.”
“I see your point, but believe me, I don’t operate on demons who I consider to be anything less than sincere,” Dr. Colton said.
“You really can’t go on gut instinct or feeling here. You’ve got to be sure,” Shannon told the doctor.
The doctor looked at the document again. “What is this exactly? Demon profiling?”
“Essentially, but not quite,” Dawn answered. The doctor looked confused. She sat forward in her chair. “What we propose is a joint venture in order to maintain the security of our world. We propose that your clinic gives us a copy of your patient details and records, so that, with our experience, we can inform you of which demons are, in layman’s terms, good and which are evil. The good ones, you can go ahead and carry out the procedure…the bad ones, well, it all depends on the case, but you can be sure that the Council will conduct a thorough investigation.”
The doctor shook his head. “I don’t know if I like the idea of anyone telling me who I can and can’t practice on based on how they look.”
“This is where the ‘not quite’ part comes in – this isn’t like racial profiling, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Dawn told him. “It’s wrong to detain someone who looks Middle Eastern from getting on an airplane. However, it is right to detain someone whose identification has ties to known terrorist organizations…Consider this the terrorist list of demonology, a catalog of known demons that kill without reason.”
Doctor Colton seemed intrigued. “Okay, say I make a deal with you. What about those demons that aren’t on the list?”
Dawn raised her finger. “If you get a patient that isn’t on our evaluation list, then the pictures that you take during your consultation can be sent to the Council for further confirmation. We check them against our more extensive database. If we get a green light, then you get a green light. If we get a red light, we inform you and we carry out an investigation. If we find in our investigation that they pose no threat, then you can carry out the procedure on them.”
Doctor Colton sat forward. “It seems like you’ve put a lot of thought into this already. I won’t lie. I’m tempted by the offer. But what guarantees do patients have so that incidents like the murder of my former patient don’t happen again?”
“The Council is willing to track and monitor the patients for their own safety for several weeks. They’ll also be given the number of a department within the Council that works to protect certain demon species. This way, we hope to prevent incidents such as the murder of your former patient. We’re also prepared to fund your practice for complying, which could maybe be used to get you a new place that doesn’t involve buying a funky samosa to get in,” Dawn joked.
“Like I said, this is my own practice. I’m not part of an organization. I know of other practices in America, and some in Europe, that do what I do,” Dr. Colton said.
“For the last several months, one of our watchers, Jeffrey Lindquist, brought up that this might be a possibility in the near future – demons changing their appearance. He began compiling this list to distribute, so if you know of the other clinics, we’d like to offer them the same deal so that we don’t have a worldwide problem,” Dawn said.
Dr. Colton put his palms together, his fingers tapping against each other, “And you honestly think your investigation system will work?”
“We do,” Dawn answered confidently. “It will stop good doctors from making bad decisions.”
“And you’ll protect the patients I perform the procedure on afterward?” Doctor Colton asked.
“We will,” Dawn answered, straightening up.
“I’ll probably be promoted to bodyguard someday soon,” Shannon added.
The doctor stared Dawn in the eyes for a long moment. “Then we’ve got a deal.” He unclasped his hands and offered Dawn his hand.
Dawn burst out with a proud smile. “Thank you so much!” She took his hand and gave a firm shake. “First time I’ve ever negotiated a deal before, well, aside from that time with my sister about who got to use the car.”
Doctor Colton grinned, took his pen and signed the document in the folder, then passed it back to Dawn for her to sign, and for Shannon to sign bearing witness.
The doctor picked up the phone. “Carol, could you print off the patient details please. Yes, all of them, and could you also print off our associates’ details while you’re at it? Thank you,” he put the phone down and looked back at Dawn and Shannon. “While we wait, would you care for a quick tour?”
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Andrew sat at the reception desk with the phone to his ear. “You’re still coming over tonight, right? We’ve still got a few episodes to watch from Battlestar Galactica – Season 2.5.” He paused for a moment, listening to the other end of the line. Meanwhile, a man dressed in a suit entered the lobby, with several men and women following behind him. “Great! Look Trace, I gotta go – someone’s here, but I’ll be up for the lunch shift. Bye.”
As the man walked over, Andrew stood up. “Hello, sir.”
“Hello yourself,” he replied. “I’m Jim Pollan. The Council is expecting me. I’m here to see Rowena Allister.”
“You’re Mr. Pollan?” he asked.
“That I am,” he answered with a friendly grin.
“Oh, I just…I kinda thought you’d be older, I guess and…hey wait, I thought you were coming in tomorrow?” Andrew asked.
“We managed to catch an earlier flight, and I’m anxious to help get things in order,” the man replied. “Now, Ms. Allister, if you would…” he said, motioning to the phone.
“Oh, yeah, well, uh, she’s in the morning meeting, I’m sure. I’ll, uh, page her,” Andrew said, getting flustered.
“You’re not the regular receptionist…are you?” Pollan asked.
“Oh no, I’m filling in for Janice, who had a dentist appointment this morning. It’ll just be a second.”
“Thanks,” the new arrival replied. Then he started back towards the people waiting for him, taking note of the décor as he traveled.
The Clinic – Hallway – Same Time
“Here at the Clinic, I offer a complete and thorough plastic surgery procedure,” Dr. Colton told Dawn and Shannon as they walked down the sterile white hallway. “I start with an extensive consultation, both physical and mental, to see if I can weed out those who aren’t undergoing treatment for their own well being. Like I said before, I try to use my best judgment, but I will admit that demons can be persuasive and sometimes it’s hard to read them.”
“You don’t need to worry about that anymore,” Dawn said, much to the doctor’s delight.
“No, you’re right. Once the consultation is complete, we book them in and then we operate,” Dr. Colton continued.
“And you do this all on your own?” Shannon asked, her mouth hanging open a little.
“No, not all on my own. I have Carol, my receptionist who doubles as my PA and hospitality manager. I have a small team of healers that contribute to the patient’s recovery – a mixture of natural recovery and supernatural has proved quite effective, especially with how extensive the procedures are. Sculpting a demon body to look like that of a human is a major project, and because it is a whole body procedure, sometimes the body finds it hard to cope. But with the healers help I can carry out the entire procedure in one surgery, meaning that it’s not only time effective, but cost effective too,” Doctor Colton replied.
“But you perform the procedure entirely on your own?” Dawn inquired.
“Yes. I’m the only plastic surgeon that works at the Clinic,” the doctor answered.
“That really is remarkable. How many patients do you have in The Clinic at any one time?” Dawn questioned.
“Depends,” Doctor Colton tried to recall. “We have a limited bed space of five for patients in recovery, but if we need to we can push it up to six at the most. We have had two procedures on the same day, with three patients in recovery. I’ve found that some demons recover faster than others, but usually with the help of the healers, combined with conventional methods combined, we have an average recovery time of three days. Speak of the devil,” he said. as he saw the large headed outline of a person through the frosted glass door at the end of the hall.
“Where?” Shannon jumped, her eyes darting around the hallway, fists ready.
“Calm down,” Dawn said, putting her hand on Shannon’s shoulder. “Figure of speech.”
At the end of the hall, the door opened and a feline demon dressed in a long white gown and wearing a broad white wimple walked out of a staff room.
“Were your ears burning, Kara?” Dr. Colton joked, catching her attention.
As she looked up, her whiskers caught the light from the fluorescent bulbs, drawing attention to her feline definitions. Kara gave Dr. Colton a kindly smile as she walked down the hall to meet them.
“No, Dr. Colton – must mean you could only be saying good things about me,” she spoke in a soft voice. “Do we have guests?”
“We do indeed. This is Dawn Summers and Shannon Matthewson, our new friends from the Watchers Council,” he told her, “This is Kara, our lead healer.”
“Pleased to make your acquaintance,” Kara said.
“Dr. Colton?” Carol shouted up the corridor. “Sorry to interrupt, but we’re out of toner and need a little help.”
“Excuse me ladies. Not only am I a doctor, but a handyman as well. I’ll see you back at reception with the lists,” he told them, before heading back to reception.
Shannon stepped forward to inspect Kara. “So you’re, like, a cat?”
“Shannon!” Dawn reprimanded.
Kara couldn’t help but chuckle. “It’s okay. I am part feline, yes.”
“So you’re one of the healers here at the Clinic? Do you like the work?” Dawn asked.
“Most rewarding,” Kara replied. “My sisters are also healers here. We provide care for the patients, and use our abilities to heal the body through their transition.”
“Please don’t take offense, but, you’ve never considered a procedure for yourself?” Dawn asked.
“How are you coping with the human world knowing of your existence?” Dawn wondered.
Kara let out a sigh. Shannon leaned in and listened intently, as if to see if the sigh was more of a purr.
“The consequences of last May have been a struggle for all demons…some find it easier to cope than others. You’ll find the majority of our patients have more predominant demonic features, and can’t pass in society. It’s different for vampires, or other demons that share in human appearance. I myself haven’t considered such a radical procedure, not that I think less of others who do undergo the surgery. It’s just that I have purpose. I’m comfortable in my skin, but I do understand how others feel. I’m fortunate because I work with Dr. Colton, who knows I’m a demon. For others, it’s not that simple.”
“I’ve got a question. Why don’t the demons who want to look human just use a glamour spell?” Shannon brought to the fore.
“Perhaps some do, but a side effect of the humans knowing of our existence is that they also know about magic and the supernatural,” Kara explained.
“Which could mean that humans might use magic to bring down the glamour. That’s why the demons want to look human permanently, without the use of magic,” Dawn said.
“Exactly. We offer peace of mind, and, in a way, protection,” Kara gave the pair a half smile. It was then her watch beeped. “Oh, please forgive me, but that’s my cue to do the rounds. Would you like me to walk you to reception?”
Dawn waved her hand. “No, that’s okay. Thanks for talking to us.”
Kara bowed her head to them. “It was a pleasure. Take care,” she said, as she walked past them and into a patient’s room.
“She seemed nice,” Dawn commented.
“Yeah, but man was I tempted to pull a bit of string off of my sweater and wave it to see what she’d do,” Shannon said.
Dawn began to grin, but then tried to look serious and gently slapped Shannon’s arm. Then she nodded for her to follow.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time
Willow walked towards Jim Pollan and his group with her hand extended.
“Mr. Pollan? I’m Willow Rosenberg.”
He shook her hand slightly, but then raised it and kissed the back of it. “Jim, please. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he replied. “Ms. Dimmons and her Coven in London speak very highly of you. And if it’s not too forward, I have to say she’s right…”
“You’re a very beautiful woman.”
Willow blushed and pushed her short hair behind her ear nervously. “Very taken, a-and gay too. Uh, I would have brought Rowena down, since she mentioned you both went to the Academy together. Well, not together together, but at the same time…Anyway, she’s sleeping right now.”
Pollan looked at his watch.
“We had a late night,” Willow replied.
Pollan arched his eyebrows teasingly.
“Well she did, not us like the two of us…I mean, not…” Willow finally gave up. “A friend called her to babysit so she was up all night.”
“I see,” he replied. “I’ve got the new WITs here, so perhaps we can get them settled into this beautiful complex.”
“Oh, absolutely. Well, that’s of course if I can remember my way around. We’re still getting adjusted ourselves,” Willow joked. “Come on, you guys can follow me,” she said, motioning.
Willow looked like she was silently chastising herself as she walked, while Pollan simply smiled as he walked behind her.
The Clinic – Reception – Moments Later
Dawn and Shannon walked back into reception, catching Dr. Colton’s eye. “Ah here you go. The patient lists,” he said, handing over a thick stack of various sheets of paper, some stapled together.
“Thank you,” Dawn said, taking the lists from him and handing them to Shannon to hold.
“And a list of other practices that I know of. Their contact details are all there,” Dr. Colton showed Dawn the other printout before giving it to her.
“What’s this?” Shannon asked, referring to a name on the list she had that was circled several times in red pen.
“Oh yes,” Doctor Colton began, “That patient – Mr. Klack’narg – he was one of my most recent patients to come in for a consultation.”
“Something not right?” Dawn asked.
“I’m not sure. He seemed…flakey, for lack of a better word, most patients are to an extent – white coat syndrome, nerves. But there was something more unusual about him.”
“Okay, we’ll check him out. Thanks again, Doctor Colton,” Dawn said, shaking his hand a final time. “I’ll report back to the Council, and we’ll set up a formal meeting, maybe later this week.”
“I’m looking forward to our partnership,” Dr. Colton told them, before they turned for the door to leave.
Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Later that Morning
Willow walked into her living room, with Jim following behind her. She grinned when she saw Rowena asleep on the sofa with Polo dozing in her arms.
“Not sure how she got out here,” Willow said quietly.
The sound made Rowena open her eyes. They widened as she began to focus.
“Jim?” she asked. Immediately, she looked at Willow. “Did I sleep an entire day?”
Willow chuckled. “No, he came early.”
“How are you, Rowena?” Jim asked politely.
“Half asleep and in my pajamas,” she replied. “Yourself?”
“Sounds like not much has changed since the Academy days,” he teased.
“Yes, I can say the same about you, too, it seems.” Rowena gave a polite but stiff grin. “I have research to do later today, so why don’t you go grab yourself a cup of coffee and meet us in the library in about thirty minutes?”
“I’m trying to take care of myself so I’ve cut out caffeine. None of us are getting any younger and I’ve got to stay in shape. But I’ll certainly give you time to get yourself together,” he said. “Later, ladies,” he finished as he left the room.
Once he was gone, Rowena buried her face in her hands. She looked up and, in a mocking voice, said, “I’ll give you time to get yourself together…Thank you, Will. Thank you so much for bringing him in here to see me in my PJs.”
Willow shrugged. “I thought you’d be in bed. That’s where I left you.”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s not your fault. I was in bed. but I couldn’t get to sleep so I had some cookies and milk and fell asleep out here…He just…” She gave a low noise that sounded like a growl. “He rubs me the wrong way.”
“I didn’t think your relationship with him involved rubbing,” Willow replied.
Rowena grinned. “It didn’t. Believe me, it reallllly didn’t. He’s just…he’s so competitive. Anything I could do, he thought he could do better. He tried to kill me in the fencing championship!”
“Really?” Willow asked skeptically.
“Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I can’t prove it, and in the end I guess it doesn’t matter because I won, but still…Any chance he can get to upstage me, he will. So here he is in his designer suit, and here I am…in my black and pink-hearted jammies.”
“But I like your pink-hearted jammies,” Willow told her with a leer. “I like what’s under the pink-hearted jammies more, though.” She played with the hem of the top, pulling Rowena closer to give her a kiss.
“Is that so?” Rowena asked, as her forearms fell on Willow’s shoulders. Suddenly, Rowena began to look around the room. “Where’s Liz?”
“Oh, I-I gave her to Buffy,” Willow said as she started to nuzzle Rowena’s neck. The watcher’s body seemed to stiffen and Willow picked up on it. “And I can tell you have to get ready,” Willow finished, pulling back.
“I’m sorry,” Rowena answered. “But if I’m not in that library within twenty-nine minutes that’s all I’ll hear about for the next day.”
Willow took Rowena’s face in her hands. “Get ready. I’ll hold down the fort.”
Watchers Council – Robin and Faith’s Apartment – A Short Time Later
Elizabeth slept in the middle of Robin and Faith’s bed, while the slayer reclined on one side. Faith’s fingertips played with the curls of hair behind Elizabeth’s ear as Robin walked over.
“I can move her to the floor if you want to sleep. I know you plan to patrol tonight with Ken.”
“Nah,” Faith said softly. “She’s fine. Besides, if I give up my bed so Buffy can finish pushing her papers, I’ve got something to torment her with.” A small grin came to her face as she looked back at Elizabeth. “This girl’s gonna be a heartbreaker when she grows up.” Robin smiled, but said nothing. “I missed all this,” she said absently.
“With Norm, you mean?” Robin asked. Faith just nodded. “It’s not too late, you know? You could do this.”
Faith harrumphed. “No, not me Ace. I’m good at makin’ ’em. Doesn’t mean I’d be good raisin’ ’em. Besides, if Joelle hadn’t adopted Norm and I’d kept him, he’d probably be in a meth clinic right about now, bitching to a shrink about how I destroyed his life.”
“You’re certainly Miss Optimism today,” Robin remarked.
“I’m the fun aunt, not the mom type,” she answered, still looking at Elizabeth. “I borrow ’em, I spoil ’em and I send ’em home. That works better for me…Besides I wouldn’t have a kid if I wasn’t married,” she added.
Robin looked away nervously. “Well, with all the photo shoots for the Council promotional posters you do, I’m not sure you’d have time to get married, much less plan a wedding.”
Faith said nothing at first. She simply continued looking at Elizabeth. “Yeah, you’re probably right,” she finally answered.
Before either of them could say anything more, a knock made them turn toward the living room.
Robin opened the front door to see Becca standing there, looking exhausted. “Please tell me that you have my daughter. I think I’ve been to every room in this new building.”
Robin smiled. “Well, your journey is over. You’ve come to the right place.”
“Thank God,” she sighed as she walked inside. “I was about to just leave her here and have someone ship her back when she’s eighteen.”
Robin chuckled. “She’s quite the traveler already,” he said.
“You’re not kidding,” Becca replied as Faith walked into the room. “Hey Faith,” she said, giving a wave before continuing her conversation with Robin. “Anyway, I went to Ro’s place – no answer. So, I went to the Coven Room and found Will. But she said Buffy had her, so I went to Buffy, and she told me to look here.”
“I didn’t think to leave a message at the front desk,” Faith told her. “My bad.”
“Nah, I didn’t even bother to check there. I didn’t think that many people would watch her,” Becca chuckled.
“Hey, you guys are family. It’s not a problem,” Robin replied.
“The same goes for you guys, too,” Becca replied, “…and speaking of which, I’ve never had the chance to thank you,” she told Faith.
“For what?” Faith said truly confused.
“For coming out to the house to look for us. Rupert told me you volunteered.”
Faith blushed and shrugged. “Like Robin said, family. Besides, I wasn’t about to let Giles go out there to God knows what. But really, no big.”
“Yes big,” Becca replied. “You had the weight of the world on your shoulders and you still took the time to make sure we were alright, so thank you.”
Faith shrugged again and then motioned to the bedroom. “She’s sacked in bed right now, but I’ll get her loaded up for you.”
“Thanks,” Becca said. She watched Faith slip into the bedroom. In a quiet voice, she asked Robin, “She seems to be doing okay. Is she alright?”
Robin seemed to consider the question. “All things considered, yeah, she’s doing good.”
“Rising from the dead might not be as cool as it sounds. Keep an eye on her, okay?” Becca replied.
“I will.” Robin smiled.
Watchers Council – Library – Minutes Later
Willow, Faith, Buffy and Jim were all sitting around the long library table when Rowena walked inside carrying a folder. “I’m not late, am I?” she asked.
Willow and Jim both looked at their watches.
“Well…” Jim began.
“Twenty seven minutes and sixteen seconds,” Willow chimed in before he could go on. “You made it.”
Rowena gave her a smile of thanks. “Now where are we?” she asked the group.
“Just filling Jim in on his new job duties,” Buffy replied. “Since I’m not the best one for coming up with the right words on the spot, and we desperately need someone to do PR who knows the Council, I’ve asked Jim to oversee it,” she answered.
“But I thought you were going to have me do that,” Rowena said.
“Jim made a convincing case for taking the job over,” Buffy answered.
“Oh did he now?” Rowena replied, tight lipped.
“I know how busy you are on that pet project of yours,” Jim replied. “That vamp questionnaire stuff,” he added.
“It’s scientifically cataloged research on the vampire species,” Rowena remarked. “It’s not stuff.”
“Whatever,” Jim said, conceding. “The point is, you can’t be everywhere doing everything. I thought that’s why you wanted my help, but if it’s not needed…”
Rowena was on the verge of opening her mouth when Buffy said, “No, we do. We need someone who’s good with words and, quite frankly, someone who’s not bad on the eyes.”
“Why thank you,” he replied with a smile, before looking across the table smugly at Rowena.
“And I’m what? A troll?” Rowena asked Buffy.
“No,” Buffy said quickly. “I know you’re already overworked, and we need someone who’s in the know and looks good when they’re talking. The world believes pretty people…sad but true. So we’re using his looks to our advantage.”
“See Rowena?” Jim said. “The only reason I got the job is because I’m pretty.” The pencil that was in Rowena’s hand under the table snapped and she casually dropped it to the floor. “Besides, with me doing this, you’ll have more time to work on your scientifically cataloged research…and that means all the quicker you’ll be finished, right? I mean we’ve got a vampire wandering the halls here for no other reason than she claims she’ll be good and she’s in love with a watcher.”
“It’s a bit more complicated than that,” Faith put in.
“How do you figure?” Jim asked Faith, before turning to the rest of the group. “In my day, if a vamp ran the halls of the Watchers Council, it was open season on them. But you guys seem to have taken her in with open arms. I’m not sure I get that.”
“She’s helping me in my research,” Rowena explained.
“What? You can’t hire a clerk to do your filing?” he retorted.
“She’s not…Look, Jim,” Rowena said, taking a deep breath to keep her temper in check, “you don’t understand what I’m trying to achieve here.”
“True, so why don’t you explain it to me so I understand,” he replied. “Because to be totally honest, this I’d love to hear, and I might need to explain it to the public at large someday.”
“Not all demons are evil,” she began.
“Vamps are,” he pointed out.
“According to popular myth, yes.”
“No, that’s popular fact,” he answered. “We had volumes of information regarding the evil vampires have inflicted on people over the ages.”
“And we also have new research on a group trying to live a normal life – balancing their inner selves and their demon selves,” Rowena shot back.
“You mean you’ve got Skye,” he said.
“Skye is one, yes. But there are others, ones we’ve been following for nearly a year now. I have a theory that it’s not always the same kind of demon that inhabits the body of a vampire. There could be several other types, depending on the sire and, for lack of a better word, their bloodline.”
“So you mean to tell me that this process where one ceases living and becomes a vampire –”
“Vampification, I call it,” Rowena replied.
“Vampification,” he said skeptically. He shook his head, getting back to his point. “Anyway, during this vampification, there might be a chance for a vampire to be good?”
“Perhaps,” she replied.
“But vampires, like all demons, are soulless,” he countered.
“Serial killers have souls. So did Stalin and a lot of good it did him and the millions of people he murdered,” Rowena retorted.
“So souls serve no purpose then? Is that what you’re saying?” Jim asked.
“No, I’m saying a soul doesn’t stop someone from being evil, and maybe, by the same token, the lack of a soul doesn’t automatically equal wickedness. But that’s what my research is trying to uncover. Skye has agreed to fully participate in my studies and experiments in exchange for staying here.”
“Such as?” Faith jumped in. Jim and Rowena both looked at her. “Sorry, didn’t mean to butt in. I’m just curious as to what you’ve got planned for her.”
“Such as a vampire’s need for blood,” Rowena replied. “In the next few weeks, we’re starting a program where Skye won’t be given blood and we’ll see how she reacts over time.”
“So you want to starve her to see if she tries to eat anyone?” Jim asked. “That sounds safe.”
“You know, Jim…” Rowena sighed.
“Hey, guys,” Willow piped in before Rowena could say any more. “I know this is unorthodox, but what always worked for Giles and Buffy was being…well…unorthodox with a side of strange. They didn’t do things by the book. A-and the books we’ve read so far say vamps are supposed to be slayed, no questions asked…Well, now we’re asking questions, because the world needs answers. It’s not just a select few that know about demons being real. It’s everyone. So in the interest of protecting everyone, human and demon alike, we need more concrete answers.” When the table went quiet, she finished with, “That’s all I had to say.”
“Like I said,” Jim admitted. “I’m the new guy in these parts, and I’ve got a lot to learn.”
“That you do,” Rowena muttered.
“But I like the way she said it,” Jim said, motioning to Willow. Jim chewed his inner lip for a moment, then said, “And I’d be honored if Ms. Rosenberg, sorry, Willow, could perhaps show me the ropes. That is, if she can make time in her schedule?”
Rowena seethed silently from across the table.
“No, that’s fine with me,” Willow replied amicably.
“Great!” he exclaimed. “Oh, and Rowena, of course if she’s got time,” he added, as if in afterthought.
“My pleasure,” Rowena replied, tight lipped.
Jim simply grinned.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Mid-Day
Andrew and Tracey worked in silence in the kitchen. She wore a nervous expression on her face. “I got a letter yesterday,” she said, trying to sound casual.
“Who from?” Andrew asked.
“Oh, they finally replied?” Andrew asked excitedly. “What did they say?”
“I’m accepted,” she responded.
“That’s great…” Andrew’s excitement then suddenly stopped. “Well, that’s really great, Tracey. I’m happy for you. It’s a great school and I’m sure you’re gonna have a blast.”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward…” Tracey trailed off and dropped the knife she was holding on the counter. “Are you gonna break up with me?”
“Because you’re going off to a different school?” Andrew asked. “I didn’t plan on it but…if you don’t think I’ll fit into your new life –”
Andrew didn’t finish because Tracey kissed him soundly on the lips. “That’s not what I want,” she said as she pulled away. “I just don’t know if you can handle me being away.”
“I can handle it if you can,” Andrew answered. “It’s still a year away anyway, right?” Tracey nodded. “Let’s just take it as it comes, but with the intention that we’ll be together…just a thousand miles apart for a few years.”
“I’ll be home every break, and maybe a few weekends, if my class load lets me,” she offered. “After all, you’ve got that big movie deal coming. I’m sure you could afford to fly me home.”
“And I’d fly there to save you time, so, see? No problem,” he told her. “Again, it’s great news.”
Tracey smiled, but then sniffed the air. She turned her head to see a pan on the stove starting to smoke.
“Oh shoot,” she said, as she moved the pan and turned off the stove. “I gotta learn not to have these long winded chats until after we’re done cooking.”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Mid-Day
Rowena moved swiftly through the hallway, flowing with the surging human traffic around her.
“You got the patient list? Oh, lists. And the associate list? Nice job. I think we’ll send you and Shannon to do all of our negotiating in the future,” Rowena spoke into her cell phone as she marched with tan folders, stamped with the Council logo, in her spare hand.
Dawn’s Car – Same Time
“Thanks. We do good work.” Dawn winked at Shannon, who sat shotgun.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
“You got that right. Okay, once you and Shannon get back, bring them up to me and I’ll start to go through the patient details with Robin and see if we can’t vet out the good from the bad. Then we can forward the lists to the other branches for the watchers there to approach plastic surgeons in their region. Or perhaps send you two to visit them as well, since you’re on a roll,” Rowena joked. “If we can get this demon APB out, then we should be able to keep control over who has the surgery.”
Dawn’s Car – Same Time
“Cool, only thing is, I think we might have a potential perp already. Dr. Colton said he had a weird vibe about this patient…somebody he called…”
“Mr. Klack’narg,” Shannon answered, her finger pointing to a circled name on the list in her lap.
Dawn replied with a smile, “Mr. Klack’narg. The good doctor said that he was more skittish than other patients he’s had recently.”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
“Alright. Do you guys need any backup?” Rowena replied.
Dawn’s Car – Same Time
“Nah, we can handle it,” Dawn answered.
Apartment Complex – Minutes Later
“Mr. Klack’narg. Apartment 509,” Shannon read off of a yellow post-it.
“509 …” Dawn muttered to herself, as they walked out of a stairwell onto the fifth floor of an apartment building. She glanced at the numbers on the doors on either side of the corridor. “Down here.”
Dawn walked ahead of Shannon, who had her head in the list as she skipped along behind.
Standing outside apartment #509, Dawn put her hand through the barred security gate and knocked on the door, readying her ID in her free hand.
When the door swung open, Shannon swiftly pulled her mini-crossbow gun from her hip and Dawn took a few steps back. From inside, a demon with a crossbow took aim back at Shannon.
“Nobody move!” he yelled.
Dawn looked nervously back and forth between the creature and her slayer.
End of Act Two