Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room
“You have exactly three seconds to tell me where she is, or I swear to you…” Willow’s voice was hard.
“Easy, Will…” Xander said gently.
“She’s been watching our every move,” Willow snapped. “She drugged us, put four of our most prominent members in a death trap,” Willow glared at him. “Give me one reason, just one, why I should go easy on her.”
“Because she’s the only one who knows where they are,” he told her quietly.
“They’re in a safe place,” Marly said softly. “That’s all I can tell you.”
“Safe? Have you even looked at your damn…” Willow’s body shook in anger. “One almost had her arms hacked off; another is bleeding. What else have you put out there?”
“I can’t tell you any more than that,” Marly said.
Willow turned her attention to the computer screen behind the slayer.
“Hold her,” she told Kennedy.
“What is it?” Kennedy asked.
“IP addresses,” Willow said. “Dozens of them, hundreds. Oh, she’s good.”
“What?” Kennedy asked.
“Andrew said that he was having trouble tracing the signal going into the computer room because it kept switching servers. She’s been switching them from right inside the council,” Willow said.
“So if we have her…” Kennedy said.
“Andrew should be able to find them,” Willow said eagerly.
“How soon?” Kennedy asked.
Watchers Council – Computer Room
“It’ll be tight,” Andrew confirmed, “but it’s going faster now.”
“How tight?” Robin said, leaning over his shoulder.
“I really can’t tell. It depends on how hard she made it to backtrack,” Andrew told him. “It could be a few minutes, it could be a few hours.” He paused. “She still needs to talk. I need more information, or we might never make it in time.”
“Faith, are you okay?” Rowena asked.
She held her hand out at the bottom of a stair landing and Faith took it, allowing Rowena to steady her final steps. Following behind were Heli and Vi, with Heli draping her arm around Vi, who was semi-carrying her.
Faith nodded slowly as they walked down the hallway. “I don’t know what’s wrong, though. The bleeding should’ve stopped by now.”
Despite the wraps around her feet, she still left bloody footprints in her wake.
“How bad is it?” Rowena asked softly.
“Five by five,” Faith replied tightly. “I think whoever brought us here gave me something to keep me bleedin’, though.”
“We’ll get out in time,” Rowena said.
“You don’t sound any more convinced of that than I do,” Faith said.
“No, I am,” Rowena said. “Look at Heli.”
“What about her?” Faith asked.
“She lost a lot of blood initially, but it’s almost stopped now. She’ll need a transfusion, but at least she isn’t pumping any more out.”
“Yeah, so?” Faith asked.
“She was cut a lot deeper than you are, and her blood is clotting nicely. So if all you’ve got are a thousand papercuts. I doubt you’re in danger of bleeding to death,” Rowena said.
“I think this is a little more than paper cuts –”
“That’s not the point,” Rowena said quickly. “Whoever set this up knew that the slayers would be in the first traps and it would be…survivable.”
“What are you saying?” Faith asked, confused.
“I’m saying whoever is doing this knows what we’re doing before we do it,” Rowena said, “and they’ve planned out every move we’re going to make here.” She frowned. “Someone’s been watching us for a long time, so long that they know us better than we know ourselves.”
“So we’re dealin’ with someone smart,” Faith said. “We’ve been up against smart people before.”
“It’s more than that,” Rowena said. “Anytime someone’s nabbed one of us, it was either the result of magic, brute force, or dumb luck – or a bit of all three. He managed to snag four of us and get away without anybody even noticing. And it wasn’t just any four people, either. It seems like he wanted us, specifically.”
“Why?” Faith asked.
“That I don’t know. I’ve got more questions than answers right now. Like why did he only take you and not all the upper management? Why not Willow, Buffy?” Rowena asked.
“That’s easy,” Faith answered. “Obviously this person is psycho.”
“Psycho maybe, but he’s still playing an elaborate game, and for some reason we’re the pawns.”
“The way I see it, it’s real simple. We live, we win. We die, he does. Don’t let yourself think of anything other than that,” Faith countered. “Don’t think about the maze, or the psycho behind this, or why they wanted us, or anything other than what’s right in front of your nose. ‘Cause the minute you do, he will win.”
Watchers Council – Hallway Outside Slayer Rec Room
Willow’s fist slammed into the wall beside the door in frustration as she stepped into the hallway.
“Take it easy, Will,” Xander said quietly, exiting behind her.
“Four people are in the process of dying, and Marly’s still throwing out cryptic comments and talking as if nothing’s happening,” Willow said. “We don’t have time for a remake of Silence of the Lambs.”
“Will, come on. Take a minute…”
“I don’t have a minute. I have three slayers and a watcher whose time is running out.”
“Will, those four are some of the most resourceful women we know. If anyone can make it out of this, they can,” Xander told her.
“And if they don’t?” Willow pressed.
“I’m trying not to focus on that part!” Xander said, finally snapping back, his resolve falling for a brief moment. He took a breath, regaining his calm. “Look, arguing with each other won’t help them. And letting our fear get the best of us won’t help, either.”
Willow released a ragged sigh. “I can’t lose her Xander,” she said, beginning to whimper. “I know Skye was trying to get a rise out of me earlier. but…she’s right. I’ve buried one woman I love. I can’t do it again. I just can’t.”
“I can’t either,” Xander replied. “But like you said, Skye’s onto something. Right now, you’re a lot crazier than whoever’s behind this.” With the last phrase, he attempted a Skye imitation, with mixed results.
“We know who’s behind this,” Willow said, glancing back at the room.
“We think we know. Marly hasn’t told us anything except that they’re safe.”
“Maybe she’s not working alone and, if that’s the case, we better keep our heads together and find out who else is involved.” He stopped as Willow looked at him for a moment. “What?”
Watchers Council – Skye’s Room – Moments Later
“Okay,” Skye said, as the door to her room swung open. “I really need to install a lock on the door.”
“I’d just have them make me a key,” Willow snapped. “I need you to talk to somebody, get inside their head.”
Skye cocked her head at the witch. “You found him?”
“Her. It’s Marly,” Willow replied.
“Marly? No way,” Skye snorted and shook her head. “She’s not the type.”
“Neither were you, but you killed at least three people that we know of,” Willow emphasized.
“Faulty comparison: I wasn’t a killer before I was a vampire,” Skye countered. She paused, a thoughtful expression on her face. “She’s not a vampire, is she?”
“No. Not as far as we’ve been able to tell, anyway,” Willow said. “Just evil. We need someone just as evil to talk to her.”
Skye shook her head. “She won’t talk to me.”
“How can you possibly know that? You haven’t even been in the same room as her yet,” Xander told her.
“You think you can get everything you want to know out of her just by sitting her in a room with a neutered…spayed vamp talking to her? Not to mention the fact that she is a slayer, and she could probably do a decent job of staking…” Skye’s eyes narrowed. “Or is that what you’re hoping for? You send someone expendable into the room, maybe she gets the answer, maybe she doesn’t and the slayer does what she does best. Either way, you’ve solved at least one problem.”
“An it harm none,” Willow quoted.
“Harm is a relative term,” Skye told her. “Doctors debate it all the time. The Doctor’s Code of Ethics isn’t that different from the Wiccan Rede. Do no harm. Sounds pretty unambiguous, doesn’t it? But they’ve debated for decades at what point treating a patient constitutes harm.”
“Look, if you’re not going to help us…” Xander began.
“I didn’t say that,” Skye replied. “I said I couldn’t help you, not in my current state.”
“What are you talking about?” Willow demanded.
“The one thing everybody responds to, psychotic or not, is the threat of personal harm,” Skye said. “If you want her to talk, you have to be ready to ask in a way that she’ll find hard to refuse.”
“What?” Willow’s eyes widened. “Oh no. We do not torture people.”
Skye shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
“You’re talking about torture,” Willow said sharply. “Even if it were possible…”
“Come on, Will,” Skye said in a patronizing tone, “you’d have to be a complete idiot to cast a spell that you didn’t know how to reverse. And I don’t think you’re a complete idiot.”
“So sue me if I hold us to a slightly higher standard than the U.S. government,” Willow told her.
“And I said: suit yourself,” Skye replied, unconcerned. “But if they die, I want you to think about this conversation really hard.”
“Will, let it go. She’s a vampire. By definition: evil,” Xander said, pulling on Willow’s elbow.
“Again with the relative terms,” Skye said with a roll of her eyes.
“We don’t…” Willow started.
“… torture people, I know,” Skye finished for her. “Call it evil if it makes you feel better, and maybe it is. But we both know that the only thing I’m really guilty of is doing the math that you’re not willing to admit you have to do. You came to me asking for my help. I’m offering it. Don’t blame me because you’re stuck in your ivory tower where anybody can be reasoned with in a rational, sensible manner.”
Willow glared at her for a moment, her jaw clenched. “We’re not there yet. And as long as I have anything to say about it, we’ll never be there.” She turned to stride towards the door.
“Clock’s ticking,” Skye called out, as Willow reached to close the door.
The witch did not turn around to face the vampire, but paused at Skye’s words, her hand gripping the doorknob for a moment. The expression on her face was one of grim determination as she finally stepped into the hallway.
“Tell me that you’re not actually considering this,” Xander said, once she had closed Skye’s door behind her.
“I’m not,” Willow replied. “We’re not there yet, I told you.”
“‘Yet?'” he asked.
“I’m not ruling it out,” she conceded.
“Will, that’s a big line you’re talking about stepping across,” Xander said.
“You said it yourself, Xander. She might not be working alone. It’s one way to get the information out of her.”
“Skye got to you, didn’t she?” Xander said in disbelief. “Jesus Christ, she’s a vampire. The kind of per – thing that has a human being for a snack and sleeps very well that night.”
“That doesn’t make her wrong.” Willow’s tone was darkly threatening. “I am not losing them.”
“Think really hard about what you’re saying Willow!” Xander replied. “An it harm none, remember?”
“And you remember that Vi’s in there too.” Willow pointed an accusatory finger at him.
“I do remember,” Xander countered.
“Then start acting like it!”
“I can’t!” he shouted. He looked around, as if to see if anyone had heard him. He lowered his voice before he spoke again. “If I do…and if something happens to Ro…I might lose you, too…to something much darker.”
Willow took a series of shaking breaths. “The bottom line is simple, Xan. If Marly won’t tell us where they are, I will find a way of making her tell us, no matter how much sleep I’ll lose over it.”
“Is it getting hot in here?” Rowena asked.
“Um, yeah. Am I hoping against hope that the air conditioner isn’t working?” Faith asked. The front of her vest was now stained a deep red. Her arms were crossed in front of her, and dark blood dripped on the floor around her.
“Somehow, I doubt it,” Rowena replied.
“Well, whatever’s coming up, we’d better get through it quick,” Faith said. “I don’t know if I’m gonna make it to two hours.”
Heli was hanging more heavily off of Vi’s shoulders now. Her feet dragged along the floor and her breathing was slow, almost tired. Large, dark half-circles hung under her eyes, visible through the mat of hair that hung over her face.
“I think she’s in full-blown shock,” Vi said. “She’s shivering pretty badly.”
“Will she make it?” Rowena asked.
“I don’t know,” Vi replied. “She’s in bad shape. The bleeding stopped, but the shock alone could kill her.”
“Just keep her moving,” Rowena said. “If we have to, we’ll come back for her, but –”
“You’re not serious,” Vi interrupted.
“Vi, we can’t help her if we all die here because we have to carry her,” Rowena said gently.
“She’s one of us,” Vi said.
“I know that,” Rowena said, making an effort to keep her voice level, “but I have to weigh that against losing all of us.”
“She’s right,” Heli said weakly.
“I’m not leaving anyone behind,” Vi insisted.
“Stay…alive,” Heli breathed at her.
“No,” Vi countered through gritted teeth. “If I’m dying here, I’m dying. But I’m dying long before I leave anyone behind.”
“We’ll come back for her,” Rowena told her.
“That’s a lie,” Vi said softly, “and you know it.”
Rowena took a step back and her head bobbed downward. The expression on her face was one of profound shame.
Watchers Council – Computer Room
Andrew’s fingers gently touched the surface of the flat-panel monitor in front of him, where he could see the four women standing in a cluster. Further down the hallway, a peculiar flickering orange glow could be seen just around the corner.
“Stay alive, girls,” he whispered. “Just stay alive.”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
“Look,” Robin said, “I was the one who suggested that we stake her outright, but that doesn’t make her wrong now. If she thinks she can make Marly talk, I say we cut the leash and turn her loose.”
“And how would Faith feel about that? Knowing that you’d tortured another slayer just to save her life?” Xander pressed him.
“If we don’t, Faith won’t feel anything. She’ll be dead, along with Vi,” Robin’s gaze shifted to Willow, “and Ro.” His lips pursed and his brow furrowed. “Folks I’m not saying I like the idea, far from it, but we are very rapidly running out of options. And I know that if Faith were here, and I were in there, she’d be the first one into that room trying to beat the information out of her.”
“You’re talking about locking a slayer in a room with a vampire who we have no control over,” Xander said. “Are you even listening to yourself?”
“Are you?” Robin countered. “Vi could die in there.”
“You don’t think I know that?!” Xander shouted.
Robin ignored the comment and went on. “We have someone who can help us find them before the clock runs out, but she won’t talk. I hate to think of it in these terms, but we’d be harming one slayer and hopefully saving three more, and one of our most prominent watchers.”
“Funny,” Xander said sarcastically. “That’s pretty much exactly what Skye said.”
“That doesn’t make either of us wrong,” Robin stressed.
“Okay, enough!” Willow yelled. “Both of you.” She said, gesturing at the two men in front of her. Willow glared at both of them for a moment. She took a deep breath. “You’re right, Robin.”
“But,” Willow interrupted Xander, “if we step across that line, we’re going to a place I swore I’d never bring this council. If and when we get to that point, I’ll make that call. It’s on my shoulders, but until then, nobody is to touch so much as a hair on Marly’s head. Do I make myself clear?” She stared hard into Robin’s eyes.
Robin did not speak. He didn’t back down from the witch’s stare, either.
“Do I make myself clear?” Willow asked again, her voice harder.
Robin held her glare for a moment before he spoke. “Perfectly,” he said tightly.
“Fine,” Willow said. “Let’s go see if we can catch a couple more flies with honey first.”
Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Moments Later
Kennedy stood silently near the door watching guard, her eyes cold as she watched Marly.
“Has she said anything to you?” Willow asked as she walked through the door.
“Not a word,” Kennedy replied.
Willow closed the distance to stand a few feet in front of Marly. “You should know that I have people who are just waiting to come in here and beat whatever information you have locked in your head out of you.”
“I told you, they’re safe. I haven’t hurt any of them,” Marly answered.
“You, or someone you know, put them in there,” Willow snapped. “If they die, you killed them, just as surely as if you’d put a gun to their heads and pulled the trigger. I’m giving you the chance to help us here.”
“They’re safe, you’ll see,” Marly said.
“Will?” Andrew’s voice sounded over the PA system.
“What is it, Andrew?”
“You’d better come down here. Our girls just went down another set of stairs and something’s happening.” Even over the scratchy speaker, the young man’s voice sounded morose.
“Should I take her to lock up?” Kennedy asked.
“No, leave her here. I might need her in front of that computer when she finally decides to talk.”
“Oh, crap,” Vi muttered.
The four women recoiled from the heat of the wall of flames in front of them.
“Anyone who goes in there is gettin’ burned, bad,” Faith said.
“Not to mention we have one injured person we need to carry through it,” Rowena sighed.
“No, Ro,” Vi said. “We are not talking about this again.”
Rowena ignored the comment and continued to examine the walls and the ceiling. “Let’s look for a shut off, guys.”
“Vi,” Faith said, turning to her fellow slayer, “Heli can’t walk on her own. I don’t want to leave her behind any more than you do, but here, she’s gonna get us killed.”
“I’m not leaving her,” Vi insisted. “We’ll just have to find another way.”
“I’m all ears,” Faith said. “If you’ve got a suggestion, now’s the time.”
“How far do you think it goes?” Rowena asked, taking a step closer to the inferno.
“I don’t know,” Faith said, “I can’t see far into…that.” She hobbled close to the wall of flames and did her best to peer through. “Looks like there’s an opening on the other side.”
“Looks like or is?” Rowena asked. “We’re taking a big chance.”
Vi, too, began to try to see through the flames. “Wait. I see it,” she said. “Right there?” She pointed.
Faith looked over Vi’s shoulder and nodded. “Yeah, I’d say that’s an opening. We just need to run through the flames first, unless we’ve found a shut off over here.”
“I don’t see anything,” Rowena answered in frustration. “It’s probably on the other side, but there could be one here too we’re just not seeing.”
“Well,” Rowena began, “if I was playing with fire and building this thing, I’d want to know I had a way in or out from either direction. You know?”
“True,” Vi answered, “And so far they haven’t given us anything that’ll kill us outright, have they?” Vi asked. “I mean, everything they’ve given us has been hard, painful, dangerous and potentially lethal, but they haven’t given us any flat-out dead ends. We can make it if we run through quick enough.”
“I’m not going to set any land speed records with this,” Faith said, pointing to her feet. “And really, how fast can you run with Heli?”
Vi frantically looked at the flames in front of her. Then turned back to Faith. “How far can you throw her?”
“Slayer, preternaturally strong, remember? Heli weighs, what, about 140? How far do you think you can throw her?” Vi asked.
“About ten feet, maybe fifteen if I were at a hundred percent,” Faith replied. “Tell me you’re not seriously thinking that we throw her through that.”
“You said it yourself,” Vi argued, “we’re getting burned if we go through, and unless you have another idea, we’re going to have to go through. So we go one at a time. I go first, stop, drop and roll. If I can’t find a turn off switch, you throw Heli through.”
“Are you nuts?” Faith asked incredulously, matching the look on Ro’s face. “What if I don’t throw her that far? What if she lands in the middle of that? You’ll get burned up trying to pull her out? And if you don’t pull her out, that’s one more obstacle Ro and I have to try to clear. Sorry if that sounds cold, but you know it’s true.”
“You said it yourself, we’re getting burned here. At least this way we’ll all be alive on the other side.”
“You don’t know that!” Faith shouted.
Vi put her hands up in front of her. “Look, I’ll go first and find the shut off on the other side, okay?” Vi offered. “Otherwise, we’re wasting time here arguing.”
“I don’t know,” Faith said, as if unable to commit to the idea.
Rowena looked at the flames in front of her for a moment, her expression one of intense concentration. “Vi’s right. It’s time to act. We have thirty-four minutes left,” she said, finally. “Shield your face and eyes, and hold your breath. The air in there will be more than hot enough to sear your lungs, I’m sure. When you reach the other side stop, drop and roll. Find a way to turn it off and we’ll take Heli through.”
Vi nodded. “I’ll let you know how far you need to throw her, if it comes to that.”
“She’s gonna have some broken bones when she hits,” Faith said. “And she won’t be able to walk after this.”
“Then I’ll just have to carry her,” Vi said.
“Okay, you want to be running full out when you get into that, and don’t stop for nothing,” Rowena told her. “Understand?”
Vi nodded firmly.
Watchers Council – Computer Room
“Oh God,” Xander said as he watched Vi back up a few feet on the screen in front of him, looking grimly at the wall of flames before her.
Willow stood next to him, every muscle in her body tensed. “Go to Jeff,” she said quietly. “See if he’s found anything.”
Willow shook her head. “Everything we’ve done, she’s been one step ahead of us. I’ll give her this, she’s done her job well.” She looked at Xander. “Maybe we’ll try something she hasn’t thought of.”
“I can’t leave right now, Will,” Xander told her, before turning back to the screen.
“I don’t want you to see this,” Willow said in a raised voice.
Xander didn’t reply. He just went back to watching the screen, and Willow sighed in frustration.
Vi broke into a sprint, accelerating as she raced unhesitatingly towards the inferno in front of her.
Watchers Council – Computer Room
Xander’s breathing came hard and fast, and his body tensed as if he were preparing himself to receive a punch as the distance between the slayer and the flames evaporated to nothing.
Vi brought her arms up around her head and took a breath, holding it as she crossed the last few feet.
The flames flickered off in front of her, abruptly plunging the hallway into darkness.
“Vi, freeze!” Rowena yelled.
Vi stopped and took a step back.
As sharply as they had shut off, the flames reappeared, again bathing the hallway in flickering orange light.
Silhouetted against the bright orange was Vi, her arms stretched straight out to her sides, pressing against the sides of the hallway where she’d drawn to a panicked stop. The flames danced inches away from her chest.
“Okay, what just happened?” she asked.
“It’s on the floor,” Rowena said.
Watchers Council – Computer Room
Xander’s knees buckled as he saw Vi stepping away from the flames, unharmed. The breath he’d been holding came out in a rush. He held the back of the chair in front of him for support.
“Thank god,” he sighed softly.
“Where?” Faith asked, as they all tried to chart Vi’s path.
“He’s good, he’s really good,” Rowena said softly as she approached Vi. “He did give us a way to shut it off, hoping that we’d miss it, but we found it.”
She inched her way forward, testing the floor panels just behind Vi. Finally, she stepped on one and the flames in front of them abruptly disappeared.
“There’s our way through,” Rowena said softly. She took a step forward and the wall of flames burst forth again in front of her. She did it quickly two more times. “It’ll only shut off as long as someone’s standing here.” She looked at the hallway in front of her. At the far end, a single light bulb cast a meager amount of light for them. “I count a dozen rows of gas nozzles over about ten feet.”
Faith nodded. “Four on each of the walls and on the ceiling. It’s a blast furnace alright. We could’ve made the run, but we’d get scorched pretty badly.”
“Okay, you guys go ahead, I’ll keep my foot on this switch,” Rowena said.
“Nice plan but, Ro, how the heck are you going to get across?” Faith asked.
“Chances are they have another shut off on the other side. Like I said, they built it so they could get back across it.”
“Look, it’s likely to be pretty hot in there,” Faith said slowly.
“You want to wait for it to cool down?” Rowena’s tone was incredulous. “We’ve got thirty minutes max now.”
Faith’s head bobbed forward. “Good point,” she admitted.
She stepped forward, eyeing the walls of the hallway suspiciously, then gently tested the floor in front of her with a bare foot. Pulling it back quickly, then pressing her foot against the floor and holding it.
“It’s not bad,” Faith announced. “A little warm, but not burning hot. The rock feels different here, too.”
“They must have used something porous,” Rowena said. “He wanted us to have something that we could walk across right after the flames died down.”
“And just using different rock’ll do that?” Vi asked.
Rowena shrugged. “How do you think fire walking works? Simple physics.”
Faith gingerly stepped across, carefully watching the walls until she was safely across. “Okay, we’re good,” she announced.
“Vi, you and Heli go ahead,” Rowena said to the redheaded slayer. “Try to follow Faith’s steps as best you can. We don’t want to hit another trigger inside. Go on.”
“I wouldn’t leave Heli behind, what makes you think I’m going to leave you?” Vi demanded.
“You won’t,” Rowena replied. “I told you, there’s got to be some kind of switch on the other side, too. You guys find it, and I’ll be right along.”
The duo struggled down the hallway. Rowena calmly closed her eyes, taking a series of deep, slow breaths.
“How far are you willing to go?” she whispered softly to herself, as she watched Vi departing with Heli.
Watchers Council – Computer Room
Willow squinted at the computer screen. Rowena’s face could only just be seen and her expression only barely discerned. She leaned closer, watching the watcher as she stood motionless in the middle of the hallway. Her arms hung at her sides, her head downcast.
“Oh no,” Willow said, almost silently. “Oh dear Goddess, no.”
The two standing slayers at the opposite end of the hallway searched the walls and floor for a pressure switch similar to the one the blonde stood on at the other side.
“Ro, huh, we’re not findin’ anything over here,” Faith said, worried.
“That’s okay, Faith,” Rowena shouted over. “I thought this might happen.”
Faith stood and turned to face the distant watcher. “What?” she asked, confused.
“You guys wouldn’t have left me over here, so I made the choice for you. There is no second shut off, so stand back and get ready,” she told them.
“Ro, no! I’m coming back.” Faith took a step towards her.
“Stay there!” Ro called. Then she stepped off the stone.
Faith jerked back, raising her hands to shield her face as the curtain of flames rose to obscure the watcher from her sight.
On the other side, Rowena backed up toward the far wall as far as she could get, then ran as fast as she could towards the flames.
Watchers Council – Computer Room
Willow’s fingers clawed at the computer screen as Rowena disappeared into the furnace, and, in an instant, was completely obscured from the camera’s view.
Willow’s eyes blackened. The lights of the computer room flickered and dimmed, then rose again. Sparks leapt from the back of the computer monitor as she stared at it. Her arms shook with the effort as she gripped the edges of the screen.
“Will,” Xander said softly.
Willow ignored him. All around them, the computer monitors began to flicker and shake.
“Willow!” Xander yelled. “Stop!”
The monitor in her hands flew away from her, ripping the cables free from the computer to which it was connected. It collided with the opposite wall with titanic force and disintegrated on impact, showering its component parts onto the linoleum tile floor.
Xander grabbed Willow by the upper arms. “See? This is why I have to stay so calm. Get a grip, Will.”
Willow whirled around, striding out of the computer room. Andrew glanced at Xander with a look of true horror on his face, but didn’t move. Xander ran a hand over his sweating face and then, a long second later, took off after Willow.
The flames before Faith exploded outwards as Rowena’s body flew through them. A split-second later, the watcher collapsed to the floor.
Vi abandoned Heli to help Faith swat at the flames that covered Rowena’s body.
Faith frantically rolled her back and forth, smothering the flames under her own body, while Vi did her best to smother the flames around Rowena’s head.
“Is she out? Is she out?” Vi asked in a panic-stricken voice.
Finally, the watcher lay on the cold stone. The skin of her hands and arms were cracked and blistered. Her blond hair had been singed almost to bare skin on the right side of her head. Smoke rose from her body as she rolled onto her back, coughing for air. The skin of her cheeks and forehead was a bright red, but was not as badly burned as her arms and hands.
“Oh Ro,” Faith breathed, as she surveyed the woman’s body.
“I’m okay.” Rowena’s voice hid none of the pain she felt.
“You’re a lousy liar, Blondie,” Faith replied.
Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room
Willow looked at Marly through narrowed eyes as she stood in the doorway.
“I’m giving you one more chance,” she said, her voice quiet but intense. “Where are they?”
“I already told you,” Marly said. “They’re safe.”
“So be it,” Willow replied. She nodded at Kennedy, who left the room. She then stepped out of the doorway, revealing Skye standing in the hallway behind her. “We need her alive,” she told Skye simply, but loudly enough that Marly could hear her. “How alive is up to you.”
She stepped backwards, closing the door behind the vampire.
End of Act Three