Lacey Chabert as Skye, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist, Helen Shaver as Becca Giles, Thora Birch as Tracey Hausser and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Jennifer Connelly as Althenea Dimmons, Gary Oldman as Jason Felix, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, Jordana Brewster as Carli and Cote de Pablo as Amira Aziz
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Later that Day
Faith, Buffy and Rowena stood looking around the otherwise-empty Coven Room. Tracey walked through the door and Rowena turned to speak to her.
“Anything on Andrew?” the watcher asked.
Tracey shook her head. “No messages, and no one’s seen him since this morning.”
“They can’t just disappear,” Faith said. “On second thought, with our lives, they probably could, but –”
Rowena started to look scared.
“Not helping,” Buffy told Faith.
“Sorry,” Faith muttered.
Robin then walked inside. “You want the good news or the bad news?” he asked.
“Good news,” Buffy told him.
“It wasn’t Heli.”
Buffy’s sigh of relief was quite audible.
“The bad news?” Faith asked.
“My guess? They’re possibly in one of the books,” Robin replied.
“Come again?” Rowena asked.
“The security tape shows Willow motioning for everyone to leave the room,” he continued.
“The spilled cauldron,” Rowena noted quietly, more to herself than anyone in the room, making Robin nod.
“Dawn and Andrew took off running toward the door, out of camera shot,” he continued. “But they were followed by a mist that enveloped Willow. The mist disappeared in this location,” he pointed to the books, then added, “along with Willow.”
“But what about Dawn and Andrew?” Buffy asked, making Tracey nod her head in agreement.
“I’m willing to bet they weren’t fast enough,” Robin said. “The same mist that followed Willow was after them, too, then…disappeared.”
Xander walked into the room. “No one’s seen them so far,” he announced.
“We’ve got a lead,” Buffy said, starting to walk toward the table covered with books in the center of the room. She quirked her head to one side and she looked at something on the floor. “What’s this?” she wondered out loud.
Faith came to look over her shoulder and her eyes went wide.
“Comic book,” she said, snatching it up before Buffy could get a good look at it. “Probably nothing, just Andy’s goofy stuff.”
“Let me see it,” Buffy said flatly, holding out her hand.
“What’s to see, B? It’s just a comic book.”
“One in which our friends might be trapped,” she replied. “Hand it over.”
“No,” Faith said sharply.
“Excuse me?” Rowena and Buffy both asked.
“I said, it’s nothing.”
“Alright, fine,” Buffy said, acting as if she was turning away. Then, with her slayer reflexes, she suddenly turned back, snatched the book from Faith’s hands, and looked at the cover.
“No, I mean the book. The comic book is called Faith. Is…is this about you?”
Faith nervously rubbed her shoulder. “Yes, it’s about me,” she finally replied, unable to look anyone in the eyes as she spoke. “Loosely about me…very loosely.”
“You have your own comic? I never had my own comic,” Buffy pouted.
“That’s what happens when you die and come back to life,” Faith replied.
“Hey, I died twice! I never got a comic,” Buffy retorted. “And why wasn’t I consulted on this? Don’t I have to sign off on this kinda thing – copyrights and all that jazz?”
“You did,” Faith replied. “I slipped the request in with some other forms you were signing.”
“You what?” Buffy exclaimed.
“I didn’t want you guys to know, okay? It’s kind of embarrassing,” Faith answered. “They were going to do it either way, and at least this way…I had some creative control or some garbage like that.”
“You also get to use your celebrity as a slayer to make some pretty good money on the side too, I take it?” Buffy asked.
“For your information, no,” the dark-haired slayer replied. “Anything I make, I give to the American Cancer Society.”
“Oh, that’s sweet,” Rowena said, mimicking Willow’s earlier comment. Faith rolled her eyes.
Everyone stopped when they heard Willow’s muffled voice.
“Did anyone else hear that?” Buffy asked.
Xander walked over and took the comic.
“It came from the book,” he said. He opened up the cover and flipped to the first page.
They all gaped at what they saw inside: a picture of cartoon Willow talking to them. “I said, ‘That’s what I said,'” she repeated. “It’s sweet Faith’s giving the money to charity. And for the record, Faith, don’t be embarrassed – that’s very generous.”
“You can hear us?” Xander asked.
“And you can hear me too, it seems. But the big question is, how do you get us out of here?” She pitched a thumb behind her to where Andrew and Dawn stood.
“Boy, I don’t know, Will,” Xander replied. “Hey, wait a minute. Here’s an idea. Let’s ask the Coven High Priestess.” He grinned.
“Not funny,” she replied.
“I’m calling Al,” Rowena said, as she put the phone she had already dialed to her ear.
“Can you see yourself?” Xander asked.
Willow put her hand in front of her face for a moment, then lowered it. “Yeah, I’m a friggin’ cartoon, Xander,” she barked.
“And a pretty damn hot one,” he added. “You look like Jessica Rabbit.” Off Willow’s annoyed look, he turned to the others around him. “Doesn’t she?”
Buffy and Faith tried not to laugh.
“Again, no to the funny,” Willow said.
Rowena walked back over to look at the comic while speaking into the phone. “Well, Xander says she looks like Roger Rabbit’s wife…” Rowena was quiet for a few moments, but then said, “Al, please stop laughing.”
“Hey!” Willow said, pointing a finger. “You tell that little…witch, she better help us here.”
Rowena put one finger in her ear to block out Willow’s rant. “Okay, I’ll have them ready. See you soon.” Rowena hung up. “Al’s on her way to Heathrow. I’m going to have the plane there on standby for her.” She had already begun to dial again.
“Faith,” Buffy said, turning to her fellow slayer. “Please see if you can get Giles to come over. He knows about this…” she gestured toward the comic book, “kind of stuff. He might have some ideas.”
Faith nodded and walked a short distance away, reaching for her own cell phone.
“How did this happen?” Xander asked no one in particular.
“My fault,” Dawn said from the back of the group. She took a step closer to the foreground of the page. “Broken heel, spilled cauldron, chaos ensued – the usual.”
“Yeah…Dawn’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday,” Buffy sighed. Dawn stuck out her tongue in response.
Rowena hung up again and stepped closer. Buffy handed her the book and the watcher looked at it, as if deep in thought. Tracey looked over her shoulder and grinned.
“Andrew always wanted his own comic,” she told her. “I’m not sure this is what he had in mind, though.”
“No, it’s not what I had in mind, Missy,” Andrew replied. “Besides, it’s not even my comic. It’s Faith’s…speaking of which, I wonder if we’ll see her?”
“She’s talking to Giles,” Buffy replied.
“Nooo,” Andrew explained, as if talking to a child. “Comic Faith. I’m sure she’s in here somewhere,” he said, looking around. “I’m gonna poke around over there,” he pointed and started to walk away. When he did, he moved out of frame.
“Where’s Andrew?” Rowena and Tracey both asked, sounding scared.
Willow turned and pointed outside the frame. “Right there,” she replied.
“You can see him?” Rowena asked.
“We can’t,” Tracey said, then she raised a finger and added, “unless…” She turned the page to see Andrew in the next frame, waving at them. “Ha!” Tracey exclaimed. “That’s cool! You guys can move from frame to frame.”
Willow came into the next frame and gave Andrew a shove. Suddenly, he disappeared, but then he materialized in the next frame on the page.
“There’s nothing cool about this. Nothing at all,” Willow said. “Look at me! I’m a cartoon, guys! We’re all cartoons, and you’ve got to find some way to get us out of here…and the sooner the better.”
“Giles is on his way,” Faith told the group.
“And another thing,” Willow went on. “Have you stopped to consider that what happens here might happen in real life? If we meet up with a cartoon vamp you know there’s the real possibility that…” Willow trailed off. “Xander, Ro – you listening?”
“Sorry,” Xander and Rowena both replied.
“You were saying?” Rowena added.
“Guys! Quit staring at my…” Willow looked at her bust and grabbed it. She finished with, “You know what!”
“In our defense,” Xander added. “It’s kind of hard not to, Will, you’re…”
“Very endowed,” Rowena said.
“Thank you!” Xander exclaimed. “That’s the word – endowed.”
“Oh goddess,” Willow sighed. “You guys start to ask me to do gratuitous comic poses and I swear –”
“Look,” Buffy put in slightly desperately. “Giles is on the way, Al is on the way. We’ll get you guys out of there somehow. I promise.” After a moment, she paused and looked over at Faith. “What’s a gratuitous comic pose?” she asked.
“Uh, why don’t you show her Will?” Rowena proposed. Xander grinned and nodded. “I-I mean, purely for academic purposes. It’s easier to see it than explain it,” she added. Xander grinned and nodded even more enthusiastically.
“N-O,” Willow told them firmly, spelling out the letters in her refusal. Xander looked disappointed. Willow turned to Buffy. “A gratuitous comic pose would be something like me on all fours with a shot of my butt in the air facing you, for starters…” She sighed. “This has got to be some kind of karmic payback for all those lesbian slut comics you buy me, Xander. Thanks a lot.”
“Why don’t we just focus on fixing this?” Robin suggested.
“Yeah, where’s Jeff?” Buffy asked. “He’s got a lot of power. Maybe he can zap them out or something?”
“I’ll see if I can find him,” Robin said as he left the room.
Xander peered back into the comic. “You don’t have to do an all-fours shot, Will. Maybe you can –”
“Alexander LaVelle Harris,” Willow told him. “If you finish that sentence, you better hope I’m stuck in here forever.”
Xander nervously licked his lips. “Shutting up now.”
Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Moments Later
A rail-thin girl with long, black hair closely examined the Double Stuf Oreo she held between her fingers. After a long moment, she twisted the two halves apart, then smiled when she got filling on both sides.
“I didn’t think that was physically possible, Carli,” said one of several girls who were sitting around on couches in the Slayer Rec Room. She was thumbing through the latest issue of Faith. “Sure you’re not one of Rosenberg’s crew?”
“Definitely not,” Carli protested with a full mouth. “These are good. Didn’t get these at home.”
“Didn’t get what?” Amira asked. She was standing behind one of the couches, arms crossed, a plain black scarf covering her hair. All the girls straightened up self-consciously in their seats.
“Oh, um, we were just reminiscing about the good old days,” Carli said quickly. “You know, the Black Ops squad, just hangin’ out…” It was like talking to a wall. Carli melted under the scrutiny and quickly finished up. “This is fun, we should do this more often.”
Amira sighed and climbed over the couch, sitting down next to Carli. “You have any more of those things?”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Carli said, handing over the entire box of Oreos.
“Is that why you ran away from home?” Amira asked her. “No cookies?”
“Um, well, there were also some issues where my mom put all my stuff in a plastic bag and put it out by the curb.”
Amira took a tentative bite out of an Oreo, not sure what she was getting into, then nodded in satisfaction. “You are right…these are good.”
The rest of the Black Ops team sat in silence and watched their leader eat her cookie. “We are not on duty,” she said after a moment. “You can still have fun when I’m here.”
“We used to have fun all the time,” Carli said under her breath.
Amira shot her a look. “When I got here, you were sloppy,” she said, her words clipped. “Sloppy with automatic weapons is not acceptable. Whatever you may have been told before, this work is serious.” She glanced around at the group, who mostly sat with downcast eyes and slumped shoulders. “We do not kill because it is fun. We kill because someone has to do it, to save more lives, so they send the best. I needed you to learn to be the best.”
Amira cracked a ghost of a smile. “And now, I think perhaps you are learning.”
“Your English is improving,” one of the girls remarked after a moment.
“Thank you,” Amira replied, “but I still feel like a…you would say fish out of water?”
“I’ve felt that way since I got here,” Carli said. “This is a long way from the streets.”
Amira licked her lips before she said anything. “There are so many of you here who left your parents behind. It makes me feel strange.”
“If you weren’t homeless, how did you end up with this gig?” one of the girls asked. “Most girls avoid it like the plague.”
“I was homeless,” Amira said. “My home was bombed. My parents and brothers were inside. I was not.” She looked down at her box of Oreos and didn’t say anything else.
Carli sized up her superior for a long moment. “You want to watch the movie with us?”
“What is it?” Amira asked.
“Pirates of the Caribbean,” Carli said, “featuring Orlando Bloom, the world’s hottest man.”
Amira looked at her for a few seconds, then said, “I like Johnny Depp.”
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Carli replied with a grin. She reached for the remote, but stopped when she saw Robin looking around the room from the doorway. “Something we can help you with, Mr. Wood?”
“I’m looking for Jeff Lindquist,” he told her.
The girls around the group shrugged. “Try the Watchers Rec Room,” Carli suggested. “I think some days he’s out there if he’s not in the coven room.”
“No, he’s not in the Coven Room, but if you see him, can you tell him to go there? To the Coven Room I mean?” he added.
“Sure,” Carli said with a nod.
“Thanks,” Robin said before quickly leaving.
Watchers Council – Watchers Rec Room – Moments Later
Grace watched silently from the sofa as Jeff talked on his cell phone, pacing in front of her.
“Is it Faith?” he asked, then waited for a response. “Then is it me?…You have to give me something to go on here, Hope. Just tell me why you haven’t been around.” After a few seconds of listening, he sighed. “I know I’m not your mother. I’d like to be your friend. The truth is I’d like to be more than a friend, but you’re making it pretty tough…I’m busy too, but –” He was cut off by Hope’s reply. “Fine,” he answered shortly. “Call when you can, then. Goodbye.” Jeff turned the cell phone off and turned to Grace. “Women,” he sighed.
“Exactly,” she replied. “That’s why I’m straight,” she added with a grin. “It’s the lesser of two evils.”
Jeff grinned, too, and put his phone in his pocket. “I don’t know. I just wish I could figure her out. No, I take that back. I wish she’d talk to me, tell me what’s going on. I’m an easy guy to talk to, aren’t I?”
“I don’t have any problems,” Grace replied.
“Then why does she?” Jeff asked.
Robin walked into the room.
“I think maybe it’s a Lehane trait,” Grace answered, unable to see Robin’s approach behind her. Jeff tried to make a motion toward Grace to warn her of Robin’s arrival, but she continued anyway. “Denise said she had to keep reminding Faith what her name was a few weeks back,” Grace answered. “Maybe Hope’s just stressed with school and when those gals get stressed they get stupid, or something.”
“Mr. Wood!” Jeff said, acting as if he just saw him. “What brings you by?”
Grace turned red and grimaced, but she didn’t turn around.
“We need you in the Coven Room, Jeff,” Robin told him and motioned for him to follow. “Oh, and for the record, Grace…” Slowly, she turned to face him. “You should know that Faith isn’t stupid.”
“You heard that, huh?” she asked.
“Yes, so next time you want to gossip, especially about my fiancée, you might want to check who’s in the room first.”
“I wasn’t –”
“Whatever,” Robin told her. He turned to Jeff. “We gotta go. Now.”
Robin started from the room and Jeff whispered to Grace. “I tried to warn you.”
“Jeff!” Robin shouted from the hallway.
“Coming!” Jeff yelled back, then moved to follow him out the door.
“Bloody hell,” Grace muttered.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
Jeff and Robin entered the Coven Room together, talking.
“Don’t worry,” Robin was saying as they walked. “My lips are sealed. Grace is safe.”
“Safe from what?” Faith asked, as she walked over to meet them.
“Nothing. Just normal twentysomething angst,” Robin told her. “Anything different?”
“Same ole, same ole,” she replied. “One comic, three Council members trapped.”
Jeff walked over and Buffy greeted him. “Thank god you’re here. Can you help?”
Rowena showed him the comic.
“Hey, Jeff. How goes it?” comic Willow asked.
Jeff stood, speechless, at first. He shook his head quickly and turned to Rowena. “Robin told me, but…wow…”
“Pretty amazing, huh?” Xander added.
“More like dumbfounding,” Jeff replied. “I don’t even know where to start with this. Any suggestions?” he asked Willow.
“Look under exorcism or something like that, maybe?”
“Well, you’re not really possessed, but I’ll give it a try,” he told her, handing the book back to Rowena. “I’m really not sure what category this falls under. It’s a new one for me.”
“And like I’ve dealt with this before,” Willow replied.
“Actually,” Rowena said. “We have…the chessboard.”
“I’m not going through another evaluation of my psyche test,” Willow told her.
“But it might work,” Dawn offered. “I’ve got an overbearing sister,” she started immediately.
“Hey!” Buffy replied.
Dawn just continued. “I’ve got a vampire girlfriend my other friends are trying to kill and I’m faced with the fact that…” she trailed off for a moment. “That my overbearing sister, who I also love, will get old and die, just like everyone else, but I won’t. Not ever.” Dawn stopped, but nothing happened. “Maybe we all need to go – you next, Andrew.”
“Well, I’ve got no one except Tracey who seems to take me seriously. I do great computer work but I’m still stuck in the kitchen and, well, one of the slayers opened up all my Lord of the Rings figures last night.” Andrew reached into his pocket and pulled out a figure of what looked like a hobbit. “See?” he said, holding it up and showing them, only to have the arm snap off. “Oh man…” he complained. “Not only out of the package but now one arm less.”
As Andrew tried to reattach the arm, Dawn motioned to Willow. “At least we know what that bulge in his pants has been,” she remarked, rolling her eyes. “Your turn, Will.”
“Okay, I-I guess, aside from a psycho on the loose who killed a dear friend a-and broke my best friend’s heart…well, I can’t complain. I mean I-I’ve been doing my Wicca training Al suggested, a-and I’m only a few months away from marrying the gal I love…so…all in all, like I said, I can’t complain.”
Dawn and Willow looked at each other expectantly as Andrew still struggled with his action figure.
“That’s not the answer guys,” Willow remarked when nothing happened.
“It was worth a shot,” Dawn said.
“Overbearing my a –” Buffy grumbled.
“Look,” Rowena said, before the sisters could argue. “There has to be a…”
The sound of a door opening inside the comic made Willow, Dawn and Andrew look sharply to one side of the frame.
“What’s wrong?” Rowena asked.
“Someone’s coming inside,” Willow replied.
“Or some thing,” Dawn added.
“Go back to the last panel guys,” Willow told them. “That way,” she pointed.
“But you might need help and –” Dawn tried to say.
“Go,” Willow told them both, giving them a shove. She looked back toward Rowena. “Get ready to turn the page…now,” she said. With the final word, she jumped a panel ahead and disappeared.
Rowena and Buffy looked at each other for a second and Rowena turned the page.
They watched as Faith and Willow stood face to face, both of them asking, “Where’d you come from?”
End of Act One