Island – Condo – Great Room – Resume
When Kennedy emerged from behind the sofa, she gingerly touched her face where Kadin had shoved her. Instantly, her attention was drawn away toward the clanging of sword blades to see Rowena and Kadin dueling. Their weapons moved so quickly that Kennedy could only stand back and watch.
“This is insane!” Kennedy yelled. “Stop it!”
The two swordswomen pushed off each other, and Rowena stumbled backward a few steps. Kadin smiled.
“You’re pretty good,” Rowena complimented.
“Raised to fight,” Kadin said, sounding winded as she tightened her grip on the sword.
“You’re good. Really good, but I know something you don’t know… I am not left handed,” Rowena said as she tossed the weapon over to her other hand. Kadin’s face abruptly showed worry. “En garde, Hunter,” Rowena told her with a sadistic grin, and went on the offensive.
Island – Beach – Same Time
Still fuming from her argument with Xander, Buffy mumbled to herself as she walked along the beach.
“Where does he get off…?” She halted in her steps, as if in thought. “You know, I should tell him that.”
She quickly turned around and stomped back in the direction from which she had come. Buffy still seemed to be wrapped up in formulating what she was going to say when she saw Xander kneeling in the sand, slicing his arm with the knife.
“Oh dear God!” she exclaimed as she ran over toward him. She dropped to her knees a few feet in front of him.
“Give me the knife, Xander,” she said, holding out her hand.
“Not worth it,” he said, gritting his teeth as he drove the blade into his skin again. “Gonna end it. Not worth it.”
Buffy slapped Xander hard across the face and then grabbed the hand that was holding the knife, forcing him to look her way.
“Give me the knife now,” she told him.
He tightened his grip on the knife. “I’ll never do anything worthwhile in this world. I’ll never be of value to anyone or anything. What’s the point, Buffy?”
“Xander, listen to me. Something’s wrong,” she told him. “Something’s not right.”
“I’m not right. I’ll never be right. All the drinks, all the sex…nothing takes away the pain.”
He began to shove the knife back into his arm, but Buffy finally wrenched his hand away, snatched the knife from his grasp and threw it aside. She quickly pulled off her over-shirt and wrapped it around his bleeding arm.
“I’m sorry,” she began to ramble. “Everything I said, I’m so sorry. I know you’ve had loss, but you have to believe that things will get better, that one day you’ll find what you want. You’ll have a reason to go on. It just might take some time, is all. And until then, you’ve got me. Okay, Xander? You’ve got me, and you’ve got Will, and everybody up there at that house, okay? Just remember that, promise me?”
For the first time since Buffy had run back over, Xander finally seemed to comprehend what she was saying.
“What am I doing, Buff?” he asked, looking at his own arm as if it were a foreign object.
“You’re going to be okay,” she told him. “We’ll…we’ll get to Willow. She can do healing magic.” She helped him to his feet and started guiding him away from the beach. “Let’s get back to the house.”
Island – Condo – Great Room – Same Time
Kadin and Rowena sword’s continued to clash around the room, with Kennedy watching for an opportunity to jump in but finding none. The frustration showed on her face as she moved in unison with the fighting pair.
Finally, Rowena jumped into a chair and rode the back of it down to the floor, her momentary height advantage allowing her to gain the upper hand and knock Kadin’s sword away. The hunter looked as surprised as Kennedy, but Rowena capitalized on it and kicked Kadin over an ottoman and then jumped on top of it. As she raised her weapon to deliver the deathblow, Kennedy charged her from the side, tackling her and making her drop her sword.
Kadin picked up the fallen weapon and scrambled to her feet. She raised it over her head, ready to strike Rowena. But then a kick out of nowhere caused her to lurch forward, drop the blade and fall to the ground.
Kadin turned around sharply to see who had interrupted her. She found Buffy standing there, with Xander behind her.
“What the hell are you guys doing?” Buffy asked the three women, who now lay scattered across the floor. Kadin, Rowena and Kennedy all seemed more than a little confused.
“What’s going on?” Rowena asked.
Buffy ignored the question. “Where did Willow and Faith go?” she asked.
The women shrugged uncertainly, and before anyone could answer, they all turned at the sound of electric crackling and then a crash on the front porch.
“Oh no…” Buffy sighed as she walked backward toward the front door. “Nobody kill anybody, okay? Take care of Xander, he’s hurt.”
“Oh jeez,” Rowena said, just now noticing the bloody shirt tied around Xander’s arm.
“I’ll get some peroxide,” Kennedy said quickly, before running toward the bathroom.
“I’ll get my sewing kit,” Kadin added, then moved away just as quickly.
“She sews?” Rowena and Xander both asked each other.
“For stitches,” Kadin replied, as she passed into the other room.
“Ohhh,” Rowena and Xander said at the same time.
Island – Condo – Front Porch – Moments Later
Buffy rushed to the front porch to find a black-haired and black-eyed Willow standing over Faith, who was flat on her back. Willow held a bright blue ball of energy in her hand, her legs spread in a firm stance as she threatened Faith below her.
“Willow, no!” Buffy yelled.
Willow looked to the side to see Buffy standing there. “Two beautiful slayers at once, huh? I’m game.”
Willow gave Buffy a menacing grin, but before she could throw the ball at either one of them, Faith’s foot rose up and kicked it away. It blasted off into the side yard and ignited some hedges.
Faith rose to attack Willow, but Buffy grabbed her arm and stepped in between them.
“Xander’s hurt, guys,” Buffy told them quickly. “Pretty bad,” she added. “We need to work together here, all right?”
Faith and Willow both looked confused. Then Willow’s eyes returned to their normal color, and her hair slowly began to turn red again.
“Your hair,” Faith pointed.
Willow held a few locks in her fingertips and then looked at Buffy with a terrified look on her face. “What’s happening?”
Island – Condo – Great Room – Moments Later
When Willow, Faith, and Buffy returned to the great room, they saw Xander being treated by Rowena and Kadin. Kennedy hovered nearby, waiting to lend assistance.
“You’re doing it wrong!” Kadin barked.
“No, I’m not,” Rowena growled back.
“Let me do it,” Kadin said, shoving Rowena out of the way.
“Get your hands off her!” Willow shouted, her eyes turning black once again.
Buffy immediately grabbed Willow’s arms and made the witch look at her. “Get a grip, Will,” she told her. “Xander needs good Willow right now. You need to do a healing spell on his arm…before he loses too much blood.”
Slowly but surely, Willow managed to calm herself and to put her anger at Kadin aside in order to focus on Xander. The black receded from her eyes, leaving tears behind. She swallowed and gave Buffy a nod. When she went to Xander, Kadin got up and moved away. Willow gave her a glare before sitting down.
Xander was shaking as Willow took his arm into her hands. “What’s going on?” he asked in a choked voice. “We’re all losing it, we’re just –”
Willow didn’t know what to say. She. just glanced back and forth between Xander and Rowena with a worried look on her face. Then she shook her head and turned her attention to healing Xander’s wounded arm.
“Xander’s right,” Faith said. “Something weird is goin’ on here. It’s like we’re losing control of ourselves or somethin’.”
“Well, we better find out what’s causing it and quick,” Kennedy added. “Otherwise, we’re gonna turn on each other like starved rats in a cage.”
“Way to be optimistic,” Rowena griped. “That should set us on the right path.”
“Hey, I’m not the one who was starting sword fights in the den!” Kennedy shot back.
“Will you two shut up?” Willow interjected. “I’m trying to do a spell here!”
“What’s the matter, Miss Perfect?” Faith said. “Can’t get your good mojo going? You sure don’t have any problem calling up the dark stuff.” Willow’s eyes narrowed at the slayer.
“Shut up, all of you!” Buffy yelled. “Now everybody just calm down.” She paused for a long moment, making direct eye contact with each person, until everyone had cooled off a bit. Then she went on. “The first thing we need to do is call for backup. If we’re all affected, we’re going to need help from –”
Just then, the power in the house went completely out. There was a momentary freak-out from all present until Buffy once again shouted to get order. She started issuing commands before anyone could fall into arguing again.
“Ken, you and Kadin go find flashlights and check the fuse box,” Buffy said. “Then meet us at the study.”
Kennedy and Kadin nodded and headed out of the room. Buffy turned to Willow and Xander. Willow’s hands were glowing over Xander’s arm, but her face was creased in distress.
“Will, how’s it coming?” she asked.
The glowing ended, and Willow lifted her eyes to Buffy. “I think this is the best I can do,” she said. “I just can’t…focus right, or enough, or something.” She turned to Xander, whose arm was only partially healed, but at least no longer bleeding profusely. “I’m sorry…”
“It’s okay,” he assured her. “I’m good.”
“Okay then…let’s go find that two-way radio,” Buffy said, motioning the group towards the study.
Island – Condo – Study – Moments Later
In the study, Buffy headed for the cabinet next to the phone. When she opened it, she found the two-way radio inside, directly below the shelf containing the rechargeable walkie-talkies. She quickly examined the radio’s console and then switched on the power. Unfortunately, the device showed no signs of life.
“What the hell’s the matter with this thing?” Buffy said, giving the box a bang with her fist. “It’s supposed to be battery operated.”
“Pull it out,” Xander suggested, as Kadin and Kennedy came forward with a pair of flashlights.
“What’s the sitch on the fuse box?” Faith asked.
“Fuse box looks fine,” Kadin reported, handing over a flashlight to Buffy and Xander as they pulled the radio from the cabinet. “Must be something else causing the power loss.”
“Like sabotage?” Buffy said pointedly, as she and Xander finished pulling the radio from its cabinet. The back of the device was torn off, and the insides of the radio had been ripped out and left in a messy tangle of wires and boards.
“Who…who would do this?” Willow asked nervously.
“I can think of someone,” Kennedy answered. “Heli.”
“Heli?” Xander said, with more than a little fear in his voice.
Kadin swore loudly and then turned to Kennedy. “Would you stop with the Heli crap? I’m so sick of hearing about Heli! You’re so goddamned paranoid that you see her everywhere!”
It took a moment of intervention from the others to keep Kennedy and Kadin from jumping into an argument. When everyone was somewhat calm again, Buffy turned to Xander.
“Xan, any chance you can fix the radio? Any at all?” she asked.
He looked at it with doubt in his eyes. “I don’t know…”
She gave his shoulder a squeeze. “Can you at least try?”
“Okay,” he replied. He carried the damaged radio to the table by the window where the light was better.
Buffy turned to Willow. “The way we’re acting…could it be a spell? Some kind of…I don’t know…insanity spell?”
“It could be,” Willow said hesitantly. “There are a lot of mind-altering spells out there, but…I don’t have the library, my database…” Her brow furrowed as she struggled to think clearly.
Rowena had a similar expression on her face. “A spell like that would need some pretty hefty ingredients, a constant power source, right? Like-like a transmission tower. Am I remembering this correctly?”
“Yes! Yes!” Willow said excitedly. “Probably an altar of some kind. If we can find that altar, maybe we can disrupt the spell. If it is a spell, that is. It could be a drug. Or maybe a spell and a drug. Some spells are like that, ya know, you gotta have –”
“Oh for God’s sake, Will, we don’t have time for one of your rambling babbles!” Buffy said. Both Willow and Rowena seemed quite incensed, but Buffy paid no attention. “You two look for the super altar,” she told the couple. Without waiting for confirmation, Buffy turned to Kennedy and Kadin. “And you two check out the generator. We’ve got to re-establish communications, so see if you can get the power back on. And all of you stay calm.”
With grouchy looks on their faces, both Kennedy and Kadin and Willow and Rowena turned to leave the study. Before they got more than a few steps away, Buffy grabbed two of the walkie-talkies and gave one to each couple. As they left, Buffy grabbed two more. She hooked one onto her waistband and then walked over to Xander.
“Do what you can, Xander,” she told him as she handed him the walkie-talkie. Then she turned to Faith.
“What are we gonna do?” Faith inquired.
“What we always do,” Buffy answered grimly. “Find the bad guy. Or gal.”
“And beat the crap out of ’em?” Faith added.
“Oh yeah,” Buffy eagerly agreed.
At that, Buffy and Faith left the study to search the grounds.
Island – Power Generator – Moments Later
About a quarter-mile down the path from the condo, Kennedy and Kadin slipped inside the fenced area that contained the island’s sole power source. They were surprised to find the generator running.
“What the hell?” Kadin yelled, raising her voice over the noise of the huge engine. “If this thing is running, why aren’t we getting any power at the house?”
“Like I know,” Kennedy yelled back.
She glanced around the enclosure and then began circling the generator. She followed a line of conduit out of the generator until it connected with what looked like a massive control panel. Unfortunately, it was locked in a heavy-duty steel cabinet. She began tugging on the door handles. It didn’t take long for frustration to set in. She roared and went into a frenzied yanking that had absolutely no effect.
“Want me to give you a hand?” Kadin offered.
Kennedy whipped around and glared at Kadin. Then she pointed to her face where Kadin had earlier shoved her during the sword fight. “No thanks. You’ve already given me a hand today,” she said in a voice heavy with sarcasm.
Kadin’s eyes narrowed in a deadly stare, but Kennedy didn’t back down.
Island – Condo – Attic – Same Time
Meanwhile, Willow and Rowena were in the process of taking their search to the attic of the condo. Willow pulled down the stairs in the ceiling and started up the narrow steps, with Rowena right behind her. In her haste to get up the stairs, however, Rowena accidentally bumped into Willow, causing her to hit her head on the ceiling.
“Hey, watch it!” Willow griped angrily.
“Jeez, sorry,” Rowena replied, annoyed. Once they had both made it into the attic, she added, “What are you gonna do? Go black-eyed on me, too?”
“You better hope not,” Willow answered coldly. “But then again, if I did, and you survived, then I’m sure Xander would make a nice bed warmer for you.”
Rowena stopped walking. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“You brought him into our bed last night,” Willow said, pointing a finger.
“And you didn’t object, did you?” Rowena countered.
“And what about this morning, huh? You two looked mighty snuggly together.”
Rowena’s eyes flashed as if she were contemplating a retort, but she wisely refrained. “No more talking right now.”
“Why? Because I’m right? Now that you found a man who’s good in bed, you’re jumping the fence again?”
“You’re really starting to piss me off, Will.”
“Because it’s true?”
“No, because I love you and you’re being stupid!” Rowena shouted. “Look, Buffy’s right. Let’s just search, okay?”
“Fine by me,” Willow said. Then they each went off to separate corners of the huge attic and began diligently checking it out.
After a few moments, Rowena heard Willow call out. When she turned to look, she didn’t see the redhead. “Willow?”
“Over here, I think I found something.”
Rowena followed Willow’s voice and found her lying on her stomach, reaching into the loose insulation in an uncovered portion of the attic floor. After scooping aside several more handfuls of insulation, Willow pulled out a small black device. It was a wireless spy camera. Rowena’s mouth dropped open.
“How much ya wanna bet that every room in this house has one?” Willow said.
“Heli,” Rowena swore.
“It’s sure startin’ to look like it,” Willow admitted ruefully.
Island – Garage – Same Time
After searching the grounds around the house, Buffy and Faith took on the garage. They searched the building thoroughly, even looking inside the Longheart’s Hummer, and found absolutely nothing. Enraged, Faith slammed the Hummer’s door, making a painfully loud sound in the enclosed garage. Then she took her frustration out on a rolling tool cart, kicking it repeatedly until it rammed into the garage wall, denting it considerably.
Buffy put her hands over her ears and grimaced at the racket. When Faith stopped, Buffy said, “Cool it, will ya? Throwing a fit isn’t going to get us anywhere.”
“Shut up!” Faith yelled, whipping around to face Buffy. “You’re not the boss of me! Never have been, never will be!”
“Uhhhh, yeah, I am,” Buffy pointed out.
“Not by my vote!” Faith shot back.
Buffy’s impending comeback was cut off by Willow’s voice on the walkie-talkie. “What?” Buffy answered sharply after activating the device.
“Buffy, we found something, in the attic,” Willow reported over the radio.
“What? An altar? Something spell related?” Buffy asked excitedly.
“Cameras?” Faith said. Then her face tightened into a scowl. “Heli.”
“Well, we don’t really know that this is Heli,” Willow said.
“If it is, I’m gonna kill her myself!” Faith promised.
“Take a number,” Buffy added.
“Can we stop taking dibs on revenge and figure out how to stop this spell?” Rowena complained.
“The range of the cameras is limited, so whoever’s doing this has to be close,” Willow said.
“How close?” Faith asked.
“Probably about a mile radius,” Willow answered.
“Come on,” Buffy told Faith. “Let’s check out the staff quarters.”
At that, the two slayers rushed from the garage and ran down the path toward the staff quarters on the other side of the power generator.
Island – Condo – Study – Same Time
Xander sat at the table with a small tool kit, trying to make sense of the radio’s many parts. He held several wires in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Sweat beaded on his forehead as he tried multiple times to figure out which wires fit into which connections. Finally, he just threw the wires down and slammed the flashlight on the table.
“This is useless!” he grumbled angrily. “Why couldn’t they have sabotaged a window? Windows I can do.”
He ran his hand through his hair, closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then let it out slowly.
“Okay, let’s try this again,” he said, picking up the flashlight once more.
Island – Staff Quarters – Moments Later
Buffy and Faith searched the entire building and found nothing, getting more and more frustrated as they went along.
When they entered the attic, though, they hit pay dirt. There, they found a man surrounded by smashed electronic equipment, hurriedly preparing to leave.
“Going somewhere?” Buffy prompted, putting her hands on her hips.
The man jumped in surprise and turned around.
“Well, look-ee here,” Faith said. “If I’m not mistaken, that’s Jordon Tyrell.”
“Oh really?” Buffy replied. “Isn’t he on our ‘Council’s Most Wanted’ list?”
“He certainly is,” Faith answered.
“And for good reason,” Jordon taunted, before pulling out a 9mm and opening fire.
While Buffy and Faith dove behind some large wooden crates, Jordon ran for the stairs.
Island – Condo – Wine Cellar – Same Time
Willow and Rowena descended the stairs into the cool, musty wine cellar. They found multiple racks of expensive wines, but no sign of anything magical…until they looked behind the last rack.
There, in the back corner, they found an elaborate shrine set up on the floor. A purple tablecloth set the boundaries, and in its center sat a large chalice. Next to it was a bottle of champagne – the very brand they had all indulged in on their first night on the island. Around the chalice and champagne bottle were seven straw dolls, each representing a different member of the Council party.
“What is it?” Rowena asked, taking in the sight.
“I-I-I think it’s a shrine to Dionysus,” Willow answered.
Rowena’s brow knit in confusion. “The Greek god of wine?”
Island – Staff Quarters – Same Time
Before Jordon could get down the stairs, Faith leapt from her spot behind the crates and grabbed him by the collar. She yanked him back up into the attic. Buffy caught his arm before he could use his gun again and gave it an ugly twist until it broke. Jordon screamed and dropped the weapon. Faith kicked it down the stairs. Buffy squeezed Jordon’s broken arm until he went to his knees.
“How do we stop the spell?” Buffy demanded.
“What spell?” Jordon answered with a smirk.
Faith gave him a vicious backhand. “The spell that makes me wanna do a whole lot more o’ that.”
He just laughed.
Island – Condo – Wine Cellar – Same Time
“O-O-Or Bacchus,” Willow went on. “You know like, Bacchanalia, wild frat parties, where everybody just goes crazy and does stuff that they never would have ever in a million years, y’know, kinda like what we’ve been doing, I mean, who woulda ever thought that we’d –”
“Willow!” Rowena yelled, getting the redhead’s attention. Then she spoke slowly, as if to a child, “What…do…we…do? How do we break the spell?”
“Uhhh, I-I-I don’t know,” Willow said with an apologetic shrug.
“Come on, Will! You’re the freakin’ High Priestess of the Coven! You’re supposed to know this stuff!”
“Well, so are you!” Willow accused.
“Magic is your area, not mine.”
“That hasn’t stopped you from sticking your nose in where –”
“Oh for goodness’ sake, will you please get over that whole Tabula Rasa thing? It’s over, it’s done with, we can’t change what happened, so get over it. Quit living in the past and focus on the present!” When Willow just looked at her with a mixture of shock, anger and hurt, Rowena rolled her eyes and announced, “I’m destroying the shrine.” As Rowena tried to shove past Willow, the witch grabbed her by the arm and stopped her.
“No!” Willow argued. “We don’t know what effect that will have on us. We are represented in the altar. If we destroy it, we could destroy ourselves!”
“We’re doing that already,” Rowena said. “We can’t afford to wait.”
When Rowena moved toward the altar, Willow once again blocked her efforts. Soon the two were grappling with one another for access to the shrine.
Island – Power Generator – Same Time
After two engaged in a long stare, Kennedy huffed dismissively and started looking around for something to use as a lever on the steel cabinet. Kadin crossed her arms and stood her ground.
“Why don’t you use that magic of yours?” she called out snidely. “After all those hours of tutoring with your precious Willow, you ought to be able to crack that box like an egg.”
Kennedy abandoned her search and stalked over to Kadin. “You have no idea what you’re talking about, so why don’t you just shut the hell up?”
“Forget it, just let me have a go at it,” Kadin said, attempting to push past Kennedy toward the cabinet.
Kennedy snatched the hunter’s arm. “You really think you can do more than a slayer?”
Kadin grabbed Kennedy’s wrist in a surprisingly crushing grip. “I know I can,” she growled.
Island – Staff Quarters – Moments Later
Jordon’s face was bruised and swollen, but he was still defiant.
“Tell me how to break the spell!” Buffy shrieked.
When Jordon chuckled this time, Faith grabbed his good arm and wrenched it into a break, just as Buffy had done with his other arm. Jordon screamed in agony and fell onto his back, clutching his arms against his chest.
“Tell us! Tell us now!” Faith ordered.
“It’s too late…” Jordon croaked.
Faith yanked him up by his shirt. “Too late for what?”
When Jordon just laughed again, Faith threw him onto the floor. Then she and Buffy attacked him in a fury.
Island – Power Generator – Same Time
Kadin jerked Kennedy’s hand off her arm and once again attempted to move past the slayer, but Kennedy moved to block her path. She gave the hunter a derisive laugh.
“I’d like to see you try,” Kennedy challenged.
“Get out of my way, Slayer,” Kadin warned.
“Make me, Van Helsing,” Kennedy returned.
“Gladly,” Kadin said, and with that, she rushed Kennedy.
Island – Condo – Study – Same Time
In final surrender, Xander dropped his hands away from the broken radio.
“I can’t do this,” he whispered, with tears streaming down his face. “I can’t do it, I can’t…not anymore…”
He lifted his hands to his face and cried, his body shaking from the sobs. When he was finished, he pulled his hands away and looked at the table once again.
His eyes fell on the box cutter that he had been using to strip the wires. He looked at it with a mixture of fear and longing. After a few minutes of staring, he reached over and picked it up. Then his eyes were drawn to half-healed cuts on his arm.
Island – Power Generator – Moments Later
Already bruised and battered, Kennedy and Kadin were deep into their brawl. Kadin was on the ground, wiping the blood from her mouth as she got to her feet in a crouch. Kennedy panted for air as she circled the hunter.
“You can’t beat me, Kadin,” she called out. “Give it up.”
Kadin didn’t answer. She merely growled and met Kennedy’s gaze with eyes glowing with feral intensity.
For just a moment, Kennedy was taken aback by the look on her lover’s face, and when she dropped her guard, Kadin attacked. Before Kennedy could react, Kadin rushed her and slammed her against the side of the generator with a strength Kennedy hadn’t expected. Kadin pressed her forearm against Kennedy’s throat, pinning her in place and cutting off her air supply. As Kennedy struggled to free herself, she looked at Kadin with shock and fear in her eyes.
Island – Condo – Wine Cellar – Same Time
As Willow and Rowena grappled for dominance, their struggle took them dangerously close to the altar. Courtesy of her physical training, Rowena eventually won out and was able to shove Willow aside and to the floor.
“I told you a long time ago you needed to train more,” Rowena taunted, pointing a finger at her lover.
“And I told you,” Willow said, revealing black eyes as she stood and turned, “I don’t need to.”
At that, Willow sent a magical burst straight at Rowena. When the blast hit her, it slammed her hard against the back wall, and then she went tumbling into the shrine, face first.
Now disrupted, the shrine emitted a shock wave that blew Willow back against the wine rack, nearly knocking her unconscious. Groaning, she shook her head to clear it and got back to her feet. It was then that realization hit her.
“Ro!” With tears streaming down her face, Willow rushed to the blonde’s side. “Oh God, Ro, I’m so sorry, please be okay, please be okay…”
When Willow turned Rowena over, the watcher was just coming to. “W-W-What happened?” she asked groggily, trying to focus on Willow’s face.
Willow just pulled Rowena into her arms and cried.
Island – Condo – Study – Same Time
With a face wet with tears, Xander raised the box cutter to his arm and laid the razor’s edge to one of the half-healed slices already there. Just as he was about to sink the blade into his flesh, the shockwave from the spell’s disruption hit him.
He wavered in his seat, blinking repeatedly. When his vision cleared, he looked at his arm and the razor. Then he dropped the box cutter and backed away from the table.
Island – Power Generator – Same Time
As the spell’s backlash reached her, Kadin immediately felt its effects. She blinked, dazed, then dropped her gaze and shook her head, trying to clear away the dizziness. When she glanced back up, the primal glow in her eyes was gone.
As soon as Kadin realized what she had been doing to Kennedy, a horrified look came over her face and she backed away. Once released, Kennedy slipped to the ground, gasping for air.
Island – Staff Quarters – Same Time
When the release of the spell finally caught up to Buffy and Faith, they were brutally kicking Jordon as he lay helpless on the floor of the attic. He had long since passed out, but the slayers hadn’t stopped their assault…not until the spell was broken.
They looked down in horror at the beaten and broken body of Jordon Tyrell and then at the blood that was spattered on their own clothes and smeared on their own fists.
“Oh God…” Buffy said, looking as if she were about to throw up.
“Jesus…” Faith whispered. She reached up to gently touch her cross necklace.
Island – Condo – Great Room – Minutes Later
The severely beaten and unconscious Jordon lay on the couch, being tended to by Kadin and Willow. Rowena hovered a few feet away, seemingly torn between being near Willow and distancing herself from Jordon. Kennedy was on the opposite side of the room from Kadin, refusing to look in her direction. Having cleaned up and changed clothes, Buffy and Faith were as far from Jordon as they could be, although Buffy had Jordon’s gun tucked in the back of her waistband. Xander just seemed lost as he stood near the dining area.
When Willow started to get up in order to head to the kitchen, Rowena stepped in, taking the bloody cloth and bowl of water from her.
“I’ll get it,” Rowena said.
“You don’t have to,” Willow said gently.
“I know,” the blonde answered. “But it’s all about choices, a-and I don’t want to make the same choices he made.”
When Rowena left for the kitchen, Kadin asked, “What was that all about?”
“Jordon is Rowena’s former fiancé,” Willow explained. “The one who tried to kill her. Twice, at least. Most recently in Siberia.” She paused. “Maybe three times now?”
“This is the guy that shot Ken?” Kadin asked, her ire rising. When Willow nodded, Kadin gave an unhappy growl. Willow gave Kadin’s shoulder a squeeze, which seemed to comfort the hunter.
Then Willow turned her attention to Jordon. She closed her eyes and placed her hands lightly on his face and head. After a few moments she moved her hands down to his chest abdomen.
“Doing a healing spell?” Rowena asked when she returned. She handed the bowl and cloth to Kadin.
“Not exactly,” Willow said, opening her eyes. “Just magically feeling him out a little bit a-a-and sending him some energy. There’s too much damage, all over, it’s not something I can just zap away. I wish I could.”
“It doesn’t look good,” Kadin said. “Taking a beating like this…he’s probably got a concussion, internal bleeding…”
All three gazed at Jordon with troubled expressions and mixed emotions.
Across the room, Xander shuffled in Faith and Buffy’s direction, joining them by the door to the deck.
“Did you have any luck with the radio?” Buffy asked as he approached.
Xander shook his head. “It’s just not going to work. I can’t fix it.” He hung his head and stared at his hands.
“Jordon’s bound to have a radio of his own, right?” Kennedy suggested, making her way over.
“If he did, it’s smashed now,” Faith said. “Like the rest of the equipment. Or hidden where we can’t find it.”
“What about a boat or a plane?” Kennedy said. “I mean, Jordon had to get here somehow. It would have a radio…if we can find it, that is.”
Kadin, Rowena and Willow were the last to join the group. “Bad news, guys,” Willow told them. “If we don’t get Jordon to a hospital soon, he could die.”
As Buffy and Faith got guilty, anguished looks on their faces, Kennedy just crossed her arms tightly. “I thought you had bad news,” she quipped sarcastically.
“Kennedy…” Kadin said, gently chiding.
“What?” Kennedy retorted. “I refuse to be upset about the possible death of the man who’s responsible for setting us at each other’s throats and who tried to kill me and Ro in Siberia!” She reached up and touched her bruised neck. “If it hadn’t been for Al’s magic, he would have. As far as I’m concerned, he got what was –”
Kennedy stopped mid-sentence and cocked her head toward the window, listening intently. “Do you hear that?” she asked Buffy and Faith.
“A plane!” Faith announced.
When everyone started to rush for the door, Buffy stopped them. “Wait! Nobody move!” After getting incredulous glares, she explained. “We don’t know who that is. As far as we know, it’s Jordon’s backup.” When that thought sank in, no one moved any closer to the door. “Faith, Willow, you’re with me. The rest of you stay here.”
When Kennedy started to object, Buffy walked over to her and pulled Jordon’s gun from her waistband. She handed it to Kennedy, meeting her gaze for a long moment. Without a word, Kennedy took the gun.
“You’re the second front,” Buffy told her firmly.
Kennedy nodded and tightened her grip on the weapon. At that, Buffy, Willow and Faith headed out the door and down to the pier at the beach.
Island – Lagoon Pier – Moments Later
By the time Buffy, Willow and Faith arrived at the pier, the seaplane was just landing on the water a short distance away.
“Be ready, Will,” Buffy told the witch. Willow simply nodded.
When it neared the pier, they could see that it was not the same plane that had brought them to the island. It was a much larger and much newer plane, and it had “Anguilla Sea Rescue” painted on the side. The trio heaved a sigh of relief.
When the door to the plane opened, two medics jumped out. “We received an emergency call,” one of the medics said. “Is anyone hurt?”
“Yeah, there is,” Willow said. “This way.” As she led the two medics up the pier toward the house, Buffy and Faith stayed to speak with the pilot.
“Who made the emergency call?” Buffy asked. “Our generator went out, and all our communications were down.”
The pilot shrugged. “Don’t know. Came in anonymously. We had a call of possible injuries, and when we tried your number and got no answer, we headed out here.”
Buffy and Faith exchanged concerned looks.
Anguilla – Airport – Later
Inside the Anguilla airport, Buffy and the others waited anxiously for the Council jet to pull up to the gate. When the flight attendant signaled the group that they would be departing soon, Buffy turned to her friends.
“It’s almost time,” she told them.
“So that’s it? We just leave Jordon here?” Kennedy asked.
“Right now, he’s too critical to travel,” Buffy said. “He’ll stay here under guard until he recovers.”
“If he recovers,” Faith muttered, lowering her gaze to her hands. Then she tore her eyes away and moved her hands out of sight, as if she couldn’t bear to look at them.
“What about James?” Rowena asked. “There’s no way Jordon did this on his own.”
“We’ll deal with that when we get back home,” Buffy said. Then she stood up straight and met each person’s eyes. “I want to remind everyone of our agreement not to discuss the personal ramifications of what happened on the island. We can share in general what happened, but that’s all. We were under the influence of a very powerful spell, one that made us do things that we aren’t proud of.”
Intense looks passed all around the group. Buffy and Faith exchanged tortured glances. Kadin did the same in Kennedy’s direction. The slayer held her gaze for a moment and then turned away. Willow and Rowena flashed sad smiles at each other before hugging each other and leaning their foreheads together. Xander refused to look at anyone. He just rubbed his arm where he had cut himself.
Buffy sighed and went on. “There are certain details that the majority of the Council – and certainly the general public – don’t need to know.”
Faith cleared her throat. “So everything that happened on Demented Island stays on Demented Island. Got it?” she asked the group.
Everyone nodded silently.
Fade to Black
Bureau Nine – Underground Hallway – Day
Jason Felix emerged from the elevator and stepped up to a large door. It was made of steel, and the elaborate locking mechanism looked sturdy enough to take bazooka fire. His face, as he punched in the code on a keypad beside the door, barely held any expression at all.
He hesitated before pressing “Enter.”
Almost immediately, a series of hums and clicks began. Two seconds later, the steel door slid up, for all the world like a drawbridge. Someone was standing on the other side.
Felix blinked. “What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for you,” Lori said. “The Oversight Committee?”
He sighed. “Accepted my compromise. They were unhappy about it, but at least…” he trailed off.
“You shouldn’t have to do this.”
“Ah, Lori. Don’t you see? Even if I agree, then I’ll still have done it, won’t I? Either way – do it myself, or merely give the order – the responsibility remains my own.”
“Then by volunteering, I’m guilty anyway.”
He waved a finger at her. “Taught you too well,” he almost smiled. “Get back upstairs. Now.”
She walked past him, entered her own code into the pad, and the door lowered between them. It settled into place with a coughing sound.
Bureau Nine – Detention Cell – Same Time
The room was very nearly square, a gray cube. In the center was a chair bolted to the floor. Seated in the chair, held by built-in restraints at the wrist, was James Tyrell. He sat erect. Despite the disheveled state of his clothes, the bloodshot eyes and the stubble of several days without a shave, he remained dignified.
When the door to his right opened, he even managed to lift one eyebrow as Felix entered.
“How nice to have a visitor,” Tyrell said. “Come for a bit of a gloat, have you?”
“No,” was the answer.
“You know, I’m not a fool.”
“That is a matter of debate.”
“I made plans. Contingencies. Your hospitality is appreciated, but needn’t continue too much longer.”
Felix shook his head. “Possible, but it hardly matters.” He leaned his back against the wall, facing Tyrell. They looked at each other a long, hard minute before Felix took a folded sheet of paper out of his jacket pocket. “James Amadeus Tyrell,” he read aloud, “your oath of employment, granting Bureau Nine and its Oversight Committee jurisdiction over your person in the event of criminal activity, is hereby invoked. Oversight has convened. You have been found guilty by unanimous vote of attempted murder, of assault, of malfeasance and of conspiracy to commit all of the above. It is the unanimous judgment of Oversight that special circumstances apply and that no mitigating factors exist to be taken into account.” He said this without inflection.
“My son,” Tyrell said after an eternity.
“Jordon is alive.”
Tyrell said nothing. He just stared at Felix, who soon continued. “He’s in a hospital, sedated. Obtaining custody of him was not too difficult. Among other things, he’ll be receiving plastic surgery. Nothing very radical, but enough for him to pass under the radar, as it were. He has managed to make himself notorious.”
A shadow of a smile touched Tyrell’s lips. “My son is valuable.” He managed to imbue the last word with vast weight.
“We all are,” Felix replied, his eyes suddenly cold. “Including his victims. And yours. A few months from now, Jordon will wake up in a new hospital, under carefully supervised and professional care. He will need it. His treatment for a case of near-total amnesia will never really enjoy any success. Sadly – or not – his memories are something he will never recover. Never. Under the circumstances, he will have to build an entirely new life, a new identity. Our doctors will guide him in the process, adjusting his medication as needed, and in the end your son will have as much a chance as anyone. A chance at life. Maybe a long life. Perhaps even a happy one. Who knows? You may get grandchildren yet. My promise to you is this – I will do what I can to see he eventually regains his family name. Perhaps he, or his offspring, might yet redeem it. We can hope.”
While Felix was speaking, Tyrell’s smile had evaporated. His lips frowned. Eyes blazed for a moment, then faded. A subtle tension in his shoulders released. “For a man who claims to despise cruelty,” he said, voice thick, “you show great skill.”
“Jordon is alive. He will be free. You may call that cruelty, but I call it mercy. More mercy than Oversight saw any reason to grant.”
For the first time, Tyrell’s gaze left Felix’s face.
“Interesting,” Felix said a few moments later, “how you and I, indeed now the entire world, know something for a fact that has plagued mankind for ages. Life after death. We as a species have always wondered, dared to dream. Now we don’t wonder. We know. There is indeed something after, beyond doubt. Details are lacking, but the fact of it is now essentially unquestioned. You’d think that would make more of a difference, wouldn’t you? Strange how it hasn’t. Hardly any difference at all. Especially when one considers we’ve real reason to suspect the afterlife includes some kind of judgment.” He reached into his jacket.
Tyrell looked up. “Ah. Tradition.” He was looking at what Felix now had in his hand. A pistol. It gleamed black in the sterile room. “I am not afraid of being judged.”
“Or yours. We’ll each find out for certain, eventually.”
Felix raised the pistol. The barrel came to rest less than three inches from Tyrell’s forehead. He squeezed the trigger twice, creating jagged holes above each of the older man’s eyebrows. Tyrell’s body jerked, then slumped. It didn’t move again.
One minute later, after he’d wiped tears from his eyes with a handkerchief, Felix left the room the way he came in.
Fade to Black
End of Hidden
Next on Watchers…
The Council is overrun by a extremist Islamic group and has to fight to survive, while it’s up to Amira, a Muslim herself, to plan a rescue.