The Dive – Back Alley Entrance – Day
The privacy window on the large metal door slid back with a resounding click.
A green, scaly face peered out of the hole. “Yeah?”
Baaierdra smiled and leaned in towards the door. “I’ve come here in hopes that I may acquire some information.”
The demon’s yellow eyes raked over her body. “You don’t look like a slayer.”
Baaierdra pulled back from the door, and her brow rose just slightly. “Did you say…slayer?”
“What’s it to ya?” the demon snidely remarked.
Baaierdra lifted a finely manicured nail and ran it down the window’s edge. “You wouldn’t happen to know where I might find one of these slayers, now would you?”
The demon’s yellow gaze followed the nail as it trailed past the small window. “The…The Council,” he stuttered. “If there’s one place you’re guaranteed to run into one around here, that would be it.”
“And at this…Council,” she continued, “would there happen to be another woman, one who isn’t a slayer, but still possesses the…skills?”
The demon suddenly slid the window back into place. There was a series of locks being unlatched, and then the door swung open. He came face to face with the she-demon in her human form.
“Sounds like Van Helsing to me,” he informed her with a leering grin. “But what’s a hot young thing like you doing looking for such an unpleasant person like her? Chick’s got serious anger issues.”
Baaierdra’s smile was almost orgasmic. “Van Helsing,” she repeated slowly, the name dripping from her tongue like honey.
“I’d be careful if I were you,” the demon warned. “They keep that place locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Especially lately. Not to mention, it’s crawling with slayers and that pesky witch.” He eyed the she-demon carefully. “What exactly is it that you want with her, anyway?”
Baaierdra’s expression darkened, but her smile never wavered. “It is she who holds the key to my destiny.”
The demon laughed. “Like we haven’t all tried that line before.” He shook his head. “Look, take my advice. Go back to wherever you came from and forget your date with destiny. Otherwise, you’re gonna end up on a fast train to Hell.”
“I hate to disappoint you,” Baaierdra’s smile grew impossibly wider. “But I’ve already spent the last two centuries trapped in that insipid place.” She dismissed the notion with a light sigh. “Everyone’s already dead, so there’s really no point in torturing them. After a while, all the screams sound the same.” Her blue eyes started to darken until they took on the hue of solid black. The other demon watched in stunned silence as the woman’s beautiful features transformed before his eyes.
The once-beautiful blonde now stood before him in full demon form. “What is that popular phrase with the mortals?” she asked, as her black eyes bore straight through the other demon.
“Oh, yes…” In a flash, Baaierdra’s hand shot out and grabbed the demon by the throat. “Been there,” she snarled as she lifted him completely off the ground. “Done that.” She reached up with her free hand and slammed her fist into the demon’s chest. “Send them my regards.”
Seconds later, his lifeless body crumpled to the ground at her feet.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time
“Dead?” Buffy repeated the word strangely. “You mean as in the not living sorta way?”
Willow gave her blonde friend an annoyed stare.
“I’m sorry, Will,” Buffy sighed, shaking her head, “but that doesn’t make sense. How can she stop this demon if she dies? I mean, that can’t be right. Right? There must be another way.”
The redhead turned away from her friend and grabbed the book out of Dawn’s grasp. The young watcher gave her a pout as the book was pulled away.
“I’m trying really hard to find some other options here, Buff,” Willow went on, as she carried the book over to the nearby table. She set it down and flipped a few of the pages before turning back to the blonde slayer. “But I’m just not seeing any.”
Buffy shook her head. “Well, I refuse to accept that.” She took a step closer to her friend and folded her arms over her chest with a heavy sigh. “But until we do figure something out…who’s gonna tell Kennedy the only way to save her girlfriend is to kill her?” She looked from Willow to her sister and then back to Willow again.
No one said a word.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Same Time
Kennedy now sat with her head resting on the side of Kadin’s bed. Her hand was still firmly wrapped around the hunter’s as she listened to the melodic sound of her lover’s heartbeat tapping out on the monitor.
Kennedy lifted her eyes when she felt the grip on her hand tighten just slightly. From the grimace on her lover’s face, she could tell that another tremor was about to come on.
“You can do this,” Kennedy whispered. “You’re strong. You can do this.” She tightened her grip on Kadin’s hand as the other woman’s body started to shake again.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time
All three women were now seated around the table in the far corner of the room. The worn leather book was on the surface in front of Willow, while Buffy and Dawn sat across from her flipping through two other volumes.
“Oh my Goddess,” Willow suddenly whispered, reaching down and grabbed the book with both hands. She pulled it up closer to her face to read the words more clearly. “Oh…my…Goddess!”
Buffy and Dawn both looked up.
“What is it?” Dawn asked.
Willow was silent for a moment. She read over the words again before finally looking up at the two women over the edge of the book. A smile broke out across her face.
“I think I found it.”
Watchers Council – Front Lawn – Same Time
The grass crunched under a set of red high heels as a slim pair of women’s legs stepped onto the front lawn.
Baaierdra looked up at the tall building and smiled.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Same Time
Kadin’s heart monitor suddenly started to spike.
Kennedy lifted her head from the bed and looked over to the black screen. She watched as the green line started to hike with every erratic beat. She felt the hand on hers tighten to a nearly bone-crushing grip.
“Oww!” Kennedy groaned and tried to pull her hand out of Kadin’s, but the hunter’s grip was too strong. She looked up at her lover’s face in a panic as she watched Kadin’s body violently start to thrash.
Without warning, Kadin sat straight up in bed. She threw her head back and screamed, while a blinding white light enveloped her body.
Watchers Council – Front Door – Same Time
Baaierdra reached out with her hand and placed it on the door. She gave it a push, and the door swung open. Her body appeared outlined in the streaming sunlight as she stepped through the doorway.
The receptionist looked up from her desk as the woman walked inside the lobby. “Can I help you?”
Baaierdra looked at the woman, but didn’t answer. Then an evil smile broke out over her face.
The receptionist slowly reached down and pressed a button hidden under the desk.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
Buffy and Dawn stood over Willow’s shoulder, looking down at the worn pages of the leather book.
“It’s a spell that will help Kadin embrace her power, without her actually having to die,” Willow explained, pointing to a specific passage in the book. “It can only be performed by a high priest or high priestess, because of the level of energy and control it takes to channel the power.”
Buffy smiled down at her friend. “Guess it’s our luck that we have our very own High Priestess right here.”
Willow gave her a smile, but it soon faltered. “I’m just…I’m not sure if it’ll work.”
Buffy reassured her softly. “All it takes is control right? You’ve got more control now than ever. And what’s the alternative here for Kadin? Death?”
“I know, I know,” Willow conceded with a sigh. “Kadin is a good person, kind of in your face at times, but still, she deserves a whole lot better than what she’s going through.”
Dawn looked from her sister to the witch. “So…do the spell.”
Willow sighed once again as she dropped her eyes back down to the pages of the book. “Again, I’m still a little unsure about the details.” She leaned down toward the book to give it a closer examination. “It says something about giving in to the power and surrendering to the light. Other than that, it doesn’t really make much sense. But from what I can make out, we have to create a ‘balance’ within Kadin.”
“But it’s the only thing that’s gonna save Kadin and stop this she-bitch, right?” Dawn asked matter-of-factly.
Willow gave her a short nod.
“Okay then,” Dawn continued, “What other choice is there?”
Willow thought about it for a moment. “Okay,” she finally relented. “Tell Jeff and Andrew to meet me here in thirty minutes.” She turned to Buffy. “I need you to go to the infirmary and get Kennedy. There’s some stuff I have to go over with her before –”
Whatever Willow was about to say was cut off by the building alarm going off. Seconds later, a voice came over the intercom, “Security alert! Main lobby!”
Buffy looked at the two other women, just for a second, then took off out of the room.
Willow pushed back her chair and scooped up the book as she and Dawn quickly followed.
Watchers Council – Main Lobby – Moments Later
Baaierdra lifted a slayer into the air with one hand wrapped around the girl’s throat.
“Where is she?!” the demon demanded. “I feel her…I know she’s here.”
The girl grabbed at the demon’s hands around her throat as she struggled to breathe. “W…who?”
Baaierdra growled low in her throat before flinging the girl across the room. The slayer hit the wall hard and slid to the floor.
“Are any of you mortals good for anything other than taking up oxygen?” Baaeirdra screamed in annoyance, as she surveyed the room.
Slayers from the security detail were spread out across the floor in various states of injury. A few of the less injured ones were trying to help the others get to their feet.
The demon turned when she heard the husky voice call out to her from behind. Faith stepped up and belted the woman with a hard backhand across the face.
Baaierdra’s head barely moved to the side. Faith watched in surprise as the demon smiled and slowly brought her eyes back to hers. Baaierdra reached up and grabbed Faith by the front of her shirt, balling the material in a tight fist.
“Oh sh –” The slayer only had a moment to react before she found herself launched into the air.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Same Time
Kennedy sat with her arm shielded over her eyes against the white light continuing to pour out of Kadin’s body. After several seconds, it finally began to fade, along with Kadin’s screams, eventually dying away completely.
Kennedy slowly lowered her arm to look at Kadin. Her eyes widened at what she saw. The hunter’s face was completely blue, and her eyes burned with a feral glow.
Kadin growled in the back of her throat, then reached up and started to rip the various needles and patches from her body. Tiny drops of blood pooled in the spots where she tore the instruments from her body.
“Kadin?” a stunned Kennedy whispered.
The hunter was silent, staring back at Kennedy. The look in her eyes was totally animalistic. Kennedy took a step back. It was like a tiger was staring back at her. A second later, she jumped from the bed and ran for the exit.
Kennedy turned just in time to see Kadin rip the door off the hinges and take off in a full sprint down the hall.
“Oh…hell,” Kennedy said, almost under her breath. Then she gave chase.
Watchers Council – Main Lobby – Same Time
Buffy was just entering the lobby with Willow and Dawn when Faith’s body came flying by in front of her. Faith crashed into the wall, leaving a significant crater, before falling limply to the floor.
Buffy looked from her fallen friend over to the center of the room, then back again.
“Help Faith,” she told Willow and Dawn. Then she took off towards the demon.
Before Buffy could make it halfway across the room, a sudden flash of blue sped by her. She stopped in her tracks and watched as the charging body plowed into the demon, sending them both crashing to the floor.
Kadin growled before quickly flipping to her feet and staring down at the demon sprawled out on the floor before her.
Baaierdra looked up into Kadin’s eyes with unnerving silence. She slowly began to smile. “There you are.” In a split-second, she too was back on her feet.
Kadin took on a defensive stance and stepped back. Her eyes started to glow again, the muscles below her pale blue skin flexing from the surge of power flowing within her.
“That’s right,” Baaierdra purred. “Give in to it. Let it take you over completely.” She stepped closer and lifted her hand up to place it on Kadin’s cheek.
“Kadin, no!” Willow called out from her spot across the room. She stepped around the fallen Faith just as Dawn was helping the groggy slayer back to her feet.
“Don’t listen to her,” Willow called to Kadin. “I-I found a solution. She wants you to give in so that the power will destroy your soul and leave it as hers for the taking.”
Baaeirdra dropped her hand from Kadin’s face and shot a deathly stare in Willow’s direction. “Hmm…I sense power,” the demon purred, the smile returning to her face. She turned to fully face Willow as she appraised the witch from head to toe. “So, you have Het Boek van Kwade Geesten?”
“Whose boat quit guesting? Huh?” Buffy asked from behind Willow.
“The Book of Evil Spirits,” Willow translated softly.
Baaierdra appraised the witch with a light nod. “Beautiful, powerful, and smart.” She took a step closer to Willow. “Please tell me you’re the girlfriend.”
Willow’s eyes widened just slightly. “Oh, no!” she protested loudly. “I mean, I am a girlfriend, but not…Kadin’s. NOT that she’s not hot or anything, ’cause I did have a thing for butch brunettes for a while there…”
“Who you callin’ butch?” Kennedy broke in, finally arriving on the scene. Willow turned to her and smiled sheepishly. “Hello? Trying to stall for time to come up with a plan here,” Willow whispered.
Kennedy momentarily returned the grin, then leveled her eyes on the demon. “I’m the girlfriend.”
“Ken,” Willow said angrily. “Not helping.”
“And the power just keeps growing,” Baaierdra laughed. “So much power in such a small place.” She shook her head and started to pace. “Could be very dangerous…”
“For you, maybe,” Kadin said, speaking her first words of the confrontation. Her voice was low and husky as it spilled out from the back of her throat.
All eyes turned to her as she remained locked in a rigid stance just behind the demon.
Baaierdra smiled as she swept her eyes over Kadin’s body. “You’re the best they could do?” she asked with a laugh. “Two centuries later and you are the heir?”
“What who could come up with?” Kennedy asked.
Baaierdra never took her eyes from Kadin. “De Bewaarders van de Geest.”
“The Spirit Keepers,” Willow once again translated.
“Okay,” Faith rasped out as Dawn helped her to hobble up next to Buffy. “Enough with this mystic spirit crap. What exactly is it that you want from Kadin?”
Baaierdra growled low in the back of her throat. “They are the ones who stole my power and split it in two. They sent me to Hell to live out eternity in torment.”
“Wait a minute,” Dawn said, shaking her head. “If these spirit guys split your power in two…where’s the other half?”
Kadin’s eyes flashed as she stared the demon down. “In me.”
“Very good,” Baaierdra smiled. “It is true, you possess my other half, but I must warn you…many before you have tried to wield the power but failed. Know this…it belongs to me.”
“Uh-oh,” Faith smirked. “Somebody wants her power back,” she teased in a sing-song voice. “Whatsa matter? Did the big bad spirit guys steal your toy?”
Baaierdra’s head whipped around in Faith’s direction with a growl of pure, burning hatred. Just as she lifted her hand to strike out at the slayer, Kadin leapt at her and grabbed her by the collar.
In one swift movement, the demon was launched over Kadin’s head and sent crashing to the floor ten feet across the room. Animal rage burned in the hunter’s eyes as she stalked over to the fallen demon. She stopped just short of Baaierdra’s crumpled form and reached over to grab the edge of the receptionist’s desk.
With seeming to require any effort at all, Kadin lifted the desk into the air by one corner. The receptionist, who had been hiding beneath, scurried away for cover. Kadin paid her no mind and gave the desk a mighty swing, slamming it down on top of the demon. The wood shattered and broke off in all directions.
“See? This is why I said we need more security,” Buffy told Willow. Then she turned to Faith. “How’s Robin coming along on that by the way?”
Faith didn’t answer. She was too busy watching Kadin reach down through the pile of debris and grab the demon by the throat. With a hard yank, she pulled Baaierdra to her feet.
Everyone watched as the beautiful blonde transformed before their eyes. Her perfect white skin turned to a light brown, and her facial features morphed into a hideous design. Her yellow eyes burned as she let out a howl.
A sharp claw reached up and slashed across Kadin’s face violently. The hunter lost her grip on the demon as she was sent stumbling a few steps back.
“Kadin!” Kennedy called out, as she moved to rush toward Kadin.
“Kennedy!” Willow grabbed the slayer’s arm, bringing her to a halt. “No,” she said. Kennedy looked at her helplessly, but Willow just shook her head. “The prophecies say that Kadin’s the only one who can beat her!”
Kennedy was silent for a moment before a flash of defiance overtook her features. “Yeah, the hell with that.”
Without any more hesitation, she charged in to help her girlfriend.
“Kennedy!” Willow called out to her, but the warning fell on deaf ears. Kennedy reached Kadin just as she stepped up to reclaim a hold on the she-demon.
The hunter whipped around to face the slayer with a fiery rage burning behind her eyes. Kennedy took a startled step back.
“She will destroy you, and then herself,” Baaierdra hissed to Kennedy. “She can not control the power…it is not hers to wield. Once it takes her over, she will be invincible…and she will become the destruction of you all.”
“Would you please shut up?!” Kennedy screamed at the demon. “Seriously. Blah, blah, power, destruction, blah, blah. Give it a rest already.”
Baaierdra seemed confused by the slayer’s outburst, staring back at her strangely.
Kennedy turned back to Kadin. “I can help you,” she pleaded. “Let me help you.”
“No one can help her now,” Baaierdra hissed again. “The power has overtaken her body and soon…it will take over her soul. Then there will be nothing left for you to help.”
“That’s it!” Kennedy shook her head with a growl as she turned to the demon. “I’m so gonna kick your ass now.”
Baaierdra smiled and gave her a clearly un-frightened look. Just as Kennedy was about to strike at the demon, she felt Kadin’s gentle hand grab her by the arm. When she turned, all signs of the rage were completely gone from Kadin’s body, once again replaced by the violent, shaking pains.
“Help me,” Kadin begged. “Help me, Kennedy.” Her body collapsed forward into the slayer’s arms, and they were both sent collapsing to the floor.
“When it has consumed her completely,” Baaierdra warned, “I claim her soul and my power.”
Kennedy ignored the demon as she struggled to hold Kadin’s dead weight in her arms.
“K-Kennedy…” Kadin blinked hazily as she started to slip out of consciousness. “H…help…me.”
Baaierdra stared down at the two women silently, her features slowly morphing back into human form. Her yellow eyes softened into blue. “When she is ready, I will return.”
No one said a word as the demon turned to walk out the door and back into the blinding sunlight.
After Baaierdra had cleared the door, Buffy confidently shouted in her direction, “Oh yeah? We’ll be ready!” Willow, Dawn, and Faith all looked at Buffy, who in turn looked at Willow. “We will be ready…won’t we?” she asked in a meek tone.
Willow just sighed.
Kennedy cradled Kadin’s head in her lap, gently stroking her dark black hair. She leaned down and placed a kiss on Kadin’s temple before laying her cheek against the hunter’s pale blue one.
Buffy pulled her eyes away from the intimate moment to look back over at Willow. “I noticed you haven’t answered me yet,” she said.
Willow, who was also staring at Kennedy and Kadin, shook her head to clear it before responding. “Umm…it’s a-a pretty detailed spell. It’s gonna require some chanting a-and some pretty heavy preparations. I’d say it’s gonna be late afternoon at the earliest.”
“Good,” Buffy nodded. “We will do it then.” She let out a sigh and glanced around the room to survey the damage. Then she turned to Dawn and Faith. “Dawn, you call the Infirmary, and Faith, you get the girls sorted out: who’s hurt the worst and so on.” Both of them nodded and started to step away, but Buffy reached out to stop Faith. “And get yourself checked out, too,” she ordered in a chiding voice.
Faith just grinned, shaking her head. “You know me better than that, B,” she laughed slightly. “One little wall ain’t gonna knock me outta the fight. Let’s just worry about these girls.” Faith soberly glanced in Kennedy’s direction and added, “And about Kadin.”
After Faith limped away, Buffy turned back to Willow, who was again staring at Kennedy and Kadin with a pained expression on her face.
“What if it doesn’t work, Buffy?” Willow whispered. “Kadin could be dying, and she’s got some psycho-bitch-from-hell out for her soul, and her body is literally ripping itself apart, and what if…what if I can’t help her?” Her eyes filled with tears, and her voice began to choke. “If I screw up this spell, Kennedy could lose her forever, and –”
Buffy reached out and pulled her friend into a fierce hug. “You are the most powerful witch on the planet. You can do this.”
“What’s going on?” Rowena asked urgently as she rushed into the lobby, with teams of EMTs hurrying past her to tend to the injured. “Willow, are you all right?” Without a word, the witch left Buffy and fell into her girlfriend’s arms. Rowena held her tightly, running a soothing hand up and down her back gently. Then she turned her eyes to Buffy. “What happened?”
“Our most favorite she-demon tried to redecorate,” Buffy answered. “Good news is, she’s gone. Bad news is, she’s coming back.”
When the front door reopened, all eyes whipped in that direction.
“…your singing sucks, that’s why,” Shannon said as she walked inside with Andrew, who was carrying a huge stack of pizza boxes.
“No, it doesn’t,” Andrew shot back defensively. “Who do you think you are, anyway? Paula Abdul? And why aren’t you helping me carry these pizzas, Miss I-Have-Super-Powers?”
Shannon stopped mid-stride when she saw the chaotic state of the lobby. Andrew peeked around the stack of pizzas and also took in the sight. Their mouths dropped open.
“Mamma Mia!” Andrew exclaimed.
Buffy turned to Willow and said, “Grab Andrew and Dawn and get started on that spell, okay? I’ll find Jeff and send him your way.”
Willow nodded. Then she and Rowena headed in Andrew’s direction.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Later that Day
Kadin’s unconscious body once again lay in her hospital bed. This time, however, she was resting somewhat peacefully.
Kennedy stood next to the bed, looking down at the still woman from above. She finally took a step forward and placed her knees on the bed. She gently crawled in next to her lover and carefully laid her head down onto the pillow next to Kadin’s.
Without a word, she simply watched the hunter sleep.
Fade to Black
Cemetery – Dusk
The car came to a stop beneath several large trees. Dotted among the other trees stood dozens of marble figures. Some were little more than markers. Others were far more elaborate. One corner held two small statuettes, with an empty space waiting beside them.
Felix got out of the passenger side of the car. Nicholas emerged from the driver’s seat, his eyes on Felix as the latter headed for the statuettes. He followed Felix at a discrete distance.
Felix had two white roses in his hand. He knelt beside the statuettes and placed them atop the graves.
One read “Sophia Anderville Felix.” The other read “Kathleen Felix.” Both had the same ending date: June 5th, 2006.
It took a moment for Felix to respond. He didn’t look back, but simply said, “Yes, Nicholas?”
“Is there anything you want me to do?”
“No more than you’re doing. Thank you.”
Nicholas nodded and waited. After a few moments, however, he blurted, “The other space, is that for…?”
“Me? Yes. I don’t expect you to understand this, not yet, but there are times I can barely wait to join them. Well, not times, so much. Moments. Fleeting moments, no more than that. Wouldn’t want you to think me disabled, after all.” He said this last with something that was almost a chuckle. Yet when he spoke again, his voice went soft. “Very powerful moments, though. Deep…as the sea…but fleeting.”
As Nicholas watched, Felix proceeded to lie down next to the graves, atop his own plot. He closed his eyes and stretched out on his back. His face relaxed, the tensions there bleeding away.
Nicholas, eyes huge, opened his mouth, but said nothing.
“Sorry to upset you,” Felix sighed, eyes still closed. “But consider, for a moment. There is one punishment universal to all civilizations. More, it is considered torture. Solitary confinement. We crave each other, Nicholas. Crave the connection that lets us feel alive, to sense our humanity in the touch and breath of another.” He sighed. “I miss my bride and daughter more than I would my own arms.”
“That,” said Nicholas after a few breaths, “is very impressive.”
“You mean frightening.” His lips turned into a smile. “Wait. All the pain of their loss is a tiny price. If you are fortunate, you’ll find someone worth it. Here’s hoping you are.”
At this, Nicholas said nothing. He just stood there, holding his hands in front of him, lips pressed together. Every molecule of his stance radiated discomfort.
Felix opened his eyes and sat up. “I apologize. Please take this as an intended compliment, no matter what the execution.” His eyes looked tired. Then he managed a smile. “Think of it this way – the Boss trusts you enough to let himself be strange in your presence. Come Christmas bonus time, that might suit you well.”
Nicholas almost smiled at that.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time
Kadin lay on the floor in the center of the room. She was still unconscious, but her body would jerk periodically. She was surrounded by a circle of white, with candles lined around her entire body.
Kennedy stood as close to Kadin as she could without disturbing the ongoing ritual. Buffy, Faith, Rowena and Dawn were nearby, watching in silence.
Jeff and Andrew sat cross-legged at the hunter’s feet, and Willow was seated above her head. They had been meditating and chanting for several hours as they raised the energy necessary to complete the spell. Then, at the exact same moment, they stopped and opened their eyes. Willow took in a deep breath and met the gaze of her fellow casters.
“Okay, I guess this is it,” she said, slowly releasing her breath. She nodded at the worn leather book in her lap and asked, “You ready?”
When the two men nodded, Willow began to intone the heart of the spell. “Wij nodigen de machtige Bewaarders van de Geest uit. Wij vragen dat u hier komt en regelt.”
Subtitle: We call on the mighty Spirit Keepers. We ask that you come and settle here.
Andrew joined in, reading from the paper in his lap. “Breng vooruit deze macht zodat wij het zij-demon kunnen tegenhouden die wenst te regeren Hel ter wereld.”
Subtitle: Bring forth this power so that we may stop the she-demon that wishes to bring Hell on earth.
Jeff did the same. “Wij vragen dat u ons de bevoegdheid uw portaal verleent te zijn en dat u ons de sterkte geeft om uw wil te hanteren.”
Subtitle: We ask that you grant us the power to be your portal and that you give us the strength to wield your will.
They all three joined in to finish. “Door de Macht. Van de Macht. Wij roepen op thee.”
Subtitle: By the Power. Of the Power. We call upon thee.
The flames of the candles suddenly blared up into tall blazes. Then, just as quickly, they died out.
The room was shrouded in complete darkness.
There was a sound of rustling, and then a low growl penetrated the silence.
Suddenly, a burst of blinding white light shot up out of the center of Kadin’s chest. Everyone else in the room instantly lifted an arm to shield their eyes.
The white light disappeared as quickly as it had come. There was another rustling of feet, and then the room’s lights popped on.
Jeff stood by the door with his hand still resting on the light switch. He and everyone else in the room had their eyes transfixed on the slumped-over form of the monster hunter. She was now squatting on her legs with her body hunched over at the waist. Her breathing was slow and ragged, and her entire body was now the same shade of blue that had first appeared on her stomach.
“Kadin?” Kennedy was the first to speak. Everyone watched as she slowly reached out a hand toward the hunter.
Kadin’s head suddenly snapped up, and her solid black eyes met with the slayer’s. Kennedy jerked her hand back, surprised by the cold stare.
Kadin slowly rose to her feet. Her hair hung in sweaty strands around her face. Her teeth were longer and sharper, and saliva dripped from the ends. Her fingers were now in the shape of razor sharp claws.
Kennedy stared back at the woman for a long moment before finally turning to Willow with a hard glare. “What did you do to her?”
“I-I’m not sure,” Willow stammered defensively. “This should have balanced her power!”
Kadin growled as she looked at each person in the room.
“I hate to break up this little spat,” Buffy said slowly, never taking her eyes from Kadin. “But whatever she is now…doesn’t really look like she’s feelin’ too balanced.”
“No kidding! What an incredible observation!” Kennedy shouted at her.
Faith took a step towards her friend. “Calm down there, Slick. This is not Red’s or B’s fault.” She kept her eyes on Kadin in the center of the room, who was dispassionately regarding her new claws, a low, wet growl in the back of her throat.
“She made her worse,” Kennedy replied.
“Listen,” Willow said, pointing a finger, “It was either this or death. From what we’ve found, those were the only options.”
“And I don’t think you need us to tell you which was the better option,” Faith added.
“Look at her!” Kennedy snapped, pointing a finger at her girlfriend. “She’s…a monster!”
“Kennedy,” Buffy said, her voice low and steady, slayer-mode suddenly in full effect, “I think you should take a step toward us…”
Willow and Kennedy weren’t listening. “Maybe now she is, but –”
“No! No buts,” Kennedy shot back. “If it had to be anything on this planet, why this?” Her voice started to crack. “The one thing that she’s spent her life hating…despising…”
Faith stepped up behind Kennedy to place a gentle hand on her shoulder. “You gotta calm down, Slick.”
Faith’s gesture seemed to enrage the beast in the newly-transformed Kadin. Before anyone could react, she lashed out at Faith, slashing her across the arm she had rested on Kennedy’s shoulder.
The slayer jerked her arm back and covered the rapidly bleeding cuts with her free hand. “Son of a…” She bit off the last word with an angry groan. Buffy rushed to Faith’s side, while still keeping an eye on Kadin.
Kennedy quickly looked from her best friend to her lover. Her eyes were deep with concern and confusion. There seemed to be a hint of something else reflected in the cold, black eyes staring back at her.
“Looks like somebody didn’t like you touching her woman,” Dawn said softly from her place across the room.
Kennedy ignored the comment and took a step towards Kadin. “Baby? Are…are you in there?”
Kadin shrank back as the slayer got closer. Her eyes fell to Kennedy’s hand as it drew nearer.
Suddenly and without warning, Kadin stepped back just before Kennedy’s hand made contact. Her black eyes flashed around the room as another growl emanated deep within her chest.
Once again, she was too quick for even a slayer. She bolted toward the back window in the room. She effortlessly leapt into the air and went crashing through the window.
Everyone in the room watched in shock as the broken glass fell to the floor. After a split second, Kennedy rushed to the window, but when she looked out, there was no sign of Kadin. She turned around, a shell-shocked expression on her face.
“Man, I think she caught the freakin’ artery…” Faith said through gritted teeth.
Buffy pulled off her over-shirt and wrapped it around the wound. “You need to get to the infirmary. Even for a slayer, you’re losing a lot of blood, and fast.”
“No kidding,” Faith said.
Buffy applied pressure to the wound, while simultaneously looking up at Willow. “Will?” She received no response, so she called out again. “Will!”
Willow’s head snapped around to face her friend.
“I need to get Faith to the infirmary. Then we gotta figure out how to deal with this.”
The witch nodded mutely as she watched Buffy lead the bleeding Faith from the room.
“Hey! Don’t squeeze so hard!” she heard Faith grumble. “It really hurts!”
“Stop being such a baby,” Buffy scolded as she led her through the door. “This happens to be my second favorite shirt…I could just let you bleed to death, you know?” Their voices soon trailed off in the distance.
Willow slowly lifted her eyes to look at Kennedy. The slayer was standing, frozen, in the same spot by the window.
Rowena walked up and wrapped an arm around the witch’s shoulders. “This isn’t your fault,” she told her softly. “You didn’t know.” She leaned in closer to Willow’s face. “You didn’t.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Willow said softly. She pulled her eyes up to meet the blonde’s. “Not to Kennedy. Not to Kadin.”
“Kennedy knows that we had no idea this would happen,” Rowena argued softly. “She’ll understand.”
Both women looked up at the sound of footsteps. They watched Kennedy silently turn and walk slowly out of the room.
Dawn stepped up to Willow and Rowena just as Kennedy disappeared through the doorway. “What if she hurts someone?” Dawn asked.
Everyone in the room exchanged a glance, but no one said a word.
Cleveland Park – Night
A women walked by a bench, holding onto a red leash. Her dog wandered over to sniff at the grass next to one of the wooden legs.
“Would you hurry it up?” the woman called out, annoyed. “Just do it, so we can get outta here.” She looked around as the various noises of the night seemed especially loud around her. “This place is starting to give me the creeps.”
A few feet away, a set of bushes rustled. The woman’s head snapped over to the sound, and her eyes squinted as she peered into the darkness.
Her dog wandered over to sniff at the bushes. They rustled again, and the dog just stuck his nose in deeper.
A clawed hand suddenly shot out from one of the bushes and grabbed the dog around the neck. It yelped once before it was quickly yanked into the darkness. The leash was ripped out of the woman’s hand as the sound of crushing bones filled the air. She placed her hands over her mouth, her eyes widening in fear.
Moments later, a figure lunged from behind the bushes, and the woman screamed.
End of Act Three