Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Night
The room was dark. There was no sound except for the quiet whirring of the air conditioner.
The only light was a thin sliver from a street lamp that managed to peek its way in through the blinds of one of the large windows.
Kennedy sat on one of the wooden benches lining the back wall. Her shoulders were slumped, and her forearm rested against the length of her thigh. A photograph was clutched tightly in her hand.
Her eyes were so fixated on the image that she didn’t look up at the sound of footsteps approaching. The lights suddenly popped on in the room, and then there was the sound of a light gasp of surprise.
“Kennedy!” Rowena exclaimed, with a hand over her chest. “You scared me half to death.”
Kennedy only looked up at her briefly, then turned her attention back to the picture.
“What are you doing sitting in here all alone in the dark?” Rowena asked as she made her way over to the slayer.
Kennedy remained quiet up until Rowena reached her. “I couldn’t go in there,” she finally answered slowly. “It just made me think of…”
Rowena looked down at the photo. “You guys look happy,” she said softly.
Kennedy looked up from the picture of her and Kadin to meet her eyes. There was a shine in the brown depths, and it seemed as though she wanted to say something, but she just shook her head and placed the picture face down on the bench beside her.
“What are you doing here?” Kennedy asked. “I thought only slayers braved this rugged and stench-filled domain.”
Rowena smiled weakly. “Faith wanted me to check on you,” she said softly. “I went to see her, and she asked about you. I left Buffy in the infirmary with her, but there’s only so much she’s gonna be able to take of that, as you can imagine. The two of them mix like oil and water sometimes.”
Kennedy looked up at her with a light smile. “Yeah,” she sighed and shook her head. “Guess I should go put her outta her misery. Best friend duties an’ all.” She slowly rose to her feet. “Not to mention the fact that it was my half-human, half-ravenous beast of a girlfriend that put her in there in the first place.”
Rowena looked at her sadly. “Kennedy…”
“Save it,” the slayer cut her off with a raised hand. “You don’t have to try and make me feel better about this.” She looked up at Rowena, her voice level. “We both know how this is gonna play out.” She reached down and picked up the picture from the bench. “If that thing really is all that’s left of Kadin…then I’ll kill it myself.”
Rowena watched in stunned silence as Kennedy pushed past her and disappeared from the room.
Cleveland Park – Same Time
The woman was lying on her back with her arms covering her face. She was still screaming as the figure on top of her started to move. Blue skin and stringy black hair came into focus as her arms fell to the side and she forced her eyes open.
The cold black stare of the monster met hers, and the woman immediately grew silent. A tiny drop of crimson liquid teetered on the corner of the creature’s mouth before dripping down onto the woman’s face. A low growl rose from the back of the monster’s throat.
Seconds later, it leapt from atop the woman and disappeared into the darkness.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Moments Later
“If you stick one more of those in me, you’re gonna regret it.” Faith reached out and grabbed the nurse’s hand just as she was about to stick an IV in the slayer’s arm. The woman quickly dropped the needle and scurried out of the room.
“You really don’t have to be so unpleasant,” Buffy spoke up from her spot next to the bed. “She’s just doing her job.”
“Well, she can go do it somewhere else,” Faith groaned and pulled at the wires attached to her chest. “I don’t even know what this one is for. I hardly think all these are necessary for one little scratch.”
“You call that a little scratch?”
Both women looked over at the sound of the third voice to see Kennedy standing in the doorway to the room. Her eyes were trained on the large bandage covering most of Faith’s right upper arm.
“It’s nothin’, Slick. Just twenty-five stitches,” Faith assured her friend. “I’ve had much worse. Believe me.”
Kennedy looked down at the floor and stuffed her hands into her back pockets.
Buffy looked nervously from Faith to Kennedy. “I, uh…” She pushed her chair back. “I better go see how Willow’s coming along with that…stuff.” She quickly made her exit, shooting Kennedy a polite smile as she passed her through the doorway.
Kennedy watched Buffy disappear, then sighed and turned her attention back to Faith.
“Not big on liquid diets either, huh?” she asked, with a nod towards the loosely hanging IV bag as she slowly made her way into the room. Kennedy took a seat in the chair Buffy had previously occupied.
Faith smiled softly and shifted on the bed. “I think it must be something in the slayer gene. That, and I just don’t like needles.”
“Well,” Kennedy sighed with a tired smile. “You did spend like a whole year of your life unconscious and hooked up to one of those things, so I can’t really say that I blame you.”
“It’s not your fault,” Faith broke in suddenly.
“Uh, yeah,” Kennedy said in return. “It was Buffy who –”
“I meant Kadin,” Faith interrupted softly.
The smile instantly vanished from Kennedy’s face, and she sat quietly for a long moment. “I know what you meant,” she eventually answered. Another small silence passed between them. “Is this the part where you tell me that there was nothing I could have done?”
Faith sighed and shifted in the bed once again. “There wasn’t, Slick,” she finally replied. “And it wasn’t Willow or the gangs’ fault, either.”
Kennedy shook her head with a disbelieving smile and folded her arms across her chest. “I knew it,” she said in a huff. “Everyone around here seems to think they understand what I’m going through and are so quick to assure me that it’s not my fault…”
“It’s not,” Faith asserted again.
“You don’t know, okay?!” Kennedy shouted back. She sprang up in her seat and stared down the other slayer. “You don’t know what she was going through! I was always so wrapped up in slaying and the Council that I couldn’t see!” Her breathing had increased just slightly, and there was clear pain shining out from behind her eyes. “I couldn’t see that she was suffering,” she added in a low whisper. “I couldn’t see that she needed me because I was just so…so…”
Faith watched in silence as Kennedy broke down in front of her. She carefully extended her hand and placed it on Kennedy’s shoulder as the slayer’s body was overwhelmed by deep sobs.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time
“What do you mean you don’t know, Willow?” Buffy asked, annoyed. “We have wards in place. How can that Barbara Ann demon just walk in here?”
Willow whipped around from her workbench to face Buffy.
“First, her name’s Baaierdra, not Barbara Ann,” Willow snapped. “And second, I’m kinda doing things in order of importance. How she got in isn’t nearly as pressing as what happens when she gets back, o-or finding out where Kadin went, for that matter. So with all due respect, back the hell off and let me work!”
Buffy bit her lip, but said nothing in response at first.
“It’s not your fault, Will,” Buffy told her.
“Buffy…just….go. I’ve got a lot of stuff to figure out and not a lot of time to do it in, okay?”
Buffy nodded and made her way from the room. With a sigh, Willow turned back to her work bench.
Cleveland – Back Alley – Night
The newly transformed Kadin stumbled through an alleyway. Her features were hidden by the sweaty strands of her black hair as her body bounced off the walls and crashed into the scattered debris.
The beast finally fell to her knees near a large pile of rotting garbage. The muscles in her arms tensed, and her head hung low as she breathed deeply and raggedly.
The moon shone down onto her from above, giving the blue hue of her skin a glistening quality. Her head suddenly shot up, and her black eyes looked up at the sky full of stars. She pulled back her lips, exposing her teeth, and released a painful wail into the night.
Then there was a sudden sound of rustling, followed by a groan. Kadin’s eyes swiftly focused in as the pile of garbage began to move. A homeless man dressed in tattered clothes soon emerged, clutching a brown paper bag.
“Hey! This is uh…my sh-shpot,” the man slurred drunkenly. He swatted at the blurred image before him as he stumbled to his feet. “F-find your…own!”
Kadin’s beast form tensed at the man’s movements. Her eyes followed his every move as he stumbled closer.
“You gotta a…a problem?” he slurred again. He tucked his bottle in the pocket of his dirty jacket and took a step back. “I ain’t sharin’, so get…lost!” He reached out and grabbed Kadin by the shoulder.
Her black eyes looked down at the man’s hand on her and then up into his face. The hue somehow seemed to darken, and the sharp edges of her newly-formed canines were once again exposed. With a low growl and a sudden movement, the man soon found himself trapped beneath her much stronger body.
“What the hellsa matter with you?!” the drunk protested, as he struggled to free himself.
“She’s hungry,” said a sultry voice, floating from the end of the alley.
Both Kadin and the man turned their attention to the alley’s entrance.
Baaierdra stood backlit by a nearby street lamp, leaning against the wall casually. “She’s tried to fight it all night,” she went on calmly. “But sooner or later…the hunger always wins.”
There was another low growl, and then Kadin was ion her feet. The drunken man tried to stand, but instead he only managed to sloppily stumble his way out of the alley.
Kadin’s icy black stare was focused on Baaierdra’s human form, but the demon did not seem intimidated. “I’ve been there,” the blonde cooed as she finally started to make her way toward Kadin. “Only I didn’t fight it. I gave in willingly, and the power…” Her words trailed off, and her eyes flashed a deep yellow, before instantly returning to blue. She grinned and started to walk around the still form of the monster hunter. Her eyes traced over every inch of the blue skin on display before her.
“You feel it now, don’t you?” she asked, leaning in towards Kadin’s ear. She smiled, just slightly. “You can feel the power surging through every fiber, and you like how it feels.”
Kadin’s head whipped toward her, and she growled again.
Baaierdra chuckled in the back of her throat. “Don’t be so testy. I know it’s not really you. It’s the power. It’s telling you to fight…kill…feed.”
Kadin’s eyes locked onto the she-demon, and for a moment, the tense expression faltered.
“We’re the same now,” Baaierdra went on. “You and me,” she added in a husky drawl. “We both feel a power that no one else could possibly comprehend…or control. But I can.” She slowly reached up and pushed back the loose strands of hair from Kadin’s face.
“I can help you control it,” she soothed. “If you let me.”
Kadin seemed to be considering the offer as her body slackened and her black eyes drifted. Slowly, she lifted her hands and stared down at the beast-like claws that had taken over her fingers.
Baaeirdra watched the action with a satisfied smirk. “I’m the only one who understands. I’m the only one who knows how to control it.” She lifted a hand and placed it on Kadin’s arm.
At that moment, Kadin’s skin and features returned to normal. Her deep brown eyes were suddenly staring down at her human shaped fingers and hands. Her head whipped around, and she looked up at the demon in confusion.
“There is no limit to your power,” the she-demon answered in response to the silent question. “If you can control it.” She dropped her hand away, and Kadin’s features instantly morphed back into those of the beast. “I can show you,” Baaierdra whispered as she stepped toward Kadin. “All you have to do is give in…”
Kadin watched silently as Baaierdra’s features transformed into her demonic visage. She made no move to retreat when the demon slowly leaned in and placed her lips on Kadin’s.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Same Time
Faith had moved closer to the edge of the bed in order to keep a gentle hand resting on Kennedy’s shoulder. Kennedy hung her head down, silent tears dripping down her cheeks.
The moment was broken when the door suddenly opened and Buffy burst into the room, immediately followed by Willow.
“I found her,” the redhead announced. “I found Kadin.”
Kennedy looked over at her and then back at Faith with a teary gaze.
“Go,” Faith instantly answered. “I’m five by five here.”
Kennedy hesitated for only a moment, then quickly stood and followed Willow from the room.
Faith looked over at Buffy standing in the doorway. The blonde gave her a light smile before turning to walk out, softly closing the door behind her.
Faith stared silently at the closed door as the heart monitor continued to beep behind her.
Cleveland – Back Alley – Same Time
Baaierdra’s lips were still firmly attached to Kadin’s. Her gangly brown hands were now resting on the blue flesh of Kadin’s stomach, where the ends of her tattered shirt had exposed her torso.
As the kiss prolonged, a sudden arc of white light began to emanate from where their lips were touching.
Kadin’s eyes shot open. Their dark black hue seemed to have lost some of its depth. The color began to drain from her face as she struggled to fight back out of the demon’s grasp.
Baaierdra growled in the back of her throat. She latched onto Kadin’s sides, the ends of her claws digging into the flesh. The white light between them was almost blinding.
With some unseen power, Kadin was finally able to push herself away from the demon. The motion sent her stumbling back into the nearest wall, and she fell into a heap on the ground beneath her.
Her eyes lifted, and she watched the demon approach. Her body gasped for breath as the blue color of her flesh slowly began to return. Her eyes began to darken again, and it seemed as though the signs of life were returning.
“My patience is beginning to wear thin,” Baaierdra growled from the back of her throat. She stalked closer to the fallen Kadin. In one swift movement, the she-demon reached down and wrapped a hand tightly around Kadin’s throat. She effortlessly lifted her into the air.
“It is mine!” Baaierdra screamed. “You have no claim to it!” She gave the beast’s body a little shake for emphasis. “I want it, and you will give it to me. One way or the other.”
Kadin’s eyes never left the demon’s as she slowly lifted one clawed hand, placed it on the arm around her neck, and squeezed. There was a low growl and then the sound of snapping bone. Baaierdra screamed and jerked her injured arm away.
When Kadin dropped from the demon’s grip, she easily landed on her feet. The heavy thud of her boots resounded against the cement.
“It is my claim,” Kadin growled, an intense anger burning in her eyes.
The demon looked at the beast in shock. “How did you…?”
“…It’s my birthright,” Kadin snarled.
Kadin took a step forward and grabbed Baaierdra by the neck. She lifted the demon into the air and then sent her flying into the opposite wall of the alley. Dust and shards of broken cement flew off in all directions as the crumpled demon’s body fell to the ground with a hard thud.
There was no time to recover. Kadin was on her feet again in an instant.
This time, the blue claws came down against the demon’s face, leaving a wake of angry red slashes across the pale brown flesh. The beast’s other hand came down against Baaierdra’s side. The claws embedded themselves deep into the flesh. The blood oozed down over Kadin’s hand as she used the grip to lift the demon’s body from the ground.
Baaierdra groaned and howled in pain when her body was forced back against the rough surface of the grimy alley wall. Kadin leaned in with a growl and quickly withdrew her hand from the demon’s limp body. Blood poured freely out of the open wound.
Suddenly, there was the crushing force of a bloody hand closed around the demon’s throat. She forced her eyes open to gaze into solid black. The white of Kadin’s teeth gleamed with saliva, her mouth poised inches from the demon’s face.
Baaierdra’s eyes flashed, and in an instant, her hand was raised to push against Kadin’s chest. Her blue body was sent hurtling backwards through the air, eventually landing in the pile of garbage as she fell to the ground. The demon took a step away from the wall as she dropped her eyes to the wound in her side. Then she looked back up at Kadin.
“It didn’t have to end this way,” Baaierdra said, as she calmly stalked over to the fallen beast. “I was hoping that you would accept your fate. I was willing to allow you a quick and easy death.” She stopped at Kadin’s feet and reached down to grab her by the arm. She lifted the beast’s slumped body into the air. “But now…you’ve just pissed me off.”
The she-demon slammed Kadin back against the wall with a forceful shove. She lifted a hand and then brought it down in an angry slash across the beast’s stomach.
Lines of flowing crimson rose in its wake, and Kadin groaned in protest at the pain.
A moment later, Baaierdra’s other hand came down across Kadin’s face and then against her side. Before another of the vicious blows could be delivered, Kadin’s hand shot up and clutched the demon’s wrist in a fierce grip. She planted her feet against the wall behind her and pushed off with all her strength.
A low growl rumbled from the depths of Kadin’s chest, and her grip on the demon’s arm tightened as they were both sent flying through the air.
Baaierdra’s back connected solidly with the opposite wall, but the added force of Kadin’s body was too much for the concrete to withstand. It cracked and then crumbled, sending the two figures straight through into the building.
Council Van – Moments Later
“How much further?” Kennedy asked from her place in the backseat of a Council Jeep as it sped through the city streets. Buffy sat next to her.
Willow glanced down at the map in her lap and then turned from the front passenger seat to answer. “It’s just up here.” She pointed to a spot through the front windshield and then glanced over at the driver. Rowena nodded once and stepped on the gas.
“Hang on,” Willow told them as she reached for the hand bar.
Buffy and Kennedy looked at each other and suddenly the shift of the car forced Kennedy into Buffy as Rowena made the sharp turn without bothering to brake.
Willow smiled back at Buffy and Kennedy as the slayers righted themselves. “I warned you,” she said sheepishly.
Both slayers gripped their hand bars.
“She drives worse than me,” Buffy muttered.
Abandoned Warehouse – Same Time
Strands of saliva and blood dripped from the ends of razor sharp teeth. A growl reverberated, while cold black eyes stared into yellow.
A similar growl answered the first, and then the body on top was propelled into the air. Baaierdra was on her feet in an instant and turned just in time to see Kadin land on her own feet not far away.
The demon charged, but Kadin was able to turn and face her at the last moment before contact. The Baaierdra’s body slammed into hers just as she dug her feet in to brace for the impact.
The concrete below gave way as the two beasts locked in a fierce embrace. Chunks of the solid ground shot up from around Kadin’s heavy boots as she was rapidly forced backwards.
They skidded along the warehouse floor until Kadin’s back slammed into the opposite wall. The whole building shook around them as she was pulled back into the demon’s grasp.
Kadin just managed to dodge a crushing blow as Baaierdra landed a hard right into the wall beside her head. Dust and plaster clouded the air around the beast’s head. Seconds later, she struck out with a blow of her own, landing a hard head-butt against Baaierdra’s skull.
The contact dazed the demon long enough for her to release her grip and stumble backwards. Kadin was on her again, landing a quick slash against her shoulder before grabbing on with both hands. With a hearty growl, she threw the demon’s body into the air.
Before Baaierdra could make contact with anything solid, Kadin leapt forward and barreled into the demon in mid-air. Roars and growls filled the air, and a moment later two bodies slammed against the opposite concrete wall.
Cleveland Alley – Same Time
The Jeep came to a screeching halt at the alley’s entrance. Almost before it had come to a stop, a door was quickly shoved open, and a set of feet landed hard against the pavement.
Kennedy adjusted the strap of her crossbow and glanced around the alley in all directions. “You sure this is the place?” she asked, turning to Willow.
The redhead was now out of the van and standing next to the slayer, a map open in front of her. “This is it,” she answered slowly. She pulled her eyes up to meet Kennedy’s and furrowed her brow just slightly.
“Well, maybe it’s off by a street or two,” Buffy added, walking up behind them. She, too, carried a crossbow in her hands.
Willow looked over at Buffy and then dropped her eyes back to the map with a sigh. “Maybe…”
She was cut off by a loud crash, and then the ground beneath their feet shook for a second.
Kennedy shot a look at the nearest building. “Or maybe we’re just not looking in the right place.” She took off toward the building with Willow, Buffy and Rowena following just behind.
Abandoned Warehouse – Same Time
There was a sudden flash of blinding light, followed by a roar-like scream. Kadin flew backwards through the air, flipping head over heels before landing on her feet at the other end of the room.
The light died away, and Baaierdra’s form slowly faded into focus behind it. Her eyes were glowing yellow, and her jaw was set in a tight snarl.
“I’ve tried to be reasonable,” she said as she pushed herself away from the wall. Pieces of broken cement and dust fell from the shattered impression as she stepped away. She reached up with one hand and swiped at the dust on her shoulder. “But now…you must die.”
Kadin stared down the demon. She flexed her claws once and then planted her feet. Her black eyes almost seemed to glow…and then she smiled.
The gesture enraged the she-demon. She let out a piercing wail and charged Kadin at full force. The beast just managed to lift her hands to intercept the demon as their bodies were forced together in a thunderous crash.
Blows started to rain between them. A slash was blocked by a blue arm and countered with a slash of its own. There was a scream, and then another slash across Kadin’s face.
Her head snapped to the side, but she quickly recovered with a snarl and a slash to the side of the demon’s face. Baaierdra stumbled back, seemingly dazed from the blow. Kadin gave her time to regain her balance before she was on her again, with slashes to each side of her body.
“Enough!!!” Baaierdra shrieked. She screamed the word so loud that the ceiling shook and a cloud of dust coated the room.
There was the sound of grappling bodies, then a loud grunt. Then, out of the dust, Kadin came flying. This time her body twisted and crashed into a pillar supporting the center of the room. The concrete split right down the middle, as her body slumped to the ground, motionless.
Suddenly, the warehouse door imploded off its hinges and a steady stream of light filled the room.
Baaierdra snapped her head around at the noise. She bared her fangs at the human figure that stepped into the room, silhouetted by the well-lit street outside.
Kennedy’s eyes flickered over to the slumped form of beast-Kadin, before landing on the demon standing between them.
“Sorry to interrupt,” she said as she stepped closer, her fists clenching at her sides. “But that’s my girlfriend over there, and I get really testy when things try to kill her.”
“You?” Baaierdra snarled with a half smile. “You are the reason she fights?”
Kennedy’s stance faltered just slightly, confusion in her eyes, but she never took her eyes off the demon. A moment later, three more figures emerged in the doorway behind her.
“Hey!” Buffy called out, as she stepped forward to stand near Kennedy. She sized up Kadin’s opponent, an unimpressed smirk on her face. “For a demon you’re pretty scrawny.”
Baaierdra’s roar reverberated throughout the room. “Slayers!” she howled, clenched fists raised into the air. “The only thing more worthless than mortals!”
She turned to face them full-on, her yellow glare seeming to penetrate through them. “I would do the world a favor to rid it of two sl –” The word froze on the tip of her tongue and then died away with a sudden intake of breath.
Kennedy jumped, startled by the violent shake in the demon’s body. Her eyes widened just slightly.
Several drops of blood formed in the center of Baaierdra’s chest. They began to bead, then erupted forth in steady streams of the crimson liquid. The demon lifted her eyes and looked at Kennedy in disbelief as another thick stream began to drip from the edge of her mouth. Her body roughly jerked forward, and then she crumpled to the ground.
Kadin stood over the she-demon’s motionless form. The claws of her right hand were bathed with the demon’s blood as she stared down at the body, breathing heavily and snarling.
“K…Kadin?” Kennedy breathed her lover’s name as she watched the beast seething with rage.
Kadin’s black eyes suddenly snapped up and locked onto Kennedy. The snarl faded away, and the expression on her face softened just slightly.
Kennedy watched her carefully before finally taking a hesitant step towards her. Kadin flinched at the motion, her foot catching on the demon’s side. A claw reached up and grabbed her around the ankle. She jumped, startled at the unexpected contact.
Baaierdra smiled up at Kadin as more blood bubbled and oozed out of her mouth. “You…you will n-never control…it.” Her grip tightened just slightly. “It will…consume…you.” She took in one final gasp of breath, and then her head fell back to the ground. Her grip on Kadin’s leg slackened, and her hand fell lifelessly to the floor.
Kennedy watched the exchange, frozen in place. “Kadin…”
The beast once again slinked back away from the outstretched hand. She blinked and shook her head. A low moan erupted from her throat as she staggered and then fell to the ground.
“Kadin!” Kennedy rushed forward, her hand outstretched towards her fallen lover.
Just as she was about to step over the motionless corpse between them, she was suddenly sent flying backwards as a steady stream of white light shot up from the she-demon’s lifeless body. Kennedy was blown toward the far wall, where Willow stood trying to shield her eyes. Buffy was blown in the opposite direction, knocked off her feet from the shockwave, along with Rowena.
The stream of light arced and then slammed into Kadin’s chest. She howled as she was lifted from the ground by the light. It quickly consumed her entire body. Moments later, it faded, and Kadin fell to the ground, motionless.
Willow dropped her arm away. Baaierdra’s once proud demon visage was now shrunken and gnarled. Her body had shrunk to bones and withered muscle.
“What the hell was that?” Buffy asked as she rose to her feet.
“I believe that’s what you’d call ‘going out with a bang’…literally,” Rowena replied, taking Buffy’s outstretched hand.
Kennedy groaned from her place on the floor, drawing Willow’s attention. Willow quickly made her way over and leaned down to help the slayer to her feet.
“You okay?” she asked softly as Kennedy found her feet.
Kennedy groaned and cracked her neck before turning to Willow with a grimace. “I…think so.” She placed a hand behind her back and popped it into place. “Really didn’t see that comin’.”
“That makes two of us,” Buffy snorted. “I just don’t get why they insist on that one last –”
The movement was so fast that not one of them had time to react.
Kadin was on her feet, leaping through the air to land beside Kennedy and Willow. She placed a hand on the slayer’s shoulder and pushed her back with a powerful shove. Her body slammed back into the wall, and she let out a groan of pain.
Willow’s eyes widened in fear when she felt the beast grab her by the shoulder. She turned and came face to face with a cold, black stare.
Kadin snarled, and her grip on the witch’s shoulder tightened.
“Willow!” Rowena called out and stepped forward, but she was quickly halted when Buffy placed a restraining hand on her arm.
“Don’t!” she warned her. “You’ll just make it worse.”
“But she –”
Buffy just shook her head and pulled Rowena back with both hands. The woman was forced to watch in horror as the beast loomed over her lover.
“Ken! Stop her!” Buffy shouted.
“Oww!” Kennedy groaned and raised a hand to the back of her head. “What was that—” The world seemed to slow to a standstill when she saw Kadin’s hand raised above Willow’s head.
“Kadin! No!” She leaped forward and slammed her shoulder into Kadin’s body with as much strength as she could muster. Her frame shook with the impact, and then she fell backwards to the floor.
Kadin briefly glanced at the fallen slayer, but she quickly focused back on the trembling witch.
“Willow! Do something!” Rowena called over to the redhead.
“I’m trying,” Willow yelled back, before returning to whispering an incantation under her breath. Her eyes widened in horror as she watched the raised claw make a rapid descent towards her head.
There was a twang, then a ssthunk noise. The claw suddenly froze in mid-air.
Willow looked down from the menacing claw to Kadin’s eyes. The deep black of her once-icy stare had been replaced with a hollow emptiness. The color slowly faded to brown as Kadin’s features returned to their human form.
Kadin sucked in a raspy breath as her body began to crumple to the floor. Willow watched in stunned horror as the hunter slowly dropped to her knees and then fell to the floor on her side.
The light caught the end of the shiny silver crossbow bolt protruding from Kadin’s chest as she struggled to suck in a last breath.
Willow quickly turned to see Kennedy still holding the small crossbow tightly between her hands.
“Oh…no,” Willow gasped, lifting a hand to cover her mouth. “Kennedy…”
From across the room, Buffy and Rowena looked on in stunned silence.
“Kennedy,” Willow breathed again, and then fell to her knees at the woman’s side. She studied the slayer’s shaking hands and then brought her eyes back up to her face. “Why did you do that?”
Kennedy didn’t answer. She just pushed herself forward and then onto her feet. Her eyes focused on the motionless body lying on the ground a few yards away.
Willow sucked in a shaky breath. With careful movements, she eased her way around the stoic slayer to close the distance between herself and the fallen hunter. She gently dropped to her knees and reached out with a trembling hand to place it against Kadin’s neck.
A moment later, she turned her eyes toward Kennedy and slowly removed her hand.
Kennedy clenched her jaw, and her grip on the weapon tightened with a force that turned her knuckles solid white. Without a single word, she turned and headed for the exit.
Rowena watched Kennedy for a moment before turning back to Willow. “Is…she…?”
Willow didn’t answer. She just let her eyes drop back to Kadin’s lifeless body.
Fade to Black
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Night
The room was silent as the main members of the Council sat around the large table. Everyone was present except for Kennedy and Faith. No one made eye contact as the steady tick of a clock echoed in the room around them.
Watchers Council – Morgue – Same Time
Kadin’s body lay motionless on a cold metal slab. A thin sheet of faded white covered her up to the neck.
V.O., Buffy: “She just…shot her.”
Kadin’s eyes were closed, and the wounds on her face had begun to discolor.
There was no sound in the room except for the steady tick of the clock on the wall.
Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Same Time
Kennedy sat on the end of the bed, her eyes staring straight out in front of her.
V.O., Willow: “She didn’t say a word.”
The clock ticked away on the nightstand beside her.
Watchers Council – Morgue – Same Time
A large metal clock hung above the door, the only decoration in the otherwise sterile atmosphere. The long, thin red hand ticked with every passing second. The sound seemed deafening in the silent room.
The hand moved slowly to click away one final second and then…stopped.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Same Time
Faith slowly opened her eyes and turned to glance up at the clock hanging on the wall beside her.
Her brow furrowed slightly when she noticed that the second hand had come to a complete stop.
Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Same Time
Kennedy suddenly leapt up from the bed and quickly disappeared from the room.
The clock on the nightstand ticked away one more second, and then it was still.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Same Time
Buffy was the first to look up when the loud ticking of the conference room came to a sudden stop.
The other sets of eyes soon followed hers to focus in on the large metal clock.
The second hand was still, and the room was once again silent.
Watchers Council – Morgue – Same Time
The doors to the Council morgue swung open at full force.
Kennedy took in the room through blood-shot and tear-filled eyes. She stumbled in and began a frantic search. She came to a sudden stop when her eyes fell upon the empty metal slab where Kadin had lain.
The faded white sheet hung haphazardly over the edge, blowing in the slight breeze of the room’s cooling system.
She took a step forward and reached out to place a hand against the material. Her hand froze a second before it made contact. She stopped and looked up at the sound of the doors slowly swinging shut behind her.
Kennedy swallowed as she turned.
A gasp erupted from within her when she saw Kadin standing behind her.
The hunter’s skin was a pale blue, and the deep black of her eyes shined in the dim lighting of the room. All traces of her wounds were completely gone.
Kennedy remained frozen in shock. The sound of Kadin’s ragged breathing could be clearly heard as she stared back at Kennedy from lifeless eyes.
Before Kennedy had time to react, Kadin hopped up onto a nearby table and leaped clear across the room to land on another closer to the small window. She stopped to spare Kennedy one last glance over her shoulder. Then she shattered the thick security window and disappeared into the night.
Kennedy stood motionless, still staring at the window as the tattered vinyl blinds flapped in the wind.
The steady tick of the clock echoed in her ears.
Fade to Black
To be continued…
End of Sacrifice
Next on Watchers…
Kennedy needs to figure out who or what Kadin is now, but she’ll have to find her first. Meanwhile, Rowena has to deal with a very surprising consequence of the group’s Caribbean vacation.