Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing, Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist, Norika Fujiwara as Mia Nakata, Asia Argento as Marie LeBouchard, Tessa Thompson as Chamique, Alexis Bledel as Denise, Elisabeth Harnois as Jocelyn O’Hara, Thora Birch as Tracey Hausser, Helen Shaver as Becca Giles, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, Christy Romano as Hope Lehane and Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix
Cote de Pablo as Amira Aziz, Winona Ryder as Valentine Pavlov, Jennifer Beals as Miss Sanger, Marcia Cross as Autumn O’Mara, Michael Cera as Trevor Halladay, Michael Shanks as Dr. Millenti, Kenneth Branagh as Zhaar and Sir Derek Jacobi as Varthrim
Watchers Council – Main Conference Room – Day
“All I’m sayin’,” Faith began, her voice raised, “is you must have some awfully big cojones to come in here and tell us how to do our jobs.”
Xander nodded. “Especially after you almost killed the world at least once this year.”
The two of them sat at a long, curved conference table. Buffy sat in the center, flanked by Rowena and Giles. Faith, Robin, Kennedy and Mia sat to their left, while Willow, Dawn, Xander and Lori Carew sat off to the right.
Jason Felix stood in front of them at the podium, a series of bullet points laid out on a screen behind him as part of a PowerPoint presentation. He removed his glasses and looked at Faith.
“When offering me this opportunity, Miss Lehane, your colleagues did not intend that I sit silently upon my hands.”
“No one’s asking you to sit on your hands, Mr. Felix,” Robin chimed in, her tone carefully neutral.
“No, let’s just duct tape his mouth,” Faith said to Xander, who grinned. Buffy bit her lip in an effort not to smile too.
“Faith, please,” Robin told her, before turning back to Jason, “I think the main concern are the problems that a rapid re-structure might cause.”
“Ace, sweetie, darling,” Faith exaggerated. “Don’t speak for me right now, okay?”
Robin opened his mouth to say something in return, but Willow quickly raised her hands.
“Hey guys, let’s just take a deep breath here, okay,” Willow said, “I thought we were all forgiving with the…forgivingness around here.”
Faith picked up a sheet of paper from the table in front of her. “Have you seen what’s in this…memo, Red? It’s like Wilson’s Fourteen Points.” She saw Lori’s eyebrows shoot up as she tossed it back to the table. “Bet you’re surprised I knew that. That’s right, I went back to school.” She turned her attention back to the sheet of paper. “A ranking system for slayers, changes in training regimens, and, this is my favorite, drug testing.” She put the paper back down in order to gesture more emphatically. “Drug testing?”
“The last thing we want to do is send slayers out into the field when they’re high,” Lori said. “It’s dangerous for everyone involved, including the girls themselves. It’s a no-brainer.”
“It’s not what we should be focusing on,” said Faith. “Sure, there aren’t as many vampires now, but that hasn’t made the war on evil any easier, as far as I can tell. We don’t have time to fight a war on drugs, too.”
“I might be out of the loop, as they say,” Giles put in, “but I wasn’t aware that this had become a major issue.”
“It is,” Mia replied. Faith shot her a look, but she pressed on. “You guys don’t spend the time in the dorms like I do. I wouldn’t say it’s the majority of the girls, because it’s not, but…there are a few.”
“I’m not a fan of this rankings idea,” Xander said. “This isn’t the military.”
“No, it’s just an organization fighting life or death battles every day,” Lori replied.
“You don’t need to get all snippy,” Xander told her.
“You’re the one who got snippy first! And anyway, this just makes official what’s already in place. Some slayers are more experienced and no longer require watchers. Others are less experienced and need more guidance. That’s all this is. It’s a good idea, and the only reason you don’t like it is that you don’t like Jason.”
“Lori…” Mr. Felix cautioned.
“You’re right, I don’t,” Xander said. “He nearly killed my best friends. He could have injured my…” he began to motion to Rowena but stopped and finished by saying, “my best friend’s wife.”
“Look –” Lori began. She didn’t get far before Xander cut her off again.
“Just because you guys from Bureau Nine have been given the keys to the kingdom doesn’t mean I trust you, okay? And it sure as hell doesn’t mean you know better than we do.”
“Hear, hear,” Faith said, holding up a glass of water.
Willow sighed and turned to Rowena. She motioned to her ear and mouthed the words “ear plugs.” Rowena just smiled ruefully.
Buffy cleared her throat. “First, there’s no keys here, no kingdoms. Got it? And second, Rowena presented the idea for this merger to me and I thought it was a good one. The majority agreed. We’re all on the same side and I would appreciate it if we could keep from strangling each other. Or throwing things. No more calling of names would be cool, too.”
Xander and Lori each sat back in their seats begrudgingly.
“And Felix here is right, he’s only doing what we’ve asked him to – evaluate and propose,” Buffy continued. “Obviously, there are some here with objections, and we should hear them out, but there are some good ideas, too, that I think deserve consideration. In fact, there’s only one thing here that really concerns me, and that’s Giles.” She turned to look at him to see a surprised expression on his face. “You sure you want to come back part-time…” She let the sentence linger as she motioned her hands around the room, before adding, “to all this?”
“Mr. Felix has told me that he believes I still have something positive to offer during the transition period,” Giles said, “and I tend to agree. While it does take away time from home, I do look forward to seeing you each day,” he told Buffy. She grinned as he then hurriedly looked around the room, saying, “seeing all of you I should say.”
“My apologies for detracting from your family obligations,” said Felix, “But this organization, our organization, cannot help but convulse as it brings in more new personnel than ever before. You are a point of stability during change. And, frankly, we could certainly use all of the hands, and minds we can get.”
“It’s quite alright,” Giles assured him.
“Aw, Giles missed us,” Kennedy said with a grin.
“How much begging did it take for Becca to give you permission?” Rowena asked.
“I’ll have you know I did no such thing, young lady,” Giles said, suddenly cleaning his glasses.
“Young lady?” Willow smiled. “He sounds like such an old fogie.”
Giles looked at her. “You do realize I can hear you?” He grinned slightly and muttered, “Miss Mother-To-Be Herself. You’re on the way to fogie-dom as we speak.”
Willow forced a grin and looked away.
Xander chuckled, “Listen to Giles. All with the hip Buffy-isms.”
“Buffy-isms?” Faith asked. “You call screwing up words or inventing new ones Buffy-isms?”
Buffy was grinning and shaking her head as she looked back down at her agenda.
“Okay, back to business guys…Felix, we’ll give everyone time to read your recommendations, then we’ll have a full and civil debate.” She glanced over at Faith, who was doing her best to look innocent. Buffy rolled her eyes and turned back to Felix. “You can sit down now.”
Mr. Felix nodded and took a seat in an empty chair next to Lori. He leaned over to whisper in her ear. “Just a little less vehement, perhaps?”
“Did you hear what he said?” she whispered back.
“Their feelings are understandable,” Felix said, “given the situation. Remember, we need to work with these people.”
“Next on the agenda,” Buffy was saying, “is our newest Coven member…I understand Jeff put in the petition, but Willow had some concerns?”
“And me!” Faith added, raising her hand.
“Again, I gotta say I’m with Faith on this one,” said Xander.
Buffy and Willow both sighed in unison.
Watchers Council – Outside Conference Room – Minutes Later
The doors to the conference room burst open to reveal Xander and Lori, the latter leaning heavily on a cane. She walked with a limp. Frowning, Xander walked at the same pace beside her.
“We are not invaders,” Lori said. “The Council invited us in, and frankly for some damn good reasons. We deserve some trust. More, we deserve respect!”
Xander snorted. “You guys sent spies after us. You stole from us. You kidnapped people. And that was before you tried to play God.”
The other attendees of the meeting were starting to filter out of the doorway, most giving the arguing pair a wide berth. Faith and Kennedy stayed in the doorway, watching the show.
“I was crippled fighting to save this Council,” Lori responded angrily. She lifted her cane. “See this? You, Xander Harris got your eye back. The doctors say that if I keep up the physical therapy, if I work even harder than I had to keeping up with slayers who hadn’t lost their powers, then the damage won’t get much worse. Don’t you dare start talking about how we treated you, when some of us died saving your asses! Don’t you dare!”
“Look, I’m sorry about what happened to you,” Xander said, his voice lower, “I really am, but it doesn’t buy back –”
Lori interrupted, “I have work to do.” She turned her back to Xander and he watched as she hobbled down the hallway.
Kennedy shook her head. “We’re going to have to watch those two, make sure they don’t kill each other.” Faith nodded.
Robin passed between the pair, not saying a word.
“Hey Ace, wait up,” Faith called out.
“If you’ve got something to say, see me after my class,” he told her as he walked around her, not looking back.
“Somebody’s in trouble,” Kennedy half-teased.
“I feel like I’m in high school all over again. What did I do?” Faith asked.
“You mean besides essentially telling him to shut up in a room full of people and alienating the new Council members in the process? Nothing, as far as I can tell,” Kennedy said. “I will say, the duct tape comment was classic. That was worth the groveling you’ll be doing.”
Faith sighed. “I’m going to pay for this one, ain’t I?”
Kennedy looked at her silently for a beat or two. “Yeaaaah…yeah, you are.”
Faith just groaned.
Buffy and Jason Felix were already well down the hall, but she gestured over her shoulder. “Sorry about that. This has been tougher on everybody than I expected.”
“Do you regret it? Offering to take us all on?” he asked her.
Buffy looked up at him, a little startled at the directness of the question. Then she shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. Looks like I’m stuck with you guys now.”
Felix smiled. “And vice versa.”
They continued walking, and now Buffy lowered her voice. “I can tell you I’m not exactly looking forward to this Oversight meeting this afternoon, though,” she said. “The whole thing is a little too secret agent-y for my tastes.”
“Odds are they’ll either try to charm or intimidate you at first,” Felix told her. “Since they’ve no strong policy or agenda towards the Council, my guess is they’ll choose to try charm. However, if you feel you need some back-up, I might be able to…”
“No,” Buffy said. “Thanks, but no. It should be division heads only, I think.”
“You are, as they say, the boss,” Felix said.
Buffy grinned. “And don’t you forget it!”
Office – Day
Willow sat in a chair, her head hung low and her eyes looking at her fingernails.
“Have you spoken to anyone lately, Willow?” a voice asked.
“Rowena…I’ve told her about…stuff.” She didn’t add more.
“Does she know all of the stuff?”
“Yeah, but I try not to dwell on it. But if I’m thinking about what happened that day, she usually knows,” Willow replied, her head finally rising. “And it’s nice. Not the memories of the torture,” she said with a nervous smile. “I-I mean…having somebody who recognizes that without having to say it a-and her acknowledging it. It’s helped a lot. She’s helped me a lot. Of course, lately…”
When Willow didn’t continue, Dr. Millenti moved forward in his chair. “What?”
Willow shrugged. “She’s been a little preoccupied with the pregnancy. She’s…she’s really happy, and I’m happy ’cause I know it’s something she’s wanted for a long time…”
When Willow didn’t finish her sentence, Dr. Millenti said, “I hear a ‘but’ in there someplace.”
“No, not ‘but’s’,” she replied. “Just…a lot of wondering, you know?”
Dr. Millenti shook his head. “Maybe you could explain it to me?”
“Well,” Willow suddenly got a bashful grin on her face. “Xander and I saw one of those previews for the Girls Gone Wild DVDs the other night.” She paused for a short moment. “Well, it wasn’t a commercial actually, but one of his copies.” Another pause. “Okay the truth is, it’s mine but he’s the one who bought it for me,” she said quickly.
“Anyway,” she added with a sigh. “I was watching these college girls, and suddenly it hit me. I’m not a college girl anymore. I’m somebody’s wife and I’m gonna be a mommy – to two somebodies, at the same time, no less. One kid I thought I could handle, but twins? And-and when I realized that…it’s like I had the wind knocked out of me…It isn’t like this is new news, it’s just…” Willow looked back down at her hands. “I keep asking myself, when did I get old?”
Dr. Millenti grinned. “You’re hardly old, Willow.”
“I’m hardly young, either,” she countered, looking up again. “I’m not Girls Gone Wild material anymore, y’know? I’m Girls Gone Married with Children. In fact, Giles said something today about it. I know he’d never try to intentionally hurt me but…I think I’m just getting too touchy about the age thing. I mean, am I? Do you think? I mean, am I getting old or do I just think I’m getting old?” After the babble, the room fell quiet.
“What you see as getting old, I would call maturing,” Dr. Millenti replied. “You’ve always been a responsible young lady, fighting the forces of darkness since you were sixteen. This is just another stage in your life.”
“I haven’t always won against the forces,” Willow muttered. “And I’m not talking about the things that go bump in the night. I’m talking about in here,” she said, tapping her chest. She looked down again. “There are times I’m still so afraid to use my magic, that I might…slip, ya know? That something could push me back over that edge. Only this time, if I do…it’s not just my life…”
“It’s Rowena and two innocent children?” he offered when Willow trailed off.
She looked up again and nodded silently. After a few moments, she added, “It’s a lot of pressure, a boat load – no, an armada full of pressure. Plus…sometimes it feels like it’s their kids she’s having, not ours.”
“Why? Have either of them made a comment?” Dr. Millenti asked.
“No, Xander’s been great and Rowena always says ‘our babies,’ meaning the two of us, but…”
Dr. Millenti grinned again. “I knew there was a ‘but’ in there someplace.”
Willow grinned at first, but then it slowly slipped away and she shook her head.
“I’m not sure if I’m up for all this.”
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Day
“You nervous?” Jeff asked.
“Not really, which is…weird,” Hope replied. “Shouldn’t I be?”
“Definitely not,” Jeff cupped her chin with his hand. She smiled. Their lips brushed each other’s for a few moments. A chorus of “Woos,” like on a sitcom laugh track, made them part. Andrew, Skye and Dawn stood at the door, all of them grinning.
“Jeff and Faith’s sister, sitting in a tree,” Skye sang, “K-I-S-S-I –”
“Shut up,” Jeff told her without heat, as he and Hope took their places in a circle.
“And I have a name,” Hope told her.
“Right, Hope, sorry,” Skye said, then wrinkled her brow in surprise at herself.
Willow rushed into the Coven Room. “I’m not late!” she blurted.
Dawn smiled. “No one said you were.”
“I was about to,” Skye chirped, quickly getting back into character.
“The rest of us were going to pretend not to notice,” said Andrew.
Willow looked around. “Where’s Jocelyn?”
“She’s probably off with her boyfriend Trevor,” Andrew said, infusing the last word with all the Valley Girl sass that he could manage…which was a surprising amount.
Willow looked confused. “Who?”
“Works in politics, total eye candy, completely head over heels for her,” Dawn supplied.
Jeff sighed. “That girl is such a flake sometimes.”
Skye lifted an eyebrow. “Excuse me?” Her gaze fixed on Jeff’s and Hope’s hands, firmly holding each other.
“But I’m here, aren’t I?”
“Yeah. Okay, I’ll give you that one.” Skye nodded, then reached out to hold Dawn’s hand.
Willow shook her head. “Jocelyn’s really settled down lately.”
“A lot less spontaneous melting, too,” Dawn agreed.
“She should be here,” Willow continued, “especially since this is Hope’s first day.” She frowned. “Well, guess we should get going without her. Hope, I know Jeff’s taught you some basics, right?”
“Yeah, and I picked up a few pointers from some people over at Bureau Nine.”
The room fell silent for a moment. “Okay,” said Willow, “Andrew, why don’t you start bringing Hope up to speed?”
Andrew clapped his hands once and leaned forward. “Okay, we already have the sacred circle here, so the first thing we do is a supplication to the God and Goddess to grant us…”
“I’m not…” Hope hesitated, “I’m not sure I’m up for that part of it.”
“It’s a piece of cake,” Willow told her. “We don’t start out with the really hard –”
“No, I mean, the God and the Goddess,” Hope said. “Wicca. The religion, I mean. I can see it works for you and that’s great, but…I’m Roman Catholic. I was raised that way and frankly it was one of the only parts of my childhood I didn’t hate with a passion.”
“Well, there’s nothing saying you can’t be both,” Dawn offered. “Right?”
“Actually, there is,” Hope said.
“Guess you’re not Catholic, huh?”
Willow blinked a few times. “Hope, I have to ask…why did you want to join the Coven?”
“Because I want to help,” Hope said. “Because I’ve got a little talent in that direction, maybe not enough to save the world all by my lonesome, but enough to be useful. And you can’t tell me that Catholicism and magic don’t mix. Holy water, exorcisms…Jeff even told me about an Order of Catholic Monks that used to practice white magic. I can do this. But I don’t see why I should have to change my religion.”
Willow licked her lips.
Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Midday
“So how are things going?” Rowena asked Grace. She stood with her back to her at the kitchen counter, buttering two slices of bread.
Grace sat slumped forward on the breakfast bar, case files, books and notepads scattered around her. She held her fingers up to her temples and slowly rubbed them in a circular motion. She grunted her reply.
“That good, huh?” Rowena quipped.
“I’m a watcher, not a lawyer,” Grace replied tiredly. She sighed and sat up, stretching her neck from one side to the other. “But I gotta try my best, right?”
“That’s all anyone can ever do,” Rowena said.
“Then why do I feel that my best isn’t gonna be enough?” Grace tapped her pencil against the manila-bound file.
“Because she’s your mom and you’re worried about failing her in the upcoming hearing…I know, it’s scary,” Rowena pointed toward the refrigerator with the butter knife. “Hey, can you grab me some lettuce?”
“Sure,” the young watcher swung her legs around from the stall to the floor and made her way over to the large gunmetal fridge. “Thing is, she’s my mom and, yeah, we’ve had our…differences.” Grace opened the door and pulled out a head of lettuce. “But one thing’s for sure. There’s nothing quite like an apocalypse to get people to talk about their feelings and stuff. We got a lot of stuff out in the open, and it’s helped. Dare I say, I’ve grown.” She walked up beside Rowena and placed the lettuce on the counter.
“Umm…yes. Can you get me the cheese?” Rowena asked. She began to open the film packaging that bound the lettuce.
Grace headed back to the refrigerator. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m still raw about what she and Bureau Nine did.” She leaned inside, searching for the cheese. “I mean that’s not something you forgive and forget overnight.”
“Sorry, while you’re there can you also grab me the salami, the pickles and the hot sauce.”
Grace pulled out a slab of cheese, placed it on the counter next to the refrigerator and opened the door again. “Sure, she contributed to magic going bye-bye last May, but hello, Felix! He was the Big-Misguided-Bad, or ‘Good.’ Hell, I don’t know what you’d call him, but he was the one who orchestrated the whole damn thing, and it’s like la-la-la all sins forgiven, come join us.” Grace returned with the ingredients in her hands and arms. She placed them down on the counter next to Rowena and rested her hands on her hips.
“It wasn’t exactly like that,” Rowena said, as she started to compile her sandwich. She plated her sandwich and the pair headed for the breakfast bar. “As you walk into that hearing calm and collected, with your head held high and your case prepared, whatever the outcome may be, realize you’ve done the best you can. I know I’ll be proud.”
Grace looked up at Rowena, touched. She smiled. “Thanks Ro.”
Rowena smiled back and then picked up her sandwich and took a huge bite out of it.
Grace’s eyes bulged at the sight of the eclectic sandwich. “I can’t believe you’re eating that,” she said, putting a hand up to her mouth and shuddering.
“Wanna bite? I’ll share,” Rowena teased, holding it towards Grace. The younger watcher simply shook her head with disgust. “What?”
“That’s gross,” Grace said, turning away.
Rowena shrugged her shoulders and grinned before taking another bite.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Afternoon
A prim, beautiful, dark-haired woman in a business suit leaned over the rebuilt reception desk of the Watchers Council.
“Can I help you?” asked the receptionist, who wore a thin headset over her ear.
“The name is Sanger,” the woman said. She pulled out an ID badge of unidentifiable origin from her small, high-fashion purse and flashed it quickly before snapping its leather case shut. “I have an appointment with the Chairwoman.”
“I take it you’re the rep from the Oversight Committee?” Sanger glanced up to see Faith, dressed in surprisingly business-like attire, walking towards her. “You have the look.”
“And what look would that be?” Sanger asked. There was a wry smile on her lips as she shook Faith’s hand.
“Y’know,” Faith said, “that I’m-supposed-to-be-nice-but-I’m-really-here-to-make-judgements-and-find-out-all-your-darkest-secrets look. I’ve seen that way too many times in my life.”
Sanger released Faith’s hand, but her expression didn’t change. “No judgments. No secrets. Well, there’ll probably eventually be some judgments. And there’re a few secrets. But not until later. Right now I’m just here to help our two organizations…get to know each other.”
“So…if you told me you’d have to, what, kill me?” Faith asked.
“Well, not me personally,” Sanger replied.
“I’m a tough woman to kill,” Faith answered with a confident grin.
The stranger grinned back at her. “My name’s Sanger, by the way.”
“And mine’s Faith Lehane,” Faith replied.
Sanger cocked an eyebrow. “I know.”
“I figured.” Faith turned towards the elevator. “Now, if you’d follow me, I’ll show ya to the boss lady.”
Bedroom – Day
The sunlight streaming through the window contrasted sharply with the terror on Trevor’s face. He was on a bed, his head resting on a frilly pink pillow.
“I’ll try harder, I swear.” He was at the end of his rope, panicking. His hands and feet were tied to the bedposts. Actually, it was more like the wood had grown around his hands and feet. “I’ll do anything you want.”
“Of course you will,” said a female voice. “I want jewelry, you buy me jewelry. I want dinner, you buy me dinner. But why, Trevor? Do you really love me for me, or do you just want some of this?”
Jocelyn O’Hara stepped out of the shadows of her bedroom. Her hair had changed from blonde to a deep black. Her eyes were completely black, as well, and purple veins stood out all over her face. Around her neck, she wore the stone from the magic shop.
“Jocelyn,” Trevor wailed, “I love you. You don’t have to do this.”
“You love this face!” Jocelyn shouted. She pointed at her veiny visage. “This face. But this isn’t who I am. Let me ask you a question, Trevor. What’s my favorite color?”
Trevor paused, thinking. “Pink?”
“Wrong,” Jocelyn replied. “It’s green. I just buy all this stuff because it fits my image. Pretty little Jocelyn, the Council airhead. I’ll show them. But you…”
She hesitated, taking a step forward. The sunlight revealed a single tear falling from her eye. She turned her head and whispered. “I’m doing it, I’m doing it. Please.”
“What did you say?” Trevor asked.
Jocelyn turned on him, wiping the tears from her face. “Shut up! I don’t need you. I’m a goddess all on my own.”
“Please, I’ll do anything…”
“Anything, huh?” Jocelyn asked. “Well, right now, Trevor, I need you to suffer. I…” Another hesitation. Jocelyn bit her lip for a moment. Then, she brought her face inches from his, expressionless, and spoke quietly. “I need you to die.”
Slowly, Jocelyn stood up straight. She walked over to her window, peering between the blinds at her antiseptic suburban neighborhood.
“Quadrimentum,” she ordered, without turning around.
The bedposts slowly began to stretch in all four directions, taking Trevor’s appendages with them. It took him a moment to realize what was happening. Then his eyes went wide as dinner plates. “No, please, no, baby, please…”
Jocelyn still didn’t turn around. Her face was a mask as first screams and then a horrible tearing noise could be heard from behind her.
“One down,” she whispered.
End of Act One