Graphic: “CNN Special Report”
Announcer (V.O.): “And now we return to an exclusive CNN Special Report… Robert Devlin‘s Inside the Watchers Council.”
Abandoned Church – Interior
Denise is on the floor, motionless and bleeding profusely. The camera shakes wildly, which only adds to the limited visibility caused by the thickening smoke. Inhuman sounds and the occasional clash of metal can be heard clearly. The camera spins just in time to catch a demon with sharp teeth and loose, floppy skin, possibly a distant relative of Clem’s, running directly toward it with a feral growl.
The demon is pulled away at the last second by Chamique. She falls on top of her opponent and takes the opportunity to run a sword through its chest. She, the sword, the demon and the surrounding area are splattered with a fountain of purple goo.
The camera whips around, and things become visually incoherent for a moment. When the view gets steadier, it is of the altar. Kennedy spins into view, fighting a gigantic bald vampire with a massive scar over one eye. The vampire’s punch catches Kennedy hard over the eye, but she is relatively unfazed. She attempts a side-kick, but the vampire catches her leg. Kennedy spins to free herself, and both she and the vampire are thrown off balance and fall to the floor.
The vampire is on its feet first and rushes her, but as it dives on her, Kennedy uses her legs and sends the vampire flying past her. She flips easily to her feet, pulls out a stake and plunges it into the vampire’s heart as it lies on the ground. It dusts on camera.
Kennedy turns and yells into the smoke. “This is Kennedy,” she shouts, before being interrupted by a coughing fit. “We’re gonna get out of here. Just follow my voice!”
She runs for the aisle between the church pews, and the camera hurriedly follows. “Follow my voice,” she yells again. She comes to halt when she almost trips over Denise.
“Oh, girl…” Kennedy can barely be heard to sigh. She kneels next to Denise and looks up at the camera. “You. Help me.”
“Do…do you…” an unseen voice stutters.
“Look, I know this is killer footage or whatever. But she’s going to die if we don’t get her out of here ASAP. She’ll probably die anyway. So use that camera light as a spotlight so I can carry her out of here.”
After a moment’s hesitation, the image swirls.
Fade to Black
Devlin (V.O.): “The strike team would make it out of what had once been First Ascension Reformed Church with no further casualties. This would be the Council‘s first encounter with a group that would soon come to be identified as the Voice of Hell.”
Watchers Council – Dr. Miller’s Office
“I am Dr. Albert Miller. Albert to my wife, Dr. Miller to everyone here at the Council. I run the infirmary here at headquarters.”
Dr. Miller is sitting behind his desk, various charts hanging in the background.
Devlin sits across the desk from him. “I’ve heard that referring to the department you run as merely an infirmary might be slightly misleading.”
Dr. Miller allows himself a modest chuckle. “Well, I suppose you could say that. We’re certainly pioneering treatments here. We’re always doing research as well, studies of slayer hormone levels, things like that.”
“What’s one method of treatment that you invented here that’s now starting to gain wider acceptance?” Devlin asks.
“There’s a…cocktail, I guess you would say, with magical properties that, when administered to a habitual magic user, we’ve found enhances their healing abilities close to those of a slayer. We are looking into whether that could have wider applications.”
“You seem like a fairly laid-back guy,” Devlin comments. “Would you say this is a high-stress job?”
Dr. Miller hesitates. “It can be. It certainly can be.”
Smash Cut To:
Watchers Council – Infirmary
The doors burst open as two nurses wheel Denise into the infirmary on a gurney. One attempts to keep pressure on the wound on the slayer’s neck. Denise appears unconscious, though her eyes are moving beneath mostly-closed lids. They are accompanied by Kennedy and Marie.
Dr. Miller finishes snapping on a pair of disposable gloves and turns to examine Denise’s wound. “Vampire?”
“We don’t know,” Marie answers. “We…couldn’t see.”
“Okay,” Dr. Miller tells the nurses. “We’re gonna move her. One, two, three.” On three, the doctor and two nurses lift in unison and move Denise onto an examination table.
“She’s lost a lot of blood,” one of the nurses comments.
“She’s in hypovolemic shock,” Dr. Miller says, “prepare for venous cutdown.”
The other nurse is shooing Kennedy and Marie out of the infirmary. “We just need some space to work.”
“Is she going to be okay?” Kennedy asks.
“We won’t know more until the doctor’s treated the wound,” the nurse replies.
“I’m going to need a transfusion,” Dr. Miller calls out. He looks down at the wound again for a split-second. “Maybe several transfusions.”
“Please,” the nurse tells Kennedy and Marie, “let us work.”
Kennedy stands in the hallway outside the infirmary.
“It’s tough when someone gets hurt like this. There’s nothing you can do at this point, it’s all up to the medical people. So what you do is think about all the things you could have done before that would have prevented what happened. You think about all the stupid things you’ve done and said. That’s what it’s like.”
“Would you say you have a lot of friends here at the Council?” Devlin asks Dr. Miller in the latter’s office.
There is a moment of silence as Dr. Miller thinks over his answer.
“No, no, I try not to…get too close. It can be difficult to stay uninvolved, but I’ve found that if someone works here, the chances that I’m going to treat that person in a life or death situation are pretty high. And you can’t let emotion enter into it more than it usually would.”
“Thank the Goddess we have the medical staff that we do,” Willow says. “I think we’ve all been unconscious in there at one time or another. Dr. Miller is really our unsung hero.”
Watchers Council – Infirmary
Kennedy and Marie have left, and the doctor and a nurse continue to work on Denise. The camera can’t quite find the right angle to show what they’re doing.
“Heartbeat is weak,” the nurse reports.
“Where’s that transfusion?” the doctor calls. There is no answer.
“Breathing is irregular,” the nurse announces.
“We’re about to lose her,” Dr. Miller realizes. He takes a deep breath and turns towards the camera. “Okay, you need to get that thing out of here.”
Denise lies in an infirmary bed, awake and alert. She wears a large bandage that covers half her neck.
Her voice is raspy, but clear. “I just want to thank Dr. Miller and the nurses…they saved my life.” She is silent for a long moment. “So…there that is. And I’ve got it all on tape to show my grandkids.”
“What did you do to save Denise?” Devlin asks Dr. Miller. “Last we saw, things looked pretty grim.”
“Honestly?” Dr. Miller takes off his glasses. “I don’t remember. Things happen quickly, and you make snap decisions.
“That doesn’t seem like a very reliable system.”
“Well, all I know is, my job is to save lives,” Dr. Miller replies. “And if I don’t do that, I don’t have anything.”
Devlin sits back in his chair. “You’re obviously very driven, focused on your work…does that take a toll on the rest of your life?”
“Oh, of course it does,” Dr. Miller replies. “Of course it does. My wife hardly knows what I look like some weeks…she’s done such a great job with our son, I don’t know where to begin. But they understand that this is what I need to do. And I understand that it’s just as hard on them as it is on me.”
“What did you think when you learned exactly what you were going to be doing on this job?”
Dr. Miller chuckles. “You know what? My job is here. This infirmary is my domain, if you want to call it that. The rest…I let the brass take care of that. We’re all happier this way.”
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym
A long shot shows Mia on her back, bench-pressing a hefty amount of weight.
Jeff walks towards her. “You really should use a spotter.”
Mia sets the weight down on its supports. “Did you need something?”
“I wanted to talk to you about what happened with Lorinda in class.”
Mia sits up, and the camera zooms in on her. “I’m not sure what to say. She was disrespectful, and I lost it. There’s going to be a meeting about it, they’ll probably –”
“That’s not what I’m concerned about,” Jeff interrupts. “I wanted to remind you…if you have a problem with my slayer, you take it up with me.”
Mia gets to her feet, doing her best to look intimidating. “Look, I don’t know what she told you…”
Jeff doesn’t back down. “She told me you went after her in front of her class, and then you lost it and started throwing things. I understand Lorinda can be a handful, but I am her watcher. If she has a behavior problem, you come to me and we’ll talk it out…in private.” The two of them are staring at each other now, and Jeff pronounces each word carefully. “Is that clear?”
After a moment, Mia looks away, licking her lips. “Yeah, I gotcha.”
Devlin (V.O.): “The close relationship between a slayer and her watcher is unique and difficult to fully understand. We spoke to the former watcher of Buffy Summers herself, Rupert Giles, to try and shed some more light on the subject.”
Giles sits in an antique leather chair in what looks like his study, with Devlin seated in a similar chair across from him.
“A watcher guides his or her slayer, trains her, gives her the information and tools she needs to be successful.”
“That seems awfully cut and dried,” Devlin comments.
“That’s because you asked for a simple explanation,” Giles replies, with a hint of a smile. “It’s true that, in my experience, a watcher is often much more than what you would read in a press release or a textbook. Watchers are…friends, parents, confidants…when you’re assigned a slayer, she has to become like a member of your family.”
“Does it ever strike you as a strange way of doing things?”
“When every slayer was a prepubescent girl and every watcher an elderly male…perhaps,” Giles chuckles. “But things were done that way for centuries.”
“Why do you think the system has endured for so long?” Devlin asks.
Giles thinks about this. “It is my belief that, in a situation such as the one a slayer faces, a support system is incredibly vital. A good watcher can provide that support under the most dire of circumstances.”
“Here’s a question I’ve had a tough time getting an answer to,” Devlin prefaces his next query. “Who’s the boss…watcher or slayer?”
Giles takes off his glasses and begins to wipe them off with a handkerchief.
“Oh, slayers,” Faith says. “‘Cause we can beat the crap out of things. And if they tell you to do something, you just go ‘screw that’.”
“Knowledge is power is our whole slogan,” Rowena comments. “So I think you can logically infer…I probably shouldn’t finish that sentence.”
“Watchers, apparently.” Kennedy does not look happy. “That’s been my experience.”
“Please tell me you didn’t ask Faith that question,” Buffy sighs.
“There’s no boss,” little Cindy says. “It’s an equal partnership. That’s what my watcher, Mr. Portis, says. He’s really great.”
Watchers Council – Faith and Robin’s Apartment
Devlin (V.O.): “It‘s not all work at the Watchers Council. Each member has his or her own hobbies to unwind from a busy day.”
Devlin points to a canvas and asks, “What do you call this one?”
“I really don’t give them names,” Faith replies. The camera shows Faith sitting on a stool with a painting in front of her. It’s a landscape with the moon coming over the water.
“What was the inspiration for this one?” Devlin asks.
Faith seems reluctant to answer. “After I died, and came back, I had a lot of questions I never got answers to. I still don’t, and for the first few months, I found myself going back to where it happened. Where I died, I mean. So I’ve seen this view,” she says gesturing to the painting, “like a million times, it seems like. So I thought I’d put it on canvas.”
“It’s very good,” Devlin replies. “But this one over here,” he says, pointing to a completely black canvas. “Not sure about this one.”
Faith chuckles. “When you do acrylic, you start with a base color. When you start putting in your other colors, that ‘back’ color ‘bleeds’ through to the front, giving it an underlying ‘feeling.’ My son – he’s a great artist, by the way – he told me about that when I decided to start painting. So a sunny shot, for example, would have a yellow base coat.”
“You mentioned your son told you. Does that mean you didn’t always paint?” Devlin asks.
“Heck, no,” Faith chuckles. “I did sketches, still do actually, with charcoal, but this is whole new territory for me. But I’m getting some pretty good cash on eBay for ’em.”
“So you’ve got a hobby and a part-time job?” Devlin asks with a grin.
“Hobby, yeah, it takes off the edge, but I don’t keep the money. Well, I do keep some to buy another canvas for the next painting and for shipping, but the money I actually earn goes to various charities each month.”
“Like who?” Devlin asks.
“I don’t give to big names because, well, it always seems like one scandal after another at some of ’em. Some slob takes off with millions of dollars meant to help other people, so I try to avoid ’em.” Faith turns to the camera. “No offense to anyone at those places. I just don’t have time to research every organization’s histories and goings-on.”
“So where does the money go that you earn?”
“Usually smaller, local places, like here in Cleveland or to particular cities where some of the slayers are from. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, places like that. Somewhere that I can actually walk into and say, ‘Yeah, these people are doing some good.’ Interesting side note, by the way: most people don’t realize we lose a lot of homeless people on the streets to vamps. They’re easy targets, y’know? And they unwittingly keep vamp populations high. So anything that helps overall, and keeps ’em off the streets each night, is a good thing – for them, since they’ve got a place to sleep, and for the population at large, so the vamps can’t feed as easily. So that’s where I send the profits. And as for the painting itself, it’s a great way to relax at the end of a long night.”
Faith motions for Devlin to follow her and they walk over to a third easel with a small canvas. She hands him a paintbrush and motions to the bottles of paint nearby. “Give it a go,” she tells him.
“Me?” Devlin asks, surprised. “Oh, I’m not a painter.”
“Neither am I,” Faith replies. “But you don’t have to be an expert at something to have fun. Give it a try.”
Devlin begins to get his supplies in order and starts to paint, as Faith looks on, coaching him.
Devlin (V.O): “While my creation didn‘t turn out as well as Faith’s, she did show me that a slayer’s life isn’t always about killing and destroying. Sometimes, it’s about creating beautiful works of art and putting smiles on people’s faces. Sometimes even your own.”
The camera shows a seascape that Devlin’s made, and a tiny, mangled looking boat on the horizon. Faith and Devlin both laugh as he points to the canvas.
“I goofed,” he says, pointing with his brush.
“Easy fix,” Faith tells him, as she takes the brush and lightly goes over the area with another color. “See? Good as new. Now you can try again.”
“Maybe I’ll just avoid putting in a sailboat this time.” Devlin laughs, and Faith joins him.
Watchers Council – Shannon’s Dorm Room
“What do I do?” Shannon asks. Then she shrugs. “Well, a lot of my time is spent as the team leader, but I do like to write stories. I know I’ll never be anything but a slayer. I mean, that’s okay and all, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a different kind of future. Plus, when I reach thirty, I’m no longer on active duty, so I could start a career then, well, maybe. But usually when I wonder, I just make up stories.”
“What kind of stories?” Devlin asks from off camera.
“Lots of things,” she says with a bashful grin. “You name it and I probably wrote about it.”
“Short order cook.”
“Told you I’ve written about everything.” Shannon smiles.
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym
Kadin is holding a punching bag while Kennedy works a combination of kicks and punches.
“She likes to stay fit,” Kadin tells the camera. “It shows,” she adds slyly.
Kennedy hits the bag with each word. “Stop…breaking…my…con…cen…tration.”
“She’s also very sexy when she’s annoyed.” Kennedy drops her arms to her side and stares at Kadin. “Well, it’s true.”
Kadin stands on her own in the middle of the Slayer Gym.
Devlin (V.O): “However, not everyone at the Council is an official member.”
“How did you meet Kennedy?” Devlin asks.
“I really don’t think that’s anyone’s concern,” Kadin replies. “Let’s just say I was working a job and we crossed paths.”
“Fair enough. Now your name is Van Helsing, like…”
“Yes, Dracula’s Van Helsing, yes,” she says, sounding bored. “Ever since the Council’s gone public, you have no idea how many people have mentioned that.”
“What’s it like to be part of a family legacy of monster fighters?”
Kadin looks away from the camera for a moment, then looks back. “Again, let’s just say it’s had its ups and downs, and we’ll leave it at that.”
“If you don’t mind me saying, you and Kennedy are quite a bit alike. Neither of you seems to enjoy answering questions.”
Kadin says nothing and simply looks at Devlin. Finally, she says, “I didn’t hear a question in there.”
Nervously, he adds, “Would you say that’s correct?”
Again, Kadin says nothing at first, but then she clears her throat and just answers, “Sure.”
Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Apartment
Rowena stands in the kitchen over the stove, stirring something in a pot.
“Hot chocolate,” she mentions to the camera. “Willow’s taking the news about Jocelyn pretty hard, so we all do what we can to try to lift her spirits a little. And since she likes hot chocolate, I’m making some. It won’t change what’s happened. But sometimes the best you can do in this job is to take what little comfort you can. In this case, a little milk and cocoa.” Rowena stirs some more. “It’s really sad,” she continues. “When you lose someone, I mean. The Old Guard, that’s what we call the former Council that operated in secret, their attitude was that the slayer was just a tool. The Coven was a means to an end. Our attitude is about a hundred and eighty degrees from where it once was. Slayers and watchers have tight bonds. That’s due in part to Buffy and Giles working out scheduling assignments and helping train both parties in what worked for them. The same is true of the high priests and priestesses and their witches. So when you lose someone, no matter who, it’s rough.” Rowena tapped the wooden spoon on the side of the pot and repeats, “It’s rough.”
Rowena closes her eyes briefly and places a hand on her stomach, taking a deep breath. “The twins are fighting for dominance again, I think,” she says, before reaching for a mug from the cupboard.
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office
Giles’s arm is around Willow, who has the same cup Rowena pulled from the cupboard now in her hand. He says something to her, she gives him a melancholy smile and puts her head briefly on his shoulder. Xander appears to say something on the other side of Willow and she slaps his leg playfully. Buffy, seated on the other side of Xander, smiles at the three of them.
Devlin (V.O): “While the Council is comprised of many people, there are four who have known for the last decade that monsters are real. For all that time, they’ve been fighting them together.”
“Some days,” Willow begins, “it seems like everything that can go wrong, goes wrong.” The others nod in agreement. “We just can’t catch a break, and good people are lost. A-and don’t even get us started on all the apocalypses.”
“There’ve been more than two?” Devlin asks. The gang all look at each other and begin to chuckle and smile, all of them talking at once. “I’ll take that as a yes,” Devlin says over the commotion.
“I’ve actually lost count,” Buffy admits.
“Yeah, and we could list them all, but this show’s only an hour,” Xander adds. Buffy playfully bumps shoulders with him.
“Now you guys have a nickname, right?” Devlin asks. “The Scooby Gang, is it? How did that come about?”
“Yeah, because we were the group of meddling kids thwarting the powers of darkness,” Xander pauses and then looks over at Giles. “Except for him. He’s always been old.”
“Ha, ha,” Giles remarks.
“Oh, hey, Giles, do your speech? You’re one girl speech,” Buffy leans over and tells him.
“It really doesn’t make much sense now.”
“True, but he had this great speech,” Buffy says to the camera, “and the way he said it was really cool.” She turns back to Giles. “Go on and do it.”
Xander and Willow join in on the prodding, and Giles clears his throat before saying, “In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.”
The three of them all hoot and applaud, making Giles blush and shake his head.
“But it wasn’t just she alone, was it?” Devlin asks.
“Not at all,” Buffy answers. “Of course, there were times when only I could do certain things that needed to be done – slayer strength and all that. But I never would have gotten to those times without these guys. I needed them, and the truth is I still do, and so does the world.”
“Miss Summers,” a voice calls from out of camera shot. The camera pans over to see a blonde woman standing there, perhaps thirty years old. “I know you said no interruptions, but Rowena is on line one for Willow.”
“Wait…who’s that?” Willow’s brow furrows.
The woman waves. “Hi, I’m Joan. Miss Summers’ assistant, remember?”
“She’s real,” Xander exclaims. “She’s really really real.”
“This is kind of like when I found out Santa was real.” Willow grins.
“Wait, Santa’s –” Devlin begins.
“Your wife’s on the phone,” Joan reminds Willow.
Buffy rolls her eyes. “Thanks, Joan. She’ll take it here.”
“Sorry, guys,” Willow tells Devlin and the crew, before picking up the phone and pressing the line. “Hey Sweetie, what’s up?…I’m not sure, why?…Really! Right now? An hour ago and you’re just telling me now?…You’re right, you’re right. I’m on my way.” Willow hung up the phone. “Sorry guys, the interview is over.” Not waiting for a question from the confused faces she announces, “Rowena’s in labor.”
Watchers Council – Hallway
Announcer (V.O): “As the Council grieves for recent members lost, two more join the ranks.”
Rowena cries out and clutches her stomach.
“Oh Goddess,” Willow says in a panic, “you’re gonna end up having our kids right here in this hallway!”
Announcer (V.O): “Coming up next, we‘ll meet the newest and youngest additions to the Watchers Council.”
Fade to Black
End of Act Three