Graphic: “CNN Special Report”
Announcer (V.O.): “And now we return to the conclusion of an exclusive CNN Special Report… Robert Devlin‘s Inside the Watchers Council.”
Watchers Council – Hallway
The camera follows the quartet as they walk briskly down the hallway, with Willow in the lead. She turns her head back toward the camera.
“Interview’s over, guys,” she tells them.
Devlin’s voice comes in from off camera. “Maybe, but we’re going where the action is.”
Willow rolls her eyes and walks into her apartment, everyone else filing inside behind her. Rowena looks over to see everyone standing there, examining her.
“I see you brought the Cavalry…and the camera crew.”
“I couldn’t ditch them,” Willow says quickly. “The crew, not the cavalry. Where’s your coat? You’re not even ready yet?”
“My bag is packed right there by the door where you left it, but I can’t leave just yet. I’ve got to get these SR-214 forms to Grace, and –”
“You’re having a baby, two babies,” Willow insists. “This can wait. Grace can handle it on her own. So get your coat, and let’s go!”
“Remember to call me, guys,” Xander says. “I want to know how things are going.”
“We’ll call,” Willow answers him, before turning back to Rowena. “Now please…” she says, looking around for Rowena’s coat, “where’s your jacket?”
Rowena grins. “Over there on the coat rack, like usual,” she says, as she points. “Jeez, calm down Will.”
“I-I-I can’t be calm. You’ve been in labor for at least two hours, I bet! You say it’s only been one, but chances are it’s been at least two. I know how you are,” she says, waving a finger.
Rowena gives her a guilty grin. “Maybe two and a half…alright, three” Willow gives her a disapproving look. “Hey, I sit here or I sit at a hospital. I’d rather sit here. But the contractions are starting to come at about ten minutes apart, so now we can go.”
“Then let’s go,” Willow says, motioning to the door.
“After I talk to Grace.”
“She is as pig-headed as Will, isn’t she?” Buffy says to Xander.
“I don’t care, as long as they call me,” he adds.
“We’ll call,” Willow and Rowena both say at the same time.
“You rang?” A voice calls from the open door.
The camera swivels around to show Grace standing there.
“Yes,” Rowena says, as the camera moves back to her, “I need you to, arghh…” Rowena clutches her stomach and hunches her shoulders in pain, before starting to breathe in and out deeply. Willow and Xander both come to her side and grab an arm to steady her so she doesn’t fall.
“Is she in labor?” Grace asks.
“Yep,” Buffy replies.
“Where are the SR-214’s?” Willow asks Rowena. She motions to the desk and Willow turns back to Grace. “Tell her you’ll finish those so we can get the heck outta here, would you please?”
“I-I’ll finish them,” Grace says.
“Wonderful, can we go now?” Willow asks Rowena.
Rowena nods quickly. “Yeah,” she says, short of breath. “Yeah. Oh wait!” she exclaims, as if remembering something.
Willow sighs audibly. “Buffy get her coat, please,” Willow says.
“Grace, I don’t have Ken’s report in yet,” Rowena continues. “I need that in the next twenty-four hours. Dr. Miller says Denise is doing better, so make sure she’s got hers done, too.” Buffy emerges into camera view and helps Rowena with her coat as she keeps talking to Grace. “Oh, and be sure that DD-90 gets filed with the research department.”
Willow begins to pull Rowena toward the door. The cameraman takes a few steps back to give them clearance while being able to follow them.
Devlin (V.O.): “If nothing else, we have learned that the members of the Council are dedicated in all the tasks they‘re assigned, but they also have dependable counterparts they can trust.”
Watchers Council – Hallway
“I got it, Ro,” Grace says, as they all walk down the hallway. “Don’t worry. I’ll handle it all. Just concentrate on having those babies right now.”
Rowena continues to focus on her breathing as she walks down the hall. “That’s…wha…I’m…doin’.”
Willow looks at her watch. “It hasn’t been ten minutes! You’re having another contraction already?”
Rowena stops walking for a moment. “Just a little one,” she says through gritted teeth.
“Oh Goddess. You’re gonna end up having our kids right here in this hallway!”
“The suitcase!” Willow says, and starts to turn around. Giles hooks her by the arm, then holds it up and motions her back toward Rowena. “Oh, good!”
“Try deep breathing, Will,” Rowena says, with a ghost of a smile. “I think you need it more than me right now.”
Watchers Council – Lobby
“Come here,” Xander tells both Willow and Rowena. He opens his arms and pulls them both into a group hug. “Be sure to call the first chance you get. I mean it.”
“Again,” Willow says as she pulls away, “we will. But really, we’ve gotta go.”
Xander gives her a nod.
Watchers Council – Garage
The camera shows Willow helping Rowena into a car, while Xander takes the suitcase and puts it into the backseat.
“Now you promise you’ll call me, right?”
“Yes, Xander,” Willow tells him.
“Because I want to know she’s okay, and the babies too, of course. I just –”
“Xander…” Willow throws her hands up in the air. “Get in the car and come with us, alright?”
“Well,” he says bashfully. “I don’t want to intrude.”
“Get in the car now! I just spent a lifetime getting her in the car, so don’t you argue with me too!” she says firmly, poking his chest, before walking over to the driver’s side.
Xander shrugs and hops into the backseat, moving the suitcase to the side. Seconds later, the car is in motion. The camera then turns to Buffy and Giles, who are standing nearby.
“And there you have it – Labor Watchers’ Style.” Buffy shrugs.
It’s night now, and the streetlights aren’t exactly in mint condition. Some are blinking, a few are out completely. The sidewalk is laced with slush, and the gutters are lined with small piles of snow, smudged black by car exhaust.
Devlin (V.O.): “Night in Cleveland. Like many cities around the world, the residents have grown used to seeing packs of young women roaming the streets. And feeling safe.”
Siobhan leads a small, but well-bundled, group of slayers down the sidewalk. She speaks into her radio. “The main streets are looking clear. We’re gonna start digging deeper.” The reply is loud and staticy, but not entirely clear.
“Nightly patrol is our bread and butter,” Kennedy says, looking like she’s caught while hurrying from one command center to another. “That’s where we keep things in control. That’s where we gather our information. That’s how we make our living. That’s our grind.”
Siobhan speaks to the camera as she leads the group.
“Just by showing ourselves, we keep many of the bad ones off the streets. A vamp that stays in its nice and cozies when the sun goes down is a vamp that’s not biting a warm body.”
“She’s British,” one of the girls announces. “If you couldn’t tell.”
“What’s the biggest adjustment you’re having to make here in Cleveland?” A voice asks from behind the camera.
“Weather,” Siobhan says. “Just the bloody wind…” She shivers. There are giggles in the group behind her, but Siobhan shushes them. They’ve come to a pitch-black alley.
With a nod of Siobhan’s head, the girls file in, weapons ready. The camera follows them, switching to night vision.
There are several moments of tension and hard breathing. Slayer breath shows clearly in the cold. A rattling noise causes the camera to swing toward… a squirrel, bright green under night vision, skittering out of a dumpster.
“It’s clear,” Siobhan announces.
“Clear?” The voice behind the camera sounds disappointed.
“Yeah,” she tells him. “Not every alley has monsters in it. Be thankful.”
The camera shows Brell sitting down as someone puts a microphone on his shirt.
Devlin (V.O.): “Not all monsters are evil, either, according to the Council.”
“My name is Brell. I help the Council when I can, and over the years, Mr. Giles has helped me with my English. My speech was very choppy before the Council arrived in Cleveland, but I’ve gotten better over the years.”
“Does Mr. Giles provide lessons?” Devlin asks.
“When he first retired, he did, and that helped very much. Now that I have a better understanding, I study on my own and ask him questions as needed. Plus, once a month, my wife Greet and I get our families together, so that gives me the chance to ask questions, too. Our two children, Kher and Shaznay, are older, but our son Belizet was born the same year as Elizabeth, so they often play together. In fact, Shaznay sometimes baby-sits for the Giles, or Belizet will simply sleep over at their home.”
“So there’s a great deal of trust between your families, then?” Devlin asks.
“Oh, yes. It was very difficult for us when the truth first came out. People see the color of your skin, and they make assumptions about you that just aren’t true. For many weeks, the slayers would stop by to check on us, do grocery shopping since I couldn’t go out, you know…small things that I took for granted. But things have gotten better.”
“I’ve found steady work. I can go out in public…The Council did a very good job of letting people know who they can trust and who not to trust. Of course, there are bad ones within good demon species, but that can be said of the human race also, right?” Brell asks with a smile.
“Yes, that’s certainly true. There are good people and bad people,” Devlin agrees.
“In any case, I really credit the Council for having good people in place who spread the true word.”
Jim Pollan sits behind a desk talking on the phone.
Devlin (V.O.): “And Public Relations is certainly something the Council can‘t do without in today’s world.”
“I admit I get offended when people call me a spin doctor,” Jim says. “I don’t make a habit of making up stories about the news that goes on at the Watchers Council. I simply inform the press on matters of interest to the public, while at the same time maintaining a level of confidentiality to protect the welfare of our staff.”
“So is the Council in the habit of keeping secrets?” Devlin asks.
“Years ago, yes. They believed it was best if the world didn’t know how precarious things really were. It was easier to operate and protect the public at large if they remained anonymous. Today, we don’t have that option. When they say it’s a global world, it truly is. A vampire attack might happen, and fifteen minutes later it’s on the web. My watcher predecessors never had to deal with YouTube,” Jim says with a smile.
“So, you are a watcher yourself?” Devlin asks.
“That I am. In fact, Rowena and I were at the Academy at the same time. So we have a long history.”
“So you’ve been friends for a while?”
Pollan grins. “I respect Rowena a great deal, but let’s just say we’re…friendly rivals.”
“Picking your words wisely, I see,” Devlin says with a chuckle.
“That’s what I do,” Jim says with a faint smile.
Watchers Council – Library
A tall young man, mid-twenties with dark hair, speaks directly to the camera while standing in the library.
“My name is Stewart Markham, and I’m the lead watcher on-call tonight.”
The camera shows several people behind him, going through papers and taking phone calls.
“We go through reports, we organize information and we’re ready to help with any threat in approximately 2.7 seconds. There are at least three watchers on-call here at headquarters 24/7/365. Evil never sleeps, so I don’t get to. I wish evil would sleep every once in a while.”
Watchers Council – Library Stacks
Jackson puts a book back on its shelf. “Yes. I was up early this morning, but I think I over-caffeinated, so everything’s fine on that front.” He turns to look directly at the camera. “Right now there’s not much going on in the field, other than the usual couple of stakings, so we’re looking at this situation with the Voice of Hell and trying to figure out, basically, what the hell happened at First Ascension.”
“I’ll tell you what the hell happened at First Ascension,” Kennedy says angrily. “We went in there and got BLEEP BLEEP BLEEEEEP BLEEP BLEEP. That’s what happened.”
Hospital – Hallway
The camera shows Xander pacing. He stops and looks up at the clock before he resumes his pacing again.
Devlin (V.O.): “The Council has a dedicated staff, but they have also managed to create a dedicated family.”
The camera then shows Buffy, Giles, Faith and Robin walking up to Xander, who shakes his head. Giles reaches out and gives Xander’s arm a firm squeeze. He says something that makes Xander smile for a moment.
Devlin’s voice can be heard from off-camera in the hospital hallway. “If you don’t mind me asking, Mr. Giles, what did you say to Mr. Harris a few moments ago that made him smile.”
Giles grins again. “Oh, I simply pointed out that it took nine months to create these children, so it’s only natural t-that the transaction won’t be a quick one.”
“I’ve known Will my whole life,” Xander says. “Literally – we grew up together. And there were footy pajamas and fire trucks and Snoopy dances. And she’s gone through a lot of pain over the years, like all of us really. I just…waiting right now is hard. I know how much Will loves Ro – she’s her wife and I want everyone to be okay. All of them. I just wish I could find out how it’s going.”
“This?” Faith says, holding up a plush toy in the hospital waiting room. “It’s a toy stake. See?” She pushes it into Robin’s chest, who smiles in response. “I figured I’d teach these kids the basics starting now.” She grinned.
“When they’re big enough to handle pointy wooden objects, I’m sure she’ll have them using the real thing,” Robin adds.
“You know it,” Faith tells him with a smile.
“My role?” Buffy asks. “The cool aunt that spoils them to the point that Will and Ro want to kill me.” She smiles broadly. She raises a bouquet of flowers. “That’s why I’m going to try to bribe Ro now with these.”
Hospital – Hallway
The camera shows Xander knitting his brow, but then beginning to grin as he starts to walk down the hallway. He meets Willow, still in her scrubs, and sees her smiling, as well. Soon the others start to follow Xander’s lead.
“Ro’s on oxygen,” she tells them, “They were a bit concerned for awhile, but she’s stable and doing fine now. The babies are both doing great – a boy and a girl and they’re both…perfect. Just perfect.”
Xander hugs Willow first, pulling her into a tight embrace, but saying nothing. After a second or so, Buffy joins in, too.
“Way to go Red,” Faith puts in.
“Yes, congratulations,” Giles adds.
“Can we see her?” Robin asks.
“Right now she’s sleeping,” Willow replies.
“I bet,” Buffy says with a grin.
“But later, yeah,” Willow adds quickly. “Until then, though, you could always see Alexander and Jennifer.”
Xander’s smile broadens even more. “Thank you, Will. Really. That sounds lame and all, but thanks.”
“Xan, thank you. I wouldn’t be here without you and you know I’m not talking about this hospital. Besides, it’s the least we could do. We’ll call him Alex for short, though, so there’s no confusion,” she adds with a smile. “Come on, guys. Follow me.”
The camera starts to follow them, but Xander steps forward, preventing them from moving. “Sorry, guys. Family only for this one, okay?”
Devlin’s voice can be heard off-camera. “Alright,” Mr. Harris. Give Ms. Allister and Rosenberg our congratulations. Shut it down, guys.”
The camera goes dark.
Watchers Council – Lobby
Devlin (V.O.): “It‘s very late, or very early, depending on your point of view, but the day hasn’t quite ended yet at the Watchers Council.”
Various tired-looking slayers file through the front door of the Council. A few wave good night to each other.
“Here’s the thing,” Kennedy says. She sits in her apartment, looking tired. Kadin is next to her on the couch. “No matter how hard your day was, you have to go out there again and do it tomorrow. Denise will get a few days off, but then she’ll be back at work.”
Watchers Council – Armory
Shilpi turns in her sword and laughs with the male attendant.
Kennedy (V.O.): “We live here and we die here. Sometimes there are rewards, and sometimes you just have to get through it.”
Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room
Mia is up late in the slayer rec room. Seen in long shot, she’s seated in front of the television, which is showing an infomercial for a magic-powered blender. She isn’t watching, though…her head is just cradled in her hands.
Kennedy (V.O.): “Sometimes it‘s just too much to bear. Sometimes you get out your suitcase and seriously think of packing it.”
Watchers Council – Library
Jackson has fallen asleep on a book, his drool puddling on a drawing of a nasty-looking demon.
Kennedy (V.O.): “The hours are long, and the salary‘s not that big. The worker’s comp is good, though.”
It’s Kadin who asks, “So, is it worth it?”
Kennedy takes a deep breath. “Well, I guess it has to be, right? It has to be.”
She pauses. The camera zooms in slightly on her face.
“That’s why we had to become a family.”
Devlin walks toward the camera, in the same studio from which he opened the program. “And the Watchers Council is a family. There’s no other organization on Earth quite like it, and maybe that’s a good thing. The Council’s track record isn’t entirely spotless, but it’s spotless where it counts. The world’s still here, after all.”
“When we took cameras into the Watchers Council, we weren’t sure what we were going to find. We found a group of ordinary people, doing their best under extraordinary circumstances. In the opinion of this reporter, that is all any of us can ask of them.”
“I want to thank CNN, as well as everyone at Black Crystal Productions. Of course, all of us want to thank the Watchers Council for their complete cooperation in this project, especially Jim Pollan and the Council Public Relations Office. Without them, none of this would have happened.”
“So now we close this evening with the first publicly released footage of Alexander and Jennifer. We wish them, as well as their parents, and their council family, all the best in their future endeavors. I’m Robert Devlin, and you’ve just gone Inside the Watchers Council.”
Lights dim, and Devlin begins to walk out of frame.
Hospital – Viewing Room
The camera, clearly shooting through the viewing window, shows two tiny newborn babies, one in a pink cap, one in a blue. The camera pulls out to show that Xander is waving to the two of them through the glass.
Fade to Black
Special Guest Starring:
Kristy Swanson as Joan
End of Robert Devlin’s ‘Inside the Watchers Council’
Next on Watchers…
The Watchers Council thinks that there’s nothing at this point that could surprise it, but when Andrew leads a mission to New Mexico in search of evidence of extraterrestrial life, minds may be about to be blown.