Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Gale Harold as Jim Pollan, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing, Elijah Woods as Jeff Lindquist, Steffani Brass as Shannon Matthewson, Thora Birch as Tracey Hausser, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, Christine Carlson Romano as Hope Lehane and Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix
Jennifer Connelly as Althenea Dimmons, Rob Nagle as Robson, Jennifer Beals as Miss Sanger, Jordan Lund as Bill, Jared Padalecki as Charlie Manson and Sir Derek Jacobi as Varthrim
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Afternoon
Andrew walked through the door wearing his priest’s robe and carrying his Book of Shadows. He opened his mouth as if to speak, and then closed it with a snap as he saw the room was empty.
“Hello?” he said to the quiet room. “Where is everyone?”
Watchers Council – Rec Room – Same Time
Jeff, Hope, Skye and Dawn were sitting around a felt-covered table, covered with cards and poker chips. Skye was tossing cards towards everyone with blinding speed. She was wearing a white hoody sweatshirt that read, “Nunquam Lamiae Morde Me Dice.”
“Slow down, will ya?” Hope grumbled. “I can’t tell if you’re cheating or not.”
“Duh, that’s the point, Southie,” Skye shot back. She put down the deck and picked up her hand, giving an evil grin as she looked at her cards. Hope narrowed her eyes at the vampire. “You open,” Skye sneered. “If you dare.”
Hope sighed. “Five,” she said, and tossed a chip into the center.
Jeff and Dawn tossed their chips in without comment. Skye took another look at her hand and said, “Five, and fifteen more.”
“You’re bluffing,” Hope said.
“It’ll cost ya to find out,” Skye replied.
Hope threw in the additional chips and added twenty more. Jeff and Dawn decided to toss their folded cards aside.
“Big mistake.” Skye shook her head in mock concern at Hope and added her chips. “How many?”
“Two,” Hope said, and exchanged two cards for new ones.
Skye put down the deck again. “I’ll just hang on to these.”
“You’re cheating!” Hope accused again.
Skye shrugged and pointed a thumb at the security camera. “If you think so, check the vid. Camera’s don’t lie.”
“Don’t think I won’t,” Hope said.
“Your bet, dear,” Skye smiled sweetly.
Hope tossed in a stack of chips. “Fifty,” she said forcefully.
“And fifty more,” Skye shot back.
“Again, I think you’re bluffing,” Hope said.
“Cheating, bluffing…make up your mind,” Skye said. “But as they say, ‘put up or shut up’.”
Andrew, still dressed in his priest’s robe, came through the open double doors. He spotted the group around the card table and strode over to it. He thumped his Book of Shadows on top of the pile of chips.
“Hey!” Skye protested. “I was just about to win that.”
“Did you all forget we had a ritual to perform?” He glared at each in turn.
“Willow’s on her maternity leave to spend time with Ro and the kids,” Jeff said.
“We still have water to bless and charms to make,” he pointed out.
“Didn’t you get Buffy’s memo?” Dawn asked.
“Memo?” Andrew shot a look at her. “What memo?”
“That until Willow gets back, all magic is outsourced to Althenea and the Devon coven,” she answered.
“What?” Andrew yelled, causing one of the watchers playing pool to miss his shot. “Why did she do that? We’re perfectly capable of handling the Council’s magical needs.”
“True, but why should we have to if Al will do it?” Hope asked. “Hey, look at it as a fringe benefit. We get a paid break.”
“No!” Andrew said. “We have a sacred duty – we have slayers and watchers to protect. This is not a paid job, this is a calling!”
Skye rolled her eyes. “Whatever…can we just get on with our game? I’m about to scalp Jeffie’s slag here.”
“Hey!” Hope protested. She moved Andrew’s book aside and threw in her chips. “I call, vamp! Let’s see what ya got.”
With a huff, Andrew grabbed his book and stormed from the room.
Skye smiled evilly and laid out her hand, one card at a time. “Full house, aces over eights.”
“You bitch!” Hope reached across the table and attempted to grab the brunette, but Jeff pulled her back. “You did cheat!”
Skye ignored the attack and raked in her chips. Dawn turned over Hope’s cards to reveal a pair of threes. “Looks like you were the one bluffing, Hope,” she pointed out.
“Bluffing’s cool in poker,” Hope replied. “Cheating’s not.”
“Prove it,” Skye commented, as she stacked her chips.
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Moments Later
Buffy looked up from her keyboard at Andrew’s noisy entrance. She glared at him. “Did you forget how to knock?” she asked.
“Did you forget I’m the High Priest of the Coven?” he retorted.
“What?” She blinked, as if confused by his forcefulness.
“Why did you, totally on your own, decide to outsource the Coven’s magic responsibilities to Devon?” Andrew stood there with his arms crossed.
“Willow’s on maternity leave…” Buffy began.
“I’m not!” Andrew interrupted loudly. “I know that Willow is, and always has been, your Number One when it comes to Wicca, but everyone seems to forget that I’m the High Priest, Willow’s equal in everything concerning the Coven.”
“I think that’s an exaggeration,” Buffy said. She tried to continue, but Andrew interrupted her again.
“No!” he stated emphatically. “Okay, so maybe I don’t get all white-haired and battle-crazed, fighting rogue witches fifty stories up, but she and I stand before the altar representing the Goddess and the God – she the feminine life force and I the masculine.”
Buffy made the mistake of snickering.
“See! That’s what I’m talking about!” Andrew shouted. “I have spent the last five years training under Willow and Althenea and other respected witches all over the world. This is all in addition to my regular duties as housemother to a building full of rambunctious slayers and watchers. I have earned the right to respect…from the Coven, from my peers, and especially from you! Just because I don’t fit your definition of masculine doesn’t mean I’m not. Tracey seems to think so…she loves me and she thinks I’m masculine enough for her – at least she says she does, but there’s this Roger guy and she’s so far away that I don’t know exactly what’s going on with him or who he is and what his intentions are towards her and I just miss her so much.” He sighed and then sat down across the desk from Buffy.
She was silent a moment following his outburst, then took a folder from a pile on her desk and slid it over to him. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about a special project, Andrew. Ever since the Council, well, came out, our crank-call pile has been growing. Every conspiracy theorist out there seems to think we’re the right group to act on their fears. Probably because we’re not connected to the government in any way. But I really need someone to weed through this mess, and I think you’re the right man for the job.”
Andrew picked up the thick folder and shuffled through it. Some of the reports were hastily scrawled on sticky notes, while others were professionally printed dossiers.
“Um, that’s only the most recent ones,” Buffy continued. “There’s more. Joan’s been storing them in an empty office down the hall. You can use the office while you’re working on them. It’s a nice office, has a view of the lake.”
Andrew scowled at her and continued to look through the file. “Looks like every nut job in the world is listed here.”
“Yeah, pretty much.” Buffy shrugged. “Think you can handle it?”
Andrew nodded. “All right, Chairwoman, I’ll take on the X-Files for you.”
Buffy frowned. “That’s a dumb name.”
Andrew rolled his eyes. “See, no respect!”
Watchers Council – Project Office – Minutes Later
Andrew, carrying the large folder under his arm, entered the empty office. As promised, there was a view of the lake, but the piles of folders blocked most of it, storage boxes and reports ready to tumble to the floor.
Andrew walked to the desk and put the folder he was carrying on top of the desk. The movement shifted the balance, and a pile of folders slid off the desk and onto the floor. Andrew sighed and got to work.
London Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
Robson, looking tired as he strolled down the hall, waved to another Council member as they passed. Neither spoke, however, just a polite gesture of acknowledgement. Looking to his left at an open door, he halted his steps and turned to face it.
Althenea sat on a stool at the workbench in her Coven Room. She was looking intensely at an open book in front of her.
“Miss Dimmons?” Robson called out from the doorframe, getting her attention. She turned to face him.
“Good evening, Mr. Robson,” she replied. “Calling it a day, I see,” she added, motioning to the briefcase in his hand.
“Yes. I decided a clearer head in the morning would be better than staying up all night trying to figure out this latest threat…and failing miserably. So I’m heading home. I suggest you do the same, dear. It’s late.”
Althenea brushed him off with a wave of her hand. “Just going over Cleveland’s reports. Anyway, I’ve worked later before,” she told him as he walked over. He looked at the book she was reading – Side Effects of Persephone’s Knot. He shook his head.
“Cleveland, you say?” Robson asked knowingly.
“Okay,” Althenea admitted. “It’s not just Cleveland issues. I’m looking for answers.”
He cleared his throat and said, “You’re a credit to this branch. To the entire Council.” There was a lull in the conversation for a moment, and Robson then added, “What happened with Ms. O’Hara is not your fault, Althenea. You were given an impossible task.”
“But isn’t that what the Coven does? Make the impossible possible?”
“Bloody hell, woman,” Robson replied with a sigh. “If that were true, we’d all be out of a job. The world would be as right as rain. But that’s just not feasible. Not for one person, nor an entire coven of witches.”
Althenea ran her fingers through her hair. “I just can’t help thinking if I’d done something different, then maybe we…”
“Whatever you find won’t bring Ms. O’Hara back, will it?”
“No, but it might make me a better witch in the future.”
Robson got a stern look on his face. “I know you’d have traded your life for this girl if you could have. Everyone here knows that. But there was nothing more you could have done to release her from that spell, that magic. So please, get some rest. Besides, don’t you have someone arriving tomorrow to visit you?”
“Yeah, I do,” Althenea replied. “I’m glad you said that. I’d forgotten.”
“Well, perhaps your friend will take your mind off your troubles for a while. Again, go home. Get some rest.”
She smiled. “Thanks, Robson. I will.”
Althenea released a short chuckle. “Yes, I promise.”
“Good girl,” Robson told her with a pat to the arm. “Goodnight,” he added as he made his departure.
“Goodnight,” Althenea replied before walking back to the book.
She closed it and began to walk away, but then she stopped. She walked back and picked up the book again, putting it under her arm before beginning to leave once more.
Watchers Council – Project Office – Night
Not much progress had been made on the piles of folders, but Andrew did seem to have at least attempted to organize the mess. He was just picking up another folder when Kennedy walked past the open door and then doubled back and entered the office.
“Hey, Andy,” she said. “Have you seen Marsha? She’s gotten out again.”
“No,” he said, not looking up.
Kennedy looked around. “What a mess!”
“You should have seen it before I got here,” Andrew commented.
“Whatcha doing, anyway?” Kennedy said. “This looks like watcher stuff.”
“I wear many hats at the Council,” Andrew said haughtily.
“Yeah, I’ve seen your collection, including that stupid Sherlock Holmes hat. What’s it called? Deerhunter?”
“Deerstalker,” he said.
“Whatever,” Kennedy commented, still looking around. “What is all this?”
“The Council’s crank collection,” he alliterated. “These reports are ridiculous! There’s everything from the wereshark mafia to the chupacabra to…aliens.” Andrew tapered off and started rifling through the files, as if searching for something. He muttered something under his breath as he read.
“Aliens?” Kennedy scoffed. “Yeah, right…just more bogus demon reports.”
Andrew ignored her and, taking the file with him, ran from the office.
“Hey!” Kennedy said as he rushed past. “Aren’t you gonna help me look for Marsha?”
Andrew kept running.
Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time
Rowena was holding one of the twins as it cried when she heard a knock at the door. She put the baby down in the playpen and made her way toward the door.
Watchers Council – Hallway Outside Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time
Becca and Liz both jumped slightly as the door to Rowena and Willow’s apartment swung open quickly. Becca had a suitcase in her hand.
The sound of infant screams filled the hallway. Rowena stood before them, looking quite tired with her hair disheveled. The watcher tried to tuck some wayward hair behind her ear to improve her appearance, but Becca gently smacked her hand.
“Cut it out. You’re not at a beauty pageant,” Becca told her. “Can we come in?” She walked inside, not bothering to wait for an answer.
“The house is a bit of a mess,” Rowena told her as she closed the door. “My vampire servant decided to move out,” she joked. “Not that I blame her,” she muttered. “Have a seat. Can I get you –?”
“Enough. I’m not here as a guest,” Becca said, resting the suitcase by the door. “I’m going to ask you the same thing a very considerate woman asked me a few years ago. When’s the last time you had a shower? Took a walk?” Rowena looked to the ceiling, like she was trying to calculate in her head. “Not knowing immediately means it’s been too long,” Becca continued, not waiting for a response.
“Yeah, but –”
“No yeah-buts. Just hop in the tub,” Becca told her, pointing. “I don’t want to see you for the next twenty minutes. We’ll handle things.”
“Where’s Martin?” Rowena asked.
“With his dad. It’s father/son night.”
Smash Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Living Room – Same Time
Giles lay on his stomach, making growling noises with a large plastic T-Rex dinosaur, while Martin used a toy car to try to drive over the creature. Giles made a repetitive owww-ing noise that made Martin laugh.
Smash Cut To:
Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time
“I thought you’d need help,” Becca told her. “And from the looks of things, I was right.”
“This isn’t normal,” Rowena said, motioning to the collection of baby clothes, blankets and burp cloths scattered around the room.
“When there’s a new baby, let alone two of them, yes, sweetheart, it’s very much normal,” Becca laughed.
“Mom, can I hold the babies?” Liz asked.
“I’ll tell you what,” Becca told her. “Let Aunt Ro get her bath first, okay?”
“Okay,” Liz replied. When Rowena didn’t move immediately, Liz took her by the hand and led her out of the room. “I wanna hold the babies,” she explained as she tugged Rowena along.
Rowena went along, a smile on her face for the first time since Becca’s arrival.
“She sure is pushy, isn’t she?” Rowena said as they walked.
“When she knows what she wants, she won’t let anything get in her way…not even you,” Becca replied with a smile.
Rowena chuckled and then sincerely said, “Thank you,” just before Liz pulled her out of the room.
“Don’t mention it, Sweetie.”
Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Minutes Later
Her hair still wet, Rowena returned to the living room and was met with silence. She looked around and took a deep breath, as if soaking up the lack of noise.
As she moved deeper into the room, she found the clothes, blankets and other items all sorted and placed in one particular chair. Liz was on the sofa next to Becca, with Alex sleeping contentedly in her small arms, aided by a pillow. In the playpen, a few feet away, Jen slept.
“Aunt Ro!” Liz said excitedly.
“Shhh,” Becca said, putting her finger over her lips.
“Sorry,” Liz said in a whisper to her mom. Then she turned back to Rowena. “Aunt Ro,” she began in a tiny voice. “I did that,” she said as she pointed to the stacked blankets. They weren’t neatly folded, but it was obvious an attempt had been made. “Mom makes me pick up my toys. So I can pick up baby things, too,” she said.
“You did a fantastic job,” Rowena said softly.
Becca reached over and motioned for Liz to hand Alex back. “Let’s put Alex back before his sister gets lonely, okay?”
Liz nodded, then bent down to kiss the crown of Alex’s head before letting her mom take him away.
“Why don’t you get your coloring books?” Becca suggested.
“Okay,” Liz said. She toddled off, going over to the small suitcase they brought.
“You don’t have to stay,” Rowena told Becca as she took a seat.
“You’re right. I don’t. But I want to,” Becca replied. “You need the help, Rowena.” When the blonde watcher began to tear up, Becca modified her comment. “Hey, that’s nothing against you. You’re doing a great job. I mean, jeez, if I had two of Liz, lord above…I’m just saying, you can’t go it alone right now. Sometimes we all need help.”
Rowena wiped her eyes. “I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I would be tired. I did. But this…”
“To say it takes effort is an understatement.”
“You’re not kidding.”
Becca said nothing more at first. Then finally she said, “I have to ask…are things okay with Willow? She picked a helluva time to leave you here with the kids.”
“No, it was my idea.”
“You kicked her out?”
“Nooo, nothing like that,” Rowena said. She appeared amused by the thought for a moment, but then turned serious. “Althenea really needs someone right now. I’d go, but I’ve got the milk supply,” she said with a small grin. “Besides, I think Al needs a ‘witch friend’ right now, someone who can relate that’s not directly in her coven. I could hear how hard she was taking Jocelyn’s death when she called me. And to be honest, Will’s got her own issues with all of it. I figured together they could both, I don’t know, work it out. Or find as much closure as possible, I guess.”
“You’re a good wife, Rowena. And a good mom,” Becca added. “Just don’t be afraid to ask for help, Sweetie.” Rowena nodded. “So you’ll let me stay? At least for tonight?”
“Yes, you and Liz can have Skye’s old room.”
“Okay,” Becca answered with a nod. “Tomorrow, I suggest we get some other folks around here to pitch in until Will gets back: Xander, Faith –”
Rowena chuckled lightly. “Yeah, I can see the two of them trying to change a diaper.”
“Xander will be a pro in no time…might take him a few attempts, but I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it. And as for Faith…Rupert’s told me about the way Norm looks at Shannon, so she might be a granny sooner than she’d like.”
“Grandma Faith?” Rowena snorted. “Now that’s funny.”
“A stake in one hand and knitting needles in the other,” Becca said.
Rowena held back a laugh. “Stop, you’ll make me wake up the kids.”
Becca smiled. “It’s good to see you laughing.”
“Again, thank you,” Rowena told her sincerely.
Becca just shrugged in response. Liz returned and placed the crayons on her mom’s lap then crawled up onto the sofa to sit on Rowena’s lap with her coloring book in hand.
“Want to color seashells?” Liz asked. Not waiting for an answer, she flipped through the book to a particular page.
“Aunt Ro is pretty tired, Sweetheart,” Becca said.
“I think I can help with a page or two,” Rowena told them. She then looked over Liz’s shoulder at the book. “I’ll need pink and yellow, though, for the scallop.”
“This one, right?” Liz asked her, pointing to the page.
“Yes, you remembered, huh?”
“Uh huh,” Liz said, as she reached over to her mom’s lap for the pink crayon and handed it to Rowena. “Now, you have to try to stay inside the lines,” she said, in a way that sounded as if it were a matter of life and death.
Rowena smiled over at Becca, who was grinning as well. “I’ll try, but no promises. Besides, sometimes it’s more fun to color outside the lines.” She gave Liz a quick kiss on the side of the head.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Next Day
Andrew stood at the head of the large table dominating the darkened conference room. Behind him was projected a PowerPoint presentation, showing a map of New Mexico dotted with various color-coded locations.
“So in conclusion,” he said grandly, “I believe it is in the Council’s best interests to send a team to Artesia, New Mexico, as soon as possible. Thank you.”
All of the department heads sat in silence for a moment, simply staring at him. Felix glanced at Giles and then rubbed his nose. Finally, Faith exploded.
“That’s it?” she said. “You dragged us into an ‘urgent’ meeting for some crackpot sightings of aliens?”
“Okaaay, I know what you’re thinking…But these accounts were corroborated by several reliable sources,” Andrew said defensively
“Reliable?” she scoffed. “You call those turtle demons reliable?”
“The Slowskys are highly respected in their community,” he said. “Just because you haven’t completely gotten on board with demon PC-ness doesn’t mean we shouldn’t utilize them as sources. Right, Mr. Felix?”
“Um, well,” Felix said, again glancing at Giles.
“Andrew, you don’t seem to realize that we’re dealing with the real world here,” Faith continued. “This isn’t some video game, it’s reality!”
“Faith, sit down,” Buffy said, jumping in. “High Priest Andrew, thank you for your presentation. I’m impressed with the work you’ve done with your…X-Files.”
Xander turned a snort into a fake cough.
“Would you mind very much waiting for a few moments outside?” Buffy requested. “This shouldn’t take long.”
“Not at all, Chairwoman Summers. Thank you for your time,” he said with great dignity and left the room.
“What the hell was that all about?” Faith stormed.
“Look, Andrew stormed into my office nearly in tears because he doesn’t get any respect, even after all he does around here,” Buffy said. “And he’s right. We all treat him like a joke, but he is a valuable member of this team. Anyone disagree?” She leveled an icy glare at them all.
Kennedy shifted in her seat. “No, but come on, Buffy…aliens?”
“Andrew seems to think there’s something to these reports, so let’s just humor him, okay? Where’s the harm?”
“What’s really going on, Buffy?” Giles asked. “You know you don’t need to send Andrew off on a mission just to show him some respect.”
“I know,” Buffy said. “It’s just…he thinks Tracey is cheating on him.”
There was uproar at this announcement.
“What?” Xander said. “No way. I’ve never seen a more nauseatingly cute couple.”
Lori gave him a sour look, but said nothing.
“It’s true,” Robin put in. “Tracey has always proven loyal, and they’re very much in love.”
“Yeah, who’da thunk that Andrew would get such a hottie,” Faith agreed.
“So you think this mission will get his mind off his personal life?” Felix put in.
“I hope so. Or at least make him feel like he’s contributing. Whether you believe in little green men or not, I think this is something the Council should look into. It wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve encountered something from space,” Buffy said, looking at Giles and Xander for a moment. “So what do you all say…ready to vote?”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Minutes Later
Buffy stepped out of the conference room. Andrew was leaning against the wall opposite the double doors.
“Ready to go on a UFO hunt?” she asked.
End of Act One