Watchers Council – Media Room – Morning
Faith sat on a bar stool in the media room, looking utterly bored while Andrew fussed with a video camera. He was wearing a black beret.
“Can we get on with this, please?” she asked, fidgeting with the clip-on mic.
“Almost done,” he answered while he made a final adjustment. He picked up a movie slate and held it in front of the camera. He spoke directly into the camera, “The Slayer and the Professor, take one.”
Faith rolled her eyes as he sat in a canvas chair, which had imprinted on it, “Andrew Wells, Director.”
“Annnnnnnnnnd…action!” he belted out, pointing at her.
Faith took a breath and began to speak, “Yo, prof. Andy here needs to get off, so let Tracey off, okay? Thanks.”
“Cut!” Andrew yelled and jumped off his chair. “What the heck was that?”
“What?” Faith said. “You said her teach wouldn’t let her change her schedule.”
“Yes, but you promised to help me convince him it’s for real,” he whined. “If the Great Slayer Faith says Tracey needs time off, then it’ll convince him. It’s almost like having Mace Windu ask the Jedi master’s permission for Anakin and Padmé to marry.”
“What the hell does Tracey see in you?” Faith asked, shaking her head.
Andrew pouted. “Tracey loves me,” he said.
“I know!” Faith exclaimed, waving her hands. “She’s totally into you. According to her, you rock her world.”
“I’m not that bad, Faith.”
Faith sighed. “No, I guess you’re not. I’m sorry. If a cool chick like Tracey can find you hot, I guess you are. Now, can we get on with this?”
“Okay, now remember your motivation…you’re trying to persuade the evil authority figure into letting the heroine free.”
Faith’s eyes flashed. “I’m gettin’ motivated to rearrange your face. I ain’t Katie Holmes, y’know? This is not a box office disaster we’re filming, starring yours truly.”
“Okay, okay, whatever!” He waved the slate board. “Take two!”
Faith looked directly into the camera. “Hello, Dr. Fuller. I’m Faith Lehane. You might know me as a slayer, but I’m also a good friend of Tracey Hausser. Her boyfriend Andrew Wells will be traveling to New Mexico on Council business and would like Tracey to meet him there. As you know, Council business can be dangerous, so we like to take every opportunity we can to see our loved ones. If you can give Tracey the time off, they – and I – would be very thankful. Oh, and don’t worry about Tracey not completing her course work. She’s one of the hardest working people I know, and I guarantee she will not shirk her obligations. Thanks, Dr. Fuller.”
When Faith stopped speaking, Andrew was silent a moment, taking the time to wipe a tear from his eye. Then he yelled, “Cut!” He walked over to Faith and said, “Wow, Faith, that was…beautiful. Really touching. I never knew you were such a romantic.”
“Knock it off, Andy,” she said. “Are we done here?”
“Yeah, that should be great.”
“Good.” She pulled off the mic and jumped off the stool. “Oh and Andy…”
“If I see that footage on YouTube, I will rearrange your face,” she warned, pointing at him. “Got it?”
Andrew gulped. “Yeah, got it.”
“I hope it works, kid,” she said. As she left, she muttered under her breath, “God knows you’ll be less high-strung if you get a piece.”
Andrew smiled and pulled the memory card from the camera.
London Watchers Council – Coven Room – Afternoon
“Knock, knock,” Althenea heard a voice say. She turned to see Willow in the doorway and smiled automatically.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, as she quickly made her way over to give Willow a hug.
“I would have been here yesterday, but I got held up in New York because of snow. I thought I’d surprise you.”
“Well, yeah. I’m, uh, I’m surprised all right,” she said, almost nervously.
Willow seemed to notice the reaction. “Oh, well… Did I come at a bad time?” she asked. At that moment, a woman bearing a striking resemblance to Rowena appeared in the doorway with two paper cups in her hands. Willow did a double take.
“Mary Grace?” she said. “Wh-what are you doing here?”
Mary Grace opened her mouth, but nothing came out at first. She gave up and smiled. “How’re the twins?” she finally asked, avoiding the question.
Willow looked at her for a long moment. Then she looked at Althenea, and then back to Mary Grace.
“Uhhhh, fine! They’re doing just fine.”
“Here,” Althenea said, motioning for the cups. “I’ll take those,” she told Mary Grace.
A small silence seemed to drag on, until Mary Grace asked, “How do you take your coffee, Will? I’ll get you one.”
Willow opened her mouth to refuse, but before she could get the words out, Althenea said, “Triple, triple. Thanks, Mary.”
“No problem,” she said as she turned to leave. “I’ll, uh, take my time getting it, and you two can…” She trailed off with a wave of her hand before walking away.
Althenea motioned for Willow to follow her deeper into the room.
“What’s all this then, ay?” Willow said in a fake British accent. Althenea chuckled. “Seriously,” Willow continued in her normal voice. “Mary Grace? You’re hooking up with the woman who took great delight in outing Ro and me to her folks? Are you serious? Does Betty know? ‘Cause she’s going to flip when she finds out the Council corrupted another daughter. T-Tell me, what did I miss here?”
Althenea continued to laugh. “That’s too many questions to answer at once.”
“Give me the short version, then.”
“Well, you were busy getting married. And then the coma thing happened, and then…well, it didn’t seem worth mentioning. It was just a fling, well, not even that, really. But this time…it’s more…” Althenea paused, as if unsure of what to say. Finally, she gave up and asked, “What are you doing here when you’ve got two babies at home?”
“My wife, oh wait, let me rephrase that, your future sister-in-law told me to come check up on you.”
Althenea laughed some more. “I told you. This Mary Grace thing is not serious. But really, Will, you’ve got your own family.”
“Kicking me out when I just got here, huh?” She turned toward the door to see if Mary Grace had returned. Not seeing her, she added with a sly smirk, “If she’s anything like her sister, I don’t blame you. I’d want me gone, too.”
Althenea laughed even harder.
Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Later
“You’re kidding!” Rowena said into the phone.
Behind her, Xander stood at the changing table, holding a clean, folded diaper in his hand. He opened it up and inspected it, turning it this way and that, before looking back at little Alex. He then inspected the diaper again.
“Nope, not kidding at all,” Willow replied.
“Mary Grace? You have to be pulling my leg, Will.”
“I swear on my Coven, I most certainly am not.”
“But…how?…when?” Rowena asked, not quite able to complete a full sentence.
In the background, Xander pulled off the old diaper with a look of accomplishment. That was until a stream of liquid shot upward, and he quickly covered it with the diaper.
London Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
Willow stood in the hallway, off to one side, talking on the phone as people moved around her.
“After Mary came back with my coffee, she told me she was talking to Althenea in Nova Scotia about being curious. About us – like you and me.”
“Okaaaaay,” Rowena said.
“Apparently, Althenea kissed her to show her that it wasn’t much different than what she’d done all her life with guys. One kiss led to another, and another, and…well, even I have to admit Al is a great kisser.”
“Watch it,” Rowena told her.
“But you’re the best, dear,” Willow said with a smile.
“Nice recovery,” Rowena commended. “So…then what happened?”
“Well, nothing major, and by major I’m talking about…you know…it was just kissy and cuddly kinda stuff. Not the naked-y, sweaty, fingernail scratch-y –”
“I get the picture. A couple of bases, but no homerun.”
“Right. The short version is we showed up for the wedding, tried to get married, the Coven went into a coma, and after that they both went home.”
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Continuous
“But I’m guessing that’s not the end of the story.”
“Nope,” Willow replied. “They still IM’d and emailed each other, and Mary Grace planned this trip to see Al. Since the twins were here, they never expected to see us, and well, we shot that theory all to hell, didn’t we?”
From behind Rowena, Xander gave the baby powder a shake, and a little cloud erupted. He quickly covered the baby’s face with a burp cloth and tried to wave the extra powder away by flailing his arms and hands. He looked over his shoulder to see if Rowena had noticed. Seeing she was still on the phone, he breathed a sigh of relief and went back to finishing the diaper.
“Does my mom know?”
“Oh, no. And I’ve…well, we have been sworn to secrecy.”
“You know, if I was a petty woman…”
“But you’re not.”
“Yes, I know,” Rowena replied, sounding disappointed. “So I guess that means you won’t be staying long?” She brightened.
“Let me put it this way. I’m sure Mary Grace has better ways of getting Althenea to smile this weekend than I ever could.” Rowena chuckled. “However, Robson did pick my brain about a possible werewolf problem. I’m going to call Kadin after I hang up with you to get some ideas.”
“Well, take your time. Xander’s here tonight, and Faith will be here tomorrow. Thanks to Becca, I caught up on my sleep, so I’m good to go for a few more days.”
“Don’t need me, huh?”
“Will, you know I need you. And I wish you were here, but Mary Grace or not, I think Al does need you for a little while right now. I’m willing to share. Anyway, tell Mary I said hello, and to come see the kids.”
“Actually, she’s on her way to Cleveland after she leaves England,” Willow replied.
“Great,” Rowena answered. “Just take care and call me tomorrow, okay?”
“You know it. Love you.”
“Love you too, sweetheart. Bye.” Rowena paused for a moment and then turned around to see Xander looking quite proud.
“I did it,” he said. “Took me two tries, but I got it.”
Watchers Council Jet – The Next Day
Dawn and Shannon sat hunched over a backgammon table, while Skye idly watched the game, occasionally playing with a lock of Dawn’s hair. At the front of the cabin of the Council jet, Andrew was diligently drawing diagrams on a white board.
Shannon rolled doubles and cleared her inner board of checkers. Dawn groaned. “Not again,” she said.
“Again, Watcher,” Shannon crowed. She started setting up her pieces for a new game.
Skye looked bored. “Remind me again why we’re here?”
“Cuz Dawn and I drew the short straw,” Shannon explained. “Why are you here? You didn’t have to come.”
“And let my honey go on a free vacation without me? Not a chance,” Skye said. “Besides, Andrew’s team leader on a mission to find aliens? I wouldn’t miss this for the world. This’ll make a great chapter for my memoirs.”
“Your memoirs?” Shannon asked.
“Yeah,” Skye pointed at Andrew. “If a geek like that can make a small mint selling a screenplay, I figure I can make even more selling my memoirs and the film rights. It’ll be bigger than Anne Rice.”
“What are you gonna call it?” Dawn asked.
“Confessions of a Vampire,” Skye answered proudly.
Andrew turned away from the board, proving he had been listening to the whole conversation. “And you call me a geek?”
“Go back to your diagramming, Fox,” Skye said.
Andrew pouted at the trio and then went back to the board.
“Am I in it?” Dawn asked.
“Oh yeah,” Skye said. “You’re the sexy ingénue who saves the vampire from the evil clutches of the Watchers Council.”
“And me?” Shannon asked.
“You’re the perky little sister slash comic relief,” Skye said. “I figure some up and coming young star can play you in the movie. Maybe Dakota Fanning?”
“Cool!” Shannon rolled a die and waited for Dawn to roll hers. The slayer was higher, and she made her opening move.
The flight steward walked into the cabin and said, “Mr. Wells, if you’ll take your seat? The captain says we’re on our final approach.”
Andrew turned to the team and gave them an excited look. “This is it!”
New Mexico – Airstrip – Minutes Later
Andrew ran down the flight of steps from the jet and quickly turned on his cell phone. After a moment, his eyes lit up, and he exclaimed to the group retrieving their luggage from the cargo compartment, “She called!”
He speed-dialed into his voice mail and set the speaker. “Hi, my love, this is Tracey…well, who else would call you ‘love,’ unless there’s something going on with you and Jeff I don’t know about.” Andrew grimaced an embarrassed smile as the others turned to look at him. “Anyway, Faith’s video worked, and Dr. Fuller gave me leave. I’m heading out now and hopefully will be able to meet you guys for supper. See you soon! Love you!”
Andrew started to jump up and down on the tarmac. “She’s coming! She’s coming!”
“Whoop-dee-do for you, Romeo,” Skye said, grabbing his arm and pulling him back to earth. “What say we get this mission over with, so you have time to snuggle with your girl? Okay?”
“Okay!” he said happily, and ran to the waiting rental car.
London Watchers Council – Meeting Room – Day
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Willow said as she entered the room, “I’d like to introduce Kadin and Kennedy. Kadin’s what you might call our part-time resident werewolf expert. She does a lot of work-for-hire for people with…monster problems.”
“And this time is no exception,” Robson told Kadin. “As I told Willow, we’re prepared to pay for your services.”
Kadin nodded. “Willow sent me the photos,” she told him. “I’ll have to dig deeper, but it looks like a canine attack. And based on your descriptions, it does sound like a wolf of some kind.”
“But not a werewolf?”
“I didn’t say that. I won’t know more until…I learn more.” Kadin gave him a grin as she took a seat at the table, along with Willow and Kennedy.
“Well, we have everything in our file,” a blonde female watcher said beside Robson. “I’ll have it sent to your quarters so that you can look it over tonight.”
“Give it to me now. Tonight we’ll be hunting. We’ve only got another day of the moon left after tonight. If this thing is a werewolf, we won’t get another shot until next month.
How many slayers can you put in the area of the recent attacks?”
“Well, London is a big city,” Robson began. “It’s filled with crowds at several –”
“Stop right there. I asked how many girls you could spare,” Kadin cut him off. “So how many?”
“We could call in some of our slayers who are off tonight. About twenty, perhaps.”
“Call them,” Kadin told him. “The file?”
“Oh, right here,” the woman said, sliding it over to her.
“Good, I’ll do some reading while you ready your slayers. We’ll meet downstairs twenty minutes before sunset. Got it?”
“Y-yes,” Robson told her. “Very good.”
Kadin nodded again and motioned to Kennedy to follow her. “Until then, folks,” she said, before leaving the room.
After she was gone, Robson turned to Willow. “Well, she’s certainly a spitfire, isn’t she?”
Willow shrugged. “I hear she’s one of the best. I guess we’ll see…But if I were you, I’d make sure there are twenty slayers down there like you promised.”
“Well, I didn’t promise. I simply said –”
“You might not realize it,” Willow said with a grin, “but you just did, so find a way to make it so.”
She then left the room too.
New Mexico – Rental Car – Late Afternoon
Dawn drove along the desert highway. Skye sat next to her, with Andrew and Shannon in the back seat. Andrew kept fiddling with his cell phone. After a moment, he flipped it open. It made a small Star Trek-like communicator chirp.
“Hi Tracey, this is Andrew Wells,” he said after he dialed. “We’re almost to the subjects’ location. In case you didn’t get my other fifteen messages, we’ll rendezvous with you at oh-one-hundred Zulu time, or twenty-one hundred local time.” His voice dropped to a whisper, “That’s nine o’clock, honey. Love you!”
Shannon hit his shoulder. “She knows how to convert time, Andy.”
“I know,” he said. “Just wanted to make sure. This is important.”
“Why?” Skye asked from the front seat. “Gonna ask her to marry you?”
“No,” Andrew blushed. “We’re not ready for that yet.”
“But you will, right?” Shannon said, her eyes gleaming with romantic notions.
“In time,” Andrew said. “I figure, if our relationship can withstand the rigors of a long-distance separation, we can withstand anything.”
Dawn nodded without taking her eyes off the road. “That’s very…mature of you, Andrew.”
“Thanks,” he said with a shy grin. “Tracey and I might not have that immortality thing that you and Skye have going, but I want us to be forever, too.”
Skye made a snarky snort and consulted her map. “Take the next right, babe.”
New Mexico – Desert – Short Time Later
The occupants of the rental car slowly looked around as they exited the vehicle. The setting sun blazed on the western horizon, giving the desert an unearthly glow.
The recreational vehicle they had parked next to bounced for a moment, and a big demon slowly exited.
“Hello!” he said. “I’m Bill, this is Karolyn.” He turned to find the doorway empty. “Karolyn! Come meet our guests!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming. What’s the rush?” His wife stepped down to the ground and approached the group.
“The Council came all this way just to see us,” Bill said.
“I know who they are,” she scolded. “Hello. Would you like some stew? Bill trapped three lovely vultures just this morning.”
“Er, no thanks,” Shannon said, and then quickly smiled.
“Look Bill, a slayer!” Karolyn exclaimed, clasping her hands together in front of her. “How nice! What’s your name, dear?”
“Shannon,” she replied.
“I’m Andrew Wells, this is Watcher Dawn Summers and her partner Skye Talisker. We came…”
Bill looked at her curiously and cocked his head. “A vampire? But it’s still light out?”
“Yeah,” Skye smirked. “Cool, huh?”
“Wonders never cease,” he nodded slowly. “Just like what we saw the other night.”
“That’s what we’re here to talk about, sir,” Andrew put in.
“Good,” the big demon nodded. “It’s about time someone with some sense came out here. We’ve been trying to get someone in the government to pay attention to us for years now.”
“Excuse me?” Andrew said.
“It’s true, dear,” Karolyn said. “No one listens to us anymore. They say we’re slowing down too much to pay attention to.”
“We’ve filed many reports,” Bill confirmed. “But not even those Project Blue Book guys came out to check.”
“How many reports have you filed?” Skye asked suspiciously.
“Hundreds!” Bill boomed. “Thousands. Ever since we came to this dimension, but do you think anyone would listen to us? No, we’re just a couple of old kooks living out in the desert. But this is alien central, boy. Mark my words.”
“Oh jeez,” Shannon muttered.
Dawn sighed. “So, sir…er, Bill…the reports we received at the Council…were they the same as your other reports?”
“Sure thing!” he nodded.
“Okay, then I think we’ve got all we need,” she said, placing a hand on Andrew’s arm. He was staring at the contents of the folder he was carrying.
“Wait…” Andrew started.
“We’ll be in contact,” Shannon said, as Dawn led Andrew to the car.
“That’s nice, dear,” Karolyn said. “Come by anytime, and I’ll make you a nice grub goulash.”
“Uh, okay.” Shannon looked a little green.
“Wait!” Andrew tried again.
“Hey, Andy, isn’t it time to call Tracey again?” Skye said. The distraction worked, and he dived for the car as the others followed. Dawn quickly put it in drive and skidded back to the road.
“What nice people!” Karolyn said.
“Oh yes,” he agreed. “But why do they have to drive so fast? Scares off the buzzards.”
“I know,” she sighed. “I know.”
New Mexico – Rental Car – Minutes Later
Andrew shut his phone and muttered, “Still no answer. Why didn’t you let me question them?”
“They’re a couple of kooks!” Dawn said.
“Yeah,” Skye agreed. “Better to get out of there quickly before they start using your behind as probe target practice.”
“I bet they spend all day long watching reruns of The X-Files,” Shannon laughed.
“When they’re not tracking down roadkill for the evening’s entrée,” Skye added. The two slapped hands over the car seat, while Dawn laughed. Andrew ignored them and read the file.
“Okay, head over to Chalcedony Drive,” he ordered. “That’s our next stop.”
“What?” Skye yelled. “Come on, Andy, this investigation’s over. Let’s just get back to town, meet your squeeze and after a night of hot lovin’ – except for you Shannon, Normie has school tomorrow – we can be on our way.”
Shannon scrunched her face up.
“I have more witnesses to interview,” he argued.
“Why the hell are we even bothering?” Shannon wondered. “Come on, Andy, even I could see they were nuts. My slayer senses didn’t kick in, so they’re probably harmless – except to the local wildlife – but they’ve spent way too long in the sun.”
Dawn turned to look at her. “You’ve been hanging around Skye too much, you’re starting to talk like her.”
“Gee, thanks!” Skye beamed.
“Look, Tracey’s not here yet, so we have time to investigate one more report, okay?”
Dawn sighed. “Fine,” she said, and stepped harder on the accelerator.
New Mexico – Rental Car – Later that Day
“Are we there yet?” Shannon asked.
“Ask that one more time and I’ll…” Skye broke off as a ranch house came into view. Surrounding the house were a dozen black SUVs with black-tinted windows. Men wearing dark suits and glasses swarmed around the house.
As the rental car pulled up in front of the gate, the men immediately surrounded it. One of them approached Dawn’s window and leaned down.
“Please move on, ma’am,” the anonymous man said.
“We’re from the Watchers Council…” she began.
“Please move on,” he repeated.
Dawn pulled her wallet from her purse and handed it to him. He closed it without even looking at it and handed it back. “Please move on, ma’am.”
“Dawn,” Andrew said from the back seat. “Go.”
“Just go!” he urged.
“Fine,” she said, and pulled the car away. She glanced in the rearview mirror and saw half a dozen identically dressed men watching their departure.
“What the hell was that?” Shannon asked no one in particular.
“The Men in Black!” Andrew said, with excitement in his voice.
End of Act Two