Act 4

Fade In:
The Ring – Same Time

Kadin braced herself just as Sara charged toward her at full force. She jumped back, plowing into the fence as the momentum of the werewolf’s body slammed into her own.

The hunter looked up, her eyes wide with shock as she watched the nearly eight-foot-tall demon snap the werewolf’s neck and then drop her motionless body to the ground.

Kadin looked down to see that Sara had returned to her human form. Her eyes were wide open, staring back up at her as she lay crumpled and lifeless in the dirt. The hunter slowly looked back up to find a pair of soulless black eyes.

She stared back at the snarling demon for a long moment. Her brow furrowed and her breath caught in her throat.


Flashback To:
New York City – Underground Arena – Night

Charlie peered around the edge of the wall, crouching down and motioning for Kadin to stay back.

The hunter quickly dipped back to press her body against the wall next to him. He watched as the guards passed and disappeared into a room before leading her out into the hall. They moved slowly, quietly slipping past each open door as they snuck closer and closer to the exit.

Charlie stopped and turned back to the hunter when they finally reached the large metal doors.

“This is where you get off, kid.” He smiled at Kadin, motioning toward the door with his head.

“Come with me,” Kadin pleaded softly.

Charlie just shook his head. “I got nothin’ and no one waitin’ for me,” he replied softly. “You got everything.”

Kadin seemed pained by the quiet admission. “You can come back with me. My friends…they can help you.”

Charlie’s eyes flashed red as he laughed softly. He stood and reached to pull open the door. “Time to go.” He nodded toward the darkness.

Kadin sighed, leaning in to pull him into a fierce hug before quickly moving to push her way through the open door. She stopped one last time to glance back at him with a smile. He returned it before she moved to quickly run off into the darkness.

Charlie watched her go, a sad smile on his face.

“That…” a deep, booming voice suddenly called from behind him. He froze and slowly turned to face a sinister looking Krylak standing a few feet behind him. “…was very ill advised,” Krylak growled as he stepped up and grabbed the man roughly by the throat.

A bright white light began to surround them. Charlie screamed.

Cut To:
The Ring – VIP Box – Resume

Krylak smiled evilly as he sat with his hands gently folded in front of his face, his elbows resting on the arms of his chair. His eyes were trained on the two figures in the ring.

“That’s right,” he snarled. “Time to kill your little friend.”

Cut To:
The Ring – Same Time

Kadin still looked shocked to see the man standing in front of her. He looked like her friend. His face and even his clothes were the same, but there was something in his eyes that showed him to be something completely different.

“Charlie,” she sighed again sadly.

The demon roared and then charged her. She ducked and rolled out of the way just as his fist connected with the steel of the fence. She looked up to see the hole where his hand had busted through.

Kadin grunted, just managing to roll out of the way as his heavy boot stomped down where her head had just been. She quickly jumped to her feet to level her gaze on the approaching demon.

Kadin clenched her fists at her side. Her skin began to change and her eyes darkened.

Cut To:
Alcove Above the Ring – Same Time

Faith and another slayer quietly made their way around to where Kennedy was crouched down behind the pillar.

Faith’s eyes trained on the two figures in the ring. She watched Kadin change just before the other demon crashed into her.

“She’s gonna be okay, Slick,” she told her friend quietly. “Kadin can take care of herself.”

Kennedy sighed. “That’s what I’m worried about.”

Cut To:
The Ring – Same Time

Kadin growled as her body collided roughly with the fence. Then she dropped to the dirt a few feet away.

She could barely muster the strength to push herself up before another hard boot collided with her ribs, sending her sprawling up against the fence once again.

The hunter fell back to the earth again, blood pouring from her mouth. She rolled over to spit out the dark liquid. She braced herself, moving onto her hands, then looked up to see the familiar face staring back at her with a blank, emotionless expression.

Her fists balled into the blood-stained dirt, and she growled.

Cut To:
Alcove Above the Ring – Same Time

“Slick,” Faith called quietly. She motioned with her head towards a set of bleachers beneath them.

Kennedy’s eyes followed her friend’s motion to see the open floorboards leading down behind the raised bleachers.

“Stay here,” Faith told the other slayers quietly. “Don’t make a sound, and don’t attack until my signal. Got it?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the slayers all replied quietly, as they watched Faith and Kennedy slowly stalk towards the bleachers.

Cut To:
The Ring – Beneath Raised Bleachers – Moments Later

Faith moved her head just in time as the demons above stomped down on the cheap wood above her head. She shot a glare upward, then looked over to see Kennedy smirking at her.

She elbowed the other slayer in the side as they continued to crawl beneath the roaring crowd.

Cut To:
The Ring – Same Time

Kadin easily fended off a swipe of the demon’s hand. She grabbed his arm and twisted it painfully at his elbow as she jerked his body sending him flying through the air.

She watched with cold black eyes as he crashed into the fence and then fell to the dirt writhing in pain. The crowd cheered louder, slamming their fists against the fence.

Kadin slowly turned her gaze up to the top of the ring. Her eyes leveled on the box atop the far corner.

Cut To:
The Ring – VIP Box – Same Time

Krylak slowly leaned forward in his seat. The smile never left his face as he looked down at Kadin.

Cut To:
The Ring – Same Time

Charlie got back to his feet just as Kadin turned her attention back in his direction. He steeled himself, his jet black eyes focused completely on the seething blue beast across from him.

Blood dripped from the corners of his mouth as he clenched and unclenched his fists. The large gash above his right eye poured the same red, oozing liquid down into his eye, but he was unfazed.

Kadin took in a few harsh breaths, then slowly started to walk towards him.

Cut To:
The Ring – VIP Box – Same Time

Krylak straightened his suit as he looked over to his fellow demons. “Excuse me gentlemen,” he offered with a polite nod. He got to his feet and once again leveled his eyes on the ring. “It’s time for the main event.”

Cut To:
The Ring – Same Time

Kadin grabbed the demon by the arm and easily dodged as he tried to swing at her with his free hand. She looked directly into his cold, unresponsive eyes.

He suddenly let out a loud, piercing wail, and the crowd soon joined in.

Kadin growled as she twisted his body in her grasp. He spun around and she lifted a boot to place it in the center of his back. She winced, the motion causing a painful pull to the gash in her side.

Growling, she kicked her opponent to the ground, then dropped down to place her knee in his back. She lifted her right hand into the air and howled out in agony as she drove her fist straight down through his back.

Cut To:
Outside The Ring – Same Time

Krylak motioned to the guards standing by the East Gate to the Ring. He unbuttoned his jacket and slipped it off his shoulders before handing it to the nearest demon. He kept his eyes on the scene in the ring, smiling evilly as he started to unbutton his shirt.

Kennedy helped Faith to her feet as the two slayers finally made it to the outskirts of the ring. She nodded towards the West Gate and the two demons standing guard by the entrance. Faith nodded in return, and the two slayers started to make their way over.

Cut To:
The Ring – Same Time

Kadin finally stopped howling as she jerked her hand back through the demon’s back to reveal his withered and dead heart in the palm of her hand. She threw her hand into the air with the organ clutched tightly between her fingers.

The crowd erupted in a frenzy as she held her fist high for all of them to see. The demons started to pound on the fence, screaming out for the victory.

The din suddenly stopped when the East Gate opened and Krylak stepped into the ring.

Cut To:
Outside the Ring – Same Time

Kennedy and Faith dropped the two lifeless guards to the ground at the same time as the warehouse went deathly silent. They looked up to watch as Krylak stalked closer towards Kadin.

That was the moment the doors burst open behind them and the demon guards started to pour in.

Kennedy looked at Faith.

“Go,” the older slayer replied. “I’ll handle these bastards.” Kennedy glanced over to the rapidly approaching demons and then back to her friend hesitantly.

“I said go!” Faith shouted as one of the demons rapidly approached. Kennedy flinched as his body suddenly fell to the ground, a dagger protruding from his back. She looked up to see the other slayers suddenly appear behind the guards.

Kennedy nodded to her friend and then turned to pull open the gate. Faith grabbed the swinging steel, trapping a horde of the demons against the fence as more appeared.

Cut To:
The Ring – Same Time

Krylak continued to move towards Kadin as the battle between the slayers and the demons raged.

Kadin could hear the sounds of the fight around her, but her attention was focused solely on the approaching demon. She dropped the withered heart from her hand and slowly stood to face him.

Krylak glanced down to the dead body of the hunter’s friend.

“He was more useful than I thought he’d be,” the demon taunted with a cruel chuckle. “Tell me,” he continued, as he started to casually stalk around the hunter. “How did it feel, hmm?” he smiled. “How did it feel to just…mmm…” He paused for an evil chuckle. “Just…slip your hand right in there and –”

He was abruptly cut off as Kadin charged him, growling as she swiped at his chest. Krylak stumbled back, and suddenly stopped. He slowly glanced down at his torso to see three angry red wounds seeping blood diagonally across his body.

The demon slowly lifted his eyes and leveled his glare on Kadin. “That,” he snarled as his eyes darkened and his blue chest bulked up. “Was a mistake.”

Before Kadin could react, Krylak swept across the ring and grabbed her by the throat. Her body was easily hoisted into the air, her feet dangling uselessly as the demon held her by a firm grip around the throat.

They locked eyes as Krylak snarled. “I’ll have your soul,” he taunted with growing anger. “And then I’ll make you take hers.”

Kadin’s eyes darkened and she let out a loud wail as Krylak moved his other hand to jam it painfully into her chest. Her soul began to slip from her body and she started to convulse in his grasp.

Kadin suddenly found herself flying through the air, landing in the dirt a few feet away. Krylak stumbled back from the force of the blow to the side of his head.

Kennedy stood in the spot where he had been a moment earlier, fists raised and eyes steely cold.

“Hands off, jackass,” the slayer taunted.

Krylak chuckled in amusement. “Well if it isn’t the little wifey here to save the day.” He wiped at the blow above his brow. “Impressive,” he nodded as he began to circle the slayer. “I don’t usually get caught off guard twice in a row.” He glanced over to the crumpled, but still moving, form of the hunter. “You two make quite a pair.”

“Leave her alone,” Kennedy snarled. “She’ll never be one of your lapdogs.”

“Oh?” Krylak taunted again. “But I don’t want her to be,” he offered with a smile. “It’s you I want as my lap dog,” he laughed out loud evilly. “Her,” he nodded in Kadin’s direction. “She will lead my army. Unstoppable,” he added in a lower voice. “Immortal.”

Kennedy glanced over just as Kadin was struggling to get to her feet. Her steely expression wavered. “I’d rather see her dead.”

Kennedy’s body jolted as she was suddenly jerked into the air. She reached up to claw at the hand around her throat.

“You first,” Krylak snarled as he jammed his hand into her chest. A bright light engulfed them both as the demon started to drain her soul once again.

Then, the light went out as quickly as it had come. Kennedy watched as Krylak’s eyes widened and his body jerked forward painfully. The grip on her throat slackened, but she remained hoisted into the air.

His body jerked again and then Kennedy felt the hot spray of blood splash across her face. She slowly looked down to see a blue claw protruding from Krylak’s chest, his withered, black heart beating in the palm.

The demon’s hand went limp and Kennedy dropped to the ground. He slowly looked down at the hand through his chest, his arms slumping to the side and his body also going completely limp. He slowly slid forward, the blue beast’s arm passing clean through his body as the demon fell dead to into the dirt.

Kennedy looked up, her eyes still wide in shock as she rubbed a hand across the burn in her throat. She was met with a steely black gaze as Kadin looked down, the heart still beating in her hand.

With a growl, she slammed her fingers together, crushing the organ in her grasp before dropping to her knees.

Kennedy shook herself out of her shock and crawled over to her lover’s slumped form. An increasingly-less-blue Kadin looked up, her brown eyes shining as she met Kennedy’s gaze.

The slayer just breathed heavily as she reached out to pull the other woman into a tight embrace.

Fade To:
Abandoned Church – Moments Later

Jeff walked through the dusty outer hallway of the church. Light from street lamps, the moon and the stars leaked in through windows. His eyes adjusted after a few minutes and he inched forward. Both hands were held out to each side, his eyes wide open. In the silence, he listened. He moved forward slowly, gazing at every single shadow.

Suddenly the woman leaped out from behind a half-rotten curtain. She landed on Jeff, knocking him to the floor.

He looked up to see her uncovered face. The dark glasses were gone, revealing eyes many times darker. Her open mouth resembled that of a shark; it was nothing but fanged teeth.

“Tastyyyyyyy!” she hissed. “Me have food follow! New way to hunt!”

Before she, or Jeff, could do anything more, something swung through the air. It made an arc in the darkness, swinging with precision and force right into the side of her head, sending her sprawling. The blonde rolled on the ground, make a snarl and a whimper of pain.

Jeff looked up. Grace stood there with a shovel in her hand. “I’m never leaving home without a tiny arsenal on my person again,” she said.

“Me, too,” he said. Then he looked at the blonde. She was getting up, making a mewling sound. He waved his hand and said something in Latin. She flew up into the air and crashed into the ceiling, then fell down again. It sounded like something broke as she landed, but she still growled in pain.

“Like a damn cockroach,” said Grace, approaching with the shovel. She raised it over her head, only to have it yanked out of her hands.

Beside her, appearing out of the shadows, was a man. He was deathly pale, with the same dark, dark eyes and a mouth full of tiny fangs. “We not vermin,” he said simply. “You. Infest world. Make sickness. Leave filth.”

“Oh, hell,” said Grace.

He looked at her. “Hell. Yes. We Voice of Hell.” His lips almost looked like they were smiling. “You,” he continued, “Food.”

Goret!” said Jeff, pointing his finger at the newcomer. A thread of flame emerged from his fingertip and shot out. It struck the male, but with little or no impact.

“Me King,” the creature said simply. “Me protect nest. Me no hurt by spells.”

On the floor, the female was making a sound that wavered somewhere between a gargle and a snort. Something about the tenor of it made that sound resemble laughing. Still bent over, she licked her lips with a forked tongue the color of rotten meat. Then, her face registered surprise.

The male’s eyes went wide. His mouth moved. Then he dropped the shovel, which hit the floor with a clang. He swayed, then crumpled into a heap. As he did, a gaping wound in the back of his head was visible. Behind him, the wooden stake that caused it dripped a dark ichor.

“Surprise attack from behind,” said Buffy, holding the stake and looking down at the male’s corpse. “You know, you really should have expected that. It’s like exactly what you pulled half a minute ago.” Then she threw the stake directly into the female’s head, between the eyes.

“There are probably eggs somewhere in the building,” said Jeff, as he got up off the floor.

Xander, emerging from the shadows while Buffy retrieved Mr. Pointy, said, “Got a team on the way. I’m kinda surprised you two didn’t call for backup.”

“Well,” began Grace, “I broke my cell phone.”

“Damn,” said Buffy. “Bad luck.”

“And worse, I forgot mine,” said Jeff.

“Bet you’ll never do that again,” said Xander.

“I think you’re right.”

“So,” said Buffy, “where’s Lorinda anyway? I thought you two were catching a show together?”

“Back at the party,” said Grace, “she’s…well, Jeff saw…so we…tell you what, I’ll fill out a report tomorrow. Okay?”

“Okay.” Buffy nodded.

“We should be getting back,” said Jeff.

“Yeah,” said Grace, “no telling what Lorinda’s getting into. Or…no, I’d better not say that.” Without another word, she headed straight back the way she came. Jeff watched her go, then nodded to Xander and Buffy before following.

After a few moments, Buffy sighed. “Oh, somebody kill me. I almost just said, were we ever that young?”

“Buff, I’m sorry.”

“What?” Buffy blinked.

“Tonight…this was supposed to be about getting you away from all this, for just one night. A nice time. Good food. Some laughs. No pressure, no decisions, no danger and no having to slay anything or save anybody. But that isn’t how it turned out at all, not even a little bit, and I just wanted…I wanted to say I’m sorry.”

Buffy walked over to Xander and reached up to kiss him. It wasn’t a passionate kiss, or a sexy one, or even a romantic touching of the lips, but it was a kiss. Not simply a peck, nor did she kiss him on the cheek.

“What I am,” she said, looking into his eyes, “what I do…it doesn’t go away. Not ever. Thanks for trying. And thanks even more for accepting. There aren’t a lot of guys who can do that. Trust me, I know.”

He shrugged. “Been doing this forever, it seems like.”

“So,” she continued, “don’t beat yourself up. Don’t blame yourself for anything. Just make some plans.”

“Plans? What plans?”

“For another date. This one can’t really count, and sooner or later we’re bound to go out without anyone almost getting eaten or disemboweled or turned into salt. I figure you deserve another shot.”

Xander smiled. He smiled even wider as she slipped her arm around his and they both headed back to the street.

Cut To:
Cleveland Street – Moments Later

Jeff caught up to Grace almost a block later.

“Hey,” he said, “I just wanted to thank you for…”

Shut up!

“What?” He did a double take.

“Just shut up! Sweet mother of all the gods, I was never so scared in my life!”

“It didn’t show.”

“Of course it didn’t show! I couldn’t let it! If I let myself be scared then there’d’ve been zero chance of getting out of there alive! So I couldn’t even let myself simply be afraid!”

She continued to walk on, without the slightest sign of slowing down. Jeff managed to keep pace, but barely. Two blocks later, he finally spoke again. “I think you’re a really great watcher.”

Grace snorted.

“I do. Look, I mean it. You say you were terrified, and I believe you. But it did not show, and that is impressive. Damn impressive.”

“Didn’t even want to go in there.”

“But you did.”

“Following you!”

“Well, yeah, but…”

“So why the hell did you go in there?” Grace stopped dead and turned on him. “You think getting yourself killed is some kind of answer? Maybe a nice death in the line of duty will take care of things? Okay, maybe that makes some kind of sense in a weird, weird, weird way, but what about the rest of us?”

“You’re right.” Jeff met her gaze. “Not that I’m trying to die or anything. The fact is, I pretty much know that right now, I’m in no immediate danger.”

“What?” Grace stared. “Say again?”

Jeff looked uncomfortable. “I’ve seen myself. In the future. Years from now.”

“How do you know it’s years? Is there a calendar? Flying cars?”

“No, but when I see myself then…I have a daughter. She’s maybe ten or eleven years old. So you see, I was pretty sure that, at least for tonight, I was safe. That’s why I came across as some kind of daredevil maniac, rushing in where angels fear to tread and all that. Grace?”

She was near a bus bench. As he spoke, Grace had reached out and leaned against it. Now, she was sinking into the bench, letting her whole torso collapse and take deep shuddering breaths.

“Grace? I’m so sorry! Really!” He knelt beside her. “I was thoughtless! I should have thought about you! You could have been seriously hurt, or worse!”

For several moments, Grace said nothing, did nothing. Her head finally lifted, and her eyes were red as they bored into Jeff.

“You,” she whispered. “I thought I might lose…” Then she fell silent, looked away. “Look,” she said a few seconds later, “I’m not exactly popular. I’ve only got a couple of friends in the whole world. Pretty much all of them are new. And losing even one…even one…that is more than maybe I can take.” She looked back at him. Her face, much more composed, was no longer as flushed. Her eyes were clearer.

“I…” Jeff said nothing more.

“So, you’re going to live long enough to have a daughter?” Grace almost sounded business-like.


“What’s she like?”

He took a deep breath. “Pale, with brown hair. She has a beautiful smile. Or, will.”

Grace nodded. “What’s her name?”

“I think it’ll be Mercy.”

She took this in. “Ya gotta wonder.”


“Was that going to be her name? Or did your vision just give her that name retroactively in advance?”

“I dunno. I’m still trying to figure out what ‘retroactively in advance’ means.”

“Read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then it’ll kinda make sense.”

“Okay.” He hesitated. “Do you feel up to going back to the party?”

“I’m not really a party person, or haven’t you noticed?”

“The thing is, I don’t think Lorinda should be left unsupervised when she’s been trying to spend the night drinking.”

“Good point.” Grace stood up.

After walking a city block, which brought them to the place where they crossed the street in front of the duplex, he spoke again. “I wasn’t happy to find out, at first.”

“About what?”

“That I was going to live.” His voice was low. “I don’t think I really wanted to, not at first. Not completely, anyway. Then, I started seeing this pretty little girl in my future, and then, I found out she was mine. Let’s say I had some profoundly mixed feelings. At first.”

“What about now?”

He hesitated. “Now, I think maybe it’ll be all right.”

“Did Hope want children?”

“Yeah. We both did.”

“So do you think she’d mind you living your life, getting to have all the things she never did?”

Jeff didn’t answer for a long moment. He just waited on the sidewalk, looking at nothing and no one. Then he said, “She died to make that happen.”

In silence, the two of them crossed the street together.

Fade In:
CNN Television Studios – The Next Morning

Rock Cartwright smiled at the camera from his spot behind the desk, seven large screens showing different feeds in the background.

“I’m here with Autumn O’Mara, who, despite recent controversies, is still twenty points ahead of her two opponents in the polls. Thank you for coming, Congresswoman.”

Autumn O’Mara was seated at the other end of the desk in a brightly colored blazer. “Thanks for having me.”

Cut To:
Voice of Hell Base of Operations – The Night Before

The ceiling and walls were gray, with exposed pipes and wiring. The Voice of Hell strode into view, her facial mark framed by yellow eyes and long, dark hair. She raised a small recording device to her lips.

“This is the Voice of Hell, speaking to all demons…because this is a cause that should unite all of us.”

Cut To:
CNN Television Studios – Resume

“Some say that your sudden move to shut down the Watchers Council is motivated by a desire to pander to the voters,” Cartwright began. “What do you say to that?”

O’Mara laughed. “Pander? That’s hardly the word I would use.” She sobered quickly. “The Watchers Council has no accountability. Demons are too much of a threat to leave in the hands of an organization with the history of the one we’re talking about here.”

Cut To:
Demon Hideout – The Night Before

A group of very ugly demons huddled around a radio in a dank underground room. Somewhere in the background, water was dripping. The Voice of Hell sounded tinny over the speakers.

“We have all spent our lives on the bottom rung of the ladder, hiding, sneaking, scuttling like rats. We were once the rulers here. We will be again. You have been told for centuries to be patient. The time for patience is over.”

Cut To:
CNN Television Studios – Resume

Cartwright pressed on. “But what do you say to those who argue that there is no one ready to step in if the Watchers Council is banned?”

“The Watchers Council was needed in the past because we weren’t aware of these threats. Now, I’m not denying there will be an adjustment period. This legislation’s ban will be pending a full investigation by the HCSR. If they find in the Council’s favor –”

“The House Committee on Supernatural Relations?” Cartwright interrupted. “You yourself are the Chair of that Committee, Congresswoman. That’s correct, isn’t it?”

O’Mara smiled. “Yes, of course, Rock. But I think what the viewers need to understand is that, if we don’t act, we will have learned nothing from the Crisis, from Tres Rios, from the recent viral outbreak. These…beings will stop at nothing to kill us, and I don’t believe the Council’s the answer.”

Cut To:
Voice of Hell Base of Operations – The Night Before

“The Watchers Council continues to hunt us,” the Voice of Hell spoke into its recorder. “Continues to slaughter us. We spend our lives running away…and yet it’s not enough for the humans. You hear their leading candidate say that they’re not doing a good enough job in their holocaust. Apparently, we all must die. And why?”

Cut To:
CNN Television Studios – Resume

“What the Council fails to see, what the other candidates fail to see,” O’Mara continued, “is that these are some of the most crucial months in our history, as a nation and even as a species.”

“And why do you say that, Congresswoman?”

O’Mara stared levelly at Rock Cartwright. “A war is coming. A war that we didn’t ask for, but that only makes it all the more important.”

Cut To:
Voice of Hell Base of Operations – The Night Before

“Because a war is coming,” the Voice of Hell announced. “A war that will decide our fates and the destiny of this dimension for the rest of eternity. A war that will return us to our rightful place as rulers. And it is that war I ask you all to prepare to fight.”

Cut To:
CNN Television Studios – Resume

“If we’re not ready to fight that war, Rock,” the Congresswoman insisted, “we will regret it. Not just for the rest of our lives, but for the rest of our children’s, and their children’s. Those are the stakes.”

Cut To:
Voice of Hell Operational Base – The Night Before

“I thank you for your time, and wish you good luck in the struggle ahead,” the Voice of Hell concluded.

She set the recorder down on the table in front of her, then staggered. She braced herself on a chair for support. Her lip quivered, and a single tear, bright orange, fell from her yellow eye. She wiped it away and sniffed as she clutched at the Loathestone around her neck.

Cut To:
Kennedy’s Apartment – Bedroom – Same Time

Kennedy scowled at the TV as she watched the CNN broadcast. She kept the volume low as she took another swig of her soda.

She heard the sound of Kadin rousing in the other room and moved to flick off the TV.

Cut To:
Kennedy’s Apartment – Bedroom – Later that Night

“You really gotta stop doin’ this.” Kennedy smiled as she cleaned the stitches in Kadin’s side. The hunter winced, but managed to return the smile.

“It’s all part of my charm,” Kadin explained through gritted teeth.

Kennedy rolled her eyes as she applied gauze to the wound, before taping it down.

“Does that charm include a knack for making demon friends who always somehow end up trying to kill you?” she challenged with an arched brow. She looked up from her task to meet the other woman’s eyes.

Kadin’s smile widened just slightly as she shifted against the raised pillow behind her back. “Don’t worry,” she offered with a slight chuckle. “Those are the last ones.”

“I hope so,” Kennedy said, as she moved to dab at the gash above her lover’s eye. “At this rate, Buffy’s gonna start charging extra for the bandages.”

Kadin laughed again, wincing as the motion sent a jolting pain through her side. “Oww,” she groaned, cradling her hand against the bandage.

“So…” Kennedy said, “where did Mink run off too? The little guy was finally starting to grow on me.”

Kadin smiled as she relaxed back into the pillow. “He said he had to find where he belonged, but he promised to visit when he could. He gave me his cell number.”

Kennedy looked up sharply. “Mink has a…cell phone?”

“Didn’t ask,” Kadin chuckled. “I was too afraid of the answer.”

Kennedy just sighed, shaking her head with a light smile as she placed a butterfly bandage over the cut. She dropped her hands and moved back with a sigh. “All done.”

“Thanks,” Kadin said softly. She shifted against the pillow again. She watched as Kennedy quietly started to pack up the first aid kit. “Aren’t you gonna ask me?”

The slayer paused in her movements, but didn’t look up. “Ask you what?”

“Why I did it,” Kadin responded softly. “I know you want to.”

Kennedy sighed as she closed the kit and then slowly looked up at her lover.

“I wish I had an answer for you,” Kadin offered when the slayer didn’t reply. She sighed. Her shoulders slumped slightly as she averted her gaze and then quickly moved it back to meet her girlfriend’s. “I was afraid of what I was becoming,” she confessed. “I mean, look what I did to that doctor…those other people…”

“That wasn’t you,” Kennedy interjected softly. She reached out to place a gentle hand on Kadin’s arm. “It was that crap they pumped you full of. It wasn’t your fault.”

Kadin’s resolve wavered and she swallowed. “I didn’t feel out of control in the ring,” she explained, moving to take Kennedy’s hand into her own. “I know it sounds stupid, but when I was fighting…I felt like I was finally in control.”

“And how about when they smashed your face in?” Kennedy shot back, a little annoyed, but still smiling. “Bet that felt really controlling.”

Kadin smiled slightly. “Besides that,” she sighed. “At least when I was in that ring…” she trailed off with a slight pause. “I wasn’t the worst thing in it.”

Kennedy’s expression fell, and a flash of understanding passed through her eyes. She reached up with her free hand to place it tenderly on her Kadin’s cheek.

“I don’t see you like that,” she said softly. “I never have and I never will.” She kept her eyes on Kadin’s, her smile widening just a bit. “I love you, Kadin,” she whispered. “Can’t you see that?”

Kadin swallowed again. “I do,” she whispered back softly. They shared a brief smile before the hunter released her lover’s hand to slip it into the open pocket on the side of her pants.

Kadin wrapped her fingers around the tiny velvet box, her smile growing. “Can’t believe it’s still there.”

“What?” Kennedy asked, dropping her hand from the hunter’s face.

Kadin smiled as she pulled her hand from her pocket and gently set the box down on the bed between them. Kennedy watched as Kadin slowly pulled open the top.

“Sure you don’t wanna take that back?” Kadin asked.

Kennedy looked down at the ring, her eyes slightly widening as she was stunned into silence. The blue sapphire shone back up at her, making her tongue-tied.

“What ya say? Wanna make this permanent?”

Kennedy smiled.

Fade to Black


End of Underworld


Next on Watchers…

With the Council on the retreat against the Voice of Hell and Willow still in prison, the rest of the gang pulls out all the stops to turn the tide. The question is if it will make any difference.


Click here to read “Breaking Point” now!