University Hospital – Blood Bank – Evening
Siobhan huffed impatiently and looked down the street. “No cars, no pedestrians,” she grumbled. “Not even a drunken bum.”
“Are they sure there’s gonna be a heist?” Hadley asked.
Siobhan watched the unloading of the blood bank truck a second more, then looked left at her partner.
“You heard the report, same as me,” she shrugged.
“Uh-uh,” Hadley shook her head. “I heard a vague, maybe even bogus, tip from a vampire.”
“From Skye,” Siobhan said pointedly. “She’s our inside person. If she doesn’t know, well…”
“Maybe she knows, and she’s not saying. Or telling us wrong.”
“And why would she go and do that?” Siobhan scoffed.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe ’cause she’s…a vamp?”
Siobhan grinned and laughed quietly as they continued their silent watch over the delivery being made at University Hospital’s Blood Bank.
Watchers Council – Command Center – Same Time
“You seein’ anything, Ace?”
Robin looked up at Faith, who stood peering over his shoulder at a grainy security camera image from the University Hospital’s Blood Bank.
“Only two bored slayers,” he motioned at the shadowy forms of Siobhan and Hadley, crouching in wait.
Faith curled her lip. “How can you tell they’re bored? I can barely tell them from that dumpster!”
“I know,” Robin said. “This patch into the blood bank’s security cameras leaves a lot…” His voice trailed off as he sat up straighter. “Hold on…” He used a toggle switch to get another angle of the blood bank’s delivery entrance.
“Did you see that?” he asked Faith.
“See what? The shadow I can’t see on account of the shadows? Whoa!” she exclaimed.
Robin was already on the radio.
Blood Bank – Delivery Entrance – Same Time
“Slayer One, this is Base,” Robin’s voice came quietly over the radio.
“I got ya, Base,” Siobhan said.
“Demons approaching your one o’clock,” Robin said.
“And two more to our twelve, and sh –” Siobhan’s voice cut off abruptly.
Watchers Council – Command Center – Same Time
Faith and Robin leaned in to see two shadowy figures jump down from behind Siobhan and Hadley. Three others, in front of them, at the one, twelve and eleven o’clock positions, charged the dumpster.
“They’re big, whoever they are,” Robin said.
“Demons,” Faith noted, frowning. She took her own radio out of her belt. “Backup Three, this is Mother Hen.”
“We read you, Mom!” Twitters and laughter crackled from Faith’s radio.
“Cut the crap, Shannon! Get your team in position!”
“Roger that!” Shannon’s voice was now all business.
Blood Bank – Delivery Entrance – Continuous
Siobhan and Hadley stood back to back. Two towering, dark demons assailed them with claw-like fists and pushed them back toward the dumpster. The sound of something striking down hard at the bottom of the dumpster made Hadley turn her head. The demon in front of her seized the chance to bash her across the temple with a ridged claw.
“Stay awake!” Siobhan cried to Hadley as the demon facing her charged with a deafening shriek.
The three other demons who had jumped into the dumpster behind the two slayers popped their heads up like moles from the ground. With a feral grin, the middle demon nodded, and his two comrades reached their claw-ridged hands down, taking Siobhan and Hadley by their throats. They easily lifted the two slayers off their feet and held them suspended almost a yard above the ground.
“Pa…” Siobhan choked out, “Pa…ra…llel…”
Hadley’s wide eyes shifted left to Siobhan in understanding.
Watchers Council – Command Center – Same Time
“That’s it,” Faith said. “Shannon,” she snapped into the radio. “Slayers in trouble. Approach with caution.”
“Wait a minute!” Robin cried, as Siobhan and Hadley quickly curled their knees up to their chests on the screen. They simultaneously kicked their legs out parallel with the ground. The force of the kick sent their two assailants flying backwards.
Acrobatically, the two slayers swung their legs down straight, then up and almost completely over their heads, simultaneously reaching back with their hands. They each grabbed the demons holding them, placing their thumbs beneath the demons’ jaw lines and their fingers at the back of the ridged black necks.
With full slayer force, they drove their legs downward toward the ground again and rolled forward, pulling their demon captors with them. The demons somersaulted out of the dumpster and landed heavily on their backs on the pavement.
The middle demon let out a cry of fury and leaped over the leading edge of the dumpster, only to find himself in the midst of the backup team of slayers.
“Is this a private party,” Shannon quipped to Siobhan, as her squad closed in and captured the demons, “or can anybody join?”
Siobhan and Hadley ordered the demons to kneel together on the ground in front of them, as Shannon and her team stood back and observed.
“Good work, teams!” Faith’s voice came over the radio. “Remember, we want them alive. We’re sending –”
No sooner had Faith spoken than the lead demon said something untranslatable to his squad. The demons looked at the slayers with contemptuous glares and bit down on something in their mouths.
“No!” Robin cried sharply, as he saw the five demon heads explode and the bodies fall in a haphazard arrangement on the ground. The concussion of the blast took the slayers off their feet, and they too hit the ground. He brought his hand down on the security console. “Damn it,” he said quietly.
Concerned, Faith stared at the monitors until all the slayers began to move to their feet again.
“Well,” she said, “that was…different.”
“Are you all right?” Robin asked them.
Blood Bank – Delivery Entrance – Same Time
The squad of slayers stood agape at the sight of the strewn and headless demon bodies. Shannon exchanged a confused look with Siobhan, then turned to her squad members.
“I think we’re okay,” Siobhan replied.
The slayers all stood blinking at the sight. Hadley, who had been closest to the explosion, was splattered with raw, black flesh and bits of dark blue-black bone that slid from her hair, face, and clothes. She held her arms out and looked at her fellow slayers.
“Gah-ross!” she said, as she began to pull demon chunks from her hair and flick them away.
Siobhan then asked, “Now what? Do we close this down?”
Watchers Council – Command Center – Continuous
“Not yet,” Faith answered before Robin could. “They might be decoys, so stay in the area.
“I’m gooey,” Hadley complained. In the monitor. they could see her wiping her hands on her jeans.
Faith and Robin grinned at each other.
“Let’s bring Siobhan and Hadley in,” Robin said to Faith, although it sounded more like a question rather than a statement. “Shannon and her team can keep watch. We’ll send another team to support them.”
“But goo builds character,” Faith told him. Robin just gave her an unpleasant look. “Oh, fine,” she told him, before talking into the radio. “Siobhan and Hadley can head back and get cleaned up. Shannon, I’m sending you another team, so stay in the area and make sure these guys weren’t a diversion. I’m sending Marie’s team.”
“Copy that,” Shannon replied.
“You’re such a pushover – I’d leave ’em out there,” Faith teased Robin. Then she tuned the radio to another channel. “Marie? You copy?”
“Go ahead,” Marie’s voice said.
“Move your slayers to University Hospital. Shannon will fill you in.”
“So now we have Kamikaze Demons?” Robin asked Faith.
Faith shrugged. “Don’t know, but it sure would make our job a heck of a lot easier if that’s the case.”
“I’m going to tell Buffy what happened,” Robin said as he stood up.
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Moments Later
Joan entered with a collection of folders under her arm.
“This is the last of it,” she told Buffy, who was seated behind her desk.
“Thanks for staying over,” Buffy told her. “Just set them here with the ten thousand other files.”
Joan just nodded as she put them on the edge of the desk and turned to leave.
“Oh, hey,” Buffy said, getting her attention. “When you get your check this week, do you mind if you let me see it?”
“Uh, no,” Joan replied, sounding a bit confused.
“I want to make sure your raise is on it,” Buffy explained. Joan began to grin. “Andrew thinks he did it right, but he’s not as familiar with the accounting software as Willow is – and I have yet to find an outside accounting firm I trust. Oh, and be sure to get me an expense report for the…Hunchback thingy. The one that Dr. Miller broke.”
“Thank you,” Joan replied.
“Not a problem,” Buffy answered. “Have a good night.”
Joan nodded and left the office. A few seconds later, Robin made his way inside the room.
“You’re here too soon,” Buffy said, concerned. “That’s not a good sign, is it?”
Robin grinned. “Actually, the demons are dead,” he answered.
Buffy sighed. “Didn’t you tell the girls we wanted them alive for interrogation?”
“We didn’t have a choice – they blew up.”
“They blew themselves up when they were captured.”
“But the girls did avert the heist, right? No one was hurt?”
Robin nodded. “Yeah, no problems there.”
“Great,” Buffy replied. “That’s great. Actually, we could use this. Jim’s been looking for a way to make us look good, so…that’s cool,” Buffy said and then began to grin. At that moment, there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” Buffy called out. Jim crossed the threshold. “Hey,” Buffy greeted him. “Were your ears burning? I was just talking about you,” she said happily. “I’ve got some fantastic news.”
“I wish I did,” he said soberly.
“God, now what?” Buffy asked. “We stopped a blood bank robbery tonight in Cleveland and – ”
“Yes,” Jim told her. “Only in Cleveland.”
Buffy raised both eyebrows.
Watchers Council – Cafeteria – Later that Night
Siobhan and Hadley, both now clean, sat laughing over coffees in the cafeteria. Hadley rubbed her claw-marked neck.
“Damn, that’s sore,” she said, as she touched the tender flesh where the demon had gripped her throat.
“Not as sore as Faith and Robin are, I bet,” Siobhan said. “They wanted those demons alive.”
“Not our fault they were on a suicide mission,” Hadley said, frowning. She took a big gulp from her coffee. “OW! Hot!” When Siobhan made no answer, Hadley looked over at her.
“What?” she asked the preoccupied slayer.
“Had…why would a blood bank theft be a suicide mission? I mean, it’s not like it’s the only blood bank, or like the demon world would come to an end if they were a couple of blood bags short…”
Hadley shrugged. “Who knows how demons think? Or even if they do! It’s too bad we didn’t bring ’em in alive. But five less demons in the world is nothin’ to cry over. In fact, I say we should celebrate. I know where Andrew keeps the good ice cream…” She smiled conspiratorially.
Siobhan laughed. “Okay. Ya need me to help you break the lock?”
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Same Time
“This is…” Buffy trailed off.
“…a PR nightmare,” Jim finished.
The room now also held Faith, Robin, Rowena, Buffy, Andrew and Jim.
“Right,” Robin replied. “But now what?”
“Buffy,” Rowena said, “perhaps Faith should go talk to the girls.”
Buffy pointed to Faith as she spoke to Rowena, who still refused to look in Faith’s direction.
“She’s standing right there,” Buffy said. “Why don’t you suggest that to her yourself?”
Rowena still didn’t look at Faith. She focused on Buffy.
“I might add something more I’ll regret,” she answered tersely.
Buffy opened her mouth and appeared as though she might argue.
“It’s okay,” Faith’s voice said, cutting her off. “I’ll talk to them.”
Faith stepped out into the hallway and began to walk down the corridor as the meeting broke up. A few moments later, Buffy and Rowena exited the room.
“I know how you feel about Faith,” Buffy was saying. “But you need to start talking to her. It’s been three months.”
“I can’t,” Rowena answered. She shook her head. “Willow warned her. I warned her. But she shot her mouth off anyway, and now look at where we are. Confession might be good for Faith’s soul, Buffy, but it’s hell on my life.”
“And I thought Willow could hold a grudge,” Buffy muttered.
“Willow’s not here now because of Faith,” Rowena answered.
“That’s a crock,” Buffy replied, pointing a finger at Rowena. “The reason Willow’s not here now is because she’s being held without a trial. That has nothing to do with Faith.”
“She wouldn’t even be there at all if not for Faith,” Rowena countered.
“Fine,” Buffy relented. “But realize you went along with the plan for Faith’s confession, too.”
“Her mind was made up, Buffy,” Rowena countered. “Don’t you get it? When Faith decides she’s going to do something, she’s going to do it. Case closed.”
“Look, you can’t beat her up any more than she’s beating up herself right now. And you two have to start talking when something important like this comes up. Speaking of which…I’m not sure what we can do.”
“Neither do I.”
“There were no live demons captured. No way to gather information…”
“Maybe we’ll find out something from Siobhan and Hadley that’ll help,” Rowena said.
“Maybe we should be finding something out from Skye for a change.”
“I don’t think Skye knows anything more than what she told us,” Rowena replied.
Buffy stopped and waited until Rowena realized she was not walking with her. Rowena turned.
“What if she does?” Buffy asked flatly.
“I thought we were beyond this,” Rowena replied.
Buffy let out a heavy sigh. “I need to find out who’s behind all of this.”
“I agree…but killing the messenger, figuratively or literally, isn’t the answer,” Rowena retorted. “Skye told us about the heist, and we stopped it. What more can she possibly do? Face it. The Council, as a whole, dropped the ball.”
“I hate losing people and looking incompetent,” Buffy replied.
“Who here does?” Rowena shot back.
The two women began walking again in silence for a moment.
“Let’s go see Skye,” Buffy suggested.
Watchers Council – Dawn and Skye’s Apartment – Moments Later
Dawn opened the door to see Buffy and Rowena there.
“Now what?” she immediately asked.
Buffy and Rowena walked inside before answering.
“Where’s Skye?” Buffy asked.
Watchers Council – Media Room – Same Time
Various news feeds played on different monitors behind Jim and Robin.
“So what’s the plan?” Robin asked Jim.
“I retire. I find myself a handsome Parisian and move to the south of France to live out the rest of my days in quiet solitude,” Jim replied.
“What’s the real plan?”
Jim sighed. “I’m not entirely sure. I don’t even know how I could approach something like this.”
Robin motioned to one of the monitors behind them. “Look. There’s O’Mara spouting off again.”
Jim went over and pushed a button to turn up the volume.
Autumn O’Mara’s Home – Same Time
O’Mara stood outside her home on her small porch, in front of a few reporters.
“What do you make of these latest reports, Congresswoman O’Mara?”
“I have yet to be fully briefed on what transpired tonight, but in keeping with what we know about the Council, I’m not surprised. And I wouldn’t be shocked to eventually learn they had a hand in the events this evening, should they be true. These people simply cannot be trusted.”
“What do you feel should be an appropriate action?” a reporter asked.
“I’d like to see them closed, in all honesty. I think the public would be much safer, but I’m only one person.”
“Do you still plan to enact legislation to do just that?” another reporter asked.
“I’ve talked with several Congress members who have expressed the same concern to me, Dan. That’s all I can say at the moment,” she replied. “Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to speak with my staff to learn more regarding this situation.”
As O’Mara made her way back inside, reporters continued to ask questions, but she ignored them as she closed the door behind her
Warehouse – Same Time
A group of demons cheered as they watched their television screens.
Watchers Council – Media Room – Same Time
Jim looked over at Robin.
“What a bitch,” Jim sighed.
Robin had a ghost of a smile for a moment.
Watchers Council – Cafeteria – Same Time
Hadley and Siobhan stood over several open five-gallon drums of ice cream, each a different flavor and all containing crunchy, crispy or chocolate bits. Two large spoons dug into the same container of Oreo cookie ice cream.
“Mmmm…” Hadley hummed in delight. “Did you see the looks on their faces!”
Siobhan nodded, chuckling. “Sucks to be a trainee.” she said.
“And it sucks to fail a mission.”
The two slayers turned to see Faith standing just inside the cafeteria. Faith’s arms were folded over her chest, and her head was tilted to one side.
“Celebrating?” she asked, nodding at the ice cream.
“Yeah…” Siobhan said a little sheepishly. “Sorta.”
Faith sauntered in and stood over the open and melting containers of ice cream. She stuck a finger in the praline pecan and brought a big gob of it to her mouth.
Sioban and Hadley grinned.
“So, what’s to celebrate?” Faith asked, not smiling. “You were supposed to stop the heist and bring the demons in. Alive and in one piece, not dead and in twenty.”
“Faith, we didn’t know they’d go and explode themselves!” Hadley said defensively.
“Hadley…” Siobhan quieted her. “Faith…whatever they had, they held it in their mouths. We had no way of knowing. One minute, they were lined up on their knees, and the next – boom. We woulda stopped it if we’d known. If Skye had told us they might try to –”
“Never mind Skye. We’ve got a big problem on our hands.”
Siobhan and Hadley looked at one another, then back at Faith.
“I’m not sure I understand,” Siobhan replied.
“Have you girls turned on the news lately?” Faith asked. They both shook their heads. “Too bad, because you might not be celebrating so much.”
“Faith –” Hadley began, but she was cut off.
“Cleveland wasn’t the only blood bank that was hit tonight,” the lead slayer told them. Siobhan and Hadley looked at one another again, this time with concern. “So for future reference…before you girls break out the ice cream and start patting yourself on the back, it’s best to make sure you’ve got something to celebrate.”
Fade to Black
End of Act Three