Act 7

Fade In:
Capitol Hill – Hearing Room –

The room was still buzzing from Faith’s accusation.

“Order! Order!” Holt called out, as he continued to bang the gavel.

Faith and O’Mara locked eyes on each other from across the room, but neither said another word.

Cut To:
Dr. Miller’s Home – Garage – Same Time

Jeff looked up from the Friendly Species of the Underground book in front of him, his finger on a particular passage.

“Got it!”

Grace and Giles looked at him.

“Excellent snag,” he told Grace. “You picked the right book.”

Felix spoke into his Bluetooth. “Dawn, we have something.”

Cut To:
Capitol Hill – Hearing Room – Same Time

The buzz in the hearing room was almost deafening. O’Mara sat in her chair, erect and still, while the three at the witness table – Alex, Faith and Dawn – kept their eyes on her and on the committee. Dawn blinked and lifted her hand to the side of her head. It was obvious she was talking to someone.

Alex pulled at Faith’s jacket sleeve. “How do we back that up, huh? I told you – no accusations!” she said in a heated whisper in Faith’s ear.

“I know what I’m doing, all right? I’m drawing her out,” Faith insisted. Alex sat back in her chair, obviously frustrated again.

Jim shook his head. “What the hell is Faith doing?” he asked Robin.

Robin grinned and simply replied, “Being Faith.”

With a final bang of his gavel, Chairman Holt quelled the buzzing of the audience.

“Before anyone here leaps to conclusions,” he began, “we should all bear in mind that Willow Rosenberg – a close associate of the witness – has escaped federal custody. She is at large at this very moment, and the reason for her incarceration was that she had tampered with confidential records.” He fixed Faith with a steady stare. “Which hardly gives much credibility to your so-called evidence, Miss Lehane.”

Dawn leaned in and whispered into Faith’s ear, talking low and quickly.

“Miss Lehane? Your attention would be nice.” He made his words sound like a soothing threat.

“Just a moment, Mister Chairman,” said Alex.

Faith looked back at him with something that wasn’t quite a smile.

“Sorry,” she said. “Something came up.”

“I feel safe in saying that, barring a life-threatening disaster, your business with this committee takes precedence.”

“Oh, I agree,” said Faith. “In fact, that’s exactly what came up. Business with this committee. You see, since Th’ndi demons, like Miss O’Mara here, are pretty much like people – just as safe or as dangerous as the rest of us – studying them was on the back burner for us. Vampires and werewolves, and creatures like that, well, they get priority. So some of us have been cramming for the Th’ndi finals 24/7 lately. But we found out something real useful.”

“And were you planning on sharing this ‘something useful’ anytime soon?” Julles asked.

“Right now.” Faith took a breath. “Th’ndi demons have one minor weakness nobody else has. They have a weird reaction to coffee beans. They revert to their demonic form. It could be for a few seconds, or even an hour. Sometimes longer. I’d like you to get Representative O’Mara a cup – black, no cream, no sugar.”

Again, a buzz began to swell in the hearing room, and once again the Chairman banged his gavel.

“This is insane,” O’Mara said with a roll of her eyes.

“Representatives of the Watchers Council,” said Alex, “have made very serious and very public accusations against Congresswoman O’Mara. But they have also provided a simple way of proving themselves either right or wrong. This entire meeting is to determine if the Watchers Council is an asset to the country and the world. Let the Congresswoman sip a cup of coffee. That way we’ll all know one way or another. She will stand revealed as a demon – presumably the same as in the CNN video of a Voice of Hell meeting – or the Watchers Council will be shown to be incompetent bunglers who tried to defame a member of the United States Congress, and did so with such stupidity that none can ever question shutting down their organization.”

Frasier snorted, but said nothing.

“Oh, very good, Miss Neel,” said O’Mara. She looked poised, in control, and quietly furious. “Anyone checking my Wikipedia entry knows that I am allergic to coffee. The scenario is a fine piece of theater, with little or nothing to do with the truth. I drink the coffee and begin to get sick. My skin breaks out in patches, and my eyes begin to water, giving your clients the chance to point their fingers and yell ‘Witch!'” She turned to the Chairman. “This has gone far enough. In the name of simple decency, not to mention the dignity of the Congress, let us have an end to all this. Please. Just…let us have an end.”

A scattering of applause followed her words, which began to grow. After a few moments, it became clear the applause was going to continue to grow, and the Chairman banged his gavel again. He also made a gesture to the audience, as if to say “Not now.” And his eyes fixed on all three at the witness table. Faith leaned into the microphone.

“If I may, Sir, I didn’t say Miss O’Mara had to drink a cup. She did,” Faith said, pointing to Alex.

“What do you suggest?” the Chairman asked.

“All she has to do is touch it – put a finger in a cup. Even the slightest association with a coffee bean will do. So I agree with Miss O’Mara on this issue…let’s have an end to it.”

“I totally agree,” Holt said. “Let’s stop this nonsense once and for all. Does anyone have a cup of black coffee here?”

“I do,” Frasier said. “You can use mine.” He picked up his coffee cup and showed it to the gathering. “Should it be hot?” he asked Faith.

Faith turned to Dawn, and both women shook their heads as Faith said, “No, just a few seconds will do – she can wipe her finger immediately after.”

“Very well then,” Frasier said as he tested it himself. “This has gone cold. Stick your finger in, and then it’s your turn again with these witnesses,” he said.

O’Mara blinked. “I told you. I’m allergic to coffee.”

“Again, nobody is asking you drink it,” said Frasier. “Prove that these people are full of…it. Then we can get back to the business of this committee.”

She looked shocked at her fellow representative. She wasn’t alone. At least half the committee members looked anything but happy. The other half, however, looked on curiously.

Cut To:
Niagara Falls Hotel – Lobby – Same Time

Rowena and Willow stared at the TV screen, where Congresswoman O’Mara indignantly stared at the Chairman.

“Could this be it?” Rowena almost whispered as she held onto Jen. “After all this?”

“Wow,” said Willow, readjusting Alex on her hip. “Kadin was right.”

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Family Room – Same Time

Exactly the same shot was on the television, but the audience this time was Kadin, Becca and Lori.

“Ha!” said Kadin. “I called it!”

“That you did,” Becca said proudly.

“Let’s hope that’s all it takes,” Lori added. They all glanced at her, and she looked worried. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll look like asses, and we’ll never reopen without a miracle.”

Cut To:
Capitol Hill – Hearing Room – Same Time

“I believe,” said O’Mara, her voice icy, “I had mentioned something about decency and dignity.”

“But if you don’t prove these people wrong,” Chairman Holt said wearily, “right here and now, they’re going to go on harping on it. Let’s nip this in the bud so we can move on.”

For an eternal three and a half seconds, O’Mara did nothing. Then she sighed. With a roll of her eyes, she stood up.

“Nonsense,” she muttered, her voice captured by the microphone. She stepped behind her fellow committee members, past the U.S. flags and the Congressional seal as well as the committee member doors.

“It’s not nonsense – this makes perfect sense,” Faith said as O’Mara made her way over. She bumped into one of the guards, and they both apologized to each other.

“Ms Lehane,” Holt condemned the outburst.

“Again, my apologies. I’m just not used to this formal hearing stuff,” Faith told him.

Every eye in the room turned to Faith as O’Mara moved toward Frasier and his cup of coffee.

“This will work, right?” Faith whispered to Dawn.

“It should,” was her answer.

Faith did a double take. “What do you mean should?”

O’Mara strode the remaining four steps to Congressman Frasier’s chair. He shifted slightly to accommodate her. The cup of coffee was in easy reach. Her own expression was of resigned scorn.

“Sorry about this silliness,” Frasier muttered as he held the cup toward her.

“Me, too,” she said. Her hand, pistol in its grip, rose from her side. The muzzle pressed into Frasier’s temple. “Do what you’re told,” she instructed him.

In his surprise, he allowed the cup he was holding to jerk and slip from his grasp. It landed hard against the table, spilling the contents over himself and O’Mara.

The security guard O’Mara had passed reached for his holster, but his hand closed over nothing. He looked on in horror as O’Mara continued to hold his gun against Congressman Frasier’s head.

All over the room people gasped or cried out as O’Mara’s form began to shift from human to Th’ndi. Faith was on her feet in less than a second. Dawn stared, her mind racing, eyes looking around at the situation, taking in details.

“Good news is it worked,” Dawn quipped. “Now what?”

“You,” O’Mara demanded, looking directly at the other security guard behind the committee, “give me your pistol. Now!”

“Hold on,” he said, hands up. “Think about what’s gonna happen here. Think it through.”

In answer, she cocked the hammer of the gun in her hand.

“Do what she says,” said Frasier, sweat beading on his forehead.

“Rep Frasier…”

“Do it!”

“Slowly,” added O’Mara, her free hand reaching out. After another few moments of reluctance, the guard reached over with two fingers and lifted his own gun out of its holster. He stretched out his hand towards her, and she took the gun from him.

People were trying to reach the exits as quickly, and quietly, as they could, but a woman and her child were barely twenty feet away from the committee. O’Mara pointed her second gun at the child, a little girl with dark eyes. “You – come with me.”

“No!” her mother almost screamed.

O’Mara fired a shot that hit a woman next to the mother and child, making her cry out in pain and fear.

“That’s a warning,” O’Mara told the mother and child. “I could kill her now. It’s your choice.” O’Mara cocked the gun. “Decide.”

The mother stared, terrified.

Robin, still seated but tense, whispered, “Can you get to her?”

“Too far,” said Faith, voice low. “Not soon enough.”


“Same thing.”

With trembling hands, the mother of the child let her daughter go to O’Mara.

Cut To:
Network News Studio – Moments Later (on-screen)

As the light on the camera clicked on, the reporter at her desk began speaking. The words “Breaking News” scrolled across the bottom of the picture.

“A hostage situation has developed in the Capitol building here in Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Autumn O’Mara, Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Supernatural Affairs, has taken another member of Congress – Thad Frasier of California – hostage during a meeting of the committee on which Frasier sits. According to reports, O’Mara took a pair of handguns from Capitol security officers and used them to take not only Congressman Frasier hostage, but also the female child of a bystander, as well. The little girl has yet to be identified, but according to witnesses she is between nine and maybe eleven years of age.”

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Living Room – Same Time

The front door closed, followed by the sound of footsteps. Giles walked into his living room. Becca was on the sofa, her face grim, as she used the remote control to change the station on the TV.

“…between nine and maybe eleven years of age.”


“…O’Mara has fled into the hallways of the Capitol building, which for those of you who don’t know, is something of a maze when it comes to corridors, rooms, stairways and the like…”


“…dramatic follow-up to digital images released earlier today, suggesting that the Congresswoman was in fact a demon herself, and a leader of the domestic terrorist group the Voice of Hell…”


“…Slayer Faith Lehane was present and, as far as we know, remains somewhere inside the Capitol building still. What actions, if any, she might be taking is, of course, unknown to us at this time.”

“Rupert,” Becca said. He looked at her. “Whatever else happens, no matter what – this means it’s over, doesn’t it?” Becca asked. “I mean, we stopped the takeover of the nuclear submarine. And O’Mara was just exposed on national television, for god’s sake! Her credibility is gone with the wind.”

“Gone with the wind?” said Kadin after a moment.

Becca looked at her. “The phrase wasn’t invented for the movie, you know.”

“Yes,” said Giles, looking between his wife and the television screen. “Whatever happens now, chances are Congress would be hard pressed to reauthorize the bill suspending our operations.”

“Maybe,” Lori said, head resting on the top of her cane. She looked unusually intense.

“Is it good news or not?” Kadin raised an eyebrow.

“The thing is,” Lori went onto explain, “I’m still trying to figure out what this was all about. What was the endgame? Her ultimate goal? Seemed to me like she was trying to get everyone ready to go to war. Why not lull people into a sense of false security – or alternately, why not stage a terrorist attack and personally stop it? It’s almost as if…” She paused.

“Like what, Lori?” Giles asked.

“As if she wanted demons and humans to just start hurting each other as much as possible and not stop. But why? What would she get out of that?”

Other than the continued news reports on the television, the room turned silent.

Cut To:
Capitol Hill – Stairwell – Moments Later

The little girl had started to cry before O’Mara pushed her and Frasier into the stairwell. O’Mara looked around quickly, both guns pointed at her hostages. The little girl made hardly any sound, but tears were rolling down her face.

Frasier held her hand. “Hold on to me,” he said quietly. “We’ll make it through this. Just hold on.”

“If you only understood,” O’Mara said in a dead voice. They both looked at her, at her face that suddenly looked twenty years older and at her exhausted eyes. “You’d be begging me to use these if you did,” she said, waving her guns. “It would be better. Really, it would.” She cocked her head, gazing at the little girl for a moment. “What’s your name?”

“Amanda.” She was barely audible.

“You know what your name means, Amanda?” O’Mara’s voice went low, soft. Almost gentle. She looked at Frasier as she would an old, trusted friend. “Do you?”

He hesitated. “It’s the same as my daughter’s name…It means ‘beloved’.”

“Yes,” O’Mara nodded. She stared at him. Unblinking. “If it were up to me…oh God, if it were only up to me…” Her voice broke. “But it isn’t.”

Cut To:
Capitol Hill – Hallway – Same Time

Faith wove through crowds of people, most of whom stumbled their panicked way in the direction of what they hoped were exits. Out of the corner of one eye, she could see SWAT uniforms down one hall.

Turning a corner, she caught sight of Jim, Robin, Dawn and Alex. They stood aside from the streaming crowds, while police ushered dozens past them.

It took a few seconds for Faith to reach them.

“Any sign?” Robin called out.

She shook her head.

“I’ve got an idea,” said Dawn as Faith reached them. “This won’t last long, and it’ll work only so long as O’Mara is in range, but…” She closed her eyes and put her hands together in front of her, as if in prayer. She inhaled deeply and slowly, then breathed out with a half-pronounced word. Her hands parted, revealing a marble-sized orb of blue light. She opened her eyes, focusing on the tiny orb. “Seek,” she said.

The orb flew away, remaining at eye level but headed down one specific corridor.

Faith sprinted after it.

It turned the corner. So did she. It headed up a flight of stairs, with Faith mere yards behind. And she kept following the little orb as it flew down another hallway.

Cut To:
Capitol Hill – Media Room – Moments

Rock Cartwright stood as still as he could. Beside him, his cameraman did the same. They were trying not to breathe.

O’Mara was pointing her handgun at them. One of her handguns. The other she’d aimed at Frasier and the little girl to her side.

“Is that camera live?” she asked politely.

The cameraman said something inaudible, then repeated himself louder. “Yes. Yes, it is.”

“So,” O’Mara asked sadly, “thousands and thousands of people are watching this? Watching me? Right now?”

“Absolutely,” said Rock Cartwright.

This news seemed to make her sad. Every move seemed exhausting, but neither gun wavered.

“Then they’ll all get to see this.” She lowered one handgun, just enough to aim into the little girl’s face.

Cut To:
Niagara Falls Hotel – Lobby – Same Time

“She’s gonna kill that kid,” Mary said in disbelief, as the four of them gathered around the television.

“Oh, I can’t watch this,” Willow said, looking away and holding Alex closer.

Rowena’s gaze didn’t falter. “Where the hell is Faith?” she muttered to no one in particular.

Cut To:
Capitol Hill – Media Room – Moments Later

Frasier stood between O’Mara and the child.

“No,” he said. “Not her. Me.”

O’Mara didn’t blink. She barely even breathed. “It isn’t up to me. And at this range, the bullet will go right through you – and into her.” Her finger began to squeeze.

Faith landed on O’Mara’s shoulder, sending both of them to the ground. More importantly, the impact sent both handguns into the air. As they hit the marble floor, they made a clacking sound. Cartwright backed up and looked around frantically, searching for the guns.

Frasier turned and pulled the little girl away, practically lifting and running with her to hide behind a desk. He wrapped the girl in his arms, using his body as a possible shield as he tried to quell her whimpers.

The cameraman fixed his portable camera directly onto the two women – the slayer and the demon – tumbling on the floor.

Both scrambled in the same general direction. Faith was faster, but O’Mara’s target was a little closer. In less than a second, the two were facing each other again. Each had a gun in her hand, pointing it at the other.

Silence ensued for a long moment.

“Okay, you don’t have to die,” said Faith. “You’ve lost. You played for big stakes. But you didn’t win. Quit before you lose everything.” She waited, the gun steady in her hand.

O’Mara trembled. She grit her teeth, furrowing her brow in concentration. “I will…” she wheezed between clenched teeth, “I will…I will…” By now the words sounded halfway between a scream and a groan.

And her finger began to squeeze.

Cut To:
Niagara Falls Hotel – Lobby – Same Time

Willow and Rowena both flinched as two shots rang out on the television set, where the standoff between Faith and O’Mara was being broadcast. The scream of the young girl was the only noise that followed. The camera moved crazily, so it was impossible to tell what was happening. Some blood could be seen on the marble floor.

“Oh dear God,” said Rowena, breathless. “No, please no.”

“It can’t be,” said Willow, shaking her head.

On the screen, the picture righted itself. They could see Faith crouched over on the floor, next to a pool of blood. She turned, and the blood on her hands became visible.

“Get a doctor!” Faith was yelling. “I think I hit an artery!”

She came to rest beside O’Mara, and she could tell that O’Mara was trying to say something.

“Nothing…Nothing’s real except suffering,” O’Mara muttered.

Faith used her strength to push down on the growing red spot in O’Mara’s chest.

O’Mara lay, deathly pale, on the floor of the Capitol building. Her eyelids flickered, gazing at the wound where blood was spurting out in pulses.

“At last,” she murmured, the tiniest of smiles on her face. “At…last…”

Her head hit the marble.

Fade to Black

Fade In:
Federal Holding Cell – Later

Buffy, wearing an orange jumpsuit, entered the room flanked by two guards in padded suits with Taser staffs. Her hands and feet were shackled together with remarkably heavy chains.

As she entered, she looked up. And did a take.

Guards were unlocking similar chains holding Kennedy. Beside her, an orange-jump-suited Xander was rubbing his now-free wrists. Beyond them stood Ethan Rayne and the rest of her team.

Xander winked at her.

And to the side, wearing a gray suit, stood Giles, grinning.

“Well,” he said, “vacation, as it turns out, is over. Back to work, Madame Chairwoman Summers of the Watchers Council.” As he approached, the guards unlocked Buffy’s chains. “I took the liberty of bringing some regular clothing for you,” continued Giles. “Not much of a liberty, I presume, but still, one does feel obliged to observe the niceties.” His tone was light, his smile reserved, but his eyes were dancing.

“Good,” said Buffy after a second to collect herself, “’cause I gotta tell ya – orange is not my color.”

“I think you make it work,” offered Xander.

“Oh,” said Giles, “Faith asked me to give you this.” He pulled something out of his coat pocket and handed it to Buffy.

It was a gavel, with a note attached.

“I keep my promises, B,” was all it said.

Buffy smiled.

Fade To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Day

Standing before the Council coat of arms, Jim leaned one arm against the podium and nodded at the assembled reporters present. They filled the room to capacity, and the flashes of light bulbs resembled lightning.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “welcome back.”

The applause was entirely spontaneous, bringing a smile to Jim’s mouth, but he held up his hand for quiet.

“Lots of announcements, and I know how much you missed us,” he said, which got a laugh. “So first of all,” he began, “Faith is recovering from the gunshot wound she sustained to her arm in the melee with O’Mara. Thanks to slayer healing, she gets better and better each day. Now I know some of you have called to ask about TMZ’s report regarding Faith’s medical records at the emergency room, which indicated a pregnancy.”

Cut To:
Washington D.C. – Emergency Room – Day

Faith sat on a gurney, her arm bandaged. With a look of uncertainty, she held up a plastic square with a positive sign inside it.

V.O., Jim: We’re not sure who provided this information, and the hospital says they’re looking into the staff who might have compromised this information, but I have been asked to inform you all that, yes, it is true.”

Although Faith looked reluctant, Robin walked over with a large grin and open arms. He pulled her into a hug avoiding her injured limb. He maintained his smile, while Faith still appeared apprehensive.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Resume

“Faith Lehane and Robin Wood are expecting a child. We don’t have a due date yet, so don’t ask,” Jim said, holding up his hands. “But I can tell you that mother and child are both doing fine right now.” Jim then cleared his throat. “Second, all charges against Willow Rosenberg have been dropped, and the paperwork to allow her and Rowena Allister back within the United States is proceeding at the speed with which such bureaucratic matters usually do – roughly that of an arthritic turtle.” More laughs filled the room. “But proceed they do. And to be honest, there is no rush. Ms. Rosenberg and Ms. Allister have plenty to do, not the least of which is overseeing the re-opening of the Watchers Council Branch in Vancouver, British Columbia. And when they’re not working, I’m sure they can find some way to occupy their time.”

Flash To:
Canadian Park – Day

Willow and Rowena both cheered from one end of a large blanket as Alex and Jen managed to crawl in their direction from the other end.

Off to the side, next to baskets and ice chests and far too many paper plates, Althenea sat in a lotus position. Standing behind her were Mary Grace Allister and her mother. The latter, with a very neutral look on her face, turned away and wandered in the direction of the nearby duck pond.

Mary Grace sat next to Althenea.

Willow cheered as Jen arrived first and pulled the baby into her arms to sit in her lap.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Resume

“Of course,” continued Jim, “their duties here in Cleveland will not be neglected. Regarding that, I’m pleased to announce a few promotions. The new, albeit temporary, head of the Cleveland Coven is a young man who has proven himself time and again to be eminently qualified for the post. I refer of course to Mr. Andrew Wells, whom some of you may know. Yes?” He pointed to a particular reporter.

“Two questions. Are charges pending against Andrew Wells for the warehouse break-in?”

“No, charges have been dropped for him, as well.”

“Second, what happens when Willow Rosenberg comes back?” said a short young man, slightly overweight and with glasses. “To Mr. Wells, I mean?”

“The Council is still undergoing a lot of growth, so tentatively he’s set to take over the Los Angeles Coven when Ms. Rosenberg returns here.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Day

Andrew and Kennedy looked at each other for nearly three long seconds. Then, they made identical gestures.

In front of each, a candle lit of its own accord. Ken smiled. Then she shared a high five with Andrew.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Resume

“Meanwhile, the new Head Liaison of the Cleveland Branch will be Lori Carew, who will be assuming the duties of Jason Felix. Some of you may know her as a former slayer and also one of the top-ranking members of Bureau Nine. We are very lucky to have her. And we’re certain she’ll make a fantastic liaison between the Watchers Council and various organizations we deal with, such as Congress.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Command Center – Day

Buffy banged a gavel as everyone took a seat. She also shared a smile with Xander, two chairs away.

Lori, seated between Giles and Andrew, saw this and said nothing. Then she opened the file in front of her. She took a deep breath.

“We have a series of new proposals today,” she began, “regarding expansion of slayer training and, more importantly, cross-training between slayers and watchers.” Looking up, she saw everyone listening attentively.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Resume

“There will be an organizational switch within the slayer division,” said Jim, “effective two weeks from today. There will be a new Second-In-Command of Slayers as Miss Kennedy Calendar makes herself available full-time to the Coven.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Day

Several younger slayers managed to not-quite-huddle and almost-not-stare as Faith, off to one side, talked with Siobhan, Hadley, and Shannon. All three younger slayers looked incredibly serious.

V.O., Jim: “Shannon Matthewson will be working directly with Faith Lehane, and two of our senior slayers, Hadley Ramirez and Siobhan Hartley will be transferring to our new branch in New Orleans.

But when Faith turned to leave and was no longer visible after having turned a corner, Hadley and Shannon started jumping up and down in celebration. Siobhan just smiled at their antics.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Resume

“It is also with a certain amount of regret that we announce a retirement from our ranks,” continued Jim. “Mister Jason Felix, former chief of Bureau Nine, has decided to leave us to pursue personal goals. If I may say so, this is a man who has dedicated his life to saving others. And in the process he has lost much, more than most men could probably bear. We respect his decision, but we’re certain that Ms. Carew is up to the task of filling his shoes. On the other hand, we are thrilled at his promise to keep in touch.”

Cut To:
Oversight Committee Headquarters – Day

Spaulding opened the door, letting Felix inside. The office was the size of a small loft. Rows of monitors took up the space of a large bookshelf, opposite an even larger bookshelf actually crammed with books. The desk was antique, with a state-of-the-art computer system perched on top.

But Felix’s eyes went to the banner hanging across the desk, with the crudely painted words “WELCOME JASON” scrawled across.

Sanger and a dozen others were waiting off to one side. As Felix entered, they began to applaud. He smiled.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Resume

“As for Autumn O’Mara,” said Jim, his voice grave, “the Watchers Council would like to stress, again, that Th’ndi demons are not a species that the public should fear. As with humans, most are genuinely decent, but some are not. So it’s important to note that if someone encounters a Th’ndi, they should not automatically assume they are a threat.”

Another reporter raised his hand. With a nod, Jim bade him speak. “If these Th’ndi are such a peace-loving breed, how does the Council explain Autumn O’Mara?”

Jim sighed. “I wish I could give you a complete answer, but the truth is we might never know. After all, why do some people become serial killers or tyrants or child abusers? However, perhaps Lord Acton said it best. ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.’ Or, at least, under the wrong influences they can be. Same as any of us, really.”

Fade To:
Dr. Miller’s House – Living Room – Later

Tracey turned off the television, shutting off the coverage of Jim’s press conference. “I’m glad he said that,” she noted.

“Oh, I cannot but agree, dear miss,” said Reteesk, sitting in a lounge chair. “The fact is, I owe much to all of you. And especially you, Dr. Miller.”

The doctor shrugged from his spot on the sofa. “My duty,” he said simply.

“But many do not do their duty, or at least not with the courage and fervor you have demonstrated,” insisted Reteesk. He lifted a claw. “Say no more. Your modesty does you fully as much credit as your generosity and labor. I shall embarrass you no further.”

From the next room, Jeff and Grace entered, carrying two large cardboard boxes.

“Reteesk,” said Grace, “I…that is…we…”

The demon glanced at the boxes and sighed. “Methinks those are the remains of my dear Hugh, are they not?”

“Yes,” said Jeff.

“I thought so.” He said nothing else.

“But I’m pretty sure I can put the parts back together with Willow’s help,” said Grace. “It’s not like they actually destroyed much.”

“And likewise,” said Jeff, “I think there’s a good chance I can re-enchant them once they are assembled.”

Reteesk looked at one, then the other. His huge eyes blinked. “But…” he said, quietly, “will he be the same? The same dear boy? Will he be my Hugh?”

Neither said anything at first. “I don’t know,” Jeff said finally.

“But there are all sorts of things we never know, right?” asked Grace. “That’s just part of the human condition – and well, the demon condition too, isn’t it? We do what we can?”

“And that’s good news, isn’t it?” said Tracey.

After a few moments, Reteesk nodded. “Yes. By any measure known to man or demon, it is.”

Cut To:
Washington D.C. – Autopsy Room – Night

The pathologist was a man in his forties. Average height. Slender build. Somewhat handsome. He spoke into the microphone dangling above the autopsy table.

“Subject is a non-human female of humanoid shape. Approximately five feet five inches in height. Hair dark, although records indicate it could become red at the subject’s will when alive. Eyes a bright yellow. Odd tattoo or occult symbol on the lower forehead and extending to the upper part of the nose.” He took a series of photographs with a camera.

“Fingernails have continued to grow,” the coroner noted, “as shown by the line of nail polish now nearly half a millimeter from the cuticle.”

He began to unbutton her blouse.

And stopped.

On a chain around the neck of the demon once known as Autumn O’Mara lay a crystal. It didn’t look like glass, or diamond, or quartz or almost anything real. Rather, it resembled a piece of frozen shadow, somehow given shape.

The coroner opened his mouth, but said nothing. He simply stared at the crystal. Without blinking, he reached down and undid the clasp of the chain. He removed the crystal and its chain from around the dead Congresswoman’s neck. Then, he put the crystal in his pocket.

“I understand…” he murmured…









Fade to Black

Special Guest Starring:
Brittany Murphy as Luna, Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall, Eric Stoltz as Glamour Willow, Felicity Huffman as Glamour Rowena, David Duchovny as the Coroner and Keith Olbermann as Himself


End of Unto the End

Next on Watchers…

In part one of the epic Watchers series finale, it’s the year 2041, and the surviving members of the Watchers Council will soon face the greatest threat in the organization’s history.

Click here to read “Generations Pt. 1” now!