Bonnie Hunt as Veronica Wyndam-Pryce, Allison Mack as Jessica Wells and Lindsay Wagner as Velika Petrova
Jocasta’s Apartment – The Next Morning
In the bedroom, Katherine and Jocasta lay comfortably entwined in each other’s arms, enjoying a little good-morning kissage. When they finally separated, they smiled happily.
“This feels so good,” Katherine said. “I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too,” Jocasta echoed. “That was the hardest two weeks of my life, I think,” she said with a frown.
“Well, it’s over now,” Katherine said. Then with a sexy half-smirk, she added, “I dreamed about you last night.”
Jocasta tilted her head to the side and looked at Katherine with awe. “Really? You dreamed about me?” When Katherine nodded, Jocasta pulled her closer and whispered. “Was I doing anything…inappropriate?”
“No,” Katherine denied playfully but quickly, blushing slightly.
“No?” Jocasta said in mock disappointment.
“I think you used up all your ‘inappropriate’ behavior before I even fell asleep last night.”
Jocasta waggled her eyebrows and grinned impishly. When Katherine didn’t immediately begin narrating her dream, Jocasta gave the blonde a light nudge in the ribs. “So…tell me.”
“Well, we were at the beach.”
“Beach, huh?” Jocasta snuggled closer to Katherine. “Mmm, you and me, minimal clothing, beautiful beach…now you’re giving me ideas.”
“We were at the beach, with friends,” Katherine corrected. Jocasta’s predatory grin turned into a pout, causing Katherine to hug her. “And we were happy. There was no Council and no vampires. No…ummm…no nothing at all getting in the way.” Smiling, Katherine gently caressed Jocasta’s cheek.
“Then what happened?” Jocasta asked, her eyes curious.
Katherine’s smile disappeared as she looked away. “Then it started to rain.”
“This is a very upsetting story,” Jocasta said.
“Oh, but everything turned out fine,” Katherine said with a smile. “We just ran to our car and went home and had fun there.”
“Fun, huh? And what kind of ‘fun’ did we have?” Jocasta’s predatory grin was back as she nuzzled Katherine’s neck.
Katherine giggled. “Stop it,” she said, lamely attempting to push her girlfriend away. “At this rate, we’ll spend our whole last day off in the bed.”
“And this is bad because…” Jocasta replied, leaving the statement open for completion.
“Well, I do have that errand to run.”
Jocasta pouted again and let out a whine.
“I promise it won’t take long at all,” Katherine assured the redhead. “I’ll be right back, and then we’ll have the rest of the day to do whatever we want.”
“Whatever we want, huh?” Jocasta said, lifting a suggestive eyebrow. Then she suddenly turned them so that she was on top of Katherine. She growled and dove for Katherine’s neck, sending the slayer into a fit of giggles.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Later
When James entered the building, he paused in the cavernous lobby and stared at the Watchers Council coat of arms on the wall. He wrung his hands and cast nervous glances around him. Then he sighed, took a deep breath, and pulled himself up straight and tall. With a forced smile, he headed towards the elevators.
On his way there, he saw Katherine sitting on one of the benches, sipping from a mug of coffee while watching the news net monitor. James went to join her.
“Katie, welcome back,” James said amiably to the blonde Slayer.
Katherine smiled gratefully. “Well, I’m not officially back until tomorrow, but thanks. It’s good to be back.”
James sat down beside Katherine. “Was it bad?” he asked, referring to Katherine and Jocasta’s two-week stint in detention.
“Yeah, it definitely wasn’t fun,” Katherine confirmed with a rueful smile. “I don’t think I’ll complain about any of our standard slayer regimens ever again.”
“What about Jo? How’d she take it?”
“Ummm…I think it was harder for her in a lot of ways, but she held up very well from what she tells me.”
“Good, that’s good,” James replied.
“The hardest part was the separation…not being able to see her, you know? I missed her.”
“Yeah,” James agreed, dropping his gaze to his hands.
Noticing his shift in mood, Katherine put her hand on James’s shoulder. “Is something wrong?”
“Oh, it’s nothing, it’s…” James stopped his denial and admitted, “It’s my sister.”
“Is she…?” Katherine asked gently.
“No…worse,” James answered as he stood up. “She’s here. Or will be, anyway.”
“I take it you two aren’t very close.”
“That’s the understatement of the year,” James said sarcastically as he began to pace in front of Katherine. “And it’s not even that we have this sibling rivalry thing going or anything. She just hates me. She’s hated me since we were kids. Now that she’s making millions, she has the audacity to look down on me for having a normal job! She’s just turned into this…this egotistical, cold, cruel–”
James paused in his ranting and looked over at Katherine.
“You know, just because siblings fight, it doesn’t mean that they hate each other. I used to fight with my sister all the time. I still do occasionally. But we’re still family.”
Unconvinced, James rubbed his forehead. “Yeah, but you and your sister usually get along, don’t you?” When Katherine nodded, James continued. “I’ve never gotten along with mine. Never.”
“How long has it been since you’ve seen your sister?” Katherine asked.
Several moments passed before James answered. He stared at his feet and shrugged. “A few years, I guess.”
“So, she’s coming to visit you, then?”
“Actually, she’s here for her job, but she said she wanted to see me so we could talk.” James snorted derisively. “She’s made it perfectly clear how she feels about me, so why does she want to talk all of a sudden?” James crossed his arms tightly.
“People change, James. Maybe she’s trying to make amends?”
“Not likely,” James said pessimistically.
Katherine got up and moved to James’s side. “Whatever you decide, remember, everyone needs forgiveness. Even those who might not deserve it. Sometimes being with your family is more important than being right.”
James frowned and looked away, his brow creased with worry.
Watchers Council – Giles’s Office – Later
Having been given the go-ahead by Giles’s executive assistant, Katherine entered the chairman’s new office. Once inside, she eyed the spacious and luxurious accommodations nervously; then she saw Giles smiling at her warmly.
“M-M-Mr. Chairman,” Katherine said with a nod.
“Miss Allison, come in. Please, have a seat,” Giles said graciously, gesturing toward one of two large leather chairs in front of his desk. Giles left his desk chair and moved to sit in the chair opposite Katherine. “Thank you for coming,” he added once he was seated. “I know you’re not on duty today, and I’m sure I’m the last person you want to see right now.”
“Oh…no sir, I-I didn’t mind, at all,” Katherine replied. “You were in a difficult position. You still are. I get that.” She smiled warmly.
“Miss Allison…Katie,” Giles said, “I called you here to ask for your help with something—someone actually.”
“Let me guess, Jo?”
“Yes,” Giles admitted reluctantly. “I’ve tried to contact her since she came back, but she refuses to talk to me.” Giles paused a moment then continued. “It’s not as if we haven’t fought before. Jo is a…a headstrong girl-well, woman. We don’t always see eye to eye, but we’ve never…” He trailed off and began to rub his forehead. “I need to make amends, and I don’t see any way of getting her to talk without ordering it.” Giles glanced up at Katherine with a bemused smile. “And you know how that’s likely to turn out.”
Katherine chuckled lightly and nodded in agreement.
“I was hoping that you might speak with her on my behalf,” Giles ventured.
“What is it you want me to do?”
“Talk to her, convince her to see me. We can’t move past this until we can talk about what’s happened.”
Katherine stared at her hands for a moment and then met Giles’s gaze. “I’ll talk to her, but I can’t make any promises.”
“That’s all I ask,” Giles said with a grateful smile. “Oh, one more thing,” he said as he stood from his chair and walked back to his desk. He typed a few quick commands into the computer, while Katherine moved in front of the desk, standing naturally at attention. Giles picked up a data pad and handed it to her.
“Sean Rayne has nearly recovered from his injuries. He’ll be transferred to a Council holding facility within the week. I thought you’d like to know.”
Katherine examined the order on the pad with a grim expression. “Yes. Thank you.”
“We’d have tried and convicted that bastard Tyrell by now if not for the bureaucratic bull,” Giles said, crossing his arms. “As it is, he’s still being held on the detention level.”
“I’m sure it’ll all be over soon,” Katherine replied. “I’ll help as much as I can. And Jo will too. You’ll see.”
Giles smiled and nodded as Katherine handed the data pad back.
Jocasta’s Apartment – Later
“What?!” Jocasta demanded incredulously as she pulled out of her Katie-cuddle. “That’s where you went this morning?”
“Yes, he called me yester–”
“And he actually asked you to come talk to me for him?”
“Yes, he’s very concer–”
“Who does he think he is? I’ll talk to him when I’m damned good and ready!” Jocasta said, folding her arms tightly across her chest and plopping resolutely back against the sofa. “Sending you over here, thinking you’ll soften me up, make me see things his way. Hmph!”
Katherine couldn’t help but grin at Jocasta’s expression, which was somewhere between a petulant pout and an angry scowl. She scooted next to Jocasta and leaned over to whisper to the redhead.
“Remember, I’m just the messenger,” she breathed into Jocasta’s ear before placing a light kiss right below it on her neck. “I told him I’d talk to you.” Kiss. “But I made no promises.” Kiss. “What you do with Giles is your business, your decision.”
“Right, my decision,” Jocasta stated less firmly as she unfolded her arms.
Katherine gave Jocasta’s ear lobe a little nibble before turning the watcher’s face toward her own. “But you know what?”
“What?” Jocasta replied in a slightly higher-pitched voice.
“I really think you should talk to Giles.” Katherine said as her fingertips made lazy trails on Jocasta’s leg.
Jocasta looked down at her lap. “You’re a wicked woman. You know that?”
“Please,” Katherine said sincerely as she nipped at Jocasta’s earlobe. “If not for him, then for me.”
Jocasta let out a long sigh. “Fine!” she answered quickly before planting a crushing kiss on Katherine’s lips, which the slayer happily returned.
Jocasta’s Apartment – Later
Jocasta and Katherine were wrapped in a deep hug at the front door. Jocasta sighed contentedly.
When the two women pulled apart, Jocasta said sincerely, “Thanks.”
“For what?” Katherine replied.
“For talking me into going to see Giles.”
“Oh, I didn’t do that. You did. You were ready.”
“I guess so. Still, thanks for helping me see that. I know we need to talk it all out.”
Katherine looked away for a moment. “Yeah, it’s really important to…ummm… to be open a-and talk about everything.” Katherine looked back at Jocasta and forced a smile. “Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?”
“No, thanks, I think I’d better do this on my own,” Jocasta replied. “I need to stop by my office first anyway. Want me to pick up some lunch on my way back?”
“Sounds good,” Katherine agreed.
Jocasta kissed Katherine once again. “Be back soon,” she said as she left the apartment.
After Katherine closed the door, she leaned against it wearily and frowned.
Watchers Council – Computer Center – Late Morning
Anya came in the main entrance. When she entered the workstation area, she found James walking aimlessly around, sighing to himself, holding a data rod. She put her hands on her hips and marched over to him.
“James! Where have you been?” she demanded.
James looked around nervously. Then he tucked the data rod away and crossed his arms before replying. “Ummm…working.”
“You haven’t been working on the Slayer comm system, have you?” Anya chided.
“No. No, I have not,” James said firmly.
Anya smiled widely. “Good for you!” she said, giving James a playful punch in the arm. She ignored his pained reaction. “I knew you’d finally see the light and take my advice.”
As she headed for the adjacent workroom, she called to James over her shoulder, “I don’t care where Livia said she’d stick that data rod, you shouldn’t have to do tel-comm’s dirty work for them.”
James grimaced. Then he said, “Uhhh…I’m heading out. I’ve got that…appointment.”
“Okay, but don’t be gone long,” Anya yelled from the other room. “You’ve still got that re-calibration project to start.”
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Same Time
Jocasta entered her office and immediately turned on her computer and logged in.
“Holy cow!” she exclaimed when she saw the number of messages in her email box. “I’ll be here all day if I try to wade through all of that. Computer, forward all messages to my home box, new folder ‘detention email’.”
The computer made a beep of compliance, so Jocasta turned her attention to Willowgram’s mobile emitter. She turned on the device, and shortly the 12-inch hologram appeared.
“Jo! You’re back!” Willowgram exclaimed.
Jocasta grinned at the happy welcome. “Yes, I’m back, after two weeks of detention boot-camp hell.”
“Oh, yeah,” Jocasta said. “So, how are you?”
Cocking her head to the side, Willow gave Jocasta a confused frown. “I’m exactly the same.”
“I mean, how have you been doing since I’ve been gone? I hope you weren’t too bored.”
Willowgram shrugged her shoulders. “I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t accessed while you were gone.”
“What?!” Jocasta gaped at Willow. “You mean, no one came by while I was away…to update you…t-to talk to you?”
“No,” Willowgram said simply.
Jocasta looked intently at Willow. The redheaded hologram appeared to be her usual self: alert, open, cheerful. Jocasta frowned.
“Did it bother you that no one came to see you?” Jocasta asked gently.
“No. Should it have?”
“Well, if I were you, it would’ve bothered me.”
Willowgram looked away and then clasped her hands together in front of her. “Well…I did wonder what was going on.” She met Jocasta’s eyes again. “I wondered about the time delay since your last access.” There was a slight delay as she calculated. “14 days, 12 hours and 46 seconds.”
“I’m sorry, I should’ve made sure that the others knew to come by.”
“It’s okay,” Willowgram said. “I’m sure the others had more important things to do than updating my computer program.”
“But you’re more than just a computer program, Willow. You’re a real person,” Jocasta insisted, drawing a smile from the hologram. “In fact,” the watcher added, “I think it’s high time the Council recognized you as such.”
Willow tilted her head slightly. “Please clarify.”
“What if you had your own rights?”
“Rights?” Willow looked curiously at Jocasta.
“Rights! You know, just like humans do!” Jocasta replied. “I mean, you’re almost human as it is. You’re practically sentient, with your knowledge and feelings. You deserve the same rights that everyone else has. Including the right to not be ignored.”
Willowgram appeared to consider the idea for a moment. Then she smiled.
“That would be nice, but it’s really unnecessary. I am a personality construct, after all. I don’t require the same benefits as everyone else.”
“Yes, well, this way you won’t have to worry about being left out of the loop. If we can get permission from the High Command, we may be able to grant you full access to the Council system. You wouldn’t have to wait to be accessed. You could activate yourself anytime you want.”
“Okay,” Willow agreed cheerfully.
Jocasta grinned and got up. “Be back soon,” she assured the hologram.
Watchers Council – Giles’s Office – Moments Later
Jocasta strode through the outer area of Giles’s suite, blew right past his executive assistant, and walked directly into Giles’s personal office. The assistant rose and chased after her.
“Miss?” he called out. But it was too late. Jocasta was already standing inside the inner office.
“Giles, why didn’t you go see Willow while I was away?” Jocasta demanded without preface.
Giles looked up in surprise.
“I tried to stop her sir,” the assistant explained.
“That’s okay. Leave us,” Giles told him.
With a short nod the assistant left closing the door behind him.
Giles moved his mouth several times in an effort to speak before finally finding words. “Jo, I…ummm…I’m, I-I’m very glad to see you. You’re…ummm…you’re doing well then?”
“I’m fine,” Jocasta replied, “but Willow’s not.”
Giles’s face creased into worry. “Something’s wrong with the Progenitor program?”
“No, something’s wrong with Willow, the personality construct, the person inside the program.”
“I-I’m not sure I follow you.”
“No one even bothered to go see her while I was in detention. Didn’t any of you think that she might be lonely, that she might want to know what was going on?”
“Jo, I think you’re attributing too much to Willow. She is just a computer program, after all.”
“No, she’s not!” Jocasta insisted. “She’s so much more than that.” Jocasta paused then pulled her shoulders back. “I want the Council to recognize Willow as a sentient being.”
“What?” Giles exclaimed incredulously. Then he folded his arms resolutely. “I’m not going to bog the Council down in endless debates about the alleged sentience of the Progenitor program. We have much more important work to do.”
“Like what? Sentencing Council employees to detention for using magic to defend themselves? Oh, that’s an efficient use of the Council’s time and resources!”
“Jo, you broke the rules. I had no choice but to enforce the regulations as they stand. I can’t expect to get cooperation from my fellow Councilors if they think I have personal biases and no respect for our laws.”
“The laws are wrong,” Jocasta said slowly and firmly. Then she added, “And so are you.”
Jocasta turned on her heel and abruptly left, not allowing Giles to reply.
Giles watched, slack jawed, as Jocasta stormed away. Then he shook his head and pulled off his glasses. He closed his eyes and massaged the bridge of his nose.
“Well, that went quite terribly, didn’t it?” he sighed before replacing his glasses.
Watchers Council – Elevator – Later
James groaned as the elevator holding him, Lex, and Antonia made its way to the lobby.
“Hey, man, why didn’t you tell us you were related to a famous movie star?” Lex asked.
“I can’t believe you’re related to Jessica Wells!” Antonia cried. “The Jessica Wells!”
“I didn’t even know you were from California,” Lex commented. “How’d you end up here in Cleveland?”
“Well, actually I–” James started to say.
“Do you think she’d mind if I asked for a photograph?” Antonia interrupted, holding up her pocket camera.
James opened his mouth to speak but was cut off again.
“I mean, I don’t want to be a nuisance,” Antonia continued excitedly. “You know, one of those annoying, pushy kind of fans? But if I could get a picture of us together, that would be so cool.” Antonia turned to Lex. “Hey, remember that scene in AirCops when she was on top of the sat tower?”
“You mean the one where she jumped off the dish and onto the back of that jet cycle?” Lex asked.
“Yes! Yes!” Antonia crowed. “And she shoved the driver out of his seat and–”
“He fell screaming toward the ground and then–”
“She nearly went crashing into the building before–”
“Finally pulling up and zooming over the top!” Lex finished.
“That was such an awesome scene!” Antonia stated with admiration.
James rolled his eyes in annoyance, then sighed in relief when the elevator doors opened. He stepped out quickly.
“It’s not like it was even her,” James grumbled under his breath as he exited the car. “Hello, stunt double,” he said sarcastically to himself.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
James, Antonia, and Lex headed for the front of the lobby where they found Livia waiting with John West and Velika Petrova, the head of Slayer Command.
When she saw James, Livia smiled and waved a fist at him in mock warning. James smiled warily back at her and made a point to stand with John between himself and the brunette slayer.
Velika slapped Livia lightly on the arm and shook her head.
“Be nice, Livia, you’re representing the Council now,” she said to the younger Slayer.
Livia laughed and rolled her eyes. “It’s a sad day when that happens.”
“So, James,” John interrupted. “What’s your sister like?”
With a deer-in-the-headlights expression, James stuttered. “Uh, well, she ummm…she’s kinda…” Seeing that everyone was raptly awaiting his answer, James shrugged. “…tall?”
“Now, are we talking 50-foot woman tall or busty Swede tall?” Lex asked, winking at James.
“I prefer busty Swede, myself,” a voice volunteered from the front entrance.
The group turned to see a striking young woman with shoulder-length blonde hair standing before them. She was dressed in all black: a long-sleeved silk shirt, only half-way buttoned up; a pair of skin-tight leather pants, tucked into ankle-high boots; dark sunglasses, which she was pushing onto the top of her head. Then she put her hands on her hips and smirked at James, who winced in response and shrank behind the group.
Grinning from ear to ear, Antonia bounced in place then started to walk eagerly forward, but was stopped by Lex. The pilot frowned, but allowed herself to be held back as Velika approached the newcomer.
“Commander Petrova?” Jessica asked.
Velika nodded and extended her hand. “Miss Wells, welcome to Council Headquarters. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Jessica took the former Slayer’s hand and shook it firmly. “Thank you, but the pleasure’s all mine, I assure you.”
Velika led Jessica to the group. “This is Commander Livia Hansen. She’ll be your official liaison during your visit.” Jessica and Livia traded handshakes.
“Hey, not too hard,” Jessica teased about their handshake. “I’m not really a Slayer, I just play one on TV.”
Livia chuckled as she released the actress’s hand.
Velika continued. “Livia will be showing you around the place. So, if you’d like to set up any interviews, just ask her. I’ve cleared you for most of the Slayer areas–”
“And if you’d like to see any other areas of our operation, I’m your man,” John interrupted, giving a small bow.
Livia snorted. “Don’t let him fool you. The guy’s all talk.”
Velika cleared her throat and gave the two a disapproving look. “This is Colonel John West, second-in-command of Gray Sector.”
“The man to call for all things mystical or magical or all-around monster-ful,” Jessica said, shaking John’s hand.
“You’ve done your homework,” John said with an impressed grin.
“Oh, I always do my homework,” Jessica replied. “That’s why I’m here.”
Velika led Jessica to Lex and Antonia next. Antonia continued to bounce in place with excitement. “Lexington Harris, head of Red Sector, and Antonia Allister, Council Air and Space Captain.”
Jessica shook Lex’s hand first, and he giggled in pure giddiness. “Nice to meet you,” he finally got out.
When Jessica turned to Antonia, she stopped bouncing, frozen in place. Her mouth fell open, and she slowly walked forward and took the actress’s offered hand. “Oh…my…god,” Antonia said in a star-struck tone. “I am such a big fan of yours, Miss Wells.”
“Please, call me Jessica.”
Jessica tried to remove her hand from Antonia’s, but the pilot was firmly latched on. “I’ve seen all your movies,” Antonia said, continuing to shake the actress’s hand excitedly, “and I watch Passions every day. Well, actually I have to record it most of time. Council schedules, you know. I just love Juliana! Do you think she’ll get back with Marco anytime soon?”
Jessica carefully pried her hand away from her rabid fan. “Oh, um, I’m not really sure. But, I appreciate your support. Thank you.”
Antonia stepped back to Lex and squealed into his ear with delight. “Ohmigod, she said I could call her Jessica!”
Jessica smiled indulgently at Antonia’s reaction. Her smile faded when she turned and saw James.
“And I believe you already know our Computer Center Coordinator,” Velika said.
Jessica put her smile back on and nodded at her brother. “James,” she said evenly.
“Jess,” James replied in a voice devoid of warmth.
“So…how’ve you been?”
“Great. Just great. You?”
“Good. Real good.”
When the two siblings didn’t say anything else, Velika quickly stepped in. “Well, I think Livia’s ready to take you on a tour of Slayer Command, if you’ll come this way?”
Jessica shot a quick smile at Velika then turned back to James. “Can we get together while I’m here? Maybe tomorrow?” She handed him a business card. “I’m at the Orion. I thought maybe we could do some catching up?”
James took the card and forced a smile. “Sure. Just call the front desk. They can connect you.”
Jessica’s face lightened. “It was nice to meet you all,” she said to the group before Velika and Livia led her away towards the Slayer side of the Council Headquarters.
Lex joined James and clapped him playfully on the shoulder. “Man, you are so lucky to have a sister like that.”
James stared at Jessica’s retreating form. “Yeah, lucky,” he said flatly.
Jocasta’s Apartment – Same Time
While Jocasta was at Council Headquarters, Katherine busied herself in Jocasta’s apartment. As she dusted a shelf she examined the pictures and knickknacks.
On the bottom of a shelf in the bedroom, she discovered a small batch of books—real books—one of which was the Codex Daemonicus, the volume she and Jocasta had examined together the first time she had visited the watcher’s apartment. Katherine sat on the floor, pulled out the books one by one, and began browsing through them.
When she opened the third book, a picture fell out from the pages. Katherine picked up the old, polymer-coated photo and examined it closely. Her eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open. It showed a beautiful young woman with blonde hair and clear blue eyes and a bright smile. It was like looking at herself. Katherine flipped the photo over.
“Tara Maclay- birthday party, October 16, 2000,” Katherine read aloud. Then she turned the photo back over.
“Oh my god,” Katherine said.
Katherine quickly stuck the picture back into the book and returned the volume to its place. She got to her feet and backed away from the bookshelf. Then she fled the room.
Jocasta’s Apartment – Early Afternoon
Jocasta entered the apartment carrying a large take-out sack. She looked around the living room.
“Katie?” she called. There was no answer. “Katie?”
Jocasta set the sack on the coffee table and walked through the apartment. When she came out of the bedroom, she wore a look of confusion.
End of Act One