City Street – Later That Night
22 years ago
“I don’t want you going out there alone,” Giles said as he held Jocasta in his arms.
She sighed in frustration. “Do you really want to help me or not?” she asked.
“Yes,” Giles insisted.
“Then take Jo to the Allisters.” He looked like he was about to argue, but she held up a finger. “I need to get the Coven together to see if we can fight them magically, but I want Jo safe. If we split up, it saves time. Besides, I want you in the loop at the Council, and the only way for that to happen is for you to not be seen with me right now.”
“I don’t like this,” he told her.
“I don’t like it either, but we don’t have much choice, do we?”
“Okay, okay,” he relented. “I’ll do it, but I’m coming right back.”
“Jo,” Constance began as she took the young girl in her arms, “Seb is going to take you to visit Cousin Toni for a while, okay? I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Why can’t you both go?” Jocasta asked.
“Momma’s got work to do, but as soon as it’s finished, I’ll be along.”
“Promise?” Jocasta asked.
Constance pulled the girl into a hug and closed her eyes. “I promise,” she said softly before opening her eyes again. “Now off you go, and don’t give Seb a hard time, all right?”
Jocasta nodded and went back into Giles’s arms again. He leaned over and kissed Constance gently on the lips.
“Wait for me,” he told her.
“I’ll try,” she answered.
“Is that the best I can get?” he asked.
She gave him a slight grin. “At the moment, yeah. But I promise I will try to hold things off if I can. So hurry back.”
Giles nodded and began to walk away. From over his shoulder Jocasta waved with Mr. Snappy in her other hand. Constance smiled brightly and waved back at the young girl before turning around and starting up the street. As she walked, she began to cry softly.
Watchers Council – Meeting Room – Night
Tyrell stood at the head of a large table as Travers stood to his right. Also in the room were a host of slayers, including Velika.
“Thanks to Mr. Travers suggestion we’ve been tracking Trisha Hansen and her ‘rogue slayers’. And I’m sure Constance and her Coven will be looking for you as well. We need to eliminate them before they eliminate us. Now we don’t want a battle on Council grounds, so it’s your job to meet them outside our walls. Will that be a problem, Velika?” he asked.
“No, Sir,” she told him. “I know a location by the lake.”
“Very good,” he nodded. “You all know what you need to do, so see to your ranks.”
With that, Tyrell’s new slayer generals cleared the room. After everyone had left, Velika activated her comlink and adjusted her earpiece. “Yeah, it’s me…” she began softly.
Abandoned Warehouse – Night
The Coven sat in a circle as Trisha looked on.
“We’ve got Velika’s location,” Constance told her. “Near the beach. My guess is they’re going to try to drive you in and keep you cornered.”
“That means I’ll need a little magical back up then. If things get too intense, can you get us out of there, teleport and such?”
“We can certainly try. It’ll be a tough with that many people there.”
“Guess it’s now or never then, huh?” Trisha said rhetorically. “Let me go inform the slayers, and we’ll get out of here.”
“Okay, give me about ten minutes first,” Constance said before Trisha nodded and left the room.
As the Coven filed out, Constance opened a journal and quickly began writing.
24-Hour Grocery Store Parking Lot – Night
“How much longer do I need to walk around out here?” Katherine asked as she held a shopping bag with diapers in one hand and the bundled-up faux baby in the other. “I’m freezing. I look like an idiot, and I think security is starting to notice.”
24-Hour Grocery Store – Same Time
“Let’s give it another ten minutes,” Livia said as she pretended to examine a cereal box.
24-Hour Grocery Store Parking Lot – Same Time
“How many women go shopping this late at night anyway?” Katherine said in a frustrated voice. “This is pretty fruitless. I wouldn’t be surprised if…” A shrill female scream cut through the cold air, and Katherine dropped the bag and the baby, making the doll cry. “That might be our demon now.”
She took off into a run as a couple heading into the store looked on in shock. They appeared amazed that she ran away from the screaming child that lay on the ground.
24-Hour Grocery Store – Same Time
Livia dropped the cereal box and raced down the aisle with Brianna and Mira joining her from different locations, meeting at the front door. Once at the entrance, Livia looked around the lot to see Katherine running through the cars.
“That way,” she told the girls as she pointed.
24-Hour Grocery Store Parking Lot – Same Time
Livia and the team ran past the stunned shoppers with the baby.
“Stop that woman!” they called out to her. The woman went on to say, “She dropped her…”
They opened the crying bundle to see it was nothing more than a toy and gave each other confused looks.
Among the cars in the lot, Katherine saw a Braccus demon leaning over a woman. Then she heard the cry of a baby in the small blanket that now lay at the fallen woman’s side.
“Hey Ugly!” Katherine called over. The large demon turned around sharply. “Yeah, you. I’m here to put you on a diet.” The beast snarled and started toward Katherine, and her eyes widened. “Great, Allison. Now what?” she muttered to herself as she looked at herself pinned between cars.
As the monster swung, she used her slayer speed to duck, and instead of striking her, he hit the window of the vehicle next to them, shattering glass everywhere. She went into a roll, away from the creature, as Livia leapt over her to kick him square in the jaw, making him stumble back however remaining upright.
“Oh boy,” Livia sighed. “Vel wasn’t kidding, was she?”
“You go top, I go bottom?” Katherine suggested.
“Sounds good to me,” Livia answered.
As the demon approached again, Livia jumped onto the roof of the car next to them and motioned the other slayers to get the woman and the baby out of the way. Katherine waved the demon toward her as she backed up allowing her fellow slayers to collect the fallen woman. Once they were clear, Livia jumped on the creature’s back and attempted to snap his neck. With one easy heave, he tossed Livia into Katherine, who tried to break her fall.
Unsuccessful at staying up, both slayers fell to the ground in one large lump as the monster moved closer. Katherine grabbed her face where Livia had crashed into her but soon enough both women scooted back on their hands as he approached.
“Any more bright ideas?” Livia asked. “I’m open to suggestions here. Really. Anything will do.”
Suddenly, they heard Brianna yell out “Clear!” and they watched as smoke began to pour from the creature’s back. He closed his eyes and began to fall forward like a huge oak tree. Livia’s and Katherine’s eyes widened as he began to fall toward them, and they both rolled out of the way as he crashed between them.
“How about two tazers on full?” Brianna asked rhetorically as she and Mira put their devices away.
“Smart ass,” Livia muttered as she got to her feet.
From the front of the car the woman began to rise with a look of confusion. Brianna walked over.
“We’re with the Council, Ma’am. You’ve had a bad blow to the head,” she told her.
“My baby? Where’s my baby?” the woman asked, obviously scared.
“Right here,” Livia said, picking up the crying child. “I’ve got him, so why don’t you have a seat until the medics can check you out. You don’t want to drop him now, do you?”
The woman gave her a nod but never let Livia out of her sight.
Livia held the child in her arms and swayed back and forth with him, giving him a little bounce on her shoulder. Suddenly, the baby quieted down, and Katherine walked over with a grin.
“Maybe motherhood does suit you,” she teased.
“Up yours, Allison,” Livia said seriously before starting to grin.
Katherine laughed for a moment, but as quickly as it came, a look of sadness washed over her. Without saying anything about the mood shift, Katherine motioned behind her. “I’m gonna call this one in,” she said before walking away.
“What just happened?” Brianna asked as she joined Livia.
The slayer shrugged. “If I had to guess, I’d say she just thought about sharing this story with a certain colonel but then remembered said colonel won’t pick up the phone.”
Brianna just watched as Katherine stood a few feet away speaking and nodding.
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Next Morning
Giles walked in to find Jocasta asleep on her sofa with a journal on her chest. He gave her a light smile before walking over, taking the book, and setting it on the coffee table.
“Jo,” he said softly.
Jocasta’s eyes shot open, and she looked over to see Giles sitting there on the coffee table’s edge.
“Pull an all-nighter?” he asked
“I must have,” she answered as she yawned and wiped her eyes.
“How far did you get?” he asked.
“Far enough to know you’re quite the ladies’ man,” she teased.
Giles gave a bashful grin. “Yet another reason why I waited until you were old enough.”
“I don’t remember you and Mom being involved, well, not romantically.”
“You were young, Jo, around five at the most, and your mother didn’t want to send the wrong impression about your father.”
Jocasta paused a moment and looked Giles in the eyes. “I need to know something, and I want an honest answer, Giles. Are you my biological father? I mean, when did this affair start?”
“No, Bradford Rosenberg was your father. I knew both of them, but I didn’t become involved with your mother until about a year after his death. I often looked in on you two to make sure you were okay, and from there, things grew.”
“Well, I read all the journals, and I can’t believe it. I can’t believe what Velika did. I can’t believe what the slayers did and the High Command too. What a mess.”
“It truly was, and in many ways, it still truly is.”
Jocasta paused a moment. “There’s one problem, though.”
“What’s that?” Giles asked.
“I gotta know. How did my mother’s story end? Her last entry had her going off into battle with Livia’s mother.”
Giles bit his lip and seemed reluctant, but he took a deep breath and nodded.
“Well, here’s the way I understand it…” he began.
Battleground – Later That Night
22 Years Ago
Trisha and Constance, accompanied by one hundred slayers and nine other Coven members, arrived near a small cliff and saw another set of ten people in a circle holding hands. Trisha pointed them out to Constance.
“What’s that?” Trisha asked.
Constance’s eyes went wide. “A new coven, I’d wager.”
“Okay, but where are the…” Trisha trailed off and watched as slayer after slayer emerged from the other side of the hill. “Oh goody,” she answered sarcastically. “I was hoping they’d show up.”
When the troops finally came to a stop at the top of the hill, Constance leaned over to Trisha. “How many do you think?”
“200, maybe 300,” she replied, looking through a set of binoculars.
“Those aren’t good odds,” Constance remarked. “Should we form a retreat?”
Trisha paused a moment and looked through her binoculars again. She watched Velika, who appeared to be consulting the other coven.
“One to three?” Trisha finally said. “No, they’re not good odds, but this might be our only chance of getting to reason with the slayers. If we can hold them long enough, that is.”
“All right, then,” Constance told her. “We’ll deal with the other coven. You handle the slayers.”
“Affirmative,” Trisha told her as she motioned her troops to formation.
Allister Household – Moments Earlier
“Sebastian?” Mary Allister said when she saw him on her doorstep with Jocasta at his side. “What’s happened?”
“May we come inside?” he asked.
“Of course,” she said opening the door wider.
“Jo!” a child’s voice called out from the stairwell, making everyone turn around.
“Antonia Rowena Allister! I told you to get to bed!” Her mother scowled.
“But Jo’s here,” she argued.
“Can Jo stay here tonight?” Giles asked, putting a hand on top of Jocasta’s head.
“Certainly,” Mary answered. “But tell me-.”
“Let’s send the girls to bed, and we’ll talk,” he told Mary before turning to Jocasta. “Why don’t you go upstairs with Toni?” he proposed.
Jocasta smiled, and Toni gave a small clap as the two girls began to run up the stairs together. “Wait till you see the new 98-B vehicle my dad got me!” Toni told her. “I can’t fly it in the house anymore because Mom found out I broke a lamp. But if you’re here tomorrow, we can take it outside.”
Once the girls were out of earshot, Mary turned back to Giles.
“Now…tell me what the heck’s going on,” she demanded.
Battleground – East Side – Moments Later
Giles ran down the street toward the waterfront. When he arrived, he saw a mass of slayers in formation, marching to face off against another slayer formation.
“Dear God,” he whispered as he looked around the impending battlefield. He spotted Constance with her Coven and raced down the incline towards her.
Across the field, Velika raised her hands to her marching troops, and they broke into a run, screaming as they went. Trisha’s troops responded in kind by rushing to meet them with war cries of their own. Trisha’s magically-trained slayers took point, hurling fireballs and knocking the opposing slayers off their feet three at a time, then encasing them in magical bindings that appeared to be made of a gelatin-like substance.
After several minutes of standing in a circle chanting and perspiring, a few members of Constance’s Coven looked like they might fall over.
“We can’t keep this up much longer,” Tess confessed. “The other coven is too strong.”
“Don’t break the chain. Hold out a little longer until Trisha’s work’s done,” Constance said.
With what seemed like an electrical shock, Constance and her witches were blown off their feet. They landed on their backs, scattered across the ground.
Trisha’s slayers discovered that their magic was dwindling, so they began to pull their weapons.
“Pull back!” Trisha yelled. “We can’t hold them!”
The other coven continued to chant from their circle, but before Constance could regroup her witches, slayers from Velika’s side began to get past Trisha’s troops and come toward them.
“Run!” Constance yelled to her Coven members.
As Tess turned around to do just that, she came face to face with a slayer holding a sword. The slayer didn’t hesitate. She drove the blade into the witch’s stomach until blood came from her mouth. Then she yanked the sword from her body.
Constance watched helplessly as Tess fell. The high priestess screamed out as she ran toward her fallen friend. Before she could get there, two crossbow bolts hit her in the back, and she fell to the ground.
Giles arrived at her side moments after and he quickly pulled her out of the action and further down the beach.
Battleground – West Side – Moments Later
Elsewhere, Trisha fought off one slayer, only to have her quickly replaced by another. When Trisha faltered, her newest attacker sank a sword into her stomach until she crumpled to the ground.
When Velika saw the mortal blow, she quickly ran over and ordered her slayer to move on. After looking about as it to insure that no one would notice her, she dragged Trisha off to the side and out of sight. Then she knelt beside Trisha and pulled the woman into her lap.
“It wasn’t supposed to happen this way,” Velika told Trisha. “He wasn’t supposed to have another coven to counter Constance. I failed you.”
“No, you didn’t,” Trisha insisted. “You haven’t failed because it’s not over yet. Tyrell will disband the Coven, and then he’ll try to disenfranchise the slayers. They haven’t seen you as our insider, so promise me you won’t lose our voice in the Council.”
“I promise,” Velika told her, holding back her tears.
“Look after Livia,” she said, almost choking on her words. “She needs a good slayer model. I trust you.”
Before Velika could respond, Trisha closed her eyes and died. For a few moments, the young woman held her dead superior in her arms. Finally, she gently laid Trisha’s body on the ground. Then she rose to her feet with an angry expression and headed back into the battle.
Battleground – East Side – Moments Later
Giles pulled the bolts from Constance’s back and rolled her over.
“Just relax. Start to heal yourself,” he said softly.
“Too late. I’ve got no more energy – the fight took it out of me,” she said before closing her eyes.
Giles kissed her and pulled her closer, “Just hang on then. I’ll get you to a hospital.”
“Remember…your…promise,” she whispered, straining each word out before closing her eyes.
“Constance?” Giles felt her neck for a pulse and then moved to her wrist quickly. Finding none, he buried his head into her neck and began to cry.
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Morning
“So she died in your arms?” Jocasta said. Giles simply nodded. “At least she wasn’t alone, right? I mean, someone cared.”
“Many people cared. But yes, us more than anyone else,” he added.
Jocasta’s bottom lip began to quiver, and she broke down into a sob, hiding her face in her hands. Giles moved from the coffee table to the sofa and put his arm around her. “You needed to know the truth, Jo. You have to know why the Coven is so important and why I want it reinstated.”
“I do,” Jocasta said, wiping her tears away and clearing her throat. “And that bastard Tyrell is lucky he’s gone. And Travers? If I see that S.O.B., I’ll—”
Giles tried to hold back a grin. “See why I didn’t give this to you earlier? You can’t go up against Travers in a high noon setting. If we’re going to see him out, we have to do it just like we did with Tyrell – with facts and not emotions.”
“Well, emotions are a pretty good motivator right now.”
“As they should be, but they shouldn’t cloud your judgment either,” Giles warned. “We have to do things the proper way.”
Jocasta paused to calm herself then prompted Giles to continue. “So after the battle I’m assuming they disbanded the Coven altogether.”
“They deemed it a threat yes,” Giles answered. “After the battle all the magical slayers were dead along with several of the non-magic users. Most of the Coven members died as well. Those who survived were hunted down and killed. That left the Watchers division with a majority share of the votes in the Council. Not long after the Coven was removed, the slayers were voted out of the Council meetings, too, to discourage another civil war from happening again.”
“But everything would have been fine if they had just left things alone to begin with,” Jocasta challenged.
“Preaching to the choir over here,” Giles told her. “But since the watchers were in greater numbers, they had the largest voice after the rebellion – they seized control of the Council as a result. The other covens within the Council were disbanded or told they would suffer the same fate as the Cleveland group. Unfortunately, many covens did put up a fight, but…”
“What?” Willow asked.
“The Council eliminated them using the same counter-coven from Cleveland. It was an awful mess, many lives lost or ruined…all because of nothing more than greed of power.”
“Then we’ve gotta shift the power back, Giles….” Jocasta said in a determined voice.
“And we will,” he said confidently. “The first step was this,” he said pointing at journals, “…doing your homework, gaining knowledge. The next step is presenting an official proposal to establish a working magic research lab.”
“You mean no more limiting myself to ‘the more mundane methods’?” Jocasta asked excitedly.
“Precisely,” Giles said with a smile. Then he sobered and added, “I’d like Katie to be on your lab team.”
“I, ah, I don’t think that’s such a good idea…”
“I know you two are having difficulties, but she’s experienced with magic. We need her.”
Jocasta didn’t respond.
“Speaking of Katie, she called me last night. She wanted to make sure you were okay since she hasn’t heard from you.”
“I’ve been busy,” she answered.
“Sure you have,” he said with a knowing grin. “Take your time to cool off, Jo, but speak to her now. At least tell her you’re alive.”
Jocasta just nodded and watched as Giles went to the door.
“Thanks,” she called out to him.
“For what?” he asked.
“For the journals, for filling in the spaces, for looking after me when any other man would have walked away.”
Giles walked back over and kissed Jocasta on the crown of the head. “Promise or no promise, I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” he told her before leaving the room.
Jocasta walked over to her desk and looked at the phone and the button that listed Katherine’s name next to it. She put her finger on top of it but didn’t push it. With a sigh, she moved away and instead gathered her mother’s journals and walked out of the office.
End of The Coven
Next on Watchers: Restoration