Act 5



Cut To:


Watchers Council – Hallway – Later That Evening

Faith stood in front of Robin’s door, knocking rhythmically every half second. Finally, Robin opened the door and Faith pushed her way inside without comment.

“Do you know where Rowena is?” she asked. “Will doesn’t know where she is and there’s something I need her to see. I think it’s a clue about that thing we’ve been talking about.”

Before Robin could reply, Rowena stepped out of the bathroom, wearing only her underwear, her half-buttoned blouse, and a nervous expression. She said nothing. Faith looked back and forth between the two of them for a long beat, then, without any further discussion, moved toward Rowena with her phone.

“Do you know the demon in this pic?” she asked, holding the phone up for Rowena to see the image on the screen. It showed one of the pictures of new details from the painting that Norman had sent her.

Rowena shot a brief look at the other woman, then took a deep, settling breath and looked down at the picture. “Yes,” she said, “but why didn’t you just run it through the database?”

At first, Faith said nothing. Once again, she looked up at Robin and then Rowena and then Robin again.

“You two seem pretty…well, I could be diplomatic and say chummy, but, um, I’ve learned that life is too short for diplomacy. Did you two just screw?”

Robin and Rowena looked everywhere except at each other. When neither said anything, Faith held up a hand and said, “Y’know what? Never mind. Look. You’re adults. Do what you want. I mean, if you had any idea how many people I’ve…” She looked up at Robin and closed her mouth. “Anyway, I just want to know…does she know?”

Robin shook his head, and Rowena looked at them both with a curious expression.

“Know what?” Rowena asked as her eyes darted between the two of them.

Faith turned to her. “I think this demon is going to kill Grace at the game, but I can’t let the word get out or we’ll scare him off. So no database, no trail of any kind. Anything digital, Zorgy might get wind of it.”

“I agree,” Rowena said, “but how do you know about Zorgy’s hacking? I didn’t think you were in those briefings”.”

Faith opened her mouth, but hesitated for a moment, shooting a glance at Robin. Seeing his ‘don’t look at me’ expression, she turned back to Rowena said, “I’ve got my ears to the ground, OK?

Rowena shook her head. “In any case, if Grace is in danger, we need to cancel the event.”

“No. I need to catch the assassin in the act, or she’ll continue to be in danger.”

“Faith…” Rowena began skeptically.

“Ro, please. It has to be this way, and I can’t explain why. I’m here to help her, but I’m not sure how this demon would get a gun in the stadium.”

“He wouldn’t have to,” Rowena said after a moment.

“Why?” Faith and Robin both asked.

“A Pulut Demon is nicknamed ‘the Gunslinger’,” Rowena told them. “The reason is their arms can project shards of cartilage that resemble bullets.”

“And when you say project…” Robin prompted.

“I mean that they essentially have a gun in their arm that they can kill people with,” Rowena explained. “And they’re really good at using it. Marksmen good.”

“I want to know everything about this demon.” Faith then asked, “How far can it shoot?”

“Several hundred meters, if it had a clear path…like a baseball field.” Rowena’s eyes went wide, and she said, “We need to tell Grace.”

“No,” Faith pleaded. “You can’t say anything yet to anyone – not even Willow. If we cancel the event or change anything that will cause them to deviate from their plan, they’ll try to get her some other way. Right now, I know what’s coming. This is our only shot at this. You just have to trust that I’ll keep Grace safe. Please. I’m begging you here. There’s so much at stake. It’s the main reason I’m back at the Council now.”

Rowena looked over to Robin who nodded slowly.

“And just so you know…” Faith continued, but then she hesitated for a moment. “I need to come clean. I put a spell on your phones, yours and Willow’s so Jeff can’t reach you, but since now you know, you have to tell Jeff that you’ll talk to Grace if he contacts you.”

“So lie?” she asked in disbelief.

“Yes,” Faith answered with no delay. “He’s a wild card that I can’t have in the mix if I can help it.” Her tone grew plaintive. “Look, Blondie…Whatever you think of me, please, ask yourself, would I be here, begging you, completely ignoring the fact that you’re hanging out in my ex-husband’s apartment with no pants? Does that seem like something I would pass up talking about if the frickin’ world didn’t depend on it?”

Rowena looked to Robin again, who nodded in confirmation.

“You’re awfully quiet,” she told him.

He shrugged. “The less I say the better. Let’s leave it at that.”

Rowena looked between the both of them and then back at Faith with a look of realization. “You’re not really Faith,” she said. “You’re from the future.”

“I’m really Faith,” the dark haired woman answered. “And I can keep Grace safe, but only if you play along, so don’t say anything.”

After a few seconds, Rowena said, “You didn’t deny you’re from the future.”

Faith looked over to Robin with a pleading expression, but he just shrugged.

“Damn it,” Faith muttered. She then turned back to Rowena. “Just get Grace to the stadium. I’ll handle the rest.”

“If Grace gets killed–”

“She won’t,” Faith insisted. “I promise.”

“I’m serious! If anything happens to her, I swear to God, I’ll–”

“You’ll what?” Faith finally managed a ghost of a smile. “You’ll bang my ex? Too late.” Rowena’s eyes widened at the comment, and she quickly shut her mouth which suddenly fell open. “And honestly, y’know, I’d love to compare notes, but I’ve got much bigger fish to fry.” Faith looked back over her shoulder at Robin, her eyes lingering on him. “Well, maybe not bigger. But you get it.”

Cut To:


Bar Back Room – Afternoon

Several large men surrounded a card table in the back room of a seedy bar in one of the more forgotten parts of Cleveland. Nearby, a half eaten slab of pizza cooled on top of an overturned box. One of the men, wearing a red tracksuit and sporting a scar above his eye, looked over his hand of cards skeptically.

“Are you gonna play or not, Ivan?” asked one of the others, with a vaguely European accent.

“I’m thinking about it,” Ivan slurred back in his own thick Russian accent.

He paused to take a long swig of vodka straight from a large bottle, then played a card. The other men around the table groaned when they saw it.

Above the elaborate artwork on the card, its title read “Virulent Sliver.” Below the art, a solid paragraph of instructions had been printed. The rest of the table was covered in various other similar Magic: The Gathering cards, along with a variety of other tokens and alcoholic beverages.

“OK, so that gives all of my other Slivers poisonous one,” Ivan said, “and I have Heart Sliver down so that means no summoning sickness, so I can already attack this turn against–”

He never got to finish his explanation, because the door to the main area of the bar suddenly splintered and collapsed into the room. Ivan and a couple of the other players shot to their feet, one sending his chair backward to the floor with a clatter.

Slaygirl stood in the doorway in full costume. “Sorry to interrupt,” she growled.

The fight did not last very long. She knocked most of the thugs unconscious before breaking one of the men’s arms. Ivan picked up a baseball bat and moved to fight her, but she fended him off easily with the armored gauntlets on her wrists, then kicked him right in the crotch. He fell to the floor, grabbing the injured area.

“Sorry,” she said, walking casually over to the table. “I know that’s against the guy code. But I need information.” She looked down at the game still set up on the table, then back over at Ivan on the floor. “You are a huge nerd, I take it?” She paused, considering. “I guess I’m not one to talk.”

He made a high-pitched squeak, still holding his crotch. Slaygirl rolled her eyes. “I need you to tell me about where Tanner’s trafficking operation is bringing in new girls. I think you know. If you don’t tell me, I’m going to hurt you. Or…” She picked up a card in a plastic sleeve from the table with gloved fingers. It bore the name “Sliver Queen.” “I’ve heard these are valuable. How much did you pay for this one?”

Ivan’s eyes grew wide in protest, but he didn’t have time to respond before both he and Slaygirl were startled by a third voice.

“Is that what you’re looking for?” Anisha asked through a mouth full of pizza.

Both Ivan and Slaygirl looked at the newcomer, dumbfounded. She sat on a metal folding chair, legs crossed, a slice of pizza with a bite taken out of it in one hand.

Anisha swallowed. “You could have just asked me. They bring them in from Canada via Berth Twenty-One at the harbor, using Allied Shipping for transportation.” She took another bite, but noticed the stares had remained. “Just look at these boxes,” she said after another moment, gesturing to the ones holding up the pizza. “All from Allied. And the codes…” She pointed to a series of seemingly random letters written on one in marker. “…tell you destination, timing, et cetera.”

“How long have you been here?” Slaygirl asked incredulously, though she still kept her voice low. “Not helping?”

She swallowed another bite. “You seemed to have the situation well in hand,” Anisha replied. She put down the half-eaten slice and got to her feet. “But if you’re finished, I thought we might talk.”

Slaygirl considered this a moment, then shrugged. She unceremoniously kicked Ivan in the face and he collapsed to the floor.

“This is new,” she said, her voice now closer to that of Kelly Kinnie, intrepid reporter. “You could’ve just called, y’know?”

Anisha got to her feet. “Considering that you’re here and not on your way to the game, I thought a final plea in person might be in order.”

Slaygirl rolled her eyes. “Not this again. Look, the Council can take care of itself.”

“I doubt it,” Anisha said seriously. “Perhaps you are so single-minded that you have not kept your ear to the ground, but I have. There is a reason so many demon refugees are suddenly here. They are just the harbingers, storm-petrels. Something very bad is coming, something that could mean the end of all of us. And whether you have succeeded in your quixotic pursuit of a specific crime lord will mean exactly nothing if we are all dead.”

“I…” Slaygirl shook her head. “I’m sorry, I missed something here. How did we go from ‘bad stuff at the baseball game’ to ‘end of the world?'”

“I can’t figure out everything, I can’t see everything, but the dots are very connectable to nearly anyone. Consider this: the woman who has been Chair of the Watchers Council for the past decade is going to be at that game, and if she were to fall…our world would be vulnerable. This impacts everyone. While few would probably miss Ivan and his…gathering…” Anisha said as she tossed the cards on the table and motioned to the unconscious men around them. “You, me, lancers around the world would be at risk. Earth cannot be vulnerable right now, do you understand?”

“You really trust this source?”

“I do,” Anisha said without hesitation.

Slaygirl sighed. “OK, fine. I’ll go with you.”

Anisha shook her head. “I’m just another lancer,” she said. “I’m not the hero this city needs.”

“I’m not just going to do what you say because you quote Batman movies,” Slaygirl protested.

Anisha raised a single eyebrow.

“I mean, I am going to do what you say, but not because of that.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Elevator – Evening

Robin and Faith stood side-by-side as they descended in an elevator.

“You’re not part of official Council security, so they’re not going to let you bring weapons into the stadium,” Robin said, without looking over. “You got a plan for that?”

“I’ll do what I have to,” she replied quietly.

“Faith,” Robin spoke quietly, “in this future…Nikki and I…”

“You don’t need to know,” Faith said. She turned toward him. “Really, Ace. Sorry. Robin. Don’t go there.”

He looked in her eyes and said, “You seem different. I just wish I knew what happened to you.”

“The world ended, that’s what fucking happened to me!” she shot back. “And it’s gonna end again if this fucking elevator doesn’t hurry up!” She ran a hand through her hair in frustration.

“I thought you didn’t swear anymore,” Robin commented.

She shot him a deeply annoyed look. “You make it from LA to Cleveland after the apocalypse and then scold me about bad words.”

“I wasn’t–”

With a hollow ding, the doors to the elevator opened onto the Council parking garage. Robin and Faith both blinked in surprise at finding Xander now standing just in front of the door.

“Hi guys!” he said brightly, with a small wave.

Faith eyed him warily as she and Robin pushed past him. “Uh…hi.”

“So, I was thinking…” Xander continued unperturbed, causing the other two to turn and look at him, “I’ve got a couple supplier meetings on the South Side. You guys are going to the game, right? I could give you a ride, if you want.”

Robin raised an eyebrow “You have supplier meetings…on a Saturday night?”

“They’re vampire…suppliers…it’s not important.” Xander waved him off. “Anyway, whaddaya think?”

“Thanks, but we’re good.” Faith gave Xander a very awkward smile, which he returned just as awkwardly.

She and Robin turned again to walk away, but they stopped when Xander called, “Oh, um, one more thing.” His tone suggested he had just remembered something else he had meant to mention. “So, Faith…” He scratched his chin casually. “You’re, um…you’re from the future, am I right?”

Faith and Robin stared at him, wide-eyed.

Cut To:


Xander’s Car – Minutes Later

Xander’s car inched forward through downtown gameday traffic. Faith sat in the passenger seat, staring out the window, while Robin sat silently in the back.

“Sorry, there’s no way around all this construction,” Xander commented, gesturing out the windshield. “They can’t keep up with all the growth, what with all the businesses that want to be near the, y’know, the Hellmouth, so…” Getting no response from either of his passengers, he trailed off.

He leaned down and pressed a button to turn on the radio. “Don’t Stop Believin'” blared through the vehicle. Without saying a word, Faith leaned over and turned off the radio. Then she went right back to staring out the window.

“Hey Robin,” Xander tried again, “you had the chance to check out the Slayers yet this year? I-I mean, the baseball team? I think they need another outfielder, pers–”

“OK, I’ve gotta know,” Faith burst out, turning toward him. “Blondie and now you. Does everybody know? Am I really that bad at this? Literally the entire fucking universe depends on me keeping this a secret and apparently it’s just out there now.” She gestured wildly with her arms, almost hitting Xander in the face. “My Real Housewives tagline is ‘I’m from the future, but don’t tell anyone!'”

“Everyone doesn’t know,” Xander assured her. “I mean, not as far as I know. I just figured it out. Remember, I have known all of the versions of Faith. Some of them intimately.”

“Xander, I suggest you skip this part,” Robin said darkly from the back seat.

“And you’re not any of them,” Xander continued. “Also, you watch Real Housewives?”

“They tried to get me on there one time, but then I got divorced so I told them I couldn’t because I wasn’t a housewife. The actual reason was I wasn’t a fucking idiot.”

“And that’s the other thing,” Xander said. “I thought you gave up cursing.”

Faith rolled her eyes. Robin leaned forward and said, “Still, it’s an awfully big leap from there to…time travel.”

“Is it, though?” Xander replied, looking in his rearview mirror. “We’ve both been living the same lives the past couple decades, right? Everything else has happened.”

Faith bit her lip, then said, “OK, they sent my mind from the future back–”

Xander quickly held up a hand, cutting her off. “Stop. I don’t need to know. The more I know, the more messed up the timeline could get. Right?”

She hesitated. “I guess? I’m honestly not clear on how this whole thing works. Given how Sli…what I was told, I kind of thought the world might have blown up by now. And messing up the timeline is sort of the whole point.”

“The point is, I trust you.”

Faith eyed him skeptically. “Why?”

He shrugged. “When we stop trusting each other is when we’re gonna lose. Because all we’ve really got against the bad guys in the end is each other.”

After another long beat of silence in the car, Robin said, “That’s deep.”

“Profound, really,” Faith commented.

“So, how did you get tickets to the game?” Xander asked. “Because I couldn’t.”

“I’m sorry, what?” Faith asked, blinking at him.

“The game,” he explained, “it’s sold out. The Council delegation was full. And I’m betting you’re not part of it, what with all the secrecy.”

Faith stared at him.

Cut To:


Inside Baseball Stadium – Same Time

Some officials walked with Rowena and Grace through the tunnels beneath the stadium with a couple of photographers in tow. Grace smiled for the cameras, while Rowena appeared to be on edge, her head constantly swiveling to and fro, looking at everyone around them with suspicion.

“We’re honored to host you tonight,” a stadium official told her.

“I’m happy to be here,” Grace told him through a tight lipped smile. She turned to Rowena and whispered, “Not a word that Shannon had to teach me to throw this week.” Rowena grinned for a moment, but it was short lived. She appeared nervous again. “You okay?” Grace asked, picking up on her mood.

“Peachy,” Rowena remarked. “You’re gonna do great tonight.”

Cut To:


Outside Baseball Stadium – Minutes Later

The scene outside the stadium was a chaotic mix of noise and color. Parents led their kids by the hand. Street vendors loudly hawked bottles of water and enormous bags of unshelled peanuts. An erstwhile musician banged out a rhythm on the bottom of a plastic bucket.

By one of the gates, a leather-lunged woman belted out instructions to a pushing mass of fans. “If you have a bag, you need to be in this line over here! Only clear plastic bags are allowed inside! Please have your tickets ready so you don’t hold up the line!”

Faith took in the scene and again ran a hand through her hair in frustration. “Shit!” she growled. She turned to Robin, standing next to her. “I’m an idiot! The world’s gonna end because I’m an idiot. I was so worried about that stupid painting and I didn’t think to buy a fucking ticket!”

“We’ll figure it out,” he told her. “Don’t panic.”

“You don’t know what I did to get here,” she told him, an edge to her voice. “I pulled out a Viragian Dragon’s heart. A demon stung me and I spent a week drifting in and out of consciousness in the bathroom of a bombed-out Chipotle in Columbia, Missouri, hallucinating that my dead sister was talking to me. I listened to Andrew recite the plots of several seasons’ worth of Star Trek episodes into a recorder and when I asked him why he said it was so they wouldn’t be ‘lost, like tears in rain.’ And now I forgot to buy a fucking ticket!” She almost screamed the last bit. Several nearby people looked over.

Robin moved in front of her and put a hand on each of her shoulders. “Breathe, OK? Please, breathe.”

She nodded, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath in, then out. Then she opened her eyes, slightly calmer, and looked up at him, as if suddenly realizing how close the two of them were now standing. He seemed to realize it, too, a moment later, and took a step back.

“So,” he said, “how much time do we have?”

She looked at her watch. “In theory, thirty minutes. But…what with me being here, who knows what’s changed. It could be even less. I’ve gotta get in there.”

“OK, so there’s always scalpers, right?” he said, looking around.”We just need to find one and…did you bring cash from the future?”

“No, I told you, it was just my mind, I couldn’t bring anything–”

Robin rubbed a hand over his bald scalp. “OK. But future you is gonna owe me.”

Cut To:


Down the Block from the Baseball Stadium – Minutes Later

As Faith and Robin walked away from the stadium, they found a man in a Slayers jacket, holding a set of rectangular tickets spread out like a fan in his hand.

“Hey, how much?” Faith asked him.

The scalper did a double take, then held his arms wide. “Hey, I know you!” he said loudly. Several passing pedestrians looked over in their direction.

She forced a smile. “Yeah, it’s uh, it’s me!”

“I can’t believe–My niece loves you. You know, we kind of thought she was a slayer for a while. Turns out, she’s just really good at volleyball. But hey, if it gets her a scholarship…”

“Really, wow, that’s so interesting,” she said, nodding. Robin rolled his eyes at her, but she pressed forward. “So, how much?”

“Nine hundred,” he said. Robin’s eyes went wide. Faith looked at him, and he shook his head.

“Do you take venmo?” Robin ventured.

“Yeah, sorry, I can’t. I mean, we’re all friends here, but technically, none of this is legal enough for the internet gods,” the scalper explained, talking expansively with his hands. “Look, why are you even askin’ me? You could probably afford whatever tickets you wanted.”

“This is more of a, um, last-minute thing,” Faith said quickly. “Hey, do you think your niece would like a picture? Just, y’know, the two of us?” The patented sideways grin was on her face, and the scalper nodded enthusiastically.

He produced a cell phone and handed it to her. She stepped over and put her free arm over his shoulder.

“Get in close, OK?” she told him as she reached out her arm with the phone and tried to get them both in frame.

“Not too close, all right?” the scalper said. “I’m married. Well, I was married. It’s a whole thing, not important.”

For a split second, Faith’s slightly strained eyes caught Robin’s, who seemed very bemused by the whole thing. Then she fixed a smile on her face and snapped the photo.

“So,” she said as she hurriedly pulled away from the man and handed him back his phone, “can we bring down that price at all, for a friend?”

He looked at her with a smile and said, “They’re nine hundred dollars.”

Faith ran her hands through her hair yet again with a look of growing frustration on her face. “Look, I’ll give you eighteen hundred if you give them to me now,” Faith told him. “I’m good for it.”

The scalper seemed to consider it. “Four hundred now and the rest later.”

“Dude,” Faith told him, “I don’t have cash!” She groaned and then turned to Robin, grabbing him by the lapel. “Fuck this,” she said, pulling him away.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Roof – Night

August 2023

“Sophie?” the dirtier, scarred version of Kennedy said as she tentatively opened the door to the roof of the Council building and looked around. She spotted the small figure of Sophie Allister leaning against the outer wall, looking out over the Cleveland city skyline silhouetted against a pink and orange sunset. The buildings were all dark and at least partly destroyed. The upper third or so of the Terminal Tower was missing completely.

Kennedy walked over and leaned on the building’s outer railing next to the little girl. For a long moment, both looked at the sunset in silence. Then Kennedy said, “I told you not to run off like this. I had to leave Jake alone with Faith’s body to come find you.”

“It’s all pointless anyway,” Sophie said quietly.

“What’s pointless?” Kennedy asked cautiously.

Sophie turned to her with deep anger in her eyes. “Your whole stupid time travel idea!” she spat out. “My moms, my friends, everybody‘s still dead. You said it would bring them back.”

“We have to give Faith time to–”

“You don’t get it!” Sophie yelled. “If Faith had done it, everything would’ve changed right when we sent her back. Whatever she was gonna do four months ago, she already did it.”

“We don’t know that,” Kennedy assured her. 

“I say if Faith won, I’d be back in my bedroom playing with my Hadley Superstar Playset and worrying if Jake was gonna read my diary. But I’m still here, and everything still sucks. And it’s just gonna keep sucking, forever. I’m never gonna go to a dance, or go to college, or become an astronaut or a veterinarian when I grow up.” She gestured to the destroyed city skyline. “This is it.”

Tears streamed down the little girl’s face. Kennedy stared at her for a long moment. Then, awkwardly, she reached down and hugged her. Sophie buried her face into Kennedy’s shirt, her body wracked with sobs. Kennedy patted the girl’s back a few times, but her own eyes remained hollow.

Eventually, Kennedy said, “We don’t know how it works. Maybe she’s moving forward in the past at the same time that we’re moving forward here. Maybe she’s still trying.”

Sophie pulled back, her cheeks wet, and looked up at her with wide eyes. “Why would it be like that? That’s stupid.”

Kennedy shrugged. “Why any of this? Why are we still here when everybody else is…If there’s even the smallest chance she’s still trying, we have to give Faith a chance.”

Her young charge wiped her hand under her nose and, blinking, pointed past Kennedy and into the night. “What’s that?” she asked.

Kennedy turned and peered out into the darkness where Sophie had indicated. She squinted, trying to see in the gathering gloom. Then her eyes grew much wider.

“Get downstairs,” she said quietly. “Now.”

“But what about–?”

“We don’t matter,” she said. “We have to protect Faith. Go!

Cut To:


Giles’ Residence – Living Room – Same Time

The house was filled with teenagers and tweens. Becca handed out bowl after bowl of popcorn to them, while Giles brought in a plate piled high with hotdogs wrapped in aluminum foil.

“What are you guys gonna eat?” Jen teased as she took it from Giles.

“Slayer,” Alex sighed.

“You must share,” Giles warned her.

“Oh, fine,” she said. “Hey, can I toss them like they do at the ballpark?”

“Oh,” Martin said, “I want to do that too.”

“She can,” Becca said. “You can’t.”

“Why?” Martin whined.

“Slayer,” Becca said, mimicking Alex from earlier. “She can hit the target. You might hit my lamp.”

“Ha!” Jen said and then stood up. In a carnival barker voice she said, “Hot dogs! Get your hot dogs!”

Nikki held up her hands, and Jen tossed it with amazing accuracy. She did the same to Sophie and Jake, who were seated next to their brother Alex. She tossed one lightly to Martin. “Don’t want you to drop it and hit the lamp,” she teased him. He grinned and gave her a light shove.

“What about me?” Alex asked.

Jen whipped his hot dog directly at his face with a bit more force than necessary, and he barely got his hands up in time to save his nose.

“Hey,” he complained, and then shook his hand in slight pain after catching it.

“Lancer lover,” she muttered.

“Am I gonna have to separate you two?” Becca asked.

“No,” the twins groaned in unison.

“Did I miss anything?” Liz asked from the hallway, still in her restaurant uniform.

“Jennifer tried to kill Alexander with a hot dog,” her dad offered.

“So just another Saturday night. I’ll get changed and be down.” As she made her way up the stairs, she called down, “Don’t eat my hot dog, Jen.”

Jen had two foil wrapped dogs in her hands as everyone turned her way.

“Whadd?” she mumbled with half of one dog already in her mouth.

“We’ll make more,” Giles and Becca both said at the same time.

“Hey,” Martin called out to no one in particular. “Patrick and Katherine, come watch the game with us if you’re not here already.”

Everyone smiled, with the exception of Giles and Becca, who appeared uneasy, and Jake and Sophie, who looked confused. Martin turned to his parents. “It’s time for an introduction,” he said, motioning to Jake and Sophie.

“I’m not sure they’re old enough,” Giles offered.

“I’m plenty old,” Jake challenged.

“Old enough for what?” Sophie asked.

Jen shrugged. “The youngest over here helped battle an octo-baby, so…” she said, letting the sentence hang as she shoved a handful of popcorn in her mouth. After some chewing she said, “Besides, I was their age, maybe younger, when I learned about Pat and Kathy.” In an aside, Jen added, “My nicknames for them.”

“Good point,” Giles agreed, and then nodded for Martin to continue.

“We have ghosts,” the teenager told the younger kids conspiratorially.

They looked unconvinced. “Sure you do,” Jake sighed in disbelief.

Martin smiled. “We do. They play Jenga. They play ball – well, we roll the ball and they roll it back. Oh, I should get my baseball for today. Although, Jenga is more fun. They always win, though, but I think they cheat.” Just then, the lights began to flicker. Martin doubled down and said, “Come on now. You know you two cheat.”

“Is this real?” Sophie asked timidly.

“It is,” Nikki confirmed.

“But they’re friendly ghosts,” Alex added, sensing the growing fear in his sister.

“You don’t need to be afraid of them,” Becca assured the younger kids. “They look after us. In fact, they even saved me and Lizzie from a demon horde when she was a baby.”

“That’s kinda cool,” Jake said. “Why didn’t you say anything before?”

“You had to be old enough,” Martin answered. “And now you are. You’re still kids, sure, but you’ll be a young adult like me before you know it. Then you’ll be old adults, like your parents.” He looked over at his own parents and added, “And if you’re lucky you’ll be old old adults, like them.”

Giles hit him with a sofa throw pillow and they both smiled. Liz walked into the room now, in her regular clothes.

“How do you know when Pat and Kathy are here?” Sophie asked.

“Oh, we’re finally having the talk?” Liz asked. Her parents and brother all nodded. Liz then looked up toward the ceiling and asked, “Yo, Pat and Kate, you both here? Three flicks for yes; two for no.” The lights went off and on three times. The younger kids still seemed a little unnerved.

“That’s always so freakin’ cool,” Nikki said.

Liz then asked, “Do you wanna dance to your favorite?” The lights fluttered several times. She then turned to the end table and said, “Alexa, play ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley and his Comets. Volume Seven.”

Alexa replied, ‘Playing ‘Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and his Comets’. And then Bill Haley could be heard singing, “One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock!” The lights flickered at every other beat.

Sophie and Jake looked on in amazement as the entire house, Nikki, Jen and Alex included, began to sing along to the Fifties classic, lights flickering the entire time. They all laughed as Liz and Martin began to jitterbug with each other.

Jake turned to Sophie. “We’ll have to learn this song, too.”

She nodded enthusiastically.

Cut To:


Eagle Avenue Outside the Baseball Stadium – Minutes Later

Faith and Robin now stood next to a small, closed gate into the stadium in a smaller street beyond center field. A black metal grate, at least twelve feet high, barred the way. Fans streamed by the pair, both inside and outside the stadium, but the crowds might not have been quite as thick as they were at the main entrance.

“Can’t you just flash your badge, Mr. Council Security Chief?” Faith asked in frustration.

“MLB and the stadium swear they’ve got it covered. I could say I know of a threat, but…”

“That might tip off the hitman. Well, I guess this is as good a spot as we’re gonna get,” Faith said, nerves showing through in her voice. She turned to Robin and sighed.

“Normally, this would be the part where you thank me for helping you,” he pointed out.

“Could be,” she said absently, her eyes sizing up the gate. “I’ll let you know on that if the world doesn’t end.” Then, more quietly and seemingly to herself, she said, “I know I can’t jump it, everybody would know that I…I’m literally you, I’m not stupid.”

“Here,” Robin said.  He hooked his fingers together, making a stirrup. “Grab the first cross bar and climb.”

Faith stood next to him, barely an inch between them as she rested a hand on his shoulder to steady herself. She grinned down at him as the pair locked eyes. He gave her a grin and hoisted her once her foot was secure in his hand. As she reached for the first bar, he grabbed her thighs to steady her ascent.

She then grasped the bars with both hands and began to climb. She groaned self-consciously, trying to make scaling the gate look more difficult for her than it really was. Robin raised an eyebrow at her attempt at acting.

Within a few moments, Faith had made it to the top of the gate, where she hung for a moment, legs hanging over either side. Then someone shouted “Hey!” and she whipped her head around to see a security guard running toward her perch, with a handful of others following. She sighed and pulled her other leg over the top of the gate, then jumped down just as the first security guard reached her.

The two of them fell to the ground together. She scrambled to her feet as several other guards arrived. She pushed one and it was enough to send him flying into another of the guards, and without hesitating she took off running through the opening she had created. The guards still standing stood in stunned silence for a beat before taking off toward her. Robin, in turn, began to climb the barrier himself, getting the attention of three of the guards. Instead of following Faith, two of them tried to reach for him between the gate as the third spoke into a walkie-talkie.

“What do you think you’re doing?” one of the guards reproached him.

Quickly, Robin reached through the bars and grabbed the arms of two of the guards.

“Diverting attention,” was all Robin said.

The guards looked at each other and then tried to break free, but Robin held on for all his worth, buying Faith more time to escape.

None of the guards, nor Robin, noticed the figure watching them from the roof of the parking garage just across the narrow street. Slaygirl observed the scene dispassionately from behind her mask.

“The dark one,” she muttered.

Then she took a step back and raised her arm. She fired her grappling gun across the street and it wrapped around one of the beams of the stadium’s upper deck. She stepped forward off the side of the garage deck and swung across, unseen by those milling below.

Cut To:


Baseball Stadium – Outside Green Room – Minutes Later

Rowena watched as Faith ran down the hallway toward her.

Faith shouted, “Is Grace inside?”

“Yes,” Rowena told her. In a hushed tone she added, “We have to tell Grace she’s in danger. We can’t just let her walk out there not realizing what’s at stake.”

“We can’t tell her,” Faith stressed. “It might change the outcome.”

“She might live?” Rowena challenged.

“No, she might die,” Faith countered in a heated whisper. “I know you don’t have a reason to, but you need to trust me.”

Rowena’s phone rang. She looked at the name and showed Faith. It said, “Jeff calling.”

“Looks like your spell stopped working,” Rowena told her.

“Shit,” Faith sighed. Rowena looked to her for confirmation of what to do. “Pick up,” she instructed her. “Play it cool.”

Rowena took a deep breath and answered the call, putting it on speaker. “Hey Jeff,” she said casually, and then rolled her eyes at Faith.

You can’t let Grace go out on that field,” he told her, urgency in his voice. “I can’t reach her and…I’m worried. I’ve seen…things, and it’s not safe for her. Are you with her?

Faith shook her head.

“No, I’m on my way, though,” Rowena replied. “I can have her call you when I see her.”

Okay,” he said, “Just let her know that I’m in Cleveland, outside the stadium. Don’t let her take the field until I get inside.

Faith and Rowena both looked at each other in surprise.

“Damn it,” Faith mouthed.

“Okay,” Rowena said aloud. “I’m on my way there, so I’ll let her know when I see her. Gotta go.” Rowena hung up and then asked Faith, “Now what?”

Again Faith muttered, “Damn it.”

The two women both turned when they heard running from the other end of the hallway. It was security.

Damn it,” Faith growled again, with even more annoyance. “Stall her. I’ll be back when I lose them,” she told Rowena. Then she took off running.

As the guards began to give chase, Rowena stepped in front of them. “Hold on! Hold on!” she told them as she waved her arms. They ran closer. “Faith is allowed to be here,” she tried to say as they raced past her, heading toward the direction Faith left. Rowena put down her hands in frustration and looked at the closed dressing room door.

“Damn it,” she sighed, mimicking Faith.

Black Out


End of Act Five

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