Act 5



Fade In:


Soccer Field – Dusk

Jen stood on the soccer field alone. She looked around to find no one else in the game. She looked down and found herself dressed in her soccer uniform and cleats, which seemed to glow, just for a moment. A commotion by the grandstands turned her attention to her right. She watched a bunch of people cheering from the bleachers, along with a figure she couldn’t quite make out in the announcer’s booth.

She looked to her left and found an open field. Beyond, a line on the horizon seemed to be moving towards her. She squinted, as if trying to get a better look at what was heading her way. That’s when she started to hear blood curdling screams, and she turned back to the people in the bleachers. Humans were scattering away from an onslaught of monsters, but very few were getting away as demon after demon tore through the crowd.

Jen tensed, looking like she might run toward the grandstand, when she started to hear what sounded like an elephant stampede, so she turned back in the other direction. The line she had seen before was now much closer, and it appeared to be an entire horde of demons – thousands upon thousands heading in her direction.

Over the loudspeaker, Jen heard someone from the announcer’s booth say, “So what do you think, ladies and gentlemen? Is she going to stand her ground and fight to the death, or is she going to run away and cower like the child that she is? Taking all bets!

Jen looked back up into the press box and saw Zorgy stepping out of the shadows holding a microphone. The Empress of Vor waved down at the slayer.

Suddenly Jen jumped as she glanced to her side. A bald man appeared in front of her with a plate of sliced processed cheese.

“You’ll need extra energy for this game,” he told her as he motioned the plate toward her.

Watch your ‘six’,” Zorgy said over the loudspeakers, pointing behind Jen.

The slayer quickly turned around to see the huge teeth and jaws of a huge demon open up, ready to swallow her.

Cut To:


Rosenberg-Allister House – Jen’s Bedroom – Early Morning

Jen shot up in bed, covered in sweat. She quickly reached for her phone and turned on her voice memo app.

“I was standing in a soccer field as the sun was starting to set. The evening was overcast, with rolling clouds. It was warm, but with a nip in the air, like fall or spring. It wasn’t day, but it wasn’t quite night, either, when my cleats started to glow…”

Cut To:


Buffy & Xander’s Apartment – Morning

Buffy had her Zoom screen up on her laptop with two other people in the chat, Jen and Kennedy. Kennedy and Buffy were both listening to the recording Jen had made on her phone.

So?” Jen asked as she put down her phone, “Slayer dream? I dream, but I’ve never felt anything that…real. Like I was actually there. I could hear the ring of the loudspeaker’s distortion. I felt the rumble as the demons ran toward me. I smelled the stupid cheese. I know that probably sounds dumb, and I’m not saying it right.

I get it,” Buffy and Kennedy both said at the same time.

And I gotta say,” Kennedy offered, “I can tell that you’re the daughter of a watcher.

What does that mean?” Jen asked, slightly offended.

You brought the receipts, girl,” Kennedy complimented her. “Instead of freaking out, you picked up your phone, and you started to record everything you remembered about the dream. That’s amazing. I never did that. Did you, Buffy?

“I never even took written notes,” Buffy confessed. Kennedy snorted in amusement. “Giles had his work cut out for him trying to figure out my dreams.”

All three of them smiled, but then Jen’s expression turned morose.

“Hey,” Buffy said. “The thing about slayer dreams is, you don’t know whether or not they are things that will come to pass. More often, they’re just metaphors and not literal stuff that’s gonna happen. Which makes it harder from a figuring out perspective but better when they’re about things that are super bad. At least that’s my experience with slayer dreams. I can’t speak for Kennedy.”

Likewise,” Kennedy replied. “But once I did get a literal message. I’m sure your ma has mentioned Tara at some point in your life, but if she hasn’t, she was a girlfriend of hers who passed and came to me in a dream. Y’know, after she had passed. She gave me explicit instructions on finding a book the Council needed.

Did you listen?” Jen asked.

At first, I was kind of freaked out. Kinda how you feel right now. So that’s natural when you have a slayer dream. Right?” She tossed over to Buffy.

“Absolutely,” Buffy replied.

But yeah, I listened to what she told me in the dream, and we got the book.

“And Giles got a girlfriend,” Buffy said with a grin, “who became a wife and then gave birth to your besties so…circle of life. My point is, having a slayer dream doesn’t have to mean you will have a bad experience. The Powers That Be are trying to show you something important.”

So what do I do?” Jen asked.

Tell Parton,” Kennedy and Buffy both said together and then chuckled.

Seriously,” Kennedy continued. “Tell your watcher and, if they’re any good, they’ll take your concerns seriously.

Did your watcher take your slayer dream seriously?” Jen asked.

Yeah,” Kennedy replied, “and although I didn’t realize it at the time, she was a great watcher to me when I really needed it. I believe you call her Mom.” Buffy and Jen both giggled. “Honestly,” Kennedy continued with a grin. “Tell your watcher and send your file to him. Wouldn’t hurt to maybe get Liz and Nikki on it. They saved my daughter, so I know they’re good at this watcher stuff, too.

Thanks, ladies,” Jen told them sincerely. “I love my parents but…they’re not slayers, so thanks for listening.

“Anytime,” Buffy told her, “and I mean anytime. You can come to either one of us about anything, slayer related or not.”

Kennedy nodded her approval, and Jen just smiled in gratitude.

Still,” Jen said absently, “‘what’s up with that cheese guy?

Right?!” Kennedy and Buffy both said at the same time.

Cut To:


House –  Day


May 2005

A demon with small, slightly curving horns on his forehead ran through his rustic, cave-like home. The thundering vibrations from explosions made him stagger for a brief moment. He managed to hold onto a bit of furniture to steady himself before he started running again. From another room, a woman from the same species frantically came toward him, holding a younger demon with similar horns.

“I can’t find her,” she said desperately.

“Get in the back,” the man told her. He pointed out the window, toward a distressed metal wagon with two oversized engines tethered in front of it outside.

The female demon obeyed and tightened her hold on the young spawn as she raced out of the house, which continued to shake.

“Zorgy!” he yelled as he ran up the stone steps to the next level. He burst into a room that appeared to be that of a young girl, based on the raggedy dolls on the bed and the haphazardly placed drawings fixed to the walls. “Zorgy!”

From underneath the bed, he heard a small, scared voice ask, “What’s happening?”

He laid on the floor and reached his hand toward his young spawn. “Come on, Baby. We gotta go now.”

Finally, she scooted toward him and out from under the bed. He gathered her in his arms and immediately began to run down the stairs. Again, she asked, “What’s going on?”

“The invaders succeeded. The citadel has fallen,” he told her.

He tightened his hold on her and ran towards the vehicle. In the distance, over his shoulder, Zorgy could see the towering, adamantine Citadel begin to sway in the middle distance. As she watched, parts of the structure started to fall away.

“How is this possible?” she asked.

Her father didn’t answer. Instead, he released her and motioned her toward the passenger side of the open top vehicle as he got in. The female demon and her spawn were waiting in the back.

“We need to get out of here before the collapse,” the man said as he began to flick switches and pull levers at the vehicle’s control console. He then pumped a stick between him and the young girl and, through a glass porthole on the console, a crystal began to rapidly spin. The vehicle shook and swayed as a beam of energy shot between the two engines in front of the cab, then all components of the vehicle hovered off of the jagged earth, dust picking up around it. He pushed forward on a joystick-like device and they began to leave the driveway.

Just as the vehicle began to lurch forward, the vast structure behind them began to crash downward in earnest. Many other vehicles, all wildly different in design, were already starting to make their way down the road as quickly as possible. Everyone was looking behind them as they zoomed away at the sight of the tower behind them collapsing. Suddenly, Zorgy turned her eyes forward and then screamed.


The man turned back to notice the traffic had come to a standstill and he slammed on his brakes, stopping just shy of the vehicle in front of him. Everyone had barely had time to breathe a sigh of relief when debris started to rain down around them. Two large hunks of stone slammed down on either side of the hind quarter of the vehicle, preventing the passengers from exiting.

“We need to get out of here now,” the woman said.

Zorgy noticed someone in the mouth of one of the nearby caves, motioning people inside.

“Over there!” she pointed.

She and the driver got out of the front and tried to clear the front of the vehicle for the young spawn and woman to climb into the front. When that didn’t work fast enough, the man ducked his head back inside and said, “Come over the front!”

The woman had begun to outstretch the child toward him when suddenly a piece of debris slammed into the back quarter of the vehicle with such force that the entire backend of the vehicle was completely flattened. Where the woman and spawn had been, there was now an enormous block of stone. For five seconds, Zorgy and the man looked at each other in shock. Zorgy took a step back and looked at the damage. As she did, she stepped in a puddle. Her white shoes began to turn red. For a long moment, she stood still, watching the blood of her family soak into the canvas. The debris still falling around her was temporarily forgotten.

Fade To:


Watchers Council – High Security Detention Area – Morning

The image of Zorgy’s red tennis shoes came into focus. They were perched on the end of a cot. She was looking down at her feet as she lay on the makeshift bed when she heard, rather than saw, someone slide something through the bars. It was a tray with food.

“I’d ask how you slept, if I cared,” Shannon remarked.

“Good morning to you too, Sunshine,” Zorgy retorted, and swung her legs over to plant them on the floor. She looked over at the tray. “Dried powdered eggs! For me!? I love powdered eggs. You shouldn’t have. Ooh, and O.J.? Bet that’s from a can too, huh?”

Shannon walked back over toward the tray, but Zorgy beat her there and pulled it out of reach.

“Can I place a lunch order? I’d love to try your sushi bar, or maybe the pizza. Meat lover’s, by the way. I’m not a vegetarian or anything, not because it’s hard to find vegan options in a hell dimension, though it is, but because I couldn’t care less about any animals. You guys probably don’t have human here, huh? Some say it tastes like chicken, but humans really have their own distinct taste.”

“Lemme guess,” Shannon said dryly. “It varies from person to person.”

Zorgy chuckled. “Look at you, on board with the dark jokes.”

Shannon still showed no reaction. 

Cut To:


Office Hallway – Morning

Embossed on the frosted glass door, in a clean font, were the words “Penelope Newsome – Chief Executive Officer”.

Andrew…can I call you Andrew?” a chipper southern Californian woman asked with an upwardly curved inflection.

Ugh, su—” Andrew began.

Cut To:


Executive Office – Morning

“It’s Mr. Wells,” June finished, sitting beside Andrew, who continued to shrink further into his seat.

“Andrew….” Her sharp features framed by a towering spire of immaculately styled platinum blonde hair, and the backdrop of the Los Angeles freeway below, Penelope Newsome sat forward, clasping her well-manicured hands. “We love you. The work you have done since coming on board as creative consultant has been extraordinary. I mean, like, truly.”

Andrew cast his eyes up from his lap, his forehead knit. “Oh…oh, thank you, but I…”

“Your input has been invaluable in making Watcher’s Council Black Ops: San Diego the most successful of the WCBO spin-offs, and only half the season has even aired so far. How do you do it?”

As he began to grope for the words, Penelope grinned and sat back, blowing out a brief puff of air. “The viewing figures? The engagement on the socials? Huge. We are impressed.” She nodded, slowly.

“Ms. Newsome, I’m—”

“It’s Penny, between us gal pals!”

After a large, deadpanned blink, Andrew continued. “—flattered. However, in all good conscience, I…”

“We’re taking you off of WCBO: San Diego,” Penelope rattled off. Immediately, she brought a knuckle to her mouth, lightly biting down and closing her eyes tight.


“What?!” June shrieked, vaulting from her seat and slamming her palms down on the sleek glass tabletop.

“Because,” Penelope opened her eyes as wide as her mouth, “we want you to be Chief Content Officer of the entire WCBO franchise!”

“Uh, wha, who, wait, huh?” Andrew’s eyebrows ran the whole gamut of emotions.

“You’re Gimple-ing him?!” June fell back into her seat, rolling her tongue around her mouth, glaring off into space. “The shark has not been jumped!”

“What? Are you kidding? Oh, God no, Andrew’s done exemplary work!” Penelope bellowed a hearty laugh. “This isn’t just a title. His mind, his sweet, sweet, precious mind is destined for bigger things.” She stood up and both Andrew and June’s eyes tracked her ascent. They kept going up and up and up.

“Oh wow, you’re super tall,” Andrew muttered.

“Giant woman…” June whispered, a hand to her chest and mouth agape.

“We need a man with vision, true vision.” Penelope strode over to the window to watch the traffic below. “The WC: Black Ops brand is stagnating. I know, inconceivable. People are getting spinoff fatigue. Or, they were, until San Diego. Until you and your stories.”

Andrew audibly and visibly gulped. “Yeah, about that. I don’t feel great about it, ever since I talked to my friends.”

She turned, an eyebrow cocked, her lips pursed. “Sweetie, it’s showbiz, and it’s not, like, plagiarism.”


“Told you,” June added.

“But look, I get it. You’re a good man, Andrew. You care. We care. And what we care about is reinvigorating the brand with you as our guy. We want you to bring it all together. After the season finale of San Diego, we want you to head up the first step of our big plan. The mega crossover event miniseries!” She balled her fists and held them up in front of her, biting her bottom lip.

June’s brow shot up from behind her glasses as she then sat forward, slowly, crossing her left leg over her right. “We’re listening.”

“We are?” Andrew said, his voice quivering.

“Every spinoff ever coming together to fight…oh, I don’t know, that’s your thing, the first ever evil or something, I dunno.” She waved her hand.

“Eh…” Andrew croaked, sinking into his shoulders.

“So, the TV moment of the decade?” June asked, clicking her pen and beginning to open her folder. “Got it.” She then furiously scribbled.

Snapping her fingers, Penelope pointed at June and walked back over to her desk, perching herself on the edge. “Yes! That’s exactly it! So, Andrew, what do you say?”

“I, umm, uhh…”

June put out her hand. “Unfortunately, Mr. Wells is unable to commit right now due to ongoing conversations between his people and Marvel.”

“Marvel?” Penelope blinked four times.

“Marvel?” So did Andrew, his voice going up an octave.

“Marvel,” June immediately repeated. “Mr. Wells is literal fire right now and is a total catch, so…”

Penelope pushed herself up off her desk as Andrew reached forward and took his glass of water. Her back to them, she clenched her teeth and inaudibly swore the word “fuck,” before shaking her head, widely smiling and spinning around. “I know Feige. He’s a nice man, but he has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies…but I want my finger in your pie, Andrew,” she bent down beside him, softly tilting her head to the side. “Wouldn’t you rather have my finger in you than his, Andrew?”

Andrew gargled and spat back his water into the glass. “I, uh, umm, am a fan of all fingers…”

Penelope leaned in as Andrew gingerly craned in the opposite direction, “The network may not have Marvel money, but my God, we have you and we cannot let you go.” She shot up, stamping her heels, as Andrew winced and raised a finger to his ear. “I cannot let you go, Andrew!

After a long beat, Andrew said, simply, “Okay.”

“We want you. We are all in with you. You will be our Feige. After the culmination of the event miniseries, then you’ll work on our next spinoff, WCBO: D.C. But then we want you to help us expand further. I’m talking TV movies, streamable miniseries, exclusive streamable movies, big screen viewings, transmedia narratives, Roblox skins!”

“Like the Whoniverse?” Andrew asked, tentatively.

“Jesus, you’re talking to Davies, too?!” Penelope cried, her fingers held like talons.

After another long beat, wide-eyed, Andrew began to slowly nod in unison with June, and then meekly said, “Yes.”

Andrew!” Penelope stomped with a massive pout, her eyes bulging, practically bursting with tears. “How can I convince you to stay with me?!

His eyes darted between nothing, his mouth hung open. He pursed his lips, then opened his mouth again.

June put her hand out again, across Andrew this time, and slowly leaned forward, her eyes on Penelope. “Money.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Lobby – Late Morning

“Hey Nikki,” Rowena said warmly, as she saw her and Robin walking toward her in the foyer. Robin turned in curiosity to see who was talking to his daughter. “How are you doing today?” she asked.

“A little nervous. Heard about Zorgy and D.C.,” Nikki answered politely as the trio closed the distance between them. “You?”

“About the same, actually,” Rowena replied. “But your dad’s a great security chief, so I feel pretty safe with him looking out for us.”

Nikki gave her a grin in response, but seemed to avoid looking at her father.

“Nik,” Robin suggested, “why don’t you head to your mom’s place? There’s no classes today, and she could use a hand. Grace gave her a stack of folders about half her height and said, ‘Good Luck’.”

Nikki grinned again and then nodded to Rowena as she walked past. They both watched her walk away. Once she was out of earshot, they both said, “We need to talk.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Robin’s Apartment – Moments Later

Robin motioned to his sofa, and Rowena took a seat, with him following to sit beside her. Neither said anything for a few seconds, until the silence was broken by both of them saying the same phrase in a rush.

“I used you.”

They both stopped in surprise and then grinned. “Go ahead,” Rowena told him.

“No, ladies first,” he replied.

She paused for a moment and then said, “You know I love you, right?”

He grinned and gave a modest, “I do. And for what it’s worth, I love you too.”

“As a bestie,” she clarified.

“As a bestie,” he agreed.

“I…” she trailed off as she appeared to formulate her next words. “…I don’t want to lose my friend over this.”

He reached over and took her hands in his. “Listen. That’s not gonna happen on my end, okay? I promise.”

“I was just so…” Rowena stood up and started to pace. “Willow got under my skin, and I used you, and I feel like I’ve hurt so many people. And for months, you’ve been there in a way that she hasn’t, and-and it sounds like I’m making excuses because, well, that’s what I’m doing and–”

“It’s okay,” he assured her. “I do have to ask…You told her, didn’t you?” he asked knowingly.

“You could tell?” Rowena asked and then grinned slightly. “Yes, we had her blessing, but I-I had to say something. ”

“What did you say, exactly?”

Rowena moved to sit back down beside him again. “The truth. I told her that after our argument I went to you, and we got…physical.”

“How’d that go over?”

“She was quiet for a moment and then mentioned that it was her idea to open the marriage and, although she didn’t want details, she asked if I might leave her now, which I don’t want to do…Like I said, I used you…I was hurt. I was angry and I used you to, I don’t know, prove someone still wants me. Childish, eh?”

“My reason is similar. Well, that and I’m a man. When you’re single and a beautiful woman starts to kiss you at your front door, you go with it.”

“I don’t know about the beautiful part,” Rowena said, blushing.

“Stop,” Robin admonished. “I remember that Halloween about ten years ago. You walked into Giles’s house as Marilyn Monroe. Jaws dropped. Mine included. And you’re even more lovely today. Again, I’m a friend, but I’m also a man with a pulse.”

Rowena began to chuckle. “Thank you. You have a habit of knowing the right thing to say. I’m just sorry that Willow is upset with you. Truth is, she’s snippy with everyone right now. Maybe it’s menopause,” Rowena wondered out loud. “Anyway, I said my piece. Now it’s your turn.”

“Fair enough,” he said with a nod, and then took a moment to formulate what he wanted to say. “I used you, too. When Faith came back, it…stirred up a lot for me. This thing with us, it’s…a symptom, and the disease is that I’m not completely over Faith. Until I deal with the disease, I’ll always feel…sick. Not sure if I ever will be over her, and when she came back…Like you said, I had to prove something. I felt like I had to move on, but I can’t do that with you. Like we’ve said, we’re besties. I want something of my own…and you have Willow. I want…my own Willow. But until I let go of Faith, I can’t have that, which is why….I’ve agreed to go to D.C.”

“Is that the reason why?”

“One of the reasons.”

“And you’re not running away from me?”

“Not at all,” he answered. “But what’s happened with us made me realize I need a fresh start.”

“Does Nikki know about D.C.?” Rowena asked.

He grinned. “See? Right there. That’s why we’re besties.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Your first thought wasn’t about how you’re gonna miss lunchtime with your bestie. You asked about how Nikki is doing.”

“Oh, I’ll miss you, for sure, but I also know it might be hard on her leaving,” Rowena replied.

“She and I are talking about that. The Council does have the boarding school. I could go to D.C., and she could stay here for school.”

“With Faith?” Rowena asked.

“Maybe. Maybe not. Right now, it’s just the planning stage.”

“If she needs anything, I’m always here for her.” Rowena paused for a moment. “It just hit me…you’re leaving.”

“Looks that way,” he said.

Rowena didn’t wait for an invitation. She pulled Robin into a hug. “I want you to do whatever makes you feel whole. You deserve it.”

Robin returned the hug. “You do too. So don’t give up on her. Not yet.”

Rowena looked like she was on the verge of tears, and she closed her eyes tighter and held on to Robin even more.

Cut To:


The Stake and Crossbow – Parking Lot – Afternoon

“No. No. No. No. Fuck’s sake, no!”

Barkeep Lisa seemed to be at her wits’ end as she tossed the clipboard she was holding aside. Several lancers stood in the small parking lot behind the bar in the waning sunlight of late afternoon, in what might have been a stagger formation. They all looked at each other, unsure of what to do next.

“How much longer?” SlayBae asked. “I’ve got a date tonight. Like, a real date and not…you know.” She made a staking motion with her hand.

Lisa ignored the remark and said, “Right, ladies, from the top. Spread out five meters from one’nother so we can practice overwatch and close quarter combat.”

“How much is a meter again?” Maddie asked.

Anisha rolled her eyes and sighed. “Once more, three point three feet. Five meters would be just over sixteen feet, or sixteen point four, to be accurate.”

“So we should all be about two and half Lisas apart from each other,” Lexi offered with a giggle.

The girls started to chat with each other as Kelly, wearing her SlayGirl costume without the cape, walked up to Lisa who was collecting her clipboard again. In a soft voice, as not to be overheard, she whispered, “I’m gonna say this in all kindness. You’re great at soooo many things, but drill sergeant isn’t one of them. We need help.”

“Y’right, this is bloody harder than I remember. Mind you, wasn’t trainin’ multiple women to fight t’gether.”

“Do you know anyone who does?”

Lisa bit her lip for a moment and then groaned. “Oh, sod it.”

Cut To:


Giles House – Living Room – Late Afternoon

“Are the twins coming over this evening to work on the new song?” Giles asked his daughter.

“Jen’s got patrolling, but after that, yeah,” Liz answered.

“Who is she?” Becca said as she entered the room.

Giles and Liz both turned to Becca, who looked as if she was on the verge of tears. Giles and Liz both looked equally shocked and said, “What?” at the same time with the same inflection. 

“Lizzie, go to your room,” Becca ordered.

Giles and his daughter looked at each other, confused. He motioned her toward the stairs with a short nod.

“Fine, I’m outta here,” she said, sounding glad for the escape before quickly ascending the stairs.

Giles looked up to his retreating daughter. He then looked over at Becca. “What’s wrong?”

“This,” Becca said, showing him her phone. It was the images of Lisa and Giles outside her bar.

“You followed me?” Giles asked.

“Of course I did! You’re clean shaven now. You’re wearing a goddamn earring, of all the stupid man crap. Strange phone calls at odd times with you telling her you love her. Yeah, I heard the call. Plus, hours away without explanation. If you want a blonde, Rupert, I can start dyeing my hair again.” She simply repeated, “Who…is…she? The one you’re having the affair with!?”

What?!” Liz exclaimed from her bedroom door.

“Elizabeth!” Becca shouted. “Your room! Now!” She turned back to her husband. “Who is she?” She repeated, in a quieter but just as angry voice.

“It’s not what you think. I–”

“I saw you kiss her! I got the picture!” Becca said, showing him the phone once more.

“Again, I’m not–”

“So this is the part where you say ‘She doesn’t mean anything’?” Becca interrupted.

“No, she’s vital,” Giles countered.

Becca broke down into tears.

“Christ,” Giles sighed in frustration. “Rebecca, listen to me.” At first, she tried to turn away, but he took her by the upper arms. “Please don’t speak. Hear me out. A-all right?” When he had her full attention, he said, “We’re not having an affair. S-She runs a local bar that slayers frequent. She’s a former watcher from before the Cleveland Council even existed. The Old Guard fired her for inappropriate training. S-She said she quit. Either way, she is vital in the fight that lies ahead. She has a rapport with th-these freelance slayers. Grace has tasked me with laying the groundwork with Faith, who, if you followed me earlier this week, you would have seen as well. I promise you, I am not having an affair with Lisa, o-or anyone.”

Becca seemed to relax. “You were just being so secretive.”

“You’re right. I-I was. But only because this situation needs to be handled delicately, so I apologize for alarming you.”

“I heard you tell someone you love them on the phone,” she challenged him.

Giles paused for a moment, as if trying to remember. Then a light bulb seemed to go off.

Flash To:


Watchers Council – Faith’s Apartment – Study – Afternoon

Faith had a pile of various folders across a desk and a printed spreadsheet along with some highlighters. Her phone was on her desk, as well, with the speaker on.

“Does Lisa know that I’m heading up the lancer volunteers and we want Hatherley to announce it?” she asked.

Giles’s voice came through. “Of course she doesn’t know, and I don’t want her to know right now.”

Faith rolled her eyes. “Why not? I’ve met her, and I thought you knew this woman. Grace made it sound like you were old friends, so the sooner I can get to these girls, the better.”

“I’m not comfortable doing it now. But soon. I promise.”

Faith closed her eyes and shook her head. “Although it might not be mutual, I love ya, Giles, but sometimes you just annoy me to no end.”

“Yes, I love you too,” he said sincerely.

Faith grinned. “Nah, you don’t have to say it just because I did.”

“No, I do. In light of everything, I just – I just wish things were different.”

Faith looked melancholy for just a flash. “You and I both, but I’m tryin’ really hard to be positive. Y’know, telling people how I feel about ’em while I have the time. Speaking of time, Zorgy is hot on our heels, and any day she might bring the hammer down on us all. I’d like to talk to Lisa and the lancers before that happens, but I’m trying real hard not to step on your toes.”

“Okay, a-all right. You make a good point. Let’s try to meet at the bar. In the morning or early afternoon before opening would be best. Less likely to be spotted there that way.”

Faith smiled. “Plus day drinking is sometimes more fun.”

She smiled larger when she heard Giles chuckle. “That’s true, too. I’ll call you soon with the details.”

“Hey,” she said, sounding concerned, “after Grace’s incident, watch your back, all right?”

“Yes, you too. Speak to you soon.”

Flash To:


Giles House – Living Room – Present Day

Giles grinned. “It was Faith. She said she loved me, but I was annoying.”

“I understand the annoyance,” Becca sighed.

Giles grinned. “Bloody hell. Me and Lisa?” He sighed at first and then he started to laugh. “Of all the women in the world…Lisa?” He continued to laugh.

Becca grinned slightly and shrugged in embarrassment. “I just…I thought we were solid.”

“We are.”

“But Rowena thought that, too, and now I look at everything going on with her and Will…I just thought the worst.”

Giles pulled her into a hug. “My love, you’re right – we are solid. In fact, Lisa has questioned what kind of woman could tame Ripper. I’d like you to meet her, but only if y-you want that. I know I’ve tried to keep my work and my private life separated. But that’s easier said than done, especially right now.” When they pulled away, he leaned down and kissed her gently. “I love you. I love the life we’ve built. Don’t ever doubt that.”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I should have trusted you. I…I don’t know why I’ve been getting so paranoid lately.”

“It’s all right,” he told her, but then he paused for a moment. “We should let Liz know what’s really going on, though.”

Never mind. I’m good,” Liz shouted down.

“Were you spying?” Becca shouted upward.

There was a long moment of silence and then, “…Yeah.

Giles and Becca smiled at each other and he whispered, “At least she’s honest.”

At least I’m honest,” Liz shouted down, a half second before he finished his sentence.

“She is her father’s daughter,” Becca sighed.

Cut To:


Los Angeles Trailer Afternoon

“Oh, sweetie, I don’t know what to do,” Andrew bleated. His balled fist propped up his downtrodden face as he held his phone to his ear.

I mean, it’s kinda your dream,” Tracey replied.

“I know, but…”

But it doesn’t feel good?

Andrew sat up, staring at himself in the dresser mirror. “It really doesn’t. Ever since I spoke to the guys, it just…doesn’t feel good.”

Not to bring up old stuff…

“But to bring up old stuff…”

…I know you were ambushed with mimosas, but it really wasn’t cool using their stories, and yours, without asking them, honey.

He sighed. “Hmm, I know, and it’s no excuse, but you know what I’m like with saying no, and I really did try to steer it to the fantastical. But honestly, I expected some kinda pushback, but not like this. You’d tell me, but that…did not seem like them. Right?”


“I know I’m not always easy, I know I’m sometimes a bit much, but they’re my family and…”



Maybe you just caught them on a really bad day? It’s not like we didn’t have them pretty much every week in Cleveland.

“Yeah…yeah, but I just can’t shake this feeling that there’s something more, you know?”

You want to go back to the Council?

Andrew took a long pause, his eyes glancing back at his reflection. “I think I do, but I’m contracted at least through to the end of the season. Hey, are you still coming down for the finale shooting next month?”

And miss the wrap party? My chance to flirt with Andrew Lincoln?

A small smile curled his lips.

Cut To:


Kennedy and Kadin’s Cabin – Day 

Kadin opened the door, and her jaw dropped slightly, but she quickly recovered.

“Hello,” she said diplomatically. “What brings you by today?”

Faith smiled. “I was in the neighborhood.”

“We live in the middle of nowhere for a reason,” Kadin replied.

Faith didn’t address the comment. “Is the Missus home?”

Kadin put her finger over her lips and said, “We just got Vanessa down,” as she led Faith past the threshold and into the living area.

Kennedy had just rounded the corner when she saw Faith standing there, and her grin dropped.

“You must need something,” Kennedy remarked.

Faith nodded. “Giles asked me to find the best slayer trainer I know. That’s you.”

“I’ve moved branches,” Kennedy told her. “Not a slayer anymore. I’m in the Coven, remember?”

“That’s okay. This isn’t Council business per se anyway,” Faith replied.

Kennedy gave her a skeptical look.

Cut To:


The Stake and Crossbow – Parking Lot – Evening

“That’s how you do it! Awesome! Now Maddie!” Kennedy barked. “Right here. Front and center.” As Maddie scurried fast and took her position, Kennedy pointed to the other three women. “Lexi, five meters from Maddie’s left shoulder! Brenda, five meters from Maddie’s right!”

“BRENDA?!” all the slayers except for Maddie exclaimed.

“Focus!” Kennedy barked. “Ani, five meters to Brenda’s right shoulder. Move it! You should look like an upside down check mark!”

The young women began to scramble into their places in a matter of seconds when Kennedy clapped her hands. After they assembled, they looked at one another and pointed.

“I see it,” Lexi said, as her finger traced them in the air.

Nearby, Faith stood next to Lisa, watching the proceedings.

“Listen to these women,” Faith told them, pointing to Kennedy and Lisa. “Lisa will tell you things that, if you’re paying attention and retain them, will keep you alive. Kennedy’s gonna show you two types of overwatch, aka fighting hostiles as a team – demon or human.”

“Traveling overwatch,” Kennedy began, “is when you come into an area and you aren’t certain you’ll find a hostile. Bounding overwatch is when you know you’re going to encounter a conflict. You just don’t know exactly where or when. Both overwatches use this formation you’re in right now.”

Faith motioned to Slaygirl, who was wearing a version of her costume without the cape. “Slaygirl, your team leader, is toward the back and center so they can keep all eyes on everyone. If you break into two teams, the first to advance forward is the Alpha team, while the second is the Bravo team.”

“Right,” Kennedy remarked. “Since we only have one team, you’re all Alpha.”

“Damn right!” SlayBae and Maddie both said at the same time, with the same level of confidence.

Kennedy didn’t let it distract her. “During overwatch, you trade, giving each other cover so the next team can advance. You continue this until you reach your objective.”

Lexi shyly raised her hand. “What is the overall objective?”

“Don’t die,” Faith said.

The lancers all looked at each other nervously.

Sensing their concern, Kennedy added, “Yes, being dead doesn’t benefit you – only your enemies. The first rule of slaying is stay alive. Stick around to fight another day, even if that means retreating temporarily.”

Lexi put up her hand again, with a slight jump to make sure Kennedy saw it despite her diminutive height.

“Lexi?” Kennedy asked, with a sniff.

“It’s okay to record this, right? You know, so I can review it later, like, for studying purposes?” She briefly flashed a toothy smile.

“You’re the YouTube girl, right?” Kennedy replied, one eyebrow beginning to raise.

“Uh-uh, it is one of my many platforms…”

“No,” Kennedy immediately pronounced dryly.

Maddie held up her hand. “Wouldn’t it be better to just have everyone rush the hostile at once?”

“That’s called Successive Bounding,” Lisa piped in from her place next to Faith at the wall. “It’s when both Alpha ‘n’ Bravo advance at the same time. Best used when ‘yer opponent is on ropes and a good thrashin’ will end it. Everyone comes at once.” SlayBae stifled a laugh, and Lisa snapped her fingers and pointed straight at her. “Pack it in,” and then she continued, “and then ya hit ’em with everything ya got.”

“This is,” SlayBae cleared her throat, “a lot to remember.”

“She makes it look bloody easy,” Lisa whispered to Faith, who simply watched and smiled before she pushed herself up off the wall.

“Ken’s decades of practice certainly helped,” Faith countered. “Thanks for reaching out, because the Council helps all slayers.”

“You won’t catch me signin’ up, I’ll tell ya that,” Lisa replied. “But I’m grateful for the coachin’, that’s for sure.”

As Kennedy talked to the girls and showed them where and how to place their feet, Faith went over to Slaygirl.

“Costume or not,” Faith began softly. “You got the stuff. You’re a great team leader.”

The costumed woman shrugged. “I do what I can.”

“A friend once told me, don’t be afraid to lead them. Whether you want it or not, their lives are yours. Are you up to the task?”

“I have no idea,” she sighed.

“Sure you do. Think about it.”

Slaygirl paused for a moment, then watched the girls as they ran through their drill with Kennedy.

“Yes,” she finally replied. “I want to help them.”

“Are you prepared to lose some of them?”

Slaygirl didn’t need long to answer that. “No, I’m not. Makes me weak, huh?”

Faith shook her head. “That’s a dumb thing to say. It’s not weakness. You prepare them to be the best they can be, so they make it home…and then you deal with it when they don’t.”

“That simple, is it?”

“It’s never simple. Because even if you do everything right…bad things still happen.”

“Then can I ask…why’d you go back to the Council? You were free.”

“It’s one of those ‘all-abled bodies and quick minded folks are needed’ kinda moments. Something bigger than my ego is about to go down, and I need to protect the people I love.”

Kennedy looked over at Faith and, for the briefest of moments, they shared a smile.

Faith turned back to Slaygirl and said, “But to be a leader, you also have to be someone people want to follow. So, who are you, exactly?” She raised one eyebrow, and the costumed girl looked at her for a second, then sighed.

Slaygirl walked over to stand next to Kennedy in front of the group. “Can I have everybody’s attention for a sec?”

The group stopped their exercise and looked at her expectantly.

“I can’t expect anybody to work with me in the field if they don’t know who they’re working with. So…” She hesitated, just for a second, then pulled off her wig and lifted off her mask. “Hi everybody, my name’s Kelly.”

There was silence for several seconds. Then Lexi said, “Oh wow, what a surprise,” in an unimpressed tone that indicated it was very much not a surprise.

“Wait, you knew?” Kelly asked.

“I mean, you’re on the news all the time,” Slaybae told her apologetically.

“And then you beat up a demon assassin on national TV,” Maddie commented. “You think that a mask was going to fool the internet?” She shrugged. “Sorry.”

Kelly turned to see Kennedy looking at her. “Should…should I know who you are?” the former slayer asked.

Kelly shook her head. “Let’s just get back to training.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – High Security Detention Area – Later

“We’re just going around in circles here, you guys get that, right?” Zorgy said, her legs now propped up on the inside of the glowing bars of her cell.

“Where are the portals going to open?” Grace asked, a distinct edge showing through in her voice.

Zorgy made a loud, annoyed noise in the back of her throat and looked up at the ceiling for a moment. Then she looked back at the Chairwoman and spoke slowly, as if explaining to a child. “I’m not going to tell you. I have no reason to tell you. You can’t do shit to me. You have driven away everyone who could have helped you, just like you drove away your husband. You are nothing.”

Grace blinked, once, but it was Shannon who spoke next. “I think you’ll find there’s lots of shit we can do to you, actually.”

Zorgy looked over at her, crossing her arms over her chest as she did so. “OK, Miss Grammar Police, I should’ve said you won’t do shit to me, because I know for certain that you won’t. Though in your case, it may be closer to can’t, given that you’re about to lose your powers, if you haven’t already.”

“I know how to do all kinds of things to you that have nothing to do with my powers.”

The Empress snorted a single laugh. “What are you gonna do, waterboard me? Girl, seriously, your entire thing is being the badass of few words. Clint Eastwood as a slayer. Except, just like I don’t believe old Clint Eastwood as an action star, I don’t believe you as a badass without the powers. Are you anything else, underneath there? Or are you just empty?” She turned back to Grace, flicking a chin in Shannon’s direction as she did so. “And what are you gonna do about it? Pretty soon it’s gonna be you, this powerless, angry bitch and High Priestess Willow Rosenberg in a room making all the decisions to save the world. How’s that gonna go?”

She looked back and forth between the two women, a growing smile on her face.

“Tell ya what, I’m not exactly quaking in my sneakers over here. ‘Cause, when it comes right down to it, your biggest slayer won’t stop my army.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – High Security Detention Area – Hallway – Late Afternoon

“This isn’t working,” Willow said from behind her.

“You’re right,” Grace said quietly, without turning around.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite hear you,” Willow said as she walked closer. “It sounded like you said…”

“She’s right,” Grace kept going. She shook her head. “She’s right. If we keep playing by these rules, all she has to do is wait here until her army comes and kills all of us. And then kills everyone. And that’s all. That’s it. Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road.” She leaned heavily on her two crutches.

Willow walked around in front of her to look her in the eyes. “Grace. Stop. Whatever your problem is, we don’t have time for whatever this is. You know that.”

“She’s one step ahead of us,” Grace said quietly, as if she hadn’t heard anything Willow said, “because she knows we won’t take the gloves off. So that’s what we have to do…we have to take the gloves off.”

“If you take your gloves off when you’re fighting someone, doesn’t that just mean you’ll hurt your hands?” Willow asked. Grace stared at her. “I’m not good at face punching,” she said quietly. She licked her lips then said, “What are you talking about? I’m gonna need you to be specific.”

“She’s not going to talk,” Grace said. “She just isn’t. But she has the information we need inside of her head. Where her army is. Where and when they’ll attack. All of their plans and weaknesses. Not to mention how she’s done everything she’s done so far.”

“Yep, those are all the things that she won’t tell us,” Willow shot back, her tone becoming increasingly frustrated. “People died to bring her here, and she’s in there screwing with us for funsies.”

Grace bit her lip, looked down at the floor, then looked back up at Willow and said, “So I’m gonna need you to do a spell to get the information.”

The witch blinked. “I’m sorry, what now?”

“I’m gonna have the Coven do a spell to force her to tell us what she knows. Maybe a Geas Firenne? She’s not human, I know, but I can get Skye working on a few tweaks–”

“No,” Willow said quietly.

“I–” Grace stopped. Her face did not move. She took a deep breath, flexing the fingers on each hand around the handles of her crutches. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you.”

“No,” Willow repeated. “The Coven is not going to do any mind control spells while I’m in charge.”

“It’s not–”

“Oh, fuck off, Grace, of course it is! Look, you weren’t here when this was the big issue, but I have a history with these things, and it always, always ends really, really badly.”

“Willow, she’s not human!” Grace shouted.

“That doesn’t make it right!”

“She wants to end the world, and she can do it. What are we even doing here?!? Your morals aren’t gonna do us a lot of good when everybody’s brutally murdered!”

“There’s no point in staying alive if we lose who we are,” Willow argued. “I’m not going to be a part of messing around with somebody’s brain.”

“God–” Grace stopped mid-word, then stopped herself with a visible effort. She shook on her crutches. “Of course there fucking is! You can’t have morals if you’re dead, you self-righteous, hypocritical…”

She trailed off, but Willow kept pushing. “What? What? Don’t stop now. Self-righteous, hypocritical what?”

Grace seethed, breathing hard, but said nothing at first. She moved herself over to one side of the hallway and leaned back, putting her head against the wall. She let out a long breath, then said, “All I hear about is how you’re the greatest witch of all time, but whenever I ask you for anything, you’re just useless. Zorgy’s running rings around you. You couldn’t even…you couldn’t even save Casey.”

With the last phrase, she cut her eyes toward Willow’s. The witch licked her lips, then turned abruptly, took three steps away down the hall, then spun again and took the same three steps back toward Grace.

“I did everything I could for her,” she growled, pointing a finger at the Chairwoman. “I tried everything. I even…we even tried the same ritual from Xander’s eye.”

“Yeah, you did, and it did jack shit,” Grace replied, her voice rising again. “And I know what you’re gonna say. Every person and every problem is different. But I know exactly what happened. It was the emotional connection. You didn’t care about Casey staying alive as much as you cared about Xander’s goddamn eye. If we’re not part of your frickin’ high school clique, you don’t give a shit.”

Swirls of black made their way through Willow’s hairline. Grace’s eyes flicked to look at this, but she had no other visible reaction.

“That’s right,” Willow said, her tone low and dangerous. “I love my family more than anything. But I’m not going to stand here and let you accuse me of whatever the hell you’re accusing me of. I was giving everything to this Council when you were…what? Eating Cheetos and playing stupid video games in your dad’s basement?”

Grace rolled her eyes. “Great. Make more bitchy comments. That’ll save the world.”

“No, you trying to break up my freaking marriage is what’ll save the world, right?”

“I did what? Since when?”

“You tried to get Rowena to leave her entire family and move to D.C. Why? No one else could do this? You just want to hurt me.”

Grace shook her head in disbelief. “Wow, it had absolutely nothing to do with you. And I’ll tell you what, I am doing way less to break up your marriage than you are, because unlike you, I’m not a massive cheating skank.”

Darkness ran up the veins in Willow’s arms. She didn’t seem to notice. “Why, because I actually talked to my partner instead of just sending them to Chicago like a coward the moment things got tough?”

“You don’t know the slightest fucking–” Grace couldn’t form words anymore. She took several hard breaths through her nose, trying and failing to even herself out. “We’re off track. We’re way off track.”

No shit, Sherlock!” Willow yelled.

Her forehead now slick with sweat, Grace took several more quick breaths, then said, “The Coven is going to do the spell. That’s the end of it.”

“No, they’re not.”

“This isn’t a request,” Grace said. “It’s an order.”

Willow’s eyes got several shades darker. “You don’t give me orders in my division. I’m the Coven High Priestess.”

Grace set her jaw, unphased. “This is war. If anything has ever been a war, this is it. This is about the survival of the human race. Somebody has to give the orders. So like I told you before, it doesn’t matter how much you hate it, that somebody is me, not you. So I’m giving you an order now. What are you going to do about it?”

Willow paused. Her eyes seemed closer to their usual shade. She looked Grace in the eye and said, “My Coven won’t be a part of this.”

The Chairwoman and the High Priestess stared each other down for several seconds. Then Grace let out a long breath.

“Fine. You’re fired.”

Willow’s eyes got very big. She ran a hand over her sweat-soaked face. Then she started shaking her head. The movement got faster and faster before she actually got any words out. “No, you can’t do that. That’s not how this works.”

“It’s completely how this works,” Grace said. Her breathing had suddenly gotten under control, as if she had finally made the decision that lifted a weight. “Insubordination and dereliction of duty. I’ll have to put it to a vote, of course. You think Shannon’s going to vote to keep you? When you’re refusing to help us interrogate somebody who just killed a senior Slayer? I’m afraid not.”

You have no idea what fear is, little girl!

All at once, Willow’s control went away. Her proclamation was made with an unnaturally deep voice. Her hair went entirely dark, veins spread across her face, her eyes flooded completely with black. Purple electricity licked across her fingertips. Grace watched, wide-eyed, as Willow’s feet lifted off the floor.

You have no idea. No idea how long I’ve waited for this. You think you know me? You’ve never met the real me. What Zorgy will do to you is nothing compared to me. You have unleashed the–

With a loud “Whack!” Willow’s speech was suddenly cut off when a crutch smacked her full in the face. She fell against the wall of the hallway, then to the floor.

Willow found herself sprawled over the tiles, red hair hanging in her face. The veins were gone, and her eyes were back to their normal color and now filled with panic.

“Calm the fuck down!” Grace screamed. She still held the crutch in one hand while leaning heavily on the other.

On the floor, trying desperately to catch her breath, Willow gasped, “You can’t fire me.”

“We just went over–”

“…because I quit,” Willow finished.

Grace sighed and shook her head, then finally said, “Whatever.” With that, she turned and began to make her way back up the hallway.

As Grace left, Willow, with some effort, rolled over onto her back, eyes closed, her breath still coming in gasps.

Black Out



End of Act Five

Go Back   Next Act