by CN Winters
PG for possible language and adult themes.
are hints to the Season Four episode ‘Unspoken’ contained within the story.
This story is about how Althenea and Rowena met and became friends.
realize this is much to absorb in such a short time,” Quentin
Travers told Rowena as they walked side by side through the hall of the Watchers
Council in London.
that I’m not up to Mr. Travers, I assure you,” Rowena replied as she
clutched her satchel.
ghost of a smile crossed Travers’ face. “We had to make a choice of who
should oversee Ipek – you or Mr. Pollan.”
mean Mr. Pain-in-my-ass,
Rowena thought but didn’t voice the words. “Well, I’ll do my very best
with her and thank you for your trust,” she remarked instead.
well deserved my dear,” he replied. Another young woman walked toward the pair
and he called out to her. “Ah, Althenea,” he said as he waved her toward
Travers.” Althenea greeted them with a polite nod. “A new recruit I
assume?” she remarked as she gestured to Rowena.
a recruit any longer. A new watcher, Rowena Allister. Rowena, this is Althenea
Dimmons,” he introduced. “Althenea is one of our Devon coven members. Much
like yourself, she’s making quite a name for herself in the ranks of the
blushed and offered her hand to Rowena. “Pleasure to meet you, but don’t
believe everything Mr. Travers tells you about me. I’m not that special.”
he disputed. “She’s already a level two witch with nowhere to go except
up,” he remarked to Rowena. “And there’s nothing wrong in taking pride for
a job well done.” Travers paused and looked at his watch. “I must be going
ladies. I’m late for a conference. I trust you can make it out on your own
she told him.
day, then,” he said with a polite nod.
Travers left, an awkward silence fell between the two women for a moment until
did you join the academy?”
ago,” she replied. “When I was twelve, the council came to my parents and
the next thing I knew I was on a plane to England. Yourself?”
mother practiced the craft and when I came of age at 18 I joined the coven. I
spent years prior studying though,” Althenea replied. “Assigned a potential
already?” she asked after another brief pause.
Rowena answered. “I’m looking forward to it.”
you don’t mind me asking…how old are you?”
smiled and gave a half chuckle at the question. “I’m twenty-two,” she
so young for a watcher,” Althenea answered.
shrugged bashfully. “Mr. Travers says I’m the youngest actually. They must
be hard up for watchers lately.”
you could be that good. Remember there’s nothing wrong in taking pride for
a job well done,” Althenea replied in a deep tone trying to sound like
Travers. Rowena found herself laughing again, but didn’t reply. “Are you
busy right now? Would you like to go to lunch perhaps?” Althenea asked.
Rowena replied with a friendly smile. Althenea gave a slight grin herself and
motioned Rowena to follow her.
dating James Tyrell’s son?” Althenea asked. “The James Tyrell.”
nodded and took a sip of her milk. “James actually trained me, and Jordon and
I are…we’re kinda sorta engaged actually.”
shrugged uncomfortably. “I accepted the proposal, but not the ring yet,” she
mean you’re a woman who actually turned down jewelry? Are you insane?”
and Althenea both chuckled. “Sometimes I wonder,” she replied.
haven’t you taken the ring?” Althenea asked.
shrugged again. “I care about Jordon, I do. But there are things I want to do
first before I settle down and think about starting a family.” Althenea gave a
small smile but looked away. “What?” Rowena asked.
shook her head. “Nothing,” she remarked. Rowena just looked at her
unflinching. It seemed too much and Althenea continued. “Please don’t take
offense, but I can’t help notice you said you care for Jordon.”
do,” Rowena answered.
you didn’t say you love him,” she added.
yeah, I mean sure, I love him.” When Althenea didn’t say more the watcher
continued. “So what are you saying?”
like I said…nothing.” Althenea looked away, nervous again.
no,” Rowena said as she tsked her finger. “You opened this conversation up
so you need to close it.”
Althenea relented. “Maybe the reason you haven’t taken that ring has nothing
to do with you. Maybe it’s him. Maybe he’s not the right one.”
is a good man,” Rowena replied.
might be true. But perhaps he’s not good for you,” she replied. When Rowena
said nothing and looked down at her plate, Althenea back peddled. “Look, I met
you an hour ago so there’s no way I can possibly know everything about you, or
Jordon for that matter. But…it feels like I know you.”
mean in a new age past lives kinda way?” Rowena asked.
paused. “Perhaps…good or bad, haven’t you met someone you felt like you
knew immediately? You either can’t stand to be around them or…like now, you
feel like you could tell them anything,” she asked as if changing the subject.
grinned. “Not until today,” she replied.
I sit here I have that feeling too,” Althenea confessed. “And with that
said, I have to be honest. When you talk about this man…it doesn’t sound as
if you love him – not the way love should be anyway.”
how should love be?” Rowena asked. “Hearts and flowers?”
Althenea answered. “And rockets and bombs...a feeling of wanting to be with
someone no matter what, and that without them there’s a void that no one else
can fill; someone that you’d be willing to sacrifice anything for if need be
because you know in your heart they’d do the same for you if they could…
That’s love…but that doesn’t sound like Jordon when you describe the two
of you. So…are there rockets and bombs going off?” she said coyly.
now looked away nervously. “I don’t think love is about rockets and
take that as a ‘no’ and that you’ve never really been in love yet,”
Althenea answered as she looked back down at her food, shuffling it with her
jaw clinched for a moment and she looked at her watch. “Well, I really ought
to get back,” she replied.
Althenea began, “I apologize if I’ve offended you. Like I said, it just
feels like I know you, as crazy as that sounds, and I think you’re a good
person. So again, I’m sorry if I’ve upset you.”
I’m fine,” Rowena answered quickly. “I just really need to get back.”
if I haven’t offended you then have dinner with me tonight.”
looked uncomfortable. “Are you asking me out on a date? I just told you I’m
laughed. “Normally I might, as I do prefer the fairer sex but…you’re
how?” Rowena asked. “What? I’m not good enough for you?”
you want me to ask you on a date?” Althenea countered.
Rowena answered quickly. “I’m not gay,” she whispered.
I am gay,” Althenea said in her normal voice, regardless of who might hear
her. “But I’m not looking to date you…don’t get me wrong you are a
beautiful woman but first, I know you’re straight, and second, I could use a
friend, not a lover. Of course, if you’d rather not have a friend who’s gay
I’d understand. Few people do in these parts.”
Rowena said quickly again. “I…let’s start over,” she said motioning to
Althenea. “Ask again?”
you like to have dinner tonight?” Althenea said as she smiled.
Rowena answered with a grin of her own.
opened her door only to have Rowena storm her way inside.
you hear what Buffy Summers did? She blew up her high school with her friends
and could have been killed in the process,” she complained. “The girl is
come in,” Althenea said to no one since Rowena had already walked past her
going toward her kitchen. Althenea shut the door and began to follow.
already had her head in Althenea’s refrigerator, looking around, as Althenea
walked into the room.
can’t believe that Travers just doesn’t step in and take care of this.
First, Faith Lehane starts working with our enemies and now this. The council
has two slayers, but they can’t control either one of them. How messed up is
that?” Rowena ranted as she pulled various food items out of Althenea’s
smiled as she watched Rowena return for two cans of soda. “It’s my
understanding that Mr. Giles no longer works for the council and as a result
Buffy cut all ties with them. There’s something to be said for that,”
that she’s undisciplined,” Rowena replied.
she’s loyal to people who look out for her…you can’t deny, she’s shaping
up to be the oldest slayer in history and maybe that’s part of the reason.”
she has authority issues?” Rowena put her hand on her hip. “I came over here
so you could make me feel better. You’re not helping.”
has you so upset? Buffy isn’t your charge,” Althenea countered.
Ipek is,” Rowena answered.
Althenea prompted when Rowena didn’t continue.
put the lunchmeat down that she was holding. “If Buffy gets herself
Ipek might be called,” Althenea said finally understanding.
nodded. “She still has so much to learn. She’s simply not ready to be the
grown fond of her and you don’t want to see her in harm’s way.”
grinned and shook her head. “It’s ironic Al… Watchers spend our entire
lives studying to train the one girl in all the world. On one hand it’s
a privilege when your girl is called, but on the other…well, at least for me,
it’s the last thing in the world I want for her.”
of what happens,” Althenea began, “you’re a good watcher. I’ve seen you
train with her and she can protect herself. You don’t have anything to worry
about. Trust me.”
hope you’re right,” Rowena said softly. She looked over Althenea’s
shoulder in surprise to see another blonde woman standing there in a nightshirt.
the woman said in a gentle voice and walked over to weave her arm through
hi, I-uh,” Rowena said stumbling over her words. “I didn’t know you had
okay,” Althenea told her. “Did we wake you?” she asked the woman.
I awoke when you left the bed.”
I’m sorry,” Althenea said quickly. “This is my friend Rowena I’ve told
you about. Rowena, this is Vicki.”
to meet you,” Vicki said to Rowena.
too,” she said quickly as she picked up the food items and tried to get them
back to the refrigerator as fast as she could. “I’m so sorry. I’m gonna…go.”
don’t have to run off,” Vicki told her.
Rowena answered. “Really, I should have called first and –.”
right,” Althenea added. “You don’t have to rush out of here like a bat out
Al, I’m sorry I interrupted. I’ll let you guys get back to…whatever.”
Althenea could issue another argument Rowena already had her coat in her hand
and was out the door.
Althenea said as she spoke into a speakerphone in the coven room. “How are you
bad,” Rowena replied. “I’m teaching her balance exercises and she’s
attempting to teach me how to belly dance.”
chuckled. “And how’s that working out for you?”
giving it the ole college try, but I can’t say I’m ready for a public
performance by any means.”
could give me a private performance,” Althenea said with a sexy tone in her
smiled. “Stop it. Besides I don’t think Frannie would like that very
much,” she commented.
much like Ann, Lori and Vicki, is history.”
Rowena asked. “And this from a woman who convinced me that leaving Jordon was
a good idea. Maybe you’re just a commitment-phobe?”
me that giving Jordon the heave-ho wasn’t the greatest thing you ever did?
Come on now, lie to me.”
snorted. “Yes it was for the best, but I worry about you. You’ve had a
parade of women in and out of your life in the last two years.”
what about you?” Althenea asked.
haven’t had a parade of women,” Rowena countered.
funny,” Althenea replied. “But I’m worried about you too. I don’t want
to see you end up like one of the crazy ladies living with ten cats because
you’re scared of letting a guy get close.”
fine. Besides, Ipek keeps me so busy that finding a man, or even a
one-night-stand, isn’t anything high on my list at the moment. I…I like
where I’m at right now so I don’t need any complications.” There was a
pause and Rowena asked, “Still there?”
just thinking,” she replied.
paused again for a few seconds. “Have you ever seen anyone, about the attack?
Talked to anyone.”
told you. Isn’t that enough?”
mean professionally, Ro.”
I’ve told you before, it was a long time ago. There’s no sense in digging
all that up. Really, just because I don’t have a guy on my arm doesn’t mean
I’m crazy or anything.”
enough,” Althenea replied letting it go. “But if you decide you want to talk
to someone, but don’t want to go alone, I’m here for you.”
smiled. “Thank you, but I’m good. Oh, hey, did you hear the news about Mr.
reinstatement? Yes,” she answered. “It’s about bloody time. I think the
council realized that Buffy wasn’t coming back unless it was on her terms. I
hear he’s getting his pay retro’ed. He stands to become a very wealthy man
if that’s the case. Maybe you could move Ipek out to Sunnydale and get
yourself a watcher sugar daddy.”
chuckled. “He probably already has somebody.”
be too sure,” Althenea remarked. “You watcher types are hard to pin down.
You’d have a lot in common, well, aside from the thirty-some year difference
in age and experience…but still.”
something else.” Rowena smiled.
try,” Althenea said with a grin.
hey, Ipek’s here so I’ve gotta run but I’ll give you a call next week.”
good, take care Hun.”
too,” Rowena replied. Althenea could hear the smile in her voice and smiled as
have you been?” Rowena said into her cell phone as she stood in an Istanbul
Marketplace. “I’ve been
trying to reach you for days now. Hold on,” she said as she put the phone down
and gave Ipek a disapproving look as the potential stepped out of a stall
wearing a low cut outfit. “If I let you buy that your parents will kill me,”
she told Ipek. “Try again.” Rowena then turned back to the conversation.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
okay. Remember how I said our coven inherited Willow Rosenberg?” Althenea
did she relapse or something?”
but I’ve discovered that being a level five witch now is great, but there are
drawbacks. The coven’s spent the last three days straight trying to drain the
dark magic from her again. She hasn’t been practicing the black arts, but
it’s still there.”
luck?” Rowena asked.
on if she survives,” Althenea replied. “There are some things we can’t fix
or change but…we’re hoping the lightness we’ve instilled in her will
sustain her. The poor girl’s a mess – emotionally, physically – and my
heart just breaks for her because she’s…delicate, warm.”
tell me you’re falling for her,” Rowena chastised. Ipek stepped out of a
stall in her new outfit and twirled for Rowena. The watcher grinned and gave her
a thumbs up sign.
it’s not like that. Besides, she has way too much grief,” Althenea answered.
“But we do have quite a bit in common – witches, gay, the usual.” Rowena
could hear the smile in Althenea’s voice. “Anyway, she’s staying with Mr.
Giles for the time being, but Travers wants to send her back to Sunnydale in a
few weeks to help the slayer. And that’s even if the slayer will let her –
she burned a lot of bridges after her lover died.”
that wise, do you think?” Rowena asked. “If she’s still a danger…”
know,” Althenea answered. “But Travers is concerned something major is
coming, as you know. Something that might be more dangerous than Willow
hurry up and wait for information. I’d like to have some idea what it might
be. I’ve got a meeting with him next week so I’m assuming I’ll learn more
then. He mentioned something about sending me away for a private assignment. I
just wish I knew what it was.”
be careful,” Althenea replied. “Something is out there, the coven has felt
it, but we can’t pinpoint it.”
me in the loop if you can and I’ll let you know what I learn.”
chuckled. “Wish everyone in all the branches got on as well as we do. Perhaps
we’d actually start communicating to solve problems instead of creating
opened her door and her jaw immediately dropped. Almost as quickly she began to
cry and stepped out to pull Rowena into her arms.
goddess, I thought you were dead,” she whispered through her tears as she
continued to hold the watcher.
need to get inside,” Rowena replied unflinching.
course, come in,” Althenea said pulling her inside and closing the door behind
them before wiping her eyes. “How long have you been in England?”
just got back today,” she replied. “I assume you heard about the council
did,” Althenea replied solemnly.
need a favor.”
Althenea told her.
reached inside her satchel and pulled out a large book. “Here it is.”
Opus?” Althenea said as she examined the cover, her hands running over it.
“You did it,” she said proudly.
the council doesn’t know I have it…I told them I failed when I called. I
don’t want them to know I have it.”
Althenea began to ask. Rowena, however, didn’t seem to be listening as she
in truth, I’m hoping I’m not the one who keeps it.”
not sure I understand,” Althenea replied.
don’t know who’s left and I know there’s only one person in this entire
council I trust anymore…that’s you. You’ve got the skills and-and the
power to keep this safe. Whatever is inside this book, people were willing to
kill and die for - even the people they send after it. It needs to be somewhere
that it can be protected and you gotta admit, right now we’re not protected. I
know your coven can keep this book hidden and out of the wrong hands.”
will,” Althenea said firmly. For a long moment neither woman said anything.
Ipek’s service nice?” Rowena asked.
recognized the look of guilt on Rowena’s face.
not your fault Ro. If you were here when it happened you would have died too. We
all know why you couldn’t come back, Ipek knew too, so perhaps with this,”
she said holding up the book, “maybe we can save more girls. She would have
stony demeanor suddenly dropped and she began to cry hard. Althenea set the book
down for a moment and pulled her into a tight embrace.
stood in Heathrow Airport looking at all the passengers as they came toward the
luggage carousel. Suddenly she began to smile and move forward as she waved.
opened her arms and Rowena did the same as both women embraced for a moment.
When they pulled away Rowena asked, “Where’s Roberta?” Instead of replying
Althenea just gave her a shrug. “Again?” Rowena asked.
again,” Althenea replied. “Just save the speech that the right gal’s out
there for me somewhere.”
is,” Rowena said optimistically.
what about you? How are you and Willow doing?”
smiled. “Hearts and flowers. Rockets and bombs,” she answered with a bashful
took her by the hand and led her away with a smile.
~ The End ~
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