Story by Kye
Written by Kye (additional writing by Zahir al Daoud, Dan Josyln and Robert Kidman)
Directed by CN Winters, Kye and DragonWriter17
Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by DragonWriter17
Sounds by CSR
Art Direction by Robert Kidman
Artists – Robert Kidman, CN Winters, Zahir al Daoud, Mattxxx, and Humaira
Slayer Memorial Grounds – Morning
The old Council headquarters had finally been demolished. An spring wind, although chilled, whipped off the expanse of Lake Erie, across the newly planted bright green grass. Kennedy, dressed in black, stood alone next to the plain stone Slayer Memorial Wall.
Kennedy laid a small bouquet of white flowers just below the spot where two new names had been carved into the wall. She took a step back, eyes still locked on Chao-Ahn's name.
"Here's to the basement girls," she said softly.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Later that Day
"I want this girl found," Buffy said. Her voice was low and angry. "I want this girl found, and I want her stopped."
Faith, Kennedy, Mia, Robin, Rowena, Willow, Andrew, Dawn, and Xander were all there, watching her. There was a large picture of Heli on the video screen behind Buffy's head.
"We're all tryin' here, B," Faith said, "but – "
"Did I stutter? I want her in prison," Buffy insisted levelly. "I want this girl in a Hannibal Lecter mask and a straight jacket. I want her to spend the rest of her natural life in a six-by-six cell with only enough room to breathe. Do all of you understand what I'm saying?" Buffy stressed.
"Hear, hear," Xander remarked.
"Maybe we should try a-and look at the bright side," Willow said. Robin raised a significant eyebrow at her. "I mean, if you think about it, we gave superpowers to thousands of random girls all over the world. Maybe we're lucky only one of them turned out to be a totally insane serial killer."
"That we know of," Mia said darkly.
Kennedy just glared at Willow. "Okay," Willow relented, "no bright side. I'm just trying to be optimistic."
"Sorry Will," Buffy replied. "But the only optimism I want right now involves ideas on how to catch this nut-job."
"How are they holding up?" Xander asked. "I mean…the people that knew them, are they…okay?" Willow put a protective hand over his.
"New Delhi is…coping," Robin said. "It's hard, especially considering what it must have been like for Slayer Banerjee. But I think in the end they'll be fine. Hong Kong, on the other hand…"
"Hong Kong is a different story," Rowena put in. "Chao-Ahn's been the heart and soul of that branch for years."
"She's a good leader, well, was a good leader," Faith said softly. "That kid came a long way. The whole damn thing's such a waste, ya know?"
"After last May she was the only one holding that bunch together." Robin sighed. "Now…I don't even know who's in charge over there."
Faith opened her mouth to speak, but the words never surfaced.
"She is," Kennedy said.
Buffy looked at her. "Sorry?"
Kennedy pointed at the picture of Heli above Buffy's head. "She won't stop. She'll keep killing us, keep slipping through our fingers, until…"
She trailed off, leaving uncomfortable silence in her wake.
"Until what?" Andrew asked.
"Until we stop her," Buffy said.
The room fell quiet for a moment.
"Kennedy," Buffy began. "I want you in charge of any leads you find. If that means you have to hop a plane at 3 A.M to the other side of the world, do it. Don't wait for clearance. Just tell us where you're going." Kennedy nodded to her, and Buffy looked at Mia. "I want you ready to step up if Ken's gone or to support her in the field if she needs back up. Faith? That means you make sure Mia's in the loop at all times."
"Done," Faith answered.
"And you," Buffy said, pointing at Robin. "I don't care what it takes, but I want this Council, and any other branch in the world, secure – human or demon threat, it doesn't matter."
"If we had been here when the terrorists arrived – " he began.
"You'd have been captured too, and we might all be dead. I don't want excuses," Buffy told him, cutting him off. "I respect you, Robin, but what we've got ain't workin'. You gotta admit that," she told him.
"Point taken, Buffy, but our girls are already stretched."
"Then hire more armed security. 24/7/365. Got me? I don't want anyone with a weapon of any kind to walk into through any door in this Council, or in any other branch for that matter. We've got the funds, right Will?" Willow nodded. "Good, then start using them, Robin."
Robin gave her a nod. "You got it."
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
The door opened, and the Council members began to pour outside the door, with the exception of Buffy, who had remained inside.
"Does my ass look smaller?" Faith whispered to Robin as they walked along.
"Everybody's ass looks smaller," Kennedy remarked, coming up beside her. "And quite frankly, it's an ass chewing overdue." With that, she picked up her pace and moved ahead of the pack.
Kadin's Cabin – Game Room – Late Evening
Kadin pulled the pool stick back before effortlessly gliding it through her fingers to slam into the cue ball.
The nine ball spun rapidly across the table before banking off the top right corner and rolling back down the table to drop into the bottom left pocket.
"Always gotta do it the hard way, huh?"
Kadin looked up from her spot leaning over the table to meet the source of the voice. She found Kennedy casually leaning against the doorframe.
"Yeah," the hunter said, dropping the pool stick onto the table. "Well, you know me." Kadin eyed the slayer for a moment as she reached over to grab her beer. "What are you doing here, Kennedy?" Kadin asked before taking a drink. She pulled the bottle back from her lips with a sigh.
"What?" Kennedy asked, walking in from the doorway. "I can't come see my girlfriend on a Friday night?" the slayer asked, stuffing her hands into her back pockets as she approached the table.
"Suit yourself." Kadin shrugged and reached down to place the beer bottle back onto the table. She grabbed the pool stick and leaned over the table to line up another shot.
Kennedy watched the other woman closely as she slid up onto one of the stools sitting in front of the small bar. "Which one ya goin' for?" she asked conversationally.
"The eight ball." Kadin's eyes shifted up from her shot to look over at the slayer. "It's the only one left."
Kennedy glanced down at the table to see the lone ball sitting near a back corner pocket. "Right," she whispered with a nod.
With one swift pull on the pool stick, the eight ball was sunk into the back corner pocket.
Kadin once again placed the stick in the center of the table. She cracked her back and let out a long exhale as she reached for her beer.
"So…" Kennedy started slowly. She propped her elbows up on the bar behind her and gave Kadin the once-over with her eyes. "You haven't really been around much lately. My sheets have been gettin' pretty cold these last few nights."
Kadin looked over at Kennedy for a split second before turning her eyes to gaze out the window. She finally turned her eyes back to meet Kennedy's. "I just…I haven't been feelin' very…sociable lately."
The hunter placed her beer down onto the side of the table and then bent down to start collecting the balls to place them back on the table.
"I can understand that," Kennedy answered. "Sometimes we all just need to get away."
Kadin pulled the last of the balls up and placed them on the table. "And yet, here you are," she said calmly as she walked over to grab the rack from its hook on the wall.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Kennedy asked in a huff.
Kadin turned to face her as she walked back over to the table. She placed the rack in the center and started to arrange the balls. She stopped when she had all but two of the balls aligned. She rested her hands on either side of the rack and looked up to Kennedy. "I think I just need some time off," she finally answered. "The Council's got a lot goin' on right now, and I just need to be by myself for a while until I figure some stuff out."
Kennedy stepped down off the stool and approached the table. She folded her arms across her chest and stared back at Kadin. "Time off from the Council…or time off from me?"
"Why do you always do that?!" Kadin asked angrily as she slammed the rack with her hands. "Why do you always twist everything that I say so that it comes back to you?!"
Kennedy dropped her arms and took a step closer with an accusing finger pointed dead at the hunter. "You're the one that always turns everything around on me. It's either I spend too much time with the Council, or I always run around for Willow, or I never want to do anything with you, or I don't – "
"What's so great about that place, huh?" Kadin broke in before she could finish. "And what's so great about Willow? She dumped you, Kennedy. Ages ago. Get over it."
Kennedy's fists were clenched tightly at her sides.
"Or maybe it's not Willow." Kadin pushed back from the table and made her way around to stand face-to-face with the slayer. "No, I think your taste is running more blonde these days."
"Here we go again," Kennedy sighed and threw her arms into the air. She leveled her eyes with the hunter and then shook her head. "How many times do I have to tell you?" She reached up and grabbed Kadin by edges of her vest. "I. Do. Not. Want. Rowena." She slowly emphasized each word with a light tug.
Kadin's eyes searched the other woman's face intently. There seemed to be an struggle raging inside her before she finally reached up and grabbed Kennedy's hands to remove them. She turned her back to her lover and reached for her beer.
"You gotta stop doin' this," Kennedy's voice told her softly. "I've already told you. I'm not going anywhere."
The slayer stepped up and wrapped her arms around Kadin's waist, leaning her chin on the hunter's shoulder. "I'm right where I want to be." She turned her head to the side to place a kiss on Kadin's ear. "I love you."
A low growl bubbled up from the back of Kadin's throat. "Stop it!" She wrenched herself out of Kennedy's grasp and twisted away from her before turning to face her. "If you loved me, you wouldn't blow me off every time that bitch called you to do her bidding, and let's not forget that you two have gotten a little more than chummy in the past."
"That's bull, and you know it," Kennedy shot back. "That was a long time ago, and things were…messed up. It was one stupid kiss. For God's sake, Kadin, let it go."
Kadin was seething with silent rage as she stared back at Kennedy. She was gripping the beer bottle in her hand so tightly that it finally shattered under the pressure.
Glass shards shot off in all directions, and the liquid splattered onto the floor. Blood pooled in the center of Kadin's hand before finally oozing through her fingers to drip down her hand and onto the floor.
"Kadin," Kennedy gasped and reached down for her bloodied hand.
Kadin snatched it away and shot her a deathly glare. "Get out."
Kennedy was a little taken back by the words. Kadin had never been so…angry. "But, I…"
"Now," Kadin growled again before turning away from the other woman to face the wall. The blood streamed out of her clenched fist, her entire hand becoming encased in scarlet.
Without another word, Kennedy turned and quickly left the room. A few moments later, Kadin heard the front door open and then slam shut.
Kadin remained frozen in place. Her eyes stared straight out of the window and into the darkness. Her fingers were still clutched tightly against her palm, the blood coursing from her wound.
Suddenly, a white hot pain shot up from inside her, and she tilted her head back to scream. Her eyes began to glow until they turned a solid white. Her scream reverberated in her chest as she fell to her knees in agonizing pain.
Seconds later, she fell face first onto the floor, completely unconscious.
End of Teaser
To Act One