Watcher's Council - Lobby Main Room - Next Morning
Willow was sitting in the main room of the lobby, quietly sipping from her tea as she read over a recent progress report. The Council was quiet except for the slow whir of the fan on the redhead's laptop as she idly scrolled through the pages.
Willow had just lifted the tea to her lips to take another drink when the sudden sound of heavy footsteps on the stairs nearly caused her to spill the whole cup down her shirt.
Lobby - Same Time
Kadin was flying down the stairs, taking them two at a time as she tried her best to avoid the insistent voice ringing in from above her.
Kennedy jumped down the last few steps and jogged to catch up to the other woman. "Hey! Hold on a sec," the slayer pleaded softly as she caught up to the hunter and reached out to grab her by the elbow.
Kadin allowed herself to be spun around to face the slayer. "What?" she asked, exasperated.
Kennedy was quiet for a long moment as she searched for the words. "Kadin, please. Don't do this."
"Don't do what, Kennedy?"
"You know what," the slayer replied tersely. "You're turnin' this all around and makin' it about us when it has nothin' to do with that."
Kadin jerked her arm out of Kennedy's grip. "Oh, I think it has everything to do with it."
Lobby Main Room - Doorway - Same Time
At the first sound of the loud voices, Willow set her cup down on the table and quietly made her way over to peek around the doorway.
She watched with rapt fascination as the scene between the two women unfolded before her.
Lobby - Same Time
Kadin took a step back from Kennedy and averted her eyes. "It's bad enough when I got a whole Council full of people, who I thought were my friends that don't trust me to do somethin' I've been doin' since before most of 'em even knew what a vamp was." Kadin took a slow, calming breath. "But when my own girlfriend doesn't trust me..." the hunter trailed off and shook her head. "Forget it," she finished softly.
Kennedy was silent for a long moment before finally replying. "Kadin, it's not that I don't trust you. It's just..."
When she didn't finish immediately, the hunter broke in with a scoff. "You don't trust me to do the job I've been doin' since I could walk, but you trust me enough to fall in line as just another of your little 'slayer-bots'."
"Slayer-bots?" Kennedy repeated, her temper starting to flare. "What the hell does that even mean?"
"You know damn well what it means," Kadin shot back, pointing her finger in the other woman's face. "You're just like the rest of 'em. Just another puppet on their string."
"I'm nobody's damn puppet," Kennedy shot back in a low growl, her voice dripping with anger.
"Oh yeah?" Kadin challenged as she took a step up into the slayer's personal space. "That why the minute your little friends said jump, you dragged both our asses out there in the freezin' cold just to see if I could past their little test?"
Kennedy set her jaw and clenched her fists, but didn't say a word.
"Yeah," Kadin finally nodded. "Didn't think so." The hunter brushed her way past the other woman and walked towards the door. She reached out and placed her hand on the knob, but didn't turn back to face Kennedy. "I'll be in Cleveland Memorial tonight. Not because I care about your stupid little test, but because I care about you."
The hunter didn't say another word as she opened the door and quietly slipped out.
Kennedy was left standing in the silence until the sudden creak of floorboards drew her attention.
"You can come out now, Will. Show's over." The slayer's eyes flickered over to the doorway as the redhead slowly revealed herself.
"Uh...h-hey," Willow said softly, giving Kennedy her best smile. "Sorry. I wasn't...I mean, I didn't..." She stopped her rambling and let out a slow and shaky breath. "Well, guess it’s pretty pointless to ask how it went last night, huh?"
Kennedy ran a hand back through her hair and turned away from the other woman. "Yeah, guess you could say that." She trained her eyes out the front window just in time to see the tailights of the motorcycle disappear into the early morning. "Seems she thinks my doing this means I don't trust her," she went on to explain as she turned her stare back on Willow, "wonder what in hell would give her that idea?"
Willow let out a deep sigh. "Kennedy, please. I really can't handle this right..."
"You know what," the slayer suddenly broke in as she started towards the stairs, "forget it. I'm not in the mood either." She placed one foot on the bottom step and turned back to face the redhead. "I just thought you'd like to know, thanks to your little assignment last night...I lost my girlfriend."
Willow's eyes widened slightly and she took a hesitant step forward. "What? Why?"
"Why do you think?" Kennedy answered snidely. "You send me on this 'mission' to see if Kadin can work as a part of a team, knowing all along that there was no way in hell she was gonna pass, and that I was gonna have to jump her about it." She paused for a moment as her stare grew colder. "I'm startin' to wonder what this so-called 'mission' really was."
Willow blinked. "Hey," she said at last, "that isn't fair! This has nothing to do with you and Kadin. It has everything to do with Kadin and everybody else, all the other..."
"Slayer-bots?" suggested Kennedy.
"Now you're just being ridiculous," Willow answered dead panned. "You know that's not how it works around here, and you know that's not what you are, nor is it how we treat you or any of the other slayers."
"Don't you dare stand there and tell me what I am or how I'm treated," Kennedy shot back, pointing a finger at the other woman. "You don't know what it’s like to go out there every night with the fear that this could be the night that you just might not make it back home. At least, not in anything other than a body bag."
"How can you say that?" Willow asked, her voice cracking. "I've been right there beside you and the others more times than I can count. When you were off target practicing with Jacobs I was patrolling graveyards – sometimes without a slayer at my side!" She took a moment to collect herself before continuing. "Yeah, okay, so I'm not usually out there on the front lines anymore, I’ll give you that. But don’t think for a second I forgot what it’s like."
Kennedy watched the other woman for a long moment as the tension in her body seemed to slowly fade away.
"Look, Will," she let out a long breath and shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "I'm really sorry. I know you're only tryin' to do what you think is best for the Council. This thing between me and Kadin isn't your fault, and I'm sorry for goin' off on you like that." Willow eventually nodded but remained silent. "It's just...this whole bein' a part of a team thing is really hard for Kadin to get," Kennedy continued, "but I know that if I...if we give her one more chance, she can do it."
"That was never the issue, Kennedy," the redhead replied softly. "We never doubted her ability...just her willingness."
Kennedy took a moment before slowly nodding. "Yeah, I get that, but you gotta understand that up until now, the only thing remotely resemblin' a team that Kadin's ever known was her and her dad, and well, we all know how that turned out..."
"Yeah," Willow nodded with a light whisper. She averted her eyes from the slayer and let out a shaky breath. "Ken...I-I hope you don't think that any part of this has anything to do with us not liking Kadin or me not w-wanting you to be with her." She slowly pulled her gaze up to the brunette's, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "It doesn't take a genius to see that she makes you happy, and that's all I've ever wanted for you."
"Thanks Will," Kennedy returned the soft smile. "And right back at’cha." She kept the tender moment going for a short while before finally turning to head up the stairs.
At the redhead's soft request, Kennedy stopped and turned back to face her with the gentle smile still intact.
"I just," Willow hesitated, "well, I just want you to know that I hope everything works out. Y'know...between you a-and Kadin. Just try to remember…" Willow seemed to choke on the words.
"What?" Kennedy asked when the witch didn’t continue automatically.
Willow squared her slumped shoulders and said, "Sometimes you have to make a choice."
"You can love your job and you can love Kadin but it might not be best to mix the two together. But maybe you two can find the middle ground a-and it’ll be fine."
Kennedy glanced down for a short moment before lifting her eyes back to the redhead's. "I’d ask how you’d do something like that but…"
"Yeah," Willow said sheepishly. "I have no idea. But I’ve heard it can be done."
"I don't know how either," Kennedy confessed, "but something tells me we will."
Willow watched with a gentle expression as the slayer turned and disappeared up the stairs. She quietly made her way back into the main room of the lobby and took her seat on the couch. She picked up her teacup and went back to reading.
Kennedy called over the balcony. "Hey Will?" she said making the witch look up. "If I figure it out…I’ll let you know."
Willow smiled up warmly at her.
Hotel Lobby – Dusk
Luna strode across the lobby with hardly a pause. Behind her, a vampire followed, his lips not-quite-sneering and his posture hunched. Something about the way he walked seemed to say "sulk" without of course actually saying anything.
Still, when Luna stopped suddenly and looked at him, he backed away almost a full inch.
"What’s with the attitude?"
"I dunno what you mean. I-I-I was just…"
"Stomping like a great big disappointed elephant! An immature great big disappointed elephant!"
He didn’t speak for a moment, then mumbled something.
"WHAT? I didn’t HEAR you, Simon! What did you say?"
"I said…I’m sorry."
Luna heaved a sigh, as if to launch into a tirade. Then she rolled her eyes and waved her hand as if to say ‘whatever.’ What she actually said was "When we get to the showroom and the dealer has given me the keys, you can eat him, alright? Then hurry back to the others so you can play your little boys’ games. ALL RIGHT?"
"And?" Her eyebrows rose.
He froze. "And?"
"What do we say?" Her eyes began to burn. Given they were perfectly human eyes, with no sorcery or physically demonic nature to help, this was quite impressive.
"Right!" She turned on her heel and strode forward. He followed, only pausing a bit at the door.
"Come on," she yelled without looking back, "the sun’s almost all the way down, you wimp!"
Still hesitating, he did follow.
Cleveland Memorial Graveyard - Night
Kennedy had her eyes locked on her boots as she quietly stalked through the graveyard. She slowly lifted her eyes and cast a nervous glance over at the other woman.
Kadin was walking along just as silent, doing her best to look everywhere but at the slayer.
"Is it really gonna be like this from now on?"
The sound of Kennedy's voice pulled her from her silent steaming to look over at the other woman.
"Are we really gonna spend the rest of the night without so much as looking at each other?" Kennedy asked again.
Kadin allowed the comment to break through her defenses. "Really hope not," she replied with a small smile. "There's only so many headstones I can count before drivin' myself insane."
Kennedy chuckled. "As long as you don't start countin' the cracks, I think you're good."
Kadin returned the laugh as she stopped and turned to face the slayer. She let her eyes drift over the brunette before speaking.
"Ken, I...well, I just want you to know that I...that I didn't mean it. What I said last night, I mean."
Kennedy cocked a half smile and her eyebrow rose just a bit. "Which part? The part where you said I was just a mindless slayer-bot slash puppet, or the part where you didn't wanna be my girlfriend anymore?"
Kadin took a slow step forward and reached out to place her hands the slayer's hips. "I think you know I meant both....everything, actually."
Kennedy reached up and placed her hands on the hunter's forearms, pulling the woman even closer. "I know," she nodded in a whisper. "And I think you know that I'm sorry too. For all of the above. Oh, and for the record, I don’t agree with everything that happens at the council, and I don’t always go along with it. And," she said holding up her finger, "believe it or not, sometimes they agree with me when I disagree. But I also get where they’re concerned about your style of fighting. I know you didn’t intend to hurt Lia – they know that too. They just want to be certain you can function with a group for everyone’s sake, and safety – even yours."
Kadin harrumphed. "And why would they care about me?"
"Because I care about you – stubborn pain in the ass that you can be sometimes," Kennedy said seriously before starting to grin.
Kadin grinned as she slowly leaned in. "At least one good thing comes out of these arguments."
"Oh yeah?" Kennedy asked as she pulled her head back just a bit to keep their lips from making contact. "What’s that?"
"Making up," Kadin answered breathlessly as she leaned back in.
"Well, now," a deep voice suddenly interrupted them from somewhere in the darkness. "Don't that just warm your heart?"
Another burly looking vampire stepped out of the shadows and leered at the embraced lovers. "Or at least, I'm sure it would...if I had one."
Kennedy raised a brow as she stared over at the vampire. "You do realize that makes absolutely no sense, right? I mean, you have a heart, it just doesn't beat."
The vampire looked deep in thought for a long moment as he took in Kennedy's words. "Yeah, well...I'll be sure to...to rip yours out as I...when I..."
Kadin sighed and shook her head as she reluctantly let go of the other woman. "Look, for once, can't we just skip the cheesy one-liners and just get with the fightin'?"
"Slayers!" the vampire roared in frustration as he reached behind his back. "My thoughts exactly."
Both Kennedy and Kadin instantly jumped into a fighting stance, but when the vampire pulled out a machine gun and aimed at their chests, their confidence wavered.
Kennedy looked over to Kadin. "Well, you asked for it."
Bridal Suite – Night
Harmony stared into the mirror built into the dresser. She blinked one eye. Then the other. Stuck her tongue out. Waved. Looked behind her, then quickly looked back. Next she stared at the glass very hard. Very, very, very, very hard. Her eyes bulged. Her head shook.
Then she stopped. And still stared into the mirror where she cast no reflection.
"Nothing ever works," she murmured.
In the glass, the door swung open and a grinning Luna popped her head inside.
"Hi Beautiful! How’s my Harmony?"
The blonde vampire continued to stare at the mirror, hands under her chin. "Do you think," she said, "maybe there’s some kind of special make-up that would let me see myself? Magic make-up maybe? Or a magic mirror?"
Luna’s face fell and she walked up to Harmony. Her eyes went from Harmony to the mirror then back again.
"Everybody used to say I was pretty," said Harmony, then sighed. "I think they were right. It’s getting hard to remember."
"How about if we get some video camera? You know, the really super hi-definition ones? We can even get a nice frame to put around the monitor." Luna gestured to the mirror as she spoke. "Cameras work, don’t they?"
"Yeah." Harmony began to smile again. "Yeah! They do!" She giggled and Luna giggled back. "You are the bestest friend! For one thing—you keep buying me presents! It’s better than having a boyfriend!"
"Wait’ll you see what I got today!"
"What? Show me!"
Luna held up one hand, then retreated out the door. Three seconds later she came back, her hands full of elegant little shopping bags. Some even had ribbons. Most bore the names or logos of upscale shops. "Ta-dah!"
Jumping up, Harmony squealed! "For me?"
"Absolutely for you!" Luna deposited the bags at the foot of the bed, and picked up one in particular. She approached a grinning Harmony with it, hand outstretched in offering, the pink and silver shopping bag dangling from her fingers. "This is first."
Harmony took the bag in hand and peaked inside. Her eyes grew huge and her smile beamed as she reached inside. Out slid a deep blue negligee. "Oh, Luna," she said, breathless. "It is so…gorgeous."
"Try it on."
"Okay! Oh, wait a minute."
"Did you get anything for you? That way, we can model them for each other!"
A grin from ear to ear broke out on Luna’s face. "I did. Let’s do that!" And with that she grabbed one of the other bags. Harmony lay the negligee down on the bed and began to peel off her clothes. Luna’s eyes got huge, and she began to do the same.
"You know what this reminds me of?" said Harmony. "Back in high school, well, back when I was…you know…alive—me and my friends we always had great times together. We’d listen to each other’s CDs, tell each other secrets we’d promised never to tell, and stuff. Sometimes, we’d do this—try on outfits!"
Bright-eyed, Luna nodded. "Only now it’ll be better. I promise!"
Cleveland Memorial Graveyard - Same Time
Kennedy was running in a full sprint as a long stream of rapid fire bullets was hot on her heels. She quickly turned and dove behind the nearest headstone, having just enough time to cover her head before particles of shattered stone exploded around her.
"Jesus!" the slayer screamed and flinched as the sound of rapid fire ticked off in her ears. "Kadin?! You still alive?"
The hunter's head popped up a few headstones over. There was a faint trail of blood running from her hairline and she looked to be covered in dirt. "Mostly!" she called back as she ducked just in time to avoid another burst of rapid fire succession.
Kennedy had only enough time to catch a quick glimpse of the other woman before the bullets started to beat against the back of the headstone she was hidden behind. Another cloud of debris flew up around her, causing her to cover her eyes and cough.
"We can't just sit here all night!" she called out again. "These stones aren't gonna hold up much longer!"
Cleveland Memorial Graveyard - A Few Headstones Over - Same Time
Behind her own headstone, Kadin was busy loading her crossbow before clicking the arrow into place. She grimaced as another cloud of dust flew up around her, and the faint sound of shattering granite registered in her brain.
"I'm way ahead of ya," she whispered quietly as she lifted the crossbow next to her face and closed her eyes.
Cleveland Memorial Graveyard - Moments Later
Kennedy felt her heart drop into the bottom of her chest when she looked over to see Kadin suddenly pop up from behind the headstone. She held her breath as she waited to see her lover's body fall.
But it never did.
With one quick pull on the trigger, Kadin sent a crossbow bolt sailing across the graveyard towards the gun-wielding vampire. The force of the hit sent him flying back off his feet and knocking the gun from his hand.
Kennedy glared at the other woman as she leapt to her feet and over the headstone. She expected to see only a pile of ash blowing away in the wind, but instead saw the vampire writhing and moaning in pain as he clutched the arrow protruding from the middle of his chest.
Kennedy turned to face Kadin with a puzzled look just in time to see her re-attaching the crossbow to her belt. The hunter looked up at her and shrugged. "Figured he'd have some info on the nest. Confirm what the other fella said last night."
A slow smile spread across the slayer's face. "Nice shot."
Kadin nodded with a light smile of her own. "Thanks."
Kennedy kicked the gun toward Kadin who picked it up and took the clip out. Kennedy kept the smile firmly in place as she turned and made her way over to where the vampire was still writhing on the ground. She lifted her foot and slammed a heavy boot down on the top of the arrow, driving it the rest of the way through his chest, pinning him to the ground.
The vampire screamed out in pain as he looked up at her through yellow eyes.
"What the hell'd you do that for?!" he yelled.
Kennedy knelled on top of the vampire and grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket.
"Just wanted you to know that this is in no way, shape, or form a 'get outta jail free' card." Kennedy locked eyes with the vampire and didn't waver in her stare. "You're still gonna be dust by the time the night's over, but first, we’re gonna offer you a little redemption."
"How’s that?" he asked.
"I'm gonna let you show us where your cozy little nest is. And who knows, it might be your lucky day and you might manage to get free…but don’t count on it."
The vampire looked from Kennedy to Kadin as the hunter walked up behind the slayer and folded her arms across her chest.
"You should take the offer while you can. You really don't wanna make her upset," Kadin told him.
The vampire flashed his eyes back to Kennedy and nodded. "Yeah...y-yeah. O-okay, but...i-it's on the other side of t-town."
Kennedy shook the vampire free as she hurried him to his feet.
"Well, then I guess we're just gonna have to tolerate each other." She pushed the vampire back down to the ground and he fell into a nervous heap before quickly scrambling to his feet.
"Try anythin' funny," Kennedy warned, "and you'll be wishin' my friend here dusted you the first time."
The vampire's eyes flickered from Kennedy to Kadin before he gave an emphatic shake of his head.
"Good," Kennedy nodded. "Now start walkin'."
The vampire instantly complied and began to lead them from the graveyard.
Kadin fell into step behind the slayer and leaned in the short distance to whisper in her ear. "You're really hot when you're bossy."
Bridal Suite – Later
Harmony did a spin, then a pose. Her pale skin and platinum hair were perfectly offset by the bra and panties of black lace she wore.
"How do I look?"
Luna couldn’t take her eyes off her. "Good enough to eat."
"You’re just saying that!" Harmony giggled.
"No," Luna shook her head, not blinking, "not even a little bit."
"What do you think? The pink one next?"
"Anything you like."
"Really? But—you’re not getting to try on anything!"
From the side of the bed, where she sat, Luna shrugged. She had on a translucent white nightgown with slender straps that barely remained on her shoulders. Its hem went all the way past the top of her thigh, then stopped long before it began to get anywhere near the vicinity of her knee. It also moved as she breathed. It was moving a lot right now.
"Believe me," she said, huskily, "I’m enjoying myself."
"You are so sweet to me," Harmony replied, starting to slip the bra straps off her shoulders. "Always cheering me up." She undid the snaps at the back. "Buying me presents." The bra fell from her, and she tossed it to the bed. Luna swallowed. "Bringing me breakfast in bed." Her hands went to either side of the waistband.
"My pleasure. Really."
Now the panties reached the carpet, and Harmony stepped out of them. "And you remembered my favorite was otter. That was really special."
Luna didn’t reply, her eyes were totally fixed on Harmony’s now-totally nude body. Her mouth was open, but she didn’t say anything.
"Uh..Luna? Are you okay?"
Slowly, Luna nodded her head.
"Oh! I meant to ask you something. About the blood you brought me earlier? You know, to cheer me up when the minionators came complaining?"
Now Luna managed to blink a few times, refocusing her eyes onto Harmony’s face. "Uh-huh?" She managed to say.
Lifting an eyebrow, Harmony said "There was more than otter in that blood, wasn’t there? There was something else." She grinned and nodded.
"Did you like it?"
"Oh, yeah! It was nummy!"
"I’m so glad to hear you to say that," said Luna, eyes bright.
"C’mon, give. What was it? What was the secret ingredient?"
For a full two seconds Luna said absolutely nothing. Then, she rose. Lifted her left arm to the side, wrist out and looked. Harmony followed the gaze. On Luna’s arm, just below the crook of her elbow, was a tiny bruise. In nearly the dead center of that bruise was a perfectly round scab. From a puncture. Into a vein.
"Me," said Luna, pride obvious in her voice and face. She looked back into Harmony’s eyes adoringly. "I wanted you to taste me." The she smiled.
Harmony blinked. Then blinked again. She started to say something, but then didn’t. After a few more blinks, she put her hands up to her temple. It looked not unlike as if she was having a thought, and just maybe doing that hurt a little bit. She looked around at the scattered lingerie in the room. She noticed one of the unopened bags and the logo of two venus symbols entwined on it. With what would have been a take if only it hadn’t been so slow she looked again at her friend Luna—still gazing with open lust at her face and body—then at the tell-tale puncture mark on Luna’s arm.
"Wait a minute…"
Harmony’s eyes got huge.
End of ActThree