Cleveland Graveyard - Same Time
Kennedy's eyes flickered around the graveyard to the surrounding vampires. They were standing in a makeshift circle, looming over the slayer and her companion.
"What's the matter, girlie?" The burly vampire took a step forward and smiled, his fangs gleaming in the moonlight. "Scared?"
Kennedy gave her best grin as she slowly inched her way closer to Kadin. "You? Scary?" she shook her head as she slyly sneaked her arm around the other woman's back. "I've seen wet puppies scarier than you."
The vampire growled and ran his tongue over his gleaming canines. "That's a mighty smart mouth you got there. I can't wait to hear it scream out as I rip the lungs from your body."
Kennedy chuckled as she reached out and slid her hand down the back of the hunter's thigh. "The only thing that's gonna get ripped tonight," she said calmly as she wrapped her fingers around a stake. "Is your new ass."
The vampire let out a roaring growl. "Get 'em!" he screamed as he motioned for the others to charge. "But save some of that one for me," he snarled, pointing to Kennedy.
The vampires charged towards the two women in a full sprint. The brunette waited until the nearest one was only a foot away before pulling the stake from its holder on the hunter's thigh and slamming it into the demon's chest.
The snarl slowly disappeared from his face as he dropped his yellow eyes down to the silver stake sticking out from his chest. He looked back up at Kennedy to see the slayer smirk just before he exploded into dust.
Kadin waved a hand in front of her face and coughed. "Geez, what is it with you slayers?" She sputtered and hacked as she turned away from Kennedy to spit the taste from her mouth. "You might like the taste of demon, but its not really my..."
Before the hunter could finish, she was tackled from the side by one of the charging vampires. They both fell to the ground with the demon landing on top.
Kadin struggled to hold the vampire off with one arm as she reached down to her thigh for a stake with the other. She raised a brow as she wrapped her hand around the stake and lifted a knee to strike the vampire in the side, throwing him over her head.
Before he had a chance to recover, Kadin flipped her legs over her head and landed on top of him, pinning his body to the ground. The vampire looked up at her with a sinister smirk as he didn't even struggle to free himself.
"Oh, please," Kadin groaned in disgust just before slamming the stake down into his chest.
Kennedy was struggling to fight off four of the vamps when she finally managed to look over her shoulder to see Kadin kneeling on the now empty ground. "Uh...a little help here!"
Kennedy threw a hard right hook and knocked one of the vampires back just in time to elbow another in the jaw. The other two came at her from both sides. She was able to duck at the last second, watching them collide face first, the force knocking them both back to land a few feet away.
Another vampire was charging from behind the slayer, but her attention was on one of the vampires that had quickly flipped to his feet.
Kadin was busy fighting off two of her own vampires when she glanced across the graveyard just in time to see the vampire ready to pounce on Kennedy’s back.
The hunter quickly shifted her weight, and slung the largest vampire over her shoulder. She raised her foot and slammed her boot down against his neck. "Stay," she growled as she reached into her waist band and pulled out her crossbow. Just as she released it from the hook, the other vampire charged forward.
Kadin lifted her leg and stuck out her foot. The demon ran straight into her leg, and was immediately stopped by a boot to the chest. Without turning around, the hunter aimed the crossbow over her shoulder and pulled the trigger.
Across the graveyard, the burly vampire had just clamped down onto Kennedy's shoulders, pulling her back and off balance. Just as he was about to sink his teeth into her neck, he suddenly stopped and jerked away.
A loud roar erupted in Kennedy's ear and she suddenly felt herself falling backwards. A huge cloud of dust exploded in the air around her as she stumbled before finally regaining her footing.
Kennedy cast a quick glance across the graveyard at the other woman, but Kadin was already back to fighting off both the vampires. The slayer wiped at her mouth idly as she watched the other woman flip over the taller of the two vampires and then slam the stake through his back. Kadin never hesitated as she reached down and pulled the other vampire onto his feet. She smiled as she looked him straight in the eye and then slammed the stake into his chest. He exploded into dust in her hands, and she let out a groan of disgust as she quickly wiped them on the sides of her pants.
Kadin looked up to see Kennedy watching her from the other end of the graveyard. She smiled, but was surprised to see that the slayer did not return the sentiment.
Kennedy just sighed as she turned her attention back to the rapidly approaching vampires. Three of them were running at her in a full on sprint, and she had just enough time to bend down and retrieve the back up stake from her boot.
As soon as she had the weapon in hand, she was tackled from the front and sent tumbling backwards. She let out a loud groan as a solid foot came down squarely in the middle of her back. The vampire leaned down and laughed with a growl. "I'm going to enjoy watching you beg for your life as I suck the last drop from your body."
Kennedy tucked the stake into the sleeve of her jacket and then braced both hands against the ground. The muscles in her arm tensed and she grit her teeth. "Bite me."
She dug her fingers into the cold dirt and pushed up with all of her strength. Her back arched with a powerful force, sending the vampire vaulting into mid air. He flipped head over heels before barreling back down towards the earth.
Before his body could hit the ground, the slayer had already flipped herself onto her feet and pulled the stake from her sleeve. Just as the vampire was about to land, the slayer spun around and slammed the stake into his chest. He looked over at her as his torso swayed, balanced solely on the end of her arm.
Kennedy raised a brow and smiled. "Cool."
The vampire groaned before exploding into dust.
Watchers HQ Rec Room – Evening
Lorinda didn’t quite chew her knuckle. She tapped it against her lip, then slowly reached out to move her Knight. Then she pulled her hand back with the same slow, deliberate way.
Jeff looked at the chessboard, examining the whole pattern. His arms were crossed as he looked at Lorinda then back at the chessboard.
His opponent kept her own eyes fixed on the board, a distracted look on her face. She grinned a triumphant, knowing smile in response to his reaction.
"You know…" Jeff began "this doesn’t make a lot of sense."
"Not gonna work," Lorinda said simply, her eyes still fixed on the board.
"Well, actually, it is working. And it shouldn’t."
That got Lorinda to look at him, suddenly suspicious, even troubled. "What?"
"My strategy," said Jeff. "It’s working. My position on the board is hellah better than yours. But I know for a fact you’re a better chess player than me."
Now it was Lorinda who blinked. "You do?"
"Yeah, I’ve seen some of your file. You’ve won trophies."
"Why were you looking at my file?" Absolutely nothing about the way she asked that question seemed even slightly angry. In fact, she looked like she was on the verge of smiling.
"Um…okay, I don’t suppose it’s much of a secret, not really." Jeff sighed. "Rowena was having me go over your file because she’s considering making me your full-time Watcher."
Now there was no mistaking. Lorinda did smile. "You? My Watcher?"
"Maybe," nodded Jeff, "so I was looking at your academic records and things. But that isn’t what puzzles me. This," he pointed to the chess board, "this puzzles me. You’re a better chess player than I am. You are. That’s one reason I wanted to play with you, because I figured that would improve my game."
"I’ll bet," she almost smirked.
"But—I’m winning. Lorinda, you’re losing this game. I mean, just look."
She shrugged. "I’m just getting the hang of it, that’s all."
Jeff stared. "The hang of what? You already play chess. Very well."
Her answer to that was something between a snort and a giggle. Leaning forward, she said in a low voice. "I figured it out."
"Figured what out?"
She lowered her voice even more. "What. You’re. Up. To." When Jeff continued to look at her blank-faced, she sighed and leaned in to speak further. "You’re in the Coven? One of the top…what? Witches? Warlocks?"
"I kinda like the word Mage, myself."
"And as for ‘top’ that is actually more complex than…"
Lorinda interrupted, shaking her head slightly. "Whatever. The point is—I know you can read my mind." With that she leaned back in her chair, a knowing smile on her face.
Now Jeff looked at her long and hard. Seconds creaked by while his eyes took her in, and she not-quite-smirked back. Soon, his own stare became more intense while hers shifted, a tiny crack of doubt appearing there.
Then—"You’re trying to do it now, aren’t you?" She leaned forward, clearly concentrating. "Go ahead. I’ll keep you out. Wanna bet? Maybe not this time. Maybe not completely. But I’ll do it. Wanna bet?"
At first Jeff said nothing. Then he shook his head.
Lorinda nodded. "Your move."
Cleveland Graveyard - Moments Later
Kennedy tossed the last vampire over her shoulder and quickly dropped to one knee before slamming the stake into his chest. She stood with a satisfying grin as she watched him vaporize.
Kadin slowly walked up from behind as she attached the crossbow back to her hip. "Either we're gettin' better, or they're gettin' worse," the hunter chuckled as she dusted off the front of her cargo pants.
Kennedy looked over at the other woman and smiled. "Maybe we're just..."
"Slayers!" The large vampire that had remained in the background as the others were quickly dusted suddenly burst forth out of the darkness. His cold, yellow eyes shone with rage as he bared his fangs and snarled at the two women. "My Mistress will enjoy sucking every last drop from your worthless bodies."
"Yeah," Kadin snorted and turned her full attention to the lone remaining vampire. "'Cause that threat worked so well for the rest of your buddies here." The hunter smirked as she nodded over her shoulder. "And there...and there..."
The vampire was about to charge forward when he suddenly stopped and gave her an appraising look. His sneer deepened and he ground out through gritted teeth, "Van Helsing."
The hunter eyed the vampire cautiously as she turned her body more fully to face him. "What's it to ya?"
"You killed my last Mistress," he answered with a snarl. "And left me to die." He reached a hand down and lifted his shirt to reveal most of his right side blackened and burned to a char. "I barely escaped with my life."
"Life?" Kadin snorted as she reached into her vest for a stake. "You're a demon. You don't have a soul, much less a life." She flipped the stake in her hand and aimed it for the vampire's chest. "Give my regards to your Mistress..."
"Kadin, wait!" Before the hunter could release the stake, Kennedy's hand shot out and grabbed her by the arm. Kadin turned and gave the other woman a curious and somewhat annoyed look. "What?"
The slayer stepped forward as she pulled the hunter's arm back down. "He might have some info that we can use."
"He's a vampire Kennedy, even if he did know anything," Kadin retorted with a nod at the demon, "he sure as hell ain't tellin' us."
"Yes, and the best way to find out is to stake him before we even ask," Kennedy shot back as she pulled the stake from Kadin's hand.
The hunter was silent for a long moment. She finally lifted her arms and folded them across her chest as she took a step back. "Fine, do it your way."
Kennedy gave her a stern look before she turned to face the vampire. "Now about this Mi..." Before Kennedy could even finish the sentence, the vampire took off running in the opposite direction. She shot a quick glance back at the other woman.
Kadin just shook her head. "Shoulda just staked him."
Kennedy let out a frustrated sigh before taking off after him.
Watchers Council Computer Room – Same
The light of the screen illuminated Dawn’s face. No other light source in the room had been turned on, but then she didn’t need them. Mouth in a little frown, Dawn continued to work. Her fingers flew across the keys. Reams of data and graphics displays flashed across the screen.
Finally, she pressed ‘Enter’ one last time. The image on the monitor flashed to a digital recording. The time stamp on it read the same as Dawn’s wrist watch. This recording was being made at that very moment.
In her cell, Skye paced and sighed. The digital image of her showed that clearly. A single light gave a glow into the cell, pressure sensitive switch to it available on the wall. Everywhere around the cell was shadows.
Dawn moved the mouse to the controls, zooming in on the captive. Her lips were moving. Dawn then activated another control, the one dubbed ‘volume’ and raised it from a reading of two to one of ten.
"…this man’s art and that man’s scope/With what I most enjoy contented least," the vampire recited, voice low. "When in this state, myself almost despising/Happily I think on thee and then my state/Like onto the lark at break of day/Arising, sings hymns at Heaven’s gate." She stopped pacing. Her voice grew even lower. "Thy sweet Love remember’d such wealth brings/That then, I scorn to change my state with kings." Then for a long, long moment Skye did nothing at all. Just stood in the meager light, all alone but for her unseen voyeur. After an eternity of three or maybe even four endless seconds, she reached over to the pressure plate to switch off her light.
At the very same moment, in perfect sync, Dawn moved the mouse and shut the hacked connection to the security camera.
Cleveland Graveyard - Moments Later
The vampire was in a full on sprint when Kennedy finally caught up to him and tackled him from behind. The slayer's body slammed into his and rolled off to the side as he was sent barreling head first into the nearest headstone.
The stone shattered into a small cloud of dust as broken pieces fell off in all directions. The vampire let out a loud grumble as he groggily pushed himself up.
Kennedy was back on her feet as soon as she hit the ground. She was on the vampire's back before he could even make it to his feet. She reached down and grabbed him by the collar, hauling him into the air.
"I was willin' to do this the nice way," Kennedy started as she lifted him onto his feet and drug him across the grave. "But now that you've severely pissed me off," the slayer growled as she slammed him against a tree, "I'm just gonna wing it."
The vampire's eyes flickered from her face and back again. "T-take it easy slayer," he said in a shaky voice. "I get nauseous real easy."
Kennedy slammed him harder into the tree. "Unless you start squealin'? There ain't gonna be enough left of ya to get nauseous."
"Okay, okay," the vampire quickly nodded as he threw his hands up in defense. "I'll tell you everything."
Kennedy slowly let go of his collar and took a step back, but left just enough room between them to stop him if he decided to bolt. "How 'bout let's start with this 'Mistress' of yours?"
"Some...some blonde. Nice smile, pretty. You know, if you're into the un-dead look." The vampire smiled, but flinched back when Kennedy shot him a glare. "Uh...s-she's got some hot little thing on her arm. She's pretty too, but way more crazy..."
Kennedy got a complete look of concentration on her face as she digested the information. She looked up to see the vampire's eyes searching for the quickest exit. She reached out and grabbed him by the collar with one hand and slammed him back into the tree.
"You don't wanna be doin' that," she snarled. "I can get real testy when..."
The rest of the slayer's sentence was abruptly cut off when a cross-bow bolt suddenly whizzed by her head an embedded itself into the vampire's chest. Kennedy's eyes met his for the brief second before he exploded into powder.
The slayer suddenly whirled around and meet Kadin's eyes as the hunter re-attached the cross-bow back to her hip. "What the hell was that?"
Kadin scoffed as she pulled her duster over the weapon. "He was just blowin' smoke. Just tryin' to jerk our ch..."
"You had NO right!" Kennedy suddenly interrupted with a shout. She took a step closer and pointed a finger at the other woman. "This is exactly what the others are talkin' about. You completely disregard any order or plan and just do anything you damn well please." The slayer took a moment to calm herself and slowly lowered her hand. She let out a sigh and ran her fingers back through her short hair. "Maybe the others are right. Maybe you don't belong in the Council. I guess I just didn't wanna see it until now."
Kadin's expression grew hardened. "If that's how you really feel," she started as she turned away from the other woman, "then maybe I don't belong with you either."
Kennedy stood speechless as she watched Kadin turn and walk away.
Bridal Suite – Night
Most lights in the bridal suite were dimmed if not altogether ‘off.’ A wash of light from the bathroom poured in, along with the last remnants of steam and the scent of bubble bath.
Harmony moaned, a little smile on her face. "That feels…so great!"
"Glad you like it," said Luna from behind her. They were close enough Luna barely had to whisper. Her fingers worked their way along Harmony’s bare shoulders and neck. Unlike the half-naked blonde before her, Luna wore a simple blouse and skirt. A very simple blouse. One that could be slipped off in less than a second. Ditto the skirt. Her shoes were at the edge of the bed where she’d left them before crawling behind Harmony.
Smiling contentedly, Harmony held a thick towel to her chest, rocking slightly with the rhythm of her new best friend’s massage. "Wow," she murmured, "your fingers…how’d you get them so strong…and…nimble?"
"Practice. Lots and lots of practice."
"Oh, I’m nowhere near through with you."
"Goody," Harmony giggled. "Oh!"
"You like that?"
"Well, duh. Yeah!"
"I’ll do it again if you really want."
"Go for it!" Harmony’s eyebrows shot up. "Woah."
By now Luna’s thumbs were working their way down Harmony’s spine, the rest of her fingers doing a little drum motion on the muscles below each shoulder blade.
"I am so glad," Harmony said, "you keep your nails short."
"Yeah," Luna agreed, her eyes fixed on the bare back before her, "well, long nails get in the way. You know what they call a girl with long fingernails, don’t you?" She had a little smile on her face as she asked.
Blinking, Harmony thought. "No, what?"
Harmony thought some more. "I don’t get it."
"Don’t worry about it. You will." By now Luna’s fingers had reached Harmony’s hips. She had to shift her position. As a result, now both her hands began to undulate firmly into the muscles near the sciatic nerves. Luna’s face was forward, barely two inches from the blonde vampire’s naked flesh.
"That feels…oh my god…" Harmony said huskily.
"You…you smell so good…" Luna whispered.
"I used those ball salts you gave me. Oh! Do that again?"
"Okay. Like that?"
"I’ve never felt skin like yours before. Smooth…and cool…like silk…"
"That’s ‘cause I’ve always tried to take care of my skin. Not that I really have to anymore. And of course I’m cool. I mean, think about it. I’m dead!"
"Not to me."
"Aw, you’re so sweet. Wow. And warm! Your hands are like…I dunno…something warm and strong and firm, that feels really really good…I mean, really good…"
Luna’s open mouth was barely half an inch from Harmony’s shoulder. "I can make you feel even better…" she purred.
"If you’ll let me, I can make you feel better than you ever have before!" Luna’s voice had dropped an octave.
Harmony grinned, eyes bright. "Go for it!"
Luna’s long, shuddering sigh in response was interrupted by the sudden, hard rap of the door. She did a take. The knocking came again.
"Darn it, what do they want now?" Harmony stood up off the bed. Her back was turned and so she couldn’t see Luna’s crushed expression. Letting the towel drop, Harmony reached for her robe. Another round of knocking masked the lustful whimper from Luna.
"I’m coming, I’m coming," yelled Harmony at the door.
Luna bit a pillow.
Bridal Suite Foyer – Same Time
Three vampires were hovering and each took a quick step backwards as the door to the inner part of the suite swung open. Harmony, hair up and wearing a robe, looked anything but happy as she stepped forward.
"Well? What is it? I was trying to relax!"
"Its George, boss," the curly-haired vampire said.
"George? Which one of you is George?"
"He’s the one you said looked like Dick van Dyke?"
She thought about that for a moment. "Okay. I think I remember him."
"He didn’t come back. I mean, he went out a couple of hours ago…"
"Like he usually does," added the youngest and tallest of the three. He also looked the least intelligent and most eager to please.
"Uh, yeah," continued the one with curly-hair. "Like he usually does. And he took some of the guys with him, you know, trying to get someone to eat. But that never takes more than a couple of hours. I mean, it just never does. And he’s been gone four, almost five hours now. They’ve all been."
"He got lost—so what?" Harmony was indignant.
The three vampires looked at each, trying to figure out who should say something, when Luna stepped out from behind Harmony. All three vampires took one look at her eyes and stepped back.
"If they’re not back by dawn," said Luna, her tone implying she was literally about to bite their heads off, "then someone got to them, right? So?"
All three hesitated.
"We need to do something?" offered the youngest.
"DAMN STRAIGHT!" she shrieked.
"Ow!" Harmony put her hands to her ears.
"Sweetie!" Luna suddenly looked contrite. Every molecule of her attention went to Harmony. "I’m so sorry. I just lost my temper a bit with these stupid boys. I didn’t mean to upset you. Not you!"
"Just…be careful next time, okay?"
"Of course!" She grinned, gazing with adoration at Harmony. "Cross my heart, hope to die. Forgive me?"
"Sure," Harmony smiled. "I can’t stay mad at you." Then she noticed the other three vampires again. "Well—what are you waiting around for? Go do something!"
The oldest of the three nodded. "Better safe than sorry. Just in case there’s something to worry about, we should arm ourselves."
Harmony shrugged. "Okay. Then…do it."
The three headed out, while Luna slipped her arms around Harmony’s shoulders. "There, there now. Why don’t we…go back to what we were doing? Hmmm?"
But Harmony sighed. "Darn it. Now I’m hungry." She looked at Luna and batted her eyelashes. "Do you still have any of that otter left?"
Luna reached over and touched Harmony’s nose with her finger. "Otter in a glass, coming right up."
"You’re so sweet," giggled Harmony. "I’ll get dressed." She then slipped back into the bedroom.
Meanwhile, Luna lifted one eyebrow, an idea emerging in the light of her eyes.
End of Act
Onto Act Three