Giles’s Apartment – Night
Becca walked in to find Giles sitting on the sofa reading a newspaper. She kicked her shoes off with such force that they flew across the room.
"They drive me insane," she whispered with a hiss.
"Sisters?" Giles asked.
She nodded. "Can you believe they think you’re marrying me for a green card?"
"Did you tell them I could buy a green card with my connections?" he teased.
Becca smiled and shook her head. "No, but I should have. I shoulda told them everything – the slayers, the watchers, the demons, everything. They already think I’m crazy, so why not take it all the way?"
"Just try to keep things in perspective, Dear. In the next forty-eight hours we’ll be married, and twenty-four hours later you’ll be rid of them, at least for another year. Life can then return to normal…well, as normal as life gets for us anyway."
He reached up and pulled her to sit down on the sofa.
Becca sighed as she sat down. "Are you sure you want to marry me?"
"Positive. Do you want to marry me?" he asked. Becca didn’t answer immediately. "Your lack of response is not very favorable," he added.
"No, I do. I know I do. It’s just…sisters! They’ve got me wondering if getting married means it will make things bad. Of course, they couldn’t help but point out my previous failure in the marriage arena."
"I don’t see how leaving a man who abused you can be called a failure on your part."
"See?" Becca motioned to him. "That’s why you’re different. That’s why I know this will work. I just can’t convince them."
"You don’t need to prove anything to them, Becca."
"I know," she sighed.
"But you still want to." She gave a guilty nod. "Then let’s prove it. We’ll walk down the aisle, get hitched, and while your sister is lusting after every man she sees and being incredibly lonely in the process, we’ll live moderately, happily ever after."
"Moderately?" Becca asked.
Giles gave a firm nod. "Life has its ups and downs. It’s not perfect. But I’m counting on more ups for us so, yes, moderately happy sounds good."
Becca smiled and leaned over, giving him a sound kiss. "It’s a deal."
Dining Room – Morning
Rowena walked inside the brightly lit dining room to see her mother and father sitting at a table talking. Taking a deep breath and blowing it out slowly, she squared her shoulders and made her way over.
"Hi Blanche," Mr. Allister greeted her. "Have a seat."
"Thanks," she answered. "So how’s breakfast?" she added.
"Just great," her father replied.
Rowena nodded. "Andrew and Tracey do a really great job each day."
Rowena’s mother pushed away from the table. "I’m done. I think I’ll head upstairs."
With that, she took her tray and walked away from the table. Rowena and her father both watched her leave, and Rowena let out a sigh.
"Why don’t you follow her?" he suggested.
"And say what?" Rowena asked.
"Anything at this point would be good," he answered.
Rowena looked back to the empty doorway where her mother had left.
Rowena’s Apartment – Moments Later
Mrs. Allister opened the door to see Rowena standing there.
"May I come in?" the watcher asked.
"It’s your apartment, of course." Mrs. Allister opened the door wider and stepped back.
Rowena closed the door and nervously looked around. "We haven’t really had the chance to talk since you’ve been here, all week, or at least for the last five days or so." Rowena seemed to catch herself rambling, and she abruptly stopped. "I thought maybe we could do something?"
"What?" Mrs. Allister replied flatly.
"I don’t know…Scrabble? Chess?" Rowena suggested. "I’ll give you Knight’s odds."
"No thanks," she replied as she turned around and began to walk away.
"I know you hate me," Rowena said, dropping any friendly pretense. The comment made the older woman stop.
"I don’t hate you," Mrs. Allister whispered.
"Well, I think you do. And I’m sorry that you feel that way just because I fell in love – really in love – for the first time in my life."
Mrs. Allister slowly turned around, shaking her head. "I don’t know what you think it is, Blanche, but it isn’t love. It just can’t be."
Rowena gave a sarcastic grin. "I swear if the next words out of your mouth are ‘It’s just a phase’…"
"And how do you know it’s not?" Mrs. Allister countered.
Rowena paused a moment. "Because it’s exactly like you once told me," she replied.
"Meaning?" Mrs. Allister prompted.
"Remember when I was little? Remember what you told me about how I would know when I found the right one? When I look at Willow, I just can’t imagine my life without her. The thought of not having her scares the hell out of me. Isn’t that the reason you married Da?"
Mrs. Allister shook her head. "It’s not the same."
"In some ways, you’re right, it’s not. But I’m not going to get on a soapbox of why it’s different. But when it comes to how I feel, how Willow feels…it’s no different. I mean, you should have seen how she was when I got shot this past year."
"You were shot?!" Mrs. Allister exclaimed. "How did you get shot?"
Rowena pushed it aside. "Work related – doesn’t matter. My point is...that woman didn’t leave my side until I was strong enough to argue that she go away and get some rest. That’s what love is, Mom. It’s about sticking out the bad stuff, facing it together. Willow’s done that, and she’ll continue to do that, and if you took the time to get to know her, you’d see why I love her so much."
"I have no desire to know that woman. I will never like that woman," Mrs. Allister remarked.
Rowena gave a shrug. "So be it then," she said before she turned around to leave.
"So that’s it?" Mrs. Allister asked.
Rowena threw her hands in the air and turned to face her mother again.
"What more is there to say, Mom?" she began. "You’ll never accept Willow, and she’s everything to me. If you won’t make the effort, I can’t force you. But if you change your mind by some miracle, let me know."
Rowena didn’t wait for a response. She simply left the room, not looking back.
Council Lobby – Moments Later
Rowena descended the stairs to see Willow enter with her parents, each of them carrying a bag.
"Round two," she muttered as she made her way down.
"Hey Baby," Willow called out and began to walk over with her family. She gave the blonde watcher a light kiss on the lips and then turned back to her parents. "You remember Rowena," she told them.
"Of course," Shelia began and pulled her into a hug. "It’s nice to see you again, dear."
"You too, Mrs. Rosenberg," Rowena answered.
"Oh, call me Shelia, Sweetie."
Ira stood back and gave a nod. "I thought you were asexual," he remarked.
"Dad," Willow sighed in frustration before Rowena could answer. "Look, why don’t we grab some breakfast after we get your bags upstairs? Okay?"
Dining Room – Moments Later
Shelia, Ira, Willow, and Rowena all entered the dining room to see Rowena’s father now sitting and laughing with Xander. As they approached, they caught the tail end of the conversation.
"So," Xander was saying, "we’re all just standing around waiting for the demon to go poof, but no such luck." Xander looked up to see them approach. "Hey, it’s the Rosenberg duo and my two favorite gal pals," he said as he stood up. "Have a seat."
"How are you, Xander?" Shelia asked.
"Good. Nice to see you guys decided to come in," he said as he hugged Shelia and reached over to shake Ira’s hand. "This is Jacob, Rowena’s dad," Xander told the Rosenbergs. "Oh sorry," he said, looking at Rowena.
"No please," she answered. "I’m getting tired of doing introductions."
"Well, then," Xander continued as he turned to Jacob. "This is Will’s parents – Ira and Shelia Rosenberg."
"Nice to meet you," Jacob said, nodding his head.
Something caught Rowena’s eye, and she turned to see her mother standing there. The woman began to turn back to leave, but Rowena called out, "Mom," making her stop.
As if undecided, the older woman began to walk over, and Rowena motioned toward her. "This is my mom, Betty. Mom, this is the Rosenbergs – Shelia and Ira."
They all nodded to each other and took a seat.
"So, is Mr. Giles all set for the wedding tomorrow?" Shelia asked.
"Yeah, I think so," Xander answered. "We’re just waiting on a few late arrivals, but the guest list is pretty much complete."
"So when are you two getting hitched?" Jacob said with a wink to Rowena and Willow.
Xander leaned over to Willow. "Told you – everyone’s in pre-nup nup mode right now."
Willow smiled, but Rowena looked surprised by the question. "Oh, well, I don’t know Da. I mean, we can’t legally get married here, a-and it’s kinda soon anyway and..."
"Might be a phase," Betty muttered.
"I take it you’re not too sure of your daughter’s decision?" Ira asked.
Betty seemed uncertain how to answer at first, but she squared her shoulders as if readying herself for a conflict. "No, I’m not, to be perfectly frank."
Ira raised the glass of water in front of him and toasted her. "Here, here."
"Dad, will you cut it out?" Willow answered.
"What?" he said. "You know how I feel about all of this, Willow. You can’t just wake up one day and decide to be gay."
"Exactly," Betty said as she motioned toward him in agreement.
"Actually, everyone is born bisexual according to Kinsey," Shelia piped in. "Their life experience or upbringing governs their choices," she added.
"Well I know I sure as hell didn’t bring up my daughter to be a lesbian," Betty countered. "And as for experience, I think your daughter had more to do with that."
"Are you suggesting my daughter corrupted yours?" Shelia asked, her voice starting to rise.
At the same time Jacob sighed, "Betty, please."
Betty looked over and motioned to Willow and Rowena’s locked hands that sat on the table. "Well, she sure as hell wasn’t gay before she got to Cleveland!"
"Oh god, this is like a nightmare," Willow muttered to Rowena.
From the other side of the table, Betty and Shelia continued to argue.
"You should know that research indicates-." Shelia began.
Betty waved a finger and cut her off. "You can take your research and shove it up your-."
"Okay!" Xander shouted, shooting up from the table. "I think we’ve got hungry and cranky travelers here. Ira, Shelia? Why don’t we go up to the buffet? Please? Pretty please? For the love of God and all that’s holy?"
Without saying a word, the pair got up, and Willow mouthed a ‘thank you’ to Xander, who just nodded and led her parents from the table. Betty shook her head and started to rise.
"Mom," Rowena pleaded. "Please sit down and stay."
"I’ll be in my room."
Jacob, Willow, and Rowena watched Betty walk out of the room again.
"Guess I shouldn’t have asked about a wedding, eh?" Jacob remarked dryly to the two women who looked at each other and sighed simultaneously.
Rowena groaned. "I have a headache."
Library – Moments Later
Giles walked in to find Dawn and Skye at one of the computers.
"Any news yet?" he asked.
"Denver is still snowed in," Dawn replied. "No flights coming or going yet."
"It’s nearly 60 degrees here. How can that be?" he asked.
"Sorry, I don’t control the weather, Giles," Dawn answered.
"I’m sorry," Giles sighed. "A-All right, well, let me know if she gets off the ground."
"Will do," Dawn said with a nod as Giles rushed off again.
"He’s in a hurry," Skye remarked.
"Last-minute details are probably making him nervous, I’m sure," Dawn said. "He’ll feel better when Buffy gets here."
"Will Buffy get here?" Skye asked.
"I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I’ll inadvertently rain Murphy’s Law upon us."
Council Backyard – Later That Day
Xander watched as Vi and few other Slayer girls began to raise the gazebo he had put together.
"Careful! Watch the left!" he shouted. As they finally had it upright, he gave a sigh of relief and walked over to Vi.
"Nice work," he complimented her.
"Not so bad yourself," she told him with a smile as she looked up at the structure.
Xander rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "Say…I was wondering if, well, if you don’t have anyone else taking you…would you like to go with me to the wedding?"
"What about Alex?" Vi asked.
"It’s probably too late to ask her, and she’ll be busy."
"So you thought I’d make a good backup?" Vi asked defensively.
Xander crossed his arms nervously. "Well, not so much a backup just…"
"Sorry, but you’re too late," Vi told him. "I already have a date."
"Oh?" Xander asked.
"Yeah, but thanks anyway," she told him before she quickly walked away.
Xander was left a bit stunned. He leaned against the gazebo in defeat when a creaking noise began. He looked around curiously as he felt his body begin to move. He looked up slowly to see the structure start to topple backward, and he tried in vain to reach out for it. Seconds later, it tumbled to the ground with a crash, several sections breaking apart. For a moment he stood still, saying nothing and just looking at the parts of broken wood and veneers.
"Forget it. I’m going to lunch," he declared as he walked away.
Coven Room – Moments Later
Vi poked her head inside the coven room to see Jeff and Andrew looking over a book.
"You gotta date for this wedding gig?" she asked pointing at Jeff.
He glanced at Andrew and then back at Vi.
"No," he answered.
"Good," she told him. "You’re going with me."
Just as quickly as she had entered, Vi left, and Andrew turned to Jeff.
"I didn’t know you wanted to take Vi," Andrew said.
"I didn’t plan on it," he answered, "but who am I to argue with a determined girl that can kick my butt?"
Slayer Gym – Moments Later
Robin walked in to see Faith doing sit ups. He motioned to someone in the hallway, and an older gentleman walked inside with him.
"Faith," Robin called out. She stopped and came to her feet as the two men walked over. "This is my watcher – well, my mom’s watcher – Niles Walker."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Walker," Faith said respectfully.
"Please call me Niles. I’ve heard a lot about you, Faith," he told her.
"Yeah, well, word got around the Council a few years ago. Things are different now," she explained.
"No, I mean from Robin. He’s quite fond of you," he told her.
"Oh," Faith said, surprised. "Yeah, likewise. Robin said you trained him after his mother died."
Niles gave her a warm grin. "I’m not sure if training is the right word. The only thing more stubborn than a slayer is a slayer’s son, I’ll have you know," he teased.
"Yeah Robin’s a bit…what’s the word?" Faith said.
"Tenacious?" Niles offered.
"Yeah," Faith said as if she was unsure what it meant. "H-he, uh, doesn’t give up easy either," she added nervously.
Giles’s Apartment – Moments Later
Becca’s sister Hanna stood holding up the dress examining it. "Black? You picked black for your bridesmaids’ dresses?"
"Rupert didn’t have the groomsmen’s colors picked out until…late," Becca explained. "Black goes with anything. Hell, you two wear it all the time."
"For a wedding or a funeral," Roxanne added, making Hanna laugh.
Becca gave a sigh. "Is there anything that I can do right?" she asked.
"What?" her sisters both asked.
"All you’ve done since you got here is bitch."
"That’s not true," Hanna replied.
"Yes, you have. If it’s not about Rupert, it’s about my bookshop. If it’s not about my bookshop, it’s about the dresses. Will you both just give it a rest?"
"Someone’s got jitters," Roxanne said in a sing-song voice.
"I don’t have jitters!" Becca argued. "I have two…controlling, infuriating sisters. You know something? This is why I always see you separately. I never realized why until now."
"Enlighten us, oh wise one," Hanna said as she hung the dress back up on the door.
"You get together, and you gang up on me. After forty-five years it hasn’t changed."
"Oh, that is not true," Roxanne answered.
"The hell it’s not!" Becca replied.
"It’s just hormones," Hanna said softly to Roxanne, who nodded.
"It’s not hormones!" Becca argued. "It’s genetics. It’s the three of us in one room. You both loved to gang up on me when I was a kid, and it hasn’t changed, even today!"
"Becca just calm down," Roxanne said, coming over.
"Don’t tell me to calm down and stop telling me how to live my life!"
Silence fell over the room for a brief moment. Finally, Becca turned heel going to the door.
"Where are you off to?" Hanna asked.
"I need some air," she said without looking back.
After the door shut, Roxanne turned to Hanna. "Yeah…jitters."
"It is not jitters!" Becca yelled from the other side unseen.
"Bet you ten bucks she backs out," Hanna whispered.
Roxanne took her extended hand. "You’ll win but, sure, you’re on."
Giles’s Office – Later That Night
Giles stood looking out his window into the backyard. He could see the broken gazebo below, and he began shaking his head.
"Things not going as planned?" Reginald called from the doorway. "I heard about the gazebo problem."
Giles gave a small grin. "I don’t know why I expected this to be much different than any other event in my life."
"May I?" Reginald said, motioning to the door.
"Oh, of course," Giles said, inviting him in.
Reginald walked inside and took a seat in front of Giles’s desk. "Remember when Claire and I got married?" he asked.
Giles snorted. "How could I forget? I barely got you to the church on time. I even thought I might need to get you a blood transfusion to get the alcohol out of your system."
"Yes, but you must admit, the bachelor party was fun," he countered. "What I remember of it anyway," he added.
"That’s Reginald," Giles remarked, "Daredevil Royal Air Force fighter pilot, wooing the girls and having his fun."
"Yes, but I settled down. Found a good woman I adore. Had my two point five children," he teased.
"Did all the things I wanted to do," Giles said softly.
Reginald shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"I wasn’t the one who received the watcher birthright," he began. "And I realize the sacrifices you’ve made to fulfill it, Rupert. Bloody hell, if the world had been in my hands, I’m sure it would have been destroyed by now. And that’s not an exaggeration. I and the world owe you a debt of gratitude."
"Well, thank you for the acknowledgement," Giles remarked dryly.
"I’m quite serious," Reginald told him sincerely. "You’re a much stronger man than I could hope to be."
"I better check my calendar. With a comment like that, I think the next apocalypse is officially coming." Reginald simply laughed. "Now, if only Mother would stop with the criticism, life would be peachy, as Willow would say," he told him with a grin.
"Rupert, some miracles just aren’t possible," he said conspiratorially, which made Giles chuckle. After a moment Reginald added, "The way I see it, though, you’re doing everything I did. You’re building the life I have now. Granted, the timing is different, but it’s still the same. And Becca’s a wonderful woman to do it with." Giles nodded his agreement but didn’t say anything. "So if you ask me, and I know you didn’t, you’ve already been a father figure to the kids around here for years. You’ll do just fine, Rupert. I’m sure of it."
"Thank you, Reginald," Giles said sincerely. "I just don’t want to disappoint Becca, or the baby. I…I don’t want to hurt them in some way – either directly or indirectly."
"Good. That means you truly love and care about them," Reginald told him. "But watcher or pilot - it doesn’t matter. Anytime we step outside that door, there’s a chance we won’t make it home. Claire knew the risk when I was on active duty. I think Becca does too."
"Then how did you cope with it all?"
Reginald shrugged. "We lived each day to the fullest, and if Claire wasn’t home with the flu right now, she’d tell you the same. A spirited woman like Becca understands that. So don’t shelter her from your life, Rupert. Let her inside, and you’ll see you can overcome anything together. Because in the end, when you scrape away everything else, it’s the two of you against the world."
Giles considered his words and simply nodded.
Council Lobby – The Next Day
"Dawn!" Giles bellowed from the lobby. When he didn’t get a response, he yelled again but louder. "Dawn!"
"Jeez, Giles," she said, coming from the computer room. "Wake the dead, why don’t ya. What is it?"
"Where is your sister?" he asked impatiently.
"My guess? Indiana."
"What?" he asked in a worried tone.
Dawn rolled her eyes. "She called about an hour ago to say they took off."
"Well, go to the airport and wait for her," he told her.
"Although I’d love to, Xander needs help redoing the flower arrangements on the gazebo. Besides, the flight doesn’t get in until at least another two hours."
"Then send Skye," Giles replied.
"Skye’s helping me."
"Then send someone," Giles said in a short, exasperated tone.
"Willow!" he yelled next.
The redhead promptly tapped him on the shoulder, startling him.
"No need to shout," she told him.
"Where did you come from? Oh, never mind. You have Buffy’s dress, right?" he asked quickly.
"Check," she nodded.
"Check. However, she did try to escape last night. But don’t worry. Rowena and I tied her up. She’s on my coffee table now, bound and gagged." Giles’s eyes widened, and Willow started to chuckle. "I’m teasing. Just lighten up. She’s upstairs, and everything is fine, just as long as you don’t see her before the wedding – you know, bad luck and all that. Now go and relax, Giles."
"I can’t relax," he told her. "I still have too much to do and no time to do it in."
"You did take your heart pills today, didn’t you?"
Before Giles could reply, they turned to see Brell and Reteesk walk into the lobby.
"Red Witch! Mr. Giles," Brell said formally as he started over.
"Oh no," Giles muttered. "Becca’s sisters. What if they-?"
"I’m on it," Willow told him as she quickly rushed over toward Brell and Reteesk to get them to the computer room and out of sight. Giles began to follow her, but Willow held up a finger. "No," she ordered. "This is your day. Rowena and Faith will help me handle it."
"The Council is not one person? Equal voices? Any of that ringin’ any bells? Now go," Willow said, shooing him away with her hands as she finished her journey over to Brell and his friend.
"Bloody hell," Giles sighed.
Council Backyard – Moments Later
"I know what she’s doing," Xander said in an annoyed voice as he and Dawn stood in the backyard, quickly putting the flowers together through the wire.
"Who doing huh?" she asked, totally confused.
"Vi," he said, nodding over to where she and Jeff stood laughing and folding out the chairs. "She’s trying to make me jealous with Jeff. I knew she was waiting for me to ask her to go, but nooo. She says she’s going with him."
Dawn looked over at the other couple to see them continuing in their task and talking. "Maybe they wanted to go together," she said casually while continuing to watch them.
"Jeff? No way. He’s not her type," he answered.
"And who would be? A guy that can’t seem to make up his mind what to do?" Dawn paused at the question as if contemplating it herself. "Anyway, looks like you had your shot and you missed it."
Xander gave her an indignant look. "Well, thank you, Ms. Sunshine."
"Hey, I’m just saying. Sometimes ya gotta pee or get off the pot."
"That’s a nice analogy for dating."
"In this case," she said, looking over at Jeff and Vi again, "I think it is."
Council Backyard – Seating Area – Same Time
In a low voice, Vi asked Jeff, "Are they still looking over here?"
He gave a casual glance out of the corner of his eye. "Yep."
"Good," she replied as she handed Jeff another chair to fold out. "I can’t believe he’d just think I’d be sitting around waiting for him."
"But weren’t you?"
"That’s not the point," she said shortly.
"Well, I don’t mind the company," he complimented her, making her smile. "Just use me and abuse me. It’s what I’m best for."
"I’m not using you," Vi said automatically. "Okay, so I am. But I would like to have fun with you tonight – just friendship fun," she added quickly.
Jeff grinned at her. "I follow you – friendship fun only...and maybe a kiss goodnight," he added with a wink.
"Yeah, I’m sure that would get his goat," Vi replied. She looked over to see Xander watching them, and she gave a short wave, which he returned. "Second choice, my ass," she muttered with hostility, although she continued to grin in Xander’s direction.
Computer Room – Same Time
“Brell have favor to ask,” the demon began hesitantly.
“Name it,” Willow said at once. Rowena, Faith and Robin nodded in
“Must leave Cleveland city,” Brell explained, “Brell not safe here.
Mr. Wood recall demon shops being attacked?”
“Our surveillance traced it back to Jimmy Volano,” Robin said,
“Bonnie’s continuing to advise us, and we’re keeping an eye on his people
wherever we can… has there been another attack?”
“On shops, no,” Brell said, “but attack yes, on Brell.”
“Are you alright?” Willow asked looking him up and down.
“Brell unharmed,” he said, smiling kindly at her concern, “men of
Jimmy Volano come to Brell to ‘make example of’, keep other demons from
talking to Council. But they use this,” he drew a thin stiletto from his
pocket, “and Brell pretend death until they leave.”
“Thank the goddess,” Willow sighed, resuming her seat. “Oh, but-
they’ll figure it out, that you’re not dead – they’ll try some other
“Precisely,” Reteesk nodded. “Hence my dear friend’s need to
vacate this fine city at once.”
“Well, of course,” Ro said, “we’ll arrange transport, housing for
you wherever you want to go. Have you considered a destination?”
“Indeed,” Reteesk said.
“Brell wish to go to Vor,” Brell said. “To Presidium’s hell.”
End of Act Three
Onto Act Four