With Felicia Day as Vi, Norika Fujiwara as Mia, Lindsay Felton
as Skye, Laura Prepon as Lori, Brad
Dourif as Brell, Thora Birch as Tracey
Guest staring Jordon Baker, Sam Waterston, Brian Cox,
Catherine O'Hara, Pierce Brosnan, Bonnie Hunt, Sharon Gless and Rowan
Shopping Mall Ė Morning
Giles and Becca walked side by side. He had one hand on her hip and in the other carried a shopping bag.
"So what do you think?" Becca asked. "Blue, pink, or neutral yellow?"
"Iím rather found of blue," he told her. "Pink is just tooÖgirly. And Iíve already invested too much time teaching Andrew to be manlier. I donít want him to regress because of a pink cummerbund," he said with a slight grin.
"And do I want to know how you teach someone to be more manly? I mean, is it about how to grab your crotch and spit íbacco?" Becca teased.
Giles grinned as they walked along.
"Honestly," he told her, "the wedding details mean little to me. You can have whatever type you choose. All you have to do is show up, say ĎI doí and Iím happy."
"Well, we need to make a decision so they can order the groomsmen colors. Weíve only got one week left," Becca replied.
"Which is why weíre here today. I prefer black throughout, but since those are my only options, then my answer is blue."
"Good," Becca nodded firmly. "Then blue it is!" After a few seconds she asked, "What shade?"
Giles gave a light chuckle. "Weíll decide today. I promise."
As they walked past an appliance store, Giles stopped and looked at the televisions. Becca turned back and moved to his side.
"Wedding shower gift?" she asked.
Giles looked at the multiple screens, all of which showed the same report: ĎCleveland Earthquakeí. He pulled Becca gently by the hand. "Come with me."
As they walked inside, he listened to the newscaster. "Although no structural damage was reported in the city, the quake did register 2.4 on the Richter scale in our area with shockwaves felt from the upper peninsula of Michigan to the mouth of the Mississippi."
"Interesting," Giles muttered.
"Why? Thereís a fault line in the Midwest," she answered. "It could be mother nature."
Giles scratched his chin. "True, but it could mean more." He shook off his musings and turned back to Becca. "Anyway, letís go make me look dashing," he told her with a smile as they began to leave the store.
"You donít need a tux for that, mister," Becca said as she put her arm around his waist.
Council Meeting Room Ė Morning
Willow and Rowena walked into the meeting room to see Andrew clumsily handing Robin a stack of newspapers as Faith tried to help them.
"Now I took out all the fluffy stuff and advertisements. Itís Ďjust the facts maíamí," Andrew told him.
"Facts on what?" Rowena asked.
"The earthquake last night," Faith answered.
"Yeah, Detroit registered a 3.9, according to the Free Press," Andrew said, pointing out the paper to Robin. "And Sears has Halo 2 on sale for $35.99. Thatís a good priceÖ" He trailed off as everyone in the room looked at him. "But thatís not relevant, I know," he added softly.
Willow and Rowena looked at each other. "Hold on," Willow began. "What earthquake?"
The trio at the table appeared confused.
"You guys didnít feel it?" Faith asked. Again, Willow and Rowena looked at each other and shrugged. Faith began to grin and gave a light chuckle. "Knowing you two, you were probably busy little beavers Ė researching and all, Iím sure."
Rowena blushed and looked away, "Oh, look. Coffee," she said as she walked over.
Willow chastised Faith silently as the slayer chuckled.
"Anyway," Willow said authoritatively. "What do we know?"
"Very little, Iím afraid," Giles said, walking in with Becca next to him. "Except that after much debate, I finally got my way, and weíll all be wearing black tuxes."
"Hey guys," Willow greeted as she waved to both of them. "Black tuxes, huh? Does that mean I get one too?"
"No," Becca said, cutting her short. "Youíll still be in your dress."
Willow frowned. "Okay, but what if it doesnít fit? I have been putting on weight lately."
"Donít talk to me about putting on weight," Becca answered. "Besides, donít you like the dresses? You said you did."
"Oh I love them! Itís just, you know, I always wanted to wear a tux to a formal gathering. Thatís all."
"Guess we know who the butch is now," Robin muttered to Faith who gave a snort.
"Ha, ha," Willow retorted. "Iíd say more butÖmaybe youíre right." Willow then turned back to Becca. "No, the dresses are beautiful, and Iím happy to be a part of it all, tux or no tux."
"And Iím happy you agreed," Becca answered. "Any word from your extended families yet?" she added, looking at everyone.
"My watcherís flying in," Robin told them.
"And my mom too," Willow added to the conversation. "Not sure about Dad yet. Oh, and Xander said his folks will be coming, much to his disappointment."
Becca grinned and shook her head before she turned to Rowena. "How about your family, Sweetie?"
Rowena licked her lips nervously. "I left a message butÖI havenít heard from them." She took a timid seat next to Willow with her coffee in hand.
"Thatís okay," Becca said gently. "Besides, youíve got lots of family here already."
"Thank you," Rowena told her with a small grin.
"Well, as for my family," Faith began as she waved her hands at everyone in the room. "Youíre looking at íem. Besides, I donít think you want a man and a girl at your wedding who tried to kill me. I know I donít."
"Same here," Andrew added. "Brotherís in prison now, and Iím not sure where my mom moved to. I get an email every now and then, but no response to the invitation yet."
"Weíll have plenty of space for everyone, Iím sure," Giles said.
Becca turned to Giles and patted his arm. "Iím going upstairs. Join me for lunch if you get the chance?"
"Certainly," he told her as he gave her a kiss before she waved to the room and slipped out.
After Becca was gone, Giles turned back to the room. "Andrew?" he called, making the young man look up. "Have Dawn and Skye search the Internet? See what we can find out about the earthquake and mystical phenomenon while Robin and I examine the newspapers?"
"You got it, Mr. Giles," he replied before leaving.
Giles turned back to address the rest of the group. "Iíd like to make a suggestion to all of you. With the wedding coming up and my future wifeís insistence that my health could be in peril, Iím going to beÖhow should I put thisÖ"
"Leaving?" Willow asked, concerned. "You canít leave, Giles!"
Giles gave a half chuckle. "I have no intention of leaving. Not yet anyway. No, Iím merely suggesting that we all share the responsibility a bit more, t-to give the Council a more equal voice."
"What do you have in mind?" Robin asked.
"I want to create three divisions," he told them all. "The Watcher Division," he said nodding to Rowena. "The Coven," he added motioning to Willow, "And the Slayer Division," he concluded pointing at Faith.
"Executive, Legislative and Judicial?" Faith asked.
"In a manner of speaking," Giles said with a nod. "This way power and opinion is shared equally. Since there are three heads, that means the majority can rule on any decision."
Faith smiled. "Boy, who woulda thought all that government crap in night school would come in handy?"
"The reason I want to do this is...well, I know I wonít be around forever, and the power shouldnít rest in the hands of one person or even in one department alone. The Old Guard learned that lesson all too painfully. When we faced the First, things might have been different if Buffy had a voice, if the Coven had a voice. Perhaps we would have had access to more information about the First before the Council was destroyed. I took what I could carry butÖ" Giles trailed off with a look of frustration.
"You did what you could, Giles," Willow said sympathetically.
"I know," he told her with a warm grin. "But when I think about how many more people might have been saved, girls who might still be aliveÖThe point is, I donít want to make the same mistakes. So...what do you all think?"
Faith who had been chewing on her bottom lip in thought leaned forward. "So youíre saying you want me to make all the decisions for the slayers?"
"Not all the decisions. I want you to be their majority leader. I want the girls to come to you with their ideas and concerns, and you bring them before the Council board each week, and then a decision is reached. It can be anything trivial like more soda in the dorm machines to more important things like new fighting techniques or weapons on patrols."
Faith nodded. "Okay, I think I can do that."
"Good," Giles said with a nod as he turned to Rowena. "Weíll oversee the watchers who have been trained while Robin will bring us concerns of the watchers-in-training. Again, with three of us, we can reach a majority decision of which action to take."
"And me?" Willow asked.
"You, my dear, will continue to run the Coven. When something comes up and a vote needs to be cast, you will be the voice for the Coven majority. Iím also considering a training program for slayers who would like to learn magic. It always seemed to help Buffy at times, and with Kennedyís latest foray into the magic arts, it seems like a good idea. However, since the Coven is your sector, it will left to your discretion who will be trained."
"Yeah, but where do I start? My days are already pretty much filled with classes and the regular coven activities," Willow explained.
"Faith will make a suggestion if she sees a slayer with great promise, but you will have the final call as to whether that slayer receives training after your Coven researches her history."
Willow nodded and slowly began to smile.
"So," Giles began, "what do you all think?"
"I like it," Robin replied immediately. "The only thing that worries me is what might happen in those high intensity moments. I mean, we canít sit around arguing about what to do during the middle of a fight."
"No, we cannot," Giles agreed, "but if itís something thatís a physical fight, then the slayers will do what they need at the time. If itís a mystical or magical foe, then the Coven will be the first to react. The watchers will do as theyíve always done, supply informational backup to both the Slayer and Coven Divisions."
Everyone in the room began to nod.
"Iím not saying itís fool-proof," Giles admitted. "But itís better than what the Council ever did before. Plus it gives us, as the New Guard, more direction. As I said, I wonít always be here. We need a system to insure that even after Iím gone, well...after all of us are gone actually, the Council will remain and it will be efficient."
"Okay," Faith said. "Iím in."
"Me too," Willow added.
"Me three," Rowena answered with a nod.
Giles turned to Robin.
"Count me in too," he answered the silent question.
"Okay then," Giles said before clearing his throat. "For our first official voting procedure, how does the Watchers Division vote in regard to putting this plan into action? All in favor say aye."
"Aye," Robin and Rowena said together.
"Motion passed," Giles answered. "Now as for the Division leaders, say aye."
"Aye," Willow, Faith, and Giles answered.
"Good," Giles beamed. "Now if only I had a gavel to bang to make it really official."
Everyone looked at each other in the room and smiled.
Council Hallway Ė Morning
Kennedy stood on the opposite side of the meeting room door as the group began to file out.
Rowena was talking to Giles as the door opened. "Iíll see about getting a secretary for meeting minutes."
"Thank you," Giles answered as he put on his coat.
"You okay, Slick?" Faith asked upon seeing Kennedy standing there.
"Yeah, I need to speak to Giles if thatís okay." Her voice seemed void of any emotion. Faith just gave her a nod and continued out of the room saying nothing more.
"Come in," Giles said, motioning Kennedy inside as the others went on their way.
Council Meeting Room Ė Same Time
Once inside, Giles closed the door and turned to Kennedy.
"Whatís wrong?" he asked.
"I need your opinion on something. Itís not slayer-related. ItísÖpersonal. And I canít really go to Faith with this because Ė hello? Ė Iím still pissed at her right now."
"Yes, I heard things were a bit, tense, when you left. And judging by the icy glare, I see itís not better."
"Yeah well, thatís not the real problem." Giles simply cocked his head and waited for her to continue. "Itís Mia. Or I should say Kadin. Something happened in Romania."
Giles looked confused at first, but then realization washed over his face. "Ohh," he said.
"I didnít cheat on Mia. Well, I did. Just not a lot. Just a little. But a little or a lot really doesnít matter, does it? I meanÖit was just a few kisses. Some very intense kisses. And yes, if she hadnít been hurt, it probably would have been much more. Like all the way more and I-."
Giles held up his hand, making her stop. "Thatís enough details I think. Iím assuming now you feel guilty?"
"Yeah. I love Mia. I do. And I didnít plan to hurt her."
"So she knows?"
Kennedy shook her head. "No, thatís why Iím here. I didnít tell her, and Iím not sure what to do."
Giles thought about it a moment. "Do you want to stay with Mia?"
"Yes," Kennedy answered. "I mean, I think soÖOkay, Iím not sure, but I know I donít want to hurt her."
"Then what does telling her accomplish?"
Kennedy appeared confused. "I donít understand."
"Iím not condoning what you did," Giles began. "Think about why youíd want to tell Mia. Is it to Ďcome cleaní as you might say?"
"Well, yeah," Kennedy answered.
"You would feel better for telling her, but how would that make her feel?" Giles posed.
Kennedy paused. "Mad, hurt, betrayed."
"Right," Giles answered. "So, would you be telling Mia for her sake or for yours?" Kennedy looked away. "If you really want to build a future with Mia, then perhaps itís best to carry this guilt on your own shoulders Ė a reminder so that it doesnít happen again. And if you donít believe the relationship will work, then let her goÖSo if you want my opinionÖ" Giles said, letting the sentence hang. Kennedy nodded in the affirmative. "...then admit to yourself you were wrong, carry your guilt, and donít push the infidelity off onto her, regardless of what you want to do. But if she asks if something happened in Europe, then be honest. Tell her you didnít mention it for fear of hurting her because you truly love her. I believe sheíll be far more likely to forgive you at that point."
"Itíll be hard," Kennedy said. "I donít want her thinking I lied to her."
"I realize that. But youíll do her much greater harm in my opinion by telling her of your indiscretion. Of course, in the end, the choice is yours."
Kennedy nodded. "Thanks, Giles. Iím sorry I bugged you about this. I know you donít have a lot of time lately."
Giles grinned and put a hand on her shoulder. "I always have time for our slayers, especially you. Now, go see to your troops. Iím sure theyíre thinking theyíll get out of P.T. today."
"Aye, Aye Capín." Kennedy said with a smile and a salute before she left the room.
Computer Room Ė Later That day
Rowena looked over to see Willow frowning at nothing in particular.
"OkayÖwhatís the matter?" she asked as she continued to look down at the reports in her hand.
Willow seemed to come out of a small daze. "Oh, nothing."
"Nothing nothing," Rowena answered, looking back to her lover. "Youíve got worried Willow face."
Willow gave a short grin before appearing nervous. "Iím just wondering if he knows something heís not telling us."
"Giles. All that talk about not being around and the Council going on without him...it scares me. Maybe heís sick, or sicker, I mean. Like itís something new he found out."
"You could always hack into Dr. Millerís private charts," Rowena said with a slight grin. Willow got an excited look. "I was teasing," Rowena added quickly and watched Willowís face fall. "Why donít you just ask him?"
"Like heíd tell me," Willow replied sarcastically.
"Chances are heíd tell you before anyone else on the Council," Rowena answered. "Honestly, I think if Giles were ill, heíd be smart enough to make plans."
Willow didnít say anything. Instead, she just made an exaggerated gesture with her hands. "Hello? Were you at the meeting this morning? Thatís exactly what he did!"
"Will, Sweetie, calm down, okay?"
"Iím sorry. Iím not mad at you," Willow apologized.
"I know. Just relax. Youíre so wound up and I really think itís over nothing. If you ask me, weíre way overdue for these types of changes. So itís good that Giles is considering everything. It proves that heís an effective leader." Willow started to speak, but Rowena placed a finger over her lips. "And before you say, Ďit might be because heís sick or dying, again,í if something serious was happening this moment, then he would tell you."
"Are you sure?" Willow asked.
"Positive," she replied. The watcher leaned in and kissed Willow softly on the lips. Rowena gave a short hum in approval. "One more," she added as she went back to Willowís lips. She began to close the distance again when something caught her eye and she looked over to their left. Rowena shot away, and Willow opened her eyes to follow Rowenaís line of sight.
"Hello, Rowena," remarked the person standing only a few feet away.
"Mom?" the watcher asked, shocked. "What are you doing here?" she asked a moment later, still surprised to see her mother.
The woman looked over her daughterís shoulder.
"Ms. Rosenberg," Rowenaís mother said, nodding to Willow. "Youíre lookingÖwell."
Willow appeared tense, as if she could physically feel on her skin the acid in the womanís voice.
"You too," Willow said timidly.
Mrs. Allister turned back to face her daughter. "Since we got the invitation to come to Cleveland, your father wanted to take you up on it and surprise you. Heís in the lobby with the bags."
"Oh, well, letís go," Rowena said, starting to rise.
Council Lobby Ė Moments Later
"Dad?" Rowena called out, making the man turn around. He smiled upon seeing her and opened his arms. Rowena returned the smile and rushed over into the embrace. "Did you guys just get in?" she asked.
"Yeah, we took a taxi here," he answered.
"You should have called. I would have sent a car," she told him.
"Thatís okay," he told her. "We didnít want to inconvenience you." He looked over Rowenaís shoulder to see Willow standing nervously with her hands interlocked together. "Hi Willow. How have you been?"
Willow gave a short wave. "Good. Yourself?"
"Canít complain," he replied with a kind smile.
For a long moment, everyone just stood looking at each other, saying nothing.
Council Hallway Ė Moments Later
Xander and Willow walked slowly, side by side, down the stretch of hallway.
"They came just out of the blue, huh?" Xander asked.
"Yeah, it was mega-uncomfortable. Not so much Roís dad but her momÖThat woman hates my guts, and the rest of me for that matter, a-and I know itís hard on Rowena."
Xander grinned. "From your tone, Iíd say the feeling is mutual."
"I donít hate her. I-I justÖShe thinks Iím an evil person, but Iím not. Well, not anymoreÖbut you know what I mean. I turned her little girl into a heathen."
"I see the closed mindedness at play here." Xander nodded. "So...where are they staying?"
"With Rowena. Sheís got the extra bedroom."
"Well, if she likes, Iíll trade her. My parents for hers?" Xander offered.
"Are you kidding? Iíd like to keep my girlfriend I fought long and hard to get, thank you very much," Willow said with a teasing smile.
"Damn," Xander sighed.
"Sorry, Bub, youíre not getting out of this one. You invited your folks, and now theyíre a-cominíÖAnyway, topic change. Something cheerful. Oh! I know. Is Alex coming to the wedding? You know how women love you in formal wear."
"Iím not sure," Xander shrugged. "I havenít asked her yet."
"Itís only a week away, Xan. You better get crackiní."
Xander sighed and nodded. "I know. Iím not sure if sheís the right one is all. When you invite someone to a wedding, itís like a trial run."
"Excuse me?" Willow asked.
"All the talk of ítil-death-do-us-part and lifelong commitment. When you take someone to a wedding, itís like a pre-nup nuptial or something. Like youíre testing the waters to see what the other person wants out of life. Iím not sure Alex is wedding-guest material."
"AhhÖwell if youíre wondering if sheís the one, then thatís a good indication that maybe sheís not," Willow replied.
"Yeah, but I felt the same about Cordi and Anya at first too."
"And we know how both of those turned out," Willow retorted.
"True, but Aní was different. I got spooked and made the worst decision of my life."
Willow wove her hand through his. "She knew you loved her, Xan. She did."
"Well, letís just say a prayer that Giles doesnít get cold feet too," he said and reached out to the doorframe they were passing to Ďknock on woodí.
"Or Becca," Willow added as she knocked on the doorframe on her side.
Slayers Kitchen Ė Afternoon
"Thanks for helping me plan the wedding cake and video. I know itís not much of a present, but I hope Becca and Giles enjoy it," Andrew said, appearing nervous although trying to sound casual as he sat next to her going through wedding cake design books while she fiddled with his video recorder.
"No problem. Iím glad I could help do something for the big event," Tracey said with a broad smile.
Andrew shifted fretfully in his seat. "I was kinda wondering if youíve got anyone youíre taking to the wedding? Since Giles and Becca are nice enough to get a caterer, weíll be able to celebrate."
"I was thinking of someone," she confessed shyly.
"Really? Please tell me itís not that Steve guy," Andrew asked, concerned.
Tracey smiled. "Steve guy is history."
"Oh good!" Andrew smiled but rapidly looked concerned. "Not that you shouldnít have someone in your life," he added quickly. "Just not him." A small silence passed between them until Andrew spoke again. "SoÖis there somebody that youíd like to take to the wedding?"
"Yes, there is," Tracey answered. She grinned as she watched Andrew try to play off the news by burying his nose back into the magazines. "Only problem is he hasnít asked me yet," she added.
"Oh?" Andrew said, unsure of what to say next. "Itís someone here then? Itís Jeff, right? Itís probably Jeff. I mean, thereís not too many people here our age, but then again maybe you like older guys Ė men I mean Ė and thatís okay too I guessÖjust as long as they treat you right, and Jeff-."
Tracey leaned over and gently kissed Andrew on the lips. "My problem is since he likes to babble and wonít ask me, Iíll have to make the jumpÖAndrew, will you be my escort to the wedding?"
Andrew appeared shell-shocked, and the only sound that came out of his mouth was a slew of unintelligible mumbles.
"Iíll take that as a yes," Tracey answered.
Coven Room Ė Moments Later
Jeff walked inside to see Dawn and Skye giggling with each other, and he held back rolling his eyes as he walked inside. The pair looked over upon hearing him enter.
"So Jeff," Skye asked, "whoíre you taking to the big formal?"
Jeff looked at Dawn for a moment and then looked away. "No one yet, but there doesnít seem to be a shortage of teenage girls around here. Iíll ask someone."
"Iím gonna go get this to Willow," Dawn said, holding up a box and quickly making her way out.
Once Dawn was gone, Skye closed the distance between herself and Jeff, and she cleared her throat.
"Iím not blindÖI know you want her."
"I donít know what youíre talking about," Jeff answered too quickly.
"Yes you do," Skye told him firmly. A silence passed between the two of them as they stood facing off. "I didnít say anything in front of all those people the other day at the reading. It wouldnít be right. And I sure as hell wouldnít say anything with Dawn present. But here, alone...you better realize something right nowÖyou might think you love her, but I know I do. And if you do anything to sabotage my relationship with Dawn, all the magic in the world wonít help you."
"I donít like being threatened," Jeff warned.
"And I donít like people thinking they can just take whatís mine."
Skye said nothing more and just walked from the room. Jeff let out a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair.
End of Act One
Onto Act Two