Starring: Norika Fujiwara as Mia, Felicia Day as Vi, Carly
Schroeder as Marsha, Laura Prepon as Lori, and Lindsay Felton as Skye
Guest starring: Mariska Hargitay as Dr. Abraham, Brad Dourif as Brell, James Leary as Clem
Dr Abraham's Examining Room – Same Time
Becca looked down at the plastic square with the results of her blood test noting the bright pink plus sign in the middle. "How is this possible?" she asked.
"Well, when a man and a woman love each other, they –."
"I know that part," Becca answered in a tense voice. She looked up with a scowl to find the doctor wearing a slight grin. She cleared her throat as she tightened her hold on the test result. "I was told years ago there was, like, a one in a million chance of my ever having a child."
"Then you've either had lots of sex over the years to increase your odds or…" the doctor teased, "it's a small miracle. Either way, the test doesn't lie. You're pregnant."
Becca took a deep breath. "Trust me when I say I'm more in the modern wonder camp. Sex hasn't really been plentiful until this year." She released a heavy sigh and the doctor picked up on her mood and took a step closer to put a hand on her shoulder.
"I take it this wasn't planned?" Dr. Abraham asked.
"Planned? It wasn't even a consideration!" She ran her fingers through her hair. "Oh god, how am I gonna tell Rupert?" she added quietly. "Are you sure?" she asked quickly. "I mean, you didn't switch me with someone else, did you? Because I've still gotten my period, not as strong, like I said, which is why I came here, but still…" Becca trailed off , drawing a shaky breath.
"Some women continue to have a regular cycle during their pregnancy. Not many but some. So it's nothing out of the ordinary. I speculate you're about four to eight weeks along but you should see a OB/GYN to be certain, and to decide which option you wish to pursue."
"Option?" Becca asked blankly.
The doctor hesitated. "You didn't plan this, Becca, and you're not a young woman. There's nothing that says you have to go to term with this pregnancy. You should also know there are certain risks for a woman your age."
"Like what?" Becca asked.
Weapons Range – Day
Mia stood in formation with her recon/black ops team as their instructor paced in front of them.
"Listen up, ladies! Today we begin anew. You will be thoroughly trained in the fundamentals of marksmanship. These include: assuming a position, aiming, breathing aaaaand trigger control! In the next five weeks you will understand your firing prone supported position from your Hawkins position. And if none of that makes sense now, fear not. Within the next five weeks it will be my job to see that it does. Make no mistake about it. You are killing machines. You never fire a weapon to maim, only kill. That is the purpose of a weapon – deadly force. So if you plan to use it, you must always use it correctly. Is that understood?"
"Yes sir," the girls all shouted.
"Very well," he said, as he motioned to the arsenal by the wall stocked with weapons. "Choose your firearm."
Robin, who had been standing a few yards away during this introduction, now walked over to the instructor. "Can I have a word?" he asked.
The two men began to walk while the students chose their weapons. "I brought you into this position because of your credentials with the Navy Seals," Robin began in a low voice. "But I'm not sure if these are the things they should be learning."
"Perhaps basket weaving or macramé is what you had in mind, Mr. Wood?"
Robin's eyes flashed, but he quickly composed his features into a cold smile. "No, that's not what I'm saying…."
"Look," the instructor cut him off. "These girls are your first and last resource for getting in and out of places without detection, correct?"
"Well, yes but-."
"And it's my understanding that should they be discovered or come across armed foes, they need to be able to defend themselves as well as those at the Council. Correct?"
"Yes," Robin sighed.
"Then you do your job, Mr. Wood, and let me do mine."
Without waiting for a response the instructor turned back to his students.
Watchers Council Lobby – Same time
Becca walked into the busy lobby in a zombie-like fashion. Faster human traffic moved past her almost as if she was standing still. She spotted Willow and Kennedy and wordlessly approached them. When she was within a few feet, Willow glanced up from a file folder she was flipping through and noticed her.
The older woman gave a short wave to the staircase. "Rupert upstairs?" she asked.
"Yeah, I think he's in the library. Try there first," Willow suggested.
Becca gave a vague nod and took a few steps toward the stairs.
Kennedy's eyebrows scrunched. "Everything okay?" she asked the blonde woman.
Becca paused a moment and turned around. "Yeah, I just…I need to talk to Rupert."
Kennedy and Willow exchanged a worried look as Becca disappeared around the corner to the stairway.
Library – Moments Later
Giles handed a young man a file. "See that Mr. Wood gets these changes and double check that Willow has her course assignments, David."
"Right away, sir," the young man replied as he turned to leave. "Excuse me," he said, as he and Becca nearly collided in the doorway.
Giles smiled warmly upon seeing her, but the smile was replaced by a worried frown as he noticed her trance like state.
"Bad news?" he asked.
Becca opened her mouth to speak, but closed it as no words came. She tried again, looking anywhere but Giles' eyes. "I, uh…." She trailed off again, taking a deep breath.
"Becca, what is it?" Giles asked, taking her gently by the arms, trying to look into her eyes, his concern growing.
"We'd better sit down," she told him, indicating the couch near the corner of the room.
Watchers Council Lobby – Same time
Willow closed the file folder with a satisfied nod. "Good job, Ken," she told the Slayer. "Your efficiency reports are more efficient-y and right on time. Faith and Robin need to go on an extended recruiting trip in a couple of weeks, and the Council will feel no qualms about putting you in charge in Faith's absence."
"You sure about that, Will?" Kennedy asked, concern and worry on her face. "Last time you guys did that someone ended up getting hurt."
"That was a long time ago," Willow said, putting a comforting hand on the Slayer's arm. "If the new Council is about any one thing, it's that everyone deserves a second chance."
"Or a third…or a fourth," Kennedy said bitterly.
"You've come a long way, Ken," Willow said, and then paused before changing the subject. "Things going good with Mia?"
Kennedy blinked for a moment and then smiled. "Not bad," she answered. "But so far our relationship hasn't been the 'dating' kind."
"Seeing as how the girl is underage, it might be good for you to stay out of the local clubs," Willow suggested. "Especially that dive you're so fond of."
"Hey!" Kennedy said and then smiled at Willow's teasing smirk. "The age of consent in Ohio is sixteen, so we're safe there."
"Yes, but as I was forced to point out to Dawn and Skye on numerous occasions, even though the state's sodomy laws were repealed, it's better not to get caught with someone under eighteen. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it. Thanks for still looking out for me, Will," Kennedy said with a warm smile.
"Always," she replied softly, returning the gesture. They studied each other a moment. Nervously Kennedy cleared her throat.
"What about you? Any signs of thawing from the Ice Queen?"
Willow's face turned bright crimson as she started to stammer. "Oh…oh, well…we're, going one day at a time."
Kennedy laughed at Willow's discomfort. "So things are improving then?"
"I'm really not sure I want to discuss it," Willow answered nervously.
"Fair enough but I thought we agreed to be friends here." Kennedy said motioning her hand between them.
"Well, I think new girlfriends falls under the same discussion topic of politics and religion when it comes to friendships."
"I get it," Kennedy answered with a bob of head. "But Will, if you need somebody…"
"Oh I got lots of 'bodies' around here offering help but thanks," the witch said with a smile.
Watchers Council Library – Moments Later
"I know you didn't sign on for all this Rupert," Becca told him in a soft voice as they sat side by side on the sofa. Giles now wore a flabbergasted expression that equaled hers. "You weren't looking for an instant family. And…and I don't want you to think I lied to you to try to trap you. They did tell me I couldn't have children so I…" Becca trailed off and quickly wiped her eyes.
"You're upset about this?" Giles asked.
"And you're not?" Becca returned.
It was Giles' turn to open his mouth and close it. Finally he found his voice.
"Shocked, a bit stunned t-to say the least but…I'm not upset, least of all with you. But I am concerned. The things t-the doctor told you – the risk of birth defects, the chance of losing the baby – it all worries me. What frightens me most though is the stress labor will put on you…I don't think I'd survive losing you."
"Dr. Abraham was just making me aware of all the scenarios. She says that these days more women are having children later in life, with fewer complications. In the last five years alone they've made great strides in the OB branch of medicine. We can monitor everything with amniocenteses and a bunch of other tests if…if we decide to go through with the pregnancy. So we have to make a choice."
"I want this child," Giles said automatically, quickly adding, "but not at the risk of losing you. However, it really is your decision to make."
"It's our decision. I didn't do this all on my own," Becca said bumping shoulders with him. "So, tell me honestly, what do you say?"
"Do you want this child?" he asked sincerely.
Becca stood up and started to pace. "For years there wasn't anything I wanted more. And now…I'm 45 years old," she stressed. "I'll be almost 65 when this kid graduates high school. You'll be nearly 70. People are gonna think we're grandparents, not parents. And you might have other plans for your retirement than teaching someone to ride a bike, ya know?"
Giles gave a small grin.
"That's when we put Uncle Xander and Andrew to work," he teased. "We let them run up and down the block." He reached out and pulled Becca into his lap before he continued. "Number one, we're still rather fit, I'd say. Better than most people in our generation. Two, I don't see myself ever retiring to some clichéd condo in Florida. And three, everything happens for a reason. Perhaps you never had a child before because it simply wasn't the right time."
"Or the right man?" Becca asked with a small smile.
Giles smiled back. "Yes, that too," he agreed. "I want this child, Becca, but I want you safe – first and foremost. If the doctor doesn't see any obvious problems now, then I say we do it. The only inconvenience we experience is moving up the wedding date."
"Why move things up? We can wait until after the baby is born, you know? This is the twenty-first century. " Becca replied with a grin.
"If we're going to have a child, I want him to have a name."
"He will have a name. And what makes you so sure it will be a him?" she challenged.
"Fine," he said putting up his hand. "I want her to have a name. My point is that I don't want our child born out of wedlock."
"But conception is okay?" Becca countered. "Are you sure you didn't just make up all those Ripper stories, because this isn't the attitude of a free spirit."
Giles paused as if putting his thoughts together. "Free spirit or not, this is important to me. Nothing else in my life is conventional, by any stretch of the imagination. This is one thing I want to do—um, properly, for lack of a better word."
"It's really that important to you? Even if I look like a beached whale at the altar?"
Giles smiled. "You'll make the most beautiful bride in the world. I'm certain of that. So we can have any kind of wedding you choose. All I ask is that we do it before the baby arrives. Agreed?"
Becca sighed and then smiled indulgently at her lover. "Agreed. Should I wear white, you stuffy old Brit?"
"You can wear a burlap sack for all I care. And you can cast all the aspersions on my character you wish, my dear," Giles said with a smile. "As long as you marry me."
"Oh I'll marry you, all right, Rupert Giles," Becca replied. "And then we'll see who's the one casting aspersions."
Giles's expression turned to wonder as he placed a gentle hand on Becca's flat stomach. "Oh my," he said. "My life's work has been for the most part on discovering new ways to end life…well, for demons. This is the first time I've helped created it. I only wish…"
Becca looked gently at him as he continued to cradle her belly. "What, Sweetie?"
"I only wish we'd known when I was in possession of your body," he said with a wry grin. "It would have been nice to know that I was, even if for only a brief time, carrying our child."
"But you were." Becca nodded. "And you were astute enough to know something was going on," she said. "I might have kept putting off going to the doctor longer. Dr. Abraham said it was better to start the vitamin regimen as close to conception as possible."
"I'm glad I was able to help," Giles said with a bright smile.
"Oh you helped, all right!" Becca laughed.
Giles paused with a pensive expression. "Dear lord! I'm going to be a father!"
Becca laughed as Giles suddenly collapsed back into the sofa, a his horrified expression turning first to a grin, and then to a laugh.
Watchers Council Computer Center – Minutes later
Willow was gathering her folders and papers together and was about to leave the area when her computer chirped and one of the file clerks called her over.
"Miss Rosenberg," she called out. "Appears you have a message."
Willow walked back and cleared the screensaver by entering the password and saw an instant message box from 'blueboy' over the Watchers desktop wallpaper.
"Hi Brell," she typed. "Willow here."
"Hello, good witch," Brell typed back. "Need help with refugees from world of Galas. Would ask for Slayer help from hunters, please."
Willow bit her lip worriedly. She leaned down to the keyboard again and quickly typed. "Where are the refugees?"
"Better NOT to say," Brell replied. "Brell send Cousin-of-Marriage to Council. He knows and trusts Red Witch."
"Okay," Willow typed back. "Be careful, Brell."
"Brell always careful. You be, too. Hunters not good. I go now."
Willow blinked as the sound of a door slamming closed from the computer's tiny speakers indicated the blue demon had signed off. She gathered her papers again and then headed for the Slayer's dorms.
Watchers Council Library – Minutes later
Becca picked up her purse and keys from the library table. "I need to open the store, Rupert," she said, leaning down for a kiss. "The notice on the door says I'll be back by noon and it's nearly that now."
"Are you sure you have to leave?" he asked, worry showing in the tight set of his lips. "Can't you just…retire for a while?"
Becca rolled her eyes and then grinned. "Already starting the mother hen routine, huh? I can't afford to keep the store closed for the next eight months."
"I have money you know." he countered.
"Sorry, but I'm not a freeloader." She smiled before giving him another kiss. "I'll be back for supper."
"Should we tell everyone then?" Giles asked.
"Some people decide to wait to tell loved ones," Becca said hesitantly.
"In case I miscarry. The first trimester is usually when most pregnancies have complications," Becca told him. "That way no one gets their hopes up in advance."
"Hopes are already up," he said, standing up on his still shaky legs and walking her to the door. "And if something does go terribly wrong perhaps it's best they all know, instead of our having to explain it after the fact. Besides, no secrets are best, especially among our family."
"Fine with me. Tonight then?"
After opening the door, Giles leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips. "Tonight," he told her softly.
Slayer's Gymnasium – Same time
"How many refugees we talking about?" Faith asked the redhead.
"Brell didn't say," Willow replied. "He was being cautious in case the IM was being monitored."
"I thought you put in safeguards against that kind of meddling?"
"Never can be too careful," Willow said. "I'm good, but there are hackers out there better than I am, and I put nothing past the Presidium. Anyway, from the intelligence we have on file, there're probably anywhere from a six to a dozen. More than that makes the chances of getting caught by the hunters too risky."
"And what's the four-one-one on those guys? Demons?" Faith asked.
"Usually," Willow answered. "But Brell said that the Presidium uses all kinds of demons for its bounty hunters. So they can be anything. Brell is sending his cousin to show the girls where they are located. I know him from Sunnydale."
Faith sighed and then looked around at the Slayers working out. "Okay, then I'll have Ken and Mia lead a –"
"Um, maybe someone else?" Willow interrupted.
"Got a problem with them?" Faith asked surprised. "I thought you were over that?"
"Oh! I am," Willow said. "Just that Ken mentioned she's got some romantic-type plans with Mia. If they're providing escort duty, then…well, you get the idea."
"Well look at you, Red!" Faith laughed. "Playing Cupid for your ex-girl. Want me to return the favor and light a fire under the Ice Queen?"
"I guess that's where Ken got the nickname," Willow sighed under her breath. "No thanks, Faith, but I appreciate the offer."
"Suit yourself." Faith shrugged. "Okay, I'll get Vi and Lori to lead the team. Once Brell's guy gets here we'll know more. In the meantime, I need you to get us more information on those hunters. I don't like sending my girls out there without knowing what they'll face."
"Fair enough," Willow said. "Thanks Faith."
Watchers Council – Same time
Becca walked briskly down the sidewalk to her car, passing a tall and bulky figure in a dark overcoat. She turned to look at the figure a moment before it disappeared into the Council's entrance and then shrugged as she continued to her car. As she leaned down to insert her key into the door lock, someone bumped into her, causing her to lose her balance. She reached out a hand to keep from falling and grabbed the person's hand. A small pop sounding like static shock when off and Becca quickly removed her hand.
As she straightened up, she looked into his expressionless face. "I'm sorry," she said.
The man looked down at her and then without a word turned and walked away, followed silently by his two companions. Becca watched as the trio passed the Council's doors and continued toward the lake.
"Uncivilized bastards," she said to herself, then hopped into her car and drove away with a squeal of tires.
Watchers Council Lobby – Same Time
The bulky figure removed the battered fedora to reveal the bald head, wrinkled, sagging face and dog-like ears of a demon. "Nice place," Clem muttered as he looked around the busy lobby. He noticed the buzzer at the reception desk and pressed it.
A moment later, Dawn and Skye entered the lobby from the direction of the classrooms and the younger girl squealed happily when she saw their old friend.
"Clem!" she yelled as she ran forward and grabbed the tall demon in a big hug.
"Hi Dawnie!" Clem said, returning her hug. Skye smiled indulgently at her girlfriend's antics.
"Hi," Skye said stepping forward and offering a hand. "I'm Skye, Dawn's partner in crime. You must be her old babysitter. She's told me all about you."
"Wow," Clem said, taking Skye's hand and looking at her appreciatively. "Looks like Dawn's all grown up and doesn't need a babysitter anymore."
"No," Dawn agreed smiling at him. "But I always need my friends. It's so good to see you. What brings you to Cleveland?"
"Well, you know…the lure of the Hellmouth and all," he said bashfully. "Besides, I felt so bad about leaving you guys in Sunnydale I thought I'd lend a hand this time. Brell said you guys are doing real good work here and have helped our family out a lot. By the way, he sent me to pick up some Slayers from Willow."
"I'll go get her. You guys catch up," Skye said and jogged quickly away.
"Don't feel bad about Sunnydale, Clem," Dawn said. "It was pretty chaotic, and we all lost some good friends."
Clem nodded. "I heard about Anya," he said mournfully. "I felt really bad about it. She was a hero among the demon crowd. How did Xander take it?"
"Hard," she said. "But he's here, and he's a lot better now."
"Those two threw a great wedding," Clem reminisced, shaking his head. "Even if they didn't get hitched."
Willow, Vi and Lori followed Skye into the lobby. Willow gave a big smile on seeing Clem. She walked quickly forward and kissed the demon on the cheek, causing him to blush.
"Long time no see," she said. "Thanks so much for helping Brell."
"It's the least I could do," he replied shrugging his shoulders and causing a ripple of flesh to roll forward in a slow wave.
"How many refugees are there?" Vi asked.
"Ten," he told the slim Slayer. "No idea how many hunters though. They usually travel in packs of three, but it depends on the type of demons they are. Of course, they could be human, or even disguised as human."
"Humans?" Willow asked.
"The Presidium often recruits humans to do their dirty work," he replied. "Seems to be their species of choice for some reason."
"We've got one of them right here," Dawn mumbled.
"Ask Brell to send us a list of the types of hunters they've encountered before," Willow said. "It'll help with research."
"I think we'll start out with a team of five," Vi said. "Lori, go ahead get them ready."
"You want me to pick the team?" Lori asked, surprised.
"Why not?" Vi retorted. "Go."
Willow was silent as Lori headed for the dorms. "Good call," she said to Vi.
"She needs the confidence," Vi said. "And thanks for the chance to lead the team."
"That was Faith's call," Willow said. "By the way…Clem, this is Vi. She's one of our senior Slayers and will be helping you guys out."
"Pleased to see you, again," Clem said. "I remember you from Sunnydale."
"Yeah, the guy Buffy wanted to scare us so we'd take demons seriously," Vi laughed. "Even with your Beetlejuice face, you still weren't scary."
Clem laughed at the memory. "That scream must have been fake, then?" he teased. "I can do it again if you like."
Vi held up her hands. "Let's not and say we did."
"Come on, Clem," Willow said with a smile. "Let's go find Xander while the girls get ready. I'm sure he'll want to see you."
Becca's Books – Afternoon
Becca looked up from her book with a scowl as a customer approached the counter.
"Miss, I was wondering…" the obviously shy man started and then paused.
"What?" Becca prompted harshly.
"I'm a collector of old books, and I was looking for a first edition of Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover. Perhaps you have it in stock or can acquire it somehow?"
Becca looked at the man, her face becoming angrier by the second. "Lady Chatterly?" she snarled. "Do you think I keep that trash in my store? Why don't you go down to the Hustler store on the wharf if you're looking for smut?"
The man's face turned beet-red. "But…but…Lawrence isn't…"
"I don't care what he is or isn't," Becca said pointing a finger at the door. "I want you off my property. Now!"
The shocked man hurriedly stumbled outside.
"Pervert," Becca declared and returned to her book.
End of Act One
Onto Act Two