Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing, Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Gale Harold as Jim Pollan, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Elijah Woods as Jeff Lindquist, Steffani Brass as Shannon Matthewson, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Lorinda Sheparton, Mandy Musgrave as Hadley Ramirez, Freema Agyeman as Siobhan Hartley, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, and Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix
Marcia Cross as Autumn O'Mara, Morena Baccarin as The Voice of Hell, Kristy Swanson as Joan Arkham, Lee Pace as Rock Cartwright, Brad Dourif as Brell, and Kavan Smith as Jody
Kadin's Cabin – Bedroom – Same Time
Kennedy and Kadin lay curled up in bed. Kadin played with the ring on Kennedy's finger.
"Okay," Kennedy said, facing her. "Heavy question time."
"Shoot," Kadin said.
"Season to get hitched?"
"Again, your choice."
"Where to get hitched?"
"I've got a list of countries you can pick from where I have residency."
"You have yours. I have mine. We have one together."
"Okay. Where to live?"
"I like my cabin. Do you like it?"
"I might be able to pull myself away from the Council," Kennedy answered. "Now the big one…kids?"
"Someday, but not soon."
"I was an only child; didn't mind it. I don't know anyone who had a sibling they really liked. I say one."
Kennedy chewed her lip. "This might be doable," she replied.
"That's good to know," Kadin said, "well, since you said yes and took the ring already."
Kennedy grinned. "I just want to make sure this is something we both want…if we mesh."
"So do we mesh?" Kadin said as she rolled over, pinning Kennedy to the bed playfully.
"Yeah, but I should be the one to carry any kids. If you do, they might turn out blue."
Kadin grinned and grabbed a pillow, putting it over Kennedy's face, who easily batted it away. Soon the two women began kissing.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Same Morning
"Look," Skye said with a tight smile, "I don't make the plans…I just report 'em."
Buffy narrowed her eyes at Skye. "You're in the best position to know how the ramifications of something like that –"
"Ooooooooh, big word…" Skye said. "Ram-i-fi-ca-tion-sssss," she enunciated with a hiss. "Know what it means, too?" She batted her eyelashes at Buffy.
"Skye!" Dawn reached her hand forward and touched Skye's arm.
The vampire looked at her and smiled, not quite apologetically. Skye turned back to Buffy.
"Seriously, I don't know. I think it's just a simple heist. They employ a lot of vamps," she shrugged. "They need to keep 'em in blood, or there'd be a feeding frenzy in the streets that even you guys – uh…we – wouldn't be able to keep up with."
"If they need that much blood to keep the troops happy," Buffy shot back, "then why just one blood bank? Why not two or three? Why not all of them in the Cleveland area?"
Skye shrugged again. "Maybe they don't want to cause a panic," she suggested. "Keep a low profile. Or maybe they're gonna hit them one at a time…" She turned her head aside, annoyed. "How do you expect me to know?" she muttered.
"We expect you to know…"
Every head around the conference table turned to Rowena.
"…because you're on the inside."
"Exactly!" Jason said, leaning forward and resting his arms on the table. He stared hard at Skye. "You've hardly brought us momentous news," he said stiffly. "Although we appreciate your…efforts."
Skye smirked at him.
"Skye…" Rowena called wearily. "Please. Is there anything else you can tell us about this or that might have some bearing on it?"
"I told you all I know!" Skye said testily. "The Voice Of Hell cult is going to rob the next scheduled night shipment to the University Hospital of Cleveland Blood Bank. That's it. That's all of it. Anything else would be a fairy tale. But," she held her hands apart and smirked, "if you want me to tell you one…"
"All right…all right…" Rowena sighed. "Thanks, Skye. Please tell us if you find out anything else. Or if you overhear anything. Even if it seems completely unrelated."
"You betcha!" Skye said sarcastically.
Dawn looked at her, upset.
Skye sighed. "I'm sorry…I…I guess I'm just tired of all this…this secret agent stuff. It's not easy being in with them and…and living two lives. I guess I'm just a little stressed."
Rowena smiled a bit. "Yes. Well, that's completely understandable. We're all stressed a bit at the moment," she said, looking over at Jason. "I know you're doing your best, and we're fortunate to have you on our side and on the inside as well."
Skye nodded. "I'll tell you anything I hear or see, Rowena," she said earnestly. Then she smiled. "I don't have much time before I need to get back there," she said quietly and looked at Dawn.
"Oh! Oh, of course," Rowena said. "We don't need either of you for the rest of this. Go have a good time. You both deserve it." She smiled at Dawn and Skye.
"Thanks, Ro," Dawn said as she and Skye stood up.
The two left the conference room. The door closed behind them. Several seconds ticked by in silence.
"We can't trust her."
"Why not?" Rowena asked Jason.
"I think it's obvious, don't you?"
"What, because she's a vampire? Jason, we've been through all of this already. She's developing a soul. She's not drinking anything but drawn blood. She loves Dawn and would do anything for her. She's helped us and is continuing to help us –"
"And unfortunately, she is intelligent enough to do so for more reasons than genuine sympathy with our goals. She may be loyal, but we would be unwise to depend absolutely upon that."
"I have to agree with Jason on this one," Buffy said.
Rowena sat back and huffed a breath. "Oh geez, that's a shock. This from the woman who's been aching to stake her for years now."
"And your point?" Buffy said.
Rowena said nothing at first, but then she locked eyes with Buffy. "Maybe Dawn is not you, okay?" she said pointedly.
Andrew and Faith shared a concerned look.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Buffy asked.
"It's no secret, Buffy. We all know your dating history, all right? You wouldn't know a normal relationship if it came and bit you on the ass." Faith snorted in response, but quickly stopped herself, as Rowena continued. "And if you did try to find someone normal, chances are you'd get too bored and toss him away because the courtship wasn't filled with angst."
Xander started to speak up. "That's not fair."
"Stay the hell out of this," Rowena told him before turning back to Buffy. "Bottom line…you're not the best judge when it comes to vampire love. Got it?"
"How dare you –!" Buffy started.
"How dare I 'what'?" Rowena challenged, cutting her off. "If I didn't know any better, I might say you're jealous of your sister. But honestly, none of this is the real point. The point is information, so tell me one person in this room who's gotten any info on VOH – just one!" she shouted. Those at the table all looked at each other, but they remained quiet.
"That's right," Rowena said. "Not a single one of you, myself included. The difference is I'm not willing to hang Skye out to dry because, like it or not, she's our best bet right now. And until she proves herself unreliable, we need to have a little faith in her."
"To quote a certain chaos mage," Jason retorted, " 'oh goody!' "
Rowena just looked at Felix for a long moment. She picked up the papers and folders in front of her in one sweep.
"You can all go screw yourselves," she told the room.
The jaws around the table all dropped, and they watched stunned as Rowena left the room in a rush. The room continued to be silent and still for nearly a full minute.
"What the hell was that?" Xander finally asked.
Buffy just shook her head and banged the gavel. "Meeting adjourned."
"Someone should go speak to her," Felix said.
"Don't look at me," Faith held up her hand. "She won't so much as look at me these days – she barely tolerates me in the same room. And I'm sure Robin would go over like a lead balloon. Guilty by association and all that."
Buffy sighed. "Xander?"
"I was specifically told to 'Stay the hell out of this'," he replied. "I'm gonna heed that advice."
Buffy looked over at Andrew but said nothing.
He put up his hands and shook his head. "I've got some power but…I'm not that powerful. She's pretty ticked."
Buffy groaned and put her head on the table.
Watchers Council – Rowena's Office – Later That Day
There was a knock at the door, but Rowena didn't bother to look up.
"Go away," was all she said. The door began to open, and Rowena added, "Are you deaf?"
"No," Kennedy answered, closing the door behind her. "Just dumb for walking in here."
At the sound of Kennedy's voice, Rowena looked up. "What do you want?"
Rowena started to laugh. "Oh, lordy…So Buffy's solution to my outburst is to call in my wife's ex-girlfriend? No wonder this Council is going to hell in a hand basket."
"You did pretty much tell everyone else to get bent," Kennedy replied. "Wanna talk about it?"
"No," Rowena answered shortly and looked back down at her paper.
"Why not?" Kennedy replied.
Exasperated, Rowena let the pen drop to the desk. "Because it doesn't concern you."
"It's got to be tough," Kennedy said as she came over and took a seat in front of Rowena's desk. "New kids, wife in jail, impending doom, and a congresswoman out to get us. I can't say I understand all of it, but even the stuff I do understand…it's a lot to carry on such small shoulders."
"Do you have a point?" Rowena asked shortly.
"Who have you talked to here?" Kennedy asked. "Who have you vented to?"
"What I do or who I talk to is none of your business!" Rowena said, darting to her feet.
"The hell it's not!" Kennedy said, growing angry and shooting up from her spot, too. "You just bitched out a roomful of people today who probably didn't deserve it," she provoked.
"How would you know? You weren't there!" Rowena shot back. "You were off at your love nest, making time with Kadin, probably planning a wedding and renting a U-haul! You know how I spent my weekend?" Rowena shouted. "In a cheap hotel near a federal prison so I could hold my kids up to a piece of glass so their mother could see them."
That did it. The floodgates opened, and Rowena began sobbing uncontrollably. She literally shook, and Kennedy walked around the desk, pulling her into her arms. Rowena didn't fight against the gesture. In fact, she buried her head into Kennedy's shoulder. Kennedy didn't speak; she simply held on to Rowena, making sure she didn't fall.
"It's so hard," Rowena told her. Kennedy still didn't say anything. She just stroked Rowena's hair from scalp to tips. "They don't get it. Nobody gets it. They love her, I know, but-but-but she's a part of me. And that part's missing, and I might not get it back…not ever, or not for a really long time at the very least." Rowena pulled back and wiped her eyes. "You know what Willow said this weekend? She said I could move on if I wanted. How can I do that when it's the last thing in the world I want? I want her. I want her here with me, with all of us…" Rowena started to cry again, and still Kennedy said nothing. She led Rowena back to the chair and continued to kneel in front of her. "I just…I feel helpless…like nothing I do matters right now. Everything I'm trying to do isn't working – the investigation into VOH, trying to free Willow – hell, I couldn't even get a Congressman to spend ten minutes with me…"
"I can't claim to know how you feel right now about any of that stuff," Kennedy finally said. "But I've loved Willow too – and not like those other people – but just like you said – to the point that you don't feel whole without her." Rowena only nodded. Her face pointed toward her lap. "Right now, seeing her probably feels like torture."
"It does," Rowena muttered. "And they don't get that…none of the people here get what it's like to be in love with her." Rowena looked up and saw the slight grin on Kennedy's face. It wasn't one of happiness or condescension, but of understanding. "I take it back. Maybe Buffy's smarter than I gave her credit for by sending you here," Rowena confessed.
Kennedy gave her a light chuckle, and Rowena grinned briefly for a moment.
"Look, I have Kadin now. I wouldn't trade her for anything. But I remember what it feels like to love Will. So if you need someone to talk to, someone who's been there…well, I'm here. And you're right…they don't get it all…but I do get some of what you're feeling…so if you want to vent…" Kennedy then motioned to herself.
"I'm sorry," Rowena replied.
"That's fine, and don't get mad with what I'm about to say…I'm not the only one you should apologize to right now," Kennedy told her.
"You're right," Rowena replied. "I just…"
"…wigged," Kennedy answered as she stood up. "Honestly, I'm surprised it took you this long. We all need a little meltdown now and then."
"Bet you're gonna run back to Faith and tell her all about me blubbering, huh? I know she's your best friend, but I really can't stand to look at her right now, let alone having her know about…this…"
"Nope, what happens here," Kennedy said, motioning between them, "stays here…so you can come to me, Ro, and you can feel safe knowing I'm not going to blab it around the Council. Not to Faith, not to anyone."
"Thank you," Rowena said.
"Now," Kennedy said, rising. "What can I help with? I can't help with conjugal duties, just so you know. That you'll have to, ahem, handle yourself," she said with a slight grin. Rowena grinned, too. "I can, however, help with this VOH thing…So what's the latest?" Kennedy asked.
Warehouse – VOH Meeting – Night
Skye waved to the burly doorman as she walked in.
"Hey Skye," he greeted her. "Chief wants to see you," he told her. "She's in back."
"Thanks," Skye replied.
VOH Office – Continuous
"You rang?" Skye announced as she walked into the office.
"Yes," O'Mara said in her demon form, the Voice of Hell. "I think there's a demon here who's working for the Council."
Skye tried not to show a reaction. "Who?" she asked.
VOH stood up from her seat and put her arm around Skye. The impact of the gesture made Skye shake slightly from both her nerves and the weight of her arm.
"Out there," she pointed.
Skye closed her eyes briefly as if in relief that she wasn't talking about her. When she opened them, she saw Brell seated in one of the chairs. She swallowed hard.
"Who? The little blue guy with the horns?" Skye asked, trying to brush off the idea. "He looks pretty harmless."
"Looks can be deceiving," she replied. "I want you to kill him tonight after the meeting," she said as she handed her a dagger.
"If I kill one of our own," Skye began, "how do you think that's going to look to the other demons? No one is going to trust me here."
"Correction – no one here will cross you…Make no mistake about it Skye," VOH told her. "We're not here to make friends. We're here to wage a war. In war, casualties are inevitable." She began to make her way back to her desk. "Just so you know, I haven't forgotten our agreement. I've been looking into my sources, seeing if I can find a mage qualified enough to handle your…problem…I don't want to trust this task to just anyone…So do this for me, and I'll see that you'll be able to feed again naturally, as you should."
Skye looked at the dagger and then back out to Brell.
"Okay, yeah," she said with a nod.
"I'm sending Jotas and Roger with you to help dispose of the body. Is that a problem?"
"No," Skye answered. "Not at all."
"Good girl," VOH said with a smile.
Hallway Outside Xander's Apartment – Later That Night
Xander opened the door to his apartment and saw Rowena standing there.
"Can I come in?" she asked. "I wouldn't blame you if you said no," she added.
Xander opened the door wider and motioned her inside.
Xander's Apartment – Continuous
"I'm sorry," Rowena said as he closed the door. "I apologized to Buffy and Jason already, and I told them…" Rowena released a heavy sigh. "I'm scared, Xander. I'm scared, I'm frustrated…I'm…a mess right now. But that's no reason to take it out on you guys, so I apologize. It was wrong to say the things I said today."
Xander paused and motioned Rowena to the sofa. He took a seat next to her. "You might not be entirely wrong, but I guess I'll find out eventually," he said.
"I'm not sure I understand?" Rowena said questioningly.
"The stuff about Buffy and the guys she picks…I'm dating Buffy now."
Rowena looked shocked and then mortified. "And just when I thought I couldn't feel any worse. I had no idea. You have to believe me."
"It's okay," Xander told her, taking her hand. "Not too many people know. In fact, I'm surprised Grace hasn't mentioned it to you. I sent Willow a letter, but she might not have gotten it yet."
"No one mentioned anything," Rowena replied. "God, I'm sorry, Xander."
"Maybe she will get bored with me. You're right – she does fall for guys that are…the doom-filled, brooding types. But again, we'll see."
Rowena sighed and rested her forehead on her palm. "I can't win right now, can I? Anytime I open my mouth, my foot goes in it."
"Don't worry," Xander told her. "Apology accepted."
The pair smiled at one another.
"So?" Rowena began. "How's it going? The you and Buffy thing."
Xander grinned. "It's going – not fast, but not stagnant. I think that's best for both of us actually. Buffy's not the only one who's got some walls to get around."
"I think that's true of anyone," Rowena answered. "In fact, I should be the last one to criticize anyone about their choices or hang-ups. Until Willow came along…" Rowena blushed. "Well, you know what Willow's like. She's really brought me out of my shell, so to speak."
"Oh, yeah, you're a lucky woman," Xander agreed. "But so is Will, too," he added conspiratorially. "And just so you know…if you want any more kids naturally…all you have to do is ask. I will be happy to oblige."
Rowena smiled, but it slowly faded, and she was on the verge of tears. "I don't feel real lucky right now. I feel pretty deprived, and not just of sex. I mean…everything."
Xander put his arm around Rowena. "This won't be forever," he told her. "It won't."
Xander grinned and used his free hand to make Rowena rest her head on his shoulder. "I promise."
Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Same Time
Buffy was lining up the eight ball on the pool table.
"She hates me," Faith said as she paced around the table.
Buffy gave up lining up the shot and rose. "Are you going to let me beat you here?" she asked, annoyed. "You're distracting me."
"Sorry," Faith said, stopping. Buffy lined up the shot again and pulled back the pool stick. "I just don't know what to say," Faith started again. Buffy closed her eyes and tossed her stick on the near-empty table.
"You can have at it," Buffy said to two girls seated at the bar as she motioned toward the table. She led Faith away by the elbow and plopped them both on the sofa. "Logically Rowena knows this isn't what you wanted, and she knows you're not the one that put Willow there."
"But she's still pissed at me," Faith replied.
"Yeah, she is," Buffy said. "And I wish I had some advice, but I don't." After a brief silence Buffy asked, "Have you tried talking to her?"
"After it happened, yeah. I told her I was sorry, and the response was don't speak to me…so…I've tried to avoid her. When we pass in the hallway, she won't even make eye contact with me. And I feel horrible…"
"We all feel horrible."
"No, this is different," Faith told her. "When I spazzed and walked away from the Council, Rowena went out on a limb for me." Faith lowered her voice to a whisper and moved closer to Buffy. "She went so far as to forge documents to make it look like a paperwork error – straight-arrow, by-the-book Rowena."
"I don't know about the straight-arrow part," Buffy said. Faith didn't look amused. "Sorry. You were saying…"
Faith then rose and raised her voice. "Now, when she needs someone to help her – to help Willow – there's not a single damn thing I can do."
"I know how you feel."
"Again, B, no," Faith replied. "See? They always believed in you, right from the start. But me? I earned their trust. I'm not sayin' that means more – I'm saying it means something different. I earned their trust and faith…and now…it's like they can't count on me anymore. They're both hurting, and I can't fix it. And the entire reason Willow is there now is because I did the right thing."
"So what's the solution then?" Buffy asked.
Faith snorted. "There's not one. Sure, I could bust her out like I did when Wes came and told me about Angel, but then we'd all be running. And what's the point in that?"
Buffy released a heavy sigh.
Warehouse – VOH Meeting – Same Time
"That wraps it up," VOH told the group of followers. "Are there any questions?"
Skye raised her hand, and VOH motioned toward her. "Why can't I go on the blood bank heist? I mean, is there a reason you're picking only that crew? I'd like to get in on the action, too."
A few vampires and other demons nodded and grumbled in the affirmative.
"Short answer, you cannot," VOH said. "Long answer…I have plans for each of you at different stages. This is simply their time – not yours. The Council will see just how…hell-bent…we are in forcing this coming war…Now anyone else?" she asked. When no one else replied, she said, "Very well. Until the next meeting."
VOH then locked eyes with Skye and looked over at Brell. Jotas and Roger appeared at either side of Skye.
"You ready?" Jotas asked.
"Yeah," Skye replied as the demons all started to file out, Brell included. "Just hang back," she added. "You guys can watch, but I need a place to get him alone."
Warehouse – VOH Meeting – Continuous
Brell made his way down the street and turned down the first alley. Skye and her accomplices had to run to keep up. She peered around the small street to see Brell alone.
"You guys wait here," she told them as she started to jog after him.
Alley Near Warehouse – Continuous
"Hey!" Skye shouted to Brell. "You dropped something, buddy," she added as she raced up to meet him.
Brell turned to see that Skye had produced a large dagger, driving it deep into his gut with such force that he hunched over.
Brell looked up, shocked, at Skye and then fell to his knees before falling face first. Once he was on the ground, Skye raised the weapon stabbing Brell two more times.
In the distance Skye's accomplices cheered as Brell looked back up at Skye with a vacant, wondering gaze.
End of Act One
On to Act Two