Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing, Lacey Chabert as Skye, and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers,
Piper Perabo as Serena Vance, and Brendan Fehr as Coen Vance
Cleveland Graveyard – Moments Later
Kennedy slammed the werewolf to the ground as she held its claws a few inches from her face with one hand. She grit her teeth as the beast growled up at her and snapped at her arm with its massive jaws.
"Could this night get...any...worse?" Kennedy moaned as she finally managed to immobilize the werewolf. "Now," she asked, staring into the beast's hard yellow eyes. "Are you going to behave?"
The wolf's answer was another growl and a snap at her head.
"Didn't think so."
Kennedy turned to see how Kadin was handling her own attacker, and that was when she spotted the hunter straddling the body of a fully nude blonde. The two seemed to be locked in an intense gaze when Kadin slackened her arms and sat back.
During the slayer’s momentary distraction, Kennedy’s werewolf managed to wrestle its way out of her grip. Kennedy released it willingly, and the beast quickly disappeared into the darkness of the night. She knelt on the ground and watched the interaction play out just a few feet away.
Cleveland Graveyard – Same Time
The blonde woman looked up at the hunter sitting on top of her. "You...you said that already," she answered, her breathing ragged and broken.
"Yeah, well..." Kadin shook her head and removed her hands from Serena's throat and her shoulder. With agonizing scrutiny, her soft brown eyes stared down at the woman beneath her. "Is it...is it really...you?"
Serena reached up to rub at the sore spot on her throat. "I think the better question is...is it really you?" She dropped her hand from her throat to rest it back at her side. "You were always strong, but I don't ever remember you going all Hulk on me before."
Kadin was quiet as her eyes continued to rake over the body beneath hers. "I thought you were dead, Serena. How did you...?"
"I was never dead, Kadin," the blonde answered softly. "I was very close to it, but I survived that night. My grandmother helped me escape not long after you left. She told the others that she took my body to be buried in the family crypt."
Kadin shook her head. "But...how? I...I watched you die."
A flash of pain swept across Serena's face as she shivered in the cold night air. "It's a very long story."
Kadin reached down to place a gentle hand against the woman's dirty cheek. "I'm not going anywhere."
Serena smiled softly, but the moment was soon broken by the sound of crunching grass as footsteps approached behind Kadin.
"Kadin?" Kennedy's voice called out. "You wanna introduce me to your naked friend?"
Kadin's head whipped around, and her eyes met Kennedy's slightly raised brow as the slayer waited patiently behind her. "Uh...y-yeah, sorry."
"This is uh...this is Serena Vance," Kadin introduced the woman with a pitched thumb in her direction. "Serena, this is...Kennedy."
The blonde smiled nervously from beneath Kadin as she gave the slayer a light wave. "Is that a first name or a last?"
Kennedy smirked, but her eyes held a burning glare. "I'm one of those dark and mysterious one-named kinda heroes. Gives me more of an edge."
Kadin shook her head and then pulled herself to her feet. She stood in the space between the two women as she shrugged the duster off her shoulders and held it up for Serena to slip on.
The blonde quickly got to her feet and slipped her arms in the sleeves before pulling the leather tightly around her shivering body. She gave Kadin an appreciative smile before her eyes drifted over to lock with Kennedy's.
"The other werewolf," she said. "The one that attacked you. What happened to him?"
"Don't worry," Kennedy answered with a crack of her knuckles. "I scared him off."
"Dammit," Serena sighed. "Now I'll never be able to find him."
"Correct me if I'm wrong," Kennedy interjected, "but it looked to me like he was the one after you."
Kadin stepped up and placed a hand to rest on Serena's back. The motion did not go unnoticed by Kennedy.
"Why would a werewolf be after you in Cleveland?" Kadin asked, perplexed. "I thought you said that your family still thinks that you're dead?"
"They did up until about two months ago," Serena explained. "I was living in a quiet village just outside of Madrid. I thought that part of my life was behind me. I mean, I'd finally found some way to get over..." The words trailed off as Serena looked up into Kadin's eyes.
The stare between the two women was intense as the sentence hung in the air around them.
Kennedy cleared her throat, effectively breaking into the moment. Two sets of eyes turned to look at her. "Maybe this is something better discussed back at the Council." Kennedy nodded towards Serena. "And I'm thinking she'd probably really like some...clothes. I'm sure Dawn's got something that should fit."
Serena smiled at Kennedy before turning to look up at Kadin. The hunter smiled back at her, then wrapped an arm around her shoulders and led her from the graveyard.
Kennedy stood a few feet behind and watched the two women walk away. She let out a deep sigh before following after them.
Watchers Council – Lobby – A Short Time Later
Faith was just passing through the lobby to go upstairs when the large doors opened and footsteps tromped into the room.
Faith didn't look up from the folder in her hands. "Slick? That you?"
"Not exactly," came the deep reply from the doorway.
Faith's head lifted and swiftly turned towards the source of the voice. Her brow furrowed, and her eyes widened just slightly. "Kadin?"
Kadin smiled as she stepped into the lobby and nodded at the slayer. "How's it goin'?"
Faith shook her head as she tried to regain her composure. She closed the folder and placed it on a nearby table as she walked over to greet the hunter. "Does Slick know...?"
"Do I know what?" Kennedy's voice suddenly cut in from somewhere behind Kadin.
Faith turned her eyes towards the door as the slayer stepped in, followed by a disheveled-looking, barefooted blonde woman wrapped up in Kadin's leather duster. The expression on Faith's face was completely lost as she glanced from one woman to the next.
Kennedy just shook her head as she stepped up and patted her friend on the arm. "Don't ask...I'm not even sure that I understand it." She didn't stop to look back as she headed for the elevators. "I'll meet you in the conference room."
Faith watched the other slayer disappear around the corner before she turned back to set her confused stare on Kadin and the strange woman.
Kadin just smiled as Serena remained partially hidden behind her.
Faith finally shook her head with a sigh before reaching over to retrieve her folder. "Something tells me I don't even wanna know."
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Moments Later
Willow was sitting on the couch, leafing through a book, when there was a light knock at her door. She looked up from her reading to cast a glance towards the sound. She waited, and when she didn't hear another knock, she turned back to her reading.
Hallway Outside Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time
Kennedy stood outside the door, shifting from one foot to the other as she stared at the frame. She let out a slow and steady breath then lifted her hand to knock again.
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time
Willow looked up at the sound of the second knock. She waited a moment before placing her book on the couch and getting up to make her way over to the door.
Hallway Outside Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time
Kennedy sighed and turned away from the door just as it opened to reveal the redhead standing on the other side.
"Kennedy?" Willow called out in mild shock. "What are you doing...?" The words trailed off when Willow noticed the intense look on the slayer's face. "Ken?" She stepped through the door and reached a hand out to place it on Kennedy's arm. "Is everything...all right?"
Kennedy swallowed back as she glanced down at the arm on her hand. "I...I uh..." She looked up to meet Willow's eyes. "I just wanted to...to tell you that we need to c-call a meeting. Is...is Buffy around?"
Willow shook her head with a furrowed brow. "I-I think so, but...why do we need—?"
"Kadin's back," Kennedy interrupted softly. "And so is Serena," she added after a beat.
Willow's eyes widened slightly, and she took a step back from the other woman. "Kadin's...back? As in...back...back?"
Kennedy nodded once.
Willow stared at the slayer for a long moment before sucking in a deep breath and then releasing it with a light smile. "Wow. O-okay. I guess we really should get Bu..." The witch paused, and her smile faded. "Wait. Who's Serena?"
Kennedy just shook her head and ran a hand back through her hair. "Kadin's dead ex-girlfriend."
"You mean she’s a zombie?!" Willow asked in alarm.
Kennedy gave her a quick grin. "No, she's not dead. She’s very much alive. And at the moment, very naked. And...very beautiful."
"Oh, Ken," Willow began sympathetically.
Kennedy shot her a half-hearted smile as she turned and made her way down the hall. "Can you call the meeting? The sooner the better."
Willow nodded and watched her walk away. When a sudden hand touched her on the shoulder, she jumped with a light squeal. Then she turned to see her pajama-clad lover smiling sheepishly back at her.
"Sorry," Rowena said with a yawn. "Who was that?"
Willow recovered with a light shake of her head as she stepped back into the apartment. "It was Kennedy."
"Kennedy?" the blonde replied, concerned. "What did she want?"
"Kadin’s back…and she brought a friend," Willow sighed as she pushed the door closed behind her.
Hallway Outside Dawn’s Apartment – A Short Time Later
After making a quick stop at the infirmary, Kadin and Serena headed for the residential area.
"Don't worry," Kadin told Serena as they walked along the corridor. "Dawn can be a little whiny sometimes...but she's a pretty cool kid." The hunter smiled over at the blonde and received a tiny smile in return. "And luckily for us...she's just your size."
Serena fidgeted nervously and gingerly touched the newly cleaned and treated cut on her forehead. Kadin gave her a mock glare, and Serena dutifully removed her hand. When they got to Dawn’s door, Kadin reached up to knock.
Just before her knuckles made contact, the door swung open, and Dawn stepped out, nearly running into the hunter.
"Kadin!" Dawn exclaimed as she realized who was standing in front of her. "When did...?"
Her words died off, and her eyes trailed over to Serena. Dawn’s eyes got big as she took in the sight of the blonde, who was still clearly naked beneath Kadin’s leather duster.
Dawn's eyes narrowed in concentration as she stared at the woman. "Have we met? You just seem so familiar..."
Serena shook her head with a light smile. "I don't think so."
"Dawn?" Kadin called to catch the young watcher’s attention. When she was met with the same intense stare, she cleared her throat and motioned towards the apartment. "Think we can talk for a bit? It's kinda important."
Dawn glanced from Kadin to Serena and then back to Kadin again. "Sure," she answered slowly. "I was just going to meet Skye, but she can wait. It's not like she's gonna die anytime soon."
Serena's smile faded, and Kadin looked away.
"Right," Dawn sighed with a nod. "Forgot how touchy that subject is around here these days." She shook her head and stepped back into the apartment. She waited in the doorway as the two other women filed in after her. She turned to face the blonde's back as she closed the door behind them.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Later
Buffy, Willow, Rowena, and Faith were all seated around the large table as they waited in silence.
"So," Buffy broke in. "Somebody wanna tell me why I got dragged outta bed to be here?" The slayer yawned and ran a hand down her face as she looked from one member to the next.
Faith looked up from her spot a few seats down. "Quick's back, and she brought somebody with her."
"Kadin?" Buffy said the name with a slightly raised brow. "Since when?"
"Since about thirty minutes ago," a voice answered from the doorway.
Everyone turned to see Kennedy walk into the room, followed by Kadin and Serena, who was now dressed in a pair of Dawn's jeans and a button-down top. Kadin's duster was still wrapped around her shoulders as she followed the other two women into the room.
Kennedy walked over and pulled out the chair next to Faith before sinking down into it with a sigh.
Faith watched as Kadin walked over to take the seat on the opposite side of the table, but not before pulling out the chair next to her for Serena to sit down. The blonde accepted the seat with a smile. Then she sat down and immediately dropped her eyes to her hands.
The room was silent for a few moments as everyone looked anywhere but at the strange woman sitting next to the hunter.
"Okay," Buffy finally spoke up. She looked over at the hunter. "Kadin…"
Kadin looked over at the blonde with a neutral expression on her face as she met the slayer's stare and held it.
"Where do I even begin?" Buffy said. "I mean, I can totally relate to the whole rising from the dead. I can relate twice as much in fact," she added in afterthought. "So my real question is not so much why...but how?"
Kadin just sighed and shook her head. "I'm still not really sure myself," she answered. "But it can wait." She turned to glance over at Serena before leveling her eyes back with Buffy. "Serena's in trouble, and she needs your help."
It took the slayer a moment to adjust to the sudden change in topic, but she finally managed to ask, "What kind of trouble?"
"Hang on a sec here," Faith cut in before Kadin could answer. "We’re just gonna let her off the hook that easy?" She glanced from Buffy over to Kadin with a hard stare. "She went AWOL for four weeks without so much as a smoke signal. I tried that and got my ass handed to me. Don’t tell me you’re gonna let it drop just like that?"
"Faith," Buffy warned tersely. "Kadin is not an official member of this Council, so just let it go."
"No," the slayer replied adamantly. "She can't just...disappear like that! You were there. You saw what it did to Ken..." She trailed off as she glanced over at the silent slayer.
Kennedy was sitting with her eyes trained on the center of the table. She didn't even flinch when Faith's eyes landed directly on her.
Willow cleared her throat from across the table. "I-I agree with Buffy. I think that m-maybe we should handle this one problem at a time." She nodded over to Serena. "It seems like she's the one that can use our help the most."
Faith averted her eyes, then silently nodded in reluctant agreement.
"What exactly is it that she can use our help with?" Rowena asked, speaking up for the first time.
"She has a name," Kadin snapped sharply as she looked over at the watcher.
"Kadin," Serena said quietly, reaching out to touch the hunter’s arm. "It's okay."
The hunter looked over at Serena, and the expression on her face instantly softened. She sighed and slumped back into her chair.
Serena removed her hand from Kadin's arm and looked over at Willow and Rowena. "My name is Serena Vance," she started calmly. "I was raised in a family of pure-blood werewolves. It was one of my distant ancestors who founded the Knights."
"Yeah, we had the not-so-great pleasure of meeting the family earlier this year," Willow replied.
"My clan is the last of the Knights, and our numbers have dwindled," Serena replied. "That is why my father took it so personally when Kadin..." She trailed off and cleared her throat as she shifted in her seat. "His practices and beliefs were archaic and barbaric...but he was still my father. I agreed to take part in his crusades as he called them, but I refused to be commanded to kill like some rabid dog."
Serena glanced over to see Kadin's eyes trained off to somewhere else in the room. She cleared her throat and looked back over to the others at the table. "My father was disappointed that I wasn't as cold blooded as my two brothers. He said that I had dishonored our family and our heritage when I refused to take part in murdering Kadin."
"Musta been tough," Buffy added gently.
Serena nodded. "That night, he came to me and told me that he was saddened by what he must do...but I had to pay for my crimes against my family and against the Knights."
"With a father like that..." Faith snorted.
"My grandmother overheard our conversation," Serena went on. "After my father had me taken away, she used her status and our family name to get in to see me. She told me of her plans to save my life and to hopefully save Kadin's in the process."
The hunter looked up for the first time since Serena had begun talking. "Your grandmother wanted to save me?"
Serena glanced back at Kadin with a smile. "She always liked you. She said you had a fire within you that would one day burn brighter than any darkness."
Kennedy pulled her eyes up from the table to glance at the two women across from her. She remained silent, but her jaw worked tightly.
"What happened?" Rowena asked curiously. "I mean, Kadin told us that you had—"
"Died?" Serena finished as she pulled her eyes away from Kadin. "Truth is, I almost did. But luckily, the other clan members were so wrapped up in their thirst for Kadin's blood that they didn't even notice when my grandmother sneaked in and pulled me to safety."
Serena shook her head with a light smile. "When they questioned her about the body afterwards, she told them that she had already placed me in the family vault." She licked her lips as her blue eyes wandered. "My father had not intended to allow a proper ceremonial burial, but Grandmother didn't want to dishonor my mother's memory by having her only daughter thrown away like some outsider."
Serena once again set her eyes in the direction of Rowena and Willow. "My father was so filled with the desire for revenge that he did not debate the issue, nor did he even check the vault himself. To him...his daughter had died a long time ago."
Buffy shook her head as she leaned forward and placed her arms on the table. "If your little vanishing act was so convincing, then why are you sitting here now instead of sunnin' it up on some tropical island somewhere?"
"I was living in a small town just outside of Madrid," Serena replied. "I had been there for a while, and I had finally learned to live without constantly looking over my shoulder or having nightmares about K..." She stopped, cleared her throat, and then went on. "It was about two weeks ago when I got a sudden knock at my door around midnight. Imagine my surprise when I answered it and saw my long lost brother standing there in the moonlight."
"Coen?" Kadin said as she shot up in her chair. "That werewolf in the graveyard was Coen?"
Serena glanced back at Kadin nervously then nodded once.
"Bastard!" Kadin growled as she slammed a fist down against the table. Her eyes began to darken with intensity. "I shoulda killed him when I had the chance."
"You mean like you killed his father?" Faith spoke up from her spot across from the hunter. She slowly lifted her eyes to meet Kadin's as an audible gasp swept through the room.
Kadin shot the slayer a hard glare before turning her eyes back to meet Serena's confused blue gaze. "Rena, I..."
Serena shook her head and lifted a hand. "Don't...please." She met Kadin's eyes and held them in an intense stare. "He was dead to me a long time ago, too."
The tension left Kadin's shoulders, and she let out a slow breath. "Still," she whispered softly, "I'd like to explain."
Serena smiled. "There's nothing to explain, but if it'll make you feel better, baby..."
The term of endearment was noticed by all in the room. Very slowly, every head lifted, and five sets of eyes locked onto the two ex-lovers.
Buffy glanced over to see Kennedy's reaction. Instead of the cold hardness that she had expected, she saw deep hurt clearly visible on the slayer's face.
"Getting back to Kadin," Rowena interjected, making a confused gesture with her hands. "Ahh…I don’t even know what to ask," she admitted.
"That’s good ’cause I probably don’t have any answers," Kadin told her.
"How did you come back to life?" Rowena asked.
"I don’t know," Kadin answered.
"And the blue skin?" Faith added. "All gone now?"
"So it seems," Kadin replied.
"You’re not gonna…try to rip out my heart again, are you?" Willow asked.
"I can’t say for sure," Kadin stated honestly.
Willow instinctively leaned away.
Buffy sighed. "You gotta give us something to work with here, Kadin."
"If I knew, I’d tell you," the hunter began. "That’s why I said to start with her," she added, motioning to Serena. "At least she’s got a starting point for her problem. I’ve got nothing."
Buffy looked around the room at everyone. "Look it's late," she offered. "I think we'll all have clearer heads in the morning." She turned to Serena. "We have plenty of room here. You're welcome to stay in one of the visitor suites."
"She can stay with me," Kadin interrupted before Serena could answer. She glanced over to find Kennedy staring at her in shock. Kadin quickly looked away, back to the others. "I've got some stuff that I need to take care of back at the cabin," she explained softly. "I'm sure it'll be easier if Serena just stays with me until we can figure this out." Kadin brought her eyes back to Kennedy. "I think it's best if we all take some time to...adjust."
"Perfect," Buffy told Kadin. "Just make sure you're both back here first thing in the morning. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can figure out what needs to be done."
When Kadin glanced over and gave her a nod in reply, Buffy rose and made her way from the room.
Faith looked to the chair next to her just as Kennedy got to her feet. She watched as her friend cast Kadin and Serena one last glance before silently leaving the room.
Rowena and Willow soon followed behind Kennedy.
Kadin stood and offered her hand to help the still battered woman to her feet. When Serena stood, Kadin brushed some hair back from the blonde’s face. "I think there's a nice hot shower callin' your name," she said, smiling.
Serena gave her a gentle smile as she swept the rest of her errant hair back off her face. Then she let out a tiny sigh. "Sounds wonderful."
Faith jumped to her feet, shoving her chair back with a loud clatter as it fell to the floor. She shot Kadin an angry glare, then turned and stomped out of the room.
Serena watched the woman leave before turning back to Kadin. "Is she okay?"
Kadin just shook her head and placed her hand on Serena's back. Then she nodded toward the door. "Don't worry about her," the hunter told her as they left the room. "She's always had anger issues."
"Hmm," Serena hummed softly as she gave Kadin a grin. "Sounds like another tough brunette that I know."
Kadin just shook her head with a smile as she pulled the door closed behind them.
Kadin’s Cabin – A Short Time Later
Kadin pushed the front door open and stepped inside. Then she held it open for Serena to enter. She smiled at the blonde as she stepped into the room. Kadin pushed the door closed with one hand and nodded towards the hallway.
"The bathroom's just down the hall. Third door on the right," she told Serena as she pulled the duster from the woman's shoulders. "I'm gonna head to the kitchen to see if I can round us up something to eat that doesn't need to be prepared and/or cooked."
Serena laughed softly and shook her head. "I guess some things never really do change."
Kadin turned back from placing her coat on the hanger and gave the blonde a knowing smirk. "Do I take that to mean that you still try to sing in the shower?"
"Hey," Serena pouted lightly. "I sing just fine."
"Oh, yeah," Kadin said. "If you're a dying cow who just had a tracheotomy."
Serena's eyes widened, and she laughed heartily as she stepped up to swat at Kadin's arm. "I do not sound that bad!"
Kadin chuckled as she easily dodged the blonde's swats. The playful exchange carried on for a few moments longer until Kadin reached out to grab Serena gently by the arms. Their bodies were pressed up against each other as the hunter looked deeply into Serena's eyes.
"I forgot how blue your eyes were," the hunter admitted softly. "Or how easily I got lost in 'em."
Serena swallowed visibly but then relaxed into the familiar embrace. "Kadin..." she whispered.
Kadin hesitated a split second before closing her eyes and leaning down to press her lips to Serena's.
End of Act One
On to Act Two