Birth Rite

Act One

Starring

Elijah Wood as Jeff and Lacey Chabert as Skye

 

Guest Starring

Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing

 

Fade In:

Int.

Kadin's Cabin – Study – Moments Later

Kadin groaned and began to stir. She lifted her hand to rub her forehead in effort to ease the pounding throb she felt in her brain.

"The hell was that about?" A tiny moan escaped her lips as she forced herself to sit upright, her eyes instantly trained on the silver medallion lying on the floor across the room. The hunter groggily stood up and made her way over to bend down and pick it up.

Kadin turned the emblem over in her hands a couple of times, making sure to examine every inch. She was staring down at it, running her thumbs over the edges of the 'VH' in the middle when the piece suddenly sprang back and clicked fully into place. The white light once again flared up, causing Kadin to close her eyes and flinch, but this time the light merely fizzled and died out.

The hunter slowly opened one eye and then the other. When she saw no immediate danger, she let out a slow breath. "Well," she sighed, turning the now fully complete medallion over in her hands, "that's interesting."

Cut To:

Int.

Kennedy's Apartment – Living Room – Later that Morning

Kennedy was lounging against her couch, flipping through the channels on the television. The rest of the apartment was quiet as the brunette munched idly on a cold piece of bacon. The sudden shrill ring of her cell phone broke her from the early morning trance. Reaching over to her jacket, she pulled it from her pocket and lifted it to her ear. "Yeah?"

"Kennedy?" Rowena's voice answered from the other end. "I hope I didn't wake you, but I think you're needed in the gym."

Kennedy glanced over up at the clock sitting on her mantle. "Damn," she whispered into the phone before flipping the TV off and slinging the remote onto the couch. "I was supposed to meet Faith for training an hour ago. I guess I just got…distracted."

"Yes, well," Rowena's voice came through with a hint of a smile. "She asked me to call and remind you. She said either I call you or she'd come up there and well…I really don't want to repeat the rest."

Kennedy smiled, shaking her head. "Yeah, tell her I'll be down in a minute."

The slayer flipped the phone closed and placed it in her back pocket. She reached over and grabbed the bacon, placing it in her mouth as she quickly left the apartment.

Cut To:

Int.

Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later

Kennedy was bounding down the stairs, taking them two at a time and trying to tie the string on her workout pants. The faint sound of the door opening and closing registered in her mind, but she was so focused on her task, she didn't register the approaching footsteps.

By the time the slayer glanced up, she ran face first into another body, smacking heads and knocking both of them to the ground. The body beneath her let out a little groan followed by a light chuckle.

"Well," Kadin's familiar voice drifted into her ears. "Good morning to you too. Tell me, do you always greet your guests like this?"

Kennedy pushed herself up enough to be able to look down into the other woman's eyes.

"'Cause if you do," Kadin continued with a teasing grin, "I should definitely come over more often."

The slayer's eyes nearly bugged out of her head, and she scrambled to push herself back to her feet. "Kadin," she said, smiling nervously when she was finally standing again. "What brings you here this early?"

The hunter pushed herself to her feet and shook her head with a smile, reaching into the side pocket of her cargo pants and pulling out the medallion. "This actually," Kadin replied, handing the medallion over to the slayer. "I found it by accident, at least, I think it was an accident." The hunter paused. "Anyway, I found it earlier this morning. Part of it's the necklace my father gave me, and the other part I found in the study of my cabin."

The brunette reached into her top vest pocket and pulled out the folded letter. "Along with this," she added before handing the letter over. "And a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn’t seem important."

Kennedy studied the two objects in her hand, turning over the medallion to examine it from all angles. After a long moment, she looked up and sighed. "Doesn't look like I'll be making that training session after all." She nodded for Kadin to follow as she turned and headed back up the stairs. "This is definitely a watcher thing. Come on, you can have a front row seat to how things really go down here at Watcher Central."

Kadin sighed nervously as she followed the other woman up the stairs. "Can't wait."

Cut To:

Int.

Watchers Council – Meeting Room – Later

The senior members of the Council sat around the round table, watching intently as Rowena finished reading the letter. The medallion was lying in the middle of the table.

Kadin fidgeted nervously in her seat. Kennedy glanced over from the chair next to her but remained silent.

"Well," Rowena said, clearing her throat and gently placing the old letter down onto the table. "First of all, I think it's very clear that this is something quite personal for Kadin, and I just wanted her to know that we all respect that and feel very honored that she would trust us with such a delicate matter."

The blonde glanced over to the uncomfortable looking hunter before turning her attention back to the group. "With that said, I think it is imperative for us to decipher what the sudden appearance of this medallion means and what, if any, threat it poses to Kadin." Turning her attention back to the brunette, Rowena smiled reassuringly. "Kadin, is there anything of significance that you feel we should know to better aid us in our research?"

The hunter swallowed back her nervousness and sat up straight in her chair. "Well, I…I mean..." She glanced around at the different sets of eyes trained on her. "I was having trouble sleeping, so I decided to play a game of pool. On my way to the game room, I heard this noise coming from the study. I went in, and one noise led to another." Scratching the back of her neck, she paused before continuing. "Long story short, some weird noises, bright lights, and much magic mojo later…I was knocked on my ass and woke up to find that lying at my feet." The hunter nodded to the medallion currently resting on the table.

All eyes turned to the silver necklace lying motionless on the table.

"It did some weird clicking and clanking," Kadin explained. "The two pieces just seemed to fuse together. After that, I decided it was best that I got some expert advice. This was the first place I could think of."

"We're glad you did," Willow replied with a smile. A chorus of agreement soon followed.

The redhead watched intently as Kennedy kept stealing quick glances over at the hunter.

"Well," Xander added with a smile. "Better here than some back alley 'magic house.' You never can trust those places. A bit shady if you ask me."

Kadin raised a brow in the man's direction, almost as if asking 'Is he for real?'

"Xander," Vi whispered softly, patting him on the leg. "More of the quiet listening and less of the talking, ‘k?"

Faith chuckled and turned to the head watcher. "So, Blondie. What's the what? Figured out if we're dealin' with friend or foe yet?"

Rowena kept her eyes trained on the medallion. "I'm not sure. Perhaps if I could study it more in detail…" The blonde reached out to pick up the medallion, but just as her hand was about to make contact, the silver piece suddenly sprang to life.

The medallion stood straight up and held perfect balance on its edge as a tiny white light suddenly sparked in the middle and began to glow.

"Oh crap," Kadin groaned. "Not again."

The light grew in its intensity, and the medallion did a sudden one-eighty, aiming itself directly at the hunter. Kadin managed to shove her chair back and jump to her feet just as a stream of white light shot out and headed straight for her.

Kennedy reacted in an instant. Reaching up, she grabbed the hunter by the front of her shirt and pulled her down into her lap. The white light whizzed on by. The two women glanced nervously at each other and then at everyone else in the room, but the others were focused on the light, which had separated and spread into the faint image of a picture suspended in mid air.

"What is it?" Kennedy asked. "Or maybe I should say where is it?"

The image was a faint outline of what appeared to be a cave surrounded by the background of an ocean and a dark sky.

Kadin's eyes were trained on the holographic image.

"I know this place," she spoke up quietly, lifting herself out of Kennedy's lap. The hunter walked over and stared at the image, the white light shining back into her eyes. "My father took me there when I was very young. He said it was the source of our heritage, our bloodline…" Kadin trailed off and remained staring at the picture for a long moment before quietly adding, "and my birth rite."

"What did he mean?" Willow asked, intrigued. Kadin didn't answer, and the room fell into a sudden silence.

After a long, tense moment the hunter slowly turned away from the projected image and reached down to wrap a hand around the medallion. At the touch of her skin, the image instantly faded, and the light quickly retracted back into the necklace clenched tightly in her fist.

"I'm not even sure myself," the brunette finally answered, lifting the necklace put and placing it around her neck. She tucked the medallion into her shirt and glanced up at Rowena. "I really appreciate anything you can do to help me figure this out, but for right now, I know what I have to do." She nodded over to Kennedy. "She's got my cell number if you find anything. You can keep the letter if it'll help. Thanks again." The hunter turned and made her way to the exit.

"Wait," Rowena called after her. "Where are you going?"

Kadin stopped with her hand on the door handle, but didn't turn around.

"I got a lotta questions. Something tells me this thing's gonna lead me to the answers." She gave a short nod down towards the medallion. "Looks like I'm headed to Amsterdam." Kadin glanced back at the others with a rueful smile. "What a helluva way to spend your 25th…chasing ghosts." The hunter shook her head with a sigh before pulling open the double doors and slipping from the room.

Everyone remained silent for a long moment, staring back at the door.

"Her 25th?" Faith finally broke the silence. "What the hell does that mean? Her 25th what?"

"Birthday," Kennedy answered quietly.

"Slick?" Faith raised a brow. "You knew about this? And you didn't think to tell us? We coulda had us some major surprise partiage."

"I hate to break this to you, Faith," Rowena said calmly, not taking her eyes from Kennedy. "But I doubt Kadin is a surprise party kinda person."

"Or any kinda party person, for that matter," Willow added in afterthought.

Kennedy glanced up sharply at the witch's words. "You don't know her," she ground out between clenched teeth. "In fact, you don't know very much about her at all." The brunette jumped to her feet but kept her gaze locked with Willow's. "And I wouldn't be so quick to judge if I were you," she added with a light flicker of her eyes over to Rowena. "I thought you liked 'em placid, humorless, and with a stick up their…"

"Hey!" Faith said, intervening. "Cool it, Slick."

Kennedy glanced over at the other woman, but didn't reply. Her eyes darted back to Willow's for a tense moment before she finally scoffed and turned to leave. "I don't need this sh…"

"Kennedy!" Faith chastised. "One more smart remark and you'll be off patrols for a month."

The slayer continued to make her way to the door without turning back. "Don't bother," she replied, swinging open the double doors. "I'm gone."

Faith watched as the doors swung shut behind her before letting out a slow sigh and turning to the witch and the watcher. "Guys, you know, this short fuse she's got, it ain't just about Kadin or even you two, right?"

"I know," Willow replied in a whisper. 

Rowena fell back into her chair with a sigh. "Yes, but she's going to have to work through it in her own way; in her own time."

Cut To:

Int.

Kennedy's Apartment – Living Room – Later that Night

Kennedy was sitting in the armchair, a half-full bottle of Jack Daniel's sitting on the table next to her. Her eyes were fixed on the glass in her hands that still had visible traces of the dark liquid resting at the bottom.

"So, you an alcoholic now?"

The slayer didn't have to look up to see the disapproving look she was receiving from her best friend.

"Go away, Faith," Kennedy said calmly as she reached over for the bottle. "I'm not in the mood."

Just as she was about to tip the bottle into the glass, Faith's hand reached out and snatched it from her.

"You can wallow in your self-pity all you want," the senior slayer said as she headed for the kitchen with the bottle. "But drinking yourself to death won’t help. Don’t wait as long as Robin did to figure that out."

Kennedy didn't reply. She slowly placed the glass on the table beside her before training her eyes off into the darkness of the apartment. Faith walked back into the room and stopped just behind the other slayer. Folding her arms over her chest, she sighed.

"So what exactly is the problem we're drinking away tonight - Kadin, Gregor, both?"

"Whadda you care?" Kennedy replied sharply. 

Faith opened her mouth with an angry expression on her face but suddenly stopped as if she thought better of it. Finally, she said calmly, "I'm trying to be a friend here and if you're my friend you won't make me play twenty questions to tell me what's on your mind."

After a brief silence, Kennedy asked, "Where you really going to die for him?"

Faith took an unsteady breath. "Well, you certainly cut to the chase," she replied.

"Isn't that what you wanted?" Kennedy asked frustrated.

Faith shrugged. "Yeah, but...stubborn ass you, I didn't think you'd do it," she answered with a slight grin. Kennedy's face showed no amusement so Faith went on. "It wasn't about him exactly. I had the chance to help someone in a way no one else could. I'm not gonna make up for all the crap I've done over my life. And someday, I'm gonna go to hell, so, why not help somebody in the process."

Kennedy took a ragged breath. "I was just starting to get attached to him, starting to learn something about my family, starting to learn something about me and...now I won't."

"I'm sorry Slick," Faith said sympathetically. "I am. But he might not have been the one who's got all the answers. You might have more family out there...And Vi...poor kid's beatin' herself up about this...She says you've hardly talked to her."

"I can't right now," Kennedy answered. "I know Gregor was wrong. I know that...but it doesn't make the hurt go away."

"Just remember, neither does the booze," Faith replied. "My dad spent his life in a bottle and it got him nowhere. You're better than that and no matter how down you feel right now, you know it's true." 

"Well, if I'm so wonderful why does Kadin only pop in and out of my life, huh?" Kennedy asked. "I don't want some damn friends with benefits. I want something real, someone I can turn to and someone who will turn to me. Is that too much ask?" 

"Why do you let her do this to you? Huh? I'm sure the right gal is out there but maybe she's not the one." Faith looked away with a scoff. 

Kennedy suddenly shot to her feet, turning to face her best friend.

"You don't know! Okay? So don't pretend that you do!" The younger slayer's eyes grew even darker and her jaw set tightly. 

"Then enlighten me," Faith replied. "Tell me what the deal is with this woman."

"You don't know what it's like…" Kennedy repeated. She paused and took a calming breath. "To want something so bad and to have it right there for you to just…to just reach out and grab…" Kennedy slowly pulled her eyes back up to Faith's.

"Then go grab it," Faith told her.

"Because I want more than a night…And we both know Kadin would never give me that."

All the anger quickly left the older slayer's face, and her eyes softened with sympathy. "Slick," she paused before correcting herself, "Kennedy, like I said. Maybe she's not the right one. I'm sorry."

The other slayer looked away uncomfortably. "Yeah…me too."

"I mean it," Faith continued, taking a few hesitant steps closer to her friend. "Oh hell, I have no right to judge you or her." A slow grin spread across her face, and she shook her head with a chuckle. "Actually, I got no right to judge anybody or anything, for that matter. My past ain't exactly overflowing with the good deeds."

Kennedy finally cracked a small smile. "Don't think you gotta worry 'bout bein' nominated for sainthood any time soon." Faith shot her a playful scowl, and they both shared in a small laugh.

After a long moment of silence, Faith cleared her throat. "Well, I should…I'll just be gettin' back to my…stuff now."

Kennedy nodded with a smile. "You do that."

Faith turned to leave, but stopped suddenly and turned back to face her friend.

"Slick?" Kennedy looked up expectantly. "I know you had it rough lately – the whole thing with Gregor and now –."

"Faith," Kennedy cut her off. "I know you tried, and that does help. And it might just be the alcohol talking but...he was willing to take you and Will from me, and truth be told…I’d rather you than him any day." Kennedy cracked a smile and added, "Even though you guys are both a pain in the ass."

Faith grinned too but then cocked her head to one side and looked at Kennedy intensely.

"If you want my advice," the rogue slayer continued when she received no objection, "ditch the bottle and grab life by the horns. Grab it and never let go. In our line of work, you never know if you're gonna live to see the next mornin'. So stop worryin' 'bout tomorrow and start livin' for today. Lay it on the line and show Kadin how you feel. Like I said, I can't judge her and, who knows, maybe she'll surprise us both?"

Kennedy grinned slowly. "Easier said than done."

"We both know you can do anything you set your mind to, Slick." Faith returned the grin.

"Yeah," Kennedy chuckled, shaking her head. "Maybe…once I’m a bit more sober."

Faith smiled and pointed at the other woman as she slowly backtracked out of the apartment. "I’ll see you bright an' early in the mornin'. You owe me a make-up trainin' session – hangover or not."

Faith began to walk away but Kennedy called out her name making her stop and turn around. 

"Faith, I want you to take your own advice," Kennedy told her.

"What do you mean?" Faith asked.

"You said Gregor might not be the one that had all the answers. So remember that. No more suicide missions, okay?"

"I won't promise Slick," Faith answered. "But I'll certainly do my best to try."

Faith disappeared into the hall, pulling the door closed behind her. The smile slowly faded from Kennedy's face as she fell back into the comfy chair. After a long moment of silence, her eyes drifted over to the glass sitting on the table next to her. She took in a deep breath before letting it out slowly. Reaching over to pick up the glass, she stared down at the brown residue still resting at the bottom. Her grip on the glass slowly increased until the pressure was too much and it shattered in her hand.

Cut To:

Int.

Kadin's Cabin – Bedroom – Moments Later

The hunter was lying on her back, her arms tucked under her head and her eyes fixed on the ceiling. Her mind seemed clouded with a thousand thoughts that bounced off each other, but the one of a certain brunette slayer prevailed most of all.

Cut To:

Series of Shots – Kennedy and Kadin (Kadin’s Memories)

-- Kennedy and Kadin talking amiably in a cemetery, having crossed paths

-- Kennedy and Kadin kissing passionately in Bucharest

-- Kennedy and Kadin playing a very intimate game of pool at the Alcove

-- Kennedy on top of Kadin on the floor after bumping into one another

Cut To:

Int.

Kadin’s Cabin – Bedroom – Same Time

Still lying on her bed, Kadin smiled, clearly enjoying her memories of her encounters with Kennedy.

Cut To:

Series of Shots – Kennedy and Kadin (Kadin’s Memories)

-- Kennedy pushing Kadin away after their kiss in Bucharest

-- Kennedy pushing Kadin away after their kiss in the Alcove

-- Kennedy distancing herself after their collision at the Council

Cut To:

Int.

Kadin’s Cabin – Bedroom – Same Time

Kadin frowned and opened her eyes. She let out a deep sigh and threw off the covers. Then she got out of bed and headed for the kitchen.

Cut To:

Int.

Kadin's Cabin – Kitchen – Moments Later

Kadin turned on the tap and placed the glass under the running water. She lifted it to her lips and gulped down the liquid in one swallow. Turning off the water, she placed the glass in the sink and lifted her eyes to the small window over the sink.

Bracing her hands on the counter, she trained her eyes out into the darkness. The full moon was reflecting beautifully off the small lake situated just to the far north side of her cabin. She took in the sight calmly, feeling her body relax for the first time in a while. Just as she was about to reach up to switch off the light, a sudden glimmer in the reflection on the lake caught her eye.

The hunter leaned more fully onto the counter, peering out into the night. A few more quick and sudden glimmers suddenly caught her attention. Switching off the light to get a better view, Kadin watched as the glimmering reflections slowly took form.

Cut To:

Ext.

Kadin's Cabin – Lake – Same Time

A heavy paw came down in the dirt against the water's edge, sinking into the mud. The reflection in the lake shimmered with the water’s rippling before clearing into the face of a snarling werewolf. The same reflection suddenly multiplied along the water's edge until there was a pack of ten menacing and salivating werewolves staring back at Kadin with red eyes and razor sharp canines.

Cut To:

Int.

Kadin's Cabin – Kitchen – Same Time

The hunter suddenly jumped back from the sink as her eyes took in the sight of the pack of werewolves staring her down across the lake. Her heart thumped wildly in her chest, and her throat suddenly ran very dry. A slight burning sensation flared up in her chest as she took a few slow steps back away from the window.

"Man," she groaned as she readied herself for the attack. "I really hate werewolves."

Fade Out.

End of Act One
Onto Act Two