Written, Produced and Directed by CN Winters
Edited by DragonWriter17
Sounds by CSR
Art Direction by Robert Kidman
Artists – Robert Kidman, Zahir al Daoud, Humaira, Isis and Mattxxx
Watchers Council – Computer Center – Day
Buffy paused in the doorway a moment and grinned as she saw Willow closing down her computer. Willow turned around to see her standing there.
"Hey Buff," she greeted. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah," she replied, stepping further inside. "Still getting all settled in and such. Thought I'd take a break."
"That's cool." Willow nodded.
"I thought maybe you might want to – "
"Are you done yet?" Faith asked, poking her head inside the doorway. "Oh, hey B. I thought she was still fiddling with the computer. I didn't know you guys were talking."
"No, I'm all finished up here," Willow replied. "I'll be ready in a minute. Buffy was going to ask me something." She turned expectantly to the blonde slayer-turned-watcher, waiting for her to continue.
"Oh," Buffy answered. "Nothing important. Just chit-chat."
"Oh, okay," Willow answered. She collected her things and in an afterthought said, "Hey, Faith and I are going to the matinee. Do you want to come?" she asked Buffy as she handed Faith her work to carry.
"No, you guys go on," Buffy told her. "I've got more to do around here."
"You sure?" Faith asked as she tucked the folders under her arm to help Willow.
"Yeah, go on."
"'K," Willow answered. "We'll see you later," she added, giving a short wave and leaving the room with Faith, using her crutches as she walked.
Buffy sighed and looked around the empty room.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Buffy walked through the lobby and saw Dawn talking to Jeff as they were putting on their jackets.
"Where you guys off to?" she asked. When Dawn gave her a peculiar look, Buffy held up her hands. "Not prying in a sisterly way, just curious."
"We're off to meet our new coven student," Jeff answered.
"And prospective girlfriend," Dawn teased.
Buffy grinned in response. "For which one of you?" she asked.
"Him," Dawn pointed.
"She is not," Jeff replied to Dawn before turning to Buffy. "But I will say this…she's not bad on the eyes."
"Well, maybe after you get back we can hang out a while?" Buffy suggested.
"I usually would," Dawn answered, "but I promised Kennedy I'd help her with the slayer schedule today, and later tonight Shannon and I have patrol. Can I take a rain check?" Dawn asked.
"A rain check it is," Buffy replied as she watched the two of them leave.
Again, Buffy sighed and looked around the empty room.
Watchers Council – Library – Moments Later
Buffy entered the library to see Giles, Rowena, and Robin laughing around a table.
"You seem to be on the mend," Buffy remarked.
"I'm fine," Giles answered. "Of course my wife would rather have me home in bed." Everyone raised their eyebrows. "Resting," he added seriously before giving a small grin. "Speaking of which, what time is it?"
"Just after one," Rowena answered, looking at her watch.
"I better call Becca," Giles said, reaching into his pocket and producing a cell phone.
"You have a cell phone? Giles has a cell phone? I have been gone for a while, haven't I?" Buffy announced in surprise.
Robin and Rowena both grinned at the comment, but Giles didn't look up as he dialed the numbers.
"After my heart attack Becca made me promise I'd always carry one…just in case," he added as he put it to his ear. "I know," were the first two words out of his mouth. "I'm fine, Becca, and I'm not tired in the least. I'm calling it a day right now, and I'm on my way home…I love you too. See you soon." Giles closed the phone and turned back to Robin and Rowena. "You both will be coming, won't you?"
"Of course," Rowena answered.
"Wouldn't miss it," Robin added.
"Miss what?" Buffy asked.
"Oh," Giles said, turning to face Buffy. "Elizabeth's first birthday. We're just having a small get-together – family – nothing fancy."
"Oh," Buffy's face couldn't help from falling.
"You're invited, of course," he told her. "I just haven't had the chance to ask you until now."
"Yeah, I'll come if you want me to," Buffy answered.
"Wonderful," Giles replied. "I'll see you all tomorrow then?"
"You can count on it," Rowena told him.
Giles gave the room a nod and gave Buffy's arm a tender squeeze before leaving. Buffy, however, continued to stand at the door.
"Did you need something, Buffy?" Robin asked.
"Oh, no. I just stopped by to see what's going on."
"We're transcribing Giles's recorded conversations about the temple if you'd like to lend a hand," Rowena offered.
"As thrilling as that sounds, I think I'll pass," Buffy answered. "Besides, I should go shopping for a birthday present for Liz anyway. Thanks."
With a sigh, Buffy left the room.
Watchers Council – Unseen Location – Moments Later
Buffy paced back and forth.
"Willow's with Faith. Rowena's with Robin. Dawn's off with Jeff to meet some new Coven recruit. Giles went home to his wife and kid. Vi and Xander were making out much like Tracey and Andrew…well, Vi and Xander looked like they had more of an idea what they were doing but…the point is everyone has a life…And here I am," Buffy said, taking a seat on a bench before her hands motioned forward, "talking to you."
Skye sat inside her cell, casually reclined on her cot.
"Yeah, looks like it all comes back to you – spending time in the basement with vamps who have a thing for hot chicks. The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?" Buffy nodded absently. "Well, don't be gettin' any ideas. I'm a one-woman vamp, and you ain't the woman."
Buffy sighed. "What am I supposed to do with you?" she asked.
"Let me go," Skye replied.
"Oh yeah, that'll work," Buffy replied sarcastically.
"Why not?" Skye answered. "Just because I no longer have a soul doesn't mean I can't do good. People with souls have done terrible things, far worse than anything I've ever done."
"Yeah, well, doing terrible things comes easier when you don't have a soul – like killing Council members, slayers, and co-eds."
"Technically, Bonnie was not a Council member but a pain in the ass. That woman was responsible for more deaths than most folks here. And it was a co-ed, singular, not co-eds. I got hungry. But as for Dana…well…you got me there," Skye remarked.
"Plus," Buffy went on, "you don't have that nagging thing called 'remorse' to bother you."
"True," Skye answered, "but you want to know something? Being evil…or trying to be evil in my case…it felt…boring."
"Yeah, I could have wandered around any town, feeding off victims when I needed to, but it's easy. People can be so trusting. And the kill? There's really no thrill to it. At least, not for me."
"And you're different?" Buffy said skeptically.
"Well, I've heard all these stories about how vamps love to indulge in the hunt. I just don't feel that…desire. What I'd really like to do is just walk into a Double Meat Palace in broad daylight, order a burger, and be done with it. Besides, I hate the taste of human blood. But really, why waste hundreds of years trying to pretend to be something I'm not."
"Then what do you find thrilling? What keeps you around, besides my sister, of course?" Buffy asked.
"Walking a path I'm not supposed to walk," Skye answered. "Doing things that no one thinks I'm capable of doing. That's where I found joy in my living existence. Proving people wrong – like my parents, who thought being a dyke was a phase; like the teachers who told me that I was dumb and that college would be a waste of money. So many people over the years stuck a label on me and never looked deeper."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because Dawn isn't a phase for me and those teachers..." Skye shook her head and then smiled. "I wasn't slow. My IQ is at least double each one of theirs. I sought out challenges my entire life, so with a little luck and some faith, maybe, just maybe, the Council will take a chance and let me challenge what I'm supposed to be in my demon life."
Buffy looked like she considered it.
"Here's an idea," Skye replied. "I know what Dawn tried to do. I know she failed, and I know the soul that once filled this body is gone, possibly forever. So all I have is what's left here now. Instead of looking for some great plan to totally re-soul me, why not find a spell that doesn't allow me to leave the Council or harm any living creature in it without getting all flamey or something?"
"I don't know," Buffy replied.
"Come on, Willow is a kick-ass witch," Skye replied. Buffy had to nod in agreement with the comment. "If anyone could find a spell like that, it would be her. Besides, I've had my chance to leave, several in fact. I think that should amount to something," When Buffy said nothing, Skye added, "All I'm saying is consider it. Not like I'm getting any older down here while I wait on a decision, so take all the time you need."
Once more Buffy sighed and looked around the empty cellblock.
Fade to Black
End of Teaser
Onto Act One