Story by Dan Joslyn
Written by Dan Joslyn (additional writing by CN Winters and Drew)
Produced and Directed by CN Winters
Edited by Angie Wilson
Sounds by CSR
Art Direction by Robert Kidman
Artists – Robert Kidman, Isis, and Mattxxx
Cemetery – Day
In a quiet corner of the cemetery, surrounded by empty, black winter
trees, a light snow fell on the funeral. A white dusting was starting to
form on two side-by-side coffins. Each was made of simple wood, and
they each supported a large framed photograph, one of a man, one of a
woman. They were both smiling widely. A dour priest intoned a biblical
passage in an unfamiliar language.
The coffins were surrounded by a sparse group of people dressed in
black. All stood quiet, straight-
faced, and somber. All except
one little blonde girl, perhaps six
years old. She stood at the foot
of the coffins, dressed in a bulky
winter coat and mittens,
An old woman walked up behind
the girl and placed a gloved
hand on her shoulder.
"Hiljainen, lapsi," she said gently. "Se jälkisäädös olla aivan avian."
Subtitle: "Quiet, child. It will be all right."
This didn’t seem to help at all, as the little girl’s sobs only grew louder.
Through red, wet eyes, she looked around at the adults surrounding her.
Some appeared tired or uncomfortable. Others were sad but composed,
putting on a brave face for the child’s benefit.
Suddenly, the girl threw off the old woman’s grip and ran forward to her
mother’s coffin. She grabbed onto the end of the box like a bear hug.
"Heli!" the old woman exclaimed, as she tried to pry the little girl loose.
The priest stopped his recitation and the attendees of the funeral
murmured among themselves.
"Ei, Dollaria!" Heli screamed.
Subtitle: "No, Grandma!"
Heli had a heck of a grip, but eventually her grandmother managed to
pull her away from the coffin. The other members of the group were on
the receiving end of a tearful glare from the little girl.
"Hän areena te huudahtava?" Heli yelled as her grandmother dragged her
away. "Minun vanhemmat aari ehdottoman. Hän areena te huudahtava?"
Subtitle: "Why aren’t you crying? My parents are dead. Why aren’t you
Once they were some distance away, under the sparse branches of an
isolated tree, the old woman took Heli in her arms.
"Shh, shh," she soothed. "Shh."
After a few last sobs, the tears stopped falling from Heli’s young eyes.
She stared back at the small group of black-clad mourners huddled
around her parents’ graves, a gaze that seemed to come from someone
much older than six years of age.
Voiceover: "People wear masks."
Unknown Location – Night
The adult version of Heli looked
directly at someone as she spoke.
Her words were clear, precisely
"They wear them all the time. You would think they do it to hide who
they are from the world, but that’s not it. They do it because they can’t
admit their true nature. They can’t stand to look in the mirror and see
their own real face."
"That’s where I come in. I find out what’s behind those masks. I rip them
off and then I hold up a mirror and I make them stare. Really all I’m
doing is helping them. Someday they’ll thank me, but that’s not why I do
it. I dedicate myself to discovering the truth because truth… is beauty.
And what higher calling is there than the pursuit of beauty?’’
Heli stood in the center of an empty parking garage, surrounded by
demons of various shapes and sizes. Most of them had blank looks on
their faces. Heli saw that she was losing them.
She threw up her hands in exasperation and said, "Also, if you help me,
you get to kill a lot of slayers."
The demons nodded and smiled. A well-muscled one with yellowish skin
and red eyes got to his feet and said, "I think we have an understanding."
Tokyo City Street – Night
Neon lights reflected off mirrored office buildings. The street was jammed
with cars, the sidewalks choked with people. Japanese characters
flickered on signs, stared from faded
posters on walls, blared from
billboards. Every square inch of
something was covered with something
Two local girls walked through the
throng. One wore tiny cat ears on a
headband over short hair dyed
partially purple, the other was tall with
long, dark, straight locks.
"Watashitachi wa koko ni nanimo ga mitsukemasen," the tall girl
complained. "Ōsugiru hitobito desu."
Subtitle: "We’re not going to find anything here. Too crowded."
"Hai. Sō desu," said the girl with the cat ears. "Ano, soko ni ikimasenka –
Subtitle: "Yes. You’re right. Well, let’s go there – hey!"
Subtitle: "What is it?"
Subtitle: "I don’t …"
Cat-Ears pointed frantically across the street. Her partner looked where
she was indicating and noticed a flash of blonde hair.
The crowd suddenly parted and for a split second the two girls could
plainly see Heli walking down the street.
The tall girl’s eyes went wide as saucers.
Tokyo Alley – Moments Later
In the mouth of a cramped nearby alley, Cat-Ears was yelling into her
walkie-talkie. Buildings towered on either side, and some sort of steam
was billowing from a nearby vent.
Subtitle: "It’s her!"
"Anata wa nani ga oshaberi yaku desu ka?" a male voice asked over the
Subtitle: "What are you talking about? Calm down!"
"Iie, watashi wa maji ochitsuku!" she yelled back. "Anata wa
wakarimasen. Shibuya ni watashitachi ga imasu. Mina o yobu. Ima wa
kanojo ga toraemasu."
Subtitle: "No I won’t calm down! You don’t understand. We’re in Shibuya.
Send everybody. We can get her right now."
She looked up to see the taller girl blow into the alley at top speed.
"Sekaseru!" the girl yelled as she ran past.
Subtitle: "Come on!"
With a frustrated grunt, Cat-Ears took off after her. "Kanojo wa
nakushita o oshietemasu."
Subtitle: "Don’t tell me you lost her!"
"Kanojo wa nakushita shimasen," the taller girl replied.
Subtitle: "I didn’t lose her."
They each skidded to a stop when the shapes of several demons
appeared from the mist at the end of the alley.
"Nan desu ka?!" Cat-Ears asked, her voice reaching a high octave; almost
to the point of screaming.
Subtitle: "What’s going on!"
"Satsu, Fumie," a voice called from behind them. At the sound of their
names, the two girls slowly turned
Heli walked towards them, her
footsteps echoing in the sudden
silence. In the distance behind her,
more demons blocked the entrance to
"Otetsudai shimashouka?" Heli asked.
A grin began to spread across her face.
Subtitle: "Can I help you?"
End of Teaser
Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van
Helsing, Norika Fujiwara as Mia, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley,
and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Alicia Silverstone as Heli Hamalainen, Chiaki Kuriyama as Nozomi, Mia
Maestro as Isabel, Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix, Elisabeth Sladen as
Dianna Earl, Indigo as Rona, Felicia Day as Vi Joston, Kou Shibasaki as
Fumie, and Aki Maeda as Satsu (Cat-Ears)
Cleveland Warehouse – Night
Kennedy held her forearm in front of her face to block a punch. She was
surrounded by three large
brown demons, spikes growing
from their shoulders, their skin
covered in what looked like
There were hardly any
furnishings around the place.
The walls and the few pillars
that held the roof up were
peeling with old white paint.
Long ago, someone had blacked
out the windows, except for a few broken spots.
Kennedy sighed. "You guys think you’ve got me, don’t you?" She received
only menacing gurgles in response.
Kennedy grabbed one of the demons around the neck and used it as a
pendulum to whip herself around and deliver kicks to the chests of the
other two demons. She then snapped the first demon’s neck with a hard
twist. She stepped over the two demons on the ground, kicking one in
the face as it tried to get up. She walked over to where her sword lay on
the dirty concrete floor.
Without hurry, she walked back over and stabbed one of the demons
through the chest. She turned to find that the final demon had managed
to get to its feet and was trying to run away. With an almost casual flick
of her wrist, she sent her sword through the air, straight as an arrow. It
entered the fleeing demon through the back and exited through its chest.
"Didn’t think I’d see you
A startled Kennedy whipped
around to see a dark-haired
girl standing in the center of
the warehouse behind her,
hands on hips.
"Isabel," Kennedy said softly.
"So you know," the girl replied. Her English had improved remarkably.
She took a few steps forward.
"Stay away from me!" Kennedy nearly screamed.
Isabel kept walking towards her. "That was pretty impressive," she said.
"I guess your skills haven’t declined, in spite of everything."
Kennedy’s eyes were wide, but her feet remained planted firmly in place.
"Everyone’s counting on me," she said. "I’m the only one left."
Isabel smirked. "In that case, I get the feeling that everyone’s in big
Kennedy watched the Spanish girl draw ever closer. "I… I’ve been
wondering. Do you take requests?"
"I’m not a karaoke machine," Isabel told her, "but you’re a peach. And I
mean that literally." She stopped a few feet from Kennedy. The two girls
stood directly facing each other in the center of the huge room.
At that point, the entire building suddenly began to shake. Kennedy put
her arms out for balance.
"Did you do this?" she yelled.
Isabel stood confidently on her feet, unaffected by the debris that had
begun to fall from the ceiling. "Don’t look at me. I’m not the one playing
The cement gave way beneath Kennedy’s feet, opening into a huge
chasm. As she fell, she managed to snag the edge of the hole with one
hand. Kennedy looked down into the black, and suddenly she saw Heli,
standing on what had to be the bottom, grinning back at her. She held a
single burning stick of incense in her hand.
"Hurry up," Heli called. "Your toast is getting cold."
Panicked, Kennedy looked back up to see Isabel standing over her. The
girl reached down towards her.
"Take my hand," Isabel said.
"No!" Kennedy cried.
"Take my hand!" Isabel insisted.
Slayer Rec Room – Evening
Grace let out a brief scream when Kennedy grabbed her hand. Kennedy’s
eyes shot open.
"It was his idea!" Grace yelled.
Andrew popped his head out from his hiding place behind the couch. "No
it wasn’t!" Kennedy gave them both a confused look. "I mean…hi!"
Kennedy blinked a few times. "I can tell I’m awake because of the
weirdness. Why are you guys here?"
"We were just debating whether to wake you up," Andrew told her as he
rose to his feet.
Kennedy looked very tired. "Why?"
"Just got some new stuff in from Japan we thought you should see,"
Grace explained. "But I remembered what happened that time I tried to
wake up Mia and I still can’t rotate my shoulder all the way around,
"Grace…" Kennedy said, in a tone that said she had no patience for this.
"What stuff from Japan?"
"Before we do that," Grace said, "would you maybe mind letting go of my
hand? It’s starting to hurt."
Kennedy looked down to see that she still had a death grip on Grace’s
"Oh, sorry," she said, letting go.
"Thanks." Grace rubbed her wrist gingerly, a sour look on her face.
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Dining Room – Evening
Willow, Rowena and Xander were all chuckling as he picked up the wine
bottle. In front of them were pots and pans along with their plates and
"Want some more, Will?" he asked as he poured some into his glass.
"I’m good," Willow replied.
"Ro?" he said holding the bottle up.
"None for me thanks," she told him. "Actually, I’m not supposed to drink
right now," she added and shot a glance to Willow.
"You on antibiotics?" Xander asked as he picked up his fork and took the
last bite of the food on his plate.
"No," Willow answered. "Actually we had an ulterior motive for inviting
you to dinner tonight."
"You’re not under a spell again, are you guys?" he asked, wiggling his
eyebrows, before he started to chew again.
"No," Rowena giggled.
"Damn," Xander said seriously before grinning.
"But it’s funny you should mention that," Rowena said.
"Yeah, you remember the island trip, right?" Willow asked. Xander gave
her look as if to say "are you stupid?" "Dumb question. Anyway, the thing
is…well, things being what they are…"
"I’m pregnant," Rowena blurted out, cutting to the chase.
"Yeah, she’s pregnant," Willow muttered.
The room filled with dead silence.
"And you’re the dad," Rowena added.
"Yeah, and you’re the dad," Willow muttered once more.
The sound of Xander’s fork hitting the china plate echoed through
the room. He said nothing at
first. He simply stared across the
"So," Rowena said optimistically
as she stood up. "Anyone want
Xander held up a hand and
motioned her to sit back down.
"You’re pregnant and I’m the
Rowena took her seat. "We didn’t know how to tell you, Xander,
and…and we don’t expect anything from you. I mean, it would be
wonderful if you wanted to be a part of this child’s life but there’re no
strings attached. In fact, Willow and I talked about it and if you don’t
want anyone to know we won’t say anything."
"Absolutely," Willow told him. "We’ll tell people we went to a clinic o-or
something. The point is we don’t want you to feel put on the spot. It
would be wonderful if you did want to be involved."
"Really wonderful," Rowena added.
"Right, but…well, we didn’t plan this a-and you didn’t plan this, but
we’re looking at it as more of a surprise than an accident. A-and really,
out of all the guys we know, you really are tops on the list."
Rowena nodded enthusiastically.
"Well, at least I’m good for stud, huh?"
"No," Rowena and Willow both said quickly before Rowena continued.
"Xander, some really bad things happened on the island but…we think
something really wonderful happened too. We do want this child to know
where it came from and we’d hope that you’d want to be a part of it. But,
on the other hand, we also understand if you don’t want to be…tied
down in anyway. That’s all we’re saying."
"And we’re saying it badly," Willow replied.
Rowena shrugged and gave a slight nod. "Can’t argue with you there."
"So you guys are gonna be moms then?" They both nodded. "To my kid?"
They nodded again. Slowly, Xander began to grin. "Well, I couldn’t think
of two better ladies to do the job."
"You’re taking this really well," Willow complimented.
"Well, half of me is doing cartwheels and the other half is still in total
shock," he admitted before he started to chuckle. "No, this is okay. This
is better than okay. This is great. Come here," he said as he stood up and
walked over to Willow, giving her a hug. "You too," he said motioning
Rowena toward him as he took steps toward her. After he pulled her into
an embrace he pulled back and put his hand on her belly. "Can you feel
"Not yet," Rowena told him, "but in a few months I’m sure you’ll have lots
of chances…if you want them that is."
"Ha," Xander let out. "This is…this is pretty cool."
"Buffy is the only other one that knows right now," Willow told him.
"You told Buffy before me?" Xander asked, sounding a tad wounded.
"It was unintentional," Rowena replied. "I was spazing, she noticed and it
kind of slipped out. Truth is I was torn about who to tell first."
"There was much freakage," Willow admitted. "But we’re keeping things
quiet right now."
"Yeah, the first three months are the most dangerous," Rowena
explained. "The highest chance for miscarriage is in the first trimester
so…we’d like to keep this under our hats for now."
Xander nodded. "So when’s the bundle of joy supposed to arrive?" he
"End of November, Beginning of December," Willow replied.
"Maybe December 2nd?" Xander suggested.
"Well, if it does it will be the best birthday gift I ever got," Willow said as
she pulled Rowena closer to her and gave her a kiss.
Xander smiled. "I’m so happy for you guys, really. And yes, if the offer is
there I promise I’ll stick around. I’ll do whatever I can to help you guys –
all of you."
"It’s there Xander," Willow told him.
"And very genuine," Rowena added.
Xander smiled and then motioned them back to the table. "You ladies sit
down. I’ll get dessert. This calls for double chocolate fudge cake," he said
before he scurried off to the kitchen.
Rowena turned to Willow. "Well, that actually went pretty well."
"Yeah," Willow nodded. "Guess this is our lucky day."
They leaned in and were about to kiss each other when a loud buzzing
cut through the moment. They shared a look.
"You are such a jinx!" Rowena exclaimed.
"Am not!" Willow huffed.
"Are too!" Rowena joshed as she walked over to the intercom unit
hanging from the wall. She pressed a button. "Yeah?"
"We know where Heli is," Kennedy’s voice announced in a business-like
Rowena and Willow shot each other a surprised look.
"Does this mean we’re not having chocolate cake?" Xander asked from
Hallway – Watchers Council – Evening
Rowena and Willow fell into step on either side of Kennedy as the slayer
strode purposefully down a hallway. Xander trailed behind the three
"What do we know?" Rowena asked.
"Tokyo branch found two of its slayers on its doorstep about fifteen
minutes ago. Dead. Not pretty." She handed a manila folder to Rowena,
who grimaced at the pictures.
"Tokyo?" Willow asked. "What’s she doing in Tokyo?"
"Wild guess…being an evil psychotic bitch?" Xander offered.
"Where’s Buffy?" Willow asked. "Where’s Faith?"
"Visiting Giles," Kennedy said. "We’re not waiting."
Rowena was still leafing through the folder. Among them were several
images that looked like extreme close-ups of various objects. "What are
"Photos taken from a disposable camera," Kennedy said. "She left it on
"You think they’re clues?" Rowena asked.
Kennedy nodded once. "Unless Heli’s taken up abstract photography."
"Right. Well, I’ll go pack." Rowena turned and jogged off in the opposite
Willow did a double-take. "Wait…what?" She ran to follow her fiancée.
"Hurry up," Kennedy called over her shoulder. "Mia’s getting the
"Kennedy?" Xander asked, putting his hand on her shoulder.
"Can I talk to you?"
Kennedy sighed and turned to look at him. "Xander, I’m in kind of a
hurry right now. Can this wait?"
Kennedy quirked her head and then, after a moment, nodded. The two of
them began to walk together down the hall.
"To tell the truth, I’m not sure where I was walking to. It’ll take them at
least an hour to clear space at the airport."
"So it just seemed like a walk-and-talk moment?" Xander asked with a
"Pretty much, yeah." Kennedy nodded.
Willow and Rowena’s
Apartment – Moments Later
"You’re pregnant, Ro!" Willow
was on the verge of yelling.
"With a baby!"
"Yes, a baby, unless, of course,
Xander’s not actually a human.
But I think we’ve established
that he is, so we’re safe there."
"This isn’t funny," Willow replied.
A suitcase lay open on the bed. Rowena was rifling through the closet,
shadowed by a gesticulating Willow over her shoulder.
"No, it’s not, and you saw those pictures proving how ‘unfunny’ this is,"
Rowena said. "If we’re going to prevent more deaths, we need a watcher
on the scene." Rowena lifted out a bulletproof vest on a hanger.
"They have watchers in Tokyo!" Willow insisted. "We have other watchers
here. Watchers that aren’t pregnant!"
Rowena turned to look at Willow. "You mean watchers who aren’t
pregnant with your baby, don’t you?"
Willow paused. "Yes, I’m being biased here, okay? Is that so wrong?"
Rowena grinned and stroked the side of Willow’s cheek. "Honey, I
wouldn’t expect anything less. But we need a watcher who knows Heli.
And we also need to get something else straight right now. What we do is
important. What I do is important. I’m not going to stop working just
because I’m pregnant."
Willow’s expression softened a little…but only a little. "I’m not looking to
get you fitted for an apron and a rolling pin here…Heli is a crazy
murderer. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go looking for crazy
Rowena looked over Willow’s shoulder. "Speaking of…"
"Oh, come on," Skye said from the doorway. "Like you couldn’t have
pulled that with almost anyone who works here."
Rowena sighed and looked back at Willow. "I’m sorry, Willow, but I have
"And so do I," Skye announced. Both women turned towards her,
surprised. Skye raised an eyebrow. "Don’t look so shocked. I’m the best
tracker you guys have and you know it. Remember that time with the
bomb? Besides, I’m feeling all redemptiony tonight for some reason."
Willow and Rowena gave each other a knowing look.
"How much this time?" Rowena asked.
"Five hundred dollars," Skye replied.
"What?" Willow and Rowena both exclaimed.
"My anniversary with Dawn is coming up. I want to take her someplace
nice…Oh, and did I mention I’m feeling all redemptiony too?"
Xander’s Apartment – Living Room – Moments Later
"So it sounds like this might be it – you might actually catch her,"
Xander said as he closed his apartment door behind him and Kennedy.
"We’re gonna try," Kennedy agreed. "Tokyo’s a big city, but…I have a
feeling this time." She watched as Xander leaned awkwardly on a
bookshelf, hands in his pockets. "So, what is it?"
Xander almost looked startled. "Sorry?"
"You brought me here for a reason," Kennedy said, her voice on the edge
of impatience. "What was it?"
Xander scratched his face, eyes down on the floor. "Listen, Kennedy…I
know you and Vi were really good friends."
One could almost see Kennedy’s defenses come up. After a moment,
stone-faced, she said, "Yeah. Yeah, we were."
"I…I wanted to tell you to be careful," Xander said. "I wanted to tell you
to…" He looked up at her. "…to nail this bitch."
"That’s the plan," Kennedy said, trying to force a cocky grin.
Xander sized her up for a moment, then motioned for her to follow him. "I
have something to show you."
Xander’s Apartment – Bedroom – Moments Later
Kennedy sat down on the edge of the bed. "Look, I know Vi meant a lot to
Her mouth dropped open when Xander opened his closet doors. Inside
were several shelves covered in photos of Vi. In some she was with
Xander. In a few others, she was with Kennedy. In most of them she was
smiling broadly. The shelves also held several images and figurines of
angels. Around all this Xander had arranged some of Vi’s possessions,
jewelry and knick-knacks mostly.
Kennedy got up and took a few almost involuntary steps toward the
display. Her eyes moved swiftly over everything. She reached forward and
picked up one of the picture frames, then after a moment she quickly put
"Xander, I don’t…" She trailed off, unable to put what she was feeling
"I never could find her hat, you know, the one she always wore? She said
it was lucky, that her dad made it for her."
"I remember," Kennedy breathed.
Xander reached behind one of the photos, pulled out a small box made of
polished wood, and handed it to Kennedy. "But I want you to have this."
She looked up at him, not understanding.
"Open it," he said softly.
Kennedy put the box down on the bed and unlatched the top of the box
and carefully raised the lid. Inside were two carefully carved wooden
stakes, silver Vs inlaid at the blunt end. Kennedy removed one from the
box and looked at it.
Then, all at once, she fell apart. Tears ran down her face and a loud sob
forced its way out from deep inside her chest. She clutched onto Vi’s
stake with one hand and tried to cover her face with the other.
"It’s okay," Xander whispered as he put his arms around her. "It’s okay.
Let it out. Just don’t squeeze too hard." Kennedy leaned on him for
support, hardly able to stand up. She buried her face in his shoulder.
Sobs continued to wrack her body for several seconds.
After a while, she managed to
pull herself together enough to
stand back and wipe her nose
on her sleeve.
"Don’t worry," he smiled. "I
won’t tell anyone."
She tried to smile. "Not what I
was going to say."
"I know." he smiled back. "Look, we both want to catch this girl. But your
welfare is important, too, okay? If things get too hairy, let it go. We’ll get
her another time. No matter what happens, I don’t want to see another
dead slayer, especially not you."
"Okay," Kennedy sighed.
"I mean it," he admonished.
Kennedy put a hand on his dry shoulder. "I will." She turned to face the
closet again. "Has anyone else seen this?"
"Nope," he said. "I didn’t want them to think I was…I dunno, crazy I
She faced him again. "We need to have a talk about this, but right now I
have a lunatic to catch. Rain check?"
Xander looked sheepish and nodded. Kennedy walked over towards the
door. When she reached it she stopped and said, "I was going to say
He smiled. "Get going."
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport – Very Early Morning
It was still dark, cloudy, threatening to rain. A jet stood at the ready on
the tarmac, the Council coat of arms painted on its tail. A small, somber
looking group climbed the stairs from the tarmac to the door of the plane
carrying their baggage with them. Rowena went first, followed by Skye
and Mia. Kennedy brought up the rear. She stopped at the top of the
stairs and took one last look around, her eyes unreadable. Then she
stepped through the door and it shut behind her.
Council Jet – Moments Later
Kennedy walked into the impeccably clean cabin of the jet. The others
were already trying to settle into their seats. Everyone turned in unison
when the sound of a toilet flushing came from the back of the plane.
The bathroom door folded open to reveal Kadin, shaking her hands dry.
"Hey," she said.
She was met with a plane-full of blank looks. Kennedy looked
"We’ve got us a crasher," Mia said ruefully. Then her brow furrowed and
Rowena gave her a look. "Suddenly realizing that’s not the best thing to
say on an airplane."
Kadin spoke directly to Kennedy. "What, like I’d let you go into this
without me? Not after…everything."
After a moment, Kennedy nodded and motioned for Kadin to sit next to
"Well," Skye sighed as Kadin walked past her, "at least now we have the
on-again-off-again romantic angst front covered for this trip. Knew we
were missing something." She grinned when Rowena slapped her lightly
on the arm.
Nightclub – Tokyo – Night
Loud rock music blared through a crowded nightclub. Some people
danced, while others sat in small groups at little round tables, laughing
with each other. Neon lights danced across the ceiling and around the
sleek glass bar. A video of clouds moving swiftly across a blue sky was
projected onto one wall for no
discernible reason. A flashing
neon sign above the bar read
"ORANGE" in English.
The bartender, a slight
Japanese girl with large eyes,
wiped off a couple of glasses
and put them away. When she
turned back to the bar, she
found Heli staring back at her.
"American?" the bartender
Heli shook her head. "European. So you speak English?"
"I am learning," the bartender said. "University. I need to practice."
"Well, practice girl," Heli replied, "why don’t you get me a Sprite?"
The bartender quirked an eyebrow. "No alcohol?"
Heli just shook her head.
"What do you think of Tokyo?" the bartender asked as she filled a glass
Heli thought about this for a moment. Strange lights played over her
face. "It’s not what I expected. A lot of…" She motioned around the bar.
"…this. Game shows where the hosts dress like clowns. Faceless people
crammed onto subway cars. Giant billboards of pink cartoon dinosaurs.
The bartender put the Sprite in front of Heli and smiled. "It is not all that
Heli shook her head and took a sip from her drink. "No. No it isn’t.
There’s something else. Something ancient and beautiful.
Something…sacred. I came to find that. But all this is on top of it."
As Heli took a longer drink, the bartender gave her a hard look.
"Have I seen you somewhere?" the girl asked.
Heli sat patiently and waited for the realization to hit. When it did, the
bartender’s eyes went wide.
"You are…" she couldn’t finish the sentence. Her mouth worked, but her
English had gone out the window.
Heli spoke deliberately, in clean Japanese. "I’m not hiding anymore."
She downed another large gulp of her Sprite.
"Nani … nani ga hoshii desu ka?" the bartender stammered.
Subtitle: "What…What do you want?"
"I’m waiting for an old friend," Heli replied. "I wonder if she’ll show."
She downed most of her Sprite, hopped off her stool, and walked away
from the bar. In shock, the bartender stared after her for several seconds
amidst the din. Then all at once she snapped out of it and pulled out her
Street Outside Nightclub – Moments Later
When Heli exited the front door of Orange, a large, muscled demon was
waiting for her in the shadows. She didn’t acknowledge it in any way.
Instead, she kept on walking.
"Did you get what you wanted?" it asked, scurrying after her.
"I did," she said. "We should probably leave now."
Heli kept walking, completely expressionless as the club receded behind
With a huge burst of orange flame,
the building behind her exploded.
The demon was knocked clean off its
feet, but Heli didn’t seem phased.
Burning debris rained down on the
street in slow motion. Somewhere
nearby, a car alarm was going off.
Heli’s face was wreathed by destruction.
End of Act One
Old Watchers Council Headquarters – Slayer Rec Room - Morning
Title: January 2004
Vi found Kennedy sitting on the couch in front of the television,
randomly flicking through channels. She put her hands on her hips.
"Weren’t you here last night?" Vi took a moment to size Kennedy up. "In
the same clothes?"
Kennedy didn’t look up at her. "Yeah, probably." Her voice was flat. She
had large bags under her eyes. Vi grabbed the remote from her and
turned off the television. That finally got Kennedy’s attention. "Hey!"
Vi sat down on the couch next to her. "Ken, I say this as your friend.
Snap out of it!"
"Tried that already," Kennedy said sadly. "Didn’t work."
"If you count drinking lots and lots of beer as ‘snapping out of it,’ then
you tried it," Vi said. She put a hand over Kennedy’s. "Look,
maybe…maybe this whole thing with…" She trailed off.
"It’s okay if you say her name, Vi," Kennedy told her, a little bit of a smile
on her face.
"Willow," Vi finished. "Maybe it’s for the best. I mean, I always sort of
wondered what you two had to talk about."
"Well, the best parts didn’t involve talking," Kennedy said with a sly grin,
"but you’d be surprised. It’s hard to explain. And I-I can’t picture having
that with somebody else."
"You will," Vi assured her, looking directly into Kennedy’s eyes. "And
anyway, you’ll always have me. There probably won’t be much sex
involved, but we can…y’know, hang. And I’m here if you need to talk."
"We’re talking now," Kennedy pointed out.
Vi was looking over her shoulder at the girl who was poking her head
through the door of the Slayer Rec Room. She waved the girl over.
"Hey, Ken, have you met the new girl?" Vi asked. "No, you wouldn’t have,
you’ve been here moping instead of living your life."
"Okay, I get it," Kennedy said. She was grinning now.
Vi made the introductions. "Kennedy, this is Heli. She just transferred in
from London. Heli, this is Kennedy."
Heli enthusiastically shook Kennedy’s hand. Her accent was still pretty
thick. "Happy to meet you."
Kennedy cocked an eyebrow. "Where you from, Heli?"
"Sweden," Vi supplied.
"Finland," Heli corrected.
"Finland," Vi said. "Actually, Heli, stay close to Ken here. She might not
look it right now, but she is an awesome slayer. Seriously. Dead things
everywhere. You can learn a lot from her."
Heli nodded. "I am sure I can."
"Is Kennedy in here?" Rona was standing in the doorway.
"Yes," Kennedy said, sounding tired. She sat up in her seat and turned
around. "What is it?"
"I wanted to talk to you about the whole gun issue," Rona said as she
walked towards the couch. "But if this is a bad time I can—"
"Rona, I know what you’re going to ask," Kennedy sighed, "and Faith and
I both agree, the answer is no."
"Slayers don’t use guns," Kennedy said firmly. Heli quirked an eyebrow at
this as she settled into a recliner.
"Oh, that’s okay," Vi said cheerily. "We’ve got other options." She pointed
a knuckle in Rona’s direction. "Wonder Twin Invincibility Powers,
activate." All she got from Rona was a baleful stare. "Okay, fine, but
when something crazy happens and you start wishing you’re invincible,
don’t come crying to me."
Council Plane – Day
Kennedy stood in the back of the plane with Mia, inspecting the weapons
they had spread out over the seats.
"Where are the guns?" she asked.
"There-there aren’t any guns," Mia replied, confusion in her voice.
"I asked you to—."
"You asked me to grab some weapons," Mia interrupted. "I went for sharp
and pointy. We’re not Black Ops."
"Mia, come on," Kennedy said. Her voice was louder now. "Don’t be
Mia crossed her arms and went into a defensive posture. "This was your
rule, remember? If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times. Slayers
don’t use guns. So if anyone here’s being stupid right now…"
"Girls?" Skye interrupted, turning around in her seat. "Not helping."
They both gave her an incredulous look. Skye smirked. "Yeah, I know.
Since when do I have to play referee?"
After a beat, Kennedy turned back to Mia. "The rules are different now."
"Since when?" Mia asked.
She and Kennedy locked eyes for a moment, but then Kennedy shook her
head and turned back to the spread of swords and axes on the seats.
"It’s okay," she said. "They’ve got an armory in Tokyo. We’ll just have to
ask if we can…borrow some stuff."
Bureau Nine HQ – Isabel’s Bedroom – Night
Isabel sat on the edge of her bed, hands folded in her lap.
"I don’t know if I can help you," she said quietly. "I’m still not sure if I
understand what’s happening to me."
Felix sat in a chair across the room, illuminated by a single lamp on a
nearby dresser, resting his chin in one hand.
Isabel looked down at the floor. "I killed my friends."
Felix blinked, then took a breath. "Did you plan to kill them?"
"What does it matter?" Isabel asked bluntly. "They’re still dead."
"It very much matters. Now, please answer my question--did you at any
time plan to kill them?"
She sighed. "My actions killed them. That's what matters."
Felix stood and crossed the room to where Isabel sat. He went down on
one knee and laid one of his hands over hers. He spoke slowly. "Did you
do anything wrong? Make a mistake? Did you even try to do anything
except save them, save them and others? Under the circumstances, it is
entirely natural that you feel guilt, but Isabel you do not deserve that
"Why not?" She said it with no inflection at all.
He almost smiled. "Guilt comes only with an act of will. Guilt stems from
choice, from action. And you made no ill choice. You did not do anything,
in fact. Something happened to you. Because of that something, your
friends did indeed die and your pain at that fact is real, even searing. But
has nothing at all to do with guilt. Not really. It has everything to do with
He nodded. "Because it should not have happened. Because you need to
blame something, someone. And there isn't anyone to blame. So you
fixed upon the one person in range." Felix took a deep breath. Isabel
looked at his face intently. "I wanted to die with my wife and daughter. I
longed for it. And frankly, my rage then was a very dangerous thing. My
rage, like yours, is real. It is natural. More, it is
fundamentally human…reassuringly so. But I
beg of you, do not make it your life. Use it
instead. Aim all that energy towards something
worthwhile, or it will devour more than simply
your soul. It will destroy those around you.
Give the deaths of your friends--which you did not will--meaning by a
genuine act of your will. You did not choose what happened. You have all
the power to choose what to do with it."
"The project," Isabel said. She smiled. "It’s a beautiful dream."
The sound of a knock made both Felix and Isabel look over at the door.
"Mr. Felix, are you in there?" a voice asked.
Felix sighed, sharing a look with Isabel as he got to his feet. He walked
over to the door, opening it to find Dianna standing on the other side.
"Sorry to disturb you, but there’s new information on that bombing in
Tokyo that you should probably look at." She handed him a thin manila
folder. "They told me you’d be here."
Felix flipped the folder open and scanned the first page. He looked back
up at Dianna, slightly surprised. "Hamalainen?"
"It certainly looks that way," Dianna nodded.
"Does the Watchers Council have this information?"
"One would assume so," Dianna replied. "A Council jet took off for Tokyo
several hours ago."
Felix closed the folder and handed it back to her. "Then we will let them
handle the matter. However, I would appreciate it if you kept me
"Has there been any progress on the translation?"
"Of the Sphere?" Dianna shook her head. "I feel pretty bloody useless at
this point, let me tell you. I still have a few ideas I’d like to try out."
Felix placed a hand on her shoulder. "I have
faith in you, Dianna. More, I have knowledge.
If it can be done, I'm positive you will succeed."
She nodded, then glanced awkwardly behind
Felix towards Isabel. The Spanish girl looked
very small on the edge of the bed. "I’ll leave you to it then."
She turned and walked away. Felix closed the door and turned to Isabel.
"I apologize. Where were we?"
Isabel smiled. "You were restoring my faith."
Tokyo Council Headquarters – Lobby – Day
The Tokyo branch of the Watchers Council was on high alert when they
arrived. People were running in all directions, and the switchboard
behind the reception desk was completely lit up. A local girl was waiting
for them in the center of the small lobby, glancing intermittently at a
clipboard she was holding. She looked somewhat harried.
"Nozomi," Kennedy greeted, shaking the girl’s hand.
"I remember you," Kadin said. "You went on the Vor mission, right?"
Nozomi replied in a spurt of rapid-fire Japanese that left stunned silence
in its wake.
"Please tell me someone understood that," Skye said. She noticed the
suspicious look Nozomi was giving her, and grinned back.
"She’s gonna need to slow down," Rowena said. "I can read Japanese just
fine, but to understand her she’s going to have to slow down…"
"She says that she’s really happy we’re here," Mia translated. "Things are
getting out of control."
Everyone looked at her, a little surprised.
"My parents were old-school Japanese," Mia said. "I picked up a few
"I knew there was a reason we brought you," Skye quipped.
"She also asked why we brought the bleepety-bleeping vampire," Mia
"Did she actually say bleepety-bleeping?" Skye asked, curious.
Rowena sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Mia, tell her that I’ve
been working with those photographs they sent us. I have a few theories,
speculations, about where to start looking for Heli."
"Also ask her not to stake me," Skye put in.
Mia rolled her eyes and began a conversation with Nozomi that lasted
several seconds. Kennedy’s eyes played ping-pong between the two of
them. Then Mia turned back to her friends, biting her lip.
"What’d she say?" Kadin asked.
"She said we should probably start at the building Heli blew up last
night," Mia reported.
Even Skye looked shocked. "That’s a new trick for her."
Mia nodded. "It was…It was a crowded nightclub."
"And you were wondering when the rules changed?" Kennedy remarked
Ruins of Nightclub – Late Afternoon
A few dozen Council personnel were fanned out over what had once been
Orange. The structure looked collapsed on one side. Metal rebars stuck
out in strange directions from jagged shards of concrete.
Kennedy stood in the center of the blocked-off street, staring directly into
the destruction. She flinched slightly when Mia put a hand on her
"Sorry," Mia said.
"No, it’s fine," Kennedy told her, brushing a few stray hairs out from in
front of her eyes. "What’d the police say?"
"Well, it was a bomb," Mia said. "And they got a snippet of whatever they
use for 911 here from someone who wanted to report a fugitive. They
must have…" She trailed off.
Kennedy licked her lips. "How many?" Mia opened her mouth to reply,
but Kennedy interrupted her before she could say anything. "No, wait, I
don’t want to know."
"Probably the best thing," Mia nodded.
The two of them walked over to where Kadin and Skye, with an umbrella,
were standing on the edge of the debris. Rowena was on her knees,
"She was definitely here," Skye said.
Kadin motioned to their surroundings. "Ya think?"
"I mean I can smell her," Skye said. "Little traces, but it’s definitely her.
It’s like…like a color in the air."
"Yeah, don’t get poetical, no one cares," Mia said. Skye sneered at her.
"Nothing here now," Kadin sighed. "What are we even looking for,
"Something like this," Rowena said. She got to her feet with what looked
like a piece of a metal sign in her hand. The western letters "AN" were
"Okay, this is why I’m not a watcher, Ro," Kennedy said. "What the hey?"
Rowena sighed and pulled out a manila folder from the bag slung over
her shoulder. She flipped through its contents until she found what she
was looking for.
"The photos Heli left us are all detail work, parts of larger objects. They
seemed like totally random shots, but…" Rowena held up a glossy
photograph that consisted entirely of a close-up of the letters "AN." It was
definitely from the same sign.
"Okay, now I get it even less," Mia said. "What’s the point?"
"Well," Rowena explained patiently, "if Heli took a picture here, and now
she’s blown it up…"
"That means the places from the other photos
might be next," Kennedy finished.
"Expialidocious," Mia countered.
Kennedy’s face showed no amusement. "Okay." She turned to Mia. "Get
all the Tokyo girls over here. We’re gonna need their help."
Ruins of Nightclub – Early Evening
The dozen or so pictures from Rowena’s folder were spread out on the
pavement in the center of the street. Young Japanese slayers crowded
around, jabbering amongst themselves, sometimes pointing to one of the
"This is never gonna work," Skye commented, watching the scene. "Even
if we’ve got a bunch of needles, Tokyo is still a super-sized haystack."
"I’m sorry, vamp," Kadin replied, a little annoyed. "I forgot what you were
doing that was productive."
"You mean besides bringing sexy back?" Skye asked. She noticed Kadin’s
grimace and grinned. "Oh yeah. You know you want it."
"People died here last night," Kadin pointed out, disgusted.
One of the local slayers was holding a cartoonish picture of a dog up for
Kennedy, Rowena, and Mia.
"She says it’s a video game she remembers from an arcade," Mia
translated. "It’s called…um…Mondo Super Dog…Typing Challenge. Or
"Typing Challenge?" Rowena asked, an eyebrow quirked.
"Does she know which arcade?" Kennedy asked.
After Mia asked the question, the girl shook her head negatively.
"Well," Rowena said, "at least there can’t be that many arcades in one
city, right?" Everyone just stared at her for a second. "I just said
something really stupid, didn’t I? What can I say, I was deprived of video
games as a child."
Kennedy sighed. "This is ridiculous." She raised her voice over the
chattering girls. "Does anyone recognize anything else?"
There was silence for a moment. Then Nozomi, looking a little
embarrassed, pointed to a picture of two blue neon Japanese characters
arranged vertically. "Sore wa Karoaoke no Mugen no Oto desu."
Subtitled: "That’s from Endless Sound Karaoke."
"She just said something about Karaoke, didn’t she?" Kadin asked.
Suddenly she sounded a little tired. Kennedy looked to Mia for
confirmation, and got a nod in return.
"Well," Kennedy said, "we need to figure out the plan ASAP." She looked
up at the sky. It had turned orange and pink in the West. "It’ll be night
Garden – Same Time
Heli sat beneath the same pink and orange sky, legs crossed beneath
her. A garden full of flowers of all different colors and varieties
surrounded her. She picked a small white flower and held it up for closer
inspection. The hulking demon from the night before strode down a
nearby path towards her, framed by a slightly off-kilter wooden arch in
the background. The tall buildings of Tokyo were visible in all directions.
Without looking around, Heli asked, "What is it?"
"This is a shrine," it said. "Makes us nervous. And what happened to the
Heli opened her hand and watched as the flower floated slowly away on a
current of air. "It’s not important."
"Umm…right," the demon nodded.
Heli took a deep breath, sniffing the air. "This is why I came here," she
said. "I have traveled all over the world trying to find the truth. To get to
the bottom of everything. People, animals, rocks, flowers…it’s the
greatest mystery of all. Of everywhere I’ve been, this is where I feel the
closest to the true answers."
"You said we’d get to kill some slayers," the demon pointed out.
Heli turned and looked at the demon. It wasn’t an angry look. If anything
it was completely dispassionate. But the demon literally squirmed
because of it.
"They’re coming," Heli said. "I know it may seem like another game, but
there’s a reason for everything. This way I get to choose the time and
place of the final confrontation." She got to her feet and looked over at
the wooden arch, and the ornate Shinto temple beyond.
"And this is where I chose."
Tokyo Streets – Night
Amidst the flashing lights of a Tokyo entertainment district, a black van
with Council insignia painted on the side was crawling forward. It was in
the center of a traffic jam that seemed to stretch for some distance in all
Council Van – Same Time
Several Japanese girls had their heads poked through from the back seat
where Kadin was seated behind Kennedy, who was in the passenger seat.
They were all talking at once.
From the driver’s seat, Mia tried to get a word in edgewise, but it wasn’t
working. "Hitoribitori,o kudasai."
Subtitled: "Please, one at a time…"
She gave up and turned to
Kennedy sitting next to her.
"We shoulda taken a
"Tokyo branch doesn’t have
helicopters," Kennedy said
flatly. She looked very small in
her seat. She looked out the
window and saw a large picture
of Faith on the side of a bus,
smiling and waving. A series of
Japanese characters filled up the ad to the right of the picture.
"Well, maybe we shoulda taken the subway," Kadin said, leaning forward,
"because this isn’t working."
Mia turned back to the gaggle of local girls in the back. "Dochi ni tsugi no
shingou o hanashite!"
Subtitled: "Just tell me which way at the next light!"
Outside Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
Rowena stood on the sidewalk of a small side street and looked up at a
sign with two Japanese characters arranged vertically in neon. She
turned to Nozomi, who was standing next to her.
"Yoku dekimashita," she said slowly.
Subtitled: "Good Job."
Nozomi smiled and nodded, and Rowena looked relieved that she had
gotten it right.
Nozomi called out a single word and several other Japanese girls, as well
as Skye, appeared out of the shadows. She looked them over briefly
"Sorezore no hito ga ikute."
Subtitled: "Go in and spread out."
"Nani kawatta o mitte, demo kakusareta o suatte."
Subtitled: "Look for anything out of the ordinary, but keep your heads
"Panniku ni otoshi iremasen."
Subtitled: "We don’t want to cause a panic"
Nozomi nodded, and the group filed through the front door of the
establishment. When they opened it, the strained noise of amateur
singing filtered out into the street.
Rowena and Skye still stood on the sidewalk, the distant noise of the city
in the background. "I think we’re supposed to follow them," Rowena
ventured. "I wish we’d brought more translators."
"That’s the Watchers Council for ya," Skye said. "The world’s largest fly-
by-night operation. You know what the weirdest part of all of this is?"
"What?" Rowena asked as she walked towards the door of the bar.
"I just can’t picture that Nozomi girl doing karaoke," Skye replied. She
followed Rowena inside the building.
Arcade – Night
Lights. Binging. Banging. Buzzing. Shouting. Kennedy and Kadin
threaded their way through the tiny aisles of a Tokyo video arcade.
Strange games blared incomprehensible come-ons in their direction.
"I don’t like this," Kennedy said.
"There is a lot going on," Kadin agreed. "Talk about your sensory
"We have to…we can’t give up now," Kennedy insisted. She stopped and
tried to focus enough to look at her surroundings, but everything seemed
to blur together, into one large visual noise.
"No one said anything about giving up," Kadin said. She slid a hand
around her girlfriend’s wrist. "You need to chill, okay?"
Kennedy shook her head, trying to clear the gathering cobwebs. "You’re
one to talk, Miss ‘I can’t control the rage of my inner demon.’"
Kadin brought Kennedy’s face close to hers. "Hey, this isn’t the monster
talking, okay? This is me. Take a deep breath. We can do this."
Kennedy lost herself in Kadin’s brown eyes for a moment. Then Mia came
running up an aisle of blinking pinball machines, and both women
turned to look at her.
"That stupid game isn’t here," Mia reported. "Far as we can tell, anyway."
"This isn’t working." Kennedy said quietly. She bit her lip and looked
down at the floor. "It never works. She’s always three steps ahead of us!"
With her last words, Kennedy suddenly
punched the side of a Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles pinball game, leaving a fist-sized dent.
The game let out several bings worth of
"Whoa!" Kadin exclaimed, pulling Kennedy away. "Whoa!" Mia’s eyes were
wide as she watched the scene.
Kennedy threw two arms around Kadin’s neck. "She’s gonna beat us,"
Kennedy whispered. "She’s gonna beat us and she’s gonna kill all of us."
Without letting Kennedy go, Kadin glanced over at Mia. "Get the girls
together. We head to the next arcade."
Mia sent a concerned look in Kennedy’s direction before nodding silently
and setting off.
Kadin pushed Kennedy back slightly and locked eyes with her, their
noses almost touching. "And you just take a moment and get yourself
together. We only do what we can. The rest takes care of itself."
She kissed Kennedy softly on the forehead, lights flashing incoherently in
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
Blue lights surrounded a middle-aged Japanese businessman, his tie
loosened around his neck, as he belted out a terrible version of Aretha
Franklin’s "Respect" in the center of the stage.
Skye sat on a stool across the room at the bar. "I know I’ve done some
pretty bad things," she said. "But this is truly evil. I haven’t done
anything to deserve…what are you doing?"
Rowena got up from beneath Skye’s stool, pushing her hair out of her
face. "Checking for bombs."
Nozomi walked over. The bartender waved to her, and she waved back.
"Bakuhatsubutsu ja arimasen… Nani mo ga ja nai." she said to Rowena,
shaking her head.
Subtitled: "No bombs…Nothing"
Rowena shook her head. "So maybe it’s a dead end? No, no Heli doesn’t
work like that. It’s all…towards something." She creased her brow in
concentration. She absent-mindedly fiddled with the engagement
bracelet she wore around her wrist.
"Well, there is one place we haven’t looked yet," Skye pointed out. She
moved her eyes over to the stage as the businessman finished his song.
"We’d have to shut the place down to search the stage." Rowena sighed.
"I don’t want to panic people, but we might have to…"
"Or someone could get up and sing," Skye grinned.
Rowena considered this for a moment, then turned to Nozomi. "Okay,
She was interrupted by clucking noises coming from Skye. "Buck buck
Rowena turned back to Skye. "What do you want from me?"
"Why, to hear those pretty pipes of yours, Ro," Skye replied. "Besides,
you’re the watcher. You have special powers of…noticing stuff." Skye
leaned over and whispered something to Nozomi.
Nozomi was smiling, too, at this point, but Rowena still shook her head.
"Nozomi’s obviously some sort of regular here. It makes more sense for
"Buck buck buck…"
Rowena sat back against the bar and pouted. "Sometimes I hate this
Endless Sound Karaoke – Later
An MC in a flashy suit stood on the stage, speaking into a microphone.
"Gesuto bi tokobetsu ga Amerika-jin desu."
Subtitled: "And now all the way from America we have a special guest.
"Anata wa kanojo o shirai ni naru, to mo imasu."
Subtitled: "I think some of you may recognize her."
"Aranisu Môriseto no uta wa kanojo ga utaimasu. Hakusu suatte ni
Subtitled: "She’s singing a tune from Alanis Morrissette. Put your hands
together for Rowena!"
Rowena strode out and sat on a stool in the center of the stage. She
picked up the microphone and looked briefly like she was inspecting it.
She looked up at the TV screen in front of her as the intro music began
"Alanis Morrissete, ‘Head Over Feet,’" it read. Below this on the screen,
numbers were counting down: "5, 4, 3…"
Rowena noticed a barely perceptible line on the stage. It was a circle,
completely surrounding the stool she was sitting in. She opened her
mouth, looked back up at the screen. But the lyrics didn’t come up.
Instead, the screen now read: "Hello, Rowena. As you’re probably
realizing, this was a trap. I don’t particularly want to kill you, but I will if
I have to." The words slowly changed from yellow to white in sequence.
The room was quiet except for the jangly guitar chords blaring from the
speaker. The bar watched as Rowena sat under a spotlight, her mouth
"Now that’s what I call choking," Skye said from the bar.
The words continued to play across the screen. "You might see a circle on
the stage surrounding your chair. If you cross that line, you will receive a
powerful, fatal electric shock. You just sit tight until further notice."
"Guys, um…problem!" Rowena said into the microphone. Nozomi
immediately ran up onto the stage, but Rowena motioned for her to stay
back. "No!" Nozomi came up short when she saw the message on the
"And by the way," the screen continued, "I just want to thank you,
Rowena, for having such predictable taste in music. Bland without fail
Nozomi started yelling in Japanese. The customers of the club began to
murmur at the scene before them. Several other girls emerged from other
parts of the club. Nozomi
herself hopped off the stage and
ran over to the bartender.
As Skye watched Rowena
sitting shocked on the stage, as
well as the animated
conversation between Nozomi
and the bartender, she sighed.
"I knew karaoke was evil," the
vampire said to no one in
Fade to Black
End of Act Two
Cleveland Alley – Night
Barely able to stay upright,
Kennedy and Faith stood toe-
to-toe now and swung at the
same time. Kennedy fell to the
ground in a solid thump while
Faith stumbled backward,
saved only by the wall from
falling over. Kennedy looked
like she was trying to rise, but couldn’t. Faith looked over to Heli who
stood with a slight grin that resembled more a look of amazement and
shock than amusement.
"Get her to a doctor," Faith said. "That’s my last official order."
Faith half walked and half stumbled down the alley until she made it to
the main street. She stood for a moment, hanging on the corner of the
building as if getting her breath before she slipped out of sight. Once she
was gone, Heli came over to help get Kennedy to her feet.
After the young slayer was upright, Heli tried to offer her shoulder to help
her walk, but Kennedy pushed her away.
"Son of a bitch," Kennedy muttered as she too began to limp to the end of
the street unassisted.
Heli chased after her. "I thought we were chasing Skye Talisker," she
said. "What was that?"
"That was Faith quitting," Kennedy said. "Right when we need her most,
she..." Kennedy stumbled and almost fell again, but Heli moved quickly
and caught her. Kennedy tried to shake Heli off. "I don’t need any help."
"Yes, you do," Heli insisted. Kennedy was no longer in any position to
argue and gave in, leaning into Heli’s shoulder. The two girls made it out
of the alley and onto a main street. The old Council headquarters was
visible a couple of blocks up. They continued to limp forward, Kennedy
hanging heavily onto the other girl.
"Kennedy," Heli said with a grunt, "I know you and Faith are close, but
this was bound to happen eventually. It’s who she is. The going gets
tough and she runs away."
"She’s better than that now," Kennedy said, stoically limping forward. "If
she’d just let me talk to her…"
"You can’t escape your true nature," Heli replied. Kennedy tried to look at
her, but her eye was nearly swollen shut. "You know, if Faith leaves
you’ll be put in charge. Are you ready for that?"
"I think about it sometimes," Kennedy rasped. The two girls stopped at a
crosswalk, waiting for the light to change from red to white. "I think
about…if something happened to her, if it all came down to me, what
would I do?"
"Why are you telling me this?" Heli asked.
"Sometimes I just need a shoulder to lean on," Kennedy quipped. The
light changed and they moved forward again.
"Honestly, I thought you two were going to kill each other," Heli said.
"You’re joking, right?" Kennedy asked. She saw the look on Heli’s face.
"You’re not joking? Heli, I couldn’t. Never. But Faith…"
"Faith’s killed people before," Heli pointed out.
Kennedy nodded. "I know. Maybe that’s what scares me, that if she runs
away now, she’ll just…go back to that place again."
The two women were getting close to the front steps of Council
"Maybe what scares you is that you see the same things in yourself," Heli
Kennedy grit her teeth. "What…the hell?"
"Faith, Mia, Willow," Heli explained, "you surround yourself with people
who are in touch with their own dark side. Maybe that’s because you’re
worried about your own."
They had made it to the door. Kennedy extricated herself from Heli and
spent a moment with her hands on her knees, catching her breath.
"Heli," she panted. "You’re a great slayer. Stick to that. You’ve got a lot to
learn about people." She straightened up and put a hand on the door
handle. "I think the healing’s kicking in. I’ll be alright."
Heli watched through the glass front doors as Kennedy limped away into
Council Van - Tokyo Street – Night
The traffic wasn’t quite as horrible, and so the Council van was moving
along at a pretty good clip. Kennedy’s eyes were fixed out the window.
"Nozomi and her girls are gonna try and meet up with us," Mia said, as
the Japanese girl she had been talking to ducked her head out of the
front seat of the van. "Rowena doesn’t want to slow the rest of us down."
Kadin was sitting behind Kennedy, who was once again in the passenger
seat as Mia drove.
"Do we have any idea what this chick wants?" Kadin asked. Kennedy was
still staring out the window. "I mean, I haven’t been in the big meetings
lately. Does anyone really know why she’s doing this? At all?"
"She’s crazy," Mia shrugged.
"Doesn’t mean she doesn’t have motivation,"
Kadin pointed out. "Back me up here, Ken."
"She’s going after me," Kennedy said quietly,
still staring out the window at the passing city lights.
"What?" Mia asked as she turned the wheel. "What are you talking
"She wanted Rowena out of the way so she could face me alone,"
Kennedy continued. "I don’t know why, but…somehow this is about me."
"Well, she’s dealing with all of us now," Kadin assured her. She placed a
hand on Kennedy’s shoulder.
Kennedy never moved. She just kept staring out the window.
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
The nightclub had emptied around her, but Rowena was still sitting on
her stool in the center of a spotlight.
"I should have listened to Willow," she said, sadness in her voice. "And
you should be off doing your vampire nose thing. Isn’t that why we
Skye was now sitting at the edge of the stage, her shoes propped up on
her table. "Vampire nose thing?" she repeated. "The latest technical term,
brought to you by the makers of ‘Vampification.’"
"So you’re just going to stay here and make sarcastic remarks at the
expense of the trapped pregnant woman?"
"That’s the plan," Skye replied, resting her head back on her hands. "And
anyway I’m not leaving you or the baby all alone with a serial killer on
the loose. For all we know that could be what she wants."
Rowena looked at Skye, surprised by this. "So you’re what, shooting for
"I’ll settle for cool immortal aunt," Skye said.
Rowena was tapping her foot impatiently, fidgeting with her engagement
bracelet. "You know what I want to know?" she said. "I want to know why
the trap didn’t spring for any of the other bazillion bad Japanese singers
who sat down here since she did whatever it is she did to the stage. It
couldn’t have activated until I entered the circle. I can’t figure out how
she did it."
"A new feeling is it?" Skye asked. "Getting out-thought?" For a beat there
"Yes," Rowena admitted. "Yes it is. And I don’t like it."
The front door opened. Skye looked to Rowena before they both watched
a horned demon entering deeper into the room.
"I’ll handle this," Skye said before she rushed over to meet the intruder.
"Sorry pal," she said holding her hands up and motioning back to the
front door. "We’re closed."
"I know, Sweetie," Lorne said in perfect English. "I’m the one who ordered
Lorne brushed past Skye and she followed along.
"You’re the owner?" she asked.
"That I am," he answered. "What's a vamp doing hanging out with the
Watchers Council anyway?"
"I'm...How did you know?" Skye asked. Lorne just gave a wave of his
hand over his body from top to bottom. "Well, I'm dating someone there,"
Skye explained. "Dawn Summers."
Lorne rolled his eyes. "Talk about your apples not falling far from the
other limbs." The pair finished their journey over to the stage. "I take a
few days off and look what happens," he said as he shook his head. He
came to a stop in front of the stage looking at Rowena.
"Don’t!" Rowena warned before he could step any closer.
"I know, Princess. They warned me - booby-trapped stage. You’ve got
beaucoup trouble up there."
"Yeah, but do you think you can get me out of it?" Rowena asked.
"Certainly, or dying trying," he
told her. Rowena looked
worried. "Not you dying honey,
me. Trust me, Willow
Rosenberg is not a dame I
personally want to piss off. If
you don’t make it out of this
okay, chances are I might not
last long either once she finds
out. I’ve seen the things our
witchy gal can do first hand
and I for one am not going there." Rowena scrunched her eyebrows in
curiosity at his words. "Sit tight," he told her.
"Believe me, I can’t sit any tighter at this point," she replied.
"Sense of humor," Lorne said as he grinned. "You’ll need that cause this
might take awhile. Be back in a flash," he said before darting away.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Night
Heli sat at the base of a squat square pedestal, beneath a small bronze
statue of something that looked like a lion but wasn’t, quite. She was
turning something over in her hands. It was a bracelet, covered in
diamonds. It looked exactly like Rowena’s. Distant lights reflected
brightly in its facets.
Several demons of various shapes and sizes were spread out through the
well-manicured grounds of the shrine. They weren’t milling around
aimlessly. They were gathered in small groups. Setting things up.
The largest of the demons, the one Heli had spoken to earlier, walked up
the steps to the shrine itself, a rectangular, ornate red and gold building,
with a peaked roof.
"I’m already set up in there," Heli said in an off-hand tone, without
looking up. "I wouldn’t go in if I were you."
The demon stopped in its tracks, looking from the building, to Heli, and
back again. "Some nice jewelry you have there," it said. "Somebody give
that to you?"
Heli’s face didn’t move very much, but her eyes smiled. "No. Nothing like
that. Actually, I stole it from a friend."
"Didn’t think you were the greedy type of criminal," the demon remarked.
"Trust me, I’m not," Heli replied, her tone suddenly dark. "I replaced it
with a fake. Exactly identical, down to the price tag, except the new one
contains a tiny sensor. She’ll get the original back, once I’m done with it.
I’m not a monster, after all."
Council Van – Night
Mia pulled the van over in front of a thin glass building, several stories
high, which glowed a different color every few seconds.
"Looks like the roadies got here before us," Kadin remarked, pointing.
Sure enough, there was already a black Council van parked outside the
"Try not to call them that to their faces," Kennedy sighed as she stepped
out of the vehicle, slamming the door behind her.
Other Arcade – Night
Inside the building was another arcade. The floor plan was slightly more
open than the previous one they’d been to, but the amount of visual and
auditory chaos was roughly equivalent.
Kennedy, Mia, and Kadin, led their group of girls into the building and
saw Nozomi walking directly towards them, a serious look on her face.
"Ask her how Ro’s doing," Kennedy told Mia. This earned her a look from
Kadin that she failed to notice.
Mia and Nozomi carried on a rapid, business-like conversation in
Japanese. After a moment, Mia nodded.
"They’ve found the game in the picture," she said. Nozomi motioned for
them all to follow her.
"All right!" Kadin exclaimed. She raised a hand for a high-five, but found
that the others had already left her in the dust.
Nozomi led the group to the foot of an escalator leading to the second
floor. She charged up the steps rather than waiting for the ride to take
her to the top.
"I didn’t know you were this fluent in Japanese," Kennedy said to Mia as
they followed Nozomi up the escalator.
"It’s what my parents spoke at home," Mia explained. "If I didn’t know
what they were saying I would’ve been in major trouble." She sighed.
"It’s weird, y’know? I hated them after my father kicked me out of the
house, after my mother didn’t stop him…but I still miss them. It was over
a decade and a half of my life. It’s hard to let go of that."
"Have you talked to them?" Kennedy asked. "I mean, since the craziness
last year, it’d probably be pretty easy for them to figure out where you
were and get ahold of you."
They were at the top of the escalator and began walking to a far corner of
the building. Mia shook her head.
"They could be dead for all I know."
The conversation was effectively ended when Nozomi pointed to the
machine. A few other Japanese girls were standing around the machine,
while one was in the process of prying a panel off the back of the thing.
Kadin caught up to Kennedy and Mia. "Wow, Super Extra Mondo Dog
Typing," she said. "How do you even play this thing?" There were two
keyboards attached to the front of the machine, and two large cartoon
dogs on either side, exactly like the one from Heli’s photograph. There
was a sheet of paper taped to the front of the machine that read "Out of
Order" in Japanese.
"Do we really need to know?" Mia asked.
"When it comes to Heli, you
never know," Kennedy said.
"Watch, we’ll have to type 200
words a minute or the bomb
will go off."
The slayer pried off the panel
and stuck her head in the
machine, looking for anything suspicious.
"Like Speed on a keyboard," Mia grinned. Kennedy showed no
amusement. Mia turned to Kadin.
"I don’t watch that many movies," Kadin admitted. Mia huffed and turned
back to Kennedy.
"So, what exactly do you see in her again?" she said, poking a thumb
back in Kadin’s direction.
"Hey!" Kadin protested.
"I’m just joking," Mia told her with a grin. "Kinda," she muttered.
The girl behind the game machine pulled back and shook her head
Mia spoke to Nozomi. "They’ve examined this thing inside and out," Mia
translated, "and they can’t find anything. You think it’s a dead end?"
Kennedy groaned and ran a hand over her face. "I-I’m sorry. I don’t
know. Maybe…Maybe we should go over the photographs again, look for
another lead?" She sounded tired.
"No," Kadin said. Kennedy looked at her, surprised. "No, I think they
were just looking in the wrong place." She walked over to the machine
and easily pulled the "Out of Order" sign off the screen. She turned the
sheet of paper over and sighed.
Kadin held up the other side of the paper, which showed a simple
wooden arch in front of an elaborate Shinto temple.
"Does this mean anything to anybody?" Kadin asked.
Immediately a clamor arose from several of the Japanese girls. There was
much nodding and pointing.
"I’ll take that as a yes." Kadin walked over and handed the picture to
Kennedy stared at the image, mixed emotions showing through in her
Watchers Council Grounds - Day
"It’s true we’re investigating the bombing in Tokyo, and it is true that two
slayers from our Tokyo branch are dead," Faith told the crowd of
reporters who surrounded her. Her tone was a little bit harried. A forest
of microphones was pointed at her face. "They’re separate things. I can’t
tell you if they’re related ‘cause we don’t know yet." She raised her hands
to try to stem the subsequent barrage of questions. "That’s all the info
I’ve got right now, okay?"
The tinny sound of punk rock came from somewhere. Faith reached
inside her jacket and pulled out her cell phone. She checked the screen
and looked back up at the reporters.
"Sorry, guys, I have to actually go do my job now." Faith pushed her way
out of the mass of press, putting her phone to her ear as she did so. "Hey
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
"Hi Faith," Rowena said. She was still sitting on her stool in the center of
the karaoke stage. Skye was across the room, rummaging around behind
the bar. Lorne spoke to her from the other side saying something. Skye
smiled and nodded. Lorne blew her a kiss but before he could say
anything else to her two workers in uniforms tapped him on the shoulder
and they began to talk.
Watchers Council Grounds – Day
Faith walked toward the front entrance to council headquarters. She
looked around to make sure there were no reporters within reasonable
listening distance. Still, when she spoke she lowered her voice.
"Are you okay?" Faith asked. "What the hell’s going on over there?"
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
"Well, right now, Skye’s over by the bar making a…" She put her hand
over the phone and called over to Skye. "What are you making?"
"Sex on the Beach," Skye replied. "And a Sea Breeze for Lorne."
"Sex on the Beach," Rowena told Faith. "I’m sitting here, trapped in a
Watchers Council Lobby – Day
Faith walked through the front door of the Council. "Red is freaking out
something fierce, which I guess is pretty much five by five for her. You
guys have been really weird lately, ya know that?"
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
"Haven’t noticed," Rowena told her, lying badly. She moved on quickly.
"The rest of the gang is heading to some kind of temple. Kennedy’s
hoping they’ll find Heli there."
Watchers Council Lobby – Day
"I just wish I could be there," Faith said.
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
"Kennedy can take of herself and the team," Rowena said. "Not to
mention that she has Mia and Kadin and Nozomi and a whole bunch of
other girls backing her up." She sighed. "Not to be self-centered, but I, on
the other hand, am stuck here, totally bored. I still don’t know how Heli
managed this one. The owner showed up and told me they can probably
get me out of here if they dismantle the stage, but everything’s so
stretched here that probably won’t be for a couple of hours, which I think
was really what Heli wanted all along."
Watchers Council Lobby – Day
Faith grinned, leaning back on the reception desk. "Congrats, Ro. The
bitch is scared of you."
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
Rowena scoffed. "If I’m so scary, how come I’m the one trapped on stage.
It’s like I’m stuck in one of Willow’s nightmares."
Nearby, Skye settled back into her seat, an elaborate drink in her hand,
complete with a little umbrella.
Watchers Council Lobby – Day
"Well, you could always sing another song to pass the time," Faith
replied. There was silence on the other end of the line for about three
"I hate you."
Faith grinned, then noticed Buffy angrily walking towards her across the
lobby. "Gotta go. Stay safe." She closed her cell phone just as Buffy
Buffy brandished a blue plastic folder threateningly.
"Do you want to tell me how Kadin Van Helsing managed to stow away
on one of our planes without us knowing about it? I thought we were
Faith sighed. "We were. She managed to shake her tail."
Buffy blinked. "Kadin got on the plane by dancing?…Pretend I didn’t say
Faith grinned. "Of course, B. Anyway, Denise said, and I’m quotin’ here,
‘It’s like she had the power to turn herself invisible.’ "
"And for all we know, she could," Buffy said, exasperated. She put her
hands on her hips and thought for a moment. "What do we do now?"
Faith shrugged. "Not much we can do. She’s already with them in Japan.
We might as well let her help. Those claws of hers might come in handy."
Buffy frowned. "That’s what I’m worried about."
Outside Shinto Temple – Night
About twenty-five demons of all shapes and
sizes stood in the dim light of the courtyard in
front of the Temple. Heli stood at the top of the steps leading up to the
door, pacing like a tiger in a cage, surveying her troops.
"There are twelve slayers on their way here," she told them, "along with
one Kadin Van Helsing, who I’m sure you know at least by reputation.
What I need from you is, put very simply, to delay Miss Van Helsing and
eleven of those slayers. If you wish, you can kill any of them."
She stopped. Her words became more clipped.
"One of the slayers, however, will be allowed to pass. You know who I’m
talking about. If she’s killed prematurely, I will be very upset."
Heli raised an eyebrow, for her a huge display of emotion. Many of the
demons shifted their great weight uneasily.
"That is all. Thank you for your assistance."
Heli turned on her heel and walked into the shrine.
Shinto Shrine – Continuous
The interior of the temple was as elaborately decorated as the outside. It
was lit by several rectangular bronze lamps hanging from the walls.
There was no visible sign of any booby traps. The ceiling, held up by an
elaborate network of wooden beams, rose to a point above Heli as she
walked across the stone floor.
The center of the room she was in was dominated by a stand of several
oblong bells of differing sizes. Japanese calligraphy covered many of the
wooden surfaces, as well as paper hangings from some of the beams. Heli
had set up a simple card table in one corner of the room. On the table a
board was set up, with white and black stones arranged in rows on its
surface. It was a game of Go.
Heli pulled out one chair and sat down.
"You’re playing against yourself now. You killed all your opponents
Vi was sitting in the chair across from Heli, hands folded on the table in
front of her. She had an impish smile on her face.
Heli didn’t bat an eyelash. "Sometimes it’s more interesting when all the
pieces are under my control."
"I suppose it’s just as well," Vi sighed. "I never could beat you, anyway. I
mean, look at what happened."
Heli reached out and moved two of the pieces: one black, one white.
"Where are your friends?" Vi asked. "The big, spiny one was kinda cute. I
always kinda wondered if you were into that sorta thing."
Heli didn’t look up from the board. "I told them that I rigged the shrine
with booby traps. That should get them to leave us alone here."
"You never had any trouble with the alone part before," Vi said. She was
silent for several moments as Heli contemplated her next move. Then she
said, "You’re not going to win, you know."
Heli looked up at Vi. "It’s impossible to lose when you’re both white and
She looked down at the board and moved another piece. When she
looked back up, the chair across the table was empty.
Street Near Shrine – Night
There was a patch in the northern part of the city where the buildings
stopped for a little while and made room for a tree-dotted green lawn. At
this time of night it swirled with thin trails of mist.
The Council vans pulled to a stop on the street outside the lawn.
Kennedy stepped out of the passenger side door of one of them. She
firmly set both feet on the ground. It was a little windy, so she brushed
the hair out of her eyes.
On the opposite side of the vehicle, Mia and Kadin stepped out into the
"We should scope out the site," Kadin said, "keep a few girls on the…"
"We need to talk about Kennedy," Mia said suddenly.
Kadin blinked a few times as three Japanese girls climbed out of the
back of the van. "I’m not sure this is the best time."
Mia made an annoyed noise in her throat. "I’m not saying we need to
have some heart-to-heart about your relationship. I get it, okay. I don’t
want it, but I get it. I mean about Kennedy right now. I think this stuff
with Heli…I don’t know, but I’ve never seen Ken like this. Have you?"
Kadin shook her head. "No. I can’t say that I understand Ken all the
time, what makes her tick. It’s part of what makes the whole thing
There was a small smile on Mia’s face. "Yeah." A moment later, she shook
her head. "Look, just…let’s both try and keep an eye on her."
Kennedy had walked over to Nozomi’s van and found the lead Tokyo
"Did you bring them?" she asked. Nozomi shook her head,
Kennedy raised the thumb and pointed the index finger on one of her
hands. "Bang, bang. Y’know?"
Nozomi nodded and opened the back of her van. Kennedy inspected the
"Okay," she nodded. She noticed Mia and Kadin walking up to the group.
"Tell them to pass ‘em out. We go in hard, but we go in smart. She
planned this. Watch for traps. Watch for…" she stopped, brushed her
hair out of her eyes again. "Just tell them to be careful. Please."
Endless Sound Karaoke – Night
Skye banged a fist on the Karaoke machine attached to one side of the
stage. She looked at the LED display for a moment and then gave
Rowena a grin and a thumbs up.
"Do I have to?" Rowena asked sheepishly from her stool. She held the
microphone in her hand again.
"Look, I picked the song," Skye said, "so there shouldn’t be any more
secret messages. Besides, what
else are you gonna do for the
next couple hours, sit there and
Rowena stared at her. "Why are
you being so nice to me?"
Skye shrugged. "Weren’t for
you, they woulda staked me
long ago. Besides, I have to be
nice to somebody occasionally,
or else I’ll be out of practice when I have to fake it."
The music started, piano at first. Rowena sighed and looked up at the
monitor. Her voice was a breathy alto.
"Your subtleties, they strangle me. I can’t explain myself at all." Rowena
glanced at Skye who gave her an encouraging nod. Her singing gained
confidence as she continued. "And all the wants, and all the needs, all I
don’t want to need at all."
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
Rowena Voiceover: "The walls start breathing. My mind’s unweaving.
Maybe it’s best you leave me alone."
Kennedy, Mia, Kadin, and Nozomi, led their platoon of slayers across the
lawn. Many of them held handguns at the ready. Mia was a notable
exception. The place seemed to be empty. Then a fountain of dirt
exploded into the air and one of the Japanese girls screamed.
Rowena Voiceover: "A weight is lifted. On this evening, I give the final
"Bakuhatsubutsu!" One of her companions yelled.
"Oh, hell," Mia swore under her breath.
Then there was a mighty bellow from somewhere and there were demons
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
Rowena Voiceover: "When darkness turns to light, it ends tonight. It ends
As the sounds of the battle outside filtered into the shrine itself, Heli
almost smiled. Almost. She moved one of the black pieces on the board
and then picked up one of the white pieces and set it aside.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
Rowena Voiceover: The guitar kicked in, as well as a string section. "A
falling star. Least I fall alone. I can’t explain what you can’t explain."
On the lawn, chaos reigned. Mia sliced one demon with a sword. Nozomi
fired her gun several times into an approaching demon, but it had no
effect. She shrugged and re-holstered the gun, then punched the demon
in the face.
Rowena Voiceover: "You’re finding things that you didn’t know. I look at
you with such disdain.
Kennedy and Kadin stood back to back, surrounded by about five
demons. They exchanged a brief look, then each launched themselves
forward. Kennedy immediately knocked one over with a spin kick and
then snap-punched another in the side of the head. Kadin had
considerably less success. She was punched in the face and stumbled.
Rowena Voiceover: "The walls start breathing. My mind’s unweaving.
Maybe it’s best you leave me alone."
When Kadin looked up again, her eyes were completely black. She shook
her head and they shifted back to normal. She attacked again.
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
Rowena Voiceover: "A weight is lifted. On this evening, I give the final
Heli removed a black piece from her game board and surveyed the
remaining pieces. There weren’t many left. In the distance one could hear
the sound of gunshots.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
Rowena Voiceover: The music hit a high and Rowena’s voice was
surprisingly strong along with it. "When darkness turns to light, it ends
tonight. It ends tonight."
A demon slashed at one of the Japanese slayers with his claws and she
stumbled to the ground, clutching her stomach. He went in for the kill,
but Mia stuck her sword through his back and he fell like a stone. Mia
hunched over to examine the girl, who didn’t look good. Then, without
looking over her shoulder, she turned and sliced at another demon, who
moved back to avoid the blow.
Rowena Voiceover: "Just a little insight won’t make this right. It’s too late
to fight. It ends tonight. It ends tonight."
Kadin pushed back on the demon she was grappling with to give herself
a little breathing space. From behind her, Kennedy delivered a kill-shot
directly between the demon’s eyes.
Kadin looked around at the battle quickly, then up at the shrine. She
turned to Kennedy.
"You go ahead, we’ll hold them off."
Voiceover: There was an instrumental section in the music.
"For all we know she could be using this as a distraction while she
escapes," Kadin said quickly. "Somebody needs to get up there." She
paused. "I think maybe this is your fight, Ken."
Kennedy put a hand on Kadin’s shoulder, nodded, and took off running
towards the Shrine. She made sure to watch for mines on the ground.
Kadin moved towards the nearest demon, who was engaged with one of
the Japanese girls. She tapped his shoulder. He turned. She punched
him in the face.
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
Rowena Voiceover: "Now I’m on my own side. It’s better than being on
Heli removed a final stone from the board, then nodded to herself,
satisfied with the outcome. She stood up from her chair and stretched
her back, hands on hips. Then she took a deep breath.
Endless Sound Karaoke – Same Time
Surprisingly, Rowena’s voice was really soaring. She was on her feet
immediately in front of the stool, her eyes fixed on the screen in front of
"It’s my fault when you’re blind. It’s better that I see it through your eyes.
All these thoughts locked inside. Now you’re the first to know."
Skye was enraptured, her mouth hanging open. Lorne sat at the bar
sipping a Sea Breeze mixed drink, his eyes were fixated on Rowena.
The music cut out, except for a single piano.
"She’s…she’s remarkably good," Skye muttered.
"Honey, you don't know the half of it," Lorne replied, awe in his voice.
"She's the greatest maker of Watchers there ever was."
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
Holding her gun out in front of her, Kennedy took a very careful step into
the shrine. Her breathing coming in hard gasps, she looked to the left,
then to the right.
Rowena Voiceover: "When darkness turns to light, it ends tonight. It ends
Heli was directly above Kennedy, clinging to
one of the wooden support beams. She let go
on top of
who cried out wordlessly. Both women
hit the floor hard.
Kennedy’s gun slid away across the
floor of the shrine.
End of Act Three
Vi’s Apartment – Day
Title: October 31, 2006
Vi walked out of her bathroom, the toilet still flushing in the background.
"It’s weird how long you can hold it when you think you’re about to die,"
she said. "What are you doing?"
Heli placed Vi’s phone back on its base and turned around to look at the
other girl. "Nothing. Just fidgeting."
"Well, don’t scratch your bandages," Vi said as she walked over. She
pointed to the gauze taped around Heli’s wrists. "Even with slayer
healing, those were some pretty bad cuts." Vi sighed and put her hands
in her back pockets. "Some morning, huh?"
Heli nodded. "Yeah."
"You know what the really weird part is?" Vi asked. "When we were in
there, I wasn’t thinking about myself. I had to survive because if I didn’t,
the people I love would suffer. I mean, the last thing Xander needs
is…and sometimes I think Kennedy and I are the only ones keeping each
other sane." She shook her head and went over to lean on the back of her
couch. "I don’t get it. Why go to all this trouble and only put fake
explosives in our vests?"
Heli looked down at the small end table where Vi’s phone sat. Next to the
phone was the cloth hat Vi always wore. Heli touched a fingertip to the
hat, then looked up.
"Maybe they aren’t done with us yet," Heli said. "Maybe they wanted to
see us totally terrified, because fear is what shows us who we really are."
She looked up at Vi. "You were great today, Vi. You showed grace under
pressure and you refused to leave your friends behind even when it
might cost you your life."
Vi shrugged. "Eh, maybe. I hope you’re wrong, though. If this was just
the beginning, I’d hate to be around for the end."
Heli checked her watch. "I should go."
"Okay," Vi replied. She looked over at the clock on her wall, not noticing
as Heli quickly grabbed her hat and stuffed it in her back pocket.
"Xander said he’d come as soon as he could. You probably don’t want to
be here when he does. All that impending death gives a girl certain
Heli gave her a baleful look as she walked towards the door.
"Sorry, TMI." Vi grinned. "Hey, why don’t you call me later?"
"Don’t worry, I will," Heli replied. She walked out the open door and
closed it behind her.
Shinto Shrine – Present Day – Night
Kennedy and Heli both scrambled to their feet. They were each instantly
in the ready position, fists raised defensively.
"Hello, Kennedy," Heli said calmly. "I was wondering when you’d come to
visit. I even threw you a welcoming party. You might have noticed it
"People are dying outside right now," Kennedy said tightly.
"Horrible, isn’t it?" Heli replied. "Now the question is, what is Kennedy
going to do about it?"
Kennedy responded by punching Heli in the face. Heli took the blow well,
using the momentum to spin around and backhand Kennedy across the
"Well, it’s a start," Heli said. She had barely gotten the words out when
she was forced to dodge to avoid a one-two punch combination.
Heli threw a flurry of blows at Kennedy, who blocked the first few before
getting caught again in the face and stumbling backwards. Heli leapt
towards Kennedy with a flying kick, but Kennedy caught Heli’s leg and
whipped her around into the wall of the temple. The entire building
shook as Heli fell to the floor.
Heli recovered to a crouching position, turning her face upwards towards
Kennedy. The grin on Heli’s face was incredibly wide.
Then she leapt, barreling directly into Kennedy.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
On the grounds outside, the ranks were thinning on both sides. Kadin,
Nozomi, and a few other girls now stood in a tight-outward facing circle
near a group of trees. They were surrounded by several large demons.
Nozomi delivered quite a few consecutive blows to one of them, but it
seemed completely unphased.
The youngest-looking of the girls, maybe fourteen, took a step back and
there was an audible click. A crossbow bolt shot from one of the nearby
trees and caught the girl in her shoulder. She immediately fell to the
Kadin went to one knee to check on the girl. The girl’s eyes were wide,
showing abject fear. Kadin set her jaw and looked back up at the demons
"Okay, now I’m really angry."
"Oh, should we be scared?" one of the demons asked mockingly. The rest
of the demons laughed.
"You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry."
She punched the demon who had made fun of her, and he went flying,
going airborne for twenty-five feet before hitting the ground and
activating another mine. The ensuing explosion sent demon parts in all
Kadin whipped around and growled. Her teeth were long and pointy, her
eyes were entirely black, and her skin was now a shade of blue.
Nozomi stared at her in total shock.
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
A flurry of blows flew between Heli and Kennedy. Most were blocked, but
each one that landed resulted in a hard grunt. Kennedy threw all she
had into a side-kick that Heli deflected with a fore-arm.
Heli took the opening and moved in to grapple closely with Kennedy, who
needed every ounce of her strength to keep Heli from grabbing her.
"They told me you were the greatest of all the Potentials," Heli said, "the
big star to come out of Sunnydale. The future of the Slayer line."
Kennedy kneed Heli in the gut in an effort to gain some breathing room,
but once they were separated Heli immediately landed a hard punch to
Kennedy’s face. A cut was beginning to open over Kennedy’s eye.
"You think you’re the best, the savior of the world," Heli said. "Are you
the best, Kennedy?"
Kennedy growled and threw a wild roundhouse that Heli dodged easily.
Heli grabbed Kennedy’s shirt with both hands and swung her through
the air. She ran Kennedy’s head directly into one of the bronze bells in
the center of the shrine, resulting in a resounding "Bong!"
Kennedy blinked her eyes to clear the cobwebs.
Heli leaned forward to speak into Kennedy’s ear. "How can you save the
world if you can’t even save the people you love? Vi is dead. Chao-Ahn is
dead. Your last two girlfriends are fighting against the odds outside and
you can’t do a thing to save them. I can take anyone I want and you can’t
Kennedy set her jaw and kicked backwards with both of her legs,
catching Heli in the stomach. Heli fell backwards but immediately rolled
to her feet.
Kennedy was back on her feet
and in a defensive position. She
watched, horrified, as Heli
began to laugh from deep in her
"What the freakin’ hell is wrong
"Kennedy, you can always be
counted on to not get it," Heli
said. "Normal human beings
never go around killing other human beings. Especially not slayers.
Slayers don’t even use guns, because that would make killing people too
easy. Oh wait… we don’t live in Kennedy’s fantasy world."
Kennedy’s fists were shaking, and her eyes were beginning to well up.
"This is destiny, Kennedy," Heli said. "Nothing more, and nothing less.
You know why your life is miserable? Because you spend all your time
fighting who you really are. You can’t fight me until you stop fighting
Kennedy’s eyes flickered back over to her gun in the corner. Heli
smirked. "Silly rabbit. You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?"
She punched Kennedy with a hard roundhouse, sending her flying
backwards through one of the ceiling’s wooden support posts.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
Mia pulled her sword out of the chest of a dead demon with a squelch.
She looked up to see a screaming demon go flying past her head.
Mia groaned. "Not again."
A demon rushed toward the blue-skinned Kadin and she stabbed it
through the chest with her long, sharp claws. Another came at her from
the opposite direction, and Kadin extended her other arm across her
body and impaled her attacker.
Kadin uncrossed her arms with a "SNIKKT", and the two demons both
fell over, dead.
"Well, at least this time she’s on our side," Mia said to herself.
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
As Kennedy struggled to get to her feet, Heli stood directly over her,
straddling Kennedy’s feet. Kennedy watched from the floor, horrified, as
Heli removed a small object from her back pocket. It was a small, striped
piece of cloth. Vi’s hat.
Kennedy got her feet under her, and she slowly rose to bring her face
about three feet from Heli’s.
"How did you get that?" she asked, her voice low and level.
"Do you know what I am, Kennedy?" Heli asked. The two women began to
circle each other, each carefully placing each footfall.
"I know what you are," Kennedy replied, her eyes fixed on Vi’s hat.
"I… am an artist," Heli continued. "I pursue beauty. The beauty of truth."
She gestured with the hat. "I found out exactly who Vi was. The truth.
And now… we’re going to find out the truth about you."
Kennedy punched Heli, hard in the mouth. Vi’s hat fell to the floor. Heli
put a hand to her lips and came away with blood on her fingertips. She
smiled and delivered an equally hard blow in return.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
Kadin rolled on the ground with a huge demon. Both were growling and
baring their razor-sharp teeth. Kadin opened her maw and bit down on
the creature’s muscly neck. She pulled away, taking a huge chunk with
Nozomi stopped struggling with another demon long enough to wrinkle
her nose. "Eww."
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
Kennedy and Heli weren’t even bothering to
block each other’s punches anymore. They
were simply trading crunching blows at point-
blank range, one after the other. Each had
multiple open cuts and bruises on their face.
"We are both the product of destiny," Heli said.
She took a punch before continuing.
"When Willow did that spell in Sunnydale, it was only a matter of time
before I came along."
She punched Kennedy.
"We’re opposites, Kennedy."
"You’re life. I’m death."
"You’re Bush. I’m Osama."
"You’re a brunette. I’m a blonde."
One eye almost swollen shut, Kennedy swung so hard she grunted… and
missed. Heli grabbed Kennedy by the shoulder and brought their faces
very close together.
"I couldn’t have done any of this without you," Heli said.
She slammed her fist into Kennedy’s nose, and Kennedy crumpled to the
"I was really expecting better than this," Heli continued. "Maybe I was
wrong about you."
With the last word, she kicked Kennedy hard in the ribs, the slayer
strength sending her flying through the air. Kennedy hit the wall halfway
up and fell to the floor. She groaned and spit up blood onto the floor.
"I was just thinking," Heli said. "It’s too bad Angelus killed your mother."
She walked over to where Vi’s hat was sitting on the floor and picked it
Kennedy managed to rise to a sitting position.
"I have some great ideas I really wish I could try out," Heli said with a
Kennedy quickly reached down, pulled something from a holster around
her ankle, and whipped it across the room.
Heli cried out in pain. Her hand was pinned to one of the shrine’s
support beams by what appeared to be a wooden stake. She looked over,
shocked, to see a silver "V" inlaid into the base of the weapon.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
The blue-skinned Kadin easily snapped the neck of a huge demon.
Mia ran up, sword in hand, to where Nozomi was attending to one of her
wounded slayers. "Sono wa subete desu ka?" she asked.
Subtitle: "Is that all of them?"
Nozomi looked over Mia’s shoulder and her eyes widened. "Mitte, Mia!"
Subtitle: "Mia, look out!"
Kadin slammed into Mia’s back, knocking her to the ground. Mia found
herself staring into Kadin’s all-black eyes.
Nozomi tried to pull Kadin off, but Kadin only turned long enough to
slash her claws in Nozomi’s direction. Nozomi yelled wordlessly and
grabbed her arm, which now had several large scratches running down
Kadin turned back to Mia and bore her razor-like teeth.
"Kadin," Mia managed, her voice pleading, "don’t you remember? It’s me."
There was no sign that the monster on top of Mia understood this. Kadin
growled from deep in her throat.
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
Heli grunted as she pulled Vi’s stake out of her hand. "Is this what I
think it is?" she asked.
"On your knees, now!"
Heli turned to see Kennedy standing across the room, her face a bloody
mess. She had picked up her handgun and now had it trained on Heli.
"NOW!" Kennedy screamed.
Heli smirked and locked eyes with Kennedy. "Look who’s a big girl now."
Very slowly, she dropped to her knees.
"Hands behind your head," Kennedy ordered.
"I have a…" Heli began.
"Hands. Behind. Your head," Kennedy repeated between gasping breaths.
Heli put her hands behind her head and interlaced her fingers. Kennedy
took one hand off her gun and reached for her belt. She brought her
radio up to her torn, bleeding lips.
"I’ve got her," she said.
Shinto Shrine Grounds – Same Time
Kadin paused at the sound of Kennedy’s voice, a clawed hand poised in
the air above Mia’s neck.
"We’re in the Shrine." The words crackled from the radio clipped to Mia’s
Kadin’s skin tone changed back to its normal color. Her eyes returned to
normal, as well. She gasped and threw herself backwards off of Mia.
Now in a sitting position, she looked up to see Mia staring at her.
"I’m so sorry," she said.
Mia shrugged. "Eh, no harm, no foul."
With no warning, Kadin sprang to her feet and ran off towards the
shrine, unmindful of the possibility of stepping on a land mine.
"Be careful," Mia called after her.
Kadin realized what she was doing and slowed down, carefully picking
her way across the lawn.
Shinto Shrine – Same Time
Kennedy had two hands on her gun
again. Heli still knelt on the floor,
hands laced behind her head.
"If you so much as twitch," she told
Heli through grit teeth, "I will blow
"That’d make things a lot easier,
wouldn’t it?" Heli said. "No trial, no
judge, no executioner. You get to be
Kennedy’s grip on her weapon tightened.
"It feels good, doesn’t it? The power. One little twitch of that finger of
yours and boom… no more me," Heli told her. "Instant gratification. Of
course, that would mean shooting the defenseless woman kneeling on
the floor in front of you, and that’s not your thing."
"You think I will lose one second of sleep over blowing your brains out?"
"Oh, Kennedy," Heli sighed, "you’ll lose a lot more than a second. That’s
the difference between you and me. The night after Vi died, I slept better
than I had in months. The game had played out, and I’d won."
Kennedy took several steps forward, holding the gun threateningly a few
feet from Heli’s chest. "It feel like you’re winning now?"
"That depends on your perspective," Heli replied.
Silence fell. Neither woman spoke, or dared to move.
"You’re seriously considering it, aren’t you?" Heli asked, nodding at the
Beretta in Kennedy’s hands.
Kennedy said nothing.
After a brief pause, Heli spoke again. "Good little Kennedy, the slayer
who couldn’t deal with her girlfriend shooting other humans to save the
lives of Council members is looking down the barrel of a gun at an
unarmed woman and seriously thinking about pulling the trigger. I have
to say, I didn’t know you had it in you."
"Shut up!" Kennedy shouted.
"Gotta be tempting. One little twitch, and my brains turn into mushed
tapioca," Heli continued, as if oblivious. "Nobody else is here. You could
even claim I attacked you."
Kennedy rushed forward and grabbed the front of Heli’s shirt. She
pressed the tip of her gun to Heli’s temple. "One more word and I’ll…"
"You’ll what?" Heli mocked. "Kill me? Shoot me? Blow my brains out? We
both know that’s not who you are."
Kennedy licked her lips, tasting blood. After a moment, she took a step
back, keeping her gun trained on Heli. "You say that like it’s a bad
"You know, they say that in addition to being a very ugly way to die,
Marsaulix venom is incredibly painful," Heli told her. Her voice was
perfectly level, as if she were giving a biology lecture. "It’s like having a
bomb explode in your abdomen, I hear; but I don’t know how they’d
know that. All of your organs liquefy and ooze out of every orifice of your
body. Your lungs turn into mush, it feels like you’re suffocating. Your
liver and kidneys and intestinal tract dissolve, making your entire body
septic. But here’s the thing. Your heart and brain, they’re immune to the
effects. So you live long enough to suffocate to death, and you’re
conscious right up until the end."
"Shut up," Kennedy hissed.
"The abdominal cavity has a huge number of nerve endings," Heli
continued, as if Kennedy had not spoken. "That’s why even a teensy little
ulcer in the stomach can be incredibly painful. Imagine having the entire
wall of the stomach dissolve all at once. That has to hurt." A thin smile
appeared on Heli’s lips. "Vi died, in pain, in her lover’s arms, when she
thought she was actually safe for the first time in hours, and she never
even knew who did it to her."
Kennedy swallowed hard. The gun was shaking in her hand.
"For months, you’ve been chasing me down, because as long as you were
chasing me, you didn’t have to grieve. What’s going to happen to you
when this is all over, and I’m cooling my heels in some cushy psychiatric
"What are talking about?" Kennedy demanded.
"Come on," Heli scolded her, "what do you think the odds are that a jury
of my peers will find me to be sane? I’ve spent years saving my Council
salary. I can afford a really good lawyer."
Kennedy’s eyes hardened, and her hand stopped shaking.
"I wonder if they’ll let me keep her hat, ‘cause that would really be a—"
Heli never had the chance to finish. A single gunshot echoed through the
Heli flopped backwards, a small, bloody circle appearing on her shirt just
to the right of her heart.
Slowly, methodically, Kennedy walked forward, no emotion showing
through on her face. Heli put one hand over her chest, gasping as her
lung deflated. Pink foam appeared
at the corners of her mouth.
Very deliberately, Kennedy raised
her gun and fired again, this time
into Heli’s abdomen. Gunshot
after gunshot rang out. Heli’s
body jerked with every impact.
Finally, after several shots, rather
than another distinctive crack of a
bullet firing, a soft click of the
hammer striking empty air could
be heard, followed by a second, and a third before the slayer stopped
pulling the trigger.
Heli was still alive, barely, her torn body trembling. Her lips were moving
in an attempt to speak, but all that escaped was a soft choking noise.
Kennedy kneeled next to her, bringing her mouth close to Heli’s ear.
"I… win." The sentence sounded gurgled from Heli but could still be
understood. And as soon as the words left her lips, Heli’s body went
limp. Her eyes fluttered closed, almost peacefully.
"Kennedy, what…" Kennedy turned to see Kadin standing in the doorway
of the temple. She seemed too dumbfounded to continue.
Kennedy followed the demon hunter’s gaze down to her hands and
clothes. Smoke still curled from the barrel of the empty pistol in her
hand. Blood stained the front of her shirt, and coated the palms of her
"I… had to," she said lamely.
Kadin shook her head. "No, you didn’t." She backed away from the
"Kadin, wait!" Kennedy yelled.
Kadin took a few more steps backwards before turning and running out
the front door of the shrine.
Kennedy watched the shadows for a moment, as if expecting Kadin to
reappear. She did not. The pistol dropped from her nerveless fingers,
clattering to the concrete floor.
Kennedy stumbled, exhausted, to the post she had pinned Heli’s hand to.
She pressed her back against it and slid to the floor, drawing her knees
close to her chest and crossing her arms in front of her. Through a
sweaty, bloody mat of tangled hair, she looked at Heli’s body.
The growing pool of blood expanded to where Vi’s stake lay on the floor,
flowing until the weapon was totally surrounded. The silver "V" on the
end was stained red.
Council Jet – Hours Later
A slightly cleaner Kennedy sat by herself in the passenger section of the
Council jet. She glanced over her shoulder to see Kadin several rows
back, staring out the window.
Kennedy turned back around just in time to see Rowena sit down in the
seat next to her.
"What are you doing here?" Kennedy asked quietly.
"As a member of the Council you know that I have to officially inform you
that there will be an inquiry into the shooting of Heli Hamalainen,"
Rowena told her in a proper, authoritative tone.
"Yes, I know," Kennedy replied, her voice flat.
Rowena opened her mouth to speak again, then sighed and turned away.
Then she turned back to Kennedy.
"As a friend of Vi’s," Rowena began, her voice cracking. She paused and
took Kennedy’s hand in hers. "I miss double date ice cream Thursdays. I
miss popcorn fights at the movie theater. I miss… I miss Vi… so I’m glad
that bitch is finally dead. I’m sorry you had to be the one to do it, Ken,
but… I guess I wanted to say thank you. Not on behalf of the Council
but… just from me. Thank you."
Rather than saying anything in return, Kennedy reached under her seat
and pulled something out of her bag. She sat up and handed Rowena a
gold bracelet covered in diamonds.
"What’s this?" Rowena asked, totally confused.
"An engagement bracelet," Kennedy told her.
"Kennedy, I-I know we’ve gotten closer recently, almost friends dare I
say," Rowena began.
Kennedy managed a smile. "They found it on Heli’s body. She must have
stolen it from you and replaced it with a fake."
After gaping for a moment, Rowena hurriedly removed the bracelet she
was wearing from her wrist.
"Good idea," Kennedy nodded. Her smile was gone.
Rowena looked at her again, concern on her face. "Kennedy, are you…"
"I’m fine," Kennedy assured her
unconvincingly. "I just need
After a moment, Rowena
nodded, rose, and walked back
towards her seat.
Kennedy tilted her seat back,
rested her head on the cushion,
and closed her eyes.
Heli leaned forward from the
seat behind Kennedy. She brought her lips within inches of Kennedy’s
"This is who you are," Heli whispered. Slowly Kennedy's eyes opened.
"This is the truth. So tell me, Kennedy…isn’t it beautiful?"
Special Guest Star Andy Hallet as Lorne
End of Tokyo Nights