Okay. Went through whole story, and put down characters' thoughts for every single line, just to make sure I understood exactly where lines were correct and where they weren't. Caught a whole bunch of inconsistencies and bad things, fixed them, and now, hopefully, it'll all be a lot better.
I was trying to show a lot of different tensions in this scene. I hope you can pick up on them.
--000--Two Weeks Later
"I've got to go," said Tara, as she passed through the kitchen. "Xander says that Anya's freaking out and needs someone to calm her down, and I guess my name came up."
"Oh, I can go, too," said Willow.
"I think it would be better if it was just one of us," said Tara, picking up her purse. "Xander says she's a little overwhelmed." She stepped forward, and whispered, "Bad prophecies coming through from the demon world, that kind of thing."
"Bad prophecies?" asked Elizabeth, as she got the milk out of the fridge. "Is this something I should know about?"
"Oh, no," said Tara, shrugging her purse onto her shoulder. "It's not anything really important, it's just something that comes up every so often, and Anya kind of freaks out until it goes away."
"Wow, prophecy migraines," said Elizabeth, putting the milk down on the counter. "That's different."
"Well, if I come over, I could do a spell or something," said Willow. "You know? Make it all better?"
Tara put her hands over Willow's. "Willow," she said, softly. "You're using too much magic."
"No, I'm not," said Willow. "I'm using just the right amount of magic."
Elizabeth looked up, and met Tara's eyes. Elizabeth nodded at her.
"Willow, we're worried about you," Tara said. "You can't fool around with magic like you've been doing. You're going to get in trouble."
"But that's my role on the team," said Willow. "I'm the magic-person, and Elizabeth's the tech-person, Xander's the snack-getting person, and you're – well, you're my everything." She cuddled Tara, and Tara gave a small laugh.
The phone rang, and everyone jumped. Elizabeth looked over at Willow and Tara, not sure whether or not she should answer. Willow darted over and picked up the phone, instead. "Hello?"
The initial plan to use Elizabeth in case Dawn's dad called had been thrown out the window pretty quickly. The monks had done far too good a job implanting Dawn into all of their memories, and Elizabeth had none of those. She had… well, they suspected she had most of the same memories all the rest of them had had, before Dawn had ever been created. Well, those and a bunch of memories about some mysterious journey she'd gone on, in late high school. But Elizabeth never wanted to talk about that.
Willow breathed a little sigh of relief, as she heard the voice on the other end of the receiver. "Oh, Giles," she said. "Yeah, we're all still here. Everything's fine. What's up?"
Tara glanced over at Elizabeth, and mouthed, "Got to go!" Elizabeth waved at her, and Tara turned and walked out the front door.
"Oh, okay, but that's not really a me thing," said Willow. "That's more an Elizabeth thing." She paused. "No, she's the one who does that stuff, now. I'm just, you know. The magic-person." She paused again. "Yeah, she's around. Here." She handed the phone over to Elizabeth.
"Hello?" Elizabeth asked. She gave a small smile. "Oh, yeah, of course I know how to fix that. That's totally easy." Her smile faded a hair. "No, Willow's fine. She's just more into the magic stuff, recently, I guess." She put her hand over the receiver, and mouthed, "You okay?"
Willow gave her a grin that looked only slightly forced, and nodded.
Elizabeth moved her hand away from the receiver, and kept listening. "Yuh-huh," she said. "Okay, sure. We can go over that when I get to the Magic…" She trailed off, and her smile faded away. "Oh, no, really? What kind of demon?"
"Another demon?" Willow asked.
Elizabeth put her hand over the receiver. "Just rumors," she said. "Down by the mall." She took her hand away. "Any idea what we're dealing with, or is it just one of those maybe-demon-maybe-not things again?" She paused, then gave an annoyed sigh. "Great, so it's business as usual."
Footsteps echoed down the stairs, and Dawn appeared in the doorway to the kitchen. Elizabeth flicked her eyes over to Dawn, then back to the phone.
"Oh, I should probably tell you," Elizabeth continued. "I think Anya's going to be in late today. Willow and Tara said that she…" She paused. "Oh, I guess I didn't need to tell you. Do you have any idea what this prophecy stuff is…?"
Dawn came into the kitchen, and gave Willow a good morning hug. Willow tried to catch Elizabeth's eye, and gave her a pointed cough. Elizabeth seemed confused. Willow nodded at Dawn, and Elizabeth mouthed an "oh".
"Listen, I've got to go," said Elizabeth. "Dawn's here." She paused. "Yeah, okay. See you soon. Bye." She hung up, and turned around to face Dawn. She stuffed a hand into her pocket, and gave a little wave. "What's up?"
"The sun, I guess," said Dawn.
Elizabeth tapped her fingers against the countertop. "Oh!" she said. "I… made you breakfast!"
Dawn glanced over at the stove, but there was nothing cooking. She glanced around, and spied the setup on the top of the peninsula. "You took out the milk," she said.
"But I put it by the cereal," said Elizabeth. "And… look!" She picked up the bowl, and waved it. "A bowl!"
Dawn slid into the chair at the peninsula, as Elizabeth put the bowl down. "It's very nice."
"How are you doing, this morning, Dawny?" Willow asked her.
"Good," said Dawn, as she poured herself a bowl of cereal. "I'm staying over at Janice's tonight."
Willow frowned. "Oh," she said. "Again?"
"We sort of have this super movie marathon we're doing," said Dawn, as she poured the milk. "It's really cool. First, we watched every episode of Friends. And then, we moved on to Scrubs. And just on Monday, we found this really cool new show called CSI, and we're going to watch that, tonight."
"I think that show might be a little gory for you, Dawny," said Willow. She looked up at Elizabeth, pointedly.
"I… don't really watch that much TV," said Elizabeth.
"Come on," said Dawn to Willow. "You guys fight vampires and demons and bad stuff all the time. I've seen way worse."
"Yeah, but that was in the spirit of saving the world," said Willow. "And besides, that show has adult topics and stuff. And that's not right for little Dawny." She looked over at Elizabeth. "Tell her."
Elizabeth shrugged, but said nothing.
Dawn dug into her cereal, and ate another spoonful.
"Besides," said Willow, "we all thought you were going to the big meeting tonight. Elizabeth was doing that for you."
Dawn stirred her cereal with her spoon, but didn't say anything.
"She's making a great big speech about taking back the night," said Willow. "And she's going to get everyone to help out, and do patrols and stuff."
"It's going to be great," Elizabeth said. "And it's so important! Someone's got to do something. This Sunnydale's super-demon-central, and without any superhuman people around, we're like an all you can eat monster buffet. So we get everyone in Sunnydale together. Fight back. Take back the night!"
"Sounds like Mom," Dawn muttered.
Elizabeth paused. "Huh?"
"No, what did you say?" asked Elizabeth. "What about…" her voice cracked, and she took a moment. "…Mom?" she continued, her voice hushed.
"With the Hansel and Gretel monster," Dawn said to Willow. "Remember?"
"Joyce sort of went a little nuts, once," Willow confessed to Elizabeth. She turned back to Dawn. "But we checked it out with Giles, this time. And there aren't any evil monsters or demons that are manipulating our emotions. It's a good idea."
not going to the meeting, though," Dawn said to Willow.
Elizabeth looked over at her. "You're not?"
Willow swung her arms, nervously. "Well, it's just… the last time this happened, I was nearly burned at the stake," she told Elizabeth. "Joyce called this meeting, and then the town went all witch-hunty and tried to kill me because of, you know. The magic thing."
Elizabeth's eyes widened. "I never knew."
"It's not a big deal," said Willow.
"Yeah, you were just almost killed by your own mom," said Dawn, her spoon in her cereal. "Not a big deal at all."
Elizabeth went over to Willow. "Listen," she said. "I know it's easy to create an angry mob with fear and scary stories. But that's not what I'm trying to do. That's not what tonight is. I'm not showing people that they should be afraid. I'm showing them they can be strong." She leaned against the peninsula. "It's not just fear that brings people together. It's hope. And this town's been so afraid for so long. Fear makes a mob, but hope makes an army. I have to show these people that they shouldn't be afraid. Show them the monsters, and show them how we can beat them."
"I know," said Willow. "I mean, we've been planning this for a while, and we've even got that vampire we caught yesterday, so we can do the whole demonstration. It's just… what's to stop them going all angry mob on us?"
"Me," said Elizabeth, with a grin.
"Not even you're that
convincing," Dawn muttered into her cereal.
Elizabeth crossed her arms. "Just you watch."
Dawn gave a small laugh and shook her head, then shoveled another spoonful into her mouth.
Elizabeth sighed. "Well, I'd better go check in with Giles," she said. She glanced over at Willow. "Wills, you coming?"
Willow faltered. "I should probably stay here," she decided. "You know. Keep Dawn company."
Elizabeth gave a little laugh. "Willow, she's fifteen," said Elizabeth. "She doesn't need a babysitter."
"Well, I know that," said Willow. "But she's also sweet little Dawny, and she needs…" Willow trailed off, as Dawn gave her a death-glare. She looked back up at Elizabeth, and gave a little smile. "Or, you know what? On second thought, I like the whole going with you thing. Let's do that."
"Great!" said Elizabeth, as she picked up the keys to the front door.
Willow turned to Dawn. "We'll be back later, okay?"
Dawn didn't look up from her cereal, just nodded.
Elizabeth raised her eyebrows at Willow, who picked up her own purse, and they both strolled off towards the front door.
"I love you," Dawn called after Elizabeth.
Elizabeth paused by the front door, her face completely blank, her hand resting on the doorknob, fingernails clicking along its brassy exterior. For a moment, she said nothing, the crisp morning air flowing into the house.
"Yeah," said Elizabeth.