Triangle - DOC by wulinqing

VIEWS: 36 PAGES: 101

                         Story by Robert Kidman
Written by Robert Kidman (with additional writing by Zahir al Daoud and
                               CN Winters)
              Directed by Robert Kidman and CN Winters
                         Produced by Susan Carr
                   Edited by DragonWriter17 and Lilly
                          Sounds by CN Winters
                     Art Direction by Robert Kidman
              Artists – Robert Kidman and Zahir al Daoud

                       Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

                                 - Rob x’s

Fade In:
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Day (1963)

A handsome middle-aged man wound his way amidst the other
pedestrians. On the street, rickshaws and automobiles vied for space.
Customers haggled with merchants selling everything from shoes to fish.
Police officers, openly armed, strolled along the sidewalk in pairs.
Everyone made room for them. The beggars left them alone.

The handsome man turned into a side street before they could spot him.

Phnom Penh’s side streets were a maze winding around each other.
Despite this, most were relatively broad and, as a result, anything but
dark. The handsome man moved among the crowds—these lacking
tourists or, for the most part,
anyone not ethnically Cambodian.
No Europeans here. Few Chinese or
Vietnamese. He fit in quite easily.
The route he followed was
elaborate, but his movements were
steady. He did not run. He did not
even walk quickly. His glances
around him, while often, were not
enough to arouse suspicion.

At length, he reached the house.
His detour had cost him nearly half an hour.

Cut to:
Living room – Day

The handsome man entered through the back of the house. Not a single
move was hurried or tentative. Roughly to the side was the living room,
which he entered without fanfare.

A dozen others awaited him. They, like him, were ethnic Cambodian.
Ages ranged from late thirties to early fifties. Most wore simple clothes, of
a type that in far-off America would be termed ‘white collar.’ Over half
wore glasses. All were men. All were also seated, and their attention was
not on the handsome man’s entrance. They stared at the Stranger - the
Stranger, who was now putting something away into his pocket before
turning to the handsome man.

All dozen men in the room watched.

For the first time, the handsome man reacted. He blinked, startled. The
Stranger did not look human. His ears were pointed, his eyes red. Some
of his skin looked more like hide than flesh. When he spoke, prominent
incisors increased the effect.

"Ah," the Stranger said pleasantly, "this would be your temporary

"Who are you?" The handsome man’s attention, aimed now at the
stranger, was curiously intense.

"Doesn’t matter," said the Stranger. "It hasn’t for many years. More than
you would believe. Suffice to say I represent an…admirer. No, that
wouldn’t be accurate. Let us say, someone who approves of your

The handsome man barely
reacted. "Why are you wearing
this?" He made a gesture at the
face. "Is this an example of
Russian humor?"

"Again," said the Stranger, "it
does not matter.

"For what?"

Now one of the dozen men stood. "In your absence, we have voted," he

"Until a new election is held, no meeting may be said to formally begin
until I am present," said the handsome man.

"Does not matter," repeated the Stranger.

"Our vote is unanimous," said the one standing. "You, Pol Pot, are
confirmed as Secretary of the General Committee." Every single one of
the remaining eleven nodded their heads.

"What of Vann?"

"I have withdrawn myself from consideration," answered an elderly man
still seated.

"We are agreed," resumed the standing man. "You are the natural leader.
You will shape the policies and future of the Party. You will guide us to
our own, uniquely Cambodian Communism and lead us to power. Yours
will be the voice to which we listen. Yours the ideas we shall learn and
implement. We place the future of the revolution in your hands."

Pol Pot stared at all dozen Central Committee members. He then looked
at the Stranger.

"Congratulations," whispered the Stranger, as he turned to go.

"That I cannot do. So many places to be, and people to meet. And you
have a lot to do yourself, do you not?" The Stranger passed out of the
room without a second glance. Pol Pot nearly took a step to follow, but
the rest of the Central Committee rose as one.

"Lead us," said Vann. "Tell us what to do."

Fade out.

                        Cleveland, Present Day

Fade To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Bedroom – Late Night

The incessant mechanical sound
of the second hand of the
bedside clock only fuelled Giles’s
frustration further. He tossed
and turned, pulling the covers
up, pushing them down.

A burdensome sigh passed his
lips as he came to rest on his
sweaty back. His eyes were wide
open and stared at the white
ceiling. He turned his head
towards the mocking face of the clock beside him. With another sigh
Giles crept out of bed, careful not to wake Becca, who seemed dead to
the world.

Cut To:
Kennedy’s Apartment – Bedroom – Same Time

Kadin lay on her side with one arm over her head, her breathing heavy,
the covers tucked around her waist.

The bottom of the window was cracked open slightly. The white net
curtains billowed in the cool night’s air and brushed against Kennedy’s
legs as she stood staring out at the streets below. She crossed her arms
against her chest, clutching to her fleeting warmth. Through bloodshot
eyes she stared at nothing in particular, just space.
Kadin groaned, and Kennedy’s head shot round to see her lover
stretching and turning on her other side. She let out a relieved sigh when
Kadin didn’t awaken and then returned to gazing through the window.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Kitchen – Moment Later

The boiling kettle’s hum withered into the still night. Giles poured the
water into a mug already filled with a teabag that floated atop the milk
and began to stir.

Cut To:
Kennedy’s Apartment – Bathroom – Moments Later

Kennedy sat on the edge of the bath, her hands clasped together, her
eyes staring at the floor. A noise from one of the other rooms broke her
catatonic stare. It sounded like voices.

Cautiously she got to her feet and left the bathroom, passing through the
bedroom and into the open plan living room. The voices were louder now;
they were muffled still but definitely louder—and feminine.

Kennedy marched forward and threw open the front door and looked to
her right and then to her left. Two slayers were using the opposite wall as
support as they made their way down
the hall, laughing and giggling,
looking rather tipsy.

"Hey! Some of us are trying to sleep!"
Kennedy shouted down the hall.

The pair of slayers did a stumbling
180°. One of them looked to the other
and put a finger to her mouth and
shushed her. "Do you know what
time it is?"

"Yep," the other slayer said. Then she raised her bottle. "It’s party time!"

Kennedy let out a heavy sigh and went back inside. She put her back to
the closed door and shut her eyes. She heard the slayers’ drunken
banter grow softer as they moved away.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Hallway – Moments Later

The door to Liz’s room quietly swung open. Giles stood in the doorway
with his cup of tea and watched his daughter slumber. She lay spread-
eagle on her stomach with the blankets kicked to the bottom of the bed.

She whimpered slightly as her hand reached out for the covers. Giles
gingerly came inside and pulled them up, and in an instant she became

He smiled and gently stroked her hair. After a moment he stood up, left
the room, and pulled the door to, being careful not to make the lock
click. Giles walked further down the hall and came to Martin’s room. The
door was ajar, and he popped his head inside.

His tiny son was out for the count, his arms wrapped around a plush
bunny that he held close to his chest. The mobile of toy boats and
airplanes above his crib continued its slow arc.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Moments Later

Kennedy slipped her hands into a pair of boxing gloves and then started
to circle the punch bag. Left jab.
Right jab.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Study –
Same Time

Bathed in the warm glow of his
ornate lamp, Giles tapped his pen
against an empty page in a notepad.
He sat up straight and cocked his
head from side-to-side and then
stared back down at the page.

He sighed.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Same Time
Kennedy’s punches became more intense and her footwork lighter as she
continued to circle the bag. She spun round and kicked the bag, sending
it swinging backwards.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Study – Same Time

Pen poised, Giles placed the nib at the top left margin. His face was
creased with strain as the pen in his hand quaked in his tight grasp. He
barked under his breath and threw his pen across the room with
tremendous force.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Same Time

As the bag swooped down towards Kennedy, she pulled back her right
arm and at the right moment thrust it forward into the leather bag. The
sheer power ripped the punch bag from its moorings and sent it flying
against the mirrored wall opposite her.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Study – Same Time

Giles put a hand to his mouth once he slammed the notebook shut. As
he looked back up, he caught sight of himself in the glass cabinet to his

"If you’re going to step in, mate, now would be a good time."

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Same Time

The punching bag toppled over and crashed to the wood-laminate floor.
Kennedy stepped forward and stared at the cracked mirror. Her
reflection—refracted in the broken shards, almost fifty, possibly more—
stared back at her with the same solemn expression.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Bathroom – Moments Later
Giles stood upright from leaning over the sink and dabbed his mouth on
a washcloth. He placed the washcloth down, sniffed, coughed, and then
became still as he stared back at his reflection.

Another sigh.

He ran his hand through his dusty hair, turned his head from side to
side, showed his teeth, and finally touched the skin of his face. It was
becoming slack and wizened, and there dark purple rings under his red

Cut To:
Kennedy’s Apartment – Bedroom
– Moments Later

Kadin moved closer and laid her
arm across Kennedy, who was now
lying in bed beside her.
Disinterested, Kennedy gently
moved Kadin’s arm down.
Subconsciously Kadin snuggled up closer, resting her head on Kennedy’s

Kennedy sighed and turned her head away to the side.

Her eyes fluttered closed.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Bedroom – Late Night

The floorboards creaked as Giles made his way back into his bedroom.
Beside his bed, he pushed his slippers off and tossed his bathrobe over a
chair. Diligently, he pulled back the covers and slid into bed. Becca
shifted slightly and moaned.

"Kids okay?" she slurred, still half

"Fine," was his response. He
glanced over to her; she lay on her
side with her back to him as she
drifted off once again. He reached
out and brushed her hair with his fingers.

"I love you," he said softly.

She mumbled the same.

He pulled his pillow down and into place and rested back, his eyes
staring back at the ceiling.

Then after a few moments he closed his eyes.

Fade Out.

                                End of Teaser

                                 Act One

Lacey Chabert as Skye, Gale Harold as Jim Pollan, Caroline Dhavernas
  as Grace Hatherley, Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing, Elijah
 Woods as Jeff Lindquist, Laura Pyper as Casey Pierce, Asia Argento as
   Marie, Alexis Bledel as Denise, Tessa Thompson as Chamique, T.R.
 Knight as Jackson, Mandy Musgrave as Hadley Ramirez, Helen Shaver
  as Becca Giles, Robert Picardo as Dr. Miller, Michael Shanks as Dr.
 Millenti, Alexa Davalos as Gwen Raiden, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew,
Christine Romano as Hope Lehane and Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix

                                Guest Starring:

Sean Glider as Zeromus, Jason Momoa as O’Kestra, Mariska Hargitay as
   Dr. Tara Abraham, Ric Young as Pol Pot and Sir. Derek Jacobi as

Fade In:
Watchers Council – Coven Room –

"I can’t keep this up," Giles said meekly
as he rubbed his eyes.
Willow closed the doors to the supply closet and turned a key in the lock
that hung from a ring of other keys.

"Oh come on, that’s not fighting-Giles talk. Where’s that age-old British
stiff-upper-lippy outlook, huh?" she comforted as she came over to him,
stuffing the keys into her pocket and pulling up a chair from against the

"Age-old?" Giles countered. Willow rolled her eyes up to the ceiling with a
guarded smile. He huffed. "I’m not sure this wizened watcher has any
fight left in him."

She pouted. "Do you want me to give you the whole ‘vast-library-of-
and-babble-babble-babble’ speech again? ’Cause if I have to…" She took
in a large breath of air.

Giles put his hand out with a quirk of a smile. "No, you really don’t."

Willow stifled a chuckle. "Then what?"

"It’s just…there’s nothing, in here," he said, pointing to his head.
"Nothing’s …‘un-spooling’. I lie awake night after night hoping I’ll
eventually wake up and frantically scribble something down,

"It sounds like good old-fashioned stress to me," Willow said. "If you
worry about something too much or try to force yourself to remember
something, you’ll only work yourself into a state, and then your brain’ll
go—" Willow blew a raspberry.

Giles smirked, although it fleeted soon after. "I’m not sure how much
more time I can give it." Willow’s disposition fell to match his own. "I can
only recall the Guardian Knowledge that has already integrated itself into
my mind, that came to me before my…mental block, for lack of a better

"Again, stress. The whole annual saving the world and aftermath, the
merger, the organizational shake-up, the new recruits, the new rules, not
to mention the fact that you’ve come out of retirement…again," she
added, rolling her eyes.

"Maybe I am stressed." He paused a moment. "Or what if the Guardian
Knowledge can’t integrate with my mind any further because…I’m getting
too old? Then again it could be a medical problem? I could have
something wrong with my brain, and I can’t leave Becca and Liz and

"Whoa, okay big fella," Willow said, lifting her hands in a stop gesture.
"And I thought I was the queen of the babble." Willow raised both her
brows in a fretful look. "But just for argument’s sake, when was your last

"Last Thursday."

"Well, there you go," Willow threw her hands up. "You’re good. Everything
will work out in the end, it always does."

Giles gave a weak smile.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Dr.
Millenti’s Office – Same

"So this isn’t the session
where you ask about my
mother?" Kennedy

"No, not yet anyway."
Kennedy looked up at Dr. Millenti, catching the sparkle in his eye. "So
how’s it going?" he asked from behind his desk.

She rolled her eyes. "Where do I start?" The smile that had graced her
face was now replaced with a blank stoic stare.

"From the beginning?"

A long, heavy sigh breezed through the parting of her lips. "It feels…it
feels like I’m riding in the back seat while someone else is driving—
badly." Kennedy looked up at the kind-faced doctor. "Everything’s a
struggle lately. People say that it gets easier, that you push it to the back
of your mind…but I can’t. I can’t ’cause every time I look down at my
hands all I see is—" Her words came to an abrupt stop. She glanced at
her hands in her lap. They were fists, tight fists.

Slowly, her fists bloomed, revealing the palms of her hands. They
trembled, as did her eyes, as did her bottom lip.

"Blood. All I see is blood." She scrunched her hands back into fists and
looked back up at Dr. Millenti.

"It all washes away; it all fades; it just takes time," he offered. When
Kennedy didn’t add more, he asked, "Do you feel that you need to be
punished, Kennedy?"

"Yeah, I think I do."

"Is guilt not punishment enough?"

"It shouldn’t be. I took a life. If this world is full of balancing rules, then
shouldn’t my own life be on the chopping block?"

"You should know better than anyone that nothing is black and white in
this world."

"Yeah, I know." Kennedy snorted a laugh and rubbed her forehead.
"When Jocelyn nearly killed me, Kadin said that I scared everyone. I said
that it must meant that I’m not dead. I wis—no, I don’t wish—but
sometimes...I think I should have died."

"Do you want to kill yourself, Kennedy?"

"No," she said after a bit of consideration. "It’s not really like that. It’s
more like…I feel I deserve to die for what I’ve done. And then seeing Vi
and Heli again in Texas…"

"Have you spoken to anyone about how you feel? Kadin? Willow? Faith?"

"A little with Willow and Faith. As for Kadin, she’s had problems of her
own, so she doesn’t need me bringing up my crap. Our relationship is
kind of a little strained at the moment, but then again, it’s probably just
me thinking that."

"Perhaps," Dr. Millenti comforted. "What did Faith and Willow tell you?"

"I didn’t get too deep into things." Kennedy grinned slightly. "Guess that’s
why they didn’t say too much, huh?"

Dr. Millenti laughed. "Communication usually helps. That said, I think it
would help your development if you could let those around you know
how you truly feel rather than just skirting around the fringes."
"So what you’re saying is I should burden them with my problems?"

"Not burden, Kennedy, share."

"Isn’t that the same thing?"

"No. I can’t divulge the discussions of my other clients, but I can say they
both love you—very much so."

"I…" Kennedy’s mouth hung open, but nothing came out. "I’m not sure if
I know how."

"Just talk to them. People
who love us will listen." He
began to grin slightly. "But
you have to talk first in order
for that to happen."

Kennedy gave him a guilty
grin, then in a matter of
seconds, tears began to burn
in Kennedy’s eyes. "I just...I
just..." She brought a trembling hand up to her mouth.

Dr. Millenti turned to his right and pulled a couple of tissues from the
box and handed them to Kennedy.

"When someone takes another’s life," Dr. Millenti began, "no matter what
the circumstances, a part of the murderer dies along with their victim."

Sniffing and drying her few tears, Kennedy looked to the doctor. "I’m in
the profession of killing things—killing in order to protect others, and
that’s what I did. I killed; I ended a life to save others. I did my job."

"Heli was once a friend of yours, or at least you believed her to be,
regardless of whether the feelings were reciprocated. She was a sister in
slayer terms, but I don't think that’s it. I don't think you’re feeling guilty
because you killed your sister."

Kennedy just stared at him.

"I think you killed Heli for revenge," he stated simply, "not because you
wanted to protect others."

"I..." Kennedy’s mouth hung open but nothing came out.
Cut To:
Watchers Council – Former B9 Storage Facility – Afternoon

Robin along with Jeff, Jackson, Markham, and Grace wandered the vast
underground warehouse filled with a cobalt-hue light.

"Catalog number 522666," Grace said as she held a laptop in her arms,
"Shiva’s Dew Shard."

Jackson swiped the access card key into the lock and released the
drawer containing the item.
"Check. What priority is it?"

She tapped the keys. "Green. We
leave it. Unless you want it to
snow forever, there’s little else you
can do with it…Might come in
handy if you want to keep things
chilled though."

"You think they’ll mind if I borrow
it to keep the kegs cold?" Jackson
gave back.

"When is your next party?"

"Why, you gonna make an appearance this time?"

"No, just wanna make sure that my slayer’s nowhere near your so-very-
freshmen chug-fest."

"Guys, come on. We need to get this aisle done…today," Robin said as he
walked a little ahead with a clipboard and a digital camera.

Markham saluted and moved onto the next drawer.

"Number 924531. Unidentified Object #27," Jeff read off the monitor of
his laptop. "That’s priority red. That’s coming back to the Council vault."

Markham reached in and took out the object. It was small, disc-like,
golden with intricate symbols spiraling from the amber jewel in the
center. Jeff placed his laptop down on one of the shelves and turned
around to a cart that had various cases of different sizes stacked on it.
He grabbed a metal case and opened it. Markham carefully lowered the
object into the padded interior and locked the lid. Jeff put the case back
on the cart and looked over to Robin.

"Robin," Jeff called. "The cart’s getting pretty full. Want us to take it back
to the van?"

He cast a quick glance over to the cart and back at Jeff. "Sure."

Jeff swung the cart around and pushed it back up the aisle towards the
large service elevator at the end. "Behave, guys," he said, sporting a

"We’ll try," Grace replied with a smile before returning her attention to
the laptop.

"You sure we’re going to have enough room in the Council vault? I mean,
the rate we’re going, we’re going to have to leave some stuff behind,"
Jackson piped up as he placed another object into a travel case.

"Yeah, like, are we actually going to use this facility to store stuff?" Grace

"The acquisition of Bureau Nine and all its assets means that this
facility, like many others, are now…well, ours," Robin said. "Buffy wants
us to identify and bring back any important and dangerous items to the
Council vault. But yeah, this facility will still be used for storage."

"And just when Jackie was thinking that this place would make an
awesome underground raving spot," Grace pouted with sarcastic eyes.

Shaking his head with a smirk, Robin continued along the aisle, leaving
Jackson and Grace to their cataloging. As he came to the end of the aisle,
he looked to his left and saw a large freestanding grand mirror propped
up against the wall.

He stuffed his clipboard under his underarm and readied the digital
camera. With the picture taken, Robin stepped forward and looked for
the label with the catalog number. Nothing.

Robin frowned, and as he looked up, he noticed that his tie was askew.
He put the camera in his blazer pocket and the clipboard under his
underarm once again and straightened his tie.
"Hey, Robin, one of the objects has been filed in the wrong drawer!"
Jackson’s voice echoed throughout
the complex.

Robin turned away from the mirror,
not looking pleased. "Coming!" he
shouted back and walked away.

Bizarrely, Robin’s reflection stayed in
the mirror staring back at him with a
peculiar look as Robin walked off and
turned back into the aisle.

Robin’s reflection placed his palm on the mirror and tried to move
around so that he could see where Robin had gone.

His palm fell from the pane of glass, and he snorted an inaudible laugh.
Robin’s reflection’s eyes narrowed, and a cold, eerie smirk spread and
widened from his lips.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Cafeteria – Afternoon

"Hey there, stranger. Where
you been?" Kadin said as she
came up behind Kennedy and
wrapped her arms around the
slayer’s waist.

Kennedy, standing in line
holding her tray, squirmed in
her lover’s affectionate
embrace, using the moving line
as cover for her escape.

"Oh…hey! Sorry, I’ve been busy this morning with meetings, training
sessions, and whatnot—you know, the usual that comes with the gig."

"The big and only perk of being a freelancer." Kadin leaned over the
counter and grabbed a bright shining red apple from the fruit basket and
placed it down on Kennedy’s tray.

"Lately you’re not so much a freelancer as you are a piece of furniture."
Kadin frowned. "We talking about nice furniture, right? Not the smelly
old broken couch of furniture?"

Kennedy grinned. "Yeah, good furniture. Everyone’s gotta have a coffee

Kadin’s frown reached her lips and formed them into a pout. "If I’m a
coffee table, then what are you?" Kennedy handed over her cash to the
woman behind the cash register. "I’m thinking footstool," Kadin said as
she and Kennedy turned towards the rows of tables.

Kennedy let out a brief smirk that soon began to fade away. At her
chosen table, she placed her tray down. When Kadin walked around to
take a seat opposite Kennedy, the hunter noticed the sudden change in
her demeanor.

"Ken? You okay?"

Caught off guard, Kennedy hurriedly conjured up a smile. "Footstool?
You’re seriously strange, you know that, right?"

"It’s a gift," Kadin replied with a shrug of her shoulders before taking her
apple in hand and sinking her teeth into a bite.

Kennedy’s smile faltered again, and she looked down at her lunch. Not
even the delights on her plate could inspire a smile. Mid-mouthful, Kadin
stopped chewing and watched Kennedy.

"Kadin, I…"

"What?" Kadin asked when Kennedy didn’t continue.

She looked up, blankly staring back at her lover. "Nothing," she
mustered a smile and gave a nod. "It’s nothing."

Kadin resumed chewing and then took another bite of her apple. Silence
fell over the table, and Kennedy took her knife and fork in hand and
started to eat.

Cut To:
Dr. Tara Abraham’s Examining Room – Late Afternoon

"I realize that kids aren’t punctual," Rowena told Dr. Abraham as she
entered. "I get that. I really do. But this is getting ridiculous." When Dr.
Abraham chuckled in response, Rowena went on. "I’ve forgotten what my
feet look like!"

"You’ll see them again soon enough," Dr. Abraham reassured her as she
put a blood pressure cuff on her arm. "But believe it or not, you’re not
that late, Rowena."

"Twins come early," Rowena told her. "I’ve been reading books, and I’m
already a week over according to your calculations."

"Most twins come early, not all twins," Dr. Abraham replied. "Consider
yourself part of the minority."

"Lovely," Rowena sighed.

"The babies are still active?" Dr. Abraham asked as she punched in the
blood pressure reading into her data pad.

"Yes, but they seem set on staying put," Rowena replied as she rubbed
her swollen stomach.

"Don’t worry," Abraham told the watcher. "If you haven’t gone into labor
in the next week, we’ll induce." She looked at her calendar. "Any plans
between Christmas and New

"Feeding and changing the
diapers of twins, God willing,"
Rowena replied. Dr. Abraham
smiled. "But I’ll leave that up to
you, Doctor," she added.

"Well, pick a day between the
26th and the 1st and we’ll get you
set up. If you go with the 31st
you might have that coveted title
of mother to the first babies of the new year," she joked.

Rowena grinned. "The 26th sounds perfect."

Abraham laughed and hit a few keys on her data pad again. "The 26th it

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Basement Vault – Evening
The large metal door started to open; the sound of mechanical cogs
turning and bolts retracting filled the large space inside.

Felix entered the vault with his card key in hand. He walked over to one
of the metal cabinets that lined the walls, swiped his card, and entered
the necessary code.

One of the drawers beside him clicked open. He opened the lid, reached
in, and produced a folder. With the drawer closed, he turned and made
his way to a table in the center of the vault when he noticed an open
door at the back of the room.

The door had been finished so that, when closed, it would blend in
perfectly with the surrounding walls. With curious and cautious steps,
Felix carefully approached the open door.

His worried face softened when he saw Giles sitting in a smaller room at
the other end of the short gray corridor.

"Mr. Giles?"

Giles darted a look over his shoulder. "Jason. I – um…"

"May I come in?"

After a brief perplexed moment Giles snapped out of his daze. "Yes. Yes,
of course."

Felix entered the corridor and then the secret room, where glass cabinet
bookshelves were lined against
each of the three walls.

"So this is where the infinite
knowledge of the Guardians is
kept," Felix said with a certain
degree of awe lacing his words.

Giles lightly smirked.
"Extraordinary? Yes. Infinite?
Well…I’ll get back to you on

Felix looked down at the table where Giles had laid out various volumes,
all in his handwriting. He took a seat opposite Giles and carefully flicked
through the pages, absolutely engrossed.
"I’ve wanted to come down here for some time now and have a nice, long
read, but what with everything being so…"

"Hectic?" Giles posed.

Felix chortled, closing his eyes for a moment and sighed. "Yes. An
appropriate word if ever there were one."

"To be expected really."

"Quite." He closed the volume he was looking through and returned it to
the center of the table. He gestured at the books and the room. "I must
say this is all incredible, you also. It’s not so much about the power
behind the Guardian’s words; it’s the fact that we—you—have access to
such knowledge. Incredible. Just incredible."

"At first I thought so too," Giles smiled.

"And not now?"

"It’s stopped."

Felix looked at Giles inquisitively.

"The download process," Giles explained. "And I don’t know why. The
Cuyahoga temple had a device that downloaded the Guardian Knowledge
into their minds."

"I take it the device was destroyed along with the temple."

"Yes, but that shouldn’t affect the download process. However, Willow did
remove me from the device when the temple started to cave in."

"Download," Felix muttered. He sat up suddenly as if a thought had just
come to him. "The brain is just like a computer—full of networks and
files and macros and processes. From what you’ve described, the
Guardian Knowledge is being downloaded into your mind. That
knowledge has to come from somewhere, no?"

"Of course."

"A computer can access any information as long as there’s a
connection—like the Internet or a network tied to other computers," Felix
stared back at Giles with apologetic eyes. "I think I know why your
connection has been severed. The connection was magical, wasn’t it?"
Giles nodded in agreement. "Yes, it…ah. Yes of course!" Giles boomed
with a smile that surprised Felix somewhat. "Why didn’t I think of it?! It’s

"Sometimes the most obvious thing is overlooked."

"Thank you!"

Felix blinked, somewhat taken aback by the fervor of Giles’s gratitude.

"I think I would have gone mad in time if I hadn’t have figured it out."

Felix drew in a breath. "I can’t apologize enough for the events last May."

"What’s done is done," Giles told him. He gave him a soft grin. "And
hindsight’s quite something, isn’t it?"

"You’re telling me," Felix grinned lightly.

Giles looked confused for a moment. "If you’re right about the connection
being severed when magic was deactivated, then why didn’t the link just
simply re-establish itself? After all, Willow, the Coven, all magic users
regained their abilities."

"Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Miss Rosenberg did
remove you from the platform," Felix pondered. "The link between your
mind and the databank, if you will, wasn’t completely concrete to begin
with, and so when magic was restored…"

"…the link couldn’t find me?"

"Possibly, yes. That or the fact that the temple was destroyed. Pity. If we
still had the temple, you could just go back again." Felix sighed. "In
hindsight, if I had known...if I had known that the world would burn
without magic I would not have—"

Giles shot Felix a strange look. "What did you say?"

Felix caught himself. "I – umm…"


Smash Cut To:
Flashback Episode 4.12 "Meiyo"
Giles and Becca’s House – Bedroom – Early Morning

Giles lay on his side of the bed with the cover pulled down and his arms
on top of it almost as if he were dividing his area of the bed.

Ever so softly Giles began to mumble in his sleep. The mumbles became
more frequent, and the words more coherent, albeit not English.

"Eg…egeodar magunis…vush…terranis…deboris proclarush…"

After reaching a crescendo, he woke with a start, his eyes shooting open.

Smash Cut To:
Watchers Council – Basement Vault – Resume

"Egeodar magunis vush terranis deboris proclarush," Giles repeated, this
time sounding confident of the words. He gasped, his eyes widening.

"What language is that?" Felix asked curiously.


"Sounds Latin."

"Guardian is the origin of Latin. More complex, different syntax."

"Did that just come to you?"

"No, I knew that before last May, but it must have been pushed to the
back of my mind."

"Makes me wonder what else is in the back of your mind. What does

"‘Without magic, the world will burn’," Giles ran off.

Felix frowned. "Now that’s…Did – did they know what I’d do? Did you

"No. They just knew that the world would cease to be without magic,"
Giles just stared back at Felix. Then he said, "Jason, pass me volume

Felix lifted up a pile of large heavy volumes until he found the volume in
question. As he handed it over, he asked. "Mr. Giles?"
He ignored Felix’s concern. "That’s the key. That sentence. I remember
something…something I don’t think I would have deducted without
talking this over with you." He hurriedly skipped through the pages; each
turn became more frantic than the last until he finally stopped. His face
lit up. "I think I’ve just found what I’m looking for." His lips curled with a
smile as he finger pointed to something on the page.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Later

"An island?" Buffy repeated with an arch of her brow and lip.

"Guardian island?" Willow added,
sharing in Buffy’s astonishment.

"Treasure Island?" Xander said,
intrigued. Heads turned. "Like it didn’t
cross your mind," Xander said

"There’s not, like, a…resort on this
island is there?" Faith came out with it.
Again heads turned, but this time
Rowena, Willow, Xander, and Buffy shot
her a shared horrified glance. A bit
flustered, Faith clarified, "I meant like in Fantasy Island." When she
caught the burning eyes of the others, Faith sniggered slightly and then
blew out an exaggerated sigh before relaxing back in her seat. "Sorry,
Tattoo really freaked me out."

Giles waited a beat with poised lips. "Moving on…" He cleared his throat.
"In the volumes that I have already written, there’s an obscure reference
to a forgotten island, one washed away by time and concealed by the
elements. This island is where the Guardians hid away their complete
library of knowledge."

"And you’re only finding out about this now?" Dawn sounded unsure.

"Yes and no. When I used to recall their knowledge, I’d get it in bursts,
but the problem was that there was too much to remember and things
would get pushed to the back of my mind. A-A-And with recent events
and my own fears and worries of not acquiring any new knowledge for
several months…"

"Told ya you should stop worrying, huh?" Willow grinned lightly.
Giles smirked. "Yes. Again, it was just a reference in one volume, and
thankfully before last May, I’d written a passage in volume eight. It was
a-a blurb of sorts about the island. With directions."

"You know where it is?" Rowena shifted her weight in her seat, strain
evident on her face. She held one hand on her heavily pregnant stomach;
the other was interlaced with Willow’s.

"You sure you want to be here?" Willow whispered.

Rowena nodded, a little flushed. "Yep, I want one last good watcher-gasm
before I jump into my sweats."

"Jason," Giles prompted.

"Of course." Felix rose out of his seat at the end of the table, laptop in his
hands, and joined Giles behind the podium. He opened the laptop and
brought up an image of the Earth, which displayed behind them on the
large monitor. "Using the information in the Guardian volumes in
conjunction with the Council’s inherited Bureau Nine satellites, we’ve
pinpointed the location of the island." Felix tapped the keys, and the
image refreshed, frame-after-frame, zooming into a familiar area of the
North Atlantic Ocean off the Florida east coast bordered with parts of
Cuba and Puerto Rico at the bottom of the image.

"Is that?" Robin started.

"No…" Lori muttered under her breath.

"What? I don’t get it?" Kennedy said just as the image refreshed again,
and the coast of Florida disappeared, now replaced with nothing but

"The island is inside what is infamously known as the Bermuda
Triangle," Giles revealed to
the group, receiving a
shocked consensus. "Or to be
exact, in the heart of the
Bermuda Triangle."

The image behind him
contained only the brilliant
cerulean blue waters.

Buffy moved her eyes from
the monitor to Giles. "What’s
the catch?"

Giles stared back at Buffy for a moment; then he stifled a smile and
opened his mouth.

Fade Out.

                              End of Act One

                                Act Two
Fade In:
Watchers Council – Mr.
Felix’s Office – Later That

"Yes, thank you." Felix put the
phone back in the dock when
there was a knock at the door.
"Timely," he muttered to
himself. "Come in!" Lori
entered carrying a folder in her
hands. "Ah good. That was the
Florida branch. They’re
arranging mobilization of a large sea-rescue vessel for our journey. Have
you got the tentative case file? I want to get my revisions off to Miss
Summers before I leave for the night."

"Yep." Lori passed Felix the folder. "Giles put together the team roster of
who he wants to go. I see you’ve made the shortlist."

"He asked me earlier. It may sound a might hasty, if not a little childish,
but I can’t wait."

"Really digging the watcher role, huh?"

"That I am Lori, that I am," he trailed off.

She watched him for a moment as he scanned the documents inside the

"I want in," she just came out with it.

Felix looked up from the folder. "Lori, I don’t—"
"Jason," she cut him off abruptly. "I may be handicapped, but I’m not

"I’ve never once thought otherwise."

"Well good then, so you won’t have a problem adding me to the team
roster in your revisions."

"It’s not that I don’t think you’re capable, Lori, but we have to be
practical. You’re aided by a cane, and we don’t know what conditions we
may face, what problems we may encounter. You know I have your best
interests at heart."

"As I do yours. I’ve got your back."

"I think we’re past such pretences."

"I don’t think we are," she said, staring back at him. "That aside, if you
really care about me, then let me have this. Please. Don’t bench me."

Felix glanced from Lori back down to the folder and to the team roster.

"Look at the list, Jason. Three watchers, three slayers, one coven
member, and Storm—minus the being able to fly and control the weather
thing," Lori explained. Felix smirked in response. "I’m not saying I’m
anything special, but I am probably the best marksman the Council has."

Felix held his pen to the page and then placed it down before clasping his
hands. "I trust you’ve been keeping up with your physiotherapy?"


"And you haven’t been exerting yourself any more than necessary?"

Lori gave an incessant nod, her face held tight.

"And you’ll let me have your back, and if I think you’re struggling, you’ll
stay on the boat?"

"You got it."

Then Felix smiled. "Okay." He took his pen and clicked the button.
"You’re in."

Cut To:
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time

"Here, before you leave, come with me," Rowena said as she waved Grace
toward the direction of her home office. "I have something I want you to
take for the trip."

"What is it?" Grace asked.

Arriving at the desk, Rowena reached inside and pulled out a golden
lighter. She placed it in
Grace’s hand.

"Thanks, but I don’t smoke,"
Grace replied.

"I know. Call it a good luck
charm – watcher-to-watcher,"
Rowena replied. "No matter
how dangerous the
assignment, I always came
back when I had this with

"I never figured you to be a superstitious person, Ro," she said as she
opened and closed the top.

"When it comes to most things, I’m not," she replied. "But be sure you
bring this back to me in one piece when you’re done, okay?"

Grace nodded. "Thank you," she said sincerely.

"I mean it. I want you to bring it back to me."

"I will," Grace told her with a firm nod.

"And another thing…" Rowena began.

Grace smiled. "I’ll bring Willow back, too," she replied without being told.

Rowena smiled. "Good girl."

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Bedroom – Same Time
"No. It's not a good idea...Not again," Becca barked at Giles as she stood
by the open wardrobe with her arms crossed while Giles took his clothes
from the rails.

"I don’t have a choice."

"Everyone has a choice!"

Becca watched Giles moved back and forth between the wardrobe and
his suitcase that lay open on the
end of the bed. As he turned to
go back to his suitcase, Becca
sharply stepped in front of him,
brandishing a hard glare.

"Please, Becca, darling—"

"Don’t you dare lay on the
charm!" The light caught her
glistening eyes. "I thought we
were past this. I thought we
could have those lazy-lemonade-
porch-days, but with you back at work…after the danger you put
yourself through…" She tapped a finger against his heart. "…after what
you put us through…" She turned her finger toward her chest. "I almost
lost you last time." Her eyes welled, but she took her tears by the reigns
and held them in.

"Becca..." Giles threw his folded shirt behind her onto the bed and placed
his hands on his wife’s upper arms, gripping her lightly.

She sniffed and blinked back the tears. "You’re my husband. You’re a
father, and priorities change. Your life isn’t just for you anymore. It’s for
them," she said, motioning outside their door.

"What I do, everything I do, is for you and for Elizabeth and for Martin. I
try to make this world a better place for all of you, and in that time I’ve
done great things over the years, creating our children being two of
them…but I’m not done yet." Giles fixed his stare with hers. "I have more
to give, other ways that I can protect them…and this is one of them."

"But why you? You’ve said it yourself, the Council isn’t one person
Giles shrugged his shoulders. "Sometimes it comes down to one…like
this time." Becca licked her lips and gave a heavy sigh. "I know how hard
this is," Giles told her.

"No, Rupert," Becca said firmly. "You have no idea what this is like. You
have no frame of reference whatsoever," she told him.

"You’re right. I don’t," he confessed. "But I do know what it’s like to want
a better life, a safer life, for our children, and perhaps for their children.
The knowledge I seek could be the key to ensuring that…and I can’t let it
go by." Tenderly, Giles leaned in and kissed Becca once on the lips and
then on her forehead, cupping her face with both hands. "I’ll be okay," he
said, resting his forehead against hers.

Becca wore a sad smile but didn’t move. "You better. I waited my entire
life for you, and I’m not letting you go yet."

Giles pulled her in for another kiss.

Fade To Black.

Voiceover, Buffy: "What’s the catch?"

Flashback To:
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Earlier That Night

"The island is on another plane of existence, another dimension," Giles

"Knew it. Well, okay no, but I knew there was something else," Buffy

"In order to access this dimension, there are certain conditions that have
to be met," Giles continued. "It’s not as simple as just going from point A
to point B. The course we must follow will take us through certain areas
of the Bermuda Triangle which are rife with recorded phenomena – both
natural and supernatural."

"People not returning from sea and such," Xander said.

"Yes, exactly," Giles replied.

"But plenty of people have successfully flown or sailed through the
Bermuda Triangle, haven’t they?" Jim said in a questioning tone.
"Many have made it safely through the Triangle. Those who began to
experience problems and still managed to get through only did so
because of…well, blind luck," Giles said.

"So what’s the first hurdle?" Willow asked.

Smash Cut To:
Sea-Rescue Vessel – Deck – The Next Morning

The gentle waves broke against the hull, spewing a salty spray up into
the air as the sea-rescue vessel cut through the azure, foamy waters of
the North Atlantic Ocean.

Voiceover, Felix: "The course will take us through a region with
intense electromagnetic anomalies."

Flashes of blue and white light and the sound of crackling thunder
irregularly erupted from the
bow deck.

Voiceover, Felix: "Scans and
records indicate that these
anomalies are of natural
occurrence, yet totally
unexplained. In this region
all and any forms of
navigation are rendered
useless. It’s been reported
that not even the stars at
night can guide you through
the Triangle as they shift position before your very eyes."

Voiceover, Giles: "We need Gwen."

At the tapered peak of the bow deck stood Gwen with her bare arms
extended in front of her, her hands and fingers held tight and pointed
resembling talons.

Voiceover, Felix: "Miss Raiden can deflect these electromagnetic
fields and allow us to bend our way through them. With her
manipulation of these fields, navigation should function normally."

Streams of pulsating, furious electricity washed down from her upper
arms and leapt from her hands and fingertips, leaving behind a charged,
prickly sensation in the ether. The occasional dissident arc of electricity
struck the vacant bow of the vessel; in fact, a charred ring encased the
spot where she stood.

"Great, Gwen! Keep going!" Giles called out from the set-back raised
cabin where he and Felix stood at the helm; the needle in the compass
held steady.

Gwen shivered and cracked her head from side to side, releasing a long
heavy breath. "I’m getting pins and needles," she whined.

Flashback To:
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

"The area is laden with wards that the Guardians put in place to prevent
magic from being a means to access the island," Giles said. "It’s safe to
assume that these wards are now working again after magic was
restored, so the use of spells is out of the question."

"Well good thing we’ve got Gwen on speed dial," Buffy said, looking up
from her PDA. "Jason, this isn’t going to be a problem for you, is it?"

"It’s not even an issue, Miss Summers," he replied with a tip of his
proverbial cap.

Buffy nodded her thanks.

"With navigation online, we must sail to and stop at very precise
coordinates. There we will need to wait for a dense fog which gathers
every twelve hours," Giles went on. "It is this fog that is the actual
gateway to the dimension where the island is."

Smash Cut To:
Sea-Rescue Vessel – Deck Head – Moments Later


His eyes flew open, his pupils retracting to microdots from the harsh
light. He found himself prone on the sofa bench. He immediately sat up,
raising a hand to his head to ease the abruptness of his return to

"Wha –What is it?"
The air was thin—and strangely still except for the slight breeze. He
squinted, and the image of Willow standing before him focused into view.

"We’re here."

He blinked and cast his still blurred
gaze to the window behind her. The
sky was grey.

Cut To:
Sea-Rescue Vessel – Deck –
Moments Later

"Now that’s something you don’t see
everyday," Gwen said with her folded
arms to her chest, shielding her body from the salty sea breeze.

Buffy, Lori, Felix, Hadley, Grace, and Casey joined Gwen’s stare at the
huge swirling cloud of fog that spanned the entire horizon and seemed to
continue up into the heavens.

"That’s it. It’s time," Giles said, appearing from behind the group along
with Willow. He half turned his gaze to Willow beside him. "Willow."

She raised her hand up in the air and scurried off towards the stern
deck. "Aye aye, Captain. I’m on it!"

Giles watched Willow hurry off and then turned back to stare at the
immense fog.

Voiceover, Giles: "Just inside the fog is a time dilation field…"

Flashback To:
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume

"…That field increases in strength the closer you come to the island. On
the fringes of field, an hour to us might be a day to those stuck inside.
Where the field peaks and ends is only a few hundred yards off shore. At
the peak, time just stops, and nothing moves…forward."

"Can you imagine making it that far?" Robin said. "To be that close to the
island and then to get frozen in time, your eyes fixated on the prize for all
eternity? It’s kinda cruel but ingenious if you think about it," he said
with a certain degree of admiration in his voice for the Guardians’ work.
"So how do you expect to get past this field and not get stuck, too?" Lori

"Yeah, I thought you said using magic in the Triangle was out?" Dawn
scrunched her face in a slight frown.

"Outside of the fog, yes, magic is out of the question. Inside the fog,

Smash Cut To:
Sea-Rescue Vessel – Cabin – Later

Voiceover, Giles: "…it’s fine—or rather only one spell will work, and
yes, I know it."

Giles and Felix stood side-by-side at the helm.

Felix gripped the handle of accelerator and gently pushed it forward; the
steady growl of the engine reached a crescendo as the vessel started to
edge toward the huge daunting mass of viscous grey.

On the stern deck, Buffy watched the distance between the ship and the
fog shorten. "Here it goes…" she said, folding her arms across her chest,
the cool air dancing upon her goose-bumped skin.

Behind her, Willow sat cross-legged in a circle comprised of four
medium-sized blue lace agate crystals. She, too, stared at the fog as it
rolled towards them. She closed her eyes; Buffy did the same.

A few moments later when Buffy opened her eyes, she found the entire
ship enveloped in a thick gray fog. She called out through the mist.

"Will, time to bust it with the mojo."

The witch shook out her shoulders and released a deep sigh before
starting to chant.

Voiceover, Giles: "Once inside the fog, Willow will perform a spell
that will place us on another plane of existence so that we’re not
affected by the time dilation field."

Flashback To:
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Resume
"Oh, I will, huh?" Willow smiled with an arch of her brow.

Giles replied her smile, although with a coy shade. "Yes, not only do I
need you to do the spell, but I also need you to make sure I don’t step on
any ancient daises and have my mind depart my body again."

Willow snickered.

"Okay, I’ll give you my wife on the provision that you bring her back
safely," Rowena threw her say into the mix.

"I’m a commodity now?" Willow smirked.

"Hell, yes!" Rowena barked with a sly smile. "I’m not going to raise two
kids in this dimension by myself. Are you up for this, Will?" she asked.

Willow looked to Rowena then to Giles before saying, "Yes."

Smash Cut To:
Sea-Rescue Vessel – Stern Deck – Moments Later

Willow’s head now hung low with the backs of her hands resting atop her
knees, her palms open in supplication.

Two of the crystals were already illuminated with an ethereal cerulean
glow; her words were now barely a whisper. Then the third crystal began
to glow from its center out,
intensifying until it matched the
two others. Her inaudible
melodies continued to pass her
lips in growing frequency. The
fourth crystal now began to
glow. Willow’s words became
faster, louder, clearer. The light
radiating from the crystals
merged and became cylindrical,
forming a band of blue light
around Willow.

As the final word parted her lips, Willow’s eyes flew open, and she
forcefully threw her hands up into the air. An effervescent sound—
similar to that of overflowing soda, only sharper and louder—filled the
quiet air. Soon the circle of light around Willow exploded outwards and
upwards, firing a shaft of light straight up into the sky.
Cut To:
Sea-Rescue Vessel – Continuous

A sparkling blue wind washed over the vessel, carrying particles of what
could only be described as starlight. Each individual particle shone with
different intensity—some were smaller, just specks of light, while others
were golf-ball-sized, burning with the brightness of a sun.

The blue wind encased the vessel, causing the ship to shimmer into the
ether until it was completely gone.

Fade To:
Ethereal Plane – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Stern Deck – Continuous

Except for soft rumbling of the engine, the world around them was quiet.
No wind, no waves, not even gulls could be heard.

Willow blinked. Everything before her eyes was painted in an ashen blue.
She brought up her hands; they were blue, too.

"Okay, this is weird," she said quietly.

"Hey! I look like Brell!" Buffy joked.

Giles burst out of the cabin and hurried down the steps to the stern
deck, hotly followed by Felix.

"Willow, you did it!" he exclaimed as he came to a halt.

With the helping hand of Buffy, Willow got to her feet and brushed off her
backside. "You doubted moi?"

Giles blushed. "No, never," he insisted. He kept his stare on Willow for a
few moments and then said, "Thank you."

She smiled. "Pleasure."

"So what now?" Buffy asked.

Giles put his hands in his pockets and looked up at the sky.

"We prepare."

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Dr. Miller’s Office – Late Afternoon

Dr. Miller looked up at the sound of a knock on his door. "Come in," he
said. The door opened, and Hope poked her head inside.

"May I see you?"

"Of course." Miller smiled as he
closed a folder and took off his
reading glasses. "Come in."

Hope slipped into the office and
closed the door behind her. She
perched on the chair in front of
Miller’s desk. The doctor smiled,
waiting for her to speak. When
no words came, he asked, "What
can I do for you?"

Taking a deep breath, Hope waited another moment before speaking.
Then she said, "I was wondering if you could give me a checkup. A
complete checkup." Her eyes were bright.

"Of course," Miller said, smiling. "That’s part of what I’m here for."

Hope nodded. "I’d like it real soon. Like, this week?"

He thought about this. "Should be possible. If you don’t mind my asking,
why the rush? Any symptoms popping up?"

"No, nothing like that."

"A pregnancy test, perhaps?" he speculated.

"What? Oh, no! Well, yeah, go ahead. But I don’t think that’s—actually,
that is related to something I wanted to find out."

Miller smiled invitingly.

"Last year," said Hope, "I was possessed by a demon. You heard about

"At the risk of sounding blasé, my dear, who hasn’t been possessed by a
demon around here?"
"Have you?"

"Good point. But you were saying?"

"One thing that occurred to me was that there might have been side
effects." She gave a nervous smile. "I hope not, but…" Her voice faded.

"Be glad to check on that," Miller nodded. "But I’m surprised you haven’t
had tests before now."

"Oh, I did. A bunch, in one way or another. But that’s not the same as a
full checkup, I don’t think." Taking another deep breath, Hope suddenly
smiled a brilliant smile. "I want…I need to know if I can even have

Miller blinked and then smiled as he absorbed this. "Whether you can."

"Yeah. I need to know. Please?"

Reaching for his planner, Miller donned his glasses again. "Let’s make
some room in the schedule then, shall we?" He smiled.

Cut To:
Ethereal Plane – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Stern Deck – Later

Grace held her head back with her eyes shut and her padded, gloved
hands as far away from her body as possible. As Casey pummeled the
gloves with punch after punch, Grace let out a steady,

"Hey, when’s my turn?" Hadley called out, sitting on the steps leading up
to the cabin with a magazine on her lap. Her arm rested on a British
WWII helmet. "And while I'm at it, what the hell is this thing?" she asked
holding it up.

Casey stopped punching and shook out her limbs. Grace panted and
wiped the sweat from her brow. The Slayer then walked over and took the
helmet from Hadley.

"This is my Great-Grandpa’s. British Army on the Rhine," she answered.
Hadley stood up and nodded before quickly darting over to Grace. "Hey!"
Casey exclaimed.

"You walked away," Hadley replied with a playful grin. "My turn now."
Grace let out a ragged sigh, but she still raised her padded hands, and
Hadley began punching. Casey sat down dejected, and picked up the
discarded magazine.

Across from them, Buffy and Willow sat with their legs dangling over the
edge of the vessel.

"When did we get old?" Willow asked through a morose expression.

After a beat, Buffy realized that she had been asked a question. She
averted her mesmerized gaze from the lapping water against the hull and
raised a brow as she cocked her head towards her friend.

"I mean, like, I’m married, and I’ve got kids baking in my wife’s oven,
and-and I think I found my first frown line the other day." Willow placed
hesitant fingers to her forehead.

"Well, you do resolve face a lot."

Willow glared, and Buffy’s raised
brow seemed to arch further.

The glare subsided back into
worry. "You think I’ll be a good

Buffy wrapped an arm around
Willow’s shoulders. "No doubt. Those lil’ bundles of happy-happy-joy-joys
are gonna love you so much. I mean, how can you not love Willow?!"

Willow smirked. "Ya think? I mean, they’re due any minute, and the
nursery isn’t finished yet! A-A-And what if they don’t like the color?" she
pouted with her eyes wide. "I picked it!"

A sigh escaped Buffy as she rested her head against Willow’s.

Cut To:
Ethereal Plane – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Bow Deck – Same Time

Gwen stood with her eyes closed, the salty sea breeze billowing in her
long multi-tone curled hair.

"Miss Raiden?" Felix’s voice came from behind.
Gently, she opened her eyes and glanced over her shoulder before fully
turning to him with a small smile.

"Sorry, doing my best Rose-and-Jack-Titanic-spread-eagled thing," she
said. "Yeah, I don’t get out much; plus, it’s a girl thing. Buffy was up here
earlier too, and actually, so was Giles..." She trailed off pensively with a

Felix smirked. "I’m fairly certain saying the ‘T’ word is a major faux pas
on a boat, much like the use of the term ‘good luck’ in the theater."

She bit her lip, mulling over his cautious words. "Probably, yeah. "Well, if
we sink and I’m left clutching hold of a door with Leo swimming nearby,
at least I’ll know that he was electrocuted by proxy—you know, with the
water and all."

"Yes..." Felix just stared at her for a moment. "Umm, Miss Raiden—"

"Please, Jason. Gwen."

"Gwen," he said, giving a nod. "We haven’t had a chance to talk, not
properly, and I—"

"We’re good," Gwen told him, throwing her hair back over one shoulder
and giving Felix a bright smile.

Cut To:
Ethereal Plane – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Cabin – Same Time

Giles stood at the helm; his hands gripped the wheel, holding the course
steady. Lori sat in the chair beside him, contently staring out at the blue
world around them.

"There’s another one," she said, raising a pointed finger to an aircraft
suspended in mid-air.

Giles’s glance followed where Lori pointed, and he sighed.

"And they really believe that they’re getting somewhere?" she asked.

"They are. They’re still moving—only at a rate we can’t perceive. It’s all a
matter of perspective. It could take them another hundred years,
possibly more, to reach the field’s peak and then..."

"And then nothing, right?" She didn’t turn away from the aircraft.
"Unfortunately, yes."

Lori sighed, and she looked to
Giles. "Okay, question. Why
didn’t these vessels get set free
when…when Bureau Nine
annulled magic?"

Giles quickly looked at Lori
before returning his attention
to the course ahead.

"These vessels that we’ve
passed—they and the people
on board don’t inhabit our
plane of existence anymore."

"So there’s no way we can save them, huh?" Lori asked.

Giles just stared ahead of him and shook his head.

Cut To:
Ethereal Plane – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Deck Head – Later

Below in the deck head, Lori closed the lid of a metal case; it was one of
many that sat in stacks in the storage area. Each bore the embossed logo
of the Council.

"That’s an awful lot of firepower for a boat trip," Buffy said as she cast a
look up from hearing the lid close. She sat on the padded bench to the
left, the scythe in her lap and a rag in hand.

"So says the woman buffing a shine to her ridiculously powerful and
mystical scythe?" Lori turned her head with what could be mistaken for a

Buffy stopped, shrugged, and then continued to shine the silver blade’s
edge. "Hey, none of the slayers would be here if it wasn’t for this beaut."

"And me," Willow shouted out from somewhere in the background.

Buffy pitched a thumb over her shoulder. "And her…Still, what you’re
"We’re going on a mission worthy of Lara Croft, so it’s best to be
prepared," Lori replied, raising a brow.

Buffy waited a moment and then admitted, "Point taken."

"Lara had, like, only a few weapons," Grace corrected, sitting at the
kitchen counter with a notepad in front of her. "What you’ve got there is
like half of Nicholas Cage’s arsenal in Lord of War."

"Heh, ‘Lori of War’," Hadley snickered as she dealt cards for Casey and

"Guys," Willow called from the deck, "you’d better come up here."

The group shared an equal look of concern.

Cut To:
Ethereal Plane – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Stern Deck – Continuous

Followed by Hadley, Casey, Grace, and Buffy, Lori climbed the steps up
to the deck.

"What is it?" Lori asked.

"That," Willow said, standing next to Giles and Gwen, their backs to the

They all turned to face where Willow, Giles, and Gwen were staring.

"What the—?" Hadley said, her frown turning into awe as she hurried to
stand beside Willow.

A strange ship, similar in design to that of a pirate ship only on a much
larger scale, sat dead in the water a hundred yards away from the
Council’s vessel.

The frame of the ship was constructed out of bones. The actual hull was
reminiscent of one large ribcage. Between the gaps of the bones was a
dubious brown amalgam. It could very well be wood, but it looked
organic, only charred and preserved. Each of the ship’s masts seemed to
be a single bone, a spine. The sails that hung from the masts were dull in
color, a rotten beige with sporadic stains of mottled burgundy.

"Is that...?" Gwen put a hand to her mouth. She gulped.
"Skin. Possibly human
skin," Giles said tonelessly.

Her brow furrowed, Willow
turned to her left. Her eyes
bulged, and her mouth
hung open. "L-L-Look!" Her
elation broke the group’s
concentration. As each
person turned, they all
shared in Willow’s surprise.

The fog began to lift, and
the outline of buildings could be seen in the distance.

Towers of grand design that reached far into the sky pierced through the
fog. Smaller constructs were scattered at their bases; although they were
smaller in dimension, their quality was not lacking. Each individual
building was constructed of bricks of gold bullion and decorated with
lavish and elaborate designs. Several spires stood around the island,
their needle-like tips gleaming in the light. At the center of the island sat
a large domed building, its cap similar to that of a domed cathedral.

"That’s some library," Willow said, utterly engrossed.

A slight smile crossed Giles’s face, but his attention was soon returned to
the ship that they now were parallel with.

"The fog’s lifting. That means we’re nearing the island," Giles said, the
vigor behind his words lacking.

"I’ll go prepare to shift us back," Willow said and left the group.

"Hadley," Giles said and pointed to a pair of binoculars that rested atop a
pile of crates outside the stairs leading down to the deck head.

She handed Giles the binoculars, and he brought them up to his eyes,
adjusting the focus on the ship. Through the telescopic lenses he saw
dozens of fierce demons with oily olive skin, huge mouths full of razor-
sharp teeth, and bulbous black eyes bulging out of their dented, oval
shaped heads.

They were all frozen—some in mid-run, others lifting, some practicing
swordplay, still others walking to the lookout platform.
Giles panned the binoculars along the ship until he reached the bow
deck. Standing at the tapered peak of the bow deck towered an easily
seven-foot demon dressed in a
blood colored cloak. He stared
eternally out at the island, his
mouth held in a chilling smile.
Hung around his neck were
various talismans, bones, teeth.
Gripped tightly in his hand was
a tall staff; it too was
constructed of bone, but it was
decorated with carvings. On one
side of the staff a scythe-like
blade was attached.

Giles brought down the binoculars and kept his stare on the ship as they
now started to pass it.

Cut To:
Island – Craggy Shoreline – Later

A small modern dinghy with a motor-engine came to a stop near the
shore where the water was only ankle deep. Felix, manning the craft, cut
the engine’s power and deployed the anchor.

The group jumped out of the dinghy and made their way to dry land.
Felix stood, the warm waters lapping against his trousers, and helped
Lori disembark. As she held her cane high above the water, she flashed
him a grateful smile, and with his help, she got to the grainy sands of the

"Man, this is like Atlantis," Grace said as she and the rest of the group
stared up at the golden buildings above them. Slowly she raised her
digital camera and took a picture.

The flash snapped Giles out of his catatonic stare. He shook his head
with a sigh. "We need to get up there."

Buffy scanned the area. "I can’t see a way up. Least not from this part of
the beach."

Giles looked around and was about to turn away when he saw a woman
standing on the cliff’s edge further down the beach. Her curled brown
hair danced over her olive velvet gown.
"I’ll unpack the grappling hooks," Gwen said. "We can get up easily that

Giles was oblivious to the conversation going on around him. He stared
up at the woman. She was too far away to make out her face, but she
was clearly staring back at Giles.
Then she turned away and walked
towards the buildings and out of

"That way," he said. "We need to
go there." At that, Giles started to
walk in the direction of where the
woman had once been.

Willow frowned at Buffy but
started to follow him.

Cut To:
Island – Central Concourse – Later

With a katana holstered on her back and a flashlight and gun in her
hands crossed over one another, Casey ran from around a corner and
took cover behind a large stone pillar. She scanned the lonely square,
which had walkways and alleys and doors leading to various buildings.
She aimed her flashlight to the shadowed areas that were deprived of
light by the towering structures.

She pressed a finger to her earpiece. "Square clear," she whispered.

Hurried footsteps came from behind, and soon Hadley ran around the
corner, an assault rifle in her hand and twin axes strapped to her back.
She took position ahead of Casey behind one of the supporting pillars of
a large stone pagoda; four stone benches made a circle under its canopy.

"In position," Hadley said into her earpiece. "All clear. Move out."

Giles, Willow, Grace, Felix, and Lori turned into the square, flanked on
the right by Buffy, who gripped her scythe with the stake end pointing in
front of her, and on the left by Gwen, who had her left hand uncovered
and poised.

"Whoa," Willow said, taking in the surroundings. "This isn’t a library. It’s
a city."
"I wonder if this is where they made the scythe?" Buffy asked. "The
Guardian said it was forged halfway around the world."

"It’s possible," Grace said, "and if that’s true, then..."

"...then there could be other weapons. Nice thinking, Starbuck," Gwen
said matter-of-factly, more concerned with examining the square.

Grace seemed pleased with her new nickname.

Giles saw the bottom hem of the woman’s green cloak disappear into the
shadows of a particular corner of the square. As his eyes narrowed, he
saw the top half of what appeared to a carving, more like graffiti in
design, exposed in the sunlight; the rest was concealed by darkness.

"Giles?" Willow asked, seeing the elder watcher head over to the corner.

He didn’t acknowledge her; instead, he continued curiously toward the
shady corner. He came to a stop before the graffiti and raised his
flashlight, banishing the shadows. Large, crude, splintered letters were
carved into the slabs of sandy brick. In the deeply drawn crevasses, a
dried red pigment accentuated the letters. It wasn’t clear whether it was
red paint or dried blood inside the carvings.

Giles ran his hand over some of the carvings. Willow stepped up beside
him, her eyes scanning the archaic indentations.

"Didn’t take the Guardians as ones for street art," she quipped.

"This was deliberate vandalism," he said.

"Why would the Guardians graffiti their own home?" Willow pondered.

He ran his hand over more of the carvings. "I don’t think they did."

"You mean there were others on the island before us—other than the
Guardians, I mean?" Willow now started to sound concerned.

"It looks that way."

Willow gulped and shivered. "Do you know what it says?"

Giles slowly nodded, his eyes narrowing further.
"It’s Occuarian, but the Occuaria couldn’t have made it to the island.
Traversing the oceans and possessing the magical abilities needed to
reach the island were, suffice to say, beyond their capabilities."

"All that’s fine and good, Giles," she sighed, "but, again, what’s it say?"

"Beware the Loathestone."

She frowned. "What’s that?"

He slowly shook his head.
"No idea."

Willow took a picture of the
carved words, the flash
garnering the attention of the

"Hey, everything okay over there?" Buffy called out. Giles turned to her
and then made his way over to the group with Willow in tow. "Giles?"
Buffy prompted as they arrived.

"There’s a message, over there," he answered, thumbing behind him.
"‘Beware the Loathestone’. Anyone heard of it?" The group didn’t say
anything. "Thought so. It’s possible that the warning means that
this…‘Loathestone’ is on this island."

"Island’s practically made outta stone. We supposed to be fearing the
walls now?" Lori asked.

"I don’t know, but there’s also a chance that whoever left that message is
still here, so be extra vigilant," Giles said, taking in a breath. "Now,
there’s a lot of ground to cover. Willow, Buffy, and I will explore the
domed structure ahead of this position. If I’m right, that’s the library.
Gwen and Lori, you’re together. You take the right of the square. Jason
and Grace, the buildings to the left. Casey and Hadley, I need you to hold
this position down to the shore."

"You’ve got it, Chief," Casey nodded.

"If there are any problems, radio in, and for God’s sake, stick together
and be careful. We’ll meet back here in two hours and assess the
situation then."

With a collective nod, the group disbanded, each heading their separate
ways, except for Felix, who remained under the pagoda.
He and Giles shared a solid, understanding look. Giles gave the man a
nod, and he responded likewise. Felix placed his metal briefcase down,
resting it against one of the stone benches and then turned and walked
towards Grace, who was already charting their sector with her camera.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Room – Moments Later

Buffy pushed the heavy stone door open and walked in ahead of Willow
and Giles.

Stone tablets were strewn across tables that sat about the room.
Cabinets stood against the walls, housing a vast collection of books and
jars of various sizes and contents.

Willow navigated her way around the tables to the far end of the room
where four woven mats circled a golden cauldron, in which the charred,
decayed remains of an ingredient sat in the bottom.

"Their coven room," Willow said as she turned to Giles, who lifted one of
the tablets off the table.

He moved his stare from the tablet to Willow and then placed it back
down. Buffy holstered her scythe on her back and held her camera out in
front of her and started to photograph the room.

"I’m so having a wicca-gasm right now!" the witch squealed, reveling in
the discovery. She hurried over to the nearest cabinet and took a book at
random into her hands.

"Yes, steady now," Giles smiled. "Willow, if you can pry yourself away,
we’ve still got much to explore. We can come back to this."

Willow put the book back in place and then pouted. "Oh okay," she said,
deliberately sounding disappointed.

She stomped past Giles and Buffy and out into the hall. Giles and Buffy
shared a smirk.

Cut To:
Island – Left District – Building – Same Time

Grace stood in front of a large tapestry that hung down from a rafter in
what seemed to be the lobby of the tower that she and Felix were in.
She took a step backwards to gain a better vantage point for the photo.
With the snapshot taken, she looked to the top of the tower to see the
blue sky high above them and walkways on different levels spanning the
central hollow of the tower.

"This sure as hell wasn’t built in a day," her voice echoed.

"Too true," Felix said, crouching behind the central pillar that reached to
the top of the tower. He moved a block of stone at the base of the pillar
back in place, then stood and walked around to stand beside Grace,
readjusting his backpack. "Ready to get up there?"

Grace winced at the thought. "It’s asking too much that there’s an
elevator in this place, right?"

He rolled his eyes with a smile, patted her on the back, and made for the
set of stairs to their left.

Grace let out a sigh, gripped the straps of her backpack, and followed
behind Felix.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Hallway – A While Later

Giles closed the door to another room. The flash of Willow’s camera drew
his attention. He turned to see her a little further down the hall. He
frowned and looked behind him.

"Willow, where’s—?"

"Guys, I’ve found something!" Buffy’s voice bounced off the walls.

"Oh, there she is," he muttered under his breath in a sarcastic tone.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Hallway – Moments Later

Giles and Willow rounded the corner to find Buffy standing ahead of

"I thought I said stick together?" he said, obviously not too pleased.

"Sorry, saw something shiny," she said and then pointed in front of her.
"She does love shiny things," Willow teased.

As Giles and Willow got closer, a large ornate door came into view, the
gold border and jeweled decorations sparkling in the dull light.

"Boy," Willow remarked. "You weren’t kidding. Talk about your bling."

All three now stood before the grand door. Giles drew in a breath, and
after a moment he stepped forward and wrapped his palms around two
metal ringed handles. He tightened his grip and pulled.

The momentous slabs of stone
scraped across the tarnished
sandy floor. As the doors grew
further apart, a bright burst of
immense white light overwhelmed
their eyes.

With the doorway now open, their
eyes began to adjust to the
natural light that shone in from
glass panels on the ceiling of the
colossal domed chamber.

Willow blinked back the dancing spots and raised a brow. "This vu has
truly been déjà’ed."

In the center of the room stood a podium-device, identical to the one they
had found two years ago in the Cuyahoga Temple. The only noticeable
difference was that the crystal attached to the inverted needle-like spire
that hung over the stone platform below was larger, more splendid, more
refined, and it had a metal ring circling its circumference that seemed to
be held in place by four rods that penetrated the crystal itself.

Except for the odd differences, the chamber was an exact replica. Ancient
carvings of words, pictograms, symbols, and possibly even entire books
lavished the walls leading up to the glass-paneled ceiling. The written
library even spilled over onto the stone floor beneath their feet.

Giles’s mouth hung open as a warmth, a passion, began to flourish once
again in his eyes.

"Oh boy," Willow sighed. She made a quick glance at Giles, but upon
seeing his mesmerized stare, she did a double take. "And you’d better
stop with the kid-in-the-candy-shop-eyes right now, Mister, ’cause
there’s no way you’re stepping on that thing again!" Willow firmly
                           informed the watcher, but she frowned when
                           her words of caution didn’t seem to ring in
                           Giles’s ears.

                         Cut To:
Near Island Shoreline – Skeleton Ship – Same Time

The waters surrounding the ship were still frozen in time. There was not
a ripple, not a splash. All was frozen.

On the deck the demons were still like statues. Not a single sound of the
ocean could be heard, nor the sound of activity on board.

The seven-foot-tall demon standing at the furthest edge of the bow deck
continued to stare out at the island less than a mile away. The sea-
rescue vessel was now added to the landscape before him.

His joy at seeing the island was clearly evident in his eyes, yet at the
same time they were somehow...dead.

Then, ever so slowly, his pupils
started to react. Next, his jaw
gradually widened, expanding into
a chilling smile. A low guttural
sound began rumbling inside his

At the same time, the ship started
to edge forward, causing the still
waters to softly ripple.

The demon and his ship were
waking up.

Fade Out.

                             End of Act Two

                              Act Three
Fade In:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Resume
Giles quietly paced one section of the immense wall, his hand lightly
brushing the cold stone as if he were reading a form of inverted Braille.

"Extraordinary," he mumbled.

"So this is that thingy you stepped on?" Buffy’s voice reverberated
around the chamber. She stood back from the steps leading up to the
podium and glanced up at the crystal above the platform. "Hey, Will.
Look. Even more bling. Looks like a rapper’s nightstand."

"Told you she liked shiny things," Willow muttered to no one in

"Yes, that would be that thingy," Giles said nonchalantly as he continued
along the walls.

The flash from Willow’s camera lit up the chamber. "I’m presuming we’re
looking for a spell to re-connect you, but..." She waved her arms around
the chamber. "...depth, a little out of. Haven’t you got any clue where this
spell might be?"

Giles sighed. "I’ll admit it is a little…daunting to say the least, but we
can’t be overwhelmed by the immensity of the situation or pass this
opportunity up."

"Oh I’m not saying that. It’s just…needle in a haystack kinda comes to

Buffy looked from Willow to Giles. "She’s wearing her pessimistic hat
today, can ya tell?"

Giles grinned while Willow pouted.

"Guys," Gwen’s voice suddenly buzzed through their earpieces, a large
amount of static crackling and lashing their ears, "sorry about the
interference. Don’t adjust the frequency, it’s just me."

Giles lifted out his earpiece and ran his index finger around his ear, then
placed it back on. "Go ahead, Gwen."

"Think we might have found the Loathestone."

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Control Deck – Same Time
"Lori and I are at the top of one of the main towers—"

"Stairs…are…a bitch," Lori gasped for air.

"It’s kinda like a lighthouse. Great view, but in place of a really, really
large bulb is a—yes, you’ve guessed it—super massive translucent
stone," Gwen said. "Kinda looks like a giant Fox’s Glacier Mint."

"So what’s so Loathey about it?" Willow asked.

Lori caught her breath and walked away from Gwen and pressed the
trigger on the radio.

"It’s Lori. I’d say this lighthouse doesn’t just aid lost ships to shore.
There’s some sort of mystical power source beneath the stone, and
there’s also a control terminal. We’ve deciphered some of the text on the
terminal, thanks to our PDAs. It’s definitely sounding like a weapons

"Is it inert? Are you two safe?" Giles said.

"Yes, the weapon’s offline. We scanned the tower, and there’s no adverse
radiation or readings coming off the stone. The stone’s actually above us;
we’re below with the power source and the control terminal. What do you
want us to do?"

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Same Time

"Buffy?" Giles looked to her while taking his fingers off his earpiece.

"If it’s as good as the scythe, and here’s to betting it is, it could make for
one hell of a defense system."

Giles nodded in agreement and then pressed his earpiece once again.
"See if you can find any information on the weapon in the tower,
particularly for schematics and whether it can be replicated or the one in
the tower dismantled."

"You got it. Lori out."

Cut To:
Robin and Faith’s Dining Room – Night
Rowena held a silver coin in her fingertips. She had one eye closed as she
squinted. Suddenly her hand shot down sharply, and the coin bounced
off the table and fell into a shot glass.

"Drink!" Faith said across from her. On either side sat Xander and Robin.

Rowena sighed and picked up her bottle of orange juice and took a few
large swigs. Faith, meanwhile, downed the shot glass and spit the
quarter into her hand. She put it back on the table and slid the coin to
Xander as she refilled the shot glass with vodka.

"This is the least fun I’ve ever
had playing quarters," Rowena

Everyone around the table
laughed, the men obviously

"What I wanna know’s why Faith
’lways gets to be the one to drink
your shots?" Xander slurred.

"Slayer metabolism. Takes a lot to get us drunk," Faith answered,
sounding incredibly sober. "Besides, you’ve had enough on your own
already, Pal."

Xander looked around the table. "I jus’ realized somethin’."

"Waz ’at?" Robin asked, his body swaying slightly back and forth.

"There’s only one person sittin’ ’ere I haven’t had sex with."

Robin and Faith laughed. Rowena, who was taking another drink of
orange juice, quickly covered her face and started to cough.

"Burns," she muttered as she wiped her nose and mouth.

"You ain’t gonna go three for three," Robin told him, making them all
laugh again.

"Oh Lord," Rowena sighed. "I need some water," she told Faith before she
started coughing again.

"I’ll get it," Faith told her as she started to rise.
"No, sit. It’s your night off, and I need the exercise," Rowena told her and
headed off to the kitchen.

"So when do you think the dam’s gonna burst?" Faith yelled over her
shoulder toward the kitchen.

Cut To:
Robin and Faith’s Kitchen – Same Time

"Not soon enough as far as I’m concerned," she replied as she poured
some water into a glass. "If I’m not done by the 26th, we’re inducing."

Cut To:
Robin and Faith’s Dining Room – Same Time

"Willow gonna work some witchy magic?" Faith asked.

"No," Rowena said, walking back. "Dr. Abraham will be the magician."

Faith snorted.

"And then I’ll be dad," Xander replied. Robin and Faith didn’t quite know
what to say. "It’s true. They told me I get to be a dad if I want and I
want…Oh, and I made a crib." He held his finger straight up in the air as
if he was making an important point.

Rowena chuckled and rubbed her fingers through the top of Xander’s
hair with her free hand as she made her way back to her seat. "You sure
did," she told him. "And you’ll be a great dad, I’m sure."

"Don’t know about that. My dad? Not dad-of-the-year."

"Did your dad ever make you a crib?" Rowena asked.

Xander seemed to think for a moment. "He made a fort out of empty beer
cans once," he replied. "Does that count?"

"Not even close," Rowena told him. "You’re already way above him in my
book," she added with a smile.

Cut To:
Cleveland – Downtown – Night
Kennedy walked ahead of Marie, Chamique, Denise, and Shilpi as they
headed down the busy street, which appeared alive with nightlife.

Chamique looked annoyed. "Telling us that a date with a rather attractive
guy was ‘cool’ is just as bad as telling us you’ve got a secret but can’t tell!
Well I’m putting my foot down!" She stopped briefly and stomped her foot
down on the sidewalk. "Spill,

Denise held her composure.
"What is it with you guys and the
kiss and tell?"

"It’s our fuel for these lonely cold
nights of stalking the streets
waiting for something to kill,"
Shilpi quipped.

Kennedy just walked on ahead,
oblivious to the light-hearted banter.

"Oh my god, it’s those slayer chicks!" a frat boy further along the street
said as he slapped the back of his hand on his friend’s chest.

"You guys are awesome!" his friend cheered, thrusting a rock sign

Kennedy just barged through them and continued along the sidewalk.

One guy walked alongside Marie. "Hey, chica, how you doin’? My buddy
and I are like total demons in the sack. You wanna hook up sometime?"

Marie raised a brow and grunted. "First, Italian. Second, hell no!"

The other guy ran up to Kennedy and walked backwards in front of her.
"Hey, where you going?" She ignored him. "Oh come on, you telling me
you ain’t interested in this?" He pointed at himself with both hands.
When Kennedy continued to ignore him, a look of sudden understanding
appeared on his intoxicated, pasty face. "Oh wait, that’s’re one of
those lesbo slayers, huh?"

With his luck pushed, he found himself at the mercy of Kennedy’s deadly
grip around his neck.

"Look…‘dude’, if ever you’ve pissed a woman off, then you know the
world of hurt that is the Ya-Ya Sisterhood’s fury. Now multiply that pain
by ten..." She tightened her hold, making him squirm in his Polo shirt.
"...and that’s what you can expect from a pissed off—" Kennedy’s mouth
fell open as she caught glimpse of the side of Heli’s face as she walked
among the crowd further up on the opposite side of the street.

She let go of the man and took off after Heli, who broke from the crowd
and turned into the adjacent street.

"Kennedy!" Marie shouted out after her.

The head slayer ignored the cries of her team and just ran with a
complete disregard for the traffic.

"Man, what’s her deal?" the frat boy that had approached Kennedy said,
genuinely confused.

Chamique stopped beside him and his friend and said, "Why don’t you
guys go and…‘chug’ something!"

She and the others took off after the fleeting image of Kennedy, who
filtered in and out of the crowd, easily outpacing her fellow slayers.

The team skidded to an abrupt stop on the corner of the street and
scanned the bustling area around them.

"Damn, where’d she go?" Shilpi said, panting heavily.

Cut To:
Island – Left District – Building – Room – Same Time

"Now this is interesting," Grace said, sitting atop a table with a book on
her lap. "Seems the Guardians were in the middle of investigating the
links between the slayer and the potentials…something about…" She ran
her finger along the sentence. "… how the next slayer is picked after the
former dies."

Felix looked up from packing away a scroll into a hard tube case. "Sound

She glanced over to him. "Yeah, it is. Guess it doesn’t apply today. Still,
very interesting. There’s something in here about a chain that links all of
the slayers together. Umm…then, on the other hand, they were
investigating the existence of leprechauns as well." Grace closed the book
and sarcastically added, "Fascinating race of old dears, those
Felix smiled.

"Quite," she replied, returning his smile and moving from the table over
to the bookshelf. When she turned back, she found him still staring at


"You just reminded me of your mother then."

Grace’s smirk faded a little. "Yeah,
well, can’t be helped. Offspring and

"How is she? I haven’t spoken to
her since…" Felix caught himself.

"Since the hearing and she got the
boot up the jacksey?"

"You do understand that it wasn’t
personal in regards to your mother
and yourself?"

She shook her head in reluctant agreement. "Yeah."

Felix half-smiled. "I must say your actions and vigor at the hearing were
commendable. You’re a credit not only to your mother and yourself but
to the Council as well. You’ll go far."

Grace’s face coyly lit up.

Cut To:
Cleveland – Downtown – Night – Moments Later

Cars skidded to a halt; some swerved out of the way. The drivers
slammed furious palms down on horns, blasting out a baritone chorus at
their conductor and choreographer, Kennedy.

In stark contrast to the mayhem surrounding her, Heli continued making
her way through the crowd. Slowly and calmly she just walked with her
head forward.

When she came to a clear path in the road, Kennedy launched into a full
sprint, her eyes fixed on the back of Heli’s head. Although she raced after
her with all the speed she could muster, Heli still seemed to be just out
of reach, then…


Kennedy collided with an oncoming car that she failed to see because she
was so completely focused on Heli. The impact threw her into the air and
sent her crashing to the hard asphalt yards ahead.

With a groan she rolled off her side and onto her chest a few moments
later. Kennedy blew out a heavy, sharp sigh through clenched teeth. She
reached out and picked herself up with the aid of a nearby lamppost. A
gash above her right eye made it a struggle to see and focus, but when
she did, she glanced up just in time to see Heli disappear into the
entrance to an alley.

The driver of the car that had hit Kennedy stumbled out of his car,
clearly distraught, and began to make his way over to the slayer when
she winced and took off again after Heli.

Cut To:
Island – Central Concourse – Later

"I spy with my little mascara-laden cockney eye…something beginning
with…B," Casey said as she slowly walked around the square, kicking a
piece of rock in front of her.

"Brick?" Hadley’s voice rang in
Casey’s ear.

Slack-jawed, Casey’s eyes
bulged. "No!" she insisted, her
reply drawn out in a breathy

"Please tell me that was you
being sarcastic."

"That’s the beauty of me,
sweetheart, you’ll never know." Casey stopped and kicked the rock into
the air, sending it flying down the walkway. "Your turn."

Cut To:
Island – Cliffs Overlooking Shoreline Path – Later
Hadley smirked as she shook her head. "Okay, I spy with my gorgeous
brown eye…" She scanned what was in front of her. "…something
beginning with…" She turned around, and the cheerful expression soon
turned dour. "What the hell is that?!"

"Huh?" Casey asked, confused.

"There’s something bobbing up and down. It’s getting closer." Hadley
scrambled for a pair of tactical binoculars clipped to her belt.

"I think you’ll find that’s the sea, my dear."

Hadley brought the binoculars up to her eyes, and after a moment her
mouth dropped open. She slammed her binoculars back on her belt and
pressed her earpiece.

"Mr. Giles?" Hadley sounded genuinely worried, scared even.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Hallway – Same Time

Giles put down his notebook and pressed his earpiece. "Go ahead,

Cut To:
Island – Cliffs Overlooking Shoreline Path – Same Time

"That ship. That ‘bone’ ship. It’s moving. It’s coming toward the shore."
Her eyes were locked on the impending abomination.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Hallway – Same Time

Giles eyes went wide. Then he marched towards the door.

"Buffy, you’re with me," he commanded.

She frowned, but nevertheless, she picked up her scythe and quickly
followed behind him.

"What’s going on?" Willow asked, turning away from the wall she was
photographing. Giles didn’t stop. Buffy shrugged her shoulders at her
friend. "Giles?!"
He stopped and turned to the witch. "Pray that we find the spell to re-
connect my mind quickly."

Willow stared back at him horrified and confused as he walked out of the

Buffy stopped at the door, unclipped
a pistol from her waist, and threw it
at Willow, who caught the weapon
effortlessly. She then took her scythe
in both her hands and ran after

Willow stood in the vast chamber on
her own, the cold greasy metal
sticking to her hands. She swallowed

Cut To:
Island – Cliffs Overlooking Shoreline Path – Moments Later

Felix jogged to catch up with Giles and Buffy. In the background Grace
came to a stop next to Casey; they both shared a look.

"What is it?" Felix asked, catching his breath.

Hadley turned and ran towards Giles, pointing behind her. "There!

He took the binoculars that Hadley offered and immediately looked
through them. With each passing second the gap between the skeleton
ship and the island become narrower.

Through the binoculars Giles saw that the demons on board were full of
vigor – running around the deck, climbing up to the lookout towers, and
bringing weapons up from the cargo hold. The seven-foot demon stood at
the front of the ship, his head snapping from side to side as he barked
inaudible orders to his underlings.

Giles lowered the binoculars for the briefest of moments and then raised
them again. As he stared out at the ship, echoes of voices played in his

Voiceover, Seven-Foot Demon: "I am your judge—"
Flashback To:
Unknown Location – Dark Room – Time Unknown

"—I am your jury," the seven-foot demon said as he circled a kneeling
demon whose hands were bound behind his back with his bare chest
exposed. Naked, his rippling muscles were revealed along with a series of
long deep scars on his hide-like reddish skin. "I am your executioner."
The captive’s head hung low and was concealed under a black burlap
bag. Then the seven-foot demon came to rest behind the kneeling demon,
"I am the law, and judgment will be delivered onto thee by the edge of my

The seven-foot demon raised his scythe-like staff above his skeletal head
and swiftly brought down the bladed end, neatly slicing the kneeling
demon’s head clean off.

A spray of blood spurted out of the wound and up at the seven-foot
demon. He reveled in the shower as the blood fell on his face.

A moment later, the kneeling demon’s lifeless body fell to the floor.

Voiceover, Seven-Foot Demon: "My armies shall ravage and rape
your lands—"

Flashback To:
Unknown Location – Temple Steps – Dusk

"—and you shall all suffer!" the seven-foot demon howled as he stood on
the bloodied and cracked steps of a temple. His armies lined the grounds
below, spears and swords raised; the corpses of the fallen were strewn
and mutilated on the earth. The survivors of the opposing army were on
their knees, forced to stare up at the victorious enemy.

"At my will, you shall perish!" he screamed up at the heavens. "My hatred
shall last until I destroy you all!" Then he shot a look down at the
survivors below.

"You have borne witness to my power! To my mercy for letting you live
long enough to see your false God brought to its pathetic knees!" With
that, his minions started killing the surviving demons one at a time.
"Depart for the darkness and fire of the pit, never to return to my empire,
and you shall know my name – ZEROMUS!!" Zeromus thrust a
decapitated head into the air, commanding the cheers of his own armies.
Smash Cut To:
Island – Cliffs Overlooking Shoreline Path – Resume

Giles stumbled back and dropped the binoculars. Hadley reached out
and stopped him from falling over backwards. Once stable, he walked out
of her hold to the edge of the cliff and picked up the binoculars.

"That’s not a demon," he said resolutely.

Buffy frowned and stepped forward, so did Felix.

"If he’s not a demon, then what
is he?" Buffy asked. "Please don’t
tell me he’s a Hell God ’cause we
all know how that ended," she
said, gripping the scythe tighter.
"’cept maybe Jason." She
glanced to him. "I died."

"No, we’d be lucky if he were a
Hell God. He’s something much
graver than that," he continued
as he stared at the skeleton
ship. "He’s an Old One."

Buffy’s eyes widened, as did Felix’s.

Cut To:
Island – Central Concourse – Moments Later

"An Old One? Giles?" Buffy wore a completely dumbfounded stare. "An
Old One?!" she repeated in shock.

"As in that race of hell beasties that The Master and The Order of
Aurelius were trying to bring back to the world?" Willow questioned with
a frown.

"Precisely," Giles simply said as the entire group convened under the
stone pagoda; Lori sat on one of the benches.

"I thought The Old Ones were extinct? Or rather, not here in this
dimension anymore," Grace added, leaning up against one of the pillars
beside Gwen.
"Yes. Some were driven out of this reality when the time of man came
about; the remains of the others were laid to rest in what is called the
Deeper Well, located in the Cotswolds."

"Remains?" Gwen said, turning up her nose.

Giles nodded. "The Old Ones were a race of pure-breed demons,
undiluted, absolute. Their power and notoriety were unmatched by any
but their own kind. They warred like we would eat and—"

"History lesson all well and good," Buffy interrupted, "but there’s a
boatload of bad a-coming, and I for one would like to know how to kill
him and his merry band of grr-argghs."

"The lesson to be learnt is that an Old One cannot be killed by
conventional means. They do not live and die the way that we do or that
any other demon does," Giles
continued, his arms folded.

"The demon that the Mayor
turned into…Olvikan. I
remember Anya saying that
Olvikan was a pure demon, so
Olvikan—the original one—was
an Old One?" Willow asked.

Giles gave a nod. "But the
Mayor was able to be killed in
the explosion because he was not the original Olvikan, more like in his

"Do you know which Old One this is?" Felix asked.

"Yes, Zeromus," Giles replied.

"Okay, gonna ask the obvious here," Casey said. "If one of these Old Ones
escaped being killed or being put in the Well and didn’t leave this
dimension, then how come there’s one sailing the bloody high seas?"
Casey received a "Hear, hear" from Hadley. "Also, how in bloomin’ heck
did the bloody thing break free of that time dilation field?"

"I – I don’t know," Giles said, shrugging his shoulders.

Grace stepped forward and coughed. "The how part of the equation here
isn’t the most pressing. There’s an Old One just about to make landfall.
Shouldn’t we…?" She waved her hands in the air.
"Grace is right," Felix said. "We need a plan."

"Agreed," Lori leaned down hard on her cane and stood.

"Yes," Giles said. He cleared his throat, and both Buffy and Willow came
to attention. "Casey and Hadley, get down to the boat quickly and bring
up as many weapons as you can and then hold this position. Buffy and
Gwen, you’re front line. Deal out as much damage as you can and then
fall back. You can’t beat Zeromus, but you can slow him and his troops
for a while. Lori, we need you to get that weapon up and running. Do you
feel you can do that?"

"Doesn’t look like we have a choice," she replied.

"Good. Grace, Felix, Willow, and I will be in the repository chamber. The
answer has to be in there. It’s imperative that we find the spell since it
might also hold a spell for stopping Zeromus. Now everyone get to work."

Cut To:
Cleveland – Downtown – Alley – Night – Moments Later

Now encumbered with a heavy limp and holding her side, Kennedy made
her way down the alley, her other hand on the wall as she used the
surface to propel herself forward.

As her eyes adjusted to the illumination, supplied by a grubby light bulb
that flickered on and off near the back door of a building, she stopped
dead as she saw Heli facing the damp moss-ridden brick wall and
standing at the end of the alley with her back to Kennedy.

A hard lump manifested itself in Kennedy’s throat, which she swallowed

"He-Heli?" she said, her voice stuttering in fear.

The snarl of a vampire growled out of the shadows right before he rushed
Kennedy, slamming her powerfully against the wall. Another vampire
landed in the alley a few feet from them. Then another arrived.

She struggled against the first vampire, her cries of pain and for help
falling on deaf ears. She managed to escape his grasp and made for the

The second and third vamps ran her down and threw her back against
the wall, cracking the brick on impact. They each pinned one of
Kennedy’s arms as the first vampire stepped up, his golden animalistic
eyes locked in a fierce stare with Kennedy’s.

"And here I was sayin’ not more than five minutes ago that we should
order take-out. Our lucky night, boys—a hot meal and a slayer to boot.
Guess it’s not so much lucky for you, huh?" He bared his fangs in a
chilling grin. He grabbed Kennedy’s chin and shoved her head aside,
exposing her neck.

Her eyes fell onto Heli’s back. She was immobilized, not just because she
was being held down but also because she was paralyzed with fear. She
felt the vampire’s cold, clammy lips against her neck, and then the
vampire’s fangs broke her skin.

Kennedy shuddered; she winced as the veins under her skin popped to
the surface and the blood began rushing out of her.

A piercing sound cut through the stale air. The third vampire with his
back to the street jerked forward. Then a cracking sound began to rise
up from the quiet. He looked
down to see the spiked tip of a
large stake protruding from his
chest just before he exploded
into dust.

The feeding vampire ripped his
fangs from Kennedy’s neck
and, with blood dripping from
his mouth, looked at
Chamique. Then his eyes
widened before he also found a
stake in his chest. He glanced
at the stake and then back up at Chamique, who simply shrugged her
shoulders as he exploded into the wind.

Kennedy’s legs gave way under her, and she fell to the ground as the
third vampire turned quickly on his heels and ran to the back of the
alley, only to find Marie blocking his way.

Kennedy’s eyes fluttered open. She looked up to see Heli standing over
her, staring with vacant eyes. The last thing Kennedy saw before her eyes
shut was Heli silently mouthing, "I win."

Marie leapt forward and delivered a swift backhand to the vampire’s jaw,
sending him into a spin. When he spun back to face her, she thrust her
stake square into his heart.
As the dust of his previous form fell, she stepped forward and grabbed
her radio when she saw Denise and Shilpi lifting Kennedy’s unresponsive
body to her feet and Chamique tightly pressing a piece of gauze to the
injured slayer’s bleeding neck.

"HQ, this is slayer squad #1. We need immediate extraction. Slayer

Cut To:
Island – Craggy Shoreline – Later

The sand crunched under the thick animal hide sole of Zeromus’s boot.
Bird-like, his eyes darted from one corner to the next, taking in the
surrounding beach. Behind him, his army poured out in droves from the
bone-ship that had roughly docked on the shore via a descended

Zeromus closed his eyes and took in a long deep breath before releasing
a powerful exhale.

"The linear progression of time has increased exponentially." He half-
turned his head back to his army as it continued to grow. "The stars are
not as they once were. How long has this voyage been?" The latter he all
but muttered under his foul breath.

"My Lord!" one of the many faceless demons cried out while pointing out
a long bony finger towards the Council’s vessel. "Another craft!"

Zeromus spun around and locked his eyes on the bobbing vessel. "What
– what design is this?" he said curiously as he took slow steps towards
the offshore vessel.

"Perhaps they are the spawn of the Guardians?"

"Perhaps," Zeromus reiterated. "And if they are their descendants, then
what an opportune event to have fall at my feet."

Cut To:
Island – Cliffs Overlooking Shoreline Path – Moments Later

The snarls of the demons below didn’t scare Buffy, nor did their sheer
numbers strike fear in her heart. If anything they only spurred her on
and served to encourage her as she hid behind several very large and
well-positioned boulders.
She lightly tapped her earpiece. "You ready, Storm?"

"Please, I look more like Rogue," Gwen replied. "Halle Berry’s still got a lot
to make up for after ‘Catwoman’. Michelle Pfeiffer, now she’s Catwoman."

Cut To:
Island – Cliffs Overlooking Shoreline Path – Same Time

A radio lay on the grass beside Gwen as she ducked behind another set
of boulders opposite Buffy’s position. Covertly, she peered through the
gap between two of the boulders.

"They’re in place." She pressed up against the boulder to get a better
vantage. "Whoa! That’s some serious ugly!"

"What do you see?" Buffy’s voice burst out of the radio.

"I’m guessing the Big Daddy at the back of the armada’s Zeromus. So
Miss Prince, you ready?"

Cut To:
Island – Cliffs Overlooking
Shoreline Path – Moments Later

"’kay. On my mark," Buffy blew out
a quick breath. "Go!" Buffy belted
out as she dug a hard shoulder into
the boulders and through gritted
teeth and a strained expression,
she pushed the boulders over the

Cut To:
Island – Shoreline Path – Moments Later

At hearing a rumbling noise, a group of the demons shot a glance up to
the cliff to find a series of large boulders crashing down towards them,
rolling down the side. They unleashed a shrill scream, but before they
had time to escape, the gigantic rocks landed on top of them.

A loud digital beep filled the air, and then a set of explosions broke out
along the cliff side beneath Buffy’s feet. The explosions knocked the
demons off their feet. A spray of sediment blurred their visions, and a
wave of tumbling rocks cracked their bones and buried them where they
once stood.

Buffy ran ahead of the explosions and launched into a daring jump as
the ground beneath her crumbled onto the masses below.

She landed into a roll onto the path at the front of Zeromus’s army,
unsheathed the scythe on her back, and began dispatching the demons
that were ahead of the boulders and explosions.

Gwen jumped up from behind the other set of boulders and threw a
cylindrical metal detonator to the ground; then she ripped off her gloves
and summoned blazing arcs of electricity that flew off of her fingertips
and streaked into the horde below. The streams of electricity shot from
one demon to the next, penetrating their oily chests and weaving a web of
blue death between them.

Buffy danced around the demons, like a death-dealing Dorothy Hamill-
clone, spinning and stepping between them as she sliced the blade of the
scythe deep across their chests. Stabbing the occasional demon with the
pointy end where presumably was their heart.

She bashed one of the attacking demons in the head with the smooth
face of the scythe, and as he recoiled, she pulled the scythe back and
cleanly took of his head, slicing straight through the neck.

His body didn’t go down.

Instead a vile, putrid yellow liquid sprayed and bubbled up from his neck
stump. Suddenly a spiny parasitic organism shot out of the wound,
replacing the demon’s head and fanning out its bones, almost wing-like.
It snapped with large jaws at Buffy, who stumbled back and brought the
scythe up to shield herself.

A flash of light erupted in front of her. Then she heard the demon’s
body—parasite and all—crash to the ground. She brought down the
scythe to see Gwen giving her a salute, but before she could
communicate her thanks, another demon was on her. She cartwheeled
backwards, then kicked forward and sliced the demon’s chest.

Gwen turned back to fire at the growing army that continued to spill out
of the skeleton ship, but she had to duck as an axe was thrown at her
head. As she went to stand again, more weapons were thrown at her
position, pinning her down.
Buffy stabbed another demon, looked up at the rain of iron pouring down
on Gwen, who scrambled for shelter. She quickly turned her head down
the path to the shoreline to see the demons still coming. She turned back
to Gwen, and at that moment they caught each other’s eye.

"BAIL!!" Buffy screamed at her.

Gwen looked down at Buffy, slipped her gloves back on, grabbed a
hookshot strapped to her leg, and shot at the stone catwalk above the
entrance to the square. With a squeeze of the trigger she flew into the air,
narrowly evading the hurled weapons.

Buffy struck down another demon and then ran back towards the

Cut To:
Island – Central Concourse – Continuous

Gwen jumped down beside Buffy. They skidded into the square and
launched into a sprint, running past Casey and Hadley, who had set up
their position behind makeshift barricades made out of the stone
benches and metal weapons

"Recover! It’s our turn!" Casey
said as she plopped a
battered World War I tin
helmet on her head and
cocked her machine gun.

As the demons rounded the
corner, she shouted, "OPEN
FIRE!" Then she and Hadley
let it rip with a shower of

Buffy and Gwen panted as they attempted to catch their breaths behind
one of the stone pillars. Buffy peered around to see that the gunfire was
doing the job of slowing down the demons, even killing a few of them by
ripping them to shreds.

Gwen looked around from the pillar as well at the demons racing up to
the square. Then her eyes fell onto a weapons case that had been placed
at the back of the pile. She raced from behind the pillar and over to the
case. She unclipped the latch and pulled out an RPG.
"GWEN!" Buffy shouted out.

Gwen bent down and brought the weapon up onto her rubber-clad
shoulder. She aimed the nose of the weapon at the catwalk above the
entrance and then fired the rocket-propelled grenade.

She jerked back as it flew into the air with a trail of smoke behind it. A
huge explosion immediately followed. The cloud of roaring fire and super-
heated smoke washed over some of the demons as the heavy stone
catwalk came down, along with the side of the adjacent buildings,
burying the demons and blocking the path of those it didn’t destroy.

Both Casey and Hadley cheered while Buffy came out from behind the
pillar a little stunned.

Gwen dropped the RPG and dusted down off behind. "Sorry, always
wanted to do that."

Buffy began to snigger when Giles’s voice blasted in her ear.

"What in the world was that?"

She pressed her earpiece and said, "Jill Valentine over here blocked off
the entrance to the square. That should buy us some more time."

"Jill? Oh never mind," Giles clearly sighed and then signed off.

"So what do we do now?" Gwen asked Buffy.

"Casey and Hadley," she said, "hold this position. Anything moves down
there that’s not with the
Council, shoot it." She
smirked at seeing Gwen’s
raised brow.

"And us?" Gwen asked.

"Grab yourself some
weapons. I got an idea,"
Buffy told Gwen as she
walked away.

Casey’s eyes wandered about the square. Her gun trained and resting on
top of one of the metal cases, Casey saw a stream of dust fall from above
out of the corner of her eye. Slowly she glanced up, and her eyes went
wide. She pulled out the clip and slammed in a new one, cocked the
machine gun and belted at the top of her voice. "ABOVE!"

Buffy, Gwen, and Hadley looked up to see a horde of the demons
climbing down the walls from over the roofs of the buildings; they were
crawling down like creeping spiders, their eyes facing the ground.

Casey and Hadley opened fire, systematically taking down the demons.
Those who lost their grip fell to the hard stone ground and broke their
necks. Those who endured the pain unleashed bone-chilling screams as
they hurriedly made for the square.

"Okay, then. Plan B it is," Buffy said with bit of a gulp.

Gwen looked at her and then stood her ground. She raised her sniper
rifle and took down one of the demons climbing down. Buffy spun
around and opened fire with her machine gun.

The rubble began to shudder under the force of the demons behind it.

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Control Deck – Same Time

Lori pulled out a clear blue crystal card from the control terminal and
placed it in an empty port. She growled under her breath as she fiddled
with the controls. The sound of the gunfire below broke out.

"Oh crap…" she said as her face grew white.

She picked up speed and rearranged several other crystals while turning
a series of dials and switches, every now and then glancing up at the
PDA propped up on top of the terminal.

As she slid in another card, the terminal sprung to life; a soft green light
illuminated the controls from underneath the housing. The sound of the
weapon powering up filled
the frustrated silence.

Lori stepped back and, with
a frown, looked down at the
spare card in her hand. She
raised a brow, bit her
bottom lip, and gingerly
placed it to the side.
Tapping her earpiece, she said, "The weapon’s online…I think."

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Same Time

Lori’s voice filled the stone chamber, blasting out of portable radio that
sat atop Giles’s backpack. Giles sat on the cold stone translating the
carvings on the floor and on the steps leading up to the podium.

He leaned over and held down the send button. "Good job, Lori, and not
a moment too soon," Giles said.

"The weapon needs to reach a certain capacity before it can fire. The
swirly blue water in this li’l orb needs to reach the red line."

Giles held down the button again. "As soon as you can fire, do it."


He released the button and caught Felix’s eye before he returned to work.

Felix turned back to frantically scouring the wall in front of him, a PDA
in hand with an open document on the screen displaying a decipher key
to some ancient pictorial language.

Willow was on her knees examining the bottom section of the wall, her
finger tracing under the words as she read.

Grace finished her section and turned to Giles, who was across the room
behind her, but as she did so, she let out a scream and dropped her PDA
when she saw Zeromus standing in the doorway of the chamber.

The rest of the group turned to Grace, who placed her back against the

"Grace!" Felix called out and snapped his fingers.

She looked to him, and he beckoned her to come over, which she did,

Willow stood, her eyes fixated on
the Old One.

Giles’s eyes widened at the sight
of Zeromus, but his fear was cut
short as he quickly looked down at the steps of the podium and pressed
a series of letters previously unknown to be buttons.

Zeromus didn’t seem very concerned about their presence; he was
completely taken in by the sights of the chamber.

"Incredible…" he uttered. His eyes moved from the top of the chamber,
down the walls, and then fell on Giles, who now stood steadfast. Zeromus
grinned. "Shadow Man…"

Fade Out.

                          End of Act Three

                             Act Four
Fade In:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Resume

"Such wonders," Zeromus said as he stood in the doorway, his eyes now
moved from Giles. "I find myself taken a back by the enormity and
grandeur of this island. Of this
very chamber." He closed his eyes
for a moment and breathed in the
stale air as if it were sustenance.

"H-H-How? Giles?" Willow turned
to Giles for just a second before
returning her attention to
Zeromus. "The spell worked,
didn’t it?"

"It did. I, uh, I..." Giles stuttered.
Then a dawning look appeared on his face. "We dislodged his vessel."

Zeromus exhaled, opened his eyes, and glanced back at Giles.

Giles swallowed and cleared his throat. "Yes," he said in a deep
authoritative voice. "Your vessel was trapped at the peak of a time
dilation field. You were caught in it the moment your ship passed into
the fog."
"That is why the stars are different," the Old One grunted. "I could not
have anticipated this. Nor was I informed of such a ward by my contact.
Hmm…I suppose I cannot seek revenge. I imagine he has long since fed
the worms of the earth. Pray tell, Shadow Man, I wish to know the
current year."

"2007. But I doubt you are familiar with our calendar."

Zeromus cocked his head. "True. It has been thousands of years, no?"
Giles replied with a nod. Zeromus nodded as well and then took a step
forward; the others did the opposite, taking a step back. He smiled at
this. "I believe thanks are in order."

"Oh, I don’t know about that," Giles bluntly gave back.

"Modesty in one with such power?" Zeromus chuckled. "Perhaps we are
not so different you and I. Present company included also."

"I think you’ll find we’re very different," Willow said sharply.

Zeromus stopped and seemed to revel in something. "Mmm…such power
you exude. I cannot deny its appetizing appeal, but I fear it would be
insufficient enough to sustain me." Zeromus curled his leathery lips into
a half smile. "Yet it growls with ferocious teeth. It comes from a place as
dark as my own."

He trailed off, deep in thought. Then he blinked and continued.

"Still, my thanks. I must say it intrigues me that humans, even Shadow
Men, were able to successfully dock at the shores of this island,
especially considering the Guardians’ profound dislike for your kind."
Zeromus looked back at Giles, his eyes narrowing. "But you are
different." He stopped and stared at Giles with a curious eye, inspecting
him. "You…you already possess their knowledge. Their words flow as
freely as water through your mind." Zeromus jolted to a stop. "There is a
block, but you, sir, are a Guardian." Zeromus shivered.

Giles stood tall, standing his ground. "What is it you aim to achieve now?
Time has slain your empire, and your enemies are all long dead. Yes,
these words have power, but they are useless to you now."

"Oh, Guardian, naiveté does not become you." Zeromus took another
small step forward. Giles didn’t move. "These words are of more use to
me now than ever."
"Not true," Willow cut in. "Our race is stronger than ever. We dominate
all corners of the world. Our reach even extends into the stars."

Zeromus shook his head. "No.
No! That is a lie!"

"It’s not a lie, Zeromus," Giles
replied, commanding his

"You know my name. Do not
presume that you have power
over me because you know my
name, Guardian."

"The human race is dominant.
We have staved off many apocalypses, many adversaries, and we have
even fought off Satan’s armies. We have gone up against The First Evil
and won."


"In addition, there is no longer just one vampire slayer, but thousands,
thanks to this woman here," Giles pointed to Willow. "She may not be an
Old One, but she is strong, and you’ll find champions the likes of her the
world over."

Zeromus grinned. "A challenge has never sounded so sweet," he almost
hissed through his razor teeth.

"Okay, perhaps we’d better stop antagonizing the powerful Old One, huh,
Giles?" Willow’s voice echoed throughout the chamber. "And…umm…ya
know, get on with making the ‘jiggy’?"

Zeromus frowned. "Jig-gee?" He sounded curious.

"Umm…yes, you’re probably right." Giles coughed and took a slight step

"A sign of the times and my age, language has taken a turn for the
worse," Zeromus said.

"Ya think that’s bad," Grace blurted out from behind Felix, garnering
looks from Zeromus, Giles, and Willow. Willow gave Grace a fiery glare.
"You should hear gamer-speak." Behind her back, she passed her gun
into Felix’s hand.
Zeromus seemed stunned by
Grace’s outburst, as did Giles
and Willow. Everyone took a
cautious step back as Zeromus
began to move closer.

"Weapon charged! Targeting Zeromus’s vessel!" Lori’s voice erupted
through the silence from the radio on the floor.

Zeromus stopped in his tracks and hastily looked about the chamber.
"Weapon?!" He furiously turned back to Giles. "DECEIVERS!" he roared,
pushing back the others with his voice alone.

"Bloody hell," Giles muttered.

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Control Deck – Same Time

Lori placed her hand on the large blue orb that sat in the center of the
control terminal interface. She spun it in its housing and pressed her
hand down on a pressure pad; a sudden shaft of light white shot up from
the power source and into the bottom of the stone above.

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Weapon Platform – Same Time

The glass walls parted as the large stone began to glow from its core with
an intense golden light. The space around the stone rippled like water;
waves of energy radiated from the clear mass, then merged and became a
swirling ashen and red speckled mist, distorting the surrounding stone
and making it translucent.

Then the mist was suddenly sucked back into the stone; once full, it
transformed into a golden opaque stone. It gleamed brightly in its own
light but also caught the light of the sun. The air became still before an
abrupt burst of light shot out from the center of the stone. Then another.
And another. Three great torpedoes of golden, solid light flew high above
the divine island, which had now descended into a battlefield. The
torpedoes screeched with a shrill cry as they cut through the air.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Seconds Later
The light from the exiting torpedoes flooded the chamber through the
glass panels in the ceiling, temporarily blinding the group and Zeromus.
Giles shielded his eyes with a cupped hand then belted out over the
piercing sound of the torpedoes, "NOW!!"

Giles ripped a pistol out from his inside jacket pocket and aimed it at
Zeromus. Almost sixth-sense-like, Zeromus’s head snapped in a solid
motion from looking up at the ceiling to the trained gun held by Giles.

He snarled.

Cut To:
Island – Central Concourse – Same Time

Casey and Hadley continued to fire at the demons, but they now sought
refuge behind the stone pillars of the pagoda.

Buffy and Gwen stood almost back-to-back as they went hand-to-hand
with the demons that circled them. They were having success at felling
the demons, but still the creatures poured over the buildings and
through the once-blocked entrance to the square.

The demons were getting too close for comfort, so Casey discarded her
machine gun, tossing it to the ground. She grabbed the tsuka of her
katana on her back and unsheathed it in a swift motion, which ended
with her in a defensive stance. She matched the oncoming demons’ roars
and ran forward.

Hadley ran backwards as she unloaded her clip into a large demon
coming at her. Her gun empty, she threw it at the demon, but it just
bounced off. Reaching behind her back with crossed arms, she pulled
two tomahawks out from their holsters attached to her backpack. She
spun them skillfully in her hands and sliced the blade in her left hand
across the demon’s chest; then she twirled around and slammed the
right one into the demon’s skull.

Buffy butted one of the demons in the face with her machine gun then
spun around and threw her weapon like a discus into an oncoming
demon, flooring him with one direct hit to the chest.

The first torpedo zoomed overhead, momentarily pausing the combat
below. All parties looked to the sky to the trail of smoke left behind. Once
the torpedoes had passed, Gwen looked back down and grabbed a demon
by his head with both hands. With a load of snapping, she broke his
neck, and he fell lifeless to the ground, and the fight resumed.
Cut To:
Island – Craggy Shoreline – Same Time

The first torpedo nosedived from above high down to the skeleton ship. It
gained speed and seemed to grow brighter, but when it reached the ship,
it struck an invisible shield. The torpedo’s energy broke and dispersed
around the shield that undulated with a deep purple hue. Then the
second and third torpedo hit, yet the bone-ship was unscathed.

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Control Deck – Same Time

Lori slammed a clenched fist onto
the control terminal and sighed
heavily. Her mouth hung open in

"No effect," she said. "The vessel’s
protected by some sort of mystical

"We kinda got our hands full right
now!" Buffy’s voice blasted in
Lori’s ear.

Cut To:
Island – Central Concourse – Same Time

With her scythe now in her hands and the demon in front of her sliced in
half, Buffy turned to her fellow warriors and then at the demons.

"FALL BACK!!" she screamed.

Hadley and Casey took position by the doors of the domed building,
holding back the demons with their swordplay, allowing Buffy and Gwen
to get through.

Once inside, Buffy began to push one of the large heavy stone doors
closed. She dug in and mustered all her strength, and the first door
started to edge forward. She yelled out, "Girls!"

Hearing the call, Hadley threw her two tomahawks into a demon, and he
fell to his knees. She ran inside and started to push the second door.
Casey slammed her katana back into the saya and ran inside as Gwen
continued firing bolts of electricity out from the narrowing gap between
the doors.

"FIRE IN THE HOLE!" Casey shouted as she tore off a red incendiary
grenade from her belt. She ripped the pin off and rolled it outside.

Some of the demons further back looked down at it curiously, and then it
exploded into an unforgiving cloud of
white hot flames. Buffy and Hadley
closed the stone doors at the last
moment as a mere fraction of the flames
outside snaked through the tiny gap
making Gwen and Casey jump back
with raised arms.

"What I wouldn’t give to be back in front
of my desk with all my pencils," Buffy
said longingly.

"We can’t keep those stone doors closed,
and we can’t hold them off," Hadley said. "What do we do?"

Buffy walked into the center of the hallway with Gwen behind her.
"Simple. We do what we always do. We fight."

"Buffy? Buffy?" Lori’s voice rang from Buffy’s earpiece.

She pressed her earpiece. "I’m here. We’re held up inside the hallway of
the domed building."

"If there’s a barrier around the ship, we don’t need to destroy the convoy,
just the cargo," Gwen offered.

Buffy waited a beat. "Distract and attack with a mondo-prefix," she
slowly nodded, the realization just coming to her. "I like it. Lori target the
path leading up from the beach. Thin those things out."

"Got it!"

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Control Deck – Same Time
Lori adjusted the orb on the control terminal and once again placed her
hand on the pressure pad. It made a low beep, which could only be the
equivalent of an ancient error warning since nothing happened.

"C’mon…" she sighed. She fiddled with the controls and pushed down on
the pressure pad again but still to no avail.

"Lori?" Buffy asked. "I’m not hearing booms."

She shifted her weight onto her cane and hobbled around to stand in
front of the terminal and the
power source.

"Power’s getting to the weapon,
but it’s not responding. I think
it’s running low on juice."

"You’re our weapons expert, our
big gun, who just so happens to
actually have a big gun at her
disposal. Get it working!" Buffy’s
voice was not angry, but it was
certainly firm.

Lori gulped and said, "I’m on it!" as she limped back around to the
control terminal interface.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Same Time

Zeromus roared, and before Giles could even tense the trigger with the
slightest squeeze, the watcher was picked up by an invisible force and
launched high into the air and sent hurtling into the hard stone wall
with a thud.

The light in the chamber suddenly dimmed, and Zeromus pivoted around
to see Willow with her arms rigid by her sides, her palms open wide, and
her fingers taut like pincers. A blazing mist swirled in her hands, forming
a ball of fire in each hand. They flared, easily doubling in size. Willow
howled and then flung her arms out, the balls leaping from her palms at
lightning speed toward Zeromus.

Effortlessly, the Old One brought up his staff like a bat and swung at the
first ball of fire. The connection sent the ball zooming across the
chamber, which exploded against the wall on contact, tarnishing the

Zeromus slammed his staff down and stood as the second ball homed in
on him. He inhaled a deep breath and then exhaled as the ball was
frozen in front of him at no more than an arm’s length. The ball lost its
shape and disintegrated back into its mist form. Zeromus then breathed
the mist in.

Willow stood there flabbergasted as the last trail of her fireball was
sucked into Zeromus’s mouth.

He grinned at her with a guttural gurgle of a laugh. "Pathetic," he
mocked. "Do you want to feel real power, little girl?" Zeromus raised his
hand up to his mouth and blew across his empty leathery palm.

As Zeromus blew, a wispy black cloud formed in front of him. The cloud
swirled and grew with deep wraithlike purple arcs of electricity. Willow
took cautious steps back as the cloud floated towards her. It seemed to
arch up, and then within the blink of an eye, it jumped straight to her,
expanding to match her size and encasing her in a pillar of black.

Zeromus stopped blowing and lowered his hand with a perverse smirk.

Willow’s blood curdling screams filled the chamber as her body
convulsed, the electricity lashing on her skin. The black cloud rushed
into her eyes, her ears, her mouth, and her nose. As the last remnants of
the cloud poured into her body, she threw herself about the chamber,
smashing into the stone wall. Tears flowing down her face, her eyes
opened—they were as black as her hair now was. The purple electricity
crackled off her skin. Willow doubled over, holding her head, screaming
in agony.

The distinct sound of guns echoed behind Zeromus as Felix let rip with
an assault of bullets from both his own handgun and the one that Grace
had given him. The bullets ripped into Zeromus’s red cloak, but
ricocheted off his skin and armor underneath.

"Grace, get out of here!" Felix shouted at the cowering watcher behind
him. She looked up from her huddled position and glanced at Willow
before she stumbled into a ducked run towards the door on the opposite
side of the chamber.

With his eyes still on Felix, Zeromus threw his staff across the room,
embedding it in the wall ahead of Grace, causing her to fall.
Zeromus raised his hands, and the hail of bullets slowed to a halt in
front of him. He grit his teeth and then threw his hands in Felix’s
direction. The bullets shot back toward the watcher with greater speed.

Felix’s eyes went wide as his knees deliberately gave way, and he fell to
the stone floor with a thump, narrowly missing the bullets that shattered
parts of the wall behind him.

As Felix picked himself up, Zeromus was on top of him. Zeromus
grabbed Felix’s throat, choking the man with his deadly grasp. The Old
One growled, spun on the spot, and threw Felix across the chamber.

Grace stood and watched as Felix rolled to a stop. He was groaning but
conscious, although just barely. Her eyes darted back to Zeromus, who
met her stare. Her eyes bulged
as the Old One made for her.

Grace’s quaking hand reached
up to her earpiece. "Buffy," her
voice quivered. "Casey,
ANYONE?! HELP!!" she
shouted as she backed away
and felt the cold stone behind

"Do you believe that
reinforcements will stop me?" Zeromus asked her.

She closed her eyes and began to chant, her words barely audible.

"And magics?" he barked a laugh. "I believe I have proven myself to be
resistant to craft from such weak spell-slingers." He half-glanced back
over his shoulder to Willow, who was now on her knees quietly crying
because she had exhausted her breath from screaming.

As he turned back to Grace, she was gone. Zeromus was taken aback. He
blinked and darted his head from side to side. Then he moved at
breakneck speed towards the podium at the center of the chamber and
grabbed at the air. He snickered as if he had ahold of something. Then
he pulled hard and yanked Grace out by her hair, her glamour washing
away from her head to her feet.

"Stupid girl," he said as he threw her backwards onto the floor. "Now let
us see what you have to offer." Zeromus stood over the crying young
watcher. She closed her eyes and brought her hands up to protect
Zeromus reached out with his hand and went to place it on Grace’s
forehead when he heard Willow’s screams resume, this time sounding
more determined than pained. He shot a look at her to see her struggling
to her feet. The black cloud poured out of her body as a white light
flickered through the occasional break in the darkness surrounding her.

The Old One brought his hand away from Grace, stepped around her,
and walked towards the struggling witch.

A high-pitched strident scream bellowed out of Willow’s mouth as a
brilliant white light exploded from her chest, her hair now glowing an
effulgent white. The black cloud seemed to quiver and shake as the light
penetrated its mist and ripped it to shreds. As the black cloud fizzled out
in front of her eyes, she saw Zeromus standing directly opposite her.

"Perhaps you are worthy of my attention after all."

"You’re not worthy of mine," she said calmly.

Zeromus quirked a smile and marched towards her. She opened her
hands and released a beam of white light from her palms. The Old One’s
right hand reached out towards the staff in the wall—it shook and broke
out of the stone and flew back to into his hand. He raised the staff and
brought the scythed end down on the beam, slicing it in two.

In his other hand, Zeromus summoned a ball of purple energy and threw
it at Willow. Before it reached her, it split into three and gathered
momentum. Nonchalantly Willow clapped her hands twice, and the balls
turned to ice in mid-air before falling and smashing into thousands of
shards on the floor.

"Child’s play. You are weak, witch. Do not fool yourself into believing

She was weak. Her breathing was shallow and hard, but she wouldn’t
give an inch.

Zeromus conjured another ball of energy and flung it at Willow. She
raised her hands in front of her, and the ball broke on a shimmering
white barrier. It held.

Zeromus released an animalistic roar as he advanced on Willow. The
sheer power behind it sent a quake throughout the entire chamber. A
crack appeared in Willow’s barrier. The crack splintered and spread, and
when it could take no more, the barrier shattered like glass. The
immense force of the roar was like a gale, and it forced Willow back,
despite her attempt at digging her heels into the grooves of the stone

She still held her hands out in front of her, trying to fend off the Old One
who was now upon her. Zeromus dropped his staff to the floor and laced
his crushingly powerful fingers through hers. As he gripped both of her
hands, a cold and suggestive smile appeared on his face.

Willow screamed as Zeromus forced her down onto her knees, slowly
bending her hands backwards.

"Look at me," he said. Willow couldn’t for the tears. "Look at ME!" he
commanded, and she did obey. Zeromus’s eyes gleamed, and then they
widened as he slowly opened his mouth. Willow did the same. "I shall
enjoy this," he said, and then he inhaled.

A sparkling cherry light was drawn out of Willow’s mouth and up into
Zeromus’s. As he did this,
Willow’s hair returned to its
normal red hue. Zeromus
started to glow as he absorbed
Willow’s magic.

"HEY!" Buffy’s voice suddenly
thundered around the

Her voice alone was enough to
rip Zeromus out of draining
Willow. He let go of her hands, and she fell to the floor crying, clutching
her hands close to her chest.

"You wanna dance, bitch?" Buffy shouted with one hand gripped to the
scythe’s handle and the other wrapped around the pole of the stake end.
"Come and tango with me…I dare ya."

"I have never fought a slayer before," he said. Zeromus’s staff returned to
his hands as he slowly approached Buffy.

"Not a slayer, Bub," she corrected him. "The slayer."

"In a moment." He stopped beside the podium. "I want what I came for."

With that, Zeromus stepped up onto the podium. Buffy’s eyes went wide,
and she dashed forward. The Old One stood tall and proud atop the
platform, his arms opened wide as he waited to receive his long sought-
after prize. Buffy skidded to a stop when she realized that nothing was

Zeromus looked confused. He looked up to the crystal above his head,
then down to the stone pressure platform beneath his feet. His face
suddenly contorted with pure bile. A foam bleeding from his mouth, he
growled at Buffy.

"What have you DONE?!!"

Buffy looked confused and shrugged.

"As if the Guardians would bless a foul demon with their secrets," Giles
said from behind Zeromus. The watcher was now on his feet, not looking
the least bit dazed.

He turned to Giles with burning eyes, and at seeing him stand
unwavering in his resolve, a demented grin crossed his face. "Then,
Guardian, I shall relish in eating your mongrel brain."

As Zeromus went to make for Giles, Buffy rushed the Old One off,
shoving him off the podium and onto the cold hard stone floor. She
sprang to her feet and readied the scythe. Zeromus recovered and was
back up a split second after her.

"Nobody touches my watcher. Got that? And if you want to taste the
Guardians’ real power," Buffy heckled as she turned the scythe, catching
the sunlight on its still gleaming blade, "then get a load o’ this. It’s a
weapon made for me. A weapon to slay the last pure demon to walk the
Earth. Way I see it, that kinda makes it, uh, you."

"You shall die!" Zeromus roared.

Buffy grinned in response. "Pucker up, Pal. Time for a taste."

She kicked herself up into the air and swung the scythe down on
Zeromus. He was too quick, however; he countered her scythe’s blade
with his own, and when Buffy landed, he tossed her aside with a huge
swing of his powerful arm.

"Giles!" Willow called out, lying on the floor and reaching out to him with
her hand.

He ran over to her while Buffy and Zeromus faced off.

"They need to get out of here," she said weakly as he knelt beside her.
"Yes. Grace—" he started only to be cut off by her.

"Not us," Willow said firmly and reached for Giles’s hand, holding it
tightly. "A little help?" she warned him. Giles nodded.

He caught his breath as a light formed beneath her palm, flowing from
Giles into her. She let go of Giles, who gasped for air.

Willow stood up and winced and placed a hand on her head. "Ooo… head
rush…" She blinked a couple of times and looked over to Buffy. "BUFFY!"
Her call garnered the slayer’s attention. "OUT!" Willow raised her hands
up to the ceiling, and a strange blue glow outlined both Buffy and
Zeromus. The glow expanded and covered their entire body, and then
they evaporated out of the chamber.

Willow wiped her brow and blew out a short sigh. She looked back to
Giles, who struggled to his feet once again. Grace sniveled and wiped her
eyes as Willow and Giles came over to her.

"Are you okay?" Willow asked, placing her hands on Grace’s shoulders.

She sniffed. "He hurt my hair. "

Willow grinned and gave her a quick hug, helping her to her feet.

Giles helped Felix, who held his head. "What happened?" he asked.

"Don’t worry about that," Willow said. "We need to find that spell right

Giles let go of Felix, who found his footing. "I know what to do," Giles
said. He marched past Willow and Grace, going to the podium. He bent
down and pushed in the same letters
on the steps.

"Giles, no!" Willow shouted as she
ran to him.

She was too late. Giles stepped up
onto the podium. The platform
beneath his feet pressed down, and
the drone of the device coming to life
filled the chamber. He caught
Willow’s hurting eyes. He gave her a
small smile and then closed his eyes as the drone reached a crescendo.
Then a beam of white light shot from the needle above and washed over
his head before it dissipated. Once it had gone, Giles stood motionless on
the device, the droning now just a background noise.

"What – what now?" Grace asked.

"We get him down, that’s what," Willow said, reaching for him, but Felix
grabbed her arm.

"No," he told her. "He needs to do this, Willow."

Willow still stared at Giles.

"Oh my god, Lori!" Felix said. "She’s up in that tower on her own. I

"You go," Willow said. Felix looked unsure. "I know he has to do this,"
she added. "Grace can finish the pics. I’ll just make sure he doesn’t fall
down once he’s done. Now go."

Felix nodded and high-tailed it for the door. He bent down and grabbed
an assault rifle and ran. "Be careful!"

Cut To:
Gorge – Bridge – Night

Giles stumbled off the podium as the beam of light shut off behind him.

He took a moment to compose himself. He looked around at the cobalt
cliffs and rocks surrounding him. Above him was the same brilliant
starry night that he had seen once before. He cleared his throat and ran
along the bridge towards the grand doors ahead of him.

"HELLO! HELLO!" he called out, his cries reverberating around the gorge.

"Hello, Mr. Giles," a small soft voice came from the shadows in front.

Giles came to a skidding halt. A figure came out of the shadows dressed
in an olive colored cloak. The shadows parted, and the starlight hit the
porcelain-skinned face of Celestas. A small smile came to Giles’s face.

"It’s good to see you again," she said, returning his smile.

Cut To:
Island – Catwalk Between Towers – Later
High above the island and the hordes of demons below, Buffy and
Zeromus continued to fight—steel against steel, fist against fist.

She threw her scythe down onto Zeromus’s. Sparks flew as the metals
scraped and collided. They were locked in a grapple, each pushing
forward with their weapon, trying to break the lock and get the upper
hand. Zeromus pushed harder than Buffy, pushing her scythe closer to
her chest. The strain was evident on her face. She let go off the grapple
and backflipped just in time to avoid Zeromus’s blade.

He roared at her and rushed forward as she recovered, landing an
incredibly powerful punch square in her chest. She went flying
backwards and through the stone wall into the tower behind her.

Buffy picked herself up from the rubble and coughed; a large gash on her
forehead spilled blood down the right side of her face. She roared and
charged forward with the scythe raised above her head.

Practically on top of Zeromus, she swung the scythe in furious,
unforgiving arcs that he easily dodged. She jumped up onto the railings
of the catwalk and leapt off with a pointed foot and kicked Zeromus in
the head.

He reeled back and shot Buffy a surprised yet oddly pleased look and
went for her again.

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Control Deck – Same Time

Lori continued to work on the control terminal. All her attempts ended in
the same error sound. She was pulled out of her concentration when she
heard the shrill screams and growls of demons getting louder.

Lori moved from the control terminal, picking up an assault rifle that was
propped up against the door. With her cane in the other hand, she went
down a couple of the stairs, and as she turned the corner, four demons
rounded the corner. As their eyes flared at the sight of Lori, she pulled
the trigger and sprayed the demons with bullets. As they fell, another
group of demons came.

Cut To:
Gorge – Bridge – Moments Later
"Celestas, I—" Giles began.

"Mr. Giles, there is no time," the Guardian said as she motioned for Giles
to go back along the bridge to the podium. He did so, and she walked
alongside him. "Zeromus is far greater an adversary than anything or
anyone you have faced before. He cannot be defeated."

"Then what do we do? We can’t kill him; there seems to be no end to his
army! Tell me, what do we DO?!" Giles stopped and glared at her.

"Sometimes in battle, flight is better than fight." Celestas tilted her head
to the side as she stared deeply into Giles’s eyes.

"Did you really know that Bureau Nine would make magic disappear
from the world?"

She shook her head. "No. We did not. But the lack of magic is the reason
why the download process was interrupted and did not resume."

Giles walked up onto the podium as Celestas stood on bridge before him.
A white light shone up from beneath Giles’s feet.

"As soon as you are returned to your body, the download process will
resume," Celestas began. "But whereas before you received only partial
knowledge because you were removed from the platform, now you will
receive our full knowledge when you leave here. Of course, it will take
time to integrate with your mind as before, but you will receive it
nonetheless. Remember, I did say you would find a way to acquire the
rest of it. Think of all this as a ‘full circle’ affair."

Giles smiled. "Thank you. Thank you so much."

"You are most welcome. We are not the Guardians of your world any
longer, and contrary to popular belief, neither are the slayers. You are.
The watchers are the saviors and protectors of the world."

"Then I am sorry for what I am about to do."

She smiled at him. "You do what needs to be done, Mr. Giles."

"But it’s your legacy."

"Our legacy lives on within you." She held her sparkling stare with him
for a moment longer but then her tone dropped. "But listen to me very
carefully, Mr. Giles. Things are going to change and not for the better."
"I’m sorry?"

"It has affected the past, it is affecting the present, and you and your
family must not allow it to affect the future. This thing has shaped the
world into what it is today, and if you believe Zeromus to be a major
threat, then you are seriously mistaken. There is a force far greater—one
which believes that nothing is real except suffering. Mr. Giles, beware

Cut To:
Island – Right District – Spire – Stairwell – Same Time

Lori fell back hard onto the steps. She let out a clenched jaw sigh and
stabbed the demon that loomed over her with her cane weapon. As the
one fell beside her, she stabbed out at another demon who grabbed onto
the end of her cane.

The demon dropped on top of Lori and covered her body with his,
snapping at her face with his crooked teeth. She screamed and wrestled
with him, trying her best to hold his head back.

Then gun shots broke out further down the stairwell. The cries of the
demons overshadowed the
gunfire, and then the demon on
top of Lori jerked and then
slumped forward onto her,
completely lifeless.

She groaned and rolled him off;
she found a crude axe embedded
in the back of his skull and Felix
standing over her with an offered
hand and a gentle comforting
smile on his face.

She smiled with tears in her eyes. "Timely. Very timely," she said and
took his hand. As she got back to her feet, she wrapped her arms around
Felix. "Thank you," she whispered in his ear.

The embrace had taken him by surprise. He replied by squeezing her
tight. He was evidently a bit choked up himself. He pulled away from her,
coughed, and asked. "Is the weapon online?"

Lori frowned a little and then nodded. "Yeah, but it’s jammed."
"But power is getting to it, right?"

"Sure, why—? Hey! Jason?!" she called after him as he thrust his gun
into her hands and rushed past her, picking up his metal briefcase.

He turned back to her. "Just wait here. Right here. We’ll leave in two
minutes." Then he took off.


Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Later

As Lori and Felix neared the entrance to the chamber, they saw Gwen
firing her electricity into the onslaught of demons. Hadley and Casey had
both reverted to firing their guns.

Willow stood alongside them. She had her head down and was muttering
a spell. She flung her head up and threw out her hand, and a huge gale
blustered down the hallway, flooring the demons.

She turned around to see Felix and Lori. "Get in! Everyone get inside!"

As they fell back, the demons pounced to their feet once again. With
everyone inside, Willow stood in front of the doors, and they crashed
together closed under her will.

"Freeze," was all she said, and the doors were suddenly encased in an icy
blue crisp shell. "That should hold for as long as we need."

"Yeah, unless they’ve discovered a little known thing called fire," Gwen
quipped from her position on the floor where she sat with her back to the

As Willow turned to Gwen, the light surrounding Giles immediately shut
off, and Giles opened his eyes and stumbled down from the podium.

"Oh my goddess…" Willow exclaimed as she rushed toward him, trying to
steady him. "Are you okay?" she said, taking Giles by the arm. Her eyes
frantically scanned his face.

Groggily Giles nodded. "I’m…oh." He started to lean over too far, but
Willow tightened her hold. He blinked and came to, his balance
"Did it work?" Felix asked as he and the group gathered around Giles
and Willow.

His mouth was a little dry; he licked his lips and swallowed and then
answered. "Yes. The link’s been re-established," he sighed heavily and
looked at the others. "Where’s Buffy?" he sounded grave.

"Still fighting Zeromus probably," Willow answered.

"She’ll never win," Giles told her.

Cut To:
Island – Catwalk Between Towers – Same Time

"You are weak, Slayer," Zeromus said as he circled a battered Buffy.

He came to a stop behind Buffy and stomped his staff into the stone.
Reaching down with his other hand, he picked a scrambling Buffy up by
the back of her shirt.

Through a bruised eye, Buffy peered out at the summer blue sky and the
sparkling azure waters.

"You are not worthy for my face to be the last thing you see before your
mortal death. I want you to see death head-on and realize that you are
not special, that you are nothing more than just human. Now…are you
ready, Slayer?"

Buffy shuddered as she looked
down below at the top of the
domed building, a glass panel
directly beneath her. In her
hand she gripped the scythe
tightly. Then she felt Zeromus
let go.

The glass rushed up to meet her
as she was relentlessly pulled
down by gravity. Painfully she
brought the scythe around and
clutched it close to her chest. Then she closed her eyes.

Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Same Time
The loud shatter and rain of glass screamed throughout the chamber,
tearing the group out of their talks.

"BUFFY!" Giles cried as he saw her body plummet toward the hard stone

"MACEROS!" Willow shouted with her hand pointed at Buffy.

A green cloud erupted between Buffy and the floor. It expanded and shot
up at Buffy. As it engulfed her, it absorbed the momentum of her rapid
descent and gently brought her down to the floor. When the green cloud
evaporated around her, she fell into Giles’s arms.

She held the scythe out, and Willow took it from her, handing it to Casey.

"Gi–Giles…" Buffy croaked as she nuzzled close to his chest.

His eyes welled, and he stroked her hair. He turned to Willow, who was
equally upset at seeing the battered slayer. "We need to…"

Zeromus’s roar filled the chamber, and they looked up to see the Old One
zooming down toward them.

Giles held Buffy in his arms and ran for cover with Willow in tow.

The group gathered around Giles, Willow, and Buffy, readying their
weapons as Zeromus thundered into
the chamber. The ground beneath
their feet violently quaked as he

"Do you think that you can win this?"
he taunted. "Do you think that you
can defy an Old One! I AM ZEROMUS!"

He threw his head back as he roared,
and then he ran at the group.

Calmly, Giles looked at Willow and said, "Out."

Willow closed her eyes and threw her hands up into the air as Felix
ripped off his backpack and threw it up onto the podium. Zeromus let
out an even louder roar as he charged ahead. Just as he was about to
connect with the group, Willow threw her hands down, and the group
vanished in a burst of blue light.
Zeromus swung his scythe where Willow’s head had just been and
skidded to a stop. He screamed in anger.

Cut To:
Offshore – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Bow Deck – Same Time

The blue light landed on the bow deck, and it quickly dissipated,
revealing the group. Willow was on her knees, breathing hard.

"FELIX NOW!" Giles shouted at the man.

Felix reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out a detonator identical to the
one that Gwen had used earlier. He flicked the lid up and slammed his
thumb down on the red button.

Cut To:
Series of Shots – Same Time

-- A metal briefcase sitting under a stone bench on the central
concourse, concealed by various weapons crates

-- The movable stone block base holding up the central pillar of a left
district building

-- A flashing metallic device wedged between the scrolls in a cabinet in
the same left district building

-- A similar flashing metallic device in the spire’s control deck, propped
against the crystal power source

Smash Cut To:
Island – Domed Building – Repository Chamber – Same Time

Zeromus made his way over to the podium but blinked at seeing Felix’s
backpack on top of it.

The Old One heard the faintest of beeps, and as he reached out, the bag

Smash Cut To:
Island – Same Time
Explosions rippled throughout the island from all angles. The biggest
explosion came from the weapons platform as the energy built up in the
stone shot out of it, causing it to fracture and eventually explode. A huge
ball of mystical energy coupled with the flames and smoke of the bomb
coursed down the central spire, violently blowing chunks of the stone
structure outwards as it tumbled to the ground. When the explosion hit
the ground, another blast rocked the island. The fire and energy swept
through the alleys; it burst through windows and doors; it buckled the
foundations and structures of the buildings.

The domed building shattered and collapsed in on itself. Buildings fell on
top of one another. If the initial explosions didn’t kill the demons, the
resultant storm of heat and stone and glass certainly did.

The demons on the shore were knocked back by the blast, but other than
that, they were unscathed. Their numbers were still huge.

Cut To:
Offshore – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Bow Deck – Same Time

The group shielded their eyes from the blast. They too were knocked
back, but when the explosions died down, they dropped their hands and
arms, and their eyes were met with the image of the completely
decimated island, now but a shadow of its former glory.

"Wha – what happened?" Grace said, stunned.

Lori stood beside Felix. When he turned to her, she said with the briefest
of smiles, "Now I get it."

"Felix, get the engine running!" Giles commanded with Buffy still in his
arms. "Willow, prep the spell to shift us out of this plane but wait until I
say to shift us out!" She was still breathing hard, but she nodded, and
Grace helped her to her feet.

"That won’t have killed…" Buffy managed softly, and as if on cue, they
heard Zeromus’s roar bellowing from the island, towering and drowning
out all other sounds.

"Felix! Go!" Giles shouted up at the

The sound of the engine firing up
rumbled from beneath the deck,
and slowly the vessel started to move.

Cut To:
Island – Ruined Domed Building – Same Time

Another explosion erupted from beneath the rubble. As the dust settled,
Zeromus stood tall, staff in hand looking relatively untouched.

He bared his fangs, and like lightning, the Old One zoomed towards the

Cut To:
Offshore – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Stern Deck – Same Time

Giles closed the door to the deck head where Buffy lay on the padded
bench with Grace tending to her wounds.

"GILES!" Gwen shouted out. He raced around to the bow deck and saw
Gwen pointing toward the skeleton ship. "It’s moving," she said.

"Zeromus," Giles uttered. "Casey, Hadley—"

"We’re on it!" Hadley said as she and Casey took position with their rifles
behind the paling of the side of the vessel.

"Gwen?" Giles asked. "Are you up to the task?"

She blew out a sigh. "Batteries running a little dry but should be able to
give as good as I get. They don’t call me the Energizer Bunny for
nothing." Gwen slipped off her gloves and moved towards Casey and

"Lori—" Giles turned to find Lori ready with a bazooka propped up on her
shoulder. "Oh, well, yes…lovely." She gave him a grin.

Cut To:
Offshore – Skeleton Ship – Bow Deck – Same Time

"GIVE CHASE!" Zeromus howled at his minions that scurried about. "I
want that Guardian DEAD!" Zeromus snapped his neck to the right.

Cut To:
Ocean – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Bow Deck – Same Time

Large heavy lead balls were shot from Zeromus’s vessel as it made short
work of the distance between it and the Council’s vessel.

As the lead balls swooped to crash into the Council’s vessel, Gwen fired
off her arcs of electricity; they lashed against the lead balls and forced
them out of their path and into the ocean. For their part, Casey and
Hadley opened fire with a hellish rain of bullets; however, the projectiles
simply bounced off the shield surrounding Zeromus’s vessel.

"GET DOWN!" Lori belted as she
trained the aim on the bazooka to
the nose of Zeromus’s vessel. She
pulled the trigger and jolted back as
the rocket flew out of its housing.

Cut To:
Ocean – Skeleton Ship – Bow
Deck – Continuous

Zeromus watched as the rocket flew
directly at him. He lifted his chin up and snickered as the rocket
exploded and broke around the shield.

Cut To:
Ocean – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Bow Deck – Continuous

"WILLOW, NOW!" Giles shouted.

Cut To:
Ocean – Sea-Rescue Vessel – Stern Deck – Continuous

Once again in her ritual with the four crystals, Willow’s eyes flew open,
and she threw her hands up into the air. The blue light shot out of the
four crystals and up into the sky.

Cut To:
Ocean – Skeleton Ship – Bow Deck – Continuous
As the flames and smoke eventually died a death before the shield,
Zeromus saw the last remnants of the Council’s vessel shimmer out of

Frantically, he scanned the vacant
ocean in front of his vessel.

Then his eyes went wide.


Everything started to slow down—
the vessel; the clouds in the sky,
the ocean breaking against the hull,
the demons, Zeromus himself. Then
the vessel came to a complete halt. Zeromus’s frightened stare finally
morphed and locked into a vile, open-mouthed grimace to be forever

Fade Out.

Fade In:
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Private Recovery Room – Night

Kennedy stared aimlessly into space; her eyes were glazed and vacant,
the expression on her face completely unreadable. A large white cotton
pad clung to her neck by surgical tape. The general sounds of the
infirmary were just white noise to her ears.


She didn’t react at first. But slowly Kennedy’s eyes juddered and moved
towards the doorway. There stood Kadin, with a lump in her throat and
her mouth ajar.

"We need to stop greeting each other like this, don’t you think?" the
hunter finally said.
Kennedy didn’t answer, so Kadin moved to her girlfriend’s side and
reached out to caress her cheek. But Kennedy awkwardly shifted away.
Kadin breathed hard and then leaned forward to cup the side Kennedy’s
face. This time Kennedy didn’t pull away or flinch. In fact, she nuzzled
against Kadin’s soft warm loving hand. Kennedy brought her own
bandaged hand up and gripped Kadin’s.

A long overdue tear broke free from the corner of Kennedy’s eye and
coursed down the contours of
her face, accentuating her
bruised skin. Kennedy’s mouth
was poised to speak, but she
struggled to muster enough
breath behind her words. Her
bottom lip and her chin began to

Kadin tried to reassure her.
"Baby, I love you no matter
what, and if you’re not ready to
talk about what happened, I
won’t push. If you don’t ever wanna talk about it, I’m down with that,
too. Just know that I’m here for you. I ain’t going nowhere."

A sharp sudden breath shuddered out of Kennedy’s mouth, and she
started to pant, gasping for air. Her entire body shook, and her face
scrunched up. With a strained look, she finally said, "Kadin, I…" Her
voice shaky and hoarse. She whimpered and turned to look into Kadin’s

Kadin’s eyes welled up also. She tightened her hold. "Oh, Ken."

"I’m…I’m so tired..." With that, Kennedy broke down with a flow of tears.

Kadin herself looked overcome. Gently she got up onto the bed and
pulled Kennedy into her arms. She hugged her tightly and stroked her

"Shhhusssh…It’s all okay now," she said as she gently rocked her.

Kennedy gasped for air and held onto Kadin for dear life, curling her
shirt into her fist. She just sobbed.

"I’m not okay," Kennedy managed to choke out. "I’m a murderer," she
Kadin bit her lip and just pulled her closer.

Cut to:
Council Hallway - Same Time

Grace stared at the lighter in her hand for a moment and then finally
knocked on the door in front of her. After a few seconds, the door opened
as Rowena answered it.

"Hey," Rowena said with a grin. Grace handed the lighter to her. "Why
don't you come in?" Rowena asked as she took it.

Grace shook her head. "No thanks, I..."

Noting the girl's nervous behavior, Rowena asked, "What's wrong?"

At first, Grace said nothing. Then she quickly blurted, "I'm a coward. And
I'm a liar too."


"I promised you I'd look after Will," Grace answered. "But I ran. I got
scared and I ran like a chicken. Some watcher, huh?"

Rowena slipped her arm around Grace's shoulder, pulling the girl gently
inside. "Come on. We'll have a talk - watcher-to-watcher."

Slowly Rowena began to grin, and quietly, she closed the door behind

Fade To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Bedroom – Later

Becca glanced up from her book through her small frames that were
perched on the ridge of her nose.

"You coming to bed?" she said with a small grin.

"That I am," Giles said with a soft yet broad smile as he walked into the
bedroom, the sound of his bare feet now muffled by the carpet underfoot.

She closed her book and placed it on her nightstand. She took off her
glasses and put them on top. Giles took off his own glasses and set them
aside, then slipped into bed, his body creeping up Becca’s. She moved
closer to him to meet him, her eyes on his, occasionally glancing down at
his lips. He pressed his lips against Becca’s as she ran her fingers
through his hair.

Fade Out.

Fade In:
Giles and Becca’s House – Bedroom – Much Later

Giles leaned back from over the side of the bed, the cord of the bedside
lamp swinging and clinking against the shade. On went the glasses; up
went the pillow behind his back; out of the drawer came a red hardback
notebook with a pen clipped to the wire spine. He flung open the
notebook, pulled the pen from the spine, clicked it, and began frantically

Becca rolled over, obviously naked
beneath the sheets, still sleeping.
She instinctively wrapped her arm
around his, snuggling into his elbow.
He looked at his sleeping wife, then
to the notebook, and back to his wife

He put the notebook back on the
nightstand as a small half smile
graced his face from the corner of his
mouth. Sliding into her embrace, he
turned off the light.

Fade Out.

                             Special Guest Star
                       Natalie Portman as Celestas

                            End of Triangle

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