act 3



Fade In:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Moments Later

Slowly, Willow began to stir. She sat up, holding her head. She touched a large gash on her forehead, inspecting the blood on her hand for only a moment before wiping it on her pants.

She looked over to see her digital camera and laptop lying nearby under a small boulder, completely destroyed. A little further away in the cave sat Giles’s film camera and notepad, with his notes perfectly intact. Her eyes continued to search the cave until she saw Giles lying flat on his back, unconscious.

“Giles?” she called over to him. Not getting a response, she tried to move to her feet, but then she realized that her foot, like her equipment, was under a boulder.

Agito,” she said, waving her hand. The rock rolled, allowing her foot to move free. However, the motion caused the rocks above her to vibrate in response. She scurried forward on her hands and knees as a few more rocks shifted and began to move toward her.

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Other Side – Same Time

Faith and several of her fellow slayers stood at the top of the rock wall, carefully attempting to move stones down and out of the way, when the rocks began to shift.

“Everybody back!” Faith ordered. The slayers all moved as quickly as possible down the rock pile. Then they waited a moment, to see if any other movement would follow. When all seemed safe, Faith motioned the others to follow her back to the pile.

“Willow!” Rowena yelled as she unhooked her riggings at the bottom of the entry shaft, letting them fall to the ground. “Can you hear me? Will, please answer.”

“Xander still trying on the radio?” Faith asked the watcher, as she and the other slayers tried to determine which rock to move next.

“Yeah, but no answer so far,” she replied. “He’s on his way down. He said not to touch too much. He’ll give you an idea of what rocks are supporting the wall and we can go from there.”

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

“Giles?” Willow called out as she crawled over to him. She felt his face and then put her head against his chest, taking his wrist in her fingers. “Okay,” she said softly. “Hang on Giles. Magic is out, but I’ll find some way to get us out of here.”

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Other Side – Same Time

“Willow!” Rowena yelled again.

“I’m not sure that shouting is gonna help,” Faith said.

“Well the radio isn’t doing jack, so we have to try something,” Rowena answered. “Willow!”

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

Willow cocked her head for a moment and listened.

“Rowena?” the witch shouted back.

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Other Side – Same Time

Faith and Rowena looked at each other.

“That wasn’t just my imagination, was it?” the watcher asked.

“Not unless we share the same imagination, which I doubt,” Faith answered with a smile.

“On three, yell ‘Willow’,” Rowena told her. “One, two, three…”

“Willlllow!!” Faith and Rowena both shouted at the same time.

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

“Hey guys!” Willow shouted. She looked at Giles for a moment. “I’ve gotta talk to them,” she told him. “I’ll be back.”

Willow awkwardly rose to her feet and began to hop on one leg toward the rock pile again, wincing all the while.

“Can you hear me?” she shouted.

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

From the other side, Faith and Rowena both smiled.

“Yes!” Rowena answered. “Are you okay? Is Giles there?”

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

“My foot or ankle is broken,” she answered. “But Giles is in bad shape. He’s out a-and his breathing’s shallow, but at least he’s breathing. We need out of here quick, guys.”

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

“You guys get as far from the pile as possible. Understand?” Faith yelled.

“Will do,” they heard Willow answer.

“Give us a few minutes, Red,” Faith shouted back.

Xander had now arrived and Rowena and Faith both turned to him. He pointed up toward the ceiling at the right side of the chamber.

“Let’s start there,” he told them. “Shift everything left. We don’t need a large space, just something big enough to get a body through. But go slowly.”

Faith nodded, but Rowena shook her head. “Willow is hurt and Giles is worse,” she told him. “We can’t wait –”

“Crushing them, and us, won’t help anyone,” Xander told her. “Trust me, everyone will make it out. Alright?”

With a ragged sigh, Rowena nodded. Faith motioned the slayers back up the rock pile.

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

Willow jumped back on one foot. She took Giles by the shoulders and pulled him toward the wall as gently as she could, trying to keep his neck steady in the process.

“Hang in there, Giles,” she told him as she sat down next to him. “You’ll have to rib Twenty-First Century me about how only your information survived this. You don’t want to miss an opportunity like that, do ya?” she said with a smile. The smile slowly slipped from her face as her fingers repeatedly caressed his cheek. “Really, hold on. Okay? Please?”

Fade To:


Construction Site – Night

The white void began to fade around Giles and Wesley, revealing that they were now standing in a completely opposite location to where they had been previously. There was still rubble and slabs of stone, just not of the ancient gothic variety.

“Let me guess, this is the exact moment that you were faced with the perilous decision of whether or not to build a barbeque pit.” Wesley’s jibe did not particularly register with Giles.

Giles viewed the surroundings with a careful eye. He took a step forward, peering around the yard. Everything was oddly familiar; there was a certain buzz in the atmosphere, and dingy, flickering bulbs from outdoor lights bathed the two men in an orange grungy twilight.

“I know this place,” Giles said quietly, before walking on. Wesley was about to follow when Giles stopped dead in his tracks. The elder watcher slowly turned to face Wesley, but his eyes didn’t focus on the other man’s face. Instead, they looked up into the sky, at the flimsy scaffolding of the tower looming high above the rooftops of Sunnydale. “We’re back in Sunnydale…six years ago.” He blinked, trying to sharpen his focus on the plank that hung over the construction site. He could just about make out someone standing on the very end of the plank.

Giles and Wesley both looked over sharply at the sound of screaming and shouting from the other side of the yard.

“Where are we?” Wesley asked, but Giles either chose to ignore or honestly didn’t hear his question as he walked away, his attention obviously elsewhere. “Giles?”

Giles continued around to a collapsed wall that opened out into an old, disused warehouse. He gasped at what he saw, his hands quaking as he proceeded into the warehouse. Buffy stood amid the ruins, a large and, by the looks of it, very heavy hammer in her hands. The body of a young man, bloodied and beaten, lay on the cracked stone floor.

“I’m sorry,” the young man spluttered. Blood sputtered out of his mouth, adding to the copious amounts already on his face.

Buffy’s grip tightened on the hammer’s handle. “Tell her it’s over. She missed her shot. She goes. She ever, ever comes near me and mine again…” She spat the words down at him.

“We won’t. I swear,” the young man hastily replied.

Buffy released the hammer from her powerful grip, dropping it to the floor with a loud clang. Then she turned and ran away.

Wesley moved in closer to stand beside Giles, “This is it, isn’t it? The night that Buffy died?” He didn’t need clarification, he knew.

Giles swallowed. “Not only that.”

As if prompted to enter stage left, a younger Giles sauntered into the warehouse. He came over to the man lying on the floor and knelt beside him.

“Can you move?” the other Giles asked softly, almost comfortingly.

The man stuttered, “Need a…a minute. She could’ve killed me.”

The other Giles shook his head. “No, she couldnt. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and…make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that…” He reached into his pocket and withdrew his glasses. “…and still she couldn’t take a human life.”

Wesley shot Giles a sharp glance. “Giles…” he asked cautiously.

Giles’s eyes were transfixed by the image of his former self and Ben.

“She’s a hero, you see…She’s not like us.”

“Giles,” Wesley repeated sternly.

“…us?” Ben asked, confused.

Like an eagle swooping from great heights to catch its prey, the other Giles’s hand slapped down onto Ben’s face, covering his mouth and pinching his nose tightly shut.

The two men stood watch over Giles’s merciless action. Giles shared the same cool, calm, and collected expression as his former self.

Arms folded, Wesley continued to watch intently until Ben’s weak human body lost the fight.

The younger Giles rose, staring down at Ben’s dead body. The doctor’s eyes were still locked onto the dirty warehouse ceiling. He simply walked away, as if he had never seen Ben lying there.

Casually, the present-day Giles moved to stand over Ben, looking down at his victim.

“It was necessary,” Wesley said, “and it was honorable. If it’s anything, I would have done the same, though I fear my gift to him would have been far less humane.”

“It was a sin. No matter how you try to justify it, it will still remain a sin. It was far from honorable.”

“What would you have preferred, take five steps, turn and first to their pistol? No, you did what you had to…you did what was right.”

Giles turned to face Wesley. “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be faced with decisions such as these.”

“No, we wouldn’t, but this world is far from ideal. We do what we have to, because we have to do what we do.”

Giles smiled. “Such a well crafted reply. Benefit of knowing the universe’s secrets?”

“Benefit of a less than well crafted life,” Wesley replied.

The older watcher turned back to Ben, examining his still face. “Am I to be allowed into Heaven, considering I’ve committed such a sin?” he asked Wesley.

The younger watcher took a step forward, so that he, too, stood over Ben’s body, “There will never be another in all of existence that was more surprised than I when I found myself not in the very hot place down below, where they shove red-hot pokers up your arse. What did I tell you earlier, Rupert? There’s always a chance.”

A brilliant white light poured out of Ben’s body, washing over the two men and engulfing the warehouse.

White Out

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

“Red?” Faith yelled through a small opening. “Can you hear me?”

“Yeah,” Willow answered, her voice echoing. “Where are you?”

“Tell me if you see the light,” Faith replied.

The slayer began to shine a flashlight into the cave.

On Willow’s side, the light shone through a small opening. She grinned.

“Yeah, a little to your left,” Willow instructed. “Down a little more.” When the light shined in her eyes she held up a hand in front of her face.

Faith turned back to the team below the rock pile.

“I see ’em,” she told them with a grin before turning back to Willow. “Stay put, Red,” she told the witch. “We’re gonna send skinny-ass Ken through with a neck brace and a pallet for Giles.”

“Hey,” Kennedy shouted up to Faith.

“We don’t want to move anything more if we don’t have to,” Faith explained to Willow, ignoring Kennedy’s retort. “After he’s clear, we’ll get you, okay?”

“Fine,” Willow replied. “Just hurry.”

“We’re on it,” Faith said, moving away. Kennedy was already shimmying through the small hole.

Fade In:


Destroyed Magic Box – Night

When the light dissolved around Giles and Wesley, their locale had changed once again, giving way to shadows and sparks of electricity from broken lights and cables.

The two men were still looking at the floor, where Ben’s body had been. Blinking, they soon realized that they were no longer in the warehouse. They glanced at each other briefly before looking around at their surroundings. It was dark and the air was thick with smoke.

Footsteps could be heard behind Giles, and as looked around to find the source of the sound, it became obvious they were.

“You’re such a hypocrite.” Willow’s voice rang throughout the decimated shop.

“Blimey,” Wesley uttered as he saw Willow, dressed head to toe in black, which was also the color of her formerly red hair. Spidery veins spread across her face. “When Willow said she went to a dark place, she wasn’t overstating the fact, was she?”

“She’s been through a hell of a lot for someone so young. But she’s seen the light at the end of it all and pulled through,” Giles said.

Willow looked up at the ceiling. Giles and Wesley followed suit to see another earlier memory of Giles, pinned to the roof by an unseen force.

“…Do you?” With one finger she pointed to the floor, Willow sent the other Giles crashing down face-first.

Wesley squirmed, shrinking away from seeing the other Giles connect with the floor. He looked back once he heard the thud.

“I used to think you had all the answers,” Willow said contemptuously, “that I had so much to learn from you.”

“W-Willow…” the other Giles wheezed weakly.

The witch gestured again, this time upwards, and, as if hoisted by puppet strings, his body was violently picked up and slung back onto the ceiling. He let out a pained groan.

“What caused her to turn?” Wesley asked, his tone suggesting that he was wary of the answer.

“Her lover, Tara, was killed. And in her devastation, she turned to fury and vengeance. She wanted blood on her hands, the blood of the man responsible. And she got it.”

Wesley looked at the ground, adjusting his stance. “It’s never quite as satisfying as you think,” he said quietly.

Giles gave Wesley a slightly puzzled look, but was interrupted when a bright flash of green light slammed into Willow, knocking her off-balance. The other Giles was released from her clutches and fell back to the floor below.

Willow panted, reeling from the other Giles’s magical attack. “That…was rude! Now I forgot what I was saying.”

“You’re not as I remember you,” Giles said to Wesley. “You seem…I don’t know, harder.”

Wesley stared back at Giles. “A lot can happen in four years.”

“True, you seemed…happier then, but still, even when we arrived at the Hyperion, there was something…’off’ about you.”

“– Blah, blah, blah.” Willow’s voice could be heard above their conversation.

The younger man smirked slightly at Willow’s sarcastic remark. “C’est la vie.”

“Willow, you need to stop,” the other Giles rasped as he got to his knees.

“What I need –” In one swift movement, Willow was standing over the other Giles. “– is a little pick-me-up.” She thrust her hand onto the old man’s chest. An electric orange glow crackled under her palm, drawing his essence from his body. Abruptly, she let go of him and staggered back, while the other Giles fell hard to the floor.

“What did you do?” Wesley asked.

“Not I, not entirely. The Devonshire Coven contacted me and imbued me with healing magicks, knowing full well that Willow would try to drain me.”

“Effective delivery system. I would have thought she’d have considered your magic ‘tainted,'” he commented.

Giles shrugged. “You’d think – but then again, you don’t think in situations like these, do you?”

Wesley smiled. “You’re telling me.”

Giles caught Wesley’s grin, but was again interrupted by Willow.

“Oh, you poor bastards!” Clouds of magic began to circle Willow as she lifted off the floor, a storm encasing her body. Spines of lightning linked both with the environment and with Willow herself. “Your suffering has to end.” Her voice echoed throughout the shop as she disappeared in a funnel of magic.

“She wanted justice, and that’s what she got…justice for her actions, not for those of her lover’s killer,” Wesley said.

Perplexed, Giles looked back at Wesley. “I understand what you’re saying, and though I don’t condone Willow’s actions, she did bring justice to Tara.”

“Did she? By murdering the man responsible for her death? You said it yourself, you don’t think in these kinds of situations. Tara’s death has been brought to justice, but not through murder. Willow did Tara justice by working through her pain and making the world a better place. Even then, justice doesn’t mean that her slate is clean. Atonement is what counts,” Wesley told Giles.

“What would you consider real justice for Tara’s death, then?”

“True justice isn’t for us to decide. But I can tell you, if we commit sin in order to punish sin, one life for another, then what divides us from those we punish?”

“So what divides me from Ben, from Glory?” Giles asked.

“It’s complicated, isn’t it? What do you think divides you?”

Giles pondered this, staring back at Wesley. “Reason.”

Wesley nodded. “Reason. You had a good reason to kill Ben, a true, devout reason. Willow didn’t have a true reason to kill Tara’s murderer. She may have thought it to be a good reason, but it was merely revenge. That is never a true reason to pardon your actions.”

“No. It isn’t,” Giles replied.

At this, out of one of the many small fires burning quietly around the Magic Box, a gleaming white light swept over the shop.

White Out

Cut To:


Temple – Destroyed Dome Chamber – Same Time

Willow smiled up at Kennedy as she made her way through an enlarged hole in the wall, along with a neck brace and pallet. She tossed Willow the neck brace and the witch began to fix it around Giles.

“How you doin’, Will?” Kennedy asked.

“I’ve been better. We’ve gotta get him outta here,” she said, motioning to Giles.

“That’s a nasty gash you’ve got there,” Kennedy said, nodded toward Willow’s head.

Almost as an after-thought, Willow touched it again. “Yeah.”

“Here,” Kennedy said, handing her a bottle of water from the pack and a rag. “Take a long drink and clean yourself up. You’re ex-not-so-ex-girlfriend might spaz when she sees you like this. First, though, push this under while I lift him,” Kennedy motioned.

Willow waited on Kennedy’s command and pushed the pallet under Giles as the slayer held him as steady as possible. After that was finished, Willow took a drink and then splashed water on her face, while Kennedy secured the pallet.

“Okay guys, go slow,” Kennedy shouted back toward the hole in the wall. She tugged on the line to let the others know they were ready.

Willow hopped over to their equipment and notes. She began to gather the items while Kennedy eased Giles up the rocky slope. Once his feet were through, Kennedy steered the pallet from her side so Giles could make it clear through the hole without hitting the top.

“We got him,” Faith shouted from the other side, and Kennedy and Willow watched Giles slip through. Kennedy moved back down the rock pile.

“Your turn,” she told Willow as she walked over.

“No, I can’t leave this in here,” Willow told her.

Kennedy promptly emptied her bag of supplies in one swift movement and began to put Giles notes and camera inside the backpack.

“Jeez, did he write a novel while he was down here or what?” she teased as she gathered his supplies.

“Don’t laugh,” Willow told her. “Instead, thank the gods he did. All of my stuff got destroyed.” Willow paused for a moment. “Bloody technology,” she sighed.

Kennedy pointed to the ceiling. “Look up.”

“What is it?” Willow asked as she looked above them. “Owwww!” she yelled. Her eyes immediately shot to her foot. Kennedy had quickly bound it with a brace from her pack.

“Willow!” they could hear Rowena yell in a scared voice.

“Told ya – spaz,” Kennedy said to Willow. “She’s okay,” she then shouted. She turned back to Willow and ordered, “Tell her you’re okay.”

“I’m okay! We’re coming out now,” Willow replied.

“Here,” Kennedy said, handing Willow the pack.

“Great, make the injured woman hobble up the rock mountain with leg brace and a pack and – whoa!” Willow ended with an exclamation as Kennedy swept her off her feet and turned toward the open space.

“You carry that and I’ll carry you. Try to keep that foot as steady as possible,” Kennedy told her. “Deal?”

“Do I have a choice?” Willow asked.

“No,” Kennedy answered, beginning to walk.

“Alrighty then.”

Cut To:


Cuyahoga Valley – Higher Ground – Tree Line – Same Time

“This…this won’t do. This won’t do at all,” Wagner stood atop a cliff, staring at the excavation site below.

The two lawyers from Wolfram and Hart, Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Doran, stood a few feet behind her.

“Do you know why I left the temple beneath the filthy earth? Because its discovery would draw attention to what I wanted to hide. This is why we have you people in power. To stop human acts with human acts. Tell me, how did this happen?” she asked in an uncomfortably calm tone.

“We’re still unsure,” Mr. Mitchell replied. “Despite the red flag on this valley, and our affiliation with the local government, an act still passed to allow construction of a new set of apartments on this site”

“You didn’t answer my question.” Wagner grit her teeth in anger.

“We-we don’t know. There are counter measures in place to prevent –” Ms. Doran answered, only to be cut off by Wagner when she spun round to face them.

“But it did. The rights were cleared, and you have no idea how,” she spat back.

The two lawyers quivered slightly in Wagner’s raging presence. Mr. Mitchell shook his head.

Wagner grunted and approached them with slow, small steps.

“Unbelievable. Tell me, why do we rely on your firm? Why do we still allow you to operate, in spite of your constant insolence?” She turned away from the two lawyers, bringing her anger under control. “If it were up to me, I’d kill you where you stand and bring your firm to its knees within the blink of an eye. But lucky for you, it isn’t up to me. I have a boss, and rules I have to follow.”

“It is also in our best interests that the knowledge held within the temple not fall into the wrong hands,” Mr. Mitchell supplied.

“The wrong hands not being your own?” Wagner spun towards the male lawyer, causing him to step back. “I care not about the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart. They have always been power hungry, but like so many in power they crave more and more until it becomes distasteful and inevitably becomes their downfall. With power comes complacency, and the idea that you are indestructible. What you fail to understand is that, if anything, it makes you more vulnerable. You are but children who know how to throw your toys out of your cradle and get away with it.”

“That’s because the firm is integral to the stability of this world,” Mr. Mitchell retorted.

“No, you still have your wicked lives because you are useful, nothing more. The Wolf, Ram, and Hart do not control this world – they serve as a means to get things done.” Wagner’s voice grew quiet. “Perhaps they don’t remember what happened the last time they acted like a spoiled child? It never occurs to lawyers that one can make one machination too many. And when they didn’t get their way…sometimes, when you throw your toys, mommy takes them away for good. Temporal manipulation, Orlon windows, these are so convenient, and such a wonderful skill to possess, but they’re not the answer to everything,” Wagner trailed off for a brief moment, casting her eye back to the valley and the temple below. “Have you asked yourselves why the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart were ordered to stop?”

“Yes,” Mitchell answered. “They saw the world begin to crumble as their legions swept across Los Angeles, and they realized that what they were doing would prevent everything that they had been planning for for so long.”

Wagner shook her head, “No, not their plans. Ours. A plan so long pre-ordained that it has been interpreted as myth.”

“The cave-in?” Ms. Doran asked.

“Let’s just hope it killed them and destroyed what’s inside,” Wagner replied bluntly.

“But…the temple, it’s invaluable. You would destroy it?” Mr. Mitchell challenged.

“Yes, I would. The watchers should not have it, nor should Ouroboros Law Offices, and especially not you incompetent bastards at Wolfram and Hart.”

“How can you just throw away something like that? It’s one of the greatest finds in history,” Mr. Mitchell argued.

“For you, perhaps…for me, not so much. Whoever has control of the temple and of what is inside will have an unfair advantage, thus corrupting the balance. And giving away secrets to the enemy is not in my nature. So that means that none of you should have what’s inside.”

Ms. Doran sniggered. “But you should?”

“No,” Wagner smirked, “not me, only my master. I suppose I should say I only care for balance where it concerns my plans and those of my boss. Not yours. You fear your employers and they fear me. Now go back to your castle and tell your kings that you failed. And if you dare attempt anything to procure what is inside – well, I don’t want to think about that. Or maybe I do, but you certainly don’t.”

Fade In:


Old Guard Mansion – Cell

“Grab her,” Jordon sneered at Rowena. He nodded in her direction, ordering his men forward.

Giles and Wesley stood in the hallway, backs to the wall, as Tyrell’s men walked into the room. Rowena started to back up, and yet another past Giles stepped in front of her, blocking the men’s path.

“Isn’t that Tyrell’s son?” Wesley asked.

The other Giles charged towards the closest approaching man and hit him squarely in the jaw, sending him backward. But the other man managed to get in a hit as well, sending Giles to the floor. As the guards regrouped, they brought out their bludgeons. The other Giles tried to get up, but one of the men slammed his stick into his arm, knocking him back. Rowena dove on top of Giles as he lay sprawled on the floor.

“I’ll go,” she told them. “Just leave him alone.”

“Don’t,” Giles insisted.

“I’ll be okay,” Rowena replied.

Jordon picked her up roughly by the arm and pushed her out the door. Both Giles and Wesley hugged the wall as she stumbled past them. The other two guards each took a swing at the other Giles before shutting the door as they left.

Rowena looked back a final time at Giles and saw him move to his feet, clutching his arm. Despite her bravery, the fear was clear in her eyes. When the door slammed shut and locked, slapping against the door could be heard from the other side.

His hold on Rowena tight, nearing unbearable, Jordon literally dragged her down the hall, her guards trailing behind.

Giles approached the locked door. “I wished I could have knocked the door down and beat the guards and that nut Tyrell until he begged me to stop.” He placed his hand on the handle, as if somehow expecting the lock to open. Not unexpectedly, his hand moved through the metal door handle.

“Wishful thinking. I don’t like dwelling on the past, the what-ifs, the shoulda-coulda-wouldas. It can ruin you,” Wesley said.

“I know. Still…I remember sitting in that room, my mind racing about what was happening to Rowena, about how I couldn’t do a damned thing to stop it.”

“Well she can handle herself. Care to see?” Wesley’s words got Giles’s attention.

Cut To:


Old Guard Mansion – Moments Later

Giles and Wesley entered one of the rooms at the end of the hall to find a badly beaten Rowena tied to a wooden chair in the center of the room. Jordon circled her, taking drags on a cigarette.

“I didn’t realize we could see this. Isn’t this trial about me?” Giles said to Wesley.

“This scene involves you, doesn’t it?” Wesley replied.

Jordan paused in front of her. “I’m getting tired of asking this question, Rowena.” He brought the cigarette down until it barely touched her skin. A small groan escaped her mouth as she felt the heat. A series of burns already lined her arm. “Where is the book?”

“What book?” she retorted smugly.

Jordon clenched his teeth in frustration and slowly pushed the cigarette into her skin, making her scream.

“The Opus Obscurum! Where is it?” he yelled.

“The Opus Obscurum? The book containing all the original watcher lore…among other interesting tidbits?” Wesley seemed almost in awe at the thought of the book.

“The very one,” Giles said. “Rowena was on a mission to retrieve the Opus when the Bringers started to cull the potentials right under the Council’s nose. Unfortunately, Rowena’s potential was amongst the first to be murdered.”

“Let me guess, the Old Guard was lost without their ‘Holy Grail’?” Wesley remarked with an arch of his brow.

Giles cocked his head to the side. “Something like that.”

“Tell me!” Jordon screamed at Rowena, holding her by the throat. After a moment, he released her.

“You know –” Rowena coughed briefly before continuing, “– this isn’t the first time I’ve been choked this week. But I gotta admit, the woman who had me by the throat, she was more man than you. Probably better in bed, too,” she added with a chuckle.

Jordon howled in frustration and reached into his jacket, pulled out his 9 mm handgun from his shoulder holster and cocked it. He raised it to her forehead as one of the guards rushed up to his side. Rowena didn’t flinch. Instead, her good eye bore rebelliously into Jordon’s, refusing to break contact. It was as if she was challenging him to do it.

“James said we can’t kill her,” the guard reminded him.

“That’s right,” Rowena smirked. “Ask Daddy, Jordon, and he’ll tell you…knowledge is power.”

Wesley couldn’t help but smile at her comeback. “She’s got that right. It’s a shame, I always wanted to meet Ms. Allister. She was only starting out when I left for Sunnydale. A lot of promise, a lot of talent – she’s had it tough, more than most. She’s made a lot of bad calls, yet she managed to rectify them.”

Giles was still watching the guards untying Rowena and leading her from the room. “Yes, she has…yet still, she muddles through. I don’t know if I should be proud or envious of her strength.”

“Suppose you can always learn from her,” Wesley commented.

The pair watched Jordon holster his gun, slamming the weapon into its leather case. He paced up and down the room in a fit of rage, mumbling incoherent invective. He kicked Rowena’s empty chair to the carpet, then lit another cigarette and took a seat on the windowsill.

Hearing Rowena’s loud protests, Giles and Wesley exited back into the hall and walked back toward the cell where they had left Giles’s past self.

Cut To:


Old Guard Mansion – Cell – Same Time

They followed the two guards inside the cell and stood in the corner of the room. The pair watched them drop Rowena’s battered body to the floor, then turn and leave.

“She’s in a bad way,” the younger watcher said, as the other Giles moved to comfort her.

Giles smiled softly. “She’s got spirit.”

Rowena motioned the other Giles closer with a crooked finger and whispered in his ear. “They think I have the Opus Obscurum. Ever heard of it?” she asked with a knowing grin. The other Giles pulled back with a look of surprise, but quickly nodded. Rowena pulled him closer again. “They’re only half right.”

“Meaning?” Giles asked.

“I figured they were on to me, so I pulled a switch. It’s in your library. Third floor. Third bookcase. Behind the third row. So if I make it out alive, and no matter what you decide regarding my place in your Council, it’s yours, Mr. Giles. I heard what you told Tyrell that night – it’s not about control or status. It’s about fighting evil. You and your Cleveland crew are trying to do that. Tyrell and the Old Guard don’t deserve the information that’s inside…I’d like to not screw up. I’d like it to be something that I get right for once.”

“She’s nailed it on the head. It’s about fighting evil. It always has been, and it always should be,” Wesley noted.

Giles turned to Wesley, about to speak, when the white light shone out from the other Giles and Rowena.

White Out

Cut To:


Cuyahoga Valley – Construction Site – Moments later

Buffy and Becca stood by the waiting ambulance. They rushed over when they watched the pallet holding Giles come above the surface.

Xander, now above ground, directed the crews carefully. He turned in time to see Becca running over.

“Hold up,” he told her, putting his hands on her shoulders. Buffy began to move past him. “Buffy, wait!” Xander yelled.

“Rupert?” Becca yelled past Xander, as Buffy turned to face him.

“He’s out cold,” Xander told them. “Go wait by the ambulance, guys. We’ll be there in a few seconds.”

“Where’s Will?” Buffy asked.

“Getting her now,” Xander told them. “She’s going in the second ambulance.” Xander pointed. “You can ride along with Giles in that one and see them both at the council.”

Buffy nodded and motioned for Becca to follow her.

“No,” Becca replied. “I’m staying with him.”

“Are you gonna make me pick you up and carry you there, because I can, you know? Still got the slayer strength,” she told her. Becca still refused to move as she watched the ambulance crew put Giles on a gurney. “Come on, before they end up waiting on us,” Buffy told her. “Let’s get on board.”

Reluctantly, Becca finally agreed and started toward the ambulance.

“You coming?” Buffy asked Xander.

“I’ll be right behind you. I’m gonna wait on Will. You stay with Becca and Giles,” he told her.

Buffy nodded and jogged a short distance to catch up to Becca.

Fade In:


Watchers Council – Giles’s Office – Same Time

Within a blink, Giles and Wesley found themselves standing in an empty small office.

“This is my office,” Giles said. He walked over to the table, his hand barely skimming over the polished wooden surface. “My old office.”

“I know,” Wesley added, almost too bluntly.

Thrown by this comment, Giles changed his stare from the group before him to Wesley. “Pardon?”

“Oh yes, I’ve been known to ‘drop in’ from time to time.”

“Why, keeping tabs?”

“Well, not for official business such as this. More for my own personal peace of mind, just to make sure that you lot are okay. To be honest, I haven’t descended in quite a while. Restrictions and such. Don’t worry, I keep out of the apartments, though from the noises and creaking floorboards, I’m surprised you get any work done.” He smirked.

Giles scratched his head, turning away from Wesley and looking back at his empty chair.

“So what’s this supposed to mean? A foreshadowing of what will happen with my heart condition if I don’t lay off the fried foods?”

Wesley shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t ask me. This is your mind, remember. I’m only visiting.”

Giles rolled his eyes. “Well then, who am I supposed to ask? The other Ghost of Christmas Past to my left?” The sarcasm dripped from his voice.

Wesley smiled. “You think I’m in charge of this, do you? That I’m sitting in front of some divine chessboard, moving the pieces?”

“That’s another story,” Giles stated, curbing that line of conversation

“What?” Wesley frowned, confused.

“– I didn’t know she had the swarm information!” Willow countered, as she and yet another Giles burst into the office, slamming the door behind them.

“Not the swarm, the two of you! Not more than forty eight hours ago I praised you both for your maturity, and now…How can we trust you? Trust Rowena? You’ve lied to everyone here, about the file and about the two of you!” the other Giles argued.

“Messing with the files was wrong, but as for our personal life, that’s none of your damn business Giles.”

“It is so!” he said, wiping his sweaty forehead.

“Foreshadowing was right,” Giles now uttered from the back of the room.

“How do you figure?” Willow asked angrily.

“Because your personal life now has come in direct conflict with the Council!”

“Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest,” Wesley said thoughtfully.

“Paul Simon,” Giles said.

“Wise words from a wise man.”

“I can’t help but feel that there’s some truth to that,” Giles answered with a small sigh. “Earlier, in this time, Rowena told me that she knows how the Council operates; that one life for thousands isn’t too high of a price.”

Wesley swallowed hard, his eyes turning to the floor for a moment before glancing back up to Giles. Wesley’s eyes lingered on the older man for a few moments, before moving on to Willow and the other Giles.

“It is and it isn’t,” Wesley commented. “It’s a double-edged sword, one that’s too sharp and too heavy for us to carry on our backs. But the unfortunate truth is, we must.”

“Why must we?”

“Because this is who we are.”

Giles turned to Wesley, their eyes meeting for an instant before they were interrupted. The other Giles clutched his arm and staggered back towards the desk. Willow caught him, but the pair fell to the floor with a…

White Out

Fade In:


Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time

…thud. At the exact moment Willow and the other Giles fell to the floor, a quick flash of white light swept over them. As it dissipated, Giles and Wesley were in another location.

This time the two men found themselves standing at the back of the darkened Coven Room. The curtains were drawn and the light from the glass pane in the door was blotted out by a large piece of sugar paper.

Abatha!” five voices shouted at the top of their lungs, startling Giles and Wesley. As the final resonance of the word rang, the sound of a crack of thunder erupted, so loud that it might have been inside the room.

As they turned, dead center in their line of sight sat five people – Andrew, Skye, Jeff, Dawn and Xander – in a circle, with Willow sitting in the center.

Concerned, Wesley turned to face Giles. “What’s happening? What are they doing to her?”

“They’re stripping her of her magic,” Giles replied, shuddering as a low rumbling sound began to fill the room.

Willow grew rigid. Her eyes shut, squinting in pain. Her mouth opened, and from it a stream of light flowed out. Tiny motes of bright light, like stars the size of sand grains, swirled amid the flow. With the light came gasping, horrible groans from her throat. Muscles in her mouth strained, locking her mouth open as the light continued to pour out and up.

She opened her eyes, tears pouring from them. As the last of the light left her, she let out a great, croaking sigh and collapsed.

Dreadfully pale, Willow gasped from her fetal position inside the circle. Each gasp had the undercurrent of a whimper.

“Oh Goddess…” she whispered, “…it’s gone…I’m gone…”

“My God,” Wesley breathed. He took a step forward, standing over the circle. He stared down at Willow’s fragile form.

“It was the only way to stop the Mizors: get rid of what attracts them to The Hellmouth,” Giles informed him.

“It’s cruel, it’s sadistic and it’s depraved to strip a witch of her powers. It can be fatal, too.”

Giles closed the gap between him and Wesley, while those sitting in the circle prepared for the next stage of the ritual. “You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.”

Wesley’s eyes still locked on Willow as tears continued to stream down her face. “Aren’t I? She knew the risks.”

“As did we.”

“But she chose this fate for herself. She chose this despite what it would do to her, what she would lose. She sacrificed herself,” Wesley looked back to Giles. “Why did she?”

“Because she had to. Because it was the only solution.”

Wesley shook his head. “Not had to, not because it was the only solution…because it was right.”

Duroc! Melankurion! Abatha!”

Like some kind of slow-motion lightning bolt, a rainbow-hued ribbon of light appeared in the air above the circle. It wound its way to Willow and enveloped her shuddering form, causing her to glow.

Out of this glow, a bright burst of white light swept over the room.

Fade In:


Vor Hell Dimension – The Hub – Same Time

Cries, shouting, screaming, the clash of weapons and fists and the various other sounds of war flashed down the catacombs. Giles and Wesley stumbled into the fray as an explosion from one of the many tunnels rocked the cavern.

“Where…where are we?” Wesley leaned towards Giles and shouted in his ear, trying to get his voice heard over the sounds of the tunnels behind them collapsing.

“We’re in Vor. Hell dimension. Last year,” Giles panted.

“That’s it!” Robin shouted over the distant sounds of battle and destruction. “Just us and the two hooded fellows.”

“They’re covering our retreat,” another Giles said. “So, go.”

“You’re going too!” Robin insisted.

“This is a direct order. Get through that portal!” Giles shouted.

Wesley smirked. “You certainly get around, don’t you?”

Robin gave an exasperated sigh, then picked up as many bags as he could from the supplies scattered around them and joined the last of the slayers going through the portal. This left only Faith, Giles, Jeff, Dawn, Ethan and Rupert the dog in the chamber.

“Dawn,” Giles said, “pull back. We’ll hold the portal open while you go.”

“It’ll kill you,” she shook her head, tears streaking her face.

“We are not leaving you here!” Giles insisted. “This is a direct – Ooof!”

He broke off as Ethan shoved him backwards through the portal.

“He’s getting too fond of his direct orders, if you ask me,” Ethan said grimly.

“Ah, Ethan…” Wesley began, looking the old mage up and down. “Always knew he was buttered on both sides – well, for you, anyway.”

Giles frowned at Wesley. “I…um –”

“Oh for god’s sake, what is it with you people?” Ethan yelled. “Right, have you ever opened and maintained a transdimensional portal?”

“No, but –” Jeff began to say.

“Well, I have,” Ethan interrupted, “so bugger off!”

“I can’t quite get over what he did for me, for us,” Giles said quietly, the explosions and roars from behind them diminishing as the battle was lost.

“All jokes aside, he did it for you, because he cares about you. He didn’t want to see you in harm’s way,” Wesley told Giles.

“Go!” Ethan yelled.

Faith turned and ran for the rapidly-closing portal, while Ethan gripped the pillars and gritted his teeth. The portal’s closure slowed, just long enough for Faith and Dawn to get through. Then Ethan fell back from the pillars, and it closed at last.

“Oh bugger,” he muttered, staring at the empty space where the portal had been.

Wesley walked over to Ethan, standing only a few steps away from him as he used the craggy surfaces to get to his feet, “For someone so ignorant, arrogant…for Ethan to be selfless…Well, maybe there’s hope for all of us, then,” he said, looking back at Giles. Then, the pillars shone with a white light.

White Out

Fade In:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Late Morning

All the chairs at the conference room table were taken as the Council convened for a meeting. There was an uneasy air about the conference room, as each member seemed to sit on the edge of their seats.

Giles and Wesley stood up against the wall at the far end of the room, looking straight down the table to Rowena sitting in the head chair.

“I think I may have a solution,” the blonde watcher continued, pulling a thick volume out of her briefcase and placing it on the table. “There is a spell, the Tabula Rasa, that can erase specific memories from a certain subject. It involves an…”

“The Tabula Rasa?” Wesley restated, leaning off of the wall. He stared at Rowena as she continued.

” – I propose that we perform this spell on Mr. Devlin,” she announced.

Wesley cackled before folding his arms and taking a slow walk around the table.

“Ah yes, Mr. Robert Devlin and that spell. She certainly screwed this one up.”

“Exactly,” Rowena replied to Kennedy at the very moment Wesley finished, as if answering both of them.

“As much as I agree with you, Wesley, what else could she have done? What else could anyone have done in this situation?” Giles said.

“Have you ever thought about what would have happened if the Council had just let it be? Let Mr. Devlin have his story?”

“Yes, and it would have been chaos,” Giles answered across the room.

“But how do you know? He could have run this story and, even with what evidence he had, you’d be surprised at people’s readiness to glaze over facts that they choose not to believe,” Wesley said.

Giles stifled a cough before walking around the opposite side of the table to Wesley. “So you’re saying that, if you were in that position, you’d just let it be, whatever the outcome?”

Wesley shook his head with a smirk. “You’ve got me there. All I’m saying is that it’s a possibility that he might have been frowned upon by his peers and the story dropped, or disproved by lies. I’m just throwing in my two pence. It was a choice, it was her choice and look at the outcome. Peachy.”

“So, did it work out for the best?” Giles asked, the pair of them meeting at the head of the table behind Rowena.

“You’ll never know either way, will you?” Wesley gave Giles a small smile.

White Out

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Infirmary – Day

“Please stand back,” Dr. Miller told Becca and Buffy, as they stood by Giles’s bedside. Carefully, Buffy pulled Becca toward the far wall to give the medical crew space.

As the nurses began to hook the equipment up to monitor Giles, Willow wheeled inside the room on another gurney.

“It’s a little cut,” Willow told them. “I’m fine. Just look after Giles.”

“That’s why he’s with Dr. Miller and you’re with me,” the nurse smiled. “Just sit there while we look at that gash, and your leg. Okay?”

Willow sighed. “Fine,” she relented. Done arguing, she noticed Buffy and Becca make their way over to her bed.

“You were there?” Becca asked Willow. “Did you see anything? Did he say anything? What happened?”

Willow appeared to be trying to form a reply when they heard Dr. Miller give a heavy sigh and say, “Get me an NTG tablet and oxygen started STAT.”

All three women looked at each other, but said nothing.

Fade In:


Hotel Lobby – Day

The white light grew fainter, and as it did, Giles and Wesley found themselves in a lobby made primarily from large cream marble, bright sunlight filtering through the double floor windows and glass doors.

Giles frowned as he looked around him, “The Hyperion? What are we doing here? Where are Buffy and Willow and the others?”

Wesley walked toward the reception desk. He glanced around, but didn’t see any of the bags or weapons that Giles and the others had brought with them from Sunnydale.

“This isn’t your past, Giles,” Wesley replied, with more than a little confusion. “This is mine.”

Black Out


End of Act Three

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