Giles’s House – Living Room – Moments Later
Becca followed Giles toward the front door.
“Why are those animals all moving the same direction?” she asked.
“Probably getting away from the Hellmouth, I suppose,” he answered as he adjusted his coat.
“So your solution is to go to the Council? The Council that sits on top of the Hellmouth?” she shot back. “So much for avoiding stress – that was short-lived.” She closed her eyes and her fingers rubbed her forehead.
“I’ll return as soon as I can,” Giles told her. He took her by the upper arms and placed a kiss on the crown of her hanging head. “Just…just stay here.” He didn’t wait for a response as he rushed toward the front door.
London – Watchers Council – Auditorium – Moments Later
Althenea sat with a slight grin and gave a single nod of support to Robin, who stood behind a nearby podium, his notes before him. Directly in front of him sat the members of the London Branch, and behind them were the widescreen televisions showing other branches of various nationalities.
Cleveland – Watchers Council – War Room – Same Time
Buffy, Willow, Rowena, Kennedy and Faith all stood in the Cleveland war room watching the proceedings.
London – Watchers Council – Auditorium – Same Time
“So in conclusion, ladies and gentlemen,” Robin said to the assembly, both those present and attending via satellite, “I hope that as you decide your vote, you take into consideration all that Ms. Lehane has done for the Watchers Council and, in particular, for her fellow slayers. I even hold a sworn statement from Kennedy, the slayer who was injured in the fisticuffs, asking that Ms. Lehane be reinstated and assigned to her prior post. At this time, I’m willing to open the floor to any questions.”
Robson raised his hand, and Robin nodded toward him.
“She is watching from America, correct?” Robson asked. “I would like to ask a question of her, if I may.” Robin nodded in assent and Robson continued. “Ms –”
Cleveland – Watchers Council – War Room – Same Time
Kennedy perked up in her chair and sat forward. “Kennedy,” she interjected. “Just Kennedy, is fine. Ask away.”
“I’ve read the statement, and I’m interested to know why you feel this is a one-time incident,” Robson asked her. “Our concern is for the slayers, such as yourself, who may be under Ms. Lehane’s charge. How can you be certain something like this won’t happen again?”
“Well, um, first of all, hi everybody,” she said nervously with a short wave. From the large screen in Hong Kong, Mr. Lee grinned at the gesture, as well as a few others. “I don’t get a chance to travel often, so it’s nice to put faces to names, even if it’s just TV. As for my statement I gave Mr. Wood – I think the Council’s decision was beyond harsh and pretty stupid.” Kennedy quickly caught herself. “I mean, it was based more on opinion than fact.”
“That still doesn’t explain –” Robson began.
“Please let me finish, Mr. Robson, since you gave me the floor,” Kennedy said, cutting him off.
“Apologies. Go on,” he replied.
“Now…while it’s true that Faith does have a sketchy record from years ago,” Kennedy continued, “since she’s been with the Council here in Cleveland, it’s been a pleasure to serve under her. In fact, she’s done a really great job and made many friends here. That’s why I recommended sending the decision to the entire Council. I did so knowing that we probably couldn’t be impartial here in Cleveland. And since you asked for my opinion, Mr. Robson, I don’t feel this one incident is a statement on Faith’s character as a person on the whole. What it came down to was two slayers who had a really bad day and things went a bit too far. Regardless of Faith’s position, I feel the incident should have resulted in her suspension, not her dismissal.”
“Thank you,” Robson replied.
“And one more thing, if I may,” Kennedy broke in, before he could say anything else. “The very thing I wanted to avoid most, well, it ended up happening. I was most afraid of an impartial hearing here in Cleveland. I think many of you who cast your votes did so by looking only at Faith’s checkered past and not the person she is today…and when you did that, well, you became impartial, too, just on the other side of the coin. So what I’m asking, as well as everyone else here at the Cleveland Branch, is that Faith be officially reinstated. She’s done her time, more than she should have, in my opinion, and without her, I believe the Council is at a disadvantage. That’s all I wanted to say for now.”
“Thank you, Kennedy,” Robin said from his feed, and she gave him a grin and a nod.
Kennedy then leaned over to Rowena and whispered, “Did I say all that okay?”
Unseen because of the table, Rowena patted Kennedy’s knee in unspoken support for a job well done. Instead of replying, Rowena turned and gave her a slight grin, before turning back to the cameras with a serious expression.
Suddenly, the doors of the control room burst open, and Giles rushed inside.
“What’s wrong?” Buffy asked, turning her head as if sensing his alarm. “Excuse me one moment,” she told the cameras, as she stood up and walked over to meet him.
“Have you looked outside?” he asked.
“Hey Will?” Buffy called over. “Open the blinds.”
Willow rose, walked over to the shaded window and pulled the cord.
“Oh my Goddess,” she muttered. “Check this out.” She looked down to the ground to see people pointing in the air at the birds overhead, while a few others pointed out over the water.
From her spot Buffy could see the bird migration, and she took her seat.
“Mr. Robson?” she called.
“Animals?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah,” Buffy replied, a bit confused. “How did you –?”
“One of our staff just came in to tell us…it’s happening here too,” Robson answered. “Mr. Lee? I know it’s rather dark where you are right now, but can you see if the area birds seem to be migrating in great numbers?”
At first Lee looked confused, but he motioned an assistant over and spoke privately for a moment in hushed Cantonese. He paused as he watched the assistant off camera, then began to nod. “It appears so.”
“Everyone,” Buffy began, “things might be happening a bit quicker than we expected. From the information we’ve been given, this fight might be the key to saving humanity. You’ve been given the information regarding Ms. Lehane, and I move for you to return a verdict within the next twenty-four hours. The point is, we need Ms. Lehane in this fight if we stand a chance. So I sincerely hope that all of you who voted for termination last time will reconsider your vote today. And Robin, we’ll call you on the phone a few moments from now. For the time being, you’ll have to excuse us, folks.”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
“What now?” Buffy asked, as the Council team walked swiftly down the hallway. “The largest team I’ve ever had was about thirty teenage girls and the Scoobies. What do we have to work with?”
“My suggestions?” Rowena asked.
“Yes,” Buffy replied.
Rowena took a breath. “First, get fifty watchers or watchers-in-training to the gym. Assign each of them a state so they can contact the governors and watch televisions tuned to Hellmouth areas. Second, Willow?” she said, turning to the witch, “Gather the Coven and try to reach your connections again – see if these gods or goddesses might know what’s going on and if they’ll help, okay?” Willow nodded and began to leave. “Third, Kennedy: get the slayers and slayers-in-training to start moving equipment into the gym pronto, and once you’ve got them started, come see me in my office. Fourth, Faith: check with Xander to see if we’ve got everything we need in our arsenal and secure all the entrances and windows with any slayers left over. The Council is on lockdown – no one but you, me, Giles and the Division Heads have authority to let anyone in or out.”
“You got it,” Faith said. She and Kennedy walked away together.
“What about us?” Buffy asked when only she, Rowena and Giles remained.
“Giles, please go to the computer lab,” Rowena told him. “Check the transcripts I’ve made from your recent…brain trip,” she said, giving up on finding a more appropriate term. “See if anything pulls up on animal migrations.”
“And me?” Buffy asked.
“Start calling the Feds and let them know what might be happening,” Rowena told her.
“I’m not sure if I’m the right person…” Buffy began.
“It’s the press or the Feds,” Rowena told her. “If you’d like to switch with me and fend off the inquiring minds that want to know all about demons, you’re more than welcome to it.”
“I’ll stick with the Feds,” Buffy answered.
“Smart choice,” Rowena replied with a grin. “So, is that an acceptable plan of action? You’re the head watcher.”
Buffy looked around at the hallway, seeing that it was empty except for her, Rowena and Giles. “Obviously.”
Rowena grinned. “You’ve been saving the world for years on your own, Buffy, and I know this is a jump for you, totally different, so I’ll do everything I can to help until you’re informed on everything we have available.”
Buffy’s head nodded in a bob, then she turned to Giles. “So, all those years I spent putting my fanny on the line, did Travers have all these resources?”
“Quite a few,” Giles admitted. “But I must say that Willow is a much better money manager. Consequently, we have quite a few more toys and personnel than they ever had.”
“Wonder if she’s looking after my funds?” Buffy pondered out loud.
“Well, if the world survives and there’s still a Wall Street when it’s over, you’ll have to ask her,” Giles replied.
“Look at you, Giles. First cell phones, and now getting on board the apocalyptic joke train. I’m impressed.”
“Folks?” Rowena said, tapping on her watch.
“Right, time’s a-wastin’,” Buffy answered. “Blame Giles for distracting me.”
Rowena and Giles both grinned as they watched Buffy dart away.
Cave – Location Unknown – Night
The Distant Past
“You cannot do this!” a woman’s voice could be heard exclaiming, as the light of a flame flickered against a cave wall.
Slowly, six women came into view, dressed in robes. They moved to surround a long-haired Wagner, who stood in the middle of them.
“For centuries I have served the order of the Guardians, done my duty –” Wagner went on.
“As you have seen fit, Waganari, not by what we have ordered. You know that we are not to interfere with the Slayer Line, and yet because of your actions, the Scythe has now fallen into the hands of those who seek to destroy us.”
“That was not my intention,” Wagner challenged.
“But that was the outcome,” the other Guardian replied, “and as such, we have no choice but to strip you of your Guardianship. Your history will reside apart from our legacy, and you will live out your days without the privilege or protection of the Order. You will spend your days as a mortal.”
All six women raised their arms, pointing their fingers toward Wagner.
“Don’t make this choice,” Wagner told them quickly.
Before she could say anything further, lightning appeared to strike from the Guardians’ fingers, bringing Wagner down to her knees, howling in pain. When the light show finished, she collapsed on her side in a fetal position.
“We have passed our judgment,” the Guardian said calmly.
The group then proceeded to walk away. After a moment, Wagner suddenly shot up to a sitting position. “Mark my words! You’ll rue the day of this decision. I swear by anything holy or unholy, the Guardianship will pay mortally!”
Wagner was still breathing hard when the vision of a man appeared before her in the now-empty cave. “Unholy, you say?” he asked casually.
Wagner’s look of surprise quickly turned to one of curiosity.
Office Building – Present Day
Wagner, in short hair, stood in front of a large window, looking out over the horizon. Her arms were confidently crossed, and a slight smile resided on her face as she watched the flying birds.
“The helicopter is ready,” Lewis Mitchell said from the doorway. “Last call for all aboard.”
Slowly, Wagner turned to face him. “I’ve waited centuries for this day. I witnessed the destruction of the Guardianship and now…I’ll see the destruction of the watchers themselves. I have no intention of missing the final act.”
“Once the show’s over, what are you going to do then?” Mitchell asked.
Wagner shrugged and turned back around to the window. Then she slowly grinned. “Go to what’s left of Disney World, I suppose,” she said dryly.
“Well, hope that works out for you. Me – I’m getting the hell outta Dodge,” he replied.
To herself, Wagner muttered, “Because you’re weak.” In a louder voice, she said, “Good luck to you, Mr. Mitchell.”
“You too,” he answered, and then walked away.
Suddenly, the Guardian who had sentenced her so many years before appeared to be standing beside her. The Guardian put her hand around Wagner’s shoulder, but still Wagner didn’t look away from the window.
“You’ve earned their destruction, and I couldn’t be prouder of what’s about to come.”
Only then did Wagner turn to face the new arrival. Although the fallen Guardian said nothing, she wore a sadistic grin.
Watchers Council – Rowena’s Office – Same Time
Rowena sat at her desk looking at a small television. In one hand she had a remote and in the other a phone, which she held to her ear.
“We’ve never seen anything like this, Rita,” a male reporter could be heard from the TV set. Rowena flipped the channel to a female reporter who was saying, “If you look behind me, Stan, you’ll notice…” She flipped again. “Birds,” yet another reporter said, “It appears to be thousands of them, all flying in the same direction.”
A voice came over Rowena’s speaker phone asking, “I’m sorry, who are you holding for?”
“It’s Rowena Allister for Mr. Devlin,” she said, muting the television.
“One moment,” the voice replied. Music began to play before Rowena could say anything further.
“You told me that five minutes ago, lady,” Rowena sighed to no one, before starting to hum along with the Air Supply song “Even the Night Are Better.”
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Same Time
“Who are you again?” a female voice asked Buffy, who was beginning to look annoyed.
“I’m Buffy Summers. I’m the Head Watcher of the Watchers Council in Cleveland, and it’s important that I speak to the President immediately.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but the President is very busy today,” she replied.
“The President might end up very dead today, along with millions of other Americans. Do you understand? Now get him on the phone.”
“One moment, ma’am,” was the reply.
“So much for tact,” Buffy chastised herself.
Another voice arrived on the line and said, in a stern male voice, “This is the Secret Service, ma’am, and this call has been traced.”
“Good, maybe someone will show up here who will be more helpful,” Buffy retorted. “Now get me the President immediately, Bonehead.”
“Ma’am, I’m unable to do that. If you tell me –”
“Never mind,” Buffy said, cutting him off and hanging up the phone. “Okay,” she said to herself, regrouping, “Who else is on the list here?” She looked down at her paper.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time
Willow had a cell phone in one hand while she reached with her other hand to pull down a book from the Coven Room shelves.
“Do you think that will work, Al?” she asked. “Okay, yeah, yeah, I know. Okay, I’ll take care of my list…Oh, Rowena wanted me to ask: Did anyone call Blair? Oh, Robin is, really? Okay, cool. Then will you see to that list of Greek and Norse Gods for some backup in Europe?” Willow listened for a moment and then grinned. “Great, that’s great – just…be careful, okay? I hear Odin’s kinda touchy…” Willow, who was looking serious, suddenly had a grin on her face. “I love you, too. Ro too. I’ll tell her. Bye.”
Series of Shots
– Giles sitting in front of a computer screen.
– Kennedy motioning to tell a group of slayers where to put the tables and televisions in the Slayer Gym.
– Watchers hooking up phone systems, with a few of them already making calls.
– Giles peering more closely at his computer for a moment, then standing up.
– Faith talking to Heli and motioning to the front door, then sending her on her way with a pat on the upper arm.
Watchers Council – Xander’s Workshop – Same Time
At the bay doors to the workshop, Xander, Vi and Angie watched the birds flying overhead.
“This is bizarre,” Xander said.
“You mean you’ve never seen animals have more sense than humans?” Angie teased. “They’re leaving in droves.”
“I’ve seen the world almost end for nearly a decade now, but I’ve never seen Noah’s Ark happen,” he explained. “All we need now is rain and then snow and I’ll start wondering if Dennis Quaid is going to come save the day.”
Flakes began to suddenly fall around them.
“Just had to say that, didn’t you?” Vi asked with a deadpan expression.
Watchers Council – Filing Room – Moments Later
Rowena looked up from the folder she was examining to see Kennedy enter the filing room.
“There you are. The girls are finished,” Kennedy said as she walked deeper inside.
“Good,” Rowena told her. “Would you go to Brell? Reteesk too? Bring them and any of their family or friends to the Council. When the fighting starts, they might get mistaken for the enemy.”
“That’s on the other end of town,” Kennedy replied. “You sure you want me that far away?”
“Yeah, they might need an armed escort to make it back.”
“‘Kay, will do. Oh, by the way, the girls want to know if they can go outside and have a snowball fight to warm up for the battle.”
“What?” Rowena asked.
Kennedy casually pointed over Rowena’s shoulder and out the window. The watcher looked over.
“What the hell?” Rowena remarked.
“That’s what I said. You know the weird thing?”
“Weirder than this?”
“It’s May and it’s not cold out,” Kennedy said. “It’s gotta be at least seventy out there, but it’s still sticking to the ground somehow.”
“Do we have any idea why?” Rowena asked with a sigh.
Kennedy shrugged her shoulders and threw her hands up in the air. “I battle demons, not mother nature. That’s something for you watcher types to figure out. I’ll be back as soon as I can,” she said as she walked backward for a moment, then turned and left the room.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Minutes Later
“Hey Will?” Xander asked, poking his head into the Coven Room with Vi and Angie following behind him.
“Did you, uh, place that call to Gaia?” he asked.
“Not yet, I just got the info from Al. Why?”
“You might want to hurry. Not only are all the animals leaving town, but it’s starting to snow,” Vi explained.
Willow paused for a moment. “How Day After Tomorrow-y,” she remarked.
Vi turned to Angie. “Now do you see why they’re friends?” she asked her sister.
“About the spell, I might need your help, Xander,” Willow said, returning to the original question. “Kennedy too.”
“Ken just left to round up Brell and our other demon pals in the city,” Vi replied. “We just passed her, not more than a minute ago.”
“Damn,” Willow sighed.
Giles skidded to a stop as he passed outside Willow’s door.
“Ah,” he said as he entered. “I have some information on what’s about to happen next,” he told everyone.
“Snow?” they all asked.
“Yes,” he said, confused. “How did you…?”
“Gotta pick up the pace, Giles. You’re a step behind,” Xander told him. “We’ve moved beyond that part of the puzzle. Any other news flashes?”
“I was hoping we’d have more time, but it seems the next step is the opening of the Hellmouths,” he replied.
“Hellmouth, right? Singular?” Vi asked.
“I’m afraid not,” he replied. “According to the notes that Rowena took as soon as I woke up, I mentioned all the mouths opening, although I can’t remember saying it.”
“At once?” Xander asked, making Giles nod.
“Damn,” Willow said again.
“It sure is one damn day, isn’t it?” Angie asked her.
“Yeah, it is,” Willow agreed. “Look, Giles, I need your help, anyone with the slightest magic ability – I’m going to try to summon Gaia.”
“Can you do that?” Giles asked.
“You didn’t answer my question,” Giles replied.
Willow’s proud façade fell. Instead, she sighed and looked less confident.
“Truth is, I don’t know,” she replied. “I have to get to the lowest ground level possible. That’s a ways out of the city, by the water, but I know where it’s at,” she added optimistically. “I just need people strong enough to keep me anchored. That means anybody who can work magic. I wish Dawn were here, but…Anyway, I need everybody, including Skye.”
“You think she’ll help?” Vi asked. “Ro had to threaten her with a staking for her to do anything at the press conference.”
“I can’t say if she will. In fact, I can’t even tell if using her will work. Wicca requires a balance between the moon and the sun, a-and as you all know, vamps have sun issues, so really…I don’t know how it’ll go, but if push comes to shove…” She let the sentence hang.
“What about Andrew and Tracey? Can’t they help?” Xander asked.
“They are,” Willow replied.
Watchers Council – Garage – Same Time
Tracey handed Andrew a box of supplies, and he went about securing it inside the van they were standing next to.
“So,” she said nervously. “When is all this supposed to happen? The bad guys coming, I mean.”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you think it will be soon?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, what’s –”
“I don’t know!” Andrew snapped.
“Sorry,” Tracey answered, looking wounded.
“No, I’m sorry,” Andrew replied, as he hopped out of the van. “I’m just on edge like you are, okay? And I don’t have any answers. All I know is we’re about to face a major battle – perhaps our biggest one yet – and I’m going into it knowing we’re not worthy. Remember what that Seminole woman told us?” Tracey nodded. “If we’re not good enough to be a part of the army she was trying to create, what good are we going to be to anybody?” Andrew looked like he might be on the verge of tears. “What good can I do?”
“Alone? Maybe nothing,” Tracey admitted. “But as part of the team? Maybe enough to keep humanity around a while longer.” She reached up and cupped his cheek. “Either way, Andy…I got your back,” she finished with a smile.
Andrew finally began to grin and nodded.
Watchers Council – Library – Moments Later
“I’d go if I could,” Rowena said apologetically.
“No,” Willow said quickly. “It’s okay. Stay here and help Buffy. Keep tabs on what’s happening everywhere. I’ve got a solid group. I’d like to wait for Ken, but I don’t think we’ve got the time…”
“I wish I’d known that you needed her. I wouldn’t have sent –”
“Again with the ‘okay’,” Willow said with a grin. “Just don’t let Ken know she’s in such high demand, or it might go to her head.” Rowena grinned slightly. “Really, I should be okay. I’ll pull it off…somehow.”
“Willow?” Rowena said in a concerned voice.
“Oh no, no black arts,” Willow assured her, understanding what the concern meant. “Strictly the white variety. It’s just…I haven’t done anything close to this since the slayer spell and…let’s just say I’m hoping I can pull off two miracles in a lifetime.”
“If anyone can, it’s you, Willow.” Rowena gave her a soft smile and pulled her into an embrace, which Willow returned. “Call and let me know how it went?” Rowena asked, not moving from Willow’s shoulder.
Willow pulled back slowly and gave Rowena a soft kiss on the lips. “You bet. I’ll be home soon.”
London – Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
Robson poked his head inside London Branch’s library
“Much success?” he asked Robin, who sat at a desk next to a phone.
“Much,” Robin replied. “Blair is putting all troops on alert and has issued a request to all prior servicemen for their help, too, if possible. His office sent a list and asked for our help in contacting them. I’m looking it over and giving each watcher a page to call.”
“Splendid,” Robson replied. “How can I help?”
Robin flipped through a few pages when a name caught his attention. “Now this is interesting,”
“What?” Robson asked.
“Reginald Giles,” he said. “Is this –?”
“Oh yes,” Robson confirmed, before Robin could finish. “He’s Mr. Giles’s brother, if I’m not mistaken.”
Robin picked up the paper and handed the rest to Robson. “I’ll take this page. Just see that the watchers start calling the others. Those contacts who can help should go directly to the RAF Northolt station for assignment.”
“I’ll see to it personally, Mr. Wood,” Robson said as he left the room.
Robin picked up the phone and dialed. He waited a brief moment and then said, “Is this Reginald Giles?…Hello, this is Robin Wood from the Cleveland Watchers Council. I believe we met at your brother Rupert’s wedding.” Robin began to grin. “I’m okay, and Rupert is okay, but we could perhaps use your help, sir…Well, here’s the short version…”
Georgia – Hansen Home – Same Time
“Do you know what’s happening?” Norman asked Dawn, as the Hansen family and visitors all looked out a window at the snow.
“Can’t say that I do, Pal,” Dawn answered. She had already pulled out her cell phone and began to dial. “Hey, Faith,” she began. “As you may or may not know, it’s snowing in Atlanta.” Dawn began to nod. “Any theories yet?….Okay…Yeah, hold on.” She extended the phone to Norman. “It’s Faith,” she told him.
“Hey Faith,” Norman said happily.
Watchers Council – War Room – Same Time
“Hey Norm,” Faith said. “Dawn told me you guys are getting snow down there too, but we’re not sure why right now. But will you do me a favor?” She paused. “You stay inside with your family, okay? If Dawn tells you guys to do something, you do it, no fights or arguments, got it?” Faith paused again. “Good boy. Now, once this is all over, I’ll come down to visit…Cross my heart…Yes, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye,” she said with a small grin. She began to look nervously undecided for a moment. “I love you, Norm.”
Hansen Home – Same Time
“I love you too,” Norman said softly. Dawn began to smile, but had to look away. She had to rub her eyes for a second before smiling again.
Watchers Council – War Room – Same Time
Faith also began to smile broadly. “Tell everybody down there I love them, too, and I’ll call with any new news, okay? All right, kiddo, I’ll talk to you later.”
Faith hung up the phone and ran her hand down her face. She then turned to the various television broadcasts from across the country playing on a series of televisions in the war room, which were all running news reports on the weather change. Quietly, she sighed.
Shores of Lake Erie – Same Time
The group of spell casters was setting up supplies, while Willow and Giles moved along the shoreline nearby. In the distance a menacing storm seemed to sit over Cleveland, and some of the rocks surrounding the shore were gathering snow.
“It’s getting colder,” Willow said, putting her hands in her pockets.
“Are you sure you’re all right to do this?” Giles asked.
“Yeah, I’m just worried the helicopter won’t be able to make it back. If it doesn’t, we’ve got a long walk in freezing temperatures,” she replied.
As Willow and Giles approached the circle, Jeff and Andrew stood up. Vi, with Angie next to her, kept a close guard on Skye as Xander, Andrew and Tracey moved toward. Skye looked up to the darkened sky.
“If this spell works, I hope it doesn’t get sunny real quick,” Skye remarked.
Vi held up a large closed umbrella. “If so, we’ve got you covered…for now.”
“We’re all set, my Priestess,” Jeff informed her with a slight bow.
“Jeff,” Willow told him. “You can drop the formalities for this one. If it doesn’t work, chances are we’re not gonna make it, so please, call me Will.”
“Okay, Will,” he replied.
“Now,” Willow began, “everyone, with the exception of Vi and Skye, form a circle – boy, girl, boy, girl.” After everyone was in place, Willow said, “Join hands and don’t break the circle for any reason until I say so, got it?” Nods went all the way around.
“Gaia, Earth Mother Goddess, we call upon you humbly in our hour of need.” Willow’s head dropped, and she began to chant in a soft voice. When she stopped, she looked up, but nothing had happened. “Gaia,” she said again in a louder voice, “Earth Mother Goddess, we call upon you humbly in our hour of need. Please, hear our plea.” When nothing happened again, Willow rolled her neck from side to side.
Giles’s grip on her hand tightened, and he gave it a slight shake. “Just relax. Take a deep breath.”
Willow nodded and did as he instructed. She squared her shoulders. In almost a shouting voice, she said, “Gaia, Earth Mother Goddess, we call upon you humbly in our hour of need. Hear our plea and show yourself to us, so that we may –”
Suddenly a bright light burst out within the circle, making everyone turn their heads.
“I heard you the first time,” a woman’s voice said, as the light started to form into a female figure. “No need to shout.”
“Gaia? Holy crap, I did it,” Willow almost whispered. She shook her head, getting back to her point. “I apologize for the intrusion.”
Gaia, formed out of golden light, waved her hand for Willow to speed it up. “Time’s wasting here. I’ve got everyone from sailors to farmers asking for help.”
“Oh,” Willow remarked, surprised. “Well, I’m asking for a favor, too – a big favor. Lucifer’s demons are going to make a play for control of the earth.”
“And how do I fit in?” Gaia asked, annoyed.
“Well, do you know anything that might help?” Willow asked politely.
Gaia looked torn. “I can’t give you the answers you seek. But the answers you need are in your possession. Let’s say…it’s just a matter of connecting the dots.”
“Uh, okay, that’s something, I guess. But…if it’s not too much trouble, could you maybe give us a hand, like this snow stuff for example? As the goddess of Mother Earth, we were hoping you could reason with other deities for help, too.”
“It’s not our place to interfere in human affairs today,” Gaia replied.
“Well, not so much human affairs, but maybe a little help with the elements would go a long way. I’m not asking you or the other gods to instill our slayers with more power per se, just…maybe a helping hand here and there where you can. Something to help us perhaps turn the tide of this coming war?”
Gaia paused for a moment and opened her mouth to speak, but then, suddenly, the ground began to shake uncontrollably, knocking everyone except for Gaia off their feet.
“Bloody hell,” Giles sighed.
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Same Time
Buffy watched as her coffee mug began to shake, at first just slightly and then with more and more speed. Her Southern California roots kicking in, she quickly picked up the phone and pressed a button.
“Everyone,” her voice echoed through the Council hallways and rooms. “Earthquake – get to your nearest doorway or under a heavy object.”
As she finished the sentence, the power of the quake knocked her books off her shelf. Her arms and legs firmly stretched to keep her on her feet as she ran to the doorway.
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
“Run! Run!” Rowena directed the watchers who were with her in the library to the door. She watched as they all huddled together in the doorway. Then, at a creaking noise behind her, she turned sharply, just in time to see a large oak bookshelf closing down upon her.
Watchers Council – Building Front – Same Time
The building shifted from left to right to a greater and greater degree, until the left side collapsed an entire floor. Beyond the Council, the street outside began to crack and buckle.
Watchers Council – Building Rear – Same Time
The earth, from the Council building itself to the lake behind it, began to separate, creating a dark chasm. A moment later, a flash of light tore from out of the hole that was created.
London – Watchers Council – Library – Same Time
“Get to the doorway! Under the desks!” Robin shouted to the people in the room with him, as the building began to shake.
London – Street In Front of Watchers Council – Same Time
The sidewalk and pavement in front of the London branch opened up. Unable to stop, a red double-decker tour bus slammed on its brakes but still slid along, falling into the crevasse and tipping to its side, scattering screaming people on the top to the pavement and into the hole below.
Further down the street, in front of Big Ben, demons began to take flight.
Series of Shots
– Paris, early evening: The ground opening up between the legs of the Eiffel Tower.
– New York, afternoon: The glass windows of a train shattering at Grand Central Station.
– Sydney, night: Panels falling down from the roof of the Sydney Opera House.
– Hong Kong, night: Neon signs exploding into sparks, sending people screaming and running.
– Los Angeles, morning: People crouching in doorways on Hollywood Boulevard.
Cleveland Street – Same Time
Brell helped his wife inside a Council van. When the earth began to shake beneath their feet, he turned to Kenned.
“The earth quaking?” Brell asked.
“Yeah, get in,” Kennedy told him. Brell climbed inside, and at that moment, Kennedy looked up to see part of the building above them coming down. “Everyone on the floor!” Kennedy yelled as she jumped inside. She took Brell with her to the van’s floor and placed her body over his.
The brick and mortar crashed down on the roof of the van, crushing half of it from the hood to the sliding door.
Shores of Lake Erie – Moments Later
Willow moved to her feet once the ground had stopped shaking.
“A simple ‘no’ would have sufficed!” she said angrily to the goddess.
“I didn’t do this,” Gaia replied, a far-off sound in her voice. She looked out over the water, toward the city.
“You didn’t?” Willow replied. “Then Lucifer…”
“Is playing where he shouldn’t,” Gaia finished, her tone one of contained rage. She turned sharply to Willow. “You have my help, Ms. Rosenberg, and that of the deities within our realm. You have my word.” She turned and looked back at Skye. “Vampire?” she asked. Skye nodded. “Umbrella,” was all she said.
The goddess bowed her head and gave an unintelligible mumble. Out of nowhere, the sun began to come out, and Skye ripped the umbrella from Vi’s hand. In her haste, she had several long moments of trouble getting it open, but managed to get it over her head before the rays hit her. She sighed, but looked down just as her exposed toe began to smoke.
“Yowza!” she exclaimed, as she slid her foot into the shade and stubbed out the flames.
“Thank you, Apollo,” Gaia said softly. Now standing in the sunshine, she turned to the coven. The group, however, was looking at the change in amazement. “He owed me a favor,” the goddess explained casually. “Now go back to what’s left of your Council. I’ll contact others.” With this, Gaia vanished.
“What’s left?” Willow said absently. “Oh, God,” she said quickly in realization, and everyone except Skye broke into a run toward the waiting helicopter.
“Will you come on?” Jeff yelled.
“Gotta pick my steps carefully here, guys,” Skye shot back. “Remember, sunlight equals poof?” By the time Skye arrived, Giles was just climbing on board, and the helicopter quickly took off into the air.
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Same Time
“B?” Buffy could hear Faith calling out from the hallway. “You alive in there?”
“Yeah,” Buffy shouted back.
“Where’s everyone at?” Faith asked, as she weaved her way through the hallway debris.
“Not sure, but a little light might help,” Buffy answered.
“Just don’t light a match,” Faith told her. “Busted gas line.”
“Yeah, I smell it too,” Buffy said, as Faith finally made her way through her door with a crash.
Faith pulled the cell phone from her hip. She pushed a button, making it chirp. “Heli?”
“Yeah,” came the response.
“Go to the basement and shut off the gas right now,” Faith ordered. “One spark and we could all go up. Let me know when you’re done.”
“Copy that,” Heli replied.
“Where’s Ro?” Faith asked.
“Last I saw she was going to the file room, no, sorry, the library,” Buffy said.
Suddenly, the lights came back on.
“Generator’s kickin’ in,” Faith remarked. “Come on,” she said, waving Buffy to follow her.
Watchers Council – Library – Moments Later
Jackson and two other watchers stood on what was left of a table. Two were on each end with Jackson in the middle, trying to balance himself.
“On three,” he said. “One, two, three!” All three men pushed, but the bookshelf barely moved. “Where’s a slayer when you need one?” he remarked.
“Right here,” Faith answered.
“Good,” Jackson sighed and moved out of the way. “Rowena’s under the table. The case caught her foot, so she can’t crawl out.”
“Hi Faith,” they heard her muffled voice call.
“B,” Faith pointed, “Take the other side.”
Buffy slid over the table. “Ready?”
“Lift,” Faith replied.
With relative ease, the two slayers lifted the case, freeing Rowena’s toes, then set the bookshelf upright. Rowena shimmied from under the table.
“So what’s the deal with you and your girlfriend’s feet always getting trapped?” Faith teased as she looked Rowena over. “Really, you okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m okay, now. What’s the damage?” Rowena asked.
“We’re not sure,” Buffy replied. “The lights just came back on.”
Faith’s phone chirped. “Faith?”
“All finished, Heli?”
“No, we’ve got a problem,” the other slayer answered over the speaker. “We no longer have a basement – the first floor is actually about ten feet below street surface, so the leak has to be coming from one of the lines on the first floor. I’ve got the girls shutting it all down now.”
At first, no one said anything. “Okay,” Faith answered. “Let me know when you’re done.”
“Was anyone in the basement?” Buffy asked.
“I don’t think so,” Rowena answered. “Willow took Skye with her.”
Faith turned to the group. “Well, now what?”
“Let’s get communications up and running somehow,” Rowena answered. “We need to know if it’s just Cleveland or everywhere.”
Faith’s phone rang again. “It’s hell to be popular,” she replied. “Talk,” she said, pressing the button. “Hey Ace…yeah, us too.” She turned to the group. “London got hit too,” she said, before listening to the phone again.
Rowena and Buffy exchanged a concerned look, and Rowena went to look out the window. She saw the huge hole in the backyard. In groups of ten, demons were making their way out of the hole, some flying with leathery wings and some crawling.
“Secure all the windows and doors!” Rowena shouted.
“What is it?” Faith asked.
“Tell Robin that demons are coming!”
End of Shomer
Check out the season three finale teaser for Megiddo below…
Next on Watchers…
The epic conclusion to Watchers Season Three, the Council will be forced to rally humanity in ways it never has before to defeat a seemingly unstoppable foe, and in the process suffer several losses too horrible to imagine.