Act 4



Fade In:
Public Square – Day

The brown bulk of the Terminal Tower loomed over the grass and cement expanse of Cleveland’s Public Square. The Square was divided into quarters by busy city streets. One of these sections was completely taken up by the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument, topped by its tall bronze spire. Across the Square, two more modern-looking skyscrapers rose, the silver Key Tower and the metal and glass BP Building.

Cut To:
The Avenue at Tower City – Same Time

Nestled at the base of the Terminal Tower was an upscale, three-level shopping mall, built around an open, sunlit atrium. Cloth sculptures seemed to fly above the central fountain, across which brief jets of water occasionally jumped. The loudest sound was that of a child crying.

“Unscrunch your face, kid,” Jocelyn said.

She hunched by the central fountain in front of a bawling Elizabeth. After a moment, she stood up, a tiny shard of glass in one hand. “Okay, that should do it.”

Elizabeth showed no signs of quieting down. She had a small cut on one cheek.

A couple of mall security guards slumped on the floor nearby, unconscious or possibly dead.

“Oh, shut up,” Jocelyn told her, losing patience. “I told you to be ready. We had to make an entrance. Just think of this as a learning experience. I know, you won’t have much time to apply it, what with me being about to kill you…” She trailed off, sighed. “It likes it when you cry. I mostly find it annoying, but –”

Willow’s voice rang out. “Let her go, Jocelyn.”

Jocelyn spun around, startled. Willow was riding down one of the escalators towards them, arms crossed. She didn’t uncross them until she stepped off at the bottom.

“Aunt Will!” Elizabeth said, wiping her eyes.

Willow gave Elizabeth a small, brief smile. She stopped about ten paces short of the two of them.

“You’re overconfident,” she told Jocelyn. “You’re not hiding, and when you run this hot, I can sense you from miles away.”

“I know you can’t touch me,” Jocelyn replied.

“You’re wrong,” Willow said tightly.

“Aunt Will, can we go home?” Elizabeth asked.

“Not yet, sweetie,” Willow said, her tone changing completely, but her eyes not leaving Jocelyn.

Jocelyn cocked her head, watching Willow. “You have no idea what’s going on here, do you?”

Willow scoffed. “I know better than you do.”

Jocelyn shook her head. “No, you don’t. And you aren’t going to figure it out.” Jocelyn’s right hand closed into a fist, and the green restraining bands appeared once again around Elizabeth’s ankles. “You stay.”

“You don’t want to do this, Jocelyn,” Willow said.

“Of course I don’t,” Jocelyn replied. “But I have to.”

She raised an arm and, with a throwing motion, sent a basketball-sized fireball directly at Willow.

Impenatrio!” Willow shouted, arm outstretched, and the fireball broke against an invisible shield. However, that fireball was soon followed by another, and then another, and Willow began to grit her teeth from the effort of keeping up her shield.

Dammit!” Willow swore. She dove behind the nearest stand to find a surprised sunglasses salesman staring down at her. “Run!” she urged him, and he did. He wasn’t the only one, as the smattering of shoppers who had been patronizing the mall in the early afternoon panicked.

Willow distantly heard Elizabeth echo, “Dammit!”

“Liz, don’t say that!” Willow yelled. With a roar, the entire sunglasses stand went up in flames. “Suddenly wondering if I should have thought this one through better,” Willow sighed as she scrambled away on her hands and knees.

Then, however, she carefully slunk back towards the flames, whispering to the fire like it was a child. “That’s it…that’s it…there we go.”

A piece of the fire broke off, floating in thin air for a split second before settling comfortably in Willow’s hand. “Good boy,” she breathed, then rose and threw.

The fireball hit Jocelyn in the leg, setting her pants on fire. Panicked, Jocelyn hopped into the shallow fountain, splashing with each step. She held her leg over one of the water jets, which quickly put out the fire. Breathing hard, Jocelyn spun around to face Willow.

“I didn’t know you still had it in you.”

“It’s a lot easier when I get to use your firepower,” Willow replied, peeking around the burning “Sunglasses R Us” sign.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Jocelyn said, and she raised both arms.

There was a red flash and the sunglasses stand splintered, sending flaming pieces of debris in all directions. Before Willow could react, there was another flash, and she skidded backwards across the faux marble floor. She ran into the legs of a woman who had been trying to run while carrying a truly massive Banana Republic bag. The woman came crashing down on top of Willow.

“Sorry!” Willow exclaimed, as she tried to untangle herself.

Meanwhile, Jocelyn continued firing wildly from her spot in the fountain, and several floor tiles near Willow exploded.

Willow managed to rise, handed the woman her shopping bag and fearlessly strode forward, reciting, “Aqua recenti bindere totale…”

The inch-deep water around Jocelyn rose in four walls, surrounding the witch. Jocelyn sent a red blast at the water in an attempt to escape…instead it froze instantly, trapping her.

The mall atrium was strangely silent.

Willow ran across the floor to the spot where Elizabeth was still bound. “I’m gonna get you out of here, Sweetie, okay? I just need a few –”

With a loud splash, Jocelyn’s icy prison melted and flowed back down into the fountain. Jocelyn was levitating, her feet at least three feet above the water.

“Okay,” Jocelyn announced, “now we’re both kinda pissed off.”

“Both?” Willow repeated, confused.

Jocelyn silently raised an arm and the water in the fountain rose high into the air, swirling majestically until it formed a concentrated ball, nearly four feet in diameter.

Elizabeth’s eyes widened. “Aunt Will?” she said with fear.

With a small motion from Jocelyn, the water flew towards Willow and struck her in the chest, sending her flying backwards. Willow’s lips appeared to be muttering something and an orange light surrounded her. Seconds later, she crashed through the front window of a nearby Radio Shack, caught in a torrent of water and broken glass.

Jocelyn swooped down and took Elizabeth by the hand, dissolving her restraints.

“Going up,” Jocelyn said, and the two of them flew skyward, driving through the skylight towards the Tower above.

Cut To:
Council Van – Day

“Can you drive any faster?” Rowena asked Andrew, who glanced over his shoulder.

“I still don’t think you should have come,” Andrew said. “Driving safe is the least I can do. It’s for future generations.”

The van was packed, with Buffy, Faith, Mia, Dawn, Jeff, Hope, Skye and Grace all wedged into the back, along with Sanger from the Oversight Committee.

“We needed a watcher, in case anything came up,” Rowena said defensively.

“I’m a watcher,” Grace volunteered.

“And Willow’s the mother of my children!” Rowena was suddenly shouting. This brought several looks. Skye rolled her eyes.

Sanger sat forward, interested. “Really? Was this through magical means, or egg transplantation?”

“One,” Rowena began, a little flustered. “I don’t know you well enough to answer that and two, I’m worried about more important things at the moment…” She then looked over to Andrew. “…like getting there today.”

Sanger said nothing for a moment. Everyone waited tensely for the Council’s relationship with the Oversight Committee to go south in a hurry. Finally Sanger said, “You make an excellent point, Ms. Allister.”

“Can I just ask, what exactly are we gonna do?” Grace put in. “I mean, say we get there and the two of them are busy laying the beat down on each other. What are we supposed to do about it?”

“First, we get Liz out of there,” Buffy answered.

Faith nodded. “Then shoot Jocelyn with one of the anti-magic guns again,” Faith suggested.

“Last time we did that, Ken ended up in the hospital,” Mia said sullenly.

“It’s worth a shot,” Faith replied.

“Look, we’ll think of something,” Jeff said, projecting a perhaps false sense of bravado. He turned to Hope. “Sorry for such a chaotic first day.”

She gave him a tight smile. “Yeah. This is…pretty extreme.”

Rowena spoke to Andrew again. “Are we there yet?”

“I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that you know the answer and, also, are no longer ten years old,” Andrew replied testily. “I want to help Willow rescue Liz too, you know.”

“Sorry,” Rowena sighed. “Hormones.”

“You just love using that as an excuse, don’t you?” Skye asked with a smile.

Rowena didn’t answer. She just chewed on her thumbnail nervously.

Cut To:
Terminal Tower – Observation Deck – Day

Jocelyn stood at the railing, looking out at the city. Tears flowed freely from her black eyes, and the wind off Lake Erie caught her dark hair. It shone, almost glinting, in the sunlight.

“Please,” she whispered. “Please.”

“Your necklace is ugly,” Elizabeth said from behind her. “My cut hurts. I wanna Band Aid. Mommy always gives me Blue’s Clues Band-Aids. I like Blue’s Clues. I can figure out the Clues easy.”

“I don’t have any Band Aids,” Jocelyn said, but from the sound of her voice, her mind was somewhere else.

“You’re a bad guy, you should make a Band Aid with your powers, and you have an ugly necklace.” Elizabeth put her hands on her hips, a pout on her face.

Jocelyn sniffed, wiped a tear from her cheek and turned around. “You know what? Why am I feeling so bad about this? You’re a whiny little brat. Why does the world need you?” She actually grinned, looking a little crazy. “It’s like…it’s all nothing, you know? Nothing is really real except…suffering.”

“You talk funny,” Elizabeth said. Her eyes were wide with fear, but she stayed rooted to the spot.

“No, see, that’s just it, it is funny,” Jocelyn said, continuing to stride towards Elizabeth. “Evil, death, darkness. They’re the only things that even make sense. It’s weird, but…when I kill you, I’m doing you a favor.” Her smile disappeared. “And now it’s time.”

Bing. The elevator doors to the Observation Deck slid open, revealing Willow. She was cut, bruised and dripping wet. A small puddle had formed in the elevator under where she was standing.

Jocelyn sighed, put her hands on her hips.

“Liz, honey,” Willow said through gritted teeth. “Duck.”

She sent a green blast of magical lightning in Jocelyn’s direction, as Elizabeth dropped to the floor, shielding her head with her arms. Jocelyn responded with her own red lightning. The two blasts met in mid-air with a deep bass note.

Shockwaves spread out across the Observation Deck, shattering windows, cracking walls, uprooting the railing and sending it over the edge. Willow yelled from the effort and Jocelyn laughed. The spot where the two spells met sparked and foamed. Raw, glowing ether exploded from that point, splashing to the deck as a liquid around Elizabeth. She screamed.

Cut To:
Public Square – Same Time

Andrew looked up at the Tower as the Council Van approached and saw the shockwave as it spread from the Observation Deck in a circle.

“Uh…guys? I think we’re here.”

Cut To:
Terminal Tower – Observation Deck – Same Time

Ever so slowly, the point where the two spells met began to move towards Willow.

“You know what your problem is?” Jocelyn asked over the din. “You know why you’re gonna lose? It’s not because of Persephone’s Knot, or even just because I’ve got more power in one strand of my hair than you do in your entire dumb existence. It’s because you’re afraid of the power.”

Willow strained under the force of Jocelyn’s attack. “You should be afraid, Jocelyn. You’re losing yourself, and there’s nothing worse than that. Believe me, I know.”

With a gasp, Willow relented, rolling awkwardly to her left to avoid the strike. Jocelyn’s blast blew a five-foot-wide hole in the wall behind Willow, sending a huge cloud of plaster into the air.

Cut To:
Public Square – Same Time

Faith helped Rowena out of the van and then grabbed the anti-magic gun, while Grace stared up at where a cloud of dust was starting to float away from the top of the Terminal Tower.

Rowena turned to Faith once she got her feet on the ground. “Okay, you and Mia need to start clearing this area. We don’t want any innocent bystanders to get caught in the cross-fire.”

Faith put the gun strap over her shoulder as she nodded and motioned Mia to follow her.

Rowena turned to Andrew as they walked to the back of the van. “Can you set up here?”

“And chance Jocelyn ending the party real quick when she notices us?” he asked doubtfully.

“Well, I don’t think we’ve got the time to get up there,” Grace said, still looking up.

“We’ll move to the other side of that building, out of sight,” Andrew said. “If it’s not close enough, we’ll have to get Willow to get her over there somehow.”

Rowena patted his shoulder and gave him a short nod.

Skye sat in the back of the van. She blinked a few times, then turned to Jeff and Dawn, who were standing outside. “Do you guys feel that?”

“What?” Dawn asked.

Jeff, however, gave her a nod and Dawn looked at him, confused.

“It’s like dumb little O’Hara’s running on nitro,” Skye told Dawn, as she pointed outside.

Realizing her hand was in the sunlight, Skye pulled it back quickly. After a second, she put it back again and held it.

“What are you doing?” Jeff asked.

Skye took a leery step outside into the sunlight and looked at all her limbs.

“Not burning up, for one thing,” she replied.

Andrew did a double take. “She’s a daywalker. When did she become a daywalker?”

Mia was heading toward a bench where a homeless man was sitting, holding a cardboard sign that read, “Why lie? I need beer.”

“You! You need to move!”

The team looked up to see what looked like specks of plaster falling from the air.

“What the hell is that stuff?” Andrew asked.

A look of realization washed over Rowena’s face.

“Take cover!” she yelled, just seconds before chunks of concrete started to crash around them.

Cut To:
Terminal Tower – Observation Deck – Same Time

Jocelyn blinked, her view of Willow now obscured by the glowing ether. Willow took advantage of this cover to aim a small blast at a large art deco stone outcropping teetering perilously above Jocelyn. A slab the size of a refrigerator fell down towards Jocelyn.

Willow sprinted forward through the debris, shouting, “Liz! Grab my hand!”

Elizabeth did so just in time for the dust to clear a little, revealing Jocelyn standing only a few feet from the two of them, completely unscathed. Broken pieces of building surrounded her feet.

Jocelyn made a motion with her hand like she was cracking a miniature whip, and what looked like a glowing red lariat extended from her fingers and fastened itself around Willow’s neck. Willow was jerked forward, away from Elizabeth, and found herself face-to-face with her opponent, inches from Jocelyn’s deep black eyes.

“You don’t have anything to fear when your worst fears have already been realized,” Jocelyn said softly.

Cut To:
Public Square – Same Time

Rowena and the team, who had returned to the van to avoid the debris, peeked their heads out to make sure it was safe.

“Okay,” Rowena said, as she got out and looked up at the tower. “We need to act fast…Andrew? Before you set up, call Robin. Get him to clear this area immediately – office buildings too.”

Andrew nodded. “Two blocks, you think?” he asked.

“Yes, at least,” Rowena replied. Andrew nodded again and moved around Sanger, who had a satisfied look on her face.

Cut To:
Terminal Tower – Observation Deck – Same Time

Willow made choking noises as Jocelyn’s lariat tightened around her neck.

Jocelyn stared into her eyes. “I brought you here, to where you killed those people, because I wanted you to feel the emptiness the way I do.”


Gunfire blared. People screamed on the floor, bleeding.

Willow stood, stunned. “What…did you do?” she asked Marissa.


Back on the Observation Deck in the present day, Willow gasped, “I didn’t kill them.”

Jocelyn shrugged. “Close enough. Either way, they’re dead. I thought maybe it would help you to be here.”

“Help me?”

“Take my power. Be the darkness. It’s the only way…” she broke down, crying, as Elizabeth looked on in horror. “It sees me!” she yelled through the tears. “It won’t let me die!”

Willow shook her head. “I won’t kill you, Jocelyn.”

Jocelyn’s face hardened. “You don’t get it. I’m already gone.”

She used the lariat to whip Willow around, dangling her over the edge of the Observation Deck. For a long moment, Willow seemed to hang in the air, helpless.

Then Jocelyn let the lariat snap, and Willow disappeared over the edge.

Cut To:
Public Square – Same Time

Rowena saw the dwarfed figure of Willow fall.

No!” she screamed.

Cut To:
Outside Terminal Tower – Same Time

As Willow plummeted towards the street below, a strangely unconcerned look settled itself on her face.

Cut To:
Public Square – Same Time

Faith and Buffy both took off in a sprint toward the Terminal Tower, so fast they looked like a blur.

Cut To:
Outside Terminal Tower – Same Time

The world around the falling Willow seemed to slow to a crawl. She closed her eyes.

Voices came to her out of the air and images flashed behind her eyelids.

“I am, you know,” Tara breathed. “Yours.”

I need you, Will. You’re my big gun,” Buffy said from the steps of the Magic Box.

I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love…scary veiny Willow,” Xander told her on the bluff.

Trust yourself, and the others might follow,” Giles said confidently, as he held her suitcases.

“Believe it when I say you’re ready, Willow,” Althenea told her, holding out a High Priestess’ dagger.

“I need to share the rest of my life with you, and I’ll want you until the day I die and beyond,” Rowena said to her, on one knee in the Burbank airport. “If you feel the same way, then please say yes.”

“Hi, Aunt Will,” Elizabeth said happily, despite the danger around them.

Willow’s eyes shot open as the street rushed toward her. There was fire in them.

Black Out



End of Act Four

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