Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Gale Harold as Jim Pollan, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Elijah Woods as Jeff Lindquist, Norika Fujiwara as Mia Nakata, Laura Pyper as Casey Pierce, Asia Argento as Marie LeBouchard, Alexis Bledel as Denise, Tessa Thompson as Chamique, Steffani Brass as Shannon Matthewson, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Lorinda Sheparton, T.R. Knight as Jackson App, Mandy Musgrave as Hadley Ramirez, Robert Picardo as Dr. Albert Miller, Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne, Alexa Davalos as Gwen Raiden, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, Cote de Pablo as Amira Aziz and Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix
Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy Madison, Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson, Marcia Cross as Autumn O’Mara and Lee Pace as Rock Cartwright
Smash Cut To:
Watchers Council – Faith and Robin’s Apartment – Morning
Robin’s eyes flew open, his pupils retracting from huge black pools due to the bright sunlight pouring in through the open curtains. He jumped up from the covers and just sat there for a moment, panting, confused. His eyes darted around the room, not fixed on one particular spot.
Throwing back the covers, he went to jump out of bed, but his eyes fell to his lap. Not seeing a leg, his jaw fell. Looking toward the nightstand, he saw a cocoa-colored prosthetic. Gingerly, he reached over and inspected it.
The sound of the toilet flushing from the bathroom broke Robin out of his perplexed stupor. He quickly began to put the prosthetic into place as he heard the sink running.
The bathroom door finally opened and Faith, wrapped up in her white fluffy dressing gown, waltzed out with a towel in hand, drying her hair.
“‘Sup, Ace. Glad to see you’re finally awake,” she said, standing in front of him. He just stared at her, mouth ajar. Frowning a little, she continued to dry off her damp black hair. Robin’s eyes were glassy. He swallowed hard, and as the lump in his throat subsided, a toothy smile widened on his face. Faith draped the towel over the back of the chair and put her arms down by her sides. “Robin, you okay?”
His smile was bright. “Don’t wake me,” he replied.
“This must be a dream, because I’ve never seen you look more beautiful, Faith.”
She blinked. After a beat, she smirked. “Didn’t run into a demon that zapped your memories too, did ya? ‘Cause, really, I have looked hotter.” Robin didn’t say anything. She then returned to drying her hair, the towel back in her hands.
“I’m the luckiest guy alive,” Robin told her sincerely.
“Too bad there’s a book out there that says otherwise,” she replied. She headed for her wardrobe on the other side of the bed.
As she walked past him, he lunged out and grabbed her arm. She spun toward him with a quizzical look, but before she could say or do anything, he pulled her off of her feet and onto the bed.
“I don’t care what anyone else says or thinks. I know the truth,” Robin told her.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her into his eager arms, locking her tight against his chest. Her wet hair dangled and danced on his face. They stared at each other for the briefest of seconds before Robin thrust his lips against hers. She did not object at all.
Faith pushed Robin onto his back and laid him down on the bed, straddling him. Robin used his weight and rolled the two of them over. Begrudgingly, their lips parted to breathe. Faith bit her bottom lip and grinned.
“Feeling frisky this morning, Mr. Wood?” she asked with a raised eyebrow. “Really, now? Who are you and what have you done with my Robin?”
For a brief moment, worry brushed over Robin’s features, but as quickly as it arrived, it departed with a grin.
“I’m right here, baby,” he breathed. He grabbed her wrists and pulled her arms up above her head, pinning her down. Her eyes widened and she made an “o” with her mouth. “I’m right here,” he repeated.
He gave her a devilish grin and then buried his head against her neck, hungrily kissing her.
Faith squirmed, but did not use her slayer strength to get free. Rather she giggled and wrinkled her forehead. The giggles soon became moans.
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Robin’s Apartment – Same Time
The front door slammed closed behind Robin and he pressed his back up against it. He was out of breath, his eyes wide. He looked around the room. The sofa was a different color than the one he and Faith picked out, the end tables too were a darker shade of wood…everything was off. Robin tilted his head back against the door and closed his eyes, starting to regulate his breathing.
He pushed himself away from the door and turned the locks.
Stepping back, his eyes eventually wandered to the table under the mirror beside him. Robin walked behind it and pushed it up against the front door, its feet dragging and marking the floor.
He panted and backed away, holding his head in his hands. Not looking where he was going, his right foot stepped on a piece of glass and it shattered under his weight.
“Dammit!” He hopped over to the sofa, avoiding the shards.
He threw himself down and examined his foot. No cuts. Thankful, he brushed his foot and then put his head back in hands.
“This is just a dream…this is just a bad dream…”
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Robin’s Apartment – Moments Later
Robin burst into the bedroom and immediately went for the chest of drawers. He frantically pulled out the drawers, rummaging through the contents. He found mainly men’s underwear and folded t-shirts. He then moved on to the wardrobes around the other side of the bed. Flinging open the doors revealed nothing but men’s clothes. There was no sign of Faith’s garments anywhere. Then his hand ran across something hard and made of leather.
Curiously, Robin pulled the object out and in his hands he found an oblong, tarnished brown leather box. Lifting the lid, he discovered Faith’s jagged jackal knife resting on a padded cushion lining. He ran his fingertips over the cool steel face of the blade and quietly uttered, “Faith.”
Robin replaced the lid and put the box back on the shelf. Dejected, he crept over to the bed and sat on its edge. He glanced up to see the TV was intact. His eyes widened as he grabbed the remote near the nightstand.
He stopped on CNN, seeing a graphic behind the shoulder of Rock Cartwright showing Autumn O’Mara’s face. The headline across the bottom of the screen read: “US Troops Seize Control of Far East.”
He turned up the volume.
“… President O’Mara will soon address the nation on the specifics of the complete control of China under American rule. Early reactions to this first bold step in her newly introduced foreign policy has put her ahead in polls to stay in office for another term. Speaking to our DC correspondent earlier today, President O’Mara had this to say –”
The screen changed to the earlier interview with Autumn O’Mara. She sat in front of a beautiful backdrop of flowers in vases. Dangling from her neck was a rather nondescript black stone.
“All ends have a start.”
“And you believe this to be the start of what, exactly?” a male reporter off camera asked her.
“Of a new world, without fear and tyranny. For too long now, the world has lived under the constant subconscious threat of China’s regime. Intelligence operatives working inside the country unearthed a plot by the Chinese government to invade America, to claim our power for their own and to enslave the world under communist rule. Well, I said no.”
“Your opposition says that you wish to enslave the world under your rule.”
“Politicians will say anything to win votes, won’t they?” Autumn smiled. “No, I do not wish to ‘enslave the world;’ I want to save it. Terrorism, poverty – not just in our country, but around the world – dictatorships, barbaric regimes and ideals – my foreign policy can change that. I can change that.”
Robin turned the TV off. He just sat there in the dark and silence of the room.
Leaning forward to put the remote down, he noticed his Blackberry on the table hidden under a fallen lampshade. Hastily, he took it in his hands and began to flick through his address book.
He scrolled down to “F”. No Faith. He scrolled down to “J.” No Jason. He scrolled down to “K.” No Kennedy. He scrolled down to “R.” No Rowena.
“Goddammit!” Robin slammed his Blackberry down on the table and hit his forehead on the wall in front of him. Frustrated, he closed his eyes and released a heavy sigh. “What the hell is going on?”
Our World – Watchers Council – Hallway – Later that Morning
With a pronounced limp, as a result of not being used to his prosthetic, the other Robin walked the sun-drenched halls. He wore a black suit and a smug grin on his face.
As he walked past the entrance to the training wing, the door flew open and Lorinda and Shannon fell out in fits of laughter. Down the training wing hall, Cindy and Bailey ran out of a room completely soaked, sporting faces of thunder. Robin smiled and walked on. Behind him, Cindy and Bailey ran through the doors and chased Lorinda and Shannon down the hall.
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
Robin cautiously walked down the well-known hallway that now had unfamiliar décor adorning the walls. Sunlight was sparse, as the windows were barred and protected by a thick wire mesh. Fluorescent strobe lights lined the walls and ceiling.
Robin turned his head toward the entrance to the training wing. Two armed male guards wielding P90 machine guns stood on either side of a sturdy metal security checkpoint gate.
He quickly turned away from the guards and continued down the hall. Past him on his other side marched a harsher than usual looking Lorinda, dragging behind her a junior slayer by the scruff of her shirt. The junior slayer had a bloodied face.
“Thought you’d sleep in, did ya?” Lorinda snapped. “Thought, ‘what the hey, another five minutes won’t hurt’?”
“Lorin –” as the junior slayer began to speak, Lorinda violently threw her over her shoulder and onto the solid floor. On impact, there was a distinct crack.
Lorinda stepped over her and grabbed the junior slayer’s arm and put it into a lock. “You talk back again, bitch, and I swear this arm here will mount my wall.”
“Lorinda!” Robin shouted.
“What?” she barked back at him with a fierce glare.
Robin took a step back. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“My duty,” Lorinda stated, as she snapped the junior slayer’s arm. The girl howled. “Suggest you let me do my thing and you go do yours.”
She stepped off over the junior slayer, who was now cradling her arm, tears flowing down her face. “Now…get…up!” Lorinda dug her toe into the girl’s ribs.
Robin stumbled and started to make his way down the corridor with some haste. His own eyes were red. Mumbling to himself, he kept repeating, “This is just a dream…”
Our World – Watchers Council – Robin’s Office – Later that Morning
The other Robin stepped casually into the office and closed the door behind him.
“Office is in the same location,” he muttered. “Lots of worthless crap, though,” he added, as he looked around at the little ornaments and trinkets adorning the desk and shelves. He picked up a baseball, tossed it in the air and then placed it back down.
On the wall to the right of the desk hung a watercolor of Lake Erie. He stood for a moment, admiring the work of art. As he scanned the picture, he found toward the bottom right hand corner that it was signed, “For Robin by Norman.”
“Norman…thanks, Norm,” he snickered and then sat himself down in the leather chair behind the desk.
He booted up the computer and when prompted at the log-in screen for a username, he paused and then entered “RWOOD.“ However, he took more time to consider the password. After what seemed an age of incessantly drumming his fingertips on the hard oak desktop, they were now over the keys and then a moment later he typed in “Nikki.”
A pleasant chime sounded and the computer booted to the desktop.
“Ha!” he scoffed. “Sweet…”
He wasted no time and loaded up the W.I.L.L.O.W. software. The window popped up and the computer avatar of Willow greeted him. She smiled and then, as she went to talk, Robin right-clicked over her. On the ensuing list of options, he clicked “disable.” The avatar pouted, waved and then vanished in a computerized animation of blue sparkles. Robin straightened his tie and then entered into the search field “scythe.” He moved the cursor over the “search” button and applied a little pressure to the left mouse button…
“Robin, you in here?” Grace opened the door and stepped inside.
Without hesitation, Robin immediately threw the cursor up to the corner of the window and closed the program.
“Grace! You ever heard of knocking?” he barked at her.
Automatically, she took a step backwards out of the office and pulled the door so that only her head was poking inside. “Umm, yeah, okay,” her voice quivered slightly.
Robin let out a heavy sigh, leaned his elbow forward on the desk and held his forehead in his hand, rubbing his temples. “Look, what do you want?”
Grace gulped and rolled her eyes. “Err…sorry…”
Blankly he stared her down, and then he blinked and shook his head, smiling a second later.
“No, Grace, I’m sorry. Please come in. I didn’t get much sleep.”
She didn’t argue and swiftly re-entered the office and closed the door behind her, hands behind her back.
“I hear ya. I feel like that after a crap night’s sleep.”
“You were looking for me. Everything alright?”
“Right, yeah, Buffy’s waiting for you.” Robin looked at her, confused. Grace frowned and said, “The meeting?”
Then his face lit up and he snapped his fingers. “Oh, right! Yeah, sorry. My mind’s…”
She smirked. “It’s cool. We’ve all had one of these mornings.”
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Robin’s Office – Same Time
Robin, still nervous and sweating, stepped into the office and quickly closed the door behind him. He blew out a heavy sigh of relief and slapped his face with both hands.
“Come on Robin, wake up…wake up…”
Now sitting at the desk, he booted up the computer. While it loaded he looked to his right. In place of Norman’s painting hung a black and white print of a battlefield in one of the World Wars. Its dire tone made the room feel as if the walls were closing in, small and dark.
“Not as nearly as nice as Norm’s,” he muttered.
At the log-in screen Robin immediately entered “RWOOD.” However, he took time to consider the password. Then, a moment later, he typed in “Nikki.”
“Let’s give it a go,” he said, and then hit “enter.”
A pleasant chime sounded and the computer booted to the desktop. Robin quirked a small smile. He wasted no time and loaded up the Internet. He logged onto CNN’s website and scanned the page for anything and everything. His eyes flew across each line of text, each image. The news was different, odd.
As he was reading, a small window popped up, displaying the message: “You have 17 new e-mails.”
His eyes narrowed. He moved the cursor over the link and applied a little pressure to the left mouse button…
Grace threw open the door and stepped inside. “Finally here, I see. Been looking for you.” She was dressed in black, her features framed with dark makeup.
Robin jumped and sat up, straightening himself.
“Gr-Grace. You startled me,” he faltered.
She snorted and leaned up against the door. “Looking at porn, are we?”
“I don’t blame you,” Grace said as she walked into the office. “Before I was getting any, I was logging on all the time, and I mean all the time.” She was now standing over the desk. “Mind you, all you had to do was ask.” She raised a teasing brow as she leaned across the desk.
Robin sat back in the chair as far as he could. She watched his lips and moved in. She opened her mouth and curled her lips into a smile, but when she went to kiss him when Robin said, “What do you want, Grace?”
“Isn’t that obvious?” she whispered, her breath dancing on his skin.
“Grace,” he said firmly.
She stopped and exhaled. “Fine. An emergency Senior Staff meeting is being convened to discuss the latest attack.” He frowned, and she rolled her eyes. “They’re waiting for you, Mr. Security.”
Robin faked a smirk. “Right.”
Grace didn’t attempt to move. She stayed where she was, laid across the desk, and watched as Robin slid past her and made for the door. She flicked her hair over her shoulder and looked at him. “Hey.”
With his hand on the doorknob, Robin glanced over his shoulder at her.
“Anytime.” She ran her fingers through her hair and smirked.
“Yeah…” He trailed off and exited the office.
Once the door had closed, Grace burst into laughter and rolled onto her back on the desk.
Our World – Watchers Council – Jim’s Office – Minutes Later
Jim paced in his office. Before him sat Willow and Faith, and behind them stood Buffy.
“This is what they call a right, royal cock-up back home,” Jim said from behind his desk. He flung John Harriman’s book down on top of a pile of papers and folders.
“So, not good then?” Faith cocked her head to the side.
Jim grunted. “No.”
“And the morning started out reallllly good. Boy, that didn’t last long,” Faith sighed.
“Not that I don’t get the graveness of the situation, ’cause I do, but isn’t this something we’ve dealt with before?” Willow’s brow puckered as Buffy continued, “Covering up hoo-hahs and what-nots?”
“It used to be standard Council practice, back in the day, but now, with our dealings and such on display for the world to see…” Jim threw his hands up into the air. “It would seem that honesty is our policy.”
“Can’t we just say that it’s all trash talk?” Willow offered. “Say that it’s all sensational speculation? To cash in on Faith? Not like it’s the first time. Remember all the offers of talk shows and photo shoots, ‘specially from Playboy…”
“There is one way.” Faith broke her silence.
Willow looked at her and sighed. “You know we can’t do that again, Faith. Zapping one man’s memory was bad enough, but an entire nation? Where would we draw the line?”
“How much longer can we stall from commenting?” Buffy asked.
“The way things are looking, I have to agree that silence is no longer golden,” Jim piped up. “The longer we leave it without attempting to disprove Harriman’s claims, the worse it looks for us. I’m going to get in touch with Alex Neel over at Ouroboros, see whether we can’t come up with something together. ”
“I don’t think you guys heard me. There is a way,” Faith said again.
“Faith, no zappage…” Buffy rubbed her eyes.
“I meant I turn myself in,” Faith said nonchalantly.
Stunned silence ensued.
Then Buffy shook her head. “No. No!”
Willow turned in her seat. “Faith, you can’t!”
“I agree,” Jim protested. “You turn yourself in, Faith, not only will it discredit the Council and yourself, but it might implicate Willow for her role in what happened.”
“No kidding,” Willow replied. “I knew you were better here with us than rotting in a cell. That’s why I did it, the greater good and all that. And you can bet when they start to check out how your record was magically erased, they’re gonna come lookin’ for the witch.”
“Then what else, Jim?” Faith shot him a glance. “Huh? What else?”
He sighed. “I don’t know, I honestly don’t know, but we’ll find a way out of this. Of that I’m certain. We have to. What I do know is that it’ll be a PR disaster the Council might never recover from.”
Faith moved her eyes from Jim to the floor.
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Conference Room – Moments Later
Robin nervously wiped his brow before he pushed open the glass door to the conference room.
He was taken aback once he stepped inside. At the head of the table was Giles, with Buffy sitting on his lap. His hands rested between her knees and he was saying something into her ear that made her smile. He raised a brow at Robin and flashed him an arrogant grin.
“How nice of you to finally join us, Mr. Wood,” Giles said. He sat back, releasing Buffy. With his head, he motioned for Buffy to take the vacant chair to his right. Obediently, she complied.
Opposite her was Willow, who kept her eyes down. Next to her were Dawn and Skye, their fingers laced through each other’s. Both looked more interested in the other than in the meeting.
Across from them was Ethan, with a silver stripe running through his hair. He looked as if he had a bad smell under his nose. Wesley sat next to him. He glanced up at Robin and offered him a small smile, pulling the chair out beside him for Robin to sit.
A blonde woman had her back to the glass door. As Robin came around and took his seat, his eyes bulged.
Heli looked at him and gave an approving nod. After a moment, he managed a tight nod back.
“Good, now we can…” Giles began in a silky voice.
“Sorry I’m late,” The door opened and the group looked around to see Lilah Morgan strut in and pull up a seat opposite Robin. “Transport’s a bitch from Head Office. So many people trying to get past customs, well, trying to get out. What’d I miss?”
Giles raised his hand. “Please, it’s quite all right, Lilah,” he looked around the table. “Shall we begin?” There was a collective nod. “Ms. Rosenberg?”
She sat up and looked at the group. “The shield took considerable damage from the Rebel attack. The Coven and the Science Department are working on the repairs as we speak. We’re also looking into fortifying our defenses.” Her tone was continuously morose.
“How so?” Giles asked.
Before Willow could answer, Ethan intervened. “My group and I have been researching various other methods of improving the defenses, also.”
Willow glared at Ethan.
“Oh really?” Giles turned away from Willow.
“Quite. We’ve found that shield harmonics can be increased four-fold by human sacrifice. Simulations show that by feeding their life force directly into the control crystal, the shield can be maintained for far longer than it can be currently. And as a plus, it means that we can start clearing out the backlog of inmates in the prison.”
Skye chuckled. “Now who doesn’t like human sacrifices?”
“Got my vote.” Dawn giggled, turned and planted a kiss on Skye.
“Mine too,” Buffy added.
“Yes, good work, Mr. Rayne. I trust the Council is in favor of Mr. Rayne’s proposal?” Giles addressed the staff. They all nodded their approval. Robin quickly followed suit. Giles looked at Willow with an arched brow. “Willow?”
“Does it matter if I don’t vote?” she said flatly.
He smirked. “I was about to ask you whether you’d like to tell us your idea?”
She stared at him and sighed. “I was going to suggest that we increase shield efficiency by cultivating the energy from mystical crystals.”
“All in favor?” Giles posed.
No one responded.
“And the fun in mystical crystals is…” Dawn left her question unfinished.
“Then it’s settled. Mr. Rayne, you have the green light,” Giles noted the motion in a little black notebook that he removed from his blazer’s breast pocket. With his eyes on the page, he said. “Pryce,” then he glanced up at him. “What’s your progress on the Guardian superweapon?”
Wesley leaned forward. “Slow, but it’s coming. Replicating the parts and getting them to –”
“I don’t do excuses,” Giles sharply interrupted. Wesley faltered. “Either you build the weapon and get it to work in two weeks or I’ll have Ms. Rosenberg rip the Guardian Knowledge from your brain, preferably leaving you a mindless vegetable, and I’ll get someone else to complete it. The choice is yours.”
Wesley paused, his mouth working, but the words did not come. Instead, he backed down and sat back in his seat.
“I’ll be increasing city-wide patrols, as well as those around the Council’s perimeter and in the surrounding districts,” Heli threw in. “If the Rebels are lying in wait to attack again, we’ll find ’em first.”
“Has intel provided any leads on the Rebel headquarters?” Buffy asked.
Heli shook her head. “Unfortunately, no. Keeping in line with known terrorist operations, I believe that their cells constantly relocate their positions. In fact, I have an idea that I would like to propose to the Council, if I may?”
Buffy opened her hand to encourage Heli to continue.
“Thank you.” Heli straightened up. “I’ve been devising a plan for some time to plant someone inside Kennedy’s Rebels.”
“Who do you have in mind?” Lilah questioned, intrigued.
“A slayer, of course, one of our own – deliberately brainwashed and conditioned to want to become a Rebel. We install a subcutaneous transmitter to track her once she’s made contact and entered the cell,” Heli continued.
“Kennedy’s smart. She’ll have wards in place to prevent satellite and mystical tracking of not only her headquarters, but the individual cells,” Willow pointed out
“I am aware of that. That is why we outfit the subject with a trigger so that, once inside the cell, she becomes active and terminates their defenses. Add in that the subject is programmed to terminate the Rebels on sight. From there, Kennedy’s little operation will soon fall,” Heli finished.
“Outstanding,” Giles jotted down in his notebook. “Consult Doctor Miller and Doctor Millenti. I’ll contact them myself. Lilah? Anything to report?” He clicked his pen.
She smiled and laid her hands in her lap. “Actually, yes. Wolfram and Hart have agreed to lend more men and arms to the Council after my little…negotiating session. Inhuman Resources will liaise with the Council’s HR Department in the next day or two. Also, they’re estimating that the completion of the Council’s White Room will take place by the end of the week. The Conduit’s had trouble establishing a connection due to the shield.”
“Very good, thank you Lilah.” Giles bowed his head to her, and she did the same. “Mr. Wood, security?”
Robin sat forward and stuttered before beginning. “Err, yes, of course. This morning, I’ll be…reviewing security protocols. I’ll also go over the CCTV footage and increase the number of armed security checkpoints.”
“I think perhaps it might be advisable to set up external checkpoints within a three block radius,” Buffy suggested.
“Yes. Yes, err, my thoughts exactly.” Robin firmly nodded, then made a meek attempt at a smile.
Our World – Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Same Time
“Come in,” Buffy called out. Robin entered and flashed a smile, which soon faded as his eyes fell on the gleaming Scythe that hung above her desk. “Robin, hey, take a seat.”
“…yeah…thanks,” he said indifferently as he moved to the chair, his eyes still on the Scythe.
Buffy smiled brightly, as they were now eye-level. “So, did ya get a chance to go over the reports?”
His eyes darted from the Scythe to Buffy. “The reports? Umm…no, not yet. Sorry. Been busy.”
“Oh, okay then…” Buffy bit her tongue and sifted through the papers on her desk. While she did this, Robin returned his strange gaze to the Scythe. “Umm…one…” Buffy raised her finger. “…one sec…ah!” she lifted a single sheet of paper out of the confused mess. “Right, security expenditure. Yay, fun. I know I wanted another helicopter, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Got any idea about…”
“Are you okay?” Buffy asked. She sounded worried and a little bewildered.
“Yeah. Yeah, sorry. I’m really tired. Haven’t been sleeping well. Think I might be coming down with something.”
“Well, with all this brew-ha-ha lately, I could see why. Do you wanna go back to bed?” Buffy shrugged. “Faith’s spending the morning with Jim over at Ouroboros Law Offices. Trying to sort out this whole mess with Harriman.”
“I know, yeah.”
“Maybe you should go see Doctor Miller? See if he can’t give you something that might help.”
“Yeah. Yeah thanks, B,” Robin said. Buffy smirked a little at him using her nickname.
“Faith’s rubbing off on ya,” she joked, pointing her pen at him.
Robin barked a laugh. “I know. Thanks again. Think I’ll hit the hay.” He gave her a little wave and left.
Our World – Watchers Council – Dr. Miller’s Office – Minutes Later
“It’s not common practice for doctors to prescribe their patients sleeping pills. At least not until other methods have been explored, and even then, they are a last resort…” Dr. Miller clasped his hands.
“I know, and I fully understand, but I just need something to help me sleep,” Robin pleaded with him. “I’m tired, but I’m not getting any rest.”
“Have you not tried a simple mug of warm milk before bed?”
“Look, are you going to give me the pills or not?” Robin said, his voice growing testy
Dr. Miller cocked his head at the outburst. “Robin, this isn’t like you. Are you sure there isn’t anything going on?”
“I’m sorry,” Robin tried again. “All I need is one decent night’s sleep. That’s all. I’m so stressed and tense that I can’t focus on my work, and I can’t afford to mess up, especially not with all that’s going on lately,”
Dr. Miller rested his clasped hands together, pointed index fingers on his lips, his eyes down. “Okay. I’ll prescribe you a small dose of sleeping pills. Just, and I mean just, to tide you over for a couple of days on the proviso that you work up a bedtime routine. But if any other symptoms arise, you have to agree to see me and not take any other medications. All right?”
Robin beamed. “Yes, yes of course. Thank you.”
Watchers Council – Faith and Robin’s Apartment – Minutes Later
A small white bottle with a printed label showing Robin’s name sat on the bedside table. Then a glass of water was placed down beside it.
Robin lay on the bed, nestling down under the covers. Then he shut his eyes.
“Take me home,” he muttered.
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Conference Room – Moments Later
Robin’s eyes started to grow heavy. His head bobbed down for the briefest moment, but he pulled himself up and blinked, blowing out a short sigh.
“…Amira’s retrofitting the mounted rail guns on the roof with anti-magic laser generators similar to those on the experimental fusion rifles that we’ve been test –” Dawn was interrupted by a loud yawn.
The group fell silent and all heads turned toward Robin, who covered his mouth with his hand.
“Keeping you awake are we, Mr. Wood?” Giles asked with an inclined brow.
“No. Please par…arrrdon…me,” Robin put his hand to his mouth again, his eyes heavier. “I apologize. I…I don’t feel too well,” holding his head. “May I be excused?”
“Of course,” Giles said.
Robin rose to his feet, but swayed slightly, like the branches of a tree in a breeze. He worked his way around the table, placing his hand on the backs of the chairs to propel himself forward towards the door.
Though he struggled to pull the door open, no one got up and offered to help. Instead, they all watched with blank expressions. Finally, Robin slipped through the crack of the door and disappeared down the hall.
As the door swung closed, Giles sat forward, his sinister grin back in place. “Well, it seems that our Robin works fast.”
Parallel World – Robin’s Apartment – Moments Later
The slammed door rebounded off of the wall and nearly hit a stumbling Robin. He grabbed on to the door and used it to stabilize his approach to the bed. His eyes were now more closed than open, his body limp and his movements labored. He rushed forward, tripped over his own feet and fell face first onto the bed. When he rolled onto his back, his eyes were now fully closed, his breathing shallow.
“Wha…what’s hap…happening to…to…me…”
Then his head lost all tension and fell to the side.
Fade to Black
V.O. Giles: “Wake him up.”
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Infirmary – Moments Later
Eyes fluttering open, Robin’s vision focused on the large group standing around him, which included Wesley, Giles, Buffy, Willow, Ethan, Heli, Lilah, Dawn and Skye.
He turned his head and found himself in a hospital bed.
“It worked,” Robin said, beginning to grin.
“Bloody hell,” Ethan said disbelievingly.
“Perhaps it would be wise to give him a mo –” Wesley was cut off.
“What’s it like?” Skye asked excitedly. “Grass greener? Sky bluer?”
“Is Rowena…” Willow ventured, sounding hopeful, but then trailed off.
“Robin,” Giles raised his voice, commanding the others to stop. “The Scythe. Do they have it?”
Robin sat up carefully and steadied himself. “They…” he coughed, his words rasped. “…they do. They have the Scythe.”
Giles gave the faintest of gasps, slightly taken aback. Then a perverse grin washed over his face.
“Well, then,” Buffy purred, resting her head against Giles’s arm, “we’ll just have to go and get it.”
End of Act One