Watchers Council – Coven Room – Later
Jen and Alex flanked Willow on both sides. Faith stood opposite her.
“You ready?” Willow asked, as she looked across at the salt and peppered-haired slayer, the ornate box clasped loosely in her hands.
Faith nodded quietly, idly playing with the diamond ring on her ring finger.
Willow gingerly opened the box in her hands. Faith automatically recoiled from it, her features twisting slightly as an involuntary shudder ran the length of her body.
“Close it,” Faith said tightly, her tone of voice implying that haste was called for. Willow did so. Faith took a few deep breaths before she spoke again. “It’s still there,” she said. “It’s not as strong, but it’s still there.”
“Dammit,” Willow hissed. “Partway doesn’t work with this thing; we’re sorta all-or-nothing here. If we leave it with any power at all, it’ll use what power we leave it with to collect more. Then, maybe a hundred years down the road, maybe a thousand, we’ll be right back where we started. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about this thing, it’s that it’s infinitely patient. It has all of eternity to wait.”
“Maybe the Stone hasn’t let everyone go yet,” Liz said from where she stood off to the side, casting a glance to her father beside her.
“So how do we get it to let everyone go?” Willow asked.
“More important question,” Liz added, “how do we do it without opening the door again and letting even more souls from other dimensions out?”
Willow looked at her blankly for a moment.
“Think about it,” Liz said. “There are a lot of damned souls out there. Say they have the choice between living here or spending all eternity in hell. Which would they choose?”
“So,” Faith began wryly, “what you’re saying is that we’re dealing with hundreds of years of the most evil beings ever to walk the face of the planet, all of whom have absolutely nothing to lose, who will do anything to stop us and can’t be killed?”
“That’s about the sum of it,” Liz said, her tone heavy. She turned to Willow. “Can we stop it?”
“It’s a challenge,” Willow said, her forehead creasing slightly.
“You’re not going to figure it out,” Nikki said, her face twisting in a slight sneer.
“You got something to contribute?” Willow asked angrily.
“Me? No. You’ve had the answer handed to you.” She jerked her head in Giles’s direction. “The SOB practically gave it to you on a silver platter.”
“It’s happening again. Get her away from the stone.” Faith turned to Jen.
“Why? She’s right,” Jen replied.
Liz rolled her eyes. “Am I going to have to call a slayer in here?” she asked. “You leave on your own, or I force you out. Your choice.”
Nikki huffed and motioned for Jen to follow her. The pair exited the room.
Once the door was closed, Liz turned back to the group. “All he said was ‘When things come full circle, the end is at the beginning.’”
“Wouldn’t you like, just once, to have a clear prophecy?” Willow asked.
“No kidding,” Faith snorted. “Take the Stone to this place, at this time, and destroy it. Why can’t it ever be that simple?”
“The beginning could be a long way off,” Willow said. “What are we talking about here? The Big Bang? The Civilized World?”
“I don’t think the Stone thinks in those terms,” Liz told her.
“Oh, but it does think,” Faith replied. “It thinks and plots and remembers and…”
“Captures human nature, the very worst of it,” Liz finished.
“Like an angler fish,” Faith said.
“What?” Liz looked at her, confused. “Yes, I guess.” She looked up and to her left for a moment. “No, actually, not really…I think we’re taking the ‘beginning’ too literally here.”
“What are you saying?” Willow asked.
“If we had no language, no records, no scientists – if nobody ever taught you anything – when would your world have started?” Liz asked.
“At birth, I suppose,” Willow said softly. “We’re looking for what the Stone would see as its beginning?”
Liz nodded. “Jeff, call up your report again.”
“We’re trying to psychoanalyze a rock?” Faith asked.
“You got a better idea?” Willow asked.
Faith looked at her and shrugged slightly. “Okay, gotta give you that point.”
“The Sisters,” Liz said.
Willow looked at her, confused.
“The Stone was hidden before it was found. I think we need to take the Stone back there,” she announced. She looked over to see her father beaming proudly. “And judging by that look,” she said, pitching a thumb toward him, “I think we just hit a home run.”
“Home runs don’t matter when there’s still innings left,” Faith replied.
“If you can’t put runs on the board, you can’t win at all.”
“True,” Faith conceded.
“So,” Alex said with a shrug, “don’t suppose they left us a map, did they? Longitude and latitude, maybe?”
“No such luck,” Liz said.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Giles replied. “It’s just a matter of taking time to…stop, look and listen.”
Liz looked intently at her father.
“Great,” Alex said, frustrated. “We know what to do, we know when, we may even know how. But that doesn’t help us much because we don’t know where to start.”
“Yes, that is quite the quandary, isn’t it?” a foreign voice said.
Every head in the room turned in surprise at the deep voice. Standing there was James Tyrell, former head of the Old Guard Council.
“You don’t belong here, Tyrell,” Giles said sharply.
“You’re not exactly in a position to speak yourself, Rupert,” Tyrell countered.
“Yes, but unlike you, I’m hoping to remedy that,” Giles replied.
“Some of us weren’t as lucky as you,” Tyrell told him. “You’ve done a few less-than-stellar things in your time, but you’ve earned yourself a place in the Kingdom.” He pursed his lips slightly. “I, on the other hand…”
“You’ve only yourself to blame for that,” Giles told him, his tone still hard. “I’d advise you to leave.”
“Or what, you’ll kill me?” Tyrell sounded amused. “You have nothing to threaten me with, Rupert.”
“I’m standing next to the most powerful witch ever to walk the earth. Are you absolutely certain of that?” Giles told him. “You have no purpose here.”
“For once, Rupert, I do believe you could be right,” Tyrell told him. With a sad shrug, he slowly faded away. Willow watched Alex wave a hand in the spot that Tyrell had just vacated.
A heavy silence fell over the room as the occupants looked at the empty space Tyrell had occupied only moments before.
It was Willow who broke the silence.
“Tell me you got him,” she said to Alex, as he began walking over to a world map that hung on the wall.
“He’s in Africa,” Alex replied, pointing to the light that surrounded the continent on the map.
Faith looked back and forth between the two. “Um, what?”
“I did a locator spell, or more correctly, a tracking spell,” Alex said. A cocky grin spread across his face. “Oldest trick in the book.”
“That’s my boy,” Willow said proudly.
“Africa?” Faith said. “You know, that vision…it could’ve been Africa. Now we’re getting somewhere.”
“You do realize that Africa is pretty much abandoned – drought, famine, civil unrest. There’s no infrastructure whatsoever – no electric, no running water. It’s a wasteland,” Jeff remarked. “Plus, it’s about three times the size of the United States, right? That’s including Alaska and Hawaii.”
“I still have my notes,” Liz replied. “Maybe we can pinpoint it. Or maybe narrow it down a little.”
“Look, before we go gallivanting off to the Sahara–” Alex began.
“We won’t wander around the desert,” Liz told him, cutting him short. “I’ll get the satellite link going, see if we can trace any large groups of demons in that area and give us a range to shoot for. If Willow is correct, they’re going to be guarding that location.”
“Why?” Faith asked.
“Because they won’t want to go back to Hell. They’ll do everything to stop us.”
“And water? Supplies?” he asked. “How are we–?”
“That’s my concern,” Liz told him. “You do your thing; I’ll do mine.”
“Ma’am, yes, ma’am,” Alex said sharply. “You know, I was thinking about asking you to marry me at some point soon. But if you don’t respect me now, it’s obvious I should forget it.”
“What am I doing, Alex, huh?” Liz asked him. “I’m trying to get this operation together, and you’re the one shooting down–”
“It could be a trap,” Alex said. “Tyrell just conveniently shows up to give us a chance to track him. We go, and you send us to a wasteland with no infrastructure, like Jeff said. If the monsters don’t get us, then the elements would.”
“I’m not saying we leave this second!” Liz shot back. “I’m saying–!”
Faith put her fingers in her mouth and gave a shrill whistle.
“Guys? None of this is real, okay? It’s not you doing the talking…it’s that,” she said, pointing to the box. “So again, please, Liz…do what you need to do to make it happen. Willow, what do we need to do magically here?”
“First, get some wards in place. We have enough living people coming to the Council, we don’t need any more uninvited undead ones.”
“If we go with Liz’s plan, we’ll need someone to stay here who’s got enough power to keep it going. I’ll call Sophie in from New York. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get Jake here, either,” Alex told her. “I still say if we’re going to be gallivanting, it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of witches watching the fort here.”
Liz acted like she was going to say something, but Faith grabbed her arm and just shook her head “no” before leading her from the room.
Alex watched Liz leave for a moment, then turned to his mother. “We should call Ira and Joe away from college and have them stay here for the time being, too.”
“True,” Jeff said. “They might become targets to distract you guys,” he said, motioning to Alex and Willow.
“Bring our own kids, too,” Willow told Jeff. “Everyone who might be coming with us. I want their family here for now.”
Jeff nodded and made his way from the room.
Africa – Hut – Same Time
“I did it,” Tyrell said as he entered a small hut made from local African materials. “I hope you know what you’re doing. We’re taking a monumental risk. The entire Council will end up coming.”
Dr. Regina Wagner raised her head from what looked like a meditation session.
“That’s what I’m counting on.”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Later
Liz walked quickly down the hall in long strides that forced Janice, Nikki, Jen and Faith to all hurry to try to keep up.
“Nikki, how are you feeling?” Liz asked.
“Better,” Nikki said. “I think my mom’s right. The further away from the Stone I am, the better.”
“What’s Vaughn got to say about the satellite?”
“We’ve got a location,” she replied. “He noticed several demon groups migrating to one area from several directions. They do seem to be converging. I’d just like to point out that this might be a trap. You have thought of that, right?”
Liz grinned. “Yes, despite what my beau thinks at the moment. But if we hit them with everything we’ve got, we’ll be okay.” She turned to her assistant. “What about the supply lines, Janice?”
Janice punched something into a device located on her forearm.
“Moving along well,” she answered. “Food and water convoys are in route, thanks to the British R.A.F. Plus, I managed to sweet-talk the U.S. Air Force, and they’ve agreed to let us use a large portion of their Global Transport Aircraft for human transport. The Indian and Japanese fleets are on board as well, so they can help us move the Asian Branches. I haven’t spoken to the Russian or Saudi Federations, but I do have a call into them. They might help too, but no confirmation yet. Australian Branch is in New Zealand right now with a Supersonic Airlifter loading up extra hand-to-hand weapons.”
“Fantastic work, as always,” Liz complimented. “Stay on top of them.”
“Thanks.” Janice nodded. “I certainly will.”
“How are you doing, Jen?” Liz asked. “You got a little worgged back at the Coven Room too.”
“I agree with Nikki – in this case, distance doesn’t make the heart grow fonder.”
Liz grinned. “Do you think your slayers will be okay?”
“I can’t say,” she replied truthfully. “Some gals seem perfectly fine and others…like I said, I can’t say.”
“Bring the ones you know for sure can handle it. I want Joyce, too.”
Jen appeared reluctant. “I know she’s technically still your slayer, but…”
“Bring her please. I’ll take responsibility for her. Shannon, too. Convince her to come.”
“Liz, I’m not sure –”
“I am,” Liz said, as they arrived at a set of double doors. “Just like Faith, Shannon’s going to need closure on this by taking part. I want her to have that. Same for Joyce. Can I trust you to make it happen?” Jen gave a heavy sigh, but then squared her shoulders and nodded. “Good.” Liz then turned to Faith. “Are you ready?”
“As I’m going to be,” she replied, before Liz smiled at her and opened the doors.
Faith’s eyes widened as she saw the full auditorium. It contained a mix of slayers, watchers and the Coven, who sat in the front row.
“This is a far cry from when it was just a few of us sitting around a table,” Faith remarked with a bit of awe.
Liz smiled. “Same concept, I assure you.”
Willow walked over to meet the pair.
“All the department leads are here and logged in,” she told Liz.
“Thanks, Will,” Liz replied.
Willow bit her lip. “Can I ask you something? It’s personal.”
“I guess that’s my cue.” Faith pointed toward the stage. “I’ll head up,” she said before walking away.
Willow leaned closer and asked, “Have you seen Rowena? I haven’t seen her or Althenea, or even Tara.”
“No, actually, now that you mention it, I haven’t,” Liz said.
Willow gave an unsure nod. “If you see them,” she continued, “even if they don’t want to come directly to me, will you let me know?”
Liz gave her a comforting smile. “You’ll be the first,” she promised.
Willow gave her a small smile. Then she motioned for Liz to take the stage as she moved toward her vacant seat.
“Hello, everyone,” Liz said from behind the podium. “You’ve all looked over your briefing notes, I’m sure. I wanted to make you all aware that not all the information we have has been disclosed.” Some people in the room began to grumble. “Settle down,” Liz said, calling the group to order again. “There are specifics to this operation that could compromise our success, so as with any mission, some information is considered classified and is disseminated on a need-to-know basis.”
“First, though, I’d like to introduce you to someone. This woman to my left is Faith Lehane, and she’ll be here to answer any of your questions as you research.” Faith gave a short wave, and again the room began to chatter a bit. “She gave her very existence for this Council in more ways than one. Her life has been drastically altered by the evil we now face. But in truth, hers is only one life in many that has suffered. As long as this Loathestone survives, it’s a threat to everyone inside and outside of this room. That’s why I’m personally leading a mission team to destroy this menace, once and for all.”
“Now, in my absence, Grace Hatherley has agreed to oversee the Watcher and Slayer divisions. Sophie Allister-Rosenberg will oversee the Coven.” Liz took a steadying breath. “Make no mistake about it, people. This will not be an easy task, and those who are left behind here may have to step up and fill a void. This Council was created so that it could depend on more than one person. Everyone sitting here has value, so never lose sight of that, no matter what. Is that understood?” The group replied with a chorus of supportive noise. “You all have your tasks. Now, let’s get to work, teams.”
Watchers Council – Liz’s Office – Minutes Later
Liz walked into her office to see her father looking out the window.
“Everything’s underway,” she told him.
“It would help if you had an idea of where the stone was ‘born,’ wouldn’t it?” Giles asked.
“Yes, but how to manage that is another matter,” Liz replied. “I haven’t–”
“Taken the time to stop, look, and listen,” Giles said. He then nodded his head toward the small disc that sat on her desk. “You said you were going to check that.”
“Janice did it for me. She said everything was fine, and I…” Liz trailed off, and Giles only smiled.
She moved quickly around him and put the disc into the computer. A screen came up that showed an image of Giles.
“Sisters of the Glow plus location,” Liz said.
“Four Results. ninety-nine percent match,” the computer replied. “Play audio file?”
Liz looked up at Giles with a growing smile. He smiled back.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Later that Day
“You up for this?” Willow’s aged face looked across at Dawn’s.
Dawn’s hands wrung together as she suddenly seemed to find a patch of the floor in front of her fascinating.
“She’s fine,” Skye answered on Dawn’s behalf.
Dawn barely seemed to acknowledge Skye’s response. The merest sideways glance at her girlfriend was the only sign that she’d heard her at all.
“Can we have the room for a second?” Skye asked.
“Of course,” Willow said.
Dawn looked up briefly as the occupants of the Coven Room quickly and silently filed out.
“You okay?” Skye asked after a moment.
“Do you have any idea what they’re asking me to do?” Dawn asked nervously.
“Yeah, you’re our big hammer, Dawnie. We need you to do this,” Skye said.
“I know what we need me to do. I just don’t know if I can do it,” Dawn countered.
“You can,” Skye told her.
“We’re talking about breaking – well, bending a little – a few very well-established laws of physics here,” Dawn said.
“Willow’s done it before,” Skye pointed out.
“Yeah, across town,” Dawn said. “Here, we’re talking about halfway around the world.” She paused, thoughtful. “And, she was evil at the time. And it wasn’t a platoon of people she moved.”
“It’s not a full platoon now,” Skye replied. Dawn still didn’t appear convinced. “Okay, yeah, it’s pretty close to a platoon,” she conceded, “but still… I’ll be right here with you,” Skye said. “I’m here to help.”
Dawn closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. “Okay, call them back in.”
Skye strode across the room and pulled the door open.
“Okay,” Buffy spoke up. “Mind telling me how this is going to play out?”
“Well, what’s the shortest distance between two points?” Willow asked.
“A straight line,” Xander answered automatically. He offered a sideways smile to Buffy. “It was my turn to pay attention in geometry class that day.”
“Normally, yes,” Willow answered.
“But this time, no,” Dawn shook her head.
“No?” Xander asked, confused.
“No,” Dawn replied firmly. “The shortest distance between any two points is zero.”
Xander squinted. “Okay, what?”
“In 1916, Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen theorized that two disparate points in space can be joined through a spatial shortcut,” Dawn told him.
“So…?” Xander asked.
“So we fold space,” Dawn said. “We shrink it down so that we have Africa sitting on the far end of the Coven Room.”
“This doesn’t sound very simple so far. I hear a catch coming on,” Buffy said.
“Well, there are two in this case,” Willow said.
“What are they?”
“One, it’s a lot of mojo,” Willow said. “I need the power I have for what we might face once we get there. Dawn, however, can manage it. She’s done it before, with support, but I think she can pull this off.”
“Are you insane?” Buffy asked.
“Far from it,” Willow answered, “Yes, we’re talking about folding the very fabric of the universe, but she did before when we faced the Presidium.”
Buffy sighed. “What’s the other catch?” she asked.
“It could feel like a long trip,” Dawn told her.
“How long?” Buffy asked.
“About nine hours,” Willow told her.
“Nine hours? We can fly it in six!” Buffy told her.
“No, you don’t get it,” Dawn said
“Clearly,” Buffy said dryly.
“It’ll only feel like nine hours,” Dawn insisted.
“Okay, walk me through this,” Buffy said with a sigh.
“One of the consequences of relativity is that, if we shorten the distance, time has to slow down for us as we step across that threshold. The shorter the distance, the longer the time, and vice-versa,” Dawn explained.
“So, to us, it’ll feel like we’ve been traveling for nine hours,” Willow explained. “To anybody else, it’ll be as if we stepped from here to Africa in a fraction of a second.”
“So it’s just a long flight?” Buffy asked.
“In reality, it’s not long. But yes, to us, it will seem that way,” Dawn said. “You should also know that…if my concentration slips, if I lose my focus, then that’s it. The portal collapses.”
“So, if the portal collapses, what does that mean? Where will we be?” Buffy asked.
Dawn looked at her, her eyes nervous. “Nowhere,” she said simply.
“Nowhere? How can anyone be nowhere? I mean, even if we’re in the middle of the Atlantic, that’s somewhere, right?” Buffy reasoned.
“No, I literally mean nowhere. We’ll be outside of space-time, outside our universe. As far as our universe is concerned, we will temporarily cease to exist. If that portal collapses while we’re in it, we’ll simply continue not-existing,” Dawn explained. “Alex Neel once said that I couldn’t die. This may be the one instance where she could be wrong.” Dawn didn’t sound disappointed at the possibility, exactly.
Buffy looked deeply into her sister’s eyes. Her own eyes narrowed as she scanned her sister’s expression. “I don’t feel good about this, Willow,” Buffy said. “If we get airborne now…”
“No,” Liz shook her head. “The closest Branches are en route now and are already building base camps. We need to make sure they’re in the proper locations.”
“Right,” Willow agreed. She turned to Buffy. “We have to see the terrain, scout the location and support the people that will be arriving soon or have already arrived there. Flying won’t get us there soon enough, Buffy.”
“We may not make it,” Buffy argued.
“If we try flying it, we might as well not bother. I have no doubt that demon forces will try to interfere with anything flying out of Cleveland. We have the Stone, and the Stone needs to be in Africa,” Willow countered. “The entire operation could be compromised. By flying we’ll be just as dead as we would be if the portal collapsed. We have to ‘sneak in,’ and this is the best way. Besides, I have every faith that Dawn can do this.”
Buffy’s shoulders slumped, defeated. “Okay,” she said softly after a long silence. “Let’s do this.”
African Plain – Later
An expanding globe of light burst forth on the African Savannah, and sixteen people poured out onto the dusty ground. Dawn stepped onto the dust and almost immediately collapsed. Skye had to catch her before she hit the ground.
“Hang on, I got you,” Skye said.
Liz and Joyce blinked a few times.
What was once the Coven Room was now a wide-open African plain, with a few mountains in the distance and a lake to one side. The other members of their team stood around them, equally in awe of what transpired.
“That was…” Joyce began.
“Fuchsia,” Liz and Joyce finished together.
“Fuchsia?” Calendar harrumphed. “That was freakin’ Fandango! Damn!”
“Will?” Buffy called out, concerned.
The witch looked over to see Dawn holding her head between her legs, hunched over.
“Are you okay?” Willow asked. She rubbed Dawn’s back while Xander helped to steady her.
Slowly, Dawn rose. “Yeah. That one just took a lot out of me. Been reading up on shifting time and space, but…they never warn you about the head rush.”
Willow smiled. “Well, I think you’ve put us at a good spot, Dawnie.”
“I agree,” Liz said as she took in their surroundings. “The Council satellite should be overhead soon,” she added, looking up toward the sky. “I’ll call Grace and have her give us the coordinates of the base camp.”
African Plain – Council Camp – Later that Day
Liz sat on a boulder. She looked out over the plain to see a host of different vehicles, both air and land, moving about. People in Council uniforms directed other uniformed officers as supplies were moved around. She seemed lost in her observations when a hand on her shoulder made her jump slightly.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you,” Alex apologized, as he took a seat next to her. Liz put her hand over his, their fingers intertwining.
“S’okay,” she told him. “I’m just a bit on edge.”
“I owe you an apology,” Alex said.
“You did it, Liz.”
“We haven’t done anything yet,” she replied.
“They’re practically building a city before our eyes in less than twenty-four hours. I’d say that’s pretty amazing. You’re pretty amazing…but I always thought so.”
“You just got a sweet spot for older women,” she teased.
“Just one older woman,” he said, as he raised her hand to his lips and gave it a kiss.
Liz smiled. “Did you mean what you said about marrying me?”
“Absolutely,” he said firmly.
“Don’t,” she replied.
“Uh…okay,” Alex said. “Any reason why?”
“This isn’t broken,” she said, motioning between them. “I don’t want to ruin a good thing if I don’t have to…I mean, if it’s something you feel you have to have–”
“Just promise me this,” Alex said. “As long as I love you, you’ll love me. That’s all I need.”
Liz smiled. “That I can do,” she said, as she leaned in and gave him a kiss. They heard a cough behind them, and they both opened their eyes but didn’t break away immediately. When they finally did part, Liz grinned and said, “Hi Dad.”
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. “My grandson, a-and step-granddaughter, are doing fine. Just so you know.”
“Thanks for checking in on them,” Liz told him.
“Yes, thank you,” Alex agreed. “I should get going, actually. Make sure my mom’s got enough water. It’s pretty warm out here.”
Alex gave Liz another kiss and then nodded to Giles before leaving. Giles then took his spot beside Liz, and the two of them watched the Council setting up camp for a few moments. Neither said a word.
“Perhaps it’s terrible to say this,” Giles began, “but I find this delightful, in a certain respect.”
“Leading a group that might be facing certain death is fun?” Liz asked.
“No, not that. This,” he said, motioning between them. “I was long retired by the time you were ready to handle cases. In fact, this is the-the first time we’ve ever worked directly on a case together…and the last, if everything goes as planned that is.”
“This is going to be a lot harder than I thought,” Liz told him as she looked at the troops busying themselves on the plain.
“This battle will be tough, to be sure, but you’ll do fine,” Giles said.
Liz turned to face him. “Not just the battle. I meant…saying goodbye for good.”
Giles gave her an optimistic grin. “You know why I came back…like this?” he said as he motioned to his body.
“So you’d still have the power to duke it out with the baddies?” Liz said, playfully raising two fists.
Giles snorted slightly. “In a way, yes. But in this form, from that particular time…I felt the strongest. The reason is, aside from having your mother’s love and support, I had you and Martin. I didn’t think I could be happier than when you both were children…but I was wrong.” Liz’s eyebrows knitted. “Right now, looking at what you’ve achieved, the fine man that Martin’s become…this is what I find to be most rewarding. So yes, I picked this form so that I could lend a hand in battle, if need be, but I also picked it because it’s from a time when you entered my life and brought me true joy.”
Liz teared up and looked away.
“You don’t have to say that, Dad.”
“Actually, I do,” he said, with a hint of mystery in his voice.
Liz wiped her eyes and looked back at him. “Another hint?” she muttered.
“Wrapped in a very loving, heartfelt and sincere confession,” he answered.
“Love…” Liz said the word as if considering the concept. “The opposite is indifference, not hate like most people think.”
“Very true,” Giles told her. “And…?” he prompted.
“This Loathestone doesn’t hate humanity – in truth, it doesn’t care about humanity at all, when it comes right down to it. The Stone only exists for itself. It doesn’t believe anything is real except suffering.”
“And…?” Giles prompted again.
Liz looked at him for a long moment. “That means that love is the key…but I have no idea how that fits together to unlock everything, at least not yet.”
“But being on the right path helps,” Giles said, raising a finger to accentuate his point.
Liz nodded slowly, as if still wrapped in her thoughts.
African Plain – Council Camp – Same Time
Willow gazed out at the site. Lily Lindquist stood just behind her left shoulder.
“I knew he’d grow up to be a ‘someone’ in the Council. I just didn’t think he’d turn out to be so…” Lily’s voice trailed off.
Willow turned her head and smiled at her. “He did have a few rough years,” she said. “But he also had some great friends.”
“And still does,” Lily said. “Friends like you, Willow. Thank you for looking out for him. He’s such a fine man now. Thank you for getting him there.”
“Aw…” Willow grinned. “’tweren’t nothin’, ma’am.”
Lily huffed a laugh at her.
“No, really,” Willow said earnestly. “I didn’t do much. It was Jeff. He did it all himself. But…” She looked seriously up at Lily. “He already had a great start.”
Lily pressed her lips together, still smiling herself, and put her hands on her hips. “Willow, just take the compliment, will you?”
Willow chuckled. “Right. Thank you. And you’re welcome.”
African Plain – Willow & Kennedy’s Tent – Early Dawn
Willow was lying on her side next to Kennedy, her eyes closed.
“Wake up, sleepyhead,” she heard a faint and familiar voice call out. She slowly opened her eyes. Althenea was lying there, facing her, wearing a smile. The dead witch put her finger over Willow’s lips as she saw her eyes widen in surprise and then joy. “Let Ken get some rest. We need to talk.”
Althenea got up, and Willow smiled as she watched her leave the tent. As quietly as possible, Willow followed along.
African Plain – Moments Later
The sun was just beginning to rise, giving way to yellow and orange hues over the horizon as they walked away from the base camp of tents.
“I’m so glad to see you,” Willow told Althenea. The pair was holding hands as they walked. “I haven’t seen anyone. I mean anyone important. No, I mean lots of important people, just not anyone that I–”
“I get it,” Althenea said, holding up her free hand. “Although we would have loved to stop by to chitchat earlier…we’ve been a bit busy.”
“We?” Willow asked Althenea hopefully, as they came up to a grove of trees.
The deceased witch smiled and pulled back the Lala Palms before them.
“Us,” Althenea said, pointing
Willow looked over, and her hand quickly shot to her mouth. She emitted a sound like a weep and a laugh combined. The noise was enough to make the two women she spied to look up from the papers they were examining.
Rowena and Tara smiled at their former lover.
Fade to Black
To Be Continued
End of Generations Part 2
Special Guest Starring:
Christine Carlson Romano as Hope Lehane, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, Emma Caulfield as Anya, Felicia Day as Violet Joston, Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing, Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase, Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Robert Devlin, Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson, Elisabeth Sladen as Dianna Earl, Katey Sagal as Lily Lindquist, K.D. Aubert as Nikki Wood, Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne, Edward Woodward as James Tyrell, Amanda Tapping as Dr. Regina Wagner, Jennifer Connelly as Althenea Dimmons and Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
Next on Watchers…
In the conclusion of the epic Watchers series finale, the past and present of the Council come together in the ultimate battle for its future…and the world’s.