WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (1/5F)

By Charles Kelly

DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the characters indigenous to those series are the legal property of Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB, UPN, FOX, et al. They are used here strictly for non-commercial purposes.

DISTRIBUTION: The Watchers forum only.

SPOILERS: BTVS S1 to S7 and Angel S1 to S5, especially Angel series finale. And, of course, Watchers: The Virtual Series, Season 1 and my own Angel/Watchers fan fic "Balloon Payments."

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: My own, self-indulgent take on the Angel series finale and a potential Angel/Watchers/Restoration crossover. (Didn’t I just promise that I wouldn’t do anything this complex again?) Part one is a Watchers story; part two is a Restoration story.

And fair warning to Kennedy fans—she is not favorably portrayed in this story. Essentially, I screwed up.

SUMMARY: Part one details the aftermath of the events of "Never Fade Away." Illyria was apparently the sole survivor of Angel’s last stand. How will Angel’s death change the lives of his enemies—and his few surviving friends? The Senior Partners, Willow, Illyria, Kennedy and Warren’s mom are making plans . . . plans with long-term consequences . . .

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (1/5F)

Teaser

Scene One

Cut to:

Los Angeles skyline, day

Cut to:

Ally north of Hyperion Hotel, rain-soaked and littered with both garbage and over 1,000 dead bodies.

Riley and Samantha Finn, clad in dark clothes that bore no insignia that might be traced back to the government, walked slowly toward a large, dark shape. Both were armed with flame-throwers.

Samantha scowled at her husband, then pointed at the large object.

Some 40 feet before them lay the motionless form of a dragon, a sword sticking out of the base of it’s neck at a sharp angle—as if the sword’s owner had thrust the blade into the beast’s brain. A shredded, blood-soaked black trench coat in its jaws suggested that killing the dragon had cost the dragon’s killer his life.

 

Steam rose up from the body, as did visible waves of heat above the giant body. (Corpse?) The dragon was 100 feet long from nose to tail tip. Facing it, Samantha stood nearer its jaws and Riley stood on her right. It’s left wing, the tip of which was just 20 feet from the Finns, was crumpled in many places. Undamaged, it might have nearly as long as the beast’s body. The right wing rested against the side of an abandoned building.

"I thought you told me dragons don’t exist."

Riley shrugged. "The Initiative archives all said dragons were a myth."

"The same archives that said the Slayer was a myth?" Samantha snorted. "Awful pretty for a myth."

"I thought you liked Buffy."

"Yeah, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a little threatened by a beautiful woman who used to work side by side with my husband."

"Looks like Angel’s outfit," Riley said. He pointed to the bloody coat in the dragon’s teeth.

"Fits the satellite footage we got."

"So does the scene," Riley said.

As the Finns looked around them it was obvious that there had been an awful battle in this place sometime before the rain stopped.

Nearly a thousand bodies, most of them demons, were scattered all about. The only human corpse in sight was that of an African-American man. In life his friends had called him Charles Gunn. The Finns would probably learn his name later.

Riley whistled. "Never thought I’d respect a couple vampires, but for three demons and a wounded human to cause this much damage to a superior force—damn, but that’s skilled warfare."

"Sorry I never met him."

Riley did not seem pleased by her remark.

The brunette licked her lips. "Remember that demon? The one I thought I killed?"

Riley nodded. "You took the knife out of its gut and it came back to life."

She nodded at the dragon. "Might be a good idea to leave the sword where it is until we’re sure it’s dead."

"Looks dead to me, Sam."

"Dead bodies are cool and this body is hot."

Riley nodded. "Might be a good idea for someone to call the Watchers." He took out a cell phone and thumbed a speed-dial button. "Besides, someone’s gonna have to tell Buffy that Angel’s dead and I think it will come easier from Giles than from me."

"I love you, Agent Finn, but you’re an idiot if you think that news could come easy from anyone."

Cut to:

A nearby rooftop

A human-looking female lay on her belly, peering over the edge of the roof to gaze at the carnage below.

Up close, the face resembled that of Winifred Burkle. But she was dead, so the "woman" must have been the demon Illyria.

She slid her right hand between her abdomen and the filthy roof, then raised her hand to her face. Her palm glistened with red blood.

"I wish to do more violence."

[Pretend, once more, that you hear the "way cool" intro music.]

To Be Continued in Act One, Part One

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (2A/5F)

DISCLAIMER: See top of thread.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve. (My ego is easily stroked.)

SPOILERS: BTVS S1 to S7 and Angel S1 to S5, especially Angel series finale. And, of course, Watchers: The Virtual Series, Season 1 and my own Angel/Watchers fan fic "Balloon Payments."

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: See top of this thread

SUMMARY: Illyria was apparently the sole survivor of Angel’s last stand. How will Angel’s death change the lives of his enemies—and his few surviving friends? The Senior Partners, Willow, Illyria, Kennedy and Warren’s mom are making plans . . . plans with long-term consequences . . .

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (2A/5F)

Act One, part one

Scene One

Cut to:

Ext., Burkle farm, Texas, night.

Cut to:

Front door.

Harmony knocked on the door.

Roger Burkle answered. He smiled at the blonde. "I know you! You’re Angel’s secretary, aren’t you?"

Harmony smiled shyly. "You remember me! That’s sweet! Can I come in, sir? Angel sent me and it’s kinda important and I really don’t like being outside at night. Vampires, you know?"

Roger stepped back and waved her in. "Come on in, hon. What have you got against vampires? Angel’s a vampire and he’s a nice fella."

"He has a soul—most vampires don’t." Harmony’s face shifted into vampire mode. "I don’t."

Roger yelled: "Trish—run!"

Harmony lunged.

Cut to:

Burkle living room.

The interior of the house looked as if the place had been ransacked. Harmony kicked Trish Burkle’s corpse. "Bitch! You broke my nose!"

That probably wasn’t true, but Harmony’s nose was bleeding. She cursed, wiped the back of her hand against her nose and then licked the blood off. She righted the upended sofa, sat down and pulled out her cell phone. She dialed 411. "Washington, D.C." Pause. "Business." Pause. "Enemy Management, Inc."

She fidgeted as she waited for someone to answer. "Mr. Ssoj, please." Pause. "Harmony!" As if the other person should have recognized her voice. "Hi, sir! Both dead, sir." Harmony frowned. "They fought back, sir." She cringed. "For what it’s worth, I sired one." Pause. "Mr. Burkle." Harmony sniffled as she listened to her new boss. Tears ran down her face. "No more mistakes, sir, I promise." Pause. "Good-b—sir? Sir?" Harmony hung up the phone.

She flung it at the dead woman. "Damn you! Now I’m in trouble! I shoulda sired you and staked you."

She sighed. "Oh, well, at least I can hang out here until the next sunset." She smiled. "Then Mr. Burkle will tell me if he’s heard from his so-called daughter. Then we can finally kill that Illyria bitch."

From behind her, Illyria’s voice said: "That is unlikely."

Harmony jumped up and gasped. "Illyria! I d-didn’t see you—"

Illyria flung a broken chair leg at Harmony. The wooden object penetrated the blonde vampire’s chest and dusted her.

Illyria knelt beside Trisha Burkle’s body. "You have my word your husband shall not rise a vampire."

Scene Two

Cut to:

Ext., passenger airplane in flight, day.

Cut to:

Int. of plane

Vi sat white knuckled between Willow and Giles. None of them looked very happy.

Willow said: "I could cast a spell so you could sleep ’til we land."

Vi shook her head. Through clenched teeth, she said: "Don’t. Like. Magic."

Giles sighed. "I do wish you had told us you were afraid of flying."

"Slayers. Fearless."

"Fear can be very healthy for a Slayer." He frowned as soon as he spoke, as if an ugly thought had passed through his head.

Willow also frowned. "Who was Katherine the Coward?"

Giles’ head snapped around. He scowled. "Did you just read my mind without my permission?"

"When you get that angry I hear it even if I don’t wanna hear it, Giles. It’s kinda like having a neighbor who plays the stereo at full volume."

Giles sighed again and apologized. "I didn’t realize."

"I don’t share that information with a lota people, Giles. The telepathy? Most people find it more than kinda creepy. Xander hates it."

"He may have developed greater tolerance for it now that he has a power of his own," Giles said.

"You didn’t answer my question. The coward?"

"An early 19th century Slayer. She didn’t fight vampires directly. She followed them from their kills to their lairs, then waited until daylight to burn them out. The Old Council . . . eventually disciplined her."

"Disciplined as in—?"

"I am afraid her trial was rather similar to Buffy’s 18th birthday ritual. Her successor served with distinction."

"Giles? I’m proud to be a Watcher and your friend, but I am not proud of the Council’s history."

"Nor should you be."

"By the way, the answer is no."

"To what?"

"Drogyn didn’t tell Angel about Dracula’s re-assembly spell. So, no, you didn’t make a mistake giving the information to Drogyn."

"But Angel used the spell to fool Kennedy."

"No, Drogyn used the spell on the stake that Kennedy used on Angel. Angel never knew the spell. He made Drogyn promise to take it with him to his grave."

"Riley believes Angel sent Drogyn to his grave."

"But Riley says Angel destroyed the Black Thorn. If Angel was evil, why would he do that?"

"I hate to defend a vampire, particularly one I never cared for—but it is quite possible for a good person to do an evil deed in pursuit of a noble cause."

Willow frowned. "Giles? Are you ever gonna tell me about that girl you’re thinking about?"

"Perhaps some day, Willow."

Fade out.

Cut to:

Los Angeles skyline, day

Cut to:

Ally north of Hyperion Hotel, littered with garbage. And one extraordinarily large body of a dragon.

The rain had dried in the past 24 hours. Most of the dead bodies were gone, with the exception of the dragon. The area was encircled by a series of progressively smaller rings: first of LAPD black-and-whites; then of unmarked FBI cars and, finally, a ring of US Army vehicles. A US Army helicopter hovered over the area, controlling the temporarily restricted airspace. Keeping out the press. And others.

Willow, Giles and Vi rode in a Humvee under armed escort. The driver, a corporal, stopped the vehicle at each checkpoint at each ring before finally receiving permission to take the three civilians to the battlefield. There, he got out, saluted Riley Finn and then held the doors for the civilians. He helped Willow and Vi out of the Humvee and flashed a smile at Willow.

Vi whispered. "I think he’s crushing on you, Willow."

Riley told the Corporal to grab lunch. The Corporal did not seem eager to obey, but he went. To Willow, Riley said: "Still breaking hearts."

Willow smiled up at him. "It’s a gift. Where’s your wife?"

"She’s watching the dragon."

Giles said: "There should be no danger unless it is a Pylean dragon. They are rather difficult to kill."

"There’s more than one kind of dragon?"

"There are five known species indigenous to this reality," Giles said. "But three of them are extinct and the other two are extra ordinarily rare."

"What about dragons from other dimensions?"

"Possibly even more rare than the Faux Dragon."

Riley stared blankly at him.

"The Faux Dragon feeds only on the remains of fallen warriors."

Every soldier present stopped to glare angrily at Giles.

Riley yelled, "As you were!" and resumed the conversation. "Assuming this thing is dead, what’s the best way of disposing of it?"

"If it is of the fire breathing variety—"

"They really breathe fire?"

"Some, during reproductive cycles. Both sexes are apparently drawn to those mates who can incinerate the most land in the least amount of time."

"Disposal, Giles?"

"The creature should self-cremate if it is of the fire breathing sort. Otherwise, I would douse it with a large quantity of battery acid."

"Oh—kay!" Riley jerked his head to one side. "It’s this way."

The Watchers and the Slayer gasped at the sight of the corpse.

"Angel killed that thing?" Willow said, unbelieving.

"All by himself, from the satellite footage," Riley said. "By the way? That’s classified. You aren’t supposed to know how much your government can see from space."

Sam smiled and gave Willow a big hug. Riley frowned, as if a little jealous, and Vi smirked at the look on his face. Giles was oblivious to the exchange.

Giles walked slowly, cautiously, from one end of the beast to the other. He touched it, yelped, and jumped back. His palm was instantly swollen with blisters. "It is either a Classic Dragon or a Pylean."

"The difference being?" Riley asked.

"To kill a Pylean Dragon you must teleport it back to its home dimension and then remove the sword from its head."

Willow added: "Let’s hope the Pyleans don’t consider that an act of war."

"They might," Riley said. "Angel and his pals liberated some slaves there a couple years ago, but there was a counter-revolution and now Pyleans hate this dimension. There’ve been a dozen attempted incursions into our reality."

Vi said: "How do you tell if it’s a Classic or a Honalee Dragon?"

"Pylean," Riley corrected. "A Honalee Dragon is in that old song."

Willow frowned. "That song made me so sad when I was little."

Giles said: "I should never have told Mary that story." (The references, for the very young among you, are to the song "Puff The Magic Dragon" and the music group Peter, Paul and Mary.)

Riley stared at Giles, his jaw agape. "You mean there really was a Puff the Magic Dragon?"

"Near enough."

Vi asked what the hell they were talking about.

Willow, clearly disturbed by the exchange, coughed and repeated Vi’s other question.

The Englishman sighed. "I shall have to raise one of its eyelids." To Willow: "If I do not survive, give Buffy my love."

Riley asked Giles if he was sure this was necessary.

"I’m afraid so. Could you provide me with appropriate gloves?"

Riley yelled "gloves!" and a set of firefighter’s gloves were presented to the Watcher. Giles put on the gloves, winced as he donned the right glove, and then cautiously walked up to the dragon’s head. He tried to lift the creature’s left eyelid with one hand, grunted, then tried to lift the eyelid with both hands. With effort, he managed it, but the effort caused sweat to pour off his forehead and down his face.

Willow and Riley looked at each other, then moved apart so they could look at the dragon from different angles.

The eye, big as a basketball with a green iris, moved from Giles to Willow to Riley and back to Giles. The Englishman sighed as he gently lowered the lid and walked backward from the beast.

"Pylean," he said.

Scene Three

Cut to:

New York City skyline, day.

Cut to:

Ext., Wolfram & Hart NY office

Cut to:

Int., a Wolfram & Hart waiting room.

A Latina woman hung up the phone and looked over at a woman who sat reading the National Enquirer for the first week of June.

"Mr. Webster will see you now, Mrs. Meers."

Mrs. Meers, who bore a disturbing resemblance to the actress Lena Olin, put down the tabloid and strode across the room to the lawyer’s office without a word or a glance to the secretary.

Mrs. Meers opened the door, stepped through it and closed the door behind her.

The secretary shuddered. "Humans," she said, as she reached for an 8-ounce glass of blood.

To be continued in Act One, part two . . .

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (2B/5F)

DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the characters indigenous to those series are the legal property of Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB, UPN, FOX, et al. They are used here strictly for non-commercial purposes.

DISTRIBUTION: The Watchers forum only.

SPOILERS: See top of thread.

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: See top of this thread

SUMMARY: Illyria was apparently the sole survivor of Angel’s last stand. How will Angel’s death change the lives of his enemies—and his few surviving friends? The Senior Partners, Willow, Illyria, Kennedy and Warren’s mom are making plans . . . plans with long-term consequences . . .

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (2B/5F)

Act One, part two

Scene Four

Cut to:

Buffy’s living room. Sunlight is visible through the windows.

Buffy asked Faith if she wanted anything. Faith shook her head. Buffy had a puzzled look on her face. Faith had an anxious look on hers.

Buffy sat on the sofa and pointed to a chair. "Get to it, Faith."

Faith nodded, sat, sighed and said: "Angel’s dead."

"Dead?"

"Dead. Gone." Faith hesitated, then added: "Dust."

Buffy nodded, swallowed. "How?"

"Details are sketchy, but the headline is: Angel and pals assassinated the entire Circle of the Black Thorn."

"Circle of—?"

"Friends of the Senior Partners. The Devil himself was a member ’til somebody tore his spine out of his back. The Senior Partners sent an army after Angel. I mean a whole damn army. Riley Finn—"

Buffy’s face darkened at the mention of the name, perhaps because Faith had once slept with Riley (while Faith was inside Buffy’s body), but Buffy did not actually speak.

Faith, apparently sensing that she’d touched on a sore subject, spoke more rapidly: "—They took out better part of a thousand demons before they died. Angel bagged himself a dragon before someone took him out."

"Was it Angel or Angelus?"

"That’s a question I can’t answer for sure, B—but far as we can tell, the final showdown took place in a neighborhood of abandoned buildings. I don’t see Angelus or the Senior Partners sweating collateral damage."

"He’s really gone. Forever."

Faith nodded. "I wish I could say somethin’, but . . . words? More than kinda lame right now."

Buffy nodded.

For a couple of minutes the two women sat there, staring awkwardly at each other and the floor and the walls and each other again.

Then Buffy burst into tears. She sank to her knees and put her head in Faith’s lap.

The brunette Slayer stroked the hair of her former enemy as tears rolled down her own face. When she spoke, Faith’s voice cracked a bit. "I bet there are whole bunch of demon wars breaking out in Hell to take over the top slots. Angel probably hurt the Senior Partners more in one day than anybody else in the past couple centuries."

Between sobs, Buffy said: "This. Is so. Stupid. We. Were over. So long—"

"Not stupid, Buffy. First lovers? They kinda have a lock on you for life."

Scene Five

Cut to:

Ext., Wacher’s Council Headquarters, Cleveland, Day.

Cut to:

Int., Kennedy’s apartment

Cut:

Int., bedroom

Kennedy was packing. Mia stretched out on the bed. Kennedy wore a gray t-shirt and black shorts. Mia wore only black underwear.

"Stop it," Kennedy said. "You know I have to leave in a couple hours."

"So?"

"You know I don’t like quickies." Kennedy folded a pair of jeans and placed them in a large black suitcase. Next to the jeans were two books, one laid beside the other so that both covers were visible. "Dracula’s Diary: An English Translation, 1840 Vol. XVI—XVIII" and "English-Rom Dictionary."

"You don’t like vampires either and you did one."

Kennedy rolled her eyes. "And to think I used to give Buffy crap over that."

"Yeah, well, she did two vampires so I’d say you’re still free to cast stones."

Kennedy folded a t-shirt and laid it over the two books, hiding them. "And now she’s with this Immortal guy. What is that?"

Mia shrugged. "Daddy issues."

"You think?"

Mia nodded. "I got mommy issues, so I can tell."

Kennedy frowned. "I’m going to repress my memory of this talk."

The doorbell rang.

Mia jerked her head toward the door. "Want me to get that?"

"Hell, no! People will think we—"

"Let ’em. Not like we’re a secret."

Kennedy slammed her suitcase shut. "This is really a bad day for me, Mia—"

"Yeah, it’s real fun for me to see my woman leave town to clean a mystical grave yard all summer just when I finally got her into my bed."

"I promise I’ll make it up to you when I come back."

Mia sat up and crossed her arms. "How?"

Kennedy smiled. "One of the books I’m taking with me is the Kama Sutra."

The doorbell rang again. Kennedy cursed and said she’d get it. She circled the bed. Mia’s eyes locked on her legs and followed her as she moved. Kennedy said: "Don’t touch my suitcase!"

As soon as Kennedy was out the bedroom door, Mia reached for the suitcase. From the hall, Kennedy shouted: "You touch that case and you can forget the Kama Sutra!"

Mia lay on her back on the bed and put her hands under her head. She called out: "YOU WIN!"

Cut to:

Int., Kennedy’s living room.

Kennedy opened the front door. Xander stood there, smiling. "Need help?"

Kennedy smiled and shook her head. "Thanks, no thanks."

"You feeling OK?"

"Why wouldn’t I feel OK?"

"Going into exile—"

"That’s not the official story," Kennedy reminded him.

"I’m not stupid, Ken."

"I’ve accepted it, Xander. I broke the rules, as well as Giles’ arm, and I paid the price."

"And Angel?"

"What about him?"

"Gotta hurt that he’s dead and you didn’t get the chance to kill him."

Kennedy chuckled. "I’m gonna have all summer long to make peace with that."

Xander tilted his head. "Don’t do it, Kennedy."

"Do what?"

Xander pointed at his restored eye. "I see the future. What I’m seeing scares me. Willow coughed up a snake when she tried what you’ve got in mind."

"I thought you could only see a few minutes into the future."

Xander shrugged. "I guess the Deeper Well is outside of normal time." He frowned. "I am getting way too comfortable with this stuff."

"Whatever. I’m doing it. Angel didn’t suffer enough."

"Willow felt the same way about Warren Meers and she passed up a chance to torture him a second time."

Kennedy, her face darkening, repeated: "Angel. Didn’t. Suffer. Near. Enough."

"No, but he’s in Hell now—"

"Are you sure about that, Xander? You guys all assumed Buffy went to Hell when she died and she was in Heaven the whole time."

Xander looked as if she’d punched him. "Angel killed people."

"Mostly Wolfram & Hart employees," Kennedy said. "I have to think fighting a demon army practically mano-a-mano qualifies as a heroic death."

Xander paled at the implication. "Angel? In Heaven?"

Kennedy nodded. "It’s possible and you know it. Didn’t the Powers make a snowstorm to save his sorry life?"

Xander nodded, slowly. "They did."

"I can’t trust the Powers to give the vampire what he deserves."

"If any innocent people are killed—"

"I know. I’ll be out. Or caged. Or dead."

"And I’ll help make it happen, Kennedy."

"Fair enough."

Mia said: "It isn’t fair to me, Kennedy. Or don’t I count?"

"Of course you count!"

"But you wanna get revenge more than you wanna be with me, is that it?"

"That’s the stupidest thing—"

Mia slapped her. "If I lose you, I will never forgive you. Clear?"

Kennedy nodded. "Yes, ma’am."

Xander looked very uncomfortable. "Ma’am?"

Mia didn’t even look at him. "We need privacy. You’ve said good-bye and good luck and we’ve got a lot to talk about while she finishes packing."

Xander didn’t reply. He simply stepped back outside and closed the door behind him.

Scene Six

Cut to:
New York City skyline, day.
Cut to:
Ext., Wolfram & Hart NY office
Cut to:

Int., a law office.

Mr. Webster could have been Raymond Burr’s doppelganger. He certainly couldn’t have been Burr—he had been dead for many years.

The large man held up the forefinger of his left hand as me made notes with his right. His eyes were fixed on the yellow legal pad on his desk. Only his raised finger indicated any awareness of Mrs. Meers’ presence in the room.

The dark haired woman coughed. Mr. Webster continued writing.

"I’ve been sitting here for—" She glanced at her watch. "—three hours now—"

Mr. Webster placed his pen on the desk and looked up. He leaned back and put his hands on his chest, his fingers interlaced. "You can’t do anything, ma’am."

"I’m paying you $200 an hour—"

"Actually, $1,000 an hour."

"And that’s the best you can do? ‘You can’t do anything, ma’am’? That woman murdered my son and—"

"Took away your memories of him. Unfortunately, there is no physical evidence your son is dead let alone flayed. There is no demonic law against a vengeance wish and the wishes cast against your son were actually within reason. Neither the Senior Partners nor the Powers That Be would interfere."

"How do you figure that? Surely the Powers don’t approve of curses."

"Much as it would pain the Senior Partners to hear me say this, ma’am, the fact your son was cursed to remember his sins in all his incarnations actually permits him a chance to return to this world and redeem himself."

"As a woman!"

"Given that the alternative was to be a man suffering the torments of the damned for all eternity, I’m not sure that’s such a tragic fate."

"They took my memories! I can’t remember what he looked like or how he sounded—"

"Mrs. Meers, I am not a fan of Slayers or Watchers or vampires with souls—but the fact is, there is nothing this law firm can do for you. No laws of man, demon or nature were violated. Helping you will not serve the interests of the Senior Partners. You don’t have enough money to make us care."

"Willow Rosenberg violated the laws of man and God when she flayed my son with black magic."

"Yes, but that account has been balanced." He shuddered. "The redemption of the damned is a terrible waste."

"I want justice."

"No, ma’am, you don’t and you have insufficient funds for us to support your vendetta."

"Suppose I could give you information?"

"What sort of information?"

"Inside information on the New Watchers Council."

"How would that even be possible?"

"My son will always come back as a woman, right?"

"Yes, that was Rowena Allistair’s curse. So?"

"So can’t you arrange for him—I mean, her—to be a Slayer?"

"Even if we could arrange that, ma’am, it would do neither you nor us any good. Vampire Slayers tend with very few exceptions to be very—" He gagged. "—honorable."

"Have me reincarnated as Warren’s mother in all his future lives. I’ll make sure he grows up to be just as evil a woman as he was a man."

"You would do that? Intentionally?"

"To get revenge on Willow Rosenberg, hell yes. Especially if I can make her suffer in every life."

Mr. Webster smiled. "You have reminded me of something we sometimes forget—that Hitler was a human being—with a soul. Just as your son was a human being with a soul. With, according to our records, very nearly the same potential."

Cut to:

Ext., New York skyline, day.

Cut to:

Ext., front gate of Allegeri Cemetery.

Cut to:

Ext., decrepit crypt.

Cut to:

Int., crypt.

A wrinkled, floppy eared demon with ghastly teeth flipped through the pages of U.S. News & World report.

A phone rang. The demon reached into his back pocket and answered: "If you want Clem, I’m him."

He nodded as he listened to his caller.

"Thanks, Mr. Webster."

The caller continued speaking.

"As far as I’m concerned, our debt is paid. Thank you—and have a lovely day!"

Clem thumbed one button to end his call from Mr. Webster, and then thumbed another button to phone someone else.

"Dawn Summers, please? You go right ahead and put me on hold. I love Muzak!"

From the way he smiled, it appeared the demon really did love Muzak.

He started to hum, slightly off key, when—"Hi, Dawn! It’s Clem! Could I come visit? I’ve got to talk to Willow and, well, I think I’d need a good character reference to visit the Watcher’s Council."

To be continued . . . in Act One, Part 3

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (2C/5F)

DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the characters indigenous to those series are the legal property of Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB, UPN, FOX, et al. They are used here strictly for non-commercial purposes.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: BTVS S1 to S7 and Angel S1 to S5, especially Angel series finale. And, of course, Watchers: The Virtual Series, Season 1 and my own Angel/Watchers fan fic "Balloon Payments."

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: See top of this thread

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (2C/5F)

Act One, part three

Scene Seven

Cut to:

Pylean sky, day.

Cut to:

Landscape marred by scattered and smoldering tree stumps, scorched hillsides and artillery craters.

Three suns burned brightly overhead. A light flashed below and Illyria appeared. She tilted her head from one side to another, then looked slowly around.

"I smell carrion." She paused. "I hear no sound. The Senior Partners have come and gone."

Cut to:

Ext., Lorne’s childhood home.

A crater occupied the space where the house once stood. Illyria sniffed the air and continued walking, eyes scanning the distance. Probably looking for the creatures responsible for the scouring of Pylea.

Cut to:

Ext., Pylea castle

Shattered rubble remained where once large stonewalls had stood. One wall remained. Chained to it was a headless body, barely covered by the bloody and shredded remains of Lorne’s suit. The corpse was covered with burns, brands and stab wounds. At the feet of the corpse lay the head of a bearded woman.

"Fred remembers that this was your mother," Illyria told the corpse. "If it falls within my now very limited powers, I will avenge your deaths. Not for your sake, but for Wesley’s and my own."

She looked around. "They did not find what they seek. I will stay here and rest, then. They will not immediately search where they have searched before."

Scene Eight

Cut to:

Ext., the ally north of the Hyperion Hotel, Sunset

Cut to:

The dragon’s corpse.

Willow, Giles, Riley and Samantha Finn stood side by side as Riley listened to someone on his cell phone. Whoever the other party was, he or she terrified the veteran demon hunter.

Riley Finn got off the cell phone. Cupped his hands to his mouth. "LISTEN UP! DIRECT ORDERS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE! THIS OPERATION IS NOW OFFICIALLY IN THE CONTROL OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR!" "MS. ROSENBERG—" Riley pointed at Willow. "—and Mr. Giles—" He pointed at the Englishman. "ARE IN CHARGE! OBEY THEM AS YOU WOULD ME—CLEAR!"

Roughly a hundred voices, male and female, yelled in near unison: "YES, SIR!"

Giles asked if that was really necessary.

Riley nodded. "The administration won’t allow the military to use black magic—not even when we protect people from demons. Or dragons. So it looks like the Watcher’s Council is gonna get their first government contract."

Willow rolled her eyes.

Samantha elbowed Giles. "Defense contract, Giles. It’ll make you folks rich."

Giles looked at Willow and smiled. "It seems you are in command, Willow. Use your power wisely."

Willow nodded and nibbled her lower lip. The girl who had once longed for power didn’t seem too terribly thrilled now that she had it. Perhaps she remembered the last time she had tremendous power—and how horridly she’d misused it.

"I’m gonna need some things. I’ve never teleported anything that big. I’m gonna need some Slayers to lend me their strength—voluntarily, not accidentally like that time I sucked it from Kennedy."

Sam’s jaw dropped.

Willow rolled her eyes again. "It wasn’t sexual! Jeez, you have a dirty mind."

Samantha crossed her arms. "Don’t forget I’m you’re email pal, Willow."

Giles took off his glasses and cleaned them. "Um, yes, I-I think we can find volunteers to help you with that."

"Ask Buffy and Kennedy first."

Giles scowled. "Buffy has retired and Kennedy is—ahem!—on special assignment."

Willow nodded. "Which means if they volunteer, I don’t have to worry about draining strength from Slayers who should be patrolling Cleveland this summer." She pointed at the dragon. "The strength required to teleport that? They may not be Slaying—and I may not be casting spells—for two or three months."

Giles didn’t speak for a moment. Then, he very slowly nodded. "As long as Kennedy is able to perform her . . . assignment."

Willow turned to Riley. "I need a favor—a big one. Find a woman named Nina Riley. She’s so high, blonde, very pretty—"

Sam asked her what happened to Rowena Allistair.

"—and Angel’s new girlfriend. She needs to be notified."

Riley made a face. "Gee, thanks."

"Ask Faith to do it if you like," Willow said. "But someone needs to tell her that Angel isn’t coming back in this life."

"You mean ever, right?"

"Reincarnation is a possibility," Willow said. "For his sake, I hope it happens."

Riley shrugged and said it didn’t sound like a terribly great favor to ask.

Willow pointed to the shredded fabric in the dragon’s teeth. "I want you to collect that—don’t wash it or anything, just collect it and package it—and give ask Nina and Buffy if they want to have a funeral. If either of them says yes, make the arrangements."

Riley, Samantha and Giles all stared at Willow as though she had completely lost her mind.

"Nina needs to say a real good-bye to him. So does Buffy. She didn’t get that when he left her, she didn’t get that when she killed him."

Giles asked her if they could speak privately. He took her arm and walked with her to the dragon’s tail. "Buffy and Nina could hold a memorial service without that garment."

"It’ll be a little easier for them to accept that he’s really gone if they can see it," Willow said. "And I’ll feel better myself if they bury it."

Giles crossed his arms. "I suppose you would like me to accept that statement at face value."

Willow gave him a rather sheepish look. "Be nice."

"Who precisely are you protecting—and from what?"

"Everyone," Willow said. "From themselves."

"Protecting people from themselves is often a frustrating—and foolish—enterprise."

"I know. I don’t think Buffy ever forgave him for that time he protected her by visiting Sunnydale in secret." Willow frowned. "Where was he staying that whole time? He couldn’t have stayed in the cemetery—"

"He was a guest in my home," Giles said.

Willow’s jaw dropped.

Giles shrugged. "I would have provided Satan himself a place for the night if I thought it would protect my family."

Scene Nine

Cut to:

The Burkle farm, Texas.

Men in navy blue business suits with bright white shirts and bright red ties—and Glocks holstered on their hips—milled about the ruined house. One of them was on his cell phone. He looked like Sidney Greenstreet. "Far as we can tell, Mr. Secretary, this was not a terrorist attack. . . . Sir, you know demons have been known to exterminate whole towns before. . . .

"Circumstantial evidence indicates it was mostly the work of the Senior Partners. . . . Apparently they want this Illyria creature so bad they’re willing to risk the wrath of the United States Government to get her. . . . I’m afraid I don’t know enough to give a helpful opinion, sir. . . .

"My gut instinct? We’re in the business of fighting evil, sir. Protecting demons doesn’t fight evil. . . . Granted, she might have intelligence we can use against the Senior Partners. . . . Locate, interrogate—kill if she can’t be turned into an intelligence asset. . . . Yes, sir. Please tell the President that Enemy Management, Inc. will do everything possible to neutralize the Illyria threat."

The man hung up and shuddered. He walked over to where a blonde woman knelt beside Roger Burkle’s body. She looked up at him.

"This was a mercy killing," said Kate Lockley. She pointed at fang wounds in the dead man’s neck. "A vampire fed on him, then—" She pointed at his bloody lips. "—She fed his blood back to him. He would’ve come back a vampire, but somebody severed his head."

"That explains the fingerprints we found on that axe," the man said. "For some reason, Illyria didn’t want this man to become a killer." He frowned. "That doesn’t make sense."

Kate shrugged. "Maybe Winifred Burkle’s body isn’t really dead as much as . . . hijacked? Maybe she was able to regain control long enough to make sure her daddy didn’t come back as a monster."

The man frowned. He clearly wasn’t thrilled with her theory.

"It’s only an opinion, Mr. Ssoj."

"Relax, Kate, I won’t fire you. I need someone with your unique experience with vampires. Oh! I forgot to tell you something—good news!"

"Yes, sir?"

"That vampire you told me about? Angel?" Mr. Ssoj beamed. "He’s dead. Seems he failed the Senior Partners."

Kate Lockley nodded. You couldn’t tell how she felt about the news from the look on her face.

 

Scene Ten

Cut to:

Ext., Watcher’s Council Headquarters, night.

Cut to:

Council Library

Andrew whistled the theme song to "Star Trek: Enterprise" as he shelved ancient tomes written in dead languages.

Xander tapped his shoulder.

Andrew shrieked.

Four Slayers ran into the room. Marsha, the youngest, held a crossbow in her hands that probably weighed about as much as she did.

Xander said: "False alarm, guys. I frightened Andrew. My bad."

The Slayers grumbled and left the room.

Xander apologized to Andrew.

"That’s OK, but please don’t do that again. It’s almost—" He looked at his watch. "—Midnight and I’m used to being alone here this time of night."

Andrew shrugged. "Sometimes I like to be alone with my thoughts, brood on my past sins and—"

"Don’t! You’ll turn into Angel."

Andrew shivered. "I’ll never forgive him for getting Spike killed."

"Um, O—K—let’s change the subject," Xander said. "I wanna know everything about the Deeper Well."

"Why?"

"I’m thinking about a special gift for an old enemy." Xander put his fingers to his lips. "Very secret. Like the location of the One Ring."

"That’s cool," Andrew said. "But I think you should know, Xander, that I have other interests in life besides the Lord of the Rings."

Scene Eleven

Cut to:

Int., Mia’s apartment.

Mia was in bed, but she wasn’t sleeping. Mia tossed her blanket aside and sat up. She picked up her cell phone and thumbed a phone number.

"Dawn? It’s Mia. Kennedy is in trouble and I can’t save her. Maybe you can stop her from . . . "

 

Scene Twelve

Cut to:

Chicago skyline, night.

Cut to:

Ext., Wolfram & Hart law office.

Cut to:

Int., main lobby of law office.

A clock on the wall said it was five of six.

A small, slim but pretty brunette with an adorable smile came through the doors. A few man gazed lustfully at her. She walked up to the security desk and asked to speak with Mr. Axeman. The brunette spoke with a distinctly Texas accent.

"I’m sorry, he’s gone home for the evening."

"The CEO went home? I thought your CEOs all lived in penthouses in the office."

The security guard tilted his head. "Who are you, miss?"

The Texas girl suddenly changed into a small, slim but pretty blue woman in skintight leather with stiletto knives in each of her hands.

"I am Illyria."

Cut to:

Ext., Wolfram & Hart office.

"Fred" walked briskly from the office building to the street. She smiled and waved at passers by.

Cut to:

Int., lobby of Wolfram & Hart.

Bodies covered the floor and blood covered the walls.

To be continued in Act Two, part one

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (3A/5F)

DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the characters indigenous to those series are the legal property of Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB, UPN, FOX, et al. They are used here strictly for non-commercial purposes.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: BTVS S1 to S7 and Angel S1 to S5, especially Angel series finale. And, of course, Watchers: The Virtual Series, Season 1 and my own Angel/Watchers fan fic "Balloon Payments."

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: See top of this thread

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (3A/5F)

Act Two, part one

Scene One

Cut to:

Ext., Los Angeles Skyline, sunrise.

Cut to:

Ally North of the Hyperion Hotel.

Cut to:

Buffy, Clem, Dawn, Faith, Kennedy—all standing before the body of the Pylean dragon.

The five of them stood there, mouths agape, eyes fixed on the huge creature.

A pair of soldiers, armed with flame-throwers, marched slowly back and forth between the visitors and the dragon. They never took their eyes off the beast. In case it came back to life.

Clem said: "I didn’t think they were real!"

The four women glanced incredulously at the wrinkled, floppy-eared demon.

"Gotta give your ex props, B. You gotta go, slayin’ a dragon is a pretty impressive exit."

Kennedy shook her head. "I can’t wrap my brain around this."

Buffy and Dawn said, "With you," in perfect unison.

A British voice said: "It is a bit difficult to absorb."

The five turned to see the senior Watcher. Dawn squealed "Giles!" and hugged him. Clem waved trembling fingers and said, "Hey," in a timid voice.

Willow, Riley and Samantha Finn came up behind the Englishman.

Riley glared at Clem. "What’s he doing here?"

Dawn said: "Clem’s one of the good guys, Riley."

"A good demon?"

"More like kinda neutral," Clem said. "Like Whistler."

Everyone but Buffy looked at him as though he’d spoken gibberish.

Willow coughed and asked Faith, Clem and Dawn what they were doing there.

Faith said she’d been with Buffy when Giles’ called, so she figured she ought to come along. "Way I figure it, the more Slayers helpin’ you the less strength any one Slayer has to give up."

Dawn said: "Clem and I both have important information for you—it can’t wait and it’s for your ears only."

Clem said: "Is that a racial slur?"

Dawn put her hand over her mouth. "Oh, Clem, I would never—"

He nudged her with her elbow. "Got you."

"That is not funny!"

"It was knee-slapper when I was your age," Clem said.

Giles said: "Yes, but humor has evolved in 5,000 years."

"You know perfectly well that the floppy-eared only live a thousand years."

Willow coughed and said: "We’re in the middle of a real secret and sensitive mission—"

Clem said: "Mrs. Meers has hired Wolfram & Hart to make you miserable."

Dawn said: "And Mia wanted me to tell you something really important."

Kennedy shot her a very hard look. If Dawn (or anyone else) noticed, there was no obvious sign.

Riley suggested that Willow talk to Clem first. "No offense, but my men have fought way too many demons and some of these guys are way too jumpy—especially around you guys. Use my trailer." He pointed to his home/command center.

Clem sighed. "I understand. No one likes the undertaker."

As Clem and Willow went to Riley’s trailer, Giles asked the soldier what Clem had meant.

Dawn coughed. "Clem eats the dead, Giles."

The Watcher snatched the glasses off his face. "Are you certain? The Council had no information on Clem or his species."

Dawn shrugged. "One time he wanted me to help him compare the textures of bean dip. He wouldn’t care about texture if he had taste buds so I figured he ate something that you wouldn’t want to taste—like a rotten corpse."

Riley sighed. "Clem’s people eat well whenever there’s a war. They may be the only beings on Earth who have never known hunger."

Sam said: "You were awful hard on him, soldier. Not his fault humans like to kill each other."

Giles asked Buffy if he could speak with her.

They strolled over to the dragon’s head. Buffy stared at the mouth. "Do you think he suffered?"

"From what Riley has told me, he was struck in the back by an arrow. His death was instantaneous."

"At least I didn’t kill him this time."

"To be quite fair to both of you, Buffy, you didn’t have a choice. He would have killed himself if time had permitted you to explain."

"You’re only praising him for my sake."

"Quite right. Should I stop?"

"Hell no."

Giles smiled.

Cut to:

Int., Finn trailer.

It looked more like a construction site office than a home, but it would serve.

Clem smiled weakly at Willow. "You were right."

"You sure you can trust your source?"

Clem shrugged. "It isn’t like Wolfram & Hart lawyers are big on honor. If they were, Mr. Webster wouldn’t have betrayed a client’s confidence to repay me for saving his life."

Willow waved her hands. "Not to be rude—"

"But get to the point? Sure. Mrs. Meers thinks her son will come back as a woman in all his future lives—"

"He will. A friend of mine cursed him."

"Well, Mrs. Meers wants the Senior Partners to make him—or I guess I mean her—a Slayer in at least one of those future lives."

Willow whistled. "Be a neat, evil but neat, trick if they could pull that off."

Clem frowned. "That’s not the worst part, though. She wants to be his mother in all his future lives—"

"Most moms would want that," Willow said.

"So they can deliberately raise their daughters to be psychopaths?"

Willow shuddered. "I’m beginning to understand the creep."

"It gets better. She wants to go after you in this life and every future life."

"Can she pay the bill?"

"Not with money, but if she can keep her end of the bargain . . . can you imagine the advantage of being able to spy on the Watchers and Slayers from the inside?"

"This is bad. But . . . I think we can out smart her. All we need is a sample of her DNA—and none of her descendants will be able to join the Council."

"Isn’t that discrimination?"

"I know it’s unfair, but what are we supposed to do? Just do nothing?"

Clem shrugged. "The nice thing about being a scavenger is you don’t have a lot of moral dilemmas."

"Any idea what her next move will be?"

"No, but they want a gesture—the murder of a human being—to show them her commitment."

Scene Two

Cut to:

Ext., Wolfram & Hart New York office, day.

Cut to:

Int., Wolfram & Hart lobby.

"Fred" stood in the lobby with a satisfied smile on her face. She looked around and nodded, as if content with a job well done. She turned to the reception desk and placed a severed head upon it. The late Mr. Webster would no longer be advising Mrs. Meers.

"Fred" stepped back. She tilted her head to the left and then tilted her head again to the right. She spoke to herself—but it was Illyria’s voice that came out of her mouth.

"This will do."

"Fred" turned and exited the office.

Behind her, dismembered humans and demons lay in her wake. Flies began landing to feed and lay eggs.

On the wall directly opposite the main entrance, written in red and green and purple blood, were these words:

"Hello, Mr. Ssoj."

Scene Three

Cut to:

Ext., MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, day.

Willow and Dawn walked side by side, each drinking a Starbuck’s grande.

"Anyway, if what Mia said Xander said is right, Kennedy’s up to something really stupid."

"Xander threatened to kill her if people got hurt?"

Dawn nodded.

The red head frowned. "But he hasn’t said anything to anybody about it?"

Dawn shook her head.

"Goddess. That stupid bitch is going to try to resurrect Angel."

"That’s impossible!"

"Said the ancient green ball of energy that looks like a beautiful young woman to the powerful witch who resurrected the last Chosen One."

Dawn stopped in her tracks. "You think she could do it?"

"Kennedy? Nice girl, not bright. No. I could—maybe—even without his dust or his body. But Kennedy? Even when I was starting out I didn’t have the nerve to try anything that advanced."

"Re-ensouling Angel wasn’t advanced?"

"Point taken," Willow said. She finished her drink, looked around for a trashcan, and tossed the cup in with the rest of the litter.

"Why would she want to—?"

"When I killed Warren? First thing I wanted to do was resurrect him so I could murder him again."

Dawn shuddered. "You—you couldn’t be that mean, Willow."

"Dawnie? Were you there when I threatened to kill you because of your crying and whining? The entire human race has that kind of evil crawling inside."

"Point taken," Dawn said. She was clearly not thrilled with this conversation. "You really hated him that much?"

"I thought killing him would be enough, but he didn’t suffer as much as I wanted him to. Why do you think I wanted to take it out on the whole rest of the world? Andrew and Jonathan were pitiful dweebs, but they weren’t responsible for Tara’s death. And you and Buffy and Giles and Anya and Xander—none of you were responsible."

"What are you going to do about Kennedy?"

"Try to stop her from making the worst mistake of her life."

"And if you fail?"

"I’ll have to choose between the New Council and the Old Girlfriend."

Cut to:

A park bench some 20 or 30 feet away from Willow and Dawn.

Mrs. Meers sat unobserved, watching the two Watchers.

As soon as Willow and Dawn walked away from the trashcan, Mrs. Meers stood up and walked over to it. She looked around. No one seemed to be paying any attention to her.

She took Willow’s cup out of the trash and dropped it into a plastic bag.

"Thank you, Ms. Rosenberg."

Cut to:

Int., Finn trailer

Willow sat with her arms crossed.

Someone knocked and then Kennedy entered.

"You wanted to see me?"

Willow stood and told her to sit down. "I want you to explain this plan of yours."

"What plan?"

"Your incredibly stupid plan to resurrect Angel and bind him to the Deeper Well."

To be continued in Act Two, part two

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (3B/5F)

DISCLAIMER: Buff the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the characters indigenous to those series are the legal property of Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB, UPN, FOX, et al. They are used here strictly for non-commercial purposes.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: BTVS S1 to S7 and Angel S1 to S5, especially Angel series finale. And, of course, Watchers: The Virtual Series, Season 1 and my own Angel/Watchers fan fic "Balloon Payments."

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: I’ve included a couple "flashbacks" shamelessly cut from Balloon Payments. For this I apologize, but it needed to be done.

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (3B/5F)

Act Two, part Two

Scene Four

Cut to:

Int., Finn trailer

Kennedy and Willow glared at one another.

"Xander called you."

"No, your girlfriend called you. Gimme one good reason I shouldn’t kick your butt?"

"I haven’t done anything," Kennedy said.

"Yet."

"You don’t think Angel deserves to be punished?"

"He’s been punished plenty, Ken."

"Yeah, your best bud supposedly killed him—but he ends up a rich CEO of a law firm. Real suffering."

"He spent something like—" Willow closed her eyes and moved her lips as she touched her fingertips with her thumbs. "—Ten thousand years in Hell before something or someone sprung him."

"Assuming you’re telling me the truth this time—"

Willow sighed. "That’s the trouble with lying. ‘The sins ye do two by two ye pay for one by one’."

"Huh?"

"Sorry. Quoting a pseudo-intellectual internet fan fic writer-nerd."

Kennedy turned to leave, but Willow grabbed her arm. "Please don’t go through with it, Ken. I only know four resurrection spells and I don’t think you could perform any of them."

"Why not?"

"No body and no Angel dust." Willow frowned. "I mean vampire dust. So unless you plan to con five vampires into voluntarily helping you resurrect Angel-as-a-human—"

"You can do that?"

"Wolfram & Hart did it once," Willow said. "Brought back his Sire as a terminally ill human just to mess with his mind."

Kennedy’s face didn’t reveal anything—but the fingertips of both hands trembled ever so slightly. She swallowed and said: "He’s a murderer, Willow."

"So am I. So is Andrew. So is Faith. So is Giles. You punish Angel, you have to punish all of us—’cause we all pretty much deserve to be punished. And so do you."

"I’ve never killed a human being."

Willow’s eyes turned pitch black and she smiled the same murderous smile she’d once flashed at Buff. "That you remember."

Before Kennedy could answer, Willow waved her hand and said one word: "Verite!"

Cut to:

Kennedy’s suddenly ashen face.

Cut to:

Flashback

Int., Wolfram & Hart

A couple hundred demons, mostly vampires, poured into the lobby. Most carried weapons — crossbows, axes, scythes, swords, etc. Human and demon employees of the evil law firm died quickly.

Cut to:

Int, Wolfram & Hart lobby.

Dead bodies piled four corpses deep held all the elevator doors open, rendering them useless to either the invaders in the lobby or any potential rescuers on the floors above.

Illyria grinned as she decapitated demon after demon.

Angel punched and kicked and staked and killed and advanced. Here and there he paused to grab a head and break a neck or paused to drive his right heal into a kneecap.

Spike simply killed everything in sight.

Lorne staked one vamp, but was bitten by a second and third. A blonde vampire (Harmony) saved him, staking the other two, then pulled him back up the staircase.

Wesely (barely) held the staircase in the center of the lobby—with a flame-thrower as 50 vampires at a time rushed him.

Cut to:

Ext., Los Angeles Office of Wolfram & Hart

Cut to:

Angel’s office

Angel sighed. "Call Giles, Faith, tell him we’re looking for Kennedy. Do NOT tell him about what happened here today."

Drogyn said: "Angel— "

"And keep our truthful friend here away from the Watcher until I can think of a way to protect both me from Kennedy and Kennedy from the Council."

Cut to:

The present.

Kennedy’s suddenly ashen face.

She dropped to her knees and gazed up, panting and sweating. "I-I—I hurt people."

Willow knelt. Her eyes were their natural color again and her demeanor gentle—but her words were harsh. "You killed people, Kennedy. You murdered people. More than I did when I was evil."

"W-wh-why wouldn’t—how come I didn’t remember doing that?"

Willow shrugged. "I don’t know everything, Kennedy. When Angel’s friends rescued me and Nina from Mrs. Meers, they were all so royally pissed I picked up all their thoughts and knew Angel meant to protect you from yourself."

Kennedy shook her head, apparently unable to comprehend.

"Angel didn’t want you to join our club—Guilt-Stricken Murderers Anonymous. Unlike the Warren Meers of the world, we feel bad afterward—which doesn’t do our victims or their families or their lovers one damned bit of good."

Sweat dribbled into Kennedy’s eyes. She blinked. "Why the hell would he do me any favors?"

"He probably blamed himself for your sins, Ken. That’s the only real difference between a good person and a bad person. The good blame themselves for other people’s sins—the bad blame others for their own. The Kalderash probably blame Buffy for your mother’s death."

Kennedy swallowed and used a Willowism: "Confused now."

"That dumb curse? Think about it. How did it punish Angel?"

"Made him feel bad about his crimes, just like . . . the way. I feel. Now."

Willow stroked her face. "That’s good, Kennedy. But you kinda missed the point. When Angel experienced perfect happiness, he became evil again and stayed that way. How did taking away his soul—his conscience—his guilt—his pain give the Kalderash vengeance?"

Kennedy gasped. "They didn’t wanna just punish him—they wanted to punish anyone who loved him."

"It was bound to happen," Willow said. "You can’t live hundreds of years without loving anybody or being loved. Dru loved Spike. He loved her—for some reason. Your mother’s clan understood that truth—love comes to everyone, sooner or later, whether they deserve it or not. And the Kalderash wanted to punish anyone who loved their enemy. And you, apparently, wanna continue the damn tradition."

"No-no one was gonna get hurt. The plan was to trap him in the Deeper Well along with all the other demons."

"That place is a prison for dead demons who ruled before Tyrannosaurus Rex was born. Angelus didn’t belong there—let alone Angel, literally one of my oldest friends."

"What do I do? How do I . . . ?"

"Live with it?"

Kennedy nodded.

"I can tell you your choices, but I can’t make them." One by one, Willow held up a finger as she spoke. "You can say it doesn’t matter—they were evil and deserved to die. You can go to Giles and confess and hope he only decides to lock you up for the rest of your life. You can go ahead and try to raise Angel—"

"I think I fell off my high horse for good."

"I can erase your memory again—"

Kennedy shook her head. "No. I can’t learn from mistakes—from crimes—I don’t remember."

"You could confess to Giles and beg for his mercy—but I don’t think that’s a good idea. You kinda blew your shot at mercy when you broke his arm. You could kill yourself—I wouldn’t tell anyone why you did it—but that’s the easy out. The last choice, that’s the toughest. You can live with the guilt and understand that you have totally exhausted all your second chances with me, Giles, the Council, the universe and probably Faith too."

"How do I make up for—?"

"You pretty much can’t, not ever, not in a billion years. No more than I can make up for flaying Warren. But if you give up this retarded plan of yours—"

Kennedy nodded.

"—After summer’s over, if you wanna help me put together some healing spells—"

Kennedy nodded again, her face suddenly brighter. As if maybe, just maybe, a Get Out of Eternal Damnation Free card was within reach.

"—Then you can help me get a very rare ingredient. The blood of a Mohra demon. But only after you get back from your summer in the Deeper Well."

"And you’ll pick me up to make sure I kept my word—and left Angel where he is."

"Darn tootin’."

Kennedy lowered her head to the floor—and wept.

Willow petted her left shoulder, twice, lightly, and then stood up and walked out of the trailer.

Leaving Kennedy on the floor.

Scene Five

Cut to:

Skyline, District of Columbia, day.

Cut to:

Ext., Wolfram & Hart office.

Cut to:

Int., Wolfram & Hart lobby.

"Fred" said, "Better."

She glanced at her watch. "Goodness! I don’t want to miss my flight. Rome did not exist in my day."

She walked out. Behind her, a score of humans and demons were literally nailed to the walls. Above them, written in blood of many colors: "Hey, Buffy!"

Scene Six

Cut to:

The ally north of the Hyperion Hotel.

Cut to:

The Pylean dragon.

Willow adjusted one of 60 black candles that formed a semi-circle around the dragon. She stood and joined her friends.

"You guys understand that you could end up in Pylea with us, right?"

Buff, Clem, Faith, Kennedy, Vi, Riley and Samantha Finn nodded.

"Dawn, you gotta move further back. I don’t know what would happen if you got transported out of this dimension."

The former Key nodded as Giles took her arm and gently, but firmly, pulled her 100 or so feet away.

Willow took Clem’s left hand in her right. She took Riley’s right hand in her left. Riley took Samantha’s hand. She took Buffy’s right hand in her left. Buff clasped hands with Faith, who clasped hands with Kennedy. Vi took Kennedy’s hand.

Willow began chanting a mixture of Gaelic, Romanian, Greek, Aramaic, Latin—and a few words of 12th Century English.

As she spoke, one of Finn’s men lit the candle nearest the dragon’s tail.

The Earth shook.

The sky turned pitch black.

Lightening flashed.

Clem joined the chanting.

The soldier continued lighting candles.

Riley joined the chanting—and mispronounced a couple words, which earned him a very hard look from Willow.

The soldier continued lighting candles.

Samantha joined the chanting.

The Earth lurched.

Buffy joined the chanting.

The ground literally rippled like waves gently lapping a beach.

Faith joined the chanting.

The dragon, the Witch, the demon, the Finns and the Slayers all began to glow.

Kennedy joined the chanting.

The soldier lit the last of the candles and ran like hell to where Dawn and Giles stood.

Vi joined the chanting.

A blinding light flashed.

The black clouds above disappeared, leaving only California sunshine.

The candles were out, thin trails of smoke meandering upward from them.

The dragon, Willow, the Finns and Clem were gone.

The four Slayers passed out. Dawn ran to her sister, Giles to Faith. Army medics tended to Kennedy and Vi.

To be continued in Act Two, part three

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (3C/5F)

DISCLAIMER: Buff the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the characters indigenous to those series are the legal property of Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB, UPN, FOX, et al. They are used here strictly for non-commercial purposes.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: BTVS S1 to S7 and Angel S1 to S5, especially Angel series finale. And, of course, Watchers: The Virtual Series, Season 1 and my own Angel/Watchers fan fic "Balloon Payments."

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: I’ve included a couple "flashbacks" shamelessly cut from Balloon Payments. For this I apologize, but it needed to be done.

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (3C/5F)

Act Two, part Three

Scene Seven

Cut to:

Ext., LAX, day.

Cut to:

Int., LAX.

Cut to:

Airline check-in desk.

Mrs. Meers thanked the young woman behind the counter and took her boarding pass back to her seat. She wore jeans and a t-shirt. Despite the fact she was over 50, young men looked her over. She smiled contentedly, as if the natural order of things had been restored after some terrible imbalance.

The young woman at the counter spoke into the PA system: "Flight 187 to Cleveland, Ohio, will be leaving in 40 minutes."

Cut to:

Ext., Pylean sky, day.

Cut to:

Scorched Pylean earth.

A flash of light enveloped the landscape—and there stood the Finns, Willow, Clem and the very large body of the dragon.

The dragon groaned.

Everyone but Willow jumped back.

The redheaded Wiccan looked slowly around.

"I kinda doubt the Pyleans are gonna be a problem for our reality anymore."

Riley and Samantha nodded. Riley said: "We’ll do a quick recon—"

"I’ll do it," Sam said. "You’ve got the most upper body strength in this outfit, you’re the guy who should pull the sword from the skull."

Willow said: "Remember, you have to pull it all the way out in one stroke or the dragon will heal—and probably kill us all. And don’t forget to run no matter what happens."

Her knees buckled and she dropped to the ground. The others gathered around her and asked if she was OK.

"Finey mcfine," Willow said. "Gonna need to rest a day before I can take us back. Sorry."

Sam ran her fingers through Willow’s hair. "Don’t be sorry, hon. You got the job done."

Riley, who looked extremely uncomfortable, nodded. "Clem, you’ve got recon duty."

"What exactly is that?" the wrinkled demon asked.

"Look around, don’t let anybody see or hear you, come back and let us know what you saw. I’d say to stay behind cover wherever you go, but I don’t see much cover. You see anything dangerous headed our way, especially if it’s really moving, you just yell and run like hell back here. Need a weapon?"

Clem shook his head. "My people are strictly pacifists."

Sam smiled. "First conscientious objector I ever met—and he’s a demon?"

Clem crept low and moved over the small, charred hillsides of Pylea.

Willow wondered aloud what might have happened.

Riley said they’d worry about that later. "Sam? We’ll take Willow about 200 feet from Godzilla here before I do anything. Keep your flame-thrower handy. You’ll have to protect her if anything happens."

The Finns draped Willow’s arms over their shoulders and carried Willow nearly 100 yards from the moaning but unmoving dragon with the sword in its skull.

Riley then walked very, very, very slowly toward the beast. He very gingerly removed his gear and his boots and slowly climbed up the dragon’s left foreleg, over the dragon’s shoulder and onto the back of the beast’s neck.

He crossed himself and muttered a brief prayer. He grabbed the hilt of the sword with both hands. He inhaled and exhaled three times—and pulled!

The sword came out in one stroke.

Riley jumped to the ground, rolled, grabbed is boots—and ran like hell.

He was about one third of the way there when an explosion shook the Pylean ground and the dragon burst into flames.

Willow and Sam were already dry-heaving when he reached them. Riley dropped to all fours and joined the gagging and retching.

"Man, that thing stinks," Sam said.

Clem ran back over the hills, stopped and gaped at the bonfire that had once been a dragon.

The wrinkled demon looked worried and scanned the area—and burst into a bright smile when he saw the others. He waved and jogged over to them.

Scene Eight

Cut to:

Ally north of Hyperion Hotel.

Cut to:

Medical Tent

Faith lay in her bed, reading a paperback Sherlock Holmes book.

Vi slept—and snored.

Kennedy buried her face in her pillow and sobbed. The pillow did a fair job of muffling the sound, but everyone was aware of the woman’s weeping.

The military men glared contemptuously. They had seen combat. They knew real pain.

Dawn sat on the edge of Buffy’s bed and whispered. "Shouldn’t we do something?"

Buffy shook her head. "Faith thinks it’s something personal—something we can’t help with."

"You’re taking Faith’s advice now?"

"She has her moments."

"What next? Giles delivering Angel’s eulogy?"

"I kind of doubt it, Dawn." Buffy frowned. "Where is Giles, anyway?"

"He’s calling the Council. The Army won’t let anyone make calls from here—something about security protocols."

"Has anyone told that Nina person about Angel?"

Dawn shook her head. "I don’t think so. Giles will probably have Xander do it."

"I should do it."

"You should get well." Dawn kissed her sister’s forehead. "I’m gonna sit with Kennedy."

"Don’t—"

"I won’t be a bother."

"Since when?"

"Since we fought those root monsters," Dawn said. "Or haven’t you noticed that I gave up whining and crying all the time?"

Buffy smiled. "If I’d known that’s what it took, I would’ve asked Willow to turn evil years ago."

"Just for that, I’m gonna kiss Skye on the mouth right in front of you next chance I get."

Buffy closed her eyes. "Like you really needed an excuse to torture your poor older sister."

Cut to:

Ext., Watcher’s Council, day.

Cut to:

Int., Council Library.

Maybe 40 books were piled on top of the conference table. Andrew sat on one side of the table, Xander stood opposite him.

Xander sat down. "You’re sure?"

Andrew nodded. "I’m certain. Except for gravity, maybe, almost none of our physical laws apply in the Deeper Well—and only one mystical law: Free Will."

"Which means what to those of us who never took college philosophy?"

"Don’t feel bad," Andrew said. "I didn’t go to college either."

"With your brains? Why the hell not?"

Andrew hung his head in shame. "I wanted to help Warren take over Sunnydale instead."

"First—I thought I told you to stop the brooding. It isn’t healthy. Second—you really gotta develop better ambitions, Andrew. Sunnydale was way beneath you. So was Warren—"

"Aren’t we getting off the point?"

Xander cringed. "Sorry. You were saying—"

"Resurrection spells might work in the Deeper Well, but you can’t bind living being there against his or her will. That’s how come Drogyn was able to leave the Well to visit us."

"But from what Giles said, I got the idea he was condemned to be the guardian of the well."

"That wouldn’t necessarily mean he was trapped there, Xander. A guard can’t catch an escaped prisoner if the guard isn’t allowed to leave the prison. Besides, if I understand what I’m reading here—and I’m afraid my Irish Gaelic isn’t very good—Drogyn chose to be guardian of the Deeper Well. I’m not sure if he felt a sense of duty or guilt—I read this word—" Andrew pointed to a page in one of the books. "—As ‘Obligation,’ but that could have more than one meaning."

Xander sighed. "If you’re right, this could be really bad."

"Are you going to tell me what’s going on?"

Xander shook his head. "I’d like to, Andrew, but I’m protecting the friend of a friend—and I can’t risk a leak, even from another friend."

Andrew smiled nervously. "You think of me as a friend?"

Xander looked startled—either by the question or by his own words. "Yeah. Yeah. I guess I do, pal." He smiled. "I guess you’re as much a part of my family now as anyone else."

Andrew blushed.

Scene Nine

Cut to:

Pylean sky, day.

A flash of light. Illyria appeared before the headless corpse of what had once been Lorne, still hanging by a chain from a wall.

"No insects feeding on the remains." She tilted her head. She sniffed Lorne’s remains. "I smell no decay on you. The Senior Partners have stripped this world bare of even the smallest life. Even the microbes here have been exterminated."

An explosion shook the ground.

Illyria did not seem startled—merely curious. As if she had learned something new for the first time in a million years.

Illyria closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.

"Dragon meat." She looked at the dead lounge singer. "If the Senior Partners are preparing a feast, I shall ram their main dish down their gullets!"

She scanned the horizon with her eyes.

In the distance, scarlet smoke billowed skyward.

Illyria ran toward it.

To be continued in Act Three, part one

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (4A/5F)

DISCLAIMER: Buff the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the characters indigenous to those series are the legal property of Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB, UPN, FOX, et al. They are used here strictly for non-commercial purposes.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: BTVS S1 to S7 and Angel S1 to S5, especially Angel series finale. And, of course, Watchers: The Virtual Series, Season 1 and my own Angel/Watchers fan fic "Balloon Payments."

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT:

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (4A/5F)

Act Three, Part One

Scene One

Cut to:

Ext., Cleveland Airport, Night.

Cut to:

Int., Cleveland Airport.

Mrs. Meers carried her suitcase into a car rental office.

Cut to:

Ext., Cleveland Skyline, sunrise.

Cut to:

Ext., Council Headquarters

Cut to:

Int., Xander’s workshop.

Xander attached an electronic device very near the sharp point of an arrow. The shaft was held in place by a vice. A crossbow lay several feet away on another workbench.

Marsha stuck her head in and knocked.

Xander jumped. "Don’t do that! I could’ve hurt somebody!"

"What are you doing?"

"Attaching a heat sensor to the arrow."

Marsha frowned.

"To prevent collateral damage."

She crossed her arms, clearly irked.

"I don’t want humans to be killed by our arrows, so I’m trying to rig a heat sensor and an explosive charge to the arrows," Xander said. "In theory, if the arrow gets to close to something with a body temperature, the arrow will self-destruct before it can hurt anybody."

"But wouldn’t the explosion hurt people?"

"If the charge is too strong or the charge detonates too late, yes."

"Wouldn’t it be easier if we just didn’t shoot at people at all?"

"Vampires generally like to attack innocent bystanders," Xander said.

"Well I don’t like it."

"Giles probably won’t let you near a crossbow for a long time anyway," he said.

"How come?"

"You’re too young."

She glared at him. "I am not too young!"

"Sensing a good moment to change the subject, I ask: What brings you here, Marshster?"

"Marshster?"

"Sorry. It’s awful hard to come up with a nickname for Marsha."

"I need advice—about a boy."

"Shoot."

She glowered at him.

Xander blushed, perhaps remembering the time a stray bullet hit Marsha in the butt. "Just ask me what you want to know and if I have even a small clue I will share it with you. But I gotta warn you, when it comes to romance—I am even more clueless than the average man."

"I like this boy. He’s gorgeous and sweet and brave—"

Xander smiled and shuffled his feet.

"—and bookish—"

Xander frowned. "Please, please for the love of God don’t tell me you have a crush on Giles!"

"EW! I mean, he’s nice and all, but—EW! That’d be like, like—having a crush on my grandfather! "

"Willow had a crush on Giles once," Xander said.

Marsha frowned. "I thought Willow had a crush on Rowena."

"This was before she met Rowena," Xander said. "And was I the last one to know about those two?"

"I think Rowena was the last one to know."

Xander nodded. "Well, of course, love on a Hellmouth."

"I’m crazy about Andrew," Marsha said.

Xander closed his eyes and sighed. "And the Hellmouth strikes again."

"What’s that supposed to mean?"

"Um, Marsha, honey, you do know Andrew’s too old for you, right?" And under his breath, Xander muttered: "Not to mention gayer than San Francisco."

"Xander, an entire city can’t be gay."

Xander rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "Just once in my life, God, could you please help?"

Cut to:

Ext., Watcher’s Council.

Cut to:

Ext., car parked opposite council.

Cut to:

Int., front seat of car.

Mrs. Meers smiled at something.

On the other side of the street, a small blonde girl and a young man (Xander Harris) emerged into the daylight.

"Rest in peace, dear," Mrs. Meers said.

Scene Two

Cut to:

Ext., Ally north of Hyperion Hotel, day.

Cut to:

Ext., medical tent.

Cut to:

Buffy, Faith and Vi in wheelchairs, chatting.

Kennedy wheeled over and joined them.

"Buffy, could we talk?"

"Sure."

The two Slayers wheeled over to the only truly private place at the ad hoc military base—the patch of scorched concrete on which the Pylean Dragon had once rested.

"I’m sorry about Angel."

"You didn’t even know him."

"Actually, I tried to kill him once."

Buffy frowned. "When was this?"

"When I found out he killed my birth mother—Jenny Calendar."

"Oh. My. God."

Kennedy shrugged. "For what it’s worth, I’m not really happy that you’re hurting right now."

Buffy frowned and scowled. "And you wanted to talk to me because . . . "

"You knew my mom, right?"

"Not very well."

"Yeah, but you can tell me things about her."

"Like?"

"Did Giles love her?"

Buffy smiled. "He adored her. I think she kinda snuck up on him. They weren’t exactly what you’d call a match. He’s a librarian—she was a techno-pagan."

"Techno-pagan?"

"She blended ancient rites with cyberspace."

"Sounds a little bit like Willow."

Buffy shuddered. "OK, that’s a concept I’m going to quickly forget."

"Where did they go on dates?"

Buffy smiled again. "Let’s see, for their first date Jenny took Giles to a football game—"

"You’re joking."

"I had the same reaction when she took him to a monster truck rally."

Kennedy burst out laughing. "Giles?"

Buffy smiled. "Hard to believe, huh?"

"I kinda hate to bring up a sore subject—"

"Why didn’t I kill Angel before he killed your mom?"

Kennedy nodded.

Buffy pursed her lips. Kennedy nodded a couple times, then waited patiently. As if she knew it would be difficult for Buffy to find the words.

Finally, the blonde Slayer said: "What would you do, Kennedy, if some vampire sired Willow? Or Faith? Or Marsha?"

"If I could make that curse work—"

"And if someone died before you had the chance?"

Kennedy didn’t answer.

"I thought I could reach him," Buffy said. "Angel. By the time I realized he wasn’t inside Angelus—people were dead. Xander made the same mistake when a friend of his became a vampire. Xander tried to reach his friend—and Jesse tried to feed on him. I think that’s why Xander hates—I mean hate—Angel so much."

Kennedy nodded. "Thanks."

"Did any of this help you?"

Kennedy shrugged. "I’m not sure, but—" She hesitated. "—I think I owe you an apology, Buffy. I thought you slept with vampires because . . . " Kennedy couldn’t find the word she wanted and the conversation sank into an awkward silence.

The silence continued.

And continued.

And continued.

Until Buffy smiled and said: "You thought I was a vampire slut?"

Kennedy looked at her feet.

"Same thought crossed my mind when I was with Spike," Buffy said. "I wish I could explain it. I’m not proud of it or—"

"I forgive you," Kennedy said. "Maybe I’m out of line to say it, but I’m saying it anyway. I forgive you."

"For sleeping with Angel? Or with Spike?"

"For not killing Angel right away," Kennedy said. "If it had been Willow or Mia or Faith—or even you—I don’t think I coulda done it right away."

"You may have to, Kennedy," Buffy said. "Comes with the stake. A lot of people might be alive today if—"

"My Kalderash kin had been satisfied with simply giving Angel a healthy dose of guilt."

Scene Three

Cut to:

Ext., Pylean sky, day.

Cut to:

Ext., a crude encampment near the burning carcass of a Pylean dragon.

Willow, Riley and Samantha Finn all tried their best to eat their MREs—but their teary eyes and constant gagging made it clear that none of them was terribly fond of the scent of burning dragon meat.

Nearby, Clem nibbled happily on the limb of some cloven-hoofed creature. The flies did not bother him. Neither did the maggots. He had his back to the humans, which suggested he was well aware of how revolting his eating habits were to people.

Riley asked Willow when she thought they could go back.

"Another day. I’m sorry I can’t do it any sooner—"

Sam waved her hand. "No big, Willow. Bringing that thing here took a lot. We don’t expect you to perform miracles."

Riley said: "Actually, we do."

She glared at him. "You wanna spend the next month on our sofa?"

"As my wife said, we don’t expect you to perform miracles."

Clem suddenly landed, face first, at their feet. He was bleeding, but still alive.

The Finns grabbed their flame-throwers and positioned themselves between Illyria and Clem. Willow stood up beside them on trembling legs.

"Identify yourselves and persuade me to spare your lives," Illyria said.

Mr. and Mrs. Finn fired their flame-throwers.

To Be Continued in Act Three, Part Two

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (4B/5F)

DISCLAIMER: See top of thread.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: See top of thread.

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT:

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (4B/5F)

Act Three, Part Two

Scene Four

Mr. and Mrs. Finn fired their flame-throwers.

Illyria moved swiftly—too swiftly for a naked human eye to follow. She dodged the flames, ran down the small hill, circled behind the Finns, dislocated Samantha’s left shoulder, broke Riley’s right leg, punched Willow’s belly, kicked Clem’s head, took the flame-throwers from each of the Finns and flung them at the burning dragon—then returned to deal with her victims.

The flame-throwers exploded moments later, scattering metal fragments for 100 feet in all directions.

Illyria grabbed Riley by his neck and held him above her head. "Who are you? Do you serve the Senior Partners?"

Samantha stood up and looked around—and snatched up a large rock. It was so big that Sam could barely hold it.

"I could grind your mate’s bones into powder in the time it would take you to strike my head with that pebble."

Willow said: "Illyria? Do you remember me?"

The small blue woman looked over her shoulder and tilted her head to one side. "You are the one we rescued from the Kalderash and the Meers woman."

Willow nodded. "So you know I am not a big fan of the Senior Partners."

"I know nothing of the sort. The Senior Partner purged all their records of your sins. They would not likely do that for an enemy."

Sam and Clem both turned puzzled looks on Willow.

The red head ignored them and continued talking to Illyria. "I don’t know anything about that, Illyria. I just know Angel was my friend and I’m gonna miss him for the rest of my life."

"I have access to Fred’s memories of you. She did not realize you lusted for her."

Willow said: "If you have Fred’s memories, then you know what kind of person I am."

"Wesley thought you gentle, child-like, until you told him that you flayed a man."

Samantha Finn said: "That guy needed flaying."

Willow gaped at Sam. She looked back at Illyria. "How do we know you did not do all this?" She waved at the scoured landscape.

Illyria said: "I did not. My word should be proof enough."

"Sorry."

"Why would I lie to you, human? Do I have cause to fear your weak race? Should I tremble before my wounded prisoners and tell them stories to avoid incurring your pitiful, impotent wrath?"

Willow waved her hand.

A wave of energy, in the form of white light, shot from Illyria’s body and into Willow’s.

Cut to:

Willow falling to the ground.

Cut to:

Riley falling to the ground.

Cut to:

Pylean sky.

Cut to:

Illyria materializing in the Pylean sky.

Cut to:

Illyria falling to the ground and landing.

The impact shook the ground like an Earthquake and sent debris flying into the air.

Willow dropped to her knees. Blood dripped from her nose. She gasped and coughed, gasped and coughed and, finally, spoke. She wheezed between each word, but she got it out: "I’m very potent," Willow said.

Illyria crawled out of the crater created by the impact of her fall. She stood up and walked stiffly toward Willow. "A warrior," she said. "Would you care to join my crusade?"

"Crusade?"

"To exterminate the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart—and deliver as much misfortune as possible upon the Senior Partners and their collaborators."

Scene Five

Cut to:

Ext., Washington, D. C. skyline, day.

Cut to:

Ext., Wolfram & Hart office.

Cut to:

Int., Wolfram & Hart lobby.

The bodies had been removed; the corpses of the demons would be destroyed. SOP.

Kate Lockley stood in the lobby, gazing up at the words: "Hey, Buffy."

Mr. Ssoj sidled up beside her and said: "We’ve—"

Kate gasped and spun around, a small semi-auto suddenly appearing in her fist.

Mr. Ssoj seemed mildly amused. "Stand down, Ms. Lockley."

"I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t—"

Mr. Ssoj waved his hand as she holstered her gun. "It’s my fault for sneaking up on you. You’d be surprised how often I’ve nearly been shot by my own people."

Kate scowled. An ex-police officer, Kate did not take the idea of near accidents with guns as lightly as Mr. Ssoj did. "You were saying, sir?"

"Oh. Yes. We’ve identified the ‘Buffy’ in this scrawl. Buffy Summers. A former romantic partner of Angel’s."

"Blonde, short, pretty, early 20s?"

"You’ve heard of her?"

Kate shook her head. "I met her—once. I threatened to put Angel in a cell with direct exposure to sunlight and she immediately came to his defense. A couple minutes later, they were having a nasty and very public fight in the middle of the squad room. I pegged them for ex-lovers." Kate frowned. "She wore a crucifix. She couldn’t’ve been a vampire."

"She’s a vampire Slayer, actually."

Kate looked queasy. "Angel dated a vampire killer? And I thought I had lousy taste in partners."

"A Slayer," Mr. Ssoj corrected. "In each generation, there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the darkness. She is—The Slayer."

"One of a kind?"

Mr. Ssoj nodded. "Until very recently, yes there was only one Slayer in all the world. And only one vampire with a soul in the entire world. They met on a Hellmouth in a town called Sunnydale."

Kate laughed bitterly. "The Only Slayer and the Only Ensoulled Vampire. Poor jerks had to fall in love. It’s like a Harlequin romance novel on acid!"

"But all that has changed," Mr. Ssoj said. "Someone turned all the potential Slayers in the world into full blown Slayers—and we’ve found evidence of at least one other Ensoulled vampire in the ruins of Wolfram & Hart’s Los Angeles office."

Kate pointed to the bloody writing on the wall over their heads. "But what would a demon want with a Slayer?"

"It’s pretty obvious that Illyria is miffed with the Senior Partners—"

"Sir? With all due respect, I wouldn’t call the murders of 5,000 human beings and demons the behavior of a miffed person."

"—I was going to say that I think Illryia expects to draw this Buffy person and ourselves into a conflict."

"Might be a good idea for us to team up, if she’s a born vampire fighter and a former resident of a Hellmouth."

"I disagree, Ms. Lockley. We found something else, something in the computer records of the LA office. Wolfram & Hart was manufacturing evidence against our company—evidence that we were in league with the Senior Partners."

"So, sir?"

"Illyria left a similar message for me at another Wolfram & Hart office," Mr. Ssoj said. "If Illyria thinks our firm is working with the Senior Partners—"

"We and anyone in our offices would be fair game in Illyria’s mind."

"And if she convinces this Slayer person or any Watchers—"

"Who?"

"A competing firm," Mr. Ssoj said. "They’ve hired some Slayers and have gone into our business. They’ve even snagged a Defense Department contract to dispose of a very dangerous dragon."

Kate Lockley said: "So we need to do what, sir? Beat the competition—or ask them to work on a joint venture to kill Illyria before she claims any more innocent by-standers?"

"We need to keep the Watchers—and the federal government—from learning about this message until we can find the evidence that will prove our firm is still on the side of the angels."

"You’ve lost me, sir."

"Buffy Summers? In addition to being a former consort of Angel’s, she was once romantically involved with Col. Riley Finn, U.S. Army Special Anti-Demon Forces."

Kate Lockley whistled. "And sometimes the White House listens to him."

Ssoj nodded. "His recommendations have cost us five contracts already! I’ll never understand a soldier who worries about killing innocent bystanders. What does he think war is?"

His cell phone rang and he excused himself.

Kate watched him step into the street, then looked around. Once it was clear she was alone she again looked up at the bloody words: "Hey, Buffy."

"Why would any demon deliberately try to piss off a Slayer?" She looked back toward the doors through which her boss had just left. "And why don’t I believe him?"

Scene Six

Cut to:

Pylean wasteland.

Red smoke continued to billow up from the still burning carcass of the dragon.

Illyrira and Willow glared at one another.

"An alliance? Not interested," Willow said. "You’re a demon."

"As was the vampire, who you called friend."

"I knew him. You, I don’t."

"If you are truly Angel’s friend, then we share enemies—the Senior Partners. They sent that—" Illryia nodded toward the burning dragon. "—and an army to kill Angel and the others. I alone lived. The Senior Partners will not rest until I am dead. I intend to make my death a very painful one—painful for them."

"So far, all I’ve seen you do is beat up innocent people." She glanced at Clem. "Sorry, I meant—"

Clem coughed up a little blood. He smiled weakly. "Hey, that’s cool."

Illryia said: "With your power, we might erase Wolfram & Hart from the face of the Earth—and all the other worlds I know."

"Still hearing nothing but sound," Willow said.

"The one called Lorne was among our allies. He did not wish to remain with the cause once his part in exterminating the Black Thorn was ended. He returned here—and the Senior Partners exterminated every trace of life both seen and unseen from this world. Pylea is a scorched shell now."

Before Willow could say anything, Illyria morphed into Fred.

"The creeps sent Harmony to kill Fred’s parents. I staked her, but too late to save the Burkles. She fed on them and Fred’s father would have risen, but I decapitated him."

Willow looked very slowly around her and then at "Fred."

"What did they do to the town?"

"Fred" spread her hands. "I do not know. If their pattern holds, they may have erased all life in the village—or perhaps the province." She became Illyria again and shrugged. "It is possible you will return to your world to find it is no more."

"Illyria, why are you here?"

"The Senior Partners searched here—perhaps for me. I use this empty, lifeless world as a base from which to strike at my enemies."

"Meaning?"

"By the conclusion of what you call a week, every Wolfram & Hart office on your Earth shall be empty of the living—and the undead also."

Willow shuddered. She looked at Riley. He was pale and he clutched his injured leg.

He said: "If that’s true, there’s a good chance the government’s declared her a major threat. The White House wasn’t exactly thrilled when she killed D’Hoffryn."

Willow frowned. "Why not?"

"Private sector adviser on fighting the War on Terror," Samantha said. She was also pale and she clutched her dislocated shoulder.

Willow sighed. "I’ll never forgive myself for voting for Nader."

Riley said: "As far as the public would know, her attacks on Wolfram & Hart would look like a string of terrorist attacks. The White House would have to send Black Ops teams after her just to prevent a panic—and to prevent the Kerry campaign from saying the administration had botched the war effort."

Illryia said: "The tall, bland man speaks an ugly truth. A ruler cannot afford to appear weak—even if he must temporarily side with an enemy to avoid that appearance. If this one’s assessment is correct, your government will also seek the end of my life and the end of my allies’ lives."

Willow said: "Not the best argument for us to team up."

Illyria smiled: "But I have information that may make it profitable to you to spare my life."

And with those words, Illyria took Willow aside.

Clem and the Finns watched the conversation. They watched as, slowly, a grin appeared on Willow’s face. Followed by an ever-widening smile.

Clem gasped: "I really hope this works."

As if he had heard something the Finns could not.

After a few more minutes, Willow walked back to her companions.

Willow and Illyria were holding hands.

To be continued in Act Three, Part Three

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (4C/5F)

DISCLAIMER: See top of thread.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: See top of thread.

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: For those of you who never read "Balloon Payments," Xander has never met Mrs. Meers, mother of Warren. Nor has Marsha . . .

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (4C/5F)

Act Three, Part Three

Scene Seven

Cut to:

The lake near the Council, day.

Xander and Marsha walked along the shoreline.

"Marsha, um, you know how Willow likes Rowena?"

"I think even a kid half my age would know how Willow likes Rowena."

Xander looked at the sky and silently mouthed, "Thanks loads!" To Marsha, he said: "I’m going to tell you something, but it is very private and you can’t repeat it to anyone except your Watcher."

Marsha stopped and looked worried. "What is it? Are you OK? Can I help?"

"I’m fine, Marsha, thanks. It’s just that I think Andrew might like somebody . . . and I think it’s . . ."

"HELP! HELP!" A woman ran up to them. She was about 6-feet-tall, late 40s or early 50s, beautiful—and covered head to toe with scratches. Her sweater was ripped in several places and her lower lip was bloody—almost as if she’d bitten herself.

Xander whispered, "Thank you, God," and ran to the woman. Naturally, Marsha got there first.

"You have to help me," Mrs. Meers said. She pointed somewhere behind her, away from both the lake and the Council. "Creatures, they attacked my son—"

Marsha snapped, "Get help," and ran in the direction Mrs. Meers had pointed.

Xander yelled: "MARSHA, DON’T!" He reached for his cell phone and got it out—

But froze when he saw that Mrs. Meers had a derringer aimed at his face.

"Even if you were a Slayer, I doubt you could move fast enough to dodge a shot at this range."

Xander sighed. "Mrs. Meers?"

"How’d you guess?"

"Next time, I’m gonna have Willow plant a picture in all our heads so—"

"Shut up and come with me, Mr. Harris."

"So this was planned."

She thumbed back the hammer of the derringer.

Xander swallowed hard. "I’m going to lower my hands now."

Before she answered, he lowered both his hands. But he still held his cell phone.

"Move right now or I’ll shoot you."

Xander shook his head and held her eyes as his thumb pressed a speed dial. "If you wanted me dead, you would have shot me by now."

"I can kidnap the girl if you’d rather."

Xander thumbed another button—the volume control. "You know she’s a Slayer, right? Kidnapping her would be very, very unhealthy."

"Slayers don’t kill humans."

"After what you did to Willow, most Slayers I know would make an exception."

"She deserves to be punished."

"Not anymore," Xander said. "Thanks to you, Hell lost its lien on Willow’s soul."

"I’ll settle for putting her on death row."

"If that’s the plan, Mrs. Meers, shoot me right now. I’m not gonna help you."

"You’re awful young to die, Mr. Harris."

"I’ve helped save the world a few times, lady. I can’t say my life has been a waste. And if my death makes your life harder? That’s a bonus I can die with."

"I’ll leave a sample of Willow’s DNA next to your body. Who do you think the police will believe? A little girl? Or hard science?"

A voice on the cell phone, Robin Woods’, said: "The police will believe the Slayer who has a crossbow aimed at your heart."

Xander and Mrs. Meers both very slowly turned their heads.

Some 30 or 40 feet away stood Mia, a crossbow in her hands. Beside her and behind her stood 20 more Slayers.

Xander snatched the little gun from Mrs. Meers’ hand.

Mrs. Meers groaned, furious. "How the hell—?"

Xander said: "Slayers can hear better than ordinary humans. When you yelled for help, every Slayer within 100 yards heard and came running." He raised the cell phone to his face and said: "We got her, Robin." Xander nodded. "I was planning to do that, but . . . does she have to be in once piece?"

Scene Eight

Cut to:

The ally north of the Hyperion Hotel

Soldiers still stood sentry duty near the scorched concrete where the dragon had once been. The candles, no longer lit, still stood in a semi-circle around the spot.

The candles suddenly lit themselves.

The entire area was enveloped by a blinding flash of light.

When the flash faded, everyone could see the Finns, Clem and Willow sprawled on the ground.

Soldiers and medics ran to them. Buffy, Kennedy, Willow and Vi all rolled their wheelchairs toward the unconscious foursome. Dawn ran to Clem; Giles to Willow. Buffy arrived ahead of the other Slayers and, locking her wheelchair in place, stood on wobbling legs—and dropped to her knees beside Riley and his wife.

Although the four travelers were unconscious, there was no obvious sign that any of them suffered from physical injuries.

As if the spell that had transported them back to our reality had healed any injuries they suffered in Pylea.

Scene Nine

Cut to:

Ext., Downtown Los Angeles, evening.

Cut to:

Ext., Subway restaurant

Connor was flirting with the woman behind the counter—a woman roughly a decade his senior.

"I see you still have a thing for older women," said "Fred."

Connor turned and smiled. "Hey, Fred! I haven’t seen you—"

"Since your father made his devil’s bargain with the Senior Partners," said "Illyria’s" voice.

Connor frowned. "Now you sound like—"

"We need to talk. Now. While there’s still time."

Cut to:

A rooftop somewhere in LA., sunset.

Connor sat on the edge of the rooftop, looking down. He was clearly devastated.

Illyria sat beside him. She looked like herself again. Apparently "Fred’s" only remaining value was to serve as camouflage for the ancient demon’s private war. "I regret that I must bring you news that gives you grief."

"Is there any chance—?"

"I am not a sorceress," said the ancient demon. "When I ruled I had such beings in my service and a few might have devised a means for bringing your father back to you. Legend speaks of an ancient spell that allows the resurrection of one vampire in exchange for the voluntary deaths of five others."

"But you can’t resurrect my dad."

"It is unfortunate, but I do not possess the knowledge or the skill. If I did, I would resurrect Wesley and hide him in Pylea."

Connor nodded. "I hope Pylea is not like the dimension where I grew up."

Illyria tilted her head. "That you survived that dimension speaks well of you, your bloodline, and the skills of your foster father Holtz."

"How are we going to get the creeps who killed Angel?"

Illyria shrugged. "I have a plan. If it works, we may harm the Senior Partners—but possibly at the price of our lives."

"And if it doesn’t work?"

"We will die horribly—and without purpose."

"Like dad."

"Your father’s actions have inflicted great harm on the demonic worlds. A power vacuum as enormous as the one he created will spark bloody feuds among those who would sit upon the thrones he emptied. Many demons will die—but in other worlds, leaving this small and vulnerable place safe from much collateral damage. I do not pretend to understand human values, but I do not believe many of your race would dismiss his death as entirely without purpose or heroism. Some of your kind might well romanticize it."

"He said they couldn’t destroy him as long as I was safe."

"Unlike most vampires, your father had a gift for seeing and speaking the truth—even about himself. It is a rare gift. You are blessed if you inherited it."

"What’s your plan, Illyria?"

"Before we speak of that, I would ask that you cease lusting for me."

"I’m 19, Illyria. Guys my age? We’re pretty much lusting 24/7."

"When does it end?"

"When I’m 40, maybe?"

"I pity the females of the human race, that they must make do with such sorry creatures as the males of their species."

Connor glared at her. "Where do we go and how do we start?"

"After tonight, you will not see me alive again—if my plan works."

"I don’t wanna be a jerk here, but will you please get to the point?"

"Before we begin, I must show you the spines of four demons I killed."

"Spines?"

"Trophies I took before I went, too late, to aide Wesley. I believe five such spines will be useful to one who knows a means to inflict much harm upon the Senior Partners."

"OK, that’s pretty damned nasty. Where do we get the fifth spine?"

"If my plan works, mine will be delivered to you."

"And if your plan doesn’t work?"

"Lorne’s spine is in Pylea."

To be continued in Act Four, Part one

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (5A/5F)

DISCLAIMER: See top of thread.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: See top of thread.

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT:

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (5A/5F)

Act Four, Part One

Scene One

Cut to:

Ext., Cleveland skyline, sunrise.

Cut to:

Ext., Watcher’s Council Headquarters.

Cut to:

Int., Watcher’s Infirmary.

Willow lay on a hospital bed. Giles sat beside her.

Willow’s eyes fluttered open.

The Englishman smiled down on her. "Good morning, Willow."

"Buffy and the gang?"

"They are recovering much more quickly than you anticipated. I believe it was wise for Faith and Vi to join Kennedy and Buffy in lending you their strength."

"The others?"

"They are still rather drained, but Clem and the Finns are doing well physically. Riley and Samantha have been asked to brief the President on the Illyria situation."

Willow shuddered. "I had to make a promise to her, Giles—"

"I understand. You drew on her strength to heal the others and bring all of you back to this reality."

"Any chance I drained enough of her strength to put her out of business?"

"I am afraid not. Since your return day before yesterday—"

"I’ve been out that long?"

"—Illyria has annihilated the Montreal, Mexico City, Rome, Paris, Madrid, London and Belfast offices of Wolfram & Hart."

"Why am I not surprised that Wolfram & Hart would have offices in Northern Ireland? I mean, it’s gotta be on a Hellmouth—"

Giles coughed. "There are no Hellmouths in either the British Isles or the Middle East. All evils indigenous to those places are man made evils."

"Oh—kay, changing the really depressing subject—I never thought I would say this about someone who wants to destroy Wolfram & Hart, but—"

Giles nodded. "We need to kill Illyria. If that is possible." The Englishman took off his glasses. "But we have another, more urgent problem."

"What now?"

"Mrs. Meers attacked Xander—he’s quite all right. But she also threatened to harm Marsha."

"Marsha would kick her ass."

"I rather wish she had. But, to get to the point, Mrs. Meers is now our prisoner. The question is—what do we do with her?"

"We can’t kill her, Giles."

He glared angrily at her, as if she had made an immoral suggestion. "If we do not, she will strike again. Because of her, Warren’s golem was able to shoot both Marsha and Rowena, Xander was held at gunpoint and she has apparently taken an unhealthy interest in Marsha."

"What do you mean?"

"Robin snuck into Mrs. Meers’ hotel room. Mrs. Meers has been watching the Watchers for several days and has taken many pictures. She apparently decided to attack Xander when she realized you were not in town and could not be framed for a crime against Marsha."

Willow’s eyes turned bitch black—then, seconds later, returned to normal. "I can’t kill her, Giles. I could get addicted to killing."

Giles sighed. "As one who has killed—I am aware of that temptation. But what alternative do we have?"

"Gimme a laptop?"

"Willow, you’re an adult now. If the authorities catch you—"

"Giles? We gotta protect the people we love, but we can’t degenerate into . . . whatever the hell she is."

"What precisely do you intend to do?"

"Erase her bank accounts. Erase her credit history. Erase her social security number. If I can find where she was born, and where the original records are kept, I can erase any record she was born here. If I can find out where she went to school, I can erase her school records."

"I fail to see how—"

"Then I can hack into courthouse and Department of Corrections records and make it look like she was supposed to be in prison for life but somehow got released by mistake. After that—" Willow snapped her fingers. "One phone call to the police and, with any luck, she goes to prison for life. Without parole."

Giles whistled. "Robin was right. It is quite unwise to make you angry."

"She should never have threatened Marsha. She has every right to hate me, but she has simply got to stop hurting the people I love. We all have sins enough of our own without having to pay for someone else’s."

Giles put his glasses back on. "Perhaps your way is best. Andrew burst into tears when I advocated killing Mrs. Meers."

Willow smiled. "Andrew’s basically a sweetie, Giles. I really think he wants to spare you the guilt that comes with killing."

"But I have killed."

"But Andrew doesn’t know that, Giles. I don’t think he cares much about Warren’s mother—I think Andrew wants to protect your innocence."

"We really must make a man of that boy."

"Giles? Even I haven’t got the Magicks to pull that off."

"Well, now that we appear to have settled that—what do you propose we do about Illyria?"

Willow sat up, then fell back. "Whoa! Dizzy now!"

"Perhaps you should rest before—"

"I’ll rest later. We gotta stop Illyria and I think I have a plan. I’m afraid it’s kinda based on my breaking a promise to a demon."

"Watchers have been known to break promises to demons, Willow," Giles said. "When fighting a war, it is dreadfully difficult to keep your hands clean."

 

Scene Two

Cut to:

Arial view of Acapulco, Day.

Cut to:

Ext., A Sheraton Hotel.

Cut to:

Int., hallway outside Room #5542.

The elevator door opened and Buffy, now walking with crutches, moved slowly down the hall to Room #5542. She rang the bell and waited.

A gorgeous blonde answered. Nina Ash.

"Nina Ash?"

Nina Ash shook her head and lied: "No, my name is Nancy Atherton."

"Let me identify myself." She leaned against one crutch and wrestled her wallet out of her jeans. She showed Nina a photograph.

Of Angel and Buffy, dancing at the prom.

Nina looked stricken. "Y-you’re B-Buffy, aren’t you?"

The Slayer nodded.

Tears ran down Nina’s cheeks. "W-would you like to come in?"

Cut to:

Int., Room #5542.

They sat on the balcony.

"He killed a dragon?" Nina asked.

"I don’t think any Slayer ever did it. A Slayer’s a—"

"I know. He told me everything about you." Nina frowned. "Everything except how gorgeous you are."

Buffy smiled weakly. "Angel was never much for sharing. That always annoyed the hell out of me."

"Um, could your friend Willow—?"

"I can’t think of anyone else who could, but I’m not even sure she could manage his resurrection, Miss Ash."

"Nina. I don’t think we’re going to be best friends . . . but I don’t see us as enemies."

"OK, Nina, then. And you call me Buffy. But . . . I don’t think it would be a good idea to bring Angel back. If the Senior Partners found out he was alive, anywhere, they’d be willing to detonate a nuclear device, or do something worse, if that’s even possible, to kill him again."

"We have to let him go, don’t we?"

"Yeah, I’m afraid we do."

"It’s the only sensible thing."

"The mature thing," Buffy said.

"Mature and sensible really sucks, doesn’t it?"

"I’d much rather stick it to the Senior Partners and the Powers That Be," Buffy said.

"So what do we do?"

"His jacket survived, sort of. Willow thinks we should bury it, put up a marker."

"Where?"

" "If there’s a place you’d . . . I mean, he was your boyfriend. I’m just his ex."

"You were his first love, Buffy. You were the first woman he’d touched in over 100 years." Nina frowned. "No wonder that damned ‘perfect happiness’ clause kicked in."

Buffy blushed. "He told you about that?"

Nina abruptly changed the subject. "We’ll figure out the right place for his marker, Buffy, but . . . I have to ask. Would the Senior Partners go after my sister or my niece?"

"The Watcher’s Council of Cleveland will find a way to protect you. I’m afraid you might have to change your identity."

"From what Angel told me about Watchers . . . is the fact I’m a werewolf gonna be a problem?"

Scene Three

Cut to:

Ext., Seattle skyline, day.

Cut to:

Ext., Enemy Management, Inc.

Cut to:

Kate Lockley’s cubicle.

Kate’s fingers flew over the computer keyboard. Her eyes were fixed on several notebooks, open and scattered on her desk, and she didn’t even look at the computer screen.

There was not one single, solitary typo or spelling error in the report she had written thus far.

Kate’s phone rang. She punched the intercom button with her right hand—and continued typing furiously.

"Lockley."

A female voice said: "This is Enemy Management, Inc., correct?"

"No, ma’am, it’s Energy Maintenance, International."

"You are lying to me, former detective Kate Lockley."

Kate stopped typing.

Silence.

More silence.

Then Kate said: "Who are you?"

"Illyria. Tonight, after sunset, I intend to claim the life of your employer in his home before the eyes of his wife and children. I may claim their lives also. Perhaps I shall make trophies of their spines."

"If this is a joke—"

A busy signal made it clear that, joke or not, the call was over.

Kate snatched up the receiver and pressed a speed dial.

"Threat Level One," she said. "Illyria wants to kill our boss—and somehow she got his home address."

She hung up and looked around for something.

She spied her purse on the floor, scooped it up.

Kate rummaged through it and took out her cell phone. She punched in 4—1—1. She listened and said: "Cleveland, Ohio." Listened, said: "Business." Listened, said: "Watchers. Council."

She switched the cell phone from her right hand to her left and grabbed a pen and wrote down a number.

Then she punched in a phone number.

"Is Buffy Summers there?"

She listened.

"A demon named Illyria has threatened my boss . . . and I think I might be working for the bad guys. . . . My name is Kate Lockley . . . I work for Enemy Management, Inc. . . . Is there someone there I can talk to? . . . I used to know a vampire with a soul named Angel. . . . I can grab the next flight to Cleveland. I’ll get there ASAP, Mr. Woods."

Kate hung up. She put her phone back in her purse, stood and slung the purse over her shoulder. She turned to leave—

Mr. Ssoj smiled at her and said: "Where do you think you’re going, Ms. Lockley? Heaven—or Hell?"

The gun in his hand suggested that Kate Lockley was not likely going to Cleveland in this life.

Cut to:

Ext., A garbage dump, night.

Mr. Ssoj got out of his car and opened the trunk. He grunted as he lifted Kate Lockley’s body out.

Illyria tackled him.

Cut to:

Ext., the same garbage dump.

"Fred" sat on the hood of the car. Her clothes were spattered with glistening purple liquid—possible demon’s blood. She held a cell phone.

"If you hurry, maybe you can save the woman’s life. She’s bleeding from three gunshot wounds, but she’s still breathing. . . . No, the other man is dead . . . No, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that in this world a man without a head is not going to come back."

To be continued in Act Four, Part Two

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (5B/5F)

DISCLAIMER: See top of thread.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: See top of thread.

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT:

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (5B/5F)

Act Four, Part Two

Scene Four

TWO DAYS LATER

Cut to:

Arial view, the Sunnydale crater, day.

Cut to:

A traditional headstone, viewed from behind.

Three Slayers (now leaning on canes), a Watcher and a werewolf (presently in her lovely human form), watched as Clem finished with the marker.

"Who’d’a thought his fingernails could carve stone?" Faith asked.

The floppy-eared demon stood and grinned. "My best work ever," he said.

He stepped to one side and, walking backward, moved alongside Buffy.

Buffy grinned. "Was the inscription your idea?"

"Willow’s. Shame she couldn’t be here."

Buffy nodded. "She’s dealing with Mrs. Meers."

The inscription was brief, yet fitting enough:

Liam Angel

Long lived, but didn’t look it

May The Powers (Finally) Have Mercy on His Soul

Clem frowned. "Now what do we do?"

Giles coughed and cleaned his glasses, never a good sign. "I do not wish to rush, but we have responsibilities and an extraordinarily dangerous demon to stop. I do wish Willow had not insisted on having this . . . tribute just now."

Buffy gave him a withering look. Kennedy whispered to Faith: "I think Buffy picked up Willow’s Resolve Face."

The youngest of the three Slayers stepped forward and said: "To be fair to Giles, I gotta get to the Deeper Well. I gave my word and I wanna keep it—after I say something to your ex."

Without another word, Kennedy walked up to the grave and knelt before it.

"I don’t know if this will help, but I forgive you for killing my mother. This vengeance stuff is fairy tale crap and I think it should end now."

Kennedy rejoined Faith.

Nina Ash addressed the grave. Tears ran down her face. "I am so angry with you for dying on me. But I will always love you."

Buffy just broke down weeping. Faith joined her and held up her former enemy.

"I won’t forgive you, but only ’cause I ain’t been pissed with you since . . . a real long time ago. B sends her love—always has, always will. Red couldn’t make it today, Angel, but she sends her love and wants you to know she’s gonna remember you in her prayers or whatever the Wiccan chicks call it. And I want you to know it was worth getting’ bit to walk inside your head."

Nina, Kennedy, Giles and Clem all exchanged puzzled looks. Whatever Faith was talking about, they knew nothing of it—but Buffy seemed to understand even in her grief.

Clem addressed the grave and said simply: "Hey. ’Bye."

Faith said: "I think you outdid the man himself for taciturn."

Clem shrugged.

Giles was the last to address the grave.

"I never thanked you. It was you who led Xander to Buffy the night she first died. It was Xander who brought her back to us—to me—but it was you who made that possible. That is a debt I cannot repay, but it seems to me some token is long past due. Although I will always be angry about the things you did to hurt her, in honor of the things you did for her—leading Xander into the Hellmouth; running across a sunlit long to save her sanity; for knowing when it was time to move on—for all these acts of pure, unselfish love, I forgive you for your sins against me and the people I love."

Cut to:

Ext., Angel’s headstone, Night.

Connor stepped out of the shadows and, one by one, created a crude rectangle with the spines of four dead demons. They looked, remarkably enough, like human spines.

"Now where the hell is Illyria?"

Cut to:

Int., the Deeper Well, time of day unknown.

Kennedy walked on crutches to the middle of the suspension bridge.

The silence was eerie, standing there in a vertical cave surrounded by coffins that contained long dead demons.

A familiar voice said: "Hello again, Ms. Kennedy."

Kennedy snapped her head left, then right, then turned around as quickly as she could. "Where the hell are you?"

"I apologize. I did not mean to frighten you. I am afraid my Earthly form has ceased. Angel, whom I counted a brother, betrayed my trust and murdered me for merely temporal power."

"Drogyn?"

"You remember my voice. I am glad. I have no desire to frighten you."

"But, aren’t you . . . dead?"

"I am a specter now, a ghost. I will remain here in the Deeper Well until someone volunteers to guard the Deeper Well. That someone will be granted extended life, until such time as another agrees of his own Free Will to be Guardian of the Deeper Well."

"Wish I could help you, but I can’t."

"It is not your fate to guard this place. The Powers will arrange my replacement in proper time."

"Something you should know. About Angel . . . "

Cut to:

Ext., Angel’s grave, night.

Connor paced back and forth, back and forth, glancing now and then at his watch. The four demon spines remained in place, laid out in a vaguely rectangular shape.

"Where the hell is she?"

A male voice said: "Angel." The voice was Drogyn’s.

Connor spun around, instinctively assuming a fighting pose. "Who is that?"

Connor had never met Drogyn. The voice of the dead man spoke again, but not to Connor.

"I understand now, my brother. We remain friends. I forgive you."

"WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?"

Silence.

The four spines began to glow. The light from them pulsated—then the bones disappeared, each replaced by a straight beam of light that floated above the grave like a neon rectangle.

Then the interior of the "rectangle" became a solid block of light.

And then the block of light stretched down to the ground.

The Earth shuddered.

The ground rippled, like waves lapping the shoreline.

The light vanished.

Connor went to his father’s grave and hesitantly touched the Earth.

"Cool. Not ‘cool’ cool, but not hot cool."

A tear ran down his face. "Since you’re not here, dad, I guess the magic didn’t work. I kinda wish it had."

Drogyn’s voice spoke again: "You are his son, whom he gave up for love’s sake."

"I’m in kinda a bad mood right now, mister."

"I will leave you then. But tell your grandson this: The blood of a Mohra demon will heal all flesh that walks."

"What are you, a damned ghost?"

"Ghosts are neither damned nor forgiven," Drogyn said. "But ghost I am. Drogyn I was and I cannot lie in death any more than I could lie in life. Remember to tell your grandson what I said: The blood of a Mohra demon will heal all flesh that walks. Share this truth with no other living creature. If your father’s murderers learn of your knowledge, your bloodline shall be erased. Farewell, son of my friend."

"Man, I have got to stay the hell away from this supernatural crap."

Cut to:

Int., The Deeper Well

Kennedy was using a toothbrush to polish the brass handle of a coffin that stuck out of the wall, just above the suspension bridge.

She noticed something and stopped working. "What the hell is that?"

A cardboard box, covered in fresh dirt, stood in the middle of the suspension bridge.

Drogyn’s voice said: "Do not touch the box, even by accident. I believe the Powers have plans for the contents."

"Where the hell have you been? I haven’t heard from you in hours."

"Duty called me away. But I will not permanently leave this place until another volunteers to take my place."

Kennedy sighed. "More fairy tale crap." She continued polishing.

Scene Five

Cut To:

Ext., Watcher’s Council, Cleveland, Night.

Cut to:

Int., Watcher’s Infirmary.

Willow worked furiously at the keyboard, sweat dripping off her face.

Andrew ran in, looking deathly pale.

"What’s wrong, Andrew?"

"Mrs. Meers—"

Willow’s eyes turned pitch black. "Pissed now."

"—She’s dead," Andrew said. "Sh-she h-hanged herself."

"She’s in a cell without bedding! How the hell could she—?"

Andrew blushed. "Used her bra."

Willow gagged. "That whole family—really creepy."

But Willow’s eyes returned to their natural color. "At least she can’t hurt anyone else I love," the red head said. "Not in this life."

She frowned, as if she had just given herself a very disturbing idea.

Cut to:

Int., Council Library.

Robin Woods set a large book on a table, set a coffee cup beside it—a violation of the rules—and started to sit, but froze.

Just under the table was a parchment.

Robin scooped it up. "What the . . . ? Some sort of ancient . . . ?"

Then Robin noticed something on the parchment, something not ancient in the least.

A word.

Written in blood.

In the English language.

Angel’s signature.

He folded the parchment and slipped it inside his jacket. "I’ll show this to Giles when he gets back."

 

 

Scene Six

Ext., Seattle skyline, early morning.

Cut to:

Ext., Enemy Management, Inc.

Cut to:

Int., Lobby of Enemy Management, Inc.

For a moment, all was normal. People were answering phones, exchanging greetings, stroking keyboards, making coffee, looking through hard copy files.

Then the uniformed soldiers poured through the doors, automatic rifles at the ready. Their uniforms bore the insignia of the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces—insignia seldom worn when Special Ops personnel are actually working. Either these soldiers were imposters—or someone was sending a message.

Soldiers yelled at everyone: "AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! HANDS ON YOUR HEADS! ON THE FLOOR! DON’T MOVE."

Of course, the contradictory orders created confusion—it was SNAFU to issue contradictory orders during a raid. It sometimes got soldiers killed. More often, it got civilians killed.

A secretary said: "But—"

KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM!

KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM!

KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM! KROOM!

Her corpse oozed blood onto the luxurious carpeting.

Riley Finn strolled in, his wife Samantha beside him. "Stand down, private!"

The soldier snapped to attention, his weapon close but no longer aimed at the dead woman.

Finn strolled over to the corpse. "Purple blood."

Samantha joined him and whispered: "Same color as Ssoj’s blood."

Riley whispered back: "Thank god." In a normal voice, he said: "Congratulations, private, you killed a demon so you won’t be court-martialed for murder."

But when Riley turned to look at the soldier, his face was dark with fury. "BUT YOU WILL BE COURT MARTIALED FOR DISOBEYING THE RULES OF ENGAGEMERNT AND MY DIRECT ORDERS! UNDERSTOOD, SOLDIER!"

"Yes, sir!"

Riley looked around. Everyone, civilian and soldier alike, had frozen in fear from the moment of the shooting.

"Continue, soldiers. We’ve got a demon infiltration to investigate."

Sam took him aside and said: "At least we know Ssoj wasn’t the only . . . whatever the hell he was."

Riley nodded. "The government will probably suspend their contracts with Enemy Management until they’re sure they’ve eliminated the demonic element."

"We should shut down this whole operation."

"You know the President prefers to let Market Forces fix this sort of thing."

"Which means Enemy Management could purge the demon elements from their staff—and continue serving the bad guys."

Riley nodded. "Unless the Council can scrape together the money to stage a hostile takeover. And they can’t do that unless—"

"The Council is run in a more businesslike fashion," Sam said. "Like Enemy Management, Inc."

"Great choices," Riley said. "Become the enemy—or be defeated by him."

"Never happen," Sam said. "I mean, Willow’s too idealistic to let the Council devolve into a corporate thing like this."

"Willow’s just once Watcher among many," Riley said. He touched his uniform. "This uniform doesn’t make us honorable. We’re the ones who make it honorable to wear."

A female voice said: "Poetically expressed, but quite true, human."

Riley and Samantha and several armed men turned to face Illyria.

Riley snapped: "Hold your fire!"

"Wolfram & Hart will not rise quickly from my attacks. The Senior Partners lie beyond my reach. Enemy Management has been damaged. But my hunger for vengeance has not yet been sated. If I cannot reach the Senior Partners in this world, I will destroy it. I go now to find the Deeper Well."

She ran—too quickly for any bullet to stop her. Assuming, of course, a bullet could.

To Be continued in Act Four, Part Three

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (5C/5F)

DISCLAIMER: See top of thread.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: See top of thread.

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT: I will have to post an installment 5D to bring it in. Sue me.

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (5C/5F)

Act Four, Part Three

TWO DAYS LATER STILL

Scene Seven

Cut to:

Ext., Watcher’s Council, Day.

Cut to:

Int., Library.

The Finns, Clem and the Watchers and a few Slayers sat around the table. Andrew hummed the theme to Camelot softly, but stopped when Xander flicked the back of his head.

Giles stood. "Here is the situation. Demon elements have infiltrated at least one company that handles anti-demonic operations for the Bush administration."

Riley said: "Let’s hope Al Queda supporters haven’t bought controlling interest in private sector counter-terror corporations."

"Yes," said Giles. "In any event, Illyria seems to have grown bored with slaughtering Wolfram & Hart employees. For reasons I don’t pretend to understand, she wants to strike at the Deeper Well."

Willow said: "That might be my fault. In Pylea, when I pretended to make an alliance with her, she said she had thought of a spell to resurrect Angel—as an act of vengeance against the Senior Partners."

Xander asked if that was possible.

Willow shrugged. "I know, from reading Angel’s mind, that Wolfram & Hart brought back his Sire to mess with his head. They killed five vampires to do it. I assumed you needed vampires. Illyria thought it might be possible to perform the spell, or a variation, with the bones of dead demons. She preferred spines ’cause—" Willow gagged. "—she collects them as trophies of her kills."

Xander said: "She sounds an awful lot like most of the women I’ve dated."

No one seemed to think that remark particularly funny.

Willow continued: "When we teleported out of Pylea, I cast another spell at the same time—that’s probably why it took me longer to recover than Riley and Sam and the others. I cast a spell so Illyria couldn’t go back to Pylea. Way too many dead demons there—she could harvest millions of spines for resurrection spells. Maybe enough to bring back the Old Ones."

Giles snatched off his glasses. "Do you think that was her plan all along?"

Willow shrugged. "Who knows? She has to know that if she can’t kill the Senior Partners, they’ll find a way to kill her. Riley told her our government would probably want her dead—not just ’cause she’s dangerous in her own right but ’cause the Senior Partners have no problem with causing maximum collateral damage if that’s what it takes to get her."

Xander said: "Do the Senior Partners want her that bad?"

Clem said: "I’ve been talking with some of my people and other demons. There are civil wars raging in at least 150 demonic dimensions that I know of—all once ruled by the late members of the Circle of the Black Thorn."

Faith smiled. "I told B that Angel stuck it good to the bad guys an’ I was right."

Clem said: "They’ll want revenge. Once the Senior Partners have regained control of the hell dimensions and rebuilt Wolfram and Hart and the Black Thorn—you humans are gonna have some real nasty problems on your hands."

Xander said: "How long will it take them to do that?"

Clem shrugged. "How long did it take the United States to recover from the Great Depression?"

Xander shrugged; Giles shuddered. "Not nearly enough time and I fear some of you, most of you, are young enough that you will live to see Wolfram & Hart and the Senior Partners reassert their power in this world. But it seems Angel’s suicide mission may have bought us some time."

Willow said: "I think maybe we should worry about Illyria for now. If she tries to raise the Old Ones—"

"Can she?" Xander asked. "I mean, if she can’t harvest bones from Pylea—"

Willow said: "I think she could use the old bones in the Deeper Well."

"And Angel in his infinite wisdom killed the guy who guards it," Xander said.

"With Kennedy there, we might be able to slow her down but I’d feel a lot better if we had more people we know on site," Willow said. "Besides, Illyria may have lied about the Deeper Well."

Riley interrupted her: "Illryia told a woman named Lockley that she was going to murder the CEO of Enemy Management in his home—and then she killed him when he tried to dump Ms. Lockley’s body."

"Is she OK?" Faith asked. "I met her once. OK for a cop—despite the hard-on for Angel."

Andrew frowned. "I didn’t think women could get—"

Xander clamped one hand over Andrew’s mouth.

Riley said: "Lockley’ll recover. The official story is that we’re gonna threaten her with criminal prosecution for non-cooperation once she gets out of the hospital. The unofficial story is that she’s going to work for you guys."

Everyone stared at him.

Riley shrugged. "Sorry, guys. I don’t trust this administration enough to let Lockley’s informant status be entered into a government database. The Council has got to run with this ball. The administration has raised privatizations to the status of a golden calf."

Giles said: "In the future, please don’t feel free to add personnel to our payroll without my consent."

Willow said: "If Illyria was telling the truth, and at the time I think she was—"

Gently, Sam said: "Not like you could read her mind, Willow."

"She may be a demon, but the body she occupies is human—and her brain broadcasts when she’s miffed just like a human brain does. I picked up a lot of her thoughts, and Fred’s memories, and I think she was sincere when she told me she wanted to bring Angel back. Only problem is—"

"If she does it, the Senior Partners might nuke a city to get him," Faith said.

Willow nodded. "Which means we gotta put someone on Angel’s grave—someone who’s willing to die to stop her from bringing him back."

Xander and Andrew raised their hands.

"I meant a Slayer," the Witch said.

"Hey, he was my first real friend—even before I knew it—and if keeping him dead protects lives, I’ll stop her from bringing him back. Just don’t tell B. I don’t’ think her brain could take it."

"She wouldn’t be thinking with her brain," Willow said. "If I coulda brought my Tara back . . . I don’t know if I would’ve done the right thing."

"Faith, you join Kennedy at the Deeper Well. I’ll send Mia and some of the other Slayers to Angel’s grave." Giles said. "I think we should allow Buffy to help Nina Ash relocate. Willow will remain here. If Illyria appears, notify us and Willow will teleport to your location. With any luck, perhaps we can find a way to stop her."

"How exactly do we kill Illyria?" Xander asked.

Willow shrugged. "No one knows how the Old Ones were killed off in the first place. But I’ve thought of someplace I can send her—some place where she can’t do any damage for a long, long time. Assuming she survives at all. Her human body might not be able to take the stress."

Cut to:

Ext., Library.

The Watchers and Slayers started to file out.

"Faith!"

The brunette turned to her friend’s voice. "Yeah, red?"

"Good luck!"

Faith swayed a moment, as if she’d become light-headed—then she smiled brightly and waved.

Giles asked Willow if they could speak privately for a moment. Robin Woods went to the door of the library and started to close it—from the inside.

Faith opened her mouth, but Robin shook his head. Whatever it was, it was a private matter. Watchers only.

"Beginin’ to understand how come Angel always hated the Watchers."

Scene Eight

Cut to:

Arial Shot, Sunnydale Crater, day.

Cut to:

Angel’s grave marker.

"Where the hell have you been?" Connor said.

"Attempting without success to return to Pylea," Illyria answered. "I believe the Witch has betrayed me."

"So now what do we do?"

"You return to your life, human child. I will return here, as soon as I am certain my enemies are all gathered in this one place."

"I’m not going anywhere."

Illyria punched him. He staggered briefly, then pitched forward.

Illyria sighed. "I should leave you here to your fate. But Wesley risked much to protect you once and I will not dishonor his memory by leaving you to the death your foolishness deserves."

The little demon scooped up the boy with one hand and flung him over her shoulder.

Cut to:

Ext., the Deeper Well, Night

Faith approached the tree. Kennedy stepped out of the entrance, a crossbow in her hands.

"Chill, slick, it’s me."

"What’s wrong?"

"Maybe nothing, maybe the biggest big bad of all time headin’ our way."

Kennedy didn’t say anything, she just stepped to one side and waved her friend into the ancient prison/grave yard.

Under her breath, Faith said: "Hope Red’s plan works."

Cut to:

Ext., the Deeper Well, night.

A light flashed, as if time had been ripped apart, and Illyria appeared. She dropped Connor at the base of the tree.

A tunnel of light appeared again and Illyria stepped back into it, leaving Connor behind. The light winked out, leaving only darkness and trees behind.

The young man groaned.

Suddenly, his eyes snapped open.

Standing over him were two beautiful brunettes—each holding a crossbow aimed, inconveniently, at his neck.

Cut to:

Arial view, Sunnydale Crater, night.

Cut to:

Angel’s grave marker.

Mia, Marsha and four other Slayers stood waiting.

Xander Harris peered through binoculars and slowly scanned the opposite rim of the crater. "Oh. Hell."

Mia asked what was wrong.

"I think I just saw Angel’s last stand."

Mia snatched the binoculars from his hand and peered through them.

Gathered together were a horde of demons—larger than any horde any of them had seen before. Gathered around campfires reminiscent of old Civil War campfires.

"Must be a couple thousand of them, at least," Xander said. He put his cell phone to his ear. "Will? Xander? Get. Here. Now. Never mind Illyira. I hate to sound like Andrew, but we’re gonna need a bigger boat. Oh, yeah. It’s real bad. I think Wolfram & Hart want Illyria real bad."

Xander was wrong about one thing, although he couldn’t have known it. There were 5,000 demons gathered on the other side of that crater.

"Then let them have me," Illyira said. "I need one more spine to complete the ritual."

Xander glanced around. "I don’t see any spines, demon."

Illyria rushed him. Mia jumped between them.

Cut to:

Mia, falling over the edge of the Sunnydale crater.

Cut to:

Mia dematerializing in mid free-fall.

Cut to:

Mia, materializing behind Illyria.

Cut to:

Willow, materializing behind a prone Mia.

Willow and Illyria looked like they had similar tastes. Both, at that moment, were leather clad brunettes with unearthly eyes.

Illyria tilted her head. "Why are all of you smiling?"

Willow said: "Hi."

And flung a lightening bolt at Illyria just as the demon turned to face her.

Cut to:

The other side of the crater.

The demonic army poured down the sides, like ants attacking a pile of sugar.

Cut to:

Illyria, struggling to her feet.

"You fight well, human. Would you care to serve?"

Willow didn’t answer—she simply waved her hand again, just as she had once before.

"You do not—"

Whatever Illyria had intended to say, she didn’t get the chance. Another bolt of pure white energy shot from her body and slammed into Willow.

Willow was thrown over 100 feet backward.

Illyria dropped to her knees. She looked like Fred again. Blood dripped from her nose. She was deathly pale.

"I will extract full measure of vengeance from you, Witch."

Willow stood up, gagged, pitched forward. She got up on all fours and then panted: "Go where I will it—NOW!"

Illyria vanished.

Cut to:

Int. of crater.

Cut to:

Demonic horde, swarming up the nearer side of the crater.

A blinding light filled the crater.

The Earth shook.

The light that filled the crater turned into a giant column of light that stretched up to the sky.

The Earth shook. Perhaps the universe entire shook.

The tower of light collapsed.

Black smoke billowed up from the crater.

Cut to:

Int. of crater.

Scattered everywhere: Demon bodies. Demon body parts. Demon skeletons. Scorched earth, with the shapes of many sorts of demons burned into the soil.

Cut to:

View of Earth, from space.

Cut to:

Illyria floating in space, eyes closed.

Cut to:

Xander, Mia and the others running toward where Willow lay twitching.

Cut to:

Ext., Deeper Well, night.

Kennedy and Faith tended to the young man.

Cut to:

Int., the Deeper Well.

The cardboard box stood alone on the suspension bridge.

A spine, each vertebrae separated from the others by a small serrated metal "saw," appeared beside the cardboard box.

The spine shattered, as if struck by a great wave of invisible energy, a nanosecond after it appeared.

A swirling vortex of light surrounded the white dust and broken metal and the cardboard box.

When the light vanished, a naked man dropped to his knees—panting and sweating and quivering.

He had the face of a vampire. A familiar vampire.

Angel or Angelus.

It was impossible to say which one.

To be continued in Act Four, Part Four

WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (part 1) (5D/5F)

DISCLAIMER: See top of thread.

DISTRIBUTION: Ask and I shall approve.

SPOILERS: See top of thread.

RATING: PG-13

COMMENT:

SUMMARY: See top of this thread.

FIC: WATCHERS/RESTORATION: GONE, BUT . . . (5D/5F)

Act Four, Part Four

Scene Nine

Cut to:

Int., Deeper Well.

Angel knelt, curled in a fetal position.

Kennedy and Faith carried the young man into the mystical grave yard and—

Stopped dead in their tracks, jaws agape.

"Faith, am I nuts or—?"

"That’s Angel," Faith said. Under her breath, she said: "Thanks for the visual, Red."

Angel looked up. His fangs were still showing.

"What the hell did you do to my son?"

Kennedy looked at Faith.

"Angelus?"

"No, he was sadistic—not insane. This could be . . . just a seriously irrational vampire."

Angel stood up and stepped toward them.

Kennedy and Faith giggled.

The vampire stopped. "What the hell is so funny?"

Faith laughed. "No offense, but you ain’t dressed to look menacing."

Kennedy snickered. "Part of him looks menacing—or would if I was into guys."

"Beginnin’ to feel real jealous of B an’ the werewolf chick."

"What the hell—" He looked down and saw how undressed he was.

His vampire features retreated. He covered his, ahem, privates with his hands and—

Kennedy said: "I thought vampires got all pale when they were embarrassed."

"Before I became a Slayer, I thought they all slept in coffins." Faith moved her head toward the cardboard box. "If that’s what I think it is, there’s a jacket for you in there."

Angel hesitated. Then he moved, sideways, toward the box. He knelt until his pelvis was hidden behind the box. Then he opened the box and took out the shredded remains of his jacket.

"Damn. This was my favorite." Nevertheless, he put it on.

Kennedy said: "Angel or Angelus?"

Faith said: "I don’t see Angelus getting’ all shy about a couple chicks seein’ his family jewels. I’d say it’s Angel."

The vampire looked around. "Last I remember—"

Kennedy said: "You died slaying a dragon."

Angel smiled. "I was hoping I’d do that before—" He scowled. "Did Willow bring me back?"

The two Slayers, still carrying his son, shrugged.

Angel went to them and helped them lay the boy down on the suspension bridge.

Drogyn’s voice said: "I have a question for you, old friend."

Angel looked around. "Drogyn?"

"I was that man in life. I am a ghost now. But the name Drogyn will serve as well in death as it served in life."

"I’m sorry. There’s no excuse for what I did—"

"I forgave you. I believe that forgiveness may have helped bring you back to the Deeper Well, that I might ask a question. Whatever your answer, you are free to leave to see to the needs of your son."

Kennedy said: "How the hell did a vampire get a son?"

Faith shrugged. "I gave up bein’ surprised by this guy a real long time ago, Ken."

Drogyn, ignoring the two women, said: "Would you be willing to take my place here as guardian of the Deeper Well? You would serve until such time as another agreed to take your place."

Angel looked at Faith. "Don’t tell him you saw me."

She looked at Kennedy. The younger Slayer said: "Saw who?"

"Don’t tell any of them."

Kennedy said: "Far as I’m concerned, our feud is over. You don’t want them to know—"

"The Senior Partners would—"

"Kinda thought they might," Faith said. "But you sure you don’t want B or Nina knowing you’re back among the . . . walkin’?"

Angel shook his head. "It’s best for everyone I care about if you tell them nothing."

Cut to:

Int., Rupert Giles Apartment

Robin Woods and Giles sat at his kitchen table. "It appears to be the Shanshu prophesy—signed by Angel in his own blood."

"Shanshu?"

"A prediction that a vampire with a soul would be made human again as a reward for his suffering and for his sacrifices on behalf of humanity."

"And the signature?"

"Prophecies are intentionally vague—to permit the exercise of Free Will," Giles said. "A specific name virtually defeats any hope of the fulfillment of the prophecy—at least so far as Angel is concerned."

"Well, he did agree to run Wolfram & Hart Los Angeles."

"I believe this signature is more recent than that. I may have been made only hours before his death."

"He gave up his humanity so the Circle of the Black Thorn would trust him?"

"That is a possibility."

"So what do we do?"

"We make this document the first Classified Top Secret record in the history of the New Council—and pray neither Buffy nor Faith nor Willow learns that we hid the information from them."

"Maybe Willow knows. Someone brought it in here. Maybe she—"

"Willow would never have been so clumsy as to simply drop the parchment on the floor," Giles said. "No, if anything I suspect that somehow Illyria delivered this to us."

"Why?"

"The Senior Partners wanted Angel corrupted or dead. His resurrection alone, never mind his restored humanity and attendant redemption, would be a serious moral blow to the forces of darkness." Giles frowned. "Did I just channel Andrew?"

"We’ll blame the Hellmouth—as long as you don’t make a habit of it."

"Agreed."

"If this prophesy can come true—"

"It can’t," Giles said. "He signed it away. And I wouldn’t allow—"

"I thought you forgave the vampire."

"That was a lie I told for Buffy’s sake."

Scene 10—epilogue

Hours later.

Cut to:

Int., Watcher’s Infirmary.

Giles sat on the edge of Willow’s bed. Her eyes fluttered open. "Hey."

"I shall become dreadfully cross with you if you continue to make a habit of being hospitalized."

"Believe me, trips to Pylean, teleporting dragons, fighting Illyria—all part of my past now."

"What happened to her?"

"Illyria? I cast her into outer space. With any luck, that killed her."

"The body she occupied is deceased, Willow. She wouldn’t need air—and possibly would not need food."

Willow said: "That body is still human, Giles. It still needs air and water and air pressure. In zero or near zero air pressure, a human body ought to explode. Of course, she’s a demon so—"

"We cannot be certain she’s gone."

"I tried my best, Giles, but I kinda wanted to take out that demon army." Willow frowned. "Was anyone hurt? By the demons?"

"Clem is missing in action, I fear. Faith seems quite convinced that he’s alive, although she refuses to explain how she comes by that belief."

"We’re mysterious."

"Slayers or Watchers?"

Willow smiled. "I meant women."

"You, my lovely young friend, are a sexist."

"No, I’m sexy." She frowned. "Did I just flirt with you?"

"We’ll blame the Hellmouth, just as long as you don’t make a habit of it."

Cut to:

Ext., a London Hospital

A doctor signed a chart and gave it to a nurse. "No idea who he is or what he’s doing here?"

"There’s no legal record of his entry into the United States—but a woman from the Watcher’s Council insisted we treat him well."

"Then we had best do as she asks. Rowena Alistair is a good friend, but a terrible enemy."

Cut to:

Int., a London flat.

"And Willow didn’t say why she wanted this man looked after, Mr.—?" Rowena Alistair asked. She stood near the door, her hand hovering over a table. On the table: a cross.

"Liam Galway," Angel said.

"As good a name as any, I suppose," Rowena said.

Clem emerged from the kitchen hugging a bowl. "Your bean dip has the best texture ever, Miss Alistair."

"It’s a good thing for you two that I recognized your name and description, Clem, or I would never have invited two such handsome—but not quite human—men into my home."

Angel said: "Handsome? I didn’t think we were your type, Miss Alistair. Neither of us is a gorgeous red head."

"Speaking of . . . red haired women . . . "

"It’s been a life time since I saw her last," Angel said. "And I don’t intend for her to see me again in this life time."

"That’s pretty much the only reason I agreed to help your friend," Rowena said. "Because if you are who I think you are—you have made some very dangerous enemies. I don’t want Willow to become collateral damage"

"My enemies won’t find my home," Angel said. "Even if they did—they wouldn’t want to wake my tenants."

He stood to leave. "I hate to rush you, Clem, but we’ve got to get back and start your training. There are, um, times when I’ll need you to work the door for me."

Clem looked slightly disappointed, but put down the bowl of dip.

Angel stopped at the door. "Oh, Miss Alistair?"

"Yes, Mr. An—Liam?"

"If I find out that you’ve ever done anything to deliberately hurt Willow, you will find out very quickly if I am who you think I am. And how he earned his reputation."

"To use an American expression—back at you."

They smiled at one another.

"I won’t tell anyone you and your friend were here," Rowena said.

Angel and Clem walked out the door.

"I think she likes Willow."

"What was your first clue? The fact she kept bringing up Willow’s name or the fact she’s got Willow’s picture on damn near every wall in the place?"

"It was mostly the way her face lit up when you said Willow sent you."

"Too bad I’ll never see her again," Angel said. "I’m gonna miss her. Hell, I’ll even miss Resolve Face."

"Resolve Face? What is that?"

"Something more powerful than a cross," said the vampire with a soul, smiling wistfully.

The two demons stepped into the London night and disappeared into the fog . . . and the future . . .

To be continued in:

RESTORATION: . . . Not Forgotten (part 2)

Based on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," created by Joss Whedon; based on "Watchers" created by Susan Carr and CN Winters and based on and "Restoration" created by Susan Carr and CN Winters and Chris Cook.

Cast:

David Boreneaz as Angel

Jessica Alba as Lesley Warren Meers

Lena Olin as Lady Maxine Elizabeth Meers

J. August Richards as Charles Gunn III

Amy Acker as Illyira/Fred

Joss Whedon as Evelyn Ssoj III

Special Guest Star: Sarah Michelle Geller as Janna Kalderash . . .

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