EXT. LONDON -- A DIRTY ALLEY -- DAY
A group of TOURISTS in Bohemian clothing enters the alley, the guide in the lead. She goes to a greasy brick wall and points to it.
Now, this building had manifestations for nearly a century--tales of horror to make your hair turn white!
But not any more?
(falsely confidential; obviously doesn't believe it for a second)
Well, you never know--in a place like this, anything can happen. In its hayday, this pub saw gruesome murders by the dozen. Ghosts were seen in this very alley, and there were even rumors of vampires.
But not now.
Er, well... nothing has been seen lately.
(turns to group)
Er... honestly... really, it's been nearly seventy years since the last sighting. But that was spectacular! The rumor is that it was bound by powerful sorcerers...
Is that why the bricks are moving?
Behind you. The bricks.
The GUIDE turns again, and the bricks are, indeed, moving, forming a face. The guide is fascinated; she clearly never saw anything like it.
Abruptly, two arms burst through the wall and grab the guide, pulling her back against it. She screams, but the scream fades as the tourists scramble away. Her hair goes white, and she becomes still as the creature in the wall sucks her life force from her, leaving her parched and white, and finally disappearing into dust that looks like chalk marks on the wall.
INT. WATCHERS' RETREAT -- WESTBURY -- TWO DAYS LATER -- DAY
A headline in a tabloid reports the strange disappearance of the tour guide. Pull away to more newspapers and tabloids on a dark table, with headlines indicating that incidents have been occurring in many places "long-rumored" to be haunted. In the background, a VIDEO TAPE is playing, a recording of an American news magazine. Pan newspapers and headlines as tape plays.
WOMAN ON TAPE
(heavy downeast accent)
My grandmother said it was ha'anted, but I never believed her. Who'd believe it? But I saw it. It's... changed...
Pull back to shot of full room; audio fades into the background. Another voice, that of RUPERT GILES, can be heard in an animated conversation.
In a richly-appointed study, DANIEL OSBORNE (OZ) and TANDI ZABUTO, a severe looking young woman, are reading reports from stacks of newspapers and tabloids. OZ has one eye on the television and the other on a newspaper. TANDI has a fan of articles out around her and is taking notes and comparing. Pull back further to see GILES on his cellular phone, pacing back and forth as he speaks to Buffy Summers.
Xander called in another one in Zimbabwe this morning; he's sending up an article, but it might take awhile. It's weird. You'd think that activating a few thousand Slayers would tend to slow this kind of thing down.
(on phone, not listening)
Yes, Buffy. I promise, I won't pressure her for help... Yes, I quite agree, as I've mentioned...
More Slayers, fewer monsters. The math should work.
And yet, it doesn't.
Perhaps you haven't noticed, but we spend more time chasing down those few thousand Slayers before they do any damage than we spend tracking the demons and vampires we're meant to be hunting. And they're more dangerous than most of the dark creatures.
Definitely more dangerous than me.
(on phone, not listening)
...Really, I'm sure we can muddle through a bit longer without imposing on... yes, I know, Buffy. I wouldn't dream of...
(starts to look back down at papers)
It was an utterly mad, careless, reckless notion to take this step. Only that fool of a witch--
(angry, puts hand over papers)
Lay off Willow. Now.
TANDI glares at him--somewhat warily--until he moves his hand.
(on phone, not listening)
...There's no reason at all that we would need to ask Dawn to... I know that, Buffy. You need to stop worrying...
My father would not have let his Slayer lecture him.
OZ shakes his head and picks up more papers.
(on phone, not listening; resigned; cleans glasses)
Yes, Buffy. I'll look after her, you know that. And I won't ask her to join us. I promise... Really... Buffy? I promise. Don't you have a chaos demon to slay in Tuscany?... Right, then... Yes, I really promise. No Dawn. Buffy... goodbye.
He listens for a few more seconds, then rolls his eyes and ends the call.
Buffy still not crazy about Dawn deciding to hit the books in shouting distance from all this?
Yes, well, she feels Dawn should have an education in something other than demon hunting.
I don't understand this. We need every pair of eyes. We're spread terribly thin, and the Slayer's sister has experience in this. You would think the Slayer would find it useful.
Buffy isn't concerned about Dawn's usefulness, but her happiness. She wants her to have a life outside of all of this. And I'm sure Dawn is eager to experience some life that doesn't revolve around Buffy's calling as well. It's been a bit of a strain on her over the years. I'm sure that going to university away from all of it will be a great relief.
Not to mention, a degree she can actually tell someone about.
Yes, quite. Dawn's an energetic girl. She wouldn't enjoy being tied down here in all the book dust. I doubt we'll see her until Christmas holidays.
The doorbell RINGS. GILES goes to answer it.
GILES goes to the door and opens it. DAWN SUMMERS is standing on the flagstones, a bag slung over her shoulder, her heavier luggage around her. Her back is turned as she calls to a taxi parked behind her.
They're here, you can go!
The taxi drives away and DAWN turns around and throws her arms around GILES.
I'm here... reporting for duty!
CUT TO CREDITS.