The Gall'uth Dimension, Year 19 after the Deliverance

"There's one thing I still don't understand. If a life needed to be taken to close the portal, shouldn't I be dead instead of just ending up in another dimension?"

"Ordinarily, yes. But there is one thing you do not consider. You are the son of a slayer and a vampire – an unprecedented creature. The traditional laws do not seem to apply to you. Consider this: In the many thousands of years the slayer line has existed, no other male has ever been chosen for the calling."

Stephen was walking rapidly up the hillside that led to the forest. It was less than an hour since the First Slayer had appeared in his bedroom and announced that the time had come to return to his home dimension.

He had wanted to say goodbye to his parents, but the First Slayer had urged a speedy departure. "The Powers That Be have given me form only for a few hours so I may guide you to the portal," she had said. "The portal will open only once, and only for a short period of time. Portals are strange, powerful things – the Powers cannot risk an innocent coming upon this one by accident."

And so it was that Stephen was now sprinting across the starlit landscape, the dark tree line rapidly approaching. When he had finally reached the first trees of the forest, he hesitated.

"Will I be able to return here?"

"This I cannot tell. But know this: Time moves differently in other dimensions. While you have grown into a young man, only a few weeks have passed for your parents since you were lost."

"So what you're telling me is that even if I come back, everyone I knew here is likely to be dead?"


"And that the people you say are my real parents are barely older than I am?"

"This is true of your mother, but your father is more than 200 years older."

Stephen turned away from the forest and looked down at the distant houses, which would soon start to show signs of life. If he hurried, his parents need never realize he had left.

"I know what you are thinking. But know this: Tonight is your only chance to find out who you really are. If you do not go now, you will never be able to know your true parents."

Connor still hesitated.

"But that is not all."

The First Slayer continued to speak while Stephen watched as the first red gleam appeared over the far-off hills. Several minutes passed.

"Do you see now?"

Stephen took off the little backpack he was wearing and produced a small dagger. "Yes. I see."

Without looking back, he strode into the forest. When he reached the clearing, it was to find the air flickering and crackling with electricity. At the center of the disturbance, little bigger than a pin, he could see a small patch of night sky – the other side of the portal.

He hesitated for several seconds. Finally, he gripped his dagger firmly and stepped into the portal. It closed behind him, and the form of the First Slayer dissolved, leaving only silence behind it as the sun rose over Gall'uth.

To be continued…

When Angel's friends return from Lorne's home dimension of Pylea, they find that Angel has mysteriously disappeared. What's more, all evidence of his existence has been erased. When the memories of the Angel Investigations team begin to fade too, they know they must act quickly. Will they be able to convince Buffy and her friends of Angel's existence? Can Buffy act fast enough to free Angel from his hellish prison in the no-man's-land between dimensions? And what role does the mysterious arrival of a nameless young man play in all this?