#1: The Mirror Never Lies

After a click, a low sound resonates through the room. Willow stirs slightly, mumbling to herself. Half a minute later, her ears start to process the sound and send a query to conscious thought. Despite sleep causing a logjam, conscious thought eventually catches up but realises it doesn't know what to make of the sound, so sends intructions for her eyes to open for more information. Willow blinks sleepily, then furrows her brow as a set of red numbers stare back at her. The sound is making more sense now. It's music, but it sounds kind of old. Someone singing about numbers and trucks.

The music starts to fade away and a deep voice can be heard as the red numbers change. "This is KCSB, the Sound" - the word reverberates like a wave - "of the Underground." A set of drums kick in and a different, more manic voice is heard. "It's Day Tripper folks, and boy it's shaping up to be another hot one out there today. A high of eighty-five expected by noon today, so girls, if you're listening, time to take off those tops. I don't care if you're going to the beach or going to the office, take advantage of it. The sun's up there and it's not going away. It's the summer that's never gonna end. And on that note, here's The Motels."

Willow continues to stare at the device on her bedside table as more music starts to play. This is strange, she doesn't have a clock-radio. Pulling herself up, she picks up the chrome and black unit and finds the button to turn it off. Rubbing an eye with her hand, she starts to get out of bed when she freezes at the sight around her. Where is she? This isn't her room, it can't be.

Slowly she stares around the room. A beanbag chair sits in the middle of the floor with a couple of magazines dropped beside it. A stacked hi-fi unit is proudly standing with shelves upon shelves of records either side of it, the vinyl kind she remembers music shops selling until a few years ago. Against another wall, a portable TV sits on a storage unit with the blue/green display of some kind of VCR glowing dimly beneath it. And the walls themselves? They're covered with posters. A couple of them seem to be bands, although she hasn't heard of either of them. The rest are art prints with highly stylised futuristic themes and neon-lit colours.

This is a boy's room, it has to be. And it definitely isn't Xander's. But what would she be doing in a boy's room? She isn't allowed to have boys in her own room. Calm down, Willow, she tells herself as she feels her heart racing. There must be a rational explanation. Her heart almost stops though when she looks down at herself and notices what she's wearing, or rather what she isn't wearing. She's clad only in her underwear and a faded black t-shirt. Where are her PJs? What's happening?

Think, Willow, think! What happened last night? She'd gone to the Bronze with Buffy and Xander. Buffy had left to go on patrol, so she came back home and did some homework before going to bed... And that was it! An average ordinary night for the school nerd with only two friends. Three if you count Giles. What is she missing?

Call Giles, her mind tells her. Something as strange as this has to be Hellmouth related. She looks around a few seconds for a phone, finally finding a cordless one sitting in a wallmount near the bed. Quickly she punches in the number of Giles' office phone and waits. One ring... two rings... three..."

The call is picked up. "Sunnydale Highschool Library."

Willow furrows her brow. "Giles?" The voice sounds wrong for him.

There's a pause. "I'm sorry, who are you looking for?"

"Rupert Giles. He's the librarian," Willow answers uneasily.

"I'm afraid you must have the wrong number," the voice tells her apologetically. "I'm covering for the librarian, but his name isn't Giles. In fact I don't know of a Rupert Giles anywhere else on-"

"But he's got to be there," Willow interrupts, starting to panic now. "It's Giles... with a 'G'." She hears a small sigh, then a tapping in the background, like someone operating a computer keyboard.

"I'm sorry, I can't find the name on the staff register. Are you sure he works here?"

Willow isn't sure of anything anymore. It feels like someone has picked her up and dropped her on a different planet. "Um... maybe... maybe I have got the wrong number."

There's a pause. "Alright then. Have a nice day." Then the line cuts.

She hits the off button and clutches the phone in both hands. How could Giles not be registered as a school employee? This is making even less sense by the second. Buffy, she has to talk to Buffy. Turning the phone back on, she calls Buffy's number and takes another look around the room as she waits. "Please pick up," she murmurs to herself, then freezes again as she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror by the door. The receiver slides out of her grasp and drops to the floor as she stares at her reflection, open-mouthed.