Author's Note: Apologies for the slight delay. Working this chapter out was harder than I thought and more than once I had to cross out an episode or two and start over.
Thanks once again to all of those who commented on whether Veronica won or lost. Your thoughts have been quite helpful.
X X X X X
Occurs in only mildly altered form. Mr Giles is obviously not sleeping with the woman, Olivia, is still Miss Summers' official Watcher, and is still the Sunnydale High Librarian.
Mr. Snyder, however, is not the principal. Mayor Finch demoted him over the summer – he is now a history teacher – and replaced him with Ms. Calendar.
["Demoted? Why not fired?"
"The obvious reason. Fear of a lawsuit."]
As such, Ms. Calendar allows Miss Summers and her friends to freely come and go into the library, where Mr. Snyder would have banned that.
Miss Summers confronts, and defeats, the vampire named Sunday and her friends, and has a minor crisis of confidence but is shaken out of it rather rapidly by Mr. Harris and Miss Chase, who now have a small apartment of their own.
Occurs almost exactly as in the original timeline. The differences are trivial. Ms. Calendar and Mr. Giles continue to plan their wedding.
The Harsh Light of Day:
The main plot of the episode, of course, does not occur, as Spike is deceased and Harmony is not a vampire. One of the subplots does not occur, as Anya is still Anyanka and is still routinely and gleefully wishing evil things onto unfaithful men.
["And that counts against me," I said, not phrasing it in the form of a question.
"Indeed. As of this point Anyanka has caused several dozen more innocent men to suffer than she would have in the original timeline."]
Miss Summers and Mr. Abrams flirt, but before they can have sex, Mr. Echolls quietly informs Miss Summers of what he's heard about Mr. Abrams, and nothing further happens between them.
Occurs, though with deviations from the original timeline. Miss Chase joins the remainder at the Halloween party; therefore, no one is available to inform Mr. Giles as to what is going on. Miss Chase's fear is that of being just like everybody else, and Mr. Harris fears clowns, again, instead of disappearing. Despite Mr. Giles' lack of a timely save, however, Miss Summers manages to destroy Gachnar as he manifests.
Happens with minor alterations. Mr. Abrams attempts to flirt with Miss Summers again, but is shut down and finally gives up. Therefore, Miss Summers, not being upset, does not get drunk, though she does discuss Mr. Abrams with Agent Finn, whose role up till now has been approximately the same as in the original timeline.
Miss Summers and Mr. Harris save the day, as in the original timeline, though neither Mr. Abrams nor Miss Rosenberg are in any danger. Mr. Abrams instead attempts to seduce Miss Chase, who laughs in his face.
Wild At Heart:
Occurs as in the original timeline, with the exception of Spike's absence.
Does not take place, though minor plot points do: Agent Finn punches Mr. Abrams for slightly different reasons,and Mr Finn still receives the shovel speech. We also learn that Mr. Giles and Ms. Calendar's wedding is planned for December 21 and they will honeymoon over the traditional Christmas break. You are invited to the wedding, as is Miss Kelly.
Anyanka approaches Miss Rosenberg, but she recognizes the vengeance demon from your and Miss Chase's description, and declines to make a wish.
["Where is Sheila?" I asked. "I haven't heard you mention her recently."
"She is not present in Sunnydale at this time."
"And she is . . . ?" I prompted.
"Ah, Miss Mars. You asked me not to discuss that, remember?"
That couldn't mean what I thought it meant. Could it?]
Happens with minor changes. There is, of course, no Spike, and hearing that Miss Summers' mother will be absent, Ms. Calendar volunteers to host a Thanksgiving. Miss Chase also reveals Angel's presence earlier to Miss Summers – she does not see why he wants to cover up being there, anyway, and after the battle, Miss Summers catches him before he leaves, reproaches him for not wanting to talk to or see her, and they have an, all things considered, reasonably civil conversation before he leaves.
She is most concerned about him being alone, but he says he is not. He is working with Mr. Doyle, and Miss Steele – known as "Anne" in the original timeline but still Lily in this one – and your father –
["What?" I asked.
He didn't answer. Stupid supernatural entities and their habit of sticking to the letter of the law.]
And Miss Kelly.
[I didn't bother saying what this time. I already knew he wouldn't answer.]
Does not occur. Ms. Rosenberg, while still upset about Mr. Osbourne's departure, has the restraint to avoid casting a hasty spell to heal herself, and while Miss Summers has still been somewhat less than completely supportive, Mr. Harris, Miss Chase and Ms. Calendar have been there to help her.
Occurs as in the original timeline, with only trivial differences.
["Not a whole lot of differences in season 4," I said.
"So far, you're right," he said, with a slight but definite emphasis on the words "so far."
Hmm. So far Spike's absence or presences wouldn't have made quite as much of a difference – except that Buffy, who now knows that Riley is one of the "army guys," didn't get Spike's story of being experimented on.
I'll find out soon enough, I suppose.]
Takes place – the earthquake opens up a hole in the library floor, which arouses Mr. Giles' and Miss Summers' suspicions immediately, and prompting Ms. Calendar to shut down the school. The remainder of the episode happens similarly (granted Spike's absence), although the climax is not held in the library; instead, Miss Summers and her compatriots catch the demons outside the school where, with some timely intervention from Agent Finn, they are defeated.
The Library is relocated to temporary quarters in the school gymnasium while it is being repaired.
We cut to a few weeks later, for the wedding of Mr. Giles and Ms. Calendar. You, Miss Kelly, Angel, and many others are in attendance.
As, although he was distinctly an uninvited guest, does Ethan Rayne, who has taken the place of one of the caterers, and adds a "secret ingredient" to the cake – which, as per Mr. Rayne's raison d'etre, causes chaos. After eating the cake, everyone begins to act as though they are extremely drunk and begins to behave wildly and inappropriately. Brawls break out.
Almost everyone, that is. You are unaffected, of course, as are Angel, Miss Chase, and Miss Rosenberg, none of whom consumed any of the cake. Angel does his best to break up the brawling, while you, Miss Chase and Miss Rosenberg attempt to restrain everyone else, particularly Miss Kelly, who in her inebriated state is concentrating on how cool it would be to destroy a building piece by piece. Unfortunately, she is able to cause quite a lot of damage to the building, and shattered windows and falling masonry injure several people, including Mr. Harris and, worse, Miss Chase.
Eventually you manage to take control of the situation Ms. Calendar strips down to the altogether, and Mr. Giles beats senseless one of the people taking photographs. Mr. Rayne is caught and "persuaded" under penalty of having his toenails ripped out with pliers to remove his spell, after which Angel binds him, gags him, and tosses him into the middle of the floor.
Sheriff Lamb belatedly arrives, but before he can start hauling people away Agent Finn shows up and "escorts" Mr. Rayne into government custody.
Mr. Giles is nonetheless arrested, while Mr. Harris and Miss Chase are taken to the hospital. Mr. Harris has a broken arm, and flying glass paralyzes Miss Chase from the waist down.
A New Man:
The early part of the episode still occurs, with slight alterations. Mr. Giles is still very much a part of Miss Summers' and the other lives – though he feels a slight sense of losing touch, it is considerably muted – and he is now settling in to married life with Ms. Calendar, so there is no real crisis of confidence. And in any event, Mr. Rayne has already been dealt with.
The charges against Mr. Giles were dropped rather swiftly, though he did have to spend his wedding night in custody. Mr. Harris' arm is still broken, and Miss Chase has not yet left the hospital.
Miss Kelly has apologized to everyone involved, but no one, including Miss Chase, blames her for what happened – except for Mr. Harris.
And Mr. Snyder uses the debacle at the wedding as proof that the current administration is incapable of policing itself, and announces his intention to run for Mayor of Sunnydale.
[A paralyzed Cordelia Chase, Snyder running for Mayor. Lovely. I'd always suspected that, if there was one survival that would not count in my favor, it would be Snyder's.]
The I in Team:
Happens as in the original timeline. What differences there are are trivial, with the exception of Miss Chase's hospitalization.
Occurs with differences. As Miss Chase is still hospitalized, Miss Summers and her friends are at a loss to determine where to hide, or even if they can. Mr. Giles suggests they call Angel to provide Miss Chase with protection, but Agent Finn bursts in before they can place the call.
The subsequent conversation is also more civil, as there is no Spike to raise Agent Finn's ire, although he still disbelieves what the group has to say about Colonel Walsh. Afterward, they call Angel – who agrees to come down and protect Ms. Chase - and go to Ms. Calendar's old place of residence for the night.
From that point onwards, the episode happens similarly.
This Year's Girl/Who Are You:
With Faith deceased, of course, the main plotline of these episodes does not happen. The Adam portion of the story occurs with some differences. Mr. Harris' role is lessened, both due to his broken arm and Miss Chase's continued hospitalization. The young woman is definitely improving, though, and has absolutely no intention of remaining paralyzed for the rest of her life. Miss Rosenberg informs her that magic cannot really help, and Miss Chase snorts and says, "Yeah, right. Magic got me into this situation, Wiccagirl; I'm not about to rely on it to get me out of it."
Miss MacLay and Miss Rosenberg's relationship does not quite deepen to the level it did in the original story, as Miss Rosenberg does not need her fellow witch's assistance in tracking down Faith. Still, it does deepen, and she still introduces Miss MacLay to the remainder of her friends.
Adam still "inspires" the group of vampires to invade the church, and Miss Summers makes short work of them once Mr. Giles manages to distract the police.
Takes place approximately as in the original timeline. No significant differences. You, in college, are not affected, but you can do nothing about the situation before it reverts to normal. You do have an amusing conversation with Mr. Echolls attempting to convince him that something is wrong, however.
Where the Wild Things Are:
Differs. Mr. Harris can no longer settle for a job with an ice cream truck, but begins to work construction earlier than in the original timeline; now that Miss Chase is unable to work he needs a steadier paycheck, though his friends have quietly been helping him where they can. Mrs. Summers offered to let them stay there for nominal rent, but so far he and Miss Chase have turned them down.
Anyanka and Spike are, for obvious reasons, not at the party, and neither is Mr. Harris, so Miss MacLay is the one who discovers a student with cut off hair, and she and Miss Rosenberg go to find Mr. Giles and Ms. Calendar to get assistance.
The remainder of the episode happens similarly, though it is Mr. Giles and Ms. Calendar who perform the rescue.
Mr. Snyder's campaign for recall is in full swing. Miss Summers' mother is rather vehemently opposing him, being fully aware of the kind of person he is. Most of the former Sunnydale High students who were not athletes fully support her in this – those who are in town, anyway.
New Moon Rising:
Now here is where things start to get interesting.
["Had they been boring previously?" I asked.
"That all depends on how easily one becomes bored, Miss Mars," the Adversary said.
"It is interesting how little I now fit into my own story," I said.
"I could tell you your story," he said. "It mostly involves solving mysteries at college and occasional visits to Sunnydale and Los Angeles. But that would be off the topic, and I believe you wanted this ended quickly."
"This is quickly?" I asked.
"For me, this is quickly," was the response.
And again: Lovely.]
The opening part of the episode has no noteworthy changes. Miss Chase is improving and is barreling through her physical therapy, to the point where she is expected to leave the hospital much sooner than expected.
No Spike, of course, means no one for Adam to recruit, and no one to lead Miss Summers and her rescue party to the "back door" of the Initiative. With no other alternative, Miss Summers break into the fraternity house housing the soldiers and "persuades" one of the residents to show them the staircase, after which they render him unconscious and stash him in a closet.
The rescue operation is a success – but, as it took Miss Summers and company an additional half hour to devise and implement their plan, Mr. Osbourne is considerably more injured – though not nearly to the extent of Miss Chase – and in the form of a wolf. Miss Summers is forced to incapacitate him to carry him out. Angel is called upon once more to provide protection to Miss Chase and Mr. Osbourne, who determines to leave the hospital as soon as he is physically able to do so.
Miss MacLay and Miss Rosenberg then begin their romance, officially, but agree to keep things low key until Mr. Osbourne is able to leave, so as to avoid bringing out his wolf prematurely. Mr. Finn hides in an abandoned mansion on Crawford Street.
Mr. Snyder, in the meantime, has connected enough signatures to bring about a recall election. Mr. Finch, who viewed his role as being nothing more than a caretaker position anyway, declines to run against him.
[Mayor Snyder. Isn't that just – peachy.
Not to mention Cordelia's injury – and Oz's injury, even though it's not as serious.]
The Yoko Factor/Primeval:
Does not occur in its original form, for reasons I believe are unnecessary to re-recapitulate yet again. Instead of motivating Spike with the potential for removing his chip, he is devoting extra time to motivating the remainder of his followers – and he does have quite a few. He also is surreptitiously feeding data to Colonel McNamara about the location of Miss Summers, and Mr. Finn, on the theory that the distraction will give him extra time to complete his – yes, Miss Mars – "evil plan."
Colonel McNamara is angry enough to fall directly into the trap, although Mr. Gates and Mr. Miller have their suspicions. A squad is sent to the mansion and a second squad is sent to Sunnydale Memorial to "recover" Mr. Osbourne and secure Miss Chase. Miss Summers' mother, it must be noted, is not a target. The Colonel is angry, yes, but not so much as to fall into the caricature of a mustache-twirling movie villain.
The Colonel's operation, it must be noted, is unsuccessful. Mr. Finn and Miss Rosenberg – bringing him food – successfully fend off their three attackers, while Miss Chase and Mr. Osbourne are being guarded not only by Angel and Mr. Harris, but also by your father, who has used what influence he has with the outgoing Mayor to have representatives from the Sheriff's Office also present.
Sheriff Lamb, who does not approve but was overruled, quietly informs Mr. Snyder as to what is going on. Mr. Snyder contacts the local media and goes directly to Sunnydale Memorial.
Mr. Finn and Miss Rosenberg, in the meantime, have gotten the story of what's going on from Mr. Miller, who was one of their attackers. Mr. Miller also voices his suspicions that Colonel McNamara is being played for a fool. Mr. Finn and Miss Rosenberg contact Miss Summers and everyone begins to converge on Sunnydale hospital.
Mr. Gates, following orders though he shares Mr. Miller's belief about Colonel McNamara, is telling the Sheriff's deputies that they have jurisdiction, which the deputies, under orders and prodded by Mr. Mars and Angel, do not accept. Mr. Gates and his fellows are dressed in street clothes.
As the tension in the corridor ratchets – with everyone but the duty nurse having fled – people approach from three different directions. Mr. Finn and Miss Rosenberg come up the staircase; Mr. Giles and Miss Summers come down the hallway; and Mr. Snyder, and a camera crew from the local news team, come out of the elevator.
Mr. Finn stays in the stairwell, but everyone else heads for Miss Chase's room. Miss Summers joins Angel, Mr. Harris, and your father. Mr. Giles and Miss Rosenberg head for Mr. Osbourne's room. Mr. Gates sees the camera crew and says, "Turn that thing off!"
"Not before I alert the people of this city to the shameful way former officeholders are able to commandeer the public resources of this city for their own ends," Mr. Snyder says. "Thanks to a tip, I learned that our mayor was obstructed the army of the United States in their pursuit of -"
"Of me," Miss Chase says, wheeling herself out from her room. "Apparently the US Army thinks I'm dangerous for some reason -"
That is as far as she gets. Mr, Gates reaches forwards and slams the camera down to the corridor floor; his fellow soldiers step on it and break it.
As Mr. Snyder sputters and the cameraman begins to complain about the loss of his camera, Mr. Gates says, "IS the footage destroyed?"
"Footage?" the reporter says. "That just went out live."
"Yes," Mr. Snyder says. "Exactly what are you hiding?"
"Why?" Your father asks. "Do you want to help them hide it?"
Mr. Gates says, "Live?"
"On KBTS Sunnydale Channel 13," the cameraman says.
"Seen by hundreds of people," Miss Chase said.
"Thousands," the reporter says.
"Please! You guys are third in the market, and it's a small market," Miss Chase says. "Still, hundreds should be enough, shouldn't it?"
"What's going on here?" Mr. Snyder says.
"What's going on is now all of those people know that the army is willing to destroy cameras to hide the reason they're trying to kidnap Cordy," Mr. Harris says pleasantly. "So, the question in their minds is going to be, what are they hiding?"
"Deputies?" your father says. "Could you please escort the camera crew away from here? I believe it's time for a serious discussion of things we might not want to have the media know. And then stay at a distance and keep watch. Thank you."
The deputies follow your father's directions. Once the camera crew and deputies are out of range – Mr. Snyder has remained, but no one seems to care – Mr. Gates says, "They won't believe a damn thing. You know what the people in this town are like. You've lived here long enough."
Miss Chase says, "Guess again, soldier boy. They might blank out all that supernatural mumbo jumbo but this? This is just the local army base throwing its weight around to harass a couple of innocent people. And that they're going to remember."
["This couldn't have been planned," I said.
"It wasn't. But Miss Chase is excellent at improvisation. And, as you may have guessed, she is very unhappy."]
"Oh, shit," Mr. Gates says.
"Now, gentlemen," Mr. Snyder says. "Certainly we can smooth this over . . . I guarantee my administration -"
"You're not going to have an administration if we have anything to say about it," Mr. Gates says.
Right then one of the other soldiers gets a phone call. "Forrest, that was – you-know-who. Something's going down. We have to go."
Adam came to the conclusion that the best time to free the demons was when the Slayer and as many Initiative soldiers as possible were distracted – without giving the Slayer and her friends time to plan an attack.
"[The consequences of no Spike?"
"One of them," he said.
"The climactic battle seems to be happening faster."
"It is, by a day or so."]
After various arguments, everyone goes to the Initiative except for your father, Miss Chase and Mr. Snyder. Mr. Osbourne, though not at full capacity, leaves with them. Along the way, Mr. Finn frees the Initiative soldiers he and Miss Rosenberg captured.
Mr. Gates still isn't particularly fond of Miss Summers, but isn't going to turn down any help he can get, at this point. Finding the elevator blocked, they head en masse for the back entrance, which is guarded, although not for long.
The mass battle is similar, although with fewer soldiers in the headquarters there are more casualties. Colonel McNamara is among the dead.
The confrontation with Adam, however, is entirely different, as Miss Summers and her friends have not had the time to plan out a detailed plan of attack.
Since Miss Summers realizes even she cannot handle Adam on her own, the decision is made to have everyone attack at once – that possibly this will overwhelm him.
Mr. Finn is taken out when Adam orders him to stop through the chip, and he does. Mr. Miller sees this and immediately knocks Mr. Finn unconscious, to prevent him from being used against them.
Adam was prepared for Miss Summers, but was not prepared for everyone, including the five Initiative soldiers and Angel, to be working together, and while two of the other Initiative soldiers are killed, Mr. Miller is badly injured (shot through a lung), Mr. Harris rebreaks his arm and Mr. Giles, per custom, is knocked unconscious, Adam is incapable of adjusting to so many attacks, so quickly, and while Angel, Miss Summers and Mr. Osbourne hold him down, Miss Rosenberg magically removes Adam's power source – which she has been magically searching for since the beginning of the battle.
With that over, Miss Rosenberg and Mr. Harris remain behind to tend to the injured, while everyone capable of doing so goes out to try to minimize the remaining casualties.
One of the men on the committee that assigned blame afterward had the following to say:
". . . our soldiers suffered a 77 percent casualty rate. Only through the actions of the deserter, a handful of his comrades who were willing to buck Colonel McNamara when he apparently went off the rails, and a group of civilian insurrectionists that the losses were not total . . . our soldiers will be debriefed. Standard confidentiality clause.
Mr. Snyder proved easy to deal with, as well – years of service to the former Mayor of Sunnydale taught him the value of covering things up. This has meant the end of his political campaign, as he has been unable to answer questions regarding the incident at the hospital. The remainder of the civilians have been keeping the secrets for years, but we will monitor them and the usual measures will be prepared should they try to go public. I don't think they will. The Initiative itself will be filled in with concrete. Burn it down, gentlemen. Burn it down, and salt the Earth."
Does not happen in any form.
[So. More Initiative soldiers dead. Snyder discredited. Forrest alive. Cordelia paralyzed. Graham badly hurt but apparently not fatally. Sineya not invoked.
Altogether, not the best possible year. Not the worst, but not the best, either.
Up in the air? That's me, at the moment.
Let's hope I land on my feet.
Hell, I'll settle for not landing on my head.]