Note: Twilight's identity spoiled if you haven't read Season 8!

Issue Five

{Scene: SCOTLAND SLAYER HQ, OUTSIDE THE BARN, SAME NIGHT. Dawn watches as a "boom tube" opens up several stories below her. Out steps Zatanna, who clicks the specially-designed "mother box" and closes the tube behind her.}

DAWN: Yes! You came!

{Zatanna takes off her top-hat and massages her temples. She's wearing her typical, performance garb. Though an actual sorceress, she pays the bills by "pretending" to be one in front of an audience.}

ZATANNA: Nice timing. I got knocked on my ass mid-show. It'll probably bruise.

DAWN {guiltily}: I-I just wanted to get your attention.

ZATANNA: Well, mission accomplished. Never had an entire coven give me an inter-dimensional migraine before. Now that I have? Once was enough.

DAWN: Oh crap. I'm-

ZATANNA: {smiles} Don't worry, the tickets were non-refundable. So what's up? {she looks around} Doesn't look like the Earth's under attack. Or maybe that just happens a lot more quietly around here.

DAWN: No, but-but Willow was. Batman, too. Everybody except me's in New York, and being blown up and...even Xander left. My family's in trouble, Zatanna. I need togo there.

ZATANNA {sympathetic}: But first you need to drop a few sizes?

DAWN: Please, you gotta help me.

ZATANNA: I already told you, Dawn, you have to break the spell yourself. No one else can. Not even me.

{Dawn frowns, and sits down almost as heavily as her sigh. When the ground tremors, Zatanna looks like she's balancing herself on an invisible tightrope, but ends up still falling on her ass. Again. Dawn doesn't notice this at all.

{Then suddenly, now settled, her expression becomes hopeful.}

DAWN: Can that "Dr. Fate" guy?

ZATANNA {hurt scowl}: Hey.

{The sorceress was in the middle of getting back up and wiping herself off, and that was the last thing she wanted to hear.}

DAWN: {desperate} At least tell me how.

{Zatanna walked over and placed her considerably tinier hand on Dawn's thigh.}

ZATANNA: Let me ask you a question.

DAWN: Uh, sure, okay.

ZATANNA: Basically you did the wrong guy, right?

DAWN {softly, ducking her head}: Nick. Who kinda sucked, really.

ZATANNA: Youch. Didn't try telling your boyfriend that, did you?

DAWN: I, um, didn't tell him anything.

{Though ashamed, she lifts her head and gets defensive.}

DAWN: He caught us! The last time I felt like the Queen of Sluttown, there was this evil jacket, but with Nick...there was just me. I had to get out of there. So-so I hid in the bathroom, called Buffy, told her it was mating season for Gurslar demons and that unless she wanted nephews to slay and me to have the grossest C-section in history...

ZATANNA: Guess it isn't as bad as fleeing the galaxy, but fleeing the country's still pretty-

DAWN: -chickens&#t? I know. I suck way more than Nick. But everything I was gonna say sounded so stupid. It only would've made Kenny feel worse. I broke his heart; I deserve this. I'm sorry I ever...

{Wheels are turning in Dawn's head now, and by the look on her face, she's slowly realizing the direction they're going.}

ZATANNA: If you wanna break the spell-and don't take this the wrong way?-you've gotta grow up, hon.

{Scene: A HOTEL, COUPLE BLOCKS DOWN FROM THE MANHATTAN LOFT, STILL SAME NIGHT. Diana and Buffy are lying in their room, in their bed, when they both hear the faint click of a door handle turning out in the hall.}

DIANA: You should go.

BUFFY {looking reluctant}: I'm comfy.

DIANA: Then why wait up this long?

BUFFY: I...thought you were.

DIANA: Getting my lasso would be pointless-you're a horrible liar.

BUFFY: {exhales} I'm going, I'm going.

{She throws off her section of the sheet, and gets out of bed. She grabs her tank top and pants off the floor, then stands there to slip them on. Diana's head rests, propped up, in her hand, watching.}

DIANA: Try to be quick.

{Buffy takes one look at the naked princess with the bedroom eyes, and has to try again.}

BUFFY: I don't hafta be-

{"Bedroom eyes" have turned to "warrior eyes."}

BUFFY: I'm going.

DIANA: Talk. Without fists.

BUFFY: What do you think I am? {beat} Stay not asleep. Promise?

DIANA: Oh, I'm far from tired.

{Buffy leaves the room, walks down the hall a few doors, lightly knocks, and lets herself in without waiting for an invitation. She finds Bruce sitting shirtless on his bed, lamp on, trying to tape up his ribs himself. He's still wearing the bat-pants.}

BUFFY: Heard you saved my best friend's life tonight.

BRUCE: I returned the favor.

{She sees him struggling, and walks the remaining distance.}

BUFFY: Taping isn't a great-

BRUCE: I don't have days to sit and wait. It's what works. I'm not new at this.

BUFFY: Then here.

{She holds out her hand. This is as much of a white flag as she'll give.}

BRUCE: I didn't ask.

BUFFY: I'm not new either. So since I'm never volunteering again, shut up and...actually, just shut up.

{He wordlessly places the roll of athletic tape in her palm.}

BUFFY: Stand. Arms out.

{He does.}

BRUCE: Willow says you know where the Joker is.

{She moves around him, wrapping his injured ribs.}

BUFFY: You saw her? When?

BRUCE: Does it matter?

BUFFY'S THOUGHT: No hitting, no hitting, no hitting...

{She counts to five in her head, and lets the attitude go.}

BUFFY: Xander had a "light bulb" moment. From the bomb song. He said it was on a "Simpsons" episode. About a barbershop quartet or something.

BRUCE {the tune clicks in his memory}: "Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby."

BUFFY {furrowed brow}: You watch...? No, better-you know what "humor" is?

BRUCE: I listen to music.

BUFFY: How old are you again?

BRUCE: Look for barber shops in the area. Or for buildings that used to be.

{Buffy looks at him as if to ask, "Isn't that a little obvious?"}

BRUCE: He likes themes.

{They grow quiet, she continues taping.}

BRUCE: Diana seems...happy. I'm...glad. She's a remarkable woman.

{That's his white flag.}

BUFFY: Wow. Second agreeing thing. Yeah, she's kinda Wonder-ful.

{It's late, and maybe she's a little tired, so she's amused herself.}

BRUCE {smirks}: Been thinking of that long?

{On her next wraparound, she pulls, causing him to grimace and grit through his teeth.}

BUFFY: It's gotta be tight.

{Scene: MANHATTAN SLAYER HQ, NEXT MORNING. Everyone's gathered in the main room of the loft. Buffy, Diana, Barbara, Bruce, Xander, Kara, Violet, Willow, and all the other slayers are tense, and on their feet. Watching the local news.

{It's cell phone footage of last night's after-boom. Footage clear enough to see that Batman and Batgirl kept going into the burning building, repeatedly, to rescue people inside.

{Xander's flipping through channels, working his way through all the news programs. Sometimes it's the same footage, sometimes street interviews, but they only hear snippets, because he doesn't stay on one channel for very long.}

ANCHOR 1: -or L.A.R.P., that's gotten dangerously out of hand. After the YouTube-


TEENAGER: -should've seen her BEEP! It was BEEP-ing tast-


ELDERLY WOMAN: -got my grandbaby outta there. I don't care if they wear pajam-


ANCHOR 2: -no such thing as bad publicity, but the comics publisher denies any-


OVERWEIGHT MAN: Worst. Costumes. Ev-


LITTLE GIRL: -these girls carried my mommy to the...


CABBIE: -one chick, she just, y'know, VOOM-

{The TV goes off, jarring everyone a moment. Buffy's taken the remote from Xander, and all eyes have turned to her, waiting for her reaction.}

BUFFY: it's nuts.

WILLOW: Sorry, Buffy. I should' asked me to, and-

KARA: No, I am. I'm the idiot who got caught taking off-

WILLOW: But she-she wouldn't have had to if I didn't go boom-

BRUCE: This isn't your fault. Either of you.

{Buffy squeezes her best friend's hand, and smiles.}

BUFFY: You helped save her life, Kara. That's all I'm caring about. So thank you. {looks at Willow} Plus what he said. Except not as jackassy.

{She shoots a glare at Bruce, but unlike her others, it's missing something. Diana's the only one who picks up on it. Everyone else is too preoccupied.}

BUFFY: We'll just...hafta deal.

KARA: How? Because we are so boned, you guys.

BARBARA AND XANDER: She's not wrong.

{Realizing their echo, the vigilante and the carpenter redden in embarrassment, while taking hold of a hand at each other's side. Almost everybody in the room is staring like they want to tease them mercilessly, but no one gets the chance, because-}

DAWN (O.S.): Blech. How long have they been doing that for?

{Attention shifts from one Summers sister to another. Dawn's standing next to Zatanna, normal-sized. Kara rushes over and wraps her in a hug.

{Willow's eyes focus on Zatanna, then when she realizes she's focusing too much, they suddenly dart elsewhere.}

KARA: Hah! You owe me, Summers. Didn't I tell you it would happen? I told you! {her excited tone vanishes} You're still taller than I am? {beat} Sucks.

VIOLET {speaking up from the crowd}: You...know you've got superpowers, right?

{Meanwhile, Dawn's struggling for air.}

DAWN: Don't really a jellyfish, Kara...ow...

KARA: Oops.

{Kara loosens her super-strong hold, and Dawn breathes.}

KARA {big grin}: But c'mon! Me and you? We're gonna have fun.

{Bruce clears his throat in the background.}

KARA: Uh, after we break the Joker's face for torturing that kid and foil his latest evil whatever.

{Buffy's made her way over, and Kara steps aside so she can have her turn. She looks questioningly at Zatanna, who shakes her head.}

ZATANNA: I only gave her a lift. She did the rest.


DAWN {shrugging, but proud of herself}: I said I was sorry.

BUFFY: You said you were sorry?

{Buffy looks disbelieving, and that quickly turns into suspicious.}

BUFFY: Sorry for what exactly?

DAWN {her poker face horrible}: Nothing.

{Deciding it's better for both of them if she drops the subject, Buffy hugs her little sister, clearly happy to see her "back".}

DAWN: Glad you're okay, sis. Was gettin' kinda worried.

BUFFY: Worrying is my job, so stop already. {beat} Are you sure whatever you did worked though? All the way? Because your butt still looks huge in those pants.

DAWN {fighting a scowl}: Thanks for proving how I'm more mature now. 'Cause, what you just said? Don't care.

{She kicks Buffy in the shin.}

DAWN: Dumbass.

DIANA {a smile in her voice}: I hate to interrupt...

DAWN: Frig, I almost forgot! Buffy, Andrew did the research you wanted. There's only one place that fits for you-know-who's hideout.

XANDER: The Clown Prince of Crime.

DAWN: Um, yeah. So...wanna check it out? Andrew said-

{Every person in the room who's ever graced the pages of a comic book has groaned at the now, second mention of that name. It's almost like Kryptonite.}

{Scenes: VARIOUS.}

{The Batmobile driving through the city.}

{Bringing up the rear, Batgirl's driving a motorcycle. Xander's sitting behind her, arms around her waist, praying he doesn't fall off.}

{Willow and Wonder Woman are keeping pace with the vehicles on the ground while flying parallel above.}

{Dawn's flying with Supergirl, perched on Batgirl's usual spot, grinning like crazy. She has a scabbard strapped to her back, and is wearing a hip pouch.

{Super-speed on their side, they arrive at their destination before most everyone else. They land on the roof of a building opposite the old barbershop.

{Behind them are twenty or so white doves, scattered around. After a bright, blue flash of magickal light, Zatanna and a bunch of disoriented slayers stand there in the birds' place. With a wink, she tips her hat in greeting.}

{Scene: INSIDE THE BATMOBILE. Buffy rides shotgun, Batman's at the wheel. The GPS in the console has a blinking X over the destination they're heading toward-in the heart of Coney Island, Brooklyn. Buffy's trying to resist all the buttons.}

BUFFY: Bringing you your car from another dimension-that's some full service butler-ing.

BATMAN: Alfred's very dedicated to his job.

BUFFY: You should buy him an awesome Christmas present.

BATMAN: From what he's told me, I usually do.

BUFFY: ...He buys his own gift? {she blanches} What? Bat-Thoughtfulness didn't fit in the belt anywhere? Geez. No wonder you never have a real girlfriend.

BATMAN: What's your point?

BUFFY: {huffing} If you cared, you'd've heard it already.

{She looks out the window for a few silent minutes.}

BUFFY: Guess it's good our cat's more or less outta the bag, because stealthy this isn't.

BATMAN: Sorry.

{The word has no inflection to it, just a flat gruffness. Buffy can't tell if it was a genuine apology.}

BUFFY: Just like it wasn't Willow's or Kara's? It wasn't your fault, either. Barbara warned me the Joker doesn't do small.

BATMAN: He wanted this. He wanted that bomb to go off so we'd react, be noticed. Now he'll have an even larger audience.

BUFFY: Yeah, but for what?

{Silence lapses again as they both contemplate the possibilities. Then Batman breaks it.}

BATMAN: Last chance to make your sister go home.

BUFFY: Says the guy who had a little kid for a sidekick. {beat} Took a while to learn, but she's been a big girl, Bruce. Lately literally. I can't make her do anything. Do I like it? No. But she shrunk to come help, she knows how to handle herself, and...she kicked me again. So, everybody's in.

BATMAN: Your call.

BUFFY: Thanks, I know.

{She gestures at the console and-}

BUFFY: Hey, does one of these make coffee? I hate walking into a trap under-caffeinated. Especially considering it'll probably be all complicated and over-the-top...

BATMAN: Center switch. Right panel.

BUFFY {smiling broadly}: Why'd I ever wanna hit you?

BATMAN: Don't spill on the leather.

{She turns her head, narrowing her eyes at him.}

BUFFY: Stupid question.

{Scene: SKIES OVER NEW YORK CITY. Willow and Wonder Woman are still flying.}

WONDER WOMAN: If you're going to ask, you really should stop delaying. We're almost there, and whatever happens, you don't want to be distracted. Trust me.

WILLOW {nervous}: I, uh, wasn't... o-okay, maybe I had a shovel speech, but since you're, that-that person you are, it doesn't sound as intimidating as it usually does. In-in my head.

WONDER WOMAN: Shovel? {confused, she lets it go} Willow, you insisted on coming with me. Ask, it's all right. If it's about Zatan-

WILLOW {eyes widen}: I wasn't staring! Did she say I was? I mean, I'm seeing someone, totally committedly seeing, which, why, did she anything about me? Not, that I'd give a darn. Any darn. {she takes a deep breath} And Buffy loves you.

{Diana stops moving, having not expected that. Willow stops with her. An involuntary smile starts to break out on the Amazon's face, but she puts a stop to it once she realizes.}

WONDER WOMAN: No. It's only been... you can't know...

WILLOW: I know Buffy. I know her eyes say "Yay!" whenever she sees you, or talks about you...and I know when you two're snuggly, her shoulders take a nap. {snaps her fingers} Weight go poof. You hafta realize how much she trusts you. For her to do that like it's easy?

{They start moving again.}

WONDER WOMAN: I realized it at the same time I realized how much I trusted her. It isn't something I take for granted.

WILLOW: Do you love her too, though? Because Buffy hasn't let herself get that close for so long. After all those times it hurt, she just, sorta went away from everybody. Then a lot 'cause of you, I got my best friend back as a "welcome home" present. An-and I don't wanna lose her again.

WONDER WOMAN: I don't intend to lose her either. {beat} Everything I am-daughter, ambassador, warrior-I'm proud to be. That I've been given the chance to make a difference, to inspire others to, means more than I can say. But occasionally it weighs heavy, and all I want is for the weight to go poof.

{This gets an embarrassed smile from Willow.}

WONDER WOMAN: Buffy allows me that; she insists on it. I'm never more content than when we're laughing at some poorly-conceived film on a quiet afternoon, from the comfort of our sofa.

I'm not "Wonder Woman" when we're alone. That comes a distant second to "Diana," whom she's always seen first. And in three months, our relationship has already...

{She loses the words, appearing to understand something.}

{Scene: INSIDE THE BATMOBILE. Buffy (and Batman) can hear Willow and Wonder Woman through the coms in their ears. They, and no one else, has thought to interrupt and remind them their conversation isn't private.}

{As Batman stops the car across the street from the barbershop, Buffy is listening intently still.}

WONDER WOMAN (O.S.): ...Too many days, I've asked myself why man's world is worth saving. People seem desperate to destroy themselves, so what does it matter if Grodd or the Joker grants their wish? I believe in the Amazonian ideals, but sometimes they aren't enough. Sometimes I fight to spend another afternoon with her.

Is that love?

{Buffy, now teary-eyed, wears a radiant smile on her face. She knows how she'd answer that.}

{Scene: SKIES OVER NEW YORK CITY. Willow, hearing the answer to her question, is watery as well, on Buffy's behalf.}

WILLOW: Uh huh. Yep. Absolutely.


ZATANNA (O.S.): What they said.

BATGIRL (O.S.): If it wasn't, it better be now.

XANDER (O.S.): Foreigner's gotta approve.

{Before Wonder Woman can react to the fact that Buffy most likely heard her along with everyone else, she feels an impact in the middle of her back. An impact so forceful, it drives her out of the sky and face-first into the street below. She's made a rather sizeable pothole.}

{Willow sees a dark blur when Wonder Woman gets struck, and then feels herself get flung aside in midair. She goes sailing.}

{Down on the ground, the Batmobile's pulled up just as Wonder Woman's getting to her hands and knees. Buffy rushes out the door.}

BUFFY: Diana!

{But Wonder Woman's too focused on the boots she sees, and looks up at the figure they belong to, standing over her.}


{Scene: ROOF OF THE JOKER'S BARBERSHOP HIDEHOUT, ACROSS THE STREET. Joker is standing there, looking through a pair of oversized binoculars at Twilight crashing his party. Harley is beside him.}

JOKER {angry}: I knew it! {his tone changes to sulkingly hopeful} Tell me you didn't forget Fluffy.

{Harley reaches down, and when she comes back up, she has a massive bazooka in her hands.}

HARLEY: Leave the poor thing home alone all by herself-with nobody t'play with? That'd be awful mean, Mr. J.

{The Joker carelessly throws aside the binoculars, snatches the bazooka from Harley, and hoists it onto his shoulder. Speaking of awful mean...}

HARLEY {pissed off harrumph}: You're welcome.

{The Joker pays her no mind, all his sudden rage focused on Twilight below.}

JOKER {sneering}: Horn in on my plot, will ya?

{He points the bazooka down at Twilight, Buffy, and Wonder Woman, and fires.}

JOKER: Liar, liar, he's on fire!

{He laughs maniacally while Harley covers her ears.}

{Scene: THE "GOOD GUYS" ROOFTOP. Dawn, Supergirl, Zantanna, and the slayers can see Joker as he fires the bazooka. They all look horrified at what's about to happen, Dawn most of all, and Supergirl is a nanosecond away from trying to stop it.}

{But then the metal door that serves as the building's access to the roof for people who can't fly, busts off its hinges with a loud smash. The hulking, zombified form of SOLOMON GRUNDY stands there, and all the females turn to see him.}

{Oh, and he's also backed by about a dozen demons-for-hire.}

GRUNDY: Clown pay Grundy to crush, so Grundy crush.


DAWN: Frickin'...


{And that's when they hear the explosion.}

{Scene: STREET LEVEL. Buffy and Twilight see the rocket coming towards them.}

BUFFY'S THOUGHT: You've gotta be kidding me.

{The next thing she knows, she's scooped up just before the rocket strikes. She's not high off the ground, but she's not touching it, either. She's in the arms of Wonder Woman, who's more worried about speed than gaining altitude.}

{As the rocket makes contact, the explosion is immense. A fireball rises high up toward the sky, and the concussion from the blast helps push Wonder Woman and Buffy further away, but it also makes Wonder Woman lose focus. They both tumble and roll hard along the ground.}

{After about ten seconds or so, they pick themselves up. They're scraped, scuffed, and generally in a foul mood, but they're alive. They look over at each other.}

BUFFY: That was...kind of flying. You okay?


{They smile, relieved.}

BUFFY: {saying a lot with one word} Thanks. {beat} I can't believe you do this everyday.

WONDER WOMAN: This is nothing. You should've come to Metropolis last Tuesday.

{She looks suddenly troubled.}

WONDER WOMAN: He said I didn't understand.

BUFFY: What said who?

{They watch, gasping, as Twilight calmly emerges from the flames, unscathed. Buffy recognizes the familiar symbol on his mask, but something else is familiar, too.}

BUFFY: He doesn't look like a beautiful sunset.

WONDER WOMAN {her eyes hard, suspicious}: He said I didn't understand what it meant to love you.

{Buffy gets a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. Twilight keeps walking closer.}


{Grabbing her lasso, she throws it, expertly roping Twilight before either he or Buffy realize she has.}

WONDER WOMAN {demanding}: Who are you? Show yourself!

{The entire lasso glows as she commands the truth from him, and he has no choice but to obey.}


{Saying that, he takes off his mask. Buffy's eyes go wide.}

BUFFY: Angel?


{Scene: BACK ON THE JOKER'S ROOFTOP. He's decidedly unhappy.}

JOKER: He's still alive?

{He looks ready to punch Harley in the face for the umpteenth time, and she cowers. But...he doesn't.}

JOKER: A couple regular joes like us could really learn to hate stupidpowers...

{He turns around to come face to face with-}

JOKER: ...right, Batman?

{Batman picks him up by the throat with one hand. Harley tries to attack him, but he backhands her down with his free arm.}

BATMAN: I'm almost disappointed. All that buildup...for this? Maybe I did give you too much credit.

JOKER: Midlife crisis, what can I say? Happens to everyone-and yours is one for the record books, Bats. {he puts on a sinister grin} But wait! I may have one surprise left.

{He whistles.}

JOKER: Bring out our surprise guest, boys!

{Just like on the other roof, the door opens. Though not with a smash. Chico, Harpo and Zeppo emerge, holding Willow hostage. She's unconscious, bound, gagged, and her face looks badly bruised. Harpo, who's holding her, has a knife to her throat. The others are aiming guns.}

JOKER: Apparently she collided right with a building, and hasn't woken up since. Two head injuries in less than twenty-four hours? Even I know that's not healthy. Let's see magick get her outta this one.

{Batman squeezes the Joker's throat hard.}

BATMAN: It won't have to.

JOKER {gasping out the words}: If you...want to be her...dark knight...then...give me…my main event.

{Batman loosens his hold, the Joker coughs and wheezes.}

JOKER: Because this...was just...the warm-up act.

{From behind, a recovered Harley whacks Batman in the head with her mallet. His world goes black.}