"GILES!" Buffy shouted across the room.

This strident, imperious demand was sent towards an harassed-appearing Englishman who was at this moment (to be precise, shortly after midnight) surrounded by numerous lower-ranking Watchers and other support staff of the New Council. All of these people were inside the main foyer of a converted Cleveland private school which now secretly housed the supernatural organization dedicated to supporting Slayers worldwide.

As for the longest-surviving example herself of those extraordinary young women, this blonde lady glowered at her own former Watcher who seemingly hadn't noticed Buffy from where she was impatiently standing just past the front entrance after bursting into the building a moment ago. Rather, Rupert Giles was holding a cellphone to an ear while trying to read at once the numerous documents simultaneously brandished at him by a half-dozen junior Watchers and also attempting to carry on several conversations with the excited others there, each of whom were starting to talk louder than the rest of the group in jockeying for their superior's attention.

This deafening cacophony resounding throughout the room abruptly cut off into the deepest silence possible. This terrified quiet had been caused by Buffy's low, menacing growl. Next came this Slayer inexorably stalking right at the crowd, accompanied by her casual yet threatening swings of the Scythe held loosely in the woman's right hand down by her side.

Not being complete morons, the underlings hastily drew back in providing a sufficient clear path for Buffy to where Giles was resignedly waiting. Muttering a quick "Hold on, will you?," into his phone, the leader of the New Council put a very patient expression on his face which endured even when Buffy stopped in front of him and thrust her left wrist directly under his nose. This was followed by an incensed feminine complaint:

"My watch isn't working!"

Momentarily glancing down in a most perfunctory manner at where a ladies' timepiece was undeniably being presented to him, Giles uttered a somewhat stressful sigh under his breath. He then absently fibbed to the pouting California girl, "Yes, so I see. Can we please discuss it later, Buffy? Right now, we're in the middle of what was about to be nothing less than a true zombie apocalypse."

"Say that again?" blankly responded Buffy who hadn't expected this at all, what with being out of touch for most of tonight on her regular patrol of the Cleveland Hellmouth.

Nodding firmly at the confused Slayer, with this mature man's action mirrored by most of the support staff's own agreement, Giles went on, "Apparently some of our demonic enemies banded together tonight to cast an exceedingly powerful magical spell at the exact stroke of midnight, which would've raised the dead throughout the whole world. From what we've discovered so far, that spell had the possibility to produce any known form of zombies as they've been portrayed in various instances of literature, cinema, and any other kinds of popular culture nowadays. Moreover, the sheer number of these walking corpses then created would in the end overwhelm humanity, including us. As planned by the demons, this final outcome had them ruling over a world wholly eradicated of people."

At that point, after listening with growing horror to what Giles was telling her, Buffy vigorously exclaimed, "So why is everyone just standing around here?! Grab your weapons, and let's-"


Stopping short in her alarmed rant, the interrupted Slayer gaped at where Giles was exasperatedly regarding her. He slowly and clearly announced to this bewildered young woman, "It's already over and done with, Buffy, the whole bloody idiotic zombie crisis. There's no further need for any concern by us in the slightest."


This disbelieving inquiry from Buffy was answered by Giles' own incredulous shrug. "I assure you, it's quite true. Oh, yes, the spell indeed worked - but just a few seconds later, something else mysteriously occurred to make every single zombie then in existence instantly return to their former lifeless state as an actual inert corpse."

Taking a deep breath while shaking his head in sheer wonder, Giles continued, "In addition, Willow and the rest of the witches in the New Council have just confirmed to me that it seems to be rather permanent. They have absolutely no idea as to the why of this, but these ladies are just as certain that it's now utterly impossible for any more zombies to be created by any known form of magic or science-"

"Director Giles?"

That strangled interjection had come from one of the junior Watchers who'd been listening in fascination to Giles' narration until a stray detail had just caught his eye. Recoiling a little from being the sudden center of everyone's attention, including his boss and the Slayer with her very big axe, this New Council researcher in his late twenties rallied sufficiently to suggest, "Ah, sir, I think you better look at Miss Summers' watch again."

"I beg your pardon?" escaped from the lips of a former Sunnydale High librarian now completely at a loss. His baffled glance then went to where a similarly puzzled Buffy was holding up her left arm again.

Together, they stared at the inoperative wristwatch displayed there, until Giles' jaw dropped when he finally spotted it. In his most bemused tone, he warily asked her, "Buffy, did anything particularly strange happen around you this evening at precisely five seconds past midnight?"

Still gazing at her stopped watch with its hour, minute, and second hands showing exactly this point in time, Buffy didn't lift her head while distractedly reporting, "Now that you mention it, kinda. I don't know for sure if if was exactly then, what you said, but I had a zombie rise straight up in his grave in front of me when I was doing a sweep through one of the cemeteries here. Well, naturally, I chopped off the dead guy's head with the Scythe" (Buffy unconsciously held up this misnamed magical weapon) "and right after that, a white glow came out of nowhere. It only lasted an eyeblink, maybe, but it completely covered me and the Scythe, too."

At this point in her story, Buffy finally looked up to see everyone there gawking in pure disbelief at her. In a genuinely indignant voice, she maintained, "Well, it did! After that glow faded just as fast as it'd hit me, I waited to see if there were any other zombies around, but nope, they didn't show up. So, I kicked some dirt over both pieces to hide them, and went back on patrol, though nothing else happened- Oh, come on! You can't be serious!"

Those concluding words were snapped in dumbfounded annoyance by Buffy at seeing how Giles was thoughfully nodding to himself, as if he'd finally solved an exceptionally perplexing conundrum.

Now regarding with obvious affection the grumpy young woman before him, Giles genially pointed out to her, 'Buffy, the Scythe is a Slayer's most potent weapon, capable of destroying virtually any mystical opponent. It also possesses the enchanted capacity to reach out to everywhere internationally. As you very well know, since you and Willow used it to change the Potentials into Slayers throughout the entire world. And now, it's obvious those two capabilities combined tonight to prevent the latest unnatural threat to humanity."

When Buffy seemed to be about to object to this, Giles raised a quelling hand to then add, "Oh, I doubt our demon foes intended or even realized at all there might be such a weakness in their zombie-creating spell, much less that anyone might take advantage of it. As a matter of fact, I fear this may perhaps be the only time it'll ever happen in such a satisfying manner. But when you accidentally disrupted the spell by eliminating one single zombie who was at that moment interconnected to every other zombie raised by the same spell, they also suffered an identical penalty through this magical linkage. What's more, it appears the vast power of the spoiled casting will in turn ensure it'll last as near as forever to block the creation of any more zombies. Congratulations, Buffy, you've done the impossible again, as we've come to expect from no one else but you!"

Rupert Giles proudly beamed at the stupefied lass, who then dazedly glanced around to meet the admiring looks of everyone also nearby clearly agreeing with the Director's summary. Buffy opened her mouth to argue that she really didn't deserve this credit-

On second thought...

A very smug expression slowly spreading onto her face, Buffy stood up straight while gleefully thinking about the New Council's yet-unawarded snazzy trophy for 'Single-Handedly Averting An Apocalypse.' She could see this now in her mind's eye, polished and gleaming in its pride of place over the mantelpiece at her private apartment in the Cleveland Slayers House. Hey, if other people really wanted to do something so nice for her, who was she to disappoint them? Nope, not little ol' Buffy, no sirree.

Graciously regarding her newest devotees, Buffy Summers mused to these agog listeners, "Well, just like Sineya said once, death is my gift!"