The Zeppo

(December 3, 1998)

Written by: Dan Vebber

Teaser

INT. CAVE OFF SEWER TUNNELS - NIGHT

Smoke . That's all we see at first. Then a shape moves quickly through it. Hard to say what it is, but it's not nice.

CLOSE ON: BUFFY

She waits. Eyes front, focused, listening intently.

ANGLE: THE CREATURE

As it stops, turning. It is a demon, obviously female. Gnarled and hideous. It cranes its neck about, birdlike. Seeking prey.

CLOSE ON: FAITH

Also waiting.

FAITH
(under her breath)
Come on…

The Demon whips its head in the direction of her voice - And Buffy TACKLES it, slams it into the wall - it SCREECHES and claws at her, Giles joins her and grabs its arm, the two try to pin it -

BUFFY
Now!

It slams Giles against the wall and he lets go, winded with pain -

- but Faith is already there, in position. She hoists a ceremonial sword and PLUNGES it into the demon's heart while Buffy holds it.

It screams. Shudders. Falls. The three gather about it.

GILES
I think that's the last.

ANGLE: WILLOW

Over in a corner, she mumbles a quick bit of Latin, extinguishing a smoking candle -

WILLOW
(Latin)
Dissipate. Ut venistis, abite.
Obscurate nos non diutius.
(English)
Dissipate. As you have come,
be gone. Cloud us no longer.

-- and the fog in the room dissipates almost instantly, revealing the dark and creepy chamber. It is hewn from rock, a nest right off the tunnels. Old metal drums and debris are piled by the tunnel access, a rusted pile of junk.

Our four heroes stand amid the bodies of three such demons. Buffy crosses to the fairly wigged Willow.

BUFFY
Are you okay?

WILLOW
I'm fine. The shaking is a side effect
of the fear.

BUFFY
Well, if it wasn't for your clouding spell-

WILLOW
It went good! Nothing melted
like last time.

FAITH
These babes were wicked rowdy.
What's their deal?

GILES
I wish I knew. I heard there was a
nest here, but quite frankly I was
expecting vampires. These are new.

BUFFY
And improved.

GILES
Well, I'm sorry. I should have had
you better prepared, and I should
never have allowed Willow and… and…

He pauses, looks around. Everyone else stops, looks too.

ANGLE: THE PILE OF RUBBISH

As it starts to move and Xander laboriously pulls himself out of it.

XANDER
I'm good. We're fine over here.
Little bit dirty.
(dusts himself off)
Good show, everyone. Just great. I
think we have a hit.

WILLOW
Are you okay?

XANDER
Tip top. Really. If anyone sees my spine
lying around, just try not to step on it.

BUFFY
Xander, one of these days you're
gonna get yourself hurt.

FAITH
Or killed.

BUFFY
Or both. You know, with pain and then
the death. You shouldn't be leaping into
the fray like that. You should be fray-adjacent.

XANDER
Excuse me: who, at the crucial moment,
distracted the lead demon by allowing
her to pummel him about the head?

FAITH
Yeah, that was pretty manly the way
you shrieked and all.

XANDER
I think you'll find that was more
of a bellow.

BUFFY
(re: demons)
So what do we do about the Heroic
trio here? Should we burn the bodies?

WILLOW
I brought marshmallows!
(off their looks)
Occasionally I am callous and strange.

GILES
I expect we can leave them. I'm
more interested in finding out what
they are, and if we can expect any
more of their kind.

BUFFY
I hope not. These guys are way too fit.

They all start out of the cave, Xander and Giles bringing up the rear.

XANDER
I say bring 'em on.

GILES
Xander, I do think it best if you keep
to the rear of the battle in future. For
your own sake.

XANDER
But gee, Mr. White, if Clark and Lois
get all the big stories I'll never be a
real reporter.
(off his look)
Jimmy Olsen jokes are pretty much
gonna be lost on you.

GILES
Sorry.

XANDER
It's okay.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER
Act One

EXT. SCHOOL PALM QUAD - DAY

Xander is alone, hanging out, doing nothing. A couple of guys throw a football back and forth. People sit, eat, study - typical sunny school tableau.

Xander spies Cordelia nearby. Tries to get in the game with the fellas.

XANDER
Hey! Bobby! Toss me one.
(doesn't work)
Les, man, I'm open.
(still ignored)
Let's go Bobby!

Bobby actually looks at him. Tosses him the ball.

XANDER (cont'd)
That's right, it's all me -

Xander bobbles, can't get it - and the ball lands right in the lap - right in the LUNCH - of JACK O'TOOLE, resident bully. Should have graduated three years ago. Mean, but cool. Carries himself well.

XANDER (cont'd)
Boy, I'm so sorry, Bobby's throwing
is - his arm's like spaghetti, we're all
just so sad for him, is your lunch okay?

JACK
What are you, retarded?

He speaks with soft menace, the anger coming through his eyes, not his pitch. Did I mention he's large?

XANDER
No! I mean I had to do that test when
I was seven, a little slow in some stuff,
mostly math and spatial relations, but
certainly not "challenged" or anything,
can I buy you another soda?

JACK
I ought to cut your face open.

XANDER
(bridles)
Hey! It was an accident, okay?
Cool down.

JACK
(gets in his face)
You wanna be starting something?

XANDER
(completely folding)
What? Starting - like that Michael
Jackson song, that was a lot of fun…
"too high to get over - yeah yeah."
Remember… that fun song…

JACK
I get my buddies together, we're gonna
kick you're ass till it's a brand new
shape. Now get out of here.

Xander does, grabbing the ball and tossing it back to Bobby and Les as he passes Cordelia.

CORDELIA
Boy, of all the humiliations of yours
I've witnessed, that was the latest.

XANDER
I coulda taken him.

CORDELIA
Oh, please. O'Toole would macramé
your face. He's a psycho. Which is
still cooler than being a wuss…

XANDER
Why is it that I've come face to face
with vampires, demons, the most
hideous creatures hell ever spit up,
and I'm still afraid of a little bully
like Jack O'Toole?

CORDELIA
Because unlike all those other creatures
you came face to face with… Jack
actually noticed you were there.

XANDER
Why am I not surprised by how
comforting you're not?

CORDELIA
It must be hard when all your friends
have, like, superpowers. Slayers and
werewolves and witches and vampires
and you're like this little nothing.
You must feel like… like Jimmy Olsen.

XANDER
(laughing)
I was just saying to -
(whining)
Hey! Mind your own business.

CORDELIA
Ohh, hit a nerve. The Boy Who Had
No Cool.

XANDER
I happen to be an integral part of the
group and I happen to have a lot to offer.

CORDELIA
Oh, please.

XANDER
I do!

CORDELIA
Integral part of the group. Xander.
You're the useless part of the group.
You're the Zeppo.

Xander really wishes he had a comeback.

CORDELIA (cont'd)
Cool. Look it up. It's something
(indicating Jack)
a subliterate who's repeated the 12th
grade three times has and you don't.

Cordelia turns on her heel, saying to herself as he recedes in the distance:

CORDELIA (cont'd)
There was no part of that that wasn't fun.

We hold on Xander, looking pretty glum.

INT. CAFETERIA - DAY

Xander is not any happier. He sits with Oz, who listens patiently to Xander's lament.

XANDER
But I mean, what is it? How do you
get it? Who doesn't have it? And who
decides who doesn't have it? What is
the essence of cool?

OZ
Not sure.

XANDER
I mean you yourself, Oz, are considered
more or less cool. Why is that?

OZ
Am I?

XANDER
Is it about the talking? You know,
the way you tend to express yourself
in short, noncommittal phrases?

OZ
Could be.

XANDER
No. No. It's the guitar thing.
You're in a band, that's like a
business class ticket to cool with
complimentary mojo after takeoff.
I should play an instrument. Is it
hard to play guitar?

OZ
Not the way I play it.

XANDER
Okay but on the other hand, eighth
grade I'm taking flugelhorn and getting
zero trim, so the instrument thing could
be a mislead. But you need a thing.
One thing nobody else has.
What do I have?

OZ
An exciting new obsession - which I
feel makes you very special.

XANDER
And now the mocking, which I can
handle because I'm right about this,
I'm on the track. Need to find my thing.

OZ
Just kinda feel you're overthinking it.
You've got some identity issues,
it's not-

INT. LIBRARY - SUNSET (DAY)

GILES
The end of the world.

He looks very serious, at an equally serious Buffy.

BUFFY
Can they do it?

GILES
They seem very committed to it. The
Sisterhood of Jhe is an apocalypse cult,
they exist solely to bring about world
destruction. And we've not seen the last
of them. More will follow.

BUFFY
And they're in Sunnydale for what?
Demon Expo?

GILES
Buffy, this is no laughing matter.

BUFFY
Hence my no laughing.

Oz enters, exchanges nods with the other two as he puts himself in the book cage.

OZ
Hey.

BUFFY
Hey.

Giles looks at his watch -

GILES
Ah yes. Cutting it a bit close.

OZ
You know me.

Oz begins taking off his shirt but the other two are back into their conversation, not paying him any mind.

BUFFY
(to Giles)
Well, do we know why they're here?

GILES
I think so. Based on the artifacts I found
with them, and taking into account the
current astral cycle -

BUFFY
Giles, I don't need to see the math.

GILES
They intend to open the Hellmouth.

Buffy is thrown by that one.

BUFFY
The Hellmouth. The one that opens -

GILES
About twenty feet from where
you're standing.

Buffy looks at the spot, as does Giles.

ANGLE: IN THE CAGE

Is werewolf Oz. He too stares at the Hellmouth spot, and he lifts his head up and HOWLS piteously.

EXT. FRONT OF SCHOOL - THE NEXT DAY

Buffy walks with Willow.

WILLOW
And if it opens?

BUFFY
Remember that demon that almost
got out the night I died?

WILLOW
Every nightmare I have that doesn't
revolve around academic failure or
public nudity is about that thing. In
fact, one time I dreamed that it attacked
me while I was late for a test and naked.

BUFFY
It'll be the first to come out. And it
won't be the worst by a long shot.
The world will be overrun with demons
unless we stop it.

WILLOW
Do we know when this is supposed
to happen?

BUFFY
Giles is trying to narrow it down. If
you're up for it, we're headed into
deep research mode.

WILLOW
I'll be offended if you haven't already
counted me in.

BUFFY
Thanks. There's something about this
one… it scares me. I need my
Willow with me.

She puts her arms around Willow as they walk, sharing a comforting moment.

WILLOW
You don't have to be afraid.

Someone HONKS behind them and both girls jump, yelping. They turn in ire and stare in shock.

ANGLE: BEHIND THEM

is a gorgeous '57 CHEVY BEL AIRE, behind the wheel of which sits Xander Harris.

XANDER
You girls need a lift?

The girls move aside as he parks the car right next to them, basking in his assumed coolness.

BUFFY
What is that?

Excitedly, Xander gets out of the car.

XANDER
What do you mean, what is it? It's
my thing!

WILLOW
Your thing?

XANDER
(slowly, "don't you get it?")
My thing…

BUFFY
(cringing slightly)
Is this a penis metaphor?

XANDER
My thing that makes me cool!
You know, that makes me unique.
I'm car guy. Guy with a car.

WILLOW
How could you afford it?

XANDER
Uncle Roary stacking up the DUI's,
letting me rent this bad boy till
he's mobile again.

BUFFY
(mind elsewhere)
Well, it's nice.

XANDER
If you could sound less enthused…

BUFFY
Sorry.

WILLOW
Evil.

XANDER
Big?

BUFFY
Biggest. Maybe more than I can handle.

XANDER
Then we'll handle it together. You
know I'm here for you. Just tell
me what I can do.

EXT. ESPRESSO PUMP - DAY

XANDER
Two of the glazed, two cinnamon,
couple of those crème-filled, and a
jelly. Let's round that out to four
jellies.

As the GIRL behind the counter gets his donuts, Cordelia approaches.

CORDELIA
Ooh, some evil going on? It must
be big for them to entrust you with
this daredevil mission.

XANDER
Cordelia, feel free to die of a wasting
disease in the next twenty seconds.

He pays as they continue their ultra-charming banter.

CORDELIA
Again I strike the nerve. I am
a surgeon of mean.

XANDER
I'm busy right now, okay?

CORDELIA
Right, Buffy needs your help.
Can you say 'expendable'?

He moves to his car, parked right outside. Turns back to Cordy.

XANDER
You think you know everything -

CORDELIA
I think I know you.

XANDER
That's a laugh.

CORDELIA
Oh, what, you got a shiny car and now
you're someone new. Like anyone
cares about -

LYSETTE
(to Xander)
Is that your car?

Cordelia stops. Lysette is beautiful. Lysette is talking to Xander. This cannot be right.

XANDER
Why, yes, it is.

LYSETTE
'57 Chevy Bel Aire, 283 C.I.D
solid lifter, fuel injected v8?

XANDER
Uh… very possibly.

LYSETTE
How does she handle?

XANDER
Like a dream about warm sticky things.
You wanna go for a little drive?

LYSETTE
You busy?

Xander fairly beams at Cordelia.

XANDER
Well, I have to drop these off, and then
I'd describe myself as 'expendable'.

He ushers her into the car. Cordelia is perplexed. And silent.

Xander peels out.

INT. BRONZE - NIGHT.

Xander sits at a table with Lysette, his expression 180 degrees from his last one. He is bored beyond belief.

LYSETTE
And then, you know, I started seeing
Dave Peck; he had a Thunderbird, engine
completely tricked out, but the upholstery
was like shot, and then I was with his
friend Mike, not the Mike with the
Mercedes, the Mike with the Mustang,
an 82, v6, you know the look…

Angel makes his way through the crowd. Xander calls out to him as to a rescue ship.

XANDER
Angel! Buddy. Friend buddy.
Do you want to stay and talk?

ANGEL
I'm looking for Buffy.

XANDER
Library, last I saw.

ANGEL
Something's happening. I've seen
portents -

XANDER
Apocalypse. They're on top of it.

ANGEL
I don't think they know what they're
dealing with.

XANDER
Well, let's go! And tell them that.

ANGEL
No, you'd best stay out of harm's way.

XANDER
But I could help…

But Angel is gone. Xander looks glumly after him.

LYSETTE
You wanna go for another drive?

EXT. BRONZE/INT. XANDER'S CAR - NIGHT

Xander and Lysette get in the car as he grumbles.

XANDER
It's not like I haven't helped before.
(starting her up)
I've done quality violence for those
people, do they even think of that?
They act like I'm some klutz --

SMASH! The car stops dead as he hits another car.

XANDER (cont'd)
Oh my god. Are you okay?

LYSETTE
That's gonna trash your hood.

He gets out (as does she) looking to inspect the damage - and the damage to the parked car he hit, which is considerably worse.

XANDER
All right. Oh god. Stay calm.
Little fender bender, it's not --

The door of the other car opens. Jack O'Toole steps out. Premeditated murder in his eyes.

XANDER
… the end of the world.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

EXT. BRONZE - NIGHT

Jack looks at his car, at Xander. Xander looks stricken.

XANDER
Oh. Gosh. Jack. Hey, are you okay?
I'm really sorry about that. Your
car came out of nowhere.

JACK
I was parked.

XANDER
Exactly. Okay, I can cover the damages.
I don't have insurance in the strictest
sense of the word, but I have a little
money… The important thing is that
we're okay, and we can work this out
like two reasonable -

Jack pulls a HUGE Bowie knife out of the back of his pants -

XANDER (cont'd)
-- frontiersman…

JACK
Where do you want it?

XANDE
What?

JACK
Where do you want it?

XANDER
I'm fairly certain that I don't want
it. But thank you!

Lysette has gotten out of the car now and offers the observation:

LYSETTE
Wow, cool knife.

XANDER
Yeah, great knife… although I think
(indicating length)
it may be technically a sword…

JACK
She's called Katie.

XANDER
You gave it a girl's name! How
very serial killer of you. Lysette,
I think we should go.

Jack grabs him, holds Katie to his face.

JACK
You scared?

XANDER
Would that make you happy?

JACK
Your woman's looking on and
you can't stand up to me? Don't
you feel pathetic?

XANDER
Mostly I feel Katie.

JACK
You know what the difference between
you and me is?

XANDER
Again, Katie springing to mind.

JACK
Fear. Who has the least fear.

XANDER
And nothing to do with who has the
big sharp --

Jack puts Katie in Xander's hand and steps back.

JACK
Come on.

Xander doesn't know what to do.

LYSETTE
I wanna go for a drive. I'm bored.

XANDER
Well I'm sorry my life or death
struggle isn't exciting enough --

Jack grabs him, knife hand and throat. Xander struggles with him as Jack inches the knife closer to Xander's stomach. Xander is strong, but Jack has a light in his eyes that means he's willing to go the extra mile, the one that crazy people run.

COP
What's going on?

Jack breaks away from Xander, taking the knife and hiding it behind his back.

JACK
Nothing. Just rasslin'.

COP
O'Toole. What a surprise.
(to Xander)
He attack you?

Xander considers a moment.

XANDER
No. Just letting off steam. Two
guys rasslin'. But not in a gay way.

He takes off. Jack turns to Xander. Stares at him.

XANDER
What.

JACK
That was all right.

He sticks Katie back in his pants.

JACK (cont'd)
Coulda narked on me, didn't do it.
Very decent
(sizes him up)
I like you.

XANDER
(a little worried)
Yay?

JACK
Hey, you two wanna have some fun?

LYSETTE
Like, with driving?

JACK
Yeah.

XANDER
What did you have in mind?

JACK
I was on my way to get the boys
together. Gonna cruise around.
We'll take your wheels.

XANDER
Well, what about your car?

JACK
Ain't mine.

They pile into Xander's car, Lysette in the middle, Xander not sure this is fun, but not convinced it isn't.

XANDER
Okay, where to?

JACK
Get my buddies!

XANDER
Yeah. Great. Where are your buddies?

EXT. GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Jack is in the middle of a ceremony, performing it at the foot of a grave. He walks around the grave a bit, waving a chicken foot at it and intoning in a low voice:

JACK
He calls forth, the spirit of Uurthu,
the restless, no one shall sleep. He shall
arise… hear, me, the blood of the Earth
shall restore him --

He cuts himself on the hand with Katie, lets a little blood fall on the grave.

JACK (cont'd)
… and he shall arise.

Xander looks a little worried. Lysette looks bored. Jack is purely focused on the grave.

JACK (cont'd)
Shall arise.

A hand claws out of the grave. And then a whole body. BOB is a huge bruiser of a guy, took a bullet to the head about eight months ago. Looks the worse for it. He gets up, looking about him. Looks at Jack.

BOB
Buddy!

JACK
Bob, you hideous corpse, come here!

They give each other a big manly hug. Lysette, no longer bored, screams and runs away. Xander turns as she goes:

XANDER
I'll call you…

BOB
(to Jack)
Man, You raised me!

JACK
I told you my grandpappy could work
that mojo. And Big Bob is back in action.

BOB
Yes!

They headbutt. They are dorks.

BOB (cont'd)
I can't believe you raised me! That
is so awesome. You are the coolest.

XANDER
Maybe I should leave you two to
catch up --

JACK
Bob, this is Xander. He's our wheel man.

BOB
Hey,

XANDER
Howdy.

BOB
Dude, where are the other guys?
We gotta go get 'em!

JACK
Absolutely.

XANDER
Are they, um… are all your friends dead?

But the others have started away, Jack saying not entirely without menace:

JACK
Xander. Let's roll.

Xander follows.

BOB
How long I been down?

JACK
Eight months! Hadda wait for the
stars to align.

BOB
Eight months! Man. I got some
catching up to do.
(turning to Jack)
You been taping Walker Texas Ranger?

JACK
Every ep.

BOB
Thank god. We'll get the guys together,
we'll parTAY. This is gonna be a
night to remember.

XANDER
(to himself)
I'm sensing that.

EXT. ANOTHER GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

We see Giles in the middle of a circle of candles, communing with spirits of the undead. It's a big deal, as unearthly light, nearly in the form of a human, hovers before and above him. A heated conversation is going on. In LATIN, with SUBTITLES.

GILES
(Latin)
Noli me renuere,umbra
ducens! Sapientia manium
super me effundatur!
(English)
Do no deny me, spirit guide!
Let the wisdom of those who
have passed be showered upon me!

VOICE FROM EVERYWHERE
(Latin)
Illae res occultae sunt
tempori et locis obscuris!
Nmeo mortalis conscius
doctrinae peritae sit.
Enuntiare illas Chaos super
orbem vivum terrarum ferat!
(English)
These secrets belong to
time and the dark regions!
No mortal shall be privy to
the lost knowledge. To
reveal them would bring
Chaos down upon the living Earth!

GILES
(Latin)
Belua propulsanda est.
Invenire vitium suum nostar
spes sola est!
(English)
The beast must be fought.
Our only hope lies in
finding its weakness!

VOICE FROM EVERYWHERE
(Latin)
Noli petere! Perturba nos non diutius…
(English)
Seek not! Disturb us no longer...

The form dissipates, the candles all blowing out. Giles looks about him in frustration.

Xander approaches, curious.

XANDER
Giles. Hey, what's going on?

GILES
Trying to gain access to the spirit
guides - not going very well, I'm
afraid. What are you doing here?

XANDER
Oh, we've just been raising… some heck.

ANGLE: JACK

is over by the car with Bob and now another dead guy (Dickie). But they are at a distance and look more or less normal.

JACK
Xander! Let's go!

XANDER
Listen, if you guys need help --

GILES
Thank you, but the best thing you
can do right now is to keep yourself
out of trouble.

XANDER
Not much chance of that…

JACK
Xander! Motor!

GILES
There's something different about
this menace. In the air, I can feel it.
The stench of death.

XANDER
I think that's Bob.

GILES
(hand on Xander's shoulder)
We may all be called upon to fight
when it happens.

XANDER
When what happens, exactly?

JACK
Come on!

GILES
I'd best go. Hopefully, there will
be time to prepare. All we need is
a few weeks.

INT. WILLY'S BAR - NIGHT.

Buffy is kneeling behind the bar, next to a badly beaten Willy. (NOTE: this entire exchange takes place behind the bar so that we do not have to build the entire room.) What we can see - Bottles, cash register, etc., has been smashed up as well.

BUFFY
Tonight?

WILLY
Before sunrise… that's what they said…

BUFFY
Why did they do this?

WILLY
They were looking… for Angel.

BUFFY
Angel… Why?

WILLY
Said they were coming after you too.
Said nothing could stand in their way
because tonight was --
(twinge of pain)
Ahh!

BUFFY
The ambulance is coming.

WILLY
Kid, my clientele ain't exactly nuns
and orphans. But I never seen
anything like these demons.

BUFFY
I'm gonna stop them.

WILLY
That Hellmouth opens, they're gonna
be the least of your problems, is my
train of thought.

He puts his hand on her arm.

WILLY (cont'd)
If I was you, I'd go find Angel, go
somewheres quiet together. I'd be
thinking how I wanna spend my
last night on Earth.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. XANDER'S CAR - NIGHT

BOB
Let's get some beers!

The rowdy crowd now includes Jack, Bob, a burnt and wiry DICKIE, and a badly decomposed PARKER. They all yell assent to Bob's suggestion. All except Xander, grimly sitting behind the wheel.

PARKER
Dude, lets go pick up some girls;
hang out at Taco Bell and get some
girls to cruise around!

DICKIE
I wanna bake a cake.

BOB
We gotta have beers, though!

PARKER
(to Bob)
Man, I can't believe you got shot!
Was it the Jackals?

JACK
Are you kidding? We wiped them out
after they threw you off the bridge.

PARKER
Really? You guys are the best. I mean it.

BOB
Liquor store. Little Armenian guy, runs
the place, he had a gun behind the
counter. Hey, we should go kick his ass!

XANDER
If you guys want me to drop you somewhere…

JACK
No. You're with us now.

Parker is sitting directly behind Xander - he puts his horrible hand on Xander's Shoulder.

PARKER
Yeah, man, you're on the team! Yes!

BOB
What are we gonna do?

JACK
I've heard a lot of interesting
suggestions, but I'm gonna go
with Dickie's. Let's bake a cake.

DICKIE
Yes! Gonna do it! Gonna do it!

The other guys holler assent.

EXT. HARWARE STORE - NIGHT

The car pulls up and everyone piles out. Jack turns to Xander.

JACK
You stay here. And keep the
motor running.

XANDER
This time of night, I'm pretty sure
nothing's open --

Bob SMASHES the window of the hardware store with a trash can --

XANDER (cont'd)
Oh. But of course they're open
for crime…

The boys all pile in. Xander looks around him worried.

ANGLE: WILLOW

Is coming out of the magic shop, calling out--

WILLOW
Thank you! Sorry to wake you!

-- to the person closing the door and shutting off the lights. She comes hurriedly across the street and encounters Xander.

XANDER
Will!

WILLOW
Xander! What are you doing here?

XANDER
Nothing! Certainly not crime…
What about you?

WILLOW
I needed supplies for a protection
spell. Buffy called from Angel's:
It's happening tonight

XANDER
And the thing that's happening
would be…?

WILLOW
I can't stay. Buffy'll need this stuff.

She starts off, then comes back into frame, gives Xander a big hug.

WILLOW (cont'd)
I love you, Xander.

She says it like a real good friend (just so we're clear), then takes off at a run.

XANDER
Okay, that's it, I'm going to --

He turns to go to the car and Jack is right behind him.

JACK
Where you going?

XANDER
Look, something's come up.

JACK
You wanna bail on me? Is that it?

The boys come out of the store and dump a couple of plastic bags into the back of the car.

DICKIE
We got the cake mix!

PARKER
Where do you wanna bake it?

JACK
Xander's looking to take off.

The guys come around.

BOB
No way. We need a wheel man.

JACK
Xander doesn't feel he's part of the
group.

XANDER
No, I'm just kind of busy…

BOB
Of course he doesn't feel like part of
the group. He hasn't been initiated!

DICKIE
Yeah! Yeah!

JACK
Do you think he's ready?

PARKER
He's earned his stripes. I say we
take him in.

XANDER
(wimping out)
Great… I wanna be in the gang, sure.

JACK
That's the spirit.

XANDER
What do I gotta do?

Jack smiles, pulls Katie out of his pants.

JACK
You gotta die.

BLACK OUT

END OF ACT TWO
Act Three

EXT. STREET OUTSIDE OF HARDWARE STORE - NIGHT

Back to Xander, Jack and company.

XANDER
Now guys… let's really talk about this.

PARKER
You wanna be in the gang, don't you?

XANDER
Yes, but I'm not dying to be in the
gang… if you get the… the pun
there…

BOB
What, are you too good to be dead?
You got something against dead people?

XANDER
Well, now, what about Jack? Jack
isn't dead.

Jack smiles at Xander. He pulls his shirt up to reveal five bullet holes in his chest.

JACK
Three weeks ago. Drive by.

XANDER
Oh boy.

JACK
Grandpappy found my body. I wasn't
gone ten minutes before he raised me.
It's a rush, man.

They crowd around Xander.

DICKIE
Let's kill Xander! It'll be fun!

PARKER
You'll be a full fledged member.

JACK
Come on, Xander. Take it like a man.

XANDER
All right, enough!

They stop. Xander has a new attitude.

XANDER (cont'd)
You guys had your fun. But I
think you're forgetting one thing.

A beat. He runs away.

JACK
Get him!

They run after him. He runs around the Espresso Pump, then inside - they follow but he comes back, hopping off the couch, over the ledge heading for the car. They pursue.

Xander makes it to his car and slides into the front seat. Takes off. Jack and the boys react to the sound of the car PEELING RUBBER.

BOB
Damn! There goes our wheels.

PARKER
And he got our stuff.

DICKIE
I wanna bake a cake!

JACK
It's all right. We'll get more
(looking out where Xander went)
The night is still young.

INT./EXT. XANDER'S CAR - NIGHT

He's driving like the proverbial bat out of hell.

XANDER
I'd say that's pretty much enough
excitement for one evening.

He spins the wheel, SCREECHES around a corner into the park…

EXT. PARK - NIGHT

Where FAITH is in the middle of a vicious one-on-one with a DEMON. The demon is POWERFULLY strong, almost getting the better of her.

INT. XANDER'S CAR - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

As Xander spies Faith and the demon in front of him.

EXT. PARK - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

The demon rears up to deal Faith another mighty blow - just as XANDER'S CAR SLAMS INTO IT. The demon goes FLYING, hits the ground hard. It's STILL ALIVE, but momentarily incapacitated.

Xander throws open his passenger door, yells to Faith.

XANDER
Get in!

Faith scrambles into the car. Xander floors it, leaving the incapacitated demon BELLOWING in his dust.

INT. FAITH'S MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Faith and Xander pile into the room, slam the door. They are both highly agitated, full of beans. Xander heads for the window, peeks out the curtains.

Faith takes off her jacket, revealing a skimpy tank-top beneath.

XANDER
You think Hell Mama followed us?

FAITH
Naw, we're cool. The bitch
dislocated my shoulder, though.
Hold me.

He's not sure how to take that - moves in for an awkward hug. She takes Xander's hand, puts it on her upper arm. Places a hand against his chest and WRENCHES her shoulder forward, popping it back into place with an audible crunch.

FAITH (cont'd)
That's better.

He is still holding her arm. She still has her hand on his chest.

FAITH (cont'd)
She got me really wound up. A fight
like that and no kill, I'm ready to pop.

XANDER
(the intimacy making him nervous)
Really? Pop?

She slides her hand around his neck.

FAITH
You up for it?

XANDER
Oh, I'm up. I'm suddenly very up.

Her other hand goes out of frame. She smiles.

XANDER (cont'd)
It's just that I've never been, um,
up with people… before…

She kisses him, hard.

FAITH
Relax. And take off your pants.

XANDER
Those two concepts are antithetical.

She pulls off his shirt. She throws him onto the bed, straddles him. She pulls her own shirt off (Filmed so we see arms and shoulders only.)

FAITH
Don't worry, I'll steer you 'round
the curves.

XANDER
Did I mention that I'm having a
very strange night?

She comes down and kisses the shit out of him.

INT. SAME - LATER

We see the inevitable pile of clothes, hear the ebbing of passion as two figures (filmed somewhat elliptically of course) come apart.

XANDER
My God… Faith…

EXT. FAITH'S MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

The door opens and Faith (wrapped in sheet) practically shoves Xander onto her landing. He is holding his shirt and his shoes.

FAITH
That was great. I gotta shower.

She closes the door.

CLOSE ON XANDER

The definition of "spun." After a moment, he starts for his car.

INT. XANDER'S CAR - NIGHT

Xander climbs in, closes the car door. Just sits for a long beat. Then he looks in the rearview mirror, stops.

INSERT REAR VIEW MIRROR

Where we see THE BAG OF STUFF that Jack and the boys left behind.

XANDER
Hey…

CLOSE ON

The stuff as Xander rifles through it. It's full of wiring, an alarm clock, blasting caps, EXPLOSIVES. BOMB MAKING MATERIALS.

ON XANDER

As he puts two and two together. PUSH IN on him as he says with grim certainty:

XANDER (cont'd)
They're not baking any cake.

EXT. HARDWARE STORE - NIGHT.

Xander pulls up, jumps out of the car, looking in the store and around.

XANDER
Long gone. Probably loaded with
supplies. Gotta think.
(beat)
I can't believe I had sex!
(thinks some more)
Okay, bombs. Already dead guys with
bombs. Oh, man, I'm out of my league.

He hops back in the car.

XANDER (cont'd)
Buffy'll know what to do!

INT. MANSION/EXT. GARDEN - NIGHT

Buffy and Angel are in THE MIDDLE of a heated, passionate exchange. A conversation that is, literally, life or death.

BUFFY
(in tears)
I don't know what to do!

ANGEL
Then let me decide for you. I can
face this thing --

BUFFY
You can't!

ANGEL
I can at least buy you enough time
for Willow's spell to bind it. Buffy,
this is worse than anything we've
ever faced. It's the only way.

BUFFY
I can't watch you die again!

He comes to her, holds her.

ANGEL
I love you.

BUFFY
I love you…

ANGEL
Nothing can change that. Not even death.

She pushes him away.

BUFFY
Don't talk like that to me. You may
be ready to go but I'm not ready to
lose you. This is my fight and if you
won't do it my way --

Someone clears his throat.

Startled, they both turn to see Xander standing awkwardly in the garden entrance. Stare at him with tear stained faces. A long beat, then --

XANDER
Sorry, I- There's this- I'm not a
hundred percent sure, but… It
seems like you two have bigger things-
(then)
Never mind.

Without another word, Xander turns and walks out. Buffy and Angel just stare a beat. Xander pops back in.

XANDER (cont'd)
Can I help?

Silently, they both shake their heads

XANDER (cont'd)
Okay.

He goes again.

ANGLE: XANDER

As he mounts the garden stairs.

XANDER (cont'd)
Okay, I can work this out. I just gotta
figure out what they'd be likely to bomb.

INT. LIBRARY - NIGHT

CLOSE ON GILES

As he lights a CANDLE with shaking fingers, chanting in Latin.

GILES
(Latin)
Terra, vente, ignis et
pluvia. Cuncta quattuor
numina, vos obsecro.
Defendite nos a recente
Malo resoluto-
(English)
Earth, wind, fire and rain.
All four powers I beseech
you. Protect us from fresh
evil unleashed-

WIDEN

To show the library, which is reinforced against supernatural forces with candles, hanging incense, an arcane symbol drawn on the floor in sand, etc. Willow runs in with the tranquilizer gun, breathless.

WILLOW
Okay. Oz is moved. He could barely
walk after that mickey I gave him,
but we made it.
(then/worried)
You think he'll be okay there?

GILES
Anywhere is safer than here.
(then)
Help me with the candles.

WILLOW
We're doing the binding spell
from Hebron's Almanac?

GILES
Yes, but once it's ready, you're
to stay back and let me do the final recitation
(she starts to --)
Don't argue with me. I want you safe.
(looking to where the opening will be)
Who knows what's going to come up
from beneath us.

TILT DOWN

Through the floor of the library, ending up in the

INT. BOILER ROOM - CONTINUOUS - (NIGHT)

Where Jack, Bob and Parker watch, excited, as Dickie ARMS, A HAPHAZARD BOMB, fashioned from explosives, complex wiring and a digital alarm clock timer. He makes a few final adjustments and stands back. Then the digital timer starts to COUNT DOWN FROM AN HOUR.

JACK
(grins)
This is gonna be large.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

INT. XANDER'S CAR - NIGHT

He drives, talking to himself.

XANDER
Giles'll know what to do. He's way
more calm than Buffy.

He sees something out the window.

XANDER'S POV

The dead dudes, shambling down the side of the road.

XANDER

XANDER (cont'd)
Okay. I need a plan…

EXT. STREET NEAR SCHOOL - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

The dead guys see Xander's car driving toward them.

BOB
Hey… Our wheels!

XANDER passes next to them, reaches out his window and GRABS PARKER BY HIS COLLAR, plucking him from the group.

The car zooms away, dragging Parker alongside. Jack, Bob and Dickie stand there stunned for a good beat before giving chase.

INT. XANDER'S CAR/EXT. STREET NEAR SCHOOL - CONTINUOUS

Xander has his right hand on the wheel - and his left hand grips Parker, holding him up to the car window. Parker's legs skip around on the street as it zooms under him. Parker is screaming, begging Xander to slow down.

PARKER
Stop! Come on, stop, man!

XANDER
Where's the bomb?

PARKER
In the high school!

XANDER
In the school where?

PARKER
This really hurts! Boiler room!

XANDER
(slowly, tough guy)
All right. Now I'm gonna ask this
once, and you better pray you get
the answer right. How do I defuse--

WHACK! A MAILBOX TAKES PARKER'S HEAD CLEAN OFF as the car passes. Xander YELPS as he dumps Parker's headless body into the street.

XANDER (cont'd)
I should probably have left out that
whole middle part.

Xander turns the wheel hard and the car turns off toward the school.

EXT. STREET NEAR SCHOOL - NIGHT

Jack and the gang see Xander make the turn.

DICKIE
School! He's heading for the school!

JACK
That's it. No way am I bringing him
back after I kill him.

They take off at a dead run.

INT. SCHOOL HALL - NIGHT

Xander bursts in, running hard. He reaches the door leading to the boiler room. Tries to open it, finds it locked.

At the far end of the hall Jack, Bob and Dickie round the corner, see Xander.

JACK
There he is!

Xander abandons the door and takes off like a bat out of hell.

XANDER
Where's a slayer when you need one?

INT. LIBRARY - NIGHT

CLOSE ON BUFFY, FAITH, WILLOW, ANGEL AND GILES

Standing in a tight group - breathless as they contemplate an ENORMOUS HELLMOUTH CREATURE, which we can barely see. We should only get a snatch of tentacle here and there. Hellish lighting fills the room, strobing our heroes.

The creature BELLOWS, an EAR-SPLITTING cry that practically blows our gang's hair back. They are all terrified in a way we've not seen before - awestruck by the sheer magnitude of what they are facing. Finally, Giles manages-

GILES
My god… it's grown…

We PUSH PAST the group - the doors behind them filling the frame --

Now, through the windows, we see XANDER running past - clearly in mortal danger. Totally unaware of the goings on inside the library.

A BEAT LATER - JACK, BOB AND DICKIE, also oblivious, race by in close pursuit.

ANOTHER BEAT and DICKIE slides back into view - peering through the window.

DICKIE
Wow.

Jack yells back at him.

JACK (O.C.)
Come on, man!

A beat. Then Dickie takes off after Xander again.

INT. NEAR LOUNGE AREA - NIGHT

Jack, Bob and Dickie come to a stop. They've lost Xander.

BOB
Which way?

JACK
He couldn't have gotten far. Let's
split up.

The three go off in separate directions.

INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - NIGHT

Bob moves into the hall - sees A FIRE AXE on the wall. SMASHES the glass, takes it out.

BOB
Good for chopping.

INT. LOUNGE AREA - NIGHT

Xander races up into the raised lounge area - and runs into Bob, wielding the axe. Bob swings - Xander moves backwards and trips, falls down the two steps and into some tables. Bob follows hard upon, butting Xander in the face with the end of the axe as he tries to get up. Xander crawls away between tables, Bob follows--

BOB
Now this is my idea of fun!

He swings at Xander - and the axe gets stuck in the table. Bob tries to pull it out -

Xander comes up and slugs him, knocks him back. Xander grabs the axe, wrenches it free and knocks Bob down in the process. Bob lies on his back a moment, dazed as Xander starts to take off.

Xander pauses long enough to wedge the axe between the huge soda machine and the wall. He pushes, toppling the soda machine over.

Bob looks:

ANGLE: BOB'S POV

As the soda machine comes down on his head like a sixteen ton weight. There is a sound not unlike a watermelon being squashed.

ANGLE: DICKIE

Comes running into the hall. He sees Bob's body and a soda machine where his head should be. Looks up and sees Xander step out with the axe.

XANDER
Shoulda learned by now. If you're
gonna play with fire, you got to
expect that sooner or later -

Dickie runs away.

XANDER (cont'd)
I wasn't finished!
(running after him)
Note to self: less talk.

INT. HALL OUTSIDE LIBRARY - NIGHT

From outside the shaking library doors, we can hear the commotion inside. It now sounds like our heroes have begun the battle in force. Occasional bursts of light spill from the porthole doors. We hear bodies being thrown around, grunting, yelling, etc. It's Omaha beach in there.

Suddenly the LIBRARY DOORS EXPLODE OPEN, revealing tentacles and smoke a'plenty inside. Buffy flies out backwards, landing on her back and skidding to a stop in the hall. She looks REALLY PISSED - flips to her feet, yells:

BUFFY
The heart, Faith! Go for its heart!

And she charges back into the (mostly unseen) melee.

INT. HALL - NIGHT

We hear them before we see them: XANDER CHASING DICKIE WITH THE AXE. Xander attack-yelling, Dickie screaming in terror.

They round a corner, disappearing for a moment. A beat. Then Xander runs back out, followed by Dickie, FOLLOWED BY THREE DEMONS. Xander makes a desperate turn up a side hallway.

Dickie doesn't go the same way, instead running out of frame in a different direction. The demons FOLLOW DICKIE out of frame, and we hear HIS SCREAMS AND THE SICKENING SOUND OF DICKIE BEING EATEN.

INT. HALL (ELSEWHERE) - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

Xander hears the horrible sounds of Dickie's demise. Terrified, he backs up against a wall. A beat as he tries to catch his breath.

XANDER
Okay. Boiler room.

He heads one way - and a HELLMOUTH TENTACLE smashes out of the wall directly in front of him. It turns and roars at him, eyeless and toothsome.

XANDER (cont'd)
Other way.

He turns and runs off down the hall with his axe.

INT. CELLAR OUTSIDE BOILER ROOM - NIGHT

We hear the axe demolish the lock, and a door open at the top of the stairs opens. Xander comes down and goes through another door, marked BOILER ROOM.

INT. BOILER ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Xander enters the boiler room.

There are two doors leading to it: the one he just came in, and another opposite it.

THE BOMB is sitting in an open space near the center of the room.

XANDER
Hello, nasty…

Xander puts down the axe and approaches the bomb slowly, regards the mess of wires and the alarm clock. The clock is at TWO MINUTES and counting down. Xander notes this - talks to try to calm himself.

XANDER (cont'd)
Two minutes… Dumb guy. Little
bomb. How hard can it be?

Without warning, Xander is YANKED OFF THE FLOOR by JACK and thrown against a nearby wall.

JACK
Just got harder

XANDER
I'm not leaving here until that
thing is disarmed.

JACK
Then I guess you're not leaving.

Jack takes a series of mighty swings at Xander, who manages to block and duck the worst of it. Jack finally pins him against a wall, Katie straining toward Xander's face.

JACK
I'm gonna carve you up and serve you
with gravy. You piss me off, boy, you
pay the price. First the eyes, then the
tongue, then I'll break every one of
your fingers --

XANDER
You gonna do all that in thirty eight
seconds?

Jack spins to look at the clock - and in that moment Xander wrenches free and powerhouse-fists Jack into the opposite corner. Jack rises, dazed, glaring at his foe.

XANDER (cont'd)
You're thinking, can I get by him?
Get up the stairs, out of the building?
Seconds ticking away, I don't love
your chances.

JACK
You'll die too.

XANDER
Yeah, looks like. So I guess the
question really is… who has less fear?

JACK
I ain't afraid to die. I'm dead.

XANDER
Yeah, but this is different. Blowed
up isn't walking around and drinking
with your buddies dead. It's 'little bits
swept up by the janitor' dead, and I
don't think you're ready for that.

JACK
Are you?

Beat. Jack. Xander. Clock.

XANDER
(smiling calmly)
I like the quiet.

INT. LIBRARY - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

Noise, lightening, smoke, the works.

ANGLE: ANGEL

Tries to pull a she-demon off Faith.

ANGLE: BUFFY

Is held up near the ceiling by a tentacle. (Actually, she's standing on a platform, it's do-able).

GILES (O.C)
(Latin)
"et omnia vasa veritatis!"
(English)
"and all the vessels of truth!"

GILES (O.C)
(in English)
Now, Buffy! NOW!

She swings her battle axe back, screaming with effort, about to bring it forward --

INT. BOILER ROOM - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

Dead silence. Xander. Jack Clock.

Which reads, 7 seconds.

With a yelp, Jack drops Katie and dives for the bomb, pulling out the green wire (NOT THE RED WIRE!). He holds it, shaking, defeated.

XANDER
Good boy.

Jack stands, dropping the now useless bomb. (He and Xander are both in front of doors - Xander's is the one that they came in from.)

XANDER (cont'd)
I don't think I wanna be seeing you
around campus anymore, Jack.

Jack just looks down. Xander turns and goes.

INT. CELLAR OUTSIDE BOILER ROOM - NIGHT

Xander closes the door behind him - walks for the stairs. As he goes his LEGS GIVE OUT FROM UNDER HIM. He almost falls but manages to recover, never letting his cool factor waver.

INT. BOILER ROOM - NIGHT

Jack turns to go out the OTHER DOOR marked "EXIT." Mutters to himself:

JACK
I'm not going anywhere, Harris. And
the first time you turn your back --

Jack opens the door and immediately WEREWOLF OZ leaps out. Viciously ATTACKS HIM. Rips him apart (in an off-camera kind of way.)

EXT. SCHOOL - DAY

Buffy, Giles, Willow and Oz sit at a picnic table. Giles has his arm in a sling, Buffy has a bandage on her shoulder - they are the worse for it. Their conversation has the warm hush of people who have shared something extraordinary.

OZ
But Angel's gonna be okay?

BUFFY
(nods)
He was only out for a few minutes.
Longest of my life.

WILLOW
I'll never forget that thing's face.
Its real face, I mean.

BUFFY
(to Giles)
I don't know how you managed to…
That was the bravest thing I've ever
seen.

GILES
The stupidest. But the world
continues to turn.

WILLOW
And no one's ever gonna know how
close it came to stopping. Never
know what we did.

Xander approaches.

XANDER
Guys.

WILLOW
Xander. Boy, you're lucky you
weren't at school last night. It was
crazed.

He pauses.

XANDER
Well, give me the quiet life. I'm
gonna grab a snack. Anyone want?
(heads shake)
Oz?

OZ
(puzzled)
I'm oddly full today.

XANDER
'kay.

He walks past the group and yes, there is a little something in his stride.

He approaches Cordelia, who of course starts right in.

CORDELIA
Oh look, it's mister excitement. On
another life or death donut mission?
Or are we cruising for bimbos again.
Giving them lessons in lack of cool…

He stops, looking at her. Little calm smile. He's little calm smile guy.

CORDELIA (cont'd)
What?

He says nothing. Still with the smile.

CORDELIA (cont'd)
What?

Walks away.

CORDELIA (cont'd)
WHAT?

HOLD ON Xander, calmly walking in the sun.

BLACK OUT.

THE END