Doomed

(November 12, 1999)

Written by: Marti Noxon & David Fury & Jane Espenson

Teaser

INT. BUFFY AND WILLOW'S DORM ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

ON BUFFY and RILEY, exactly as we left them in "Hush" (Episode 10) -- sitting across from each other, in silence. After a couple more beats:

BUFFY
Well, somebody should speak before
one of us graduates.

Riley rises slowly. He crosses past her, then turns back.

RILEY
What are you?

Buffy eyes him, a little irked at the question.

BUFFY
Capricorn. On the cusp of Aquarius. You?

RILEY
Sorry. Came out a little blunter
than I intended. It's just...
(enthused)
You're amazing. Your speed, your strength--

BUFFY
Also passionate, artistic
And inquisitive.
(pointedly)
Who are you?

RILEY
(sincere)
You know who I am. The rest...
(uncomfortable)
What I do... I can't tell you.

She studies him a beat.

BUFFY
Then, let me. You're part of some
military monster squad that rounds up
demons, vampires -- probably have
official-sounding euphemisms for them
like "Unfriendlies" or "Non-sapiens..."

RILEY
(offering)
Hostile Sub-Terrestrials.

BUFFY
There you go. So you deliver
these... "HSTs" to a bunch of lab
coats who perform experiments which,
among other things, turn some into
harmless bunnies. How am I doing so far?

RILEY
(with some concern)
A little too well.

BUFFY
Meanwhile, by day, you pretend to be
Riley Finn, corn-fed Iowa boy. You
ever even been to lowa, Riley?
(realizing)
God, if that's even your name.

RILEY
It is. Born and raised. And hey,
bulletin, I'm not the only one who's
been less than honest here.

Buffy relents. He's got a point.

BUFFY
I'd have thought a professional
Demon chaser like you would've
figured it out by now.
(obviously)
I'm the Slayer.

Riley looks at her blankly.

BUFFY
Slay-er. Chosen one? She who hangs
out a lot in cemeteries?

He shrugs, apologetically.

BUFFY
You're kidding.
(sighs, then)
In every genera--
(w/o skipping a beat)
You know, I really don't feel like
doing the routine. Ask around. Look
it up: "Slayer comma The."

RILEY
And you fight... demons... I mean,
you wailed on them -- and these guys
were in shape. Kind of a weird shape, but --

BUFFY
You did pretty well yourself.

RILEY
But I'm a walking bruise today. See
me with my clothes off I look like...
I mean I have bruises... purple.
Don't see a scratch on you.

BUFFY
Not looking hard enough.

RILEY
I'm looking pretty hard.

A little heat here. They break it:

RILEY
So, then... What do we... do?

BUFFY
(sobering)
I don't know. I'm still... I really
thought you were a nice, normal guy.

RILEY
I am a nice, normal guy.

BUFFY
Maybe by this town's standards, but
I'm not grading on a curve.
(after a beat)
I think we both need a little time to
process... everything. Decide where
this... where we're...

RILEY
Yeah. I think that's a good idea.

He stands. They look at each other for a moment.

RILEY
Don't think I need to tell you...

BUFFY
I won't say a word to anybody.

RILEY
Good. It'll be safer for all--

SKRRREEECH! Amy the rat lets out an agitated SQUEAL. They turn to look at her.

RILEY
--concerned.

BUFFY
What's--

Then, a LOW, RUMBLING HUM and the room begins to violently SHAKE. A few breakables fall off the shelf and SHATTER.

Riley instinctively grabs Buffy and moves into the door frame until the shaking finally subsides. In the distance, CAR ALARMS BLARE.

RILEY
(jazzed)
Wow. That was some ride,

BUFFY slowly crosses to the window.

RILEY
Sorry. I'm a little excited.
It's my first earthquake.

ON BUFFY, staring out the window, her reflection in the glass reveals a sense of dread.

BUFFY
It isn't mine.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER
Act One

INT. XANDER'S BASEMENT - EVENING (PREVIOUSLY SCENE A)

CLOSE ON CEILING WATER PIPE - A STEADY DRIP OF WATER EMERGING FROM ITS SEAM. WIDEN to find

SPIKE unhappily standing over the reclining chair as water drips onto it. He moves the chair, then feels the seat.

SPIKE
Ga! My sodden sleeping chair's
bloody... sodden.

CUT WIDE to find the room in post-earthquake disarray as

XANDER comes over with an empty bucket and places it under the drip. NOTE: He's wearing black pants and t-shirt.

XANDER
The quake just knocked a couple of
pipes loose. There's a wrench
hanging up over there by the work
bench. Try tightening the valve nut.

SPIKE
I look like a plumber to you?

XANDER
No, you look like a big mooch who
doesn't lift a finger around here.
But I have to get to work.

Xander pulls on a bright shirt, which has a pizza delivery logo on it. He picks up, though doesn't wear, a matching cap. He's in uniform.

SPIKE
Yeah. Delivering melted cheese on
bread. Doing your part to keep
America constipated.

XANDER
Mock not. Remember who pays for the
plasma around here, pal.

He crosses to the work bench and retrieves the wrench.

XANDER
You earn your keep or you don't get kept.
(slapping the tool into Spike's hand)
When you're done fixing the leak, try
cleaning up this mess.

As he turns to leave, Spike raises the wrench to smash Xander over the head, only to be stricken with a painful brain twinge. Xander heads up the stairs, oblivious.

XANDER
And doing a little laundry for once
wouldn't kill you. Unfortunately.

He exits. Spike glares after him, then, in frustration, flings the wrench against the wall, knocking stuff off.

EXT. BUFFY AND WILLOW'S DORM - EVENING

To establish

INT. BUFFY AND WILLOW'S DORM ROOM - EVENING

BUFFY, pensively, puts on her jacket and heads for the door as

WILLOW bounds in.

WILLOW
Hey. I was in the library when the
quake hit. Almost got buried in 19th
Century English Literature. And I
don't have to tell you how hard it is
to dig through some of that stuff.

Buffy smiles slightly.

WILLOW
You okay?

BUFFY
Yeah. Couple of broken
knickknacks. No biggies.

WILLOW
Well, Porter Dorm is completely
blacked out, so naturally they're
dealing with the crisis the only way
they know how: "Aftershock Party."

BUFFY
From the dorm that brought you the
"Somebody Sneezed Party" and "Day
That Ends in a 'Y' Party."

WILLOW
They do seem to be generous with the
milestones. You should ask Riley to
come. Much carousing by flattering
candlelight.

BUFFY
Riley. Riley is... busy, I'm pretty
sure. Why don't I meet up with you
there. On my way for a little Giles
one-on-one.

WILLOW
Anything wrong?

BUFFY
(with forced lightness)
Wrong? No. Not at all.

EXT. GILES' COURTYARD - NIGHT

ON BUFFY, pacing, agitated. PANNING with her, we find GILES at the table, sticking GREEN push pins into an object we don't see.

BUFFY
Something horrible's going to happen. Giles.

GILES
It was an earthquake, Buffy. A not
uncommon occurrence in Southern
California. There's no reason to
think it's anything more.

BUFFY
I've so got a reason. Pretty darn
good one. The last time we had an
earthquake, I died.

Giles looks up at her.

GILES
(sympathetically)
Yes. I know that. And therefore
completely understand your anxiety.

BUFFY
Oh, good. Hate for my little
"untimely, horrible death"
concern to be ambiguous.

GILES
But until evidence suggests
otherwise, I think we should assume
this was the result of shifting land
masses and not a portent of Imminent doom.

He produces a sheet of foam core on which is mounted a MAP of Sunnydale. GREEN push pins are stuck in it at various points.

GILES
In the meantime, I've come up with a
few theories regarding our mysterious
commando friends.

Buffy freezes in her tracks.

BUFFY
Oh. Really?

GILES
Yes. Now, based on the location of
our various sightings, and Spike's
descriptions of their underground
installation--

BUFFY
(interrupting him)
Okay, say this quake was a sign -- a
bad omen. And we just ignore it.
There's gonna be some pretty red
faces around here if the world comes
to an end.

GILES
If the quake is heralding a
catastrophe such as that, I'm sure
they'll be other signs to follow,
affording us enough time to avert it.
(back to map)
Now, I believe the commandos'
installation is somewhere very close
to, if not directly under, your
school. And as such, I'm convinced
one or more of them may be in your
very midst--

BUFFY
Plague!

GILES
What?

BUFFY
If the end is coming in the form of
a plague, too many people may become
infected before we--

GILES
(interrupting her)
Buffy, will you please stop worrying
about what may be and concentrate on what is.

Buffy opens her mouth to protest, but he holds up a hand to stop her.

GILES
Vigilance is all well and good, but
as I feel we're getting close,
there's a much more pressing question...

INT. INITIATIVE - HALLWAY - NIGHT

ON RILEY

RILEY
What's a slayer?

WIDEN to find him and FORREST, walking down a gleaming passageway.

FORREST
Slayer? Thrash band. Anvil-heavy
guitar rock with delusions of Black Sabbath.

RILEY
No. A girl. With powers.

FORREST
Oh. The Slayer. Oh, yeah, man.
I've heard of the slayer.

Riley stops, as does Forrest.

RILEY
Fill me in.

FORREST
Well, the way I got it figured,
Slayer's like some kind of Bogeyman
for the Sub-Terrestrials. Something
they tell their little spawn to get
them to eat their vegetables and
clean up their slime pits.

RILEY
You're telling me she doesn't exist.

FORREST
(snickering)
Oh, wait a sec. Am I bursting
somebody's bubble here? Maybe this
is a bad time to tell you about Lara
Croft. And the Easter bunny.

Forrest laughs, having a good ol' time. Irritated, Riley starts walking again. Forrest comes up behind, trying to sober himself up.

FORREST
Sorry. Sorry. It's a myth, Rye.
All part of that medieval folklore
garbage kooks dream up to explain the
things we deal with everyday.

They hear an AGITATED GROWL, then look up ahead of them.

REVERSE ANGLE as they pass a SCIENTIST and GUARD (armed with a heavy BATON) escorting a LARGE DEMON -- drugged, its wrists chained -- in the opposite direction. Riley and Forrest both take notice of the beast.

RILEY
And how do you explain the things
we deal with, Forrest?

FORREST
(shrugs)
They're just animals, man. Plain and
simple. Granted, a little rarer than
the ones you grew up with on that
little farm in Smallville, but--

RAAAAUGGHHH! They hear the ROAR behind them and turn to see...

THEIR P.O.V. - THE LARGE DEMON has SLAMMED the Guard against the wall, sending him sprawling to the ground. It's in the midst of breaking the chain restraining his wrists, as the Scientist fumbles for a syringe.

ON RILEY and FORREST, moving into action mode. They dive at the huge creature and wrestle it to the ground. The LARGE DEMON grabs FORREST in a headlock as it SNAPS its jagged- toothed maw at Riley.

FORREST
(choking)
Where's... that... hypo...?

Riley tries to wrench his friend free, as he looks to see

THE SCIENTIST still filling the hypo. Then dropping it.

Riley sighs, grabs the NIGHT STICK next to the prone Guard and WHAMS the LARGE DEMON hard across the jaw, knocking it unconscious.

RILEY
Never mind.

He helps Forrest to his feet. As the scientist tends to the semi-conscious guard, there is a DISTANT METALLIC BANGING, echoing throughout the hall.

FORREST
Like I said. Animals.
(re banging)
What's that racket?

RILEY
The "animals" are rattling their
cages. Been going on all day.
Wonder what's got them all worked up.

FORREST
Earthquakes, man... They make
everybody crazy.

INT. PORTER DORM LOBBY - AFTERSHOCK PARTY - NIGHT

A WILD PARTY rages in the BLACKED-OUT common room of the dorm (which oddly enough resembles the redressed Commons of the university). The only illumination comes from numerous scattered CANDLES, EMERGENCY CAMPING GAS-LAMPS and the criss- crossing streams of light from a bunch of handheld FLASHLIGHTS.

Much WHOOPING, kissage, cliquish groupings... Many partiers sport colorful phosphorescent necklaces, bracelets and other accessories.

A battery powered boom-box supplies the appropriately WB-style party ambience MUSIC. PANNING across, we find WILLOW, looking and feeling a little alone, apparently as she knows no one else there. A couple of times, she's bumped by partiers in the dimly lit hall, with nary an apology. She glances at her watch, obviously anxious for Buffy's arrival.

After a moment of looking around, she brightens when she sees

WILLOW'S P.O.V. - PERCY -- her tutee from high school - his arm around his GIRLFRIEND, a pretty coed.

WILLOW
(excited)
Percy! Hi!

He looks at her, smiles pleasantly but a little distantly.

PERCY
Hey, Willow. What's goin', on?

WILLOW
Oh, stuff. Thought you got that
football scholarship to USC.

PERCY
I did. Laurie goes here.

LAURIE
Hey.

WILLOW
Hi. Some party, huh?

LAURIE
It's okay.

The girlfriend just looks at her, expressionless, causing Willow some discomfort until Percy chimes in.

PERCY
So, how's Oz?

WILLOW
Oh. Oz. Well, um, actually, he's--

Percy holds up his hand as the girlfriend whispers something into his ear. Willow stands there, awkwardly. Then Percy turns to her.

PERCY
We're gonna get some drinks.
Cool to see you.

Percy's gal pal pulls him away. Willow calls after them.

WILLOW
Yeah, catch you...

They're gone. Willow sighs, scans the room again, checks her watch.

WILLOW
Buffy'll get here soon.
Then the fun'll start.

INT. PORTER DORM - HALLWAY - NIGHT

ANGLE ON DOOR at the end of the hall. A FEW KIDS run into frame, laughing, PUSH the DOOR open and scramble up a stairwell.

CLOSE ON the door as it slowly swings closed, with a mild rusty CREAK. Right before it does

A SCALY, GLISTENING, CLAW reaches in and catches it.

INT. PORTER DORM ROOM - NIGHT

A SHIRTLESS PARTIER is at a makeshift BAR set up in his DARK, CANDLELIT room. The door is partially ajar and we can make out the occasional party atmosphere in the hall.

THE PARTIER grooves to the music as he mixes concoctions for his pals. He calls over his shoulder.

PARTIER
Hey, you guys serious about naked
limbo, I'm in.

REVERSE ANGLE -- he gathers the half dozen plastic cups in his arms. As he turns to leave, WIDEN to see, standing in his way

A hellish DEMON unlike any hellish demon we've seen before. (Honestly.) It's scaly hide GLISTENS with an oily residue. The partier freezes and his eyes go wide with horror. Before he can scream, a razor sharp CLAW SWIPES his neck in a flash.

ON FLOOR, AT HIS FEET -- his drinks spill to the ground. As does his blood.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

INT. PORTER DORM LOBBY - AFTERSHOCK PARTY - NIGHT

The LIGHTS are STILL OUT. MUSIC still plays. More guests are pairing up now, some making out in the dark corners of the room. GRAHAM is visible in the b.g., chatting up a girl.

ON WILLOW, alone, trying out a few funky solo dance moves, getting self-conscious, and finally stopping.

She looks at her watch again and crosses to a window to peer out, looking for...

WILLOW
(to herself)
Buffy. Where are you?

Unbeknownst to Willow, she's ended up next to Percy - his back to her as he leans over his girlfriend. In the near-dark, Willow (and the audience) probably doesn't even recognize him until she hears:

LAURIE
Why, so I can watch you
flirting with that red head?

PERCY
Rosenberg? Yeah, right. She was
just some egghead who tutored me a
little in high school. She's nice,
but, please... captain of the nerd squad.

LAURIE
Well, I don't know. Maybe you have
a thing for geeks.

PERCY
No. I like my women hot. Call me
old fashioned...

Willow is devastated. As Percy leans in to kiss his girl, Willow moves away, pushing between huddled couples. Near tears, she heads away from the party, down the DARK (still in blackout) residential hallway. She opens a door into:

INT. PORTER DORM ROOM - NIGHT

This is the partier's room from Act One, but you might not know that because the candles are blown out and it's pitch black in here, only the faint outlines of the windows visible.

WILLOW
Hello? Anyone in here?

Willow enters and closes the door. She is only the vaguest shape moving into the room, if that. We hear her sigh, hear the creak or the bed as she sits, then lies down on it. She sniffles in the dark.

THE LIGHTS COME ON with a snap. From the party, we can HEAR THE DISAPPOINTED "AWW."

In a CLOSE SHOT: Willow, lying on the bed, eves open. She slowly looks to one side, into the MILKY EYES of

A DEAD BODY - The shirtless Partier. Now very pale, his throat and each of his limbs slashed. A leg and arm hang over the edge of the bed and there appears to be a couple of pillows propped underneath his torso.

Wigged, Willow springs to her feet and stumbles backward. As she does, she takes notice of something.

WILLOW'S P.O.V. - A mysterious eye-like SYMBOL has been cut into the boy's torso.

Willow panics, scrambles for the door.

INT. XANDER'S BASEMENT - NIGHT (PREVIOUSLY SCENE B)

Xander enters from the door at the top of the stairs, wearing his uniform and cap, and finishing a slice of pizza. There's a jaunt in his step, a tune in his heart, the picture of unsuspecting innocence.

XANDER
Mmm. Too bad you don't eat, Spike.
Dropped a sausage and mushroom, and
the guy wouldn't take it--

He reaches the bottom of the stairs and freezes.

XANDER'S P.O.V. - the room is in huge disarray -- all the damage from earlier, and then some. A mangled ironing board stands in the middle of the room. Clothing lies scattered around, some of it wet. Suds cling to the side of the washer. Detergent is spilled an the floor. The dripping pipe is still evident and the bucket is now full and overflowing.

ON XANDER, stunned.

XANDER
Spike! Place is worse than when
left. Didn't even fix the drip.

Then, from behind, he hears an urgent and ominous voice:

SPIKE (O.S.)
Don't turn around.

XANDER
Spike? What is it? What's happened?

SPIKE (O.S.)
Don't look at me. It's...
It's horrible.

Xander turns and sees Spike (we don't yet). He blanches and his expression turns to one of extreme revulsion. It's bad.

XANDER
(horrified)
Oh my god.

SPIKE

Now we see him. He's barefoot, wearing cutoffs and one of Xander's Hawaiian shirts.

SPIKE
I shrunk them. My bleeding
shirt, trousers...

Spike holds up his regular shirt, now teeny-weeny. Xander can barely contain himself. He bursts out laughing.

XANDER
Look at you. You have knees!
Very white knees!

Spike sits on the sofa, dejected. The cutoffs ride up. He stands back up, tugs them into place.

SPIKE
Damn things keep doing that.

XANDER
You know I'm not any happier about
you wearing my stuff than you are.

SPIKE
That cannot be true. Don't know how
you let yourself be seen in this...
wanker-wear.

XANDER
Hey. I'm known as
a very sharp dresser.

Xander looks at realizes he's wearing his dopey uniform.

SPIKE
(petulant)
Go out. Get me some decent stuff.
And I want more blood.

XANDER
No. You're not a guest. You're a
vampire and you have no soul and
don't get exactly why we're not
making you into Spike-on-a-stick.

SPIKE
Wish you would, if it's gonna be like this.

Spike slams his hand down on the ironing board, breaking it further.

XANDER
That's my mom's!

SPIKE
How you gonna stop me, you stupid
sod? Property damage I can do.

XANDER
That's it! I am way past through
with you. Hate to break it to you,
Oh, Impotent One, but you're not the
"Big Bad" anymore. You're not even
the "Kinda Naughty." You're nothing
but a waste of space. My space. And
as much as I always got a big laugh
watching Buffy kick your shiny, white
bum, and as much as I know I could
give you a little bum-kicking myself
now, I'm here to tell you...
(gets in Spike's face)
You're not even worth it.
(heads up the stairs)
I'm outta here. Anybody looking for
me, I'll be at Anya's.

Spike calls after him.

SPIKE
(mocking)
Fine. Run off to your girlfriend,
then. "Oooooh. Spike's so mean to
me -- boo hoo hoo..."

XANDER (O.S.)
(called down)
At least I have a girlfriend.

We hear the door SLAM, and with that, the drippy pipe above and behind Spike COMES APART and drenches him in rusty water. He disbelievingly takes in his soaking form for a moment, then lets out a ROAR filled with despair and outrage.

INT. PORTER DORM LOBBY - NIGHT

The common room is now WELL-LIT. Cops interview shivering party-goers as the now-covered body is wheeled past them and past

BUFFY, taking in the aftermath as she enters, scanning the crowd. Willow, standing apart from all the activity, notices her.

WILLOW
Buffy. Over here.

BUFFY
Wow. See, I was kind of unsure about
where the party was. And then I saw
the flashing red lights and the
ambulance, and it's like... oh,
right, of course. Carnage. Death.
It's a Buffy party.

WILLOW
I'm so glad you're here.

Buffy looks closer at Willow, sees how shaken she is, gets concerned.

BUFFY
What happened?

WILLOW
I found him. A guy on the bed.
With me. Dead. Not me dead. He dead.

BUFFY
Poor, Will. Vampire?

Willow shakes her head... not a vampire.

WILLOW
So much blood. Godfather horse-head
amounts of blood, hold the horse.
And there was a symbol and Percy said
I was a nerd.

BUFFY
Percy called you a nerd?

WILLOW
We should probably report to Giles,
get started on the demon tracking.
Save lives and stuff.

BUFFY
(as they go)
Does Percy even go here?

INT. LOWELL HOUSE - RILEY'S ROOM - NIGHT

Riley sits on his bed, three or four miniature basketballs on the bed next to him. Forrest is in a chair, with his own supply. Forrest tosses one at a little hoop hanging from his (closed) door -- makes the shot.

FORREST
Yes! Swish! Nothing but net.
And rim. And backboard.

He looks at Riley who appears lost in thought.

FORREST
Hey. Ground control to Major Finn.
You're up.

Riley, distracted, snaps out of his reverie and shoots for the hoop... the ball bounces off the rim.

FORREST
Okay, that makes oh-for-a-billion.
You don't got game, son. What's
going on in that head of yours?

RILEY
Just trying to... make up my mind
about something.
(looks at Forrest)
Buffy... She's pretty cool, isn't she.

FORREST
Yes, already. She's cool. She's
hot. She's tepid. She's all-
temperature Buffy. Can we just
concentrate on the game here?

He shoots another ball at the basket just as Graham enters, swinging the hoop aside. The ball hits Graham, and Forrest laughs.

FORREST
Good block. You should use
your face more often.

GRAHAM
We have an alpha code blue situation.

Riley reacts, instant soldier.

RILEY
One of ours?

GRAHAM
Negative. Civilian at
the Porter Hall party.

FORREST
HST attack?

GRAHAM
Cannot confirm that. Couldn't
close without calling attention to myself.

FORREST
(to Riley)
Should we mobilize?

Riley considers for a beat.

RILEY
No. I'll go. Do a little recon.
See if it falls in our domain. You
alert Prof. Walsh. Tell her we have
a casualty of indeterminate nature.
Let's not make a move until we get
the whole story.

INT. GILES' APARTMENT - NIGHT

Buffy, Willow, Giles and Xander are gathered around Giles' desk. Xander is still in his pizza uniform. Willow is recounting what happened.

WILLOW
It just made me feel like
I was right back in high school.

XANDER
Dumb jock... if it wasn't for you
he still would be.

WILLOW
...of course, the Percy thing isn't
really important. It's the dead guy
on the bed.

XANDER
Yeah, that's bad too.

BUFFY
Creepy.

GILES
Yes, very upsetting. I'm still not
clear on why you and he were on the bed...?

WILLOW
Oh! And something else. He -- the
dead guy -- was propped up, like
whatever killed him wanted to drain
the blood out of him. Only there
wasn't so much blood there. And so
I'm thinking the whatever took a
bunch of the guy's blood with it.
(then, still upset)
And I haven't been a nerd for a long
time. Hello, dating a guitarist?
Or, I was...

BUFFY
(prompting Willow)
Tell them about the symbol.

WILLOW
(searching her pockets)
Oh, right. It was carved right into
his chest. Like a big creepy eye.

She pulls out a napkin with the symbol drawn on it. They look at it.

XANDER
It's kinda the CBS logo. Could this
be the handiwork of one Mr. Morley Safer?

BUFFY
I've seen this before. Somewhere. I
can't remember. It's like...

GILES
(gravely)
The end of the world.

The others look at him.

XANDER / WILLOW
Again?!

GILES
The earthquake, this symbol--

BUFFY
I told you! Giles, I said, "end of
the world," and you're all like...
pooh pooh, Southern California pooh pooh--

GILES
I'm so very sorry. My contrition
completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse.

WILLOW
It just can't be.
We did this already.

XANDER
It is losing its impact a little.

GILES
End of the world. Divisions break
down, Hell itself flows into our
lives like a sea of fire. Loss,
tears and heart-rending pain without
end for every human man, woman and
child on this earth. Death ten times
over. For each of you and everyone you love.

XANDER
Hmm. Feeling the impact again.

WILLOW
What do we do?

BUFFY

Her expression grim and intense, picks up her weapon bag, shoulders it, faces the end of the world. A hero.

BUFFY
I stop it.

CLOSE IN ON THE SYMBOL on the desk...

MATCH DISSOLVE TO:

THE SAME SYMBOL, carved into stone. PULL BACK to reveal it's on the side of a mausoleum in:

EXT. CEMETERY - NIGHT

Buffy stands looking up at the symbol.

BUFFY
(self-mocking)
"Ooh, I wonder where I've seen this
before." Where else? The place I
spend almost all my waking hours,
memorizing stuff off the sides of
mausoleums. Big freaky cereal boxes
of death---

She stops when she hears something... the scrape of stone on stone. She pulls a crossbow from her bag and steps silently around to the front of the mausoleum. The door stands open. She takes a tentative step inside...

INT. MAUSOLEUM - NIGHT

Buffy enters to see the horrific demon that we first saw in the dorm. He bends over a child-sized casket, loading bones into a bag. As he puts the small skull into the bag, Buffy's shadow falls across him.

BUFFY
(casual)
Door was open.

The demon turns toward her. Buffy raises her bow... shoots... The bolt catches the hellthing in the shoulder. It HOWLS and charges her.

Buffy slams him with the crossbow, but the demon swats it out of her hand, and slices at her with its razor sharp claws.

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT... Eluding its talons, Buffy wails an the demon, eventually knocking it clear out of the mausoleum and into...

EXT. CEMETERY - NIGHT

The demon's still on its feet, but reeling from the blow. MORE OF THE HITTING AND THE KICKING.

Finally, the demon gets her in a body hold, and squeezes, crushing her. Her arms pinned by the demon, she struggles to break free. She head butts the demon, dazing herself a little in the process. The demon ROARS again and drives her down to the ground, where she hits hard. It moves off, carrying the bag of bones.

Buffy stays on the ground, gasping for the air that was squeezed out of her lungs, trying to get back to her feet.

SOMETHING DARK

Moves between us and Buffy -- partially blocking our view of her. A heavy foot crunches on gravel. Buffy hears it, and stiffens, tensing for a renewal of the fight. From a seemingly defenseless position on the around, she suddenly FLIPS herself up to her feet, braced for the fight - her hand shooting out in a vicious punch at the same time...

Only to be blocked, lightning-fast, by

RILEY

He was the dark figure standing over her.

RILEY
Wow. That flippy thing you did...

BUFFY
Riley. Where--?

RILEY
It's gone. Saw it take off
toward the woods.

BUFFY
You didn't follow it?

RILEY
No weapons. No backup. You don't go
after a demon that size by yourself.

BUFFY
I do.

RILEY
Yeah, well, I'm no slayer.

From a holster on his belt, he produces a palm sized walkie-talkie and immediately speaks into it.

RILEY
(into walkie talkie)
Base One, this is Lilac one...

BUFFY
Lilac?

Riley holds his finger to his lips, cuing her to stay silent, as a voice comes out of the earpiece.

VOICE
(filtered)
Go.

RILEY
Confirm sighting of an unidentified
sub-T. Mobilize patrol team for
debriefing at oh-eight-hundred hours.

VOICE
(filtered)
Copy that.

Riley turns it off and holsters it again, Buffy eves him with fascination.

BUFFY
Very commandery, lilac not
withstanding. What are you doing here?

RILEY
Looking for you.
She who hangs out in cemeteries.

BUFFY
Well, I gotta get the... demon...

RILEY
Don't sweat it. We'll bag him.

BUFFY
It's not that simple.

RILEY
Yeah, but I really think we --

BUFFY
Riley, I can't. I just --

RILEY
Can't talk?

BUFFY
Can't... any of it. Can't be with
you. It's a mistake, it's a huge
black pit of a mistake and I can't go
there again.

RILEY
Again? You've dated me before?

BUFFY
No. But I've been involved with...
you don't know what my life is like.

RILEY
And I'm dying to find out!

BUFFY
Operative word: dying. There's too
much risk -- there's too much... It's
just doomed, okay, and I can't do
doomed again right now.

RILEY
I don't understand where this is
coming from. I know you like me.
And it's not like we don't have
anything in common.

BUFFY
But it's --

RILEY
Buffy. I'm thrown by this. I'm
confused. But I can feel my skin
humming -- my hands, my... every inch
of me. I've never been this excited
by a girl and I'm not trying to scare
you, not gonna force myself on you
but I am by God not gonna walk away
because I think it might not work.
I don't know what's happened in the past --

BUFFY
Death. Pain. Apocalypse -- none of
them fun. Do you know what the
Hellmouth is? Do they have a fancy
term for it, 'cause I went to high
school on top of it. For three
years. We don't have that much in
common. This is a job to you.

RILEY
It's not just a job --

BUFFY
It's an adventure, great, but for me
It's destiny. It's something I can't
escape, something I can't change. I'm stuck.

RILEY
You don't have to be. You're not in
high school anymore. You can change things.

BUFFY
Riley... No.

RILEY
I know it seems like --

BUFFY
My answer is no.

Riley stops. It sinks in, Riley covering disappointment and anger with glowering calm.

There's nothing else to say. She walks away, leaving Riley standing there.

He doesn't see her start to cry.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

Act Three

INT. GILES' APARTMENT - DAY

The day after Buffy's fight with the demon at the graveyard. Buffy reports to Giles, Willow and Xander, who each are consulting at least one book. The books in this scene are especially old, big, dusty and portentous-looking. Buffy Willow and Xander look at a picture of the demon in the book Giles holds.

GILES
A Vahrall demon.

WILLOW
Eww.

XANDER
I second that revulsion.

GILES
(reads)
"Slick like gall, and gird in
moonlight, father of portents and
brother to blight... "

Buffy has been reading over his shoulder and now takes over:

BUFFY
"...Limbs with talons, eyes like
knives. Bane to the blameless, thief
of lives..."

INT. INITIATIVE - DAY

Riley addresses his men. Forrest and Graham are there, along with five or six other young men who sit up very straight and take notes.

RILEY
...three meters tall, approximately
one hundred to one-twenty kilograms,
based on my visual analysis.

GRAHAM
Special hazards?

RILEY
Unknown, probably nothing we haven't
handled before. There's no pattern that
we can discern yet -- got to assume he's
on a basic 'Kill-crush-destroy.' So I
want him bagged fast.

INT. GILES' - APARTMENT - DAY

Buffy responds to something Willow just said:

BUFFY
Thing isn't digging up the bones of
a child for fun.

XANDER
Well, demons got some hilarious ideas
about fun...

WILLOW
It has to be a spell of some kind.
Something that uses blood and bones.

GILES
There must be... thousands of rituals
like that. The Test of Gervail, a
number of passion spells, death-pact bonding--

Willow starts flipping through his book.

WILLOW
Bones of a child, though. I saw that...
(spots the passage)
An ancient ritual -- it uses the
blood of a man, the bones of a child,
and... and something called the Word
of Valios. It's all part of a, a
sacrifice. "The sacrifice of three."

BUFFY
Let me guess. It ends the world.

WILLOW
Well, yeah. But it's not big with
the details. It doesn't say how the
world ends - or what the ritual
entails, exactly.

XANDER
A sacrifice of three. Three people
are going to die?

BUFFY
No, they won't. Because claw-boy
won't get all the ingredients. We
have to find that last one, the
thingy... The Word of Valios.
Keep him from getting it.

WILLOW
If he doesn't already have it. I
mean, who knows where he's been?

INT. INITIATIVE - DAY

The briefing continues.

RILEY
Here's one for the good guys.
Thing's got a pheromone signature a
mile wide. And Agent Gates's been
working with a detection system the
lab's developing.

Forrest stands up, faces the other men.

FORREST
Can't tell where it's going. But
I've got a bead on where it's been.
Residual traces showing up in
populated areas. Thing's not shy.

RILEY
We'll be going out in civvies -- day
clothes only, guys. Weapons stowed
in packs, keep 'em out of sight 'til
nightfall. And remember... this one
isn't a capture. It's a kill.

This signals dismissal, and the guys start getting up.

FORREST
Pick up quadrant assignments from
me... we'll blanket the town.

INT. GILES' APARTMENT - DAY

Buffy and her troops.

BUFFY
I'll check the majik shop. See if
they've heard of a book called the
"Word of Valios." Willow, Xander,
how 'bout the book archives at the museum?

XANDER
We'll go by my place on the way. Get
some weapons. And I can change into
something less anchovy scented.

As Willow and Xander turn for the door:

BUFFY
Will, Xander - this thing takes its
wicked pretty seriously. Be careful.
I couldn't stand anybody getting hurt.

INT. XANDER'S BASEMENT - EVENING (PREVIOUSLY SCENE C)

CLOSE ON XANDER'S COFFEE TABLE

Where we see that a STAKE has been secured to the edge with a C-Clamp.

WIDEN TO INCLUDE

Spike, at his nadir. Perched on the edge of the couch above the coffee table, arms outstretched, ready to impale himself on the stake. He takes a moment to firm his resolve. Closes his eyes.

SPIKE
Goodbye Dru. See you in hell.

He's just stepping off the couch when Willow and Xander enter from the stairs, distracting him. As a result he misses the stake completely and crashes down on the coffee table, destroying it.

SPIKE
Bloody rot! Can't a person knock?

Willow and Xander rush to him.

WILLOW
What are you doing!?

Xander takes in the stake, the clamp - gets it.

XANDER
You were trying to stake yourself!

Spike, humiliated and defeated, replies with pure belligerence, of course.

SPIKE
Fag off. It's no concern of yours.

XANDER
Is too. For one thing - that's my
shirt you're about to dust. And for
another - we've shared a lot here.
You should have trusted me enough to
do it for you.

WILLOW
Xander-

XANDER
What? He wants to die. I want to help.

Willow snatches the stake from him.

WILLOW
Well - I don't know - it's ooky. We
know him. We can't just let him poof! himself.

SPIKE
(desperate)
But you can. You know I'd drain you
drier than the Sahara if I had half
a chance. Besides, I'm beyond
pathetic. Stuck in this basement,
washing skivvies for a blighter I
wouldn't have bothered to bite a few months ago-

XANDER
Hey-

SPIKE
I mean - am I even remotely scary
anymore? Tell me the truth.

He makes a menacing motion toward Willow - which looks pretty lame in his Hawaiian shirt and cutoffs.

WILLOW
(trying)
Well, the shirt is, kinda. And-

SPIKE
Please. Leave a bloke a shred, will you?

Spike implores her with his eyes. Please kill me. A beat as Willow considers. Then-

WILLOW
I'm sorry. it's just not right. And
besides - you still haven't told
Buffy everything about the commandos.

Xander, exasperated, changes his shirt as he starts to gather some weapons he has hidden around the room.

XANDER
(to Spike)
Fine. But you break anything else
while we're gone and you'll be
sleeping in the garage, Buster.

WILLOW
We can't just leave him like this.
We'll have to take him with us to the museum.

Spike tries for true sincerity as he offers the following.

SPIKE
You go on. I won't do anything. I
feel better now. Promise.

Xander and Willow regard him for a moment. Then each take Spike by an arm - drag him toward the door.

XANDER
(to Spike)
Look at the happy. If we don't find
what we're looking for - we're facing
an apocalypse.

SPIKE
(heartened)
Really? You're not just saying that?

And they exit.

EXT. STREET - EVENING

Buffy is on her way to the majik shop to look for the Book of Valios, when she sees Riley moving toward her - discreetly reading some kind of electronic instrument he holds in his hand. Buffy hesitates, considers changing directions - but Riley looks up, sees her.

RILEY
Buffy.

BUFFY
(re: device he holds)
Is this really the time for Donkey Kong?

RILEY
What? Oh-

Riley checks to make sure they are not being overheard. Then-

RILEY
It takes trace readings of the
creature's pheromones.

BUFFY
And?

RILEY
It's either mating season for this
thing - or it's moving all over town.

He stops as Forrest and Graham catch up from further down the street. While they are both in civvies, they are definitely on duty, and their militaristic demeanor shines through. They both nod a greeting to Buffy. Then Forrest moves to Riley.

FORREST
Can I have a minute, man?

RILEY
(to Buffy)
Excuse me.

BUFFY
Actually, I should get going anyway-

RILEY
No. Hold up.

Buffy is surprised by his firmness. Nods. He and Forrest move a short distance away.

ON RILEY AND FORREST

FORREST
We have some giant ass creepy crawly
out there, and you're chatting up your
honey? Might want to check your priorities.

RILEY
(laughs lightly, fondly remembering)
Hey, remember that time I asked you
your opinion? Gee, neither do I...
(then)
You and Graham move ahead. I'll
catch up with you in a few minutes.

Forrest, put off - shakes his head.

FORREST
I don't know about this girl, man.
She's got you whupped something
fierce, and you haven't even-

RILEY
(cutting him off/hard)
You'd be wise not to finish that
thought, private. Now carry on.

Forrest stops himself. Returns to military form, albeit somewhat bitterly.

FORREST
Carrying on.

He moves back to Graham and the two of them continue patrolling. Riley returns to Buffy. They're both majorly uncomfortable.

RILEY
Sorry.

BUFFY
That's okay. But, really, I'd better
keep moving. You know - big bad
needing to be squished-

RILEY
Right. I'm on it too.
(then/frustrated)
It's just - this thing. This you and
me thing? It's stupid.

Buffy isn't quite sure how to take this. Replies a little warily.

BUFFY
Right. Which is why we can't.
Do the you and me thing.

RILEY
No. I mean you're stupid. I mean,
I don't mean that... no, I think maybe I do.

BUFFY
Wow. Sweet talk like that will melt
my reservations.

RILEY
I'm serious. You've got this twisted
way of looking at things. This -
this doom and gloom mentality. You
keep thinking like that, things are
probably going to turn out just the
way you expect.

BUFFY
You know, there is nothing more
dangerous than a psych grad student.

Pissed, she starts to brush past him. But he stops her.

RILEY
Buffy -- where's the bad here? It
just turns out we're even more well
matched than we thought we were. I
mean, you're a-

Some people pass. Riley catches himself.

RILEY
-fry cook. And so am I.

BUFFY
Right. But you're an amateur... fry
cook and I come from a long line of
fry cooks who don't live past twenty-five.

RILEY
Which is exactly the attitude I'm
talking about! I know the risks of
what we do. I also know it's more
rewarding than any other job on the
planet. And fun-

BUFFY
Fun? Right. The last person I knew
who believed that is in a coma right
now because she had so much "fun" on the job.

RILEY
I'm not saying you shouldn't take
your work seriously-

BUFFY
But just turn my frown upside down,
is that it? I wish I could - but
this isn't the kind of gig where you
hang it up at the end of the day and
snuggle with your honey.

RILEY
But why? Why can't it be?

BUFFY
I've tried it, okay? And every time,
things fall apart - and I get sucked
right back into the uber evil.

RILEY
(cutting her off)
Welcome to the story of the world!
Things fall apart, Buffy. Evil - it
comes and goes. But the way people
manage is, they don't do it alone.
They pull each other through. And,
sometimes, they even enjoy
themselves. If you weren't so self
involved, you'd see that!

BUFFY
(hurt)
You don't know what you're talking
about. You barely know me.

Again, Buffy's had enough. She starts to walk. But Riley keeps pace with her.

RILEY
I know that it's not just the job
thing. I'm sure there's some good
looking guy that done you wrong in
there too but mostly I think you want
to stay down in the dark place.
'Cause maybe it's safer down there.

BUFFY
You are so out of line-

RILEY
No - see - I don't think so. We have
an opportunity here, you and me. And
the fact that you're too scared to
even give it a try-

Buffy turns on him - really hurt and angered now.

BUFFY
It is my business. So why don't you
just leave me alone?

A beat as Riley takes this in. He's still worked up - but he's said his piece.

RILEY
Fair enough.

Another beat as they stare each other down. Then Riley turns and walks off to join his men - leaving Buffy seriously rattled.

EXT. MUSEUM - EVENING

Willow, Xander and Spike are walking away from the museum. Xander and Willow both look discouraged, while Spike clearly continues to wallow in self-pity.

WILLOW
Great. No Word of Valios.

XANDER
Not even a syllable of Valios.

SPIKE
(mildly hopeful)
Which means I'm one step closer to
melting in a sea of molten hell fire, yeah?

WILLOW
You shouldn't talk like that, Spike.
Okay - you can't kill anymore. But
there are other fun things you can
do. You'll adjust.

SPIKE
Adjust? And what - end up like the
two of you? No thank you.

XANDER
Here it goes.
(to Will/mocking her)
"We can't just leave him here to
stake himself. It's not right."

SPIKE
I should think you'd be glad to greet
the end of days. I mean, neither one
of you is making much of a go at it.
(to Xander)
You. Kids your age are going off to
University -- you made it as far as
the basement
(re: Will)
And Red here. You couldn't even keep
dog boy happy. I mean, you can take
the loser out of high school-

Spike's tirade is clearly getting to both Willow and Xander - but Willow offers protest nonetheless.

WILLOW
(cutting him off)
I see what you're doing. You're
trying to get us to dust you-

SPIKE
Am not. I just don't want pity from
geeks more useless than I am.

WILLOW
We are not useless! We - we help
people. We fight the forces of evil-

SPIKE
Buffy fights the forces of evil.
You're her groupies. She'd do just
as well without you. Better, I'd
wager - since she wouldn't have to go
about saving your hides all the time.

XANDER
That is so not true. We're part of
the team. She needs us.

SPIKE
Or - you're just the same 10th grade
losers you've always been - and she's
too much of a softy to cut you loose.

Spike moves out ahead of them, feeling a little better after doling out that punishment.

Both Xander and Willow look like they are fighting off major insecurity attacks.

INT. GILES' APARTMENT - NIGHT

Giles studies a large tome, reacts to something.

CLOSE ON BOOK

Under the inscription - "THE WORD OF VALIOS" - is a picture of a 15th century TALISMAN.

ON GILES

GILES
Oh - as usual - dear.

He stands and hurries to an old trunk and flings it open.

CLOSE ON TRUNK

It's FULL OF ALL KINDS OF MYSTICAL ODDS AND ENDS. Amulets and crystals and daggers and such. Giles rummages through it until he pulls out the very talisman pictured in the book.

ON TALISMAN

The backside is inscribed with an incantation - "The Word of Valios."

CLOSE ON GILES

As he takes this in, then urgently moves to his closet and grabs his coat. When he turns, he starts - he is surrounded by not one but THREE VAHRALL DEMONS.

Giles bravely tries to get past them, but one of them lashes out and brutally strikes him. Giles and the talisman go crashing to the floor.

CUT TO:

INT. GILES' APARTMENT - LATER

A little while later. Willow, Xander have already arrived and are helping a badly beaten Giles to the couch. Spike sits off to one side, amused.

GILES
(to Will and Xander)
I'm fine... I'm-

WILLOW
You're not. Now sit.

SPIKE
Look at you. I'm surprised the world
hasn't ended ten times over with this
sorry lot protecting it.

XANDER
(to Spike/hard)
That's enough-

He'd go on, but Buffy enters. Sees Giles and moves to him.

BUFFY
What happened?

Giles speaks with great difficulty.

GILES
It's my fault. I should have known-

BUFFY
Giles-

GILES
The Word of Valios was the name of a
talisman. Not a book. I blame
myself entirely. I had it here-

XANDER
You had it here? Okay. First I
thought you were being too hard.on
yourself, but-

GILES
It was in a lot I purchased at a
sorcerer's estate sale. I really
only glanced at it once, thought it
was a knock off.

BUFFY
Well they have it. And they probably
have their sacrifices by now, too.

GILES
They must be on their way to perform
the sacrifice-

BUFFY
On their way where? You found out
what the ritual is for?

GILES
(nods)
The Hellmouth. It opens the
Hellmouth... The one in the library.

Willow, Xander and Buffy share a worried look. A beat, then Buffy's expression hardens. She's going into full battle mode.

BUFFY
Looks like we're going back to high school.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH RUINS - NIGHT - ESTABLISHING

The charred building is surrounded by a high chain link fence, with "condemned signs attached.

Buffy, Willow, Xander and Spike arrive. A little intimidated by the looming, charred structure. Then Buffy turns to the others, all business.

BUFFY
Be careful in there - it doesn't look
like the place is too stable.

SPIKE
(petulantly)
Fine by me. I hope we all go under.

BUFFY
(irked)
Why is he here? It's not like he can fight.

WILLOW
If we leave him alone he'll stake himself-

BUFFY
And that's bad because - ?
(stops herself)
Whatever. We don't have time for
this. Just keep him out of the way.
And when we get inside, watch for
victims they're keening alive for the
sacrifice. Getting them out is our
first priority.

WILLOW
Will do.

BUFFY
Good. You ready?

XANDER
Let's rock n' roll.

They start to move while SPIKE rolls his eyes. Mocks him.

SPIKE
Let's rock n' roll? You actually
talk like that?

Xander just pushes him roughly ahead. The rest ignore him as they move toward the school.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH RUINS/HALLWAY - NIGHT

Buffy and the others move cautiously down what's left of the hall. They can't help but look around, amazed by the damage.

XANDER
(Quietly)
Sunnydale high. If these walls -
were still walls - what stories they
could tell...

Xander steps into something black and crunchy. He looks-

XANDER
Ewwwww.

CLOSE ON WHAT XANDER STEPPED IN

It's a piece of CHARRED MAYOR SNAKE. Burnt to crisp.

ON XANDER AND WILLOW

As he responds to her questioning look.

XANDER
Mayor meat. Extra crispy.

Willow nods. Makes a face. Steps on another piece of debris.

CLOSE ON DEBRIS

It's a CHEERLEADING TROPHY, black with smoke-damage. In fact - it's AMY'S MOTHER. Still entombed, her eyes dart desperately as Willow's foot comes CRASHING DOWN ON HER. After Willow moves off, Amy's mom GLARES AT HER despite her impotence.

BACK ON GANG

Unaware of the life-form in their midst.

WILLOW
I think we're near the-

They turn a corner and stop. Even though walls are blown away and such, they are clearly in the area where the LIBRARY used to be because the MONSTERS ARE THERE, standing at the lip of the ALREADY OPEN Hellmouth.

WILLOW
-library. Wow. Check out the new
floor plan.

BUFFY
(re: monsters/sotto)
I'll deal with them. You get the
spell stuff away.

WILLOW
I don't see any sacrifice people.

BUFFY
They have to be around here
somewhere - the ritual's not finished.

With that, Buffy whips a stake out of her jacket and FLINGS IT at DEMON #3, knocking the TALISMAN out of his hand. The demons react to this, looking at Buffy - startled and distracted.

BUFFY
And you can't raise hell if you can't
do the spell, right guys?

A beat as the demons process this turn of events - then CHARGE BUFFY. She and the monsters trade blows, while Xander and Willow swoop in and snatch the chalice of blood from Demon #1 and the bag full of child's bones from Demon #2, respectively.

CLOSE ON WILLOW AND XANDER

As Demon #1 and Demon #2 chase after them and they play a game of keep away with the ritual items. They expertly duck blows and toss the stuff back and forth - leaving the demons frustrated.

Then Demon #1 ends the game by hitting Xander over and over, trying to weaken him. Xander holds the chalice tight as he tries to fend Demon #1 off.

XANDER
You picked the wrong guy, dude.
I had lots of practice at this
with my lunch money.

ON WILLOW

Who is being chased by Demon #2. He nearly corners her, but she tosses the bag, yelling-

WILLOW
Spike!

A disinterested Spike catches the bag more out of instinct than anything else. Sees Demon #2, now more furious than ever - charging toward him.

SPIKE
Right. Perfect.

ON BUFFY

Who is still locked in furious battle with Demon #3. He is the largest and strongest of the three demons and is giving her a run for her money.

ON XANDER

As Demon #1 finally wrests the chalice of blood away from him, Xander readies himself for further attack - but the demon seems to have no more interest in him. Instead, Demon #1 FLINGS HIMSELF AND THE CHALICE into the Hellmouth. Xander, stunned, takes this in.

XANDER
(baffled)
Okay. Guess I won.

Now the ground starts to shake, a tremor of the decidedly portentous variety starting to build. Xander processes this. A beat. Then the light goes on. He yells to Buffy-

XANDER
The demons! They are the sacrifice!

CLOSE ON SPIKE

Who misses this news because he's in the midst of getting pummeled by Demon #2. Spike looks like he's reached the end of his rope. Tired, broken... But then something in him snaps. If he's going to go out, he'll go out fighting. No matter how much it hurts.

He YELLS and STRIKES BACK at his assailant, who staggers back from the punch. A beat as Spike cringes, then realizes that hitting the demon didn't hurt him in the head at all.

SPIKE
No pain...

The Demon, just recovered from Spike's last blow, lurches toward him. SPIKE POUNDS him again. And, again, no pain. Camera pushes in on:

SPIKE
I can hurt a demon...

With this new awareness, SPIKE GOES TO TOWN ON THE DEMON, UNLEASHING A DIZZYING TORRENT OF PENT-UP VIOLENCE ON THE UNLUCKY FELLOW and going VAMP FACE in the process. His display is truly impressive, kicking and hitting until the demon is crumpled in a dying heap on the ground.

SPIKE
Yeah! That's right! I'm back and
I'm a bloody animal! Yeah!!

He raises Demon #2 over his head with a victory howl and hurls it into the Hellmouth, along with the bag of bones. The others SHOUT in protest, but it's too late.

XANDER
Noooo!

WILLOW
Spike! Not in the-

The GROUND STARTS TO TREMBLE even more violently. Walls start to crumble. Spike takes in Willow and Xander's appalled stares.

SPIKE
(innocent)
What? I was helping.

ON BUFFY

Who notes the ever destabilizing structure as she continues to fight Demon #3. She shouts to Willow, Xander and Spike.

BUFFY
Get out of here. The building's
going to come down!

A piece of debris falls on Spike, dazing him. The others pull him out of the library.

Buffy continues to struggle with Demon #3. Emboldened by the near completion of the spell, the demon is stronger than ever - beating her closer and closer to the Hellmouth. She finds her stake on the floor and sinks it into the demon's chest. It SCREAMS and raises its arms for a killing blow. Then, suddenly, the demon is yanked off her by unseen hands. Buffy, confused, looks up to see RILEY, IN FULL COMMANDO GARB, wrestling the demon off her.

Riley and the demon go hand to hand. Riley fights well - but it's clear that he's outmatched by the creature. After a moment, Buffy recovers enough to join in again, yells to Riley-

BUFFY
Don't let him jump in the Hellmouth!
If he does, we're finished!

Riley nods his understanding and hits the demon hard, sending him staggering away from the lip of the Hellmouth. Just as it seems the two of them may best the demon, AN OVERHEAD BEAM, LOOSE FROM THE TREMORS, FALLS. The beam separates Buffy and Riley from the monster, and clips Riley on the leg, hurting him (but not pinning him.)

CLOSE ON DEMON

He's badly injured, near death - but using his last reserves to grab the fallen talisman and pull himself to the yawning maw of the Hellmouth.

ON BUFFY AND RILEY

Seeing this, Buffy starts to crawl over the beam after the demon.

BUFFY
I'm going in.

A beat. Then Riley makes a decision. He grabs her belt and affixes a RETRACTING CABLE HE WEARS ON HIS UTILITY BELT TO IT WITH A GRAPPLER'S HOOK.

They share a quick but powerful look of connection.

RILEY
You're coming back out.

ON THE DEMON AND BUFFY

The demon is a few feet ahead of her as he reaches the edge of the Hellmouth and hurtles himself in. Without hesitation, Buffy does the same, diving in head first.

INT. HELLMOUTH - NIGHT

The inside of the Hellmouth is basically a dark tunnel in the earth. We see the DEMON FALLING THROUGH FRAME - and BUFFY HOT ON ITS HEELS, DIVING IN AFTER IT. She, too, disappears through frame toward an unknown fate.

INT. SCHOOL RUINS/LIBRARY AREA - NIGHT

Riley anxiously watches the entrance to the Hellmouth, when the cable snaps tight in his hands. With tremendous effort, he starts pulling it up as fast as he can, unsure of what he'll find on the other end.

CLOSE ON HELLMOUTH

As we see BUFFY EMERGE, struggling mightily to work her way out of the tunnel while she keeps hold of the demon. Riley rushes to help her, pulling the dying demon all the way out and lying it on the ground. Buffy crawls out, spent from the effort of her leap.

RILEY
Buffy. Are you-

Before he has a chance to finish, the monster lying next to them DIES and the TREMORS STOP as the HELLMOUTH CLOSES AGAIN.

CLOSE ON BUFFY AND RILEY

Watching it, too stunned to feel their victory yet.

EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH RUINS - NIGHT

We see Xander, Willow and Spike standing away from the school. Then Buffy and a slightly limping Riley emerge from the wreckage. While Will, Xander and even Spike are obviously happy that the world isn't ending - they are more than a little surprised to see Riley in action. Riley, in turn, is shocked to see them there. He immediately tries to cover, launching into an unconvincing, blustering explanation.

RILEY
Well, hey! Willow. Xander, right?
What are the chances, huh? I was
just passing by - and I thought I
heard people inside-

WILLOW
(dubious)
You were just passing by...
in your GI Joe outfit?

Buffy, amused by Riley's scrambling, can't help but add-

BUFFY
No offense - but you are looking
wicked conspicuous.

RILEY
I am? But it's... paint ball and
then the aftershock and I-

XANDER
So you're one of the commando guys, huh?

Riley tries the laughing it off method now. Weakly.

RILEY
No, no, no. Commando, I mean-
(evading/to Spike)
Do I know you?

Spike's the one on the spot now. He replies with a hideously bad "American" accent.

SPIKE
Me? No. No sir. I'm just - an old
pal of Xander's, here.

RILEY
Oh - I - Oh. That's nice.

SPIKE
Yeah.

And they all start to move off.

ON XANDER AND WILLOW

Who both look as though they feel strangely liberated.

XANDER
Good world saving back there, Will.
The keep away thing was key.

Will takes this in, gratified.

WILLOW
You too. If you hadn't figured out
that "demons are the sacrifice"
thing - we'd all be hell babies by now.

Now they boast somewhat mockingly.

XANDER
What can I say? We kicked the
apocalypse's ass.

WILLOW
Again.

A beat, then-

XANDER
Weird being back, wasn't it?

WILLOW
Yeah. Everything looked so much
smaller. And more charred and ruin-y.

ON THE WHOLE GANG

As Riley really takes in Willow, Xander and Spike in their torn and dirtied clothes.

RILEY
So - what are you guys
all doing here, anyway?

As they walk away Willow, Xander and Buffy share a look. Then Buffy replies - a simple throwaway as they leave behind the black remains of Sunnydale High.

BUFFY
We used to go here.

INT. LOWELL HOUSE - RILEY'S ROOM - DAY

The next day. Riley's room is fairly typical college guy fare, except we might notice a few more pictures of family, the respectful lack of girly pin ups... Riley sits on the edge of his bed again - clearly distracted as he shoots total air balls at the Nerf basket. A quiet knock on the door interrupts him.

RILEY
Come in.

Now Buffy pokes her nose in - enters. She seems somehow calmer. More resolved.

BUFFY
Hey. You never called,
I didn't know if you...

Riley anxiously cuts her off. It's clear that he's worked himself into a terrible state of agitation.

RILEY
Oh, hey, sorry, I'm just. I'm a dead
man. Secret. Highly. Or, it's
supposed to be. Then you find out,
I can deal. You're special. But
last night with your friends was a
disaster. I mean, could I have been
less convincing? I was trained to be
sneaky and stuff and I'm like - hi,
paint ball, just passing by... I
should have just given them my
security code and rank-

BUFFY
You have a security code and rank?

Riley looks like he wants to kill himself.

RILEY
No. Did I say - ? I... Oh, God...
This is so not good. Everybody knows
about me. I'm finished. It's the
end of the world.

BUFFY
(calmly)
No. It's not.

And she kisses him. A kiss that takes Riley by surprise at first, but which he quickly gives himself over to. It grows into quite a passionate embrace...

INT. GILES' APARTMENT - NIGHT

Giles, still bandaged and bruised from the beating he took, nurses a cup tea while he sits with Willow and Xander, trying to watch something on the television. The only problem is - Spike's in the way.

SPIKE
What's this? Just sitting about
watching the telly when there's evil
afoot? Not very Industrious of you.
I say we get out there and kick a
little demon ass!
(off their silence)
Can't go without your Buffy, is that
it? Too chicken? Let's find her,
then. She is the chosen one after all.
(more frustrated)
Come on! Vampires, grrrrrrr - nasty!
Let's annihilate em! For justice!
And... and for the safety of
puppies... and Christmas, right?
Let's fight that evil! Let's kill
something! Oh, come on...

Willow, Xander, Giles just eye him, wearily and warily.

BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW