No Place Like Home

(August 31, 2000)

Written by: Douglas Petrie

Teaser

INT. MONASTERY - NIGHT

We open on two pairs of sandal-clad feet - RUNNING hard and fast down a cold stone floor.

Two MONKS, carrying amulets and candles, run like thieves down a dank, torch-lit corridor. They steal occasional terrified glances over the shoulder as they go, but they don't slow down for a second. Something is chasing them.

The Younger Monk stumbles and painfully falls. The other Monk skids to a halt, rushes back, and yanks the kid to his feet. Precious seconds wasted. They run faster - toward a strange, unearthly GLOW coming from a room at the end of the corridor. They get to the door, scramble inside. And using their combined strength, they heave the heavy wooden door shut - CHOOM! - right in our faces, blocking out the light.

SUBTITLE: TWO MONTHS AGO.

INT. CHAMBER - NIGHT

Inside the glowing room. The monks immediately grab hold of the door's telephone pole-sized wooden BOLT. Straining together, they manage to shove the bolt into its proportionately huge LOCK.

YOUNG MONK
(Czech with subtitles)
Uz se to blízí. Zabije nás to!
(translation)
It's coming. It's going to kill us!

MONK
(Czech with subtitles)
Na nasich Zivotech
nezálezí. Musíme chránit klíc.
(translation)
Our lives aren't important.
We have to protect The Key.

They rush to join a third, OLD MONK, standing alone on the stone floor with his eyes calmly closed. The monks hastily arrange their candles and amulets, and form a circle. In the center of their circle, an unseen object casts its powerful GLOW, under-lighting the monks' faces and suffusing the whole chamber in an eerie, unnatural light.

OLD MONK
(Czech with subtitles)
Pomoz mi s obradem.
(translation)
Help me perform the ritual.

The three of them close their eyes and CHANT. But just as they get started...

BOOM! Something BIG pounds on the heavy wooden door. So hard its whole frame shudders. The Young Monk breaks rank, opening his eyes to look back at it. BOOM! He flinches as another blow sends fracture lines rippling up along the length of the solid wooden bolt.

OLD MONK
(Czech with subtitles)
Soustred' se.
(translation)
Concentrate.

The Young Monk concentrates. The three of them begin again, continuing their wordless chant as - BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! - The door starts splintering under the increasing impact.

And CRACK! The door's hinges start giving way...

The glow on the monks GROWS brighter, more luminous...

The giant wooden bolt SPLITS...

The chanting becomes not three voices, but ONE...

A sudden, impossible WIND blows out the candles...

The Young Monk GASPS...

The glow EXPANDS, momentarily filling the room with light, then suddenly, with a sucking "whoosh!" sound, it contracts - and DISAPPEARS. Casting the room into darkness...

And the entire door EXPLODES.

Huge, jagged chunks of wood fly in from the point of impact. The monks turn to face the thing that's smashed the door down. As we FLARE OUT...

EXT. FACTORY - NIGHT (DAY 1)

We flare back in again - onto the grounds of an abandoned factory. Surrounding the place is a rusting metal fence with a sign reading "PRIVATE PROPERTY - NO TRESPASSING."

We hear the sound of a hard PUNCH. BUFFY comes flying back into frame and slams hard against the fence, the breath knocked out of her. She ducks - narrowly avoiding a massive FIST as it rams into the sign, denting it.

SUBTITLE: NOW.

Buffy stands squared off against a big hairy BIKER VAMP wearing a leather jacket, chains and boots.

BIKER VAMP
I've always wanted to
kill the Slayer.

BUFFY
And I've always wanted piano
lessons. So really, who's
surprised we have all this
unexpressed rage?

The Biker-Vamp lunges. Buffy neatly sidesteps him. And when he turns to face her, she greets him with three rapid-fire punches to the face.

BUFFY
But honestly? I think I'm
expressing mine better.
Tell you what:

The Vamp punches. Buffy blocks it. And holds him there.

BUFFY
You go find yourself a good anger
management class...

She whips a stake out from behind her back.

BUFFY
And I'll jam this pokey wood stick
through your heart.

She stakes him. Poof! Dusted. Buffy slips the stake back under her jacket, walking away.

BUFFY
Think that sets the world speed
record for closure.

And suddenly a BRIGHT LIGHT shines in Buffy's face. She stops, blinks, shielding her eyes.

NIGHTWATCHMAN (O.S.)
Hey!

The light shining on Buffy's revealed to be a NIGHTWATCHMAN's flashlight. He's no hardass - just a guy doing his job.

NIGHTWATCHMAN
If you're looking for one of those
rave parties, you're late. Chased
a bunch of kids outta here last night.

BUFFY
Oh. Yeah, darn, and my fellow
ravers will be so disappointed.
(confidential)
My turn to bring bundt cake.

NIGHTWATCHMAN
If it was my call, I'd let you do
what you want. Not like anybody's
using the place. But, they don't
pay us enough to argue with the
boss, so...

He gestures "out" with the flashlight.

BUFFY
I'm already gone.

Buffy walks away. The Nightwatchman calls after her.

NIGHTWATCHMAN
Hold it!

Buffy stops, turns.

NIGHTWATCHMAN
Take your... whatever
this is with you.

He reaches down, picking up a softball-sized, gently glowing ORB. Hands it to Buffy, who examines it curiously.

BUFFY
Right. Thanks.

NIGHTWATCHMAN
Glow balls.
(laughs)
I just don't get your generation.
I mean, what is that thing?

Buffy walks away from the Nightwatchman, toward us.

BUFFY
I'll let you know when I find out.

As she leaves the factory behind, we see the orb eerily underlights Buffy's face, not unlike the way the monks' faces were illuminated...

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER
Act One

INT. BUFFY'S KITCHEN - DAY (DAY 2)

Buffy readies a breakfast tray for Mom. French toast. Juice. Coffee. Buffy selects one flower from a bunch, places the single stem in a thin vase. Turns to get a cup. DAWN enters, yawning and scratching. Checks out the tray. Buffy speaks without looking.

BUFFY
Dawn! Touch nothing.

DAWN
Jahvol, mein sibling. Who died
and made you the Iron Chef?

Dawn spots the flowers, starts trying to jam two or three more into the vase.

BUFFY
Look: Mom's sick, I made her a
nice, non-instant breakfast for
once, and I don't want you...

Dawn keeps jamming the flowers in - tipping the vase, spilling water all over the tray.

DAWN
Oops.

BUFFY
...doing that.

JOYCE enters, still in her bathrobe, looking a bit rumpled.

JOYCE
Morning, guys. Ooh, check out the
"pamper Mom" platter. You two do
all this?

DAWN
Buffy helped.

BUFFY
I didn't "help."

JOYCE
I'm sure you did.
(sitting)
And neither one of you's
pregnant, failing, or under
indictment? Just checking.

Both girls shake their heads.

BUFFY
We just knew you were feeling less
than great, so...

JOYCE
(nods)
The headache they said would go
away came back. And brought
some friends along with.

BUFFY
What'd your doctors say?

She pulls a prescription from her robe pocket.

JOYCE
Take four of... whatever these
are a day, come back for tests.

BUFFY
So they don't know what's wrong.

JOYCE
Not yet.

BUFFY
That's unacceptable. We need a
second opinion.

JOYCE
We need a first opinion first, honey.

BUFFY
Okay. Let's go now.

Buffy starts to get up. Joyce just draws Dawn to her for a little Mom-ly hug.

JOYCE
Buffy, I know you're concerned,
but don't be. I'm still the Mom,
which means I get to worry about
you two. And it's a good thing,
because you're a vampire slayer and you...
(squeezing Dawn)
...you're my little punkin' belly.

DAWN
Mom! That's like, my kid name.

JOYCE
So? I can't be retro?

DAWN
I'm fourteen. Nicknames like
"little pumpkin belly" tend to
flatline growing self-esteem.

BUFFY
(to Joyce)
You ever have names for me?

JOYCE
(lovingly)
No, I think you were always just... Buffy.

DAWN
I got some names for you...

JOYCE
Wait - what are you two hanging
around here for? isn't this Mr.
Giles' big day?

BUFFY
Bigger than big. It's his
"Grand Opening" day.

JOYCE
So, go! Bring me back a, I don't
know, flying broomstick or something.

DAWN
Those never really work.

JOYCE
Whatever. Book club tonight?

Dawn nods.

BUFFY
You guys have a book club?

DAWN
We're reading a heartbreaking work
of staggering genius.

BUFFY
I'm in. What's it called?

DAWN
(duh)
"A Heartbreaking Work of
Staggering Genius."

BUFFY
I'll be back later. Your doctor's
appointment's for when?

Joyce just gives Buffy a look.

BUFFY
I just want to know! Take it
easy. Feet up, plenty of Oprah.

Dawn affectionately wraps her arms around Joyce's neck.

DAWN
Plus you can check my rain forest
report and you know there's like
eighty badillion old board games
in the... hey!

Buffy grabs Dawn by the arm, pulls her away from Joyce.

DAWN
You said I couldn't come.

BUFFY
Changed my mind.

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - DAY

Ding-Ding! The little bell over the Magic Box door jingles as Buffy enters. She stops, impressed. Takes a look around. We see what she sees: The place is fully set up. Mystical volumes, exotic bottles, skulls and bones and a wide variety of other magical paraphernalia all stand neatly stacked on display. A few things marked "On Sale!"

And in the center of it all stands GILES. Proudly dressed in a purple POINTY WIZARD'S HAT and CLOAK, adorned with little yellow stars and crescents.

Buffy looks at Giles. Giles looks at Buffy.

Long pause. And Giles quietly removes the hat and cloak, setting them aside behind the counter.

Ding-Ding! The bell rings again. Dawn rushes in, breathless.

DAWN
(to Buffy)
Told you you couldn't ditch me.
(looking around)
Whoa, Mr. Giles, this place is so,
wow, I mean... check out all the
magic junk!

GILES
Our new slogan.

DAWN
When's it open? You know, for customers.

GILES
Since nine this morning, actually.

BUFFY
(angry, to Dawn)
Go. Browse. And...

DAWN
"You break it, you bought it."
I heard you the first sixty times.

Dawn goes off to browse. Giles and Buffy speak by the counter.

GILES
Not to worry. I have a very good
feeling about this place. Magic's
a small niche market, but think
about it: Sunnydale. Monsters.
Supply. Demand. Be lines around
the block in no time.

BUFFY
(distracted)
Oh yeah. Money, hand over fist.

She hovers her hand over her fist, wonders at it.

BUFFY
Which, I guess is a good thing.

GILES
Buffy, are you all right?
You seem distracted.

BUFFY
Slayer-wise, I'm tip-top. But
Mom's still sick, and we don't
know what the deal is.

GILES
She is getting medical attention?

BUFFY
Oh yeah. Got a whole, highly
trained medical staff working
round the clock to tell us diddly.

GILES
I'm sorry. But time and patience
can both be great comforts in...

Ding-Ding! The bell again. RILEY and WILLOW enter.

WILLOW
Giles! Where's your hat and cloak?

RILEY
The hype was out of control.

DAWN
Willow! You gotta see this, they
have the coolest talismen. Mans. Talis-guys...

BUFFY
Actually, I've got a little scooby-
centric deal to deal with first.

She reaches into her knapsack and produces the ORB from the teaser. Puts it on the counter. The group gathers 'round.

BUFFY
I put it before the group... What
the hell is this?

GILES
Appears to be paranormal in origin.

WILLOW
How can you tell?

GILES
Well, it's so shiny.

BUFFY
Found it on patrol.

RILEY
May be more where that came from.
I say we go back out again tonight.

BUFFY
Uh... sure.

DAWN
(to Riley)
You can't patrol. Buffy said.

BUFFY
No I didn't.

DAWN
Yeah, remember? It'd be easier if
you didn't have to look out for
anybody...?

BUFFY
(covering)
Yeah, but I wasn't talking about...

RILEY
Don't worry about it.

DAWN
(to Riley)
She just said you look even cuter
when you're all weak and kitteny,
and she better go solo or you'd
get hurt. So welcome to the club,
she'll never let me go either...

Dawn trails off, realizing everyone's staring hard at her.

DAWN
What? What? What?

RILEY
Giles, you got that danger room
set up out back? I'm feeling the
need for a little physical re-hab
about now.

GILES
Of course. This way.
(to Buffy)
If any customers do show up...

WILLOW
On it.

BUFFY
(to Dawn)
We're going.

She starts to leave. Willow calls her back. They speak privately as Dawn lingers by the door.

WILLOW
Buffy, wait. Go easy on her.

BUFFY
Why?

WILLOW
I can't help it. I have all this
involuntary empathy for Dawn,
'cause she's, you know, a big spaz.

BUFFY
Yeah but she's so annoying,
especially now Mom's sick and
Dawn's all over her, while I have
to be the grown-up, and they're
like the giggle twins and how come
I never get to be the Little
Pumpkin Belly?

Beat.

WILLOW
While I don't feel qualified to
address that last part, I can tell
you, Dawn's not just the youngest.
She's the baby. Maybe your Mom
needs that now.

BUFFY
Like Dawn even cares what -- You
have no idea how much I wish I
were an only child these days.

Willow looks at Buffy a moment to see if she really means that. Buffy does. Their looks is broken by the sound of a CRASH. Buffy closes her eyes.

DAWN (O.S.)
Oops.

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

Buffy and Dawn come in the front door. The sound of the TV can be heard coming from the living room.

DAWN
...can't all be born with big
fancy Chosen One reflexes,
you know.

BUFFY
Shh. Mom?

No answer.

BUFFY
Mom!

Buffy enters to find Joyce lying on the couch, looking bad. Not unconscious but obviously in pain. Dawn rushes to her side. Buffy clicks the TV off, ending the noise.

DAWN
What's wrong?

JOYCE
It's my head...

BUFFY
Come on. I'm taking you to the doctors.

JOYCE
No, sweetheart, I'm fine.

BUFFY
No! You don't know that! We
don't know anything. Come on.

JOYCE
I just need my prescription. Please.

Buffy hesitates - then takes the prescription.

BUFFY
Hospital pharmacy open?

Joyce nods.

BUFFY
Ten minutes.

INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

A hospital hallway. Buffy bursts out of a door marked "PHARMACY." Examining the fine print on the orange plastic bottle as she walks up the hallway, barely noticing the gurney wheeling in the entrance, coming her way. The gurney's pushed by a three-person medical team, led by BEN.

As they approach each other, Ben sees Buffy and smiles.

BEN
Hey. It's um, Buffy, isn't it?

BUFFY
(no clue)
Um...?

BEN
Ben. But you can just call me
"Man-Nurse" like everyone - whoa!

The PATIENT on the gurney suddenly convulses violently. Ben tries holding him down, but even using all his strength, it's not happening.

PATIENT
I don't belong here! I have
important instructions! Fascists!

BEN
(to patient)
Okay, now you're hurting the nice
intern who's here to help you.
(to intern)
Could we get a doctor here? We
need nine ccs of phenobarbital in
this guy now.

Buffy calmly, efficiently strides to Ben's side, and with one Slayer-strength hand, holds the patient down.

BEN
Or not. Let's strap him.
(to patient)
For your own good, promise.
(to Buffy)
Not to be rampantly sexist in the
workplace but, you've got some
serious mus-kles for a girl.

BUFFY
Oh. Um...

She backs off immediately. The interns nearly have the patient controlled.

BEN
Radioactive spider bite?

BUFFY
How'd you guess?

BEN
I'm a doctor. Well, almost.

BUFFY
HEY!

The patient suddenly GRABS Buffy's wrist. The one holding the pill bottle. He roughly jerks the bottle to his face, as if reading the prescription.

PATIENT
Doesn't even help, doesn't make a
damn bit of difference.

Buffy starts to pull her hand back, then stops. Looks at the guy. It's the NIGHTWATCHMAN from the teaser. He's insane.

BUFFY
I've met this guy. He's not crazy.

BEN
If you say so...

The Nightwatchman tightens his grip on Buffy's arm. Stares at the bottle, at her.

NIGHTWATCHMAN
They're coming at you. Don't
think you're above it, missy!
They come through the family...
They get to... your family...

He lets go of her wrist. Buffy pulls back, dropping the pill bottle. Shaken.

BUFFY
(stunned)
What do you mean?

BEN
Let's get him in exam one.
Now would be nice.

The interns wheel the Nightwatchman away. He's still looking back at Buffy, laughing now, his head twisted back at a painful angle. Then he's gone. Buffy's still stunned.

BEN
Sorry about that. Here.

Ben picks up the fallen pill bottle, holds it out to Buffy. She doesn't take them - just stares blankly ahead.

BEN
For your Mom?

BUFFY
Huh? Oh. Yeah.

BEN
She's not feeling better?

He puts the pills in Buffy's hand.

BUFFY
Not yet. She will be.

She dismissively shoves them in her back pocket.

BUFFY
I'm starting to figure out what's wrong.

And off Buffy's steely gaze we CUT TO:

EXT. FACTORY - NIGHT

Establishing. We hear:

MONK (O.S.)
(Czech with subtitles)
Pane boze, pomoz mi.
(translation)
God help me!

INT. FACTORY - NIGHT

Inside the factory. Abandoned, second story. Warehouse-sized floor. Empty except for a few leftover press drills, some folding chairs, and a series of cement columns holding the whole place up. A MONK (from the teaser - not the old one or the young one - but the surviving one) hastily re-sets a fallen candle amidst a group of candles at the floor entrance. Good enough. He pulls out a Sunnydale MAP, frantically unfolds it, and studies the grids. Takes out a magic marker, and, searching, cross-references until he finds what he's looking for.

He circles a spot on the Sunnydale map. Smiles, not able to believe his luck. Salvation. He hurriedly starts to gather up his meager belongings when...

BOOM!

He looks up at the enormous, industrial-sized steel DOOR at the end of the factory floor. Reminiscent of the door from the monastery in size, but this one's made of metal, bolted shut with mechanical locks and bolts each a foot wide. This door is unbreakable.

Again - BOOM!

The Monk staggers back as if shot in the heart. Looks for a place to run. There's nowhere to go.

BOOM! The unbreakable steel door SHUDDERS. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The pounding increases in volume and rapidity, as if a monster's on the other side and losing patience. The door
starts BENDING INWARD from its center. Clutching a string of beads and rapidly whispering a last prayer to himself, the Monk stares dead ahead - a deer caught in headlights.

BOOM! The door comes BLASTING off its hinges and lands, intact, ten feet from the doorway, revealing not some hulking monstrous demon, but a GIRL. Real hottie, too. About Buffy's age. Whoever she is, she's a star and she knows it. Curly blonde tendrils fall all around her shoulders, highlighting her sharp red business dress and killer pumps.

Stepping over the threshold of destruction, she claps the dust off her hands, looking annoyed at the effort, then focuses her bright eyes on the Monk like a set of lasers. This is GLORY.

GLORY
There you are! I...

Her lips part in a deadly smile.

GLORY
...Have been looking all over for you!

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - DAY (DAY 3)

Standing beneath a sign reading "Shoplifters Will Be Transfigured," we see Giles neatly fold over the top of a brown paper bag, and hand it back to his first CUSTOMERS.

GILES
(smiling)
Thank you for choosing to shop at
The Magic Box. And please, do
come again.

They exit. Giles remains the very picture of the professional shopkeeper - and then the door closes.

GILES
Did you see? Customers! Real
live customers! They came in, and
I gave them things, and they gave
me money and then they left! It's brilliant!

Willow, studying a thick book with the Orb beside her, doesn't bother to look up.

WILLOW
Congratulations, you're now an
official capitalist running dog.
But I gotta tell you - on the
Orbular front?
(closes book)
We're kind of batting zero.

Ding-Ding! More customers enter. And with them, ANYA.

GILES
We'll just have to keep at it, then.
(to customers)
If there's anything you need help
with, just let me know.

ANYA
Your conjuring powder's
grotesquely overpriced.

Giles eyes the customers, who heard that.

GILES
Anya...

ANYA
I'm sorry. But I'm nearly out of
money. I've never had to "afford"
things before and it's making me bitter.

GILES
And the change is palpable. That
stuff doesn't come cheap.

ANYA
Well you're getting ripped off.
I can hook you up direct with the
troll that sheds it...

Buffy enters. Urgent. Makes a beeline for Giles.

BUFFY
Giles. I have an idea what's
making my mom sick.

GILES
You've spoken with her doctors?

BUFFY
They won't find anything. What's
hurting her: it's supernatural.

She picks up the Orb.

BUFFY
The Nightwatchman who found this
thing went crazy. Like, overnight.
Something made him that way.

Willow, Giles and Anya all take one giant step back away from the Orb.

WILLOW
Let's not taunt the Happy Fun Ball.

BUFFY
This won't hurt us, I had it on me
all night. But this guy. Giles,
he saw things. Said things.

GILES
Such as...?

BUFFY
They'll come at me through my family.

GILES
Who will?

BUFFY
I don't know. Yet. But whatever
touched this guy made him see
through what the rest of us are
seeing. He knew. Someone's
hurting my mom, and they're
trying to get to me.

GILES
It's possible, but still.
A madman's ramblings
are not much to go on.

BUFFY
It's a start. We have to find out
who's making my mom sick, and how.

She pulls a book off a shelf.

WILLOW
Then what?

BUFFY
I hunt them. Find them.
And kill them.

EXT. FACTORY - DAY

Establishing. We hear Glory's voice. She sounds weary.

GLORY (O.S.)
You know when you think about it
I'm the victim here.

INT. FACTORY - DAY

We see the Monk. He's tied to a chair, a la "Reservoir Dogs." He's been tortured. Hands tied behind his back. Duct tape across his mouth. Eyes watching something walk back and forth before him...

GLORY (O.S.)
First off, I don't even want to be
here. And I don't mean this room,
or city, or state or planet, I'm
talking the whole mortal coil now.
You know it's disgusting. The
food, the clothes, the people - I
could crap a better existence than
this. But okay, let's focus...

Now we see Glory, pacing back and forth. As she paces, we see, out of focus, behind her, another OLDER NIGHTWATCHMAN. Tied up. Struggling. Glory pays no attention, continues:

GLORY
And feel free to tell me if this
next part gets too personal, I'm
told I have boundary issues, but
I am hurt - YES - by your
incredibly selfish behavior.
Newsflash, hairdo: It's not
always about you.

She rings around one of the cement columns, sing-songy, then stops, furious.

GLORY
All I want is THE KEY!!!

Nothing. Her shoulders sag, her body slumps, she's still standing but she looks like there are no bones in her body. She's a five year old who needs a nap.

GLORY
Why won't you tell me where
The Key is?

She inhales big, about to sob - then immediately brightens. She just noticed something! She runs forward and jumps right onto the Monk's lap. Wriggles while she's there.

GLORY
Forgive me, monky. I just get so,
ohh, anxious sometimes like
there's mmm, something deep inside
me and it's swelling up and making
me crazy and I just forget there's all
this, nnngh, DUCT TAPE on your face...

She RIPS the duct tape off his mouth.

GLORY
Now tell me where The Key is...

Digs her fingers into his eyes and mouth, like a bowling ball.

GLORY
...or I'm going bowling.

Eager, Glory leans in close and waits for the answer. The Monk sputters. She leans in closer...

MONK
(Czech)
Z... Z...

GLORY
It's okay. The stutter is sexy,
keep it coming.

MONK
(Czech with subtitles)
Z-zab-bij... zab-bij me.
(translation)
K-kill... kill me.

Glory leaps up off him, crushing his nuts in the process, and screams:

GLORY
(Czech with subtitles)
Jsme v novém svete, tak proboha...
(translation)
We're in the new world now,
so please, for God's sake...
(English, no subtitles)
SPEAK AMERICAN!!!

MONK
(accented english)
I... I will tell you...
(spits)
Nothing.

Glory's eyes well up with tears. Not fake ones, either.

GLORY
Fine. Know what I wish?

Hysterical, practically sobbing, she walks over to the tied up OLDER NIGHTWATCHMAN, drags him front and center.

GLORY
I wish that you could feel what
I'm feeling right now.

OLDER NIGHTWATCHMAN
Lady, whatever you are. Whatever,
you're on. Please...

GLORY
(to Monk)
'Cause I don't know how much more
of this I can take.

OLDER NIGHTWATCHMAN
I have a wife. Her name is
Jennifer. We have two daughters...

GLORY
(to Monk)
I'll bet this is fun for you!
Isn't it? Say it, you like to
torture me! Why? You don't even
own the damn thing and I want it
I need it I have got to have it
NOW and you keep refusing to tell
me WHERE THE KEY IS and...

Glory starts to CONVULSE. And it's not a part of some act. A very real seizure is coming on and she can't control it. Somehow, it makes her just talk faster. Building...

GLORY
And it's typical, like the big
mortal meatsack comes complete
with stink and bile sweat and
protein yes I said HUMANS - Not
now Mommy's TALKING - Wriggling,
piling, plowing, crawling, clowning,
cavorting, DOING IT over and over
and over and over 'til somebody's
gotta sit down on their tuffet and
make this birthing STOP.

And suddenly, she violently SHOVES both hands directly into the sides of the Older Nightwatchman's skull simultaneously. The hands don't shatter the skull, but they do painfully
MORPH their way inside, making her victim convulse violently.

Then, in a burst of swirling ectoplasmic light, Glory SUCKS the conscious life out of him. It streams out of the Nightwatchman's skull and pours into Glory's whole body. The Monk looks on, the lightshow reflected in his eyes.

The light subsides. Having had her fill, Glory withdraws her hands and lets the victim drop to the floor like a wet sack. His eyes dart around -- clearly he's unhinged.

Glory's better, but still wobbly on her feet. She leans against one of the cement columns for support.

GLORY
Oh. Oh, that's much better.

Glory's efficient smile returns and she faces the Monk again. Back to business...

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - DAY

We hear the noise of a crowded store and see Willow behind the counter, studying beside Buffy. Anya nearby. A CUSTOMER interrupts Willow, shoving an impossible-to-wrap HOURGLASS in her face.

CUSTOMER
Do you giftwrap?

WILLOW
(eager)
Do we!
(to Anya)
Do we ?
(to customer)
We do.
(to Anya)
Little help...

Reveal the Magic Box is doing booming business. Customers everywhere. And in the center of it all, trying to be helpful, is Giles - grin pasted to his face. Mild shock.

GILES
No, it's the ground cloven hooves
that are thirty percent off -
whole hooves, full price.

XANDER enters, gets a load of the bedlam. Sees Giles.

GILES
That's um, not candy...
(to Xander)
Xander. There's, there's too many
of them. People. And they all
seem to want things.

XANDER
I hear you. Stay British,
you'll be okay.

Xander heads for Buffy, Willow and Anya, shaking his head.

XANDER
The thousand-yard stare. Damn.
You hate to see it on any man,
but especially in retail.

Anya rings up a purchase. Addresses the customer.

ANYA
Please go.

XANDER
Anya, the Shopkeepers Union of
America called? They want me to
tell you "please go" just got
replaced with "have a nice day."

ANYA
I have their money. Who cares
what kind of day they have?

XANDER
No one. It's a long cultural
tradition of raging insincerity.
Embrace it.

Anya nods. Yells at the customer who's nearly out the door.

ANYA
(deadpan)
Hey! You! Have a nice day.

XANDER
There's my girl.

Xander joins Buffy in her quiet corner of solitude. She's ignoring all around her, immersed in studying a big book.

XANDER
You ever thought in a million
years you'd miss the high school library?

BUFFY
Someone put a spell on my Mom.
Something to make her look like
she's sick.

XANDER
That's a new kind of nasty.
Any suspects?

BUFFY
Got the list narrowed down to just
under infinity.

Willow holds up a horribly giftwrapped... thing.

WILLOW
Does this look right to you?

Anya takes the item, starts re-wrapping it as she speaks.

ANYA
Sure, if you wrapped it with your
feet. You know Buffy, there used
to be this French sorcerer, back
in the sixteen-I-don't-know-
what's, named...

GILES
Cloutier?

ANYA
(nods)
So cute in his little knickers but
he had this one spell demons just
hated, called "Tirer la Couture."

BUFFY
"Rotate many foodstuffs?"

WILLOW
"Pull the curtain back."

ANYA
A spell to see spells. Well, a
trance to see spells, but, you
get the idea. Try that.

BUFFY
What do you mean, "see spells?"

GILES
All spells leave some trace
signature, they're just not
perceptible to the human eye. In
this case, it could be the image
of a hand choking your mother.

ANYA
A cloud of mist around her...

WILLOW
Or maybe the shape of the demon
who's performing the spell?

GILES
Possibly. You'll have to take a
mental picture. Cameras won't see
or capture the image.

Anya holds up the perfectly-wrapped gift, hands it to a waiting customer.

ANYA
And that's thirty-two even.

BUFFY
Okay. So I'll just do what the
Monsieur Silk Knickers did. Go
home, get trancey, see what's
affecting my Mom.

XANDER
(re: Anya)
Ladies and gentleman, put your
hands together for Scooby of the
Month here.

WILLOW
I don't know. Trances...

GILES
Yes. Buffy, The sorcerer Cloutier
was legendary. His skills at
achieving higher states of
consciousness were...

BUFFY
Better than mine? I knew you'd
say that, but we've been
practicing concentration drills.
I know I'm close.

GILES
But are you ready?

BUFFY
It's my mom. I'll get ready.
(to Anya)
What do I need?

INT. BUFFY'S ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

WHOMP! Tight on the floor of Buffy's room as she up-ends a small sack, dumping a bunch of magic stuff onto the floor. Candelabra-type incense holders and a bunch of brightly-colored incense sticks.

With Riley's help, Buffy starts setting things up.

BUFFY
Thanks again for coming. I
totally appreciate the help.

RILEY
Sure thing. So, what do I do?

BUFFY
Lots. Tons. Lots and lots of
tons. This is all kind of, uh...

She holds up an incense holder and a small leather pouch.

RILEY
...new terrain?

BUFFY
(nods)
All prayin', no slayin'. So,
let's see... the incense needs to
be "ignited," and that's a job,
then this stuff gets poured round
me counter-clockwise, and um, ...

RILEY
So you need me to light incense
and pour sand?

BUFFY
Magic incense and spooky sand.
And, the ritual itself is...

RILEY
Something you do alone.

Buffy tries to think of a way out of that one. Can't...

RILEY
You sure this isn't just your way
of trying to make me feel less...
what's the words? Cute and weak
and kittenish?

BUFFY
Kittenny.

RILEY
Right. Much manlier. Look:

He sits beside her.

RILEY
I really am okay.

BUFFY
I know...

RILEY
So I'm not quite super-guy
anymore. That was borrowed
power anyway, I had to give it
back sometime.

BUFFY
I know you can handle yourself.
I just didn't want to see you get hurt.

RILEY
Maybe instead of you trying to
take care of me, we agree to try
taking care of each other. Deal?

BUFFY
Done.

RILEY
Good.

He kisses her.

RILEY
For luck.

He starts to go. She pulls him back.

BUFFY
A girl needs more luck than that.

They kiss again. A nice one. Then:

RILEY
Have a nice trip.

Riley exits, closing the door behind him. Buffy dims the lights, takes out a book of matches. She lights the incense sticks one by one.

Buffy undoes the string around the leather pouch, opening it. Seen from overhead, she carefully pours a RING of brightly-colored dust in a circle around her.

Sits in the center of it. Closes her eyes.

And the second she does, there's a KNOCK on the door.

DAWN (O.S.)
What are you doing?

BUFFY
My boyfriend! Now go away!

Buffy tries to regain her calm state, eyes closed, when:

DAWN (O.S.)
Liar. Are you doing magic?

BUFFY
No I'm not.

DAWN (O.S.)
Can I watch?

BUFFY
No you can't.

DAWN (O.S.)
Please? Oh please times ten
and cubed oh please?

The door starts to open. Buffy SLAMS it shut - hard.

BUFFY
No!

DAWN (O.S.)
I can smell your stinky incense
down the hall, you know.

Buffy stuffs a towel under the door.

DAWN (O.S.)
And your clothes are gonna reek.
And if you are doing magic, I'm telling.

BUFFY
Go, go tell, go wherever you want...

INT. BUFFY'S UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - LATE AFTERNOON

We see the other side of the door. Dawn, looking hurt, just stands there, wanting to come in.

BUFFY (O.S.)
...just GO!

Beat. Dawn swallows her feelings and marches off to her own room. Closes the door.

INT. BUFFY'S ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

Continuous. Buffy breathes slowly, deeply, her eyes shut.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BUFFY'S ROOM - NIGHT

Later. The camera roves around Buffy, swirling around her as the smoke from the incense holders wafts around her in spiraling tendrils...

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BUFFY'S ROOM - NIGHT

Later still. The room is now taking on an overexposed glint. Edges of furniture gleam in the light. We see that the incense holders are all empty. All burnt out.

Buffy opens her eyes. And the world around her looks different. Surface edges catch light in a slightly different way. Brighter. Buffy's in the state. Testing the ground, she stands. Slowly exits her room...

INT. BUFFY'S UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT

Buffy walks along the upstairs hallway slowly, in a trance-like state. Everything around her shimmers, slightly overexposed, like an Oliver Stone film. But everything's where it should be. Buffy slowly heads downstairs.

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Buffy enters the living room, looking for Mom. But Joyce's spot on the living room couch, in front of the TV, is abandoned. Blanket cast aside. Buffy looks around, searching...

JOYCE (O.S.)
Buffy?

Buffy turns - to find Joyce standing right behind her, buttoning up a light fall coat.

BUFFY
Mom.

JOYCE
You all right? You look...

BUFFY
Going out?

We see Joyce from Buffy's P.O.V. She shimmers a bit, like everything else in the room, but beyond that - nothing. No demons or mists or spell of any kind affecting her.

JOYCE
Either modern medicine's working,
or I just took the world's best
placebos. Either way, I'm heading
out for a couple of hours.

Buffy's eyes keep searching Mom, looking for any sign...

BUFFY
Nothing...

JOYCE
Hmm?

BUFFY
There's nothing.

JOYCE
Are you sure you're feeling okay?
You seem a little... out of it.

As Joyce talks, Buffy's attention turns to a PHOTO she can see over Mom's shoulder. It looks like it's winking at her. Something within the picture frame is MOVING.

JOYCE
Hey. Buffy?

Closer on the photo: It's a picture of the three Summers women: Joyce, Buffy and Dawn. It looks normal - in its proper place - except: DAWN'S IMAGE FLICKERS. Appears and disappears and re-appears slowly, as if fading in and out of reality. Buffy and Joyce's image remain steady, unwavering. Buffy cannot stop staring at the picture.

BUFFY
Huh? Oh. Yeah. I mean, I'm
fine. Long day's all. You, um,
have a good time.

Joyce smooths Buffy's hair the way she would a younger child's, gazes at her affectionately.

JOYCE
So grown up.

Joyce leaves. We hear the door close.

Buffy, in a daze, crosses the room and picks up the framed photo. Holds it close to her face, examining it.

CLOSE-UP OF THE PHOTO: Dawn's image slowly winks in and out of existence.

INT. BUFFY'S STAIRWAY/UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT

Buffy comes back up the stairs, into the hallway, heading for Dawn's room, face full of dread...

INT. DAWN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Buffy pushes back the door and enters Dawn's room. We see what she sees: The WHOLE ROOM FLICKERS in and out of reality.

The entire room is alternately a typical fourteen year-old GIRL'S ROOM - filled with a bed and pop idol posters, or it's an empty STORAGE ROOM, filled only with marked cardboard boxes, stacked high.

Buffy takes it all in. Turns a slow circle around the room, as the room itself shifts in reality back and forth around her. Slowly she becomes aware of a distant-sounding voice calling her name. The voice itself fading in and out.

VOICE (V.0.)
... uffy... Buffy...

Still dazed, she turns to see Dawn standing in the doorway.

TRACK IN ON DAWN: SHE HERSELF IS FADING IN AND OUT OF REALITY AS SHE SPEAKS.

DAWN
Buffy! Who said you could
come in my room?!?

Buffy speaks softly, in cold revelation:

BUFFY
You're not my sister.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

Act Three

INT. DAWN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Where we left off. Buffy and Dawn. We see Buffy shake her head and snap out of the trance state as Dawn yells at her.

DAWN
Tch'yeah! Like I even want to be
related to your smelly... Ow!
What are you doing?

Buffy shoots both hands out and grabs Dawn - hard - pinning her arms to her sides. Dawn struggles, in confusion and pain. Buffy gets in her face.

BUFFY
What are you?

DAWN
Get off me!

BUFFY
You want to hurt me?

DAWN
Let me go, you freak!

BUFFY
Then you deal with me.

DAWN
I'm telling Mom!

BUFFY
You - stay away from my mother.

Buffy half lets go/half shoves Dawn away. Dawn stumbles back, bumps up against her own bed, regains her footing.

Long silence. The two sisters just stand frozen, both breathing hard, staring each other down a long moment.

Then the PHONE RINGS.

And keeps ringing. And ringing...

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Buffy rips the phone receiver off its cradle.

BUFFY
What.

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Giles is on the phone - holding the receiver to his ear with one hand while pressing the other hand to his head, blocking out the cacophony of noise around him. The Magic Box's business continues to bustle.

GILES
Buffy - I'm glad I caught you...
I think we may have underestimated
what we're dealing with.

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Buffy looks upstairs, making sure she's alone.

BUFFY
Go on.

GILES
We've uncovered more than expected...

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Continuous. Giles has a book and the Orb before him.

GILES
...about this Orb. It's called
The Dagon's Sphere, and has a
history that goes back many centuries.

BUFFY (V.0.)
What's it do?

GILES
It's a protective device. Used to
ward off ancient, primordial evil.

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Also continuous. Buffy paces, phone in hand.

BUFFY
Any word what this evil looks like?

GILES (V.O.)
Unfortunately, no.

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Continuous.

GILES
This is where accounts get vague.
All we've pinned down is that The
Dagon's Sphere was created to repel...

He pins the phone between cheek and shoulder, reads out loud.

GILES
(reading)
"...that which cannot be named."

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Continuous.

BUFFY
I'm going down to the factory
where I found it. Whoever planted
this doohickey's got answers.

GILES (V.O.)
Buffy, I know you've heard me say
this before, but be careful.

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Continuous.

GILES
Anything that goes unnamed is
usually an object of deep worship,
or great fear. Maybe both. You
could face a level of raw power
you've never known before. Have you...

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Continuous.

GILES (O.S.)
...Completed the trance? Seen
what's harming your mother?

BUFFY
That's the thing. I just saw...

Buffy paces, revealing Dawn standing behind her. Eyes glaring, arms folded, undisguised hatred. Buffy doesn't turn - but she knows.

GILES (O.S.)
Yes?

BUFFY
Nothing. Didn't work.

She hangs up.

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Continuous.

GILES
Hello? Hel-lo?

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Continuous. Buffy faces Dawn. Dawn doesn't move.

DAWN
What are you talking about?

BUFFY
Slayer stuff.

Dawn says nothing.

BUFFY
I'm going out.

DAWN
Do you really think I care
you're the Slayer?

BUFFY
What's that supposed to mean?

Again, Dawn says nothing. Just shrugs slightly.

BUFFY
I'll be home in an hour.

DAWN
Mom's coming back.

BUFFY
I'll be back first.

Buffy, never taking her eyes off Dawn, grabs her coat, heads for the door and goes out. We hold on Dawn, who hasn't moved, still glaring.

EXT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Buffy comes rushing out the door, pulling on her coat. She gets down the steps when she hears something. She stops.

Wary and alert, Buffy approaches the shadow of a tree by the front yard. Something rustles. Lightning-fast, Buffy shoots a hand into the shadows, grabs something, and pulls out - SPIKE.

BUFFY
Spike!

SPIKE
(a little dopey)
Hi, Buffy.

BUFFY
Look, I don't want you to take
this the wrong way, but...

She COLDCOCKS HIM.

BUFFY
What are you doing here?

Spike starts gesturing. Long answer alert.

BUFFY
Five words or less.

SPIKE
Out. For. A. Walk.
(then)
Bitch.

BUFFY
Outside my house. At night.
(sighs)
No one has time for this, William.

SPIKE
On your merry way, then. Contrary
to one self-involved world view,
your house happens to be directly
between... parts and other...
parts of this town. And I would
pass by in the day, but I feel I'm
outgrowing my whole burst-into-
flame phase.

BUFFY
Fine. Keep going, I cut you a break.

SPIKE
Yeah, okay, let me guess: "you
won't kill me... Ooh, the crowd
pleasing threats & swagger
routine - how stunningly original.
I'm just passing through.
Satisfied? I really do hope so
because God knows you need
some satisfaction in life besides
shagging Captain Cardboard and I
never really liked you anyway and,
and, and your hair looks very stupid.

Awkward pause. Spike leaves, having shown her. Buffy just stares after him. Too weird. Then she glances down. Buffy's P.O.V.: a PILE of cigarette butts lie crumpled on the ground. Buffy takes off.

Overhead, we see a single light go on on the second story of the Summers' house. Dawn stands silhouetted in the window, silently watching Buffy go.

EXT. FACTORY - NIGHT

Closeup of the dented "PRIVATE PROPERTY - NO TRESPASSING" sign from the teaser. A thick metal LOCK holds the metal gates shut. A flashlight's beam dances over the lock. Buffy's hand breaks the lock with a length of pipe.

Buffy shoves the gate open. Sweeps a look around the massive factory grounds. And lead by her thin little flashlight beam, she walks forward...

INT. FACTORY - NIGHT

The second floor - where the Monk was being tortured. But there are no sounds coming from inside, and no signs of anyone having been here in a long time. It's really dark.

BUFFY
(to herself)
Little pigs, little pigs,
let me come in...

Buffy passes underneath the archway of the giant DOOR that's been blown off its hinges.

BUFFY
...Not by the hairs
of my chinny chin chin...

She stops - runs her flashlight up, circling around the perimeter of the doorway.

BUFFY
...then I'll huff, and I'll puff...

She points the flashlight into the cavernous, empty room before her. Pauses. Then steps over the threshold, heading inside...

INT. BUFFY'S FOYER/LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The front door of the Summers' house opens - Joyce walks in.

JOYCE
Buffy?

Taking off her coat, she steps into the living room. Empty.

JOYCE
Girls?

No answer. That's strange. Just a little cautious, Joyce walks in further...

JOYCE
Where is every...

DAWN
Hi, Mom.

JOYCE
Oh!

Joyce, startled, turns to see Dawn, who's holding a steaming china cup of tea. Joyce laughs, catching herself. Relaxes, taking off her coat and scarf.

JOYCE
Dawn. I must be getting jumpy in
my old age. Where's Buffy?

Dawn shrugs.

DAWN
You don't have to worry about her.

JOYCE
Probably right. It's not like
she's never patrolled before.
Anyway, I was feeling kind of...
what's the medical term? "Crappy."
So I called off the big night out.

Dawn holds forth the cup of tea.

DAWN
Want tea, Mom?

Joyce hesitates.

JOYCE
Um...

DAWN
I made it for you.

Dawn's still holding out the tea cup. Carefully, so as not to spill...

INT. FACTORY - NIGHT

Buffy walks onto the darkened factory floor. An (unseen) rat scurries off into a corner. Buffy's flashlight beam passes over cement pillars, stained walls, and finally comes to rest on a figure, tied to a chair, silhouetted.

Buffy rushes to the figure in the chair. It is the Monk. Barely conscious.

BUFFY
Whoa.

He lifts his eyes to her. As she hastens to untie him...

BUFFY
Hey. It was you, planted the
thing, the... Dagon's Sphere,
right? I have it. We're not
alone, I've got friends who can
help you. Don't worry.

His eyes peer into hers. Trying to communicate something.

BUFFY
I'm stronger than I look.

We see, over Buffy's shoulder, Glory, sauntering forward. Full of confidence, not making a sound. The Monk jerks his head to warn Buffy, but she's oblivious.

BUFFY
I've got some experience with
stuff like this.

Glory mock-whispers "Shh" to the Monk, mimes tip-toeing forward, having fun with it, getting closer...

BUFFY
And best of all...

Without looking back, Buffy SHOOTS her hand out straight back behind her, catching Glory directly in the throat.

BUFFY
I'm not stupid.

She whirls on Glory, facing her directly. Buffy's face is filled with contained fury. Glory's face is filled with a mild curiosity. As easily as you'd remove a stray hair from a sweater, Glory plucks Buffy's hand by the wrist, pulling it away from her throat. Then she effortlessly BACKHANDS Buffy with her full strength.

Buffy ROCKETS twenty feet straight back. The only thing stopping her acceleration is the far WALL. Her whole body SMASHES painfully into it, leaving a huge dent and sending bits of plaster tumbling to the ground around her.

Buffy, on her knees, looks up at Glory.

GLORY
You sure about that last part?

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

INT. THE MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

A happy CUSTOMER, the last of the night, arms loaded with Magic Box bags, exits the shop. Ding-Ding! The bell rings as he goes.

Beat. We pan over to see Giles, Willow and Xander all dead on their feet, slumped over or in chairs. The end of the day.

GILES
(weary)
Would someone please rip that
bloody bell off its hinges?

XANDER
Would that involve moving?

WILLOW
My feet are numb.

XANDER
I'll see your numbness, and raise
you a lower back pain.

GILES
I think I liked it better when
demons would crash in and
tear the place apart. It just
seemed so much simpler.

The sound of the cash register rings. And rings and rings and rings. Anya, the only one still on her feet, goes over receipts. No fatigue here.

ANYA
You're out of crystal balls.
Those babies are really popular
with the amateurs. Better re-
stock and raise the price ten
percent. Make it fifteen.

GILES
Anya...

ANYA
Your receipt drawer looks like
squirrels nest in it...

GILES
Anya...

ANYA
And the Hand of Glory packs some
serious dark power. You'd better
institute a seven day background
check for...

GILES
(exploding)
Anya!

She shuts up.

GILES
Would you like a job?

ANYA
Okay.

GILES
Good. Then let's talk shop
tomorrow.

ANYA
Okay...
(a little giddy)
..."Boss."

XANDER
Way to go, Anya. That's very
empowering. Dinner's on you.

WILLOW
Hey, any word from Buffy on how
her spell went?

GILES
She said it didn't work. And now
she's off investigating who left
The Dagon's Sphere behind.

XANDER
You're not worried about the Slay-
Master General, are you big G?

Giles quietly re-examines The Dagon's Sphere.

GILES
No, no, I just hope she isn't
doing anything too rash.

INT. FACTORY - NIGHT

SLAM! Buffy goes face-first into another factory wall, putting another body-sized dent in it and sending more plaster to the ground.

She turns. Sees Glory. Who just threw her there with no apparent effort.

GLORY
...And another thing. I just
want you to know...

Glory grabs Buffy by the wrist and again - SLAM! whips her bodily into one of the nearby columns.

GLORY
That this whole "beat you to
death" thing I'm doing...

She grabs her again - SLAMS her again.

GLORY
It's valuable time out of life
that I am never getting back.

Buffy turns - kicks - misses. Not even close.

GLORY
Wait, I've always wanted to try this.

She grabs one of Buffy's arms in each hand.

GLORY
You know, the thing with worms
where, you rip 'em in half, you
get two worms? Think that'll work
with you?

Buffy HEAD-BUTTS her.

Glory staggers back, shocked. Holding her nose.

GLORY
You - HIT ME!

She BURSTS INTO TEARS.

GLORY
Ow! What are you, crazy?

Buffy presses the attack. Kick. Punch. Kick. Glory staggers back with each blow, never shutting up.

GLORY
You can't go around hitting
people, what were you, raised in
a barn? There's such a thing as
manners, you know and while we're
on the subject, I just gotta ask,
Blabberina, do you EVER shut up?

Buffy goes in for the killing blow. Glory raises a hand and CATCHES Buffy's fist. It takes her no effort.

GLORY
Fine - be that way.

She SHOVES Buffy back, hard into a column. Buffy looks up and, impossibly, Glory is right there in front of her before she's even moved. Glory throws a punch. Buffy slips - Glory's fist punches out a huge CHUNK of the cement column, powdering it.

Another punch. Another slip. Another bite out of the column.

Glory just grabs Buffy by the throat.

GLORY
Hey I just noticed something. You
have superpowers! That is so
cool! Can you fly?

She THROWS Buffy clear across the factory floor, turns, smiles.

Buffy lands, rolls, comes up on her feet - right next to the Monk. She looks back to Glory, who's walking this way.

Buffy makes a decision. She picks up the Monk.

GLORY
Hey.

Buffy RUNS with the Monk - straight toward a window...

GLORY
HEY!!! Hands off my holy man!

Glory's doing something scary now - she's RUNNING straight toward Buffy, and for the first time, she looks like she's not playing. She's pissed.

Buffy runs straight for the window - leaps - and CRASHES through it, Monk in her arms.

EXT. FACTORY - NIGHT

Buffy and the Monk painfully LAND, glass shards bouncing all around them, Buffy taking the brunt of the impact.

INT. FACTORY - NIGHT

Glory, in mid-stride, running for the window - BREAKS A HEEL. Hobbles. Stops. Goes back and picks up the busted shoe, examining the parts. She just cannot believe this.

GLORY
Mmph!

She STOMPS her foot, sending the floorboards rippling up in a line, like a shockwave passing through them. The shock waves weaken the cement support column in the center of the room. The column, already badly damaged, GIVES WAY.

GLORY
Aw, sh...

The ENTIRE CEILING collapses in on Glory, burying her in tons of debris.

EXT. FACTORY - NIGHT

Buffy and the Monk, looking like two soldiers in a combat field, make their way toward the factory entrance. Buffy's supporting the Monk as he staggers alongside her. She hesitates, hearing the rumble of the roof collapsing. Takes a moment to look back.

MONK
Stop. Please...

She relents, letting him rest a moment.

BUFFY
We gotta keep moving.

MONK
My journey's done, I think.

BUFFY
(tough soldier)
Don't get metaphory on me.
We're going.

Buffy tries pulling him to his feet. Nothing doing.

MONK
You have to... The Key.
You must protect The Key.

BUFFY
Protect the Key. Right. I know,
we'll do it together! Far, far
from here.

Buffy tries again, sees she's not moving him anywhere.

MONK
Many have... died... many more, if
you don't... keep it safe...

BUFFY
How? What is it?

MONK
The Key is energy. It's a portal.
It opens the door...

BUFFY
That round glowy thing?

MONK
(shakes his head)
For centuries it had no form at
all. My brethren... its only
keepers. Then...

He tries to point back to the factory.

MONK
The abomination... found us. We
had to hide The Key... Gave it
form. Molded it flesh, made it
human. And sent it to you.

Buffy puts pieces together...

BUFFY
Dawn.

MONK
(nods)
She is The Key.

Long beat as Buffy absorbs this.

BUFFY
You put that thing in my home.

MONK
We knew the Slayer would... protect...

BUFFY
My memories... my mom's...

MONK
We built them.

BUFFY
Then unbuild them.
This is my life you're --

A coughing fit cuts her off. He's clearly fading.

MONK
You cannot... abandon...

BUFFY
I didn't ask for this. I don't
even know what... what is she?

MONK
Human. Human, now, and helpless.
Please, she is... an innocent in
this, and she needs you.

Buffy looks at him and for a moment he is totally clear, focused on her.

BUFFY
She's not my sister.

MONK
She doesn't know that.

The power of that statement sinks slowly in, Buffy unable to answer. It is quite a few moments before she realizes she is looking at a dead man. She holds him, her eyes filled with a million questions.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BUFFY'S FOYER/LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Buffy comes in the front door, looking like she's been on the wrong end of a fight. She limps into the living room, to find: Joyce and Dawn, sitting side-by-side, each cuddled up in their own blankets, quietly reading magazines. Joyce has an empty cup of tea before her.

JOYCE
You're home.

DAWN
(intense)
I wasn't bothering her.

Dawn tosses her blanket aside and heads upstairs. Joyce watches her go; turns to Buffy.

JOYCE
What's that all about?

BUFFY
Nothing, Mom.

Buffy looks at her mom. Joyce is waiting to hear it. Takes a sip of the tea Dawn made her. Buffy just watches, then:

BUFFY
Just sister stuff.

Buffy heads upstairs.

INT. DAWN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Dawn lies on her bed. There's a soft knock on her door.

DAWN
Go away.

BUFFY
Come on, Dawn.

DAWN
I said go! You deaf?

Buffy enters anyway. Stands at the door.

BUFFY
I'm sorry.

Pause.

DAWN
You hurt my arm.

BUFFY
I know.

DAWN
Butthole.

BUFFY
Really sorry.

Dawn considers it. Then:

DAWN
I tell you I have this theory? it
goes where, you're the one who's
not my sister 'cause Mom adopted
you from a shoebox full of baby
Howler Monkeys, and never told you
'cause it could hurt your delicate
baby feelings.

A small, sad smile crosses Buffy's face. She sits down beside Dawn.

BUFFY
That's your theory?

DAWN
(nods)
Explains your fashion sense and smell.

BUFFY
I'm sorry, okay?

DAWN
Broken record, much?

BUFFY
Can't even take an apology. You
always do that, ever since --

She stops. The memory is false -- the fact hitting her quietly.

BUFFY
I just had a bad day.

DAWN
Well, join the club.

BUFFY
Can I be president?

DAWN
I'm president. You can be the janitor.

BUFFY
Okay.

They just sit a moment. Buffy reaches out and idly plays with a stray strand of Dawn's hair. Wondering about her...

DAWN
Buffy?

BUFFY
Mmm?

DAWN
What's wrong with Mom?

Buffy stops playing with Dawn's hair. Sits in silence a moment. Then puts her arm around Dawn.

BUFFY
I don't know.

And the two sisters continue to sit, alone together, in the silence that follows.

BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW