As You Were

Written and directed by: Douglas Petrie

December 21, 2001 (WHITE)

Teaser

INT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE -- NIGHT (DAY 1)

We pan across a sparkling-clean hamburger grill as we hear the incessant droning of TODD, a chatty Doublemeat Palace employee in his early twenties.

TODD
You see, Buffy, the thing you
gotta learn about the Palace, and
this takes awhile, is that job
security all boils down to one
simple thing:

We see chatty Todd leaning against the turned-off fat fryer, actively doing nothing. He's talking to BUFFY, who's dutifully scraping away at the grill. Where she's scraped: clean. Where she hasn't: nasty, gnarly, encrusted.

BUFFY
Controlling the gag reflex?

TODD
Politics.

Buffy goes back to scraping.

TODD (cont'd)
I'm not a political animal. But
you learn fast around here or
it's -- Wham! Hello, glass
ceiling. Missed a spot.

BUFFY
Bucket.

TODD
Gotcha.

He holds out a bucket. Buffy plops the grease scrapings into it. They land with a disgusting plop. She gets back to work.

TODD (cont'd)
I mean, it's not like we work at
Burger World or The Happy Bun
where the power structure is
simple. Here at the Palace, you
keep your friends close -- but your
enemies closer. It's like
Machiavelli says ...
(more)

TODD (cont'd)
(off her blank look)
You know Machiavelli, right?

BUFFY
(no clue)
Tall guy, bleached mullet, works
day shifts?

TODD
(condescending)
I'm sorry, my bad. I keep
forgetting you dropped out
of college.

BUFFY
I'm re-applying.

TODD
Good luck with that! Well. Gotta
motor. I don't want to be late
for night school.

BUFFY
You go to night school?

TODD
I'm working on my MBA. You think
I want to spend the rest of my
life cleaning grease traps?

He walks away, slinging a book pack over his shoulder. Buffy looks at the greasy glop on the end of her scraper.

BUFFY
What sane person would?

TODD
Don't forget to lock up on your
way out. Oh, and the gum under
the tables? Be sure to give 'em
a good scrape before you go.

BUFFY
Oh, may I?

TODD
See you tomorrow!

He's gone. Buffy goes totally deadpan.

BUFFY
Yes, you will. And the night
after that. And the night after
that. And the night after that ...

She plops another load in the bucket.

EXT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE -- NIGHT

The lights in the Doublemeat Palace go out, one by one. The place is dark -- closed for the night.

EXT. GRAVEYARD -- NIGHT

Buffy takes a short cut through the graveyard, holding a bag of burgers, kicking along, looking forlorn, singing a little Doublemeat jingle ...

BUFFY
(singing)
"Get the double treat/that's so
double sweet/oh it's hard to
beat/when the meat meets the ..."
(to herself)
Aah! I cannot get that stupid
jingle out of my head!

Suddenly, a skanky-looking VAMP leaps from atop a shadowy crypt and struts toward Buffy, all predatory.

SKANK-VAMP
Least of your problems now,
little girl.

He approaches, fangs bared, looking to make a meal of Buffy. Buffy just sighs, holds up a hand, resigned ...

BUFFY
Wait.

She carefully sets down her bag of burgers.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Okay. Let's do this. Quickly.

The Vamp lunges at Buffy. She ducks, turns, and treats Skanky to three sharp jabs to the face. It sends him back to a headstone. He grabs it for leverage and kicks her.

Buffy staggers. The Vamp jumps her. They grapple, holding each other, trying to gain advantage, when Skanky wrinkles his nose, almost offended.

SKANK-VAMP
Whew. What's that smell? Geez
Slayer, is that you?

BUFFY
I've been working!

SKANK-VAMP
Where, in a slaughter house?

BUFFY
D-Doublemeat Palace.

The Vamp backs off, almost apologetic, hands up ...

SKANK-VAMP
Ooh. Know what? Let's just call
it a night. If it's all the same
to you, and you've been eating
that stuff ... I'm not so sure I
want to bite you.

BUFFY
You're dead. You smell like it.
How do you get to say I'm the one who's ...
(genuinely hurt)
... stinky?

SKANK-VAMP
Really -- it's cool, I'll just
catch you next ti ...

It's a sentence he'll never finish -- as a STAKE comes flying into his chest and he DUSTS on the spot. Buffy stands victorious, watching the dust, not moving. Then she slowly, and a little unsure, smells herself.

Frowns. He's right.

BLACK OUT

END OF TEASER

Act One

EXT. BUFFY'S HOUSE -- NIGHT

Buffy comes walking up to her house, burger bag in hand. She starts wearily up the front steps, stops. Sensing something. She steps back down, cocks her head, all senses alert -- then she figures it out, and suddenly relaxes.

BUFFY
Oh, for Pete's sake. Spike?

We hear from behind a tree:

SPIKE
Ah. It's a fair cop. You caught
me, Slayer. However ...

SPIKE emerges from behind the tree, grinning wickedly, sex on the brain. He tosses aside his smoke.

SPIKE (cont'd)
... In all honesty, we do have to
say that one doesn't count. After all ...

He sidles right up to her, getting close, sexy ...

SPIKE (cont'd)
I wasn't exactly hiding.

BUFFY
No, Spike.

SPIKE
"No?" What kind of answer is
that? Haven't even heard the
question, yet.

BUFFY
I don't need to. We both know
what you're thinking.

SPIKE
And we both know I'm not the only
one thinking it.

He nuzzles her neck. Buffy closes her eyes and lets him, her resolve dissolving ...

BUFFY
No! Not here. I can't.

SPIKE
Why not?

BUFFY
Dawn

Just saying the name gives Buffy just enough strength to hold Spike at arm's length. Talk reason.

BUFFY (cont'd)
She's inside. Waiting for dinner
and counting on me. And I'm not
letting her down by letting you in.

SPIKE
So it's the fear of getting
caught, then, is it?

BUFFY
Reason number one on a very long
list.

SPIKE
Needn't be an obstacle.

He leads her away from the steps, to the shadows

BUFFY
C'mon, I mean it ...

SPIKE
I see you're serious. So am I.
I want you. You want me. I can't
come inside. So?

He puts her up against the tree, the shadows engulfing both of them.

SPIKE (cont'd)
Could be, the time is right...
for you to come outside.

Beat. Spike searches Buffy's eyes, awaiting her answer. Buffy drops her bag of burgers. Enough said.

Spike lunges at Buffy, kissing her hard and full on the mouth. She responds by giving in, by devouring him. He shoves her hard up against the tree. Still kissing, she pushes off the tree and they fall together, out of frame.

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE -- KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Buffy enters the kitchen, looking a little guilty and a little more disheveled she stops, seeing DAWN standing at the counter, looking right at her.

BUFFY
Oh. Hey. Dawn. Hi.

DAWN
Rough night?

BUFFY
The usual. Brought you dinner.

DAWN
Great, I'm starved. Actually, I'm
kinda full. But my metabolism's
tummy has been growling. What did
you ... oh.

Buffy slides over a semi-squashed bag of burgers.

DAWN (cont'd)
Doublemeat Medley. Again.

BUFFY
I know, it's not the most original
these days, but ... I made 'em
myself! I made hundreds of them,
actually, and this -- is the best
one.

DAWN
Its looks kinda ... squished.

Dawn lifts the burger out of the bag. Indeed, it has been flattened a bit.

BUFFY
Oh. Yeah. But you know, you
know, give it a minute, 'cause
these babies really bounce back.
Literally.

Dawn slides the burger aside.

DAWN
Buffy, it's not like I don't
appreciate it. I do. It's just
that, I can't eat this stuff
another night. I'm sorry.

BUFFY
No, I get it. Okay Um, tomorrow
night? I could bring home the
Fisherman Nuggets with cheese.

DAWN
I need real food. I need, like
... cereal.

Dawn starts looking through the cabinets. Before Buffy can react, WILLOW enters, looking nice. A little dressy.

WILLOW
Hey, workin' lady. Rough night?

BUFFY
Why does everyone keep asking me
that?

WILLOW
No reason. Just figured you were
busy with the slayage, 'cause of
the grass stains.

Buffy turns, looking over her own shoulder to see grass stains running up her back.

DAWN
Some vamp get rough with you?

BUFFY
He's not getting any gentler.

WILLOW
"He?"

BUFFY
They. Them. Vampires, in the
general population sense. Now I
gotta wash this ...

WILLOW
Ready for a bold suggestion? Blow
it off! Dawny and I are heading
out to the Bronze.

DAWN
Do I have your permission and
wanna come along? Like how I
slipped in the permission request
like that?

WILLOW
Very smooth.

BUFFY
Um ... you guys go.

DAWN
Really?

WILLOW
Buffy, you sure? Might do you
some good to get away from the
Doublemeat lifestyle for a night.
See your friends.

DAWN
Who'd love to see you.

BUFFY
Thanks. But I'm sure I've seen
enough action for one night.
(to Dawn)
Home by eleven?

DAWN
On the dot.

BUFFY
Have fun.

Willow and Dawn exit. Buffy just looks around the kitchen.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Somebody should.

She drops the burger bag in the garbage.

INT. BRONZE -- NIGHT

We see ANYA and XANDER sitting together at the bar, Anya talking a mile a minute, Xander eating chips. Compulsively. They go over an unwieldy seating chart together.

ANYA
See, this seating chart makes no
sense. We have to do it again.
We can't do it again. You do it.

XANDER
The seating chart's fine. Let's
go back to table arrangements.
(more)

XANDER (cont'd)
I'm starting to have dreams about
the gardenia bouquets and I am so
glad my manly co-workers didn't
just hear that.

ANYA
Would you stop wolfing down those
chips? One more bag and you'll
pop right out of your cummerbund.

She grabs the chips from him.

ANYA (cont'd)
You're not even hungry. You're just nervous.

She starts eating the chips without realizing it.

XANDER
Yeah! Wedding, one week. Family,
friends and demons flying in and
a to-do list that's not getting
shorter. Don't take away the
chips.

ANYA
(re: chart)
We cannot seat the Gnarol Demon at
table five.

XANDER
Why not? He's single. Table
Five's for singles.

ANYA
But your aunt and uncle are at
table two. Table two's more
prominent. We don't want to
insult a Gnarol, trust me.

XANDER
It's our wedding, not his.

ANYA
We don't strip people's flesh from
their bones when we feel insulted.

XANDER
Have you met my Aunt Barbara?

ANYA
The one flying in tonight. Did
you call the airport?

XANDER
Not my job -- I'm photographer,
flower and hotel guy. You have
caterer, budget and travel
arrangements.

ANYA
We're splitting travel stuff.

Dawn approaches them, happy-go-lucky.

DAWN
How's the soon-to-be newlyweds,
guys? Nervous?

They both whirl on her and Snap:

ANYA
NO!

XANDER
NO!

They get back to work. Dawn just stands frozen a beat, then:

DAWN
Okay, I'll just be over here then.

We follow Dawn as she crosses to Willow, hands her a drink.

DAWN (cont'd)
Your Arnold Palmer, m'lady.

WILLOW
Thanks. How are Mr. and Mrs. High-
strung?

DAWN
I'm betting they explode.

WILLOW
You know when I was little, I used
to spend hours imagining what my
wedding to Xander would be like.
And now that I see them together
I just think ...

P.O.V. Shot of Anya and Xander going over the seating chart.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Nyeah heh.

DAWN
You're awfully chipper tonight.

WILLOW
Can't hide it.

DAWN
Big wedding coming up. Lots of
date possibilities. You and Tara
are speaking again ... You want to
call her? Invite her over?

WILLOW
No. Still too soon for so bold a
maneuver. But -- if I did call?
She wouldn't hang up on me.

DAWN
That's progress.

WILLOW
Hence the happy. Ooh.

Willow notices something.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Don't move. Don't look. Just
letting you know -- cute guy,
checking you out.

DAWN
Headed this way?

A CUTE GUY, maybe sixteen, walks up to Dawn.

CUTE GUY
Hi. You're Dawn, right? Taylor.
We have bio together ...

DAWN
You sit in the back and don't talk
much but draw cartoons and
sometimes wear these really cool
cowboy boots.
(beat)
Not that I noticed.

CUTE GUY
Do you ... want to dance?

DAWN
(casual)
Sure. I could do that.

The Cute Guy smiles and leads Dawn to the dance floor. Dawn plays it cool, but turns when the guy's not looking to give Willow a big "Oh My God!" face. Willow sneaks her a thumbs up. Dawn starts to dance with the guy, music building ...

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE -- BASEMENT -- NIGHT

We cut to similar-sounding music, coming from a crappy old am/fm portable radio.

Buffy's doing laundry in the basement. She loads some wash, then takes a load out of the dryer. Holds up her coat for inspection. It still has the grass stains.

She sighs, starts scrubbing the stain again ...

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE -- LIVING ROOM -- DAY (DAY 2)

Early the next morning. The first rays of morning light filter through the living room window. Buffy lies asleep in her clothes on the couch, laundry basket beside her.

Suddenly, the silence is broken by the bleating sound a truck makes when it's backing up It's accompanied by the sound of the garbage men clanging cans around outside.

Buffy awakes with a start.

BUFFY
Oh, garbage!

She gets up, still groggy, rushing from the couch ...

EXT. BUFFY'S STREET -- DAY

Buffy comes running out the house, holding an overstuffed garbage bag in each hand, racing to catch up to the garbage truck that's driving away, down the street.

BUFFY
Wait! Wait up! Guys ...

Buffy's P.O.V.: The garbage truck turns a corner and is gone.

Buffy just stands there, her arms sinking, unable to believe she's yearning for a damn garbage truck to come back.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Don't you want your garbage ... ?

Buffy comes back in the house, silent and pissed off. She holds and goes through a small pile of mail as Dawn, sitting at the counter, loads up her bookbag for school. Buffy opens a letter, reads.

DAWN
Hey, Buffy Oh, don't forget -
today's trash day.

BUFFY
Thanks
(mumbling)
"Sorry to inform ..."

We see what Buffy's reading: a UCSD rejection letter. Starting with the words, "Regarding your recent application, we are sorry to inform you ..."

DAWN
What's that?

BUFFY
Nothing.

DAWN
Huh. Bronze was fun last night
In a total home by elevenish way.
You should have come.

BUFFY
Maybe next time. Where are you
going?

DAWN
School.

BUFFY
Oh. That's good. Uh, don't you
want some breakfast first?

DAWN
Already made it. See you this
afternoon. Unless you're working?
Tonight, then... Or, you know,
Tomorrow's cool ...

Dawn kisses Buffy on the cheek and heads out.

DAWN (cont'd)
Don't work too hard. Bye!

BUFFY
Bye.

Buffy just watches Dawn go. Then she turns back to face the kitchen. It's a MESS. Uncleaned frying pan on the stove, sink full of dishes, syrup bottle and melting butter left around. Buffy grabs a spatula and we cut to:

INT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE -- NIGHT

A sizzling row of burgers -- a spatula enters frame and expertly flips them one by one. We see Buffy, looking like a drone, back where she started, just doing her job, going through the motions (in a non-musical way).

Todd works beside her, loading up a tray of open buns with lettuce, tomato, special sauce ...

TODD
... And that's where even your
best political minds can drop the
ball: zeitgeist. You're not
taking that pulse of the public,
next thing you know, you're LBJ
handing the house keys over to
Nixon. Heard back from your
college yet?

BUFFY
(quietly)
Yeah.

TODD
All right. You know we're outta
special sauce?

BUFFY
I'll get it.

TODD
No, no -- your turn up front. I'll
deal back here -- you take the
customers.

Without even looking at him, Buffy hands her co-worker the spatula, fixes her hat aright and heads to the front counter.

EXT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE -- FRONT COUNTER -- NIGHT

Buffy's still fussing and fixing her uniform, steps up to the front counter. By rote, she intones:

BUFFY
Welcome to the Doublemeat Palace,
how may I... help ...

She looks up, mid-spiel. And freezes, stunned.

Reverse angle reveals she is looking right into the steely, handsome eyes of...

RILEY FINN. Looking intense, fit, and more handsome than ever in his stylin' lightweight kevlar battle gear (the new scar he's sporting above his right eye don't hurt none).

BUFFY (cont'd)
... you ... ?

RILEY
Hey.

Yup. It's Riley, all right.

BUFFY
Hurn?

And off Buffy's stunned face -- we blackout.

END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

INT. DOUBLEMEAT PALACE -- FRONT COUNTER -- NIGHT

Continuous. Riley stands, dressed like a commando, completely unself-conscious about the line forming behind him as Buffy just stares at him blankly. She's stunned.

BUFFY
Riley.

RILEY
I'm sorry to just drop in on you
like this, Buffy

BUFFY
It's you.

RILEY
It's me.

BUFFY
You're here.

RILEY
I know.

BUFFY
And -- were you always this tall?

RILEY
This isn't the way I wanted it,
but something's come up.
Something big. We don't have much
time. You understand?

BUFFY
Not a word you've said so far.

RILEY
Right. I should have known --
anticipated. You're working.

BUFFY
Just counter, not grill ...

RILEY
I want to explain. But don't have
time. I've been up forty-eight
hours straight tracking something
bad to Sunnydale and now it's here.

BUFFY
My hat has a cow.

RILEY
I know I'm putting you on the spot
showing up like this, but here we
are. I need the best. I need
you, Buffy Can you help me?

As Riley's talked, Buffy's co-worker walks up behind Buffy, a little curious and annoyed.

TODD
Uh, hello -- Buffy? People are
Waiting...

He's right -- people are waiting. And one of them, the only one Buffy sees, is handsome Black Ops combat specialist Riley Finn. Buffy comes out from behind the counter without another word and strides out by Riley's side. Todd's aghast.

TODD (cont'd)
Buffy! Your break's not for
another half an hour! You're not
assistant manager, you know!
Fine! Great! Just ignore the
chain of command, why don't you?

Buffy and Riley head out of frame, still moving ...

EXT. MAIN STREET SUNNYDALE -- NIGHT

Buffy and Riley rush onto Main Street together -- they're quite the odd couple -- he in his battle gear, she in her Doublemeat Palace uniform. They walk fast, in sync, all business.

RILEY
What's that guy's deal?

BUFFY
Todd? He's got just enough
authority to make my life
miserable.

RILEY
You sure this is all right? I
don't want to get you fired.

BUFFY
From the Doublemeat Palace?
Tougher than you'd think. So
you're tracking a demon.

RILEY
As per usual.

BUFFY
So, are you just tracking through,
Or... are you... will you stay?

She doesn't want him to hear the tinge of aching hope in that question.

RILEY
Look. I'm sorry this is all so
sudden. If we get a minute, I'd
really like to carve out some time
and maybe we could ...

Riley is interrupted by a small electronic BEEP coming from his belt.

BUFFY
What is it?

RILEY
Suvolte Demon. Rare. Lethal.
Nearly extinct, but not nearly
enough. And it's close, Buffy

He unclips a small rectangular device from his belt, checks its electronic readings.

RILEY (cont'd)
It's real close.

Buffy LAUGHS, catches herself, covers her mouth.

RILEY (cont'd)
What?

BUFFY
I'm sorry, I just... you still
carry around all the James Bond
stuff. It's so cute, I forgot.

He gives her a look.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Sorry. Carry on.

RILEY
We've been tear-assing through
every jungle from Paraguay up,
taking out nests.
(more)

RILEY (cont'd)
Every time we put one Suvolte
down, a dozen take its place.
They're breeders, Buffy. One
turns into ten, ten become a
hundred ... this gets out of hand
and there's a war with humans?
Humans are gonna lose.

BUFFY
Got it. Like really mean Tribbles.
(off his look)
I've been dealing with some geeks
lately, it's a whole thing.

We hear a roar and a horrible metal crunch. Buffy and Riley whirl -- we see what they see: a SUVOLTE DEMON smashing over a metal newspaper machine, ripping metal in half and sending papers flying about. People panic, running from the thing.

RILEY
You ready for this?

BUFFY
Yes please.

Riley rushes forward, pressing through the crowd. He and Buffy move counter to the flow of panicked civilians. Riley raises a BADGE above his head.

RILEY
National Forestry Service! We got
a wild bear! Everybody step back!

The crowd obeys immediately, getting out of the way, clearing room. One LADY looks at Buffy's uniform, quizzically.

BUFFY
Uh... I'm with him.

Riley unslings a DART PISTOL from his hip and aims it at the Demon. The Demon whirls on Riley, super-fast, and viciously slashes Riley's arm with its razor-sharp CLAWS.

RILEY
Aagh!

His pistol clatters to the ground The Demon's about to slash again, this time at Riley's exposed face, when Buffy leaps on the Demon's back, choking it.

The Demon backs up, smashing Buffy into a brick storefront. She grunts but holds on.

The Demon smashes her again and she falls to the sidewalk. Leaps to her feet. Only to catch a glimpse of the Demon scooting around a corner...

Riley holds out his hand. Buffy takes it. He pulls her to her feet and they race together to the edge of an alley. Buffy scoops up Riley's fallen pistol as they go ...

Angle On: the ALLEY. Buffy and Riley appear in the entranceway. Look around. They hear a growling from within the darkness.

RILEY (cont'd)
Split.

Riley goes left, Buffy goes right, each walking deeper into the darkness. Suddenly a garbage can is upended and the Demon lunges at Buffy. Buffy tosses Riley his gun and grabs the Demon in one move.

Grappling with the Demon, Buffy turns it toward Riley. Riley fires a DART into the Demon's belly. It lodges there. The Demon ROARS in pain, shoves Buffy off, sending her flying into a wall and crashing to the ground.

Riley rushes to Buffy. They both turn to see the Demon crawl, fast, over the alley wall and gone.

RILEY (cont'd)
You all right?

BUFFY
I'll feel better when we catch it.

He helps her to her feet.

BUFFY (cont'd)
But it's too fast.

RILEY
I wouldn't necessarily say that.

He grins just slightly and we cut to:

EXT. STREET -- NIGHT

Riley, driving a very cool, very fast vehicle at high speeds. Buffy rides shotgun. They talk fast.

BUFFY
Nice wheels.

RILEY
Came with the car.

BUFFY
Know where we're going?

RILEY
Got an idea.

Close on: Riley's dashboard -- a built in TRACKING MONITOR displays a map of Sunnydale. A glowing red dot beeps softly just-off center. The Demon.

RILEY (cont'd)
Tag's on-line. We'll find it.

BUFFY
How's the arm?

RILEY
It'll heal. How're you doing?

BUFFY
Complicated question.

RILEY
I just meant --

BUFFY
I know.

RILEY
I hear you. Got big stories to
tell you, too. We get half a sec,
we can compare and contrast.

BUFFY
Did you die?

RILEY
No.

BUFFY
I'm gonna win...

RILEY
Here.

One hand still on the wheel, Riley reaches behind him and yanks out a small black bundle. Tosses it to Buffy.

RILEY (cont'd)
No offense, but this is black ops,
and you look like a pylon.

Buffy unwraps the bundle. Black clothing.

BUFFY
Ninja wear?

RILEY
Battle gear. Lightweight kevlar.
State of the art.

BUFFY
(sarcastic)
What a surprise.

RILEY
(shrugs)
Boys like toys. Put it on. Thank
me later.

Buffy starts to unzip her jacket -- revealing Doublemeat employee-wear beneath. She feels the embarrassment. Then looks to Riley, who keeps his eyes on the road.

BUFFY
You won't look?

RILEY
I'm a gentleman.

BUFFY
Okay. So the black ops life -
it's working out for you?

RILEY
Don't suck.

BUFFY
They got dental?

RILEY
We're covered. You know, there's
not a lot people I'd ask to risk
their life for me, Buffy It's
good to see you.

BUFFY
(moved)
Thanks.

RILEY
Welcome. And Buffy?

She looks to him.

RILEY (cont'd)
Love the hair.

Buffy smiles to herself. God, she's missed this so much. Riley hits the gas and together they race off, picking up speed, pushing 100 ...

EXT. TRAFFIC -- NIGHT

We cut to Xander and Anya, seated in their plain-old regular car, in the exact same positions as Riley and Buffy but going nowhere -- stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

They both eat from bags of chips, which lie about the dashboard (amidst some empty, already-eaten ones).

ANYA
I think maybe we died in this car
on the way to the airport. And
now we're in hell.

XANDER
The radio said no traffic.

ANYA
It's a hell radio. Of course it
said that. We'll never get to the
airport in time to pick up your
stupid uncle.

XANDER
It only gives him more time at the
bar. Trust me -- He'll be happy.

ANYA
Oh, great -- so he can sleep off a
drunken stupor on our newly re-
upholstered couch?

XANDER
He can't afford a hotel!

ANYA
Why are you defending him?

XANDER
I'm not. I hate my uncle. I hate
my whole family. That's why I'm
marrying you -- to start a new
family, have children, make them
hate us, then, when they get
married -- sleep on their couch.
It's the circle of life.

ANYA
The Gnarols are teleporting in in
twenty minutes. If I'm not there
to greet them, somebody's getting
incinerated.

XANDER
Why did we ever agree to let your
friends -- who are demons -- and my
family -- who are monsters -- stay
at our place?

ANYA
I can only do so much, Xander!
Planning this Marriage is like
staging the invasion of Normandy.

XANDER
Without the laughs. We should have eloped.

ANYA
No -- I've been through too much
making this wedding happen -- and
it is going to happen. It's going
to be our perfect, perfect day if
I have to kill every one of our
guests and half this town to do it.

XANDDER
(re: chips)
Those cool ranch?

ANYA
Cajun Fiesta.

They switch bags, keep eating. Xander honks his horn.

EXT. DAM EDGE -- NIGHT

Screech! Riley's convertible skids to a stop, kicking up dust in some remote location.

Riley and Buffy get out of the car simultaneously. Gone is Buffy's less-than-flattering Doublemeat Palace uniform. Instead, she's wearing form-fitting black-ops battle gear. She looks very, very cool.

RILEY
End of the line.

BUFFY
I don't see our Demon.

RILEY
It's not here.

BUFFY
Let me guess.

She takes the lead, walking ahead of Riley, across the dam's gated walkway. She looks over the edge. We follow her gaze all the way down -- the drop is long, sheer -- and deadly.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Down we go.

RILEY
Looks that way.

BUFFY
That's a big first step. So, Mr.
Finn? You got an extra jet pack
for a girl like me?

RILEY
Sorry. Fresh out of jet packs.
Looks like we'll have to share.

Riley pulls a thin rappelling cord from its tape-measure-like holder, tests the line. He clip-attaches one end of the line to the dam's railing, tests it for strength.

RILEY (cont'd)
Test line's built for one, so if
we go together, we're not hauling
any gear No weapons. Just be
you and me.

BUFFY
I was never big with the hardware
anyway.

RILEY
Can you hold on to me?

BUFFY
If that's what it takes.

Riley puts his arms around Buffy. She holds him back, maybe a little snugglier than is absolutely necessary.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Ready when you are, agent.

EXT. DAM -- NIGHT

We see Buffy and Riley rappel down into the dam's big open space.

EXT. DAM -- HOUSING STATION -- NIGHT

They make it to the housing station below. Separate. Each take a step forward, when ...

Out of the dark, the Demon attacks.

A fast and brutal fight breaks out. The Demon is attacked on two fronts -- Riley with his telescoping baton, Buffy kicking and punching.

Riley gets the baton slapped out of his hand by the Demon. The Demon then hits Buffy, sending her staggering back. The Demon turns on Riley, defenseless.

BUFFY
Riley!

Buffy leaps, tackling Riley out of the way of the Demon's attack. They roll together, each of them a little breathless, a little sweaty. The Demon drops, affording them a small moment of time ...

Buffy pulls Riley to his feet and they hold each other, him for support, her for... well, only she knows. They look into one another's eyes, frozen, when:

A FIGURE rappels in from the quarry wall behind them. Buffy and Riley both turn to see:

SAM. A raven-haired beauty who also wears battle-gear. She unlatches her cord and saunters forward, brimming with confidence, smiling to Buffy and Riley, amused by the tableau.

SAM
Hi there. What exactly are you
doing with my husband?

Sam puts her hands on her hips and raises one eyebrow, awaiting her answer.

Buffy looks shocked.

Riley looks married.

BLACK OUT

END OF ACT TWO

Act Three

EXT. DAM -- HOUSING STATION -- NIGHT

Continuous. Buffy looks back and forth at Sam and Riley, piecing it together in her mind.

BUFFY
Husband.

Riley nods.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Wife.

Sam nods.

BUFFY (cont'd)
And those aren't just code names
like "Falcon" or "Big Dog" or...
didn't think so.

RILEY
Buffy, meet Sam. Sam -- Buffy.

SAM
Pleasure.

BUFFY
Demon.

Sure enough, the Suvolte Demon has gotten to its feet, and it comes lunging after them.

SAM
Mine!

Sam rushes past Buffy and Riley, gets into it with the Demon. She kicks the crap out of it, using a flurry of martial-arts moves that catch the thing off-guard.

BUFFY
She's good.

RILEY
Sam's a special one.

BUFFY
How long you been married?

RILEY
Four months, almost.

BUFFY
(stunned)
Mazel tov. Any kids?

RILEY
Buffy, I meant to tell you. When
the time was right -- and she
caught up to us a hell of a lot
faster than I would have guessed
possible. She does that.

BUFFY
Uh-huh. You do a lot of this,
then? The whole husband-wife tag-
team demon fighting thing?

RILEY
It's what brought us together. I
almost feel sorry for the Suvolte.

The Demon finally gets in a shot, sending Sam sprawling.

RILEY (cont'd)
But not quite.

Riley gets into the fight. Buffy watches a minute, seeing Riley by Sam's side. She cannot move. Riley whips out a telescoping cattle prod and zaps the thing, sending electric current through its whole body, making it reel backward. Buffy snaps out of her funk. She grabs onto the Demon from behind, holding it...

BUFFY
Call this your wedding gift.

And with one strong twist of both her arms, Buffy twists the Demon's head sideways, breaking its neck with a solid SNAP! It falls to the ground, dead. She backs off, watching it.

BUFFY (cont'd)
So. Guess that's mission accomplished.

Buffy turns to go. Turns back when she hears:

RILEY
She killed it.

SAM
Oh honey, it's okay.

Buffy stops, turns back.

BUFFY
"Okay?" Wait. You guys have been
tracking this thing, as a couple,
for two days straight and -- you
did want it dead, right?

Awkward pause.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Oh.

SAM
Let me guess. Captain Can-Do here
forgot to mention this was a
homing operation. It's nice to
finally meet you, by the way.
Knife?

Riley tosses her a big knife. She catches it expertly and in the same fluid motion bends down to the demon's prone body.

BUFFY
What's a homing operation?

RILEY
My bad. I should have explained.

BUFFY
That would have saved me ... some
trouble.

SAM
Buffy, I know this situation's a
little awkward. But, I really
hope we can get to be friends.

And without hesitation, she STABS the hunting knife into the Demon's stomach and RIPS an incision down its center.

SAM (cont'd)
Damn. We're too late. Finn, how
could you recruit the Slayer and
not fill her in on the objective?

BUFFY
That'd be my question.

SAM
(to Riley)
If we weren't under severe time
constraints, I would seriously
consider ripping you a new one.

RILEY
(smiling)
Stand down, soldier.

BUFFY
Wait -- is he your boss, too?

SAM
He wishes. Better re-group.
(to Buffy)
I hate to impose -- further, Buffy.
But, you got a safe house?

BUFFY
I ... have a house. And I think
it's safe. Sometimes, you can't
even leave!

Beat. They have no idea what she's talking about, but:

RILEY
I know the way. I'll fill you in.
(re: Sam)
On everything.

They head back to the dam wall, ready their gear ...

BUFFY
So, you're what, a bounty hunter
or something? I notice you're
pretty good with that knife.

RILEY
Oh, Sam's a doctor. Joined our
squad straight out of medical school.

They walk off together, Buffy drags behind a moment...

BUFFY
(under her breath)
Well, isn't that just perfect.

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE -- LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

Buffy leads Riley and Sam in through the front door.

BUFFY
Sorry if the place is a bit of a
mess. I've been too busy to give
it a good ...

Dawn stands before them. Riley stops cold, unsure of the reception he's going to get.

DAWN
Agent Finn returns.

RILEY
Hey. Dawn. Look at you. I think
you grew about a foot and a half.

DAWN
Lot can happen in a year.

Riley and Sam exchange glances. He's in the dog house and he knows it. Sam just shrugs -- can't help.

RILEY
Well, it's good to see you.

DAWN
(ice-cold)
Make yourselves at home.

She turns and enters the living room proper. Riley and Sam follow. Xander and Willow come in from the kitchen. They exchange a manly handshake (Xander) and hug (Willow).

XANDER
Hey, there's the man. The life
taker and heart breaker.
(beat)
Y'know -- figuratively speaking.

WILLOW
We got your call.

XANDER
We're here to help. Just like old
times, except for you being all
big with the married life.

RILEY
Hear you're getting hitched
yourself. Believe me -- you're
gonna love it.

WILLOW
(to Riley & Sam)
Congratulations. Really. Both of
you!

She takes Buffy aside, out of earshot.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Just so you know: I am prepared to
hate this woman any way you want.

BUFFY
Will. Thanks, but, no. I don't
want to get all, you know -- petty.

WILLOW
That's the beauty. YOU can't, I
can. Please. Let me carry the
hate for both of us.

She nods eagerly, trying to sell Buffy on the concept. Buffy sneaks a look at Sam standing beside Riley.

BUFFY
Go nuts.

They join the group, convened around the couch. As they settle in, Buffy tidies up around the room, taking clothes off chairs and couch seats, folding them ...

DAWN
So. What brings you back in town
after you left suddenly with no
word?

RILEY
Sam and I have been tracking a
Suvolte Demon from Central
America. Killing machine. Nearly
mature.

SAM
Three months old and growing fast.

RILEY
These things kill the minute they
hatch and leave a real clear
trail.

SAM
Yeah, just follow the villages
with nothing in 'em but body parts.

RILEY
(to Dawn)
Uh, Dawny. You sure you wanna be
hearing all this?

SAM
Ah, c'mon, Finn. She looks grown-
up to me.
(to Buffy)
If it's okay with you.

BUFFY
Sure. It's fine.

Dawn sits up a litt1e taller, proud to be a grown-up.

DAWN
So this Demon shredded your guys
and now you're here, looking for
a little payback?

SAM
It's come to the Hellmouth to
spawn. Make a nest, lay its eggs,
hatch a bunch of baby hostiles.

BUFFY
Which means we find the nest -- as
in now -- or Sunnydale turns into the
TROUBLE Meat Palace.
(beat)
I wish I'd said something else.

XANDER
Okay. So track the demon, find
the nest, Mr. and Mrs. Finn here
make with the killin', everyone
goes home happy.
(to Riley)
But seriously, married man -- if
forced to choose between a
photographer or place settings ...

BUFFY
We can't track the demon. I
killed it, okay?
(beat)
Who's hungry? We have, um ...

DAWN
Ice cubes.

BUFFY
All you can eat.

SAM
Buffy, it's a good thing you
killed the Suvolte before it
killed us.
(to Xander)
Disposable cameras.

XANDER
A-dur-hey?

SAM
Y'know. Little plastic ones? Ten
bucks a pop. Arrange 'em like
table settings, guests snap
photos, it breaks the ice, and
when the wedding's over -- you keep
the pictures.

Stunned beat. Xander considers.

XANDER
I like it.

Buffy stares at Sam. Riley has taken her hand, the way comfortable couples do -- without thinking about it. Willow imitates Sam behind her back for Buffy's benefit. Sam turns -- Willow stops just in time.

BUFFY
So, demon eggs. We got a
timetable on when they hatch?

RILEY
Hatching's not the problem.

SAM
We think the eggs will be sold on
the black market. There's some
foreign military powers that'd
love to have their own Suvolte.
Could never train it, but drop it
on an urban population ...

RILEY
And it "cleanses the area."

DAWN
Is that a nice way of saying it
kills people?

SAM
Lots of them. Money's been
exchanged. There's a dealer in
town, calls himself "The Doctor."
Willow: think you could help out
with a little locating spell?

All eyes turn to Willow. She's ashamed for a moment, but just a moment. Then she lifts her eyes and says directly.

WILLOW
I can't do Magicks.

SAM
Riley says you were coming on as
a major league Wicca.

WILLOW
I got addicted. You know, the way
addicts do.

Willow gets up and leave, heading for the kitchen. Sam knows she stepped in it. Riley breaks the tension.

RILEY
Two teams. No civilians. I'll go
out and look for our "Doctor," you
two find the nest.

BUFFY
Me and Sam together?

RILEY
You find a Suvolte nest you'll
want backup.

SAM
I don't want to be dragging down
the Slayer.

As she talks, Sam heads to the kitchen ...

SAM (cont'd)
You've got speed and power I can't
even begin to ...

BUFFY
Let's go.

They get up, prepare to leave.

RILEY
I'll hit the bars, Willie's,
couple of crypts I know.

SAM
Just be a minute. And Honey, be
careful. Remember Singapore?

Riley rubs the scar above his right eyebrow.

RILEY
Like I could forget.

Sam, smiling and shaking her head, enters the kitchen.

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE -- KITCHEN -- DAY

Willow, looking unhappy, stands against the kitchen counter, her back to the door where Sam just entered. Willow says nothing, so Sam starts in:

SAM
Hey. Willow. Um ...
(beat)
Back in the jungle we had not one
but two hard core shamans working
for us. They were working the
dark Magicks. Got addicted. And
now they're gone. "Gone" as in
nothing left. I never met anyone
with enough strength to quit
before.

Willow says nothing. Does not turn to face Sam. But clearly these words have impact.

SAM (cont'd)
I'm just saying.

Sam exits, leaving Willow to absorb this thought.

EXT. GRAVEYARD -- NIGHT

Buffy and Sam patrol together.

SAM
Thanks for letting me tag along.

BUFFY
No problem.

SAM
Not for you, maybe. I've got to
tell you, Buffy. I'm a little
intimidated. I mean, patrolling
with the real-live Slayer...
you're like ... Santa Claus or the
Buddha or something.

BUFFY
Fat and jolly?

SAM
Legendary. And it's not just
Slayer status I'm talking about.
It's you.

Beat.

BUFFY
So .. Riley talks about me?

SAM
A lot. You're a part of my life.
Because you're a part of him. I
tried hating you, at first But
Riley wouldn't let me.

BUFFY
I wouldn't blame him if he called
me... well you know. Called me
names.

SAM
He didn't say anything for a very
long time. But I could tell, he
was ripped up inside.

BUFFY
Good thing he had you.

SAM
More like miraculous. I went down
to Central America with the Peace
Corps. One night, my entire
infirmary got slaughtered by ...
well I had no idea what they were.
I got saved. Quit the corps.
Joined the squad. My first major
firefight, I meet Riley. Our
squads nearly blew each other
apart with heavy artillery.

BUFFY
It's just like a thirties
screwball comedy.

SAM
Only with more dismemberment and
concussion grenades.

BUFFY
So you improved on a classic.

SAM
Yeah. After a while, we started
talking. First about tactics.
Missions, stuff like that. Then
about you.

BUFFY
He thinks I let him go.

SAM
Do you wish you hadn't?

Busted. That's a big question and they both know it. Sam waits for an answer.

BUFFY
I ... wish things were different.
But I'm not trying to ... I mean
I didn't -- I don't ... you know.

Sam thinks that one over. Satisfied, they move on.

SAM
I didn't mean to put you on the
spot. There's no bad guys in this
one, Buffy. Sometimes I think we
need a bad guy in our line of
work, just to beat on.

BUFFY
And work out the pain.

SAM
Uh-huh. But, since you're not a
monster, or a demon, the only
thing that helped Rye work it out
was time. Lots of time. It took
him a year to get over you.

Buffy pauses, the words "over you" sinking in. Buffy swallows her pain, manages a smile.

BUFFY
Well. I'm glad he's over me.

SAM
So you seeing anybody now? Anyone
special?

BUFFY
Huh. Well, you know. I'm, uh,
taking my time on that one. Don't
want to rush into anything, or get
defined by the guy I'm with.

SAM
Better no guy than the wrong guy,
that's for sure.

Another gut-punch for Buffy.

BUFFY
Sam. You think we need to split
up?

SAM
Oh. I'm slowing you down. I knew
I would -- this was just selfish of
me.

BUFFY
No. Not at all. I just have ...
an informant. He's useful. But
the guy's twitchy. I show up with
company, we get nothing.

SAM
Cool. I'm guessing Finn needs me
about now, anyway. He's probably
out there getting his ass kicked.
You know how wild he gets.

Sam takes off, leaving Buffy alone in the graveyard.

SAM (cont'd)
Don't worry, I'll find Rye -- we're
good.

BUFFY
Yeah, I noticed.

Buffy just stands there, alone, feeling like crap ...

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (UPPER) -- NIGHT

Spike sits on his crypt (made comfy) reading a paperback. Buffy enters. Spike stands, a bit uncomfortable.

SPIKE
Buffy! Hey now. If I knew you
were coming I'd have baked a cake.

BUFFY
I need information.

SPIKE
Suppose I could be helpful. If
the price is right. Not sure I'm
selling out at Doublemeat Palace
wages, though.

BUFFY
(ignoring him)
I need to find a guy. Dealer.
Calls himself the Doctor.

SPIKE
Human?

BUFFY
His traffic isn't.

SPIKE
Clock ticking?

BUFFY
Whatever he's doing, he's doing it
soon.

SPIKE
Soon but not now.

A tiny beat passes between them. Buffy steps forward, starts unbuttoning his shirt.

BUFFY
Tell me you love me.

SPIKE
I love you. You know I do.

BUFFY
Tell me you want me.

SPIKE
I always want you.
(slyly)
In point of fact, I --

BUFFY
Shut up.

Buffy maneuvers Spike and then pulls him down on top of her -- this isn't the throes of passion -- Buffy helps Spike wrap himself around her -- a human blanket.

They start kissing...

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (UPPER) -- NIGHT

Later. The room is dark. Buffy and Spike lie motionless on top of the crypt under a real blanket. Buffy slowly awakes.

Spike wakes up beside her. Sits up straight -- and a toothy, wicked grin spreads across his face as he says.

SPIKE
Well looky here.

Reverse reveals: Riley stands before the two of them, holding a very large gun, armed and ready.

Buffy goes straight to shock -- she cannot speak.

Spike wants to play.

SPIKE (cont'd)
I don't often use the word
"delicious," but I've got to wager
this little tableau must sting a
bit, eh? Me and your former?
Must kill.
(shrugs)
What can I say? The girl just
needs a little monster in her, man.

Riley doesn't react. Doesn't move. Just says:

RILEY
Not why I'm here. "Doctor."

Off Buffy's reaction, we ...

BLACK OUT

END OF ACT THREE

Act Four

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (UPPER) -- NIGHT

Continuous. Buffy and Spike caught frozen in their post-coital positions, Riley armed and dangerous. Buffy scrambles to find, pick up, and put on her clothes throughout.

No one's real comfortable.

BUFFY
Oh, God...

SPIKE
Here I thought we run you out of
town, mate. Last I saw you, if
memory serves, you were getting
the juice sucked out of you by
some undead ladies of very
questionable reputation. Now be
a good tin soldier and ...

He gestures "run along."

RILEY
Where are they, Doctor?

SPIKE
Where's what? And why you keep
calling me that?

RILEY
Glad to be back in Sunnydale.
Locals all speak English and I
know who to beat for information.
It all brought me here.

SPIKE
Look, crew-cut: she's not your
bint anymore, and if I can speak
frankly, she always had a little
thing for me even when she was
shagging you.

RILEY
Nice. Very distracting. Now tell
me before I get unprofessional.
Where are the eggs, Spike?

SPIKE
Eggs? Pht. You're off your nut.
It's those drugs they were keeping
you on. I did warn you.

RILEY
Okay. We can do this the hard way
or we can do this the fatal way.

Riley PUNCHES Spike in the face, sending him back. Then Riley starts to case the joint like he owns it. Searching.

RILEY (cont'd)
Where are the eggs?

BUFFY
The "Doctor'... it can't be Spike.

SPIKE
No need to defend me, love.

Buffy also PUNCHES Spike in the face, hard.

BUFFY
(to Riley)
This isn't possible He's too ...
Incompetent! It's just Spike,
Riley.

RILEY
Right. Deadly, amoral,
opportunistic ... or have you
forgotten?

Buffy is shamed into saying nothing.

RILEY (cont'd)
I'm taking this place apart until
I find that nest.

SPIKE
Over my dead body.

RILEY
I've seen enough of your dead body
for one night, thanks.

SPIKE
Well you're not gonna --

Riley grabs Spike and THROWS him hard up against a wall, out of his way, and heads to the stairs. Without looking back, he calls to Buffy:

RILEY
You coming?

SPIKE
Oh, this is ... unconstitutional,
is what this is. Here. There's
nothing to see down there.

Buffy glares just a moment, then she joins Riley, brushing past Spike.

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (LOWER) - NIGHT

Buffy follows Riley down to Spike's basement ...

BUFFY
I'm not saying he's good, Riley,
I'm just saying he's not capable
of pulling off anything as
sophisticated as ...

Buffy shuts up. She stares at the room around her. Riley stands before her, frozen. We pull back to reveal the entire lower-crypt floor is covered, wall-to-wall, with EGGS. Big, leathery Demon eggs.

Spike comes down the stairs after them.

SPIKE
I can explain.

RILEY
We need more weapons. Spike
screwed up. You didn't keep 'em
frozen, did you, Doctor.

SPIKE
You can stop calling me that
anytime.
(to Buffy)
If I may: The thing of it is, I'm
holding these for a friend, who ...

Buffy SLUGS Spike hard, bloodying his nose and sending him to the ground.

BUFFY
No more games, Spike.

Spike gets genuinely, furiously pissed off. Yells:

SPIKE
That's bloody funny, coming from
you? No games?
(more)

SPIKE (cont'd)
That's all you've ever done is
play me, and keep playing with
rules you make up as you like!
You know what I am -- you've always
known and you come to me all the
same!

RILEY
Can you shut him up?

BUFFY
Not so far.

RILEY
You better get out of here, Buffy

And before he can answer we hear a horrible cracking sound as one by one, the eggs not so much hatch as RIP OPEN. Each one has a slime-coated, gnarly-looking Suvolte Demon hatchling burst out -- they don't look like much, about ten inches across and all claws and teeth -- like crabs from Hell.

RILEY (cont'd)
On second thought, stick around.

Riley tosses the gun to Buffy. Just as the demons start scuttling across the floor.

BUFFY
Riley, I...

RILEY
Later. It'll keep -- aim high,
plenty of lead -- they move fast.

BUFFY
I'm not exactly gun gal.

RILEY
Want to live? Learn fast.

The demons come at them. From all directions, it seems. Buffy tries to shoot them but can't hit them. Gunfire shatters Spike's bedpost, pillow, and barber's chair.

BUFFY
These things are never useful...

One Demon comes scuttling up behind Buffy and Riley turns -- extends his baton and stabs the thing straight through.

RILEY
We have to pull out.

Riley gets slashed by one of the demons. Buffy throws the gun at the thing. She grabs Riley and pulls him out of there.

They head for the ladder, Buffy helping the wounded Riley up. They make it out as the demons close in, their screeching reaching a crescendo

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (UPPER) -- NIGHT

RILEY
We need a way to contain --

Buffy shoves Riley to the top, rolls him over, unbuckles his belt and pulls the entire thing off. The belt, incidentally, is loaded with HAND GRENADES.

Buffy pulls one pin -- and throws the entire belt down into the lower section of the crypt.

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (LOWER) -- NIGHT

The lower crypt EXPLODES. Demons, shrieking, get fried. The flames fill the frame, burning...

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (UPPER) -- NIGHT

Buffy pulls Riley out of the way as explosive debris comes flying up out of the hold.

We hear Anya's voice:

ANYA (V.0.)
You know if you love Riley Finn so
much, maybe you should marry him.

INT. XANDER'S BATHROOM -- NIGHT

Xander and Anya stand huddled together in his bathroom. We hear the noise of REVELERS outside. Neither of them look comfortable. They're hiding.

XANDER
He's taken. And that's not my
point.

ANYA
You think their marriage is better
than ours? Is that it?

XANDER
No! I mean, granted, it's hard to
imagine Nick and Nora Fury hiding
out from relatives in their own
bathroom.

We hear something crash outside.

XANDER (cont'd)
I have no idea what Riley and Mrs.
Riley's wedding was like.

ANYA
Well you haven't shut up about
them.

XANDER
They have a great marriage. It
bummed Buffy out, but I could see
it -- and Anya? I have no clue
what their wedding was like.

Beat. Anya smiles as if all her concerns just washed away. A small, pleasant epiphany.

ANYA
So ... our wedding ... is not our
marriage.

Xander shakes his head "no" with a big grin.

XANDER
Separate things. One fills me
with a dread akin to public
speaking engagements.

ANYA
That would be the wedding.

XANDER
Which will soon be over.

ANYA
But the marriage ...

XANDER
That lasts forever.

ANYA
Huh. Well.

More noises from outside the door. Laughter followed by something falling onto the floor.

ANYA (cont'd)
That works out nicely then.

They kiss. Not a big sloppy one, but loving. Peace at last.

EXT. MAGIC BOX -- NIGHT

Buffy and Riley walk out of the Magic Box together, a privileged moment between the two of them. They're both thinking about what happened in the crypt, but won't talk about it at first.

BUFFY
So, you and Sam go back to Central
America now? Or is that
classified?

RILEY
Nepal.

BUFFY
Sounds fun.

RILEY
I'll send you a post card.

BUFFY
Riley, I...

RILEY
Buffy, listen...

They both stop. Needing to talk. Unsure how.

RILEY
Listen -- by mission parameters,
I'm done here. But I have
authorization to take the Doctor
out.
(beat)
You want me to do that?

There is simple honesty in the question, but it's just too much for Buffy.

BUFFY
Do I want you to... How can you...
I'm sleeping with him. I'm
sleeping with Spike.

RILEY
I had actually noticed that.

BUFFY
And then you come, and... did you
wait until your life was
absolutely perfect and then send
some demon here so you could throw
it in my face?

RILEY
You think this was easy for me?

BUFFY
Yes! I think it was a rollicking
adventure, fun for the whole
family!

RILEY
Buffy, I was terrified about
seeing you again.

BUFFY
Well, I'm sure my incredible
patheticness softened the blow for
you.

RILEY
I don't know what you're talking
about

BUFFY
Oh please don't be --

RILEY
Hey. You want me to say I liked
seeing you in bed with that idiot?
Or that blinding orange is your
very best color, or that the
burger smell is --

BUFFY
(very small)
You smelled the smell?

RILEY
Buffy, none of that means
anything. It doesn't touch you.
You're still the first woman I
ever loved and the strongest woman
I ever knew. And I'm not
advertising this to the missus,
but still quite the hottie.

BUFFY
You know it goes away after many
bathings...

RILEY
This isn't about who's on top. I
know how lucky I am right now. I
love my work, and I love my wife.

BUFFY
(grudgingly)
I know. I kind of love her too.

RILEY
So right now you're not in the
greatest place. Maybe I made it
worse.

BUFFY
(honestly)
No.

RILEY
Wheel never stops turning, Buffy.
You're up, you're down, doesn't
change what you are. And you're
a hell of a woman.

Buffy takes that in.

BUFFY
I never got the chance to tell you
how sorry I was. About what
happened with us.

He moves a stray hair back in place.

RILEY
And you never have to.

Then Sam, Xander, Willow, and Dawn come out of the Magic Box and join them. Sam and Xander chatting.

SAM
... Well the wedding itself was
held in a military chopper just
before a hairy night drop into
hostile territory.

XANDER
Huh. And, just curious, how much
a chopper rental run you these
days?

SAM
Well actually, we commandeered it
from a local guerilla squad, so -
cheap.
(to Willow)
You have my e-mail. Promise
you'll stay in touch.

And as they talk, unnoticed and uncommented on by anyone, a small wind picks up, swirling, and a light begins to shine from above, growing brighter...

WILLOW
You won't get traced? I don't
want to give any bad guys your
location by mistake.

SAM
Our line's secure.

WILLOW
Oh. Duh! Of course it is. I
keep thinking you're all, like
regular people. But you're not.

SAM
Right, like demon hunting's all
exotic to a girl from Sunnydale.

DAWN
(to Riley)
So, you gonna say goodbye this
time or just split all secret-
agenty like last time?

RILEY
Depends. I warrant a hug?

Dawn glares at him, then relents. Hugs him.

RILEY (cont'd)
Goodbye, Dawn.

DAWN
I thought it would suck less this
time. Doesn't.

And the light and wind keep growing from above ...

SAM
It was great meeting you all.
Ready for Nepal, agent?

RILEY
Firefights. Bug hunts. Big body
count. Yeah, I could use a break.

Riley attaches a harness to his vest, holds Sam tight. The bright light now fills the street, the fierce wind crops up to its max and Riley and suddenly...

Sam are whisked out of frame. Up and out.

EXT. NIGHT SKY -- NIGHT

We see a STEALTH HELICOPTER, nearly silent, fly away into the night sky, disappearing. Two small figures towed beneath it.

EXT. MAGIC BOX -- NIGHT

The gang watch them go. Willow waves happily, then turns to Buffy, and without missing a beat:

WILLOW
What a bitch.

The gang heads back inside. Buffy just stands alone a moment, thinking...

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT (LOWER) -- DAY

Spike stands amidst his decimated home. Buffy enters. Spike speaks without looking at her.

SPIKE
So she's back. Thought you'd be
off snogging with soldier boy.

BUFFY
He's gone.

Spike turns to her, not showing relief.

SPIKE
So, come for a little cold
comfort? Bed's a bit blown up,
but then that never was our --

BUFFY
No. I'm not here for... and I'm
not gonna bust your chops about your
stupid evil scheme. That's
just you. I should've
remembered...

SPIKE
Oh. This is worse, isn't it?
This is you telling me --

BUFFY
Yeah. It's over.

SPIKE
(comes at her, sexy)
I've memorized this tune, love.
I think I have the sheet music.
Doesn't change what you want.

BUFFY
I know that. I do want you.
Being with you... makes things
simpler. For a little while.

SPIKE
I don't call five hours straight
a little while.

BUFFY
I'm using you. I can't love you.
I'm just being weak, and selfish --

SPIKE
-- really not complaining here --

BUFFY
-- and it's killing me. I have to
be strong about this.

he looks on the verge of another sly comeback, but she puts her hand to his face.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I'm sorry, William.

Buffy turns -- and walks out. We can see her strength in her face. It's painful -- and fragile -- but strength all the same.

Spike stands in the crypt, alone.

And we hold on his face as he takes in the truth of this. It's over. It's final. And Spike, without moving, gets hit fully and hard by the Thunderbolt...

BLACK OUT

END OF SHOW