Hell's Bells

Written by: Rebecca Rand Kirshner

Directed by: David Solomon

January 28, 2002

Teaser

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

TIGHT on BUFFY and WILLOW as they stare in horror at some unseen menace. LIGHTNING FLASHES outside the window, illuminating their faces.

WILLOW
(a whisper)
Buffy... it's hideous. My god,
Buffy, look at its arms!

Buffy nods her head, screwing her courage.

BUFFY
I know. But it's my duty...

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

Buffy and Willow are looking into a mirror. They are dressed in hideous chartreuse bridesmaid dresses with puffy sleeves.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I'm Buffy the bridesmaid.

WILLOW
Duty-schmooty. I'm s'posed to be
the best man. Shouldn't I be all
Marlene Dietrichy in a dashing
tuxedo number?

BUFFY
No, cuz that would be totally
unfair. We all must participate
equally in the cosmic joke of
bridesmaids-dom.

Willow gives her reflection a glum look.

WILLOW
Maybe if I ask Anya I can still go
with the traditional blood larva
and burlap. I mean, she was a
vengeance demon for like a
thousand years, she'd know all the
most flattering... larvae.
(then, re: dress)
What was she thinking?

Buffy leaves the mirror and goes to put on her shoes.

BUFFY
I think Anya's way too stressed to
think right now, what with
Xander's relatives and her...
demons...

WILLOW
Ohmigod, last night. That
rehearsal dinner. It was a zoo
without the table manners. And I
bet it got worse after we left.

BUFFY
I can't believe everyone is buying
the story that Anya's people are
"circus folk." The thing with the
tentacles, what's he s'posed to
be, Inky the Squid Boy?

WILLOW
And Xander's family, I haven't
seen 'em that bad since my bat
mitzvah. Did you see how much
they drank?

BUFFY
Kinda. Mr. Harris threw up in my
purse.

The door opens and ANYA enters, in her bathrobe. Seeing Buffy and Willow in the bridesmaid dresses, she freezes. Her eyes go wide. She clutches her hand to her mouth.

Buffy and Willow share a nervous look; is Anya as horrified as they are?

ANYA
Oh. Oh. You two look so
beautiful.

She's beside herself with joy. Anya pulls them both into her arms hugging them close. We see Buffy and Willow's smiling faces over Anya's shoulders as:

ANYA (cont'd)
This is the happiest day of my
life.

INT. XANDER'S APARTMENT - DAY

Xander's COUSIN CAROL, 50-ish, aggressive, hot-pink lipstick, loads of jewelry, pats Xander on the hand.

Xander is dressed in his tuxedo pants, dress shoes, and an unbuttoned dress shirt with undone French cuffs. His hair is still wet and there's missed shaving cream around his ears.

XANDER
So it's all about, um, pain and
loss?

COUSIN CAROL
It can be.

XANDER
Well, then, that's just fine and
I gotta go be somewhere else...

He tries to pull away, but she grips his hand harder.

COUSIN CAROL
No, no, no. I'm saying it wrong.
I'm not saying you kids shouldn't
get hitched. I'm just saying
don't build castles on the sand.
Cuz that's when life hits you with
the big sack of crap and your
heart breaks like a china doll.

XANDER
Mmm. Thanks, Carol.

COUSIN CAROL
Next thing you know, you're trying
to find a man'll date a divorcee
with a kid. Guess what? No such
animal.
(to someone off screen)
I hope you don't think you're
wearing that.

KAREN, an asthmatic 10-year-old in jeans and a pajama top crosses to Carol. Xander winces, realizing she was listening.

XANDER
Oh! Karen. How're you? Let's
get you breakfast, okay?

Xander heads toward the kitchen. Carol and Karen follow behind.

They enter the kitchen to find UNCLE RORY, in an open robe and tighty-whiteys, fiddling with the coffee maker (a whiskey bottle sits nearby). During what follows, Carol fixes Karen a bowl of cereal.

XANDER (cont'd)
You seen my cufflinks, Uncle Rory?
Little metal deals, hold my
sleeves together?

UNCLE RORY
Oh, you don't want those.

Xander opens a drawer, looking for his cufflinks. Uncle Rory reaches past Xander into the drawer, pulls out a screwdriver. Xander doesn't really notice.

UNCLE RORY (cont'd)
What you want is velcro. I ever
tell you how that was my idea?

A WARTY DEMON enters the kitchen, edges past the others on his way to the fridge.

WARTY DEMON
'Scuse me, folks, coming through!

Rory and Carol give the Warty Demon a long suspicious look.

Then Uncle Rory opens up the base of the coffee maker with the screwdriver.

XANDER
Rory? Whatcha doin' there?

UNCLE RORY
Trying to make an Irish coffee,
stupid thing's on the fritz--

XANDER
Watch out, it's plugged--

UNCLE RORY STIFFENS, SHAKES, EYES BUGGING OUT. Xander lunges for the cord, pulls it.

XANDER (cont'd)
Good god!

Uncle Rory laughs. Karen takes a hit off her inhaler.

UNCLE RORY
Hah! Gotcha!

WARTY DEMON
(re: coffee maker)
Is it really broken? I could take
a look...

The warty Demon is reaching for the coffee maker. Rory won't hand it to him. Instead he sets it down and pushes it toward the demon -- no chance of touching him by mistake.

UNCLE RORY
Knock yourself out, Kevin.

WARTY DEMON
Krelvin.

UNCLE RORY
Right, right. Krelvin.

Uncle Rory and Carol exchange a look -- warty freak. Uncle Rory picks up a bottle of whiskey, pours some into a coffee cup. Xander is still looking around on the counter top.

MR. ANTHONY HARRIS and MRS. JESSICA HARRIS enter, dressed in foul weather gear (matching ponchos anyone?). Mr. Harris is hungover and grouchy; Mrs. Harris is pinched and martyred.

MR. HARRIS
Damn it, Xander, aren't you ready
yet? Should I go move the car?

Mrs. Harris is checking out her reflection in her compact.

MRS. HARRIS
Oh my, look at my hair. Of
course, I'm sure I won't be in any
of the pictures.

XANDER
You'll be in the pictures, Mom.

WARTY DEMON
(to Mrs. Harris)
I think your hair looks lovely.

MR. HARRIS
(re: Warty demon)
Aw, Sweet Baby Lord in his high
heavenly throne.

Uncle Rory silently offers his cup of booze to Mr. Harris.

XANDER
Hey, who wants breakfast?

MRS. HARRIS
I suppose it's okay if I look a
little plump, since I won't be--

XANDER
You're in the pictures, Mom!

Mr. Harris takes a swig of whiskey while he stares at the Warty Demon, who is plugging the coffee maker back in.

MR. HARRIS
(re: Warty demon)
That's one of hers, right?
(to Warty demon)
You're one of hers, right?

XANDER
You met Krelvin already, Dad.
Last night.

WARTY DEMON
(politely)
Yes. We met. You said I
resembled your mother in law.

MRS. HARRIS
Tony!

MR. HARRIS
(remembering)
Oh, yeah.

WARTY DEMON
Later, you hit me with a cocktail
wiener and insulted my heritage.

MR. HARRIS
Heritage? Being "circus folk" is
suddenly heritage now? I mean no
disrespect, of course. Sure you
come from a long, proud line of
geeks. Joking, big guy...

Cousin Carol takes Xander by the arm during the preceding line and leads him out of the kitchen.

COUSIN CAROL
Xander? That guy Kevin. If he
cleared up that skin problem...
Do you... you supose he'd date a
woman with a kid? I mean, I can't
afford to be picky here...

Xander looks at her, shocked, then notices...

XANDER
Cousin Carol, your earrings are my
cufflinks.

COUSIN CAROL
They are? Oh my. Oops!

As she hands them over:

XANDER
Excellent. Cufflinks - check.
We're rolling. Nothing on earth
can stop this wedding now.

EXT. SUNNYDALE STREETS - DAY

It's POURING RAIN. LIGHTNING FLASHS in the distance.

Then suddenly AN AREA SHIMMERS, like the heat above a barbecue grill, and a creepy OLD MAN emerges from a portal. He looks around, panic in his eyes. Desperation. He's late.

He opens his umbrella and starts walking. Fast.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER

Act One

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - DAY

Willow is wrest1ing with a veil-like length of white tulle, swathing it around some UNSEEN HEAD.

WILLOW
There we go...tuck that there and
let's see, maybe one little flower
here...

She inserts a pretty flower into the meringue of tulle.

WILLOW (cont'd)
And voila! Loveliness ensues.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

A TAXIDERMIED BISON'S HEAD mounted on the wall is now dressed in a makeshift bridal veil.

Willow climbs down from a step ladder, to admire her artistry. She stands next to DAWN, who is also dressed in a acid-green bridesmaid dress. Dawn is looking down at her dress with dismay. She's mid teenage sulk.

WILLOW (cont'd)
What d'ya think?

DAWN
(re: dress color)
Asparagus.
(re. bison)
Oh. Um, it's sweet. In sort of
a macabre, dressing up dead
animals in funny costumes way.
But sweet.

WILLOW
(proud)
Yeah.

Willow sets the step ladder aside. She is beaming.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Isn't it pretty here? I didn't
know a Bison's Lodge could be so
swelegant.

She puts her arm around Dawnie and they walk through the main room of the lodge. Chairs are already set up for the guests.

A STRING QUARTET is setting up near the front. And the whole place is decorated with BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS.

DAWN
I thought Xander and Anya couldn't
afford flowers.

WILLOW
Giles sent 'em. Aren't they
gorgeous?

DAWN
Yeah.

They stop to smell the flowers.

DAWN (cont'd)
I wish Giles was here.

WILLOW
Me too. And I'm sure he'd much
rather be here than fighting that
nasty demon--

DAWN
Da-e-mon. In England it's daemon.

WILLOW
Daemon, too right. But Giles' got
responsibilities. And so Anya and
Xander have flowers. And flowers.
And more flowers. Ooh, it's going
to be so pretty!

DAWN
Yeah, except for the amazing girl
asparagus.

As they walk off:

WILLOW
Oh, Dawnie you look beautiful.
(off Dawn's look)
Well, okay, but as good as anyone
could, considering.

DAWN
It's the color of snot

INT. BISON'S LODGE - GROOM'S QUARTERS - DAY

Buffy is helping Xander get dressed. She diligently tries to wrap a too small cummerbund around his waist.

XANDER
Is it too small?

BUFFY
Nah.

XANDER
It fit when I picked up the tux.
How can it not fit now?

BUFFY
(straining)
It'll fit.

XANDER
Aw man. What if it doesn't? What
if I can't wear my cummerbund and
the whole world sees the place
where my pants meet my shirt?
That can't happen Buffy! I must
wear das cummerbund!

As she hooks the back of said cummerbund:

BUFFY
And... so... you... SHALL.

XANDER
You did it?

BUFFY
Slayer strength.

XANDER
And I've been meaning to cut back
on the habit-forming oxygen.

Buffy starts to tie Xander's bow tie.

BUFFY
You look really great, Mr. About-
to-get-married. You're glowing.

She GASPS!

BUFFY (cont'd)
Omigod, Xander Maybe you're
pregnant!

Xander smiles, then...

XANDER
Or maybe, I dunno... maybe I'm
just happy.

Buffy hears this. Tears well in her eyes.

XANDER (cont'd)
(concerned)
Teary.

BUFFY
Oh, good teary.

XANDER
Happy teary? Not frustrated with
bow tie teary?

BUFFY
Yes. Happy. Happy for you.

They share a look. Then she continues with the tie.

BUFFY (cont'd)
And it makes me happy for me. I
mean, you and Anya give me hope.
It's like you two are proof that
there's light at the end of this
long, long nasty tunnel.
(then)
I can't tie this! Hey, isn't your
best man supposed to do this?

XANDER
She said she had something
important to do.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - BRIDE'S QUARTERS - DAY

CLOSE ON: WILLOW, who is making shy eyes at Tara, as Tara tries to do up all the little hooks on the back of Anya's dress.

[Note: to get the maximum impact of the bride in her dress, initial shots, while Tara and Willow are working on the dress, should only show PARTIAL DETAILS, NOT THE WHOLE DRESS]

WILLOW
Want me to hold it shut for you?

TARA
Okay.

Tara moves to let Willow help. Their hands touch as they work. They are both keenly aware of their nearness and not hating it.

ANYA
Are you guys even listening? I need
feedback, people!

Jolted back to reality, Tara and Willow both step away, go back to fussing on other, farther apart aspects of the dress.

TARA
Sorry. Please continue with the
vows.

ANGLE ON ANYA. She has pink curlers in her hair and a gel-filled eye mask -- like a domino -- over her eyes. She clears her throat.

ANYA
'I, Anya, promise to love you, to
cherish you, and to honor you, but
not to obey you, of course,
because that's anachronistic and
misogynistic and who do you think
you are like a sea captain or
something? I will however...'
What?

She looks at Willow who's smirking.

ANYA (cont'd)
Is something funny?

TARA
Nope, nothing, Sweetie. Now keep
still.

Anya continues.

ANYA
Okay. Blah, blah, blah
misogynistic. Blah, blah, 'I will
however entrust you with my
heart...'

ANGLE ON WILLOW AND TARA. Looking at each other now, for the first time, as they listen to Anya.

ANYA (O.S.)
'Take care of my heart, won't you
please?
(more)

ANYA (cont'd; O.S.)
Take care of it because it's all
that I have. And if you let me,
I'll take care of your heart too.

Pure sweetness in the look between Willow and Tara.

ANYA (cont'd. 0.S.)
I'll protect it and tend to it,
like a little stray.' Wait, no.
'Like a little mangy stray that
needs a home.' No, that's not it
either.

Willow and Tara suppress a giggle.

TARA
Um, I think we're all set here.
Let's take a look at you.

Tara and Willow step back, and stand side by side, to get a FULL VIEW OF ANYA. She looks beautiful, even with weird mask and curlers. They admire her.

TARA (cont'd)
Oh!

WILLOW
Wow. You look lovely. Really
lovely.

ANYA
Thanks. It's probably the blush
of imprudent spending. Do you
think Xander will like it? Oh!
I want to see Xander now!

WILLOW
You can't. It's bad luck for the
groom to see the bride in her
dress, 'member?

ANYA
Oh, I can't keep all these
ridiculous traditions straight.
(then; eyes twinkling)
What if I'm not wearing my dress
when I see him?
(off their looks)
Okay, no sex. Cuddling or...it's
just, I'm so excited and I want to
share it all with my best friend.
(more)

ANYA (cont'd)
(happy)
I get to be with my best friend
forever!

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - DAY

The room is starting to fill up with arriving RELATIVES, BOTH HUMAN AND DEMON. All in their best clothes, murmuring with excitement.

Under the stuffed bison's head, Dawn is with Uncle Rory, who has an uncomfortable-looking teenager on his arm, a GIRL CATERER. Uncle Rory is full of joviality (and bourbon).

UNCLE RORY
Look who agreed to be my date for
tonight!

GIRL CATERER
I'm really supposed to be working.
(to Dawn)
I'm one of the caterers...

UNCLE RORY
Hush, hush. No woman of mine has
to work. All you have to do is
sit pretty and laugh when I tell
a good one. Tell her what a funny
guy I am, Dawnie.

Uncle Rory looks at Dawn expectantly. After a long beat:

DAWN
Gotta go. Enjoy the wedding.

Dawn walks away. Uncle Rory laughs it off. Then he notices the stuffed bison.

UNCLE RORY
Ooh. Bad head.

GIRL CATERER
What?

UNCLE RORY
Lips weren't split right. See,
you gotta hold the lip between
your finger and thumb, and slice
right through the center of the
meat...
(more)

UNCLE RORY (cont'd)
(off her look)
It was my trade. I used to stuff
things.
(suggestively)
Still do. But only for fun.

ON DAWN as she continues to make her way through the crowd. Suddenly she's face to imperious chest with D'HOFFRYN. D'Hoffryn is beaming with pride and holding a wrapped gift.

D'HOFFRYN
(booming)
Hymen's greetings!

DAWN
Hy-- What?!

D'HOFFRYN
Hymen, the God of Matrimony! His
Salutations upon you! May the
love we celebrate today avoid an
almost inevitable decline!

DAWN
Cool.

D'HOFFRYN
(more casual)
I brought a gift. I suppose
there's a table...

Halfrek steps up to join D'Hoffryn. She is wearing a bridesmaid's dress.

DAWN
(sour)
Oh. Halfrek. Hello.

HALFREK
Please! Call me Hallie, we're
practically family now.

DAWN
(noncommittal)
Mmmmm. Neat.

Dawn takes the gift from D'Hoffryn.

DAWN (cont'd)
I can put this on the table--

D'HOFFRYN
Careful, it's...

DAWN
Fragile?

D'HOFFRYN
Squirmy.

Dawn looks closer. There are air-holes all over the box.Dawn peers through one of them. When she gets here eye up to it, a slithery tentacle POKES OUT AT HER and something SNARLS. Dawn YELPS.

HALFREK
So, Dawnie. How is everything?
Going good? Nothing you wish was
different...?

D'HOFFRYN
Hallie, for Yekk's sake, take a
day off. We're not here to do
vengeance, we're here to mingle.

As D'Hoffryn gently tugs Halfrek away, SPIKE and his date, A SKANKY GOTH GIRL approach.

DAWN
Spike.

SPIKE
Like you to meet my date.

DAWN
Hi. I'm Dawn.

SKANKY GOTH GIRL
Uh-huh.

They shake hands. There's an awkward moment of silence.

SPIKE
So, yeah. Anyway, that's my date.
She's with me. My date for the
wedding.

Dawn has no idea why he's making such a big deal.

DAWN
Yeah. Okay. Well, nice meeting
you.

Dawn backs away from them. Quickly she deposits the presents and runs off to report her sighting.

WE FOLLOW HER as she squeezes through the crowd, BUT THEN STOP, to witness a conversation between a group of Xander's relatives (including: UNCLE RORY and COUSIN CAROL) and Anya's demon 'family' (including: TENTACLE DEMON and everybody's favorite, loose-skinned CLEM).

COUSIN CAROL
So, circus performers. What's
that like?

The demons look at each other.

UNCLE RORY
Your friend with the warts, he
went off about his circus
'heritage,' like you folks are in
a cult or something.

CLEM
Well, there are ancient ways.
(remembering the cover)
Clowning, as an occupation, grew
out of the commedia del'arte, and
ancient sports of course...

UNCLE RORY
The thing is, if you expect Xander
to raise his kids in some kinda
foreign-talkee bow-to-the-eastee
kinda cult--

TENTACLE DEMON
So you think the children should
be raised in ignorance of our ways?

COUSIN CAROL
No, no. The Harrises are very
broad-minded. We're Episcopalians.

WE RACK FOCUS behind this conversation to see Mr. Harris at the bar. He is drinking a double of something stern, talking to a TEENAGE BARTENDER.

MR. HARRIS
(bitter)
'Til death do us part. That's
what makes me laugh.

Mr. Harris downs his drink and slams it back on the bar.

MR. HARRIS (cont'd)
Hit me again barkeep.

TEENAGE BARTENDER
(nervous)
I'm really not supposed to start
serving until after the ceremony.

MR. HARRIS
I paid for this wedding. I paid
for that bourbon there and I paid
for this glass here. And I paid
for you, cater-waiter.

As he SMASHES the glass to the floor to make his point!

ANGLE on the crowd of guests as the glass SHATTERS.

TEENAGE BARTENDER (0.S.)
Um, right away, Sir.

Amid the crowd, we see a familiar face, the creepy Old Man from the teaser. WE PUSH IN ON HIM. He looks jittery, anxious as hell. He wipes sweat from his brow with a handkerchief and looks around nervously.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - GROOM'S QUARTERS - DAY

Xander, now fully tuxedoed, twirls for Buffy's approval.

XANDER
How do I look?

BUFFY
Let's see. We found your shoes
and your fly is zipped up. I'd
say you're ready to get married.
(then)
You're one of the decent ones,
Xander. I hope I get as lucky as
you guys someday.

XANDER
You want to get lucky? I've still
got what? Fifteen, twenty minutes?

Laughing, she grabs him in a bear hug.

BUFFY
Alright, into the breach with you.

XANDER
Okay, breach me.

They head towards the door.

XANDER (cont'd)
Now, let's go over the checklist
one more time. Number one?

And into the:

INT. BISON'S LODGE - CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

Buffy and Xander continue walking.

BUFFY
Don't let your dad near the bar.

XANDER
Check. Number two?

BUFFY
Don't let your mom near the bar.

Dawn approaches down the corridor.

DAWN
Hey Buffy. Spike's here and he
brought a total skank.

BUFFY
A--

DAWN
Skank! A manic-panicked freak who
he's like totally macking with,
right in the middle of the room.
I saw him shove his tongue--

BUFFY
Wait, Spike brought a date?

DAWN
Yeah. Wait till you see her.

A beat. Buffy is conflicted. Depressed and disgusted and trying to be apathetic all at the same time.

XANDER
Guys, I better go meet and greet.

BUFFY
Oh yeah, go. I'll just be a sec.

Off Buffy's conflicted face:

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - DAY

The guests are everywhere now, sitting in chairs and milling around. Xander is in the middle of a chaotic pack of well-wishing relatives. AN AUNT kisses him on both cheeks.

The Old Man is among the crowd.

MRS. HARRIS
Alexander, do you realize that the
usher sat us in the third row?

XANDER
Mom, I'm sure it was a mistake-

OLD MAN
Excuse me?

UNCLE RORY
(to Xander)
Say Neph, have you seen the
photographer? I've got a...
proposition for him--

OLD MAN
(urgent)
I really need a word with you--

DAWN
Xander!

Dawn comes busting through the crowd.

DAWN (cont'd)
Xander, one of Anya's presents got
loose!

XANDER
Got loose?

DAWN
Yeah, it's a fully live
squiggily thingy and why is
Halfrek a bridesmaid?

MRS. HARRIS
Now Anya decided not to
have us in the processional
and that's fine, but the
third row-

OLD MAN
Please. You have to listen to me!

The Old Man pulls Xander aside, almost roughly.

XANDER
(annoyed)
Hey...

The Old Man looks Xander square in the eye, his gaze intense bordering on frantic.

OLD MAN
Don't get married today. It's a
huge mistake-

XANDER
Yeah right, well thanks for the
advice, Uncle...help me here.

OLD MAN
Uncle - ? No... You don't
recognize me, do you?
(then/sad)
But why would you? Time hasn't
been kind to us, has it?

XANDER
(gentle; apologetic)
I'm sorry. I don't-

CLOSE on tile Old Man, his eyes burning with intensity.

OLD MAN
It sounds crazy, I know, but you have
to believe me-
(then)
I'm Xander Harris. I'm you.

Off Xander, reacting:

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS

XANDER
What do you mean, 'You're me'?

OLD MAN
I'm you. I'm you from the future.

XANDER
0h, from the future! For a minute
I thought you were a nutball but
now that-

OLD MAN
(more desperate)
Please. Listen to me. I found a
way back so I could warn you. To
tell you-

XANDER
Hey, hey. Take it easy.
Everything is going to be okay.
(to himself)
I swear I told that kid not to
serve drinks before the ceremony.

As he looks over to the bar area, Xander sees his father, three-sheets to the wind, hitting his drink with a fork.

MR. HARRIS
A toast! A toast!

TENTACLE DEMON
But they're not even married yet.
You can't make a--

MR. HARRIS
I paid for this wedding and I can
make a toast if I want to.

OLD MAN (O.S.)
Look! I can prove it to you.

Xander turns his attention back to the Old Man who pulls a mystical-looking glass orb from his pocket. Inside the orb, a mystical light pulses. This gets Xander attention.

OLD MAN
I thought you might need
convincing. Come on. Follow me.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - BAR AREA

Mr. Harris continues his drunken toast.

MR. HARRIS
...and to my lovely wife, Jessica.
Where are you, honey?

He searches the crowd, spots Mrs. Harris. She frowns, deeply embarrassed.

MR. HARRIS (cont'd)
There she is.
(raising glass)
To my wife.
(sincerely)
What would I do without you,
beautiful?

He smiles warmly. Mrs. Harris is caught off guard. She allows herself a blushing smile. Mr. Harris breaks into a mirthless grin.

MR. HARRIS (cont'd)
Well, for starters I probably
wouldn't need to drink so much,
would I?

He downs his drink. Mrs. Harris' smile freezes awkwardly. She tries to hide how much that hurt, only partially succeeds. Mr. Harris grabs a bottle from the bar, pours himself another drink.

MR. HARRIS (cont'd)
But on the bright side, being
married probably saved me from a
nasty dose of the clap, so here's
to ya.

CLEM
(agape)
Does this jerk ever shut up?

TENTACLE DEMON
(fuming)
He's making my suckers twitch.

MR. HARRIS
And now a toast in honor of the
bride's dermatologically-
challenged family shrub--

The demons grumble.

TENTACLE DEMON
Sit down!

The demons murmur approval.

MR. HARRIS
Hey -- HEY! I paid for all of
this! You want me to sit down,
cough up a couple grand, Squidly!

Tentacle Demon starts towards him, murder in his eyes.

TENTACLE DEMON
What'd you call me, you drunk
piece of--

BUFFY
Mazaltov!

Buffy swoops in and hustles Mr. Harris away from the bar and the impending sucker thrashing.

MR. HARRIS
Hey, what's this?

BUFFY
You must be so happy for Xander on
his special, once-in-a-lifetime
day, Mr. Harris.

He focuses on Buffy, grins in appreciation at what he sees.

MR. HARRIS
Nice chassis. What's under the hood?

BUFFY
I could really go for a strong cup
of coffee. Hey, let's get you one too.

As she starts to lead him off:

MR. HARRIS
Say... do you own a sorta square,
pinkish purse?

BUFFY
I did.

MR. HARRIS
Thought so. How about we slip into
the back room and I show you my--

BUFFY
(quickly)
Finish that sentence and I
guarantee you won't have anything
to show.

They pass Spike nuzzling his ho-biscuit's neck. Buffy tries not to let it bother her, but it clearly does. She doesn't see Spike's eyes following her as she passes by, clearly longing to be with her instead of his date.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - TROPHY ROOM

The Old Man and Xander enter. The room is dusty and small. The Old Man extends the glass orb towards Xander. The light inside it continues to pulse.

XANDER
What is it?

OLD MAN
It's magic, very powerful. Look
at it. You'll see what I've seen.
Feel what I felt.

Xander, curious despite himself, looks.

Now the orb begins to emit a bright beam of light which shines onto Xander's forehead.

THERE'S A FLASH and suddenly, Xander seems to morph into the light, which gets SUCKED INTO THE ORB:

INT. DEN - THE FUTURE

2025. A claustrophobic den. A widescreen TV displays a football game. Assorted beer cans and bags of chips are spread around a barca-lounger.

WHOOSH! The light from the orb hits the barca-lounger and Xander reforms in it. Still, he's unfazed. Although he's in his tux and appears to be his current age, he is mentally in this moment. An older version of himself.

XANDER
(a bellow)
Anya!

Bored, he flips through the channels, pauses on soft-porn.

XANDER (cont'd)
Anya!

No response. Just then, a 10-year-old boy, JOSH, chases an 8-year-old girl, SARAH, into the room.

The kids are wild-looking, their mouths ringed with Kool-Aid stains. The boy is wearing tube socks, underwear and a turtleneck.

The girl is dressed but has blue eyeshadow all over her eyelids. AND HER EARS ARE DISTINCTLY FLOPPY!

SARAH
(shrill)
Get the hell away from me! Dad,
Josh is teasing me.

JOSH
(taunting)
Sarah's a weirdo! Sarah's a
weirdo!

Sarah lets out a YELL as they run out another door and into the hall. Xander ignores them, flips channels. Then a 40-ish woman fills the doorway, her hand on her hip, her expression cold.

ANYA
What.

The woman is Anya. She's wearing a Mary Kay uniform and has a purse over her shoulder. She's put on some weight and she's wearing a lot of make-up, but the biggest change is in her eyes. She looks like she's given up.

XANDER
You're going out again?

She enters the room, squats down and huffily starts picking up the beer cans.

ANYA
I'm doing a make-over party.

XANDER
I thought you hated those.

ANYA
Well. One of us has to make some
money.

XANDER
What do you want me to do, Anya!?
I can't work. My back is shot!

ANYA
And whose fault is that?

XANDER
Not the Buffy thing again-

Anya's tone grows harder. This is a sore, sore spot.

ANYA
Well, what were you doing running
around playing the hero?! You had
no business fighting demons with
her-

XANDER
You used to love it. You loved
that I was part of the Slayer's
team-

ANYA
Yeah, it was so hot the way you
almost got paralyzed.

XANDER
Well, maybe if you'd been there
for a change, backing me up-

ANYA
I was working! You stopped,
remember? Everything stopped when
you had to save the world-

XANDER
(needs to believe it)
Buffy needed me. I had to help.

Anya's face goes hard and sad.

ANYA
Well it didn't save her, did it?
All it did was ruin our lives.

Xander's expression closes. Anya knows where it hurts. Buffy's gone and he blames himself. Anya heads for the door.

ANYA (cont'd)
I'll be late.

And she's off. Xander, pained, looks like he's going to explode. Finally, he yells-

XANDER
I hope you crash in your stupid
pink car!

ANOTHER BRIGHT WHITE FLASH and we're in:

INT. CHAIN ITALIAN RESTAURANT - NIGHT

2035.

Xander, still his modern-day age, still in the tuxedo (though now the tie is untied) sits in a booth. With him is a 50-something Anya and their two kids. Josh, 21, is nicely dressed. Sarah, 18, is really skinny and clearly part demon -- her floppy ears are even more evident now, and FULL OF PIERCINGS. Her skin is also starting to get loose.

Tension is thick as Xander and Anya eat. Josh is completely absorbed, reading a handheld e-mail type device. Sarah picks at her food unhappily. Xander slugs down a glass of cheap red wine. Anya looks at him. He looks back.

XANDER
What?

Anya shakes her head like, 'nothing'. Xander looks at his family, addresses them as a whole:

XANDER (cont'd)
So? What's with the code of
silence? Somebody say something.

JOSH
My Optomex stock is plunging.

ANYA
(proud)
But you're still up for the day.

XANDER
Okay. But see, I was thinking we
could put away the dohickey and
talk. Like an actual family.

Sarah SNORTS. Anya glares.

ANYA
At least he has an interest.

XANDER
At least he has your interests,
you mean. Try to get the kid to
talk about anything but the Dow-

ANYA
(under her breath)
If it wasn't for his stock tips we
wouldn't be out, eating someplace
nice-

SARAH
Yeah, this place is really nice.
You guys know I don't eat wheat.

JOSH
You don't eat anything. Freak.

SARAH
At least I'm not a mama's boy.

JOSH
At least I'm not a demonic freak.

SARAH
Dad! Make him cut it!

Xander gives a mean look to Anya.

XANDER
Maybe you should talk to your
mother about that.

ANYA
(warning)
You've had too much wine.

XANDER
Have I? I'm just saying maybe you
should talk to your daughter--

SARAH
I hate you guys!

Sara is on her feet, her face red and livid as she screams at Xander and Anya.

SARAH (cont'd)
And I know you're not my real dad!
And I hate you, I hate you both!
I wish you'd die!

She storms away from the table. Josh pushes his plate away.

JOSH
This sucks.

ANOTHER FLASH OF WHITE LIGHT and we're in:

INT. OLD PE0PLE'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT

2045. We track across a modest kitchen, hear a fight in progress...

XANDER (0.S.)
If you were so unhappy - why
didn't you just leave!?

ANYA (0.S.)
I wanted to! I should have!

Now we see Xander (still in the tux, still the same age) and Anya, 60s. They are in the midst of a terrible argument.

XANDER
Yeah, you should have. Maybe then
I could have gotten some touch in
the oughts.

ANYA
I wasn't the one who stopped
touching-

XANDER
Oh ho! Maybe, but you weren't
touching me-

ANYA
What did you expect? You never
came near me after Buffy-

XANDER
(deadly)
Don't bring her into this-

ANYA
Fine. Forget her. Maybe you were
just born to be a bitter, angry
old man.

XANDER
(eyes narrowing with rage)
Shut up.

ANYA
No! I want my life back! If I
hadn't married you I could have
been happy. I wouldn't have had
to hate myself for the LAST THIRTY
YEARS!

XANDER
SHUT UP!

This, as he grabs a frying pan off the stove and SWINGS IT TOWARDS HER FACE! Before it can make contact--

A FLASH OF WHITE LIGHT and we're back in the:

INT. BISON'S LODGE - TROPHY ROOM - DAY

Xander stands, holding the orb as before. The orb stops projecting light onto his forehead. He opens his eyes, GASPING, as though waking from a nightmare.

He looks at the Old Man, his future self. The Old Man touches his shoulder. Xander pulls away; he's traumatized.

OLD MAN
I'm sorry. I didn't want to show
you-

XANDER
(frantic)
What happened? What was that?

OLD MAN
A glimpse of your future.
Harnessed by magic. I'm so sorry--

XANDER
Is she okay? Is she okay? What
did I do--

OLD MAN
Listen. I don't have long here.
The spell that brought me back, it
won't last.
(then)
You can change things. It doesn't
have to go like this. But you
can't marry Anya.

XANDER
But-

OLD MAN
You'll hurt her less today then
you will later. Believe me.
(then)
Sometimes, two people - all they
bring each other is pain.

Xander takes this in, shattered. He does believe.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - DAY

Most people are in their seats. Ready and waiting.

CLOSE ON BUFFY, who is about to go get Anya and Xander to start the wedding. She stops when she sees Spike across the room, alone. His "date" nowhere to be found. She moves to him.

SPIKE
Hello, Buffy.

BUFFY
Hey.

SPIKE
Happy occasion. You meet my
friend?

BUFFY
Haven't met. She seems like a
very nice attempt at making me
jealous.

SPIKE
Is it working?

Buffy looks at him a moment.

BUFFY Yes. It doesn't change anything,
but if you're wildly curious,
yeah, it hurts.

SPIKE
(genuine)
I'm sorry. Or...
(bravado)
Good!
(genuine)
You want us to go?

BUFFY
No, no... I mean, you have the
right to... I mean I pretty much
deserve...

SPIKE
That's not true, you... God this
is hard.

BUFFY
I know.

SPIKE
I think we'll go.

BUFFY
Go where? To your place?

SPIKE
Yeah I suppose... that was the
idea.

BUFFY
Yeah.

SPIKE
Evil.

BUFFY
Of course.

SPIKE
But I won't. Or I... I'll just
go. Give 'em my best or whatever.
The happy couple.

BUFFY
I will.

SPIKE
It's nice, watching you be happy.
For them, even. I don't see it a
lot. You, um... you glow.

BUFFY
That's because my dress is
radioactive.

She sees activity nearby.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I should...

SPIKE
Yeah...

They turn to go--

SPIKE (cont'd)
But it hurts.

BUFFY
Yeah.

SPIKE
(very quiet.)
Thanks.

She watches him go off to his date.

BUFFY
(just as quiet)
Welcome.

ANGLE: SPIKE AND THE GIRL

SPIKE
Come on, let's go.

GOTH GIRL
What about the wedding?

SPIKE
(a bit harsh)
Let's just piss off, all right?

He takes her out.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - BY THE BACK DOOR - DAY

Xander is pacing by the back door, his hands thrust deep in his pockets, head down. Willow sidles up.

WILLOW
I'll say this for the Y
chromosome: looks good in a tux.

Willow adjusts his tie. Xander forces up a smile, covering his turmoil over his vision of the future.

XANDER
Your double X's aren't doing so
bad there, either.

Willow takes him in, a bit wistfully.

WILLOW
You're getting married. My little
Xander.

XANDER
All growed up.

WILLOW
It's a good thing I realized I was
gay. 'Cause otherwise, hey, you,
me and formal wear...

Xander hugs her close. Willow doesn't see the confusion and pain swirling across his face. She squeezes him tight.

WILLOW (cont'd)
You know how much I love you?

XANDER
Mmm... 'bout half as much as I
love you?

Willow breaks hug - smiles.

WILLOW
Ready for the long walk?

XANDER
Um... can you give me a sec? I
want to go over my vows.

She kisses him on the cheek.

WILLOW
Take your time. Not like they can
start the wedding without you.

Willow moves off. Xander watches her go, his face crumbling into tortured indecision.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - BRIDE'S QUARTERS - DAY

Tara admires Anya in her gown. Anya's done her hair and make-up now and she looks like a capital-B Bride. She is in the middle of reciting a new set of vows.

ANYA
'I promise to cherish you...' Eew,
no! "Cherish?" 'I promise to have
sex with you whenever...I want,
and pledge to be your friend and
your wife and your confidant and
your sex poodle and--'

TARA
Sex poodle?

ANYA
Yeah, why?

TARA
Uh, I'm not sure you should say
'sex poodle' in your vows.

ANYA
Huh.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - DAY

The eager faces of the guests in their seats, momentarily not fighting as THE STRING QUARTET BEGINS TO PLAY.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - BRIDE'S QUARTERS - DAY

Anya freezes as she hears the music.

ANYA
The music! They're playing the
music! This is it...

Anya's face lights up as the beautiful reality of the situation hits her. She's absolutely radiant. There's a KNOCK at the door and Buffy peeks her head in.

BUFFY
Are you ready, Ahn?

Before Anya can answer, Buffy is yanked back and the door closes.

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE BRIDE'S QUARTERS - CONTINUOUS

Buffy whirls to find Willow, who has closed the door. Her face is distressed, her voice an urgent hiss.

WILLOW
He's gone. Xander's disappeared.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

Act Three

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE BRIDE'S QUARTERS - CONTINUOUS

Buffy and Willow, as before.

BUFFY
What! Xander's gone? What do we
do?

WILLOW
I'm going to look, I'm going to
find him. And you're going to
stall.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - BRIDE'S QUARTERS - DAY

Anya and Tara look at each other. And then at the just slammed door. And then the door opens again, and again Buffy pokes her head in.

BUFFY
Sorry about that. Uh, it looks
like there's going to be a little
delay.

ANYA
Why? What's wrong?

BUFFY
Nothing, nothing. Just, um, the,
uh, minister! He's got to go
perform an emergency...C-section
and, uh--

ANYA
A C-section?

BUFFY
(scrambling)
Oh yes, he's a doctor as well as
a minister. He's like, half-
minister, half-doctor. A mini-
tor. Not, of course, to be
confused with a minotaur! Because
he's all man, this minister-doctor
man, no bull parts, whatsoever.

A beat.

ANYA
Uh-huh.

BUFFY
So anyway, it oughta just be a
couple of minutes.

ANYA
Okay.

Buffy closes the door. Anya looks at Tara.

ANYA (cont'd)
Okay, this is the last time.
Ahem. 'I, Anya, want to marry
you, Xander, because I love you
and I always will. Before I met
you, I was, like, a different
person. Not even a person,
really.

EXT. SUNNYDALE STREETS - DAY

Xander walks alone, thinking.

Anya's vows continue off-screen.

ANYA (V.0.)
...and I had seen what love did to
people. It was hurt. And
sadness. Alone was better. And
then suddenly there was you, and
you knew me, you saw me, and it
was this...thing. You make me
feel warm, and safe. So I get it
now, I finally get love, Xander.
I really do.

The RAIN LETS UP A BIT until it's just a drizzle and Xander keeps walking, going nowhere in particular.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - DAY

The guests are starting to get restless. People are starting to stand up. Karen, the asthmatic ten-year-old, pulls on Cousin Carol's sleeve.

KAREN
I'm bored.

COUSIN CAROL
It's a wedding, honey. We're all bored.

ANGLE ON D'Hoffryn and Halfrek. He looks anxious. She looks

HALFREK
...and I can't figure out why
there's no food, does she actually
want us to pass out from hunger?

D'HOFFRYN
(ignoring her)
Something's wrong, I should...
something's wrong.

ANGLE ON Buffy as she starts down the aisle to alert the MINISTER of the delay.

As she heads down the aisle, the string quartet begins to play THE PROCESSIONAL MUSIC ('Here Comes the Bride'). Everyone turns to look: it must be the beginning of the ceremony.

Embarrassed, Buffy bends down her head and waves her hands, telling the crowd as she passes:

BUFFY
No, no... This isn't it... It's not
what you think...

As she passes by, Cousin Carol dabs her eyes.

COUSIN CAROL
(vaklempt)
Beautiful.

Across the room, the Warty Demon smiles and waves kindly at a restless Karen. Carol notices...

Buffy reaches the minister and, covering THE STANDING MICROPHONE, whispers something in his ear. He nods.

Buffy heads back down the aisle and the eager string quartet starts to play RECESSIONAL MUSIC.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - BRIDE'S QUARTERS - DAY

Anya paces while an appeasing Tara tries to calm her.

ANYA
I am sorry, but what the hell is
that minister thinking?

TARA
I don't know, he--

ANYA
Delivering a baby on my special
day! It's totally rude of him and
the mother. He should have just
told her to hold it!

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - DAY

Most people are out of their seats at this point. Those in their seats are craning their heads around, impatient for the ceremony. The SOUND OF DISCONTENTED GRUMBLES fills the air. The guests are starting to argue.

ANGLE ON the teenage bartender as he looks up to see BOTH Mr. and Mrs. Harris standing in front of him. He instinctively backs up half a step, then:

MR. HARRIS
Double shot of Jack.

The bartender opens his mouth to speak, but Mr. Harris GLARES. Hard. The bartender prepares the drink.

MRS. HARRIS
(looking around at
the crowd)
This is a disaster.

MR. HARRIS
It's that Anya, I know it. She
made us pay for everything and now
she's going to foul it up. Women.

The bartender gingerly hands Mr. Harris the drink.

MRS. HARRIS
She didn't want my help. I
offered.

Mr. Harris just stares at her for a moment, then SWIGS his drink.

ANGLE ON D'Hoffryn and Halfrek. Halfrek looks petulant.

HALFREK
Oh, this thing totally isn't
happening. We should have known
she would never--

D'HOFFRYN
I'm worried about Anya

HALFREK
(bitter)
Oh, sure. Of course you are.

D'HOFFRYN
(mollifying)
Halfrek, you know I love all my
demons equally.

ANGLE ON COUSIN CAROL AND BUFFY as they observe the chaos. Karen stands next to them, her mouth on her inhaler, huffing.

COUSIN CAROL
Buffy, you gotta do something!

CUT TO:

INT. BISON'S LODGE - STAGE AREA - A LITTLE LATER

Buffy has commandeered the microphone.

BUFFY
So...who here's from out of town?

ANGLE ON THE CROWD as they stare at her blankly.

A beat and then CLEM raises his hand.

EXT. BISON'S LODGE - FRONT OF BUILDING - DAY

Dawn talks to a DEMON TEEN. The Demon Teen is sipping a Shirley Temple through a straw. They're both watching the other guests.

DEMON TEEN
My family is worse.

DAWN
No way. Mine is so messed up you
have no idea.

DEMON TEEN
Wait 'til you see my mother dance
at the reception. Then tell me
who's messed up.

DAWN
I guess they're all messed up.

DEMON TEEN
Yeah. Everybody's pretty lame.

Side by side they watch the grown-ups.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - STAGE AREA - DAY

Buffy stands to one side of the stage. Center-Stage the Warty Demon is juggling and kicking out a little soft shoe.

The crowd seems appeased.

OMITTED

OMITTED

INT. BISON'S LODGE - CORRIDOR - DAY

Anya hustles through the Bison's lodge hallways with Tara at her heels. Anya's face, pure determination.

TARA
Anya, wait up!

ANYA
This bride waits for no one. If
the minister's not here yet, well,
we'll just have to get married
without a minister!

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS

ON DAWN AND DEMON TEEN

DEMON TEEN
Jeez. What's the hold up?

DAWN
Can you keep a secret?

Anya and Tara storm into the main room. Passing Dawn and the Demon Teen just as:

DAWN (cont'd)
Nobody knows this, but the groom,
he took off and no one can find
him--

Anya screeches to a halt.

ANYA
What?

DAWN
Um...

DEM0N TEEN
I'll catch you later Dawn.

And he takes off.

ANYA
Xander is gone? Xander is
missing? WHAT DO YOU MEAN XANDER
IS MISSING!

Suddenly, the room is silent. Everyone turns to look at Anya. A beat.

And then the guests are all talking, grumbling, arguing. Amid the noise we hear:

UNCLE RORY
It's a joke, he's joking. Like
this one time, at one of Carol's
weddings, I had this ape suit--

TENTACLE DEMON
Oh, good. Another Harris family
joke.

UNCLE RORY
Well, hey, buddy. I'm just
kiddin' around. Someone's gotta
lighten the mood.

And it is at just this moment that Carol and the Warty Demon emerge from the coat closet, straightening their clothes. Carol looks particularly winded.

WARTY DEMON
(sotto to Clem)
She's got warts, too

Carol doesn't hear, looks around the room.

COUSIN CAROL
What?

Mr. Harris, seeing Carol, starts to laugh.

MR. HARRIS
Why not? Beauty and the beast.
Or - beast and the beast!

TENTACLE DEMON
I think you've had enough. Again.

MR. HARRIS
Drinking. Is the only way. I can
dull the pain of looking. At
your. Ugly. Face.

Mr. Harris sidles up to the Tentacle Demon and stares at him in the eyes. The room is totally transfixed now.

TENTACLE DEMON
You better think real hard about
this, Harris.

MR. HARRIS
Don't you touch me with those
nasty circus things.

The Tentacle Demon POKES him again. Mr. Harris rears back and THROWS A PUNCH at the Tentacle Demon.

TENTACLE DEMON
That's it!

And they're both ROLLING AROUND ON THE FLOOR, FISTS AND TENTACLES FLYING.

More demons and humans join the fight and soon AN OUT AND OUT BRAWL IS UNDERWAY!

Cousin Carol and a HAIRY DEMON are pulling each other's hair.

Tara finds herself pulled into the fray.

TARA
Ow!
(then)
Ew!

Buffy jumps off the stage and attempts to keep the peace. She pulls a human and demon apart...

BUFFY
Hey, break it up!

Only to get SMACKED BY AN ERRANANT PUNCH. She turns around and must pull apart another set of fighting humans and demons.

ANGLE ON ANYA as she makes her way through the crowd. She grabs a demon by its shoulders and demands:

ANYA
When did you see Xander last?

Ever helpful, Cousin Carol pokes her head in.

COUSIN CAROL
Well, I saw him go into the Trophy
Room with that guy!

Anya looks where she points and we see the Old Man. He's standing in the corner, watching all the chaos with a small smile on his lips.

Anya pushes her way through the crowd, finally arriving at the Old Man.

INT. BISON'S L0DGE - CORNER OF MAIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Anya confronts the Old Man. The Fite continues in the BG.

ANYA
You. You were talking to Xander
right before he left!

The Old Man smirks as he starts to move away from her.

ANYA (cont'd)
What did he say to you? What did
you say to him?

OLD MAN
Really doesn't matter now does it.
It's done.

ANYA
What's done?!
(yanking him back)
Did you--? If you said something
to make him leave...

OLD MAN
You'll what?
(then)
Haven't changed a bit. Still as
vindictive as ever.

ANYA
(squinting)
Do I know you?

OLD MAN
You don't recognize me, Anya? I'm
not the man I used to be, I know,
but they say eyes are windows to
the soul.

Anya looks into the Old Man's eyes. After a moment...

ANYA
Xander. Where is he?!

The Old Man sneers and turns away. Anya grabs his arm.

ANYA (cont'd)
You tell me, Old Man! You tell me
why he left!

OLD MAN
Why? He left because of you.

ANYA
I - I didn't do anything.

OLD MAN
Oh, really. What about this?

Suddenly, the Old Man transforms, his skin peels away as if molting and something seems to grow from within, revealing

A HUGE, HIDEOUS DEMONIC-LOOKING CREATURE!

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT THREE

Act Four

INT. BISON'S LODGE - CORNER OF MAIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Anya facing the Creature.

CREATURE
You did this. You brought this on!

Suddenly, it lets out a BLOOD-CURDLING SHRIEK and CLAWS POP OUT OF ITS FINGERS and it SWIPES at Anya. It misses and SHRIEKS AGAIN.

The wedding guests near to the Creature, stop fighting and stare in horror.

CLEM
Uh-oh.

The others farther away, remain oblivious. This includes Buffy.

ANGLE ON ANYA as she faces off with the Creature. Her voice trembles but she won't back down now.

ANYA
Tell me what you did with Xander!

She beats her fists against its chest.

ANYA (cont'd)
What are you?

The Creature raises a clawed hand and it looks like Anya's a goner, when suddenly it starts to make a strange noise: The Creature is laughing. Its claws retract.

CREATURE
You don't recognize me?

ANYA
No! What did you do to him?

The Creature just looks at her, enjoying the panic on her face. Savoring it.

CREATURE
I've waited a long time for this,
Anyanka.

ANGLE ON THE CROWD as those farther from the creature begin to realize something's going on.

ANGLE ON BUFFY as she spots the Creature.

BUFFY
Anya!

She begins pushing her way through the crowd. But the crowd is thick, she's on the other side of the room and it's slow going.

ANGLE ON ANYA

ANYA
(hushed)
Who. Are. You.

CREATURE
Remember Chicago? South side,
1914?

He looks at her expectantly. Enjoying the moment. Anya is stumped.

CREATURE (cont'd)
(more anxious)
Stewart Burns. Philanderer?

Anya begins to understand what's going on.

CREATURE (cont'd)
(taken aback}
You think you'd remember. I
remember you. But then again, you
ruined my life.

ANYA
You were... I punished you.

CREATURE
That's right. Some hussie I'd
been taking around summons you,
and next thing I know, I look like
this and I'm being tortured in
another dimension.

ANYA
I... I forgot.

CREATURE
Well, I didn't. Every day I
remembered and every day I thought
about how I would somehow get back
here and ruin your life like you
ruined mine.

Anya is on the verge of tears.

ANYA
But how--

CREATURE
Black magic. And plenty of time.
I practiced and practiced until
today. It didn't take much either.
I scared off your fiance with just
a couple phony visions.

ANYA
Visions of what?

CREATURE
Your future. Or his nightmare
vision of your future.

ANYA
That's it? That's all you did?

Tears start to spill. The Creature loves this, revels in her misery.

CREATURE
Yeah, it was easy. Look at that:
you're crying. Oh, I like that!

ANYA
S-stop it.

CREATURE
Oh, cry, Anyanka, cry. I love to
see you cry. Now, I'd love to see
you scream!

AND THE CREATURE POPS ITS CLAWS, SHRIEKS and ATTACKS!

He swipes at Anya -- CUTTING HER ARM and KNOCKING HER TO THE GROUND! He's standing over her, about to kill when

SUDDENLY, something thrown in the air, hits him SMACK in the face. It clatters to the ground -- one of the folding chairs set up for guests. He looks to see who threw it and sees:

Buffy charging right at him.

The Creature grabs Anya and holds her up like a shield, one hand on her chin.

CREATURE (cont'd)
Come any closer and I'll kill her.

Buffy pauses, her eyes flicking around the room. What should she do?

JUST THEN THE DOOR IS THROWN OPEN and Xander stands there. A hero, backlit by the sudden sunshine! He runs towards Anya. Willow right behind him.

XANDER
Anya!

ANYA
Xander!

CREATURE
AAAAaaarrggh!

Buffy has used this distraction to KICK THE CREATURE IN THE GROIN. It doubles over, dropping Anya. Buffy begins to PUMMEL the Creature, while Xander runs to Anya's side.

XANDER
Are you alright?

ANYA
I'm...I'm so glad you're back.
It's all lies; what he showed you,
it was all made up! He just
wanted to break us apart.

XANDER
Oh, it... it doesn't matter now.

ANYA
We're going to be okay.

ANGLE ON BUFFY as she fights with the clawing creature. It gets in a few good blows too.

The Creature is tired, weakening. Buffy PUNCHES THE CREATURE IN THE GUT and when it doubles over, grabs its head and SLAMS IT TO THE GROUND.

Quickly, she reaches up and grabs the length of white tulle that serves as the taxidermied bison's veil and YANKS IT FREE. She twists the fabric around the Creature's neck and PULLS. IT GASPS FOR BREATH.

Suddenly, someone wielding the FOLDING CHAIR HITS THE CREATURE IN THE HEAD.

We HEAR ITS NECK SNAP.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL Xander.

He uses the CHAIR TO HIT THE CREATURE AGAIN, and one more time for good measure. Then he just looks at it.

XANDER
It's dead.

BUFFY
Yep.

The crowd of wedding guests CHEERS. Xander, Anya, Willow and Buffy just stare at the dead monster.

WILLOW
Anyone else waiting for it to go
'poof'?
(then)
Maybe we can cover it with flowers.

ANGLE ON MR. HARRIS standing in the middle of the destroyed room. The place is a ruin: flowers everywhere; tables and chairs broken, etc.

MR. HARRIS
(re: the damage)
I am not paying for this, you
freaks!

WARTY DEMON
Stop. Calling. Us. Freaks!

AND THE ALL-FAMILY RUMBLE IS ON AGAIN! Willow finds Tara amid the raging crowd and pulls her to safety.

TARA
Thanks.

WILLOW
You okay?

TARA
Yeah.

ANYA
STOP IT! EVERYONE SIT DOWN!

The fighting crowd pauses.

ANYA (cont'd)
The wedding will go on! Now, get
in your seats.

Abashedly, they obey.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - ENTRY AREA

Xander and Anya stand alone. They face each other, holding hands.

ANYA
You know, it's bad luck for you to
see me in my dress.

She smiles at him. He smiles weakly. She touches his cheek.

ANYA (cont'd)
Hey, it's okay. It's all over.
He's dead. And it was just smoke
and mirrors.

XANDER
I know.

ANYA
So, we're ready now. Let's go get
married.

XANDER
I... I'm not.

She looks at him: 'what?'

XANDER(cont'd)
I'm not ready. I can't. Ahn, I'm
sorry.

ANYA
But it wasn't real. What he
showed you, it wasn't--

XANDER
I know it wasn't. But - it could
be.

ANYA
What was it? Was it about me? He
wants you to hate me, Xander-

XANDER
It wasn't you. It wasn't you I
was hating-
(then)
I've had thoughts, fears before
this. Maybe we went too fast-

ANYA
Everyone has 'thoughts' Xander.
It's natural- it doesn't mean
getting married is wrong-

XANDER
I know, I know- but-

ANYA
(desperate)
You're just shaken up, okay? Just
calm down and then we'll start
over. Okay?

He looks over at the main room His gaze falls on:

XANDER'S PARENTS. Mr. Harris has a bloody scratch on his cheek. Although we can't hear them, Mr. Harris yells bitterly at Mrs. Harris as she cries.

ANGLE ON Xander and Anya, as Xander looks back.

XANDER
But we can't start over. If this
is a mistake. It's forever. And
I don't want to hurt you...

She drops his hands. Shaking her head slightly, stunned.

XANDER (cont'd)
Not that way.
(then)
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

Slowly, she walks away from him. Like a sleepwalker. Leaving Xander alone.

After a moment, he exits too. In the opposite direction.

INT. BISON'S LODGE - MAIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Anya stands at the end of the aisle, in her wedding dress.

The guests all turn to look at her. Everyone stands. Dazed, she starts to move down the aisle and THE STRING QUARTET starts playing the PROCESSIONAL AGAIN.

But then people start to read her expression and her body language. Her face is streaked with tears. Her bouquet hangs at her side. She is clearly heartbroken beyond measure. The MUSIC DIES OUT... Anya stops. Everyone stares.

Slowly, the guests realize what has happened IMMEDIATELY THEY BEGIN TO BRAWL AGAIN.

But we stay on Anya. So still. So totally wrecked.

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

It's later that night and the gang; Buffy, Willow, and Dawn, have changed into sweats. They nurse cups of tea.

DAWN
Shouldn't we do something for her?
Anything!

WILLOW
She wants to be alone. That's
what she wants. Oh god, it hurts
my heart to think of her.

BUFFY
I know. The whole thing hurts my
heart.

DAWN
I thought they were happy.

BUFFY
They were. I know they were. They
were my light at the end of the
tunnel.
(then)
I guess they were a train.

DAWN
Why did this happen?

WILLOW
I don't know. I mean, I feel like
I should be hating Xander. But I
can't I just. I just hope he's
okay.

DAWN
I wonder where he is.

INT. CRAPPY MOTEL HALLWAY/CRAPPY MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

The NIGHT MANAGER of a crappy motel lets Xander into a room. The room is dank and depressing. Xander's face is blank.

NIGHT MANAGER
Not much to explain here. The air
conditioner's bust.

Xander nods.

NIGHT MANAGER (cont'd) That's it. Check out is eleven.

Again, Xander nods. The Night Manager exits, closing the door behind him. Xander just stands there.

INT. ANYA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Anya sits alone, still in her wedding dress. Her face smeared with tears and mascara.

A hand rests on her shoulder, comforting her.

D'HOFFRYN (O.S.)
Are you okay?

PULL BACK TO REVEAL D'Hoffryn. Anya just looks at him.

ANYA
I'm tired of crying. I'm just so
tired, D'Hoffryn.

D'HOFFRYN
(soothing)
Oh, Anyanka. I'm sorry.
(then)
You let him domesticate you. When
you were a vengeance demon you
were powerful, at the top of your
game. You crushed men like him.

A moment as this sinks in.

D'HOFFRYN (cont'd)
It's time you got back to what you
do best, don't you think?

Anya looks up at him. But her face reveals no decision. Off her look:

BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW