Him

September 17, 2002 (WHITE)

Written by: Drew Z. Greenberg

Directed by: Michael Gershman

Teaser

FADE IN:

INT. XANDER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

The door swings open and XANDER enters, all business, followed closely by BUFFY and DAWN.

XANDER
You're gonna live in that small room
over there, I know it looks like a
closet, but it's a room now, and
you're not gonna touch my food, and
I shower first in the morning, if I
use up all the hot water, that's your
tough noogies, and I hate this plan.

He looks back

XANDER (cont'd)
Are you keeping up, or do you need
some kind of English-to-constant-pain-
in-my-ass translation?

Dawn looks back at Buffy, who looks back to the door where we see... SPIKE. Not coming in. He opens his mouth to speak, then lets out an exasperated little sigh. Buffy looks back to Xander

BUFFY
Invitation.

Xander's face becomes even more weary than before.

XANDER
Is there something more emphatic than
hate? Can I revile the plan?

He looks over at Spike, resigned.

XANDER (cont'd)
Fine. I invite you in. Nimrod.

As Spike crosses the threshold into the apartment:

SPIKE
Don't want your sodding food anyway.

He moves to the living room, sits. Xander and Dawn stay with Buffy. They talk softly, trying not to be overheard.

XANDER
I just don't understand when his
problems became your problems. Or,
more specifically, mine.

BUFFY
The basement at the school is making
him crazy. We can't just leave him
there.

XANDER
Why not? Crazy-basement-guy is
better than stalking-Buffy-guy.

DAWN
It's true.
(then)
You guys aren't... you're not
starting up again with the...

BUFFY
No. No, a gallon of no. It's
just - things are different. He has
a soul now.

XANDER
I'm sure that'll be a real comfort
when he soulfully attacks you again.

DAWN
Yeah - what does it even mean? That
Spike is all soul-having?

BUFFY
I don't know, exactly. But he's been
through a lot and nobody's attacking-

SPIKE
(O.C.)
Buffy-

Buffy didn't see Spike come up behind her. He puts a hand on her arm. Buffy FLINCHES and pulls away. Dawn takes this in, as does Spike - who looks shamed by her reaction.

SPIKE (cont'd)
Sorry-

BUFFY
(moves away from him)
No. It's okay. I'm just-

SPIKE
I'll go. This can't work.

BUFFY
It will. It's already working.
You've been out of the basement for
half an hour and you've already
stopped talking to invisible people.

SPIKE
Bullocks.

BUFFY
Okay. So there was that one episode
in the car-

SPIKE
No - bullocks to this whole thing.
I don't need you mollycoddling-

BUFFY
(emphatic)
It's not coddling.
(then)
Now go to your closet.

A beat as everyone takes in this weird dynamic between Buffy and Spike. Then Buffy heads for the door. Spike watches her go, pained.

DAWN (PRE-LAP)
So what is it?

EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - BLEACHERS - DAY

Buffy and Dawn in the bleachers, eating lunch. Alone. Below them, on the field, the FOOTBALL TEAM scrimmages.

BUFFY
What's what?

DAWN
Last night you said that you weren't
helping Spike out of pity. So what
is it?

BUFFY
You ask a good question.

Buffy keeps eating.

DAWN
Is sitting there eating egg salad
some kind of zen non-answer?

BUFFY
(struggling)
I just... The truth is - I don't
know what I feel. I think I can't
stand him, but then sometimes...

DAWN
You love him?

BUFFY
No. I feel for him.

DAWN
Feel what, exactly?

BUFFY
Dawn...

DAWN
(sincere)
No. I'm trying to understand. I
mean, nothing makes sense. First you
say Spike disgusts you but, secretly,
you two are doing it like bunnies.
And Spike says he'd die for you, but
he tries to rape you.
(then/hesitant)
And I'm even trying to understand
that. A little. The rape part.

BUFFY
He didn't. I mean, he tried-

DAWN
Not that. I just... You guys had
sex a lot, right? It's not like you
were strangers. Weren't you ever...
(hard to say)
... being kind of rough with each
other?
(off Buffy's look)
Anya said some stuff-

BUFFY
I really should've killed her. Dawn,
it was complicated. But I'd broken
it off with him. I didn't want to
anymore.

DAWN
(gets it)
Oh. Oh... That must have been...
(then)
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for even asking.

BUFFY
It's okay. I get the question. I've
asked it myself a few times.
(then)
For the record? Spike knew how wrong
it was. That's why he went away.

DAWN
To get a soul? Like that's going to
make him a better man? Xander had a
soul when he stood Anya up at the
alter. And now he says he still
wants her.
(then)
You know, I don't think it's the
school basement that makes people
crazy.

BUFFY
I wish I had better answers. Or ones
with big words you couldn't really
follow.

DAWN
It's just... it seems kind of...
exhausting.

BUFFY
(smiles)
It truly is.

Buffy gathers her things.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I should get back. You coming?

DAWN
(on a roll now)
I'm telling you, I don't get why
people even bother. I mean, with all
the energy they waste on chasing and
having and brooding, you could cure
about eight-gazillion icky diseases-

BUFFY
Bye, rant-girl.

Buffy moves off. Dawn keeps talking.

DAWN
Or you could, like, paint beautiful
murals on every ugly wall in the
whole world. And then paint
beautiful murals on every ugly mural
in the...

Dawn trails off. Seeing something. Below her, the team is finished, coming to the sidelines. We see R.J. BROOKS, 17, the quarterback. Tall, muscular, very much the young jock, he gets to the bench, puts on a worn, beaten letterman jacket.

DAWN (cont'd)
...whole...

Dawn, suddenly love-struck, sees R.J. moving in slow motion now, hair gently blowing in the breeze, water bottle sensually spraying, as we hear the theme from "A Summer Place."

R.J. moves away from the bench, high-fiving his teammates, still in slow motion. Dawn cranes to watch him: further, further, around the bleachers, out of sight... and she leans too far, loses her balance, FALLS OFF THE SIDE AND OUT FRAME.

END OF TEASER
Act One

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY

Dawn nervously paces the hallway, psyching herself up. We're between classes. Students fill the halls.

Dawn steels herself, takes a deep breath. She rounds the corner, and down the hall we see:

R.J., in his letterman jacket, leaning up against a locker, talking to O'DONNELL, 17, football jock, also in a varsity jacket, and LORI and CHERYL, 17. Lori is wearing her cheerleading uniform. Cheryl is wearing her cheerleading top. She has a large cast on her leg.

CHERYL
I've been thinking about it -- I
think I can still cheer. I could use
a chair. We all could. Like the
Laker girls.

LORI
Oh honey -- you need to concentrate
on getting better. Don't worry,
we'll find a replacement for you
tomorrow -

Cheryl looks at R.J.

CHERYL
I just feel like I let you down...

DAWN (O.S.)
Hey, R.J.

The group turns, looks over, sees Dawn standing now just outside their circle.

LORI
(yuck)
Oh. Dawn.

R.J.
Hey. Summers.

DAWN
I was just wondering, um, you, uh,
you had Mr. Gurin for English back at
your old school, right?

R.J.
We all did.

DAWN
I have him this year.

Everyone just sort of stares and nods, waiting for something more.

DAWN (cont'd)
(trying to fill the
pause)
What a drag.

R.J.
I actually kinda liked him.

DAWN
Right. Right, no, I like him, I just
meant, you know...

Lori and Cheryl turn away, then O'Donnell, then, with a sympathetic smile, R.J. does, too.

DAWN (cont'd)
... drag in a good, fun way...

O'DONNELL
So the tryouts tomorrow, you are
gonna make the new girls jump up and
down a lot, right?

Lori punches O'Donnell lightly in the arm. R.J. laughs.

LORI
Gross, you guys. A vending machine
fell on Cheryl and all you can think
about are new cheerleaders?

DAWN
(to R.J.)
Oh, hey, I heard someone saying they
think we're gonna go all the way to
the championships this year. In
football.

The group turns once again, stares at Dawn. She's still there.

DAWN (cont'd)
You, I mean Not we, 'cause it's you
playing. So you are gonna go. All
the way. Football-wise.

R.J. tries to accommodate Dawn.

R.J.
We actually do have a good shot,
considering we're a new team.

O'DONNELL
Yeah, well... if you can get us past
Highland, we've got a good shot.

R.J.
Like you could do better.

O'DONNELL
We'll see.

R.J. bristles at this.

R.J.
You actually think Coach'd start you
at quarterback over me?

O'Donnell shrugs.

O' DONNELL
I'm just saying...

DAWN
The quarterback is the most important
member of the team. He is the rudder
that guides the ship.

Everyone just stops. Dawn looks down at the ground. Oh God -- did I just say that?

R.J.
Right...

He turns back to the group, ignoring Dawn. He nods to Cheryl.

R.J. (cont'd)
(re: her backpack)
Can I give you a hand with that?

CHERYL
(bright)
Would you really?

Lori seems slightly pissed about this.

LORI
(trying to be casual)
Oh, she's okay. She can get it
herself.

R.J.
Hey -- we're all a team, right?

He helps Cheryl, and the four of them walk off, paying no attention to Dawn whatsoever.

DAWN
(quietly)
You're all a team.
(pause)
We can talk later, that's cool.

As Dawn watches them go, she looks like she wants to die. Then, inspiration seems to strike...

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - BASEMENT - NIGHT

In the dim, dingy light, we find Dawn, on her knees, her back to us. Digging through boxes, though we can't see what's in them. She stops, sits up. Found it. Satisfied.

OMITTED

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - GYMNASIUM - DAY

Cheerleading tryouts. We PAN down the line of hopefuls. Girl after girl after girl, each dressed in sweats, t-shirts, tank tops.

And at the end we find Dawn. Dressed in Buffy's old cheerleading outfit from "The Witch." Looking ridiculously out of place and uncomfortable.

In the middle of the gym, another cheerleading CANDIDATE is finishing her routine in front of the judges' table, where Lori sits with two CHEERLEADING JUDGES. Behind them, in the bleachers, sits R.J., O'Donnell and a small group of FOOTBALL JOCKS.

CHEERLEADING CANDIDATE
Goooooooooooo Razorbacks!

She executes a perfect cartwheel, lands on her feet, high kicks really high and shakes her pom poms in a super-fun way.

Dawn watches, petrified.

LORI
Okay, awesome, thank you! Up next we
have...
(her face sours a
bit, then recovers)
Dawn Summers.

Silence. Dawn slowly, timidly approaches the center of the gym, stands before the judges' table.

LORI
Nice outfit.

The jocks and the judges stifle laughter. Dawn looks at R.J. He seems casually amused. Dawn's mortified... but she begins anyway.

As she cheers, she executes some pretty awkward moves, kicks that don't go that high, bounces that are off-rhythm...

DAWN
(cheering)
Razorbacks, Razorbacks, we're gonna
play!/We got our secret weapon, his
name is R.J.!

R.J.'s eyes go wide in disbelief. Lori's not thrilled.

DAWN (cont'd)
(cheering)
So hear us cheer, hear us yell,
listen what we say...

She lines herself up for a big finish...

DAWN (cont'd)
(cheering)
Razorbacks, Razorbacks...

She throws herself into a messy, ill-timed cartwheel...

DAWN (cont'd)
(cheering while
cartwheeling)
...goooooooo R.J.!!

... but on "R.J.," her arms give out, she rounds out, lands on her butt, and sits there facing the judges -- and R.J. -- in total, heavy silence.

After a beat:

LORI
Okay. Thank you. Very spirited.

OMITTED

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT

Buffy stands by the bathroom door. Inside the bathroom we hear muffled SOBS.

BUFFY
Come on, Dawnie, come out.
(nothing)
Dawn. Honey. It's not that bad-

The door is yanked open. There stands Dawn, her face tear- streaked and red. Eyes puffy. She's in full teen meltdown.

DAWN
How would you even know? R.J. is
never going to notice me now!

BUFFY
From what you said, I'm pretty sure
he already noticed you. What with
the falling and the-

Strike out. Dawn SLAMS the bathroom door in Buffy's face. Buffy winces at her own dumb comment.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Spirit! They said you were
spirited - right?

DAWN
Go away!

BUFFY
Dawn...

Buffy leans her forehead against the door. Now Xander enters from downstairs.

XANDER
Things a lot better, I see.

BUFFY
I don't think tonight is going to be
good for videos, Xand.

XANDER
Right. With the wailing and the
crying.
(then)
Still better than a cozy evening with
Spike. Shall I order a pizza? Don't
teens in a snit like pizza?

Dawn YANKS the door open again.

DAWN
It is not a snit. I finally met him,
the guy of my dreams, okay? And I
blew it! R.J. hates me now.

Buffy sees something behind Dawn, on the floor. A heap of maroon and yellow material.

BUFFY
Dawn - what's that?

DAWN
Just the end of my life.

Now Dawn hustles past Buffy and into her room. Buffy moves to the pile of material and finds that it's her CHEERLEADER OUTFIT - and now it's in tatters. Buffy gives Xander a look. This is getting freaky.

XANDER
Remember when she had a crush on me?
I miss the much cuter me crush.

INT. DAWN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Dawn is now sprawled face-down on her bed. Buffy comes to the doorway, cheerleading outfit in hand. Xander stands nearby.

BUFFY
You shredded my outfit.

DAWN
I'll buy you a new one.

BUFFY
Not the point. I don't want a new
cheerleading outfit-

XANDER
Now, now. Let's not be hasty-
(off their looks)
Not the time for... Right.

Buffy sits next to Dawn on the bed. Trying.

BUFFY
Dawnie. I'm sorry you feel so bad.
But this won't feel so terrible in
the morning. I mean, you don't even
know this R.J. Not really.

DAWN
I do know him. I know his soul.

BUFFY
Really? Cause yesterday he wasn't
even on your radar-

XANDER
It's the jacket.

Dawn and Buffy both look over at Xander.

XANDER (cont'd)
It's true. Something about the big
letter on the chest - makes girls get
swoony and crushy. I saw it all the
time in school. And you couldn't
just pin any old felt letter to your
coat and get play. Not that I tried.

DAWN
It isn't a crush. It's love. I love
R.J.

BUFFY
Again, since yesterday? That's
awfully fast.

DAWN
What, you're telling me I don't feel
what I feel?

BUFFY
Of course not, no. If you say it's
love...

Dawn's expression opens a little.

BUFFY
I believe it seems real. To you.

DAWN
(Closing down again)
Know what? Maybe I don't want advice
from the dysfunction queen. You have
no idea what I'm feeling. You have
no idea what real love is. If you
did you wouldn't make fun of me this
way.

BUFFY
What? I'm not-

DAWN
Just - go. Leave me alone.

Dawn buries her head in her arms. Buffy looks at a total loss.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY

Dawn, around a corner, sees R.J. next to his locker. She swallows, takes a step toward him -- and then O'Donnell, arrives from the other direction. She stops, watches...

O'DONNELL
Hey, Brooks, just talked to the coach.

R.J.
Yeah? Told ya, man, all those
fumbles in practice, he was gonna
come down on you --

O'DONNELL
I'm starting on Saturday.

R.J. gets very quiet. He looks like his world is gonna collapse.

R.J.
Great. Who knew fumbling all the
time was the key?

O'DONNELL
Just time to let someone else have a
turn, man. You knew this was coming.

R.J.
Sure. Yeah.

O'Donnell smiles, punches R.J. in the arm. Not gently. Walks away.

Dawn sees R.J.'s face, then watches as O'Donnell walks past her. She hurries after him.

DAWN
You can't do this to R.J.

O'Donnell stops, looks back at her, then, seeing she's of no consequence, keeps walking again

O'DONNELL
Oh hey - it's you.
(insincere)
Nice cheering the other day.

DAWN
It isn't fair, he works so hard.

He faces her. They're the only people in this hall.

O'DONNELL
What do you care? This is how the
game is played. It's dog eat dog --
may the best man win.

DAWN
But nobody's better than R.J.

O'DONNELL
Yeah, well, that's not really up to
you, is it?

He turns and takes one step down the stairs.

And without even thinking, almost purely on instinct, Dawn simply, quickly reaches out and shoves O'Donnell.

Angle up on Dawn, watching O'Donnell fall down the stairs. We hear a soft THUD, and Dawn's face registers a bit of shock at what she just did.

BLACK OUT:

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

INT. PRINCIPAL WOOD'S OFFICE - DAY

Dawn sits in the student seat. Facing her interrogators. Innocent. Helpful.

DAWN
It all happened so fast -- I mean,
one minute he was walking, the next
he stumbled...
(shrugs)
And then he fell.

We see she's speaking to Buffy, who leans on the desk, facing Dawn. PRINCIPAL WOOD sits at the desk.

BUFFY
Could you have accidentally bumped
into him or something?

DAWN
No. I wasn't anywhere near him.

PRINCIPAL WOOD
Why would he say you pushed him down
the stairs?

DAWN
I don't know.
(thinks)
Maybe he was embarrassed. It's hard
being clumsy. 'Specially when you're
popular and athletic.
(beat)
I bet.

Principal Wood looks at Buffy.

PRINCIPAL WOOD
Well, it wouldn't be the first time
I caught O'Donnell in a lie, to be
candid.

BUFFY
Be nice if his lies didn't involve my
sister, though.

PRINCIPAL WOOD
We can deal with that after he gets
out of the hospital.

DAWN
It happened really fast. He's
probably just confused.

PRINCIPAL WOOD
I suppose. Let's hope so.
(to Buffy)
I'm gonna have to call Coach Wheeler
and break the news. Not a
conversation I wanna have.

DAWN
You mean 'cause O'Donnell was gonna
start on Saturday.

PRINCIPAL WOOD
Exactly. Coach'll have to go back to
the drawing board.

DAWN
Least he's still got R.J. to take
over.

Buffy narrows her eyes at that one. Something just clicked...

PRINCIPAL WOOD
Well, I think we have everything we
need for now. Sorry you had to be
involved in this, Dawn.

Dawn stands up.

DAWN
That's okay.
(genuine)
I'm just sorry it happened.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY

Dawn walks down the hallway, relief apparent on her face. Students mill about between classes around her. From the throng we hear:

R.J. (O.S.)
Summers!

R.J. comes bounding over to Dawn. Energized. Attentive.

R.J.
Hey.

Dawn looks at him, amazed, happy. The cutest boy in the world just called her name in front of the whole school. Plus, he was bounding. This is definitely a good day.

DAWN
Hi!

R.J.
I heard Wood hauled you into his
office.

DAWN
Well, yeah.

R.J.
About O'Donnell.

DAWN
Yes.

R.J.
That sucks. Facing the whole
inquisition thing.

DAWN,
Yeah, no one expects the Spanish
Inquisition.
(shuts her eyes,
embarrassed)
God, it's like I have some disease or
something.
(trying again)
It was really no big deal.

But then R.J., ignoring her Monty Python geekiness, puts his hand on her shoulder. Stops her.

R.J.
No, it was. I think it's cool that
you faced him. Wood.

DAWN
We just talked. He just needed me to
tell him about the accident.

She looks at him then, trusting. Adoring. And R.J. looks at her, sizes her up. Gets it. Gets her.

R.J.
Yeah. It sucks when these things
just happen... Out of nowhere.

DAWN
Right. Out of nowhere.

He keeps walking, and now she's keeping up with him. She's looking at him differently now, like they have a secret bond.

R.J.
You know, I was thinking of heading
out tonight. After practice. You
wanna meet up?

Off of Dawn's big, big happy:

INT. BRONZE - NIGHT

Band plays, people dance and drink and laugh and move about. It's busy in here. Buffy, Willow and Xander at a table, facing the dance floor.

XANDER
No, Spike definitely seems a little
more cogent, less...

He drums his fingers up and down on his lips, doing "crazy."

XANDER (cont'd)
... but I'm just saying, once you get
the soul, doesn't that mean you
start, like, picking up your own wet
towels off the floor?

WILLOW
No. But maybe you start feeling
really bad about leaving them there.

BUFFY
Least he's showering. That's a
delightful and refreshing change...

Buffy's attention is diverted by something on the dance floor.

XANDER
Buff?

We see now what she sees. R.J. out on the floor, dancing. Periodically blocked by the throng.

BUFFY
I think that's the guy.

WILLOW
What guy?

BUFFY
The guy who, according to Dawn, is,
quote, the hottest, deepest,
smartest, funniest and having-of-the-
thickest-boy-eyelashes boy in school.
Unquote.

XANDER
He don't seem so tough.

WILLOW
Yeah, but check out the fan club.

We see R.J. dancing -- very Swayze-Grey -- with a shameless Slutty Girl. Her back is to us, but we can see she wears a slinky, low-cut outfit and heels.

XANDER
Hmmm. Daddy like.

BUFFY
What is that blouse made of, paint?

WILLOW
Buff --

BUFFY
No, I'm glad Dawnie isn't here to see
her precious boyfriend getting all...
thrusty with some slut-bag hussy --

Slutty Girl dances around, reveals her heavily made-up face. DAWN. Buffy, Xander and Willow sit back, surprised. And maybe a teensy bit queasy.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Oh.

XANDER
Oh.
(realizing)
Oh! No. Daddy - no! I wasn't...
When I was looking, I wasn't... Oh,
God.

Willow leans back, leans over to him nonchalantly, away from Buffy:

WILLOW
(sotto to Xander)
Right there with ya.

TIME JUMP TO:

INT. BRONZE - LATER

Dawn, still a big ho, steps off the dance floor and right into BUFFY.

BUFFY
So, you have plans for later, or you
just gonna go down to the docks and
wait for the fleet to come in?

DAWN
What?

BUFFY
Where do I start with the bad?
First - you said you were going to
the library. Second - you don't go
on a date without informing me first.
And third - Anna Nicole Smith thinks
you look tacky.

Dawn looks down at her outfit, back up at Buffy. Embarrassed, but trying not to show it now, trying to maintain her pride.

DAWN
I think I look hot. And so does R.J.

BUFFY
I bet be does. You know, maybe I
should have a word with him-

Buffy starts to move off, but Dawn grabs her.

DAWN
No! Don't you dare embarrass me in
front of him!

BUFFY
I don't like this, Dawn. This guy
has you acting crazy.

DAWN
Like you've never dressed up for a
guy?

BUFFY
Not this way, no.

DAWN
Please! Besides - it's my life.
I'll do what I want to.

BUFFY
I don't think so-

DAWN
Oh, so what, suddenly you're Mom
now --

BUFFY
No, I'm not, and I'm glad she isn't
here to see you like this.

Dawn looks stricken at that one. Buffy relents.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Look, I'm sorry-

DAWN
(cold)
You just can't handle it.

BUFFY
What?

DAWN
You've always been the special one.
Hot Buffy with the boyfriends - the
Slayer. And now, somebody likes me.
And you can't stand that I'm getting
attention.

BUFFY
That's not true-

DAWN
It is. And I'm sorry, but I like the
way R.J. makes me feel. I don't care
if you think that makes me a slut or
whatever!

BUFFY
You're not going back out on that
dance floor.

Dawn, furious, stalks out the door.

EXT. SUNNYDALE STREETS - ALLEY - NIGHT

Dawn walks down the empty alley. Upset, but holding back her tears, trying to calm down. There's a soft, quick THUMP from the shadows. Dawn tenses, stops, looks into the darkness.

DAWN
(tentative)
R.J.?

Nothing. She walks toward it, then stops, hesitating.

LORI (O.S.)
I know what you're doing, slut.

Lori steps out of the shadows, walks menacingly toward Dawn.

LORI
I saw you. I saw you with R.J.

DAWN
(backing away)
So? We were just dancing.

LORI
Right. I'm not stupid, you know.

Dawn backs up all the way against the alley wall. Trapped.

LORI (cont'd)
You're gonna back off. Now.

Dawn's face hardens. She looks Lori right in the eyes.

DAWN
You know what's sad? A girl who
can't move on when she's been dumped.

LORI
He didn't dump me!

Lori, enraged, grabs a fistful of Dawn's hair and pulls her -- violently -- away from the wall. A SCRAPPY GIRL FIGHT ENSUES. Dawn uses some of her pseudo Slayerette training to get in a few good licks - but Lori is powered by crazy love and gets her on the ground.

Suddenly, Lori is YANKED off. Buffy stands between them, as Dawn gets back up. They are both spittin' mad. Buffy looks to Dawn.

BUFFY
First with the lap dance, now with
the cat fight. Hey - wanna get drunk
and barf next?

DAWN
Let me go! This isn't finished!

LORI
I'll never let you have him, bitch!

Lori KICKS Buffy in the leg. Surprised, Buffy lets Lori go. Lori breaks for the street, yelling as she goes-

LORI (cont'd)
R.J. is mine. I mean it. Stay away
from him!

She runs off into the night. Buffy looks to Dawn.

BUFFY
Well. At least someone agrees you
shouldn't be dating this guy.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - COUNSELING OFFICE - DAY

Buffy leans in the doorframe, staring at Principal Wood's door. Impatient. Behind her, in the hall, students walk past, between classes.

Wood's door opens. R.J. walks out, his jacket slung over his arm. Wood stands in the doorway, holding the door open.

PRINCIPAL WOOD
... how about if you tried doing your
own homework, no more getting all
these impressionable young women in
your classes to do it for you. Avoid
detention? Sound good?

R.J.
Whatever.

PRINCIPAL WOOD
O sweet, infectious enthusiasm!

He looks at Buffy.

PRINCIPAL WOOD (cont'd)
The future and promise of a
generation encapsulated in a single
word.
(wistfully)
"What. Ever."

He places his hand over his heart, as though he's touched. Then he rolls his eyes, shuts his door.

R.J. heads for the front door.

BUFFY
Whoa, hang on there, Slappy. Not
done with you yet.

R.J.
Aw, man, like it's not bad enough I
got that guy riding my back all the
time, now I gotta deal with you too?

BUFFY
I'm actually a bit more formidable
than Mr. Wood, you might come to look
fondly on his back-riding.

R.J.
Yeah, but --

BUFFY
Sit.

She shoves R.J. down into a swivel chair in front of her.

R.J.
Hey, I told him I was sorry about the
homework.

BUFFY
Not the homework, Mr. Wizard. The
girls. What you're doing to them.
In specific, my sister.

R.J.
Hey, I didn't do anything to your
sister! And you saw how hot she
looked last night, I think that
proves --

BUFFY
aaAAAAHHHH! No more with the talky!

She takes a beat, regains her composure.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I know how you guys work. You turn
on the charm, you get whatever you
want, no matter who gets in your way.

He stands, starts putting on his jacket, ready to leave.

R.J.
Okay, look, it's not like that, I
just get along really well with girls.

Buffy presses him back down into the seat, his jacket still half-on. He shuts up.

BUFFY
Yeah. I see how you get along.
Oooh, look at me, I'm a big
quarterback...

As R.J. silently puts his jacket the rest of the way on:

BUFFY (cont'd)
...I crush little girls and their
little feelings, and all I have to do
is lead a team of... of...

She looks at him differently.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Lead a team of high school athletes
trying their very best to do a good
job, everyone depending on me...
(thinks)
That is a lot of pressure.

She shakes it off.

BUFFY (cont'd)
But that doesn't mean you get to
disregard other people's feelings.

R.J.
It's not like I meant to hurt anyone.

BUFFY
No. I know. But you're a leader.
A captain. People look up to you and
you have to keep that in mind
whenever...
(trails off, thinking)
I bet you have to run a lot.

He looks around. What?

BUFFY (cont'd)
They work you pretty hard, don't they?

R.J. grins at her a little, stands up, faces her.

R.J.
Yeah. I guess so.

BUFFY
I get that. I really do. I'm there.
Or, I was there, when I was in high
school. Which I was. Just a couple
years ago, really.
(laughs nervously)
I just realized, I'm basically the
same age as you, not really older.
At all, actually. Just like you.
(serious again)
But with the sexual experience and
stuff. R.J.
I think I hear what you're saying...

A TEACHER walks in from the hallway, interrupting the moment.

BUFFY
Right. I'm glad we had this talk.
You should probably... get to class.

R.J.
Okay. Thanks.

R.J. flashes her a charming grin, then turns. Walks away. In slow motion.

We hear that "Summer Place" theme again as we watch him go.

On Buffy as she watches him, too. Enraptured.

After a beat, she giggles a bit to herself. Totally hooked.

END OF ACT TWO
Act Three

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - EVENING

Dawn comes through the front door, heads for the stairs.

BUFFY (O.S.)
Dawn? Come talk to me.

Dawn freezes as if shot.

DAWN
(to herself)
Ambush.

Dawn takes a breath, steels herself and heads into the living room. Buffy is waiting on the couch. Dawn stays standing, trying to hurry this along.

BUFFY
I just want to tell you I talked to
R.J.

DAWN
You met him? Buffy, what did you do?

BUFFY
He happened to be in the office. We
said a few words. And he's okay. I
think he likes you.

Dawn finally sits, eager.

DAWN
Really? Tell me what he said about
me. Every word. Include intonation
and facial expressions.

BUFFY
He thinks you're funny and pretty and
interesting. Didn't have a thing to
say against you.

Buffy avoids Dawn's eye... Is slightly less than convincing.

DAWN
Yes he did. I can tell.

BUFFY
Tiniest thing. He... He might have
said you... came on a little strong.

DAWN
Oh my god. I'm the Pushy Queen of
Sluttown.

BUFFY
Not at all! Just lay back a little,
let him come to you.

DAWN
I'm just scared while I'm laying back
some other girl will sweep him up.

BUFFY
But see, we have inside info. We
know he doesn't like being swept. He
wants to be the sweeper. You're
gonna come out the winner here, Dawn,
with me looking out for you.

DAWN
Yeah, I guess so. Thanks.

Dawn smiles, leans against Buffy, who strokes Dawn's hair, looking very satisfied with herself.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - CLASSROOM - DAY

Class full of students - including R.J. As we move through the class toward the front, we first hear, then find, the MALE TEACHER, 30's:

MALE TEACHER
... but we do know that six x plus y
equals sixteen, so we can solve for
y in terms of --

We push in and then around to the classroom's side door just as it OPENS. Buffy sticks her head in. Very serious.

BUFFY
Hi, sorry to interrupt. We need to
see R.J. Brooks down in the guidance
office.

MALE TEACHER
Oh. Well, the lesson is just --

BUFFY
It'll just take a moment. I promise
I'll have him right back to you.

The teacher looks to R.J., nods. R.J. stands, goes to the door.

OMITTED

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - ANOTHER CLASSROOM - DAY

We see no one's here. Just empty chairs and desks. Buffy pulls R.J. in.

R.J.
There's no one here.

BUFFY
(so sexy)
Yes, there is. There's one of you,
and there's one of me. You were the
one in math class, tell me what that
adds up to.

He smiles. This is way better than going to the principal's office.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY

Dawn walks down the empty hall. She comes to the classroom where R.J. should be sitting.

DAWN
(to herself)
It's not coming on too strong if I
just look at him...

She looks in the window of the door, sees R.J.'s empty desk, turns back around. Troubled.

PRE-LAP:

BUFFY (O.S.)
I've always been fascinated by
football.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - ANOTHER CLASSROOM - DAY

R.J. and Buffy sit on the teacher's desk. Buffy is flirting so hard she may strain a flirt muscle.

BUFFY
What's it really like to lead a team?
It's gotta be like... being a
gladiator, right? Leading warriors
into battle.

R.J.
I guess. The thing of it is, the
time. Nobody gets how much time goes
into it, with practices and games...

BUFFY
Oh, I get that! I was, kinda,
juggling some stuff in high school
too, which was very recent. And it's
like everyone expects you to have all
this free time for studying!
Principal Snyder was always on me.

R.J.
Snyder. That's right. You had a
different guy. Well he couldn't've
been worse than Wood.

BUFFY
Oh Snyder was twice the terror that
Wood was. Also, half.
(off his confused
look)
Short. He was a little short.

R.J.
I still say Wood's the worst. You
haven't seen the way that guy rides
me. It's, like, criminal. I wish
someone would get him off my back.

Buffy is just staring at his eyes, not listening.

BUFFY
Yeah, that would be cool.

R.J.
And sometimes I didn't even do
anything wrommmmph--

Buffy is suddenly kissing him. He kisses back. Then:

R.J. (cont'd)
Whoa. You're... you're like, a
teacher.

BUFFY
Not really. But... I mean, does it
bother you?

A grin.

R.J.
(yee-ha!)
Not so much.

The bell RINGS out in the hall, taking us to:

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY

As the bell finishes RINGING, students pour out of class, surrounding Dawn.

She passes classroom after classroom, peeking into the small high windows. By her reaction we can tell R.J.'s not in any of them.

She looks in one more window.

DAWN'S POV THROUGH WINDOW:

Inside, we see Buffy and R.J. on the teacher's desk, still clothed, but definitely tangled up and seriously making out.

ON DAWN:

Horrified, looking sick to her stomach, Dawn turns and runs.

EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - DAY

Dawn comes tearing out the front of the school, drops her books and slides down onto the front steps, weeping.

A pair of work boots approaches Dawn, stops in front of her.

XANDER (O.S.)
Dawn?

Dawn looks up, and now we see Xander standing above her.

XANDER
What's wrong?

Dawn is wracked with a new set of sobs. Xander sits down on the step next to her.

XANDER (cont'd)
Is this... did that guy in the
jacket --

DAWN
Ugh! I don't even wanna hear his
name anymore!

XANDER
I just called him that guy in the
jacket.

DAWN
That's what I used to call him in my
head before I knew his real name!

Xander's realizing that something is very, very wrong.

XANDER
Dawnie? Honey? You seem...
extraordinarily perturbed. Maybe I
should go get Buffy --

Dawn looks up, her eyes dark, angry, though tear-stained.

DAWN
No. I don't ever want to see her
again.

XANDER
I thought this was about the guy in,
uh, that guy with the thing.

DAWN
Now it's about both of them.

Xander just stares: who with the what now?

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - ANOTHER CLASSROOM - DAY

The door FLIES open, Xander bursts in:

XANDER
Buffy, I think Dawn needs yaaaahhh!

She's on top of the desk with R.J. -- her shirt's open too far, her skirt's half off. R.J. still has on his jacket. Xander quickly averts his eyes as Buffy scrambles to cover up.

BUFFY
Xander, hi, this, um, this is R.J. --

R.J.
Hey, guy, it's called knocking.

Xander is torn between looking impatiently at R.J. and trying very hard not to see his half-naked friend.

XANDER
I'm sorry, it's just, checkout time
was an hour ago, we were hoping to
make up the bed, and, also, this is
a classroom, you chowderhead.

Xander, recovering from the shock, now looks sternly at Buffy.

XANDER (cont'd)
Put your skirt on, Buffy. We're
going home.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Dawn sits on the sofa, face hidden in her hands, wracked with muffled sobs. Anya, Xander and Willow are gathered around.

Buffy sits next to her, apparently concerned.

BUFFY
Dawn, please stop crying. Please.

Dawn doesn't stop...

BUFFY (cont'd)
Crying isn't going to make his love
for me go away, you know.

XANDER
Listen, you're under a love spell.
That's what this has to be. Real
love wouldn't make you this
irrational.
(then)
At least, not this fast.

BUFFY
You're right.
(to Dawn)
He's right. You're under a spell.
Poor little Dawnie.

WILLOW
But we're working on it. It'll all
be better soon, guys. We're zeroing
in on this thing.

ANYA
Yes, soon neither one of you will be
in love with this boy.

Buffy and Dawn both snap their heads up to face Anya.

BUFFY
He's not a boy!

DAWN
(overlapping)
What do you know about our love?!
It's true and real. This isn't
magic, this is my heart!

Anya and Xander move away...

ANYA
Fine.

XANDER
We'll be working.

Anya and Xander settle into the other end of the room, with the computer and piles of open texts.

Willow stays with Buffy and Dawn.

WILLOW
(to Dawn)
I know this feels terrible. But it
isn't real. Try to hold onto that.

BUFFY
(to Dawn, sweetly as
if to a child)
Hear that? This isn't real. You're
just crazy.

DAWN
It is so real! I love him! You knew
how I felt, like I'd finally found
something, and you betrayed me!

BUFFY
I betrayed you? You're the one who's
constructed this elaborate fantasy
about you and my lover!

DAWN
Your lover?! Your lover!

WILLOW
Guys, guys...

Buffy and Dawn are on their feet now, facing off.

BUFFY
I tried to get you to back away. If
you'd listened to me you wouldn't've
had to see what you saw!

DAWN
(remembering)
That's right! You lied to me! You
lied to me to get me out of the way.
"Lay back." "He'll like that."

Willow gives up and joins Anya and Xander. Buffy and Dawn stay locked in their fight.

BUFFY
I was trying to be kind to you, like
I always do. Did you want me to tell
you that he's in love with me? That
your crush is hopeless?

DAWN
It's not a crush! Stop! You're not
supposed to do this.

BUFFY
Why? Because he's younger than me?
I'm extremely peppy and youthful!

DAWN
No.
(quiet)
Because you were the one I trusted.

Dawn exits into the foyer and up the stairs. Buffy follows her out.

BUFFY
Dawn! Wait!

Over at the table, Anya and Xander have books. Willow's at the computer.

ANYA
(to Xander and Willow)
They're crazy little lust-puppies,
aren't they?

XANDER
At least the yelling went away. It
was starting to sound like Christmas
morning with my family.

WILLOW
Love spells. Everyone forgets how
dangerous they are.

XANDER
Hey, been there.

FLASHBACK

To the mob scene in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered."

ON XANDER

He's gone all dreamy.

XANDER (cont'd)-
Good times.

WILLOW
(re: computer screen)
Here. Something.

Buffy re-enters.

BUFFY
She's locked her door. That spell
has her good and loopy.

Willow pushes her laptop over to Xander.

WILLOW
Info on one R.J. Brooks.
Buffy hurries over.

BUFFY
Ooh. Lemme see! Is there a picture?

XANDER
(reading)
Family stuff... Hey, I knew his
brother. He was a big jock at
Sunnydale High, too. Couple years
ahead of us. Used to stick chewing
gum in my hair. Huh.

WILLOW
What are you thinking?

XANDER
I think my relationship with R.J.'s
brother was complex at best, but
maybe he's a way in.

BUFFY
Now look for a picture.

EXT. BROOKS' FAMILY HOUSE - NIGHT

Typical, smallish, suburban home. It's a bit worn, lived-in. Xander comes up the front walk, followed closely by Spike. Xander fidgets nervously.

XANDER
I'm just saying, we're tangling with
a powerful spell here, and we don't
know what the deal is, so keep an eye
out if this guy looks twitchy...

SPIKE
(mock crazy/talking
to the air)
What? You want me to what?
(he gasps)
Kill Xander? Why? Oh right. The
endless prattling.

XANDER
Fine. Just be ready. And don't let
this guy charm you either. He had
everyone around him practically
kissing his ring back in high school.

The front door swings open and LANCE BROOKS, 24, appears. He's a little overweight, unkempt and wears a pizza delivery guy uniform. He looks at them blankly, not hostile.

LANCE
(after a beat)
Yeah?

Xander and Spike just stare. This is not what they expected.

INT. BROOKS' FAMILY HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Xander and Spike sit on a flowery sofa in a room defined by Lance and R.J.'S mom -- chintz and doilies and little ceramic figures. Lance sits on a flowery chair. Each of the boys has a beer.

LANCE
Construction, huh. That's awesome.

XANDER
Yeah.

LANCE
So what's up with R.J.? How's he
doin' at the old alpha mater?

Spike gets up and starts wandering around the room, looking idly at stuff.

XANDER
Good. Just, I know a girl who might
be going out with him and I was
wondering...

LANCE
Got it. You wanna know if he's a
good guy. Truth is, he's the best.
Following in my footsteps.
(over his shoulder to
Spike)
You might not know it now, looking at
me with a couple extra pounds, but
back then I was quite the guy.

XANDER
Yeah, I gather R.J.'s pretty popular
too.

Spike is looking at a collection of little ceramic angels on an eye-level display shelf. He turns them one by one to face away from him.

LANCE
Gotta tell ya, there was a time I
worried about R.J. Used to be all
into comic books, model UN, geek
stuff. No offense, Harris. And one
time, I found all this poetry under
his bed. Turns out, he wrote it. But
then he, whatchacallit... blossomed.
That's what it was like.

XANDER
And do you have an idea why he, you
know, burst into a flower all of a--

SPIKE (O.S.)
(interrupting)
You're wearing your brother's jacket.

Spike is examining photos on the wall.

SPIKE
Here, in this picture.

CLOSE ON: A picture of Lance and a picture of R.J. sit side- by-side. Same pose (arm cocked, football in hand, ready to throw), same dumbass grin. Same letterman jacket.

LANCE
No, dude, he's wearing mine. That
jacket was with me all the way
through high school. Gave it to him
when I graduated...

Spike and Xander exchange a look. This is it.

LANCE (cont'd)
Right before I started over at the
Pizza Barn. I'm in the management
program.

XANDER
So, Lance, where did you get the
jacket?

LANCE
Oh, Dad gave it to me. Made a big
deal about it, too, how he met Mom
wearing that jacket. She was a
former Miss Arkansas. Very hot in
her day.

Xander stands, very done.

XANDER
Wow, that's wonderful. But it's
getting late...

LANCE
Hey, you guys don't have to take off
if you don't want to. I've got a
sort of rumpus room set up in the
basement. There's air hockey and a
mini-fridge. We could party.

From above:

MRS. BROOKS (O.S.)
Lance? Do you have guests down
there? There's mini boxes of raisins
if you want snacks!

XANDER
We really gotta go.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Anya and Willow sit in the research area.

WILLOW
Damn love spell. I've tried every
anti-love-spell spell I can find.

ANYA
Even if you found the right one, guy
would probably just do an anti-anti-
love-spell-spell spell.

WILLOW
What?

The doorbell RINGS.

WILLOW (cont'd)
I'll get that.

As she goes...

WILLOW (cont'd)
(called back)
Maybe it's Xander with some answers
from the brother.

We follow Willow to the door, she opens it. R.J.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Oh! You have to be--

R.J.
I was looking for Buffy -- Ms.
Summers --

WILLOW
(urgently)
Buffy isn't here. Go away.

R.J. looks genuinely downcast.

R.J.
You sure?

Anya joins Willow at the door.

ANYA
No Buffy for you. Leave quickly now.

R.J.
Um... okay. Tell her to call me.

He turns, starts walking away. Anya and Willow watch him leave.

WILLOW
(close one)
Man.

ANYA
Good thing Buffy and Dawn are
upstairs. If they knew he was here.

But then they both cock their heads. Seeing something.

ON R.J.

As he walks toward the street. In slow motion.

ON WILLOW AND ANYA

As we hear the opening beats of the "Summer Place" theme...

Anya's face gets a dreamy, faraway look. Willow gets a confused, what-the-hell-is-THAT-feeling look.

SMASH TO:

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - ENTRYWAY - MOMENTS LATER

Anya and Willow face off where we left them.

WILLOW
But you don't even know him!

ANYA
Yes, I do! I looked into him and I
saw his soul!

WILLOW
He was walking away! So unless his
soul is in his ass...

ANYA
A.J. is my best friend and dearest
darling.

WILLOW
It's R.J. and what you were picking
up on was his deep caring and
devotion to me.

ANYA
To-- What?!

Buffy and Dawn, attracted by the shouting, come down the stairs.

DAWN
What's going on?

ANYA
Willow thinks she's in love with my
boyfriend R.J.

DAWN
What?! No! You two can't do this!

BUFFY
Willow, you're a gay woman!
(beat, then:)
And he isn't!

WILLOW
This isn't about his physical
presence! This is about his heart!

ANYA
But his physical presence has a penis!

WILLOW
I can work around it.

DAWN
This isn't fair! How can you all be
doing this to me?

Buffy speaks with authority:

BUFFY
Wait. Everyone wait. Calm down. I
know what this is.

The others look at her, waiting for an answer.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Clearly, you've both been affected by
the same love spell that got Dawn.

Anya and Willow respond with dismissive "pff"s and grunts.

DAWN
(weakly)
It isn't a spell. He owns my heart.

BUFFY
Dawn, be quiet. We're trying to work
this out and we don't need you
interfering.

DAWN
But he's mine.

BUFFY
Dawnie, sweetie, go to your room,
okay? This isn't about you.

Dawn backs up to the wall. She's pale and stunned. She leans on the wall like she needs it to hold her up.

WILLOW
There's an easy answer to this. Just
think about who loves him most. I
clearly do, since I'm, you know,
looking past that whole orientation
thing...

DAWN
(softly)
I need him.

ANYA
You gotta do better'n that! I'd kill
for him!

WILLOW
You'd kill for a chocolate bar.

BUFFY
No! Yes! Kill for him! I'm a
Slayer. Slay means kill. Oh! I can
kill the principal!

Shocked silence for a beat, then:

ANYA
(reflectively)
Hmm. That is hard to top.

WILLOW
Yeah? Well, I have skills. I can
prove my love with magic.

ANYA
Yeah, right, what are you gonna do,
use magic to make him into a girl?

Willow's face lights up. Anya looks at her, shocked, then:

ANYA (cont'd)
Damn.

Anya, Buffy and Willow all stare at each other, then, realizing that the race is on, they all SCATTER from the room. (Willow heads upstairs, Buffy into the living room, Anya out the front door.)

Dawn is left alone. Buffy runs back in, grabs her scarf.

BUFFY
(genuine sympathy)
Sorry, Dawnie. You're never gonna
get him.

She bolts.

DAWN
No. Never.

TIME CUT TO:

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - ENTRYWAY - LATER

The front door opens, and Xander and Spike enter from outside.

XANDER
(calling out)
Guys! Turns out it really is the
jacket and R.J. doesn't even realize
what he's got... hello? Hello?

SPIKE
Thought you said they were safe.

XANDER
Where is everybody?

SPLIT SCREEN

Each of the following locations takes up the full screen, then falls back into place as part of the four-way grid, until all four sections are filled...

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - WILLOW'S ROOM - NIGHT

WILLOW

Conducting a spell in her bedroom, four LIT CANDLES around her, a bowl of clear crystals before her. The crystals begin to shake and glow a pale ORANGE as SWlRLS and SPARKS appear, floating above and around Willow's head...

EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - PARKING LOT - NIGHT

BUFFY

Driving (badly) into a parking spot in front of the high school, where a single light is on in one window. She SCREECHES the car to a stop and jumps out. She stares at the lighted window.

EXT. BANK ENTRANCE - NIGHT

ANYA

At the entrance to a bank. She pulls a ski mask down over her face and picks up a large, empty laundry sack, just ready to be filled with money, and she begins walking toward the door..

EXT. TRAIN TRACKS - NIGHT

DAWN

Standing next to a set of train tracks as a train speeds past her, blowing her hair aside. Her expression doesn't change a bit as the train goes off into the distance, and she gently sits down on the ground, then STRETCHES OUT on the train tracks.

Waiting.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - WILLOW'S ROOM - NIGHT

Willow where we left her. Performing her spell, the bowl of crystals in front of her GLOWING a warmer, brighter orange.

The candles around her burn, the swirls and sparks and flares pick up intensity.

As we CLOSE IN on Willow's face:

WILLOW
(chanting)
O Hecate, I call on you./I humbly ask
your will be done./Hear my request,
a simple change/create a daughter
from a s --

A HAND reaches around and COVERS Willow's mouth.

The candles go out, the swirls and sparks actually FALL to the floor, and the crystals immediately fade back to clear.

Scared, Willow whips around to see -- as do we -- Xander. She pulls his hand off her mouth.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Aw, man, now I gotta start all over.
Hecate hates that.

She reaches for the crystals, but Xander pulls them away.

XANDER
What the hell are you doing?

We see now that Spike is there, too, standing in the doorway.

WILLOW
Proving that I love R.J. the most.

Xander and Spike exchange a befuddled look.

XANDER
Will? Honey? R.J.'s a guy.

WILLOW
Did notice that, yeah. 'S why I'm
doing my spell, 'cause, you know...
he doesn't have to be.

XANDER
What? You're gonna take off his--

SPIKE
Oh. Hey.

Spike and Xander shift positions uncomfortably.

WILLOW
I'm just making him into a woman, is
all. Now hand me back those
crystals, I don't have much time.

She reaches for the crystals, but Xander pulls them even further out of her reach.

XANDER
Much time before what?

WILLOW
Before Buffy and Anya and Dawn have
a chance to prove they love R.J. the
most.

XANDER
And how would they do that, exactly?

WILLOW
(starting a list)
Well, Buffy's gonna kill principal
Wood --

XANDER
Fine! Okay! Let's start there!

INT. PRINCIPAL WOOD'S OFFICE - NIGHT

(Note: This whole scene should play wide, so that we see an oblivious Wood in the foreground the entire time as all the action takes place in the background behind him.)

Wood sits at his desk, a single desk lamp lighting him. He is alone, taking notes on his files (by hand, not on the computer). From a small stereo on his desk, we hear music -- preferably Santana (or something similar befitting Wood's role as The Coolest Principal Ever).

After a beat, we see Buffy in the window behind Wood. Calm. No hesitation. She decisively plants a ROCKET LAUNCHER on her shoulder. Aimed right at Wood's head.

Wood doesn't look up, keeps writing.

Spike comes FLYING into frame from the side, having thrown himself at Buffy. He TACKLES her, and they go careening out of frame on the other side.

Wood still doesn't look up.

A beat. Buffy and Spike now come FLYING back in the opposite direction. Buffy has the upper hand. They fall out of frame again.

As Wood keeps writing in silence, Spike appears again. Alone this time. Running. Clearly RUNNING AWAY. He has the rocket launcher hugged against his chest.

Buffy runs past the window, chasing Spike. Wanting her rocket launcher back right this minute. She runs out of frame.

And all is at peace again. After a beat, Wood looks up, looks around. Did he hear something? But nothing's there. He goes back to his files...

EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Spike runs toward us, hugging the rocket launcher to his chest. Buffy comes running after him.

Spike has stopped running, turned, leaned against Xander's car. Next to Xander, who's already there. With Willow, who sits on the ground next to the car in front of a map, performing a locator spell.

BUFFY
What're you guys doing?

WILLOW
Locator spell. Human variety.
Almost done.

BUFFY
I've got a principal to kill. What's
going on? Who are we looking for?

EXT. TRAIN TRACKS - NIGHT

Dawn, still prone on the tracks. Waiting.

Across the field, still within sight, Xander's car pulls up.

CLOSER ON THE CAR

Xander gets out, holding Willow's arm. Spike tries, tentatively, to do the same with Buffy. She pulls away.

BUFFY
(to Willow)
You realize Anya is probably seducing
R.J. even as we speak.

WILLOW
Oh, God. You think so?

BUFFY
I wouldn't put it past her. She's
recently evil, you know.

WILLOW
Well, so am I, why should I miss out?

XANDER
Hey, crazy women. Look.

He nods off in the distance. Dawn. On the tracks.

BUFFY
Dawn?
(calling to her)
Dawn!

They all begin running toward her when:

WILLOW
Buffy!

In the distance, on the other side of Dawn, we see it, too. A TRAIN. Big, fast... and getting closer.

Buffy begins to run to Dawn, but then, whip-fast, right in front of Buffy, blocking her view of Dawn: a second train from the other side. On a second set of tracks, closer to us than Dawn's set. An obstacle.

Buffy takes off at full speed at the train.

XANDER
No!

Buffy jumps onto and over (or between the cars of) the moving train -- Whichever is more exciting and/or plausible.

She lands on the ground, rolls, runs to Dawn, SHOVING Dawn away just as, a split-second later, the train rushes the spot where Dawn had been, and, for what seems like an endless beat, the only sound we hear is the train roaring past...

They sit in shocked silence, catching their breath, then:

BUFFY
What were you -- what is this?

DAWN
It doesn't matter.

She gets up, turns. Walks away.

BUFFY
This is a plan? You're gonna steal
R.J. by being tri-sected?

Dawn turns, silent tears welling in her eyes.

DAWN
There's no plan. What am I, gonna
compete with you? You're older, and
hotter, you have sex that's rough and
kill people. I don't have any of
that stuff. But if I did this, then,
his whole life he'd know that there
was someone who loved him so much
they'd give up their life.

BUFFY
Oh, Dawn.

DAWN
And it would be true forever. I was
giving him my love for forever. It
was all I had.

BUFFY
Dawnie... You have so much to offer
any guy. I'm just older than you.
Marginally. And so, yeah, of course
he wants me. But he's not important.
You are. No guy is worth your life.
Not ever.

DAWN
R.J. is. And don't say he isn't.
Look what you were willing to do!

BUFFY
No. He's not worth it. Honey, I'd
give him to you in a second if I
could, that's how much you're scaring
me.

DAWN
But I thought you wanted him. For
you.

BUFFY
Nah.
(then)
Well, yeah.
(then)
My god, that boy is hot!
(pulls herself back
together)
Sorry. I think I may be under a
spell here.

DAWN
I hear you.

EXT. SUNNYDALE CITY STREETS - ALLEY - NIGHT

Xander and Spike, waiting around a corner...

XANDER
(serious)
You're sure you understand the plan?

SPIKE
(determined)
Yeah. I think I got it.

A beat as they steel themselves. Then Xander turns to Spike. They share the comrade-y look of two soldiers about to dive into battle, acknowledges something. They both turn back, looking out into the street again.

They run.

EXT. SUNNYDALE CITY STREETS - CONTINUOUS - NIGHT

R.J. walks with Cheryl as, behind them, Spike and Xander come tearing around the corner, Xander GRABS R.J.

R.J.
Hey! Ow!

Spike PULLS the jacket off of him.

Spike and Xander run away with the jacket as we prelap:

XANDER (O.S.)
That, my friends, is the smell of
sweet, sweet victory!

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Xander stands proudly in front of the fireplace, where the last bits of jacket burn. Anya, Willow and Buffy, looking mighty humiliated, watch. Dawn is sitting slightly apart from the others, even more downcast than the rest. A RADIO plays in the background.

ANYA
Also, burning cotton-poly blend.

BUFFY
Be honest, Xander. You didn't think
about, you know, just slipping that
jacket on a little bit?

XANDER
I refuse to answer on the grounds
that it didn't fit.

BUFFY
So how did R.J. take the abrupt
removal of his mojo?

XANDER
He was pissed, but I don't think he
got that the jacket was dosed with
magic. Gonna be a rude awakening.

WILLOW
Not as rude as awakening without his
parts. I can't believe I almost...

BUFFY
And I can't believe I almost-

ANYA
It was a spell. We were helpless!
We aren't responsible for anything we
did, morally, or, you know... legally.

XANDER
True. You fell for a mystical,
ancient curse. Who here hasn't made
that mistake... seven, eight times?

Now Buffy moves to Dawn.

BUFFY
Hear that? Not your fault.

DAWN
I'm just so... The way I acted...
The way I talked to you. I feel so
stupid. All over a spell.

BUFFY
Get ready to feel even stupider when
it's not.

Dawn nods.

WILLOW
Hey, Anya, you never told us what you
"can't believe you almost-"

ANYA
Almost? Who now?

WILLOW
You can't be the only not embarrassed
one. What did you do?

ANYA
Oh. I wrote a poem. Epic poem.
Comparing him to a daisy and a tower
and a lake-

On the radio, we now hear a news report.

REPORTER
...with the latest on Sunnydale's
late-night bandit, who is still at
large. A masked thief held up a
number of businesses, including-

SNAP. Anya shuts off the RADIO.

ANYA
(upbeat)
Okay! Who wants ice cream? My treat.

On Anya's cheery face, we:

BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW