Buffy Episode #105: "Life Serial" Transcript

Written by David Fury and Jane Espenson
Original Air Date: October 23, 2001

Transcribed by Joan the English Chick (pisces@englishchick.com).
Transcriber's Notes:


Teaser

GILES VOICEOVER: Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer...
Buffy entering the house.
BUFFY: Hey Mom.
Joyce lying on the sofa.
BUFFY: Mom? Mommy?
WILLOW: There's some money stuff we're gonna have to talk to you about.
BUFFY: So you're telling me I'm broke?
XANDER: Hospital bills.
WILLOW: Pretty much sucked up all the money.
BUFFY: I don't think I can do this.
GILES: Yes you can.
The Geek Trio in flashback.
WARREN: So ... you guys wanna team up and take over Sunnydale?
JONATHAN/ANDREW: Okay.
The Geeks in their lair.
JONATHAN: We're like super-villains.
The geeks laughing their lame villain laughs.
Buffy and Spike sitting on the back porch.
BUFFY: Why are you always around when I'm miserable?
SPIKE: That's when you're alone, I reckon. I'm not one for crowds myself these days.
Spike and Buffy exchanging a look.
BUFFY: Me neither.
SPIKE: That works out nicely then.
Buffy walking through the living room toward the front.
GILES: Buffy, what is it?
BUFFY: Angel. He, he needs to see me. I have to see him.
GILES: Y-you'll leave for L.A. tomorrow.
BUFFY: I have to go now.

Episode opens in the foyer of the Summers house, night. The front door opens and Buffy comes in, holding a paper bucket under her arm. She tosses her keys on the side table.

BUFFY: (calls) Hello?
WILLOW: Buffy?

Willow's voice comes from the dining room. Buffy turns in that direction.

BUFFY: Oh. Yep, it's me, and I brought dinner. (walks into dining room) Deep fried chicken parts. Hope you're...

We see Tara, Giles, and Dawn sitting around the table, and Willow standing with a dish of food in her hands. They're clearly just finishing a meal. Giles holds a half-full wine glass.

BUFFY: ...hungry. (disappointed) You already ate.
GILES: No! (embarrassed) Well, uh, yes, obviously.
DAWN: Uh, we didn't know when you'd be coming back.
BUFFY: (shrugs) It's okay. More for me.

Buffy puts the bucket of chicken on the table and sits. Willow sits also.

TARA: I don't know about everybody else, but ... I would love some chicken.
GILES: Yes. As would I.
DAWN: I'll take a drumstick.
WILLOW: I'm a breast girl myself. (quietly, to Tara) But, then again, you knew that.

Willow and Tara exchange a smile. Giles makes an "ew" face.

They pass the bucket of chicken around the table.

DAWN: (awkwardly) So.
BUFFY: What so?
DAWN: So ... how was it? (nervous) Seeing Angel ... him seeing you. (Giles stands up) Was it weird?

Buffy looks uncomfortable. Dawn, Tara, and Willow look expectantly at her.

BUFFY: Um ... it was ... intense.

Giles goes to the back of the room to do something at a side table.

WILLOW: Well, i-if you wanna talk about it...
BUFFY: I don't. I-it's ... not important. Past. I'd just ... rather keep this one to myself, if that's okay.
DAWN: Sure, whatever.
GILES: Buffy, um, there was... (sits back down) some discussion in, uh, your absence a-about, um ... w-what you're gonna do now.

Giles has a pile of paper napkins, gives one to Dawn.

GILES: You know, um ... your plans.
BUFFY: Oh, um, I've been giving that a lot of thought actually. I think I've figured it out, what I should do.
WILLOW: (smiling) That's good, that's good!
BUFFY: Yeah. I figure, if I hold off paying the plumber, I can pay the utility bill. (Willow and Tara stop smiling) And then I can wait to re-shingle the roof until we get the refund back-
GILES: Um, I meant... (Buffy stops) ...with your life.
BUFFY: Oh. Life plans. Um ... well...

The others continue to watch her.

BUFFY: I have no idea.

Dawn looks surprised.

BUFFY: I guess, um ... well, I, I left school, you know, when Mom got sick, but I always figured I'd go back ... and then she...

Buffy trails off. Willow and Giles look sympathetic.

BUFFY: Um, so I-I was thinking about re-enrolling, but I missed the registration cutoff. Busy being dead and all.

Giles winces.

WILLOW: Well, if it's too late for late registration and too early for early, you can always come to classes with Tara and me.
TARA: Right. Y-you can audit for the rest of the semester until registration.
BUFFY: (uncertainly) Audit. I-I guess I could do that.

Willow and Tara smile tentatively.

BUFFY: Yeah, that ... sounds like a good plan. (looks across the table) What do you think, Giles?

Giles nods and looks as if he's searching for words.

JONATHAN VOICEOVER: The Slayer always knows what she's doing.

Cut to: exterior driveway, day. Jonathan paces around in front of a one-car garage. The area is fenced in with a garbage cans and other various backyard paraphernalia. Jonathan frowns sternly as he walks and talks.

JONATHAN: Sharp. Decisive. Always with a plan. (louder) We're never gonna become the crime lords of Sunnydale with her always one step ahead of us.
WARREN: (OS) Well, that's why we're throwing these tests at her, seeing which one of us can shake her up the most, maybe find a weakness or two.

Jonathan walks forward.

Warren is on the ground, lying on his back on a rolling platform such as mechanics use when working underneath a car. He rolls out backwards and looks up at Jonathan.

WARREN: She's ready.

We see that he's just emerged from underneath a large black van.

JONATHAN: Sweet. Run me through it.
WARREN: Ah.

Warren gets up, opens the van's side door.

WARREN: We got nine high-resolution surveillance cameras hooked in (points), super-wide angle, infrared, auto-iris, plus six types of audio matrix monitoring...

Pan across the interior of the van. It's completely filled with electronics equipment on both sides. Also a bean-bag chair or two, and a couple of wheeled computer chairs.

WARREN: that's filtered through a dual quad DVS system, and a...
JONATHAN: Yeah, yeah, fine, just tell me. (They start walking around toward the front of the van) Are you sure with all of this stuff that we'll be able to watch Buffy without her noticing us?
WARREN: Absolutely. I mean, she'll never even know-

They come around to the other side and find Andrew spray-painting a huge Death Star on the side of the van.

WARREN: W-what the hell is that?
ANDREW: Death Star, dude! Wicked, huh?
JONATHAN: (scornfully) Thermal exhaust port's *above* the main port, numb-nuts.
ANDREW: For your information, I'm using the Empire's revised designs from Return of the Jedi.
JONATHAN: That's a flawed design!
WARREN: Guys! (they shut up) Okay, the thing is, since we're messing with the Slayer, who could pummel the three of us into a sludgy substance, it might be a good idea for us to (yelling) NOT draw attention to ourselves!

Jonathan nods smugly at Andrew.

ANDREW: (uncertain) I could paint over it if you want.
WARREN: Yeah, well, do that! Because this time tomorrow, the games begin. (Zoom in on his face) And the Slayer ... will never even know what hit her.

Wolf howl. Opening credits.

Special Guest Star Anthony Stewart Head. Guest starring Danny Strong, Adam Busch, Tom Lenk, and Amber Benson as Tara. Written by David Fury and Jane Espenson, directed by Nick Marck.


Act I

Open on the hallways of UC Sunnydale. Various students walking around.
BUFFY VOICEOVER: This is gonna be great.

Cut to Buffy and Willow entering a classroom.

BUFFY: I thought it might be a little weird being back, I mean, it is weird, but like a good kind of weird.

Instead of desks the classroom has long tables set up in a rectangle. They walk around the perimeter to find empty seats.

WILLOW: There's the teacher, Mike.

Shot of the teacher dressed casually, writing on the blackboard the words "Social Construction of..."

WILLOW: You'll like Mike. (sits)
BUFFY: You call your teacher Mike? Boy, school sure has changed since my day. (sits)

Mike turns from the blackboard. The final word he wrote was "reality."

MIKE: Social Construction of Reality. Who can tell me what that is? (many students raise their hands including Willow) Rachel.
RACHEL: A concept involving a couple of opposing theories, one stressing the externality and independence of social reality from individuals. (Buffy looks confused)
MIKE: And the flip side? (many hands raised) Steve?
STEVE: That each individual participates fully in the construction of his or her own life.
MIKE: Good, and who can expand on that? (hands) Chuck?
CHUCK: Well, those on the latter side of the theoretical divide stress...
BUFFY: (leans toward Willow and whispers) Will, I'm not following this too well.
WILLOW: Oh. The trick is to get in the rhythm, kinda go with the flow. (raises her hand)
BUFFY: Flow-going would be a lot easier if your classmates weren't such big brains.
WILLOW: (hand still raised) Buffy, that's ridiculous! They are no smarter than you or me.
MIKE: (O.S.) Willow.
WILLOW: (lowers hand, speaks to Mike) Because social phenomena don't have unproblematic objective existences. They have to be interpreted and given meanings by those who encounter them. (Buffy stares at Willow)
MIKE: (O.S.) Nicely put. So, Ruby, does that mean there are countless realities?
WILLOW: (notices Buffy's look) What?

Cut to Buffy and Willow walking through the hallways.

WILLOW: You're not dumb. Just rusty.
BUFFY: Maybe I should ease back in with some non-taxing classes, like, introduction to pies, or maybe advanced walking.

Tara hurries up to join them.

TARA: Hey! How'd it go?
WILLOW: She did fine! Sociology, not a big fave.
TARA: She didn't like Mike?
BUFFY: No, look, it's fine. I just need to spend a little more time re-acclimating. You know, to get back into the swing of things.

A guy bumps Buffy as he walks past them. Close shot of a hand touching her clothing, moving away to reveal a tiny metal object. Cut back to wider shot. Buffy almost falls over but Willow and Tara catch her.

WILLOW: (yells after the guy) Hey! You could at least say sorry, rude-o!
TARA: Everybody's in a hurry.

The girls exchange an annoyed look and continue walking.

Cut to the guy coming around a corner. We see that it's Warren. He looks up and sees a surveillance camera on the ceiling, turns away from it and speaks into the collar of his sweatshirt.

WARREN: Francis 7, this is Logan 5. I'm in position, do you copy?

Cut to interior of the van. A bank of computer screens show various images. Jonathan sits in front of them with a microphone ear-piece headset on. Andrew stands behind him.

JONATHAN: Yeah, Warren, we copy that. And you're up on the monitor.
ANDREW: Hey Warren, this is working great.

The monitors show Warren as he smiles and waves at the camera.

WARREN: Runner is tagged, inhibitor is on. Repeat, inhibitor is on. Initiate omega pulse sequence.

Cut to exterior of the college campus. The black van sits in a parking spot. Various people walking around.

A small satellite transmitter emerges from the top of the van and swivels, making whirring noises.

Cut to Buffy and Tara walking through the halls together.

TARA: My art appreciation class doesn't start for another twenty minutes, so we've got some time to kill. Um, here. (takes a large book from her bag and gives it to Buffy) You'll like it, it's very mellow.

Buffy opens the book and looks at a picture of a painting.

Weird buzzing noise, like static on a TV. Buffy frowns, looks up.

TARA: ...didn't think she liked my cooking (we see Tara sitting on a bench nearby) until I realized that that was her yummy face. (smiling) You know how her nose-
BUFFY: What was that?
TARA: What was what?
BUFFY: (confused) Uh ... that, that noise, wh-what was that about, about cooking? Whose yummy face?
TARA: Willow. Wow, you ... really got engrossed in that Renaissance book. (stands up)
BUFFY: I guess. I ... must have spaced out.

Buffy gives the book back to Tara and goes over to a drinking fountain.

TARA: Oh, I-I do that sometimes. Once, Willow and I were watching "Spongebob Squarepants"...

Buffy bends toward the fountain to drink. The buzzing noise again.

TARA: (calling) Buffy? A-are you coming?

We see Tara all the way down the hall by a set of double doors.

TARA: (calling) We're gonna be late for class.

Buffy looks extremely confused and a little angry.

BUFFY: What the f-

Cut to interior of the van. Warren opens the door from outside and quickly climbs in, shutting the door behind him.

WARREN: (excited) Is it working? Is it doing it?
JONATHAN: Dude, it's doing it.
ANDREW: And it's wicked cool.

Cut back to inside. Tara walks into a crowded classroom, pauses just inside the door and turns.

Buffy comes running around the corner.

BUFFY: Tara! Tara!

The classroom doors close in her face. The halls are now empty as all the students have gone to class. Buffy looks around in dismay.

The buzzing noise again. Students begin pouring out of the classrooms into the hallways. Tara walks up behind Buffy.

TARA: Buffy, where have you been? You missed art class.
BUFFY: Missed? Uh, Tara, something freaky's going on, it's like I'm-

Buffy looks over at a wall clock. The hands on the clock move quickly. They start at about 11:50 and stop again at about 12:10.

BUFFY: Look, there! There! (pointing) Uh, did you see-

She looks around and sees that Tara is gone. The halls are deserted again. Buffy makes a frustrated face.

BUFFY: Crap!

She runs off.

Cut to Buffy coming out of the building. A lot of students are walking around in various directions. Buffy rushes down the stairs.

BUFFY: Tara!

We see Tara a little way off, walking away.

BUFFY: Tara, wait!

Shot of the campus from Buffy's POV. We're in a little courtyard with a grassy lawn. In the middle of the lawn is a stone table with a stone bench circling it. All the people move faster and faster until they're just blurs.

Buffy stands still looking around as the blurs move past her. One of them bumps into her and knocks her down.

The blurs continue to move across the lawn as Buffy starts crawling toward the stone table. Another one hits her and she falls down on her back, groans in pain. She gets to her hands and knees and crawls the rest of the way, crawls under the table. The blurs continue to move by.

Cut to the van. The Geeks are watching Buffy on their monitors and can apparently also hear what she's saying.

BUFFY: That noise. There's something on me.

Cut back to Buffy. She begins examining her clothing. She takes off her sweater.

Cut back to the van. On the monitors, the view swings around to show Buffy's face.

WARREN: Oh no.
ANDREW: Uh-oh.
JONATHAN: She found it.

The image of Buffy tilts from side to side as she looks at her sweater.

Cut back to Buffy. She finds the tiny metal device attached to her sweater and removes it, holds it in the palm of her hand and stares at it in confusion.

Cut back to the van.

ANDREW: Oh, this is bad, this is bad.
JONATHAN: Self-destruct! Self-destruct!
ANDREW: I, I don't know, I-
WARREN: No!

Warren reaches over and flips up the plastic casing that covers a large red button. He puts his finger over it, pauses. On the screen, Buffy reaches out her finger toward the device. Warren pushes the button.

Cut back to Buffy. The device disintegrates in her hand. She looks up.

All the people resume walking at normal speed.

Buffy frowns, gathers up her stuff and comes out from under the table. She stands there looking around, a little scared.

Cut to the van. Warren plops down in a bean-bag chair on the floor.

WARREN: Okay, score me.

Andrew and Jonathan sit in computer chairs above him in "judge" positions.

JONATHAN: Rrrright. (ponders) Fifty points for ingenuity, another thirty since it involved actual contact.
ANDREW: Very smooth, by the way. (Warren smiles)
JONATHAN: On the freak-o-meter I'd say she was at a six.
WARREN: Oh come, it's an eight, easy!

Jonathan and Andrew lean their heads together to confer. Then pull back to their original postures.

JONATHAN: We'll split the diff, call it a seven. Which is good for a hundred and forty, giving you a grand total of...
ANDREW: Two hundred and twenty.
WARREN: (claps triumphantly, points at Andrew) Beat that!
ANDREW: Oh, I will.

Cut back to Buffy still standing on the grass looking around in extreme confusion.
ANDREW VOICEOVER: I will.

Blackout.


Act II

Open on a construction site, day. Pan across various machinery and men in hard-hats.

BUFFY VOICEOVER: This is gonna be great.

Reveal Buffy and Xander, also wearing hard-hats, walking through the site. They wear toolbelts and Buffy carries a lunchbox. Her hair is in two pigtails.

BUFFY: Diving into the workforce. Being a bread-winner, building things with my hands.
XANDER: Uh, actually, you won't be building so much as lifting and toting.
BUFFY: Toting?
XANDER: It's just a temp gig, Buff. You know, unless it tanks. Since you're not union, I had to call in a few favors to get you on a crew.
BUFFY: Well, I appreciate it. Muchly. You saved me from having to accept Giles' offer to work at the Magic Box. I mean, retail? Yeee. (shudders) I'd rather be dead. Again.
XANDER: (not really listening) Uh-huh. So, Giles have any thoughts about your little fast-forward freak-out at school?
BUFFY: No. Oh, well, he implied that maybe it was stress-related. Like I was imagining it or something. I don't know. Maybe. I guess I, I ... could have been blacking out, but ... there was this thing on my sweater, you know? (Xander nods, not really listening) And then it just, blew away, or went poof. Maybe it was lint. (excited) Maybe it was evil lint.
XANDER: Okay, first tip of the day. When I introduce you to Tony the foreman? You might wanna leave out stuff about blacking out and evil lint.

They walk on.

They approach a spot where a couple of guys are standing around looking at blueprints.

XANDER: Hey. Tony. (Tony turns) This is Buffy. You know, that friend I told you about.
BUFFY: (sticks out her hand) Nice to meet you, Tony.

Tony just scowls at Xander. Buffy pulls her hand back, looks around at the other men.

BUFFY: Guys.

The other guys just stare.

TONY: You gotta be kiddin' me. We're a week behind, I got two men out on the DL, and now you want us to baby-sit some little girl?
BUFFY: Uh, excuse me, but I-
TONY: Hang on, Gidget! (to Xander) This stinks, Harris. What am I supposed to do with her?
XANDER: Give her a chance. She's stronger than she looks.

Tony just sneers and turns back to the blueprints.

XANDER: That's the spirit! (aside to Buffy) Don't mind him, he may seem pig-ignorant, rude, and a little hostile... (pauses) Have fun! (pats Buffy on the shoulder and starts to leave)
BUFFY: Whoa, where are you going?
XANDER: Upstairs. I need to supervise the sheet rock hangers. Don't sweat it! I'll be back to check on you later.

Xander leaves.

TONY: Okay, Danny, finish puttin' in those J-boxes, Vince, Marco, I need you to haul the steel inside.
MARCO: Gee, I don't know, Tone. I don't wanna get in trouble with those affirmative action lawyers, you know what I'm sayin'? Why don't you put, uh, little Britney here on hauling duty?
BUFFY: It's Buffy.
TONY: Okay, princess, you're on it. Try not to break a nail.

The guys laugh nastily. Buffy makes a face, mimicking Tony, and walks toward the pile of large steel girders. One of the other guys, Vince, joins her.

VINCE: Don't worry about it. And don't let them hassle you into doing something stupid and hurting yourself. These beams weigh quite a few hundred pounds.

Buffy picks up a beam easily and puts it on her shoulder.

BUFFY: Which way?

All the men pause to stare. Vince points his thumb toward the half-finished building.

BUFFY: Thanks!

She carries the beam off as Vince stares at the remaining pile in surprise.

Cut to inside the site, later. Someone is welding. Buffy comes in carrying another girder, and addresses another man, Danny, who's crouched over doing something.

BUFFY: So basically I'm just trying to learn everything I can, you know? 'Cause I don't want just a job, you know? I want a career, you know, something I can grow into.

She goes over to Danny who is trying to move a girder. Buffy easily helps him lift it into position.

BUFFY: I mean, I never thought I'd be working in construction ... but when you think about it kinda makes sense-
DANNY: Hey. We get paid by the hour. (Buffy looks surprised) You wanna ruin it for the rest of us? Slow down.

He walks off leaving Buffy standing there uncertainly. In the background we see Tony watching.

Cut to: a view of the construction site as seen through binoculars. The lens follows a worker along until we see Buffy in the background. The lens stops and focuses in on her.

WARREN: Ah! Got visual of subject, four o'clock.

We see Warren and Jonathan sitting in the passenger seat of the van, looking out the window. Warren holds the binoculars up to his face.

JONATHAN: That's not four o'clock.
WARREN: (lowers the binocs) Well, it is if you're facing the front of the van.
JONATHAN: But we're not facing the front of the van, we're facing out that way. (gestures) That's twelve, so she's at two o'clock.
WARREN: (annoyed) Look, she's over there, okay?
JONATHAN: (annoyed) Okay.

Warren lifts the binocs to look again. Jonathan turns, parts a bead curtain that separates the "cab" of the van from the rear. He peeks through to the back.

We see Andrew sitting on the floor reading a comic.

JONATHAN: You're up.

Andrew tosses the comic down, picks up a set of wooden pipes and begins to play by blowing air across the tops of them.

The music continues as we cut to Buffy approaching a water cooler on the site. She leans over to take a cup.

She hears something and straightens up, looks around in confusion. The music continues and melds into the background music of the scene. Buffy shrugs, turns back to the cooler to fill her cup.

Shot of Buffy from someone else's POV, approaching her. A wrench sits on a nearby stand. The person picks it up and carries it toward Buffy.

She sees the person approaching and stands up too quickly, spilling water on herself.

BUFFY: Ooh! Oh.

It's Tony the foreman.

TONY: Jumpy? What's the matter? I scare ya?

Suddenly Buffy pushes him aside to reveal a green demon behind him. Tony hits the wall as Buffy hits the demon. Buffy takes off her hard-hat and throws it aside as she faces the demon.

Two more demons drop down from above to surround Buffy. They are all green-skinned and wear long trenchcoats.

Buffy kicks one demon, punches the other two, kicks, goes to her knees and sweeps the feet out from under one. She gets in a couple more kicks before one of them grabs her around the waist from behind, dragging her backward. She finally gets loose, holds the demon's arm with one of hers while backhanding it with the other.

The demon tosses her backward, grabs her and pins her against a wall. She kicks it back and another demon takes its place. Buffy punches it a few times, turns and leaps up to grab an overhead bar. Swinging from it, she kicks a demon in front and one behind, does a somersaulting dismount and kicks two demons with both feet. They crash into a partially built wall, bringing it down.

Buffy picks up a shovel from the floor and uses it to hit the other demon a few times. He goes down and she stabs the shovel into him, then drops it.

The demon lies on the floor dead. Then his whole body turns into a pile of goo which evaporates completely, leaving just an oily stain.

The other two demons get up, pushing pieces of wall off them. There are also two men there, scrambling to get away. The demons pursue them.

MEN: No, don't hurt me! Please! Help me! (etc.)
BUFFY: (OS) Hey!

The demons turn and see Buffy behind them. They attack her. She punches them both, wraps some wire around one demon's neck and strangles it. It falls to the ground and disintegrates as the previous one did.

Buffy ducks a punch from the other demon, kicks it back against a piece of machinery, picks it up and shoves its head into the machine. She pulls out a cable and the pneumatic machinery begins to compress, crushing the demon's head. The demon also dissolves.

Cut to the van. The Geeks are watching through the window. Jonathan sits in the driver's seat (background), Warren in the passenger seat, and Andrew perched on the dashboard. Andrew has the binoculars.

ANDREW: Oh, man. She took 'em out.
WARREN: Lemme see. (grabs the binoculars and looks)
ANDREW: Okay, give it back now.
WARREN: No, I'm still looking.
ANDREW: No, y-you had your turn, now gimme-
WARREN: No, I'm still-
ANDREW: Gimme-

Andrew grabs for the binoculars and Warren shoves him away. Andrew falls halfway onto Jonathan's lap. His elbow hits the steering wheel and activates the horn, which plays the Star Wars theme song.

Cut to the construction site. Buffy hears the honking and peers curiously out of the building. She sees the black van sitting on the street beyond the fence. The Star Wars music continues.

Cut back to the van. The geeks yell "Duck!" and all dive for the floor. Andrew jumps through the bead curtain into the back while the other two just lower their heads.

Cut back to the site. Buffy continues looking toward the van as a couple of construction workers approach. We see another guy is pinned under some wreckage.

Cut back to the van. Jonathan and Warren part the bead curtain and glare angrily at Andrew in the back.

ANDREW: (defensive) Hey. All you said was lose the mural.

The other two make annoyed faces.

Cut back to the site. Two men are helping the third get up. Xander comes running over.

XANDER: Oh my god. Buffy, what ... what happened? How ... Aw, Buffy, I know these guys can be jerks, but was it really necessary-
BUFFY: I didn't do this!

Tony comes around the corner holding a cloth to his bleeding forehead.

TONY: I'll tell you what she did. I came over to tell your friend I was impressed by the job she was doing, liking the way she handles herself, and all of a sudden she goes berserk and attacks me.
BUFFY: (outraged) Wh - I saved you from the...

She pauses, pulls Xander aside.

BUFFY: The demons! They were these three big apey things!
XANDER: No. No, not here. Not at my job. That's your job.
BUFFY: I can't help where the forces of darkness attack me, Xander.
XANDER: Buffy, would you look at this mess? (gestures) Do you have any idea how much it's gonna cost to repair this? And what am I supposed to say to the clients, should I just show them the demon bodies and say it's all their fault?
BUFFY: (pouts) You can't. They melted. (sees his reaction) But ... uh ... (whines) There, there are witnesses! (turns to the other members of the crew) Vince! Vince! You'll tell him, right, how I jumped in and protected you from those ... things?
VINCE: Hey, I don't know what you're talking about. All I know is you were losin' it or something. (Buffy stares in shock) That time of the month, huh?
BUFFY: What?! You were huddled in a corner! Crying! Like a baby!
VINCE: Hey, hey. No way. Me, crying?

Buffy gives Xander an angry look and stalks off past Vince and Tony.

VINCE: You're trippin', sweetie. (to Tony) What's her problem?

Xander shakes his head, gives the guys a nervous smile and follows Buffy.

Cut to outside the building frame. Buffy and Xander walk along. Buffy has her hard-hat on again.

BUFFY: I didn't imagine this, Xander.
XANDER: I know. I believe you. In fact, I'm starting to think between this attack and the school thing that somebody's messin' with you.
BUFFY: Really? You think they're connected?
XANDER: Well, there's something going on. I think it's worth checking out, and I don't mean later. You need to see Giles and get on it right away. I'd start with ID'ing those demons.
BUFFY: You're firing me, aren't you.
XANDER: Big time. The whole melty thing oughta help narrow it down.

Buffy takes off her hard-hat and gives it to him. Long shot of the two of them from the back.

XANDER: Uh, try sketching them. That always helps, and then maybe, when I get off work I'll help you go through the mug shots.

Blackout.


Act III

Open on exterior shot of the magic shop, day.
BUFFY VOICEOVER: This is gonna be great.

Cut to inside. Buffy and Anya walk through the store together.
BUFFY: You know, I've always been interested in, um, interested in retail.

They descend the stairs and Anya heads toward the counter. In foreground we see Giles carrying a large stack of books toward the round table. Buffy approaches him. We see that the table is already piled high with a huge number of books.

BUFFY: Uh ... is this all research, or just some kind of stress test for the table?
GILES: (puts books on table, picks up a mug) I just want to be thorough. This ... time anomaly, and then the, the demon attacks could be completely unrelated events, but if they're not ... you might be in some danger. (drinking from mug)
BUFFY: So, situation normal then.

Giles sits down and opens a book. Anya comes over with a three-ring binder.

ANYA: (to Buffy) Let's review. (opens binder) Um, you record returns here. Um, these are the slips for special orders, you ship them wherever the customer wants. And, uh, these are the hold slips.
GILES: Fill out two hold slips for each item. (gets up and moves away)
ANYA: Oh, and uh, be sure to remove the items from the shelf.

As Anya speaks, we zoom in on a shelf behind the table. There are a couple of items on the shelf, the major one being a human skull with a candle in its top.
ANYA: (OS) Um, I can illustrate with an amusing story about a crystal.

We see that there's a tiny camera mounted in one of the skull's eyes.

Cut to the interior of the van. A monitor shows the view from the skull-camera of Anya and Buffy in the store. Giles moves around them and out of frame.

ANYA: (on screen) Uh, see, there was this certain customer who wanted to purchase a sapphire. Uh, sapphire ... well ... ding-dong. Right? And so anyway, I...

Pan across the monitors to find Warren yawning in boredom as he watches. He reaches out to turn down the volume.

WARREN: This is so dull I might actually have fallen asleep and be dreaming you guys.

Andrew slides into view, rolling on his wheeled chair.

ANDREW: Why is the Slayer here anyway? She's a student, she's a construction worker, and ... now she's some kind of ... selling stuff person?
WARREN: (shakes head) It's like she's completely without focus. (pause) Should we check the other channels for free cable porn?

Andrew seems to like the idea.

JONATHAN: (OS) Guys, I'm ready.

We see Jonathan sitting on the floor. The other guys look over, then get out of their chairs and sit on the floor as well, forming a triangle. Jonathan's holding a piece of paper in one hand and a cigarette lighter in the other.

JONATHAN: I need you to hold hands.

Warren holds out his hand to Andrew, who recoils.

ANDREW: With each other?
WARREN: Well, you know what homophobia really means about you, don't you?

Warren picks up a piece of bone and points it at Andrew.

JONATHAN: Stop touching my magic bone!

Warren puts the bone down as he and Andrew burst out giggling.

JONATHAN: (annoyed) Shut up.

The others stop laughing but still look amused.

JONATHAN: Okay.

Jonathan begins flicking the lighter as he holds the piece of paper over the floor in between them. Warren grabs Andrew's hand. Jonathan gets the lighter lit and sets the paper on fire.

JONATHAN: Okay, it's in Latin, so don't laugh. It's supposed to sound like this.

He turns off the lighter and sets it aside, puts the burning paper down, picks up the bone.

Shot from above. We see that there's a triangle drawn in red on the floor, and a bowl in the middle of the triangle, with the burning paper in the bowl. Jonathan waves the bone over it while making gestures with his other hand.

JONATHAN: Opus orbit est, et ea in medio, tempus ad calcem intendit. [Approx. translation: "The work is a circle, and she is in the middle, the time stretches out."]

Clouds of smoke begin to rise from the bowl. Jonathan grins at the other guys.

The smoke engulfs them and they all begin to cough.

Cut to inside the magic shop. Buffy walks along looking bored. Behind her, we can see out the window. We see the van parked across the street with smoke coming out of it as its rear door pops open to release the smoke. Faintly, we can hear the Geeks coughing.

We also see a woman walk past the windows toward the magic shop door. The camera follows her. She opens the door, making the bell above it jingle.

Buffy turns to look as the customer enters. Giles comes up behind Buffy.

GILES: Buffy, a word in your ear.

The woman closes the door behind her and comes into the store. Buffy turns to Giles.

GILES: While I was running the store, I found it useful to imagine myself back in the library. Um, (removes glasses and begins cleaning them) you know, if you concentrate on service and, and not on making a sale, you're more likely to have a satisfied customer.

Giles nods, examines his glasses.

BUFFY: Guess I'll have to find my own style.
GILES: (not listening) Yes, uh, quite, quite, quite.

Giles puts his glasses back on and moves away. Buffy turns away as Anya comes up to her. They both look toward the woman customer.

ANYA: That woman. Go sell her something.

Anya smiles, pats Buffy on the back and walks off. Buffy looks skeptical, begins walking toward the woman.

As she climbs the stairs, a male customer stops her. He's looking at a display of scented candles.

MALE CUSTOMER: Miss? Which candle creates a more, you know, romantic atmosphere?

Buffy picks up a candle, sniffs it, looks at the sticker on the bottom.

BUFFY: Hmm. "Lemon Seduction."

She puts it down, picks up another and sniffs it, makes a face.

BUFFY: Ew! (looks at sticker) "Essence of Slug." (puts it down, picks up the first candle and hands it to the customer) Here you go.
MALE CUSTOMER: (smiling) Thank you.

Buffy turns away.

BUFFY: (to herself) Yeah. (walks over to woman) May I help you?
FEMALE CUSTOMER: (conspiratorially) I need something for a prosperity spell. I heard you have it. The mummy hand?
BUFFY: Uh, yeah, actually, I saw one downstairs. It's kinda hairy, though. Maybe it was a daddy hand.

She smiles, but the customer doesn't get the joke.

BUFFY: I'll just get it.

She turns and walks to the door leading to the basement, opens it.

Cut to basement. Buffy walks around holding a paper bag, looking for the mummy hand. She puts the bag down as she examines the jars lining the shelves.

BUFFY: (reads) 'Petrified hamster' ... uch! Eyeballs and honey. Dagger of Lex...

She turns and sees the mummy hand sitting atop a wooden crate.

BUFFY: Hmm. Ancient mummy hand.

She reaches out to pick it up but stops when the mummy hand springs to life. It leaps at her and grabs her by the throat. Buffy grabs it by the throat and wrestles with it for a moment, finally pulls it off her and tosses it back onto the crate. She turns, grabs the dagger of Lex from the shelf, stabs it into the back of the mummy hand. The hand continues moving for a moment and then stops. Buffy stares at it, panting slightly.

Cut to above. The woman customer stares in dismay as Buffy holds up the dagger with the mummy hand still impaled on it.

BUFFY: And you get the dagger of Lex for free with it! See the inlaid mother-of-pearl ... underneath the black oozing goo?
FEMALE CUSTOMER: This hand is dead. The power is gone, I'm not giving you money for this!
BUFFY: Oh, it's just playing dead. (swats the mummy hand) Little scamp.

She gives the woman a hopeful look.

Close shot of the bell above the door. It jingles as the door opens.

Buffy turns around. She no longer holds the dagger and hand. She's back where she was when the customer first entered the store. Giles comes up behind her.

GILES: Buffy, a word in your ear.

The woman customer comes in, shuts the door. Buffy frowns in confusion, turns to Giles.

GILES: Uh, while I was running the store, I found it was useful to, uh...
BUFFY: Huh? What? Huh?
GILES: (cleaning glasses) ...imagine myself back in the library, uh, to, uh-
BUFFY: We did this just now. Giles, something is happening.
GILES: (not listening) Yes, uh, quite right.

Cut to a view of Buffy and Giles on the monitors inside the van.

WARREN: Aw, you did it! Dude, she's looping!

The Geek Trio watch the monitors, grinning.

WARREN: Wha, uh, what'd you do, enchant the hand thing?
JONATHAN: Uh, well, not exactly. I made it so she had to satisfy a customer with a task that resists solving. (stops smiling) Maybe I shoulda done more.
ANDREW: Like what?
JONATHAN: I don't know. (looks at monitor) Like make her kind of itchy?

On the monitor, Giles walks away as Buffy turns toward the customer and Anya walks up to Buffy.

Cut back to the store.

ANYA: Go help the lady who just came in.
BUFFY: Wait-
ANYA: Don't worry, don't be nervous. Do what I do, just picture yourself naked.

Buffy makes an "ew" face as Anya pushes her toward the customer. Again the man by the candles stops her.

MALE CUSTOMER: Uh, miss-
BUFFY: Here.

Buffy grabs the lemon candle and gives it to him, continues on her way.

FEMALE CUSTOMER: Hi. I'm looking for something really specific. I heard you carry it.
BUFFY: A mummy hand.

The customer looks quite surprised.

BUFFY: You look like the mummy hand type. Sorry, I can't get that for you.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: I called here twenty minutes ago, and someone said you had one.
BUFFY: Y-yeah, um ... but ... there's a thing happening.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: You have one, and, and I was told I could buy it, and I'm sorry, but I'm really gonna have to hold you to that. I'm not leaving until I get a mummy hand.
BUFFY: (reluctantly) Okay ... I guess ... I'll have to get it for you.

Cut back to the van. On the screen, Buffy turns away from the customer and heads for the basement.

WARREN: Smart. She's figuring out the game. Satisfy the customer. (leans forward) Well, she might just have you beat there, Stretch. (shoves Jonathan)
JONATHAN: No way. It hasn't even started yet.
ANDREW: I just hope she solves it faster than Data did on the ep of TNG where the Enterprise kept blowing up.
WARREN: Or Mulder, in that X-Files where the bank kept exploding.
ANDREW: Scully wants me so bad.

The others give Andrew skeptical looks.

Cut to the magic shop basement. The mummy hand dances around on the crate tapping its fingers.

Buffy approaches with a knife in one hand and a set of tongs in the other.

The hand pauses, seems to be breathing(?). Buffy comes closer. The hand moves across the crate, climbs up onto a skull.

Buffy prepares to attack it. Suddenly it jumps down from the skull, startling her. It perches on the edge of the crate.

Buffy reaches out with the tongs and grabs.

Cut to above. The woman customer looks into a paper bag with a disgusted expression as Buffy watches. Then the woman looks up at Buffy.

BUFFY: Fingers sold separately.

The woman scowls. Sound of the door jingling.

Cut back to the beginning of the scene again. Buffy turns around to see the woman entering. Buffy sighs in annoyance, starts forward. Anya stops her.

ANYA: Where are you going?
BUFFY: (points) Lady needs a mummy hand.
ANYA: What? You haven't even talked to her yet.
BUFFY: I could explain, but you would just forget it.
ANYA: I'm worried about you. Um, retail is a, is a fast-paced and exciting world. I mean, this whole day, has it gone by too quickly for you?
BUFFY: No. No, I don't think that's exactly the problem.

Buffy starts toward the customer again as Giles comes up.

GILES: Buffy, a word in your ear. Um, if you, uh, think of the store as a, as a library, (cleaning glasses) it'll help you to, to, uh, concentrate on, on ... service rather than selling.
BUFFY: Yes. And then I'm going to marry Bob Dole and raise penguins in Guam.
GILES: (not listening) Yes, uh, quite, quite, yes.

Giles puts his glasses back on and turns away. Buffy rolls her eyes, starts toward the customers. She grabs the lemon candle.

MALE CUSTOMER: Miss, I-

Buffy shoves the candle into his hand and continues toward the woman.

BUFFY: Mummy hand, right? You got it, lady.

The female customer looks bemused as Buffy just walks on toward the basement.

Cut to a little later. Buffy pulls at the mummy hand which is trying to strangle the woman customer. She gets it loose, only to have it latch onto the woman's throat again. We see that Buffy is behind the counter by the cash register, with the customer on the other side of the counter. The woman's eyes bulge as the hand strangles her.

Cut to: the bell jingling again.

Buffy turns around, very annoyed. She stalks toward the front, totally ignores the male customer.

MALE CUSTOMER: Miss...

Buffy strides over to the front door, pulls it open with a jingle and steps outside...

...only to emerge in the store again, at the rear. As if she just came in through the back door. Giles, Anya, and the two customers turn to stare at her. Buffy stares back, dismayed.

MALE CUSTOMER: Miss?
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Hi.

Cut to Buffy in the basement with her chin resting on her hand, watching idly as the mummy hand plays with the tongs. The bell jingles and she looks up.

Cut to upstairs. Buffy goes over to the front door and, with a grimace, pulls the bell down, ripping it from the wall. She gives a satisfied smile.

Cut to close-up of the bell, still attached, jingling as the door opens again.

Buffy strides toward the front, passing the male customer as he examines the candles. Buffy grabs the slug-scented candle.

BUFFY: Ya like slug? (tosses it to him without slowing down) Go with slug. She's not gonna sleep with you anyway.

Cut to the van. The geeks are still watching.

WARREN: (fake angry voice) This mummy hand has ceased to be! (on screen we see the woman customer shaking the mummy hand at Buffy)
ANDREW: It is an ex-mummy hand!

Warren smacks Andrew in the face with a rubber hand.

Cut back to the store. The door opens. Giles comes up to Buffy, cleaning his glasses.

GILES: Buffy, a word in your ear.

Buffy grabs Giles's glasses, throws them to the floor and stomps on them again and again. Giles watches in surprise. The door jingles. Buffy turns, looking a little desperate.

Shot of the woman customer looking at the merchandise.

BUFFY: It's you. (runs over to the woman, grabs her by the front of her jacket) You, you're doing this!
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Oh! Oh!

Buffy hustles her toward the door.

Cut to the bell jingling. Buffy stands with Giles, turns around toward the door.

Shot of the male customer as the candle hits him in the stomach and he doubles over. The bell jingles.

Cut to Buffy standing there with Giles and Anya behind her. Buffy sobs in frustration.

Cut to the bell jingling.

Cut to Buffy talking to the woman.

BUFFY: I know we promised you a mummy hand, it's just ... (apologetic) I-I can't get it for you. Um ... (gets an idea) There's something wrong with it. It's defective.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Defective? Are you sure? I - there must be something you can do.
BUFFY: But there's no way to get-

Buffy suddenly stops as she realizes the solution to the problem. A slow smile comes over her face.

BUFFY: ...to get *that* hand. But I can special-order one. We can deliver it anywhere you want.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: (smiling happily) Really?

Cut to Buffy at the cash register with the customer on the other side of the counter. The cash register rings as Buffy closes the sale.

BUFFY: (smiling) Thank you for shopping at the Magic Box.

The woman hands Buffy the special-order slip and leaves.

Cut to the van.

JONATHAN: Oh ho! Yes!

The Geeks laugh and give each other high-fives.

ANDREW: So ... (doing calculations on a piece of paper) Warren had 220 ... and I had that bonus for getting her fired...
JONATHAN: But the biggest component has to be how long it took to finish. Mine took the longest.
ANDREW: Only from a perspective external to the time-loops. From Mr. Giles' perspective, it was shortest of all.
JONATHAN: (disappointed) So what do we do?
WARREN: Oh, it's obvious. I mean, it's not over.

Cut back to the magic shop. Buffy is finishing up the paperwork. Anya and Giles come toward her, smiling.

GILES: Buffy, your first sale! (applauds) Congratulations.

Buffy smiles. Anya takes the invoice and examines it.

ANYA: You, you didn't charge for delivery.
GILES: Oh. Well, your first day, you know, these things happen.
ANYA: (smiling) Yeah, I'll just take it out of your pay.

Buffy gives her a sour look.

GILES: Yes, um, I'm sure B-Buffy would understand that.

Buffy walks around Anya to get out from behind the counter. She slaps something down on the counter and keeps walking.

BUFFY: Absolutely.

Close-up on the counter. The thing Buffy put down was her name tag. It reads, "Hello! My name is," then a white space with "BUFFY" written in it, and then, "Ask me about curses!"

Giles looks at it, looks at Anya. Anya looks toward the door.

Long shot of Buffy going to the front door and opening it. Close-up on the bell jingling.
Blackout.


Act IV

Open on close shot of Spike looking to his left with a small smile. It's dark.

BUFFY: (OS) This is gonna be great.

We see Buffy holding up a shot-glass full of liquor. She pours the shot down her throat, swallows it and makes a horrible face.

BUFFY: Blaaah! (shakes head)

We see that Buffy and Spike are sitting on a coffin in Spike's crypt. Spike lifts his own shot-glass to his mouth and slams it down.

BUFFY: Life is stupid.
SPIKE: I have a dim memory of that, yeah. (puts glass down) And I didn't figure you were here cadging my whiskey 'cause life's all full of blood and peaches.
BUFFY: No. There's this thing ... someone's doing stuff to me. Messing up my life. Except that it was kind of pre-messed already. You know, with school, and jobs ... pretty bad even without the evil.
SPIKE: So you, uh, just what? Gonna let this whoever play you till it figures out what kills you?
BUFFY: (shrugs, puts down her glass) Giles is working on it.
SPIKE: (laughs) Oh, good, 'cause Giles wields the mighty force of library books.
BUFFY: You'd do better?
SPIKE: Damn right! I'd hit the demon world.

Buffy has Spike's whiskey flask in her hand. She begins refilling the two glasses as Spike brings one leg over the coffin so he's straddling it.

SPIKE: Ask questions, throw punches, find out what's in the air. Hmm? It's fun too.
BUFFY: (slurred) It's not my kind of fun. (screwing cap back onto the flask)
SPIKE: Yeah. It is.

She looks at him.

SPIKE: (quietly) And your life's gonna get a lot less confusing when you figure that out.
BUFFY: (slurred) You have had *so* too much to drink at this point, I am cuttin' you off.

They both empty their glasses again. Buffy again makes her alcohol face.

BUFFY: Blaaah! (shakes head)

Spike watches this with a smile.

SPIKE: You're not a schoolgirl. You're not a shop girl.

Buffy pours from the flask into her glass again, emptying the flask.

SPIKE: You're a creature of the darkness. Like me. (Buffy looks at him) Try on my world. See how good it feels.
BUFFY: Are there drinks in your world?

Spike grins.

Cut to a seedy bar. Loud rock music, people drinking. Pan across to the door. Spike enters, followed by Buffy. She grimaces.

BUFFY: Your motorcycle is loud.
BARTENDER: Sssspike.

We see that the bartender has a forked tongue. Spike nods a greeting to him.

SPIKE: (counting out money) The usual, Dave, and one for the lady. (to Buffy) We're heading for the back room, pet.

The bartender has set out two shot glasses and begins to fill them, but Buffy grabs the bottle out of his hand, removes the pour-spout and drinks straight from the bottle. Spike sighs, peels off a few more bills and gives the money to the bartender.

SPIKE: It's where the real action is.

Spike takes the two shot-glasses and heads toward the back. Buffy follows, making her alcohol face.

Cut to Spike and Buffy entering the back room. Lots of shelves filled with liquor boxes. Sound of voices.

SPIKE: (to Buffy) These lowlifes know everything happens in this town.
BUFFY: (too loudly) Oh, good. These are the lowlifes.

We see four demons sitting around a green-felt-covered table, playing cards. They all turn to look.

SPIKE: Fine. A little louder.

Spike walks over to the table.

SPIKE: Boys, what's the game?

We see one demon with many eyes, one with scaly skin and a bunch of tentacles that look like dreadlocks, one with a green face and horns, and one with very loose skin.

GREEN DEMON: You know the game, Spike. You in?
MANY-EYED DEMON: He kills our kind. Don't let him in.

Spike grabs the many-eyed demon by the front of his jacket, pulls him up out of his chair.

BUFFY: Ooh, ask him if he's heard-
SPIKE: Later.

Spike shoves the demon toward the door, sits down in his seat and picks up his cards.

BUFFY: (disbelieving) You're gonna play cards?

Spike looks exasperated, gives the demons a fake smile.

SPIKE: I need a moment with my lady.

The demons shrug. Spike gets up, goes to Buffy and puts his hand on her arm to turn her away. She shoves him off, but moves away with him anyway. The demons continue talking in the background.

BUFFY: You wanna play, that's fine. Okay? I am sticking to the original plan. (gestures at demons) Which one do I kill for information?
SPIKE: Listen. These guys talk while they play. We'll get more information out of their mouths than out of gaping holes in their corpses.

Buffy frowns, looks from Spike to the demons and back again, finally rolls her eyes in agreement. Spike returns to his seat. Buffy takes a chair a little bit away from the table, removes her jacket and sits with the bottle of whiskey.

SPIKE: I'm in. Everybody okay with that?
LOOSE-SKINNED DEMON: (shrugs) Ante up.

The three demons all turn to reach under their chairs. Each demon produces a small kitten. They put the kittens in a basket on the table. The kittens mew.

BUFFY: You play for kittens?!
SPIKE: So, who's gonna advance me a tiny tabby, get me started?

The demons all look away casually.

SPIKE: Come on, someone's gotta stake me.
BUFFY: (grinning) I'll do it!

Spike turns to give her a look.

BUFFY: What, you thought I was just gonna let that lie there?

She takes a swig from the bottle.

Spike looks like he's having second thoughts about bringing Buffy here.
BUFFY: (OS) Blaaah!

Cut to the black van moving down the street. It's night, the headlights are on.

Cut to inside. Jonathan sits in the passenger seat and Andrew in the middle while Warren drives.

JONATHAN: Where're we going?
WARREN: To Final Jeopardy. Where Buffy's the one in jeopardy.
ANDREW: We are really super-villains now, like ... like Dr. No. (Jonathan grins)
WARREN: Yeah, back when Bond was Connery, and movies were decent.
JONATHAN: (scornful) Who remembers Connery? I mean, Roger Moore was smooth.
WARREN: You're insane. You're short, and you're insane.
ANDREW: I like Timothy Dalton!

Warren smacks Andrew upside the head.

ANDREW: Hey!
WARREN: Don't make me pull over, okay?

Cut to the back room of the bar. Kitten mewing noises continue. Spike looks at his cards, grins, puts them down on the table. We see that he has a straight, 4-5-6-7-8 of clubs. The other demons groan and throw down their cards.

Spike smiles, stands up. We see that the table is now covered with kittens. Spike opens the lid of a basket and begins trying to put the kittens in the basket.

GREEN DEMON: You're lucky today, Spike.
SPIKE: Got my good-luck charm with me. (gestures with a kitten toward Buffy, who's making her alcohol face)
SCALY DEMON: You cleaned us out. No-one's that lucky.
LOOSE-SKINNED DEMON: Yeah. I'm starting to think you cheat.
SPIKE: (sits) Me? I cheat? He's got X-ray vision! (points to scaly demon)
SCALY DEMON: I'm not using it.
LOOSE-SKINNED DEMON: (stands up angrily) *We* are not the ones who are cheating!

Spike looks at him.

Close shot of the demon's arm. An ace of spades is stuck in the folds of skin. He pulls it free as the others watch.

LOOSE-SKINNED DEMON: I, I had no idea that was there. I could have leaned on that days ago.
GREEN DEMON: You better go, Spike. Things could get ugly.
SCALY DEMON: Got ugly the second he walked in. (disgusted) Him and his human.
LOOSE-SKINNED DEMON: Her skin's so tight, I don't even know how you can look at her.

Spike stands up angrily and confronts the demon. The green demon gets up too.

GREEN DEMON: Leave your winnings and get out. (Spike looks at him in surprise) We'll forget this whole thing.
SPIKE: Ah, so it's a setup, isn't it? Squeeze a few quid outta the vamp. Well, I'll tell you what you didn't count on. (indicates Buffy) Me and the bird.
BUFFY: (O.S.) Blaaah.
SPIKE: You wanna fight? You face the two of us.
BUFFY: What? I'm not getting into a bar fight! (very drunk) I'll beat 'em up for information, great, but not to defend your right to gamble for kittens! Which, by the way, is stupid currency.
GREEN DEMON: They're delicious! (other demons nod)
SPIKE: (wheedling) Come on, Slayer, a big fight's just what you need.
BUFFY: Forget it. I'm not playing by anyone else's rules any more. (gets up) I'm done.

She staggers drunkenly over to the table, opens the basket and tips it over, setting the kittens free. All the demons yell in protest.

DEMON: Hey, I won those two!
BUFFY: Be free, kittens!
DEMON: They're getting away!

Buffy turns and leaves as the demons frantically try to re-capture the kittens. The kittens run around under the table, meowing.

Spike hurries off after Buffy.

Cut to the main bar room. Buffy walks quickly through, putting her jacket on. Spike grabs her shoulder, turns her around.

SPIKE: What's wrong, luv?
BUFFY: What's wrong?! You were gonna help me! You, you were gonna beat heads and, and, and fix my life! But you're completely lame!

She gestures wildly with her arm. Her jacket falls down her arm and dangles from one hand. Spike simply listens to her tirade, looking surprised.

BUFFY: Tonight sucks! And, and look at me! Look at, look at stupid Buffy! (pulls jacket back up her arm) Too dumb for college, and, and, and freak Buffy, too strong for construction work. (finishes putting on jacket) And, and my job at the magic shop? I was bored to tears even *before* the hour that wouldn't end! And the only person I can even stand to be around is a ... neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker.
SPIKE: (embarrassed) Oh, you saw the cheating, did you.
BUFFY: Also? I think you're drunk.

She whirls around and storms out of the bar. Spike stands there, makes an expression of extreme frustration.

Cut to the interior of the van, rear. Andrew emerges from the front into the rear, followed by Warren. Jonathan comes last.

WARREN: (to Andrew) Connery is Bond. He had style.
JONATHAN: Yeah, but Roger Moore was funny.
WARREN: Moonraker? The gondola turns into a hovercraft? It's retarded. Besides, the guy had, like, no edge.
ANDREW: Dalton had edge. In Licence to Kill he was a rogue agent. That's edgy. (Warren and Jonathan give him looks of disbelief) And he was amazing in The Living Daylights.
JONATHAN: Yeah, which was written for Roger Moore, not Timothy Dalton!
WARREN: (annoyed) Okay, this is stupid! We're wasting time. End of discussion.

The other two nod and turn to their consoles, begin typing. Beat.

WARREN: (very angry) I mean, there's a shot of like *pigeons*, doing double-takes when the gondola blasted by! Moonraker ... is inexcusable.

The others just look at him.

Cut to Spike coming out of the bar, walking quickly, waving his hands in annoyance. He's looking at the ground, so he nearly bumps into Buffy who's standing on the street, arms crossed, staring at something down the street. Spike sighs and rolls his eyes.

BUFFY: That van.

Spike looks where she's looking. Shot of the black van parked by the sidewalk.

SPIKE: You wanna steal a van, I'm with you, luv, but we have got the motorcycle. (gestures behind them)
BUFFY: (shakes head) I've seen it before. At the construction site.

She takes a couple of steps forward.

Cut to inside the van. Warren is in foreground with his back to Andrew in background.

WARREN: Connery is the only actor of the bunch.
ANDREW: Timothy Dalton should get an Oscar and (yells) beat Sean Connery over the head with it!
WARREN: (grimly) Okay, that's it.

Warren spins around, grabs Andrew, gets him in a headlock. They struggle.

JONATHAN: Hey! Stop it! Guys!

Jonathan tries to break them up, looks up at the monitors, gasps.

JONATHAN: Look!

They all look.

The monitors show Buffy walking toward the van.

ANDREW: Oh, she's coming over here! What do we do?
WARREN: Jonathan, grab your magic bone.

Warren and Andrew burst into giggles again. Jonathan looks at them in annoyance.

Cut to outside. Buffy approaches the van, frowning. Spike stays where he is several yards back.

Suddenly a large demon comes around the van and growls at Buffy. He has red skin, curved horns and wings, and wears only a loincloth.

DEMON: Rrrah! You have discovered me! (puts hands on hips) But do not try to defeat me, for I have been testing you and I know your weaknesses. Ha ha ha!

The demon suddenly looks over in dismay as the van starts up and begins to drive off.

Buffy goes over to the demon, tries to punch it, but being drunk she misses the first time. She kicks out and gets the demon square in the groin.

DEMON: Ooh! Oh!

The demon doubles over in pain. Buffy falls backward onto her butt.

Spike runs over and helps Buffy up.

BUFFY: I'm okay! I'm fine! Get off me! (Spike makes a "okay, okay" gesture)
DEMON: I am well struck! (voice breaking) I call on the misty portal to my demon dimension, where I will lay my head and gently die.

The demon throws something on the ground which causes a shower of sparks and a cloud of smoke. Then he turns and runs away.

Buffy and Spike cough and wave the smoke away.

BUFFY: He blew up. Did you see that?
SPIKE: (looks around in confusion) Yeah, I saw. He's gone.
BUFFY: (shrugs) Gotta love it, you know. (Spike looks at her with a smile) It makes you feel all powerful. (uncertainly) Strong.

Beat. She looks a little ill. Spike continues looking at her.

BUFFY: Kinda sick.

Cut to the van parked on a dark side street. Warren's at the wheel. Andrew in the passenger seat. The demon comes up on the driver's side, panting.

DEMON: She hurt me all over.
WARREN: Someone'll see you! Get in the back.
DEMON: I won't fit.
ANDREW: Well, do the ... thing.
DEMON: Oh, right. Let the spell be ended!

The demon shrinks and turns back into Jonathan, holding the loincloth around his waist (as it is now much too big for him). He groans in pain, hobbles over to the back of the van. The other two go through the bead curtain.

Jonathan opens the back door and climbs into the van.

JONATHAN: Ahh! Ow.

Warren wraps a blanket around Jonathan.

JONATHAN: (plops into a chair still groaning) Ohh, next time I do that spell, one of you guys has to look like the demon.
ANDREW: (awed) The Slayer touched you.
JONATHAN: (sourly) Yeah, it was sexy the way she touched me real hard with her fists. I only looked big. I actually had the proportional strength of ... uh ... me.
WARREN: Guys, think about this. We took on the Slayer. I mean, we've got all kinds of stuff in the computer now ... speed, strength, reaction time ... we're getting what we need to really become a threat to her. We tested her, faced her ... and we survived.
JONATHAN: Unless I have internal injuries that will eventually kill me.
ANDREW: Oh, of course, but barring that, Warren's right. We did good!
WARREN: (nods) The Trio ... versus the Slayer. It's not over.

They all nod and smile.

ANDREW: Plus, look what Warren and me discovered by accident before we drove away!

Andrew jumps up and gets into one of the chairs, fiddling with the equipment. The other two come to look over his shoulder.

JONATHAN: What?

They all stare at the screens.

ANDREW/WARREN/JONATHAN: (unison) Free cable porn!

Cut to: interior Summers house, night. Giles stands in the hallway outside the bathroom holding a glass of water. The bathroom door opens and Buffy comes out, walking slowly. Giles gives her the glass.

GILES: Feel any better?
BUFFY: I think at one point, I actually turned completely inside out. (walks into her room) But yeah, better. (drinks)
GILES: I'm sorry I didn't, uh, find this demon with my research.
BUFFY: (sits on floor next to the bed) Aw, it's okay. I-it wasn't much of a fight.

She pulls a fringed blanket off the bed, bunches it up and holds it against her middle.

BUFFY: I got lucky.

She puts her elbow on the bed and rests her forehead on her hand.

BUFFY: (quietly) I'm really screwing up, Giles.
GILES: What? Come on. (sits on the bed) You were being tested ... sequentially, by some ... unknown demon. I don't call that screwing up.
BUFFY: No, it completely is. I let the demon set the rules.
GILES: Go easy on yourself, will you? I mean, you don't have to figure the whole thing out at once, you know, job and everything. You're pushing yourself too hard.
BUFFY: The nice people at the phone company? Seem to think it's not hard enough.
GILES: Well, maybe there's something I can do about that. (takes something from his pocket) This is, um ... I...

It's a folded piece of paper. Giles turns it over and over in his hands, then holds it out to Buffy.

GILES: It's for you.
BUFFY: (takes it) A check?

She unfolds the check, looks at the amount, looks stunned.

BUFFY: This is, is too much, I can't take it.
GILES: Well, tear it up then. (reaches for it)
BUFFY: (snatches it away from him) No! I was just being polite. (smiles) I'm taking the money.

Giles smiles, leans on the bed. Buffy looks at the check again.

BUFFY: This is, this is great. This is more than great.

Giles puts his hand on her shoulder. She looks up at him.

BUFFY: I don't ... really know how to say this ... (softly) but it's a little like having Mom back.
GILES: In this scenario, I am your mother?
BUFFY: Wanna be my shiftless absentee father?

Giles grins a little, then pulls a serious face.

GILES: Is there some sort of, um, rakish uncle?
BUFFY: (smiles) I'm just saying ... (seriously) Thank you. So much.

Buffy tries to get up, groans in pain. Giles gets up, helps her stand.

BUFFY: I'm gonna ... show this to Dawn. She loves it when things get easy.

She walks to the door, looking at the check. Pauses in the doorway, turns back to Giles.

BUFFY: I just ... wanna tell you ... that, um ... this ... makes me feel safe. Knowing you're always gonna be here.

Giles gives her a smile and a nod. But as soon as Buffy turns to leave the room, his smile turns to a worried frown and he sighs.

Blackout.
Executive Producers: Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon. THE END

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