Potential

November 27, 2002 (WHITE)

Written by: Rebecca Rand Kirshner
Directed by: James A. Contner

Teaser

EXT. GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Dark. Shadowed.

RONA and VI walk cautiously. Watching. Listening. Aware.

A RUSTLE behind them, they TURN, tense. Nothing.

Perfect opportunity for the SHADOWY FIGURE ahead of them to swoop in, SWIPE Rona across the back of the skull. She goes down.

Vi, startled, whips back, rushes the Shadowy Figure, fighting for her life. She swings at him, he catches her arm and twists it hard behind her back. She SCREAMS, and the figure PULLS her throat to his mouth...

ON SPIKE, the Shadowy Figure, as he whips around, in VAMP- FACE...

He bares his fangs, pauses. Smiles. Reverts to "non-vamp."

SPIKE
Okay. These two are dead. Why?

REVEAL: BUFFY stands watching with MOLLY, who's taking notes on a little pad, and KENNEDY, who sits on a gravestone, watching intently.

This has all been part of a lesson.

Spike still has Vi's arm twisted behind her back. Rona SITS UP.

RONA
(a mutter)
'Cause the black chick always gets it
first?

VI
(re: her arm)
Ow. Ow.

BUFFY
What's that Rona?

RONA
I'm dead because... he's a vampire.
I don't have Slayer strength, Slayer
speed. It wasn't a fair fight.

Spike rolls his eyes at this, nods to Vi.

SPIKE
Vi, do you really think I care if
it's a fair fight?

VI
(in pain, scared)
No. No sir.
(searching for an
answer)
You don't play by the rules and I
have learned a valuable lesson of
some sort.
(tenses)
Ow.

BUFFY
Okay Spike.

Spike lets Vi go. She backs away quick. Rubs her arm. Buffy addresses the entire group. She's holding a stake in her hand.

BUFFY (cont'd)
You don't have Slayer strength. But
that doesn't mean you're not strong.
You have inherent abilities that
others do not have.

MOLLY
Not like you do.

BUFFY
No. Not yet. But it's there -- the
potential. You have strength, speed,
instinct. Learn to trust yourself.
(to Rona)
Rona, what did your instincts tell
you to do just now?

Rona searches for the right answer.

RONA
Block his attack... Keep him off
balance... gain the advantage...

BUFFY
No they didn't.

RONA
(looks down)
They told me to run.

BUFFY
Vi?

VI
(nodding)
They told me to run.
(looks at Spike)
They're still... sorta... telling me
to run.

BUFFY
Don't fight on his terms. If your
gut's telling you to run, run.
Regain the higher ground. Make the
fight your own.

Buffy turns to Spike.

BUFFY (cont'd)
What were your instincts telling you
just now?

SPIKE
(hard)
Hunt.
(beat)
Kill.

Buffy nods.

BUFFY
Come at me. Full speed.

Spike nods, circles away, preparing for action.

Buffy turns away from him, facing the girls. We don't see Spike in frame.

BUFFY (cont'd)
He needs to kill to live. And that
tells you everything you need to know.

Spike, in vamp-face, comes charging into frame, flying at Buffy. She steps away quick, as though she's running away, and then DROPS to the ground. He goes SAILING over her -- WHACK -- into a tombstone.

VI
(excited)
That was like Top Gun!

As Spike struggles to get to his feet, Buffy leaps on him. They roll, he ends up on his back.

She's straddling him, holding him by the neck with one hand and spinning the stake up into a kill position with the other. As they hold this position:

BUFFY
Instinct. Understand his, but trust
yours.
(to the girls)
You're chosen for a reason.

Spike exhales. Buffy looks down at him. He's clenching his jaw. He's clearly in some pain, but trying very hard not to show it.

BUFFY (cont'd)
You okay?

She lowers the stake. He shifts her weight to the side and sits up a little.

SPIKE
Fine. Couple'a ribs still ain't
quite set right since...
(pause)
I'm fine.

BUFFY
Let me see.

SPIKE
No, it's --

She puts her hand up under his shirt, feels along his rib cage. She looks at him with genuine concern -- his injury's worse than he's letting on.

BUFFY
Spike --

SPIKE
I'm okay, Buffy.

He reaches down, grabs her hand. He takes it away from his rib cage but continues holding it.

SPIKE (cont'd)
I'm gonna be okay.

Tender beat between the two of them as they look at each other.

ANGLE ON the rest of the girls, all watching intently. Molly has her notepad out. She looks confused.

MOLLY
So we're supposed to like make out
with him or something?

RONA
That's hot.

VI
Careful, Buffy. Just when you think
it's part of the lesson he'll...
hurt... your arm...

Buffy gets to her feet, helps Spike up.

BUFFY
All right. Kennedy, Molly -- you're
up. Let's go.

ANGLE ON Buffy as she turns and faces the group.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Next lesson.

END OF TEASER
Act One

EXT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - DAY

To establish.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - BASEMENT - DAY

Crack of dawn, as we just saw. Buffy paces, a battle-axe in her hand, her expression solemn.

She turns to face her audience, but instead of rapt attention, she's faced with:

MOLLY
(to Vi)
Knock it off!

Molly and Vi sit on the floor goofing around. Vi is trying to tickle Molly.

Kennedy is standing in the corner, stretching her quad by pulling her ankle up to her rear. She's whispering inaudibly to RONA, who laughs occasionally.

In the BG, DAWN, sits watching with her legs dangling sideways off the staircase, her arms resting on the banister.

Buffy looks at the girls. This is the next generation?

Suddenly, she releases the battle-axe...

WHIZZZ! It flies across the room and

THWACK! lodges in the wall.

She's got their attention now.

BUFFY
You're all going to die.

The girls are startled.

BUFFY (cont'd)
But you knew that already. 'Cause
that's the cool reward for being
human. The big dessert at the end of
the meal.

Buffy walks over to the punching bag.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Don't kid yourselves, you guys, this
whole thing is all about death. You
think you're different because you
might be the next Slayer? Death is
what a Slayer breathes; what a Slayer
dreams of when she sleeps. Death is
what a Slayer lives.

Yanks out the battle-axe.

BUFFY (cont'd)
My death is what could make you a
Slayer.

They're paying attention now.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Oh goody. Rapt attention. I love
that so much. So where are we? If
we go with what Anya's sources are
saying, The First is in remission.
We think that's advantage us.

RONA
Um... what does that mean? About The
First?

BUFFY
Best we can tell? He, or, more
precisely, it was putting a lot of
stock in that uber-vamp thing, the
Chaka Khan...

Dawn can't resist a chance to jump in:

DAWN
Turok-Han.

BUFFY
...so when I kicked its ass, we
figure the whole Firsty circus
decided to back off. Good news is
that means we probably don't have to
worry about it pulling Spike's
strings for a while.

Looks of relief.

BUFFY (cont'd)
But here's the half-empty: time away
means time to regroup.
And part of the regrouping is the
coming back stronger than ever. The
odds are against us; time is against
us; and some of us will die in this
battle. But you gotta eat your
dessert sometime, right? Everybody
does.

The girls exchange gloomy looks.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I know you're tired and you're
anxious and you're far away from home.
(beat)
And possibly hungry, with all the
dessert talk.
(beat)
But all of you are special. Because
most of the people in this world have
no idea why they're here or what they
want to do. You do. You have a
mission, a reason for being here.

Pride begins to fill the room.

BUFFY (cont'd)
You're not here by chance. You're
here because you are the Chosen ones.

Buffy props the axe against the wall. As she walks back towards the stairs, the girls stare at her in awe.

Buffy passes Dawn.

BUFFY (cont'd)
You better get going if you want to
eat something before school.

Buffy continues up the stairs. Dawn's a little disappointed, but restrains herself.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - BUFFY'S OFFICE - DAY

Buffy, harried from being up most of the night, sits at her desk. She's on the phone.

BUFFY
Xand, I know... No, I'm sorry, but...
well, lock the door if you're gonna
shower at my place. Of course
they're curious.

AMANDA, the girl from the counseling montage in "Help" enters, gingerly approaches. Buffy waves her over.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I gotta go. Hey, did Giles check in
yet? I thought he was picking up
this Chao-Ahn girl in Shanghai
yesterday, but... okay. Okay, call
me when he does. See you at home.

Buffy hangs up as Amanda looks at her funny.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Hey, Amanda, right? I'm all yours.

AMANDA
(sudden)
Do people ever think you're weird?

BUFFY
Well, I guess, sure, in a charming,
endearing, lovable... yes.

AMANDA
I feel like people think I'm weird.
And so they pick on me. It's like an
equation, I get it.

BUFFY
Just 'cause people think you're
weird --

AMANDA
But I might be. Weird. I think. I
think something might be...

BUFFY
Amanda. Why do you think you're
weird?

AMANDA
One of the boys who picks on me.
I kind of... see, if a boy picks on
you, is it weird to think he's cute?

Buffy sits back.

BUFFY
Oh.

AMANDA
I mean, I pick on him, too. We pick
on each other. A lot. It's just the
last few times I've seen him, I've
wanted to... you know. Pick on
him... extra. More.

BUFFY
Ah... ha

AMANDA
The thing is, I can't tell... I
mean, my mom says that when a boy
teases you, it means he likes you.

BUFFY
Sometimes that's true.

AMANDA
My mom also says that sitting on cold
surfaces gives you hemorrhoids.
(catching herself)
That's probably less true.
(then)
Is it weird? We're mean to each
other, and we like each other?

BUFFY
Well. Depends. Sometimes it's how
people relate. Being mean to each
other. Or mortal enemies, even.
But, then with the... And, believe
me, it leads to no good. Absolutely.
No. Good. And much confusion. And
then it's over. Really, definitely
over. And that's confusing, too.
The over part. Which it is. Over.

She snaps out of it, looks at Amanda.

BUFFY (cont'd)
So maybe.

We hold on Amanda's look as:

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Late afternoon. Buffy's enters, immediately finds TOTAL CHAOS.

XANDER stands next to the OVERTURNED BOOKSHELF, various knocked-over, broken items scattered about.

Rona and Vi are standing near him. Andrew stands to the side.

XANDER
I'm just saying, if you're
going to go roughhousing
all about, maybe there's a
more appropriate place to
do it than here, inside,
like maybe outside. In
another state.
RONA
We have to practice our
hand-to-hand, it's what we
do, maybe that thing should
have been fastened a little
better to the wall anyway,
but no, that doesn't
matter, just blame us --

VI
(same time as above)
I still don't understand
why Andrew had to stand
over us yelling "Fight,
little doggies, fight,"
because I think it only
made it worse, and also it
made me feel weird.

ANDREW
(as the others
finish/much too loud)
Why do we always have to yell???

The group falls silent, realizing Buffy is there.

BUFFY
I was only gone a couple hours.

Willow comes down the stairs.

WILLOW
Buffy -- ?

BUFFY
Look, everyone, it's Willow, perhaps
with a blunt weapon of some sort.

WILLOW
Buffy. We just got news.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Buffy, Xander, Willow, Anya and Dawn sit around the table. As we pull around, we come to see that Andrew is there, too, listening intently.

BUFFY
And she's sure?

WILLOW
Positive. Althenea says the seers
definitely located another Potential
Slayer here in Sunnydale. Someone
who already lives here.

BUFFY
God.

ANYA
All these girls flocking to town, and
this one's already here? Right under
our noses?

XANDER
Wait, the seers couldn't find her
name? Or, like, her address or
anything?

Willow shakes her head no.

XANDER (cont'd)
Am I getting the definition of "seer"
wrong?

BUFFY
I was gonna take the girls out for a
little show and tell tonight, maybe
now I shouldn't.

ANDREW
(disappointed)
Oh, they were so excited. You're
going to break their little hearts.

BUFFY
This town is lousy with Bringers, I
don't want to take the risk that they
find her first.

WILLOW
No, you should go. I can do a spell
to find her tonight. I just need to
get together a few ingredients. You
shouldn't skip your training, it's
too important.

BUFFY
You think you can handle it?

XANDER
No problemo.

Dawn nods, looking resigned.

DAWN
Yeah, you guys have more important
things to do.

Buffy doesn't notice Dawn's tone.

BUFFY
Okay. Okay, I'll take them...

Andrew pumps his arm, a little too enthusiastically.

ANDREW
Yes!!

BUFFY
Andrew. You're not coming.

Off Andrew's disappointment:

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

Rona, Vi and Molly, dressed for patrol, excitedly choose from a pile of weapons on the kitchen counter. Molly picks up a crossbow.

MOLLY
Crossbow! Gotta love it. Feels like
I'm storming a castle.

RONA
You do a lot of that, do you?

MOLLY
I might, I owned a beauty like this.
(practicing, posing)
Halt!

Dawn, on her way to the refrigerator with some wrapped leftovers, has to step into Molly's line of imaginary fire. Dawn reacts good-naturedly.

DAWN
Okay, we're not pointing the weapons
in the kitchen...

VI
It's not loaded.

DAWN
That's always the lead quote under
the headline "household crossbow
accident claims teen."

Vi grabs a weapon:

VI
Ooh, a mace!

DAWN
(dryly)
That's better.

The other girls aren't really paying attention -- not mean, just excited about their own deal. Rona selects a weapon...

RONA
Gotta go with the stake. Classic.

Kennedy enters from the living room and joins the group in time to hear...

RONA (cont'd)
I like the feel of wood in my hand.

KENNEDY
Lost me there. Hey, we gearing up
already?

Dawn looks up from scraping the casserole into the garbage...

DAWN
Oh. Right. Your little group patrol.

VI
More'n that.
(important)
It's an outing.

KENNEDY
I'm thinkin' tonight? We might
actually get to kill things.

DAWN
(lamely)
I've killed stuff sometimes...

The rest of what Dawn might have said is lost as Buffy enters, also dressed for patrol, with Andrew following close behind.

ANDREW
I am not begging.

BUFFY
You're like a small dog dancing for
Snausages.

ANDREW
You don't want me to come along
because you think I'm evil.

VI
He doesn't seem evil, exactly.

BUFFY
He's not evil, but when he gets close
to it he picks up its flavor like a
mushroom or something.

ANDREW
But I'm reformed! I'm like Vagita
from Dragon Ball Z. I used to be a
pure Sayan, but now I fight on the
side of Goku.

BUFFY
You're not coming.

ANDREW
It's not fair. Spike just killed
people and he gets to go.

BUFFY
Spike didn't have free will. You did.

ANDREW
Oh, I hate my free will.

Andrew sulks as Spike enters. The room is extremely crowded now.

SPIKE
This where you're all hidin'?

KENNEDY
Hey guys, we fit three more people in
here and we can call the Guinness
Book people.

SPIKE
We ready to go, or what?

BUFFY
Ready.

Buffy and Spike head out through the dining room. Kennedy, Rona, Molly and Vi troop behind.

Dawn and Andrew look at each other.

ANDREW
You wanna play Dragon Ball Z?

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Willow, Xander, Dawn and Anya stand together near the fireplace. A fire BURNS brightly. As Willow incants:

WILLOW
To light the aura of the new: Skin of
snake and chrysalis too.

She tosses in a molted SNAKE SKIN and a butterfly chrysalis.

WILLOW (cont'd)
To indicate the fresh reborn,
tumbleweed and rosebush thorn.

She adds some BRAMBLES to the fire.

WILLOW (cont'd)
An egg that means the life to come.
Take this, O Spirits, and my spell is
done.

As she tosses in an EGG, the room starts to fill with ORANGE NOXIOUS SMOKE.

It reeks of rotten eggs.

They all start to COUGH.

XANDER
Oh good god, what is that smell?

ANYA
(coughing)
I'm fairly sure that's the smell of
throwing a hard-boiled egg into a
fire.

XANDER
Uh-huh.

WILLOW
The smell will lead us to the
Potential.

The ORANGE SMOKE begins to concentrate into an amorphous shape about six feet in diameter.

XANDER
Or some poor soul who ate too many
chimichangas.

WILLOW
She'll also be lit with a brilliant
aura.

They watch the blob of orange smoke as it quivers in the middle of the living room.

DAWN
Is it supposed to be shimmying all
over like that?

WILLOW
(worried)
Um... I'm not sure. I don't think
so...

ANYA
Oh, sure, the fun, dance-y part is
wrong, but the smell, that's just --
(seeing Willow's
dejection/re: the
blob)
Look. Pretty.

WILLOW
I suck. I'm sorry, you guys.
(not believing it)
Maybe we can figure out something on
the computer.

DAWN
Good call. I'll open the door and
let this place air out.

Dawn heads towards the front door.

Xander puts a hand on Willow's shoulder.

XANDER
Don't worry Will. It's really no big.

Will nods half-heartedly.

WILLOW It's just... I was sure that it would
work...

She's distracted by the orange blob that is now more dense (Around 2 ft, diameter) and MOVING QUICKLY towards Dawn.

WILLOW (cont'd)
Dawn!

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - FOYER - CONTINUING

Dawn turns back to look at Willow, just as

VSHOOSH! The BALL OF ORANGE SMOKE heads right for Dawn and

Hits her hard -- SMACK! -- right in the gut like a medicine ball. Pinning her to the door.

The orange smoke begins to surround Dawn, radiating around her like an aura.

ANGLE ON WILLOW AND XANDER watching from the living room doorway.

WILLOW
(stunned)
I think it worked.

ANGLE ON DAWN as she looks at Willow and Xander, her eyes wide and bright. A stunned look takes over her face as she realizes...

She is the Potential.

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - FOYER - CONTINUING

Dawn sits slumped against the front door. Her eyes are wide with the realization that she is the new Potential Slayer. The ORANGE HAZE from the spell still surrounds her. But it's dissipating. Slowly being absorbed by the door itself.

Xander, Willow and Anya hurry in from the living room. Surround her. Xander crouches down.

XANDER
Dawn!

WILLOW
Dawnie, are you okay?

Dawn nods, slowly. Willow extends a hand, but Dawn gets up by herself.

In silence she walks back toward the living room.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUING

Xander, Willow and Anya follow Dawn. Dawn turns slowly to face them.

DAWN
(to Willow)
Did you do it wrong? Was it
ambiguous in any way? Did you maybe
ask about potential "sailors," 'cause
I do love the water--

WILLOW
I did it right.

XANDER
Wow, she's...
(to Dawn)
You're a Potential. You could be the
next Slayer.

Dawn, overwhelmed, sits down suddenly on the sofa.

DAWN
Ooof.

ANYA
One second you're just a klutzy
teenager with fake memories and a
history of kleptomania and now
suddenly you're a hero! A hero with
a much abbreviated life span!

Xander is almost as shaken as Dawn.

XANDER
This is huge. We have to think about
this.

Dawn is up and pacing now...

DAWN
I can't think about this. It doesn't
fit in my head.

WILLOW
A Slayer. It makes sense, I guess.
Remember that thing about how they
have the same blood or whatever?

ANYA
I never got that.

Dawn is struck by another heavy thought, and it drives her down into a chair again.

DAWN
She has to die. I mean, if I ever
was the Slayer it would mean she died.

ANYA
Yes, it's like being the pope that
way. Only you don't have be some old
Catholic.

WILLOW
We need to call Buffy. She's gonna
be so excited.

XANDER
We can't She didn't take the cell
with her.

DAWN
(sincere)
Well, sure. Because all the
important people are with her.

XANDER
You're important now.

Angle on Dawn for a beat while that sinks in.

DAWN
What...

She's up and pacing again.

DAWN (cont'd)
What happens now?

ANYA
Well, you could sit still for a
second and a half maybe.

Dawn looks at Anya, dead serious.

DAWN
No. I can't. I need to know what
happens to my life.

WILLOW
Well, I guess Buffy trains you--

DAWN
Right. I train with the Potentials--
(catching herself)
With the other Potentials. Learn to
do all the stuff they're learning.

ANYA
We also need to protect you from the
eyeless guys with the sharp, sharp
knives.

DAWN
Bringers.

WILLOW
It's okay. We'll protect you.

Dawn sits down again, overwhelmed.

DAWN
What if they saw the spell?

XANDER
Saw the spell? Dawn, they can't see
flash cards. Big ones.

DAWN
We did a big orange powerful spell.
What if they sensed it, what if
they're on the way?

Andrew enters.

ANDREW
Are we gonna replace the microwave?
'Cuz I was thinking some Orville
Redenbacher with the fresh butter
flavor -- what's going on?

ANYA
Dawn's gonna be a Slayer.

ANDREW
Holy crap, excuse me. Plucked from
ordinary life, handed a destiny...

XANDER
Say Skywalker and I smack you.

ANDREW
Does Buffy know?

XANDER
She left her phone.

Andrew nods wisely.

ANDREW
Incommunicado.

WILLOW
We'll tell her the minute she gets
home.

DAWN
(sudden)
Let's not.

WILLOW
What? Dawnie, she has to know.

DAWN
I know, just... not right away.
Guys, listen... When Mom appeared to
me... she said something...

WILLOW
Dawn--

DAWN
No. Please. She said something
about Buffy and I'm thinking... I'm
just not so sure that Buffy's gonna
be happy for me.

WILLOW
Of course she will!

DAWN
Will she? I mean, I'm not sure I'm
happy for me! Everything's different
for me now!

ANYA
That's because you're part of
something larger. Like getting
swallowed. By something larger.

Dawn heads for the stairs...

DAWN
This is... This is too big for my
head again... I've gotta... I'll be...

Dawn heads upstairs. Andrew, Willow, Xander and Anya stay.

XANDER
(to Anya)
Nice work with the getting swallowed
analogy.

ANYA
Well it is a mixed bag, you know. If
she gets to be the Slayer, she'll
have a short and brutal life. And if
she doesn't, then her whole life
smells of unfulfilled potential. The
swallowed analogy looks pretty sweet
right now, doesn't it?

WILLOW
It's not like that. It's like...
she's part of this huge power. I
know what that feels like. It's
wonderful.

Andrew taps Willow on the knee like an enthusiastic guest on a talk show.

ANDREW
Yes! I think Willow so captured it!
It's like, well, it's almost like a
metaphor for womanhood, isn't it?
This sort of flowering that happens
when a girl realizes she's part of a
fertile heritage stretching back to
Eve--

XANDER
I'll pay you to talk about Star Wars
again.

ANYA
This is not about womanly power.
This is about how Dawn just bought
herself an early death.

WILLOW
We don't know that!

XANDER
Right. All we know is that
everything just changed.

OMITTED

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

Dawn enters her room, leaving the door slightly open behind her. She leans, exhausted against the wall near the door. She can clearly hear:

WILLOW (V.O.)
Someone should go find Buffy. I
still think she needs to know.

XANDER (V.O.)
Hey, Willow, what if she doesn't like
it?

WILLOW (V.O.)
Are you worried about what Dawn said?
About the ghost? Xander, we don't
even know if that really was Joyce...

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUING

The discussion continues, and it's turning into a bit of an argument.

WILLOW
...and we don't know what she meant
about Buffy--

XANDER
I'm not talking about that! I mean,
what do you think Buffy's gonna do
with this information? Jump up and
down and teach Dawn the secret
handshake? She knows what this means!

ANYA
Short brutal life, sharp, sharp
knives. I covered this.

XANDER
Right!
(to Willow)
You think Buffy wants that for Dawn?!

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - DAWN'S ROOM - CONTINUING

Dawn walks over to a full-length mirror. Looks at herself in it. She continues to hear:

XANDER (V.O.)
Besides, Dawn doesn't want us to tell
her yet.

WILLOW (V.O.)
Dawn is freaking out. Her input, not
worth that much right now.

ANYA (V.O.)
She's a child. Of course she can't
handle this!

XANDER (V.O.)
Hey, something out there thinks she
can handle this and a hell of a lot
more. Something out there chose her!

Dawn stands up taller, trying to see herself as the Slayer she will be someday.

DAWN
(trying it on)
I'm Chosen.

WILLOW (V.O.)
Right. She can handle it. Is that
why she's hiding in her room?

Dawn slumps. She doesn't see a Potential Slayer, but a scared young girl.

She turns away from the mirror. She's not ready for this.

XANDER (V.O.)
She's getting used to it. Let it
happen. She doesn't have to rush!

Dawn walks to her window.

ANYA
He's right. We shouldn't rush her...

Dawn opens her window, and climbs out.

ANYA (cont'd)
Rushing's only gonna yet her killed.

INT. DEMON BAR - NIGHT

Buffy, Spike, Kennedy, Rona, Vi and Molly have just entered the dark bar.

RONA
Hey, this is a bar!

KENNEDY
Best damn field trip I ever took.

As Buffy leads them into the crowd, the girls stare agog at the demon scene.

Molly whispers to Vi:

MOLLY
Look.
(very soft)
They're all...

VI
(too loud)
They're demons! It's a demon bar!
Like a gay bar only with demons!

Now the demons are looking back at them.

AN IMPOSING DEMON takes a step toward them.

IMPOSING DEMON
Spike. Long time. Nice'a you to
bring snacks.

Spike steps forward to face off with the Imposing Demon... he towers over Spike.

SPIKE
Touch 'em and lose yer privates.

Imposing Demon backs down. Spike returns to the girls.

VI
(re: demon, scared)
I didn't like him.

Spike
Nice job blending in, girls.

RONA
We're a bunch of fifteen-year-olds in
a demon bar. How much blending did
you think we were gonna do?

BUFFY
That's okay. Usually, when you come
to a place like this, it's 'cause you
want to be seen You want to scare
someone, or make contact--

MOLLY
Or maybe have a strong drink?

BUFFY
Not usually that.

KENNEDY
("nerd")
You don't drink?

BUFFY
Sure, I drink. I mean, no, that
would be wrong.

VI
Do they card?

BUFFY
Nope, go 'head. Down all the yak
urine shots and pig's blood spritzers
you want.

The girls make faces.

VI
Gross.

SPIKE
Got that right. Prices they charge,
you should get human blood straight
from the body.

Vi looks at him, frightened.

SPIKE (cont'd)
("What do you
expect?")
Vampire.

BUFFY
(to the girls)
Look, if I come here, it usually
means I've gotta wring some
information out of something large,
scary, drunk and with a roomful of
friends who don't care for the
Slayer. Remember that. There's not
a being in here who wouldn't gladly
rip out your throat.

From behind her, CLEM appears:

CLEM
Buffy! Hey girl, how you been?

BUFFY
Clem! Hey! You look great! Really
toned!

He pulls Buffy towards him in a casual embrace.

Kennedy leans in toward Rona.

KENNEDY
(dryly)
He's ripping out her throat right now.

Clem releases Buffy from the hug.

CLEM
Omigod, it's so good to see you. I
saw this special on the History Channel that I knew you'd love, but
something went flooey with my Tivo--

BUFFY
Hey, let me talk to you for a second.

She pulls him aside and whispers something in his floppy ear. He nods. The girls watch them.

KENNEDY
You think she dated him too?

Clem and Buffy reapproach.

BUFFY
Clem, these are the girls. The
Potentials.

CLEM
Howdy! So, you girls're gonna deal
with demons, huh? Well, lemme tell
you this...

He leans in as if he's gonna say something softly...

ANGLE: OVER CLEM TOWARD THE GIRLS... WE SEE THAT HIS ENTIRE HEAD EXPANDS IN AN ALARMING FASHION (CGI).

WE CAN'T SEE WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE, but the girls can, and from their reactions we can tell it's terrible.

VI
(weak)
I could stand a shot of that yak
urine.

EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR SUNNYDALE HIGH - NIGHT

Dawn walks by herself through a residential neighborhood. It's dark and the streets are empty. She's deep in thought.

She walks for a bit. And then sees another pedestrian turn from a side street and walks towards her. Her jaw clenches; is she about to face danger?

As the figure approaches, we recognize Amanda.

A second later, Dawn recognizes her too; they've seen each other around school. Amanda seems to be deep in thought too. She wears a backpack and, despite the cold, no jacket.

DAWN
Hey.

AMANDA
Hey, Dawn. Whatcha doing?

DAWN
Just walking. You?

AMANDA
Um, yeah. Just walking too.

They stare at each other; awkward.

AMANDA (cont'd)
'Kay well, have a good... walk. I
guess I'll see you Monday morning?

Dawn thinks about this: will she ever go back to school?

DAWN
Yeah.

Dawn's tone makes Amanda pause.

AMANDA
You alright?

DAWN
Sure! Yeah, just walking, you know.

As Amanda fiddles with her hair, Dawn notices a bleeding scratch on her temple.

DAWN (cont'd)
Hey, are you alright? You gotta...
thing.

She points at Amanda's wound.

Amanda touches her temple and then looks at her fingers. They're wet with BLOOD. She laughs inappropriately.

AMANDA
I guess I... I had a bit of a, it's
been a bizarre night.

DAWN
What happened? Who did that to you?

Amanda sucks on her bloody fingers nervously.

AMANDA
Nobody... exactly. I don't think
you'd exactly believe me.

She smiles an anxious but excited smile. Dawn looks at her, concerned this girl is a victim, hurt and possibly in shock. Dawn can help.

Dawn puts a protective hand on Amanda's arm.

DAWN
(gently)
Try me.

AMANDA
I was at school late because of; you
know, Swing Choir, and I tore my
vest, you know, the striped ones we
wear, and I went by Home Sciences to
sew it up...

DAWN
Uh-huh.

AMANDA
And by the time I was done, the place
was empty. So it was all echoy and
lonely and...
(a beat)
Then this guy was there... or thing.
And it was... It scratched at me and
I kinda dodged it and it kinda hit
its head?

DAWN
What kind of thing?

AMANDA
I don't know. It was messed up. In
the face...
(indicating forehead
and nose-bridge)
... around hereabouts.

DAWN
And when it scratched at you... did
it... was it scratching with its
teeth?

Amanda stares at her.

AMANDA
Is it real? Was it really a vampire?

Amanda lets out a nervous, slightly loony giggle.

AMANDA (cont'd)
I bet you think I'm crazy.

DAWN
I...

She's not going to answer that one directly.

DAWN (cont'd)
I believe you.

AMANDA
Yeah? Well, cool.

She smiles at Dawn. Nods a couple times, like "that ends that."

Dawn looks at Amanda expectantly, what happened next?

After a beat, Amanda notices.

AMANDA (cont'd)
The thing is, after it hit its head,
I kinda freaked out. Trapped it in
a room. It's still there and now I
don't know what to do.

Dawn thinks. Looks at Amanda: shivering, bleeding.

DAWN
It's okay. This is deal-able. Don't
worry.

AMANDA
I was thinking about getting your
sister.

DAWN
My-- You know... you know something
about my sister?

AMANDA
Well, I've heard people talking. A
lot of 'em think she's some kind of
high-functioning schizophrenic, but
I also heard maybe, like maybe she
could help with this kind of thing.
Do you think we should go get her?

Dawn thinks. Slowly shakes her head.

DAWN
She's out.
(quite brave)
I'll take this one.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Amanda, who is already inside, helps try to pull Dawn through an open window into the darkened hallway.

Dawn is wedged in the window, awkwardly trying to get her bottom through before her legs are in.

DAWN
(muffled)
Maybe I should go out and try this
some other way.

AMANDA
No, I gotcha.

Amanda pulls Dawn through, and helps her find her feet.

DAWN
Whew! That was... I think I strained
something. Maybe something I'll need
later in life.

AMANDA
C'mon...

Amanda points down the hallway.

AMANDA (cont'd)
(excited)
The... vampire is upstairs.

They walk towards the stairs. Dawn gradually recovers from her pulled muscle.

AMANDA (cont'd)
Are you spooked out?

Dawn is a little. But she's on a mission.

DAWN
Nah, I'm alright. I can do this.
It's mostly instinct.
(then)
I think.

Behind them the window closes by itself with a SLAM!

They both start. Amanda laughs her weird giggle.

Dawn looks at her. They continue down the hallway. Dawn first, with Amanda slightly behind her. Pretty schmuck-baity.

AMANDA
So, if he scratched me with a tooth,
am I... I'm not gonna turn into one,
am I?

DAWN
(matter-of-fact)
Only if he slashed open one of his
own veins and led you to drink deep
of his blood.

AMANDA
Nope.

DAWN
Good. You're lucky he didn't hurt
you way more'n that.

AMANDA
Right. He could do that.
(thoughtful beat)
So I was thinking... We don't have to
kill the vampire do we?

DAWN
What?

AMANDA
Just, suppose he got out and was
maybe, like "encouraged" toward the
gym? While the marching band was
practicing -- because the way they
look down on the swing choir -- it
might be, you know, funny?

Dawn stops and turns to stare at Amanda.

AMANDA (cont'd)
I'm just sayin'.

INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - OUTSIDE CLASSROOM - NIGHT

A few minutes later. They've stopped at a classroom door. It has no window.

Dawn reaches out and brushes her fingers against the door, anticipating what's inside.

DAWN
Well, he didn't break the door down,
anyway.

AMANDA
Yeah. Can they do that?

DAWN
(with authority)
They're very strong and although they
feel pain, they don't hold back
because of it.

Amanda looks at Dawn's confident expression.

AMANDA
I guess you're some kind of monster
expert too.

Dawn looks back at Amanda.

DAWN
Let's just say it runs in the family.

Dawn puts her hand on the door knob. And then in one quick motion, flings it open. REVEALING...

Nothing. Just a normal classroom.

AMANDA
It... it was... here.

They enter hesitantly, but not very far in. They look around. Amanda's starting to look pretty scared. They back themselves back into the doorway.

DAWN
Amanda. It got out.

WIDE ANGLE FROM INSIDE THE ROOM: The girls, standing in the doorway. Above them, perched on the ledge of the door frame: VAMPIRE.

END OF ACT TWO
Act Three

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - CLASSROOM - NIGHT

Dawn and Amanda stand within the doorway, both frozen stock- still in fear, looking inside the empty classroom.

BR>Where'd it go?

POV shot: the classroom is empty.

DAWN
I don't know. But we have to get out
of here. It's just one vampire. All
we have to do, is move fast, stay
quiet, and remember: it could be
anywhere.

Dawn reaches in, and quietly begins to shut the classroom door.

DAWN (cont'd)
Anywhere but here.

And the second Dawn says "here," the vampire DROPS into frame, right in front of the girls, (possibly with a giant MUSIC STING) and rises to its full height, showing a mouth full of fang. Dawn and Amanda SCREAM.

Dawn tries yanking the door shut, but the vamp RIPS it open, nearly tearing it off its hinges.

Dawn and Amanda RUN. Camera follows. The girls head for a STAIRCASE...

INT. SCHOOL HALLWAYS - NEAR FRONT DOORS - NIGHT

Now running towards the camera, really hustling. Past the camera, and to the front doors.

Which they push and pull at frantically...

But the doors are locked.

Out of breath, they turn around and find themselves face to face with:

The vampire! About fifteen feet behind, closing in fast, running low to the ground, feral, an animal. And not a weapon in sight.

Amanda SCREAMS.

Dawn freezes: can she really handle this?

She looks at the terrified Amanda.

Then at the Vamp.

Then deciding, Dawn smashes glass with her elbow and YANKS the FIRE EXTINGUISHER from its mooring.

The vamp closes in.

Dawn fumbles with the metal pin of the extinguisher, looks at the canister's side, starts reading instructions.

AMANDA
What are you doing?

DAWN
I can never remember! It's gotta be
rightside-up or upside down to work,
which is it?

AMANDA
(panic scream)
Do something!

The vamp LUNGES the remaining distance between itself and the girls. Dawn and Amanda both SCREAM, trapped against the locked doors. Dawn instinctively SWINGS the metal canister hard, and - lucky - smashes the vamp hard on the jaw, knocking it back. The vamp hits the floor, slides.

Dawn wastes a second to watch, amazed at what she's just done. Then the pissed-off vamp leaps to its feet.

Dawn THROWS the extinguisher at it, grabs Amanda by the hand and RUNS!

They book it, down the hallway, heading for the stairs. The Vampire right behind them.

BUFFY (PRE-LAP)
The vampire is an animal.

INT. VAMP NEST - NIGHT

Buffy is deep in a CRYPT, walking with Spike. She points her FLASHLIGHT behind her where Kennedy, Rona, Vi and Molly linger a bit behind, taking in their spooky surroundings.

The place is laid out and decorated like a dorm room/flop house. A few plastic crates. Some loose bedding. Even a poster or two.

BUFFY
Sometimes the animal hunts alone.
Sometimes they run in packs. Who
knows where we are?

RONA
A nest

BUFFY
Now can you tell?

KENNEDY
Only a vamp could live like this.

SPIKE
Some, yeah. I mean, as a group we're
not known for our tasteful decor,
but, in all fairness to the race?
(kicking crate)
This place is seriously lacking in
style.

BUFFY
Thank you, Spike.

SPIKE
Merely saying.

BUFFY
He's got a point. The vampire can
live anywhere, any way it wants.
Tastes, fashions, living
conditions - they can vary. But the
animal inside? Always the same.

Spike looks hurt. Buffy notices but ignores him.

MOLLY
Where did you live?

SPIKE
What, you mean before? Well. Uh, a
crypt, actually. But nicer. Bit
more... dunno if "posh" is the right
word, it was more like...

BUFFY
Comfy.

KENNEDY
Excuse me?

Oops. Buffy slipped. All the girls await her answer.

BUFFY
I mean, I'm guessing. I really
wouldn't know. Moving on:

She claps her hands, changing the topic, and addresses the Potentials:

BUFFY (cont'd)
You want to stay alive, you have to
spot and identify a nest on sight.
So - look around. All of you. Find
the signs that just last night a
dozen, maybe two dozen vamps were
here, right where we're standing.

Pause. The girls don't move for a moment, too creeped out by the thought. Buffy gestures, "go on," and one by one, they fan out, looking around. Spike crosses to Buffy.

SPIKE
Work, work, work, you know this
little excursion was just in danger
of getting interesting.

BUFFY
Know something, Spike?

Spike awaits the answer, ready for a little give and take, but Buffy's attention is somewhere else.

BUFFY (cont'd)
...Interesting's not a problem.

Spike follows her gaze. Reverse to reveal: the Potentials are all huddled around something. Rona calls back:

RONA
Buffy? I think we found something.

Buffy steps forward. The Potentials part to reveal: A BODY. Of a YOUNG MAN, head down, face obscured.

MOLLY
It's a body.

Buffy steps before the group of Potentials, reaches out, and lifts the young man's head to face him.

BUFFY
No. It's not a body.

Buffy lets the head drop, steps back, pulling her stake. The Potentials back up behind her, fearful, watching.

BUFFY (cont'd)
It's leftovers.

The dead man's HEAD RISES. Grinning, eyes lifeless.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT

Tracking low and fast, whipping around a hallway corner, we pick up on Dawn as she leads Amanda, both running as fast as they can, around a corner and down the hall. The vampire isn't in sight.

Dawn opens the door marked "CHEM LAB."

DAWN
In here!

Amanda follows her in.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - CHEM LAB - CONTINUING

Dawn slams shut the door, presses her body against it.

THE FOLLOWING IS ALL PLAYED IN A WHISPER.

DAWN
Help me. We gotta barricade this.

Amanda looks around, grabs a stool, starts pulling it over.

DAWN (cont'd)
Too small.

Dawn leaves the door and begins to push the large TEACHER'S DESK. Amanda helps and together they try budging it.

AMANDA
Too big.

But Dawn keeps pushing. Amanda, seeing Dawn's effort, helps her and together the two of them just manage to get the heavy desk up against the door. Done. They look to each other in a beat of satisfaction. Amanda tries to look through the small window in the door to the hallway. Dawn pulls at Amanda's shirttail.

DAWN
Stay down.

Together, they sit on the ground their backs to the desk, catching their breath. Amanda looks at Dawn.

AMANDA
Think we're safe?

BOOM! Before Dawn can answer, the desk gets SHOVED half a foot forward. The vampire's at the door. Pounding.

BOOM! It happens again And we cut to.

INT. VAMP NEST - NIGHT

Buffy backs up into frame, stake at the ready, poised for fightin'. The Potentials cluster behind her, watching. The DEAD GUY enters frame, stalking Buffy.

BUFFY
No one's safe. Not here. Not ever.
See this guy?

KENNEDY
B-but he was dead a minute ago.

BUFFY
That was a minute ago. Now?

Buffy PUNCHES the dead guy square in the face and he MORPHS into vamp-face.

DEAD GUY
Hey!

BUFFY
He's the enemy.

Lightening-fast, the vamp attacks Buffy, tackling her out of frame. And on that we CUT TO:

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - CHEM LAB - NIGHT

BOOM! Dawn and Amanda are getting shoved back away from the door, the desk still acting as a barricade, but giving way.

DAWN
Amanda.

AMANDA
Yes?

DAWN
Listen.

AMANDA
I'm listening.

The desk is now getting shoved back, slowly, inch by steady inch, the girls' feet sliding back on the tile floor...

DAWN
We're gonna get out of this. Both of
us. Alive. You believe me?

AMANDA
I believe you.

DAWN
Good. I got a plan.

BUFFY (PRE-LAP)
You can't think too much.

And as the vampire's growling builds to a ROAR we cut to:

INT. VAMP NEST - NIGHT

WHAM! Buffy's vampire HITS THE CRYPT FLOOR. Buffy stands upright, having just flipped him hard.

BUFFY
Reacting's better.

The vamp gets back up, breathing hard, pissed. He circles Buffy, their fight about to go to a new level. Spike pulls the Potentials back just a bit.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Could mean the difference between
staying alive, and the other thing.

And faster than the eye can follow, the vamp LASHES OUT with a backhand blow, knocking the stake from Buffy's hand.

Kennedy takes a step forward, wanting to get into it. Spike places a hand on her shoulder, holding her back. He shakes his head.

DAWN (PRE-LAP)
Okay, this plan of mine?

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - CHEM LAB - NIGHT

Dawn and Amanda continue to struggle against the door as it opens, slowly, unstoppable, almost enough to let the vampire in.

DAWN
I'm not guaranteeing it'll work.


AMANDA
Better than my idea about having him
eat the marching band. Besides...

They get shoved further forward, struggling harder.

AMANDA (cont'd)
Your plan'll work.

DAWN
In case you haven't noticed? I don't
know what I'm doing.

AMANDA
You're getting it done.

And in the midst of the power struggle against the vampire, Dawn beams for just a second. Then, CRASH! The vampire shatters the door and begins to climb in over the desk and into the room.

Dawn and Amanda back up, trapped.

INT. VAMP NEST - NIGHT

Buffy engages in a rough BRAWL with her vamp.

BUFFY
The question is never "what do you
think?" The question is always,
"what do you know?" You gotta know.
Because if you don't, you make one
mistake...

OMITTED

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - CHEM LAB - NIGHT

Buffy's speech plays over this scene.

BUFFY (V.O.)
It takes just one vampire to kill you.

As Dawn faces off with the vampire. She is unarmed. In the BG corner, Amanda cowers, hugging her knees.

BUFFY (cont'd; V.O.)
So you gotta know you can take him.

CLOSE ON DAWN, her eyes narrowing her breath coming hard.

Dawn moves left; he blocks her path. The right; he's there. Her movements are frenetic, clumsy. The total opposite of Buffy's smooth precision.

BUFFY (cont'd; V.O.)
Know your environment. Know what's
around you, and know how to use it.

Dawn shoves a STOOL at the vampire. He easily pushes it out of his way, comes towards her.

She starts throwing EMPTY BEAKERS at him.

The glass SHATTERS around him, doing no harm.

Dawn looks around frantically. Spots a California State Flag hanging from a wooden flag pole in the corner.

She grabs some FULL BEAKERS. Throws them.

The chemicals SIZZLE as they hit him... burning him and slowing him down for a minute...

BUFFY (cont'd; V.O.)
In the hands of a Slayer, everything
is a potential weapon. If you know
how to see it.

Dawn jumps up and grabs the flagpole. Tries to snap the length of wood across her knee. It doesn't break, just hurts like hell.

She SMASHES it against the wall. The flag end breaks off and she's got a nice JAGGED PIECE OF WOOD.

BUFFY (cont'd; V.O.)
When you're fighting, you have to
know yourself, your brain, your body.
Know how to stay calm, centered.

Dawn SLASHES BLINDLY at the vampire with her make-shift weapon. She's SCREAMING, wild with battle-lust.

BUFFY (cont'd; V.O.)
Every move is important. Every
blow's got to be part of your plan.
Because you make that one mistake...

Dawn swings wide and instead of hitting the vampire, hits the wall. She's thrown off balance, stumbles back.

BUFFY (cont'd; V.O.)
Then it's over. You're not the
Slayer. You're not a Potential.

The Vamp lunges, knocks Dawn to the ground. Pins her.

INT. VAMP NEST - NIGHT

Buffy punches the vamp off her as the Potentials watch. Spike, unseen by the group, slowly steps back, away from the group - toward the door. Buffy keeps fighting until she's fought herself into position right next to the crypt door.

BUFFY
You're dead. So what do you know?
Right now, the only thing you know
for sure is, you've got me.

And with that, Buffy DROPS HER STAKE and vanishes, out the door and gone. The Potentials, dumbstruck, watch her go. As does the vamp.

The doors LOCK shut behind Buffy with an echoing metallic CLANG. Beat. The vamp looks at the Potentials. They cluster together, looking shit-scared.

And he ATTACKS.

EXT. VAMP NEST - NIGHT

Outside the crypt. Buffy joins Spike, who's been waiting outside. She pauses, hearing the sounds of a terrible fight coming from within the crypt. She hesitates, wanting to go back in. She places her hand on the crypt door's knob.

Spike places his hand atop hers, stopping Buffy from re- entering.

They stay, listening to the fighting sounds escalate.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - HALLWAY OUTSIDE DAWN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Willow raps gently on Dawn's door. Xander and Anya stand by her side.

WILLOW
C'mon sweetie, open up.

She raps again. No response.

ANYA
Want me to kick down the door?

XANDER
Anya.

ANYA
What, it'd be funny, and besides,
she's been sulking in there forev--

Xander opens the unlocked door.

ANYA (cont'd)
Oh.

They enter.

INT SUMMERS' HOUSE - DAWN'S ROOM - CONTINUING

And see the room is empty.

ANYA
Crap.

And the window is open.

ANYA (cont'd)
Double crap.

XANDER
Gone. We gotta find her.
(horrible realization)
Before the Bringers do.

WILLOW
I can do a locator spell. But we
gotta hurry.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - CHEM LAB - NIGHT

Dawn struggles beneath the vampire, kicking at it. Fighting with everything she's got.

DAWN
Amanda! Help me!

Amanda is frozen in the corner, too scared to move.

AMANDA
I-I... I can't.

DAWN
Amanda!

The vampire opens its jaws preparing to feed on Dawn when

CRASH!

The windows SHATTER and THREE BRINGERS enter, having swung in from the roof.

The vampire is startled. Dawn scrambles out from underneath.

Just as she gets to her feet, she is GRABBED by two of the Bringers.

Who look at her, and then TOSS HER TO THE FLOOR.

Their heads dart left and right, looking... and then they find who they are looking for:

Amanda cowering in the corner.

DAWN (cont'd)
No! You don't want her!

They rush for Amanda.

From the ground, Dawn looks at the Bringers and Amanda. Amanda flattens herself against a far wall. One Bringer places his hand upon the hilt of his dagger and unsheathes it (NOT raising it high.) The Bringers approach Amanda, making their way for her and her alone, throwing school desks aside, approaching.

DAWN (cont'd)
(small)
You want me.

She realizes: she's not the Potential, Amanda is.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - CHEM LAB - NIGHT

Where we left off. Two of the Bringers grab the terrified Amanda. They each hold an arm. Opening her chest to the other Bringer who comes at her with his knife.

Dawn watches from the ground, still stunned.

Then she makes a decision.

She leaps up, grabs a metal ring above her head which triggers the EMERGENCY SHOWER.

WATER SPRAYS DOWN ON THE ATTACKERS, stopping them for just a moment

In which Dawn grabs a STOOL and CRACK!

Hits the vamp on the head with it...

It stumbles into the Bringers... momentary chaos

During which Dawn grabs the jagged flagpole.

DAWN
Amanda!

Amanda follows Dawn: over the teacher's desk, through the shattered door and into the:

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - CONTINUING

Where they run down the hall. Dawn's still holding the jagged piece of wood.

They run to the:

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - STAIRCASE - CONTINUING

Where Dawn pauses. Amanda does likewise. She looks at Dawn, her face blanched with terror

AMANDA
What were those...?

Dawn pauses, looks at Amanda. Does she have to tell her? Then:

DAWN
(quickly; firm)
Amanda, listen to me. You know how
you said I was special? Well, I'm
not.

Amanda is shattered; she's about to cry.

AMANDA
You're...

DAWN
But the thing is, you are.

Amanda looks at her, confused.

DAWN (cont'd)
This is your battle Amanda.

AMANDA
No... no. I can't...

DAWN
You can. You've got to.

ANGLE ON the vampire and the three Bringers as they charge down the hallway, towards the two girls.

DAWN (cont'd)
I got your back, but this is
something you can do. It's something
you were born to do.

ANGLE ON XANDER. He's paused on the landing below, watching Dawn and Amanda.

ANGLE ON DAWN. As she extends the jagged piece of wood to Amanda.

DAWN (cont'd)
Here, this belongs to you.

Tentatively, Amanda accepts the make-shift stake from Dawn.

ANGLE ON XANDER. As he charges up the stairs.

ANGLE ON THE VAMPIRE AND THE BRINGERS as they reach the girls.

AMANDA turns to face the enemy. Terrified.

She looks to Dawn. Who nods; you can do it.

And then Amanda turns back. Ready, or as ready as she can be.

ANGLE ON XANDER running up the stairs.

ANGLE ON BUFFY AND SPIKE as they join him on the staircase. Xander grabs Spike, looks at them -- what the hell are you doing here?

SPIKE
We phoned in. They told us to meet
you here.

BUFFY
(rushing away)
Fight now. Talk later.

ANGLE ON AMANDA as she holds the pole like a fighting staff (or a kayak paddle.) She SLAMS one end and then the other at the BRINGER.

Dawn kicks another Bringer in the shins...

The vamp THROWS A PUNCH at Amanda. She ducks.

ANGLE ON BUFFY and Spike as they charge into the fray (Xander comes up the stairs shortly after.) Buffy grabs a Bringer's wrist and STABS it with its own knife. One down. She tosses the knife to Spike. He catches it and GUTS the second Bringer.

Buffy wheels and sees.

The vamp LUNGE at Amanda. Without thinking, acting on pure instinct, Amanda wheels, does a cool deflection of the vamp's attack, and then WHACK stabs it right through the heart.

Amanda's just as surprised as we are, eyes wide as she watches the vamp explode into dust.

ANGLE ON BUFFY as she catches the third Bringer.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Hey, Amanda.

and CRACK snaps his neck. He crumples to the ground. Three Bringers down.

BUFFY (cont'd)
(to Amanda)
This is my other job.

Buffy looks up at Amanda.

BUFFY (cont'd)
And you're right. I am a little
weird.

Amanda stares at Buffy, soaking this in.

AMANDA
Yeah. A little weird.
(pause)
Okay. One minute I'm in Swing Choir,
and the next...
(getting worked up)
What the hell's going on?

Buffy doesn't know where to start.

AMANDA (cont'd)
You say to come to you with problems.
Turns out a vampire attacked me.
Problem. So I go to your house, only
when I get there this orange cloud
hits me --

DAWN
She was at the doorway...

AMANDA
-- and I don't know if you're into
"the drugs" but that's not my deal,
all right? That cloud hit me and I
got all... dizzy... and
discombobulated...

She turns to Buffy.

DAWN
It was Willow's spell. She's the
Potential Slayer.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

The next day. Rona, Kennedy, Vi, Molly and Amanda sit together in the living room. The girls are excitedly welcoming Amanda to the fold. Rona's in the middle of a story:

RONA
...and I'm sure the vampire thought
we were just four helpless girls.
And then Vi actually yelled "We're
just four helpless girls" --

VI
(quick)
That was part of my plan.

RONA
But when it all started going down...
(looks at the others)
It was like we knew what we were
doing. For real.

The girls all nod in agreement and then excitedly begin talking over one another.

MOLLY
(to Rona)
Like when you dodged that first
attack and cracked him cross the
jaw -- aces.

RONA
(modest)
Oh no no -- that wouldn't have worked
if you hadn't took his legs out --

VI
-- I hurt his arm. Yep. And an arm
can be as lethal as a mouth --

MOLLY
(to Kennedy)
When you staked him... seriously, the
rush was like --

KENNEDY
(to Amanda)
So. You took one out solo.

MOLLY
Yeah, what was that like?

DAWN moves into the doorway. Sees the girls all focused on Amanda. She watches them, but the girls don't notice her.

AMANDA
I don't know. I mean, when I saw
that vampire -- vamp?

KENNEDY
Vampire's good too.

AMANDA
Cool. Yeah, when that vampire
attacked me, I felt this kind of
charge, you know?

PUSH IN ON DAWN

A host of emotions playing across her face, as the girls continue to chatter.

KENNEDY (O.C.)
Like you realize in one instant that
your whole life is different.

AMANDA (O.C.)
Exactly! It's that rush you're
talking about --

We're still on Dawn as a voice turns her. Buffy.

BUFFY
Hey.

Dawn sees Buffy and Xander standing behind her. Buffy reads her pained look.

BUFFY (cont'd)
You okay?

A beat. Dawn's expression shifts. Moves to simple resolve.

DAWN
Yeah.
(then)
I was thinking about hitting the
books. Do some research on The
First. It's in retreat mode right
now - but you're still going to need
to know how to fight it.

BUFFY
Great. Sounds good.
(to girls)
Let's head downstairs guys. Get our
newest arrival up to speed.

Buffy heads off, and the girls get up and file downstairs. Dawn and Amanda meet eyes as she passes. Amanda smiles timidly. And then she's gone with the others - in another world.

Dawn watches them go, then crosses to the table. Opening a book, she realizes Xander is standing behind her. Turns.

DAWN
What's up?

XANDER
Ah, I was just thinking about the
girls. That's a harsh gig, being a
Potential. Just picked out of a
crowd, danger and destiny plus if you
act now, death.

DAWN
(sincerely)
They can handle it.

XANDER
Well, they're special. No doubt.
(sitting)
And the amazing thing is, not one of
them will ever know. Not even Buffy.

DAWN
Know what?

XANDER
How much harder it is for the rest of
us.

She feels it, but she's still brave-face gal...

DAWN No way, they've got the --

XANDER
Seven years, Dawn. Working with the
Slayer, watching my friends become
more and more powerful... a witch, a
demon, hell, I could fit Oz in my
shaving kit but come the full moon he
had wolfy mojo not to be messed with.
Powerful, all of them. And I'm the
guy fixing the windows.

He stands, looking at the windows as he says it.

DAWN
You had that sexy army training for
a little while, and, and the windows
really do need --

XANDER
(not turning around)
I saw what you did last night.

She's busted.

DAWN
I guess I sorta lost my head when I
thought I was a Slayer.

He turns to her again.

XANDER
Thought you were all special. Miss
Sunnydale, 2003. And the minute you
found out you weren't, you handed the
crown over to Amanda without a
moment's pause. You gave her your
power.

DAWN
Power wasn't mine.

XANDER
They'll never know how tough it is,
Dawnie. To be the one who isn't
chosen; to live so near the spotlight
and never step in it. But I know.
I see more than anybody realizes,
'cause nobody's watching me. I saw
you last night, I see you working
here today... You're not special.
You're extraordinary.

She's shyly welling up. He goes to her and kisses her on the forehead, heads out toward the front. She stops him.

DAWN
Maybe that's your power.

XANDER
What?

DAWN
Seeing. Knowing.

XANDER
Maybe it is.
(quietly jesting)
Maybe I should get a cape.

DAWN
Cape is good.

XANDER
Yeah.

Their smiles are as sad as they are strong. He exits, leaving Dawn to think a moment, then to start her work again.

BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW