"Empty Places"

Written by: Drew Z. Greenberg
Directed by: James A. Contner

March 3, 2003 (WHITE)

Teaser

EXT. SUNNYDALE STREET - DAY

People are finally getting the hell out of Sunnydale.

WE MOVE THROUGH THE CHAOS: the street is crowded with cars, overstuffed with worldly possessions. People scurrying away on foot, suitcases in hand. A MOTHER yells at her CHILDREN to hurry up, a SHOP OWNER puts a "closed" sign in the window and runs from his store.

We get to BUFFY, walking through the street, watching all this. She deftly STEPS out of the way as a YOUNG COUPLE wheels a suitcase around her.

It's the fall of Saigon.

And from amidst the chaos, we hear.

CLEM
(calling)
Hey, you!

Buffy looks over, SMILES as she sees CLEM in the driver's seat of a cute, shiny VW NEW BEETLE. As she walks to him:

CLEM (cont'd)
Can you believe this mishegas?

BUFFY
It's like these people have never
seen an apocalypse before.
(then)
And you're just out for a quick spin,
right? Maybe out to the 7-11... in
Nebraska...

CLEM
(busted)
It's getting bad here. Really bad.
Hellmouth acting up again, people
feeling it, getting crazier. And you
can't swing a cat without hitting
some kind of demonic activity. Not
that I... swing cats. Or eat...
Nope. Cutting way back. Cholesterol.
(quickly)
Morals. I mean morals.

BUFFY
Right.

CLEM
We've seen bad stuff in this town
before, but, you know... this time,
it's like, it just seems...
different. More powerful. I don't
think anyone's gonna be able to stop
it --
(catching
himself/covering)
I mean... I'm sure you're gonna do
fine. Complete faith in you. If
anyone can do it, you can, 'cause...
you rock! If you save the world,
I'll come back, we'll have a drink --
(catches himself
again)
When! When, I mean! When you save
the world. It's gonna be great!
With the, you know... rocking...

Buffy manages a weak smile...

CLEM (cont'd)
Maybe... maybe you should just get
out of town this time.

BUFFY
Yeah. I probably should.

But she's not moving. After a beat:

CLEM
You take care of yourself, okay?

She nods. Nothing more to say. He drives away, and Buffy watches him go. Then she waves slowly, as we

ARM UP, seeing the street, the town, as the chaos continues all around Buffy, a lone figure standing still.

END OF TEASER
Act One

EXT. POLICE STATION - DAY

More of the evacuation madness. An entire family drives away on the back of a flatbed truck, people running around them on foot...

WILLOW and GILES stand just outside the entrance to the station, talking to a YOUNG POLICE OFFICER who holds a thick manila file folder. He hands the folder to Giles.

GILES
Thank you, officer. I appreciate
your help.

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
Thank you, Inspector. We don't get
a lot of contact with Interpol, so
we're happy to help with anything you
need. Is there anything else...?

WILLOW
No. Thank you. We're fine.

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
Right... because you're... wait...
(creeping confusion)
Who are...

Willow looks at the officer intently.

WILLOW
(deliberately)
I'm with the Inspector.

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
(magically placated)
You're with the Inspector. Right.
We don't get a lot of contact with
Interpol --

They're interrupted by a commotion nearby. Two officers, DUNCAN and MUNROE, struggle to bring in a CRAZY SUNNYDALE CITIZEN. We pick up this group on their way into the station:

CRAZY SUNNYDALE CITIZEN
A single step! A single step and it
is upon us! It is nigh! From
beneath you it --

Munroe CUFFS the guy. And Duncan SHOVES the guy into the station.

MUNROE
Freakin' nutcase.

ANGLE ON: Willow and Giles wince at the activity. They still stand with the Young Officer.

WILLOW
(re: cuffing/shoving)
Ow.

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
People're acting up. Getting nuts.
We do what we can, but our hands are
kinda tied. I mean, man, let us know
if you need help with your guy, cuz
we're itchin' to hand out some
justice.

WILLOW
He wasn't much of a threat...

The Officer looks at her again. Trying to focus.

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
And you're... wait...

Giles pulls Willow away.

GILES
We really ought to go catch that
flight back to... Interpol...

Willow and Giles walk away.

WILLOW
(softly to Giles)
Good idea. My control was fading.
What's up with them?

GILES
Same thing as everyone else.
Hellmouth is active again.

WILLOW
C'mon. I wanna get back to Xander.

ANGLE ON: the Young Officer looking after them. He's joined by Munroe and Duncan.

MUNROE
Who was that?

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
I... I'm not sure.

Changing the subject, Duncan holds up a sheet of teletype paper, showing it to the Young Officer.

DUNCAN
You get one 'a these yet?

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
What is it?

MUNROE
Fugitive. Ran to ground right here
in our own back yard.

YOUNG POLICE OFFICER
Yeah? Sounds like a situation needs
some justice.

INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

XANDER in bed, but propped up. Still has that BANDAGE over his eye socket, but he's awake now. WILLOW sits at his bedside.

Buffy's there, too, sitting a bit away from the bed.

BUFFY
...and that you should expect to see
some bruising when you remove the
bandage. Bruising around the...
area. The, uh, musculature and bone
structure took a heavy hit.

XANDER
Okay.

BUFFY
Also, the meds may cause some stomach
discomfort, so we're gonna have to
be, you know, careful. About your
diet.

XANDER
Can't really taste anything, anyway.
I keep waiting for all my other
senses to improve by fifty percent,
should kick in any day now.

BUFFY
And we're looking at a possible
release as early as tonight. Once
your labs are back. Doctor Kallet
says they should be a couple hours.

Xander turns, looks at Buffy.

XANDER
Great.

They share a look. A nod. He gets it. Buffy stands, picks up Willow's file from the nightstand.

BUFFY
Okay, I think you're all caught up.
(re: folder)
Thanks for this, Willow. Great work.

Willow definitely doesn't get it.

WILLOW
Oh, but I thought we were gonna --
there were gonna be card games...

BUFFY
Yeah, you know, I should really get
back.
(re: folder again)
I wanna get 'em working on this stuff.
(to Xander)
I think we're getting really close to
something.

WILLOW
But --

XANDER
It's okay. Gotta be done. And maybe
I'll see you tonight. Without any
depth of field of course, but still...

Buffy smiles at him, turns, and leaves.

WILLOW
So, you're stuck with me then, huh,
let's get us some cherry-flavored off-
brand gelatin, and then I think we're
gonna be ready for a rousing game
of --

XANDER
I'm gonna need a parrot.

WILLOW
Huh?

XANDER
To go with the eyepatch. You know.
Complete the look. I think I still
have that costume from Halloween...

WILLOW
(going with it)
Ahhh. Yes, well, don't underestimate
the impact of a peg leg. You know,
the hospital can probably hook you up
with a nice one, maybe they have a
two-body-parts-for-one kinda deal.

XANDER
Oh, you know what the best part is?
No one will ever make me watch Jaws
3-D again!

WILLOW
Right! Plus, you never have to...

She gets quiet, her smile still pasted on her face. A beat. Another beat.

She can't talk. Still smiling, tears start welling up in her eyes.

XANDER
Willow.

Silence. She can't quite regain control.

XANDER (cont'd)
Please. Don't.

And we see... he's holding it together, but just barely. He doesn't want her to push him over.

She nods, collects herself. Nods again.

And they sit in total silence for a beat...

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - BASEMENT - DAY

ANYA stands in front of the room, a little stiff, holding a VERY THICK STACK OF NOTE CARDS. Mid-lecture.

ANYA
...so we know that a battle is
coming. Ubervamps galore.

We pull back to reveal ANDREW standing up there, too, next to a large EASEL with a stack of large posterboard cards on it. Andrew writes: "Ubervamp."

Andrew does a little Vanna White with the card.

ANYA (cont'd)
And we know the ubervamps are hard to
kill.

Andrew starts to write: "Hard to kill."

ANDREW
(slowly as he writes)
...Hard...to...

We see Anya's audience: KENNEDY, RONA (her arm in a sling), AMANDA (also still bruised and bandaged), and about FIFTEEN EXTRA POTENTIALS. Sitting on the floor, on the washer and dryer, on whatever's around -- trying to squeeze in. Uncomfortable

They're sad, bewildered, pissed... still not over last week.

Anya starts up again, interrupting Andrew.

ANYA
But I've been out talking to my old
contacts, and they've provided some
surprising bits of news. Yay for
them.

No one really brightens at this, except maybe Andrew, who keeps writing as Anya talks.

ANYA (cont'd)
Ubervamps can, for example, be
staked. Right in the heart -- zing-
poof -- like regular vamps. We
didn't know that.
(beat)
Of course, there's an incredibly
strong sternum on these guys, so it's
like driving a wooden stake through
solid steel... but you're all super
strong, right?

KENNEDY
Um... no.

ANYA
Oh. Right. But the heart thing is
still good to know since holy water
runs off these guys like they're
scotch-guarded, and sunlight would
work, but, guess what, they're not
coming out during the day.

Andrew is drawing a sun on the board.

ANYA (cont'd)
Also, stay away from their teeth and
the claws they use to shred flesh...

RONA
Okay, you know what? I used to be
afraid of the ubervamp guys. Then
the scary preacher blew into town,
and now I'm just mostly terrified of
him.

KENNEDY
We saw him do stuff...

ANYA
Right, well, we're working on getting
info on him, but in the meantime --

AMANDA
(quiet/scared)
Why bother?

Everyone stops and looks at her.

AMANDA (cont'd)
Nothing works. Nothing will.

Anya begins shuffling through her note cards...

ANYA
Right, well...

She stops. Looks up.

ANYA (cont'd)
Look. I know you're upset.

She puts down the note cards.

ANYA (cont'd)
I, myself, would very much like to be
sitting at the bedside of my one-eyed
ex-fiancÚ right now rather than
killing time with you people in this
overcrowded and, might I add,
increasingly ripe-smelling basement,
and I would be if not for a certain
awkward discussion he and I recently
had right over there on that cot
immediately following some exciting
and unexpected break-up sex.

The THREE GIRLS on the cot slowly, gingerly SLIDE off and onto the floor.

ANYA (cont'd)
I need to give him space. So I'm
doing what I can do. Contributing
what I can. And so are all of you.
You still need to have all this
information. We can't stop just
because something else is trying to
kill you too!

She looks almost... sympathetically at the girls. Andrew looks quite moved.

ANYA (cont'd)
Now, I've got more information on the
ubervamps, so perk up those ears.
They're primal, not like your more...
(modestly)
Evolved, intuitive and attractive
demons. These guys are all instinct,
so don't bother with the logic, or,
you know, pleading for your life...

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

FAITH sitting on the counter. Eating chips, looking out the window... it's been a long time since she got to do this.

Kennedy approaches from behind.

KENNEDY
Got enough to share?

FAITH
(not looking around)
I'll trade ya for a carton of
cigarettes and some soap.
(beat)
Sorry. Habit.

She hands the bag over, looks around, sees Kennedy there.

FAITH (cont'd)
Shouldn't you be down at Hogwarts?

Kennedy takes some chips, comes around to face Faith. Hands back the bag.

KENNEDY
Probably.

Faith grins.

FAITH
All right, playin' hooky. Score one
for the boarding school brat. Anya's
technique is probably a little
different than what you're used to.

AMANDA (O.S.)
Do you think there are gonna be
questions about her sex life on the
test?

Faith and Kennedy look over to see Amanda come upstairs, too.

AMANDA
'Cause I really hope I don't have to
study all that.

FAITH
Yeah, whenever she starts talkin'
'bout gettin' all sweaty with Xander
like that, I just remind her I had
him first. Shuts her right the hell
up.
(beat)
Might work less well for you guys.

KENNEDY
Thing is, what's the point? Studying
demon hot zones and pressure points
doesn't do a helluva lotta good when
Preacher Man is out there ready to
finish the job he started.

FAITH
No one's come up with any info yet
about Caleb...?

AMANDA
No. Nothing is working, not
research, not Anya's contacts...

KENNEDY
We're lousy with dead ends around
here. Everyone's feeling pretty...
pointless. We don't even have a
place to start.

Before Faith can respond:

BUFFY (O.S.)
Hey! Who's here?

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - DINING ROOM/FOYER - CONTINUOUS

Faith, Amanda and Kennedy come in from the kitchen to find Buffy coming in the front door with Willow's folder.

DAWN comes down the stairs.

DAWN
Buffy! How's Xander?

BUFFY
He's doing really well, he's ready to
come home, I think.

FAITH
Whatcha got?

BUFFY
Info Willow and Giles were able to
get from the police database.

She drops the file on the dining room table.

BUFFY (cont'd)
We figure, you know, what with
Caleb's overt religiosity thing, we
wanna learn more about him, we should
try finding out maybe where he's been.

FAITH
(looking through the
file)
Incidents of violence and vandalism
connected to California religious
institutions in the last ten years.
(pointed/for Amanda
and Kennedy)
Looks like this gives us a place to
start.

BUFFY
Exactly. We start with California,
if nothing turns up, we expand the
search to other areas, but a guy like
Caleb didn't just get in the game,
he's been playing for a while. We
thought we'd try to find out where.

DAWN
So we look at recent events, see if
anything smacks of Caleb's M.O.

BUFFY
Right. And if that doesn't work,
we'll try something else. Whatever
it takes.
(to Dawn)
You okay to help?

DAWN
Well, I was gonna do lots and lots of
homework, but, darn all the luck,
that's when they cancelled school.
So it turns out I got the time.

BUFFY
Good.

She settles in at the table.

DAWN
Hey, now what was Xander's mood like,
you know, exactly? 'Cause yesterday
he seemed more resigned than morose,
so I was wondering if he's trending
upward still.

Buffy concentrates very hard on the papers in front of her.

DAWN (cont'd)
Oh, and you were gonna talk to his
doctor about the meds, right, because
it seemed like --

Buffy doesn't look up. Obviously a painful subject for her.

DAWN (cont'd)
Or, we could maybe talk about this
later.

BUFFY
Okay.

FAITH
Hey, pipsqueak. Why don't you go get
some of the stuff you've already
gotten from Giles?

DAWN
Fine. We can cross-reference all of
this to Giles' files, see what we get.
(beat)
Plus, I could say "Giles' files" some
more. I'll be right back.

She goes upstairs.

BUFFY
Okay. So we're looking for anything
that looks like Caleb, his church,
his ring...

KENNEDY
His ability to render a Slayer
useless in just one punch...

Buffy gets very quiet again: another hit. Kennedy sees it on her face.

KENNEDY (cont'd)
I didn't -- that was stupid. I don't
know why I said that --

BUFFY
It's okay.
(beat)
You know, I gotta get to the school
anyway, pick up the rest of my stuff.

She gets up, moves toward the door.

KENNEDY
I really didn't mean to --

BUFFY
It's fine. Don't worry about it.
(realizing)
Hey, doesn't... isn't Anya doing a
thing for you guys today?

KENNEDY
Yeah, we were... we should probably
head down there now.

BUFFY
Okay, I'll be back soon.
(to Faith)
See if you can get everyone started
on this stuff in the meantime.

She leaves. Kennedy and Amanda head back to the basement, and Faith stands there alone.

INT. SUNNYALE HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY

We're in the dark (no lights), deserted hallway. It's silent and still when a SHAFT OF LIGHT hits the floor. Someone's thrown open the front door.

It's Buffy. She enters, walks the length of the hallway, aware of the emptiness, that creepy feeling of a place that should be crowded but just isn't. She keeps walking, gets to

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

Buffy enters, walks to her desk. Doesn't turn on the lights. Total silence.

She sits down at her desk, looks at her things. Doesn't move.

Sees a FRAMED PICTURE of herself with Xander and Willow (from Season One, if possible), picks it up. Stares at it.

Finally, something inside breaks: frustration, anger, guilt, it comes to the surface, and, just as it's about to spill over, just as she's ABOUT TO CRY:

CALEB (O.S.)
Aw, now, look. Things don't go
exactly your way, so here come the
waterworks.

Buffy looks up slowly, recognizing the voice before she ever even sees CALEB standing in front of her.

This guy gets a special kind of HATE from her.

CALEB
Ain't that just like a woman?

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

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

Buffy stands, pissed off. Ready to kill. And also... afraid.

BUFFY
Get out of here.

CALEB
Now, now, little girl. Manners.
Though I do imagine that firebrand
tongue of yours has inflamed many a
man. Weak as they are.

He moves toward her desk. Real casual. Looks around.

CALEB (cont'd)
This here's a... public school,
ain't it? Kinda deserted.
(shrugs)
Only just, I suppose. Folks work so
hard at keeping the Lord out, and
look what happens in return. God
abandons you.
(grins)
Not that He could do much good now,
anyway.

As Buffy slowly, stealthily reaches for her desk drawer:

CALEB (cont'd)
Ah, ah. I wouldn't were I you, swee'
pea. Fightin' back didn't do you
much good last time, did it?

He grins, moves closer to her.

CALEB (cont'd)
And how is poor, sweet Xander? Let
him know he's in my prayers. And any
time he's willing...
(wiggling his thumb)
... I'm ready to finish the job.

BUFFY
You get near Xander again, I will end
you.

Caleb suddenly, violently SHOVES Buffy's desk, tipping it on its side and out of the way. Nothing between them now.

CALEB
(threatening)
Mind your manners.
(shift)
I believe I did warn you once.

He walks toward her. Closing in.

CALEB
You're angry. Frustrated. Scared.
(beat)
I like that in a girl.

He's right in her face now. Leaning in. Taunting her.

CALEB (cont'd)
You oughta just relax a little. Look
at where you are -- history is gonna
look back at you, at me... at this
place. And they're gonna see the
glory. Great things are happening
now. Right here. This school, the
seal, it's all part of the great,
sweeping tide of change.

He grins at her.

CALEB (cont'd)
And you're gonna be a part of it.
Now why would you wanna miss that?
And, more importantly...

His grin fades, he becomes deadly serious. Threatening.

CALEB (cont'd)
Why would you wanna get in its way?

Buffy's pressed up against the wall now, nowhere to go. She leans in, too. And smiles.

BUFFY
Just ornery, I guess.

And then she PUNCHES Caleb in the face.

He recoils, backs up, and Buffy swings a leg around to KICK him in the chest. Before she can connect, he GRABS her foot, SPILLS her to the ground.

He stands over her:

CALEB
I knew you'd be a wild one.

She kicks at his ankles, but he simply steps aside. He grabs her, drags her up till she's off the ground, eye-to-eye with him.

CALEB (cont'd)
I'm gonna find such sweet pleasure in
taming you.

And he TOSSES her clean through the window. She SLAMS against the OPPOSITE WALL in the hallway outside, puts a HUGE HOLE in it and CRUMPLES to the floor. Unconscious.

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

As Caleb exits, striding down the hallway, leaving her there:

CALEB
See you soon, little lady.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE- KITCHEN - NIGHT

GILES
Show me what you have.

We see Giles and Dawn around the center island. The file is there, opened, pages spread out.

Among them: reports, press clippings and photographs.

DAWN
Not much. Most of these places were
hit by run-of-the-mill vandalism.
Basic B-and-E, money stolen,
sometimes colorful language painted
on the doors.
(looking up)
Did you notice how I just kinda threw
B-and-E in there? It's a law
enforcement term.

GILES
Yes. Yes, excellent work. Very
proud.

DAWN
Here's the one that stood out. It's
a mission up north in Gilroy.

She slides a PHOTO to Giles as Andrew enters.

ANDREW
Um, Mr. Giles? Faith stole the last
meatball-and-mozzarella flavored Hot
Pocket out of the freezer even though
I had called dibs on it.

GILES
(ignoring Andrew)
I don't see anything.

DAWN
Exactly. No vandalism at all.

GILES
Then why is it in the file?

DAWN
Place was abandoned. Locals started
realizing after a few days no one was
going in or out. Six members of the
order lived there, when the cops
showed up... all gone. Unsolved.

Andrew stands at the open freezer.

ANDREW
Yup. See, the post-it's still there,
"Andrew's, please do not eat," but
the box is empty now.

GILES
(studying the photo)
Oh.

DAWN
Oh? Oh, good?

GILES
Not sure. Here...

He exits to the living room, Dawn and Andrew following:

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Giles and Dawn enter, go to the desk against the wall. EIGHT POTENTIAL EXTRAS and Amanda sit about the room, quiet, depressed, though we don't focus on them yet.

As Andrew speaks, Giles opens the desk drawer, pulls out a magnifying glass and closely examines the police photo.

ANDREW
See, it's not the Hot Pocket itself
that matters, even though it had the
new-and-improved thicker tomato
sauce, it's just the fundamental lack
of respect.

Giles stands up, turns, looks at Andrew. Calm. Vaguely threatening.

GILES
Shhhhhh. Pay attention.

He hands the magnifying glass to Dawn.

GILES (cont'd)
(to Dawn)
What do you see?

She starts examining the photo.

DAWN
What am I looking for?

GILES
See that knothole in the back wall?

A beat as Dawn bends in closer.

DAWN
It's not a knothole.

We see what she sees: Caleb's mark.

GILES
Amanda, would you go down to the
basement and get Spike?

Amanda slowly gets up, nods, leaves the room. Giles and Dawn look around.

GILES (cont'd)
These poor girls.

And we see now the extent of the depression that's hit the girls in the room. They sit either alone or in twos. Some speak in low, sad whispers, one or two simply stare out the window. They are all depressed.

DAWN
Maybe this will help. If this does
get us closer to Caleb.

Faith enters, popping the last of the Hot Pocket in her mouth.

FAITH
Sounded like there was news.

Andrew, wide-eyed, stares at Faith, seething. She barely notices him.

SPIKE enters with Amanda.

SPIKE
What's up... Rupert?

GILES
I have a mission for you.

SPIKE
Really. Because, you know, sometimes
our missions end up with you trying
to kill me, I'm not fond of those.

GILES
This is... serious. With real...
(looking around the
room)
...ramifications. Have a look.

As Spike looks at the photo:

SPIKE
Ah. Looks like our boy was here.
(looking up)
You want me to go check it out?

GILES
I need someone who can handle himself
in case Caleb left any... souvenirs.

SPIKE
You want me to just go walking in
there alone.

GILES
You'll be fine.

ANDREW
Are we gonna get to the food-stealing
issue soon?

GILES
Take Andrew.

SPIKE/ANDREW
What??

DAWN
(to Andrew)
You're always saying you wanna get
out of the house more.

ANDREW
Yeah, but --

GILES
There might be demons. Lurking
about. You never know. He's a demon
expert, he can help.

SPIKE
Oh, please...

GILES
He can bring that pan-flute thing of
his. Excellent. Off you go.

Without looking, Giles gives Andrew a small shove. Spike glowers at Giles, then storms off. Andrew picks up the file papers, including the photo.

ANDREW
He's gonna need these...

And he follows Spike out.

Dawn turns to Amanda.

DAWN
So, see? That's something, right?
We'll have some news soon.

AMANDA
(not convincing)
Sure. Maybe that'll get us somewhere.

She moves back into the room. Dawn, Giles and Faith take in the scene.

FAITH
Maybe. Meantime, the "troops" here
gotta sit and stew, feeling crappier
by the minute.

DAWN
We should keep them occupied.

FAITH
(thinking)
Yeah. Yeah, I know how to keep 'em
occupied.

CUT TO:

INT. BRONZE - NIGHT

ALL POTENTIALS (Kennedy, Amanda plus about THIRTY EXTRAS, including the fifteen we saw earlier). Dawn is there, too. They're drinking, they're dancing, they're playing pool... they're laughing.

The music is speed-y, the lights are sweeping. This is totally our party (maybe a couple of DRUNKS at the bar, but otherwise, just us).

Except, of course, the BAND.

KENNEDY
So what kind of band plays during an
apocalypse?

DAWN
I think this band might actually be
one of the signs.

The girls are scattered about the place: at the pool table, at the bar, on the dance floor...

Which is where we see Faith. Dancing like... well, like she's been locked away in prison for three years.

The girls are relaxed. Letting go. Having fun.

They're just girls again.

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - FOYER/DINING ROOM - NIGHT

The front door opens, and Buffy enters. She's looked better. Caleb's fight left some marks: a bruise, some scrapes. She even moves stiffly, like there's some pain still.

She looks around.

BUFFY
Guys? How's it --

She turns, sees Giles at the dining room table. Waiting.

BUFFY (cont'd)
-- going?

Giles stands, comes to Buffy, concerned.

GILES
My god. What...

BUFFY
(brushing him off)
Caleb came looking for seconds.

GILES
Good lord. Is he...

BUFFY
Still able to make me see little
cartoon birdies all around my head?
You betcha.
(sits)
The short lack of consciousness was
nice, though. I feel rested.

Giles sits again, facing her. There's an awkward beat of silence. Buffy makes the first move, trying to get past it:

BUFFY (cont'd)
How'd the police files work out? Was
there anything helpful in there?

Giles brightens at the brief detente. Ready to work.

GILES
Oh, yes, very much so, I think.
Evidence that Caleb may have made
inroads up north.

BUFFY
Really? That's... that's great.
That could help us a lot, good job --

GILES
I sent Spike to look into it.

Oops.

BUFFY
Oh.

Buffy settles, takes a beat. Cautious.

BUFFY (cont'd)
So, is this a mission from which you
intend Spike to return alive?

GILES
Yes. I sent Andrew with him.

Another beat, then:

BUFFY
And, again, I ask the question...

GILES
Buffy... you weren't here. Some
decisions must be made in your
absence.

BUFFY
Well, those are the ones that've been
scaring me.

GILES
I did what I thought was right.

BUFFY
You sent away the guy who's been
watching my back. Again. I think --

GILES
We are all watching your back.

BUFFY
Yeah. Funny how I don't really feel
that lately.

She stands, moves to the stairs.

GILES
Buffy --

BUFFY
Where's everyone else?

GILES
What?

BUFFY
Faith, the girls... where'd everyone
go?

GILES
Faith thought the girls needed some
time away from their studies, a
chance to relax for an hour or two,
I thought, given everything I learned
from our time.
(off Buffy's
insistent stare)
She took them to The Bronze.

Buffy stares at Giles for another beat. Quiet. Then she nods, turns to the front door and leaves.

INT. VINEYARD - WINE CELLAR - NIGHT

Caleb enters, pleased with himself.

CALEB
Know what I figured out tonight?

He stands alone, speaking into the shadows.

CALEB (cont'd)
Every high school from one end of
this country to the other smells
exactly alike.

THE FIRST AS BUFFY steps out of the shadows, moves toward Caleb. He grins.

CALEB (cont'd)
Now why do you suppose that is?

BUFFY/FIRST
And how was our best girl?

CALEB
They always think they should put up
a fight.

BUFFY/FIRST
Did you lay the proper groundwork?

CALEB
That I did. Reckon she got the
message, even if she doesn't know it
yet. So now the big, strong slayer
goes back to those girls. She's so
ready to just walk them right into
it, and all we're gonna hafta do...
(reaching up slowly
to The First's chest)
... is give her that one... gentle...
final... nudge.

His hand passes right through The First. The First smiles.

BUFFY/FIRST
Excellent.

CALEB
Gotta say... I know she's supposed to
be some great and powerful mystical
force, but... I don't see it. I just
don't.
(smiles)
She was so... easy.

BUFFY/FIRST
Of course she was. And now it's just
a question of knowing how to exploit
it. And when.

Off The First's happy smile:

INT./EXT. BRONZE - NIGHT

Inside The Bronze: as our girls dance and dance and dance, we make our way through the crowd. We soon see we're following:

The same uniformed cops from the earlier scene, including Munroe and Duncan. We shouldn't see it yet, but they should have BLACK TAPE on their BADGES, covering the badge numbers.

They fight their way through the crowd, single-minded, stopping at...

Faith.

She looks up, kind of GRINS at them. Like she was expecting this. Keeps dancing. Dawn and some of the girls nearby.

FAITH
Was wonderin' what was takin' you
boys so long. Where you been?

MUNROE
We're gonna have to ask you to come
with us, Miss. Outstanding warrant.

FAITH
Yeah, or, let's try this one on
instead, how 'bout you guys buy me a
drink, and we see where the evenin'
takes us.

One of the cops gets behind Faith, grabs her wrists.

DAWN
Hey!

MUNROE
'Fraid it's not that simple, Miss.

AT THE BAR

On Kennedy and Amanda as they look over to see Faith being held on the dance floor.

KENNEDY
What's that?

AMANDA
Something not good.

ON THE DANCE FLOOR

MUNROE
You are under arrest. You have the
right to remain silent. Anything you
say can and will be used against you
in a court of law.

FAITH
All right, wait a second --

MUNROE
You have the right to an attorney.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one
will be provided to you. Do you
understand these rights as I have
explained them to you?

As Munroe speaks, Faith's expression changes. Something very bad is happening... she looks at Munroe's uniform, his badge...

...and it is HERE that we see the black tape. On ALL of their badges.

Amanda and Kennedy approach.

KENNEDY
What's going on?

DAWN
They're trying to ...

MUNROE
You girls don't wanna get involved in
this.

KENNEDY
Yeah, and maybe we do.

The cops TAKE OUT THEIR GUNS. This ends discussion. The Potentials all stand back, stunned.

Munroe TOSSES a large, non-regulation machine gun to Duncan. They NOD to each other, and Duncan turns, faces the crowd. Stands guard at the door as we go with Munroe and the other cops dragging Faith outside.

Munroe and the other cops pull her back toward the door; guns still out, pointed at the girls. We follow them to the entrance.

EXT. BRONZE - NIGHT

Faith gets hauled outside.

FAITH
I'm telling you now - I'm not going
back to jail.

The cops let go of Faith just long enough for her to turn back to the door. From the inside, Duncan SLAMS the door shut, trapping Faith outside with the cops.

MUNROE
Who said anything about jail?

She turns, faces them, just as Munroe and the other cops all lift their GUNS, all aiming right at her heart.

BLACKOUT.

END OF ACT TWO
Act Three

EXT. BRONZE NIGHT

Where we left off. The cops train their guns on Faith and...

Before they can fire, she launches herself at the cops. She attacks them with a flurry of vicious moves. She's intent on disarming them -- she knocks the guns from their hands as fast as she can with a series of kicks and punches.

As she knocks the final gun away, she turns and WHACK! Munroe smacks her across the face with his billy club. She drops to the ground.

The other cops pull their clubs and descend on her. They begin to BEAT FAITH mercilessly.

INT. BRONZE - NIGHT

Amanda, Kennedy and Dawn circled around Duncan, who still guards the door with his very large gun.

DUNCAN
Stay back. This doesn't concern you.

DAWN
You can't keep us in here.

DUNCAN
It'll be over before you know it...

EXT. BRONZE - NIGHT

The cops beat Faith with their clubs. She's on the ground, taking it...

Then she shoots out a leg, swipes one of the cops off his feet. She jumps up, ramming her knee hard into the face of the second cop.

The third cop rushes her, she spins and SLAMS him against the brick wall. She turns to face Munroe. As the first cop gets to his feet behind her, she raises her fist, not even looking, and smashes him in the face. He goes down again.

Faith and Munroe CIRCLE each other...

INT. BRONZE - NIGHT

The girls, now joined by some of the potential extras, still around Duncan.

DUNCAN
Trust me. Best thing you can do is
wait here.

DAWN
(to girls)
Don't listen to him. He won't hurt
us.
(defiant/turning to
the bar)
I'll just go borrow their phone.

Duncan raises his gun and FIRES it into one of the hanging lamp globes. It explodes all over the dance floor. Startled, Dawn stops. All the girls duck and cover their heads. The music stops playing, the lights stop sweeping.

DUNCAN
Best thing you can do. Is wait.
Here.

EXT. BRONZE - NIGHT

Faith and Munroe totally going at it. The fight is scrappy, vicious. Punches, head slams to the pavement, knees to the stomach... it's a dirty fight. And Faith is winning.

Till the other three cops, staggering a little, grab her from behind and pull her off Munroe.

INT. BRONZE - NIGHT

The girls still surround Duncan.

KENNEDY
You're gonna have to shoot us all to
stop us.

DUNCAN
Doesn't really bother me. Back up.

But the girls are crowding in, getting in his face.

AMANDA
No.

DUNCAN
What?

KENNEDY
You're not in charge here.

Duncan turns towards her, ready to inflict pain, and as he does so Kennedy lightning-fast grabs the barrel of the gun and RAMS the butt of it into his jaw.

He reels back, swings at Kennedy, knocking the gun flying. She rushes at him and as he meets her CRACK! Amanda hits Duncan from behind with a pool cue. He goes flying. As Amanda approaches him, pool cue in hand:

AMANDA
We are.

EXT. BRONZE - NIGHT

The four cops have Faith on the ground, beating her, kicking her. She screams, but the fight is going out of her...

INT./EXT. BRONZE - NIGHT

All the girls close enough JUMP on Duncan, feral, angry. Kicking, punching, moving him away from the door. The action carries Dawn, Duncan and the extra potentials back toward the center of the Bronze. As this happens --

Amanda and Kennedy THROW the door open. They rush outside, shove two of the cops off Faith. It's a brawl again.

Faith, bloodied, watches as Munroe and the remaining cop go to help the others attacked by Amanda and Kennedy. Faith smiles, gets to her feet...

...and kicks Munroe in the head.

Kennedy knees her cop in the stomach, pulls his own club from his hand and SMASHES him on the back with it. He goes down.

Amanda shoves her cop backward, sending him falling backward over a small stack of CRATES. She stands over him, puts a foot on his chest. Grins. Drops another crate on his face.

AMANDA
That was kinda cool.

Faith slams Munroe back, whips around, punches the last cop in the head, he goes down, then, shockingly fast, she's on Munroe, pressing him to the wall. She gets in his face, grins at him.

Grabs at something out of frame, pulls her hand up. We see she's got his club. And she's pressing it into his neck.

Amanda and Kennedy come over, stand behind her.

FAITH
You know, when you've been locked up
in prison for three years, you end up
forgetting how good some things feel.
Till you get out.

Munroe quivers a little.

FAITH (cont'd)
But then it all comes rushing back.

KENNEDY
Faith...

FAITH
Don't worry. I'm not gonna hurt him.

Faith drops the club, grabs Munroe's head and SLAMS it into the brick wall behind him. He slumps to the ground.

FAITH (cont'd)
I'm sorry. Did that hurt?

BUFFY (O.S.)
Faith?

Faith, Kennedy and Amanda turn around, see Buffy has approached. Also, Dawn, Rona and the other girls have begun spilling out of The Bronze's door.

BUFFY
What are you doing?

Faith stands, turns to face Buffy.

FAITH
Just blowing off steam. Well, it
started out that way.

BUFFY
Girls. Go home. I wanna talk to
Faith for a minute.

DAWN
Buffy, we were --

BUFFY
Dawn, you too. Go on.

As the girls file away, Buffy moves closer to Faith.

BUFFY (cont'd)
What is this?

FAITH
They needed a break, they were
running themselves into the ground,
things just got out of hand.

BUFFY
Taking a break is one thing, I get
blowing off steam, but they were
fighting. And those girls are drunk.
What were you thinking?

FAITH
It seemed like a good idea at the
time.

BUFFY
What if someone'd gotten hurt?

FAITH
They didn't.

BUFFY
Faith. I need to know those girls
are gonna be safe when I'm not there.

FAITH
No one got hurt, B! Look, you don't
even know these girls, maybe you need
to have a little more confidence in
'em, let 'em get down and dirty, mess
up sometimes. How the hell else are
they gonna learn?

BUFFY
It's one thing to learn from your
mistakes. But you don't throw
children into --

FAITH
They're not children.

BUFFY
That's really not the point.

She turns, walks away. Heading home. Then:

FAITH
What about the vineyard?

Buffy stops. Turns back.

BUFFY
What?

FAITH
How safe were they when you dragged
them off to meet Caleb? How safe was
Rona? Or Amanda? Or Molly --

Buffy SLUGS Faith in the jaw. Hard. Faith goes down. Doesn't fight back. Just stares up at Buffy from the pavement for a beat.

Buffy turns and walks away, leaving Faith there.

EXT. MOTORCYCLE - NIGHT

On the road. The wheels spinning, the engine racing, we pan up to see Spike, as we have so many times before, a rebel with a bike.

And behind him, holding on: Andrew. Preferably wearing Dawn's helmet from "Bargaining" if possible.

They ride in total silence for a beat or two, seemingly just focusing on the road. Then:

ANDREW
You sure you don't wanna just stop
and pick up some burgers or
something? You know, road trip
food --

SPIKE
It's not a road trip. It's a covert
operation.

ANDREW
Right, right, gotcha.

They drive in silence for another beat.

ANDREW (cont'd)
I bet even covert operatives eat
curly fries, they're really good.

More awkward silence. Then:

SPIKE
Not as good as those onion blossom
things.

ANDREW
I love those!

SPIKE
Yeah, me too.

ANDREW
It's an onion, yet it's a flower. I
don't understand how such a thing is
possible.

SPIKE
See, the genius is, you soak it in
ice water for an hour so it holds its
shape, then you deep fry it root-side
up for about five minutes.

ANDREW
Masterful.

SPIKE
Yeah.
(beat)
If you tell anyone we had this
conversation, I'll bite you.

ANDREW
Okay.

They keep driving...

EXT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - FRONT PORCH - NIGHT

Faith stands on the porch, looking out into the street. Smoking. Clearly trying to cool off.

WOOD approaches from the street, climbs the steps.

WOOD
Big meeting started yet?

FAITH
(not looking at him)
God, I hope so.

WOOD
(realizing who it is)
Faith.

FAITH
You must be Principal Wood. Heard a
lot about you.

WOOD
It... hasn't really started, has it?
I hate being late...

FAITH
Troops are still gathering. You're
safe.

He doesn't go inside. He stays.

WOOD
(re: her bruises)
Someone banged you up pretty good.

FAITH
Yeah. Cops. Mostly.

WOOD
Mostly?

FAITH
This one was from someone who just
thinks she's a cop.
(beat)
It's my favorite of all my current
bruises.

Faith looks up, sees HIS bruises.

FAITH (cont'd)
Someone banged you up pretty good,
too.

WOOD
I have no favorite bruise, I love
them all the same.

They wait a beat. Silence. Then:

WOOD (cont'd)
So someone who thinks she's a cop,
huh? You're not gonna hafta, like,
ice her now or something, are you?

Faith raises an eyebrow.

WOOD (cont'd)
I... don't know a lot about how
prison works.

Faith kinda smiles at the dorkiness.

FAITH
I'm not gonna kill her. Wanted to.
But didn't. And, by the way, bully
for me, since no one else said it.

WOOD
For not killing Buffy.

FAITH
It's this new thing I'm trying.

Wood studies her for a beat.

WOOD
She told me about you.

FAITH
Believe every word.

WOOD
So what changed?
(off her look)
Why didn't you fight back?

FAITH
Other things matter more.

He studies her for a beat, watching. Then:

WOOD
And?

FAITH
And what, and whom?

WOOD
I think that's not all.

FAITH
You do.

WOOD
I do. You look like... I think
you're worried about her.

FAITH
I think... I think you need to brush
up on your Buffy-and-Faith history.

WOOD
Okay. You say so. It's just... I
read people pretty well. It's a
thing I do.

FAITH
You read people.

WOOD
I do.

She turns, looks at him.

FAITH
What kinda things?

He's doesn't get it.

WOOD
Just... things.

Faith nods. Looks at him some more. Studying. Then, suddenly:

FAITH
You live around here, right?

He's caught off guard: huh?

WOOD
(flustered)
Uhhh, no, I, I mean, center of town,
really, but...

FAITH
Where'd you park?

WOOD
(more flustered)
I... walked.

She moves a little closer, nothing too obvious, but enough to make him kind of nervous.

FAITH
Yeah. I noticed. Interesting. Long
way to walk. Especially place like
Sunnydale.

WOOD
I, uh... huh?

FAITH
This town, walking anywhere after
dark is like an extreme sport.
(beat)
Someone who didn't know you very well
might think you were out lookin' for
a fight or something.

WOOD
You've known me exactly fifty-three
seconds.

Faith stands back. Nods. Smiles.

FAITH
Just sayin', maybe you got bigger
issues than what's wrong with B.
(beat)
I read people, too.

As Wood stands there, mouth more than a little agape, headlights sweep over them. Car in the driveway.

FAITH (cont'd)
Xander's home.

INT. GILROY MISSION - CORRIDOR - NIGHT

This place is dark. Shadowy. Arched doorways, brick walkways. Heavy doors. Crosses.

Emerging from the shadows, Spike and Andrew step cautiously down the hall.

ANDREW
No one's here. These kinda places
make me feel funny inside. SPIKE
How 'bout that. You and me got
something else in common after all.

As they keep walking:

ANDREW
This one time, when I was in Sunday
School, I woke up late, so my mom
made me skip breakfast, and I was
really hungry, so I told the teacher
I had to go to the bathroom, but I
really broke into the supply cabinet
and ate a whole package of communion
wafers.

Spike smiles to himself.

SPIKE
Yeah? Good on you, boy.

ANDREW
But then I got sick for two days --

With a sudden, loud BANG, a side door slams open, and a DARK, HOODED FIGURE emerges, RUSHING the guys, tackling Andrew.

ANDREW (cont'd)
Spike!

Spike leaps, throwing the hooded figure off of Andrew, who sits against the wall, catching his breath.

Spike spins around to face the hooded figure just in time to see him swing a fist right into the side of Spike's head.

Spike stumbles for a second, regains his footing:

Andrew kicks out his feet, uses them to grab hold of the hooded figure's feet. Knocks him down. The hood comes off...

Spike pounces, grabbing the figure by the neck, SLAMMING him, still on the floor, up against the wall. Pushing him into light.

And we see his face for the first time. He's just a man. A middle-aged, terrified man. Eyes wide, breath fast. He wears a PRIEST'S COLLAR.

And CALEB'S MARK burned into his cheek.

The priest SHUTS his eyes in terror as Spike and Andrew recognize the mark...

INT. SUMMERS' HOUSE - LIVING ROOM/FOYER - NIGHT

The front door opens... Willow and Anya enter, followed by Xander. Still with bandages (not an eyepatch) over his eye.

He steps inside, looks around. There's a hastily-drawn "Welcome Home" banner in the living room. And lots and lots of people staring back at him: GILES, DAWN, KENNEDY, RONA, AMANDA, the thirty extra potentials. (People arranged wherever they can fit a la "Get It Done.")

Dawn RUSHES to Xander, bear hugs him, brings him into the room, followed by Willow and Anya, and then Faith and Wood.

Xander's uncomfortable with the attention, but, despite himself, moved.

XANDER
Oh god.

KENNEDY
We didn't have time to do more. You
have to pretend there's a big party
here.

XANDER
That's fine, actually. Parties in
this house... I usually end up having
to re-build something.

AMANDA
I was thinking of smashing a window
just to make you feel at home, but
then I thought, you know. No. Also,
Dawn wouldn't let me.

Xander opens his mouth to speak, but before he says anything:

BUFFY (O.S.)
Welcome home, Xand.

Xander looks up, sees Buffy coming down the stairs. Brightens.

Buffy looks around, sees Wood and Faith there.

BUFFY
I wanted you to be here for this, I
think you're gonna be interested in
what I found out.

Giles is confused: no one told him about new info.

WILLOW
What's... what did you find out?

BUFFY
It's about the wine cellar.

Willow looks up, catches Dawn looking back. They exchange a look, both concerned about where this is going...

BUFFY (cont'd)
I know that night was difficult. For
all of us. But I've figured out some
things about the place, and I realize
now what we have to do.

She looks around at the group, takes a beat. Then:

BUFFY (cont'd)
We're going back in.

BLACKOUT.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

INT. GILROY MISSION - NIGHT

Spike stands over the Priest who is still propped against the wall. The Priest looks Spike in the eye.

PRIEST
Please. Do it quickly.

And he closes his eyes, waiting for death. Spike does nothing. After a beat, the Priest opens his eyes.

PRIEST (cont'd)
You're not going to --

SPIKE
Not without us two having a good
death-bed chat.

Spike crouches down so that he's face to face with the Priest. Intimate, menacing.

SPIKE (cont'd)
Tell me about the tat.

The Priest's hand goes to his cheek, covering the mark. He shakes his head, too terrified to talk.

SPIKE (cont'd)
Are you part of Caleb's faction--

PRIEST
No! No!

SPIKE
Then tell me what happened.

PRIEST
I, I can't -

ANDREW
(tough)
"Can't" is a four letter word.

Andrew now stands behind Spike, hands on his hips.

ANDREW (cont'd)
I'm Andrew. I'll be your "bad cop"
this evening. You better start
singing or my associate here--

SPIKE
(to Priest)
We're trying to fight him. Caleb.
We need your help.

The priest lets out a small, bitter laugh.

PRIEST
You can't fight him. You can't stop
him. You can only... run.

ANDREW
(still tough)
"Run" is a three-letter word.

Spike shoots Andrew a look. Andrew shrugs like, "What?". Spike looks back at the Priest.

SPIKE
Talk.

After a moment the Priest makes a decision. He stands.

PRIEST
I'll do better. I'll show you.

They follow him around a corner. Where he picks up a lighted TORCH from a stand. And continues down the corridor. As he walks:

PRIEST (cont'd)
One night, some time ago, a man
arrived at our doors.

SPIKE
And you said "c'mon in, do some
damage."

PRIEST
We are... were a benevolent order
and, yes, we welcomed him. We
offered to feed him.

They've reached the end of the corridor. But the Priest pushes the wall and a secret room is revealed.

PRIEST (cont'd)
But he had come for something else.

INT. GILROY MISSION - SECRET ROOM - NIGHT

They enter. A small, dark room with framed tapestries on the wall.

PRIEST
He made his way here, to the inner
sanctum. He was excited, talking the
whole time... destiny, that sort of
thing. We followed him here.

SPIKE
Yeah, we hear he's a smooth talker.

The Priest removes a small framed tapestry from the wall (about three-foot square). An archaic looking stone panel is revealed. Amid some patterns, words are carved in the stone (we can't read them yet).

PRIEST
(re: the tapestry)
Behind this, he revealed something we
didn't even know was here. Before
our time.

He touches the stone.

ANDREW
Neat.

He turns to face Spike and Andrew.

PRIEST
He read it. And he didn't like what
it said. His temper... he, he was
like... He was not a friendly man.
He was the purest evil I have ever
seen.
(touching his cheek)
He heated his ring with a lighter,
pressed it against me. And then I...
ran. And hid. And listened to the
others die.

ANDREW
(kind)
Running away. It saved your life.

The Priest looks at him sadly.

Spike is looking at the stone tablet. Reading it.

ANDREW (cont'd)
What does it say?

SPIKE
"It is not for thee. It is for her
alone to wield."

Off Spike and Andrew's confused reaction:

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

Right where we left everyone: in stunned silence.

(That "Welcome Home" banner is still there in the background, by the way. Not in an obvious way. Just saying.)

BUFFY
Listen, I know what you're thinking,
scary place where good guys go boom,
I get it. I do. But I had a little
visit today at the school from Caleb.

DAWN
(concerned)
Buffy, god, are you --

BUFFY
I'm fine. I mean, it wasn't fun, but
I'm fine. I'm better than fine. I
figured it out. He kept making all
this noise about the school.

WOOD
Is it the Seal again?

WILLOW
Do we need to try shutting it again?

ANYA
Andrew's got plenty of tears left in
him, just tell him they canceled
Stargate.

BUFFY
No, that's just it. We've spent so
much time being worried about the
Hellmouth and the Seal... why isn't
Caleb guarding them?

No response from the group.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Why doesn't he have someone there
protecting it?
Why is he camped out at the vineyard?
The bad guys always go where the
power is. If the Seal was so
important to Caleb and The First,
they'd be there right now. They're
trying to shake us off the trail,
it's a mislead. They're protecting
the vineyard. They're protecting
something at the vineyard. I say
it's their power.

A beat as she lets the room take this in.

BUFFY (cont'd)
And I say it's time we go take it
away from them.

Not a single person moves. Not a single person speaks.

Until:

FAITH
Or, in the alternative, how about
we... don't.

Buffy whips around, looks at Faith. Huh?

FAITH (cont'd)
It's a neat theory, B. But I'm not
going back in that place. Not
without proof. And neither should
you.
(re: the Potentials)
And neither should they.

BUFFY
I'm not saying it'll be easy --

WOOD
Buffy. Listen to what she's saying.

Buffy turns to Wood, stung.

FAITH
Maybe it'll end okay, the way you
wanna play it. But maybe it won't.
And right now... right now I don't
think I want you playing the odds.
Not with my coin.

BUFFY
I'm not just guessing about this.

FAITH
Listen. We're fighters. All of us.
But you gotta give me something to
fight. Something real. Not...

GILES
(quiet)
Windmills.

BUFFY
There is something there.

GILES
Maybe. But we don't know that for
sure.

BUFFY
You're waiting for some kind of
mystical sign to show up and tell us
it's the right time, that sort of
thing almost never happens, least,
not for us. We need to strike now.

GILES
And I think whatever is there, if
anything is there, will still be
there in a few days.

BUFFY
I don't know that. We don't know
that. What if we let it go and we
lose our chance? I'm not prepared to
live with that.

WOOD
And if we rush in now, before we're
ready, and more people get hurt, are
you prepared to live with that?

Buffy turns to him. Annoyed.

WOOD (cont'd)
You need to consider this.

BUFFY
I don't understand. Seven years I've
kept us safe by doing this, exactly
this, making the hard decisions.
Suddenly you're all acting like you
don't trust me.

GILES
But didn't you just tell me today
that you don't feel like you can
trust us? Maybe there's something
going on that we need to address.

Now it's Willow and Xander's turn to look hurt.

BUFFY
(to Giles)
Is this why you sent Spike away? To
ambush me?

RONA
(quiet)
Look around you, this isn't about
Spike. This is about you. You're
being reckless.

BUFFY
What?

RONA
(growing increasingly
pissed)
You are. I don't even know you, and
I can tell. You're so obsessed with
beating this guy that you're willing
to jump into any plan without
thinking.

BUFFY
That's not what I'm doing.

Kennedy JUMPS UP, moves toward Buffy.

KENNEDY
(seething/in Buffy's
face)
Well, that's how it feels to us!
People are dying! We. Are dying.

Willow jumps in between them, keeps Kennedy away from Buffy.

WILLOW
Back off, stop it.

Buffy looks relieved for the support.

WILLOW (cont'd)
(to Kennedy/re: Buffy)
It's not her fault. She's completely
strung out.

Whoops. There goes Buffy's relief.

BUFFY
I'm a who? I'm not --

WILLOW
Once you've had some rest, I think
you'll be able to --

BUFFY
I don't need rest! Willow, I'm fine.
I'm... I'm fine.

Willow backs down. Clearly not convinced.

BUFFY (cont'd)
And I don't recall any of you
complaining about the way we did
things when we were winning.

GILES
Buffy, the rules have changed. And
I'm not sure doing things the old way
will help you here.

BUFFY
The old way. You mean by leading.

WILLOW
No, that's not it at all, it's just --

BUFFY
Look, I wish this could be a
democracy. I really do. It would be
more fair, I agree. But democracies
don't win battles. It's a hard
truth, but there has to be a single
voice. You need me to issue orders
and be reckless sometimes and not
take your feelings into account.

She looks around.

BUFFY (cont'd)
You need someone to lead you.

ANYA
And it's automatically you. You
really do think you're better than we
are.

BUFFY
No, I --

ANYA
You do. Of course you do. That's
why it's your voice leading us.

BUFFY
Look --

ANYA
But we don't know, do we? We'll
never know. That you're actually
better. You came into the world with
certain advantages, sure, that's the
legacy.

BUFFY
I --

ANYA
But you didn't earn them. You didn't
work for them. You never had someone
come to you and say, Here, you
deserve these more than anyone else.
They were just... handed to you. And
that doesn't make you better than us.
It makes you luckier than us.

BUFFY
I've gotten you this far.

XANDER
(quietly)
Not without a price.

BUFFY
Xander...

XANDER
We follow you without question. Even
when you have no idea what you're
doing. Even when you get mad at us
for not working hard enough at a plan
which doesn't exist, because you
don't know what you're doing. We
keep following you, even then.
(beat)
And we keep paying the price.

BUFFY
(quiet)
Xander. I've paid the price, too,
sometimes.

That hangs in the air for a moment.

GILES
So how high does the price have to go
before you start saying your way
isn't right?

BUFFY
I still think attacking Caleb's power
base could end this --

GILES
Yes. You. Think. But when you act
alone --

BUFFY
Is that really something you want to
get into? 'Cause we can talk about
Spike. Or Ben.

GILES
If I acted rashly, it was to protect
you. Were you trying to protect
Annabelle? Or Chloe?

BUFFY
Stop it.

GILES
(more intense)
Or Molly? Or Xander? And it goes
even further back than that, doesn't
it?

BUFFY
Giles.

GILES
(seething)
You act alone, and people get hurt,
right? People like Jenny

BUFFY
Goddamn you, stop!!

Buffy SWEEPS a vase (maybe something vaguely African, from Joyce's gallery) off the end table. It SMASHES to the floor. Giles and Buffy stare at each other for a beat.

GILES
(calmly)
Do you see? You are not in the best
place you have ever been. You're too
raw. You need to take a break.

BUFFY
I am still responsible for this
group. I am still in charge here.

RONA
And why is that, exactly?

BUFFY
Because I'm the Slayer.

RONA
And isn't Faith a Slayer, too?

Everyone turns to Faith, who seems startled.

FAITH
Ka-wha? Whoa, whoa, whoa, so not
what I meant, I'm not the in-charge
chick, I just think B here needs to
chill out for a bit, take a siesta
maybe, but I'm not the one you want.

But no one's turning away.

KENNEDY
Maybe we need a vote. To see who
wants Faith to have a turn in charge.

BUFFY
Listen. You don't wanna do this.
(to Willow and Xander)
Guys, tell them. This is a mistake.

Total silence.

BUFFY (cont'd)
Guys?

Willow and Xander not answering.

BUFFY (cont'd)
I don't... this isn't happening.

WILLOW
You need to rest.

She looks at Xander. Maybe not able to finish this. He nods to her.

WILLOW (cont'd)
(barely able to say
it)
So maybe we should let someone else
take the wheel until you do.

XANDER
Maybe it's not such a terrible idea.
Letting Faith handle things. Letting
her be the Slayer.

Faith is shocked -- she didn't want this. Buffy just stares at Willow and Xander. Not sure this is real.

BUFFY
Guys. We have a chance to end this.
All of us. I can't just stay here
and watch Faith lead you off into
some disaster.

Dawn, silent till now, approaches Buffy and tenderly KISSES her on the cheek.

DAWN
Then you can't stay here.

Buffy -- and everyone -- is shocked.

DAWN (cont'd)
Look, I love you, but you can't be a
part of this. You can't be here. I
don't think... I don't think you can
face this at all. This one you have
to sit out.

Buffy is utterly devastated. The final betrayal.

DAWN (cont'd)
I'm sorry. It's my house, too.
Either you let Faith handle things...
or you have to leave.

Standoff. Buffy looks at Dawn, a little shocked. Looks to Willow and Xander and Giles... looks at the group. They're not backing down. Not one of them.

Buffy turns and walks out the front door.

EXT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - FRONT PORCH - CONTINUOUS

Buffy walks out of the house, down the steps and into the street.

The town is deserted, doors left open, belongings that didn't fit in cars strewn about. Everyone's left. And she's totally, utterly alone.

She takes one last look at her house, the place that is no longer hers, then she turns and walks off into the night.

END OF SHOW