Plans for a quiet dinner at home have to be canceled. The Slayer tells a disappointed Dawn she must go out on Monster Hunt. After killing it, Buffy keeps the monster's sword as a souvenir. At the Magic Box, Xander and Anya get a nervous Willow to agree that Tara can come to Buffy's birthday party. Feeling ignored, Dawn goes off to the mall.
Dawn comes home with tons of stuff -- all stolen -- including a pricey leather jacket. Next day at school Dawn is called to new guidance counselor Hallie's office. The strange pendant-wearing Hallie says she's worried about Dawn's grades. Dawn confesses feelings of being abandoned, and wishes someone could make people stop going away.
Anya announces she's invited Doublemeat worker Sophie to Buffy's birthday party. And when Dawn walks in, Anya says that another surprise guest of hers could even be Buffy boyfriend material! This news horrifies the Slayer. But there's no time to argue. People are arriving. One of them is Tara. And even though Willow agreed to her coming, she's still upset to see her.
Spike shows up with loose-skinned demon Clem, followed by boyish 24-year-old Richard. Dawn thinks cute Richard is the Buffy boyfriend material Anya invited, but Spike calls him a stupid git, and looks for Buffy. He's hot for Slayer. She rebuffs the bleached bloodsucker, and goes to open her presents. Dawn's gift is the boosted leather jacket -- with its security tag still on it! As Dawn stutters to explain, Xander wheels in his gift -- a beautiful handcrafted weapons cabinet. Dawn's gift is all-but-forgotten.
Outside the house, guidance counselor Hallie transforms into vengeance demon Halfrek. As Richard flirts with Buffy, a jealous Spike grabs her away and pulls her down for some instant gratification. But the blond bloodsucker can't get no satisfaction Later, Buffy, Anya, Dawn and Richard play Monopoly while Spike and Clem taunt them. Dawn's just happy to have quality time with the Slayer.
Of course Spike wants quality time with Buffy, too, so he encourages Richard to leave, threatening to feed on him. Buzzkill, party's over. But somehow everyone's stuck. They can't leave the house, no matter how hard they try. Dawn is actually glad everyone's trapped. Now they're forced to spend time with her.
Desperate, Willow reveals she's secretly kept some magic things, but Tara forbids her to use them. Tara tries a spell. It conjures up the Sword Monster Buffy thought she'd killed. It cuts Xander, and attacks the others. Obviously Tara's spell isn't working, so Anya suggests Willow try her former magic. But Willow is worried that, once she starts witching again, she won't be able to stop. Surprisingly, Tara supports her.
Dawn tells Buffy she revealed her feelings of abandonment to a new guidance counselor. Just as this clue sinks in, Buffy hears Anya tearing up the house. Anya has found tagged merchandise clearly stolen from the Magic Box. Dawn admits the theft. But Buffy realizes this isn't the cause of their problems. Dawn reveals the new guidance counselor was wearing a strange pendant, and Anya figures out that Dawn unknowingly made a wish in front of a vengeance demon. Anya summons demon Halfrek, who gets sliced in half by the Sword Monster. As Spike and Buffy fight it, the Slayer realizes the monster's power is in his sword. Wresting it from the beast, she cracks the sword over her knee. The Monster dies. As Buffy reaches for Halfrek's power pendant, the vengeance demon springs back to life. Halfrek says she felt sorry for the ignored Dawn, and took vengeance for her. Her spell "stopped people from going away." Now that everyone understands Dawn's feelings, Halfrek lifts her spell and disappears. Everyone is free to leave. Including Buffy. But the Slayer gives up a hot night of slaying - or playing with Spike -- to stay home with Dawn.Director: Michael E. Gershman
Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg