Fade in. Close up of a wide-screen monitor. A white-haired man in a suit is sitting behind a desk. The office he's in is dark and the reflection of Colonel McNamara is seen on the glass of the monitor.
Mr. Ward: And the men?
McNamara: These are exceptional boys. Their capture ratio just keeps increasing. *They're* keeping it together. Morale's a problem. The death of Professor Walsh. The escape of the prototype. Controlling the HSTs is getting harder. We have serious overcrowding in the containment areas.
As he spoke, the camera has slowly panned away from the monitor to the Colonel. We can see he is standing in some kind of communications center in the Initiative. There is a large world map on one wall. He is the only one there.
Mr. Ward: Quite a mess.
McNamara: It's not my mess, sir. I'm just holding the fort while you figure out what you want to do with the place.
Mr. Ward: This incident with Finn was unfortunate.
McNamara: Fell in with a bad crowd. Quite frankly, I don't think he was ever the soldier that you all hoped he was. Boy thinks too much.
Mr. Ward: Nevertheless, we want him back. The government's invested a sub--
McNamara: We'll catch up to him. My feeling is . . he won't stray too far from the girl.
Mr. Ward: Yes, uh . . . (puts on reading glasses to look at something on his desk) Buffy Summers. (removes glasses) Our data banks don't have much on her.
McNamara: She's just a girl.
Spike: (sighs) She's a lot more than that.
He is in a chamber underground, in the sewers. Light reflecting off water is shimmering on the wall behind him as he walks across the room.
Spike: The Slayer's dangerous is all I'm saying.
Camera tracks Spike until we see Adam standing in front of a computer set-up. This is his hideout. Adam is sliding a disk into the drive slot in the metal plate covering his left pectoral.
ADAM: Yes. She makes things interesting.
Spike walks up to him.
Spike: No. See? You're not getting it, Mr. Bits. You're gonna be interestingly dead. (paces again) Little Miss Tiny's got a habit of bollixing up the plans of every would-be, unstoppable bad-ass who sets foot in this town.
He stops to face Adam.
Spike: Just want you to know, when the big ugly goes down, the Slayer's gonna be right in the thick of it. You ready for that?
ADAM: I'm counting on it.
Wolf's howl. Buffy theme and opening credits roll.
~~~~~~~~~~ Part One ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fade in. Close up of a zippo in Spike's hand. He flips the lid open with his thumb and strikes the flame. He brings the lighter up to the cigarette in his mouth.
ADAM: Two Slayers.
Spike: (closing the lighter) That's right.
Cut to wider shot. Adam is now pacing the chamber. Spike is sitting back in an old beat-up couch, stuffing sticking out in large patches.
ADAM: And you killed them both?
Spike: (grinning) Yeah. I killed the hell out of them.
ADAM: Yet you fear this one?
Spike: (offended) Hey, watch it, mate. I don't fear anything. Just know my enemies.
ADAM: Do you? Then why haven't you killed this Slayer yet?
Spike: Because . . . (trails off) Stinking, rotten luck is why. On top of that, now I got this buggering chip up my head.
ADAM: Yes. Your behavior modification circuitry. I
know what you feel.
Spike: (scoffs softly) Not likely.
Adam stands in front of him.
ADAM: You feel smothered. Trapped like an animal. Pure in its ferocity, unable to actualize the urges within. Clinging to one truth. Like a flame struggling to burn within an enclosed glass. That a beast this powerful cannot be contained. Inevitably it will break free and savage the land again. I will make you whole again. Make you savage.
Moved, Spike has to blink back tears.
Spike: (awed) Wow. (composes himself) I mean, *yeah*. I get why the demons all fall in line with you. (sits up) You're like Tony Robbins. If he was a big scary . . Frankenstein looking-- (reconsiders) You're exactly like Tony Robbins.
ADAM: I will restore you to what you once were. When I have the Slayer . . . how and where I want her.
Spike: (sighs) Easier said. She's crafty. Her and her little friends.
Spike: There's your --what do you call it-- variable. The Slayer's got pals. You want her evening the odds in a fight you don't want the Slayerettes mucking about.
ADAM: Take them away from her.
Spike perks up at that idea.
Spike: Now there's a plan. She's working solo, she won't have a chance to come after us when the wild rumpus begins. (chuckles) Plus, it will make her miserable. And I never get tired of that.
He sits back again. He smiles at that prospect.
Spike: (to himself) Yeah. Leave `em to me.
ADAM: You can't hurt them. What can you do to make sure they're out of the picture?
Spike: Not a blessed thing. They're gonna do it for me.
He brings his cigarette to his lips and as he takes a drag we--
Cut to Stevenson Hall, room 214. The room is dark. The door opens and Buffy enters switching on the light. She is still wearing the clothes we saw her in when she was in L.A. to see Angel ("Sanctuary"). As she closes the door she sees Willow's bed which looks as if it hasn't been slept in for quite sometime. She tiredly rubs a hand over her face and crosses the room to lay on her own bed. She doesn't close her eyes and there is a forlorn look on her face.
Cut to exterior shot of the ruins of Sunnydale High School. Cut to interior of one of the burnt out hallways. Amidst the debris, we see the small camp Riley had set up in the last episode. A lantern is the only source of light aside from streams of moonlight shining through holes in the ceiling. It looks like he's been there for a while.
Xander is there with a backpack on his shoulder.
Riley: Do you know if she's back yet?
Xander: L.A. Woman? Haven't heard from her. She'll probably come here first thing, though. Hey, who's your buddy?
Xander swings the backpack from his shoulder and tosses it to Riley.
Xander: So you don't have to be G.I. Joe while your civvies are getting washed.
Riley pulls out a pair of really baggy pants with a blue and white confetti pattern.
Xander: Try those on. You'll feel like a new man.
Riley: Would this man have a bright red nose and big, floppy feet?
Perturbed, Xander purses his lips and raises his eyebrows.
Riley: Hey, I'm sorry. That's the cabin fever talking.
Xander looks the place over.
Xander: But as post-apocalypse-splendor goes . . .
Riley: I've done wonders with the place.
Riley: Still . . The sooner Buffy gets back, the better I'll feel.
Riley sits down on his sleeping bag, his back against the blackened wall.
Xander: You and me both, big guy.
Riley: I take it you're not an Angel fan either?
Xander: Well, it's not like I hate the guy. Just, you know . . the guts part of him.
Riley: Can't blame you. But to be fair, it's not him you hate. It's the curse.
Xander doesn't respond.
Xander: What did Buffy tell you?
He sits down on the cooler.
Riley: On Angel? Everything. More than I wanted to know sometimes. She loved him. He turned evil. He, uh, killed people. She cured him. He left. Interesting little curse.
Xander: One moment's happiness.
Riley: What do you mean?
Xander: You know, it's his trigger. Angel's an okay guy if he's mopey and sad and brooding, but if you give him even one second of pure, real pleasure . . .
Riley: And that sets him off.
Xander: Only in the big ol "kill your friends" kind of way. And you know what makes Angel happiest? I'll give you a hint. It not creme brulee.
Riley doesn't say anything for a couple of seconds.
Xander nods, opening his palms in a "there you go" gesture. Riley dwells on this for a moment and it dawns on him.
Riley: Sex (scoffs softly) with Buffy.
Xander's jaw drops as he realizes . . .
Xander: She . . . kind of left that part out, huh?
Riley: Yeah, she did. That explains a lot of things that . . I wish weren't explained.
Xander: Hey, man. That's all ancient history.
Riley: (scoffs) She went running to L.A. to bone up on her history.
Xander: No! I'm sure it's boneless. She just needs to make sure everything's okay. She's probably back already.
Xander: You'll feel a lot better when you see her.
But Riley doesn't look so sure.
Riley: I guess we'll see.
Cut to exterior of Giles' apartment building.
Giles: (singing) If I leave here tomorrow/
Cut to Giles' apartment. He is sitting on the side of his sofa, playing "Freebird" on his guitar.
Giles: (singing) Would you still remember me?/
Camera pans slowly around him.
Giles: (singing) Well I must be traveling on now/ There's too many places I've got to see/
Giles: (singing) And if I stay here with you girl/ Things just couldn't be the same/
Giles: (singing) 'Cause I'm as free as bird now--(high-pitched gasp)
He jumps up from the couch as he's startled to see Spike standing in his home. The vampire starts heading for the kitchen.
Spike: You know, for someone who's got "Watcher" on his resume', you might want to cast an eye to the front door every now and again.
Giles has removed his glasses and looks peeved. He rounds the sofa and stands at the entrance of the hallway as Spike opens the refrigerator.
Giles: What do you want?
Spike: Ah. (he takes out a transfusion blood bag) Knew I left one. (closes fridge) Buffy around?
Giles moves in front of the bar as Spike pops the plastic bag into the microwave and turns it on.
Spike: I need to speak to the lady of the house. Hey, be a pet and give her a message for me, would you? Tell her I just might have something she just might want.
Giles: And what might that "something" be?
Spike regards him with little importance.
Spike: Information. Highly classified. Not cheap word-on-the-street prattle either. I'm talking about the good stuff now.
Unimpressed, Giles sits on one of the stools and puts his glasses back on. He crosses his arms.
Giles: Thrill me.
Spike: (sighs) It's nothing I know. What, you think I'd come running over saying "I've got a secret, beat me till I talk?" There's files in the Initiative. I'm pretty sure I know where.
Giles' interest is perked. The microwave beeps.
Spike: (taking out the bag) Yeah. Secrets.
He bites open a corner of the bag, grabs a coffee mug, and starts to pour the blood.
Spike: Mission statements. Design schematics. All of Maggie Walsh's dirty laundry, which I guess would include lots of tidbits about--
Giles: (removing glasses) Adam.
Spike: Well, yeah. Say someone were to risk his life and limb --well, limb anyway-- to obtain said files. It might be worth a little something.
Spike lifts the mug to his mouth and drains it.
Giles: A-at . . this point a cynical person might think that you're offering just what we need when we need it most.
Spike: That person'd be right, Rupert. Supply and demand. And it won't be cheap this time.
Giles: What do you want?
Spike seems to think about it as he sets the mug down next to the sink.
Spike: Hmm, year supply of blood, guaranteed protection, merry bushels of cash, and, most important . . . a guarantee that I'm not to be in anyway slain.
Giles: (puts on glasses) Done.
Spike: With a smile and a nod from you? Sorry. Not close to good enough. This deal's with the Slayer.
Giles: I'll tell her.
Spike: Oh, you'll tell her! Great comfort that. What makes you think she'll listen to you?
Giles: Because . . . (trails off, unsure)
Spike: Very convincing.
Giles: I'm her Watcher.
Spike: I think you're neglecting the past-tense there, Rupert. Besides, she barely listened to you when you were in charge. I've seen the way she treats you.
Giles grows uncomfortable at those words. He grabs a bottle off the bar and starts to pour himself a drink.
Giles: Oh, yes? And how's that?
Spike: Very much like a retired librarian.
Giles doesn't say anything and continues to pour.
Spike: Look, I've got what she wants as long as she has what I want.
He walks out of the kitchen and heads for the door. As he passes Giles--
Spike: Spread the word. She knows where to find me.
Giles: (softly, without authority) I'll think about it.
We hear the front door close and Giles brings the glass to his lips.
Cut to Tara's dorm room. Willow is sitting on the bed playing with a small black and white kitten in her lap. Tara is sitting on the large chest at the foot of the bed. She is looking though the course selection booklet.
Willow: Oh. I keep thinking "Okay, that's the cutest thing ever," and then she does something cuter and completely resets the whole scale.
Tara: Did you see her yawn earlier?
Willow: Yes! I thought I was going to die.
She picks up the kitten to look into its eyes.
Willow: (babying voice) Oh, I love you, Miss Kitty Fantastico!
Tara: We got to get her a real name.
Willow: It's so cool that she's ours. (pause) Uh, yours. That she's yours is-is cool.
Tara: She can be ours if you want?
Willow just smiles at that.
Tara: You still need an elective. (glances down at booklet) How about . . Sophomore Level Psychology?
Willow: Oh. Kinda psyched out since Professor Walsh. Maybe something fun like drama. I could be dramatic.
Willow picks the kitten up again in front of her face.
Willow: (dramatic voice) You cannot have more catnip! You have a catnip problem!
Tara: (laughing) Definitely drama.
The kitty starts pawing at Willow's hair and face. She lowers it to her lap again.
Willow: I haven't even dealt with the housing situation yet. Have you done anything? I hear there some off-campus places that are way cool for groups to, you know, go in on.
Tara: Oh, I just figured you'd be dorming it up with Buffy again.
Willow: Well, we haven't really talked about it. I used to assume we'd be roomies through grad school well into little old lady hood. You know, cheating at bingo together and forgetting to take our pills.
Willow: But . . . I don't know. It hardly feels like we're roomies now. I mean, she's busy with Riley and I'm gone a lot too.
Willow considers this and doesn't look happy about it.
Willow: I guess I should ask her.
Cut to exterior of Stevenson Hall the next day. Cut to close up of the "Chocolate" poster on Buffy's door. There is a knock on the other side. Buffy opens it to reveal . . .
Riley: I got a little tired of sitting around waiting, so . . .
Buffy is looking at the pants he has on and grins slightly.
Buffy: You joined the circus?
Riley: Xander took my clothes to clean `em and left me these. (stepping inside) Does he, uh, hate me in some way I don't know about yet? I think I would've attracted less attention in my uniform.
Buffy: (uncertain) Is it okay for you to be here?
Riley: You tell me.
Buffy: I just meant with the government branch hunting you down and all.
Riley: I'm good.
He reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a small cell phone which looks as if it's been jury-rigged.
Riley: And, uh, it took me a while, but I patched into their frequency. (clicks it on and we hear a garbled voice) Can't sneak up on a guy if he's listening in.
Buffy: You're the sneakiest.
Riley: Why they hired me.
Feeling awkward, Buffy walks over to her desk to stack a text book on top of another book, giving herself something to do.
Riley: You okay?
She faces him, leaning on the desk.
Buffy: Yeah. I just-- Angel kind of upset me.
Buffy: It's not that interesting.
Riley: Got my attention.
Buffy: He just spun my head a little.
Riley: You don't want to talk about it.
Buffy: It's just deconstructing Angel can wait. Right now, I just want to get out there and patrol and-and find Adam. We can talk about it . . later.
Riley seems a little hurt by this but tries to cover it.
Riley: It's the pants, isn't it? It's okay. I couldn't take me seriously in these things either.
Buffy: Riley, it's not that big a deal.
Riley: Tell you what, why don't I get out of your face? You had a long trip.
Buffy: Look, you don't have to go.
Riley: It's okay. (forcing a grin) Besides . . heh. (indicating pants) I have to recharge them every two hours or they go dead on me.
Buffy: (quietly) Okay.
Cut to the hall. Close up on Riley as he closes the door. He is less than happy as he walks away.
Cut to Spike's crypt. Xander and Anya are walking down the steps of the entrance towards Spike. He's carrying a bundle of clothing and Anya is drinking a soda through a straw.
Xander: Here. You should've just saved the ensemble from the last time we snuck into the Initiative. (hands the clothes to Spike) I'm not a clothing delivery service.
Anya: Well, he is, kinda. He did Riley yesterday.
Xander gives her a look and she busies herself with sucking on the straw and sits down. Spike is looking through the clothes and finds a small pistol.
Spike: Hello. This is just . . . swell.
Dropping the rest of the clothes on a stone bench, he aims the gun at the wall.
Spike: Gotta say . . liking this quite a lot.
He starts swinging the barrel around towards Xander who watches unconcerned.
Spike: Kinda changes the balances of pow--OWW!!
He clutches a hand to his forehead as pain hits him. Frustrated, he stalks across the crypt.
Spike: Akk! Oh, come on! You got to be kidding?
Anya: (playing with her straw) Wow. That chip in your head means you can't even point a gun. How humiliating.
Xander: Doesn't work anyway. It's a fake.
Spike turns around to glare at him.
Anya: Can't even point a decorative gun?
Xander: Give it up for a American chipmanship.
Spike: It doesn't work? What about self-defense? I'm taking a risk here, you know?
Xander: Can I tell you how much I really . . don't care?
Spike: (warningly) Attitude. See how far that'll take you in boot camp. (Xander gives him a questioning look) Say, I hope you get one of those toughs-as-nails drill sergeants who's only hard on the men because he's trying to keep them alive when the bullets start flying. I love that stuff.
Anya is now standing giving Xander a perplexed look. Spike sits down on the bench.
Xander: Boot camp? Yeah. Like I'd go there.
Spike: What, you changed your mind? Not gonna join?
Anya hits Xander hard on the chest.
Anya: (angry) You're joining the Army!?
Xander: (to Anya) Okay, one-- Ow. (to Spike) Two-- Where'd you get that idea? (to Anya) Three-- OW! I'm not joining the army!
Anya: Oh, good. Stopped that nonsense just in time.
Xander: I was never--
He turns to Spike who's examining the fake gun.
Xander: Who'd you hear this from?
Spike: Oh, your girlie-mates were talking. Something about, uh, being all you can be. Or all *you* can be. And having laugh. Figured you were signing up. Say, have you got anything larger in the . . toy gun line?
He holds out the gun to him but Xander isn't paying him any attention.
Xander: "All I can--" (paces to the other side of the crypt) Can you believe this!? Like I'm some sort of useless lunk. It happens I'm good at a lot of things. I help out with all kinds of . . . stuff. I have skills . . . and . . . stratagems. I'm very . . . (looks to Anya) Help me out.
Anya: (nonchalant) He's Viking in the sack.
Spike: (not caring) Terrific. (indicates the clothes in his hands) You didn't have these cleaned after the last time, did you?
Xander continues as if not hearing him.
Xander: This is so like them, lately. It's all about them and the college life. Well, you know what college is? It's high school only without the actual going to class. Well . . high school was kinda like that too. But the point is, I'm out there working hard to make a living. It's nothing but a huge joke to them. Xander got fired from Starbucks. Xander got fired from that phone-sex line.
Anya: They look down on you.
Xander: And they hate you.
Anya: But they don't look down on me.
Spike: Hey, it was just a laugh. There's no need to go insane over it.
Xander glares menacingly at him.
Xander: Is anybody talking to you?
Spike: (mock gasp) Sir, no sir.
Cut to the woods. Buffy is patrolling, walking on a dirt path leading up to a cave entrance. She is carrying the blaster Professor Walsh had given her ("The I In Team"). She's heading towards the cave when Forrest Gates jumps out into the path behind her and she whirls around to face him. They are pointing their blasters at each other.
Forrest: Don't shoot.
Buffy: Give me a reason not to?
Forrest: You're killing humans now?
Buffy: Not yet. (lowers blaster) Beating you senseless should do just fine.
Forrest: I can have a patrol here in under a minute. So here's the plan: you go you're way, I'll go mine.
Buffy turns and continues to the cave. Forrest starts to follow but stops when she looks back at him.
Buffy: I'm checking out that cave.
Forrest: My orders exactly.
Forrest: We're spread a little thin, so yeah. Family's tearing apart.
Buffy: (sarcastic) Family. What kind of family are you? Corleones.
She turns and enters the cave. Cut to interior. Buffy steps inside followed by Forrest.
Forrest: We weren't until you showed up.
Buffy: What? No girls in the club?
Forrest: You think you're the first girlfriend Riley's ever had? (she stops to glare at his back as he continues ahead) Such a big head on that skinny little body. (he stops to face her) No. You're just the first one to get him to commit treason. Riley had a career. And a future till he met you. And, yeah, I got a problem with that.
Buffy: A future? A future doing what? (steps closer to him) Illegal experiments. Torture. Murder. I guess killing someone isn't really a problem for you.
Forrest: Less and less. And why don't you get the hell out of here before I--
He takes a threatening step to her.
Buffy: (angry) Touch me and you'll find out what Slayer strength is like.
Forrest: (gamely) I think it's about time you showed me then.
ADAM: (OS) Yes.
They look back the way they came and see Adam suddenly standing there.
ADAM: I think that would be interesting.
Off Buffy and Forrest's "Oh, shit" expressions, fade out.
~~~~~~~~~~ Part Two ~~~~~~~~~~
Fade in. Buffy steps forward ready to fire her blaster but Adam swings his arm and knocks it out of her hands. She quickly strikes with a front kick that does little damage and blocks Adam's arm when he swings it at her again. Forrest rushes in to attack but Buffy is between him and Adam and shoves him back hard.
Buffy: Get out of here!
As Forrest falls to the ground, Buffy hits Adam in the face with a hard backhand. Adam hardly feels it and grabs her by the neck throwing her across the cave. She slams into the rock wall and drops to the ground. Adam turns his attention to Forrest and his Polgara skewer juts out of his left arm.
Forrest is getting back to his feet.
Forrest: Not moving.
He raises his blaster and fires it at Adam. Reacting to the blast, Adam arches back, his arms wide as if accepting the charge. The rings of electricity course over his body then seem to be absorbed within him. He looks at Forrest.
ADAM: Thank you.
Buffy saw this and is rising to her knees.
Buffy: Go! Get out!
But Forrest charges Adam and the demonoid cyborg meets him with the skewer, shoving it through his chest.
Forrest quickly goes limp and Buffy runs towards them. With his free arm, Adam tosses Forrest's body in the air and it slides off his skewer and crashes into Buffy, knocking her down. Adam immediately picks up Forrest's blaster.
Buffy: Oh, God.
Buffy rolls Forrest's body off of herself and is rising to her feet when Adam fires the blaster. The charge hits her full force and sends her flying back where she collides with a large boulder. She drops to her knees and, as soon as she's on her feet, bolts for the entrance. Adam tracks her with the gun and fires another blast. It just barely misses her, blowing apart a huge chunk of the cave wall.
Cut to outside. We see Buffy stumbling out of the cave on legs that don't seem to work right, but she continues to pick up speed as she runs down the hill. She takes a quick glance over her shoulder. It doesn't look like Adam is after her but she doesn't stop, desperate to escape.
She suddenly loses her footing on the edge of a steeper slope and tumbles down the incline. She doesn't roll very far before she's stopped by a large rock sticking out of the ground, hitting her head hard.
Cut to overhead shot, looking down on her. Buffy is lying unconscious beside the rock. Her head turned to the side, we can see a gash on the left side of her forehead and a bruise already forming next to her eye.
Cut to elevated shot of Sunnydale. Nighttime. Cut to Spike walking casually down the steps to the courtyard of Giles' apartment building. He is wearing the commando garb Xander provided him with. He stops before reaching Giles' front door, taking one last pull on his cigarette then grounds it out under his boot. He stands there for a moment, then takes a couple of deep breaths, prepping himself, and rushes into the apartment.
Spike: (closing the door) I think I lost the buggers.
Willow stands up from where she was sitting at Giles' desk.
Willow: Any luck with the disks?
He pulls out a few disks from the pockets of his flak jacket and commando pants.
Spike: (handing them to her) Took what they had. Should be something useful on one of them.
Willow: Hope so.
Willow sits down again in front of her laptop. Tara is standing beside her.
Tara: What are we looking for?
Willow: (sliding one of the disks into her laptop) Anything about Adam.
Giles is sitting at the bar, pouring himself a drink. He doesn't sound completely sober.
Giles: (unconcerned) Were there any problems getting in and out?
Spike: No. I mean, a couple of them made me on the way out, but I took care of `em.
Giles: (sarcastic) Gave them a good running-away-from-them, did you?
Spike shoots him a look.
Spike: Well, yeah. When do I get paid?
Giles: When Willow tells me you've brought us something useful.
Spike turns his attention to Willow. Tara is looking at what she's doing with interest and he notices the subtle, but intimate way, she's stroking a lock of Willow's hair. He raises a thoughtful eyebrow, taking note of this. Then he steps up behind Giles.
Spike: I could've gone straight to the Slayer, you know? I cut you in, let you pretend you're actually in charge, now you've got to wait for Red's permission to finish the deal?
Giles is seething into his drink.
Giles: As soon as we see what's on the disks.
The laptop starts making electronic jittery noises.
Tara: It looks like gibberish.
Giles and Spike look over at them.
Willow: They're encrypted.
Giles: Oh, wonderful.
Giles steps away from the bar and disappears down the hall. On the laptop there are small symbols crisscrossing the screen.
Spike: Can you fix `em?
Willow: Crack a government encryption code on my laptop? Easy as really difficult pie. Why?
Spike: (sighs) You're not exactly the whiz these days either. God, I'm never gonna get paid.
Effected by the offhanded remark, Willow shifts uncomfortably in her chair.
Willow: I am a whiz.
Tara: She is a whiz.
Willow: If every a whiz there was. I-I just need some time.
Spike: No. I just heard you weren't . . . (Willow hits a key and the jittering stops) Your mates said you weren't playing with computers so much. (indicates Tara) Into the new thing.
Willow: (frowning) What new thing?
Spike: (nonchalant) You know, you two. The whole wicca thing.
Willow: They-they were talking about that?
Spike: Can we get back to business here? I've got a deal at stake.
But Willow is very concerned now.
Willow: What did they say?
Spike: (impatient sigh) Talking about, you know, it's a phase. You'll get over it.
Willow: What? Who said that? Was it Buffy? (to Tara) 'Cause . . . you know what she means by that.
Spike: No, she was defending you. 'Cause Xander said you were just being trendy.
Spike: I don't know what they were going on about. A person wants be a witch, that's their business.
Willow shakes her head, thoughtfully.
Willow: (softly) I knew Buffy was freaked.
Tara: You should talk to her, 'cause I'm sure she--
Spike: Pressing business, ladies. (pointing to the screen) Don't want to get sidetracked. (taps it with his finger) Still got your monsters to fight.
Cut to the Initiative. The containment area. Close up of a butt-ugly demon who steps too close to the sliding glass wall of its cell and is zapped by a charge of electricity. The place is filled with demons, every cell occupied, some with more than one. It is also noisy with their growling. Colonel McNamara has just walked in with a lieutenant and they make their way down the long row of white cells.
Lieutenant: Cell capacity maxed out three days ago, sir. We keep up this pace they'll be nowhere left to contain the hostiles.
McNamara: (coldly) They're animals, lieutenant. We pack them in until we're out of room and then we pack them in some more.
Lieutenant: (worried) They're going to start tearing each other apart, sir.
McNamara: I have no problem with that scenario.
As they reach the other side of the containment area, we see two demons in the last cell fighting, their claws at each other's throat.
Cut to the communications room, which is filled with techs and alive with activity and radio chatter. McNamara and the lieutenant enter and their attention is immediately drawn to one of the officers who's receiving an urgent message for help from one of the squads out in the field.
Commando: (on radio) Back-up team! Request immediate back-up! Over! They're tearing us apart over here! Two men down! From out of nowhere! Mayday! Repeat! Mayday!
Cut to Riley at the ruins of Sunnydale High School, sitting on his sleeping bag. He puts down the soup can he was eating out of and lifts up his jury-rigged cell phone he was listening to.
Commando: (on phone) --Team Epsilon requesting immediate back-up! We're in the alley behind the school building! Where the hell is-- Fall back! Fall back! It's coming--
The transmission is cut off. Riley gets up and grabs his commando gear.
Cut to a shot of Riley running down an empty street. Cut to an alley and we see a commando go flying across the alley and hit the wall. Riley comes running around the corner just in time to see him fall to the pavement unconscious. He hears fighting further down the alley and raises his flashlight, shining it on the back of a figure in a long black coat. As soon as the light hits him, the person whirls around and glares at Riley.
Off Angel's pissed off expression, fade out.
~~~~~~~~~~ Part Three ~~~~~~~~~~
Fade in. Angel and Riley are facing each other. Angel is standing amidst the bodies of three more unconscious commandos. Riley lowers the flashlight.
Angel: Riley Finn.
Riley slips the flashlight into his cargo pocket.
Riley: I know you?
Angel: We have a friend in common.
Recognition fills Riley's expression.
Angel takes a step forward glancing down at the commandos on the ground.
Angel: Welcoming committee your idea?
Riley: Way I heard it. You were all peaceable now. You didn't by any chance go and lose that pesky soul again, did you?
Angel: (dangerously) Don't push me, boy.
If Riley had tail feathers they would have been ruffled. If he had whiskers they would have bristled.
Riley: (calm rage) Now what possibly could've happened with Buffy that would make you lose your soul?
Angel is walking a slow path that would take him around Riley.
Angel: (coolly) That'd be between me and her.
Riley steps in Angel's path and hits the release on the asp in his hand extending it to a baton.
Riley: Where do you think you're going?
Angel: Going to see an old girlfriend.
They are now standing right in front of each other.
Riley: Oh, you really think I'm gonna let that happen?
Angel: You think you're gonna stop me?
Riley: I surely do.
Angel throws a right cross at Riley's face but he deflects it with his free hand and whips the baton into Angel's face. Riley quickly spins into a backhand swing and Angel catches his arm, forcing him down on one knee, and slams a knee into Riley's face. Angel doesn't let him go and lifts him back to his feet to swing him around and throw him through the air. Riley flies back into a large heap of trash bags and card board boxes next to the loading dock of a building. He scrambles out of the trash onto the loading dock and picks up his baton where it had landed. Angel leaps high through the air landing on the dock before Riley can get to his feet. Riley uses the baton to block Angel's kick but the weapon is knocked out of his hand and the vampire punches him across the face. Still on his knees, Riley retaliates with a fist to Angel's groin and, as the vampire bends down around his pain, gets to his feet picking up an empty liquor bottle and smashes it over his head. He grabs Angel by the coat and rams a knee into his back sending him against the building. Angel swings a backhand but Riley blocks it and slams the same knee into his stomach. Angel recovers and grabs Riley's flak jacket slamming him back against a heavy door. He hits Angel in the face with a left cross, but Angel just slams him against the door again, getting his hands around his throat. As Riley is forced down, under Angel's strength, he pulls out a taser from his jacket and shoves into Angel's chest. The shock flings him back and he falls into the trash heap. Riley's on his feet and goes after him.
Angel raises his head and growls at him, in full vamp face. Riley plants a hard kick into his chest and Angel tumbles out onto the pavement. Standing over him, Riley tries to hit him with the taser once more, but Angel catches his wrist, forcing him to drop it, and drives a fist into his stomach. He lifts Riley over his head and growls as he runs with him across the alley to send him crashing into a group of storage drums against the side of a warehouse. Riley tumbles to the ground but Angel picks him up again and sends him flying to the other side of the alley. He lands on a pile of large metal conduit tubes, which break his fall none to gently, and he flops to the pavement.
Angel hears the loud engine of an approaching vehicle and quickly climbs up the side of the warehouse, disappearing over the top. Riley is on his knees when he sees the humvee rounding the corner. He manages to get to his feet and hurries on unsteady legs down a narrow passage between two of the buildings before the headlights sweep the alley.
Cut to Buffy's dorm room. She walks inside, looking like hell, and removes her jacket as she steps up to the mirror on the wall. Ugly bruising has formed around the gash on her forehead and she winces as she touches it with her fingers.
Cut to outside her door. Someone steps in front of it and knocks. A moment later, Buffy opens the door and is surprised to see--
Angel: Hi. Can I come in?
Buffy: (softly) I guess.
Angel: Uh, I need a little more than that.
Buffy: Oh. Um . . . come in.
He walks inside past her and she closes the door. He turns to face her and she takes notice of the blood on his temple and his split bottom lip.
Buffy: (stoic) You're hurt.
Angel: You too.
Buffy: I'll live.
Buffy: You want to tell me who ran your face into that doorknob?
Angel: Not really. It's not world-in-peril stuff.
Buffy: Let me guess. (a touch of venom) You thought of something else really hurtful to say and, well, you couldn't tell me on the phone because the funniest part is that look on my face--
Angel: Buffy, please. I really don't have a lot of time.
She hears the slight urgency in his voice.
Buffy: (concerned) What's going on?
The door bursts open a Riley steps in, steadying himself against the shelf of Willow's desk. He raises his arm and aims the Baretta in his hand at Angel, thumbing back the hammer.
Riley: (pissed) I told you you weren't coming near her.
Buffy takes in his battered appearance. She goes ballistic.
Buffy: (pissed) You've got to be kidding me. This is why you came?
Angel: No. This was accident.
Buffy: (very pissed) Running a car into a tree is an accident! Running your fist into somebody's face is a plan! Please, explain this to me!
Angel doesn't answer her but looks at Riley.
Angel: (calmly) Put that gun down.
Riley: It's pretty much all I got left, so I'm thinking not. He attacked four of my men, Buffy. I think he's up to his old tricks.
Buffy: He won't hurt anybody. (to Angel) Tell him.
Angel starts to move forward.
Angel: (with contained violence) Might hurt you.
Riley steps forward.
Riley: Please try.
Angel: Heh. Some threat. You can barely stand.
Riley brandishes the gun in front of his face.
Riley: Trigger finger feels okay.
Angel: (sideglance to Buffy) You actually sleep with this guy?
While his head's turned, Riley punches him in the face. Angel quickly hits him back.
Buffy: Okay, stop it!
Buffy steps in between them and shoves them apart. Riley slams back against Willow's desk and Angel goes flying onto Willow's bed.
Buffy: Okay, that's enough! I see one more display of testosterone poisoning and I will personally put you both in the hospital!
She glances back and forth between them. Riley looks like he still wants to shoot Angel.
Buffy: (challengingly) Anybody think I'm exaggerating?
Angel: He started--
Buffy points a warning finger at him and he wisely shuts up. She gives him a "working my last nerve" look and walks over to Riley.
Buffy: (softly) Riley. (glances at his gun)
Riley: I'm sorry. (he holsters it) Just wanted to know that you were safe.
Buffy: (gently) I need to talk to Angel for a minute.
Riley: (exasperated) What?
Buffy: Riley, please.
He looks over at Angel who's just sitting down on the bed, elbows resting on his knees. He looks down at Buffy again.
Riley: (quietly firm) I'm not leaving this room. (crosses his arms) I mean it.
Riley continues to glare at Angel. Buffy looks over her shoulder and gives Angel a slight tilt of her head, then walks past Riley to the door. Angel stands up to follow her and doesn't even bother to hide the smirk on his face as he passes Riley. He closes the door and Riley is left alone.
Riley: Not moving a muscle.
Out in the empty hall, Buffy turns on Angel.
Buffy: (angry) Okay. I come to see you, to help you, and you treat me like I'm just . . . your ex.
Angel: Well, technically--
Buffy: Shut up! And then you order me out of *your* city
and then you come here and start pounding on my boyfriend?! I would really
like to know what the HELL are you trying to do?!.
Angel: I was trying to make things better.
She regards his sincere expression and can't keep herself from laughing. It becomes contagious because Angel can't help but to smile also.
Angel: Heh. Well. (chuckles) It's a . . . going pretty good, don't you think?
Buffy is leaning against the wall.
Buffy: (smiling) Swell.
Angel: You know-- heh. (seriously) I couldn't leave it like that. The way I spoke to you-- I came to apologize. I . . I had no right.
Buffy: And Riley?
Angel: I got jumped by some soldiers. He came in in the middle. And wasn't real forthcoming with the benefit of the doubt.
Buffy: Put yourself in his place.
Angel does consider this.
Angel: I get it.
Buffy is looking down at the floor.
Buffy: Look . . . You weren't entirely wrong, what you said in L.A. (she meets his eyes) We don't live in each other's worlds anymore. I had no right to barge in on yours and make judgments.
Angel: I'm still sorry.
Buffy: Thank you.
Angel: And, next time . . I'll apologize by phone. (Buffy laughs softly) Uh, things are pretty tense around here.
Buffy rests her head back tiredly.
Buffy: They really are.
Angel: Can I do anything?
Buffy: Honestly . . . I think the best thing you can do right now is--
Angel: (understandingly) Okay.
Buffy: It means a lot that you came.
Angel just looks at her for a moment then starts walking down the hall. Buffy his heading to her door when Angel turns around again.
Angel: Oh, and . . . Riley.
Angel: I don't like him.
Buffy: Thank you.
Angel turns and continues down the hall. Buffy watches him for a couple of seconds then returns to her room. She opens the door and we see that Riley did in fact move several muscles for he is standing on the other side of the room. He has removed his flak jacket and turns to face her.
Cut to Adam's lair. He is sitting in front of his computer set-up. The metal plate on the left side of his head is open and there is a cable plugged into a socket, wiring him directly to the system. We hear a heavy door being opened and he looks over to see Spike walking into the chamber. The vampire is back in his usual attire and is finishing off a can of beer.
Spike: (happily) Now that . . . (crushes can and throws it down) was fun!
ADAM: You were successful?
Spike: ("no problem" scoff) Easier than I'd thought it'd be, too.
ADAM: You're sure?
Spike: (scoffs) Feel it in my bones. It's, uh . . called the Yoko Factor.
Spike lights a cigarette and Adam just looks at him.
Spike: Don't tell me you've never heard of the Beatles?
Adam disconnects the cable and closes his face plate.
ADAM: I have. (stands) I like "Helter Skelter."
He crosses to the other side of the chamber.
Spike: What a surprise. The point is, they were once a real powerful group. It's not a stretch to say they ruled the world. And when they broke up everyone blamed Yoko, but the fact is the group split itself apart, she just happened to be there. And you know how it is with kids. They go off to college, they grow apart. Way of the world.
ADAM: So you separated the Slayer from her friends. I'm pleased.
Adam turns and gazes down at the ground, looking thoughtful.
Spike: Well . . since we've got all our ducks in a row and not talking to each other . . guess it's time for the grand plan, huh? You know the one where I get the chipectomy. You got everything you need, right?
Adam looks at him.
ADAM: No. There's one more thing.
Spike regards him with a frown.
~~~~~~~~~~ Part Four ~~~~~~~~~~
Fade in. From where we left Buffy and Riley. She's stepping up to him and they're standing between the beds.
Buffy: (softly) How bad are you hurt?
Riley: Dunno yet. Night's still young.
Buffy: (mournful) Riley, I have to tell you something.
Buffy: Maybe you want to sit down.
Riley: I'm fine.
Buffy: Riley, I--
Riley: (insistent) Wait. Me first.
Buffy blinks in surprise.
Riley: Buffy . . . I feel like we've gotten really close. At least I thought we had. I don't know much about Angel (Buffy lowers her eyes) or your relationship with him . . but . . . all I ask is . . if you're gonna break heart, do it fast.
Buffy looks up at him, frowning.
Buffy: What? You think that Angel and I . . .
Riley: Didn't you?
Buffy: No. Of course not. How can you even ask me that?
Riley: (sighs) I don't know. Xander said--
Buffy: Xander?! Oh, he's the deadest man in Deadonia.
Riley: No. It's not his fault. I prodded and he explained how Angel went bad. The, uh, trigger.
Buffy: (quietly) Oh.
Riley: And, uh (chuckles) after that, I went a little nuts! You know? I mean . . . On the one hand . . I should believe in us. But on the other . . Sometimes things happen between exes and when I saw that he was bad. . .
Buffy: He's . . not bad.
Riley just looks at her.
Riley: Seriously? That's . . a good day? (Buffy rolls her eyes in confirmation) Well, there you go. Even when he's good he's all Mister . . Billowy Coat King of Pain and girls really--
Buffy: Riley, stop.
She takes his hand and they sit down on her bed.
Riley: See? Nuts.
Buffy: Have I ever given you any reason to feel that you can't trust me?
Buffy: Then why with the crazy?
He looks into her eyes.
Riley: (meaningfully) Because I'm so in love with you I can't think straight.
Her eyes start to glisten.
Buffy: Tell me about it.
He hugs her and she closes her eyes as she holds him tight.
Buffy: Riley. (pulls away) I still have to tell you something. And there's no easy way--
Riley: Just say it.
Buffy: (a beat) Forrest is dead.
Riley takes this news and leans his elbows on his knees, resting his face in his hands.
Buffy: (gently) I'm so sorry. There was a fight. Adam killed him. I barely got away. I know that there's nothing I can say that's gonna make this better. But we will find this thing and destroy it.
Riley: (somber) I have to go.
Buffy: Are you sure?
He doesn't look at her once as he raises his head and stands up.
Riley: I have to go now.
He walks to the door, grabbing his flak jacket off Willow's chair and leaves.
Off Buffy's concerned expression, we--
Cut to Giles' apartment. Willow is still working on the laptop. The encryption code is still crisscrossing the screen.
Willow: (a tad frustrated) It's still encrypted.
Buffy and Tara are standing to either side of her.
Tara: (to Buffy) Well, Willow's working really hard on it.
Buffy: Okay, well, how long before you . . un-crypt it?
Willow: Hours. Days maybe. Anyone suggesting months would not be accused of crazy talk.
Giles is in the kitchen pouring himself a drink and more inebriated than ever.
Giles: What ever happened to Latin? At least when that made no sense, the church approved.
Buffy: (slightly impatient) I can't just wait around, Will. The disk is no good to me unless you crack it soon.
Buffy doesn't see Willow's withering look behind her back as she walks towards the living room area. Anya is sitting on the arm of the couch, her feet on the cushion. Xander is sitting next to her not looking entirely happy.
Anya: Hey! We worked really hard getting that. Xander delivered clothing.
Giles: Church approved.
Giles happily closes the cork of the liquor bottle with his palm.
Buffy: Sorry, you guys, but we're on a clock here. Okay, Adam was at that cave so maybe he was there for a reason? I-I can--I can go back, scope it out, track him if I have to.
Willow: (sarcastic) Right. (stands moving to the living room) And then maybe you'll get lucky and he'll still be there and he can rip your arms off for you? (sternly) Buffy, you can't go back alone.
Giles: You never train with me anymore. He's gonna kick your ass.
Buffy: (shocked) Giles.
He steps out of the kitchen, drink in hand, and leans against the entrance of the hallway.
Giles: Sorry. Was it a bit honest? (drunken grin) Terribly sorry.
Xander: (standing) So she doesn't go alone. (turns to him) Giles, weapons all around.
Buffy: You're not going, Xander.
He turns to face her, giving her a hard look.
Buffy: Y-you'd get hurt.
Xander: (as if expecting this) Oh. Okay. You and Willow go do the superpower thing, I'll stay behind and putt around the Batcave with crusty old Alfred here. (with a thumb to Giles)
Giles: Ah-ah, no. I am no Alfred, sir. No, you forget. Alfred had a job.
Buffy: Willow is not going either. I'm doing it alone.
Willow steps closer so now she's standing at one end of the coffee table across from Buffy. Xander is between them. Tara slips past Giles and disappears down the hallway.
Willow: (still sarcastic) Oh, great. And then when you have your new "no arms" we can all say "Gee, it's a good thing we weren't there getting in the way of that!"
Anya gets up from the couch but they don't notice her following Tara.
Xander: Right! Maybe we can help in other ways? (to Buffy) Want some fighting pants, Buff? I can get ya some new fighting pants!
Buffy: You guys, this isn't helping.
Willow: Oh, wow! We're already getting in the way. We're pretty good at this, Xander, huh?
Xander: Right. I'm so good at it you might have to ship me off to the Army to get me out of the way!
Buffy: The Army?
Xander: You didn't think I knew about that, did you? You two talking about me behind my back.
Willow frowns at him.
Buffy: Us talking about *you*? How about you telling Riley every last detail of my life with Angel?
Willow: And besides, when is there any "us two?" You two are the two who are the two. I'm the other one.
Xander: Uh-huh. But maybe that all changes when I'm doing sit-ups over at Fort Dix?
Giles almost chokes on his drink.
Giles: Fort Dix?
He bursts out in a wheezing laugh. The three of them stare at him
Buffy: Are you drunk?
Giles: (happily) Yes. Quite a bit, actually.
Buffy: Well, stop it! (to Xander and Willow) This is stupid.
Xander: Stupid? So you finally have the guts to say it to my face?
Buffy: I didn't say you were stupid! So . . stop being an idiot and let me fix this!
Xander rolls his head in an exasperated way and sits down on the couch.
Buffy: Okay, I need you. I need both of you. All the time! Just . . not now. Adam is very dangerous.
Willow: Wait. How do you need me, really?
Buffy: You're . . good with the computer stuff. (Willow accepts that) Usually. (Willow glares at her) And-and there's the witch stuff.
Willow: (accusingly) Witch stuff? What exactly do you mean by "witch stuff?"
Buffy: You guys, what is happening? This is crazy!
Giles: Oh, no, it's not. (moves to his desk) It's all finally making perfect sense and I'm not going to miss a moment of it.
He sets his drink down and tries to sit. But his aim is off and his ass doesn't come close to hitting the chair and he drops to the floor.
Cut to Giles' very clean, white bathroom. Anya is sitting on the closed lid of the toilet and Tara is leaning against the side of the tub. They can still hear the muffled argument on the other side of the closed door.
Tara: You think this will go on for a while?
Anya: (nonchalant) Hard to say.
They fall silent as they look around the bathroom.
Tara: Nice bathroom.
Anya: (nodding) Like the tile.
Cut back to the others. Xander is on his feet again, rounding to stand behind the couch. Behind him, Giles stumbles towards the stairs taking off his glasses.
Xander: And if I did join the Army, I'd be great! You know why? 'Cause they might give me a job that couldn't be done by any well-trained border collie.
Giles: That's it. I'm going to bed.
He struggles to pull his sweater over his head as he stomps up the stairs. Willow stands beside Xander.
Willow: No, you'd do wonderful in the Army. Hey, do you think the umbilical cord between you and Anya can stretch that far?
Xander: I knew it! I knew you hated her!
Giles' sweater drops down from the loft above and falls on him covering his face. Xander yanks it off his head.
Willow: Look, I'm not the one being judgmental here. I'll leave that territory to you and Buffy.
Buffy: Judgmental? If I was anymore open-minded about the choices you two make my whole brain would fall out!
Xander: (to Willow) Oh! And superior. Don't forget that. (to Buffy) Just because you're better than us doesn't mean that you can be all superior!
He walks past her and crosses his arms as he leans against a cabinet dresser behind her.
Buffy: You guys, stop this! What happened to you today?
Willow: It's not today! Buffy, things have been wrong for a while! Don't you see that?
Buffy: What do you mean wrong?
Willow: Well, they certainly haven't been right, since Tara. We have to face it. You can't handle Tara being my girlfriend.
Xander: No! It was bad before that! (he steps out in between them again) Since you two went off to college and forgot about me! Just left me in the basement to-- (turns on Willow in shock) Tara's your girlfriend?
Giles: (from upstairs) Bloody hellll!
Buffy: Enough! All I know is you want to help, right? Be part of the team?
Willow and Xander shake their heads, grumbling.
Willow: (unison) I don't know anymore.
Xander: (unison) Really not wanted.
Buffy: (raising her voice) No! No, you said you wanted to go. So let's go! All of us. We'll walk into that cave with you two attacking me and the funny drunk drooling on my shoe! Hey! Hey, maybe that's the secret way of killing Adam?!
Xander: Buffy . . .
Buffy: (hurt and angry) Is that it? Is that how you can help? (a beat) You're not answering me! How can you possibly help?
They don't reply and turn their eyes away from her. She regards them silently for a moment.
Buffy: (somberly) So . . . I guess I'm starting to understand why there's no ancient prophecy about a Chosen One . . and her friends.
She hurries to the door grabbing her jacket.
Buffy: If I need help, I'll go to someone I can count on.
They don't move as she slams the door, leaving them behind.
Cut to Adam's lair. We hear the heavy door opening again. Adam is standing and turns when someone walks into the chamber.
ADAM: I've been waiting for you.
Cut to close up of Riley.
Riley: And now I'm here.
To be continued