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GILES VOICEOVER: Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer...
SPIKE: I love you.
BUFFY: The only chance you had with me was when I was unconscious.
Buffy running down the walkway atop the tower.
DAWN: Buffy, no.
Buffy jumping into the wormhole.
The Scooby gang gathered around Buffy's dead body.
XANDER: You're talking about raising the dead. It feels wrong.
TARA: It is wrong.
WILLOW: She could be trapped!
The foursome doing their resurrection spell.
WILLOW: I'm not gonna leave her there.
Willow pouring blood out of the jug, putting it on her face.
WILLOW: Osiris, master of all fate, let her cross over.
Buffy's corpse reviving.
Shot of Buffy's gravestone.
Buffy digging her way out of her grave.
ANYA: What's wrong with her?
WILLOW: She's in shock.
The Hellions destroying Sunnydale.
DAWN: Who are they?
SPIKE: Road pirates. They raid towns, use 'em up, burn 'em down.
Buffy beating up demons.
Dawn hugging Buffy.
DAWN: You're alive, and you're home. You're home.
Episode opens on Willow, Tara, Xander, and Anya walking through the dark alleys.
WILLOW: She's at home. She has to be. We're, we just need to get there, and she'll be there.
TARA: This is the fastest way?
TARA: You sure?
XANDER: Hey, I've done a lot of fleeing on these mean streets. I know all the shortcuts.
ANYA: I don't like this. (points to something they pass that's on fire) Look, fire. Fire is rarely a sign of imminent safety.
WILLOW: I wish we were there already.
XANDER: Hey, hey, don't worry, ladies, I'll get us there just fine. My senses are primed for danger, and nothing's gonna-
Xander yells in surprise as three demons on motorcycles come roaring up behind them. The demons ignore them, just ride around them and on down the alley.
Xander stumbles back, rattled. The girls steady him.
XANDER: (shaky) I'm okay. (pats himself) Four. Four limbs.
ANYA: Well, at least the demons almost hit you on the way *out* of town.
XANDER: Yeah, now that their leader's gone they seem to be making with the big skedaddle.
WILLOW: (looks around nervously) I-it was Buffy, right? We, we saw her and it was really Buffy?
They resume walking.
ANYA: I think we screwed it up. She's broken.
WILLOW: No! She's not broken! She's just .... disoriented from being ... tormented in some hell dimension. Probably tortured and ... It's like, we don't even know how much time has passed there for her, uh, possibly years. That's not something you just get over. Oh my God. What if she never gets over it?
ANYA: And you think of this now?
TARA: What are you thinking, Willow? That-that she's ... that she's not right, or, or maybe like, dangerous?
Cut to Buffy and Dawn standing on a sidewalk. The street behind them is littered with debris from the demons' attack.
DAWN: (nervous) Home! See?
We see they're standing in front of their house, looking at it.
DAWN: You're back home. We're all okay now.
Buffy just stares, looking disheveled and unhappy.
Wolf howl. Opening credits.
Guest starring Amber Benson as Tara. Written by Jane Espenson, directed by David Solomon.
Open on Buffy in the foyer as Dawn closes the front door behind them. Buffy moves toward the living room. Dawn turns on a light and Buffy winces in pain.
Dawn watches anxiously as Buffy surveys the living room.
BUFFY: It's different.
DAWN: A little. Uh, Willow and Tara live here now, and, uh, we ...
Shot of a photo of Joyce, in a frame on a table.
DAWN: ...we didn't do much...
Buffy stares at the photo.
DAWN: We moved some of the chairs, and took out some of the little tables, but...
Dawn trails off as Buffy turns and heads toward the dining room. Dawn turns and follows, turns on the light in the dining room.
DAWN: This is the same. Except the computer stuff.
Shot of a laptop computer set up at one end of the dining-room table.
DAWN: That's Willow's, obviously. We eat at the other end...
Buffy has already turned and walked off. Dawn turns and notices.
DAWN: (softly, with self-disgust) Obviously.
Dawn looks up the stairs after Buffy for a moment, then follows.
Cut to a sink with faucet running, hands squeezing out a face-cloth. Pan up to reveal it's Dawn. She turns off the faucet and turns to Buffy, who stands staring at her reflection in the mirror. Buffy no longer wears her black coffin dress, but a loose white button-down shirt that is unbuttoned with a camisole underneath. Her hair is pulled back neatly.
Dawn very carefully begins wiping Buffy's neck with the cloth.
DAWN: There you are. Knew you were under that dirt somewhere. (nervous laugh)
Buffy doesn't react, just stares at her reflection. Dawn looks nervous, turns back to the sink, then back to Buffy.
DAWN: (false cheer) You remember what Mom used to say? "Either wash that neck or plant potatoes." (Buffy still doesn't react) Yeah, I never thought it was funny either.
Dawn indicates Buffy's shirt.
DAWN: You want to button that, or, um...
Buffy looks down. Shot of her hands, which are still bloody. Dawn notices them for the first time.
DAWN: Ohh ... ow.
Dawn gently lifts Buffy's hands to look at them. Buffy jerks them back.
DAWN: Um, we'll ... take care of that after.
DAWN: Here, I'll do the shirt. (begins buttoning the shirt) And then, then we'll do your hands.
Buffy frowns, looks around.
DAWN: See how nice you look...
Buffy walks away before Dawn can finish buttoning. Dawn watches her go, looks upset.
Cut to Buffy walking into Willow and Tara's room. Dawn enters behind her, turns on the light. Again Buffy winces.
DAWN: Mom's room. (walks closer to Buffy) I know it's really different now.
BUFFY: Willow and Tara. This is their room.
DAWN: Yeah, well, it seemed to make the most sense. No one was using it, and it's the biggest. But, you know, now that you're here, we'll have to figure out something to do.
Buffy has turned to leave again. Dawn sighs, moves to block her way.
DAWN: (frustrated) Buffy? You wanna, like, stop? (hopeful) We can ... we can sit down and talk.
BUFFY: What else is different?
DAWN: (sighs) Do you mean about the house, or...
Buffy kind of shrugs, doesn't look at her.
DAWN: Um. Let's see ... Giles. It's so weird. He, he left today. Because you were ... (Buffy doesn't appear to react) He, he'll come right back, I'll call him. Someone'll call him.
DAWN: What what?
Buffy seems to be drifting in and out of attention. She snaps out of it again.
BUFFY: Uh ... What, um ... will you say to him?
Sound of a door opening downstairs. Buffy goes on full alert, looks around anxiously.
BUFFY: What's that?
DAWN: It's okay. It's okay.
SPIKE:(O.S.) Dawn! Dawn! Are you there?
DAWN: (to Buffy) It, it's just Spike. (calls) I'm here!
Dawn gives Buffy a look, heads out. Buffy follows.
Cut to the foyer. Shot from above as Spike slams the door angrily, looking up the stairs at the camera.
SPIKE: Thank God. You scared me half to death ... or more to death. You - I could kill you.
Dawn walks slowly down the stairs, giving Spike a look, trying to clue him in.
SPIKE: I mean it. I could rip your head off one-handed and drink from your brain stem.
Dawn reaches the bottom of the stairs. Spike finally realizes something is up.
Dawn turns back and we see Buffy coming down the stairs behind her.
SPIKE: Yeah? I've seen the bloody bot before. Didn't think she'd patch up so-
He breaks off, staring at Buffy. She continues down the stairs, returning his gaze.
DAWN: She's kind of, um ... She's been through a lot ... with the ... death. But I think she's okay.
Buffy suddenly notices her shirt is still unbuttoned, begins buttoning it. Dawn looks at Spike, who continues staring in disbelief.
DAWN: Spike? Are *you* okay?
SPIKE: I'm ... what did you do?
DAWN: Me? Nothing.
Buffy clutches the top of her shirt closed, looks up at Spike a little fearfully.
SPIKE: Her hands.
Buffy lowers her hands, puts them behind her back, looks uncomfortable.
DAWN: Um, I was gonna fix 'em. I don't know how they got like that.
SPIKE: I do. Clawed her way out of a coffin, that's how. (to Buffy) Isn't that right?
BUFFY: (quietly) Yeah. That's ... what I had to do.
SPIKE: Done it myself.
Throughout this, Spike continues staring at her as if he thinks he's dreaming. Now he snaps out of it.
SPIKE: Um ... We'll take care of you. Come here.
He puts out his arm and guides Buffy into the living room.
SPIKE: (to Dawn) Get some stuff, uh, mercurochrome, bandages.
Dawn goes off. Spike follows Buffy into the living room. She sits on the sofa and he sits on the coffee-table facing her. He takes her hands in his and looks at them. Then he looks up at her face and their eyes meet.
BUFFY: How long was I gone?
SPIKE: Hundred forty-seven days yesterday. Uh ... hundred forty-eight today. (smiles a little) 'Cept today doesn't count, does it?
Buffy doesn't respond. He looks at her hands again, then back at her face.
SPIKE: How long was it for you ... where you were?
BUFFY: (pause) Longer.
Dawn reappears from the kitchen carrying medical supplies.
DAWN: Got the stuff.
As she enters the living room, the front door bursts open and the others rush in.
WILLOW: Is she here?
ANYA: She's here!
WILLOW: You're here.
XANDER: We didn't know where you were.
ANYA: You ran away.
TARA: Are you okay?
The above goes by very fast as Buffy and Spike are standing up. Spike moves aside with a disgusted expression.
DAWN: (shocked)You knew she was back?
In the background we see Spike exit out the front door, but no one notices.
DAWN: How did you know?
ANYA: (to Buffy) You're not a zombie, are you?
WILLOW: Are you in pain?
XANDER: What do you remember?
TARA: What do you know about what happened?
Buffy sits back down, looks like she can't handle the barrage of questions.
DAWN: Hey! Back off!
The Scoobies look at Dawn in surprise.
DAWN: You did this. What did you do?
WILLOW: A spell. We, we did a spell.
ANYA: We didn't think it worked, but-
DAWN: Is she going to be okay?
BUFFY: I'm okay.
Everyone looks at Buffy. Shot of the Scoobies from her perspective: towering over her, looking a little menacing.
BUFFY: I'm gonna be fine. I remember. You brought me back.
ANYA: What was it like?
BUFFY: I, I can't...
XANDER: It's okay. You don't have to talk about this, Buff. Hey, do you want something? Anything. Pizza. I'll get you pizza.
ANYA: Buffy likes pizza.
TARA: Yeah, something to eat-
WILLOW: She doesn't want pizza.
TARA: I just meant-
DAWN: (sharply) Guys! Back off.
WILLOW: Right, uh, Dawn's right. We should just be quiet, and let Buffy tell us what she needs.
Another shot from Buffy's POV of the foursome staring down at her. She looks uncomfortable, gets up.
BUFFY: I, I think I ... just wanna go to sleep.
TARA: That's a good idea. You, you should sleep.
WILLOW: Right. Long day. But, Buffy ... be happy. (big smile) We got you out. We really did it.
Buffy looks at them, still uncomfortable.
BUFFY: (apologetically) Tired.
ANYA: Well, yeah. I mean ... jet-lag from hell has gotta be, you know, jet-lag from hell.
BUFFY: (toward Dawn) My room is still...
DAWN: Yeah. Yes. It's your room.
Buffy exits. The others watch her go, then look at each other.
WILLOW: (defensively) Well, she, she's fine! Normal! She used to go to bed all the time!
Cut to: exterior Summers house, night. Anya and Xander come out, cross the porch and begin down the stairs.
ANYA: I think Willow's wrong. I don't think she's particularly normal at all.
XANDER: Well, she just got back. Give it time. I bet in a week she'll be our little Bufferin again.
ANYA: Oh yes, cause six or seven days, that's all you really need to get over eternal hell experiences.
Xander hears something, looks off to the left.
XANDER: Who's that? Spike?
We see Spike leaning against a tree, his back to them. He lifts a hand and wipes his eyes. Xander and Anya come closer.
XANDER: What are you doing out here? I hope you're not going to start your little obsession now that she's around again.
Spike grabs Xander and spins him around, slams him up against the tree and holds him there.
SPIKE: You didn't tell me. You brought her back and you didn't tell me.
XANDER: Well, now you know.
SPIKE: I worked beside you all summer.
XANDER: We didn't tell you. It was just ... we didn't, okay?
SPIKE: Listen. I've figured it out.
Spike lets go of Xander but doesn't move away, continues glaring at him.
SPIKE: (angrily) Maybe you haven't, but I have.
Spike still has tears in his eyes. He points toward the house.
SPIKE: Willow knew there was a chance that she'd come back wrong. So wrong that you'd have ... that she would have to get rid of what came back. And I wouldn't let her. If any part of that was Buffy, I wouldn't let her. And that's why she shut me out.
XANDER: What are you talking about? Willow wouldn't do that.
SPIKE: (sarcastic) Oh. Is that right.
XANDER: Look. You're just covering. Don't tell me you're not happy. (Spike scoffs) Look me in the eyes, and tell me when you saw Buffy alive, that wasn't the happiest moment of your entire existence.
Spike gives Xander a "you just don't get it" scowl, turns and walks off.
SPIKE: (as he walks) That's the thing about magic. There's always consequences.
We see the motorcycle that Spike acquired in "Bargaining" sitting on the street in front of the house. Spike gets on it.
He starts up the bike and rides off as Xander and Anya watch.
Cut to Buffy's room. She stands in front of the mirror, still dressed, staring blankly at her reflection. Sound of a door closing. Buffy starts, looks toward the hallway.
Cut to the hallway. Willow, wearing pajamas, walks from the bathroom to her room.
Cut to Willow and Tara's room. Tara is brushing her hair in front of a mirror. Willow enters.
TARA: Did you get through to London?
WILLOW: Yeah. He's gonna head back as soon as he can. I'm not sure, like maybe a couple days.
TARA: (stops brushing hair, turns to Willow) How did he take it?
WILLOW: (rubbing lotion on her arms) Um ... I'm not sure. I mean ... glad, but ... kinda weirded out, which I get, you know? Lots of "dear lords". And I think I actually heard him cleaning his glasses.
Tara smiles, turns and takes off her robe.
TARA: Are you worried?
WILLOW: Worried? Tara, it worked fine. (not convincingly) It's all good.
TARA: (gets into bed) Hey, Will, this is me. It doesn't all have to be "good" and "fine." This is the room where you don't have to be brave. I still love you. If you're worried you can be worried.
WILLOW: Well ... I'm not ... unworried. I mean, what, what happened, that was intense. (closes the door) That's ... gotta change you.
Willow turns off the light, gets into bed with Tara.
WILLOW: When Angel came back ... Buffy said ... he was wild. Like an animal.
TARA: Buffy's not like that.
WILLOW: (points at her head) It's just kinda ... noisy up here tonight, you know?
Tara snuggles up to Willow, puts her face next to hers and an arm across Willow's middle.
TARA: Is this better?
WILLOW: (smiles) Yeah. I think it makes things quieter in here.
They lie cuddled up together. Willow lightly stroking Tara's bare arm.
TARA: You know what I think? I think we all just assumed crash positions.
TARA: It's, it's, it's like ... we were all tensed up, like ... we were expecting it to screw up. We weren't prepared for it to ... actually go right.
Beat. Willow continues staring at the ceiling.
WILLOW: If things did go right ... wouldn't you think she'd be ... happier? Like, wouldn't you think she would be so happy that we brought her out?
TARA: Sure she is.
Willow isn't convinced.
TARA: You thought she'd say thanks. Be more grateful.
WILLOW: Would I be a terrible person if I said yes?
TARA: Give her time. She'll get there.
WILLOW: Right. No need to be in a big furry hurry.
Cut to Buffy's room. She is now sitting on the bed, still dressed.
TARA VOICEOVER: I'm sure it's okay.
Buffy gets up, picks up a picture from the bedside table. Close shot of the photo of Buffy, Xander, and Willow all smiling.
She puts it back, goes over to the wall. There's a bulletin board covered with more pictures of the Scoobies in various combinations, all smiling.
Suddenly the images change: all the flesh melts away and the smiling faces become dead skeleton faces.
Buffy closes her eyes in anguish, opens them again. The photos are back to normal. Buffy stares at them.
Open on the Summers house, night. Shot of Willow and Tara's bed. They are asleep.
Suddenly something crashes against the framed picture above the bed. The glass shatters and falls on Willow and Tara. They both sit up.
We see Buffy silhouetted at the foot of the bed, lit by moonlight.
BUFFY: (low hoarse voice) What did you do? Do you know what you did? You're like children. (Willow and Tara sitting up in bed staring in fear) Your hands smell of death. Bitches! Filthy little bitches, rattling the bones. Did you cut the throat? Did you pat its head?
Buffy grabs a crystal ball off a nearby table and throws it at them. Willow and Tara shriek as it smashes on the wall above their heads.
BUFFY: (shouts) The blood dried on your hands, didn't it?
TARA: Oh my god, oh my god.
BUFFY: (shouts) You were stained. You still are. I know what you did!
Willow jumps out of bed and turns on the lights.
Shot of the room. It's empty except for Willow and Tara. Buffy is gone.
Tara looks at the bed she's lying on.
TARA: The glass. There's no glass.
Cut to Buffy's room. It's dark. A sliver of light appears as the door opens, revealing Buffy asleep in bed.
We see Willow and Tara standing by the door. They exchange a look, then Willow pulls the door shut. Buffy doesn't wake.
Cut back to Willow and Tara's room. They reenter.
WILLOW: (quietly) Okay, what in the frilly heck is going on?
TARA: Maybe we dreamed it.
WILLOW: (closing the door) Right. Right. Wrong! (points at her head) Different brains.
TARA: Oh yeah.
Tara goes to the table and touches the crystal ball, which is intact.
TARA: Well ... what was it talking about? Did you understand it?
WILLOW: Well, I understood the words, but ... no.
Suddenly Tara sees something behind Willow, gasps in fear. Willow turns to look.
We see some kind of distortion on the wall, moving across the wall toward the door, and then it's gone.
WILLOW:What was that?
TARA: There's, there's something in the house.
WILLOW: What is it after? Is it ... Buffy?
TARA: I don't know.
WILLOW: That's it, I'm gonna call. (grabs the phone) I hope Xander's up.
Cut to Xander and Anya's bedroom. Anya leans over Xander in the bed.
ANYA: Xander, are you up? I can't sleep. (pause, no response) Play a word game with me.
Still no response. Pan out until we can see Xander lying there asleep beside Anya.
ANYA: Xander, are you awake? Okay, I'm going to describe an adjective with accurate but misleading clues, and then you have to guess what it is. (pause) Xander? (pokes him) Xander?
Still nothing. Then the phone rings. Xander is immediately awake.
XANDER: Huh? What? Do what?
ANYA: (exasperated, lies back) That oughta do it.
Xander reaches across her and grabs the phone.
XANDER: (into phone) Hello?
WILLOW: (on phone) Xander, it's me, Willow. (Anya gets out of bed, walks off) We were just attacked.
XANDER: Attacked? A vampire?
Cut back to Summers house. We see Willow and Tara huddling over the phone.
WILLOW: No, it was Buffy. Or something that looked like her.
Cut back to Xander's bedroom. He sits up on the edge of the bed.
TARA: (on phone) Like she was possessed.
Cut back to Willow and Tara.
WILLOW: And then she just disappeared, a-and, and we saw something... a little ... there's something in the house.
Back to Xander's room. In the background we see Anya moving around in the kitchen.
XANDER: (slurred) In the house? All right, Willow, you need to get out of there, just get everyone out.
Suddenly we see Anya with her eyes glowing greyish-white. She laughs a weird laugh and moves toward Xander.
XANDER: (into phone) Wake up Buffy and Dawn. Don't make a big deal-
We see Anya still moving toward him. She has a knife and is using it to cut her face. She continues laughing. Xander looks up and sees her.
He jumps up, grabs the knife. Anya crumples to the floor unconscious. Her cheeks are unmarked.
He kneels beside her.
Shot of Anya's feet with Xander's foot beside them. A weird bulge appears in the carpet and moves away from them, into the kitchen.
WILLOW: (on phone) Xander? Xander!
Cut to the next day. Close on Xander's face.
XANDER: Very bad. Very, very, very bad. Bad.
Pan out to reveal they are sitting on lawn chairs in the Summers' backyard. Anya sits on the arm of Xander's chair, rubbing his back.
ANYA: (to Willow and Tara) He's all traumatized.
WILLOW: Well, whatever it is, it's not the, the traditional haunting, because i-it's not limited to one specific place, and there's not, you know, a dead person.
TARA: Not any more.
ANYA: I bet it's a hitchhiker.
XANDER: A hitchhiker?
ANYA: Um, standard way to travel through dimensions. Uh, some demon-thing sees someone moving between worlds, and grabs on for the ride.
WILLOW: You mean like, some hell-beastie rode in with Buffy? Like ... we're responsible for this?
TARA: Assume crash positions.
ANYA: I think we shouldn't've brought Buffy back. I knew it was going to end badly. I should've said something.
XANDER: Okay, fine, but ... what are we gonna do? I mean, I'm feeling the need for some vigorous doing, you know?
WILLOW: It's okay. We, we just kill the beastie and then all is good. We're rolling in puppies! ... Right?
XANDER: Can we do that? Kill it?
BUFFY: (OS) We killing something?
They all look up in surprise. Buffy stands there in jeans and a shirt, holding a coffee mug.
WILLOW: Buffy! You're not supposed to be up.
TARA: How, how are you feeling? Are you okay?
BUFFY: So what are we killing?
ANYA: A demon you brought back from Hell with you. (Willow gives her an angry look)
WILLOW: It's not like she's making it sound. A little haunting-type stuff. Boo-scary, everything's normal.
TARA: You shouldn't worry about it.
BUFFY: Um, I remember something, last ... night, uh...
She trails off, loses focus. They all stare for a moment, waiting for her to continue.
BUFFY: (snaps out of it) Um ... the photographs. O-of us. They changed.
TARA: How did they change?
BUFFY: They were ... dead. I-I-I mean, we were dead. Like, um ... dead bodies? But, but then they were okay. So I just, you know, figured it was me. That I was going crazy.
ANYA: Well, maybe you are. Going crazy. From Hell.
Willow gives Anya another angry look.
ANYA: (fake scoff) No. You're fine.
WILLOW: You are. And Buffy, we're, we're so glad.
XANDER: Yeah. This thing, this haunting thing, we'll fix it, and then we'll still have you back, which is ... it's so important.
TARA: It's wonderful.
Buffy takes all this in stone-faced.
BUFFY: We should get to work.
Cut to: interior magic shop. We see Willow, Tara, Xander, and Anya sitting around the table looking at books. Willow is writing. Dawn stands behind Willow, looking over her shoulder.
DAWN: What's the list?
ANYA: Possible hitchhikers.
XANDER: Demons that might have come out of Hell at the same time Buffy did.
DAWN: (reads) "Skaggmore demons, Trellbane demons, Skitterers, Large and Small Bone-Eaters" ... If we get to pick, I say we go with the Small Bone-Eaters.
ANYA: Well, that just means they prefer to eat things with small bones, like you.
WILLOW: That's just what we have so far. Five species of demons that have been known to move transdimensionally. Two of them may be invisible in this dimension, and, uh, two others can perform spells to alter perception.
ANYA: Well, that's four. What's the other one like?
TARA: Uh, like the others, only dripping with viscous fluid.
XANDER: So, should we concentrate on how to kill those, or should we try to find more?
WILLOW: I'm not sure. Maybe ... maybe some of us can, uh, keep going finding more, and the others--
BUFFY: I miss Giles.
We see Buffy sitting across the table from Willow.
WILLOW: Oh. He's coming back, I talked to him. I know I'm a kind of poor substitute, but until then, we'll get it done.
Buffy looks around at them. They all look expectantly at her.
BUFFY: I think I should patrol.
She puts her book down and stands. Willow looks hurt.
WILLOW: Well, I know we'll find something soon.
Buffy heads out.
XANDER: Uh, do you want us to go with you?
ANYA: We can do that.
BUFFY: No. I-I need to go. Sorry.
DAWN: You should go.
Buffy goes up the stairs and out.
DAWN: (OS) I'll be safe here with the others. Don't worry about me.
Close-up on Dawn's face. Her eyes glow greyish-white. She smiles evilly.
Open on a graveyard, night. Buffy walks slowly along, looking distracted.
Cut to the magic shop. Anya enters, carrying cups of coffee.
ANYA: I found one of those 24-hour places for coffee. Remember that bookstore? Well they became one of those books-and-coffee places, and now they're just coffee. It's like evolution, only without the getting-better part.
She goes to the table where the others are still researching. Xander rubs his face, looking tired. Dawn stands a little ways back at the bookcase.
ANYA: Uh, coffee, coffee, coffee, um, hot chocolate for Dawn. (to Dawn) You're too young for coffee.
Dawn turns around and we see that her eyes are still white.
Everyone turns to look at Dawn in surprise.
ANYA: You can have my coffee.
DAWN: (low hoarse voice) All of you did it. You stupid children. (the other all staring at her) Did you think the blood wouldn't reach you? I smell the death on you. Look at what you've done!
Dawn opens her mouth and fire shoots out at the others. They all dive aside. The flames set some of the books on the table afire.
Dawn collapses on the ground.
Xander jumps up.
XANDER: Fire! Fire! Fire!
Xander grabs a cushion from a chair, uses it to beat out the flames. Anya bends over Dawn.
WILLOW: Oh my god, oh my god.
Willow goes to Tara and Dawn. Xander finishes putting out the fire. Willow and Tara pull Dawn to a sitting position.
WILLOW: That was it. Li-like Buffy, with fire.
We see the bulge thing under the floor, moving away.
XANDER: Is she okay?
ANYA: Did I look like that? I hope I didn't look like that.
WILLOW: No, I'm sure you looked really glamorous cutting up your face.
Dawn comes to.
DAWN: What ... what is it? What's happening?
WILLOW: You'll be okay.
ANYA: I bet you'll experience some dry-mouth. (they all look at her) Fire.
DAWN: Was it ... did the demon thing have me?
TARA: It's okay. It's okay.
XANDER: Yeah. It's gone.
ANYA: Yes, but where did it go? I mean, evil things have plans. They have things to do.
Cut to: interior of Spike's crypt. We're in the lower level. Spike paces back and forth restlessly. We see that there's more furniture now: a chair, a bookcase with a lamp on it, etc.
Spike paces a bit, then suddenly turns around and punches the wall.
He laughs a little, looks at his bloodied hand, laughs some more, a little hysterically.
A noise from upstairs. Spike looks alarmed, picks up a dagger and removes it from its sheath. He goes to the ladder and climbs up.
Cut to above. Spike emerges, moves slowly and quietly into the crypt, holding the dagger by his side. We see a person standing by a table, looking at some magazines that are spread out.
Buffy turns around and looks at him. Her expression is still basically blank.
SPIKE: (quietly) You should be careful. Never know what kind of villain's got a knife at your back.
BUFFY: Your hand is hurt.
SPIKE: Hmm. (nods toward her hands) Same with you.
BUFFY: (looks down at her hands) Right.
Buffy just stands there. Spike looks at her, seems uncomfortable, not sure what to do. He walks over to the wall and puts the knife down.
SPIKE: Willow's getting pretty strong, isn't she? Bringing you back. It's hard to get a good night's death around here.
He tries a little laugh but gets no response.
SPIKE: You can sit down. Got furniture.
Buffy sits on a chair.
SPIKE: You should see the downstairs, too, it's quite posh.
She looks at him, doesn't say anything. Spike walks over, sighs, sits on the edge of a table across from her.
Buffy just stares at him.
SPIKE: Uh ... I do remember what I said. The promise. To protect her. (pause) If I had done that ... even if I didn't make it ... you wouldn't have had to jump.
Beat. Buffy still doesn't react, just sits there looking at him.
SPIKE: But I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course, but ... after that. Every night after that. I'd see it all again ... do something different. Faster or more clever, you know? Dozens of times, lots of different ways ... (softly) Every night I save you.
Cut to: interior magic shop. Xander stands by the window, peering through the blinds. Tara comes over.
XANDER: It's getting light out. Buffy's probably on her way home from patrolling.
TARA: I like sunrise better when I'm getting up early than when I'm staying up late, you know? It's like ... I'm seeing it from the wrong side.
XANDER: (nervous) Hey, Tara, this is probably crazy ... but Spike got me to thinking. This spell we did ... it's having consequences, isn't it? I mean ... it sure seems like it. And I was just wondering ... did you know that this might happen?
XANDER: Do you think ... could someone have known?
TARA: Willow is a talented witch, and she would never do anything to hurt anyone.
XANDER: I know, I know, huh? (raises his hands) Backing off quickly, hands in the air. (sighs) I just meant-
Xander and Tara look over at Willow, who is at the counter, still looking through the books. We see Anya and Dawn with their heads on the table, jerking awake at Willow's shout.
ANYA: She's possessed!
DAWN: (to Anya) You're right.
Xander and Tara go over to Willow.
WILLOW: I'm not possessed. I-I think I figured it out. This demon, i-it's not a demon we let out. It's, it's a demon that we made.
XANDER: We made a demon? Bad us.
WILLOW: Thaumogenesis is when doing a spell actually creates a being. In this case it was like, a, a side-effect, I guess. Like a price.
WILLOW: Think of it like, the world doesn't like you getting something for free, and we asked for this huge gift. Buffy. A-and so the world said, 'fine, but if you have that, you have to take this too.' And it made the demon.
ANYA: Well, technically, that's not a price. That's a gift with purchase.
DAWN: Um, but, if we made the demon, how come we can't see it? I mean, all we see is us. Doing stuff.
WILLOW: Well, I, I think it's out of phase with this dimension. Like, its consciousness is here, but, but its body is caught in the ether between existing and not existing.
TARA: It doesn't have a body, so it's borrowing ours. I-it borrowed Dawn and Anya...
WILLOW: Or, or it's manifesting copies of them, like, like it did when Buffy came at us...
TARA: It's using them to do stuff. To scare us, attack us.
XANDER: So we need to uncreate it, right? We need to send it the rest of the way out of our world.
WILLOW: Uh-huh. Except that ... it's linked to the spell. So, if we sent it away ... it would be like the spell doesn't exist. Like it never happened.
DAWN: Like it never brought Buffy back.
WILLOW: (softly) Yes.
DAWN: You can't do that. (stands) You can't think for a second that you're going to do that.
Dawn walks over to Willow.
DAWN: If you think you can give her back to me and then take her away again? No. That's worse than if you'd never brought her back. You can't mess with people's lives this way!
WILLOW: Dawn, we're not going to do it that way.
DAWN: (to the others) How can you let her do this? How can you even talk about letting her go?
TARA: Honey, you're not listening. She said we will find another way.
XANDER: We will.
DAWN: Then do it!
Willow has turned back to her book.
WILLOW: Wait. Wait. Dawn. Everybody hold on. (smiles)
ANYA: What? Why are you smiling? That's inappropriate.
WILLOW: Because it's temporary.
XANDER: What is?
WILLOW: The demon. I-it's gonna dissipate. The only way for it to survive on this plane is if it were to kill the subject of the original spell.
TARA: It would live if it killed Buffy?
WILLOW: That's not gonna-
Xander lifts his head and we see that his eyes are white.
XANDER: Thanks for the tip.
He collapses to the floor. Again we see the little bulge move across the floor toward a wall.
Cut to: interior of the Summers house, night. Buffy opens the door and comes in, puts her keys on the table, starts up the stairs. Behind her, we see a white mist. It slowly coalesces into a vaguely human shape, reaching out arms toward Buffy as it moves up the stairs after her.
Open on Buffy's darkened bedroom. Buffy comes in. She pauses to look at the pictures on the wall again.
DEMON: (whispery voice) You don't belong here.
Buffy turns to see the demon-mist floating in.
Buffy punches at it, but her fist just goes through it. It shoots out a tendril and hits her, and she flies back against some furniture. She recovers her balance, turns back around, and looks around in confusion. The mist reappears and Buffy punches at it again. The mist swirls around her and re-forms behind her. She turns and punches again. Still nothing.
The demon hits her again and she stumbles out the door into the hallway, into the opposite wall. She turns and looks back at the door into her room. The mist is gone.
Buffy walks cautiously back into the room.
DEMON: (O.S.) Did they tell you, you belonged here?
The mist reappears in front of Buffy, puts out a hand. She tries to grab the wrist, seems to almost have it, but then her hand just goes through it.
DEMON: Did they say this was your home again?
It disappears again, reappears. Buffy hits at it with no effect. It swirls around behind her while she's still looking for it in front of her.
DEMON: Were you offered pretty lies, little girl?
It swirls around her and wraps around her waist. It seems to be crushing her.
DEMON: Or did they even give you a choice?
Cut to Xander's car driving down the dark street. Xander is driving, Anya in the passenger seat, and Dawn in the back seat.
DAWN: Xander! Drive faster!
XANDER: I can't!
DAWN: I could drive faster and I can't drive!
ANYA: She's right, you're like a snail. A snail who's driving a car very slowly. Come on, give it the lead foot! We've got to help Buffy with that demon you sent after her!
XANDER: I did not send the demon, I was possessed. The demon used me to eavesdrop on our conversation.
ANYA: Great, so now what? We have to talk in some sort of anti-demon secret code?
XANDER: Ood-gay idea-yay, An-yay.
DAWN: Stop talking wrong in Pig Latin and drive! Buffy's in trouble!
XANDER: It's okay, Dawnie. Willow and Tara are doing a spell.
DAWN: You sure it won't send Buffy back?
XANDER: No, of course not. It's just that she can't fight this thing if it's all ... misty, so they make it more solid, so Buffy can kick its fully embodied ass.
DAWN: You sure it'll work?
Cut to the magic shop. Willow and Tara sit on the floor facing each other, holding hands. Candles are lit around them.
WILLOW/TARA: Child of words, hear thy makers. Child of words, we entreat. With our actions did we make thee, to our voices wilt thou bend.
Cut back to Buffy's room. Buffy is still struggling in the grip of the demon, squeezing her around the stomach. She curls her hands into fists and manages to break free, swings at the demon. It hits her and she falls on the bed, rolls off the side onto the floor.
The demon stands still. It seems to be becoming more solid. Buffy lies on the floor, stares up at it.
Cut back to the magic shop.
WILLOW/TARA: With our potions thou took motive, with our motions came to pass. We rescind no past devotions, give thee substance, give thee mass.
Cut back to Buffy's room. She reaches under the bed and produces a battle-axe, starts to get up.
DEMON: You're the one who's barely here. Set on this earth like a bubble.
Buffy swings the axe at the demon without any effect. And again. The face is a little clearer now. The demon stops swirling and confronts Buffy. For the first time we can actually see its mouth move when it talks.
DEMON: You won't even disturb the air when you go.
Xander, Anya, and Dawn rush in, see the demon and react with fear. Buffy turns and sees them.
BUFFY: Go! Take Dawn out of here!
Cut back to the magic shop. Willow has her eyes closed and her face turned upward. Tara continues chanting, not realizing that Willow has stopped.
TARA: Child of words, hear thy makers. Child of words, we en...treat...
Tara trails off as she notices Willow. A haze of golden light gathers around Willow. She pulls her hands out of Tara's. Her eyes snap open. They are completely black.
Cut back to Buffy's room. The demon suddenly becomes fully solid. It looks like the rotting corpse of a woman, taller than Buffy. Buffy tries to hit it with the axe but the demon grabs the axe handle. They struggle over it for a moment, then the demon lets go and hits Buffy, making her drop the axe. She turns back and the demon hits her again. Buffy goes down.
Xander, Dawn, and Anya are still in the doorway, watching fearfully, clutching each other.
Buffy picks up the axe, jumps up from the floor, and swings.
Shot of the demon's head bouncing across the floor.
Xander, Dawn, and Anya all give little yelps of dismay. Dawn turns her face away, grabbing Xander's arms.
Buffy looks down at the demon's body (which we don't see).
DAWN: (to Xander) That's probably the sort of thing I'm not supposed to see, right?
Anya pats Dawn on the shoulder.
Cut to: overhead shot of Sunnydale, day.
Cut to: exterior shot of the Summers house. It's a bright sunny day, birds chirping, etc.
Dawn comes out the front door, dressed for school. She walks down the steps, starts down the walk.
Buffy opens the door.
Dawn turns back.
DAWN: (alarmed) What's wrong?
Buffy comes down the stairs, holding a brown paper bag.
DAWN: (smiling happily) You made me lunch? (takes the lunchbag) Wow. Thanks.
BUFFY: (solemn) You better go. You've been out since ... I got back. And you know what they say. Those of us who fail history? Doomed to repeat it in summer school.
They both give small smiles. Dawn hugs Buffy.
DAWN: (whispers) Thank you.
Dawn pulls out of the hug.
DAWN: Are you okay?
BUFFY: I'm going to start charging money for every person that asks me that.
DAWN: Everyone's been doing that, huh?
BUFFY: A little bit.
DAWN: It's because they care about you a lot. When you were gone ... it was bad when you were gone. But it'll be better now. Now that they can see you being happy. (pause) That's all they want.
Dawn turns and walks off. Buffy watches, thoughtful.
Cut to: interior magic shop. Tara is sitting on a chair and Willow standing, both putting books on shelves. The door bell jingles. Willow turns and smiles.
WILLOW: Buffy! Hey!
Buffy enters, walks in. We see Xander and Anya there as well.
XANDER: Hey, you get Dawn off to school all right? 'Cause I was thinking, if you need help picking her up, I...
BUFFY: It's okay. I got it. (nervous) Look, you guys, um, there's this thing ... so I'm just gonna say it.
They all look expectantly at her.
BUFFY: You brought me back. I was in a ... I was in hell. I, um ... I can't think too much about what it was like. But it felt like the world abandoned me there. And then suddenly ... you guys did what you did.
TARA: It was Willow. She knew what to do. (Willow looks embarrassed)
BUFFY: Okay. So you did that. And the world came rushing back. Thank you. You guys gave me the world. I can't tell you what it means to me.
Willow has tears in her eyes.
BUFFY: And I should have said it before.
WILLOW: (tearful) You're welcome.
Willow hugs Buffy.
XANDER: Welcome home, Buffy.
Xander puts his arms around the two of them. They all hug. Buffy's expression is still less than thrilled.
Cut to the back alley behind the magic shop. Buffy comes out, closes the door behind her, slowly walks a few steps, thinking.
Buffy looks up, sees Spike standing in the alley.
BUFFY: (frowns) Spike, it's daylight and you're-
SPIKE: Not on fire? (looks at the sky) Sun's low enough, shady enough here.
Buffy folds her arms around her middle.
SPIKE: I was gonna go inside, but I overheard you and the Super-friends exchanging a special moment and I came over a bit queasy.
Buffy wipes hair out of her face, doesn't seem to be listening.
SPIKE: Say, aren't you leaving a hole in the middle of some soggy group hug?
BUFFY: Just wanted a little time alone.
She walks over, sits on a packing crate a few feet away from Spike.
SPIKE: Oh, uh, right then.
He gets up, starts to walk away, reaches the line of shadow, realizes he can't leave the alley without going into the sunlight. He stops, squints at the sky.
BUFFY: That's okay. I can be alone with you here.
SPIKE: Thanks ever so.
He gives a rueful smile, looks back at her.
SPIKE: Buff? ... Slayer? Are you okay?
She isn't, but she composes herself and nods at him.
BUFFY: I'm here. I'm good.
SPIKE: (walks back to her) Buffy, if you're in ... if you're in pain ... or if you need anything... or if I can do anything for you...
BUFFY: (looks down at her lap) You can't.
SPIKE: Well, I haven't been to a hell dimension just of late, but I do know a thing or two about torment.
He sits beside her.
BUFFY: (still looking down) I was happy.
Spike looks at her in confusion.
BUFFY: Wherever I ... was ... I was happy. At peace.
Spike stares, shocked.
BUFFY: I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time ... didn't mean anything ... nothing had form ... but I was still me, you know? (glances at him, then away) And I was warm ... and I was loved ... and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about theology or dimensions, or ... any of it, really ... but I think I was in heaven.
Spike continues to stare at her in dismay.
BUFFY: And now I'm not. (almost tearful) I was torn out of there. Pulled out ... by my friends. (Spike continues staring, listening) Everything here is ... hard, and bright, and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch ... this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that ... (softly) knowing what I've lost...
She looks up, realizes Spike is still there. She looks uncomfortable, gets up.
She walks just to the line where the shadows become sunlight, and pauses, but doesn't turn back to face Spike.
BUFFY: They can never know. Never.
She still doesn't look back at him, just continues walking into the sunlight.