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Quinta Temporada - 5X12 Checkpoint

Checkpoint

(November 22, 2000)

Written by: Jane Espenson & Douglas Petrie

 

Teaser

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT (NIGHT 1)

BUFFY, GILES, WILLOW, TARA and ANYA are just gathering in Buffy's living room. Buffy seems unprepared for the meeting to start. She is gathering up empty soda cans, a discarded jacket...

 

BUFFY
I'll just get that...

 

XANDER enters, his arm in a cast.

 

XANDER
Sorry I'm late.
(re: cast)
This thing makes driving an adventure
in steering.

 

Xander looks for a place to sit. Buffy grabs a pile of magazines off the only remaining chair for him.

 

BUFFY
Dawn left those here...

 

 

GILES
It's all right, Buffy. I know this
meeting is short notice.

 

 

BUFFY
Mom's still not a hundred percent,
and I guess I haven't really been
taking up the slack...

 

 

WILLOW
The place looks fine, Buffy.

 

 

XANDER
There's, like, a sweater under the sofa.

 

As Buffy pulls a sweater from under the sofa...

 

XANDER
(off Willow's look)
Well, I can't get it. Your troll
broke my wrist.

 

 

WILLOW
My troll?

 

Buffy looks at the sweater. It's military-looking, olive-green with that sort of suede-y patch thing on the shoulder. And it's large -- clearly Riley's. We can see that it's hitting her to find it here with him long gone.

 

XANDER
That must've belonged to...
(realizes)
Um... aren't we s'posed to have a meeting?

 

 

GILES
Yes, we are here for a reason...

 

 

WILLOW
(under her breath)
I didn't create the troll...
I didn't date the troll...
(starting to have fun)
In fact I hate the troll.
I helped deflate the troll-
(off Xander's look)
All done.

 

 

GILES
I've had some rather... I've had some
news. It seems that the Council of
Watchers has found some information
that may help us out.

 

There is some general sitting up straight and looking interested.

 

BUFFY
About Glory?

 

 

GILES
Presumably. We'll find out when they
arrive. It could be quite important.

 

 

BUFFY
Arrive? They're coming here? Now?
Why do they have to come here?

 

 

XANDER
Yeah, don't they have phones? Hallo,
Buffy, here's some stuff we know, pip pip.

 

 

BUFFY
Yes. Phones! I'd like them to phone!

 

 

TARA
What's so bad about them coming here?
Aren't they good guys? I mean, Watchers,
that's just like whole other Gileses, right?

 

 

BUFFY
Yes! They're scary and horrible!

 

Giles shoots Buffy a wry look.

 

GILES
They come across a little, well, a
little hard-nosed, but they do share
our agenda. They want to save the
world, kill the demons...

 

 

ANYA
Kill the current demons, right?
Current demons.

 

 

BUFFY
Giles, I don't want them here.
I don't trust them. Make them
not come here.

 

 

GILES
They're probably already on the way.
Our old friend Quentin Travers is
heading up a delegation.

 

 

BUFFY
They put me through that thing, that
test and almost killed me and then,
when I was Faith, they almost killed
me again. Honestly, I cannot handle
more almost being killed right now!

 

 

ANYA
I don't like the sound of this. They
don't sound ex-demon compatible.

 

 

TARA
Are you sure they're English?
(aside to Willow)
I thought English people were gentler
than normal people.

 

 

WILLOW
Maybe they won't be so bad this time.
I mean, Buffy, they did think you were
Faith last time. Now that they know
you're just you... maybe they won't care
enough to kill you.

 

 

BUFFY
It's not just that. They're going to
screw things up. Everything's kinda
delicate right now. There's, you know,
Dawn to take care of...

 

 

XANDER
Yeah, but that's not new. You
always take care of her.

 

 

BUFFY
Right, right. I mean it's a
dangerous time. Glory is out
there somewhere and I don't
want the council distracting me...

 

INT. BUFFY'S STAIRWELL - SAME TIME - NIGHT

Dawn stands on the stairs, eavesdropping as Buffy continues:

 

BUFFY (O.S.)
...or getting in the way. Giles,
I don't need them looking over
my shoulder when we're not even
sure what we're dealing with...

 

 

GILES (O.S.)
But that's precisely why we need to
talk to them...

 

Joyce comes down the stairs, catches Dawn.

 

JOYCE
Dawn, honey, what are you doing up at
this hour? Go back to bed.

 

 

DAWN
I was just getting a snack.

 

Dawn turns and heads upstairs.

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Scene continues. They're all looking toward the stairs.

 

BUFFY
(yelled)
Dawn! Are you listening?

 

 

DAWN (O.S.)
I can get a snack if I want to.

 

 

BUFFY
She was listening.

 

 

WILLOW
Does it matter? I mean is she really
gonna set the Junior High buzzing
with "There's a delegation a-comin'?"

 

 

BUFFY
I don't know. It's just... sometimes
we say stuff... I guess it's okay.
Giles, you were saying something.

 

 

GILES
Just that if the Council knows
something about Glory, her agenda,
her origins, then maybe it will help
us get a grip on what we're dealing
with. Because, right now, I think
we're a little lost.

 

INT. GLORY'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Closeup of GLORY. Unlike we've ever seen her before - she's shaking, hand to her mouth, looking terrified. She is in the throes of withdrawal.

Her short, shuddering breaths come fast and shallow.

Reveal she is huddled in a corner of her room, her whole body tightly compacted in a ball. She's fully dressed in a sharp business outfit - but one shoe's on, one shoe's off. She's losing it. BOOM! We hear a door open. Glory sharply jerks her head up to see:

Two DEMONIC MINIONS (DREG and JINX) drag a beaten, half-conscious MAILMAN into the room, pulling the frightened guy towards Glory.

 

JINX
Mistress - at last we've found one.

 

 

DREG
Hurry.

 

Together, they roughly throw the guy to the floor in front of Glory - an offering. Glory looks at the guy, but there's no sense of recognition in her eyes. The Mailman pleads:

 

MAILMAN
Oh God - please, don't hurt me. I'm
begging you. Just let me go, I swear
I won't tell anyone.

 

 

DREG
(to Jinx)
Help her.

 

Ignoring the Mailman's pleas, each minion takes one of Glory's hands by the wrist. She's getting worse - starting to convulse like an epileptic.

 

JINX
We are here for you, great one.

 

 

DREG
Drink.

 

The minions each place one hand at the side of the Mailman's skull.

 

MAILMAN
W-what is this? What the hell are
you things doing to...

 

Glory shows a flicker of recognition. Of consciousness. And the second she does - she PLUNGES both hands deep into the Mailman's skull, sending out a blinding shower of light.

 

MAILMAN
MeeeEEEE!!!

 

His screams die out as the lightshow subsides. The minions look to Glory, worried. Glory slides herself back, takes a deep breath and shakes her head to clear it.

Jinx reaches out to give her a hand. She waves him off.

 

GLORY
No, I'm good. It's okay.

 

She gets to her feet, starts to stabilize. The Mailman, looking worse for the brain suck, is now backing away from them, muttering like a madman.

 

MAILMAN
(to himself)
I know, you're all always looking at
me, I can tell, always tell I can see...

 

 

GLORY
Try not cutting things so close
next time. Understood?

 

 

DREG
We live to serve.

 

 

JINX
As always.

 

 

GLORY
Cool. Okay, take this mess out with
the rest of the trash. And you.

 

She points to Jinx. He stops as Dreg hauls the still-muttering Mailman out of the room.

 

GLORY
Got something to tell me?

 

 

JINX
(nods)
Indeed, Glorificus.

 

 

GLORY
And I'm waiting...

 

 

JINX
We have found that the signs of
alignment are moving... faster
than expected.

 

 

GLORY
Meaning...

 

 

JINX
If you are to use the Key - you must
act quickly.

 

Long pause as Glory thinks this over. Jinx prepares himself for Glory's violent response, but:

 

GLORY
Fine.

 

Jinx reacts. Glory starts fixing her hair in the mirror.

 

GLORY
I've been cooling my heels in this
crappy little town long enough.
Sunnydale's got too many demons,
and not enough retail outlets.

 

 

JINX
All you need is the Key...

 

 

GLORY
Yeah... And I'll bet Mousy the
Vampire Slayer has an idea where
it is.

 

She turns from the mirror, put together now.

 

GLORY
That bitch knows more than she's
letting on, I can feel it.

 

 

JINX
If I may remind your eminence:
(small)
... You don't have much time.

 

 

GLORY
Baby. If that girl's the only thing
between me and my Key? I don't
need much time.

 

BLACK OUT.

 

END OF TEASER
Act One

OMITTED

INT. MAGIC BOX - DAY (DAY 2)

Giles and Anya are tending the shop. A few customers wander around. Giles is showing a spell book to a WOMAN.

 

GILES
Now, if you're serious about these,
ma'am, you need to be careful.
Measure precisely and please,
don't skip ahead...

 

 

TRAVERS
He's right.

 

QUENTIN TRAVERS has approached unnoticed.

 

TRAVERS
You wouldn't want to do anything dangerous.
(looking at the book)
Turn the wrong person into a badger...

 

Six other COUNCIL MEMBERS are also in the store. Some of them stand stiffly by the door, others move around among the displays. There are four men and two women. Two of the men (Nigel and Phillip) and one of the women (Lydia) will talk.

 

GILES
Quentin. I didn't realize you were here.

 

Travers gives a little smile. It's hard to tell if it's friendly or mocking.

 

TRAVERS
Evidently.

 

The woman with the book moves away.

 

GILES
It's been a while. I see you've
brought some of your colleagues
with you. Would you like to
introduce us?

 

 

TRAVERS
First I thought you and I could catch up.

 

 

GILES
Certainly, certainly. Well, this is
the shop, obviously. It's been an
interesting transition into the retail
world, but I think it's going rather
well. I can give you the grand
tour, if you'd like.

 

 

TRAVERS
That's all right. I think I can see
what you've been up to.

 

Giles hesitates, slowly getting the message that Travers isn't enthused about the shop.

 

GILES
Yes, well. I do limit my time here,
of course. Buffy and I train a great
deal these days. There's a back room
that we've had fitted out...

 

 

TRAVERS
Hmm. I thought perhaps you needed
that space for the really dangerous
items that should be kept out of the
public's hands. Or maybe you don't
worry about that.

 

 

GILES
I'm very careful.

 

Other Council members are inspecting the merchandise critically. One of them, is a 40ish Indian man, NIGEL, self-important and totally devoted to Travers.

 

NIGEL
Most of this stuff couldn't hurt
anyone. Dimestore trinkets,
incense... but there are some things...

 

 

GILES
I'm sorry. Who are you?

 

Another Council member, LYDIA, also looks up. She's young, attractive, over-educated and awfully darn proud of that last part.

 

LYDIA
There are some very potent elements
here: focusing crystals, runic artifacts,
an amulet of Caldys. Also, this statue...
(holds it up)
Its removal from Burma is a felony
and when triggered it has the power
to melt human eyeballs.

 

 

GILES
(trying for the joke)
In that case I've severely
underpriced it.

 

 

TRAVERS
Giles... I'm sorry. This is just for
the duration of our stay, but I think
you see why...

 

 

GILES
What? What is just for the duration--

 

Nigel moves into the center of the store, speaks authoritatively.

 

NIGEL
Magic Box shoppers, we are going to
have to ask you to leave. The store
is closing early today.

 

Another Council member, PHILLIP, takes a crystal ball out of someone's hands. Phillip's a large muscle-y guy, but he's just as academic and stuffy as the rest of 'em.

 

PHILLIP
(to the customer)
Terribly sorry for the inconvenience.

 

The customer scurries out. Other confused customers head for the door. Council members go up to other shoppers, take items from their hands, show them toward the door...

 

ANYA
Hey! Giles, what are they doing?
Customers, please bring your money back!

 

 

GILES
(to Travers)
You knew you were going to do this
before you even saw the place--

 

 

TRAVERS
I'm sorry. But it is just for the
duration of the Council's review.

 

 

ANYA
The Council? You're the Council?

 

Anya changes attitudes instantly, smiling in what she hopes is a calm and human manner.

 

ANYA
Welcome to the store. We're closed now
and I'll be in the other room.

 

She starts to head toward the training room.

 

GILES
What "review"? Quentin, let's stop
for a moment and talk about this...

 

Travers raises a hand, cutting Giles off.

 

TRAVERS
You, miss, you work here?

 

Anya stops, braces herself and turns to face him.

 

ANYA
Yes. I do. Ever since I moved here from
south-eastern Indiana where I was raised
by a mother and a father.

 

 

TRAVERS
You sell these... items? To whomever
wishes to buy them?

 

 

ANYA
No. Only to people with money.

 

 

GILES
Anya, go. You don't need to talk to him.
(to Travers)
She works for me.

 

Giles looks to Travers, but he doesn't fight it. Grateful, Anya heads for the training room and exits.

 

GILES
Tell me about this review. No one
said anything to me about this.

 

Travers seats himself at the table. Giles follows his lead and sits opposite him. The other Council members stand near the table, listening and looking impassive. Giles eyes them.

 

GILES
(to the members)
You can all just stand around and look somber.
(beat)
Good job.

 

 

TRAVERS
You used to respect us, Giles.
Used to be one of us.

 

 

GILES
You used to pay me. If you recall,
firing me was not my idea.

 

Travers smiles... he's cool enough to know when he's been bested.

 

TRAVERS
Touche. But you were on the inside
once, and you know what kind of
resources we command. We have
discovered information about this
creature... your "Glory." Some of
it is clearly vital. The rest of it is
merely extremely disturbing. And
none of it will be handed over until
we know that you and your Slayer
are prepared for it. Thus the review.

 

 

GILES
I don't want to put Buffy through
another one of your insane tests...

 

 

TRAVERS
It's not a test. It's a check of her
methods. We need to know that
this information is safe.

 

 

GILES
I think it should be enough that I
vouch for her. You can trust her.
Buffy has come very far recently.
She's acquired a remarkable focus.

 

INT. UC SUNNYDALE - CLASSROOM - DAY

Buffy is in a lecture class, bored to death, looking around, kicking her foot, chewing her pencil...

The instructor, PROFESSOR ROBERTS paces and lectures. Buffy bites too hard on her pencil and crushes it. She spits pencil pieces into her hand during the following:

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
...Now, Rasputin was associated with
a certain obscure religious sect. They
held the bizarre tenet that in order to be
forgiven, one first had to sin. Rasputin
embraced the doctrine and proceeded to sin
impressively and repeatedly. The notion
that he was in fact "evil" gained strength
years later when the conspirators who set
out to kill him found it nearly impossible
to do so.

 

 

BUFFY
Nearly impossible?

 

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
I'm sorry? There was a question?

 

Buffy stands up. The prof recognizes her, looks resigned.

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
Miss Summers. Of course.

 

 

BUFFY
About the killing of him... I mean
these guys, they poisoned him and
they beat him and they shot him.
And he didn't die-

 

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
Until they rolled his body in a
carpet and drowned him in a canal.

 

 

BUFFY
But there are reported sightings of
him as late as the 1930's, aren't there?

 

Professor Roberts is clearly losing patience with her now.

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
There are reported sightings of pink
elephants and little green men, but
they don't bear mentioning in a history
class. What exactly are you implying?

 

 

BUFFY
I'm not implying, I'm only saying...
What if the reports were true and
the books were wrong? I mean-

 

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
(cutting her off)
I assure you, there's near consensus
in the academic community regarding
Rasputin's death-

 

 

BUFFY
There was near consensus about Columbus
too, until someone asked the Vikings what
they were up to in the 1400's and they were
like - "discovering this America-shaped
continent."

 

Professor Roberts takes this in, not pleased. He doesn't appreciate having his life's work questioned. Buffy senses his mounting anger, offers a little more weakly-

 

BUFFY
I just think, you know, it might be
interesting to come at it from a
different perspective...

 

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
Well, I'm sorry that these facts are
so boring for you, Ms. Summers.
Maybe you feel I should step aside
so you can teach your own course.
Speculation 101, perhaps. Intro to
Fights of Fancy...

 

The class laughs a little at this. Buffy takes this in, her face growing hot with embarrassment.

 

BUFFY
No, I only meant-

 

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
What was it you were on about last
week? The mysterious sleeping
patterns of the Prussian generals?

 

Again, titters from the crowd. Then-

 

PROFESSOR ROBERTS
Now. Some of us are here to learn.
Believe it or not, we're interested
in the way things actually happened.
We call it "studying history."
(then)
You can sit down now. Unless you
have anything else to add, Professor.

 

Buffy, humiliated, slowly sits - feeling the eyes of the class on her...

EXT. GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Buffy is fighting a LARGE VAMPIRE.

 

BUFFY
(mocking the prof)
"Young lady." "Miss Summers."

 

She throws him up against a backhoe. The vamp snarls and comes back at her.

 

BUFFY
"Take a bow, Miss Summers."

 

She punches him back up against the crypt.

 

VAMPIRE
(genuinely confused)
Who are you talking to?

 

The vamp fights back now. She absorbs a hard blow that sends her staggering back. She regroups, ready to attack again, when a FIGURE tackles the vamp.

It's SPIKE. He stakes the vamp. It dusts.

 

BUFFY
Spike! Why did you do that?

 

 

SPIKE
Not for money, if that's what you think.
Your heartfelt gratitude is plenty. 'Spect
I'll be getting that any moment now.

 

 

BUFFY
Gratitude?! For getting in my way?

 

 

SPIKE
Getting in your way? I saved you!

 

 

BUFFY
I was regrouping.

 

 

SPIKE
You were about to be regrouped into
separate piles. You needed help.

 

 

BUFFY
I didn't need you. I never need you, Spike.

 

Spike looks like he's been slapped, but he bounces back:

 

SPIKE
Oh, I get it. You just don't like
who did the rescuing, that's all.
Wishin' I was your boyfriend
what's-his-height. Oh wait,
he's run off.

 

 

BUFFY
I don't need a boyfriend. To rescue me
or for any other reason.

 

 

SPIKE
Don't need? Or can't keep? You keep
making notches on the headboard, but
eventually they get out of bed and run
away, don't they?

 

 

BUFFY
You're disgusting.

 

 

SPIKE
Rough talk. Maybe that's what your
problem is, you push 'em away? Or
is it the other - maybe you cling too
much? Or p'rhaps it's even simpler.
Check your breath lately? Or maybe
the beauty's fading. The stress of
Slaying aging you prematurely.
Things not like they used to be...
not as high, not as firm.

 

 

BUFFY
You know, Spike, the more I get to
know you, the more I wish I didn't.

 

 

SPIKE
...Or maybe you just don't hold
their interest.

 

And to her surprise, he turns and saunters away. Startled, Buffy tries to shrug off what he said, but it hurts.

INT. HOSPITAL - NIGHT

Ben, pulling on his jacket over his scrubs, heads around a darkened corner. A scabby arm snakes out, pulls him back into the shadows. It's Jinx.

 

JINX
Begging permission to speak with you.

 

Ben looks at him coldly, pulls his arm form Jinx's grasp. Jinx grovels.

 

BEN
Don't touch me, you're crusty.
What do you want?

 

 

JINX
Not me. The magnificent Glory.
She wants. She wants more information
on the Slayer. She knows you know her.

 

 

BEN
The Slayer? I don't know any Slayer.
Get away from me. You shouldn't be here.

 

 

JINX
Oh, I believe you do, sir. She's
short, symmetrical, hair on top...
Buffy something-

 

 

BEN
Buffy Summers is the Slayer?

 

 

JINX
That's the one. Very clever of you.

 

 

BEN
I knew she was strong - the Slayer.
I didn't think a Slayer would be so-
How does Glory know this?

 

 

JINX
I do not know. I was not there. But
the beauteous Glory said for you to
tell us, please. Where her dwelling is,
who her friends are...

 

 

BEN
Why? So Glory can find her? Do
something to her? Why would I do that?

 

 

JINX
I don't know, sir. She just said to
tell you to do it for her. That was
her message.

 

 

BEN
Well, I've got a message for Glory too.

 

INT. MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Giles is leading Travers and the rest of the Council members out from the training room.

 

GILES
...we've been developing a sort of
hybrid fighting style. I can outline
her progress for you and I think
you'll see that your review isn't
strictly needed...

 

Buffy enters, sees them, pivots and tries to slip back out.

 

BUFFY
Bad day. Bad, bad day.

 

 

TRAVERS
Miss Summers!

 

Caught, Buffy slowly turns around.

 

TRAVERS
Good to see you again.

 

 

BUFFY
Mr. Travers.

 

 

TRAVERS
Giles was just telling us about your
training regimen. Perhaps you'll favor
us with a demonstration while we're here.

 

 

BUFFY
You mean, like, right now? 'Cause,
already had my recommended daily
dose of fights tonight.

 

 

GILES
Did you then? Very good! Very good.
Tell us about it.

 

 

BUFFY
A Vampire. Spike dusted him.

 

Giles looks disappointed.

 

BUFFY
(quickly)
I was regrouping.

 

 

TRAVERS
Well, I wouldn't worry about doing
anything for us tonight. No need to
rush you.

 

Buffy looks at Giles.

 

GILES
They may be staying slightly longer
than I anticipated.

 

 

TRAVERS
We've already laid out our project
for Mr. Giles. Nigel...

 

 

NIGEL
It's an exhaustive review of your
procedures and abilities. We'll
observe your training, talk to
your friends...

 

 

BUFFY
Talk to my friends?

 

 

TRAVERS
Yes. We understand you're still
taking civilians along on your
patrols-

 

 

BUFFY
You've got to be kidding.

 

 

NIGEL
He's not kidding. He's a very
serious man.

 

 

BUFFY
Sorry. Who are you?

 

 

GILES
They're a little tight-lipped with
the introductions.

 

 

TRAVERS
Miss Summers- Buffy, I can sense your
resistance. I don't blame you, but I think
your watcher hasn't reminded you lately
of the relative status of the players in our
little game. The Council fights evil. The
Slayer is the instrument with which we
fight. The Council remains. The
Slayers... change. It's been that way
from the beginning.

 

 

GILES
Yes, that's a very comforting,
bloodless way to look at it, isn't it?

 

 

TRAVERS
Giles, let me talk to Buffy. Because
I think she's understanding me.
(to Buffy)
Glory is stronger than you. She's a
more powerful instrument, if you will.
But we can help you. We have
information that will help. Pass
the review and we give it to you
without reservation. Fail the review,
either through incompetence or by
resisting our recommendations-

 

 

GILES
Resisting your recommendations? She
fails if we don't do whatever you say?
How much under your thumb do you
think we are?

 

 

TRAVERS
How much do you want our help?

 

 

GILES
She's not your bloody "instrument"!
You've got no right to do any of this!

 

Giles is getting in Traver's face, poking him in the check. Phillip moves closer, using his size to intimidate.

 

BUFFY
Giles-

 

 

GILES
And now you're using this bloke to
try to shut me up? I knew you were
all thugs at heart.

 

 

TRAVERS
Calm down. Calm down. I understand
that you feel this is unfair.

 

Travers gestures for Phillip to back off and he does. Giles backs off grudgingly as well.

 

TRAVERS
But there are factors which should
motivate you to go along with the
review. I don't want to do this, but
obviously, we could shut this place
down permanently.

 

Giles is suddenly more stunned than angry - he never though they'd go that far. Buffy, also, is aghast.

 

BUFFY
You can't do that. You don't have
that kind of power.

 

 

TRAVERS
Of course we do. And a great deal more.
In face, if you insist on fighting us -
we'll arrange to have Mr. Giles deported
within the day. Never set foot in this
country again.

 

 

BUFFY
(stunned)
What?

 

 

TRAVERS
Perhaps you're used to idle threats
and sloppy discipline, Ms. Summers,
but you're dealing with grown ups now.
(then)
Am I making myself clear?

 

Buffy looks at Giles, reads his defeat. Off her face as it sinks in, we...

BLACK OUT.

 

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

INT. GLORY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Glory emerges from the shower, her body and hair wrapped in red towels. She searches the bottles on her vanity table.

 

GLORY
Jinx? If you and Dreg have been
using my moisturizer again I'm
going to have to rip off your scaly-
hey, what's the deal with your face?

 

REVEAL Jinx. His right eye is swollen shut and there is a huge lumpy bruise on his forehead.

 

JINX
It's a message.

 

 

GLORY
It looks more like an enormous lumpy
bruise. Does this hurt?

 

She jabs her thumb into his bruise. He gasps but doesn't step back. He can barely say...

 

JINX
Very much.

 

 

GLORY
Huh.

 

She finds the moisturizer, starts applying it to her arms and shoulders.

 

JINX
It's a message from Ben. He isn't
going to help.

 

Glory freezes, suddenly serious.

 

GLORY
He isn't going... He isn't going to help?
All he needs to do is hand over that tiny
squirming Slayer girl! I have business to
do with her! If she knows where to start
looking for my Key... Arrrh! Why won't
he help? He knows her, he could go to her,
he could talk to her, hell, he could seduce her
and bang the Key out of her.

 

 

JINX
He's quite attractive.

 

 

GLORY
Well of course he's attractive, but he drives
me insane. You know what I mean?

 

 

JINX
He drives you insane.

 

 

GLORY
(as if it's a new concept)
Yes! That's it exactly!

 

Suddenly sweet, she puts an arm around Jinx, pulls him in close, an arm looped around his neck.

 

GLORY
Sweet lumpy minion, you're the only
one that understands. Probably 'cause
I haven't sucked the brain out of you
yet. He makes me so mad! If I could
just get my hands on him, you know?

 

Jinx nods, eyes frightened.

INT. MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Buffy sits at the table, looking dejected. Giles paces angrily.

 

GILES
It's a power play, is what it is.
It's all about who has the power.

 

 

BUFFY
I'm guessing they do. Big power
outage in Buffy County.

 

 

GILES
I should've set you loose on 'em,
that's what I should've done.

 

 

BUFFY
Giles, that guy Travers, he's like sixty
something years old. I can't hit him.
(beat)
Can I?

 

 

GILES
I suppose not. But I bloody well could.
Think I will.

 

 

BUFFY
Can they really do the stuff they
threatened to do? Kick you out
of the country?

 

 

GILES
In a hot second.

 

Giles polishes his glasses vigorously.

 

GILES
They're all right when it comes to
the rough stuff, a little ham-handed
but they get it done. But this stuff,
bureaucracy, pulling political strings,
paperwork... this is where they're the
best in the world. They can kill you
with a stroke of the pen. Poncy buggers.

 

His polishing pops a lens out of the frame. A little embarrassed, he sets the broken glasses aside.

 

BUFFY
Giles? Am I going to get through
this thing? This review?

 

Seeing her vulnerability, Giles sits down, the anger gone. He puts on his glasses, realizes they're missing a lens and takes them back off.

 

GILES
Well, they can make it as difficult
as they wish, I suppose. The physical
tests could be quite a challenge.

 

 

BUFFY
I'm not worried about that. I know
I can do that. It's the other stuff.
Examining decisions I've made.
I mean, twice now I've let myself
get within Slaying-distance of Glory
and twice she's kicked my ass without
ever tensing a muscle. And I haven't
been able to figure out what she is or
anything about her except that she wants
the key which I have and I can't even
figure out if it's okay for me to tell
anyone that!

 

 

GILES
Buffy, no one else could have done
any better.

 

 

BUFFY
But no one else is going to be asked
all these questions I can't answer.
They're going to expect me to be
like... like a Slayer, like I should
know stuff. But I'm just me and I
don't know anything. Then they're
going to go away and never tell me
about how to fight Glory and I won't
be able to protect Dawn.

 

 

GILES
Buffy, Buffy. Calm down. The scandal
here isn't anything you've done wrong.
It's the way they're behaving, holding
what they know hostage. With a gun
pointed at my bleedin' green card no less.
It's humiliating.

 

 

BUFFY
Also smart. They picked the perfect
thing. I can't lose you too. I need you.

 

 

GILES
Thank you.

 

 

BUFFY
I need to get ready. Tell me what you
think it'll be like. How do you think
they'll start?

 

INT. XANDER'S APARTMENT - DAY (DAY 3)

Phillip sits at the table with Xander and Anya.

 

ANYA
Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins.
Twenty years old. Born on the fourth
of July, and don't think there weren't
jokes about that my whole life, mister,
'cause there were. "Who's our little
patriot?" they'd say when I was younger
and therefore smaller and shorter than I
am now. And when I was seven, I had
a pet dachshund that died from chocking
on a wiener, which I find ironic.

 

 

PHILLIP
So... you spell it A-N-Y-A, then?

 

 

ANYA
Yes.

 

 

PHILLIP
Fine. Now we can get to the questions.

 

INT. WILLOW'S DORM ROOM - DAY

Nigel stands, holding a clipboard, looking very imposing. Willow and Tara sit nearby. They look small and nervous.

 

WILLOW
Questions. Great.

 

 

TARA
We can answer questions.

 

 

NIGEL
Well, I'd like to know a little bit
more about the Slayer and about
both of you. Your relationship,
whatever you can tell me.

 

Tara and Willow share a quick alarmed look.

 

TARA
Our relationship?

 

 

WILLOW
We're... friends.

 

 

TARA
Good friends.

 

 

WILLOW
Girlfriends, actually.

 

 

TARA
Yes. We're girlfriends.

 

 

WILLOW
(stronger)
We're in love. Lovers. We're gay
lesbian-type lovers.

 

 

NIGEL
(expressionless)
I meant your relationship with the Slayer.

 

 

TARA
Um... just good friends.

 

INT. XANDER'S APARTMENT

Scene continues. Phillip, Xander and Anya at the table.

 

XANDER
Best friends. Willow and me and Buffy -
the three of us have been together from the
beginning. We've always gone on patrols
and done demon research with her and everything.

 

 

PHILLIP
Have you mastered any fighting
disciplines over the years?

 

 

XANDER
No. But I did get a whole lot of
knowledge about the military...

 

Phillip looks pleased and writes that down.

 

XANDER
...and then I lost it.

 

Phillip erases.

 

PHILLIP
So you have no special skills or
powers or knowledge that you
bring to the mix. Neither of you.

 

 

ANYA
Just enthusiasm for killing the demons.
Go deadness for the demons!

 

 

XANDER
I don't have powers, but I do help.

 

 

PHILLIP
How? Be specific.

 

 

ANYA
He recently tried to reason with
a troll. However, the troll was
ultimately unreasonable.
(confidentially)
Broke his wrist.

 

 

XANDER
Oh! Last year, Willow and Giles and me
combined our essences with Buffy. Which
isn't as weird as it sounds.
(proudly)
We merged and I was the heart-part of
a super-Buffy. Again, let me stress the
not-as-weird thing. I'm told it was all
very professional.

 

 

PHILLIP
Are you saying that the Slayer needs
that level of help from you often?

 

INT. WILLOW'S DORM ROOM - DAY

The scene continues. Nigel interrogates Willow and Tara.

 

WILLOW
(rushed)
No! No, she doesn't need help!

 

 

TARA
She'd be fine without us. Sometimes
she goes off and does stuff and doesn't
even tell us.

 

 

WILLOW
Not that she's like, a weird loner or anything.

 

 

TARA
I'm not sure we're saying this right.

 

 

WILLOW
See, here's the thing. We can help because
we do magicks. I'm working on this ball of
sunshine thing. See, I have this theory-

 

 

TARA
It's very cool-

 

 

WILLOW
If it works, much easier slaying for
Buffy. Not that it's hard for her now-

 

 

NIGEL
Interesting. What level are you at?

 

 

TARA
Level?

 

 

NIGEL
Magical proficiency level.

 

 

WILLOW
Oh, a high level. Very high. One of
those... top... levels.

 

 

TARA
Five.

 

As Nigel writes that down:

 

WILLOW
(mouthed to Tara)
Five?

 

Tara shrugs.

 

NIGEL
And you're registered as practicing
witches under the names as you gave
them to me?

 

 

TARA
R... r... registered?

 

 

WILLOW
Yes! Yes, of course we're r... r...

 

 

TARA
Registered.

 

INT. XANDER'S APARTMENT - DAY

Phillip with Xander and Anya.

 

PHILLIP
Do either of you know anything about the Key?

 

 

ANYA
Nope. Sounds demon-y to me. I don't
hold with that demon nonsense. Muffin?
I cooked them myself!

 

She shoves the basket of muffins at Phillip. He declines.

 

PHILLIP
So Buffy sometimes protects you from
dangerous elements of her work?

 

 

XANDER
Yes! She'd never let us get hurt.

 

 

ANYA
Other than the wrist.

 

 

XANDER
She's saved my life lots of times!

 

 

PHILLIP
What amount of the Slayer's time
would you estimate she spends
saving you or her other friends?

 

 

ANYA
Seventy-eight.

 

 

XANDER
Anya!
(then)
Forty? No! No! Wait, that's not the
way to look at it. I don't know if you
guys are worried about what Buffy's
doing to us or what we're doing to her
or whatever, but I can promise you that
none of us would ever do anything to put
her in danger. We couldn't.

 

We prelap:

 

LYDIA (V.O.)
You can't hurt anyone?

 

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT - DAY

Spike sits on his bier. Two Council members stand in front of him, braced and tense. One holds out a cross, the other has a crossbow trained on Spike. Lydia, wearing a turtleneck, stands some distance away, holding a clipboard.

 

SPIKE
That's right.

 

 

LYDIA
But you are a vampire.

 

 

SPIKE
If I'm not, I'm gonna be pissed about
drinking all that blood.

 

Lydia doesn't crack a smile.

 

LYDIA
So it's this chip in your head that
keeps you from hurting people.

 

 

SPIKE
My goodness, you put that together
all on your own? That's right. Leastways
that's what I've got 'em all believing.

 

The humans all tense at that.

 

SPIKE
Could just be a hoax, though. I fake
some headaches, everyone gets used
to poor helpless Spike. Then one day,
no warning, I snap a spine, bend a head
back, drain 'em dry. Brilliant.

 

If she's scared, she hides it well. She soldiers on...

 

LYDIA
The chip. Assuming it exists. It takes
away the... ability. But it leaves...
leaves the...

 

He smiles at her sexily.

 

SPIKE
Desire? Yeah, I've got tons of that.

 

She's a little shaken by his flirting.

 

LYDIA
Um... but we understand that you help
the Slayer.

 

 

SPIKE
I pitch in when she pays me.

 

 

LYDIA
She pays you? She gives you money?

 

 

SPIKE
Money, little nip of blood out of
some stray victim, whatever.

 

 

LYDIA
Blood?

 

 

SPIKE
Sure, if they're gonna die anyway.
Come to think of it though, that is a
bit scandalous, innit? Personally,
I'm shocked. The girl's slipping.

 

 

LYDIA
You've noticed a decline in her work?

 

 

SPIKE
Oh yeah. See, the poor little twig can't
keep a man. Gets her all down. A few
more disappointments, she'll be crying
on my shoulder, mark my words.

 

 

LYDIA
Is that what you want? I'd think you
want to kill her. You've killed slayers
before...

 

 

SPIKE
Heard of me, have you?

 

 

LYDIA
(quietly)
I wrote my thesis on you.

 

 

SPIKE
Well, well. Isn't that neat.

 

Lydia blushes.

 

SPIKE
Tell me, pet, now we're such good
friends... how's the Slayer doing?
She okay? High marks in all categories?

 

And we pre-lap:

 

TRAVERS (V.O.)
Agility, clarity, stamina, strength...

 

INT. TRAINING ROOM - DAY - LATER

The training room has been cleared, the vaulting horse pushed to the wall. Travers, Giles, Lydia, Phillip and the other Council members look on from the edges of the room. Travers holds a clipboard.

 

TRAVERS
The Slayer must posses these
qualities to do her job.

 

We see Nigel is blindfolding Buffy in the center of the room. She stands next to the stuffed dummy.

 

BUFFY
(nervous)
What came after agility?

 

 

GILES
If you want her to attack the dummy,
I can assure you-

 

 

TRAVERS
Phillip will attack the dummy. The
Slayer's job is to protect it. Do you
understand?

 

 

BUFFY
Protect the dummy.

 

 

TRAVERS
As if it were precious.

 

Buffy nods - she knows what it is to have something precious to protect. Nigel moves out of the field of play. Phillip moves in, dressed for martial arts. He carries a large battle ax. Buffy is unarmed.

 

TRAVERS
Getting the best of Phillip will
require agility. Listening to my
instructions at the same time...
that will demonstrate clarity.
Stamina and strength will win
the long fight. Good luck.

 

 

BUFFY
Wait... instructions?

 

 

TRAVERS
I'll be telling you what to do.
How to counter Phillip's moves.
We assume you're familiar with
the Japanese names for Akido and
Jujitsu moves.

 

 

BUFFY
Japanese?!

 

 

LYDIA
And... go!

 

 

BUFFY
Just like that? Go? In America
we work our way up to "go."

 

Phillip bows to Buffy.

 

TRAVERS
Shomen-ni-rei.

 

Buffy tenses, no idea what's going on.

 

GILES
He wants you to bow. Take a bow.

 

Confused, thinking of class earlier, Buffy tries to look toward Giles. Phillip charges the dummy. Buffy senses him, a little late, and throws herself between him and the dummy. The dummy gets shoved a little bit and it rocks but doesn't fall. Phillip comes at her again...

 

TRAVERS
Shomen-zuki!

 

Phillip lands a punch. Giles translates a millisecond too late...

 

GILES
Punch him!

 

 

BUFFY
Thanks Giles!

 

 

GILES
Sorry.

 

Now Phillip is coming at her from behind...

 

TRAVERS
Ushiro-geri! Empi-uchi!

 

Buffy spins, trying to sense where Phillip is...

 

GILES
Back-kick! Elbow soup?-Elbow strike!

 

 

TRAVERS
(to Giles)
How have you been training her?

 

 

GILES
I've been training her to win.

 

 

BUFFY
Know what? I'm gonna have to do this
my way, guys.

 

Phillip is bringing the ax down on top of her. She plants a foot in his side hard and manages to grab the ax and wrench it out of his grasp. It flies and THE AX EMBEDS ITSELF IN THE DUMMY'S HEAD. The force sends the dummy sliding. It hits Nigel and falls over on top of him.

 

NIGEL
Oh!

 

Buffy rips off her blindfold to see:

NIGEL

Lying on his back under the dummy, the ax blade through its head suspended right over his face.

PHILLIP

Holding his side.

 

PHILLIP
I think she broke my rib.

 

GILES

Trying to smile at her encouragingly, but just looking pained.

 

TRAVERS
Well.

 

 

BUFFY
I didn't mean to... I can do better.
I think I'm getting this inner-ear
infection and maybe if I get a note
I could try again later...?

 

 

TRAVERS
That's all right. I don't think we
need to see any more physical tests
for a while. We can move on to the
real review. Look into your strategies
and plans, figure out what's going on
in that head.

 

 

BUFFY
Oh good. Head stuff.

 

 

TRAVERS
We start at seven tonight. Give you
time to... well, however you prepare.

 

Buffy tries not to look terrified.

INT. BUFFY'S HOUSE - FOYER AREA/LIVING ROOM - DAY

Buffy unlocks the front door, enters. She looks tired.

 

BUFFY
Mom?

 

She drops her backpack onto the floor and turns into the living room, head down. She almost bumps into someone. She raises her head. Glory is standing right in front of her.

 

GLORY
Long day, Sweetie?

 

BLACK OUT

 

END OF ACT TWO

 

Act Three

INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

Continuous. Buffy stands shocked, face to face with Glory.

 

GLORY
So this is where the Slayer eats and
sleeps and combs her hair. So cute.
I can't even stand it.

 

She breezes past Buffy, taking in the living room, talking all the while. As she passes, Buffy doesn't move a muscle. Only her eyes shift slightly.

Buffy's P.O.V As Glory talks, we see a FIREPOKER just standing there...

 

GLORY
Personally, I need more space, but
this is good for you. It's so quaint and...

 

Buffy casually edges behind the oblivious Glory, who's on the other side of the room. Buffy reaches for the firepoker.

 

GLORY
(mock scolding)
Tsk. Buf-fee....

 

Buffy looks up to see Glory is now standing right in front of her.

 

GLORY
If I wanted to fight, you could tell
by the being dead already.

 

Glory gently takes the firepoker away from Buffy, puts it back, and sits down.

 

GLORY
So play nice, little girl.

 

 

BUFFY
What do you want?

 

 

GLORY
The Key. Why else do you think I'd
come here? See, I think you know where
the Key is.

 

 

BUFFY
Glad you think so.

 

 

GLORY
Well, it is the only thing keeping
you alive right now. 'Cause you
may be tiny Queen in Vampire World,
but to me? You're a bug.

 

As Glory talks, Buffy's eyes go just a little bit wide. We see what she sees:

DAWN has just entered the living room, behind Glory. Seeing the look on Buffy's face, Dawn gets something's up, and freezes.

 

DAWN
(silent, mouthing)
"What?"

 

Glory keeps talking, oblivious.

 

GLORY
You should get down on your knees,
and worship me.

 

Without moving her head, Buffy shifts her eyes toward the kitchen door.

Dawn takes a step in that direction. Buffy nods almost imperceptibly. Dawn takes another step. Keeps going as Glory talks. Buffy keeps her eyes on Glory.

 

GLORY
But you still thinks it's "neat"
having Slayer strength. Ooh,
big deal, stronger than humans.
Phht. Who isn't?

 

Dawn is almost out of the room...

 

GLORY
I could crush the life from you as
easy as you'd break a nail. But
I need the Key.
(suddenly)
Kid.

 

Dawn freezes. Glory puts a hand out to Dawn without looking back. She just knows she's there.

 

GLORY
C'mere a sec.

 

Dawn hesitates.

 

BUFFY
Leave her out of this.

 

 

GLORY
Not asking twice...

 

 

BUFFY
This is between you and me.

 

 

GLORY
(mock patience)
No... this is between me and my Key.
You just happen to be the thing in the way.

 

Glory SNAPS her fingers sharply, still not looking back. Dawn, arms folded and looking creeped out, steps forward. Glory looks at her for the first time.

 

GLORY
And you - are just the darlinest
think I ever did see in my life.
What's your name, honey?

 

 

DAWN
Dawn.

 

 

GLORY
Dawn. Did you know your sister took
my Key, Dawnie? And she won't give
it back. Bet you know where she put
it, don't you?

 

 

BUFFY
She doesn't know anything.

 

 

DAWN
I know some stuff.

 

 

GLORY
Bet she takes your things all the time
without asking, huh? Where's my Key, Dawn?

 

 

BUFFY
(to Dawn)
Go upstairs.

 

Dawn looks from Buffy to Glory. Dawn takes a step back, heading out.

 

DAWN
You're always talking about stuff I'm
not supposed to hear. I'm gonna figure
it out, you know!

 

Dawn leaves. Buffy

 

GLORY
I like her, she's sassy.
(beat)
And I'll kill her. Kill your Mom.
Kill your friends. Make you watch
when I do.
(shrugs)
Just give me the Key. Either you
have it, or you know where to find it.

 

She rises.

 

GLORY
Obviously, this is a one-time only
deal. Next time we meet, something
you love dies bloody. You know you
can't take me. You know you can't stop me.

 

Glory heads for the door.

 

GLORY
Oh. And the next time you have
guests? Little plate of sugar
cookies. I'm just saying.

 

Glory leaves, shutting the door behind her. Beat. Buffy just sits there, trying to think, when JOYCE enters.

 

JOYCE
Buffy, who was that?

 

 

BUFFY
(eyes on the door)
Pack a bag.

 

INT. SPIKE'S CRYPT - DAY

We see a closeup of SPIKE, sleeping peacefully in his crypt. The beam of a flashlight dances over his face. He wakes up with a start, ready to fight.

 

SPIKE
Aah!
(then, relaxing)
Oh, it's the Slayer. For a second
there I was worried.

 

Reverse to show Buffy holding a flashlight on Spike. Standing just behind her are Joyce and Dawn.

 

SPIKE
So, what can I do you for?

 

Buffy takes Spike aside, roughly, by the arm.

 

BUFFY
I need your help.

 

 

SPIKE
Great! I need your cash.

 

 

BUFFY
I'm serious.
(sotto, intense)
You have to look after them.

 

 

SPIKE
Well, that's a boatload of manly
responsibility to come flying out
of nowhere. What's the matter,
Slayer? Not feeling a hundred percent?

 

 

BUFFY
(caught)
No, I...

 

 

SPIKE
They didn't put a chip in your head,
did they?

 

 

BUFFY
No...

 

 

SPIKE
Be funny if they did.

 

 

BUFFY
I need an answer. Now. In or out, Spike?
(beat)
You're... the only one strong enough to
protect them.

 

Spike's eyes narrow.

 

SPIKE
What's in it for me? Mind, I've seen
what your gratitude's like. I still
prefer the Benjamins.

 

 

BUFFY
I'll find the money.
(then)
I can't handle this alone.

 

 

SPIKE
Hmm. Guess not. All right then.
(to Joyce & Dawn)
Ladies. Come on in. Plenty of blood
in the fridge, don't be shy.

 

 

DAWN
You mean like, real blood?

 

 

SPIKE
What do you think?

 

 

DAWN
Mostly I think, "Eew!"

 

 

BUFFY
Mom, keep Dawn here as long as you can.
I'll be back soon as I can.

 

She takes Spike aside.

 

BUFFY
I know I don't have to tell you this, but...

 

 

SPIKE
Yeah, yeah... "anything happens to
them, I'll stake you good and proper."
Sing me a new one sometime, eh?
That bit's gone stale.

 

Buffy considers her choice of retorts. Decides there are none. She leaves. Spike turns to Joyce and Dawn, who both look about as out of place as two people can. Long, awkward pause as the three of them just stand there with nothing to say. Then:

 

JOYCE
I love what you've neglected to do
with the place.

 

 

SPIKE
Just don't break anything and don't
make a lot of noise - "Passions" is
coming on.

 

 

JOYCE
"Passions?" Ooh, do you think
Timmy's really dead?

 

Spike turns on his television.

 

SPIKE
No, no - she can just sew him back
together. He's a doll, for God's sake.

 

 

JOYCE
What about the wedding? There's no
way they're going through with that.

 

Dawn rolls her eyes as Joyce and Spike make themselves comfortable before the electric blue glow of the TV set.

INT. MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Lydia and Nigel inventory stock behind the counter. Giles and Quentin sit at the table, Phillip standing behind them - putting books in boxes. The Scoobies sit up on the balcony, legs hanging over like gawkers at a trial.

 

XANDER
Look at them. Big tough Council
members, picking on the books.

 

 

WILLOW
Fascists.

 

 

TARA
Why doesn't Mr. Giles just boot 'em
all out of here?

 

 

XANDER
'Cause if they deport him, they're
not just destroying his career - they're
condemning the man to a lifetime diet
of blood sausage, bangers and mash.

 

Quentin Travers looks at his pocket watch and frowns. He restores the watch to his vest pocket, turns to Giles.

 

TRAVERS
Your Slayer is twenty minutes late
and counting, Rupert.

 

 

GILES
Buffy will be here, I assure you.

 

Beat.

 

TRAVERS
When?

 

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Buffy rushes down the street. Not running, but walking fast, aware of the time. She checks her watch.

 

BUFFY
Crap.

 

She hustles faster. She round a corner on her way to the Magic Box when - WHOMP! - She is tackled out of frame.

ANGLE ON: Buffy leaping to her feet. Something BIG just tackled her. Humanoid, but impossible to tell what it is, because a leathery HELMET covers the things face.

The thing punches her. Buffy hits the ground, rolls, and comes up in the same motion in her fight-stance. She concentrates on the guy in front of her.

TWO MORE appear behind her, carrying quarter-staffs, all three identically dresses creatures inching forward, surrounding Buffy, ready to attack...

Buffy looks around her, sizing up the situation. This is the last of many straws in her very bad day. She's not about to snap - more like about to fold.

 

BUFFY
Guys? Is there any way we could not do this?

 

As in response, Buffy gets PUNCHED IN THE FACE.

They mysterious men all close in on her.

BLACK OUT.

 

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Continuous. Buffy surrounded by three masked men, all of them closing in at once.

The LEAD GUY, holding a SWORD, swings it over Buffy's head. She ducks - just in time to avoid getting decapitated.

The other two come in from the sides, each swirling deadly quarter-staffs.

She turns to face one - and the other HITS her hard behind the knees. She drops to the ground. The masked man she's facing viciously BATS her in the face.

Buffy lands hard on her back. Stunned, she looks up just in time to see the Lead Guy bringing his sword down upon her.

Buffy rolls out of the way - the sword just misses her.

Buffy flips to her feet as one of the quarter-staff guys brings his stick whipping around - but this time - Buffy CATCHES the staff in mid-blow.

Grasping the end of the stick, she shoves it forward and KNOCKS her attacker in the face with it.

Once, twice, three times in rapid succession. He's out.

Buffy squares off with the other two. Sword guy circles around her one way, staff-guy circling around the other way. Buffy waits for it, timing it...

They both strike at once. Buffy grabs sword-guy's arm at the wrist just as he comes thrusting at her. Using his own sword, she cuts staff-guy's staff in half.

Buffy then round-house kicks the staff-guy in the head, knocking him cold. Grabs a fallen quarter staff and attacks the swordsman.

He staggers back. She kicks the sword from his hand. It clatters to the tarmac.

Buffy tackles him hard onto the ground, jams the staff up against his windpipe, crushing the breath out of him.

 

BUFFY
All right, let's see...

 

Buffy reaches down, still crushing the thing's throat, and grabs its mask from the bottom, just below the jaw.

 

BUFFY
...what you are.

 

She RIPS the mask off the thing - to reveal it is a ruggedly handsome MAN in his late thirties. There's an arcane symbolic TATTOO on his forehead, matching ones on each cheek.

This is ORLANDO.

 

ORLANDO
Go on, Slayer - kill me. But know
that my death will only buy you more time.

 

 

BUFFY
Okay - who are you?

 

 

ORLANDO
One soldier in a vast army.

 

 

BUFFY
(whoa)
What "army..."

 

 

ORLANDO
The Knights of Byzantium.
An ancient order. And now, your enemy.

 

 

BUFFY
You work for Glory?

 

 

ORLANDO
You think we ally ourselves with the Beast?
You must be mad.

 

 

BUFFY
You're the ones, tried killing me.

 

 

ORLANDO
We were fools.
(small laugh)
Three alone. But if it takes a hundred men,
we send the hundred. And if it takes a
thousand, we send them too. So long
as you protect the Key, our brotherhood
will never stop until we destroy it. And you.

 

 

BUFFY
(softly, to herself)
You'd send a thousand...

 

 

ORLANDO
You are the Slayer. We know what we
must do. Now be done with it. Kill us,
and let Legions follow.

 

Buffy thinks. Picks up Orlando's sword. Then lets him stand.

 

BUFFY
Go.

 

He does. Buffy watches him - then looks at the sword, something forming in her mind.

INT. MAGIC BOX - NIGHT

Everyone is as we left them. The room is silent but for the work of The Watchers. Buffy enters, tired, contemplative, with the sword in her hand.

 

TRAVERS
You're late.

 

Buffy answers distractedly, still focused on the sword.

 

BUFFY
Yeah.

 

 

GILES
Was there an attack..?

 

 

BUFFY
Yeah.

 

 

TRAVERS
Well. We can begin the review at last.
We'll skip over the more obvious--

 

 

BUFFY
There isn't going to be a review.

 

 

TRAVERS
Sorry?

 

She's very calm, really, unnervingly so. She hoists the sword as she speaks, holding it up in front of her and laying it gently on the table, pointy end directly at Travers.

 

BUFFY
No review. No interrogation, no questions
you know I can't answer, no hoops, no jumps...

 

Nigel is about to speak. Buffy turns to him before he gets a sound out--

 

BUFFY
...and no interruptions.
(to them all)
See I've had a lot of people talking
at me, last few days. People just
lining up to tell me how unimportant
I am. And I finally figured out why.

 

She is stepping closer to the table, so she is really above Travers now.

 

BUFFY
Power. I have it. They don't.
This bothers them.
(strolls about a bit)
Glory came to my house today--

 

There is a murmur of the crowd, some shock, concern, disapproval--

 

GILES
Buffy, are you all--

 

 

BUFFY
--Just to talk. Tell me I'm a bug,
I'm a flea, she could squash me in
a second... Only she didn't squash
me. She came to my house and she
talked. We had what in her warped
brain probably passes for a civilized
conversation. Why? Because she
needs something from me. Because
I have power over her.
(to the various Watchers)
You didn't come all the way from
England to determine whether I'm
good enough to be "let back in."
You came to beg me to let you
back in. To give your jobs, your
lives, some semblance of meaning again.

 

 

NIGEL
Oh, this is beyond insolence--

 

The reason he doesn't finish the sentence is the sword Buffy whips off the table and hurls across the room, that sticks into the shelf inches from his head. A beat.

 

BUFFY
(eyeballing him)
I'm fairly certain I said no interruptions.

 

ANGLE: The gallery where the kids sit. Lovin' life.

 

XANDER
(quietly)
That was excellent.

 

ANGLE: BUFFY

 

BUFFY
You're Watchers. And without a
Slayer you're pretty much just
watching Masterpiece Theatre.
You can't stop Glory. You can't do
anything with the information you
have on her except publish it in the
"Everyone Thinks We're Insano's
Home Journal." So here's how it's
going to work. You're gonna tell me
everything you know. Then you're
gonna go away. You'll contact me
if and when you have more information.
The magic shop will stay open, and
Mr. Giles will stay here as my official
watcher, reinstated at full salary.

 

 

GILES
(coughs into his hand:)
--retroactive--

 

 

BUFFY
--to be paid retroactively from the
month he was fired. I'll continue
my work, with the help of my friends...

 

 

LYDIA
I... I don't want a sword thrown at
me, but civilians... we're talking
about children.

 

 

BUFFY
I'm talking about two powerful
witches and a thousand year old
ex-demon.

 

 

ANYA
Willow's a DEMON?

 

But nobody notices that part. Phillip looks at Xander.

 

PHILLIP
The boy? No power there.

 

 

BUFFY
"The Boy"s clocked more field time
than all of you combined. He's part
of the unit.

 

 

WILLOW
(to Xander, softly)
That's Riley-speak.

 

 

XANDER
(quiet pride)
I've clocked field time.

 

 

BUFFY
(to all the Watchers)
You may all be very good at your jobs.
The only way you're ever gonna find
out is if you work with me. You can
all take your time thinking about that,
but I want an answer right now from Quentin.
(turning to him)
'Cause I think he's understanding me.

 

The echo of his own words is not lost on Quentin. He pauses, as Buffy waits.

 

TRAVERS
Your terms are acceptable.

 

WHOOPING AND CLAPPING from the gallery, that dies down after a few moments--

 

TARA
Sorry. Sorry.

 

--and a quiet smile from Giles, that expresses even more.

Buffy sits across from Travers. Says quietly, and not unkindly:

 

BUFFY
See? No begging.

 

 

TRAVERS
Rupert, when we inventoried your shop,
we found a bottle of single malt scotch
hidden behind the incense holders.

 

 

GILES
Well, it's not that, during working hours--

 

 

TRAVERS
I think I could use a glass.

 

A moment for Giles to recover -- it's him and Travers accepting each other (but it's short).

 

GILES
(starting to rise)
I suppose a few of us wouldn't mind a--

 

 

BUFFY
Just a minute.

 

Even Giles responds to the authority in her, sitting again without comment.

 

BUFFY
Glory. I wanna know.

 

 

TRAVERS
There's a lot to go through...

 

 

BUFFY
I just want to know what kind of
demon I'm fighting.

 

 

TRAVERS
Well, that's the thing. Glory isn't
a demon.

 

 

BUFFY
What is she?

 

 

TRAVERS
She's a god.

 

A beat, as everyone takes this in. Buffy particularly.

 

BUFFY
Oh.

 

BLACK OUT.

 

END OF SHOW