Band Candy

Written by: Jane Espenson
Directed by: Michael Lange

This episode was originally broadcast on November 10, 1998. Transcribed by: Alexander Thompson


~~~~~~~~~~ Prologue ~~~~~~~~~~

Sunnydale cemetery at night. The camera is high above and angled down sharply on Buffy sitting on a blanket with her legs covered by another one, and Giles behind a nearby gravestone. He has a book open and reads from it as the camera pans down and pulls in until it is level with him.

Giles: 'And on that tragic day, an era came to its inevitable end.' That's all there is. Are you ready?

Buffy: Hit me.

Giles: Which of the following best expresses the theme of the passage? A) Violence breeds violence, B) All things must end, C)...

Buffy looks down at her answer sheet and fills in a bubble with her No. 2 pencil.

Buffy: 'B'. I'm going with 'B'. We haven't had 'B' in forever.

Giles: (exasperated) This is the SATs, Buffy, not connect-the-dots. Please pay attention. A low score could seriously harm your chances of getting into college.

Buffy: Gee, thanks. That takes the pressure right off.

Giles: This isn't meant to be easy, you know. It's a rite of passage.

Buffy: Well, is it too late to join a tribe where they just pierce something or cut something off?

Giles: Buffy, please concentrate. (looks back at his book)

She sees a vampire approach behind him.

Buffy: Roll!

She tosses her notebook and answer sheet off of her lap and scrambles out from under her blanket and to her feet.

Giles: (looks up) What?

He sees her rushing toward him, instantly realizes that he needs to get out of the way and shoulder rolls onto the ground out of danger. Buffy vaults herself over the gravestone, finishing in a roundoff to the ground, and without a moment's hesitation side kicks the advancing vampire in the stomach. He goes flying backward, landing hard on his back. Buffy rushes him, grabs his legs and pushes them up, forcing him into a back roll away from her. The vampire ends up in a standing position and tries to punch her, but misses her entirely. She tries a punch, but he middle blocks her and takes a swing with his free hand at her face. She ducks both it and the next punch he throws. She straightens back up and roundhouse kicks him in the side, but he keeps his balance and tries to roundhouse kick her in turn. She ducks it, and his momentum carries him around in a spin. He comes to a stop facing her and tries to punch her in the face, but she grabs onto his arm and blocks his next punch. He brings his free hand up again, but she smashes her forearm down to block it. Seeing an opening, Buffy takes her pencil and stabs him cleanly in the chest. She pulls it back out, and the vampire bursts into ashes. Buffy starts back to her blanket. She looks
at the tip of her pencil and sees that it's broken.

Buffy: Hmm. I broke my No. 2 pencil. We'll have to do this again sometime.

Giles extends his hand to her holding a sharpened No. 2 pencil.

Giles: C) All systems tend towards chaos.

She flips her broken pencil at him and snatches the new one from his hand. Giles watches her old pencil fly by him and hit the ground next to him. Buffy sits back down cross-legged on her blanket and picks up her notebook and answer sheet.

Buffy: I just know that us and the undead are the only people in Sunnydale working this late.

She pouts up at Giles and waits for him to start reading again.

Cut to Sunnydale City Hall.

Mayor Wilkins: I appreciate you coming.

Cut inside to the Mayor's office. He's leaning on the backrest of his chair, smiling. He starts to walk out from behind his desk.

Mayor Wilkins: I realize it is early... for you... but I think you'll agree that this matter is urgent, (stops next to Trick) also...

Trick: I'm a very delicate person.

Mayor Wilkins: So you feel you can handle this?

Trick: (inhales) It's a little out of my element, but I can get you what you need. I know a beast who knows a guy.

Mayor Wilkins: (heads over to a wall cabinet) Are you sure that subcontracting is the way to go here?

Trick: Well, this guy's worked your town before, and if he lives up to his rep, (smiles) this place'll be in flames.

Mayor Wilkins: I've made certain deals to get where I am today. This demon requires his tribute. (unlocks the cabinet) You see, that's what separates me from other politicians, Mr. Trick.

He opens the cabinet. The shelves are full of occult paraphernalia: skulls, a fetus preserved in a bottle, various urns and chests, a shrunken head, the bones of a forearm and hand, and various tools of the trade. Trick looks uneasily at all of it from his vantage point by the Mayor's desk.

Mayor Wilkins: I *keep* my campaign promises.

He reaches in and takes out the shrunken head. He pulls on the tuft of hair at the top, and a small section of the head pulls open and folds back on the leathery skin. The Mayor takes a quick sniff from the hole and closes the flap of skull and skin again.

Mayor Wilkins: Where'd I put that Scotch? (looks around)

Opening credits roll. Buffy's theme plays.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 1 ~~~~~~~~~~

The quad at Sunnydale High. Buffy, Willow and Oz appear at the top of the outside stairs and start down.

Buffy: And then I was being chased by an improperly filled-in answer bubble screaming, 'none of the above!'

Willow: Wow. I hope that wasn't one of your prophecy dreams. (gets a look from Buffy) Probably not.

Oz: Hey, you know, I took it last year. I could help you get ready. There's this whole trick to antonyms, but... this isn't the place.

Willow: Oz is the highest-scoring person ever to fail to graduate.

They reach the bottom of the stairs and continue to walk along the colonnade.

Buffy: Isn't she cute when she's proud?

Oz: She's always cute.

Cordelia and Xander come out through the breezeway and walk behind them.

Willow: We could work on it tonight.

Xander: Work on what tonight?

Cordelia: Oh, God. Are we killing something again?

Buffy: Only my carefree spirit.

Oz: Buffy SAT prep.

Willow: Oz is helping. (smiling proudly) He's the highest-scoring...

Cordelia: (interrupts) We know. We did the impressed thing already.

Willow frowns.

Xander: I hate they make us take that thing. It's totally fascist, and personally, I think it, uh, discriminates against the uninformed.

Cordelia: Actually, I'm looking forward to it. I do well on standardized tests.

She gets looks from everyone.

Cordelia: What? I can't have layers?

Cut to the hall doors near the cafeteria. The group enters.

Willow: So, Buff, study tonight?

Buffy: Uh, yes on the studying, no on tonight. I'm putting in Mom time. She's been drastic ever since I got back. And Giles is even worse. I'm supervised 24-7.

They turn into the cafeteria.

Buffy: It's like being in the Real World house, only real.

Willow: Hmm.

They see a table piled up with boxes of Milkbar fund-raiser chocolate bars. Other students are each taking a box as Snyder checks their names off on his clipboard.

Willow: Ooh, candy bars! Lots of 'em!

Snyder holds out a box.

Xander: Principal Snyder, thank you! (takes the box) You weren't visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, by any chance?

Snyder: It's band candy.

Buffy: Let's hear it for the band, huh? Very generous.

Snyder: You will sell it to raise money for the marching band. They need new uniforms.

Xander: Yeah. Those tall, fuzzy hats ain't cheap, huh?

Oz: But they go with everything.

Willow smiles at that.

Buffy: I'm sure we love the idea of going all Willy Loman, but we're not in the band.

Snyder: And if I'd handed you a trombone, that would've been a problem, Summers. (holds out a box) It's candy. (she takes it) Sell it.

He walks off leaving them all staring at their boxes.

Cut to the kitchen at Buffy's house. She and her mother are eating Chinese food for dinner at the island.

Joyce: But you're not in the band.

Buffy: And yet.

Joyce: Buffy, what would I do with forty chocolate bars?

Buffy: You could hand them out at the Gallery. 'Buy something Pre- Columbian, get a free cavity.'

Her mother considers, and decides it can't hurt to at least help.

Joyce: Twenty.

She hands her daughter back the box.

Buffy: You're a good mom. (sets down the box)

Joyce: I'm the best.

Buffy: (picks up her glass) No, I'm pretty sure the best moms let their daughters drive.

She takes a sip of her water, eyeing her mother hopefully.

Joyce: And yet.

Buffy: (sets down her glass) Oh, come on!

Joyce: (gets up) Look, let's not have this conversation. (goes to the fridge)

Buffy: But I took the class. I watched the filmstrips with the blood and the death and the corpses. I'm prepped.

Joyce: (opens the fridge) Honey, (grabs the water jug) you failed the written test. (pours herself more) They wouldn't even let you *take* the road test. (puts the water back)

Buffy: That was a year ago. And I don't test well... she said, two days before the SATs.

Joyce: (comes back to her seat) I spend enough time not knowing where you are. (sits) I don't wanna add to that the possibility that you're on the highway to Chicago. (takes a drink)

Buffy: (dumbfounded) I can't believe you. I'm *not* taking off again. (shrugs) Besides, if I wanted to, I could just get on a bus.

Joyce: Stop. (inhales) Don't. (exhales and looks at Buffy intensely) I just don't want you driving, okay? I want you here.

Buffy: (widens her eyes) I'm here. Hmm? (picks up her egg roll) See me here. (takes a bite) Mm-hm?

Joyce nods and turns back to her plate.

Buffy: (with her mouth full) Mm... I gotta go. (gets up and grabs her box of candy bars)

Joyce: What, you're going out?

Buffy: (turns back at the door) Giles. Slay-study double feature. Could be late.

Joyce: Again? Honey, don't you think Mr. Giles is monopolizing an awful lot of your time?

Buffy: And does he ever say he's sorry?

Cut to the library. Giles is tying a blindfold tightly around Buffy's head.

Buffy: Ow!

Giles: Sorry.

Buffy: Why do I put up with this?

Giles: Because it is your destiny... (walks around her) and because I just bought twenty 'cocorific' candy bars. (hands her a large rubber ball)

Buffy: Okay, you're just doing this to take funny pictures of me.

Giles: (walks around her) I'm doing it to test your awareness of an opponent's location during a fight in total darkness. Now, wait five seconds and then throw the ball at me.

He silently backtracks and takes several steps away from her toward the cage.

Buffy: You ran out of new training ideas about a week ago, huh? Okay. Five, four, three, two, one.

She turns around and faces the door to Giles' office. He smiles, thinking she's completely clueless as to where he is. Buffy throws the ball. It hits the wall high above the checkout counter and bounces off.

Giles: It's not that simple, is it...

The ball bumps him in the side of the head.

Giles: Ow. Ahem. Yes, well, very good.

Buffy: (takes off the blindfold) Thanks! (heads out of the library)

Giles: W-w-w-where are you going? We have to patrol!

Buffy: (stops and faces him) I can't. Mom's in hyperdrive. She wants me home tonight. I told you. (starts out again)

Giles: But, I...

Buffy: (stops by the door) I know, I know. She's out of control. Enjoy the candy! (leaves)

Giles looks at the swinging library door for a moment, considering her odd behavior.

Cut to Angel's mansion. Cut inside. The door to the atrium is open. The camera slowly tracks toward it. Soon a shirtless Angel is in view, practicing the slow, elegant forms of T'ai Chi. He brings his arms down together in front of him and then over to his right. As he brings his left arm up across his abdomen, he crosses his right arm over his left. His motions remains fluid as he slowly moves his left arm out in front of him, palm up, and extends his right arm out to his side. He draws his arms together again, this time crossing his left arm over his right and repeats a mirror image of his last move. Never stopping his motion, he
brings both hands to his waist, palms facing forward, and slowly raises his right arm and sweeps it across in front of himself, palm down, while he sweeps his left arm across below his right, palm up. Buffy walks into the doorway and stops just to watch him, amazed at the fluidity and smoothness of his motions. Angel doesn't notice her, and continues the exercises. He has his arms extended, his left hand angled up sharply from his forearm, and his right hand clasping the heel of his left. He
brings them around in a broad sweeping motion toward Buffy and then raises them, separates them and spreads them apart with his palms facing away from him. He raises his head as he does so and sees Buffy standing there watching him.

Angel: Buffy.

She looks down briefly, slightly embarrassed to be caught watching him like that, and then looks up at him again with a little smile on her lips.

Buffy: I didn't know you could do that.

He gives her the briefest glimpse of a small smile as he tries to straighten himself up from his slightly bent stance.

Angel: I-I'm feeling better.

He can't maintain his posture, and bends back over, supporting himself with his right hand on his knee. Buffy rushes to his aid.

Buffy: Angel...

She gets under his left arm and helps him stand up straight.

Buffy: Let's... get you inside.

They slowly make their way back into the mansion. Cut inside. There is a warm fire going in the fireplace. Buffy picks up a small paper bag as they go past the coffee table in front of it.

Angel: It's late. How'd you get away?

Buffy: Aw, it was easy. Started a fire in the prison laundry room. Rode out in the garbage truck.

They stop and let go. Angel faces Buffy, not sure what to make of that.

Angel: Oh.

He sits on the edge of the couch.

Buffy: I'm joking. (raises her right hand and waves it) No garbage. Smell me.

She steps closer to him, but stops. Angel just looks up at her. She lowers her arm and sighs. She puts the bag down next to him and steps over to an adjacent couch set at a right angle to his, and sits also, but very stiffly. Angel leans back on his cushions.

Angel: How is, uh... Scott?

Buffy: Scott? (smiles weakly and looks down) Oh, um... boyfriend Scott. Uh... (inhales deeply) A-actually, he's not... (looks up at him) He's fine. (exhales and nods)

Angel gives her a little nod. Buffy indicates the bag she left next to him.

Buffy: Uh, that's for you.

Angel reaches for it.

Buffy: Uh... I-it's fresh from the butcher.

Angel: Thanks.

He reaches in and takes out a quart-sized plastic tub of blood. He gives it a brief look, then slips it back into the bag and sets it aside. Buffy looks away shyly, knowing he doesn't want to eat in front of her.

Angel: You're being careful, right?

Buffy: (looks up surprised) With Scott?

Angel: The slaying.

Buffy: Oh. (smiles and exhales) Uh... Yeah. Of course. (nodding a lot) Full of carefulness.

Angel: (looks down) I worry about you. (looks at her)

Buffy: (pauses briefly) I worry about *you*.

He stares down again for a moment, stroking the cushions.

Angel: I'm getting stronger.

Buffy: (gives him a little smile) Yeah, pretty soon, you won't even need me.

Angel: (nods a little) That'll be better.

Buffy: (unsure how to take that) Yeah.

They continue to sit in silence.

Cut to Buffy's house. She opens the front door and comes in. She swings it closed behind her and sets her books down on the table by the coat rack. She turns around and is startled by her mother standing by the stairs and looking at her unusually calmly while rubbing her fingers over a chocolate bar in her hands.

Buffy: Hey! (thinks fast) Uh, sorry I'm late. You know Giles. All slay, all the time.

Giles steps into view from the dining room with his arms crossed and a stern look on his face.

Giles: Hello, Buffy.

Buffy: (gestures into the living room) Do you guys wanna watch some television? I hear there's a very insightful Nightline on.

Joyce: Buffy, you lied to us. And you made us into your alibis. That's... playing us against each other, and that's not fair.

Giles: I called Willow. (Buffy is at a loss) You also lied to her about your whereabouts. We were all concerned.

Joyce unwraps her chocolate bar and holds it out to Giles to take a piece.

Giles: Oh, thank you. (breaks off a piece)

Buffy: Look, I'm sorry, but I had to...

She turns around and walks into the living room. Joyce follows her, and Giles also a few paces behind.

Joyce: Were you at The Bronze? What was happening there that was so important?

Buffy stops, lets out an exasperated sigh and turns to face her mother.

Buffy: (gestures and shrugs) Bronze things. Things of Bronze.

Joyce chews on a piece of her chocolate bar.

Joyce: (condescendingly) You're acting really immature, Buffy.

Giles: (also chewing) I know I'm not your parent, but I am responsible for you. I think your mum's right. (sits on a couch armrest)

Buffy: Okay, fine. I'm acting like a child. Maybe that's because you're both treating me like a child.

Joyce: (sounding hurt) Buffy!

Buffy: You're both scheduling me twenty-four hours a day. Between the two of you, that's forty-eight hours. (Giles takes off his glasses) I just wanna be able to make a few decisions on my own.

Joyce: The last time you made a decision on your own, you split. (pops another piece of candy)

Buffy: Yeah, and I took care of myself. I don't need this much active parenting.

Joyce: (incredulous) You can't really be trying to use this summer as a reason you should be trusted. (eats another piece)

Buffy: You can't babysit me all the time. I need you to back off a little.

Giles: (holds up his hand) Uh, alright, come on. Let's, let's not, uh, freak out.

Buffy: (taken aback) 'Freak out'?

Giles: Mm-hm. (stands up) Uh, I think you should go to bed. (puts his glasses back on) Um, we're all tired.

Buffy just looks at the two of them as though they're crazy. She faces away for a moment and then walks off to her room. Her mother watches her go, shaking her head.

Joyce: Oh, she just drives me crazy!

She sighs and crumbles up the end of the candy wrapper and drops it onto the coffee table. Giles scratches his head and steps back over to the couch to sit. Joyce goes to join him.

Joyce: I just want to protect her.

They both sit down. The camera lowers its angle.

Giles: Don't all parents want that?

He reaches into his jacket pocket to pull out a candy bar of his own. There is an entire box of them on the coffee table next to various picture books. He starts to unwrap his bar.

Joyce: Yeah, but at least most parents have some idea what to protect their children from.

Giles: Yeah. And I think we should both be especially careful.

He breaks off a piece, sticks it into his mouth and hands the rest to Joyce.

Joyce: Mm.

She takes a piece and munches on it. Giles reaches into the box on the table for yet another bar.

Cut to the Milkbar factory, makers of "The Best Chocolate Bar", according to the box. A worker opens the top box of an as yet unsealed case and reaches in for a bar. He pulls back the outer wrapper, looks around to see if anyone is watching, and starts to peel back the foil when suddenly Ethan Rayne comes up behind him and puts his hand on his shoulder.

Ethan: Trust me. (steps around the worker to face him) You don't want to eat that.

Ethan walks off as the worker quickly puts the bar back into its box before it gets sealed for shipping.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 2 ~~~~~~~~~~

Study hall in the science classroom. A boy throws a wad of paper at another.

Boy: Think fast.

The target boy almost manages to catch the paper, snags it as it's about to roll from the table and sets it aside. A moment later he takes it again and looks back at the boy who threw it, watching for an opening. The camera closes in on Cordelia and Buffy sitting at the table behind him.

Cordelia: (sighs) I heard that there was a secret rule that if a teacher's more than ten minutes late, we can all leave.

Buffy: (looks up from studying) It's Giles' turn to watch study hall. He'll be here. (looks back at her book) He's allergic to late.

Cordelia: (sighs) He is wound a little tight. I had this philosophy book checked out from the library for, like, a year, and he made me pay the fine, even though it was huge. (Buffy gives her a look) I was sad to return it. (smiles) It was perfect for starting conversations with college boys. (lets out a little laugh) Of course, that was B.X.

Buffy: B.X.? (gets a nod from Cordelia) Before Xander. Clever.

They both go back to their studying. Willow and Xander are at the table behind them. Xander is busy munching on a chocolate bar. The books in front of him are closed.

Xander: I like chocolate. (Willow looks at him) There is no bad here.

Willow: You still have some left? (shrugs) I went to, like, four houses, and they were gone. It's like Trick-or-Treating in reverse.
(smiles at him)

Xander: I know. These things are selling like hot cakes... (they look at each other) which is ironic, 'cause the hot cakes really aren't moving...

The camera descends below the lab table. Their knees are touching. They each dangle a leg from their stools and brush them against each other.

Xander: And it's, uh, ahem, fun to sell chocolate. Ahem.

Willow rubs her calf along Xander's shin. Cut back above.

Willow: And we're raising a lot of money for the band.

Xander looks back and forth between Willow and his chocolate bar a few times, then focuses on his candy. Willow plays with her pencil while looking at her book.

Xander: The band. Yeah. They're great. They march.

Cut below the table. They continue to rub their legs together.

Willow: Like an army. (cut above) (very distracted) E-e-except with music instead of bullets, and... usually no one dies.

Cut below. They rub their shoes against each other with their legs still crossed. Cut above. Cordelia suddenly turns to face them.

Cordelia: I can't believe this.

Cut below. Willow and Xander immediately whip their legs apart. Cut above. They both hit opposite legs of the table and make it lurch with a loud thunk and pray that they haven't given themselves away.

Cordelia: Where is Giles already? I'm bored, and he's not here to give me credit for it.

Buffy looks over at the classroom door, suddenly concerned.

Cut to the halls. Principal Snyder and Ms. Barton are walking toward the classroom. Snyder has a chocolate bar in his hands.

Snyder: The big pinhead librarian didn't show up, and I don't wanna do it. (points at her with his candy bar) You do it.

Ms. Barton: Alright, fine. I'll do it.

She turns to go into the room and rolls her eyes.

Snyder: (to himself) Everybody expects me to do everything around here because I'm the principal. (starts to walk) It's not fair.

Cut into the science room. Ms. Barton comes in and claps her hands a few times to get the students' attention.

Ms. Barton: Hey! We're all stuck here, okay? So now let's just sit quietly and, (indicates a book on the teacher's desk and smiles) and pretend we're reading something (Buffy is confused) until we're really sure that old Commandant Snyder's gone. Then we're all outta here! (smiles widely)

Xander: Does anyone else wanna marry Ms. Barton?

Cordelia: Get in line.

Willow: I guess Giles isn't coming?

Buffy: (very concerned) I guess not.

Cut to outside Giles' apartment. Buffy walks up to the door and stops. She peers in through the view port, sees Giles and goes in. Cut inside. Giles is crouched by a cabinet where he keeps his vinyl record collection, looking at an album. Buffy comes in and closes the door behind her. The sound gets Giles' attention, and he looks up.

Giles: Buffy.

He slips the record into the cabinet. The camera cuts behind him and slowly pans right past his couch where Joyce is sitting.

Buffy: (walks in) Uh... sorry. I... I was just worried. You were a big not-there in study hall, and after your lecture to me on not ducking out... (confused) and what is my mother doing here?

Giles steps over to Joyce.

Giles: (with a mouth full of chocolate) We had an opportunity for, um, you might say, a summit meeting. It took priority over study hall. I called in.

Buffy: (still confused) Oh.

Joyce: We decided that you made a good point earlier, honey.

She and Giles both nod.

Buffy: I did. Yeah. (very confused now) Which was...?

Joyce: A-about us overscheduling you. (looks to Giles for support)

Giles: Pulling you in two directions, (sits on the coffee table) uh, your home life and your duties as a Slayer.

Buffy: Oh. That was a good point.

Joyce: We're working out a coordinated schedule for you.

Giles: It'll be tight, but, uh, I think we can fit in all your responsibilities. (smiles)

Buffy: (gives them an uncertain smile) Sounds nice and structured.

Joyce: We've got more work to do here, honey. Why don't you give us a little more time?

Giles gets up and walks over to the fireplace mantel to stare at a picture. Joyce reaches into her purse, pulls out her car keys and stands up.

Joyce: Um... Take the car, and, um, Mr. Giles can drive me home. (holds out the keys)

Buffy: (wide-eyed) What? (smiles and shakes her head) Excuse me, I meant what?!

Joyce: Keys. Take them.

Buffy: You don't have to tell *me* twice. Well, actually, you did, but... (snatches the keys) bye! (rushes out)

Joyce: Bye, honey. Drive careful.

Buffy: (opens the door) Uh-huh!

She runs out the door without looking back, pulling it closed behind her. Joyce turns to face Giles.

Joyce: Do you think she noticed anything?

He turns to face her. A cigarette dangles from his lips. He lights his lighter.

Giles: No way!

He holds the flame to his cigarette. Joyce smiles and reaches down for a bottle that she had squirreled away under the end table. She twists off the cap. Giles closes his lighter and takes a drag. He takes the cigarette out of his mouth and takes a deep breath.

Cut to a residential street later that night. Buffy and Willow are driving along in Joyce's Jeep.

Willow: Tell me again how it happened.

Buffy: Told my mom I wanted to be treated more like a grownup, and voila: (smiles) driviness.

She takes a corner without slowing down, and skids around it. That shakes up Willow, and she begins to breathe nervously.

Buffy: Also, I think she wanted me otherwhere. Considering my mom and Giles are planning my future, I think it's easier for them to live my life if I'm not actually there.

Willow: (notices the parking brake) Do you know that you have the parking brake on?

Buffy: Uh-huh.

She releases the parking brake. The engine suddenly begins to rev much higher, and they accelerate.

Willow: (nervously) Are, are you sure about The Bronze? I mean, the SATs are tomorrow.

Buffy: I can study at The Bronze. (smiles) A little dancing, a little cross-multiplying. (smiles wickedly) You know what we need?

She reaches over, turns on the radio and begins to turn the station dial. In the process she bends over too low to see over the dashboard.

Willow: Eyes on the road! Eyes on the road!

While changing stations, Buffy doesn't realize that she is pulling on the steering wheel, and the car makes a wide left turn, but fortunately onto another road, and so doesn't hit anything.

Cut to Giles apartment. He's lying on his back on the floor, coat and tie gone, shirt unbuttoned to reveal his undershirt, getting ready to light a pair of cigarettes as he grooves to the sound of Cream singing" Tales of Brave Ulysses" on vinyl playing on his record player. Joyce is sitting cross-legged in front of his record cabinet looking through his albums as she grooves also.

Joyce: You got good albums.

Giles: Yeah, they're okay. (lights the cigarettes)

Lyrics: And the colors of the sea bind your eyes with trembling mermaids

Joyce: Do you like Seals and Croft?

Giles turns his head to give her a look.

Lyrics: And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses

Joyce: Yeah, me neither.

Giles hands her one of the smokes.

Lyrics: How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing

Joyce: Thanks. (takes a drag)

Lyrics: For the sparkling waves are calling you

Joyce: So how come they, uh, call you Ripper?

Lyrics: To kiss their white-laced lips

Giles: (sits up) Wouldn't you like to know.

The song goes into a guitar riff between verses.

Giles: Hmm, wait a minute. Listen to this bit.

He gets into it, smiling, bobbing his head and waving his cigarette to the beat. Behind him Joyce takes another drag.

Giles: It rocks!

Lyrics: And you see a girl's brown body

Joyce: It's good.

Giles gets up and goes to look into the mirror above the record cabinet.

Giles: Man, I gotta get a band together.

He starts running his fingers through his hair.

Lyrics: Dancing through the turquoise

Joyce: (stands up) Hey, Ripper, you wanna watch TV?

Lyrics: And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea

Joyce: (leans against the cabinet) I know how to order pay-per-view.

Giles: (takes off his outer shirt) No, let's go out and have some fun.

Lyrics: And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body

Giles: Tear things up a bit.

Joyce: Okay. We could go to The Bronze.

Lyrics: Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind

Giles: Not bloody likely. That place is dead.

Cut to The Bronze. A guy has his head tilted back as the bartender pours orange juice and vodka directly into his mouth. His friends surround him and goad him on. There are unusual numbers of older people there. Dingoes Ate My Baby (Four Star Mary) is on the stage performing" Violent". The dance floor is very crowded with people of all ages. Even the older couples are dancing to the beat of the band. On stage Devon dances around to the lead-in. Just before the song begins he leans over to Oz.

Devon: Hey, they're diggin' us, man!

Cut to Willow and Buffy coming into The Bronze. They look around at the unusual mix of people in the crowd.

Lyrics: The strangest things / I've always known

Oz sees Willow and smiles.

Lyrics: It slays me every time

Willow and Buffy give each other very amazed and concerned looks.

Lyrics: Darkened fields / Have overgrown

Willow and Buffy continue through the crowd.

Buffy: Let's do the time warp again.

Lyrics: You want to lay me out?

Willow: Maybe there's a reunion in town or, or a Billy Joel tour or something.

Lyrics: Tie me down? / Tie me

Ms. Barton walks past the two girls.

Buffy: Ms. Barton?

Ms. Barton: (stops and faces her) Buffy? Whoa!

Lyrics: Our love

Willow: Are you okay, Ms. Barton?

Lyrics: Covered in my blood

Ms. Barton: (smiles widely) Oh, I'm cool, Willow. (realizes) Willow... That's a tree. (giggles) You're a tree!

Willow and Buffy exchange a look.

Lyrics: Is so violent

Ms. Barton: (looks around) Yeah, uh, uh, are there any nachos in here, little tree?

Lyrics: Our love

Buffy: A-are you sure you don't need some fresh air, Ms. Barton?

Ms. Barton: (laughs hysterically) Okay... (goes into the crowd)

Lyrics: Covered in my blood

Willow: Hey, this is not normal.

Buffy gives her a look.

Lyrics: Is so violent

Willow: Uh, w-well, maybe that goes without saying.

Snyder spots them from behind and comes up between them.

Snyder: (smiling hugely) Hey, gang! (puts his arms around the girls' shoulders) This place is Fun City, huh? (laughs)

Buffy: Principal Snyder?

Lyrics: Shake this scene / another one

Snyder: Call me Snyder. Just a last name, like... (trying to be cool)

He lets go of the girls and pumps his arms and fists around wildly. Willow leans slightly away from him.

Snyder: Ooh! I'm so stoked!

Willow has no idea what to make of this. Snyder comes back down from his outburst and lets out a breath.

Lyrics: It plays me every time

Snyder: Hey, did you see Ms. Barton? I think she's wasted.

Lyrics: We're not that green

Snyder: I'm gonna have to put that in her next performance review 'cause... (smiles) 'cause I'm the principal! (laughs)

Lyrics: We're overdone

Snyder turns around and heads back into the crowd.

Lyrics: You want to lay me out?

Willow: (to Buffy) I don't like this. They could have heart attacks.

Lyrics: Tie me down?

Buffy: Uh, well... ma-maybe there's a doctor here.

An older, shirtless man jumps up onto the stage, pushes Devon away from the microphone stand and yells out into the crowd.

Man: (yelling) Yeeeeaaaaaah!

Willow: I think that *is* my doctor.

The man jumps from the stage expecting to be caught by the crowd, but they don't react fast enough, and he slams into the floor. Willow and Buffy both cringe at the sight.

Willow: He-he's usually less... topless.

Snyder sticks his head between the girls.

Snyder: I got a commendation for being principal. (impressed with himself) From the Mayor! (gestures) Shook my hand twice.

Buffy: That's nice.

Snyder nods and inhales deeply. Two attractive women walk past them with drinks. Snyder makes eyes at them.

Snyder: Whoa! There are some foxy ladies here tonight!

He heads off after them. Buffy and Willow walk in the other direction.

Willow: What's happening?

Buffy: I don't know, but it's happening to a whole lot of grownups.

They stop by the stairs. Willow looks around at the crowd.

Willow: They're acting like a bunch...

Buffy: They're acting like a bunch of us.

Lyrics: Our love

Willow: (confused) I don't act like this.

Lyrics: Covered in my blood

Cut to the Milkbar factory. Boxes of chocolate bars keep rolling off of the line. Trick and Ethan walk through the shipping area.

Trick: Demand's high.

Ethan: I thought it might be.

Trick: That's the reason I love this country. You make a good product, and the people will come to you. Of course, a lot of them are gonna die, but that's the other reason I love this country.

They stop walking, and Trick steps over to the man inspecting the boxes before they get sealed.

Trick: Hey! Don't sample the product.

Man: But I didn't.

Trick grabs him by the overalls, pulls him into a headlock and jerks his head around, breaking his neck and throwing him to the floor. Ethan looks away in distaste. Trick straightens his jacket and checks his pinky ring. They continue to walk.

Ethan: Okay. Uh, how did you know he was...

Trick: I don't. Now I know no one else will. (checks his watch) We're getting close. (to a line worker) Keep it flowing. (to Ethan) It's almost feeding time.

He walks off leaving Ethan standing there staring after him. After a moment Ethan heads back the way they came.

Cut to The Bronze. The Dingoes are between sets, and Oz has joined Willow and Buffy. They all observe the crowd. "Slip Jimmy", by Every Bit of Nothing, plays in the background.

Buffy: Something's definitely changing them.

Willow: A spell?

Oz: They're teenagers. It's a sobering mirror to look into, huh?

Snyder walks by, sees Oz and stops.

Snyder: You've got great hair.

He walks around Oz, smiling and staring at his hair. Suddenly the music stops and a group of older men start singing "Louie Louie" up on the stage. They are off key, out of sync and basically just plain terrible, but the crowd dances to them anyway.

Old men: Louie Louie / Oh, baby / We gotta go / Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah / Louie Louie / Oh, baby / We gotta go / Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

An old nerd walks by as Buffy and Oz stare.

Willow: It just gets more upsetting.

Several older couples on the dance floor kiss passionately.

Old men: Louie Louie / Oh, baby / We gotta go / Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Buffy: No vampire has ever been (points at the stage) *that* scary.

Old men: Louie Louie / Oh baby / We gotta go

Behind them a man staggers through the crowd, drunk and munching on a chocolate bar. He bumps into another man. They face each other and begin to pick a fight.

Patron: Fight!

Snyder turns to face the group, smiling and nodding his head vigorously.

Snyder: Fight!

Willow lets out a helpless sigh. Buffy starts to head out.

Buffy: We've gotta figure out what's going on. This has Hellmouth fingerprints all over it.

Willow and Oz follow her. She stops by a pinball machine where she sees a woman hold out a candy bar to her boyfriend. He takes a huge bite while he keeps playing the game. Their pause gives Snyder a chance to catch up after noticing they are leaving.

Snyder: Hey, where are we going?

The four of them leave the club. Cut outside. The three teenagers rush out and head for Joyce's car. Snyder is still inside.

Snyder: Wait up, you guys!

He comes out the door.

Snyder: Hey! You guys aren't trying to ditch me, are ya?

Buffy, Willow and Oz get into the Jeep. Snyder follows them.

Oz: We should find Giles. He'll know what's going on, right?

Snyder runs up to the passenger side of the car, and seeing the places are taken, he goes around to the driver's side.

Buffy: Sure. Except for all we know, he's sweet sixteen again. (pulls on her seat belt)

Willow: He's with your mom at his place.

Buffy starts the car. Snyder opens the door behind her and gets in.

Snyder: I said, wait up! (slams the door)

Oz: Uh, Snyder...

Buffy: No time. He's coming with us.

She puts the car in gear and slams on the gas, burning some rubber in her hurry to get going.

Snyder: Whoa, Summers! You drive like a spaz!

Cut to a residential street. Two father types, one in his Volvo, the other in his Hyundai, are gunning their engines and munching on chocolate while waiting for the light to turn green. They look over at each other and nod and smile in anticipation of their race. They both take big bites out of their bars. A moment later the light turns, and they're off, tires screeching loudly as they race across the intersection and down the street.

Cut to a playground in a park. The mailman is sitting on the carousel reading other people's mail. He laughs while he reads, then opens another one. Behind him couples are necking and chasing each other around. Near the jungle gym a couple of guys toss a Frisbee around.

Cut to a street. Buffy and company come driving along at a fast clip. Cut inside the car.

Willow: It'll be okay when we get to Giles'.

Oz: Of course, I mean, even if he's sixteen, he's still Giles, right? He's probably a pretty together guy.

Willow: (worried) Yeah, well...

Oz: What?

Buffy: Giles at sixteen? Less Together Guy, more Bad-Magic-Hates-The- World-Ticking-Time-Bomb Guy.

Oz: Well, then I guess your mom's in a lotta trouble.

Snyder raises his eyebrows and nods.

Cut to the shopping district. Giles and Joyce walk along with their arms around each other.

Joyce: Must be exciting being from England. (chews her gum)

Giles: Not particularly. (kicks a can) You cold? (takes a puff of his cigarette)

Joyce: Nah-uh. I feel... special, like I'm just waking up, kinda.

Giles: Oh, yeah?

Joyce: Yeah, like, uh, getting married and having a kid and everything was just a dream, and now things are back like they're supposed to be.

Giles: Yeah?

They walk past a boutique with some retro clothes on display in the window, and stop to look. Joyce spies a feathered wrap.

Joyce: That's cool! (nods, smiles, chews) Very Juice Newton.

Giles: (checks his hair in the reflection) You fancy it?

Joyce: Yeah, but the store's closed.

Giles takes a final drag from his cigarette, then tosses it aside. He grabs a trashcan and idly swings it toward the store's display window. Joyce quickly steps away. The glass shatters and falls everywhere when the can hits, and an alarm goes off. Joyce smiles widely and giggles hysterically while Giles climbs in and takes the wrap off of the mannequin. He grabs the hat from the mannequin as well and sets it on his head. Joyce looks around to see if anyone is coming. Giles comes back out and hops down to the sidewalk from the window opening.

Giles: Woo-hoo!

Joyce: Oh, Ripper! Wow, that was sooo brave!

He helps her on with the wrap. Suddenly a policeman appears behind them and aims his gun at them.

Officer: Hold it!

Giles and Joyce freeze.

Cut to an intersection. The camera starts high, showing that the light is green, and pans down to the gang driving along. Cut inside the car.

Snyder: This is great! Let's do doughnuts in the football field, huh?

They head into the intersection. Another Jeep comes in the other direction. The driver is too busy trying to get a chocolate bar
unwrapped to realize that his light is red.

Willow: Oh, my God, look out!

They all tense up for the impact. The other Jeep hits them hard on the left rear door and back panel, making them spin around a quarter turn.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 3 ~~~~~~~~~~

The street in front of the boutique. The police officer has his Beretta 9mm aimed at Giles, who lets go of Joyce to face him. Joyce backs away slowly. Giles takes the hat from his head and tosses it aside. He steps toward the officer and waves his arms around, taunting him.

Giles: Ooo... Copper's got a gun!

He jumps around a bit, taunting the officer some more.

Giles: You'll never use it, though, man.

Officer: Will so.

Giles spies a candy bar in the officer's front jacket pocket.

Joyce: Ripper, be careful!

This distracts the officer, and Giles bats his gun-holding hand aside, grabs it and holds onto it as he head-butts the older man in the forehead and knees him in the crotch and again in the gut. The cop doubles over in pain. Giles twists the officer's arm up above his head and takes the Beretta from him, and then knees him in the face. The cop falls over unconscious. Giles sticks the gun into the back of his pants.

Giles: Told him he'd never use it. (smiles)

He sashays coolly over to Joyce as she leans against the police car.

Joyce: You are sooo cool. (laughs) You're like Burt Reynolds.

In a flash Giles has one hand around her neck and the other around her back. She startles and gasps, but doesn't struggle. Instead she takes the gum out of her mouth and they kiss passionately. Giles leans her back over the hood of the car. The camera follows her down and continues until it comes to rest on the emblem of the Sunnydale Police Department on the side of the car.

Cut to Buffy's accident site. The two Jeeps are stopped side by side facing in opposite directions. The driver of the other Jeep quickly gets out.

Man: Sorry! Gotta go!

He runs off laughing as Buffy and the others get out of her mother's car. Her first instinct is to chase the man, but she lets him go and looks at the dent in the car.

Buffy: Oh, God.

She closes her door. Snyder swings his door closed as well, but it won't shut properly anymore.

Buffy: Are you guys okay?

Snyder nods as he also looks at the dents. Willow and Oz walk around the car.

Willow: Is anybody else all creeped out and trembly?

Off to the side they see three men sitting in the playground, laughing and smoking.

Snyder: Oh, Buffy... (rubs his shoulder) Your mom's gonna kill you.

Buffy looks at the other side of the street and sees five guys hanging out by a tree.

Buffy: Something's weird.

Oz: Something's not?

Buffy: No grownups.

Two women strut past the men by the tree, munching on chocolate. The guys give them catcalls. Snyder starts to unwrap a bar of his own.

Buffy: No one's protecting their houses. Everyone's just... wandering.

A man runs up behind Snyder, grabs his chocolate bar and runs off with it.

Snyder: Hey!

Willow and Oz stare at the man as he runs away.

Snyder: Hey, give it! (goes after the man)

Willow: Defenseless.

Buffy: So where are all the vampires?

They all consider this strange dilemma.

Buffy: Soup's on, but no one's grabbing a spoon.

Oz: Something's happening... someplace that's else.

Buffy: I'd say something big.

Snyder: (returns upset) That guy took my candy!

Buffy suddenly gets it, and gives Willow and Oz an astonished look.

Buffy: The candy. I-it's gotta be the candy! It's cursed.

Willow and Oz exchange a look.

Snyder: (worried) A curse?! Oh, I've got a curse.

Willow: God, using candy for evil!

Oz: My parents ate a ton.

Buffy looks at Snyder and jumps at him, pushing him up against the other Jeep.

Buffy: Who's behind it?

Snyder: (confused) I don't know. It came through the school board. (shakes his head) If you knew that crowd...

Buffy: (losing her patience) Where did it come from? Do you know where to get it?

Snyder: Yeah.

Buffy: (to Willow and Oz) You guys get Xander and Cordelia. Go to the library and look it up.

Oz: Candy curses?

Willow: Disturbing second childhood. Got it.

She takes Oz's hand, and they start on their way.

Buffy: (to Snyder) Ratboy and I are going to the source.

She shoves him toward the car.

Cut to the loading dock behind the Milkbar factory. Two men have cases of chocolate open and are throwing them out into a crowd. The camera pans over the crowd, which is getting larger and rowdier by the minute, past Giles and Joyce, who are into some serious snogging, and comes to rest on Joyce's Jeep as Buffy pulls it to a screeching halt. She and Snyder get out and march over to the crowd. Just as she passes her mother and Watcher, Buffy stops in her tracks. She turns to face them.

Buffy: Mom? Giles?!

Giles: (not skipping a beat) Go away. We're busy.

Buffy: Mom!

She pulls her mother away from her Watcher.

Joyce: Hey!

Buffy: (shocked) Where did you get that coat? Never mind. Listen...

Giles grabs her arm and turns her to face him.

Giles: Back off!

Buffy: Giles, think about this. You wanna fight me, or you wanna let me talk to my mother?

Giles realizes he wouldn't have a chance against her and backs down, yanking his hand from her and up to the side of his face, where he grabs a cigarette from behind his ear. Buffy turns back to her mother as Giles puts the cigarette into his mouth and reaches into his pocket for his lighter.

Buffy: Mom, look at me. Do you know who I am?

Giles lights his smoke.

Joyce: (smiles) Of course. You're Buffy. (looks over at the crowd) Hey, look. They're, they're giving away candy. You want some candy?

Buffy: No, I don't! And you don't need any more, either.

Joyce: (very annoyed) I'm fine. I can have more if I want.

Buffy: You are *not* fine. You need to go home.

Joyce: (angry now) Screw you. I want candy!

Buffy: Mom!

Joyce: You wanna slay stuff, and *I'm* not allowed to do anything about it. Well, this is what *I* wanna do, so get off my back!

Buffy: Mom, please, this is...

Giles: (reaches for Joyce) Oh, for God's sake. (pulls her away) Just let your mum have the sodding candy. C'mon, Joyce...

Buffy holds her mother back and points at her black Jeep Cherokee.

Buffy: Mom, look at your car. Look at that dent the size of New Brunswick. I did that.

Joyce can't believe her eyes. Behind her Giles takes a drag on his cigarette.

Joyce: Oh, my God. (grossed out) What was I thinking when I bought the *Geek* Machine?

Giles busts up laughing. Buffy can't believe her response. She gives up and steps over to Giles.

Buffy: Listen to me. You need...

Giles: (interrupts) No, you listen to me. (points at her) I'm your Watcher, so you do what I tell you. (points at the Jeep) Now, sod off!

Buffy grabs the cigarette from his mouth, throws it down and stomps it out.

Buffy: (sternly) Take her home.

She heads for the crowd. Giles grabs Joyce's hand and starts after her.

Giles: Joyce...

Buffy pushes her way through the crowd toward the loading dock. She steps up on a crate and dispatches one of the men tossing candy to the crowd by punching him in the back of the knee. He crumples and falls off of the end of the dock. Buffy log rolls onto the platform and flips up to her feet. The other man throws away the box of candy bars he just grabbed, and Buffy ducks, thinking that it's being thrown at her. The man tries to punch her, but she punches him in the side and then backhand punches him in the face, following up with two more punches to the gut and the face. She ducks his attempt at a punch and roundhouse kicks him in the back, knocking him into the factory wall. She grabs onto his shirt, spins halfway around and launches him off of the dock and into the air towards another wall. He hits it hard and slides to the pavement. She sees Giles and her mother at the base of the dock stuffing chocolate bars into their pockets, and goes over to them.

Buffy: Mom!

She grabs her by the arms and pulls her up.

Joyce: Hey!

Giles: (looks up) Oy! You leave her alone!

Buffy kicks in the door to the factory as Giles hops up onto the dock. He follows Buffy and Joyce into the building. In the crowd Snyder sees them go.

Snyder: Hey, Brit-face! Wait up!

He scrambles to join them.

Cut inside. Buffy pulls her mother into the shipping area and lets go of her.

Buffy: Stay.

The place is piled to the ceiling with cases of Milkbars. Buffy looks around to see what she can find. Across the room from the conveyor where the boxes are sealed, she sees a man on a phone, listening. He's there alone. Giles and Snyder come into the shipping area behind her.

Snyder: It smells so chocolatey.

Buffy approaches the man on the phone.

Giles: This is far out.

The man starts talking into the phone.

Ethan: Yeah, I've been out there. Town's wide open. You guys can go anytime.

Buffy immediately recognizes the voice and crosses her arms as she closes the distance between them.

Buffy: Ethan Rayne.

He turns to face her, and his eyes go wide with surprise. Upon hearing the name, Giles approaches him also. Joyce is close behind. Together the three of them make an imposing sight.

Ethan: (into the phone, nervously) Might wanna hurry.

Giles: Ethan.

Ethan: Ripper.

He wastes no time breaking into a fast run. Buffy and Giles give immediate chase. Ethan runs under the inclined end of the conveyor and pulls a rack behind him to block their way, but the two of them just jump over the low end of it instead and continue the chase.

Cut to the library. Oz and Xander are up in the stacks researching while Cordelia and Willow sit at the table looking through the more promising volumes.

Cordelia: At first it was fun, you know? They seemed like they were in this really good mood--not like parents--and then...

Willow: Badness?

Cordelia: Mom started borrowing my clothes. There should be an age limit on lycra pants. And Dad, he just locked himself in the bathroom with old copies of Esquire.

Xander comes down to the table with a couple more books.

Xander: I don't get this. The candy's supposed to make you feel all immature and stuff, but I've had a ton, and I don't feel any dif...

He gets looks from the girls.

Xander: Never mind.

He holds the two books out for Willow to choose.

Willow: I'll take that one.

She takes hold of a book, but her thumb ends up on Xander's, and they both feel the electricity between them as they allow the touch to linger longer than it needs to. They look at and then away from each other. Willow finally pulls the book from Xander's hand, and he heads back up the stairs with the other one. Cordelia stares into her book while Willow follows Xander with her gaze.

Cordelia: You wanna swap?

Willow: (startled) What? (confused) Swap?

Cordelia: You wanna swap? This book is really thick, (trades with Willow) and I'm not sure it's in English.

Willow goes back to her research, relieved that Cordelia didn't mean boyfriends.

Cut to the Milkbar factory. Ethan runs through the maze of cases of candy bars. He reaches the end of an aisle and turns left. Buffy and Giles rush to keep up. They make several twists and turns, and finally Buffy comes around a corner to discover that she's lost him. Behind her Giles stops running, too, and breathes heavily to catch his breath.

Giles: Where... Bloody Hell!

Buffy: That's what smoking will do to you. Now be quiet.

Giles: Well... Where'd the bastard go?

Buffy: (annoyed) Shh!

She looks around and listens carefully. She goes around a corner and stops.

Giles: What?

Buffy pretends to go on, but then suddenly does a half-spinning hook kick into a crate. She yanks away a chunk of wood, reaches in and pulls Ethan's head out.

Buffy: Look. A box full of farm-fresh chicken.

Ethan gives her a nervous smile, but it quickly fades.

Cut to Snyder and Joyce sitting on the conveyor. They are both munching on chocolate bars.

Joyce: Do you suppose they're okay?

Snyder: (chewing) Mm-hm. (keeps chewing) So... (chews) are you two kinda... (smacks his lips) like, um... (looks at her knees) goin' steady?

Joyce rolls her eyes, sighs and hops down from the conveyor to get away from him. Snyder watches her go, sticks another piece of chocolate into his mouth and lets out a deep sigh.

Cut to Buffy confronting Ethan.

Buffy: So, Ethan, what are we playing? We're pretty much in a talk-or- bleed situation. Your call.

Giles: Hit him.

Buffy glares at him for an instant, then looks back at Ethan.

Ethan: I-I'd just like to point out that this wasn't my idea.

Giles paces behind Buffy.

Buffy: Meaning...?

Ethan: I'm subcontracting. It's Trick you want. I'm just helping him collect a tribute... for a demon.

Giles: He's lying. Hit him!

Buffy: I don't think he is, and shut up.

Giles: (excitedly) You're *my* Slayer, (points at Ethan) go knock his teeth down his thr...

Buffy: (interrupts) Giles!

He turns away from her and continues pacing.

Buffy: (to Ethan) What demon?

Ethan: I don't remember.

Buffy punches him solidly in the nose. He stumbles back against the broken crate. Giles jumps and swings his fist through the air.

Giles: (smiles) Yes!

Buffy gives Giles a glaring look. He loses his smile.

Ethan: Lurconis. Demon named Lurconis. They wanted a way to get the tribute away from people.

Buffy: So you're just Diversion Guy?

Ethan: More than a diversion. Well, they said the tribute was big, so big that people would never let them take it. That people had to be out- of-it. And later on, when the candy wore off, they'd blame themselves.

Buffy: (sighs) Hence, land of the irresponsible. So, where's Trick?

Ethan: I don't know exactly.

Giles: Hit him again.

Buffy holds up her fist and gives Ethan a threatening look.

Ethan: (wards her off with his hand) No! I-I-I really don't know. Delivering the tribute.

Buffy: (steps closer) Which brings us to the bonus question, and believe me when I say a wrong answer will cost you *all* your points.

Behind her Giles leaps up joyously with a huge smile on his face, anticipating a good fight.

Buffy: What's the tribute?

Cut to the maternity ward at Sunnydale General Hospital. The phones are ringing off the hook and all of the circuits on the switchboard at the nurse's station are flashing. The nurse just ignores it all and watches her small television. Four vampires boldly enter the hall and walk right past the nurse. She doesn't even notice them. They turn down another hall, very sure of where they are headed. They reach the room where the newborns are kept and walk straight in. Each of them carefully takes a
crying baby from its crib. They walk out of the ward in single file, gently holding the babies in their arms.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 4 ~~~~~~~~~~

The Milkbar factory. Ethan is leaning against a table while Snyder crouches nearby, keeping an eye on him. Buffy is on the phone with Willow at the library.

Buffy: Right. Lurconis.

Willow: (cut to her) Lurconis. A demon. What's his deal?

Buffy: See if it says anything about a tribute.

Willow: A tribute? Like what?

Buffy: (cut to her) I don't know. (looks at Ethan) My source is all tapped out.

Snyder: (to Ethan) She whupped you good, huh? (throws two punches) Yah! Wah! (stands up proudly) I can do that. I took Tae Kwon Do at the Y.

He goes into a series of kicks and punches, grunting with each one as he advances toward Joyce, trying to impress her. She just rolls her eyes, looks away and sighs, unimpressed. Snyder realizes it didn't work and leans against the wall. Joyce blows a bubble with her gum.

Buffy: (into the phone) No, no. It's definitely a demon. A big one.

Ethan spies a crowbar on the table, and being unguarded now, reaches for it and begins to advance toward Buffy. Giles notices his advance. He pulls back the hammer on his stolen Beretta and points it at Ethan's neck.

Giles: I wouldn't.

Ethan stops cold in his tracks. Buffy turns around and swings the telephone receiver hard into Ethan's chin. He spins down to the floor, dropping the crowbar. Giles aims the gun at the back of Ethan's head, execution style. Buffy hands the phone to her mother.

Buffy: Giles, give me the gun. (holds out her hand)

He just stares at Buffy and doesn't give in.

Buffy: (stares back) Giles...

He keeps the gun aimed right where it is. Joyce talks into the phone.

Buffy: (sternly insistent) Now.

After another moment Giles reluctantly gives up his weapon. Buffy stuffs it into the back of her pants. Joyce holds the phone out to Buffy.

Joyce: Uh, it's, um, it's Willow. She wants you real bad.

Buffy: (takes the phone) Uh-huh?

Cut to the library. Oz points into a book that he's just brought over to Willow.

Willow: (into the phone) Okay, Oz just found it. (reads) 'The tribute to Lurconis is made every thirty years.' (paraphrases) I-it's a ritual feeding. A-and this one's late, so it's probably, you know, a big meal.

Oz points to another paragraph.

Willow: Oh. (reads to herself) And... (digests the information and recoils) Oh. Lurconis eats babies.

Cut to the factory. Buffy immediately hangs up and starts to go.

Buffy: Come on. (takes her mother's hand)

Joyce: Well, what about that man?

Buffy turns to see Giles holding the crowbar over Ethan, who is still on the floor.

Buffy: Uh, see if you guys can find something to tie him up with.

Joyce: Um...

She reaches behind her and pulls out a set of handcuffs, dangling them from her thumb and giving her daughter a sheepish but mischievous look.

Buffy: *Never* tell me.

She grabs the cuffs and heads over to Ethan. Joyce follows her with her gaze and smiles.

Cut to Sunnydale General. Cut to the maternity ward. Buffy holds an identification wristband left behind in one of the empty cribs. The camera pans up from her hand to Joyce. Giles is outside the room talking with the nurse on duty.

Nurse: (in the background) I didn't see anything. I don't *know* where they are.

Joyce: (sad and worried) Something's gonna eat those babies?

Nurse: (in the background) What can *I* do?

Snyder: I think that is so wrong. (shakes his head)

Nurse: (in the background) Get off my back about it! (stalks off shaking her head)

Giles comes into the room.

Giles: She says she never saw who took them. DOzy cow.

Buffy: I *know* who took them.

Giles: Well, then let's do something. Let's find the demon and, and... kick the crap out of it.

Snyder: Is that what happens now?

Buffy: Yeah, if we knew where they were. (paces)

Giles suddenly remembers a passage from a book and quotes it.

Giles: 'Lurconis dwells beneath the city, filth to filth.'

Buffy: (stops pacing) What?

Giles: Ooo! (faces her) I know this. (tries to remember more) Uh... I knew this. 'Lurconis' means... (thinks) 'glutton'. And we'll find it, um... (thinks, shrugs) in the sewers.

Joyce: The sewers? (goes to Giles for a hug)

Snyder: Uh, good. You go do that thing with the demon, and I'll stay here in case the babies, you know, uh... find their way back.

Joyce: (lets go of Giles) (sadly) The babies must be so scared.

Giles: (to Snyder) You filthy little ponce. (steps toward him and challenges) Are you afraid of a little demon?

Snyder: If you want to splash around in the poo, (shoves Giles) you're the filthy one!

Giles shoves him back.

Buffy: (gets between them, very annoyed) Okay, you know what? Everybody just stop it! (to Snyder) Okay, listen to me. (to Giles) I need help, okay? Giles, I need grownups.

Snyder and Giles continue trying to stare each other down.

Buffy: These children are gonna die if we don't act now, okay, and think clearly. (gets Giles' attention) There is no room for mistakes. Besides which... you guys are just wigging me out.

Snyder gives in and looks away. Giles gives him one last stare, and then steps back over to Joyce.

Giles: Sorry.

Joyce: We'll behave.

The two of them hug again.

Buffy: Good. (to Snyder) Snyder, go home.

Snyder: I can do that. (leaves)

Buffy: (turns to face Giles) Giles, we're going to the sewers.

She sees him kiss her mother, and she cringes.

Buffy: And don't do that! (stalks out of the room)

They break off their kiss and reluctantly follow her.

Cut to the sewers. The camera pans from a round storm drain tunnel into a large chamber lit by firelight from torches and candles. Mayor Wilkins is standing in the back to observe the ritual. He takes out his cell phone and dials his secretary. Trick is nearby watching the four vampires who stole the children as they chant in Latin. They are dressed in red robes, standing on the wide concrete rim of a small pool. One of them steps down with a shallow bowl of water taken from the pool and
begins to anoint each of the babies with it. All but one of the babies are quiet.

Trick: (to himself about Lurconis) Come on, big guy. They're not getting any fresher.

The camera pans across the four babies. The Mayor's secretary finally answers her phone.

Mayor Wilkins: Carol. Hi. Yeah. (looks around the sewer) Call Dave on the public works committee tomorrow about sewer maintenance and repair. I have some concerns regarding exposed gas pipes, infrastructure, ventilation. And, uh... cancel my 3:00.

The last two babies are anointed. Suddenly Buffy drops down from above through a manhole. The Mayor turns his head to face her.

Buffy: Hi.

She moves to start her attack. Behind her Giles climbs down a few rungs of the ladder and drops down the rest of the way. The robed vampires quickly move to attack them. Mayor Wilkins makes a hasty retreat. The first vampire swings wildly at Buffy, but she ducks him, and his momentum carries him past her. She roundhouse kicks the second one and turns back to the first one and shoves him away from her. He smashes into the ladder. Turning back to the second one, Buffy delivers another
roundhouse kick. The first one tries to kick her from behind, but she middle blocks him and roundhouse kicks him in the side. Giles and Joyce run over to the table with the babies and wheel it away. The Mayor makes his escape down the tunnels. The third vampire does a jumping roundhouse kick, which Buffy easily ducks. The second lunges at her, but she jumps into the air between them and lands behind them. The third one throws a punch at her, which she quickly middle blocks. The second one swings at her, and she ducks it and punches him in the face. She punches the third one in the face, does a half spin and hits the second one in the face with a backhand punch. He goes staggering backward into Trick. Buffy pulls out a stake. Giles and Joyce get the babies to a safe distance, where Giles leaves them and goes back to the fight. Trick shoves the second vampire off of him, who then goes stumbling toward Giles. Giles clumsily front snap kicks him in the face, and he goes flying right back
into Trick. The first vampire tries to attack Buffy again, but she cleanly stakes him, and he bursts into ashes. She immediately takes a step to her side, back middle blocks the third one as he tries to grab her from behind and stakes him. He begins to fall to his knees and explodes into ashes. The second vampire is up again and ready to attack. Buffy side kicks him, and he flies backward onto the rim of the pool and back rolls into the water. Suddenly they all hear a deep rumbling. The vampire tries to get up out of the water. They keep listening to the rumbling as it gets louder. The vampire climbs onto a pedestal in the
middle of the pool.

Giles: What the hell's that?

The vampire gets to his knees. Just then a huge demon snake appears through another tunnel by the water. It sees the vampire on the pedestal, engulfs him and retreats back into the tunnel.

Buffy: Lurconis, I'm thinking.

Trick: Ordinarily, I like other people to do my fighting for me, but I just gotta see what you got.

Buffy: Just tell me when it hurts.

She starts to advance on him, but Giles rushes past her and pushes her back.

Buffy: Giles! No!

He throws a solid left to Trick's face, but he isn't fazed. He grabs Giles by the shirt and throws him into the pool. Trick makes a dash for it. Giles starts to climb out of the water at the rim of the pool. The rumbling starts again, quicker this time. Buffy looks around frantically for a way to stop the demon. She spies a gas pipe above her, and leaps up to grab it. It breaks under her weight, and gas begins to hiss out of it. Giles is out of the water now and rolls over the rim of the pool and down to the floor. Buffy angles the gas pipe into one of the torches, and it bursts into flames. She aims it at Lurconis, and the snake demon
rears back and screams in pain. Joyce watches in terror. Buffy waves the pipe around until Lurconis is engulfed in flames. She pushes the gas pipe aside as the demon retreats back into its tunnel, screaming. Above her Trick smiles down through the open manhole.

Trick: You and me, girl. (Buffy spins to face him) There's hard times ahead.

He gets up and makes himself scarce.

Buffy: (exhales) They never just leave. Always gotta say something.

Joyce comes out of the shadows and over to Buffy.

Joyce: Can we go home now?

Giles gets up, soaked to the skin.

Buffy: Yeah, we can go home. I've got the SATs tomorrow.

Joyce: Oh, blow them off. I'll write you a note. (goes back to the babies)

Buffy: No. It's okay. (joins her mom)

Joyce: Poor babies. Come on...

Giles goes over to help as well.

Cut to the Mayor's office. Trick is sitting while Mayor Wilkins paces behind him.

Mayor Wilkins: And your friend?

Trick: Paid him. The man did his job. No reason to burn that bridge.

Mayor Wilkins: This didn't turn out the way I had planned.

Trick: Where's the downside? You just got yourself one less demon you have to pay tribute to. The way I see it, I did you a favor.

Mayor Wilkins: (smiles at Trick) I guess you did.

He puts his hands on Trick's shoulders and leans in close to his ear.

Mayor Wilkins: In the future... I'd be *very* careful how many favors you do for me.

He lets go of Trick and steps away. Trick eyes him coldly.

Cut to Sunnydale High the following Monday. The bell rings. Cut to the halls. Snyder comes walking along at a quick pace. Xander sees him coming.

Xander: Hey, Snyder. Heard you had some fun Friday night. Have you come down yet?

Behind him Cordelia smiles, but tries to hide it.

Snyder: That's 'Principal Snyder'.

Xander: And that's a big 'yep'.

Snyder eyes Xander, Cordelia, Willow and Oz just standing there in the hall.

Snyder: You look like four young people with too much time on your hands.

Oz: Not really.

Cordelia: Busy like a bee, actually. (smiles) Bee-like!

Snyder: Good. It seems we had some vandalism Friday on school property, and I was just looking for some... volunteers to help clean it up.

They all look at the bank of lockers just down the hall. Willow reads the words spray-painted in the typical lettering style of a rock band as Snyder walks through the group and closes Xander's locker.

Willow: 'Kiss rocks'? Why would anyone want to kiss... (gets a look from Snyder) Oh, wait. I get it.

Snyder: (nods and continues on) Let's get you some paint remover.

The four of them reluctantly follow him.

Cut to the front of the school. Giles and Buffy walk toward the street.

Buffy: It was just too much to deal with. It was like nothing made sense anymore. The things that I thought I understood were gone. I just felt... so alone.

Giles: Was that the math or the verbal?

Buffy: Mostly the math.

Giles: Well, if you scored low, then you can take them again.

Buffy: More SATs? (sighs) Is there really a point? I could die before I even apply to college.

The brakes of Joyce's Jeep squeal as she pulls to a stop at the curb. Giles and Buffy take the steps down to the sidewalk.

Giles: And then, you very possibly might not.

Buffy: Well, let's just keep hope alive.

Joyce gets out, closes her door and walks up onto the curb.

Giles: Hello. (smiles awkwardly)

Joyce: (shyly) Hi.

Giles: (sees the dent) I say, your car seems to have had an adventure, doesn't it?

They all look at the severely dented rear door and back panel.

Joyce: Uh, Buffy assures me that it happened battling evil, so I'm letting her pay for it on the installment plan.

Buffy: Uh, hey, the way things were going, (points at the dent) be glad that's the worst that happened. At least I got to the two of you before you actually *did* something.

She walks around to the passenger's side to get in. Giles and Joyce both look at the pavement, embarrassed and not willing even to go there, but knowing that they did.

Joyce: Right.

Giles: Indeed.

Joyce: Y-yes.

They both quickly pivot and head off in opposite directions.