Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.

This episode was originally broadcast on October 6, 1998. Transcribed by: AleXander Thompson


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

Buffy's room. She takes the last of her things out of her bag, walks over to her closet and dumps them in. She turns around and looks at the room that she's missed so much for the last few months. It all seems so familiar, and yet not. Certainly it's too neat and clean. She reaches into her closet for a sweater and heads over to her mother's room.

Cut to Joyce's room. She's hammering a nail into the wall by the window to hang an ancient tribal mask. Buffy steps into the room.

Buffy: Mom...

Joyce is very startled and jumps, accidentally slamming the hammer through the drywall.

Joyce: Oh! Buffy.

Buffy cringes at the sight of the hole in the wall. Her mother pulls the hammer out and turns to face her, smiling while still holding the hammer in one hand, the mask in the other.

Joyce: Um...

Buffy: Sorry.

Joyce: No, no! Don't worry about it. I-I guess I just got used to all the quiet while you were gone. (smiles) But it's no problem.

She looks down at the mask in her hand, and turns around to hang it on the wall over the hole. It's carved from a reddish wood with cutouts for eyes, which are slanted inward to appear very evil. There are a series of long, pointed teeth with extra long fangs for incisors set into the upper lip. There is no lower jaw portion.

Joyce: Uh, look! (hangs the mask on its hook) It's, uh, Nigerian. (faces Buffy again) We got a very exciting shipment in at the Gallery. (glances around the room) I, um, thought I'd hang a few pieces in here. It cheers up the room.

Buffy: (looking at the mask) It's angry at the room, Mom. It wants the room to suffer.

Joyce: (nods) You have no appreciation of primitive art. (sees that Buffy is holding a sweater) You going out?

Buffy: (looks down at the sweater) Oh. Um... Well, i-if it's okay. I, um... I'd like to find Willow and Xander.

Joyce: Will you be slaying?

Buffy: Only if they give me lip. (smiles weakly)

Joyce: Uh, can I make you a sandwich or something before you go? You must be starving.

Buffy: I was un-until that four-course snack you served me after dinner.

Joyce: Well, then, um... (goes to her dresser) You know, why don't I drive you? (grabs her keys) I mean, they could be anywhere.

Buffy: Mom... If you don't want me to go, just say so.

Joyce: No, no. (looks down at her keys briefly) I-I just want to put this whole thing behind us, get back to normal. (inhales deeply) You go. Have a good time.

Buffy: Okay.

She smiles and gives her mom a little wave, then leaves the room.

Cut to an alley. A truck drives by. Behind it Buffy walks along, looking around. She hears something fall to the ground and break, and stops to look in the direction of the sound. Slowly she starts to walk in that direction.

Cut to an intersection in the alley. Buffy comes around the corner and looks down the adjoining way. There she sees a man dressed in black, walking suspiciously, as though looking for something. She begins to follow silently, but doesn't notice an empty aluminum can on the pavement, and steps on it. The man reacts instantly to the noise, spins around and swings at her with a stake. Buffy throws up her arms and cross blocks the swing, then deftly takes the stake from the man's hands and raises it to counter attack. He steps back, and the white cross hanging from his neck swings around, standing out in marked contrast to the rest of his attire. Buffy sees that it's Xander, and stays her attack. Xander is taken completely by surprise and just stares back at her.

Buffy: (lowers the stake) Didn't anyone ever warn you about playing with pointy sticks? (shakes it at him) It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

Xander: You shouldn't sneak up on people like that!

He breathes hard, trying to catch his breath. He looks at her, trying to convince himself that it's really her, and finally manages a weak smile.

Xander: Jeez, Buff!

Suddenly a vampire smashes his way out of a crate leaning against a wall. He lunges at Xander and Buffy, knocking them and himself to the pavement. Xander quickly tries to grab the vampire as he gets up, but the demon grabs Xander instead and pulls him up. He draws his fist back for a punch, but Buffy jumps in and hits the vampire in the stomach with a powerful side kick, making him fall backwards into a pile of trashcans and bags. Cordelia's voice comes over the walkie-talkie at Xander's

Cordelia: Come in, Nighthawk! Everything okay?

Buffy: (taken aback) Nighthawk?

The vampire is back on his feet and comes at them.

Buffy: Oh!

He tackles Xander and sends him reeling backwards into a chain link fence. Buffy tries to stake him, but he sidesteps her and shoves her into the fence as well. Xander tries to come up behind him, but the vampire swings out with a backhand fist to Xander's face, knocking him to the ground. Buffy gets to her feet and sweep blocks two punches from the demon. She high clocks his third punch and gets a hand under his chin to hold him at bay. He pushes her back into the fence as the two
struggle for control. Now Willow, Cordelia and Oz come running. The two girls grab the vampire by the arms and drag him off of Buffy and across the alley, slamming him hard into a steel roll-up door. Buffy catches her breath as she looks on in astonishment. The vampire growls at the girls as Oz tries to move in with a stake, but the vamp roundhouse kicks Oz, sending him to the pavement next to Xander. He then shoves Cordelia away, and Buffy quickly moves to catch her so she won't get hurt. The vampire then throws Willow aside, and she falls onto Xander and Oz.

Cordelia: (recognizes) Oh, hey, Buffy.

Buffy pushes her aside and wields back her stake when she sees the vampire come after them. Cordelia loses her balance and falls to the pavement next to Willow. Buffy plunges her stake cleanly into the vampire, and he bursts into ashes. As the dust settles down, she looks over at her friends staring up at her from the ground. They are all breathing hard. Buffy gives them a little wave and a weak smile.

Buffy: Hey, guys.

They just keep staring back. Xander lets his head drop back to the pavement.

Opening credits roll. Buffy's theme plays.

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

Giles' apartment building. Cut to outside his door. The kids are all standing there.

Buffy: You know, maybe it's too late. Maybe we should just come back tomorrow.

No one makes a move to go. Buffy looks at the door, then back at the others.

Buffy: What if he's mad?

Xander: Mad? Just because you ran away and abandoned your post and your friends and your mom and made him lay awake every night worrying about you? (to Oz and Willow) Maybe we should wait out here.

Buffy gives him a look. She turns around to face the door, reaches for the knocker and taps it a few times. Cut inside. Giles opens the door and sees Buffy standing there flanked by the others. His face remains expressionless for a long moment.

Xander: (to Giles) Check it out. The Watcher is back on the clock. (Giles slips on his glasses) And just when you were thinking career change, maybe becoming a... a looker or a... a seer.

Giles: Thank you, Xander.

He looks at his Slayer.

Giles: Welcome home, Buffy.

Buffy smiles up at him. He pulls the door open further and steps back so they can all come in.

Cut to Giles' living room. Oz, Willow, Buffy and Xander are all on he couch. Cordelia is sitting in a facing chair. Giles is leaning on the backrest of another chair.

Buffy: I got in a few hours ago, but I wanted to go see my mom first.

Giles: Yes. Yes, of course. How, how did you find her?

Buffy: Well, I pretty much remembered the address.

Giles: Ah, eh, I mean, uh...

The teakettle in his kitchen begins to whistle.

Giles: How are things between you? (notices the whistling) Ah. Excuse me. (goes into the kitchen)

Oz: Hey, so you're not wanted for murder anymore.

Buffy: Good. That was such a drag.

Xander: So where were you? Did you go to Belgium?

Buffy: (gives him an odd look) Why would I go to Belgium?

Xander: I think the relevant question is why wouldn't you? (smiles hugely and giggles) Bel-gium!

They both laugh.

Cut into the kitchen. Giles gets the cups out of his cupboard. He smiles as he listens to the conversation in the living room, pleased that they are getting along so well again so quickly.

Buffy: What about you, Xander? What's up with you?

Xander: Oh, you know, same old, same old.

Giles removes his glasses and leans with his arm against the cupboard, enjoying the sound of his Slayer's voice again after so many months.

Cordelia: Hardly.

Xander: Okay, I lied, a whole lot is new.

Buffy: Well, that's good, isn't it? New is good.

Giles shakes himself out of his reverie and puts his glasses back on.

Xander: Oh, yeah, absolutely, except for the obvious. It's not too much... (inaudible)

Cordelia: Yeah, 'cause you weren't at the hotel.

Giles lifts up the serving tray and takes it into the living room.

Xander: Cordelia's parents dragged her onto a luxury vacation.

Buffy: I feel for you.

Giles: Here we are then. (sets the tray on the coffee table) Cheer us

He sits down in his chair and takes the teapot. Buffy and Xander each take a cookie from the tray.

Cordelia: So were you, like, living in a box, or what?

Buffy: Well, it's a long story.

Xander: So skip the heartwarming stuff about kindly old people and saving the farm and get right to the dirt.

Giles: (pours several cups) Perhaps Buffy could use a little time to adjust before we grill her on her summer activities.

Buffy: What he said.

Xander: Fair enough. In fact, you can leave the slaying to us while you settle in. We got you covered.

Buffy: I noticed. You guys seem down with the slayage, all tricked out with your walkies and everything.

Cordelia: Yeah, but the outfits suck. This whole Rambo thing is so over. I'm thinking more sporty, like Hilfiger maybe.

Willow: Still, we were getting good. We dusted (nods) nine out of ten.

Oz: (whispers to Willow) Six out of ten.

Willow: Six out of ten.

Xander: Whatever, we were kicking a little undead booty.

Buffy: Well, thank you for the offer, but I think I just wanna get back to my normal routine. You know, school, slaying... kid's stuff. In fact, I'm jonesing for a little brainless fun. (to Xander) What are you doing tomorrow?

Xander: Oh, I would, but, uh, (reaches his hands around Cordelia's arm) I'm kind of tied up. (smiles)

Cordelia: You wish. (pushes him away)

Xander sits back into the couch, embarrassed.

Buffy: (to Willow) Will?

Willow: Um, tomorrow I...

Buffy: Oh, come on. Friends don't let friends browse alone.

Willow: Okay. I had some schoolwork, but... I can change my plans.

Giles: (raises his cup) As for school, Buffy, uh, you know you'll have to talk to Principal Snyder before...

Buffy: On it. Mom is making an appointment with His Ugliness. I know she can break him.

Giles looks up from his tea and gives her an unsure little grin.

Cut to Principal Snyder's office at Sunnydale High. Snyder looks at Joyce and Buffy intently from behind his desk.

Snyder: Absolutely not. Under no circumstances.

Joyce: But you can't keep her out of school. You don't have the right.

Snyder: I have not only the right, but also a nearly physical sensation of pleasure at the thought of keeping her out of school. I'd describe myself as tingly.

Joyce: Buffy was cleared of all those charges.

Snyder: Yes. And while she may live up to the not-a-murderer requirement for enrollment, she is a troublemaker, destructive to school property and the occasional student. And her grade point average is enough to... (his eyes glaze over for an instant) I'm sorry. Another tingle moment. (smiles smugly)

Joyce: (with controlled anger in her voice) I don't see how you can be so cavalier about a young girl's entire future!

Snyder: I'm quite sure that a girl with the talents and abilities of Buffy will land on her feet. In fact, (leans toward Buffy) I noticed as I came in this morning that Hot Dog on a Stick is hiring. (Buffy gives him an angry stare) You will look so cute in that hat.

Buffy: Let's go, Mom.

She gets up and walks toward the door. Her mother stands up and faces Snyder.

Joyce: This isn't over. If I have to, I'll go all the way to the Mayor. (follows Buffy out)

Snyder: Wouldn't that be interesting.

Cut to Sunnydale's shopping district across the street from the Espresso Pump. Buffy and Joyce pull up to the curb in their Jeep.

Joyce: Don't worry about school, honey. If we can't get you back into Sunnydale, maybe we can swing private school.

Buffy: Private school? You mean, like jackets and kilts? You want me to get field hockey knees?

Joyce: (smiles) It's not that bad.

Buffy: What about home schooling? You know, it's not just for scary religious people anymore.

Joyce: We'll work something out. Okay?

They lean toward each other and kiss goodbye.

Joyce: Say hi to Willow?

Buffy nods as she releases her seatbelt and gets out of the car.

Cut to later, still in front of the cafe'. Buffy is standing and waiting for Willow. She checks her watch, and then lets her arms droop, disappointed. She walks over to a bench and sits down to watch and wait for her friend. She watches all the people going by. Her expression starts to get sad and a little bit annoyed as she checks her watch again.

Cut to Buffy's house, much later. She walks up the path toward the house. The front door opens, and Buffy sees a woman come out and pull the door closed behind her. She looks at her, confused. The woman sees her and smiles.

Pat: Oh, my word! Oh, you must be Buffy! (steps down from the porch) Look at you. Aren't you a picture?

Buffy: (unsure) Thank you.

Pat: Oh, I'm Pat, (offers her hand) from your mom's book club. (they shake hands) I'm sure she mentioned me.

Buffy: Actually...

Pat: I, um, I sort of took it upon myself to look after her while you were, (rolls her eyes) you know, off and away or what have you, and...

Buffy looks aside, not believing this conversation.

Pat: (inhales) Well, between, uh, (exhales) your situation and reading Deep End of the Ocean, she was, uh, she was just a wreck. You can imagine.

Buffy gives her a thin smile and a weak nod.

Pat: Anyway, I'm off. We're making empanadas in my Spanish class tonight. (giggles) You go be with your mom. You two need to rebond.

She smiles and goes on her way.

Cut inside to the kitchen. Buffy comes in and sets her purse on the island. Joyce is taking some notes from a book.

Buffy: Pat wishes us quality time. (goes to the cupboard)

Joyce: Oh. I met her in a...

Buffy: Book club. (gets out a glass)

Joyce: Yeah.

Buffy: Got it.

Joyce: (looks up) Oh, uh, before I forget, uh, Willow just called.

Buffy: (suddenly attentive) Where was she?

Joyce: Uh, she, she got held up, but she said she tried to call.

Buffy: (confused) Was there a message?

She steps over to the fridge and gets out a pitcher.

Joyce: No. But I had a thought. What if I invited Willow and Mr. Giles and everybody over for dinner tomorrow night? (smiles) Don't you think that would be nice?

Buffy just opens the pitcher and pours herself a drink.

Joyce: Since I sort of already did, I was hoping for a yes.

Buffy looks up at her mom and gives her a little smile and a nod.

Buffy: It'll be fun. (loses her smile)

Joyce: Great. Uh, do me a favor? Run down and get the company plates.

Buffy: Mom, Willow and everybody aren't company-plate people. They're normal-plate people.

Joyce: We never have guests for dinner. Indulge your mother?

Buffy just sighs and heads for the basement door.

Cut to the basement. Buffy grabs a stepstool and sets it down in front of an old bookcase full of stuff. She steps up on it and notices a picture on an upper shelf. She pulls it out into the light. It's a photo of her with Willow and Xander. They are on a lawn, and she is sitting with Willow behind her and Xander laying his head on her legs with his eyes turned up at her. She looks at it for a long moment, remembering the time it was taken. She then puts it back and looks up where the good china is. She reaches for the box and starts to pull it down, when a dead and rotting cat suddenly falls off of it.

Buffy: Oh!

She jerks her head forward, and the cat falls behind her to the floor. She looks down at it squeamishly.

Buffy: Eww.

Cut to the backyard. Buffy grunts as she shovels out a bunch of dirt among some bushes to make a shallow grave for the cat.

Buffy: Next time, I get to pick the mother-daughter bonding activity.

Joyce lifts a bag with the cat over the hole and drops it in.

Joyce: Do you wanna say something?

Buffy: Like what? Thanks for stopping by and dying?

Joyce: How about, um... Good-bye, stray cat, who lost its way. We hope you find it.

Buffy accepts that and turns back to the hole to fill it back in.

Cut to Buffy's room at 11:34 that night. She reaches over to the lamp on her nightstand and turns it off. She lies back in her bed and hugs the covers to herself. She looks around in the dark, lonely room and waits to fall asleep.

Cut to Joyce's room. She is sound asleep in her bed. The camera pans up from her and over to the Nigerian mask on the wall. Its eyes begin to glow a deep red.

Cut to the bushes in the backyard. The dirt covering the dead cat begins to move. A moment later the cat pokes its head through the soil, meows menacingly and claws its way out. Once out, it continues hissing and growling as it walks off.

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

Sunnydale High. Buffy walks into the hall from outside. The door closes behind her with an echoing clang, startling her. She looks back at it, but then continues walking. The school is deserted. She walks past the empty lounge toward the library. The doors are wide open, and she looks in for a moment. It's just as deserted as the rest of the school.

Cut outside. The sun shines brightly down on the quad. Buffy slowly walks down the outside stairs, all the while looking around for any indication that anyone else is there. When she reaches the bottom of the stairs she turns out into the quad. She stops when she sees Angel coming toward her, but then keeps walking as he gets behind her and follows her across the quad.

Buffy: I thought they'd be here.

Angel: They are. They're waiting for you.

Buffy: (looks at him) Am I dreaming?

Angel: (smiles and chuckles) I'm probably the wrong person to ask. (Buffy looks ahead again) You'd better go.

Buffy: (looks at him) I'm afraid.

Angel: (shrugs and looks at her) You should be.

He stops walking and watches her go. The school bell rings.

Cut to Buffy's room. The school bell blends into the sound of her alarm buzzer going off. Buffy wakes from her dream. She turns over and looks at her alarm clock. 7:00am. She reaches over and turns it off.

Cut to the kitchen. Buffy stares into the refrigerator while she listens to her mother talking.

Joyce: I've been on the phone with the, uh, Superintendent of Schools. At least he seems more reasonable than that nasty little horrid, bigoted rodent-man.

Buffy: Mom...

Joyce: Anyway, um, I'm going in to speak with him this afternoon. Uh, as for private schools, uh, Miss Porter's accepts late admissions.

Buffy closes the fridge and turns to give her mom a look.

Joyce: I, uh, I wrote the information down for you.

Buffy: A girls' school? (goes to the island to read the slip of paper) So now it's jackets, kilts, and no boys? (looks back at her mom) Care to throw in a little foot-binding?

Joyce sets down her coffee mug and steps over to her daughter.

Joyce: Buffy, you made some bad choices. You just might have to live with some consequences.

Buffy looks down at the island, knowing that her mom is right.

Joyce: Nothing's settled yet. (looks for something to do and spies the trash) I just wish you didn't have to be so secretive about things. (ties off the trashbag) I mean, it's not your fault you have a special circumstance. They should make allowances for you.

Buffy: Mom, I'm a Slayer. It's not like I need to ride a little bus to school.

Joyce: (walks to the door with the trash) Couldn't you just tell a few people, like Principal Snyder and maybe the police?

Buffy looks at her like she's got to be kidding.

Joyce: I mean, I would think they would be happy to have a... a superhero.

Buffy can't believe her ears.

Joyce: Is that the right term? I mean, it's not offensive, is it?

She opens the door to take out the trash, and gasps in fright when she sees the dead cat run in. It stops and meows at them menacingly.

Cut to later at the front door. Buffy opens it to admit Giles holding a cage.

Buffy: Welcome to the Hellmouth Petting Zoo.

She indicates upstairs. Giles looks up and starts to climb the stairs while Buffy closes the door behind him. She follows him up.

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. The cat is hiding under the bed. Giles grabs it by the back of its neck and pulls it out.

Giles: Oh, my God, what a stench!

He takes the cat over to the cage, puts it in and closes the latch.

Buffy: You know, I wanted Forest Pine or April Fresh, but Mom wanted Dead Cat.

Joyce looks at the cat, grossed out by its appearance and smell.

Giles: I'll, uh...

He steps back for a moment, overcome by the stench.

Giles: Ugh! I'll get it back to the library, see if we can determine its exact origins.

He lifts the cage and turns to face Joyce. She looks at it, then up at Giles. He notices the mask on the wall behind her.

Giles: It's, uh... striking and... Nigerian.

Joyce: Oh. Yes. I-I-I have this wonderful dealer who specializes in ancient artifacts, I don't know if you...

Buffy: (interrupts) You know, I love art talk as much as the next very dull person, but we have work to do, Giles. Research mode. (heads for the door)

Giles: Sh-sh-shouldn't you stay with your mother, perhaps, Buffy? I mean, you must have...

Joyce: Please, no. I, it's fine. She can go with you.

Giles: A-actually, she can't. Um... (to Buffy) You're not allowed on school property.

Buffy: Oh. (smiles ironically)

Giles: I'm sorry. Um, uh... I'll, I'll call as, as soon as I know something.

He reaches for the doorknob. The cat growls and hisses.

Joyce: Oh, we'll see you tonight?

Giles: Tonight, then. Yes.

He opens the door and leaves.

Cut to the library. The caged cat is on the table. Oz is inspecting it closely, apparently not bothered by its stench. Willow is engrossed in research. Cordelia keeps her distance while Xander shares Oz's fascination, but from a bit further off.

Oz: It looks dead. It smells dead. (Xander nods in agreement) Yet it's movin' around. That's interesting.

Cordelia: Nice pet, Giles. Don't you like anything regular? Golf, USA Today, or anything? (sits opposite Willow to help research)

Giles: (comes down from the stacks) I'm trying to find out how and why it rose from the grave. It's not as if I'm going to take it home and offer it a saucer of warm milk.

Oz: Well, I like it. I think you should call it Patches.

Willow: What about Buffy's welcome home dinner tonight? I had told her mom we'd help out. Bring stuff.

Cordelia: I'm the dip.

Everyone looks at her. She doesn't notice and continues reading.

Xander: Uh, you gotta admire the purity of it. (chuckles)

Cordelia: (looks up at everyone) What? Onion dip. Stirring, *not* cooking. It's what I bring.

Oz: (leans back in his chair) We should figure out what kinda deal this is. I mean, is it a-a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?

Cordelia: What's the difference?

Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig, (nods to Cordelia) dip, (Cordelia smiles) less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

Xander: Well, I hate brie.

Cordelia: I know. It smells like Giles' cat.

Giles: It's not my...

Xander: (interrupts) And what'll we talk about at a gathering anyway? 'So, Buffy, did you meet any nice pimps on your travels? And oh, by the by, thanks for ruining our lives for the past three months.'

Willow: Xander...

Xander: You know what I mean. She doesn't want to talk about it, we don't want to talk about it, so why don't we just shut up and dance?

Willow: Well, Buffy said she did want to loosen up, you know, have some kid time. (to Oz) Aren't you guys rehearsing tonight? Why don't you play at the party?

Oz: Yeah, I think I could supply some Dingo action.

Giles: Uh, I-I'm not sure that, a, a, um... shindig...

Oz: Hootenanny.

Giles: H-hootenanny i-i-is really the order of the day. Uh, uh, it should... Maybe something a little more intimate. I-I-I mean, Buffy has just got home. I'm, I'm sure she's still feeling a little disoriented.

Willow: All the more reason to make her feel welcome, a-and a big party says, 'Welcome, Buffy.'

Xander slaps Giles on the back. Giles turns to give him a look.

Xander: Okay, so one vote from the Old Guy for a Smelly Cheese Night, and how many votes for actual fun, huh?

Everyone but Giles raises their hand and smiles.

Giles: Alright, alright. Have it your way. I'm just glad to have her home.

The cat meows again. Giles continues to page through a book.

Giles: Now things can get back to normal.

He flips a page, but looks over at the cat instead. On the page is a drawing of Joyce's mask. He flips another page before turning his attention back to it.

Cut to the Summers house. Cut inside to the dining room. The table is beautifully set with Joyce's best china, crystal and silverware. Buffy is dressed up for the occasion. She is putting the last setting into place when the doorbell rings. She looks over the table one last time and then goes to open the door. Through the window she sees Pat waiting there, holding a large plastic food container. Buffy opens the door.

Pat: Hey, there you are! (comes in) Not thinking about any more flights of fancy, I hope.

Buffy can't believe her comments, and just closes the door.

Pat: Joyce said there was room for one more, so I said forget facial night and let's party! (smiles) I bet you like empanadas.

She holds out the container to Buffy, who takes it and gives her a fake smile.

Buffy: Do you wanna see my mom?

Pat: Please.

Buffy: (whining loudly and frantically) MOM!

Pat looks up the stairs and sees Joyce appear at the top.

Joyce: Oh, Pat! Good. Buffy, I hope you don't mind.

The two women embrace.

Pat: Hi! You look great!

The doorbell rings again, and taking the empanadas under one arm, Buffy turns around to answer it. It's Devon with the band.

Devon: Hey, Buffy. So where do you want the band to set up?

He walks into the living room and looks around for a good spot.

Buffy: Wh-the band?

Two girls follow him in carrying parts of the drum set.

Cut to later. Lots of people are there, and the party is in full swing. Dingoes Ate My Baby (Four Star Mary) are set up in the corner of the living room and are playing "Never Mind". The camera pans from the drummer past Oz on his guitar and Devon at his mic into the crowd. Half of Sunnydale High must be in attendance, the place is so densely packed with people. The camera settles on Willow leaning against a table and smiling at Oz while moving to the beat of the music. The camera turns back into the crowd and follows a party guest until she passes Buffy. Buffy looks around at all of the people, not sure who half of them are, trying to find Willow. She spots her, and walks up to her.

Buffy: Hey!

Willow: (smiling) Hey! (listens to the band)

Lyrics: You can send me a savior

Buffy: This is large!

Willow: (looks at Buffy) You like?

Lyrics: That lives till the end of time

Buffy: Yeah. It's great. (looks back at the band) I-I was just sort of hoping it would be... us.

Lyrics: Time

Willow: Sorry. What? (indicates that it's too loud to hear)

Lyrics: The promise of heaven

Buffy: (louder) This is amazing, but I was sort of hoping we could just hang together, the gang.

Lyrics: But that only leaves me dry

Willow indicates to the band and makes like she totally can't hear Buffy. She turns her attention back to Oz and smiles at him.

Lyrics: Dry

Buffy senses that Willow is more into watching Oz play with the band than anything else at the moment, and decides to leave her alone.

Lyrics: Too many saviors / And I won't die

After walking a ways back into the crowd, Buffy changes her mind, deciding that she wants to talk to Willow now.

Lyrics: I never cried, but I needed more from you

She touches Willow on the arm and indicates they should go someplace to talk. Willow lets Buffy lead her away through the crowd.

Lyrics: I found my life without you now

Buffy finds a relatively quiet spot in the dining room where they can talk.

Lyrics: And I never mind / I'm only half as blind

Buffy: Is everything okay?

Lyrics: Cause I needed more from you

Buffy: You... You seem to be avoiding me, i-in the one-on-one sense.

Willow: (looks surprised) What?

Lyrics: And I never mind

Willow: This isn't avoiding. See? Here you are, here I am.

Lyrics: I'm only half as blind

Buffy: So we're cool?

Lyrics: Cause I needed more from you

Willow: Way! That's why, with the party, 'cause we're all glad you're back.

She isn't being very convincing, but Buffy decides to accept it for now.

Buffy: Okay.

Willow: Okay. Good.

She goes back to watch the band again. Buffy isn't at all convinced that everything's good.

Lyrics: You say my reflection never fades from your eyes

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. The mask's eyes begin to glow a deep red again.

Cut to an accident scene. A Sunnydale Police car, red and blue lights flashing, is parked next to the body of a victim. One officer walks past it while another interviews witnesses. The camera pans down to the dead man lying in the street. The Emergency Medical Technician tending to him gets up and goes to get a gurney. The camera stops on the man's face.
His forehead is severely lacerated. Suddenly his eyes open. The one under the wound is red with blood. The man immediately sits up.

Cut back to Buffy's party. The Dingoes are playing their next song," Sway".

Lyrics: I got another rope over me / But I won't hang / I can feel you covet my Faith

Cut to Xander and Cordelia sucking some serious face by the stairs.

Lyrics: I said another lie / I know why / I don't wanna sway

Buffy comes walking out of the crowd and sees them. She tries to walk by without being noticed, but Xander sees her. Cordelia doesn't stop kissing him on the face and neck while he talks to Buffy.

Xander: Hey, Buff, uh... What are you doing?

Buffy: I was just taking a break from all this wacky fun.

Lyrics: I don't wanna sway

Xander: Some kind of party, huh? I guess a lot of people are glad to have you back.

Buffy: It seems like people I didn't even know missed me.

She looks around at the crowd.

Buffy: Did Giles say he was going to be late?

Lyrics: Seize these worlds / Or never live again

Xander: Uh, he was Library Man last time I saw him. But he'll be here. He wants to celebrate your homecoming. We all do. I mean, it's great to have the Buffster back. (smiles)

Lyrics: Seize these worlds

Xander: (tries to get Cordelia's attention) Isn't it?

Cordelia: (smiles) Totally! (nods)

Lyrics: Or never live again

Cordelia: (to Xander) Except you were kinda turning me on with that whole Boy Slayer look.

Xander: Was I now?

Cordelia: You bet, Nighthawk.

They smile and giggle at each other, and resume their kissing. Buffy definitely feels like the odd person out.

Buffy: Well, I'll just be, uh... (gives up) Oh, yeah. (leaves)

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. The mask's eyes continue to glow red.

Cut to Sunnydale General Hospital. A trauma team is trying to revive a burn victim. A nurse holds a pair of defibrillation pads ready while the doctor pumps his chest and another nurse bags him.

Doctor: Breathe. Breathe.

The man is flat-lining. The heart monitor beeps insistently while the cursor just moves flatly across the screen.

Doctor: Alright, look. These burns are too extensive. It's 7:43. Let's call it.

He walks off. The one nurse puts away the bag while the other puts away the defib pads. The camera pans in to the dead man. He has severe second- and third-degree burns all along the right side of his face and body. His eyes suddenly whip open. He sits up on the bed, leaving a puddle of blood on the pillow.

Nurse: Oh, my God!

The reflection on the heart monitor screen shows him violently hitting people out of his way as he goes.

Cut to the party. Buffy is at the snack table gathering up empty cups.

Lyrics: You know I roll it over in my head

A guy reaches in front of her and grabs a handful of party mix, leans his head back and dumps it into his mouth. Most of it spills to the sides and onto the floor.

Lyrics: I won't feel you covet my Faith

Buffy just gives a shrug, grabs a few more cups and turns to go throw them out. She passes two guys talking and overhears their conversation.

Party dude: Hey, what's the deal with this party anyway?

Lyrics: You've said another lie / I know why

Stoner: This party? Heard it was for some chick that just got out of rehab. (takes a drag from his joint)

Lyrics: I don't wanna sway

Buffy stares at them, less than happy about that rumor, but she ignores them and continues on toward the kitchen.

Lyrics: I don't wanna sway

Cut to the kitchen. Joyce and Pat are having a little fiesta of their own, and pour some schnapps into two glasses. They raise their glasses, clink them together and each take a good sip.

Joyce: Whew!

Pat smiles and nods at Joyce.

Lyrics: Seize these worlds

Pat: Now, how you holding up, Joyce, hmm? Really.

Lyrics: Or never live again

Joyce: Really? I'm... I don't know.

Lyrics: Seize these worlds

Joyce: While Buffy was gone, all I could think about was getting her home.

Lyrics: Or never live again

Joyce: I just knew that if I could put my arms around her and tell her how much I loved her, everything would be okay.

Lyrics: Seize these worlds

Pat: But?

Lyrics: Or never live again

Buffy reaches the kitchen and overhears.

Joyce: Having Buffy home, I-I thought it was gonna make it all better, but in some ways, it's almost worse.

Lyrics: Seize these worlds / Or never live again

Buffy takes it hard, and goes back to the stairs.

Cut to Buffy's room. She comes in and swings the door partially closed behind her. She looks at her bed sadly and sniffles. She bends down to pull her bag out from underneath, slams it onto the mattress and opens it up. She goes to her closet, gets out a pile of folded clothes, goes back to her bed and stuffs them into the bag.

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. The mask's eyes are still glowing. Cut outside. The camera pulls away from the house. Cut to the park. Several zombies are making their way through it toward the house.

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

The library. The cat meows acridly in its cage. Giles is looking through his books yet again. This time he finds what he needs and quickly reads.

Giles: Oh, Lord!

He goes into his office and sets the book down on his desk. He turns the page and this time sees the picture of the mask that he'd missed before.

He grabs the phone and quickly dials Buffy's number. He imPatiently listens to it ringing.

Cut to Buffy's house. The Dingoes are into their next song, "Pain". The camera pans across the party guests. The phone can barely be heard ringing above the noise. The camera focuses on it. No one thinks to pick up.

Cut to the library. Giles waits anxiously for an answer.

Cut to the party. The weed smoker picks up the phone and holds it tightly to his ear, plugging his free ear with a finger.

Stoner: Party Villa, can I rock you?

Giles: (cut to him) I-I-I need to speak with Buffy. Um, immediately! I have some information that is extremely important.

Lyrics: Feeling I've been lost for years

Cut to the party. Someone breaks a glass, and the Stoner looks across the room.

Lyrics: You can never understand me

Stoner: Yeah! Fiesta foul! You gotta do a shot!

Lyrics: Unless you've seen those tears

Giles: (cut to him) I need to speak to Buffy! Now!

Stoner: (cut to him) Bunny?

Lyrics: But you never get to sleep

Stoner: (to his friend, pointing) See? That guy's gotta do a shot.

Lyrics: When I'm away

Giles: Buffy!

Stoner: (holds the phone out to the crowd) Hey! I need to talk to a Buddy!

Lyrics: I don't mind

Stoner: (to the room) Is there a Buddy here?

Lyrics: The deeper that you lay

Stoner: (into the phone) Sorry. He's not here. You got the wrong casa, Mr. Belvedere. (hangs up)

Lyrics: Out of time / Pain, I can't sleep

Giles: (cut to him) H-hello? Hello?!

He slams the phone down and quickly gathers up his things. The cat snarls and hisses.

Cut to Buffy's room. She's at her closet getting more things. She goes back to her bed. While she stuffs her things into her bag, Willow shows up at her door and sees her packing.

Willow: You're leaving again?

Buffy gives her a quick glance and goes back to packing.

Willow: (upset) What, you just stopped by for your lint brush and now you're ready to go?

Buffy: It's not like anyone will mind.

Willow: (heavy with sarcasm) Oh, no. Have a good time. Oh, oh, and don't forget to *not* write.

Buffy: (faces Willow, sobbing) Why are you attacking me? I'm trying.

Willow: Wow, and it looks so much like giving up!

Buffy: I'm just trying to make things easier.

Willow: For who?

Buffy: You guys were doing just fine without me.

Willow: We were doing the best we could! It's not like we had a lot of choice in the matter.

Buffy: Sorry that I had to leave, but you don't know what I was going through.

Willow: Well, I'd like to.

Buffy: You wouldn't understand.

Willow: (considers) Well, maybe I don't need to understand. Maybe I... I just need you to talk to me.

Buffy: How could I talk to you when you were avoiding me?

Willow: This isn't easy, Buffy! I know you're going through stuff, but... so am I.

Buffy: I know that you were worried about me, but...

Willow: No! I don't just mean that. I mean, my life! You know? I, um... I'm having all sorts of... I'm dating, I'm having serious dating with a *werewolf*, a-and I'm studying witchcraft and killing vampires, and I didn't have anyone (starts sobbing) to talk to about all this scary life stuff. And you were my best friend.

Cut to Giles speeding along to Buffy's house as best he can in his decrepit car. He looks left and right in anger and fear.

Giles: Unbelievable. (mocks Joyce) 'Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the *dead*!' Americans.

He looks ahead in time to see that he's about to hit someone.

Giles: Jesus!

He slams on the brakes and begins to skid. He hits the man, who falls onto the hood of the car, bounces off of the windshield and slides off as the car comes to a stop. The man rolls a few times on the pavement before coming to rest. Giles stares in shock at the man lying in the road.

Giles: My God!

He quickly gets out of his car.

Giles: Are you alright?

He rushes over to the man and feels for a pulse on his neck.

Giles: Are you hurt?

The man rolls over, and Giles sees that he's in an advanced state of decay.

Giles: Good God!

The zombie grabs Giles by the coat and lifts him up as it gets to its feet. Other zombies start approaching from an alley.

Cut to Buffy's room.

Buffy: You have no idea how much I missed you. Everyone. I wanted to call every day.

Willow: That doesn't matter, Buffy. It doesn't make it okay that you didn't.

Joyce walks by the room and sees the bag on Buffy's bed.

Joyce: What is this? Is this some sort of a joke?

Buffy: Mom, please, could you, could you just...

Joyce: (interrupts) No, I can't just! Buffy, what is this?

Willow: She was running away again.

Buffy: No, I wasn't. (pauses, very confused) I'm not sure.

Joyce: Well, you better *get* sure and explain yourself right away! If you think you can just take off any time you feel like...

Buffy: Stop it! Please! I don't know. I don't know what I'm doing.

She rushes from her room and heads downstairs. Joyce and Willow follow right on her heels. Cut to below. Buffy comes rushing down the stairs with her mother and best friend right behind. She stops at the front door, and turns into the living room when she finds Xander and Cordelia locked in a passionate embrace, blocking her way out.

Joyce: Don't you leave this house, young lady!

Buffy doesn't stop her determined walk.

Joyce: You know what? That's it.

She runs up behind Buffy, grabs her arm and turns her around to face

Joyce: You and I are going to have a talk.

The band stops playing and most of the people stop talking. Suddenly the level of noise in the room is reduced to just a few voices. Buffy looks around at everyone staring at them.

Buffy: (implores) Mom, please...

Xander and Cordelia come into the living room.

Joyce: (interrupts, mad) You know what? I don't care. I don't care what your friends think of me, or you for that matter, because you put me through the wringer, Buffy. (inhales) I mean it. (exhales and inhales) And I've had schnapps. (exhales) Do you have *any* idea what it's been like?

Buffy: Mom, this isn't the time...

Willow looks around, worried. Oz comes up next to her.

Joyce: (interrupts again) You can't imagine *months* of not knowing. Not knowing whether you're lying dead in a ditch somewhere or, I don't know, living it up...

Buffy: (interrupts in turn) But you told me! You're the one who said I should go. You said if I leave this house, don't come back. You found out who I really was, and you couldn't deal. Don't you remember?

People are beginning to think this is a drag and leave.

Joyce: Buffy, you didn't give me time. You just dumped this thing on me and you expected me to get it. Well, guess what? Mom's not perfect, okay? I handled it badly. But that doesn't give you the right to punish me by running away.

Buffy: Punish you? I didn't do this to punish you!

Xander: Well, you did. You should've seen what you put her through.

Buffy: Great. Thanks. Anybody else want to weigh in here? (sees Jonathon) How about you by the dip?

Jonathon freezes in the middle of bringing a chip laden with dip to his mouth and looks around nervously at everyone suddenly staring at him.

Jonathon: No, thanks. I'm good.

Xander: You know, maybe you don't want to hear it, Buffy, but taking off like you did was incredibly selfish and stupid.

Buffy: Okay! Okay. I screwed up. I know this. But you have no idea! You have, you have no idea what happened to me or what I was feeling!

Xander: Did you even try talking to anybody?

Buffy: There was nothing that anybody could do. Okay? I just had to deal with this on my own.

Xander: Yeah, and you see how well *that* one worked out. You can't just bury stuff, Buffy. It'll come right back up to get you.

Cut to the street. The zombie has Giles bent back on the hood of his car. Giles gets his foot underneath him and push kicks him off. He rolls off of the hood and scrambles back into the car, locking the door. The zombies start pounding on the car. Giles reaches for the ignition and discovers the keys missing. He searches his pockets. Nothing. He looks out onto the street, and there they are.

Giles: Oh, good show, Giles.

He thinks for a moment what to do, then reaches underneath the dash and pulls out some wires. Quickly he unravels and strips the appropriate ones. A zombie punches through the window and reaches in for him. Giles touches the wires together. They spark, and the engine starts up.

Giles: Like riding a bloody bicycle!

He puts the car in gear and drives off, leaving the zombies behind.

Cut to Buffy's living room.

Buffy: As if I even could've gone to you, Xander. You made your feelings about Angel and I perfectly clear.

Xander: Look. I'm sorry that your honey was a demon, but most girls don't hop a Greyhound over boy troubles.

Cordelia doesn't think this is fair, and intercedes.

Cordelia: Time out, Xander. Put yourself in Buffy's shoes for just a minute. Okay? I'm Buffy, freak of nature, right? Naturally I pick a freak for a boyfriend, and then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault...

Buffy: (interrupts) Cordy! Get outta my shoes!

Cordelia: I'm just trying to help, Buffy.

Willow: Buffy, you never...

Buffy: (nears the breaking point) Willow, please. I can't take this from you, too.

Xander: Let her finish! You at least owe her that.

Buffy: God, Xander! Do you think you could at least stick to annoying me on your own behalf?

Xander: Fine! You stop acting like an idiot, I'll stop annoying you!

Buffy: (steps up to Xander) Oh, you wanna talk acting like an idiot? Nighthawk?

Oz: Okay. I'm gonna step in now, (gets between them) being Referee Guy.

Willow: No, let them go, Oz. (gets a look from him) Talking about it isn't helping. We might as well try some violence.

A zombie suddenly smashes though the living room window and comes in. Others follow right behind.

Willow: I was being sarcastic!

A zombie grabs Xander, and they start to wrestle. Another one grabs the Stoner's head and twists it violently, breaking his neck. Xander gets the upper hand on the slow-moving zombie and throws him back out of the window. Willow and Oz scramble to help out. A zombie dives through the kitchen door window. The remaining party guests all try to drive the zombies out, but aren't very organized about it. Xander breaks away from
the crowd.

Buffy: Xander, kitchen!

Xander: I got your back!

She tosses him an andiron from the fireplace, and he runs into the kitchen with Cordelia close behind. A zombie attacks Buffy, and she launches herself into a hopping side kick to his gut. She sidesteps a punch and swings under his arm with an uppercut to his jaw, but he isn't fazed. He swings at her with both arms, knocking her aside. Joyce watches Buffy fight, cringing at every blow. Buffy punches the zombie twice in the face and then ducks past him as he lunges at her with his arm trying to grab her. He turns around and tries to make a grab for her, but Joyce comes up behind him with a vase and smashes it over his head. The party guests are having limited success keeping the zombies out of the house. Buffy leg sweeps the zombie and knocks him down.

Joyce: Are these vampires?

Buffy: Uh, I don't think so.

Willow: Buffy, heads up!

She tosses Buffy a piece of the broken window frame. Buffy catches it out of the air and tries staking the zombie. He just looks up at her as though she pinched him.

Buffy: No, not vampires.

The zombie starts to get back to his feet.

Cut to the kitchen. Xander swings the andiron at one of them, making him stagger a bit. Cordelia looks around and finds a stake on the counter. She jams it into the zombie's gut. He staggers back again. Pat looks into the kitchen from the hall, not paying attention to her back. A zombie comes up behind her and grabs her by the jaw and the back of her head. She screams as she's dragged off. The zombie in the kitchen comes at Xander again. Another one is trying to crawl in through the window over the sink.

Xander: Man, this sucker wobbles, but he won't fall down!

He swings the andiron at the zombie's legs and knocks him to the floor.

Cut to the living room. Joyce hits the zombie repeatedly over the head with a broken piece of wood. Jonathon is holding a guitar, ready to smash it over the zombie.

Buffy: We got to get 'em back outside!

Joyce: On three!

Devon grabs the zombie by the back. Oz and Joyce each grab an arm.

Joyce: One... Two... Three!

Together they drag him to the front door, where Buffy is waiting to slam it shut. The three of them throw the ghoul out and barricade themselves against the door. The zombie slams himself against it, trying to get back in.

Buffy: Okay! We're gonna have to barricade this door!

Cut to the kitchen. Xander and Cordelia have their zombie pinned face down to the floor with his arms behind him.

Buffy: We need some help out here!

Xander: I got him. Go help Buffy.

Cordelia rushes into the living room to help while Xander ties up the zombie. Cut to the front door. Some of them scramble to get something to barricade the door while others lean against it to keep it closed.

Oz: Grab that table!

He goes to grab the small table. Devon takes his place at the door. Oz drags the table back and positions it against the door. He leans into it while Devon goes off to get another one. Xander shows up to help, too. Suddenly the zombie punches through the door and makes a grab for Oz's shoulder.

Buffy: Upstairs!

She runs up the stairs and into her mother's room. Willow, Xander and Joyce follow her. At the top of the stairs Joyce sees Pat lying unconscious on the floor further down the hall.

Joyce: Oh, Pat!

She rushes over to Pat. Willow and Buffy run over to help also.

Joyce: Oh, God...

Pat wakes, and Willow and Joyce help her up, each getting under one arm.

Buffy: Careful!

Pat: Oh...

Xander: (watches the stairs) Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry.

Joyce: (to Pat) I got you. Okay.

They drag her toward the bedroom. Xander ushers them in and follows.

Cut below. The stand at the door has to be abandoned. Devon runs out the back. Cordelia helps Oz get away from the zombie outside the door, and they try to run up the stairs, but another zombie grabs Oz from behind and pulls him down to the floor.

Cordelia: Oz!

She reacts quickly and comes back down holding her hand out to Oz, but he waves her off.

Oz: GO! GO!

She starts to run toward the back, and Oz scrambles out of the zombie's reach, running right behind her.

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. She and Willow have to drag Pat the rest of the way in and lie her down on a large padded wicker chair and footrest while Buffy and Xander try to get the door closed to keep a zombie out. Willow feels for a pulse on Pat's neck.

Willow: She's...

Joyce: Oh, God! Pat! She's dead!

The zombie gives the door a good bump, knocking Xander back and into the far wall. The impact vibration knocks the mask from its hook. Buffy manages to shove the zombie back a bit. Willow and Joyce run to help. The eyes of the mask begin to glow red again. Xander gets back up, and now all four of them are pushing against the door to get it closed.

Joyce: What do we do if they get in?

Xander: I kind of think we die.

The mask's eyes keep glowing. Cut to Pat. Her eyes open wide.

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

Inside a downstairs closet. It's absolutely dark.

Cordelia: I don't hear anything. Should we check?

Oz: (exhales) Let's go for it.

He opens the door and looks out. No zombies. He looks the other way. The coast appears to be clear. They can, however, hear noises coming from upstairs. Oz gives Cordelia a glance and looks around again to be absolutely sure that at least there isn't anything going on downstairs. Cordelia sees a pair of ski poles in the closet and hands one of them to Oz.

Cordelia: Here.

Oz: Thanks.

Together they start down the hall toward the stairs. They reach the kitchen door. Cordelia looks in and startles when suddenly Giles appears there, having come in through the back door. She holds her ski pole up to his neck. Oz holds his ski pole pointed at Giles' gut.

Giles: Cordelia, it's me! It's me!

Cordelia: How do we know it's really you and not zombie Giles?

Giles: Cordelia, do stop being tiresome.

Cordelia: It's him.

She and Oz both draw back their weapons. The noises upstairs seem to get louder. They start moving toward the stairs again.

Oz: I think the Dead Man's Party's moved upstairs.

Giles: That makes sense. It's the mask in Joyce's bedroom they're after.

Cordelia: Mask?

Giles: The mask holds the power of a... zombie demon, called Ovu Mobani--Evil Eye. I don't think we can get past them.

They crouch by the stairs and try to look upstairs.

Oz: Well, what happens if they get the mask?

Giles: If one of them puts it on, they become the demon incarnate.

Cordelia: Worse than a zombie.

Giles: Yes, worse.

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. Pat sits up on the footrest. The zombie at the door overpowers Buffy and the others, pushing the door in violently. Joyce and Xander fall to the floor. The zombie comes in and backhand punches Buffy, sending her into the wall. Pat sees the fighting, but her attention is drawn to the mask lying on the floor. Its eyes glow a bright red now. Xander tries to grab the zombie from behind, but it throws a backhand punch and hits Xander in the jaw. Xander goes flying in a high arc onto the bed and rolls off of the far side onto the floor. Pat stands up, her gaze fixed on the mask, and steps over to it. Joyce sees her stand up, and looks at her amazed. She gets up from the floor and goes over to Pat.

Joyce: Oh, God! We thought you were...

She tries to hug Pat, but Pat grabs her outstretched arms and pushes her hard onto the bed. Joyce rolls off next to Xander. Pat bends down to pick up the mask and holds it to her face as she stands back up. The eyes suddenly glow a very bright red, and the mask integrates itself into Pat's face. The zombie immediately stops fighting Willow and falls to his knees, screaming and cowering before Ovu Mobani incarnate.

Xander: (to Joyce) Generally speaking, when scary things get scared: not good.

Willow looks at Mobani, transfixed by its stare.

Mobani: I live, you die.

Buffy tries to get between them. Ovu Mobani turns to her, and its eyes flash, mesmerizing Buffy. It backhand punches her, and sends her flying in a high arc against the closet door. Buffy is only slightly dazed, and quickly raises herself up on her hands. She sees Willow back away from Mobani fearfully.

Buffy: Willow, don't look!

Mobani's eyes flash again at Willow, and she freezes. The demon strides over to her and grabs her by the jaw and the back of her head. Buffy lunges at Mobani, grabs it and dives out of the bedroom window. Cut outside. The two of them fall onto the roof and roll down and off. They hit the railing of the back porch and break it, fall over some bushes and roll into the backyard.

Cut to Giles, Oz and Cordelia on the stairs. They hear the crash through the window.

Giles: Out back!

They rush back down the stairs, but a zombie appears from the dining room and takes Giles by the neck.

Cut outside. Buffy and Ovu Mobani get to their feet. Buffy looks away and quickly puts some distance between herself and the demon, shading her eyes as she goes.

Buffy: Not looking.

Mobani makes tracks after her.

Buffy: Not looking!

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. With Ovu Mobani no longer there, the zombie has quit its cowering and begun attacking the mortals. Xander and Willow each have the zombie by an arm, and Joyce swings a baseball bat hard into his back. The zombie screams and flails its arms, shaking Xander and Willow loose. He turns to face Joyce, who keeps swinging the bat. The zombie blocks the blows with its arm, but Joyce doesn't stop.

Cut outside. Mobani tackles Buffy to the ground and turns her over. Buffy immediately covers her eyes with her arm, and the demon's eye flashes have no effect on her. Buffy snap kicks Mobani off of her, and the demon flies across the yard and lands hard on its back.

Cut to the stairs. Oz and Giles try to use a ski pole to hold the zombie at bay, but it's not working very well.

Giles: Tell Buffy Mobani's power lies in his eyes!

Oz kicks the zombie twice in the shoulder, trying to force him back so he can get down the stairs. The zombie isn't fazed, so Oz just hops over the stair railing instead.

Giles: She has to go for the eyes to defeat him!

Cut outside. Buffy gets to her hands and knees and scrambles over to the shovel. Behind her Mobani is coming for her again. Buffy turns around with the shovel raised, but the demon flashes its eyes at her again, this time making her freeze. Behind them Oz comes running out of the kitchen door.

Oz: Buffy!

This distracts Ovu Mobani and brings Buffy out of her trance. Mobani flashes its eyes at Oz, making him freeze on the porch. Buffy stands back up and raises the shovel.

Buffy: Hey, Pat!

Ovu Mobani snaps its head around to look at Buffy again, who jams the shovel into the demon's eyes, embedding it in its head. Mobani grabs the shovel handle and tries to pull it out, but can't.

Buffy: Made you look.

In a flash of brilliant white light Ovu Mobani disappears.

Cut to Joyce's bedroom. She is still beating on the zombie. In a flash of light he disappears. Joyce's next swing goes wild, and she stops.

Cut to the stairs. Cordelia is helping Giles hold the zombie at bay with the ski poles, when he disappears in a flash of light, making her fall forward. She reacts quickly and steadies herself against the wall.

Cut outside. Buffy just stares where Mobani was. On the porch Oz shrugs.

Oz: Never mind.

Cut inside. Giles and Cordelia come down the stairs. Behind them Joyce runs down and into the living room, looking for Buffy. She sees her and Oz come in through the kitchen.

Joyce: Honey!

She embraces her daughter tightly. Buffy hugs her mom back.

Joyce: Oh!

They release their embrace. Oz sees Willow come into the living room and goes to her.

Joyce: Are you all right?

Buffy: Yeah.

Joyce: (panting) So, is this a typical day at the office?

Buffy: No. This was nothing.

Willow and Oz hold hands, and then turn to face Buffy. Xander comes into the living room through the kitchen. Cordelia joins them. Joyce looks around at the mess in the house.

Xander: (to Buffy) Nice moves.

Buffy: You, too.

Willow smiles, and goes to hug her best friend. They hold each other close for a long time. Giles looks on from the other side of the room and breathes deeply.

Cut to Principal Snyder's office the next day. He's getting some files from his cabinet. There is a knock on his door. It opens and Giles comes in. Snyder glances over to see who it is, and goes to his desk.

Snyder: Do we have an appointment?

Giles: I'd like to have a word with you.

Snyder drops the files on his desk and turns to face Giles.

Snyder: If that word is Buffy, then I have two words for you: 'good' and 'riddance'. Now, if you don't mind, I have an appointment with the Mayor.

Giles: You can't keep her out of this school.

Snyder: (pulls on his jacket) I think you'll find I can.

Giles: You had no grounds for expelling her.

Snyder: I have grounds, I have precedent, and a tingly kind of feeling.

Giles: Buffy Summers is a minor, and is entitled to a public education. Your personal dislike of the girl does not legally entitle you to...

Snyder: (interrupts) Why don't you take it up with the city council?

He grabs the files and his briefcase and heads for the door.

Giles: I thought I'd start with the State Supreme Court.

Snyder stops and faces him.

Giles: You're powerful in local circles, but I believe I can make life very difficult for you, professionally speaking. (confidently) And Buffy will be allowed back in.

Snyder: Sorry. I'm not convinced.

He tries to go again. Giles grabs him by the lapel and shoves him back into his filing cabinet.

Giles: (grining) Would you like me to convince you?

Snyder shakes his head ever so slightly and looks back nervously.

Cut to the Espresso Pump. Cut inside. The camera pans across the interior and stops on Buffy and Willow sitting on stools at a table with a couple of drinks.

Willow: I mean, I'm not a full-fledged witch. That takes years. I just did a couple pagan blessings and... a teeny glamour to hide a zit.

Buffy: Does it scare you?

Willow: It has. I tried to communicate with the spirit world, and I *so* wasn't ready for that. It's like being pulled apart inside. Plus I blew the power for our whole block. Big scare.

Buffy: I wish I could've been there with you.

Willow: Me, too. I really freaked out.

Buffy: I am sorry.

Willow: It's okay. I understand you having to bail. I can forgive that. Mm, I have to make allowances for what you're going through a-and be a grownup about it. (gives Buffy a slightly smug look)

Buffy: (smiles) You're really enjoying this whole moral superiority thing, aren't you?

Willow: (smiles) It's like a drug!

Buffy: Fine! Okay. I'm the bad. I can take my lumps... for a while.

Willow: All right. I'll stop giving you a hard time. (pauses) Runaway.

Buffy: (gives her a surprised look) Will!

Willow: (smiles and giggles) I'm sorry! Quitter.

Buffy: (widens her eyes at her) Whiner.

Willow: Bailer.

Buffy: Harpy.

Willow: Delinquent.

Buffy: Tramp.

Willow: (takes mock offense) Bad seed.

Buffy: Witch.

Willow: Freak.

Unnamed Characters:

Paul Morgan Stetler as Young Doctor
Chris Garnant as Stoner #1