GILES VOICEOVER: Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer...
The gang in the magic shop.
WILLOW: Hey Dawnie.
XANDER: So, uh, anything new about Warren and the Nerd Herd?
XANDER: Man, a nerd goes into hiding, he really goes into hiding.
Dawn and Willow in the Bronze.
DAWN: Big wedding coming up ... lots of date possibilities ... you and Tara are speaking again. You wanna call her?
WILLOW: No. But if I did call? She wouldn't hang up on me.
Dawn and Buffy in Dawn's bedroom.
DAWN: You can't even stand to be around me.
BUFFY: That is not true.
DAWN: You didn't wanna come back.
Buffy and Spike in the crypt.
BUFFY: It's over.
SPIKE: I've memorized this tune, luv.
BUFFY: I'm using you. And it's killing me. I'm sorry, William.
Anya in the Bison Lodge wearing her wedding gown.
ANYA: This is it.
Buffy poking her head in.
BUFFY: Are you ready to go?
Willow pulling Buffy into the hall.
WILLOW: He's gone.
ANYA: Xander's gone? Xander's missing?
The wedding guests turning to look.
Buffy looking upset.
Xander walking in the rain.
ANYA: What do you mean Xander's missing?
Open on a dark street, night. Buffy walks along, wearing a jacket, cap and gloves, holding two pieces of stapled-together paper that she studies as she walks.
Zoom in closer and we see the paper is a list titled "New Rentals." The first page has a series of paragraphs, each one crossed out with red pen.
Buffy stops walking, frowns at the paper, looks up at a nearby house, walks toward it.
Cut to: close shot on a computer monitor showing Buffy walking toward the camera.
Pan over and we see several more monitors next to it on a desk. Pan further and we see Jonathan sitting there, leaning his head on his hand, asleep. In background we see Andrew reading something. Andrew looks up.
The barrel of a gun appears, inches from Jonathan's head. Suddenly water squirts out of it and all over Jonathan's face. He wakes up and jumps up with a gasp. Andrew bursts into laughter. We see Warren holding the Super-Soaker.
ANDREW: Oh man, your face was priceless.
JONATHAN: (angry) Yeah, real funny.
WARREN: It serves you right for taking Z's on lookout again.
JONATHAN: What do you expect? I haven't had a decent night's sleep since... (Warren glaring at him) I mean, I'm going Jack Torrence in here, you know? Stuck in this basement for weeks! I mean, we rented the whole house, can't we at least sleep upstairs?
ANDREW: We're on the lam. We have to lay low. Underground?
JONATHAN: It's figurative, doofus! Did you even read Legion of Doom? (Andrew jumping up in outrage)
WARREN: Okay, enough! Midgetor, get back to the monitors. The last thing we need is to be surprised by-
ANDREW: (looking at monitors) Holy Geez Louise.
Pan over to the monitors where another view reveals Buffy peering in the windows of the house.
WARREN: The frickin' Slayer.
JONATHAN: She's right there!
WARREN: All right, don't panic. Andrew ... deploy your little friend.
Andrew grins and nods. He turns and picks up a very long wooden tube about three inches in diameter, painted with various abstract designs. He sits back in his chair, puts his mouth to one end of the tube and blows. It makes a low sound like a flugelhorn.
Cut to outside. Buffy, walking around the building, hears the horn sound. She continues walking. She rounds a corner and finds an alley, dark, containing a pickup truck and a car.
Buffy walks into the alley, looking from her piece of paper to the house and back.
Something drops from the roof of the Nerds' house and lands behind Buffy. She turns to look at it.
BUFFY: Oh. Hi.
It's an ugly demon with waxy skin and weird marble-like eyes. It growls and advances.
BUFFY: You didn't by chance happen to just eat a couple of nerds, did you?
The demon takes a swing at her and she leans back to avoid it. It swings again and then tries a roundhouse kick, which Buffy ducks underneath. She blocks a punch and punches it in the stomach, then kicks it back. The demon hits her and she goes down. It grabs her and throws her against the car. She lands on the hood, sits up and kicks the demon with both feet. As it reels back, she stands up on the hood. The demon goes to punch her and she leaps up onto the car's roof. The demon punches the hood where she just was.
It tries to hit her legs but she jumps up, crouches on the hood and kicks the demon again. She does a flip off the car onto the ground while kicking the demon again, and it goes down. Buffy picks up a metal garbage can and slams it down onto the demon. It gets up as she raises the can for another blow. The demon shoves the garbage can out of Buffy's hands, then hits her in the face. She spins around and ends up with her face pressed against the car window. The demon grabs her from behind, she spins around again and hits it. It reels backward. They trade kicks and the demon's head goes through the car window, breaking it.
Close shot on the demon's hand pressed against the car door. A long thin bony spike suddenly shoots out of its knuckle.
The demon struggles with its head and shoulders still inside the car. Buffy grabs it and it elbows her off, turns around, grabs her and holds her tightly against its body.
The demon raises its hand with the spike still sticking out of it. Buffy sees the spike for the first time and looks alarmed. The demon stabs the spike into her shoulder. Buffy screams.
Flash-cut to a room with plain white walls. Buffy is in the corner between two walls, wearing a plain gray shirt, screaming and struggling as two men try to hold her down. One man is injecting something into her arm in exactly the spot where the demon skewered her.
MAN 1: You're gonna hurt yourself!
MAN 2: She's gonna break the needle. (removes needle from Buffy's arm) We're gonna have to strap her down.
Buffy continues struggling and gasping. Cut to a wider shot. We see a bed in the middle of the room, with leather restraints strapped to it. There are two narrow windows next to where the two men are struggling with Buffy. The men both wear plain white outfits.
Slowly Buffy stops struggling and goes limp, still panting. The two men hold her upright against the wall.
Cut to the hallway. We see a door with a small square window, through which we can see into the room where Buffy is.
A young man in a gray outfit similar to Buffy's walks by, accompanied by a man in a doctor's jacket.
Pan to wider shot and we can clearly see the hallway of this hospital, populated with other patients and doctors and nurses.
Wolf howl. Opening credits.
Guest starring Danny Strong, Adam Busch, Tom Lenk, Dean Butler, Michael Warren, Kirsten Nelson, Amber Benson as Tara, and Kristine Sutherland as Joyce. Written by Diego Gutierrez, directed by Rick Rosenthal.
Open on Buffy in the alley, leaning against the car, apparently unconscious. She comes to with a start, looks around, makes an expression of pain and rubs her arm. She straightens up and looks around, frowning. No sign of the demon.
Buffy pushes away from the car and begins to walk off, still holding her arm.
Cut to: UC Sunnydale campus, day. Various students walking around, etc.
WILLOW: (OS) Hi, um, Tara, how are you?
Pan across a building and we see Willow in a hallway, looking out a window, talking to herself.
WILLOW: W-well, I-I was wondering, maybe, you would wanna go out sometime? For coffee ... food ... kisses and gay love? (sighs) Hi Tara. Guess what? Magic-free now for, insert number, days now.
Among the other students walking around we see Tara approaching, walking down the hallway on the other side of the wall from Willow. Willow sees her, looks nervous, moves to intercept.
Willow comes around the wall with a big nervous smile on her face.
Long shot of Tara walking up to another girl. They smile at each other and the other girl kisses Tara either on the cheek or lips -- hard to tell.
Willow looks shocked.
Shot of Tara and the other girl laughing and talking.
Willow quickly turns and starts walking away.
Tara bids the other girl good-bye and continues walking. She spots Willow's back among the crowd, pauses, frowns slightly.
Cut to: close shot on a pile of french fries sitting in a hopper a heat lamp. More fries in the boiler cooking.
Pan up to reveal Buffy in Double Meat Palace uniform. The fryer beeps and she removes the basket of cooking fries from the hot oil, sets it to drain. She grimaces as if in pain, turns to walk away.
LORRAINE: (OS) Buffy.
We see Lorraine (Buffy's boss) standing a few feet away, next to a countertop.
Buffy turns toward her. Flash-cut to the asylum. Buffy is again wearing her gray outfit and is turning.
We see a woman in a doctor's coat, standing exactly as far away as Lorraine was, next to a counter.
FEMALE DOCTOR: Come on, it's time for your drugs.
Buffy begins to breathe faster, fearful.
Flash back to the Double Meat Palace.
BUFFY: (confused) What?
LORRAINE: I said, if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were on drugs.
BUFFY: (confused) Okay. Good.
Lorraine rolls her eyes and turns away.
Buffy turns and walks back to the french fries. She lifts the basket out of the fryer and dumps its contents into the hopper under the heat lamp. We see that the new batch of fries is burnt black.
Cut to the Summers house. Buffy, wearing a turtleneck sweater, comes down the stairs and goes into the dining room.
BUFFY: Whatcha doin'?
We see Willow sitting at the table typing on her laptop computer.
WILLOW: I'm online, checking to see if Xander emailed.
BUFFY: (sits) Any luck?
WILLOW: No such.
BUFFY: (hopeful) Well, maybe Anya found him and they're trying to work it out. (Willow shrugs) How come you're all, home, hearth, and DSL anyway? I thought you were gonna go see Tara.
WILLOW: (unhappy) Saw her. Saw her completely.
BUFFY: Ouch. Just got a scratch from all that brittle.
WILLOW: It's... (closing laptop) ...when I was seeing her, she was seeing someone else. A girl.
BUFFY: You mean-
WILLOW: I mean ... not "seeing" seeing. Well, maybe. I don't know, it was inconclusive, and I didn't stick around to find out. Might have magicked my fist through a wall or something,
BUFFY: (softly) Will, I'm sorry.
WILLOW: I mean, they're probably just friends. (pouty) I press my lips against my friends' all the time.
BUFFY: I'm sure they're just friends. Once you fall for Willow, you stay fallen.
WILLOW: Thanks, Buffy.
The doorbell rings. They both look up.
Cut to the front door. It opens and Xander comes in, looking toward the dining room.
XANDER: I'm back.
WILLOW: Xander, you're here!
The girls come into the foyer and they all share a group hug.
WILLOW: We missed you, where were you?
XANDER: I know, I tried calling, but I couldn't without...
BUFFY: Hey. You don't need to explain to us.
They all walk back into the dining room. Buffy and Willow resume their previous seats while Xander remains standing.
XANDER: Right. Is she here?
WILLOW: Oh ... n-no, you ... wanna find her?
XANDER: I need to. Her suitcase is gone and some of her stuff. There's a Closed sign on the Magic Box, which, like, chills me to the bone.
WILLOW: She left a couple days ago.
XANDER: Was she looking for me? (Willow fidgeting) Before she left, did she say anything?
WILLOW: You mean, between sobs? (Xander looking guilty) There was mostly just wheezing.
BUFFY: She was a little ... she was ... kinda broken.
XANDER: I don't know how stuff got so mixed up! (sighs) I blew it.
BUFFY: No. Well ... maybe it wasn't the best time to break up with her, but...
XANDER: No. It wasn't about breaking up. I love her, and god, I miss her so much.
WILLOW: So, you left her at the altar, but you still wanna-
BUFFY: You still wanna date?
XANDER: I guess. I know that I'm a better person with her in my life. But things got so complicated with the wedding, and with my family, and with her ... demons, and ... what if it all goes to hell, a-and forever? (the girls looking sympathetic) But then I left ... and ever since ... I've had this painful hole inside. (Buffy looking pensive) And I'm the idiot that dug it out.
Xander takes a deep breath, shakes his head sadly.
XANDER: I screwed up real bad.
BUFFY: Hey. We all screw up.
Xander doesn't look comforted.
Cut to the graveyard. Spike walks along carrying a paper grocery bag. As he walks, he takes out a cigarette and puts it in his mouth.
SPIKE: You lookin' for me?
We see Buffy walking away from him.
BUFFY: Really not.
The camera stays on Buffy as, in the background, Spike puts down his bag and takes out his lighter.
SPIKE: Oh. Right then. Off you go. (lighting up) Did you cry?
BUFFY: (stops walking) What?
SPIKE: The wedding. Two hearts joined for eternity, great pelting showers of rice and so forth.
BUFFY: You didn't hear.
She turns and walks back toward him.
SPIKE: What? Families get out of hand? Tear the place apart?
BUFFY: No. Well, yes, absolutely. But ... Xander left. The wedding didn't happen.
SPIKE: (surprised) Well. Gotta say ... I didn't see that coming. (sits on a bench)
BUFFY: It was awful. (sits nearby) Anya was devastated.
SPIKE: Is that right.
BUFFY: And, Xander ... thinks maybe they can still get back together, but ... he hurt her a lot.
SPIKE: Yeah, well ... some people can't see a good thing when they've got it.
He gives Buffy a meaningful looks. Buffy glares at him. He returns to his cigarette.
XANDER: (OS) Spike.
Willow and Xander walk up, holding stakes.
XANDER: I shoulda known you'd be tagging along.
BUFFY: (stands) Hey, guys. I, uh ... I found Spike and was, uh, trying to figure out what kind of dangerous contraband he had.
SPIKE: (looks disgusted, gets up) Tell you what, Slayer. (drops his cigarette and grinds it out with one foot) Let me get out of your way. (picks up grocery bag) I'll stop bothering you.
XANDER: Yeah, maybe you should do that, Spike, just run along.
SPIKE: You know, I guess you know all about that, don't you? (going over to Xander) The king of the big exit. (Xander lookng upset) Heard it brought the house down.
XANDER: I don't need this crap from you.
SPIKE: Right. Let's not listen to Spike. (turns to look at Buffy) Might get a bit of the truth on you.
Spike gets in Xander's face. Willow quickly moves to separate them.
WILLOW: Okay, okay. Heh. Calm now. (Spike and Xander glaring at each other) Let's, uh, turn around and release this very manly thing the other way.
XANDER: I forgot. Willy Wannabite can't hurt me. (to Spike) Dumb to pick a fight, I guess.
Shot of Buffy suddenly looking dizzy, falling to her knees. The others don't notice.
BUFFY: (weakly) Guys...
SPIKE: More than happy to beat you right through the pain, you pathetic poof.
Spike tosses his bag of groceries aside.
Xander punches Spike in the face. Spike goes down hard.
Buffy sits back down on the stone bench, her head bent down to her chest.
BUFFY: Guys, don't.
Flash-cut to the asylum. Buffy has her head down and hands pressed to her temples.
MAN: Buffy, can you hear me?
Buffy looks up.
A man in a doctor's coat sits down in front of her. She stares at him. We see that she is again pressed into the corner where two walls meet, sitting on the floor with her knees drawn up against her chest. Her hair is flat and limp and she wears bland gray hospital clothing.
BUFFY: (panting) What is this?
DOCTOR: Do you know where you are, Buffy?
BUFFY: (confused) Sunnydale.
DOCTOR: No, none of that's real, none of it. You're in a mental institution. (Buffy frowning at the floor, shaking her head) You've been with us now for six years. Do you remember?
Buffy frowns in extreme confusion, lifts her head again to look at the doctor.
Cut to longer shot of the room. The bed with the restraints is still there. Buffy is sitting in the corner and the doctor sits on a chair next to her.
Close shot on Buffy's distressed face.
Cut back to the cemetery. Spike goes tumbling over backward, over his bag of groceries, from Xander's punch.
Willow and Xander rush over to Buffy.
WILLOW: Buffy? Are you okay?
XANDER: What happened?
Buffy slowly lifts her head.
Flash back to the asylum. The doctor reaches his hand out toward Buffy. She flinches back, trying to push herself even farther into the corner. She turns away and hits her forehead against the wall a few times.
DOCTOR: It's okay, Buffy. Buffy, it's okay.
Slowly, she turns her head to peer at him through her hair.
DOCTOR: Look. Look who's here.
The doctor looks behind him.
Pan over to reveal Joyce standing by the door with Hank behind her.
Buffy stares. Joyce comes forward and crouches down to bring herself to Buffy's level. Hank stands behind her leaning down with hands on his knees.
JOYCE: Welcome home, sweetie.
Buffy stares at her mom in shock.
BUFFY: (softly) Mom?
JOYCE: (tearful) Oh, baby, you're really here.
BUFFY: (whispers) Dad?
DOCTOR: She's lucid. Keep talking, maybe the sound of your voice will ground her.
Close on Buffy's anguished face.
HANK: Sweetheart ... we've missed you very much. Honey, can you hear me?
Buffy starts to cry, puts her hands to her head again.
JOYCE: Oh, Buffy, stay with us, please.
Flash back to the cemetery. Buffy has her hands to her head as Willow and Xander come over and take her arms.
BUFFY: Oh ... no!
She slowly lifts her head, looks around.
SPIKE: Here, let's get her back to my crypt.
XANDER: Spike, just go, okay? (Buffy looking confused) She's our friend, we'll take care of her.
Xander and Willow help Buffy stand up.
BUFFY: No, guys, I'm okay. I'm okay.
WILLOW: Come on, Xander, help me get her home.
They lead her off. Spike watches them go.
SPIKE: (calls) Put a little ice on the back of her neck.
He turns away, picks up his bag of groceries.
SPIKE: (to himself) She likes that.
He walks off shaking his head.
Cut to the Summers house. Willow walks from the kitchen, holding a glass of water.
BUFFY: (OS) I've been having these flashes. Hallucinations, I guess.
Willow comes into the living room where Buffy is sitting in the armchair. Willow gives Buffy the water.
WILLOW: Since when?
BUFFY: Uh ... night before last.
Willow sits on the sofa, where Xander and Dawn are already sitting looking at Buffy.
BUFFY: I was, uh, checking houses on that list you gave me, and looking for Warren and his pals ... and then, bam! Some kind of gross, waxy demon-thing poked me.
XANDER: And when you say poke...
BUFFY: (rolling her eyes) In the arm. (Xander and Willow exchanging a look) It stung me or something, and ... then I was like ... no. It, it wasn't "like." I *was* in an institution. There were, um ... doctors and ... nurses and, and other patients. They, they told me that I was sick. I guess crazy. And that, um, Sunnydale and, and all of this, it ... none of it ... was real.
XANDER: Oh, come on, that's ridiculous! What? You think this isn't real just because of all the vampires and demons and ex-vengeance demons and the sister that used to be a big ball of universe-destroying energy? (pauses, frowns)
BUFFY: I know how this must sound, but ... it felt so real. (softly) Mom was there.
DAWN: She was?
BUFFY: Dad, too. They were together ... (distantly) like they used to be ... before Sunnydale.
WILLOW: (stands up hastily, raises her hand) Okay! All in favor of research? (Xander raises his hand) Motion passed. All right, Xander, you hit the demon bars. Dig up any info on a new player in town.
Close on Buffy squinching up her face as if in pain.
WILLOW: (OS) Dawnie, you can help me research. We'll hop on-line, check all the-
Flash back to the asylum. CrazyBuffy is sitting in the chair with her face squinched up in the same way.
DOCTOR: (OS) -possibilities for a full recovery, (shot of the doctor sitting behind a desk) but we have to proceed cautiously. If we're not careful--
Reveal Joyce and Hank sitting in chairs across from the doctor. CrazyBuffy sits in another chair a little bit separated from them, with her knees drawn up again.
JOYCE: Are you saying that Buffy could be like she was before any of this happened?
DOCTOR: (gets up, comes around the desk) Mrs. Summers, you have to understand the severity of what's happened to your daughter. (sits on the edge of his desk) For the last six years, she's been in an undifferentiated type of schizophrenia.
HANK: We know what her condition is. (Buffy frowning) That's not what we're asking.
DOCTOR: Buffy's delusions are multi-layered. (Joyce and Hank listening intently) She believes she's some type of hero.
JOYCE: The Slayer.
DOCTOR: The Slayer, right, but that's only one level. She's also created an intricate latticework to support her primary delusion. In her mind, she's the central figure in a fantastic world beyond imagination. (Buffy staring into the distance, frowning) She's surrounded herself with friends, most with their own superpowers ... who are as real to her as you or me. More so, unfortunately. Together they face ... grand overblown conflicts against an assortment of monsters both imaginary and rooted in actual myth. Every time we think we're getting through to her, more fanciful enemies magically appear-
BUFFY: (suddenly realizing) How did I miss-
DOCTOR: and she's-
BUFFY: Warren and Jonathan, they did this to me!
Buffy becomes agitated, tries to get up out of her chair. The doctor reaches over to stop her.
DOCTOR: Buffy, it's all right. They can't hurt you here. You're with your family.
Buffy looks around, upset.
BUFFY: (tearful) Dawn?
HANK: (to doctor) That's the sister, right?
DOCTOR: A magical key. Buffy inserted Dawn into her delusion, actually rewriting the entire history of it to accommodate a need for a familial bond. (to Buffy) Buffy, but that created inconsistencies, didn't it? (Buffy staring at him) Your sister, your friends, all of those people you created in Sunnydale, they aren't as comforting as they once were. Are they? They're coming apart.
Buffy whimpers, lowers her head again.
JOYCE: Buffy, listen to what the doctor's saying, it's important.
DOCTOR: Buffy, you used to create these grand villains to battle against, and now what is it? Just ordinary students you went to high school with. (Buffy staring at him) No gods or monsters ... just three pathetic little men ... who like playing with toys.
Buffy frowns anxiously.
Cut to the Nerd Herd's new lair. Warren comes down the stairs from above, holding a cardboard box, Andrew behind him also carrying boxes.
WARREN: Dude, that poison has got her drooling like a, some kind of-
JONATHAN: (upset) Where have you guys been?
Warren pauses partway down the stairs, glances up at Andrew.
WARREN: Uh ... picking up some stuff. (continues down the stairs)
ANDREW: (follows Warren) And checking out Buffy on the van's remote surveillance.
Warren and Andrew put down their boxes. Warren sits in a chair.
WARREN: Andrew's demon pet has done some number on the slayer. Got her tripping like a Ken Russell film festival.
They both start doing stuff with the equipment.
JONATHAN: Well, what kind of stuff?
JONATHAN: The packages. What's in them?
WARREN: Well, what do you think, Spanky, you think we're plotting against you?
JONATHAN: Better not be. (Andrew rolling his eyes)
WARREN: It's just stuff, big man. All right, you'll be in the know just as soon as you stop being all freakazoid.
Warren turns to the computers, hits some keys. Blueprints appear on the screen.
WARREN: Ah, now, there's the vault.
ANDREW: I still say we're gonna need eight other guys to pull this off.
WARREN: I never should have let you see that movie.
Jonathan looks angry, turns and heads for the stairs.
WARREN: Wha, uh, where you going? (jumps up to follow Jonathan)
JONATHAN: Out. Getting stuff I need.
WARREN: You know, I don't really think that's such a good idea.
JONATHAN: Why not?
WARREN: (pauses) Well, it's... (puts arm around Jonathan's shoulders, sighs) It's just not safe out there ... alone. (leading Jonathan away from the stairs) You saw how close the slayer got. (Jonathan looking unconvinced) Look, we're, we're a team. Something happens to you, it happens to all of us. Right? (Andrew watching anxiously) Look, I know, I know you're antsy, we all are, but you see, things, they're about to pick up. Big, big time. Just gotta be careful. Right? All right? Stick together. Okay?
Warren slaps Jonathan on the shoulder in friendly fashion and returns to his seat.
Andrew looks relieved.
Jonathan does not look reassured.
Cut to the Summers house. Buffy sits on the sofa, staring at a photo of Joyce, Hank, and Young Buffy (from episode "The Weight of the World"). They are all smiling and happy together.
Willow enters holding a piece of paper.
WILLOW: (smiling) Look, Buffy, I found the demon. Fits your description and symptoms perfectly.
Willow sits next to Buffy and holds out the paper. Buffy puts down the photo, still looking pensive.
WILLOW: Look, is this it?
Close shot on the paper with a picture of the demon. Buffy looks at it, nods without saying anything.
WILLOW: (smiling) See, it's gonna be okay. Its pokey stinger carries an antidote to its own poison.
Willow stops smiling as she sees that Buffy isn't cheered. Buffy resumes looking at the photo.
BUFFY: (very quietly) I feel so lost.
WILLOW: I know. You're confused. It's, it's that crazy juice inside you.
BUFFY: It's more than that. (Willow frowning) Even before the demon ... I've been so detached.
WILLOW: We've ... all been kind of slumming.
BUFFY: Every day I try to ... snap out of it. Figure out why I'm like that.
WILLOW: Buffy, look at me.
Buffy looks at Willow, her lips quivering like she's about to cry.
WILLOW: You are not in an institution. You have never been in an institution.
BUFFY: (whispers) Yes, I have.
BUFFY: (sighs) Back when I saw my first vampires... (shot of the photo) I got so scared. I told my parents ... and they completely freaked out. They thought there was something seriously wrong with me. So they sent me to a clinic.
WILLOW: (shocked) You never said anything.
BUFFY: (tearful) I was only there a couple of weeks. I stopped talking about it, and they let me go. Eventually ... my parents just ... forgot.
WILLOW: God. That's horrible.
BUFFY: (crying) What if I'm still there? What if I never left that clinic?
WILLOW: Buffy ... Buffy, you're not. (Buffy sniffling) I'm ... so sorry you had to go through that. But, i-it's the past. You've got to trust me. We're gonna get you that antidote. Xander's hunting the demon right now.
BUFFY: Alone? Will, he can't. It's too strong.
WILLOW: Oh, it's okay. We got help.
Cut to Xander and Spike walking through the forest together. Xander holds a flashlight.
SPIKE: So, she's having the wiggins, is she? Thinks none of us are real. Bloody self-centered, if you ask me.
XANDER: Spike, we need muscle, not color commentary.
SPIKE: On the other hand, it might explain some things -- this all being in that twisted brain of hers. Yeah. Thinks up some chip in my head. Make me soft, fall in love with her, then turn me into her soddin' sex slave-
SPIKE: Nothing. Alternative realities. Where we're all little figments of Buffy's funny-farm delusion. You know, in a different reality, you might not have left your bride at the altar. You might have gone through with it like a man.
XANDER: (annoyed) Okay, one more syllable about Anya-
The demon leaps out at them, growling. Xander yelps. We see that Xander is also holding a rifle.
SPIKE: Oh, balls. You didn't say he was a glarghk guhl kashma'nik(??)
XANDER: 'Cause I can't say glar-
The demon attacks. It knocks Xander to the ground and kicks at Spike, who ducks. Spike punches the demon a few times and then kicks it back. Xander gets up, holding the rifle. He fires a dart, which sticks in the demon's chest. The demon blocks a punch from Spike, hits him and kicks him. Spike spins around and falls down.
Xander hits at the demon, goes to hit it with the rifle but it blocks. We hear a metallic clanking noise as the rifle hits the demon's hand which is wearing some sort of gauntlet. The demon shoves Xander onto the ground again. Spike exchanges a few more punches with the demon as Xander picks up the rifle again.
Xander shoots another dart which sticks in the demon's chest next to the first one. The demon ducks a kick from Spike and spins around. Spike grabs the demon from behind and twists its neck, rendering it unconscious.
Xander gets up and walks over. He and Spike stand there panting, staring down at the demon.
XANDER: I altered his reality. (pause) Get it, I... (sees Spike scowling) Never mind.
Cut to: Buffy sitting on her bed, staring blankly into space.
DAWN: (OS) I made you some tea.
Dawn enters holding a mug. Buffy doesn't look at her.
BUFFY: (whispers) Thanks.
Dawn comes over, puts the mug on a side table, sits on the bed beside Buffy.
BUFFY: (still staring vacantly) I'm okay, Dawn.
DAWN: The, uh, thousand-yard stare really helps sell that.
Dawn look sympathetic, leans over and puts her hand on Buffy's forehead, then on her cheek.
DAWN: You're burning up.
BUFFY: (frowns) I should be taller than you.
DAWN: (small smile) Maybe you're not done growing.
BUFFY: Coming apart.
DAWN: What's coming apart?
BUFFY: (frowning, shaking her head) We have to try harder, make things better.
DAWN: I'm trying.
BUFFY: Your grades ... stealing. (Dawn looking guilty) Willow's been doing your chores, hasn't she?
DAWN: What? No, i-it's ... it's the fever. It's cooking your brain.
Suddenly Buffy leans forward and grabs Dawn's arm hard. Dawn looks alarmed.
BUFFY: We have to deal with these things, Dawn, we-
JOYCE VOICEOVER: You don't have a sister, Buffy.
Buffy frowns in confusion. Flash-cut to the institution. Joyce sits facing Buffy, gazing at her. CrazyBuffy is still in her hospital gown.
BUFFY: (uncertainly) Dawn?
JOYCE: No, honey.
Cut to a wider shot and we see Buffy sitting on the bed and Joyce sitting on it next to her, in the same positions as Buffy and Dawn were in the bedroom. Hank sits in a chair on the other side of the bed, watching.
JOYCE: Say it. It'll help you believe it.
BUFFY: (uncertainly) I ... don't ... have a sister. (Joyce nodding approvingly) I know I, I didn't grow up with her. These monks, they-they made her.
Joyce looks uncertain, turns to look at Hank.
HANK: It's your mind, just playing tricks on you.
JOYCE: You're our little girl, Buffy. Our one and only. We've missed you so much. Mom and Dad just want to take you home and take care of you.
Joyce puts out her hand and caresses Buffy's cheek. Buffy looks anguished, reaches out with her own hand.
Flash back to the bedroom. Dawn stares in dismay as Buffy puts out her hand and touches Dawn's cheek.
Buffy is startled, pulls back her hand quickly, frowning. She squeezes her eyes shut.
DAWN: (tearful) I'm not even there, am I?
DAWN: You said it a second ago. You don't have a sister.
Dawn stands up. Buffy looks upset.
DAWN: It's your ideal reality, and I'm not even a part of it.
BUFFY: Dawn, I ... I didn't mean-
DAWN: I have to go finish my chores.
Dawn exits, leaving Buffy looking very upset.
Cut to the basement. Spike and Xander struggling with the demon. It is conscious again, growling and fighting as they drag it toward a pillar in the middle of the basement. The demon is wrapped in chains. In background we see Willow.
XANDER: Hold it. Hold it!
Close shot on Willow putting on a pair of thick yellow rubber gloves.
WILLOW: I'll need its arm.
The demon breaks away from Spike and falls to the floor, on top of Xander. Looks like Spike maybe pushed the demon onto Xander, but hard to tell for sure.
XANDER: Yeah, I'd like both my arms too.
Spike hauls the demon back up and shoves it against the pillar.
XANDER: (getting up) Thanks, Spike. I'll help when the ... blistering pain subsides.
Close on Xander's legs as a foot kicks Xander in the shin. Can't tell whether it was the demon or Spike. Xander yells in pain and goes down again, immediately gets back up again.
Willow comes forward holding a glass jar and a tool of some sort. Xander and Spike hold the struggling demon back against the pillar.
Willow stabs the demon in the arm with a two-pronged fork, causing its spine to come out from its hand. She grabs the spine and breaks it off.
WILLOW: (putting the spine in her jar) Xander, go to the magic shop.
Xander and Willow walk off.
WILLOW: I'll need alkanet root and a handful of nettle leaf. Just for the medicinal properties. No magic.
Shot of Spike working on chaining the demon to the pillar. Willow and Xander start up the stairs.
WILLOW: When you've got them, meet me at the campus lab. I'll see if I can brew up an antidote the old-fashioned way.
SPIKE: I'll hold here, keep an eye on the wax job.
XANDER: Make sure that's all you're ogling.
Willow pulls Xander away up the stairs.
Cut to exterior shot of the house, day.
WILLOW: (OS) Buffy? Wake up.
Cut to the bedroom. Willow walks in holding a mug. She wears the same clothes as in the previous scene.
WILLOW: Got yummy antidote goodness for you.
We see that Buffy is also still wearing the same clothing as the night before.
BUFFY: What happened?
WILLOW: (gives her the mug) It took a little longer than I'd hoped. No magic and all. Went boom twice, but then I got it. Just ... when it's cool, drink it all down, and ... everything should go back to normal.
BUFFY: You never stop coming through. Thank you, Willow.
Spike appears in the doorway, looking uncertain.
SPIKE: How is she?
WILLOW: (goes to the door) Make sure she drinks all that. I'm gonna let Dawn know that everything's gonna be okay.
Willow smiles at Buffy and leaves. Spike continues standing in the doorway.
SPIKE: (quietly) You all right?
BUFFY: (grimaces, not looking at him) You need to leave me alone. You're not part of my life.
SPIKE: (annoyed) Fine, then.
Spike turns to leave, then turns back, even more annoyed.
SPIKE: You know, but I hope you don't think this an-
He starts to come forward into the room, gesturing angrily, but walks into a beam of sunlight and stops, moves back with a frustrated expression.
SPIKE: (slightly calmer) I hope you don't think this antidote's gonna rid you of that nasty martyrdom. (Buffy still not looking at him) See, I figured it out, luv. You can't help yourself. You're not drawn to the dark like I thought.
Buffy looks up at him now, still frowning.
SPIKE: You're addicted to the misery. It's why you won't tell your pals about us. Might actually have to be happy if you did. They'd either understand and help you, god forbid ... or drive you out ... where you can finally be at peace, in the dark. With me. Either way, you'd be better off for it, but you're too twisted for that. (pauses) Let yourself live, already. And stop with the bloody hero trip for a sec. We'd all be the better for it.
Buffy frowns even more, looks up at Spike again.
SPIKE: You either tell your friends about us ... or I will.
He turns and leaves. Buffy makes an anguished face, holds the mug up. Pauses. Brings the mug up to her lips, pauses again. Stares off in front of her, pondering.
Slowly, she turns and holds out the mug. Tips it over and lets the contents pour out into the trash basket. Close shot on her face as she stares ahead.
DOCTOR VOICEOVER: Buffy.
Flash back to the asylum.
BUFFY: (tearful) I don't wanna go back there.
We see CrazyBuffy sitting on the bed, the doctor standing on one side of the bed while Joyce and Hank stand on the other side.
BUFFY: I wanna be healthy again. (Joyce smiling hopefully. Buffy turns to the doctor) What do I have to do?
BUFFY: (anxious) Oh ... please, help me. (to Joyce) I-I wanna go home, with you and dad.
JOYCE: I know, Buffy. But first you've gotta get better.
DOCTOR: It's not gonna be easy, Buffy. You have to take it one step at a time. You have to start ridding your mind of those things that support your hallucinations. (Buffy looking up at him) You understand? There are things in that world that you cling to. For your delusion, they're safe-holds, but for your mind they're traps. We have to break those down.
BUFFY: (softly) Slaying?
DOCTOR: Yes ... but I'm talking about those things you want there. What keeps you going back.
BUFFY: My friends.
DOCTOR: That's right. Last summer, when you had a momentary awakening, it was them that pulled you back in.
JOYCE: They're not really your friends, Buffy. They're just ... tricks keeping you from getting healthy.
DOCTOR: You have to do whatever it takes to convince yourself of that, Buffy. Whatever it takes.
Buffy stares off in front of her.
Flash back to the house. Buffy enters the living room and bumps into Willow:
WILLOW: (startled, nervous) Oh, Buffy, I, I didn't see you. I was just coming to check on you. You feeling better? Did the antidote work?
BUFFY: I'm ... still pretty dazed, but, uh, better.
WILLOW: No more cuckoo's nest? (Buffy shakes her head) Well, we still have the big bad all tranked out down in the basement. In case it didn't work and we need more parts.
Beat. Buffy looks blank. Willow looks hopeful.
WILLOW: It'll be nice to see you all better.
BUFFY: (small smile) Thanks.
WILLOW: I can make you some food, something big with energy, help you clear your noggin. Come on.
Willow takes Buffy's hand and they walk toward the kitchen.
Fade to the front door (shot from inside the foyer). A knock on the door. Xander opens it, pokes his head in.
XANDER: (calls) Hello! I'm back! Clean and with the better smell now. (comes inside, closes the door) Friends? Romans?
Long shot down the hall at Xander standing there, throwing up his hands.
He starts walking down the hall toward the camera.
He glances into the kitchen, pauses.
Reveal Buffy standing by the kitchen sink, holding a frying pan. Definite horror-movie vibe here. There's no background music. Buffy looks up at Xander as he walks in.
XANDER: Hey, there, sane girl. (taking off his jacket) So did Willow get that antidote to you all right?
BUFFY: (curtly) Yeah. I'm better now.
XANDER: Great. So, it's settled. (puts down his jacket) We're, uh, we're real, right? Guess we should finish off that demon and drag it out of the basement. And tell me you're up for that. (shakes his head) I so don't wanna see Spike right now. (walking closer to Buffy) I mean, talk about losing touch. Hate to say it, but I almost... (frowns) feel sorry for the guy. Almost. The things the poor guy was saying ... I mean, I get it, you know. Been a part of the Buffy obsess-
Suddenly Buffy hits him in the face with the frying pan. He reels back. Fast horror-movie music begins. Buffy drops the pan, grabs Xander and throws him against the kitchen island, her hands on his neck.
XANDER: (strained) B-Buffy-
She pulls him up again and hits him a couple of times. He goes down.
Fast-cut to Buffy dragging the half-conscious Xander down the basement stairs. She throws him to the floor.
Xander lifts his head a little and opens his eyes. The creepy music slows down. Reveal Willow on the floor not far from him, her hands tied behind her back and a piece of duct tape over her mouth. She stares at Xander in dismay.
XANDER: (groggy) Willow, what...
He falls unconscious. Willow stares past him.
Pan across their two bodies lying on the floor to reveal Buffy standing over them, staring down at them. She turns her gaze toward the stairs.
Shot of the demon still chained to the post in the middle of the basement, struggling and growling.
Buffy looks at the demon, back at her friends, then up the stairs. Slow creepy music continues.
Cut to the kitchen. The faster scary music resumes. Buffy emerges from the basement, frowning slightly. She shuts the door and locks it.
Slowly, she turns and walks down the hall. She pauses to grimace for a moment, continues. Reaches the bottom of the stairs, turns and looks up them.
BUFFY: (calls) Dawn?
She starts up the stairs.
Cut to upstairs hallway. Buffy emerges from the stairs, pauses, takes a deep breath, walks forward and pushes open the door to Dawn's room. Walks in.
We see Dawn with a canvas bag on the bed, putting stuff into it. She turns with a gasp to look at Buffy. Her cheeks are tear-stained.
DAWN: Don't you knock? (resumes packing)
BUFFY: I called for you.
DAWN: (looks at her again) Buffy, are you okay?
BUFFY: Where are you going?
DAWN: (resumes packing) I'm going over to Janice's, where they actually like having me around.
BUFFY: You're not going anywhere.
DAWN: (scoffs) Why not? You want me gone anyway. What do you care?
BUFFY: I care. You're going downstairs with the others. It's the only way I can get healthy. (walks toward Dawn)
DAWN: (alarmed) What are you talking about?
Buffy comes up to Dawn and stares at her.
DAWN: (worried) Buffy, you look sick. (Buffy just staring at her) What are you doing? What's wrong with you?
Suddenly Buffy tries to grab Dawn. Dawn breaks free and runs out.
DAWN: Stay away from me!
Dawn goes running down the hallway.
DAWN: (screams) Willow, help!
Dawn runs into Willow's room(?) and closes the door, leans against it.
DAWN: Buffy, please!
Buffy walks slowly down the hall toward the room.
BUFFY: You can't hide, Dawn.
DAWN: Talk to me. You're hallucinating.
BUFFY: (leans against the door) I know. You're just a trap for my mind.
DAWN: Buffy, please, listen to me. That asylum and those people, they're not real!
Buffy frowns, moves back and kicks the door open. Takes a few steps inside, looks around. No sign of Dawn.
Buffy goes back out and finds Dawn emerging from another door. Dawn gasps in surprise. Buffy stares at her.
DAWN: Buffy ... look at me. (Buffy blinking slowly) I'm right here. You're my sister. (getting tearful) I need you and love you. Somewhere inside you must know that's real.
BUFFY: (sarcastic) Sure it is. 'Cause what's more real? (starts walking toward Dawn) A sick girl in an institution...
DAWN: Don't. Please. Listen to me.
BUFFY: Or some kind of supergirl ... chosen to ... fight demons and... (Dawn looking around anxiously) save the world. (pauses, looks to one side, smiles a little) That's ridiculous.
She does her little grimace thing again and looks at Dawn.
Dawn quickly grabs the door and slams it in Buffy's face. Buffy kicks it open again. Dawn screams and jumps back.
BUFFY: (advancing into the room as Dawn backs away) A girl who sleeps with the vampire she hates?! Yeah, that makes sense.
Dawn tries to run around the bed but Buffy rolls across it and winds up in front of Dawn. She grabs Dawn by the arms and shoves her up against a dresser, then onto the floor. Dawn struggles as Buffy straddles her and pins her down.
DAWN: No! Buffy, stop! I'm real!
Cut to the basement.
DAWN: Buffy, stop it. I'll be good!
Buffy throws Dawn to the floor. We see that Dawn's arms are tied behind her back.
DAWN: I promise. You're not thinking. I'll-
Buffy kneels down and puts a piece of duct tape over Dawn's mouth. Dawn squeals and whines behind the gag.
Pan out to reveal Willow lying beside Dawn (both of them bound hand and foot, and gagged with duct tape). Xander is a few feet away, still unconscious, with his hands tied around a pillar but his feet and mouth free.
Buffy looks at them, looks at the demon, grimaces.
DOCTOR VOICEOVER: It's okay, Buffy. Don't stress yourself.
Flash to the asylum. Joyce and the doctor are close in foreground (Buffy POV) with Hank hovering in the background.
JOYCE: Honey, take your time.
DOCTOR: Make it as easy on yourself as possible. There's nothing wrong with that.
CrazyBuffy nods, looks determined.
Cut back to the basement. Xander begins to come around. Buffy sees this, walks slowly toward him.
XANDER: Buffy ... what are you doing?
She walks past him and over to the demon, walks around behind it.
Close shot on the chains as Buffy reaches over and undoes them. The demon shakes itself, making the chains fall to the floor.
XANDER: Oh my god.
The demon begins to advance, growling. Buffy stands watching.
Same scene. Buffy is panting, looks a little anxious as she watches. The demon is still advancing. Xander is trying to get to his feet, sliding his bound hands up the pillar. Sound of Willow and Dawn whimpering.
XANDER: Buffy, help me! I need my hands!
Xander kicks at the demon.
Buffy looks anxious, backs up into the space underneath the stairs.
Cut to the foyer. Horror-movie music continues. Tara enters through the front door.
TARA: (calls) Hello?
She comes inside, closes the door.
TARA: (calls) Anybody home?
Cut back to the basement. Buffy presses herself fearfully back into the alcove under the stairs as Xander continues fending off the demon with kicks.
The demon grabs Xander's shoulder and pulls, hard enough to break the ropes binding him. It throws Xander across the room. He slams into a refrigerator and falls down.
Close on Buffy watching with increasing anxiety.
JOYCE VOICEOVER: Buffy?
Cut to the institution, close shot on Joyce's face, blurry and unfocused.
CrazyBuffy jumps off the bed, whimpering. Runs over to the corner and presses herself into it, twitching and whimpering. Joyce looks concerned, walks toward her.
JOYCE: I-It's gonna be okay, sweetheart. Whatever it is, it's not real, remember? (moving forward slowly) Just keep concentrating. I'm right here, sweetie.
CrazyBuffy slides slowly down the wall toward a sitting position.
Cut back to the basement. Buffy is similarly sliding down the wall.
XANDER: (OS) Buffy, help me!
Shot of Xander struggling to get up again.
XANDER: Buffy, help!
The demon hits him hard on the back.
TARA: (OS) Willow?
Buffy looks up in surprise. Tara comes partway down the stairs, peers down. Shot of Willow trying to call to Tara through her gag.
TARA: (pointing) Eximete!
The bonds on Willow and Dawn dissolve in a flash of magic. They sit up.
TARA: Vis zenobia! S-solvere!
A large metal shelving unit covered with paint cans suddenly flies across the room and slams into the demon.
Close on Tara's feet as she descends the stairs. Buffy reaches between the steps and grabs Tara's ankle, tripping her. Tara falls down the stairs.
WILLOW: No! Tara!
Buffy looks shocked. Willow rushes over to Tara. Buffy retreats back into her alcove.
Cut to the asylum. CrazyBuffy is sitting pressed into the corner, agitated.
BUFFY: I don't know...
JOYCE: (kneeling next to her) Buffy, look at me.
BUFFY: I don't know. I don't know.
JOYCE: I believe in you. (Buffy looking at her, whimpering) You're a survivor, you can do this.
CrazyBuffy looks conflicted.
Cut back to the basement. Buffy grimaces again, looks up.
Xander jumps up and attacks the demon, which is attacking Dawn. Dawn screams. Xander jumps on the demon from behind. It grabs him and throws him down.
BUFFY: Xander. No.
She looks away, grimaces, looks back.
The demon is again struggling with Dawn. It throws her across the room, still screaming, as Willow picks up a metal baseball bat. Willow starts hitting the demon with the bat, then it grabs the bat and shoves her down.
Buffy looks anguished, starts to call Willow's name...
Cut to the asylum in mid-word. CrazyBuffy is very agitated, banging her head against the wall.
JOYCE: Buffy? Buffy! Buffy, fight it. You're too good to give in, you can beat this thing. Be strong, baby, ok? (Buffy crying) I know you're afraid. I know the world feels like a hard place sometimes, but you've got people who love you. (tearful) Your dad and I, we have all the faith in the world in you. We'll always be with you.
CrazyBuffy calms down as these words start to sink in.
JOYCE: You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. (whispering) Believe in yourself.
Joyce strokes her hair. CrazyBuffy sniffles, looks determined. Slowly she turns her head to look Joyce in the eye.
BUFFY: You're right. (sad smile) Thank you.
BUFFY: (tearful) Good-bye.
Joyce looks surprised, then horrified. CrazyBuffy looks away.
JOYCE: (anguished) Buffy.
Cut back to the basement. Sounds of screaming and punching continue as Buffy slowly stands up, wearing her determined expression.
She walks forward, kicks the demon in the chest, hits it, shoves it against the wall. Punches it, throws it into the washer/dryer, walks over to it and punches it so hard her hand goes into its chest.
The demon falls down, dead. Buffy stands there with her hand covered in its slimy gray blood. Zoom in on her determined face.
Slowly, she turns around.
We see Dawn huddled by the refrigerator, Xander picking himself up, Willow and Tara helping each other up. They all stare at Buffy.
BUFFY: (whispers) I'm so sorry.
WILLOW: Buffy? We're okay. It's all okay. (Buffy stumbling(?)) Buffy, sit down. You'll fall over.
BUFFY: No ... I can't. Not until I have the antidote.
WILLOW: Okay. We-we'll make more, we'll take care of it.
Close on Buffy's face.
WILLOW: (OS) Everything's gonna be okay, Buffy.
Flash to the institution. The doctor shining a flashlight at the camera (Buffy POV). He clicks the flashlight off, then on again.
We see CrazyBuffy sitting there catatonic, unresponsive as the doctor shines the light in her eyes. The doctor makes an upset face, turns to speak over his shoulder.
DOCTOR: I'm sorry, there's no reaction at all.
Close on CrazyBuffy leaning in the corner of the room.
DOCTOR: (OS) I'm afraid we lost her.
Camera pulls out slowly to reveal the doctor sitting on a chair, and behind him, Buffy's parents. Joyce is sobbing. Hank puts his arm around her and she hugs him. Continue pulling out to reveal the shackled bed. Camera moves back through the closed door with its tiny window.
Executive Producers: Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon.
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