03x11 - Gingerbread

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

A Sunnydale park at night. Buffy slowly strolls along the perimeter and into an area surrounded by bushes. She hears a rustling sound coming from the bush directly in front of her, and stops instantly, her gaze fixed on the shaking branches. She pulls out her stake and gets ready to fight, when suddenly she hears a voice to her left.

Joyce: Is it a vampire?

Buffy snaps her head to the left and sees her mother walk toward her carrying a bag in one hand and a large thermos in the other.

Buffy: Mom, what are you doing here?

Joyce: (holds up the bag and thermos) I brought you a snack. I thought it was about time for me to come out and watch. Y-you know, the slaying.

Buffy: You know, the slaying is kind of an alone thing.

Joyce: But it's such a big part of your life, and I'd like to understand it. It's, um, you know, something we could share.

Buffy: A-actually, it's pretty dull, you know, it's (distracted) bam boom stick... poof.

Her attention is back on the rustling bush, and she nudges her mother to the side a bit. Suddenly a vampire jumps out at her and runs straight for her. She ducks as the vampire lunges at her with his arms outstretched. She gets back up and delivers a right hook to his face followed by a backhand punch on the backswing and a left to the face, making him take a step back. Her mother cheers her on.

Joyce: Good, honey! Kill him!

Buffy does an out-to-in crescent kick, which he easily ducks. She tries to punch him in the face again, but he grabs onto her shoulders and rolls onto his back, sending her rolling over him and onto her back. She lets out a pained grunt and looks around to get her bearings.

Joyce: (points) Buffy, he-he's over here!

The vampire faces her and roars.

Joyce: Oh, my God! It's Mr. Sanderson from the bank!

He comes at Buffy with a front snap kick, which she low blocks. He tries to punch her, but she ducks it. Buffy does a half spinning in-to-out crescent kick followed swiftly by a leg sweep, knocking the vampire's legs out from under him. She stands back up and gets ready to punch him, but he's had enough. He scrambles to his feet and hightails it out of there.

Joyce: (points with the thermos) And he's getting away!

Buffy gives her a stern look.

Buffy: Stay!

She runs off after the vampire. Joyce lets out a worried sigh and decides to walk the short distance over to the playground. There she sets down her bag and the thermos on a bench near the swings. She shivers a bit from the cold night air. She steps over to the concrete border between the grass and the sand of the playground and notices a toy pickup truck that was left behind in a small puddle. She picks it up and smiles as she looks it over. Then something catches her eye at the other side of the playground.

Cut to Buffy on the ground with the vampire bending over her. She grabs him and pulls him over and down onto the ground next to her. She scrambles to her knees and jams her stake home. The vampire explodes in a cloud of ashes.

Cut to Joyce as she makes her way over to the carousel. When she's close enough to get a good look, she stops in horror, shocked at what she sees.

Joyce: Oh, God. (takes a breath) Oh...

Cut to a long shot of her with the carousel in the foreground. The body of a young boy lies dead on it, and next to it on the sand lies the body of a young girl. Joyce can't believe her eyes. Each of the children has one arm outstretched, and drawn in black on the palms of their hands is a triangle. It has a wide U-shaped symbol in the middle, with its ends extending out from the triangle and bending in a sharp arc at the tips.

Opening credits roll. Buffy's theme plays.

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

The playground. Several police cars and a coroner's van have arrived, and the detectives are looking over the scene. No one has touched the bodies yet. The police photographer steps up to the carousel and takes aim at the young boy with his camera. A series of black-and-white photos follow. The boy's outstretched arm with the symbol on the palm of his hand. The girl from straight above with her outstretched arm. A close-up shot of the girl's face. A wide-angle shot of both of the children from above. The boy from straight above with his outstretched arm. A close-up of the boy's hand with the symbol clearly visible.

Sometime later, Buffy is finishing an interview with a police officer.

She asks him if she and her mother can leave now.

Police Officer #1: Yes, ma'am.

Buffy walks over to her mother. The police bustle with activity around them.

Police Officer #2: Alright, let's move here. Somebody pull that car out.

Buffy: (reaches her mother) They said we can go home now.

Joyce: (distraught) They were little kids. Did you see them? They're so tiny.

Buffy: (sympathetically) I saw.

Joyce: (shaking her head) Who could do something like this? I just...

(looks down sadly)

Buffy: I'm so sorry that you had to see this. But I promise, everything is gonna be okay.

Joyce: How?

Buffy: Because I'm gonna *find* whatever did it.

Joyce: I guess. It's just you can't... you can't make it right.

Buffy hugs her mother closely. Joyce begins to sob.

Buffy: (comfortingly) I know. I'm sorry. But I'll take care of everything. I promise. Just try and calm down.

Cut to the library the next morning. Buffy looks up at Giles standing at the top of the stairs to the book stacks.

Buffy: (upset) Don't tell me to calm down!

Giles: (taken aback) I-I-I only meant...

Buffy: They were kids, Giles. Little kids! You don't know what it was like to see them there. My mom can't even talk.

Giles: (takes a few steps down) I'm sorry. I... I just want to help.

Buffy: (calms a bit) I know.

Giles comes down the rest of the way and goes over to the center table.

Buffy follows and leans against the back of a chair.

Giles: Do we know how? Uh... It wasn't a vampire? (sits on the table)

Buffy: No. There were no marks.

Giles lifts his mug for a sip of his tea, but stops as Buffy continues.

Buffy: Wait. I-I mean, there, there was a mark, um, a-a symbol.

She steps around the chair, grabs a pen from the table and sits to draw it. Giles hurriedly sets down his mug and quickly reaches over to stop

Buffy before she can deface the parchments lying there in front of her.

Giles: Oh, uh, 12th century, Papal Encyclical. Write on this.

He gently picks up the parchments and nudges a spiral notebook over to her. Buffy flips the notebook to a blank page and draws as Giles sets down the parchments and picks up his mug again.

Buffy: I-it was on their hands. The cops are keeping it quiet, but I

got a good look at it.

She pushes the drawing over for Giles to see.

Buffy: There. Find me the thing that uses this symbol and point me at it.

Giles: (thoughtfully) Hmm.

Buffy: Hmm. What? Giles, speak.

Giles: (torn from his reverie) What? Oh, sorry. Um, no, it... (picks up the notebook) I just wonder if we're looking for a thing. The use of a symbol o-o-on a victim like this suggests a, a ritual murder and a cult sacrifice by a group.

Buffy: A group of... human beings? Someone with a soul did this?

Giles: Yes, I'm afraid so.

He goes over to the bookshelves behind the table and starts his research.

Buffy: Okay. Then while you're looking for the meaning of that symbol thingy, could you also find a loophole in that 'Slayers don't kill people' rule?

Giles looks back at her from his crouched position.

Giles: Buffy, this is a dreadful crime, I know, (stands up) and you have every right to be upset, but... I-I wonder if you're not letting yourself get a shade, uh... more personal because of your mother's involvement.

Buffy: (stands and faces him) Oh, it's *completely* personal. Giles, find me the people that did this. Please.

Cut to the cafeteria. Oz and Xander are at the steam tables selecting their lunch. Oz reaches in, grabs a foil-wrapped burrito and sets it on his plate. Xander glances over at him.

Xander: Hey.

Oz: Hey.

They move down the line to the fruit cocktail bowls and each takes one.

Xander: (slightly nervous) So, a burrito.

Oz: This is a burrito.

Xander: Damn straight.

They both take their trays and head for an empty table. Cut to them sitting and eating. Willow and Amy find them.

Willow: Hi, Oz.

Oz: Hey.

Willow: Xander. Hi.

Oz: Hey, Amy.

Willow and Amy both sit. Amy has a huge smile on her face, pleased to show off her new short and darker hairstyle.

Amy: Hi, guys.

Xander: Hey, Amy. I like your new hair.

Oz: (to Willow) I haven't see you all day. Where you been?

Xander: (shaking his head defensively) Not with me. No, sir. Ask anyone. No.

Oz looks over at him with his lips stretched tightly. Willow gives

Xander a look and tries to give Oz a smile. The tension is very thick.

Oz finally breaks it with a change of subject.

Oz: So, Buffy's birthday is next week.

Xander: (claps his hands and points at Oz) Ooh! Yeah. Good. I've been pondering gift options.

Willow sees Buffy approaching.

Willow: Shh.

Xander: Oh, come on, we just got a topic here.

Willow: Hi, Buffy.

Xander: Buffy! (stands up) What's up?

He offers her his chair. She takes it and sits while he grabs one from a neighboring table.

Buffy: You guys didn't hear?

Xander: Hear what?

Buffy: A murder. Somebody killed two little kids.

Willow: (shocked) Oh, no.

Buffy: They were, like, seven or eight years old. My mom found the bodies during patrol last night.

Amy: Oh, my God.

Oz: Kids?

Xander: Why was your mom there?

Buffy: More bad. She picked last night, of all nights, for a surprise bonding visit.

Willow: God, your mom would actually take the time to do that with you?

Buffy shoots Willow a look.

Willow: That really wasn't the point of the story, was it?

Buffy: No. The point is, she's completely wigging.

Her mother comes up behind her.

Joyce: Who's wigging?

Buffy snaps her head around, sees Joyce standing there and stands up.

Buffy: (thinking quickly) Um... everyone. You know, 'cause of what happened.

Joyce: Oh, it's so awful. I-I had bad dreams about it all night.

Willow: Hi, Mrs. Summers.

Joyce: (absently) Oh, hi, everybody.

Xander: Hi.

Amy: Hi, Mrs. Summers.

Joyce: Buffy, have you talked to Mr. Giles yet about who could have done this?

Buffy: Yeah. He, uh... He thinks it might be something ritual. A cult.

Uh, he's still looking. In the meantime, we're gonna add to my patrol and, and, y'know, keep an eye out.

Joyce: A cult. (jumps to a conclusion) Like witches.

Willow coughs. Amy looks away.

Willow: Sorry. Phlegm. Too much dairy.

Joyce: Oh, I-I-I know you kids think that stuff's cool. Buffy told me you dabble.

Willow: (nervously) Right. Absolutely. That's me. I'm a dabbler.

Joyce: But anybody who could do this isn't cool. Anybody who could do this has to be a monster. It's...

Buffy: (interrupts) You know what? Uh, would you guys excuse us for a little bit?

Joyce: Uh, n-nice to see you.

Buffy leads her out of the cafeteria.

Xander: What a burn. I mean, Buff's mom was just starting to accept the whole Slayer thing, and now she's gonna be double-freaked.

Willow: (smiles) Makes me grateful that my mom's not interested in my extra-curricular activities.

Amy has to smile at that. Then Willow frowns.

Willow: Or my *curricular* activities.

Cut to the hall outside the cafeteria. Buffy and Joyce come into the hall and slowly start down it.

Joyce: Are your friends gonna help with the investigation, too?

Buffy: Mom, I really think... Maybe this isn't the best place to talk about this.

Joyce: Are you embarrassed to be hanging out with your mother? I didn't hug you.

They stop by the stairs.

Buffy: No. It's just... This hall is about school, and you're about home. Mix them, my world dissolves.

Joyce: It's just, I keep thinking about who could have done such a thing. I have to help.

Buffy: Well, Giles can always use help in the library.

Joyce: I called everybody I know in town. I told them about the dead children. They're all just as upset as I am.

Buffy: (confused) You called everybody that you know?

Joyce: And they called all their friends. And guess what? We're setting up a vigil, for tonight, for City Hall. The Mayor is even gonna be there. Now we are gonna get some action. (smiles)

Buffy: (less than thrilled) Uh-huh. That's great. Uh... But you know what? A lot of times when we're working on stuff like this, we like to keep the number of people that know about it kind of... small.

Joyce: (considers) Oh. Right. Well, I-I'm sure there won't be all that many people.

Cut to City Hall. A large crowd has gathered in the main conference room. Many of them are holding up signs with pictures of the two children and the words "Never Again!" Buffy and Willow walk in and look around at the crowd.

Buffy: This is great. Maybe we could all go patrolling together later.

Willow: (gestures at Joyce) At least your mom's making an effort. My mom's probably... (notices) standing right in front of me right this second.

Her mother sees them and comes up to them.

Willow: Mom?

Sheila: Willow, I-I didn't know you were going to be here. (to Buffy, absently) Oh, hi, Bunny.

Buffy: Hi.

Willow: Mom, what are you doing here?

Sheila: Oh, well, I read about it in the paper, and what with your dad out of town... (notices, surprised) Willow, you cut off your hair! Huh.

That's a new look.

Willow: Yeah, it's just a sudden whim I had... in August.

Sheila: (smiles) I like it.

Joyce comes over to join them. Sheila reaches out to shake hands.

Sheila: Hello, Joyce.

Joyce: Sheila, I'm glad you could come.

Giles also shows up. He keeps his hands in his pockets.

Giles: There you are. I almost didn't find you in this crush. (notices

Joyce) (nervously) Oh, uh, Mrs., uh... uh, Joyce. Quite a turnout you have here.

Joyce: Oh, well, it's, it's not just me, but thank you. Well, it's, uh, it's been a while.

Giles: (uneasy) Right. Not since, um... Not since... Not for a while.

Sheila: There's a rumor going around, Mr. Giles.

Giles: (suddenly worried) R-rumor, about us?

Joyce shoots him a look of dismay. Giles gets the hint.

Giles: A-a-about what?

Sheila: About witches. (Willow and Buffy exchange a look) People calling themselves witches are responsible for this brutal crime.

Giles: Indeed? How strange.

Willow: (laughs nervously, trying to play it off) Yes! Strange!

Witches.

Sheila: (goes into lecture mode) Well, actually, not that strange. I

recently co-authored a paper about the rise of mysticism among adolescents, and I was shocked at the statistical...

She is interrupted by some electronic feedback when the Mayor tests the microphone as he steps up to the lectern.

Sheila: Oh. Oh, a-are we starting?

The Mayor clears his throat and sniffles. Joyce makes her way around behind everyone over to Buffy, who is frowning up at the Mayor.

Mayor Wilkins: Hello, everybody.

Joyce: (to Buffy, wispering) He'll do something about this. You'll see.

Everyone settles down to listen to what the Mayor has to say.

Mayor Wilkins: Um... I wanna thank you all for coming in the aftermath of such a tragic crime. Seeing you all here proves what a caring community Sunnydale is. Now, sure, we've had our share of misfortunes, but we're a good town with good people, and I know that none of us will rest easy until this horrible murder is solved. With that in mind...

(picks up one of the signs) I make these words my pledge to you. (holds it up for everyone to see) 'Never again!' Now I ask you to give your attention to the woman who brought us all here tonight, Joyce Summers.

He steps away as Joyce walks to the front of the room and steps up to the lectern.

Joyce: Thank you.

She considers her words for a moment before beginning.

Joyce: Mr. Mayor, you're dead wrong. (people begin to murmur) This is

*not* a good town. How many of us have, have lost someone who, who just disappeared? Or, or got skinned? Or suffered neck rupture? And how many of us have been too afraid to speak out? I-I was supposed to lead us in a moment of silence, but... silence is this town's disease. For too long we-we've been plagued by unnatural evils. This isn't our town anymore.

It belongs to the monsters and, and the witches and the Slayers.

Buffy looks at her mother in open-mouthed shock. She and Willow exchange a worried glance. Giles can't believe what he's hearing either.

Joyce: I say it's time for the grownups to take Sunnydale back. I say we start by finding the people who did this and making them pay.

The people in the crowd begin to applaud.

Man: Hear, hear!

Sheila claps her hands and looks around at the other people. A man nods his head in silent agreement. Buffy is too much in shock to do anything but stare at her mother.

Cut to a panning shot of a Sunnydale residential area at night. The streets are quiet. Cut to Willow's house. The light from her room is clearly visible from the street. Cut inside. The camera is centered on a skull with a hole at the crest of the cranium. It is resting on a throw rug next to a burning candle. A hand reaches over the hole in the skull and drops in a short string of beads. The camera pans up to Michael, a witch draped in a black, hooded cloak. He folds his hands intertwining his fingers and glances up at another cloaked figure as it steps around him. The figure kneels to pick up the skull, and it's Amy. She stands back up and carries the skull around the rug to a position opposite

Michael. The camera follows her, panning low across the rug, where there are other candles, cups of powders and potions, and a small cauldron.

Amy sets down the skull and sits. She takes a cup of powder and hands it to a third figure, who takes it from her and pours the contents into the steaming liquid in the cauldron. The camera pans up to reveal the third figure as Willow, also cloaked in black. She stares silently down at the boiling mixture. Cut to a shot from above. The camera pulls up from the cauldron, taking in the array of things and the three witches around it, and continues until it's high enough to see the pattern in the center of the throw rug: a large triangle with a U-shaped symbol in the middle, its ends extending out of the triangle and bending in a sharp arc at the tips.

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

The hall at Sunnydale High. Michael has his locker open and checks his black makeup in the mirror stuck to the inside of the locker door. A

group of guys comes up to him, and Roy, their leader, slams the locker door shut.

Michael: Watch it.

Roy: (smiling smugly) Oh, sorry. Did I make you smudge your eyeliner?

Michael rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

Roy: You gonna put a spell on me?

Amy comes to Michael's defense.

Amy: Hey, what is your problem?

Roy grabs Michael by the shirt and slams him up against the lockers.

Roy: Everyone knows he's into that voodoo witchcraft. (other students stare) I heard about those kids. People like him... (slams Michael again) gotta learn a lesson.

Amy: And what about people like me?

Roy: (threateningly) Get in my face and you'll find out.

Buffy steps up behind Amy and gives him a smile. He notices her and suddenly thinks better of going any further. He lets Michael go and straightens his shirt a bit.

Roy: No problem here. (nods to the other boys) We're walking.

Buffy follows them for a few steps, then turns back to Michael and Amy.

Buffy: You guys okay?

Michael: Yeah. We're fine. (walks off)

Amy: (smiles) Thanks, Buffy. (walks off)

Buffy looks back down the hall to make sure the gang is still headed away. Giles comes around the corner, and Buffy starts toward him, but is headed off by Cordelia.

Cordelia: You'll be one busy little Slayer, baby-sitting them.

Buffy: I doubt they'll have any more trouble.

Cordelia: I doubt your doubt. Everyone knows that witches killed those kids, and Amy is a witch. And Michael is whatever the boy of witch is, plus being the poster child for yuck.

Buffy: Corde...

Cordelia: (interrupts) If you're gonna hang with them, expect badness.

'Cause that's what you get when you hang with freaks and losers. Believe me, I know.

She starts down the hall, but stops and turns back to Buffy.

Cordelia: (smiling) That was a pointed comment about me hanging with you guys. (turns and leaves)

Buffy: Yeah, I got that one. (loudly after her) Besides, witches didn't do it. (turns to Giles)

Giles: (whispers) Actually, I think they may have. My research keeps bringing me back to European Wiccan covens.

Buffy: You found the meaning of the symbol?

Giles: (exhales) I'm pretty sure, yes. There's a, a piece of information I need that's in a book that Willow borrowed. Can you find it?

He goes down the hall toward the library. Buffy looks around into the student lounge to see if Willow happens to be there. She sees Xander sitting on one of the couches and heads over to him.

Xander: Buffy, hi.

Buffy: Hey. Is Willow around?

Xander: (exasperated) How can I convince you people that it's over? You assume because I'm here, she's here, that I somehow mysteriously know where she is.

Buffy: (points) Those her books?

Xander: Yeah. She's in the bathroom. (points)

Buffy takes a step toward Willow's books, but stops as Xander continues.

Xander: But the fact that I know that doesn't change that I have a genuine complaint here. Look. I'm getting sick of the judgment, the innuendoes. Is a man not innocent until proven guilty?

Buffy: You *are* guilty. You got illicit smoochies, gonna have to pay the price.

She tries again to go to Willow's books, but Xander isn't finished yet.

Xander: But I'm talking about the future guilt. Look, everyone expects me to mess up again. Like Oz. I see how he is around me. You know, that steely gaze... that pointed silence.

Buffy: 'Cause he's usually such a chatterbox.

This time she just goes to Willow's books and lets Xander talk.

Xander: No, but it's different now. It's more a verbal nonverbal. He speaks volumes with his eyes.

Buffy finds the book in question and picks it up. Underneath it is a spiral notebook. On the exposed page is the triangle symbol. Buffy picks it up and stares. Willow comes out of the bathroom and over to her.

Willow: Hey, Buff. What cha looking for? You wanna borrow something?

Buffy: (holds up the notebook) What is this?

Willow: (takes and closes it) A doodle. I do doodle. You, too. You do doodle, too.

Buffy: This is a witch symbol.

Willow: Okay, yeah, it is.

Buffy: Willow...

Willow: (defensively) What?

Buffy: That symbol was on the murdered children.

Before they can get any further into it, they are distracted by the sounds of many lockers suddenly being slammed shut. They can hear a man talking.

Police Officer #3: Please step back. Stay away from the lockers. This is police business.

Buffy, Willow and Xander exchange alarmed looks. They all head into the hall to see what's going on. Cut to the hall. A police officer is going from locker to locker opening them with a master key. At another locker another officer takes some books from a student.

Police Officer #4: Hand them over, please. The books.

Yet another officer takes a string of garlic cloves from a locker and sets it on a cart with a bunch of other things they've confiscated.

Principal Snyder stands in the hall, gloating as the police continue their search. Several officers keep the students at bay. A detective leads a boy away. Amy has joined the group as they watch all the activity.

Xander: Aw, man, it's Nazi Germany, and I've got Playboys in my locker!

Snyder: (smugly) This is a glorious day for principals everywhere. No pathetic whining about students' rights. Just a long row of lockers and a man with a key.

An officer finds a voodoo doll in a locker.

Oz: (to Willow, quietly) They just took three kids away.

Buffy: What are they looking for?

Amy: Witch stuff.

Willow: (very worried) What?

Amy: They got my spells. I'm supposed to report to Snyder's office.

Willow: Oh, my God.

An officer looks through a girl's purse. Another officer steps up to

Amy.

Police Officer #3: Okay, Amy. You'll have to come with me.

Police Officer #4: (to some students) Stay away from the locker.

Willow: (to Buffy, sick with worry) I have stuff in my locker. Henbane, hellebore, mandrake root.

Xander: (interrupts) Excuse me. Playboys. Can we turn the sympathy

(jerks his head) this way?

One of the officers has reached Cordelia's locker and pulls out a can of hairspray.

Cordelia: Hey! Get your grubby custodial hands off that. (tries to approach)

Police Officer #4: (pushes her back) Miss, you have to stay back. Miss, stay back.

Cordelia: That hair spray costs $45, and it's imported!

Willow: (begins to freak out) Oh, God, my locker's next. Buffy, I

didn't do anything wrong.

An officer pulls some plastic bags from Willow's locker.

Willow: The, the symbol is harmless. I used it to make a protection spell for you, for your birthday. With Michael and Amy. Only, now it's broken, because you know about it, so happy birthday, and please, you have to believe me!

Snyder walks over to the group with the bags in hand.

Snyder: Ms. Rosenberg. My office.

He holds up the bags of henbane and mandrake root. Willow stares back at him, eyes wide with worry and fear. Buffy discreetly walks in front of her and takes Giles' book from her arms. Willow starts down the halls in front of Snyder. Oz accompanies her with his hand on her back in a gesture of comfort.

Cut to the library. A police officer kicks open the cage door and strides out into the room with a stack of books in his hands. He carries them over to the table and drops them unceremoniously into a box.

Another officer comes down from the stacks with another armful of books.

Buffy comes into the library as still another officer walks out carrying one of the boxes. She heads straight for Giles, who watches helplessly.

Buffy: Giles.

Giles: They're confiscating my books.

Buffy: Giles, we need those books.

Giles: Believe me, I tried to tell that to the nice man with the big gun.

They move to the side to talk. Giles watches the activity around him, seething with anger.

Buffy: No. There's something about the symbol that we're missing.

Willow said she used it in a protection spell. It's harmless. Not a big bad. So then why would it turn up in a ritual sacrifice?

Giles: I don't know. Ordinarily, I would say let's widen our research.

Buffy: Using what? A-a dictionary and 'My Friend Flicka'?

She sets the book on the counter as Giles steps back into the room.

Giles: This is intolerable. Snyder's interfered before, but I, I won't take this from that twisted little homunculus.

Snyder walks into the library holding a cup of coffee.

Snyder: (smirking) I love the smell of desperate librarian in the morning.

Giles: (approaches him angrily) You get out! And take your marauders with you.

Snyder: (unaffected) Oh, my. So fierce. (walks past him) I suppose I

should hear you out. Just how is, um... (takes a book from an officer, reads the title) 'Blood Rites and Sacrifices' appropriate material for a public school library? Chess club branching out? (sips his coffee)

Giles: This is not over.

Snyder: Oh, I should say it's just beginning. Fight it if you want.

Just remember, lift a finger against me, and you'll have to answer to

MOO.

Buffy: (incredulous) Answer to MOO? Did that sentence just make some sense that I'm not in on?

Snyder: 'Mothers Opposed to the Occult.' A powerful new group. (sips his coffee)

Buffy: And who came up with that lame name?

Snyder: (heads out) That would be the founder. I believe you call her

'Mom'.

Buffy can't believe it.

Cut to Willow's house that night. She opens the door and goes in. In the living room she finds her mother looking over a bunch of her things taken from her room. Her mother notices her come in.

Sheila: Oh, sit down, honey.

Willow: (goes to the couch) Principal Snyder talk to you? (takes off her pack and sits)

Sheila: Yes. He's quite concerned. (looks at an old picture)

Willow: Mom, I know what this looks like, and I can totally...

Sheila: (interrupts) Oh, you don't have to explain, honey. This isn't exactly a surprise. (turns over the picture)

Willow: (fidgets, confused) Why not?

Sheila: (shrugs) Oh, well, identification with mythical icons is perfectly typical of your age group. It's a, a classic adolescent response to the pressures of incipient adulthood. (set the picture down)

Willow: Oh. Is that what it is?

Sheila: (picks up a bag of herbs) Of course, I wish you could've identified with something a little less icky, (shrugs) but developmentally speaking...

Willow: Mom, I'm not an age group. I'm me. Willow group.

Sheila: Oh, honey...

She puts down the bag and gets up to go over to her daughter.

Sheila: I understand. (sits next to her)

Willow: No, you don't. (faces her) Mom, this may be hard for you to accept, but I can do stuff. Nothing bad or dangerous, but I can do spells.

Sheila: You think you can, and that's what concerns me. The delusions.

Willow: Mom, how would you know what I can do? I mean, the last time we had a conversation over three minutes, it was about the patriarchal bias of the Mr. Rogers Show.

Sheila: Well, (makes finger quotes) with King Friday lording it over all the lesser puppets...

Willow: Mom, you're not paying attention.

Sheila: And this is your way of trying to get it. Now, I have consulted with some of my colleagues, and they agree that this is a cry for discipline. You're grounded.

Willow: (surprised) Grounded? This is the first time *ever* I've done something you don't like and I'm grounded? I'm supposed to mess up. I'm a teenager, remember?

Sheila: You're upset, I hear you...

Willow: (stands up) No, Ma, hear this! I'm a rebel! I'm having a rebellion!

Sheila: (smiling) Willow, honey, you don't need to act out like this to prove your specialness.

Willow: Mom, I'm not acting out. I'm a witch! I-I can make pencils float. And I can summon the four elements. Okay, two, but four soon.

(her mother doesn't react) A-and I'm dating a musician.

Sheila: (disgusted now) Oh, Willow!

She gets up and goes back to the table of Willow's things. Willow follows her.

Willow: (thickly sarcastic) I worship Beelzebub. I do his biddings. Do you see any goats around? No, because I sacrificed them.

Sheila: (tired of it) Willow, please!

Willow: All bow before Satan!

Sheila: (leaves the room) I'm not listening to this.

Willow: (follows her) (heavy on the sarcasm) Prince of Night, I summon you. Come fill me with your black, naughty evil.

Sheila: (loudly) That's enough! Is that clear? Now, you will go to your room and stay there until I say otherwise. And we're gonna make some changes. (shakes her head) I don't want you hanging out with those friends of yours. It's clear where this little obsession came from. You will not speak to Bunny Summers again.

Cut to Buffy's house. Joyce is at the dining room table surrounded by posters of the two children. She has a MOO button pinned to her blouse.

Her laptop is open and a phone and fax sit nearby. The place is set up like a command center. Behind her is a whiteboard full of statistics.

She speaks sternly to Buffy.

Joyce: I don't want you seeing that Willow anymore. I've spoken with her mother. I had no idea her forays into the occult had gone so far.

Buffy: (in disbelief) You're the one who ordered the raid on the school today.

Joyce: (makes light off it) Honey, they opened a few lockers.

Buffy: Lockers. First syllable, 'lock'. They're supposed to be private.

And they took all of Giles' books away.

Joyce: He'll get most of them back. MOO just wants to weed out the offensive material. Everything else will be returned to Mr. Giles soon.

Buffy: If we're gonna solve this, we need those books now.

Joyce: (very seriously) Sweetie, those books have no place in a public school library. Especially now. Any student can waltz in there and get all sorts of ideas. (gets up and steps over to Buffy) Do you understand how that terrifies me?

Buffy: Mom, I hate that these people scared you so much. And I-I know that you're just trying to help, but you have to let me handle this.

It's what I do.

Joyce: But is it really? I mean, you patrol, you slay... Evil pops up, you undo it. A-a-and that's great! But is Sunnydale getting any better?

Are they running out of vampires?

Buffy: I don't think that you run out of...

Joyce: It's not your fault. You don't have a plan. You just react to things. I-i-it's bound to be kind of fruitless.

Buffy: (taken aback) Okay, maybe I don't have a plan. Lord knows I

don't have lapel buttons...

Joyce: (exasperated) Buffy.

Buffy: ...and maybe next time that the world is getting sucked into

Hell, I won't be able to stop it because the Anti-Hell-Sucking Book isn't on the approved reading list!

Joyce: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put down...

Buffy: Yeah, well, you did. (shakes her head) It doesn't matter. I have to go. I have to go on one of my pointless patrols and react to some vampires. If that's alright with MOO.

She turns around and heads for the door. Joyce just watches her go.

Buffy steps back into the room.

Buffy: And nice acronym, Mom. (leaves)

Joyce turns around and goes back to her chair, shaking her head.

Joyce: Just trying to make things better.

As she walks past the table the dead boy and girl are suddenly sitting there looking up at her.

Boy: You are.

Girl: There's bad people out there.

Joyce looks at them sadly.

Boy: And we can't sleep.

Girl: Not until you hurt them.

Boy: The way they hurt us.

Joyce nods, knowing what she has to do.


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

The playground where the children were found. The carousel is bedecked with candles and flowers and pictures of the children. Buffy quietly walks up to it. She pulls her arms to her body for warmth. To her right she notices Angel approaching.

Angel: Hey.

Buffy: Hi.

They embrace each other lovingly for a long moment. Buffy looks up into his face.

Buffy: How are you?

Angel: I'm alright. I think I'm better than you right now.

They both look over at the carousel.

Angel: I heard about this. People are talking. People are even talking to *me*.

Buffy: It's strange. People die in Sunnydale all the time. I've never seen anything like this.

They both stroll over to a bench.

Angel: They were children. Innocent. It makes a difference.

They sit facing each other.

Buffy: And Mr. Sanderson from the bank had it coming? (sighs) My mom...

said some things to me about being the Slayer. That it's fruitless.

(shakes her head) No fruit for Buffy.

Angel: She's wrong.

Buffy: Is she? Is Sunnydale any better than when I first came here?

Okay, so I battle evil. But I don't really win. The bad keeps coming back and getting stronger. Like that kid in the story, (gestures) the boy that stuck his finger in the duck.

Angel: Dike.

Buffy gives him a confused look. Angel smiles.

Angel: It's another word for dam.

Buffy: Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now.

Angel: Buffy, you know, I'm still figuring things out. There's a lot I

don't understand. But I do know it's important to keep fighting. I

learned that from you.

Buffy: But we never...

Angel: We never win.

Buffy: Not completely.

Angel: We never will. That's not why we fight. We do it 'cause there's things worth fighting for. Those kids. Their parents.

Buffy: (has an epiphany) Their parents.

Angel: Look, I know it's not much.

Buffy: No. No, it's a lot.

Cut to the library. Giles is at the table trying to do some online research. He loses his connection.

Giles: Session interrupted? (frustrated) Who said you could interrupt, you stupid, useless fad! No, I said fad. And I'll say it again. (types)

Xander and Oz walk up to him.

Xander: At that point, I will become frightened.

Oz: Take heart. We found your books.

Giles looks at them hopefully as the two boys go to stand behind him.

Xander: You can put the heart back. We can't get them. They're locked up in City Hall. (teases) 'Frisky Watcher's chat room.' Why, Giles.

(slaps his shoulder)

Buffy comes striding into the library. She goes straight over to Giles.

Xander: Oh! Buffy, Oz and I found out...

Buffy: (ignores him) What do we know about these kids?

Giles: What?

Buffy: Facts. Details.

Xander: Well, they were, uh, found in the park.

Buffy: No. Where did they go to school? Who were their parents? What are their names?

Giles takes off his glasses. None of the guys has answers for any of her questions.

Buffy: We know everything about their deaths, but we don't even know their names.

Xander: Well, sure we do. Um, it's on the tip of my tongue.

Oz: (realizes) That never came up. Ever.

Buffy: And if no one knows who they are, where did these pictures come from?

Giles: (puts his glasses back on, stares at the screen) I just assumed someone had the details. I never really... Well, that is strange.

Buffy: We need to get some information.

Giles: (gets up) Yeah, well, somebody else do it. This thing's locked me out.

Xander: Well, if you wouldn't yell at it. (gets a look from Giles)

Oz: (takes Giles' place) I can look 'round, but Willow would really know the sites we need.

Buffy: That's great. She can't even come to the phone. The wrath of

MOO.

Oz: (types) Well, we don't need a phone.

Cut to Willow's room. She's lying on her bed idly toying with her teddy bear. Then she hears her laptop beep. She goes over to her desk and brings it back to the bed. Cut to the library.

Oz: Alright, we're linked. If anybody's ID'd the kids, she'll pull it up and feed it here.

Cut to Willow's room. She surfs the web, looking for any leads. Cut to the library. Oz does his part on his end and brings up the pages as

Willow finds them. Giles reads the text from the screen.

Giles: Oh. 'Two Children Found Dead. Mysterious Mark...' No. No. These children were found near Omaha in 1949.

Xander: Yeah, they ain't ours. Keep going.

Before Oz can move on the accompanying image loads from the 'Net.

Buffy: Wait.

Cut to Willow's room. She sees the same image loading on her screen and looks at it in surprise.

Willow: Those are...

Cut to the library.

Buffy: ...the same kids.

Giles: Fifty years ago.

Oz loads up the next page.

Oz: '1899. Utah... Two Children... Rural Community Torn Apart by

Suspicion.'

Giles: (confused) A hundred years ago? How is this possible?

Oz: There's no mention of who they were.

Buffy: They've never been seen alive, just dead. A lot.

The next page loads. This one is dated 1649 and has a hand drawing of the two children. An Instant Message window pops up with a note from

Willow.

Oz: Ah. There were more articles. Every fifty years. All the same.

Giles: (intrigued) From as far back as 1649. Can I see that?

Oz surrenders his place to Giles. He types a bit, then reads the German and translates.

Giles: Written by a cleric from a village near the Black Forest. He...

found the bodies himself. Two children... Greta Strauss, age six. (types more) Hans Strauss, eight.

Xander: So they have names. That's new.

Cut to Willow's room. Her mother opens the door, and is upset to find her daughter online.

Sheila: Willow. (steps over to the bed) I thought I made myself clear.

You're not minding me.

She folds down the screen and pulls out the phone line.

Willow: Mom...

Sheila: I see what you're doing. You're challenging me. But I will not have you communicating with your cyber-coven or what have you.

Willow: (sits up) Coven? What happened to me being delusional and acting out?

Sheila: Well, that was before I talked in depth with Ms. Summers and her associates. It seems I've been rather close-minded.

Willow: So, you believe me?

Sheila: (sighs) I believe you, dear. Now all I can do is let you go with love.

Willow doesn't like the sound of that.

Willow: Let me go? What does that mean?

Her mother turns and walks out of the room without saying a word, pulling the door closed behind her and locking it from the outside.

Willow: Mom?

Cut to the Library. Giles paces while Oz keeps looking for more information on the web.

Giles: Uh, wait, wait a minute. Uh... Uh, there is a fringe theory held by a few folklorists that some regional stories have actual, um, very literal antecedents.

Buffy: And in some language that's English?

Oz: Fairy tales are real?

Buffy: Hans and Gre... (her mind clicks) Hansel and Gretel?

Xander: Wait. Hansel and Gretel? Breadcrumbs, ovens, gingerbread house?

Giles: Of course! Well, it makes sense now.

Buffy: Yeah, it's all falling into place. Of course that place is nowhere near this place.

Giles: (sits on the table) Some demons thrive by fostering hatred and, and, uh, persecution amongst the mortal animals. Not by, not by destroying men, but by watching men destroy each other. Now, they feed us our darkest fear and turn peaceful communities into vigilantes.

Buffy: Hansel and Gretel run home to tell everyone about the mean old witch.

Giles: And then she and probably dozens of others are persecuted by a righteous mob. It's happened all throughout history. It happened in

Salem, not surprisingly.

Xander: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm still spinning on this whole fairy tales are real thing.

Giles stands and begins to pace again.

Oz: So what do we do?

Xander: I don't know about you, but I'm gonna go trade my cow in for some beans.

He gets a confused look from Giles.

Xander: No one else is seeing the funny here.

Buffy: (goes to the counter) Giles, we need to talk to Mom. If she knows the truth, she can defuse the whole thing. (grabs her coat)

Just then Michael comes running into the library with a slight limp.

He's been beaten and bruised. He has a black eye and his face is bloody.

Buffy: What happened?

Xander and Oz come over to them.

Michael: (out of breath) I was attacked!

Xander: Officially not funny.

Buffy: By whom?

Michael: (hugging himself) My dad. His friends. They're taking people out of their homes. They're talking about a trial down at City Hall.

They got Amy.

Buffy: Michael, stay here and hide. Giles, we'll go find my mom.

Oz gets Xander's attention.

Oz: Willow!

The two of them run out of the library. Giles grabs his coat.

Michael: (calls after them) Tell Willow to get out of her house!

Giles: (to Michael) Stay in my office.

He and Buffy run out also. Michael goes to hide in Giles' office.

Cut to Willow's room. She hears the door unlock and gets up from her bed. She runs over to the door as it opens.

Willow: Mom, we really have to talk.

There she sees her mother surrounded by several other adults.

Sheila: It's time to go. Oh, and get your coat. It's chilly out.

Willow: (very confused) Go? Go where?

Sheila: (angrily) I said get your coat, witch!

Willow slams the door on them. The adults start to pound at it. Willow desperately tries to keep them out.

Cut to the living room at the Summers house. Several people are gathered there. Joyce interviews them about their activities.

Joyce: Did you speak to the families on Sycamore Street?

Woman: Yes, I did.

Joyce: Great.

She writes it down in her notebook. Buffy opens the front door and quickly enters. Giles is right behind her. Joyce looks up in surprise.

Joyce: Buffy! Mr. Giles! Did something happen?

Buffy: Mom, we need to talk to you. Now.

Joyce: (puts down her notebook) Well, of course, honey. (to the others)

Um, go on without me. (goes to Buffy)

Buffy: No, we need to talk alone.

They start into the dining room.

Buffy: Look, there's more to this than...

Suddenly Joyce holds a cloth up to Buffy's mouth and nose and two of the men there jump Giles from behind, wrestling him to the floor. Buffy quickly collapses to the floor, overcome by the fumes from the cloth.

Joyce: (looking down at Buffy) You were right. (looks behind her) I-it was easy.

There are the two children standing on the stairs. The boy is holding a bottle of chloroform in his hand.

Gretel: I told you.

Hansel: It gets even easier.

Buffy isn't completely knocked out yet, and can hear the conversation.

Gretel: But I'm still scared of the bad girls.

Buffy's vision begins to blur.

Hansel: You have to stop them. You have to make them go away. Forever.

Buffy passes out.

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

The living room in the Rosenberg house. Oz and Xander run in.

Oz: (yells) Willow!

Oz runs for her room. Xander is right behind him. Cut to her room. The boys barge in and see that it's a shambles. It's clear there was quite a struggle. They waste no time running back out.

Cut to City Hall. A crowd is gathered in a room. A few of them are bearing torches. They all calmly watch as two of them finish tying

Willow and Amy to stakes.

Sheila: Hold still. Be a good girl.

Buffy is between Willow and Amy, unconscious and also tied to a stake.

Piled all around them are the library books that MOO has deemed offensive, ready to burn in a glorious blaze.

Willow: No! Why are you doing this to me? Mom?

Sheila: There's no cure but the fire.

Amy: (struggles against her ropes) Buffy! Wake up!

Willow: This is crazy, Mom!

Amy: Buffy! Buffy!

Cut to the Summers house. Cordelia kneels over Giles and gives him a sharp slap to the face.

Cordelia: Wake up!

She slaps him two more times, and he begins to come out of it. She is about to slap again, when he suddenly reaches up and blocks her swing.

Giles: Cordelia?

Cordelia: Took you long enough to wake up. My hand hurts.

Giles: Pity. (rubs his temples) Oh... Why are you here?

Cordelia: Things are way out of control, Giles. First the thing at school, and then my mom confiscates all of my black clothes and scented candles. (Giles sits up) I came over here to tell Buffy to stop this craziness and found you all unconscious... again. How many times have you been knocked out, anyway? (Giles finds his glasses) I swear, one of these times, you're gonna wake up in a coma.

Giles: (puts his glasses on) Wake up in a... Oh, never mind. (struggles to his feet) We need to save Buffy from Hansel and Gretel.

He heads for the front door. Cordelia follows him out.

Cordelia: Now, let's be clear. The brain damage happened *before* I hit you.

Cut to City Hall. Oz and Xander slam up against the doors and barge in.

There they encounter four men guarding the doors to the room where the girls have been tied up. The two boys stop to face the men.

Xander: What's with the grim? We're here to join you guys.

They slowly approach the men, who eye them suspiciously.

Xander: No, really. Why should you guys have all the fun? We wanna be part of the hate.

Oz: Just so we're clear, you guys know you're nuts, right?

The men lunge for the boys, who make a fast break and run down the hall.

Cut to Buffy and Willow. Buffy begins to stir back to consciousness.

Willow: Buffy!

Buffy struggles against her bonds.

Joyce: Good morning, sleepyhead.

Buffy: (imploringly) Mom, you don't want this.

Joyce: Since when does it matter what I want? I wanted a normal, happy daughter. Instead I got a Slayer.

Sheila joins Joyce bearing a torch.

Sheila: Torch.

Joyce: (takes it) Thanks. This has been so trying. You've been such a champ.

Sheila: Oh, you, too, Joyce.

Joyce: We should stay close, have lunch.

Sheila: Oh, I'd like that. How nice.

Joyce bends down to set fire to the books.

Amy: Oh, you can't be serious!

Buffy: Mom, don't!

Joyce touches the torch to the books, and they begin to burn. Others with torches set the books ablaze all around them.

Amy: Alright. You wanna fry a witch? I'll give you a witch! Goddess

Hecate, work thy will!

Buffy: Uh-oh.

Amy's eyes turn pitch black, and the energy of her spell begins to swirl around her.

Amy: Before thee let the unclean thing crawl!

She shivers as the spell's power increases around her, building ever greater strength. Finally, since she hasn't directed the spell at anyone else, it works on her. She is engulfed by a sudden burst of flame.

People in the crowd scream as they watch. An instant later Amy's clothes are empty, and they and the ropes drop to the books below. Everyone stares in amazement. Buffy and Willow look over to see what happened to her. Then a rat comes crawling out of Amy's clothes. It scampers down the pile of books and scurries across the floor. The frightened adults jump out of its way. Buffy can only watch Amy go.

Buffy: She couldn't do us first?

Willow: (desperately) You've seen what we can do! Another step and you will all feel my power!

Buffy: (quietly) What are you gonna do, float a pencil at 'em?

Willow: It's a really big power!

The people stare at them in shock and horror.

Buffy: Yes! You will all be turned into vermin. And some of you will be fish! Yeah, you in the back will be fish!

Man in the back: Maybe we should go.

The children suddenly appear.

Hansel: But you promised.

Gretel: You have to kill the bad girls.

Cut to Giles' car. He and Cordelia race to City Hall. Cordelia looks through the things Giles brought with them.

Cordelia: (disgusted) I can't believe you had this stuff in your apartment. It smells foul.

Giles: Shred the wolfsbane. That's the, uh, the leafy stuff. And then you can crush the satyrion root. (tries to remember a spell) Luften sie den something. Schlumer? Schluter?

Cordelia: (crushing the roots) What are you muttering about?

Giles: It's a part of an incantation. It's in German, and without my book...

Cordelia: What does it mean?

Giles: It's about, uh, lifting a veil. Um, it should, uh, make the demons appear in their true form, which with any luck, will, uh, negate their influence. And, uh, drop a toadstone into the mixture.

Cordelia: (picks it up) This? (sniffs it) It doesn't look like a toad.

Giles: No reason it should. It's from inside the toad.

Cordelia: (quickly drops it in) I hate you.

Cut to City Hall. Oz and Xander have lost the posse and are trying to find another way in. They each struggle with doors, but they are all locked.

Oz: We gotta get inside.

They look around for where to go next. Then they hear Willow cry out.

Willow: No! Oh, God, help!

Oz: Will?

Xander: It sounds like she's right... above us?

Oz hops up on a bench below a ventilation shaft grate. He bangs on it a couple of times and it gives way. He climbs in. Xander is right behind.

Cut to a high view of the crowd from behind Buffy. The fires are getting bigger, but still haven't reached the girls. Hansel and Gretel stand at the front of the crowd as they watch the flames grow and advance.

Gretel: They hurt us.

Hansel: Burn them.

Buffy: (desperately) Mom, dead people are talking to you. Do the math!

Joyce: I'm sorry, Buffy.

Buffy: Mom, look at me! You love me. You're not gonna be able to live with yourself if you do this!

Joyce: You earned this. You toyed with unnatural forces. What kind of a mother would I be if I didn't punish you?

Cut to the hall outside. Giles and Cordelia barge into the hall. Giles hears the noises coming from inside and rushes over to the doors, but finds them locked. He looks around in desperation, and unexpectedly reaches into Cordelia's hair and pulls out a hairpin.

Cordelia: Ouch! You got hair with that!

Giles ignores her protests and kneels down in from of the doors. He carefully inserts the pin into the lock and begins to pick it.

Cordelia: God, you really were the little youthful offender, weren't you? You must just look back on that and cringe.

Giles: Shh!

Cut inside. The flames are getting very close to Willow.

Willow: Buffy, I can't take it! It's too hot!

Buffy: I'm sorry, Will. If it wasn't for me, none of this would have happened.

Giles gets the door open, and comes in.

Buffy: It wouldn't be... (sees Giles)

Giles points Cordelia to a fire hose in the corner. She goes to it and smashes the glass with her elbow, holding up her hand to protect her face from the glass. The noise gets the crowd's attention.

Joyce: Stop them!

Cordelia pulls out the hose and turns it on, spraying the advancing crowd. Giles starts reciting his incantation in very bad, unintelligible

German, muffled by the sound of the water spraying.

Cordelia: (to the people) You like that? Huh? How 'bout some more!

In spite of all the spraying, not very much water has gotten on the flames, and they have gotten dangerously close to Willow.

Willow: Buffy, I'm on fire!

Buffy: Cordelia, put out the fire!

Cordelia: Oh, right.

She turns the stream of water on the flames and quickly douses them.

Cut to the ventilation shafts. Oz and Xander are still trying to find their way to the room.

Cut to the room. Cordelia gets the last of the flames extinguished and turns off the water. Hansel and Gretel slowly walk up to them. Buffy and

Willow pant in relief. The children keep closing in on Giles. Giles raises the bottle with his potion high and recites an incantation.

Giles: Ihr Goetter, ruft Euch an! Verbergt Euch nicht hinter falschen

Gesichtern!

Translation: You gods, I call upon you! Do not hide behind false faces!

He throws the bottle to the floor, smashing it in front of the children.

The potion begins to steam around them. Hansel and Gretel look at each other and embrace. A moment later the two children morph into a single demon standing over seven feet (215cm) tall. Its ears are pointed and huge fangs jut from its lower jaw. Its skin is red and mottled and its hair is long and tangled.

Cordelia: Okay, I think I liked the two little ones more than the one big one.

Sheila and Joyce stare up at the demon in horror. The other people in the room all run out screaming. The demon turns to face Buffy. Out of her trance now, Joyce looks at the two girls tied up and helpless against him.

Joyce: Oh, my God!

Demon: Protect us! Kill the bad girls!

Buffy: You know what? Not as convincing in that outfit.

The demon roars and comes at her. Buffy struggles with her bonds, trying to get free. The ropes don't give, but the stake breaks. It's top heavy now, and forces Buffy to bend over so the tip is pointing at the demon, who can't stop his advance and impales himself through the neck. Sheila and Joyce look on in disgust. Buffy can't straighten herself back up with the weight of the demon's body at the other end of the stake, and so can't see the result of her unwitting maneuver.

Buffy: Did I get it? Did I get it?

Suddenly the ceiling gives way above them, and Oz and Xander come crashing down. The books break their fall. They look up weakly at Buffy and the dead demon.

Oz: We're here to save you.

Cut to Willow's house on another night. Cut into her room. She and Buffy have a number of bowls and jars of powders and potions laid out. Several candles are burning. Willow idly crushes some herbs in a bowl.

Buffy: Your mom doesn't mind us doing this in the house?

Willow: She doesn't know.

Buffy: Business as usual?

Willow: Hmm, sort of. She's doing that selective memory thing your mom used to be so good at.

Buffy: She forgot everything?

Willow: (ruefully) No. She remembered the part where I said I was dating a musician.

She takes a pinch of the herbs she's crushed and sprinkles it onto a ceremonial iron plate set out between the girls.

Willow: Oz has to come for dinner next week. So, that's sort of like taking an interest.

Buffy: (looks down at their preparations and sighs) Okay, should we try this again?

Willow: Let's do it. I think we got the mix of herbs right this time.

Buffy: Okay. Ready?

She lights a match and sets it to the mixture of herbs and roots on the plate while Willow recites her spell. It begins to burn, emitting purple smoke.

Willow: Diana, Hecate, I hereby license thee to depart. Goddess of creatures great and small, I conjure thee to withdraw.

Willow and Buffy both look over at Amy the rat. She gets up on her hind legs expectantly. Nothing happens, though, and she gets back down on all fours, seemingly disappointed. Buffy looks over at Willow.

Buffy: Maybe we should get her one of those wheel thingies.