As You Were
As You Were
-- Quotes --
Written by Zinna
After a hard night of scrubbing the grill while listening to her co-worker, Todd (he's going to night school to get his MBA) talk down to her because she's a college drop-out (but she's in the process of reapplying), Buffy is greeted by a vampire unwilling to eat her, claiming that she smells. To make matters worse Buffy has the Doublemeat Palace jingle stuck in her head, but this is just par for the course for Buffy these days.
After dusting the vamp, Buffy goes home. Before she can get in the door, she's got Spike breathing heavily down her neck. He wants some quickie action on the front lawn. No problem since Buffy is 0 for 3 as far as the night goes.
A little later Buffy presents Dawn with yet another delicious Doublemeat burger (apparently Buffy brings them home every night). Dawn graciously declines confessing that she just can't eat another Doublemeat burger. Buffy understands. Willow offers to take Dawn to Bronze for a dinner (what do you want to bet Dawn orders a burger). Willow also notices that Buffy's back is covered in grass stains (compliments of Spike) and Buffy uses her usual excuse - slaying. Willow and Dawn attempt to get Buffy to join them at the Bronze, but find their efforts prove to be futile. Instead, Cinderella… I mean Buffy, gets to do all those pesky chores like washing the dishes and trying to get the stains out of her coat.
At the Bronze, Willow and Dawn find Xander and Anya stressing over the wedding plans, while getting ready to challenge each other to dual over who gets to eat Xander's bag of chips. None of this takes the smile off Willow's face because she can't stop thinking about how Tara doesn't have to be disgusted with her anymore.
The next morning, Buffy wakes to the sounds of the garbage truck. Remembering she forgot to put out the garbage, she high tails it out to the curb lugging two bags garbage with her. She is, of course of, too late. She grabs the mail on the way in to the kitchen, where Dawn cheerfully reminds her that it's trash day. Yeah, duh? Buffy is dying to say, but instead she reads a letter from UC Sunnydale denying her re-admittance application. Apparently, she didn't send the application in on time. The main point here folks, is Buffy just can't catch a break.
Later at the Palace, Todd tells Buffy to go work the register after what must have been hours slaving away at the grill. At register, Buffy finds none other than the man who left her, Riley, (starting her life's incessant spiral downhill) asking for her help. Buffy takes less to than a second to weigh her options (Riley or customers) and decides to run off with Riley.
Outside they encounter the massive and angry demon in question, terrorizing the townspeople of Sunnydale. Riley tells the on-lookers that it's a bear (they don't have time to question his logic seeing as how they are running for their lives). Riley and Buffy tag-team the "bear" until the demon gets the bright idea to escape. Fortunately, Riley is still very much the commando man and managed to put a homing device on it before it got away. Riley whisks Buffy off to a military issue SUV and they proceed to track the monster.
On the way, Riley and Buffy talk about how they don't have time to talk. Riley gives Buffy some government issue black ops wear to don for the completion of their mission. After awhile and once Buffy has changed into a mini-commandette, Riley pulls up to a dam. They engage in some flirtatious banter as Buffy wraps her arms around Riley so they can rappel down the dam wall to demon. It's really romantic except for the part where Buffy and Riley have to fight the nasty-ass demon and it kind of looks like the demon is winning. Soon their attack on the demon turns into Buffy trying to save their asses as she grabs Riley out of the way. Still caught in the embrace, Buffy and Riley are just about to share a moment, when a not-so-mini-commandette rappels down. Her first words are, "What are you doing with my husband?" And the blows just keep coming folks(0 for 4).
Sam, who isn't really worried about Buffy being competition, starts to kick some demon butt all by her lonesome and doing a mighty fine job. All the while, Riley catches Buffy up to speed. Riley met his wife of four months fighting demons (Sam's from special forces or something). Riley also expresses ceaseless amazement of Sam's physical and mental strength.
Eventually, the demon gets the better of Sam and Riley jumps in to lend a helping hand. Buffy stands at the side looking dazed and confused, but soon she snaps out it. The couple sort of flings the monster at Buffy and she effortlessly snaps its neck, saying, "Consider it a wedding present." Now it's the couple's turn to be amazed with Buffy, except that they are not. They are a bit perturbed because they didn't want the demon killed. (Whoops. Riley forgot to mention that part.)
Sam explains that they were on a homing mission, which means they needed the demon alive. Sam cuts the demon open and finds it has already laid its lethal eggs somewhere. The commandos were hoping the demon would lead them to the eggs so they could destroy them before they hatch. Since the demon is dead, they are up the creek and it's all Buffy's fault (0 for 5).
Buffy and the commandos go back to Buffy's house to strategize a new plan of attack. The Scoobies are glad to see Riley and offer congrats on the new wife. Dawn is the only one to give Riley a hard time about his leaving Sunnydale without saying goodbye (Into the Woods). Willow offers to hate Sam since Buffy isn't allowed too, but both girls have hard time with that. Sam is quite the charmer.
After the introductions, the commandos clue the Scoobies in on the big bad they're tracking - a Suvolte demon. The Suvolte can wipe out whole cities is one fell swoop and it's laid lots of eggs in Sunnydale. Sam suspects some horrible demon calling himself the "Doctor" is holding the eggs for a price and is planning to sell them to another horrible evil organization. Sam then goes on to ask if Willow would mind doing a spell to help them find the nest (I guess Riley talked about the Scoobies a lot because Sam seems to know all their capabilities). Willow refuses to help magically and kind sulks off.
Riley decides that Buffy and Sam should go search for the nest while he tries to track down the dealer. Seems to me like the dealer and nest would be in the same place but who am I to argue.
Before Sam and Buffy leave, Sam apologizes to Willow for suggesting she do some magic. Then she commends Willow on her strength of will. Sam tells her of some shamans that she knew who were also addicted to magic, but none them were able to survive it. Let's just hope this comment isn"t meant to foreshadow Willow's fate.
Sam and Buffy roam the cemetery looking for a lead. Sam sparks up a chat by commenting on how long it took Riley to get to over Buffy and in the same token making it clear that he is over her (0 for 6). Sam asks if Buffy's seeing anyone (0 for 7). Buffy shrugs it off and suggests she go talk to an informant, ALONE. Sam graciously complies and assures Buffy that she'll be fine working with Riley.
Buffy goes to Spike's crypt. At first she questions him about the "Doctor", but she doesn't do a very thorough job. Feeling beaten by the day's events, she commands him to tell her that he loves her. She demands he say he wants her. He, of course, complies as her willing love slave. It's off to the bed with them.
Later that evening or night, Buffy and Spike are awakened from their post-nookie sleep by none other than Mr. Commando, himself (0 for 8). Spike is happy to rub his entanglement with Buffy in Riley's face. You would think that Buffy would be mortified, but she doesn't freak out, try to hide, or even offer any excuses. She just lies there guilty as sin as if to say, "Hey, when you're down, you're just down."
Spike blathers on offensively until Riley tells him point blank that he doesn't really care what Spike does with Buffy. The reason Riley's there pointing his gun at Spike is because, well, he suspects Spike is the insidious "Doctor". Buffy goes from looking guilty to clueless to panic-stricken (0 for 9 million). She jumps up and begins dressing frantically while trying to convince herself and Riley that Spike is not competent enough to pull something like this off.
Riley is undeterred, and he prepares to search the crypt. Spike stands around acting indignant. Eventually, Riley and Buffy find all the eggs in one of Spike's many dens. Spike claims that he's just holding the eggs for a friend, but no one's buying it and well they don't have time to. The eggs are ready to hatch (Spike was supposed to store them at a freezing temperature)! Riley gives Buffy his gun, but she doesn't really do fire arms. However, she does do explosives. She grabs Riley's belt of grenades and they high tail it up to the top floor. Buffy throws down the live grenades. The entire den of eggs is blown to high hell!
Meanwhile Xander and Anya hide out in their bathroom while their soon-to-be-in-laws and demon friends rip their apartment apart. The two talk about how scary their wedding planning has become, but Xander points out that while the wedding may be a nightmare the marriage will be a dream. Anya feels confident that he is right.
With his mission completed Riley gets ready to depart Sunnydale, but before he goes he asks Buffy if she'd like for him to "take Spike out." Buffy is surprised he could even ask considering that she's sleeping with Spike. Openly admitting her involvement with Spike prompts Buffy to ask if Riley waited until his life was completely perfect before returning to Sunnydale. Riley sort of shrugs it off saying he was terrified to see her again. Buffy is sure the fact that her life shines oh so pathetically must have made Riley's return much easier. Riley cannot partake in Buffy's pity-party. He admits he hated smelling her fast food grease aroma and seeing her wrapped around the undead. While it wasn't exactly what Riley pictured Buffy doing with her time, he can honestly say that her current situation doesn't take a single thing away from who she is in his eyes - one of the strongest, most beautiful women he's ever had the pleasure to get to know.
I'm not sure if Riley's pep talk made Buffy feel better or worse, but Buffy fell silent for moment. Then she tried to apologize for the way she let him leave, but as Sam said before, Riley's over that. All in all, Riley helped Buffy see that she's still Buffy, regardless of all the bad choices she's recently made. She doesn't have to let her choices, her circumstances, her melancholy diminish who she is, if that makes any sense.
Anyways she gets up the nerve to do what she's been trying to do since she started the madness. She goes to Spike and tells him it's over. At first Spike isn't alarmed, as he has heard this song and dance many times before. This time, however, Buffy's resolve sounds stronger and much more honest. She admits that she wants him, but she could never love him. She's been using him and that isn't fair to him or her. So, that's that. She says she's sorry, but she can't do it anymore because it's kill her. Spike looks at her knowing that his time with her has past.