-- Quotes --
Written by Kristina
A mass exodus is under way, and the streets of Sunnydale are filled with cars and people. The shops along the main street are all shut down. Buffy walks between the cars, watching the people leave. She stops when she hears Clem calling out to her. He's leaving town; it's really bad. The Hellmouth is acting up again but it's worse than anything they've ever seen. Clem doubts Buffy will be able to do anything, but he still tries to encourage her; she's the only shot the town has at survival. Clem suggests that she leave town as well this time, but she just stands still as she watches him drive off.
Willow and Giles are outside of the police station (nicely rebuilt after Willow's reign of destruction in "Two to Go"), talking with a young police officer. He is handing over all the information they have on Caleb, believing that Giles is an inspector with Interpol, thanks to Willow working her magic on the officer. During their exchange, a man is brought into the station, raving about how they will all be devoured from beneath. Willow is concentrating on keeping up the mind manipulation of the police officer, but she begins to falter, and they head off. The police officer doesn't give much thought to them as some of his fellow officers come up, asking if he's seen the print out on LA's latest escaped convict. They're looking to deal out some justice.
Xander is propped up in his hospital bed, left eye still bandaged over. Willow's sitting with him, and Buffy's standing a ways back, explaining what the doctor told her about Xander's injury. They share a look, and Buffy picks up the folder of information on Caleb. She's clearly not comfortable being around Xander and covers by saying they're close to finding out something on Caleb. Disappointed, Willow watches as Buffy leaves, then starts talking to Xander about having some rousing games. Xander interrupts her saying he's going to need a parrot to go with his eye patch. The two friends banter back and forth about the benefits of being one-eyed, but it becomes too much for Willow, and her eyes begin tearing up. Xander tells her not to start; he's clearly trying to hold himself together as well. They sit in silence together.
In the basement of Slayer central, Anya is lecturing the slayers in training (SiTs) about what they know of the Ubervamps and the coming battle. Andrew is behind her, writing on a large easel. The human shields... err… SiTs look bored; the last thing they want to do is sit around listening to this lecture, but Anya continues on. She found out some information from her contacts; for example, ubervamps can be staked, but it's like staking steel. Holy water doesn't work on them either. Rona interrupts Anya; she used to be afraid of the ubervamps, but now that the scary preacher (aka Caleb) is in town, she's terrified of him. The girls sink back into their whole "Why bother? We're all going to die" routine and Anya stops the lecture. She would rather be with Xander in the hospital than in the ripe-smelling basement. She lets slip that they had break-up sex on the cot most of the girls are sitting on, and Andrew writes "break up sex" along with his other scribbling on the easel. She tells the girls that everyone is doing what they can, and for them, that includes listening to the facts she has on the ubervamps.
During this lecture, Faith is upstairs in the kitchen eating chips. Kennedy sneaks up, and shares the chips with Faith, after Faith proposes a trade for cigarettes and soap (a habit from jail). Amanda has snuck upstairs too, and she wonders if they'll have to remember about Anya and Xander's sex life on the quiz. Faith lets them know she deals with Anya by reminding her that she had Xander first (in "The Zeppo"). The two girls let Faith know that they all feel down and pointless. Before they can share more, Buffy comes into the house with Willow's folder. Dawn comes down the stairs, and they start going through the file in the dining room. Dawn keeps asking Buffy questions about Xander, but stops when she realizes it is a painful subject for Buffy. She heads upstairs to get the information Giles gave her earlier. Kennedy uses this opportunity to remind Buffy that Caleb rendered her useless with one punch, but quickly apologizes. Buffy gets up, and absent-mindedly remarks that she needs to head over to the school to get some stuff. Kennedy and Amanda head back into the basement to continue their schooling, and Faith is left alone with the files.
The school is dark and deserted. Buffy heads over to her office, and sits in the dark, looking at a framed picture of herself with Xander and Willow. As she stares at it, she is about to cry when Caleb interrupts her with more of his women-hating preaching. She gets up, and gives Caleb the look of death. He walks around, all casual like, belittling Buffy by asking after Xander. She threatens (in glorious "Firefly" style) to end Caleb if he goes near Xander again. In anger, Caleb throws her desk aside, and begins backing Buffy into a corner. He tells Buffy that glorious things are going to happen at the school, and that she is a part of it. With her back against the wall, Buffy punches Caleb. She tries to kick him, but he grabs her foot and knocks her to the ground. Picking her up like she was a rag doll, he throws her through the window into the hallway. She hits the floor unconscious, and Caleb leaves her there.
Dawn is showing the results of her research to Giles. He is proud of her research, and begins examining a photograph as Andrew comes in. He's complaining that Faith ate his last Hot Pocket. Giles ignores Andrew, and asks Dawn why she thought this photo was important, since there was no vandalism. She says the mission was abandoned as they walk into the kitchen. Andrew shows them his Hot Pocket box, but they continue to ignore him. Giles spots something in the photograph, and heads into the living room. On further inspection with a magnifying glass, they find Caleb's mark burned into the woodwork of the mission wall. He tells Amanda to fetch Spike from the basement, and he looks around at the depressed girls in the room. Faith enters, eating the last of Andrew's Hot Pocket as Spike and Amanda come up from the basement. Giles shows Spike the photograph, and tells Spike he would like him to go there on some reconnaissance work. Spike is doubtful at first, since the last mission Spike went on involved Principal Wood trying to kill him ("Lies My Parents Told Me"). Absentmindedly, Giles tells Spike to take Andrew with him, and pushes Andrew towards the door. Faith surveys the remaining girls, and decides the girls need to be kept occupied….
…by partying at the Bronze. They're drinking (alcohol in some cases), dancing, having fun and laughing. Faith is dancing to make up for the time she spent in prison.
Buffy enters her house, looking beat up and moving stiffly. Giles comes over to her, concerned at her current appearance. They share some awkward silences, and Giles tells Buffy they made some discoveries which he sent Spike to investigate. Buffy looks cautiously at Giles - she doubts his decisions. She says that the decisions that have been made without her are the ones that frighten her. She feels that the only person watching her back is Spike. She moves to go upstairs when she notices the stunning silence: where are the other girls? Giles tells Buffy that Faith took them out… to the Bronze. Quietly, Buffy turns and leaves her house.
Caleb is in the basement of the winery, celebrating his "victory." The First Evil, wearing Buffy's appearance, comes out, wondering how his confrontation with Buffy went. He says that it was excellent: he gave her the message, and all she needs is the last gentle nudge. The First is pleased.
Several uniformed police officers, including the ones from earlier in the day, have entered the Bronze. They don't stop until they come to Faith. She's not surprised they've come; she was waiting for them to show up. One officer comes up behind her and grabs her wrists. They place her under arrest, and Dawn and several of the other SiTs come towards them. The officers tell them not to get involved, and when Kennedy protests, they pull out their guns. As the officers haul Faith outside, an officer is left to guard the door.
Outside, the officers have trapped Faith, who is adamantly against going back to jail. They aren't taking her back to jail; they all pull out their guns, and point them at Faith. Faith refuses to take her death standing still, so she launches herself at the officers. She manages to disarm them, but they pull out their clubs, and begin to beat her senseless. On the ground, she manages to knock down an officer, and jumps to her feet. She knocks several other officers down, and continues fighting.
Dawn, Kennedy, and Amanda are standing in front of the guarding officer, as several other girls join them. Dawn doesn't believe that the officer will hurt her, and goes to borrow the Bronze's phone. Without hesitation, the officer shoots down an overhanging lamp. The music stops. Determined to get out of the Bronze, Kennedy and the other girls get up, and begin crowding the officer. Kennedy goes for his gun, as Amanda hits the officer with a pool cue.
Outside, Faith has been tackled by the four officers. They proceed to beat and kick her, and Faith can't do anything but scream. In the nick of time, Kennedy and Amanda burst out of the Bronze as Dawn and several of the other SiTs jump the officer that was guarding the door. A brawl ensues, with Kennedy, Faith and Amanda each facing off against an officer.
After taking care of their officers, Faith, Kennedy and Amanda turn to find Buffy approaching them. Dawn and the other SiTs pour out of the Bronze into the alley way. Buffy takes charge of the situation, and sends the girls home. As the girls head off, Buffy confronts Faith. She understands that letting off steam is important, but getting drunk and brawling? Buffy needs to know that the girls will be safe when she isn't around. Buffy still views the girls as children, and Faith calls her on this. She needs to let the girls mess up, learn things for themselves. Buffy turns to leave, but stops when Faith brings up what happened at the vineyard. They weren't safe there. Faith begins mentioning all of the girls' names, but Buffy slugs her when she asks about Molly (one of the SiTs that was killed). Faith goes down hard but doesn't fight back.
Spike and Andrew are on the road, heading towards the church. Andrew wants to stop for some food, but Spike says it's a covert operation. They share some awkward silences until Spike begins talking about onion blossoms. The two unlikely companions talk about the secrets of the onion blossom. After a moment, Spike tells Andrew that if he breathes a word of their conversation, he'll have to bite him... Spike does have an image to protect after all.
Back at Revello Drive, Faith is smoking out on the porch. Robin approaches, and asks her if the big meeting has started. Slowly, he realizes he's talking to Faith. The meeting hasn't started yet, and as he steps into the light, he sees that Faith is bruised up. Her favorite bruise is the one on her jaw, from someone who thinks she's a cop (aka Buffy). She notices that he is covered in bruises as well, but he says he doesn't have a favorite. Robin wants to know if Faith's going to kill the "someone" who thinks she's a cop, but Faith says she isn't. It's a new thing she's trying. Robin knows about Faith; Buffy told him everything. Faith points out that he should believe everything. Robin thinks she's concerned for Buffy, at which point Faith tells him to brush up on his Buffy-and-Faith history. Faith notices Robin walked, and thinks he's out looking for a fight. Before their conversation can continue, a car pulls into the driveway; Xander's home.
Andrew and Spike cautiously walk through the darkened mission. Andrew remarks that churches make him feel funny inside, and Spike remarks that they have yet another thing in common. Before the conversation can continue, a hooded man attacks Andrew. Spike knocks him off, and a fight ensues. The man's hood falls away, and reveals that he is a priest. A priest with Caleb's mark burned into his face.
Willow, Anya and Xander enter the house. Xander still sports an eye bandage. The girls are all assembled in the living room underneath a "Welcome Home" banner. Dawn gives him a huge hug and brings him into the living room. Faith and Robin follow behind them. Xander's glad they aren't having a big party, because parties mean he usually has to fix things. Buffy comes down the stairs, and Xander brightens to see her. Buffy's ready to start the meeting; she has some interesting information to share. They have to go back to the wine cellar.
Spike stands over the priest, who believes Spike was sent to kill him. Spike wants to know about Caleb's mark. The priest is terrified and Andrew tries to "bad cop" the information out of the priest. When Spike says they are trying to stop Caleb, the priest gives a dry laugh; there is no fighting Caleb, only running. He takes Andrew and Spike for a tour of the mission.
The priest's order had invited Caleb in one night. They offered to feed him, but Caleb went straight to their inner sanctum, talking abut destiny the whole time. He moved a tapestry and revealed a stone engraving. The priest removes the tapestry to show the same engraving to Spike and Andrew. After Caleb read the engraving, he was not pleased. He burned his mark into the priest, who ran away in fear, and listening to his fellow priests die. Spike reads the engraving out loud:
"It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield."
Buffy tells the shocked group that Caleb came to visit her at the school. He kept talking about the school and the seal, but things didn't add up for her. If the school and seal were so important, wouldn't Caleb have people there guarding them? They are protecting something at the vineyard. She thinks it is their power. They need to go take the power away from them. Nobody says anything, until Faith speaks up. She doesn't think they should go back to the vineyard, at least not until they have proof. The stakes are too high for them to have a repeat of what happened last time. Robin supports Faith, and Buffy looks shocked. They need something real to fight, not windmills (ala "Don Quixote"). Buffy says she knows they are all waiting for a sign, but they need to strike now. Giles tries to talk her into waiting for a couple of days, but she says they don't have any time. She's led them for seven years, and she can't understand why they don't trust her. Giles brings up how she had previously said she can't trust them. Willow and Xander look hurt, and Buffy thinks they are staging another intervention. Rona pipes up, saying that Buffy has been careless. She's so obsessed with beating Caleb, that she's willing to risk all of their lives. Brassed off, Kennedy jumps up and gets in Buffy's face, Willow steps in. Kennedy thinks she is defending Buffy, but Willow isn't. Buffy is being reckless. They need someone to lead them, and Anya remarks that automatically, Buffy was their leader. Buffy came into the world with certain advantages, because of the Slayer legacy, but she didn't do anything to deserve them. They were handed to her, which doesn't make her better than her friends, only luckier. When Buffy remarks that she got them to their current position, Xander reminds her that it was with a price. They followed her without question. Even when she belittled them, they followed her. Buffy reminds them that she's paid a price as well. And no matter what, she is still their leader, because she is the Slayer. Rona brings up the fact that Faith is also a Slayer. Faith looks around in surprise. She tells them they don't want her to be the leader; she just thinks that Buffy needs to take a breather. Kennedy suggests they have a vote to see who wants Faith as their leader. Buffy can't believe what is going on. She won't stay around to watch Faith lead them into disaster. Silently, Dawn goes to Buffy. She tells Buffy she can't stay in the house. She loves her, but if she can't stay here if she won't let Faith take over.
In shock, Buffy looks at her friends. Quietly, she turns and heads out of the house. Faith follows her out; she wants Buffy to know this isn't how she wanted things to go down. Buffy doesn't care about that; she tells Faith, through her tears, to take care of the girls. They are hers to lead now. Holding back her tears, Buffy walks away from her house into the night.