-- Quotes --
Written by Zinna
Last we heard, Spike had no place else to go (Selfless) or so he told Buffy when she commanded him to get the hell out of the hellmouth's basement. His heartfelt plea must have resonated deeply within the Buffster because she somehow convinced Xander to let Spike stay in his extra room (I don't know how, considering how much fun Spike and Xander had rooming together last time - season 4 when Spike first got the chip). Xander is not happy about it, but apparently he'll do anything Buffy tells him to do (I guess she really is the law). Even though Xander will do whatever Buffy tells him, it doesn't mean he's not going to grumble about it. Eventually Xander's grumbling leads to questions like, "why does Buffy care what happens to Spike" (Dawn, sort of seconds this sentiment), etc. Buffy can't really explain, it's complicated (she feels for him but at the same time she's still very freaked out when he unexpectedly touches her) but the important thing to remember is the Spike has a soul now. You can't turn your back on someone with soul and besides, the basement's demons are driving an already loony-vampire off the deep end, what's the harm in trying to help him out, wonders Buffy (in not so many words). Despite their reservations Xander and Dawn go along with the sheriff's, I mean Buffy's, plan.
The next day, Buffy and Dawn have lunch on the bleachers. Dawn wants to know what's up with Buffy trying to help Spike. More importantly, she wants to know why Buffy feels for Spike and if she is planning on bedding him again. Buffy explains that she feels something not love but definitely something for Spike. The other definite Buffy knows is that she's not going to go back to being his shag puppy. Dawn doesn't really understand how things can be so complicated, how people can get themselves in such messes all under name of some intangible, indescribable feelings. Buffy assures Dawn that one day she will understand. Foreshadowing? I think so, I also think that day is not too far off. When Buffy goes back to work leaving Dawn to ponder their conversation Dawn looks up and instantly becomes enamored with a young quarterback putting on his lettered jacket after finishing up football practice.
Later at Anya's, Buffy fights some gnarly (not Gnarl) demon that D'Hoffryn sent to kill Anya. Soon the demon is toast, Anya's place is wrecked and Buffy is wondering if Anya's ok. Anya tells her to get out in a nice (Anya-nice which is not to be confused with regular nice) way. Buffy stays firmly planted (she doesn't take orders, remember) and tries to get Anya to open up. Anya doesn't feel she deserves such consideration after what she did. Buffy wants Anya to know to that it's not about what Anya does or doesn't deserve. Anya is her friend and Buffy needs to know that all her friends are ok. Anya is grateful.
At school, Dawn is lurking around watching a group of kids admiring her quarterback. Eventually, she gathers the courage to approach the group and address ("Hey") her quarterback, RJ. Unfortunately, Dawn didn't think up a cool come-on line, instead she stumbles over her feeble attempts to make conversation with RJ, and RJ only. The rest of the group finds her laughable and I find it painful to watch. I feel so bad for her… but not nearly as bad as I'm gonna feel…
Here's what I didn't tell you, because I didn't care at the time but in the hall, when Dawn made a fool of herself fawning over RJ, he was talking to some teammates and a cheerleader on crutches. Cheerleader on crutches means the squad's needs to find a stand-in. Luckily Faith just transferred from LA and Hellmouth High doesn't have gymnastics team… wait no, that was Bring It On. Hellmouth High does have a gymnastics team? I don't know, but what I do know is that I wish I was watching Bring it On, so then I wouldn't have to hold my chest as I watch Dawn (you know, tall lanky Dawn) try out for the cheerleading squad in Buffy's old alternate uniform (Witch). Oh, the horror! See, Dawn made up this cheer that was kind of RJ-centric and what's worse is Dawn is the antithesis of a cheerleader so watching her cheer was like watch a fish play roller blade hockey. Worse than that there was whole mess of people including RJ in the gym watching the debacle.
Later that night, Dawn sits in her room and contemplates the death of any cool factor she may have had along with any chance she may have had with RJ. Buffy attempts comfort her, saying things like all kids make fools of themselves in high school, it's not so bad. Needless to say, Dawn isn't very comforted. Then Buffy spots her old cheerleading uniform ripped to shreds in the bathroom. Indignant that her 90-year old property has been damage, Buffy goes in to let a shattered Dawn have it, but then realizes it's not worth it as Dawn is already weepy. When Dawn begins talk about her broken heart and lost love. Buffy reminds her that she barely knew the dude's name a few days before. Dawn doesn't care. Dawn knows her love is real because she can see his soul and she loves it, loves it, loves it, loves it!!! Buffy is like, "Ok… no winning here, why don't you sulk alone for awhile" except she didn't say anything she just left when Dawn's head started spinning around her neck. Meanwhile, in the hallway, Xander (whose doesn't want to be at home with his new roomie) offers a helpful 2 cents worth - it must be the letter jacket that gets your (the girls') panties all in a bunch.
The next day, Dawn is back to stalking her lover boy. She overhears one of RJ's less adored teammates gloating that the coach is going to start him, which means it's bench city for RJ, the star. RJ is upset and storms off. Dawn catches up with the teammate and starts shrieking at him that he can't DO that to RJ! It's so UNFAIR! Then Dawn pushes him down the stairs?!
Later, Dawn plays all innocent when Princi and Buffy give her the third degree about the whole kid accusing her of pushing him down the stairs thing. Since the injured kid has a tendency to lie and Dawn is Dawn, they (well, just Princi because Buffy looks a little suspicious considering how strange Dawn's been acting since Dawn wrapped her heart around RJ) have no problem believing that Dawn had nothing to do with it.
Once Dawn is let out of Princi's chambers, RJ catches up with her to empathize with her about what a hard-ass Princi can be sometimes. Dawn's glowing. RJ thinks it was pretty great how she handled herself (with Princi and possibly with the fallen teammate). He invites her to hang out with him that night.
After a long day, Buffy, Willow and Xander unwind at the Bronze. It's just like the old days - sitting around drinking, talking about the absent Scoobies, namely Spike, and checking out the hotties. Buffy directs their attention to some pretty young thing RJ's mackin' with on the floor and how the girl (whose back is to them) is shamelessly all over him. Willow and Xander don't pay too much attention to the girl's behavior, they are too mesmerized by her hotness and her hot outfit (a barely there half-halter and some tight tight jeans complete with stiletto pumps). Much to their horror and surprise the hottie turns around (so she can grind her butt into RJ's crotch, but I digress…) and reveals herself to be ---- (drum roll) DAWN! Buffy is upset that her little sister's a skank while Will and Xand are thinking about cutting their eyes out to atone for their impure thoughts. Seconds later, Buffy's rushing to the floor and dragging Dawn off with her.
"What the hell are you doing?" Buffy wants to know. Dawn is all like, "What, you didn't think I could pull off sexy?" and Buffy's like, "Umm, looks more like skanky to me." And it's on and on like this until they are both completely pissed. Buffy finally draws the line and is like, "You can not go back out there and grind with half of your shirt missing." Dawn relinquishes, after pointing out that she's not a skank and that RJ said she looks hot. Then Dawn runs out in a fury.
Outside some bratty girl waits for Dawn and decides to jump her. Apparently, she's pissed that Dawn's getting so much of RJ's attention. You would think that Dawn with her new-found vampire slaying powers (Lessons and Grave) that she would just beat this girl up, but NO! Instead they have full-on catfight complete with flailing arms, hair pulling, tackling, etc. Eventually, Buffy comes to break it up.
The next day, Buffy spies RJ coming out of Princi's office. Apparently, he's been getting some girls to do his assignments for him. Buffy doesn't care about that. She wants to talk to him about how he's been turning the girls of Hellmouth High into complete basket cases. She's tough as nails, just letting him have it until he puts on his letter jacket and well, Buffy goes soft. Suddenly, she's shamelessly flirting, trying seem to less adult and closer to his age, etc. RJ's totally accustomed to having this affect on women, girls, whathaveyou, so he just goes with it. It's really painful to watch.
That night at home, Dawn's hemming and hawing about RJ and various plans to win his affections until Buffy steps in with a different approach. She tells Dawn that she spoke with RJ and he said that he liked Dawn… but that he was a little turned off by how aggressive Dawn has been. Buffy says the best thing to do is let RJ come to her, especially since they know he likes Dawn. Dawn is hesitant. Dawn thinks someone may try to steal him and Buffy says it won't work since they know he's turned off by girls' throwing themselves at him. You realize Buffy's just saying this so Dawn will lay off and she can steal RJ.
The next day, Buffy calls RJ out of math class for a "counseling emergency?". Anyways, he follows her to this empty room and Buffy turns on her seduction charm (much like when she was trying to seduce Xander in Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered), which mostly includes throwing him down on a desk and shoving her tongue down his throat. Oh so inappropriate. All the while, Dawn is up to her old RJ stalking routine. She notices that RJ isn't in class so she looks around and comes across the room, which has window in the door, where RJ and big sis are getting down and dirty. Needless to say, Dawn is devastated. She runs to the courtyard to have a nervous breakdown and Xander just happens to see her and wonders what's the what. Eventually, he gets it out of her that she saw Buffy making out with her, her, love interest? No that's not it... her boyfriend? No that's not quite right, the object of her affection? No, that won't do, the object of her crazed obsession. Yeah's that it.
Anyways, Xander runs into the room and tells Buffy to stop robbing the cradle, I mean, straddling the minor. For once Buffy does as she's told.
Back at Summers headquarters, Xander tells the rest of the Scoobs that he recognizes this crazed behavior and figures RJ's worked some kind of love spell. Willow and Anya agree. Buffy thinks it could be the reason Dawn is crazed, but her own feelings of lust are completely valid. Dawn thinks Buffy's a bi---, well, you know. While Buffy and Dawn have a battle of wills, Willow and Anya hack around looking through RJ's files. Turns out, Xander knows RJ's older brother, who is Xander's age. Guess what else, RJ's brother was one those jock guys that drove the girls wild back in Buffy's high school days. Good thing Buffy never went to class, otherwise she could have fallen prey to Big Bro.
Moments later, Spike and Xander snoop around RJ's house under the guise of Xander wanting to check in with his old pal, Big Bro. The big brother is sad sight, a sloppy pizza delivery guy, whose glory days have long since past. Big Bro is happy to tell them all they want to know (since he clearly has no else to talk to) about RJ. RJ used to be a real nerd, collecting comics (though I don't think this is nerdy), writing poetry and whatever, until recently when he came out of shell… right around the time Big Bro graduated and passed down his letter jacket to RJ (the jacket was passed to Big Bro from their father who treated it like a family heirloom). This tale has Spike and Xander convinced that the mojo comes from the jacket.
Back at the Summers house, Willow tries anti-love spells but none seem to work. Soon there's a knock on the door and guess who it is? RJ, wearing the jacket and causing Willow and then Anya, who also wants to answer the door, to fall under the jacket's spell. After RJ leaves, the two are bickering like school girls about who loves RJ more. The bickering draws Buffy and Dawn out of their respective exiles to join in the ridiculous fight. With the women competing for the same guy, it becomes apparent to all of them that only way they are going to have a chance at him is by doing something extraordinary to prove their love. Buffy knows that Princi's been giving RJ a hard time so she decides she'll kill Princi for RJ. Willow will do a spell to turn RJ into a woman (making him more her type) and Anya will figure something out. Dawn doesn't offer up what she's planning to do. The four split up and so does the screen.
In one quadrant, Buffy drives her mom's jeep to school and goes to Princi's office with a bazooka. In another quad, Willow is gathering materials for the spell. Anya's robbing a bank and Dawn, well poor little Dawnie decides to lay herself on train tracks.
Xander and Spike get back in time to stop Willow from completing her spell. She tells them where to find Buffy. Spike tackles Buffy outside of Princi's window before she gets a chance to launch anything. Princi, who is listening to jazz while going over some papers in office, hears something and looks up but not in time to see the hilarious Spike and Buffy wrestling match outside his window (this is actually the only really funny part). Once Spike overpowers Buffy, they go out to the parking lot, where Willow is working on a locator spell to find Dawn.
Buffy heads the mad dash to get Dawn off the tracks. Just as Buffy is getting close, trains start to come from opposite directions. Buffy does some train leaping and death-defying stunts to get Dawn off the tracks before they both go SPLAT. After the imminent danger has passed, Buffy wonders what Dawn was thinking. No boy is worth that. Dawn explains that she knew could not compete with a slayer, a witch, and ex-demon where extraordinary acts of love or mania are concerned. The only thing she could think to do that would seal her as the ultimate lover of RJ, is give up her life for him. Buffy would rather let Dawn have RJ than lose her sister all together and Dawn perks up a bit.
A little later, Xander and Spike find RJ and tear the jacket off of him before running away. They take it back to Casa de Summers and throw it in the fireplace. Once the jacket is destroyed, the femme fatales come back to their senses. They all sort of talk about how dumb they were being. Dawn can't believe she acted the way she did. Buffy tells her people do crazy things for love and Dawn still can't understand how things got so out of control. One day, Dawn, one day.
Eventually, they figure out that Anya never 'fessed up to what crazy thing she did. Anya spouts off some lie about writing an epic poem, just as a radio bulletin interrupts the regularly scheduled programming to bring the Sunnydalers' a special report of a bank rob___. Anya shuts the radio off and asks if anyone's up for ice cream - her treat!