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-- Quotes --

Written by Zinna

In the cemetery late at night, two potentials (Rona and Vi) walk around holding wooden stakes. They hear a twig snap and instantly halt their stances. Suddenly, Rona is hit from behind. She's down and the vampire goes for Vi. In one move, he has her in a prime hold for snacking. Oh and by the way, the vampire is Spike. Vi screams. Spike changes from his hunting face. He looks out to the rest of the potential slayers, who are watching from a safe distance, and asks why both Rona and Vi are dead. Rona jumps up and slyly remarks, "Because the black chick always gets it first?" Of course such a sly comment could not be said at full volume so Buffy asks her to repeat it. Rona explains that she's dead because Spike has super-strength and it was an unfair fight. Spike, who is still holding Vi in his vice grip, asks her (as he's breathing down her neck) if he cares that it's an unfair fight. Vi answers, "No-no, sir." His hold tightens and she whimpers in pain. Buffy tells him that's enough. He lets Vi go. What's the moral? Well, Buffy explains that Rona is right; they don't have slayer strength… yet, but it's there. They have the potential. They just have to learn to trust their instincts. For example, what were Rona's instincts telling her to do when Spike attacked? Keep him off balance, gain the advantage? Umm, no. They were telling her to run. According to Buffy, if your instincts are tell you to run, then damn it, girl RUN! Don't fight on the attacker's terms. Make the fight your own, i.e. run until you find a good place to turn the tables on him/her. Oh and there's another lesson - know the instincts of your attacker. For example, at the moment of attack Spike's instincts were telling him to hunt and feed. To demonstrate this to the girls, Buffy stands in front of him and tells him to charge her like the hungry vampire fiend that he is. She turns her back to finish explain something and Spike races towards her. Just as he nears her, she moves out of the way and he smacks head-first into a tomb stone. Once he's down, Buffy takes the opportunity to straddle him. She raises her stake and… she raises his shirt?!

Suddenly, the potentials wonder if they are supposed to make-out with their attackers and the audience wonders if we are going to be in for more Spike and Buffy action even though Buffy insists that what she and Spike had is way over. Yeah, right! Turns out, that the gesture was mere concern not lust. When Buffy straddled Spike she hurt some his ribs. He winced and she pulled up his shirt to see if he was hurt. Simple as that… if you believe that things on the hellmouth can be that simple.

Anyways, the moral of this lesson is to understand that Buffy and Spike still have a thing for each other and now the next generation knows about it. Oh wait, that was the moral for me, the moral for the SITs is to understand your attacker's instincts, but trust yours or something like that. Does it really matter? None of them were really paying any attention anyway.

If your instincts are telling you there are more lessons in store, than pat those instincts on the back because the very next scene is more lessons. The very next morning, Buffy gathers all the SITs in the basement to watch her do a fancy axe-throwing trick. Actually, she threw the axe to get their attention (SITs like to yap), and tells that them that they are all going to die. The yapping stops and Buffy launches head-long into a "I'm-the-slayer-so-pay-very-close-attention-to-everything-I-say-because-it may-save-your-life-and-as-an-added-bonus-I-get-to-act-like-I-know-what-I'm-doing" speeches. Here's the highlights: the First is in remission but that doesn't mean they can relax (the first will strike again… probably harder and faster), and they are all going to be in the mother of all apocalyptic battles so if they want to make it out alive they better decide right now that they want to survive, but the silver lining to having all this responsibility dumped on them is that lots of people spend their whole lives trying to figure out they are going to do with their lives. These girls don't have to worry about that… they were chosen. They are the chosen ones.

After the speech, Buffy goes to work. You remember her job as the school counselor, don't you? It's ok, I almost forgot myself. Amanda (one of the students Buffy counseled in Help) drops by to talk about a guy that's been picking her. Amanda wants to know if the boy is picking on her because he likes her. Buffy knows this subject a little too well. She starts explaining that sometimes people are mean to each other because they like each other and blah blah blah. Next thing you know she's talking about mortal enemies getting together and that leading to no good and much confusion and then all of sudden it's over, really truly, over and Amanda is like, "huh?" and I'm like, "Over identify, much??"

Later Buffy returns home to find the SITs fighting with Xander. She's just about to break into another speech when Willow, thank god, runs in with news of another potential. The seers have called and say there's a potential that already lives in Sunnydale. The Scoobies, minus SITs, all pow-wow and decide that Willow (with Xander, Anya, and Dawn to hang around for support) will do a spell to locate the new potential. So that way, Buffy won't have to postpone the SIT field trip she's been planning - the girls and Andrew have been so looking forward to getting out of the house. Too bad Andrew's not invited and no amount of groveling is going to change that, but that doesn't stop Andrew. The pow-wow ends with him begging and pleading. He even resorts to pointing out that Spike gets to go, even though Spike, not too long ago, killed a bunch of people. Buffy quickly explains that Spike didn't have free will. Just then, Spike arrives; the girls get their weapons and they all head out for a night on the town, leaving Dawn and Andrew to amuse themselves.

A little while later, the Scoobs minus the field-trippers gather together all the ingredients for the locating spell. After they are sure they have everything, Willow puts all the stuff into the fire and says some spell-type chant. Soon the room fills with an orange ball of glowing light. The ball of light is supposed to go to wherever the potential is and make her aura all orangey and glowy. Instead, it hovers in the center of the room smelling like rotten eggs. Dawn goes to open the door, to let some air in and some stink out, but the ball rushes towards Dawn and slams her against the door. After Dawn regains her footing (she was knocked off her feet) she's all a glow. Willow grins and tells Xander that they've found their potential: Dawn.

Right away, Dawn starts to freak out. She sits down while Xander and Anya try to explain the caliber of this news. Dawn's a potential slayer. It's still too much for Dawn to wrap her mind around. She sits down to think about what it all means, and of course Anya thinks she's sitting down to listen. Anya starts babbling proficiently about what it means (short brutal life, men coming for her with knives, etc). Willow says they need to call Buffy except that Buffy didn't take her phone. Dawn says it figures since all the "important" people are with her. (Get it? Dawn's saying she's not important…) Xander tells Dawn that she is one of the important people, now. Dawn begins to wonder what her life is like going be like now that she's important. Willow supposes that Buffy will train her, like the others. (Hey, wasn't Buffy training Dawn to fight before Dawn started high school? What ever happen to that?) Anya supposes that they will have to start protecting Dawn from the Bringers. At mention of the Bringers, Dawn starts to freak, again. What if the Bringers saw the spell?! Xander figures they should be safe since Bringers can't see anything - they have X's where their eyes should be. Yeah, but that hasn't really stopped them from killing with exact precision in the past.

Luckily, Andrew comes in to interrupt the freak-fest. They explain what's going on and he's floored. He instantly starts a voice-over type monologue about how Dawn was plucked from an ordinary life. Handed a destiny… Xander cuts him off, afraid he'll go on to say, "Luke Skywalker blah blah blah…" So, Andrew just asks if Buffy knows. Willow plans to tell Buffy as soon as she gets home. Dawn tells Willow not to. She's not sure she wants Buffy to know right away because she thinks that this (her being a potential) was what her mom warned her about. Willow tells her not trust that warning; it was probably the First, but Dawn insists that there's a good chance Buffy won't be happy about this news. Willow doesn't agree and Dawn exclaims that she isn't even sure that she is happy about the news. So Anya offers a nice analogy - Dawn is part of something larger now, like being swallowed by something larger. This freaks Dawn out even more and she storms off to her room. Xander reprimands Anya for her lack of tact and Anya defends herself by pointing out that she was being truthful. Dawn is essentially signing on for a short and brutal life if she becomes the slayer and if not, her whole life will smack of unfulfilled potential. Willow doesn't think that's all there is to it. Dawn is a part of a huge power, now and Willow knows what that feels like; it's wonderful… more debates ensue as Dawn listens at her door. Eventually she figures out they aren't anymore sure of what to do than she is. So, she sneaks out her bedroom window.

Meanwhile, Buffy and her SIT posse arrive at the town's demon bar. A demon recognizes Spike and greets him sociably. He is glad Spike brought snacks. Spikes tells the demon to lay off, but in a less friendly manner and then congratulates the girls on their ability to blend in. Buffy explains that if they come to place like this, they are looking to be seen. They would come there to ring information out of something scary and drunk in a room filled with demons that would love nothing more than to tear the slayer's throat out. Before she can finish the sentence, Clem walks up with an ultra-friendly greeting for the slayer. He's really happy to see her. Just the other day he saw something on the Discovery Channel that he was sure she would love to see, but something went all screwy with his TiVo. Kennedy sarcastically cracks that Clem really looks like he wants to tear the slayer's throat out. The others laugh and Buffy takes Clem off to side and asks him for a favor. When they return to the group, Buffy tells Clem to do it and Clem shows the girls (but not us) some really grotesque demon thing he can do with his face. The girls are thoroughly grossed out.

Elsewhere, Dawn roams the streets. Soon, she happens upon Amanda. Dawn notices a cut on Amanda's forehead and asks if anything's wrong. Amanda hesitates because she thinks that Dawn will not believe what happened to her. Dawn's like, "Try me." So, Amanda explains that she was in school late because she was sewing up her torn band sweater (Who does that?!) when out of nowhere came this guy, who had a bumpy face, and wanted to bite her head. When he went for her head, she ducked and he knocked himself unconscious. Quick-on-her-toes Amanda decided to lock him in the room and go get Buffy, which would explain why she and Dawn crossed paths. Dawn thinks she knows what attacked Amanda, but wants to know what Amanda would expect Buffy to do about it. Well, Amanda's heard around town that Buffy is the one to go when trouble (bizarre-type trouble) strikes. Dawn thinks this is cool until Amanda explains that she's also heard that most people think Buffy's some kind of high-functioning schizophrenic. Regardless, Dawn tells Amanda that Buffy isn't home, so she's (Dawn) going to have to take this one.

Dawn and Amanda break back into the school and go to the room where the vampire should be locked up. Dawn opens the door and the vampire is nowhere in sight. Dawn starts to get irritated, when shockingly the vamp jumps down (he was hiding above the doorway, wedged between partitions in the ceiling… like he's The Professional or something) and scares the pants off of them. And what do Dawn's instincts tell her to do? Run. Does she trust them? Yes!

They run downstairs and try to get out of the front door but of course the doors are locked, duh! So, they have to face Ol' Bumpy. Dawn, quickly shatters the fire extinguisher case and grabs the extinguisher. As the vamp approaches Dawn fumbles with the safety and realizes she doesn't have time to figure it out so she uses the end of it to bonk the vamp on the head. While he's down, she and Amanda run off down the hall.

Meanwhile, Buffy and Spike take the girls to a crypt. The girls look around and conclude from the various debris and discarded articles of clothing and blankets that they are in a vamp nest. Buffy confirms their suspicions and moves on to the lesson: vamps can live anywhere and in any way they choose. One of the girls asks Spike if he lived in a crypt like this one and Spike admits that he did except his crypt was a little more… "Cozy" chimes in Buffy. Of course the potentials find it amusing that Buffy would think this about Spike's crypt. They snicker and grin and giggle and hiss. Buffy blushes and Spike looks away until Buffy finally tells the girls to look around. The potentials gladly peruse the crypt. One of the girls comes across a body. Buffy comes over to take a close look and decides that the body is "leftovers." Just then, Leftovers turns over with his bumpy face and growls.

Dawn and Amanda run into a science lab. Dawn gets Amanda to help her put a big filing cabinet in front of the door. They sink down to floor for a breather as the vamp rams himself against the door and the cabinet. Dawn assures Amanda that they will make it through the terror and Amanda nods to show in her faith in Dawn's skills. Soon they figure the cabinet isn't going hold for much longer so Dawn looks around and comes up with a plan.

Back at the vamp nest, Leftovers and Buffy go at it. He kicks. She deflects and punches him. He recovers and lunges towards her. She kicks. He ducks. You know the drill. The difference being that in this fight she is teaching. She lectures the girls as she works Leftovers over. The lecture includes stuff like: you have to stay calm, know your environment and be open to using any and everything as a weapon. Buffy's lecture carries over to Dawn's scene. We see Dawn staying calm and turning on gas, while fending off her vamp with glass beakers, stools, and acid. Eventually, Dawn gets to the flagpole at the front of classroom/lab and attempts to break it over her knee. When that doesn't work she quickly breaks it over some tables and starts to swing the pointy wooden end at vampy, who is just recovering from the acid burn on his face. I guess Dawn doesn't need to train with the other girls as she seems to have taken the classes already - know your environment 2B, make-shift weaponry 101, and keeping your cool for beginners. Well, that is until vamp knocks her off her feet and is just about to go in for the bite/kill. Fortunately and unfortunately, the Bringers burst in through the windows which distract vampy long enough for Dawn to get away. The Bringers surround Amanda, who was cowering in a corner this whole time. Dawn tries to tell the bringers that they don't want Amanda… they want her, Dawn. Before she can finish her sentence she realizes that they don't want her because she's not the potential, Amanda is. Dawn takes a moment to feel hurt then she uses some kind of sparkler thing to set the gas on fire. The flames distract the Bringers long enough for Amanda and Dawn to get out of the room.

Speaking of getting out of a room, Buffy fights Leftovers for a little while longer and then throws him to the other side of the room. Then she takes the opportunity to drop her stake and leave. Spike follows. They close the doors, leaving the girls to contend with leftovers.

Back at the manor, Xander, Willow, and Anya finally figure out that Dawn sneaked out through her bedroom window. Willow does a locator spell and they rush off find Dawn and possibly Buffy.

At the school, Dawn stops Amanda at the top of the stairs and gives her broken wooden flag pole. Dawn tells Amanda that the weapon belongs to Amanda because this is Amanda's fight, "I got your back, but this is something you can do. It's something you were born to do." Soon the Bringers and the vamp are hot on their trail, but luckily the Scoobs plus Buffy and Spike appear to even the odds. Amanda takes on the vamp, while Buffy and Spike take out the Bringers. In the end, all the good guys are left standing.

Amanda gets the spirit award for this one. Instead of bopping Dawn on the head when Dawn gave her the flag pole, she turned around and faced her vamp. She fought him instinctually and dusted him with ease. Of course, that doesn't mean she didn't have some questions when the whole matter was done. It's not every day a girl stops by her school counselor's house and gets hit by a orange ball of smoke and light, then runs into that counselor's little sister, who convinces her to go back and fight a vampire that attacked her when she was trying to sew up her band sweater (WHO DOES THAT?!). Only to top off the night with the sister giving her a broken flagpole and telling her she was born to fight some thing she didn't even know existed until that night, so yeah. Once they kill the vamps, Amanda demands to know what hell is going on? Someone fills her in and luckily I don't have to watch it as that happens.

The next day in the Summers' living room, the potentials including their newest member, Amanda, talk about their recent night of adventures in vampire killing. The girls discuss how they worked together to take out Leftovers and then ask Amanda how she felt about taking out a vamp all by herself. Amanda conveys the amazing adrenaline rush she had as dusted her vamp. The other potentials look impressed as Dawn, who is sulking in the shadows of the hallway, looks depressed. Buffy comes from behind and asks if she's alright. Dawn feigns all rightness and tells Buffy she plans to do some more research on the First. Buffy approves and then tells the potentials to go downstairs for another training session.

Just when you think the episode is done, we spy Dawn sitting with some books in the now empty living room. She looks really sad, like someone stole her destiny or something. Xander walks in and says he was just thinking about how being a chosen one is tough gig, but the amazing thing is that none of them will ever know what it is like. Dawn wonders what he's referring to and he explains that he's spent the last seven years of his life watching all his friends become more and more powerful, and while he has become more handy with power tools he hasn't exactly come into any cool super powers like being a werewolf, a slayer, or a witch. The amazing thing is that Dawn thought she was special, but as soon as she realized she wasn't she didn't hesitate to hand her crown over to Amanda. None of them will ever know what it's like not to be chosen, to live so near the spotlight and never step in it, but Xander knows. Xander sees more than any of them realize because none of them are watching him. So, Dawnie can rest assured that Xander saw her last night and he sees her working there right then. Xander knows she's not special because she's extraordinary. Dawn is very touched. I think she just might cry. I think I just might cry. But the bonding is not done yet. Commiserating is a two-way street. Dawn tells Xander that maybe his special power is seeing and knowing things. Xander thinks that's not a bad point, maybe he should get a cape. Dawn thinks that capes are good. Xander agrees.

The Usual
The Usual

Random Quotage:

It's horrible! That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil and... skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay.
-Willow (Doppelgangland)

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