-- Quotes --
Written by Kristina
The Scoobies, along with all of the human shields (Slayers in Training) are gathered in the Summers' living room. It has only been a couple of hours since Buffy was kicked out, and the group is in disarray. Faith is frazzled, trying to get the group under control. Everyone has their own opinions, and they are each trying to speak their minds - at the same time. As the group debates on what type of procedure they should use to talk, Giles turns to Dawn to comfort her. She feels horrible about what happened, but Giles assures her that everything will be alright. Kennedy keeps getting into Faith's face with her suggestions, but she is interrupted by the power going out; Sunnydale Power has left the town. Faith tells the group that they are all tired, and they'll worry about this in the morning.
Buffy is walking down a darkened street. She watches as houses are abandoned, and people leave town. She spots a small house, and breaks into it. She takes a couple of steps in the house, but is stopped by the home owner. He's aiming a shot gun at Buffy's head, but she easily disarms him. When he tells her to leave the house, she kicks him out of it; it's what all the cool kids are doing these days. The man leaves as Buffy goes to the fridge, looking for something to eat.
Andrew and Spike are still in the mission; they need to wait for nightfall again in order to get back to Sunnydale. Andrew is trying to engage Spike in a game of "I Spy" but it doesn't go over very well. Finally, Spike joins in, but wonders if bashing his head into the wall would have been better.
The squatters at 1630 Revello Drive are in the basement with some emergency lamps. Faith is trying to keep control of the group, but it is slipping. They are going over the information that they know about the apocalypse. The SiTs are all very scared. Once again, Kennedy gets into Faith's face about what they should do next, and finally Willow tells her she is trying too hard. Faith thinks they should kidnap a Bringer and interrogate it. That way, they can find out more information on the First and Caleb. Faith finally gets serious about being the leader; she tells everyone that she's in charge, and they'll have to listen to her now (the speech also involves telling Kennedy to back off).
In the vineyard, Bringers are repetitively beating into something. Caleb and The First (wearing Buffy's appearance) watch them. The First wonders if what the Bringers are doing is just busy work, but Caleb says they have to at least try using brute strength against a prophecy. Whatever the Bringers are working at, the First doesn't want the Slayer or the SiTs to get it. The First then tells Caleb the girls aren't going to get it because he's going to kill them all. Caleb likes this bit of information.
In a dark alley, Kennedy is walking along, looking absentminded and pissed off. Three Bringers race out of the darkness to attack her, but the Bringers are ambushed by Giles, Amanda, and some other SiTs. Two of the Bringers are killed, and the third one is tied up by Giles. They lead the Bringer out of the alley.
Now that the squatters have the Bringer, they find they have no way of communicating with it; its tongue has been removed. Dawn starts talking about a Turkish spell book she's been reading; in it, there is a spell that allows the dying (who are unable to speak) to communicate with the living. Willow thinks the spell will work, and is about to go off to find some supplies when Andrew and Spike return from their mission. Andrew is hyper, and talking about the mission, when he suddenly announces he has to use the bathroom. Spike is about to tell the group what they discovered when he notices that Buffy is missing. Everyone avoids his eyes, and they won't give him a straight answer about Buffy's whereabouts. Finally, Willow says they all talked, and Buffy decided it would be best if she took a little rest. Spike sees right through this, and rips into the group for betraying Buffy. Faith interrupts him, saying the time for speeches has passed. Angered, Spike hauls back and punches Faith in the chin. A fight ensues between Faith and Spike, and it moves from the kitchen into the living room. Spike cracks Faith's head against a wall, trying to find out where Buffy is, when he decides to just "screw it." He leaves the house, and begins to track Buffy's scent outside.
In the basement, Willow, Kennedy, Andrew, Giles and Xander are gathered around the Bringer. Willow recites the Turkish spell, but nothing is happening. Andrew keeps offering his two cents, despite Xander's repeated threats. Suddenly, the group realizes Andrew's demeanor and speech has changed; he is speaking for the Bringer. Through Andrew, the Bringer says all the Bringers work as one to serve the First. They are preparing for battle. Frustrated at the vagueness, Kennedy holds a knife to the Bringer's neck. She's aggressive, but Giles manages to calm her down. The Bringer shares that they are working "beneath the dirt" to create weapons at the edge of town. As the Bringer tells the group that all the Bringers will laugh at their deaths, Giles violently slashes its throat. As the Bringer dies, Andrew clutches his throat. Giles wants to tell Faith the news.
Buffy is lying in a bed when she hears a knock on the front door. She doesn't make any move to answer it, and listens as footsteps approach the room. She turns to the doorway to see Spike. He strides in, no invite needed, and begins talking to Buffy. She asks him to leave; she wants to be on her own. He refuses; he has found out news that proves she was right. Caleb is protecting something at the vineyard. When she doesn't react, it annoys him. She tells Spike that she's given up. He refuses to believe her; the group took her leadership away from her.
Giles tells Faith the news in the doorway to Buffy's bedroom. He shows her a map of where they believe the arsenal of weapons to be, but stops when he realizes how exhausted she is. As he leaves, he lets her know that she is doing just fine. This causes her to smile, but her smile disappears when she sees the Mayor standing in front of her. She tells him to get out; she knows that it is the First Evil trying to rattle her. The First has succeeded, because although Faith is trying to remain calm, she really is rattled. The Mayor tells Faith she's doing a great job, and then wonders why Faith is trying to protect Buffy. She nearly killed her, no matter how hard Faith tried to get in good with Buffy and her group. He warns her that Buffy is dangerous.
Spike can't believe that Buffy is going to sit by and let Faith lead. He tries to convince her that the house has fallen into chaos, but he didn't see much that actually qualified as chaotic. He was only there long enough to hit Faith a couple of times (which makes Buffy somewhat happy). Buffy is tired of having girls die when she says the "word." When Spike reminds her that there are casualties in war, she says the word "casualties" sounds so "casual." She cut herself off from the group because she knew she was going to lose some of them, and she didn't want to deal with that. Standing up, Buffy tells Spike that she's always cut people off. Being a Slayer made her different, but she stayed that way. She always manages to slip away without connecting. She tells Spike they never became close, which is why he wanted her; she was unattainable. Spike is hurt by this. It is his turn to "take the stage" and he lets Buffy know that she is insufferable. He's made a lot of wrong calls in both his life and unlife, but the only thing he's been certain of is her. He doesn't love her because he wants her; he loves her because of who she is. He's seen her at her worst and her best, and he loves her for everything she is. He tells her to get some rest, and that he'll check on her in the morning. As he turns to leave, Buffy asks if he would stay with her. Without any hesitation, he agrees, and starts to make himself comfortable on a nearby chair. She looks at him, and asks him to come and sit on the bed and hold her.
The Mayor tells Faith that nobody will ever love her the way that he does. She keeps telling him to get out, but he won't leave until he's driven home his message. He reminds his "firecracker" that he'll always be with her in everything she does, and then he disappears. Robin calls to Faith from the doorway. He saw her looking spooked, and wants to know what happened. He lets the matter drop, but Faith finally tells him the First came to visit her. He closes the bedroom door, and tells Faith that she is really in the game now. She shares that the First appeared as an old boss of hers, and admits that he was like a father to her. Robin tells her that when the First appeared to him, it was his mother, down to the scent of her perfume. The First is so dangerous because it knows what they want, and it gives it to them. Faith tells Robin that the First warned her that Buffy was dangerous, and she believes it. Robin wants to talk about tomorrow, but Faith tells him to just think of tonight. She goes up to him, and they begin kissing each other. She presses him back onto the mattress, and the kissing continues.
Willow enters her bedroom, ready for bed, looking at Giles' map. When she looks up, she realizes that Kennedy is the only person in the room and that she's lighted candles. Kennedy kicked the other girls out of the room so they could have it to themselves. Willow closes the door, and goes to the bed to kiss Kennedy. After some snuggling and kissing, Willow turns away. She's afraid that if she lets herself go, she will lose control and become the scary veiny Willow from last year. Kennedy assures her that she'll be her "kite string" and will make sure she stays grounded.
While the remaining SiTs are packed in the Summers' living room, Xander and Anya are sitting at the kitchen counter, sharing a tub of ice cream. Anya wishes the others would have some respect; nobody needs to hear all their moaning and groaning. What it boils down to is that she is jealous; if she and Xander aren't going to have sex again, nobody else should.
Buffy and Spike are lying in each others' arms, just looking at each other. Meanwhile, at Casa Summers, Faith and Robin, Willow and Kennedy, and Xander and Anya are all wrapped up in their human needs (i.e. having sex).
The First (still looking like Buffy) is explaining to Caleb how it envies humans. It wants to be able to touch, and to feel, which it gets across with some violent imagery. Caleb understands this need, and when the First says they need to kill the girls faster, Caleb wholeheartedly agrees.
Buffy wakes up, and takes some time to orient herself. She watches Spike sleeping in her arms.
Over at Revello Drive, the squatters are up and ready to go. Andrew is explaining what he and Spike found out at the mission. He thinks the First and Caleb are protecting a weapon. Faith turns to Giles, Willow, Dawn and Xander, and asks them to do a bit of recon on Buffy. She wants to know if Buffy's alright. When Robin asks Faith where she wants him, she tells him she'll call him when she needs him. She turns to the girls she's taking to the arsenal, and tells them to get ready.
Spike has just woken up. He reaches over for Buffy, but instead finds a note on the pillow. He unfolds it and begins to read.
Caleb is telling the First that they will get "it" out using brute strength. The First wants Caleb to get the Bringers back to work, when a Bringer comes thumping down the stairs, dead. It stops at Caleb's feet, and Buffy comes down the stairwell behind it. She says she's heard they have something of hers. She charges down the stairs, and she starts looking at the room, trying to find hiding places. There are a lot of them. Caleb starts towards Buffy, and she taunts him to lay a hand on her if he can. He starts throwing punches at her, and she avoids them Matrix-style. Any punch, kick, or jab he throws her way, she deftly avoids. Caleb looks around the room for Buffy, when he spots the First. It's confusing for him to see two of the girl he's trying to kill, so the First disappears to allow him to concentrate.
In the sewers, Faith and nine SiTs (including Vi, Rona, Amanda and Kennedy) have flashlights. They're looking for the weapons arsenal, and they find a store of weapons. Rona wonders why the Bringers would leave all this unguarded, which is the cue for eight Bringers to ambush the group. A fight ensues.
Caleb is getting careless; he hasn't been able to hit Buffy. He starts throwing misguided punches. He manages to chase her into a cement post, where he takes a huge swing at her. She dodges, and his fist connects (painfully) with the post.
When Caleb calls Buffy a whore, she chastises him, saying he comes across as a woman-hating prick. He lifts up a barrel to throw at her, revealing a small copper trap-door. She makes her way over to it, and slides into it before Caleb can catch her. She tumbles down a ladder, and lands in a room with stone walls.
The SiTs and Faith make short work of the Bringers that attacked them. There weren't very many weapons in the arsenal - definitely not enough for a full one. Kennedy spots a smaller room off of the main sewer chamber, and the girls head over to it, weaponless. Faith spots a large metal box. Believing it is what she was looking for, she goes over to it.
Buffy has gotten to her feet, and she looks the most excited she's been in ages. She is looking at a red scythe lodged in a stone. She smiles faintly at the scythe.
Faith manages to smash the lock off the metal box. When she opens it, she reveals a bomb. The countdown has begun.