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-- Quotes --

Written by Zinna

Tara and Dawn awake to cartoons and an empty house. Where the hell are Buffy and Willow? I'll tell you where Buffy is; she's in that abandoned building where she and Spike the spent the night. You think you're disgusted by Buffy's behavior than you're not the only one, Buffy's pretty disgusted with herself (I, myself, say it's about time). She takes one look at a naked Spike and pushes pass freaked to denial. She gets up and puts on her clothes, expecting to leave and resume life as if nothing happened. Well, it did! More importantly, Spike knows it. He was there.

Spike attempts to engage Buffy in more frolics, since he's stuck there -- can't go out into the light of day and all that. Buffy tells him that the previous night was the end of their freak show. Not so fast, Spike goes in for the grope, tops it off with some lip play. Buffy falls prey. She kisses back, but then Spike has to ruin it, by making some flip comment about how killing a slayer hardly compares to doing one. Buffy goes back to disgust and revulsion. She asks him if that's what this whole thing's about. Spike counters saying she's a vampire groupie. Buffy clarifies, she's loved one vampire and that vampire is not Spike. Spike is just convenient (yeah, right - that's the last word I use to describe Spike). She puts on the rest of her clothes, tells Spike that if he tells anyone she'll kill him and then knocks him out with a quick goodbye punch, which was provoked by Spike taunting her with a piece of underwear she'd forgot to put on.

Back at the Summers' house, Tara begins to make pancakes for Dawn. She hopes they will keep Dawn from freaking out about her missing guardians. Soon after, Willow and Amy enter through the kitchen door. Willow is surprised but happy to see Tara. She quickly explains that her companion is Amy, the rat. Tara makes the mistake of asking how, which starts Amy yapping a mile minute. Amy goes on and on about how powerful Willow has become and how she can hardly keep up with her, etc. Tara doesn't really want to know the details. She's supremely uncomfortable and excuses herself, saying she should go. Willow tries to get her to stay and pick up the stuff that she left. Tara says she'll get it later.

Buffy enters through the front door as Tara leaves. She asks what Tara was doing there. Willow explains that Tara stayed because both Buffy and Willow failed to come last night. Buffy asks if Dawn is okay. Dawn is fine, of course, thanks to Tara. Buffy explains she was stuck in all-night fighting evil scenario, which isn't hard for Dawn to buy. Dawn notices that Buffy's all bruised and walking as if she were sore (I guess Spike got a few hits in). Willow apologizes for not calling and making sure someone was with Dawn. Buffy tells her it's okay, everyone's safe and it wasn't intentional. Willow is somewhat relieved that no harm was done and goes up to crash. Buffy tries to catch a quick wink as well, as we all know they both had a rough night.

Willow lays down in her bed, exhausted. She attempts to zap the curtains shut with her powers, but they seem to be on the fritz. So, she gets up to close them the old fashioned way. Apparently, magic has a burnout factor.

Later at the magic shop, Buffy, Anya, and Xander pour over more books looking for a demon that would steal a diamond and freeze a man as a defense mechanism (See Smashed for details). Xander suspiciously takes a closer look at what Anya's reading and finds it's a Bridal magazine. She defends herself saying that their research is hopeless. Xander admits Anya's got a valid point. He suggests they try a new approach, such as get Spike involved. Maybe Buffy and Spike could check out the word on the street and see what's buzzing on the demon grapevine. Buffy becomes a little uncomfortable at the mention of Spike's name. She stresses quite strongly that there will be no need to get Spike involved for any reason. She tells them that they must stay put and they'll eventually come up with something.

No one really wants to argue with Buffy, so Xander asks where Willow is. Buffy says she's sleeping because she stayed out all night with Amy. Xander makes a snide but concerned remark about how Willow's made herself a playmate to do magic with. Buffy notices the judgmental tone in Xander's voice and defends Willow. She tells them that shouldn't talk her about like that. Willow's always been very responsible and wouldn't do anything too awful. So what, if she's going a little crazy with the magic, she's obviously hurting and making some bad choices but she'll do the right thing in the end. Besides, who are they to be all judgy? Xander and Anya concede. They are not being judgy they’re just trying to say that Willow isn't acting like herself these days. Anya and Xander don't seem to pick on Buffy's overcompensating for Willow's behavior to cover up the guilt she feels for her own indiscretions.

That night, Willow and Amy go out for coffee. Amy suggests they get into more mischief, but Willow is reluctant. Willow is still a little fried from last time and she just barely got the use of her powers back. Amy tells her of this guy that she knows that can cure their magic fix and as an added plus, there's like zero burnout factor. Willow's game.

Amy leads Willow to an alley that appears to be empty. Turns out this guy, Rack, cloaks his headquarters (or junkie palace as I like to call it), so that people can't find it unless they have the inside scoop. Amy disappears through an invisible barrier and Willow follows.

Inside is room that's decorated in what looks mainly like "crack-whore chic" -- there are skuzzy couches filled with cracked out magic junkies waiting to get their fix. Rack appears to welcome Amy and Willow into his lair.

Amy tries to explain why it's been so long since her last visit. Rack knows that she was rat and tells Amy she shouldn't mess spells that she can't handle. He looks at Willow like she's a cupcake and he has a sweet tooth. Willow makes uncomfortable small talk. Rack just wants to know if Willow can help him. He's already mentioned that he can smell the power coming off her in waves. Willow continues to stumble with words and looks scared. Amy tells her not to worry that it won't take very long. With that, Rack places his red electrically charged hand on Willow's chest and appears to transfer energy of some sort to and from Willow. Once he lets go, Willow stands there hopped up on magic energy, looking as if she's taken a hit Ecstasy. She's breathing heavily as if her respiratory system has been accelerated and her eyes are completely black. Rack bends down close to Willow and whispers in her ear that she tastes like strawberries (the sleaze-factor of the line is rating off the charts for this girl).

Time passes and we see Amy spinning out of control in one corner, while Willow rests on the ceiling, conjuring pretty 3D fantasies. Willow appears to be in a blissful subconscious state. Rack sits on his loveseat in another corner watching the two girls on their magic trip. He seems eerily pleased with himself.

In Willow's green garden fantasy we catch a glimpse of some gross looking demon dragging around the scantily clad body of young girl. Once he hides it underneath some bushes, he comes out and looks Willow in eye. She sees him and screams in horror. Then we see Willow transfer around to different spots in Sunnydale, for an instant she's in front of the Magic Box. Finally, she falls to floor as if she just fell from the ceiling but she lands in her room. She wakes from her stupor and stumbles to the shower. It's the next morning.

In the shower she attempts to wash the skuzz off of her and she cries as if it just hit her how low she's sunk.

After her shower, Willow goes to her room and pulls out some clothes from a box marked Tara. She places the clothes on her bed and sit next them. She magically fills Tara's clothes with Tara-shaped air and hugs the poor substitute for her former lover.

That night, Willow goes downstairs to find Dawn burning her fingers, in an effort to make some banana and peanut butter quesadillas minus the queso. They're Dawn's very own creation. Willow opts not to partake, saying that her stomach feels a little queasy. Dawn tells her that Buffy will be home after she patrols, which will be fairly early. Dawn laughs about how many times Buffy's called to check in that day.

Willow says that they should go to a movie and if Dawn's willing to ditch the quesadillas, she'll buy Dawn dinner. Dawn couldn't be more pleased. She leaves Buffy a note on the fridge.

Buffy returns home soon after Willow and Dawn have left. She goes upstairs to find them and instead finds Willow's room ransacked. She turns to find Amy trying to sneak out behind her. She grabs Amy and throws her up against a door. She asks where Willow and Dawn are. Amy doesn't know. Buffy notices that Amy's hiding some herbs and stuff that she's no doubt stealing from Willow. Amy claims that Willow would understand. Amy says, that if Buffy thinks Amy's hard up, Willow's way worse than her. Amy bets that Willow's at Rack's place right at that very moment. Buffy becomes upset as she realizes Dawn must be with her. Note that Amy looks like she's strung out and Buffy's rough handling causes her to run off and hurl.

Somewhere else in Sunnydale, Willow and Dawn walk to a movie after munching on a hamburger. Actually, Dawn did all the munching, Willow didn't eat anything. Dawn notices that Willow is taking them in wrong direction. They end up in the alley that houses Rack's cloaked junkie palace.

Willow asks Dawn to wait in the waiting room, while she takes care of something. Willow assures Dawn that she will only be a few minutes. Willow ends up taking hours. We see her floating in space, touring the universe in a blissful subconscious state. Suddenly that gross looking demon appears again holding a limp body of the young woman. Willow screams and comes out her magic trance. Just then in the waiting room, Dawn gets fed up with waiting around in skuzzville, but Willow comes out just she is about to go in. Dawn is pissed and they've missed the movie. Willow is completely unaware of how many hours have passed. Willow is still donning black eyes and acting like she's on drugs or something.

Buffy's first instinct to go to Spike for help. Spike would know where this Rack's place is, right? Spike gets dressed and they start combing the city for Rack's cloaked haven.

During their search, Buffy accuses Spike of dragging the process out so that he can spend more time with Buffy. Spike tells her to get a grip. Things have changed. Buffy had Spike by the balls, because he was hopelessly in love with her but now she's slept with him. He has proof that there's something between them and Buffy can't deny that. Buffy denies it anyway; she says that whatever is between them, it's not love and all she wants is for Spike to go away. Spike's not buying that for second. He tells Buffy that she needs him, not just for play, but for work purposes, like finding Dawn.

Meanwhile, Dawn and Willow begin walking away from Rack's. Willow wants to do something fun, but all Dawn wants to is go home. Suddenly they are being trailed by the demon from Willow's magic fantasies. To escape Willow magically opens a car and the two get in. Willow uses her powers to drive the car. She is driving recklessly and seems to be getting off on the danger they are in. Dawn sits screaming in the passenger side as Willow loses control of the car and drives it into a wall.

The crash knocks Willow unconscious, but Dawn is fully awake, though injured. Dawn gets out of the wrecked car and tries to get Willow out of the driver side. The demon confronts her before she can do anything. Dawn crawls under the car to get away from the demon, but he grabs her leg and pulls her out. He then hits her with massive force and she flies to the other side of the alley. Just then Buffy appears (she heard the screaming) and intercepts the demon's next blow. They fight. Then just as quickly as the monster came he is gone, poof like vampire. I guess Willow came down from her high, which meant the magic-invoked monster could no longer exist.

Buffy turns to see Willow all dazed and confused. Before she clobbers her, she hears Dawn and rushes to her side. Dawn is pretty scraped up. Buffy says they need to go a doctor. They begin helping Dawn in that direction. Willow stops them and tries to apologize profusely to Dawn. Dawn slaps Willow across the face. They continue to leave, but then Buffy stops at the sounds of Willow sobbing while she repeats how sorry she is. Buffy lets Dawn go off with Spike and she tells Willow to get up. Willow, still sobbing, proclaims that she needs help. Buffy takes her home.

Later, once Dawn's all squared away. Buffy tells Willow that Dawn has a fractured arm. Then she tells Willow that she doesn't understand how she could drag Dawn into that mess. Willow admits that she's been losing control, for some time now. She was drunk with power and unwilling to give it up to be regular Willow. Tara doesn't even know that regular Willow girl. Buffy is sure that Tara would be more than happy with regular Willow. Willow's not so sure, but she doesn't want what happened that night to ever happen again, so she's giving up magic for good. Buffy is relieved and thinks it's best to give up something that would cause pain for ones who love her. You kind of get the feeling that when she tells Willow that she's talking about giving up Spike.

That night we see Willow unable to sleep suffering from a terrible withdrawal, while Buffy sits in her own room, fully dressed hugging her legs and holding a cross. Garlic garlands surround Buffy's bed. Looks like neither of them will be getting sleep anytime soon.

The Usual
The Usual

Random Quotage:

Buffy, this is all about fear. It's understandable, but you can't let it control you. 'Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to anger.' No wait, hold on. 'Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side.' Hold on, no, umm, 'First you get the wimmin, then you get the money, then you...' okay, can we forget that?
-Xander (The Freshman)

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