By Elsa Frohman
We're where we left off before the break. The gang is standing around the portal, looking down.
What do we do now?
There is a moan. Everyone turns around and finds that Clem is still lying where he fell.
Clem! You're alive!
Dawn rushes to his side and kneels down.
The loose-skinned demon sits up and puts his hand to a wound on the flaps of skin on his neck.
I think I fainted.
The SuperVamp had you. I thought you were dead!
Dawn hugs Clem, who reacts with embarrassment.
He only got some skin. Advantage of being me. Takes really long teeth to bite me. My kind are pretty much vampire-proof.
Willow has joined them.
That's a nasty bite you've got there. You might need some stitches.
(Unconcerned.) Nah... It'll heal. Scars are sexy...
Buffy has landed on the other side of the portal. She looks up and sees the portal on the ceiling, out of her reach. She looks around and scans her environment. She seems to be in the same room, but a lot of it is on fire. It's dark, but she can see by the flickering light of the fires. The seal, as we first saw it in Conversations with Dead People, is in the center of the floor, below the portal.
She whirls when she hears a movement behind her. FE/Spike steps out of the shadows, dressed as he was when he was kidnapped, black T-shirt and jeans. His face is bruised.
(Flirtatious) Hello cutie.
None other than.
Are you all right?
Never better. Let's go.
(Suspicious, something's not right here.) Why did they take you?
(Shrugs) To get you down here.
That's it? And we can just leave now?
We've got to hurry. Before the First gets back.
(Just about certain this isn't right now.) Before we go -- kiss me.
What? This is hardly the time...
While it's just us. Kiss me, Spike. Show me that you still love me.
As much as I would like to, don't you think we'd better make our escape first.
(Triumphant) Ha! You can't. You're not real.
Buffy swings her sword, and FE/SPIKE dodges. He spins and kicks the sword out of her hand.
FE/Spike changes. He's wearing the leather duster now, completely Evil!Spike. The bruise we first saw is gone. He claps his hands slowly.
Very good. You're smarter than you look.
And you're just as dumb as I remember.
We're not in your world anymore, sweetheart. I'm stronger here -- corporeal. And frankly, you're no match for me.
(Annoyed) So stop posturing and show me what you've got.
FE/SPIKE lunges. Buffy drops and rolls, coming up with her sword in hand again. She and FE/SPIKE circle. He's smiling and laughing, enjoying every minute of the confrontation. She's grim. She feints and he dodges. He doesn't have a weapon, but seems supremely confident that he can beat her. He leaps and kicks, knocking her down. She's back up before he can take advantage.
Show you what I've got? How about this...
He points to the side of the room, where Real!Spike is revealed.
Buffy freezes. Spike is in bad shape, bloody, burned, bruised and hanging limp from the wheel.
Spike raises his head slowly.
So here's the deal. I beat you, I get to take him with me...
(laughing) Nothing so ... competitive. You made it this far. You can have him. He's no use to me anymore.
Buffy frowns. That sounds too easy. It can't be that simple.
If he's what you really want, that is...
FE/SPIKE gestures and another figure is revealed.
It's Angel, tied to another wheel, just like Spike. He's stripped to the waist, wounded and bleeding.
That's not real.
Are you sure? Phoned up Angel lately to see how he's doing? Didn't hear about how he went missing last spring? If I could get this one (motioning to Spike), why not that one? Would I try anything as lame as showing you an illusion? (Gestures at Spike again.) You sure this one is real?
Buffy bites her lip. She's not sure anything is real -- or not.
What about your Watcher? Was he real?
FE/Spike circles around behind Buffy. He kicks her in the small of the back, knocking her to the ground. He begins a vicious attack, kicking her in the ribs and head while she's on the ground. She curls up to protect herself.
(Continuing his attack) What's real? Is anything? Does it matter if you keep trying, when the little sister you sacrificed yourself for hates you? When your best friend can lose hope and try to destroy the world? When the only man who dares to love you is that pathetic, broken excuse for a vampire? What have you got that's worth living for? Are you even alive?
Stop! Stop hurting her!
Buffy kips to her feet and counterattacks, driving FE/Spike back.
I've got one thing. I (punches FE) know (kicks) you're (another punch) full of it.
FE falls back and disappears. She's alone with the two captives. She goes straight for Spike.
Buffy! Help me!
How can you choose him? I am your first love -- the love of your life. Our love is eternal.
(Clenches jaw.) That was then. This is now. I came for Spike.
She uses her sword to cut Spike's bonds. He collapses forward onto her. She tries to get him positioned so she can carry him, but he raises his head.
(Barely able to speak) Buffy, look out.
Buffy looks around. The Ubervamp is coming at her. She drops Spike and turns to meet it. He collapses in a heap on the floor.
Buffy fights the Ubervamp again. It hits her and sends her flying. She gets up to attack again and punches it several times in rapid succession, having little effect. It swipes at her with its claws, forcing her to jump back. It is driving her back across the floor, toward the wall where she will be cornered. Just as it seems the vamp has her trapped, Spike tackles it from the side, pushing it away from her and letting her get into a better position.
You've had a quick recovery...
Always willing to get it up once more for my girl...
The Ubervamp attacks again, for some reason concentrating on Buffy, and trying to avoid Spike. Buffy is doing better now, with Spike harassing the vamp from another angle and keeping it off balance. He's obviously running on pure adrenaline. If he stops, he's going to collapse.
Buffy and Spike start attacking in concert, and the vamp falls back. Then, suddenly Spike steps in front of Buffy and roars into the vamp's face in game face. The Ubervamp stops, momentarily stunned, then screams back at Spike. Spike roars again, and the Ubervamp backs down, first taking a tentative step backward, then turning to run away. Spike falls to his knees.
It's afraid of you.
Spike shakes his head.
It was raised with my blood. It's almost like I'm its sire. It's a dominance thing...
Can you walk?
(Stumbles) If you help me.
Buffy puts an arm around him and helps him up. They move off, with Spike leaning on her heavily.
INT., THE HIGH SCHOOL BASEMENT
The gang is still waiting -- looking very worried. Then a hand comes up through the portal. Xander grabs it and hauls a very worse-for-wear Spike out of the floor.
(Gasping) Help her.
Anya and Dawn each reach a hand into the hole and pull Buffy up together.
So we've got Spike. I take it we now go back out there and wade through the Brothers Grimm?
(Peeking out the door) I think they've gone. And if you think I'm not coming down here with the police for a security sweep before school starts Monday morning...
Take my word for it, you won't find a thing. You'll just end up feeling silly.
INT., THE SUMMERS BASEMENT
A cot has been set up, and Spike is lying on it asleep. He's still showing bruises, but the blood has been cleaned off his face and as much of his shoulders and chest as we can see above the blanket. The scars from the bleeding are prominent. Spike stirs then wakes with a start. He sits up, dizzy and disoriented.
Buffy steps into the frame.
(Soothing) It's all right. You're safe.
Spike blinks and looks around.
You saved me...
Buffy doesn't want to make a big deal of that just now. She gives him a little smile, though, and picks up a mug off a shelf nearby.
How did you know only I was real?
I didn't. But Giles told me not to get confused... to keep my mind on the mission. You were the mission.
Giles? He's here?
(Shakes head.) I don't even know if he was real. But what he told me was right -- so I have hope.
She gives him the mug.
(Starting to get his bearings) I should be restrained... I might...
Don't be foolish... If I...
Willow has put up wards around the house. The First can't get in. She says she's sure they'll hold -- for now. You're safe.
It -- the vampire you fought -- wasn't destroyed...
No. It will be back. I'll have to fight it again. But we're doing the research thing. Next time I meet ... that thing, I'm going to know how to fight it.
Spike drinks some then gives the mug back to Buffy. He lies back down.
(Looking at the ceiling.) It was a pure vampire, Buffy. You won't kill it with a stake.
What do you mean 'pure'?
All the vampires you've ever known, and killed, we're hybrids. The last of his kind sired a human and began our line.
I think Giles told me something like that once... I wish I'd paid better attention.
It's incredibly powerful. I don't know what it's capable of -- nobody does. Its kind hasn't been seen on earth for thousands of years.
Kind of a cave vampire...
It's not funny. I felt a bit of what it feels... the hunger. It's going to be feeding soon. It's going to kill and kill again...
But it backed down when you screamed at it...
That won't last. It has my blood in its veins. We're connected, and my mind was stronger. But as it feeds, it will have less and less of me in it. It will get stronger, and then I won't have any more influence on it than anyone else. If I'm going to be any help to you, we'll have to act soon -- very soon.
You're not strong enough. You have to rest.
It doesn't matter. My blood raised it, Buffy. I'm sure you understand the implication...
No. Out of the question. (frowns) You've got to stop trying to think of ways to get me to kill you.
You can't let it feed. It's only going to get stronger. We have to stop it now.
You don't have enough blood left in you at the moment to stain the sheets. And we don't even know how. Even if I was going to consider using you to destroy it -- and I'm not -- I don't have a clue to how to go about it. We're going to work out a way to stop it -- and the First. We will... we always do.
You can't rule out ...
(She takes his hand.) Spike, we're going to beat this thing. The First has been trying to separate us. Not just you and me. The First has been trying to drive a wedge between me and all my friends. And that tells me that if I want to win this, I have to hold on ... to everybody. That includes you.
The camera moves in on their hands clasped together.
BLACK OUT -- to closing credits.