*Spoiler alerts for entire series!*
The original versions of this script were first posted in the early Spring of 2003 on the Newsgroup alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer.creative.
Many BtVS fans at the time were speculating on whether or not the series would end with Buffy back in the mental hospital she had "hallucinated" in the Season 6 episode "Normal Again". Most felt that it would have been the worst series ending possible. I was inclined to agree, but just for the hell of it, I decided to write a spec-script finale ending that would make the "Normal Again" scenario a more acceptable happy ending.
The very first version was a short segment (now the last scenes of the current version) which could be tacked on to just about any series finale scenario in which Buffy and the Scoobies sacrifice themselves in a final showdown with the First Evil. After thinking about it, I realized that what happens to the other characters besides Buffy in their new "afterlife" could fill at least one whole episode. I wrote the first expanded version long before the actual series finale "Chosen" aired, with the assumption that it wouldn't take much change, if needed, for Buffy and all the Scoobies to all go out in a blaze of glory sealing the Hellmouth forever. I turned out to be right on that point, and this version incorporates dialogue and scenes from "Chosen" and other late Season 7 episodes, with that slight change.
I'd like to add the caveat that I make no secret of the fact that Dawn is my favorite character and that I think Michelle Trachtenberg is an adorable and wonderful young actress. For that reason, this may come across as a somewhat Dawn-centric story and for that I make no apologies.
Feedback is invited. Please see the EMail address at the end.
INT A BEDROOM IN A LOW-RENT COLLEGE STUDENTS' APARTMENT-- NIGHT. Not too unlike Xander's old basement quarters, in fact with much of the same furnishings. We hear the MOANS AND CREAKING BEDSPRINGS of a couple making intense passionate love as the camera pans around and we see a pile of mixed men's and women's clothing beside the bed, then tilt up to see the couple. We recognize the man as Xander. We don't initially see the woman's face, although she does appear to have red hair.
Oh, Xander! Xander!
We see her face. Yes, it's Willow!
As they climax, the camera blurs and vibrates (the same SFX as in the scene in "Grave" where Evil Willow gets a head rush from tapping Giles' magic, only more intense), but they are oblivious to it, wrapped up in total ecstasy.
Oh, Xander! You never did it to me like that before!
Yeah! Oh, Willow, you were something else! I feel like I died and went to heaven!
That's exactly how I feel!
As they catch their breath, their eyes slowly open wide and they stare at each other in bewilderment and confusion. They both shut their eyes tight and shake their heads and then look into each others' eyes with continued confusion.
Xander, where are we?
In our apartment, Willow.
Yeah. Our apartment. In LA. Just three blocks off the UCLA main campus.
Except we don't have an apartment. We don't live together. We don't even live in LA!
She nudges him off her and sits up, pulling up the sheet to cover herself.
We're not even lovers!
Or are we?
I'm not even hetero. Or am I?
My name is Willow Rosenberg, and you're Alexander Lavelle Harris...
And we grew up together...
Here in LA...
or in Sunnydale?...
Willow just stares at him, her confusion intensifying and turning into fear.
INT DAWN'S BEDROOM AT THE SUMMERS HOME-- NIGHT. Dawn lies sleeping, and then the camera blurs and vibrates again. Dawn wakes up with a SCREAM! She stares blankly, terrified, for several seconds before raising her head slightly.
INSERT DAWN'S POV panning around the room. It's the same as usual, pink interior and stuffed animals.
Dawn slowly gets out of bed without turning on the light. She is shaking.
INT THE SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY. A dim light emits from the master bedroom as Dawn steps out from her room, glancing around. We hear muffled conversation from the master bedroom.
DAWN'S POV. On the hallway walls, we see an old family portrait of Joyce and Hank with a 14 year old Buffy and 9 year old Dawn, a solo portrait of Buffy at the same age, then a larger, contemporary family portrait-- of Joyce, Hank and Dawn.
JOYCE AND HANK step out of the master bedroom, looking at Dawn with worry.
[END TEASER,INSERT OPENING CREDITS.]
Dawnie, are you all right?
Dawn rushes up to them and puts her arms tightly around both of them, still shaking.
What's wrong, Honey?
I had this strange nightmare! At least I think it was a nightmare....
Joyce and Hank both kiss her on the forehead.
Sweetheart, you're shaking like a leaf! I haven't seen you like this since you were a little girl. Since right after Buffy first went in the hospital!
That's what it was about! I can't explain it.... I'm not sure if it was a nightmare, or something more real... or even if it's over....
Can I sleep with you guys the rest of the night?
INT THE MASTER BEDROOM. The three of them get into the king-sized bed, Dawn between her parents.
I know it's silly. I know I'm almost seventeen....
Joyce and Hank laugh softly.
It's okay, Dawnie. You're still our baby! Until you're married and have your own kids, you'll never be too old to sleep with us... once in a while.
The three of them pull up the covers and snuggle up.
Right now, a part of me feels like I'm only three years old....
She closes her eyes. She starts to calm down and relax, but not completely.
INT XANDER'S AND WILLOW'S APARTMENT-- MORNING. The two of them sit at the dining table, eating breakfast in a rather subdued mood. It's obvious that they haven't slept much.
It can happen. Mental health workers can become so involved with their patients that they get drawn into their delusions. Can't they?
Yeah. Especially when we're stressed out ourselves. From finals this semester.
Yeah, that's it. Remember, lack of sleep can cause temporary psychosis. Maybe we should have taken a break. We can still do that.
That's it. Sleep deprivation. All that lack of sleep studying for finals and writing theses drew us into Buffy's delusions about the three of us fighting vampires and demons together.
Except that Buffy didn't know us before high school. So how come our delusions include both of us having all these same memories of going to Petrie Avenue Elementary and Sunnydale Junior High?
Sleep deprivation caused us to embellish Buffy's delusions.
Right! Wrong! Different brains!
That's what I said to Tara after the spirit took Buffy's form and attacked us the morning after we resurrected her!
Oh, God! Tara? Resurrection?
Both of them are clearly losing it.
Oh, God! Now I know how Dawn felt when she learned she was the Key!
EXT THE SUMMERS HOME-- MORNING. Dawn, Joyce and Hank walk out onto the driveway. Hank kisses Joyce and Dawn, then gets in his coupe, then Joyce and Dawn get into the Jeep. Dawn is slightly stooped over with glazed, baggy eyes; she too has had a sleepless night.
INT THE JEEP as Joyce pulls out of the driveway. Dawn yawns wearily.
Dawn, are you sure you don't want to stay home? I don't mind writing you an excuse slip.
I want to go, Mom. I want to keep my life as normal as possible.
But is it all right if I stop by the hospital and visit Buffy after school?
Oh, Sweetheart, you know you never have to ask permission to see Buffy. She needs us as much as ever, and she's lucky to have a sister who cares about her as much as you do! I'm proud of you!
I don't know about her, but I hope it'll do me some good.
INT A SMALL PRIVATE ROOM IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL-- DAY. Buffy sits on the bed in a hospital gown, her hair plainly combed with no makeup. Willow and Xander sit facing her.
(Note: This does not necessarily have to be the same set as the asylum in "Normal Again". In fact, it should have a much less institutional and more homelike atmosphere: bigger windows and more sunlight, paintings and decorations on the walls.)
It could be a girl. A Potential trying to get to us.
I'm going in anyway.
Everything she says makes more sense now. Even stuff she said before today that I can remember makes more sense now.
This sounds so familiar.
Then it's time we test 'em. We'll just take the ones who've been here the longest. The rest can stay here.
I know. That's why I want you to stay with them. You're my most powerful weapon, Will. You can keep these girls safe if something happens.
ANOTHER ANGLE shows Dawn standing in the doorway and listening in. As Buffy's monologue continues, Dawn's eyes open wide in disbelief.
He won't be expecting a full attack. Not this soon. That's why we have to move.
It's not just that it makes more sense! We've heard her say this before! Willow, what's today's date?
Friday, May 9th.
That's when she said it! I mean, that's when she said it in the other--
I know what you mean! In our other set of memories.
Oh, God! Friday, May 9th! How could I forget? That was the night that sonofabitch Caleb gouged my eye out!
He closes his right eye tightly and scans around the full field of view with his left, then sighs with relief.
Oh, thank God!
Giles, we don't have time. And you're not going into battle. I need you to stay behind with the others.... Help the girls who still need a teacher.
Xander, I think we should talk to Gi-- I mean Dr. Whedon about this.
Will, just because in Buffy's world, Dr. Whedon's her-- He'd have us committed here as patients!
Xander, I'm not crazy enough to start treating him like the guy in our dreams, but I think he needs to know about--
Oh, hi, Dawnie!
Willow! You haven't called me "Dawnie" since...
You've never called me "Dawnie" before... Or you call me that all the time....
She steps out of view.
INT THE HOSPITAL HALLWAY. The camera leads Dawn as she staggers along away from Buffy's room in absolute anguish and confusion, occasionally placing a hand against the wall to steady herself. In the receding background we see Willow and Xander step out of Buffy's room and stare at her.
I'm not crazy! I'm not crazy! This isn't really happening!
CLOSE ON WILLOW AND XANDER
This isn't real!
I'm not crazy! I just need some sleep!
ON DAWN as she walks up to a door marked:
Dawn opens the door. The camera follows her into an outer office waiting room. Thru the open door to the inner office, we see Giles sitting at a desk, peering intently at a patient's chart. He looks the same as usual except for a white lab coat over his normal clothes. He looks up at Dawn, a thin smile coming to his face.
Excuse me, Dr. Whedon?
Do you have a few minutes? Could I speak to you about my sister?
Sure, I'd be glad to. I was about to start my afternoon rounds, but they can wait. In fact, I was just reviewing your sister's records.
INT THE INNER OFFICE. Dawn steps inside.
Close the door and have a seat.
Dawn does so, sitting in a large couch.
Dr. Whedon, I know you barely know me, I know you haven't talked to me much about Buffy, always talked to my parents about her....
I've watched you grow up, Dawn. I've known you as long as I've known your sister.
Dr. Whedon, is Buffy's sickness genetic?
I see. You're afraid you might become like her.
Dawn nods her head slightly.
Most illnesses like Buffy's could have some sort of genetic predisposition, but it's never a predetermination. And your parents are almost certain that no one else in your family history has had anything like this, so I would put the likelihood of predisposition as rather low. I believe in Buffy's case, her illness was triggered by the emotional trauma of the attack that she'd experienced just before your parents brought her here. In order to cope with nearly being raped, she developed this fantasy that she'd been attacked by a vampire. And this fantasy world where she kills vampires and demons is her means of fighting back at her attacker. Have you heard of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
That's what some soldiers get after they've been in a war too long?
Yes. Or anyone with a severe emotional trauma. I believe your sister has an extreme case of PTSD rather than a true schizophrenia which is organically or genetically based. So unless you experience some kind of extreme trauma, your developing an illness like Buffy's is highly unlikely.
But I haven't experienced any trauma....
And you're experiencing some symptoms?
Dr. Whedon, promise me you won't tell my parents... and that you won't lock me up here if I tell you.
I'm only obliged to keep you here against your will if you present a danger to your self or others. And I'm only obliged to tell your parents anything under those same circumstances. In your sister's case, she's not a danger other than in the fact that she can't care for herself.
What's your name, what's your birthdate, where are you and what's today's date?
I'm Dawn Summers. I was born on October 11th, 1986. I'm in a mental hospital in Los Angeles visiting my older sister, Buffy, and it's May 9th, 2003.
That's a good start. Now, tell me what's going on.
I'm not sure exactly. It's not like I'm having my own hallucinations, it's like I've experienced Buffy's!
He gets up from behind the desk and sits beside Dawn on the couch.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and it was like I had a nightmare, except that I couldn't tell which part was real and which part was the dream. It's like I lived through two separate pasts at the same time, starting from when Buffy first came here.
In one past, it's what I've known all along. Buffy's been here the whole time and I grew up here in LA with my Mom and Dad. I know that that's what my life has been the last seven years. But in the other past, it's like Buffy's hallucinations: she came home and then Mom caught Dad cheating with his secretary and they split up. Then we moved up the coast to the town of Sunnydale. And then after a couple of years Mom and I discovered that Buffy was really the Vampire Slayer and that Sunnydale was the Hellmouth where vampires and demons gathered. And then Mom died and Buffy and her friends became my guardians. And Dr. Whedon, you were...
Yes, Buffy has incorporated me into her reality.
So you went to bed last night with one set of memories and woke up in the middle of the night with two.
And if Mom and Dad hadn't been right there, I don't think I'd know that the other stuff hadn't just been a dream. I'm still not sure, even though I'm sitting right here and Buffy's in the room down the hall!
In other words, Dawn, you know intellectually that you've been here in LA the last seven years, but you can't understand why the realism of that dream won't go away.
I'm scared, Dr. Whedon! It's like I can't tell what's real and what's a dream! I haven't been this scared or confused about my own existence and reality since...
Since you and Spike snuck into the Magic Box that night, and read my notes about how the monks of the Order of Dagon turned you from an interdimensional key into the Slayer's sister!
Yes, Dawn, it is I! Your sister's former Watcher!
Dawn shrinks back away from Giles, whimpering again.
Oh, God! I'm hallucinating again!
It's all right, Dawn!
After a thoughtful pause, he pushes Dawn's hair away from her face the way Buffy usually does to comfort her. Dawn smiles.
We hear SOFT BUT ANXIOUS MURMURING from the outer office.
ANOTHER ANGLE as Giles gets up, steps to the door and opens it. We see Willow and Xander anxiously standing in the outer office.
Come on in, you two! I've been expecting you!
Willow and Xander enter and close the door behind them.
Dr. Whedon, something very strange has been happening to me and Willow....
Have you ever heard of a case where mental health workers became so emotionally attached to a patient that they actually started experiencing the same hallucinations and delusions as the patient?
You guys, too? Buffy's hallucinations?
Dawnie, it's like we know you a lot better than we should! More than just a patient's kid sister who comes in to visit once a week or so!
Like we've been living in the same house?
Willow, Xander and Dawn ad lib simultaneous outbursts of shock, confusion and excitement.
Everyone! Calm down!
You three are not crazy!
Either that or all four of us are bloody bonkers! And as Dr. R. Giles Whedon, Psychiatrist, I can't discount that as just a remote possibility.
But as Rupert Giles, former Watcher to Buffy Summers the Slayer, and mentor to the Sunnydale Scooby Gang, I am glad to see the three of you being your old selves!
They grab Giles into a group hug. He smiles self-consciously.
Now, let's sort out what's going on! Dawn, you said your dual sets of parallel memories started last night.
How about you two?
Around the same time. For both of us.
I came in a couple of days ago.
Giles, what's happened to us?
I've got a theory.
We're all dead!
The others gasp and look at him in alarm.
That may not be a bad thing. I think we may have all died and gone to Heaven!
Xander! That's exactly what you said when it happened!
Figure of speech!
No, come to think of it, I meant it!
He and Willow grin at each other as Giles and Dawn look curiously at them.
Right, then. I want all of you to sit down and think hard about our existence in the other universe, and answer this question as honestly as you can: If, in that universe, you died and went to Heaven, what would that Heaven be for you?
Willow and Xander join Dawn on the couch. A long moment of deep, pensive silence for all.
For me, that's easy!
To be in a romantic relationship with you, Willow!
Willow smiles and blinks mistily. She remains in deep thought.
I guess for me, it would be for Mom to be alive again, and for her and Dad to still be together and take care of me.
Which is exactly what I woke up to!
How about you, Giles? What's your idea of Heaven?
Well, when I arrived in this universe, I was having a quiet evening alone with Mrs. Whedon, the former Miss Jenny Calendar!
Jenny's alive?!? I mean I knew that you as Dr. Whedon were married, but we never met her so I had no idea!...
Yes, I met her at a Mensa convention here in LA six years ago. We've been married four years now, and as of this morning, I saw no sign of recollection in her of our other existence. Dawn, I presume it's the same for your mother?
I suspect it may have something to do with both of them having died in the other universe before the apocalypse at the Hellmouth. Or that they're both part of our heavenly visions. I just don't know at this point.
At any rate, for the rest of my idea of Heaven, I had always wanted to be a fighter pilot when I was younger, but after a lifetime of being a Watcher and fighting demons, I wanted all my fighting to be behind me.
He points to the wall above the others.
INSERT CLOSE SHOT of a framed photo of a young Giles sitting in the cockpit of a Harrier fighter plane.
So in this universe, I have complete memories of having attended flight school and flown Harriers in the Royal Navy before coming here to America and going to Harvard Medical School. I actually scored two kills against Argentinean fighters in the Falklands War.
All right, Giles!
How about you, Willow? What would your idea of Heaven be?
Well, I would have thought that it would be being with Tara again.
So maybe I haven't atoned enough for being evil, and for killing Warren and Rack, and for nearly destroying the world.
She pauses and looks into Xander's eyes and smiles with her eyes brimming.
Or maybe deep down inside, what I really wanted was to be in a romantic relationship with the person who loved me the most in the whole world. The one person who loved me unconditionally. Tara and I had a wonderful experience together, but she didn't love me unconditionally. Xander, you proved to me that you did, at Proserpexa's Temple!
She rests her head on his shoulder, letting her tears flow onto his shirt, as he puts his arms around her and kisses her. Dawn watches with her own eyes misting.
Yes. Well, to quote a couple of my fellow Englishmen, "You can't always get what you want... but you get what you need!"
So, Giles. You really think we've died and gone to a heavenly dimension?
It depends on one's perspective, of course. It's all relative. With regard to our previous existence, yes. Now, whether or not this is an eternal life, I rather tend to doubt it.
It does seem like dirty, smoggy old LA to me.
In this existence, people still seem to get old and die, as I suspect the four of us will, eventually. Perhaps we'll go on from here to a true Heaven.
Maybe our defeating The First and sealing the Hellmouth altered our old universe into this one. Caused Sunnydale to cease to exist and all its inhabitants to live the life they would have if it never had.
It could be. Again, it may be all relative, it depends on one's perspective, of course. Nevertheless, we each seem to have found a heavenly joy that we hadn't in our other lives. It does seem that the Powers That Be have sent us here to set things right, and even the balance sheet from what we went through in the other existence.
So why isn't Buffy here? I mean the old Buffy from the old world? If you talk about setting things right, Buffy of all people...
I'm hoping it's simply because she hasn't arrived yet, Dawn.
But she is here. And she's still the psychotic that she's been in this universe for the last seven years!
Yes, but Dawnie, what Willow and I were talking about when you walked in on us...
Giles, we noticed that she's been saying things today that she said on this date in the other universe.
Yes, Xander, I've noticed that, too. Remember, I've been here a couple of days already.
Oh, my God! I've been so freaked out by this experience, the fact that it's eleven days earlier than it was when the other world ended, just didn't even seem to matter that much!
Yes. We've all been moved back several days on this timeline. Myself further than the rest of you. I get the sense that I was sent ahead to make it easier for the three of you. And that you three were sent ahead of Buffy to make it easier for her. Her mind still seems to be at the same point in the timeline that she was in the other universe. So I'm just hoping that on Tuesday the 20th, she'll just snap to at the right moment and be right as rain.
You really think so?
I'm hoping. Taking it on faith and instinct. Dawn, as you pointed out, your sister has earned the right to "die and go to Heaven" more than any of us.
Now think about this: What would Buffy's concept of Heaven be?
I guess pretty much the same as mine, to be with Mom and Dad....
Yes, but also to be free of the Hellmouth, and of her calling as the Slayer. To be an ordinary 22 year old woman, living a normal life and growing old in happiness.
But definitely not an inpatient in a mental hospital like this!
Right. So I remind you all that in this universe, I call the shots on that one!
But what if she doesn't just "snap to and become right as rain"? This place could end up being Hell for her!
Oh, my God! Giles, did Buffy ever tell you about the time a demon injected her with a venom that made her hallucinate? You were back in England at the time, a little over a year ago. She hallucinated that she was in a mental hospital.
Yes. The Glarghk Guhl Kashma'nik demon.
The doctor in that hallucination had her believing that we were the hallucinations! Even me! And he talked Buffy into...
Yes, Buffy told me. The duct tape. Letting the Glarghk Guhl Kashma'nik attack you and try to kill you all.
Is there any chance that the Gargling Kalashnikov actually sent Buffy into this dimension? That this was the hallucination she thought she had?
I don't know, Xander. The thought has crossed my mind! And I can't rule that out as a possibility. We have no way of knowing for sure.
But none of us existed in that hallucination. Not even Dawn. And we're here. We've always been here in this parallel universe. At least in one incarnation.
Well, here's where the three of you might be able to help me on that. I'm trying to see if I can line things up. Oddly enough, in both universes, I was in England at the same time. As you may recall, here in this universe, Jenny and I went on sabbatical last year and my caseload was divided among the other psychiatrists. Buffy ended up with Dr. Hill.
Who is no longer with us.
And I have my suspicions as to why he resigned in such a hurry and left the country.
I think he's trying to stay a couple of steps ahead of a malpractice suit from your parents!
Yes, Dawn. As I explained to you when you first came in, ever since Buffy came here, I've always held the opinion that she was not schizophrenic, but had an extreme case of PTSD. That is, long before Rupert Giles of the other world leaped in and started co-existing in this body, Giles Whedon always thought Buffy wasn't schizophrenic, and I made that bloody clear in her records.
In March of last year, Dr. Hill decided to disagree with my medical opinion and shoot Buffy full of Haldol. Which, if you're not schizophrenic to begin with, can actually cause hallucinations!
March of last year. That coincides with the Gargling Kalashnikov.
That's what I thought. Sheer coincidence? I just don't know. I was in England in both universes at the time. The three of you were with Buffy in both universes. I need you to fill in the blanks for me, if you can remember.
Actually, right around the time Dr. Hill started the Haldol, Dr. Fury had Xander and me working with patients in the other wing, so we didn't see Buffy at all at that time. After Dr. Hill resigned, Dr. Fury admitted to us that Dr. Hill thought we were becoming too familiar with Buffy and didn't like it that she had incorporated us into her delusions. Dr. Hill thought our being around her would interfere with his treatment plan. Then Buffy became completely catatonic and didn't come out of it until Dr. Fury let us see her and interact with her again.
That doesn't sound like coincidence. Dawn, what did you see from your end of it?
Dr. Hill told Mom and Dad to keep me home during the treatment. He told them he was worried that the whole thing would be too disturbing for me. So I never saw her that whole time either.
It's a little trite that Hill should do that to the three of you. He didn't keep very detailed notes, but he did mention how he wanted Buffy to erase from her mind all the people in her fantasy world that were keeping her there. But her own sister?
In the old world, Buffy said that in her hallucination, Mom and Dad told her I didn't exist.
Your parents would never do that in this or any other universe! Not even Hill could talk them into saying that.
Hey! Maybe you really didn't exist! Maybe all your memories in this universe are fake too!
Xander! That's not funny!
And maybe my memories are fake, too.... Like maybe all of our memories...
XANDER'S POV of Willow looking at him.
Still making jokes!...
FLASHBACK of scene from "Grave" with Evil Willow saying exactly the same line in the exact same tone.
ON XANDER as he turns white, his blood running cold.
Oh, God! I'm sorry, Dawnie! I'm sorry, Willow!
Gotcha! How does that feel?
Xander sighs with relief. Dawn smiles thinly but is still visibly upset. Giles brushes her hair back again.
Dawn, if it's any comfort at all, let's stipulate that the Glarghk Guhl Kashma'nik did somehow cause Buffy to cross over into this universe. Here, the Haldol could have given her any kind of hallucination, including making her think that your parents said you didn't exist.
But what difference does this all make anyway? Buffy's just going to come into this universe just like we did, right?
Yeah. On the 20th, Buffy's going to just zap into her body here and be her old self again, right?
We hope. But we don't know that for sure. And even if she does, I'm a bit concerned if there was actually a crossover of Buffy's consciousness last year. If that hypothesis is true, then according to her chart and what little notes Dr. Hill left, when Buffy finally did return to our old universe, she went into a catatonic state in this one for several weeks. Far longer than could be accounted for with improper medication. Her determination to return caused her mind to shut down here for that long.
And whether or not there had been an actual crossover, Buffy may likely remember the Glarghk Guhl Kashma'nik poisoning as such. And if she's convinced that she's entering a world where the three of you don't exist, that may drive her back into our old universe, where we really no longer exist. Into a void.
Which could cause her to go into a catatonic state permanently.
[END ACT 1. INSERT COMMERCIAL BREAK]
CONTINUE WITH SAME SCENE.
You mean Buffy could become a vegetable again like last year? Only this time, for good?
I'm afraid that's a distinct possibility.
Dawn becomes even more visibly upset.
It's so different from last year. Last year, she was just a patient we were particularly fond of because she was our age. Now she's... Buffy! Our Buffy. And now it sounds too permanent...
No! It's not gonna happen! Giles, like you said, there's a reason we got here ahead of her. There has to be!
I like to think so, too, Dawn. Now what we have to do is make the most of getting here ahead of her.
Don't we just have to be here when she reaches the crossover point? I mean when she dies in the old universe? I mean, she wakes up here and sees us with our open arms and she'll know she'll be okay here.
Yes, Xander. That should be an important part of it.
Yeah. And Mom and Dad should be here too, right?
I definitely want them nearby, but we have to be careful. There's no telling what state of mind she'll be in if she does cross over. Seeing the four of us and both your parents all at once might be too much of a sensory overload, and drive her into the catatonic state that we're trying to avoid!
Giles, what about Audrey? Where does she fit into this?
Oh, my God! Audrey! I didn't even think about...
Unfortunately, as of when I looked in on her this morning, Audrey seems to still be bouncing freely back and forth between this world and our old one, but definitely not on the same timeline as Buffy. If we bring her into this equation, she'll be a loose cannon. Sorry, Xander. We'll have to deal with her some other time, but the fact that she's elsewhere on the timeline suggests that there's no pressing crisis.
I'm not sure, but bouncing back and forth like she does just might actually be her heavenly dimension!
That thought has occurred to me too.
At any rate, Dawn, we've got to bring your parents in on this, but in a way that we don't look like the four of us are bloody bonkers! Am I correct in assuming that you and they will be back on Sunday as usual?
Sunday afternoon after church, just like every Sunday for the last seven years.
That gives me a couple of days to come up with a cover story for them. And to tie up one more loose end....
INT THE LIVING ROOM OF THE SUMMERS HOME-- DUSK. Joyce and Hank sit together on the couch watching TV as Dawn enters the front door. They turn to look at her.
Hi, Honey! We're done dinner. Yours is in the fridge, you just have to nuke it.
So, Mom tells me you went to see Buffy. You must've stayed there till the end of visiting hours. Everything okay?
Dawn stands there in the foyer for several seconds, smiling with misty eyes, then goes up to the couch and wordlessly hugs and kisses the two of them separately, then seats herself between them.
Hey! Now what's brought this on?
Dawn, is Buffy okay?
Buffy's... the same.
Then what's brought this on?
Was it that dream last night?
It's made me realize what I have, and how I don't ever want to lose it!
INT AN APARTMENT DOORWAY looking outward. WILLIE, a brown-haired young man with his back to the camera, opens the door and we see Giles standing there.
Uncle Giles! What a coincidence! I was just about to call you.
Yes, Willie. And I think I can guess why.
Giles enters and closes the door. We continue not to see Willie's face.
I know as a relative I can't be your patient, so I was going to ask you if you could refer me to another psychiatrist or psychologist you work with.
Let me guess. You've had a strange dream that was so intense, you're not sure whether it was real or not. Almost as if you were in a parallel existence.
Uncle Giles! How... how do you...
And I was part of that dream! Not as your uncle, but as the Watcher of a little blonde haired girl named Buffy who is the Slayer of Vampires.
Willie collapses into the nearest chair.
INT WILLOW'S AND XANDER'S APARTMENT-- NIGHT. Willow sits at a desk at an older-model iMac, surfing the web, a sad look on her face. Xander comes over from the kitchen and stands behind her, placing his arms around her and snuggling up.
No indication that the town of Sunnydale, California ever existed. On the map, it's just a stretch of beach and cliffs up the coast from Santa Barbara. And the coven in Devonshire, all my EMails to the various members came back with mailer daemon notices, saying the domains don't exist. A couple of their names turned up on Google, but with no indication that either of them has any association with Wicca.
This really is a different universe.
The only Tara Maclay I could find on the web is a 46 year old peach farmer from Augusta, Georgia, so it's obviously not her.
Oh, Will, no! It's okay. I loved Tara... our Tara too. I don't feel threatened by her memory in any way whatsoever.
Willow kisses him.
It's so strange. In this world, we've had this computer for three years, but I miss my laptop.
As strange as it is for us, Giles has to have it a lot worse. He's got more than twice as much of a lifetime as we do, to have two sets of memories of. He's even got a different name. At least Dawn's memories of growing up here in LA are the same in both worlds up through age ten. And she's younger.
Being younger makes it tougher. Plus she has that whole bogus memories thing from the other universe to deal with on top of this.
Hey, Will? Have you tried to do any spells here?
Yeah. I don't think I have any powers in this universe. I can't even do a simple levitation spell. Maybe it's a way for the Powers That Be to make me quit cold turkey.
I really meant what I said, about my heaven being having a romantic relationship with you.
"You can't always get what you want..."
INSERT THE COMPUTER SCREEN as Willow quits the web browser and puts the computer in Sleep mode.
"You can't always get what you want..."
She stands to face Xander. The two put their arms around each others' waists and nuzzle each other as he joins her singing and they work their way toward the bed.
"You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes,
You just might find
You get what you need!"
They collapse onto the bed, laughing, kissing and caressing.
[END ACT 2 INSERT COMMERCIAL BREAK.]
INT A SOLARIUM AT THE HOSPITAL-- DAY. Joyce and Hank sit on a couch on either side of Buffy, with Dawn at Hank's other side. Willow and Xander stand in a corner of the room, appearing to be attending to OTHER PATIENTS in the room but actually having their ears tuned to Buffy. Buffy recites lines from the episode "Empty Places"; she continues to speak to imaginary people and to ignore the presence of Joyce and Hank.
Exactly. We start in California. If nothing turns up, we expand the search to other areas. But a guy like Caleb didn't just get in the game. He's been playing for a while. We thought we'd try to find out where.
Right. And if that doesn't work, we'll try something else. Whatever it takes. You okay to help?
Dawn says nothing in response but keeps her undivided attention on Buffy's monologue although her parents don't notice. To them this is an all too painful routine that they have learned to bear stoically.
Giles enters and approaches them.
Dr. Whedon! What a surprise to find you here on a Sunday!
Yes, Hank. I made a special trip in today because I knew you folks would be coming in. Might I have a word with you and Joyce in my office?
And Dawn, I'd like you in on this too.
Dr. Whedon, is something wrong?
Actually, I'm hoping it's good news.
INT GILES' INNER OFFICE as the three family members sit on the couch and Giles rolls his swivel chair out from behind his desk to seat himself facing them. Joyce and Hank show a mild apprehension.
Now, as you are all aware, over the years since she first came to us, Buffy has incorporated myself and a few of the staff members and other patients into the fantasy world that she has created for herself and lives in. Along with Joyce and Dawn. Then a couple of years ago, she eliminated Joyce from her world and, at about the same time, created this fantastic attribute for Dawn where she's really a form of supernatural energy.
So what's the good news?
I said it might be good news, Hank.
As I've said all along, I believe the world that Buffy has created for herself is her way of fighting back at her attacker. Since she never saw the face of that attempted rapist, she affixes the faces of vampires and demons to that image and slays them in her mind as a catharsis. Of course, the catharsis is temporary and has to be constantly repeated.
But throughout all this, Buffy's world has been consistent and chronologically linear. Each battle, each new vampire or demon or monster, has a beginning, a middle and an end, which is always a victory. And she remembers those individual vampires and demons and her victories. And in listening carefully to Buffy's current fantasies, she's been talking about an upcoming battle with the evil that came before all others. Her final battle.
Meaning there might be a window of opportunity for us to snatch her out of that world and back into reality.
Joyce and Hank raise their eyebrows at this.
Do you really think that could happen?
I think there's a very good chance that could happen. That's the up side. The down side is that, from what we can tell from what she's been saying, Buffy is ready to stop fighting vampires and demons and end the fantasy world she's created. Fairly soon, whether or not we intervene. But if we don't intervene, her mind could slip into a void. She could become catatonic again. And like that last time, with Dr. Hill, there's no telling for how long.
So how do we intervene?
That's why I need Dawn's involvement. She's a very important part of Buffy's world. So are Willow and Xander and myself. I think if the four of us start to play along with Buffy's fantasy, assume the roles she's assigned to us in her world, I think when the moment arrives, we can guide her along out of that world and into reality.
Dawn, will you help?
Of course, Mom.
That'll mean her spending a lot of her free time here with Buffy.
I'd be happy to.
Okay with us. What about me and Hank?
When the time comes, we're going to want the two of you nearby. But it may actually be dangerous for the two of you to be in the room at the critical moment. Don't make any value judgments, but please remember that in Buffy's world,
you've abandoned your family,
and you're dead.
INT BUFFY'S BEDROOM AT THE SUMMERS HOME-- DAY. The room has an unlived-in shrinelike feel, and is furnished much as Buffy's room had been at the beginning of the series. Dawn enters carrying two large shopping bags full of new things. She lays them on the bed, exits and returns with two more bags. She stands there thoughtfully for several seconds, then starts rearranging things, taking things out of the bags.
WIPE TO the same scene after an elapsed time. Dawn is still busy but the room now has a noticeably different feel: it looks nearly the same as Buffy's room in Sunnydale in Season 6 prior to her moving into Joyce's room.
Joyce walks past the door and then doubles back and looks in, her eyebrows raised.
Dawn? What are you doing?
Oh, hi, Mom! Just a little redecorating.
A little? You've never redecorated your own room this much! You must've spent half your savings on this stuff!
It's worth it for Buffy.
Joyce walks in, sits on the bed and pats the spot next to her. Dawn sits there and they put their arms around each other.
What has gotten into you? You hug and kiss me and Dad every time you see us, you do your homework and chores without our having to tell you, you come home earlier than we tell you to. Even before Dr. Whedon asked you to help, you spent more time with Buffy last week than you normally do in a month, and now you're redecorating her room out of your own pocket....
All right, who are you and what have you done with the real Dawn?
Made her grow up.
I can see that! You're not my little baby anymore. And I'm proud of what you've become. Dawnie, I've worried so much that your Dad and I have smothered you because of what happened to Buffy. That we've never let you grow up. It's as if someone else has been raising you behind our backs and making you more mature than we could have.
You and Dad have done fine, Mom.
I've just never seen you change this much in so little time!
It was that dream you had last week, wasn't it?
Are you ever gonna tell me about it?
Someday, Mom. Maybe after Buffy comes home.
Oh, Sweetheart! I know you've been working closely with Dr. Whedon on this guided fantasy therapy thing, and I know how optimistic he sounds, but he himself says we shouldn't get our hopes up.
Buffy's gonna come home, Mom. Real soon. I can feel it. Dr. Whedon knows what he's doing.
Yes, Honey, and he's not making any promises.
Well, you've kept this room for Buffy all these years. You moved all her stuff here after we moved from the old house.
Yes, and I know that some of the family and my friends talk behind my back, about how this room is a clear example of my being in denial.
Like mother, like daughter!
Okay, tell you what. Dad and I will split the cost of all this new stuff with you.
No, Mom. This is on me.
Tell you what, though. Let me go shopping for a new wardrobe for Buffy, and you guys can pick up the tab.
Oh, Honey. What if this new therapy doesn't work and Buffy doesn't come home?
She'll come home, Mom. I just know it.
Besides, it'll all be stuff that I can wear!
Well, how do you know that she'll like what you buy for her? For that matter, how do you know she'll like what you've done to this room?
I just know that, too, Mom. Trust me!
INT THE HOSPITAL CORRIDOR. The camera leads as Xander pushes Buffy in a wheelchair, with Giles walking alongside and Joyce, Hank, Dawn and Willow following behind.
INT SUNNYDALE HIGH CORRIDOR (scene from "Chosen"). ROBIN, ANYA, ANDREW, Dawn, Giles, Willow, Xander and Buffy stand.
Down the hall to the atrium; the north hall; and the primary target, through the lounge to the science building. Odds are most of them will head there.
Teams of two, then. I suggest you and I take the lounge.
THE HOSPITAL CORRIDOR (continuing). Dawn, Willow, Xander and Giles are beginning to show much emotion as they speak.
Xander, I want you with Dawn.
We'll take the atrium.
Joyce and Hank look on in amazement.
Xander wheels Buffy into Giles' office.
INT THE OUTER OFFICE as Xander wheels Buffy through into the inner office with Willow following. Dawn pauses. Giles motions for Joyce and Hank to sit down in the outer office seats. They do so.
I'm hoping this won't take too long. And remember, no matter what you two hear in there, it's all role play. All part of the plan.
Dawn kisses Joyce and Hank.
Good luck, Sweetheart.
Let's bring your sister home, Honey!
INT THE INNER OFFICE as Giles and Dawn enter, leaving the door slightly open. Xander and Giles lift Buffy out of the wheelchair and place her on the couch, as Willow and Dawn collapse the wheelchair and roll it to the far end of the room.
Andrew gives his little speech, then...
I'm going to check out our field of engagement.
No. Anything you say is going to sound like goodbye.
She sniffles as she steps back a few feet, leaving Giles, Willow and Xander crouching around Buffy on the couch.
So, what do you guys want to do tomorrow?
Well, mini-golf is always the first thing that comes to mind.
Well, I think we can do better than that.
I'm pretty much thinking about shopping, as usual.
INT THE OUTER OFFICE. We see Joyce and Hank sitting in the outer office listening in.
There's an Agnes B. at the new mall....
CLOSE ON BUFFY ON THE COUCH, THEN ZOOM IN ON HER EYES. AT THE SAME TIME, THE CAMERA PARTIALLY DISSOLVES TO A DOUBLE EXPOSURE WITH
A MONTAGE OF SCENES FROM THE LAST PORTION OF "CHOSEN":
BUFFY, FAITH AND THE POTENTIALS OPENING THE SEAL OF DANZALTHAR.
WILLOW'S HAIR TURNING WHITE AS SHE USES THE SCYTHE TO EMPOWER THE POTENTIALS.
THE BIG BATTLE INSIDE THE HELLMOUTH.
BUFFY GETTING A SWORD IN HER BACK FROM A TUROK-HAN AND FALLING OVER AS THE FIRST TAKES ON HER FORM AND TAUNTS HER.
SPIKE STANDING IN THE SHAFT OF LIGHT UNDER THE OPEN SEAL AS THE AMULET BEGINS BURNING THE TUROK-HANS AND COLLAPSING THE HELLMOUTH.
DISSOLVE OUT THE DOUBLE EXPOSURE OF BUFFY'S EYES AS WE CUT TO
SPIKE AND BUFFY HOLDING HANDS WHILE FLAMES SHOOT OUT FROM THEM.
I mean it. I've gotta do this.
I love you.
No you don't, but thanks for saying it!
EXT SUNNYDALE HIGH as the school bus pulls away with Dawn looking anxiously out the rear windows.
We continue to see the sequence from "Chosen" as Buffy runs to the school upper floor, then runs along the rooftops of the town to catch up to the bus with Dawn watching anxiously, as the town collapses into the expanding hellmouth crater behind them. Buffy leaps onto the roof of the bus.
CUT TO ROBIN IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT as he passes out and collapses onto the steering wheel.
EXT THE BUS as it swerves off the road and rolls on its side, throwing Buffy to the ground next to it. An instant later, the crater expands under them and the bus rolls over into the crater, crushing Buffy on its way.
INT GILES'S INNER OFFICE
CLOSE ON BUFFY as she lets out a short SHRIEK, then slumps back in the couch, totally limp and catatonic. A long beat.
The others speak in hushed tones, not quite in whispers but trying to keep Joyce and Hank from hearing outside.
This is way past the point where we all died in the other world!
Giles? Nothing's happening!
Oh, God! We've lost her!
I think she's become catatonic again! Dear Lord, this is what I've feared....
[END ACT 3; INSERT COMMERCIAL BREAK.]
CLOSE ON BUFFY, still catatonic.
No! Buffy! Come back to us!
She leans forward and shakes Buffy's shoulders. Buffy remains catatonic.
Willow winces in anguish for a second, then pulls Dawn back and restrains her.
No, Dawnie! Let her go!
Let her go where?
To a heavenly dimension!
Willow, this is a heavenly dimension! Our heavenly dimension! Buffy's heavenly dimension!
No, Dawn! That's the mistake I made when I brought her back after she jumped off the tower.
That wasn't a mistake! Yes, she had a rough time and thought your bringing her back was hell, but she got over it eventually!
Dawn, I'm afraid there's nothing we can do anyway. I'm afraid she's gone.
But her body's here. She's still alive! That has to mean something! Like our coming here ahead of her has to mean something!
But her mind's in another universe.
The light goes on in Dawn's head!
She desperately scans around the room, then breaks free of Willow's grip and lunges toward Giles's desk.
Dawn, what are you doing?
Dawn picks up a small but sharp pair of scissors from Giles's desk set.
Maybe I've got one last Interdimensional Key function left in me!
INSERT CLOSE SHOT of Dawn slitting the tip of her left index finger with an open scissors blade and squeezing it.
Dawn moves back toward Buffy and holds her fingertip over Buffy's forehead.
I never got how this worked, even when Glory had the portal open. But I know it has something to do with my blood flowing....
INSERT CLOSE SHOT of a few drops of blood dripping from Dawn's fingertip onto Buffy's forehead.
Nothing happens. Dawn's heart sinks. She begins to cry. Giles strokes her shoulder.
You tried, Dawn. Let her go....
No! Something to do with my blood flowing... and how Buffy and I have the same blood!
She grabs Buffy's right hand and slits the index fingertip with the scissors and squeezes it, then moves her own bleeding fingertip toward it.
CLOSE SHOT as the two fingertips, each with a drop of blood on it, touch, then....
A WIDER SHOT as a bolt of green electrical energy explodes between Buffy and Dawn. Buffy is jolted slightly back into the couch, but is oblivious to it. Dawn SHRIEKS as she is blown backward and slammed hard into the wall separating the outer office, near the door, the others being pushed aside by the force.
Oh, my God!
Joyce and Hank stick their heads in the doorway and are horrified to see Dawn lying there, motionless but with her eyes open, apparently as catatonic as Buffy. Or dead. Willow and Xander kneel next to her, Giles standing over them. Everyone shouts at Dawn and at each other ad lib.
Whedon! What the hell did you do to my little girl?!?
Oh, God! Please! Not both of my babies!
Willow touches Dawn's neck, feeling for her pulse. Hank kneels down, pushes Willow aside then scoops up Dawn and carries her to the outer office. The others follow, Giles last. No one notices as...
CLOSE ON BUFFY as the camera vibrates and blurs, while the shouting of the others fades and echoes into the distance. She blinks out of her catatonic stare, then opens her eyes with a start.
ON GILES, still standing in the doorway, as he turns back toward Buffy, his eyebrows raising, then rushes back to Buffy. We hear EXCITED BUT INDISTINCT MURMURING from the others in the outer office.
BUFFY looks around anxiously.
BUFFY'S POV on Giles' face, smiling gently at her.
BUFFY smiles briefly, then her state of confusion and anxiety returns.
It's all right, Buffy. You're safe.
Where are we? How'd we get here?
We've been transported to an alternate universe. The Hellmouth is sealed forever. You've saved the world from the First Evil and you've been released from your Slayer duties. You are now an ordinary young lady from Los Angeles. And your family's right outside and will be taking you home very soon.
INSERT BUFFY'S POV ON GILES. The camera tilts down to show, embroidered on his lab coat: "R. Giles Whedon, MD". The camera then pans around the room where we see some diplomas on the wall awarded to "Rupert Giles Whedon" including: a Bachelor's degree from Cambridge; an MD from Harvard Medical School; and a residency in Psychiatry from Bellevue Hospital.
Oh, my God! I'm back in the asylum, aren't I?
But I'm here with you, Buffy. We're not even sure if it's the same hospital you thought you were in before. And even if it was, your old world isn't lost forever. Trying to destroy that world in your mind was the one big mistake that Dr. Hill made. But he doesn't work here anymore. And I'm still Giles!
But Willow and Xander and Anya and Spike...
... and Dawn! I don't have a sister....
I heard that! You wish I was just a figment of your imagination!
BUFFY'S POV LOOKING TOWARD THE DOORWAY as Dawn steps into view smiling, with Joyce and Hank behind her. Dawn is a bit disheveled from having been knocked back and stunned, but is otherwise okay. Hank and Joyce stare in joyful disbelief.
Buffy gasps and leaps out of the couch into Dawn's arms.
Dawnie!!! You're here! You're real!
Dawn giggles as the two of them hug and kiss. Buffy begins to cry.
Yeah! I'm a thousand year old ball of mystic energy given human form with bogus memories. I love it!
Buffy lets go of Dawn and hugs Joyce, still crying. Joyce bursts into tears as well.
Mom! You're alive! And you and Dad...
He's been here for all of us all along!
Hank hugs Buffy and kisses her on the forehead.
I'd never leave any of my girls. I love you all...
The four of them embrace tightly and tearfully.
... and I'm glad to have all three of you with me again!
Joyce turns to Giles.
It really worked, Dr. Whedon! This "guided fantasy" really worked!
Yes, Joyce. As I was starting to explain to Buffy, aside from using the wrong medications, the biggest mistake Dr. Hill made the last time she went into remission was to try to make her destroy the universe she was living in. If I hadn't been on sabbatical back in England at the time, we might have done this instead back then. If only he'd realized that the people in her world were representations of real people in her life, we could have worked back then to align that reality with this one instead of trying to destroy the other one. As we've just done!
The family hug breaks up and Buffy looks anxiously at Giles.
Giles? You mean you think I'm crazy and you're all just humoring me?
Giles pulls her aside and smiles.
No, Buffy. From your point of view, you're humoring them! Think about it. In your previous life, you and the others just died. Think of this as your afterlife. It could be your heaven... to be free of the Hellmouth and your calling, and to be with your parents and your sister.
And locked up in a padded cell?
No, no! I think you can go home now. Maybe for good. You'll see me as an outpatient for a while.
That was another mistake Dr. Hill made. Buffy's not a danger to herself or others. She should've gone home then, to see that this life wasn't all about being in a padded cell, not nearly as horrible as she had feared.
But Willow and Xander and the others... They're really gone.... They never really existed.
Of course, they exist! They're right outside!
Willow! Xander! You can come in now!
Willow and Xander enter, grinning broadly. Buffy gasps.
Well, look who's with us!
Buffy throws her arms around both of them and they reciprocate.
How did you guys get here?
Willow and Xander glance questioningly at Giles, who smiles and nods to them.
Come on out here and we'll explain.
He and Willow lead Buffy through the door to the outer office. They glance over to make sure Joyce and Hank are out of earshot.
We're playing the game right along with you, Buff! In this universe, to your parents and to everyone else in the outside world, Willow and I are Senior psychology students at UCLA. We've been doing volunteer work here at this hospital in exchange for scholarships, since high school.
Since right after you were admitted here.
But in reality, among the three of us and Giles and Dawn....
We're still our old selves. We were right with you fighting vampires and demons and hellgods at Sunnydale!
We went out in a blaze of glory defeating the First Evil right beside you! We just arrived in this universe a couple of weeks earlier than you did, I guess just to prepare the way for you. This is our afterlife too!
And since we're volunteers, we don't have a doctor-patient relationship with you! We're your friends, and after you go home, we'll still be your friends!
We'll be by to see you just like the old times in Sunnydale! We promise!
Buffy's confusion is somewhat relieved, but remains and is supplanted by a dose of suspicion.
INT-- A HALLWAY IN THE HOSPITAL. Buffy emerges from one of the rooms, dressed in street clothes and carrying a small soft-sided suitcase, followed by Dawn, Willow and Joyce as they join Hank, Giles and Xander in the hall. They banter ad lib as they walk down, with Buffy remaining unsure and apprehensive. They pass another door.
Oh, Buff! Don't you want to say goodbye to Audrey before you go home?
Aud-- I mean Anya!
She's here, too?
Xander nods, then steps into the room, then reappears with Anya, who is dressed in a hospital gown.
So! The Slayer gets to go home with Mommy and Daddy while the poor old ex-vengeance demon stays locked up in the looney bin!
She's loonier than I am!
I'll come back to visit you real soon! I won't forget you!
Poor dear girl!
Her delusions dovetailed so closely with Buffy's. I don't know if that's bad or good.
It depends on one's perspective, of course!
You! I know what you are! Curds and whey! You don't belong here!
Dawn looks at her with horror.
She seems particularly tuned in to the same delusion Buffy had about Dawn being some mystical entity.
That's okay, Daddy. I can handle this!
Hey, Anya! You'd better get back inside. I just saw Dr. Espenson bringing in her bunnies for tactile therapy!
Anya flinches back in horror and slams the door, as Dawn suppresses a giggle.
Dawn! That wasn't nice!
There's still plenty of hope for Anya-- I mean Audrey. Especially after what we've just done with Buffy.
I think the key is in finding the root cause of her lapinophobia.
EXT THE HOSPITAL FRONT DOOR. Giles, Willow and Xander stand on the front step as the four members of the Summers family get in their Jeep in the parking lot. The two groups exchange waves as Hank backs the Jeep out of its slot.
We'll see you all real soon!
The camera tilts up and we see the sign over the doorway which reads:
CLOSE SHOT OF BUFFY'S FACE THROUGH THE WINDOW OF THE JEEP REAR DOOR. Reflected in the glass, we see the Jeep moving in front of a house. Her look changes from one of pensive apprehension to one of amazement and wonder as the Jeep pulls into the driveway and she opens the door and steps out.
A REVERSE ANGLE SHOWS THE SUMMERS' SUNNYDALE HOME as the four family members walk from the Jeep to the house.
It's beautiful, isn't it, Buffy? I know you'll like it more than our old house....
INT THE FOYER AND LIVING ROOM, laid out the same as ever. Buffy maintains her sense of awe and wonder as the four enter. Joyce begins to show her around the house ad lib.
I know this house!
I'm not surprised, Honey! Your mom and Dawnie described it to you often enough while you were... in the hospital.
Buffy and Dawn follow their parents as Joyce continues her guided tour.
Dawn! This is our house in Sunnydale!
Yes, Buffy! I know!
Our rooms are the same. I mean your old room you had before you moved into Mom's room.
Mom's and Dad's room!
SLOW DISSOLVE TO
INT THE LIVING ROOM. SUBTITLE: "A FEW DAYS LATER". Buffy sits on the couch between Dawn and Willow while Xander sits facing them.
The memories are fading. Not fading exactly. Just becoming less real, more of a dream.
They are for all of us.
Maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Well, most of my memories from the other world were supposed to be made up anyway, so maybe it's not supposed to matter.
But that would mean that I really was a nut case in a padded room. That I wasted seven years of my life.
And you're all just humoring me!
The others all quickly shake their heads, and ad lib "We'd never do that!" etc.
We'll never forget our old world! We promise.
And Giles doesn't want us to forget. Even as...
... Dr. R. Giles Whedon the psychiatrist...
... he doesn't want us to do that. That's why he's coming over. He says he's bringing something to make sure we never forget.
I'm so happy that I've got all of you here, but you know who I miss the most? Spike.
It took me all that time to realize that I did love him, and to admit it to myself, and then finally tell him.
And now it's like he never really existed.
She sniffs and sobs as Dawn hugs her and Willow strokes her back.
I remember him, Buffy. I'll always remember him.
I guess if Spike and Angel and Riley never existed, that means in this universe I'm still a virgin!
They all let out a brief laugh, and then Buffy has a quizzical look.
And with Anya being an inpatient here, and Cordy and Faith...
... and Tara.... Sorry, Will....
Buffy, if you're asking if we're still...
In this universe, Willow and I have been living together since Sophomore year.
When we... arrived here in this universe, with both of us having two sets of memories from two different existences...
... we were in the middle of doing it!
Buffy's mouth falls open, and then she bursts out laughing. So does Dawn.
Hello! Straight now!
Well, Dawnie, I certainly hope you're still...
What are you, kidding me? In this world, I can't put past Dad even one tenth of the stuff I put past Mom and you in Sunnydale! Especially with you in the hospital and just me here at home for him and Mom to worry about. I may as well have been in a convent the last seven years!
A pause. Willow looks thoughtful.
And Buffy, it's okay to talk about Tara. I'll remember her forever, but the memories don't hurt anymore. She's what's going to keep me remembering our old world.
And I guess it'll be the same for me with Spike... someday...
... but it still hurts!
The DOORBELL RINGS. Joyce enters from the dining room and opens the door.
Dr. Whedon! So good to see you! Please come in.
Giles steps in the doorway.
Everyone, I'd like you all to meet my nephew, William. Come on in, Willie.
He steps aside to make room as the man behind him enters.
It's Spike! He looks like a slightly more normal, less pallored version of himself. He still wears the black leather coat, but he carries what used to be Willow's laptop.
Buffy gasps and stands. Dawn, Willow and Xander smile, perhaps in on the surprise.
William, this is Buffy, her mother Joyce, her sister Dawn, and this is Willow, and Xander.
As Giles speaks, Buffy and Spike look into each others' eyes and smile ecstatically. It's recognition. Or love at first sight. (It depends on one's perspective, of course!)
William is an assistant producer for Fox Television. And an aspiring screenwriter. And a bit of a poet, I might add.
A bloody awful poet, I'll have to admit.
Oh, stop selling yourself short, man! You just haven't been kissed by the right muse yet!
Buffy extends her hand. Spike puts down the laptop and places both of her hands in both of his. Willow and Dawn quickly move aside as Buffy and Spike sit together on the couch.
Pleased to meet you, William.
I'm enchanted, Luv!
So, Uncle Giles tells me you folks have some vampire tales that I might be able to help you write. And maybe turn them into a movie or TV show.
Most of my spec scripts have been police action stuff, but strangely enough, over the last couple of weeks, I've suddenly taken an interest in vampire stories myself!
Well, our story begins here in LA, but most of it takes place in the town of Sunnydale, a few miles up the coast from Santa Barbara....
The camera zooms out as Buffy begins talking ad lib. Spike listens with a smile, then begins typing on the laptop as the others join in on the conversation.
FADE TO BLACK
What do you mean, you're writing me out of the first four years? I was there!
To my other Buffy the Vampire Slayer spec script, Blood of the Night Stalker
To my other Buffy the Vampire Slayer short story, It's a Wonderful Resurrection
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