Istanbul: Down a darkened city street, a woman runs, terrified. She is being chased by two robed, hooded figures, each weilding a knife. Cornered, the woman tries to escape by crawling up a drainpipe and up on a roof, but she runs into her attackers who throw her off the roof. After a brief struggle, the woman is held down and stabbed by the figures.
"It's about power" says Buffy as she and Dawn face a vampire JUST rising up from the grave. As the vamp struggles to free itself from the ground, Buffy tosses Dawn a stake and asks her who has the power? Dawn says she's got the stake, but Buffy says the stake is not power. Dawn starts to argue a little defensively, pointing out that the vamp is new, but then she rolls her eyes under her older sister's glare and says "He does." Buffy then starts into a speech about how much stronger a vampire is than Dawn and that she should ALWAYS be careful, when the Vampire interrupts: "Excuse me, I think I'm stuck... My foot's caught on a root or something..." "So, he's got the power..." Dawn says sarcastically as Buffy goes and lifts the stuck vampire out of his grave with one hand. The vampire thanks her, then begins to threaten Buffy, but she quickly grabs the vamp by the throat and tells him that he doesn't wanna mess with her, then she points out Dawn. The vamp turns to attack Dawn as Buffy continues her "speech" about power and how the vamp has it. The vamp attacks Dawn, who dodges and dive rolls, sending the vampire flying. Dawn grabs her stake and stabs the vampire... but she misses the heart! The vamp throws her away and gets up. Dawn grabs another stake from a weapons bag and attacks, but is instantly grabbed by the vampire, who goes to sink his teeth in her neck.
Buffy grabs the vamp from behind and throws him. After a brief fight with kicks and punches, Buffy grabs a sword from the weapons bag and decapitates the Vampire, dusting it. "It's real, it's the only lesson, Dawn. It's always real." Buffy helps Dawn up, with Dawn's neck being scratched by the vampire's teeth, but she says she's ok. Dawn starts to awkwardly defend herself against the expected insults, but Buffy tells her she did good. Dawn comments that she missed the heart. Buffy tells her that her first time she missed the heart, too. They then start to talk about "it" returning. They both can't believe it's back, and so soon. They talk of "it" as if it were the return of a big bad guy.
Daytime, and Principal Wood uses big scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon, officially opening the brand new Sunnydale High School!
In Westbury England, Giles rides a horse through an open plain. Having dismounted, he slowly aproaches a large tree with Willow sitting at it's base. Willow stares at the ground and magically the ground produces a large tropical flower, rising up from the grass. "That doesn't belong there" says Giles, to which Willow agrees. He thinks it's a native of Paraguai, which upon closer examination of the flower, confirms his guess. He asks where it came from. Willow says "Paraguai", then smiles, telling him that the Earth is all connected. She muses about the Earth's mystical powers, which reminds Giles of one of Willow's Teacher/Mentors in the Coven. Willow remarks how she is envious of them and respects them, but she can feel that they are frightened of her and her power. Giles simply chalks it up to being cautious, noting that she's powerful with magic, and that it is an ingrained part of her, it's not an addiction. Willow tells Giles that she thought that he was going to kill her, take away her magic and punish her for killing. "Instead you go Dumbledore all on me, learning about magic and energy and Gaia and root systems." "Is that what you want? Giles asks. "I want to be Willow" she answers sadly. Giles says that she is still Willow, no matter what has happened, and she always will be.
Xander, clad in spiffy business suit, steps out of a semi-luxiorious car and approaches the Summer's home, a roll of Blueprints in his hand. Buffy calls out to Dawn, telling her to hurry up, they'll be late. Walking into the kitchen, Xander asks Buffy how she's doing. Buffy expresses concern about sending Dawn to the same High School that tried to kill her for 3 years and that she's not ready to know what's gonna happen, but she's overall fine. Xander then motions her over to a table where he rolls out a set of Blueprints for the newly constructed Sunnydale High School, commenting that there are no pentagrams, secret passageways, and that everything is safe. He does note one interesting detail, though, matching the old school blueprints with the new, and he notes the location of the hellmouth, that was underneath the library, is now underneath the principal's office. "So the principals evil?" Dawn asks. "That or in a boatload of danger" remarks Buffy. It's the first day of school and Buffy asks if she's got everything "Books, lunch, stakes?" Just before they get ready to leave, Buffy smiles and brings out a wrapped box... a first schooldays present for Dawn. Dawn smiles and asks if it's a weapon? "Yes... it is..." Buffy says, smiling oddly. Just as the box is opened...
Cut to a NEW Sunnydale high school! Xander pulls up (in what looks like a chrysler?) and Buffy and Dawn both get out. Xander pulls away as Buffy gives Dawn the usual "if anything looks odd" speech. "Stay away from hyena people, or atheletes, and if you see any invisible people..." The new principal interrupts them, commenting that it must be tough to "let them go." Robin Wood is nice, happy, smiling, and has mistaken Buffy for Dawn's Mom! Buffy corrects him, but then thinks she has "mom hair." The principal welcomes them, then departs. Then Dawn goes on her way, with a few last second cautions from Buffy, who is clearly uneasy about Dawn attending school there.
Buffy roams the halls of the new school, looking around, everything is quiet with kids in classes. She is startled when a basketball goes slamming into a locker, then bounces out of view. Going to investigate, she sees a teen boy walking away with the basketball, and she follows. Turning the corner, she find's he's dissapeared! She walks by a door to the basement, though.
In class, Dawn is introduced to her first teacher, who wants to do the "everyone introduce yourself" thing.
Buffy strolls into a bathroom, looking in a mirror, commenting "it's not mom hair..." as she glances down and finds a wooden... thing with a feather and... oh, it's a talisman, trust me. Just as she picks it up, a person appears in the mirror "you can't protect her, you couldn't protect me!" the person says. It's obviously a zombie, with rotting skin and such. Buffy spins around to see, but the zombie woman is gone! then from behind her, another zombie, this time a man, dives forward, shouting (now are you ready for this?) "GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!!!" Buffy backs away, but when she looks up the zombie man is gone. She's alone.
"I love to dance, I love music, I'm very into Britney Spears' early work, before she sold out, so I like her finger painting and macaroni art..." Dawn stands by her desk, introducing herself to the class. "DAWN!" Buffy bursts in, right in the middle of her introduction, warning her sister that it's "not safe." Dawn stands silent, humiliated, while Buffy then badly attempts to backpeddal and repair the damage, claiming that Dawn is in trouble of... smoking. Buffy excuses herself as Dawn remarks "I also have a sister..."
In a coffee bar, Halley and Anya sit at a table, listening to a guitar duo singing "happy, shiney crap." Anya comments that they'll last 6 weeks before the femail of the duo is wanting vengence. "Ooo, better run for cover" Halley says sarcastically. Anya questions what she means, and Halley lays it out: The order are saying that Anya is going soft. Anya USED to be "The single most hard-core vengence demon ever," but then she lost her powers, fell for Xander, and even though it's over, she just doesn't have it anymore. "The woman downtown who wished her husband was a frog? You made him FRENCH!" Halley says that something is up. D'hoffryn and the "old ones" are sensing something big is coming, and it's a bad time to be a good demon. Anya gets defensive "what is this, an intervention? Shouldn't all my demon friends be here?" "Sweety, they are..." says Halley as she sips her coffee...
At a part of the school that is still under construction outside, Buffy walks up to Xander, who asks if everything is fine, if school is stil in session. "Sure, if you're a zombie ghost-thing" Buffy quips. Walking with Buffy, Xander questions if it's Zombies or ghosts, but Buffy doesn't know, just remarking that aside from destroying Dawn's social life, they talked about protecting people, and wanted her to leave. Buffy thinks it's not a co-incidence.
"Can I borrow a pencil?" asks a boy next to Dawn. Dawn opens up a geeky pencil bag and hands him one. "Thanks alot" he says, but now he's rotted, zombie like. He stabs at Dawn in the face. She screams, falling to the floor, covering her eye. The class jolts, and the teacher rushes forward, but Dawn checks herself and she's ok. She apologizes, saying it was a Bee, which she's alergic to, and asks to be excused to go to the washroom. "Guess it runs in the family" a boy remarks.
In the bathroom, Dawn sits in a stall quietly, collecting herslef, but then she hears sobbing. She tries to follow the sound.
Buffy walks briskly down a hall and bumps into principal wood, who wonders what she's still doing there. They begin to talk...
Dawn investigates the bathroom stalls, and finds a girl,huddled up on the toilet, crying. The girl says that someones in there with them. Dawn says it's only her, but the girl shakes her head "no, it's not."
Principal Wood admits to knowing about Buffy, a little more than he should. Buffy finds that "interesting."
Dawn is kind, introducing herself and offering to get the girl out of there. "Kit" the girl answers as she rises up slowly. Dawn asks if she saw something creepy. "you wouldn't believe me" says Kit, but Dawn says she wouldn't be too sure... They both look up in the mirror and are suddenly surrounded by three zombie-ghosts! Then the lights flicker and explode above them! Screaming, Dawn grabs Kit's hand and they start to run out, but zombie hands burst up from the floor, impeding their way. Suddenly the floor gives way, and both girls fall through a large hole.
A shocked look is on Willow's face as she pants, trying to catch her breath. Giles holds her in his arms, telling her to relax. They're both outside of an English estate, on the front lawn. As she catches her breath, Giles asks her what she remembers. Willow says they were talking and then... suddenly she jerks her hands up from the ground, as if scared. "I felt the Earth... it's all connected." She says she saw the Earth and it's teeth. "The Hellmouth..." Giles remarks. "It's gonna open... it's gonna swollow us all..." the Wiccan says.
Kit helps Dawn come to. They are now in the basement, with no chance of reaching the hole above. They go off in search of a staircase.
Seems as if Principal Wood has been going through Buffy's old school file... a very thick school file. Buffy says there were "factors."
As they walk, Dawn asks Kit if the zombies said anything to her. They told kit that they died here, and that she would die here... everyone dies here. Just then, Dawn and Kit stumble upon a boy, the teen who Buffy saw earlier with the Basketball. He came down to the basement for a smoke, and he ran into who he thought was the janitor, but it turned out to be another zombie-ghost! They ask where he came down stairs, but the teen admits that he has no clue, that he "ran like a girl." Just then, the three teens are confronted by three zombie ghosts, an older man, a Teen boy, and a teen girl. All three have rotting skin and comment that they all tried to run, but couldn't. As they advance, Dawn says "oh! I've got a present!" as she reaches in her back pocket. Kit asks what it is, and sees Dawn pull out a cell phone "it's a weapon..."
Still with the principal, Buffy starts to try to convince him that Dawn is actually much worse than her record was, and that maybe she should be suspended, which the principal smiles at. Then Buffy's cell phone rings (the principal comments they don't allow cell phones in school because they're loud). Buffy gets the description from Dawn, but plays it off as a "Dog walker" phoning her. The principal hears the word "dead" and gets concerned. Buffy has to get going soon.
"And Buffy? isn't this reception amazing? i'm in the fricking BASEMENT!" Dawn remarks, as she nods understanding and turns off her phone.
Buffy excuses herself, with Principal Wood wishing her luck with her "Dog Tragedy."
Dawn, Kit, and the boy teen wait patiently for Buffy to arrive. Dawn asks where the zombies went, looking around and seeing nothing. Then one grabs her from behind...
Buffy walks into the washroom and jumps into the hole, landing in the basement. She looks around the maze of dark corridors and starts to call for Dawn. She calls her on the cell phone, but one of the zombies answers, saying she's too late. The older zombie then appears in front of her. Buffy then confronts the zombie ghost, asking what it wants "Fear? Revenge? Tasty Brains?" The younger zombie teen walks in behind the first, then the girl teen zombie, claiming that Buffy was too busy with her dead boyfriend while she was being ripped apart by a werewolf. All three start to blame her, but she interrupts, saying she doesn't care how they died, only that she wants to know where her sister is. They say "This place is ours now, it was built on our graves. All we want is for you to leave, so we can rest again." Buffy notices they are trying to interpose themselves between Buffy and a door. After two brief struggles, Buffy finally gets to the door and wrenches it open to run smack dab into... SPIKE!
Spike looks at Buffy with a confused, dazed look about him. his hair is longer, curley, and definite roots are showing. Buffy is confused herself and asks "Are you real?" Spike laughs with a truly bizzare "i'm not quite sane" tone. He puts his hand up to her cheek "Buffy... duck." "Duck? There's a duck?" she asks, but then is hit HARD in the back with a pipe! Buffy defends herself from the attacking Zombie-ghosts as Spike backs into his room, uncaring, not noticing. Buffy fights off the zombie-ghosts long enough to get into Spike's room and lock the door. Buffy asks if Spike has seen Dawn, but she instantly notices Spike is not himself, talking quite weird. He talks of water and chalk, and not getting it right, as he turns away from her, trying to cover his chest with his shirt. Buffy approaches him slowly, then pulls back the shirt caringly. Deep gashes appear over Spike's heart. Buffy asks what he did, caringly. "I tried to cut it out..." he answers.
Just then, Buffy's cell phone rings. It's Dawn, who says she thinks she's in a room near the furnace. Dawn asks what they want, but Buffy says she doesn't know and can't figure it out, and doesn't know what they are. Spike says "they're not ghosts." as Buffy turns her attention to him. "They're manifest spirits, raised to seek vengence, controlled by a talisman (see, told ya), a 4 year old could figure it out. Buffy tells dawn to stay put, she'll find her. Buffy hangs up and turns to go while Spike continues his babbling, saying this is his home now. Buffy is concerned, but has to go to Dawn.
Out of the room, Buffy calls out to the "dead guys", and wonders where they went. She tries to reason it out, and then remember's the comment about the Talisman. She jumps on her cell phone again. "Xander..."
Dawn tells the two teens to look for weapons to hold the zombie-ghosts off. The boy finds two bricks. Dawn asks Kit for her purse, which she empties on the floor. The three zombies appear again, saying they'll never get out, that they picked those three teens because they won't be missed. Dawn rushes forward to do battle, with the purse loaded with two bricks as a weapon. She blasts the woman zombie-ghost, but then the older one punches her. Kit screams.
Buffy hears Kit's scream and rushes in the direction to help.
Xander rushes into the bathroom, almost falling into the hole in the floor. "Oh! Contracty goodness!" he smiles, but then goes hunting for the talisman.
Just as the older zombie-ghost is going to rip Dawn's arm out, Buffy bursts in and starts kicking ass. She grabs the purse-weapon from Dawn and starts to do battle with the three Zombie-ghosts, letting em have it good, but the three keep coming...
Xander crawls on the floor and finds the talisman, but is jumped from behind by a zombie-ghost, who starts struggling with Xander.
"You really wanna keep this up?" Buffy asks as she fights the three bad guys. "Whaddya gonna do... kill us?" the older one answers.
Struggling a little, Xander breaks the talisman in half with a yellow-greenish 'poof' of energy. His Zombie-ghost dissapears in the same colorburst.
... as does the three Zombie ghosts in the basement! The guy asks if they're gone. Buffy says yes, "must have broken the talisman." Dawn asks how she knew it was a talisman? "It's always a talisman" quips Buffy. She then questions who put it there? "You really weren't kidding about this place" Dawn says as the three girls and guy head out "it hasn't changed." "I dunno, it seems smaller..." Buffy says.
In the hall, Buffy helps the three re-group, reassuring them that they'll be ok if they stick together. Kit hugs Buffy, and the boy says that Buffy is the coolest mom ever, to which Dawn uneasily kisses Buffy's cheek and heads off with the two other teens. Buffy primps her hair uneasily at the mom quip as Principal Wood walks up, thinking it very curious that Buffy has been talking to "Carlos" and "Kit", two known troublemakers who's files are almost as thick as Buffy's. Principal Wood saw how Buffy handled them, though, and likes that she got them not only socializing, but on their way to class! He then wonders if Buffy wouldn't mind sticking around the school more. She questions what he means, and he points out that there's money in the school buget (though not much) to pay to have someone stick around a hours during the week. She asks if she's being hired as a councellor, but the Principal says no, not a councellor, but instead "someone closer to their age who they can relate to." "I'm in." Buffy says without a second thought. Principal Wood comments again that the pay is not good, but Buffy smiles and says her schedule isn't hot either.
In the basement, Spike crowches on the ground, hugging himself, talking to himself: "Everything is... I had a speech. i learned it all. Oh, god, she won't understand, she won't understand..."
Warren appears, pacing around Spike: "Of course she won't understand, Sparky. I'm beyond her understanding. She's a girl... she's sugar and spice and everything... useless unless you're baking... I'm more than that. I'm more than flesh..."
Morphs into Glory: "more than blood. I'm... you know, I don't think there's a human word fabulous enough for me! Soon my name will be on everyone's lips, assuming they're lips haven't been torn off. But not just yet... but that's alright, though...."
Morphs into Adam: "... I can be patient. everything is well within parameters. She's exactly where I want her, and so are you number 17." Adam looks down at a confused, listening Spike. "You're right where you belong..."
Morphs into Mayor Wilkins, who crowches by Spike: "So what dija think, you'd get your soul back and everything would be jim Dandy? A soul is slipperier than a greased weasil, why do you think I sold mine? Well, you probably thought you'd be your own man, and I respect that..."
"But you never will... you'll always be mine..." Drusilla caresses Spike's ear and cheek, with Spike unmoving. "you'll always be in the dark with me, singing our little songs, you liked our little songs, don't you? you always liked them, right from the beginning..."
"And that's where we're going" She rises, morphing into the Master "Back back to the beginning. Not the Bang, not the Word, the true beginning. and the next few months are going to be quite a riot, and I think we're all going to learn something about ourselves in the process. You'll learn you're a pathetic smuck, if it hasn't sunk in already... Look at you, trying to do what's right, just like her. You still don't get it.. it's not about right... it's not about wrong..."
The Master morphs into Buffy, who crosses her arms "... it's about Power..."