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!
FEEDBACK/REVIEWS ARE INVITED!!!