Sunnydale After Dark
Amends Transcript
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Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Joss Whedon

This episode was originally broadcast on December 15, 1998.

~~~~~~~~~~ Prologue ~~~~~~~~~~

Dublin, Ireland, 1838. It's Christmas time, and there is snow on the ground. The people in the streets are all dressed in warm cloaks. A carriage goes by. Behind it a very worried-looking young man hurries along the street. He constantly looks back to see if he's being followed. He passes a choir group singing "Silent Night", but pays them no mind. In a more crowded area he pushes his way through the people, eliciting a few comments on his rudeness. Suddenly a pair of arms reach out from an alleyway, pull him in and throw him to the snow-covered cobblestones. He looks up to see who his aggressor is, and finds Angelus standing over him, sporting his game face.

Angelus: Daniel. Where were you going?

Daniel: (afraid) You! You're not human.

Angelus: (agreeably) Not of late, no.

Daniel: (begs) Wh-what do you want?

Angelus: Well, it happens that I'm hungry, Daniel, and seeing as that you're somewhat in me debt...

Daniel: (frightened) Please, I can't!

Angelus: A man playing at cards should have a natural intelligence or a great deal of money, and you're sadly lacking in both.

Daniel tries to get up and flee, but Angelus grabs him by the coat and roars.

Angelus: So I take me winnings me own way.

Daniel: (looking up, terrified) The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures...

Angelus: (interrupts) Daniel, be of good cheer. It's Christmas!

He bites him violently on the neck.

Cut to Angel's bedroom. He wakes from his dream with a start, and after realizing it was only a dream, he sits up in bed.

Cut to a Sunnydale shopping district. In the window of an audio/video store a TV is tuned to the weather.

Weatherman: It's going to be sunny and warm with temperatures continuing in the high 70s (about 25C) throughout the holiday weekend. Just a little warm to light the Yule log, but it should make for a very nice Christmas.

Angel walks past the shop window at a brisk pace and crosses the street. Somewhere on the block is a group of carolers singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Angel passes a Santa Claus ringing a bell and collecting for the Salvation Army. A passerby drops some coins into his pot.

Santa: Merry Christmas!

Angel stops short when he unexpectedly runs into Buffy. They are both surprised, and don't say anything for a moment. Angel breaks the silence.

Angel: Hi.

Buffy: Angel...

Another awkward silence sets in for a while.

Buffy: So, are you shopping? (realizes how silly that sounds) You're probably not shopping.

Angel: I couldn't sleep.

Buffy: Vampires probably not that big on Christmas, now that I think about it.

Angel: Not as a rule.

Buffy: But you're good?

Angel: I'm, I'm alright. You?

Buffy: Yeah! (smiles) Yeah, I'm good. I, um, (looks down at the boxes she's carrying) I was just getting some Christmas gifts for the gang.

Angel's attention is diverted to behind Buffy. In the middle of the street he sees an apparition of Daniel looking sadly back at him.

Buffy: Um, I'd better go before the magic store closes.

Angel and Daniel exchange a long look, then Daniel walks away. Buffy notices Angel's distraction.

Buffy: Angel?

She looks behind herself and sees nothing, then turns her concerned attention back to Angel.

Buffy: What is it?

Angel is frozen with fear.

Opening credits roll. Buffy's theme plays.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 1 ~~~~~~~~~~

Sunnydale High School. The bell rings, and students begin to pour out of the classrooms into the halls. Buffy, Willow and Xander come out of one and head over to the girls' lockers.

Buffy: And then he just bailed. He didn't say anything. He just took off. It was so weird.

The girls both work their locker combinations.

Xander: Angel? Weird? What are the odds? (gets a look from Buffy)

Willow: Do you think something's wrong? Maybe you should tell Giles.

They both open their lockers and get what they need.

Buffy: No. I don't wanna bug Giles. He's still kinda twitchy when it comes to the subject of Angel.

She takes off her jacket and hangs it in her locker.

Xander: Well, it must be that whole Angel-killed-his-girlfriend-and- tortured-him thing. Hey, Giles is pretty petty when it comes to stuff like that.

Buffy takes a paper bag from her locker and then closes the door.

Buffy: Xander, enough, okay?

Willow zips up her book bag and closes her locker as well. They all start down the hall.

Willow: Maybe Angel just has the holiday blues. Everybody gets 'em. Especially when they're alone.

Buffy: It's just so frustrating. I'm trying to do the right thing and stay away from him and get over it, and then *boom*, there he is. I just want a nice, quiet Christmas vacation.

Cut to the student lounge. A Christmas tree is set up there. The gang comes out of an adjacent hall and heads into the lounge.

Xander: So, you doing anything special?

Buffy: Tree. Nog. Roast beast. Just me and Mom and hopefully an excess of gifts. What are you doing for Christmas?

Willow: Being Jewish. Remember, people? Not everybody worships Santa.

Buffy: (smiles) I just meant for vacation.

Willow: Mm. Nothing fun.

They take the steps up to the couches.

Willow: Oz and I had planned... but I guess that's off.

Cordelia is sitting on one of the couches with a friend. Xander is instantly nervous. Buffy takes her bag over to the Holiday Food Drive collection box behind the couches and starts pulling cans of food out of her bag and putting them in the box. Willow and Xander sit on the couch opposite Cordelia.

Xander: (with false heartiness) Well, I'll be enjoying my annual Christmas Eve camp-out. See, I take my sleeping bag outside and I go to sleep on the grass.

Cordelia and her friend stand up. Her friend steps over to the stairs and waits, while Cordelia hangs around to add her point of view.

Willow: Sounds fun.

Xander: Yeah, I like to look at the stars, you know? Feel the whole nature vibe.

Cordelia: (smiling smugly) I thought you slept outside to avoid your family's drunken Christmas fights.

Xander gives her a look like he expected no less from her.

Xander: Yes. And that was a confidence I was hoping you would share with everyone. (smiles sarcastically)

Buffy joins the group again.

Cordelia: Well, I'll be in Aspen. Skiing. With actual snow.

Buffy: I hear that helps.

Cordelia: It must be a drag to be stuck here in Sweatydale, but I'm thinking of you. Okay, I'm done.

She leaves wearing a shark smile, well-satisfied with her results.

Buffy: She certainly has reverted to form.

Willow: It's not her fault. Mm, after what happened, we gotta cut her some slack.

Xander: That's the Christmas spirit.

Willow: Hello, still Jewish. Chanukah spirit, I believe that was? Anyway, forgiveness is pretty much a big theme with me this year, 'cause of the...

She stops when she sees Oz come up to the group. Oz glances over at Xander, who is suddenly quite uncomfortable. Oz turns his attention to Willow.

Oz: Hey.

Willow: Hey. (looks at him hopefully)

Cut to an empty classroom. Willow sits on one end of the teacher's desk while Oz leans against the other and looks blankly out into the room.

Oz: Okay. The thing is... seeing you with Xander, it was... Well, I never felt that way before... when it wasn't a full moon... but I know you guys have a history.

Willow: But it's a history that's in the past. Well, I-I guess most history is in the past. But it's over.

Oz: Well, I don't know. I don't know that it... ever will be between you two.

Willow: (imploringly) Oz, please believe me.

Oz: (looks at her) This is what I do know: I miss you. Like, every second. Almost like I lost an arm, or worse, a torso. So, I think I'd be willing to... give it a shot.

Willow: (stands up and smiles tentatively) Really?

Oz: (stands up and smiles) Yeah.

Willow smiles more warmly.

Willow: Do you want us to... to hug now? (looks at him hopefully)

Oz: (smiles) Yeah, I'm good for that.

They step closer to each other and hug tightly, Oz with one arm around her back and the other gently caressing her head, while Willow holds onto him as tightly as she can, enfolding him in her arms.

Cut to a Christmas Tree lot. Buffy and her mother walk through trying to find the right one. Other shoppers are also selecting trees.

Shopper: Take the other one, then.

Off to one side the tree merchant is spraying fake snow onto a tree. Joyce looks over one of the snowed trees.

Joyce: Do you wanna get one with snow on it? Be very Christmasy.

They continue through the tree lot.

Buffy: I think those are just for display.

Joyce: Oh. You know, honey, I was thinking. Maybe we should invite Faith to spend Christmas Eve with us.

Buffy: I don't know. Faith and I don't really hang out. Or talk or make eye contact lately.

Joyce: (looks over another tree) Do you really wanna let her spend Christmas Eve all by herself in that dingy little motel room?

Buffy: (smiles) You're still number one with a guilt trip, Mom.

Joyce: I try.

Buffy: (gives in) I'll ask her.

Joyce: You're a doll.

Buffy: What about Giles? I mean, he doesn't have any fam...

Joyce: (interrupts) No, I'm sure he's fine.

Buffy: We could at least ask him and see...

Joyce: He doesn't wanna spend Christmas Eve with a bunch of girls. (takes a deep breath) Let's split up.

She goes off to her right. Buffy sighs and continues looking. She notices an area where a bunch of the trees are all brown, and walks over to them for a closer look. The tree merchant comes up to her.

Tree merchant: Bunch of them up and died on us. Don't know why. If you want one, I can make you a hell of a deal.

Buffy: No, thank you.

Joyce: (from a distance) Oh, honey, this one's perfect!

Buffy goes to see what her mother has found.

Cut to another dream sequence. Images of a fire and burning candles float around. The image of a round table with candles at its center and ritualistic artifacts arranged to form three spokes upon it, all surrounded by a circle, appears. Three chanting figures are sitting round the table, their palms placed flat upon the table's rim, as if using a Ouija board. The table and figures float by several times. Suddenly the view angles up from the table and into the face of one of the three figures. It has no eyes, but instead has runes branded in the flesh where eyes should be.

Cut to Angel's bedroom. He wakes with a gasp, frightened and breathing hard. Again he realizes it's only a dream, and rubs his head with his hands.

Cut to Faith's motel. Cut inside her room. She's struggling with the TV, slapping and shaking it to try to get some reception, but gets nothing. There is a knock at her door.

Faith: Yeah?

Buffy opens the door and comes in.

Faith: Hey, what's up? (to the TV) Work, damn it!

Buffy: (closes the door) Hey.

Faith gives up and turns off the TV. She stands up and faces Buffy.

Faith: What's going on? Scary monsters?

Buffy: No. Um, (steps further in) we're having Christmas Eve dinner at my house, and I thought that, um, if you didn't have plans...

Faith: (smiles sharply) Your mom sent you down, huh?

Buffy: (taken aback) No.

Faith: Well, thanks, but I got plans. There's this big party I've been invited to. It should be a blast. (smiles evasively)

Buffy: (unconvinced) Okay. Cool. But if you change your mind, the offer...

Faith: That's nice of you. Thanks. But I got... I got that big party that I've been invited to, so... (smiles dismayingly)

Buffy steps toward the door, but looks around and notices the Christmas lights that Faith has strung up around the room.

Buffy: (quietly approving) I like the lights.

Faith: Yeah. Well, 'tis the season. Whatever that means.

Cut to Giles' kitchen. He's cooking dinner, and takes a taste. There's a knocking at his door.

Giles: Just a minute!

He goes to the door, opens it and is surprised to see Angel standing there. For a long moment neither of them says anything.

Giles: Hello.

Angel: Um... I'm sorry to bother you.

Giles finds himself unable to keep from laughing bitterly.

Giles: Sorry. Coming from you that phrase strikes me as rather funny. 'Sorry to bother me.'

Angel: I need your help.

Giles: (straight-faced) And the funny keeps on coming.

Angel: (swallowing his pride) I understand I have no right to ask for it, but there's no one else.

Giles: Alright.

He walks back into the apartment and tosses his kitchen towel onto the counter. He heads down the hall.

Angel: I... I can't come in unless you invite me.

Giles returns from the hall, holding a crossbow and raising it at the ready.

Giles: I'm aware of that.

He walks back to the door.

Giles: Come in.

Slowly and not without reservation Angel steps into the apartment. Giles' aim does not waver.

Angel: I've been seeing... (distracted) I've... I've had dreams lately about the past. It's... It's like I'm living it again. It's, it's so vivid, I... I need to know. (pleading) I need to know why I'm here.

Giles: Here? Back on Earth?

Angel: I should be in a demon dimension suffering an eternity of torture.

Giles: I don't feel particularly inclined to argue with that.

Angel: But I'm not. I was freed, and I don't understand why.

Giles: Knowing why you were back would give you peace of mind?

Angel: It might.

Giles decides it's probably okay to put down his weapon, and bends to his side to set the crossbow down. Behind him Angel sees an apparition of Jenny Calendar.

Giles: You think that's something you ought to have?

Jenny looks at Angel sadly. Angel begins to shiver with fear.

Giles: Because, sir, to be blunt, the last time you became complacent about your existence turned out rather badly.

Angel sees Jenny stroke her hand down Giles' shoulder and sigh. Giles doesn't notice a thing. Angel begins to pant with short rapid breaths. Giles notices the look of fear on his face focused behind him.

Giles: What?

He looks around his apartment, completely unaware of Jenny's presence.

Angel: Don't you see her?

He sees Jenny walk around Giles.

Giles: Who?

Angel begins to make his way to the door. Jenny follows him with her stare. He begins to freak out.

Angel: I can't!

He runs out of the door into the night. Giles is left standing there very confused.

Cut to Angel's mansion. Cut to his bedroom. He sleeps fitfully. Suddenly his dream flashes back to Dublin again at a dinner party. The affair is very formal. The camera moves through the house while the guests converse. At the stairs the camera angles up to follow a woman as she climbs them while two other guests come down. The camera angles back down and underneath, where Angelus is talking with a maid.

Margaret: (nervous) Sir, please, I should return to the party.

Angelus: Margaret, Margaret, there's no hurry.

Margaret: (trying to pull away) Mistress will be wondering...

Angelus: Shh. Mistress will be wondering how to get the good Reverend Chalmers into bed and will not notice the absence of canape'. (strokes her chin) Stay with me.

Margaret: (worried) Sir, people might talk. I'll be put out in the streets. My little boy would... I can't lose this job.

Angelus: (grabs her firmly) Then you must keep quiet.

Margaret: You're hurting me!

Angelus: Ah! Cry out. Call for help. I'm sure Mistress will believe your behavior beyond reproach. (sneers)

Margaret: Please!

Angelus: (shakes her) Come, make a scene, huh? Shall *I*?

Margaret: (thinks better of it) No.

Angelus: No, no. We'll be as quiet as mice.

Margaret looks down, defeated, having no choice but to give in. When she looks back up at him he's in his vampire guise.

Angelus: No matter what.

Margaret: (terrified) Sir! My son!

Angelus: Oh, he'll make a fine dessert, huh?

She gasps as he grabs her roughly and bites her. He drinks her dry, and lets her body collapse to the floor. When he looks up he is shocked to see a witness to his deed: Buffy. She stares back at him, also in shock.

Cut to Angel's bedroom. He wakes with a sudden jerk and gasps.

Cut to Buffy's bedroom. She awakens with a startled twist of her head and stares into the darkness of her room, surprised and confused.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 2 ~~~~~~~~~~

Angel's mansion. Unable to sleep, he walks out of a hall into the main room, pulling on a T-shirt. There standing at the opposite end of the room by the doorway to the atrium is Jenny.

Jenny: (with false sympathy) Trouble sleeping?

Angel: You're not here.

Jenny: (slowly comes closer) I'm always here.

Angel: Leave me alone.

He sits down on the cold marble on one side of the great fireplace.

Jenny: I can't. You won't let me.

Angel: What do you want?

Jenny: I wanna die in bed surrounded by fat grandchildren, but guess that's off the menu.

Angel: (can't face her) I'm sorry.

Jenny: You're sorry? For me? Don't bother. I'm dead. I'm over it. (crouches down next to him) If you wanna feel sorry for someone, you should feel sorry for yourself. Oh, but I guess you've already got that covered.

Angel: I am sorry... for what I've done. What else can I say to you?

She puts her hand to his temple and strokes it. With her next sentence she transforms to the likeness of Daniel.

Jenny/Daniel: I don't wanna make you feel bad.

Daniel: I just want to show you who you are.

Cut to Giles' office at the library.

Giles: You had a dream about Angel.

Buffy: I was *in* Angel's dream.

Giles: (takes off his glasses) I'm not sure that's...

Buffy: Giles, there was stuff in this dream that I couldn't possibly know about. It was Angel's past, he was dreaming it, and somehow I got sucked in.

Giles looks up at Buffy.

Buffy: There's something wrong with him.

He looks down, then draws and releases a measured breath.

Giles: I know. I've seen him. He wanted to know why he was back.

Buffy: Is there a way for us to find that out?

Giles: Uh, possibly. I-I've been looking. (puts his glasses back on)

Buffy: Well, let me look, too.

Giles gives her an inquiring glance. Buffy speaks with an in-your-face honesty, meeting Giles' coldly appraising eyes with her own steady gaze.

Buffy: I'm not seeing him anymore. I'm trying to put all this behind me, and I'm not gonna be able to as long as we're both doing guest spots in each other's dreams.

Giles leans back in his chair and considers the truth of that.

Buffy: So we'll help him?

Giles: (realizes he has no choice) Yes.

Xander: (walks into the office) Where do we start?

He gets surprised looks from Giles and Buffy.

Xander: (abashed) Look, I'm aware I haven't been the mostest best friend to you when it comes to the whole Angel thing, and, um, I don't know, maybe I finally got the Chanukah spirit.

Giles: (stands up) Well, we start, not surprisingly, with research. (goes to a small bookcase) Xander, um, (hands him a book) the Black Chronicles. And, uh, Buffy, (hands her a book) the diary of Lucious Temple, an acolyte of Acathla, expert on demons. You can skip the passages on his garden unless you're keen on growing heartier beets.

Buffy and Xander head out into the main room.

Buffy: Are you sure this is how you wanna spend your Christmas vacation?

Xander: Yeah, this is actually the most exciting thing I've got planned. Who else can claim that pathetic a social life?

Willow: (walks in smiling) Hey, guys. What are we doing?

Cut to later. The three of them are all at the center table doing research. Giles drops off a few more books for them to look through. Dissolve to them having a discussion using the whiteboard. Dissolve to Xander arriving with a pizza and dropping it on the table. Dissolve to more researching with the pizza half eaten. Dissolve to later with just Willow and Buffy at the table.

Willow: He's gonna come over on Christmas Eve 'cause my parents are out of town. We're gonna watch videos.

Buffy: That's good, right? (they exchange a look) You guys are back.

Willow: It's good. It's perfect. In an awkward, uncomfortable sort of way. (Buffy gives her a sympathetic look) I just don't know how to make Oz trust me.

Buffy: Xander has a piece of you that Oz just can't touch. I guess now it's just about showing Oz that he comes first.

Willow: (considers that) I guess. Thanks. (reads) Hey, he likes beets.

Buffy: I read that one already. (sighs) We're not getting any closer.

Cut to Angel's mansion. He falls to the floor, clammy, shivering, and panting in horror. Another one of his victims, a businessman, paces past him.

Businessman: The thing I remember most was thinking how artful it was. In the dark, they looked just like they were sleeping. It wasn't until I bent down and kissed them good night that I felt how cold they were. You grabbed me, and I thought, (faces Angel) who would go to so much trouble to arrange them like that?

Angel looks up at him. The businessman crouches and transforms into Margaret.

Margaret: But you see, that's what makes you different than other beasts. They kill to feed, but you took more kinds of pleasure in it than any creature that walks or crawls.

Angel: Oh, God!

Margaret: (mocking him) Yeah, cry out. Make a scene.

Angel jumps to his feet and tries to run away, but finds Daniel standing in his way.

Daniel: I was to be married that week, but then, as I recall, you knew that.

Angel: It wasn't me.

Daniel transforms into Jenny.

Jenny: It wasn't you?

Angel: A demon isn't a man. I was a man once.

Jenny: (derisively) Oh, yes, and what a man you were.

Angel is forced to flash back to the days before he became a vampire, in a bar, singing and drinking, pulling at a woman's dress before passing out and falling to the floor. The flashback is over, and Margaret is standing before him again.

Margaret: A drunken, whoring layabout, and a terrible disappointment to your parents.

Angel: I was young. I never had a chance to...

Margaret: To die of syphilis? You were a worthless being before you were *ever* a monster.

Angel can't take much more, and he holds his hands to his ears.

Angel: Stop it! Stop...

Margaret transforms to Jenny, and she puts her hands on his, gently taking them away from his ears.

Jenny: I don't wanna hurt you, Angel, but you have to understand. Cruelty's the only thing you ever had a true talent for.

Angel: That's not true.

Jenny: Shh. (leads him to the coffee table) Rest. (gently gets him to lie down) Rest. (walks around him) You mistake it for a curse, Angel, but it's not. It's your destiny.

She sits down by his head and strokes his hair.

Jenny: I'll show you. I'll show you.

Dissolve to Sunnydale High. Cut to the library. Xander yawns in his chair behind the checkout counter and goes back to researching his book. The camera pans over to the window to Giles's office. Willow is asleep in a chair. Giles gets up from his desk to get another book. Dissolve to the stacks. The camera moves into them to a sleeping Buffy, with several books lying on the floor around her. She rolls from her side onto her back.

Dissolve to Angel's mansion. He rolls over onto his back also. In a flash of bright light they are both sharing a dream. Buffy is lying in her bed, and she slowly opens her eyes. Angel is sitting at her side, looking down at her, waiting for her to awaken. He reaches for Buffy's hand with his. They touch fingertips briefly before intertwining their fingers and clasping hands.

Next Buffy is facing Angel, sitting on his lap with her legs circling round his waist. They are kissing passionately, holding each other as closely as possible, caressing each other tenderly. Buffy tugs at Angel's shirt, and he helps her pull it up and off, baring his chest. In the real world Angel turns again on the coffee table.

Now it is Angel's turn to slip the satin pajama top from Buffy's shoulders. They hold each other tightly as they kiss longer and more intensely. In the real world Buffy moans and turns her head while lying on the library floor.

Buffy and Angel are lying in bed together, making gentle passionate love. They change positions as Angel rolls on top of her, the muscles of his back flexing under his tattoo. They caress each other for several moments. Angel tenderly kisses Buffy where her neck joins her shoulder, and he slides his hand up and along her outstretched arm, reaching and clasping her hand as they continue making love. Suddenly, over Angel's shoulder, Buffy sees the eyeless priest from her previous dream, sightlessly observing them from where he's standing at her door.

There are several sudden flashes of light. Angel removes his hands from their tender clasp and then, as a thunderclap is heard, grabs Buffy's wrists hard, forcibly pinning her down to the bed. He rises over her and transforms into his vampire guise, and then bites her savagely on the neck.

Cut to the library. Buffy wakes in startled shock.

Cut to Angel's mansion. He wakes and sits bolt upright, drawing a hard breath. Jenny is still sitting next to him.

Jenny: You want her?

Angel: (panting) No.

Jenny: (insistently) Take her. Take what you want. Pour all that frustration and all that guilt into *her*, and you'll be free.

Angel: No.

Jenny: You can't live for eternity with *all that pain*. This is what you are. This is why we brought you back. Take her! And then you'll be ready... (moves in to his ear) kill her.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 3 ~~~~~~~~~~

The library. Buffy walks out of the stacks and down the stairs.

Giles: Here, Buffy. Take a look.

He goes to the table with a pile of very old and worn sheets of paper.

Giles: These letters contain references to a, a, an ancient power known as The First.

Buffy: First what?

Giles: Evil. Absolute evil, older than man, than demons. It could have had the power to bring Angel back.

Buffy: These guys, (picks up one of the letters with sketches of the eyeless priest) I-I saw them in my dream. I, I fell asleep up there.

Giles: You had another dream? With Angel? (Buffy nods) What happened?

Buffy: (evasively) Oh, we don't need to get sidetracked. Who are these guys?

Giles: Um, they're known as the, uh, (sits) as the Bringers o-o-or Harbingers. They're high priests of The First. They, uh, they can conjure spirit manifestations and set them on people, influence them, haunt them.

Buffy: These are the guys working the mojo on Angel?

Xander comes out from behind the counter.

Xander: We gotta stop them.

Giles: Y-you can't fight The First, Buffy. It's not a-a physical being.

Buffy: Well, I-I can fight these priest guys.

Xander: If we can find them.

Cut to Willy's bar. He's wiping down a few bottles and putting them away when he sees Buffy and Xander enter the bar.

Willy: (loudly so everyone hears) Hey! It's the Slayer. What brings the, uh, Slayer down here?

Several vampires at the bar get up and quietly leave.

Buffy: (goes up to the bar) Hey, Willy, how you been?

Willy: (pours a drink for a customer) Keeping out of trouble, as God is my witness. (comes over to them) So, w-what can I do for you? Couple of drinks?

Xander: Yeah. Let me get a double shot of, um... (exchanges a look with Buffy) (aggressively to Willy) of information, pal.

Buffy: Three priests. They call themselves...

Xander: (interrupts) The Bringers.

Buffy: (shoots Xander a look) Bringers, Harbingers. They have a 'no eyes' kinda look.

Willy: Doesn't ring a bell.

Xander: (menacingly) How about I ring that bell for you? (hopefully to Buffy) Does the threatening come now?

Buffy: Maybe you shouldn't help. (to Willy) They would've come to town recently. They'd be holed up somewhere summoning the spirit of The First.

Willy looks around the bar carefully, then leans in toward them.

Willy: Well... I heard a few things, you know, from the underground.

Xander: The underground?

Willy: Yeah, you know. From things that live under the ground. Apparently there's been a lot of migration out of Sunnydale from the lower inhabitants. Something's scaring them off, and these are things that aren't easily scared. Could be your priest guys are underground.

Buffy: Underground where?

Willy: (regretfully) I do not know.

Buffy: Okay. Thanks.

Xander: See you around.

They start to leave the bar.

Willy: (to Xander) Hey. (Xander faces him) You did great, by the way. I was very intimidated by you.

Xander: Really? (smiles)

Willy gives him a nod.

Xander: (smiles widely) Thanks!

Buffy: (takes Xander's arm) Let's go. (leads him away)

Willy: Hey, kid. (Buffy faces him) Merry Christmas.

Buffy just gives him a look, and then she and Xander leave.

Cut outside. They step into the heat of the day and start down the block.

Xander: Man, is it hot. It was so nice and cool in there.

Buffy: Yeah, a nice cool waste of time.

They stop walking.

Xander: We know underground. That's a start.

Buffy: Sure, in a town with fourteen million square miles of sewer.

Xander: Plus a lot of natural cave formations and a gateway to Hell. Yeah, this does resemble square one.

Buffy: I don't know what to do.

Xander: I think right now the best plan is to deck the halls with boughs of holly. Look, we'll catch the bad guys... sooner or later.

Cut to Willow's house. Oz comes in.

Oz: Willow? (closes the door) I got videos. (holds them up)

When he sees the living room, he stops in his tracks. Willow has the room softly lit, with a small fire going in the fireplace, candles burning on the coffee table, and soft music playing on the stereo. She is sitting on the sofa, dressed nicely just for him.

Willow: Hi. (pats the sofa next to her) Why don't you come s-sit down?

After a moment's hesitation, he walks into the room and sits down next to her. He set the videos on the table. On the stereo "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe", by Barry White, begins to play.

Lyrics: I've heard people say that

Oz isn't sure what to make of this, and looks at Willow. She smiles back at him.

Lyrics: Too much of anything is not good for you, baby

Oz: You ever have that dream where you're in a play, and it's the middle of the play and you really don't know your lines, and you kinda don't know the plot?

Willow: Well, we're alone, and we're together. I-I just wanted it to be special.

Oz: How special are we talking?

Willow: (a bit nervous) Well, you know, we're alone, and we're both mature younger people, and, and so... w-we could... I-I'm ready to... w- with you. (whispers) We could do that thing.

Oz looks at her in disbelief. Willow smiles back. Oz has to stand up.

Willow: Where are you going?

Oz: No, I'm not going. Just a dramatic gesture. That's, that's pretty special.

Willow: (stands also) Oz, I-I wanna be with you. First.

Oz: I think we should sit down again.

They sit stiffly.

Willow: Oz?

He looks at her, worry evident in his expression.

Willow: I-I'm ready.

Oz: Okay. Well, don't take this the wrong way... but I'm not.

Willow: (confused) Are you scared? 'Cause I thought you had...

Oz: (shyly) No, I have, but this is different. I mean, you look great. You know, and, and you got the Barry working for you, and, and it's all... good. But when it happens... I want it to be because we both need it to for the same reason. You don't have to prove anything to me.

Willow: I just wanted you to know.

Oz: I know. (smiles) I get the message.

Willow leans over to him, and they kiss.

Cut to the Summers house. Christmas music plays in the background. Buffy puts the finishing touches on the tree. Joyce places another log on the fire. She stands up and inspects the result.

Joyce: There we go.

Buffy: Nothing like a roaring fire to keep away the blistering heat.

Joyce: Oh, come on. It's lovely. Maybe I should turn the air conditioning on.

Buffy is off in her own world as she finishes trimming the tree.

Joyce: So, angel's on top again?

Buffy: (startled) What?

Joyce: (holds up an angel and a star) Angel or star?

Buffy: Oh, uh... star. Star.

The doorbell rings. Buffy and her mom exchange an inquiring look, wondering whom it could be. Buffy goes to the door and opens it.

Faith: (uncertainly) Hey.

Buffy: Hi!

Faith: Uh, looked like that whole party thing was gonna be kind of a drag. (drops her eyes for an instant) I didn't really have anything... You know.

Buffy: (sincerely) I'm glad you came.

Faith: (smiles) Uh... Here. (hands Buffy gifts)

Buffy: Why don't you come in from the entire lack of cold?

Faith: Mm.

She steps in, and Buffy closes the door.

Faith: Uh, that one (points) is for your mom. They're pretty crappy.

Joyce: Faith, you made it. (takes the gifts from Buffy) Oh, that is so thoughtful.

Faith: (smiles, embarrassed) They're crappy.

Buffy: You know, I'm gonna go upstairs and get your gifts. Excuse me.

Joyce: Uh, would you like some nog?

Cut upstairs. Buffy walks down the hall and into her room.

Buffy: Okay, Mom, don't touch yours, though, 'cause then you're gonna know what it is.

Once in her room she hears her door slam behind her. She spins around to find Angel there. He looks very tired and somewhat disoriented.

Buffy: Angel.

Angel: Huh... Buffy.

Buffy: What is it?

He looks around apprehensively and clears his throat.

Angel: I gotta... I... look, I, uh, I had to see you, um...

He sees her bed, and it confuses him.

Angel: I don't know, I... You shouldn't be...

Buffy: Just tell me what's going on.

His gaze focuses on her neck, and he notices she's not wearing her cross. Jenny appears to him behind her.

Jenny: She wants you to touch her. What are you waiting for?

Angel: You have to stay away from me.

Buffy: (bewildered) You came to see me to tell me that I can't see you?

Angel pants heavily and struggles hard with himself for control.

Buffy: Angel, something is doing this to you.

He starts to move toward her. She backs away.

Buffy: (worried and frightened) You just have to control it, okay? I-I know that you're confused.

Angel: I think you're the one who's confused. I think you need to...

Jenny: She wants you to taste her. Think of the peace. You'll never have to see us again.

Angel struggles for control of his mind. He grabs his hair with his hands in desperation.

Buffy: (imploringly) Angel, how can I help you?

Angel: Leave me alone!

He runs toward her window and dives out. Buffy is in shock over it all.

Cut downstairs. Buffy hurriedly talks with Faith as she's grabbing her coat before leaving.

Buffy: I just need you to stay with Mom in case he comes back. (makes strides for the door)

Faith: Yeah, I'll play watchdog. I don't really get it, though.

Buffy: I'll explain later. Everything. I promise.

Opens the door and leaves.

Faith: (concerned) Watch your back.

Cut to Giles' apartment.

Buffy: Giles, we have to do something. Soon. Now.

Giles: I'm still not sure what.

Buffy: (desperate) Find me these priest guys. Find me something I can pummel.

Giles: Let's not lose our heads.

Buffy: Giles, he's slipping.

Giles has no response to that.

Buffy: (voice faltering) I think we're losing him.

Giles: Look... (puts on his glasses) You realize if he... truly becomes a danger, you may have to kill him. Again. Can you do that?

Buffy can't bring herself to answer.

Cut to the atrium at Angel's mansion. He tries to get away from Jenny and goes into the mansion.

Angel: I can't do it.

Jenny: You have to do it. (tauntingly) What else are you good for?

Angel: (panting hard) Get away from me!

Jenny: (appears behind him) Couldn't you just... feel her? (leans close to him) Couldn't you almost smell her skin? You never were a fighter, Angel, don't start trying now. (steps away) Sooner or later you will drink her.

Angel: I'll never hurt her.

Jenny: You were born to hurt her. (scornfully) Have you learned nothing? As long as you are alive...

Angel: (flatly) Then I'll die.

Jenny: (pauses to consider) You don't have the strength to kill yourself.

Angel: I don't need strength. I just need the sun to rise.

He walks back out into the atrium.

Jenny: You're not supposed to die. This isn't the plan.

She watches him walk through the atrium and take the steps up and out.

Jenny: But it'll do.

~~~~~~~~~~ Part 4 ~~~~~~~~~~

Giles' apartment. Buffy reads aloud from a book. Behind her Giles sits on the stairs and reads to himself from another.

Buffy: 'A child shall be born of man and goat and have two heads, and The First shall speak only in riddles...' No wonder you like this stuff. (closes the book) It's like reading The Sun.

Giles: (finds something) Yes. Ah.

Buffy: (looks up at him) Priests?

Giles: Um... Yes, but, uh, more, more posturing, I'm afraid. Um, (reads) 'For they are the Harbingers of death. Nothing shall grow above or below them. No seed shall flower, neither in man nor...' (gestures that it goes on and on) They're rebels and they'll never ever be any good. Nothing specific about their haunts.

Buffy: Let me see that.

Giles hands her the book.

Buffy: (reads) '...the Harbingers of death. Nothing shall grow above or below...'

She is suddenly lost in thought.

Giles: What?

Cut to the Christmas tree lot. Buffy kicks open the gate and marches straight toward the dead trees. Once there she studies them for a moment. The camera lifts straight up, looking down at the six trees that have died arranged in a circle. All the trees around them are fine.

Cut to Buffy at ground level. She looks around for something to dig with and finds a long-handled ax. She swings it at the ground, and after a couple of hits she breaks through. A few more swings and the hole is large enough for her to get through. She crouches down and drops herself into it.

Cut below. Buffy drops down into a cave. There are groups of candles burning here and there. She cautiously looks around and starts to make her way deeper into the cave. She can hear chanting coming from nearby. She doesn't have to go far before she finds the table with the priests sitting around it.

Buffy: Alright, ten more minutes of chanting and then you guys have to go to bed.

The priests get up, and Buffy jumps down to fight them. She swings the handle of her ax into one priest's stomach, and he goes down. She swings it into another one, who doubles over. She follows up with another swing to his head, and he goes down, too. The third one runs away. Buffy uses the ax to destroy the arrangement of artifacts on the table. The next thing she knows, Jenny is in the cave with her.

Jenny/The First: Hmm. I'm impressed.

Buffy hesitates at first, surprised to see Jenny there, but quickly realizes that it's not really her.

Buffy: (defiantly) You won't get Angel.

Jenny/The First: Hmm. You think you can fight me? I'm not a demon, little girl. I am something that you can't even conceive. The First Evil. Beyond sin, beyond death. I am the thing the darkness fears. You'll never see me, but I am everywhere. Every being, every thought, every drop of hate.

Buffy: (loses her patience) Alright, I get it. You're evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?

Jenny/The First: (unimpressed) Angel will be dead by sunrise. Your Christmas... will be his wake.

Buffy: No.

Jenny/The First: You have no idea what you're dealing with.

Buffy: (dripping with sarcasm) Lemme guess. Is it... evil?

The apparition of Jenny shrinks and is replaced for an instant by an image of a huge horned and clawed beast coming at her, roaring and with eyes glowing red. It fades as quickly as it appeared. Buffy stares in shock at the place where it appeared. It screams a final warning.


Buffy runs from the cave, terrified for Angel's life.

Cut to Angel's mansion. Buffy runs in.

Buffy: Angel!

She looks around, but he's nowhere to be seen. She walks toward the doorway to the atrium and looks out. She sees the steps leading up and runs toward them. Cut to the hills behind the mansion. Buffy runs through the bushes, frantically looking for Angel. She climbs further up the hill and finds him standing at the top looking out over a peaceful residential area of town.

Buffy: Angel.

He hears her say his name and briefly glances in her direction before looking back out over the rooftops. Buffy slowly walks over to him.

Angel: I bet half the kids down there are already awake. Lying in their beds... sneaking downstairs... waiting for day.

Buffy: (out of breath) Angel, please. I need for you to get inside. Th- there's only a few minutes left.

Angel: I know. I can smell the sunrise long before it comes.

Buffy: (anxiously and hurried) I don't have time to explain this. You just have to trust me. That thing that was haunting you...

Angel: (interrupts) It wasn't haunting me. It was showing me.

Buffy: (confused) Showing you?

Angel: What I am.

Buffy: (insistently) Were.

Angel: And ever shall be. I wanted to know why I was back. Now I do.

Buffy: You *don't* know. Some great evil takes credit for bringing you back and you buy it? You just give up?

Angel: (harshly) I can't do it again, Buffy. I can't become a killer.

Buffy: Then fight it.

Angel: It's too hard.

Buffy: (desperately) Angel, please, you *have* to get inside.

Angel: It told me to kill you. You were in the dream. You know. It told me to lose my soul in you and become a monster again.

Buffy: I know what it told you. What does it matter?

Angel: (raises his voice) Because I wanted to! Because I want you so badly! I want to take comfort in you, and I know it'll cost me my soul, and a part of me doesn't care.

He sobs. Buffy is at a loss for words.

Angel: Look, I'm weak. I've never been anything else. It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man.

Buffy: You're weak. Everybody is. Everybody fails. Maybe this evil did bring you back, but if it did, it's because it needs you. And that means that you can hurt it.

Angel doesn't want to believe her.

Buffy: (pleadingly) Angel, you have the power to do real good, to make amends. (raises her voice) But if you die now, then all that you ever were was a monster.

She looks out at the sky as it begins to lighten.

Buffy: (begging frantically) Angel, please, the sun is coming up!

Angel: Just go.

Buffy: I won't!

Angel: What, do you think this is simple? You think there's an easy answer? You can never understand what I've done! Now go!

Buffy: You are not staying here. (grabs his arm) I won't let you!

Angel: I said LEAVE!

He jerks his arm free of her grasp. In her anger and desperation Buffy punches him. He reacts by shoving her away from him roughly, making her fall face forward, hard to the ground.

Angel: (quietly to himself) Oh, my God...

He goes to her and crouches over her, grabbing her by the shoulders and turning her around to face him. Buffy fears his intentions and cries out.

Buffy: No! No!

He grabs her roughly by the arms and holds her firmly.

Angel: Am I a thing worth saving, huh? (shakes her) Am I a righteous man? (shakes her) The world wants me gone!

Buffy: (tearfully) What about me? I love you so much... And I tried to make you go away... I killed you and it didn't help.

She shoves him off of her and gets up.

Buffy: (crying) And I hate it! I hate that it's *so* hard... and that you can hurt me *so* much. (sobs, then harshly) I know everything that you did, because you did it to me. Oh, God! I wish that I wished you dead. I don't. (whispers) I can't.

Angel gets up now, too.

Angel: Buffy, please. Just this once... let me be strong.

Buffy: Strong is fighting! It's hard, and it's painful, and it's every day. It's what we have to do. And we can do it together.

Angel struggles with himself, knowing she's right.

Buffy: (resolvedly) But if you're too much of a coward for that, then burn. If I can't convince you that you belong in this world, then I don't know what can. But do *not* expect me to watch. And *don't* expect me to mourn for you, because...

She stops in mid-sentence because it has inexplicably begun to snow. She and Angel both look up at it coming down, lightly at first and gradually heavier. The camera pulls up above them and shows them standing there with the snowflakes swirling around them in the gentle morning breeze, and the ground around them starting to become white. Cut to Angel, looking around in amazement. Buffy walks to the edge of the hill and looks out at the town as the roofs on the houses below also start to become white. She turns to Angel, and they look at each other, stunned by this apparent miracle.

Cut to Willow and Oz in her bedroom. They notice the snow outside and sit up on her bed. Willow is first to get up and walk to her balcony door to look out. Oz is right behind. They smile as they see it come down and notice the glass of her French doors begin to frost.

Cut to the Summers house. About an inch and a half (4cm) of snow has now collected on the roof. The camera pans down to the door. Faith opens it, and she and Joyce come out to watch it fall. Faith steps off the porch and lets a few flakes fall on her open hands and face. Joyce pulls her wrap tightly around her against the cold.

Cut to Giles' apartment. He notices that his window has become frosted, and goes over to it to have a look outside. He stares out in amazement.

Cut to Xander lying in his sleeping bag in his backyard. The light from his lantern glows blue. His unfinished dinner plate is covered with snow, as is a comic book he had put aside before retiring. He is sleeping with the top flap of his sleeping bag folded open under his arm. He stirs slightly and wipes at the snowflakes falling on his face. That doesn't help, so he reflexively pulls the flap closed over his head, fallen snow and all. This wakes him up, and a moment later he pushes back the flap and looks up in wonder at the falling snow.

Cut to the shopping district. The camera pans from the green neon sign of the Sun Cinema down to where the movies now playing are listed. The weatherman can be heard on the TV in the window of the audio/video store.

Weatherman: And while most of Southern California is enjoying a balmy Christmas, an extreme cold front has sprung up out of nowhere around Sunnydale, where they are reporting heavy snowfall for the first time in, well, ever.

Cut to the weatherman on TV. The camera pans from him out into the street.

Weatherman: Sunnydale residents shouldn't expect to see the sun at all today. That cold front isn't going anywhere. With temperatures in the high 30s (about 3C), means you better bundle up if you're planning to go outside and enjoy the change in the weather.

Cut to a view of the trees in the street aglow with Christmas lights. The camera pans down into the street, which is deserted except for Buffy and Angel, who walk along hand-in-hand, still looking up at the snow as it comes down.

Cut to a view from above. The street and a few parked cars are covered with about two inches (5cm) of snow. The camera sinks down below a traffic light. Buffy and Angel continue walking in silence down the street.

Cut to a close-up of them walking. Buffy looks over at Angel. He looks exhausted but at peace. He notices her gaze and smiles at her. Together they walk out of view.

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