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The library.

The Scooby Gang, minus Scooby herself, is reassembled. Oz is not seated at a chair at the table but is seated ON another table, away from the others.

Giles: So, if the curse was reapplied, as we think it actually might have been, then we have sent this poor creature with a soul to hell where he will suffer forever.

Oz: Well, won't the fact that he's so incompatible with hell cause him to be vomited out of there, like a cat coughing up a hairball?

Giles: Well, and we're just speculating here, we don't know anyone that's been to hell and back . . .

Xander: Audie Murphy.

Giles: I'm sorry, who?

Willow: Forget it, Giles. Another contemporary cultural reference. (She is irritated.) Xander, please control your urges to wisecrack for a moment and concentrate on the problem at hand. I feel responsible for sending a good person . . . (She looks confused.) a good thing? (She recovers her resolve.) well, anyway, he's good and we sent him to hell and I'm not enjoying this feeling. (She nods to Giles.)

Giles: I have the sense, from all I've read, that if Angel arrived on the outskirts of hell--on the perimeter somewhere--Oz, pehaps what you suggest--the hairball--would be possible. But, on the other hand, at the spot in hell where, I understand, the effluent of the Acathla vortex is located--where Buffy probably sent Angel--it is deep in the nether-center, and hell is such a huge region that he would probably end up encapsulated in some fashion. Do you see what I mean?

Xander: Okay, ON TOPIC. 1) We don't know for certain he was re-souled, and 2) He can make his own way out of hell--he's part demon, isn't he? and 3) I don't care if he rots in hell. He has killed a lot of people that we know and turned traitor once; what's to say he won't backslide again and kill all of us this time?

Giles: Look, Xander, I know you have issues with Angel--I have issues with Angelus--J-Jenny--but trust me, I have enough experience in these matters to be able to separate the two personages, and I will try to save Angel if I can. Saving a good soul is always worth our best efforts. And, Xander, how quickly you forget how often Angel fought alongside us, and how he even saved our lives more than once--remember Eyeghon?--my disaster? As a matter of fact, Angel saved Jenny life twice as Angel before finally taking it as Angelus. I know you probably don't believe this, but in another life the two of you could have been friends, good friends. I know he liked you. And admired you. He once told me that when you brought Buffy back to life at the Master's, he could have hugged you. Help us here, please. Don't obstruct.

Willow: Well, what can we do, Giles? Where can we research? How can we get someone out of hell? I mean, that's the BIG question. Can we curse him out of hell? Can we go in after him?

Giles: I just don't know. I just wish we could talk to Buffy to see if she had the sense that the re-souling curse worked. Perhaps our discussion here is moot. But I would suppose it's easier to get into hell than to get back out. And, as to whether a corporeal body can survive in hell--although that's not exactly what Angel is--has also been the subject of much debate.

Cordelia: Where's the entrance? (Everyone looks at her.) What? I can't have a question?

Giles: Yes, of course, you can, Cordelia. I consider you a member in good standing here, and that's a very good question. We are on the Hellmouth here in Sunnydale. There are probably many entrances, but the only one I recall is in the Master's Lair from where he almost escaped at the Harvest. It's supposedly right below where we are standing, although it is only accessible from a network of tunnels connected to the Sunnydale storm sewer system. Now, the Master wasn't IN hell, mind you, but hell was directly on the other side of the area in which he was trapped. We are on THIS side. So, THAT is probably one entrance.

Xander: But there was no other way out of there, that I remember.

Willow: But didn't you guys say there was water there . . . I remember that Buffy drowned . . . almost drowned . . . in the water. Perhaps through the water.

Giles: Yes, yes, Willow. You might be onto something. The prophesy said the Master was trapped in a dimension of fluid fabric.

Oz: Then, okay, suppose there's some way to swim into hell--doesn't sound like something I would do even in a nightmare--but then once you get in, how do you get back out?

Giles: Aye, there's the rub. (Everyone looks at him puzzled.) Oh, sorry, don't they teach Shakespeare anymore? (He picks up a maroon book with silver-grey stripes on it and waves it in the air.) From everything I've ever read on the subject, most of which is in this book, and I quote (opening the book to a marker) ah, English for a change, (reading) Ahem, 'Only one person was ever said to have exited hell and that person'--forgive the obvious religious reference if it offends you--'was Jesus Christ. Without commenting on his possible divine nature, the ancients and the prophets for that matter, generally agree in their mystical writings that the historical Jesus spent exactly three days in hell, the time between the Crucifixion--after he was sealed in his tomb--and the Resurrection. Those who reported this event from a religious standpoint believe that heaven was not open to mortals before then, and it was opened to mortals only after Christ had spent those three days in hell; some believe that he was tortured THERE unmercifully for those three days and that his humility, suffering, and sacrifice, spent THERE, in addition to the agony of the crucifixion, unlocked the doors of heaven to mere mortals from that time forward. It has also been postulated that, because of his unique nature, hell could only hold him for, at most, three days' (leaving the text) (to Oz) so that he was, then, as you say, Oz, regurgitated out of there.

Cut to Hank Summer's office.

Buffy is seated opposite his desk. He is on the phone and he covers the mouthpiece.

Hank: Just a sec, Buffy. Let me take this call and we'll grab something to eat. (To the phone) Why, no, Harold, I've never heard of that company. (pause) What kind of device? (pause) Will record everything on every cable channel? (pause) Okay. Will record, then, everything that comes across the cable. At the same time? (pause) Sounds fantastic. (pause) A week's worth? On one cartridge? Unbelievable.

While he talks, Buffy is looking around the room. Her gaze falls on her father's college fencing sword hanging on the wall. Her mind wanders and replays the events of the night before, when she sent Angel to hell. They were fighting fiercely, then he stopped, hesitated and changed back to Angel. They kissed. She told him to close his eyes and she thrust her sword into him. He looked so hurt--not physically--but so emotionally hurt by her actions, hurt that she would do such a thing to him. The memories bring tears to her eyes and they flow freely down her cheek.

Buffy: (to herself but so surprisingly loud, she startles herself) Wait! (then aloud to herself but lower in volume) The curse. Of course, they reapplied the curse. But . . . (she also remembers Xander and his words, and she recalls his facial expression when he said, 'Kick his ass.' This phrase echoes and echoes in her mind.) (She looks down at her watch. Then she says out loud to her father) Dad, can I use the phone?

Hank: (covering his mouthpiece) Dial 9 first.

Cut to Snyder inside the limo.

Snyder: (on his car phone) His financial collapse is eminent. He can't see it coming but the wheels will turn over him and grind his world into a fine powder. LSD will be so pleased. Believe me, Summers will take any opportunity we give him--and this way it will be totally believable to everyone else--and he'll take our meddlesome Slayer out of the picture. She's in there with him now, just where we thought she'd run to.

Cut to the commons area outside the school.

The French-speaking young blonde girl walks along the sidewalk. In the distance the school entrance can be seen. She wears a beret and carries a bookbag slung casually over her shoulder.

Cut to the library.

Giles: (on the phone inside his office. He talks in an artifically loud voice.) Buffy, so glad to hear from you. (He lifts the phone set, and the cord is very long so he pulls the phone outside where he can place it on a table and face the others.) Yes, there WAS another cememony.

Xander is seen looking anxious. His eyes dart. He gets up and paces. Willow notices.

Split screen with Buffy.

Buffy: And so that was definitely my Angel that I sent to hell?

Giles: Well, YOU tell ME. YOU were there.

Buffy: That was my snookums. And now?

Giles: We were just talking about that. Some way to extricate or extradite him from hell. So far we're drawing a blank.

Buffy: Well, beep me if I have to go to hell.

Giles: Of course, the beeper. I completely forgot.

Buffy: It's been on. Is Willow there? Can you put her on the phone please?

Giles: Willow? Yes, she seems to be coming along. Willow? (Oz wheels Willow over to the phone.)

Willow: Buffy, we were so worried about you. I'm getting better, thanks for asking.

Buffy: I hope you're okay, sweetie. Sorry, I can't small chat. The curse. Dish on the curse?

Willow: I guess it worked then. But, sorry. I didn't mean for things to go so badly.

Buffy: I know. It's not in you. But it did go badly. Believe me. If I had known Angel might reappear, I might have been able to close the vortex without sending him to hell. According to Whistler--you don't know him but he was a demon I met who was Mr. Knowledge Guy--all I needed to do to close the vortex was to get some of Angelus's blood on the end of my sword. So, but instead of experimenting and trying various ways to close the vortex, I was so surprised when my Angel showed up, that all I could think to do was play kissy-face smoochies. God, I wish I had that time back. But the curse? Did you change it?

Willow: Well, sure. I, of course, left out the happiness clause. Jenny had translated it so I had all the words in front of me. I wasn't sure the re-cursing would work anyway, but if it did, I didn't want you to just go back to square one with your doomed relationship, so I redacted--that's legal talk for left out--the twelve words that conditioned the curse on Angel's being unhappy.

Buffy: You did good, Will. And did Xander know that you were going to retry the curse?

Willow: Sure. Didn't he tell you? (pause) Oh, dear.

Buffy: (pause) Sure. Sure he told me. (Xander's words, 'Kick his ass,' 'kick his ass' echo again in Buffy's mind.) And how about the way you were going to change the curse? Did he know about that?

Willow: Oh, dear, Buffy. I'm not certain. At some earlier point I told him I would if I could. Do you want to ask him?

Buffy: (pause) Yeah, put him on.

Willow holds the phone toward Xander. He gets up and moves toward the phone. His movements are labored. He attempts to grab the phone with his broken arm but then takes it with his left hand.

Cordelia: (yelling) Xander, tell her we'll work on her nails when she gets back. I'll MAKE the time.

Xander: Hello.

Buffy: Alexander Harris. You are beneath contempt. Stay away from me if you know what's good for you. Say 'Yes' if you understand why.

Xander: (choking on his one word) Yes.

Buffy: Dismissed.

Xander: (reaching deep within to dredge up some additional words) Cordy says . . .

Buffy: Dismissed.

Cut to the hall outside the library.

Oz wheels Willow; Xander and Cordy walk behind.

Willow: (over her shoulder, causing Oz to stop) Okay, Xander, what gives? What's the matter? Does your arm feel okay? Surely, you aren't still moping because we're WASTING time trying to figure out a way to get Angel back from hell? (She looks around herself to see if she said that too loudly.)

Xander: (matter-of-factly) No. I'm fine.

Willow: (whispered to Oz) Something must be wrong. He just allowed me to call him Shirley.

Oz: Shirley?

Willow: Yeah. You know. From Airplane?

The replacement Slayer saunters past and the guys can't help turning their heads.

Cordelia: Geez, you guys, gawk much? (To Xander) Call me later. I have to be home tonight for my mom's birthday. My dad is taking us out to dinner. (She turns and walks back towards the library.)

Xander: (to her back, faintly) Okay.

When they reach the end of the hall, Xander watches to see which direction Oz pushes Willow and he goes by in the other direction with a terse, "Later."

Cut to the library.

Giles is picking some books off the tables and placing them in a cart. The girl enters the library and approaches him.

Giles: Yes, can I help you?

French girl: Are zyou monsieur Giles?

Giles: Oui, mademoiselle.

French girl: I am zee new Slayer. I believe zhere is, how you say, a vay-can-SEE.

Cut to Hank Summer's office.

Hank: And the police believe you had something to do with this Jamaican girl Kendra's death?

Buffy: Yes, but all they have to do is to interview Xander, Willow, and Mr. Giles, the librarian, and THEY will tell them I was nowhere near the place.

Hank: And, but how about your fleeing the other policeman and--I hope you're kidding or exaggerating--knocking him out?

Buffy: Lucky kick. Pure reflex. Self-defense. I've been taking kickboxing lessons.

Hank: From a librarian?

Buffy: Exactly.

Hank: Well, there's something here that I'm not understanding, or that you're leaving out. But, let's get your mother on the phone and, at least, let HER know where you are, and that you're safe. I'll bet she's worried sick about you.

Cut to the art gallery.

The phone rings and Joyce picks up.

Joyce: Oh, hello, Hank. (pause) She is? Thank heavens. Thanks, that's very considerate of you, thinking to let me know. Please put her on. (pause) Oh, no, Buffy. No, I should be the one who is sorry. I just didn't understand. I'm glad you went to your father. I hope you two have a nice talk; please come back as soon as you can. I had a nice talk with your Mr. Giles today--I went over there to give him and your friends hell, only to find out that you are the S-L-A-Y-E-R. He told me things. Oh, I'll bet I just sounded like DeNiro. He told me you were once D-E-A-D. Is that true? (pause) Oh. (pause) Yes, he's coming over tonight to fill me in totally. Has he ever been married? (pause) Oh! (pause) That blue dress? (She crosses her fingers.) No, I wouldn't think of wearing that old thing.

Continuing to listen on the phone, she goes over to a clothes tree where the blue dress is hanging, freshly wrapped from the dry cleaners. She smiles to herself and absent-mindedly rips off the ticket.

Cut to the library

Giles: The replacement slayer? I don't understand. I thought I had already passed along all the necessary information. Oh, I'm sorry, where's my manners? Please sit down. (She sits at a desk) And your Watcher's name is?

Claudia: I am Claudia LeBeaux. [Ed. note: she pronounces it CLOUD-ee-ah Le-BO] My Watcher is Phillipe [fill-LEAP] LeMonde. Here's his number. He is waiting for your call.

Cut to the common's area of the school.

Oz wheels Willow while she talks.

Willow: Oh, yes, I'm feeling much better. But I think my legs are still a little rubbery. Anyway, I'm not so well that I'm not greatly improved by your attention.

Oz: We'll just let you take it easy for a while.

Willow raises her hand and Oz stops pushing. She is looking across the way, and Xander is sitting alone gazing off into space. Even from that distance, they can see him sigh. Also, when he turns to the side, he looks like he has lost his best friend and is looking for him/her in the clouds.

Oz: Yeah, something's bothering him. Where's Cordy?

Willow: Cordy has come a long way, but she doesn't know his rhythms and doesn't realize he's in trouble.

Oz: (with a twinge of hurt in his voice) Like you do?

Willow: Please don't be jealous. See, even YOU can see he is suddenly conflicted. He's been edgy ever since Angel went bad; it may have something to do with a feeling of betrayal with Angel, but I think it had more to do with his finding out that Buffy and Angel, well, went beyond smoochies. And then this noon--talking to Buffy on the phone--I got the feeling from her that Xander never told Buffy we were re-applying the curse.

Oz: Why would he hide that?

Willow: Probably because he wanted her to kill Angel no matter what.

Oz: And you still like this guy? I mean, didn't he send her into battle for the future of the world with misleading or incomplete information so she would kill off his rival. I mean, 'Jealous much?' And he could have gotten HER killed in the process.

Willow: Yes, he's human. He loves Buffy, and can't help himself. He likes her like I liked him before I met you. But, you know, I grew up with him. In some ways he was my 'big goyim brother' as he used to call himself.

Oz: But, he's got Cordy. Boy, haven't you guys learned anything from Dawson's Creek?

Willow: (smiling) Yeah, you'd think we would have. It's just all so complicated. But, I know, and Dawson's is a good example, a girl probably falls in love deeper and sooner and with a guy she feels comfortable with. A guy, on the other hand, is more the hunter and any girl he's grown up with tends to blend into the woodwork and he thinks of her as maybe part of himself, so he needs to go outside himself to hunt for a mate. Psychobabbling?

Oz: I like psychobabbling. I think what you said is very perceptive and, kind of, summarizes a lot of diverse concepts I've read about. I very much like the way you think and the way you look and I don't want to see you endanger yourself anymore like you did with that spell thingy. (He bends down and kisses her sharply on the mouth.) And if you like, I'll reserve judgement on our friend Xander. For you to defend him so ardently leads me to believe he's not a total creep.

Willow: He's not. You know how he's a regular chatterbox most of the time, with a seemingly endless supply of smart aleck remarks, most of which--I say most--are pretty funny? If you want to know the truth I think he spends a lot of time dreaming them up, so he can have something to say, so he can project outward rather than inward. Inward, for him, is trouble. You see, and I've never told anyone in our group this, but I can remember a scary, scary time when Xander was a strange, silent, almost autistic little boy. For almost two years, around the time we were in first and second grade, he wouldn't talk. Nothing. I don't know enough of the facts, but I do know he suffered some deep, psychological damage as a child. I know he was part of the McAllister Daycare Center thing. Did you ever hear of that? It was in the papers at the time.

Oz: McAllister? McAllister? No. What was that about?

Willow: I don't know exactly. Out of respect for him, I've never gone back and read the old newspaper accounts. I think he wants to forget it. I DO know it affected him, though. He still retains a certain fear of clowns--you know?--made up clowns? I guess one of the men at the daycare center used to dress up like a clown--Giggles The Clown--and he used to hurt the children or something. Xander was so traumatized by the whole incident that he may have even, and don't quote me on this, been a danger to himself at one point. I remember one time when they rushed him to the hospital. So, maybe he overcompensates now, but I'd much rather see him as Mr. Jabberwocky than as that silent little boy. Cause when he goes silent, like now, it scares me.

Oz: You mean, like he tried . . . (he makes like to cut his wrists)(Willow shrugs) Wow! Okay, wow. Okay, we'll watch him. I don't think we have anything to worry about though. He always seems pretty self-assured to me. Maybe too tightly wrapped, though. Say (he remembers to ask) who is this Shirley person you were talking about earlier?

Willow: Shirley? Shirley? Oh, Shirley? (in a Yiddish accent) You don't know from Shirley? (Oz shakes his head) The movie Airplane?

Oz: Never saw it.

Willow: Oh, good. We'll rent it and watch it together sometime. Shirley is a running stupid joke in the movie--so silly that you have to laugh. Leslie Nielsen is playing this doctor on the Airplane and someone says something to him like, 'Surely you're not suggesting that blah, blah, blah' and he says, 'Yes, I am suggesting so and so, and don't call me Shirley.' (Oz doesn't seem to get it.) See, he mistakes surely with Shirley. (Oz smiles.) Well, it's really funny when Leslie Nielsen says it. Anyway, unless something is seriously wrong with Xander, you normally can't say surely around him without getting a "Don't call me Shirley" right back. He let one slide right past him and that's another reason I'm concerned about him.

Xander continues to gaze off into the distance. Then he gets up and shuffles away.

Cut to the library.

Giles: (to Claudia) Okay, I'm certain you heard while I explained to your Watcher, LeMonde: we already have THEE Slayer and so you as THEE Slayer are redundant. Kendra was called--activated--when Buffy was technically dead; but Buffy was revived by our Xander. I can't help but feel that Kendra subsequently weakened and faded into the background as Buffy fully recovered. The Power has always been channeled to the sanctioned Slayer. And as I can attest, from recent bruises incurred while training her, Buffy has lost none of her strength and abilities. So, you cannot possibly be the incumbent Slayer, Claudia.

Claudia: But I am, Monsieur Giles. Do you want to receive some bruises from me? Three days ago, I received an incredible infusion of strength. LeMonde verified zeese with Mr. Zabuto--that it was right after zee time Kendra died. So, LeMonde sent me to zee Hellmouth as soon as he thought I would be needed here. Thus, if, as you suggest, zee Power goes to zee Real Slayer, then I suspect that it is zeese Buffy person who will now lose her strength. How about it, want to put me through my paces?

She goes over to Buffy's training area and jumps way high up and kicks a speed bag with one foot and, before coming down, kicks it again with the other foot. Her beret comes off in the process. Once down, then, she pummels a heavy bag with such viciousness that one of her fists ultimately goes through the canvas and it begins to leak sawdust.

Giles: No thanks, I can see you're in tip-top shape. I just don't think you are in Slayer shape.

She picks up her beret and her bag and walks back toward the tables.

Claudia: And, so, how could I prove it to you?

Giles: Difficult. Hard to prove a negative. The only way to verify it, I suppose, would be if Buffy lost her powers.

Claudia: Well, then, she will. But that may take time. Do you mind if I stay close for a while?

Giles: No, indeed. Buffy is currently away for a while and I, for one, would certainly welcome your assistance in filling in while she's away. We don't believe there's any immediate threat in the area right now, but Vampire activity at the Hellmouth is an ongoing, unpredictable problem.

Claudia: Then, eet is settled. And if I'm ultimately not needed, then at least I will have seen some frontline action.

Giles: Commendable attitude, Claudia.

Claudia: By the way (with her left hand she replaces her beret on her head and with her right hand she puts her knapsack down on the same table that Joyce had used earlier, but when her hand comes in contact with the spilt holy water, she jerks it away in pain and deftly hides her reaction from Giles by turning away; her hand smokes briefly, though, and at the same time something moves under her beret and then in two places the felt cap can be seen protruding [horns] for a second and then it returns to normal again) (her voice recovering) I'd like to meet theese person who brought the Slayer back to life. He must be a good person to have at your back.

Giles: That would be our Xander. Yes, he's a valuable ally. He's around. You probably will get to meet him after school. Usually the gang drops in around 4:00.

She looks mysteriously pleased at the prospect.

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Unbecoming1: Out to Lunch (Part 3 of 4)

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