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EarthquakeLuckily, we start off right where "Hush" left off — Buffy and Riley sitting in silence in Buffy's dorm. Finally, Riley blurts out, "What are you?" An irked Buffy responds that she's a Capricorn. She asks who he is, and he says that she knows who he is, but he can't tell her what he does. Buffy (having gotten info from Spike) proceeds to describe to Riley what he does. She wonders if Riley is even his name, and he reminds her that she wasn't forthcoming with the truth either. She tells him that she's the Slayer, but he's clueless as to what she's talking about it. He's in awe of her fighting, and she points out that he did pretty well, too; but he points out that he's all bruised up and she's fine. Buffy is disappointed that Riley isn't a nice, normal guy (though he insists that he is), and they agree to take a little time to process everything. As he starts to leave (after reminding Buffy not to reveal his secret), he notices the rat (Amy) acting strangely; an earthquake suddenly hits and the two run into the closet doorway. Riley's excited about his first earthquake, but Buffy looks upset, commenting that it's not her first.

Over at Xander's, the earthquake has broken a couple of pipes, causing a leak in Xander's basement. Xander is off to his new job delivering pizzas, and he orders Spike to fix the pipes, clean up the basement, and do some laundry while he's gone. Spike, none too pleased with these orders, tries to hit Xander from behind with a monkey wrench, but the pain in his head is too much for him.

Buffy is about to leave the dorm when Willow arrives, having come from the library. Willow reveals that the Porter dorm's power is out, so they plan to have an "aftershock party." Willow suggests that Buffy invite Riley, but Buffy skirts around it, saying that she's pretty sure he's busy. Buffy promises to show up at the party later, then heads off to Giles', after reassuring Willow that everything's fine. When she gets to Giles', however, she reveals that she's convinced that something big and bad is coming. This apparently stems from the fact that the last time there was an earthquake, she died. Giles dismisses Buffy's concern, as he is more interested in the Initiative — he's deduced that their headquarters may be under Buffy's school, and that one or more of the members may actually attend the school. Buffy clearly doesn't wish to discuss this, so she continues to suggest ways in which the world may be ending, much to Giles' chagrin.

Over at Initiative Headquarters, Riley asks Forrest what a Slayer is. Forrest reveals that it's a myth, and comments that demons are just animals, nothing more. Just then, a captive demon breaks loose and attacks Forrest. Riley saves him, and the two notice that the other demons are rattling in their cages. Forrest figures it's the earthquake making them act strangely.

At the aftershock party, Willow is alone and uncomfortable. She spots Percy and goes over to talk. She comments that she thought that he was going to USC on a football scholarship; he is, but his date, Laurie, attends UC Sunnydale. Laurie gives Willow her best fake smile, but it's only a moment before she whispers something in Percy's ear, dragging him away. Willow is left alone again. We see some students leave the party, and a demon hand grip the door. Cut to a nearby dorm room, where a shirtless student is mixing drinks, preparing for naked limbo. As he turns to go, a demon presents itself. The demon quickly slashes his throat, and we see the blood dripping onto the cups the boy dropped on the floor.

Willow and her bed-buddyWillow is wondering to herself where Buffy is when she hears her name being spoken — Laurie is questioning Percy about Willow, and Percy scoffs at the idea of flirting with her. He explains that Willow is nice, but she's "captain of the nerd squad." Laurie teases that perhaps Percy has a thing for geeks, but he insists that he likes his women hot. The two kiss, and Willow walks away, hurt. She wanders into a nearby dorm room, which she presumes is empty. She lies down on the bed, pouting, and suddenly the power comes back on — revealing that Willow is accompanied on the bed by the dead boy, bloody and marked on the chest with an eerie symbol.

Xander arrives home from work to find the basement an even bigger mess. Spike speaks from behind him, telling Xander not to turn around. Xander does anyway, and finds Spike wearing his clothes — a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts. Xander laughs; Spike apparently did attempt to do laundry, but shrunk his clothes. A cranky Spike orders Xander to go out and get him clothes and blood, but Xander's had enough. He points out to Spike that he's not the "Big Bad" anymore, and that he's not even worth Xander's energy to kick his "shiny white bum." Xander stalks off, leaving Spike speechless.

Buffy arrives at the now-over party, and finds Willow, who explains what happened (that she found a dead guy, and that Percy said she was a nerd). The two head to Giles' to report on the murdered student.

Forrest and Riley are playing Nerf basketball in Riley's room, but Riley's mind is clearly elsewhere. He brings up Buffy, annoying Forrest, who's obviously sick of hearing about her. Graham arrives, alerting the guys to the murder at the aftershock party. He couldn't get close enough to determine if it was demon-related, so Riley says that he'll investigate while they report to Walsh.

Over at Giles', the gang has assembled and is discussing both Percy (who, Xander points out, would still be in high school if it wasn't for Willow) and the dead guy. Willow reveals that the victim was propped up, as though whatever killed him and drained his blood, probably taking some with it. Willow shows Giles her sketch of the symbol, and Giles reveals that the end of the world is coming. Buffy reminds him that she told him so, and announces that she's going to stop it. She goes to the cemetery, where she finds the dead boy's symbol on the side of a mausoleum. She hears a noise inside, and goes in to find a demon stealing the bones of a child's skeleton. They fight until he slams her backward over a tombstone, and while she catches her breath, he runs away. Buffy spots a shadow above her, and bounces back up, fists ready. Riley blocks her, impressed with her moves. She wonders why he didn't follow the demon, and he comments that he's no Slayer — he's got no weapons or backup, and that's one big demon. Riley notifies the Initiative guys over his walkie-talkie, and then attempts to talk to Buffy. She tells him that she can't be with him, because there's too much risk and it would be doomed. Riley doesn't understand, but he argues that he's not going to walk away because it might not work. Buffy isn't swayed, arguing that what he does is a job and an adventure, but what she does is her destiny. He argues that she can change things, but she walks away, firmly telling him that her answer is no.

The next day, the gang finds the demon in a book — it's a Vahrall demon. Riley is sharing what little information he has with the Initiative, as well. The gang figures out that the demon needs something called the Word of Valios, along with three sacrifices (plus the blood and bones he already has), in order to perform a world-ending ritual. Riley reveals that the demon leaves major traces of pheromones wherever he goes, so they'll be using an invention of Forrest's (a pheromone detector) to track it. Riley orders them to go out in "civies" (their civilian clothes) and to keep their weapons hidden in bags until nightfall. Buffy and crew, assuming the Word of Valios is a book, head off to look at the magic shop and the book archives at the museum. Giles stays behind to keep researching.

Willow and Xander stop at his place to get Xander a clean shirt, and they walk in on Spike trying to stake himself. Xander offers to do it for him, but Willow won't stand for it. Spike asks if he's even remotely scary anymore, and Willow points out that the clothes don't help. Willow insists that he come with them, not wanting to leave him alone.

That evening, Buffy runs into Riley on the street. He tells her that this "you and me thing" is stupid, and she agrees, citing that that's why they can't do it. But he meant that she was stupid, which doesn't flatter her into changing her mind. He insists that if she always looks at life with her "doom and gloom mentality," things will turn out just as she expects. He points out that they're job is rewarding, and fun, and Buffy notifies him that too much fun on the job gets people into comas. Riley points out to her that there will always be evil, but people get through it by having someone to get through it with. He realizes that her behavior isn't only about the job thing, but that there was probably "some good-looking guy who done [her] wrong," and that she wants to stay down in the dark place because it's safer there. She accuses him of being out of line, and insists that if she's too scared to give it a try, then that's her business. She orders him to leave her alone, and he does, stalking off to leave her with her head hanging.

Spike insulting Willow and XanderSpike, Willow, and Xander leave the museum, having found nothing. Spike begins to rail on Willow and Xander, insisting that they're useless geeks, and that Buffy only keeps them around because she's too much of a softie to let them go. Spike smirks, proud of his remarks.

Meanwhile, Giles comes upon a picture of the Word of Valios. It's not a book, it's a talisman — one that Giles happens to have in a box right in his house. He grabs it and prepares to leave, but three Vahrall demons arrive and attack him before he can escape. We cut to an outside shot of Giles' place, still hearing the sounds of him being beaten up. Later, Buffy arrives, the rest of the gang having gotten there first. Giles, who got quite a beating, explains that he got it at a sorcerer's estate sale; he thought it was a fake, and never looked at it again. He reveals that the demons are going to open the Hellmouth in the Sunnydale High School library.

The gang arrives at the SHS ruins, Spike included. Buffy's not exactly keen on having Spike there, but she allows it. She orders them to look for the three sacrifices, making sure they get them out alive. They head to the library, Xander stepping on "Mayor meat" along the way. They find the crater that used to be the library, and see the three demons beginning the ritual around a big crack in the ground (presumably leading into the Hellmouth). Buffy charges in and begins fighting; Xander gets the vial of blood, and Willow gets the bones. She tosses them to Spike, who's not thrilled with that development. Xander fights a demon, who suddenly jumps into the crack in the ground. The ground begins to tremble, and Xander realizes and shouts to the gang that the demons are the sacrifices. Spike is getting whaled on by a demon, until Spike finally gets fed up. He gathers up all his strength and hits the demon over the head, expecting pain. He feels nothing, though, and realizes that he can hurt demons. He vamps out and promptly begins kicking ass. He picks up the demon and, despite Xander and Willow's shouts not to, tosses the demon into the hole in the ground. The earth trembles more, and Buffy orders the gang to get out. Spike gets knocked out, but Xander grabs him. Suddenly, Riley appears, helping Buffy with the last demon. It manages to sneak into the hole, though, so Riley hooks Buffy up to a tether and lets her go in after it. He pulls her out, demon in hand. The ground trembles again, and then stops, as the demon dies.

Riley sees the rest of the gang, claiming he was just passing by. Willow wonders about his G.I. Joe outfit, and he nervously explains that he was playing paintball. They don't buy it, and Xander comments that Riley is one of the commandos. Riley claims innocence, and then changes the subject when he thinks he recognizes Spike. Spike dons an impressively horrible Mid-Western American accent (there's a sound clip in the Quotes Page), claiming to be an old friend of Xander's. They all start to leave, and Willow comments that the school seems smaller.

Riley gets Buffy kissageThe next day, Buffy visits Riley. He reveals that he's a dead man, pointing out that his excuses to the Scooby gang were see-through. He figures that his secret is out and it's the end of the world. He sits down on the bed, and Buffy steps in front of him. "No, it's not," she states, and she leans down and kisses him passionately.

Over at Xander's, he and Willow are trying to watch TV, but Spike won't have it. He thinks they should go out and kick some demon ass. The two stare at him in blank-faced awe and patriotic music plays while Spike encourages them to go out and fight the forces of evil. "Let's kill something," he exclaims. Cut to Joss' Executive Producer credit as we hear Spike: "Oh, come on!"

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