|'Older and Far Away'
Story Code '6ABB14'
by Drew Z. Greenberg
Dawn is left home alone and feeling neglected while Buffy goes out on patrol. In the cemetery, the Slayer is confronted by a huge red demon, which seems to be able to disappear at will; Buffy is finally able to stab it with its own sword, but the monster seems to dissolve and meld into its own weapon. Buffy then takes her new toy home. At the ‘Magic Box’, Anya, Xander and Willow are finalising plans for Buffy’s birthday; Willow is happy when Xander tells her that Tara will also be there. Dawn arrives and asks if any of the gang want to go shopping with her, but they are all too busy to accompany her. Willow reveals that she is attending a ‘Spellcasters Anonymous’ group to help with her magic addiction. Later, Dawn arrives home to an empty house; upstairs in her room, she empties her pockets of the various things she has stolen. The next day at school, Dawn is called into the guidance counsellor’s office; when the officer manages to get Dawn to open up, the young girl confesses that all the people in her life seem to leave, and she wishes they would stop. That evening, Anya and Xander prepare snacks for the party and reveal to Buffy that they have brought a cute guy named Richard along for her. Tara arrives, as do two unwanted guests: Spike, along with his demon buddy, Clem. Tara is left alone with Spike, and enjoys his obvious jealousy of Richard. Buffy opens all of her presents, including a back-massager from Willow. However, she is surprised when she opens Dawn’s gift: a beautiful and expensive looking leather jacket, which still has the security tag attached. But Buffy before she can remark on this, she is distracted when Xander and Anya present her with a new beautiful weapons-chest, hand-made by Xander. The last guest arrives, Sophie, a friend of Buffy’s from the ‘Doublemeat Palace’. No-one notices Dawn’s counsellor standing on the front porch; she transforms into her true identity of Halfrek the Vengeance Demon and then announces that Dawn’s wish has been granted. Everyone is having a great time at the party, dancing and playing games. Spike confronts Buffy in the hallway, but luckily for the Slayer Tara interrupts them. Later, everyone gathers in the living room to play poker; the night drags on, and, as morning arrives, they are all still there, happily watching cartoons. No one wants to leave, but they have their obligations to fulfil. Buffy tries to throw Spike out, but they physically cannot go towards the door, as if an invisible force is preventing them. They hold a meeting in the living room and realise that something is keeping them in the house against their will. Dawn sarcastically comments on how awful it must be for them to actually spend time with her, and then storms off to her room. The others follow, concerned that she has something to do with what is happening, but Dawn insists that she has done nothing, and is glad they are all trapped. The gang try to come up with a plan to solve their predicament, and discover the phones are not working as well. Buffy suggests that Tara performs a spell. While the others wait by the front door, Willow helps Tara execute a release spell in the kitchen; but when after the spell is completed they are still unable to leave the house. However, the spell releases the demon trapped within the sword, and it suddenly appears before them. The monster attacks, critically wounding Richard before disappearing into the walls; it then reappears and wounds Xander on the arm. When Buffy goes to check on Dawn, her sister tells her that she did not mean for this to happen, she just did not want to be left alone again. Meanwhile, Xander and Anya try to force Willow into using her magic to release them, but Tara steps in between them, ready to defend Willow. Dawn tells Buffy about her counsellor, leading them to guess that she may be involved. They are surprised to find Anya in Dawn’s room, looking for evidence of Dawn’s involvement; instead she finds Dawn’s hidden stash of stolen loot, including lots of things from the ‘Magic Box’; Buffy realises her leather jacket was also stolen. As they all return downstairs, she tells the others about Dawn’s counsellor; Anya realises who is responsible and summons Halfrek, but as soon as the Vengeance Demon arrives she is stabbed by the demon. Buffy manages to retrieve the sword from the monster and, with Spike’s help, is able to stab it again; this time she breaks the sword in half. Halfrek is unharmed, and she begins to admonish everyone for ignoring Dawn, revealing that her vengeance specialty is getting back at people who ignore their children; she heard Dawn’s cries for attention all over town, and simply answered. She tells them to enjoy being stuck together, but then discovers that she too is trapped by her own curse, and cannot leave the house. Annoyed, Halfrek has to undo her magic. While Tara helps Willow to clean up she tells her that she is proud of her for not giving in to using magic to save them. The guests rapidly begin to leave, but instead of leaving the house with her friends, Buffy stays in her home with Dawn.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), James Marsters (Spike), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Amber Benson (Tara), Kali Rocha (Halfrek), Ryan Browning (Richard), Laura Roth (Sophie), James C. Leary (Clem), Elizabeth Cazenave (Teacher)
Directed by Michael Gershman
TX (US): 12th February 2002
TX (UK - Sky One): 4th April 2002
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Anya, Tara and Dawn