Morning. Dawn trundles down the front steps. She gets about halfway down the front walk before Buffy calls after her. Buffy is wearing bits and pieces of various beige fashion disasters all sewn together to make the biggest, beigest, baggiest, fashion-disastrous fashion disaster in the history of disastrous fashion. Buffy hands Dawn her lunch, and Dawn is absolutely touched. Buffy warns Dawn that she better get to school because "those of us who fail history are doomed to repeat it in summer school." Dawn tenderly hugs her big sis and searchingly asks Buffy if she's okay. "I'm going to start charging money to every person that asks me that," chides Buffy gently. Dawn explains that it's just because everyone cares about her so much. "But it'll be better now. Now that they can see you being happy." Buffy just blinks until Dawn goes on her way.
Der Zauber Kasten. Willow and Tara are shelving books and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! What is Willow wearing? It's…it's…red…and…fuzzy…and…wrong. She looks like a refugee from Fraggle Rock. Buffy comes in. The gang makes nervous small talk. Buffy starts to say her piece. "You brought me back. I was in…" and a small flick downward of her eyes belies her words. "…I was in hell…you guys gave me the world. I can't tell you what it means to me." Willow and the flayed pelt of Elmo nervously rush over to Buffy to hug her. They're quickly joined by Xander, who wraps his arms around them both. The Scoobies don't notice, but Buffy squeezes her eyes shut as if to blink back tears.
Buffy steps outside the side door of Der Zauber Kasten into a very bright and sunny alley. In the shadow of the building, Spike sits on a crate. He mentions the moment that the gang just shared, which I guess he heard with his super-duper vampire hearing, since he's sitting a good twenty feet away from the door. Buffy takes a seat next to him, explaining that she just wanted some time alone. He gets up to shove off, but is stopped by the sun. Which makes no sense, because he must have had some way to get there in the first place. I know that, of all the issues surrounding Spike, this particular one probably shouldn't bother me so much, but it does. Vampires are creatures of the night. Not creatures of the gloomy day, or creatures of the indirect sunlight. It just makes them all the less potent, all the less tragic. Honestly, what's the difference between me and Spike right now? I eat things my friends are repulsed by and have to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight because, I too, burn very easily. Whatever. Buffy tells him that he can stay, because she is able to "be alone with [Spike] here." Spike returns to sit next to her and tells her that he'll be there for her if she needs him to be. Despite the fact that he hasn't "been to a hell dimension as of late," he does "know a thing or two about torment." Sigh. There was a time when, if Spike had said that line, we would have automatically assumed that he meant he knew a bit about causing torment. But now Schmoopy Shpikey-kins means only that he's just been so gosh-darned torn up by the death of Buffy. This is the impetus for Buffy to drop the bombshell that she was happy and at peace after she died. She tells him that she's not sure if she was in heaven or what, but she was warm and safe and knew that all of her peeps were fine. But most importantly, she was "finished. Complete." But now, thanks to her "friends," she's not there anymore. "Everything here is hard. And bright. And violent…this is hell." Well, at least it explains the clothes. Buffy glances at Spike and realizes that she might have said too much. She quickly rises to leave, but stops a few steps later and without turning around says, "They can never know. Never," before walking resolutely down the alley.