Buffy barges through the door to the bathroom and stops short of tumbling down the big hole, opting instead for a controlled jump. She somehow does this without spraining or breaking her ankle on the stress of landing. Probably because she wasn't in free fall at all, but assisted by a wire. Very, very obviously assisted. What passes for creepy music these days tinkles on in the background as Buffy sloooooowly looks around and calls out for Dawn. Buffy has the presence of mind to dial Dawn on her phone and listen for the ringing. "Dawn, I'm close by," she says. "Too late," answers the disembodied voice of one of the zombie things. "You're always too late. Sure as hell didn't save me." Buffy rounds a corner to come face to rotting face with the janitor zombie spirit thing. Buffy makes it clear that she doesn't have time to sit and chew the fat with any dead people. She's focused on protecting the living. Particularly those related to her. She demands to know where Dawn is, but the zombie things, which have converged on Buffy, are less than helpful. She attempts to reason with them, pointing out to embittered and revenge-driven zombies that she's more at fault for their deaths than Dawn. They're all blah blah, my last moments were horrible torment thanks to you, but Buffy simply makes the time-out gesture and asks curtly, "Where is my sister!" Again, they're not very helpful, but Buffy spies a door behind the trio and decides that if they don't want her to get there, that's probably exactly where she wants to be. Buffy leaps up into the air and somersaults over their heads. Damn, I hate the gymnastics-driven stunts these days. They're lame and look fake as hell. The zombies manage to grab hold of her again, but she breaks free and makes a dash for the door, just as it bursts open to reveal Spike. He's obviously been living a tormented existence lately. His peroxide job has gone to hell, and a good two inches of brown roots are showing. Buffy gapes at him until the commercials intervene.
"Spike?" says Buffy, softly and unsurely. I can't blame her. It looks like James showed up three hours late to the set and was shoved in front of the camera without going through wardrobe and make-up first. He also picked up quite a tan in Africa. Which either means that Spike is now human, or that nobody is in charge of continuity. Choose your poison. Spike giggles madly at Buffy's question, "Are you real?" He puts his hand on her cheek and quietly says, "Buffy, duck." Buffy is confused, thinking from his tone and general insane demeanor that there's a duck somewhere in the room. So it's quite a surprise to her when she's brained by a lead pipe. The janitor raises the pipe for another blow as Spike retreats into the shadows. Fight, fight. Buffy makes her way through the door and bolts it shut. "They'll probably show up in a sec," asides Buffy. "Nobody comes in here," mutters Spike. "It's just the three of us." Buffy asks Spike if he's seen Dawn, but is surprised at the outburst this occasions. He's not making much sense, saying things like, "I dropped my board in the water and the chalk all ran. Sure to be caned." So. Spike got Dru's soul? Glad to have that cleared up. Buffy slowly advances on Spike. He wraps his unbuttoned shirt tightly around him, but she reaches out to brush it aside, revealing a mass of deep, dark scars directly over his heart. "I tried to cut it out," he explains. Buffy looks directly into his eyes, but her attention is diverted by the chirping of her phone. It's Dawn again, wondering why Mom is so late picking her up from her playdate with her zombie friends. Dawn gives Buffy an approximation of her location, and Buffy tries to puzzle out if they are ghosts or zombies or what while Spike sits huddled and muttering in the background. Then Spike has a semi-lucid moment and contributes, "Manifest spirits controlled by a talisman. Raised to seek vengeance. A four-year-old could've figured it." Yeah but only a four-year-old enrolled at the Happy Hellmouth Fun-Time Play Center. Which, to be fair, is probably every four-year-old in Sunnydale. Also, "Manifest spirits controlled by a talisman raised to seek vengeance" is waaaay too much to type. I'm sticking with zombie spirit things. Buffy advises Dawn to find a weapon and be prepared to use it. Then she Spike if he's going to help, but he's obviously a leeeetle too crazy for that. Buffy slowly walks around the basement, going over the clues in her head. She whips out her phone again, this time to make a call to Xander. I hope she got free mobile-to-mobile calling, or else that bill is quickly going to overwhelm a Doublemeat salary.