Buffy and Riley patrol in a cemetery while Buffy rants about her mother's need to shield Dawn, while no one shields her. Riley attempts to be patient with the complaining and then tells her she seems tense "domestically" and is very hard on Dawn. Buffy admits she is and explains, "I know it's always been this way. She's the baby. But for some reason lately, it's really getting to me." I've got my theories about Dawn, one of which is that her appearance and acceptance is some sort of spell. Everyone around Dawn seems more accepting of her than Buffy does, which could be simple sibling rivalry, but could also be that the spell isn't sitting as easy with Buffy, perhaps due to her Slayer powers. Riley suggests that Buffy is Dawn's idol, and Buffy snots, "I don't think so, unless you like to spill things on your idol's new leather pants." One -- total MBTV shout-out. And two -- which pair of leather pants, Buffy? At this point half the bovine population of the US has died to supplement your wardrobe. The scene continues with Buffy complaining about wishing she herself could sometimes be a kid and be protected.
Cut to Dawn, eating ice cream and complaining to Xander and Anya about Buffy always getting her own way. We get it already -- each one thinks she's getting a raw deal and the other sibling has it easier. As he plays Life with Anya, Xander assures Dawn that her mother loves her equally, and teases her a little about paying Joyce to be the favorite. Dawn voice-overs crush talk about Xander and concludes that she feels that sometimes he sees her as a woman. This statement is accompanied by a shot of Dawn looking moony with chocolate ice cream all over her face. I'm glad to see the show willing to skewer her a little, because she's just on the verge of being a little too much to bear. More Dawn mocking, please! As Dawn shovels in the frozen dessert, Anya bitches that she's "burdened with a husband, several tiny pink children, more cash than I can reasonably manage," but brightens up when Xander tells her that means she's winning. Anya then cracks me up by wanting to "trade in the children for more cash." A rock crashes through the window, wrapped in a note that reads, "Slayer! Come out and die," in large curly cursive. The "i" in "die" is dotted with a large happy face. Outside are Harmony and her four boys -- or rather her three boys and one follower of yet-to-be-determined gender -- armed to the gills. Seconds later, Xander leans in the doorway of the Summers' home and informs Harmony that Buffy isn't home and that she and her buddies will have to "come back and be killed by Buffy later." When Harmony explains that the other vampires are her "minions," Xander has a good laugh and then mocks the vamp, Brad, who used to beat him up in gym class for ending up as Harmony's "lapdog." Harmony snarks that she heard Xander himself was "a good little puppy for Dracula," which causes Dawn, cowering in the hall behind Anya, to shout, "Shut up!" Xander tells Dawn he's handling the situation and then snaps, "Shut up, Harmony!" They bicker about the little slap-fight they had last season, and when Harmony calls Xander a "hair-puller," Dawn shouts, "Oh yeah, come inside and say that! Xander will kick your --" Anya clamps down on Dawn's mouth, but too late, as Harmony morphs into her game face and rushes into the house, slamming Xander to the ground.