Xander walks into his apartment, followed by Buffy and Dawn, and explains "the rules" an unseen "you" will sleep in a converted closet. Xander doesn't like this plan. Spike (the aforementioned "you," who will be staying at Xander's place) is waiting at the door, and Buffy reminds Xander that an invitation is required. Xander and Buffy argue the merit of "crazy basement guy" vs. "stalking Buffy guy." Dawn worries the Buffy and Spike are starting things up again, but Buffy assures her that everything is different now that he has a soul; that he's been through a lot and won't hurt her now. Spike (now inside the apartment) taps Buffy's arm and she jumps, possibly frightened. He says that he should leave, but she apologizes for being jumpy and says that he already seems better half an hour away from the school basement and he's stopped talking to invisible people. He doesn't want to be coddled; she insists it's not coddling, then sends him to his closet.
At the high school the next day, Dawn and Buffy sit on the bleachers during football practice, continuing their conversation about Spike. Dawn wonders if Buffy loves him, but Buffy insists that she merely "feels for him." Dawn is confused at the way the two of them behaved, saying one thing and doing another, and doesn't understand how getting a soul will change Spike. She compares him to Xander, who has a soul yet left Anya at the altar and now wants her back. Dawn doesn't think it's the basement that makes Spike crazy. Buffy says she should get back, and Dawn continues explaining that she doesn't understand relationships and the insane things that everyone does. Buffy leaves, but Dawn keeps talking as she turns back toward the field. A player, R.J., has come to the sidelines and is putting on his letterman jacket. Dawn is silenced, and stares with longing as he drinks water and hugs his teammates (all in slow motion), to the tune of Theme from "A Summer Place." Her gaze follows him as he walks away, and she falls off the bleachers with a yelp of surprise.
A little later, in Anya's apartment, Buffy fights a demon while Anya tells it that she might not even be the Anyanka who pissed off "D'Hoffryn-in-in." (It turns out that D'Hoffryn "isn't the head of vengeance for nothing," and decided to kill Anya after all.) Buffy kills the demon and comments that Anya's lucky she stopped by and heard screaming. Anya thanks Buffy, then asks her to go away, explaining that she doesn't want to need anyone's help, and would like Buffy to stop. Buffy understands that Anya needs to figure out who she is, but something bad is happening (another something bad), and she doesn't want her friends out there alone. Anya offers to help, commenting that Willow isn't good with practical strategizing (except when she's evil), and Dawn isn't good for anything.
Meanwhile, back at school, Dawn paces in the hallway. Around a corner, R.J. and another football player (O'Donnell) are standing with two cheerleaders, one of whom (Cheryl) has a cast on her leg, but thinks she can still cheer maybe sitting down. The other girl (Lori), who is the head cheerleader, tells her to concentrate on getting well, and they'll find a replacement at try-outs tomorrow. Dawn approaches and greets R.J., which doesn't thrill the two girls, or really R.J. from the looks of it. She brings up a teacher that R.J. had at his old school, whose class she is in now. She comments that his class is a drag, but R.J. liked him, so she tries to take back what she said by saying that she meant "drag" in a fun way. The foursome clearly aren't really interested in Dawn, but she persists, commenting that she hears the football team is going "all the way" this year, and R.J. argues with O'Donnell over who will be made starting quarterback. Dawn chimes in again, comparing the quarterback to the "rudder that guides the ship." R.J. offers to carry Cheryl's book bag, prompting protestation from Lori, and the four leave Dawn standing alone, left out. She embarrasses herself by calling out after them that they'll talk later.
That night, Dawn digs through boxes in the basement. The next day at school, auditions are being held to fill the open position on the cheerleading team. Dawn is up next, wearing Buffy's old cheerleading costume. All too aware that R.J. is watching, she awkwardly performs a routine in his praise, ending the routine with a cartwheel that puts her flat on her ass. Lori thanks her, saying that her routine was "very spirited."
At home that night, Buffy stands outside of the bathroom door, asking Dawn to come out. She says it's not that bad, but Dawn opens the door and tells her that now R.J. will never notice her. Buffy points out that he probably already did, which causes Dawn to slam the door and tell Buffy to go away. Xander comes around the corner and Buffy tells him that tonight might not be good for watching videos. He says anything is better than a night with Spike. He offers to order pizza, saying that teenagers in a snit like pizza. Dawn comes out and tells him it's not a snit, that R.J. is the guy of her dreams and she blew it. Buffy looks past Dawn to the chearleading uniform, shredded on the floor. She asks what it is; Dawn tells her it's the end of her life and runs to her room. Xander reminisces about Dawn's "cuter" crush on him. Buffy finds Dawn lying on her bed. She complains that Dawn shredded her uniform, and Dawn says she'll buy her a new one. Buffy says she doesn't want a new one, and Xander begins to comment that she shouldn't be so hasty to decide, but thinks better of the joke. Buffy sits with Dawn and assures her that it will seem better in the morning, that she didn't even know him. Dawn says that she knows his soul, and Xander says that it's the jacket high school girls always get crushes on the boys with the jackets. He goes on to say that you can't just pin any old letter to your jacket for the same effect, but backpedals quickly to assure them that he never tried that. Dawn insists that it isn't a crush, it's true love, and Buffy repeats that she's only been aware of him for a day. Buffy tells her that it only feels real, but it isn't really love. Dawn tells Buffy that she'd prefer not to take relationship advice from the "disfunction queen," that Buffy doesn't know what real love is and wouldn't make fun of her if she did. Buffy says she isn't making fun of her, but Dawn tells her to leave her alone. Xander leaves and Buffy looks at Dawn.
At school the next day, Dawn overhears O'Donnell tell R.J. that the coach chose him (O'Donnell) to start on Saturday. He tells R.J. it was time for someone else to have a turn, and leaves. Dawn follows him and tells him that he can't do this to R.J., that it's not fair after all his (R.J.'s) hard work. He tells her that it's dog-eat-dog, may the best man win it's the way the game works. She suddenly pushes him and he tumbles down a flight of stairs, landing motionless at the bottom. Dawn's eyes go wide.
In the principal's office, Dawn tells Principal Wood and Buffy that O'Donnell stumbled and fell on his own. Principal Wood asks why he'd say she pushed him, and Dawn suggests that he was embarrassed at being clumsy, saying that it must be hard when you're popular and athletic. Principal Wood says it wouldn't be the first time O'Donnell was caught in a lie, but he dreads telling Coach Wheeler. Dawn comments that at least the coach has R.J. to take over, and Buffy's eyes widen. Principal Wood says that's all he needs from Dawn, and she says she's just sorry it happened, and leaves.
In the hallway, R.J. approaches Dawn and says he heard she was called into Wood's office, and it sucks that she's facing the inquisition. She replies, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition," then shudders at her humor, calling it "a disease." She says it was no big deal, but R.J. touches her arm and says it was. She tells him that they just talked about "the accident." He asks her if she'd like to meet up after practice. She smiles.
At the Bronze that night, Buffy, Xander and Willow sit watching The Breeders. Xander complains about Spike, saying that it's nice that he's less crazy, but having a soul ought to make him pick up his wet towels off the floor. Willow suggests that the soul might at least make him feel bad about leaving them on the floor. Buffy's just glad he's showering. Xander points to the dancefloor, where R.J. is dancing with a girl in a sexy outfit doing some sexy dancing. Willow and Xander admire the girl, while Buffy scoffs at her attire. As Buffy says how glad she is that Dawn isn't there to see her crush with this "slutbag hussy," the girl turns around: it is Dawn. Xander and Willow are appalled at their earlier lusty feelings. When Dawn walks past their table, Buffy asks her if she has plans for later or is just going to go down to the docks and wait for the fleet to come in. She tells Dawn off for lying about her whereabouts, going on a date without informing Buffy, and looking tackier than Anna Nicole Smith. Dawn says that R.J. thinks she looks hot, and Buffy threatens to go have a word with him. Dawn tells her not to embarrass her, and Buffy says she doesn't like the crazy way Dawn is acting because of R.J.. Dawn asks Buffy when she became Mom, and Buffy says that she's glad their mother isn't there to see Dawn like this. She apologizes, but Dawn says that Buffy can't handle it that she's always been the special one, and can't stand it that Dawn is getting the attention. Dawn likes the way R.J. makes her feel and doesn't care if that makes her a slut in Buffy's eyes. She moves to walk past Buffy, who stops her and tells her she is not going back to the dancefloor. Dawn grabs her jacket and stomps out.
In the alley, Dawn hears a noise and calls out to R.J.. It's not him, though; it's Lori, the head chearleader, telling her to back off R.J.. Dawn tells her it's sad that she can't get over being dumped. Lori grabs her hair and the two of them fight until Buffy arrives and pulls them apart, chastising Dawn for first lapdancing and now catfighting. Lori kicks Buffy's in the shin and runs away, calling out to Dawn that R.J. is hers and Dawn had better stay away from him. Buffy jokes that at least someone agrees that Dawn shouldn't be dating R.J..
At the school, Buffy watches as R.J. leaves Principal Wood's office. Wood suggests that R.J. avoid detention by doing his own homework instead of getting "young, impressionable women" to do it for him. Wood goes back into his office and R.J. walks out, but Buffy stops him, saying she isn't done with him yet. R.J. is irritated that he has to deal with Buffy on top of Mr. Wood's back-riding, but Buffy says that she is more formidable and R.J. may come to look fondly on Wood's style. R.J. sits and says he's sorry about the homework, but Buffy wants to talk about the girls, specifically Dawn. R.J. didn't do anything to Dawn, and thinks that the way she looked at The Bronze proves but Buffy interrupts to say that she knows how guys like him work, turning on the charm to get whatever they want. He says it isn't like that; he just gets along well with girls. As he slips his jacket on, Buffy describes how he thinks that as the quarterback, he can crush the little girls and their little feelings. As she looks at him, her tone shifts and she begins to describe how hard it must be to lead a team of athletes who depend on you, to have that much pressure on you. But, she says, that doesn't mean you can disregard people's feelings. She says she understands that he doesn't mean to hurt anyone, but she gets distracted and asks if he works out a lot. She points out how recently she was in high school she's practically the same age as R.J., but with more sexual experience. When another teacher walks in, Buffy sends R.J. back to class, watching him leave in slow motion, to the tune of Theme from "A Summer Place", with a dopey smile on her face.
Dawn arrives home at night and Buffy calls to her to come talk in the living room. Buffy tells her that she talked to R.J., and thinks he likes Dawn. Dawn wants her to repeat every word, including intonation and facial expression. Buffy says that R.J. thinks Dawn is pretty and funny, but reluctantly admits that he thinks she came on too strong. Dawn worries that if she lays off, another girl will sweep him up, but Buffy says that R.J. likes to be the sweeper, and Dawn will come out the winner with Buffy to look after her.
The next day at school, Buffy interrupts an algebra class and tells the teacher that R.J. Brooks is needed at the guidance office. R.J. follows Buffy to an empty classroom, where Buffy asks him what one of him plus one of her adds up to. Dawn walks down the hall, intending to "just look" at R.J., but sees his empty seat in math class. Buffy asks R.J. what it's like to lead a football team, and commiserates about juggling things in high school which, she reminds him, was very recent and comments that Principal Snyder was always on her. R.J. thinks that Wood is worse and wishes that someone would get him off his back, but Buffy interrupts him with a kiss. R.J. says that she's like a teacher... but it doesn't bother him.
Meanwhile, Dawn peers through classroom windows looking for R.J., eventually spotting Buffy and R.J. making out. She runs into the courtyard and sits by a tree, crying. Xander spots her and asks what's wrong, upsetting her by calling R.J. "that guy in the jacket," which is what she used to call him before she knew his name. He offers to get Buffy, but she doesn't ever want to see her again it's no longer about R.J., it's about him and Buffy.
Xander bursts into the classroom that Buffy and R.J. are in where she is straddling (and bumping and grinding) R.J. on a desk. Buffy introduces R.J.. Highly dismayed, Xander tells Buffy to get off the boy, they're going home.
At home, Buffy begs Dawn to stop crying, saying that it won't make R.J. stop loving her (Buffy). Xander suggests that it's a spell, and Buffy agrees that Dawn is clearly under a spell. Willow and Anya say that they are working on it, and soon Buffy and Dawn will both be free from the spell. The sisters each insist that their love is real and the other is under a spell. Dawn can't believe that Buffy lied to her and betrayed her not because she's older than R.J., but because she is the one person Dawn trusted. Researching, Willow remarks to Xander and Anya that people forget how dangerous love spells can be. Xander, flashing back to the events of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, reminds the girls that he's been there, calling those events, "good times" as he reminisces. Willow finds information on R.J. on the computer, and Buffy demands to see if there is a picture. Xander realizes that R.J.'s brother Lance was a Sunnydale athlete who used to stick gum in Xander's hair, and suggests that they use him as a way in. Buffy wants Willow to keep looking for pictures of R.J..
Spike and Xander walk up to Lance's house, while Xander warns Spike to keep an eye on Lance and not be charmed by him the way everyone was in high school. The door is answered by a schlubby-looking ex-jock who has clearly gone to waste since high school. In his living room, he congratulates Xander on his construction job and asks what's up with R.J.. Xander says that a girl he knows might be going out with R.J., and Lance says that he understands that Xander wants to check up on R.J., make sure he's a good guy. He assures them that R.J. is a great guy, following in his brother's footsteps. He tells them that he was worried about R.J. for a while he used to read comic books, be in Model United Nations, and even write poetry: geek stuff, with no offence intended to Xander. One day, R.J. blossomed. Xander asks if Lance knows why, but Spike interrupts to point out pictures of R.J. and Lance Lance is wearing R.J.'s jacket. Lance says no, it's his jacket he gave it to R.J. after graduation. Now Lance works at Pizza Barn, in the management program. Xander asks where the jacket came from, and Lance says it was their father's, that he met their mother while wearing it and made a big deal of passing it down. Xander stands up to go, commenting that it's getting late; Lance tells them that they can stay if they like, and that he has a rumpus room in the basement. Lance's mother calls downstairs, offering Lance "little boxes of raisins" for his guests. Xander says that they really have to go, and he and Spike make a quick exit.
Willow has tried every anti-love spell spell that she can find, but to no avail. Anya is sure that even if she succeeded R.J. would just use an "anti-anti-love spell spell...spell." The doorbell rings, and Willow opens the door to R.J., who is looking for Buffy. Willow says that Buffy isn't here, and Anya confirms with, "No Buffy for you." They tell him to leave and he asks them to have Buffy call him. Watching him go, Anya comments that it's a good thing Buffy and Dawn were upstairs and didn't know R.J. was there. They watch him go with loving gazes, as we again hear Theme from "A Summer Place". After he's gone, Willow argues that Anya doesn't even know him, but Anya says she saw his soul. Willow says that his soul would have to be in his ass, since he was walking away, and Anya claims that "AJ" is her best friend and dearest darling. Willow says that Anya clearly saw R.J.'s devotion to her. Buffy and Dawn come down the stairs, asking what's going on. Anya tells them that Willow is in love with her boyfriend, and Dawn cries that they can't do this. Buffy points out that Willow is a gay woman, and Willow says it's about his heart, not his physical presence which Anya points out has a penis, but Willow says she can work around that. Dawn thinks it is unfair that they are doing this to her. Buffy concludes that Willow and Anya are under the same spell that got Dawn, who protests that it's not a spell but is silenced by Buffy. Willow suggests that it's a matter of who loves him the most, and claims that it is her, because she is looking past the "whole orientation thing." Anya says that she loves him more because she'd kill for him, but Willow argues that Anya would kill for a chocolate bar. Buffy says that she is the Slayer, and Slayer means kill, so she will kill the principal for him. Anya admits that's hard to top, and Willow says she'll prove her love with magic. Anya asks if she's going to use magic to make him a girl, and Willow grins with excitement at the idea. Anya runs out the door, Willow upstairs. Buffy gets her coat, pausing to apologize to Dawn and tell her she's "never gonna get him."
In a 4-way split screen, we see Willow preparing candles for a spell, Buffy (badly) parking her mom's old SUV, Anya holding a bag and pulling on a mask in front of the bank, and Dawn walking slowly along the railroad tracks. Buffy gets out of the car with an AT4 rocket launcher. Dawn lies down across the tracks. Buffy walks toward the school, Anya walks toward the bank, and Willow sits, preparing for her spell.
As magics swirl around her, Willow asks Hecate for "a simple change," and as she asks to make a daughter from a son, a hand covers her mouth. Spike watches as Xander silences Willow, who protests that she'll have to start over, and Hecate hates that. Xander takes her crystals and asks what she was doing, and she explains, saying she doesn't have much time before Buffy, Anya and Dawn prove they love him most. Xander asks how, and Willow tells him that Buffy is going to kill Principal Wood.
Wood is going through papers on his desk. Through the window behind him, Buffy takes aim with her rocket launcher. Spike tackles her and she fights him for the rocket launcher, moving in and out of the frame. Finally he runs away with the weapon, and Principal Wood, hearing a noise, looks out the window to where they just were. He shakes his head and goes back to his paperwork. Buffy runs after Spike, and finds Xander and Willow at the car, where Willow is doing a locator spell of the human variety. Buffy says that she has a principal to kill, and wants to know who they're looking for.
Dawn lies on the railroad track, a train's horn blowing in the approaching distance. Xander screeches his car to a stop near the tracks, while Willow and Buffy accuse him of wasting time while Anya, "recently evil," seduces R.J.. Xander points to Dawn on the tracks, and Buffy is pulled back to reality. Two trains are coming from either direction. Buffy chases and jumps onto the closer train, climbing over it and jumping onto the track where Dawn lies, directly in front of the other train. She pulls Dawn off the track as the train speeds by. Buffy asks what she was doing, how she thought she'd steal R.J. by being trisected. Dawn says that she can't compete with Buffy (who's older and hotter and has sex that's rough), but if she died for him then he'd know she loved him the most. Buffy tells her that no guy is ever worth her life, and she'd give R.J. to Dawn in a second if she could. Dawn asks if she doesn't want him for herself, and Buffy says she does, as he's very hot, but she thinks maybe she's under a spell.
Xander and Spike peer around a corner in Sunnydale. Xander asks Spike if he's sure he understands the plan. He is. R.J. is walking down the street with Cheryl, the injured cheerleader, wearing his jacket as always. Spike and Xander run into the street and Xander grabs R.J. as Spike takes his jacket. They run away as R.J. and the girl look on, baffled.
The gang watch as the jacket burns in the Summers' fireplace. Xander says it is the smell of sweet victory, and Anya adds that it is the smell of burning poly-cotton blend. Buffy asks Xander if he thought about trying to wear the jacket, but he refuses to answer on the grounds that it didn't fit. Anya is distraught that they'll never know where R.J. and Lance's father got the jacket, but Xander says that it's the Hellmouth and even outerwear isn't safe. Willow and Buffy can't believe what they almost did. Anya says that it was a spell, and they're not responsible for anything they did, morally or legally. Xander comments that everyone's made the mistake of using a mystical curse... seven or eight times. Buffy reminds Dawn that it wasn't her fault, but Dawn feels stupid for the way she acted and talked to Buffy. Buffy tells her to get ready to feel even stupider when she loves a boy and it's not a spell. Willow asks Anya what she "almost" did, and Anya pretends not to know what she means. Willow says she can't be the only one who's not embarrassed, so Anya tells them that she wrote an epic poem comparing R.J. to a daisy, a tower, and a lake. On the radio, and announcer says that the police are still looking for a late-night masked bandit. Anya turns off the radio and offers to buy everyone ice cream.
Synopsis written by Bettie.