At the Sunnydale Funeral Home, Buffy picks out a casket for her mother. Dawn is concerned whether Joyce would be satisfied with the chosen casket, since she's the one who'll be in it forever. Later, the Scooby Gang gather for dinner at the Summers' house to discuss funeral plans. Buffy mentions that ever since her mother's demise, their father has not yet come in contact with them. Dawn feels left out when she realizes that before her mother goes into surgery, she and Buffy spoke about funeral choices, just in case.
As Willow and Xander leave Buffy's house, they run into Spike, who's trying to deliver a bouquet of flowers. A brief spat takes place when Xander misinterprets this as means of Spike trying to take advantage of the situation to get closer to Buffy, while Spike swears that he was actually trying to pay his respects to Joyce, as she was the only one of Buffy's "lot" that ever treated him decently. When it becomes clear that Xander won't be convinced, an irate Spike throws the bouquet down and storms off while Xander continues to berate him. Afterwards, Willow discovers that Spike didn't leave a card with the flowers, and the two, though surprised, recognize the sincerity of the gesture. Later that night, the remaining Summers women sit in their room, trying to cope with and contemplate the situation.
Joyce is buried the next day. After the sorrowful funeral, Dawn leaves with Willow and Tara, finding it hard to return to her own home. Buffy, though, stays at the cemetery, until nighttime comes. Angel arrives at that time, having been apparently called by Buffy, and apologizes for not being able to come sooner. Both rest under a tree, while Buffy expresses her regrets that she wasn't more useful. They then kiss, to which Buffy realizes that it's not such a good idea, and asks Angel to return to his home in L.A.. Angel apologizes for this, though Buffy assures him that she is grateful that he came, and he remains with her for the last few minutes before sunrise.
Meanwhile, Willow and Tara try unsuccessfully to cheer up the dreary Dawn, or at least get her mind off things, but they recoil in shock when Dawn expresses her wish to perform a resurrection spell for her mother. The two witches refuse to help her, explaining that it is wrong to use witchcraft to meddle in the matters of life and death. Post-coitus, Anya and Xander discuss about her ability to create life. When she thinks about it that way, it makes sex a little more meaningful and death a little less sad. In the meantime, Giles lingers sadly in his apartment, listening to a record he once played for Joyce (in "Band Candy)"
The next day, Willow and Tara leave for class, but not before Willow magically pulls out a specific book for Dawn. When she inspects it, she finds it contains a section about resurrection spells. Later that day, Dawn goes to The Magic Box to gather some ingredients. She sneaks up into a restricted area to steal a few books and potions. That night, she collects dirt from her mother's grave, but Spike catches her in the act. He knows what Dawn is doing and subsequently offers to help. Though Dawn initially regards it as an attempt to get in good with Buffy, Spike makes it very clear that he does not want Buffy to know of his involvement.
Meanwhile, Jinx, one of Glory's minions, approached Ben outside the hospital. After he inadvertently lets it slip that The Key is a human, Ben stabs Jinx in order to prevent him from telling Glory. But Jynx is only wounded, and he manages to return to Glory's apartment. Glory is ecstatic to hear the news, and cites that this piece of information narrows down the search severely.
At the same time, Dawn and Spike goes to a mysterious, amiable magic expert named Doc. After giving her the rest of the information needed to complete the spell, the two leave to collect the final ingredient for the spell - a Ghora's egg. The two then subsequently go on a mission to collect the egg. Confronting the Ghora, Spike distracts it while Dawn successfully steals one of its eggs; in the process, he is badly injured by the Ghora, though he kills it in turn. Later that night, Dawn returns home to perform the spell.
Concurrently, in their dorm room, Willow tells Tara that she wants to start a journal, ever since Joyce's death, after receiving the sudden epiphany that life is short. Tara then realizes that a witchcraft book is missing, and Dawn might have taken it. Realizing what Dawn is about to do, they then call Buffy to alert her.
Buffy finds Dawn, just as she finishes the spell. The two then get into a vicious argument. Dawn believes that Buffy does not even care about their mother's death, as she is just running around as if the whole thing is a chore. Dawn states that Buffy hasn't even cried - and kept pushing Dawn away, inadvertently or not. As tears roll, and footsteps approach the Summers home, Buffy states her case, and explains that she's just been keeping herself busy so that she does not have to deal with the situation; she runs around and works because if she stops, then Joyce is really gone.
Suddenly, a shadowy figure passes the window, and the girls hear a knock on the door. Buffy hopefully whispers "Mom..." and proceeds to open the door. Just then, Dawn realizes that some things just aren't meant to be, and as Buffy whips the door open, Dawn rips apart a portrait of her mother used in the spell, voiding the enchantment. The two Summers women then break down uncontrollably, silently declaring that whatever comes next, they'll deal with it together.