| Welcome to L.A.|
(August 29, 2004)
Written by: Masquerade
EXT. CONNOR'S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT - ESTABLISHING
PAN UP TO the SECOND FLOOR where we see a pair of DARK WINDOWS - his living room and bedroom.
INT. CONNOR'S LIVING ROOM
DIM IN NIGHTTIME SHADOWS. The front door opens. The overhead light comes on. Connor enters the apartment, looking weary. He is wearing the same clothes he had on in the alley. We can see faint dirt stains on his pants. He glances up at the clock hanging on the kitchenette wall.
LONG SHOT, his POV - The hands read 1:14 a.m.
The room is as Connor left it before class - half packed, half unpacked. He sets his keys down on the kitchen table and walks into his bedroom.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
ANGLE ON the open doorway of the dark room. Connor appears there, backlit. The bedroom lamp comes on. Connor gazes into the room, hand on the switch.
CUT TO his BED, also as he left it - a little rumpled, but made.
He stares at it grimly.
A panicked, younger, more primitive CONNOR dressed in ANIMAL HIDES, running across a rocky landscape.Connor approaches his bed, pulling off his shirt. He drops it on the floor, then unlaces and pulls off his filthy shoes and socks. With slow, mechanical motions, he unlatches his belt, unzips his pants, and lets them drop to the floor. He steps out of them and eases himself down on the bed, now only in boxer shorts. He stretches out on his back, not bothering to pull down the sheets or comforter.
CONNOR IN ANIMAL HIDES, throwing his arm up as a shield against the teeth of a RAVAGING BEAST.
After a moment, he sits up and snaps off the lamp, then lies back down.
In the dim light filtering through the curtains, we see him lying there, eyes open.
DISSOLVE TO -
INT. CONNOR'S BEDROOM - MORNING
Connor is lying in bed, eyes closed, more or less where we left him the night before. Gradually, his eyes open. He looks around a little, then stretches his back, rubs his face, and slowly sits up and turns until he feet are on the floor.
An upbeat instrumental starts up and plays in the background as we DISSOLVE THROUGH a MONTAGE of his day's activities:
BEGIN WITH Connor, dressed in sweatpants, a T-shirt, and no socks, picking up his soiled clothes off the floor and throwing them in a plastic laundry basket into the bedroom closet.
SLIGHTLY LATER ON - Connor sorts the books on the living room bookshelf. He's made some progress setting up his home. There are fewer boxes on the floor, a couple of posters on the wall, and a framed picture of his family atop the bookshelf. Connor finishes, turns, and picks up a BOX off the floor and sets it on the couch. He looks at it with confusion--he doesn't remember packing it himself. He opens it, peers inside, and smiles.
QUICK-CUT OVERHEAD SHOT OF what's in the box - a STACK OF COMIC BOOKS.
Connor pokes through them with a slightly wistful expression on his face. CLOSE-UP, his POV - Thundercats, X-Men3, Ultimate Spider-Man.
CLOSE-UP on Connor as his smile slowly fades. He folds up the box and carries it over to the CLOSET, which is set in the NORTH wall opposite the kitchenette. He puts the box on the top shelf and shuts the closet door.
SLIGHTLY LATER ON - Connor, fully dressed now, heads out the front door, backpack slung over his shoulder.
INT. COLLEGE CLASSROOM, FULL OF STUDENTS - DAY
Connor sits listening to a professor, taking notes.
INT. THE HISTORY DEPARTMENT HALLWAY - DAY
Connor and the HISTORY PROFESSOR from Act 2 are standing next to a door. The professor unlocks the door, opens it, and ushers Connor inside.
WIDE SHOT - A cozy, book-filled office. Connor sits down at a chair beside the professor's desk in. He and the professor chat, nodding and smiling.
Then DISSOLVE TO -
INT. CONNOR'S LIVING ROOM - LATER THAT DAY
Connor crouches next to a small wooden cart on wheels that he's placed in the middle of the living room. He adjusts the TELEVISION SET that's sitting on top of it so that it's at an angle visible to both the armchair and the couch. Then he walks over to the armchair, sits down, picks up the remote, and switches on the TV.
Connor grabs a textbook and a notebook off the end table and opens them on his lap. He starts doing math problems, snatching glances at the television set.
As we DISSOLVE TO the next scene, the background music FADES.
We find Connor still in his chair, several hours later. He's reading a different textbook, a fluorescent highlighter in his hand. He looks distracted, unengaged. He closes the textbook and leans his elbow against the arm of the chair. His face is pensive, brooding. He reopens his textbook. After a few seconds, his attention wanders again.
FLASH-CUT TO -
The alley the night before. Connor lies gasping, sprawled half in the dirt pit, half out, twisted, trapped, a vampire's hand at his throat.CUT BACK to Connor in the armchair. He leans forward, his elbows on his thighs, and rubs his face with his hands.
Then he looks up across the room.
HIS POV - EXT. CLOSET ACROSS FROM THE KITCHENETTE
From this angle we can't see much more of the closet door except the door knob.
Connor stands up, eyes intent. He goes to his desk, opens the drawer, rummages around, and pulls out a key. Then he walks the key across the room and throws open the closet door. He pushes aside the coat and jackets hanging there. On the floor of the closet is a METAL FOOTLOCKER. Connor kneels down, unlocks the footlocker and snaps it open. He tosses aside a stack of bed sheets and towels.
CUT TO the INSIDE OF THE FOOTLOCKER. We see a LONG, FLAT OBJECT at the bottom WRAPPED IN CLOTH. Connor looks down at it with discomfort.
As we look over Connor's shoulder, he reaches in and unfolds the cloth. Lying there is a SHORT, SINGLE-BLADE METAL AX. Quickly, Connor covers it back up, closes the footlocker and shuts the closet door. He takes a deep breath, then twists around and looks at the clock.
The hands read 6:35 p.m.
Connor gets up and goes into his bedroom and grabs a gym bag out of the bedroom closet. He pulls on a pair of running shoes, grabs his gym bag and heads out of the house.
ESTABLISHING - UCLA AERIAL SHOT - followed by FRONTAL SHOT UCLA JOHN WOODEN RECREATION CENTER - EARLY EVENING
INT. INDOOR HANDBALL COURT
ESTABLISHING - Tall white walls of a handball/racquetball courts, the echoing sounds of balls rebounding.
Dave and Connor are standing in the center of the court. Dave is showing Connor how to play: how to serve the ball, how to hit it, how to keep score. We watch him demonstrate and Connor imitate.
Then we watch them start playing. The two of them lunge and leap, smacking the ball against the wall. Connor pauses the game several times, grinning with the embarrassment of someone still learning. But he's good. He's naturally athletic and has that whole super-powers thing working for him.
TIME CUT TO end-game - Connor hits the ball HARD against the wall. It sails past Dave, who lunges for it futilely.
Dave throws back his head in chagrin at his defeat. But he's grinning.
Jeez, I can't believe I fell for that
"I've never played before" B.S.!
Connor runs after the ball. He comes back with it, grinning.
But I hadn't!
Basketball, baseball, sure.
But not handball.
Not very subtle.
If you're gonna hustle someone,
at least make it believable.
Say, something like,
"Well, I've played a little."
Connor shakes his head, still grinning.
That way you don't look quite as
ridiculous when you kick my ass.
CUT TO the two boys exiting the court, Dave tossing the ball to the floor.
You're coming to the Alehouse
again on Sunday, right?
Just don't forget, it's
3553 Winston, not Warner.
It's a wonder you didn't get mugged.
EXT. A WINDING RESIDENTIAL STREET NEAR UCLA - NIGHT
Connor walks home, gym bag slung over his shoulder. He passes apartment complexes, houses, and then cuts across the street to a SMALL PARK.
EXT. THE PARK - NIGHT
Connor passes over grass and then concrete, past trees, hedges, and a bench or two. Suddenly, through the dark trees we hear signs of STRUGGLE - grunts, smacks, a low growl. It draws Connor's attention. He wanders off the sidewalk and around a hedge.
LONG SHOT, through trees - It's an OLD WOMAN being pummeled by a hulking, hairless DEMON. The woman is tiny and Chinese and has dropped her colorful shopping bags. The contents have spilled all over the grass - groceries, mostly, and few unidentified trinkets. She's putting up a fight, and losing.
CLOSE-UP on Connor's face. His look of concern becomes a wince of frustration. Then that fades into resolve, as he realizes what he must do.
With a skip, Connor drops his gym bag and races over to help.
(pushing the demon off the old woman)
Get off of her!
The woman falls to the ground and the demon stumbles back. It gapes at Connor dumbly. Connor stares back with defiance, standing between the demon and the old woman. We can see the woman kneeling behind Connor looking around herself, disoriented. The demon growls and CHARGES FORWARD toward the woman again.
Connor lunges sideways and grabs at the demon, cutting it off. The demon grips Connor's left arm and FLINGS HIM ASIDE. Connor screams in pain and stumbles back. When he comes to a halt, he's wincing. He clutches his left arm to his body. He steps back again. Crack! Connor glances down on reflex. He's stepped on something. There are shiny red/gold fragments on the ground. Smack! A DEMONIC FIST crunches into Connor's face, sending him tumbling to the grass.
CUT TO Connor, sprawled on the ground. The demon is looming over him. We can hear the old woman whimpering in the background. Connor struggles up on one elbow, glaring at the demon with a mixture of horror and anger. There is blood in the corner of his lip.
The moment lingers as we PULL BACK on this scene to a vantage point about thirty meters away. We are looking at it over the shoulder of an INDISTINCT SOMEONE - Connor lying on the ground near the tree, the demon standing over him. Then the demon turns away, and heads back over to the old woman. Instantly, Connor scrambles to his feet, grunting and wincing. He surges forward and throws himself at the demon, knocking it over on its back. Then he leaps on the beast and starts pummeling it repeatedly with his good hand.
CLOSE-UP on his face, livid with the anger and fear.
The demon raises its arms to ward off the blows. Finally, one arm gets through and grabs Connor in a CHOKE HOLD.
CLOSE-UP again on Connor's face. His eyes are bulging. He grabs at the DEMON'S HAND, struggling to remove it, gritting his teeth. The seconds tick by.
A BLUR OF BLACK descends on the demon, kicking its arm away. Connor gasps, fingering his throat, and stares up.
CUT TO (his POV) - a GIRL in a leather jacket, white tank top, and black denim pants. Her long dark hair flies as she raises her foot and BRINGS IT DOWN on the demon's neck.
The demon jerks away instinctively, throwing Connor back on the grass. Connor rolls over onto his stomach and pushes himself up to kneeling. He backs away on his knees as the girl raises her foot again to deliver the demon another neck-crunching blow. Suddenly, the demon reaches out and grabs her foot. With a yelp, the girl is TOSSED ONTO HER BACK. The girl lies on the ground, gasping and grunting, struggling to get back up. The demon rises to its feet. With the persistence of a moth to a flame, it starts towards the old woman again.
CUT TO Connor, still kneeling on the ground, gaping at the demon's tenacity. The demon lumbers by him. Gritting his teeth with pain, Connor falls forward on the hand of his uninjured arm and kicks out with one foot, landing a hard sideways blow at the DEMON'S KNEES. The brute collapses under its own bulky weight. In seconds, the girl is up and on it. She grabs hold of the demon by its thrashing arms and hauls it to its feet, snatching a glance at Connor.
You gotta break its neck!
She tilts her head towards the tree. A look of understanding passes between them. Connor staggers up and grabs the struggling demon on the other side with his good hand. He stands behind it. With a glance at each other, Connor and the girl PUSH THE DEMON FORWARD. The demon staggers. Then the girl raises her foot. Connor follows suit. With equal grunts of effort, they KICK THE DEMON, hard. The demon flies. Its head hits the tree and SNAPS BACK.
The girl walks over and gives the demon a good looking-over. Connor lets out a long breath.
Is it dead?
The girl stands, turns, and looks at him. Her expression is puzzled.
Okay, I know how I did that.
How'd you do that?
Connor doesn't answer her. He simply stands, cradling his sore arm, staring at her uncertainly. Now that the chaos is over, he's finally getting a good look at her.
FLASH-CUT TO a hazy image -
The GIRL, seen looking down from above, descending the steps into the lobby of a hotel, acting like she owns the place.
I know you.
You're that...a Slayer.
The girl eyes him with interest.
What do you know about Slayers?
FLASH-CUT TO another hazy image -
The GIRL, pinning Connor up against a dumpster by holding a loaded crossbow to his throat.
You don't remember me.
Some reason I should?
Connor shakes his head and grins, as if he's mistaken.
Behind them, the old woman groans. The girl turns around and walks over to her. Connor follows. The old woman is still seated on the ground. She looks a bit muddled, but she has managed to put most of her belongings back in their bags. The girl kneels down beside her and puts her hand on the old woman's shoulder. The woman startles, then stares from one of them to the other. Her eyes settle on Connor. Suddenly, she starts screeching at him in Chinese. She points across the grass.
What's her deal?
Connor looks where she is pointing. He sees the trinket he crushed. The woman continues to screech.
I think I broke her...whatever it is.
You think she'd be a little
(to the woman)
This silences the woman.
I'm Faith. And this is....
(hesitantly, to the woman)
Are you all right?
The old woman eyes him as Faith helps her to her feet. Connor picks up her bags and hands them to her.
C'mon, we better make sure
she gets home.
EXT. AN ALL-NIGHT DINER JUST OFF UCLA CAMPUS - NIGHT
PAN from the DINER ENTRANCE to the FAR SIDE OF THE RESTAURANT. Through the window, we can see a few scattered students sitting at aqua-marine colored booths studying over coffee and greasy food. Beyond the booths is a long bar. A lone WAITRESS stands behind it, wiping the counter with a rag. Finally our PAN reaches the FAR WALL, where CONNOR and FAITH are seated across from each other in the end booth.
INT. DINER - NIGHT
We close in on the end booth from behind Connor to show Faith, who sits slouched in her seat. In the light of the diner, it's much easier to see her. She has shoulder-length dark brown hair and a light brush of blue eye shadow. She takes a sip of black coffee from a white ceramic mug, and it leaves faint lipstick stain.
(nodding at Connor)
How's your arm?
Connor is sitting upright, his right hand wrapped around his own cup of black coffee. He lets go and touches his left shoulder gingerly.
Sore. But not dislocated.
It should be broken, the way that thing flinged you.
You were watching.
So tell me how you know about Slayers.
Connor gets a far-away look in his eye.
(with a little sideways smile)
I--I met one once. That's how I
found out about them.
Out there, tonight, fighting...
you reminded me of her.
Yeah. Butt-kicking chicks are crawling
out of the woodwork these days.
Faith sits up and leans forward, looking Connor in the eye. The collar of her tank top bends just a little, revealing a firm line of cleavage.
Connor's eyes flit up to her face.
But every Slayer I've ever met's
been a chick.
Which doesn't explain you.
Faith sits back again, scrutinizing him.
So what's your story?
How'd you get to be so strong?
Connor glances away, lips pressed together.
FLASH-CUT TO -
Connor, seated at a table opposite ANGEL, a youngish-looking man in a leather coat.Connor looks at Faith, his expression furtive.
I know you're my father.
I don't know.
(off Faith's skeptical look)
Seriously. It happened last Spring.
I mean, one day everything seemed normal,
and the next....
FLASH-CUT TO -
Connor swinging an ax, severing the LONG-HAIRED DEMON's head.
CLOSE-UP on Faith - she's sipping her coffee, brows knit, taking Connor in.
I was in a hit-and-run.
This van hit me going sixty miles an hour.
Slammed me right through my parent's
garage door and into the wall.
(holding out his palm)
But I was fine.
The garage door was totaled.
My mom was hysterical.
But I just got up.
The doctor at the emergency room said
nothing was wrong with me.
(setting her coffee cup down)
And ever since then, you've been
running around saving little
old ladies from Garach demons?
(shaking her head)
We've been having a time with them lately.
You said that hit-and-run happened
"last Spring." Was that '03 or '04?
It was this year. '04. April.
Suddenly, Faith sits forward again.
Its just...you say this all happened less
than a year ago. But you look like you've
been fighting a lot longer than that.
FLASH-CUT TO a quick, hazy image -
Our YOUNGER CONNOR in animal hides, a sharp, sickled weapon strapped to his arm. An ALIEN BEAST lunges at him, its teeth bared. Connor, his face a mask of fierce determination, lashes out at it, cutting the beast's throat.Connor chuckles.
Tonight in the park, I was just sort of...
wailing, you know? Making it up as
I went along. Doing whatever worked.
Yeah, well, that was pretty obvious.
(off Connor's slightly offended look)
Don't get me wrong, dude.
You're an efficient fighter once
you decide what you're gonna do.
Faith fingers her coffee cup handle.
But you just sort of dove in there
without a plan. You let that thing
provoke you. And your style, man,
it's raw. Which I guess makes sense,
if nobody ever trained you, but--
Connor is now looking at her with an incredulous frown. Faith shakes her head apologetically and picks up her coffee cup.
Sorry. Occupational hazard. That's what I do
these days. Well, nights and weekends, anyway.
Turn green clueless spazzes into fighters.
(she gives Connor a sympathetic smile)
Look, I'm not trying to knock you.
You got heart. You remind me of me
when I when I started out in this gig.
But I know what I'm talking about.
Faith reaches into her back jeans pocket and pulls out a thin billfold. Out of it, she fishes a wrinkled business card. She hands it to him.
"Silver Lake Fitness Training."
(pointing at the card)
That address there, that's where I....
That's where I train Slayers here in L.A.
(uncertainly, eyes on Faith)
Train them to kill demons.
That's the job.
Connor sets Faith's card on the table. Then he shrugs and raises his eyebrows.
Well, L.A.'s a good place for it.
I've never seen so many demons in my....
Connor pauses. Again, we see that far away look in his eyes.
...as I've seen here.
(with a frustrated sigh)
It didn't used to be this bad.
Okay, I mean, it's always been bad,
it's L.A....but now? There's more of them.
Everywhere. And they're getting cocky.
Faith takes a long slow sip of her coffee.
Ever since Wolfram and Hart imploded.
Connor's eyes leap up.
Wolfram and Hart.
(setting her cup down)
A law firm, if you can believe it.
I've heard of them.
FLASH-CUT TO -
A tall glass office building. The marquee out front reads "Wolfram and Hart, Attorneys At Law".
Connor walks down the hallway of the corporate building with ANGEL.
And you're a vampire.
Faith frowns thoughtfully.
Yeah, well I guess they've been doing shit
for years to keep the demon population under
control. Their version of control, anyway.
But now, all L.A. has are the Slayers.
Suddenly, Faith looks up.
CUT TO the WAITRESS, standing at their table with a pot of coffee in her hands.
No thanks, I'm taking off soon.
The waitress looks at Connor, then down at his coffee cup, which has barely been touched. She raises her brows, then walks away.
Faith smiles at Connor.
And then there's you.
Spastic savior of little old ladies.
Connor grins. Then his eyes droop. His expression grows pensive.
No, I'm really not. I don't even like to fight.
I was just walking home from the university,
and there she was.
I mean, what was I supposed to do, let her die?
A college boy, huh?
(then, with a serious expression)
Still, if you're going to jump in
and play hero, your technique could
Faith slaps the table, then boosts herself up to standing.
I'll tell you what.
You come by my place,
and I'll give you a few pointers.
(looking up at her, a bit flummoxed)
Faith grins. She points at her card.
My office. Drop by sometime.
I--I don't think so.
He hands Faith's card back to her.
I just want things to go back
to normal, you know? Or as
close to normal as they can be.
Faith sets the card back down on the table. Then she tosses down a couple dollars and some change.
Think about it.
(she pats his arm)
ANGLE ON Faith, strolling towards the diner exit.
Then on Connor, watching her go.
CLOSE-UP of the CARD, sitting on the table by Connor's hand.
|Executive Producer||Joss Whedon|
|Lawrence Reilly||Jim Abele|
|Colleen Reilly||Adrienne Brett Evans|
|Doreen Reilly||Emma Hunton|
|Vampire Two||Randall Slavin|
3. This is old X-Men, not Astonishing X-Men. I don't expect Connor bought many superhero comics post-"Origin".