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connor

It's an Ordinary Life, Part 1 (airdate November 30, 2005)

Posted by masqthephlsphr on 2007.09.26 at 20:39
Current Mood: pessimisticpessimistic

It's an Ordinary Life

Part 1

(September 26, 2007)

Written by: Masquerade

Teaser

Open on an EXTREME CLOSE-UP of the PALE, UNBLEMISHED SKIN of young man's neck, delicately brushed by the tips of his light brown hair. His close-shaven jaw comes into view as he turns and we PULL OUT to -

INT. REILLY DINING ROOM

A relaxed, cheerful CONNOR REILLY enters the rustic, wood-paneled room, hefting a whole broiled TURKEY on an oval serving plate.

CONNOR
This thing's huge.

SUPER LEGEND:
Thursday afternoon


He sets it down on the lace-clothed table where his sister Doreen, aunt Beth, and father Lawrence sit waiting. The table is spread with holiday goodies--candied yams, green bean casserole, cranberry preserves, a tossed salad, stuffing, and mashed potatoes with a tureen of golden-brown gravy. A fire crackles in the fireplace. Colleen, standing just to his right, hands her son the electric knife. In her other hand is an open bottle of Chardonnay.

COLLEEN
(to Connor)
Wine?

DOREEN
I'll have some.

Connor chuckles.

CONNOR
What, no argument about it this year?

AUNT BETH
So what'd you do for your birthday, Connor?

DOREEN
Got drunk.

Connor dismisses his sister with an affectionate frown and sets the knife buzzing.

CONNOR
(to his aunt as he carves the turkey)
I had dinner with friends from school.

Colleen busies herself pouring wine.

COLLEEN
You know, Tracy's back from Cornell.

This draws a deliberately casual glance from Connor.

CONNOR
For Thanksgiving?

COLLEEN
(circumnavigating the table)
For good, apparently.
(a coy glance)
Her father says she's going to go to school in L.A.

She pours wine in the glass Lawrence has raised.

LAWRENCE
Invite her over.

Connor shrugs, again with the casual. But a small smile escapes as his parents' attention shifts away. Doreen makes a face.

DOREEN
Stop trying to set him up.
Makes me yak.

Connor points at a spot behind his sister.

CONNOR
Aim it that way.

WIDE SHOT of the family celebration as Connor goes back to carving.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER
Opening Credits
The theme song plays as we see images of


CONNOR REILLY walking to classes, swinging a SWORD in a street fight,

starring

Vincent Kartheiser

FAITH THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, taking aim with her CROSSBOW at a multi-armed, blade-swinging DEMON,

Eliza Dushku

and AIDEN WALSH, sitting at a TABLE with a BOOK opened in front of him.

and

Sean Maher

Act One

with special guest stars

J. August Richards
Kristin Lehman
Robert Blanche
Jim Abele
Adrienne Brett
Emma Hunton
Sarah Jannett Parish
Catalina Sandino Moreno
and
David Boreanaz


EXT. EMPTY LOT - LOS ANGELES - EARLY EVENING

Weedy, broken ground enclosed by a chain-link fence. Faith and Angel are going fist-to-fist with a pair of GANGLY, FANGED DEMONS. Several weapons and three more demons lie strewn on the ground.

SUPER LEGEND:
Wednesday evening


Angel ducks the swing of a demon's fist.

ANGEL
The time for me to hold your hand...is past!
(then another)
I can't do it...for you!

FAITH
If you think I'm gonna...
(punch)
...go crawling to Giles,
(punch)
begging him not to "demote" me or whatever, you're...
(she KICKS her own opponent away)
...crazy!

With a dive and a roll, Angel retrieves a fallen sword and goes on the offensive, stabbing at the demon, who dodges the blade.

ANGEL
Faith, this isn't about Giles,
(he hazards a glance at her)
it's about Buff--

SMASH! - Angel stumbles from a blow across his jaw. Irritated, he jabs his sword into the ground, grabs the demon, and TWISTS ITS NECK. The demon falls. He turns to find Faith working out her issues on her own opponent. TIGHT SHOT of Angel as he surveys the area. We hear traded blows, then the second demon's tortured, suffocating gurgle. Thud.

Faith exhales and glances around for her OWN SWORD, which is lying on the ground twenty feet away. She heads towards it.

ANGEL
I think that's the last of them.

He tugs his sword from the chest of Faith's opponent and walks after her.

ANGEL
Faith, I know that I know as much about this
as you've decided to tell me,
but there isn't a Watcher's Council anymore.
They can't just convene a "hearing"--

She retrieves her sword.

FAITH
--Try fucking "court martial"--

ANGEL
--and summarily pass judgment on you,
and they know it.
If Buffy has issues with the way you've been doing things,
go talk to her.

FAITH
Yeah, whatever.

Faith heads towards a broken opening in the fence. Angel follows. They exit onto a sidewalk weakly lit by overhead street lamps, weapons at their sides.

FAITH
So how's Connor?

ANGEL
He's all right.
(thoughtful beat)
Well, as all right as he can be.
He's headed to the Reillys' for Thanksgiving.
Said he wanted to get away for a few days....


DISSOLVE TO - INT. OFFICE OF PROFESSOR ROTH - UCLA - EARLY EVENING

TIGHT PAN OVER the surface of her desk -

ANGEL (VOICE OVER)
...And I think that's best.

On the outside corner are two books, The World of Ancient Mesopotamia and Echoes of Sumer in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Tradition. Beyond them is a scattered stack of student term papers, a coffee cup, and a plate with a half-eaten sandwich. Professor Roth sits scrutinizing one of the term papers, chewing on the end of a red pen.

CONNOR (O.S.)
It's just a piece of parchment
someone scribbled on a thousand years ago.
How could it possibly...?

MELANIE
"The Nyazian Scroll."
I'm vaguely familiar with it.
The prophecies of a local extinct demon clan, if I recall.

Connor paces amidst the scholarly clutter of her office.

CONNOR
Not so extinct.

MELANIE
(glancing up with interest)
Really?

She sets her pen down and turns towards the bookshelf on the other side of her desk. Her finger brushes over the book spines. Connor pivots to face her. We can see the edge of a BANDAGE beneath his shirt collar.

CONNOR
Unless there's another guy out there
with vampire parents who killed a demon named "Sahjhan."
I mean...doesn't that prove...?

Professor Roth circles back around, a book in hand. She levels her gaze at him.

MELANIE
That you have no choices in life?
That it's all pre-determined?

Connor scowls and nods.

MELANIE
What does the scroll say about the future? Specifically?

CONNOR
That I'll "help save the world."
(solemn beat)
Or...help destroy it.
(he glances down at his palm)
"The blood's on my hands."


EXT. L.A. BACK STREET - CONTINUOUS

LONG SHOT - Faith's Impala is hastily parked half-on, half-off the sidewalk. Faith and Angel stroll toward it.

FAITH
Thanksgiving. Damn. Forgot all about that.

ANGEL
Gunn's headed to Texas.
Thought it was time to tell Fred's parents
the truth about what happened to her.
But when he called them,
they told him Fred was there, living with them again.

FAITH
Illyria?

Angel nods.

FAITH
Shit.

ANGEL
(looking at her)
Listen, Faith.
Only you and I know what happened to Connor.
I haven't told Gunn, or Giles, or anyone else.

Faith shakes her head.

FAITH
They won't hear it from me.
(pensive beat)
Don't know when I'll be talking to
either of them anyway.

ANGEL
I just hope getting back to a normal life
for a weekend will do Connor some good.

Faith halts.

FAITH
Jesus, Angel--"normal"?

Angel continues another step before turning back to her.

FAITH
What's "normal" mean when you're him?
(beat)
We've had this conversation before.
"Son of two vampires," yada yada, yada--
there isn't any "normal."

ANGEL
(defensively)
There's human.
(beat)
Faith...I sacrificed more than he'll ever know
to give him a chance to be happy.
(his brow knits anxiously)
There is "happy," isn't there?


INT. OFFICE OF PROFESSOR ROTH - CONTINUOUS

MELANIE
It says that?

Connor brushes a thumb over his open palm, then shoves both hands in his pants pockets.

CONNOR
The part about the blood, no.
(he goes back to pacing)
Someone else told me that.

Professor Roth sets an elbow on the arm of her chair.

MELANIE
So you've been looking for evidence that'll tell you
which prophecy's true.
Even though neither of them might be.
(beat)
You could go on to lead an ordinary life.

Connor pauses in front of - his POV - a scratched and faded WOODCUT of a horned-and-tailed devil tormenting a saint. He stares at it.

CONNOR
I did. For about a year.
House, parents, kid sister, girlfriend.
(beat)
And then one day...
(CUT TO the WOODCUT, CONTINUE O.S.)
...it turned out vampires and demons were real,
and I had to battle one for my life.

THEN CUT TO Professor Roth, listening.

CONNOR
And it all came rushing back in a moment....
Quortoth. Los Angeles. Jasmine. My father.

Connor stares, expression intense.

CONNOR
But everything in that moment was about the fight.
I had to push those memories down. Bury them.

QUICK-CUT TO CYVUS' VAIL'S DINING ROOM (FLASHBACK)
An ax-wielding Connor furiously battles the robed Sahjhan.

MELANIE
But they didn't stay buried.

Connor shakes his head.

CONNOR
No.

He turns, looking suddenly earnest and pained.

CONNOR
Don't you see?
Even if the prophecies are bull,
who I am--who my parents are, how my life's been--
it's always there.

He shuffles over the visitor's chair and throws himself down in it. A quiet moment passes.

CONNOR
And then there's Angel.
He says he wants me to lead a "normal life,"
but sometimes I think what he really wants is for me to be...
him.
The mirror reflection he can't see.

MELANIE
You're giving too much power to externals,
and not enough to yourself.

CONNOR
(bitterly)
Wouldn't you, if you were me?

MELANIE
(pointedly)
Let me ask you a question.
(CLOSE-UP on Connor's sullen stare)
What would you do with your life if you didn't know
anything about the prophecies, or who your parents were?

Connor's eyes dip skeptically.


EXT. BAROQUE MANSION OUTSIDE LOS ANGELES - EARLY EVENING

Fork-tongued gargoyles gaze down over obscure symbols carved in gray stone.

INT. VAST, VALTED ROOM

Flames dance in the darkness from a circle of lit BRAZIERS which enclose an ALTAR on which three GAGGED AND CHAINED HUMANS struggle. Demons of various species surround the humans, gripping KNIVES. A ridge-face, muscular DEMON in leather approaches a final unlit brazier with a TORCH. As it speaks, the words of its unknown tongue are translated on the screen -

As it was in the Primordium,
so shall it be again.

It sets the brazier AFLAME,

Let nightmares walk the Earth....

then raises a clenched fist up to the newly-lit brazier.

In the name of all those banished below,
scorned, humiliated, reviled,
I designate this enemy,

It tosses a powder into the flame, igniting it afresh.

"The One Sired by the Vampire With a Soul."

Suddenly, a dozen WHIRLING RED-GOLD ENERGY MASSES rise, each from a brazier. CLOSE-UP on the flames' reflection on the demon's face. We can hear STABBING CUTS and CRIES OF PAIN off-camera.

As it is written,
"Thy enemies shall shudder before thee.
For True Power gives form to fear
."
(pause)
And the Earth shall be reborn to darkness.

The energy masses ascend to the ceiling,

EXT. STONE MANSION

and rise over the roof. Then each VEERS in a separate direction and DISAPPEARS.

INT. DODD HALL CORRIDOR - MOMENTS LATER

Connor exits Professor Roth's office and starts down the hall, not noticing as a WHIRLING BALL OF RED-GOLD ENERGY descends out of the ceiling and MELTS INTO HIM.

INT. VALTED ROOM IN THE STONE MANSION

WIDE SHOT - A dozen black and sooty braziers. The three humans on the altar lie slumped and still.


EXT. ABANDONED STONE QUARRY OUTSIDE LOS ANGELES - CONTINUOUS

IN MOONLIGHT - Once a site of excavation, now a gutted pit cutting through a canyon. A nearby CAVE ENTRANCE is blocked off by dilapidated board on which a sign reads, "Danger - collapsed tunnel." The camera SHOOTS FORWARD into -

INT. A LONG TUNNEL

- passing walls of stone and broken mining equipment until it reaches another blocked passageway. It slips through the rotted planks, PLUNGING us down a STEEP DROP.

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS

A few beats later, we are in a network of subterranean tunnels and pillared chambers formed out of piles of demonic bones embedded in limestone. Scattered across the ground are crumbled caskets and desiccated remains in ratted, torn cloth - a burial place for DEMONS. TIGHT SHOT of a decapitated corpse tangled in a filthy black robe. At lightening speed, its FLESH REFORMS whole and its head reattaches itself. Slowly, a pasty-faced, scarred demon sits up, cricks his neck, and rolls his shoulders. He rises to standing, taking in his surroundings.

SAHJHAN
What the...?
(with bewilderment)
I was in a dining room. Tacky but upscale.
Now I'm....

Determined rage comes to his weathered face.

SAHJHAN
...Gonna snap that vampire brat's skinny neck.
(he cracks his knuckles)
After a little beer, Thai food,
and smashing things to pieces.


EXT. A FASHIONABLE VICTORIAN HOME - DAY (FLASHBACK)

A horse-drawn carriage passes through the frame.

SUPER LEGEND:
Philadelphia, 1906


Suddenly - HONK! A Model M Touring Cadillac swerves around it, sending the horse skittering to one side.

INT. PARLOR

Elegant period furniture and ornately flowered wallpaper. A fiftyish man in a three-piece suit stands before the fireplace, seething. His well-dressed wife sits on the divan.

WALTER ROTH
You're thirty-three years old!
You're lucky to have a man interested
in marrying you at all!

REVERSE ANGLE - Just inside the parlor doorway stands a very annoyed MELANIE ROTH, looking just as we know her, except for her simple trumpet skirt and blouse and her hair swept up a loose bun.

MELANIE
There's nothing between us anymore,
and he's a fool for thinking there is!

Her mother raises gloved fingers to her lips.

ELLEN ROTH
Oh!

WALTER
(stabbing a finger at the floor)
Now, look here!
No daughter of mine is going to be a spinster!

MELANIE
Who said anything about being a spinster?
I'm just a doctor!
I'll work in Renault's laboratory, and
when I meet the right man--

WALTER ROTH
(bristling)
No, you won't.

MELANIE
You can't stop me!

WALTER ROTH
I can, and I did.

Melanie's eyes narrow.

WALTER ROTH
Dr. Renault won't be taking you on
as his assistant.
This absurdity has gone on long enough.

She starts slowly towards her father.

MELANIE
...What?
(then, with anger)
You can't do that!

Her father gives her a look of smug satisfaction.

WALTER ROTH
It's done.
You'll marry Carl Ferguson and--

MELANIE
(stunned)
Oh, my God....

Quickly, she turns and races from the room. Her father steps after her.

WALTER ROTH
Where are you going?!


DISSOLVE TO a TRACKING SHOT of the contemporary PROFESSOR ROTH, passing shelves filled with all manner of curiosities--gourds; a glass jar of bats' wings; a shrunken human head. We hear the soft crackling of a fire.

OLD MAN (O.S.)
I could redo the spell,
but I couldn't undo it again, I'm afraid.
Legal-mystical constraints and all that.

INT. SORCERER'S WORKSHOP - EVENING (PRESENT DAY)

A WIZENED OLD MAN, DENNEHY, sits at a table examining colored crystals through a jeweler's loupe attached to his wire-rimmed glasses. Professor Roth pauses beside him.

MELANIE
Because you once worked for Vail.

DENNEHY
Who, in turn, consulted for Wolfram and Hart.
(he pauses)
"No one associated with the firm--
either past, present, or future, can, with intent,
reverse the stipulations of the contract," blah, blah....

MELANIE
Let me worry about that.

Dennehy glances up at her, surprised--

DENNEHY
I see.

--then goes back to work.

DENNEHY
Well, then, you just have to locate the ax,
get past any barriers, mystical or physical,
that might be guarding it,
bring the ax back to me, and I'll restore Vail's spell.

He pauses again and turns in his rickety wooden chair to face Professor Roth.

DENNEHY
Of course, even with the ax restored,
the boy will still have both sets of memories.

He waves off her puzzled look.

DENNEHY
Long story. There was an Orlon Window, and...
(he waves the whole explanation off)
Short story is, we'll still need to lose
one set of his memories and come up with
an alternative last year-and-a-half for everyone.

MELANIE
"Everyone" who ever heard of Connor Angel.
And the spell will alter reality to fit those memories?

DENNEHY
(shrugging)
It's always possible that certain magicks will be
more powerful than this spell.
But chances are, they're also irrelevant.

MELANIE
(with determination)
Fine. Let's get started.

Dennehy turns again, chair creaking, and scrutinizes her shrewdly.

DENNEHY
It's interesting, you wanting to restore this spell.
I know who you work for.
The Anunnaki've been upping the ante of late.
They sure are, going after this kid.

The easy way her patron's name rolls off his tongue unsettles Professor Roth visibly. But the old man returns to his stones.

DENNEHY
What exactly do they have in mind?

Now Professor Roth looks distinctly nervous.

MELANIE
They don't tell me everything.
But, hopefully, this will satisfy them.

CLOSE-UP on her emboldened inhale.

MELANIE
I'm going to damn Connor Reilly to an ordinary life.


EXT. DYKSTRA HALL PARKING LOT - UCLA - EVENING

Connor steps down beside his Camry, an over-stuffed tote bag hanging from his shoulder. He unlocks the car door.

CONNOR
I'll be fine, okay?
They live in the middle of nowhere.

He opens the door, forcing a hovering Angel back a few steps.

CONNOR
And I can take care of myself.

Angel clamps a hand on the door. His eyes settle on - the BANDAGE covering the left side of Connor's neck. Connor catches his father's skeptical look.

CONNOR
You know what I mean.

Connor tosses his bag over to the passenger side seat.

CONNOR
Anyway, it's only four days.

Angel forces a nod.
ANGEL
Yeah, all right.
(then, wincing uncertainly -)
You're sure you're okay?

Connor suppresses his annoyance and nods with polite gratitude.

CONNOR
Yeah. I'm fine.

A hand settles on his shoulder.

ANGEL
Be careful.

CONNOR
I'll be back Sunday.

Connor sinks into the car and shuts the door. Angel steps back as the engine roars to life and the Camry pulls out. He follows it through the parking lot, then comes to a forlorn halt in the driveway as - his POV - Connor's car speeds away into the night. He doesn't notice the car that brakes and idles nearby.

MAN (O.S.)
Looks like you could use a ride.

CUT TO a friendly-looking sandy-blond-haired man in a neatly pressed suit, lounging in an open black 1967 Plymouth GTX convertible.

Angel's brows knit with recognition.

MAN
Yeah, it's yours.
(he sits up and taps on the windshield)
Refitted with necro-tinted glass.

The man extends a hand to him.

MAN
Jason Guelph.
Your new liaison to the Senior Partners.

Angel doesn't budge. Guelph brings his hand down and pulls the parking brake, then opens the driver's side door, leaving the engine running.

GUELPH
(getting out)
You'll also have access to a private company jet
when you travel.

He walks around the front of the car. Angel crosses his arms, his expression guarded and hostile.

ANGEL
Let's get one thing straight.
I'm only cooperating with you because
you're holding my son's life over my head.
He needs me here.

Guelph pauses and glances around, gesturing with broad arms.

GUELPH
And yet he's not here, is he?
You just let him go visit the Reillys on his own.

Angel is lured towards him, his expression cool and menacing.

ANGEL
True. But if anything happens to him while he's away,
you'll be first person I'll come looking for.

Guelph gives him a look of sober respect.

GUELPH
I don't doubt it.
I know all about your history with the other liaisons.
(beat)
Which kinda makes it crucial that I keep your son safe,
doesn't it?
(a calculating smile off Angel's skepticism)
That tangle with the pretty vampire had
nothing to do with us.
But we understand your wanting to
keep an eye on him.
We won't ask for a lot of travel.
(he gestures at the car)
Get in.

Angel hesitates a beat, then walks around him.

CUT TO - EXT. CITY STREET - A MOMENT LATER

Angel is driving. Guelph stares out the windshield from the passenger seat.

GUELPH
Your original contract with the Partners limits
your obligation to them.
They can't ask you to commit any sort of crime.

ANGEL
"Crime" is relative.

GUELPH
Your first job is to find somebody.

ANGEL
(glancing)
Find somebody?

Guelph reaches into the inner pocket of his jacket.

GUELPH
We're not sure who, exactly.
But you'll know this individual
from their response to an incantation.

He tugs out a piece of paper and hands it to Angel, who gives it a cursory once-over. INSERT - Four lines of unfamiliar words scrawled phonetically.

GUELPH
When you find this person, report back to me.

ANGEL
(glancing at him)
Why are the Partners looking for them?

A casual shrug from Guelph.

GUELPH
They don't tell me, so I can't tell you.
But this individual in no danger from us,
if that's what you're worried about.

Angel's hands tighten on the steering wheel.

ANGEL
It's none of your business what I worry about.


EXT. AERIAL SHOT - LOS ANGELES - MID-MORNING

SUPER LEGEND:
Thursday morning


SURFACE SHOT of a tabletop spread with books, file folders, coffee-stained paper cups, a crumpled bag, and two tentatively intertwined sets of stroking fingers, male and female.

The male hand retreats.

INT. SLAYER COUNCIL LIBRARY - POCKET DIMENSION

Aiden's chair makes no noise as he shoves it back from the table.

AIDEN
We need to talk.

The library is as we last saw it--furniture arranged in a WHITE SPACE with neither walls, nor ceiling, nor floor. The door is a billowing GRAY MIST. Kristin looks up at him from the open book in her lap, nonchalant.

KRISTIN
Okay. I like you.

AIDEN
And I like you. But....

KRISTIN
It's 'cause I'm a Slayer, isn't it?
I know some guys have a problem with that.

AIDEN
No, that's not....

KRISTIN
Then what?

Aiden circles around his chair and sinks back down.

AIDEN
I'm twenty-three. You're...sixteen.

Kristin scoffs.

KRISTIN
So? Lots of guys your age date high school girls.
(Aiden cringes warily)
What? You think I can't handle it?

Aiden raises both hands.

AIDEN
No, no, it's me who shouldn't be..."handling it."
(he stands again)
I don't know. Maybe in a couple years....

KRISTIN
(matter-of-factly)
When I'm not "jail bait."

Aiden emits a high-pitched exhale and veers around Kristin's chair heading for the "door." Kristin tracks him as - BANG! He hits another chair with his knee.

AIDEN
Oh!

And makes his escape. She returns to her book.

KRISTIN
I still think it's 'cause I'm a Slayer.


INT. SLAYER COUNCIL SUITE HALLWAY

ANGLE ON the front entranceway. A somber piano instrumental plays as Faith enters the main hallway, gazing around. Then her puzzled frown settles on the library door. Her POV - The MIST SWIRLS. Suddenly, Aiden emerges from it, looking anxious.

Faith sets her hands on her hips.

FAITH
What are you doing here?

He freezes.

AIDEN
Faith.
I, uh....
(he jerks a thumb back the way he came)
Researching. Th--the Nyazians.
(he wilts)
I asked Giles to let me stay on and he agreed.

FAITH
(coolly)
As a Watcher.

Aiden nods, then winces defensively as she starts towards him.

AIDEN
What was my other choice?
Beg my father to pay for Journalism School?
He'd own me!
I couldn't go back to that!
Not after working for you!

Faith halts.

FAITH
So where's Giles?

AIDEN
Uh.... Not here.
He got called away early this morning.
Some demons went after Buffy last night or something.

Faith scoffs, incredulous.

FAITH
Demons? So the fucking hell what?
(she throws out a hand to one side)
Demons go after her every day.
It's part of the job.

AIDEN
Well, the coven in Devonshire said the attack
happened just after some massive surge of black magic.

FAITH
So who's in charge here now?

Aiden glances around on reflex.

AIDEN
Rona, I guess.
Plus, those scholars are still camped out
at the Marriot waiting to get in.
(an awkward beat)
You know, you really should--

FAITH
Call Vaughne.

She turns abruptly and heads back towards the suite foyer.

FAITH
We undo the protection spell, then I'm gone.

Aiden follows.

INT. FRONT HALLWAY

AIDEN
"Gone"?

FAITH
Gone. History.
I'll be outside.

She wrenches the door open and exits. Aiden catches it.

AIDEN
(stunned)
Faith, what are you....

INT. SECOND FLOOR CORRIDOR

He heads after her.

AIDEN
Faith!

CUT TO - Aiden follows her down the stairs.

FAITH
The Council doesn't want me, and I don't need them.

Faith fumbles in her jean jacket pocket.

AIDEN
But there are things going on here
I thought you cared about.
Not just Council stuff.
What about the Nyazian Scroll? And Connor?

INT. FIRST-FLOOR FOYER

Faith pulls out her cigarettes and finds herself face-to-face with - a BESPECTACLED WOMAN with mousy brown hair and a suited SOUTH ASIAN MAN.

MAN
(British accent)
You must be Faith.

BLACK OUT.


END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

EXT. REILLY HOME - MID-MORNING - ESTABLISHING

A two-story wood frame house set back from a curving road lined with pines and oaks. Connor's Camry is parked in the driveway.

INT. UPSTAIRS BATHROOM

IN FRAME - Connor appears in the large BATHROOM MIRROR in his night clothes and robe, gaze lowered. CLOSE-UP on his fatigued, pensive face. His eyes rise just enough to take in - REFLECTIVE CLOSE-UP - the open collar of his robe. He gingerly tugs back the bandage. The flesh is pink and torn between TWO SCARRED HOLES.

QUICK-FLASH TO -
A ridge-browed Alix sinks her fangs into Connor's neck. Connor tenses, gripping her arms.
His fingers brush over the wound. He grimaces slightly.

COLLEEN (hushed VOICE OVER)
I'm not saying we treat him any differently.
But there's so much we don't know.


INT. REILLY KITCHEN

Colleen and Lawrence are huddled close at the sink, worry and guilt on their faces.

LAWRENCE
We did sign up for this.

COLLEEN
But we weren't given full disclosure!

INT. STAIRCASE

Connor slumps down the plushly carpeted staircase, bandage back in place, still in his robe. Conversation trickles up from downstairs.

INT. KITCHEN

Colleen crosses her arms tight.

COLLEEN (cont.)
Which, considering what we know now about
Wolfram and Hart, isn't surprising.

LAWRENCE
Regardless, we're already in it.
(then, grudgingly)
...Whatever that means.
(earnest)
He's still the closest thing we have to a son.

CONNOR (O.S.)
Hey. Smells good.

Colleen whirls around abruptly.

COLLEEN
You're up!
Just in time to help.

She crosses to the counter, where we see the holiday spread from the teaser in progress--a bowl of cooked, milky, sliced potatoes, opened cans of green beans, a nearly-empty bag of dried stuffing, and a cutting board with a knife lying beside half-sliced raw vegetables.

Connor strolls into the room.

CONNOR
I can chop the salad stuff.

Lawrence turns away from the sink.

LAWRENCE
That's okay, I was doing that.

He heads to the cutting board, nearly running into Colleen, who picks up the bowl of potatoes and plunks it in Connor's arms.

COLLEEN
Why don't you mix the potatoes.

Connor glances down at them, then starts over to the opposite counter.

COLLEEN
And keep the peels. They're good for you.

Connor's placid smile fades as sets the bowl down. He turns on the mixer and lowers the spinning beaters into the bowl. OVERHEAD SHOT, his POV - milk splatters; the beaters grind potato fragments to a pulp.

COLLEEN
(over their whirring)
So how's Faith?

Connor glances back at her.

CONNOR
She's fine.

Colleen clasps his shoulder.

COLLEEN
She'll come around.

Connor scoffs cynically.

DOREEN (O.S.)
Maybe he's seeing somebody else.

CUT TO Doreen, loitering in the kitchen doorway.

Colleen throws Connor a curious look.

COLLEEN
Are you?

QUICK-FLASH TO -
Alix and Connor, kissing on the Sekhmet dance floor.
Connor shakes his head.

CONNOR
No.


EXT. BURKLE HOME - SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - EARLY AFTERNOON

A blue Taurus pulls up alongside the picket fence. The front porch screen door opens. TRISH and ROGER BURKLE step out, beaming.

TRISH
Charles!

Gunn exits the car, waving.

GUNN
Mr. and Mrs. Burkle.
Nice to see you again.

They start down the steps.

ROGER
Oh, call us Roger and Trish!

Gunn steps up to the fence gate.

CUT TO - INT. BURKLE FRONT ROOM - A MOMENT LATER

A lived-in space with comfortable old furniture. Indirect light trickles through sheer white curtains. Roger pulls the door shut.

ROGER
(voice low)
Fred's in her room, reading or something.
She does that a lot these days.

Trish sets a hand on Gunn's elbow.

TRISH
Just between you and us,
she hasn't seemed quite herself.
I think she figured coming home
would make her happier.
But if you ask me, she was happier in Los Angeles.

ROGER
Maybe you can coax her out of that room of hers
for something other than tacos.

GUNN
(incredulous)
She eats tacos?

Roger gestures towards a hallway that leads into the depths of the house.

ROGER
Second door on your right.

Gunn hesitates warily, then turns and heads back.

CUT TO - INT. FRED'S BEDROOM

PANNING - Hand-made mementos from a happy girl's childhood cover the white flowered wall paper and country furniture. With a gasp, a very human FRED leaps from her plaid bedspread.

FRED
(squealing)
Charles!

She dashes to the door, slender arms extended, and -

FRED
It's so good to see you!

- throws them around his neck. CLOSE-UP on Gunn's BEWILDERED EXPRESSION as his hands fumble over her shoulders. Then his bewilderment fades into displeasure. He wrenches her away.

GUNN
(voice low)
What are you doing?

FRED
(grin slipping)
What are you talkin' about?

Without waiting for an answer, Fred takes Gunn's hand and draws him around as she slips into the hallway.

FRED
Did Momma and Daddy give you the tour?
C'mon, I'll show you around!


INT. FIRST-FLOOR FOYER - SLAYER COUNCIL OFFICE BUILDING - CONTINUOUS

Faith faces off with the bespectacled woman and suited man. With them is the witch Vaughne.

FAITH
Hmmm. Stiff. British.
Totally lacking a sense of humor.
You must be Watchers.

WOMAN
I prefer the term "scholar."
I'm not affiliated with the former Watcher's Council.
This is Nigel Vaideeki.
(she extends a hand)
And I'm Rachel Green.

Faith tucks her cigarette pack away. She and Vaughne exchange a glance.

VAUGHNE
I was going to try getting them into the suite again.
But you're here now. Would you...?

FAITH
(with resignation)
It's all right, Vaughne.
You want my blood, I'll bleed.

She turns and heads back up the stairs, passing Aiden. The scholars follow with looks of pleased relief.

NIGEL
Your cooperation will be passed on to Mr. Giles.
It should make things go smoother for you at your hearing.

CLOSE-UP of Faith's disgruntled impatience.

FAITH
There's not going to be any "hearing."
I'm just here to let you in.

INT. SECOND FLOOR CORRIDOR

She heads for the suite door.

FAITH
Tell Giles I'm not playing his game.
I quit the Council.

RACHEL
What, now!

NIGEL
See here, young woman--!

They pursue her up the stairs. Faith unlocks the door and opens it, then turns to stare Nigel down as he reaches her.

FAITH
You want to drag me in yourself, Jeeves?
"Former" Watchers, remember?

She enters the suite. Nigel follows, BOUNCING OFF the threshold with a reverberating bounce. Faith waits for Vaughne to step past him, then disappears down the hall. LINGERING SHOT on Rachel and Nigel's exasperation.

CUT TO - INT. OFFICE

IN FRAME - Faith's open palm. A knife NICKS her forefinger.

She dabs the blood with gauze and hands the gauze to Vaughne, who carries it over to a large, free-standing SAFE under the window. CLOSE-UP - Its door hangs open. Vaughne kneels and brings the gauze up to the BLUE TURKISH PROTECTION EYE-CHARM floating suspended in a mystical force field.

FLASH-CUT TO - INT. SLAYER COUNCIL SUITE FOYER

The scholars enter the suite.

RACHEL
(into her mobile phone)
Come over. We're in.

Faith looks on stonily from the office doorway as they approach the library portal.

VAUGHNE
(stepping around her)
Hang on, I need to lock the protection spell to somebody else.

Faith's jaw tightens as Rachel and Nigel shift their attention to Vaughne. She veers around them and heads down the hall.

CUT TO - INT. SECOND FLOOR CORRIDOR

Faith exits. Aiden is lingering just outside.

AIDEN
Faith, wait.
I really need to talk to you about this stuff
I've been doing on the Nyazian Scroll.

Faith halts. She nods back towards the suite.

FAITH
You should be in there, helping out.
We'll talk later.

AIDEN
Your place?

Faith pauses, then visibly relaxes. She shoves her hands in her jeans pockets.

FAITH
Nah. I feel too good. I'm gonna go out.

An incredulous Aiden glances at his watch.

AIDEN
It's ten-thirty in the morning.
On Thanksgiving Day.

Faith grins, backing towards the stairs.

FAITH
There's a strip club on Santa Monica in West H.
Open 365 at noon, half-price drinks 'til seven,
male exotic dancers 'til three a.m.

She turns and clomps down the stairs.

FAITH (O.S.)
Swing by and I'll buy you a turkey on rye!

AIDEN
(frowning after her)
Just the Thanksgiving I've always dreamed of.


EXT. BURKLE BACKYARD - EARLY AFTERNOON

Fred strolls over the wide, overgrown lawn where a beagle is romping and taking intermittent sniffs at the ground. Gunn follows, scrutinizing her uneasily.

FRED
And this is Rex.

She bends forward slightly and holds out a hand.

FRED
Hey there, boy! C'mon Rex!

The dog looks up. His tail wags nervously, but he doesn't budge. Fred stands tall.

FRED
(dismissively)
He's Momma and Daddy's, really.
I had a dog, Schrödinger, when I was little,
but he died before I--

Gunn grabs her by the arm and wrenches her around to face him.

GUNN
Illyria, stop!
Why are you doing this?

For a moment, her eyes are wide and stunned. Then all the humanity drains from a face that remains Fred's.

ILLYRIA
Unhand me.

Gunn complies, swallowing. Illyria regards him with regal aloofness for a moment before continuing.

ILLYRIA
The world I knew is gone.
My powers stripped from me.
I have nothing left but that which belonged to this shell.

GUNN
(aghast)
So you're pretending to be Fred in front of her parents?
Man, that's messed up!

Illyria turns away, her tightly-controlled bearing a sharp contrast to the relaxed Fred of moments before.

ILLYRIA
Since I was released from the prison dimension
of the Wolf, Ram, and Hart,
I've come to appreciate once again that my knowledge
of this world is as insubstantial as moonlight.
That which I know pales in the intensity of my ignorance.
(she surveys the expanse of the backyard)
This is my opportunity to understand.

Gunn frowns grudgingly.

GUNN
Well, I guess if you want to learn about humanity,
the Burkles are the ones to learn it from.

FRONTAL TWO-SHOT of him behind her and her empty stare.

GUNN
But sooner or later they're going to figure out
something's wrong.
Something they can't just explain away
as post-traumatic stress from Pylea, or depression.

Illyria crosses her thin arms and twists her upper body towards him. Her eyes narrow.

ILLYRIA
Would you like to know what I've discovered so far about humans?

She turns fully, scrutinizing him with a bird-like tilt of her head.

ILLYRIA
You cling to illusion if it comforts you.
Even these paragons of humanity you admire
will not see that which is right before their eyes.

GUNN
Maybe so.
But if you understand human feelings at all,
you'll stop parading around in front of them,
making them think--

ILLYRIA
If the purpose of your journey is to convince me
to return to Los Angeles with you, it is in vain.
(with disdain)
I don't serve you, and I don't serve the vampire.

And with that, she lowers her arms and marches towards the house.

GUNN
What are you after? Really?

ILLYRIA
That remains to be seen.


EXT. PHILADELPHIA GENERAL HOSPITAL - DAY (FLASHBACK)

SUPER LEGEND:
Philadelphia, 1906


HISTORICAL STOCK SHOT - A grainy brown-and-white photograph of a modest set of buildings set among shady trees MORPHS to vibrant color and life. Scattered people in period clothes come and go.

INT. MEDICAL LABORATORY

Glass cabinets line the walls filled with vintage instruments, flasks, test tubes, and books. A fortyish man with a clipped beard, mustache, and floppy bangs sits at a stool at one of three stationary tables, peering through a microscope. He glances up at the squeak of a door, then leaps from his stool. Boots clack across the linoleum.

MICHELE RENAULT
(defensively)
Melanie.
Your father threatened to get my endowment pulled!

Melanie Roth faces off with Renault across the table.

MELANIE
So you're just going to allow him to dictate to you?

RENAULT
I can't risk it!
I can't rely on ordinary sources of funding!

MELANIE
I know what's at stake! It's my work, too!

Renault scoffs defensively.

RENAULT
Be practical. I mean, let's face it--
your magickal knowledge and alchemy skills are
mediocre at best.

CLOSE-UP on Melanie's guarded glare.

Renault's expression softens.

RENAULT
You're a gifted physician, Melanie.
Passionate. Compassionate.
You'll find another position.

Melanie's faces contorts with desperation.

MELANIE
Not like this one!
(beat)
Knowledge of the true workings of nature
as the basis of magic.
Gnosis as the foundation of a new medicine!

She gestures at the cabinets around them helplessly.

MELANIE
Ordinary medicine is so awkward...and useless!
Sometimes the cures are worse than the disease!

Renault stiffens with discomfort and faces her down.

RENAULT
I'm hiring Wilson, and that's my final word.
I'm sorry.

Melanie gapes, thunderstruck.

CUT TO - EXT. RIDING STREET LADIES' BOARDING HOUSE - DAY (FLASHBACK CONTINUES)

A narrow two-story brownstone.

INT. PRIVATE ROOM

Melanie Roth enters, passing a mirror, sink, radiator, bed, and two walls lined with CRAMMED BOOKSHELVES. She stops at a dresser and opens a middle drawer, revealing a SHRINE of candles and talismans. Above the dresser is a framed diploma from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. One by one, she lights the candles, then places a piece of blank PARCHMENT among them.

MELANIE
Saraswati, I beseech thee,
inscribe on this parchment a single spell--
to change the heart of William Roth.
To purge his will of one thing only.
For this, I offer my blood and obeisance.

She raises a knife and cuts her hand, then lets droplets of blood fall on the parchment.

MELANIE
Re...veal....

She gazes down expectantly. Her POV - just blood-splotched parchment.

MELANIE
Argh!!

She THROWS THE KNIFE. It clatters on the hardwood floor.

RENAULT (Faint V.O.)
...Let's face it.
Your magickal knowledge and alchemy skills
are mediocre at best
.

She pivots, fuming.

A gentle, contemporary acoustic cover of the Supremes' Reflections starts up over her as we -


DISSOLVE TO - INT. BACK ROOM - SORCERER'S WORKSHOP - LATE AFTERNOON (PRESENT DAY)

A POCK-MARKED, CHARRED SINGLE-BLADE AX spins on the faux marble floor, building an EDDY OF SWIRLING SILVER ENERGY above it. Professor Roth looks on as Dennehy guides the magic with raised arms.

CLOSE-UP - Before our eyes, the SURFACE of the AX SMOOTHS and its CHARRED PATCHES HEAL. Then slowly, the swirling energy expands, growing in intensity, until, with a shuddering BOOM, it EXPLODES OUTWARD.

Dennehy and Professor Roth duck reflexively, but the energy bends around them, then passes unimpeded through the walls and ceiling.

[THE MUSIC CONTINUES]

PANNING AERIAL SHOT - PHELAN, CALIFORNIA - LATE AFTERNOON

A foothill community tucked into the eastern side of the San Gabriel Mountains.

INT. REILLY DINING ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

A relaxed Reilly family--Lawrence, Colleen, Aunt Beth, Connor, and Doreen--sit around their food-laden table, laughing, talking, and digging into their holiday meal. There is no bandage or bite-wound on Connor's neck.

DISSOLVE TO - INT. BURKLE DINING ROOM - EARLY EVENING

The Burkles' spread is a bit more Texan--deep-fried turkey, baked beans, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, steamed okra, and a heaping pile of buttered rolls. Attention shifts between food and conversation and the Atlanta-Detroit game, for everyone that is, except "Fred," who is forking her food from one spot to another on her plate under the watchful gaze of Gunn.

DISSOLVE TO - EXT. ANCIENT EYE BOOKSTORE - DUSK

Angel's Plymouth is parked at the curb outside the occult bookshop. THROUGH THE WINDOW - Angel sits at a table in the back, pouring through books while the clerk looks on from behind the counter.

His POV - Page after page of spells in demonic languages, against which Angel is comparing the INCANTATION he got from his liaison.

He slams the book closed with frustration.

EXT. HERBALIST SHOP - A SHORT WHILE LATER

The neon Chinese characters in the window are turned off. Inside the store, we see Angel speaking to a robed shaman. The man shakes his head, then suggests something.

INT. CARITAS NIGHTCLUB - EVEN LATER

Demons and humans alike drink, converse, and watch karaoke. Angel sits at a table with a woman in a flowing black dress and dark makeup. She scribbles something on a slip of paper and hands it to him.

INT. FAITH'S APARTMENT - EARLY EVENING

Faith sits up on her bed, staring blankly at the Lakers game on television. Something makes her glance over her shoulder. She rises from the mattress and opens the door to find AIDEN standing there, a plastic grocery sack in his hand. He enters.

CUT TO the two of them sitting on the kitchen counter, legs dangling, eating from plastic trays. TIGHT SHOT of an empty box on the counter - SWANSON TURKEY DINNER.

[MUSIC FADES]


EXT. MUNICH, GERMANY - NIGHT

SUPER LEGEND:
Munich, Germany


The Gothic spires of NEUES RATHAU rise, bottom-lit, into a gray night sky. Pedestrians are running across Marienpltaz plaza in a panic.

INT. BEER HALL

TIGHT SHOT of a STEIN of GOLDEN LAGER. A MALLET SMASHES IT, splattering liquid and glass across a wood surface. PULL BACK to yet more people screaming, falling, and racing along the long tables in the huge, vaulted room.

Then CUT TO what they're running from - SAHJHAN, having a good ol' time splitting wooden benches in two and taking swigs of beer. Accompanying him is a cadre of wiry, crimson-hued demons cackling as they pitch glasses at walls and people and set fire to the splinters Sahjhan is leaving in his wake.

LONG SHOT across the beer hall. Two uniformed Polizei appear in the far doorway and take aim with guns. Their bullets HIT SAHJHAN REPEATEDLY as he steps atop a table, momentarily forcing him back down to the bench. He climbs right back up and kicks aside a basket of pretzels. The policemen try again to no avail.


EXT. ESTABLISHING SHOT - HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD - NOON

INT. HOBO'S BAR

SUPER LEGEND:
Friday noon


Faith sits down at a peeling, taped-over black vinyl booth opposite Aiden. He unzips his book bag on the table.

AIDEN
I finished going over the cloth
from the warehouse that exploded.

FAITH
(noncommittally)
You can read that demon gobbly-gook?

AIDEN
(rummaging)
It helps that I haven't been doing anything else for weeks.

Faith scrutinizes him with a smirk.

FAITH
Oh, I know who you've been "doing."
(then, quickly)
I mean "what."

Aiden's hand is deep in his bag.

AIDEN
Huh?

Faith throws up her hands.

FAITH
Hey, none of my business. Not anymore.

With a frown, Aiden pulls out a tablet of paper.

AIDEN
It's weird, you quitting the Council.
I'm only in it because of you.

FAITH
Hey, I'm still a Slayer.

He turns the tablet sideways so they can both look at it. Faith leans forward. Her POV - PENCIL-SCRAWLED SYMBOLS with English writing beneath them.

AIDEN
So you're staying in L.A.?

FAITH
(shrugging)
Beats Cleveland.

AIDEN
You know, Kristin and I aren't dating.

FAITH
Yeah. Whatev.
(she gestures)
Go on.

AIDEN
Okay. So I cross-referenced the symbols using
a transliteration atlas,
and one of those scholars, Nigel,
agreed with what I came up with.
(he points at a symbol)
This one means "Old Ones."
It appears half a dozen times.

FAITH
(interested)
"Old Ones," as in--

AIDEN
Pure demons who ruled the planet
millions of years ago.
(he shifts his finger)
And this...is a phrase which roughly translates as
"removing the human pestilence from the Earth."
(he looks at her soberly)
I think it's a passage about--

Faith chuckles.

FAITH
"The Apocalypse." Been there. Done that.
Demons open a portal and the minions from hell
come pouring out.
That, or a seven-headed, tentacled monster.

Aiden smiles uneasily.

AIDEN
You've been there before.
(he exhales)
That's kind of reassuring,
'cause I think those demons at the warehouse
were part of something.

He stabs at one last symbol.

AIDEN
I couldn't find this symbol in the transliteration texts.

INSERT -

AIDEN (V.O.)
And Nigel said he'd never seen it before.

Faith examines it with a frown. Aiden reaches for his bag.

AIDEN
But there is one place I have seen it.

FAITH
Where's that?

AIDEN
In a book on local architecture.

He pulls out a thin coffee table book and starts leafing through it.

AIDEN
It's on a house in Granada Hills built in
the late eighteen hundreds by this eccentric millionaire.
He supposedly made a fortune after selling his soul to...
(a shrug)
some demon cabal or other, I don't know which.
But I'll find out.

He stops leafing and turns the book towards her. Faith looks down. INSERT - the THREE-STORY GRAY HOUSE where the demon ritual took place in Act One. PAN OVER to the opposite page. The ACCENTS on the house, in CLOSE UP. The unknown SYMBOL again.


EXT. ALLEY BEHIND THE SLAYER COUNCIL BUILDING - EARLY AFTERNOON

A manhole cover is dislodged and the back door slightly ajar.

INT. FIRST FLOOR BACK CORRIDOR

IN SHADOWS - A dark blanket lies in a heap on the floor.

INT. SECOND FLOOR CORRIDOR

The Council suite door SWINGS OPEN, revealing the scholar NIGEL. He looks briefly taken aback at what he sees, then forces a look of prim bravado.

NIGEL
Step no further, demon.
I know who you are.

REVERSE ANGLE -

ANGEL
I know who I am, too.
Where's Giles?

Without looking away, Nigel backs up into the main hallway and signals off-screen with a low hand. Impatiently, Angel strides forward, REBOUNDING off the mystic barrier. The sight brings smug relief to Nigel's face.

NIGEL
You no longer have passage here.
Now explain yourself.

The scholar Rachel appears beside Nigel with a CROSSBOW. She holds it inexpertly at Angel.

NIGEL
Come to finish the job?

ANGEL
(bewildered)
What "job"?

Rachel's jaw trembles.

RACHEL
The Slayers. The dead ones?

Angel backs up a step, even more bewildered.

ANGEL
Slayers?

Nigel's eyes narrow. His voice drips with condescending righteousness.

NIGEL
Oh, I think you know precisely what she means.
I'm quite familiar with your capacity for betrayal.
(beat)
You, and that bleached-blond fiend.

ANGEL
...Spike?

NIGEL
The Summers girl barely escaped whilst attempting
to save the others.
(he points a finger at Angel)
She identified you two as the ones responsible.

ANGEL
Buffy said...?
That's impossible.
(face etched with concern)
Is that where Giles is? With Buffy?

Nigel is poker-faced. CLOSE-UP on Rachel's trembling trigger-finger.

Angel throws a glance at the stairwell.

With a TWANG, a CROSSBOW BOLT FLIES. It HITS the opposite corridor wall and falls harmlessly to the linoleum. Angel is GONE. Alarmed, Nigel races out the door. Rachel scurries after him, struggling to reload. Their POV - the empty stairwell.

INT. FIRST-FLOOR FOYER

Angel lands at the base of the stairs, coat billowing behind him, then cuts down the back corridor the way he came.

BLACK OUT.


END OF ACT TWO

Part 2 (click here)



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