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connor

Hotspot, Part 1 (airdate January 18, 2006)

Posted by masqthephlsphr on 2008.03.30 at 23:23
Current Mood: determineddetermined

Hotspot

Part 1

(March 30, 2008)

Written by: Masquerade

Teaser

Previously on The Destroyer...


The languid, rhythmic intro of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" begins as we FADE UP TO -

INT. LIVING ROOM - STUDENT APARTMENT - LATE AFTERNOON

LOW SHOT, CUSHION LEVEL - Two people sit on a comfortable brown plaid sofa, one at either end. All we can see of them are their bent legs, stocking feet criss-crossing. A dainty, feminine toe half-draped in flared denim rises from the cushion and gently tickles her companion's ankle, which twitches. Encouraged, the toe nudges its way under his tan Dockers cuff.

CUT TO - INT. AN ABANDONED STORE SHOWROOM - LOS ANGELES

Peeling paint, worn tile, dilapidated display shelves. Dozens of families are CAMPED OUT in the broad space--preparing food on hot plates, talking, playing, trying to make the best of what is obviously temporary lodging. But they're not people. They're demons. DEMONS with SCALED SKIN and SHARP-NOSED, BIRD-LIKE FACES, dressed in robes.

Suddenly, "Heart-Shaped Box" crescendos into full grunge refrain as a CRASH brings a PROJECTILE HURTLING through the window. It lands in the midst of the startled demons. A CLOUDY WHITE GAS RISES.

INT. APARTMENT LIVING ROOM

TIGHT SHOT of Connor on the couch, reading the UCLA Spring 2006 Schedule of Classes, trying not to smile. TRACY crawls into the frame from the other side of the couch and tugs the booklet up. Connor protests silently, then grins as Tracy sets it on the back of the couch and leans in for a kiss. They smooch enthusiastically and repeatedly, the intensity growing with each lip-lock.

INT. ABANDONED STORE

Smoke and chaos. Screams PIERCE the air. Demons scuttle through the frame this way and that in a panicked rush, groping and stumbling. Others writhe in agony on the floor.

EXT. ABANDONED STORE

Smoke and robed demons tumble out of an open doorway into a dingy alley. Zrrrpt! A demon cries out in surprise as it is STRUCK DOWN. CLOSE-UP of the feather-tipped steel CROSSBOW BOLT impaling it. Crossbow bolts fly. SLO-MO - One by one, the other demons are PITCHED TO THE GROUND as the music returns to its intoxicated, rhythmic verse again.

INT. APARTMENT BEDROOM

LOW, MATTRESS-LEVEL SHOT of a twin-size bed in a bedroom corner. Into the frame sinks TRACY, lying back as Connor descends from above her. Her brown hair scatters on the pillow. Lips meet lips. Hands caress shoulders, arms, and hips in unhurried exploration.

The music crescendos again.

EXT. ABANDONED STORE

Demons pause over downed loved ones and are struck; adults shelter children as they rush them away, and end up covering them on the ground with their corpses. A few demons escape down the alley.

CUT TO a NEARBY ROOFTOP. Almost in unison, FIGURES IN DARK HOODIES AND SKI MASKS rise from sheltered positions on the roof ledge, steel crossbows in hand. They proceed to a ladder perched against a side wall.

LOW SHOT - One by one, boots and sneakers hit the asphalt.

In a snaking column, crossbows out and armed, the figures cut around the corner.

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
David Boreanaz
Sarah Jannett Parish
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Rachel Leigh Cook
Indigo
and
Juliette Landau


INT. TRACY'S BEDROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

Tracy stands at her closet, bare back to the camera, slipping her arms into a peasant blouse.

Connor leans down from the bed, reaching for his shoelaces, watching her. He focuses in on his shoes.

CONNOR
(with a wry smirk)
So...you're not going to tell me that we can't sleep
together again 'cause you're not the relationship type,
or you're in love with my father?

FRONTAL SHOT - Tracy frowns, puzzled.

TRACY
Connor, it's not the first time we've....

Then she turns, looking genuinely thrown.

TRACY
You slept with someone who was involved with your father?

Connor shakes his head, chuckling uneasily.

CONNOR
Never mind. Forget it.

But the cat is out of the bag. Tracy's expression of uncertainty and intrigue is on Connor as he pushes himself up from the mattress.

TRACY
Now we're not talking about Lawrence Reilly....

CONNOR
(aghast)
No. I--

TRACY
You mean your...biological dad.

Connor nods reluctantly. His eyes dip with chagrin.

CONNOR
Do you think that's...weird?

TRACY
Well...I don't know.
You haven't really told me anything about him,
or your life...you know, before.

CONNOR
(a sigh)
I know. I'm just...
trying to figure out the right way to do it.

Tracy steps towards him, her expression wary.

TRACY
I know it's not going to be rosy.
I mean, your father had your memories erased.

CONNOR
They weren't erased, exactly....

TRACY
Forgotten then.

They face off for a moment, Tracy scrutinizing him.

TRACY
You'll tell me when you're ready.

Connor's expression is apologetic. Fingers rise to his chin. Tracy leans in and gives him a peck on the cheek. She huddles close.

TRACY
(murmuring)
I'll give you this much.
I like the effect that remembering
has had on you.

Connor makes an uncertain face.

CONNOR
Meaning what?

TRACY
Well, the Connor I knew before was always a little...
Howdy-Doodyish.

CONNOR
What the heck is "howdy-doodyish"?

Tracy pulls away.

TRACY
Clean cut, freckles. Kinda earnest.

Connor's hand rises to his cheek.

CONNOR
I do not have freckles.

TRACY
(a wry smile)
Not on your face.

Conno grins shyly.

TRACY
And you're still kind of earnest.

Casually, she glances over at - the CLOCK, which reads 4:15. Her eyes widen.

TRACY
Oh! I gotta get going! Class starts tonight!

She snatches a woven Mexican bag off the chair at her desk--

TRACY
C'mon, I'll give you a ride back to campus!

--And dashes out the bedroom door. Connor follows, still with the grinning.

CUT TO - EXT. DYKSTRA HALL - UCLA - DUSK

A SILVER JEEP WRANGLER pulls up to the curb. Tracy and Connor are inside.

INT. WRANGLER

Connor grabs his book bag from the passenger-side floor and gives Tracy a quick kiss.

CONNOR
You be careful, okay?
L.A. isn't like home. It's got--

TRACY
Muggers? Rapists? Drive-by shootings?
I've been briefed.
(a dour appraisal)
You're not one of those guys who thinks his girl
can't walk and chew gum at the same time
without his macho assistance?

Connor does his demure, downward glance thing.

CONNOR
My "girl"?

TRACY
(grinning softly)
Well...workin' on it.

Connor beams.

TRACY
(switching back to the topic at hand)
Besides, it's not like L.A.'s one big jungle,
danger lurking behind every tree.

Connor's brow knits with renewed concern.

CONNOR
It's not just muggers, Trace.
There are things out there that
I don't think you're ready for.

Tracy sighs wearily.

TRACY
Such as?

She catches his anxious look and softens, curious. Connor sucks in a breath, then exhales -

CONNOR
Such as...demons. And--and...vampires.

TRACY
(eyeing him uncertainly)
You believe in those things?

CONNOR
(an ironic chuckle)
I've never really had a choice.

TRACY
This has to do with the stuff you're
not ready to talk about, doesn't it?

Connor nods. Tracy looks thoughtful.

TRACY
Well, I've...seen some weird stuff in my time.
Your father made me remember a year with you that never happened.
(another apologetic frown from Connor)
And my aunt...sometimes knows things
there's no way she could know.
(she rolls her eyes)
And then, of course, there was that weird attack
in Phelan over Thanksgiving weekend.

Connor opens his mouth to explain.

TRACY
(with concern)
Are your parents all right? Your sister?

Connor compresses his lips and nods.

CONNOR
The Reillys are fine.

He reaches for the car door latch.

CONNOR
Just...watch yourself, okay?

TRACY
(a sly smirk)
See? Earnest.


A rhythmic, frenetic drum cadence plays as -

EXT. DARKENED SIDE STREET - EARLY EVENING

Looking out from AROUND A HEDGE, which looms in the foreground - Faith goes bare-knuckle with a WIRY, GLOWING DEMON, feinting, attacking, dodging, and attacking again until finally, she YANKS A KNIFE from a strap around her ankle and SLITS THE DEMON'S THROAT. It staggers back, grappling at the wound, which is leaking BRIGHT LIGHT, then EXPLODES IN A BURST OF ILLUMINATION.

Faith winces away. After a few beats, the brightness fades, and Faith is alone.

WOMAN (O.S.)
You always gotta play with them first.
What's up with that?

Faith whirls around to see - RONA approaching her from the hedge. Faith grins.

DISSOLVE TO - EXT. CITY PARK - MOMENTS LATER

IN FRAME - Swing set, jungle gym, merry-go-round, teeter-totter. Rona and Faith each sit in a swing. The chains above them creak gently.

RONA
Don't get me wrong. Having to take over....
Man, I've discovered a part of myself I never knew was there.
(an awkward chuckle)
I mean, me, a leader?
I've always been the chick slouched down in the back row.

Faith shakes her head.

FAITH
Nah.
You were the chick slouched in the back row
making smart-ass comments.

Rona grins.

RONA
(nodding)
Yeah.

The grin subsides into awkward silence. Rona's brows knit.

RONA
But we're friends, right? You and me?
I thought we were friends.

FAITH
Of course we're friends.

Rona shrugs.

RONA
I know it sounds lame, but I worry about you.
And the girls ask about you.
I never know what to say.

Faith shrugs.

FAITH
What can I say? I tried the whole "group-thing."
It just didn't...jive with me.
I do better on my own.

Rona throws Faith a pointed bull-shit detector look.

RONA
"On your own." That's crap.
You have Aiden and dog-boy helping you,
(she throws out a hand as if to indicate the people she's talking about)
and that vampire.

FAITH
His name's "Angel."
(then, with irritation)
And would you stop calling Connor "dog-boy"?

Rona grins sheepishly.

FAITH
(frustration rising)
And it's not them I'm talking about.
It's the fucking Council.

RONA
(gripping the swing chains)
So what's their deal, anyway?
Why hasn't there been any "hearing"?

Faith scoffs.

FAITH
Beats me.
(then another, more definitive, scoff)
Get this, though--
Angel says it's 'cause they want me to make the first move.
(she scowls)
Fat chance. Assholes.

RONA
But he talked to Buffy and Giles, didn't he?

FAITH
Yeah, he flew to England after that weird attack
where Buffy thought Angel and Spike had killed
some of her girls.

Rona chuckles grimly.

RONA
Weird shit. But it wasn't them, though.
It was an illusion.

Faith shakes her head.

FAITH
No, it wasn't them.
But the Slayers? Still dead.

Rona stares away.

RONA
(solemnly)
Yeah. Don't ever get used to that.
We lost some good friends to those nasty Turok-Han.
And the Syndicate.
(her eyes shift to meet Faith's dead on)
But we got the job done.
And every Slayer involved could say they did
something important with their lives.
(beat)
Don't you think helping them is important?

FAITH
(frustration again)
Sure I do. That's not what I....

Faith trails off, peering around the playground. CUT TO A SERIES OF SHOTS - Out of the darkness, GIRLS are appearing, alone, or in twos and threes. They climb the jungle gym, step up on the merry-go-round, and gather around Rona and Faith on the sand surrounding the swing set.

Slayers.

Faith aims an accusatory smirk at Rona.

FAITH
What's this?
You guys ganging up on me?

The Slayer KRISTIN straddles the swing on the other side of Faith.

KRISTIN
Nah.
(she gazes around at the others, then back at Faith)
We just wanted to say we support whatever you're doing,
'cause we know you're trying to do the right thing.

Faith's eyes narrow.

FAITH
Shit, you are ganging up on me.

Grins all around. The girls start to gather closer. Then, suddenly -

GRUFF VOICE (O.S.)
Well, lookie here.

CUT TO your garden-variety demon THUG, who has appeared behind the jungle gym with a couple of THUG-like pals.

DEMON
A buncha little girls in one spot.
Convenient.

The demons share a nod.

Faith and Rona glance at each other. And smile. WIDE CRANE SHOT as the girls rise to the challenge.


A diffuse, pounding CLUB TUNE wells up as we DISSOLVE TO -

EXT. NIGHTCLUB - SANTA MONICA - EVENING - ESTABLISHING

Glitz and neon. Above the double front doors is a giant chrome stylized letter "E". And above that, a banner which reads, "Youth Night." A long line of under-eighteens waits to get into the club.

INT. CLUB E

Strobes and lasers flash, a sea of heads bob to the incessant beat. CUT TO - Faith is in her element, the prime attraction in a circle of dancing Slayers, which has the attention of more than a few appreciative boys.


EXT. DYKSTRA HALL DORMINTORY - UCLA - EVENING - ESTABLISHING

INT. DAVE AND CONNOR'S ROOM

Connor enters, book bag slung over his shoulder. People pass by in the corridor behind, carrying suitcases and beds-in-a-bag and potted plants. He shuts the door. There is a soft metallic buzz OFF SCREEN.

CONNOR
Hey.

Dave looks up from the couch under his loft. He is shaving his chin with an electric razor, dressed for a night on the town in a button-down shirt and slacks.

DAVE
Hey.

Connor crosses the room and sets his book bag down on a desk cluttered with books, papers, food wrappers, soda cans, and a teetering stack of CDs. The cans and CDs topple. Papers scatter across the carpet. With a frown, Connor kneels and starts to gather the papers into a stack. His attention is drawn up briefly by MUFFLED VOICES out in the hallway, followed by the dull sound of something hitting the wall.

VOICES
Watch out!

Here, hold it this way!

Where's three-fifteen?

The buzz of Dave's razor cuts off. Dave sets it on the side table and rubs his fingertips across his chin.

DAVE
(casually)
"Changing of the guard."

Connor sorts through his paper stack.

CONNOR
Uh?

Dave stands and saunters casually up to the blank television screen, where he stoops to check his hair.

DAVE
New people moving in for Spring.

Connor nods an acknowledgement. Dave fiddles with his collar, stands tall, and turns towards Connor.

DAVE
(with a friendly grin)
So Amy thinks you're seeing someone new.

Connor doesn't look up from his chaos of term papers, loose sketches, class notes, and lists.

DAVE
Are you?

CONNOR
Yeah.

Dave's grin widens. Then, after a beat, with discomfort -

DAVE
I'm glad. That Alix was kind of....

He finally has Connor's attention. Or more to the point, Connor's exasperated grimace.

CONNOR
I was never dating Alix.

Connor opens his desk drawer. Dave shrugs skeptically, then recovers with a grin.

DAVE
So what's the new girl's name?

His eyes drop as Connor plops his stack of papers into the drawer. His expression darkens. Dave's POV - Inside Connor's drawer. Protruding from under the stack of papers, and tangled in stray rubber bands and paperclips, is the very lethal-looking jeweled DAGGER OF THE NYAZIANS. Before Connor can answer -

DAVE
Connor, what's that?

Connor is gingerly picking up a drippy soda can.

CONNOR
What's what?

With a slow, cautious movement, Dave reaches in the drawer and nudges the papers aside. He looks expectantly at Connor, who glances inside. Connor scowls.

CONNOR
It's nothing. It's an antique.

Dave stands tall, scrutinizing Connor's sudden edginess.

DAVE
What's it doing in your drawer?

Abruptly, Connor slams the drawer shut.

CONNOR
Nothing. I'm taking it to my dad's.

Dave peers at him warily, then turns away. He strolls over to the closet, then steals a brief, dissatisfied glance back at his roommate.


CUT TO - the DAGGER OF THE NYAZIANS clatters across an old WOODEN TABLE, drawing a low, appreciative whistle. A masculine hand reaches out and clasps the handle.

INT. GARAGE NO. 142 - A-1 SELF STORAGE - EVENING

Angel draws it up, admiring the workmanship.

ANGEL
Where'd you get it?

TWO SHOT - Connor stands facing him at the table.

CONNOR
(casually)
Found it on a demon.
Figure it's safer here than in my dorm room.

Angel lowers the dagger. Connor circles around as Angel walks it across the garage.

ANGEL
What kind of demon?

CONNOR
(with a shrug)
I don't know.

ANGEL
Well, what'd it look like?

CONNOR
Big? Ugly? It was a demon, what's it matter?

Angel kneels down in front of the WEAPONS LOCKER, sets the dagger at his feet, and unlocks the padlock.

ANGEL
It matters because this knife could be enchanted.
(he throws a glance at his son)
We need to get a mug-shot on this demon,
figure out why they had it.

Connor drifts over towards him, hands in his pants pockets.

CONNOR
Sorry. I don't really remember what it looked like.
Nothing specific, anyway.

Angel scowls with exasperation and places the dagger inside the locker. OVERHEAD SHOT of the SWORDS, KNIVES, and other BLADED WEAPONS already lying within. He shuts the cabinet and relocks it.

ANGEL
(standing)
Well, I think you should....

Then the BROADSWORD dangling above the locker catches his eye. He gazes at it for a moment. Connor eyes it uncomfortably.

ANGEL
Do you ever use it?

CONNOR
Not since we went up against the Syndicate.

ANGEL
So it just hangs here.

It's a question. Angel's gazes settles on Connor, who looks chagrined.

CONNOR
Yeah.
(uncomfortable beat)
Dad...I appreciate you giving it to me. Really.
That's why it's not in the locker with the others.
But my roommate is creeped out enough, and....
(Connor's eyes dip)
It's not who I am.
(a grudging chuckle)
Okay, it's who I am.
...But it's not who I want to be.

Connor fidgets apprehensively under his father's extended scrutiny. Finally -

ANGEL
I know.

Angel strolls towards the center of the garage, circling Connor around again.

ANGEL
I've seen your sketches, Connor.
They're really good.

Connor grins with self-conscious flattery.

CONNOR
Well, I don't know about "really good,"
but I'm getting there.
(a hesitant pause)
In fact...I changed my major to art.

Angel halts and turns, his face lit up at this news. Connor grins reflexively.

ANGEL
Connor, that's....
Thats....

Angel shuffles around, scanning the immediate area for something.

ANGEL
I want to show you something. I....

Then he sees it. In a burst of energy, he zips back past the weapons locker to a pile of boxes beyond and starts to unload the pile. Finally, he grabs the box on the bottom, stands, and sets it atop a discarded box. LINGERING SHOT of the large DRAIN VENT that lay beneath it.

Connor puzzles over Angel's enthusiasm with guarded amusement as Angel pries open the box. He approaches his father warily. Angel pulls out a stack of thick papers and shuffles through them.

ANGEL
These. I want to show you these.

He stares down for a few beats, then holds the pages out. Now it's Angel's turn to look on with nervous anticipation as Connor takes them and examines the top-most page. He is stopped short by what he sees.

CONNOR
Cordelia.

INSERT - It is a SKETCH of her face bright with a smile.

Connor shuffles the sketch to the bottom of the stack and looks at the next one.

OVER-THE-SHOULDER SHOT - A demon with mottled spines.

ANGEL
They're mine.

Connor gapes up at Angel, who grins bashfully. They share an awkward smile. Then Connor returns to the sketches.

ANGEL
Most are from cases I worked on when I had Angel Investigations.
I've drawn other things,
but for a long time, it seemed I only drew for work.

Connor continues to browse through the sketches one by one--demons; talismans; other familiar faces.

ANGEL
When I was your age, I wanted to be an artist,
but my father wouldn't hear of it.
He wanted me to go into the family business.

Connor is brought to a brief, perplexed halt. In his hands is a rendering of the AXIS OF PYTHIA. He gives his father a curious glance.

CONNOR
Which was what?

ANGEL
Selling linens.
(then, defensively)
It was the eighteenth century.

Connor's amusement fades to an enigmatic uneasiness. He busies himself looking through the remaining sketches. Angel eyes him warily.

ANGEL
What?

CONNOR
Nothing.

ANGEL
What?

Connor hands the drawings back to his father and turns away.

CONNOR
Well, I just...have to wonder.

ANGEL
Wonder what?

A pause.

CONNOR
You can draw. I can draw.
I just wonder...if you, you know...

He turns towards Angel, raising his chin.

CONNOR (cont.)
...Made me this way.

Whatever Angel was expecting him to say, this wasn't it. He looks utterly lost.

ANGEL
"Made" you this way?

CONNOR
When you gave me my new life.
Maybe...you got Cyvus Vail to turn me into an artist.

Angel balks incredulously.

ANGEL
Connor...he couldn't make you what you're not with a few memories.

CONNOR
(challenging)
Is that all it was? Memories?

ANGEL
(with assurance)
Yeah, that's all it was.

Silence falls briefly between father and son.

ANGEL
Connor, if you're an artist because of me,
you came about it the old-fashioned way.

CONNOR
(wryly)
"Runs in the family"?

ANGEL
(with a grin)
Yeah.
Runs in the family.

Another, shared grin. Then Angel's brows knit together.

ANGEL
Connor, I don't expect anything from you.
I don't expect you to be an artist because I wanted to be one.
I don't expect you to be a fighter because I am one.

Connor's eyes dip away with lingering skepticism. But Angel's continuing earnestness draws them back up.

ANGEL (cont.)
There's no life I want for you.
The only thing I want is for you to live.
Live, grow old, and...walk in the sunshine.

TWO-SHOT as father and son face off as men--understanding each other, connecting, and totally embarrassed at the sentimentality of it all. They both turn away, looking awkward.

Angel busies himself fitting his drawings back into the box. He folds it closed. Connor stares with a twisted mouth at Angel's broadsword, hands back in his pockets. Angel turns, about to say something, then waits. After a moment -

CONNOR
When I was living on the streets...
after you kicked me out, and I had nothing,
I just thought...that's what I deserved. Nothing.
Not because of what I did to you,
but because of who I was. Your son. Darla's son.

Connor turns, his calm, relaxed manner nothing like the boy he is speaking of.

CONNOR
For the first time in my life--my real life,
I feel like I have a life I can hang on to.
That I want to hang on to.

Angel nods, pleased. Then, after a moment, his pensive look returns.

ANGEL
You know that's not going to make everything
just go away, though, Connor.
(Connor nods grudgingly)
People will continue to come after you to get to me,
or just because you're a vampire's child.

CONNOR
(matter-of-factly)
Or because they believe in prophecies.

ANGEL
Or that.
You'll always have to keep an eye out.
I'll keep it away from you, as much as I can.
But just...be prepared.

Connor steps towards his father.

CONNOR
I don't want forget the past, or pretend that it wasn't real.
I just want it to...be the past.

Angel gives into sentimentality, reaches up, and straightens Connor's collar. HOLD ON the TWO-SHOT, then -

BLACK OUT.


END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

EXT. NIGHTTIME AERIAL SHOT

City lights carved out by the black curve of the ocean.

INT. A CRAMPED, DIMLY-LIT BASEMENT ROOM - EVENING

Your basic dump, with the requisite boiler, mattress on the floor, and tacked-up classic Hollywood movie posters covering water-stained walls. Someone has made feeble attempts to Goth-romanticize it with wall-to-wall burgundy carpet, an over-abundance of black lacquer furniture, black lace, and draped silk. The door opens. DRUSILLA slinks in in a red velvet dress and matching choker. Alix trails behind her, her edgy demeanor belying her black leather halter, pants, and pointed-toe boots.

ALIX
So this is it. This is my place.

She watches Drusilla sashay through the room, running her long, slender fingers over the scratched, dated vanity and wrought iron candle holders.

DRUSILLA
(approvingly)
It's dark and dank. It reeks of death.

ALIX
(in an assuring tone)
Oh, I never bring my food back here.
(then she glances around sheepishly)
Oh. You mean 'cause it's kinda dingy.
(a sigh)
I know, I need to kill more rich people.
It's just kinda difficult....

Drusilla stops and circles around. She tilts up her chin, gazing at the unseen stars of night.

DRUSILLA
Grandmummy always preferred a view....
And the night porter as an aperitif.

She goes back to soaking in the room with her dark eyes. Alix guffaws, overcome.

ALIX
I still can't believe that Angelus and Darla...!
(then, mumbling, eyes wide)
What am I saying?
I can't believe you're standing here.
I've read everything about you. And Darla. And Spike.

Drusilla finally settles her unsettling gaze on Alix.

DRUSILLA
You can still taste his blood on your tongue.
(she demonstrates with a finger)
Uncle's not like his family.

This brings a look of befuddlement to Alix's face.

ALIX
"Uncle"? You mean Connor?
I thought he was your brother.

Drusilla slinks towards her.

DRUSILLA
You want to find him.
Make him one with us.

ALIX
(a shrug of bravado)
If you ask me, he's halfway there already.

Drusilla halts in front of her, standing taller. All the better for looking down at her.

DRUSILLA
Darker things than you stalk him, little girl.

She turns away, wandering back into her own world. Alix fidgets, eyeing her.

ALIX
Like what?

Drusilla drifts over to the door and raises a hand to the peeling paint.

DRUSILLA
Father's in the city.
Searching for the girl with mirrors in her mind.

Giddiness bubbles up in her. She hunches her shoulders and balls her hands.

DRUSILLA
(sing-songy, turning around)
He...won't...save...her.

ALIX
(uncertain)
Now we're talking about Angel.

Suddenly, Drusilla's eyes go wide and her rail-thin body stiffens. She raises her hands to her temples, swaying subtly.

DRUSILLA
I see fire. A searing dragon's breath.

ALIX
Yeah, I'll bet you do.

DRUSILLA
(whimpering)
It brings...such pain.

She continues to sway for a moment, entranced. Then her gaze goes lucid and cool, and settles again on Alix.

DRUSILLA
Keep following Uncle, little girl, and you'll burn, too.


EXT. HOME OF PROFESSOR ROTH - EVENING - ESTABLISHING

INT. STUDY

Professor Roth enters the room, forking crisp lettuce leaves from a bowl into her mouth, her mind occupied, then gasps, startled as--

MELANIE
Jeez!

--she nearly runs into WILLIS. She stumbles back. With a frown, she veers around him and continues to the desk. Willis stares after her, all graying beard stubble and creepy amusement. She sets her bowl down beside her computer.

MELANIE
(grumbling)
I think I prefer the days when you made a pretentious entrance.

WILLIS
You were much more impressionable then.

Professor Roth sits and busies herself typing without preamble.

WILLIS
It takes a lot more now to ensure your cooperation.

Tap, tap, tap. Professor Roth pauses and reaches for her salad, her attention on the computer screen. Willis' amusement fades. He approaches her, all-business.

WILLIS
I told you the Patrons were going to manufacture a crisis
for the vampire's child, like the one spoken of in the Nyazian Scroll.
You're going to help make it happen.

Professor Roth freezes, fork poised with a speared cucumber slice inches from her mouth. She sets down her bowl and fork and twists around, lips parted.

MELANIE
But you said....

Willis cocks a brow. Professor Roth turns back towards the compter, staring intently at it, though not seeing it.

MELANIE
The deal was that all I would have to do is ensure
he "made the wrong choice" in this little "crisis" of theirs.
You said nothing about me helping the Patrons
"manufacture" it.

Willis strolls up behind her chair and sets his hands on the back. Professor Roth stiffens and swallows for composure.

WILLIS
The Patrons have something very specific planned,
and the simple fact is,
you're in a unique position to ensure that several
elements of it occur efficiently.
They'll find another way to accomplish those things if they have to....

Professor Roth sags in her chair, resigned. She shakes her head.

MELANIE
No. If the Patrons are going to lead Connor down the path to hell
and take me off the hook,
I can't just hide in a corner and pretend I'm not a part of it.

WILLIS
In for a penny, in for a pound?

MELANIE
I'm in it for a lot more than that.

Willis smacks the back of the chair with his palm and turns away.

WILLIS
All right, then.
Here's what's going to happen in short order.


EXT. SLAYER COUNCIL OFFICE BUILDING - EVENING

INT. HALLWAY

A SULTRY PIANO INSTRUMENTAL plays as we DOLLY SLOWLY from the library towards the back of the suite. Muted voices and soft laughter are just audible under the music. We pass the front foyer and the training room door before turning towards the LOCKER ROOM.

INT. LOCKER ROOM

The DOLLY CONTINUES around the near row of lockers. On the far side, we find Aiden and Kristin pressed against the back lockers, kissing. Heavily. LOW TIGHT SHOT - Aiden's fingers slide up Kristin's hip and under the hem of her shirt.

After a second, he retracts his hand. And his lips.

AIDEN
(still huddled close)
What...am I doing?

KRISTIN
Shhh.

Kristin draws him back in by the chin. They start up again. Under the heavy breathing and soft smacking, we hear a FAINT rap, rap, rap somewhere distant.

After a moment - RAP, RAP, RAP. Aiden pulls away and looks back towards the locker room door.

AIDEN
What's that knocking?

Kristin reaches for his jaw.

KRISTIN
It's the radiator.

Brows knit, Aiden tugs his jaw away.

AIDEN
The radiator doesn't sound like that.

RAP!, RAP!, RAP!

AIDEN
It's the door.

CUT TO - INT. FRONT HALLWAY

Aiden opens the suite door. Standing there is TRAVIS from episode 204, dressed in a rumpled trench coat, Hawaiian shirt, khaki pants, and Vans tennis shoes. He holds up his palm to Aiden. CLOSE-UP - On it is the brand of the Guardians of Light.

TRAVIS
I need to talk to Faith Lehane.

Kristin stands to the side of Aiden, arms crossed.

AIDEN
She's not here.

TRAVIS
Where is she?


DISSOLVE TO Faith, strolling up a residential street humming a club tune, a bundle of controlled energy. She slows outside--

EXT. A MODEST CONDO BUILDING - CENTURY CITY

--then hops up a short flight of stairs onto the property.

INT. CONDO

IN FRAME - The FRONT DOOR. Knock, knock, knock. Knock, knock, knock.

MAN (O.S.)
All right, already.

Barefoot and in a t-shirt and shorts, Gunn opens the door and looks...not surprised, but a little amused. Faith stands casually with her hands in her back jeans pockets, offering Gunn her best look of harmless innocence.

CUT TO - A startled Gunn DROPS TO SITTING on his couch and is immediately pinned there as Faith straddles herself on his lap. She kisses him deeply and repeatedly.

GUNN
You're...in a...good mood.

Faith sits up. She wraps her arms around his neck.

FAITH
I am.

GUNN
Are you drunk?

Then leans back in close.

FAITH
I am so not drunk, it's pathetic.

More kissing.

GUNN
Then...just back...from a kill.

FAITH
By way...of...Club E.

Gunn looks puzzled. Faith nibbles his lips, jaw, and then starts down his neck. He closes his eyes and lets it happen.

GUNN
So why...come...over here?

FAITH
(half-muffled)
The boys...were all...rug-rats.

GUNN
So I guess that makes me....

Faith sits up again and tugs up his t-shirt.


EXT. HOLY FAMILY CONVENT - SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES - EVENING

SWEEPING UP-PAN from the stone entry steps to the cross-mounted spire. The cracked and graying Spanish mission has seen better days. REVERSE ANGLE - Angel huddles in the shadows across the street, staring pensively. Then, with a cautious glance around the area, he darts over to it.

CUT TO - EXT. INSIDE COURTYARD - MOMENTS LATER

WIDE SHOT - Crumbling brick, over-grown trellises. Angel crosses the grass-dotted stone patio with the YOUNG WOMAN from the episode 2.10 teaser. Nuns lurk near the hedges that line the surrounding walkway, watching suspiciously. Angel and the young woman sit down on a stone bench next to a dry fountain.

ANGEL
You'll have to apologize to the sisters for me.
I know convents aren't big on male visitors.

Tammy glances towards the nuns.

TAMMY
They'll allow the occasional workman,
but, generally speaking, they don't like vampires.
Especially ones with a reputation like yours.

This gives Angel flummoxed pause. Tammy chuckles.

TAMMY
My brother told me to expect you.
And he told the sisters.
I'm sure he's already apologized for both of us.

ANGEL
(nodding)
Good.
(then, musing -)
Your brother, the father?

TAMMY
(with a smile)
I know Brad's a little off-beat for a Catholic priest,
but he is a good one.
(she scrutinizes Angel)
You're very off-beat for a champion-for-hire,
but I'm told you're a good one.

The segue means the time for polite chit-chat is over.

ANGEL
The Senior Partners want you for your psychic powers?

Tammy's smile fades.

TAMMY
I sense things--I guess you could say I "hear" them--
across dimensions.

ANGEL
That's a powerful gift.

Tammy exhales, looking overwhelmed.

TAMMY
And frightening.
(pensive pause)
When I was a girl, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Then a shaman came and told my parents
what the voices in my head really were.
He taught me how to distinguish them from what was going
on around me so I wouldn't go crazy.
Then, after a while, I learned how to distinguish the voices
from each other.
(she grins softly)
I gave them names I'd make up.
(her face grows darkly serious)
Eventually, I learned who some of them really were.

ANGEL
Like the Senior Partners.
(she nods)
You hear them?

CLOSE-UP on Tammy's heart-shaped face--pointed chin, round cheeks, broad forehead. There is controlled fear under her gracious exterior.

TAMMY
I don't hear their voices like I'm sitting in the same room as them,
or even their thoughts.
It's more...their intent, their emotions.
(an apologetic glance at Angel)
It's all a little vague.

Angel nods, then stands. He paces a little.

ANGEL
It explains why Dru might take an interest in you.
If anything explains her.
(a sober look at Tammy)
You should know that she's in town.
(Tammy's eyes drop)
She hasn't tried to make contact with me,
but I always know.

He glances over at the nuns again. His POV - They are still watching from a polite, if not discrete, distance.

ANGEL
What do you sense of the Senior Partners?

Tammy sits up straight, gathering her wits.

TAMMY
Urgency. The need to make plans and contingencies.
Something's coming, something big,
and they can't communicate efficiently with
their agents on Earth.
You cut off their communication.

ANGEL
And they want you to do their communicating.

Tammy shakes her head.

TAMMY
I would only be a conduit.

Angel absorbs this for a beat, then his lips part.

ANGEL
Not "a conduit." The Conduit.
(he slaps one palm with the back of his other hand)
Like that little girl, Mesektet,
or the panther in the White Room.

Tammy simmers angrily.

TAMMY
Those...things...volunteered for the job. I don't want it.
(her eyes go downcast)
But I don't know how long I can hide from them.

Angel sits down beside her.

ANGEL
(chagrined)
And I can't be the one to protect you.

The heart-shaped face gazes at him anxiously.

ANGEL
From Drusilla, I can,
but I'm the one that's supposed to find you for the Partners.
I would only lead them right to you.
(beat)
But I can get you other protectors.
(he glances around)
Ones that would be a little more welcome in a convent.

Tammy smiles a subdued smile of gratitude. Then -

TAMMY
There's another danger you should warn them about.
It's the reason Brad left San Francisco.

ANGEL
If Brad needs protection--

TAMMY
(looking up)
He's all right, but this effects me, too.
He's been studying demonic cults
and something decided he got too close to their secrets
and came after him.
Whoever--whatever it is--is not above
coming after people he cares about.

ANGEL
(brows knit)
Do you know anything about it?

TAMMY
He called them the...
(she gazes into space thoughtfully)
...the Anumaki? The Anunnaki?


DISSOLVE TO - EXT. UCLA CAMPUS - EVENING

Connor heads down a walkway, his portfolio slung over his shoulder. Only a few scattered students are around. He passes an administrative building,

M U R P H Y   H A L L
and continues on his way.

CUT TO - Professor Roth steps out from the exterior shadows of the building, waits, then turns and heads inside.

INT. CORRIDOR - MURPHY HALL

She enters the FRAME, looking about surreptitiously.

EXT. DICKSON COURT

We hear the steady ching, ching, of flag hooks hitting a flagpole in the breeze. Connor passes through the open courtyard and cuts left up a sidewalk. Suddenly, a ROBED DEMON appears in his path for anyone to see, wounded and gasping. CLOSE-UP - It is the NYAZIAN that gave him the dagger.

NYAZIAN
I found you...found you.

The demon stumbles and Connor reflexively reaches out to grab him, then helps him over to a nearby bench where the demon collapses to sitting. Connor draws back a hand that's STAINED RED.

CONNOR
(looking stunned)
You're bleeding.

The Nyazian nods, sagging.

NYAZIAN
We were attacked. Our nest.
(yellow demon eyes rise to meet his)
They...were human.

Connor compresses his lips helplessly.

CONNOR
I'm sorry, but I don't know what you expect me to--

The Nyazian GRABS ONTO Connor's shirt lapels. Connor pulls back reflexively.

NYAZIAN
We don't want to be here...anymore.
We just want to go home.
(earnest eyes)
You have...friends who can help us.
You...can protect us until we're able to go.

Connor scrutinizes the demon for a moment, then nods stiffly.

CONNOR
I'll talk to them.


INT. ELECTRICAL TUNNELS - LATE EVENING

Feet clang against metal as Travis, Faith, and Aiden descend an iron ladder protruding from the wall.

TRAVIS
If they're coming all the way into L.A. where humans
will actually notice them, it's for a reason.

AIDEN
I can't believe they're still around.
(he glances down at Travis)
But they are good, right?
I mean, if those three psychic kids sent you
here to protect them?

Travis ends his climb and steps away from the ladder. He is standing at the bottom of a DEEP CONCRETE WELL, pale street lights far above. He gazes around at the tight space, hands on his hips.

TRAVIS
(solemnly)
We didn't protect all of them.

Faith steps down onto the dusty concrete. She turns on Travis, chin raised.

FAITH
But I bet you killed more than one of the humans
that were after them.
I know all about you guys now.

Travis' brows knit earnestly.

TRAVIS
They didn't give us a choice.

Aiden steps down to find Faith and Travis facing off. He swallows. Without another word, Travis turns away and proceeds through a darkened doorway. Aiden follows. Faith takes up the rear.

TRAVIS
(voice receding)
Now hush. We have to handle this approach
in a particular way,
Lots of voices will frighten them.


DISSOLVE TO - INT. TUNNEL - MOMENTS LATER

Travis, Aiden, and Faith enter a murky concrete passageway lined with pipes. About half-way down its length, Travis stoops and picks up a rusted, abandoned wrench from the damp debris. He bangs it against a pipe. The clang, clang echoes. After a moment, we hear a distant, answering clang, clang. He continues on. The other two follow.

CUT TO - INT. DEEP UNDERGROUND

A series of tunnels come together to form a HONEY-COMBED CHAMBER of concrete and pipe. Disheveled NYAZIAN DEMONS, the same clan from the teaser, huddle around tiny fires burning in rusted pails. Many are wounded and being attended to by others. Cries and whimpers echo amongst the faint murmur of conversation. It is wet, dark, and filthy. Uneasy and distrustful eyes meet Faith, Aiden, and Travis as they are lead across the chamber by a taciturn young male armed with a curved blade.

TRAVIS
(speaking low)
From what little I could get out of them,
their story's fairly typical of the more peaceful clans.
They used to be a lot less peaceful--

FAITH
(mumbling)
Surprise, surprise.

TRAVIS
--But a series of conflicts with fiercer enemies
left them devastated.
The worst was the Granoks about a thousand years ago,
lead by a particularly nasty bastard named Sahjhan.

AIDEN
Oh, we know him.
(off Travis' puzzled frown)
Well, not personally.
His name appears in the scroll.

TRAVIS
Yeah, so I heard. There's a prophecy about his demise.
(they continue on)
Anyway, after that, the story goes,
a powerful goddess was born among them
who promised to restore their civilization.
But she caused a lot of pain and hurt in the process,
then abandoned them before the job was done.
They were forced to leave their dimension,
wandered around for a while, and finally came here.
Their legends told them Earth would be
the place their enemies would finally be defeated.
(PAN of the broken, wounded Nyazian clan)
Of course, they found a few new enemies in the process.

Aiden pauses over an older male who has an ORNATE WOODEN BOX in front of him, which he is brushing free of dust and ash as if it were a sacred treasure. He opens it and removes a CYLINDRICAL STONE MOSAIC.

In CLOSE-UP, SLOWLY TURNING - Two young men fight a tentacle-haired female beast in a trashed temple.

The old male notices Aiden noticing him. And it.

OLD MALE
It's a mosaic which depicts a tale from our ancient scrolls.
Two heroes--a father and son--slay the devil-goddess
who betrayed our home dimension.

Faith is now paused as well, looking on as Aiden examines the mosaic politely.

OLD MALE
You humans knew her as "Jasmine."

A skeptical guffaw from Faith.

FAITH
What are you saying?
(she points)
That's Angel and Connor?

The old male nods.

OLD MALE
"The Father and the Son."

Faith gestures at the mosaic.

FAITH
I guess that's history now, huh?

Their conversation is interrupted by a cackling but powerful female voice.

FEMALE (O.S.)
Which is why...we must return and...
rebuild what's left of our...home.

Faith twists around. Her POV - A regal, if stooped-over, positively ANCIENT-LOOKING female approaches them, wobbling on a knobby cane. Her face is marred by fresh scrapes and scratches.

FAITH
So what's stopping you?

OLD FEMALE
Passage there...is difficult.

She lifts her cane and stabs it towards the ceiling.

OLD FEMALE
We ventured...into your city,
even knowing...the dangers, because there are...
pockets...here where portals can be created.

FAITH
Yeah, L.A. is full of little hellmouths.
No offense.

The elderly female sets her cane back down on the ground and leans on it with both hands.

OLD FEMALE
We've been...searching for them.
But before we found a...suitable one,
those...other humans...found us.

Faith sets her hands on her hips.

FAITH
Yeah, well, I gotta a couple ideas about who they might be.
They look like soldiers? Uniforms? Firearms?

OLD FEMALE
(shaking her head)
I...never saw...them.
They...lured us out of our..."safe" house with...smoke bombs.

Faith nods.

FAITH
Could also be an outfit called "the Enash Cabal."

OLD FEMALE
Well, I know...nothing of....

Suddenly, the low rumble of conversation around them STOPS ABRUPTLY, drawing Faith and the old female around. LONG SHOT - Into the honeycomb limps the Nyazian from the UCLA courtyard, followed by ANGEL. All eyes are on Angel as he works his way towards Faith, Aiden, Travis, and the old female. The female lowers her head briefly and respectfully as Angel halts before her. Travis thrusts out a hand.

TRAVIS
Angel. My name is Travis Brent,
from the Guardians of Light.

Angel shakes his hand.

ANGEL
I've heard of the Guardians.
You were sent here?

Travis nods.

TRAVIS
By the three seer children you saved years ago.
(he gazes around at the demons)
The Nyazians bring balance.
They shouldn't have to suffer for that.

ANGEL
So let's help them.
(to Faith)
Did you get a hold of Mistress Meerna?

FAITH
I asked Vaughne to get us in touch with her.
(Angel nods and turns towards the old female)
Angel...where's Connor?

ANGEL
(quickly)
I told him I'd take care of this for him.
(to the old female)
We have an expert who can find you your hot-spot.

The old female nods.

OLD FEMALE
You...and your son...are truly the heroes...we've waited for.
We wish to...honor you.

Angel looks embarrassed and taken aback. He turns awkwardly to Faith.

ANGEL
Aggie.

FAITH
(huh?)
Texas A&M?

ANGEL
No. Aggie's a person.
If we can't find Meerna, she's someone else
who can find our hot spot for us.

OLD FEMALE
(persisting)
The Nyazian Scroll. It...is missing?

Faith looks at her in surprise.

FAITH
Yeah. Stolen.
How'd you know that?

ANGEL
That was a few years back.

FAITH
(to Angel)
No, we had the scroll.
It was in all that junk the Syndicate took
from Wolfram and Hart.
But then someone "beamed" it out of the Council Office
right under our noses, and--

OLD FEMALE
It is...no longer...in this...dimension.
That much...we know.
But there are...copies of the scroll
back...in our home, hidden...for safe-keeping.
We could arrange...to have one...delivered to you.

Angel shakes his head.

ANGEL
That's very generous, but you have to understand--

The old female looks from Faith to Angel with rapt concern.

OLD FEMALE
Oh, but the Son...must...have the Scroll,
if he is...to prepare...for what is to come!

ANGEL
I appreciate the gesture, but neither Connor nor I--

The old female STOMPS her cane on the ground, startling Angel to attention.

OLD FEMALE
(reciting)
"The One Sired...by the Vampire...with a Soul
will stand...at the center...of a maelstrom,
for his blood...is the key...to the future!"

Her respectful manner MORPHS FIERCE. She hobbles closer to Angel, who stands nearly two feet taller than her.

OLD FEMALE
Heed this, vampire.
Forces...are aligning. A battle...for your world...is imminent,
and it will make...Jasmine's machinations...look petty and small.
Your son...will be torn...asunder by it, just as he was...with that devil-goddess.
He must...heed the signs!

ANGEL
(confused)
What signs?

OLD FEMALE
Don't let...your son...walk alone.

BLACK OUT.


END OF ACT TWO

Part 2 (click here)



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Comments:


(Anonymous) at 2008-05-23 02:55 (UTC) (Link)

yay

I love this story.
Darth Masq, Sith Lord of Philosophy
masqthephlsphr at 2008-05-24 15:42 (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay

Thanks so much! And thanks for reading.
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