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connor

The Darkness, Part 1 (airdate February 1, 2006)

Posted by masqthephlsphr on 2008.08.11 at 22:01
Current Mood: determineddetermined
The Darkness

Part 1

(August 11, 2008)

Written by: Masquerade

Teaser

Previously on The Destroyer...

EXT. SEASIDE MEDICAL COMPLEX - NIGHT

CUT from a WIDE ESTABLISHING SHOT of waves crashing against rocks beyond the west-most building to a TIGHT SHOT of the BUILDING'S EXTERIOR on some non-specific HIGH FLOOR. Connor clings to the jutting architectural features, climbing with steady, super-human dexterity. CLOSE-UP of his gritted-teeth determination and wind-mussed hair.

DISSOLVE TO - INT. OWNER'S OFFICE - CLUB SEKHMET - EARLIER THAT NIGHT

DA SILVA glances up from his blackberry as Connor halts before his desk. Connor sets his fingertips on it and swallows.

CONNOR
All right...I'll do it.

DA SILVA
(skeptically)
Really?

Da Silva sets his blackberry aside.

DA SILVA
Somehow, I doubt your sincerity.
(off Connor's knit brow)
Last year, you scaled the walls of hell itself
to free your father from the Senior Partners.
And you succeeded.
You don't need my contacts.

Then, before an astounded Connor can speak -

DA SILVA (cont.)
And honestly, Mr. Reilly?
Your friends are Slayers.
My associates don't need the trouble that would ensue
if you were to back out of the deal, or be playing us somehow.

CONNOR
But he's burnt--

DA SILVA
Vampires have come back from worse.

Da Silva reaches for a small pad of paper.

DA SILVA
I'm going to do you a favor, free of charge.

He slides his blackberry towards himself, hits a few keys on it, then picks up a pen. Swiftly, he jots something down on the pad. He rips off the top sheet and hands it to Connor.

DA SILVA
Your father is here.

Connor looks a bit taken aback, then scrutinizes the paper.

DA SILVA
Mount a daring rescue.

DISSOLVE TO - EXT. MEDICAL COMPLEX BUILDING - NOW

Connor heaves himself up on a ledge under a LARGE WINDOW covered by utilitarian blinds. The room beyond is dark. Rising to a crouch, he tries the window, then pulls a SLIM JIM from his pants pocket and wedges it down behind the window pane. But before he can get the window unlocked, the pane FLIES UP ON ITS OWN. A hand reaches out and GRABS his shirt collar. Quickly, Connor SLAMS A FIST at the owner of the hand. Then AGAIN. A hand BLOCKS HIS PUNCH. For a second, BRUTE STRENGTH battles BRUTE STRENGTH.

CONNOR
Let me...in! My father's in there!

WOMAN (O.S.)
Connor?

The hand releases his shirt. Connor grips the window pane.

CONNOR
Yeah. Who the hell are you?

His POV - A FAMILIAR FACE, in shadows.

BUFFY
I'm Buffy. Buffy Summers.

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

Catalina Sandino Moreno
Megalyn Echikunwoke
Juliette Landau
Alan Tudyk
David Boreanaz
and
Sarah-Michelle Gellar


EXT. MEDICAL COMPLEX BUILDING - CONTINUOUS

Buffy blocks Connor's attempt to push past her into the room, bringing on a war of grappling hands.

BUFFY
You can't come in here.

CONNOR
Why not?

BUFFY
Because they probably have this room under surveillance!

CONNOR
So how come you're in there?

BUFFY
I have a cloaking charm!

CONNOR
Well, so do I!
(he grimaces with effort)
Angel...put a spell on me...to hide me...from the Senior Partners!

After a beat, Buffy halts. She lowers her arms and steps back grudgingly.

INT. PRIVATE ROOM

Connor leaps down from the window. He and Buffy face off briefly.

CONNOR
Buffy. I've heard of you.

Without waiting for her reply, he heads over to the bed.

BUFFY
(turning)
I guess Angel told you about me.

CONNOR
He doesn't talk about you much.

He takes in his father with dismay. His POV - Angel is unconscious and restrained in the bed, his face twitching with agitation. The SMALL CREATURE with the long, pointed proboscis seen in episode 212 is CLAMPED to his neck. The end of its proboscis is EMBEDDED IN HIS FOREHEAD.

Connor reaches towards it.

CONNOR
What is this thing?

BUFFY
Don't touch it!

Connor hesitates. Buffy charges over.

BUFFY
You don't know what removing it might do to him.

Connor eyes her, withdrawing his hand.

BUFFY
(reassuringly)
We'll get it off him.

Connor grips the side rails of the bed. His anxious gaze returns to his father.

CONNOR
Dad?

Buffy shakes her head.

BUFFY
He's out of it.

CONNOR
They're doing something to him. To his mind.

But there's not a whole lot he can do about it, for the time being. Connor pushes away from the rail, crosses his arms, and scowls darkly for a moment. Finally, he gives the room the slow once-over.

CONNOR
So, when did you...?

His gaze falls on Buffy, who is quietly observing him.

BUFFY
About half an hour ago.

Connor's eyes dip away shyly.

CONNOR
Did--did Faith call you?

An ironic scoff.

BUFFY
Does she even know how to use a phone?

Connor frowns after Buffy as she turns away, pacing. Now it's her turn to cast a worried gaze at Angel.

BUFFY
Actually, I had a weird dream about Angel.
I called the L.A. office, and they told me what was up.

Connor looks back at his father.

CONNOR
We have to get him out of here.

BUFFY
(matter-of-factly)
That's why I'm here. But we need a plan.

CONNOR
You don't have one?

BUFFY
Did you when you came climbing up the wall?

A sheepish frown. Connor shakes his head.

BUFFY
(breezily)
The plan is to take Angel to a facility trusted by the Slayer Council
where he can get special care and heal.
But before that can happen....

She pauses, greeted by the uncertain stare of - Angel's next of kin.

BUFFY
If that's okay.

Connor nods.

BUFFY
...Before that can happen, though, we have to get him out.
Which is why I'm here, to scope the place out
and see what we're up against.

CONNOR
Well, getting past the armed guards and the security cameras
was easy enough. But what--

The RATTLE OF A KEY in the door turns their heads. They throw a startled glance at each other. CUT TO the DOOR. It OPENS. A DOCTOR in a white coat enters, followed by Jason Guelph. Guelph shuts the door and follows the doctor to the bed. They stop on either side of it. The doctor gazes intently at Angel.

DOCTOR
Power. Darkness.
He's reliving every moment he felt them,
every surge of fire in his belly.
We're drawing them up into his sleeping consciousness.

GUELPH
But not just his memories as Angelus. Right?
Without a soul, he would be useless to us.

DOCTOR
(wryly)
And impossible to control, I'd think.

GUELPH
(glancing down)
He never did play well with others.

DOCTOR
(with reassurance)
No, not just as Angelus.
We're showing him every moment of power.
(his gaze dips)
And every moment of helplessness.
It's important the message sink in.
(sinister beat)
When phase one is done, phase two begins.
He'll be brought back to consciousness
and told he's simply been healing.
At that point, we'll offer him...opportunities.
Opportunities designed to see how well phase one went,
and opportunities which will offer him additional...
motivation to work for us.

CUT TO - EXT. BUILDING

Wind whips through the hair of Connor and Buffy, who are perched on opposite sides of the window ledge. Connor's attention is focused on the window behind them.

CONNOR
...They're doing it so he'll work for them.

Buffy looks impressed.

BUFFY
You can hear all that?
Through the glass and this...wind?

Connor gestures at his ear.

CONNOR
Super hearing.
(then, with a grimace)
Super smelling, too.

With a wince, Buffy rolls her shoulder and gingerly fingers her jaw.

BUFFY
And super strength.
(a beat; then, quippy -)
All the vampire things.

Connor's eyes brush over this last comment, returning to the building behind them.

CONNOR
I have to hold my breath whenever I'm in a hospital--
the smell makes me ill.
(he frowns)
Not this one, though. It's weird.

BUFFY
(a dour glance back)
I don't think this is a regular hospital.


EXT. COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL - DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - NIGHT - ESTABLISHING

INT. CORRIDOR - MEDICAL WARD

A nurse stands at a portable computer monitor.

WOMAN (O.S.)
Excuse me.

A SLIM MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN with auburn hair approaches.

WOMAN
I'm looking for Aiden Walsh.

The nurse points down the hall.

NURSE
413.

WOMAN
I'm his mother. What's his condition?

With a few taps on the keyboard, the nurse has Aiden's chart up.

NURSE
(reading)
He sustained a skull fracture that resulted in intracranial bleeding.
The doctor's not sure yet whether surgery is indicated....

She pauses to take in Mrs. Walsh's anxious expression.

NURSE
(reassuringly)
He's on anti-seizure medication, and being monitored round the clock--

MRS. WALSH
Is he still unconscious?

NURSE
Unfortunately, yes.
(off Mrs. Walsh's look of dismay)
It's not uncommon in brain injuries.
There's significant disruption to the blood flow in the brain,
and, as the tissue heals itself,
consciousness is less important than more basic brain activities.

The continued anxiety on Mrs. Walsh's face shows she not exactly reassured by this. The nurse gives her a gentle smile.

NURSE
Go on in. Sit with him.
(a smile flickers on Mrs. Walsh's lips)
His girlfriend's already in there.
(the nurse shakes her head, impressed)
She's here every time I'm on shift.

Startled, Mrs. Walsh nods stiffly, turns, and starts towards the room the nurse indicated. As she nears it, we hear a voice drifting out -

KRISTIN (O.S.)
Rona's not like Faith.
Faith liked us to find our strengths and weaknesses ourselves.
Rona wants to tell you what they are,
over, and over, and then, again over.

INT. AIDEN'S HOSPITAL ROOM

Kristin is curled in a chair beside a still-comatose Aiden, wearing sweat clothes. A book bag, empty coffee cups, and study materials are piled around the legs of her chair.

KRISTIN
Not that that's bad all the time.
I always wished Faith would share some....

Her attention turns to the door.

KRISTIN
...words of wisdom once in a while.
(awkward beat)
Hello.

REVERSE ANGLE - MRS. WALSH. But she isn't looking at Kristin. Her stricken stare is on - Mrs. Walsh's POV - Aiden, pale and lost amongst starched white hospital linens and blinking equipment. She drifts into the room.

WOMAN
I'm...Gwyneth Walsh.
I'm--I'm Aiden's mother.

Kristin uncurls herself and stands.

KRISTIN
I've been wondering where his family was.

MRS. WALSH
I took the first flight out I could get.

She walks around to the side of the bed opposite Kristin. Kristin's gaze caresses Aiden.

KRISTIN
He's still asleep.

Mrs. Walsh takes in Kristin as almost an afterthought.

MRS. WALSH
The nurse said...you've been here every day
since he was brought in.
(Kristin nods)
You're a very good friend for doing that.
(standoffish beat)
But aren't your parents concerned about you
being here all the time, Miss, uh...?

KRISTIN
Kristin. Rodriguez.
(beat)
I'm not living at home right now. I'm in training.

MRS. WALSH
Training for what?

KRISTIN
(suddenly uncertain)
....At the school Aiden works for.

MRS. WALSH
I see.
And are you Aiden's friend, or his...friend?

Kristin glances back for her chair. She sits down.

KRISTIN
I don't know...what we are.

MRS. WALSH
You're a little young, aren't you, for a boy his age?

KRISTIN
Girls like me...have to grow up fast.

MRS. WALSH
"Girls like you," as in Chicana?

Kristin frowns, taken aback.
KRISTIN
No.
(she looks away)
Never mind.

Mrs. Walsh draws a chair up to Aiden's bedside.

MRS. WALSH
Well, it's very late. I imagine you're tired.

A stubbornness sets into Kristin's lips.

KRISTIN
The nurses bring me blankets.

MRS. WALSH
Can you at least give me a few moments alone with my son?

Kristin blinks and nods.

KRISTIN
Yeah, sure.

She gets up.

KRISTIN
I'll...be back.

Kristin exits the room, leaving, TWO-SHOT - Aiden alone with his mother.


EXT. WINDOW LEDGE - SEASIDE MEDICAL COMPLEX BUILDING

Connor leans his ear towards the window.

BUFFY
Are they gone?

CONNOR
One of them is. The other one--
(he cringes and throws a hand over his ear)
Agh! Just pulled up a chair.

With an impatient frown, Buffy starts to clamber down over the ledge.

BUFFY
C'mon.

CONNOR
(with surprise)
Where are you going?

BUFFY
My cloaking charm only lasts an hour!

Buffy dangles from the ledge, trying to get a foothold beneath her.

TIGHT SHOT - Her fingers have an uneasy grip on the wind-worn concrete above her.

CONNOR
(gaping down)
What about Angel?!

BUFFY
(glancing up)
Still needing a plan?

She gets her foothold and continues her descent. Connor starts after her. WIDE SHOT - Two tiny figures make their way down the side of the building.

CUT TO the PAVEMENT. Buffy drops into the frame landing solidly on both feet. She is followed a beat later by Connor, who finds himself the object of her scrutiny again.

CONNOR
What?

BUFFY
Nothing.
I've just never seen a guy jump that far that wasn't a vampire.

Connor crosses his arms.

CONNOR
Well, now you have.

BUFFY
(back to business)
So where's your car?

CONNOR
I don't have one.

BUFFY
(huh?)
Then how'd you get here?

Connor shakes his head wearily.

CONNOR
You don't want to know.

BUFFY
Well, then, you're coming with me.

Buffy launches into a brisk walk. Connor skips after her. A rhythmic hip-hop song plays at low volume as we DISSOLVE TO -

EXT. INTERSTATE 5 - NIGHT

ESTABLISHING LONG SHOT of a MINIVAN, racing up the highway.

INT. CHEVY VENTURE

Connor sits absorbed in his thoughts, staring out at the night. Buffy steals a glance at him. Then, a moment later, another. Connor notices, but doesn't say anything. After the third glance, he chuckles self-consciously.

CONNOR
What?

Another, quick glance from Buffy.

BUFFY
Nothing.

Then, after a beat, she frowns grudgingly.

BUFFY
I guess you just kind of...wig me out a little.
Sorry.

CONNOR
'Cause I'm his son?

BUFFY
Yes.
And we're almost the same age.

CONNOR
(curiously)
How old are you?

BUFFY
I just turned twenty-five.
(hesitant beat)
How old are you?

CONNOR
Twenty-one.

BUFFY
(clarifying)
But you were only born a few years ago.

CONNOR
Two thousand and one.

An astonished scoff.

BUFFY
So I should be twenty years older than you.

Connor nods, shrugging casually.

CONNOR
Except that's not how things worked out.

Buffy's hands tighten on the steering wheel. Her attention shifts forward. Then, as if reciting from a book -

BUFFY
You "grew up in a hell dimension where time goes by faster."
(a glance of genuine curiosity)
...What was that like?

Connor's gaze dips evasively. He turns an intent brood out the side window. His POV - The muted, intermittent blurs of light from darkened residential neighborhoods.

CONNOR
I try not to think about it.
It was a different...frame of mind.
And Quortoth...was a lot different from here.

BUFFY
Were there any people there?
I mean, besides you and your--

Connor shakes his head.

CONNOR
No humans.
(his eyes dip)
Just me and Holtz.

BUFFY
"No humans" means no girls, right?

Connor throws a wry glance in her direction.

CONNOR
Well, there were females.
(exasperated beat)
I mean, I understood the concept.
(he shakes his head again)
But the first human girl I met...was here, after I came back.

BUFFY
So...no girls, and you learned all the facts of life
from a stuffy old English guy.

Connor ventures a bewildered glance.

CONNOR
"Stuffy" isn't the word I'd use....
(then, bashfully, looking away)
I...figured out what I needed to know.

BUFFY
Was that before or after you knocked up Cordelia?

Now Buffy gets a startled stare. Connor quickly looks away. Looking a little startled herself, Buffy faces forward.

BUFFY
Sorry.
(a chagrined glance)
I'm actually pretty good at this small-talk thing, most of the time.
But with you...I kinda...stepped into Mom-mode.

She gives their surroundings the once-over.

BUFFY
It's the minivan.
Which isn't mine, by the way, it's a rental.
I wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan otherwise, believe me.
(then, as a cheery afterthought -)
They are good for bulk-ferrying Slayers, though.

Connor chuckles wryly.

CONNOR
Maybe you should have been my mother instead of Darla.

Buffy balks, aghast.

BUFFY
Don't even joke about that.
Do you know how freaked out I was when
I heard Angel got somebody pregnant?
(then, mumbling -)
Even if it was...her.

Connor gives Buffy a long glance before they lapse into silence again. Finally, Buffy returns the look. Her POV - Connor, in PROFILE.

BUFFY (O.S.)
You don't look like him.
(a self-conscious glance from Connor)
Well...maybe around the chin, a little.

CONNOR
I know. I look like my mother. Everyone tells me--

BUFFY (O.S.)
And the eyes.

CLOSE-UP on the eyes in question. Haunted, but unwavering.

BUFFY (O.S.)
You and Angel both have the same intense....

She trails off, then turns forward thoughtfully.

BUFFY
So, if you don't have a car, how do you get around?

CONNOR
I had a car. It belonged to my foster parents.
But I...put them in a lot of danger.
I figured...it'd be safer if I...gave them a little space.
(his eyes dip again)
It felt wrong to keep the car.

BUFFY
Makes sense.
(then, conversationally -)
You know, Angel used to have a cool car.
An old Plymouth convertible.

Connor stares at her as if the proverbial light bulb has appeared over his head.


EXT. A-1 SELF-STORAGE - NIGHT - ESTABLISHING

The storage lot set against the backdrop of downtown Los Angeles.

INT. L-BEND IN THE SEWER TUNNELS

Shadowed and dreary under dim security lights. Footfalls echo. Buffy and Connor appear around the corner and slow as they see -

the SCORCHED PATCH OF CONCRETE. Buffy grimaces.

CONNOR
(solemnly)
This is it.
His coat was on fire. I don't know if anything could have--

Chink. Connor looks down. His toes have hit something. He reaches down and picks up - INSERT - A SET OF KEYS.

BUFFY
(noticing)
So where's the car?

CONNOR
Well, if he left it where he parked it that one time....
Guess I'll just have to go see.

Dark Cabaret's agitated but haunting "Within Temptation" wells up as we -


SLOW-DISSOLVE THROUGH A SERIES OF SCENES -
INT. SPIKE AND DRUSILLA'S SUNNYDALE FACTORY - 1998

Drusilla pulls her raven hair aside, allowing Angelus to draw a macabre ruby necklace around her neck. He offers a smug glance to the SEETHING SPIKE, who rolls his wheelchair towards them. But the deed is done.


INT. IRISH HOUSEHOLD - GALWAY - 1753

Garlic, crosses, boarded-up windows. Angelus PINS HIS FATHER to the wall. The man mumbles prayers through a horrified grimace as Angelus SINKS HIS FANGS INTO his neck.


INT. WOLFRAM AND HART CEO'S OFFICE - LOS ANGELES - 2003

Angel rises from his chair and seizes a SWORD from the wall. He veers around his desk and as Gunn looks on, DECAPITATES a quivering DEMON EMPLOYEE in a suit. The head ROLLS TO THE DOORWAY and halts at a startled Harmony's feet.


INT. ANGEL'S SUNNYDALE APARTMENT - 1998

Shirt unbuttoned, Angelus smirks condescendingly at the distraught seventeen-year-old vampire slayer Angel made love to the night before.


INT. HOLLAND MANNER'S WINE CELLAR - LOS ANGELES - 2000

The lawyers of Special Projects Division stare in dawning horror past the two female vampires that stand between them and escape.

REVERSE ANGLE - Poker-faced, Angel closes the heavy oaken cellar doors and LOCKS THEM IN.

INT. PRIVATE ROOM - SEASIDE MEDICAL COMPLEX - NIGHT

CLOSE-UP on Angel's eyes, shifting behind closed lids. A smile forms on his lips.


SPEEDED-UP TRANSITIONAL SHOT - The sun rises behind the smog-faded eastern mountains, then arcs high through wispy clouds.

DISSOLVE TO the steady, soft squeal of weight machines and repeated thudding on a punching bag.

EXT. SLAYER COUNCIL OFFICE BUILDING - EARLY AFTERNOON - ESTABLISHING

INT. OFFICE

Buffy sits at the desk, phone receiver to her ear, doodling on a scratch pad.

BUFFY
We need a way for the portal to be undetectable,
at least long enough for us to get him out of there.
(pause)
I know, I'm working on that part.

Her attention is drawn across the room.

BUFFY
Oh, wait, here it is.
I hope.

Connor crosses to the desk with several pieces of paper. He plunks them into her proffered hand.

CONNOR
I told him where we found Angel.
He called in some favors, and was able to get this.

BUFFY
Thanks.

Buffy spreads the papers across the desk. TIGHT SHOT - They contain BLUEPRINTS.

BUFFY
(into the phone)
Security plans for the building. Gunn got them for us.

She scrutinizes as she speaks, then looks dismayed.

BUFFY
"1997"?
(a glance up)
Connor, these are the original plans.

Connor takes a seat in one of the chairs opposite her.

CONNOR
It's the best he could do.
He says it shouldn't have changed much.

BUFFY
Well, let's hope it hasn't.
(into the phone)
Okay, Will. He's on the east side of the building, twelfth floor.
There weren't any wards on the windows,
Connor and I both got in that way.

Connor shakes his head.

CONNOR
More likely, they'll have vampire detectors, zombie guards....

Buffy taps a finger on the plans.

BUFFY
Yep. Demon vampire detectors.
(a frown)
There's also something here about the..."Shield of Entropy"?
(pause)
Thanks Will, I'll get you a copy of this, A.S.A.P.
(pause)
Okay. Talk to you then.

Buffy hangs up the phone to see - Connor's skeptical scowl.

CONNOR
Let me guess.
This big rescue plan involves magic.

Buffy looks taken aback.

BUFFY
Well...we were just gonna go with a long rope and a pick-ax,
but Wolfram and Hart got first call on weapons.
(then, pointedly -)
What's the problem?

Connor sits back, arms crossed.

CONNOR
Other than the fact that magic's totally unreliable?
Nothing.

Buffy scrutinizes him with puzzlement for a beat, then scootches her chair back.

BUFFY
Willow's pretty good at this stuff.
(she grabs something up from the floor)
But now I'm wondering if I should give you this....

Connor regards her curiously. Standing, Buffy sets an overnight bag on the desk. She unzips it and rummages through it, then pulls out a PALM-SIZED BLACK JEWELRY BOX. She holds it out. Connor frowns.

BUFFY
Remember me mentioning that dream I had about Angel?

Connor nods as he takes the box.

BUFFY
Well, it also had a guest spot by the First Slayer.
She's not big with language,
(a grimace)
...or dental floss,
but she sometimes makes guest appearances
when there's important stuff I need to know.
And it seemed pretty important that I give you this.
So I am.

Connor opens it, then frowns again dubiously. INSERT, his POV - A MEDALLION OF OBSIDIAN AND GOLD on a chain, nestled in black velvet. It is etched with hieroglyphic figures, including a small skull.

CONNOR
What is it?

BUFFY
I'm not sure.
Another cryptic fashion accessory.
The last one I saw destroyed a whole town
and a lot of really ugly uber-vamps.

Connor looks startled at this.

BUFFY
(quickly)
Which was a good thing, trust me.
I lived in that town for seven years.
It was the demons' favorite party destination.

CONNOR
(looking down again)
What am I supposed to do with it?

BUFFY
(shrugging)
Beats me.
Giles researched it until his eyes popped out.
Couldn't find anything.
We'll keep looking.

Connor snaps the box closed, but continues to hold it awkwardly in his hand.

CONNOR
So who's this "First Slayer"?

BUFFY
The very first Slayer there ever was.
(hesitant beat)
Well, probably not the literal girl herself,
but some kind of spirit guide that comes to me
in dreams that looks like her.
(off his worried gaze)
Relax. She hasn't set me wrong yet.

Buffy zips up her bag again.

CONNOR
Yeah, but why would she care about me?

BUFFY
The spirit of the First Slayer?
I don't think she does. No offense.
I think she was just the messenger.

CONNOR
(warily)
Then...who sent the message?

BUFFY
You're asking me? I just work here.

FAITH (O.S.)
Actually, you don't.

Faith leans against the doorway, casted arm cradled to her side.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

INT. SLAYER COUNCIL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

Casually, Faith stands upright and strolls into the room.

FAITH
So I go looking for Gunn today,
thinking he might have some ideas about how to spring Angel.
Turns out Lucky Chuckie's already helping someone else help Angel.
Which nobody bothered to tell me.

Buffy is on her feet. She veers around the desk, facing off with her.

BUFFY
I called him pretty early. Guess you weren't up yet.

Connor stares from one Slayer to the other uncertainly.

BUFFY
I also didn't know you still came around here.

Faith continues forward until she's just close enough to Buffy to look down on her. Her eyes narrow coolly.

FAITH
Well, there's not much you do know about
what goes on around here.

BUFFY
(with a hint of attitude)
I know Angel's in trouble.
(defensive beat)
So I suggest we put any issues we have aside
and concentrate on helping him.

Faith scoffs.

FAITH
Is that why you came to L.A.? To "help Angel"?
'Cause you've been threatening to come here for weeks--

BUFFY
(with obvious restraint)
Faith, now's not the time--

Faith slaps her fingertips to her chest.

FAITH
I'm not the one who said she was going to convene
a "disciplinary hearing" like you have any right
to tell me how to run my operation--

BUFFY
And you reacted just the way I thought you would!
You abandoned it and dumped the training on Rona!

FAITH
She stepped up!

Connor starts to stand, hands raised to intervene.

CONNOR
Uh...guys?

BUFFY
That's not the point!

FAITH
Then what is the point, B?

Connor sits back down. Buffy glares at Faith stubbornly for a moment, then pivots and heads back around the desk.

BUFFY
(seething)
I'm not getting dragged into this, not right now.
(a quick glance)
Connor--

Connor rises again at her beckoning, then plops back down as Faith cuts him off on her way to the desk. She leans over it, one hand planted firmly on the edge.

FAITH
You want to talk about Angel?
Let's talk about Angel.
I didn't see you running over here to help last year
when he was trapped in hell.
That was Connor and me!

Buffy starts gathering up the blueprints. Her voice is bitter with hurt.

BUFFY
I had a lot going on last year you don't know anything about.
You didn't want to know.
(she slaps them right back down on the desk)
And that's the whole problem right there, Faith.
You never tell us anything.
You don't call, you don't return phone calls....
(she throws out a hand)
I've got hundreds of Slayers I have to keep track of--

Faith rises to full height again, swaggering with attitude.

FAITH
Oh, you've got hundreds of Slayers?
You never even thought about reigning in the control freak thing
and letting me take care of my share?
(her anger rises)
You don't trust me, you've never trusted me--

BUFFY
Look who's talking about trust!
Time was, you thought anyone dumb enough to "trust"
was a chump!

FAITH
(exasperated balk)
That's not me anymore, and you know that.

CUT TO Connor, who stands again.

BUFFY
Well, you sure as hell don't trust me.
You didn't trust me enough to tell me about
that library you found!

Faith leans into the desk again. We see Connor behind her, creeping towards the door.

FAITH
Because I knew exactly what would happen if I did,
and I was right!

She jabs a finger in the direction of the library.

FAITH (cont.)
This place is swarming with book nerds who're gonna take those books
halfway across the world where they won't help with jack squat
since most of what's in'em's about L.A.!
(she struts back from the desk, oozing petulance)
"Let's leave Faith to the punching and kicking,
since that's all she's good for."

Buffy gapes at her for a beat.

BUFFY
Why am I letting myself get dragged into this?!
(she grabs up the blueprints)
Angel needs us,
and for all I know, right now they're taking him
somewhere where we won't be able to find him!

Faith shrugs.

FAITH
You seem to have it under control.
What do you need me for?

And with that, she pivots and stalks out of the room.

BUFFY
Faith!

INT. HALLWAY

Faith passes Connor without a glance.

CONNOR
Faith?

He starts after her, then stops. His expression is conflicted when Buffy appears in the office doorway. The suite door SLAMS. Buffy fumes silently for a moment. Connor fidgets. Then -

CONNOR
So...uh, I guess you guys got a history.

Buffy rolls her eyes and turns back into the office.

BUFFY (O.S.)
Go home. Rest up, or whatever you need to do.

Connor follows.

INT. OFFICE

Buffy sinks down on the edge of the desk.

BUFFY
We're getting Angel out of there tonight.
Willow's coming up with a spell to get us in
and out without tripping security.
So whether you like magic or not,
you got supernatural strength, you're already cloaked, and--

CONNOR
He's my father.


EXT. STRIP MALL - ESTABLISHING - AFTERNOON

The reconstructed shopping center over Angel's former basement apartment.

TINNY VOICE-OVER
(babbling faintly)
This is K-R-O-Q, L.A.'s only alternative.

INT. BEDROOM - BASEMENT APARTMENT

WIDE SHOT - Connor stands by the bed in Dockers and a T-shirt, unsheathing a KNIFE. He examines it and re-sheaths it.

TINNY V.O.
(louder)
I'm Jed the Fish in for Sluggo, and you just heard
My Chemical Romance, "The Ghost of You."
Well, actually, you just heard a bunch of commercials....

Connor walks the knife over to a crushed vintage travel trunk and sets it down, drawing his attention to - TIGHT SHOT - the small jewelry box Buffy gave him, which has been thrown there haphazardly.

DISC JOCKEY
Next up...a half hour of uninterrupted music,
starting with Green Day....

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" starts up softly.

With a skeptical scoff, Connor picks up the box and opens it. He is about to snap it closed again when something makes him hesitate. CLOSE-UP on his eyes. Underneath the music, a WHITE NOISE starts to build that soon becomes DEAFENING. With a troubled expression, Connor reaches in and pulls the medallion from its setting. The box falls from his fingers. Slowly, he draws the chain out and open and slips the medallion on.

A beat later, he SEIZES UP, WINCING IN PAIN.

CONNOR
Aaagh!

Connor scrabbles for the medallion, but before he can yank it off, his eyes roll up in his head. He slumps sideways, LOW SHOT - falling across and breaking the scratched-up wooden chair where the transistor radio sat. Silence. His eyes close. FADE TO BLACK.


FADE UP. TIGHT SHOT - The same blue eyes flicker open, then wander the room briefly.

PANNING - Flame light flickers on harsh red rock. Metal tools and cured meats hang suspended from a wooden beam hammered into the ceiling.

INT. CAVE - LATE DAY

Steven sits up on the rocky ground, brushing dust from his leathers. Slowly, he rises to his feet. His eyes dart warily.

STEVEN
Dad?

Quickly, he crosses the cave's length and enters -

INT. A REAR CHAMBER

A well of stone sits in the earthen floor. Steven looks around.

STEVEN
Dad?

Still nothing. He pivots and bolts back the way he came, veering briefly to snatch up a SHEATHED BLADE sitting on a low wooden ledge in the rock wall. He latches it to the waistline of his pants and -

DISSOLVE TO - INT. CENTRAL ROOM - BASEMENT APARTMENT - LOS ANGELES

LONG SHOT - In Dockers and a T-shirt, Steven crosses the still-trashed central room, heading towards the sliding doors that lead to the interior basement corridor.

CUT TO - EXT. AN ARID, ROCKY LANDSCAPE SET AGAINST A BLOOD-RED SKY - QUORTOTH - LATE DAY

Steven slips crouched from the vertical fissure in the cragged rock face that is his home, eyes watchful. The air is a blur of rising heat. Standing tall, he lopes around the rock face and begins a climb to its peak. His tongue slides over his bottom lip in working concentration.

DISSOLVE TO - INT. ROOFTOP OF THE STRIP MALL - LOS ANGELES

Steven completes the climb to the roof of the building and kneels low, eyes scanning. His POV - A WIDE VALLEY OF RED ROCK gouged with treacherous gorges and rimmed with distant belching volcanic hills. A FOCUSED PAN up the rise leading to where Steven is reveals gnarled trees and loping predators sniffing at picked bones.

Then Steven catches a scent on the wind. With a scowl, he twists away from the view, flattens his legs to sitting, and crawls crab-like back down to the ridge line.


INT. CENTER ROOM - BASEMENT APARTMENT

The sliding doors hang open. Vaughne enters hesitantly, Mexican weave bag hanging from her shoulder.

VAUGHNE
Connor?

Her voice echoes in the room. She takes it in as she crosses the floor.

VAUGHNE
I'm here about vampire dis-invite spell.

Her POV - Dilapidated, charred, and trashed.

VAUGHNE
Y'here?

Light and a faint electronic crackling draw her towards the bedroom.

INT. BEDROOM

She enters and looks around, then, frowning with dismay, turns and exits back into -

INT. CENTER ROOM

With a startled GASP, Vaughne halts.

VAUGHNE
Connor!

He is standing three meters from her, staring intently. She chuckles and exhales.

VAUGHNE
Sorry. It wasn't locked.

DISSOLVE TO - INT. CAVE - QUORTOTH

Steven's POV - Something out of a NIGHTMARE--wiry, reptilian, and gray, with very SHARP TEETH. Ragged cloth hangs on its lithe form, and its voice is raspy, but unmistakably female. It creeps towards him.

DEMON
Shall we get...ssstarted?

Steven steps back reflexively.

STEVEN
(low and hostile)
Where's my father?

DEMON
(sounding puzzled)
Connor....Angel got taken away...sssomewhere.

Steven's eyes narrow. He raises his chin, defensive, but curious.

STEVEN
Angel.
(heavy beat)
How do you know about Angel?

DEMON
Your father?

STEVEN
(with wary suspicion)
Angel's not my father.

He inches towards the creature, drawing the blade from the sheath at his belt.

STEVEN
Who are you?
Did he send you somehow?
(with disdain)
A filthy demon to do his bidding?

The demon skitters back, its clawed feet scrabbling on the dusty red ground.

DEMON
What...are you talking about?
Connor, what'sss...wrong with you?

Steven continues inching forward.

STEVEN
"Connor."
(a scowl)
That name means nothing to me.

In an instant, he is ON THE BEAST, kicking it flat and raising his blade. It falls and raises a defensive hand.

STEVEN
Where's my father!? Where's Holtz!?

DEMON
I...don't know!
(its clawed hand fumbles in its clothing)
What are you--?!

A mechanical, high-pitched beeping draws Steven's bewildered glance for an instant.

DISSOLVE TO - INT. BASEMENT APARTMENT - LOS ANGELES

Vaughne cringes on the floor beneath the point of Steven's KNIFE. He is staring at the cell phone she has clutched in one hand. Quickly, she raises her other hand.

VAUGHNE
Protect!

A SHIELD OF YELLOW LIGHT bows the air around her, sending Steven FLYING BACK. He hits the opposite wall and slumps to the floor. Vaughne scrambles to her feet.

VAUGHNE
Saepio, Saepire, Saepsi, Saepio Impedimentum!

The shield around her STRENGTHENS, becoming a second skin. Quickly, she races for the door. Steven leaps up after her.

CUT TO - EXT. CAVE - QUORTOTH

The demon skitters across the ridge line, Steven closing behind. He lunges at it and BOUNCES OFF its golden shield, falling hard on his butt. LONG SHOT - The demon races off.


INT. OFFICE - SLAYER COUNCIL SUITE - LATE AFTERNOON

TIGHT SHOT of the RINGING TELEPHONE.

Buffy dodges through the office door and races for the desk, snatching the receiver up just as the ring ends.

BUFFY
Will?

WOMAN'S VOICE
(stressed)
Faith? Faith, it's Vaughne.

BUFFY
(with concern)
Faith's not here. This is Buffy Summers.

VAUGHNE'S VOICE
Buffy? As in U.C. Sunnydale Buffy?
(a ragged inhale)
It's Vaughne Oduya.
My coven works for the Council--

BUFFY
I remember.
In fact, I need you guys here--

VAUGHNE'S VOICE
Wait. Wait...listen.
(the desperation in her voice shuts Buffy up)
I'm over by Angel's old apartment.
Connor's...staying here now.
I was supposed to do a vampire dis-invite spell for him,
but he attacked me.

BUFFY
Who attacked you?

VAUGHNE'S VOICE
Connor!
(Buffy frowns, puzzled)
Buffy, I think something's wrong with him!
He didn't recognize me.
He was calling himself "Steven" and thought I was a demon!

BUFFY
Where are you now?

EXT. ALLEY BEHIND THE STRIP MALL - A SHORT WHILE LATER

Buffy's minivan comes to a SHARP HALT. She leaps out and heads down the alley, passing an old Plymouth convertible. She pauses only a second to notice it before rushing on.

CUT TO - INT. PIZZA RESTAURANT

Vaughne huddles in one of the booths, a glass of water in hand. She looks up. Buffy sits down across from her.

BUFFY
Are you okay?
(Vaughne nods)
I didn't see Connor downstairs.

Vaughne shakes her head.

VAUGHNE
I don't know where he went.

BUFFY
If you're okay, I'm going after him.

VAUGHNE
Yeah, I'm fine. Just...freaked out a bit.

Buffy stands, tugging unconsciously at the hem of her T-shirt.

BUFFY
C'mon, I'll walk you to your car.


EXT. CITY STREET - A SHORT WHILE LATER

Buffy wanders up the sidewalk, weaponless but alert. SLOW PAN UP a NARROW APARTMENT BUILDING ahead of her. In mid-PAN, the building MORPHS into -

EXT. A ROCKY RISE - QUORTOTH

Steven perches at the cliff-edge of the rise, eyes tracking -

His POV, nearly ten meters down - A pale, wiry creature in a tunic, passing beneath him.

EXT. CITY STREET - LOS ANGELES

Buffy continues up the street, oblivious.

CUT TO the ROOF of the building she just passed. Steven remains crouched there for a beat, then stands, recedes from the edge, and turns. He breaks into a run and, WIDE SHOT - LEAPS from the rooftop he is on to the next. He lopes forward.

CUT TO the alley below, which Buffy has just entered. She halts with a frown, then looks up. Her POV - Two tall buildings frame a streak of orangey pre-dusk sky. Buffy hurries up the alley.

EXT. THE ROOFTOPS

Steven leaps another gap between buildings and meanders to the far edge of a rooftop. The next building is hundreds of meters away, across a broad PARK. He looks down. His POV - A vertigo-jarring three-story drop of cragged red Quortoth stone. He jumps.

Steven lands HARD on the sidewalk below, knees bending, looks right, then left, then skips down the sidewalk away from the busy street where Buffy was. He is nearly to the back edge of the building when he slows to a guarded stop. He yanks the knife from his belt.

JUST AROUND THE CORNER - Buffy waits, her back to the wall, eyes fixed on the place where Steven should appear. But he doesn't. She frowns, then goes on the offensive, rounding the corner and immediately DIVING INTO A ROLL.

Schwing!

A BLADE cuts through the air where she stood and clatters to the sidewalk. Buffy hops up and around, just in time to block STEVEN'S PUNCH. She grabs his arm in both hands and SWINGS HIM AROUND, tossing him HARD to the asphalt behind the building. Steven rolls to a landing flat on his back. TIGHT OVERHEAD SHOT - He tries to rise. A FOOT plants itself firmly on his chest.

BUFFY
Stay down.

Steven thrashes, then gives her a surly scowl.

STEVEN
Get off me!

Buffy struggles to keep her foot in place.

BUFFY
Okay...Connor. What's...going on?

Steven's POV, looking up - The demon's face is a grotesque mask of ROTTING DECAY. Saliva leaks from its parched lips.

Steven's only reply is to GRAB Buffy's FOOT and try to throw her off. Something slick on his chest almost loosens Buffy's shoe. Buffy's POV - It is the MEDALLION she gave him, hanging loose on its chain.

BUFFY
(briefly stunned)
Oh, my God.

STEVEN
(low and guttural)
You have no God, demon.

Steven PUSHES HER off. Buffy flies back. Quickly, Steven brings his legs up, rolls back on his hands, and SPRINGS to his feet. Buffy scrambles up from a sitting position on the asphalt. He stares at her intently from under his brows. Buffy backs up a step, then another, then, with a quick glance over her shoulder, dodges back towards - Steven's KNIFE. Steven dives after her. Buffy feints grabbing for it, and when he is on her, she takes hold of him from behind and THROWS HIM over her shoulder. He HITS THE GROUND HARD, his head bouncing against the asphalt.

Overhead shot, her POV - Out like a light.

Buffy exhales, then reaches down to take hold of the medallion. With a jolt, Steven's hand is AROUND HER THROAT. Buffy gags and grapples at his arm. With his other hand, he PUNCHES her in the face. Then again. And again. She lolls, stunned. He SHOVES her away, and in an instant is back on his feet.

BLUR-CAM, Buffy's POV - Steven disappears around the side of the building.

Buffy coughs and caresses her throat. Slowly, she sits up, unlatches her cell phone from the waistline of her pants, and stabs in a number. She brings the phone to her ear. A weary scowl.

BUFFY
Damn it, where the hell are you?
You know, there's a time to run off and sulk,
and there's a time to "step up."
You know good and well this is one of those times.
(she sighs)
I saw Connor, and Vaughne's right.
There is something seriously wiggy with him.
(sour beat)
Thought you might want to help.


DISSOLVE TO Kristin's face, looking tired and distracted.

INT. AIDEN'S HOSPITAL ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

She has a pencil poised over an open textbook, but isn't working. Mrs. Walsh is sitting in a chair on the other side of the bed, staring into space and wringing her hands. Just then, Aiden stirs, mumbling. Kristin shoves her work aside and stands. Mrs. Walsh leaps up and hovers at the side of the bed.

MRS. WALSH
Aiden, honey? It's Mom.

Another soft moan. Then an ALARM BUZZES on the bedside monitor. Aiden's head lolls back on the pillow and his face goes white as the sheets.

KRISTIN
(panicked)
Oh, my God.
Something's wrong.

Mrs. Walsh slides damp bangs from her son's forehead.

MRS. WALSH
Aiden!?

Kristin turns on her toe.

KRISTIN
I'll get a nurse.

She quickly exits. Mrs. Walsh casts a worried gape at the equipment. A moment later, a pair of nurses rush in, Kristin at their heels.

RN
(to the LVN)
...And find Dr. Chen!

The LVN nods and heads back out. The RN continues to Mrs. Walsh's side of Aiden's bed, eye on the monitor. After only a beat, she switches off the alarm and begins to detach some of the equipment.

MRS. WALSH
What are you doing?!

NURSE
Prepping him for a move.
He's going into surgery.

MRS. WALSH
(concerned)
What kind of surgery?

The nurse spares her a quick glance.

RN
I think the doctor should--

Just then, an Asian man in a white coat enters at a brisk pace. The LVN follows, rolling a gurney. The doctor eyes Mrs. Walsh and Kristin.

DOCTOR
Is one of you a relative?

MRS. WALSH
I'm his mother.

The doctor approaches her and sets a hand on her shoulder.

DOCTOR
Follow us out, and I'll talk you through what needs to happen.

Mrs. Walsh nods numbly. She and Kristin stand by as the doctor and nurses transfer Aiden to the gurney. Kristin sets her hands on Mrs. Walsh's shoulders.

KRISTIN
He'll be okay.

But Mrs. Walsh only has eyes for her son, and slips right out from under Kristin's fingers as the medical personnel guide the gurney and softly beeping equipment into the hallway. The doctor waits for Mrs. Walsh at the door.

DOCTOR
Okay, Mrs. Walsh. Your son is bleeding internally,
and we need to get that stopped....

The doctor continues as they exit. Kristin hangs back, her face taught with worry. Finally -

INT. CORRIDOR

Kristin drifts out, expression forlorn, as - Her POV, LONG SHOT - The gurney disappears around the bend in the hall.


EXT. NARROW CANYON - QUORTOTH - JUST BEFORE DUSK

Steven ascends a rocky slope at a guarded side-step, one hand gripping his BLADE. A LOW GROWL is coming from the rocks above. He nears the top of the rise and slows, inching the rest of the way cautiously. Steven's POV, coming over the rise - Pacing a clearing in the rocks is a creature resembling a REPTILIAN HYENA. It TURNS a CAT-LIKE HISS on him. Steven faces off with it, sparing only a quick, furtive glance at what the creature has cornered -

DANIEL HOLTZ, standing pinned against the rocks. He has a DARK BRUISE on his cheek.

DISSOLVE TO - BOXED-IN PARKING LOT - LOS ANGELES - JUST BEFORE DUSK

A run-down L-shaped warehouse defines the small lot on two sides; a chain-link fence runs along a third. An elderly homeless man cowers, whimpering, between two dumpsters, cornered by a vicious, drooling HELLBEAST. But the hellbeast's attention is on - the knife-wielding BOY climbing the last few steps of the concrete slope that ascends from the concrete river channel that runs behind the lot.

The demon HISSES, hackles rising, then dips its head slightly and CHARGES STEVEN with a bounding, graceful leap. Steven DIVES flat to the ground. The demon OVERSHOOTS HIM. Quickly, Steven rolls over to face the creature, now behind him, and, transferring his knife into his left hand, pats for something at his belt buckle. But whatever he expects to find isn't there. He steals a look to be sure, eyes wide.

The demon halts, turns, and SNARLS. Before Steven has a chance to react, it BOUNDS BACK. The old man cringes in horror as it TEARS INTO STEVEN.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

Part 2 (click here)



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