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  2x09 - The Trial
 Posted: 12/01/00 02:41
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Previously on Angel:

Host to Angel: "Welcome to Caritas. How about gracing us with a number?"

Wesley to Gunn: "The Host, he helps demons, reads their souls, senses their futures."

Cordy: "Yes, but he can only do it when they sing Karaoke."

Angel: "Darla. That's her!"

Angel to Darla: "So you are what Wolfram and Hart brought back in that box."

Darla: "I remember everything Angel."

Angel: "You have a soul now. Pretty soon - those memories are gonna start eating away at you."

Darla to Lindsey: "What did you bring back, Lindsey? What am I?"

Holland to Lindsey: "You not only allowed her to escape, you facilitated it."

Angel to Wesley: "She asked for my help."

Wesley: "You know better than anyone what she was."

Angel: "What we were."

Darla to Angel: "Turn me back! I can bear this pounding in my chest for another second!"

Angel: "I can't."

Angel: "Darla, wait!"

Darla: "No. Don't look for me again."

Cordy and Wesley are hovering around the closed door leading down into the Hyperion's basement.

Cordy: "Don't you think we should check on him? - He's been in that cellar a long time."

Wesley: "I keep hearing a 'chucka-chuka' sound. - What's he doing down there?"

Cordy: "How should I know? He barely says 'good morning' and 'get me a glass of blood' anymore."

Wesley: "I know. He's just so distraught about..."

Cordy: "Don't say Darla! I'm sick and tired hearing about Darla. If I hear the name Darla one more time! And he is not distraught, he is obsessed! And I thought you were gonna be a man and talk to him about this!"

Wesley: "I was a man! I said - things."

Cordy: "Like what?"

Wesley: "Like - did he prefer milk or sugar in his tea. It's how men talk about things in England."

Cordy: "Shh! Listen. It stopped."

Wesley: "He's coming!"

Both of them run away from the basement door. Cordy hops onto a stool behind the counter, looks down at some papers. Behind her Wesley picks up a file and pretends to be reading as the door opens and Angel comes out carrying an armful of clothes.

Angel: "Hi, guys. What's up?"

Cordy: "Nothing. - So, you were - doing your laundry?"

Angel folding his laundry: "Yeah. There is an old washer and dryer in the cellar. (Holds one piece up to his face) Hmm, don't you just love it when they're still warm from the dryer? (Shakes it out and looks at it) Wrinkle free - right, after you iron it for about 15 minutes!"

Wesley: "It's good to see you taking a domestic tack."

Cordy: "Yeah, you seem all calm and homey. - Are you on drugs?"

Angel: "I know I've caused you a lot of grief about his whole Darla situation - and I apologize. Darla may never need my help. All I can do is be there for her if and when she decides to come around. - But I can't do it for her, and I know that now."

Wesley smiles at Cordy: "We had tea."

Angel: "In the mean time, there is nothing I can do but - let go."

Gunn burst in holding a file: "I found Darla. (Angel walks over to look through what he's got.) It wasn't easy, but you said to keep looking and my wide ranging knowledge of L.A.'s low-rent hotels finally paid off."

Cordy to Angel: "You lied to us!"

Angel looking at some pictures: "I did. I know."

Wesley: "Why?"

Angel: "I figured you'd nag. (Cordy and Wesley exchange a look) The Royal Viking Motel."

Gunn: "Conveniently located mere steps from scenic skid row. I guess she's not living off Wolfram and Hart no more."

Angel: "They'll be looking for her, too."

Gunn: "What do you think they'll do if they find her?"

Angel: "Well, lets get there first and not find out."

Angel grabs his coat and walks towards the door, Gunn following.

Cordy: "Listen up, Mister! If you expect us to go with you on some wild goose chase, then guess again! (as they walk out the door) We're not going to enable you in your addiction!"

Wesley: "Didn't we learn anything from the tea?"

Darla takes off her cross necklace and puts it on the dresser. She puts on some bright red lipstick, then hesitates, looking at her reflection. Picks up a tissue and wipes it back off as a know sounds on her door. Darla stares at herself in the mirror. A key jangles in the lock and the door opens. Darla turns and sees Lindsey handing the Motel manager some money before closing the door behind him, never taking his eyes off her.

Lindsey: "You're a hard one to find."

Intro.

Darla sits in a chair in Lindsey's office there are a couple security guards in the background.

Lindsey clears his throat and sits on the edge of his desk.

Lindsey: "Thanks for coming in."

Darla: "Did I ever have a choice?"

Holland comes in carrying some files, nods at the guard, who leaves, closing the door.

Holland: "Of course. - We would never force you to do anything against your will, Darla."

Darla: "It wasn't my will to be here in the first place. I never asked for this life."

Holland sits down in a chair next to hers: "Well, - no one ever does. God doesn't give us a say in these matters."

Darla: "God wasn't there one who brought me back."

Holland: "True."

Darla: "So, what do you want me to do for you now? Go back to him? I won't matter even if I did. There is nothing between us anymore."

Darla looks down at her hands while Holland glances over at Lindsey.

Holland: "You misunderstand. We didn't invite you here to discuss Angel."

Lindsey: "This is about you."

Darla looks up at Lindsey.

Holland: "You are not our prisoner, Darla. - You are, however our *moral* responsibility."

He hands her the files in his hand and Darla looks through them.

Holland: "No doubt you remember very little of your first few weeks with us. - No one eve really remembers their first days of life, but that's when these were initiated."

Darla shakes her head slightly and looks up at Lindsey: "Did-did you know anything about this?"

Lindsey just looks at her and Darla looks back down at the papers in her lap.

Holland: "Now, we're prepared to deal with this situation anyway you see fit. - It's up to you. - We just thought you should know.

At the Viking Motel Gunn walks into Darla's room. Angel is standing in the open doorway.

Gunn: "She ain't here, bro."

Angel: "No. But she was, not long ago. (Sniffs) Scent's still fresh. A lot of fear."

Gunn: "Don't envy you that particular talent. Not based on what I'm getting with just my standard issue human smeller. (Looks around the room. Behind him Angel enters) Man, not even for free cable, you know what I'm sayin'?"

Angel: "She chose this neighborhood for a reason."

Gunn looks from Angel to the door and back.

Gunn: "Bro, how'd you..?"

Angel: "Oh, Motel, public accommodation. She didn't live here."

Gunn: "Yeah? I wouldn't call it living, either. Hey, looks like maybe she was expecting company (Picks up Darla's cross from the dresser) in the form of you."

Angel looks around the room: "No blood. Nothing new, anyway."

Gunn: "You smellin' that, too?"

Angel: "This room's seen a lot of it."

Gunn: "No doubt. Big step down from her last digs, that's for sure."

Angel: "When you're desperate - you do what you have to do."

France 1765, night. A horse carrying two riders trots into a barn. Angelus and Darla dismount.

Angelus: "This is outrages! Don't these people know who we are?"

Darla: "I think they do. Which would explain the lynch mob. Look, we should all rest. It'll be dawn in a few hours and she won't last another mile, not carrying us both."

Angelus closing the barn door: "Right. I hate the French. We should go some place like Romania."

Darla: "In Italy you said we should go some place like France."

Angelus: "At least in Romania they really know how to treat a creature of the night."

Darla: "You were craving rich food, that's what you said, something - French."

Darla lights a lantern while Angelus looks out at the dark countryside.

Angelus: "The valley seems quiet."

Darla: "I told you we lost them back in Arles. I'm sure of it."

Angelus: "This man, Holtz, how does he keep finding us?"

Darla: "Well, we stay in the best hotels, order room service, eat the waiters - people talk."

Angelus: "Holtz is no mere mortal, I tell you that."

Darla: "Of course he is. He's just a man, a vampire hunter."

Angelus: "Yeah. Good enough to have driven us into a stinking barn like animals."

Darla with a smile: "All right then, let's *be* animals, at least for tonight. (Walks over to a pile of hey and reclines on it) Unless, of course, you're too tired."

Angelus: "Shouldn't we be keeping watch?"

Darla: "I can see the window, and we'll hear hoof beats should anyone approach."

Angelus walks over to her, smiling: "You always make the best of it, don't you?"

Darla: "Come now you have to admit that the chase can be exhilarating (Angelus drops to his knees beside her) especially with the proper companion."

Angelus leans down to kiss her and a flaming stake whizzes by where his head was moments before and stick in a wooden post.

Angelus: "Bastards!"

Darla is sitting at a table in a real dive, across form her sits a vampire showing off his vamp face.

Darla: "That's great. (Smiles) Really - very threatening."

Vampire laughs: "It's getting to you, isn't it? You know, when I was a-a human, I didn't have much luck with the women."

Darla takes a drink: "Hard to believe."

Vampire: "I had kind of a skin condition. But now - it's something about the teeth I guess. (Bares his fangs) Chicks go crazy for it."

Darla: "You got girlfriends everywhere I imagine."

Vampire: "Well, mostly I just kill 'em. Dump the bodies."

Darla: "That must be very lonely for you."

Vampire: "We're a lonely sort, we - creatures of the night. Doomed to walk the earth, that kind of deal."

Darla: "Ah, how long have you been..."

Vampire: "Oh, an eternal child of the darkness? Since, ah - '92."

Darla: "19 - 92?"

Vampire chuckles: "I know. It's hard to believe it's already the last century."

Darla: "And in all this - time you've never considered making yourself a - mate?"

Vampire: "How do you mean?"

Darla: "Well, isn't it true that some vampires choose a mortal, someone they can sire, someone who, too, can walk those lonely nights, hunting with them, feeding with them, (puts her hand on his) joining with them?"

Vampire looks down at her hands covering his then gives a laugh.

Vampire: "No! That'd just be weird."

Darla: "Weird? - It's mythic!"

Vampire shakes his finger at her: "No, you been reading too much Anne Rice lately! You've got no idea how this thing works!"

Darla: "Then teach me."

Vampire: "Oh, what, you want me to make you?"

Darla: "Why do you think I came into this bar, for the snacks?"

Vampire: "Sweetheart, in this bar, you are the snacks."

Darla smiles at him: "I live nearby. We can go back to my place, you can do it there."

Vampire: "Y-you're serious about this. (Darla nods slightly) So what? I make you and then you'd be like my immortal babe?"

Darla: "Yes."

Vampire: "Ah, well, that kind of sounds like commitment to me."

Darla: "Then use me for as long as you like, anyway you like, then discard me. - No strings."

Vampire after a beat: "There is an alley out back."

Darla gets up, grabs a hold of his hand and drags him out.

Alley behind the bar, Darla is still dragging the guy.

Vampire: "How do you know I won't just kill you here, drain you and leave your body?"

Darla puts her purse down on the hood of a car and gives him a hard kiss, then steps back. Vampire's eyes popped open wide.

Darla: "I'll take my chances."

Vampire: "I - I- I should probably mention that I... - I'm not real clear on how this thing works."

Darla: "What?"

Vampire: "Well, ah, I never actually did it, ah, to anybody before - and I was kind of out when it happened to me."

Darla taking a deep breath: "I'll walk you through it. (Steps closer) Drink. (Exposes her neck) When you feel my heart start to slow stop."

Vampire leans in while Darla closes her eyes. He's about to sink his fangs into her neck when he dissolves into a cloud of dust revealing Angel.

Darla: "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Angel: "Saving you."

Darla: "I wasn't *in* any danger, Angelus. Believe me, I picked a stupid one. I always pick the stupid ones, didn't you know that? - I can take care of myself."

Angel: "I didn't mean from him. I was saving you from yourself."

Darla: "Who asked you?"

Angel: "This isn't the answer."

Darla: "You don't even know what the question is. Why can't you leave me alone."

She tires to walk past him but he stops her, leaning close into her face.

Angel: "You do this thing and I won't be able to leave you alone, don't you get that? I'll never be able to leave you alone. (Holds up the stake) Next time it'll be you on the end of this stake. - I'm sorry, but I don't want that, not again."

Darla: "Don't worry. I wouldn't let it happen twice."

Darla walks past him.

Angel: "Where are you going?"

Darla: "Not back in there, everyone saw me leave with the Mullet. Try something on the westside, I guess."

Angel: "Another dive, another looser?"

Darla turns back to him: "What do you care?"

Angel steps closer: "This isn't you, Darla."

Darla: "You know, just because we had a thing for 150 years, don't presume you know me!"

Angel: "So you really want to be made by some creep in some filthy alley?"

Darla: "I wanted you to do it."

Angel: "That'll never happen."

Darla turns to go: "So I do what I have to do. Anyway, you were made in an alley, if I recall."

Angel: "That's not the point."

Darla spins back around: "Yeah, well, what is the point, Angelus?"

Angel: "The point is, you were undead for 400 years, you've only been human again for a few months. Why not give it some time."

Darla: "I don't have time."

Angel: "You do. You've been given a second chance. Don't throw that away before you have the opportunity to..."

Darla closing her eyes: "I'm dying."

Angel: "What?"

Darla looks at him: "Yeah. And not some time. Not later. Now. Right now. They showed me the medical files, all the tests said the same thing: I have about two months left, three at the most. So, if you'll excuse me, I'm in sort of a hurry."

She turns to go and Angel stares after her.

Back in France in the past the barn is on fire and surrounded by screaming peasants, carrying torches.

Angelus: "How many men do you supposed he has with him?"

Darla: "I can't die. Not like this."

Angelus: "Well, we can try to flee to the hills to the south."

Darla: "We'll never make it before the sun rises, not by foot."

Angelus: "We'll not make it easy for 'em, I can tell you that. They're men - mortals. Between the two of us we can go out with a reputation. (Looks outside through a crack) Even death with the right companion..."

As he turns back towards Darla she hits him across the face with a 2x4, knocking him down. While slowly picks himself back up, she hurriedly mounts the horse.

Darla: "I hope you survive this, Angelus. If you do, maybe we meet again in Vienna."

With that she rides out of the barn.

Hyperion, night. Cordy hears someone open the doors and turns to Wesley, who's reading a newspaper.

Cordy in a whisper: "Angel's back (Wesley glances up) and he has *Darla* with him!"

Wesley gets up and he and Cordy walk around the counter to confront Angel and Darla.

Cordy: "Hi. (Sees the bag Darla is carrying) You're - planning on sleeping over?"

Darla puts down the bag: "I'm dying."

Cordy: "So just for the one night then."

Wesley: "Dying?"

Darla: "He doesn't believe it."

Wesley: "Angel, what's going on?"

Angel: "Wolfram and Hart showed her some medical files supposedly proving that she's only got a few months left to live."

Cordy: "So maybe *more* than the one night."

Wesley: "And you believe it's some kind of trick."

Angel: "We're talking about Wolfram and Hart! Of course it's a trick. They're trying to play some kind of mind game."

Wesley: "To what end?"

Angel: "I don't know, but we're not gonna take the bait."

Darla: "No, you just don't wanna believe it, that's all."

Angel: "I don't wanna believe anything from them."

Wesley: "It's true. They can't really be trusted."

Darla: "I don't trust them, but I know a thing or two about mind games. (To Angel) So do you. We played them together for over a century."

Cordy: "Yes, but you were just soulless bloodsucking demons, they're lawyers."

Angel: "She's right. We were amateurs."

Darla: "And if you're wrong?"

Angel after a beat: "I'm not. And I'm gonna prove it to you. (Steps closer to Wes and Cordy) Can you guys just watch over her for a while? I'll be back soon."

Wesley: "Of course."

Cordy: "Don't worry about a thing."

Angel turns to leave: "Thanks."

Darla: "You can't force me to stay here."

Angel: "You're not a prisoner."

Darla: "I've been hearing that a lot lately."

Angel: "Just give me a chance. - Okay?"

After a moment Angel turns and leaves.

Cordy: "So, first up - you're a prisoner."

Wesley: "I'd have to concur with that, yes."

Cordy: "See, you've got our friend - all - in knots."

Wesley: "Can't say we like you much."

Cordy: "So, sorry about the dying, but if you try to escape - we *will* hit you."

Wesley: "On the head."

Cordy: "With very large and heavy objects. - Okay?"

Lindsey is sitting in his dimly lit apartment, drinking. Suddenly the door burst inward and Angel is standing in the corridor.

Angel: "I may not be able to come in, Lindsey, but..."

Lindsey taking another sip: "Wipe your feet."

Angel: "What?"

Lindsey gets up: "Wipe your feet. You can come in."

Angel just stands there.

Lindsey: "Jeez. I invite you in already."

Lindsey goes to pour himself another drink. Angel grabs him by the throat and slams the back of his head on to the counter top.

Lindsey: "Does it really look like you have to throttle me for information?"

Angel: "Need to?"

Angel pulls Lindsey back up and pushes him away from him.

Lindsey: "Yes, she's dying. Yes, those medical reports you saw are real. You want a second opinion? (Picks up some files and throws them at Angel) Here. How about a thrid? Hmm? How about a thenth? I used every connection Wolfram and Hart had. (Points at the file Angel is looking at) That's my own personal doctor. They all say the same thing: syphilitic heart condition - terminal. (Refills his glass) Looks like our Darla was a working girl in the New World. Syphilis was what she was dying from when she was human. - Now she's human again. Kind of picking up where she left off. Of course, today something like that could be cleared up with a few antibiotics - if you catch it in time. We're about a month and - what? 400 years too late?"

Angel looks up from the files he'd been reading: "So you didn't believe them either. (Lindsey drops his eyes to his glass) - So it's true."

Lindsey: "I had to be sure."

Angel: "Why?"

Lindsey: "Why? Because I don't want her to die anymore than you do."

Angel looks him up and down for a moment.

Angel: "Do you love her, Lindsey? (Lindsey looks down) Is that what this is? Heh - look at you. A few short months with her and you go all schoolboy. I was with her for *150* years."

Lindsey: "But you never loved her."

Angel after a short beat: "I wasn't capable of it and neither are you."

Lindsey: "Maybe not. - But I'd save her if I could. And you can. And you won't. (Gets up) So you got s choice pal: waste the last two months of her life searching for a cure that doesn't exist, watch her wither away and die - or you can use the only real power you got. You can make this disease go away today if you wanted to."

Angel: "By killing her again."

Lindsey: "By giving her life! Eternal life."

Angel: "And then what, Lindsey? You and her can be together? If I were to do it - if I turned her, how long do think it would be before she hunted you down and had you for breakfast? - I've got to say, I mean, that thought alone almost makes it worth it. But - there is another way, and I'll find it."

Angel throws the medical files at Lindsey and walks out.

Darla is outside in the garden court at the Hyperion. Cordy and Wes are in the lobby, holding cups of tea.

Cordy: "I mean, not only is she putting *his* life at stake, but ours! I'm sorry, but after 400 hundred years of death and destruction, seems to me, you get voted off the island. Am I right?"

They notice Angel standing in the lobby, hands buried in his pocket's staring straight ahead.

Cordy: "You're back."

Angel doesn't move.

Wesley: "Was it - good news?"

They look where he's staring and see Darla through the glass doors, smelling a flower out in the court.

Angel: "Just give me a minute, will you, guys?"

Angel slowly walks out into the court.

Darla: "Hmm, Jasmine. It blooms at night. I remember what that was like. (Looks over at Angel. Gets up) I told you. I told you it was the truth."

Angel: "Darla..."

Darla: "No, I have to go."

She tries to walk past him, but Angel blocks her way.

Angel: "We'll find a cure. We'll do something."

Darla: "You'll do something! Now, I've been around long enough to know when something is a lost cause - unless..."

Angel: "That's exactly what they want us to do, Darla. We'd be playing right into their hands."

Darla: "I don't care. I don't wanna die."

Angel: "I can't give you what you want."

Darla: "It's what I need."

Angel: "No, it's not what you need, Darla. Really it's not. I don't know what you need. I wish I did."

Darla turns away: "I don't know either."

Angel after a moment: "No. You do. You're the only one that could. You just can't see it that's all. You need a little help."

Darla sits on the stage at Caritas while Angel stands beside the Host at the bar.

Darla singing: "Blow, ill wind, blow away. Let me rest today. You're blowing me no good..."

Host watching her: "Ooh!"

Angel: "What is that? What does that mean, ooh?"

Host: "It means 'ooh, ground control to major Tom' we may not be able to save this bird."

Angel: "I'm gonna save her and you're gonna help me."

Host looks at Angel: "I sense pain and anger. Are you still testy from the last time?"

Angel: "When you sent me to that swami who was dead, and his imposter tried to kill me? Why would I be testy about that?"

Host: "That was painful. (Goes to sit at a table) I'm still reeling."

Angel, sits down next to him: "Yeah, I feel your pain, what with him trying to kill me and all."

Host: "People try to kill *you* everyday. I'm talking about Ramone. Over heard us, betrayed me. The man was a world-class bartender. He made a sea breeze that took you to Tahiti. Mmm. He's off the menu now."

Angel: "Can we get back to Darla?"

Host: "If you shush up and listen to the bridge."

Darla singing: "You're only misleading the sunshine I'm needing. Ain't that a shame? It's so hard to keep up with troubles that creep up from out of nowhere (the Host is watching Angel watch Darla) when love..."

Angel: "Aren't you supposed to be reading her?"

Host: "I'm a channel surfer. Look, you're a big hunk of hero sandwich. You wanna save the girl. I can see why. But you're missing the crucial point here. Things fall apart. Not everything can be put back together, no matter how much you want it."

Angel: "She's not gonna die."

Host: "Why do you care *so* much? She had more than most of us, already 400 plus years."

Angel: "As a vampire. Before that she was... She... She never had a chance."

Darla finishes her song to big applause.

Host: "Someone get my heart. That girl's ripped it right out. - Okay, I know I'm probably going to regret this. In fact, being prescient, I'm actually sure of it. There is one way. It-it's a bit of a quest - and - it will probably kill you."

Angel: "I'll take it."

Host writes down an address: "Alright, big fella, you asked for it. You're about to face the hell and the high water. - Go to this address."

Angel: "What is it?"

Host: "It's were we find out if you're really ready to take the plunge."

Angel and Darla walk up to a pool.

Angel laughing: "Well, here we are."

Darla: "I don't think this is right."

Angel: "Well, he said I had to take the plunge."

Darla: "Into an empty pool?"

Angel: "Sure. 'cause if you had water, you'd get all wet and miss out on all that skull crushing."

Darla: "Maybe he meant another pool."

Angel: "Something in a Koi pond. They're were Zen. Nah, he's must testing me. It's that whole leap of faith thing."

Angel walks up onto the diving board.

Darla: "Then don't do it. Angel, some green horned lounge singer asks you to do something and you just do it? - Why?"

Angel just looks at her.

Angel taking a deep breath: "I'm either coming back with a cure - or you're about to see something kinda funny."

Takes a running step, bounces off the end of the board and takes a header into the empty pool. But instead of hitting the bottom he disappears through it with a blue crackle, and tucks and rolls back to his feet in a dungeon like chamber.

Jeeves: "Well, we certainly have faith. Now we'll test your valor."

Angel turns to see a guy looking like a butler in a black suit and tie standing there.

Jeeves: "I shall be assisting you with the trials, sir."

Angel looks to the side and there is Darla.

Angel: "Darla. Why is she here?"

Jeeves: "You wish to save her life?"

Angel: "Yes."

Jeeves: "She is your collateral then. Should you complete all three trials, she will be made - whole."

Angel: "What happens if I don't complete the trials?"

Jeeves: "She dies instantly. - In the mean time, Darla, you can relax with an iced beverage in our - antechamber."

Darla suddenly disappears.

Angel: "No."

Jeeves: "Oh, it's better this way, sir. I a few moments no living thing will be safe in here."

Angel: "You can't. Nobody said that she would..."

Jeeves: "Oh, I'm sorry if there was a misunderstanding, but *life* is the bargain here, you have place hers in the balance (We hear a growl and Angel glance at the gate in the wall behind him) along with your own, of course. Anyway, you best get ready now, sir. This is no time to be dwelling on the negative."

Jeeves: "Your trials will consist of three separate challenges. I'll need your shirt and shoes."

Angel takes off his coat and shirt and throws them at Jeeves.

Angel: "Unarmed combat?"

Jeeves: "Well - you'll be unarmed, yes."

Angel: "Okay. Three challenges. - What are they?"

Jeeves: "That's for you to discover, sir. - Uhm, shoes and socks, please."

Angel takes them off and hands them to Jeeves.

Angel: "I'm thinking you've seen this play before. Give me something I can work with."

Jeeves: "I've never given information to a challenger before."

Angel: "How many of them have asked?"

Jeeves: "Well, in theory, the first test is child's play. Once that gate opens, all you have to do is walk through it."

Angel: "That's it? What's the catch?"

Jeeves: "Yes, well, uhm, that would be telling, wouldn't it?"

Angel: "Okay, that's one. What's two and three?"

Jeeves: "Oh, I really wouldn't know about the last tow tests, sir. I've never seen anyone survive the first one. - Best of luck."

Jeeves disappears the way Darla did earlier.

The gate rises and an ugly yellow demon, armed with a sword and two chains with sharp hooks at the ends walks in.

Angel: "You must be the catch."

The demon swings the chains around trying to hook Angel, but he manages to avoid them. Then Angel runs up the wall and around the outside of one of the arced doorways ringing the chamber (very cool stunt this) trying to get by the demon and reach the door. But the demon hooks one of Angel's thighs and drags him across the floor towards him.

Standing next to Darla in the ante-chamber, Jeeves is looking at his pocket watch.

Jeeves: "Seventeen seconds. Already twice the time most others have lasted."

Darla: "Call this off."

Jeeves: "Impossible. Once the tests have started they can't be stopped."

Darla: "I need to see what's happening - now."

Jeeves: "If you insist. But please remember - you did ask."

He touches Darla's forehead and there is a short flash of light.

Angel's head rocks back as the demon hits him and Darla's head moves as well as she flinches. We cut back between Darla and Angel getting hit and it looks like Darla feels every hit connecting.

The demon hits Angel a few more times then kicks him in the side. The demon lets go of the chain hooked into Angel's thigh and pulls out his sword. Angel pulls the hook out and catches the sword on the chain then scrambles to his feet. He runs through one of the arced doorways into the narrow corridor circling the chamber. The demon runs after him, but Angel has disappeared. As the demon stops, Angel drops down behind him (he had wedged himself between the walls above him) and hits him with a hard right then turns and runs back into the chamber. The demon runs through another arc, but Angel is waiting just inside the chamber beside it and rips the sword from his grip and cuts him across the waist. The two halves fall to the ground and Angel breathes a sigh of relief.

As does Darla. She shakes her head and smiles at Jeeves, who only raises his eyebrows at her.

Angel limps over to the gate, but it stays closed. Angel strains against it.

Angel: "Hey! I defeated him! Open up!"

He hears a growl and turns to see the top half of the demon hand-walk over to his legs and pull them against his cut as if he was putting on a pair of pants. While Angel (and Darla in the chamber) watch in horror, the two halves merge.

Darla flinches as the Demon comes at Angel swinging both hooks, but Angel quickly manages to cut him in half again. He hooks the bottom half, drags it to the wall and loops the chain over a light fixture. Drags the chain wrapped top half to the opposite wall and hangs it off another light fixture.

The demon growls and twitches but can't free his hands from the chains.

The Gate rises and Angel limps through it.

In the antechamber Darla is breathing heavily, as Jeeves checks his watch again.

Darla: "Is this how a guy like you gets his rocks off?"

Jeeves: "Oh, I have no feelings about this contest one way or another, miss. - Do you?"

The gate comes back down behind Angel, leaving him facing a long dark corridor. The ceiling opens to let the moonlight in and Angel sees that the floor and walls of it are covered with crosses in all shapes and sizes. About half way down there is a basin on a pedestal and a door at the other end of it.

Jeeves is eating a cookie.

Darla: "Why don't you just kill him if you want him dead."

Jeeves: "We don't *want* anything, miss. In this place, the journey is all. Where it may lead is not our concern."

Angel takes a deep breath and runs as fast as he can with his skewered thigh along the corridor. Hisses of steam rise with each of his steps as the crosses burn his bare feet. He passes the basin, gives it a passing glance, stumbles and lands full length on the floor, screaming as the crosses burn his bare skin. He pushes himself up, burning his hands.

Darla flinches, wide-eyed.

Angel makes it to the door, but it's locked. He turns, limps back to the basin. It's filled with water and there is a key at the bottom of it.

Darla: "Holy Water!"

Angel plunges his right hand into the water, screaming as the water boils around his arm, fishes the key out. His arm and hand holding it look like raw meat. He makes it back to the door and unlocks it.

Jeeves is checking his watch again.

Jeeves: "He's quite remarkable."

Darla: "Yes - he is."

Angel limps into the next chamber, grimacing with the pain. Chains shoot out and manacles clamp around his wrists and ankles then pull tight leaving him spread-eagled.

Jeeves enters clapping his hands.

Jeeves: "Well played! You fielded our strokes from end to end. My hat's off to you, sir. Of course there is one final challenge."

Jeeves turns to look at the wall facing Angel as rows upon rows of stakes poke out of it.

Angel: "What is this?"

Jeeves: "I think you know, sir."

Angel, breathing hard, is staring at the stakes.

Darla, breathing hard, closes her eyes.

Angel: "Stakes? You call this (starts coughing) a test? The only way this can work is you kill me, huh?"

Jeeves: "Exactly. You do understand - this third test has no catch, as you out it. Death is the final challenge. - We can't restore one life without taking another. You see? In order for Darla to live, you must die."

Jeeves: "I apologize for any discomfort this may be causing. I really - can't imagine the pain."

Angel: "How about we switch places and we won't have to, huh?"

Jeeves: "Oh, my death wouldn't balance a thing, sir. Yours on the other hand..."

Angel: "I die, Darla lives."

Jeeves: "Yes. I'm unaware of any deities the vampire worships, but if you'd like to pray (pulls a lever and the stakes pull back, spring-loaded into place) now would be the time."

Darla shakes her head: "Don't do this."

Angel staring at the stakes: "What are you waiting for?"

Jeeves: "For you, sir. I can't proceed without your permission. You've earned a choice. Accept your death so she may live or..."

Angel yelling: "Or what?!"

Jeeves: "Leave. - Refuse the challenge and walk away. No one will stop you. Our doors are all open to you. You've done that yourself."

Angel: "What about Darla?"

Jeeves: "Oh, she dies."

Angel: "No deal."

Jeeves: "I expected as much. A pity. I'm beginning to like you."

Angel: "Spare me."

Jeeves: "I'd very much like to. (Steps closer) Do you mind if I ask you a question? - Isn't the world a better place with you in it? You can save so many people. It seems - she can barely save herself."

Angel doesn't answer.

Darla has a tear in her eye.

Jeeves: "You know better than anyone he world can be a very bad place. Take yourself out, put her in - how long will it be before she stumbles, before she falls?"

Angel: "I don't know."

Jeeves: "No - you don't. Are you still ready to give her life when she can promise you - nothing?"

Angel looks him straight in the eye: "Yes."

Darla licks her lips and swallows.

Jeeves: "As you wish."

Darla shakes her head: "No."

Angel takes a deep breath: "Do it."

Jeeves releases the stakes and they hurtle towards Angel.

Darla flinches and screams: "No!"

She squirms, her eyes closed. She opens them to see Angel in front of her, once again fully dressed but panting, hunched over, barely able to stand.

Darla: "Angel!"

Jeeves: "Congratulations. You've passed the third test - by accepting death. - I'm told no one's ever gone that far before - in terms of sacrifice. - Kudos."

Angel: "Pay up."

Jeeves: "Of course. (To Darla) You're a lucky woman, and soon you'll have your whole life ahead. - Use it wisely."

Angel: "Hey, Jeeves, unless this fortune cookie crap is some new kind of torture, what you say we get on with it, huh?"

Jeeves turns to Darla and motions for her to come closer: "This way, miss."

He puts his hands on the sides of her head and they both close their eyes as Angel tries to straighten up so he can get a better view.

Jeeves opens his eyes and lets his hands drop.

Jeeves: "Oh."

Darla: "What?"

Angel: "What is it?"

Jeeves: "This is - very embarrassing."

Angel: "What is?"

Jeeves: "Not to mention unprecedented. She's - she's been given new life once before - by supernatural means, yes?"

Darla nods slightly: "They brought me back."

Angel: "What are you saying?"

Jeeves: "I can't help you."

Angel: "We had a bargain. She's earned a second chance."

Jeeves: "She's living her second chance. (The wall shivers and a set of stairs leading up appears) But you played the game magnificently. (Angel gives him a dark look and Jeeves adjusts his cuffs) Perhaps you should have told us that she was brought to life - before this all started. I truly *am* sorry, sir. The fact of the matter is (Steps back and dissolves) there is nothing I can do."

Angel doesn't move.

Darla: "Angel..."

Suddenly Angel over turns the table with the refreshments. A demon guard tries to stop him and Angel hits him hard enough to send him flying into a wall, another guard comes up and Angel hits him, making him fall back onto the steps, then picks him up and throws him across the room. He picks up an urn and smashes it, then sweeps all the candles and stuff off a side table, then starts hitting his fist over and over against a stone pillar. The hits come slower and slower. Darla walks towards him as we see stone dust puff out from where he keeps hitting the pillar. Angel's knees give way and he slides down the pillar, resting his head against it. (Beautiful music btw.)

Angel and Darla are sitting in her dingy motel room, Darla on the bed, Angel on a chair by the door.

Angel: "Maybe it would be different. - We don't know. - Maybe, uh... because, you know, I have a soul - if-if I did bite you..."

Darla: "No."

Angel: "We don't know what it would do to you."

Darla: "Angel, I've seen it now - everything you're going through, everything you've gone through. - I felt it. I felt how you care. The way no one's ever cared before - not for me. (Gives him a tiny smile) - That's all I need from you."

Angel: "That's not enough."

Darla: "It is."

Angel: "How could the powers allow you to be brought back and dangle a second chance and take it away like this?"

Darla: "Maybe this is my second chance."

Angel: "To die?"

Darla: "Yes. To die - the way I was supposed to die in the first place."

They look at each other for a moment before Darla turns away drawing a shaky breath. Angel gets up and, still limping slightly, goes to sit next to her.

Angel: "I'm not gonna leave you (Darla looks at him trying not to cry) every moment you have left - I'm gonna be by your side. - You're never gonna be alone again."

He drapes his, still burned looking, right hand around her shoulder and pulls her close as she begins to cry.

Suddenly the door bursts open, and a dark clad guy presses a sparking tazer against Angel's side, dropping him to the floor, while two other ones grab a hold of Darla. The first guy keeps tazering Angel, while a fourth tapes his hands behind his back.

Lindsey walks in, grabs a hold of Angel's hair and pulls his head up.

Lindsey: "How did you think this would end?"

Drusilla wearing a low cut, red dress, glides into the room and over to where the two guys are holding Darla. Darla struggles but can't get free. Angel watches helplessly as Dru morphs into vamp face, brushes the hair away from Darla's neck and bites her. As Lindsey watches, Darla slides down onto the bed and Dru sits down next to her. Looking at Angel, Dru scratches a bloody line across her breast then picks Darla up and presses her mouth over it, holding her like a suckling babe,as Angel watches, unable to do anything.

FADE TO BLACK


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