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  3x19 - The Price
 Posted: 05/02/02 06:19
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TEASER

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - ANGEL'S ROOM - DAY

ON CRACKS in the wall. A HAND enters frame and runs a finger along them. PULL OUT to see the hand belongs to

ANGEL, who studies it, lost in his thoughts.

GROOSALUGG (O.S.)

Angel...

WIDEN as Angel looks over at the GROOSALUGG who steps up beside him, and speaks to him with grave concern.

GROOSALUGG

You and I have fought side by side on

more than one occasion -- Fellow

warriors, shoulder to shoulder. By

now, my counsel must assuredly hold

weight, so I beseech you to heed my

words...

ANGEL

(shrugging)

Mmo-kay.

GROOSALUGG

"Pomegranate Mist" is the wrong color

for this room.

ANGEL

What?

CUT WIDE to see a flurry of activity in the room (which has been mostly repaired since the earthquake, though some cosmetic damage remains). CORDELIA polishes away at a dresser (in what was once the baby's area); GUNN slides the scorched stove back into place; FRED spackling away at a large hole in the plaster chimes in:

FRED

We were just thinking... Well, I was

thinking and Groo agreed... That,

well, since we have to repaint your

room anyway, maybe you'd like a

change. Y'know, for a change.

ANGEL

Groo agreed?

CORDELIA

Don't mock. He's actually got a

surprisingly good color sense.

GROO brings up a paint color chart.

GROOSALUGG

"Sunburst splendor" is a hue more

worthy of a champion. Or perhaps

this unique one called...

(sounding it out)

"Purr-Pleh."

ANGEL

(correcting him)

Purple.

(then)

And yet you had no problem

pronouncing "Pomegranate."

GROOSALUGG

(sadly)

It was my mother's name.

GUNN starts crossing past, carrying a charred end table. Angel heads him off.

ANGEL

Hang on. Where you going with that?

GUNN

I'm tossing it.

ANGEL

It's an antique.

GUNN

It's a charcoal briquette.

Angel takes it from him.

ANGEL

We're not throwing it out.

(to others)

And the wall color stays, too. Look,

guys, I appreciate everybody's

help... Really. But I just want

everything back the way it was, okay?

(then, as he moves)

Or... close to it.

Angel carries the end table back near Cordelia.

CORDELIA

Not gonna be, y'know?

Angel looks at her. She gestures to the wall and molding.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

Unless we pay for real, dishonest-to-

goodness, overpriced, contractors,

those cracks are always gonna show.

ANGEL

Let 'em.

As he sets the end table down, he notices

ANGEL'S POV - Something reflective stuck behind the dresser Cordy's working on.

CORDELIA

Ah, the old "gives the place"

character" philosophy. Guess that

served you pretty well living in

rotted out mansions and--

She stops when she sees him reach down and bring up...

A SNOWGLOBE. Inside, a primary colorful fairy-tale castle, a CAT CHARACTER in a suite of armor engaged in an action tableau with a cartoony DRAGON - very Disney-like (thought nothing to be litigious about).

Angel sits on a chair as he turns the globe over, revealing a TURNKEY. He winds it. "Brahm's Lullaby" plays as he turns it upright, the faux snow falling on the scene.

ANGEL

Don't know why I bought this for him.

A whim, I guess... Thought he'd like

to look at it. The snow. Doesn't

ever snow in Southern California.

ON CORDELIA, watching him.

CORDELIA

Did, once.

He looks up at her. Then turns and notices the others looking at him as well. After a moment, Angel stands...

ANGEL

Hey, y'know... we shouldn't be

wasting our time fixing up my place

when we've got work to do.

He starts toward the door, the snowglobe still in his hand.

GUNN

What work?

ANGEL

Our jobs. The business. We're

neglecting our cases.

FRED

Um, Angel? We don't have any cases.

We haven't had a call in over a week.

Angel hesitates, disappointed.

ANGEL

Really?

(then)

Well, somebody ought to be

downstairs. In case a walk-in

should... walk in.

(as he exits)

'Cause we get those. Sometimes.

He's gone, as the others look after him.

CORDELIA

(with a sigh)

Never on Sundays.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - MEANWHILE

PHILLIP SPIVEY, an unassuming guy, has just entered through the front door. He tentatively steps in, looking around. (NOTE: He should be on the slim side, though his clothes might help disguise that.)

SPIVEY

(calling out)

Um... Hello? Angel Investigations?

Getting no answer, he crosses further into the lobby.

SPIVEY (cont'd)

(a bit louder)

Excuse me! Is anybody here?

His voice ECHOES somewhat in the cavernous, empty lobby, perhaps startling him a little. There's the merest bait-schmucking here.

SPIVEY (cont'd)

Hey! Hell--

He stops suddenly when something at his feet catches his eye. He glances down. FOLLOW his gaze to the floor and WIDEN as we see the faint stain of the PENTAGRAM Angel painted in episode 17.

NEW ANGLE ON SPIVEY, squinting at the unholy image. As he looks back up and scans the reception area with a certain amount of impatience, he fails to see SOMETHING moving in the B.G.:

A TRANSLUCENT, TENTACLED, SLUG-LIKE CREATURE (or, for brevity's sake, "SLUK") slithers quickly past, on the floor.

SPIVEY (cont'd)

Uh, look... Unless you want me to

take my business someplace else...

He waits one more moment for a response.

SPIVEY (cont'd)

Fine.

(turning to leave;

under his breath)

Probably couldn't find my dog anyw--

BAM! The SLUK is suddenly on his face. He staggers back as two of the creature's tentacles insert themselves into his nostrils, instantaneously injecting him with paralyzing toxins as he makes no move to stop it. His eyes go WIDE with terror as the SLUK forces and folds itself into his mouth (perhaps muffling his blood-curdling SCREAM of pain and horror, if in fact he screams at all.)

NEW ANGLE - ANGEL descending the stairs. He stops when he notices SPIVEY, whose back is to him.

ANGEL

(to himself)

Yyyes...

(brightening, to

Spivey)

Hi! Sorry. Hope you weren't, uh...

Can I help you?

ON THE GUY - a moment passes before he slowly turns to look at Angel. The Sluk's gone, but the man's expression and demeanor have changed. He seems distracted and odd. Angel's too anxious to notice.

SPIVEY

What-- what was that?

ANGEL

I was just saying... If you're

looking for Angel Investigations, I'm

he. Him. Angel. And you are...?

SPIVEY

I... I need...

ANGEL

Don't be embarrassed. Whatever your

problems are, I'm here to listen.

And help, of course.

SPIVEY

We have to go.

He spins on his heels and moves to the exit. Confused, Angel moves after him.

ANGEL

Whoa, wait. What-- Something wrong?

(noticing the floor,

understanding)

Oh! The pentagram? Don't-- It's

just a... Don't worry about it. Old

case. I'm totally available to give

you my full...

He turns to see Spivey's gone. Angel stares after him.

ANGEL (cont'd)

(weakly)

...attention.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER

EXT. L.A. - ESTABLISHING - DAY

FLASH CUTS of the city, and possibly the hotel, take us to DUSK.

INT. JUICE BAR - EVENING

PANNING across the small establishment (which a neon sign identifies as "KING OF THE JUICE BAR"), we see a few CUSTOMERS - mother and child, young couple - shooting aghast glances over at another area from which we HEAR SLURPING NOISES, alternating with RASPY breaths.

The CAMERA comes to settle upon a pimply KID behind the counter, conferring with a concerned-looking MANAGER in hushed whispers. The Kid points, the Manager looks at

SPIVEY, standing nearby, guzzling down two large drinks in both hands, almost simultaneously. Finishing them, licking every drop of moisture left around the rims, he drops the cups to the floor.

TILT DOWN with them to show the floor around him is littered with a dozen or so other empty cups at his feet.

As he steps back up to the counter, he appears more GAUNT since the teaser, his skin's turned POWDERY and ASHEN, his hair BRITTLE and COLORLESS, his lips DRY and CRUSTY. Also, his breathing is HARSH and LABORED.

SPIVEY

(to Kid)

More. Like the last ones.

SPIVEY fishes out his wallet as the Manager steps in.

MANAGER

I don't wanna be rude, sir, but

you've been here for almost six

hours...

KID

(chiming in)

And, like, a hundred peach smoothies.

MANAGER

And I think... I think you're not

well. Sir.

KID

(to Spivey)

Dude, you haven't taken a whiz since

you got here.

Spivey rips apart his cash-empty wallet - a couple of pennies bounce off the counter - and pulls out a few credit cards, pushing them at the Manager.

SPIVEY

Please.

MANAGER

We don't take credit cards.

SPIVEY

Water. Water, then.

MANAGER

Sir, if you don't leave, I'm gonna

call the pol--

SPIVEY grabs the stunned Manager by his shirt and yanks him across the counter.

CLOSE ON SPIVEY, his eyes wild with desperation. He takes a deep raspy breath and croaks out:

SPIVEY

We're thirsty.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - EVENING

SOMEONE'S POV - ANGEL sips from a mug o' blood, seated at the desk in Wesley's office, now reclaimed. He peruses files - essentially doing busy work. The Snow Globe sits atop the desk.

FRED (O.S.)

It's funny. Well, sad, actually...

PULL OUT to find it's her POV as she watches Angel from the other side of the reception area. GUNN's next to her, leaning on a mop.

FRED

I keep expecting to find... I mean,

it's weird seeing Angel sitting at

that desk.

GUNN

(shrugging)

It was his when I got here. Seems

right that it's his again.

FRED

Yeah. But, thing's have cooled down

a little since...

(struggling)

I'm just saying maybe it's time to...

Look, he doesn't have to forgive

Wesley.

GUNN

(snort)

Glad you think so, 'cuz not happenin'.

FRED

No. Right. He shouldn't.

(unwilling to drop it)

But... isn't there some way to, I

don't know... come back from this?

GUNN

No unless Wes comes back with that

baby under his arm. And even then,

Angel'd probably kill him on

principle.

FRED

(uncertain)

Y--You don't really think that.

GUNN

He took the man's son.

(then)

Probably best we never mention the

guy's name again.

And he crosses away, ending the discussion.

CORDELIA (O.S.)

Well, I give up...

ON CORDELIA, dew-ragged, scrubbing away at the faded pentagram on the floor. A bucket of soapy water next to her.

CORDELIA

Tried soaking it out, tried scrubbing

it out... No question, we got ring

around the lobby.

(getting to her feet)

I say we toss in the towel and buy a

big ass throw rug. Who's with me?

ON GROO, on his knees at the other side of the pentagram, scrub brush in rubber gloved hand.

GROOSALUGG

That honor is mine, Princess.

CORDELIA

Aww.

(air kisses him)

Groo, honey... Do me a favor and

dump out the bucket.

Groo retrieves the bucket, offers her a smile and exits. Fred approaches Cordy.

FRED

Cordelia...

CORDELIA

(re: Groo)

He is such a sweetie. So loyal. And

loving. Like a puppy-dog.

She crosses to the reception desk, taking off her gloves, removing her scarf. Fred follows.

FRED

Cordy...?

CORDELIA

I know. That didn't sound very good.

But he is. A puppy-dog. A sexy,

well-built, go-all-night, puppy-dog.

(then)

Okay, that sounded worse.

FRED

Cor...?

CORDELIA

No.

(off her look)

You want me to say something to Angel

about Wesley. Sorry. Can't. Won't.

FRED

Why? Why can't you? You've

known them both longer than anybody.

Angel would listen to you...

CORDELIA

Probably. But he doesn't want to

hear it. Which is why I'm not going

to burden him--

FRED

Look, whatever he did... It's Wesley.

You care about it. I know you do.

Can you imagine the pain he's in, how

horrible he must be feeling--

CORDELIA

Angel's feelings are the only ones I

care about. He's my priority.

WIDEN past Cordy to find GROO's standing in the room. He's heard these last words and appears hurt and bewildered by them, though neither Fred or Cordy notice him.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

I got dosed with demon DNA for that

man. I'm semi-demon! And I still

don't know what that means... Apart

from the random floatyness and

seizure-less visions, which is keen

except sometimes it's hard to tell

when I'm having--

She stops when she notices

ANGEL, standing next to her, staring past her at nothing, a look of astonishment on his face. He's wearing the same clothes, thought somewhat disheveled and his shirt's ripped.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

Where did you--

Suddenly, Angel puts his arm up, blocking some unseen attack. As Cordy looks behind her to find the assailant, Angel GRUNTS and flies back against the front desk with terrific force.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

Angel?!

Before she can move to him, he DISAPPEARS. Then...

ANGEL (O.S.)

What?

Cordy looks up to see

ANGEL standing outside the office door, behind the reception desk. No longer disheveled, his shirt no longer torn.

ON CORDY, registering her vision. The others look at her, then Angel.

ANGEL

what's going on?

LORNE (O.S.)

I'll tell you what's going on...

They all turn to see

LORNE standing at the entrance, high lapeled trenchcoat and hat pulled down, to help obscure his appearance to the outside world.

LORNE

Big brouhaha at the juice bar across

the street. Only, light on the "ha

ha." Some guy over there's cracking

up.

INT. JUICE BAR - MEANWHILE

CLOSE ON SPIVEY - TWO deep, dusty CRACKS have opened across his face, his lips, as a THIRD opens up by his temple. He's further withered, his sunken eyes, bereft of reason. His breathing more labored than before.

CUT OUT to see he's behind the counter, holding the KID up by his shirt, shaking him. The place is in shambles. The Kid produces a key from his pocket.

KID

(terrified)

Here. Key to the safe. Take it.

just don't hurt me, dude. Don't--

SPIVEY throws him away.

THE KID lands next to the MANAGER's prone and bleeding body. He huddles into the corner, whimpering.

ON SPIVEY - He rips the top off a large juice dispenser, picks it up, holds it above his head, and starts to drink. The Kid gets to his feet and runs for the door as

ANGEL and COMPANY enter. Cordy's at Angel's ear.

CORDELIA

(mid-rant)

...one minutes you're standing there,

all shocked looking, then --

whammo -- you're knocked across the--

ANGEL

Cordy, can we talk about it later?

(indicating sitch)

Working here.

The Kid suddenly runs past them.

KID

Look out! Dude's got Ebola or

something--

He runs out. Angel and the others look at SPIVEY, draining the dispenser, ravenously.

GROOSALUGG

This "Ebola" is a weapon? Forged in

magic?

LORNE

Forged in monkey poo.

ANGEL

(to Spivey)

Okay, pal. You wanna put down the

Big Gulp, nice and easy, or--

He hesitates as he recognizes him. Then, brightens.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Hey. I know you.

GUNN

You do?

Angel turns back to the others. Fred notices something on the floor and reaches down to pick it up.

ANGEL

This is the guy that came into the

office this morning.

GUNN

Didn't mention he was a mummy, man.

ANGEL

He's not. I mean, he wasn't. He's--

ON FRED, holding Spivey's wallet.

FRED

"Phillip J. Spivey." From Inglewood.

According to his license.

Angel looks back to Spivey.

SPIVEY

Mr. Spivey? Phil?

ON SPIVEY, eyeing him as he continues to drink.

ANGEL (cont'd)

(cheerful)

Hi. Remember me?

He crosses to Spivey, calmly.

ANGEL (cont'd)

We're just gonna take a walk to my

office across the street and see if

we can figure out what's what. Sound

okay with you?

Spivey stops drinking long enough to say:

SPIVEY

We're thirsty!

He raises the dispenser to hurl at Angel.

ANGEL

I'll take that as a "no."

He clocks Spivey hard in the jaw, bringing him down.

Angel turns to the others, all happy-like.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Okay, people. Looks like we got a

case.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - MOMENTS LATER

THE GANG re-enters, Groo carrying Spivey in his arms. Angel barks out order, totally in charge.

ANGEL

Put him on the couch.

Groo does just that.

ON SPIVEY, looking like a shriveled apple. A CRACK on his face, SPREADS and WIDENS.

FRED

My God. Look at his face.

ANGEL

Fred, any water in the fridge?

FRED

A few bottles, I think.

ANGEL

We're gonna need 'em.

She goes. Lorne calls after her.

LORNE

Some Chapstick wouldn't hurt, either,

kitten.

CORDELIA

Angel--

ANGEL

(thinking)

"We..."

GUNN

Glad you're having fun with this.

ANGEL

No. He kept saying "we." This

morning is was "we have to go." Now,

"we're thirsty..."

CORDELIA

Okay, so he's pretentious. Angel, we

have to talk about my vision--

ANGEL

It can wait.

CORDELIA

(getting in his face)

No. It can't! You think The Powers

beam me pretty pictures purely for my

amusement?! It tells me when

someone's in danger and this time

that someone's you!

ANGEL

Oh, gee, I'm in danger. What else is

new? Look, I want to deal with

somebody else's problems for a

change. I want to deal with Mr.

Phillip Spivey of Inglewood...

ON SPIVEY, his eyes fluttering open as he regains consciousness, though no one notices.

BACK TO ANGEL and CORDY. Everyone watching.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Who came to use this morning for help.

He's the one we need to be concerned

with. Not me. This has nothing to

do with me.

FRED re-enters, sees something and GASPS. They turn to see SPIVEY, up on his feet, pointing an accusing finger at Angel.

SPIVEY

(in a dry rasp)

This is all your fault.

With that, he falls face-first onto the lobby floor, dead. The IMPACT causes his head and body to BREAK APART and CRUMBLE AWAY in a dusty heap.

EVERYONE stares stunned for a moment, then looks at

ANGEL, who can only offer a weak shrug.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

The Price

Written by: David Fury

Teaser

Act One

Act Two

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - CONTINUOUS

THE GANG - As we left them, standing over the ruins of Mr. Spivey.

ON ANGEL, a little unnerved and a little hurt at Mr. Spivey's last words.

ANGEL

My fault?

CORDELIA

(eyeing the dusty

rubble)

That's what the Sandman said.

ANGEL

How is this my fault? I was trying

to help him. What'd he go and say

that for?

ON LORNE, peering intently at the body, noticing something.

LORNE

He didn't...

The back of Spivey's shirt appears to HEAVE upward, then MOVE toward the collar. The head further crumbles away, revealing

THE SLUK

LORNE (cont'd)

That did.

The SLUK rears up, emits a high-pitched SCREECH, then tears away across the floor, essentially vanishing into the lighted room, its translucence making it difficult to see.

Caught off-guard, ANGEL and the others can only watch, stunned.

GUNN

Okay, that was a thing.

Everyone moves.

FRED

Big ugly slug thing. Where'd it go?

Angel and Groo start to fan out a bit, looking, to no avail.

GROOSALUGG

It has vanished. Like the glass eels

of the Krag Swamps in UxenBlarg.

Everyone looks at him for a moment.

GROOSALUGG (cont'd)

Just making an observation.

GUNN

So what the hell was it?

He looks at Angel.

ANGEL

Don't look at me. I don't know what

it is. Or what it has to do with me.

ON CORDELIA, staring at the floor.

CORDELIA

Um, Angel...

He looks at her. Then follows her gaze.

PULL UP HIGH on the ruined remains of Spivey and continue until we discover it's lying in the middle of the PENTAGRAM.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - A SHORT TIME LATER

ANGEL - at the weapons cabinet. He grabs a dagger and slips it into his belt (or somewhere else on his person).

WIDEN as he passes a crossbow to Gunn and a sword to Lorne.

LORNE

Not really the hunter-type. Couldn't

I just come along and cheerlead?

ON CORDELIA and GROO, as they come over.

CORDELIA

Hotel's shut tight.

ANGEL

Good. Don't want anyone else getting

infected.

He hands Cordy another sword and offers Groo a sabre. Instead, Groo reaches past him and grabs the largest and heaviest battle-axe off the rack.

GROOSALUGG

This weapon will serve me better.

ANGEL

Little big for our purposes, isn't it?

GROOSALUGG

I have had no complaints.

ANGEL

Uh huh. Cordy, you and the Groo make

a sweep of the third floor and word

your way down. Lorne and I'll start

at the top.

Lorne swings his sword around a little awkwardly, trying to get the feel of it.

LORNE

Uh... Exactly how do we know slicing

and dicing will do the trick on Mr.

Sluggo?

ANGEL

That's why Fred's gonna hit the

books. See if she can find out what

we're dealing with.

FRED

Angel... I--OI don't even know where

to being to look...

ANGEL

Start with thaumogenesis...

Lorne looks at him. Angel avoids eye contact.

FRED

Thaumo--?

ANGEL

Creatures manifested as a by-product

of using dark magic.

FRED

(understanding)

Ohh.

GUNN

(to Angel, re: Fred)

I'll stay with her. Keep watch.

ANGEL

Watch close. This thing's hard to

see.

CORDELIA

This thing drank every speck of

moisture out of a man's body.

Angel stops and looks at her.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

I'm just saying... Shouldn't we wait

to see what Fred finds out before we

go chasing around after it?

ANGEL

Longer we wait, the sooner that thing

finds a way out of here. And into

the world.

He slams the cabinet shut for emphasis.

ANGEL (cont'd)

And I'm not gonna let that happen.

They separate and move off.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - HALLWAY - LATER

TRACKING with Angel and Lorne - slowly making their way down the hall.

ON LORNE - periodically peeking over at Angel. After a few moments of this...

ANGEL

I don't want to hear it.

LORNE

I didn't say anything.

ANGEL

Let's keep it that way.

Another beat.

LORNE

Well, was I wrong?

ANGEL

(getting pissed)

Lorne... It's my mess. I'm cleaning

it up. What more--?

LORNE

I warned you, Angel-face. You mess

with powers of darkness--

Angel stops and turns to Lorne.

ANGEL

There's a price to pay. I know.

There's always a price. Question

is... Is it one worth paying?

LORNE

So... Was this?

Angel considers his answer.

ANGEL

That spell I did was for nothing. I

didn't find my son. Now he's gone

forever. So, you ask me, was it

worth it? Would I do it again?

(beat)

In a heartbeat. Because he was my

son.

Lorne just looks at him, but before he can respond - CRASH!

They look toward the end of the hall and break into a run, coming to...

The partially ajar door to a vacant hotel room. A SLURPING noise can be hear.

ANGEL pushes the door open...

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL- VACANT ROOM - CONTINUOUS

...and they enter the DARKENED room - the SLURPING louder now - and follow the SOUND toward the slightly open bathroom door.

ANGEL flips a light switch next to the door and a FLOOR LAMP in the room goes on. He flips another switch and the bathroom is illuminated. He pushes the door open and they see

A SLUK - slurping away at the water in the open toilet tank, its porcelain cover shattered on the floor.

The creature suddenly rears up, SCREECHES and charges them.

LORNE, in a panic, brings up his sword, accidentally smashing the FLOOR LAMP, knocking it over, plunging that half of the room into darkness.

He's about to bring his sword down again when Angel grabs his wrist.

LORNE

Angel? What are you--?

ON ANGEL, staring at

THE SLUK, giving off a BLUE-ISH PHOSPHORESCENT GLOW in the darkness (like some deep sea jellyfish), slithering across the floor, leaving a short, dissipating phosphorescent trail behind it. It makes for the door to the hallway.

ON ANGEL - In an instant, he pulls out the dagger and flings it.

ON THE SLUK as the dagger pins it to the floor. It SCREECHES in pain. Then goes limp.

PAN UP as ANGEL and LORNE approach it.

LORNE (cont'd)

Well, go team.

He leans down to get a better look at the dead creature.

LORNE (cont'd)

That wasn't so--

SCREECH!

LORNE'S POV - THE SLUK tears itself from the knife and hurls itself up at him and the CAMERA.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - ANGEL'S OFFICE - MEANWHILE

ARCING AROUND FRED, at the desk (on which we may notice the snowglobe), numerous open books before her. She appears tense and frazzled.

FRED

(frustrated)

God... I hate this...

ADJUST to reveal GUNN standing in the doorway, his crossbow at the ready, looking absolutely wigged.

GUNN

(sharing his fear)

I'm with you... That creepy crawler

was seriously messed up. With those

feelers or whatever sticking out of

its face... slithering around like a

worm with its slimy--

FRED

N-no, Charles... I meant... I hate

going through these books.

Gunn looks at her, a little embarrassed.

GUNN

Oh. Oh, yeah. Books. That's...

rough.

He goes back to looking out the door.

FRED

Everything on "Thaumogenesis" is...

is so cryptic. And full of words I

never heard of, like "amulatives"

and... and I have to keep cross-

referencing "Chaldean" with "Accadian

majicks"...

She pauses, noticing he's not looking at her.

FRED (cont'd)

Are you listening to me?

GUNN

(not taking his eyes

off the lobby)

Yeah. "Accordion music." Go on...

FRED sighs.

FRED

I mean, ask me to research stuff on

wave-particle dualities or the

Schrodinger Equation and I'm a

hellcat. But this...

She holds up a particularly large and ancient tome for emphasis.

FRED (cont'd)

Angel's just go to realize that I'm

just not as qualified for this as...

She stops herself as GUNN looks at her. She was about to say "the name."

FRED (cont'd)

Some people.

GUNN (O.S.)

Yeah, well, "some people" aren't

around anymore. So, you're just

gonna have to learn to get good at

it...

As they talk, PUSH PAST GUNN, out the door to the

LOBBY AREA.

TILT UP to an EMPTY SPACE fifteen or so feet up.

FRED (O.S.)

Well, but, what if I fail? What if

I can't find anything to help us?

FLASH - a small electrical charge occurs in mid-air over the lobby floor, accompanied by a CRACKLING NOISE.

GUNN (O.S.)

We'll manage. Not sayin' I don't

prefer something I can punch...

CLOSE ON the charge as TWO SLUKS appear, then fall (FLOP FLOP) to the floor (and, incidentally, onto the pentagram.)

GUNN (cont'd; O.S.)

But I think we can handle once little

slug from hell.

They slither away in opposite directions.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - SECOND FLOOR ROOM TBD - MEANWHILE

CORDELIA and GROO enter a heretofore unseen lounge of some kind. Possibly used at one time for imbibing cocktails, listening to a piano. A MAIL SLOT is attached to the wall somewhere, and there's a door marked "Exit" across the room from it.

CORDELIA

Poor Angel. It's eating away at him.

GROOSALUGG

(looking at her)

You are having another vision,

Princess?

CORDELIA

What? No. I meant... Knowing it was

the spell he performed, trying to

find Connor, that made this...

whatever it is we're hunting.

(beat)

Knowing that it caused a man's death.

GROOSALUGG

He is your priority.

CORDELIA

What?

GROOSALUGG

You said... earlier. Angel's

feelings were your only concern. He

is all that matters.

Cordy suddenly recognizes Groo's uncertainty.

CORDELIA

Oh. Oh, no, Grooey... I-- I meant,

work priority. Work. You see? You.

You're my... other... stuff priority.

You get that, right?

ON GROO, grimly staring back. He slowly raises the battle-axe.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

Groo? Honey? We can talk about

this--

GROOSALUGG

Do not move.

CORDELIA, suddenly realizing he's looking just past her, slowly turns her head. ADJUST to see

A SLUK perched on a pillar behind her, ready to pounce.

Instinctively, CORDY spins and swipes at it with her sword, slicing the creature. It SQUEALS before leaping out of frame.

CORDELIA

Get it!

They go after it.

NEW ANGLE - THE squeaky HINGED FLAP of the MAIL SLOT swinging back and forth.

CLOSE ON CORDY and GROO as they reach it.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

Going down! Come on--

They turn and run toward the stairwell exit.

GROOSALUGG

I instructed you not to move.

CORDELIA

Well, gee, forgive me for saving my

own life.

GROOSALUGG

I would not have let harm come to you.

CORDELIA

That's not the--

She reaches for the door handle, when it suddenly FLIES open. Cordy YELPS with surprise as she runs smack dab into

ANGEL, with LORNE.

ANGEL

We saw it! CORDELIA

We saw it!

ANGEL

You saw it?

CORDELIA

You saw it?

As Angel and Cordy stop and share a questioning look.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - A SHORT TIME LATER

ON GUNN, registering the new news.

GUNN

There's more than one?

WIDE - Everyone's huddled in the lobby, by the reception desk, as Angel moves behind it.

ANGEL

Two, at least. Should probably

assume there are more.

LORNE

Do we have to?

ANGEL

But at least we have one advantage.

CORDELIA

What, they glow in the dark? How's

that supposed to help us, unless we

shut off all the lights in the holy

crap you're not serious.

She says this as she sees Angel pulling a few flashlights out of a drawer behind the counter. As well as a battery powered emergency lamp.

ANGEL

These things are hard enough to kill

as it is. I speared one and it was

still strong enough to attack us and

escape. If this makes them easier to

find, I say we take the chance.

FRED

(nervous)

All the lights?

Angel hands her the emergency lamp.

ANGEL

Here. Take this and lock yourself up

in the office. We still need

answers, Fred.

FRED

Right.

She nods, takes the map and heads back into the office.

GUNN

Boy, this just keeps gettin' funner

and funner.

ANGEL

Glad to hear you're enjoying this,

'cause somebody's got to go down to

the basement and shut off the power.

GUNN looks at him, to see he's not joking.

GUNN

(shaking his head)

Nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh...

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - CELLAR - CONTINUOUS

GUNN walking down the cellar steps, sweeping around with the crossbow in one hand. WIDEN to reveal ANGEL, right behind him, broadsword at the ready.

ANGLE ON THE DOORWAY, to see Cordy, Lorne and Groo standing guard, waiting.

ANGEL gestures to GUNN to move to the grid while he covers his back. GUNN, crossing to a large power grid.

ON ANGEL, seeing something.

ANGEL'S POV - A shape moving in the shadows.

He deftly strikes at it with his sword. The action startles Gunn who whips around with his crossbow, in time to HEAR a death SQUEAK.

GUNN looks up at Angel as he pulls his sword back. Angel looks back and shakes his head.

ANGEL

Rat.

ON GUNN, feigning nonchalance.

GUNN

Oh.

He turns away from Angel, toward the POWER GRID, and his eyes and face register his unfettered freaked-outedness. (Sorry, my thesaurus is broken.)

GUNN (cont'd)

Rat.

OUR GANG in the doorway.

CORDELIA

(calling down)

Everything okay down there?

GUNN

(calling back)

Oh, yeah! It's a party!

He gets to the power grid and flips open a cover, revealing the MAIN CUTOFF SWITCH. He reaches up to pull it down...

GUNN (cont'd)

(under his breath)

And here's the icing on the cake.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - ANGEL'S OFFICE - MEANWHILE

FRED is back at the desk, carefully reading from a tome. The emergency lamps rests nearby on the corner of the desk as the LIGHTS GO OUT.

As she leans over to pull the lamp closer, REVEAL

A GLOWING SLUK perched on the wall behind her.

CLOSE ON FRED - ambient BLUE light on her shoulder - as we see in her eyes that she senses it. She quickly swivels around and BAM - the Sluk is on her. Its paralyzing tentacles jam into her sinuses, paralyzing her, as it forces its way into her SCREAMING mouth...

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - OUTSIDE BALLROOM - CONTINUING

DARKNESS. Then BEAMS from a couple of flashlights sweep the hallway as Angel, Cordy, Lorne and Groo enter.

LORNE

Where are we?

ANGEL

South wing. Haven't found a use for

it yet so we keep it closed up.

Cordelia stops, hanging back.

CORDELIA

Do you hear something?

They all stop and listen.

LORNE

Sorry, cupcake. All I'm picking up's

the loud, erratic thumping of the

heart in my mouth.

CORDELIA

Listen... It's like... It's almost

like...

She shakes her head, not wanting to say it.

ANGEL

Birds.

CORDELIA looks at him and nods, grateful he hears it, too. (Though we don't. Not yet.) They both turn toward the sound.

ADJUST to REVEAL two large doors. ANGEL and CORDY cross to them and Cordy tries to open them. They won't budge. She turns to Angel.

CORDELIA

Do we even have keys for this?

ANGEL offers a sly grin (are you kidding?), then brings up his foot and KICKS IN the doors, they fly off their hinges...

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - ANGEL'S OFFICE - MEANWHILE

ON CLOSED DOOR. There's a knock.

GUNN (O.S.)

Fred. It's me. Open up.

Fred shuffles into frame and opens the door. Gunn enters.

REVERSE as Fred returns to her seat behind the desk.

GUNN

Sorry it took me so long to get back.

Did a quick look around to see if any

slimeys were lurking. We're good.

Fred, who's partially turned away from him in the dim light of the lamp, seemingly engrossed in her research, doesn't answer.

GUNN (cont'd)

How you holding up, babe? You okay?

FRED looks up at him, her face pale (well, paler) in the ghostly light.

FRED

Scared. Very... scared.

He takes a step toward her and puts a hand on her shoulder.

GUNN

I know. It's gonna be okay. Just

have to keep it together. Watch each

other's backs.

She turns her face downward again. He goes off on his thoughts.

GUNN (cont'd)

Y'know, when this is over, I think

you and me should go away someplace.

Like Cordy and Groo got to do. Maybe

Baja. A little sun, sand. Think we

deserve--

FRED

(not looking up)

We have to get out of here.

Gunn squints at her.

GUNN

That's... what I'm sayin'. And we

will. Soon as we take care of these

things, I'll talk to Angel. Maybe--

He stops when he hears something. A SLURPING NOISE.

GUNN (cont'd)

Fred?

She doesn't answer. He reaches for the handle of the lamp, and raises it up, to see her face.

ON FRED, hunched over something. She suddenly turns to him and we see she's drinking from the SHATTERED SNOWGLOBE.

ON GUNN, registering the shock of what it means.

GUNN (cont'd)

Aw, no...

ON FRED, looking up at him, desperate, almost pleadingly.

FRED

We're thirsty.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - BALLROOM - MEANWHILE

CLOSE ON A TABLE as it topples over, revealing the GROOSALUGG, who's done the topping. Cordelia, standing beside him, weapon raised. She relaxes.

ANOTHER TABLE'S PUSHED OVER, this time by ANGEL, LORNE behind him, ready to strike with his sword.

WIDE - On Angel, Lorne, Cordy and Groo as they continue to move through the room. There are tables and chairs scattered about, some with dusty tablecloths hanging off them. Cobwebs abound on the crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

We can now faintly HEAR the BIRD-LIKE CHIRPING sounds of which Cordelia was speaking.

CORDELIA

(frustrated)

Ugh. Where is that sound coming from?

ANGEL

Definitely in this room. Somewhere.

CLOSE ON LORNE, admiring the room.

LORNE

Y'know, this space is one part hum,

two parts dinger.

ON ANGEL, checking under a table.

LORNE (O.S.)

Ever think of turning it into a

nightclub?

ANGEL stands and looks at him.

LORNE

Hey. Missing the life. Sue me.

ON CORDELIA, sensing something behind her, turns and sees...

CORDELIA

Gunn?

PUSH IN on GUNN as he rushes into the ballroom, towing Fred behind him. He's freakin'.

GUNN

We got a serious problem.

He pulls FRED forward. She drinks voraciously from a bottle of water.

ON ANGEL, his face falling as he realizes what's happened. CORDELIA goes to her.

CORDELIA

Oh, no. Fred...

GUNN

We have to get her help. And we

gotta get it fast. I'm not gonna--

FRED suddenly begins to choke on the water, pulling the bottle away with some effort.

Angel goes to her, and sits her down in a chair.

ANGEL

Fred?

ON FRED - She breathes erratically, and pinches her eyes closed, seemingly struggling.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Fred, can you hear me?

GUNN

It's no good. That thing's jammin'

her brain. You can't reach her.

FRED

(with effort)

Angel...

Gunn, Angel, and Cordy react and look at her.

ANGEL

Fred?

FRED

I... feel it. Its needs. Its...

thirst. Oh, god, I'm so thirsty!

She tries to bring the bottle up, but Angel puts a hand on her arm, encouraging her to not give in.

GUNN

Hang on, baby. We're getting you to

a hospital.

FRED

(fiercely)

No! Charles! We... No... It wants

that... To escape. Spread.

She looks up at Angel, desperate.

FRED (cont'd)

You can't let it... let us... It...

It.. will... kill...

PUSH IN as suddenly, her look grows dark, and her eyes narrow, focusing intently on ANGEL.

FRED (cont'd)

Oh, it really doesn't like you.

ANGEL registers the veiled threat.

ON FRED - Unable to stand it anymore, she desperately begins to drink from the bottle again, her eyes rolling up into her head.

ANGEL looks at her, what this thing's doing to her.

ANGEL

(softly)

Feeling's mutual.

GUNN

That's it. C'mon.

He gets Fred to her feet again.

ANGEL

What are you doing?

GUNN

Getting her out of here.

ANGEL

After what she said...

GUNN

I don't give a damn what she said!

For all I know, it's that thing

inside her calling the shots.

He starts to lead her out. Angel gets in front of him.

ANGEL

Gunn--

ANGEL

Get outta my way, Angel.

ANGEL

Think about this. How's she gonna

feel if taking her out of here causes

more people to die?

GUNN

She? Or you?

ANGEL

Me? What's that supposed to--

GUNN

All this is happening 'cause of you.

What you did. This is your fault.

ANGEL reacts, stung.

GUNN (cont'd)

Messing with scary ass mojo no sane

person should be messing with.

ANGEL

I did what I had to do--

GUNN

You do what you want to get what you

want! The hell with the

consequences--

ANGEL

My son--

GUNN

Is dead! Fred's not.

ANGEL takes a step toward GUNN. CORDY jumps in.

CORDELIA

Hey! We have to stick together.

GUNN

Yeah?

(cooly)

Where's it say that?

GROOSALUGG (O.S.)

Here!

They turn to see

GROO, kneeling in the center of the room, his head cocked to the side, listening.

GROOSALUGG

The sounds. They come from under.

ANGEL throws a look at Gunn, then moves to Groo. Cordy takes Fred and follows. Gunn hesitates, then joins them.

ON THE BATTLE-AXE as the Groosalugg raises it above his head and brings it down HARD on the floor, splintering the wood. The bird-like "chirping" noise crows LOUDER.

The others, including Gunn, help to pry up the floorboards, some using their swords. Then, when a big enough hole is made, they kneel on the floor and peer down into it.

THEIR POV - SLUKS, HUNDREDS of them, all GLOWING and swimming around in a murkey SWIMMING POOL, illuminated by their iridescence. The water down to a shallow level and draining rapidly. Some of the creatures are slithering out of the water. The "CHIRPING" is, in fact, the high-pitched WET, SUCKING noises emanating from the multitudes.

CORDELIA (O.S.)

Oh my God!

ON CORDELIA, looking at Angel.

CORDELIA

We have a pool?!

SLUKS being to slither up out of the hole.

Everyone backs away. ON ANGEL.

ANGEL

Run.

Cordelia grabs Fred and leads the retreat. Angel and Groo cover the rear. CHAOTIC and CUTTY.

CORDELIA

This way!

She leads them through doors near the back.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

CORDY and FRED enter followed by LORNE. They run through and get to SWINGING DOORS with WINDOWS. She pushes through and finds

A SWARM of SLUKS coming right for her.

She pulls Fred back into the kitchen.

CORDELIA

Lorne! Bolt the door!

As he does... A Sluk suddenly alights itself on the window, slapping against the glass. Then ANOTHER.

ON ANGEL as he shuts the other door behind him and bolts it.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

(to Angel)

They're all over.

FRED

No more running. Too hot. Too hot.

ANGEL looks at her. Then getting an idea, moves to the big, industrial stoves.

ANGEL

Groo, lock the other doors! Lorne,

turn on the ovens!

LORNE

We're gonna cook 'em?

Angel starts switching on all the burners.

ANGEL

We're gonna cook the air. Dry it

out.

Lorne moves to the ovens, and turns up all the broilers.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Make it so uncomfortable for them,

they won't want in--

FRED SCREAMS! They look at her, panicked, her eyes sweeping the room.

LORNE

Now, that's what I call uncomfortable.

FRED

(wild eyed)

Charles! Where's Charles?!

Everyone looks around, then at each other. Uh oh.

INT. BUILDING HALLWAY - LATER

TIGHT ON DOOR as we HEAR URGENT POUNDING. The door opens revealing

GUNN, standing in the hall of an apartment building. He's defiant, yet he can barely meet the eyes of whoever he's talking to.

GUNN

Need your help.

REVERSE to see WESLEY, standing at the door, wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants. He's unshaven, hair tousled, and his look doesn't betray any emotion to seeing Gunn. On that...

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - KITCHEN - MEANWHILE

ON FRED, sitting on the floor, sucking down more water. She's taken on that withered, ashy look. Her lips are cracked, and her breathing (when she takes the time to breathe) has become wheezy.

WIDEN to see CORDY next to her, stroking her hair. And LORNE, on the other side of her, holding her hand, offering whatever comfort he can. Oh, and it's really HOT in here, so people have loosened up their clothes accordingly.

TILT UP as GROO walks past them and PAN as he crosses to

ANGEL, at the swinging doors, looking through the door window, a few Sluks stuck to the glass.

GROOSALUGG

Angel. There are too many to fight

our way out.

ANGEL

I know.

He crosses to Fred, and grabs the water bottle out of her hand.

FRED

(delirious)

No! Water...

She springs to her feet, reaching for the bottle.

Angel pushes her back HARD against the counter, rattling the pots hanging there, and grips her at the throat.

CORDELIA

Angel! LORNE

Whoa! Easy!

ANGEL

(to Fred)

I wanna talk to that thing inside of

you. Now! I wanna know what you are.

FRED

We... We are... thirsty...

She reaches for the bottle. He holds it away and SHAKES her.

ANGEL

Work with me, Fred. Make it answer

me. What do you want here?

FRED

To live... To live... To drink...

Suddenly she starts to laugh, raspily, creepily.

ON ANGEL and the others staring at her.

FRED (cont'd)

And be merry.

She continues chuckling for a few beats, then just as suddenly sobers. Fear sinking in.

FRED (cont'd)

It hurts. Us. We have to get out.

Then SOUNDS are heard. Everyone reacts as pipes around them GROAN and SHUDDER.

CORDELIA

Sounds more like they want in.

CORDY, GROO and LORNE bring up their weapons and go into battle ready positions.

FRED

Have to flee. It brings pain...

(staring off)

Such pain...

LORNE

"It?" What happened to "we?" What's

with the pronoun switcheroo?

ANGEL

(to Fred)

What are you fleeing from?

FRED

The bringer of torment... agony...

death...

(shudder)

The Destroyer.

THE OTHERS share a wary look.

CORDELIA

Oh, that's a name you just don't want

to hear.

ANGEL

(to Fred)

Why is this "Destroyer" after you?

FRED

It's not...

PUSH IN on Fred as she looks up at Angel...

FRED (cont'd)

It's coming after you...

(whisper)

Aaaangel.

ON ANGEL's reaction...

END OF ACT THREE

Act Three

Act Four

INT. WESLEY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

ON GUNN, inside the room, avoiding eye contact as he speaks.

GUNN

Look, I don't have time to get into

it with you. I don't even wanna be

here.

REVERSE ON WESLEY - who just looks at him. Gunn continues...

GUNN (cont'd)

The hotel's infested with something.

Some kinda... slug, jellyfish thing.

We don't know what they are or how to

kill them.

WESLEY

(cooly, in a raspy

whisper)

Well, now, that is a problem.

Wesley turns away from him and crosses to his desk to pick up a glass of water there. It's all to turn his back on Gunn and Gunn knows it.

GUNN

These things... there's hundreds of

'em. They get inside you. And...

and soak up all the moisture in your

body. They drink you alive.

WESLEY

(raspy whisper)

Why come to me? I expect Angel'll

find a way to kill them eventually.

GUNN

That's not what I'm looking for. I

need to know how to get these slugs

out of someone once they're infected.

Force it out somehow...

WESLEY

(uncaring)

Sorry.

GUNN

(getting pissed)

Don't give me that! If you saw what

these things do...

WESLEY

I wish I could help you.

GUNN

Wes--

WESLEY

Sorry you wasted your time--

GUNN

It's Fred!

Wesley stops, stricken. Without another word, he crosses to a cabinet across the room. He opens it revealing his liquor storage, he takes out an almost full bottle of vodka.

GUNN (cont'd)

What, we're gonna have a drink now?

Did you hear what I said? She's

dying!

Wes crosses to GUNN with the bottle.

WESLEY

I was dying. I knew it laying in

that dirty field, life pouring out of

my throat. Do you know why I fought

to stay alive?

GUNN

Wes, I don't have time--!

WESLEY

I needed to live to see my friends

again. To explain to the people I

trusted... and loved... my side of

what happened.

GUNN

We know what--

WESLEY

(louder)

You don't know anything.

He winces from the pain of raising his voice. Then thrusts the bottle at Gunn.

WESLEY (cont'd)

I'll help because it's Fred. But

just so we understand each other...

Don't ever come here again. None of

you are welcome here.

ON GUNN, looking at Wes, then the bottle in his hand.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - KITCHEN - MEANWHILE

ON THE OVERHEAD PIPES, SHUDDERING and GROANING more violently now. Then FLAMES brush the pipes and the Sluks inside SQUEAL.

CUT OUT to see GROO, holding his axe up high, a torn table cloth tied around its head SET AFIRE - A makeshift torch. CORDY holds her sword, watching for any incoming Sluks.

FRED drinks ravenously from a bottle held by ANGEL. Her condition has deteriorated.

ANGEL pulls the bottle away. Fred reaches for it desperately.

FRED

No! We need more!

ANGEL

I need more. Tell me where you came

from.

Fred just looks down, shakes her head, MURMURING incoherently.

ON ANGEL - He purposefully turns the bottle over and lets the water pour out onto the floor.

FRED's head snaps up, she SHRIEKS uncontrollably and lunges at Angel. Clawing at him, scratching his face.

ANGEL (cont'd)

(shaking her)

Fred!

She suddenly goes weak and limp in his arms. And looks at him with steely eyes, says:

FRED

You're gonna die so horribly.

A DEEP CRACK suddenly OPENS across her face. Her eyes change. It's not the Sluk inside her, but Fred who says:

FRED (cont'd)

Oh, God. Help me...

ON ANGEL, coming to a decision. He passes Fred to Lorne, then moves to the large metal sink. He grabs nearby dirty dishrags and starts plugging up the drains. Then turns both faucets on, full blast.

ANGEL

Cordy, turn off the stoves. Groo, the ovens.

Groo moves to do it, Cordy hesitates.

CORDELIA

Angel, why--

ANGEL

Hurry.

As she switches off the burners...

ANGEL (cont'd)

Cordy, you and the others get Fred to

a hospital.

CORDELIA

Didn't we talk about that? Infecting

the world blah blah blah.

ANGEL

We don't have a choice. They can

keep her hydrated there, hopefully

long enough to surgically get that

thing out of her.

GROOSALUGG

We are surrounded. How are we to get

past?

ANGEL

I'll keep 'em occupied. Slow 'em

down as long as I can.

CORDELIA

How do you expect to do that?

ANGEL

By giving 'em what they want.

LOW ANGLE shot of water spilling over the rim of the sink, hitting the floor, puddling near Angel's feet.

Angel picks up his sword.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Groo. Damsel in distress. You know

the drill.

GROO nods, then goes to Fred and lifts her over his shoulder. She drops the bottle and begins to flail weakly, MURMURING incoherently.

Angel crosses to the side door, the one connected to the ballroom, and unbolts it.

CORDELIA

Angel--

ANGEL

Go. Save Fred.

(off her hesitation)

Please.

Cordy reluctantly turns and joins the others at the door. Lorne unbolts it.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Now!

He kicks the door open and

A SWARM OF SLUKS slither in. Immediately finding the water.

ON THE OTHERS as they push their way out the other entrance.

LOW ANGLE - As Sluks Swarm past them, toward the water.

ON CORDELIA, in the doorway, she turns to see

HER POV - ANGEL, battling away at the Sluks as they attack him.

IN HALL

ON GROO - Looking back and seeing

CORDELIA, at the door looking at Angel. She brings up her sword and runs back into the kitchen.

GROO reacts with heartbreak, then turns and continues.

IN KITCHEN, Cordelia arrives at Angel's side, fighting by his side.

ANGEL (cont'd)

Cordelia! I told you to get out of

here!

CORDELIA

Make me.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - MEANWHILE

LORNE and GROO with FRED arrive in the lobby. As they reach the front steps...

GUNN (O.S.)

Put my girl down.

GROO and LORNE turn to see

GUNN, having come in the rear entrance, rushing over to them, holding a paper bag.

LORNE

Gunn! Where did--

GUNN

News updates later. Just lay her

down.

GROO gently puts Fred down on the steps. She's kinda out of it and her breathing's labored.

GROOSALUGG

She requires a healer.

GUNN

No. She requires this.

He produces the bottle of vodka from the bag.

GUNN (cont'd)

Hold her arms.

(off their hesitation)

Do it!

GROO and LORNE comply. And Gunn puts the bottle to Fred's lips.

FRED comes out of her stupor and beings to drinks ravenously, at first. Then, her face registers PAIN, and she tries to turn away, coughing and choking.

GUNN (cont'd)

C'mon, baby. Drink.

As he continues to pour it down her throat...

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - KITCHEN - MEANWHILE

ON ANGEL and CORDY, fighting off the Sluk horde, side-by-side.

Sluks are now everywhere on the walls, the ceiling.

ON CORDELIA as she notices

HER POV - TWO Sluks on a cabinet near Angel about to lunge. Angel doesn't notice.

CORDELIA

Two incoming. Four o'clock.

ON ANGEL, hearing that, spins as the two Sluks pounce. His sword catches both in mid-air, slicing each down the middle.

CORDY smiles. They make a helluva team. She fails to see

A SLUK near her head. He leaps at her. And...

HER HAND snaps out, catching the creature in mid-air.

ON ANGEL, seeing and reacting.

ON CORDY, stunned herself.

THE SLUK squirms in her hand trying to get to her face.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - MEANWHILE

ON FRED, still being force fed the vodka. Suddenly, she seems to convulse, as it she's going to throw up.

CUT OUT as GUNN pulls the bottle away and the others back up.

ON FRED, as the SLUK slithers out of her mouth. It's smaller and now a cloudy shade of gray. IT falls to the floor and weakly tries to slither away.

ON GROO - He takes Lorne's sward and JABS it down into the creature, which emits a "squeal" and continues to struggle to free itself.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - KITCHEN - MEANWHILE

ON CORDELIA as the hand holding the Sluk begins to GLOW. (A WHITE GLOW as opposed to the BLUE-ISH tint of the Sluks.)

CORDELIA stares incredulously, and open-mouthed, as the glow intensifies and begins to move up her arm and into her head.

CORDELIA

Angel...? What's... happening...

to...

ANGEL stops fighting long enough to witness:

BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT suddenly BURSTING FORTH from Cordy's mouth and eyes. It hits the quivering SLUK in her hand causing it to SCREEN in pain, then EXPLODE, its remnants fizzling into nothingness.

then, everything's still. Even the Sluks seem to have frozen in their slimy tracks.

CORDY takes short, gasping breaths, then looks at Angel.

CORDELIA (cont'd)

...Me?

WHOOSH! A BLINDING LIGHT emanates from her whole body - her head, her finger-tips, etc. - and fills the room.

ANGEL puts his arm up to shield his eyes.

The Sluks SQUEAL in pain and explode...

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - MEANWHILE

As does the unfortunate Sluk here... THE BLINDING LIGHT has filled this room, as well. Everyone shielding their eyes.

EXT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - PRE-DAWN

THE LIGHT bursts forth from every window of the building, sending beams off in all directions.

Then, just as suddenly, the light's gone.

INT. ANGEL'S HOTEL - LOBBY - CONTINUOUS

ON GUNN, LORNE, GROO and FRED - They come out from under their light-shielding arms. A beat of stunned silence, then...

LORNE

Okay, unless anyone else has

something, let me be the first to say

WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?

ANGEL (O.S.)

Cordelia.

ON ANGEL and CORDELIA entering.

ANGEL

(looking at her,

appreciatively)

That... was Cordelia.

ON GROOSALUGG - He looks at her with worshipfulness and a slight tinge of sadness.

GROOSALUGG

You are truly a goddess.

Cordy grins.

CORDELIA

(an aside to Angel)

Well, demonness, anyway. Sure beats

horns and a tail.

LORNE

(offended)

Hey. I'm standing right here.

ANGEL crosses over to Gunn, with Fred who seems to be resting comfortably, her eyes closed.

ANGEL

She okay?

GUNN

Yeah. I, uh... got this idea...

(holds up the bottle)

Alcohol. Dehydrates the body. Gets

the slug out.

Angel studies him a moment, making Gunn uncomfortable.

GUNN (cont'd)

Okay, so I took off when those things

started coming outta the floor. I

mean, it's not like I was running out

on you. I was...

(then)

Look, somebody I care about was dying

and I just couldn't sit around and

debate strategy. I saw an

opportunity to... to... get some

kinda help...

Angel just stands there, listening.

GUNN (cont'd)

(getting riled)

Hey, I did what I had to do. And if

you don't get that--

He stops, recognizing the phrase.

Angel just smiles at him (warmly, not smugly).

ANGEL

I think I get it.

GUNN looks at him.

GUNN

Yeah. Guess you do.

ANGEL

So... We good?

Gunn nods.

LORNE

Good? We're not good. Everybody

forgetting a little unexpected

company on the way. Goes by the

initials of "The Destroyer?"

FRED suddenly awakens with a start.

FRED

The Destroyer! I remember... The

Destroyer's coming...

CORDELIA

Right. We got that. Any idea when?

FRED

(thinking)

Um... I think...

Suddenly, there's a HUGE ELECTRICAL CHARGE in the middle of the lobby, accompanied by a LOUD CLAP OF THUNDER.

FRED (cont'd)

Now.

A DIMENSIONAL TEAR opens up and a HUGE, FEROCIOUS MONSTER emerges from it.

GROO pushes Cordy back, and raises his axe. Everyone else instinctively steps back.

Except ANGEL, who stands his ground.

THE MONSTER faces Angel, rears up, ROARS and then...

SOMETHING ELSE emerges from the tear, somersaulting once, twice -- At which time a glistening blade SWIPES at the MONSTER, cleaving its head and torso in two -- and a third time, and lands on its feet as

THE HUGE, FEROCIOUS MONSTER falls dead, out of frame.

ON THE FEET of this something else - We travel up to see it's a TEENAGE BOY, roughly 16, adorned with jewelry made from the teeth, bones and other trophies of the many unfortunate demons and creatures he's butchered. Strapped to one forearm is a CURVED, SERRATED BLADE (the one that killed the huge beastie). And in his other hand, an exotic and lethal looking, handheld weapon from which protrude a half-dozen sharpened stakes.

THE BOY raises up his weapon, aims it directly at Angel's heart and says:

CONNOR

Hi. Dad.

ON ANGEL (standing exactly where he was in Cordelia's vision), looking astonished, as we...

BLACK OUT.


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