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  5x21 - Power Play
 Posted: 05/15/04 03:22
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1 INT. SECRET CHAMBER - NIGHT

A man is grunting in a dark room. Zoom in to show he's kneeling, wearing a bag over his head, and being beaten with sticks by a half-dozen robed men. There is a roaring fire in the doorway in front of the man. Angel watches this from the other side of the fire, pacing, before he decides to jump through the fire into the room with the man. As soon as Angel shows up, the man's attackers back away. Angel goes to the man, helps him to his feet, and removes the bag from the man's head. Bloodied and weak, with his hands still tied behind his back, the man looks up at Angel's face, and speaks.

MAN

(whispers)

Thank you. Thank you.

Holding on to the man's shoulders, Angel stares back at the man, then changes into vampire face. Angel leans in and bites the man's throat.

Fade to black.

Opening credits.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ACT I:

2 INT. ANGEL'S APARTMENT - DAY

TITLE: 19 HOURS EARLIER

Angel is lying naked in bed, staring at the ceiling. A blonde woman cuddles up close to him.

ANGEL

Hey.

NINA

(sighs, wraps her arm across his chest)

OK. Where did you learn how to do that?

ANGEL

Which part?

NINA

Doesn't matter. How are you?

ANGEL

I'm good.

NINA

(leans up)

You're not perfectly happy, are you? 'Cause I've got my wooden stake right here.

(reaches over into her nightstand drawer)

Oh, that's not a stake.

(continues looking)

I know I brought it—

ANGEL

You're safe.

NINA

(leans back over his chest)

OK. And you? Good? You weren't thinking about your little Roman friend, or—

ANGEL

Nina, for the last...

(picks up his wristwatch from the nightstand, looks at it)

whoa.

NINA

Wowee.

ANGEL

For the last... very long moment I haven't had a single coherent thought.

NINA

(beaming)

I'm gonna take that as a compliment.

ANGEL

You really should.

NINA

But now, the brow is back. If she's not on your mind, then...

ANGEL

Oh, there's—there's a lot more than usual going on.

NINA

Work?

ANGEL

Always.

NINA

(rolls over, lies beside him, facing the ceiling)

You should get away. Vacation? You know that word? Go to Cabo, drink margaritas, midnight skinny-dipping, making love on the beach.

(rolls over to look into his eyes)

Did you catch how I subtly included myself in your vacation package?

ANGEL

Nina...

NINA

Too pushy, too needy, I never even said it. You should make love on the beach all by yourself.

ANGEL

It would be wonderful. I mean it.

NINA

But...

ANGEL

(sighs)

There are— There are things that I have to do. Things that I've already set in motion that, uh...

(sighs, sits up)

I know I've spent years fighting to get somewhere... to accomplish something... and now that I'm close to it... I don't like what I see, what I am.

NINA

You're a hero.

ANGEL

(softly)

Oh, that word.

NINA

You're my hero.

ANGEL

I may not always be.

Cut to:

3 INT. HALLWAY AT WOLFRAM & HART - DAY

Illyria walks down the hallway, and no one so much as looks at her as she passes. As she continues down the hall, Spike addresses her while waiting outside an office.

SPIKE

Like you're not even there. World trembled before your feet once. Now... padding around a place you don't want to be in, and the rabble don't even give you so much as a polite yawn.

ILLYRIA

Do not presume I require any creature's attention.

SPIKE

Wouldn't dream of it, Blue. Still...you can't enjoy haunting this place. Less than what you were, not knowing what to do with yourself. Believe me, I've been there.

ILLYRIA

And what do you know of it?

SPIKE

Long and fascinating tale. Ghost story, in fact. Short of it is... take my advice. Get out once in a while. Before you go bats.

ILLYRIA

Out?

SPIKE

Out. Outside. That place just on the other side of the window.

ILLYRIA

(turns to walk away)

I've grown wary of this world since my powers were depleted. Strange... though I've been made more human, this place remains disconcerting.

SPIKE

(following her)

Yeah, well, I'm afraid that never goes away. Anyhow, I thought Wesley was giving you a primer on all things human.

ILLYRIA

He and I are no longer having intercourse.

SPIKE

Y-ah. You wh-what?

ILLYRIA

He has ceased communication with me.

SPIKE

Oh! Oh. Communi—

ILLYRIA

My recent reversion to the Burkle persona disturbed him. And he will not tell me why.

SPIKE

You don't know? You may not think you're as powerful as you were, Highness, but looking like Fred, for some of us... it's the most devastating power you have.

Cut to:

4 INT. LOBBY AT WOLFRAM & HART - DAY

Angel and Gunn walk out of Angel's office into the lobby where Hamilton is escorting a business woman.

HAMILTON

Ah! There's the man himself. Angel, I'd like you to meet Senator Brucker.

ANGEL

(shaking her hand)

Senator, welcome to Wolfram & Hart.

HAMILTON

Oh, I go way back with this firm, back when Holland Manners was in charge.

GUNN

I think you'll find things have changed a bit since then. Charles Gunn.

(shakes her hand)

HAMILTON

Head of our legal department.

SENATOR

(introducing a well-dressed man standing beside her)

Oh. And this is Ernesto. My personal—

ANGEL

Vampire.

SENATOR

(somewhat taken aback)

Aide. I always forget your kind can sense each other. Well, I believe in diversity on my staff.

(points smugly)

It was a big part of my campaign.

GUNN

How commendable.

ANGEL

Harmony, you mind getting us some coffee?

HARMONY

Coming up.

SENATOR

Oh, thank you, no. No coffee. But if it isn't any trouble, I think Ernesto might like some blood.

ERNESTO

Virgin, if you have it. Room temperature's fine.

HARMONY

Sorry. We have a no human blood policy. I can offer you something in a rodent. We have some fruity, unassuming vole—

HAMILTON

Oh, I think we could make an exception to our policy this time for the senator. Couldn't we, Angel?

ANGEL

Harmony, the lab might have something in the blood bank. Why don't you go check it out?

Gunn glares at Angel. Angel winks at Hamilton, who shows a nod of approval.

HARMONY

OK. You're the boss, boss.

(starts walking away, but stops and turns to Angel)

Could I maybe just have a teeny, weeny—

ANGEL

No.

HARMONY

Just thought I'd ask.

(leaves)

HAMILTON

Well, senator, if there's anything you need, please call on me. Rest assured. You're in good hands.

(smiles, leaves)

ANGEL

Shall we?

The senator and Ernesto walk with Angel toward his office when Wesley goes up to Angel carrying a file folder.

WESLEY

Angel. There's been another fatality in Funville.

ANGEL

What?

WESLEY

That abandoned amusement park downtown? Third victim in as many nights. Teeth marks strongly indicate a Boretz demon.

Illyria and Spike are in the lobby now and walk up to Wesley and Angel.

SPIKE

Oh, bloody Boretz. Nasty buggers. Stink to high heaven. Dress as transients to prey on the homeless, poor sods.

Illyria, staying a few steps back, stares at Wesley.

WESLEY

(to Angel)

This last victim was a teenage girl. A runaway. She was ripped apart.

ANGEL

(shrugs)

Well, there's not much we can do about it now, huh?

(turns back toward his office)

WESLEY

(steps closer to Angel, an urgent tone in his voice)

Angel, we need to find this demon and destroy it before—

ANGEL

Somebody else dies? Yeah. I know, Wes. People are dying every day all over. This girl is just one more statistic.

WESLEY

Stacey.

(looks down)

The statistic's name was Stacey Bluth.

(holds out a printout)

ANGEL

(takes the printout, peruses it)

Well, you know, we can't save everybody, and we can't sweat the small stuff.

(hands the printout back to Wesley, turns to go into his office)

WESLEY

Small?

ANGEL

Wes, I got a United States senator waiting for me, so just find out whatever you can about this Boretz thing and we'll talk later, OK?

(walks away)

WESLEY

(looks at his file)

Small stuff?

SPIKE

Listen, you need some Boretz killing done, I'll have a go. I haven't had a decent tussle since the blue meanie and I stopped sparring.

Illyria looks at Spike and Wesley, proudly.

WESLEY

Yes. All right. Call me if you find anything. I'll be in my office learning what I can.

(walks away)

ILLYRIA

He showed no regard for my presence.

SPIKE

Not that you require any creature's attention.

(Illyria glares)

Hey, wanna go find something to hit?

Cut to:

5 INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE - DAY

In Angel's office, Angel, Gunn, the Senator and Ernesto watch a video.

TV ANNOUNCER (V.O.)

A Gulf War veteran and Bronze Star recipient, Mike Conley believes ethics and integrity matter... finding solutions to problems in our educational system, health and childcare services, and Mike Conley believes in work... and in home. Your home is his work. He's looking out for your children's interests. The video is a patriotic and warm-fuzzy advertisement for Mike Conley for U.S. Senate. It's a montage of evocative scenes: soldiers marching in formation, a man preparing to fly a jet, soldiers hugging each other, a man standing in his back yard looking skyward, jets flying over in formation, an American flag waving, the man standing in his back yard is there with his wife, children, and dog, the wife and daughter are playing Frisbee, the man's son runs to hug him.

SENATOR

(presses the "stop" button on the video remote and throws the remote on the table in disgust)

There. So you can see my concern.

ERNESTO

This Conley campaign's a juggernaut. Guy came out of nowhere with his... "Your home is his work" crap. Women voters are eating it up.

SENATOR

And they were mine. I had a lock on the chick vote. And now my numbers are slipping. I didn't claw my way up from hell and get installed in a human body just to have some pedophile steal my senate seat.

GUNN

Wait—he's a pedophile?

SENATOR

Not yet. But the public better think he is when you guys get through.

GUNN

(angrily)

Pardon me?

SENATOR

Hell, convince Conley he is. You've got some sort of brainwashing capabilities here, don't you? What's that doctor's name?

ERNESTO

Sparrow.

SENATOR

That's the one. This sounds right up his alley.

GUNN

Yeah, well, it's not up ours.

(the senator turns to look at Gunn, who is leaning forward, impassioned)

Look, I don't care what kind of services you were used to getting with this firm, but Holland Manners doesn't live here anymore. We're not about to ruin a man's life and reputation just so you can—

ANGEL

We can do it.

GUNN

What?

ANGEL

(to the senator, ignoring Gunn)

Not sure how long a reconditioning like that would take.

ERNESTO

The election's in November.

GUNN

You're not seriously considering—

SENATOR

Angel, you just made yourself a very loyal ally in Washington.

GUNN

(stands, incensed)

Angel, we need to talk.

ANGEL

(blowing him off)

I'm with the senator now, Gunn.

Cut to:

6 INT. WESLEY'S OFFICE - DAY

Wesley is in his office, holding a large book and speaking to it.

WESLEY

"Boretz demons: Classifications and case histories."

(puts the book on his desk, opens it; it fills with dense text)

As Wesley sits at his desk to read the text, the left page blanks out and shows a new, larger text: "YOU'RE LOOKING IN THE WRONG PLACE."

WESLEY

What am I looking—

The right page of the book then blanks out, now showing a new symbol: a circle with 8 spurs sticking out, evenly spaced around it. Wesley sits up straight, staring at the pages when Gunn walks in.

GUNN

We got a serious problem. It's Angel. He's—

WESLEY

(looks up at Gunn)

Hold on.

(looks back at the pages, but they are back to the dense text from before and the message has disappeared).

GUNN

Wes?

Cut to:

7 INT. RACQUETBALL COURT - DAY

Dressed in a black t-shirt, black gym pants, a black headband and wristbands, Angel is playing racquetball against Izzy the red devil, who is all dressed in white. They hit the ball back and forth until one gets by Izzy.

IZZY

Ah! Hell. Nice one. Did I tell ya... ran into Ed the other day?

ANGEL

Ed?

IZZY

The Grand Potentate whatcha-whosit of the Fell Brethren?

ANGEL

Right. How is Ed?

IZZY

You know the Fells. All they can talk about is the baby. The baby's doing this now. The baby's doing that. What a wonderful ritual sacrifice he'll make. Yak, yak, yak. Anyway, couldn't say enough nice things about you.

ANGEL

Great.

IZZY

You're really comin' through, big guy. There's a real buzz about you.

ANGEL

So how much longer do I have to wait for an answer?

IZZY

Hey, these things take time. Trust me. Won't be long now.

Angel serves the ball and they begin playing again.

Cut to:

8 EXT. FUNVILLE AMUSEMENT PARK - NIGHT

Spike and Illyria walk through an abandoned amusement park at night.

SPIKE

See? This isn't so bad now. Little field trip out in the... well, what passes in this city for fresh air. All we need now is to bag ourselves a Boretz demon, we got ourselves a perfect date.

ILLYRIA

Angel does not think the casualties of this creature are important enough to avenge.

SPIKE

Yeah. I think corporate living's made him lose his love for the hunt. No worries. More for me then.

ILLYRIA

It does not serve his interest.

SPIKE

What are you on about?

ILLYRIA

I've seen this before with many rulers. Your leader has been corrupted.

SPIKE

(they stop walking)

Hey, hang on. In the first place, Angel's not my leader. In the second, what the bloody hell do you mean corrupted?

ILLYRIA

It always begins the same. A ruler turns a blind eye to the dealings of battles from which he cannot gain... and a deaf ear to the counsel of those closest to him. As his strength increases, so does the separation between he and his follow—

SPIKE

Shh.

(looks around)

You smell that?

ILLYRIA

(looks around)

The odors of everything in this world of men are equally repugnant to me.

SPIKE

Bloody helpful.

(they continue walking)

You're wrong about Angel. Not that I don't think the sod could end up being a megalomaniacal bastard. It's just that if he did... I'd know it. I'd feel it.

ILLYRIA

You'll have proof soon enough. A corrupted ruler on such a path sees treachery and betrayal all around him. He cannot suffer intimates and will eventually turn against them.

SPIKE

Guess I don't have to worry about that, 'cause Angel and me have never been intimate. Except that one...

ILLYRIA

Mark me. He will murder one of you.

DROGYN

(steps out from a hiding place)

Actually, he already has.

SPIKE

Drogyn?

ILLYRIA

(walks forward)

Who is this?

SPIKE

The guardian of the Deeper Well. Greenskeeper of your graveyard, so to speak.

ILLYRIA

(glares at him)

My jailer.

DROGYN

(squints at her)

Illyria...

SPIKE

(looks above Drogyn)

Boretz.

The Boretz demon jumps down on them, engaging Spike in a powerful fistfight, ending when the Boretz flings Spike into the power junction box. Illyria steps up and engages the Boretz as Spike get to his feet.

SPIKE

Stay away from its mouth! It's bite's poisonous.

(gets to his feet)

Go for its knees. I think there's a weak spot—

(sees that Illyria has kicked the demon forcefully through the large wooden supports for a roller-coaster)

(impressed)

OK. Yeah! That might do it.

(walks over to Drogyn)

Drogyn. What the hell are you doing here? Oh, don't give me your "ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies" bugaboo.

DROGYN

(straining)

I came to find you.

SPIKE

Oh, so you tacked up a sign on your tree, waved bye to the Keeblers, hopped the puddle, and somehow managed to sniff me out in a city of 10 million?

DROGYN

(weakly)

I can find anyone who's visited the well... be they in this world or any other. I—I came to—to warn you—

(collapses)

SPIKE

(catches him)

Warn?

ILLYRIA

He's bleeding.

SPIKE

You're all torn up, mate. What did this to you, the Boretz, was it?

DROGYN

No. It was Angel.

Fade to black.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ACT II:

9 INT. LOBBY OF WOLFRAM & HART - NIGHT

Wesley walks through the lobby toward Angel's office, but detours, stopping at Harmony's desk. He grabs the sign-in book and draws the circle symbol he saw earlier.

HARMONY

(leaning forward to see what he's drawing)

That would look good on a calf.

WESLEY

Pardon?

HARMONY

Thinking of getting a tattoo, right? Put a little more "bad" in your bad boy bank. It should go on your calf.

Puts down his pen, rips out the page he was drawing on, and walks toward Angel's office.

Cut to:

10 INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Wesley walks into Angel's office carrying his drawing.

WESLEY

Angel, something unusual came across one of my...

(looks up at Angel, who's sitting at his desk talking to Hamilton, who's sitting on his desk)

Oh, I didn't realize you were occupied. If you don't mind, Hamilton...

ANGEL

Actually, Wes, we're kind of in the middle of something. Why don't you try me later?

WESLEY

Yes, later, then.

(walks to the door)

ANGEL

Hey, Wes?

(Wesley turns)

Shut the door on your way out.

(Wes exits)

Cut to:

11 INT. LOBBY OF WOLFRAM & HART - NIGHT

When Wesley walks out of Angel's office, Lorne is waiting outside the door.

LORNE

Hey, is Angel in there?

WESLEY

He is.

(continues walking)

LORNE

(walks with Wes)

What's the weather report?

WESLEY

Cold. Icy, actually.

LORNE

Well, he cut 6 of my clients loose, didn't even tell me. I spent all day talking them off ledges and out of pill bottles.

WESLEY

I sense that suicidal celebrities are beneath Angel's concern.

LORNE

These are very pretty people I'm talking about here, Wes, 4 of them getting in shape for Young Guns III.

GUNN

(waiting outside Wes's office)

What did he say?

Cut to:

12 INT. WESLEY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Wesley, Gunn and Lorne walk into Wesley's office.

WESLEY

(walks toward his desk)

Nothing. He had Hamilton in his office. They're discussing business strategy.

(sits at his desk)

GUNN

Hamilton?

LORNE

It's like Angel suddenly started channeling Leona Helmsley.

WESLEY

He's not himself, at any rate.

GUNN

What's happening to him?

WESLEY

(telephone rings, he answers)

Yes? Spike.

Cut to:

13 INT. SPIKE'S BASEMENT APARTMENT - NIGHT

Drogyn is sitting on the couch while Spike sits on an end table nearby. Illyria stands opposite of them while Drogyn fills in Wesley, Gunn and Lorne on the situation.

DROGYN

It was a Sathari... part of a clan of demon assassins. They fell upon me last night. The poison from his 4 blades wearing heavy on my limbs.

SPIKE

Yeah, rousing bit of rah-rah, mate. Get to the goods.

DROGYN

Once I bested him, I tortured the Sathari for hours until he confessed who had sent him. It was Angel.

SPIKE

Tell 'em why.

DROGYN

He said Angel was afraid I'd find something in the Deeper Well, something that would uncover the truth about his involvement.

GUNN

In what?

DROGYN

Helping Illyria escape from her tomb.

WESLEY

I thought the release of her sarcophagus from the Deeper Well was predestined.

SPIKE

Yeah, what about that bit?

DROGYN

Well, that's what I thought at the time, but now I believe... Illyria's resurrection may have been planned.

GUNN

By Angel.

LORNE

Oh, that doesn't make a lick of sense. I mean, why would Angel want to spring an old one?

DROGYN

I don't think that was the point.

GUNN

Then what was?

DROGYN

Before he died, the assassin said something about a sacrifice... someone trusted and dear.

WESLEY

Are you saying that Angel was responsible for what happened to Fred?

DROGYN

He may not have chosen her specifically, but—

LORNE

Whoa! Let's put a kibosh on that sentence before it turns into an ass-kickin'.

DROGYN

Do you think I gain pleasure in this? I held Angel an ally, a brother.

WESLEY

And you believe he may have murdered Fred?

DROGYN

I know this is difficult for you, but Angel was involved. The information retrieved from the assassin—

GUNN

(angrily)

You ever think maybe he was lying?

DROGYN

No one lies when they're at the mercy of my wrath.

GUNN

Then you're the liar, Aragorn.

SPIKE

He has to tell the truth. It's a curse or something.

GUNN

How can we be sure? We don't even know this guy.

WESLEY

Gunn, this is Drogyn, the battlebrand, given eternal youth a thousand years ago. Demonbane, truthsayer...

(Drogyn nods, Wes looks down)

Watchers' Council.

SPIKE

Percy did a paper. Bully on him.

WESLEY

(unfolds his drawing)

Drogyn... any idea what this symbol means?

DROGYN

No.

SPIKE

(grabs the drawing)

Where'd you get that?

WESLEY

This afternoon, someone tapped into the template interface. Sent a message to me, and that symbol. Somebody's dropping clues.

GUNN

Playing games is more like it.

LORNE

Well, put me on the short bus, but I still can't wrap my head around the notion that Angel has anything to do with Fred or any of this.

WESLEY

Angel's been doing a number of things out of character lately. We all noticed it.

LORNE

Yeah, but why is this happening now? Why the change?

WESLEY

Yes, why the sudden need to tie up loose ends like Drogyn? Unless...

ILLYRIA

(standing in the background)

He's preparing to make his move.

GUNN

What kind of move are we talking about?

WESLEY

There's only one way to find out. We ask him.

(Wes, Gunn and Lorne walk toward the door; Spike follows)

Drogyn should stay here under guard.

SPIKE

I'm not missing the fireworks. Hey, Illyria, you don't care about any of this nonsense, do you?

ILLYRIA

The intricacies of your fates are meaningless.

SPIKE

(Wes rolls his eyes and exits)

Well and good. You mind watching over our friend Drogyn? Aw, come on. New place'll do you good. It's nice and cozy. Help yourself to some beer in the fridge. Switch on the telly if you get bored.

(hands her video game controls)

And, uh, feel free to play a little Crash Bandicoot. Give you lot something to pass the time.

(walks out)

ILLYRIA

(looks at Spike)

Crash Bandicoot?

(looks at the controls; Drogyn looks confused)

Cut to:

14 INT. LOBBY OF WOLFRAM & HART - NIGHT

Angel is standing at Harmony's desk reviewing a contract.

ANGEL

(crossing out something on the contract)

Strike these 4 clauses and wire it back to them. See what they make of that.

HARMONY

Yeah! See what they make of that.

WESLEY

(walks up to Angel with Lorne, Gunn, and Spike)

Angel...

ANGEL

(looks at the 4 of them)

Long dinner?

WESLEY

We need to talk to you. Now.

(walks toward Angel's office)

GUNN

Boy's dead serious.

(follows Wes)

SPIKE

(to Angel, who hasn't moved)

You coming, then?

Cut to:

15 INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Wesley, Gunn, Lorne and Spike confront Angel in his office.

ANGEL

OK, what's on your minds?

LORNE

The question is what's on yours?

SPIKE

Our friend Drogyn's in town.

ANGEL

Is he?

SPIKE

Yeah. A bit marked up, though. Somebody tried to have him killed. Know anything about that?

ANGEL

Of course not. Where is he?

GUNN

He's safe.

ANGEL

Good. Now, can we get back to business, or was there something else?

WESLEY

"Business"? What business are we in, Angel?

ANGEL

Do I really have to explain this to you people? We're in the business of business. Oil, software, worldwide wickets. The product doesn't matter. It's the game that matters. Get to the top, be the best, have the most, win.

WESLEY

Win what?

ANGEL

You're still missin' the point.

(walks toward his desk)

GUNN

That Angel talking? 'Cause it sounds a lot more like Angelus.

ANGEL

Oh, if I were Angelus, half of you would already be dead, just for the fun of it.

(sits on the edge of his desk)

SPIKE

One of us already is. We havin' fun yet?

ANGEL

You want to know the truth? The truth is there's only one of us who ever understood how things really work. Lorne.

LORNE

Whoa. Hey, hey, hey. Can I not be the poster child for your nervous breakdown here?

ANGEL

You didn't judge. You didn't spend your life obsessed with good and evil. You do that, you get swallowed, lost in the minutia. Good, bad, Angel, Angelus— None of it makes a difference. I wish it did, but, you know, an ant with the best intentions or the most diabolical schemes is just exactly an ant. There is one thing in this business, in this apocalypse that we call a world that matters: Power. Power tips the scale, power sets the course, and until I have real power, global power, I have nothing. I accomplish nothing.

WESLEY

And how you get this power...

ANGEL

Isn't pretty. Isn't fun.

(stands, walks up to Wesley)

You think it's Wolfram & Hart getting to me here, and maybe you're right, because they've shown us what power is. From day one, they've been calling the shots, and all we've done is get shot at. I have a chance to change that.

LORNE

And will you? I mean, not to play an old saw, but power does traditionally corrupt. You get high up enough, and, well, the people, they do start to look like ants.

ANGEL

I can't worry about that... the small stuff.

HARMONY

(walks into the office)

Angel, that important phone call from...

(smiles nervously)

that guy about that thing, it's on line 3.

(walks out)

ANGEL

We're done here. I have to take this.

(they file out)

SPIKE

Yeah, the guy about the thing.

WESLEY

(stops on his way out)

The small stuff that you can't worry about, would that include Fred?

ANGEL

I loved Fred.

WESLEY

That's not an answer.

ANGEL

Then I guess you don't get one.

Fade to black.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ACT III:

16 INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - NIGHT

Wesley stands by the 2-way mirror on the wall of a prison interrogation room. Lorne is in the room with him, staring at the floor.

WESLEY

There's got to be something behind all this. A reason. It could be a ploy. For God's sake, say something.

LORNE

What would you like me to say? Tell you that Angel loved Fred, and that in an eon of eons, he would never harm her in any way? I wish I could, Wes, but if he believes what he's saying, and I believe he does...

WESLEY

It doesn't make any sense. Angel never cared about power.

LORNE

Well, he's never had any to care about, has he? Not real power, even as Angelus, and then just like that, he's king of the mountain. It's quite a view from up there. Tends to make people want things. Even if they start with the best intentions, Angel's seen real power, and he's not looking away. He's gonna go for it, Wes.

Gunn and Spike throw the door open, bringing in a man in shackles. It's Lindsey.

LINDSEY

(grinning)

You boys look like you could use a hug.

(gestures with his arms wide, but Gunn and Spike grab his arms)

Cut to:

17 EXT. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF ART & DESIGN - NIGHT

Nina walks out of the building towards the parking lot when Angel calls out to her.

ANGEL

Nina.

NINA

(smiles, walks up to him)

Angel, hey.

(hugs and kisses him)

Well, this is a nice surprise. Everything OK?

ANGEL

Can we sit down?

(points to a park bench)

NINA

(they sit; Angel hands her an envelope)

Plane tickets? I don't believe it. We're getting away? This is... but I thought you didn't have time to... Oh, wait. There are 3 tickets here. We taking a chaperone?

(looks closer at the names on the tickets)

My sister and Amanda?

ANGEL

I need you to be out of here.

NINA

That's typical. You sleep with a guy and he sends your entire family out of the country. No, wait, that's actually not that typical at all. You couldn't just not call?

ANGEL

It's not safe here.

NINA

Is it ever? I want to be with you if there's trouble.

ANGEL

You don't want to be with me. You don't want to be near me.

NINA

Because I might get hurt?

ANGEL

'Cause I'm the thing that'll hurt you.

NINA

(holds up the tickets)

What do you call this?

ANGEL

How can I convince you that I want to be with you?

NINA

Show me a fourth ticket.

ANGEL

(sighs, looks away, then back)

OK. If I get through this... intact... I'll come for you. We'll...have time.

NINA

(laughs, looks into his eyes)

You're the most amazing man I've ever met, but you're a crappy liar.

ANGEL

Go. I'm not asking.

NINA

I'll go. Why on Earth would I stay?

Nina gets her things together and walks off.

Cut to:

18 INT. SPIKE'S BASEMENT APARTMENT - NIGHT

Illyria and Drogyn sit beside each other on Spike's couch, playing the video game.

DROGYN

It is a test, a task of some sort. You must collect those crystals. And the fruit.

ILLYRIA

Why?

DROGYN

Old one... you have no right to walk this Earth. Your time is past. You belong to the well.

ILLYRIA

Truly. I wish now I had never been brought out of it.

DROGYN

Do you?

ILLYRIA

I don't know. I play this game... it's pointless and annoys me... and yet, I'm compelled to play on. Does that not—

Someone busts down the door to the apartment. Drogyn and Illyria stand, alarmed. It's Hamilton.

HAMILTON

(dusts himself off)

Well, looky, looky who's making friends.

DROGYN

Marcus.

HAMILTON

Dro, how have you been?

ILLYRIA

You're acquainted with this creature?

HAMILTON

Yes. We go way back, don't we?

DROGYN

Too far.

HAMILTON

Hmm, the good old days. So I hear you're living in a tree now.

DROGYN

The tree is the entrance to the Deeper Well. I live in a cave. It's really quite pleasant.

HAMILTON

I'm sure it's a peach. Afraid you won't be returning to it again.

ILLYRIA

(walks up to Hamilton)

You will not harm him.

HAMILTON

Oh, you mean like this?

(throws Drogyn forcefully into the wall behind him)

Illyria starts fighting Hamilton, but she's no match for him. He isn't fazed by her punches and kicks. He tosses her into a wall across the room. She gets back to her feet.

HAMILTON

Hang on, Dro, this'll just take a second.

Illyria goes for Hamilton once again. They fight, Illyria giving her all, but Hamilton barely uses any effort.

HAMILTON

I gotta tell ya, I'm a little disappointed.

(punches her hard in the face, then in the stomach)

Didn't think a big, scary old one bled this easily.

(as she doubles over in pain, he hits her hard in her back, knocking her to the ground)

Maybe it's this skinny, little body you chose to infect.

(picks her up and punches her in the face)

Or maybe it's that ray gun they shot you with to keep you from exploding.

(punches her in the face again)

Or maybe...

(punches her again)

you're...

(punches her again)

just...

(punches her again)

not...that...

(punches her again)

cool!

(lets her drop to the ground, unconscious and bloody)

Yes, that's probably it.

(steps on her face)

Cut to:

19 INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - NIGHT

Lindsey is sitting at the table, surrounded by Spike, Gunn, Lorne and Wesley.

LINDSEY

So what are you gonna do? You gonna beat it out of me?

SPIKE

(smirks)

If you say so.

(walks toward Lindsey)

(Lindsey springs to his feet confrontationally)

GUNN

(steps between Spike and Lindsey)

We all know how this goes.

(shoves Lindsey back into the chair)

Spike beats you to a bloody pulp, you beg for mercy, and we get what we came for.

LORNE

Who needs all that rigmarole?

LINDSEY

I told you, I don't know why Angel gave up that kid. Or anything else. Me and him, not too close. I gotta get back to my game of Solitaire.

(Wesley shows him his drawing)

Where'd you get that?

WESLEY

It doesn't matter. What does it mean?

LINDSEY

(chuckles)

Is that what all this is about? All these questions about Angel.

(looks at the drawing)

No. No way. No way they'd take Angel.

SPIKE

Who they?

LINDSEY

The Circle of the Black Thorn.

LORNE

Sounds like a little sewing club for pirates.

LINDSEY

It's a secret society.

GUNN

Never heard of them.

LINDSEY

That's 'cause they're secret.

(Gunn smirks)

SPIKE

There's plenty of these cabals about. They usually spend a lot of time in basements paddling one another's bums to prove their manhood.

LINDSEY

These are not frat boys, Spike. The circle's small. It's elite. They got connections you boys can't even comprehend.

WESLEY

They're evil.

LINDSEY

Sure. But evil's not the point. Power is.

WESLEY

Power.

GUNN

OK, we get it. They're bad ass. What do they do?

LINDSEY

(snickers)

Jeez. Are you guys always this slow? Huh? Starts with an "a," ends in "pocalypse." It's a well-oiled machine, this circle. These people grease the wheels, keep the parts in place. Make sure man's inhumanity to man keeps rolling along.

WESLEY

We thought the senior partners were responsible for the apocalypse.

LINDSEY

The senior partners are on a different plane. Down here...it's the players in the circle that make things happen. Hell, you get tapped by one of them, it's kind of like getting the keys to the chocolate factory.

WESLEY

That's why you came back to L.A., tried to kill Angel. To get into the circle.

(sits across from Lindsey)

LINDSEY

To be a Black Thorn is to be the senior partners' instrument on Earth. Doesn't get bigger than that.

GUNN

Looks like Angel succeeded where you failed.

LINDSEY

He doesn't have it in him.

WESLEY

Doesn't have what in him?

LINDSEY

Well, for starters, he's gotta give up the champion angle. Quit saving girls in alleys. Probably wouldn't even make it on the circle's radar until he killed one of his lieutenants.

(Wes, Spike, Gunn and Lorne look at each other, alarmed)

LORNE

The senior partners, the Circle, they're killing Angel by degrees.

WESLEY

(hangs his head)

And we all watched it happen.

GUNN

The guy I knew wouldn't want this. Wouldn't wanna be this.

WESLEY

Angel dedicated his life to helping others, not because he had to, but because it was a path he'd chosen.

(stands)

If he's been swayed from that, influenced... then maybe there's still time. We can bring him back. He'd do the same for any of us, regardless of our actions.

LORNE

And what if he's skipped too far down that evil brick road?

Cut to:

20 INT. SECRET CHAMBER - NIGHT

Angel walks through a dark hallway into a chamber. He's standing in front of a raging fire in a doorway. He can hear a man being beaten on the other side. Angel leaps through the fire to the chamber on the other side. He sees a kneeling man being beaten by robed men with sticks. Angel pulls the beaten man to his feet, pulls off the bag over his head, and looks into the bloodied face of Drogyn.

DROGYN

Thank you. Thank you.

Angel vamps out and bites Drogyn in the neck as robed and masked men look on. Angel drinks Drogyn's blood as Drogyn moans painfully. Angel steps back and twists Drogyn's head until his neck breaks. Angel pushes Drogyn's body to the floor.

Fade to black.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ACT IV:

21 INT. SECRET CHAMBER - NIGHT

A robed, masked demon's red hand glows with a fiery symbol in its palm. The demon reaches out to Angel's bared chest and presses his palm over Angel's heart, branding him.

DEMON

The circle entwined.

GROUP

(chanting a response)

Embrace this worthy son.

DEMON

The thorn draws blood.

GROUP

(chanting a response)

The thorn is the power, and the power is absolute.

DEMON

(offers his hand to Angel)

Welcome to the fold.

(Angel shakes hands)

The lights go up in the room, and the robed demons remove their masks. Many of the demons Angel has encountered this season are there, including Archduke Sebassis, Cyvus Vail, Sentaor Brucker, and others. There's applause.

VAIL

Well done, Angel.

DEMON / IZZY

(the ceremony's leader takes off his mask)

See? Didn't I tell you it was gonna happen? And how about that lamb we got you for the slaughter, any idea who that was?

ANGEL

(buttoning his shirt)

Drogyn. The battlebrand.

A man brings Angel and Izzy champagne flutes.

IZZY

Damn straight. We got you some supercharged warrior juice, not some schmuck. You must feel great.

(clinks glasses with Angel; they drink champagne)

OK, let me introduce you around to a few people. Some of these folks you know, some you don't. Of course, you're acquainted with the Archduke.

SEBASSIS

Kudos, child. I must say, it's gratifying to see you've returned to form, Angelus.

ANGEL

It's still Angel.

SEBASSIS

Ah. Well, what's in a name, eh? In the spirit of our new alliance, you must allow me to throw a dinner party in your honor.

ANGEL

You know how I love parties.

(tips his glass toward Sebassis, drinks)

SENATOR

It's nice to see you again so soon, Angel.

ANGEL

Senator. I had no idea you were so well...connected.

SENATOR

Well, I'm not gonna take the White House in 2008 on just my sparkling wit and funding from hostile governments.

(chuckles)

ANGEL

(chuckles)

I expect not.

IZZY

Excuse us, Helen. Angel, I've got someone here who'd like to pay his respects.

ANGEL

Vail.

VAIL

You've been looking for me.

ANGEL

Actually, I've been looking like I'm looking for you. Appearances, you know.

(Vail laughs, wheezing)

IZZY

See, Cyvus?, I told you it was all good. Now why don't you two shake hands? Come on.

VAIL

No hard feelings then?

ANGEL

Ultimately, everything worked out for the best.

VAIL

Oh. Your son, he kills quite well.

ANGEL

Thanks.

IZZY

Got a great turnout for your initiation.

ANGEL

Really?

IZZY

Oh, yeah. Everybody's here. Here, let me freshen that up.

(takes Angel's drink)

Angel looks around the room, noting the other members.

Cut to:

22 INT. LOBBY AT WOLFRAM & HART - DAY

Angel walks off the elevator, rubbing his branded chest, and heads straight for his office.

Cut to:

23 INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE - DAY

Angel walks into his office without closing the door. The door closes itself, revealing Gunn standing behind it. Spike catches Angel off-guard and punches him in the face, sending him to the ground. Wesley and Lorne walk out of the conference room. They are surrounding Angel now, each armed: Gunn with a sword, Spike with his fists, Wesley with a shotgun, and Lorne with a crossbow.

SPIKE

You might wanna stay down.

ANGEL

Or what? Careful.

(gets to his feet)

You don't wanna get yourselves hurt.

GUNN

We know what you've been doing. Giving up the baby to the Fell Brethren, working for Senator Bitch, trying to take out Drogyn to cover up what you did to Fred. And for what? To get in bed with the Circle of the Black Thorn?

ANGEL

So you figured it out.

LORNE

Yeah, a little singing from a jailbird we know... and loathe.

ANGEL

Lindsey?

(scoffs)

And you believed him.

SPIKE

Doesn't have a reason to lie.

ANGEL

Doesn't need one.

WESLEY

Unlike you?

ANGEL

What I do here is my business. You don't like how I conduct it, you can leave... before I kill you.

WESLEY

Kill us? Hard to believe we're having trouble trusting you.

ANGEL

Just telling it like it is.

WESLEY

(cocks his shotgun)

Then we have a problem.

ANGEL

I guess we do.

Angel grabs the shotgun barrel and pushes it away from him while kicking Wesley to the ground. Spike charges Angel, but Angel punches him first. Gunn raises his sword, but Angel blocks his swing and hits him in the head with the barrel of the shotgun. Lorne points his crossbow at Angel and fires a shot, hitting Angel in the shoulder. Angel drops the shotgun. Wesley pulls a pistol out of his belt, but Angel kicks it out of his hand before he can fire it. Angel grabs Lorne around the neck and holds him as a hostage.

ANGEL

Are we done?

WESLEY

Let him go.

ANGEL

You don't give the orders. Lorne, pull this thing out of me.

(Lorne reaches for the arrow sticking out of Angel's shoulder)

Easy. Not in a great mood.

(Lorne pulls out the arrow)

Good. Now, let's finish this.

(pulls a crystal out of his pocket, holds it out in front of him)

Involvere.

(the crystal glows and sends a force throughout the entire room)

(lets go of Lorne)

All right, we have 6 minutes.

SPIKE

'Til what?

ANGEL

The glamour collapses. As far as anyone outside this room is concerned, we're still at each other's throats.

WESLEY

Aren't we?

ANGEL

Look, we don't have a lot of time here, so I'm gonna have to make this short. Everything you think you know, everything you've heard, is a lie.

GUNN

Why should we believe you?

ANGEL

Because I'm the one who told it. Read any good books lately?

WESLEY

You sent us the message?

ANGEL

And the assassin to kill Drogyn.

SPIKE

So that part was true.

ANGEL

I knew Drogyn could handle himself. I told the assassin just enough to lead Drogyn to think I played a part in resurrecting Illyria. I figured he'd come here looking for allies against me.

WESLEY

Why would you want us to believe you killed Fred?

ANGEL

Because they needed to believe it.

GUNN

The Black Thorn.

ANGEL

They needed to believe my own people didn't trust me anymore. They needed to believe a person as good and as pure as Drogyn considered me an enemy. It was the only way to gain their confidence.

LORNE

(holding his sore neck)

Oh, so this whole evil Angel thing has been a big scamola. Hmm. I smell Oscar.

SPIKE

When did this all start?

ANGEL

2 months ago. With a kiss.

Cut to:

23a INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Flashback to Cordelia's good-bye kiss.

ANGEL

Though it didn't hit me till later that night.

Cut to:

23b INT. ANGEL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Angel gasps as he awakens from a vision. His vision showed him the symbol of the Black Thorn as well as flashes of a fiery apocalypse.

Cut to:

WESLEY

Cordelia gave you her visions?

ANGEL

(walks around the room; the others are still tense, on guard)

One-shot deal. She put me on the path, showed me where the real powers are. But I couldn't see who they were. Then, when Fred died, I wasn't gonna let that be another random horrible event in another random horrible world. So I decided to use it, to make her death matter. And it worked. I'm in. I've seen the faces of evil. I know who the real powers in the apocalypse are.

GUNN

So, all that power tilts the scales crap...?

ANGEL

It's true. We're in a machine. That machine's gonna be here long after our bodies are dust. But the senior partners will always exist in one form or another because mankind is weak.

LORNE

Uh, do you want me to point my crossbow at him, 'cause I think he's gonna start talking about ants again.

ANGEL

We are weak. The powerful control everything... except our will to choose. Look, Lindsey's a pathetic halfwit, but he was right about one thing. Heroes don't accept the way the world is. The senior partners may be eternal, but we can make their existence painful.

WESLEY

You wanna take them on.

ANGEL

We're in a machine. The Black Thorn runs it. We can bring their gears to a grinding halt, even if it's just for a moment.

SPIKE

About time we got our hands dirty.

ANGEL

This isn't a keep-fightin'- the-good-fight kind of deal. Let's be clear. I'm talking about killing every... single...member... of the Black Thorn. We don't walk away from that.

LORNE

Do we crawl away, at least?

ANGEL

We do this, the senior partners will rain their full wrath. They'll make an example of us. I'm talking full-on hell, not the basic fire-and-brimstone kind we're used to.

GUNN

We know the drill.

ANGEL

No, you don't. 10-to-1, we're gone when the smoke clears. They will do everything in their power to destroy us. So...I need you to be sure. Power endures. We can't bring down the senior partners, but for one bright, shining moment, we can show them that they don't own us. You need to decide for yourselves if that's worth dying for. I can't order you to do this. I can't do it without you. So we'll vote. As a team. Think about what I'm asking you to do, think about what I'm asking you to give.

SPIKE

Kill 'em all... burn the house down while we're still in it.

ANGEL

Something like that.

Everyone's got a serious look on their faces.

SPIKE

Huh.

(raises his hand)

I'm in.

WESLEY

(looks at Angel)

I'm in.

As the camera zooms out slowly, show Gunn and finally Lorne raise their hands. Continue zooming out past the glamour, to show what those on the outside looking in would see:

SPIKE

Drop it!

WESLEY

Angel, you don't want it to go like this!

ANGEL

You're not the boss around here.

GUNN

Lorne, you all right?

LORNE

Wes, help...

SPIKE

Angel, we got 3 people here. Drop it!

Continue zooming out to show that Marcus Hamilton is standing outside Angel's office, watching them through the window.


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