Magi

Summary: To protect the children who are, we must heal the children who were.


Spoilers: Angel the Series episodes through midway through Season Two. "Magi" is intended as a thematic sequel to Season One's episodes "Prodigal" and "War Zone," and it takes place in an alternate universe wherein Angel never helped kill all the lawyers nor fired his employees.


Characters: Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Kate, David, Rondell 


Pairing: Only Angel/Kate friendship


Rating: R for significant discussion of child sexual abuse


Note: The pitch (treatment/synopsis) of "Magi" won honorable mention in an international contest sponsored by the website CityofAngel.com in Autumn 2000. Also, this full version of the story is a slight revision of that which was posted online originally in June 2001 and as such contains two new scenes plus one revised scene to bring Gunn more into the story.


Dedications: To WildBill for persuading me to write a script from the pitch, to SpykeRaven for inspiring me with her AtS stories "Metamorphosis" and "Fallen Angels," and to everyone in the world who catches angels before they fall.


Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended and no money made.


SCENE 1, December 21, 7 a.m. in the Mojave Desert.


A short, slight young Latino teen is attempting to hitchhike on the side of a highway that cuts through miles of nothing but Joshua tree, mesquite and pinon pine. Car after car whizzes by. Finally, a mid-sized American-made sedan stops, and the driver motions to the boy. The driver appears to be in his mid-50s, perhaps Irish-American, average to large in height and build, cleancut, as though he had been muscular and handsome years ago but is now running to fat.


MAN


Just how long have you been trying to get a ride, young fella?


BOY


Too long. Everyone kept passing by. No one would stop. Until you.


MAN


Well, I know how it is when you're a kid. So, where you from? Where you headed to so early in the morning?


BOY


I already walked 5 miles from our town. If you can even call it that. Nothing but a coffee shop and a motel and a gas station.


(beat)


BOY


I need to get to a city, I got to, because ...


MAN


Because?


BOY


My mom. She's about to have a baby. My dad died six months ago. I'm the oldest of us five kids, of course, it will be six soon, God willing. If I can just get her some help.


MAN


Don't you have a doctor? Why didn't you just call someone, or have your mom drive you?


BOY


You must be kidding. Or else you're not from around here. Out this way? There's no money for a phone ... or a car ... or a doctor.


BOY looks down at the ground


BOY


I just hope ... that someone nice will have mercy on us.


MAN


Well. Maybe that could happen. Anyway, you're right. I'm not from around here. I'm heading back toward civilization. Why don't you hop in, and we'll see what we can do.


The MAN and the BOY drive for a while (the clock on the dashboard shows the passage of time), get onto a freeway, pass through what appears to be a mid-sized city, and pass on by.


BOY


Wait a minute. We should stop here. We just passed the county hospital. They take care of poor people ... like us.


MAN


I have a better idea. We can head into Los Angeles. It's not far. Not much farther. Get a real good doctor for your mom. You've come this far already.


They continue to drive, with the BOY looking increasingly uncomfortable. The dashboard clock shows time progressing. Finally the MAN pulls off the freeway and heads into a rundown area. He parks behind a crummy-looking apartment building, and they both get out of the car.


MAN


Here we are.


BOY


Here we are? Where are we? This isn't a hospital ... or even a doctor's office. Even in Los Angeles, I'm sure, doctors have regular offices.


MAN


Just trust me, kid.


The MAN takes the boy by the arm and pulls him toward one of the apartments, whose door he swiftly opens, and pushes him inside.


BOY


Hey! What are you doing?


SCENE 2, December 21, around noon, Angel Investigations, based in the lobby of the Hyperion Hotel in Hollywood.


CORDELIA is at her desk, alternately looking at department store catalogs and shopping sites on the Internet. ANGEL and WESLEY are seated at desks nearby.


CORDELIA


There's a good gift for Angel ... and one for me ... and a perfect present for Wesley ... and, oo, another one for me ... and an excellent item for Gunn, and, oo, well, just another little trinket for me, and ... oo ... oo ... oo!


CORDELIA falls back into a mind-shattering vision. Through her eyes we see flashes of an apparent struggle in an apartment between a large white man and a small Latino teen. As CORDELIA comes out of this vision, ANGEL and WESLEY rush to either side of her.


ANGEL


Cordy?


WESLEY


Cordelia?


CORDELIA


(visibly emotionally shaken) I don't want to talk about it.


ANGEL


Cordy ...


CORDELIA


I mean I really, really, really don't want to talk about it. I mean I can't. Not this.


WESLEY


The worse it was, Cordelia ... the more it means that the victim truly needs our help.


CORDELIA

I can't talk about it. Because ...


WESLEY


Yes. Go on.


CORDELIA


This is not something people talk about. This is not something people do. People don't do this.


ANGEL


But, obviously, some people just did! Come on, Cordy, spill it!


WESLEY


Angel ... perhaps if ...(jerks his head toward the back of the room)


ANGEL


OK, OK, even I can take a hint (goes back into his interior office).


WESLEY


(very gently). There now. There now. Was it ... possibly ... like ... Bethany ... and her father?


CORDELIA


Ye-es. Yes. Yes. It was. But ... uh ... not exactly like that.


(beat)


WESLEY


Let me see. Just let me think.


(beat)


WESLEY


Was it ... was it ... do you by any chance recall the Biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah?


CORDELIA


(hugs him) Thank you. Thank you for saying it. I just couldn't.


WESLEY


I read something once ... about violations of this nature. I shall never forget it. The author wrote, "The body of the child gives because the mind of the adult cannot." ... Cordelia ... for the sake of that child ... can you possibly go back and have another look, see if you can get any detail ... a location, a description, an identification?


Holding WESLEY's hand, CORDELIA squeezes her eyes shut, and in her mind's eye we now see the perpetrator's wallet on top of a dresser, thrown open to reveal his police badge and nameplate. CORDELIA opens her eyes, turns to WESLEY and whispers into his ear.


WESLEY


Cordelia. Brave girl. You did marvelously. Smashing. Uh, will you excuse me a minute?


WESLEY goes into ANGEL's office.


SCENE 3, December 21, about 4 p.m., Angel Investigations


WESLEY


So wherever is Gunn? Isn't he going to help us out with this? After all, with his old crew's knowledge of these mean streets, surely they know this cop's rep.


CORDELIA


Could be. But no. Angel said he begged off, something about this case hit too close to home - whatever that means.


SCENE 4, December 21, 4 p.m., KATE's apartment


ANGEL knocks on the door of KATE's apartment. Kate, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, opens it and frowns.


ANGEL


(standing on the outside of the doorway) Got to talk to you. Police business.


KATE

(speaking to him from her side of the doorway) You probably figured out that I'm on stress leave. So, no business happening here or now.


ANGEL


After trekking all the way to the station and back via the lovely city sewer system, yeah, I got a clue. But not much of one. How long you been off? Why didn't you call me?


KATE


Three weeks. And last I looked, I didn't report to you.


ANGEL


What's the deal?


KATE


Well, let's just say this season isn't shaping up with a lot of ho-ho-ho's.


KATE steps across the threshold such that she is just outside her door. ANGEL starts to stroke KATE's hair and face.


ANGEL


What's wrong?


KATE


(knocking his hand away) Don't.


ANGEL


Don't what?


KATE


Just - don't.


ANGEL


True. I have no right to do that.


(beat)


ANGEL


May I come in?


KATE


You're going to barge on through anyway, so whatever I say doesn't matter.


ANGEL


Yes, it does.


KATE


Come again?


ANGEL


I can't come again. I can't come in at all unless you invite me.


(beat)


ANGEL


(quietly) That's why I couldn't save your father, Kate. I wanted to. Christ, I wanted to. But he wouldn't invite me in literally to save his life.


(beat)


KATE


Christmastime ... had some tough memories for me even before ... what happened to my Daddy. And now to have to face it for the first time, alone, as an orphan? Well, then, I guess you wouldn't know how that feels. Since you ate your family on your first night as one of the undead.


ANGEL


Among other sins I committed and am now atoning for.


KATE


You're breaking my heart. Since I do have one. OK, come in so you can get out.


ANGEL


(walking across the threshold) Seamus O'Malley. Veteran cop, probably about your father's age, on the force 30 years, looking to retire soon. You must know him.


KATE


What if I do?


ANGEL


Cordelia had a vision. He just molested a teenage boy. More than molested. Probably not his first victim, surely won't be his last.


KATE

Well, that's gonna be tough. Seeing as how he's won every cop-of-the-year award there is. And seeing as how he's six months from retiring with a fat benefit package. And seeing as how you have absolutely no evidence.


(beat)


KATE


And seeing as how I'm on leave.


ANGEL


You could go back on active duty. You could get the evidence.


KATE


You know, in your own long career - torturing people, killing them, sucking their blood, turning them into creatures like yourself - you ever work something like this into that résumé?


ANGEL


I didn't. Not because it was too evil. Because it was too easy.


KATE

No challenge for the demon?


ANGEL


These guys ... they get into positions of authority, seek out the kid who's lonely, neglected Play up to them, win them over, tell them it's something secret, something special. Nope, too easy.


KATE


But you did do it. Not long ago, either. Yeah, I know all about it . She was 16. You were 270.


ANGEL


That was different.


KATE


Why?


ANGEL


I loved her. She loved me.


KATE


Didn't you just get through saying that the perpetrators usually tell the kids how much they love them? California law is very clear on this, Angel - it says you don't even own it until you're 18. So, say she loved you too, it doesn't matter. So, how was it different? How was it OK?


ANGEL


You know what? You know what, Kate? You want to look at it that way, all right, all right, maybe it was wrong. Yeah, big surprise, me, I was wrong, I did wrong. And you know what else, Kate? I paid the price for that. I spent a hundred years in Hell, and I deserved every minute of it, for that, and for everything else I did.


(beat)


ANGEL


But this is not about me and Buffy. It's about a guy on the loose with a badge and a gun and a police cruiser, who's a hero on the outside and a monster on the inside, and you know what you should do without me having to tell you.


KATE


Well, I'm telling you (takes a wooden stake out of her back pocket) that it's time to invite yourself out.


ANGEL


Kate. You're so angry, and somehow I don't think you're angry at me. Maybe it's your father, maybe it's someone else. But you'd better figure it out, and you'd better do something about it.


KATE


(raising the stake) And if you want to unlive to see your next sprig of mistletoe, you'd better leave.


ANGEL leaves. KATE puts the stake in a drawer below a nearby table. There is a framed picture on top of the table, but from this angle we can't tell what it is.


SCENE 5, December 22, noon, Angel Investigations


ANGEL


So, what did you find out?


WESLEY


O'Malley? He's got no record whatsoever. But he surely should. And if he did, it would be as long as your - whoops, sorry, Cordelia.


CORDELIA

You didn't say it, Wesley. Though, by the way, I have heard that expression before. And, actually, given what we're talking about, it's a pretty apt one.


WESLEY


Well. Well. What I was trying to say is, that if personal anecdotes are any indication and if empirical evidence is acceptable -


ANGEL


Wesley, just spit it out, will you?


CORDELIA


What Wes means is, everyone suspected him, they all felt uncomfortable around him, and yet no one did anything about him.


WESLEY


Except to continue to give him commendations on his fine work with youth. A special interest of his, you see.


ANGEL


That's just great. So how long does this alleged "conduct unbecoming an officer" go back? Empirically and anecdotally, of course.


WESLEY


It would appear to have been consistent throughout his career, three decades or longer. In fact, ever since he was just slightly older than some of his presumed victims, who by the way were male and female, all races, a variety of ages. An equal opportunity pervert, I must say.


CORDELIA


What's the expression? The law is the last refuge of a scoundrel?


WESLEY


That's patriotism.


ANGEL


Same difference. Unlike what people want to think, these SOB's don't bother with a trenchcoat, just a uniform. Or a cassock. Or a coach's clipboard. Hell, even in my day it was the same.


CORDELIA


Except they didn't have youth sports back then.


ANGEL


And under any other circumstances, Cordy, just your saying that would make me feel really old. Except this whole case is making me feel that way.


SCENE 6, 4 p.m., December 22, Juvenile Hall, downtown


CORDELIA


At least we're someplace where your glasses and jacket can be part of the look.


WESLEY


Well, I'm rather afraid I'll need to remove them straightaway. I am that steamed up.


CORDELIA


Why? What did they say? Where's the kid?


WESLEY


He's still here, hang it all.


CORDELIA


He didn't do anything wrong. It's O'Malley who should be locked up, not him!


WESLEY


Of course. But in their zeal for officiousness, the bureaucrats ran some warrants, and the victim - who does have a name, Jorge Esteban - was wanted for shoplifting back in his home hamlet.


CORDELIA


Well, we are not leaving without him.


CORDELIA reaches into her briefcase and pulls out tortoise-shell glasses, a tweed blazer, a name badge, a business card holder and a clipboard.


CORDELIA


Guess what, you're not the only one here who has a geeky costume.


CORDELIA arranges the items appropriately, then sticks out her right hand and shakes Wesley's right hand.


CORDELIA


Good afternoon. I'm head probation officer assigned to teens from the territories. I'm terribly sorry, but I'm running late, so no time for chit-chat. Because we're having a special holiday party tonight for all the poor misguided youths of the region, and I've just stopped by to pick up Jorge because we wouldn't want him to miss out.


WESLEY


Certainly not. Good show!


CORDELIA heads back into the administration area while WESLEY waits for her in the lobby.


SCENE 7, 6 p.m., December 22, Angel Investigations


CORDELIA and WESLEY bring JORGE to the lobby office of the firm in the Hyperion Hotel, where ANGEL is brooding as usual.


WESLEY


Angel, this is Jorge. Jorge, Angel.


CORDELIA


Um, we're pretty beat, so we're going to take off now. It's not like you don't have room here.


ANGEL


Pleased to meet you


ANGEL offers his hand to JORGE, but JORGE ignores it.


WESLEY and CORDELIA leave.


JORGE


Don't want to be rude, mister, but no way I'm staying here. Meeting one strange older guy in L.A. was more than enough for me.


ANGEL


Well, I'm in L.A., and I am older, and strange, well, you're probably right about that, too.


(beat)


ANGEL


But not strange in - that way. In my time I've done wrong, but not that.


JORGE


It was nice of your friends to bust me from that jail, but I'm done trusting.


ANGEL


You want to stay on the outside from now on, you might want to reconsider the petty theft thing.


JORGE


Know what we had for dinner night before last? Sandwiches. Three. For the six of us. Just bread, and lettuce, and cheese, and even the babies didn't fight over who gets a bigger piece. Because even little kids know not to waste energy crying when you're that hungry.


(beat)


JORGE


Yeah, I stole that food. You tell me I did wrong.


(beat)


JORGE


No, you can't. And you can't tell me you know what it was like for me ... even ... before. Big guy, white guy, got a whole hotel just for you. My family, we got a two-room shack that used to be a chicken coop back before even you were born.


ANGEL


I doubt that.


JORGE


I don't care.


ANGEL


So what's your plan?


JORGE


Got no plan. Except I'm gonna find him, and I'm gonna kill him or at least mess him up real bad, then I still got to find help for my mom, and then get back home - somehow.


ANGEL


Try it, and things will be even worse than they are now. Stay and we can help you. And by the way? Just because I'm older, bigger - I have been messed around myself. No fun.


FLASHBACK to the FLASHBACK in "The Prodigal" in which the soon-to-be Angel of 1753, then known as the human being Liam, is viciously backhanded by his father, who follows this up with a string of insults.


In the present day, ANGEL closes his eyes and remembers this incident, falling back against the counter. Three seconds later, he opens his eyes to see that JORGE, true to his promise, has fled.


SCENE 8, 8 p.m. December 22, Gunn's former home base in downtown Los Angeles


RONDELL


So, welcome back, baby, to the poor side of town. And just in time for jingle bells. What happened to your uptown friends? Ain't you goin' to deck the halls with them?


GUNN


Don't bust my chops, Rondell. Not in the mood. Not tonight.


RONDELL


What's up?


GUNN


I just can't do this one case we got, the one I told you about before on the phone.


RONDELL


Why not? Hey, it's not like that kinda crap never happened down here.


GUNN


Yeah, not like.


RONDELL


What you mean?


GUNN


Alonna ...


RONDELL


Hey, she's gone, man. It's tough, I know, 'specially this time of year, but you gotta deal.


GUNN


Rondell. I never told noone this before, but ...that vampire that ... that finally got to her. He wasn't the first to ever bite her.


RONDELL


But at least you were there in time, that first time. Bet you dusted his ass good.


GUNN


No, I wasn't there. Not like I should have been.


(beat)


GUNN


That vamp years ago ... blood wasn't all he stole from her.


(beat)


GUNN

She was only 14. You know what I'm saying?


RONDELL


Yeah. Yeah. Damn. Just ... damn. ... So ... that's why...


GUNN


Yeah, that's why I started all this back then, and that's why I ended with it when... because she was always the reason.


RONDELL


So, what? You just gonna walk away from this new case now, give up? That's not you, 'bro.


(beat)


RONDELL

Man, can't noone help your sister with nothin' no more, and I'm damned sorry about it for sure. I loved her, too. We all did. But that little Mexican dude from the desert, he's someone we could help.


GUNN


Like what?


RONDELL


Like at least make sure it don't happen to him again.


SCENE 9, December 23, noon, KATE's apartment


ANGEL knocks on KATE's front door. She is in a housecoat, has a glass of dark liquid in her hand and is looking disheveled as she cracks opens the door. When she sees him, she grabs the stake from the table. But ANGEL slips his foot into the doorway, walks through it and goes over to the table, on top of which sits a framed 8x10 portrait of a younger Kate in uniform, hair long and in two braids, with braces on her teeth, shaking hands with her uniformed father, TREVOR. ANGEL picks up the portrait and shows it to KATE.


ANGEL


Looks like your graduation from the Police Academy. What is it, 10 years ago now?


KATE


Almost exactly.


ANGEL


So it's a milestone. Too bad you're not celebrating. Well, then again, I guess you are. What is that, bourbon? Drinking alone? Very nice, Kate. Make your Daddy proud.


ANGEL takes the stake from her hand and tosses it back into the drawer beneath the table and sets the portrait back down on it.


KATE


I don't remember asking for your opinion.


ANGEL


To protect and serve. Isn't that the motto you swore to uphold when you took that oath?


KATE


Angel, I'm tired, I'm heartsick, I'm really burnt out. Why am I making excuses to you, anyway?


ANGEL


You know why. Because, like I told you the very first time we ever met, we're on the same side. And the other side isn't taking a break just because it's Christmas.


KATE


You're right. Evil never does. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Yeah, I've read all the same quotes you have. But right now, going after Seamus O'Malley or anyone else allegedly evil is a little bit more than I can handle.


ANGEL


(going into vampire face and walking up close to her) What does evil look like, Kate? This?


KATE


(backing away) Get away from me!


ANGEL


(advances, gets close to her, grabs her hands and presses them against his chest) What does evil feel like? No heartbeat?


KATE


(pulling her hands back) Stop it!


(beat)


ANGEL


(morphing back to human face and dropping his hands to his sides) Yeah, Seamus has a human face, or he did, once. In fact, he was probably pretty good-looking years ago. But he was starting to be dangerous even then, Kate, and on some level you know it.


(beat)


ANGEL


This guy is bad, Kate, he's been bad for years, and he's getting worse. He's getting older - so he's less attractive, not as able to seduce his victims. He's getting sloppy, and he's getting desperate. He raped that boy.



KATE


Angel, maybe you feel like it's your duty, your calling, your sacred destiny, to stop all the evil in the world. Me, I guess I've never felt that heroic. And I certainly don't right now.


ANGEL


Your father...


KATE


What about him?


ANGEL


He was no hero. We both know that. Probably a lot of other people did too.


KATE says nothing, just looks sad.


ANGEL


But everything he did, he did for you. He didn't spend one cent of that money on himself (looks around at her modest flat) just like you don't.


KATE still is silent.


ANGEL


But, all in all, he still was a good cop.


KATE still won't respond.


ANGEL


And you're a good cop. Trevor knew that, and he was proud of you.


KATE


What's your point?


ANGEL


If Trevor were here ... he'd be sick to his stomach to see you sitting in your bathrobe in your apartment, tossing back booze, feeling sorry for yourself.


KATE


Maybe.


ANGEL


If he could, he would tell you to get your butt back out on that street and do your job!


KATE


It's just too hard right now.


ANGEL


Well, right now just happens to be when you're needed.


(beat)


ANGEL reaches into his left pocket, fishes something out of it with his left hand.


ANGEL


(speaking much more gently now) I know you're having trouble. That's why I brought you something.


ANGEL hands her a polished brown-and-yellow stone about the size of a golf ball.


ANGEL


It's a tiger's eye. Had it shipped overnight from a mystical store in Sunnydale. Owner's an old friend of mine.


KATE


A rock. Why do I need a small-town rock? What am I, here, David?


ANGEL


I spent time in New Orleans in the Nineteen Forties. Learned a fair bit about voodoo, magic. It's really all based on the power of your mind. You have a good mind, Kate, strong. But you need a little help.


KATE


How is a fairytale stone going to help anything?


ANGEL


It's a talisman, an amulet. Down in the Vieux Carré - the French Quarter - they would call it a mojo, a gris-gris. It's going to help you see.


KATE


See what? What am I going to see? I have 20-20 vision uncorrected.


ANGEL


The tigress is the fiercest predator and the most protective mother in the entire animal kingdom. Plus, all tigers have excellent eyesight. So, the tiger's eye stone gives its owner the power to see things as they truly are.


(beat)


ANGEL


Hold it in your left hand. That's the side of intuition. Think about what Seamus O'Malley really is. You'll see. You'll know.


(beat)


ANGEL


Good-bye, Kate. ANGEL leaves.


(beat)


KATE holds the stone in her left hand and looks back at the portrait of Trevor and herself. After a few seconds, she appears to be having a Cordelia-esque vision. We see hazy images of dozens of children, boys and girls, all races, all ages, ending with a small blonde girl. Then we see KATE's face morphing into that of a tigress, and finally changing back again.


KATE


I want to be that tigress. I do. But I need more strength. I need . . .  my own tradition.


KATE looks at her tiny Christmas tree, and we notice for the first time that her tree-topper is a tiny Santa Claus.


KATE continues to hold the tiger’s eye in her left hand, and she then puts her right hand on the Santa Claus figurine.


KATE


Santa Claus. Beloved Bishop of Myra. Patron saint of children, and the poor. Protector of the innocent, and wronged. I have not been to church, let alone confession, for more than a decade. But please hear me now. Give me the strength to face my fears, and my past. Holy Saint Nicholas, help me catch this bastard!


KATE falls back in a brief faint, then revives.



KATE shudders, recovers, puts the stone in her left pocket with her left hand, and with her right hand reaches for the telephone.


KATE


Dispatch? ... Detective Lockley ... Yeah, yeah, I was on leave. But not any more. Where's the captain? ... Not there? ßThen get me Harlan. Now.






SCENE 10, 6 p.m. December 23, in an alley behind an Irish pub in downtown Los Angeles.


KATE is waiting when SEAMUS, still in his uniform, comes out the back entrance into the alley, looking tipsy.


KATE


Police officer! Back up and put your hands in the air.


SEAMUS


(ignoring her command) Kate? Why, whatever brings you here? I though you were on leave.


KATE


Yeah, well, duty called. And you know why I'm here. Or you should. Hands up!


SEAMUS

Oh, really? Enlighten me, please, detective.


KATE


The affidavit and the search warrant were sworn out, signed and served already, earlier today. Harlan found everything. Condoms, lubricant, rubber gloves. Everything. Every single thing in the apartment that Jorge said would be there, it was there.


(beat)


KATE

This is it. Finally. You won't get out of it this time.


(beat)


KATE

So you can make this easy on yourself, or you can make it tough. Your choice.


SEAMUS


My goodness, how hard-boiled you sound, Kate. What are you now, not even 30?


KATE


Who's counting?


SEAMUS


And so cold already.


KATE


Yeah, well, police officer. Dealing with creeps, it can make you old before your time.


SEAMUS


You weren't always like that. You were such a sweet little girl.


KATE


Was I?


SEAMUS


What is it now? Must be 15 years since your mom passed on. Just before Christmas. Tragic.


KATE


So what?


SEAMUS


(coming closer) Your father and I were partners back then. You probably remember. He didn't handle it at all well. Pretty much fell apart as I recall.


KATE


Don't you dare talk about my Daddy.


SEAMUS


(coming closer yet) That's when he started spending all his time on the streets. That's when he started abandoning you. That's when he started taking payoffs from lowlifes like the ones who finally killed him.


KATE


Stop it!


SEAMUS


And, yes, we all knew about it in the ranks. Don't think we didn't. No, he didn't handle it well.


KATE


Not one more word!


SEAMUS comes yet closer, reaches up, strokes her face and hair just as Angel tried to do previously. KATE, whose left hand is in her left pocket, seems suddenly mesmerized by this.


SEAMUS


And you were such a pretty little girl then, too. Cute little Katie. Trevor was too deep in grief when he lost your mom to see that. Nope. He didn't take the time to notice it. Nope.


(beat)


SEAMUS

In fact, he wasn't really there for you at all, then, was he?


(beat)


SEAMUS


But I was.


(beat)


KATE snaps out of her temporary trance and pulls back about a yard to see that SEAMUS is trying to go for his service revolver, but his reaction time is slowed by his inebriated state. KATE takes out the tiger's eye and throws it at SEAMUS, hitting him in the forehead, and he staggers back.. She uppercuts him, knees him in the stomach, flips him onto the ground onto his stomach, puts her knee into the small of his back and cuffs his hands behind his back.


KATE


No. You cannot make me feel like a helpless, powerless kid. You are not going to do this ever again. Not to me. Not to Jorge. And not to anyone else. Not to any child, not ever, ever again.


KATE stands up and opens her handheld police radio.


KATE


Unit to base, unit to base. Sexual predator in custody, repeat, sexual predator in custody. Request immediate backup, repeat, request immediate backup. Request Internal Affairs Officer, repeat, request Internal Affairs Officer.


KATE


(to semi-stunned SEAMUS). You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law...


SCENE 11, 6 p.m. December 23, in an alleyway in Hollywood near Angel Investigations.


WESLEY is walking down the street looking for JORGE who has not been seen since he ran away from Angel Investigations 24 hours earlier.


WESLEY


Jorge? It's just me, Wesley.


(beat)


WESLEY


No one is going to hurt you. No one is going to imprison you. No one is going to judge you.


WESLEY


I swear it.


WESLEY stops and hears the sound of quiet sobbing but isn't sure where it is coming from.


WESLEY walks a few yards further, passes a rickety-looking staircase, and - on a hunch - looks beneath it. JORGE is under there, curled up into a ball, looking miserable.


WESLEY crawls underneath and sits next to him.


(beat)


WESLEY

Jorge. I realize that it might seem a bit hard for you to believe. But long ago, back in England, I was a short, skinny little lad like you.


JORGE sniffles and looks up but says nothing.


WESLEY


And whenever I was afraid ... or when my father would mistreat me ... or when I thought I had disappointed people ... I would hide under the staircase.


JORGE stops sniffling and sits up but still says nothing.


WESLEY


But the bother of it is, you can't stay there forever.


(beat)


WESLEY


Eventually, you've got to come out and face whatever it is that you were running from.


JORGE moves closer to WESLEY and clings to his arm.


WESLEY

But you won't have to do it alone.


WESLEY embraces JORGE briefly and takes his hand to pull him up into a standing position on the street, whereupon they walk in the direction of the nearby Hyperion Hotel.


SCENE 10, 6 p.m. December 23, at a mansion in Beverly Hills


CORDELIA is making her way through a tony soiree. She looks fetching in a tight red satin dress. She spends a few minutes eating canapés, sipping champagne and chatting up various admiring male guests until she spots the homeowner and host, eccentric billionaire DAVID NABIT. He is sitting in an easy chair in a corner, wearing a Santa-esque outfit complete with fake white beard and Santa hat.


CORDELIA

Why, David - don't you look - seasonal?


DAVID NABIT


The lovely Cordelia! What, no bodyguards tonight?


CORDELIA


Uh, bodyguards?


DAVID NABIT


You know ... the brooding one, the British one, the ...


CORDELIA


Oh, you mean the guys! Well ... let's just say that you're the only one I need tonight.


DAVID NABIT


How I wish you meant that.


CORDELIA


Oh, but I do, David, I do ... or should I call you Saint Nicholas?. You see, you really are the man of the hour.


CORDELIA gets into his lap and hugs him around the neck.


CORDELIA


What if I told you that there was a way that you could really, truly be Santa Claus this year?


SCENE 13, December 24, about 2 p.m., Kate's apartment


KATE is in her apartment, again in her housecoat, but with her uniform laid out on her bed, ready to be put on again. The tiger's eye is on top of it. The telephone rings, and she answers it.


KATE


Hello ... Well, Merry Christmas to you, too, not that you celebrate it ... You are? ...Really? Way out there? I hope you had your tires balanced and your shocks re-done recently. That washboard is hell even on radials ... No, thanks, really, thank you for asking ... I'm getting ready to go in again. Volunteered for a double shift, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. Might as well let those who have families enjoy being with them ... Yeah, yeah, I know you know the feeling ... Anyway, you were right ... what you said before ... about bad guys don't take a holiday ... Do that, would you? Say hi to the kids for me ... OK ... Bye.


KATE pours herself a shot of bourbon and walks over to her graduation portrait.


KATE


Daddy. Maybe you weren't the best cop on the force, but you were the best you knew how to be. Whatever you did wrong on the job, I know that you did it all for me.


(beat)


KATE

And ... Daddy ... maybe you weren't the best father there ever was, either. But given what you knew - I know you never knew - you did the best you could.


(beat)


KATE


(choking back tears)


And I know you were proud of me, and I know that you loved me.


(beat)


KATE


And I will always be proud of you, too, and I will always love you.


KATE lifts the glass to toast the portrait, tosses back the shot, wipes her face and gets dressed.


SCENE 14, December 24, near midnight in the Mojave Desert.


ANGEL, WESLEY and CORDELIA are in the convertible on a lonely dirt road. They finally pull up a few feet from a rude little shack, the home of the Esteban family, and get out.


CORDELIA


Sandy goodness. I didn't think people actually still lived like this in the 21st century. What a Godforsaken place.


ANGEL


I don't know about that. It's sorta pretty. Definitely peaceful. And dark. I like the dark.


CORDELIA


But it's in the middle of nowhere. The wilderness. The desert.


WESLEY


Well, now, if you really think about it ... in the spirit of this evening particularly ... it would seem that it was in just such an environment that God was most needed, and where He first appeared.


CORDELIA


Always the philosopher.


WESLEY


At your service, madam.


ANGEL


Speaking of service, you two, I would like to get some help unloading these gifts. Even though it's just past the longest night of the year, it will be getting light eventually. Always does.


WESLEY


Right you are. (starting to hand down packages to Angel) Good Lord, Cordelia, what did you do? Buy out every supermarket and shopping mall in town?


CORDELIA

I did my best. And let me say, never have I had so much fun buying things for someone who was not me.


(beat)


CORDELIA

And it's not just me.


WESLEY


How's that now?


CORDELIA


Our old buddy David Nabit sent the best obstetrician in Los Angeles to stay with Mrs. Esteban as long as she needs her. In fact, she's here now, because it's just about that time. And - uh! -Gunn and his crew sent a battery-operated television set and VCR, with a self-defense tape they made themselves - here, take it, take it, it's small but it's heavy.


ANGEL, CORDELIA and WESLEY unload the combination TV/VCR plus numerous boxes and bags of food, clothing and toys, making several trips to take most of them into the shack, then returning. There are still enough gifts about the car to necessitate one last trip.


WESLEY


(reaches into the bottom of the final box, takes something out and shows it to Cordelia)


WESLEY


Hello, what have we here?


CORDELIA


I never saw it. I didn't pack it.


WESLEY


Well, you're playing elf tonight - you open it.


ANGEL


Just think of it as practice for Oscar Night.


CORDELIA


(sticks out her tongue at them before opening the card) Well, it's a big green envelope ... with no return address ... with a big, beautiful Nativity scene ... and a big ... big ... big... check inside!


ANGEL


How big?


CORDELIA


Enough to make me feel faint. Here, Wesley, there's a note, you read it.


WESLEY


(reading message handwritten inside the card) "Christmas should be a happy time for children, but since I don't have any, or anyone else to give presents to, here's something from me. It's hard to be a poor kid even when it's not Christmas, and even without going through what Jorge did. I know. As for the amount, it's what I figure my retainer would have been if I had agreed to represent O'Malley. But some things even a lawyer from hell won't do. O'Malley is going to have to get there without any help from me. If you want, just think of it as my thirty pieces of silver. Anyway, it should be enough for psychotherapy for Jorge for as long as he needs it. Just tell him it's a gift from one poor boy to another in honor of a third who is the reason for it all."


ANGEL


Huh?


CORDELIA


What?


ANGEL


Who?


CORDELIA

How much?


WESLEY


The card isn't signed. But the check is. Thirty thousand dollars from Lindsey McDonald, made out to Jorge Esteban in care of Angel Investigations.


ANGEL


That's got to be the biggest Christmas miracle of all.


CORDELIA


Uh, guys? The check isn't heavy, but the rest of this stuff sure is. How about helping me get the last few things inside?


ANGEL


Cordy, do you think you and Wes can manage it by yourselves? I've ... got something I need to do.


WESLEY


(pointing about 10 yards away) There's a Joshua tree over there.


ANGEL


It's not that. Well, it is, but not in the way you think. Just give me five minutes, OK?


CORDELIA and WESLEY carry the final packages over to the shack, while ANGEL takes out a small sack from the front floorboard of the car and walks to the Joshua tree. From the sack he takes Christmas lights and strings them on the tree, stopping a few times because of cutting his fingertips on the sharp spines. By the time CORDELIA and WESLEY return empty-handed, he has the bulbs lit up and is standing back by the car.


ANGEL


Behold, cynics! Mojave Desert Christmas tree.


CORDELIA


I thought vampires didn't celebrate Christmas.


ANGEL


Time I started. On the other hand - ow! Those spines really got me! (sucks his fingertips)


CORDELIA


Yeah, they say payback's a ... well, you know what I mean. Not gonna say that word on account of it being tonight and all. But even if you lost a few drops of blood over it, it's beautiful. I'm glad you thought of it. After all, you can't have Christmas without a tree.


WESLEY


They managed quite nicely the first time around, I believe.


ANGEL


Couldn't say. I don't go back quite that far.


CORDELIA


Well, we should head out. Maybe we'll have enough time for some eggnog. Although I'm still deciding whether you two scamps will get holiday treats or lumps of coal in your stockings.


ANGEL


I'll take my chances.


WESLEY


Home we go.


ANGEL, WESLEY and CORDELIA get into the convertible and drive off as we hear from the shack the vigorous cry of a newborn baby.


THE END


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