A Little Faith

Act One

Starring:
Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist, Lacey Chambert as Skye, Gale Harold as Jim Pollan, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Lorinda, and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers

Guest Starring:
Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne, Evangeline Lilly as Marissa, Gary Oldman as Mr. Felix, Mila Kunis as Florence Wiggins, Christy Carlson Romano as Hope Lehane

Fade In:
Int.
New York – Wiggins' Home – Private Office – Resume

"You never mentioned your sister was a slayer," said Jeff.

"She isn't!" said Faith, without blinking. "She wasn't, anyway."

"You mean, when Willow activated…"

"No, that's not what I mean!" Faith stared at Hope, who gazed expressionless back. "I've seen you since then, and you didn't have slayer powers."

Hope shrugged. "Things change."

"Yeah, right!"

"Um…excuse me?" Jeff stepped in between the two. "Before this turns into some kind of drama on the WB, maybe we could try – I don't know – politeness? Just to start with?" Getting no answer, he turned to Mr. Wiggins. "Good evening. I'm Jeff Lindquist, and this is Faith Lehane, both of the Watchers Council. You're Charles Wiggins, am I right?"

"Very much so."

"Please to meet you."

"Likewise."

"Thank you. Now," Jeff stole a look at the two sisters before proceeding. Neither looked ready to throw any kind of blow or weapon. "As we understand it," he continued, "Miss Hope Lehane here has been hiring herself out as a freelance demon hunter?"

Wiggins nodded. "Her bona fides were most impressive. As you can imagine, I never really expected to need the services of a…slayer, I think is the term?"

Jeff nodded.

"But she came highly recommended. Cleaned out a private school in Long Island where a bunch of…well, I know it sounds silly, but a bunch of three-eyed demons were rounding up kids for Lord-knows-what."

"Three eyes? Hmmm. I think I probably know what they were up to."

"Do I want to know?"

"Probably not."

"Let's leave it at that, then."

Again, Jeff nodded. "So you hired Hope. Why?"

Wiggins took a deep breath. "My daughter Florence was kidnapped by vampires. I would have thought the whole idea ridiculous up until a few months ago. But her bodyguards were all drained of blood. Plus their weapons had been emptied. Quite frankly I doubted this young lady could do much, that is, until she demonstrated some of her abilities." At that he walked over to the fireplace and picked up a poker. It was tied into a knot.

"Impressive," Jeff said.

Hope didn't quite smirk.

"Showy," said Faith. "Giles would even say gauche."

"Maybe," said Wiggins, putting the poker away, "but she convinced me. And the proof is the final product. I have my daughter back. She's upstairs now."

"You sure she's still herself? If a bunch of vampires had her with them for more than a few hours…"

Hope interrupted her sister. "Florence Wiggins entered this house without being invited. She had a reflection too. She's fine."

"Good to hear," said Jeff, with a smile.

"If it's true," Faith muttered.

"Excuse me," offered Wiggins, "whatever issue these two ladies might have as siblings, I would like to state for the record how pleased I am with Miss Hope Lehane's work. Anything else is between – well, the three of you."

"Many thanks for your time," said Jeff before Faith could speak.

"Yeah, well," said Hope, "you know where to find me if you need me."

"Indeed I do," Wiggins replied.

Jeff turned to the door. He made eye contact with each of the Lehane girls, then gestured to the door.

Cut To:
Ext.
New York – Staten Island Street – Night

It wasn't lined with mansions, but the neighborhood clearly enjoyed some impressive property values. Both Lehane sisters strode, without speaking, even with one another from the front door of the Wiggins' house to the sidewalk. Jeff brought up the rear.

"You know," he offered as Faith and Hope reached the sidewalk, "I'm an only child, so exactly what's going on between you two isn't really something I'm likely to understand."

"Not that hard," said Faith. "My dad and sister tried to sell me to a bunch of demons."

"That was Dad."

"And you!"

"You know, from all I've learned, you're not exactly someone to talk. Dad was at least trying to save his life. Okay, it was a worthless life, but trying to stay alive kinda sorta is justified."

"Justified? Killing someone who isn't threatening your life is wrong."

"Oh really?" Hope looked directly at her. "Then explain to me why you killed some stranger just 'cause your fake daddy asked you to!"

Faith did a take. "Hey!" she exclaimed as she stopped. She opened her mouth to continue, but Jeff stepped between them.

"You know what?" he began. "I've been hearing all my life about New York pizza. Care to join me?"

"You," said Faith after a solid three-second stare, "are certifiable."

"Maybe." He nodded.

"I. Am. Not. Hungry. Got it?" Faith remarked.

Jeff smiled. "No offense, but I wasn't asking you." Then he cocked his head at Hope.

"What?" Faith's voice lowered an octave.

"Hope?" Jeff began. "I don't have any siblings, so I'm not even about to get in the middle of this debate, but I do understand demon-hunting. All the demon-hunters I know – which number in the dozens, by the way – work up a big appetite. How do you feel about a quest for Italian food?"

At Jeff's smile and Faith's indignant stare, Hope smiled. "Actually, I'm famished."

Faith's mouth opened, but no words came out. Neither Hope nor Jeff seemed to notice as they began to walk again, leaving Faith to catch up.

Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Meeting Room – Later

"The fact is," Rowena was saying, "we don't have enough hard evidence."

She sat at the briefing table with Robin and Willow nearby. All had books and files before them as well as individual cups of coffee. Ambient noise was absent, and only a few lights were even turned on in the room. Each had legal pads with notes scribbled across them. Next to Willow were three different colored pens, and her notes likewise showed three colors. Robin's legal pad showed the precise, tiny marks of shorthand, while Rowena's displayed actual diagrams.

"Funny," said Robin, "I thought the Council, old and new, had whole archives of records about vampires, plus God knows how many other demon species."

"We do," said Willow, "that is, they did and we do, but at the same time they didn't and we don't. Did, didn't. Do, don't." Her voice trailed off.

Robin looked at her, then at Rowena. "I don't speak 'Willow.' Think I'm gonna have to ask for a translation."

Rowena grinned before she started. "Some facts about vampires and about a lot of demon species are established," she answered. "For example, we know that vampires need blood, that they spontaneously combust in direct sunlight and are immune to most weapons and most injuries with a few exceptions, things like that. But a lot more fundamental – or if you like, subtle – questions haven't even been asked. Or if they have, they've been…lost."

"You mean stolen," Willow muttered angrily. "Stolen by deadbeat ex-boyfriends. Ex-boyfriends who, if I ever meet, I might actually turn into the rat he is a-and drop him in a cat kennel at the Humane Society."

Rowena grinned slightly. "Thanks dear. That's very creative on your part."

"Hey, no one shoots my girlfriend, not to mention, my ex-girlfriend, and gets away with it," Willow said firmly.

"So," Robin began, "what's in these books and what don't we know?"

Willow said, "Like how much of the original person is left. Like when I met myself as a vampire, there were things about her – about me – I didn't even know myself, well, not at the time."

"Excuse me?" Robin's eyebrows shot up. "Guess I missed that one. You met who?"

"Oh, this one's a goody to hear," Rowena assured him conspiratorially. "Will did a spell, and she goofed it up. She ended up bringing herself to Sunnydale from an alternate timeline, one where she was a vampire."

"Yeah, and she was…well, hot." Willow hesitated. "She had the whole black leather thing going on, and since she didn't have to breathe, that bustier thing really…" She made a gesture with her hands. "…pushed things up and out and stuff. But the point is she came on to me. She even grabbed my butt when she hugged me goodbye."

Silence.

"That's…" Robin appeared intrigued but confused at the same time.

"I mean," Willow interrupted, "she was gay, kinda. And I wasn't. Not then. Well, I was I guess, deep down, but I didn't know I was. Not till later. But she…" Willow paused her rambling and glared at Rowena. "Stop wanting to laugh!"

Rowena held up her hands in surrender, finally chuckling. "I can't help it. I swear – the look on Robin's face trying to conjure that mental image." She grinned. "Probably the same one I had when I first heard this story."

Any reply Robin might have made was forestalled by the theme music from 'The Twilight Zone' coming from his inside coat pocket. Ignoring both ladies' raised eyebrows, he reached into the pocket and took out his cell phone. "Hello."

"You are not going to believe what is going on!" Faith's voice was loud enough that he actually pulled the cell phone away from his ear.

"Maybe," he said. "But then I'm believing a lot more than I used to. You're in New York?"

"Yep."

"Did you find the Demon Hunter folks were talking about?"

"Oh. Yeah."

Robin took a beat. "Someone you know?"

"My ever-loving sister."

"Hope?"

"Do I have any other sisters?"

"Good point."

"Oh, and here's the kicker – she's got super strength now! And no, I don't know where she got it."

"Just a sec. How old is Hope?"

"About three years younger than me."

Robin looked at Rowena and Willow. "Is there any way someone slightly younger than Faith could have been called as a slayer within the last two years?"

Willow shook her head. "No. The call happens at the onset of puberty or right after I did the spell in Sunnydale. Why?"

Robin held his finger up. He turned his attention back to the phone. "Willow says she can't be a slayer. The timeline doesn't fit."

"Yo, Ace? I knew that. I'm looking for something I don't know."

"Okay, okay. What does Jeff think?"

"Jeff? Wait'll you hear this! Harry Potter Jr. takes one look at my would-be murderer sister, decides she's hot, and asks her out on a date! That's where he's at right now! Eating pizza with an attempted murderer."

"Hmm, is she?"

"What?"

"Hot." Robin waited, a dangerous full second and a half.

"What the hell does that have to do with anything? She's my sister, what do you think?"

"I'm asking so I get an idea of what's up. So it's just his hormones then and not a spell of some kind?"

"Nope. Just his brain…and other parts I'm sure!"

"Well – leaving that aside for now – what else did you learn? How does Hope say she gained her powers?"

"She wouldn't tell me squat."

"Guess that's to be expected. But your sister, she went out on a date with Jeff, you say?"

Willow and Rowena, listening to all this, blinked, in unison. Willow even opened her mouth to say something, but then didn't.

"Yeah. Just goes to show even the brainy ones sometimes don't think with the head on their shoulders!"

Robin took a deep breath. "Then – presumably – she's talking to him right now. Right?" He waited. After a few moments, he repeated himself. "Right?"

Silence. More silence. Then, Faith said, "Maybe."

Cut To:
Int.
New York – Antonio's Ristorante – Continuous Same Time

"So there I was," Hope said in between bites of garlic bread, "hitch-hiking outside Philly, and nobody was picking up nobody. But, I figured, at least it ain't raining."

The restaurant, or "ristorante" as the outside sign proclaimed, had wallpaper designed to look like red brick. The lighting remained almost dim, while patrons sat upon almost-matching chairs painted black. Hope and Jeff had found a booth in back.

Jeff, actually biting into a slice of pizza at that point in Hope's story, winced. He managed to chew a few times before near-mumbling, "Let me guess."

Hope nodded, a smile cracking one side of her face. "Yep. It started to rain. A downpour. In November, no less. Sucked all the heat out of my body in about three seconds. I made it to the next turn-off, still without a ride thanks very much, and went looking for some shelter. And that's when I got lucky." Before going on, she finished her garlic bread. "I think I want some more of this."

Jeff took the hint. Catching the eye of their waiter, he held up the empty breadbasket and pointed. The waiter nodded. "Go on."

Hope just looked at him for a moment. "This is fun."

"Good Italian food always is."

"Yeah. But…the fact is, it's good to celebrate after a job."

"Don't you usually?"

"Not like this. The clients sometimes take me out, you know, but they keep me at arm's length. Half the time I expect them to give me a friggin' gold watch."

"Scared."

"Yeah! They need me to be Wonder Woman or something, but then they start thinking, if I can do that, maybe I'll turn on them. Maybe I'm not really human. Half the time they act like I might turn into a vamp any second." The ends of her mouth were turned up, but she wasn't smiling. Her eyes didn't seem as bright either.

"Obviously they've never seen you scarf down garlic bread."

"Nope," she said with a grin, a real one.

"Hey," he said.

"What?"

"Let me show you something." Jeff looked around, making sure no one was watching. Then he pointed a finger at the unlit candle on their table, between his pizza and her linguini. "Incendes," he said. The wick glowed, then a flame flickered into existence. His eyes caught Hope's. "Sometimes," he said, voice low, "they look at us, and all they see is something they don't understand. It scares them."

The waiter arrived with another basket of garlic bread, melted cheese still sizzling. He also had with him a pitcher of soda, with which he refilled their drinks before retiring.

"Good service," remarked Jeff, picking up a piece of garlic bread then dropping it. "Ow!"

"Don't get burned," Hope said.

"I'll be more careful. Promise."

"So," she continued, "there I was, soaking wet and freezing, looking for somewhere kinda sorta dry, when my luck just changes. As in, does a U-turn. First, I find a house. Big. Two stories. A gable in front. Got a circle of pine trees all around it. And – empty. But there's this big ratty sofa, about twenty feet from a working fireplace! It wasn't the Ritz, but after being in the downpour, it felt like I'd won the friggin' lottery!"

"So you broke in?"

"Damn right I did. The place was abandoned, weeds in the driveway, some windows boarded up. So I just busted a few boards and shimmed my way through. I went to sleep under a bunch of tarps I found. Woke up hours later after the rain had stopped. My clothes were dry, and I felt good. In fact, I felt great! That's when I tried to open the boarded-up door. The wood just snapped like a twig. Easy. Way easy. Too easy. After that, I kept trying to see how much I could move, and it was weird – like I was Clark Kent's long lost twin or something! I went to the kitchen and picked up the refrigerator like it was a cardboard box. I searched around the cupboards and dressers left behind and came up with some change and a couple bucks for food. I walked to town, grabbed myself some breakfast, and then panhandled enough money to catch a bus. Turns out the town's name? Luckville!"

Jeff stared. "No way."

Hope just laughed and nodded.

Cut To:
Int.
Parked Car – The Next Day – Afternoon

Rowena was sitting behind the wheel of a car with a kerchief over her head and a pair of sunglasses on when the passenger door swiftly opened and Xander sat down inside.

"All set?" she asked.

"Hit it," Xander said, pointing his finger forward before turning to put on his seatbelt.

Rowena checked her mirror and then pulled into traffic.

Cut To:
Int.
Parked Car – Moments Later

After driving to a new location, Rowena pulled the car off to the side of the road and put it in park.

"You're sure Willow isn't on to us?" she asked.

"Positive."

"And Vi?"

"Would you relax?" Xander told her with a grin. "Nobody knows anything. I told Vi I was lumber shopping. Besides, she's busy training."

"Willow was waiting on Ken in the coven room. She thinks I'm getting groceries, so I need to stop by the supermarket before we go back."

Xander rolled his eyes. "If you ask me, this is getting too damn complicated, and I'm getting a tad concerned at this point."

"About what?" Rowena asked.

Xander pointed out the window toward the building beside them. "We're running out of places to go. We're going to have to start hitting the same places twice at this rate and you said –"

"I know. I said we'd go somewhere different each time. And we have," she stressed. "But don't worry because this is it. The last time."

"You said that last week," Xander replied.

"I mean it this time."

"You meant it then," he retorted.

Rowena sighed, "I know but this time…it's different."

"Although it's been a barrel of monkeys so far," Xander began, "I'm hoping you're right."

Rowena squared her shoulders and gave a nod. "Okay, last time. Let's do this."

Xander nodded his agreement and then got out of the car at the same time as Rowena. He paused to wait for her, and they walked to the door of the building. He held the door opened and motioned for her to go inside.

Cut To:
Int.
Building – Same Time

Once inside Rowena dropped her kerchief and took off her sunglasses. She and Xander then watched a man walk toward them extending his hand. Behind him were glass cases filled with jewelry.

"Welcome to Cedric's," he told them. "How can I help you today?"

Rowena looked unsure how to answer, so Xander replied.

"We're shopping for engagement rings," he told the clerk.

"Oh, how wonderful. You two make such a cute couple."

"Not us," Xander replied. "She's going to pop the question to her girlfriend, who's my best friend."

"Oh," he answered.

Before he could go on, Rowena added, "But not necessarily a ring but maybe a bracelet or necklace. Or a ring would be okay too I guess but…she's not very conventional so I'm looking for something that's unique and…" Rowena paused in thought.

"In other words, she can't make up her mind," Xander added as he patted Rowena on the back.

"I'll know what I want when I see it," she told him. "I brought you along as backup since you've known her since infancy. If anyone would know for sure what Willow would like, it would be you."

"Like I said," Xander said. "I'm happy to help." Xander leaned over and looked at the clerk's nametag. "So Dennis," he began, "maybe you can lead us to something unconventional, unique. Something that may or may not be a ring? Does that narrow it down enough?"

Dennis smiled.

"Right this way," he said, motioning them to follow him, which they did.

Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time

Kennedy gingerly walked into the coven room and leaned against the doorframe. Willow began to grin even before she turned around from her workbench.

"I see you made it," Willow remarked before slowly turning around.

"How did you know it was me?" Kennedy asked. "Magic?"

"I'd like to say my magics are that powerful but no. Your footsteps. The sound of your breathing. The creaking sound of someone leaning against a door frame. And since Faith is the only other person I know who does that, I knew it was you." Willow grinned, and Kennedy followed suit. "So are you ready for your first Magic 101 lesson?"

"No," Kennedy confessed. "But I want to be the best slayer I can be. The magics Rowena and I borrowed from Al helped save us. So if learning some of this stuff means I could save someone else, well, I'm on board with it."

"Is there anything you'd like to learn first?" Willow asked.

"That teleportation was kind of cool," Kennedy remarked.

Willow chuckled. "Well, let's start with floating a rose first before zapping anyone across space."

"So I need to pass go and collect my $200 before I start buying hotels?" Kennedy replied with a smirk.

Willow chuckled again. "Yes. You've got a lot of power, Kennedy. But let's make sure you know how to walk before putting you in the 440 relay, 'k?"

Kennedy grinned and nodded.

Fade To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Lobby –
Later That Day

"You did well for your first lesson," Willow complimented as she and Kennedy walked through the main hallway toward the open lobby where various watchers and slayers were moving about. "Next week we'll work on more object control. It's not always about you being able to move things but also being able to stop them. Having the ability to stop a knife moving at 100 miles per hour without using your hands can be just as important, if not more important, than having the power to do the hurling."

"No doubt…This magic stuff isn't so bad," Kennedy replied.

Willow gave her an exaggerated sigh. "Nowwww you realize this?" They both began to grin and walked along in silence for a few moments. "So…you really think it was Ethan who gave Jordon his powers?" Willow asked Kennedy as they walked along.

"Who else?" Kennedy asked.

"Yeah but…I don't think Ethan would do that to us," Willow argued.

"This is the same man that conned a young girl out of a baseball card worth thousands of dollars," Kennedy replied. "He's capable of anything."

"Yeah but still…"

"Are you going to make me put on the Giles voice?" Kennedy asked. "Ethan is not to be trusted," she said with a deep, English accent.

"Maybe not, but I like to think that maybe he's at least changing."

"Think it all you like, Willow, but that won't make it so."

Cut To:
Int.
Undisclosed Location – Apartment – Same Time

The television blared loudly in the small, modest apartment. On it, a chorus line of vampires in tap shoes clicked and clacked their way across the screen while a girl with blonde hair sang a sad tune about being alone in her great struggle.

The channel changed. A talk show host was mediating a panel consisting of a man in a white sheet with his pointed hood thrown back, a stern-faced woman with a bible in her hand, a skin-headed youth with an insignia on his shoulder, and a demon with green skin and red eyes who was trying to make a case for the integrity of his particular race.

The channel changed again. A beautiful young woman dressed in black and looking more like a hooker than a witch stirred something that smoldered and spit from a large, fake cauldron. She cackled unconvincingly and told her audience to add a quarter teaspoon of rosemary before the pinch of sugar.

The television clicked off. In the blank screen, Ethan Rayne's image reflected back at him. He glowered at the man he saw sitting slouched to one side, hair mussed, unshaven, unkempt, one slipper on and one off, his bathrobe tied loosely and hanging unattractively from him.

He picked up the scotch glass beside him on the couch. There was a swallow left, and he scrutinized it contemptuously. Suddenly, the glass flew across the room and struck the TV screen, the scotch splashing in all directions.

Cut To:
Ext.
City Street – Half Hour Later

Ethan tugged his coat closer around himself and walked along the city streets. Everywhere were signs of the changed times brought about by the revelation and mankind's acceptance of magic, demons, and mystical worlds. Ethan's fine Italian loafers and the tailored shirts and slacks that set him apart as a man of distinction now seemed old-fashioned and completely out of step with the pseudo-style of the occult. Wiccan Robes for Every Occasion, All Things Demon, End of the World Emporium, The 'It's Alive' Baby Boutique, and a dozen other shops with similarly themed names leaped out at him within a mere two blocks. He stopped suddenly, feeling nauseous, and steadied himself with a hand against a brick wall.

Cut To:
Int.
Posh Office – Moments Later

"So you're looking better today, Ethan. How do you feel?"

Ethan stared back at the professional-looking, salt-and-pepper haired woman sitting across from him. She was not much older than he, but looked years younger. She smiled at him pleasantly and waited.

"How the bloody hell do you think I feel?" he said, stopping short of saying 'silly cow.' "The whole bleeding world's gone daft!"

She continued to smile at him.

"Lid's been blown," he muttered angrily. "Cat's out of the bag. The Queen's lost her knickers!" his voice rose. "And nobody – I mean nobody – gives a sodding damn about what's real and what's a sham! It's bloody chaos out there!" he nearly shouted.

The doctor gazed at him, puzzled, but still smiling. She looked down at her chart and began to flip through the pages. "Now, Ethan…please correct me if I'm wrong – I know I wrote it here somewhere – but I thought you said that chaos was your area of expertise…"

Ethan mocked her smile with his own. "Yes," he said, his voice dripping with sweetness, "chaos is my area of expertise. And I do enjoy a ripping good frenzy of panic and confusion. But this…" He rubbed his hand over his head. "…this is bloody deranged!"

"Ethan, we've talked about this. You have to let go of it. Never mind what others are doing and focus instead on what you are doing –"

"But I'm not doing anything. I'm consulting! Consulting at my own trade a-a-as though I'm some old, has-been…Look, I should be out there plying my craft, not pontificating on it while these hacks and wannabes, these suddenly-sorcerers who've no more clue about pulling a-a-a rabbit from their collective arses than they have about memory spells or energy bolts or raising the dead–"

"Oh yes, I saw that on the news. The insurance companies are really blocking coverage for psychological treatment of these 're-run-ers' – the Recently Resurrected." The doctor leaned forward and said secretively, "The insurance companies are coding them '3-D': Dead, Damaged and Dealing." She shook her head.

"The point," Ethan said slowly, his jaw tight, "is that I am now working as a consultant because these pretenders, these-these charlatans are taking all the actual magic work! They're snapping up real magic jobs for less money and doing them half-arsed at that. And no one will argue with them for fear of reprisal! Imagine doing substandard work and then threatening someone with mystical harm if they complain about the results! I'd be out of business – and probably dead – within a week if I –"

Ethan cut himself off. "What's that?" he asked pointedly. "What are you writing down?"

"A prescription," the smiling face answered. "It'll calm you down. It won't change the world. But it might help you change your perspective a little. And that wouldn't be such a bad thing. You have a lot to offer this new socie –"

Ethan was halfway to the door. He waved his hand angrily, and the door immediately flew open so hard that it hit the wall and shattered the beaded glass with Dr. Stanislow's name on it.

Ethan exited, and the door instantly flew shut, rattling on its hinges.

Dr. Stanislow sighed and removed her glasses and her salt-and-pepper wig. She hit the intercom button on her phone. "Shelly," she called to her secretary. "You'll have to call the door people again," she said as she rubbed her eyes and then the nubs on her head from the horns she'd had surgically removed.

Fade Out.

End of Act One
On to Act Two