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Witch - Episode 1.05 - "A Christmas Past"

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  • Witch - Episode 1.05 - "A Christmas Past"

    Episode 1.05 "A Christmas Past"

    Tara VO: Previously on Witch...

    [Open to: Tara and Ezra in the witches' living room.]

    Tara: I was given a second chance. I don't know how. But I'm back.

    [Cut to: Tara and Willow kissing as carnage flashes in front of the screen.]

    Voice: It cannot be.

    [Cut to: Tara and Ezra in the witches' living room.]

    Ezra: Do you mind me asking about Willow? Who is she?

    Tara: I love her so much, I just want to go back to her, kiss her again. My Will.

    [Cut to: Drake storming into the witch hunters' house, beaten, bloody.]

    Fynn VO: Don't mean to dampen our little misery squad further but the last plan...

    Drake VO: The last plan was unfortunate, lacking, a mistake.

    Drake: This is war. Train harder. Fight harder. Because next time we see those witches - we will make them pay. With blood.

    [Cut to: the witch hunters.]

    Drake: Any more questions Ameya?

    [Drake looks at her intensely, who does the same in return]

    Ameya: No...sir.

    [Cut to: Autumn and Pete walking down a Lesper Bay street.]

    Autumn: Well, if you want Autumn's words of wisdom, I say keep trying.

    Pete: Keep trying?

    [Pete looks down to Autumn slightly surprised. She grins back.]

    Autumn: See I can be understanding too.

    [Cut to: Ameya and Fynn smiling together.]

    Fynn: Hey...

    Ameya: Hey...

    [Cut to: the witch hunters in their war room.]

    [Drake takes out a file and throws it on the table, a few pictures tumble out, crime scene and autopsy photos. Ameya picks one up, the picture is of a dead body at a crime scene - Tara.]

    Drake VO: I got these from a PI, some records, photos.

    Drake: No. I assure you, this has to be the power of something far greater, far stronger than the average witch. The evidence is right here. She was dead. Tara, she's the problem.

    Jade: So...

    Drake: We're going to send her back.



    [Open to: a fist smashing into somebody's jaw. A vampire snarls in game face, staggering back.]

    Voice: Ow, I think I punched a fang.

    [Pan to: Pete, shaking his fist in pain, Autumn is with him. They're both in a public park, night.]

    Autumn: I really don't think that's the biggest problem we'll have.

    Pete: Yeah, just that little issue about imminent death.

    Autumn: Don't be so negative.

    Pete: A fugly murderous vamp doesn't exactly put me in the shiny happy mood.

    Aututmn: [in jest] Shh! Watch your language!

    Pete: [smiles] Ha. Ha.

    [The vampire snarls again, moving forward.]

    Autumn: Vampire! Focus on the blood sucking fiend.

    Vampire: Fiend? Isn't that taking the name calling a little too far in the workplace? I'm just trying to make a living here.

    Autumn: Oh, I'm sorry.

    Pete: Autumn, don't apologise to the fiend from hell trying to kill us.

    Autumn: Oh, I mean - good! Die bitch die!

    Pete: You couldn't be mean if you tried.

    Autumn: Well maybe I'll settle for intimidating for now.

    [The vampire charges at Autumn, Pete gets in the way and it ends up knocking him down. The vampire holds Pete down, he struggles against it. Autumn hurries to a tree branch, in her panic she snaps off a piece of wood, perfect for a stake.]

    [She rushes back to Pete who's struggling with the vampire. As she gets closer, she moves slower and slower, going stealthy, ready to stake the vampire in the back. She raises her stake. Pete and the vampire roll over, Pete is now on top of it.]

    Autumn: [sighs] Oh crap.

    Pete: [turns to Autumn, breathing heavily] Stake please, now!

    Autumn: Oh!

    [Autumn hands the stake to Pete who sticks it into the vampire's chest, he dusts. Pete hits the ground as the body he was leaning on disintegrates, he slowly gets himself up.]

    Autumn: That's not exactly what you expect when you go out for ice cream.

    Pete: We're such a good team.

    Autumn: [joking] Nice stake-age, but I almost had that vamp, you completely stole my thunder, if you hadn't turned over, he'd have been mine. A victim to my wrath.

    Pete: [with a jokey smile] Wrath? Wrath of what? Cuddly little Autumn? Oooh the terror!

    Autumn: Shut up.

    [Autumn punches him playfully.]

    Pete: Don't worry, you'll always be my little tough girl.

    [Cut to: the witches' house exterior, night. Pete and Autumn are walking up the path towards the house. Tara catches up with them.]

    Tara: Hey, what've you been up to?

    Pete: Oh just ice cream avec vampire trying to bite us. [notices Tara's bags] Were you Christmas shopping?

    Tara: [suddenly tries to hide her shopping bags behind her] No...

    [Pete nods, unconvinced.]

    Tara: [quickly] Back onto the vampire topic, not good. It's good to see you're not dead.

    Pete: Did you think we couldn't handle a vampire? How weak do you think we are?

    Tara: [playfully] No, I didn't say that. You're not weak, just... less abled.

    Pete: Synonyms don't count buster.

    Tara: Darn. Anyway I plan to have a trouble free, relaxing, non-vampire evening.

    Pete: [shakes his head] Not gonna happen. Something always comes up.

    Tara: Well, I'm gonna make it happen. I don't want any surprises tonight.

    [As they reach the door, Pete unlocks it. The door opens, we see Ezra is inside, standing next to somebody else, but we don't see their face.]

    Voice: Oh my god!

    [Tara suddenly looks up. We move into her shocked face.]

    Tara: Fred?

    [Cut to black.]

    Thunder cracks?

    Opening Credits

    Theme song: "Wherever I Go" by The Album Leaf.

    Starring -

    Amber Benson - Tara Maclay
    Anna Belknap - Ezra Storm
    Carmine Giovinazzo - Kaspar Sharpe
    Percy Daggs III - Pete Holloway
    Samaire Armstrong - Rina Faraday
    and Autumn Reeser as Autumn Sharpe

    Guest Starring:

    David Anders - Drake
    Jennifer Garner - Ameya
    Amanda Seyfried - Jade
    Jonathan Bennett - Fynn
    Stefanie Drummond - Delia

    Special Guest Star:
    Amy Acker - Fred Burkle
    Alyson Hannigan - Willow Rosenberg

    Created by: Yosso

    Written by: Yosso

    Produced by: Yosso

    Song(s) featured: "Maybe This Christmas" by Ron Sexsmith.

    Disclaimer: "Witch" is a virtual fan made series, set in Joss Whedon's Buffyverse which is property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Television, Kuzui Entertainment, The WB, UPN and 20th Century Fox Television. No profit is made from this, the character of Tara was created by Joss Whedon. All other original characters were created by me (Yosso), so keep your hands off ?em (except with permission).

    Set during Season 7 of BtVS and Season 4 of AtS. This episode is set in between AtS Episodes 4.06 "Spin the Bottle" and 4.07 "Apocalypse Nowish".


  • #2
    Act One.

    [Open to: the exterior of a high school, day. There is a text caption - "Lorundi High School, Texas, 1996". A bell rings, typically of an American high school.]

    [Cut to: the interior, a mass of students burst out of a classroom into a hallway. A younger Fred comes out of the classroom, clutching books, huge glasses on, her hair completely frizzled up and with a goofy smile on. She walks down the hallway, not talking to anyone. She continues down the hall and reaches her locker, she places a few books inside.]

    Voice: Hi.

    Fred: [her smile fades] Look Delia, I know I promised you those simultaneous equations-

    Tara: Simultaneous equations?

    [The younger Tara is also clutching books, she has a similar sort of look she has in BtVS Season 4, shy, innocent.]

    Fred: [awkwardly] Oh yeah, cos you known they happen at the same time.

    Tara: Hence the name. How are you?

    Fred: Most kids would have been bored in that class but-

    Tara: You're you.

    Fred: It just gets more and more fascinating every time.

    Tara: I-I know what you mean, magic just takes me to a new place, it's more than interesting, it's-

    Fred: Magical?

    Tara: [with a lop-sided grin] Took the words right out of my mouth.

    Fred: Does your dad know about it yet?

    Tara: Throwing myself off a cliff would be a more welcome alternative.

    Fred: You're dreading it that much?

    Tara: Dread is nothing compared to this uber-mutant emotion inside me.

    Fred: You want to come back to ours? I'm sure you'll be able to find refuge until the wolf comes to blow the house down.

    [Tara giggles.]

    Tara: I wouldn't be intruding?

    Fred: Intruding? My parents love you, if you came round with a giant axe and half the Taliban in tow, they'd invite you in.

    Tara: Two hours of relaxation, freedom, thanks.

    Fred: You need it. You could help me pack if you want.

    Tara: Pack?

    [Fred grins and pulls out a piece of paper, showing it to Tara.]

    Fred: I've been accepted into UCLA!

    Tara: Oh my god, that's brilliant!

    [The two hug in celebration.]

    Tara: I told you you'd get in. If anyone had a better brain it's you. The pleasure of having you as a friend, you're a human calculator.

    Fred: Not exactly the congratulations I was expecting, but still great.

    Tara: [slightly saddened] I still can't believe you're leaving...

    Fred: We'll keep in touch.

    Tara: You're a senior and this is only my first year here, I'm not even meant to be in high school yet.

    Fred: Tara...

    Tara: [gently, looking down] Don't leave me, please...

    Fred: I'm not. Well not really. If you need anything I'll be back here in a heartbeat.

    Tara: You know you don't have to do that.

    Fred: Well I want to. We won't lose touch.

    [Tara looks up and gives her a smile.]

    Fred: [with a grin] You're not gonna get rid of me that easily.

    Tarn: [with jokey sarcasm] Darn.

    [Fade to: Tara and Fred in the witches' living room, present day, night. A continuation from the teaser.]

    Pete: [whispers in Tara's ear] About the no surprises - you were saying?

    Fred: [stunned] Oh my god.


    Fred: Oh my god!

    [Fred clasps her hand to her mouth and suddenly bursts into tears. Tara rushes towards Fred, concerned.]

    Tara: Not the reaction I was hoping for.

    Fred: [reassuring] No no, not sad tears, happy tears, really happy tears.

    Tara: So you're ok?

    Fred: I can't say I've ever been more ok.

    Tara: I know this might be a bit of a shock.

    Fred: [smiling] Oh, it's a little late for that caveat. Plus it's really gone beyond that.

    [Fred looks at Tara. She smiles, tears brimming in her eyes and hugs Tara, who hugs Fred in return.]

    [Cut to: a phone, it starts to ring once, twice, three times, four - Suddenly a hand lunges at it. Pan up to: Fred holding the receiver in her hand looking flustered. Her hair is up and frizzy, breathing heavily. There is a text caption - "Los Angeles, 2002."]

    Fred: [slightly more sullen than normal] Angel Investigations, we help the helpless, solve your paranormal problems and? [thinking] Well Angel does most of the saving, and Charles, I guess I'm more the thinker of the-

    Willow OS: Fred?

    [Fred's eyes widen in surprise.]

    Fred: Willow?

    Willow OS: [quiet, uneasy] Yeah, it's me.

    Fred: [suddenly more cheerful] Oh my god, how are you? I haven't heard from you since ever, we should start our e-mails again. I miss my daily Willow fix!

    Willow OS: It's not about that. It's about Tara.

    Fred: Tara? How is she? How are you two doing?


    Willow OS: [in pain] Not so good.

    Fred: Why, what's up?

    [Silence. Fred's chipper expression slides away, she looks serious, slightly fearful.]

    Fred: Willow?

    [There is further silence. So silent is almost hurts.]

    Fred: [worried] Willow what's wrong?

    Willow OS: I'm afraid to admit it to myself sometimes.

    Fred: Willow you're scaring me.

    Willow OS: It happened, a few months ago.

    Fred: [hoarser] What happened? She's ok, right? She's ok?


    Willow OS: [whispering] Fred. She's gone.

    [Fred is horror struck. Her eyes widen. She's suddenly grief stricken, her tensed expression cracks and breaks into pain. She can't believe what she hears. Silence. Fred decides to take a breath, pulling herself together.]

    Fred: [weakly] I'm sorry.

    Willow OS: [equally fragile] Thank you.

    Fred: Is there anything I can -

    Willow OS: No, I don't mean to intrude.

    Fred: Intrude? Never!

    Willow OS: I just thought you needed to know. There's - there's going to be a gathering, I just wanted to ask if you could be there.

    Fred: Yeah, of course. I wouldn't miss it. For her.


    Willow OS: For her.

    [Fade to: the witches' kitchen, present day, night. Tara and Fred are sitting down, each on a stool by the counter. Fred is looking down at the floor.]

    Fred: I don't think I can deny that I'm stuck in shock.

    Tara: I suppose it would be stupid to say "Nothing I say is going to make your shock go away."

    Fred: [turns to her] No, you're the cause of it. And I'm not saying that as a bad thing. I'm really not. You're here, in front of me, now. After I thought you were gone forever. You're alive.

    Tara: [shrugs] Just lately.

    Fred: I knew it was possible, resurrection, magics and all that, but I guess this is just something that always gets you by surprise.

    Tara: It's always unexpected.

    Fred: Tara. [Beat.] [slightly flustered] How? How did this happen? Why? [she starts to calm down slightly.] I'm sorry, this is just too much for me to - to even understand, to grasp.

    Tara: Says the master of nuclear ultra particle radiation.

    Fred: It's nuclear subatomic particle radiation actually.

    Tara: [smiles] Some things never change.

    Fred: Do you know how this all happened?

    Tara: I don't. I don't know anything. It's all so blurred, so fogged. I just appeared here. I was pulled out of Sunnydale, out my life before-

    Fred: Why?

    Tara: I don't know. I really don't. I don't know how exactly or why. This new life, I was just torn into it. I miss my friends, my life before, Xander, Buffy, Dawnie, Anya, Mr. Giles, heck even Spike, and... I'd give anything just to be able to crawl back into her arms again, feel her around me again, be safe, warm. But I know if I go back, nothing will be the same. It's just going to be pain, suffering, death. I don't want that, for anybody.

    [Fred stares at Tara, her eyes wide, stunned.]

    Fred: I'm sorry.

    Tara: [looking down] I didn't think I could get through this without her. Get through each day, each moment. But I'll have to.

    Fred: My god? So I can't tell-

    Tara: [hard] Never. She never knows. I won't do that to her, or to the world. I just can't help but feel so lost.

    Fred: [reflective] Lost. I know what it's like.

    [Tara looks up, shaking herself out of the moment in realisation.]

    Tara: Oh, sorry.

    Fred: It's ok, really.

    Tara: When was the last time we saw each other?

    Fred: Six years ago.

    Tara: That long? How did this happen?

    Fred: I got sucked into a portal.

    [Tara raises her eyebrows in surprise.]

    Fred: Just after I graduated. After-

    Tara: Your celebration party. I remember. You'd just applied to UCLA.

    Fred: [soft and slow] After we said our goodbyes, I went off to LA, got a job at a library just before the semester started. I found a book. I read it? then I was sucked in.

    Tara: [shocked] Oh my god.

    Fred: I suppose there's your reason for the years of answer phone messages.

    Tara: After you disappeared, I just thought? you'd lost interest.

    Fred: Lost interest?

    Tara: Your parents, they said you were at college. They told me not to worry about you. So I didn't. I tried to, anyway.

    Fred: How could I ever lose interest? They just didn't want to scare you, I'm sure.

    Tara: I missed you.

    Fred: There's a lot of that going around.

    Tara: So how long have you been back?

    Fred: Just over a year now.

    Tara: A year? How come-

    Fred: I was scared when I first came back. This world was new, different. I didn't know where I could fit in again, nothing seemed real. I couldn't face going back to anyone, not even my parents at first. But even after that there was so much happening, I was and still am part of a Investigations team "Helping the Helpless", I had a boyfriend, a whole new life. I just couldn't leave.

    Tara: I understand. More than you think.

    [Tara smiles to Fred.]

    Tara: Except for the boyfriend part.

    Fred: [chuckles] It's good to have you back.

    [Cut to: the witch hunters' house, night. Pan around a bedroom to see it's fairly average and regular, as we continue around we stop at Ameya, cleaning her sword with a cloth. There is a knock at the door, she turns her attention to it.]

    Ameya: Come in. Unless you're trying to kill me that is.

    [Pause. There is another knock. Ameya sighs, looking perplexed she walks to the door.]

    Ameya: Usually when I say come in, I mean come in.

    Fynn: Well let's just say the message got Lost in Translation.

    Ameya: Does that joke even deserve a cringe?

    Fynn: A disappointed sigh wouldn't hurt.

    [Ameya smiles and steps aside.]

    Ameya: So what can I do for you?

    Fynn: I just needed to get something, before the attack.

    Ameya: From my room? Which has none of your possessions in it.

    Fynn: Yeah.

    Ameya: Care to explain?

    Fynn: Could I just give you a demonstration instead?

    [Fynn steps forward and kisses Ameya. She is startled for a second, but then accepts it, giving in and reciprocating. After a joyful moment, they decide to separate.]

    Ameya: [stunned] That was certainly... descriptive.

    Fynn: Well you know, hello gets boring after a while.

    Ameya: [smiles] I can't deny that.

    Fynn: Every time I get a spare moment, a fraction of a second, anything, I've pictured myself doing that. Sharing something like that with you. So I just had to do it, kiss you.

    Ameya: Well me too, but with you, not with me of course...

    Fynn: You're - you're remarkable, you know that?

    Ameya: Remarkable? [playfully] I'm listening.

    Fynn: The way you do things, you're so strong. Strong willed. Your determination, I've never seen anything like it.

    [Fynn looks down in a boyish manner.]

    Ameya: The inner school boy comes out to play.

    Fynn: So I just wanted to ask, maybe later, we could go out and have some-

    Ameya: [a little too eagerly] Coffee? Yes! I mean, of course. I mean... finish what you were going to say.

    Fynn: I was thinking ice cream, coffee's just a little too cliché for me.

    Ameya: [blushing] I was getting a little too excited there.

    Fynn: So you're on?

    Ameya: Yeah, sounds nice and delicious. The vanilla kind.

    [They smile to one another, Fynn walks to the door of Ameya's room. He looks back to her once, his eyes glinting with happiness, Ameya returns the same warm look. He turns and walks out of the room, down the corridor. With a huge boyish grin on his face, he leaves the door to Ameya's room open. We linger at the door and see Jade walk out from behind it. Her eyes dark, scowling.]

    [Cut to: Tara and Fred in the witches' kitchen, night. Pete walks in, he freezes.]

    Pete: Woah, sorry, I just walked in on a major emotion fest here. I'm probably ruining the moment. Coffee can wait.

    Tara: No no, come on in and caffeinate yourself up.

    Pete: Oh great, caffeinated goodness. [to Fred] Hi.

    Fred: Hi, I'm Fred.

    Pete: I never got these not-gender-abiding names, maybe I should call myself Petra just for variety.

    Fred: It's short for Winifred.

    Pete: [smiles] That's cute.

    [Ezra, Rina, Autumn and Kaspar walk in.]

    Rina: Is the kitchen open for service?

    Tara: Oh, sorry for the hold up.

    Kaspar: So I think some introductions are in order.

    Fred: I'm Fred.

    Tara: [gesturing to each person] This is Kaspar, Rina, Autumn and Ezra.

    [Fred waves enthusiastically.]

    Ezra: So are you staying long?

    Fred: No, apocalypse an' all.

    Tara: The usual then.

    [Fred shrugs. Beat.]

    Ezra: Usual?

    [Cut to: Ezra outside with a broom, brushing tiny pieces of glass with a broom into a pile, night. Rina comes out of the front door.]

    Rina: I see the lure of the green is too much for you.

    Ezra: Just doing the last touches of cleaning, getting rid of lingering debris from our drama fest before.

    Rina: Cleaning? More like a whole house refurbishment. I am not happy with those witch hunters.

    Ezra: And now we see where your priorities lie.

    Rina: She's standing in front of me.

    Ezra: [with a grin] My god, how can I love you so much?

    Rina: Long hours of practice?

    Ezra: What do you think they must be going through?

    Rina: Uh... I detect a rapid change in subject. Who?

    Ezra: Tara and Fred.

    Rina: It must have been hard. Knowing, thinking, that a person you cared so much about was just gone.

    Ezra: [reflectively] Yeah...

    Rina: At least that hasn't happened to us.

    Ezra: As if it ever would.

    Rina: Never. I'll never leave you, I promise you that.

    Ezra: I think I'll need your signature to hold you to that.

    Rina: You know it's yours, always.

    Ezra: [smiles] But despite the pain, the grief from before, the reward must be so good, to be able to see that person you loved for one last time, at least to be able to say goodbye properly.

    Rina: Just one time? What happened to the forever rule? Love ones stay you forever, no matter what happens.

    Ezra: [smiling] Yeah.

    [An watch alarm rings.]

    Ezra: Ok, that really ruined the moment.

    [Rina checks her watch.]

    Rina: Oh crap. Ten past one, I'm due somewhere, gotta go. See you.

    [They both kiss. Rina walks away, leaving Ezra smiling for a moment, simply basking, soon after she resumes her sweeping.]

    [Cut to: Autumn's bedroom, night. She's in bed, moonlight pouring in.]

    [Flash to: Verella smiling, from 1.04. The screen has a hint of dark blue.]

    [Flash to: Verella stabbing Autumn in the stomach.]

    [Cut to: Autumn shaking in her bed, sweating.]

    [Flash to: Autumn running down the a hallway, clutching her bleeding wound, panicking, breathing heavily.]

    [Cut to: Autumn shifting in her bed, turning.]

    [Flash to: Verella with an axe.]

    [Cut to: Autumn breathing heavily in bed. There is a knock.]

    [Abruptly pan to: Pete at the door. Autumn slowly opens her eyes.]

    Pete: [softly] Hey, rough night?

    [Autumn quickly sits up in her bed.]

    Autumn: No.

    Pete: [shakes his head] Not convinced. What's wrong?

    Autumn: It's ok, just the usual dream ghosts and goblins.

    Pete: So Verella makes regular guest spots in your dreams does she?

    [Autumn raises her eyebrows.]

    Pete: I heard you mumbling her name.

    Autumn: [lowers her head] Well nowadays...

    Pete: You know you could always-

    Autumn: Pete, please, you don't have to do this. There's nothing wrong.

    Pete: You were never a good liar.

    Autumn: You don't-

    Pete: Your bottom lip. It folds. It folds in just the same way, and you bite it just slightly, every time. That's how I know.

    Autumn: Well how stalker-ishly observant.

    Pete: Aut, I've seen through it. No telepathy or psychic powers of the X-men variety necessary.

    Autumn: Pete, I don't need you to help me.

    Pete: Well [he moves to sit on the end of her bed.] Tough.

    Autumn: And I thought this was a free country.

    Pete: Well think of me as therapeutic Stalin.

    [Autumn can't help but grin.]

    Autumn: It all keeps coming back, that night...

    Pete: [comforting] But it's ok now, she's been locked up.

    Autumn: I just can't help being scared, it's just staying with me.

    Pete: That's not a crime. But you can't let it stop you. So you're not as powerful, so what? You're still strong, it's somewhere in there you just need to find it.

    Autumn: What if I can't?

    Pete: I'm here. Don't worry, I'll be here to make sure nothing happens. Nothing is going to happen to you.

    Autumn: [smiling] Did I ask for a white knight?

    Pete: Not the kind of thing you ask for.

    Autumn: [grateful] Thanks.

    Pete: [stands up] I'm here. If you need anything.

    [Cut to: the witches' house, early morning. Slowly pan through the corridors of the house. Fred is asleep on the sofa in the living room, pan upstairs. Every bedroom door conveniently seems to be open. Pete is asleep, Ezra and Rina are asleep, Autumn is asleep as is Kaspar, except for?]

    [Tara who is awake. She walks through the corridor. All is silent, dark and quiet. We follow her as she slowly walks down the stairs to the living room. She makes her way to the kitchen. Tara turns on the light and walks to the fridge. She takes out a bottle of water and pours some into a glass on the counter.]

    [She slowly puts the bottle down. Smash. The bottle is intact, the sound came from elsewhere. There are shouts and sudden sounds of struggling. Scream. Tara turns, she puts the bottle down and rushes into the living room. The sofa is empty. Tara runs up the stairs. Ezra, Rina, Kaspar and Pete are in the corridor out of their rooms. Autumn's room door is wide open.]

    Kaspar: Oh god?

    [Kaspar walks towards Autumn's empty bed. Slowly, slowly. There's a note fluttering eerily on the bed. Kaspar reaches to pick it up, slow:]

    They'll die. They'll both die.


    End of Act One.


    • #3
      Act Two.

      [Open to: Lorundi High School, Texas, day. Another flashback. Tara walks out of a women's toilet, casually looking around, peering into the mass of people around. Fred is nowhere to be seen. Tara sighs and continues to walk on.]

      Voice: Hey!

      [Tara freezes suddenly when she hears the voice. Her expression contorts into one of intense annoyance, though fearful more than anything else.]

      [Pan to: a tough, big female student behind with a gang of mean looking girls behind her, backing her up.]

      Tara: [quietly, under her breath] Delia...

      Delia: Looks like we skipped our little "Give me my damn money, bitch" session on Friday.

      Tara: I was-

      Delia: [sharply] Ah ah. I don't wanna hear it.

      Tara: I gave you the money on Friday.

      [Delia and her girl gang approach Tara. Delia is right in Tara's face, glaring straight at her. She backhands Tara across the face.]

      Delia: So what were you saying?

      Tara: I-

      Delia: Don't worry.

      [Delia roughly snatches Tara's shoulder bag from her.]

      Delia: I'll get what I'm owed.

      Tara: N-no!

      [She takes out an item one by one, examining each closely. She suddenly takes out a bag of a green crushed plant. She hands the bag to her cronies who examine it eagerly and hungrily.]

      Delia: Well, look what we have here. Looks like Little Miss Sixties Rock isn't so innocent after all.

      Tara: It's not what you think.

      Delia: It's friggin' weed!

      Tara: It's not weed.

      Delia: No wonder. You're stuck in the renaissance. The way you dress, you're a poor little bitch aren't you?

      [Tara looks down, she takes a breath. She tries to pull herself together but she can't. One of Delia's gang hand her something they've been giggling about amongst themselves in the background.]

      Tara: No!

      [It's a little notebook. Delia takes it, and looks at Tara's expression - genuinely scared. Delia grins maliciously and opens the first page.]

      Delia: [laughing] Oh my god!

      Tara: No, please...

      [Tara tries to take the book from Delia, but she pushes Tara away into the wall.]

      Tara: Please don't...

      Delia: Did you know witchcraft is evil?

      Tara: [quietly] I-It's not evil.

      Delia: And who are you to judge? Did anyone say you could speak ?lil bitch? Now, say you're sorry.

      Tara: Say I'm sorry?

      Delia: [with a grin] For doing this, for doing such evil things.

      Tara: It's not.

      [Delia backhands Tara across the jaw again.]

      Delia: Sorry, what was that?


      Tara: I'm sorry...

      Delia: Well, not all hope is lost in the world, you'll get your punishment. Cos you know what they say - " 'Tis the season to be beaten." What's that? Do I hear a chant coming on?

      [Delia looks round and grins to her cronies. Then she turns back and looks Tara straight in the eye.]

      Delia: Witch. Witch. Witch. Witch! Witch! Witch! Witch!

      [The other cronies join in chanting "Witch! Witch! Witch!" Tara looks down. She wipes a tear from her face and walks away. Her walk turns into a run as she runs away crying, defeated. Fred walks down a flight of stairs as Tara walks past it crying, she then sees Tara walking away, upset. Her view moves to see Delia and her girls grinning, she sighs.]

      [Fade to: Tara, Ezra, Pete, Rina and Kaspar in Autumn's room, early morning. Silence.]

      Kaspar: Say it again..

      Tara: [sighs, she reads from the note]

      They'll die. They'll both die. You've taken what's ours, our right, part of our mission. Now we take what's yours.

      You'll never see your friends again if you don't agree to our terms. We know that your new arrival isn't exactly from around here. We know where you've been. We know how it happened. We know all of it. You need to go back there, your new life is against nature. You don't belong on this earth even more than all your foul kind.

      So unless you want your friends to die, you'll come to this address. You have twelve hours, till six am tomorrow. Come or there will be blood.


      Pete: Well, the letter isn't all cliché with magazine cuttings. That's something to be thankful for.


      Rina: So what do we do?

      [Beat. Kaspar walks out of the room.]

      Ezra: Kas, what are you...

      [Kaspar walks down the corridor, past Autumn's room now armed with a sword, determined.]

      Pete: Kaspar wait!

      Ezra: We can't just go charging off. Please think about this.

      Kaspar: We don't have time to think, to wait. I-I can't just stand around when my sister's life is on the line!

      Ezra: They could get hurt if we do anything rash.


      Pete: She's counting on us, we need to get her out of there. We need to keep her safe.

      [Pete smiles comfortingly to Kaspar. Kaspar's determined, hard expression softens slightly. He sighs. Silence.]

      Kaspar: They've really got us now, haven't they?

      Ezra: What do we all think? A compromise?

      Rina: Are you sure that's the best option?

      Ezra: Well what else can we do?

      Kaspar: Plan an attack, we might be able to intercept the meeting-

      Pete: Or not. Kas, Autumn's safety is the most important thing here, we can't go around taking risks.

      Kaspar: Risks? This isn't a risk.

      Pete: They could kill her if they find out-

      Kaspar: They could kill her anyway!

      Pete: [slowly] We should give them some of what they want. I'm with Ezra on the compromise idea, just anything to make sure she's ok.

      Kaspar: [bitterly] That's not all they want.

      [Kaspar turns to Tara, who has remained silent so far. She's looking down, slightly ashamed, wanting to hide herself. She looks up. Kaspar turns away.]

      Tara: [softly] I know. I know this is my fault, I can't help that, but blaming each other's not going to make this any easier.

      Kaspar: You have no right to tell us what to do.

      Tara: I'm-

      [Kaspar is about to retort back.]

      Ezra: Kaspar don't.

      Kaspar: If I don't who will? Come on, we're all thinking it, so why hide it?

      Pete: Kas, stop, this isn't helping.

      Kaspar: [to Tara] This is all happening because of you. You're doing this. You're causing this. This hunt, all this, it started when you arrived. How do we know you're not-

      Pete: Now that's enough!

      [Another dose of silence, quiet, deep. Tara looks down as Kaspar glares at her.]

      Rina: So what've we got?

      [They all try and shrug off what just happened, but they don't seem to be able to. There's an uncomfortable air around. Tense.]

      Rina: How about we consider a compromise, but we'll try and see if we can find a way to get Autumn and Fred out safely before tomorrow. If we can't, we'll go with the compromise. Anyone game?

      [The witches slowly nod. Ezra, Pete, Rina and Tara raise their hands. Kaspar doesn't. Though he looks around, seeing he's not going to win. He sighs deeply and nods in defeat.]

      [Fade to: Autumn and Fred being pushed into a dingy looking room, more like a cell, by Ameya, morning.]

      Kaspar VO: Just as long as they're ok.

      Fred: [pissed off] You know we can walk, you don't need to push us.

      Ameya: [briskly] Did I ask you to speak?

      Fred: Did I ask you to kidnap us and shove us in this cell?

      [Ameya glares at Fred, who glares just as roughly back.]

      Ameya: Just stay in here, you'll stay in here till tomorrow.

      Fred: Tomorrow?

      Autumn: What's happening tomorrow?

      Ameya: If all goes to plan - ding dong the witch'll be dead by breakfast.

      Autumn: Dead?

      [Ameya nods with a smile of success.]

      Fred: No. She won't. She can't. She'll find us before then.

      Ameya: She'll have a hard time doing that with a Shaman giving us a protective shield as we speak. They won't be able to find us.

      Autumn: Where are we?

      Ameya: Abandoned house. All alone.

      Autumn: They'll find a way.

      Ameya: [sarcastic] Yeah. Sure.

      [Ameya hands over two grubby bowls of glob to Autumn and Fred.]

      Ameya: Eat up, wanna be strong for the failed escape attempt you got planned tomorrow, don't you?

      Fred: Oh yeah, great way to give us a taste of prison-

      Ameya: Shut up.

      Fred: Strike a nerve? Cos really, prison food, this is the kind of food someone like you should be eating - a murderer.

      Ameya: I am not a murderer.

      Fred: [sarcastic, in imitation] Yeah. Sure.

      Ameya: Once your little witch friend snuffs it, you're so gonna regret this.

      Fred: Hypothetically speaking that is.

      Ameya: No, really not.

      Fred: I beg to differ.

      Ameya: I don't beg, I demand and get.

      Fred: Tara is not going to die again. She's too strong for that. She's so gonna kick your ass.

      [Ameya glares at Fred with a firey hatred. She turns and leaves the cell, locking the door behind her.]

      [Cut to: the witches' living room, day. Pete is at the computer typing, night. He is completely and utterly focused on the task at hand. His expression is serious as he stares at the screen. He is looking at what looks like blueprints of a house on a website. He scrolls down examining it. He sighs.]

      Pete: Damn it.

      [He clicks again and moves to another website. Kaspar walks in, looking slightly sullen and solemn. He's carrying two cups of steaming liquid in his hands.]

      Kaspar: Coffee?

      Pete: You know me Kas, I have the taste buds of a ten year old. Me no like coffee.

      Kaspar: Oh yeah. [quietly] I forgot...

      Pete: Seems to be a recurring theme these days. I forgot how hot headed you could get sometimes. Maybe some anger management is in order.

      Kaspar: Kind of ironic seeing as I'm a psychiatrist.

      Pete: Yeah, I'm basking in the irony.

      Kaspar: I'm sorry, about the way I acted earlier.

      Pete: Yeah you should be.

      [Kaspar looks at him, ashamed.]

      Pete: But you're forgiven. Tara was right, there's no use arguing over this. We need to stick together if we're gonna get through this.

      Kaspar: Some mighty words of wisdom there.

      Pete: Yeah, should really get back to this.

      Kaspar: What you doing?

      Pete: Looking up blueprints, I was surprised to find some on such a public website, I'm seeing if I can get any for the witch-nappers hovel.

      Kaspar: You didn't hear? We went to the hunters' house, it was empty, nothing there. They've moved somewhere else.

      Pete: [sighs] How come nobody told me?

      Kaspar: You were asleep when we found out, we didn't want to wake you. You must've been working hard.

      Pete: Yeah... Why're you so calm all of a sudden?

      Kaspar: Decided there's no point in being all angry, it's not going to bring her back any faster. You've been looking at this all day, we're putting together some negotiation plans with some other stuff mixed in. Care to join?

      Pete: [focused] Can't.

      Kaspar: Roles have changed, now look who's the determined one.

      Pete: [typing, not exactly listening] Yeah...

      Kaspar: But I'm glad you care. You care a lot about her, don't you?

      [Pete looks up to Kaspar, unsure how to react.]

      Kaspar: [smiles comfortingly] She'll be alright.

      [Kaspar stands up and walks out. Pete looks into space, in deep thought. After a moment he turns back to the computer and resumes his work.]

      [Cut to: Ameya walking down a corridor in the abandoned warehouse, day. She turns into a room, Drake is in there looking at some papers, he looks up.]

      Drake: And?

      Ameya: All locked up. There was no trouble.

      Drake: It's what I expected. I trust you.

      Ameya: Well that's good to know. There was just a little cheek from that smartass Texan, but I shut her up.

      Drake: [smiles] Three words. You. Go. Girl.

      [Ameya chortles, blushing.]

      Drake: I'm proud of you, you're coming so far, so fast.

      Ameya: Thank you.

      Drake: Everyday we're getting one step closer to regaining what's yours, what you deserve.

      Ameya: Taking what they took from me.

      Drake: Exactly. This is your right, nobody should take this away from you, especially them.

      Ameya : [smiles] Anymore progress with the ransom?

      Drake: The ransom...

      Ameya: How're we going to do the exchange when they cave in?

      Drake: There isn't going to be an exchange.

      Ameya: What do you-

      Drake: Whatever happens, I'm going to kill them both.

      [Drake walks out of the room. We remain focused on Ameya's expression - slightly startled.]

      [Cut to black.]

      End of Act Two


      • #4
        Act Three

        [Open to: the witches' living room, day. Ezra, Rina, Kaspar, Pete and Tara are in there.]

        Tara: We ready?

        Rina: Wait, this transportation spell that's meant to bring back Autumn -

        Tara: It's big, powerful-

        Rina: Beyond us.

        Tara: But we should try. We need to get them back. [Beat.] I think it's worth it.

        [Tara looks around to all of them. They nod in agreement.]

        Tara: Refero nobis quis eramus perdi.

        Ezra: Reverto nobis quis captus.

        [There's a small spark in the middle of the circle they're standing around. The spark disappears for a fraction of a second but reappears, slightly bigger, brighter.]

        Rina: Reverto res ut via exsisto.

        [The spark grows, bigger, stronger, brighter each time, increasing with energy.]

        Kaspar: Refero diligo unus nos habitum carus.

        Pete: Permissum suus exsisto tutus quod universus iterum.

        [The spark suddenly explodes rapidly. The whole screen goes white. The white slowly fades away. There's nothing. The witches remain in silence and sigh.]

        [Cut to: Tara in the witches' living room, night. She's doing some research with a disorganised jumble of books around.]

        Ezra: Looking for a new spell?

        Tara: [looks up] Hopefully this one won't go completely supernova.

        Ezra: Well it wasn't all bad, got a free light display if you think positively.

        Tara: With some semi-temporary blindness on the side.

        Ezra: How long do we have left?

        Tara: [checks her watch] About twelve hours.

        Ezra: We're halfway through.

        Tara: We've still got time.

        Ezra: So the glass is half full then, good that's the best way to think. So what're we gonna do then?

        Tara: [softly] I don't know. I don't know what to do...

        Ezra: This has hit you hard hasn't it?

        Tara: [with a brave smile] No, not really. Drake wants me to kill myself in exchange for Autumn and Fred.

        [Tara sighs.]

        Tara: I know it's selfish, I know I shouldn't say such a thing but-

        Ezra: But what?


        Tara: [in pain] But I don't want to die again...

        Ezra: Of course, nobody does.

        Tara: I don't want to go back there.

        Ezra: You won't have to. We'll get through this.

        Tara: If the worst comes to the worst, if I have to give myself up...

        Ezra: [looks into her eyes] What?

        Tara: I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if I'm strong enough to do it.

        Ezra: Don't think about this now, we'll deal with it when the time comes.

        Tara: I don't know how I'll live with myself if I let them die. If I kill them.

        Ezra: Tara, stop. Stop saying this to yourself, wallowing's not going to do any good. We don't know what's going to happen. But if nothing works there's one thing I'm certain of, one thing I know.

        Tara: And what's that?

        Ezra: You'll do the right thing. You always do.

        [Fade to: Lorundi High School hallway, evening. Another flashback. Tara is walking down it, solitary and alone. Fred rushes up to her.]

        Fred: Hi.

        Tara: [looks up] Evening.

        Fred: How are you?

        Tara: [hesitant] Oh - yeah, good.

        Fred: How was your day? Anything happen?

        Tara: No, just got a sucky D in Physics, then after school... I went home.

        Fred: Anything else?

        Tara: [quickly] No. So how's the dorm choosing coming along?

        [Fred looks slightly disappointed.]

        Fred: Oh that's not for a while, I went to the campus last week.

        Tara: So that's where you were when "You went to eat a cheeseburger."

        Fred: [sheepish] Well, I did.

        Tara: For three days?

        Fred: Yeah, lying's not exactly my strong point.

        Tara: I can see that.

        Fred: And it's not yours either.

        [Tara lowers her head, slightly guiltily.]

        Tara: Fred-

        Fred: I know what happened yesterday. You didn't need to hide this from me.

        Tara: [quiet] I-I didn't want you to worry.

        Fred: What's she been doing?

        Tara: She's-she's been taking my money, using it. And I let her.

        Fred: Tara, this isn't your fault, but you should have come to me, to someone at least.

        Tara: I know...

        Fred: [appalled] Delia's always been a little rough, but this... I had no idea.

        Tara: I'm sorry.

        Fred: No, don't be. She's the one who should be sorry. We can't let her keep on doing this to you.

        Tara: What are we going to do?

        [Tara looks up, scared.]

        Tara: [trembling slightly] You're not going confront her are you?

        [Fred looks at Tara, confirming it.]

        Tara: N-no. She's too strong.

        Fred: I'm not going to let this go on. We shouldn't.

        Tara: What are you gonna do?

        Fred: You have to stand up to her, show her she can't control you. You're better than that, Tara.

        [Cut to: darkness, pitch black, silence. A door opens and light floods in. There is a silhouette at the door, the shape of a man. We see it's Drake as he steps further in. He peers around, it's just dark except what's in front of him. Drake steps backwards a few steps, his eyes narrow, he's growing suspicious.]

        [Suddenly a plate smashes on his head, shattering. Drake suddenly turns around. Fred is behind him, she punches him across the face, she suddenly winces shaking her fist.]

        Fred: Ow.

        [Drake stumbles back, slightly stunned. Autumn takes this chance to hold Drake's arms from behind him. He struggles in her grip, quickly managing to fight her off and throw her to the ground. He quickly regains her his composure and punches Fred across the face so hard she nearly collapses to the ground.]

        [While Drake is distracted Autumn stabs him in the hand with a fork, he screams in pain. Autumn pushes past Drake, she pulls Fred and they run. They run through the warehouse, through rooms and corridors, they sprint and sprint, a door is in sight, so near. Autumn is suddenly struck down by a punch - Jade. Ameya emerges from a room and grabs Fred while Jade towers over Autumn.]

        Jade: Oh look. Looks like we've become the mouse trap.

        [Jade holds down Autumn, and Ameya holds down Fred. Both of them struggle wildly against their captors. Fred manages to elbow Ameya in the face, Ameya lets go and Fred manages to roll off onto her feet. She sees the fork lying on the floor by Autumn and stabs it into Jade's leg even though she tries to kick Fred back in protest. Ameya backhands Fred across the head while Jade manages to keep hold of Autumn. Drake and Fynn enter the room. Drake's hand has a small bandage around it, he raises his hand.]

        Drake: [to Autumn] Well with that big fight scene now over - bitch who stabbed me with a fork - ow.

        [Jade roughly pulls Autumn up. Fred groans in pain and raises herself up.]

        Autumn: [sarcastic, yet shaking is fear.] Oh, the guilt.

        Dake: I would call that the great escape, but it really wasn't.

        Fred: You so love to hear yourself yammer on, don't you?

        Drake: You'd better get used to it, cos it'll be the only voice you hear Little Miss Twig. Where are you from?

        Fred: [angry] Texas you piece of sh-

        Drake: Shamola! Texas? No. Oh my god, the irony. [to Autumn] And you?

        Fred: Leave her out of this, Autumn ignore him.

        Drake: Autumn is it? She's trembling like a leaf this one.

        [Drake gets right up to Autumn's face.]

        Drake: You look like one push'll kill you the way you're shaking.

        [Fred tries to push him back but Ameya pulls her back roughly.]

        Drake: Boo.

        [Autumn looks up to him, trembling, fearful, she shakes slightly.]

        Fred: Just back off, she doesn't deserve this.

        Drake: Tough. She picked her side. You choose to ally yourselves with the evil and impure, this is the price. All of this. And don't think you're not going to pay for this little Autumn. I have to say the severe lack of NHS is starting to get to me. Anyway she's weak, you all are, she'll be an easy one to crack, nobody does this to me and walks away free.

        Autumn: [quietly] Well... there's a first time for everything.

        Drake: You're a cheeky little cow aren't you?

        Fred: What we're doing is not weak, you haven't even found the strength to face up to them properly yet. You find other ways to hurt them, rather than just sticking a knife in their stomachs. You can't beat them.

        [Drake stares back down at her, he laughs. Fred looks back severely into his eyes, slight realisation emerging.]

        Fred: This is vengeance. This is all vengeance, that's why you're doing this, hunting them. I can see it in your eyes. I've been through it. I know what blind revenge can do, it never ends well.

        [Drake's expression grows darker, lower, more serious. Slowly into a disgusted scowl.]

        Fred: So boo hoo. Whatever you went through in your past, move on, it's not worth all this, it's not worth-

        [Drake suddenly slaps her violently across the face.]

        Drake: [furious] You know nothing about me. How dare you!

        Fred: [rubbing her cheek] Maybe not, but I know one thing - you need to get over it.

        [Drake breathes heavily, glaring down at Fred.]

        [Cut to: Fred and Autumn being roughly hurled into the cell again, the light is now on in the room. Fred moves towards Autumn and takes her hand.]

        Fred: [reassuring] It's going to be ok.

        Autumn: I know...

        Fred: You do? I mean... good.

        Autumn: Because I know he's coming for me.

        [Fade to black.]

        [Cut to: a hugely epic view of Lesper Bay, we see the sunrise in the distance, dawn. Slowly pan down nearing ground level. The sunrise slowly disappears as buildings get in the way. Pan down to an alleyway. The witch hunters are standing there, waiting. Drake checks his watch. Silence.]

        [Cut to: the witches' living room, dawn. Ezra is there, sleeping with her head on a book, her eyes open slowly, she groans and yawns, stretching. Remembering, she suddenly checks her watch - 5.30. She looks around, the chair next to her is empty. She rushes up the stairs, she reaches Tara's room. Her bed is empty.]

        [Cut to: the witch hunters in the alleyway again. Footsteps can be heard.]

        Drake: Tick tock witch. Tick tock.

        [Tara comes into view, round the corner into the alleyway.]

        Drake: [shakes his head] This tardiness, not impressive.

        Tara: It's six a.m., I'm not late.

        Drake: I wasn't sure you'd make it.

        Tara: No small talk, let's just get this done with.

        Drake: Come on, we're both civilised adults.

        Tara: Is that what you think murdering is? Civilised?

        Drake: When it's for a good cause.

        Tara: Lame excuse. Let's just get on with this.

        Drake: [with a smirk] Come on, am I not allowed to try and chat you up?

        Tara: I think you'll find I'm not interested.

        Drake: And why's that?

        Tara: I can name more than a few reasons.

        Drake: For example?

        Tara: You have a penis and you're a bastard.

        Drake: Wow, you're on fire with the insults today. And you'll continue to be, in the firey pits of hell!

        Tara: Enough of this.

        Drake: So, what's it going to be?

        [Autumn and Fred are pulled out of a smaller side alley by Ameya and Jade, their hands are tied together. Drake gestures towards them. Tara instinctively moves towards them, but pulls herself back, preventing herself.]

        Drake: These two or you.

        [We hear the sound of hurried footsteps in the background as, Ezra, Rina, Pete and Kaspar arrive.]

        Pete: Jeez, what's with these hunters and alleyways?

        Ezra: Tara, what are you-

        [Tara turns around, looking back to the witches. She then turns to Drake. Her expression focused, determined.]

        Tara: I'll do it. Send me back.


        End of Act Three


        • #5
          Act Four

          [Open to: the alleyway, dawn. A continuation of the last scene.]

          Ezra: [shocked] You'll do what?

          Tara: I can't do this, I can't keep fighting. We're not going to win, not now. I've got you all into this, now I'm going to get you out.

          Ezra: This is insane.

          Tara: Maybe, but life and death doesn't always make sense.

          Ezra: Then make them, change things. You can beat this if you only try.

          Tara: I-

          Ezra: You don't need to be a puppet, controlled.

          Tara: Now I won't be able to be controlled.

          Ezra: That's not the point, we can fight this!

          Tara: [slowly breaking] I can't risk it. I can't risk any of this. I don't want to do this but I have to. I have to, Ez.

          Ezra: We can. We'll find another way.

          Tara: Ezra, I'm not meant to be here. I'm not meant to be alive, living, breathing. I should be in the ground, it's the way it's meant to be, not all this pain and suffering.

          Ezra: But somebody brought you back. Somebody must've thought you're meant to be here, carry on. Live out your life. Somebody wanted you to go on. I do.

          Tara: Well then maybe they're wrong.

          Ezra: Tara, you have incredible strength in you, you just need to get at it. Don't throw these chances away, it's not worth it.

          Tara: [incensed, caught up in the moment.] Funny coming from you, you wanted me dead a while ago. You wanted me gone, now you've just suddenly changed your mind?

          [Tara looks away, suddenly regretting what she's said.]

          Tara: I'm sorry Ez, I didn't mean...

          Ezra: No, it's ok. These things need to be said. But I'm still not going to let you throw your life away like this.

          [Ezra grips Tara's hand. Tara looks down to it. She takes a breath, then looks up intensely to Ezra.]

          Tara: No.

          [Tara turns. A portal has emerged about ten metres in front of her.]

          Ezra: I'm not going to let you do this.

          Drake: [bored] Chop chop, haven't got all day. I've got other things to do today than witch kill. I'll have to go at 1:20, but I really don't want to wait here till then.

          Tara: She once told me to be brave, be strong. That's what I'm doing.

          [Tara rips her hand out of Ezra's, she runs. Into the blue, dark swirling depth of the portal - and gone.]

          [Cut to: Lorundi High School Hallway, day. Another flashback. Fred is walking down it, in the usual Fred way, books clutched in her arms, she checks her watch and suddenly turns. She stops. She hears the tiniest sounds, quick, heavy breathing and tiny little murmurs. She walks towards the source of the noise, a closet, she suddenly opens it. Tara is in there trembling, her head in her hands. Her skin is covered in cuts and bruises. She looks up to a concerned Fred as the door opens.]

          Fred: We have to get you out of here.

          [Fred holds out her hand, Tara takes it, Fred pulls Tara up, dropping all her books on the floor, but she doesn't care.]

          Fred: [horrified] What happened? It was Delia wasn't it?

          Tara: [in pain] She cornered me, all of them. Then they started beating. Just beating...

          Fred: Oh god...

          [Beat. Fred turns, leaving everything she starts to walk down the corridor.]

          Tara: N-no. Fred, what are you doing?

          Fred: I need to finish this, this can't go on any longer.

          Tara: You said yourself she's too strong. She's too strong.

          Fred: She hurt you. Nothing is too strong. Remember that Tara.

          [Cut to: the alleyway, dawn. Ezra stares ahead as the portal still swirls violently in front of them. She takes a deep breath, frowning, grave. The early morning birds tweet quietly in the distance.]

          Drake: Ok, mope time's over. Let's get to the killing.

          Autumn: What? You said-

          Drake: I know what I said, Mousey. But the thing is you don't know what I actually meant.

          Fred: That wasn't part of the deal.

          Drake: I know that.

          Rina: You're disgusting you know that?

          Drake: Aw, thanks, right back at you, babe.

          [Ezra is still stuck in shock with the rest of the witches, disgusted shock. The witch hunters move forward, Ameya and Jade are still gripping Fred and Autumn.]

          Drake: Who's it gonna be first?

          Kaspar: You don't feel anything do you?!

          Drake: Oh I feel. I feel that the world would be a better place without you corrupting it. You could say I'm performing a public service.

          Pete: This is sick!

          Drake: No, you're sick. I'm just the guy there to clean it up, get rid of it.

          Rina: You're really awful with the metaphors.

          Drake: Soon you'll just be another wiped out little band of Harry Potter wannabes.

          Pete: Oh we're so gonna Avada Kedavra your ass.

          Ameya: Oh really.

          Pete: Did you not hear me, muggle?

          [Ezra gets out of her shocked state, she looks up. There is a small flash of blue light behind the witch hunters. A faint little, hopeful smile appears on her face.]

          Rina: Has it worked?

          Ezra: [grins] Oh yeah.

          Drake: What're you talking-

          [Drake turns around to see Tara standing there. He freezes still, stunned. Tara is equally stunned. Her eyes are wide in utter shock. She feels her hands to check for reality, to check if she's real. She feels her head, her shoulders, her neck. She takes a few, shocked, laboured breaths. Long beat. The hunters stare at her in horror. The witches grin in triumph. Tara's shock also turns to a grin.]

          Tara: Ha!

          Drake: What the-

          [A fist suddenly collides into Drake's jaw, Pete. Pete rushes towards Autumn and Fred, but Jade and Ameya get in his way armed with swords. Kaspar rushes up to help Pete as does Rina. Pete slowly backs away from the sworded women and is surprised to see Jade yell in pain as Autumn kicks her in the back. Jade is down on the floor, Pete stands over her.]

          Pete: I don't usually hit women, but I suppose evil bitches are an exception.

          [Pete punches Jade across the face, knocking her out. Pete rushes towards Autumn, ready to untie her. Ameya is about to strike him with a blow of her sword but Kaspar sends a small blast of energy at her. She staggers, slightly stunned.]

          Kaspar: I'm not going to let you hurt him.

          Ameya: He's not my priority now, I want you.

          [Ameya lunges at Kaspar. Pete starts to untie Autumn's hands.]

          Ameya: [smiles] You came.

          Pete: Of course, d'you think I'd let you down? But I have to say this is way too much for this early in the morning.

          [Tara makes her way towards Drake, who's wincing in pain.]

          Tara: Could you be more pathetic?

          Drake: You tricked me - again.

          Tara: [slightly angry] The second time, didn't think you could be so gullible.

          Drake: Whatever you do, whatever, it's only going to make your pain worse.

          Tara: My pain? I'm feeling pretty pain free right now with the not dying.

          Drake: Not now. You don't feel it now. But you will. And when it comes, you're going to wish you died just then. You all will.

          [Tara stares down at Drake, determined.]

          Tara: No.

          [Fade to: the witches' kitchen, morning. Ezra is in there eating a bowl of cornflakes as Tara walks in.]

          Ezra: After all that action, breakfast has never tasted so good. Even the soggy kind.

          Tara: I'm too lost in thought to eat.

          Ezra: Lost in "I'm alive!" thoughts?

          Tara: Pretty much. [She sits on a stool and turns to Ezra.] Before all this victory, I genuinely thought I was gonna die again, get swallowed up by that portal, back in the grave, six feet under.

          Ezra: But you didn't.

          Tara: How did you do it? You must've put a spell on the portal or-

          Ezra: We just managed to find a spell to manipulate the portal, make it do what we wanted instead of what they wanted. I've been looking into those sort of spells for a while now. It was lucky.

          Tara: It wasn't lucky. It was amazing. Thank you.

          Ezra: [with an embarrassed grin] Yeah... in a way, I guess...

          Tara: And you couldn't fill me in? I pretended I knew what was going on when I was talking to Drake, but really I had no idea.

          Ezra: I couldn't tell you. By the time we decided on what exactly to do, you'd gone.

          Tara: About that little argument we had.

          Ezra: Don't sweat it, I was acting, it was all an act.

          Tara: All of it?

          Ezra: Well just for the record, even though it was an act, I meant all that I said.

          Tara: Thanks again. It was amazing.

          [Tara gets off her stool and walks towards a cupboard to get something out of it.]

          Ezra: Speaking of amazing.

          [Tara turns.]

          Ezra: I told you you'd do the right thing, and you did. Tara, you thought that you were going to die again after you'd just been given your one chance at new life. To live, to breathe again, you've been through death, you know how painful it can be. And you gave that away in a second because you knew you had to, to save them.

          [Tara looks at Ezra, who looks back. Ezra is almost proud.]

          Ezra: If that's not amazing, I don't know what is.

          [Tara smiles with warm appreciation.]

          [Fade to: the witches' house, morning. Tara is coming out of the shower all towelled up, she walks down the upstairs corridor towards her room.]

          Voice: Tara?

          [Tara stops and turns, it's Kaspar.]

          Tara: [attempts a smile] Hi.

          Kaspar: Hi.

          [There is a silence, very awkward.]

          Tara: Ok, I should... leave.

          Kaspar: Tara please, wait.

          Tara: I'm waiting.

          Kaspar: I'm sorry.

          Tara: Kaspar, it's ok.

          Kaspar: I was angry, upset. And I took it out on you. I'm sorry. You helped save my sisters life. I shouldn't have turned on you like that.

          Tara: You had reason to.

          Kaspar: But that doesn't make it right. What you've done for my friends, family and for me so far - I can't thank you enough. Please, don't forget that.

          Tara: [softly] I won't.

          [Kaspar smiles appreciatively and nods.]

          Fred VO: So this is it.

          [Cut to: Tara and Fred at the threshold of the witches' house. Tara is inside, Fred is outside.]

          Fred: This is your life, your new world.

          Tara: [takes a breath] Yeah. This is it.

          Fred: So is this goodbye?

          Tara: Not really, we'll still keep in touch.

          Fred: Tara, your whole new life, everything, you have no idea how pleased I am for you. What you did today...

          Tara: [shrugs] Yeah, everybody seems to be saying that.

          Fred: Tara, don't dismiss it or forget about it. From what I've seen of you here, you've grown so much. You're not the Tara I knew, you've come out of your shell, blossomed in more ways than one. I still can't believe you've found the strength and the will to do that.

          Tara: I-I got a lot of that from Willow. She was... She was the one that...

          [Tara starts to cry. Fred moves towards her, concerned and hugs Tara.]

          Fred: It's ok.

          Tara: [in tears] I still can't sleep properly at night without her.

          Fred: You can. You've shown you can. Willow would be so proud. I'm so proud. Look what you did to that bastard and his bitches, you showed them.

          Tara: About the kidnapping, I'm sorry.

          Fred: Don't be. Don't ever be sorry for things you haven't done, for things that aren't wrong, for witchcraft.

          [Tara stares into Fred's eyes. They're both thinking of the same thing.]

          Fred: You now know you can take on people like that. You all can.

          Tara: What have I done all these years without you?

          Fred: You died for starters.

          [Tara chuckles.]

          Fred: You've done some amazing things, Tara. And remember - nothing is too strong. Remember that, Tara.

          [Cut to: the witches' living room, morning. There is a Christmas tree in the room being decorated by Autumn. Pete walks in.]

          [Song:"Maybe This Christmas" by Ron Sexsmith.]

          Maybe there'll be an open door
          Maybe the star that shined before
          Will shine once more

          Pete: My god, it's Christmas? How didn't I remember?

          Autumn: Kidnapping, ransom, violence, we have our excuses.

          Pete: That didn't exactly put us in the festive mood.

          Autumn: Yeah, it's already that time of the year and this is our only gift so far.

          Pete: Thanks Santa!

          Autumn: [smiles] Well I have something to be thankful for. So thanks. A lot.

          Pete: I made a promise. I told you I'd be there for you no matter what. Am I not a man of my word?

          Autumn: Except when you cheat at poker.

          Pete: Well except that.

          Autumn: I'm not having the greatest record with near death situations these days.

          Pete: Yeah, evil really doesn't like you, Aut.

          Autumn: This is more action, with a mixture of blood, terror and horror than I've had in my whole life.

          Pete: Anything I can do to make it better?

          Autumn: [smiling] Could you just be selfish for once? All this chivalry is getting creepy.

          Pete: Ok, but I just worry. Is that so bad?

          Autumn: I guess... not.

          Pete: But really, if there's anything, just ask.

          [Autumn nods, Pete turns to walk away.]

          Autumn: Pete?

          [Pete turns back to Autumn.]

          Autumn: You said anything.

          Pete: [reassuring] Anything.

          Autumn: Merry Christmas.

          [Autumn leans upwards and kisses Pete softly on the cheek. He smiles down to her, not thinking much of it, he walks away. Autumn looks up and reaches above her, taking something down. Autumn clutches it in her hand. Mistletoe.]

          Maybe this Christmas will mean something more
          Maybe this year love will appear
          Deeper than ever before...

          [She holds it to her, in thought, she grins. Then she resumes her decorating.]

          [Cut to black.]

          The End