Beta Reader: Debra

Disclaimer: The television program "Vengeance Unlimited" and its main characters "Mr. Chapel" and "K.C. Griffin" are not mine. They are owned by John McNamara, David Simkins, and anybody else involved in officially making this wonderful program. There is no money being made by this work of writing. It's sole purpose is to provide entertainment for me and anybody who reads it.

Warning: This story involves a personal viewpoint on Chapel's past and the friendship between him and KC. If you'd prefer to leave that up to the original creators and/or your imagination, I'd suggest you don't read this. There are also spoilers.

Notes: (o.s.) = off screen, (v.o.) = voice over

Dedicated to: The programs that fell because of people in power who were too short-sighted to see their obvious potential. Including but sadly not limited to:

"Alien Nation," "American Gothic," "Babylon 5," "Brimstone," "Briscoe County Jr.," "Crusade," "Cupid," "Dark Skies," "Deadly Games," "Gargoyles," "Harsh Realm," "M.A.N.T.I.S.," "Milennium," "Nowhere Man," "Prey," "Profit," "Space: Above and Beyond," "Strange Luck," "The Visitor," "VR5," and of course, "Vengeance Unlimited." _____________________________________________________________________________

~~~~~~~Prologue~~~~~~~

[Open to a neighborhood during the night. It's evident that it's the holiday season because of the Christmas lights throughout the suburban populace, but there's no snow to be seen. We watch a scene where some kids are walking down the street alone. Pan in to a street corner named Walken and Lloyd. Under the streetlamp and out of the shadows materializes a young adult dressed in dark clothing and decorated with various jewelry. These seemingly innocent kids hand money over to the dark stranger who hands them some bags filled with white powder. It's obviously drugs and the group slowly separates without so much as a glance to check if someone's seen them. Suddenly, we realize we're looking through a window. Panning out, we slowly reveal a redheaded woman looking out at the scene. She's sitting on a couch with the back of her head to us. The woman turns around to look at the cellular phone in her hand and the light from the buttons show us her face as well. We recognize KC as she stares at the phone. She has aged from when we last saw her, she's in her mid-fifties now, but she looks good. As the camera pans out more, we see a stand with a lamp and two pictures on it. The picture shows a young KC hugging a man who is undoubtedly her husband. The other depicts KC and two young girls, her children. KC turns off the phone putting the room back into darkness. Cut to a dark bedroom. KC enters.]

KC: Lights on!

[Activated illumination shows the bed is empty and it's 1:37AM.]

KC: (talking to herself) What good would it do to call the police? They'd never make any of the charges stick... (sigh) I'm probably already on their list of crank callers by now.

[She sits on her bed for a few moments, knees to chest. She reaches to her neck and pulls out a small silver necklace that she is wearing. She looks at a side of a metal tag and watches her initials shine in the light. Then she turns it over looking at the medieval griffin engraved on it. She smiles sadly but determination lights up her eyes.]

KC: No one ever said I had to tolerate it.

[She pulls the covers up and lays back in the bed. She turns her head to the nightstand, picks up the picture of her and her husband and kisses it.]

KC: Lights off.

[The screen darkens. Cut to around 5:00 PM of the next day. We see her in her living room setting up various equipment including a cellular phone, a camera, surveillance devices, and bugs. She obviously picked up a few things back then. Behind her, above the fireplace, we can see the painting that Chapel gave her for her birthday during "Vendetta." Cut to 12:30AM. KC is dressed in black and inside an alley. She's looking around cautiously and climbs through a broken window. Inside she sees huge boxes, filled with white powder. She begins taking pictures and planting bugs. Just as she's ready to climb back out she whispers to herself.]

KC: It's 2024. You think these guys would try something else besides an abandoned building.

voice: (o.s.) Sorry to disappoint.

[KC is horrified and bolts out the window but hears several footsteps behind her. She makes it out of the alley but is hit in the back of the head with a thrown brick. She falls to the ground and as the sound of footsteps close in, the scene mercifully fades to black. We hear the ringing of a telephone. A lamp turns on and the camera sees the new face of a young woman in bed. She picks up the phone.]

Alexandra: (surly) What!?

[As she continues to talk, the camera focuses and pans in on the picture on her nightstand. It's another picture of KC's family only it's just her and two young women. Alexandra is one of them. Her voice is getting increasingly worried as she realizes something is seriously wrong.]

Alexandra: Mom? Mom!? What's wrong...? Where...? Please talk to me! Mom!

[Fade to black. A light brightens and we see KC on a hospital bed. She is badly injured and purple is blotched all over her visible body. Both of her eyes have been blackened. Large cuts crisscross her unconscious body and there are tubes of oxygen and intravenous solution in various places. Her long hair has been cut to around shoulder length by a nurse to avoid entanglement with equipment. Two casts encase an arm and a leg. Next to her is a doctor, a young policeman, and a tear-faced Alexandra who is gingerly holding KC's hand.]

Alexandra: (shaky) Wh-what happened to her?

Dan: (the policeman) (kind and serious) Alex, we found her in the street you indicated next to a warehouse. Somebody noticed her there and called us a few minutes before the ambulance came as well. We arrived there a few minutes later and got her to the hospital as quickly as possible. It's a good thing she was carrying that cell phone and was able to call you.

Alexandra: But why...?

Melanie: Mom!

[Camera pans to door where we see a worried female face. She is KC's other daughter and the other woman we saw in the picture earlier. She rushes to her side. We see that Melanie has black hair, Alexandra dark red. They each take a look at the other.]

Melanie: (worried) How is she?

Dr. Fielding: She's in serious condition bordering on intensive care. However, she is stable and is in no immmediate danger. (kind) We'll do everything we can.

Melanie: Thank goodness! Alex.

[The two sisters hug each other.]

Alexandra: Hey, Mel. (gives a kiss on the cheek)

Melanie: (to Dan) How did this happen?

Dan: We found her... like that in the street. She was right next to a warehouse that was reputed to be a drug hideout. We searched the place, but by the time we got there any evidence was gone from the premises. We still don't know just how they did it so quickly, but we're searching. We'll find them. You know I made a promise to your dad to always protect you girls. (radio squawks) Sorry, but I have to get back to work. Call me if... Call me when she wakes up. (starts to leave)

Alexandra: We will. Bye, Uncle Dan.

Dan: Bye, kids. (takes one last worried look at KC)

Melanie: Doctor, can we stay here with her?

Dr. Fielding: (kindly) You can stay in the waiting room. I'm sorry, but it's late and against policy to let you stay in here. You'll be able to come back here early in the morning. I'll keep you updated if anything happens during the night.

[Melanie squeezes KC's hand.]

Melanie: Bye, Mom.

Alexandra: C'mon, Mel.

[Alexandra leads her out and Dr. Fielding follows. He switches off the lights which also blackens the screen. Opening Credits roll. "Vengeance Unlimited" theme plays.]

~~~~~~~Act 1~~~~~~~

[Fade in from white light. Back in KC's hospital room during the day. The duo are there. Alexandra is sitting by KC, and holding her hand. Melanie is flipping through the medical report and pacing around.]

Alexandra: How did Mom end up near that warehouse? She lives at least twenty blocks away from the place.

Melanie: I don't know but those bastards are gonna pay for it! Those are the kind of people who, who...(falters realizing the sentence has to be finished)

Alexandra: ...killed Dad.

Melanie: (small voice) Yeah. (hardens) And they will get the same thing: life behind bars!

Dan: (walking in) Sadly, I'm not so sure about that. We searched the entire place and found nothing there. It's like everything just disappeared. However, (pulls out listening bug) our guys found several of these.

Alexandra: Why would drug dealers bug their own...?

Dan: They didn't. It looks like they're hers. (indicates KC)

Melanie: Mom's? It can't be. Why would she do that? I know she was frustrated with what's been going on in the neighborhood, but she wouldn't go this far.

Dan: I didn't think so either, but she had a corresponding radio in her car. Plus, there were a few more of these in there.

Melanie: Then they were planted.

Dan: (shakes head) No sign of entry into her car besides her. Not even fingerprints. You should have a talk with her about this when she wakes up... (deep breath) It's possible that she could be charged with trespassing on private property and invasion of privacy. Now, I don't know how she learned to do this. I'm pretty sure your dad didn't know how and neither did I... I wonder how she learned.

[Cut to outside of hospital room. It's dark and must be late because visiting hours are over. Camera looks down the hallway and we hear Dr. Fielding babbling.]

Dr. Fielding: You know I was wondering when you would show up since you helped me out. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do anything really complicated and so I was so relieved...

[The doctor walks into view with the listener who of course is Mr. Chapel. He's aged well too along with a beard and mustache. A bit more gray in the hair and creases in the forehead but still looking good. He's also still an intimidating figure, remember that he is still 6'2" and around 200 lbs.]

Chapel: Jon?

Dr. Fielding: (surprised) Yes?

Chapel: Open the door.

Dr. Fielding: What are you going to do? She's in serious condition and needs her rest.

[Chapel gives him a look. The doctor opens the door and let's him in.]

Chapel: Keep a lookout.

[Dr. Fielding closes the door. Chapel quietly pulls up a chair and looks at KC in the moonlight. She's twisting and turning around and apparently having nightmares.]

KC: (murmuring) Rob... help... no!...

[Chapel brushes his hand against the side of her face and wipes the sweat of her forehead. She calms down quickly at the comfort. He takes her hand and puts his forehead down on it.]

Chapel: (softly) I'm sorry that it took this to come here.

[He pulls out a string from around his neck. A wedding ring and a metal tag hang from it. The tag has a chapel engraved on it and on the back is engraved "From K.C." He rubs the tag between his fingers. Flash to a black and white scene inside a Paladin motel room. The younger KC and Chapel come in through the door looking really tired. A small little Christmas tree stands alone on the requisite table. Obviously a holiday touch by KC, the cheery little ornaments and tiny flashing lights attest to that. Chapel gently slides the tree over and places a suitcase on the table. He opens it up and starts sorting the money that is inside it.]

KC: (flops down on the bed) You know, I can get about... (checks wristwatch, sighs) four hours of sleep when I get back to my apartment. Before I have to get to the airport.

Chapel: How is your dad?

KC: (yawns and smiles) Still going strong thanks to you... (checks her watch again) Maybe I'll just sleep on the plane. (worry passes on her face) Are you sure you don't mind me visiting my family?

Chapel: KC, it's the holidays. I'm sure your family's been waiting to see you for quite a while now. You told me your dad even paid for the ticket to Arizona.

KC: (yawn) Yeah, he hasn't seen me very much lately. Plus, I can't afford it with what I'm making right now.

[KC still looks worried for Chapel. She knows that it must be painful for Chapel during a time when family and friendship are so emphasized.]

KC: (gets up) Hey, I have a surprise for you.

Chapel: Really? Funny you should mention that.

[KC's interest is piqued.]

KC: Since I won't be here this week, I wanted to give this to you now. I hope you like it.

[She hands him the small metal tag we saw around his neck before the flashback.]

KC: Merry Christmas.

Chapel: (small but sincere smile) Thank you.

KC: The guy who you got to pay the favor last week was a jewelry maker so I asked him.

Chapel: Steve Bassett?

KC: Yeah.

[Chapel pulls out version of the tag for KC from his jacket with the necklace and hands it to her. KC is still tired but manages a small grin. Great minds think alike.]

KC: Thank you.

[KC gives him a peck on the cheek. She puts the necklace on, looks at her watch again, and goes back on the bed. Chapel tucks KC's gift into his jacket and goes back to resorting money]

KC: I'll just stay awake. (yawn) Mind if I wait here 'til six?

Chapel: Not at all, room's checked out till noon.

[In a moment, Chapel finishes putting the money in three separate paper bags.]

Chapel: I was gonna catch a late dinn... early breakfast. Want some coffee?

[Chapel looks back on the bed only to see KC already sound asleep with a remote control in hand. Smiling, he takes the remote control out of her hand and pulls a blanket over her. He checks his watch, looks at her, and silently walks out the door. Fade back to color in the dark hospital room. Chapel is still holding her hand.]

Chapel: I'll be back.

[Cut to outside the room. Dr. Fielding is pacing around nervously looking out. The door opens and Chapel steps into the hallway.]

Chapel: Bill, I'm going to be here every night. Make sure no one's here when I do.

Dr. Fielding: (hopefully) Then we'll be done? My favor will be finished?

Chapel: (nods yes) Keep an eye on her.

[He walks down the dark hallway and comes to the outside of the waiting room. Glancing in, he sees the duo there. Alexandra is sleeping on a couch. Melanie looks tired but is reading a book with her back to the door. We see Chapel pausing and looking wistfully at them before walking away. Camera pans to Melanie, then to what she's reading. Then we see that she's studying KC's diary. Close-up of the written word "Chapel" which flashes across the screen several time. Flash to the waiting room, early morning]

Melanie: Look, I don't know who this guy is, but he must have been a really important guy in Mom's life when she was younger.

Alexandra: Old boyfriend?

Melanie: It doesn't look like it; I think they were close friends once upon a time. From what I've read, it looks as if this guy is the one who inspired her to do this. I can't be sure though, Mom is kinda vague about him. She doesn't even mention his first name. I'll have to try to find more.

Alexandra: Mel, I don't feel comfortable about you even reading that. It's private. It's Mom's. How did you even get it?

Melanie: While you were sleeping, Dr. Fielding came by and told me that one of us should get Mom's stuff. You looked like you could use the sleep so I went back home and found this in her nightstand by accident.

[Alexandra gives Melanie a pleading look.]

Melanie: Alex, I have to know why she's acting like this. I know she had a strong sense of right and wrong, but I always assumed it was because of Dad and her job. If she tries this again she might get herself killed.

Alexandra: (resignedly) All right then, but I still don't like it.

Melanie: (reasonably) I'll go back to the house after visiting hours start. I won't be long.

[Cut to Chapel in his car. The car isn't the '69 Charger, after all any car being used can only last so long. It's not really important what he's driving, just remember that true to form it should probably be black. I leave the rest to the reader's imagination. He's driving down the street of the warehouse neighborhood around mid day. He sees five young men exit the building. Using a long-range listening device, he listens in on the conversation. Matt has dark hair, a thin beard running down his jawbone, and two rings in his left ear. John has cropped blond hair and a small scar on his cheek.]

John: Hey man, I don't like leaving that much money with those two. They might get some stupid ideas.

Matt: Don't worry, they're loyal. They're too smart to try it because they know we'd hunt them down like dogs. I need all of you guys to go get the stash. We'll go to Austin by the end of the week, things are getting a little too hot around here. That woman last night brought the police around the area just before we got the stash out. It was too close a call. I wish we had had the time to shut her up.

[Chapel quickly puts away the surveillance equipment, gets out of the car and begins walking toward the warehouse. While getting there he bumps into one of two gang members effectively placing a bug on him.]

Chapel: Sorry, sorry.

John: Hey watch out you old fool!

[Chapel walks past and plants a trace on the car that the other three are taking off in just as they get in. Next, he walks to the door of the warehouse and knocks.]

Jimmy: (looks Chapel over) What the Hell do you want?!

[Chapel proceeds to tazer him and quickly walks inside. Cut to upstairs where we see the other guy hear the thump of the falling body.]

Scott: Hey, Jimmy what's going on!

[Chapel appears at the top of the stairs and flashing a badge. The guy looks relieved.]

Chapel: I'm searching this place.

Scott: Hey, you can't come in here without a warrant.

[Chapel is taking the time to check for any surprises and is now satisfied there is no one else.]

Scott: (smugly) I have rights.

Chapel: (uses chokehold to drive dealer to the wall.) You have the right to remain silent.

Scott: (gasping) This is police brutality.

[Cut to a picture of KC in the hospital bed last night for a split second.]

Chapel: No, it isn't.

[Chapel punches out the dealer with a quick one across the face. Scott promptly drops to the ground.]

Chapel: That is.

[Cut to sideview of KC in bed. In the background is Alexandra sitting on a nearby chair hugging her knees. She looks very depressed. KC slowly blinks open her eyes as if in response to the punch Chapel just threw.]

KC: (tensely) Ow. (tries to sit up) Uhhh!

[Alexandra's face lights up and she rushes over to KC.]

Alexandra: Mom! You're awake!

[For a moment, Alexandra's so excited she's not sure what to do. Letting instinct take over, she grabs KC in a tight hug.]

KC: Ow!

Alexandra: (quickly lets go) Sorry!

KC: That's OK, sweetie. Just do it softly.

[Alexandra hugs her again and KC looks over her shoulder to take in her surroundings.]

KC: Where am I?

Alexandra: City hospital.

KC: How are you?

Alexandra: (smiling from relief and surprise) Me? Mom, what about you? How do you feel?

KC: I'm fine. (moves and grimaces) Really, I'm all right.

Alexandra: Are you sure? What happened to you?

KC: I...

Alexandra: And why were you at that warehouse?

[KC gets an "oh-oh" look. Cut to a new scene. The camera is looking at a door from an upside-down POV. The door opens up and Chapel walks in. Camera changes so that we view the room with Scott hanging upside-down by his feet.]

Chapel: Scott L. Crowther.

Scott: Hey! Let me down! What are you doing?... How do you know my name?

[Chapel pulls out Scott's driver's license.]

Chapel: You know, you look pretty good in this picture. Was it done by a professional?

Scott: What?...Let me down! You're in big trouble, cop! You're gonna get slapped with the biggest lawsuit...!

Chapel: I don't work for the police department.

Scott: Then what are you?

Chapel: I'm your substitute conscience, Scott. You seem to have lost the original; I'm its replacement and I assure you I'm not leaving any time soon. I'll listen to what you tell me so I can tell you if it's wrong and that you shouldn't do them. Speaking of which, I'd like for you to tell me how your gang hides all your drugs so quickly.

Scott: I'm not telling you anything!

Chapel: In that case, you and I are going to be spending a lot of quality time together.

Scott: (sneering) Is this really supposed to scare me?

Chapel: You really should learn not to ask questions like that 'cause I'll just keep on answering them... And, no, this isn't supposed to scare you. This is:

[Chapel opens a large closet and we see a pale body slump to the floor. Chapel turns him over and we see a very pale Jimmy on the floor.]

Scott: Y-you just knocked him out. He's fine!

[Chapel crouches down and holds up Jimmy's head which looks limp.]

Scott: I-I-I'm not talking. Do your worst!

Chapel: (grinning) Allrighty then... I guess you believe in that old saying then. "Let your conscience be your guide."

[Fade out on Scott's face while he realizes what he has just done.]

~~~~~~~Act 2~~~~~~~

[Black screen. We can hear the sounds of dogs barking.]

Chapel (v.o.): Wake up, Scott.

Scott (v.o.): (groggy) What? Where am I?

Chapel (v.o.): I'd say deep trouble would be a good guess.

[Cut to POV. Camera is looking from about fifteen feet up to a concrete floor. There are five dogs down there, all very large and very hungry looking. Camera view changes. The fence is in the open air at dusk. We see that Scott is tied up on a tall metal gate. He's just barely out of the reach of the dogs. Close up of his feet and slowly pan up. The only things keeping him from falling are twenty very thin restraints around his legs, chest, arms, and head. He also seems to have some red paste all over him, it's not blood though. On the other side of the fence is Chapel. Chapel is standing on the business end of a forklift so that he's at the same height as Scott.]

Chapel: We're going to play a little game of twenty questions. Here's the catch. Every time I think you're lying to me, or I just don't like your answer, I'll do this.

[Chapel removes one of the restraints to demonstrate. 19 left.]

Scott: Hey! C'mon man. Let me down!

Chapel: If you insist.

[Chapel takes off another one. 18 left.]

Scott: Stop! Stop! You're crazy!

Chapel: Certifiable.

[Another restraint. 17 left.]

Chapel: Now, where do you sell the drugs?

Scott: I-I... Well...

Chapel: Wrong answer.

[Another restraint. 16 left.]

Scott: Wait! I'lltellyou! I'lltellyou! We've got three spots in the city. One in the downtown area at Perry and Singer, another at the housing districts at Newton Drive, and a suburb neighborhood at Walken and Lloyd.

Chapel: Good, now how many are in your little clique?

Scott: Just-just me and Jimmy.

[Another restraint. 15 left.]

Scott: C'mon man, the others will bury me if I tell you!

Chapel: They'll have to find the pieces first.

[Cut to a quick shot of the dogs barking and baring their teeth. Cut back to Scott who's weighing his chances.]

Chapel: By the way, that gun you have. You know, the one you're thinking about using right now if you get down there. It doesn't have any bullets anymore.

Scott: (exasperated) Why didn't you just take the gun!?

Chapel: And steal? I'm insulted.

[Another restraint. 14 left.]

Scott: I'm sorry, I'm sorry! There are seven of us!

Chapel: Now, how do you manage to hide the drugs?

Scott: We force the homeless to take it. They know where to hide it and nobody important ever bothers to check up on them. We're holding their kids in Austin.

[Another two restraints. 12 left.]

Scott: It's the truth!

Chapel: Sorry, my finger must have slipped... Actually, I'm not sorry at all.

Scott: (renewed boldness) Look, if you're gonna kill me anyways, I'll just shut up right now!

Chapel: Scott, we all die. Now you just have a choice as to how and when. Old, in prison, with the chance of parole in thirty years. Or young, right here and now, with just enough of you left to fill some little plastic bags... That red gunk all over your clothes and on that pretty... little... tender face of yours is a little mixture I made of cat pheromones... and steak sauce. Let's resume, shall we?

Scott: (defeated) Yes.

Chapel: Besides the police, is there anybody your gang has to watch out for?

Scott: They call themselves the Dragons. They're the ones who originally worked the area.

Chapel: I imagine they must be pretty peeved at you guys. Taking up many of their clientele. Do they know where you guys group?

Scott: We'd all be dead if they did. They pack as much firepower as a small army.

Chapel: My goodness. I think I'm going to have to take such dangerous toys away from them. Do you know where they get together?

Scott: It's not a big secret.

[Another restraint. 11 left.]

Scott: Allright! Allright! They're on the northern part of the city! That's all I know. We don't go directly into their area.

Chapel: I think that's it. Thank you very much, Scott.

Scott: Don't mention it. Literally... Why are you doing this to me?

Chapel: Because I've seen people like you before. People who just aren't selfish, but greedy too. You aren't satisfied with keeping your things to yourself, so you take from others.

Scott: We don't force people to use it. If anything, we help them forget about their troubles.

Chapel: For a price. People aren't always able to resist what's bad for them. You destroy other lives for the sake of increasing the quality of yours. For the sake of profit. Whenever I see someone like you, I always picture a big parasite, like a tick. Have you ever seen a tick bite a dog? Would you care to see the dog bite back?

Scott: This isn't going to be over for a while, is it?

Chapel: Good call.

[Chapel presses a control and is lowered to the ground.]

Chapel: Hang tight.

[He walks into the adjacent building and walks back into the room we saw just before the commercial break. Jimmy is there, handcuffed to a pipe, and still looks dead. A woman is there with a medical bag and a worried look. She gives Jimmy an injection and looks up at Chapel.]

nurse: His body should go back to normal once his metabolism speeds back up. It would be best if he gets some rest now.

Chapel: Don't worry, he won't be moving around for a while. Thanks, Gillian, that should be it. We're even...

[Cut to KC's hospital room. By looking out the window, we see it's dark outside.]

Melanie: Sorry about going through your diary, Mom.

KC: It's ok, Mel.

Alexandra: Um, speaking of which, let's go back to my earlier question this afternoon. Why were you at that warehouse and what does this Chapel guy have to do with it?

KC: (pauses) All right. But you can't tell your Uncle about this...

Melanie: But...

KC: It's important. You can't say anything about this to him.

Alexandra: (hesitant) All right.

[KC looks at Alexandra.]

Melanie: Ok, fine.

KC: When does Dan get off duty?

Alexandra: (checking wristwatch) In about a hour.

KC: Hmm, so where should I start?

[Unconsciously, KC's hand goes to her neck and she feels for something. It suddenly registers on her face that something is wrong, and she pulls out a metal tag.]

KC: Wait a second, this isn't m...

Alexandra: I thought the hospital took off all your jewelry and gave it to me.

[KC sees a chapel engraved on the medallion. She quickly flips it over to see the inscription "From K.C." on it.]

KC: (smiling sadly) Your right, it's not mine... Not exactly. That explanation is going to have to wait for a few more hours.

Melanie: But...

Dan: (o.s.) Hey girls!

[The three of them look to the door where Dan is standing out of uniform with a smile on his face. He walks over to the bed and gives KC a hug.]

Dan: It's great to see you awake.

KC: (weakly) It's great to be awake. (coughs)

[Alexandra and Melanie look at each other at KC's sudden apparent change of health. This goes unnoticed since Dan is looking over KC's shoulder, but KC does and gives them a pleading look. Dan pulls away and looks at her.]

Dan: (concerned) So, how are you?

KC: Tired. I thought you still had an hour (cough) to go before you got off work.

Dan: Kate, you're part of our family. You were as soon as we got to know you that first time Rob brought you over. You're my sis, of course I want to get here and see you as soon as possible. I asked my boss so I could leave early.

KC: (apologetic) Sorry. (coughs)

Dan: No problem, I'm sorry I couldn't come sooner. (turns around) Mel, thanks for the call.

Melanie: (smiles) Welcome.

[KC takes the opportunity to send another meaningful look at Alexandra while he's turned around.]

Alexandra: Uhh, Mom?

KC: Yeah?

Alexandra: Um, you should, get some rest.

Dan: That's a good idea. You've been talking to the girls for a while now and you need your sleep.

KC: (jokingly) Yes, Doctor.

Dan: (smiling) I'll go call Mom and tell her you're all right.

KC: Tell Joanna that I'm still doing Christmas dinner.

Dan: (grinning) I don't think we could stop you even if we tried.

[Dan walks out the door.]

Alexandra: Why did we have to do that?

KC: I didn't like doing it either, but it's better if he doesn't know anything.

Alexandra: For the record, I'm liking this less and less.

KC: What I'm going to tell you is not that bad.

Melanie: Just as long as it's nothing too strange.

KC: Anything's possible.

[Pan in to Melanie's face as she raises an inquisitive eyebrow. Cut to a scene where the camera looks at the top of the stairs in the warehouse where we hear the sound of footsteps coming up. In a few seconds, we see several of the gang arrive to the top. They react to seeing something odd and pull out guns. The camera pans around to reveal Chapel nonchalantly sitting on a chair with his feet on the table and with gun clicks in the background.]

Matt: Who the Hell are you, and why shouldn't you be riddled with holes?

Chapel: I'm Santa Claus, and I'm here with gifts for your stocking.

[Chapel slowly pulls out a package from his jacket and tosses it to Matt. He gets someone to open the package to reveal some green-tinted powder.]

Matt: (trying to remember something) We already have a supplier. And why's this green?

Chapel: It's been treated with various stimulants and opiates. It's quite an experience from what my clients tell me. It's also highly addictive.

Matt: You don't use it?

Chapel: The only thing green I use is paper... Plus, it's hard to count it when you're twitching on the floor.

Matt: I don't use the crap either... How do I know you're not some cop? John, search him.

[One of them complies while Chapel raises his hands in the air.]

John: Nothing.

[Matt motions for the others to put down their guns.]

Matt: (remembers) Where's Jimmy and Scott?

Chapel: Well, they were rude little boys so I showed them how to respect their elders.

Matt: Are they OK?

Chapel: I doubt they would think so.

Matt: (smiles) Never liked them much anyway. OK, so you're not a cop. (points to guy holding Chapel's package). Tony, check it.

[Tony takes out a small device and takes a sample of the green substance.]

Tony: It's legit. He's right, it's potent stuff.

Matt: (thinking, then to Chapel) What makes you think I want this? We're not staying here for much longer.

Chapel: The Christmas Special (referring to the green powder) is 80% the price of the stuff you already have, I have over fifty kilos of it to sell... and I'll toss in Donner and Blitzen.

Matt: (thinks for a moment) Where do you want to make the trade?

Chapel: Loading dock at the warehouse on 31st and Green. Eleven twenty exactly, tomorrow night. Do we have a deal?

Matt: (pause) Deal.

[Chapel walks past the gang who parts in his way down the stairs. We hear the closing of the door.]

Tony: I already transferred all our money to Austin. We don't have very much that's liquid to pay him.

Matt: Did you see that guy or not? He's pushing seventy easy and been in the game a few years too long.

[Cut to inside of Chapel's car where he's listening to the conversation on a radio.]

Matt: (v.o.) (mocks a caring tone) We're just gonna help take those heavy packages off his hands. It must be hard for a guy his age to carry all that stuff around. And if he objects, we'll just have to show some tough love.

Chapel: (to himself) Well, there's somebody who's getting coal this year.

[Chapel drives away. Cut to commercial.]

~~~~~~~Act 3~~~~~~~

[Fade into hospital room. KC is lying down on the bed with her doctor as he's performing a check up. It must be past visiting hours since the girls aren't there, and it's still dark out.]

Dr. Fielding: How are you feeling Mrs. Ryan?

KC: Ok, I guess. Considering the circumstances.

Dr. Fielding: Any pain that stands out in particular?

KC: Colossal headache.

Dr. Fielding: (feels KC's head) I think you're just going to have to wait that one out. The less medication I give to you at this point, the better. If it gets any worse, please tell me.

KC: Allrighty then.

[KC notices the doctor flinch a little.]

KC: Um, Dr. Fielding?

Dr. Fielding: Yes?

KC: Did anybody... different come in here besides my family while I was unconscious?

Dr. Fielding: (suddenly nervous) Uh... no... Why do you ask?

KC: (smile in her voice) No reason, just some idle thoughts.

[Dr. Fielding is too relieved to notice what just happened.]

Dr. Fielding: Ok. Well, I think we're done for tonight. I'll come back and check on you tomorrow. You know, you're very lucky to be recovering so quickly. Some top doctors were actually passing through the area and suggested some new treatments. They're working rather well.

KC: Yeah, must have a guardian angel watching over me.

[The joke is completely missed by Fielding.]

Dr. Fielding: Get some rest.

[He turns off the lights and the camera pans to the digital clock on the wall which says 8: 10 P.M. Camera blurs clock and at refocus it says 12: 47A.M. Focus back on KC who has still not gone to sleep yet. Voices in the hallway are getting louder. Someone opens the door and Chapel sticks his head in and turns on the lights.]

Chapel: Hey.

KC: (happily) Hey! (holds her arms out) Come here!

[Chapel closes the door on a bewildered Dr. Fielding standing near the door. He walks over to her, and gives her a long hug.]

KC: (letting go) It's been a long time. How are things going?

[Chapel sits in the chair beside the bed.]

Chapel: Blackmail, frame jobs, threats, favors. Same old, same old.

KC: Speaking of which, could you take it easy on Fielding? Last thing I need in this condition is a nervous doctor.

[Chapel blinks in quiet surprise.]

KC: (amused) Hey, don't look like that. I think I know how to read people fairly well. I spent enough time with you and have two kids who were... creative in their teens.

Chapel: They're two beautiful young women who care deeply for their mom. You did a great job.

KC: Thank you.

Chapel: (suddenly serious) Why did you try to do this all by yourself?

KC: (clearly embarrassed) I guess I just got kind of fed up. They're giving drugs to kids. Kids! It's just something that was killing me on the inside. I couldn't tolerate any more. I just kept on thinking what if that had happened to Melanie and Alexandra. There was no one else to help so...

[KC notices the pained look that appears on Chapel's face.]

KC: It's not your fault. It was my idea.

[Chapel grudgingly accepts that for now. KC tries to change the subject.]

KC: So how did you find me so quickly?

Chapel: I finished a job here just a few days ago and was checking hospitals for possible clients. I was going through the patient roster and found your name... (mildly embarrassed) I also keep an eye out for you from time to time.

KC: (eyebrow raised) I had guessed as much since... I had a feeling once in a while that somebody was watching us... Why did you leave like that?

[Cut to black and white. The young KC is walking down a hallway. She's wearing business clothing and carrying a briefcase. Very professional. She enters the door into her apartment. On her table is a vase with red roses and right next to it is a card and an envelope. She smiles and breaks the serious demeanor she was expressing just a second ago. She quickly places her stuff down and walks over to read the card. Camera pans in so the camera can read it.]

"Last night was the most amazing of my life. It's wonderful to know that in nine months, every day will be like that. Love, Rob."

[KC smiles happily and admires the engagement ring on her finger. She picks up the envelope and takes out the letter from inside it. Camera pans in to read this one also.]

"Dear K.C., thank you for your help and friendship ever since we met. It's meant more to me than you may ever know. Good luck on the new job; you'll make an excellent lawyer. Rob is a very lucky guy. I'm out of your life, forever."

[Her grin fades to a small, sad smile. She crosses the room to a picture of her and Rob. It's the one we saw at the prologue.]

KC: (softly) Not even a picture to remember him by.

[Cut to outside of the building, Chapel is walking out the door and takes a glance upward in KC's general direction. He walks away. Cut back to color in the hospital room.]

Chapel: You were starting a new life. One which couldn't have me in it.

KC: So why'd you come back?

[KC is a smart woman; she knows why. It's just something she needs to hear.]

Chapel: I lost someone once who was very close to me. Two days ago, it almost happened again. I couldn't stop what happened that first time. This time, I can do something about it.

KC: (small smile) Would you be wanting that favor then?

Chapel: You already prepaid a long time ago. With interest... If I didn't mention it, thank you.

KC: You did and you're welcome... Are you going to talk to Alex and Mel?

Chapel: Objections?

KC: No, but maybe you better let me be there. You know you may need some help convincing them. They may get a bit protective because you do come off as a little... well... scary.

[Chapel smiles and looks like he's about to say something when the scene cuts to Melanie and Alexandra in KC's room also. It's dawn judging by the window's view. It's as if she completes the thought.]

Melanie: My goodness! Mom, how did you ever get involved with this guy?

KC: Do you remember when I told you two that Grandpa went to jail? Well...

Alexandra: Let me guess, then you (pointing at Chapel) walked into her life with an offer.

[Chapel gives her a thumbs up.]

Melanie: So you controlled her life...

KC: Not controlled. I'm the one who offered to help him out. I liked the fact that we helped people who were suffering when some bad guy slipped through a crack. It's why I finally became a lawyer.

Melanie: He looks like one of the bad guys!

KC: I trust him like I did your Dad, all right?

Melanie: (relenting) Yeah, all right. (to Chapel) But how could you possibly help us!? No offense but look at you... you're in your 60s!

Chapel: But, I have such boyish charm.

Melanie: Seriously, don't you think you're a bit old for this kind of stuff?

Chapel: In my line of work, there's no such thing as a retirement plan.

Alexandra: So how are you gonna help us?

KC: (sly smile) Oh, I bet he already is.

Alexandra: So how can we help? (looks Chapel over) Should we help?

Chapel: For right now, just take care of KC.

[Alexandra and Melanie look puzzled.]

Melanie: KC? Ohhh... Kathleen Cecelia.

KC: I used it when I was single.

Alexandra: Anyway...

[The three women look around and see Chapel has disappeared.]

KC: He does that sometimes.

Melanie: What will he do?

KC: Well since it's the holiday season, (sings) he'll be making a list and checking it twice. Finding out who's naughty or nice. Mr. Chapel's come to town.

[The light and lively version of the "Vengeance Unlimited" theme plays. The style that makes one think of mischief. On the last note, camera cuts to black.]