Ares on Trial Shooting Draft

From YoungHerculesWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
« Back to "1.15 - Ares on Trial"


Ares on Trial

Episode #22
Production #V0822

Written by: John Loy

Directed by: Charlie Haskell

Shooting Draft - June 08, 1998
Pages 1-6 - June 15, 1998
Pages 3-4, 9-10A, 19-19A - June 22, 1998

Pacific Island Pictures, LTD, All Rights Reserved © 1998

Cast List

Hercules
Jason
Iolaus - (ee-OH-lus)
Cheiron - (KYE-ron)
Ares - (AIR-ees)
Discord
Strife
Athena - (a-THEE-na)
Apollo
Hephaestus - (he-FESS-tuss)

Set List

Interiors:
Cheiron's Academy - Workout Room *
Limbo Courtroom

Exteriors:
Cheiron's Academy - Gate
Cheiron's Academy - Courtyard
+ Melon Ball Pond *

Teaser

FADE IN:

EXT. MELON BALL POND - EARLY MORNING

HERCULES, IOLAUS, and JASON are sitting in a large boat, alone in a small lake, at most fifty feet from shore. One of them casts his line. It's a peaceful, idyllic picture.

IOLAUS
Okay, so... what did you put for number twelve?
JASON
Number twelve? Pandora's box.

Iolaus is so surprised that he almost loses his balance on his seat in the boat (or almost drops his pole.)

IOLAUS
Pandora's box?!
JASON
Sure.

Looking worried, Iolaus turns to Hercules.

IOLAUS
What about you?

Herc glances up from watching his line.

HERCULES
Pandora's box. Why? What'd you put?

Iolaus reddens. He looks down and mutters something under his breath.

JASON
Excuse me?
IOLAUS
I put 'false'!

Herc and Jason exchange amused glances.

HERCULES
It wasn't a true/false question!
IOLAUS
The instructions were confusing!

Jason shakes his head disapprovingly.

JASON
You're never gonna graduate if you don't crack a scroll every now and then.

Fuming, Iolaus pulls out his line and casts it back out, hard.

IOLAUS
Thanks for the advice! Who died and made you God of Homework?
HERCULES
(sighs)
Next time, we study together, okay?
IOLAUS
Yeah. Okay.

Suddenly, there's a brilliant FLASH of light. ARES god-poofs in, standing in the middle of the boat. He smiles grimly at Herc.

ARES
I'm afraid there isn't going to be a next time for you, Little Brother.
IOLAUS
Ares!

Ares cocks an eye at Jason and Iolaus.

ARES
Could we have a little privacy?

He extends his hands, and ENERGY BOLTS shoot out, hitting Iolaus and Jason, who fly out of the boat. They cry out in pain.

Jason and Iolaus land on the shore with a THUD. They're knocked woozy. Back in the boat, Ares turns to Herc, more angry than usual.

ARES
What made you think you could defile my temple and get away with it? My priest saw you!

Hercules stands up in the boat to confront Ares.

HERCULES
I don't know what you're talking about. But if you want another fight, let's go.

Ares raises a hand and tosses a fireball. Herc is knocked flying and lands on the shore, some distance from his two friends. As Herc struggles to get to his knees, to defend himself, Ares GOD-POOFS next to him, close, hovering over him.

ARES
Now let's find out if blood really is thicker than water!

FADE OUT.

Act One

FADE IN:

EXT. MELON BALL POND - CONTINUOUS

On the shoreline, Ares blasts down at Hercules, but Herc, on his knees, just manages to lunge to the side in time. Iolaus and Jason lie stunned, semi-conscious, MOANING slightly, nearby. Ares, confident and purposeful, turns toward Hercules as Herc scrambles to his feet.

ARES
I've let you live too long. You've become cocky.

Ares suddenly leaps for Herc. They grapple, then trade punches, kicks, with Ares moving Herc back. Then Herc swings, and Ares grabs Herc's fist, stopping it cold. Ares crushes Herc's fist in his hand, making him wince, as:

ARES
You taunt me because you think Daddy will protect you.

Then Ares yanks Herc hard, tossing him back, behind him. Herc flies through the air, crash landing back in the boat with a THUD and a MOAN.

HERCULES
I haven't been near your temple, Ares. Somebody's tricked you.

Ares glowers at Herc from the shore.

ARES
Liar!

Ares GOD-POOFS away. In the boat, Herc grabs an oar and holds it up like a club. He looks anxiously one way and another, waiting for Ares to reappear. Suddenly, there's a spooky BUMPING of the boat, hard, like when the shark hit the boat in "JAWS." Herc loses his balance and CRIES OUT -- but manages to grab one edge of the swaying boat to keep from falling out (oar still in one hand). Ares GOD-POOFS into the boat in front of Herc.

ARES
I never cared much for large families.

Herc lunges up, swinging the oar at Ares. Ares parries the oar with a massive forearm once, twice. Then he grabs the oar and yanks it and Herc in close. With Herc still holding the oar, Ares snaps it in two like a twig.

ARES
It's time ours had one less member!

On the nearby shore, Iolaus and Jason stir, starting to come to their senses. Iolaus sits up and sees what's going on.

IOLAUS
Hercules!

Iolaus (POV) sees, out on the boat, Herc being tossed from one end to the other by Ares. On the shore, Jason joins Iolaus.

JASON
Let's get him!

They rush toward the pond, only to be blasted backward and O.S. (to the shore) by Ares' fireballs the moment they hit the water. On the boat, Ares, hands out from firing the fireballs, turns back toward Hercules and shakes his head as he starts toward him.

ARES
You move too slowly, Little Brother. You really are at that awkward age.

Herc lies in the boat, groggy. He looks up as Ares stands over him.

UP ANGLE - HERC'S POV

as Ares looms over him

ARES
And I'm afraid you're never going to grow out of it.

Ares raises his arms to the sky as bolts of energy surge from his fingers. Thunder clouds loom behind him.

ARES
(exultant cry)
Goodbye, Hercules!

With an almighty ROAR -- ending in a barely discernible, short, high-pitched GIGGLE -- he swings his arms down toward Herc.

THE SCREEN GOES BLACK. ALL IS SILENCE.

EXT. MELON BALL POND - MOMENTS LATER

Iolaus and Jason groggily get to their feet. They look around. Ares is nowhere to be seen. Neither is Herc. Shattered debris floats where the boat had been.

IOLAUS
Hercules?
JASON
The boat!

They rush toward the water. When they get to the edge, Iolaus grabs Jason, stopping him.

IOLAUS
(upset)
I can't swim!
JASON
Don't worry. Just be ready to help when I drag him out.

Jason splashes out into the pond. Iolaus steps toward him in the shallow water, wishing he could help.

IOLAUS
(quietly anxious)
Hang on, Herc...

Out among the bigger pieces of boat debris, Jason takes a deep breath and dives down under water. A beat. Iolaus watches anxiously in the shallows.

IOLAUS
(quietly desperate)
Come on!

Jason breaks the surface and GASPS for breath.

JASON
I can't see him! It's too deep!

Jason dives back down again. Iolaus lunges forward, then catches himself, realizing there's nothing to be done. He hangs his head, defeated.

Iolaus and Jason (when he breaks the surface again in the b.g.) look small and helpless in the still of the morning.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. LIMBO SETTING

Hercules blinks to find himself sitting alone in a large room. The space is filled with rows of seats, at the front of which stands a table. Herc is in the second row of seats. The space is circled by tall columns, behind which is darkness. At the very front of the room stand three tall marble thrones. As Herc looks curiously around, the CAMERA PANS with his gaze. As it does, minor gods and other denizens of Olympus silently appear in the rows of seats. We don't see anyone enter -- they're just there as the CAMERA PANS past.

It's all very dreamlike. Herc REACTS to see STRIFE and DISCORD sitting together in a nearby row. Discord shoots him a sneer. Strife winks. A GLOW from O.S. makes Herc look away to see: Sitting in the three thrones are ATHENA, APOLLO, and HEPHAESTUS. They gaze down at him, Athena cool and calm, Apollo bored and impatient.

HERCULES
Athena? Apollo? Hephaestus?!

Hephaestus waves happily, like a kid seeing a pal. Herc is now totally confused. There's another GLOW from O.S., then a blinding FLASH. And there stands Ares.... in irons. Ares looks from Herc to the three gods at the front of the room. He smirks.

ARES
Brothers. Sister. To what do I owe the honor of being invited here today?

Athena BANGS a gavel on the marble arm of her throne.

ATHENA
Ares, you stand accused of the attempted murder, in full defiance of Zeus' protective order, of your brother Hercules.

Hercules REACTS, shaken. Ares shoots him a scathing look.

ARES
That's half-brother, if you don't mind.

Apollo rolls his eyes impatiently.

APOLLO
Whatever. The point is, you tried to kill him.

Ares turned towards Herc. Their eyes meet.

ARES
If I tried to kill him... he'd be dead right now.

Ares gives Herc a scary smile. Herc looks away. Ares turns back towards the tribunal. Athena and Apollo consult in whispers, while Hephaestus just sits there.

ARES
Well? Come on! Let's get this farce over with! I know Apollo would much rather be outside working on his tan!

Apollo shoots him an insulted look. He and Athena continue to confer. Ares fastens his gaze on Hephaestus and takes a step toward the humble god. Ares nods towards Athena and Apollo.

ARES
Those two I can almost accept as judges... but what's my lame-brain brother doing here?

Hephaestus just shrugs and smiles.

HEPHAESTUS
Mother said I could sit in... as a reward for forging your chains.

Ares glances at his irons.

ARES
Nice work.
(looks back at Hephaestus)
You don't have to look so happy to be here.

Hephaestus tries to put on a straight face. Athena and Apollo finish their conference. She looks down at Ares.

ATHENA
I suggest you take the charges a bit more seriously. If this tribunal finds you guilty, you'll spend an eternity of unimaginable torment in the fiery depths of Tartarus that is reserved for fallen gods.

Ares is shaken, but doesn't want to show it.

ARES
I'm sure you would love any excuse to put me away for eternity... but don't you think Zeus is going a bit too far this time to protect his little boy?

Ares shoots Herc a look. Herc shifts in his seat, embarrassed.

ARES
I mean, prosecuting the God of War for attacking somebody?! It's what I do! It's my job! A job that Zeus himself gave me!
APOLLO
Let me get this straight: When you maim, kill and pillage... it's strictly business?
ARES
(shrugs)
I love my work. So sue me.
ATHENA
I grant you your role in the universe, Ares. But even you can go too far... and this time you did.
ARES
Excuse me? Did I miss something? Aren't you forgetting a minor detail, like... a trial?

Athena and Apollo glance at Hephaestus. She gestures impatiently to him. He doesn't get it at first, but then nods and hold up a scroll, which he then reads with great difficulty and no breaths.

HEPHAESTUS
(reads)
'As an O... lympian God you will receive a fair hearing and in a...ccordance with our laws you have been allowed to choose your own de... de... defender.'

Hephaestus looks up proudly.

ATHENA
Will the counsel for the defense please rise?

The gods look out into the courtroom. Herc also glances around expectantly. He frowns to see all the other spectators looking at him. He glances over at Strife and Discord. They're also looking at him. Herc turns back toward the front of the courtroom. Ares and the tribunal are also looking at him.

HERCULES
ME?!

EXT.ACADEMY - COURTYARD - DAY

Iolaus, uncharacteristically wearing a sword, looks small in the courtyard. He kicks hard at the dirt ground and CRIES OUT:

IOLAUS
(shouting angrily)
Cowards!

He whips out the sword and raises it as he looks to the skies. Much closer, we can see that he's agitated, sweaty -- he could even be crying.

IOLAUS
(shouting angrily)
Come down and fight me now!
(looks around)
You call yourselves gods?! You sneak down here and attack people with no warning?! You're all a bunch of stinkin' cowards!

Jason, watching Iolaus' ranting, steps carefully into the courtyard.

JASON
(quietly)
Iolaus?

Iolaus, feeling defeated, lowers his sword without even bothering to look at Jason.

IOLAUS
(quietly angry)
Leave me alone.

Iolaus turns and steps to a low stone wall and sits down. Jason sits next to Iolaus, looking him in the eye.

JASON
Don't you think I miss him, too?
(Iolaus doesn't respond)
Look, it wasn't your fault! Ares is a god! How could you stop him?

Iolaus jumps to his feet.

IOLAUS
All I know is, my best friend needed me... and I was no help at all.

He turns away, speaking as if to himself.

IOLAUS
And now he's gone.

INT. LIMBO COURTROOM - CONTINUOUS

Herc just sits there in a state of shock, staring at Ares mocking gaze. Apollo rolls his eyes impatiently.

APOLLO
Hello! We're waiting!

With a twisted smile, Ares looks to Athena.

ARES
May I have a word with my counsel?
ATHENA
Please do.

Ares reaches over the first row of seats, grabs Herc by the vest front and yanks him up to the table, plopping him down in a chair. Ares leans in and speaks in an urgent whisper.

ARES
You're not starting off too well, Little Brother.
HERCULES
I don't get it. You chose me to defend you... on charges of trying to kill me?!

Ares shrugs and sits down next to him.

ARES
The irony of it appealed to me. Besides, you're such a goody-goody, I know you'll do your best.

Herc gazes at him for a BEAT.

HERCULES
Thanks.
ARES
It wasn't meant as a compliment.

Herc blinks. He stands and addresses the tribunal.

HERCULES
I have a question. Can I refuse to serve as Ares' defender?

Again, Athena and Apollo look to Hephaestus. Again, he takes a second to "get it," then holds up the scroll and reads badly.

HEPHAESTUS
(reads)
'If se... lected as defender by an accused god in a godly tr... ibunal the chosed one must serve or else share the sentence if the accused is found g... g... gwiltly.'

He looks up, blinks. Ares smiles. Herc hesitates, glances at him, then looks back to the three gods.

HERCULES
In that case, I accept.
APOLLO
Good choice.

Herc sits back down and whispers urgently to Ares:

HERCULES
This is ridiculous. I mean, I know you're guilty. I was there!
ARES
Well, I wasn't!

He seems sincere. Herc frowns, honestly confused.

HERCULES
But I saw --

Ares grabs him by the vest and pulls him close to speak in a deadly whisper.

ARES
I did not try to kill you, okay? I mean I'd love to -- I'd love to do it right now -- but I'm no fool. You're protected by Zeus. I don't intend to spend the rest of eternity down in Tartarus being nibbled on by some idiotic monster! Got it?!

He lets go. Herc reels back, trying to catch his breath. He gazes at Ares for a long BEAT... then nods.

HERCULES
Got it.
ATHENA
Counsel for the defense. How do you plead?

Herc stands and faces the tribunal. He exchanges looks with Ares, then looks back to the trio of gods.

HERCULES
Not guilty.

FADE OUT.

Act Two

FADE IN:

INT. LIMBO COURTROOM - CONTINUOUS

The courtroom is silent. The three gods gaze down from their marble thrones at Herc and Ares, who sit at the defense table. Athena BANGS her gavel.

ATHENA
Counsel for the defense, call your first witness.

Ares leans toward Hercules. They consult in lowered voices.

HERCULES
Okay, you say you weren't there. But you need an alibi... and a witness who'll back it up.
ARES
Strife and Discord! I was with them today! It's perfect!

Herc glances over to look at Strife and Discord. Discord sneers, Strife tries to look cool, adjusting his hair. Herc looks back to Ares.

HERCULES
I don't know. Do you think you can trust them?
ARES
It's not a matter of trust. They're scared of me.

Herc still hesitates. Ares grabs the front of his vest again.

ARES
Just do it!
(sardonically)
Counselor.

Herc yanks himself from Ares' grip. He looks around courtroom, sees Strife and Discord. He glances to Ares, who nods.

HERCULES
(sighs)
I call Discord.

Discord leisurely gets up and crosses to a chair at the front of the room. She sneers at Herc as she passes him, then smiles ingratiatingly at the three gods before seating herself.

Apollo returns her smile with a flirtatious leer, and Athena shoots him a censorious look. Hephaestus appears embarrassed. Herc approaches Discord's chair. He tries his best to be lawyer-like.

HERCULES
Where were you on the day in question?
DISCORD
(rolls eyes)
You mean today?
HERCULES
(somewhat deflated)
Well... yeah.
DISCORD
I was with Ares. At his place.

Ares nods smugly.

HERCULES
All day?
DISCORD
(shrugs)
Pretty much.

Ares smiles, glances at Strife who winks. Her continues his questioning, just going through the motions.

HERCULES
At any time, did Ares say anything about trying to, well, kill me?
DISCORD
Oh, sure. He talks about it constantly. It's his favorite topic.

Ares scowls angrily. This isn't quite what he expected. Discord looks out at him blithely.

DISCORD
Well, you know it's true!

Herc glances uncomfortably back at Ares, who actually seems a tad embarrassed.

HERCULES
So it's, um, not unusual for Ares to talk about killing me?
DISCORD
Not at all. Of course, today was a little unusual.
HERCULES
Why was that?
DISCORD
Because today he actually did try to kill you.

It's a bombshell. Ares is dumbfounded. He leaps to his feet. Athena BANGS her gavel. The spectators murmur excitedly.

ARES
She's lying!
ATHENA
Ares! Sit down!

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COMMOTION, DISCORD JUST SMILES SWEETLY.

EXT. ACADEMY - GATE - DAY

Iolaus steps through the gate. He carries a knapsack. As he hesitates, gazing out at the horizon. CHEIRON emerges from the shadows.

CHEIRON
Iolaus. Where are you going?
IOLAUS
I don't know. I can't stay here.

Cheiron nods understandingly, then looks Iolaus in the eye.

CHEIRON
Don't you think that Hercules would want you to stay?

Iolaus meets Cheiron's gaze, then looks away.

IOLAUS
Every day would be a reminder that I lost a friend.

Cheiron waits a BEAT, then speaks quietly:

CHEIRON
A friend is never really lost if you remain true to the dreams you shared together.

Iolaus gazes up at him.

INT. LIMBO COURTROOM - CONTINUOUS

Athena BANGS her gavel; the spectators quiet down. Ares reluctantly takes his seat. Herc steps closer to Discord.

HERCULES
Let me get this straight. You're saying that you actually witnessed Ares trying to kill me?
DISCORD
Yes. I did.

She nods helpfully up at Apollo and the others.

HERCULES
But I didn't see you there.
DISCORD
(rolls her eyes)
I wasn't there there. But I was watching... you know, the way real gods can do?

Herc nods, ignoring her sarcasm.

HERCULES
How did Ares try to kill me? I mean, what exactly did he do?

Discord turns back to Herc, regarding him thoughtfully, as if trying to remember.

DISCORD
(shrugs)
He hit you, threw you around some... then he brought a couple of pillars down on your head. But you put up a pretty good fight.

Herc turns to glare at Ares, whose mouth has dropped open.

HERCULES
Yeah. I remember.

He strides to the defense table and leans down to whisper:

HERCULES
You two should've gotten your story straight!
ARES
She's lying Don't listen to her!

But Herc doesn't seem to be listening. He straightens up, as if he has a sudden thought. He turns back to Discord, who's just starting to get up from the witness chair.

HERCULES
One last question. If Ares is found guilty and sent to Tartarus, you'll be working for... who? Strife?

Discord shoots him a disbelieving look.

DISCORD
Excuse me?
HERCULES
I mean, he's next in line, right? If Ares goes, then Strife becomes God of War. Isn't that how it works?

Discord gapes at him, honestly insulted and amazed.

DISCORD
That little twerp? God of War?!
HERCULES
Well, who else would it be?

Discord stands up and gets right in his face.

DISCORD
We're not talking 'god' here, pal... we're talking 'goddess'.
HERCULES
Oh. I see. No further questions.

Frowning slightly, as if worried she said too much, Discord rises. She keeps her head down as she heads past Ares to her seat. Ares glares at her. Herc crosses to the defense table. Ares leans toward him.

ARES
So you think she --
HERCULES
Quiet! I'm thinking.

Ares blinks. He's not used to be talked to like this. Herc turns and faces the tribunal.

HERCULES
Defense calls Strife.

Strife stands, adjusts his hair, then struts toward the witness chair. As he passed Ares, the God of War grabs his arm. Their eyes meet.

ARES
Don't betray me.

Strife blinks, shaken. He manages not to lose his snotty smile, and even gives Ares a thumbs up. Ares lets go of his arm, and strife crosses to the witness chair. He plops down in it, one leg cocked over the arm. Herc steps toward him.

HERCULES
Strife --
STRIFE
That's my name. Don't wear it out.
HERCULES
Were you also with Ares today?
STRIFE
Yep.
HERCULES
And did you witness the attack on me?

Strife smiles, as if at some private joke.

STRIFE
You could put it that way.
HERCULES
Was it Ares who attacked me?
STRIFE
(shrugs)
It sure looked like him.

Ares leaps to his feet again.

ARES
You back-stabbing, sniveling little worm!

Strife ducks as Ares extends his arms to shoot an ENERGY BOLT at his traitorous lackey -- but the BLUE ENERGY just SPARKS and POPS from the ends of Ares' fingers. His powers don't work in the courtroom.

Strife sits back up, some of his smugness returning. Herc gazes at Ares. There was something about the characteristic way Ares fired his energy bolt...

ATHENA
Ares, sit down! Don't make me warn you again.

Deflated, Ares plops into his seat. Strife can't resist a triumphant giggle. At the sound, Herc spins to stare at Strife. Something seems to have clicked in Herc's mind. He smiles and steps toward Strife.

HERCULES
Let me ask you -- was it just me, or was there something different about Ares? When he attacked me, I mean.

Strife looks at him suspiciously.

STRIFE
Different? Whaddya mean?
HERCULES
I don't know. Like he wasn't feeling well. Slow reaction time, sort of confused...clumsy, weak... did you get that impression?

Strife appears to take this personally.

STRIFE
Nah, he looked good to me! He's the champ!

He gives Ares another thumbs up, and seems taken aback when Ares just glares at him. Herc nods, trying to puzzle something out.

HERCULES
I don't know. I got the drop on him two or three times. Really flattened him once. For a second there I thought he was going to cry.

Strife is starting to get steamed. And so is Ares.

HERCULES
And, you know, I've been thinking... I'm not convinced he even shattered that boat. I think the wood was rotten, and the stumble-bum tripped over his own feet, and --

That does it. Strife leaps to his feet.

STRIFE
No way! I laid you out! I brought you down! I --

The crowd GASPS. Strife stops short, realizing what he's done. Ares, Herc, and the three judges all stare at him. He points at Discord.

STRIFE
Don't look at me! It was her idea!

Discord glares at him contemptuously, then shoots Ares a defiant look. Hephaestus leans towards Athena.

HEPHAESTUS
Need me to make some more chains?
ATHENA
(nods)
Two sets.

INT. LIMBO COURTROOM - A BIT LATER

Herc and Ares sit at the defense table. The tribunal are consulting, heads together. Finally they separate and gaze down at the courtroom.

ATHENA
Ares... it is the decision of this tribunal that all charges against you be dropped.
ARES
Yes!

She turns toward Strife and Discord, who stand at the side of the courtroom... in irons. They glare at each other.

ATHENA
Strife and Discord, for conspiring to murder a protected mortal, and shape-shifting to impersonate a god, we sentence you to eternity in the depths of Tartarus.

Discord just sneers. Strife winces as if in pain.

STRIFE
Oh, man!

Ares gets to his feet.

ARES
If I may ask a small favor of the court?

The tribunal look at him inquiringly.

ARES
Turn them over to me instead.

Strife and Discord exchange panicked looks.

DISCORD
That's okay! Really!
STRIFE
No, no! Tartarus is fine!

The three gods exchange looks, nod, then turn back to him.

ATHENA
Very well. Court is now adjourned.

She BANGS her gavel.

Apollo: Whoo! Let's go catch some rays!

The tribunal VANISH in a FLASH.

As Herc stands, Ares turns to him and grabs his arm. Herc turns. Their eyes meet. For a BEAT, it seems that Ares is actually going to thank him. But then:

ARES
You realize that this doesn't change anything between us.
HERCULES
I know.

He turns to go, then looks back at Ares.

HERCULES
By the way -- you're welcome.

EXT. ACADEMY - COURTYARD - DAY

Jason is sharpening the blade of a spear on a whetstone as Iolaus walks up and silently sits beside him. Jason speaks without looking up from his work.

JASON
I hear you're staying with us.

He glances at Iolaus, who meets his gaze and nods.

IOLAUS
I think maybe it's what Hercules would want.

Jason also nods. His gaze slides past Iolaus toward something O.S. Suppressing a smile, he looks back down at his spear.

JASON
Could be. Why don't you ask him?

Iolaus frowns, turns... and sees Hercules stepping through the gate. He breaks into a grin... then breaks into a run.

IOLAUS
Hercules!

Cheiron looks out from his room to see the two friends meet in the center of the courtyard. They clasp hands... then Iolaus impulsively grabs Herc in a hug. When he finally lets go, Herc blinks at him in surprise.

HERCULES
Whoa. I must've been longer than I thought.
IOLAUS
Where were ya? I was... we were worried.

Hercules glances at Jason as he comes up to join them. He shrugs with a smile.

HERCULES
It's kind of hard to explain.

Iolaus just can't help smiling. He looks from Herc to Jason and back again. If he were a dog his tail would be wagging.

IOLAUS
Well, look, uh... don't go vanishing on us again. Okay?

Herc grins and ruffles Iolaus' hair.

HERCULES
I'll try not to.

The three friends stroll toward the dorm.

FADE OUT.

THE END