Home for the Holidays Shooting Draft

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Home for the Holidays

Episode #34
Production #V0834

Written by: John Loy

Directed by: Chris Graves

Shooting Draft - August 11, 1998
Pages 1-2, 9-9A, 11, 21, 24 - August 25, 1998
Page 5 - September 8, 1998

Pacific Island Pictures, LTD, All Rights Reserved © 1998

Cast List

Hercules
Iolaus - (ee-OH-lus)
Jason
Lilith
Alcmene - (alk-MAY-knee)
Capaneus - (ka-PAY-knee-us)

Set List

Interiors:
Alcmene's Barn
Alcmene's House
Alcmene's House - Kitchen
Alcmene's House - Herc's Old Room
Alcmene's House - Alcmene's Room

Exteriors:
Alcmene's Barn
Alcmene's Front Yard
Alcmene's House
Country Road
Forest
Forest Clearing

Teaser

FADE IN:

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - DAY

HERCULES, IOLAUS, JASON, and LILITH come walking along a country road. All carry bedrolls.

IOLAUS
Man, am I glad to get out of there for a few days!
JASON
Yeah, I hate being stuck at school over the holidays when everybody else goes home.

Lilith looks over at Herc.

LILITH
You sure your mom won't mind that you invited us along?

He waves a hand airily.

HERCULES
Naw, she loves guests. Wait till you try her Thracian casserole. She gooks it in a goat's stomach, the old-fashioned way.

He elbows Iolaus, waggling his eyebrows enticingly, but Iolaus looks rather alarmed. Jason smiles nostalgically.

JASON
(SIGHS)
The Feast of Persephone's my favorite holiday. I can already taste the fish-and-feta pop-overs.

Herc glances at him with an uneasy frown.

HERCULES
Uhh... we don't usually have those.
JASON
(disappointed)
You don't have fish-and-feta popovers? It was a tradition at the palace.

Lilith casts a skeptical glance at Jason.

LILITH
You ever have to cook those things?

He shoots her a look at such an obvious question.

JASON
Of course not.

Lilith nods, her suspicions confirmed.

LILITH
Your hands stink for a week.

She looks over at Iolaus, surprised he hasn't chimed in.

LILITH
What about you, Iolaus? What holiday traditions does your family have?

Iolaus shrugs uneasily. He's unnaturally subdued.

IOLAUS
Oh, you know... same ol' same ol'.

There's an awkward silence, which Herc finally breaks.

HERCULES
Anyway, Jason. Don't worry. At least we'll have the traditional wild boar roast.
JASON
All right!

Herc looks ahead to see that his mother's house is visible a short distance ahead. He smiles and waves to see ALCMENE emerge from the house. She waves back.

HERCULES
Hey, there's Mom now!
LILITH
Can I go on the boar hunt with you?
HERCULES
Nope. It's my job! I mean, after all, I am the man of the house.

Herc glances back toward the house, then stops short, his face falling.

Lilith and the others follow his gaze to see a man stepping up beside Alcmene. Handsome, athletic-looking, and about Alcmene's age, he puts his arm around her waist. She doesn't seem to mind. Iolaus shoots a look at Hercules and shrugs.

IOLAUS
At least, you were.

Hercules' eyes widen in surprise and disbelief as, we:

FADE OUT.

Act One

FADE IN:

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

Alcmene welcomes the young people into her small, but inviting home. She gives Jason and Iolaus a hug.

ALCMENE
Welcome, everyone, welcome.
JASON
Hello, Alcmene. Thanks for having us.
IOLAUS
Yeah.
ALCMENE
(warm greeting)
You must be Lilith!
LILITH
I hope I'm not intruding.
ALCMENE
Not at all! The bigger the crowd, the better the feast, I always say.

Herc is the last in the door. Alcmene looks searchingly at him. He shoots a glance at the strange man, who stands close to Alcmene. Her eyes dart toward the man as well; Then she tries to smile as if nothing were amiss, and steps forward to give her son a hug. Hercules takes the hug, but doesn't return it. His eyes don't leave the stranger.

ALCMENE
Hello, Hercules.
HERCULES
(icily)
Hello.

Alcmene's smile falters a bit. She turns toward the others, placing a hand on the man's arm.

ALCMENE
Listen, everyone, I'd like to introduce Capaneus. He's a good friend, and I'm happy he could join us.

CAPANEUS smiles and raises a hand in greeting. Ad lib greetings all around, except Hercules, who pointedly turns away. There's an awkward silence.

ALCMENE
Boys, we seem to have a full house, so I'm afraid you'll have to sleep in the barn.
JASON
That's fine. Come on, Iolaus, let's stow our gear.

He claps Iolaus on the back. Shouldering their bedrolls, the two exit. Alcmene turns to Lilith, and gestures toward a door.

ALCMENE
Lilith, you can have Hercules' old room.
LILITH
The barn's fine for me, too. Hercules can have his room.
ALCMENE
Don't be silly. He insists, don't you, Hercules?
HERCULES
Uh... sure.

Lilith looks from Herc to Alcmene with a smile.

LILITH
Okay. Thanks.

Hercules glances toward the open door to Alcmene's room. In the main room, just by the door, there hangs a cloak, and under it, a backpack leans against the wall. Alcmene follows her son's glance. He looks up and their eyes meet. She looks away, rubbing her hands together busily.

ALCMENE
Now, we need more firewood.
HERCULES
I'll get it.

He starts toward the door, but Capaneus moves faster. He gestures for Herc to sit down.

CAPANEUS
No, you're a guest. Relax. I got it.

Capaneus exits. Herc reddens, furious at being treated as a guest in his own home.

ALCMENE
Hercules, I--

Without a word, he turns and storms out the front door. Alcmene glances to Lilith, who smiles awkwardly and moves to Herc's room. Alcmene watches through the open door as Herc stalks across the yard toward the barn.

INT. ALCMENE'S BARN - CONTINUOUS

Jason and Iolaus enter the barn. Jason tosses his bedroll up onto the hay-filled loft.

JASON
I call the loft!

Iolaus doesn't comment. Jason glances at him in surprise.

JASON
What, you're not even going to argue?

Iolaus steps closer, looking serious.

IOLAUS
Listen. I... my family, we never... I mean, I never... I don't know anything about this whole feast business.
JASON
Oh.
IOLAUS
Can you fill me in on some of the traditions and stuff? I don't want to look like a total fool.
JASON
(WHISTLES)
That's a tough one.
IOLAUS
C'mon!

Seeing that Iolaus is serious, Jason relents. He puts a hand on his friend's shoulder.

JASON
Hey, I'm kidding. Sure. I'll be glad to help.


Iolaus shoots him a grateful smile.

IOLAUS
Thanks. I guess I'll sleep here.

He steps over to a pile of straw by a wall, and is about to drop his bedroll, when another bedroll comes flying in the door. It just misses his head and SMACKS the wall right next to him before plopping to the ground. Iolaus glances over to see Herc come stomping in. Iolaus shrugs calmly and turns to a different spot on the barn floor.

IOLAUS
Or over here. This looks nice.

He drops his bedroll. Jason looks at Herc, concerned.

JASON
Hey, uh, thanks again for having us.

Herc turns away and gives a pail a kick. It goes flying into a corner. Iolaus and Jason exchange glances.

IOLAUS
Yeah. Should be fun.

Herc steps to the barn door and gazes out at Capaneus, chopping wood behind the house.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - HERCULES' OLD ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Lilith sets her bedroll down on the bed. She looks around curiously. Bits and pieces of Herc's childhood are everywhere - little wooden animals, a small bow and arrow, a ball. Lilith smiles to see a tiny pair of infant's sandals sitting on a table. Scrolls and slates litter a desk. She glances at the wall over the bed, where Alcmene has hung one of Herc's childhood drawings. It shows a child and his mother, holding hands. Behind them is a tall mountain, its summit shrouded by clouds.

HERCULES (O.S.)
I want to talk to you!

Lilith reacts almost guiltily at the sound of Herc's voice. She glances out the door to see him in the kitchen, confronting his mother.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Alcmene sits at the table, snapping peas in a wooden bowl. She looks up to her angry son.

ALCMENE
I thought you would.
HERCULES
Well? Who is he?
ALCMENE
I met Capaneus in the marketplace. He--
HERCULES
In the marketplace?!

He glares at her, dumbfounded. Alcmene looks back at her work.

ALCMENE
I needed help with the planting, and he needed work, so--
HERCULES
Wait a second. He's a hired hand?!
ALCMENE
No. He's a friend.
HERCULES
I see. So now you buy your friends in the marketplace!

Herc instantly looks as if he wishes he could take the words back. Alcmene's eyes glint with anger. She's fast losing her patience.

ALCMENE
Don't forger who you're talking to, young man.
HERCULES
I didn't forget. You're my mother!

He pauses, trying to calm down. He sits down at the table and leans toward her. When he speaks again, it's in a slightly more reasonable tone.

HERCULES
And... and you're alone out here, and there are men who take advantage of that!

Alcmene looks up from her work, rolling her eyes.

HERCULES
What do you even know about this guy?
ALCMENE
I know he’s good and kind --
(smiles)
He makes me laugh.
HERCULES
I don't trust him.

Alcmene gives Herc a long look.

ALCMENE
I expect you to be nice to him.
HERCULES
Why? The planting's done, right? He'll move on. I'll never see him again.
ALCMENE
You may see him more often than you think.

Herc gapes at her, the implications of her words sinking in. He jumps to his feet and slams a fist on the table.

HERCULES
I want him out of here!

Alcmene stands to face him. She speaks calmly.

ALCMENE
I'm sorry, Hercules. This is my house, and I decide who stays or ho goes.

Herc glares furiously.

HERCULES
(pointed)
Mother!
ALCMENE
We should talk about this later, when you've had a chance to calm down.

Herc stares at her for a beat, then turns and storms out.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - HERC'S OLD ROOM - COTINUOUS

Lilith turns from the doorway. She looks back at the childish drawing of the boy and his mother.

EXT. ALCMENE'S BARN - CONTINUOUS

Jason and Iolaus are strolling over from the barn.

JASON
So it's traditional to leave a few peas on your plate for Persephone to take back to Hades with her in the fall.
IOLAUS
(doubtfully)
If you say so.
JASON
Oh, and you have to eat at least one stalk of asparagus.
IOLAUS
(grimace/gags)
You're kidding, right?
JASON
It's an insult if you don't.
IOLAUS
(defeated)
I hate asparagus.
CAPANEUS (O.S.)
Heads up!

A leather ball about the size of a football comes flying in. Iolaus ducks, but Jason jumps and catches it. He looks over to see Capaneus jogging toward them.

JASON
Oh, yeah! And men play ball while the women cook!
IOLAUS
Now that's what I call a civilized tradition!

Capaneus comes running up.

CAPANEUS
Want to play?
JASON
Sure!

They look over as Herc walks toward them from the house.

CAPANEUS
What about you, son? Join us?

Herc glares sullenly at him.

HERCULES
I'm not your son.
CAPANEUS
Come one. Him and me against you two?

He jerks a thumb at Jason. Herc glances at Iolaus, then back to Capaneus.

HERCULES
Love to.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - SAME TIME

Alcmene CRIES quietly as she sits at the table, shelling peas. Lilith timidly enters the room.

LILITH
Are you all right?

Alcmene looks back, wiping her eyes.

ALCMENE
You heard?
LILITH
I didn't mean to pry.
ALCMENE
You didn't.
(pulls herself together)

Don't worry about Hercules. He's strong. He can handle more than he realizes.

(SIGHS)
Would you mind very much giving me a hand in the kitchen?

Lilith hesitates, then smiles.

LILITH
Okay. Sure.

EXT. ALCMENE'S FRONT YARD - CONTINUOUS

The guys play a rugby-like game involving much tackling and rough-housing. Iolaus runs with the ball, and Jason creams him. The ball gets free and Capaneus grabs it. Herc comes for him, so Capaneus tosses the ball off to Jason, who's back on his feet. Herc leaps for Capaneus, anyway, taking him down hard. Jason, running with the ball, glances back, concerned, but Capaneus good-naturedly climbs to his feet.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Alcmene moves from table to counter, measuring and mixing, as Lilith chops ingredients. Alcmene notices Lilith watching the game through the window, a bit wistfully, as she works. She picks up a bowl of chopped vegetables and gives Lilith an approving look.

ALCMENE
You know your way around a kitchen.
LILITH
Thanks.

Alcmene gestures to the game.

ALCMENE
But you'd rather be out there.

Lilith smiles wryly up at her.

LILITH
I was raised by my sister. I wanted to be a warrior, but she trained me to be a 'good little wife.'

She says the phrase contemptuously, then realizes her faux pas and looks sheepishly at Alcmene.

LILITH
Sorry. I didn't mean--
ALCMENE
Don't worry, dear. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to be a bit of both.

They smile at each other; then both REACT to hear angry SHOUTS from outside.

EXT. ALCMENE'S FRONT YARD - CONTINUOUS

The women come running out to find Iolaus and Jason, pulling Herc back to keep him from throwing himself at Capaneus. The older man eases away, his hands up.

ALCMENE
Hercules, stop it!

Herc doesn't seem to hear her at first. He's trying desperately to free himself from Iolaus' and Jason's restraining hands.

ALCMENE
If you want to remain in my house, you'll stop this right now!

This threat gets through... Herc relaxes. Herc shrugs off Jason's hands. He glares murderously at Capaneus.

ALCMENE
Look at you! You're acting like a child!

Capaneus turns to her, shrugging.

CAPANEUS
I may have started it. I tackled him pretty hard.

She glances at him, then back to Hercules. It's pretty obvious Capaneus is trying to let her son off the hook.

ALCMENE
There's a lot of energy being wasted out here that could be better spent on a boar hunt. That is, if we want a main course tonight.

Herc and Capaneus look at her and speak almost in unison.

HERCULES/CAPANEUS
I'll go.

They both redden. Herc glares at Capaneus. Lilith has to struggle not to laugh. Alcmene smiles wryly.

ALCMENE
I think that's a wonderful idea.

She crosses to the front door, where a couple of spears lean against the wall. She throws them to Herc, who catches them clumsily, then grabs a wineskin hanging on a hook and throws that to Capaneus.

ALCMENE
Here!

Herc turns on his heel and walks off. Capaneus shoots Alcmene a wry glance, then follows, a few feet behind him. The others watch them for a beat in silence. Then:

JASON
My money's on the boar.

FADE OUT.

Act Two

FADE IN:

EXT FOREST - DAY

Herc and Capaneus emerge through the trees. Each carries his spear high. They're both watchful and edgy... and we get the impression they're watching each other as much as they're watching for boars. Neither turns his back on the other. The tension is palpable. Moving slowly, they exit.

IOLAUS (O.S.)
Ouch!

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

Iolaus and Jason sit at the table, shopping vegetables, Iolaus throes down his knife and sucks his finger.

IOLAUS
How are you supposed to cut this stuff without slicing yourself to ribbons?

With an exasperated SIGH, Lilith leans over him and demonstrates how to cut away from himself.

LILITH
Here: Hold it like this and cut at an angle.

She makes a few cuts, then goes back to her own work at the counter.

IOLAUS
I didn't get that. Do it again.

She shoots him a scathing look over her shoulder.

LILITH
(SIGHS)
Or you can pretend it's hanging in front of a shop and you've got to cut it down quick before the owner sees you.
IOLAUS
Oh! Got it!

He cheerfully resumes his slicing, as Alcmene and Lilith exchange amused glances. Iolaus leans in to Jason:

IOLAUS
You didn't tell me about this tradition.
JASON
It's a new one on me.

He's peeling potatoes over a water-filled pot. One gets away from him and splashes into the pot, sloshing all over Iolaus, much to Alcmene's and Lilith's delight. Alcmene LAUGHS.

LILITH
You two are pathetic.
IOLAUS
Don't get too smug. You wouldn't be much use on a boar hunt.

Lilith and Alcmene stop what they're doing. They glance at each other, then turn to face the guys.

LILITH
Oh, no?

EXT. FOREST CLEARING - DAY

As Hercules and Capaneus enter a sunny clearing in the midst of thick woods, Capaneus stops and sits down on a fallen tree.

CAPANEUS
Let's stop for a second.

Reluctantly, Herc stops. Capaneus wipes his brow.

CAPANEUS
Hot today. Boars are probably all asleep in the shade, keeping cool.

He takes a drink from the wineskin, then holds it out.

CAPANEUS
Here. Want some?

Herc doesn't answer. Capaneus throws the wineskin. Herc scrambles to catch it, dropping his spear in the process.

CAPANEUS
Better drink.

Herc shoots him a look... but takes a drink.

CAPANEUS
Look, I know you're upset. Your mom and I have been concerned about how to tell you about this.

Wiping his mouth, Herc throws the wineskin back, then picks up his spear.

HERCULES
I don't want to talk about it, okay?

He walks off. Capaneus stands, stretches, then hurries to catch up to him.

CAPANEUS
Hercules, wait. I have feelings for your mother, and I believe she has feelings for me.

Catching up, he puts a hand to Herc's shoulder.

CAPANEUS
You can't just walk away from it.

Herc spins, knocking Capaneus' hand from his shoulder, and bringing up his spear.

HERCULES
Leave me alone!

Capaneus raises his own spear defensively. Both stare at each other, stiff with tension. Suddenly, a large tusked BOAR comes running from the thick undergrowth at the edge of the clearing behind Hercules.

BOAR'S POV - TRAVELING (HAND-HELD)

CAMERA MOVES FAST toward Herc. Capaneus throws himself at Herc, knocking him O.S. as CAMERA RUSHES past them.

ON HERC AND CAPANEUS

Capaneus drops his spear and falls as he shoves Herc.

ON THE BOAR

as it wheels about.

BOAR'S POV - TRAVELING (HAND-HELD)

CAMERA RUSHES toward Capaneus, lying in a vulnerable position. Herc leaps up and throws his spear TOWARD CAMERA, which veers wildly and crashes into the brush.

ON HERC AND CAPANEUS

The O.S. boar runs off, SQUEALING. There's a moment of silence. Herc and Capaneus look at each other... and start to LAUGH.

CAPANEUS
Some boar hunters we are.
HERCULES
Yeah.

He hesitates, then holds out a hand. Capaneus takes it, and Herc helps him to his feet.

CAPANEUS
We better go after it. Your mother will skin us if we go back empty-handed.

Herc nods. Capaneus picks up his spear, then pointedly goes first, turning his back to Herc in a declaration of trust. Herc follows him into the trees.

EXT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

The sun is low in the sky as they come walking back to the house, dirty, sweaty, and empty-handed. They hesitate at the door.

HERCULES
You tell her.
CAPANEUS
She's your mother.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

The door opens. They enter, rather sheepishly, to find Alcmene and Herc's friends working away at the table.

HERCULES
Mom? Listen, about that boar...

Capaneus glances O.S. and elbows him. Herc looks over and reacts to see a good-sized boar roasting over the fire. They look back to the others in surprise.

CAPANEUS
Who caught it?
HERCULES
Jason? Iolaus?

Both shake their heads sheepishly. Alcmene and Lilith share a proud smile.

LILITH
We did!
ALCMENE
We thought you two would be too busy butting heads to hunt one down.
JASON
While we peeled potatoes.
CAPANEUS
Congratulations!

He impulsively goes to Alcmene and gives her a hug. Herc reddens, then walks out.

EXT. ALCMENE'S FRONT YARD - CONTINUOUS

Herc storms across the yard to the fence. He stands gazing off, looking furious... and confused. He doesn't notice as Iolaus emerges from the house and walks up to him... until Iolaus smacks him in the shoulder.

HERCULES
Hey!
IOLAUS
What's your problem, bud?
HERCULES
You just don't get it, do you? That's my mother?
IOLAUS
Yeah, I get it! That's your mother! In that nice house, cooking you a hot meal, just waiting for you to wise up and come back...

Herc frowns uncertainly. Iolaus gets right in his face, filled with righteous anger.

IOLAUS
You wanna trade places? I'll take a mom like that any day, and if she meets some guy who makes her happy, that's fine with me, 'cause I want her to be happy! Ya big dope!

Herc is speechless. Iolaus turns to walk away... then stops and looks back.

IOLAUS
You know, some of us never had it this good.

He turns and heads back toward the house. Herc just watches him go.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - HERC'S OLD ROOM - EVENING

Lilith is at a wash basin, washing her face. As she dries off with a towel, she looks at herself in a small mirror behind the basin. She SIGHS. There's a KNOCK on the door. Alcmene steps in. She's wearing a lovely dress and looks quite pretty.

ALCMENE
How are you doing, dear?

Lilith casts an admiring look at Alcmene's dress, then shoots herself another quick glance in the mirror before shrugging wryly.

LILITH
Okay, I guess.

She gestures to her own somewhat dirty clothes.

LILITH
I mean... is this all right? For the feast? I hadn't planned on going boar hunting in it...

Alcmene smiles mysteriously.

ALCMENE
Come with me.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - ALCMENE'S ROOM - EVENING

Alcmene opens a large hope chest, and pulls out a beautiful dress. She holds it up.

LILITH
It's beautiful.
ALCMENE
I wore this the night Amphitryon proposed to me. I hoped one day I'd have a daughter who might like it.

She holds it up before Lilith, checking the fit. Lilith steps back, shaking her head.

LILITH
No, I couldn't... really. It's not me.
ALCMENE
Please. It would make me very happy.

She holds it up to Lilith again, and both turn to check out her reflection in a full length mirror against the wall. Lilith smiles... she likes what she sees.

EXT. ALCMENE'S FRONT YARD - NIGHT

A long table has been set up in front of Alcmene's house. It's laden with food, the boar surrounded by vegetables in the center. Large tapers light the scene as Jason, Iolaus and Capaneus gaze at the feast.

IOLAUS
Now that's what I call a feast.

Jason reacts with surprised delight to see:

JASON
Fish-and-feta pop-overs!

He looks to Alcmene as she steps to the table and sets down a dish. She smiles, a twinkle in her eye.

ALCMENE
Lilith made them. I didn't know how.
JASON
(touched)
What a pal!
IOLAUS
Where is Lilith, anyway?
ALCMENE
She's coming.

Herc comes walking into the light, and steps right up to Capaneus. He looks challenging, and there's a tense moment, but then he holds out his hand, and Capaneus shakes it. Alcmene smiles in relief. All sit down. Herc lets Capaneus sit by Alcmene.

HERCULES
Mmm! Everything smells great. Where's Lilith?
LILITH (O.S.)
Here I am.

Everyone looks up as she steps in from the darkness. She's wearing the dress, and looks quite spectacular. The guys are dumbfounded.

HERCULES
Wow!

He scrambles to his feet, as do Jason, Iolaus and Capaneus. Lilith looks a little embarrassed as she steps to her seat. She shoots Iolaus a peeved look.

LILITH
What are you staring at?
IOLAUS
Uh... Nothing.
(amazed)
You're a girl!
LILITH
Can we just eat?

She sits down. So do the boys, and everyone starts to dig in, sharing ad libbed comments about the food.

ALCMENE
Oh! I forgot the bread.

She gets up and goes into the house. After a beat, Herc follows. Capaneus watches him.

INT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Herc steps up to Alcmene as she places loaves of bread into a large bowl.

HERCULES
Mom...
(beat)
Look, I know I haven't been very understanding about... things.

Alcmene gives him a smile.

ALCMENE
No, Hercules, you haven't.
HERCULES
I just... I just want what's best for you... and you're the best judge of that. So... whatever makes you happy... is fine with me.

It was a tough speech for him to make, and Alcmene is grateful. She touches his cheek lovingly.

ALCMENE
Thank you, Son.
HERCULES
Here, I'll take that.

Taking the bowl, he leads the way back out to the table.

EXT. ALCMENE'S FRONT YARD - CONTINUOUS

They sit down at the table with the others. Alcmene holds out a bowl to Iolaus.

ALCMENE
Iolaus, would you like some asparagus?
IOLAUS
No, thanks, I--

Jason elbows him.

IOLAUS
I mean, sure, I'd love some.

INT. ALCMENE'S BARN - LATER THAT NIGHT

Herc and Iolaus lie on their bedrolls in the darkened barn. Iolaus rolls back and forth restlessly.

IOLAUS
(GROANS)
I ate so much, my stomach's killing me.

Jason's VOICE pipes up from the hay loft.

JASON (O.S.)
Just wait till breakfast!
IOLAUS
Oh, yeah? What're we having?

Jason's head pops into view, smiling down at them over the edge of the loft.

JASON
Cold fish-and-feta pop-overs!

Iolaus GROANS and rolls over.

IOLAUS
Suddenly I feel even worse.

Herc LAUGHS, then stops laughing as the door opens. Capaneus quietly enters, lays down his bedroll near Herc, then lies down. Herc rolls over, his back to Capaneus. In the dim light we can see that he's smiling.

INT. ALCMENE'S BARN - MORNING

Morning light floods the barn. Iolaus is still sacked out as Herc wakes up. He rolls over and sees that Capaneus' bedroll is gone. Frowning, Herc sits up. He glances toward the door, which is ajar. He can see Capaneus in the distance, standing with Alcmene. She says something to him, and Capaneus nods. Then he bends down and she kisses him on the cheek. Capaneus turns, shouldering his bedroll, and walks off. Herc smiles at the scene... then his smile fades a bit. He stands.

EXT. ALCMENE'S FRONT YARD - MORNING

Alcmene is gazing down the road in the direction taken by Capaneus, as Herc walks up from the barn. She turns to see him.

ALCMENE
Good morning, dear.
HERCULES
Morning.

He also looks down the road... then to his mother.

HERCULES
That wasn't because of me, was it?
ALCMENE
(looking down the road)
No. It was my choice. I'm not ready.

As she's not looking at him, Herc permits himself another relieved smile. Alcmene catches him.

ALCMENE
Don't smirk. He'll be back in six months to help with the harvest.

This deflates Herc a bit. He looks down at the ground. Alcmene steps closer and puts a hand on his arm. Herc looks up at her as she smiles reassuringly.

ALCMENE
Hercules... he's never going to replace you in my heart. No one can.

Herc finally breaks into a wide, boyish smile, and gives her a loving hug.

HERCULES
I know, Mom.
(looks away)
I just forgot for a while.

Alcmene ruffles his hair, and they turn to head into the house.

ALCMENE
You know, I don't think Iolaus likes my cooking. He only had one stalk of asparagus, and he left several peas on his plate...

FADE OUT.

THE END