Script: “On the Way to a Smile: Episode Denzel”

This article is the work of TLS member Morello.

This is the script of the animation included on the “Advent Children Complete” blue ray disc. An official English dub is not available so this script is taken from the English subtitles.

Episode Denzel

(At Johnny’s Heaven (or Johonny’s Heaven according to the sign). Johnny’s Heaven is a bar out on the barren earth outside Edge. It’s a cobbled-together place, open to the sky apart from a metal cover over the bar. Johnny is behind the bar, and Denzel sits at one of the wooden tables out in the sun.)

(At Johnny’s Heaven (or Johonny’s Heaven according to the sign). Johnny’s Heaven is a bar out on the barren earth outside Edge. It’s a cobbled-together place, open to the sky apart from a metal cover over the bar. Johnny is behind the bar, and Denzel sits at one of the wooden tables out in the sun.)

Johnny: Make yourself at home, Denzel. Come, sit a little closer.

Denzel: No. I’m meeting someone.

Johnny: On a date, eh? Go get her, kiddo.

Denzel: Coffee.

Johnny: Call me over if you get stuck. I know how to talk to the ladies. Trust me. (Notices Reeve approaching). Oh… Come on in.

Reeve: A coffee, if you don’t mind.

Johnny: Yes, of course.

(Denzel stands up)

Reeve, to Denzel: Have a seat.

Denzel (coming to attention): Yes Sir! (They both sit at the table opposite one another.)

Reeve: Now then, Denzel… I’m short on time, so allow me to get right down to business. I should warn you up front, our organisation has changed. Gone are the days when we welcomed just anyone into our ranks. If it’s volunteer work you’re after, contact your local leaders. The WRO is an army now.

Denzel: Yes Sir. I’m prepared for the dangers.

Reeve: I’m sure you are. All right, tell me about yourself, starting with your background.

Denzel: Background? I don’t – I mean, I’m only ten.

Reeve: Yes, I know. But even a ten-year-old must have a background.

Denzel: Uh… (looks down, remembering…)

Titles (not spoken): On the Way to a Smile Episode: Denzel Final Fantasy VII

(Denzel is sitting on a chair at home, watching a large TV alone.)

Shinra News TV footage: Welcome back to our ongoing coverage…of the attack on Mako Reactor One.

(Denzel’s father, Abel, enters, looking worried.)

Abel: Where’s your mother?

Denzel: She’s out shopping.

Abel: Okay. I’m going to look for her.

Shinra News: – the estimated death toll has risen to 230 people.

(Cut to view of reactor no. seven. Caption: Shinra. Presumably translating the logo on the reactor.)

(Chloe and Abel are on a street in Sector Seven, with Denzel. Abel has grabbed Chloe’s wrist.)

Chloe: What is going on?

Abel: They’re going to destroy Sector Seven. Quick, we need to take shelter in Sector Five. We have the new house.

Chloe: Destroy it?

Abel: The scum that blew up Reactor One…Well, they’ve picked their next target.

Chloe: Number Seven? But we can’t just… What about our neighbours, our friends?

Abel: There’s no time, Chloe. Besides, this is classified. I’m breaking rules here. Risking my promotion.

Chloe: Denzel. Go with your father. I’ll catch up with you soon. Don’t worry.

Abel: Chloe? (Chloe runs off.) Denzel, we need to go.

Denzel: No! We can’t leave Mom here!

Abel: Mom will be just fine. You can’t blame her for caring.

(One of Abel’s subordinates at Shinra, Mr. Arkham, appears looking worried and wheeling a suitcase.)

Arkham: Boss! What are you still doing here?! The Turks have already deployed. By now they must be finished planting the explosives. I know. One of my buddies prepped their vehicle.

Abel: Not in front of my son.

Arkham: Ah – Sorry, Sir.

Abel: Arkham, could you take Denzel over to Sector Five for me? The housing area, number 38.

Denzel: No!

Abel: Do as I say. Go with Mr. Arkham. I’m going to bring back your mom.
(Denzel makes sounds of protest, but acquiesces.)

Denzel: Dad!

Abel’s voice: I bought us a new big-screen TV. Watch that while you’re waiting for us.

(Cut to Arkham and Denzel watching the big-screen TV in the Sector Five house.)

Shin-Ra News: Following his official statement Mr. Heidegger of the Shinra Company’s Public Safety department fielded reporters’ questions, stating again…

Denzel: I’m hungry.

Arkham: You got it. I’ll go pick something up.

(As he stands there is an explosion and the TV goes to static. Denzel cries out. There’s a second explosion. The Shinra logo appears on the screen. Two more explosions.)

Arkham: Goddamn it. (Another explosion.) Stay right here.

Denzel: Wait, what about -?

Shin-Ra News: We interrupt our regular broadcast for this breaking news. We have unconfirmed reports that Sector Seven has just exploded. Yes, there seems to have been a tremendous explosion…

(Cut to images of destroyed Sector Seven. Denzel is right at the edge of the hole in the plate, between two members of Shinra security, looking down into the ruins. It’s impossible to tell which member of security is speaking, because their uniforms cover their mouths.)

Security: Whoa, kid! You wanna get hurt?

Security: Where do you live?

Denzel points down into the ruins.

Security: Damn shame. And your folks?

(Denzel just continues to point with a trembling hand.)

Security: This is Avalanche’s doing. Don’t you forget it. When you get bigger, you pay them back. Okay, move along. Can’t stay here.

(Cut to Johnny’s Heaven. Present. Johnny is leaning on the bar listening, looking distressed by Denzel’s story.)

Denzel: Is it true Shinra did it?

Reeve: Yes. Do whatever you like with me, it you despise me for it.

(Denzel doesn’t reply, but looks as though he’s going to cry. Cut to flashback of Denzel wandering the streets. There are sirens, like police sirens, wailing in the background. Denzel finds a toy airship with the Shinra logo on it, and throws it away in anger. It breaks the window of a house. An old lady comes out.)

Ruvie: Who’s there?! Who did this? You did this?

Denzel nods.

Ruvie: Why would you…? Are you crying? (Denzel shakes his head.) Where do you live? (Denzel keeps crying.) Well, why don’t you come inside?

(Cut to inside her house. Mrs. Ruvie is blocking the hole the airship toy made in the window with a cloth.)

Ruvie: When my son gets home, he’ll be able to fix this up right as rain. This should do for now.

Denzel: I’m sorry, Ms. Ruvie.

Ruvie: If times weren’t how they are, I’d go give your parents an earful.

Denzel: But Mom and Dad aren’t…

Ruvie: What, you expect me to believe they left you here and just ran off?

Denzel: They were in Sector Seven.

Ruvie: Well, you just stay here as long as you like.

(Cut back to present.)

Reeve: Damn… This heat. (Denzel is mopping his brow with a floral cloth/ handkerchief.) What an adorable pattern. Like a little girl’s.

Denzel (smiles): Yes, Sir.

(Flashback to Denzel in Ms. Ruvie’s house.)

Ruvie: Denzel. Put this on. I made it for you, but this was the only fabric I could find. (It’s a shirt made of the same floral fabric.)

Denzel: Thanks, Ms. Ruvie.

Ruvie: Well, I had extra fabric. Here. (She gives him the cloth/handkerchief.) Denzel, I don’t really know how to explain this… (They go outside. Meteor is in the sky.) They’re calling it ‘Meteor”. That’s about all I know about it. But they’re saying that thing is going to crash into the planet and put an end to everything. How do you prepare for something like that, for crying out loud? Denzel. I intend to wait for the end right here. If the planet is going to be destroyed, one place is as good as another. What will you do? If you plan to go somewhere else, take any food in the house with you. I know you’re still just a boy, but I think you should choose where you face the end.

Denzel: Is it okay if I stay here?

(Ms. Ruvie and Denzel hug.)

(Scenes of Ms. Ruvie and Denzel planting seeds in the garden, then some chocobos watching meteor’s descent, then Meteorfall.

Denzel: Ms. Ruvie! I’m scared!

(Scenes of Meteor falling and the Lifestream erupting from the ground.)

Ms. Ruvie: Denzel! Get back inside! Denzel! (Ms. Ruvie runs towards Denzel and knocks him to the ground back into the inner room.) Denzel, you keep the door shut.

Denzel: Ms. Ruvie!

(She shuts the door and there’s a big explosion. Denzel hears her shout in pain. He opens the door and finds her lying against it. He cries out and covers his face as the light intensifies.)

(Cut to blue sky and little fluffy clouds in the present.)

Denzel (to Reeve): I don’t know how long I was lying there. When I came to, the whole house was in shambles. Ms. Ruvie was lying on the floor. I called her name and she opened her eyes just a little and said, “I’m glad you’re safe,” in a tiny voice. Then she asked me to hold her hand. So I held my hand out. She took it… but there was no strength in her at all. “My son’s hand is too big. I can’t get mine around it anymore,” she said. And I thought, “Good thing I’m a kid.” Then she asked me what it looked like outside. I was worried about her, but I went out to look. It was morning. (As Denzel narrates this, the scene cuts to what he’s describing.) The whole area was just like the inside of the house, in shambles.

Denzel (past memory. Shaking Ms. Ruvie.): Ms. Ruvie. Hey. Ms. Ruvie? Huh! Oh! (He leaps back in horror as he sees that she’s dead and the black ooze of geostigma is running from her body. Denzel cries, then yells and runs onto the street, where he falls to the ground. He looks over at what’s left of Sector Five.) Dad, please. Mom. Help me. Mr. Arkham. Anybody. (Denzel is crying on the doorstep of the ruined house, when a large bearded man – Gaskin – appears.)

Gaskin: Hey, don’t cry. What are you doing here? Didn’t you hear them say on TV to take shelter in the slums?

Denzel: We didn’t watch TV.

Gaskin: No kidding, you didn’t. “We didn’t know.” “We thought we’d be okay.” It’s the same story with the whole lot of you! So, got family?

Denzel: Ms. Ruvie’s in the house.

Gaskin. Hmm.

Present. Denzel: The man’s name was Gaskin. He helped me bury Ms. Ruvie in the backyard. (Cut back to Johnny’s Heaven.)The people in the truck pitched in too. We buried her with her son’s books and her sewing tools. Everybody was surprised how thick the soil in the backyard was. (Cut back to a scene of Ms. Ruvie’s grave.) They said they usually hit the Plate right away.

Reeve (back in present): Perhaps she’d meant to raise vegetables. A lot of elderly folk from the country do that, you know.

Denzel: I think it was flowers. The house was full of floral patterns, and she had tons of fake flowers too. (Cut to a scene of Denzel helping Ms. Ruvie plant seeds for a moment.) But I think what she really wanted was some real ones. She lived in Midgar because her son worked for Shinra. But she just wanted a nice place with soil where she could plant some flowers and… Sorry. I’m rambling, huh?

Reeve: No.

(Cut to shot of the central pillar and a curve of train track.)

Gaskin: The trains aren’t running. No prospects of them staring up again either. But lucky for us, the tracks still lead down to the city. (He’s leading a group of survivors, including Denzel.) We should be able to walk it.

Man: Is Midgar dangerous?

Gaskin: Well, I dunno. But I’ll take my chances with good old solid ground. Careful you don’t slip. Everybody’s hit hard right now. You gotta look after yourself.

(They come across a boy stitting by the tracks.)

Denzel: Oh!

Boy: Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. It hurts, Mommy.

(Denzel runs to the boy.)

Gaskin: Hey!

Man: That kid, he’s marked!

Girl: Don’t touch him, you’ll catch it!

Denzel: Where’s it hurt?

Boy: Back there…

Denzel: Your back hurts?

Boy: Yeah.

Reeve narrates: Back then we didn’t know a thing about the stigma. People exposed to the Lifestream oozed ichor from their bodies and died. Some said it spread through skin contact. (Cut back to present.) Actually, it was the remnants of Jenova mixed in the Lifestream… Well, even if people knew, it would have made no difference.

Denzel: Right. Especially to a kid.

(Reeve makes assenting noise.)

(Flashback. Rain in the ruins of the slums.)

Denzel narrates: Up there on the tracks, I thought: “I wish I was grown up.” Even if it meant just one less time I spent thinking about something I could never understand.

Gaskin: Hey!

Denzel: Huh?

Gaskin: Snacks. Eat up.

Denzel: Where’d you -?

Gaskin: Salvaged it. Not like the dead are gonna miss it. Worried you’ll catch the sickness? That’s nothing but a rumour. I suppose it could actually be true, but right now? Hearsay. Besides, you don’t eat, you die. If you’re gonna die, wouldn’t you rather do it on a full stomach? (He eats.) Mmm – still good. They’ll only rot if you leave them there. Eat up before they go to waste. (Denzel eats.)

Denzel: Thanks.

(Gaskin smiles and chuckles, pleased.)

(Cut to shot of Edge under construction.)

Man in hardhat: I’d like some iron pipes The more, the better.

Green-eyed, blondish boy (Rix): Say no more. The Sector Seven Scavengers will find everything you need.

Man: Yeah, that’s what they say. The Triple S is famous around here. Edge is coming right along, but we need building materials. Oh yeah. Here’s a little advance. (He gives Rix what look like candy bars.)

Rix: We’re in business. I’ll tell Chief Gaskin the good news. Now. Ready, Denzel?

Denzel: (assenting sound.)

(Cut to scavengers collecting materials in the debris of Sector Seven, overseen by Gaskin. Gaskin sneezes, and black ooze appears. He has the stigma.)

Rix (to Denzel): Let’s save up and buy ourselves our own place. (In the background Gaskin groans. Cut to the boys opening a door and discovering Gaskin’s dead body.)

Denzel narrates: Gaskin died a month later. We made sure to bury him in a special place.

(Cut back to present – Johnny’s Bar.)

Denzel: The good people always die, huh?

(Reeve nods.)

(Denzel narrates as we see scenes of the Sector Seven Scavengers, disappearing one by one.)

Denzel: Edge kept on growing, and people learned how to smile again. A lot of my friends from the Triple S found families and went their separate ways. The ones who lived long enough.

(Shot of Rix and Denzel in the ruins.)

Denzel: What can two people scavenge? Screws and lightbulbs?

Rix: Think of the killing we’ll make. We’ll just have to live in Edge now. Get food for free.

Denzel: So that’s it?

Rix: Yup, that’s it. I ain’t starving to death.

Denzel: Wanna catch some rats to eat?

Rix: Rats?

Denzel: Yeah. I hear everybody in the slums is too poor to eat anything but rats. My dad said so. Filthy, grey rats. This is the slums, and we’re pretty poor.

Rix: You serious?

Denzel: Yeah. I’m gonna eat a rat. I’m gonna be a real kid from the slums. We need a spear.

Rix: Oh yeah? Do it yourself.

Denzel: What?

Rix: I’ve been a kid from the slums since the day I was born.

(Denzel looks shocked.)

Denzel: I didn’t know.

Rix: So, what? You would have just refused to be friends with me if you did?

Denzel: Of course not!

Rix: Whatever. You’re just like all the snotty Plate kids.

Denzel: Rix –

Rix: Just so you know, thanks to the contaminated water you punks dumped on us the rats here are full of nasty germs. Find one person who’s gonna eat that.

(Rix walks away, waving off Denzel.)

Denzel narrates: I didn’t go after him. I didn’t think he’d forgive me.

Reeve’s voice: Why not?

(Shots of slums, Denzel’s voice over.)

Denzel: Because he was right. I was a stuck up kid from the acrop. I was used to the terminal and all the debris in Sector Seven, but I wouldn’t be caught dead going to the other slums. I think that’s why I didn’t go to Edge either… because I thought of it as a slum. Poor and dirty.

(Cut back to present.)

Reeve: And Rix?

Denzel: He’s doing okay. But he still won’t talk to me.

Reeve: Well, I’m glad you still have a chance to make up.

(Cut back to past. Denzel makes a spear, and wanders through the rubble of Sector Five, looking for rats.)

Denzel: I was ready to catch one of those rats and eat it. I had no money, no job. The slums would’ve been a step up. A Sector Seven kid like me could never be anybody in that world, I knew. But a rat full of nasty germs would solve that problem.

(Cut to present. Johnny exclaims angrily at the idea that Denzel was ready to die, making protesting noises.)

Denzel: I’m just saying what I thought at the time. But I was wrong. That’s why I’m still around.

Johnny: Well, yeah…

Reeve: So the best encounters were still ahead.

Denzel: Just when things were looking the worst.

(Cut back to Denzel in the slums. He finds Cloud’s bike outside the church, and takes his phone. Denzel calls home. We see a broken photo of Denzel between his parents, Chole and Abel.)

Automated voice on phone: All Sector Seven lines are currently out of service.

(On the phone’s screen Denzel sees the words 7th Heaven. Probably thinking his parents might be there, Denzel calls the 7th Heaven. In the 7th Heaven bar, Tifa answers.)

Tifa: Cloud, what a surprise. You never call. Is something wrong? Oh! Cloud?

Denzel: No.

Tifa: Who, then? That’s Cloud’s phone, right?

Denzel: I don’t know.

Tifa: Who are you?

Denzel: I don’t know. I don’t know. What am I supposed to do?

Tifa: Hey. Are you crying? (Denzel cries out in pain.) What’s wrong? Are you all right? Cloud? Are you there? Cloud?

(Denzel falls to the ground, and the black ooze of geostigma pours from his head. According the “The Case of Shinra” geostigma takes hold when people despair, so perhaps it began when he decided to eat a rat and die. Denzel stares at the stigma ooze in horror. At that moment, Cloud comes out of the church and sees Denzel collapsed on the ground. Cut back to Johnny’s Heaven.)

Denzel: I don’t remember anything after that. When I woke up, I was in a bed. Tifa and Marlene were looking after me. The rest you already know, right?

Reeve: Yeah.

Denzel: I owe my being alive to so many different people. My parents… Ruvie… Arkham and Gaskin… my friends from the Triple S. The living… the dead. Tifa, Cloud, Marlene. And, of course…

(Reeve nods.)

Denzel: I want to be like that for someone. It’s my turn to do the protecting. Please, Sir, let me join.

Johnny: No! N-O spells no!

Denzel: Would you shut up!

Johnny: But you’re still just a kid!

Denzel: That doesn’t matter!

Reeve: Actually, the WRO no longer enlists children.

Johnny: There, told you!

Denzel: Then, why didn’t you just tell me in the first place?

Reeve: Well, you see, I just decided. While listening to your story. Children have something only children can do. I want you to do that.

Denzel: What is it?

Reeve: Bring out the strength in us adults.

(Denzel and Johnny stand and watch Reeve walk away. Reeve pauses, and turns back to face them.)

Reeve: Oh, one other thing. (He holds up an identical floral handkerchief to the one Ms. Ruvie made for Denzel.) Thank you for taking care of my mother.

Johnny: You know, kid, if you wanna fight you can do it any time you want. You don’t need to be in the WRO. Why’s that so important to you?

Denzel: Cloud.

Johnny: What about him?

Denzel: He’s strong because he used to be in the army way back. I wanna be strong like that too.

Johnny: Times change, I think.

Denzel: How?

Johnny: Well, let’s see… Say, instead of some guy who swings around a sword, it’s the guy who always knows how to rub away the pain that gets all the chicks now.

Denzel: I’m not after chicks.

(Johnny laughs, and Denzel joins in. Denzel looks up into the sunlight, smiling. On the cliffs overlooking Midgar and Edge, grass is growing, and two chocobo chicks feed.)

The End