Setting---The Hyperion Hotel, three days later
For three days Faith had been haunting the
hotel, showing her face at odd intervals and spending her time in the room
adjacent to Fred's. Three days of fleeting glimpses of
a white face, dark eyes and long brown hair. Three days of Wesley
going slowly mad.
Whatever she was keeping from him, she seemed determined not to let it
spill. Lorne, having already tested her boundaries and finding her mind
locked up tight--Wesley was alive with curiosity about how she learned
THAT particular trick--was at a loss on how to reach her. Not only was she
not inclined to leave the hotel, but she was avoiding him at all costs.
The only ones of the five Connor Investigations team Faith even glanced at
was Anne and Fred. Anne she clung to, almost
leech-like and the other she kept at a wary, but intrigued, distance.
All the while, Wesley had other problems. Since his magical draining, he'd
been feeling decidedly off and the fact that he was working day and night
on the scrolls wasn't helping him any. The feeling grew every time he
stood, his chest thumping hollowly and his muscles straining like it was
too large a feat. A headache line had taken up residence between his thick
eyebrows, and his mouth was drawn into a thin white line. Gunn had been
giving him odd sidelong glances whenever he was in the same room with him.
Finally, it was getting to be too much and Wesley slammed his pen down on
the tablet of paper before him, glaring up at Charles. "WHAT?"
"Nothing!" Gunn said immediately, looking as if
he were biting back a different retort.
"Then leave me alone!" Wesley blinked the spots away from his vision.
"Are you okay, dude?" Gunn said after a moment,
seeing the color draining out of Wesley's face.
"Peachy." Wesley murmured, the ancient text
before him swimming slightly. He blinked once more and heard the world
roaring in his ears. He pitched sideways as gravity dumped him out of his
chair. His vision completely grayed and for a moment he wondered who the
hell had turned the lights out.
When the world came back, he was staring at Gunn's worried face. "Oopsy..."
"Fuck, Wes....what's going on?"
"Julio said it was too much...dammit." Wesley
mumbled, shaking his head. He immediately wished he hadn't as the world
moved in slow motion again. "Mmm....that's
"What's sickening is watching you killing yourself."
"I'm NOT going over this with you again. Old argument, Charles...let it
"Let me go next time. Shaman dude can do his voodoo on me."
Wesley sighed and looked gratefully up at Gunn. "That's kind of you to
offer, but my energy is the only thing that will work." Off Gunn's blank
look, he went on. "The spell I'm using requires a great deal of personal
energy, and that means once you start building it all up, you have to use
the same vessel every time. The vessel being me.
Your energy is useless, I'm afraid."
"And once the energy is all stored up?" Charles's eyes narrowed.
"Then I use it."
"And can only YOU use it?"
"No, actually. Anyone can do the spell to open the
Quor-toth, as long as they have the obsidian." Wesley wiped at his
brow and realized he was sweating, despite the drifting waves of a/c in
the air. His breath felt oddly shortened too.
"And that's that stone thingy, right?"
"Why are you asking so many questions?" Wesley asked him curiously.
Charles's face went dark and he looked away.
"I just want to make sure that it's not all going to go to waste, you
"If this kills me." Wesley
supplied, voice quiet. He gulped back a bitter taste in his mouth.
"Yeah." Charles let out a big breath and then
continued, "If you die before you can do the spell, I
wanna make sure I can do it for you." Gunn raised his chin and
stared at him stonily. Wesley smiled weakly.
"Thank you, Charles. I'll make sure to leave the stone and the spell in
the safe for you when the time comes."
When. He'd used when and not if. He knew this was killing
him for sure. Neither one spoke for a moment and then Wesley sighed.
"If the time comes. I still have to translate
this prophecy. World might end before we have to find out, you know." His
voice was weary as he looked back down at the brown scrolls spread out
across his desk.
"I'll leave you alone then. Do you need anything, man?" Gunn's eyes were
deeply shadowed with worry. Wesley smiled grimly.
"No. Just shut the door behind you, please." Gunn nodded and went to shut
the door behind him, but Wesley stopped him. "Do me a favor and don't tell
the others. Lorne knows....but I don't want Anne or Fred to worry anymore
than they have to."
"And your Slayer?"
"She's not mine and if she decides to talk to you,
which I doubt, don't mention it. There's still things I need to
work out with her, okay?"
"Right." The door clicked silently behind him and Wesley was faced with a
silent office and those damned scrolls he hated so much. He picked up his
pen and started in, trying to ignore the clouded feeling that had been
slowly building in his chest and head.
He was running out of time, and unfortunately, so was the world.
Setting---Under the Beverly
Center, same day
"I need to shower. For a year."
Cordelia's voice was a moan as she caught
another whiff of the putridness. "You smell
Angelus snorted and turned a grin on her. "Try being a vampire. You don't
smell any better, believe
"Ugh!" Cordelia grimaced and looked down at
the brown-flecked heels and the brown-ish
colored blood on her hands and chest. "I'm going to get sick."
"Don't. We don't have time." Angelus hurried his step and gestured her
forward in the tunnel.
"We just beat up a shit demon for information! We're the bad guys! We have
to now take time to reflect on our bad deeds. I'm going to use that time
to throw up." Cordelia insisted, doubling over
in the tunnel.
Angelus grunted and turned on her. "I know the routine, but according to
that Oshet Mar, we don't have time,
"I know...but..." She looked faintly green around the edges for a moment,
her long dark hair swinging around her face.
"But if we don't find out where the psychic shit demon says the breach in
the fabric of time happens, we're not going to be in time to stop the
Powers That Be from stopping it!" Angelus threw up his hands. "Was I the
only one listening in there?"
"Hey, don't get crabby with me, Mr. Tall, Dark and Deadly! I'm not the one
who decided we needed to take a three day break and turn Justine's humans
into an undead army of vampires!" Cordelia
protested, lurching upward, hands on her hips.
"We need backup when we find out who and what is going to try and stop the
end of the world! Am I the only one who looks ahead to the future? You
know, the one we hope to end?" Angelus growled
"Don't start! And what about Justine, hmm?
Where did her corpse run off to? You said Faith killed her!"
"I can't think of everything! That's why we're partners!"
"God! You were never this pigheaded when you had a soul!"
Angelus grabbed her in an instant and slammed her against the wall of the
tunnel, eyes going gold. "I thought we weren't supposed to mention that,
"Sorry. Honey." Cordelia
glared at him, her fingertips shining slightly.
"You're vamping." She shot back, eyebrow quirking.
"Have I ever told you how hot you are when you're pissing me off?"
He captured her lips and pressed his cold, hard body against hers. She let
herself be carried away, returning the kiss until his hands ventured
lower, seeking the hem of her short skirt. With a grunt she pushed him
"Ew! We're covered
in dead shit demon!" She stalked off past him and he shook his head.
Some things never changed.
Setting---Sahjan's Lair, same day
The cave was dark, the torches that had once
burned on the walls now blackened stumps. Cobwebs were everywhere; dust
was so thick that it threatened to make her sneeze. She gritted her teeth
and prayed she wouldn't. A sneeze would mean moving her head and moving
her head would mean that her back would scream at her.
Justine gasped as she sat down. She hurt everywhere she could feel.
The table was the same as it had been so long ago and she felt her lip
"I'm sorry Daniel. I wanted to do your work for you, but I failed. Angelus
got them all." She whispered to the emptiness, her breath stirring the
dust on the table. Beneath she saw the dim stain of old blood and a deep
gouge mark in the table. Gently she placed her palm down on top of it,
phantom pain lacing through her hand. Through the dirt on her skin, she
could see the pale scar atop her hand. She knew without looking that there
was an identical one on her palm.
Justine smiled, but it melted into a grimace of pain.
The vampire and the demon wanted to end the world, huh? This is what they
had killed for. Justine felt disgusted.
The instinct to panic rose and she forced it back down. According to her
experience, the world was always ending. Someone would take care of it and
she had a feeling that Slayer-bitch was going to be in on it. Fuck
her, maybe Justine had other things on her
A slow smile spread over her lips. An idea sparked in her brain and caught
She was going to get them all and finally end Daniel's work.