Your Enemies Closer




Chapter Fifteen:

Setting---The Hyperion Hotel

"Thanks for the call, Wes."

Wesley closed his eyes, wondering for a moment why he wasn't hanging up now. "You have all you need?"

"For now. I'll let you know if my company needs your services again. You know Wes...maybe--"

"Goodbye Lilah." Wesley hung up on her, slamming the phone back down on the hook. God he hated that woman and he wondered if---his train of thought was suddenly broken by the sound of many footsteps out in the lobby. "What in---?"

Suddenly, voices rang out and he thought he recognized Anne's scream amongst the shouts. Oh God...what was going on? He ran to the door and peeked out from between the cracks, his eyes widening at what he saw. Vampires were grouped around Faith, Gunn Lorne and Anne. Beyond them, he spotted Angelus and Cordelia standing on the first landing, arm in arm. How the hell had they gotten in?

"We'd like a word with the boss."

Oh shit....

Wesley wheeled and ran to the safe behind the desk; time for the big guns.


Faith eyed the weapon's cabinet ten feet from her. She mentally counted the steps, the number of vampires in the room and the ones within a twenty foot radius to her. Seven running steps, six vampires in her range and twenty in the room. Easy.

"We'd like a word with the boss." Cordelia asked, grinning at her from the first landing.

"What the hell do you want?" Gunn stepped up, eyeing Faith as she glanced back and forth.

"We want Wesley, but we'll settle for carnage and death." Angelus smirked and then looked around at the hotel. "You've redecorated! And here I thought that red paint would never come up."

"Oh good, I like the pre-fight banter. No one has better one-liners than me." Lorne spat, sizing up Angelus. Without thinking, he opened up his psychic channels and probed both the figures on the stairs. He didn't like what he saw. "You want the scrolls."

"No shit, Sherlock." Cordelia shot at them and then turned to Faith. "By the way, Slayer, how do you like our minions? Familiar, huh?"

"Fuck you, Cordelia." Faith ground out, glaring at the demoness.

Anne actually looked at the vampires grouped around them and gasped. She grabbed Charles's arm and squeezed. "The Hunters...oh God Charles. They're all..."

Gunn quieted her with a hand on her shoulder, putting her between Lorne and himself. He shot a glance in Faith's direction and saw her shaking, her clenched fists trembling. He caught her attention and she nodded her head.

"So, how about it? Wesley for your lives?"

"How about a nice big, Fuck You instead?"

"Mmm...sounds tempting Faith, but the last time I fucked a Slayer, it ended badly for me and her." Angelus grinned wolfishly at her and Faith glared at him.

"Leave B out of this." Faith ground out, glancing sidelong at Gunn. He moved up a step and eyed the vampires closest to him.

"Yeah! No B-word." Cordelia snapped, turning on Angelus, a scowl etched across her pretty features. Faith nearly laughed at the sight of Angelus visibly cowed.

"Ball and chain's a little tight, ain't it Angelus?" Gunn smirked, moving another step forward and then taking half a step back as a vampire stepped toward him.

"Okay, I'm sick of this shit! Attack them already!" Angelus waved his hand at the assembled vampires. Immediately, they rushed forward, advancing on the four of them.

Like lightning, Faith launched herself toward the weapon's cabinet. Time slowed and in her mind everyone narrowed down to the fight.

Ten feet to the weapon's cabinet. She darted past three vampires in her immediate vicinity, snapping one's neck as she went and using the body to lever up into the air, slamming her feet into the other two's heads. The vampire fell away from her and she rolled to the weapon's cabinet, her fist shattering the glass and wood as she came up.

She felt glass cut into her, but she ignored it and reached in, two axes and a stake coming out in her fist.

"Gunn!" Faith wheeled and sliced off a vampire's head as he leapt at her, exploding in a shower of ash. Gunn looked up at her from his brawl with two vampires and saw her slide an axe across the floor to him. A duck and roll and he picked it up with one quick motion, coming around in a wide arch to slice off the head of the vampire to his right.

Two down...

Faith was suddenly rammed from behind and she turned, ready to bring the second ax up. She stopped as she recognized Lorne's green face in front of her.

"Oh hey there! Just came for a weapon!" Lorne snatched the ax out of her hand and jumped back into the advancing fray. Faith watched as he sliced off a vampire's hand and then she was lost in the two creatures picking themselves up off the ground. The vamp with the broken neck glared up at her, bone protruding through its neck. It couldn't move, but was certainly still alive.

The two standing vampires rushed her on either side and she spun out a leg, kicking one full in the teeth before being toppled by the other one. She slid along the slick linoleum, coming face to face with Broken-Neck's snarling visage. The other vampire leapt on her back and snapped at her ears.

Suddenly remembering the stake still in her hand, she brought the blunt butt of it back into Snarly's face and then brought it down in an arch that caught Broken-Neck between the ribcage. She felt the scrape of bone against wood and then coughed in a shower of ash.

Three down...

"Motherfucker!" Gunn's voice was somewhere to her left and she wrenched herself out of Snarly's grip to look in that direction. Her eyes got wide at the sight of Anne back into the corner beside the bathroom door, a mop in her hands, the wooden end being jabbed at six vampires surrounding her. Her eyes were wild with fear, but she was holding her ground. Gunn was desperately trying to get free of the five vampires sizing him up, one on his shoulder, tearing at his black t-shirt.

Quickly Faith calculated the steps to get over to her and the number of bodies she'd have to wade through. She was leaping before she finished the thought, coming down hard on the back of one of them, stake planted firmly between the shoulder blades.


She was spinning before the ash had even exploded, catching Snarly in the face with her palm as he came at her from behind. Another swing and the stake slid in like butter; she wrenched it out and kicked out a booted heel as other vampires took his place.

Somewhere to her right she heard the whoosh of air and the sound of flesh hitting flesh hard enough to split to the bone, which meant Lorne was up and fighting still. Another whoosh of air to her left.

Six...but her attention was on the vampire circling her. She knew him and shuddered. Fuck. Eric's young face grinned up at her from under a mop of curly blonde hair. She had actually almost liked him.

He snarled and leapt at her; she slammed him back against the wall with ease and brought her stake hand up in an arch. The point went in at an angle, but didn't hit home. At least it didn't until she slammed the heel of her palm against the blunt end, making Eric's features contort with rage and pain a moment before it went gray and wet with ash.

Seven. But with Eric went her stake and now it was improv time. She glanced back at the others and saw Lorne holding one of them onto the floor with his foot, pummeling one with the handle of the axe and swinging it backward long enough to chop at the one attempting to twist his head off. Blood flew, but the vampire stayed upright.

Faith was distracted as she went into a punching match with one big black vampire she thought she recognized. Another hard knot of guilt threatened to choke her, but she forced it away and grabbed the vampire's shirt collar, flipping backwards and throwing the vampire into the broken weapon's cabinet. She hadn't expected anything, but he dusted in front of her eyes and she caught sight of a wooden slat, broken in two and connected to the frame of the cabinet. Lucky shot...

She glanced back at Lorne and saw the axe hack the vampire on the floor's head neatly in two.

Nine dead, eleven left. Not including Angelus and Cordelia, who were....where? Faith punched a vampire in the teeth and turned her head in their direction. They weren't where she expected them to be and she swiveled her head in the direction of the office door. That was when she realized she hadn't seen Wesley in the fight.

Her heart dropped to her knees and she swallowed hard, dropping her guard and allowing a vampire to tackle her in the middle. She was slammed back against the wall before she could move. The vamp reached for her neck, intending to snap it, no doubt, but she clasped her fingers together and pounded them down on the vampire's back, knocking her to her knees. Faith brought her knee up into the vampire's face and felt her nose break. A gush of blood flowed out and Faith kicked out her leg, connecting with the stomach and knocking the female backward.

Without thinking, she reached for the half-broken slat on the weapon's cabinet and snapped it off. She reached for the female vamp and raised the stake. Just as she slammed it home, light exploded throughout the room.

Faith was tossed across the room, rolling as she hit the floor. She was blinded by the light surrounding her. Sound rushed past her ears and she was slammed against something hard, the feel of a body on fire against hers a moment before it exploded. She collapsed in the vacancy and tried to roll and squelch the flames she could feel on her leg. She found nothing but air and that hard surface under body, whatever force in the room pinning her hard against it. The breath flew from her lungs and she tried to make out objects in the whiteness but there was nothing but pain for her eyes. She squeezed them shut just as another explosion rocked the lobby.

Faith was knocked even harder against the solid mass, her head slamming into it with a harsh force. Red warmth danced on her eyelids as she sank into oblivion, not knowing what the hell had happened or if anyone else was alive.


Wesley was slammed back against the wall and he slid down it, blinded, his hand scorched and smoking. He heard screams and thought he recognized Faith's shout amongst them. It was cut off by the sound of the office door coming off its hinges and glass shattering. The desk slid along the floor, pinning him to the wall even more.

His eyes squeezed shut and he prayed the Sol would burn out quickly or everyone in the place would be cooked. Sound rushed past him and he felt the wind whooshing out of him. And then, another explosion as the Sol burned itself out and he drifted into red warmth for several seconds.

The intense light in the room faded and Wes gulped in huge lungfuls of air, his burned hand throbbing, blackened tissue showing on the fingertips where he'd been holding the demon's manifest bottle. He shifted and found he couldn't move. He almost panicked before he used his legs to shove the desk away, the legs scraping against the floor. The sound was deafening after the strangeness of a moment ago.

As he stood up, he heard Gunn's voice calling from the lobby. He swallowed hard and stepped over the broken door, his head spinning a little from being upright. He burst into the lobby and looked around, seeing the piles of dust everywhere, a small smile slowly forming on his lips. It got even wider when he saw all his friends, alive, but battered.

"Anne!" Gunn was the first of the four to get up, his shirt ripped, a gash on his forehead. He ran straight for Anne, who was still clutching her mop for dear life, lying on her side against the wall. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. A little bruised, but fine. What the hell happened?" Anne asked as she grabbed Gunn's hand. He helped her up and turned to Wesley.

"That's what I'd like to know." Gunn said, wiping at a speck of ash on Anne's cheek, his hand going protectively to her stomach.

"Sol demon, if I'm not mistaken. I was wondering what you did with it." Lorne said as he climbed to his feet, his back against the red couch, a slash across the breast of his blue shirt.

"What's the fuck's a Sol demon?"

Wesley wheeled to see Faith climbing to her feet, a gash across her cheek and a large welt on her forehead. Her pant-leg was burnt, but the skin beneath was smooth and untouched. She had been lying against the steps to the landing, her black shirt covered in vampire dust. She looked disgruntled and unhappy, her eyes glowing with rage. It took Wesley a moment to find his voice.

"A Sol demon is short-lived entity made of captured sunbeams. They can survive in manifest bottles for long periods of time and quickly dissipate once released. Lorne found me one a couple of months ago and I've had it in the safe since then..." His voice trailed off as Faith stared at him, noticing the dust all over her. "Well, it killed the vampires."

"Not all of them."

Wesley's attention swiveled back to Lorne. "Angelus and Cordelia?"

"Last seen heading out the front door and into the night."
Lorne said, rubbing his back with one hand.

"Dammit. We had a chance of really getting them this time."

"They wanted the scrolls."

"They didn't get them." Wesley sighed and rubbed his neck with a weary hand.

"I wonder why they left in such a hurry." Gunn said, glancing sidelong at Faith. Something was weighing heavily on his mind. "Maybe they didn't like seeing their new minions getting pummeled by the Slayer who used to work for them."

The comment was pointed and cut straight to the bone. Wesley saw Faith go pale, her eyes flicking back and forth between Gunn and Anne, who were staring at her expectantly. Wesley must have missed something.

"What are you saying?" He started slowly, walking forward and meeting Faith's nervous gaze. "What's going on Faith?"

Faith's mouth opened and closed, her lip trembling slightly. She started to speak, "I, umm...the Hunters--"

"Oh God! Fred!" Lorne interrupted her, rushing toward the stairs as fast as his hurt back would allow him to go.

"She's fine Lorne! The Sol couldn't reach the other floors--"

"Not that! The vampires! They came from upstairs!" Lorne screamed back over his shoulder as he hit the top of the stairs, rushing back into the hallway. Wesley's attention was riveted on the top of the stairs, half-wanting to run after Lorne and half-wanting to grab ahold of Faith before she ran.

As if she could read his mind, he suddenly saw Faith run out the door, moving far quicker than he thought possible for a human being to go. His heart dropped.

"Faith!" Gunn yelled, stepping forward, but Wesley grabbed his arm.

"Let me..." He was running before he finished the sentence, out the door and into the night.

Chapter 16