Your Enemies Closer

                           

 

 

Chapter Seventeen:

Setting---The Hyperion Hotel,
11:50pm

Faith's blood ran cold as she stepped in the scream-filled lobby, Wesley's hand in hers going cold and limp. Her stomach dropped and she felt Gunn step in behind her, his shoulder brushing hers. Shock radiated for a moment and then, with the crack of a whip, the room exploded.

Anne, lying on her side, her face a rictus of pain, was splayed against the stairs, her bloodied hands clutched to her massive belly. She was whimpering and trying to move, the broken end of a long spear jammed into her shoulder. Three feet away, Lorne was an unconscious lump, a trail of blood showed that he'd moved about three feet toward Fred before he'd passed out. Faith's eyes trailed over to the thrashing Seer and she swallowed hard. The girl was the source of the noise that filled the lobby, her body bruised from her collisions with the floor, nose and ears bleeding.

Faith saw all this, her stomach lurching...knowing. It was all her fault.

Charles rushed past her into the room, sliding in a puddle of blood and another liquid Faith's blurring eyes couldn't identify. Wesley dropped her hand and did the same, falling to his knees before a mass of thrashing limbs.

"Oh God..."

"Faith!"
Wesley's voice seemed a million miles away and it echoed thickly in her ears. "Faith!"

She blinked to clear her vision and stared stupidly at Wesley. "I...

"Call an ambulance! Anne's in labor!" Wesley tried to hold down Fred's thrashing arms and check on the unconscious demon next to her at the same time. "Faith! Now!"

His voice broke under the weight of his emotions and that's what snapped her out of it.

"Okay." She ran to the phone behind the desk and dialed 911, speaking breathlessly to a woman with a soothing voice that only grated on her frazzled nerves. She hung up and turned back toward Wesley. "They're coming."

"What happened?" Charles asked, his fingers twitching and his eyes roving over the bloody wound on his wife's shoulder like he wanted to do something and didn't know what. Faith knew that feeling all too well.

"Angelus and C-cordelia....they had some kind of thing...it, oww! It attacked and then they came...." Anne puffed, her teeth clenched as she grabbed onto Gunn's hand, squeezing her pain. "They wanted the translations...and..."

"Shhh...baby...it's okay." Gunn landed a kiss on her forehead and looked entreatingly over at Wesley. The Englishman was already turning his stoic gaze back on the thrashing girl in his arms.

"Faith...come here!"

She did as she was told, her throat tight with emotion as she stood over Fred's thrashing, screaming body. There was so much blood....

"RATTLESNAKES!! RATTLESNAKES!!"

Faith wanted to shut out the sound of the frightened Seer screaming, but it wouldn't stop. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Charles talking to an amazingly calm Anne. His wife was breathing in hitches, obviously in pain; from the stab wound or the labor, Faith wasn't sure.

"Get down here! Hold her down!" Wesley commanded, his eyes bright, his jaw set. There was murder in the blue orbs and Faith was chilled by it. She dropped to her knees beside the Seer and gathered the girl up in her arms. Slayer strength exerted, the girl's arms were stilled, but her screams kept coming.

"What's wrong with her?" Faith asked, swallowing hard.

"She's having a vision...several visions." Wesley clipped, turning towards Lorne's body and rolling him over. Faith flinched away from the sight of his bruised face and tried to still Fred's screaming with a hand to her mouth. It didn't work and she pulled it away, staring numbly down at the blood smeared across her palm. "Is he dead?"

"No...he's just unconscious. Most of this blood isn't his." Wesley answered brusquely, gesturing for Charles to come to him. He left Anne's side reluctantly and helped Wesley carry the demon over to the couch. "Hold her. I'll be right back."

He disappeared into the office and when he came out again, he had a syringe in his fingers. "Hold out her arm!"

Faith grabbed the Seer's thin wrist in her hands and pulled a thrashing arm straight out. Wesley stopped in mid-motion and narrowed his eyes at two puncture wounds on the crook of Fred's arm. It was livid with inflamed tissue, a blackish tint to the skin.

"What the hell? I...give me her other arm..." Faith did so, wincing as Wesley jammed it into the flesh. The screaming continued and tears mingled with the blood. Slowly, the limbs crushed beneath hers relaxed until the girl didn't move and her voice petered out into a numb whimper.

"Carry Lorne upstairs." Wesley commanded, scooping Fred up into his arms and staggering up the steps. Faith did as she was told once more, the weight of the tall demon barely noticeable as she walked upstairs, following Wesley. She kicked in the door to Fred's cave-like room and placed the demon on the bed. Fred was placed on a padded mat in the corner, a pair of shackles snapped over her wrists.

"What about the ambulance? They need medical help..."

"Lorne's a demon and Fred is beyond their help.
They're better off here." Wesley's jaw was working back and forth and she flinched as he glanced over at her. He looked away and wiped blood off of Fred's face with the edge of his shirt.

"What's going on, Wesley?"

"It's the prophecy."

"What?"

"A floodgate," He gestured to whimpering, dazed Fred, "And a birth. It's started, Faith."

"Floodgate?"

"The visions.
They're not stopping and something was definitely injected in her system." Wesley squeezed his eyes shut and then opened them again.

"And the other signs?"

"The battle of two great armies and a death."

"When do those happen?"

"Anytime from now until dawn."

"Great."

"
Hey!" Gunn ducked his head into the room and they turned their attention toward him. "The ambulance is here. I'm going with them. How are they?"

"They'll be fine! You go and we'll catch up with you when things are stable here, okay?"

"Okay. I'll call as soon as we get there!" He ducked his head back out and they listened to his footsteps fade.

"Do we have a big fight coming up?" Faith asked after a moment, her stomach dropping.

"I'd say yes." Wesley turned back to Lorne's limp body on the bed and reached for the medical kit they kept on the dresser.

"Then...don't we need Gunn?" Faith stepped forward, chewing on her lower lip.

"No." Wesley turned back on her and grabbed her forearms in a crushing grip. "Anne should have him there. She needs him, we don't."

"What about...?"

"It's just us, Faith." Wesley snapped and stared intensely down at her. "Just us. We're going to stop the world from ending. You and me."

"Okay, I get that. Slayer equals stopping the end of the world. But what are we doing to do?" Faith snapped right back, jerking her arms out of his grip.

"I've got a plan."

"Oh good. Let me guess, does it involve you and me?"

"And me!"

Faith and Wesley turned on the new voice, hearts in their throats.

*****

Setting---A warehouse in
Compton, 12:30am

"Why didn't we kill them?" Angelus commanded for the third time that minute. Cordelia ignored him and went back to reading the paper in her hands. She recognized Wesley tidy scrawl and smirked. Always had to be so goddamned detailed, didn't he? "Cordelia?"

"
We didn't kill them because we didn't have time. Besides, they'll be dead in a few hours anyway."

"True, but..." Angelus paced the floor of the office, glaring down at the demoness in his chair. She had a jagged smile on her lips, one that sent chills down his spine.

"But what? Getting cold feet? Isn't this what you do, end the world?" Her eyes were hot as she glared up at him. He glared back at her and clenched his fist.

"Of course it is, but we can't leave loose ends. I should have killed them."

"I wouldn't worry about it. There is no way we can go wrong. The world is ending and they can't stop it."

"Are you forgetting what that shit demon Saw?"

"Of course not, but I was a Seer, remember? I know for a fact that not everything foreseen comes to pass, Angelus. You know that too. Which is why my little plan here will succeed. Don't forget, according to Wes there are two more signs to come to pass. We should give them a little help, don't you think?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, it's time the Hunters got to work."

"What about us? We need somewhere safe to do this at." Angelus ground out, fighting the urge to punch the wall. He didn't like this, for some reason. Things felt off.

"I know the perfect place to go. No one will ever find us there."

*****

Setting---The Hyperion Hotel, 12:40 am

"No one called you here, Lilah. Leave." Wesley barked, stepping forward, fire almost shooting out of his burning eyes. Faith looked between the two of them, vaguely recognizing the woman.

"Face the facts, you need me Wes. Besides, we agreed that you were only going to handle the translation part of the prophesy. Stopping it is my area."

"It's my people on the line here. Anne and Fred--"

"Are casualties of war.
We need to focus on the larger picture here. And I have the resources to do that, you don't." Wesley just glared at Lilah and she sighed. "Wesley, do you really think you have choice here? We can help each other, so get the rod out of your ass and let's get to work."

"As much as I'd hate to agree with the bitch, she's right."

Faith swiveled and stared as Lorne lifted off the bed, his green face a mass of black bruises. "Lorne!"

"Yeah, it's me Slay-gal. How's my Fred?" Lorne scooted off the bed and stood, wavering on his feet before, crossing the room and kneeling down before Fred's whimpering form.

"She's...it's not looking good, Lorne. I think Angelus and Cordelia did something to her. I'm not sure what."

"They had a demon with them. I got a good look when it injected her with its poison. I think I've seen it before in one of our books..." Lorne said, smoothing a trembling hand over Fred's forehead. He looked like he was about to break in two.

"You should go look it up."

"I'm not leaving her." Lorne choked out, fixing Wesley a harsh glare.

"I'll go get them for you." Faith offered, walking quickly past Wesley. She shouldered Lilah out of the doorway with a grunt and took off down the stairs. Entering the office, she ignored the pools of blood on the floor and grabbed up an armload of Wesley's research books.

When she went back upstairs, she stopped before the doorway to Fred's room. She could hear Wesley and the lawyer bitch arguing. "Bullshit! I know Cordelia and Angelus much better than you! I can predict their moves!"

"What? I've been their enemy much longer than you have Wes. Trust me when I say they're going to try something to divert our attention."

"Well you don't--"

"HEY!!" Lorne's voice made Faith flinch and she listened intently as he went on. "Forget your fucking personal problems. Fred, and the rest of the world, are going to die unless you both work together. So get off your high horses and shut the hell up! Lilah, get your Wolfram and Hart commandos and wait for our signal. Wesley, you and Faith are going to go after Angelus and Cordelia. I know you both want them bad."

Faith was taken aback. Lorne was quite the leader when he was pissed. Maybe this was what Anne had been telling her about him.

"What about you?" Lilah snapped, obviously not liking taking orders from the demon.

"I'm going to kill that whatever got Fred." Lorne snapped as Faith opened the door and walked into the room, dumping the books before him. "I think I know what book that demon was in..." Faith watched as he flipped through the pages of a red leather-bound tome. It didn't take him long before he found what he was looking for. "Good. The thing carries the antidote to its own poison."

"Well then..." Lilah said, turning to Wesley, a smug grin on her face. "What are we waiting for? Let's save the world!"

"Piss off Lilah." Wesley muttered, walking past her down the stairs. Faith followed, glancing behind her to see Lorne tenderly kiss Fred on the lips before strolling out of the door, Lilah right behind him.

"Sure, BOSS. Let me just call my office and get the--" Lilah's voice was cut off as her cell phone rang just as she reached the last step. She snatched it out of the pocket of her smart suit and flipped it open. "Lilah Morgan."

Faith barely paid attention as she walked over to the weapon's cabinet and selected a heavy broadsword from the stand. Wesley moved up next to her and grabbed his own sword and a repeating crossbow.

"Faith...I... Wesley started, unsure of what to say to the Slayer. He wanted to tell her to be careful or to kiss her one more time before they went into battle. Because truth was, Wesley didn't think he was going to make it through the night. Too much on too little was taking its toll. He didn't have the strength to fight tonight, not after what had already happened. He was going down and he knew it.

"Shut up Wesley."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Don't say it. Anne told me what you've been doing to yourself and I know you're d...sick." She choked on the word dying and grabbed his hand. "We make it through tonight, then you can say whatever you want to me. I promise you that whatever happens tonight, I will not let you kill yourself. I'll be right there with you."

"But I have to kill them. It's my duty; I started this whole thing."

"And I'm going to finish it. Remember me? Slayer? It's what I do. And you're my..." She took a deep breath and looked up into his eyes. "You're my Watcher and that's what you're going to do. You're gonna to watch me kick ass." Faith grinned at him and kissed him hard on the mouth for two seconds.

"I'd hate to interrupt this little declaration of love or whatever--oh wait, I do!" Wesley turned his attention back toward Lilah and saw her standing with her arms crossed, her face unusually pale. "We've got some activity."

"What do you mean?" Lorne asked from his perch on the stairs. Wesley rounded on him and knew immediately what the demon was doing. He was trying to hone in on the waves the nightmare demon had left behind so that he could track it. Wesley was amazed, and not for the first time. He remembered when Lorne would refuse to use his unique abilities for that purpose. Now, he had no qualms about doing it.

"I mean, the Hunters have just attacked Wolfram & Hart." Lilah's voice was calm despite her pale face. "I've ordered the special ops team to deploy. They should be there right about now."

"Shit..." Faith said, tossing a crossbow at the lawyer and watching as she fumbled to grab it. "Looks like this is gonna be easier than we thought. Let's go."

"Lorne?"
Wesley said, turning back toward the demon. Lorne looked up and waved him off.

"I'll be fine, don't worry." Wesley nodded and chased after his Slayer and Lilah, praying like hell that tomorrow would come.

Chapter 18

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