Your Enemies Closer

                           

 

 

Chapter Nineteen:

Setting---Point Dume,
3:00am

Cordelia circled the pentagram drawn in the sand and eyed the center of it with an expert eye. The obsidian stone was neatly placed in the middle atop a mound of red powder. She couldn't help but smile as she looked over the setup. It was beautiful and oh so deadly.

The spell Wesley had written down was very simple and even she could do it. The only thing that bothered her was the fact that it took a while for the stone's power to build. You had to go through three steps in order to complete the spell and there was a big build-up of energy between each one. Of course, that was just like Wesley, she thought. Slow as hell to get started and once he did, it was all a disaster. The first step, activating the energy inside, was already finished. The second step was initiating the actual spell and the third was, well...ending it all.

Glancing over at Angelus, she saw him pacing the circle, a sword in his hands. He was expecting trouble and Cordelia wanted to laugh. There was no way in hell this was going to be stopped. No one could track them here; hell they hadn't even told their minions where they were going. No, the world was going to end and her pain would go with it.

"Are you done?" Angelus called, shaking her out of her thoughts. She walked like she hadn't a care in the world over to him. She kissed him, imagining she was in the past and back where the world was right and she was whole. When she pulled away, she smiled up him.

Angelus, she knew, had no worries and no conscience. His nature was to destroy and he relished in it. She envied him more than a little and not for the first time. Her nature had changed since that horrible night she'd lost her soul and her visions. Despite the lack of her soul, there was still something lingering in her. Pain and guilt, knowledge of what she had done to everyone she had loved. She'd ruined them all and she knew it, just as she knew that this was her real punishment. She'd asked the Gatekeeper for something she had no right to and he'd punished her the best way he knew how; by making her live with the pain. And she couldn't live with it any longer. She wanted to end it all.

"Yes. Ready?" Angelus nodded and then grabbed her up, kissing her hard on the lips. Cordelia felt his hunger and matched it. This would be the last time she'd look at that angelic face and feel him against her lips. It almost made her want to stop, but not quite. This all had to end.

He pulled away and brushed his thumb over her lip. "I love you Cordelia. I always have."

"I love you too." She said, not meaning it because as much as she wanted to believe she did love him, she couldn't. He wasn't the one she wanted. It was his face, but not even close to the man she'd fallen in love with and destroyed. He smiled that rich smile at her words, his eyes lighting up. "Let's do it."

Then, she slid away from him and approached the circle, her hands raised, the short incantation she'd memorized spilling from her lips with ease. It was so simple, she couldn't believe ending the world could be so easy, but it was. She wondered, as the obsidian began to glow, if Wesley knew what he'd been doing when he started collecting energy for the spell. It was all his fault. His and hers; so what was new?

She shouted the last line of the incantation, her head thrown back to the starry sky, her smile filling her face up. She loved this place and she wanted to go out here. It seemed so perfect. A single tear rolled down her cheek and that was all she showed of her emotions.

Cordelia looked back down at the obsidian and saw it glowing, pulsating with energy. A halo surrounded it and sparks of white-hot electricity arched through the air. Overhead, she saw the stars were slowly being blocked by roiling clouds, heat lightning mirroring the stone's sparks.

"Now what?" She turned toward Angelus and was about to answer when something came hurtling out of the shadows, knocking her to the sand. She looked up through a mass of hair and saw Faith's dark eyes glaring at her.

"Time's up, bitch!"

*****

Setting---somewhere under
L.A., 3:00am

Lorne was sweating, covered in sewer water and tired. Every bone in his body ached and still he kept going because he had to. It was for Fred and he would not, could not stop. It helped that the demon's karmic echo was getting stronger as he went along, tracking it through the extensive tunnel system that ran through Los Angeles. It also helped that he'd come to know the tunnels fairly well in the three years he'd been fighting the good fight.

Up ahead, he heard a noise that made him stop and listen, head cocked to the side.

PING-PING!

Something was banging down in the tunnels ahead of him, something large. Lorne silently hoped that it wasn't some other big demon looking for a meal. That was all he needed. Lifting the axe in his hands, he stalked along the damp brick tiles toward the T-split in the tunnel, every nerve on fire.

As he stepped into the junction, his eye widened. Some sort of strange, shadowy nest stood before him, almost spiderweb in appearance. And in the center of the thick black web was the nightmare demon.

"Hello beautiful...remember me?" Lorne drawled, eyebrow arching as the demon turned its ghastly head his way. The long fangs dripped down its pink and purple chest, an acidic pool at its feet.

"How's the Seer?" The demon responded, jumping down, it's human like paws hitting the ground with a wet thump. "She dead yet?"

"Not yet.
You know why I'm here?"

"Sure do."

"How much did they pay you?"

"Come on, you know a demon's personal finances are his own business!" The nightmare demon exclaimed, hand to his chest like he wad deeply offended. Lorne grimaced and lifted his axe.

"True, and a demon in love is a dangerous thing. We can get a bit obsessive, if you know what I mean."

"Wouldn't know. But I do see what you mean. You know how to use that thing? Because I saw that she-demon kick your ass back there."

"Still standing, sugar puff.
Let's get this done. I got a lady to get back to." Lorne said, gesturing the demon forward. The demon leapt at him, fangs bared.

Avoid the fangs, Lorne. Avoid the fangs...

Lorne spun and caught the demon on the back of the head with the butt of the axe handle. It screamed and reeled back, intending to catch Lorne in the arm with its fangs. Lorne twisted out of the way just as one jagged tooth swept downward, catching the sleeve of his blue shirt as it went.

Lorne tried to adjust in mid-step as the demon rounded on him again, using the big human-like hind paws to swivel in place. It didn't work and he was sent flying as the demon managed to slam a fist into his head. He slammed against the wall of the tunnel and felt a horn crack.

"Ow." Lorne ground out, glaring up at the demon above him.

"Pussy." The demon arched downward with its fangs, intending to catch Lorne in the chest. Lorne lifted the axe in time, the fangs hooking over the top, the demon's rancid breath hot on Lorne's face.

"Ever heard of flossing?" Lorne quipped, levering his foot up to catch the demon in the gut. It doubled over and Lorne lifted the axe up, cracking one of the deadly fangs in half. The demon yowled in pain and slumped to the ground. "A horn for a tooth, asshole."

Lorne climbed to his feet and kicked the demon in the gut once more. The crumpled nightmare demon winced and tried to get up. Lorne laid a foot on his side and rolled him over, glaring at the demon. The blade of the axe was set at the demons' throat.

"It's antidote time..." The demon smiled a ghastly grin and there was sudden melting around him. Lorne blinked and the demon was gone, melting into the shadows around him. "Fuck...

"What's the matter, can't catch me?"

"If you'd fight fair, I would..."

"You should know by now that demons don't fight fair. We use our every weapon... The voice echoed around him and he glared into the thick shadows around him. There was no way he was going to get him if he was in the shadows.

His point was proven as the demon rushed out of the shadows, blindsiding him to the ground once more. Lorne hit the stone and looked up just in time to see him disappear back into the shadows. He started to climb to his feet and it happened again. Lorne grunted as his bruised face connected with stone. It happened twice more before he could even move. Pain laced through his body and his heart thumped wildly in his butt cheek. He wasn't going to beat him like this...

Your every weapon... Lorne suddenly smiled and rolled over, watching as the demon rushed out of shadows. He opened his mouth and let lose the biggest, best, most on-key note he'd ever sang in his life.

The shrill sound echoed off the rounded walls of the tunnel, assaulting the nightmare demon as it descended on him. Knocked out of his shadow form, he landed solidly on the floor of the tunnel next to Lorne, who didn't let the sound drop for a second.

The demon twitched and tried to move, but the sound was too much. Lorne kept it up, not for the first time in his life grateful that he could keep up any note forever. He stood and lifted the axe, then brought it home in the demon's chest.

Lorne's voice and the screams of the demon echoed off the tunnel walls, coming back to Lorne's ears in a satisfying cacophony of sound. Lorne dropped the note and grinned down at the dead demon.

Easy as pie.

*****

Setting---Point Dume, 3:30am

Wesley collapsed to his knees in the sand, the weight in his chest sending him crashing to the earth. He was surprised he'd had the strength to get out of the car, let alone walk to the edge of the bluff. That pulling feeling was still in him and he looked down to the stretch of sand below him. His aching eyes caught sight of Cordelia and Angelus standing outside a crudely drawn pentagram in the sand, something glowing in the center of it. Sparks of lightning arched through the air, licking around the meager barrier of the five pointed star.

He couldn't quite make out what was in the center of the pentagram because Angelus's body was blocking it from his view. He sent a silent command for the vampire to move the hell out of the way, but he stayed in place.

"What are they doing?" Faith asked, next to him, her hand on his chest as if she were keeping his rapidly beating heart inside by the pressure of her hand. It had taken them nearly an hour to get here and she was frazzled, he could tell. Her promise to keep him from dying tonight seemed on the verge of being broken and she knew it. That only made her angrier.
"End...ending the world..." He gasped out, grabbing a hold of her hand. "Stop them...I'm sorry...can't...can't move..."

"I know Wes. Don't worry; I'll kill em dead for you. And then we'll find out what the hell is wrong." Faith smiled at him and he wished he had the strength to smile back. As it was, he could only blink his eyes when she kissed him quickly on the lips.

He watched her go, jumping over the edge of the small bluff and rolling in the sand. She hit a chanting Cordelia immediately as she hit the bottom, and Wesley watched as the two landed in a sprawl at the edge of the pentagram.

Angelus started and rushed forward, grabbing the Slayer and throwing her off of the demoness. Faith leapt up and went after Angelus immediately, her fists flashing in the lightning overhead. But Wesley wasn't watching her. No, his attention was riveted on the pulsing power point in the center of the pentagram.

Now that he could see what it was, his heart dropped. The all-too familiar orb of obsidian glinted accusingly from the center of the pentagram and he knew...he knew. The spell he had found to open the Quor-toth was the thing that was going to destroy the world.

It was all so clear to him now; he should have known. The prophecy had said the world would end by something ripping a hole in the dimensions. He hadn't thought of it at all, but that was what he'd planned on doing with the spell. But...it wasn't finished. The stone was incomplete and any attempt to rip through the dimensional walls would destabilize the whole thing and...end the world.

Wesley choked and that pulling feeling came back to him. It was much stronger now that he was near the orb and he knew it was his own life-energy calling out to him. It belonged in him and it knew it. It wanted him back and he knew he had to have it back. If the energy was put back into him, the spell would be useless. But it could also kill him. That much power channeled that quickly into a vessel would surely blast the vessel apart. Wesley swallowed and realized he didn't have a choice.

Wesley grimaced and forced his shaking limbs to stand. For once his body obeyed him and he stood on trembling legs. Below him, the fight raged on and he saw Cordelia was in on it now. He spared a thought of worry and thanks for his Slayer. Good Faith...keep them busy....

He started to go down the sand slope, when something grabbed him from behind and tossed him forward. Limbs smacked his and Wesley landed in a painful sprawl at the bottom of the bluff, unable to move, what breath he had left in his body knocked out by the force of landing. He opened one grit-filled eye and stared up into the face of a dead woman.

"Justine.....?"

"Hello Wesley."
Justine said, smiling as she lifted a gun in her hands, the barrel pointed straight at Wesley's head.

Chapter 20

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