Setting---The Hyperion Hotel, 4:30am
Lorne rushed through the door of the hotel, sliding in blood a moment
before he regained his footing. He prayed he wasn't too late as he bolted
up the stairs, hitting the landing and bursting through the door to Fred's
The sight of the familiar black scribbles on the walls was comforting for
only a moment as he caught sight of the thrashing girl in the corner. The
morphine shot had worn off since he'd left and he cursed colorfully.
Falling to his knees beside her, he grabbed her chin in his hand and tried
to force her attention to him.
"Fred...Fred honey...please...look at me! It's Lorne...please..." He
pleaded with her and was rewarded when her unseeing eyes turned on his.
She shook and he winced as he saw the shackles had rubbed her wrists raw.
And there was so much blood...
His attention was caught by the two puncture wounds on her arm, dark and
livid, the veins spiderwebbed black all the
way up her arm. It made him sick to see it and he was immediately angry
that he couldn't kill the son of a bitch again. But he'd gotten what he
needed from the corpse while it was still fresh and warm.
"Rattlesnakes...they're everywhere...." She muttered unseeingly while
Lorne reached for her cure.
Pulling the vial out of his pocket, he lifted it to the light and prayed
there was enough inside to cure her. He put the yellow demon's blood to
Fred's lips and poured it down her throat. The whimpering Seer coughed and
sputtered, but Lorne clamped his hand over her mouth and nose, forcing her
Then, he waited, her body pulled hard against his, praying to whatever god
would listen that she would be okay. That it wasn't too late. He rocked
her and talked to her in a soothing voice, hoping she could hear him and
that she'd come back to herself. He told her everything and let his heart
pour out, knowing he shouldn't, but not having the strength to stop
himself. He had to tell her now.
His voice petered out as he suddenly realized her arms had stopped
reaching and her murmurings had stopped. His heart lodged in his throat.
Oh no....oh god no...please no...
"Fred...?" He shook her and her head rolled on his shoulder, her eyes
staring up at him. He waited, praying he hadn't been too late. Suddenly
she blinked at him and took a deep trembling breath.
"Lorne? The rattlesnakes got my toes..." She
said in such a normal voice that he laughed.
"I know baby...but they're gone now. It's just you and me now, kitten."
Lorne grinned widely and brushed a lock of blood soaked hair from her
face. "And those rattlesnakes are going to leave you alone from now on."
"Promise?" Fred smiled and laid her head back
down in his lap, her hand clutched in his. He took a deep breath and ran
his fingers through her hair.
"I promise, kitten. I promise. Whatever happens, they won't ever bother
you again. Ever." Lorne said hotly and closed
his eyes, his mind wandering back to Wesley and Faith and the fight that
was surely going on right now. He could feel it, the air was crackling
with energy and he knew wherever they were, something bad was happening.
"She's all dim....all dim now..." Fred suddenly said, making Lorne's eyes
"I saw it, she's all dim and that light is gone. No more shine. No more
heart, there isn't a heart anymore." Fred said,
her head in his lap, her fingers clenched around his.
Setting---Point Dume, 4:00am
Faith caught movement out of the corner of her eye and wheeled around,
ducking a blow Angelus threw at her. Her eyes widened at the sight before
Justine. Justine alive and standing with a gun pointed straight at a
downed Wesley. How the hell had he gotten down there? Faith answered her
own internal question immediately, anger welling
her throat. Oh God...
"No!!" She screamed, twisting around and kicking both
and Angelus and Cordelia away from herself.
The two were surprised and didn't block the blows, but she didn't care.
Her mind was narrowed on one thing and one thing only: Wesley. "Justine!"
The redhead turned and glared at her, the gun in her hands unwavering, her
long black coat billowing in the off-shore breeze. A grim, determined
smile graced her features and Faith fought the urge to wipe it off with
"Faith...nice to see you again."
"Cut the shit...I thought...I..."
"That you killed me?" Faith could only swallow, her eyes switching back
and forth between Justine and Wesley. "You did."
"What?" Wesley croaked from his sprawl in the sand, so weak could barely
move his head. Faith cursed under her breath; he was in bad shape and it
was killing her. Whatever was doing this to him had to be stopped.
"We're all dead. You, me, her and those two demon
fuckers over there. I wish more of you Connor Investigations
assholes were here, but what can you do?" Justine ground out, suddenly
firing in Angelus and Cordelia's direction.
Faith turned in the sand, her feet feeling like they were sinking in as
she did. Angelus and Cordelia, forgotten until
now, were sneaking up behind them, waiting to pounce. They ducked the shot
and glared at the three of them. "Destroy that thing."
Cordelia's eyes trailed over to the glowing
obsidian stone; Faith noticed Wesley's gaze was riveted on it too, like a
hungry man looking at his last meal. Cordelia
barked a laugh and crossed her arms over her chest. "You honestly think
you're going to stop this? The world is ending and we're all going
straight to hell tonight."
"You've got one thing right, bitch." Justine spat, the gun still clutched
in her hands. Faith clenched her fists and tried to keep her anger under
control. She knew she'd kill Justine if she tried to hurt Wesley, despite
that sick, leaden feeling in her chest. The bitch had been alive the whole
"Justine...help us stop them...please...we can do this together." Faith
began before she knew she was talking. Justine wheeled on her and pointed
the gun straight at her head.
"I don't fucking think so, Slayer. You know, if things had gone according
to plan, you'd be dead by now and so would Angelus. But no....you both had
to fuck it up. Someone's always fucking things up."
"Ohh...hear that Faith? She's blaming us."
Angelus spoke up, grinning from ear to ear as he sauntered forward.
"Big surprise. Justine can't handle the fact
that no one needs her. You were better than her and it drove her nuts.
Wesley had the loyalty of his little family and what did Justine have?
Recruits and nothing more. She couldn't even
save them. And Holtz? That was some fucked up
shit right there."
"Shut up Angelus." Faith shot at the cocky vampire, dividing her attention
between him and Justine.
"What about you Faith? Fact is, you're expendable, Slayer. You fall and
another one just like you rises up somewhere in
the world. You're worthless and you should be put down like the dog you
are." Angelus countered, wheeling on her and grinning
that evil grin. "And Wesley?
Wesley...well he's nothing but a traitor. But,
we all knew that didn't we? Can't let him forget what he did to my son.
And that's what brought us all here today. Wesley's guilt and Wesley's pet
Faith trembled and locked eyes with Wesley, seeing the guilt plain there.
"Oh, she doesn't know? That stone orb over there is chock full o' Wes and
just waiting to rip through the fabric of the world and make it all come
tumbling down. It's all Wes's fault. Ohhh...I
just love those words." Angelus grinned again and moved up next to Faith.
"Okay, enough with the blame-fest." Cordelia
said, her voice strangely quiet and echoing as
she spoke. "Time to get this shit done." Her
body began to glow and Faith blinked in the twin lights of the orb and the
"Why are you so keen to end the world, Cordelia?"
Faith asked, glaring at the glowing demon. Cordelia's
harsh gaze lighted on Faith and she smiled.
"Why the hell not? I made the world this way, I
might as well undo it."
"Well, since we're doing the sharing thing and we're about one chant away
from oblivion, I'll tell you." Cordelia smiled
widely, haunted guilt in her glowing eyes. "Everything here happened
because of me. I killed Angel and this bastard took his place. It started
with one mistake I made a long time ago. One I'm supposed to pay for
for the rest of my life. But it's not going to
happen. End of the world, end of my suffering."
Wesley laughed from his sprawl in the sand. "You stupid, self-centered
"Fuck you Wesley. I don't need your guilt and mine."
Cordelia spat and moved toward the glowing stone.
"Fuck you Cordelia. You don't
fuckin--" Faith suddenly went flying as
Angelus grabbed her and threw her in Wesley's direction. She didn't even
have time to react; she hadn't realized he'd moved within arm's length of
her. She hit the sandy side of the bluff and rolled down next to Wesley.
"Let's get this done." Angelus spat, not meeting
Cordelia's eye. He didn't like what he saw there.
"Glad you're finally getting off your ass abo--"A
shot suddenly rang out and Cordelia stopped,
her mouth falling open and her eyes blinking stupidly. Looking down at her
chest, she saw a large blossom of crimson staining the front of her white
blouse, a ragged hole in the expensive silk. She looked back up and saw
Justine smiling at her.
"I..." Cordelia fell to her knees, her fingers
clutched over the wound, blood flowing thickly between her fingers. The
glow wavered and then died like a flashlight with low batteries.
sounded child-like as he stared at the blood and his lover collapsed in
"I told you we were all going to hell. Starting with
her." Justine said, throwing her huge black coat off. Faith's eyes
widened as she saw the explosives attached to Justine's torso. There was
enough C-4 there to blow up an entire city block. She suddenly understood
what the woman had planned.
"Justine...no...” But Justine ignored her and looked down at the timer on
her chest, hitting a single green button before looking back up again. The
glowing red numbers clicked on and Faith's breath caught in her throat.
2 minutes and counting....
"Fuck this shit..." Faith climbed to her feet and made a grab for Wesley,
but the Watcher was already climbing to his feet, very, very slowly for
Faith's peace of mind. "Come on Wes.."
"You fucking bitch! You shot her..." Angelus roared, advancing on Justine,
who just smiled and raised her hands to the sky.
"I'm just finishing Daniel's work." Justine managed to say before Angelus
grabbed her around the throat and threw her away from the pentagram. She
rolled and Faith winced, praying the explosives wouldn't go off. She
needed every second she had to get Wesley out of there. Shots rang out as
Justine tried to hit Angelus. Faith ducked a shot as it grazed her cheek.
"COME ON, Wes!!" She screamed, all but picking him up as she climbed the
bluff. Wesley resisted her, his breath coming in short, choppy gasps as he
looked back at the stone orb in the center of the pentagram. "Wesley!!"
"I have to...it...it wants me...it's me..." Wesley said, his blue eyes
focusing and unfocusing as he wrenched his arm
out of her grip.
Time slowed as Wesley put on a burst of strength she didn't think he could
possess, running full out toward the glowing orb, right past a fighting
Angelus and Justine. Right past a downed
Cordelia, bright red sand all around her in a
Faith jumped down from the bluff and ran after him, not bothering to
glance in Justine's direction. She knew they were almost out of time. Damn
Wesley...what was he doing? She was answered a second later as he violated
the circle of the five pointed star etched in the sand. One of the sparks
of lightning licked up his chest and centered on him.
"Wesley!" Faith screamed as she got to the edge of the circle, reaching
for Wesley. At the edge of her hearing, she thought she heard a helicopter
and voices. She ignored them and reached for Wes, trying to avoid the
sparks of lightning coming off the stone in waves.
"Hit the stone! Get them!" The voice sounded vaguely familiar and Faith
turned her head in the direction it was coming from. Get who? Suddenly,
another shot rang out from high on the bluff and Faith winced. The glowing
stone in front of Wesley shattered into a million pieces as a bullet
Pure white energy spiraled up out of broken stone, throwing Faith
backward. She clutched for purchase and found Wesley's arm, her nails
digging in as she held on as tightly as possible. The energy spiraled
upward and then raced back down, slamming into Wesley's body and lifting
him out of the sand backward. Faith was dragged along with him as he was
thrown into the bluff once more. He screamed in a pain so great Faith
nearly shattered under the power of it. And then, as he slumped beside
her, the scream stopped and he was still.
Then, somewhere off to her right, something exploded and she didn't have
to ask what. She couldn't see the three down the beach, but she didn't
need to. The explosion blinded her and knocked the breath out of her
lungs. The world shook and she felt the sand and earth on the bluff give
way above her. She had the sense of mind to throw herself over Wesley's
unconscious form before an avalanche of dirt covered them both.
Faith had a moment to wonder if she was already dead before a rock slammed
into her head and she fell into deep, blissful darkness.