Your Enemies Closer





St. Vincent's Hospital, the next night

Every possible inch of his body ached. He forced his heavy eyelids open and peered out at the world around him, not sure what to expect. He took a deep breath and felt a throbbing pain in his chest, but for once, the pain wasn't a hollow feeling. He blinked in confusion at the hospital room around him.

"Morning sleepyhead."

His head turned in the direction of the voice and he found himself smiling. "Faith?" Wesley croaked upon seeing the girl perched in a plastic chair next to his bed, one hand wrapped around his limp palm. She smiled at him and he saw relief flood out of her expression. She leaned up and kissed him immediately, pulling away when he wanted more.

"You okay?"

"I'm not sure...I feel...strange."

"You should. You nearly died, Wes."

"What? When? How did we get here...the last thing I remember is you breaking the obsidian..." Wesley swallowed hard and tried not to think about the stone. All that time he'd spent collecting the power to open the Quor-toth and now it was all wasted.

"After that, Justine's bomb went off and we got buried in an avalanche. I was knocked the fuck out and you were gone too. I'm not too clear on the details after that, but I guess that lawyer bitch swept down like a fucking guardian angel and got her commandos to pull us out before we suffocated. She told me she'd followed Justine to Point Dume. And she's the one that broke the stone, not me."

"Oh. Well...I'd thank her if I didn't know better than to look for a knife."

"That's what I thought. She could have taken us both out, but she didn't. She's up to something."

"We'll worry about that later. Right now I just want to--"Wesley suddenly tried to sit up. "Lorne! What about Fred?!" Faith pushed him back down with a strong, but gentle hand.

"She's fine. She's actually at the hospital right now. Lorne brought her in for stitches. Which reminds me..." Faith clenched his hand hers. "I don't care how, but we're getting rid of her visions."

"I know. We'll find a way." Wesley sighed heavily. "But they're fine?"

"Peachy keen daddy-o."

"What about you?"

"Knock on the nugget isn't going to stop me, you know that."

"And Justine?" Faith's grin faded for a moment and then it returned full strength.

"I feel bad but I'm not going to beat myself up over something she did to herself. She was going to kill you and I would have killed her if she'd held that gun on you a second longer." She seemed unusually happy about talking about this and Wesley frowned.

"Why are you smiling?"

"Because I've got a mission now and I know that it's the right one. One I can finally believe in."

"Still, you're feeling awful cheerful." Wesley commented, wanting to be caught up in her excitement.

"Post slayage haze; gets me all kinds of juiced. Plus, saving the world? Never a downer." Wesley managed to grin at the beautiful Slayer. Her own grin melted off her face and she leaned forward in her chair. "I know all about that pet rock you had and about why you were collecting all that energy and I swear to God if you ever, EVER try something that stupid again, I will beat the living shit out of you. Got me?"

Wesley was taken aback. "What?"

"You heard me! That little rock that almost ended the world yesterday was a clear-cut case of attempted suicide. I told you I wasn't gonna let you die and I meant it. Hell you almost did! All that damned energy going back where it belonged almost did you in! Start that shit again and I'll be forced something really unpleasant to you. Understand?"

Wesley could only nod his head. He knew better than to argue with a Slayer, especially Faith. His Slayer.

"Faith I...I need to tell you something..." He started, not really knowing where to start, but knowing that now was the time for the "I love you's" and the "we can't but we will's". Faith's eyes met his and she bit down on her lip.

"Knock, knock. Did I hear English talking?" Gunn's voice broke through the tension between them and Wesley turned with a smile at his best friend. He suddenly remembered Anne and he sat up in the bed as Gunn pushed his wheelchair-bound wife through the door. Her right shoulder was wrapped up in heavy bandages, but she looked healthy and whole otherwise. Wesley felt a wash of relief come over him.

"Yeah, Watcher-mine woke up a few minutes ago, all business of course."

"Well, he is an uptight English asshole you know." Gunn grinned, wheeling Anne to the other side of Wesley's bed.

"Shut up you, and no cursing around the baby!" Anne said, grinning up at her husband, her face nearly glowing in the dim hospital lights. Said baby was wrapped up in her arms lovingly, a tiny, chubby fist poking out and waving energetically in the air.

"My bad, hon." Gunn said, perching on the edge of Faith's seat as he planted a kiss on top of the Slayer's head. "Hey you."

"Hey dork."
Faith responded immediately, squeezing Wesley's hand.

"So, how are you English? I mean, how are you before I beat the living shit out of you for not telling me about the Apocalypse?" Gunn said, crossing his hands over his chest and glaring at him.

"Oh...Charles, I'm sorry. I thought you should be here with Anne." Wesley said, leaning back against the pillow, his eyes heavily shadowed. "Are you angry?"

"A little, but I get why you didn't tell me. Still, end of the world and all, I should have been beside you, bro."

"Sorry. Next apocalypse, you'll be first picked for the teams."

"No one likes a smartass Wes. And that smug smile is just making me want to kick your booty." Gunn said with a grin as Wesley tried to wipe the smile from his lips.

"Why is everyone threatening to beat me up? Do you I not look dead enough?"

"Not even close, love bug." Wesley turned his head and saw Lorne standing in the doorway with Fred tucked at this side like she was born there.

"Speaking of looking like hell. You two...look like hell." Anne said, looking up from the bundle in her arms. Fred rushed into the room and sat down bonelessly at Anne's feet, peeking her head over the edge of the blanket and blinking at the baby. Lorne sauntered into the room and leaned against the wall.

"Well, I don't call kicking demon ass a walk in the park."

"And marathon visions with the screaming and the puking and the wiggle wooply in your skull. It's not a pile of poisonous duggleberries. Ha! I wish!" Fred piped up, touching a tiny finger with her own. Wesley saw her wrists were stitched closed, raw cuts in the flesh made by the shackles.

"Yeah, what she said." Lorne grinned widely and fondly gazed down at the Seer. "But, crisis averted. Once again, Connor Investigations saves an otherwise disastrous day."

"We're changing the name."

"Pardon?" Gunn spoke up, brow furrowing as he looked at Wesley.

"We're changing the name. We...I know now that what we used to have won't come back to what it was. Connor is gone and so are Cordelia and Angel. They both made their choices in life and they've been killed because of them. They wanted to die because they couldn't handle this world. I used to understand that." Faith squeezed his hand and his voice picked up in volume. "But I know now that living in the past, dwelling on your guilt is a fool's road. It'll lead you to self-destruction and I...I don't want that. I have a family and friends and you all...well you're all I need. I have to let Connor go."

There was silence a moment and then Lorne spoke up. "So...umm...I'd hate to break this angsty moment up, but umm...I was wondering something."

"What's that, Lorne?" Anne asked, running her fingers through Fred's hair.

"Well...the signs. All of them came to pass, am I right?"

"Yeah." Faith confirmed, chewing on her lower lip. "So?"

"So whose death was it that triggered it all? And if all the signs came to pass, why didn't the world end?"

"Good questions. Ones I'm afraid I don't have the answers to. It doesn't really matter though. Angelus, Cordelia or Justine's death could have been the one. Who knows? All that matters is that we stopped the end of the world and things are righted again."

"You've got a point, bro. We won, why worry? As long as Wesley knows about--"

"Don't start Gunn. I already gave him the 'spell bad' speech and he was responsive. Let's let it drop and just be thankful the dumbass isn't dead from re-absorbing his own energy."

"Yes, thank you Faith for putting my missteps into such a nice neat package. I'll be sure to run my every move by you next time." Wesley snapped at her with no real snark behind his words.

"Make sure you do." Faith replied, leaning back against Gunn's leg.

"So...can I hold the damned baby now?" The moment was broken as Fred giggled up at Wesley. Anne handed the baby over immediately, watching fondly as Wesley cradled the bundle in his arms. He counted up ten fingers and ten toes, an awed smile on his lips.

"Her name is Lily Alonna." Gunn said, sharing a glance with his wife. Wesley looked up and grinned.

"A beautiful name for the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life." Faith coughed and Wesley flushed. "Second."

"'re right Wes. First." Faith said, standing and moving to the head of Wesley's bed, staring down into Lily's tiny face. "She's gorgeous."

"So now that my daughter's got a name, what about our business? We need something with...hope, you know?"

"I've got one."

"What's that, Wes?"

"The Wyndam-Pryce Agency!"

Wesley grinned at the collective chorus of "No!" directed straight at him. Things were finally okay. He had a feeling that nothing could go wrong now.


Setting---Wolfram & Hart, same night

Lilah Morgan walked carefully through the labyrinthian tunnels beneath Wolfram & Hart's office building. Her heels clacked loudly on the floor and she took deep breath. At the end of the stark white tunnel, she stopped and flashed her security card at two muscle-bound guards. They waved her through immediately and she entered the overly bright room.


At the sound of her name being spoken, she jumped and squinted into the brightness. A smile smirked her lips at what she saw.

"Hello. Enjoying yourself?" She eyed the splash of bright red that was smeared across the floor. The guard who'd been assigned to feed him was splayed at his feet. He didn't move, only stared at her with his yellow, furious eyes. "She's dead. We found her bits and pieces on the beach."

He flinched, but didn't move away from the kill in the corner. She almost felt sorry for him, but she didn't. This was just business. "Why did you save me?"

"It's my job."

"You should have let me die. With her." There was a cold fury in his eyes that shook her to the core; but her mask stayed in place and she smiled, ignoring his words.

"You want to get them back don't you?" He nodded his head at her words and moved up against the heavy glass partition that separated the cell from the rest of the room. "Well I have the perfect plan."

"Not without her." He growled, his fingers clawed against the glass, blood dripping down his chin.

"What do you mean? She's dead."

"We're getting her back. And then I'm going to kill them all."

"I'm not sure if there's a way..."

"Find a way. Find a way to bring her back and I'll do anything you want. I'll sign any contract. Just bring her back."

His jewel bright eyes bore into hers and she smiled widely. "That's what I wanted to hear. I'll start the process."

She turned on her heel and started to walk away, but his broken voice called out to her. He sounded like a broken man clutching at his last straw. "Just like she was?"

"Of course Angelus. Just like she was."