Thursday, August 26, 2010

Angelus: Chapter VIII, The End, and Sundry

The blast echoed down the hall. Not just one, but one after the other, rapidly.

They chain-rigged the place… Fuck.” Rage said, yanking on the door handle. It slowly opened, inch by inch. The blasts got closer and closer, almost as if they were rushing to catch up to the ragged bunch of teens. Kade pushed past the rest of the group to pull at the door with Rage, wrapping his fingers around the edge, pulling.

Alright, that should be enough. Spin, Angel, Noire, go!” Kade said at the door slid open a bit more. The girls easily squeezed through, just as a blast came close behind the group. Kade turned around. A massive storm of debris and dust was swirling like a dervish at them, burning fire mixed throughout it. Kade jerked the door open a bit more. “Rage, go!” He said, nearly shoving him through. Rage stumbled on the other side, then turned around, pulling at Kade’s hand as his friend squeezed through the door. Just as he made it through, the door slammed shut with a loud CLANG!, the force from the explosion shutting it fast. Kade lay on the ground, panting.

Holy fuck… If I wasn’t so scared of dying right now, I’d say that was better than any extreme sport in the world…” Kade whispered. Spin helped him to his feet, waiting as he caught his breath, rubbing the stitch out of his side. “I haven’t run like that since military school…” He muttered, then looked around. “Everyone present and accounted for?” He asked, knowing the answer.

Yes, sir…” Rage drawled, his pole-arm slung over his shoulder. Amy and Noire raised their hands like schoolgirls, and Spin just hugged him. Kade looked around, trying to get his bearing. The sun had already set, and the moon was in the sky.

Well, we can head to Bel right now, or we can wait till morning… Me, I’m fine crashing here. I can sleep on the ground… And besides, I have no clue where we are anymore. I lost my direction the moment we saw those…” His voice died. No one said anything. “Since we found the exit.” He finished lamely. Extra tight hug from Spin. “What say?”

I’m with Kade. I think we could use a break. No Windigo to worry about, so we can take it real easy. And even I’m lost right now. I can’t remember the last time I walked out of Nephilim… Oh, wait, I never did.”

We could use a break too,” Amy said, “I think I need a bit to let myself catch up with everything that’s been happening.” Noire nodded, hugging her girlfriend. Kade turned his head to Spin.

You wanna take a break, or keep moving?” He asked. She plopped onto the ground, laying out on the dirt. “I guess that answers it.” Kade said to himself. “Alright, break time. Whenever we wake up, we’ll move on. It won’t be far to Beldaris, we can probably make it by night even if we leave in the afternoon.”

The group split into it’s normal sub-groups then, Amy and Noire propped up against the wall, Kade and Spin lying on the ground. Rage, as usual, was the only one who was alone. Kade turned to Spin.

Finally, some peace… You know, I feel sorry for Rage.”

“’Cause he’s all alone?”

Yeah. I feel like I’m betraying him or something, you know? I don’t really hang with him that much anymore, even though I’ve known him since, well, shit, since middle school.”

Go on, I’ll be right here. I promise I won’t get jealous unless you kiss him.” Spin said, giving Kade a peck on the cheek. He grinned back, letting the joke slide, and got up, trundling over to Rage and smacking him in the head before sitting down next to him.

“’Sup?” he asked, dropping down next to his best friend.

Don’t hit me like that, I have a delicate head.”

Only ‘cause it’s empty…” Kade fired back, grinning. Then his face grew serious. “Sorry about ditching you these past few days, man.”

It’s cool, it’s cool. You and Spin, finally happened. Besides, you know how we work. Even if I don’t see you for years, makes no difference. We’re always like that.”

True, true… So hey, man, I’ve been meaning to ask you… Since we made it out… What’s your plan? What you going to do? I mean, we can’t just hang out and play music all day… We ain’t got no family but us, so we need to find a way to survive.”

I know, I know… I dunno, I might go find some place to work, like as an electrician or something, until I can get through college. I’ll have to go for that GED shit though, since we never finished High School. Damn Windigo.”

Electrician? Why that?”

You know me, wires are almost as good as sex. I don’t think I’d mind being an electrician, it’s like working my way through college doing something I enjoy. What about you?”

I’m going to go into computers… Maybe open up my own gaming zone. But to start with, I think I’ll hang with you. GED and college. I need to get a degree. I’m pretty sure we can get some benefits, being Nephilim refugees. And I’m probably going to have to go to church soon. I’ll be dragging you with me.”

You serious, man? You never were one for getting hitched… You going to marry Spin?”

Yeah. Will you be my best man?”

I’d trash the wedding if I wasn’t. But you sure about it?”

No way in hell. But it feels like the right thing to do. I mean, I said ‘soon’, but that will probably be a few good years. You know, I want to make sure I’ve got a grasp on life before I drag someone else into mine.”

Well, all the best, man. I’m pretty sure you can make it work.”

I hope so… She’s the world to me.”

I can tell. When you stop hanging out with me for a girl, I know it’s big.”

When’s the last time that happened? No, wait, I remember.”


I said I remember, fool!”

Pardon me, Mr. T.”

Up yours.”

Only after you.”

Kade grinned. This was the banter he missed. He rubbed his neck. “So what about you? Gonna find yourself a girl?”

Maybe… Actually, I’m pretty interested in researching this Universe-Negaverse thing.”

I thought you just said you wanted to go to college for electrical engineering.”

Well yeah, but this is going to be a hobby. Five’ll get you ten that Noire’s going to go with Angel when she finds her way back. I want to see if it’s possible to create a connection, rather than just hope for one.”

Why’s that? Plan to open a tourist spot or something?”

No, you ijit. But it would be nice to know that Angel and Noire are only a few minutes away. I’m going to miss them. And I know you will to.”

Yeah, I will… I sure will…” Kade’s voice faded as he slowly sunk his head down. Rage said nothing, just waited.

Yeah, we need to make sure we stay in contact with them, somehow.” Kade turned around, waving to Spin. She got up off the ground and came to sit with the two boys, leaning on Kade’s shoulder. “What’s up?”

Nothing, just thought I’d hang with my two favorite people at once. Something wrong with that?” Kade asked.

Nope, not at all.”

Kade dug his hand into his pocket, groping around for a moment, then sighed to himself happily. He leaned towards Rage. “Do me a favor,” he whispered so Spin couldn’t hear him, “Go get Angel and Noire for me, will ya?”

Rage eyed him warily. “You gonna do it now?”

Yeah, while I still have the balls.”

Rage patted his shoulder as he got up, then tripped his way over two the other two girls, squatting in front of them.

What did you say to him?” Spin asked.

Told him to get lost so I can make passionate love to you.”

Out here in the open?”

Yup, the way nature meant it to be.”

You’re going to be sorely disappointed.” Spin said, nodding to show that Amy and Noire were approaching them with Rage in tow.

Oh well, then I guess I’ll have to settle for second best.” Kade sighed.

And what’s that?” Spin asked, apprehensive but intrigued.

You know I love you, right?” Kade asked, loud enough for everyone to hear.

Yeah…” Spin answered slowly.

And you know I want to be with you forever, right?” Kade asked again.

Uh-huh…” Spin nodded.

Well, I don’t have anything dramatic to say, or any speech ready. I just decided this a few minutes ago, and I want to do it before I find a reason to chicken out…” Kade shifted, pulling his hand out of his pocket and moving so that he was on his right knee. Spin gasped as he took her hand and slid a ring on it. The ring was simple, not even an engagement ring but more like a punk ring, pure titanium with a design of thorny vines going around it. “Spin, I love you and I want you in my life, now and forever. I can’t go on without you. Will you marry me?”

Spin was deathly still. She didn’t move, she didn’t even breathe. She just sat there, her hand outstretched, the ring resting on her finger. She pulled her hand back, her other hand twisting the ring on her finger round and round. Kade could feel sweat dripping down his brow. This wasn’t how he figured she would react.

Kade, I don’t know…” She started, but he cut her off.

I mean, it doesn’t have to be tomorrow… We can take our time, wait till we get settled… I know you want to have your own career, and I want to get my life in order, but maybe, when all that’s done… I know I can’t live without you.” Kade pleaded. Spin started to sob. Kade hung his head. Fuck, he thought to himself, this isn’t going the way I planned it at all!!

Kade… I don’t-“ She started again.

If you’re not sure, you can wait on it for a bit… I mean, I can totally wait till you sort yourself out...” Kade said, his eyes growing wet. Spin’s hand shot out, grabbing Kade’s ponytail and pulling it to shut him up.

Shut up for a minute, will ya?” She asked, sobbing.

Erk! Yes, ma’am!” Kade said, rubbing his head. Spin let go of his hair and sat for a moment, then opened her mouth.

I don’t… I don’t think there’s anything I can say other then ‘Yes’…” She said, then threw herself at Kade. They both fell over, Spin’s arms wrapping around her boyfriend’s – no, now fiancée’s – her fiancée’s body, hugging him close to her as she whispered “Yes, yes, yes!” in his ear. Moments later, Noire and Amy descended on the happy couple, all tears and hugs and “Ohmigod!”, while Rage just looked on.

And he actually did it… Damn.” Rage thought to himself. Ever since he had met Kade, he had to listen to how “I’ll never get married” Kade had been. And now this. Well, Rage thought to himself, I guess even people like him can change. Good. He shrugged and sat down, letting the emotional moment wrap around him. Noire and Amy had stolen Spin away for girl talk, and Kade dropped down next to Rage on the ground.

Holy shit… I can’t believe I did that.” Kade muttered.

Neither can I.”

I mean, I always said I’d never get married…”

Yet here you are, engaged, and of your own free will, at that.”

What’s the world coming to?”

Bunch of savages in this town.”

Kade just stared at Rage like he was an idiot, then smacked him in the back of the head. “What the hell?!?”

Your tsukkomi is useless against me. Besides, we sounded just like Dante and Randal, and it needed to be said.”

True. But man… My heart’s still pounding. I can’t believe I actually tied myself to a person for the rest of my life.”

You sound like you’re already married.”

Well, I will be, and to be honest, I’m as good as married when it comes to Spin, there’s no one else I want to be with… You’re the best man at my wedding, by the way.”

No need to ask.”

I’m not asking, I’m telling you.”

Roger that.”

So what do you think?”

I think it’s your life and business.”

Fuck you. Come on, what do you think?”

“I think… I think it’s a good thing. You two are really good together, and although you always said you’d never get married… For you to change that much to keep her with you, well, hell, I don’t think there’s anyone else that can do that.”

Not unless it’s you, bro.”

I don’t swing that way.”

“And neither do I. But you know that’s how it is.”


Kade laid himself on the ground, his hands behind his head. “So, I’m engaged, we’re out of Nephilim, and tomorrow, we’ll be in Beldaris, starting a new life… Never thought it would happen.”

Really? You never really thought we’d get out?” Rage asked him, leaning back on his hands.

Well, I mean, once we started moving, I knew we had to get out. But before that, when it was just us jamming in the garage, I never guessed that we’d move… I guess, with Angel’s arrival, everything changed… I just have one regret…”


I miss my drumset.” Rage leaned over and smacked Kade in the stomach. Kade laughed. “But really, we’re out… I think I have yet to get my head around that fact.”

Well, how about you get some sleep first? I’m bushed, and I want a nap.”

Right-O, sir, I could use a good one myself.” Kade stood up and dusted his pants off, and then smiled fondly at the sight of Spin recounting her version of his proposal. “Wasn’t even a proper ring,” Kade muttered to himself as he trudged over to the girls.

Alright, alright, public announcement. It’s officially sleepy time, or at least, it is for me. Just letting you know.” Amy grinned at him.

And I assume you want Spin here?”

Hell no. I’d never get any sleep.” Kade grinned at Spin to let her know he was kidding. “But it’s open invitation for her. We’re going to be heading into Beldaris tomorrow, so I figured we have a chance to really relax right now, and I’m going to go sleep like there’s no tomorrow. Personally, I’d suggest you do the same. We’re all pretty tired.”

You mean you are. We’ve still got plenty of energy.” Spin teased, but she got up to give Kade a hug and a kiss. “Sweet dreams, love.”

Nothing but.” Kade said, turning around and finding himself as comfortable a spot as he could, and soon enough fell asleep.

* * *

It was barely light when Kade woke up. Dawn was just peeking over the horizon. Damn, he thought to himself, I really did pass out. He looked over the small area they had settled into. Amy and Noire were in each other’s arms, sleeping peacefully. Spin had her hand pressed to his chest, her head buried against his neck. Rage was sitting on the ground, awake but relaxed. Kade shifted slightly, trying not to wake Spin. She moaned softly and called out to him in her sleep. Kade grinned and kissed her softly, then scooted away and went to sit next to Rage.

“’Sup?” Rage asked him as Kade took his seat.

Not much, man. Just woke up… Is it really dawn already?”

Yeah… The Powerpuff Girls didn’t get to bed for a while. Seems you made Spin’s day with that little stunt.”

That little stunt was the most pivotal moment in my life to date, you ijit.” Kade muttered, but grinned. “I’ll be heading to the Police Station in Bel today.”

What? Why so?”

Might as well. At least I’ll know that, if by night I have nothing, I can at least crash in an empty cell. Besides, we can report ourselves as survivors of Nephilim. Otherwise, we’d have to deal with the evacuees. And I don’t want to do that. And it’s possible that we’ll even get a lead on a place to live… I don’t know, it seems like the right thing to do.”

Alright… And with the money Nine gave us, plus our status as Nephilim survivors, we might even be able to pay a few month’s rent for a place.”

Ne? Sounds like a good idea?”

I’ll tag along.”

Alright, let’s wait for them to get up. No rush now. Now excuse me, but I do not want to leave my fiancée all alone when she wakes up.”

You’re such a sap.”

You watch Clannad as many times as I have and you’ll wind up the same way I am.”

All the more reason to not do that.” Kade punched his friend’s shoulder and went over, sitting down in front of Spin, then shifting and half laying down, watching her sleep. The gentle rise and fall of her chest as she breathed, the way her eyes flickered underneath the lids, showing that she was dreaming. The occasional small sound she made while she slept… All of it had Kade enraptured. It wasn’t until he was admiring how deep her eyes were that he realized that she was awake. He leaned in and kissed her lips softly.

Morning, dear.”

You have no idea how wonderful that sounds.”

Admit it, I swept you off your feet again.”


Then I shall try harder.”

You do that, I’m going to wake up those two lover girls and get us on our way.”

Good idea. The sooner we get to Bel, the sooner we can get a real bed.”

And just what are you implying?”

Other than the fact that I’m desperate to show you how good I am in one? Not much.”

You don’t need to show me. I trust you.” Kade blushed. “Actually,” he started, “I may not be-“ Spin silenced him with a finger on his lips.

Don’t worry about it. We’ll make things work.” She then got up and stretched, and went off to wake up Amy and Noire. Kade grinned and rolled onto his back, staring up at the sky. He almost dozed off until he heard someone call him.

Kade!” Rage waved his hand in the air. “Time to get moving!” Kade rocked himself to his feet, and trudged over, grabbing his bag and his sword. “Alright,” he said, “Off to Bel!”

The little group walked on. It wasn’t far, only a few miles. After around two hours, the passed the city limits and started coming across the first actual humans they had seen in a while. Everyone just stared at the group who walked through the streets, carrying medieval weapons, dressed in dirty clothes and not exactly smelling the best. Kade grinned at Rage. “Is it just me, or is everyone staring at us?”

Oh, they are.”

Wait, something’s missing…” Kade muttered, then he felt a familiar sensation settle between his shoulders. “Ah, there we go.”

What was that about?” Spin asked.

They’re staring at us even after we pass. I missed that feeling. Getting stared at just doesn’t feel the same until they start staring from behind me.”

They walked on. Eventually, they came across a traffic cop, who looked torn between running from them and arresting them. Kade walked straight up to the cop, hands visible and empty.

Pardon me, officer. Could you tell us where the nearest police station is? We’re survivors of Nephilim.” The cops eyebrows shot up as he heard what Kade said, and he pointed down the street. “4th and Jackson. Go down that way for three blocks, then turn right onto Jackson. You can’t miss it.” Kade nodded his head, then gave a small bow. “Thank you very much, sir.”

He walked back to the group and relayed to police officer’s directions. They started down the street. As they were passing down between two skyscrapers, Amy looked down one of the alleys and stopped dead.

Angel, what’s the hold up?” Noire asked, then looked where Angel was looking and gasped. The others quickly joined them.

Holy shit… is that?” Kade asked, staring at the swirling white light. It looked like the top of a tornado, or what he thought the top of one would look like. White light turning and twisting, swirling around one central point.

Looks like a Vortex…” Rage whispered. Amy looked at Rage, then Kade, Spin, and Noire. Then at the portal. “Angel,” Kade said, “You don’t know where that’s going, or even if it goes anywhere…”

I have to try… I love you guys, but… Home is always home, right?” Amy started, not sure how to tell her new friends that she was leaving, probably forever.

Girl, we’re not going to force you to stay. We love you too, and we want you to stay, but… Well, like you said, home is home. If you’re going, then we won’t stop you… So, you going?” Rage asked.

Yeah, I am… It may take me home, it may go somewhere else, it may kill me… But I’d rather know than go on wishing.” Kade pushed past Rage to wrap his arms around Amy, sniffing.

Take care of yourself, you hear? And if… And if you get the chance, let us know what happened, alright? We’re always here, if you come back and need a place to be.” Amy sobbed and nodded, hugging Kade back. Kade let her go, moving aside and wrapping his arms around Noire as Spin hugged Amy.

And you… You take good care of her, alright?”

Huh?” Noire asked, confused.

What, you didn’t think we’d make you stay either, did you? I’m pretty sure you want to go with her…” Kade said, letting go of Noire. Noire blushed and nodded. “I’m sorry Kade, Spin, Rage… I know we’ve been together for so long, but…”

Shut up, woman!” Kade said softly. “If you’re going, then we won’t stop you… We’ll miss you, but we won’t make you choose, us or her. Just take care of each other, alright?”

With my life.” Noire said, hugging Kade one last time. Kade moved back, letting all the goodbyes get out of the way, sitting down on his heels against a wall. Soon enough, farewells had been said. Noire gripped Amy’s hand in hers and looked at the three again. “Thank you, everyone… I hope we see each other again.”

So do I,” Said Rage, “We all do. Now go, we don’t know how long that thing will stay open…”

Without another word, the two girls walked towards the swirling vortex. Just before they walked in, they turned around, waving goodbye. Kade waved, tears streaming down his cheeks. Spin was next to him, barely any better, almost waving in the wrong direction. Even Rage’s cheeks were wet as he waved. Then, the two walked into the vortex, and disappeared. Kade dropped his head and didn’t say anything. Spin’s arms were around him, his own pulling her against him as they comforted each other.

Two more gone… At least we know they’ll be safe…” Kade whispered, then stood up, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. Rage and Spin did they same, drying their eyes and stopping their sobs.

You think they’ll really be safe?” Spin asked. Kade just nodded. “Of course. They’ve got each other.” He shook his head and hitched his bag up onto his shoulders again.

Alright, people, off to the station… Time to start our new lives.”

And with that, the three who were left turned and left the alley.




FINAL NOTES: This took a while to post, even though I'd already finished writing it almost a year ago... Thanks go to you guys, the readers, past, present and future. I'm glad you took the time to look over this humble offering of mine. Be it one thousand, one hundred, or just one person.

And, saving the best for last, I would like to thank:

Angel, Noire, Rage, Kade, Spin, Nyne, Kannabis, Priest, Chaos, Dragoon and Sage. Whether the part you played was big or small, you have taken me on an amazing, fucking incredible, and awesome adventure, and let me share it with anyone who wishes to hear. It was, is and always will be an honor. Thank you, all.

Angelus: Chapter VII

So, that’s how it went. Nine covered me while we pretty much went bat shit insane on those fucks… I’ll admit, though, it came pretty close… Nine’s amazing as a fighter, though… Didn’t let me get scratched once. And this one Windigo, he was huge. I mean, almost like Kan-“

Kade’s voice stopped. Spin propped herself up on her elbow. Kade had fallen silent, a sad look on his face. Kannabis was still a sore topic for him. Asshole he was, he had still lived with them, jammed with them, fought alongside them. He was the black sheep, but he was still part of the herd. And his loss hurt in many ways.

There’s not much we could have done with Kannabis, love… Don’t think about him as a Windigo. Remember him when he was his old self, always rolling a joint and laughing. That’s the way I’m sure he’d want us to remember him.”

You’re right, but still… Anyways, there was this huge one. The bastard knocked my off my feet with one frigging fist. It was fucking crazy. One minute, I’m cutting down a white body, next I know, I’m flying through the air, wondering what hit me. Nine picked him up before he could get at me, but there were a few others lying in wait… I don’t like it, it’s almost like they had it planned. Freaks me out… What if they’re not brainless like we think they are? What if they’re developing? The only way to stop this would be to nuke the city, Resident Evil style… I don’t want that to happen, but it seems the only way to go…”

Shhh, don’t worry about it. We just need to get out of here. After that, what happens will happen. If these bastards get out… We’ll be there to push them back, just like we’ve been doing.”

Damn right. This is my fucking town.”

Our fucking town.”

Right.” Kade grinned sheepishly, glancing around the room. A typical hotel room, rather run down since the city had been abandoned. The only thing that struck him as odd was the red spots of paint on the wall. They looked a lot like a fist…

Spin, lemme see your hands.”

Spin showed him her hands, palms facing him. “Why, what’s up?” He grabbed them and turned them over, exposing her raw knuckles. He stared for a moment.

“… I’m sorry.”

It’s not your fault.”

Yes it is. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gone like that. I had no idea you’d be this worried…”

Spin pulled her hands back, wrapping then around Kade’s neck and pulling herself up to kiss him. “Shut it. Of course I’d be worried… But that’s all in the past. As soon as we’re rested up, we’ll get moving. We need to get out of here.”

Yeah… I’m pretty sure they’ll be coming here soon.”

Kade was interrupted by a knock on the door. “Kade, it’s Rage. Nine wants to know if you’re in a travel-worthy condition.”

As good as it gets, why?”

“’Cause he wants us to get moving soon. It’s going to be dawn.”

Holy fuck, that fast?”

Apparently. Anyways, get your shit together, we’ll be meeting up in the meeting hall on the ground floor.”

Is that a good idea?”

Pretty much, there are no Windigo, and it’s on the ground floor so we can get out quick.”

Roger that.”

Kade got up from the bed, pulling Spin with him and stretching, her arms draped around his chest. “Well, as the dialogue goes, ‘Hey bigun, play time’s over!’”

Spin shook her head. “Too corny.”

They made their way down the stairs, trying to keep quiet in case any Windigo were out on their own, until they got to the meeting room. The meeting room had been used for large functions, but now it almost felt like a haunted hall, big and dark. Nine was already waiting, as was Rage. Amy and Noire dropped in right behind Kade and Spin.

Ah, the prodigal ones return.” Nine murmured, sounding like a pastor on Sunday Morning.

Can it, kitty.” Kade said, grinning. “Tell us the plan and you get a saucer of cream.”

Me-ow” Nine drawled sarcastically. “Alright, since it’s going to be dawn soon, and we are all, I hope, decently rested, I think we should get a move on. The longer we stay in one spot, the more of a target we become. Not to mention that Kade and I noticed something freaky about our Alabaster neighbours.”

And what’s that?” Rage asked.

They seem to be getting coordinated. The fight yesterday and the day before was pretty brutal, and they seemed like had a few bits planned out. That’s bad news. So, before we stick around long enough to find out the truth, I figured we should get the hell out while we can. Of course, that’s if you guys can do it. I know Kade probably wants to sit on his ass for another day.” Nine grinned.

As long as my ass isn’t being hunted. I’m good to go now, if it keeps us safe.”

Another reason for leaving this early is that it gives us more time to work with, so that we can walk more and run less. I don’t think Kade and I can fight them off again if he falls behind.”

Point. Well, like I said, I’m good to go now. What about you guys?” Kade turned around, asking the rest of the group.

Ready to roll out.” Rage said as Kade cringed.

We’re ready.” Amy and Noire said.

I’m good.” Said Spin, one arm around Kade’s waist.

Then we have an accord. Alright, let’s snatch what we can carry and get the hell out of here.”

Two steps ahead of you, kitten.” Kade said. “Rage and I went on a little shopping spree. We rustled up some food and divided it.”

And without my knowing… Sneaky bastards.” Nine grinned. “Well, barring that saucer of cream you owe me, we’re good to go.”

Kade chuckled and turned to head back upstairs.

You’re bag’s here, Marble.” Rage said, chucking it at Kade’s head.

Hey hey, easy with throwing things at me. I still haven’t forgotten the damn newspaper.” Rage doubled over with laughter. Kade glowered, then started laughing on his own. “Oh fuck, that was a moment in history.”

Everyone just looked from Kade to Rage, then Rage to Kade.

Ummmm, what the hell?” Spin asked. Kade chuckled and wrapped his arm around Spin’s waist. “Well, this one time, Rage dropped by my place…” As he started narrating, the small group left the hall.

* * *

Around noon, they stopped to rest. Lunch was simple, and oddly medieval. Kade chewed his food silently, thinking and wondering.

Penny for your thoughts?” Spin asked, dropping down onto the rough concrete next to him.

Just wondering… Why the hell is this honey bun so tasteless?”

Probably because most of the glaze is still in the wrapper.”

Well damn, you’re right… Ah, fuck it, I don’t mind.”

Really Kade, what’s up?”

Kade sighed, chucking the wrapper of the Honey Bun to the side. “This whole situation, that’s what’s up. I’m getting tired of it. It seems like God has it in for me, thwarting all my plans to get us to safety.”

Kade, you can’t assume that everyone is your responsibility. True, we’re family, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the Dad. Let’s make this a team thing. Come on, you can’t hold all the weight, it’ll crush you.”

I can’t help it… You know, sometimes I wonder… If you hadn’t met me, would you be safe no-“

Before he could finish, Spin reached a hand back and slapped Kade across the face, not with all her power but enough to make it sting.

Ummm… I guess this means I’m the bitch, and you’re the butch?”

Shut up. Don’t ever think that you ruined my life, you hear me? You’re the best thing that’s happened in my life. Don’t ever think otherwise, understand me? Or I’ll show you how much of a butch I can be.”

Oooh, kinky… I’m sorry, I guess I’m just in a funk. I just want you to be safe… I can’t stand the thought of losing you to those things.”

You won’t. I’ll be by your side forever.”

Alright… Say, you know, you slap pretty soft for a girl.”

Spin raised her hand again, and Kade grinned, turning the other cheek. “If it pleases you, then I don’t mind.” Spin giggled, dropping her hand and kissing Kade instead.

Alright, alright, I heard Kade get slapped, and now you’re kissing… If something’s going down, I own all rights to the underground porno of it.” Rage quipped, looking over.

You wouldn’t make a dime, Scarface. No one wants to see my fat ass on their TV.”

Point taken.”

Hey, I’d pay good money for it.” Spin interjected.

Baby, you got the horse. Why would you want a video of the race?” Spin just grinned. “The same reason football teams watch videos of past games. To learn and improve.”

Kade just stared at her. “You know, I’m not sure who’s supposed to blush here, me or you.”

You’re both doing it anyways,” Amy called out, “So it doesn’t matter.”

Remind me to bug you’re room when we get to Bel. I’m sure THOSE tapes would make a fortune.” Kade grinned as Amy’s face turned five shades of red. “Ha, got her.”

Alright kiddies, lunch time’s over. We have to get moving. According to what I remember, there’s a way out of here that Hunters use, probably a few hours from here. If we can get there without an issue, then we’re home free.”

Kade frowned. “And what if there is an issue?” Nine grinned. “Then we’re going to have one hell of a workout.”

The group packed up and started walking again. The sun slowly settled in the west, sinking lower and lower until the whole city was awash in orange-red light. Kade sighed, looking over at Spin. She looked back at him, and smiled. He grinned and looked ahead. Yep, he thought to himself, I’d die for her.

“And so would I.” Spin whispered. Kade whipped his head around, grimacing as his neck creaks. “Whaddya say?”

I bet you were thinking, ‘Yeah, I’d die for her if I had to.’ And I said I would do the same for you.”

Can you read minds or something?”

Nope, I just know you. Now come on, Nine seems to be getting perky, which means we’re either near the exit or near a group of Windigo.”

Kade looked ahead and noticed Nine, bounding around more than usual, as if looking for something. He could see Nine’s hood flatten on his head, his ears flattening out. Not a good sign, from what Kade knew of cats and Nine.

Sylvester, what’s the problem?” Kade called.

Not now, Kade. Something’s wrong… The exit was near here, but I can’t see the Hunter’s markers that lead to it.”

Maybe the Hunters just changed them, to make sure the Windigo don’t recognize them.”

No, it’s not that… Something is messed up. Stay here, I’m going to take a look.” Nine bounded off as Kade plopped onto the ground, everyone else soon doing the same. Kade leaned back on his hands, the cracked concrete digging into his palms. “I wonder what’s got Nine in such a tizzy. Even if the Hunter’s marks are gone, the exit should still be there. If he knows where it is, he can take us to it directly.”

Not really, Kade.” Rage said. “Think about it. Even though he may know where it is, don’t you think that the Hunters would at least have the marks up if they use the place? Missing marks mean that maybe they blocked the entrance, in which case we’re walking around the city till we find another one.”

Well, fuck, I never thought of that…”

Nine showed up at that point, his hood fallen back onto his shoulders. His ears were flat against his head, and Kade could hear a slight hiss from Nine’s jaws.

What’s up?”

You need to see this.”

Amy was the first one to get up, Noire right after her. Kade followed, Rage and Spin behind him. On the way, Kade stopped at Nine’s shoulder. “What is it?”

Bad news.” As soon as he said it, Amy’s moan of “Oh, no…” echoed out. Kade rushed around Nine, stopping short. They had found the exit. In a way.

Blood was all over the ground, blackened from age. The stench was foul, flies were buzzing thick over the remains of three Hunters. The bodies had been dismembered, and even worse, it seems like they had been partially eaten. Entrails were strewn all over the area. The skin was pale, the arms and legs in strict rigor mortis, pointing in all odd angles. Bones had been wedged into the passage of the exit, forcing the door shut. Kade turned away, nauseated. Behind him, he could hear Amy vomiting. Spin stopped and turned away before she could see the whole scene like Kade had. Rage was the only one who seemed unaffected. Well, he was affected, but not with sickness. His eyes had hardened. He was living up to his name now.

Oh good lord… Who would have done this?” Spin asked, dry heaving. Kade grabbed his throat, trying not to puke himself. Nine walked over, slowly, taking Amy’s hand and leading her away from the scene, Noire trailing behind her. Kade dropped into a squat, his back to the mess.

Nine…” he moaned, then louder when the feral person didn’t appear. “Nine!”

What is it?” Nine asked, his voice flat, his words clipped.

This… they knew, didn’t they? They fucking knew… How?!? How could they be this coordinated??? There’s no way those things we’ve fought till now were this smart… How?!?!?!?” Kade stood up, spinning and kicking one of the body pieces so hard is smacking into the wall with a slight thwock. “HOW!??! Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!! Why?!?!”

Spin wrapped her arms around Kade’s waist. Kade’s ire seems to fade immediately, and instead he turned, hugging Spin to him as if holding on for dear life, his body wracked with sobs he was holding back. “Now what? Now where do we go?”

We go through.” Rage said.

What?” the question rang out from every mouth at the same time.

Those bones are wedging the tunnel shut. We get them out, the tunnel is open. Then we block it from the other end, so they can’t get out. And we get the hell out of here.”

Dude, do you know how long it’s going to take to get all the cleared? Besides… I’m pretty sure we’d make enough noise to pull a group here, and these bodies… Some of the blood is still wet. They’ll smell it and come.”

Rage walked up to the bone-wedged door, and with a swing of his pole-arm, snapped the bones out of the doorjamb, digging in to get the pieces he didn’t get. “Let them come. If we work fast enough, the won’t get us. Come on Kade…” Rage extended his hand to Kade. “We’ve known each other for how long now? You know that strategy is my forte. We can get this done, but we need to work together. Don’t let me down now.”

Kade stared at Rage for a moment, then grinned. “Son of a bitch… Don’t tell me you’re coming out of the closet now.” He grabbed Rage’s hand and slid his sword out of it’s sheath, aiming and chopping away at the bones. Rage shoved him playfully and got back to work. Spin stepped up right behind Kade, wedging herself right in front of him, so that he could work and she would follow up. They continued digging at the bones.

Why the fuck did it have to be a freaking tunnel? Couldn’t they just have a normal door?” Kade muttered as he worked.

Well, the wall is like, what, a mile thick… Also, security. A tunnel helps create a bottleneck, so that in case they make it in, they can get caught at the narrow point and picked off in concentration. Besides, tunnels are easier to booby-trap then open land.” Rage answered.

Remind me not to get on your bad side.” Kade retorted, returning to his digging. Amy and Noire stood by, watching as the three slowly and surely worked the bones out of the doorjamb. Until the ragged howls broke out.

Fuck!” Amy muttered, turning around. They were far off, but she could see the white skin tinged red with the last light of the sun. Nine stepped towards them, only a few paces, his knives appearing in his hands. Amy could clearly hear the hiss from his throat. Amy readied her own weapons, Noire right beside her. Kade, Rage and Spin tried to pick up the pace as they hacked away at the bones.

This is way too fucking cliché…” Kade muttered as he worked away, sweat pouring down his brow. “I feel like I’m in a fricking RPG…”

Then let’s make sure we don’t ruin the cliché.” Rage muttered.

Right… We get the door open and everyone is, locking it just as the Windigo reach it?”

Well, we could try to speed up the schedule, but that’s the gist.” Rage dug the end of his pole-arm into the crack between the door of the tunnel and the frame, bracing his leg against the wall and pushing with all his strength.

Dude, we only got one side clear!” Kade pointed out.

Yeah, but it’s the side where the hinges are. Those are the main blockers. Everything else can most likely be dealt with as the door opens.” Rage replied, grunting as he pushed.

Still…” Kade started, then stopped as he heard bone crack and saw the door shift an inch. Rage grinned. “Quit slacking, pork bun! Either help or help!” Kade shook his head and moved over to help Rage, placing not his hands on the pole-arm but wedging it between his neck and shoulder, then bending at the waist, like he was going to tackle it.

Oh, this is going to make me sore in the morning…” Kade muttered, then grit his teeth and shoved with his legs, using his mass to his advantage and forcing the pole-arm forward another inch.

Tom Brady would have been proud, Kade.” Rage commented.

Too bad he quit the game after that mess of a season… Double injuries…” Kade replied, then grunted and shoved again with his shoulder, the pole-arm digging into his neck. Spin watched in awe for a moment, then got back to picking out what bones she could.

Kade!” Nine called out.

What?!?!” Kade screamed back.

Hurry the FUCK UP!!!” Nine called back before turning towards the approaching Windigo, anxiously shifting his weight from foot to foot. The horde had grown along the way, and now numbered around fifty-odd alabaster bodies, some big, some small. Nine glanced back at Kade, watching him shove the pole-arm over and over, the door hardly moving.

Come on, man! No pressure, just a bunch of hungry Windigo on the way… You know, take your time!” Nine yelled in Kade’s direction.

Well, serve them tea!” Kade called back, then took three steps back from the pole-arm and knuckled down. “Rage, if this breaks, I’ll make you a new one.”

Don’t break it, it’s all we got to use.”

Then pray to whatever deity you believe in that it’s strong enough.” Saying so, Kade pushed off, his legs rocketing him forward, the pole-arm slamming right into the crook of his neck and bending, almost touching the wall. The door moved open by a good four inches. However, Spin was the only one who heard the cracking sound. She rushed to Kade’s side.

Shhhh.” Kade said, grimacing in pain. “Nothing broken. The crack was one of those bones. But the thing dug into my muscles pretty well.”

I don’t believe you.” She muttered back.

“Oh, well. Not like we got a choice.” Kade backed up again, taking a moment to psyche himself up before checking the pole-arm again, this time the end touching the wall at the door slid open, now a foot wide.

LET’S GO, KIDS!!!” Kade yelled, ushering Spin through the open gap. Spin slipped through easily, followed by Amy and Noire. Rage slid through the gap, then started pushing from the inside, trying to open it up for Kade’s girth. Kade groaned and sucked in his gut as much as he could, and tried to push through the gap. He made it after a few extra seconds, and sat, catching his breath.

We made it… I can’t believe it, we made it…” Kade gasped.

Not just yet. We need to shut this door.” Rage said, then popped his head out. “NINE!!”

Nine sidled up to the door, but didn’t go through.

Come on, man! It’s now or never!” Kade urged.

No can do… I’m staying behind. I’ve got to take care of the old lady. Besides, you need someone to push from this side as well, right?”

Dude, those things will-“

They’ll try to catch me and fail. I’ve been prowling the streets for years. Don’t worry about me. You guys get going.”

Kade stood up, then reached his hand through the door, finding Nine’s and gripping it. “We’ll come get you and Mrs. Mills. We’ll get you guys out as well.”

Mighty big promise there, tubbo. You gonna make good on it?”

I got back to Spin, didn’t I? Trust me… Till then, keep your ass alive!”

Roger that.” Nine turned away, then turned back half-way. “Oh, by the way…”

What?” Kade asked.

“When you come back, you owe me a saucer of cream.”

Kade grinned, even though he could feel tears slide down his cheeks. “I’ll get you a ball of string if you behave…”

Nine grinned, then shook his head and began pushing the door shut. Kade and Rage started pulling on the inner handle, and the door slid shut. Just before the last light disappeared, Kade heard Nine whisper.

Thanks, and keep them safe.”

* * *

Kade sank down against the shut door, his head hanging between his knees, arms crossed across them. He wasn’t the only one sad to lose another good friend. Spin wrapped her arms around him, sobbing quietly.

Why again… Why do we have to lose another friend again?” Kade whispered to no one. Spin said nothing. No one said anything. Finally, after a moment, Rage wiped his eyes. “Kade, come on… We’re not out of the woods yet.” Kade scrubbed at his eyes and stood up, Spin’s arms sliding down to wrap around his arm.

“Yeah, Rage, I know… Sorry about that. Alright, you’re the strategist, man… How do we block this thing up? Don’t want them coming after us through here.”

Well, I can’t say for sure, but if I was a Hunter, I’d make sure that this place had mines or bombs hidden… I mean, in case of emergency, they could just blow the whole thing shut. Pitfalls and spikes would also help slow them down. So, I guess we need to see if they’re as smart as they should be.” Rage started checking the walls, tapping them gently and brushing away dust. Kade worked down the other wall, while Noire, Amy and Spin took the floor, all of them looking for the classic tricks like pressure panels and the like. After only a minute, however, Rage called out to the rest of the group, grinning.

Found something!”

They gathered where Rage was standing. It seems that the Hunters had indeed been prepared for something like this. Rage was staring at a panel in the wall. A small LCD screen with a number panel below it, almost like an ATM. A small slot for a card was on the side of the screen.

And here I thought I’d never need my debit card again.” Muttered Kade.

Well,” Rage sighed, “Unless one of us happens to be a Hunter, I guess we’re out of luck with this one.”

Ummmm…” All eyes turned to Amy as she spoke up. “Nine gave me this. I’m sure it’ll work.” In her hand was a bloodied card. Rage took it from her and wiped to blood off on his jeans, cringing. Indeed, it was a Hunter’s card. “Score!” Rage said, sliding the card into the machine. “Angel, you saved the day.” Amy blushed, and muttered “Not really…”

The screen lit up as the card booted the machine up, flashing the Hunter’s logo before the words EMERGENCY DETONATION SEQUENCE lit up the screen. A clock appeared, bearing the numbers 05:00, and started ticking down.

I thought we needed to put in a code or something!” Kade exclaimed.

I doubt the Hunters would be that relaxed. Anyways, clock’s ticking, folks, so let’s move our asses!” Rage called, starting to run down the tunnel. The others followed right behind him, Kade bringing up the rear. As they ran, Rage constantly scanned the tunnel, making sure they didn’t set off any other surprises other than the big one behind them. So far, so good, he thought to himself. His only worry was if they could get out of the tunnel before the timer counted down to zero. He was so busy thinking, racing down the tunnel, that he nearly fell straight into the pitfall ahead of him.

WHOAH!!!” HE cried out, skidding to a stop right at the edge. Right behind him, Spin, Noire and Amy slowed down, with Kade huffing and puffing at the end.

What the fuck, man, I thought you said we had to move.”

Well, we do. However, it would be a bit of a bummer if we fell into this here pit. Alright, girls, time to jump.”

Noire jumped across the pit easily, followed by Spin. Amy needed a bit of encouragement, and nearly slipped when she landed, but she made it fine.

Come on, Kade, ladies first.”

Then go already, fuckhead.” Kade muttered, catching his breath. He took a few steps back, then charged at the pit, flinging himself off the edge at the last possible moment. He looked like he would make it, then his mass brought him down, down, down. He landed half-way on the other side, his waist slamming against the ground.

OW!! Now I know I’m never having kids…” Kade moaned, pulling himself up over the edge and clenching his legs together. Spin giggled as Kade moaned. His eyes turned to her, glaring in false anger. “You laugh now, woman, but when we get to Bel, don’t blame me when things don’t work…”

Rage laughed. “Don’t worry, I’ll pinch-hit.” He jumped over easily. Kade shifted his glare to him. “I hate you, Rage.” Rage blew him a fake kiss and patted him on the back. “Come on, tubby, we have to go.”

They set off down the tunnel again, Spin dropping back to hold up the rear end of the line with Kade. Amy and Noire were in the middle, and Rage ran out in front, again looking for traps.

Luckily, they were few and far between. About halfway down the tunnel, the traps stopped altogether when they hit the bottleneck of the tunnel. It was narrow enough that Kade barely got through.

There we go. It should be clear from now, but let’s keep up the pace, so that we don’t get fucked if they decided to rig the whole tunnel to blow instead of the entrance.”

Would they do that? I mean, don’t they use this way to get in and out as well?” Amy asked.

Well, yeah, but think about it. If they needed to blast the tunnel, it meant that the Windigo knew how to get in. Therefore, blowing the whole thing up would be better, so that anyone they didn’t kill already would get caught and crushed. Also, if the Windigo manage to force the door at the other end, then blowing only the entrance would mean that once they got past that, the rest of the tunnel would be open to them. Not the best situation to be in, when you think about it.” Rage replied, still running.

Good point.”

They raced against the ticking bomb, until they finally spied the door at the end of the hall. Rage ran up to it, and pulled the handle.

Ummm… bad news, peeps.” He said.

Rage, bro… If you tell me it’s not opening, I’m using your spine as my back-scrubber…” Kade moaned, hands on his knees. Rage pulled on the door, and it creaked open.

False alarm.” He said. And then the bomb went off.

Angelus: Chapter VI

And due to exams, StarCraft II and Spore, it's been a while since i posted, so I decided to finish this thing off. These are the rest of the chapters, one in each post. Enjoy~!




A week passed by, and Kade knew it was time to get a move on. Amy and Noire had finally settled down to a less… audible form of intimacy, and the rest had slept better for that. Personally, Kade had to hold himself back from jumping into Spin’s bed. There was that small fear he would be insufficient. But it was an uphill battle.

The day of departure rolled around, and everyone gathered around, weapons in hand and with bags of food and water on their backs. Nine was out collecting money from some of the banks, and they were all waiting nervously for him to return. Now that they were going back out, the old, familiar paranoia had returned. Noire and Amy had their arms around each other, hugging each other quietly with their eyes closed. Spin had her own hand around Kade’s waist. Kade rested his head on Spin’s shoulder, him stomach roiling and fear rolled through him. Were they really going to make it? Was it even possible? Who knows, those things could learn… Kannabis had remembered how to use his axe, after all. If they had learned where the exit points were and had blocked them, then all of them were destined to die.

Rage was the only one who didn’t show any emotion. He stood, stock-still, waiting for Nine to return so they could leave. Rage was glad to see all his friends scared, because it meant they had something to live for. Fear could be a good thing, sometimes. He himself had lost anything he cared for, except for these friends of his who had stuck by him. In that case, he should be scared himself, right? Whatever.

Nine returned soon enough, bringing with him five small bags filled with money of all denominations, an even mix of small and large. Clearly, he had thought about this and not just shoved anything into the bags. There was plenty to go around, and light enough so it wouldn’t inhibit running speed.

"All right, allowance time!" Nine sang out. "That’s it for the week, and make sure you do your chores."

'Ha ha, Nine," Kade said with a grin, "But thanks for the cash. Now all we need is to get out of this dump of a city… You guys really should come with us, you know…"

"Thanks, but I can’t see Mrs. Mills here running around with a medieval weapon, hacking Windigo to bits. She can’t go far, so I’m here for protection, until she no longer needs me."

"Alright. You will be coming with us to the city border though, right?"

"That, I can do. Now, shall we get going? You all are still young, and time stands still for no one."

Without any more delay, the little group left, bidding a farewell to Mrs. Mills. Kade took the lead, with Spin side-by-side. Amy and Noire came next, still holding hands, while Rage and Nine pulled up the rear. Nine was usually bounding around, a little way ahead, behind, on either side, ever alert for the sign of Windigo. They started out west, hoping to reach the city limits by day’s end. Staying outside at night was like asking for trouble, and they had enough of that as it was.

The first day was no trouble. Either the Windigo weren’t out, or Nine kept them away, but they travelled the whole day without meeting a single creature. They camped at night in an old office building, sleeping in turns to keep watch. Nine was awake, it seemed, throughout the whole night. At any given moment, he was prowling the floors, looking to see if any Windigo were hiding.

The second day didn’t prove as well. Around mid-day, the attack came, the Wendigo more bloodthirsty than before. It started with the howling, as it always did. They smelled prey, and they were on the prowl. A soon as the howls ripped through the air, everyone broke into a run, Kade and Nine at the rear, Amy and Noire in the middle, Spin and Rage at the front, the fastest of the group. They raced down the roads, eager to make it out of the city or at least put distance between the Windigo and themselves. Pointless. Yet they tried. Pushing on and on, they ran and ran. And then Kade fell behind. He was the only one who was out of shape, and while he could walk for hours, running wasn’t part of the deal.

Shit!” Kade muttered, hefting his sword and swinging it. “Looks like it’s my turn to hold them off, eh?”

I’ll cover you,” Said Nine, right beside Kade. “You can’t take them all on alone.”

You sure? I’d rather you kept Spin and the rest safe, if that’s cool with you…”

Don’t worry. They’ll be fine. The windigo are behind us today, not in front of us. Your girl and the rest of them will be A-OK. It’s you I’m worried about…” His voice trailed off as he eyed Kade. “Can you still fight?”

“Not like I have a choice, right? Besides… Need to make sure Spin gets out of here safely.” The words barely left his mouth before he heard her voice, calling his name. He turned around to see her running towards him, the rest of the group following her.

“Get out of here!” Kade yelled. Spin stopped dead in her tracks. “I’ll be fine, you guys get to safety… Head to the Hawthorne! That place is close to the edge of town…”

Spin started running again, towards him. Wordlessly, she threw herself at his chest, hugging him tightly, her lips finding his. He kisses her and then pushed her away. “The Hawthorne. Wait for me there. Two days max. Then get the hell out.”

You better show up, alright? If you die, I’ll kill you…” Spin said, her voice steady but one single tear sliding down her cheek.

Five will get you ten, I’ll beat you there.” Kade grinned, as if all was right with the world. “Now get going, Spin… Two days.” He turned and saw the Windigo charging towards him, they’re alabaster forms bouncing down the road. Kade threw a glance at Nine, who nodded once, and together they charged the Windigo. Kade turned and yelled once. “I love you! GO!”

He didn’t even hear what she said. Blood was pounding in his ears, sending new strength into his body. It was fight time now, and he was ready to kill.

Spin watched him charge the Windigo, Nine’s feral form alongside him. Her shoulders trembled, but she clenched her fist, rubbing her arm across her eyes before running back to the rest of the group, taking the lead, taking them towards the Hawthorne hotel.

* * *

Spin punched the wall. Again. And again. Her knuckles screamed at her. It had a day already. Yesterday she and Kade had parted, him charging a group of Windigo that had been following them. She had gone with Noire, Amy and Rage to the Hawthorne hotel, which was near the edge of town. It was there so that tourists coming in would quickly find a place to stay for reasonable rates. Location, location, location indeed… She clenched her fist, visibly shaking. Two days, he said. Two fucking days… She hardly had been able to manage two hours, if Amy and Noire hadn’t threatened to tie her up… She knew it was hopeless. But she knew she’d wait forever, until he showed up, one way or another. If he came back to her as he was, then they would leave together. If he came back with white skin and black eyes… Then they’d die together. But she wasn’t going to leave until she saw him again, and fuck the two day limit. She’d send the rest of the group off with a smile, and she’d wait. There was more than enough food in the hotel freezers to eat, in case she ran out of rations from Nine’s house.

She walked out of her room, pacing up and down the hallways. She passed Amy’s room, and found herself outside Rage’s. He and Kade had been the closest friends for years. She knocked, half-expecting him to be out and about himself.

Come in, Spin…” She heard, and she pushed the door open and walked in, closing it. Rage was lying in his bed, eyes closed but not anywhere near asleep. His head rested against the headboard, his weapon propped up against the wall, the head of the polearm digging into the paint. Spin always wondered how he managed to use the monstrous thing, but he did, and rather well. She sat down on the end of his bed.

So, what troubles you?” Rage asked, his eyes still closed. “Or rather, I know what bothers you… Do you want to hear the truth, or do you want to hear what you want to hear?”

Truth, please… Rage, you’ve been his best friend from ages, you know him best… Will he make it here?”

Now, that’s tough… I’ve known him to break promises every now and then, but I can tell you, they were one’s he made knowing he’d break them… Like, he’d promise to get along with his Step-mom and shit… But he’s never broken a promise he planned to keep. Whether it got his arrested, or beaten up, or nearly killed… So let me tell you this. He will do everything humanly possible of him to make it here before his deadline.”

But will that be enough? I mean, is everything humanly possible enough for him to make it here?”

Can’t say, not with that tubby surrounded by Windigo… He’s got Nine with him, so I’m sure he put up a hell of a show for those alabastards… But whether it’s enough for him to make it here, only time will tell… My suggestion: Don’t think ‘what if he doesn’t make it?’ Think, ‘I’ll be so happy when he shows up!’… It may sound stupid, but it does help… and get some sleep, you look like a zombie… Come on, to be honest, there’s not much more we can do but wait for him. I mean, there’s no way we can just magically summon him here…”

True, true… Alright, I’ll go get some sleep… And some food, I’m hungry as hell…” Spin got up, walked towards the door, then turned. “Rage?”

Yarp?” he asked, still with his eyes closed.


“Shush. Off to bed with ye, lass, and get some food in yer belly…”

Aye, cap’n!” She replied and left, making her way to a vending machine and cracking it open with a kick, her rewards being a can of iced tea. She grabbed the can, popped it open and chugged half of it down, then returned to her room, opening her bag and making a meal of the sandwich and tea. Not the most filling, but it was enough, and she rolled herself into her blanket, closing her eyes. Before she had time to feel shocked at how tired she was, she was asleep.

Down the hall, Noire was spread out on her bed, Amy’s head resting on her chest, dozing slightly. Noire looked down, brushing stray hair from Amy’s face. She was rather amazed at how fast they had moved, having met barely a few weeks ago… But she was glad. True, it seemed to have been too fast, but she didn’t regret it, and she didn’t deny her feelings. She was glad the rest of the group had accepted her choice. They had always been a tolerating group, all except Kannabis, that is… And it’s not that they tolerated her… They encouraged her, in their own way. Spin with her smiles and laughs, Kade with his teasing, Rage with his… Well, she was sure even Rage approved. It was a good thing for her, and she was glad they supported her. She felt Amy stir and leaned her head down, soft kisses pressing against Amy’s forehead. Amy’s eyes slowly opened, focusing on Noire’s face, a smile breaking out across her own.

Hey there… Did I fall asleep?”

Noire giggled. “Only for a bit… I guess we’re all tired…”

Amy nodded, frowning… “Will Kade be safe?”

He’s got Nine with him, and though he’s round, he’s a badass with that sword… I’m sure he’ll make it back to us.”

What about Spin? She must be dying inside…”

She’s a tough girl. Besides, she knows Kade will do his best to come back… We all know that…”

“But still… They’re like family to me now, I couldn’t bear it if I lost anyone…”

Don’t worry, we’re not losing anyone. Kade’ll be fine, and he’ll act like it was never a problem. He’s like that… Always ready to throw himself into the fire to save someone else from burning…”

Amy hooked an arm around Noire’s neck, dragging her head down slightly to kiss her. “Are you sure?”

I’ve been with them long enough… He’ll show up just fine.”

Which reminds me, how did you all wind up living together? And in the middle of all those Windigo, too…”

It just kind of happened, to be honest. I think it was Kade and Rage who were roommates, and the rest of us just got pulled in. We all stayed behind for a reason… I know I stayed because I was waiting for Jesse… I think Spin was here because she got lost during an evac and never made it out… And Kannabis, well, no one knew his story… Even when we lived with him, we never knew…”

Amy frowned again, remembering watching Kannabis turn into a Windigo in front of their eyes. It had scared her witless, to see how violent it was… and how sudden it could set in.

But all that’s in the past now. You’re the present, my present…” Noire said, sliding her arms around Amy’s neck to kiss her. “And you’re not going anywhere without me…”

I don’t think I could go anywhere without you…” Amy shivered. “Spin is really a strong girl, to let her man go like that and trust he’d come back alive and unharmed.”

You have no idea… From what I’ve heard, she went through some hardships of her own.”

Like what?” Noire just smiled and shook her head. “Her story, love, you’ll have to ask her.”

Amy nodded, and curled up in Noire’s arms, snuggling against her lover’s warm body. Noire grinned and wrapped her arms around the girl, holding her tight and closing her eyes.

Mind if I take a nap, love?”

I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Noire grinned and let herself relax, slipping away silently. Amy smiled, listening to Noire’s breath even out, her hand reaching out to brush her hair.

“I’m not going anywhere…”

* * *

Two days were up. He said two days. Why wasn’t he here? Where was he? Spin sat on her bed, legs pulled up to her chest. Dammit, she thought, Where is he? He said he’d be here… She knew that she should have left hours ago, when the light was still shining. But she couldn’t. She wouldn’t leave him here. She had told the others to go without her, but fools they were, they didn’t. She could tell that Rage was just as anxious as her, waiting for his best friend to get back, and Amy and Noire… Well, they were family to Kade and her. No way they’d leave until they were sure of Kade, whether he was alive, dead, or… She refused to think about it. He’ll be here, she thought, he has to get here.

She got up, snatching her kusarigama off the bedside table. Kade had made these for her when she had shown up, two scythes, joined by a chain. He told her that he thought they matched her, small but lethal, quick to strike and dangerous with a partner who knows what’s what. And she had accepted them. Learned to use them. And now she was just as he said, quick and lethal. Dammit, where was the man!

She stalked down the hallways, planning to get to the ground and go scouting for him. At least, that was the plan, until Rage got a hold on her arm.

Now now, just be patient… Besides, it won’t do us any good if you get jumped out there. And I’m sure he’d be pissed if he came back and saw you all banged up and hurt.”

It’s been two days, Rage… What if he… What if he went on ahead, thinking we left? What if he’s blindly going on without checking if we were here?”

You really think he’d do that? Just because he told us to go on, doesn’t mean that he’d go on without making sure we were here first. Now relax, or I’ll get Amy and Noire to really tie you up…” Rage stared off into the distance for a moment, imagining. “You know what, that may not be so bad to watch…” Spin punched him in the arm.

Mm-mm, now what would Kade say if he knew what you were thinking?”

He’d ask me why I never thought of it sooner… I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you spent some ‘quality time’ with our lover pair…”

You and him… Pervs, both of you.”

Ah yes, we are, but then again, almost every man wants to see something like that…” Spin giggled and let her shoulders droop. “I’m worried sick about him, though…”

Go back to your room, relax, and unwind a bit… He’ll be here soon, I’m sure.”

As if on cue, footsteps came down the hallway. Spin readied her weapons, alert instantly. She looked at Rage, who nodded and whispered. “It might be him, but I’ll get the others… It is night, who knows if it might be those bastards…” He ghosted away from her side silently, knocking softly on Noire’s door and slipping into his, grabbing his polearm. Moments later they were all there, Rage in front, weapon ready. The footsteps were closer, one soft, light, the other heavy, like a person dragging their feet. Spin tensed up. Fight time, or not? Two figures rounded the corner, then stopped as they were spotted.

So, this is the welcome party? Do I get a last beer?” Kade’s voice whispered down the hall. Spin dashed at him, sliding under Rage’s polearm to run straight at Kade, tackling him and cutting off his words with her lips. The rest of the group laughed as Spin thoroughly worked on Kade for a moment, then cocked a hand back and punched him squarely in the stomach. Kade coughed a bit and sat up, rubbing his abdomen.

Ground rules, woman… No rough sex until we’re alone… I thought you knew that…” Spin threw her arms around Kade, sobbing. Kade looked from one person to the next, bewildered. Rage was next, dropping the end of his polearm on Kade’s head, a solid thunk echoing down the hall.

Dude! What the fuck! I get sucker punched by the love of my life, then my best friend tries to give me a concu-“ He got cut off as Spin kissed him again.

I think she missed you. We all did. You’re late, dumbass.” Rage said, grinning. Amy and Noire came rushing around, pulling Spin off of him and pulling him to his feet, hugging him. Nine sat by and watched, then jumped when Spin turned and gave him a bear hug.

Thank you,” she whispered, “thank you for keeping him safe.”

Ummm… No sweat?” Nine said nervously as Spin let him go. Rage grinned and laughed. Spin let go of him and went back to Kade, hugging him softly. “Don’t you ever do something like that ever again” She growled into Kade’s chest. “Ever!”

If this is the reception I get, I might just… Though next time, let’s leave the punches out until I get my gimp costume on…” Spin laughed, then started sobbing. Kade hugged her tight. “I’m sorry, babe… I am…” He held her close, letting her sob into his shirt as he held her tight, kissing her forehead. He let her get it out of her system, realizing just how worried she must have been. “I won’t do it again,” he whispered in her ear.

Bullshit. You’d do it all over again to keep me safe, wouldn’t you?”

Guilty as charged. I suck at lying.”

Next time, I’m with you, though.”

And that would, in effect, make the whole point of staying behind moot. Doesn’t matter, we’re almost out of here anyways. From here, Beldaris shouldn’t be more than a day’s travel… Depending on roadblocks, anyways.”

Spin’s body slowly stopped shaking. She wiped her eyes on Kade’s shirt and stood up, pulling Kade to his feet with some difficulty. Turning to the rest of the group, she smiled. “Thanks for putting up with me for the last two days, guys.”

Anytime, girl, you know that.” Noire replied instantly. Amy and Rage nodded in unison. Spin grinned and dragged Kade to her room. “Food, now. I bet you’re starving.”

Damn straight! Make me a sammich, woman!” Then two minutes later, “OW!! Alright, I was kidding!!”

Nine chuckled. “Something tells me he’s in for some serious hurt soon.”

Nah, that’s just him. Speaking of them and food, though, Nine, I’m sure you could use a bite to eat as well.” Rage spoke up.

Come to mention it, I could. Although, I could probably go home and get Mrs. Mills to whip me something up…”

And have her put you on lockdown? Have you seen yourself in a mirror lately? You’re pretty banged up.”

Nine grinned. “Point. I guess I’ll raid the vending machines.”

Nine ambled off to find a machine to vandalize. Rage trotted back to his own room, kicking Spin’s door on the way down the hall, eliciting a “WHAT THE FUCK!” from Kade. Amy, hand in hand with Noire, giggled and made her way to the room they both shared. For now, they could relax.