Chapter 21: Epic conclusion

Wendy had woken up by now. She was on speakerphone with the others at the hospital, talking to the four teammates still at the tower (well, three, Sophie was preoccupied). "I'm OK, really. Lucy's fine, too, just resting her voice. Well…actually, we don't feel good, but…we're awake and know our names and how many fingers so I think our brains aren't soup."

"Oh, good," Tech sighed, "Sorry we can't be there."

"We know, we know," Madelyn sighed, "Some reunion, huh?"

Wendy smirked…then sighed sadly. "I'm sorry we didn't get to finish the curse—"

"Don't be," Kelly interrupted, "It just…wasn't meant to be. I know I'm never gonna get him back the way he was. That just makes it easier."

Wendy nodded. "Any luck finding Danni?"

"Well, we got a lucky break," Tech explained.

"What?"

"You wouldn't believe us if we told you."

At the tower…

Sophie and Sean sat on opposite ends of the couch in the living room, looking around in awkward silence.

At the hospital…

"Wolfe and his boys are holed up at the old building on Crawford Street," Kelly explained, "I'm gonna hit it come daybreak."

"Don't you need backup?" asked Brenda.

"No! You stay there. I'm covered."

Robert sighed. "I really don't wanna ask this, but…do you think Mom is still alive?"

"…I know she is. I just wish she was here to tell us what to do like always."

Robert smirked at that. It was true.

At the tower…

Kelly led Tech and Rev back into the living room as she hung up.

Sophie looked at them. "Is Wendy alright?"

"Everyone's fine." Kelly then turned to Sean. "Alright, talk. What's the plan?"

Sean stood up. "I help you kill Wolfe, you let me and Dame skip town."

"Forget about Damiana, she doesn't walk. She attacked us and halfway to killed Lucy!"

"Dame near-bagged your buddy? She didn't tell me! Good for her!"

Kelly glared ferociously, halfway to Vamping.

"…though not from your perspective."

"I can't believe we invited you in!"

"Look, the deal only works one way: me and Dame for Wolfe. I'll take her out of the country. You'll never hear from us again…I hope."

Kelly sighed. "Fine. Get back to the old building, make sure Aunt Danni's alright. Be ready to back me up when I make my move."

Sean nodded and walked off, Rev going with him.

"AND!"

Rev grabbed Sean by the shoulder. Hard.

Kelly glared. "If Daniella dies…Damiana dies."

Sean nodded and kept off.

At the hospital…

Brenda sighed as she paced the room, not long after Tech and Rev and Sophie had rejoined the group. "So Kelly's going for the big showdown. I wish we could help…you know, without dying."

"I don't see how," Benny sighed.

"I wanna try again!"

Everyone turned their attention to that.

Wendy lay there, smirking. "The curse. We never got to finish it. Maybe we can restore Austin's soul."

"I don't like it, Wend," Duck said, "You're talking about messing with such powerful magic that you didn't wanna do it in the tower when you're already weak enough that you can't even walk! Forget it! I'm putting my webbed foot down! The buck stops here!"

"Duck, I'm OK!"

"You don't look OK to me! …no, I'm not saying you look bad, you're beautiful, just…injured. But, staying on topic here. It's not a good idea."

"There's no use arguing with me—you, of all people, should know that by now. See the resolved face? You've seen it before, you know what it means. Now listen: this can help Kelly. If we turn him back soon enough, we can stop him from ever even awakening Acathla." She looked at the others. "Go back to the library and get the things, I don't think the Vamps touched them."

Everyone nodded and started off (except Lucy, who still couldn't get out of bed either).

"Wait! Jack!" Sarah stopped everyone.

Jack looked at his cousin while everyone was getting ready to load out.

"You need to go Kelly while we're loading up. Tell her we're doing the spell again, maybe she can stall."

"Sarah, I—"

"Jack!" Wendy jumped in, "Listen to your cousin on this one."

Everyone agreed adamantly.

"But—" Jack started.

"Resolved face!" Wendy sneered.

Jack nodded and started off, everyone (except Wendy and Lucy) following.

At the old building…

Daniella was groaning with every movement, still tied down in the chair.

Wolfe walked up. "You know, I can stop the pain. You've been very brave, but it's over. You've given enough. Now let me make it stop."

"…please…"

He knelt down in front of her. "Just tell me what I need to know."

She looked at him weakly. "…in order to…to be worthy…you must perform the ritual…in a tutu."

He growled at her.

"Hobgoblin!"

He stormed back on his feet. "THAT'S IT! Someone get me the chainsaw!"

Sean then came in, riding his wheelchair, and sighed. "Now, now, don't lose your temper."

"Keep out of it, Sit'n'Spin!"

"Look, if you cut her up, you'll never get your answers!"

Wolfe glared at him. "Since when did you become so levelheaded?"

Sean shrugged. "About the same time you became so pigheaded. You have your way with her, you'll never get to destroy the world. Plus, I don't fancy spending the next month trying to get Witch guts out of the carpet. There are other ways."

"Enlighten me."

"Damiana? Sweetheart?"

Damiana sauntered in somberly.

"Do you want to play a game?"

Damiana smiled. She approached the chair and started to walk around it. She placed her fingers to the tortured Witch's head. "There now. Is that better? Poor thing. Let's see what's inside." She knelt over slightly and pressed her fingers down… She gasped and giggled. "Of course." She knelt down in front of the chair…and met her eyes. "Look at me…look in my eyes…be in me…see with your heart…" She covered Daniella's eyes with her hand for a moment. When she pulled away…

Daniella fell into the spell. "…Mom…I thought I'd lost you…"

The vision in the guise of her mother shushed her softly. "I'll never leave you, remember?"

"…we have to get out of here…"

"No, no…slowly…"

Daniella looked at her sadly. "It can't be you."

"Did you tell them? About the ritual?"

"No. We have to get Wolfe away from Acathla."

"Why? Is he close to figuring it out?"

"Later."

"Just tell me what to do. I'll take care of it. I always have, didn't I? We can be a family again, have everything we never got to have. Just tell me what to do."

"…we have to Wolfe away from Acathla."

"…Wolfe himself? Is he the key?"

"His blood. He can't…"

"Hush now…everything will be alright."

Of course…Wolfe heard the whole thing. "Blood. Of course! The blood on my hands must be my own. I am my own key to open the door. My blood, my life…OK, kill her."

Sean stopped him. "Ah, ah! What if she's lying?"

Wolfe sighed. "Good point. Alright, don't kill her. Yet." He smirked at Sean. "You know, I kind of like having you watch my back. It's kind of like old times."

They then noticed Damiana holding Daniella like she was long-lost sister (or daughter).

"Uh, Damiana?" Sean said.

"Honey?" Wolfe added.

"We are finished here, ducks."

Damiana froze. She sighed and pulled away, breaking the spell. "Sorry. I was in the moment."

That's when Daniella saw it, how she'd been tricked.

They were doomed.

At the tower…

Kelly was looking over the book Daniella had charmed through the nanny spell just before blacking out. While the kids were asleep upstairs, she read through it. Then noticed why Daniella had charmed it. "The sword isn't enough." She started flipping… "Austin's the key. His blood opens Acathla's portal, only his blood will close it back…and send them both back in the world's place." She sighed and tossed the book aside. "Good thing I have nothing left to lose." She stormed off. She went running. She rushed down the streets until she came to Crawford. She finally slowed down and started looking for the building—

Someone jumped out at her.

She jumped back, gasping and holding up the stake…until she realized who it was. "Jack!"

"Cavalry's here," Jack smirked, "Well, actually…cavalry's a frightened duck with a rock, but it's here!"

Kelly sighed and handed him the stake, pulling out for herself the sword that Madelyn had supplied for the big fight. "Find Danni, get her out, and run like Rev, understood? I can't protect you, I'm gonna be too busy killing stuff."

Jack looked at her as they walked along, her carrying the fancy sword as she walked along the street in her uniform. "You know, that's a pretty good look for you."

"It's a present for Wolfe."

"Oh! Sarah sent me over. She wanted me to tell you…" He stopped himself, even stopped walking.

Kelly stopped, too, turning to look at him expectantly. "Tell me what?"

He looked at her… "Kick his tail."

She nodded. "Oh, trust me…I will." She then continued to storm off.

At the old building…

Wolfe once again stood before the statue of the demon. "Acathla, mundatus sum. Pro te necavi. Sangiunem meum pro te effundam, quo me dignum, esse demonstratum."

At the hospital…

The last of the ritual layout was now arranged around Wendy.

Wendy lay there, preparing. "Are we ready?"

Benny plugged his nose. "Stinky herbs ready."

Sophie then looked over the book. "Did I mention I didn't take Latin?"

"It's Romanian!" Wendy snapped, "And you don't have to understand it, you just say it…I hope."

"…right."

At the old building…

Wolfe approached the statue, holding up a knife. "Now, Acathla…you will be free." He ran the sharp edge of the knife down his palm and then dropped it to the floor. "And so will we all."

SLASH! *Vampire-dusting noises*

There stood Kelly, holding up the sword she'd just decapitated a Vampire into ash with. "Hello, lover."

Wolfe sneered. "I don't have time for you."

"You don't have a lot of time left."

"Coming on kind of strong, don't you think? You're playing some deep odds. Do you really think you can take us all on?"

Kelly smirked. "No. I don't."

That was the signal. Sean jumped out of his wheelchair and began to bang Wolfe around with a crowbar.

Kelly set to smacking around and slaying all the lesser Vamps.

Sean just kept with the whacking. "Painful, isn't it?"

That's when Damiana tackled him.

While all the Vamps were distracted, Jack rushed in and snuck through the shadows to one of the back rooms.

Sean and Damiana got up and started a face-off.

"I don't wanna hurt you, baby," Sean said.

Damiana just grabbed him by the throat and pinned him to the wall.

He responded by pushing down her arm and punching her in the face, knocking her down. "Doesn't mean I won't."

At the hospital…

"Quod perditum est invenietur," Sophie recited.

"Not dead, nor not of the living," Wendy translated, "Spirits of the interregnum, I call."

At the old building…

Jack rushed into the back room. "Aunt Danni!" He rushed over to his aunt, untying her.

"Jack?" she asked weakly.

"Can you walk?"

"You're not real. It's a trick. They get inside my head…make me see things I want…"

He threw aside the undone ropes and gave her a look. "Then why would they make you see me?"

She thought that over… "You're right. Let's go." She rushed off with him.

But that's when it happened. Everyone was otherwise preoccupied…

Wolfe picked himself up and snatched the sword from the demon statue. As it glowed, he pried it loose.

Damiana saw this and smiled. "Oh. Here he comes." Sean then came up behind her and wrapped his arm around her neck.

At the hospital…

"Bind him," Wendy continued, "cast his heart from the…evil…realm…"

At the old building…

Kelly and Wolfe both held their swords to each other.

"You're too late, Kell," Wolfe smirked.

"It's not over yet."

"My boy, Acathla here, is about to wake up. You're going to hell."

Kelly shrugged. "Save me a seat."

That's when it started. They clashed their swords together. The fight was on. They fought, sword against sword, Vamping somewhere in the middle of the chaos and throwing a few punches, kicks, and head-bangs here and there.

At the hospital…

"In return…" Wendy continued weakly, "…I call on…" She groaned.

"Wendy?" Duck asked in concern.

"Are you OK?" Sophie asked her sister.

Wendy suddenly thrust her head back…and the spell took her over. She began to recite the spell all over again, this time in Romanian.

"Is that good?"

"I don't know!" Duck snapped, "SPEAK ENGLISH!"

At the old building…

Wolfe smacked Kelly to the edge of the greenhouse, throwing her down so hard that she dropped her sword.

Sean continued to choke Damiana until she fell unconscious. "Sorry, baby. I wish there was another way." He picked her up bridal-style and began to walk her off with him. As he left, he saw Wolfe cornering Kelly, holding up his sword. "Oh no…he's gonna kill her…" …he shrugged and waltzed off.

Wolfe pinned Kelly down in the corner. "That's everything, huh? No weapons…no friends…no hope. Take all that away…and what's left?"

Kelly closed her eyes and concentrated…

Wolfe thrust the sword at her.

She clasped her hands around it just before it could make contact. When she opened her eyes, they were glowing silver. "Me!" She pushed on the sword, knocking the hilt against his face. She bicycle-kicked herself up, snatching her sword back as she tuck-and-rolled back to her feet, and started the fight all over.

While this continued, Sean drove his tinted-window car right through the back wall and down the roads out. He drove off, Damiana lying unconscious in the passenger seat. He looked at her and finally pulled her over so that her head was on his lap.

Kelly kept knocking Wolfe around until they were back where they started, right in front of Acathla's statue.

At the hospital…

Wendy suddenly snatched at the spell layout with such force that everyone lurched back in surprise. "Asa sa fie, asa sa fie, acum!"

At the old building…

Kelly knocked Wolfe over, throwing his sword across the room and pinning him down to the floor.

At the hospital…

"ACUM!"

The Orb of Thesulah glowed brightly…

At the old building…

…and his eyes flashed gold.

Kelly froze, halfway to slicing his head off.

He knelt there, hands on the floor, gasping in pain. He whimpered, looking around in shock as the feelings of magic washed through him. Finally, his eyes came to her. "…Kelly…?"

She stared at him in shock, barely moving, not even lowering the sword from her midswing position.

("Close Your Eyes (Buffy/Angel Love Theme)" plays in background)

"What's going on?" He stood up. "Where are we? I…I don't remember…"

That's when she did lower the sword. "…Austin?"

Austin then looked at her arm, smelling something wrong in the air. "You're hurt."

She looked. Her arm had been scratched open in the fight. She quickly turned her attention back to him, her eyes lit with tears, and collapsed against him.

He held her close. "Kelly…I feel like I haven't seen you in months, I…Kelly…" He pulled her even closer, kissing her.

She just held her head against his, crying like crazy.

That's when she saw it.

The demon statue of Acathla that Austin had his back turned to…the eyes glowed and the mouth opened. The portal began to take form. In a matter of minutes, it would engulf the building; only minutes after that, it would swallow the world into the demon realm.

And there was only one way to stop it.

Kelly looked at Austin.

Austin looked at her. He saw that something was wrong. "What's happening?"

She shushed him, pressing her hand to his face. "…don't worry about it…" She pulled him close again and kissed him.

They kissed passionately and rapturously, holding each other close.

Kelly sighed when they parted. "I love you."

"I love you," he concurred, "So much."

She looked at him, not willing or able to hide her tears. "…close your eyes…"

He looked down…

…she kissed him one last time…and shoved the sword through his heart, right into the portal.

He gasped in shock, looking at her as she backed away. "…Kelly…?"

Then he disappeared. And he took the portal with him. Acathla was gone…and so was her one true love.

These thoughts rushed through her. So fiercely that she collapsed, crying until she couldn't give any more tears.

He was gone.

(Kelly Clarkson's "If No One Will Listen" plays in background)

Maybe no one told you

There is strength in your tears

When Tech finally came back to the building, he found Kelly crying her eyes out in bed.

And so you fight

To keep from pouring out

He started to go to comfort her but he knew that wasn't what she needed. He left her alone.

But what if you unlock the gate that

Keeps your secrets so?

Kelly lay there in bed, holding close the necklace and ring…and a picture of her and Austin together. It only made her cry harder.

Do you think that there's enough

You might drown?

The next morning, the team reunited in the living room.

If no one will listen

If you decide to speak

Daniella quickly took notice of her sister sitting in a chair, her casted leg resting on the table. "Should you really be out of bed?"

If no one is left

Standing after the bombs explode

Wendy glared back. "Look who's talking."

Daniella just nodded.

If no one wants to look at you

For what you really are

I will be here still

Ryan sat down on the couch. "Kelly's still not coming out, not saying a word. Just throwing pillows."

No one can tell you

Where you alone must go

"Well, we know the world didn't end," said Michael, "'Cause…well, look."

There's no telling

What you'll find there

Rev sat down. "We-checked-the-old-building-it-was-empty-and-Acathla-was-not -waking-up-any-time-soon."

And yeah, I know the fear that

Eats away at your bones

"I think the spell worked," Wendy said, "I felt something go through me. Plus, the Orb did the cool glow thing."

Screaming

Every step

"Just stay here"

"I guess it didn't work in time," Sophie sighed, "She had to kill him before the curse worked. She'll wanna be alone for…a long time."

If no one will listen

If you decide to speak

Tech looked back at the hall that led to Kelly's room. "Yeah…a long time."

If no one is left

Standing after the bombs explode

If no one wants to look at you

For what you really are

I will be here still

If you find your fists are raw and red

From beating yourself down

If your legs are giving out

Under the weight

If you find that you've been settling for

A world of gray

So you wouldn't have to face down your own hate

If no one will listen

If you decide to speak

If no one is left

Standing after the bombs explode

If no one wants to look at you

For what you really are

I will be here still

If no one will listen

If you decide to speak

If no one is left

Standing after the bombs explode

If no one wants to look at you

For what you really are

I will be here still

Kelly walked into the old building. She approached the place where Acathla had once been and knelt there. She carefully placed down the ring in front of the fireplace… "Forever." …and left, closing the doors behind her.

I will be here still

The end—WAIT A MINUTE!

Two years later, the ring still lay there. Suddenly, a light shone over it and the ground around it rumbled. Out from nowhere, the last remains of the portal joined together and formed a new one. And out came Austin, collapsing on the ground.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Ooh! Wondering what happens? The next story will be up tomorrow at best. Well, see you then! Hope you enjoyed! Keep reading, reviews are appreciated!