Fred whimpered as a Gurnak moved towards her, belly low on the ground, yellow eyes gleaming menacingly. She gripped her sword tightly, trying to control the shivering of her arms. The sword was amazingly heavy; but that wasn't all - despite her time in Pylea and later with Angel Investigations, Fred had not done much combat in her life. She didn't know how she could stand against the huge Gurnak with everyone else occupied with Gurnaks of their own.
"A-aim for their bellies," she whispered to herself, staring at the creature's thick hided belly. It looked inches thick. She wondered if she had the strength to even poke it.
"Oh God," she whispered fearfully and then let out a full-throated scream when the Gurnak leaped-
Something pushed her aside. Surprised, Fred looked up to see Wesley wrestling with the beast. Eyes wide, she could only watch helplessly as the Gurnak lay two heavy paws around his chest as if to squeeze him.
"Wesley!" she grabbed her sword and ran towards the struggling pair, but they were rolling about too much for her to get a good aim. Then the worst happened.
The Gurnak sank its fangs into Wesley's shoulder.
Fred's eyes widened in horror.
Wesley screamed. Instinctively, he threw the Gurnak away from him, but too weakened by the bite, he could only push the Gurnak beside him.
Gasping, Welsey got to his knees, blinking as the world swayed around him.
"Wesley! Over here!" Wesley tottered to his feet and saw, just in time, Fred throwing his sword at him. He grabbed it-
"Wesley, look out!" Fred screamed.
-and twisted around quickly to plunge his sword through the Gurnak. It screamed in pain and fell to the ground, clawing at the sword. Quickly, Wesley yanked his sword free, twisted and plunged the sword through its belly. When it still moved, Wesley broke the creature's neck with a quick twist of his hands.
"Whoa. Superman," Lisle murmured in admiration when she saw what Wesley did.
"Superman? More like ..." Lorne frowned, trying to decipher what he saw before him. Besides the future, which he could see after a person bared his soul through song, Lorne could see a person's aura by sight. What he saw around Wesley made him freeze -- with fear, worry, curiosity -- and forget about the rampaging Gurnaks.
"What did you do to yourself, Wesley?" he whispered.
As if he heard him, Wesley whirled about to face Lorne. Wesley's blue eyes bored into his and everything slowed down for Lorne then. It was rare, but sometimes he could see into the future without song, but what he saw made him gasp out loud.
Lorne lost his vision when Lisle flung herself on him and pinned him to the ground -- just in time to avoid a Gurnak pummelling into him. It landed before Wesley who gave it a vicious kick to the head. The Gurnak's head snapped up from the force, the sound of it echoing in the noisy hall.
*Snap* The Gurnak's head titled at a strange angle. Neck broken, it collapsed.
The powder worked. But it would wear off soon. He did not have enough of the Amsha powder to render the Gurnaks vulnerable for more than twenty minutes. Already the three remaining Gurnaks were showing signs of returning invulnerability.
Nearby, Gunn and J-Bob had stabbed a Gurnak in the stomach several times but it did not show signs of pain anymore.
**Why are you holding back?**
Time stopped. His vision slowed. The voice was clear this time. Female too, and seductively convincing. But he knew it for what it was. The Fire Element.
**You know what we need to do.**
Wesley closed his eyes.
Lorne yelled in his high-pitched way of his, but the Gurnak was either deaf or unfazed. It stalked Lorne slowly, snarling at the demon.
Fred managed to stab a beast at its shoulder, but it easily moved away, snarling. She was clearly shaking with fear, but with a determined frown, she lifted her sword to attack again.
**You know what you need to do**
When she attacked the second time, the Gurnak was prepared for her. It raised its claws and swiped at Fred. She screamed when one of the claws scoured her back.
**Do you want her to die instead?**
Wesley's eyes widened and flared a brilliant green.
"Fred!" Gunn screamed when she saw her fall. He tried to push the Gurnak away but it pushed him back -- with more force than he anticipated. The next thing he knew, he was flat on his back with the Gurnak's stinking maw barely an inch from his face.
"Gunn! Hold on!" J-Bob yelled. Using his body weight, J-Bob plunged his sword through the Gurnak's neck.
This time, it finally yowled in pain. The Gurnak reeled away, tottered on its feet for a few seconds and slumped to the floor, dead.
"You okay Gunn?" J-Bob yelled, offering him his hand.
Gunn took it, cursed loudly and yelled, "Fred!" He turned towards Fred, expecting to see the horrifying sight of Gurnaks attacking his beloved, but all he saw was-
"Oh, man!" J-Bob shouted above the din of the snarling Gurnaks. His eyes were wide with amazement, his mouth big.
The two remaining Gurnaks were suspended in the air. They trashed mindlessly but the invisible hands that held them in the air did not lessen their hold. Below them, Connor circled around restlessly, watching the floating Gurnaks suspiciously. His gaze shifted from the Gurnaks to-
"Wesley," Gunn whispered.
Wesley walked slowly to the centre of the hall, his face expressionless. He turned around studied them carefully, as if checking them over for injuries. When Wesley met his eyes, Gunn saw that Wesley's eyes were blank -- like the last time. It felt as if Gunn wasn't looking at the man that was once his friend, but something else entirely. That chilled him to the bone.
Wesley turned away and stood in the middle of the circle made by the floating Gurnaks.
"My God," said a voice. Lorne stepped up beside him. "That crazy, deluded..." he trailed off.
"What did you do?" Connor demanded, going to his side.
"I don't know," Wesley replied, his voice strange. He sounded confused. That unnerved Connor.
"We have to destroy them," Connor reminded him.
Wesley nodded. "We have to," he agreed. Then, abruptly, he said: "The coffin's open."
Connor flinched. "What are you talking about?" his voice hard.
"I saw it open. Which is funny. Why would the water tell me that?"
Connor grabbed him by the shoulders and forced the man to look at him. ?What's wrong with you? Finish it!"
Wesley frowned. His frown deepened into a grimace and then he groaned, clutching his head. "Oh lord," he whispered, his voice shaky. "It's so horrible. There's a hole in the ceiling." His gaze shifted to a spot somewhere above them.
When he looked at him, there were tears in his eyes. He touched Connor's cheek with a hand and whispered, "You slept with your eyes open. Sometimes the dead will come alive beneath you and drag you down..."
"Stop that," Connor growled.
"It was so dark there. You were just a baby!" Wesley cried out, clutching at Connor's shoulder.
"...why did I do that? Why did I steal you away?"
"I said stop that!" Connor shook him harder this time. If he had shaken any harder, his supernatural strength would have broken Wesley's neck, but Wesley just blinked. He stared long and hard at Connor then shifted his gaze at the floating Gurnaks.
He dropped his hands from Connor's shoulders and walked around -- as if seeing the floating Gurnaks for the first time.
He turned to look at the people, and they were all staring at him.
They didn't say a word. Just stared. Fred had a hand over her mouth and her eyes were wet with tears. He made her cry again.
Gunn -- Gunn was just looking at him with the same look he had given him when that zombie cop shot him. Why was that?
They all thought he was crazy.
Well, he was now, wasn't he?
Connor was right. He had to finish it. Why not? What's there to lose? He turned his back on them and focused his eyes on the Gurnaks.
The rush of Elemental fire in his veins was a welcome relief. He could feel it rushing out of him to surround the Gurnaks and when they began to burn, he could almost taste the tang of their deaths.
"What did you do?" he heard himself saying.
Wesley saw him suddenly, standing beside him. It was funny really -- because it was another Wesley. Him. Only that Wesley was wearing a starched up proper suit. His glasses were firmly on his nose, his face clean shaven, his hair the 'correct' length.
*Wow Wesley. You are really losing it. I mean, you are talking to yourself now.* He giggled a little at that thought.
Wesley the Watcher watched anxiously as the Gurnaks burned. Worry turned to fascination when he saw how long it took them to die. "The powder had worn off. They'll, er, take some time to die," the Watcher said.
"They're like torches," he found himself saying to that Watcher.
Wesley the Watcher gave him a look. It was a cross between puzzlement and worry. "This is wrong," the Watcher said, pointing towards the blazing fireballs. "We're not supposed to do this. I'm not supposed to be this," he accused, pointing at him.
"What am I supposed to do? I couldn't stop the Element!" he said defensively.
"Well, you could've not opened yourself up to begin with! What the hell do you think you were doing?" Wesley the Watcher pushed up his glasses irritably.
"Meeting my destiny," he returned forcefully.
"Destiny?" the Watcher scoffed.
"The destiny father denied me," he said, determined to prove his point to this haunting reflection.
The Watcher's expression hardened. "What father did -- he wanted to protect us! I mean, me! We, I mean, *I* wouldn't have had a normal life if he didn't-"
"What?" he snarled. "Lock us up in the basement? For hours? Days?"
The Watcher blanched. "It wasn't ... always days."
Wesley watched the burning Gurnaks again. "I've always failed. In everything I do. I'm getting tired of it. Aren't you tired?"
The Watcher pursed his lips. He didn't realise how prissy that made him look. Must stop that.
"We have a responsibility ... Wesley. It did hurt when they turned their backs on me..." Wesley the Watcher turned to regard Fred and Gunn, whom, Wesley noticed with fascination, was saying something to him (but he couldn't quite hear what they were saying).
"...but this is not the way," pleaded the Watcher. "We can leave LA. Go away," he said plaintively.
"I wish I could," he answered sorrowfully. "But I read the prophecies. You know what's to come. How can they face it? They're not even prepared."
"It's not ... it's not our responsibility."
"Don't be a blithering idiot. You know we have a role."
The Watcher looked at him impassively. "So you've decided to become a pawn of prophecy?"
"I've always been a pawn," he shifted his gaze to Connor, who was shaking him. Funny. He didn't feel anything. And why was everything upside down?
"I'm sorry life couldn't be the same again, Wesley," Wesley told his reflection. "We're long past that. So long past that." The Watcher took off his glasses and sighed, gazing at them sadly. He cleaned them slowly, then with a sad look, let them drop and shatter on the ground.
And then the world spun crazily around him.
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