Warning: The characters belong to who they belong to and not me. Don't sue me, I'm not worth your time. Special thanks to Laurell K. Hamilton for writing the Anita Blake novels.

Additional warning: Characters acting wildly OOC. You have been warned.

Additional Additional warning: Alternate reality fic. Events that have happened or will happen in this reality not necessarily connected to what happened in the real series in any way. Don't wave the time line at me, I am beyond it now. A HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

Additional Additional Additional warning: Extreme supernatural action. Supernatural abilities are as defined by me in the shadow world, where this takes place.

Additional Additional Additional Additional Warning: Story contains Yaoi, Bad language, violence, and pretty much everything deemed as "unwholesome" by Focus on the Family. (My Arch Nemesis...) If you are easily offended, do not read. Also, extra warning is attached to this due to the "YUCK!" factor during some scenes.

Additional...Oh, HELL With It Warning: This is not an Anita Blake crossover, per se. Sorry if anyone's been misled. For more details about the universe this takes place in, contact me about the shadow world.


Acherontia Atropos Part XVIII (Final)


For one long moment, my world ended and I was empty. The only thing that existed was the sound of my hoarse screams.

Then, suddenly, miraculously, I was on my feet and pressing myself against the invisible wall. "You're dead." I heard myself snarling. "I'm going to take you to hell!"

Kalin smiled at me. "Amusing." was all he said, but his eyes were filled with cold rage. "Carmen, love?"

I glanced over to where Carmen and Quatre were. She had his pants down around his ankles and her head was in his lap, though she looked up when Kalin said her name. Quatre was smiling like a lobotomy patient. I looked away. I didn't want to remember seeing Quatre like that. My eyes slid past Trowa and Cheree. I didn't want to know. I hoped that neither of them would be able to remember what had happened later.

It was kind of funny that I was still thinking in terms of "later."

Carmen came up to stand just behind Kalin's elbow. She was licking her lips and she slowly slid her hands around his waist, then down to his groin. I felt sick, a real accomplishment considering how pissed off I was. "Yes?" she purred.

"Our guest is refusing our hospitality." he said. "So let's dispense with the pleasantries."

Great. Life couldn't get much worse, though. Heero was dead, Wufei, Trowa, and Quatre were probably going to be next...who was I to get left out? Why would I even want to be?

Heero was dead...

"Thank you." she breathed, and let go of him. I watched her walk toward me, and suddenly, I was grinning again, and I wasn't even sure why. "My..." she said "I haven't even given you something to smile about yet."

I pushed my hand against the barrier as hard as I could, trying to find a way out. "Step inside, Carmen, and then I'll really have something to smile about."

She waggled a finger at me. "Naughty, naughty." Gag me. She giggled. "I'm going to have fun draining you dry before my master embraces you."

"Funny. I'm not." Backed away from her slowly. Each step set my arm burning again. Carmen took a quick trip over to Kalin's chair. She shuffled around behind it for a moment, then came back out with a very large, very unfriendly looking black knife, and something that made my eyes light up--my gun. The only problem was that she had it and I didn't. Never a good sign.

All I wanted was my gun. I was going to kill them all. Then, it didn't really matter what happened.

Carmen stopped just outside the boundary of my invisible prison. She set the gun down on the ground. I had a feeling she was teasing me. "Come forward." she said, "and put your hand back up against the circle."

Rule number one when you're being held captive by the servants of darkness: don't cooperate. Stall. Anything. "Why?" I asked.

Carmen drew the black knife across her breast, leaving a thin, shallow cut. Blood welled out of it almost immediately, and she wiped the flat of the blade across the blood. Abruptly, Kalin was standing beside her. He bent his head and delicately lapped at the welling blood. Carmen's eyes slipped shut and she panted, mouth slack.

I wanted to throw up.

Finally, Kalin drew back. Carmen wasn't bleeding any more. She focused on me again. "To syphon power into my master, there must be a mixing of my blood and yours. Hold your hand out."

"Let me think about that." I paused. "How's 'no' sound?"

She smirked. "Try again."

I made a big show of thinking. "How about 'fuck you' then?"

Carmen's smile got bigger. "Promise?"

Oh gross...

Kalin laughed. "Give her your hand, or I will have Cheree kill one of the boys."

My eyes flicked over to Cheree, who was tracing bleeding designs on Trowa's chest with her fingernails, and Wufei, who was steadily dripping blood on the ground. Quatre was just laying there, still smiling, his pants around his ankles. It seemed to me that killing them outright would be doing them a favor. We were all going to die tonight, anyway. I might as well try to make it quick. "Go for it." I said.

I don't think that was the answer they were expecting. There was a moment of shocked silence before Kalin spoke. "Cheree, release that boy from your mind."


"Do as I said." He never took his eyes off of me. Trowa suddenly stiffened, his eyes widening. A soft, pained moan escaped from his lips as he tried to push Cheree away with the arm that she had dislocated. I couldn't understand how he could even move, let alone stay quiet...but then again, it was Trowa. "Carmen, pick up the boy's gun." Kalin said. "And shoot that young man in the knee."

Oh god...with the kind of bullets that were loaded in my gun, Trowa wouldn't have a leg left after he got hit. I licked my lips. Killing outright was one thing, torturing was another. At least when the vampires had him under, he wasn't feeling pain. "Let's not be too hasty. Why don't you just come and get it, huh?" Trowa was still struggling against Cheree, even though she held him pinned to the ground with no effort. She seemed to be enjoying herself.

Carmen picked up the gun. "We're not stupid."

"Could have fooled me." I muttered. "Fuck." I staggered forward and slammed my hand against the wall. My ribs and my other arm screeched in protest. Fuck.

"Wise." Kalin said. Carmen put the gun back down. I stared at it as hard as I could while she came up to the circle and sliced my palm open with the black knife. It didn't really hurt, especially compared to every other injury I had, but there was something wrong with it. I jerked away, reeling backwards to hit the back wall of the circle. The impact sent me into a round of coughing, and I slid to my knees, my good arm clutched around my chest.

I was being attacked on a level I couldn't even understand; the cool power that was always with me was being pulled at, and my entire body burned with it. I pulled my head up in time to see Kalin lick the blade of the knife.

My mouth filled with blood, and suddenly I was face down on the ground, trying to curl into a little ball as if that would help the pain. It hurt, oh god, it hurt, on a level beyond just the physical. The pulling I'd felt before was nothing now. I was being drained away, bled to death, and every droplet burned like acid. I couldn't hear anything but my own harsh breathing. "Help me..." I whispered raggedly. "Help me...god, help me..." There was no one else to appeal to. I kept whispering like a broken record as more and more of my blood and life ran out into the ground. Slowly, I rolled to my side, trying to take some of the pressure off of my lungs. Kalin and Carmen were on the ground now. They both seemed to be enjoying themselves a great deal. I let my eyes close.

Someone help me...

Help me...

The last reserves of my power flowed out into the ground, searching, obeying me in its own way. The were Trowa and Wufei and Quatre...there was Cheree...none of them would help. Cheree was strong, I didn't have enough power left to take her over or break her hold. Heero...I couldn't make myself touch Heero. The power ranged further, stretching itself thinner and thinner as it drained slowly away.

Suddenly, it was there...it had found what I was looking for. There was a corpse, less than a week old, buried under a tree a short distance beyond the clearing. Eagerly, the power leapt into it, filling it up, replacing the vital spark of life with something darker, and knowledge flooded into me.

"Ayako..." I whispered, interrupting my own litany. "I call you. Come to me, Ayako..."

The last of my energy dried up. I opened my eyes, feeling as if my vision were oddly doubled. My sight was almost completely dark, but at the same time, I could feel where the zombie, Ayako, was. She was coming. A pale face wavered up in the darkness; it was Kalin. He was smiling, saying something, but it didn't matter; I couldn't move, I could barely feel. The only thing I could hear was the sound of my own heartbeat, and the unhealthy bubbling noise that each breath I took made. A hand jerked my head roughly back, exposing my neck, and I coughed more blood out.

It seemed a little funny. I would have thought that after all the bleeding I'd been doing, I wouldn't have enough blood to be worth drinking. Obviously, the vampire disagreed. There were lips on my neck, and the sharp press of pointed teeth. I could feel the zombie at the edge of the clearing. She wanted...needed...

I couldn't send her after the vampires. They would rip her apart. I at least wanted to take one of the bad guys with me.

"Carmen." I whispered. "Kill her." Kalin didn't even twitch. Perhaps he was ignoring me, or maybe he couldn't hear past his own blood lust. I felt Ayako move through the trees to the edge of the clearing, and walk slowly up behind Carmen as Kalin's fangs sank into my neck. Then she reached and tore into Carmen's throat, and I could feel the warmth of blood rushing over my hands...

Carmen let out a shrill scream that was abruptly cut off. Kalin threw me away and turned, one hand clutching his throat. He was too slow. I felt Ayako's hands pull Carmen's neck apart, completely severing her head. The force of Kalin's shove sent me rolling out of the circle; it was gone with Carmen's death.

Power, stronger even than I'd felt the night of Yan's death, tore threw me, filling me until I thought I would burst. I sent it out into the ground; into Ayako, into Cheree, destroying her hold on Quatre and Trowa, into anything it could possibly fill. I heard Wufei yell something, and I could hear Cheree shrieking.

That all retreated into the background as Kalin's hand closed around my throat. I didn't have the strength to even pretend to fight back.

"I'll kill you!" Kalin hissed. His hand tightened around my throat, but it had none of the strength I associated vampires. He seemed to be having serious problems.

So instead of having my throat neatly crushed, I was going to have to go through the messy process of being strangled. Wonderful. I couldn't fight back, either way.

With a purely internal sigh, I turned my gaze towards Heero's corpse. I'd be joining him shortly, it seemed. Black specks began to dance in front of my eyes.

Heero's shoulder moved. At first, I thought it was a hallucination, wishful thinking...but no. My eyes widened as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, then rolled to his feet, the stake still impaling him. Blood flowed sluggishly down his shirt, making it slick and black. He staggered a few steps forward, then reached up and jerked the stake from his chest, almost falling to his knees.

Oh my god...he wasn't dead...

Somehow, I found the strength to reach up and grab Kalin's wrist. He was still stronger than me, even in his seemingly impaired state...but I gained enough slack the I managed to pull a small amount of fresh oxygen into my laboring lungs. Heero was moving forward again, his face set like stone.

Kalin was so intent on trying to strangle me that he was ignoring his surroundings entirely. Heero slammed into him, half by design, and knocked him away from me. Kalin yelled loudly as Heero fell on top of him, trapping him face down against the grass. With a harsh growl, Heero raised the stake that he still held in his hands and shoved it through the struggling vampire's back with strength that I hadn't even thought him capable of, pinning the shrieking monster to the ground. But it just wasn't enough--the bastard wouldn't die.

Heero had his hands full as it was...I gasped in a breath. "Ayako, bring me my gun."

Dirty tennis shoes and stained socks appeared in my vision almost immediately. The scent of week old death shoved itself into my nose, and a thin, delicate hand that was covered with blood and had bits of flesh stuck under the fingernails reached down to put my gun in my hand. It took everything I had, but my hand closed around it. I lifted my arm a little, leveling the gun at Kalin's head.

"I am..." I began to say. I was interrupted by a bout of coughing. More blood. The vampire's struggles suddenly ceased, and he turned his head to look at me. His eyes were wide, frightened. I tried again. "I am Shinigami." I croaked.

"No..." he whispered, like I had just claimed to be Satan himself.

"You are dead." I choked out. I emptied the gun into his head and kept squeezing the trigger even after it clicked empty. When I was done, there wasn't enough left to fill a sandwich baggy with, and most of the remains were splattered over Heero and I.

The empty Browning dropped from my hand as sudden peace washed over me. I couldn't hear Cheree shrieking any more, but I could still hear Wufei cursing, though his voice was calmer. It was over. It had to be over.

Heero half fell off the corpse, one hand covering the hole in his chest. He crawled over to me. I dredged up a small smile. "Ninmu kanryou." I whispered.

He snorted, and pain flashed over his face for a moment. "How badly are you hurt?" he asked.

My vision was beginning to white out at the edges. "Hurt?" I asked. "Who said anything about hurt? I'm just fine...I feel like I could beat you at a game of basketball now." It was nice that he'd be around for it. More than nice. The horrible emptiness I'd felt was gone. "What about you?" I said.

"I'll live."

I smiled and let my eyes close. "That's good."

"Duo?" I dimly heard Heero's voice say. "Duo?"

It was a nice sound to hear. I carried it with me as I fell into unconsciousness. I was tired.

It had been a long day.