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(Contains: violence/gore and strong language)
Chapter 22 (Part II)

West Church Street: the richest neighborhood in the entire city of Caligo. To own a house here meant you were beyond wealthy. It was situated right at the very edge of the city limits, creeping into the neighboring countryside to the west. Each of the mansions along this street had enough acreage around it to comfortably fit another five more mansions and still have enough lawn left over that you'd need a riding mower to get it all trimmed in one day.

And this was where Carmilla had chosen to live.

Jared stood next to Evey at the front of the gates barring their access to 2807. They could see the guards patrolling in front of the house. The doctor took on his true form, and the demon turned towards Evey.

"Call me once you're inside. I can enter anywhere, but I want to reserve my strength for when we face her. Are you ready?"

Evey nodded. She hoped Carmilla couldn't sense them outside, but Evey didn't think Carmilla could.

"The moment there's an opening, I'll let you know."

She looked at Zuriel.

"Thank you."

The demon bowed its head.

"Remember," it said as it faded into hiding. "You need only think my name, and I will be there to help you."

Zuriel vanished from sight. For now, at least, Evey was on her own.

Evey cloaked herself in the invisibility again. She undid the lock of the gate with her telekinesis. She saw the guards. She thickened the shroud of illusion around her. To them they would see a shift in the shadows, but they would not hear the gate open, see the gate open, or see, hear or smell her at all. She covered herself so completely that even her actions were invisible to them.

She still only opened the gate a crack, and slid in. She closed it behind her.

Evey walked right past the guards. They saw and sensed nothing. There was nothing there for them to see or sense.

She tried the door, and found it was locked. She took the lock apart with her telekinesis and then opened the door. She closed it quietly behind her. Like the gate, the guards would not have noticed the door open and close. If one had been paying attention he would've noticed the shadows around the light at door flicker and move, but nothing else.

Now inside, Evey wandered through the expansive rooms and the halls quickly. She found the stairs and headed up. She needed to find Will.

At the top was what could have been an endless hallway, given how long it stretch and all the doors. Was it really necessary for one vampire to have so many rooms? It was likely Carmilla wasn't the only one living there, just the one in charge. Unfortunately, it would take hours to search every room for them. Hours Evey didn't have.

That's when something caught her eye: Will's tie. It was on the floor between two of the doors ahead. He'd likely removed it before he went inside one of the rooms.

Dread filled Evey. She closed her eyes for a moment as she calmed herself. She headed toward the tie, keeping her emotions sealed. She listened in the rooms for any sound that would indicate that Will was in one of them.

She prayed it would be voices and nothing else.

The room to the right was absolutely silent, but to the left...

Moaning, and the sort Evey had heard from Will before. It sounded almost pained, and yet...

Evey paled, but squelched her raging emotions fiercely. She took a deep breath and kept herself shrouded. They wouldn't notice the door open. Evey reached for the knob, forced her heart to slow down, and turned it. She stepped inside.

A bedroom, adorned with lavish drapes and tapestries, the curtains around the four-poster made of genuine red silk with matching sheets and comforter. The noise Evey had heard was in fact coming from Will: Carmilla had one arm wrapped around his chest while her other hand held his head to the side, giving her easy access to his neck as she fed. Will could do nothing trapped in the vampire's embrace. His skin was almost as white as hers as the cruenta drained him.

Evey felt rage, white hot and powerful, soar through her. That was her Will, dammit! What right had Carmilla to do this to him?

None.

Using her telekinesis, she pulled Carmilla's hands away from Will and his neck away from her teeth. With a surge of strength, she rushed to Will, still encased in her shroud, and pulled him away from Carmilla. She tugged him clear to the other side of the room and held him.

The cloaking flitted away, revealing Evey like a ghost slowly materializing. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she glared at Carmilla, holding Will close to her on the floor of the lavish bedroom.

"Evey..." he whispered weakly, trying to reach to touch her face, but lacking the strength to lift his hand. Carmilla snarled when he was pulled from her, whipping around to see who had stolen her prize away. When she saw it was Evey, however, her expression softened a bit.

"Sweetling," she cooed. "What are you doing here? You know, we can share him..."

"I don't plan on sharing him, Mama," Evey said. "Why are you doing this? Will is my boyfriend and my lover. Has been for a quite a while. You can't just take him like that. That's not what mother's do. I love him, and he loves me."

She held onto Will's hand. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

"Why are you doing this? After all this time you've been gone – you left me – and now you want to take away the man I love? Why? Why would you do this to me?"

"My dear child," Carmilla said, her voice dripping with malice. "You're too young to understand. It is unfortunate that you love him, but I need him for my own plans. He's going to help me get what I want."

Her eyes shone golden as she folded her hands in front of her.

"Now, please step aside Evey. I wouldn't want you to get in the way."

Evey held Will closer and tighter against her. He was big, but it didn't matter. She wasn't going to let Carmilla hurt him.

"What do you want him for? What could possibly be more important than your own child? You told me you were amazed you could have children again. You were a good mom. I searched years for you. I loved you. I became a detective to find out or find out what happened to you. What do you want that is more important than me? Your daughter."

The vampire scoffed, as if the answer was obvious.

"To control the one thing that makes all mortals equal: death. I ascended mortality a long time ago, and to have control over that one thing all mortals must face... that is the ultimate power."

She looked down at Evey, any semblance of humanity vanishing.

"You were another failure in my quest: a child of my own womb, but as imperfect as the filii I created. You are of no more worth to me than any other cattle I must feed on."

A dark smile began to spread across her lips.

"But this young man here... he can carry my blood and pass it on back to me. At last, I can have the perfect children my quest requires."

Evey looked at Carmilla. All semblance of the woman who could've been her mother faded. Evey had never had a mother. She'd just had a creator.

"But they wouldn't be perfect children either," Evey said calmly. "They'd just be slaves. You don't want children, do you? You just want slaves. Just so you can control death?"

Evey's eyes narrowed.

"You've spent a long time being obsessed with death and Azrael's scythe haven't you, Keket?"

"So the little detective has done her research," Carmilla said, completely unfazed. "The only thing every man fears: death. Even the cruenti shudder to think of what happens when their neck is severed, or they spend too much time in the sun. Even with these fears, however, chaos abounds. Mortals and immortals alike build these cities upon what they call order, and yet crime and madness continue to abound. These fools need guidance, and since the angels seem too busy to care, and the gods no longer have a hand in the lives of their creations, then it's time for someone else to step in and take the reins."

Evey shook her head.

"But you've stopped having anything that would make you worthy to take the reins. You don't even care for your children. What makes you think you're worthy, Mother? What have you been doing the last several thousand years? Ignoring the world and living in your own fantasy? Crime and madness continue, yes, the majority of the people are not criminals or mad. The majority of the people don't need your guidance. There are two kinds of rulers. Those who rule with fear, and those who rule with respect. Those who rule with fear always get their rule overturned."

Evey smiled at Carmilla. She realized now, no matter what happened, Carmilla wasn't going to win in the end.

"You don't deserve what you want. The only ones with the right to control death, are the ones who value life. You don't. So you don't have that right."

Evey lifted a shoulder in a shrug.

"Sorry, Mama. But it isn't going to work."

Carmilla sighed shaking her head.

"I knew you'd never be able to comprehend this. Such a shame... you were so pretty..."

The cruenta pulled a ribbon from a small pocket in her dress, tying back her hair.

"Pity, really. I was hoping to let you live, if only for something pleasant to look at."

She looked straight at Evey, her hands folded delicately in front of her as a thin, mischievous smile spread across her lips.

"Time for a little dance, sweetling. Escape if you can."

Suddenly, Carmilla vanished. Actually, it was hard to say whether she'd been there at all, and the room became deathly silent.

Evey immediately put the force field around her and Will. She knew that Carmilla was insanely powerful, but she didn't think she would've been as creative as Evey when it came to coming up with ways to use those abilities. She put as much power as she could into the force field.

She understood her own to know exactly what Carmilla had done. Even though Evey couldn't detect her. The wall of invisible atoms would protect her and Will from Carmilla's first attack at least.

She hoped.

After an unnervingly long silence, there was a faint, cracking sound. Like glass beginning to split.

That's when Evey saw the strangest thing: it looked like there was a crack floating in mid-air, right about where...

Suddenly, her force field exploded in a shower of glass-like shards, falling around her and Will as if the shield had been physically smashed.

Zuriel! Evey shouted in her head as she protected Will's body with her own. Now!

She mentally tossed a chair where she thought Carmilla would be, trying to protect herself and Will while she struggled to put another force field.

The chair smashed uselessly against the wall, but Zuriel appeared almost the instant Evey called it, scythe already in hand. The demon seemed undaunted by Carmilla's apparent invisibility, and swung its blade through the air. Blood appeared from nowhere, and after the swing was complete, the vampire reappeared, staring in shock.

"The scythe..."

Zuriel's first blow had only been a warning strike, so that Carmilla would get away from Evey. Now it had to build up energy for what would hopefully be the death blow.

Evey glanced up at the two briefly and then called for Sarah in her mind. Sarah! Sarah, I need you. I need you to get Will out of here!

Carmilla staggered slightly, startled that the wound would not heal. She looked over at the demon holding the Scythe of Azrael.

"So you're the one who has it," she crooned, hands extending into claws. "A demon, of all things..."

Zuriel ignored her taunts. It had to focus. The blade of its weapon started to glow, and as the demon hovered there, waiting for the right time to strike, it mumbled a soft prayer. It only got one chance at this.

The two combatants charged each other at the same time, the demon swinging its scythe, the vampire raking with her claws. It all went by so quickly, it wasn't until they were each on opposite sides of the room that the results were clear. Zuriel gasped, face pale with horror.

"I missed..."

Carmilla sneered, turning slowly around to face the demon again.

"I know the rules of True Names, you pathetic creature. You can't give me the scythe, however..."

The cruenta growled something, and Zuriel's brows furrowed in fear. With a smirk, Carmilla gave her order.

"Leave the Scythe of Azrael on the floor until it is returned to you by someone I have commanded to do so."

Forced by the power of its True Name, Zuriel had no choice but to drop the divine weapon, letting it clatter to the floor.

Evey paled. God, where was Sarah? Zuriel... What had she done? She should've never let it take this risk. And Sarah was going to show up and also be at risk. God – if Zuriel couldn't kill her, who the hell could?

Sartorca appeared in front of Evey and Will.

"I came as quickly as I could," the angel apologized. Carmilla laughed.

"Well, isn't this like a little family reunion? Another one of my children shows its face."

Sartorca looked at her, standing defensively.

"I won't let you hurt them!"

"Oh ho! So cute!"

Carmilla barred her fangs and held up her clawed hands.

"And whatever do you plan on defending yourself with?"

Evey's telekinesis flew into overdrive. Anything portable and small in the room flew off the counters, out of the drawers. Every object propelled itself at Carmilla, trying to distract her long enough to get Sartorca and Will out of there.

"Get out of here," Evey yelled in the angel's head. "Take Will with you! Go now, Sarah!"

Sartorca nodded, but couldn't leave yet as many of the objects Evey had hurled came flying back at them, Carmilla catching some of them with her own telekinesis. The little angel put up her shield again, pushing forward to keep the larger objects at bay. Zuriel slipped in behind them to kneel beside Evey.

"You need to get my scythe," it said. "Carmilla's order prevents me from using it."

Evey's eyes widened for a moment, then they narrowed. Her TK twisted the sheets off Carmilla's bed. They flew at the vicious caelstis and twisted around her, while the other items continued to pelt at her. Every sheet twisted around Carmilla. Then without worrying for her own safety, she left Will, Sarah and Zuriel and dove for the scythe.

She was pelted and scratched by the barrage of stuff that Carmilla was throwing back. But the sheets had bought her enough time to get to the scythe. Evey wrapped her hands around it.

A prickly feeling shot through her hands, almost like a static shock, but it didn't hurt. The scythe seemed... sympathetic, like it wanted to help Evey. It seemed to want to move of its own accord, eager to swing at whichever target its new wielder chose.

By now, Carmilla had freed herself from the sheets, tearing them to ribbons as she lunged at Sartorca. Her claws cut across the young angel's chest, its shield failing once she was so close. Sartorca screamed in pain, having never been injured before. Carmilla reveled in its agony, tearing into it again and again, punishing it for blocking her path.

Rage soared through Evey when Carmilla attacked the little angel. Evey stood, scythe pulsing in her hands and through all of her body. She felt a million times stronger. But her rage wasn't destructive. It was protective. Sarah! She gripped hard onto the scythe and felt a rush of energy through her.

"Don't touch my sister!" Evey shouted and slashed at Carmilla's back with the scythe.

Carmilla shrieked when the blade tore through her flesh. The first wound the weapon had made had not healed, and this one was much deeper than the first. Eyes now more vibrant gold than ever, she whipped around to attack Evey, screaming something in an ancient tongue as she lunged.

Evey instantly, as if the scythe itself was guiding her, shifted the position with a slight twist and slashed again, creating a gash up Carmilla's torso.

"You underestimated your daughter. I can use the scythe too!"

Another twist. Evey slashed again across Carmilla's throat.

A strange, screech-like gurgle emitted from the cruenta as blood pour from her neck and chest. She couldn't seal these wounds, and Carmilla collapsed to her knees. As the blood left her, a strange, grotesque transformation began to occur: starting with her hands, she began to crumble, like ash from a burnt out fire. Eventually, she stopped screaming, turning into nothing more than a pile of bloody dust amongst a torn gown.

Evey stared at the pile of blood and ash, her eyes wide. Her legs suddenly gave out. She collapsed to her knees. She was breathing hard, her entire body trembling.

She'd... she'd killed Carmilla. Probably the most evil creature on earth. Her mother.

Evey put one hand to her face as she shook violently, as if she were suddenly freezing.

She took a few deep breaths, trying to calm her racing heart. Then with a sudden jerk of her head, she rushed over to Zuriel, Sarah and Will. She gave Zuriel back the scythe without a second though.

"Sarah, Sarah are you all right?" she asked the little angel.

Sartorca had curled itself into a ball, crying from all the pain as it was slowly healing its wounds.

"Yeah..." it sobbed gently. "I'm fine. I'm fine..."

"We need to get Will some vampiric blood," Zuriel said, placing its hand on the hunter's forehead. "With so much lost, he's not doing very well."

It was an understatement, to say the least. Will seemed to be conscious (barely so), but his breathing was labored, and his skin was slick with a layer of cold sweat.

Evey looked at Zuriel, her eyes wide with fright.

"Zuriel, will you carry him? We'll get to Cei as quickly as we can. I'll carry Sarah."

Gently, Evey picked up the angel. She wasn't as big as Will, so carrying her would be easier for Evey, though Sarah was a lot bigger in her angelic form than in her human. Still, she cradled Sartorca in her arms.

"Shhh, honey, it's okay. I've got you. You're safe."

She carefully stood up, using her telekinesis to help her carry the angel and to keep herself steady as she held Sarah close.

Zuriel nodded as it dismissed its scythe, carefully lifting Will into its arms. Sartorca nuzzled against Evey, shaking slightly as they all began to exit the mansion. Murmurs came from down the hall, and a few of the doors opened as others living there peered out at them, watching in curiosity as they left. The guards that had been out front were no where to be seen, but the gates were open and a car had pulled in.

Cei was already climbing out of the passenger seat.

"Oh my god..."

Evey gave Cei a small smile, but it faded quickly.

"Cei, Will's dying. He needs blood, fast. Please..."

Amelie was out of the car just behind Cei, and she let out a little cry when she saw Sartorca's condition. She hurried to the small angel and took her from Evey's arms, immediately trying to heal her.

"Oh, my sweet babe, what happened to you?"

"Carmilla," Evey rasped. "She hurt Sarah. But..."

She shook her head.

"Carmilla is gone now. I..."

"All right, Evey. I knew you could do it. Though we did bring the cavalry just in case. But I never doubted you could."

Evey lifted her head, her body stiff when she heard the voice. Familiar, thunderous, confident. It came with a pair of gray eyes and a wide, wolfish grin.

Brendan leaned against the SUV, smiling at her.

"Bren-Bren-Brendan?" Evey said, barely above a breath. "Bu-Bu-But..."

She moved toward him.

"You-you died..."

He nodded.

"Yeah. So Ashton and Lios couldn't kill me, I had to make them believe I was dead."

"M-Make them believe...?"

God, he was covered in blood. It looked like he crawled out of the depths of Hell just to get back to the land of the living. He even had beard and his hair looked longer. She reached out to touch him.

He arched his eyebrows and brought up his hand to hers. He took it.

"I heard you missed me, partner."

Evey's eyes swelled with tears. His hand was warm. Alive. She threw herself at him, everything she had been holding back since the performance tonight. Evey clung to him as she cried out her heart, soaking his chest in her tears.

"I thought you were dead, you bastard," she wailed. "I wanted to tear the world apart because they'd taken my best friend away! I cried for days, you fucking idiot! Days! I wanted to tear Ashton apart with my own bare hands for killing you! For killing everyone!"

Brendan held her as she wept, wailed and sobbed all over him.

"God! I thought I would die with all the hate in me for them! For what they'd taken away!"

She pulled back and began to pound on his chest with her fists.

"You mean, sadistic, evil, fucking stupid bastard! Why did you let me believe you were dead! How could you do that!"

"If Ashton had known I was alive – even got the slightest inkling of it through you or Cei were all his attention was – I would be really dead."

She stared up at him through a blur of tears. Her face was read from her weeping.

"Did you kill him? Was that Amelie's plan? To let you kill him?"

"You're the best damn detective in the whole world, Evey."

She punched him as hard as she could.

"No, because I couldn't figure out you were alive, which meant I wouldn't have been so fucking miserable and crying all the time for the last two months practically!" she shouted at him. She collapsed against him, exhausted from her exertion in the mansion and from the crying.

Brendan wrapped his arms around her again and hugged her.

"Yeah, I love you too, kid."

"Thank god," Evey breathed against him as she continued to cry. "Oh, thank god you're alive. Thank god, thank god, thank god..."

"Evey," Cei called to her friend as she healed the wound she'd opened on her arm for Will to drink from. "He's going to need more than my blood. Carmilla took him to the brink of death; he needs to go to a hospital."

Sirens wailed in the distance as the police made their way up West Church Avenue towards them. Zuriel returned to its mortal guise, turning its head towards Amelie.

"If Sartorca is too weak to take on Sarah's form, we need to get it hidden quickly."

"I'm alright," the young angel answered, shivering as it slowly regained its guise. "Just... tired..."

Now in the visage of Sarah, the child looked much worse off than she had before, the injuries that had yet to heal showing much more intensely against her pale skin.

Evey released Brendan and both of them rushed over to the others. Brendan took Will from Jared and Cei.

"Come on. The cavalry is here. I know Mike. He's probably got an ambulance too. We'll get Will into there now."

Evey touched Will's forehead gently and then looked to Sarah. She went to the child and looked at Amelie, fear in her eyes.

"Does she need to ride in the ambulance too?"

"I'm fine, Sis..." Sarah said, but Jared shook his head.

"Better safe than sorry. You should go, just to be sure."

The police reached them, several cars pulling up alongside each other. As the officers got out of their cars, one new (yet oddly familiar) face emerged. The young man's hair was black and straight, cut at an angle just above his shoulders, and he followed Mike and the others.

Brendan saw Mike – saw the man with him – arched an eyebrow, but said nothing. He carried Will to Mike and said, "Ambulance."

Mike took one look at Will, and then of Amelie carrying the injured Sarah and paled.

"God, what the hell went on in there?"

He pointed, motioned to the paramedics, and they hurried over with the gurney.

In a minute, Will was place in one and Sarah in the other. One of the paramedics said, "This guy is going to need a blood transfusion. Holy shit. What the hell happened to him?"

They didn't wait for an answer, but hurried back to the ambulance.

Brendan spoke to Mike about what happened as a team of cops arrested the guard and hurried into the house. Evey followed Sarah and Will. The paramedics at first wouldn't let her in, but she told him that was her boyfriend and her sister, and they relented.

Amelie looked at Jared.

"I need ta get ta the hospital. I need ta take care o' me babe, Jared."

The other doctor nodded, waiting until he heard her leave before he went over to Brendan and Cei. They were filling Mike in on as much as they could, the strange new officer listening quietly as well. When Jared was next to them, he couldn't stifle a small laugh. He knew the man immediately, but said nothing.

Brendan glanced over at Jared when he laughed. He looked back at the man standing beside Mike wondering why he looked so familiar... He rolled his eyes. Oh, sweet hell. He really liked Malone too much. He was just going to ignore him for now. He'd talk to Charon about his choice later.

"But what about the person in charge? This Carmilla person?" Mike asked.

"You saw what she did to Grant's boyfriend and sister," Brendan said flatly.

"Well, yeah..."

"What do you think happened?"

Mike sighed.

"I guess we're going to find a body and label it self-defense, huh?"

"If you find a body."

"What the hell does that mean, Detective?"

Brendan arched an eyebrow at Mike. He leaned forward and whispered in the techie's ear.

"Didn't you stake two guys in the heart the other day and watched them still be alive?"

Mike groaned.

"Oh, god, another one of those things. So I'm going to find ash, huh? There has been so much burning of bodies and stuff that I never want to deal with it again. I just hope this is all over."

Brendan looked over at Cei.

"Yeah, me too."

The cruenta leaned against him, closing her eyes.

"When can we go home?" she asked. "Tonight has been... emotionally trying."

"We should probably go to the hospital and see Sarah, Will and Evey and see how they're doing."

Brendan put his arm around her.

"We should all be together now. It's... It's finally over."

He scratched his beard.

"I should probably take a shower and get some clothes before we head over though. I probably shouldn't walk into the hospital covered in blood."

There was a general nod of agreement, especially from Cei, who carefully pulled herself back and looked down at her clothes.

"I should probably change too, given that I've been, well, clinging to you..."

"I can offer a ride to anyone who needs one!" the officer next to Mike piped in with a smile. "I'm getting to know my way around the city pretty well."

Brendan rolled his eyes and patted Mike on the shoulder.

"Rookies."

He smiled.

"Take care, Mike. I'll see you soon."

Mike smiled. He looked a little teary-eyed.

"You too, Detective. I see you soon."

Brendan smiled and, still holding Cei, followed the rookie to his car.

Once inside, Brendan shot him a narrowed look.

"Cute – but really, I thought you'd be more creative."

"What?" the officer asked, starting up the car. "Relatives are one of the best ways to get reintroduced into a city, right Jared?"

"It's true, Brendan," the demon confirmed. "So what are you calling yourself now, Charon? Obviously Officer Malone again, but what's your first name?"

"Kanoa. I figured it was appropriate."

Brendan shrugged. He had no idea what 'Kanoa' meant, not that it mattered. Whatever made the demon happy was fine by him. The contract was destroyed, Carmilla, Lios and Ashton were dead – and the best part? None of them had ever thought they were going to die.

"Whatever, Malone," Brendan said with a smile. "Just get us to the hospital. We're not going to loose anyone else. Not Sarah and not Keatting."

"No worries, sir," Kanoa said enthusiastically as they drove away.
Also available on :icondulcis-absinthe:'s page, as we format it a little differently.

ZOMG! THE END IS NEAR!!! The big battle with Carmilla is finally here!

Oh! And if you like the story and are a member of Gaia, check out my contest, the OMG Art Contest!
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