The Three Fates

All disclaimers apply.

Author's Note: Yes, the final installment has arrived, at last. My apologies for taking so very long to update, but as I predicted, Vicious turned out to be the most difficult of the threesome to write. Delving into his personality and motives was a true challenge for me. I've done my best to craft him, as I have all three of them, and I hope you enjoy my version of his point-of-view.

And my thanks to my readers and reviewers for encouraging me to the end. Your interest and praise has been much appreciated.

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Damnation: Vicious

In my twenty-nine years of existance, I have been involved in many battles, countless fights, from minor, pointless spats, to duels which I shall not soon forget. I have used many weapons, modern and classic, technologically advanced and ancient. But none of those weapons have ever compared to the grace and beauty of the sword. None of my bouts using a gun have brought the same satisfication that comes when I use a blade, whether or not I am victorious.

The sword flows with the movements of my body, an extension of myself as a gun could never be. Every vibration that sings along the blade from an impact sings in my blood as well. A simple turn of my wrist could decide a man's life, and the power of that is almost intoxicating. And of the many swords I admire, none surpass the katana, the Japanese work of art. Slender, elegant, fast, a tool of swift death or utter torture, as I see fit.

There is nothing so exhilarating as killing with a sword. There is no denying the moment of death; it can be felt through the sword, the moment it pierces the heart or slices the spinal cord in two. The spill of blood can be great or small with just the slightest gesture. Decapitation makes for an excellent spectacle; simply slitting the throat is more mundane, but nonetheless effective. To use a katana, one must have skill greater than that necessary to properly wield a gun.

To use a sword, you must possess the ability to enjoy death only for the grace of the actual act itself.

Swords are the weapons of justice, of swift, painless execution, of clean extermination.

There is nothing else quite as magnificent.

Out of respect to my love of swords, of weapons, of graceful death, as long as I have lived I have surrounded myself with those who remind of such things, people who live on the edge of society, of life itself, people who live without pretenses. In a world of killers, predator and prey, there is no room for pretending. Only the question of how long you live once you have crossed me.

That is what brought me to the Syndicate. That is what brought me to him. Spike.

To think of him now is strange. I feel . . . nothing. There was once a time when I would at least feel rage, a type of anger, disgust, betrayal. And now, there is nothing. The memories have ceased to be a source of bitterness for me. I am beyond hatred, now, beyond feeling.

However, he will still die. If only to prove to myself, to the Syndicate, that he was never the one meant to lead the pack. The wolf who is afraid to kill for what he wants is a weak wolf. The wolf who runs, showing his back, pretending to fall when he is only hiding from what he cannot face, is not worthy to rule.

He is a coward. He will not face me, and therefore he has lost the right to stir any emotion within me. I will only feel out of respect, out of trust.

And that explains why I rarely feel anything anymore.

She falls into the same category. Julia. Only, for some reason, her memory still stirs a strand of feeling within me. Mostly, it is anger at myself. Spike I can say was solely responsible for what he did. With her, I can only lay blame to myself.

I saw her. I knew what she was. And still, I allowed her near.

Even though I try to ignore the past, it is insistant, unrelenting, like an incurable sickness that infects every inch of my mind, a malignant tumor eating away at the present, determined to destroy it. It is worse in quiet moments like these, when the missions slow for a millisecond and I find there is nothing on which to focus except the darkness of what has passed.

I am not certain what disgusts me more about the events that brought things to what they are today: The betrayal, or my own inability to see such a betrayal coming. I should not have been so foolish. There is no point to bemoaning my ignorance now, though. Still, I cannot help but remember . . . everything.

I have applied the attributes of the sword to myself in many things: Cold, clean death, swift and pale. People begin to portray the things they use and admire the most, whether by choice or unconsciously. If I had to compare Spike to any weapon--and I have, many a time--then I would say he was a semi-automatic pistol. Cool, smooth metal, seemingly harmless until the next clip is loaded and the weapon cocked, after which he becomes brash, loud, and unstoppable. Blowing messy holes in things, but getting the job done nonetheless.

And her? I would say she was a dagger. A stiletto, slim, deadly, hidden in a jeweled sheath and meant to kill quietly, in the dead of night. Where she passed, there wasn't a sound, only carnage in her wake. A true predator, and for that, I respected her.

Spike wouldn't describe her as such, I'm sure. However, he was always an idealistic fool, never willing to accept ruthlessness as a virtue. Despite the many things I once respected about him, I have to say, his fangs were never as sharp as mine. Or as hers.

Julia was . . . fascinating. There is no other word for her. There was a fierceness, a darkness about her that drew me inexplicably. She was businesslike, competant, utterly merciless towards all those who stood in her way. And she had ambition. She understood politics, manipulation, knew the importance of gaining power. While Spike paid no attention to the intricate workings of Syndicate life--the associations, negotiations, blackmail, etcetera--Julia never lost interest in it. She and I made it our goal to become more than simply the most skilled members. We aimed to rule it all.

We became involved more out of mutual respect than any real affection. I hadn't expected the relationship would cause any trouble. I hadn't expected it would be anything at all. Women were secondary in the life Spike and I lived; we required little more than a weapon and an opportunity to call our existance worthwhile. Attaining the rank of the best and keeping it was death-defying and simple. Julia brought with her aspirations for more, in both emotion and in lifestyle. She brought music that sluiced through my blood.

But that isn't the point.

Take a pair of wolves, brothers, who have been running and hunting at the top of the pack for years, dominant and unstoppable--and then introduce a female to the pair. Suddenly, they are bitter enemies, jostling for rank because only the best can have her. They forget the point of the hunt, and the camaraderie is lost. If it was ever truly there at all.

I did trust my brother once. I even valued him, his recklessness and his irreverance. It was truly the two of us against the rest. That made his betrayal taste all the more bitter. His priorities, as always, were completely out of place. And it irritates me to think now of how much faith so many of our mutual acquaintances put in him, when, for a woman who was more conniving and ruthless than an assassin could ever be, he readily abandoned everything.

I am not certain if I am more grateful to them both for opening my eyes to the fatal mistake of keeping comrades or if I despise them more. They taught me how useless caring for anyone or anything beyond your own ambitions can be. Through that, they made me stronger.

I am now strong enough to pursue their deaths, to seek their blood on my blade, preferably mingled in one clean slash so that he can be with her as he seemed to want to so much. My final gift to them, besides the death we all desire so much. They both ran from me, Spike even seemed to think I wouldn't know if he lived or not, but I know. I feel it. Brothers always know. I can feel his heart still beating as if it were my own. The hungry, vengeful heart of a beast.

Why should I pursue their deaths if I feel nothing towards them any longer, one might wonder. It isn't a matter of pride or love or even vengeance; it's a matter of loyalty, of the basic rules of allies and enemies. Rules that are almost nonexistant in the world of syndicates and death, but there nonetheless.

I do it because of those basic rules. I do it to show, once and for all, who is the dominant wolf. But most of all, I do it because that is my part to play. I am Damnation, I am the epilouge to a story that refuses to end, and will see its end nevertheless, because we all must be judged. Death with his scythe, bringing peace in one motion.

This is what I offer them, my "comrades", my brother and his lover. I am the only one who can bring them freedom. I will not let them have any other kind.

The blade feels no remorse. The blade merely kills. I am what I wield, therefore I wield it with all that I am. All that is left of me.

The game is almost finished. The hunt is almost complete. There is only one thing left to do: Polish the sword until it gleams, and then stain it in red.

Damnation has come to end the dream, once and for all.

~end~

AN: That's it for this fic. I hope to write more Spike/Julia/Vicious stories in the future. Again, thanks to all my reviewers. You're gonna carry that weight. ^_~