A/N: Hi guys, I'm soooo sorry for the wait. i didn't realise it'd been like 3 months. bummer... ::huggles her internet:: Oh how I missed you my preciousssss... Woah, LOTR moment...moving on. Here's the final chapter, loong awaited, of The Past Comes A-Haunting. Sorry again that it took so long and I hope it was worth the wait. Much love. Saph
"Brennan. Hold on!" Shalimar yelled down to him.
"What do you think I'm doing?!" He shouted back.
"Smart ass," she smiled softly. He hadn't lost his humor through this ordeal. "Can you climb up?" She called.
"I can try."
"Okay, but be careful." Worry lines creased her face. He nodded and began pulling himself up inch by excruciatingly slow inch. She reached out a hand to him, though he was still several feet away from her. He glanced up and froze in horror.
"Shal, behind you!" He shouted. The other creatures had regrouped and snuck up behind her and were looming over her, several with curved blades in their hands. Shalimar whipped around and stumbled back, nearly toppling into the crack. She quickly dropped to one knee as one of the creatures leaped at her and fell head first to the lava below after missing her and flying over her head. She stayed on her knee and kicked the legs out from underneath two more. The two that fell, she grabbed the fronts of their cloaks and tossed them into the lava, their shrieks of pain lost to her bloodlust-filled mind. Her only thoughts were for hers and Brennan's survival. She hadn't come this far just to lose him now. These horrors were dead before they even began. She rapidly killed three more with kicks to the bases of their skulls, breaking their necks. Only two more remained and she faced them, chest heaving with exertion and sweat glistening on her face and arms.
"We are the strongest of our kind, feral. You cannot defeat us," one of them rasped.
"Try me, maggot-face. Nobody messes with the people I love." She grinned at them and stepped forward. Then the other threw back his hood and she backed up in shock, a hand covering her gaping mouth. "Shane," she breathed, taking another step back to the edge of the chasm.
"That's right baby, I'm so bad, they inducted me. How d'ya like that." He grinned.
"My God," She whispered.
"You won't get away from me again, sweet heart. This is the end. Welcome to Purgatory. You'll not get out of here alive."
"Apparently killing you once wasn't good enough. You snuck up on me before, caught me off guard. Trust me, that won't happen again. And this time you don't have a gun to hide behind. In a hand to hand fight, I'll kill you. Bring it on, bastard." She glanced down and saw Brennan creeping closing to the lip of the crack and she sighed with relief. That was when Shane and the other jumped at her. She flipped over their heads and the last mottled creature skidded over the edge and fell to his death, shrill scream forcing her to cover her ears again. Shane managed to stop in time and turned to face her.
"I've got you all to myself now, baby. Let's see what you got." Shane beckoned her forward, but she stood in her place, staring at him uninterestedly.
"God, you're boring. Can I just kill you and get it over with please?" She raised an eyebrow at him. Brennan's hand slipped over the edge of the gap, fingers splayed out trying to find some purchase to get a grip and pull himself up. Shane turned and stomped on his hand, grinding his heel into Brennan's fingers viciously. Brennan cried out in pain but managed to bring his other hand up and grab hold of a small rock in time to prevent himself from falling. Shane stepped down on the other hand. Shalimar hissed in rage and threw herself at him, both of them toppling over the edge.
"SHALIMAR!" Brennan shouted, throwing out his hand and grabbing her wrist with his hand. He held on tightly as the weight tugged at him. Below, Shane still clung to Shalimar while she tried to get him off. "Let her go, you bastard!" He yelled, kicking out at the side of his head. Shalimar growled viciously and kneed Shane in the face, effectively knocking him unconscious. He fell, cloak billowing out behind him as he plunged into the red hot liquid below.
Brennan felt Shalimar slip as their sweaty skin slid against each other. He was grasping at the base of her hand now, trying desperately to keep his hold on her. "Hang on, Shal! Don't let go!" He shouted down at her. She slipped a little more. She reached up with her other hand at grabbed at his wrist, only to miss and slip down further. She tried again and Brennan was pulling at her fingers.
Shalimar's body twitched and sweat poured down her face and she whimpered. Jesse went to her fearfully and took her hand. "Is she okay? Should we bring her back?"
"No, not yet." Amelia replied. "The sweat is probably a reaction to the conditions of the place that she's in. Give her another few minutes."
"Come on, Shal, you can do this! Bring him back." Jesse tightened his grip on her hand. Lexa watched with bated breath as annoyance and anger and disgust and spite and fear flashed across her features. "Come on, Shal, come on." He urged quietly.
"Brennan I'm slipping!" She screamed in panic as she slid just a bit further.
"Hold on, Shal! Try again!" She swung her hand up and grasped painfully at his wrist and held on tightly as he adjusted his grip on her other hand. "Good, baby, good, now hold on, we're gonna get out of this." He called reassuringly and began pulling her up with all the strength her had left in his arm. She wrapped her legs around his, then slowly inched herself up. "Good, good, go ahead; get over the edge, quickly."
"What about you?!" She exclaimed.
"You first," he ordered. "Go on, hurry, I don't know how much longer I can hold on. Go! I'm right behind you!" She nodded and slowly climbed up his body and over the ledge, breathing heavily. She rolled over onto her stomach and looked down at him.
"Come on, Brennan, hurry. Take my hand." She reached out to him and that's when he slipped. He lost his grip on the rock he had been holding onto and began to fall. Shalimar grabbed his hand desperately. "Hold on!" She exclaimed, reaching down with her other hand. She began bodily lifting and pulling his tired body out of the Chasm until she had successfully pulled him out and over the edge. He laid gasping for air and aching all over. His arms hurt and his lungs burned, but he was alive and he was going home. Then he heard Shalimar gasp.
Shalimar breathed heavily, exertion showing in the frown lines on her face. Her fingers grabbed at the air and the muscles in her arms clenched, like she was lifting something extremely heavy. She squashed Jesse's hand painfully. Then her grip loosened and her body relaxed. Jesse used that opportunity to extricate his throbbing fingers from her grasp and rub his hand gingerly. Then she gasped and her body tensed again.
Shalimar heard a noise behind her and stood, turning to face her quarry. She stood in front of Brennan, shielding him, in his weakened form, from the danger before them. "Damn, don't you guys die?" He heard her say as she jumped forward at the four creatures that she had thought she'd killed. She had broken their necks, but apparently that hadn't been enough.
Shalimar grabbed the first one and threw him over her into the pit, then jumped on a second. She slammed her fist into his mottled face over and over, rage boiling up inside of her. "You bastards," punch, "kept him from me," slam. "You," she decked him again then threw him head first into the Chasm of Fire. She snarled and whirled on the last two, noticing that the leader hung back. She quickly finished the last of the leader's minions then faced him resolutely. "You," she repeated, "will not have him. Or me. Ever," she said, her voice low with anger. "Prepare to die...again..."
The leader leaped at her and she ducked out of his way quickly, turning to face him as he whirled upon her. He pulled a jagged blade from the folds of his cloak and rushed at her with it. The silver of the blade and the colors in the jeweled handle glinted with some un-seen light. "Your insolence will be paid with your blood, feral." He rasped as he thrust the blade at her stomach. She quickly dodged and grabbed his slimy hand, turning the blade inward and stabbing him in the chest with his own blade. The creature yanked the blade out of him and shoved it back at her, nicking her side painfully.
"Shalimar!" Jesse exclaimed in horror as blood trickled from a small cut in her side. He grabbed a handkerchief off of the bedside table and pressed it to the wound gingerly, watching her face flash pain, then insurmountable rage. "Pull her out!" He ordered of Amelia. "Pull her out now!"
"Not yet, Jesse," Lexa said, breaking her long silence at last.
"What? How can you say that? She's getting hurt in there! We have to pull her out. Now, before it's too late."
"Not yet. She's fighting. She's doing what she went in to do. Give her another few minutes. I have faith in her. You should to. Like I said, of the things I've learned since joining Mutant X, one of the first was never mess with a feral. Especially if someone they care about is on the line." Lexa looked at him pleadingly. "Please, Jess, give her more time. She'll be pissed if she's winning and we take her out, leaving Brennan there alone."
Jesse met her eyes, looking annoyed and disapproving, but mostly worried. "Okay," he whispered at last. "A few more minutes." Lexa went to him and held him close.
"She'll be okay, Jesse. She'll get him back. I believe in her strength and in their love."
"So do I," he put his arms around her and laid his head on her shoulder. "So do I."
Shalimar winced then growled deep in her throat and snatched the blade from his maggoty grasp. "Cheater, weapons weren't part of the deal. Besides, it's not fair if you have one and I don't." She grinned at him coyly.
"Be silent! You talk too much! Learn your place!" He hissed, creeping forward to get his knife back.
"Learn yours," she snarled and jammed the blade under his ribcage, twisted and threw the leader over her head and down, down, down into the Chasm of Fire to his hot and painful death, shrill screeching still ringing in the air long after his black-cloaked body had sunk below the surface.
Shalimar collapsed to the ground, panting with exertion and exhaustion. She laid her hand on her side and it came away with blood. She glared at it in annoyance, "bastard," she breathed, then got unsteadily to her feet and went to Brennan where he still lay on the ground, breathing heavily and coughing the ash from his lungs. "Brennan," she whispered and pulled him into her arms, holding him close.
Shalimar sat bolt upright in the hospital chair, much to Jesse and Lexa's surprise, and got to her feet. She swayed dangerously and was only prevented from falling by Jesse's hand on her elbow, keeping her upright. She turned to Brennan quickly and they watched as he stirred and moaned quietly. His eyes lids flickered open slowly and Shalimar pulled him gently into her arms and held him tight with tears running down her cheeks. He smiled softly as he wrapped his arms around her back, a single tear falling from his eyes. She pulled away and looked into his dark, sparkling eyes, and laughed through her tears.
"God, I missed those eyes," she smiled and kissed him. He ran his hands over her face and kissed her repeatedly. He let his suppressed tears fall as he stared at her, afraid to look away, should she be an illusion of his stressed mind. Jesse and Lexa hugged him gently hen they got a chance and them stepped back, giving him and Shal their space.
"I thought...they told me you were dead..." Brennan breathed, kissing her again.
"And you believed them?" Shalimar smiled at him happily. He shook his head no and smiled back, running his hands over her shoulders and down her sides. She winced when he touched the cut on her side.
"You're bleeding," he said, frowning as he gently ran his finger over the bloody cut.
"Yeah, sharp knives those bastards have," she smiled. "It's no big deal, it's just a scratch."
"The knife touched you?" His voice shook and his eyes widened visibly.
"Yeah, why? What's wrong?"
"The blades are poisoned." He looked up and into her eyes, fear and concern showed in his dark orbs...
A/N: Look for the sequel: Blades of the Brethren, coming soon, to find out what becomes of Shalimar after been touched by the deadly poison of the creatures who are not wholly of Brennan's own subconscious.