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The Coven of Reformed Supernaturals
Ducking under a sword swipe from yet another of the green samurai-like demons that seemed to be everywhere in this battle, Blade lashed out a punch at the gem on its forehead, taking a moment to watch in satisfaction as it collapsed to the ground before spinning around rapidly to decapitate an oncoming pair of zombies.
"Will you guys just give it a rest already!" the hybrid heard Hellboy roar in frustration as the sound of shattering masonry was head; either Hellboy had just punched through the wall of this place or he'd shattered another golem. Given the surprisingly large number of those things that seemed to be here, Blade was betting it was the golem option; anyone facing a golem was under strict instructions to inform Hellboy as soon as possible, being the only member of their group who possessed the raw strength to punch through that much rock. "You've lost your boss; can't you get the picture that we're kicking your freakin' asses!"
"I don't think they understand anymore, Hellboy!" Blade called over to his new friend as he ducked under a swipe from something that resembled a green Pokemen he'd once seen in a shop window- he thought it was called a 'Scyther' or something like that- and stabbed it in the chest before rolling away from a large bug-like demon. "They're too driven to stop us, they don't register anything else!"
"Indeed!" Illyria yelled over; Blade noticed that she seemed to be acquitting herself well in a fight against three vampires simultaneously, armed only with a couple of short Japanese swords that she must have taken from the fallen Mohra demons. "With their king gone, they no longer know what to do, so they are bent on fulfilling his final command to them! We cannot make them stop; we must merely kill them!"
"Oh, no sweat, there's only, what, a few hundred of these buggers!" Spike yelled over at the blue-haired woman as he desperately hacked at his adversaries with a stolen axe. "We are not gods, Smurf; we can't just click our fingers and make them vanish!"
"Just keep on trying, Spike," Belthazor said, smiling over at his vampire friend as he launched a series of energy balls at a few advancing warlocks. "If Angel plays his cards right, he should be back here soon enough..."
"Oh, like he'll make a major difference?" Spike asked, glaring over at Belthazor. "He's just a bleeding vampire, Cole; what can he do in this fight apart from make the numbers a bit less overwhelming?"
"Maybe… this?" a voice said from the centre of the room, a voice that was simultaneously calm and collected, yet at the same time clearly audible even over the chaos going on around it.
Spinning around in the direction of the voice, the remaining members of the Coven had just enough time to see Angel standing there, his arms spread out wide like Jesus hanging from the cross, before bolts of brilliant golden energy burst from his fingers, striking what seemed like every non-reformed demon in the room.
"What the…" Blade said, staring around at the army in confusion. "What's going on?"
"I'm not sure…" Belthazor muttered, as he shifted back into Cole as he looked around at their falling foes. "But I think Angel's… draining them, somehow…"
As the Coven watched the sight before them, the demons collapsed, one by one, the warlocks bursting into flames as the vampires fell down into dust, until only Angel's colleagues in the Coven were left standing, and the vampire himself was glowing a brilliant gold, as though he had acquired his own personal spotlight that couldn't be seen itself, but whose effects were clearly visible.
Raising his hands, his face contorting with pain, Angel fired a brilliant burst of gold energy up towards the ceiling of the room they now stood in, the resulting beam shattering the stone and sounding as though it was destroying the ceilings of the rooms above this one as well.
As the five 'part'-demons watched their leader, the glow faded as the beam began to die, and, as the two vanished, Angel collapsed to the ground, panting weakly as he smiled up at his friends.
"Did it…" he panted weakly. "He's gone…"
Then his eyes rolled upwards and he collapsed to the ground.
"ANGEL!" Cole yelled as he ran towards his new friend, followed closely by the other Coven members. As they reached the vampire, there was a brief shimmer of white light, and suddenly the Charmed Ones, Leo and Constantine were standing at the entrance, looked over at the collapsed form of Angel, and ran over to join the Coven. As they reached the fallen vampire, Constantine crouched down beside the fallen leader of the Coven and held a hand over his body before looking up at the others.
"He's alive; he's just weak," the exorcist said, before glancing around at the fallen bodies and piles of ash around them. "What happened here; you guys go mad?"
"And where's… y'know, Evil Cole?" Phoebe asked, glancing over apologetically at Cole for the comment.
"Well, last I saw of him, Angel and him had vanished just after Cole had decapitated Batman," Hellboy put in. Noting the suddenly saddened expression on Constantine's face, Hellboy sighed and patted his friend's shoulder with his flesh hand as gently as he could. "Yeah, I know it's a blow; the guy deserved better than to go like that."
He glanced down at Angel. "But, since this guy's the one who came back, I think we can safely say that we don't have to worry about Bats's murder going unavenged."
"But… how could Angel stop him alone?" Piper asked, glancing over at her sisters and Leo. "I mean, no offence on him, but we're the three most powerful witches in the world and it took all we had just to keep Cole occupied; how could one vampire stop him alone?"
"Simple," Cole said, smiling as the others turned to look at him. "He stole some of my other self's powers."
The Coven's eyes widened in surprise at that comment, most of them glancing between Blade, Spike, and the Halliwells as realisation began to dawn on them.
"You mean… like when Blade and the others used their powers to break us out?" Hellboy asked, indicating the Charmed Ones with a wave of his hand.
"Yeah, that's right," Cole said, nodding at Hellboy with a slight smile of approval. "The powers wouldn't have lasted long, of course; I'd be prepared to guess that Angel expelled the last bit of his stolen energy when he pulled off that stunt earlier that took these guys out."
Paige's eyes widened as she stared around the room at the fallen demons.
"You mean… he did all this?" she asked, indicating the fallen bodies surrounding them with a wave of her hand. "But… the power he'd need…"
"Would be a lot?" Blade asked, glancing over at Paige with a small smile. "Hey; from what I gathered, Cole was the most powerful magical being this world had seen for a while now, if he wasn't top of the pecking order already. Even if Angel was weakened by his fight with Cole, it wouldn't have needed much of his power to do some serious damage if that's accurate, would it?"
Paige nodded thoughtfully.
"Could work, I guess…" she said, before a loud groan broke through the air as Angel's eyes blinked open.
"Ugh…" he groaned as he sat up, glancing around the room until his eyes fell on Leo and Constantine.
"Did… did you do it?" he asked the two of them, his voice sounding slightly hoarse as he spoke. "Did you… save your son?"
Leo smiled and nodded.
"He's fine, Angel," the Whitelighter reassured his old/new friend. "We're all fine..."
"Well, apart from Batman, unfortunately," Cole sighed, as he glanced over to where Batman's body lay on the ground near the podium, the head lying a metre or so away from the rest of him.
As he sat up, wincing slightly at his sore limbs, Angel looked over at the body and sighed sadly.
"He didn't deserve that…" he mused, as Blade and Spike joined him in looking at the body of yet another of a seemingly rare breed; a vampire who attempted to use his dark thirst and channel it for good, rather than for evil.
Watching the body, the rest of the Coven could only agree. Even the Charmed Ones- Leo and Constantine having told them about the rest of the Coven while they got Wyatt settled down back in the manor- couldn't help but feel that, for all his 'crimes', Batman deserved better than to just die in such a final, brutal manner.
Standing up, using Spike's shoulder for support, Angel walked over to pick up Batman's head, Spike and Blade standing alongside him as Angel raise the head so it was eye-to-socket with his own face.
The three vampires stared at their fallen comrade for a moment, and then Angel sighed.
"Goodbye, Bruce Wayne," he said, as the three vampires bowed their heads in respect at the great hero, the other members of the Coven doing the same thing behind him.
"You may have been the Dark Knight," Blade added as he looked at the sad remains of Gotham's corrupted champion, "but your heroism shone through like nothing we have ever known."
"The team was better for knowing you, and poorer for losing you," Spike added, sighing sadly. "So long, mate."
After a moment's silence, in which the Coven and the Charmed Ones remembered what they knew of Batman- both from his history in the comics and the oh-too-short time they had spent in his company- Angel looked back at Leo and indicated the head and body before them.
"We're taking these with us," he said, as Blade and Spike picked up the seemingly fragile body that had possessed such strength in life. "He deserves better than to just be left here, one body among hundreds."
Leo nodded. "Agreed," he said, as he glanced at the body. "We'll need to cremate it, though; it's only as dust that he'll truly find peace. As it is, he might be trapped in some kind of purgatory; at least if he can pass on, he may find the peace he needs."
"Sounds fine," Hellboy said, as he glanced around at their little group. "So, how do we get out of here; Cole again?"
Leo shook his head. "No, Paige and I can orb out easily enough now; after all, who are we going to tip off?" he asked, as he glanced over at Cole and Paige. "Divide into three groups, and Paige should just follow me and Cole; we'll be heading back to our original meeting room."
"Wait; you mean the place where Gideon deposited me with you guys?" Constantine interrupted, glaring over at Leo. "You sure it's safe? What if somebody else was in on Gideon's plan?"
"They wouldn't have been," Leo said, looking back at Constantine. "If Gideon had anyone else on his side, he'd have called for their help when we showed up; trust me, there will be fine."
"Besides," Cole added, as the other Coven members gathered around Leo, Paige and Cole in preparation to orb/shimmer out, "we still have one thing to attend to that can only be done there…"
As soon as Phoebe found her feet once again, and had ascertained that everyone else was where they should be, she turned to look critically at Cole, trying to ignore the near-blinding whiteness of the room they were now in…
"What do you mean, something that can only be done here?" she asked her ex/current boyfriend (Ex for her, current for him) with a glare in her eye. "We've already won; what else has to be done?"
Cole sighed as he indicated himself.
"Phoebe, look at me," he said, staring at her a little sadly. "I'm from the past; technically, I don't exist any more. I can't stay here."
He glanced over at Leo. "How soon can you send me back?"
"NO!" Phoebe yelled, staring at Cole in horror as the entire Coven spun around to look at her. "You can't go back; you'll… you'll…"
"Become that guy we fought?" Cole asked, smiling slightly as he looked at the young witch who would always be the love of his life. "I know that there's a chance that will happen, but…"
He shrugged. "Well, what's the alternative? Stay here, in a reality where I'm dead and the world's just passed me by? As dark as it may be, I'd rather be where I belong."
"But…" Phoebe began, before Cole placed his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eyes.
"Phoebe," he said, staring at her as the rest of the Coven turned to look at their friend curiously. "I know that my future, if I go back, won't be pretty; I know that I'll lose you eventually; I know that I can't expect a happy ending, even if I remember what happened here; but I just want to know one thing. Even if it was only for a while… were we happy?"
Looking back at Cole, a slightly pleading expression in his eyes, Phoebe could only nod slightly.
"Yes," she said, although her eyes were shimmering slightly from tears, and she sounded like she was going to let them fall at any moment. "Yes… we were happy…"
"That's all I needed to know," he said, as he pulled her into a hug.
As Phoebe hugged him back, the rest of the Coven nodded in understanding of what their friend had meant by that comment. If this mission had taught them anything, it was a powerful reminder of something that they would all do well to remember to avoid Cole's fate. Life may be unfair at times, but you couldn't just try to avoid the bad parts of life and just enjoy the good parts whenever you could be sure they wouldn't go bad. Nothing in life was certain, but that didn't mean you should go to all lengths possible just to make sure that you got the best option possible if you could.
As someone had once said, how would a person know they were awake, if they had never been to sleep?
The same principle applied here.
How could someone know when they were happy, if they never even had the chance to be sad?
Even if the Cole of the present hadn't understood that, his past self did.
Sighing, Phoebe stepped back, and looked over at Leo.
"What's needed?" she asked her brother-in-law.
"Just erase his memory of the last few hours, and then send him back in time," Leo explained.
"Right," Piper said, as she, Paige and Phoebe stood around Cole. "Cole, think this would work better if I froze you?" she asked, as Cole turned to look at her. "You know, that way we can just drop you back home as the freeze ends and nobody's any the wiser?"
Cole nodded. "Yeah, that sounds fine; freezing shouldn't stop the memory spells working on me," he assured her, as he swallowed slightly, closed his eyes, tilted his head back, and spread his arms slightly. "Let's just do this."
Nodding, Piper quickly flicked her hands at Cole, and, instantly, the once and present Belthazor was frozen, totally unaware of his surroundings.
"Right," Phoebe said, as she glanced over at Piper. "I've got a memory spell we picked up from one of our first jaunts into the future; we need to mention what we want to erase, but if we just ask him to forget the Coven, he should forget everything related to them."
"Perfect," Piper said, as she joined hands with her sisters and faced Cole's immobilised form.
All of these you hold onto tightly
What I now mention
You will not remember."
"The Coven of Reformed Supernaturals!" Phoebe said. A gold light briefly shimmered around Cole's head and then faded.
"Right," Piper said, as she and her sisters nodded resolutely. "One last spell, and he's home."
Nodding, slight tears in her eyes, Phoebe looked back at Cole.
"Goodbye…" she whispered, briefly reflecting on the irony of the situation. A few hours ago, she'd been ready to kill Cole, even if it wasn't exactly this Cole. Now, she could barely even remember what she'd been angry at him about in the first place.
Nodding resolutely, Phoebe clasped her sisters' hands as they stared at Cole.
"A time for everything
And everything in it's place
Return what has been moved
Through time and space."
As soon as the spell was finished, Cole turned into a ball of brilliant golden light and drifted up into the air, before blinking into nothingness.
For a moment, the Coven and their allies were silent, all ten of them, as they contemplated the sacrifice that Cole had made for them. Then, sighing slightly, Angel clapped his hands together and looked around at the others in the room.
"So, now that the immediate concerns are attended to, what do we do next?" he asked.
"What?" Hellboy said, looking over at his 'leader' in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Well, what I mean is, do we go our separate ways, or stick together and help each other out with the occasional problem when it crops up?" Angel asked, raising an eyebrow as he stared around the room. "I mean, I don't know about you guys, but the way I see it, we could make a significantly larger difference in the world if we stayed together, rather than if we just worked individually."
The rest of the Coven looked at each other inquiringly for a few moments, and then Blade smiled and looked back at Angel.
"I don't know about anyone else, but I'm interested," he said, smiling at his friend. "I mean, hey; the chance to work with the only other vampires in history who aren't homicidal maniacs? What's not to like?"
Spike and Illyria glanced over at each other, and smiled briefly before Spike looked back at Angel.
"Well, you know Blue and me, Peaches; any excuse to kick some demon arse," he said, as he patted Illyria affectionately on the shoulder. "We're in if you are."
Constantine and Hellboy nodded in agreement as well, before the rest of the Coven turned to look at Leo.
"Well, Leo?" Hellboy asked, smiling slightly at the former army medic. "You want to stick around, or what?"
Leo looked at the Coven thoughtfully for a few moments, and then turned back to look at the Halliwells, an inquiring look on his face. He opened his mouth to say something, but Piper clapped her hand over his mouth and looked at him critically.
"Don't bother trying to weasel out of this, Leo," she said, staring harshly at her husband. "These guys need a contact with the Elders, you've already got experience with them, and, quite frankly, no offence on them, but someone who's totally good would help to remind them what they're fighting for."
"Besides," Paige added, smiling over at her brother-in-law, "look at it this way; things go wrong, they'll be able to call us for assistance."
Leo sighed, smiled slightly, and turned back to look at the Coven.
"I'm in," he said, as he stuck out one hand in front of him. Constantine laid his own hand on top of Leo's, followed by the other members of the Coven. As Hellboy laid his non-stone left hand on top of the others, even though nobody present noticed it, a burst of magical energy emitted from the seven people standing there, blazing upwards into the higher dimensions like a beacon of hope…
Up in a higher plain of reality, where not even the Elders were fully aware of what took place, two people, a dark-haired man and a curly-haired brunette, looked down at the sight before them, and smiled.
"They did it…" the woman chuckled to herself, as she glanced over at her new acquaintance. "I can hardly believe it… but they pulled it off."
"Yeah, I know," the man replied, smiling affectionately down at the seven figures before he glanced over at the woman. "So… can I get down there soon? I mean, from what you've said, they are going to need my help…"
The woman shook her head.
"No, not yet," she said, apologetically looking at her new friend. "The time is not right.
"But soon. Very soon. I promise."
AN: Well, that's this story over; hope you enjoyed it. And if you wish to see more of our favourite dark champions, don't worry; soon, an old face and a new one shall join the Coven, a new danger will be released, and the Coven shall learn that even the darkest soul is still a soul, as they clash with…
The Gathering of Supernatural Psychopaths