Written in response to the 22nd prompt in fanfic100: enemies. I had planned something longer, but it sort of started writing itself, and then I realized that what I had planned was part of an entirely different fic. This is pain-inducingly short, but it sort of had to be that way. Anyway, I'm just rambling. Enjoy, and please give me your thoughts.

A/N, April 24, 2006: The formatting has been fixed (I hope). I blame my computer.

Disclaimer: Never was; is not; will never be mine.

Enemies

It was a welcome stay in the Other Place. My essence, though it had been temporarily shielded by Nathaniel's flesh, was still sore. I relaxed, melting into the chaos all around.

I don't know how long I floated there - and and here, and everywhere. It could have been anywhere from five seconds to fifty years. If I concentrate, I can feel the passing of mortal time in the Other Place, but I hadn't been concentrating. In any case, it was quite long enough for my essence to be almost completely healed. I was feeling better than I had in years. In five years, actually. Five years, not counting the time I'd just spent drifting in the Other Place's anarchy.

I hadn't felt this energetic since I'd first been summoned by Nathaniel.

It's funny, isn't it? I mean life. Death. Vaules. Everything, I don't know.

That kid had put me through so much. How many death missions had he sent me on? Eight, at least. In five years. Yet, in the end, I'd been perfectly happy to die beside him. And for what? For a bunch of humans.

Doesn't that contradict everything I stand for?

I had been ready to sacrifice myself . . . to save humans from spirits. To save the enemy from my kin.

But through how much should loyalties stand? Call me a turncoat, but having unconditional loyalty sounds a bit like being brainwashed to me. Nouda had been crazy. Deluded. And Kitty . . . Well I'd had to save her. For Ptolemy's sake.

So I had made the right choice. It just strikes me as funny that the right choice had involved me readily going to my death with an enemy.

The enemy, really. The enemy I had been fighting for five thousand years.

I had been absolutely ready to die with him. And, at the end, I had been sorry to see him go. I'd seen in him, in that last moment, in his dying act, a fragment of the altruism of that odd little boy who'd summoned me five years before.

Nathaniel.

The enemy. A friend.