Yeah. This fic is for all those, whose, like mine, mind would not be at rest till an alternative ending was written. Bon appetite.
A/N: This fic starts from pg. 514 in "Ptolemy's Gate". Also forget about the last two of Kitty's Chapters, it won't really make sense otherwise.
" WHAT? The Bloody cheek!! Insults at a time like this! With death bearing down, etc. I ask you. I rolled up my metaphorical sleeves. Well, since we're doing some straight talking, let me tell you buddy-
Which is why I'm dismissing you right now. "
WHAT!?! I cried out for the second time in a minute. I knew I'd misheard; he couldn't be dismissing me, not now, not after everything…images of Ptolemy, lying alone, wounded in some god-forsaken tomb flashed through my mind…Not again… but at the same time I knew it was true. I could read his mind after all. Besides, I was already feeling the familiar tug at my essence.
Quickly a scanned my brain hoping for some way to save my stupid, noble master.
Then, an idea struck me, an absurd idea… but an idea none the less. Without thinking further I lunged my essence into his mind and body, valiantly resisting against the words of power that threatened to pull me home, trying to gain a few extra seconds. Further and further I dived, past all memories, past all his sub-conscious though, into the depths that Nathaniel didn't even know he had, till I found it.
Humans themselves don't actually have essence, what they have is a soul. Ptolemy had looked briefly into souls, but not for long. He was more interested in what "demons" were made of, not humans. None the less, knew I'd found the human version of essence. Elation exploded inside me. I'd found it! I hadn't even known if this was possible. Then, the feeling was snatched away as my essence gave a heave as it tried to pull away. Nathaniel had almost finished the dismissal. I had, what? 3 seconds? Without further ado, I dived into his soul, rapidly entwining, weaving, and anchoring myself into his spirit.
There was a pause.
Then my Essence gave an almighty lurch, but I held for a bit longer. Something was going to have to give.
Bartimaes… Nathaniel started, his thoughts wavering as he brought the staff above his knee. Nouda was almost upon us. If you ever see Kitty again, tell her…he paused.
Tell her yourself. I said.
That was when our souls got yanked out of this world.
The staff, already on its way down, hit Nathaniel's knee and shattered.
Nathaniel's body was disintegrated.
Nouda was destroyed.
Kitty stumbled blearily along the path leading away from the glass palace, her cut stinging the bitter wind, thinking. Something wasn't right about Nathaniel's attitude. It seemed… different. More like his proud stuck up magician self. When he promised he'd be back, she could have sworn it was the same kind of promise that he gave her with the golem incident. She turned around to face the glass palace one last time. There was Nouda, advancing close to where she thought the centre must be. If she looked closely through the cracked panes, she thought she could see a small figure that must be Nathaniel and Bartimaes. The figure raised its arms; and brought them crashing down. Kitty gave out a gasp as a raging blaze of light propelled out of the figure, and consumed all in the building with a blinding white light, making Kitty to screw her eyes shut, as she heard it end with an earth ripping explosion, and the building crumpling in on itself.
Kitty forced open her eyes and looked at where the Glass palace had stood proudly not 5 minutes ago. Now, there was a smoking crater, with glowing white molten iron encasing what was left of a Nouda sized lump, until that too, finally sunk to the earth.
But Kitty didn't see that. She was looking at the spot, 3 feet in front of it where Nathaniel had stood.
Kitty had never cried. Not when Jakob was lying on the hospital bed, whilst she stood unharmed, not when her parents had sold her out to Nathaniel, not even when the entire Resistance save two perished at the claws of a mad Demon; but she cried now.
Nathaniel blearily regained something along the lines of consciousness, or at any rate, everything came into focus. He blinked (or tried to, what with having no eyelids). He was floating, he could feel that much, but that was pretty much all he could feel. And as to where… He looked around in curiosity for a few seconds, taking in the swirling patches of light and colour. He felt oddly detached. Then, suddenly he saw a face forming out of the whirling colours. It was of a girl. She was very pretty, he noted mildly. She had long, flowing black hair, brown eyes that seemed to sparkle, and an elegant face.
Nathaniel jolted as the events of the day hit him. Hard.
I'm dead. He thought wildly this must be the afterlife. He heard something snort behind him. Spinning himself round he faced the entity.
Too right Natty.
Are you dead too? I thought I'd dismissed you in time. Besides, I didn't think De- er… Djinni went to the same afterlife as humans.
The floating tendrils that were Bartimaes made an odd sort of noise between a cough and a laugh.
Yes that's right. Here you are floating around in the afterlife with every single imp, foliot, djinni, afrit, marid and human that ever existed, including Nouda.
His voice sank forlornly.
No. This is the Otherplace. The spinning mass that was Nathaniel jerked violently. Not that it mattered; it wasn't as if you could crash into anyone here. You were everyone here.
WHAT? How did I get here?
I dragged you here.
How in Gladstone's name did you do that?
I clung to your essence. Er… soul.
So you saved my life?
No, I saved your soul. Difference.
There was a pause.
How do I get back?
Hey! The voice said indignantly. I just got you out of the chaos in that world, now you want to go back? Don't you want to stay here?
No! I just…he hesitated. Want to see how, er… Kitty's doing.
Oh you can't hide anything from me. We're still stuck together. Even more so now I've done the whole soul sticky together thing.
So… I can read your mind. The Soul-blob went red.
Oh Hey! Don't change the subject! I can get back, right?.
Bartimaes drifted around uncomfortably.
But, since you don't have a body, and you weren't brought here by pentacle, you'll probably have to wait until I'm summoned.
Fantastic. I'm stuck with you for possibly the next hundred years or so.
Hey! I did save your life.
Soul. We better not have to wait long.
They didn't. All too soon Bartimaes felt the familiar pull on his being. He checked quickly on Nathaniel, and making sure they were firmly tied together, let the pull take hold of them, and they were sucked towards Earth.
We'd better not be in America. Said Bartimaes glumly.
Kitty didn't know how long she just sat there sobbing quietly, but it can't have been long, as when she felt a small hand grasp her shoulder gently- flames were still greedily licking at the surrounding area. She looked around at the disarray for a moment, before she realised it was snowing. Wait, not snowing. Kitty looked down at her knees (she'd sunk to the ground earlier, her strength finally deserting her). It glittered like millions of tiny jewels, just lying there. It was glass. The remains of the Glass Palace were raining down on London, a sign of celebration for most, but to Kitty, it was just a bitter reminder for what had been lost.
"Miss," a quiet voice asked timidly. Kitty whirled around to see the slightly startled face of Ms Piper. "Miss," She said again. "I have to ask you to move, you'll be getting away with the tidying away." Kitty looked around slowly. Various demons were picking up bits of debris, not even bothering with disguises. After all what was the point? The commoners had all been put in assorted buildings that hadn't been damaged. This place must have been cornered off.
"Miss?" Ms Piper prompted. Kitty nodded dimly, and she stood up shakily, supporting her slim frame on the young woman. She pulled her out of the way as Kitty swayed dangerously close to a large djinni which looked like several boulders stuck together in the rough shape of a man.
Kitty whipped round to face Nathaniel's assistant.
"Ms Piper, are there any Pentacles near by?" She frowned.
"Yes, in that building over there, but I don't see how-"But Kitty was already running towards the building with renewed energy. If she could summon Bartimaes…
She knew there was only a snowballs chance in hell that either of them had survived but she had to make sure.
She slammed through the door and looked round wildly. There was a pentacle in a nice deserted corner. Kitty bolted towards it and stood inside the circle, briefly checking that everything was correct.
She stepped into the circle and quickly mumbled a basic summoning, then waited. Seconds past.
Kitty's heart sank. They weren't coming. They were gone. It didn't usually take this long for a djinni to appear. She sank wearily to her knees.
"Well hello to you too Kitty." Her head shot up. There was a glowing orb hovering above the pentacle.
"Bartimaes? You're alive!"
"I know! I'm a lot harder to kill than you'd think."
"What about… Nathaniel?" The orb hummed for a moment.
"Ah. Yes. Well that's complicated." Kitty's temper flared.
"You know, if he's dead just say it!"
"That's the thing. He's not exactly dead." Kitty's spirits soared as she jumped up into the air, then they dropped suddenly.
"What d'you mean, not exactly dead?"
"Well," Bartimaes paused, and the orb floated round in a circle for a moment. "His body's been destroyed, but I managed to save his soul."
"Well, where is it?"
"In here with me."
"What?" Bartimaes sighed.
"Perhaps I should start form the beginning…" Bartimaes went on to explain about the staff, the dismissal, dragging Nathaniel's soul into the other place, and all that. By the end, Kitty's head was reeling. This was unheard of! But then, she mused, so was encasing a Djinni inside a human body, along side a magician's mind. Kitty sighed. She didn't know how many more shocks she could take today.
"Ok. But why isn't Nathaniel saying anything?"
"Oh, I think the summoning took a lot out of him. It is, after all, designed for essences, not souls. That's also why I'm in this simple form, I don't want to damage is soul any further."
"So, what now?" Bartimaes pondered for a moment.
"How many word of power do you know?"
"Only the Stipples." Mr Button was never big on words of Power. He only taught Kitty the Stipples for the odd un-cooperative demon.
The orb sighed.
"Can't you un-weave yourself? I feel stupid talking to a ball." Kitty continued.
"No. We're too tangled." He paused there, and after a moment spoke again. "There is this spell I know, some magician in ancient Rome stupidly summoned me and another djinni in the same pentacle, and our essence got mashed together. He used a spell to get us apart. Say: Scindo animus seorsum"
Slightly wary, Kitty repeated.
There was a loud cracking sound and the orb jerked in two smaller orbs, and a trail of bubble had appeared between the two, rising, and eventually bursting in a puff of sparks.
Then the smaller of the two balls gave a violent shudder, and warped into a swirling disk of light.
The orb morphed and became Ptolemy. Ptolemy shook himself violently. "Eugh. I swear it didn't hurt that much last time." Kitty stood up a warily examined one of the remaining bubbles.
"What are those?"
"Oh. That must be bits of our souls that broke of when we were wrenched apart." He prodded a bubble that was floating above his head. It popped with a sparkle.
Kitty turned back to what was now Nathaniel.
"His soul will heal, won't it?" Bartimaes nodded.
"Oh yes. Over time, just like my essence does in the Otherplace." There was a tentative pause.
"So what now?" Ptolemy's shoulders shrugged.
"I wonder if we can wake him up at least." Bartimaes pointed a finger at the whirlpool of light and shot a weak spasm at it. It hurtled towards his Soul.
Neither of them could have expected what would happen next. The spasm hit the light with an odd squelch, and was slowly absorbed into the light. The light sunk to the floor, and a speck appeared in the centre of the light, getting larger and larger as more of the spasm was absorbed, then… it stopped.
Kitty peered down into the soul light, which was now significantly smaller. Her eyes widened.
"It's…it's an embryo!"
"An embryo! When a human child is developing inside a mothers womb, its an embryo!"
"Oh. Well, you can't blame me, I'm hardly expected to pay attention to all your weird human quirks."
"Well, how'd it do that???"
"His soul must be feeding of the magic in my spasm. I guess it doesn't like being in a nice swirly patch of light." He said at last.
"Well then feed it some more!"
"You better stand back then." Kitty shook her head pointing to the amulet which still resided on her chest. He rolled his eyes muttering about stubborn humans.
Bartimaes clapped his hands together and screwed up his eyes. A raging inferno shot out of his hands, enveloping Nathaniel. Kitty squinted through the whirl of fire to check on Nathaniel, seeing the fast receding light, and the fast developing child. It was already roughly the same age as when she first set eyes on him, and his soul light only went out from his body about a foot. But between the inferno itself, and the light from the inferno getting sucked into the amulet, she couldn't be sure.
Kitty stepped closer. Nathaniel was well into his mid teens now, steadily getting older, then…
"Stop!" She shrieked. The inferno was sucked back into a panting Bartimaes.
Nathaniel was back to his regular age, with several singed hairs. "If you'd gone on much longer you'd have fried him to a crisp." Bartimaes puffed out his chest indignantly.
"Honestly. I bring you're boyfriend back from the dead, and that's the sort of thanks I get? I ask you…" Kitty blushed.
"Well…" they were interrupted by a soft groaning noise. "Nathaniel!" She rushed over to his side. His eyes fluttered open.
"Kitty?" She breathed a sigh of relief. He was alright! Nathaniel gave a strange sort of giggle. "Pretty Kitty. I like Kitty." Another giggle. She looked at Bartimaes.
"What's wrong with him?" She yelled at Bartimaes. He winced.
"I'm sure his brain's just a bit addled. Re-growing 17 years of you're life will do that to a guy." She turned back to Nathaniel. And looked into his eyes. Slowly, she leaned in and kissed him softly on his lips. That seemed to snap him back to the real world.
"I didn't get a chance to do that before." She said breathlessly. Nathaniel smiled and leaned in and kissed her again. She smiled. "Welcome back."
"Good to be back."
Bartimaes coughed loudly.
"Er…Love birds? I hate to interrupt this, but one of you is naked."
After Bartimaes had fetched some clothes (which Nathaniel promptly changed into) they stood side by side in the charred remains of the house. Bartimaes had spotted an old friend form Egypt, and was currently helping him lug the bulky remains of a tree that had a large bite in the side claiming the two love birds wanted some time alone anyway.
Suddenly Kitty punched Nathaniel on the arm.
"Ow!" he rubbed his arm. "What was that for?"
"Trying to break you're promise to come back."
"Oh. Sorry about that."
She turned and faced him, and flicked her hair back, then kissed him soundly on the lips.
"What was that for?" he asked softly. She grinned.
"Keeping your promise anyway."
He smiled at her and embraced her back.
They sat side by side leaning against the wall, just enjoying each others company.
"I suppose we should be getting back." Nathaniel said at last.
"I'll have to help re-organise what left of the government."
"I hope you'll invite commoners to join this time." He smirked.
"Of course. Besides, would you let me do it any other way?"
"Nope. And I guess someone better check on the remaining Londoners."
"And Bartimaes will want dismissing."
Neither of them moved.
Kitty sighed and stood, helping the still weak Nathaniel up with her. She kissed him on the cheek, then, hand in hand, they walked back into reality.