Scanty stepped into the hotel-room and spotted Thumbscrew near the window.
"Thumbscrew, do you have it?" Scanty crossed the room to stand beside him and looked down on the short demon.
"Yes of course." He replied in his screechy voice. He moved to a nearby table to reveal a gun similar to the one he had mode before. There were a few differences though. It had only a single barrel instead of three and it was a menacing red with black. It was overall smaller than the one before but had a wider barrel and no means of aiming evident.
"It's single use only after which the gun itself will come apart. Shoot as close to the target as possible." Thumbscrew explained.
"So this will make Rowdy fight against Panty and Stocking? What does it do?" Scanty asked.
"Yes. It will force the ghost side to take over and enhance it. Furthermore with the samples I got from the broken gun parts I infused it with the powers of the Hells-Monkey. He will be able to use the powers of all the ghosts he has ever been into contact with as well as strengthen his own." answered Thumbscrew with a smug sneer.
"Perfect." Scanty replied.
Rowdy had somewhat come to terms with Kneesocks and Lacey over the last couple of days. The first few days were awkward but Stocking had surprisingly warmed up to Kneesocks very fast and Kneesocks felt more comfortable after that. Kneesocks was definitely different when Scanty or her father weren't around. She was less mean, didn't care that much what Panty or Stocking did and was a bit more relaxed about the rules thing. It was clear she cared a lot about Lacey.
Brief had called him the day before and Rowdy had told him how Stocking was doing and what had happened with Scanty. He didn't tell about Lacey and Kneesocks as he thought Brief had enough to deal with.
"Lacey, what are you doing?" Rowdy asked. Lacey had been concentrated on Stocking laptop for a few hours now and it was unusual for her to be that focused on something for so long.
"Searching for a new place." She scribbled something down. "I like it here but it was always meant to be temporary. And it would be fun to have a place of our own." She said cheerily. "We could make the place pretty and put fun stuff in it. Oh! We could put in a slide instead of stairs!.."
Rowdy chuckled as Lacey rambled on. Garterbelt had sent Panty and Stocking to deal with a ghost and Rowdy wondered if they were alright. Stocking had been a bit more like herself lately but she still had that look in her eyes. At first all you could see was emptiness like she was dead but now it was like she was burning. It wasn't just about what had happened last time between Stocking and Brief but Rowdy didn't know her well enough to help and Panty didn't handle stuff like that well.
A car arrived with squealing tires interrupting Rowdy's thoughts and Stocking burst into the room. Her eyes were wide as she hurriedly approached Rowdy.
"Rowdy, it's Panty." Instantly Rowdy went rigid. "I…I don't know what happened, I…She was behind me and…I didn't…" Stocking went on and dragged Rowdy the car. "She didn't wake up and…" They stopped and Rowdy saw Panty lying unconscious in the back of the car soaked in blood.
"Lacey, get Garterbelt here, now." Rowdy said as he went to pick Panty up from the car. He lay Panty down on the sofa and saw Stocking who was shaking. Rowdy was desperately trying to remain calm and Stocking wasn't making it easier. Lacey returned with Garterbelt who said Panty was fine and had at most a minor concussion.
Rowdy sighed with relief and looked over at stocking who had stopped shaking. Stocking was relieved. "Thank god she's alright. Everyone is fine, it's all fine. But it's not all fine is it?" The emotions she had put behind walls were braking free and she was feeling the hole that Brief left more than ever. With what almost happened with Panty because of her, she couldn't deal with all of it. She ran.
"Shit!" cursed Rowdy, "Lacey look after Panty, okay?"
"Sure." She replied, not quite back to her usual cheery self, and Rowdy ran after Stocking.
Brief was watching the church from across the street lost in thought. Once again he remembered what Thumbscrew had said to him. "The only way to remove the powers from your body is to transfer them to a new host but this will also drain your life along with it. You will die." Later he went to Garterbelt who pretty much confirmed
He saw Stocking drive with breakneck speed to the church and ran out of it again a few minutes later. Brief arrived 2 days ago to speak with Garterbelt and had moved to one of the buildings across from it which was empty. He had been trying to decide what to do. He wanted to go back desperately so but not if it hurt Stocking. He couldn't help to question if it would be better if he was gone from their lives.
He saw Rowdy go after Stocking and shortly after Panty too. Brief figured they would make sure Stocking was alright and he went to the church. He knocked on the door, he could use the shadows but he didn't want to give Lacey a heart attack. Lacey gave a yelp and let him in too surprised to say anything else.
"Uh hi again Lacey, I hope I didn't scare you too much. Not really a great first impression." He smiled.
"No uh that's alright. You saved me so thanks sooo much!" she said cheerily a big smile frowning on her own face. Than Brief saw the sofa was drenched in red and he went pale.
"What? No! No, it's just ketchup." Lacey hastily answered.
"Ketchup?" Brief questioned.
"Yea apparently Panty had crashed into a hotdog cart or something and got covered." Lacey explained. Brief frowned still confused.
"So why was Stocking so upset?"
"They were fighting some ghost and…"Lacey trailed off as someone banged on the door. She opened it and Kneesocks stormed inside only to stop abruptly as she caught sight of Brief. Brief looked from her to Lacey and back.
"So I'm guessing a lot happened since…" Kneesocks interrupted him.
"There is no time for this. Brief we'll talk about that later but please listen now. Scanty has slipped away from under fathers nose and I'm almost certain she's after Panty, Stocking and Rowdy. I know my sister and she feels as if she has lost everything and it's their fault."
Panty caught up with Stocking and Rowdy just outside the park which Stocking had been running towards without even realizing it.
"What the hell is going on?! Stocking why'd you run away?"
"Well this is just perfect!" All three turned and saw Scanty walking towards them from the park. Panty reacted first and drew her guns. Scanty deflected her shots with her own guns. She shot back with her left gun driving Panty back. At the same time she ran towards Rowdy.
Stocking was reacting slowly and had only just grabbed her katanas as she watched Scanty jump Rowdy. Panty saw Scanty put her second gun against his chest. It was strange like the one in their fight before only slightly different. Scanty pulled the trigger and the shot was deafening.
Rowdy felt the gun at his chest, the barrel large and heavy. He heard the shot and then pain flooded him. It burned through his veins and his vision went red then black.
"Lacey call Garterbelt." Brief said as they climbed into the car. "Kneesocks, talk."
"Eh, well first thing is you have to understand Scanty is a…difficult person especially for herself. Like me father forced her to fight. She wanted father's approval and she made herself what he wanted her to be. Now she lost everyone she cares about, it hurts and she doesn't know why. She blames Panty and Stocking as she has always done." The drive didn't take long as the others were on foot.
"Rowdy!" Scanty yelled. The moment she had shot him she knew she had made a mistake. She merely had wanted him back to how he had been. Fighting with her against Panty and Stocking. But this wasn't Rowdy; this was a being of pure burning hatred. Rowdy's gaze locked on Panty and he moved to her. Panty was still shocked from Rowdy being shot and was slow to react.
"Rowdy, stop. What happened to you?" Panty asked with growing concern and fear. Rowdy was holding a large one-handed sword with saw like teeth on one side. He leaped, aiming to strike Panty but Stocking had recovered enough to incept him.
Their swords clashed and the force threw Stocking back until she was beside Panty.
"Panty, I don't think Rowdy is in control anymore." Panty looked at her for a moment and then she grabbed her guns and stood up.
"No he is still in there. He isn't that fuckin' weak." Rowdy advanced on them once again.
Scanty watched as the two angels tried to take Rowdy down. Rowdy's speed increased and he slipped past Stocking. He grabbed Panty and pushed off against the ground. Stocking and Scanty were for a moment astonished to see Rowdy was flying.
Panty tried to fight him of but his grip was to strong. Rowdy razed Panty up and threw her down. She crashed into a wall and slid down bleeding and unmoving. "This isn't Rowdy. What…What have I done!" Scanty thought to herself horrified. She ran to Rowdy and grabbed his arm.
"Rowdy stop! This isn't you. This isn't how it was supposed to go!" Rowdy glanced over his shoulder at her and ripped his arm out of her grasp before hitting her. She slid a few feet over the ground and was stunned by the blow for a few moments.
Brief, Lacey and Kneesocks found the angels and Rowdy and immediately shot into action. Brief first went to the motionless Panty and found her injured and unconscious but alive. Lacey and Kneesocks ran towards the ongoing fight and Kneesocks stopped beside Scanty.
"Sis, what did you do?" Scanty was crying and had never looked so defeated and distraught.
"I…It wasn't supposed to…He is out of control Kneesocks." Kneesocks quickly turned and saw Lacey running towards a rage and hate fueled Rowdy.
Stocking was on her last legs. It had taken everything she had just to fend him off. "Brief, I need you." Lacey suddenly jumped in front of Rowdy. "No! What is she doing? He'll kill her!"
"Rowdy stop! What are you doing? Panty and Stocking are our friends!"
Kneesocks ran to Lacey as fast as she could and jumped in between.
"Kneesocks noooo!" Scanty yelled.
Kneesocks gasped as Rowdy stabbed his sword through her. The sword slid out of her and she fell into Lacey's arms.
"Kneesocks, no! don't die, please don't die!" Tears streamed down her face and she was holding Kneesocks tight as if trying to hold onto her life. Kneesocks smiled at her.
"I always have to…get you out of trouble don't I?" She whispered.
Rowdy had stopped for a moment but was once again direction his rage to the nearest person, Lacey. Brief had more power raging through him then he had ever had before. He tackled Rowdy smashing him through a three. Rowdy got to his feet. He was now standing in the middle of the park. They stared at each other and Brief took the time to examine Rowdy.
He hadn't simple gone to his ghost form. His eyes where literally blazing, energy coursing out of them like fire. Instead of the dark charcoal color his skin was now almost completely black. It had a soft red gleam as is reflected the ghostly energy that was surrounding his form. Combined with near shark like teeth and hands formed into claws he looked monstrous.
Rowdy growled and he threw a ball of fire towards Brief. caught off guard he ducked and narrowly escaped a face full of fire. Brief stepped forward now more cautious. He made a spear by freezing liquid metal and threw it at Rowdy. He evaded with a speed that matched Brief, no it was even faster! He dashed towards Brief who sidestepped and attempted to hit him with a shaking fist. Rowdy jumped to evade, threw a needle-like spear at him and landed a few feet away.
Meanwhile Brief had formed two orbs of freezing nitrogen and flung them at Rowdy. "Fireballs? Two can play that game." Passed through his mind as he saw that the freezing orbs had struck temporarily pinning Rowdy. Brief jumped and send power to his hand. Rowdy broke loose and Brief struck the ground. The ground shook with tremors and Rowdy flew into the air throwing another needle. It struck Brief in the shoulder and came out the other side.
"Fuck! That's just not fair!" Brief exclaimed pulling out the needle. Rowdy took off with blinding speed heading straight for Brief. Brief threw a few more spears into the air but Rowdy easily dodged them. Rowdy flew into Brief and Brief crashed through two trees before slamming into a third and sliding down. "Fuck that hurt!" no sooner had he stood up and Rowdy punched him through the tree. Heat overwhelmed him and he looked down to see Rowdy had molten the protective metal shell.
Rowdy's sword was blazing now and Brief molded one just like his spears earlier. Rowdy sliced it in half and cut Brief deep. Brief was breathing heavy and slumped to one knee still refusing to give up. Rowdy kicked his head and Brief collapsed. He lay slowly bleeding out without the strength to get up again. Rowdy approached him sword raised for the kill and then he felt a hand gripping his shoulder.
"Get up!" Stocking said to him, "Brief you can do this and you have to get up now." Brief lay his hand on top of Stocking's and gasped. Inside he felt a surge of power. He felt it before when he nearly went out of control and it had given him the strength to come back. He felt it stronger now and not only in him but also Stocking. Suddenly he understood what he had to do. He gripped Stocking's hand and locked eyes with her again. "Thanks, it'll be alright now." Brief said and then he reached out. He reached out with his power to Stockings and drew it in.
Power filled him unlike before. It was entirely different from the Hells-Monkey, lighter somehow but just as powerful. It was the Emerald-Phoenix, the key to heaven. The two sources of power combined to something more than its sum. His wound closed, he scanned for Rowdy and pushed of.
All energy left Stocking and she slumped into a seating position against a tree. She had watched dumbfounded as Brief transformed before her eyes. His wound had closed and fatigue left him. The red ring that appeared around his irises when he used the powers of the Hells-Monkey disappeared and instead his eyes blazed with and emerald fire brighter then Rowdy's. His hair became white and angel-wings appeared on his back seemingly made from of green energy. Brief stood up and held a sword; it was a white two-sided one-handed long sword.
Brief pushed off and flew directly towards Rowdy. Rowdy threw another needle that was followed by a trail of fire. Brief was flying towards it one moment and the he was behind it. Stocking was bewildered until she remembered where she had seen it before, the TV-ghost that could teleport himself. Brief had smashed Rowdy's sword to pieces with his own and had worn him down.
Rowdy started towards him again but Brief was impossibly fast. He kneed him in the chin and punched him in the gut. He grabbed Rowdy's arm and hurled him to the ground. The ground shook as he crashed into it creating a crater from the force. Brief landed beside him and grabed his now blazing white emerald sword.
"Wait! Brief don't kill him!" Lacey yelled, "Please the real Rowdy is still in there. Help him." Brief stared at her and contemplated for a moment before nodding and lowering his sword. He thought back at what Thumbscrew had said to him earlier and he knew what he had to do to help his friend. "The only way to remove the powers from your body is to transfer them to a new host but this will also drain your life along with it. You will die."
Brief was surprisingly calm an okay with what he was about to do. He turned to Stocking and looked at her as if for the last time. "I'm sorry." he said to her with a sad smile.
With one hand he held Rowdy up by his shoulder and the other he placed on her chest. He gathered power from within him and let it flow into Rowdy. Rowdy began struggling and shimmering. Brief thrust hand to the side and Rowdy split. Brief kept pouring his strength into the two Rowdy's until his vision blurred into black and he felt himself fall to the ground.
Stocking saw Brief lift Rowdy up and put his hand on his chest. A moment later his hand moved to the right fast. Rowdy was pulled apart. It was like Brief had ripped the ghost part out of Rowdy. Brief stood upright for a few moments more and then he collapsed. Immediately Stocking rushed to him.
"Brief!" He looked like his normal self again. Rowdy and Ghost-Rowdy looked to be doing fine. Brief on the other hand was pale. He was barely breathing. Stocking tried to move him but she was too exhausted and he was too heavy.
Stocking ran to were Panty lay. She knelt down next to her.
"P…Panty, wake up! Wake up!" she yelled lightly slapping her cheek. Panty's eyes sprang open. She sat up and looked at the devastation around them.
"Where is Rowdy?" she asked.
"I…I think he's okay but it's Brief Panty. I…I think he's…We need to get him to a hospital or something."
"Brief?! When did he get here? Is he wounded?"
"Yes. No. I don't know. Maybe." Stocking was starting to panic. Panty stood up and started limping towards the crater where the boys lay.
"What happened?" Panty asked?
"W…Well, one moment he was fine. He did something to help Rowdy and then he collapsed."
"Call Garterbelt." said Panty. Stocking was taken aback and actually faltered in her step for a moment. She was surprised not only because Panty actually said something logical and helpful but also that she didn't think of it herself.
Both Rowdy's opened their eyes. Rowdy sat up while Ghost-Rowdy scrambled around clawing at the ground and screaming. Everyone looked at him then Stocking spoke.
"Panty, help me get Brief in the car then help Lacey whit the Rowdy's." Panty glanced at Ghost-Rowdy and then back at Stocking.
"He is a screaming mess, Stocking. What am I supposed to do?"
"I don't know?! We don't have time for that now!"
Stocking didn't have time to think about anything else but Brief and she called Garterbelt as soon as they got him in the car. She listened for a while to his instructions. They put Rowdy and Brief in the car and drove to the hospital. Stocking grabbed Brief hugging him.
"Brief, please hang on. Don't…don't leave me again." Stocking chocked out between sobs.
Brief opened his eyes and stared at a florescent lighted ceiling. "What the fuck? This isn't hell it doesn't smell as bad. I hope this isn't heaven. If it is I understand why Panty wants to stay on earth." Brief looked around and found himself in a hospital. His movement stirred Stocking who had been sleeping slumped in a chair with her head on his bed. She sat up and rubbed her eyes groggy from sleep. They stared at each other for a moment before Stocking yelped and jumped him, she hugged him like he was the last pudding on sale.
Suddenly she let go and started hitting him on the chest.
"Stupid idiot! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"
"St…Stocking, stop." Brief croaked out but Stocking ignored him.
"Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"
Brief grabbed her hands to stop her from pounding on his chest.
"Could you please stop and tell me why you're hitting me?" Brief asked. This wasn't exactly the reaction he had expected to him being alive. Stocking slumped back in the chair defeated.
"Idiot, doing something so dangerous."
"I'm sorry." Brief said. Stocking looked at him angrily.
"I hadn't heard from you in months!"
"I'm sorry." Brief said again guiltily.
"I thought so long it was all my fault."
"Idiot! Coming back after all that time and the only thing you say before almost getting yourself killed is 'I'm sorry'!" Stocking was breathing heavily and standing fists shaking.
"Brief you stupid senseless idiot! 'I'm sorry'. I'm sorry for what? For leaving? For coming back? For nearly dying? For what!?" Stocking nearly screamed.
"Yes, all of it. I'm sorr…"
"Stop saying you're sorry!"
"Than what I'm I supposed to do?" asked Brief softly. He didn't know what he could do. There wasn't anything he could do. Stocking hated him and Brief couldn't blame her.
"What?" Stocking had mumbled something he couldn't make out.
"Beg me to take you back, you moron!" Stocking hit his chest again and buried her face in his chest. Brief's jaw dropped in astonishment.
"Y..You d…don't hate me?" he stammered, "why? You should hate me. Why would you take me back? You deserve so much better than me. I'm not good enough."
"Who are you to decide you're not good enough for me? Why wouldn't you be? Because you're kind, smart, brave? Because when I'm lost you're the one that finds me or because you love me for who I am and not what I am?" Stocking finished softly. Brief stared perplexed at Stocking who still wasn't looking at him.
"Really? You…you'll take me back?" Stocking looked up.
"…No" Stocking said and she saw hurt growing in his eyes. "Beg me." She smiled mischievously. Brief let out a sigh of relief and grinned back.
"Stocking could you find it in your heart to forgive me for being a selfish idiot? And if by some miracle you do, would you please, please, please take me back?" Brief said in a soft husky voice and his face got closer to Stocking's with every 'please' he said.
"Only if you promise me two things." Stocking still spoke with the same playfulness as before but there was seriousness in her eyes.
"First is we will tackle every problem together from now on. Secondly don't ever think you're not good enough for me. Don't treat me like some perfect celestial being but as a person and let me decide that for myself." Stocking had inched away from him.
"I'll never keep anything for you again Stocking I promise. And it was always who you are and not what you are that made me fall for you." Stocking looked at him with teary eyes and smiled the widest smile Brief had ever seen on her. Stocking flung herself at him and kissed him passionately.
They heard a couch and only then realized Garterbelt and Panty had been watching.
"W…When did you…How long…" Stuttered Stocking embarrassed as her face flushed scarlet.
"Well you weren't exactly quit when you were beating him like a raw steak." Panty teased.
"Hi Panty, how is Rowdy and…the other Rowdy?" Brief asked.
"Rowdy is still being a pussy about being half human like Lacey but otherwise fine. Rowdy took care of the other Rowdy himself. He said he wanted to 'defeat his own demons' or whatever." Panty shrugged like she didn't acre. Brief knew different and smiled.
"And how is Lacey?"
"Still shaken up of course. She's with Kneesocks now but she said she's visit later."
"Kneesocks?" Brief replied confused "She didn't die?"
"No, Scanty got skewered first so Kneesocks was just slowly bleeding out." Said Panty, never one to be subtle.
Brief and Garterbelt talked a bit. They came to the conclusion Brief had survived thanks to being in possession of two keys. He had gotten enough power in Rowdy to stabilize the split without depleting his own energy. After that they left and he was alone again with Stocking. He looked at her and smiled. He would never know how everything had worked out so unimaginably great. Suddenly Stocking grinned at him.
"What is it?" Brief asked razing an eyebrow.
"I think there is one more thing I need before I can forgive you." Stocking's tone had become serious.
"Something else? What is it?" Brief said anxious.
"Can you still make those cookies?" Stocking said grinning even wider than before. Brief laughed and pulled her closer.
A/N: It's over! Finally finished after 21 chapters. This was only supposed to be around 10 chapter from the start since it was my first fic and all. Guess I got a little carried away, hehe. I learned a lot from making this story. There are many things I would do differently if I would write this again now but I'm very happy with how the story itself has turned out.
I want to thank every single one who favorited, followed and reviewed this. It gave me the motivation to keep writing and coming up with new stuff. I also want to thank everyone who read this.
creeves59: Here was your big finalé, I hope you liked it.
Thanks again for reading and I hope you'll ear more of my stories when I publish them.
Please leave a review, I'd like to know what you thought about the overall story and about the ending.
Until the next story, Desmond5tiny