Ethan shook his head. "You can't keep him," he said. "But let everyone go first, and then I'll give you back all the vials, including this one." He popped the cork back into the vial of strange acid and shook it.
Xeralis's eyes narrowed. "How do I know you will not betray me?"
Ethan shrugged. "How do I know you won't betray me?" He smiled. "Let's start by taking down the barrier."
Kaz held his breath for a moment, sure that the proud angel would refuse. There was a snap, and the bars in front of his face melted away.
Ethan beamed. "Excellent. Now, I'll give you back a fraction of the vials with each of them you allow home. The injured one with the orange eyes first."
Allellii stepped forward hesitantly, and Xeralis glared. "I will need my sword," he said.
The tall boy appeared to consider it, then shook his head. "You won't, really, but you can go get it when they're all home."
"How am I supposed to get them home?" The angel snarled at Ethan, who simply smiled.
"The Void has been trying to let them home, you've just been stopping it." A rip began to form in front of Allellii, who tried not to shy away from it. Ethan placed a reassuring hand on the Jester's shoulder. "It doesn't like having physical beings here, after all. It can't hold them, it splits at the seams. You angels just like to hold it shut until it kills whatever's inside." The rip began to unravel further, and through it, Kaz could see a few buildings, and a warehouse with a freshly-painted sign.
Allellii drew in a happy breath. "That's my cafe," he said.
Ethan blinked. "Is it? It looks really nice." He gestured towards the rip. "In you go, then. Get home and manage your cafe or do whatever it is you do." Allellii paused and waved goodbye at the group. Sebastien and Alphonso switched back and forth as they waved back. Then he stepped through the rip, and Kaz could see him almost stumble into a fountain near the warehouse. The rip sealed shut behind him, and Ethan gestured for someone else to come forward.
Kenneth stepped out of the group, followed shortly by James. The black haired boy looked over at Ethan. "Uh. Earlier, in the dream city, the crack looked eerily similar to the one from Doctor Who. Is that in any way related to the fate of those who go through it?"
Ethan shook his head. "That was just them," he said, pointing to Xeralis and the still-unconscious Gabriel. "They had access to your memories, and they wanted to keep you in the dream city where they could mess with you. So they were trying to scare you away from using the cracks in the Void."
Kenneth made a soft "oh" of pretend understanding, and stood hesitantly for a moment. A rip began to open in front of him. Kaz peered eagerly through it. He could recognize the flat that Kenneth and James shared. A bowl of popcorn was overturned on the couch, and a harried and worried-looking short blond woman was making an urgent call on her cell phone.
James stepped up beside Kenneth and Ethan, and grinned. "Home sweet home, eh, Kenny? And look, there's Theresa. Did you worry her, Kenny?"
Kenneth bit his lip. "Not now, Jamie." He turned to Ethan, and after a momentary hesitation, he hugged the taller boy. James quickly followed suit, and Ethan looked down at the pair of them in mild surprise.
"You'll see me in just a bit, you know," he said.
Kenneth smiled. "Yeah, but...thanks, man. I don't know how we would've gotten out of here without you." He stepped towards the crack and gave a jaunty salute towards the rest of the group. "It was great to meet you all, even under the circumstances. I'll see you in a bit, Kaz." There was a moment's hesitation, then he nodded politely to Daffyd. "Daffyd." Without any further comments, he stepped through the rip. Kaz could see him envelop the girl in a hug.
James winked at them all. "You're all gorgeous, even you, Skullsy." He winked at Brinley. "If you get tired of Lucy over there, you call me, hmm?" She blushed, and with a laugh, James stepped through as well. The crack sealed shut once more.
Sebastien and Alphonso stepped forward. "Um. Thank you," Sebastien said.
"Come on, let's go home," Alphonso said.
"Goodbye." Sebastien hopped through his own little rip into what looked like a kitchen.
Then Lucien walked smoothly forward, followed by Brinley, who was still holding onto Skullsy. "Er, here's the thing, my good man. I don't necessarily want to return to my home. I'm about to be killed a horrible, fiery death."
Brinley grinned. "Really? That's great."
Lucien scowled at her, but Ethan simply looked on mildly. "I'm afraid I can't send you somewhere else." He turned to look at Brinley. "You, however, have the opportunity of staying here, or going back to being dead."
She stared at him, her amber eyes wide. "I...what?"
Skullsy piped up from in her arms. "I'd pick the latter option. This place is boring. Being dead isn't so bad, really."
She took a deep breath. Then she squared her shoulders and held her chin high. "I am a Valiant. I will face my death with dignity, even if my murderer does not." She kissed Skullsy gently on the top of his head, set him down on the ground, and then marched straight through the rip into a forest. Unlike the others, however, as she walked through, she didn't simply appear in the scene. She seemed to blow away like motes of dust on the wind. When she appeared in the forest, she was merely a pile of bones in a cloak.
Lucien pouted. "Well, after that, I can't really complain. Goodness, dearling, did you always have to make me look bad?" He walked through as well, without any further complaints.
Skullsy winked at Kaz and Daffyd, the only two remaining, and rolled through the tiny rip that opened beside him. There was a flash of green light, and Kaz could see a pair of bare feet. Then the rip closed.
Xeralis was clutching the majority of the vials to his chest, scowling darkly. "Must I let the mongrel go?"
Ethan nodded, and there was a flash. Alynaron reappeared among them, stretched out and still as a rock.
Xeralis smiled cruelly and snatched back the last few vials. "Enjoy," he said. Then he took up his sword and vanished.
With him gone, Gabriel started to stir. Ethan quickly knelt beside Alynaron, the butterflies starting up around him again. "I think I can reverse the process," he murmured. A rip began to open underneath the angel, and Ethan's eyes widened. He rolled the angel away from it as quickly as he could, and began scribbling equations all over the man's face and arms. "You two need to get out of here," he said.
Daffyd stood up on one shaky leg and frowned. "Like hell. We're gonna make sure you're alright."
Kaz nodded, and swiftly brought his elbow down on the back of Gabriel's head as the blond man started to wake up. He rolled him through the rip that opened beside him, displaying the same trees Brinley and Lucien had disappeared to, and brushed his hands together in satisfaction. "He's taken care of," he said.
There was a low, shuddering breath, and Alynaron coughed. Ethan smiled in relief. "I think he'll be alright, but I'm going to take him to my other, more user-friendly realm of thought." He grinned at Kaz and Daffyd. "You two go home. Daffyd needs to have his leg fixed. It'll let you go with him to Washington, Kaz, because you're from the same universe." Ethan tipped his imaginary hat to the pair as he started to fade out, the limp figure of Alynaron tossed over his shoulder with ease. "Be safe, and I'll see you in a bit." Then he vanished.
Daffyd hobbled over to Kaz, and they stared together in silence at the rip that was swelling in front of them. "That's Cindy's bathroom," Daffyd said, his voice hushed with awe. "I didn't think it actually worked."
Kaz shrugged. "What other choice have we got?" He turned and grinned at his friend, pulling Daffyd's arm around his shoulders so he could support the injured blond. "Come on. There's a saying a rather foolish friend of mine said recently."
"Oh yeah?" Daffyd grinned back at him. "What's that, then?"
Kaz smirked as they jumped through the rip and back into their own world, leaving the expanses of the Void behind them. "Allons-y."
And it's finished, ladies and gents~! :'D That's a wrap, curtains, the fat lady has sung, whatevs.
I want to thank everyone who read and reviewed, but a big fabulous thankies goes out to Itli, aka Kaitlin!
Thank you so much, chica~ ^ ^ Your reviews were lovely and marvelous, and I'm very glad that you enjoyed my NaNo! You're fantastic~ :D
Alright, time for me to skedaddle, but thanks again! Please review, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed~ There will probably be more stories up soon, but until then, stay awesome, y'all! ^ ^