Team, 47

Long Journeys Are Worth it When Your Destination Finally Comes into View

Ao3 Link

“This isn’t fair, I shouldn’t have to be climbing this hill hung over,” Cal complained as he did, in fact, climb the hill hung over.

“You should have thought of that before you got trashed last night,” Sully reminded him helpfully.

Cal glared at him, his head still pounding. “It’s the afternoon now. The hangover should be gone. That’s how it works. You drink, you have a shitty morning, it gets better, you get on with your life, you drink again. It’s a cycle.”

“You have a problem.”

“Yes,” Cal agreed. “And my problem is that I’m still hung over.”

“You drank an entire bottle of wine,” Joey reminded him.

“You fuckhead,” Sully added.

Neither of them sounded too hot either, but that was because they’d both been up most of the night. Whatever Sully had done to help Joey had obviously worked, since Joey wasn’t trying to stick his dick in everything that moved. He said he’d basically helped Joey with the immediate impulse and then cast a spell of some kind to stave off the rest of his rut—not, Sully had reminded both of them, a permanent solution, but it was supposed to buy Joey a week or so, which was all the time they needed to get Travis back.

“Name calling isn’t necessary,” Cal muttered. “And it wasn’t even good wine. It was cheap wine. I wouldn’t mind being hung over all day if the wine had at least been good. Or bubbly. But it wasn’t. So I should be fine. Can’t you magic my headache away?”

Sully smirked. “Yes, I could.”

“Then why aren’t you?”

“Because you drink too much.”

“I hate you,” Cal told him. “I’m not sleeping with you ever. You can join Joey and Travis’s relationship instead of ours.”

Sully rolled his eyes, but Joey was eyeing him in a way that suggested appraisal to Cal. Cal noticed these things, even when he was hung over. “This hill is the last major obstacle between us and the Citadel,” he told Cal.

Cal felt himself calm a little. “Are you sure?”

Sully nodded. “Once we get to the top there’s a plateau, and from there it’s a regular path to the Citadel. It’s not much farther.”

“You could have said that earlier,” Cal accused. If he’d known they were that close to their destination, he might have insisted on travelling faster. And drank less last night.

“I wasn’t sure. Actually,” Sully said, peering up ahead of them. The three of them were at the head of the column, except for the scouts, who’d gone on ahead to scout. “I should head up there, before those two decide there’s nothing there and tell everyone to turn back. There’s an illusion over the path.”

“Go,” Cal told him, patting Sully on the back. “We’ll meet you up there.”

Sully nodded, and sped up, climbing at a speed that wasn’t normal. He was clearly using his demon powers, which made Cal feel better about the fact that he couldn’t possibly match that pace.

He did speed up, though, and so did Joey. “We’re almost there,” Joey said quietly, a determined set to his jaw. His tail lashed behind him, anxious.

“Yeah,” Cal agreed, nodding. He reached out and took Joey’s hand for a second, squeezing it. “We’ll have them back soon.”


“What’s got you two all riled up?” Beatrice asked, coming up behind them and, Cal noticed, breathing heavily with the exertion. “Sully ran off and now you’re jogging up the damned mountain.”

“We’re almost there,” Cal told her. “The Citadel is just past the top of this hill. Sully’s gone to open the path.”

“Nice,” Beatrice said, looking up, slightly despairing, at the length of hill that was left. Sully had disappeared. “So this is probably way too late to be asking this, but if we have to do fighting in there—are any of you good at fighting? Like, at all?”

“I’m a perfectly good fighter,” Cal told her, oddly insulted.

“Sure you are. It’s obvious that Wes and Mick do all the lifting on your team. And whether or not you really are God, you don’t seem to have any useful powers for it. If you’re going to need to be protected in there, I want to know before we head in.”

Cal looked at her for a minute. She was trying to help, he reminded himself. She was just being a bitch about it, that was all. “I’ll be fine,” he told her. He reached up to his back, patted the hilt of Nathen’s sword. “I was able to drive them off with this thing before. But thank you.”

Beatrice nodded, looking at Joey rather dubiously. “I can defend myself,” Joey told her, voice a fraction of a growl. “I was the only one who managed to make one of them bleed when they attacked us last time.”

“Good.” Beatrice looked up ahead. “Can I assume we’re not on a mission of murder here? We’re getting your boys and getting out, not starting a new Catechism War?”

“That’s right,” Cal told her, though he very much doubted it would be that simple. “If we can incapacitate or kill the demons in there, Sully should be able to teleport us all out after we’re done. If not we’ll have to leave the old fashioned way or risk them interfering in the spell and teleporting us to the sun.”

“As long as we’re not leaving through the window, it’s fine,” Beatrice said.

“I’ll catch you if you do,” Lillian said. She’d only just caught up with them. “You people are insane. Climb slower.”

“We’re almost at the top,” Joey told her.

“All the more reason to climb slower and not pass out once we get there.”

They did not climb slower, but soon they were at the top of the hill, stepping onto the plateau that topped it. On the other side, Sully was standing with Edwin and Erik, looking at the long, winding path that led from here to the next mountain over, where stood the Citadel. Carved into the side of the mountain, it had a circular outer wall barbed with columns and a set of imposing towers.

“You said it was a regular path,” Joey complained, looking at that long walk. “That’s not a regular path.”

“If you had wings like a real dragon it wouldn’t matter,” Beatrice commented.

Joey growled at her.

“It’s an easy walk,” Sully said, attention on them. “Just a few hours. We should wait until everyone else catches up, see what they want to do. It’s kind of late to start the walk now.”

“Yeah,” Cal said. He didn’t take his eyes of the Citadel. That was where Wes and Mick were. “It’s fine. We’re almost there.”

If Cal had to carve that thing right out the mountain to find them, he would. They were almost there.

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