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For the Best

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How many times had John warned her? It felt like every day, but still she stayed, convinced that she was safer in John Constantine’s company than she was on her own, running, hiding from people who wanted to use her gifts for their own twisted purposes. And for awhile, her staying…well, Chas had been okay with that. He had wanted her close…and John had needed her. But now, the rhythmic background beep of life support systems pounded the truth into Chas’ head. What John said was true. So long as Zed remained with them, she was at risk, and it was a risk Chas no longer felt an acceptable one.

“Do it, John. For Zed. For me.”

John scowled. Chas was right. Of course it was for the best, but he had kinda gotten used to having her around. She had certainly proving herself helpful more than once. But it wasn’t fair to be greedy. It was time for this to end.

Wards in place, candle glowing at her bedside, amulet in hand, the incantation was given, words summoning power that would protect her by blocking her gifts and by erasing all memory of them, of John, of Chas, from her mind. The flame flickered. The incense around the bed sparked, burned and snuffed to black. The amulet was pressed to Zed’s forehead and she convulsed, her hand tightening in Chas’ large one.

Then all was still. The room was as it was, only the pungent scent of burnt myrrh coloring the air.

“It is done.” He blew out the candle, shoved it and the warm amulet glowing gold into his bag, and stepped away. He was confident the spell had worked. Why wouldn’t it? He was John Constantine. This was what he did. “We have to go. Before she wakes…” There was still a chance that seeing them so soon after the spell’s setting would undo the wards John had put into place.

Blinking away tears he refused to acknowledge, the bearded man bent over her still form, memorizing her face, her scent, the sound of her breathing. A kiss, tender with longing, was pressed to her damp forehead, her hand squeezed gently, and then Chas followed John out of the room, resisting the temptation to look back. His fate was sealed, entwined with John’s. He would not allow her to suffer any more. Her freedom was the most heartfelt gift of love he could offer.

The door closed, and Zed, in her sleep, turned her closed eyes to face it, her pouting mouth parting to whisper a single word.

“Chas.”