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All Hail The Heartbreaker

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Ivy POV

 

With one final glance in the mirror to confirm I looked suitably dressed for my evening engagement, I headed out into the main corridor in search of my roommate. We had been living together in this church for a year and a half, the scent of redwood and incense had seeped into the walls of the building now. Even if we moved out today it would be ingrained in the building for years to come. Every breath reassured me I was home. A church isn’t the place most people call home, but most people aren’t living vampires. I like the reassurance of knowing my mother would not appear in my bedroom to berate me. Having died her first death, churches and sunlight were a no go for her. This wasn’t just home though, this was also were Rachel and I worked. We had quit our jobs working for Inderlander Security, the government sanctioned security service that policed the non-humans, and opened our own private security business Vampiric Charms. Don’t look at me, Rachel picked the name.

 

Walking into the expansive kitchen, I stopped to drink in the sight of Rachel working. Copper pans were strewn across the centre island, a number of used and discarded pots towered precariously in the sink. Rachel pushed a lock of red hair behind her ear and chewed her lip as she stared at a book. Rachel is a witch, and while she specialises in earth magic, she is also capable of wielding the other branch of magic, the ley lines. Earth magic uses plants and the occasional animal part to create potions or amulets that can change things in a tangible way, like turning you into a mouse. The drawback is, it’s generally a slow and laborious process involving numerous ingredients.

 

Ley lines on the other hand are quick, and relatively simple. Just a few hand gestures, the right words and you're done. But rather then turning you into an actual mouse, the best a ley line practitioner would manage is to create an illusion that made it appear as though you were a rodent. Most witches are suited to one or the other, and there is little crossover as witches cannot use both branches to create one spell. Rachel is different.

 

She should be dead.

 

Back before the Turn – the time Inderlander races revealed themselves, genetics was the premier scientific field. Forget nuclear power, forget space exploration, a generation of the world’s best and brightest devoted themselves to genetics. The USSR and the USA battled to stay one step ahead of each other. Scores of diseases were ‘cured’, and crops were modified to grow quicker, and bigger, while consuming less. Newspapers and world leaders hailed it as a golden age. Prehaps it was, but all that success made people careless.

 

In late 1966 somewhere in the frozen north, containment was breached. The US blames Russia and Russia blames the US, regardless of who, someone, slipped up. A quiet trail of death made its way to Brazil before being ruthlessly stamped out, and some government, somewhere, breathed a sigh of relief as fire eradicated any evidence of their latest weapon.

 

Except, under pressure to bring new products to market ahead of the competition, a team of scientists working for one of the world’s largest agricultural companies had cut corners.

 

The T4Angel tomato was 33% larger than a standard slicing tomato, had double the shelf life, with genes spliced in to turn the humble tomato into a source of high fibre, not to mention it took only half the water and time to grow. Suddenly the tomato was a super food capable of battling world hunger. The average T4 had more fibre then a bowl of bran flakes while still tasting just like any other tomato. It had been a major hit. Sure, there was a small weakness in the genetic code but they thought it was safe enough. Unfortunately they were wrong.

 

That weakness made the tomato the perfect carrier for the escaped virus, and before anyone even knew there was a problem, the T4 tomato had become unimaginably deadly. Most of the Inderlander races, witches, werewolves, vampires etcetera were immune to the virus. Although the odd living vampire suffered a mild version that left a few scars, much like chicken pox that your parents didn’t stop you from scratching. Only the elves died alongside the humans, their tendency to interbreed ultimately proving deadly to the point of near extinction. Hospitals and, civilisations were overwhelmed as bodies lined the streets. The death and chaos went on for two years, the world population of humans plunged drastically from over 3 billion to 700 million. For the first time Inderlanders rivalled the humans in numbers, and with humans dying left and right many inderlanders came to hold positions of power.

 

So on 31st October 1969 my parents’ generation revealed themselves. Pointing to their work keeping governments and communities running as evidence we posed no threat. It took a week before humans truly believed it was something more than a Halloween trick. In no condition to fight us, the humans turned to a weaker enemy, taking their new found fears about not being the top of the food chain out on the genetic scientists. Now the whole field of genetics is largely banned, and what little isn’t illegal is regarded with deep suspicion. But there are some out there willing to risk the world wide death penalty in order to play god. And that was why my Dear Heart was still alive.

 

Rachel finally noticed me, her eyes widening as she took in my outfit. “Wow I think we can safely say you’ll turn heads tonight.”

 

I scowled at her. “I always turn heads” but even when I manage to get you to look, I can’t seem to convince you to touch.

 

“True enough.” She grinned at me, making my heart skip a beat and a pleasant warmth envelop me. “So do you have time for a cup of coffee?”

 

“Probably not, my ride should be here soon.” I walked closer to the island, peering inquisitively at the assortment of objects scattered across it. It was always fascinating to see what my Rachel was creating. The room was a cacophony of scents from the various ingredients, it should have been overwhelming, instead it was reassuring. This was my territory, the scents proof Rachel was safely ensconced in it.

 

"Kingsley's arthritis is playing up again now that Ceri has moved in with Quen. I thought I’d see if I could come up with something to help him out." I nodded my understanding. Despite Rachel rescuing Ceri from 1,000 years of slavery in the Ever After as a demon’s familiar (play toy), the elf was adjusting well, and had just given birth to the first full blooded elf in centuries. "If nothing else I can make him some more pain amulets."

 

The corner of my mouth lifted up slightly. "Well you do have a lot of experience with those." I heard the sound of wings and wondered if Jenks, our pixie landlord was coming to join in. A pixie owning property was odd, but then so was a vampire living in a church. Jenks was breaking all the moulds that pixies are meant to conform to. His wife, Matilda, had died during an attack on the church recently. Normally when one of a pixie pair dies, the other does the same they simply lose the will to live. Leaving any children to fend for themselves. Rachel managed to convince him to try and live, but he was struggling to cope. He still had children that needed him, and I knew that was helping.

 

"Just make sure you keep some for yourself," Jenks drawled as he zoomed into the kitchen, landing on the edge of the island. "I don’t want to have to listen to you whine about your pain amulets next time you get a scratch while Ivy has to go fetch some back from Kingsley."

 

"Hey.” She pointed a dripping spoon at the pixy. “I don’t whine."

 

Jenks snorted “sure you don’t, and werewolves don’t howl. You whine like a baby, its all ‘where’s my pain amulet’ ‘I want a pain amulet’ wawawa.”

 

“I don’t sound like that!” I hid my smile, enjoying hearing them banter again.

 

“You do and Ivy’ll back me up. ”

 

Two sets of expectant eyes turned to me, just as the doorbell sounded. Saved by the bell. "I will see you both tomorrow."

 

"Have a good time." Rachel’s voice seemed unusually soft and I turned back to look at the woman who saw me only as a friend. I inhaled deeply trying to pull her emotions from the air. All I could gather through the maelstrom of scents was a hint of loneliness and regret. I ducked my head and for a moment let myself think about staying, imagining that this time Rachel might want me. My weight shifted from foot to foot in indecision.

 

‘I can’t let you break my skin again’ ‘I'm straight’

 

And that was the answer then, and I knew it was the answer now. Rachel couldn’t accept a female lover, and she couldn’t accept a blood balance. The decision made for me, I turn and fled the church to join the other monsters of the night.

 


 

 

The warmth of the alcohol and the crispness of orange slipped down my throat. Thank god the bar was well stocked. Full sobriety is rarely a good thing in these situations. A little alcohol can go a long way to cushioning some of the more, unpalatable things, which tend to happen at these parties. Of course, it also helps keep the guilt for enjoying those things at bay. Living with temptation in the shape of Rachel often meant abstaining from anything that might weaken my resolve. However, I was staying at Rynn's tonight and could indulge, in more ways than one, to my heart's content.

 

It had been more than a week since the last time I took blood, and while as a living vampire I don’t need blood to survive, I could feel the hunger growing every day. I smoothed my hand down my dress, it was a mix of silk and lace giving hints of skin with delicate diamonds sewn in and sparkling in the light. The matching shoes had leather and diamond straps wrapping around my ankles. The outfit screamed money, power and sex. Which was exactly what I needed the vampires here tonight to see when they looked at me.

 

Spending the night playing at politics; insults masquerading as compliments, doing deals with devils and manoeuvring all the time to retain my position, my families power, my power, was far from my idea of a good time. I lingered close to the bar unwilling to throw myself into mingling until at least the second drink. For the moment I was left in peace. Thinking of Rachel and the look of pleasure on her face as she cooked another batch of spells successfully, I reminded myself that if I wanted to keep her happy and safe then this was the price. I asked her to save my soul, even as I soiled it to save her neck.

 

Rynn oozed forward to stand on a slightly raised platform and gestured for quiet, not that he needed to. The charisma and presence he hadn't lost when he died his first death, was more than enough to silence the few dozen elite vampires present.

 

"My friends. Thank you for joining me tonight to celebrate the first anniversary of my arrival here. The camarilla has grown stronger this past year.” He smiled winningly down at us, as if to prove we were one family, with him the proud father. That smile was the promise of gentle honesty, security, protection, freedom, and prosperity. Seeing it directed at me, I raised an eyebrow and drank my sloe screw. He might mimic a soul well enough to fool a non vamp, he was after all a politician, but I doubted anyone in the room was taken in. “And all of you have played your part in making that happen. We will continue to grow, a new age is on the way for vampires and we will be at the forefront of it."

 

I winced at the veiled reference to Rachel's efforts to find a way for me to keep my soul after my first death. He saw her as a way to gain more power within the vampire community and for the community to be more powerful. Dead vampires with a soul would find it easier to get the blood they needed and if the daylight restrictions turned out to be tied to the soul then the implications were massive. Vampires would lose our main vulnerabilities, our numbers and political power would boom. And over it all Rynn would preside, doling out the potion to those prepared to bend their knee to him.

 

Back during the Angel outbreak Rynn had taken over as acting president after both the president and VP died from the virus. It was chaos at the time and no one was sure they were dead, only that the bunker was incommunicado, as a result he was never sworn in. After the Turn and his outing as an undead he had been ousted from office, an office the history books say he never official held. He had been shuffled off to the UN to play secretary general to a world mostly in ruins. He was young for an undead, from a no name bloodline and no camarilla to back him. The camarilla he had been born into was wiped out by in fighting shortly before the Turn.

 

He might be respected among the inderlanders and humans, for helping lead the world through the chaos of the Angel outbreak, but few would stand in a booth and vote for him. Indeed those politicians he’d played nicely with for so long had delivered the ultimate ‘fuck you’. They passed the 28th amendment banning vampires from holding any political office. He had no power in the wider world and until he was invited here, he had no power in the vampire world. It made me smile every time I thought about it.

 

"The years still to come, will see us thrust forward to the future, maintaining the progress we have made and gaining more each day. However, everyone should have a bit of fun every now and then. After all, what is life with some spice? So in that spirt, please accept these very special party favors as a token of my appreciation. Feel free to keep or discard them as you see fit."

 

A beautiful red headed witch appeared at my side. A low cut designer dress in stunning black silk, with swirls of midnight blue so dark only a vampire would be able to see them hugged her every curve. I would kill to see Rachel in that dress. Delicate red curls brushed her shoulders offering a false protection to her virgin neck. There is nothing like that first bite, slicing your teeth into innocent skin, knowing that they will never be the same again. Knowing for the rest of their lives your neurotoxins will light them up with desire. Even if you never see them again they will never forget you, you’ve marked them for life, right down to their DNA.

 

I inhaled deeply, letting her scent run across my palate, a heady redwood with hints of pine. God please let her taste as good as she smells. Rynn was a bastard, but he was a bastard with good taste. I moved closer to her, my hand brushing aside her hair, I let my warm breath play across her exposed neck. She moaned as my lips kissed their way up towards her lips. The words 'will you give this to me' were on the tip of my tongue. The words a ritual of consent. Her eyes however were a problem; glassy and unfocused, she was clearly under the influence of an undead. Hesitating I tried to weigh my options, to refuse Rynn's gift in public would be an insult. I didn't however, want to blood rape anyone, those days were behind me. That and the fact she was so targeted at my perceived weakness made me want to simply walk away.

 

That moment of hesitation was a mistake.

 

All around me vampires, living and dead, sank their teeth deep into soft flesh. The smell of pheromones and blood was a heady combination and I could feel my body reacting to it. Closing my eyes, I tried not to breathe, if I could just step back I would be able to walk away. Fragile hands settled on to my waist. Shocked, my eyes flew open and I stood frozen as she leaned forward, pressing her body against mine. Tilting her head she presented me with that expanse of virgin skin. Memories of another witch pressed against me offering me her neck in the back of a van left me aching.

 

"Please."

 

Unable and unwilling to pull away, I struck. My teeth biting deep into her tantalising flesh. My glass tumbled to the floor shattering, as I replaced it with a far more satisfying drink. Wrapping my arms around her, I held her tight as her whimpers and struggles increased my hunger.

 

The blood flowing down my throat was incredible and with a jolt I realised her eyes weren't glassy from the influence of an undead vampire, but from the huge amount of unrefined street grade brimstone swimming through her veins. For a moment I tried to pull back, to be responsible. But then wasn't that the point of tonight? To be away from Rachel, to indulge myself? He had scored a point against me with this witch, but Rynn wouldn't dare try to harm me, I felt so free I didn't want to stop, why should I? I could beat them all if I had to.

 

My hands roamed across the silk searching for the zipper. All living vampires rely on brimstone, for themselves and for any long term blood partners. It makes a Vampiric lifestyle possible, boosting the metabolism and reducing recovery time from feedings by an order of magnitude. It also aids digestion of any blood consumed by living vampires. Most Vampiric lines have their own versions of the mix but unless you're very poor the brimstone used isn’t street grade. You used one of the refined versions with the hallucinogens removed, otherwise there was a tendency towards euphoria, overconfidence, and occasional hallucinations. The kind that makes you think you can fly. Sure some indulge, however it had been years since I had taken brimstone to get high. She moaned as my hands claimed her body, and my fangs claimed her blood. She was mine now and she knew it.

 

A hand landed on my shoulder, snarling I turned baring my fangs. "Now, now, Ivy I put a room aside for you. Go on now, go play with your little snack in private." Rynn's voice dripped with amusement. My hunger demanded I protect the witch, my mind sparking with thoughts of my other witch. This undead was a threat to both, he wanted the blood that belonged to me. Keeping my body between the undead and my prey I slowly backed her towards the nearest door. The cupboard was small and safe, humming happily I let my hands resume their search. I used my aura to pull arousal through her, my toxins burning a path through her nervous system.

 

"Here, take this" fingers pushed into my mouth and slowly I sucked the powered brimstone off them. A breathy moan escaped her, fuelling my duel lusts for sex and blood, she sounded so like my Dear Heart. Blood from my bite ran down her chest and I gently licked my way down to her breasts, pushing the dress out of the way. Her hands tangle in my hair urging me on, my head buried between her breasts, the taste of her rich blood and the scent of redwood surround me and I felt home. This was everything I could ever want from Rachel. My Rachel.

 


 

 

The party had been just what I needed things between me and Rachel had been tense, well, tenser? More tense? Whatever the word it was worse than normal. The tenserist they'd ever been. Giggling I pushed the door to the church open, I could hear the sound of a familiar limo fading away. The door slammed into the wall with a reverberating bang and I jumped in surprise. I glared at the damn thing, doors shouldn't make vampires jump, it was disrespectful. Bis, Rachel's gargoyle, took one look at me before scuttling back across the ceiling towards the belfry where he lived. Judging by the surprised look he gave the door he was amazed at its disrespectfulness as well. If he was on guard duty then Jenks and his family would all be asleep in the garden.

 

My shoes wouldn't come off, they were all sparkly, hopping around I tried to get the thing off my foot. There was a snap and suddenly I was on the floor. I noticed the strap round my ankle. Disrespectful doors and now disrespectful buckles, what is the world coming to? There was a law against it I was sure. Finally freeing my foot I held the shoe aloft victoriously, before throwing it across the room, laughing as I heard it land deep inside the sanctuary.

 

Turning my attention back to my other foot – the heel was broken! When the hell had that happened? Wrestling the offensive article off, I pitched my arm back and sent it to join its brethren. Served the Turn forsaken things right.

 

Struggling to my feet, I headed into the sanctuary. The whole church was at an angle, I would have to get someone out to fix it. But Shh! mustn't let Rachel know, she'd only worry about the money. A grin spreads across my face – Rachel, so sexy, so imperfectly perfect. Memories of the party flickered to the front of my mind, of the witch Rynn had given me. Such a pretty, pretty little red head.

 

I sighed and pushed myself off the wall, heading down the tilting corridor to my room. She had looked so much like my Dear Heart. A shudder of pleasure at the thought of taking Rachel the way I had that witch ran through me. But what if it had been Rachel? No it hadn't been. It had just been a random red head… hadn't it? Damn, focusing I tried to pull the memories together.

 

Why couldn't I remember anything but Rachel? Rachel in a stunning dress I wanted to rip from her body, Rachel pressed against me, neck bared and wanting. I couldn't remember anything about the scent other than that it had definitely been a witch. Oh, god what if I had left my Dear Heart in the hands of the camarilla? She was my heart, my sanity and if I lost her...

 

Veering to the other side of the corridor I gently pushed open Rachel's door and entered stealthily, despite the fact the floor continued to resemble a fairground ride. And there lay my sweet Rachel. Sighing in relief I leaned heavily against her wall letting myself relax, we were both safe. No desperate plans needed to be designed and no terrible price needed to be paid. At least not tonight.

 

"Ivy is that you? What's wrong, are you ok? Of course you're not, you wouldn't be making this much noise if you weren't hurt. Was it Cormel? I knew we couldn’t trust him, I'll kill him if he's hurt you." Hands, soft and familiar were suddenly touching me, searching me. My eyes snapped open, which was odd – I couldn't remember shutting them. She looked so good this close; curls of fiery hair framing her face, eyes wide, full of worry and love. An oversized t-shirt had replaced the dress. Grabbing her arms, I switched our positions "What happened to the silk? It looked so good on you." Rachel just didn't dress up enough.

 

"Ivy, let me go." She smelled so good; she was just so perfect, so tasty and so "mine.”

 

"Ivy, look at me. You need to let go of me." She sounded half asleep, my poor little witch, she never had been able to handle her brimstone. Rachel's body struggled enticingly against me, always such a tease.

 

"Why? Rynn said you were mine, you want me and I love you." Rachel's eyes closed, her hands stopped trying to push me away and the scent of her arousal blossomed on the air. Happy at her acceptance I bent down and nuzzled against her neck breathing her in. I released a wave of pheromones, stronger and more concentrated than those I had been naturally releasing. Always I held back, but now, now, she wanted me. Her moan of desire sent liquid heat spilling through me.

 

"Ivy please – just calm down.” Putting one hand under Rachel's gorgeous ass I lifted her higher up, forcing her feet off the floor and wiggled my knee between her legs, resting her core against my leg.

 

"Naughty little witch, not wearing any underwear. What would your mother say? Didn't she warn you the world is full of big bad vampires, just waiting to have their way with you?" Rachel's eyes widened as I caressed her thigh.

 

"Ivy you're drunk, you need – is that brimstone?" Rachel's thumb stroked the corner of my lips. A few flecks of brimstone were on her thumb and I captured the digit in my mouth sucking gently.

 

"Stop that.” Reluctantly I let the thumb slip from my mouth and stared at her confused. "Ivy, you're drunk and high, just wait a moment. Can you do that?" I nodded, why did she want me to wait? She was being so strange. "Good, that's good. Now tell me who gave you the brimstone.” Her tone was all yummy and commanding, my dominant little witch.

 

"You did Dear Heart, I licked it off your fingers.” My fingers started to stroke her beautiful skin again it was just so tempting and I released more pheromones showing her how much I wanted her.

 

"Not just now, earlier, who gave you the brimstone earlier?" Her voice was breathy and heavy with arousal. I didn't know how I was supposed to answer her. I tried to think what the answer she wanted was but my head was so fuzzy. My eyes roamed over her inviting body.

 

Her neck was at the perfect height now. Sealing my mouth over her pulse, I gently sucked, bringing her blood to the surface. The heat from my higher body temperature encouraged the blood vessels to dilate, readying her for me. A moan of want slipped from her, and I hummed with satisfaction as my hand stroked her ass, holding her tight against my thigh. Hips bucked against me as I nipped Rachel's neck. Pulling back, I shifted my hold slightly pushing her higher up the wall. I pulled my dress up before lowering her to rest back on to my thigh. The feel of her core slick against my skin had my head spinning, this, this was bliss.

 

"Ivy stop, this isn’t, we have to stoppp oh god Ivy" I smiled loving the sight of Rachel arching towards me as my fingers played with her hard nipples through the soft fabric.

 

"I love you Dear Heart. I promise I won't hurt you.” Kissing her slowly, encouragingly at first, until, lips parting hesitantly, our tongues met. Her tentative little tongue slipped into my mouth, exploring, running over the roof of my mouth, caught on one of my canines and the taste of Rachel's blood bloomed.

 

Crushing her closer to me, I chased her tongue sucking it hard, the tiny wound giving me only a hint of her blood, as she drove herself against my leg. Sighing softly I pulled back, kissing her lightly. I froze at the feel of a scar on her lip. It wasnt one of mine, it belonged to that bastard: Art. He took Kisten from me; hurt her and given her a reason to run from me, from us. Growling I sliced the scar tissue open, causing Rachel to cry out against me as I willed my neurotoxins into the wound making it mine. She was mine!

 

Her body was alive, bucking against me, her hips moving restlessly as my toxins burnt through her and my pheromones helped to push her closer to the edge. Strong legs encircled me, trying to pull me closer as she tried to push herself harder against me, covering my leg in her juice. Pushing my leg hard against her brought a delicious groan from my Dear Heart. Grabbing the t-shirt, I ripped it from her, finally exposing her gorgeous body to me.

 

For a moment, all I could do was stare at the sight of her naked breasts, nipples hard and begging to be touched. Bending I captured a nipple in my mouth, the position was awkward but I liked her like this, pinned to the wall writhing for me, wanting me. I wanted to see her orgasm like this. My left arm supporting her I took a half step back from the wall giving myself more room. I let my fingers trail down the length of her body, nails occasionally scraping the sensitive skin until my hand was resting just above her slick core.

 

"Ivy. I can't. I. don't tease" Rachel's voice was a whisper, words forced out between panted breathes.

 

Yes she wants this, wants me. I stared into her eyes as she squirmed against me trying to get my hand to move.

 

"Say please.” I needed to hear her ask, needed to hear her beg after all the times she had rejected me. I traced my fingers through the soft hair as she groaned with frustration. "Beg for it Dear Heart" and I tugged the hair hard, she gasped and her back arched.

 

"Shit! Ivy please. Please!" The words were a plea to the heavens, there were no doubts or fears.

 

Slipping my hand between her lips, I ran my finger over her clit and down to her entrance. Watching her face, I pushed a finger deep inside her. She was such slick, warm perfection. "I love you" and my fangs slipped into the delicate flesh of her areola, my tongue flicking the captured nipple as I gently sipped her blood. Adding a second finger to the first, I used my thumb to lightly rub her clit.

 

"Ivy, more, I need more." Still sipping her blood, I shuddered with pleasure at her urgent words. This was how it should have been a year ago when I offered to make her my scion.

 

"Please, please, please" her hips bucked in time to her chanted plea for release. Our auras were so thickly mingled, it felt as if her fingers and fangs were buried in me and not the other way round. I upped the tempo of my fingers driving them into her harder and faster, her hips lost the rhythm, and her muscles squeezed my fingers tight as she came. The feel of her orgasm and the phantom fingers moving inside pushed me over the edge with her.

 

Battling through the pleasure flooding me, I pulled my fingers and fangs out. I knew I had to be careful, so careful, I had taken a lot of blood already. She whimpered softly at the loss making me smile and bending to her other breast, I pierced the skin as I forced three fingers deep inside her sensitive pussy.

 

"Ivy!"

 

Fingernails dug deep into my shoulders as a second orgasm ripped through her. A chime, a feeling of perfect unity and I could feel Rachel's love for me running through my body and soothing my soul causing another orgasm to rise up between us. It was as if I had been wandering in the desert and now for the first time in days I had water to drink. I never wanted this to end. Now whenever my pheromones filled the air her breasts would burn for me. A grin spread across my face as I pictured her pressing her hands to her breasts the way she does to her neck. I could feel that Rachel's mind was delirious with the pleasure through our joined auras and my smugness increased. I had marked her as my lover, and I was going to make love to her until she passed out. Everything would be different now, better.

 

Out of the depths of my mind, a terribly familiar voice sent a shiver of dread down my spine.

 

"You're nothing special. All you have done is make sure any vamp can do this to her, any vamp can make your little witch burn for them. They'll steal her away from you Ivy girl. In the end the marks you've given your little pet will be used to break her."

 

What had I done? My heart was racing with fear and panic as I imagined some faceless vamp using my scars to take her from me. Piscary was right, he had used her scars against her before, and though my old master was dead now, Cincinnati was crawling with vampires. No! She's mine, all mine! I can't lose her! I need Rachel! Oh god how could I fix this, I needed to fix this. I had made a mistake and Rachel would be the one to pay. Things wouldn’t be better, I never should have let myself believe the lie. I could never be worthy of her love. Everything I touched I ruined. The only way to stop anyone else playing on the scars was to bind her. I had to keep her safe. I had to be the villain I was born and raised to be.

 

I needed an artery.

 

I tried to move Rachel around; if I put her down, I could reach the one in her groin, I could make this good for her. I scoffed at myself, as if being bound to a vampire against your will could ever be good. She was going to hate me. Tears slipped from my eyes as I shifted my weight trying to manoeuvre us. The floor still resembled a circus ride, and I lost my footing, Rachel's weight pushed me backwards. I kept my hands tight around my Dear Heart I couldn't let her be hurt. My head hit the end of her bed and I heard Piscary echoing through my mind. "You've failed again Ivy girl"

 


 

Rachel POV

 

My face was pressed against Ivy's breasts and without thinking my tongue flicked out and licked at the hard nipple through the rumbled fabric of her dress. I'd never thought I could enjoy something as much as I had enjoyed being with Ivy; my body was still shaking with aftershocks. Somehow, it felt so right lying naked against her. The only thing that would make it better was if she were naked as well. Forcing my limp muscles to move I leaned up, I wasn't sure what to say or do but winging it was what I did best.

 

Suddenly my brain reconnected with the part of me insisting I should be protesting and refusing Ivy's stubborn attentions. I realised she was so still. Oh, no. Even in the moonlight, I could tell that she was hurt and unconscious. Scrambling to my feet I hit the light switch.

 

There was blood on her shoulder and my heart clenched in fear, but on closer inspection there was no wound. A blush crept up my cheeks as I realised it was my blood smeared on her skin and dress. Briefly, the image of pressing against Ivy and licking the blood from her shoulder before kissing her entered my mind. Ignoring everything, I focused on checking her over.

 

I could feel a tiny lump on the back of Ivy's head, I didn't think it was anything to worry about but what do I know? Biting my lip I tried to figure out what to do. Part of me wanted to phone for an ambulance just in case, but I was a shunned witch. The coven for moral and ethical standards having declared me a black witch meant that all witches were obliged to treat me like I had the plague. Many of the other inderlanders and humans had also heard about it and were following the witches lead. It was excommunication at its best. If I phoned for an ambulance there was a good chance they would refuse to turn up.

 

Sighing, I stroked my hand down her cheek, she looked different like this, younger somehow. Making my decision I went to turn her bath on, hesitating in the doorway I looked back at her prone form "you best be fine Tamwood. I'll be back in a minute."

 

Thank god, Ivy made me work out. My body, so recently happy with me, was now screaming in protest that carrying a vampire was really not something it had ever agreed to do. Reluctantly I had eaten one of Ivy's cookies, I didn't have a choice. If I was going to take care of her I couldn't be half asleep from blood loss. Fear consumed my thoughts; I had just had sex with my best friend - my best female friend.

 

We had worked so hard avoiding this, I loved her but I was straight and Ivy did her best to make do with what I could give her. Our entire relationship was already balancing on a tightrope and there was no safety net. This could ruin everything between us, I’d never had a friendship that lasted this long before.

 

There was no way Ivy could go backwards from this, she had just had everything she wanted and had been hunting me for. This could end our friendship for good. Jenks would kill me for ruining everything, would I lose his friendship too? Where would I live? What would I do for a living I couldn't make the runner business work without Ivy and Jenks. Maybe…maybe there was a chance she wouldn't remember.

 

In the state Ivy had been, it didn't seem likely she would remember everything that had happened and if I could get rid of as much of the evidence as possible. Then maybe she would write off any memories as dreams or delusions, blaming the alcohol and brimstone. That way our friendship wouldn't go to hell in a hand basket. At the very least, it might stop her asking questions if she wasn't sure, then we could just pretend there wasn't an issue – we were good at that. Besides I couldn't leave her covered in blood and on the floor, she's my friend.

 

Walking into Ivy's bathroom I realised I had made a crucial mistake. Ivy was still dressed. Unsure what to do I paused for a moment trying to work it out. There was really only one option, gently I lowered Ivy, still fully clothed into the tub. Somehow, this wasn't how I thought sex with Ivy would end. Not that I had thought about it. Not ever.

 

Careful to support her body I searched for how to undress her. It was a beautiful dress, gothic lace and silk mixed together, giving teasing hints of her skin. Undoing the short zip I pushed the dress down her body. There were bruises on her shoulders and arms along with little cuts from my nails. Hopefully most of it would heal by tomorrow; maybe I could blame anything else on her drunkenness? Did having sex with her make me gay? Did the fact I was struggling not to just stare at her body?

 

My blood was on her bra. If I left it on she would know what had happened. Taking a deep breath I unhooked the bra, feeling like a teenage boy I undid the front opening clasp gratefully. Placing it besides the dress, I couldn't help smiling a little: Ivy had wanted me to undress her for years and here I was taking off her bra, and she wasn't even awake to enjoy it.

 

Ivy's hair was still wet as I lowered her into bed and she shifted restlessly against the sheets "Rachel", the word was mumbled and slurred but it sent a wave of relief through me. "It's ok I'm here Ivy, you just rest I'll look after you.” My words, however, were pointless as Ivy had already passed back out. Checking to make sure she was breathing normally, I brushed her hair back behind her ear. "We'll be ok I promise. I won't let this ruin us."

 

Leaving the door open in case she needed me, I set to work erasing as much of the evidence of tonight's events as I could. I scrubbed the empty tub, making sure to be generous with the cleaner. Her clothes went into the washing machine, and I figure I can probably put them through two or three times before she wakes up, which ought to get rid of most of my scent. I wasn't sure the dress would survive, but I'd take Ivy pissed off about her dress, over no Ivy at all. I felt so disconnected from my body, even while trying to erase the evidence my head was continuously remembering those moments with her.

 

Stepping into my shower I set the dial to cold. I could have stopped her, I could have used the ley line, but how could I hurt her like that? Ivy had been drunk and out of control – I was going to have to call someone to repair the front door, but she hadn't hurt me, just as she promised, even keeping me safe when we fell. How could I have reacted to her like that? Just the memory of her mouth on my breasts, her fangs sliding into them and her fingers inside me had my body quivering. How could my body betray me like this?

 

Damn stupid witch, it wasn't just Ivy who had been out of control I was begging her to fuck me! The cold water beating down on my body didn't seem to be helping and I turned the dial, making the water colder. I'm not gay, I'm not. It's just pheromones, and, abstinence. I was going through a dry patch, that's why I responded when those long fingers slid in. No, bad Rachel, bad, just don't think about it. Hitting my head gently against the tiles I groaned in frustration, I just needed a man that was all.

 


 

Ivy POV

 

"Oh god. My head.” Just talking hurt.

 

"Hey, how do you feel?" I opened my eyes, at the sound of Rachel's voice. That was a mistake, light seemed to stab deep into my brain and my eyes closed shutting off the horrid light.

 

"Like someone just set off a small bomb inside my head." On top of that I felt like I was dying of starvation, a clear sign I had taken brimstone last night.

 

Tentatively opening my eyes again, I looked at Rachel, she was dressed in jeans and a black blouse with a high collar she had brought a couple of weeks ago. The room smelled enough like her that I knew she must have been here a long time. The smell of our mingled scents was delicious but manageable which suggested I had fed last night.

 

Reaching down she picked up a tray with bagels, creamed cheese, croissants, butter and a glass of orange juice. Placing the tray on my lap, she sat back down slowly, watching me carefully. Which was when I realised I was naked under the sheets.

 

"I'm not surprised. You seemed pretty out of it even before you hit your head and passed out. You want some coffee as well?"

 

Something was off. Rachel smelled worried, but then if I had passed out that was to be expected, still my instincts where screaming there was something else.

 

"Sure thanks. Umm don't take this the wrong way but why am I naked?"

 

Rachel blushed and looked down at the carpet. Oh god, please do not tell me she undressed me.

 

"You were in a bit of a state when you got back, nothing too bad, you just didn't want to go to bed without a bath. You passed out before you could put on a nightie, it was easier to just put you to bed rather than try to dress you first. Anyway I'm going to get you that coffee."

 

As Rachel left, I tried to remember what had happened the night before. I had been at Rynn's party and there had been a witch? Yes, I remembered a beautiful dress and Rachel but it hadn't been Rachel had it? I struggled to try and make sense of my fractured memories. How had I got home? I was meant to be staying with Rynn, if Rachel had been at the party that would explain why I was here… but somehow that didn't feel right.

 

I was finishing off my second bagel as she came back in with the coffee. "What happened last night? I can't remember a thing.”

 

The nervous edge to Rachel's scent disappeared and was replaced by disappointment and relief, how odd. Something was definitely wrong. Please, please let me not have done anything to hurt her or ruin the fragile ties between us.

 

"You came home a little drunk that's all. Don't worry about it.” A forced smile stretched across her face as she answered.

 

Shit, I had done something. How could I keep messing up everything good in my life?

 

"Rachel, I need you to tell me right now what happened, did I hurt you?" My heart seemed to beat painfully fast as I waited for her answer.

 

Sighing she met my gaze "No. I'm fine, you just hit on me a little but you didn't cross the line, so just forget it. Or just don't bother remembering it. I'm just glad you woke up before I phoned the doctor." I had been hitting on her? How? Had it been bad enough to make her want to leave?

 

"So we're ok?" I tried again to recall the night before but all I got was the same jumble and I wasn't sure what was real and what wasn't.

 

"We're fine I promise. I'm going to let Jenks know you're ok. Why don't you get dressed and we can relax, maybe watch a movie?"

 

"That would be nice."

 

Leaning back against the headboard I let myself relax. She wasn't leaving and she was offering to spend time with me maybe things weren't that bad, maybe whatever happened had been good for us? My unconscious release of pheromones hit Rachel and she gasped, her hands going straight to her breasts. What the hell?

 

"Rachel?"

 

"I'm fine, fine I just, I'm just a bit tired that's all you nearly sugared me all on your own then. See you in a minute."

 

She practically ran out the door, which meant there was something about last night I might not want to remember, but that I really needed to remember. I definitely, needed to talk to Rynn about how I had ended up in such a state, and just how it was that I had ended up at home last night. Because it was clear I hadn't arrived here on my own.