The doorbell rang and Sera looked over at Joshua climbing up the stairs to take a look at the attic and sighed. “I will get it.” She said not hearing Joshua call as she took the stairs three at a time.
“Hello?” She called through the front door looking through the peep hole. Joshua appeared behind her almost instantly and pulled the door open. “Hello Father, Salil,” Joshua said pulling the door open and allowing them entrance.
“This is the home you have chosen?” He asked something in his voice making Sera start as she looked at him. He was much shorter than his son, though not a short man and she would put his height at 5′ 8″. He was dressed in a black suit, with long black hair that reached his waist. Everything about him, looked soft delicate and exotic. His eyes were slightly almond shaped and she wondered where he was originally from all those thousands of years ago when he was born. His eyes were an obvious violet color, and his skin so pale that the natural spots of pink on his cheek stood out greatly, though they did not deter from his appearance.
Though Sera’s pervading thoughts, were too old and too short.
“This is the one you have chosen to live with?”
“Yes Father, we became friends in high school. Sera, this is my father Lord Nova.”
“Yes, the fire child. Do you think a mortal is suitable for this constant contact with you?”
“I am in control of myself father.”
“Yes but can she handle even your unconscious allure? She has not stop gaping at me like some foolish child since I entered,” he said casting Sera a dismissive glance who held her tongue only because this was the father of one of her closest friends.
“Father, you are more alluring than most, I do not have even half your skill, and she has known me for years.”
“In some misguided hope to have you?” He asked and Sera added stupid to her mental list. Dating an incubus was not on her to do list. Chris also might have something to say about it, granted he did not much like Joshua and she was sure her new living arrangements would not please her current boyfriend; his reaction would most likely show if he remained her current boyfriend.
“So, you wish to live with my son, in this house I purchased for him.”
Was that the real reason? Was it about money? “We would of gotten an apartment together, Joshua said you insisted.”
“As if I would let my child live in some hovel. Unlike that bitch that sired him, I will not throw him out to fend for himself or hold him hostage as some child toy for years. I am his father not his keeper. And I should have stopped this foolish friendship years ago.”
“Joshua show Salil your new home, and the room you have chosen as your own.”
Joshua cast a glance at Sera as he made his way back to Salil. “Do you have a yard?” The larger man asked and Joshua’s shoulder’s seemed to sag even further. “Come on.”
“So, Sera, you find me attractive?” Lord Nova asked stepping into her personal space. “I saw you watching me.”
“We’ve never met of course I was watching you, you are my closest friend’s father.”
“That did not answer my question.”
“You are kinda short and effeminate,” she stated bluntly and something changed in his eyes. A power flashed through them and Sera suddenly felt staggered and a throb between her legs that had no place being there at the moment. She instantly cast up an illusion of herself that was blank faced and calm. She watched and almost breathed a sigh of relief until she saw his eyes flash again.
“You do not mean that do you?”
Sera leaned closer almost as if she wanted to kiss him and smiled. “Are you wearing lipstick? Do you wear dresses too?”
“Drag, you have heard of it right? I mean you are older than dirt right?”
It had the desired effect and he pulled back as Sera smiled darkly. Lord Nova, pulled off his gloves and placed them into his pocket breaking the line of black that had been his arms.
“You are a rude child.”
“Really? So you did not just actively try to scramble my mind? I am not rude, I respond in kind.”
“That was a simple test, trust me, if I tried to bespell you, you would be on your knees right now.”
“You know the height difference means you would have me at about navel height? Not the most alluring image.”
“Do not you want to give me pleasure?” Sera felt the pulse of desire that hit her and made her mind focus on the feeling on Chris. When the feeling did not alleviate she turned her mind to Joshua and let a smirk show through her illusory face.
“Rather give you pain.”
“You like those games? Really Joshua has been so plain in his tastes for a Were. I would have expected some more savage passions; I should never have left him in his mother’s care so long. The only thing worse would have been leaving him with humans and letting him believe their restrictive ideas and mores about sex.”
Sera tried to hold it back but decided against it and let the laughter explode out of her, the illusion and reality in sync.
“What is so amusing?”
“I did not mean pain you would enjoy idiot. I mean you lying a burning and bloody heap on the floor no longer recognizable as anything human or other wise, just a pile of cooked meat.”
“You would do that to this body? Do not you find me beautiful?”
“Are you senile, deaf, dumb or all three? You are short and woman like. I like my men, men.”
“Human sexual ideals. You probably feel laying with a woman is wrong.”
“So dumb it is, if I was interested in sleeping with a woman I would most likely go for an androgynous one that could pass for a man. There is nothing wrong with fucking woman if that is your thing. Me I like penis. Live, pulsing, hot, man flesh, before you go the vibrator route. And rug munching? So not my idea of a good time well unless someone else is doing the munching.”
“Bush eating, pussy licking, what have you been living in a box? Next you will tell me you do not know what a pillow biter is.”
“Those terms are so vulgar.”
“No more vulgar than the father of my best friend hitting on me. Well trying to fuck me to prove a point. I think I would rather you were hitting on me at least then you would just be a dirty old man instead of a disgusting old man. I might be able to forgive the former eventually.”
“You do not find me the least bit attractive?”
Sera sighed. “Look, you are not hideous, you are not an ogre or something. But You. Are. Not. My. Type. I would not be shocked if someone said you were attractive and all. Your features are symmetrical, you skin is flawless, your eyes are a bit weird being purple and all but I’m sure people would find it fine. Nice hair if a bit long for a guy, you like some almost Asian with the eyes and straight black hair. You would fit right in a manga, as an uke probably but there you go.”
“Uke? I do not know this term.”
Sera grinned, “go ask someone, you will find out soon enough,” she said relaxing slightly as he did not seem to be throwing lust magic at her. Lord Nova frowned and took a further step back finally entering a proper distance between him and Sera.
“Let us sit,”
“You can not conjure a few chairs?” Sera rolled her eyes and with a wave of her and two folding metal chairs appeared a small table between them. “Interesting are they real?”
“For as long as I want them to be,” Sera said simply sitting down.
“I have gone about this the wrong way,” Lord Nova said taking his seat as well. “You are truly friends with my son.”
“No really? I’ve known him for the last eight years in an attempt to get into his pants. No one in their right mind is that patient.”
“Yes but I am not my son, I am much stronger than him,” he added before standing. Sera was on her feet before he took a step her stance defensive. Lord Nova raised a brow with a smile. “Do you truly think I would harm you?”
“What were you just trying?”
“That would not have harmed you. Would it not be better to learn now that you can not live with Joshua now rather than later when you would end your relationship on an accidental night? Living with an incubus is not the same as spending a few hours with one even every day. You may be home when he’s feeding, or when he’s hungry.”
“We’ve already had these conversations. I know what I’m getting into. I understand his nature.”
“Do you really? Do you understand he may have men and women streaming in and out of here?”
“I considered a revolving door but it seemed a bit tacky and you know drafts.”
Lord Nova surged forward and Sera did not have a chance to react. His hand stroked her cheek and her entire body shuddered. Her vision blurred and she felt heat spreading across her body. She pulled away from the touch violently wondering why she had to have such luck and how long did it really take to look at a back yard in freaking Brooklyn.
“You can not return to them,” Salil said and Joshua frowned and kicked the tree at the edge of the yard. Chips of bark flying due to the force of the blow.
“Why is he doing this?” Joshua huffed.
“He is your father, did you expect any less? You know if she falls under his lull he will feed before releasing her.”
“So she will not go crazy just be disgusted with herself.”
“He will also not allow her to associate with you ever again.”
“It is not as if she would want to,” Joshua moped.
“I saw something that your father did not.”
“She was staring at him as if he was a thing, a new question to unravel.”
Joshua smiled. “She is logical and analytical to a fault. I blame it on the psychology classes.”
“Then there is hope yet. Have faith in your friend.”
She took a step back from Lord Nova and the man had the nerve to smile, his hand approaching her again and she slapped it away with her sleeve covered arm.
“Do not touch me,” She snarled.
“Is that what you really want to say?” He asked every word going to her groin. She shuddered and realized her illusion had fallen and she was having trouble drawing up the focus to bring it up again.
Sticking a hand into her pocket she pressed a button on her cell phone and music started playing softly. She threw up another illusion, building it slowly so it looked as if she calmed. Smiling as she began to hum softly she turned the music off without ever removing it from her pocket.
“You are stronger than I would have assumed from a fire child. Your kind tends to use brute force.” Sera smiled imagining kicking his teeth in, to keep her calm exterior as she used the anger to feed the illusion. She was calm this man would not win. She was much too focused on what she wanted to project that Nova got in another touch.
Though this time the glamour did not break and she watched his eyes widen slightly in shock at her lack of reaction. His hand on her cheek he tried to pull her down slightly for a kiss and Sera had never been happier of her height. In the instant when she realized that she in fact did not want this to happen she stomped on his foot with her own, wishing she was wearing her docs instead of her red and black converse.
Despite her choice of foot wear she had the desired effect and Lord Nova pulled back in shock. “You stepped on my foot!”
“Would you rather a groin shot? Or I could have dislocated your knee, maybe shattered your ankle. I was being nice.”
“Because you do not want to hurt me?”
“Because Joshua seems to like you. Trust me, I am more concerned about if the floor has already been treated and if not would your blood stain the hardwood.”
“There are four bones I could break right now for you and two places I could draw blood. That is what I am thinking about.”
“Mortals and their violence.”
“Well it’s in my nature. Just like it’s in yours apparently to be an asshole,” Lord Nova took a step forward and Sera’s hand came up like a streak of light breaking his nose.
“I’m sure Josh will forgive me a nose,” she said stomping away to the backdoor.
“Hey big guy, I broke your boss’ nose. You might want to do something about that.”
Salil’s eyes widened as he entered the house in three quick strides to find Nova with a handkerchief to his nose. Pulling it away he smiled. “It has already healed I am fine.”
“Father what did you do?”
“Me? Son why do you assume I am the one at fault I am the one injured and bleeding.”
“You’ve healed, as bad as she is, Sera will insult you for much longer than most will before resorting to blows.”
Lord Nova frowned and shook his head. “Enjoy the house son, and your little mortal. I suppose she will do.” He added before sweeping out of the house Salil on his tail. Though Salil did glance back and touch his left wrist to his temple, his fingers brushing along his hair before bowing slightly and walking out.
“What did he do?” Joshua asked quietly and Sera help up a hand.
“Let’s get out of here,” Sera said with a shudder holding the illusion close to herself, hoping it was enough to fool Joshua’s nose.
They had barely reached the door when Joshua’s hand brushed her own in an attempt at comfort. It was an explosion of sensation that had her gasping for breath as her illusion shattered stunning Joshua.
“Oh my god,” he whispered horrified having seen his father’s handy work plenty of times and how much worse the effect could be when one fought it. “What did he do?” He asked taking a step back hoping to help her get herself back under control. He saw the dilated pupils flushed skin and hoped it looked worse than it was.
“First off your dad is a total short old ass.”
“Short? He’s taller than I am.”
“Illusion he’s about yea high,” Sera said holding up a hand.
“Oh, hmm…never mind that what did he do exactly.”
“He invaded my personal space, not even European style, it was let see if air particles can fit between us. His eyes glowed a bit, and it was like, all of a sudden he started looking much better. So I did what you told me and started thinking about all the things that made it just gross. So I had short, Joshie’s dad, short, and old running through my head.”
“That’s all?” Joshua said relaxing slightly.
“Yeah the first couple of times, then he touched me.”
Sera who was glancing at anywhere but Joshua as less than chaste thoughts ran through her head did not notice how he paled at hearing this.
“Just once?” He whispered.
“Twice, then I broke his nose.”
“Florida until next week why?”
Joshua groaned and sunk into the metal chair. “My father did not think he affected you so he make his attempts stronger and stronger. I never thought he would take his gloves off. The touch of a Lord Incubus used to be called the hand of madness. You will desire him more and more until you will do anything to have him.”
“But I do not want him,” Sera admitted. “Well no, I do want to hit him until he bleeds a few hundred more times, but sex with your dad? Ew.”
“Did you think of someone else?”
“Oh good, you just need to sleep with them in the next day and everything will be fine. I’m sorry, I never thought my dad would go this far. I mean he…what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Sera said quickly, looking away from Joshua.
“You were thinking about Chris right?”
“Sorta? You either were or you were not you had to focus it somewhere if not on my father. Anyone can draw on the physical reactions, but if they are not the one’s you turned to it would make no difference. Even being with my father would not have helped.”
“Here’s the thing, I started thinking about Chris. And nothing was happening and it was like but I do not want to touch Joshua’s dad. Josh’s is cute but his dad is just a freak. And it was easier to want to slap him. It was just like a regular guy who messed up whatever points he had by opening his mouth.”
“So we have to…do not look at me like that! Would you rather go stark raving mad? Trailing after me like some demented mindless, love sick fiend?”
“But you are you!” Sera said with a wild gesture. “God I hate that man. I do not want to sleep with you.”
“I’m not letting you go crazy and trust me once we get started you will have no problem with it.”
“But you are my…we do not…it’s.”
“Is this the same girl who offered to go camping with me for my geology class if the trip was longer than two days? Who’s okay with being an emergency snack?”
“But that’s different.”
“Why because it was my sanity on the line?”
“You could die.”
“That too, but I would get delusional and strange before that. Then the coma.”
“I will not die.”
“I know how much you value your mind. You would wish you were dead, I’ve seen those that have been touched and denied. Eventually you would die, unless I made you eat. And if sent away from my presence you would do anything to get back into it. Risking your life without a single thought.”
“I could fight it.”
“I can say no.”
“I can say I will not feed again until we have sex.”
“But you would die!”
“So somehow its okay for you to go mad and eventually die when I can fix it but its not okay when our roles are reversed. I do not think so,” Joshua entered into her personal space much like his father had done moments before, and lightly held onto her upper arms.
He leaned forward, as Sera placed her hands against his chest to push him away. Moving much slower than she should be if she meant it and, blinked when he lightly brushed his lips against her, she pulled him tighter as he tried to pull away. When Joshua broke the kiss, Sera stared.
“That will only get worse.”
“We will still be friends right?” Sera asked feeling immensely stupid for asking the question.
“Not a question about Chris?”
“I’m pretty sure he will dump me when he finds out we moved in together. He does not like you all that much.”
“You do not sound too distraught.”
“I think I mentally dumped him last week when he got back a day early and I said I was at dinner with a friend and he said I need to stop hanging out with that asshole.”
“We did not go to dinner last week.”
“I was in DC with Bug.”
“Oh. And this will be an enjoyable and mutually beneficial experience for us both.”
“You sound like you are talking about something so practical and logical.”
“You need to, I need to, hey at least we will not have to wake up and blame it on booze.”
“If I ca not look you in the eye for a couple of days nothing personal okay?”
“We will be buying furniture, dishes and packing. We can do the packing first. That will be a couple of days of relative space. Is that enough stalling to prove the feelings are not going to fade?”
Sera turned away knowing her skin was still just light enough to turn red. Usually only in extremes in laughter and embarrassment and this clearly fit one of the specifications.
“Look we do this, I will teach you how to keep it from ever happening again, or worse case we have to do it again sometime in the future. I could think of worse things.”
“Would you really like to be on the floor of the living room with my father right now?” Sera shuddered in horror. “I did not think so.”
“Where are we going to go?”
“Your place, your father is working right?”
“Yeah he started about an hour ago.”
“I think eight hours might be enough time,” Joshua said with a wink. Now let’s go.”
“What’s that for?” Sera asked when Joshua brought in a handful of boxes scissors, a roll of tape and a box of black trash bags.
“You need to pack. That’s why I’m here, you are using the Were for some heavy lifting.”
Joshua glanced at her bed and smiled. “Remember that time your dad caught us in here junior year?”
“Yeah who knew a bio trip to the Bronx Zoo could be so exhausting. We passed out after 10 minutes. I thought I was a dead man. Sixteen for two months and already biting the big one.”
“I think it was the sneakers that gave us away. That and you asking how your father dare think you would cheat on your boyfriend.”
“His first divorce was about that, we had a lot of talks about it and I always said I would dump the guy instead of ripping his heart out and stomping on it like that. Complete with artistic renditions.” At Joshua’s look she shrugged. “Hey I was 8.”
“What do you think he would do now?”
“Finally admit he knows I’m not pure and deal? I do not know, it’s my dad!”
“Do you feel any better?” Joshua asked seriously as he taped a box together as Sera toed off her shoes.
“No,” she admitted pulling her arms around herself.
“Look at it this way, you could have been thinking Brad Pitt, then there would have been a problem.” Sera snorted then patted the seat besides her.
Joshua placed the still flattened boxes inside the one he had built up and took the seat. “Relax.”
“I feel 17 all over again.”
“That was your first time?”
“Yeah, I told you this.”
“Oh, no I just thought it was like an extra good time. We actually never talked about sex with each other until sometime in college when I finally told you why there was a new girl or guy every other day.”
“Yeah that was when I stopped trying to keep track.”
“I noticed, I had to fight to get you to remember anyone I introduced you to even friends.”
“Sorry, I just had a do not expend extra energy they’ll be gone in a day mentality.”
“Well for the most part it was true.”
“Yeah,” Sera said quietly looking at the walls and things that would boxed and things that could be bagged for easy movement.
“We should rent a van.”
“Huh? Oh my dad has people sending things over from my room. I already marked what I wanted to keep.”
“Ah I see, that help…” Sera was cut off as Joshua reached over and kissed her. He was straddling her as she stared at him wide eyed.
“Wait,” Sera said pulling out her cell phone, she typed a text message and sent it as Joshua stared.
“You are serious about never cheating.”
“Yes,” She said with a shrug.
“But ‘its over’ via text message? Is not that a little harsh?” As the phone started to ring she ended the call and turned it off.
“I was being nice, I did not bring up his irrational jealously, the fact that we’ve seen each other four times in the last month and had more sex than conversations,” she replied as her hand rested on Joshua’s wrist.
He smiled and dropped his grey hoodie to the floor before peeling off his t-shirt.
“Joshua I do not think I can…”
“You have to, and part of you wants to, you have made me something other than a sexual being in you mind. Very dangerous to do with an incubus.”
“What?” Sera blinked coming out of her daze.
“You. Me. Sex. No. Think.”
” Full sentences?” Joshua kissed her again.
“You would give a man issues,” he whispered as he slipped a hand under her red shirt. She has shucked off the black denim straight jacket at some point. She gasped as she could feel his hand unerringly finding a nipple through the material of her bra. She gasped arching under the touch and he grinned at finally getting a reaction from her.
“Tell me what you want,” he whispered kissing her neck as he pulled the shirt over her head with a quick move and it took her a second to realize that the bra had gone with it.
Sera shook her head too many thoughts running through it and wondering what she could do to make her mind make sense. Finally she pushed Joshua away and flat against the bed. He made a small sound of surprise and lay there blinking up at her as she straddled his thighs. Her hands making short work of his belt and the button and zipper of his jeans.
He reached his hands to her own jeans and did the same smirking at the matching underwear while she had one blue and white sock and one black and grey sock. She rolled off to get her jeans off as he did the same, though the black boxers went as well, while her red bikini underwear remained.
Joshua returned the favor straddling her with a grin before sliding down her to her navel. Tugging on the ring there he smiled as she gasped. He slid down further and mouthed her through the panties before reaching his hands up and sliding them off.
“Do you have…”
Joshua smiled, “Am I an incubus or not?” He said grabbing his hoodie and pulling out a pair of condoms from a pocket.
“Well stocked I suppose,” Sera said with a small smile.
“Yeah,” Joshua said quietly fingers going through her hair. Sera started down at the line of his body pressed against her own and shut her eyes. She could hear the foil tearing and Joshua moving off her slightly, much too quickly he was back and Sera’s eyes opened in surprise.
“Practice,” he whispered softly his hands gently prying her legs apart before settling down between them. Sera bent her legs slightly to be more accommodating and Joshua smiled leaning forward to kiss her moving along her jaw. Certain points on her neck standing out, his lips focusing on that spot, Sera gasped and arched and Joshua moved with her entering her as her body jerked causing another surprised gasp and a moan even as her body moved to join him as Joshua’s lips found another point right at her collar bone that caused her to cry out.
Memories of exactly how to move, what to do to have her screaming beneath her came to the fore as Joshua touched the that half of him, as well as his hunger. While not the raging inferno he usually felt when he denied his hunger it was a drive that helped him work through this as Sera gasped and writhed beneath him.
He was surprised to learn that Sera was a screamer, and he set about biting and kissing places to see how loud he could get her, laughing when she seemed to realize what he was doing and causing a strangled moan from Sera before she bit his chest in retaliation. Joshua retaliated by changing the angle he was moving at and increasing his pace causing a screech, surprised when Sera had the presence of mind to glare at him.
Joshua smiled and returned to the spot on her collar bone watching as Sera became undone by the double assault, her mouth opened in a silent scream as her hands clutched at him convulsively as he continued to move in her finally causing a scream before he came himself.
He could see the moment the hand on her broke. She blinked wearily, and looked at Joshua their bodies still joined and slapped his arm.
“Ow! That’s not really part of the after glow!”
“You did that on purpose,” she said with a wide yawn.
“What?” Joshua asked innocently sliding out of Sera causing her to groan as he disposed of the evidence.
“Trying to make me scream?”
“Its cute,” he said sliding up beside here. “Its always the quiet ones.”
“I’m a quiet one? What’s your definition of quiet?” Sera asked with another yawn.
“Would not you like to know,” he said grinning, “Hey wake up. You ca not fall asleep yet.” Sera nearly asleep and still coming down from her experience stared at Joshua when he sat up and tugged her into a sitting position.
“Joshieeeeee, I want to sleeeeep.”
“I know, put your clothes on first,” he said with a soft smile and helped her pull the shirt over her head and a pair shorts that were hanging on her headboard.
He helped her put them on as well before sliding back into the bed with her.
He wrapped his arms around her and waited until she fell asleep, knowing breaking the hold of the hand would be exhausting. For him he felt the same exhilarating burst of energy he usually felt and when he felt her fall asleep he began packing boxes finding a few sharpies he labeled each box he packed. With six boxes complete he began to feel a lag in his own energy and climbed back into bed with Sera who rolled over and snuggled with him almost instantly.
Smiling he wrapped his arms around her and hoped it would be this easy to convince her that the easiest way to have a better safe guard against his father and other incubi short of a true love match was constant contact with one.
An hour or two each morning or sometimes the entire night might be just enough to make it much harder for a hand to ever work on her again. He was still planning when he fell asleep as well.
Both remained asleep hours later when Glenn entered the room looking at the boxes that had been packed up and the pair sound asleep on the bed wrapped around each other a moment of déjà vu for him as he remembered the last time he had seen this scene.
He turned off the light and slipped out of the room ready to go get something to eat then to bed wondering what the house would be like without the daughter he had never expected or thought he wanted but gotten anyway.
Glenn was trying to keep track of the bodies as they came in. He had the plane’s manifesto and passport photos, as this flight from London to the US has crashed spectacularly near the Manhattan Bridge.
He was about to seal the body bag of this woman, Madeline, when he saw a streak of fiery light behind him and heard what sounded like a bird call. Turning around he saw a flaming bird, Phoenix his mind quickly supplied land on the body of the one person he was truly avoiding. She had been pregnant and near her due date by the size of her. How she had even gotten on a flight was beyond him.
The bird let out three shrill cries and burst into flames taking the body with it. Glenn was stunned and wondered what he would have to do. He had not been concerned about if any of his kind had been on the plane; cause of death was not being questioned and if they looked human enough to get on a plane they were human enough to be at the morgue.
Staring at the burning slab he was shocked to see that while the mother had burned the child was fine. The first sight stunned him a bit, the child was pink with wisps of hair. He was surprised for two reasons, the child was completely white almost albino like, which might have been the case if the child had a chance to be born seeing how the mother had clearly been black.
Suddenly the tiny chest heaved and let loose a cry and Glenn staggered in shock as the phoenix faded from sight and left behind the crying baby. Pulling off his gloves he quickly picked up the child wondering what this meant.
The moment he did the child fell silent and blinked up at him, with solid brown eyes. He smiled for some reason insanely glad the child was not albino despite what looked like almost white fuzz for hair and the pink skin. He checked the child over and was surprised to see that the belly button was mostly healed already, and glad to see that for the most part the child looked healthy.
He knew he would have to hand the child who was already yawning and falling asleep over to the order and for some reason the idea did not appeal to him in the least. Making an instant decision he picked up his phone and called his wife instead.
“Hi honey, I forgot some stuff I need her can you bring the things in the blue box?” He asked knowing the only blue box that they had at the moment was a baby shower gift for that weekend.
“Blue box? Are you sure.”
“Positive. We never did get a pink box.”
“I will be there in a bit,” she responded trusting her husband to explain once she arrived why on earth he needed baby things in a morgue and why he was trying to hide it from the order. But there were some questions not for over the phone and that would only be done to have under her shield.
From what he had said all she knew was that there was a baby girl involved and she wondered if it had anything to do with the plane crash. Pulling her blond hair into a ponytail she lifted the gift and carried it to her car deciding not to unwrap it.
Sera woke to blackness and arms around her. For a moment she was confused as she recognized her own bed but could not understand how she would share a bed with Chris in her own house. Maybe when she moved in with Joshua, and with that thought what she had done with her best friend came back to her full force and she glanced over at him sleeping oblivious to what was going on around him.
Not sure what woke her she looked around and saw that Joshua had gotten a substantial amount of packing done for her. Her stomach growled and she looked at the time. A little after midnight, her father would have been back and might be eating now. She headed down to the kitchen and smiled when she saw him at the counter washing dishes.
“Did I wake you?” He asked turning off the sink.
“No, my stomach did.”
“There’s still some chili on the stove if you want some.”
“Joshua helping you pack?”
“Yeah, he does not have to do his own stuff plus he has this crazy idea that if he leaves it to me it will never get done. I mean rather silly right?”
“Of course its not as if he has ever experienced something that would give the idea.”
“Who’s side are you one dad?”
“There are sides? What sides? I thought we were just having a conversation.”
“Sure,” Sera said spooning some chili into a bowl for herself. She went to the fridge and poured herself a glass of soda and grabbed the saltines that her father had left out on the table.
“Thanks dad,” she said after her first bite and smiling at the taste. It would mean he would have been home hours for him to have already made chilli from scratch.
“Been home long?”
“Got out a bit early, it was a slow night.”
“Must you and Joshua do that?”
“Curl up in your bed.”
“We do it just to annoy you. I do not even remember falling asleep.”
“You would tell me if you guys became an item right?” Sera’s spoon froze halfway to her mouth, this is why while she had told her father he was half were she had never mentioned the other half letting her father believe he was half human.
“Dad its Joshie, do not be silly.”
“It is not as he is an unattractive man. And more importantly he’s smart, unlike that fool Chris you had me meet.”
“Oh we broke up.”
Sera slightly drunk and stumbling made her way down the block. She knew Joshua had stayed behind to help close up the bar as the bouncer had gotten injured. He had sent her home knowing it would take a while even with the cleaning crew that would come in.
She heard a strange noise and looked around. It sounded like a child crying more than anything else and she wondered why she could hear it so close. While scanning the area around her she continued to walk to her house. She hoped it was not one of those kidnappers always mentioned on the news for playing tapes of babies in peril to lure people out of their homes.
Granted she was already walking down the street. It was then she saw a blackish lump on the ground in the curb grass. When bending forward to get a better look nearly sent her spiraling to the ground she slowly sank to her knees and realized this was what was causing the noise and this was in fact a kitten.
Normally sober this may not have occurred to her but steps from her home she lifted the blackish lump and carried it inside missing the streak of lighting that would have incinerated what was left of the cat had she not have taken it in.
Shutting the door she turned on the lights and placed the small shape down. She drew on the power she seemed to used the least because of its painful after effects and the amount of power needed.
Her last thought before her hands took on a golden glow was that she would have one hell of a hang over come morning. She poured the golden light into the kitten watching as bones, muscle and fur came back together and in their proper positions and wondered if she should be happy that it had been too dark for her to see what it was that had become of the kitten.
She had felt fur and wetness. Picking up the kitten as she felt the lethargy sweep over her she brought it to the sink ignoring its protests and rinsed it off quickly before carrying up the stairs to her bedroom. She folded a towel and placed it in the corner before settling the cat down.
It yawned and explored its resting place slightly before going to work on its distorted fur. Heading back to the bathroom she cleaned out the soap dish and filled it with water now knowing she did not have the energy to do much more else. She sat on her bed and kicked off her shoes.
There had been pain, and cold, darkness and forgetting. Then the pain had faded. Light had returned and with light sight. What he is and what he had been forgotten but what he was now was warm. Free of pain and it was right. What else there was could wait.
It did not matter that it was forgotten. It was not as important as the warmth, the lack of pain, the soft, these were good things. All else could be forgotten.
The next thing Sera became aware of was Joshua. Blinking she sat up and realized she was in his bed. He had his arms wrapped around her and had the curtains in his bedroom opened wide to let in the sunlight and she jumped slightly when a pair of green eyes stared at her before she remembered the kitten.
“Well hello there,” she said as the kitten pawed around the bed. “Are not you one lucky fellow.” She sat up, picking up the kitten. “Yep, you are a boy. How do you like the name Lucky?”
The cat blinked at her with the level of indifference only a cat could master. “Lucky?” The cat continued staring.
“Are you actually asking a cat what it thinks?” Joshua grumbled from beside her.
“Where did it come from anyway? And what did you do?”
“I healed it, and I found it outside.”
“You healed it? The one thing that can kill you?”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time? I mean it was just a little kitten and I was home.”
“You know you’ve been asleep about 36 hours?” Sera stared and shook her head in denial. “Lucky is lucky I did not toss him out on his furry ass.”
“Hey!” Sera said holding the cat close to her ignoring the slight dig of the tiny claws into her flesh. “Joshua did not mean it.”
“Did you feed him?”
“Yes,” he said with a sigh stroking the cat who let out a tiny purr. “After I had your dad come check on you. He knew what it was and just said let you sleep.”
“Yeah, hmm we have to get you some kitty litter and such do not we?” She said looking at the cat.
“And one of those claw practice things.”
“You do not want to get him declawed and fixed?”
“Declawed? You savage! He’s a cat. Trimmed yes, what if he gets in a fight with a alley dog and he has no claws?”
Joshua smirked wondering if Sera realized what she sounded like. “Fine let’s go shopping for the cat.”
“Yay. But first we must feed the Sera.”
The queen of the American Were’s frowned deeply. The photo’s showed her transforming. Photos that the taker claimed they would post on the internet if she did not do what they desired. That was not an option and the request so far fetched that she felt that she had an idea already who was behind it.
Standing outside her son’s bedroom she frowned as she wondered how to approach it with out letting him know what was going on. She had, had a century to mold Joshua, with out all these infernal devices that Jamie seemed intent on having. She opened the door and found him with his laptop facing towards the door.
“Hello my queen.”
“I am also your mother Jamie.”
“That you are,” he said and the Queen frowned. Jamie’s tone always worried her.
“If some one were to place something on this internet of yours what would it mean?”
“Place something? Like what?”
“Photos, or a letter for example.”
“Oh, well it depends on where they place it. Millions of people could see it in a matter of minutes. These people could save it, print it, post links up to it, email…” Jamie paused noticing his mother’s glazed look.
“They would not only be able to see the photos they would be able to duplicate it, and send it to others to see.”
“I see.” The queen said standing, Jamie was too young and despite her attention she was not sure where his loyalties lay. There were many times she caught him staring at her as if waiting for her to strike. It also did not escape her notice that all the items in the room where he could possibly be venerable were adjusted against that.
His desk faced the door so in the chance that he was actually seated at it, he would see you enter, his windows were protected with ground silver and she knew he lay prayers at his door nightly.
While Joshua had had some of the same protections he had expected his mother to defend him long before he would have to defend himself. Jamie put no faith in anyone but himself. He even had a small dagger tucked at the base of his pants at all times.
She still remembered the day she had decided to ask her son why he felt he needed to be so independent of her.
“So when you have your next son and think he is a better fit because you prefer what he becomes during the moon, or that consort, looks better, or what ever reason you justify I will not suffer. I do not have a father to take me. My father is your servant first and my father second.”
She had stared at Jamie long and hard and had taken away his private phone and told him he was no longer allowed to call that creature she had once called son. He had nodded and replied ‘as my queen wishes.’ She could not believe the lies Joshua had fed her son. Clearly the true child of the prophecy, he would change the fate of were’s in America and around the world.
“What are your diversions on such a thing?”
“Many things, many things,” Jamie said absently bookmarking the part of Joshua’s blog he was reading. He had been so happy he had talked his brother into posting it online when he had learned he had kept a journal all his life. The originals were under his bed, and Jamie was reading about Joshua’s first visit to New York City in 1924. His brother had been awed and he was sure that was part of the reason he had chosen to settle there, when he had the choice of his father cities.
He could also understand his brother better through the journals, even now he did not say many bad things about their mother and would most likely be horrified to hear how Jamie spoke and treated his mother. Like his brother his father was a nonexistent entity. He had tried speaking to him once about his desire to see what it would be like to go to school and his mother had stormed in minutes later about him never associating with human trash. He may have only been three but he learned. His father had been in the right place at the right time and had already been displaced as his mother’s current favored consort.
Leaving him almost utterly alone in this mansion of a prison allowed to roam only on the full moon while he still did not change he had taken to sneaking out and trying to find the quickest route to civilization. Though the best would be to somehow get in touch with his brother.
Despite being part of the same state, their estate, surrounded by woods and hours from the nearest town was a far cry from the city his older brother now called home. Glancing out his own window and the expanse of trees he sighed. He was in the middle of nowhere. If it was not for his friends online he would be technologically inept as well as socially.
Rolling his eyes Jamie glanced up at his mother who was standing at the door. “Did you need something else?”
His mother coming out of some sort of daze shook her head. Blond curls falling everywhere. “No I will see you at dinner.”
“Yes mother,” he said with a sigh.
Sera looked at the pile of suppressors and the people standing in front of her. They had all signed agreement that stated that they could not discuss what they tested and they had disclosed their element and level of power. Joshua looked irritated as he stood on the side of subject watching for just this moment.
“Alright, number 12 step forward, place on the band.” The man did as he was told calmly placing on the band and frowning when he was done.
“I think it’s a dud,” he said shortly.
“Why do you say that?” Sera asked quietly.
“Feels like a piece of leather, when you put on a suppressor you know you have a suppressor on. That’s why most people do not bother to do public eye things. It’s just better not to ever have that feeling.”
“Okay attempt to use your magic on the dummy,” Sera said glancing at her sheet. 12 was a water element who was able to hydrate or dehydrate objects and the air around him. He easily shriveled the fruit bowl and hydrated its again.”
“Looks like you were taken,” the man said.
“Yeah, great, so much for that, well I might as well finish off this round of testing, paid everyone and all. There’s food and drink in the other room if you have a friend you’re waiting on or want to hang about. Were there many people left? I have twenty down but I know people tend to drift off.”
“I think a couple guys, thanks for the offer but I have to get to work.” Sera nodded and smiled at the man as he placed the suppressor down on the table.
Waiting until he left she slipped the fake back into her pocket and pulled out the real one and called 13 smiling as Joshua entered.
“They are treading a very fine line lately,” Joshua murmured.
“They had a change in the higher ups recently. I do not think this one believes.”
“Well if they make a true nuisance of themselves or really interfere they’ll learn.”
“That they will.”
“How are the tests going otherwise?”
“Perfect. The subjects want to buy them right now. They said it’s a much more fluid block. Instead of something feeling like its crushing their heart its like they are in water and they ca not get their magic through. Tangible but not painful.”
“So he was telling the truth.”
“He was telling the truth.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means we will be selling suppressors mach 2 from scotoma and scotoma.com the second we can get more info out of that Adam character. And hopefully the order will be scratching their behind long enough to saturate the market and drive them bleeding mad.”
“And how did she take the invitation?” Nova asked as his twin blades struck out towards Salil with increasing speed.
“She accepted and seemed resigned to her fate. She seemed more distraught that you would be providing clothing than the fact that she would be at a masque attended by your kind.”
“Hmm, interesting,” he said slipping under the larger man’s defenses and stopping barely a breath from his throat. “Salil you have been making that same mistake for the last five centuries.”
“Do not apologize fix it,” Nova said with a sigh. “Just because it will not kill you does not mean you should allow it.”
“Yes my lord,” Salil said calmly.
She saw him. The one she had to protect and chose this form. Unable to tell why she felt it was the one most needed to aid and protect she approached. He eyed her and her form for a moment before allowing her inside both missing the lightening that streaked across the sunny sky heading for them but falling short with the shields on the house.
Neither heard the sound as they began to build a life together.
Sera shuddered feeling as someone had slid ice down her back. They had just arrived curtsey of the Salil express at the party. She had a glass of champagne in the limo but nothing near enough to cause this reaction. Something was very wrong.
“I’ll let you know,” Sera said seriously as they entered into the entry hall.
“The celebration is in the grand ball room,” Salil said with a bow hand gesturing in the direction.
Sera looked around the hall that had been rented for the event and shook her head at the enormity of it. She knew this was one of Joshua’s father’s hotels but to see something like this, all marble and gold inlay.
“Do you still remember our hands?” Sera asked suddenly.
“From high school? Sure, but…”
“Just watch for them. This feels wrong.”
“You have never been around so many of us before.”
“Its not a people feeling, there’s something here that does not belong, or is hiding. And its so wrong, something,” Sera shook her head unable to explain further. “Just keep alert. And watch me especially if I start acting weird, just go with it.”
“Alright,” Joshua said having learned that Sera’s feelings were always right even if she could not explain them. It was almost like foresight or visions that seers would have if they were even more unclear.
They entered the hall and as one of his father’s many sons who had yet to establish himself and break off on his own despite moving out he was presented as Joshua Nova-curse for both his were and incubus heritage. Though he did not feel being a were was a curse he understood why their society felt that way.
Incubi were considered one of the true immortals. If there was a way to kill them the information had been lost ages ago. And while Joshua knew he could die how much of that was tied to his Were heritage and simply not being a full incubus, not to mention less than a decade into his powers he did not know.
It was something his father would not speak to him about as well. So it remained an unanswered question. There were times he considered asking one of his half brothers or sisters, but the only one he had been introduced to was four and unlike Jamie acted like a four year old though he had been shocked to learn his youngest brother would always be his youngest brother. Despite the fact that the day they met he had been 600.
The child had been rosy cheeked smiling and friendly and looked like a miniature of their father. He had stared at his father in surprise and he had simply shrugged. It made him wonder what his other siblings looked like. And if he was the only one that did not share their father’s face.
His father apparently sensing his train of thought smiled. “My children come in all colors, shape, and sizes. It just so happens his mother shares many features with me. He will be with me for the next few months. Borealis this is your brother Joshua.”
“Joshua?” The child asked grey eyes going wide and Joshua marveled at this small difference.
“Hey, how old are you?”
“I’m four,” he said with a grin and Joshua could see a missing tooth.
“Awesome. You like staying with dad?”
“Yeah, he tells me stories, and plays games, and we have cookie time. But then I have to take my nap, but he takes it with me now, and that’s okay if he has to nap too.”
Joshua grinned a looked up at his father. “I do not know what she told you, but I love all my children. Ali, how long have you been four?”
“This is gonna be my six hundred and firstist four birthday. Do I have to be five? I do not wanna be five.”
“Then you are still four,” Lord Nova said to a frowning Borealis stunning Joshua.
“Okay good, can Joshua come to naptime?”
“We decide when we age not the moon. And if Ali wants to be four for the next 10,000 years then he will be four and he will have a father.”
“And a mother,” Lord Nova agree sliding a hand through his physically youngest son’s hair as he wrapped an arm around his youngest son. “And I think maybe today Joshua will read the story.”
“Yay can we read about the tree brothers?”
“The dead men?” Joshua asked in surprise.
“Did you expect me to read him Disney?”
“Not when you say it like it’s a dirty word.”
“I will take him to the infernal place, because it is a wonderful feeding ground for him and he enjoys the tea cups. But they have destroyed much useful information. My cousin does not appreciate how they butchered her story.”
“Your cousin is a fairytale character?”
“Sleeping beauty, only a kiss could wake her? Come now son, that does not sound the least bit familiar?”
“But all that true love stuff.”
“What mortal could last a century in an enchanted sleep? Truth and lie have become intertwined though it does protect us from detection. She sometimes wanders about startling children. To make matters worse they decide she is Snow White.”
“They do look the same. And the stories are similar, except for the dwarves, and the spindle and…”
“Joshua stop, you will do well to hear our stories in their original form and it will be fun for Ali as well.”
“Can I tell him my secret?” Ali whispered to his father.
“Okay, let’s get cookies!” Ali exclaimed jumping up and clapping.
Sera felt ill at ease. Joshua had vanished from her side after ten minutes taken by his father to meet someone or another and she still has the eerie feeling that something was very wrong.
Sera clicked away from the Scotoma home page and restored the email page. They had been selling the suppressors for a week and nothing had happened. She did not know why she had expected some amazing surge in sales and people trying to break down her door in an attempt to get to the new products.
Since she had begun selling the product she had sold maybe three and two of those customers had been those who she had used for testing. She had not even made back the cost of testing.
She wondered if she would have to advertise and if so who she would have to advertise to and how. She was about to look at the website statistics tab once again when she received an Instant Message from Jamie.
Wildtrap: Look at this.
Py: What am I looking at? She asked as a news article loaded.
‘Lead singer of Red Streak injured – Suppressors blamed’
Py: and? There is nothing I can do about that.
Wildtrap: Did not you go to camp with the lead singer of Red Streak?
Py: Yes but I doubt that they would remember me.
Wildtrap: Does not matter the part you missed by just reading the headline is that they want to continue performing, without suppressors, they say they’ve proven its talent by making it this far. The order does not agree, saying being an opening act does not equate making it and the extra boost that magic gives at this stage could make or break their career.
Py: So you want me to convince them to wear these suppressors?
Wildtrap: Yes, Red Streak may not be the most popular band out there among the normals but they are good, its why they are the first band that has enough support from us to make an impact until the normals catch up.
Py: And how will I find the lead singer of Red Streak
Wildtrap: You really did just look at the headline
Py: Sorry, I’ll read it.
Py: Excellent. I do not know if this will work but thanks Jamie
Wildtrap: I saw the results from your trial. Those things need to be on the market. Our current suppressors are from like the stone age. There is no reason for them, but as long as people believe they need the crutch it should at least be a good crutch that will not put their life at risk from using it.
Py: Preaching to the Choir buddy
Wildtrap: So you’ll do it?
Py: What’s the worst that could happen he says no, and I move on with my life and try to see what use I can get of the one advertising class I took
Wildtrap: For the sake of Scotoma let’s hope it works.
Py: You know that’s quite the fresh tone out of you
Wildtrap: You know us kids today and not respecting their elders.
Py: Elder! Do I look like Joshua? No calling me elder unless there are three digits in my age.
Wildtrap: I’ll see what I can do.
Py: You do that
Wildtrap has signed off.
Sitting back she wondered if she should bring Joshua with her. Even as a Red Streak song started playing from the store stereos. All the songs proclaimed Red Streak for exactly what they were if one had ears to listen.
I wrap you up in my honey coated truths
I speak the words you want to hear
You will desert all you hold dear
Just to have me near
And I tell you
You are a fool
I will toss you aside
You are a fool
For you think I never lie
I tell the truth in such a way
I tell the truth like a fey
Never shall a lie pass these lips
But dare you trust these words I twist
Nothing I say is a lie
Trust every one and you’ll surly die
For I tell the truth in such a way…
Dare you trust the mortal fey…
Not a drop of Seelie blood to be had
Not a dash of Unseelie ever the bad
I kiss your lips and spin your ring
Bring you to my garden for that wicked thing
Speak honeyed truths into your ear
Drink and eat your fill dear
Everything Is safe for me here.
I tell the truth in such a way
I tell the truth like a fey
Never shall a lie pass these lips
But dare you trust these words I twist
Nothing I say is a lie
Trust every one and you’ll surly die
For I tell the truth in such a way…
Dare you trust the mortal fey…
Sera began humming along and bouncing around the store wondering what the best way to approach Danny would be. At least she thought his name was Danny. She sighed, just because she liked the music did not mean she needed to know every nuance about the band. Or anything at all for that matter beyond when an album was released and if she really liked them when and where they would be playing in NYC.
She was pretty sure the lead singer had black hair and was pretty well built perfect for a rock star in the making. But now how was she supposed to talk him into wearing her product and all when he had sworn off the blasted things.
Sighing at yet another complication in her life she looked behind the counter at the small box she had placed there with the kitten inside with some catnip. He was trying to get out and she took pity on him freeing him from the smallish box and after a quick glance to makes sure there were no items to which he could cause irreversible harm allowed him free reign. Watching for a moment as he explored she returned to the screen and hoped someone had placed an order.
Rolling her eyes she instead pulled out the documentation grudgingly handed to her early that same day that said the suppressors worked as promised and were at least as good as those that were issued by the order. She may have argued the semantics of such a statement since they were clearly better but the document did mean that she could approach Danny with her suppressors and that if he did decided to wear them the order could not claim he was somehow breaking the rules.