DISCLAIMER: The Hollows and its characters/inhabitants are the property of Kim Harrison. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might
By Janine



My father always used to tell me to be careful what I wished for because I just might get it. I always used to nod, and meet his eyes very seriously to convey to him that his wisdom had reached me, but I never really understood the warning. I had wished that my Rosewood Syndrome would go away when I was little, and I was glad that it did. I had wished to breach my I.S. contract without getting caught, and I was glad that I had. I had wished for a car, and I was definitely glad that I had gotten it. Wishing had worked out pretty well for me in the past, and I really wished that I hadn't let Jenks and his brood eat that Wishing Fish I had stolen from the Howler's, because I was full of other wishes that I totally would have liked to come true.

As I watched Ivy on the dance floor of Piscary's, long dark hair swinging about her face as she swayed back and forth in time with the music, her hips rolling and gyrating with a sensuous abandon, I felt the first tendrils of understanding for my father's gently whispered words. I didn't know why exactly, but I was getting the feeling that I had bitten off more than I could chew.

Ivy was so tense, so controlled all of the time that I was worried that if she didn't find a way to cut loose and relax that she would snap (and I would get taken out with her). For a while I had been wishing for an idea to come to me, wishing that I could think of some way to help her relax a little. Then, on my platonic non-date with Kisten, I got sugared on vampire pheromones at Piscary's and I realized that getting Ivy sugared would be the perfect way to loosen her up and allow her to relieve some of the tension she carried around with her. And, oh boy had she loosened up.

I focused on the dance floor once more. Ivy had her hands up above her head and was waving them loosely back and forth. Her head was tilted back and a large, almost delirious smile covered her face. Ivy was in love with the world at that moment, and if the crowd of living and undead vampires surrounding her was any indication, the world was in love with Ivy too. Her joy was infectious, and just as the vampires at Piscary's and encouraged and looked out for me the first time I had been sugared, they were supporting and encouraging Ivy's good mood.

Kisten had told me that sugaring hit people according to need. Those who were already happy and content, would barely feel the effects of the concentrated vampire pheromones in the room, but those who were in pain, who were suffering and soul-sick, would be hit like a mack truck being propelled by ley line energy. Therefore, when the vampires in the club, saw someone completely succumb to the effects of sugaring they tried to keep it going for as long as possible knowing that the person really, really needed to feel good, if only for a while. And Ivy … Ivy needed to feel good.


I was just able to make out the sound of my name being called over the beat of the music being pumped into the club. I focused on Ivy and could just make out her lips moving in the dark room. She was calling out to me, and as she smiled blissfully at me a walkway opened up between us, the vampires surrounding her parting like the Red Sea to allow me easy passage to her.

Ivy held out her hand towards me, and immediately I began to walk towards her.

The sugaring wasn't affecting me as much this time as it had the last time I was there. I wasn't quite as depressed and down with the world as I had been that first night, but something was always going on – or maybe just going wrong – in my life, and I was feeling pleasantly light-headed as I made my way towards Ivy.

"Rachel," she breathed out, taking both of my hands in hers as I reached her.

"Ivy," I said, and I could feel a goofy grin spreading across my face as I looked into her shining brown eyes. So beautiful, Ivy was so beautiful. Looking at her – trying to take in that much loveliness at one time – was sometimes painful. The sight of her, the sound of her voice stirred something deep inside of me, something so raw and visceral that it terrified me … most of the time. But I wasn't scared at that moment, holding Ivy's hands, not with vampire pheromones floating through my body and Ivy's warm brown eyes looking down at me. I was stirred, but it was warm and tingling and pleasant this time, and I wished it could feel this way when I looked at her all the time. I wondered if it did feel this way, under the fear.

"Rachel," she said again, her voice taking on a sing-song quality. And then before I was really aware of her moving, I felt myself being enveloped in a full body embrace, the length of Ivy's lithe, perfect body pressing up against me as she pressed her nose into my frizzy red hair and flexed her arms around me, sighing happy as she hugged me.

Ivy and I had hugged before, but the contact had always been tentative. Usually Ivy would stand stiffly within the circle of my arms as I hugged her loosely trying to pretend that her body wasn't about as welcoming as a plank of wood. She was scared to get my scent covering too much of her, and I was … well, I was scared of the same thing. In fact, I felt a nagging kind of fear at the back of my mind as Ivy began to sway us to the music, but the vampire pheromones were doing their job, and while I realized that I probably should have been worried about her being pressed so close for so long, I wasn't worried at all. I had wanted Ivy to relax and be happy, and she was relaxed and happy. It was a good thing.

My father's warning about being careful what I wished for kept running through my mind, but I ignored it. I was feeling to good to be worrying about anything.

"This is nice." Ivy's voice held a wistful quality to it, and I found my eyes closing at the sound of it, allowing the warm honeyed tones to sink into the very depths of me. When she was in a good mood, Ivy's voice was one of the most powerful intoxicants in the world. I would have listened to her read the phone book in moments like that. In fact, I had once.

"What is?" I asked, sounding dazed and happy to my own ears.

"Being so close to you," Ivy said, inhaling again before simply resting her head against mine. "I feel nice," she breathed out. "I've been so scared to get too close to you. There were so many times, when you were hurt or scared, and I wanted to comfort you so much," her voice was like a warm breeze, "and I couldn't. But, I wanted to Rachel. I wanted to hold you."

My arms tightened around Ivy as she spoke, and when she was finished speaking I leaned forward and rested my head on her shoulder. Tears were beginning to pool in my eyes, the wistful sadness in her voice touching something deep inside of me. She was so wonderful to me, so caring and protective. Sometimes it made me uncomfortable how much she seemed to care, the way her tenderness settled in my belly and made it clench made me uncomfortable. But there, on the dance floor, in her arms, I only felt safe … and loved.

"Me too," I said, my lips brushing against the pale flesh of her shoulder as I spoke.

I remembered seeing Ivy broken and bleeding four months before, her lovely dark hair matted with congealed blood as she lay curled in a ball on the front steps of our church. I remembered her sitting, curled in on herself, on the floor of her shower, rivets of blood running towards the drain as she rocked herself back and forth trying to exercise the horrible memories of what had happened to her from her brain. I was her roommate, her partner, her best friend, and I should have leaped into the shower and wrapped my arms around her, hugging her to me as I whispered meaningless but soothing words to her. I wanted to do that, I wanted to hold her and try to make her feel safe. But all I'd been able to do was fetch a towel for her and make hot coca, because I knew that if I had touched her she would have snapped and then both of us would have been broken and bleeding in the shower.

"It's so easy right now," Ivy said, her hand moving to the small of my back so that we were dancing together like lovers. Our movements were slow and completely out of tune with the pulsing music being played, but Ivy didn't seem to care and I knew that I didn't. "I wish it could always be like this."

"We could watch movies together again," I said softly, a smile tugging at my lips as I imagined being able to cuddle up beside her, one blanket covering as both as she watched things explode on screen. "We could spar again," I continued longingly. I missed the sparing session we used to have together. I missed Ivy's wicked grin, and the way we used to toss taunts back and forth. I used to always glare at her when she would mockingly call me 'little witch', but I missed the teasing nickname now. Various other scenes of domestic bliss flitted through my brain, and I was surprised by the fierce longing that accompanied them.

Ivy sighed, and I felt her body tense against mine. My eyes opened in surprise, and when I tilted my head up to look at her beautiful, somewhat Oriental features, I was surprised to see the blank look in her eyes that I so often encountered. She was becoming serious again. Even with all of the vampire pheromones floating around the club, her angst was killing her sugar high.

I reached up and touched her once. The first time I had gotten sugared I had passed out in Kisten's Corvette, and I had been terribly self-conscious about the whole thing and never wanted anyone else to find out. So, of course the first thing he had done was call Ivy and tell her about it. When she questioned me about the speed with which I had become falling down sugared, I had responded defensively, meanly telling her that she could use a good sugaring, only they probably wouldn't let her into the club because she would kill everyone's buzz.

I didn't want my words to come true, and I angled Ivy's face down to look at me.

"What is it?" I asked, hoping that if I could get her to tell me what was suddenly bothering her that she would be able relax again and enjoy the rest of the night.

She looked at me, her eyes conflicted. My beautiful, tortured Ivy was back and it broke my heart. "Tell me," I prompted stroking her cheek, my breath catching when her eyes closed and her tilted her head into my touch.

"We won't be sugared forever," Ivy said sadly, her eyes opening to release a delicate trail of moisture from each of her eyes. "Let's just dance," she continued. But her voice was tighter than I had heard in the past two hours, and her body was now stiff in my arms. She was afraid that answering my question would affect our friendship, and that fear was chasing off all of the pleasant effects the pheromones had been having on her.

"You can tell me," I said, feeling much more sober myself as I spoke. "Nothing you say will scare me off."

Ivy snorted indelicately and averted her eyes from mine, staring at the dancing bodies around us for a moment.

"Everything I say scares you," she murmured finally. "Everything I do scares you. You're so comfortable around everyone else, but I so much as look at you and …" she sighed again, still averting her eyes. "It breaks my heart that you're so afraid of me."

I dropped my hand from her face and placed my head on her shoulder where she couldn't see my face. I wanted to protest, to tell her that I wasn't scared of her. I wanted to tell her that she didn't give me the creeps at least three times a week, but I couldn't. Because I was scared of her sometimes and she did often give me the creeps. I loved her, and needed her, but oh god she could give me the willies sometimes. She was so intense, so focused, just burning, seething, simmering all of the time with barely suppressed emotion and seeing all of that feeling directed at me …

I shuddered against her, and felt her tense even more.

Ivy sighed deeply, and I knew I had just broken her heart again.

"I'm sorry, Ivy," I said pulling back a little. I wanted to see her face when I said it so that she would know that I meant it. I didn't want to be afraid, but I couldn't control all of my body's reactions to her.

"So am I," she said, her weight shifting. The movement was almost imperceptible, but I noticed it and I knew that she was getting ready to pull away from me. I tightened my arms around her, unwilling to release her from the circle of my arms knowing that she would leave the club if I did, and that when I got back to the church I would find her more haunted, and self-loathing than she had been when we left.

"Rachel, let go," she said. Her voice was flat. We could as well have been in the kitchen of the church for all the good the pheromones of the vampires around us were doing. I refused to release her. "I'm not sugared anymore," she said. Her voice was strained, and pained, and I knew that when I looked into her eyes there would be black in them instead of the cinnamon colour they were when she was relatively content.

"No," I said shaking my head, pulling back a little so that I could see her. "Tonight was supposed to help. Not make things worse. I was trying to make you feel better, not make you feel worse," I went on, a note of alarm sounding in my voice. "I hate seeing you so sad," I whispered. "I hate knowing I'm the reason for it."

Ivy smiled darkly at that. "There's a lot of things wrong with me that have nothing to do with you," she murmured, the pain and sorrow in her voice bringing more tears to my eyes.

Needing to do something, anything to try and make that pain go away I wrapped my arms around her again, hugging her fiercely. Ivy went completely still in my arms and her chest stopped moving. I held on for a few more moments, hoping that she would relax. Hoping that I would feel her arms wrap around me again like they had before. Oh god, that I had been so nice. But, she remained still, and when I pulled back I found her features drawn tight and her eyes black as midnight.

"But you went out before we came here," I said, frustration and confusion mingling in my voice. "You can't be hungry," I went on wanting to yell, and stamp my foot and scream at the injustice of it all. Couldn't we have just one night? Couldn't we be able to spend just a few hours together without it going wrong? It wasn't fair. We tried so hard but everything always went against us.

"I'm not hungry," Ivy breathed out drawing my attention to her and away from my angry internal rant. She was still standing stiffly and her eyes were black, but something subtle had changed about her face. "It's not your blood that tests my control," she continued. She looked softer somehow, still intense, but not scary. And the look in her eyes, it was surprisingly tender and … longing.

I gasped and Ivy sighed.

"Please don't say anything," Ivy whispered, squeezing her eyes shut. She sounded almost scared and I wondered why before I remembered that I was me, and she was probably worried that I would say something horribly insensitive to her. "I know," she continued forcing her eyes open with what seemed to be a lot of effect. "You don't want me," the word 'want' came out as a puff of air as if someone had punched her in the gut. "I promise you, I won't try anything."

"I want you," I said clutching at her wrist, sensing that she was seconds away from using her vampire speed to flee from me.

"Not the way I want you," she replied sadly, her eyes turning towards the staircase that led to the lower part of Piscary's and the exit.

"How do you want me?" I asked, the words out of my mouth before I could think better of them. No wonder she had cut me off before.

"You know, Rachel," she responded, the words a low growl. Her heart was on her sleeve and she was tense and defensive, wanting to get away from me before I could trample it under my vampire made boots.

"Tell me," I pressed somewhat breathlessly. My heart was pounding beneath my breast, and my skin felt like it was on fire. The conversation we were having had cut through my sugar rush, but I felt light-headed again, giddy and terrified. My gut was clenching, and I was sure that my hand was beginning to sweat, but I wouldn't back down. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I knew that it was important. I knew that it was necessary.

"What do you want me to say to you?" Ivy asked, her eyes flashing with anger as a touch of steel crept into her gray silk voice.

"I want you to tell me how you feel," I whispered, my voice soft but firm. Ivy's expression was fierce, almost vicious but I wasn't afraid of her. She stared at me for a minute with onyx coloured eyes, and then she seemed to deflate as she realized that I wasn't going to shrink away from her this time.

"I want to kiss you, Rachel," Ivy sighed. "I want to lay my hands on your face and kiss you until you can't breathe, until you can't stand, until you are panting my name and the lords as if we were one in the same. I want to feel your skin, under my fingertips, under my lips. I want to kneel before and hold you pulsing against me. I want to wake up and see you beside me," her voice was rising with fervor and passion as she spoke, and I watched her, transfixed. "I want you to look at me like you're glad I'm here. I want to meet your mom. I want you to call me your partner without adding a paragraph long addendum to it. I want people to have the right idea about us. I want you covered in my scent, and to have it be something beautiful instead of terrifying," she said running out of steam, her shoulders hunching as her words finally came to a halt.

I stared at Ivy, my pulse pounding as she looked down at ground, no doubt wishing that it would shallow her up. She was retreating inside of herself, hating herself, running dozens of horrible scenarios through her head about what my reaction to her revelation would be. She would apologize to me, and she would run. She would avoid me for days, and I would come back to the church and find her stuff packed up in boxes. She had laid her heart on the line, and I wasn't doing anything. I was just standing there, and it would be too much to expect her to stick around now that everything had been laid out in the open. She had laid herself bare to me, and I was just standing there, gaping at her like an idiot, not saying anything and she was going to leave me and it was so stupid because I wanted her to kiss me.

I wanted her to kiss me.

I wanted her to kiss me.

"Kiss me," I said suddenly, my hand tightening around her wrist.

She stared at me for a moment, emotions swirling across her face too quickly for me to categorize them, and then her face was a blank mask once more and she was pulling her hand out of mine and turning her back to me.

"Kiss me," I said reaching out, grasping her hand again just before she moved out of my reach.

Ivy stilled under my hand, and then before I could blink she was in front of me, her hand around my neck, squeezing hard enough to bruise.

"I've already been made a whore under this roof, I won't do the same to you," she hissed at me in a low voice, pain and hurt dominating her tone more than anger. She thought I was trying to appease her, that I was offering myself to her to stop her from leaving. I would have been horribly insulted by the implication if it didn't make my heart ache for her.

I reached out and touched her cheek. She jerked back sharply, surprised by the touch by didn't otherwise move. She was so beautiful, so proud, so incredibly wounded.

"Kiss me," I whispered, my heart beat slowing as I stared into her eyes. Ivy was, as Ivy had been so many times in the past but I was different. Instead of focusing on fear this time, I focused on the longing in Ivy's eyes. Instead of focusing on the fear of her squeezing my neck a little to tightly, I focused on the soft feel of her fingertips against me, and the way her pinky finger resting above my demon scar was beginning to make it tingle. "Kiss me," I repeated, my voice just breathy, and wanting enough that her eyes widened in surprise.

Her hold on my throat loosened.

"You don't mean it," she said, but she sounded uncertain.

"Yes, I do," I whispered, my voice calm with certainty.

"I'll do it," she threatened, the thread of petulance in her tone taking away from the bite of her words. She sounded like a scared little child, and I thought that she must have thrown the most adorable temper tantrums when she was little.

"Good. Do it then," I replied, relaxing even more.

I wanted her too. I really wanted her to. I think I had wanted her to for a while, but had been too scared to admit it to myself, let alone to her. Ivy was a woman, and a vampire, and so very intense and complicated, three things that I had absolutely no experience with when it came to romantic partners. Neither one on its own would have been enough to scare me so thoroughly, but all together, Ivy presented a trinity of otherness to me. The strangeness of looking a delicate, elegant, smooth hands and wanting them on my skin; the concern that in a moment of passion my lover could rip my throat out and kill me in the throes of love; looking into her eyes and seeing so much that I couldn't begin to decipher what she was thinking or seeing so little that I couldn't tell if she was thinking at all. It was so much, it was too much for me to handle.

"You're sugared," she said and I stared at her, wondering at her reluctance. She wanted to kiss me. I could see her desire to kiss me in every tense line of her body. And I wanted to kiss her. I was practically begging her to kiss me, but she wasn't kissing me. Why wasn't she kissing me? "You don't mean it, Rachel. You don't really want it. It's just the … pheromones," she continued, the last word coming out as a harsh growl.

Kisten's voice came to me, "She wants that perfect love but she thinks that she isn't deserving of it." I was offering her what she had wanted for years, but she couldn't let herself believe it. Ivy: my sweet, loyal, beautiful, wonderful, tortured idiot.

"It's not the pheromones," I said firmly knowing that she needed me to explain if she was going to understand and accept what I was saying. I had resisted her for too long, my denials had settled deeply inside of her. She wished, and she waited, but a part of her feared that her efforts were futile. But she was right, I had just needed time … and the time had come.

"Look at me, I'm in control of myself," I said knowing that when my scar was working on me I tended to look high and intoxicated, and that the effects of sugaring worked the same way. "I am glad that you're here. I miss you when you're not around. Sometimes I have to look away from you, because I feel so much that I'm afraid I'll choke to death on it. It's not really you I've been scared of Ivy," I continued realizing the truth of my words as they came to me from some part of me that had been hiding, cowering in the darkness for far too long. "I've been scared of how much I feel for you. I've been terrified that we couldn't possibly survive each other," I went on, images of supernova's and ley line eruptions flashing through my brain. "But I'm not afraid anymore. I want you to kiss me."

I was shaking slightly by the time I finished speaking. Ivy was standing still in front of me, staring at me like well made up log. She wasn't even blinking and suddenly I became extremely aware of the sets of eyeballs watching the two of us with the rapt attention of day time soap viewers.

"Say somethi…"

Ivy's lips were soft against my own, and I gasped at the feel of them. Still only half aware of what was happening, I reached out for her and wrapped my arms around her. I parted my lips to breathe in deeply, which I hadn't been able to do because she had moved so quickly. I had just enough time to think, Ivy's kissing me, and then her tongue was in my mouth, and my head was swimming, and her body was molded against mine and all I could think was 'Mm'.

One of her hands drifted up to cup my face, and the other tightened around my waist, jerking me against her and I moaned into her mouth as she growled softly, and kissed me like she was dying. My hand fisted in her shirt, clutching at her, encouraging her to stay right where she was, but as she sucked on my bottom lip I needed to do something and I ran my hands over her back, and then down over her ass cupping the delicious globes, almost lifting her into my body.

Ivy moaned, her tongue fluttering against mine in the most incredible way and then … she was gone.

"Jesus Christ, Tamwood!"

I blinked, my eyes focusing on Ivy's black orbs. She was looking at me, focused entirely on me as two men held her back eight feet away from me. Her movements were weak and confused, she looked dazed. She was sugared again, but on me.

"Do any of your pheromones actually stay in your body?" one of the men asked grunting as Ivy began to struggle in their hold, her eyes still focused on me the entire time.

I breathed in deeply and my eyes widened in surprise. I realized that there was a rich, cloying smell at the back of my throat. I had only smelt it once before, when I had gone to see Piscary after he attacked Ivy, and I knew that it was vampire pheromones. The air around me with thick with the smell, much denser than it had been both times I was sugared, and with the realization made the core of me throb. They were Ivy's pheromones. Kissing me had induced her to pump them out like they were going out of style. She wanted me so badly, so desperately, and had been waiting for so long that she couldn't help herself.

"Let her go, Sam! The way she's pumping them out, it'll probably be even better than the last time!" a voice rang out from the crowd.

I turned, but I couldn't see make out who had yelled the comment. I shuddered at the implication behind it and turned my attention back to Ivy, to find that she was staring into the distance with an absolutely murderous expression in her dark eyes.

I understood her rage.

One of the truly evil things about Master Vampires was that they could make a victim complicit in their own abuse by manipulating their emotions and forcing them to feel things they didn't want to feel. The last time Piscary's had been coated in Ivy's pheromones it had been because Piscary had attacked her and taken her against her will. He had raped her, manipulating her with his pheromones and his blood, tricking her body into thinking that what he was doing to her felt good. The pheromones the two of them had produced had made it out to the other vampires in the bar, and nearly started a riot. When I had arrived later to make Piscary pay for what he had done, the vampires that were left had been joking about what had happened, impressed with Ivy's sexual prowess under the mistaken belief that what had gone on between her and Piscary had been consensual. To the vampires that had been at Piscary's that night, Ivy had become kind of a Sex Goddess.

Quickly, I moved over to Ivy knowing that if she lost it things would be very, very bad. As Piscary's scion, she was much stronger than an ordinary living-vampire and she could do a lot of damage in a very short period of time. Not to mention one of the only things that were keeping me safe in the club at that time were the pleasure pheromones floating around the room, and if Ivy's anger grew anymore it would set off a wave of fear induced pheromones that would cause a frenzy to begin.

"Ivy," I said softly.

She didn't look at me, she didn't even blink. She had located the person who had yelled out in the crowd, and she was focused on them as if she could rip off their head with her eyes alone.

The happy, relaxed atmosphere in the club began to become tense. A shiver ran through me and I saw a few other vampires back away from where Ivy, the two vampire bodyguards and I were standing. Oh fuck, I thought realizing that she was unconsciously beginning to pull an aura. Normally, she wouldn't be able to affect other vampires, but she was stronger now that she was Piscary's scion, and she would be able to affect the living vampires in the club. If she kept it up, she would definitely begin to make others start sending out pheromones, not to mention the fact that the people in the club were likely to figure out that she was now Piscary's scion – a fact that she desperately wanted to keep hidden.

"Ivy," I said again, tentatively placing my hand on her cheek.

She blinked.

"Ivy," I repeated softly, "calm down."

She turned her head to stare at me. Her eyes were still black, but some sense was returning to them.

"It's okay, baby," I said, and mindful of the two men holding her, pressed myself against her front, embracing her as much as I could. "Please, Ivy. Please."

She was still as granite under against me when I first embraced her, but a few moments later I felt her body relax. There was some rustling of fabric after that, and I knew that the guards had felt her relax and were releasing her. Then, after a moment more of rustling I felt her arms wrap around me, and I sighed.

We stayed wrapped up like that for a few moments as I allowed the tension to drain from my body, and then I looked up at her.

"I'm okay," she said, knowing what I was going to ask. Her eyes were still black, but her voice was calm and I knew that she was alright.

"Maybe we should …" I began to say, however before I could finish suggesting that we go home, the crowd start to shift and murmur again, a small pocket forming before an irate figure burst through it.

"What the hell is going on up here? Who's causing all of this …" Kisten stopped speaking when his eyes landed on Ivy and me. He was silent for a moment, taking in our intimate position and then he sighed. "I should have known," he said glaring at Ivy. "I can't take you anywhere. Either of you," he continued directing his gaze at me. "You're both absolutely incorrigible. Such naughty girls," he went on shaking his head. "I'm going to ban you both if you can't learn to behave yourselves."

"Is that supposed to be a threat?" Ivy asked grinning, her posture relaxing even more as she stared at Kisten.

"Yes, of course Ivy, love. I know how much you love your pizza," he replied shrugging, a little smile on his handsome face. "But I guess you've finally trapped a more delectable treat."

My eyes narrowed at him and I tensed in Ivy's arms. I had been so swept away in my feelings before that I had forgotten to think, I had forgotten to be afraid, but Kisten's food talk was brining my worries to the forefront of my brain once more. There was a reason that I had fought what I was feeling for Ivy before. There was a reason I had tried to keep an emotional distance between us. I seemed to test her control more than any other person, and I was afraid that her love would kill me … or worse leave me a mindless puppet. I had kissed her, but I didn't want to be bitten.

"Ignore him," she whispered, no doubt smelling my sudden fear. "I'm not going to bite you … until you tell me to," she promised, though the last five words she added did not have the calming effect she was after. I knew that Ivy was convinced that one day I would allow her to bite me, that one day I would beg her to bit me and that after that I would never want her to stop. But as of yet, I was unconvinced of that, and her desperation for it was worrying to me. "Believe me. I won't hurt you, Rachel," Ivy continued, her voice was soft, and tender and sincere, and I felt myself relaxing a little. "I'll never take anything from you that you don't want to give me. I swear it."

I covered the arm she had wrapped around my waist with my hand, my tension easing a little more. Her words were enough to calm me for the moment, though I knew we would have to have a serious talk, and soon. I would not push her away, after what we had shared tonight. I couldn't do that, and didn't want to. I wanted to kiss Ivy more, I wanted to feel her arms wrapped around me, and have her whisper softly in my ear. I wanted to see her smile, and I wanted to be the reason she was. But we were going to need some guidelines.

"Nothing but the best for me," Ivy replied loudly enough for Kisten to hear, her tone bored and slightly mocking. She was putting up an unaffected air, but I could feel the tension in her body, and I knew that his teasing was bothering her, if for no other reason than it was bothering me.

"You'll have me over for dinner soon, I'm sure," he replied smirking at me.

I remained silent, confused as ever by their relationship. Kisten seemed more amused by change in things between Ivy and I than jealous, which surprised me and kind of hurt my feelings since we had been 'kind of, sort of, though not really' going out. A little anger would have been nice; something to show that he had actually been interested in me, and not just hunting me for fun. My womanly pride was under attack. Men were supposed to fight for me, not banter with the competition.

I glowered at him, and he winked before lifting his eyes to Ivy behind me. His expression changed subtly when he looked at her, and I felt my irritation with him decrease. There was emotion in his eyes, just not the type I had been expecting to see. It was tenderness. His gaze was soft, and … pleased. Kisten's words about Ivy not thinking that she deserved to be loved came back to me then, I started in Ivy's arms. He knew, I realized. Kisten knew how she felt about me and he was happy for her. When I was resisting her he was more than happy to make a go at me himself, but now that she had me he was willing to back off. He wanted me, but she loved me and he loved her enough not to challenge that.

"You keep looking at her like that, and I'll have you for dinner," Ivy growled in response to Kisten playful retort. Her tone was gruff, but her body remained relaxed and despite the awkwardness of the situation, I knew that she was just teasing.

"Promises, promises," Kisten sighed wistfully. "Eating out … with you, was always so much fun."

Ivy's body moved behind me, her chest shaking and I realized that she was laughing even though no sound came out of her. I looked over at Kisten and the lecherous look he was giving her, and tried very hard not to think about how close to each other they had once been. Ivy had been my girlfriend for about ten minutes, and already I was feeling jealous. I sighed, and shook my head at myself. I was a piece of work.

"I do have an impeccable taste," Ivy drawled, clearly amused. It took me a second to register her use of the word 'an' and when I realized what she was implying, I felt my skin begin to burn. For the love of God, why would she say something like that out loud … in a room full of people?

Kisten smirked and inclined his head as if to say, "Well, done Old Sport, well done," and I hoped that the exchange of sexual banter was over. However, just as hope began to blossom in my chest, Kisten focused his gaze on Ivy once more and smiled. "You know Ivy love," Kisten began, the look in his eyes really making me worry. "Rachel didn't like it when I took her … downtown, on our date."

"I'm sure that's because you didn't know where to go," Ivy responded without hesitation, a note of mocking pity in her voice. "I'm familiar with all the hot spots," Ivy continued and I could hear the smile in her voice. "She'll have a great time with me."

I blushed so deeply that I was surprised my face wasn't emitting an orange glow. They were talking about going down on me in a room full of people, some of whom I was likely to encounter again. My embarrassment was epic, and I really, really wanted them to stop talking. However, when Kisten smirked and opened his mouth to respond, I realized that they could keep it up for a while, and that it was up to me to put an end to things.

"Stop it!" I hollered, lifting my hand to call for silence. "For the love of God, stop it!" I exclaimed, my skin heating up even more in the face of my outburst. "I'm not a chew toy."

"Yet," some voice from the crowd called out, creating a ripple effect of laughter around the club.

I sighed deeply, knowing that I would never find the smartass who muttered it, and that even if I did there was really nothing that I could do them, at least not without my spells handy.

"Ever," I muttered darkly under my breath, the comment directed at Ivy even though I was glaring into the crowd.

"Yes, dear heart," Ivy responded lowly, and I got the distinct feeling that I was being placated.

"I don't appreciate your tone," I muttered darkly, my frown deepening when her chest shook in silent laughter behind me once again.

"Uh oh, sounds like someone's in the Bloodhouse," Kisten chided, giving Ivy a mockingly apologetic look. "Witches," he continued, shrugging helplessly, "so high-maintenance."

"Now wait a minute!" I began. I had taken just about all of abuse I was going to for one night.

"We're leaving," Ivy said to Kisten, cutting me off before I could really get my indignant rant rolling. "There's no need to continue this conversation later," she continued, clearly amused. "I'll win then too, as usual," she drawled. "Head towards the exit, he'll keep talking if we don't move," Ivy whispered in my ear following that, and I shivered at the feel of her warmth breath on me even as I smiled at her comment.

We began to walk towards and the stairs and Kisten.

"You're taking the girl, and my opportunity to dazzle you with witty retorts? That's cold Tamwood, very uncool," Kisten said as we reached him. He didn't sound hurt in the least.

"As cold as my mother's undead hands," Ivy murmured, making him smile. "I'll call you," and with that, the hand she had resting lightly on the small of my back nudged me softly and we continued on our way down the stairs.



"I like this song," Ivy murmured, her soft, sonorous voice bringing me out of the pleasant daze I had fallen into watching the way the moonlight played over her exquisite features as we made our way back to the church.

I was quiet for a moment as I listened to the radio to determine what song was playing, and then I smiled widely and looked back over at her.

"I thought you would," I responded a little smugly when I recognized Ella Fitzgerald's smooth, elegant voice singing "Round Midnight".

Ivy turned her head to the side and stared at me, one perfect dark eyebrow arching high on her forehead in question. I blushed a little but I didn't turn away from her. When I had gone out on perhaps the most dangerous platonic non-date date ever with Kisten, when we had been on Saladan's expensive gambling yacht I had imagined Ivy on the boat, dressed to the nine's in an elegant evening gown crooning on stage. The song she had been singing in my flight of fancy had been "Round Midnight" and I was perhaps inordinately pleased that she actually liked the song.

"I like the song too," I said to Ivy, forcing myself not to freak out at the fact that she was still looking at me and not the road. Vampire reflexes, vampire reflexes, vampire reflexes, repeated in my mind over and over again. "It made me think of you once," I continued smiling a little as my eyes drifted away from her shyly for a moment. "I like that you like it too."

Ivy watched me for a second longer, and then a small smile touched her lips, the small smile turning into a dangerously sexy smirk a few seconds later. It used to make me extremely uncomfortable when she looked at me like that, but this time instead of fear it sent of shiver of excitement and anticipation through my body.

"It begins to tell/'round midnight, midnight," Ivy began to sing, her voice melding with Fitzgerald's over the radio, turning the song into a haunting duet. "I do pretty well, till after sundown," she continued, her eyes twinkling as she grinned at me. "I have no idea why that would make you think of me," she drawled a moment later, allowing Fitzgerald to continue solo.

"My mind is a strange and mysterious place," I responded dryly before my lips curved up as well.

Ivy laughed lightly, the sound of it sending little tingles throughout my body. She turned her gaze towards the road, and I settled against the back of the Mercedes seat, snuggling into my jacket and watched her. A few moments later, she turned back to me and murmured, "I've always thought so."

"Ha ha," I replied, making at face at her. She smiled at that, and then turned her eyes towards the road again. I watched her thoughtfully, the memory of her sweet voice lingering in my head. "Sing some more," I said softly, the words out of my mouth before I realized that I was speaking.

Ivy glanced over at me, and then inclined her head, silently agreeing to sing. She remained quiet for a moment, listening to the radio and then picked up the song again, falling in line perfectly with the voice on the radio.

"Let our hearts take wings'/'round midnight, midnight," she sang. I closed my eyes, and my breathing slowed, letting her voice wash over me. "Let the angels sing/for your returning. Till our love is safe and sound/And old midnight comes around," she finished trailing off, letting her voice fade gracefully.

"Why'd you stop?" I asked, my eyes opening slowly. I knew that the song wasn't over yet.

"I don't like this part," Ivy breathed out, the refrain 'Feelin' sad/really gets bad/Round...Round...Round...Mid...night..." creating a haunting background for her words before Ella Fitzgerald's voice faded away as well.

"Me either," I breathed out as the DJs voice filled in the momentary silence left at the end of the song.

I reached out and took Ivy's hand in mine, squeezing it warmly as a new song started up. She looked over at me and smiled, and I returned the expression, squeezing her hand once again for emphasis before she turned back to the road.

When we pulled into the driveway of the church, my fingers were still firmly entwined with Ivy's.

Ivy's nervousness was palpable once we were back at the church. She made it look graceful, but I knew her well enough to know that she didn't quite seem to know what to do with herself once our shoes were safely drying off on the rug by the door, and our jackets were hung. After a moment of indecision, she decided on making coffee. I told her to go on ahead and that I would meet her in the kitchen in a few minutes.

She nodded distractedly, probably assuming at that I had to go to the bathroom or something, and with one last lingering look at me headed towards the back of the church.

I headed towards my room once Ivy was on her way to the kitchen and closed the door softly behind me once I was inside. I went to my closet and carefully pulled out the vampire dating guide Ivy had given me when we first moved in together so that I would stop pushing her buttons all of the time. Later, I realized that in addition to getting me to stop sexually frustrating her all the time, she was also hoping that one day I would use the guide to intentionally push her buttons.

This was her lucky night.

There was a time to talk and a time to act, and this was one of those acting times. I was high on Ivy and the exciting emotions coursing through me and I wanted to keep the pleasant feelings going. We would have to talk, I knew that. The change in our relationship was bound to lead to complications, many complications knowing the two of us, but I didn't want to deal with all of that right then. If this was going to be the honeymoon portion of our relationship, I wanted my wedding night bliss.

I knew that I was going to have to make the first move. Ivy's hesitance at the club, and her nervousness upon returning to our home led me to believe that she was still somewhat uncertain what I was thinking and feeling, and I was certain that she wouldn't try to make the first move, which left it up to me.

I took the vampire dating guide and moved over to my bed. Opening the guide up, I flipped to the page on vampire turn-ons and briefly re-read them. I already knew them all by heart, I had been living with them at the back of mind for a year, but I was nervous, and rereading them helped calm me. Finally, after scanning the words I already knew by heart for a few minutes, I put the book aside and stood up.

I moved over to my closet once more, and removed a thin turtle neck shirt from within. I slipped out of the dress I had been wearing and then pulled the turtle neck over my head and reached for a pair of jeans. Covering up your neck was a very obvious sexual invitation to a vampire. It told them that you wanted them to come to you and take it off, before they took you.

I pulled my frizzy red hair back into stylishly messy pony-tail. I thought about using an amulet to tame the flaming mass of hair, but then I remembered that Ivy had told me that she liked my hair natural one time when I was complaining about my straightening amulet being on the fritz, and I decided to leave my hair as it was.

I took one last look in the mirror, deciding that I looked presentable and then made my way towards the door. Ivy had gotten me a special and very expensive perfume, for Solstice that helped mask my scent, and I had worn it that night knowing that we would be spending a lot of time relatively close together. It was a sensible precaution, but I wished that I hadn't put it on given the way the night had turned out. I wanted her to smell me. I'd had the perfume on for hours though, and I was sure that the potency of it was starting to fade. Still, I would need to help things along a bit.

As quietly as I could I made my way to Ivy's bedroom and slipped inside. I didn't spend much time in Ivy's bedroom, but I was familiar with the general lay out of it and easily found the light switch. Immediately I moved over to her closet and began to poke around. I knew that she had a black shawl in there, which would be perfect for me to throw over my shoulders. It was easy to remove, and the shawl would combine Ivy's scent with mine, which lingered on the turtleneck. Ivy was particularly sensitive to our combined scents, and I knew that it would drive her wild, even if my own scent was more muted than normal.

Ah ha! I thought as I found the shawl. I removed it from the closet, and draped it over my shoulder, taking a moment to rearrange it before I turned my attention towards the door.

Taking a deep breath, I then headed towards the door. It was time to get my 'come hither' on.

"What did you fall i…?" Ivy began to say as I walked into the room. However, as she caught sight (and scent) of me, her words stopped abruptly and she stared at me opened mouth for a moment, before powerfully gripping the counter top.

"So," I said, ignoring her slack-jawed staring. "I hear your recorded family history goes back thousands of years. Care to trace your genealogy for me?" I said moving over to where Ivy was standing, leaning against the counter as sensuously as I could. "Chinese history is a great interest of mine."

It seemed like a strange choice for a pick up line, but vampires found people inquiring about their family histories to be as hot as eating a jalapeño on an August afternoon. Don't ask me, I still haven't figured that one out.

Ivy held out a steaming mug of coffee for me. She had managed to close her mouth.

"No it's not," she murmured sounding dazed as I took the mug from her. She seemed more shell-shocked than dangerous at the moment, but the ring of black in her eyes was growing, and I knew that my preparations were having an effect on her.

"Sure it is," I responded even though she was right. "Tam is Chinese isn't it? Where along the line did, 'Wood' get added into the equation?" I asked my voice lifting at the end to emphasis my interest. "You do have some European in you, don't you? English perhaps?"

"Rachel." Ivy's voice was a low rumble when she spoke, her earlier nervousness and surprise nowhere to be seen as eyes with only a thin ring of brown left in them stared intensely at me.

"Ivy," I whispered, allowing my hand to drift up to my neck to play with the high collar of my turtleneck, drawing Ivy's attention to it and keeping it focused there.

"Do you know what you're doing?" Ivy asked. Her eyes were completely black and her voice a deep purr. I was certain that it was taking all of her effort to continue speaking instead of simply emitting a series of low growls.

"Yes," I told her, meeting her gaze. "Can you promise not to bite?"

Ivy's tongue peaked out from behind her lips to lick at them, and then she swallowed deeply.

"Yes," she said softly. "I promise. I won't bite." She was gripping the counter top so hard that her knuckles were almost translucent and her body was shaking faintly with the effort to stay were she was until I responded to her. "Can I have you now?"

I shivered, the little girl question being voiced in relation to very big girl desires making me flush with need.

"Yes," replied, my voice shaking as I took a deep breath. "You can."

Ivy's eyes rolled back in her head, and her body shuddered. "Thank you," she practically moaned, and then she was in front of me … touching.

"How come you're so calm now?" I asked as I stretched pleasantly. Ivy was lazily trailing kisses over my stomach. Her eyes were still black as midnight, but the usual tension and hunger that I associated with her black eyes was gone, and I wasn't scared. After the night we had just had, I suspected that I would never truly be scared of those eyes again. Before, all I'd had to associate them with was furious bouts of anger and jealously, but now they were synonymous with tenderness, love, and pleasure.

"Am I?" Ivy asked, not really paying attention to what I was saying as she dipped her tongue into my belly button, flicking it in a playfully erotic way that sent my pulse racing once more. I was, for the moment exhausted, but she didn't seem to be able to stop touching me, which kept me humming with a low level of excitement. This had been her strategy all night, and if the other times were an indication of how this one would go, I would be sweating and panting and ready for her again in a matter of minutes.

"Yes," I breathed out, arching up into her touch as she kissed her way between my breasts, her hand moving to cup one as kissed my throat lightly, teasing my pulse point with her tongue, careful to keep any hint of teeth away from it. Okay, I thought as my eyes fluttered, so maybe thinking that I had minutes was a bit presumptuous.

"Dunno," Ivy murmured. It made me smile. Ivy was an adorable mix of incoherent murmurs, half sighed words, and long eloquent sentences that were in caresses in and of themselves as we made love. This was one of the times that she clearly didn't give a shit what I was prattling on about however, and as her hand covered my breast and her lips pressed against mine, I didn't really care what I was talking about either.

"It wasn't just hunger was it?" I asked a few moments later when she began to trail her lips over my cheek, an idea forming in my mind even as my body began to twist under the attention of her wonderful hands and magical lips once more. "All those times you nearly bit me," I continued as Ivy lowered her head to my breast to take my nipple into her mouth. "You weren't just hungry," I gasped as her tongue began to swirl. "You were horny too," I declared, the thought sending a spike of arousal through me.

I tangled my fingers in her long dark hair, and held her against me. I imagined her throwing me down on the mats that used to line the floor of the sanctuary, her hand in my pants before we even hit the mat. I pictured her pressing me against the counter, long slim fingers wrapped dangerously against my neck as her other hand slipped under my shirt to cup my breast as she panted words of possession and hunger into my ear. My hips bucked powerfully, and Ivy moaned around my nipple.

"It's worse when it's both," I said realizing that part of her lack of control stemmed from having no way to express her feelings for me.

Ivy's lips moved from my nipple, and I shivered as the air from the room caressed the damp nub. I trembled again and reached out for her, suddenly wishing that I hadn't said anything. I'd liked her mouth where it was, doing what it was.

"Yes," Ivy breathed out, her hand replacing her mouth as she shifted on the mattress, moving up so that her lips could brush against mine. "I still," she paused and I could feel her breath hitch, "the desire to bite is still there," she continued kissing me softly as if to apologize for her vampire instincts. "But it's easier to control, when I can share some intimacy with you," she continued, my body shuddering as she took my nipple between her fingers and began to roll it. "You're so beautiful, Rachel," she moaned, kissing me again, a bit more feverishly this time. "I could come just from looking at you."

I groaned and arched up into her hand, my own hand moving around to her back, clawing at it. Her words were like fingers on my clit, and I felt myself moisten.

I had never consciously thought much about making love to Ivy before tonight, but even when I accepted that I was attracted to her and that I wanted to pursue that attraction, I hadn't thought that it would be so good with her. A part of me hadn't been able to conceive that what two women could do together, could be as pleasurable as what a man and a woman could do. Don't get me wrong, I thought it would be good. Ivy had made my girly bits tingle enough that I knew that sleeping with her would be a pleasurable experience. I just hadn't expected it to be so pleasurable. I didn't expect it to be a fucking revelation. But it was, oh god it was. She may have lacked the parts I was used to, but what she did with what she had was … heavenly.

"I think I'm going to come just from thinking about you," I panted, my fingernails digging into the swell of her ass as she pinched my nipple and I bucked.

Ivy smiled against my lips as a delighted purr rumbled through her chest. "It helps," she began picking up our former topic of conversation, "to be able to taste you," she continued, and I moaned at the thought of where her lips were going to move next.

Ivy hadn't been idly boasting to Kisten earlier at the club. She did know all the hot spots. She knew how to get there and all the best things to do once she arrived. She had found spots that I hadn't known existed and made them light up like fireworks from human side of Cincinnati on the 4th of July. My previous boyfriends had not been slouches in the oral pleasure department. I had always been satisfied by their efforts. But, Ivy … Ivy was in a league of her own. Ivy was a superstar and I couldn't wait to be starstruck again.

Even though I wasn't necessary expecting to have my panties blown off, I wasn't all that surprised by Ivy's sexual prowess. Everything about the woman oozed sex, she made eating green beans sensual. I knew that she would please me. I didn't doubt her skill. What I hadn't really expected was my own reaction to making love to Ivy. I was attracted to her, and I wanted to touch her and kiss her, but I was very uncertain how I would respond to seeing and touching her girly bits. Guys liked mine and Ivy liked mine, but I wasn't sure if I would know what to do with hers, or if I would like it once I figured it out.

By the time we made it to her room, half of our clothes were littered in the hallway, and by the time we fell onto her bed, the rest had been removed. I got my first good look at her then, and any fears I'd had were dashed away. I'd never made love to a woman before, but looking at Ivy, my mind filled with all sorts of ideas about what I wanted to do and Ivy was very accommodating in letting me try them all out.

I made her come the first time with my fingers, my mind half awed at how good it felt to be inside of her, how wet and velvety and inviting her womanhood was as my mouth played over her breasts, sucking and biting at her nipples as she moaned and twisted under me. The sense of wonder, and power, and affection I felt making Ivy Tamwood moan, and buck, and beg, as she gave herself completely over to pleasure – pleasure I was responsible for – was beyond my ability to express in words.

The second time I made her come, it was with my mouth and it was amazing – which was especially pleasant to discover since I hadn't thought that it would be very good. I had been nervous as I kissed my way down her stomach, but once I settled between her legs, my nervousness gave way to heady feeling of excitement and anticipation. I breathed in deeply, and the scent of her desire made my head swim. She smelt … so good, and for a second I wondered what making love was like for Ivy with her vampire senses and was, for a moment, irrationally jealous.

Her scent was incredible, but the taste of her, good god the taste of her, was indescribable. An impeccable taste, indeed. The sound that had come out of me as my tongue first parted her lips and her essence rushed into me would have made me blush from head to toe if I hadn't been so focused on tasting more of her.

There was very little finesse to what I did to her with my mouth, but there was a lot of enthusiasm, and after Ivy came – twice, thank you very much – she actually had to tug my mouth away from her because I didn't want to move, but I was struggling to breathe.

"It helps," Ivy continued, kissing my hip and then my thigh, "to feel you moving beneath me."

Her head dipped between my spread legs and I sighed with pleasure, freely and willingly giving myself over to 'helping' Ivy some more.

The Afternoon After

Ivy was sitting at the kitchen table in nothing but her black silk robe when I entered the kitchen bathed, dressed and ready to face the world. I'd taken care of the dressing part on my own, but the bathing had been done in Ivy's bathtub with Ivy. That shared bath would definitely be the highlight of my afternoon, but as I made a beeline for the coffee pot, I thought that a warm cup of coffee would be able to bring up a distant second place – at least until the next time I got Ivy without her clothes on. Which I hoped would be soon.

Lured by the intoxicating smell of coffee, I headed straight for the pot and the mug that was sitting beside it waiting for me. Ivy had straightened up in her chair a little when I came into the room, and I knew that she was aware of my presence, but she didn't say anything so I focused on the coffee and tried to think about whether the lack of a greeting was due to late-onset morning awkwardness or if it was just Ivy's usual … Ivy-ness.

Coffee poured and fixed to perfection, I leaned back against the counter and took a sip, my eyes closing in ecstasy as the warm liquid slid down my throat. Mm, that hit the spot. A couple more sips and I knew I'd be ready to face the day.

A minute and two sips later I finally opened my eyes again, and let my gaze drift over towards Ivy, my eyes widening in surprise as I did. Ivy had well and truly tuckered me out the night before, and our activities in her bathtub had robbed me of whatever energy I had managed to recuperate during the morning – not that I was complaining. Still, I couldn't believe that I was quite so tired (or caffeine deprived) that I had managed to miss the full breakfast spread laid out on the island counter waiting for me. Pancakes, bacon, toast, strawberries and honey dew, orange juice and whipped cream. No eggs invited! There was even a small bowl of icing sugar resting beside the waffles.

Ivy had cooked.

"Oh my god," I exclaimed, staring at the feast before me. "You cooked," I squeaked in disbelief, lifting my head to look at Ivy. "You cooked a meal of food," I added knowing that it was a completely ridiculous thing to say, but my befuddled mind was powerless to stop the words from escaping my mouth.

Ivy looked up at that, her eyes catching mine almost immediately. Sunlight was streaming through the window, lighting her from behind, the orange rays catching her eyes, enhancing the gold flecks in them. A large smile spread across her lips, and my breath caught as I gazed at her in wonder. She looked like an angel, a dark, dangerous, predatory, sensual angel, but an angel nonetheless.

She was so relaxed, so loose and calm. I didn't think I had ever seen her so peaceful, expect for when she was sugared the night before, but even that hadn't kept her mellow for long. This happiness, this contentment was different. It reached deep down in side of her, permeating every part of her being. She was lounging, in her chair, leaning with a cocky ease, and her robe wasn't tied tighter than a nun's knickers for once. Instead, it was loosely knotted, the lazy tie allowing a generous amount of thigh to show as well as tantalizing hint of her perfect, pale breasts. Her smile was easy and sure, and happiness radiated from her like warmth did from a log fire on a cold winter's night. This wasn't an artificial happiness brought on by over exposure to vampire pheromones. This was real happiness, it was real contentment, and it was all the more beautiful for it.

My heart seized painfully at the sight of her smile, my own happiness warring with a strong stab of guilt. In the past I had been hard on Ivy sometimes, wishing that she would loosen up, that she wouldn't be so serious and intense all the damn time; that she wouldn't tip-toe around me like I would break if we touched. I don't think that I had ever truly appreciated how difficult living with me had been for her, how much she had sublimated her personality to exist around me. I hadn't realized how much of her aloofness, her caution and her occasional coldness came from fear. Fear of letting go and feeling without having a safe way express those feelings, fear of slipping up and revealing too much of what she felt for me to me before I was ready to hear it, fear scaring me away or just plain scaring me. Fear of pushing me too far and being rejected and abandoned. Fear of what would happen to her without me.

I breathed in deeply, and blinked trying not to cry as I realized that this was the first time I was seeing Ivy without her heart in pieces.

"Oh, you noticed … finally," Ivy drawled dryly, warm brown eyes watching me with amusement. "I was about to throw a pancake at you," she continued, her lips curving up playfully, her eyes dancing with delight.

She hadn't said anything when I came in, because she was waiting to see my reaction to breakfast. She was like a six year old on Christmas morning. It was cute. It was charming. Ivy was in a good mood. She was happy. She was content.

I focused my gaze on her and allowed my lips to curve up into a smile as well. I was going to focus on the positive, not on a past that I couldn't change. Ivy was happy, I was happy and I didn't want to spoil the mood with useless, depressing thoughts. This was a time to celebrate, and revel in delights not wallow in previous transgressions.

I narrowed my eyes and then stuck my tongue out at her. She laughed and I moved towards the counter and picked up one of the pancakes. I took a moment to smirk at her, and then I threw the pancake at her as hard as I could. Unfortunately for me, it was a pancake so that didn't mean much, and Ivy was a vampire so she was easily able to catch it before it could embarrassingly hit her on the side of the face, and slowly slip down before splatting on the floor. I fought the urge to sigh dramatically. Some things really only did work in the movies.

"Could you bring the syrup over?" Ivy asked holding the pancake in her hand like it was a serving tray. She was acting as if it was perfectly normal for her to be holding a pancake in her hand at three in the afternoon. "And a plate?" she asked looking down at the flat cake in her hand, her eyebrow arching pointedly as she stared at it.

"Yes, your majesty," I replied with an exaggerated bow before I moved to the side to remove two plates, and some cutlery. I turned my back to her so that she couldn't see my smile. I was playing the sarcastic pain in the ass, and I didn't want her to see how charmed I was. "Does her grace require anything else?" I asked once I had the items in hand, a smile edging at my lips as I turned back around to face her though I was trying very hard to contain it.

"You," Ivy responded, her voice dropping in a gentle purr that made my insides quake. "Here," she continued patting her lap.

I stared at her for a second, and then let my smile roam free. Sweet! It seemed that coffee was going to have to fight for a distant third on my short list of 'Awesome Things that Happened to Rachel Morgan before Dusk".

I abandoned the plates and happily, started towards the table and Ivy's lap. The food would keep, and I was sure that we'd both be working up an appetite.

Ivy reached out for me when I reached her side and tugged me into her lap, her arms wrapping securely around me as I nestled against her. She leaned forward, her nose brushing against my against my neck as she scented me, taking in all of the different reactions her words, presence and touch were creating in me. I felt my scar begin to tingle, and shivered against her, my body tensing when her tongue slipped out to lick at my neck.

"It's okay," Ivy whispered, knowing that I was worried about her biting. It was hard for her, harder than it had been for Kisten, and I worried about her being able to maintain her control despite the fact that I had escaped our first time together without any extra orifices. I didn't want to flinch, I knew that it hurt her, but flinching when she was that close to my neck had become an ingrained response, and I knew it would take a while to deprogram myself. "I'm wearing caps," Ivy continued softly.

"You are?" I breathed out surprised. I'd never seen Ivy in caps before. I knew that she had some, I'd seen them in her purse the afternoon we had stopped by her folks place, but she had told me she hadn't worn them since she was a teenager.

Ivy nodded and kissed my neck again as the hand she had wrapped around my waist began to slide under my shirt.

"I don't want you to worry," she murmured against my rapidly heating skin, sending another frisson of pleasure through my scar. "I don't want you to be afraid," she whispered a second later, her voice so faint I almost missed her words. "I love you," she said, her voice just as soft as before, though this time is trembled softly. "I would never hurt you, I promise. I'll never touch you unless I'm sure that I'll be okay."

I nodded, and tilted my head to the side, my fingers slipping under her chin so that I could angle her head up to face me. I leaned forward and pressed my lips against hers, kissing her softly. My hands moved to lovingly cradle her face as I deepened the kiss, and I greedily drank up her moan as she tightened her hold on me, kissing me back with all that she had.

"Can I see them?" I asked a little breathlessly when our lips parted.

"I'm wearing them," Ivy said warily, and I realized that she thought I doubted the truthfulness of her statement.

"I know," I said stroking her cheek tenderly. I knew she wouldn't lie to me. I did trust her, even though I was bit skittish sometimes. "I just want to see them." She looked at me dubiously, and I smiled. "Come on, open the hanger door," I encouraged and she glowered at me before petulantly parting her lips so that I could see her teeth. "Aw, they're cute," I murmured smiling as I took in the blunted canines, "like little vampire training wheels," I cooed.

Ivy snapped her mouth shut, and slumped back against her chair. The expression on her face was calm and unconcerned, but her eyes had lost the twinkle they had had earlier, and I realized that I had hurt her feelings. Mentally kicking myself, I wondered if it was possible for me to keep my foot out of my mouth for an entire day, or even an entire hour. She had put the caps on for me, to make me feel safe even though it was demeaning. Heck, her little sister was throwing her caps away because she felt she was too old for them, and there was Ivy willing putting them on for me, and I basically called her a little baby. God, I was a jackass. I didn't know why she put up with me, but I was very grateful that she did.

I leaned forward to kiss her lips gently in apology. She was prone beneath me, and I bit back a sigh. She was upset, and I deserved it.

"I was just playing," I said sincerely, meeting her eyes.

The tension in her shoulders eased a little at my words, but she was still a little wary. I stroked her cheek again, and realized that I would have to be careful with her. Ivy, for all of her strength and training and attitude was incredibly vulnerable, and she cared about me so very much. It was so easy for me to hurt her, and that was the last thing I wanted to do. This new aspect of our relationship was still fresh and vulnerable, and it would need to be carefully cultivated, which meant that I would have to start thinking before I spoke.

"Lemme see," I coaxed gently. Her eyebrows furrowed, and I tried not to smile. She looked like a sulky three year old. "Please," I said, and reluctantly she opened her mouth again.

Praying that she wouldn't be startled by my movements and automatically clamp down, I carefully reached into her mouth and touched one of the caps. Ivy's body jerked beneath me, but she didn't clamp down and I released the breath I had been holding and went to work removing the first cap and then the second. I carefully set them on the table behind me, and then I returned my gaze to Ivy's.

"I trust you," I told her, not even blinking as I held her gaze.

Ivy was still for a moment, and then she blinked, and blinked again and blinked again, her brown eyes becoming misty as she stared up at me.

"I'll wear them, Rachel," she breathed out. Her voice trembled as she looked at me, and there was something approaching awe in her voice as she stared at me. "You don't have to do this. I don't mind wearing them if it makes you feel better. I want you to feel safe."

"I do. I trust you," I repeated. She blinked once more and her eyes were unable to continue the moisture filling them and a few tears slid down her perfect, porcelain cheeks. I leaned forward and pressed my lips to her cheek, kissing away her tears and she shuddered beneath me. Her tears were warm against her cheek, and the taste of them made my heart clench tightly in my chest. Kisten had once told me that my trust was the greatest gift that I had given to Ivy. I saw that now, how much my faith in her meant to her and I vowed never to make her doubt it. "I'm not afraid of you Ivy," I continued softly. "I love you. You're my home," I said confidently, knowing without a doubt that my words were true. When I had been trapped in the ever-after it was the memory of Ivy's face, her voice, her smile, her, that guided me back home. I needed her. We needed each other. Ivy was right, we were shit alone, but together we were beautiful.

Ivy pressed her cheek against mine, holding it there for a moment, before she buried her face in my neck, hugging me tightly all the while.

"Rachel," my name fell from her lips like a prayer. I supposed it was somewhat fitting since she hoped that I would save her soul. "Rachel," she murmured again, and I felt something clench in my belly and begin to burn as my scar lit up again, sending waves of pleasure through my body. "I need," she whispered, and from the tone of her voice I knew exactly what she needed.

"Me too," I whispered as her hands began to roam again, moving toward the button of my jeans and popping it open before her elegant fingers moved to lower my fly. I shivered, my breath hitching as her blunted finger nails caressed my skin just above the waistband of my panties.

A soft strangled soft emerged from Ivy's throat, and I felt a warm rush of air against me as she groaned, "I can't believe I can touch you." I moaned, her words lighting up my core, and rather wantonly I lifted my hips, silently pleading with her to move her hand lower. I was embarrassingly wet, but I didn't care if she knew it. I just wanted her inside of me.

"Bedroom," Ivy murmured and I felt her body shift and knew she was preparing to rise.

"No," I breathed out, covering her hand with my own, holding it where it was against my stomach, so close to where I needed her and yet much too far away. "Here," I whispered, capturing her eyes with my own, "In your lap."

Ivy settled back down and then smiled, showing fang. I trembled, the sight of her sharp, gleaming canines sending an uncomfortable tingle through my body that settled between my legs. I really did have a thing for dangerous sex, it was just lucky for me that this time I was in the arms of one of the best people I had ever known, and one of the only people I had ever loved.

"You … are … absolutely … bewitching," Ivy murmured, her lips slowly curving up into a sensuous smile as she clearly annunciated each word. Her voice slid over my body like whisks of silk, making me throb with need.

I smiled and then laughed, Ivy's joke cutting through the tension that had formed between us like a knife through room temperature butter, and I leaned forward and kissed her happily as her hands began to work my jeans once more.

It was a good day to be me.



Two Months Later

"They didn't," I declared, though the slightly higher tilt to my voice at the end made it sound more like a question.

Ivy and I were lying wrapped up in a large blanket on our bench on the patio. It was chilly out and I was surprised when Ivy suggested that we have dinner out outside on the patio. I was tempted to refuse at first. I'd been freezing my ass off all day doing errands and some recon work, and I didn't particularly feel like freezing my ass off again because Ivy thought something might be neat. But, I had been trying to be more careful about thinking before I spoke and so, before I automatically said no, I took a moment think about Ivy's request.

It had been a while since we'd had time alone together. The church was running amok with pixies, the cold snap forcing Jenks and his family back inside and into my desk. We were safe from prying eyes behind our bedroom doors, but pixies had excellent hearing and we hadn't been able to really touch each other in days. I loved Ivy more than I loved pain amulets, but there was no way I was going to risk Jenks overhearing me begging her to do something filthy to me, and having him mock me for it for the rest of the week. He'd caught us once, Ivy pinning me to the counter as I slipped my fingers underneath the back of her jeans to claw at her ass, and he'd called me "Tiger" and made a tiny little claw and growling sounds every time he saw me for six days straight.

Focusing on Ivy once again, I saw that she seemed a little anxious and tense, and I was sure that the lack of privacy was getting to her too. Suddenly, going outside for a while didn't seem that bad, and I agreed with a smile. It was chilly, but I knew that Ivy would keep me warm.

"They did," Ivy confirmed, and I could hear the smirk in her voice. Schadenfreude was Ivy's middle name when it came to dumb criminals. Nothing delighted her more than seeing pieces of scum utterly and completely humiliate themselves, besides of` course hitting them really, really hard on the head afterwards. "Idiots," she declared derisively.

"Who does that?" I asked, my face turning up in disgust.

"Idiots," Ivy repeated and I grinned.

"Did you hurt them?" I asked, a little shiver going through my body. I didn't want to be turned on by the idea of Ivy inflicting pain on people, even if they were lowlife scum, but I was. Swathed in black leather, her eyes an almost unfathomable black, Ivy was lethality and grace come together in the most perfect of forms. She was a death you wanted to embrace. She was the abyss that made you yearn to fling yourself to its dark, swaying depths. Ivy was the knife point that called to your heart like a Siren's song. She was six feet of sex, sin, more sex and if you were very, very lucky still more sin, and she got me hot.

I felt Ivy shrug behind me. "I didn't do any permanent damage," was her wicked response.

"Should it worry me that it turns me on when you say things like that?" I asked dreamily, enjoying the way her arms tightened around me, and she buried her face in my hair.

"Probably," she murmured softly, the exhalation more a purr than a word. "But I don't mind," she continued as I shifted into a more comfortable position against her. Between Ivy's body heat, the blanket and the fire going nearby I was pleasantly warm, cozy even and I had the urge to burrow in against her like a spoiled tabby cat. "I like you hot and bothered."

We'd dug out a fire pit earlier in the year when it was warm out, and after I agreed to dinner outside, Ivy had headed out the back door to start up the fire and set things up so that we'd be comfortable once we got out there. Since becoming lovers, one of my favorite pastimes had become Ivy Watching. I loved just leaning against something, and watching her move. That sleek, predatory gracefulness that had once scared me shitless now filled me with warmth and a possessive sort of pride. She was mine; all of that grace, and beauty and perfection … mine. I would have felt bad about my cave-witch thoughts, but I knew that if Ivy ever found out how possessively I was beginning to think of her, that she would love it. Nothing said 'love' to vamps like chopping off people's heads and snarling, "Get away from her! She's mine!" In the language of vampire love Ivy was a master poet, she was Shakespeare and her ability to make grown men who looked at me a little too long wet themselves in fear was her Sonnet 18.

"Mostly bothered lately," I complained, slipping my fingers under her shirt beneath the blanket, so that my palm was splayed against her smooth, taut stomach. Her abdominal muscles twitched a little at the touch of my chilled fingers, and I heard Ivy breath in deeply before she exhaled, her eyes fluttering closed momentarily as she did. "Have you heard anything on the news about this cold spell breaking?" I asked my tone more than a little whiney as I slipped my hand a little further under her shirt. The heat from her body was literally making my fingers itch, and I wanted to continue slipping my hand up her torso until I was cupping her breast, and then I wanted to push her shirt up as well so that all I had to do was lean forward and press my lips against …

"Rachel," Ivy moaned softly, shifting on the bench trying to escaping my wandering fingers.

I sighed and slipped by fingers back down and under her shirt until they were resting respectably against her jean covered hip. I liked teasing Ivy, and Ivy liked being teased, but we needed to be able to finish what we started. Delaying pleasure was the tops, but denying it completely was dangerous. Ivy needed some kind of release when I got her worked up, and if she didn't get it things could get hairy very quickly. A few weeks before we'd been fooling around on the couch, the teasing touches becoming more and more serious when the phone rang. Ivy had told me to let it go to the machine, and since my hand had been between her legs, my fingers rubbing roughly at the damp patch on her skimpy underwear I was more than inclined to agree with her. However, when the answering machine picked up and my mother's voice began to leave a long rambling message, it'd killed the mood a little for me and with an apologetic look at Ivy I'd gotten up to get it. My mother, being my mother, had proceeded to talk to me at length and by the time I made it back to Ivy she had been a giant ball of tension, and had shaken her head at me when I started to move closer to her. It'd taken a two hour workout, an hour long ride on her bike, a cold shower, and an hour fiddling with her maps before she'd calmed down enough for me to be in the same room with her again. I'd been very careful not to start something I couldn't finish after that.

"Sorry," I murmured a bit sheepishly, kissing a small exposed part of her collarbone. "It's just … we're finally alone," I breathed out longingly, my hand twitching restlessly where it lay against her hip. "It's hard to keep my hands off you."

Ivy smiled, her eyes twinkling and I realized that she was amused by more than my teenage hormones.

"What?" I inquired darkly.

"I think you just like the idea of doing it outside," Ivy murmured. "In the open, where anyone could walk in on us," she continued smirking, and I knew that this was about my apparent need for danger and risk to be involved in every part of day from grocery shopping to making love.

"The pixies aren't going to come out here, the fairies are still in Mexico, and the plants block the view of the patio from the neighboring properties," I muttered a little peevishly. I may have been an adrenaline junkie, but I wasn't an exhibitionist and the idea of people seeing me in intimate moments did not turn my crank.

"It's a good thing that Ceri doesn't stop by the garden unannounced at strange times, or that Kisten doesn't sometimes stop back here for a smoke before he comes in," Ivy responded, in a knowing sort of voice. "But luckily they both clomp around like pretty blonde elephants so we would hear them coming long before they could see us doing anything only …" she trailed off, and I turned my head to glare at her and then smacked her in the stomach. I was not trying to get her to do me out there so that someone would walk in on us.

Ivy released an exaggerated sound of pain after I swatted her, and despite myself I smiled.

"Okay, okay. You're just a horny little witch," Ivy amended.

"That's because my big bad vampire, isn't being bad enough," I whispered seductively, sliding myself against the length of her wantonly.

Ivy moaned piteously, and titled her head back, staring up at the stars above us. I thought she was just being dramatic, and used the opportunity to plant series of kisses along her neck, and even paused for a few seconds at her pulse point to chew at it lightly, knowing that it drove her absolutely crazy. I couldn't, and didn't really want to draw blood, but Ivy loved it when I bit, so I tried to do it as much as possible. She tensed under me however, and her hand moved to my hip gently urging me back, and reluctantly I pulled away from her.

"Sorry," I said again, making a promise to myself to be good. I knew she wanted to touch me as much as I wanted to touch her, and if she was holding back it wasn't because she was afraid that Ceri or Kisten would sneak up on us, it was because she didn't think that she could control herself. It hadn't happened often, but on a few occasions her hunger had stopped us from being able to be together, and I knew better than to push her any farther than I already had.

"No," Ivy breathed out, her voice a little more strained than usual, but not in a dangerous territory. "Don't be. It's my fault. I'm just …" she stopped speaking, and sighed deeply, the force of it lifting me up and down with the movement of her chest. "I'm not trying to push you," Ivy began, "If your answers no, then it's no and that's fine," she went on hastily, sounding as if she was trying to get the words out before she lost her courage to say them. "I was just wondering if you had given anymore thought to entering into a blood balance?"

Her voice was little more than a whisper, and if her lips hadn't been resting right by my ear, I never would have heard her.

I sucked in a deep breath. This was why she wanted to have dinner outside. She hadn't wanted the privacy so that we could play some under the blanket 'getting to know you' games, she'd wanted to be alone so that we could talk.

"Forget about it," Ivy said quickly hearing my intake of breath. "I was just curious. It's not important. Forget it," she repeated quickly, her thumb brushing against the back of my hand as if she was trying to sooth whatever panic or fear she thought that she had called up in me with her question.

"I have," I said ignoring what she had just said, knowing that she didn't really mean it. She wasn't just curious, it was important. She hadn't just proposed dinner out here on a whim. Ivy was a planner, and a conversation like this wasn't something she would have just brought up without having thought about it, a lot. She was just scared of frightening me by bringing up blood, and I couldn't blame her for being skittish. Even after giving into my physical desire for her, the two times she had asked me about sharing blood I had declined, and on top of all of the times I had turned her down before we got together, I knew that I had to have given her a complex. "I've been thinking about it," I continued softly, grasping her fingers with my own. "I think I'd like to try."

Ivy was absolutely still behind me, her chest not even rising and falling in breath.

"Pardon?" she asked, her speech crisp and impeccable, the control with which she was speaking giving away her internal confusion more than sputtering and falling over her words could have. She'd already prepared herself to be rejected again, and her surprise at my acquiescence made me feel like a huge asshole.

I shifted in her arms until I could see her face, and then reached out with my hand to stroke her cheek softly. "I said I want to find a blood balance with you," I told her firmly, my eyes on her as I spoke so that she could see how serious I was. "I know how hard it's been for you," I continued, and Ivy turned her head away from me, her features contorting for a moment as if she was in pain before her face smoothed out again, her face becoming a mask that revealed nothing of what she was thinking and feeling.

"That's not a reason to enter a blood balance," she breathed out softly, her eyes still averted. "Don't do this just because you think I want it … or need it," she went on, her last three words coming out as an embarrassed hiss.

I breathed in deeply through my nose, and then out again. I will not get mad, I chanted in my head. I will not get mad.

"Look at me," I said firmly a few seconds later. "Look at me, Ivy," I repeated, moving my fingers to her chin to tilt her head towards me when she continued to look away. "Everybody may think I'm your whore, but I'm not," I said, my finger pressing against her lips to silence her when her eyes widened and her lips parted to respond. "I'm not offering myself up to you out of some sycophantic need to please you." I removed my finger from her lips, certain that she would allow me to finish speaking. "I do want to please you," I told her gently. "I love you. I want you to be happy, and content and satisfied. I want those things for you, as much as you want them for me," I told her stroking her cheek again, needing to touch her, to be connected to her as I spoke. "But it's not about you, it's about us. I want this for us. I want to love you completely. I want to know all of you. I want us to be able to share this, and I trust you not to bind me. I've been unfair to you, to us both, and I want to change that."

"Your scar," Ivy said, her voice trembling a little.

"It's tingling, but it's manageable," I said. "It's not my scar talking; your pheromones aren't influencing me. My head is clear, Ivy. I know what I'm saying. And it's not a snap decision. I've been thinking about this. I've," I sighed, feeling like a shabby low life bum, "I've wanted to bring it up, but …" I sighed again. "You've always been the braver of the two of us," I whispered, leaning down to lightly press my lips against hers.

"That's not true," Ivy breathed out, following my lips with her own and kissing me softly. "Most people would have run the first night we moved in together. You stayed. Through it all, you stayed," she continued, long eyelashes fluttering to cover her beautiful brown eyes as she blinked rapidly. "Loving me is an act of courage," she whispered forcing her eyes open. "You're the bravest person I know, Rachel. You make me strong."

I squeezed my eyes shut against the onslaught of tears her words and tone brought up in me. I sometimes didn't understand the Rachel Morgan that Ivy spoke of, I didn't see the woman she described when I looked in the mirror in the morning, but I knew that I saw a lot in her that she didn't see in herself, and I thought that maybe that was why we were so good together. We saw the pure, good, beautiful parts of each other that the world had tried to beat out of us over the course of our lives, and we magnified them, we lit them up for each other, so that in each others eyes we were able to see ourselves as we truly were.

"You're going to make me cry," I choked out, blinking against my tears and losing the battle.

"Then cry," Ivy said softly. "I've got you."

I squeezed my eyes shut, tears streaming from them as I did and I leaned down and buried my face in her neck, my tears wetting her neck and the collar of her shirt. I didn't like crying, and I didn't want to, despite Ivy's encouragement. People said it was cleansing, but it always left me feeling vulnerable and a little dirty. But when the urge to cry hit, the tears came no matter how hard I fought, and when they stopped this time, I was embarrassed but I also felt about ten times better than I had before the tears came. I knew that it was lying in Ivy's arms that made the difference, and I hugged her to me tightly. Ivy made everything safe … even my own feelings.

"I don't deserve you," I murmured.

"No, you deserve better," Ivy whispered, her lips ghosting against the top of my head as she spoke. I started in her arms, but she made a soothing sound in her throat, and I calmed down knowing that she wasn't finished talking yet. "But now that I've got you, I'm not letting go."

I smiled against Ivy's neck, and then kissed the soft skin there before curling myself around her even more.

"Oh god," I moaned, chuckling a little against her throat.

"What?" Ivy asked, her tone curious but not concerned. Despite the seriousness of the conversation we had been having, my tone had been light and she knew that I wasn't upset despite my words.

"Can you imagine how much Jenks would tease us, if he'd heard that conversation?" I asked, laughing, a touch of self-consciousness to my voice. Neither Ivy nor I were 'let's sit and talk about our feelings' kind of girls. We were both too scared of our emotions to want to discuss them at length, especially with each other since we were usually the cause of each others insanity. When we were forced to have heart-to-hearts however, the most unbelievably cheesy things would come out of my mouth. Ivy managed to make similarly cheesy things sound wonderfully dreamy, but I sounded like an overwrought Wandmark card, and usually ended up hiding my face against Ivy until the embarrassment caused by my own sappiness ran its course.

Ivy groaned, but when I peeked up at her I saw that her lips were curved up in a wry smile.

"I really do want to do this," I said, sobering a little as I propped myself up so that I could see Ivy's face clearly again.

Ivy nodded, and then closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. "When the pixies are gone?" Ivy asked, opening her eyes again.

"When the pixies are gone," I confirmed with a smile, knowing that she wanted absolute privacy. It would be our first time, and neither of us wanted to wonder if there were pixies hovering outside of the door, or to be interrupted by crashing sounds or the smell of something burning 'accidentally'.

"It's amazing, Rachel," Ivy said a little breathlessly. "It really is. It's beautiful."

"You'll show me," I replied confidently. Being bitten by Ivy was an unknown, and as such it scared me a little. But the possible rewards more than outweighed my fear, and I knew without a doubt that this was the right decision. That this was something we needed to do.

"Yes," Ivy said, leaning up to reach my lips, pressing hers against them. "I love you," she whispered reverently.

"I love you too," I responded sincerely, kissing her back soundly.

"Rachel?" she asked when we were forced to pull apart.

"Mm," I murmured, still dazed by the taste of Ivy's lips.

"Do you ah, still want to?" she asked, her tongue slipping past her lips to lick at them in the post delicious way. I knew that she was talking about my earlier friskiness and I smiled.

"Yes," I said, not caring that my response was a little to eager. "God, yes," I groaned ecstatic to discover that it had been nerves about talking to me, and not hunger that had made her stop me from touching her before. I really was about one night away from taking things into my own hands in the shower.

"Thank you, Jesus," Ivy murmured, her hands beginning to run up my thighs. I didn't exactly think that was giving credit where credit was due since the naughty outdoor touching had been my idea, but as Ivy's hands continued to run over me, I decided that I didn't really care.

I'd always thought that Ivy had a flare for the dramatic, and the night that she bit me for the first time I knew that she did. Ivy's sheets were black silk and they felt sinfully delicious against my skin. Lying on them had always made me feel luxurious and pampered, and as I stretched out on them waiting for Ivy to join me, I felt like a queen.

The cold snap had lasted for two days after our conversation on the patio, and by the time Jenks and his brood made their way back to their stump in the garden, Ivy and I were half mad with anticipation. When the last of the shrieking children was out the door, I was half tempted to jump onto the counter and bare my neck to her. Come and get it, big girl! But Ivy had been planning, and as much as I wanted her to bite me, I didn't really want it to be in the kitchen with a hanging pot hitting the back of my head.

"Hey," Ivy said softly, walking into the bedroom. She had a glass of orange juice in one hand, and a small plate with some of her Brimstone cookies in the other one, her black silk robe draped loosely over a thin, black nightie. I wasn't particularly pleased to see her Brimstone cookies, but I knew better than to complain. The bane of my existence, Trent Kalamack, was responsible for the distribution of Brimstone in Cincy, and I didn't want to have anything to do with lining his pockets. But, if Ivy was to drink from me regularly, I would need her Brimstone laced 'cookies' to stay strong and healthy. I didn't like it, but I cared for Ivy more than I hated Trent, and I would eat my cookies like a good girl.

"Hey," I breathed out, knowing that she would easily hear me, even across the room.

"Doors, windows and vents are secure," Ivy told me with a smirk, gracefully walking over to her dresser where she rested the plate of Brimstone cookies. "The church is, for the night, a pixie free zone."

I suspected that the pixie children could get in if they really wanted to. Pixies were very clever and very industrious. In fact, if they were so inclined Pixies could probably rule the world, it was just lucky for Inlanders and humans that they were more concerned with gardens than with world domination.

I wasn't really worried about the children trying to bust in though. It was late, and most of them would be asleep, and the older ones that were still awake were watched closely by Jenks in the night. I hadn't said anything to Jenks about what was going to happen tonight, but he seemed to know how important today was to both Ivy and I, and I suspected that he'd had one of his strange heart-to-hearts with Ivy.

"Pixie free zone," I sighed dreamily. "Those might be the three sweetest words in the English language."

Ivy smirked, and made her way over to the bed. "Really? I thought the three sweetest words in the English language were 'Ivy, right there'," she said, moaning the words as she smirked at me. "Or maybe, 'Oh, god yes!', or 'Jesus, fuck, harder,'" she continued huskily, chewing on her bottom lip coquettishly.

"Keep that up, and you won't be hearing any of those for a while," I muttered glaring at her. Ivy simply smiled beatifically at that, knowing that there was no way I would be able to keep my hormones under control long enough to actually punish her by withholding sex. When it came to control Ivy knew more about it than I was ever likely to, and she could wait me out without breaking a sweat.

"You're confusing me, Rachel," Ivy murmured, snaking her arm around my waist and drawing me into her body. "It sounds like you want me to behave, but I thought I was supposed to be bad tonight," she continued, her voice like soft spun gray silk as her lips brushed against the pale skin of my shoulder. "It's like the saying goes," Ivy continued as a smooth, toned thigh slid over my own. "When I'm bad I'm better."

I moaned softly, the sound turning into a satisfied groan when Ivy's thigh pressed against my center. I pressed myself against her, not even trying to hide my arousal. I had never been a prude in the bedroom, but I hadn't taken pride in being a wanton hussy either … until Ivy. I now took great delight in showing her just how much she turned me on, and just how quickly she was able to do it. I suspected that part of my desire to hump her at any given opportunity came from how much she liked feeling the evidence of my desire, and knew that the other part came from being a wanton hussy – though I would still deny it if asked.

"Oh, god Ivy," I moaned, clutching at her. I knew I sounded like a 'character' in a bad porno, but I didn't care … at all. "Do it. Be bad," I whispered, determined to be the best fake porn star that I could be.

Ivy growled and I rubbed myself against her, the primal sound of desire striking the very core of me.

"Fuck," Ivy groaned, her breath warming my neck as she panted over it. "Fuck," she breathed out again. Ivy very rarely swore, even when we were in bed together, and I knew that whatever she was feeling, she was feeling it intensely. "You smell so good," she moaned leaning down to nuzzle my neck before she licked at the soft skin covering my pulse point. "I can't … I have to … I have to," she panted, and then before I could utter a single word of encouragement, a sharp pain registered in my neck and she was inside of me.

The pain faded almost as soon as I registered it, Ivy's saliva soothing the burn and turning it pleasurable. I drew my hand up her back to tangle my fingers in her hair, and rocked against the thigh she still had firmly jammed between my legs as my racing heart pumped my blood forward into her eager mouth.

Ivy's arms slipped around me and tugged fiercely, yanking me up and into her body as her fangs drove deeper inside of me. My scar flamed to life, and I cried out, my hand clutching at her desperately, scratching and squeezing as she worked my neck almost savagely in her need. I dug my nails in the flesh of her arm, and she dug her teeth into me harder.

Colours exploded in front of my eyes, even though they were open. I gasped, my lips parting as if to cry, but I had no breath inside of me to expel. I dragged my sex against her thigh, rubbing frantically, unable to think, my entire body aching, and trembling, shaking and wanting, pulsing with pleasure. Oh god, it felt good. It felt so fucking good. My head swam, and a strange thought floated through my head that I was dying. My eyes rolled, and my head tilted forward. I wasn't breathing. I wasn't dying, I was fainting. I needed to breathe.

With my chest rising and falling rapidly, I somehow managed to suck in a deep breath, my hands sliding to Ivy's ass and pulling her into me as I exhaled. Ivy pulled back from me, and a sob escaped me. I didn't want her to stop. I didn't want her to stop! I clutched at her, and somehow found my voice. "More, please … don't stop," I managed to choke out. Ivy purred, and dipped her head down again, her tongue playing against my broken skin, licking at the crimson nectar that had escaped her lips previously, and then she sank her teeth into me again and I arched up into her.

God, it was exquisite. I opened my eyes, staring at her ceiling as my fingers played in her hair and clutched at her nightie. Tears slipped from my eyes, and my hips bucked, ecstasy rising in me like the tide. I felt her everywhere, all around me. This was more than blood, it was more than sex; it was more than physical. Our souls were reaching out for each other. I could feel her. I could feel her soul blanketing me. Her aura was warm and it was covering me from the crown to the toe-top. Part of me was flowing into her, and part of her was flowing into me.

"Ivy," I moaned. My mind and my body and my soul were full of her. She was in me, and I was in her, and I could see her. I could feel her, I could feel it all. Oh god, how she needed me, how she craved me. She lived for my love, for my trust, for the security of my arms. And she loved me, desperately, without limit or reason. Oh, god how she loved me!

My hips were moving, though I didn't know how. My mind sang as my body arched. The music swelled, rising higher and higher … building towards crescendo. Our auras twined together, moving in harmony as our bodies strained together, Ivy's lips, my hands, her tongue, my lips, her hands, my tongue coming together to create the most beautiful music.

My hips jerked, and I crashed over the edge, twitching against Ivy as she gasped against my neck, her warmth breath lighting up my broken skin, sending me crashing into another orgasm before the first ended as she dropped her head to my bloodied neck and spasmed against me, our auras flashing white and hot as she came with me.

Ivy lay still against me, her chest moving up and down steadily as she lay with her head resting above my breast. Her long legs were thrown over my own, so that if someone were looking at us from above, it would look almost like I was cradling her in my arms like a baby.

It was an usual arrangement for us. Usually I lay with my head resting on Ivy's chest, my shorter frame allowing our toes to touch, and tickle each other as we lay together. Or, as it was more often than not, Ivy would lie spooned behind me, her thin arms wrapped protectively about my waist as she held me against her.

I brushed my fingers through her hair, my heart swelling with love. I had never seen her look so vulnerable, and a fierce feeling of protectiveness flowed through me, and for a moment I thought I knew how Ivy felt about me all of the time.

"Is it always like that?" I asked softly. My mind was still a little dazed, and I knew that I was smiling goofily as I spoke.

"No," Ivy replied simply, and she tightened her hold on me, pressing her face into me as if trying to bury inside so that she could wrap herself around my heart.

"Our auras," I began, my mind still spinning as I thought about the feel of our souls mixing together.

"That always happens," Ivy's said softly. "But usually to a much lesser degree," she continued, shifting a little, raising herself up until her head was resting on the pillow beside mine and we could see each other. "That's what I was talking about when I told you how beautiful it could be. That it was an expression of love," she continued, her large brown eyes shining wetly. "But … I've never felt anything like that before," she breathed out, her eyes widening even more in surprise, and then delight. "The extent of the mixing, the flash of light and heat … the sympathetic orgasm," she whispered shaking her head. "I've never …" she repeated before trailing off again.

If Ivy couldn't make sense of what had happened, I wasn't even going to try to, not at that moment with my head all fuzzy and my arms full of sated, content vampire.

"Why didn't you tell me about the auras?" I asked curiously, my hand unconsciously moving towards her face to stroke her cheek.

"I didn't want to scare you," Ivy said softly, her eyes dropping away from mine. She tensed slightly against my body, and I knew that it was a fear response. She was scared that I would be angry with her from keeping it from me, but I wasn't angry, I was just confused.

"Why would that scare me?" I asked genuinely bewildered. "It was beautiful. It was more than beautiful. It was right. It was pure. God, I don't even … there's not a word that can describe how wonderful it was."

Ivy blinked and trembled, and then wrapped her arms around me and pressed her face into the nook between my neck and shoulder. "Rachel," she breathed out against me, her warm breath caressing the broken skin less than an inch away from her mouth. "You think about things so strangely." Her words didn't exactly sound like a compliment, but I knew that they were. There was relief and awe in her voice and I could feel her smiling. "Most people wouldn't see it that way. They'd think we were trying to steal their souls as well as take their blood."

"But there's no loss," I protested on behalf of (living) vampires everywhere, "just a temporary joining. Nothings taken only shared."

Ivy's smiled widened against my neck, and she kissed me softly, before pulling back enough that she could see my face. She watched me for a second, and then leaned forward, pressing her lips against mine softly. She'd drained the glass of orange juice she'd brought into the room with her shortly after our orgasm, and I realized that like the brimstone cookies bringing the orange had been prep work. The citrus neutralized the scent and taste of blood, so that when she kissed me it reminded me of breakfast instead of blood.

"I love you, so much," Ivy said when she pulled back, her simple words resonating with emotion.

"I love you too," I whispered, leaning forward, needing to taste her lips again.

Her hand drifted to my waist, and when I pulled back from her she looked at me shyly.

"What?" I asked smiling a little, her bashful expression charming me.

"Are you tired?" Ivy asked watching me keenly. "I shouldn't have taken so much," she muttered, her expression darkening for a second as her eyes dropped to the puncture marks on my neck.

"I'm fine," I told her, reaching out to cup her cheek. "The cookie's working already, but I was fine before that too," I stated firmly, holding her eyes. "You didn't hurt me. Look at me," I said when her eyes skittered away. "You didn't hurt me," I repeated again, my body relaxing a bit when she nodded faintly and gave me a small smile. "And no, I'm not tired."

She nodded again, and looked at me curiously.

"What?" I prompted, trying not to smile too widely. I'd never seen Ivy quite like this before, not even the first night we made love, and I was deeply smitten.

"I'd like to," she began, here eyes flickering away from mine for a second before she forced herself to meet my gaze once more. "Make love to you … properly," she breathed out, her thumb stroking me hip softly.

"Ivy," I said seriously, chewing on my bottom lip to stop from smiling when she looked at me very soberly. "You don't have to ask," I continued, releasing the soft flesh to let the smile I had been fighting touch my lips.

"But I will," she promised, even as her hand began to move, caressing my stomach lightly sending a shiver through my body.

"I know," I breathed out, my eyes fluttering as she pressed her lips against my shoulder. "That's why you're so dreamy," I sighed, feeling like the luckiest witch in the world.



A Month Later

"You drove me nearly drove me out of my head/While you never shed a tear/Remember? I remember all that you said/Told me love was too plebeian/Told me you were through/with me…"

Ivy's strong, rich voice rang out through the room, full of emotion and longing as her fingers drifted over the keys of the piano.

"Now, now you say you love me/Well, just to prove you do/Come on! And cry, cry, cry me a river. Cry me a river, 'cause I cried a river over you…"

"Good, isn't she?" Kisten asked, placing a hand on my shoulder as he moved to sit next to me on the couch. "Music is the window to her soul," he continued before I had a chance to say anything. "It's why she never played for you before," he whispered to me confidentially as I focused my gaze on him. "It reveals too much of her … the soft, vulnerable underbelly. The flower under the serpent," he said smiling wickedly.

"Did she play much for you … before?" I asked, my eyes drifting over to Ivy in front of the piano.

Ivy's posture was relaxed, her head tipped down and tilted slightly to the side. Her fingers flowed effortlessly over the piano keys, and her voice rang out strong, and true. I couldn't see her face but I knew, with the same certainty that my name was Rachel Morgan, that her eyes were closed as she played, and that her face was hauntingly full of emotion. I was also certain that even though she seemed completely immersed in the song that she was listening to every word we were saying.

"No," Kisten said, following my gaze over to Ivy. "She never once played intentionally for me when we were together. I caught some snippets, but only snippets. I've heard her play more in the last two months than I have in the last two years," he continued, his pleasure clear in his voice. "Her soul is stronger now with you to cultivate it. It's no longer such a delicate, fragile little thing and doesn't need to be guarded so fiercely. At least not with us," he added with a smile and a wink.

"Are you saying she's so relaxed because I tend to her flower?" I asked smirking. Between Kisten's and Jenks' teasing I had become almost immune to sexual innuendo. In fact, not only did I rarely blink an eye anymore but I had gained a certain appreciation for it and would try it out every so often myself.

Ivy missed a note as I spoke and Kisten laughed, pointing a finger at her back though Ivy couldn't see him. She carried on as if nothing had happened, and I smirked though I wasn't going to say anything about her eavesdropping.

"Such a saucy little minx," Kisten drawled, and I turned to glare at him before I smiled.

Kisten and I had fallen into friendship rather easily after Ivy and I got together, and I couldn't have been happier about it. I genuinely like him. He was a good friend and a good man, and I was lucky to have him on my side. Not to mention he was still very nice to look at. I was with Ivy, and I desired Ivy to a degree that embarrassed me sometimes, but I hadn't lost my appreciation for the male form. My attraction to Kisten hadn't died because Ivy and I were together, only my desire to act on the attraction had.

Kisten was window dressing now, he was Paul Newman in "The Long, Hot Summer" or Brad Pitt in … everything. He was very nice to look at, but all I would do was look. No matter how hard I had tried to fight it in the beginning, I was Ivy's girl. They were both very pretty – probably too pretty for me – but Ivy was home. Ivy made my heart ache with love. Ivy made me better. Kisten looked very good in leather but stubble and a tight little ass were not nearly enough tempt me from Ivy's arms. I was pretty sure that nothing short of death could rip me from her embrace.

The song Ivy was singing came to an end and I focused on her again. I missed having her beside me, and wanted her to stop playing for a while and join us on the couch. Ivy and I had spent so much time avoiding physical contact with each other that it surprised me how quickly I had come to need her touch, no matter how small or brief it was. I was a starving woman, and Ivy was a feast. I wanted to gorge myself on her all of the time. Luckily for me, she seemed to crave my touch just as much and except for the view times that her hunger made it too dangerous for us to be in close proximity of each other, I was able to touch her whenever I wanted.

I was about to call out to her, more than willing to endure Kisten's teasing if it meant having her arms wrapped around me, but before I could say anything Ivy stood and turned around to face us. Our eyes met, and she smiled softly, a tender and loving look entering her eyes that I only ever saw when she looked at me. She made her way over to the couch, slipping behind me so that I was resting against her chest before she placed her feet on Kisten's thigh and wiggled her toes.

"Don't you two look snug?" Kisten asked as he glanced down at Ivy's feet in his lap and shrugged. He reached out and began to massage her feet, and Ivy made a small sound of contentment behind me that would have made me jealous if I didn't love hearing that sound come out of her so much. I looked at Kisten's strong hands working Ivy's feet, and decided that I would try just dumping my feet in his lap next time we were on the same couch together. Of course, I thought, I could just get Ivy to do it and probably get myself a naked massage afterwards.

"You've trained him well," I said to Ivy as I looked pointedly at Kisten rubbing her feet.

"It wasn't that difficult," she drawled easily. Her voice was a low soothing purr, and I felt a shiver of contentment run through me at the sound of it. I might have been the witch, but the things that woman's voice could do to me were magical. "Some animals like to be domesticated," Ivy continued playfully, and Kisten looked up and over at her, studying her for a second before he stuck his tongue out at her.

"You do know that you're not exactly the dominant in this room either," Kisten murmured, his lips twitching up slightly though he didn't lift his eyes to see if his comment had hit its mark. Ivy sighed the moment he finished speaking and I knew he didn't have to. Her exhalation was all the confirmation he needed.

Despite her sigh, when Ivy murmured, "True," she didn't sound displeased or even resigned. If anything she seemed a little amused. I was about to turn around and give her a fake glare for being amused by the idea that I was the dominant, but she tightened her arms around me and pressed her lips to the top of my head before I could, and I relaxed against her.

"Have you asked her yet?" Kisten asked. He was staring at Ivy with a determined, challenging, mischievous look on his face, and I knew that he was searching for a way to bug her since needling her about her lack of dominance with me hadn't worked.

Ivy sighed deeply, and I knew that she was frowning at him.

"Asked me what?" I asked gamely, playing my part in this little exercise.

"Indeed. Ivy," he said curiously, "asked her what?"

"I had lunch with Erica last month. To tell her about us," Ivy began, somehow managing to sigh irritably and talk at the same time. I smiled at Ivy bringing up her younger sister. Ivy had told me about how the lunch had gone afterwards, and the mere thought of it was almost enough to send me into a fit of laughter.

Ivy had looked shell-shocked and traumatized when she'd arrived home from her lunch with Erica, her beautiful brown eyes open unusually wide as she flopped down at her customary chair at the kitchen table. Erica had apparently stayed quiet long enough for Ivy to inform her that she and I were a couple. After that however, Ivy had lost control of the situation and Erica had squealed in delight – or as Ivy had put it, "released a sound not meant for mortal ears to perceive" – and had then gotten up and moved around the table, throwing herself in Ivy's lap, hugging her and kissing her cheeks until Ivy was blushing profusely and begging her to return to her seat.

I controlled the urge to sigh. I would have killed to see that.

"… she's been calling me ever since," Ivy was saying when I tuned back in. "She's wants to have lunch with you."

"That sounds … nice," I said carefully, uncertain why Ivy seemed so irritated and more than a little embarrassed about revealing this to me. Yes, Erica was a bit talkative but she was a sweet kid, and Ivy loved her to pieces. Even though I didn't love being the tunnel that other peoples blew wind through, I'd be able to handle a lunch with Erica for Ivy. In fact, I might even be able to use the opportunity to find out a little bit more about what Ivy was like when she was younger. Kisten refused to tell me any funny stories, because he was a scaredy cat and Ivy would hit him if she found out. But Erica loved to talk, and there was no way on God's green earth that Ivy would ever threaten or lift a hand against her sister. Ivy was soft-serve ice-cream in Erica's hands.

"Tell her why Erica wants to have lunch with her," Kisten prompted eagerly. Ivy sighed so deeply that my body was forced up and down with the motion of her chest.

"Shewantstohaveatalkwithyouaboutyourintentionstowardsme," Ivy mumbled. Her voice was low and rushed and I had absolutely no idea what she had just said.

"What?" I asked. No reply came, so I twisted in Ivy's arms until I could see her face, my teeth automatically clamping down on my bottom lip to stop from smiling as I saw the look of petulant defiance gracing her lovely features. "What was that, darling?" I asked sweetly, fluttering my eyelashes at her.

Ivy glared at me and said nothing, and I knew that if I wasn't lying on top of her that she would have crossed her arms across her chest for emphasis.

"She said," Kisten began smiling, his eyes on Ivy the whole time, "that Erica wants to have a talk with you about your intentions towards our dear Ivy," he finished, placing his hand over his heart and patting it.

I was still for a moment, processing what Kisten had just said. Erica wanted to talk to me about my intentions towards Ivy? Seriously?

"Seriously?" I asked, my brows creasing.

Ivy nodded reluctantly, a faint blush touching her cheeks as she did and she was refusing to make eye contact. Her little sister was trying to look out for her, and Ivy was embarrassed about it. That was so … precious.

"Aw," I immediately began to coo.

"Don't," she warned.

"That's so …"

"Don't," she interjected again, glowering all the while.

"Cute," I finished ignoring her.

"It's not cute," Ivy said pouting. She would deny that she was pouting. Ivy maintained that she didn't pout, never pouted, and never would pout. But she pouted, I'd seen it on many occasions, and I was seeing it now. "I'm the big sister," she added, still pouting.

I placed my hand over my face to hide my expression, and then I settled back against her with my back to her. My eyes met Kisten's as I settled down, and I had to bite my lip to stop from laughing. Kisten's face looked calm and serene, but his eyes were watering with the effort to keep his laughter inside, and I had to close my eyes to block out the sight of him. I wouldn't be able to keep it together if I watched him.

"She loves you," I said once I managed to get my urge to giggle under control. "She just wants to make sure that I'm not using her hot sister for naughty vampire sex."

"We do have naughty vampire sex," Ivy responded sounding distinctly more chipper than she had a few seconds ago. She smiled, and there was a hint of fang.

"Yes, but I also love you," I said squeezing her hand, that small show of sharp canines enough to get my scar tingling. It'd been two days since she'd bitten me, and I was gagging for it, but she refused. We'd gotten a little carried away the last time, and I'd lost more blood than usual, so Ivy was now being super cautious. She'd be fine for another day or so, maybe two if I chained her naked to bed and did nothing but make love to her all day, but when she started to get antsy I'd push the issue. She hadn't fed on anyone but me since our first time a month ago, and I planned on keeping it that way.

Ivy murmured something that sounded like "I love you too," at me, but her words were quick and soft so I couldn't be sure. She had no problem telling me that she loved me most of the time, but Kisten's presence in the room was making her shy. He knew that she was gaga over me, but if she showed it too much in his presence he teased her about it, so she was trying to play it cool.

"Is your dad gonna threaten me with a shotgun next?" I asked, looking away from Kisten as he smirked.

I'd only met Ivy's father once briefly, and while he had been polite, it had been clear to me that he wasn't exactly a fan of mine, and that he didn't really approve of the relationship Ivy and I had had back then. It confused him that we were living together and yet not together in a more formal sense. I suspect now that he realized how incredibly difficult it was for Ivy to control her instincts around me, and that as a father he had wanted to spare her any unnecessary discomfort, which was why he was rather aloof with me.

I wondered if he felt any differently about me now that Ivy and I were a couple and sharing blood? Then I thought about how strange it was that banging his daughter and letting her chew on me might actually make a more favorable impression on him? That was vamps for you, I thought shaking my head before focusing on the pretty piece of flesh beneath me.

"He wouldn't need a shotgun," Ivy muttered darkly, and I couldn't help but smile.

"Stop being such a grouchy bear," I said in response even though I didn't really mind. I thought she was insanely cute when she was being all cantankerous and sullen.

"I'm not a bear," Ivy replied sullenly, however something in her tone compelled me to turn around to face her, and when I did I found that she was smiling down at me and I smiled back and leaned forward to press my lips against hers, not caring if Kisten made fun of us for the rest of the night.

"Can we please cool down on the PDAs," Kisten complained lightly. "I'm a two-time loser in this room. It's mean to rub it in like that."

I pulled back from Ivy, genuinely feeling a little bad about planting one on her right in front of him. He had been amazingly gracious about losing me to Ivy. Kisten liked me, and if things hadn't developed with Ivy the way they had, our mutual attraction and like might have turned into something more. That never happened however, and I was sure that the casual nature of our relationship had made it easier to let go. But still, it meant something that he had been so supportive, and had stayed a good friend to us both.

Of course, if he had acted as morosely as Ivy had acted when he and I were together, then we would have just stopped inviting him over, so he had to behave.

Ivy smiled at him, a tint of menace in her voice as her canines glinting sharply at him. "I'll give you a kiss if you want," she purred.

"What would the little missus say," Kisten replied, holding Ivy's gaze unblinkingly. Ivy angled her head to the side to look at me, and I looked back and forth between them contemplatively. What would the little missus, say? I stared at Ivy, trying to get a read on her emotions. I couldn't smell emotions in the air like she could. All I could rely on were my eyes. Over the past few months, Ivy had become much more transparent, no longer guarding everything she was feeling so tightly, and she had become even more open once we found a blood balance. However, she had worked for a long time developing masks, and when she wanted to she could drop one over her face making it as difficult for me to read her as it had been before we were lovers. This was one of those times, and I had no idea whether she was joking or being serious.

"Hot?" I replied finally, knowing that staring at her wasn't going to clear anything up for me. I didn't particularly want to see them kiss, but … no, that wasn't true. I knew that I shouldn't want to see them kiss, and a spark of jealousy did flash through me, but there was a part of me that was also perversely curious to see what the two of them would look like together.

Kisten stared at me for a moment and then lifted a pale eyebrow. "Kinky little thing, isn't she?" he asked looking past me to Ivy.

Ivy didn't make a reply that I could hear, but if Kisten's amused smile was any indication, she must have done something to indicate that she agreed with his assessment of me. I would have been offended, if it wasn't true.

"Brilliant. I do so love to put on a show," Kisten declared, his fake British accent thick, and girlishly high as he clapped his hands together, the picture of giddy excitement.

"If you'd been this excited before, maybe we wouldn't have broken up," Ivy murmured, but there was no malice in her voice.

"Ivy, love, we both know that I wasn't the problem," Kisten returned grinning at her. "I'm always up for a good time. You're the one that wanted," he stopped and sighed dramatically, "True love," as he brought his hand up to his heart again and then flopped against the back of the couch feigning breathlessness.

Ivy ignored him as she shifted on the couch, her hands moving over me as she easily lifted me off of her and settled me in a seated position between herself and Kisten on the couch. She shifted then so that she was kneeling on the couch, her knees resting against my thighs, and seeing her settle herself, Kisten shifted as well so that he was kneeling the same way on my other side.

Their eyes locked and they leaned forward.

My eyes widened as they slowly swayed towards each other. They weren't really gong to kiss were they? Not right in front of me?

They paused, their heads right in front of my face. They were so close together that the tips of their noses were touching. Ivy's lips parted and I sucked in a deep breath. Kisten's lips parted and I my heart clenched. I didn't want them to kiss any more! Ivy's lips were mine!

Ivy's body began to shake with laughter.

Wait … what? Ivy's body began to shake with laughter? Blinking once, I was then able to focus on Ivy, and found that she was chewing on her bottom lip to stop from laughing as her body shook silently with effort. Her face trembled with the effort of holding the laughter in making the tip of her nose rub against Kisten's in an Eskimo kiss. Shifting my eyes to the side, I saw that Kisten was just barely controlling the urge to laugh as well, and I sighed and relaxed against the back of the couch.

"You guys suck," I muttered, realizing that they were only teasing me. Kisten and Ivy were very close, and while I knew that they had lived together at one time, their relationship had always struck me as being more like that of brother and sister, than a romantic bond. They didn't actually want to kiss each other any more than I wanted them to kiss (actually, Kisten probably would have, he was very attached to the idea of us having a threesome one day, which was too bad for him because that totally wasn't going to happen), but they were willing to band together to tease me.

I sighed deeply when they erupted in laughter, realizing my mistake to late. Telling two vampires already on the edge of hysterical laughter that they sucked, was not the smartest thing I could have done. I folded my arms across my chest and looked peeved as I waited for their laugh attacks to finish.

"Oh, she's mad," Kisten said a minute later.

"We should make it up to her," Ivy said joining in.

I refused to look at either one of them. They were jerks. Big, stupid, leather wearing vampire jerks and I would not dignify their idiocy with a response. I was a mature adult, unlike a certain two vampires in the room. I would take the high road. Unfortunately, my vow to not pay attention to them didn't last very long. A few seconds after Ivy spoke, I felt the couch cushions dip, and then two pairs of soft lips were pressing against my cheeks. They had tag teamed me! Involuntarily, a large smile spread across my face. Damn! I could resist them one at a time, but a dual assault of sweetness was too much for me to resist.

"What in Tink's lacy panties is going on here?" Jenks exclaimed bursting into the living room, a streak of light and dust as he flew towards us.

"Ah … nothing?" I responded trying very hard to pretend I didn't have two vampires attached my face.

"Oh good, then we can watch the TV," Jenks said smiling, and I knew that I had been had for the second time in five minutes. "Come on it, they're not doing anything!" Jenks called out, and before I could say a word to the contrary, dozens of streaks of light began to zoom into the room.

Ivy sighed beside me, and I looked over at her in time to catch her motioning for me to lie back against her once again. The pixies didn't mind when we snuggled together lying down, because it meant that they were able to settle themselves on our legs and stretch out as well. I smiled at her, and then clamored into her lap as dozens of dragonfly wings flapped above our heads.

"Wow," Kisten declared as I rested my head on Ivy's shoulder. "The time has just flown," he said forcing a note of amazement into his voice. "I've got to be going," he continued, standing up, the space he had emptied immediately filling with small pixies.

Ivy snorted and muttered something dirty under her breath, and I smiled. Kisten didn't have anywhere to go – though I was certain he'd find someone interesting to do with his night – but I couldn't blame him from wanting to escape movie night with dozens of pixy children. The only reason Ivy wasn't high-tailing it out of there with him, was because she got to hold me … and she knew that I would thank her for her good behavior later.

"Ladies," Kisten said, bending down to kiss my hand, and moving to kiss Ivy's forehead before she glared at him and he backed up with a smile. "Goodnight, Jenks and family," he said turning to face the room, bowing to the assorted young pixies and Matalina before heading for the door.

My attention was torn away from Kisten's retreating figure as Jenks flew down on the glass table that the remote was resting on. I watched him land and then begin to push the remote around so that it was facing the television, and as he climbed up onto the remote to step on the button to turn it on, I angled my head up slightly and kissed Ivy's jaw. She smiled, her body relaxing more fully against the couch and she tilted her head down to press a kiss to my forehead.

In front of the televisions, three of Jenks children hovered holding a DVD, while another one hovered in front of the DVD player, using her whole hand to push the open button.

"Peter Pan," I guessed watching as the three children set the disc into the DVD tray.

Ivy sighed. "All this has happened before," she whispered softly, with a resigned quality to her voice that made me smile. "And it will all happen again … but this time it happened in London. It happened in a quiet street in Bloomsbury. That corner house over there is the home of the Darling family and Peter Pan chose this particular house because there were people here who believed in him," Ivy continued, my body vibrating against her with silent laughter, as the kids by the DVD player began to fly away, and Jenks stomped on the remote control to get the movie to start up.

Little pixies began to dart towards us and then began to settle on our legs. Ivy quieted as they came nearer, and I smiled and kissed her shoulder. The kids had shrieked at her last time she had started quoting the movie out of boredom, and I knew that she didn't want to face that again.

"Thanks," Jenks said, flying over towards us, landing on Ivy's hand when she stretched it out for him.

"It's not a problem Jenks. Mi casa es su casa," I told him sincerely. The pixies were a bit nosy sometimes, but the church wasn't the same without them. Both Ivy and I had missed them terribly when Jenks had taken his family away after I had insulted him by keeping the truth about Trent away from him, and we were glad to have them back. "I saved a spot for you," I continued smiling. And then I reached behind and patted the side of my ass.

Jenks crossed his arms and glared at me. I watched his indignant pose and wondered who could keep it up longer, Jenks or Ivy since she often looked at me the same way. "Suck on buttered fairy nuts," Jenks declared and then he took up off of Ivy's hand and flew over the arm of Ivy's chair where Matalina was sitting waiting for him.

My father always used to tell me to be careful what I wished for because I just might get it. I always used to nod, and meet his eyes very seriously to convey to him that his wisdom had reached me, but I never really understood the warning. I had wished that my Rosewood Syndrome would go away when I was little, and I was glad that it did. I had wished for Jenks and his family to come back home and they did. I had wished that Ivy wouldn't be so sad all of the time, and I was glad that I was now able to make her smile and have it reach her eyes.

Ivy's arms wrapped around me, and contently, I snuggled in further against her. Around us, little pixie children laughed as singing stared up on screen, and lifting my eyes to Ivy's arm chair I could see Matalina resting against Jenks much as I was against Ivy, and I smiled. Life was good. I had a job I loved, I had a kitchen made for brewing spells, and a garden made for supplying them. I had car keys instead of a bus pass, I had the best friends a person could hope for, and I was madly in love with someone who was madly in love with me.

I loved my father, and I still followed his advice, but I was going to have to respectfully agree to disagree with him on this one. I wouldn't be careful what I wished for. Wishing had worked out pretty well for me in the past, and it still was I thought breathing in Ivy's alluring scent. It still was.

The End

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