DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Kim Harrison. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to bldy_destini. for the beta. This part is angsty. Be patient.
SPOILERS: Definite spoilers through the events of For A Few Demons More.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Where Rachel Dare
Ivy's head whipped around to face the door and we both scrambled for it, our problems, and our current lack of dress forgotten in an instant at the utter fear in Jenks' yell.
"We're in here, Jenks," I yelled, glancing around frantically for a sight of the tiny pixie, or even a trail of pixie dust. "What's wrong?"
I stopped abruptly, as Ivy jerked to a halt in front of me and barely missed running into her back. I hopped up, trying to catch a glimpse of what had made her stop over her shoulder. I caught a quick glimpse of Jenks on my second hop.
He was fluttering at Ivy's eye level, pixie dust falling from him in a cloud. "It's Matalina. She's-" He couldn't finish the sentence. "You've got to help her, Rache. You've got to be able to do something to help her. If you don't..."
I froze. There was no other word for it. I had known that Matalina hadn't been doing well for quite some time, but I didn't know that she had gotten this bad. I didn't know anything about healing spells for pixie's. Obviously, I barely knew anything about healing spells for witches, but for Jenks I would try my best.
"Can you bring her in here, Jenks," Ivy asked, momentarily taking charge of the situation and giving me another minute to get myself together. I had to do this. I'd promised Jenks that I'd find a way to save them both from a far too early death. I couldn't let the beautiful, tiny pixie woman that I'd become very fond of die.
"Yeah. Yeah, we can do that," Jenks repeated, relief flooding into his voice. His voice rose into a pitch that I couldn't hear as he called to his kids to get them to help move their mother inside.
The moment that Jenks was out of the room, Ivy turned to me.
"Do you know what you're doing?"
"No," I admitted quietly. "I have no idea." Panic was edging into my voice as I started breathing harder.
"Rachel," Ivy caught my shoulders. "Calm down." Normally I'd be freaking out with Ivy this close to me, touching me, but now it seemed to center me and calm me down. Damn vamp hormones, luring their victim into a false sense of calm.
I took a deep breath. "Okay, I can do this."
Ivy dropped her eyes from mine, and let her hands fall away. I ignored the shiver that went through me as her fingers trailed down my arm.
"Clothes," I blurted out, "Can you get us clothes, while I get my spellbook. I need to-" I gestured towards the kitchen.
Red flushed Ivy's pale cheeks. "I can do that," Ivy nodded and disappeared back towards our rooms, as I headed for the kitchen.
I pulled my two most likely spellbooks down and began quickly thumbing through them, looking for anything that might have a chance of working.
"Here," Ivy handed me a robe. I tried to keep my sigh of relief to a minimum when I noticed that the robe she'd handed me was my own and I tried not to look at the way her black silk robe clung to her skin, hugging her curves and dipping dangerously low on her chest. I groaned, and jerked my eyes away from the tantalizing skin that I now knew lay underneath it.
Damn Ivy for bespelling me.
"It wasn't against your will, Rachel." Ivy had been so silent that I jumped, having forgotten her presence just there behind me.
"I wasn't exactly in my right mind, Ivy," I snapped. "I was under the influence of a lust spell."
"Lust spells don't change what you lust after, or what you're feeling. It just deepens those feelings. You should know that better than anyone, witch."
I whirled to glare at her, and stopped as I saw Jenks and his kids bringing Matalina in through the hole in the kitchen window. "Can you give me a minute," I asked none too tactfully, gesturing between the sheet still wrapped around me and the robe she'd brought me.
Ivy folded her arms over her chest, and slowly turned to walk away.
Hastily, I fumbled with the sheet and robe, trying not to drop one before I got into the other one. Just as soon as I'd shrugged the robe on I followed Ivy into the church's living area, where the pixies were using an old handkerchief to lower Matalina to the coffee table.
I dropped to my knees in front of it, as Jenks lowered himself to stand next to her. He knelt, and bent over her, picking up one of her hands and holding it over his heart.
"Matalina? Can you hear me? Is there anything I can do to help you?" It was the duty of a Pixy wife to patch up her husband when he was injured. It was a duty that Pixy women took very seriously, and she would be the one to know the most about healing a severely injured or dieing Pixie.
"There is nothing you can do, Rachel," She rasped.
She squeezed Jenks hand in hers. "There's nothing that can be done. It's too late."
"No," Jenks sobbed, "There has to be something. Rachel can-" He looked up at me helplessly.
Matalina shook her head. "I'm past the reach of any spell that she could create, Dear One." She pulled him closer. "Take care of our children," she whispered.
Jenks nodded. He looked too choked with tears to be able to speak. Her wings fluttered one last time and then fell limp and still against the table top.
My breath hitched as I saw her tiny chest stop moving. Without thinking I reached back, and caught Ivy's hand. Her fingers pressed into mine with almost painful strength. Just the simple contact with her gave me the strength to reach out to Jenks, carefully putting a finger on his back.
His children settled slowly to the coffee table around them silently. The scene was made all the more eerie by the silence and stillness of the pixie children.
His wings fluttered, clattering sharply against one another in dismissal. He swiped a hand across his face, wiping away tears.
"We have to get her ready," He said slowly. "Jhan," He called to his oldest remaining son. "Go get your sister and bring her back. Take some of the younger kids to watch her garden. We need her to help get your mother ready."
Jhan pulled himself up and launched himself off of the table with slow dignity. Pixie dust shimmered down behind him as he rose.
Jenks gestured to the rest of his kids. Slowly they picked their mother gently up and begin to carry her back out to their home.
"Jenks, let us know if there's anything -"
Air brushed across my cheek as he flitted past my face for a second time. "Thanks, Rache." I'd never heard the usually exuberant pixie sound so destroyed. "Will you be there when we put her to rest? Both of you," He added as he looked to Ivy.
She nodded and I added my own nod quickly. It was the least we could do to be there for him.
Ivy stood and walked into the kitchen. I hesitated. After living with Ivy for this long, I knew better than to follow her when we were in the middle of an argument or a particularly tense moment. I wasn't sure that this qualified, but I didn't want to be alone at the moment either.
Ivy was seated at her computer when I slowly walked through the door. There was no doubt that she'd noticed me come in, but she didn't shift her attention from her computer screen. I grabbed the orange juice from the fridge and started the coffee. It could have been any other morning if not for the sense of surrealness hanging over everything.
I waited until the coffee had finished dripping down and then poured two cups - one for me and the second for Ivy. I walked over to her computer and set the mug of coffee down on the desk next to her. Ivy gave me a glimpse of her brown eyes for an instant and then looked back to her computer. Slowly she picked up the mug and brought it carefully to her lips.
The sight of her lips against the mug, brought back a memory of the night before and her lips on my neck, sucking, drawing sensations out of me that I hadn't even thought possible. Unconsciously my had went to my neck. Ivy's head snapped around as my fingers touched my scar.
"Don't do that," She snapped, a rim of black instantly enveloping the usual brown of her eyes. "Don't do that unless you're serious, Rachel. I can't take it if you're not."
"No," She shot to her feet, tipping her chair over behind her. I'd never seen her move so clumsily as she turned and fled out into the late afternoon sun.
Angrily, I swiped at the tears falling down my cheek and turned away.
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