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
"You know, Rache," Jenks slurred as he lurched up against the jar of honey that he'd been dipping from, "You really are stupid sometimes."
I glanced down at the tiny, four inch pixie, as he leaned up against the jar, and dipped another mouthful of honey out, letting it drip down into his mouth. It vaguely resembled a frat boy with his beer funnel.
"Thanks, I think," I grimaced as I slumped into a chair at the table. The table that Ivy was conspicuously absent from and had been for the past week. Or at least as long as I was around. She'd been spending as much time with Jenks as I had. Without discussing it - mainly because we hadn't spoken - we'd been keeping an eye on Jenks, never leaving him alone except for with his kids. Jih had even been over several times, leaving her fiance to keep an eye on her garden to spend time with her dad.
It had been making me thinking about losing my dad a lot more than usual. At least Jenks seemed to be pulling himself together better than Mom had coped, although he had been hitting the honey pretty hard lately.
I was planning to cut him off after he finished this jar.
In a shower of pixie dust, Jenks fluttered up towards me, weaving through the air unsteadily as he tried to fly drunk. He hovered in front of my face just a little too closely, making my eyes cross a little as I tried to keep in focus.
"'M serious," he slurred. "Tink's knickers, Rache, I'm jealous."
"Of what?" I was genuinely puzzled. Jenks might be a four inch pixie with dozens of kids, but his life was always so much less screwed up than mine.
"Of you and Ivy." The Stupid was clearly implied and didn't need to be stated.
"Me and Ivy?" I shot straight up in my chair, dropping the bracelet that Kisten had given me that I'd been idly running through my fingers. "What do you know about me and Ivy?"
"Relax, Rache," Jenks backwinged lazily and almost smacked into the cabinet. I darted out a hand to catch him before he could fall to the counter top. A moment later, I spilled him out of my hand and into the napkin holder, his favorite place to sleep off a honey binge.
"I don't know anything except for what she's told me." He smirked. "And what I could smell. Couldn't believe you finally did it though," he rambled on, apparently oblivious to the blush flushing my face and the anger creeping in behind the embarrassment. "Ivy's tore up about the lust spell. Can't believe she slept with you while you were under the influence. Couldn't really believe it myself, but it's about time. Took you long enough to realize that you were in love with her."
"What? No." My denial was immediate and instinctive. "You know I've been wanting to find a blood balance with her for almost a year now, and I was under the influence of a lust spell!"
"Lust spells don't make you lust after something you don't want, Rache." Jenks' voice was rapidly loosing its sing-song quality as he began to quickly sober up, his high, pixie metabolism kicking in.
The similarity of his words to the one's the Ivy had spoken almost a week ago now brought me up short. I wasn't sure what to say to that. I wasn't sure what I wanted.
"I thought you were crazy for wanting to find a blood balance with her, Rachel," Jenks said slowly, "But I never doubted that you loved her. Ivy's not trying to control you as her shadow. She's shown that by not going near you, not forcing your hand at all." He smirked. "Besides she knows you too well to try." He hiccuped and tried to look serious again. "All I'm saying is to think about it before you make a decision. Ivy balances you and a relationship could be good for both of you."
I gazed fondly down at the pixie, who had become so much more than just back up. He was someone that I trusted with my life, and more. He was family.
I still had no idea what I'd do about Ivy, but I appreciated Jenks advice.
"Thanks, Jenks," I tried to put everything that I was feeling into my voice. With anyone else I would have just given them a hug and called it a day; pixies presented a challenge. Maybe that was why I liked them so much.
Trying to talk to Ivy proved to be harder than I'd expected. Days of avoiding her had put us in a pattern that was hard to break. Any time that I managed to be home, she managed not to be.
It was three days before I got stubborn and decided to force the issue. It hadn't worked out with the best results for Ivy and I in the past, but that was when we'd been dancing around sharing blood. Hopefully we were past that now. Hopefully we could decide what we wanted from our relationship now without that distraction.
Hopefully I could figure out just what I wanted from her. All I knew was that I didn't want to lose Ivy. I couldn't. She'd become more important to me than anyone else in my world. If she hadn't, I wouldn't have stayed her roommate as long as I'd had.
Ivy had griped for years that I was impulsive - too impulsive for my own good - but I wasn't like her. I couldn't sit and plan endlessly, so I went about talking to Ivy in the most direct possible way.
I went into her bedroom and waited. I hadn't been there since the night we'd spent together and even then it had been the first time I'd ever spent much time in there. Avoiding Ivy's personal space had always been a common courtesy, part of my effort to keep from having my blood drained.
This was a direct and obvious challenge, something I'd been tried to avoid between Ivy and I for a very long time now.
I wasn't avoiding anymore; now I was confronting head on.
Tucking one leg up underneath me, I sank into place on the bed. The whole room was a reflection of Ivy. Sturdy, solid wood furniture, beautiful and probably hand carved. Classy, elegant, and most definitely highly expensive. In fact, there was a good chance that some of the things in this room where centuries old family heirlooms.
I shook my head, not for the first time, and the radical differences between us. There was a brush, a bottle of a hair gel, and make up sitting on the dresser. It was all neatly organized and lined up rows on the dresser, not tossed haphazardly in a basket like on mine.
Motion caught my eye and I turned to look. Ivy stood framed in the doorway. She'd stopped abruptly, and stood with one foot balanced over the entrance.
"Rachel." She breathed my name. For an instant I saw a rim of black appear around her black eyes and then she blinked and it was gone. She took a step back, a pained look crossing her face. "What are you doing here?"
I stood, reaching a hand back to steady myself as I did. I could feel the fear rushing through me, my pulse starting to race as my heart hammered in my chest. I wanted this conversation to happen. I was making it happen, but if I screwed this up... I wasn't sure that Ivy and I could recover, and of all the things I was confused about, that was one thing I knew I didn't want to happen.
"I wanted to talk to you."
Fear was something Ivy knew about, probably knew too much about and she could smell it all over me. Her fists clenched and she looked away. She turned slowly and started to walk away.
"Ivy, don't." I called after her. "Please."
The last word made her freeze.
"Don't run away from me."
"I can't do this, Rachel," she blurted the words out, her voice cracking over my name.
"You can do anything you want to," I shot back. It was true, though. It was also one of the first things I'd come to respect about Ivy when we'd been partners. I'd grown to respect it even more when I'd had an opportunity to see first hand the restraint she exercised over every aspect of her life.
"Not this," she countered, sounding more defeated than I'd ever heard her. "I can't be here with you after everything that we shared, and not have it mean anything. I can't, Rachel."
"Ivy," I moved towards her, but she was stumbling out of the room. I didn't have a chance as she moved with vamp speed. "Damn it, Ivy, you have to give me a chance!"
I followed her into the kitchen, where she was seated at the table. Her computer was on, but she hadn't touched it. She refused to meet my eyes.
"A chance for what, Rachel?"
"I just want a chance to make things work."
"I can't share blood with you without sex." She held herself stiff, didn't allow a hint of emotion into her voice. "Piscary broke me, Rachel."
"I don't want you to just take my blood, Ivy." I hadn't known I was going to say it until it was said. I hesitated for a moment, thinking, making sure I wasn't lying, to myself and to Ivy, just to keep her there. I couldn't. It would kill us both.
I wrapped my arms around my waist and looked up from the edge of the circle carved into the linoleum that I'd been scuffing at with my toe.
"I love you, and I want to see if we can make this work."
Ivy looked as if she couldn't quite believe what I'd said. Slowly, as if afraid that this would all disappear, she held a hand out to me. I stepped away from the counter to take it. She tugged on my hand and I fell down into her lap, exactly as she'd intended.
She let go of my hand and slipped one arm around my waist holding me close. A shiver of nervousness ran through me. Everything seemed to be different with Ivy and I'd never been this close to her like this before.
I wound my arms around her neck, letting my wrist brush against where I knew she had a scar on her neck. She shuddered underneath me, and pulled me even closer.
She tilted her head to kiss me, pressing her lips against mine, sucking gently on my lower lip. I pressed back into the kiss, loosing myself in the sensation. Her hand caressed my own scar.
"God, Ivy," I hissed, dropping my head back and losing myself in the moment. She didn't say anything; there was no need. Everything she could have said was spoken with every kiss, every touch, every caress of her hands on my body.
This was perfection. Why had I spent so long fighting it?
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