DISCLAIMER: Sadly, I donít own Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, Kisten, Piscary (jerk), Nick (asshole), the Hollows or any of the other characters in the Rachel Morgan / Hollows series. They belong to the absolutely fabulous Kim Harrison Ė if you havenít read the novels yet, you should definitely pick them up Ė and Iím just borrowing them for the purposes of happy fanfic amusement. So donít send anybody after me.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Books 1-4

Witching Hour, Bloodied Moon
By Rune Traverse


It was the same dream all over again.

Rachel Morgan groaned softly and rolled over in bed, cotton sheets mussed around her as she fought the images rising into her mind like a slow, dark tide. Curly red hair shone dusky silver in the moonlight, strong, delicate face etched with slight anger and an even slighter hint of fear. Even asleep, she refused to let the creeping feelings overtake her. This assault on her senses could not happen again, she wouldn't let it.

Except that it was, and it did, and she still couldn't stop it at all. The dream was already sucking her down, enveloping her consciousness in a veil of hazy fever heat. Emerald green eyes hidden behind long ginger lashes fluttered and shifted restlessly, thoughts falling into familiar, dreaded patterns. And the rest of the world fell away –

She stood close against Ivy's body, cradled against the vampire, already lost in a high of ecstasy and warmth. Ivy had bitten her, was drinking from her, velvet mouth worrying gently at her throat with a soft sound of delight and wonder. Long fingers slipped under the hem of her shirt, palm cool where it brushed against her skin. Rachel shuddered, eyes fluttering closed. "Oh – "

"Rachel?" Ivy's gray silk voice was low, a dark heat of question. She was obviously trying to be so careful, treading lightly on this new ground between them. Her lips brushed against the broken skin of Rachel's neck as she spoke, sending another heady pulse of desire rippling through the witch's veins. "Are you alright, Rachel?"

"Ye-essss." Rachel hissed in a breath, fingers clenching tightly at the vampire's shoulders. She could hardly speak, hardly think – she only knew that Ivy was there, that Ivy was happy and vibrant and sharing more with her than she could ever find words for. Ivy's heartbeat echoed through her, a thundering rush of need, longing and pleasure. Hell, she could almost taste the sweetness on her tongue. It made all the fear she'd felt before seem very stupid. More than stupid. Her voice came slow and inviting, laced with ecstasy. "Oh Ivy."

Ivy gave a soft, slightly startled sound, a sigh of pure joy nearly lost as she nuzzled at Rachel's neck. Her hand slipped gently around the redheaded young woman's hip, fingertips smooth and silken against bare skin. Rachel whimpered, almost painfully, pressing herself closer to the taller vampire. Wanting to feel the blazing heat she knew was buried deep in her partner's lean, muscled frame, to give the other young woman the protection and love she so craved. Ivy's arms curled tighter around her in response, one tracing light circles at the small of the witch's back, the other stroking Rachel's thick red hair. Her mouth pulled deliciously at Rachel's throat, fangs like silver slivers that made the redhead moan softly. Breath ragged, Rachel let her back arch, mind hazy and teetering. She knew Ivy could hold her weight entirely, but in truth, she didn't care. They were on the edge of some great chasm, some wondrous change, and just one more thrill –

A hot, slow stroke of Ivy's tongue made her knees weak, and something deep inside her finally snapped. Rachel's fingers shot upward, tangling in those glorious dark tresses; muscles bunched, dragging the vampire's head up. The kiss was neither chaste nor gentle. It was hard, almost bruising, a fierce duel of twisting lips and dominating tongues. Ivy growled deep in her throat. "Rachel – I can't – I can't stop." Her words were breathy, a bit panicked, full of thinly-veiled need. Her eyes were half closed, solid black in instinct.

"Don't stop." Rachel knew her voice was heavy, sultry, and she didn't care. Just the sound of her partner's low, snarling tones made the muscles in the pit of her stomach clench tight. Ivy had the blood she needed, at least some of it, but she was still so totally vulnerable, lost and wanting. And Rachel could fix it, wanted to fix it, to take care of her beautiful partner in ways she knew only she could. To have Ivy take care of her. The witch pressed her mouth again to Ivy's, slightly softer. "Don't stop, Ivy. I'm here, and I'm staying here."

Now it was Ivy's turn to moan, the rush of air from her soft lips achingly free. This kiss was passionate, sweet, a gentle warmth that settled deep and throbbing in both their bodies. Rachel's hips shifted, shaky with the pheromones that already rode the air, her nerves exploding again in pleasure as she found a strong thigh between hers. Blindly, she curled her fingers in the fabric of Ivy's shirt, burrowing beneath it a moment later to stroke the pale, silken flesh. The vampire gave a low, rumbling whimper, clinging tighter. Rachel knew without seeing it that Ivy's eyes fluttered shut, her heartbeat picking up beneath the redhead's lips as the witch slipped her mouth down that lovely neck. Her mind was blanking out, drowning in the red heat of ecstasy settling in around her – dimly, she realized Ivy's long fingers were tugging at her shirt, freeing the buttons with a soft urgency – that her own hands were roaming across Ivy's bare back, her senses overwhelmed by the deep, ashwood scent that was Ivy and Ivy alone –

Mornings, Rachel decided firmly, officially sucked.

Even if it was really more like afternoon.

"Hey, Ivy, do we have any waffles?" Annoyed, the lean redheaded witch shoved aside wrapped packages of chicken and a container of spaghetti sauce, looking for the slightly-soggy yellow cardboard and plastic-packaged goodness. She knew there'd been half a box the last time she looked, and they couldn't have eaten it all since then. Where the hell was the box?

"Do you see any waffles?" Ivy's voice yelled back calmly, echoing down the hall from her bathroom. The door was cracked a bit, shower steam spilling into the hall to drift like lazy, fog-borne ghosts; the vent fan whirred busily, its hum nearly drowning out the smaller buzz of several pixie children zooming playfully about the ceiling. She'd been in there for nearly a full half hour, but the redhead didn't much care. Her irritated thoughts were company enough.

"No." Rachel eyed a slightly dented tub of Rocky Road, then the open bottle of chocolate syrup someone had left out on the counter, wondering just how much trouble she'd be in if she decided to eat out of the container. Icy air flowed over pale skin, raising goosebumps on her bare arms. She was dressed fairly conservative today, in a dark blue, scoop-necked T-shirt, low-slung hip-hugging jeans, and a pair of her favorite leather ass-kicking boots. "I don't see any."

"Then we don't have any waffles." The vampire replied, almost deadpan. Rachel knew without seeing her friend was rolling her eyes. Perched in the bowl of the hanging ladle above the island, Jenks snorted, wings rubbing together as he watched her rummage through the frozen foods. "Jeez, Rache, dumb much?"

"Go Turn yourself, Jenks." Grumbling under her breath, the redhead pushed back and shoved the freezer door shut. Annoyed, she yanked open the fridge, snagging the syrup from the countertop and stuffing it back inside before slamming that closed, too. Jenks just laughed, sending a sparkling shower of dust shifting downward. "Guess somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning."

Favoring her pixie backup with as much of a glare as she could muster, Rachel turned back to search the cupboards, mouth set in a slight frown. She wasn't particularly hungry; in fact, her stomach was twisting more than usual, making her feel a little bit sick. But preparing food – or even looking for it – gave her an excuse to be moving and busy. Moving always helped her think, even if her thoughts were running in circles.

This was the fourth time in a week she'd had the same dream, and it was beginning to wear on her nerves. All of them had slight changes – in the beginning, it was still in the van, for one thing – but the basic content was all the same. Herself and Ivy. Together. That way.

Just thinking about it was enough to make Rachel blush a bit, cheeks and the tips of her ears pinking as she began her search all over again in the cupboards. She'd known things would change between them once Ivy bit her – hell, she'd known it when she made the offer. But she'd never expected there to be anything like this. Home, trust, friendship, even blood was now shareable with Ivy. Her body and her willpower, on the other hand, those were a different bag all together. Absolutely not for sale. The same reason she'd sleep with Kisten, but not share blood. Keeping those things separate made it her choice, kept it from being any deeper. Of course, there was also the fact that to Kisten, blood and sex weren't anywhere near as closely connected.

But the dreams destroyed all her carefully-built barriers, crumbling them to dust. It was like normal, rational thought was impossible, consumed in a rush of warmth and physical sensations. When she dreamed, there was no resistance, no hesitation or fear. Just herself, Ivy, and the tug of something tied between them.

– Ivy's fingertip trailing down her torso, sliding between her breasts to hook into her belt and bring her close for another kiss –

Shaking herself, Rachel flushed harder and glowered among the shelves, finally digging out a package of crackers and giving up her search for anything more appealingly edible. Thumping down into her chair, she yawned and tugged vaguely at the clear plastic wrap. "Stupid wrapper."

A soft clatter of wings alerted her as Jenks circled her head. "Hey, Rache, are you okay? You don't look so good."

She sighed. "I'm fine, Jenks." A faint grin touched her lips as her eyes flicked up to that familiar six-inch form. Once again, she noticed how much more potent his hands-on-hips pose looked now that he wasn't human-sized. "Just had a bad night."

"Poor baby. Maybe tonight Kisten can keep you company." Jenks smirked for a few seconds, and she swatted at him, pulling apart the wrapper to snag one of the crackers. That was Jenks for you, she thought in amusement. Concerned one minute, pain in the ass the next. Yawning again, she reached for a full coffee mug sitting on the table. Maybe some caffeine would help her think straight.

She should have known better. The coffee was ice cold.

To Be Continued

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