Darkness Calling Ch. 11bymadam_noe©
Selene was hyperventilating. The world spun, twisting reality with the vision her father had created. Colors spun, that was all she could see, and a distant echo rang in her ear.
Coming closer and closer, it finally drowned out the rushing sound of an oncoming freight train her pulse had crescendoed to.
Blinking, she felt the power of a calming spell roll over her, and then her father's eyes swam into view.
"Selene, there's more, there-"
Bram jerked her so stiffly he rattled her teeth. At Soren's next call of greeting, her father disappeared, and a red haze of rage settled over the room.
"You bastard!" she screamed as Soren rounded the corner, loosening his tie.
Forgetting her powers, and his, she launched herself at him. He was much larger, but surprise and anger were on her side.
Soren was merely able to grab her forearm as they crashed to the ground. When his back touched the plush carpeting he gripped her tighter, and when Selene's feet struggled to kick, her rolled her onto her back.
She was making animal sounds, struggling to claw his flesh from his face when she felt the spell. He was going to take her powers.
With speed that surprised even Selene, she brought forth her own power and created a shield between them. The strength of it forced her back and she went flying, crashing into the bed.
The edge of the firm mattress hit her square in the back and her breath wooshed out, but the shield stayed in place.
Soren was running to her, shouting, but the freight train was back. All she could think was to wonder in screaming thoughts how he could do such a thing.
Gasping for air, she felt his magic beat at the shield. Soren looked bewildered, panicked, and her heart responded with frost.
"I never should have married you!"
Most of her magic was devoted to the shield, so when she cast the teleportation spell, she couldn't fix on a destination.
And when she reached it, Selene blacked out.
She blinked into dim light, and thought it was a dream. She was in her old room, the blanket covering her was one that had been in June McPherson's family for generations. The posters on the wall denoted teenaged girl fantasies and the shelves were so full of her old books they groaned and sagged with the weight still.
"In the flesh, honey. Here, have some tea."
Selene struggled to sit up against the carved headboard decorated with Valerian root and other fauna associated with sleep. When she did June came into the light, the bedside lamp was covered with red cloth and cast a soft pink glow on her human foster mother.
June set down a tray across her lap, scarred with age and use atop it was a mug of tea with soothing herbs and cinnamon, Selene's favorite scent, but now it made her think of Soren and made her heartsick.
"What's wrong, honey?" June smoothed Selene's dark hair back and her hand lingered. "Your eyes are glowing with power, you need to be careful, and conceal them in this world. But I'm glad."
Taking a sip of the tea Selene felt instantly calm. The concoction would take longer to truly work, but the ritual of soothing tea and a woman who was as close to a mother as she'd ever known caring for her worked instantly. "Glad?"
"You've found your soul mate, is my guess. Michael and I always thought there was much more to you than meets the eye."
With that old catchphrase, Selene looked into the soft blue eyes of her oldest friend in the world. It didn't matter that Soren was the one who'd brought them together; all that mattered was that she felt like she was home, even if in the back of her mind it was a visit.
The story spilled out, and Michael joined them a scant minute into it. As tall, dark, and lean as his wife was short, blonde, and plump, his eyes held the same softness, and together they were the parents she'd never known.
She told them about Bram, Soren, the Whiteblooms. The charges and accusations against her father, and what Bram had shown her Soren had attempted to do.
When it was over all the McPhersons did was hug her, holding Selene as she cried. They left her with fresh hot towels for the shower, and when she emerged, cleaned and refreshed, she sat down to a hearty breakfast of waffles, eggs, and bacon.
Stuffed, cleaned, warmed inside and out, she began to feel whole again. Pushing aside her empty plate to relax, she watched June scrub out the waffle iron grill as Michael lit a pipe and leaned back in his own chair. "What should I do? I mean, can I stay here for the rest of break? I can clean, help out."
"You know it's almost Christmas, honey," June said with a soft smile.
"We hired on all the help we need moving trees, garlands, all of it. You're welcome to stay here though, this is your home, don't you forget it."
Selene smiled at his firm tone. "Thank you."
He puffed on his pipe, spreading the scent of vanilla and cherry about the room. "As for what you should do...honey, I know everything is happening fast. You've got some impatient men in your life, but they've both been waiting years to meet you. Try to understand. By the same token, they need to understand you're scared, confused, overwhelmed."
June snorted. "What he means is they are men; you have to spell it out for them. Sit them down, explicitly tell them you're taking no crap, you want an explanation. Now. Hit them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper if they give you trouble."
Selene fingered her mug thoughtfully, and gave in to her human side and imagined hitting Soren with a rolled up newspaper. He'd probably wrestle her, pin her down, and-
She stopped, feeling her cheeks grow hot.
"I don't know. It's so different in that world. I'm young, I'm female, my powers are new, and that seems to be how everyone sees me first and foremost. Bram sees me as some path to vindication, Soren sees me as some kind of prize. I just want to be seen as myself, a level one white witch who knows all the old herbal spells her human parents taught her."
June sighed and took a break from the cleaning to lean against the counter and regard her. "You are that honey, but you're also a brand new level ten dark witch, the sole heir of a notorious outlaw, and the future wife of a powerful politician."
"Who would have thought." Michael smiled and puffed out more aromatic smoke.
"We did, sweetheart. Selene, we always knew you were special and destined for great things. I just never thought it would be this. Soren, hmpf. That young man always struck me as something else, who knew he'd be your soul mate?"
Selene groaned. "This sucks. I've only been a couple of dates before him, if you can call it that. I have no idea what I'm doing."
Michael blushed and cleared his throat.
June laughed. "Sugar, she didn't mean that. She means having a relationship." She poured herself another mug of tea and joined them at the table. "Soren is a very intense, driven man, true, but he is a good, gentle soul. It may not be easy at first, but it never is." She turned to her beloved husband and smiled. "Back when we first met it was all passion and sparks. In time it smoothed out, but there's still passion where it counts."
Selene wrinkled her nose.
"June, it's more than that. He tried to kill my father."
Michael held out his pipe in a thoughtful manner. "Your father said there was more. Perhaps there is more to the story. You're going to just have to talk to one of them and figure it out."
"When you're ready," June added with a smile. "All right, we have to get work now, got tons of poinsettias to package up nice and neat for the Christians."
For two days they fell into an easy rhythm. Breakfast and light chatter, work at the nursery, dinner with lively debate, and every night before bed Selene felt their eyes watching her, assessing her. It was likely they were talking with their old buddy Soren and giving daily reports, but she knew they meant well.
In the middle of the night on that third night there, Selene felt magic more than two very human Wiccans could muster.
Curled in her bed, snug beneath the covers, she'd been sleeping naked, a habit developed with Soren she couldn't shake off. Now she sat up, vitally aware of her nudity, and clutched her childhood blanket to her chin.
"No," a deep, silky smooth, and familiar voice purred. At it her body seemed to melt, to think only of dark, forbidden pleasures, and Selene felt her soul blush as deeply as her body.
"I've come to talk."
"I'm not ready."
He sat on the bed and moonlight slivered across his handsome face. "There is little time, and I need you to understand certain things." Before you leave me, was what he left unsaid to her mind.
"I felt the spell, I know what you saw in detail. But you did not see all, my love. I was young then, firmly under my father's thumb." He said the word "father" with extreme distaste, she noted.
"He belongs to Blackfoot in almost every way. Blackfoot is not just our leader, after your father, he is the most powerful amongst us.
"I was young then, I had just started on my path in the political world. I needed connections, support, or I could easily have been cast aside, thrown under. Blackfoot threatened me with that, and more.
"He threatened to ruin Sigrid and Jonathon's careers, to destroy all of our lives, unless I did something for him."
"Kill my father?" Selene finally spoke.
His face softened and Soren sighed. "Not in so many words. What he told me was wild, fantastical; that your father had found the secret to immortality. Blackfoot wanted it, but first he needed to be sure..."
"Sure what?" Selene asked when the silence lengthened.
"That your father could not be killed."
She tried to imagine the young Soren she'd seen, vulnerable, being asked to attack a man as powerful as Bram. Had she thought on it before she would have seen it as pure folly, and of what she knew of Soren, he was not given to folly. He was passionate about those he loved, herself included, she grudgingly admitted.
"I was to attack him. If he died, I would take the fall, Blackfoot made some promises then he'd cover for me, but I know now it was lies. If I failed...I did fail. It was covered up, the world though Bram was dead, and he disappeared."
Ice that had been frosting over her heart cracked.
He saw it and did not hesitate. Without magic he reached for the covers and drew them down, and in shock, Selene let him.
Soren sighed. "You are so beautiful." And then he kissed her with all the gentility he had inside him. His strong hands did nothing but cup her face, all that touched her elsewise were his hands.
At long last when he slowly licked the seam of her lips she parted than and he sank in like honey flowing. She reached up and stroked his arms, feeling the crispness of his suit, the coolness of the fabric in such stark contrast to the heat of his lips.
She kept going, burying her fingers in his hair, and she felt him relax, tension flee his body as she sighed.
Then the Soren she knew better took over. Magic took his clothing and he lay her back, settling between her legs. His mouth never leaving hers she felt the echo of ghostly fingertips along her thighs, over her collarbone and ribs. Mouths followed in the wake and she was writhing in pleasure.
Magic of her own floated in her mind and she knew in that moment she had to slowly but steadily prove to Soren they were equals in every manner.
She thought of her fingers and mouth doing the same to him and felt him jerk. In a corner of her mind her mouth slipped over his long hard cock as her tongue played with his and a ghostly mouth seemed to swallow her aching center.
Together they pleasured, struggled for control but fell victim to one another. They crested on anticipation but never peaked, growing fevered with the madness of need.
It was Soren who cast the spell of quiet when he entered her, smoothly. To Selene it felt like coming home, it felt like peace, it also felt like the awakening of a hunger that would never be fully satisfied.
He moved like pure muscle and she was with him at every stroke. They flowed like water against each other, bodies hot and slick with need, the kiss never broken.
And when they found the peak together each one caught the others' screams of surrender and triumph.
At long last they broke, and Soren rolled aside but forced her into the crook his arm. They lay panting like that, sticky, hot, and collapsed wholly into one another.
For long minutes they remained locked that way, thoughts kept private by sheer force of will. Finally Soren turned to her and cupped her cheek forcing her gaze to meet his. "Never leave me like that again. Being without you is torture, fearing I'd lost you forever is agony."
Selene offered no promises, but feel asleep in his arms like that.
Her dreams were fevered. At first they were simple dreams, of hallways that extended forever as she raced down them, of dark clouds rolling over days at the nursery with June and Michael, of taunts by Rhiannon and her cruel friends, of eyes watching her, eyes without a face.
Then it cleared and she was in her father's study.
"My darling!" He embraced her to his chest and she stiffly hugged him back.
"Dad, Soren is with me."
"I suppose he told you of the rest. My spell cast me out at his return, but there was more, I always knew it. I knew Soren had been forced to attack me. It took me years, but I know Blackfoot was behind it."
She stopped at that even as he let her go and sat at his desk. "If you knew that, then why do you hate Soren so?"
A dark, shadowed look crossed her father's face. "It is not Soren necessarily, my dear, it is his family. The Nightravens have never been friends, quite the opposite. He was raised to hate me from birth and I cast the same feelings on him I hold for his parents. Fair or not, he has done so little to dissuade me."
"That's not fair! You said yourself he was forced by Blackfoot into attacking you!"
Bram slammed a fist on his desk making the stacks of dusty books jump and a few scatter to the old plank floor. "He could have come to me, confided his intentions. I would have protected him!"
"He was young, scared, and raised to believe you were the enemy. Would that have been an easy thing for him to do? He said he was under his father's thumb then, and his father supported it."
Bram looked away, assessing. "These words from your lips may be simply love. If Soren comes to me, I will speak to him, all I can promise you, my dear. If it is true he is no longer his father's puppet forgiveness will be his."
"Why that condition?"
"There are many things that lay in the gulf between his family and I, many secrets they have kept that are not mine to tell. Soren will do that in time, but for now this is all I can give you."
She burned with more questions but he shook his head. "If there be peace between us I can truly visit you, truly spend time with you. That is all I want now, the rest can wait."
With a dismissive wave the dream faded and Selene woke with a start. Beside her Soren slept peacefully, his breathing deep and even.
She smoothed his hair back and gently kissed his forehead.
And all the while she ignored the weight of the gaze from the fevered stranger outside her window.
After long minutes she did catch the small spell that came with the whispered word soon, but when she glanced outside there was only a gentle fall of snow.
She would only see the tracks in the morning, obscured enough to hide the identity of the watcher, disappearing into air like a mythical Wendigo.
For the moment, Selene fell asleep, and dreamt of Soren's reaction to her nocturnal chat with his mortal enemy, her father.