Raven Walks Ch. 21byStarrLust69©
Chapter Twenty-One: Walter
"Why didn't you tell me this before?" Constantine asked Raven as he rubbed his bruised wrists and glared at Raven. His neck still hurt from the insatiable hunger of Argos as he drank from him to restore his human appearance, and he still didn't know exactly why he couldn't break free from the ropes that had held him bound. Only Hunter had been able to set him free – which meant that whatever Argos was, vampires weren't really that much of a threat.
"I told you," Raven repeated quietly. "I thought it was best."
Constantine glanced over to where Abi laid on the sofa, a cool cloth over her eyes as Hunter stroked her hair. "Best for whom?"
"Nina was gone," Raven reasoned. "If we had stayed – or gone back – we would have been pile of ashes at the end of a stake just like she was."
Constantine gulped back the heartache he still felt for his lost love. "I could have killed him before he turned into this beast."
Raven just shook his head. "You'd have been the one to turn him into what he is now. It's not easy to kill your children, even when you despise what they become. Trust me. I know."
Constantine looked into Raven's eyes. Years of animosity still lingered between them, but it was true. Their connection was strong. Which is why they always ended up together. Soulless soul mates.
"Fine. So how do we handle this thing now?"
Raven took a deep breath as he stared into the fire that Hunter had started to warm Abi's near dead skin. "I don't know," he admitted.
"What about this Ginger?" Constantine offered. "She's a huntress."
"She's still human."
Constantine shook his head. "She's not like any human I've ever known. Or you. She's got to be the key."
"Then I guess that means we have to find her," he countered. "She can't do it alone."
"You can't save everyone, Raven," Constantine warned. "If she has decided to sacrifice herself to defeat this thing, we can't stop her."
"Then explain why I feel I have to," Raven said.
Constantine just chuckled. "Because you let humans get under your skin. You always did." Then, with more sincerity than Raven thought he could muster, Constantine told his master, "Don't let that be your downfall."
Raven said nothing as he watched Constantine head off to his room.
The sun was almost up.
After the vampires had retired to their quarters, Hunter carried Abi to his room and laid her down on his bed under the covers. He cradled her in his arms, stroked her skin and kissed her hair, willing her back to life.
He felt sick. Everything had gone to hell. He'd come to defeat that sick creature and instead he was knocked flat first blow. He hadn't saved Abi, a vampire had... using his very own weapons against it.
He wasn't thinking when that monster climbed on top of Abi. It reminded him of another vampire making love to another woman he loved, and his first reaction was blind anger.
Walter had warned against that, but he had completely reacted out of impulse rather than think it through.
At least Ginger would think things through, he thought to himself as he cuddled Abi close. Otherwise he'd have to make an impossible choice between the two sisters he loved. Eventually he'd have to choose, and no doubt he'd choose the woman he held in his arms, but until then he had to protect them both.
Because he loved them both.
Right or wrong.
He had just started to doze when she woke up from a nightmare, screaming and thrashing with renewed strength. He held her tightly and spoke to her softly, and soon she realized where she was and who she was with – and thankfully it wasn't that horrible creature from before.
"Hunter," was her grateful gasp as she wrapped her arms around him and held him close. "You came back."
"I'll always come back, Red," he told her gently.
Her eyes met his with an unspoken question. He'd never said the words, and suddenly she never needed to hear them more.
"I love you," he said, low but firm.
A tear chased down her face as she cupped his face in her hands. She reached up to kiss him tenderly on the mouth, and he pulled her as close as he could without hurting her bruises or injuries. She was broken, and she was his to repair.
His hands touched her with tenderness, and his kisses sweetly chased away the tears and the pain. His hard warm body felt true and real in her arms, and when he began to grow against her she did not fear his desire.
His fingers gently brought pleasure where there was once pain. His light touch inspired desire without damage, and he could never enter her if she feared otherwise.
She laid under him and allowed him to heal her with his touch. There were no words, just gasps of pleasure as he brushed her body like a canvas with loving fingers. His eyes locked with hers to make sure she knew every gesture was out of love.
He still hesitated when she reached for him, her hand closing around his hard shaft. He groaned softly but did not do anything more than guide his fingertips over her sensitive flesh, touching every inch of her, to imprint her with love where she'd been scarred by evil.
She was crying when he made her cum under his gentle, persistent fingers, and he was scared that he'd done the wrong thing. But she was crying out of gratitude to be alive and in love with this man she held onto for dear life.
"Hunter," she whispered after the last shudder had past. "I want you."
It was simply stated but he still held back. All he could see in his mind's eye was that monster mount her and make her cry out with his forceful invasion of her body. "Abi..."
"Hunter," she said again, this time louder. Stronger. "It's okay. I want you to." Then, "I need you to."
So without breaking their gaze he laid her on her back. Her legs opened for him and he slid easily between them. Using his fingers he made sure that she was ready for him. She knew from the look on her face she still hurt from the attack before. Therefore he refused to enter her until he knew she was completely read for him.
Her legs closed around his strong hips as she tried to guide him into her, but he resisted until she was cumming again under his deft fingers. When she cried out with the first spasm, he gently opened her up with the head of his cock and slid slowly inside.
She contracted all around him as he pushed further into her body, erasing the memory of anyone else who had been there before. This was a man, her man, and he fit her perfectly. She didn't feel invaded, she felt complete. And only he had ever made her feel that way.
Her neck no longer throbbed for teeth to bite into delicate skin. All she needed was Hunter and for him to say those three words she'd waited entirely too long to hear. "Tell me again," she asked.
"I love you," he said without reservation. "I love you, I love you, I love you."
He made love to her in the truest sense of the word, and didn't give her sister a second thought.
But Ginger was doing enough thinking for the both of them. She used the wee daylight hours to investigate Sebastian's club, trying to dig up any clue to figure out what exactly this Creature was that she was tracking. It was quiet during the day, as most of the revelers were night dwellers who couldn't be caught out in the sun.
She took full advantage of their deep, deathly sleep and crept around their sleeping chambers to gather any evidence she could find. And it was in Sebastian's room that she found exactly what she was looking for.
She prowled around his body until she found the leather bound journal that was tucked just under his pillow. She pulled it free and then stowed it in her backpack where she had begun to stow many of the things she'd collected for what she intended to be the first and only showdown with the Creature.
In better lit bar area of the club she was able to scour the journal. His most recent entry offered her all the information she needed. She got a name, and it was that name she texted to the only other person in the world who could help her.
By nightfall he had called her back – from a local number.
"What are you doing in New Orleans?" she asked, stunned he'd come back to the states. He'd always felt his mission was in Europe – where vampirism had truly taken hold of the human race so many centuries ago.
"Where else would I be?" She could almost see his good humored smirk "You need me, I come."
As she scribbled down his hotel information she grew more anxious. For him to come meant this thing was even more scary than any other vampire lord they'd faced before.
When he opened the door to her, she stepped into his welcoming embrace with relief. He, like Hunter, had taken her under his wing after she had been left heartbroken from losing Stephen. They gave her a purpose, and it was something she desperately needed.
She'd lost so much, it felt good to take control over her life; to do something brave that would save others from her fate.
To love that which they can never have.
It was painfully obvious that was the ongoing theme of her life.
So she was grateful to be with an old friend, a mentor, someone who had always given her everything she needed right when she needed it.
Including a big, warm bear hug that lifted her feet off of the ground.
"I've missed you," he told her and she knew he meant it. She could see it in his green eyes. His short black hair and neatly trimmed goatee were smattered with gray now, but he still had a boyish glint in his eyes that could always make her smile.
"Ditto," she responded. "I hope it doesn't make me sound green to say how glad I am that you're here."
He just chuckled. "You couldn't sound green if you tried. You're just human." Then, with a pointed look. "Right?"
She gave him a reassuring smile. "Right."
He invited her into the room where his suitcase lay sprawled on the bed, and books were stacked on his table.
"So what did you find out?"
"Technically I didn't find anything out. I had to leave that up to my new assistant."
"You know how it goes," he said. "Huge turnover rate."
It was a nice way to describe the casualties that came with their chosen profession. That's why he never got close to the people he trained to hunt. The risk was too great that he'd lose them in the line of fire.
He glanced at her mussed red hair and her eyes that spoke volumes about the heartache she would not voice and he realized despite his best efforts, she had gotten in. That's why he was already in route before he even got her text that morning.
Learning that Hunter had betrayed her, again, was the only real excuse he needed.
But when his young assistant Tanner had sent the requested information to him, he knew he had made the right decision.
She wasn't prepared to face a vampire-witch.
As far as he knew, she wouldn't have even known something like that existed.
"So tell me," she said as she took a seat on his bed.
He sat in a chair by the mountain of books.
"Apparently Argos was a warlock in Greece around the late 1700s, when your friend Raven used to live there. Legend has it he was in love with Constantine's sister in law, a woman named Nina, and that when he instructed her how to raise Constantine from the dead they burned her alive at the stake."
"But Constantine wasn't really dead," Ginger concurred.
"After the body of Constantine, and reported vampire Raven Crowe, disappeared from the town, that's when things got very interesting. Demetri, brother of Constantine, bribed Argos to go to Romania to find the master of all vampires to kill him and thereby destroy the lineage for revenge."
"What could he possibly bribe him with?"
"Super," Ginger remarked as she tried to take it all in. What would a lovelorn warlock be able to do with some ashes? She didn't have the time to dwell on it.
"Well a vampire has a little safety mechanism when someone comes to kill them. As you know."
"Turn them so that they cannot kill you or they risk dying themselves."
"So he was converted to a vampire by the most power vampire lord in Romania?"
Walter nodded. "Problem was, he was already a two hundred year old warlock."
"What does that mean?"
"It means he's a mutant. He wasn't a human, therefore doesn't share a vampire's human traits. He can cast spells, he can regenerate, he can create magic that can fill in all those evolutionary gaps in vampire DNA."
"So the reason that he's all degenerated..."
"My guess is he's trying to overcome that little aversion to the sun."
"Great," she said with a sigh and laid back on the bed. "So how do I kill him?"
Walter got up and walked over to the bed. He sat next to her. "You mean how do we kill him?"
She sat up again. "I wish I could say I don't need you," she told him honestly.
He just gave her that famous half smile of his. "Wish I could say I didn't need to be needed," he told her. She smiled at him and he put his arm around her shoulders. "I'm sorry about Hunter," he said, broaching the difficult discussion carefully.
"Yeah, I wanted to apologize for dumping that on you like I did. It was an impulse. I shouldn't have -"
He put a finger to her lips. "Shh. Don't you dare apologize. He's the one who needs to apologize."
She shook her head as she got up and began to pace. "No, I knew coming back here was a big mistake. He's in love with her. He's been in love with her for years. It was an unfair test I knew he couldn't pass." She paused and looked at Walter, for the first time in a long time being honest with herself. "And I think deep down I didn't want him to."
That didn't bode well. "What are you saying?" She couldn't respond and she turned away. With a sigh Walter stood to his feet and came to face her.
"You can't go back to the way you were," he warned her softly. That was the decision she made to turn her back on the vampire life she had once dared to consider. Which is why he made damned sure she made it. He had lost enough to those bloodsuckers, he couldn't see losing this strong, feisty, independent, lovely young woman to it as well.
"Who says?" she asked, a tear hovering at the corner of her eye. Ever since she had allowed herself to remember Stephen and the love they shared, she had second guessed everything.
Truthfully, from the moment Raven's lips had touched hers she had second guessed everything.
"They're the enemy, honey," he simply said. "They steal lives, and what they don't steal they corrupt."
"Not all of them," she argued softly. He didn't know them like she did. To him they were the thieves that took his wife and child. Beasts. Monsters.
But they weren't all like that – and no one knew that better than she did.
He took her arms in his hands. "All of them," he insisted.
She looked up into his eyes and he brushed away a tendril of her hair from her face. "If only you could see what I see when I look at you," he told her. "You'd know you're too precious a life for that curse."
She had to scoff with a disbelieving laugh. That wasn't how she saw it at all. It made her sacrifice to take out this Creature even more important. Everyone was set up where they needed to be, most importantly Hunter with Abi at last.
As usual Ginger was the odd piece out that never fit anywhere.
"How do you expect to win a battle if you don't believe you deserve to survive it?" he asked her in that same low voice, his hands still circling her arms, his eyes still locked in her own.
"You tell me," she said. "You're the expert."
He couldn't argue. He just pulled her into his arms for another hug. "I don't know yet. But we'll figure it out."
She let him rock her in his arms, but when she felt him stir against her she had to pull away.
She knew that Walter had always cared for her deeply, in some ways transferring all of the feelings he had for his dead wife and child into a person he could love safely from afar.
And truthfully she had done the same with him at first. He was a handsome, brave, funny, sexy man who kept it all under a cool veneer that attracted many women who wanted to try and figure him out. Ginger never needed to; she understood him from the start.
She also knew why he pushed Hunter to be with her. So that he could deny his own attraction to her, avoid getting close and ultimately avoid getting his heart broken again.
Here they stood, all these years later, and she found herself feeling the exact same thing.
"I'm sorry," he said.
It was her turn to put her finger to his lips. "Shhh. Don't you dare apologize."
He smiled and rested his forehead on hers. His eyes fell to her lips and she could feel the kiss hover between them. It was a sweet moment that was interrupted by a loud bang against the window.
Both Walter and Ginger wrenched apart, and when he sprinted to the window she was close behind him, ready to spring into action if necessary.
He tore back the blackout drapes only to find a limb from a nearby tree leaning against the glass, having been blown over by a huge gust of wind that now whistled right outside the door. They both had to laugh as he double checked the bolt on both the window and the door.
"Occupational hazard," he said as he retrieved a bottle of water from his briefcase. He brought her one where she sat back on his bed.
She took it but hesitated for a moment. She finally looked at his face as he sat next to her. "You didn't start giving me this to keep vampires away from me, did you?"
He looked away as he drank from his own bottle. "Ginger..."
"Tell me the truth," she said. "You did it so I would have no choice but to stay away from them."
He turned to her then. "I'm not going to apologize for trying to keep you safe."
"But did you want me safe... or did you want me for yourself?"
It was suddenly a question she felt deserved an answer.
"That's the thing, isn't it? With me those two aren't mutually exclusive." He looked down again. "I just wish that was enough for you."
She placed the bottle on the nightstand and turned to take his hands in hers. "Who says it couldn't be?" His eyes scanned her face. What was she saying? She took his bottle and set it on the floor. "Just for tonight," she whispered, "maybe it's enough."
He didn't say a word as she leaned in for a kiss. His felt his heart topple to his feet the first time his lips touched hers, and immediately his hand cupped her head so he could deepen the kiss.
She groaned as she moved closer to him, and grabbed his other hand to slip it around her waist.
He needed little encouragement as he leaned her back onto the bed. He had fantasized about this moment for more years than he cared to remember, and here she was in his arms and willing to give herself to him in a way he could have only dreamed.
Her fingers tugged his shirt free from his trousers, and up under the fabric to race along his skin. His body was toned and his muscles were defined, but they quivered at the touch of her nails etching erotic tattoos into his skin.
His hand cupped her breast through her shirt and his face buried in her neck by her ear to take little nips out of her skin.
She tried not to think about Stephen's mouth there, and how she had longed for those fangs to pierce her skin, and instead lifted his head back up for another scorching kiss.
She pressed him onto his back and slipped the buttons from their holes in his shirt as her hand slid up his torso. She pushed it away to reveal dark chest hair begging for the touch of her fingers. She complied, and his own hand wound itself into her hair in response.
She slid over him, straddling his hips easily. He watched her as she unbuttoned her own shirt and slid it from her shoulders. His strong fingers ran up either side to touch her generous breasts through her bra, and she closed her eyes and leaned her head back as he kneaded her ample bosom and teased the nipples that reached out for his touch.