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A New World

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It begins with absence and desire.

It begins with blood and fear.

It begins with a discovery of witches.

 

The covenant had stood for over a thousand years.  Since the first crusades, an agreement had been made to separate the species, under the guise of protecting creatures from human suspicions.  The Congregation, a council of nine, was created to uphold the covenant. Three daemons, creatures with incredible creative and artistic abilities that have a tendency towards madness; three witches, creatures with inherited supernatural powers; and three vampires, ancient and beautiful creatures that feed on blood, serve on the Congregation at all times, and deal with those who attempted to violate the rules. In days past, humans and creatures walked the earth in equal numbers, but years of hiding and segregation had led to a drastic decrease in numbers.  Now humans greatly outnumbered creatures, 10 to 1.

This is the way it had been for centuries, until the covenant was broken.  Oxford history professor Diana Bishop, one of the most powerful witches to walk the earth had fallen in love with a vampire, scientist Matthew Clairmont. With their union and the birth of their two children, a new world order was created, allowing all species to intermingle once again.  But one does not simply eliminate a thousand years of distrust and prejudice.  As any vampire can tell you, governments will rise and fall, but fear and hatred can last forever.

 

Carol Ross-Aird worked as a librarian in one of the smaller Boston suburb libraries.  It was quite common for the women in her family to find jobs that required organizational skills.  Her mother had been a school teacher and her sister was a corporate lawyer.  Carol, however, preferred the quite company of books.  Throughout her life, she had been raised quite sheltered.  One would never know that she was raised in a family of witches.  They didn’t exactly parade down the street in black hats and striped hose.  Unless you were to enter their home, which few strangers ever did, one would never see the world of spellcasting and elemental manipulation. 

When Carol was a child, she had undergone an assessment by the coven her family belonged, too.  It was believed that Carol would grow into quite a powerful witch, with control over most if not all elements.  Her powers, however, never really seemed to manifest themselves.  Now, at age 35, she could only describe herself as dull, in terms of ability.  Magical prowess aside, she was incredibly beautiful, with long blonde hair that usually hung straight, blue-grey eyes that changed color depending on her mood, high cheekbones and a sharp jaw line.  In the human world, she could have been a model or an actress, but those were careers best left to the daemons. 

As usual, Carol was running late. She was supposed to be meeting Harge, her husband, and some of his friends for dinner.  He would be furious, as always, but Carol was rarely on time for anything aside from work. Time seemed such a strange concept to her, and she never quite grasped concepts such as being ‘on-time’, figuring as long as she showed up, what was the problem?  Harge, however, was a stickler for being on time.  As she entered the restaurant, she found the men at a table in the back of the restaurant.  His eyes flashed a warning that trouble was to come later, but so long as they were in public, he would be on his best behavior. 


“Here she is, gentlemen, you remember my wife, Carol, fashionably late as always.” He placed a hand on the small of her back and she felt a ripple of negative energy travel up and down her spine.  

“So sorry to keep you waiting, traffic in Boston, I’m sure you understand.” She said politely, taking her seat.  It would typically be quite uncommon to see so many witches at one table out in public, but now that the rules were changing, creatures were becoming braver.  Still, she felt the eyes of the room on their table, humans sensing something…different…about them and it made her uncomfortable. 

The dinner conversation consisted of human politics, which most creatures avoided, and obviously the rumors of the changing order of things.  Carol listened politely to the different men at the table, nodding politely, smiling when appropriate, but never offering her opinion on things. 

“I don’t care what they say, vampires and witches aren’t supposed to mingle.  It’s dangerous! I mean what is to keep a vamp from turning one of us? Putting us under their thrall and using our powers.”  One of them said.

“I thought the whole point of the damned thing was to keep us out of human affairs? If we start to mix, won’t that bring us attention?” another one added his two-cents.

It was Harge who showed his true disdain however.  “They are filthy creatures, I mean the whole blood thing.  How uncivilized! Nothing more than animals, if you ask me. We won’t be going anywhere near, regardless of this new Congregation.  Diana Bishop is a traitor to her species.”

Carol had to wonder about this woman, this witch that had managed to change so many things.  Sitting at this table of men, Carol felt powerless, but if the stories were true, changes were coming, maybe even for her. Maybe she could find the inspiration and strength to make some changes for herself. Traditionally, witch families were based on matriarchal lines, power passed from mother to child, so the power dynamics at this table were quite unusual, but Carol’s life had always been just that, unusual and dull.  She tried to pull herself out of her thoughts and back to the conversations at the table, remembering that Harge would be able to read her thoughts, but it was too late.  She could tell by the look on his face that he knew. 

Harge Aird was born to a powerful witch family.  Though in recent times, most witches found their powers growing weaker with each generation, Harge had been born an excellent spell caster.  He also had extraordinary abilities in telepathy, to her dismay.  Carol was never able to lie to him or keep as much as a secret. That wasn’t really unusual, as it was well known that no witch could lie to another witch, and a large number of witches could read each other’s minds.  Because of this, most witches were taught at a young age the means of guarding their thoughts from prying minds, but Carol had never been able to do this with him. Needless to say, it created years of conflict in their marriage.

“Well gentlemen, I believe Carol and I must depart for the evening. When you have someone this beautiful and fine next to you, it is quite difficult to keep your hands off of them.” He showed her off like a prize.  “Ralston, you will be in touch regarding those investments, yes?” 

Polite good-byes were exchanged and Carol’s stomach started to lurch, this night was not going to end well for her.  Though Harge had never laid a hand on her physically, he had other means of hurting her.  The exited the restaurant and he quickly guided them towards a back alley, claiming to have parked the car a block over.  Carol felt a strange buzzing sensation in her body and then found herself pinned against a brick wall by an invisible force. 

“How dare you embarrass me like that!” He growled at her. “Poor, bored, lonely, Carol, craving adventure like in your books? Wanting out? Well forget it! If you even think it, I’ll know! You belong to me and without me, you would be powerless! Don’t forget that!”

Carol writhed in pain, her body pressed hard against the bricks.  She tried to make the pressure stop, but he was too powerful.  She willed her eyes to stop crying, but the tears soon began, and it only made Harge feel more in control.  “That’s it, cry for me, you weak, little witch.”

The buzzing sensation in her body got stronger and suddenly she watched as Harge went flying backwards, hitting the opposite brick wall with a loud thud.  “Get the fuck off of her you asshole!”

Carol fell forward, but quick arms were there to catch her and hold her in place.  “Are you alright, lady?”

Standing before her was the strangest creature Carol had ever seen.  She had tattoos and piercings and short dark hair that was cut in a very odd, punk like style.  “I…I’m fine,” she lied.

Before the younger, brunette woman could respond she found herself thrown back and away from the beautiful blonde.  “Get away from my wife, vampire!”

Therese hissed, which was quite unusual for her kind, and rushed forward in a blur, knocking Harge off his feet and onto his ass.  “I don’t take orders from witches.” 

Harge moved to cast another spell, but Therese was too fast and had her arms wrapped around him from behind.  “Someone needs to teach you some manners.” She opened her mouth to bite him, but Carol screamed.

“No! Please! Just leave us alone!”

Therese slid off and backed away slowly, never taking her bright green eyes off of the blonde in front of her.  “You should really learn to fight back for yourself. You have power, too.  I can hear it.” 

Harge turned to blast the vampire with another spell, but Therese once again beat him at this game and slashed her long nails against his face, leaving four long gashes before she disappeared into the night as quickly as she had come. Carol rushed to her husband to look at his bleeding face.  “Let’s get you home and get that cleaned up.”

Throughout the rest of the night, the strange buzzing sensation that radiated throughout her body remained.  She felt like her very blood was vibrating. Carol had heard that witches could feel the nearness of a vampire by a cold, ominous sensation, but this didn’t feel like that at all.  It felt like electricity running through her body, warm and charged.  The exchange had left Harge in a worse mood, but he left her alone, thankfully.  Once she placed a mix of herbs and tonics on his face, the healing process was quick.  She heard him mumbling to himself in his study, before announcing that she was retiring to her bedroom for the evening and she waited until she was far enough away to pray that he would stay away from her room tonight.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

She didn’t know why, but Therese had followed her home. Vampires were incredibly fast, and following a car through the Boston traffic had proved easy enough.  The wizard, asshole husband, had left Therese feeling incredibly uneasy, and she rationalized that she just needed to make sure the witch was okay, but as she stood outside their house, watching her, she couldn’t pull her eyes away.  The witch was beautiful, the most beautiful creature she had ever seen and Therese had been around for quite a while, though she was a baby by most vampire standards.

Therese watched through the windows as she moved into her bedroom, watched her undress, and listened as the witch’s blood continued to sing.  It was quiet, soft, and Therese wondered if the song was just for her.  She turned her eyes when the blonde stripped bare, denying what she was most craving, but trying to be respectful.  Her eyes travelled to the other windows of the Boston brownstone and when she saw the lights on downstairs she knew the wizard was there.  Good, he needed to stay away from her.  She felt a wave of possession wash though her blood and found it confusing as she didn’t even know this woman. Her eyes went back up to the upstairs window and she saw the witch standing, staring out, as if she could sense her, but Therese knew she was cloaked in darkness. She stood motionless, watching as she finally turned off the light and went to bed.  Therese didn’t move, watching over her throughout the night, until the edges of the sun began to rise.  Only then did the vampire leave, not wanting to be seen. 

Back in her loft apartment, Therese stared at one of the large white canvases that were spread out in the grand open space that only a single couch for furnishings.  The sunlight poured in from large windows on three sides.  The fourth wall contained a large, eat-in kitchen and behind that wall a large bathroom with a walk-in shower.  She felt suddenly inspired as she walked over to one of the canvases. Therese covered one hand in blue and another in grey and swiped them messily across the blank space, filling it with the colors. She wiped one hand on a towel and covered another hand in a dim yellow, circling the edges. It wasn’t complete, but Therese would need to see her again before she could fill in other details.

There was a knock on the door and a young man let himself in, not waiting for an invitation.  “Good afternoon!”  Therese looked at the clock and realized she’d been standing, staring at the canvas for over six hours. 

“Dannie, what’s up?”

“I brought lunch,” he handed her a plain brown bag.  She opened it to find a styrofoam container of a dark red liquid.  “Just don’t drink it in front of me.”

Therese rolled her eyes, “Of course. Thank you.”

“New work?” the young daemon walked over to her canvas.

“In progress.  I saw someone last night and got…inspired.” She put the container in her small, mini sized fridge and pulled out a bottle of port wine, pouring two glasses and handing one to the young, looking man.  Dannie was a daemon, a creature born of human parents, but definitely different, and therefore cast out.  He saw visions, could create amazing art, and walked a fine, razors edge between sanity and creativity. 

“Was this someone a warmblood? Are you hunting?” He down the wine in a large gulp.

“A witch,” she took a long slow sip, letting the aged port wine surround her tongue. 

Dannie’s eyes went wide.  “What? Therese! Do not go there! You know how they can be!”

“I’ve actually never really hung around one long enough to know. But this one…there was something about her, Dannie, something about her blood…like she was singing to me.” Therese shook her head, “I can’t explain it.”

“Let me tell you about witches, because I have known a few.  They are arrogant, prejudiced, and so stuck up in their traditions, and selfish! Damn are they selfish!”

“Dannie, I feel like this is coming from a very personal place.” She looked at him with an evil glint in her eyes, “Tell me, who hurt you?”

“Oh fuck you, vamp!” They both burst into laughter.  Dannie was her best friend, truth be told her only friend. He was an artist, like Therese, working mostly in sculpture, but he also wrote screenplays and poetry. She met him approximately 20 years ago, and they quickly became inseparable.  They were both lost souls wandering the world, unsure of their place, but they created their own family together. 

As a vampire, Therese should have had a family, but she was quite an unusual sort.  It was a long, painful story, one she didn’t discuss often.  Dannie had introduced Therese to other vampires over the years, male and female, hoping she could find her mate or at least become part of a pack, but usually when they found out about her history, her lack of pedigree or family name, they sprinted for the door. It was very atypical for a vampire to be alone, in fact it often drove her to extreme behavior.  Therese was constantly changing her look, adding new tattoos and piercings, even though they didn’t last long. A tattoo might stay a few weeks at most, before fading, her skin quick to heal and reject the ink.  The artist in her loved that though, because her body became the ultimate canvas.

Dannie stared at the painting again, before looking back at his friend. “I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; I think you were a daemon before you were turned.  You are so creative! A true artist!”

“I guess we’ll never know. All I know is what I am now, and what I really am is hungry, so unless you want to watch me drink from that container you brought, you should go.”

“Ugh.” He feigned disgust. “Are you coming out tonight?”

Therese took another long sip of her port before placing it back in the mini-fridge and taking out the container.  She poured the thick red liquid into her wine glass, not wanting to appear uncivilized.  “Maybe, not sure.”

“Which usually means no. Just promise me you’ll stay away from the witch.” He walked towards the loft door, waiting for an answer.  “I’m not leaving until you answer me!”

“How far away?” was all she replied before bringing the glass to her lips. Therese didn’t know exactly where Dannie had gotten the blood, but she was grateful. It satisfied a hunger and meant she could rest before going back out in search of a song that was still ringing in her mind.  

 

<><><><><> 

 

Carol spent every Saturday at her mother’s house in East Boston, and today was no different, though she felt different.  The strange buzzing sensation that had riddled her all night was gone, but she found she missed it and felt an odd emptiness deep inside.  She stood over a pot of boiling herbs, watching the spoon spin by itself, lost in her thoughts.

“What’s going on with you?” Carol’s sister stood behind her in the kitchen, sipping on a cup of tea.  “You’re acting strange.”

“How so?” Carol replied, a hint of melancholy in her voice.  There was nothing new about that. 

“Flung out of space, distant, and just not really here.” Elena was a few years younger than Carol, 32, with a thriving legal career.  She had better control over her magic’s and was adept at using them to her advantage.  Carol always wondered why Elena didn’t go into criminal law, but Elena insisted she where she needed to be, that it was not in her blood to judge right or wrong, but Carol knew she was lying to herself. 

“I guess I just have a lot on my mind,” Carol looked up and the spoon stopped spinning. “And I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well.”

Elena smirked, “Your randy husband keeping you again?”

A pained expression crossed Carol’s face, but Elena either didn’t see or didn’t care to see.  Carol never spoke of her marital problems with anyone, knowing that in her world, a woman was expected to be the one in control.  If other witches knew how truly weak she was around Harge, she would be the talk of the town.  Just then Carol’s mother, Rebecca Ross, entered the room.  “You’re going to overcook that,” she pointed to the pot on the stove. 

Carol poured the hot liquid through a strainer, removing the leaves and twigs, leaving only a thick brown liquid.  A tonic for mood, her mother called it.  “It should help you perk up!”  Carol would try just about anything at this point…to feel better…or just to feel anything at all.

“Elena, there is some lavender hanging to dry on the back porch, can you go bring it in? I need a minute with your sister.” Elena sat her tea down and sent some thoughts to her sister, don’t let her get to you.

Rebecca just looked at her sharply.  “Go!”

Once alone, Rebecca turned to her eldest daughter.  “Your aura is splintered and fragmented and I know something has changed. Tell me.”

“There is nothing to say mother, because nothing has changed.” Carol knew lying to her mother was impossible, so she tried to say as little as she could.

Rebecca Ross was considered a relatively powerful seer and healer, though the one thing she had never been able to fix was her daughter.  In her visions of the future, Carol had been a powerful force, bright and gleaming, and full of radiance.  None of that had come to pass, and deep down Rebecca knew she only had herself to blame.  She had been the one to practically force her daughter into marriage with Harge Aird.  It had been a good match, both coming from strong witch families, and Rebecca believed that it would keep her daughter safer in the long run.  She had not foreseen the true consequence her meddling would have on her daughter’s spirit, however. All things considered, she wondered if a broken spirit wasn’t better than the alternative.

“Are you still trying to get pregnant?” Rebecca asked, ever hopeful.

Carol shifted, uncomfortably.  “I don’t know why, but yes.  He comes to my room a few times a month, when he knows I’m ovulating.”

“Oh for Goddess sake! You make it sound downright awful! Sex can be fun, you know?”

“I do not want to discuss this with you, mother.” Carol turned away, her eyes filling with tears.

“You can’t hide anything from me, Carol Ross, so don’t even try. I know your pain.”

With that statement, Carol spun quickly, something akin to fire burned in her eyes if only for a second. “You have no idea what I feel! How empty…how barren…how broken!” The fire was replaced with a storm of tears that fell, filling the kitchen sink. 

“Witchwater?” Rebecca was by her side, quickly.  “Carol, this is amazing! You’ve never tapped into your power this much before!”  In her visions, Carol had grown to be a powerful elemental witch, with control over all four elements, a rare ability indeed! Witchwater, or the ability to create water from your body, was a sign of control over the water element.  Maybe, Rebecca hoped, despite everything she had done, something would wake Carol’s powers from their slumber.

Carol wiped her face with a kitchen towel, feeling drained.  “I should go.”

“You will do no such thing.  Go upstairs and lie down for a bit, and then we will have our dinner like always.  Your father will take you home later, as usual.”

Carol knew there was no point in fighting and honestly, she didn’t feel she had the strength to fight for anyone or anything anymore, so she did as her mother requested.  She laid on her childhood bed, in her old bedroom and stared at the ceiling.  Her father had used a spell once, when Carol was about six, to create a night sky that covered her ceiling that she could stare into at night.  The spell was old and fading, but she could still make out the faint twinkle of a few stars. 

 

Downstairs, Elena rejoined her mother in the kitchen, carrying in an arm full of dried lavender.  “It isn’t fair mother.  You should have given her the choice, let her live her true path.”

“Quiet, she’ll hear you.” Rebecca took the dried stems and started to pull the dried lavender leaves off the branches. “You think you know what would have happened? Things may be changing now, dear, but it wasn’t always so.  She would have been powerful, yes, but hunted and hated. I did what I had to do to save her life.”

“At what cost?” Elena did not lower her voice.  “Look at her, mom. She’s an empty shell and we both know what he’s doing to her! We are witches! We don’t take shit from any man, be it human or wizard! She can’t go on like this! If you don’t tell her, I—“

Elena was shoved backwards with a rush of wind, knocking her breathless for a second.  “You will do nothing! Do you hear me?” Rebecca’s voice was harsh and hushed. “If Carol knew, if she walked that path, her life would be in jeopardy.  Do you want to be the one that causes the death of your only sister?”

Elena hung her head, daring not to fight back.  “Fine. But I can’t stay here and watch this, mother. I can’t bear to be around her in such pain.”

“Go if you must.” Rebecca said coldly, “but heed my warnings.” 

Elena stood in the doorway, contemplating her choices.  While she was powerful in her own right, she knew she could never take on her mother.  She turned to exit, but not before saying a quick and mentally loud prayer to the goddess on behalf of her sister.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

She waited in the shadows for the witch to return home but found herself quickly bored.  While the house was empty, void of witch or wizard, Therese decided to take a risk and have a look around.  Breaking in was too easy and she was stealthy, silent, and careful to touch nothing.  If this had been the home of a vampire, she wouldn’t have dared enter, knowing they would have been able to smell her, but witches had no such heightened ability. 

The house smelled of her, and Therese followed the scent to where it was the strongest, the bedroom.  Her sent was all over the sheets and Therese resisted the urge to lie down and cover herself in it.  She walked over to a small dresser and scanned the items sitting on the top, mostly perfumes and jewelry. Therese carefully opened the top drawer and found s small scarf.  She sprayed the perfume on it lightly and placed it in her pocket.  A noise from outside alerted her to the fact that she had stayed too long and Therese moved swiftly, barely a blur, exiting a second story back window.  She landed quietly and sprinted back to her place in the shadows where she would be able to see the blonde that was now haunting her thoughts. 

It was the wizard who returned home first.  He smelled of someone else.  It was not the same smell from the night before and definitely not the same as the blonde witch.  She waited, listening through the walls.  She heard him take shower, clearly hiding the evidence of his infidelity.  Finally, a car pulled up to the front door and the blonde witch stepped out, kissing the older man on his cheek. Pater familias, Therese thought, though in a family of witches, he would not be the one in control.  The blonde moved to go up the steps and into the house but paused and turned, looking back into the dark corner where Therese was hiding.  She can sense me, Therese thought.  What was it Dannie had told her?  A vampire can hear the blood, a Daemon can sense a creature based on touch, but a witch can feel you.  Do you feel me? What do I feel like to you?

 

Carol kissed her father on the cheek, before stepping out into the cold Boston air. As soon as they pulled up to the house, the sensation was back, filling her like a strange tingle from her toes to her head.  Carol was careful not to draw attention and waited for her father to drive away before turning.  I know you are there.  Why are you following me? What do you want? Vampires can’t read minds, Carol remembered. It was comforting though, this strange sensation that moved through her.  She wanted to wrap herself in it like a blanket. Why did this vampire make her feel like this? She did not want to go inside to the cold, hollow life that awaited her, but for some strange reason, knowing that she was out there, close, made Carol feel better.   

Resigning herself to her fate, Carol finally turned back and walked into her house.  Harge came bounding down the stairs with a smile.  He was in a good mood, which was rare.  As soon as she walked in, she felt her energy wain, like the life was just being drained out of her.  Harge approached, freshly showered and smiling.  “How was your day with your mother?” He kissed her on the cheek.

Carol tried to smile in return, but even that felt difficult.  “Fine, the usual.  You know how mom can be. I’m going to go soak in a tub and call it a night.”

“It’s only 6:30,” he wrapped his arms around her waist.  She could smell alcohol on his breath. 

“Harge, your drunk.” She tried to pull away, but felt his grip tighten.  “Let me go make you some coffee.”

“I’m not drunk and don’t think I don’t know what time of the month it is.  We need to try tonight.” He moved in closer, running his tongue up and down her neck.  He mistook her shiver for arousal, but in reality it was disgust. “You smell good,” he panted. “Go upstairs and take your bath and I’ll join you shortly.”

“We’ve been trying for over ten years, Harge.” Carol’s eyes started to water again.  “Why can’t you accept that it isn’t going to happen? I will never give you a child.”

Harge gripped her by the arms and squeezed, not hard enough to leave a mark, but hard enough that she would know he meant business.  “I do not accept that. You are my wife and you will keep trying.  We still have time. Unless…is there some other reason you don’t want too?” He stepped back and stared harshly at her, trying to read her mind.

She tried to guard her thoughts, blank space, blank space, blank space…she just repeated it like a mantra in her mind.  “You can’t hide your thoughts from me, Carol.” He placed one of his hands on her head and started chanting.  The pain was surging through her brain and she screamed until the front door was blasted off the hinges!  Carol fell to her knees, the pain slowly receding.

“I told you before! Keep your hands off of her!” The vampire was raging, a blur of motion, growling and snarling.  Harge was knocked back again, this time hard enough to leave him momentarily winded and disoriented.  Carol tried to stand, but she was in shock, not sure what was happening or why, until the vampire stopped directly in front of her.  “You don’t have to stay here. Come with me and I can protect you.”

“Who are you?” Carol gasped as she moved to stand. She looked different, not as scary as last night.  Had her hair changed? The tingling in her body was louder, more defined, almost overwhelming.  Carol didn’t know why, but she wanted to go with her.  Carol’s hesitation was costly, however, and Therese was suddenly flying through the air and back out the front door and on to the street.  She landed hard on her back and thankfully there was no traffic, because getting hit by a car would have really hurt!

“I warned you once, vampire. I will not do it again. You have made a grave mistake coming here!” Harge screamed and moved towards the door.  Therese ran forward again, faster than before, but found herself blocked by an invisible force.  Carol could feel Harge’s power amping up and knew he would go in for the kill.  Despite common myths, Carol knew vampires could be killed, and it didn’t require a stake or a special bullet.  Harge would break her body or her mind, or simply make her bleed to death and just the thought of the brunette being hurt caused a surge of power to flow through Carol’s body.  She looked down to see her hands were sparkling with electricity, which had never happened before.

Harge raised his hands, a spell at the ready on his lips, but a blast from behind caused him to tumble out the front door and down the concrete steps. His head slammed hard against the cement, leaving him unconscious.   Carol looked up into the warm, green eyes that stared at her in wonder.  It was now or never.

“Well? Are you coming?” the vampire held out a hand and without understanding why, Carol took it.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

 

She didn’t know what was happening or where she was going as she was led down the city streets, hand in hand with a vampire.  I’ve lost my mind. I should turn back, go home, and ask his forgiveness. But she didn’t, she kept walking until finally the vampire raised her hand to call for a taxi. 

The young brunette held the door open and rattled off the address as Carol slid inside, “It’s another 3o minutes to walk to my place and I can tell you’re tired.” 

“Thank you…” she paused. “I…I’m sorry, I don’t know our name.” Carol was nervous, her hands shaking, but no more sparkling energy was coming from them. 

“I don’t know yours either.” The vampire replied with a grin.  She could smell the blonde’s fear and adrenaline and was intoxicating. “I’m Therese. Therese Belivet.”

Carol thought the name sounded familiar but couldn’t quite place it.  “I’m Carol.”

They rode the rest of the way in silence, the human cab driver eyeing them suspiciously.  They were an odd pairing regardless of their species, the blonde, beautiful, older woman and the younger, Goth, brunette.

The brick building was located in an up and coming part of town that consisted of old warehouses that were being renovated into loft apartments.  Therese paid the driver and led Carol up to a third floor, opening her door to reveal a large open space.  It was practically empty.  Carol walked in to the middle of the room and sat gently on the large couch, still nervous and not sure what to expect. 

“Sorry for the lack of furniture,” Therese explained. “I don’t typically have guests.”

“Don’t most vampires have large collections of antiques and such?” Carol smiled shyly. 

“I’m not most vampires.” Therese looked at the floor and shuffled her feet.  She was wearing black combat boots, ripped jeans, and a black t-shirt that was at least two sizes too big.  It swallowed her whole.

“Would you like a drink? I have wine or…well wine.” Carol nodded and Therese grabbed the two glasses from that morning and rinsed them clean.  She selected a different red, still bold in its flavor, but not as hard on the tongue as the port she had earlier. She walked over to the couch and handed the glass to Carol before sitting on the wooden floor in front of her. 

Carol took a long sip, praying the alcohol would calm her nerves. 

“I’m not going to hurt you.” Therese tilted her head. “You don’t have to be afraid of me.”

“I’m not afraid,” Carol tried to argue weakly. She ran her hands up and down her long, flowing skirt nervously.

“I can smell your fear.  You really should try to calm down.” Therese was relishing the smell however. It was like the hunter and its prey. If Carol were to stand and try to run at that moment, Therese would attack like an animal in the wild, driven by some preternatural instinct that she didn’t completely understand. “Please try to calm down.”

“I don’t know what I’m doing here.” Carol said softly, taking a deep breath. “I don’t even know you.” She shook her head and took another long sip of the wine.

“To be fair, I don’t really know you either.  I do know that your husband is an asshat and you need to get away from him.”

Carol laughed and nearly choked on her wine.  She’d never heard anyone refer to someone as an asshat before.  Therese watched her smile and she felt warm. She could tell the woman was calming down, the fight or flight response dissipating, but Carol’s face turned serious again. “It’s not that easy, Therese.  He’s my husband and a wizard.  He’ll find us.”

“He’ll try.” Therese stood in a fluid motion and starting moving silently around the room. That’s when Carol looked up and saw the large canvases.  She stood slowly, walking over the only one that had color on it.  She saw the blue and the grey and the yellow swirled around.

“What is this?” Carol asked, hoping she wasn’t offending her hostess.

“You.” Therese said plainly.  “The blue and grey are your eyes and the yellow is your witch’s gleam.”

“My what?” Carol spun around. “I don’t have a gleam.”

Therese set her glass on the kitchen counter, attempting to increase the distance between them slightly.  “It’s faint, but it’s there.  Not when you’re with him, though.  He dulls you.”

Carol was stunned in to silence.  She’d never been able to see it and neither had anyone else.  If a witch had no gleam it was tantamount to having no power.  The brighter the gleam, the stronger the power.  Some witches were so powerful they had to wear cloaking spells to hide their glow from those in the human world, but Carol had never had to do this, because she never had a glow, or so she thought.

“Why are you helping me?” Carol asked suddenly. “As you said, you don’t really know me.”

Therese shrugged her shoulders.  She knew what she wanted to say, but wasn’t sure she should say it.  “You needed help, I was there. Do I need another reason?”

“It is quite unusual for your kind to come to the aid of mine.” Carol started walking around the empty space and running her hands along the exposed brick on the walls.  “Not so long ago it would have been unheard of, forbidden actually.”

“Forbidden by who?” Therese tilted her head. She watched the witch’s hands as they left a trail everywhere they touched. 

“The covenant, you know, that whole no intermingling between creatures deal.” Carol explained, waving an arm around her.

“Never heard of it.” Therese watched her carefully, keeping her back to the wall, never letting Carol out of her sight.  Her blood song was getting louder, but the fear was calming down and so was Therese’s instinct to hunt. Carol stopped and turned to look at her. 

“What do you mean you’ve never heard of it?” She was flabbergasted.  “It’s been around for centuries!”

“I’m not that old.” Therese countered. “At least not in vampire years.”

“How old are you?” Carol stopped moving, staring at the woman who was now in front of her.

“How old do I look?” Therese smiled, teasing the witch now.

“No more than 21 maybe 22.” Carol answered honestly. “I’m sure that isn’t the case.”

“I was ‘reborn’ in 1952, I was 21 at the time.”

Carol quickly did the math in her head.  “So you’re 90? You look good for your age, but you’re right, an infant in vampire years.”

“What do you know about Vampires?” Therese sat on her own couch as Carol once again started to circle the room.

“Predatory, beautiful, strong, ancient, cold, live a long time.” Carol stated as if reading off a list from a book in her mind. “What do you know about witches?”

“You have powers, traditions, and you shimmer,” she paused remembering what Dannie had said, “oh, and apparently you are arrogant and stuck up.”

Carol laughed again.  “Some of us are.”  She walked over slowly, cautiously, and sat on the opposite side of the couch.  “So what now?”

“Now?” Therese stood, again needed distance.  “You sleep. You’re exhausted and need to rest. We can figure everything else out tomorrow.”

“Ummm… where am I sleeping exactly?” she questioned looking around the bare room.  Therese just pointed to the couch.

“Where will you sleep?” Carol asked nervously.

“I don’t need sleep.  I’ll keep watch, you rest.  I promise you will be safe tonight.”

“I can’t sleep with you watching me.”

“You did last night.” Therese grinned and pulled a blanket from the back of the couch.  “Lay down.”  Carol slowly did as she was told and Therese laid the blanket over her.  “Close your eyes.”

She didn’t think it would be possible, but within a few minutes, Carol was fast asleep, Therese crouched in a corner, watching her.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Carol awoke to the smell of coffee and the bright rays of the sun shining into the room.  She sat up and looked for her vampire protector who was moving around the kitchen area.  Therese looked different again, like an ever changing piece of art.  She had clearly showered and removed all of her dark eye make-up.  Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and there were no longer any piercings in her face. She was beautiful, Carol thought, grateful vampires couldn’t read minds.

“Good morning. Coffee?” Therese sensed her movement and heard the increase in her heart rate and new she awake.

Carol stood and stretched, murmuring something about coffee being good and made her way to the bathroom.  She was horrified by what she saw in the mirror!  Her make-up was smeared and her normally flat and tamed hair was a wild mess! It was almost like she had gone to bed with wet hair.  She ran her fingers through it, but it clearly wasn’t going to settle down, so she opted for washing her face instead.  She squeezed some of Therese’s toothpaste on her finger and placed it in her mouth and swished it around. It was better than nothing. 

When she came out from the bathroom, Therese was sitting on the kitchen counter, coffee in hand.  “I wasn’t sure how you took it, so I guessed a little cream, 2 sugars.”

Carol nodded and smiled and let the aroma wake her further before taking a small sip. “This is good, thank you.” 

“How did you sleep?” Therese asked, taking a drink of her own, which appeared to have an odd color to it, Carol noticed.

“Like the dead,” Carol said, pun intended. 

“I told you we don’t really sleep, so I hope it was better than that.” Therese was smirking again.

Carol smiled and moved to sit on the counter next to Therese. “You really need some furniture.”

“I don’t stay in one place for very long and I’ve discovered the less I have the easier it is to move.” Therese answered.

“You are definitely not the typical vampire.” Carol said, brows furrowed in confusion. “Some of the most famous clans are well established and they own properties all over the world, very unlike witches.  We tend to get comfortable in a place and the families live there for centuries.”

“Tell me what else you know about vampires.” Therese noted, slipping off the counter and walking to the sofa.  It smelled entirely of Carol.  She didn’t want to touch the witch, but she could touch the couch.

“Only what I’ve read about in books and been told by others,” Carol explained.  “What is your clan name, Therese? It can’t be Belivet because I’ve never read that one anywhere.”

Therese got quiet. Whenever she told anyone this part of her life, they would react badly and leave and she wanted Carol to stay. Thankfully, Carol continued on her own.

“I mean obviously there are the De Clermont’s of France, and Hubbard’s family in England, and I know of some famous ones in Italy.  I guess it is a lot like witch families,” she continued, “Bishop, Alsop, Gowdie, Goodie, Le Fay, Ross.  Maybe we have more in common that we think.” Carol smiled, forgetting that Therese never answered her question.

“You seem stronger, happier.” Therese noticed.  “Much different from before.” She was looking at a much happier being now.  Carol was smiling and talking and seemed energetic, quite unlike like the scared, dour, yet beautiful woman from the night before. “Oh and you float in your sleep.”

Carol’s mouth fell open, not sure she heard her correctly. “I’m sorry?”

“You do, all around the room actually.  I had to keep following you to make sure you didn’t go to high.  I was worried you would wake up and fall.”

“You’re lying!” Carol couldn’t believe what the woman was saying!

“Why would I lie about something like that?” Therese looked at her seriously. “Is that something…unusual? I mean, can’t a lot of witches fly?”

Carol sat with her mouth opened, in a state of shock. “I’m not…I can’t…”

“Ahhhh,” Therese paused and eyes her curiously, “so this is something new then?”

Carol looked down at her hands that had glowed with blue energy the night before.  “Something new.”

There was a loud knock on the door and before Carol could react a handsome, young man, opened and walked in to the apartment. Therese heard Carol’s heart rate increase and her breathing sped, but she already knew it was Dannie, so she didn’t move to defend her.

“Therese! What did you…” He froze, seeing Carol sitting on the kitchen counter.  “Well fuck me sideways!”

“Excuse me?” Carol blushed. She felt an odd sensation brush against her skin, almost like being kissed and recognized it immediately. This was a daemon. 

He ignored her and moved directly towards Therese.  “I told you to stay away from the witch and you heard, kidnap her and bring her to your apartment?” He stood, hands on hips, foot tapping anxiously on the floor.

“Good morning, Dannie.” Therese smiled at him and took a sip from her thicker than normal coffee. “This is Carol.  Carol this is Dannie.  Now, how was your night?”

“Therese!” He screamed, “I’m serious! It’s all over town!”

She stood up slowly, deliberately and Carol slid off the counter and moved towards her, instantly seeking something only Therese could provide. “What is all over town, exactly? Its 8am for Christ’s sake,” Therese asked confused.

“I stopped for coffee on my way home from…well never mind that part,” Dannie started to explain. “Anyway, I overheard some witches talking.  Rumors about some witch being taken from her home and now there is a coven that is searching for her. It isn’t exactly forbidden for witches and vampires to be seen intermingling anymore, but it would be a serious breach of etiquette or tradition or whatnot for a vampire to turn a witch! They would hunt you and kill you!”

“I haven’t turned Carol and she came with me willingly.” Therese explained.  “So, problem solved.”

He looked at Carol, eyes wide in disbelief, “problem solved, she said,” he looked desperately at Carol.  “Do you want to tell her? Or should I?”

“Tell me what?” Therese was clearly missing something.

“Therese!” His hands flew wildly in the air. “I told you, witches cannot be trusted! I told you they were stuck in their traditionalist ways! It doesn’t matter if she came willingly or not. They will not tolerate you sticking your fangs into their world!”

“I do not have fang,” she rolled her eyes.

“Not the point!” He spoke over her.  “They will cast spells, locators, curses, and more.  They will find you and they will kill you! You don’t have anyone to protect you!”

Therese turned abruptly, knowing he was referring to her lack of clan name.  “I’ve never needed anyone to protect me before.  I don’t need it now.”

Up to this point, Carol had been silent, listening, trying to figure out a way out of this.  Even if she went back, the coven would keep looking, seeking revenge.  They would make Therese pay in one way of another.  “He’s right, Therese.  I think we’ve made a terrible mistake. I…I can go back…try to fix it. But you would need to leave Boston, get as far away as you could.”

“Absolutely not,” Therese reached out and grabbed Carol’s wrist, feeling the heat radiating from somewhere inside. “I couldn’t walk away now if I wanted too.”

“Oh no.” Dannie sighed.  “Really?  Now? With her?”

“What?” Carol asked confused.  “What is happening?”

He looked again in disbelief. “She’s already married, Therese and she’s a witch!”

“Ok, I need someone to slow down and explain what is happening,” Carol demanded, attempting and failing to pull her wrist from Therese’s grip.  Before Therese could reply, however, Carol felt it, a pulsing in her brain, loud, noisy, like the rush of the ocean.  “We need to go,” she said quietly.  “We need to leave now.”

“What?” Dannie and Therese said in unison. 

“They’re coming.” Carol answered, her eyes were changing color, as is covered in a white sheen.  She felt her witch’s third eye open, another first.  How was so much changing so fast? It was unheard of for a witch to discover her powers in her 30’s unless she had been spellbound.

“Who? Who is coming?”  Therese squeezed her hand tighter.  “Carol, tell me who is coming.”

“I can see Harge, his brother, and my mother…I…I can’t see the faces of the others…just forms.” She was speaking as if she was in a trance, her voice monotone. 

“We need to go now!” Dannie said.  “Grab what you need, my car is out front, but we need to go!”

Like a flash, Therese speed around the room, filling a duffle bag with clothes and bathroom necessities.  Within a minute she was ready.  “Let’s go, then.” She grabbed Carol’s hand again and pulled lightly, breaking her out of her trance-like state.  “Carol, will you come with us? Come with me?”

Carol remembered how empty she felt all day on Saturday and then how it all changed when Therese was there in her orbit again.  She didn’t understand why, but she needed to be with her.  Carol nodded and interlaced her fingers with Therese’s.  “Yes, yes I will.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Abby sat on her front porch, soaking in the Salem morning sun as she drank her tea. Everything was about to change, the energy of the world moving, like ripples in the water.  Fate would not be deterred apparently and she wondered if any of them would survive the oncoming current.  She could sense the two women approaching but made no move to greet them.

“Good morning, Abigail.” Rebecca spoke softly, as if trying not to startle her. 

“I’m blind, Rebecca, not deaf and I knew you would come.” She said bitterly.  Despite losing her sight as a young girl, Abigail Gerhard was a powerful seer.  She and her family had lived in Boston and Carol and Abby had grown up together, the best of friends.  When Abby started having visions and losing her eye sight, her mother thought it best she go to live with her grandmother in Salem.  She would need to learn to control ability and harness it.  Rebecca looked at the woman, now in her thirties, and remembered a young precocious auburn haired thirteen year-old who would just walk up to random humans on the street and start rattling off their secrets and visions of their future.

“If you knew we would come, you know why we’re here.” Rebecca said, sitting in a rocking chair next to Abby.  Elena stood next to her mother, but made no move to sit down.

“Elena, you look beautiful today.” Abby smiled.

“How do you…I mean…thank you.” Elena stared at the beautiful red-headed woman.  Her hair was long and wavy, blowing in the breeze.  She wore a deep green dress and golden sandals that showed off her tanned legs.  Elena found her eyes travelling the length of her, finding her incredibly attractive, but it was her eyes that made Elena deeply uncomfortable. Abby’s eyes were open, but they were covered in a thick cloud of white. Though blind, Abby could see better than most, but it was all in her mind. She looked at Elena, knowingly, her expression letting the younger woman know she could read her thoughts.  

“We need your help, Abigail.” Rebecca moved the conversation back to its intended purpose, hoping to draw Elena out of her lustful thoughts.  Sometimes having the ability to read minds was downright disturbing.  “Despite everything, it has happened, just as you said it would.”

Abby tilted her head to the side and closed her milky-white eyes. Yes, she could see her, she could see them both. “Just as I said…and yet not,” she said cryptically.

“What? What does that mean?” Elena raised her voice but Rebecca placed a hand on her arm to calm her.  “Mother, what does she mean?”

Abby smiled, sensing another ripple in the pond of energy around them, “Your mother has not been totally honest with you Elena. That is what I mean.”

“Abigail, I made choices based on what you told me.  I had to do something, had to try, didn’t I! Now will you help us or not?” Rebecca’s voice had grown harsh and filled with fear and a twinge of regret. 

“You made choices.  We all make choices.  I made the choice to tell you what I saw, confusing as it was.  You made a choice to listen to a confused 13-year-old child and take it all as prophecy.  The thing about choices, Rebecca, is we must all live with them.  Fate will not be controlled, despite how we try.”

“Why are you talking in riddles?” Elena was getting frustrated. Abby could see her aura turning red. 

“You wish me to speak plainly, beautiful Elena? Fine. Do you know why you struggle with your own magics? It is because you turn your back on your power to live in a human, corporate world.”  Abigail’s lips curled into an almost sinister grin as Elena shifted on her feet uncomfortable. “Though you do use your power more than you care to admit.  There is a reason you are so successful. As for you,” she turned her white eyes to Rebecca, “I will not help you.”

“Abigail please, you know where this road will lead her!” Rebecca begged.

“Do I?”

“You told me what you saw! You said she would meet a dark-haired woman, a vampire and that you foresaw her death!” Rebecca spat out the words.

“I did say that, didn’t I?” Abby shrugged her shoulders.  “The thing about being a young witch, a girl first experiencing her power, the visions can be confusing and…misinterpreted.”

Elena’s aura was turning a dark crimson now, but Abby noticed that Rebecca’s was still pale. “Are you saying you were wrong?” Elena question. 

“No, that isn’t what I’m saying.”

“Again with the cryptic!” Elena throw her hands in the air and stared hard at the beautiful red-head, who instantly started to laugh as she tossed her head back.

“You cannot read my thoughts, dear one. But nice try!”

Rebecca stood and motioned that it was time for them to leave.  “If you know where this path will lead her and you do nothing to try to change it, you are just as responsible as the vampire.”

“Your problem, Rebecca, is that you misunderstand my gifts.  You seek to control what cannot be controlled.  The goddess has a plan and we are merely here to serve.  I can only see what is true and what is meant to be. You can no more alter fate than alter the flow the tides.”

“Where is she, goddammit?” Rebecca lashed out in fury.

Abby closed her eyes and saw fields of green, mountains, and city lights.  She saw darkness and light, fire and water, life and death. “She is where she was always meant to be and neither you nor I can change that.”

“This was a waste of time, mother!” Elena started to walk back to the car, but Abby called after her.

“That dress really is magnificent on you, Elena.  See you soon!” She smiled widely before standing and giving Elena the full view of her.

Elena was taken aback.  Was the witch flirting with her? Absolutely not, this was not going to happen. I need find my sister. She looked back to see the smile growing larger on Abigail’s face, goddess she was beautiful.

“Elena, stop it. We need to find your sister!” Rebecca chastised her.  “Drive to Carol’s. We’ll see if Harge is having better luck with his friends.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

 

Dannie was driving fast, running lights and breaking nearly every traffic law known to man as they fled the city.  But he knew they needed to get as far away, as fast as they could.  He dared not head south into New York, there were way too many witch families there. Basically anywhere in New England was going to be out of the question, so he drove southwest, hoping they could find at least some temporary solace in Amish country, at least enough to get their bearings and come up with a plan. Amish country was well known for its lack of creatures, though being back there would case some definite heartache for him. He wondered how many years it would take for him to finally heal, before turning his attention back to the road.  

“I think you can slow down,” Carol suggested, placing a hand on his shoulder.  “I can’t sense them anymore. No reason to get into trouble with the humans, too and draw attention to ourselves.”

He took his lead foot of the gas pedal of his blue classic thunderbird and dropped it back to around the speed limit.  Therese was staring out the passenger side window, silent and deep in thought. 

“Did you know that a witch can read another witch’s thoughts?” Carol stared at her from the backseat.  “But I cannot read yours. Tell me what you are thinking.”

“You first,” Therese replied, not ready to delve into the inner machinations of her mind just yet.

Carol could sense her hesitation and decided not to pry.  “You are very different from the books I’ve read or from the things I’ve been told.  I wonder if anything I’ve been told about vampires is true and where some of the myths come from.”

“You mean things like vampires in the sun? Garlic necklaces? Stakes through the heart? That sort of thing?” Therese shifted in her seat so she could look at her.

“Yes. I mean, clearly the sun one is wrong,” she laughed looking around them. “But I already knew that one. What about the others?”

“You would probably know better than I would.” Therese said, a hint of sadness in her voice.

“There are partial truths to all of it,” Dannie interrupted. “Most of the myth’s surrounding us were created by humans to help them deal with our existence, like the sunlight thing. As you can see, vampires are incredibly beautiful, and more so in the sun. That would make a human feel uncomfortable, so they create a lie to deal with that fear and discomfort, a type of cognitive dissonance, I guess.”

“And the garlic?”

Therese thought about it for a moment, “I have a heightened since of taste and garlic is very pungent and overpowering to the pallet.  I find I really just don’t like it and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m sure that was spun into some myth of being afraid or allergic.”

“What do you eat by the way? I’ve only seen you drink wine and coffee,” Carol wondered.

“There is the obvious. I need blood to survive and I crave it.  I find others are more comfortable if I disguise it or hide it in other things.  For example, I wasn’t drinking coffee this morning.”

“Oh! That was…really?” Carol scrunched her nose and made a face.

“Does it bother you?”

Carol sidestepped the question, “So you don’t eat food at all? I mean I’ve seen vampires out at restaurants.”

“Yes, I just require less of it and prefer most of my food to be raw or at least rare. I love sushi for example, though I definitely skip the wasabi. Your turn, tell me something I don’t know about witches.”

“No black hats, and I’m allergic to cats.” Carol got pensive.  “Honestly, I’m not a very good witch, so I’m probably not the best one to ask.”

“I saw you toss your husband out the front door of your house last night and again, there was the whole floating thing.  That’s pretty cool.”

Carol didn’t know how to explain any of that.  “When we are young we go through a ritual of sorts.  It’s really an assessment to determine how strong we will be. My father told me once that I was supposed to be powerful, but that didn’t happen, so I’m not sure how accurate the assessment actually is.”

Her eyes met Dannie’s in the rearview mirror.  “What about daemons?”

“I think the biggest myth surrounding us is that we are dangerous.  I blame all the ones that became fucking serial killers, honestly.”

“All creatures are capable of killing,” Therese mused with a smirk.

“Yes, but some of the greatest serial killers or cult leaders of all time were daemons, so…but most of us are highly intelligent and creative.  My friend Hamish, for example, is a brilliant financier.  Give him $100 and he’ll make you a millionaire.”

Therese gave Dannie a knowing smile, but they both noticed that Carol’s mood had changed. “What is it? Do you sense something?” Therese asked, concerned.

“No, it’s just…” a look of fear crossed her face. “I don’t have anything. We ran so fast, I don’t have clothes or…Harge controlled all of the finances. I literally have nothing.” Carol sat back in the seat looking despondent. 

“We should stop somewhere, she’ll need clothes and essentials.” Therese told Dannie and Carol just looked at her confused. 

“I can’t take your money, Therese.”

“You aren’t taking, I’m giving, and it isn’t a problem. Dannie wasn’t lying about Hamish, I have more than I could ever need.  Besides, you really need to get out of that outfit.  You’ve been wearing it for two days and the smell is overpowering.”

“What smell? I do not smell!” Carol said clearly offended. 

“You have a lot to learn about vampires, witch. You most definitely have a smell.  I didn’t say you stink. There is a huge difference.”

Carol tilted her head to the side, still feigning offence. “Well, what do I smell like?”

Therese thought for a moment, trying to decide how to best describe the scents that radiated off of Carol.  “Vanilla and lavender that are laid out by the ocean after a storm.”

Carol was rendered momentarily speechless. No one had ever described her in quite that way before.  “You smell of cinnamon and spice.”

Therese turned back to her again, her eyes wide.  “You can smell that?”

Carol nodded before lowering her voice and her eyes and adding, “And you make my body buzz and tingle with energy.  I mean usually when I see a vampire, I just feel cold, but not so with you.  I feel like my whole body is vibrating,” she said softly.

Therese stared at her in wonder.  “I hear your blood singing to me, like music.” Their eyes locked.

“What kind of music?” Carol didn’t understand. 

“Soft, like a whisper of a song on the wind, but I know it’s only for me.”

They didn’t speak another word, locked in each other’s gaze.  Dannie looked back and forth between them, feeling invisible “So, Carol needs clothes! Any preferences? Witches-R-Us or something like that?”

“Target.” Carol said rolling her eyes at him.  “It will be fast and they’ll have everything I need in one place.”

“Well, you heard the woman.  Find her a Target.” Therese smiled.  “They sell wine, right?”

“What have I gotten myself into?” Dannie murmured

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

It took about an hour in the store, but Carol was able to get everything she needed.  She felt guilty when her total came to over $600, but Therese didn’t even blink as she swiped her card.  When they got back in the car, Carol unpacked all of her bags and organized everything into a suitcase they had purchased.  Dannie had to purchase a great deal of stuff, too, but he insisted on just getting enough until they got to another big city with brands that he knew. 

Surrounded by green fields and farm animals, Carol started to realize just how far from home she was.  She’d never really been out of Massachusetts, except for her honeymoon and even that was to another big city in Paris. 

The car was quiet with Therese now driving, so Dannie decided that since they were going to be spending so much time together, they each needed to get to know one another better.  “So aside from being a witch, what do you do for a living, Carol?”

Therese laughed and the mundanity of the question.  “Three creatures are running from a coven of witches because they think I have her in my thrall and you want to discuss our career choices? How very human of you.”

Carol snorted a laugh.  “I was a librarian.”

Neither Dannie nor Therese knew exactly how to respond to that. “That sounds…neat,” Dannie finally said.  “You know, books and all.  I’ll be yourlove to read.”

Therese just looked at him in disbelief.  “You are spectacularly bad at this.  How are we friends, again?”

“Well I don’t see you jumping in!” He countered throwing hands. “How about you lead the conversation for a while.”

“Its fine,” Carol broke up their little tiff.  “Yes, it was a boring job, but I liked the quiet.  And yes, Dannie, I did love to read because it was an escape.”

“What did you need to escape from?” he asked curiously.

“I imagine her ass of a husband,” Therese smirked.  “Now there is a subject I’m interested in.  How exactly did you end up marrying that man, Carol?”

Carol got quiet again and watched as the sun set over the lush fields of green. “Family dynamics,” she replied dryly.  “It was basically an arranged marriage. He came from a strong witch family and honestly, considering my lack of ability, I was lucky he would have me.”

Therese’s hands gripped the steering wheel harder.  She did not like to hear Carol speaking badly of herself, but Dannie was confused by her confession.  “I’m sorry, that doesn’t make any sense.  I’ve known plenty of witches without powers, but even in those households, the woman runs the show and from what little I’ve heard the whole power dynamic of your household was backwards, so why would you so willingly put yourself through that.”

They was no easy answer to that question and the conversation seemed to be getting very personal.  “Can we maybe go back to the other topic? What do you two do for a living?”

Dannie’s eyes went wide. “You’re kidding right?” He looked at Therese, “She’s kidding. She doesn’t know?”

“What don’t I know?” Carol was looking back and forth between them. 

“Wow, you really have led a sheltered life, haven’t you?” He laughed.  “You’ve never heard the name Therese Belivet before?”

“I mean it sounded familiar, but…” Carol face flushed, embarrassed.

“I was a photographer back in the day.  Pretty well known in the 70’s I guess.  Now I mostly paint, like you saw in the loft, but I have changed my name.  Officially, Therese Belivet died in the nineties, and now I’m working on creating a new identity. Apparently, it’s this whole thing we have to do every so often.” There was a hint of annoyance in her voice.

“So, who are you now?”

“To you? I am Therese Belivet, because that is my true self.  To the world? Therese Albright,” she emphasized the last syllable of the first name.

Carol suddenly realized something tragic about being a vampire.  While on some level the long-life sounded like a gift, she could now see the down side, such as watching your friends die and rebuilding an identity to keep away suspicion.  She looked at this woman, arms covered in tattoos that seemed to fade more by the hour.  Without the make-up and with her hair pulled up, she looked like a young Hepburn, a natural beauty with green eyes and deep dimples, so radically different from the fierce woman that had rescued her the previous night. “Therese, who were you before?”    

“I was a 22 year old naïve girl with a dream of becoming a photographer.  Of course that was the 1950’s, a very different time for women. I worked at the New York Times for a while as a clerk and then in the 60’s I got promoted. In the 70’s I got relatively famous and my work was in most galleries, but I had to remain elusive, the eccentric artist that never showed her face. I met Dannie around 20 or so years ago and he’s been helping me build a new life and name for myself.”

“You never told me what your family…I mean your sire's family name is. Shouldn’t there be a clan of other vampires that help you through all of this? Not a daemon? That part is true, right? Vampires live in clans.  Your mother or father is your sire and those family names go back centuries.  I asked you last night and I don’t think you told me.”

It was Therese’s turn to get silent and the air in the car got awkward again.

“Well I know vamps don’t need to eat, but daemons and witches do.  So, I say we find somewhere to get dinner and a place to crash for the night.  We also need to figure out exactly where we are going.  Agreed?” Dannie was very good at breaking up the awkward moments and Carol could see why Therese loved him so much.  Carol was starting to really like him, too. 

 

<><><><><> 

 

Harge was pacing the living room of his brownstone.  He was not a patient man, so when Rebecca and Elena returned without word, he lost his temper.  “How did this happen? This wasn’t the agreement!”

Rebecca was on him in a flash. “How did this happen Harge? You tell me! She was your wife, your responsibility! I gave you all the tools you needed, and yet here we are! You failed me!”

“Me?” He said aghast!  “Maybe it was your spell that failed! She was the one who blew me out of the damn house!”

Elena sat in silence, trying to remember everything that Abigail had said earlier that day about how her mother had not been completely honest with her.  “Wait,” she held up a hand. “You told me you spellbound her, mother. You told me you blocked her powers and arranged this marriage with him to hide her…to protect her from the vampire. Abigail said—“

“Clearly I have greatly overestimated Abigail and her sight!” Rebecca yelled needed to blame someone. 

“You,” Elena pointed to Harge.  “What tools did she give you, exactly?” The tone in her voice turned accusatory. Harge didn’t answer, knowing he would be unable to lie.

Everything started to become clear to Elena and she wanted to throw-up.  “You told me it was to save her life.” She stood up and started to walk around the room, shaking her head in disbelief.  “I watched her suffer, watched her slowly die in a loveless marriage to this piece of shit, because you told me it would protect her.  Was any of that true?” She turned on her mother. 

“Yes! That was all true!” Rebecca said honestly.

“She wasn’t spellbound, was she?” the realization hit her hard and she spun, slamming Harge up against the wall with her bare hands.  “You seem weaker, Harge.  Gee, I wonder why that is?” Elena let him go and turned back to her mother. “I can’t believe this!  When our coven finds out what you’ve done, mother, you will destroy our entire family!”

“Which is why they will never find out.” Rebecca said sadly before moving closer to Elena, a threatening look in her eyes. “You will not say a single word of this to anyone. We need to focus on getting your sister back alive and I need your help to do that as a member of our coven, but I cannot risk you hurting this family.” Elena found herself frozen in place, unable to move or speak, as Rebecca placed her hands on her forehead and started muttering a spell to herself.  “Forgive me daughter, but one day you will understand this.”

There was a bright flash in her mind and a quick searing pain, which she likened to a human migraine and then suddenly Elena awoke from a trance like state, confused and not sure of why she was in Carol’s kitchen. Rebecca and Harge were huddled over the family’s grimoire, looking for a spell.  “What…what is going on? When did we get here?”

“Don’t just stand there all spaced out, child.  Your sister has been taken! She’s in the thrall of a vampire and we have to save her!”

Chapter Text

Lancaster, Pennsylvania was definitely Amish central, and yet right there in the middle of it all was The Warehouse Hotel.  A starkly modern, urban hotel, that tried to blend elements of wood and metal. Dannie booked a king suite, which included a pull out sofa in the living room area.  He declared in no uncertain terms that he and Therese would share the king bed and Carol could have the sofa bed, but Therese wasn’t happy with that arrangement.  “I’ll take one of the chairs, Dannie. It isn’t like I’ll sleep anyway.”

“Do you ever sleep?” Carol set her suitcase down and then stretched out on the couch, feeling her muscles unclench from the long car ride. 

“Occasionally, but not for very long. Maybe a few hours a week, more if I'm really busy.  Carol gets the shower first,” she said looking over at Dannie, who wanted to argue the point, but understood Therese’s need. The scent of Carol was overpowering and Therese needed some time to regain control of her senses.

He made a show of roll of his eyes, but agreed. “Fine, but save the rest of us some hot water.”

Carol smiled and stood to pull out her new robe and disappeared into the bathroom.  Once the water was running, Dannie cornered Therese. “You need to tell her, because clearly you are not alright.”

Therese was sitting in one of the room chairs, her legs crossed underneath her.  “Tell her what?”

“You know damn well what!” He huffed in frustration and threw himself back on the bed before sitting up.  “How long do you think you can control yourself?”

“I’m not a fucking animal, Dannie.  I can control my impulses as long as I need, too.  Carol needs to feel safe and she needs time to figure out who she is and what she is capable of, so I'll do what I need to do.”  Therese didn’t want to admit to herself what she was feeling or how difficult it was actually going to be. 

Though she had not been taught by her sire as she should have been, Therese had quickly discovered on her own what her instincts caused her to feel and do. She awoke in a back alley, covered in blood, though she did not appear to be injured.  Her head was spinning and her senses were screaming.  Lights seemed brighter, smells were more pungent, and sounds were almost painful to her hypersensitive ears.  But the worst thing she felt was the craving.  Therese awoke hungry…but not for food.  She had an indescribable need to hunt and to feed.  

Not understanding, she reacted out of pure instinct in the beginning of her rebirth, which caused her to take more than one human life. It was incredibly traumatizing and she did her best not to think of those early days because they brought up feelings of self-hatred.  She was wandering the streets, following people, waiting…hunting her prey.  The first person she killed was a young woman, not much older than she had been.  Therese had scared her, looking wild and feral as she did back then, and the young girl tried to run away. It was the running that caused Therese’s hunter/prey instincts to kick in and she attacked, drinking the young blonde girl dry.  It was horrific and repulsive and incredibly satisfying.

It took several years of incredible hunger and craving and fighting her impulses and yes, killing more warmbloods, but eventually Therese figured out how to leave the city to hunt for animals in the park.  Rabbits and deer would run from her just like the humans and it fulfilled her need to hunt, though it still didn’t make her feel any better about herself. Therese had always loved animals. 

This was how she lived, alone and isolated for years.  Hiding and hating her true nature, and yet surviving.  She worked during the day, hunted at night, and built a solitary life for herself.  Occasionally, she would meet another vampire who would teach her a few tricks for survival.  One in particular, Genevieve, had taught her how to pay for her meals. Gen explained that drug addicts and homeless were always willing to give blood for money.  Gen had a list of willing "clients" she called them.  Of course, drinking the blood of someone drunk or high would cause a vampire to feel the effects at least temporarily.  Having Gen in her made the 70’s more fun for a while, but she disappeared when she learned that Therese didn’t know her sire.  Apparently, pedigree and family were quite important in vampire circles.  Without a name or a family, Therese was an outcast, a pariah, but maybe it was better that way.

When Therese met Dannie, he introduced her to a butcher friend of his.  The blood wasn’t as good as fresh and it didn’t satisfy her need to hunt, but she felt better about herself doing it this way.  She would still go out to the parks if she needed to hunt, but it got harder as the city got bigger, and she would have to travel further and further away. But this helped her learn to control her impulses and her cravings for longer periods of time.  All of that changed the night she met Carol.  Her animalistic impulses were back and stronger than ever when she saw the blonde witch with the singing blood.  She remembered Gen explaining how vampire mating worked, comparing it to the mating rituals of lions.  A female chooses her mate and should they accept, the pairing was for life.  Therese wanted Carol, but Carol wasn’t a vampire.  Carol was…a problem.

“You really think she has power?” Dannie asked, pulling Therese out of her memories.

“I saw her toss him like a toothpick. I just felt this blast of wind and off he went.” She demonstrated with her hands.

“Witchwind,” Dannie said understanding.  “Carol must be an elemental witch.”

“A what?” Therese was being honest when she told him she had never really been around witches. It had taken her this long to figure out her own crap. She hadn’t had time to learn much about other creatures, aside from daemons.   

He sat up, excited to teach Therese what he knew. “Ok, so basically there are two types of witches, spell casters and elementals. Spell casters do just that; they use spells and cast curses and make potions and can really do all kinds of things, but they need words, actual spells." He sounded so excited explaining all of this.  "Elemental witches can control the elements, air, fire, water, and earth.  If you go back two thousand years or so, you would find very powerful elemental witches that could control all four elements, but these days you’re lucky to find a witch that really control one.  Carol must be a wind witch.”

“Her husband kept chanting that night, so I guess he is a spell caster.” Therese was thinking out loud. “But I also remember seeing Carol’s hands turn blue, like she was holding a sparkler or something. It wasn’t electricity, but it sure as hell looked like it.”

“Ohhh, maybe it was blue flame!  I wonder if she can do fire and wind!” He said excitedly. “You’ll have to ask her to demonstrate.”

Therese shook her head.  “That’s the thing, Dannie.  The night I first saw her, the asshat had her pushed up against the wall, and he was hurting her. She didn't even try to defend herself.  If she is so powerful, why didn’t she fight back?  And then last night, when I broke down the door or her brownstone, he was hurting her again and she was just taking it.  She only tossed him like a leaf when he attacked me.”

“That’s,” Dannie paused and furrowed his brow, tilting his head to the side, “interesting...almost as if her powers are tied to you somehow? Or at least the need to protect you?” It was a question that didn’t get answered because the shower water turned off. 

Not wanted Carol to feel uncomfortable, Therese changed the course of their conversation.  “Is it hard for you to be back here?”

“No…yes…” he spoke softly. “I don’t miss the life, the lack of modernity and the antiquated belief systems, but I do miss my mother.” A sadness washed over his whole person, and he shoulders slumped.

“Is she still alive? We could go see her,” Therese offered, “if you wanted.”

“Some doors are best left closed.” He looked at her, his eyes filled with a sadness.  Dannie had been born a daemon to an Amish family.  While it was incredible rare for a creature to be born of Amish decent, it did occasionally happen.  When he was a seventeen, his father pulled him aside and explained about Rumspringa, the rite of passage where the youth were allowed to leave and experience the outside world.  Normally, parents prayed that their son or daughter would return home after the experience, but Dannie’s father told him never to return.  He called him a product of the devil and disowned him before he sent him packing.  He was lost, alone and confused for a long time until he made it to Boston, where he found other creatures like him and built a life for himself.  Not long after, he met Therese. 

“Showers free,” Carol called standing by her suitcase.  Her hair was wrapped in a towel and her body clad in only a robe.  Therese could feel it building inside her chest almost immediately, the craving, the intense need to have her, to taste her, to devour her. She smelled more of soap now, but seeing her skin exposed was almost as bad as her natural scent.

Her face darkened. “Dannie, you go next.  I need to…to go out for a while.  I’ll be back.”

He saw the change in her face, the flared nostrils and greying of her skin.  “Right. I’m sure we’ll be fine. Take your time.”

“I won’t go too far,” Therese replied and sped out of the room in a fury of movement.  Carol felt the rush of the wind past her before she even realized Therese was gone. 

“Wait…what? Why did she leave? Did I do something wrong?” Carol held her pajamas in her arms and looked at Dannie with a forlorn expression. 

Dannie sighed. Putting off the shower, he decided now was a good a time as any to try to scare some sense into the young witch.  “She’s gone hunting.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Rebecca, Harge and Elena stood in a circle, hands together, looking down over a map of the country. The room was lit only by candles and the smell of purifying sage filled the air.  They spoke in unison, reciting the words of the spell over and over as they watched a small, bright ember float across the map until it finally landed, burning a hole in the paper. The location spell complete, they dropped their hands and bent down to look at the map.

“Someone’s clever,” Rebecca sighed.

Elena and Harge were lost, not sure of what she meant.  “Is that Lancaster? Who do we know in Lancaster?” Harge asked.

“No one,” Rebecca replied.  “There are no creatures in Amish country, no one for us to reach out too.”

“Is that common knowledge?” Harge looked up from the map, “How would Carol know that?”

“She wouldn’t.” Rebecca said dryly.  “Perhaps the vampire knew.”

Elena watched them both, no quite sure why no one was moving towards the door.  “Okay, so let’s just go.  If we leave now and catch a flight—“

“You think the humans won’t notice a plane full of witches descending upon their small town? We’re liable to start another witch hunt.” The older witch shook her head and sat down on a chair in the living room. “No, we need to be smart about this.  We need to wait.”

“Wait?!?” Harge nearly screamed. “But, I need her back! We can risk the human; I need Carol back home.”

Something in his tone sounded too desperate and it made Elena feel uncomfortable. She had a fleeting thought, I’m forgetting something…something important, but nothing came to mind. “So, what do we do then?”

“It’s late." Rebecca looked tired.  "I think we wait.  We’ll do the spell again tomorrow and hopefully get an idea of which direction they are heading.  There are just too many options.  If they keep heading west though, I know of a coven in Chicago. If they are heading south, we should be able to cut them off in Tennessee.”

Harge just grumbled, but a deep seated feeling inside of Elena told her that waiting was the best thing for Carol. 

Rebecca stood and motioned for Elena to join her.  “Get some rest, Harge.  You look horrible and you will need your strength tomorrow.  I would also recommend we convene the rest of our coven.  The more witches in that circle, the more accurate our location spell will be.”  She looked over at her youngest daughter and pushed aside the small amount of regret she felt for having taken some of her memories.  “Drive me home, honey and we’ll try again tomorrow. We'll have to pray to the Goddess that she is safe for tonight.”

“I have work tomorrow, mother.” She shot a look of disgust at her brother-in-law, “so do you.”

“Your sister is more important that your respective jobs.  You’re witches, figure it out.” Rebecca snapped as she walked out of the living room and headed towards the front door.

Both Elena and Harge knew that arguing with Rebecca was pointless.  She would always get her way in the end.  As Elena walked to the door she passed a mirror hanging in the foyer.  She stopped and stared when something strange got her attention.  There in the mirror she didn't see her own reflection, but that of a beautiful, red-haired woman with white eyes. The person in the mirror was mouthing something that Elena couldn’t quite make out until suddenly she heard it like whisper in her mind.  It was so faint she would have missed it had there been any background noise.  Come to me, the soft voice said. 

“Are you coming?” Rebecca was standing next to Elena and looked to see what had her so enraptured in the mirror.  She saw nothing but the reflection of her daughter and herself.  “Your vanity can wait, Elena.  I need to make a few calls and rest before tomorrow.”  Elena only nodded, and followed her mother out the front door. 

Chapter Text

Carol’s mouth and eyes flew open wide and Dannie's statement.  “What…what does that…is she going to...?”  She couldn’t seem to finish any of her questions, but Dannie understood.  “She needs to eat and work off some energy…and she needs to distract herself. Does that bother you?”

She let out a nervous breath, “What…what does she eat exactly? I mean, I know she needs blood to survive, but where…how…?”

“Carol we are in middle of the country. There is literally farmland as far as the eye can see, but she isn’t just eating.  Vampires need to hunt and she craves the chase.” He looked at her intensely, stressing certain words for effect.

Carol sat down, holding her clothes tight against her chest. In her mind she understood that Therese was a vampire, but understanding the ideas or reading something in a book was very different from experiencing it in person. Dannie watched her carefully, trying to read her facial expressions.  If Carol couldn’t accept this fundamental aspect of Therese’s life, it was best this all ended now, before his dearest friend became more invested in the witch. But then as he watched, something shifted in Carol’s expression.  The worry lines became less prominent and she seemed to relax.

It was true, Therese was a predator and she drank blood, and though her initial reaction was fear based, Carol realized she wasn’t actually afraid of Therese. “Why does she need distracting?”

He shook his head, “It isn’t for me to share; you would need to ask her.” He looked serious for a moment and then his mood lightened a little.  “I thought witches were supposed to be good at sensing things, all empathetic and shit.” He said with a giggle.

“I thought we established I’m not a very good witch.” Carol smiled and moved her suitcase off the couch so she could pull out the sofa bed. 

“Stop,” he walked over to help her, but paused.  “Even a rather basic witch should be able to do this with only a thought.  Pull out the bed without using your hands.”

Carol shook her head, not even attempting.  “The most I can do is stir a pot or a cup of tea.”

“Bullshit.”

“Excuse me?” Carol looked at him offended. 

“According to Therese you tossed your husband out of a house.  You CAN do more and you will." He turned and stared into her now slate grey eyes.  "If we continue down this path, you are going to have to be able to defend yourself.  That is, unless you want to go back to that life.  So, what you need to ask yourself is why you won’t even try.”

“I…” Carol had to think of her answer.  “I remember being able to move things around my room when I was a child.  The memory is faded and I’m never sure if it is real or maybe I just dreamed it, but as I got older I just couldn’t do the things my sister or mother could do.  and I just always felt so tired.”

“Do you feel tired now? Because I’ve seen a change in you in just in the few hours we’ve been together.  You are…brighter.”

“Right.” Carol laughed. “You’ve been talking to Therese about my supposed gleam? Like I told her, I don’t have one.”

“Oh you most certainly do and it keeps getting brighter.  I mean, you aren’t glowing like the sun or anything, but it looks like you are feeling stronger.  So, answer my question, do you feel tired now?”

“No.” Carol answered honestly.  She moved away from the couch and over to a full length mirror on the wall and stared into it deeply.  “If it's there, why can’t I see it?”

“Maybe you don’t want too.  Maybe you are scared of it, or maybe it’s been hidden for so long you don’t even know what to look for.” These all seemed like plausible answers.  Of course, not having a gleam seemed more plausible to her. 

Dannie walked up behind her and ran his hand close to her skin without actually touching her.  “It’s like an aura, but not quite, and it is most definitely there.  I admit, my knowledge of witches is limited to what I’ve seen in my 40 years, but if I can see it and Therese can see it, I can only guess that you have been blocked from seeing it.  Maybe someone didn’t want you to see it, didn’t want you to feel strong, to be in control and sure of yourself.  Ask yourself who that someone was.”

“Harge.” She didn’t have to think about it.  “He always wanted me feel small…always reminding me of how weak and powerless I was.”

“You aren’t powerless, Carol.  But I think you need to figure that out for yourself. So, I’m going to go take a shower and you are going to work on pulling out that sofa bed using magic.” Dannie turned to head into the bathroom. "And no cheating."

“When will Therese be back?” Carol asked, sounding shy.

He shrugged, “Who knows? Depends on how wound up she is.”

“She won’t,” Carol sighed deeply, almost ashamed of even asking the question. “She doesn’t hurt people does she?”

Dannie stared her down without answering.  Therese had hurt people in the past, he knew that, but it wasn’t his story to tell. “You need to talk to her about that.”  He turned to walk away again, but Carol stopped him with one more question.

“Is being around me hurting her? Is that why she needs ‘a distraction’, as you call it?”

“I think you already know the answer to the question you are really asking, but I will tell you this, Therese is attracted to you, Carol.  I imagine very much so based on the way she is protecting you, but being this close to you is hard on her and she is fighting off her preternatural need to claim you.”

“Claim me? Are you saying she wants to bite me?” Carol’s voice rose in fear.  “If she’s doing all of this to protect me, why would she want to hurt me?”

Dannie shook his head, “Forget what you think you know about vampires from the books. It isn’t about hurting you, Carol.  She’d rather die than hurt you, so she’s out hunting.  She’ll find a deer or an animal or something and she will run it out. She’ll be calmer when she returns, you’ll see.”

Carol stood in shock, not sure of how to react to that idea. Just when she thought she was at peace with who or what Therese was, she was thrown back into the abyss of confusion.

“What did you think vampires did, Carol? This is what she is, who she is and she fights it as much as she can, but it takes a toll.” Dannie retreated to the bathroom to take his shower.  He felt bad for dropping such a heavy weight on Carol, but it needed to be done.  If she was going to leave, it needed to be now.

<><><><><>

 

When Therese returned she found Carol awake, sitting on the sofa, staring off into the distance.  Dannie was snoring away on the king bed he so delicately claimed. Carol never could get the sofa bed to open and he refused to let her just pull it open with her hands.  It was in the quiet that Carol kept hearing something, faint, like a voice in the distance of her mind, tell her to remember something.  She thought of her childhood, and the memory she told Dannie about earlier.  It was when she tried to remember other things, Carol realized something disturbing about herself.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t remember anything, but it was as if a haze was covering her memories.  They were there, but they lacked depth or detail.  She’d never really thought about it before, but this awareness now had her feeling troubled. She knew of memory spells that could erase memories, but this didn’t seem like the same thing. She had memories, but they were just…foggy.

Therese took a seat in a chair across the room from her, watching her silently.  Her hunt had been satisfying and she actually felt like she might sleep for a few minutes at least. 

“You’ve been gone a while.” Carol whispered, not wanting to wake Dannie. “Where did you go?”

 “I’m not sure I should explain.  I wouldn’t want to scare you,” she said, her voice low and calm.

Carol looked up at her, blue-grey eyes soft and empathic. “I’m not frightened, Therese.”

“Maybe you should be.” Her eyes were like slits of green now.  Even though she had hunted and fed, a part of her still craved Carol.

“Dannie tried to explain in to me,” she hung her head.  “I don’t want to hurt you, Therese, or be the cause of your pain.”

Therese’s eyes softened.  She looked over at her friend, pretending to snooze away, but she knew he was awake now.  HIs heart rate had increased.  He always had her back, a loyal friend and fierce protector. “You’ve read a lot about vampires, Carol.  What do you know about our mating instincts?”

“No much,” Carol said quietly, her mind resisting what she knew Therese was about to say.

“I feel…possessive…protective...of you.” Therese’s voice was low and gravelly.

“But you barely know me and even with the covenant gone, it would still be,” Carol paused looking for the right word. “I’m still a witch and you’re a vampire, and maybe the rules existed for a reason.”

Therese didn’t speak for the longest time, she just watched her, keeping her distance. Only when the silence became unbearable did Therese finally suggest they get some rest. “Are you going to pull out the sofa or just sleep on the couch?”

Carol huffed, “Dannie wouldn’t let me pull it out with my hands.  He insisted I use my magic,” she waved her hands. 

Therese smiled.  Dannie could be a real pain in the ass, but she knew his heart was always in the right place.  “You couldn’t do it?”

“Obviously.” Carol looked down and sighed, staring at her hands.  “I’m just broken, Therese.  I don’t know how else to explain it. I don’t know how I managed to save you from Harge or where that power came from, but it isn’t here now.”

“The power is inside of you Carol, I know that without a doubt and we’ll help you find it, help you learn to use it again.”

“How do you know that?” Carol’s eyes were watering.

“I can feel it when I’m close to you. The power flows off your skin like waves of heat. I can see it in your glow, and,” she paused, careful not to reveal too much. “I can hear it in the song your blood sings to me…and it’s getting louder, stronger, like it wants release. I’ll pull it out for you.”

Carol was confused at first until Therese stood quickly and moved over to the sofa bed.  Carol stood up, so close to Therese and their eyes locked again.  Being this close with Therese during the long drive, she’d gotten use to the constant buzzing sensation in her body.  Though it faded some when Therese had gone out for the evening, it was back now and it felt stronger. There was something in the way Therese spoke that caused new and unfamiliar sensations to rush through Carol’s body.  Her pulse shot up and her skin felt warm and tingly and when Therese looked at her she felt a heat that radiated from her center though the rest of her body.  Their attraction was undoubtedly mutual, but her rational mind held her desires in check.  Despite everything she felt in that moment, standing so close to the beautiful brunette beside her, Carol understood the potential repercussions of a relationship between a witch and a vampire, plus, like it or not, she was married.   

 

<><><><><> 

 

Dannie scarfed down a plate full of pancakes from the breakfast buffet, while Carol had slowly ate some oatmeal and fruit.  Therese just watched them both, drinking a cup of black coffee.

Mouth still full, Dannie decided to tell him his plans.  “NOWA”

Therese just stared, not understanding. “Maybe swallow and try and again.”

“NOLA, New Orleans. That’s where we need to go.” He took another large bite.

“I’ve never been, but it is known to be swirling with creatures,” Carol whispered. “Is that safe for us?”

“Absolutely crawling with them,” Dannie agreed. “It would be like hiding in plain sight, first off, and second, we need help.  I know that all types of creatures live there and they do so in relative harmony, so I think it’s out best bet of finding other vampires and maybe even a witch or two that can help us.”

They all discussed it for a few more minutes until they all finally agreed, though Therese had reservations.  She wasn’t as convinced about the whole living in harmony thing. 

After breakfast, they checked out of the hotel, loaded up the Thunderbird and hit the road.  Dannie would drive until he got tired and then Therese would drive the rest of the way.  The plan had been to make it in one day, but even the best of plans get wrecked sometimes.

 

<><><><><> 

 

It was early, the sun just up and shining on the city of Salem.  Elena was worried that Abby would still be asleep, but when she pulled up to the house, she saw her rocking on the porch, drinking tea, and soaking in the morning sun.  Her red hair blew around her head and she looked beautiful in a brown skirt and green peasant top. 

“Good morning, Elena.” Abby called from the porch, waving for her visitor to join her.  “Come, sit. Care for some tea?”

“No, thank you. I can’t stay long.  I have to pick up mother and head back to Carol’s house. I uh, got your message.” Elena started, not quite sure of what she was doing here.

“I’m glad. Tell me,” she took a sip of her tea, “what do you remember of our talk yesterday?” Abby’s asked with a knowing expression.

“What do you mean? Abby, I haven’t seen you since Samhain, and suddenly you’re sending me telepathic messages and I’m seeing you in a mirror’s reflection all spooky like.  I know you are a powerful seer, so I just assumed you had something to tell me about Carol.”  Elena assumed Abby was mistaken, that she had been visited by someone else. 

“I see,” Abby smiled, pun intended. “Beautiful Elena, what I’m about to say is going to be quite confusing, but I need you to trust me.  Can you do that?”

“I guess so.” The uncertainty in her voice was evident. She knew that Carol and Abby were friends in childhood and she had seen her over the years at various holiday celebrations, like the Winter Solstice or Mabon, but aside from this Abby was basically a stranger to her.

“You know me well enough," Abby read her mind. "Now bend down so I can place a kiss on your forehead.”

“What? No!” Abby reeled back.  “I know about the witch’s kiss! It would give you access to all of my memories and thoughts and that is something that lover’s do and I barely know you!”  Elena took a few more steps back, almost tripping on a brown, leather duffle bag.  “What the? What is this?” She pointed down, forgetting that Abby couldn’t actually see what she was referencing.

“My bag, I’m going on a trip.” Abby stood up and smoothed out her skirt. 

“Abby, why am I here? Why did you call to me?” Elena asked in frustration.  “I don’t have time for distractions when my sister has been taken.”

“Your sister has not been taken, Elena. Carol is going where she is supposed to go, where she is meant to go, and we need to meet her there. She will need our help.”

“Wait! You know where she is???” Elena almost screamed.

“I know where she will be.” Abby clarified. 

This was unreal.  “I cannot just pack up and go someplace with you, Abby.  I need to go get my mother and she needs to know about this!”

Abby’s voice remained calm, almost melodic, and her white eyes shone bright with energy.  “Did you know that the witch’s kiss can not only allow me into your thoughts, but it can also help you to remember thoughts that have been stolen from you?”

“Stolen?” Elena felt as if Abby was looking through her.  She remembered the feeling from last night, like she had forgotten something, and it made her uncomfortable. “I don’t…what do you mean?”

Abby walked over to her bag and picked it up.  It amazed Elena how easily she moved through the world without eye sight.  “It is amazing how many people with sight cannot see,” she looked back towards Elena, “or don’t want to see.”

“I want to know where my sister is! I want to save her life! Why won’t you just tell me what you know and stop talking in riddles?” She had a distinct feeling of Déjà vu mixed with absolute frustration!

“What I know is that there is serpent in your coven and that your mother cannot be trusted.  If you won’t willingly let me return what has been lost, you will have to go on blind faith.  Shall we?”

Elena stood, mouth agape. Finally, knowing she could not take a risk of not helping her sister, she threw her hands in the air in defeat.  She would need to call the office and let them know a family emergency was taking her out of town for a few days and then she would call her mother once he had more information. “Where are we going?”

“Right now? To the airport.” Abby started walking towards Elena’s car.  “You drive.”

Chapter Text

Rebecca Ross was furious! Cabinets and doors were slamming shut all through the house, a manifestation of her rage, as she sat in her kitchen, stewing.  Fucking Abby just had to meddle and now she had Elena to worry about, too? Harge walked in to the kitchen, having let himself into her house without an invitation or even a knock on the door.  “What’s going on? I thought we were meeting at my house again.”

“Shut-up, Harge.” She fumed.  “Where is everyone else?”

“They’ll be here soon. Where is Elena?”

“I said shut-up!” She screamed, and every door and cabinet in the house slammed at the same time, creating a sonic boom of anger.

Harge stood silent, afraid to move, afraid to speak. 

Rebecca let out a frustrated sigh.  “Elena just called from the airport.  She is with Abby and they are traipsing off, but she wouldn’t tell me where and I couldn’t read her thoughts! So I guess I’m stuck with you!”

There were beats of silence as Harge remained silent. 

“Well? Say something you dumb oaf!” Rebecca screamed again.

“Do you think Abby knows where Carol is going?” He spoke softly, afraid to anger Rebecca further.

“Of course she does!” Someone rang the doorbell, other members of their coven were arriving.

Rebecca needed a minute to gather herself.  “Harge, get everyone in the living room with the map and set up the spell just like last night.  I’ll be in in a moment, I just need to calm down first.”

Terrified, he walked out and welcomed the others into the house.  They were joined by his brother, Harris Aird, and several members of their coven, including Bridgette Goode, Samantha Le Fay, and Sarah Gowdie.  Rebecca knew she had to be very careful how much was shared with everyone today.  If they found out what she had done to Carol, she would not only be exiled from her coven she’d likely be driven out of Boston. She focused all her thoughts and attention onto her purpose, took a deep breath, grabbed her family’s Grimoire and joined everyone in the living room.

At first, the meeting started with words of sympathy that later turned into anger and talk of revenge.  How dare a vampire take a witch! Covenant or no, this was completely unacceptable.  The words and phrases passed from witch to witch until Rebecca finally called them all to order.  “Thank you all for coming and for your support during this difficult time.  Last night, Harge, Elena and I were able to work a location spell and we narrowed down Carol’s location to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.”

Knowing murmurs hung in the air.  “Where is Elena by the way? Why isn’t she here helping us?” Bridgette Goode asked.  Rebecca would not be able to lie and needed to be honest and yet dishonest at the same time. 

“She has gone with Abigail Gerhard, that seer from Salem.  They left in search of Carol, but I have doubts as to Abby’s abilities and would like to go about this in other ways, just to be safe.”  It was all true, thankfully. 

“So another locator spell then?” Harris stood next to Harge.  They could have been twins, except Harris was a tad bit shorter and thinner.

Rebecca nodded, “Yes, but I was hoping we could do more.”

“More?” The group seemed to ask in unison. 

“I’ve been looking through our book, trying to find a way to discover who this vampire is.  If we could determine that, we may be able to get the Congregation involved.”

Another general murmur went through the room.  “I’m not sure that is wise, given the current state of affairs.  Though she be a witch, Diana is wed to a vampire.  She is likely to side with them.” Sarah was the only one to voice their general concern out loud.

“But couldn’t the vampires be forced to take action against their own? It is forbidden for a vampire to turn a witch!” Bridgette countered.

“Has it ever happened? What would happen?” the others began to question.

“I’d rather not find out,” Rebecca moved to the center of the room.  “So does anyone know of a spell in their family books that would help us identify our vampire?”

It went silent for a moment while everyone pondered the question, until Samantha Le Fay came up with their best option.  “I know of a spell that would work similar to a location spell. It can tell you where something, or in this case someone, has been.  Do you think the vampire took Carol to her lair first? If we find the address, we can find out who lives there and such.”

Rebecca agreed that it was a logical idea and over the course of the afternoon two spells were performed.  During the location spell, it was clear that Carol was moving south now and was no longer in Pennsylvania.  It was easy enough to see which route they were taking and where they could best cut them off.  The second spell produced a second address, located in Boston.  It was agreed that they should split up, thought Rebecca was not happy with the results.  Harge, Harris and Bridgett would leave for the airport and try to head them off in Knoxville. Rebecca and the other women would go to the local Boston address and see if they could determine the identity of the vamp and then they would seek out the help of the Congregation. 

Rebecca kept quiet during the discussion of who would go where, afraid of revealing too much.  She knew full well that she needed to be with Harge on the way to intercept her daughter, but she dared not raise any red flags as to her past deeds.  She also knew it was incredibly risky to bring the Congregation into this affair, but again, to prevent anyone from asking too many questions, she went along with the group.

Before he walked out the door, Rebecca pulled Harge aside and whispered in his ear.  “She’ll be stronger now and the original spell may no longer work.  Kill the vampire and she’ll return home, I’m sure of it.”

He nodded silently and left quickly before Rebecca could hear his thoughts, for inside he relished the idea of more power.  Harge had been siphoning off Carol’s powers since before they were married and it had made him a very formidable witch.  Recently, however, it seemed she didn’t have much power left to give, so if Carol was indeed regaining her true abilities and he could take them, he would be unstoppable.

 

<><><><><> 

 

The plane landed in Knoxville and the mountain air hit Elena like a breath of freshness.  She was very much a city girl, and seeing the mountains in the distance was unbelievably beautiful. When Abby finally told her where they were going, she was flabbergasted.  Why in the world would Carol and a vampire go to Tennessee?

Only when they boarded the plane did Abby finally start to fill Elena in on some of what she knew.  “When I was a young girl, first coming into my powers, I used to have very confusing visions.  I had one about your sister and not understanding it or what it meant, I shared it with your mother.”

“Okay, so what was your vision about?” Elena whispered, not wanting the people in the seats in front of behind to hear them.  Being this close to Abby was distracting to say this least. She smelled of bergamot and citrus and the scent was bewitching.

“In my vision I saw a shadow take Carol away and steal her magic and then I foresaw her death.  At least I thought it was her death.  I saw a vampire drinking her blood.”

“So, your vision was right, then. Mother told me she spellbound Carol when she was a child to help keep her hidden. She told me that Carol should have been powerful, but since her powers were blocked, she would appear weak and hopefully the vampire would not sense her and she would be safe.  She arranged for Harge to marry her and protect her, though I knew Carol did not love him and that has been absolute hell for her. So why not just explain all of this to mother and our coven and go after them together?”

Abby hung her head and shifted in her seat, moving closer to Elena and dropping her voice. “Because I was wrong, Elena. The vampire was not the shadow stealing her powers. It was someone else entirely.”

Elena’s eyes grew wider as she tried to make sense.  “It was Harge wasn’t it.” It wasn’t really a question, more a statement of fact. “I knew that asshole was hurting her somehow. How is that possible?”

“There is so much more that you need to know, but I would need to gift you back your memories first, dear Elena.  Harge is only part of the larger picture.”

Elena thought about it and finally capitulated. “Fine, you can kiss my forehead, but don’t act all surprised and shocked when you see all of the shit I do to win cases for my firm.”

“You misunderstand, love.” She placed a hand softly on Elena’s and a surge of power moved between them.  “Although I will be able to see it, I don’t want to read your thoughts or take anything from you. I want to return your thoughts.  Rebecca has taken too much from you.”

Elena sat back in her plane seat, suddenly feeling a wave of nausea course through her stomach.  “You’re saying…”

“Your mother is the serpent, yes. And she has taken more than you can even begin to understand.” Abby’s hand caressed Elena’s gently, comforting her. 

“Kiss me,” Elena whispered, looking into the white eyes, desperate to understand and feeling inexplicably drawn the woman sitting next to her.

Abby shook her head.  “Not here. I’m not going to lie to you, it can be…uncomfortable, painful even.  When we land and get settled in the cabin, then I’ll kiss you and return what was taken.” A shudder of anticipation rippled through Elena’s body, but she tried to quiet her mind.  It was too late though, Abby already knew her deepest desires.

 

They had opted for an Uber to drive them from Knoxville towards Gatlinburg and Elena was shocked at just how touristy everything seemed with the themed restaurants, shops and amusement parks. “I can’t believe this is where we are meeting them.”

“Fate works in mysterious ways, love,” was all Abby said. She had her eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses, as to not disturb their human driver.  Abby learned a long time ago that humans were uncomfortable with her freakishly white eyes and could be incredible cruel.  

The driver kept watching them in the rearview mirror and attempting to make small talk. “So, where ya’ll from? Here to go to Dollywood? We just love Dolly round these parts!”

Elena detested amusement parks. They were weak human attempts to add adventure and excitement into their dull little lives, and this man’s accent had to be fake, right? People didn’t really speak like that, did they? Of course, she couldn’t exactly say that to the human driving them into the middle of nowhere mountains.  “Yes, rollercoasters are a girl’s best friend after all.”  Abby just giggled next to her.

“Ummm…sure.” He wasn’t quite sure of what to think of that statement. “Ya’ll Yankees? Your accents are kinda funny.” He kept the conversation going and it didn’t take long for Elena to get irritated with the man.  She closed her eyes and spoke the words in her mind, just drive, we aren’t in the mood for small talk.

“I’m sorry,” the driver spoke again.  “Ya’ll are tired from your trip and I just keep jabberin’ away.  I’ll just keep my mouth shut.  I reckon we’ll be there in about 40 mins or so.” 

“Nicely done,” Abby spoke silently.

 

 

When they pulled up to the cabin, there were no lights or signs of life.  “Are you sure this is right?” Elena had seen one to many horror movies in her time. The small wooden cabin looked abandoned and the word rustic seemed all too appropriate

The driver got out and pulled their bags out of the trunk.  After leaving Abby’s house, they had stopped quickly by Elena’s apartment so she could pack a small bag for their trip. Abby insisted she wouldn’t need much.

“This is the address you gave me.  Do ya’ll need help getting your bags inside?” 

“No thank you, we’ll be fine.” Abby was already walking towards the front door with her bag in hand. 

“I’m sorry to ask,” the driver approached Elena speaking quietly, “but how does she do that? I mean, she’s blind, right?”

Elena smiled at the pathetic human.  “She has radar, like a bat.” She teased and left him standing there, mouth open, catching bugs.  She followed Abby up to the door.  “So do we knock or is there a key?”

She heard the bolt unlock on its own.  “I think we’re good.  Shall we?”

Elena turned back and waved good-bye to the driver. “Call me if you need a ride,” he offered before quickly getting back in his car and driving off into the woods.

The cabin was nowhere near civilization and without a car, Elena had to wonder what they were doing here and how they were going to survive.  She prayed to the goddess that there would at least be running water and electricity as she entered.  Abby flicked on the light switch and Elena found herself in another world.  While from the outside it looked like an abandoned and almost dilapidated cabin, on this inside it looked like a modern home, with appliances, and a television, and there was even a phone.

“Not what you were expecting?” Abby asked as she set her bag down and moved effortlessly to the sofa that sat in front of a large fireplace. 

“Not at all! This place looked dark and dank from the outside! This is beautiful!”

“Things aren’t always as they seem, love. We can have groceries and such delivered, there is a local store at the bottom of the mountain that does that, though you will find our options a bit limited.”

“Have you been here before?” Elena kept looking around, amazed at the décor.  There were modern furnishings, and yet everything still had a very cabin feel to it.

“It’s been in my family for years.  It’s here whenever anyone needs some time away.  My mother brought me once before I lost my sight and then again after.  No one outside of my family knows of it. Should we light a fire?”

It was only September, but Elena did feel a chill in the mountain air.  She came to sit next to Abby on the sofa. “I don’t know how to do that.  I wasn’t exactly a girl scout. Is there a spell or something?”

“It’s gas, Elena.  There should be a button on the side.”  Elena stood and walked over, finding the button and pressing it.  Like magic, there were flames.  “Modern conveniences,” Abby snickered as Abby sat back down next to her.

“Your powers of telepathy and mental manipulation are impressive, dear.” The compliment threw Elena for a loop. “You shut that driver right up.”

“Says the girl who can see the future, walk around without eye sight, and has a magic cabin.” Elena replied. 

“It’s just a simple disguising spell. Pretty basic, like when a witch hides her gleam with a cloaking spell. Since we can’t come that often, it keeps squatters away.”

“Understandable,” She turned and looked at Abby, “now about that kiss.”

Abby sighed deeply and turned toward Elena.  “Slow down, there are things you need to understand.  First, I cannot promise you will like what you see and this process can be painful, both physically and mentally.”

“I’ve never heard of anyone being hurt from a witch’s kiss.” Elena didn’t understand where Abby was going with this.

“Typically, no, but we aren’t using this the traditional way now are we? Normally, I would have access to your thoughts and memories and yes, I will see all of that, but I will also see the holes in your memory and I will attempt to fill those holes. That is the part that can be a little painful.”

“I mean are we talking a headache or knife through the head kind of pain?” Elena asked, her heart now racing.

“It depends on what was taken, how much, and how powerful or emotional the memory. Are you sure you’re ready to do this?”

Elena knew there was no other way.  She needed the answers to the riddles Abby kept spouting and she needed to find her sister.  If this was the only way to help Carol, then so be it.  “Yes.”

“Ok, then we should go to one of the bedrooms and lie down.” Abby stood and reached out her hand to the younger woman. 

Elena smirked, “Are you just trying to get me to go to bed with you?”

Abby tossed her head back and laughed, “There are different ways of doing that,” she smiled flirtatiously until her looked turned darker and more sympathetic.  “You may find this difficult, love, plus it is just easier for me to reach your head this way.”

“Fine,” Elena took Abby’s hand and the rush of power ran through her again.  They moved into one of the bedrooms on the main floor and Abby motioned for Elena to lay down. 

“Lay on your side and face me.”  Abby laid down next to her, facing her.  They were close enough to kiss for real and Elena felt her heart quicken at the thought.  The witch’s kiss was just that, a kiss, but on the forehead.  Once the witch and the one they were kissing were connected, memories and emotions were shared.  It was considered deeply intimate to let one have all of your thoughts that way, which is why it was traditionally done between lovers or spouses. 

“Are you ready?” Abby whispered and placed a gentle hand on Elena’s cheek. 

Elena just nodded, and Abby moved forward, place her lips gently on her head. Elena’s body jerked at the initial shock of the power moving through her and then she felt the movement, the back and forth of shared information.  Memories poured out into Abby and repaired memories flowed back in, re-wiring neural networks in her brain.  At first it was soft and gentle, and then the pain began…piercing and white hot, like a blade sliding into her cerebral tissue.  She wanted to pull away, to make it stop, but Abby held on to the back of head, keeping her locked in place.  Elena closed her eyes as she saw bright white lights flashing before her eyes.  It hurt, it hurt too much…she needed it to stop…make it stop…make it—

The room was quiet as Abby pulled her lips away.  Elena lay on the bed, mouth opened, eyes wide, lost in her mind.  Her brain would need time to absorb the ‘new’ information.  In the meantime, there were a few calls Abby needed to make before dinner.

Chapter Text

Carol wasn’t sure of how long they had been in the car. They stopped periodically for snacks and gas, or just to use the restroom, but otherwise, they just kept driving.  She had watched the low hills grow into mountains as the sun set in the sky.  The conversations between them had floated in and out throughout the day.  Nothing too deep or personal and Carol was grateful for it.  So much had happened in such a short time, she need to process it all. 

The sky was dark, but Therese drove with great speed and precision.  “You can see in the dark?” Carol asked, now in the front passenger seat and Dannie asleep in the back.

“Yes.”

If they kept up this speed and pace, they would make New Orleans by the next morning.  “Are you alright staying up? Do you need a break?”

“I’m fine.”

Therese had kept most of her answers short and direct ever since they had left this morning. Carol didn’t need to read her mind to know that something was bothering her, though that would be a lot easier. “What are you thinking?”

Therese didn’t reply at first and Carol wondered if her question would go unanswered. “Tell me why you married him.”

That was not where she was expecting their conversation to go.  “I told you,” Carol shrugged and looked back outside the window into the darkness.

“You said family dynamics, but that isn’t really an answer.” Therese gave her a bit of side-eye.

Carol was desperate to change the subject.  “Tell me why you get tattoos when they don’t last.”

Therese laughed, “You’re cute when you’re uncomfortable.  I will answer your question, but you have to promise to answer mine.”

“Fine,” Carol dropped her head and waited.

“I know it may not seem like it, but 90 years is a long time. I get bored with how I look and like to try new things.  I was very traditional in the 50’s and 60’s, keeping with modern fashion trends and such.  When I had to disappear, due to my lack of aging, I took the opportunity to experiment with my appearance.  Piercings heal very quickly, so I’ve tried a lot of different ones.  Tattoos last a few weeks at most, so my body is like a canvas that can be repainted over and over again.  It’s all just out of boredom I guess.”

“I like you without all the dark make-up and stuff…the real you, natural…beautiful.” Carol said without thinking.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” She snickered.  “Your turn, and don’t try to weasel out of it.”

Carol took a deep breath and let it out slow.  “I’m afraid that you will, I don’t know, think less of me? Judge me?”

“Carol,” Therese looked over at her, taking her eyes of the road for a few seconds.  “I am in no position to judge anyone for anything, not after some of the things I’ve done.”

“What sort of things?" Carol wanted Therese to keep going, to tell her all of the things she had done in those 90 years.  Had she ever been in love before? Had she lost people she cared about? Had she killed people? Carol wanted to know absolutely everything about her.

“Stop stalling.”

“Therese,” Carol spoke in a hushed whisper. “You have to understand, I wasn’t lying when I said I am broken.  I was supposed to have powers, I told you that.  Dannie was right, in our world, women are in control, but I was never...strong, so I just did what my mother told me to do, ever the dutiful daughter." She paused, not sure of how much she wanted to admit. “I had a crush on someone when I was a girl.  I mean I didn’t realize it at the time, being so young, but as I got older and saw her, I understood.”

“Her?” Therese looked at her again, a twinkle in her eye.

“She was my best friend and we shared a deep connection, but we were kids.  She moved away, but we stayed in touch. I watched as she became a beautiful, amazing witch, and she’s so powerful." Carol looked down again.  "I felt ashamed even being in the room with her.”

“Do you not know how beautiful you are?” Therese didn’t understand how Carol didn’t see her own beauty.  Not in a narcissistic way, but just in an honest, yeah I’m hot, way.

“I don’t look at myself like that, I guess.  I just see a shell…where someone else is supposed to live.”

Therese didn’t say anything, letting the weight of that statement hang in the air.  “Anyway, my mother basically arranged this marriage with Harge’s family.  They were a good witch family and had a history of producing strong witch heirs.  She told me even though my powers never surfaced, I could have a child that would have abilities.  He was nice enough, handsome…you know…for a guy. He wasn’t always like the man you saw.  He used to be gentle, attentive, and he would try to make me happy, but over the past few years he changed.  I never got pregnant and he just got more frustrated and angry, like I had failed him.  That seems to be what I’m good at, failing.”

Therese gripped the wheel hard.  She was doing it again, talking disparagingly about herself.  “Do you love him? Did you love him?” She asked through gritted teeth.

Carol didn’t answer right away.  “Yes, no, I don’t know.  I think I loved the idea of him and I loved the fact that people stopped looking at me like I was somehow deficient.  If an Aird married me, I must have abilities, for they would never stoop so low.”

Her eyes saw red.  Therese wanted to grab her, to make her see! Do you not see how fucking amazing you are? How beautiful and perfect you are? She was just about to tell her all of that when a loud explosion rang through the car! Therese gripped the wheel, holding on for dear life, as she tried to keep them on the road and not flipping down a steeply inclined side of a mountain.  She got the car to a stop, and pulled to the side of the road, but they wouldn’t be safe here. There was no real curb.  She turned on the flashers and checked to make sure everyone else was alright. 

Dannie had been flown on to the floor and was slowly getting up, groaning, but Carol was white as a sheet, breathing heavy, gripping the dashboard, eyes wide and terrified. “You’re okay, we’re okay.” Therese said trying to calm her.  The adrenaline pumping through Carol’s body was too fucking enticing.  Therese practically sprinted from the car and ran a few yards away.  It wasn’t far enough, but it would help.

Dannie made it out of the backseat and onto the side of the road, slowly approaching Therese.  “What the fuck happened?”

Therese felt it growing deep inside of her, the want, the need, the desire.  Her eyes were like slivers, focused on Carol who had yet to emerge from the car. 

“Shit,” Dannie knew what was happening.  “Therese, I need to go check on Carol. You stay here.”

“Back away…slowly…” she growled, deep and raspy.

Dannie did as she asked, moving slowly, deliberately, never taking his eyes off of the vampire in front of him.  When he felt the car hit the back of his legs, he turned slowly and walked over to the passenger side door, opening it carefully.  “Carol? Are you hurt?”

“I…I…I couldn’t stop it.  Couldn’t control it.” She was still in shock. 

“We blew a tire, Carol.  There was nothing you could do. Can you breathe for me?  I need you to calm down…please.” There was a desperation in his voice and Carol turned to look at him, seeing the deep concern in his eyes as he looked back towards Therese who was backing further back from the car.  She understood and took a deep breath and tried to will her heart to slow.  Bright lights were suddenly in the rearview mirror and like a flash, Therese was back by the car, ready to defend them both, her own need subsiding.

“Therese…” Carol whispered.  “I’m okay…” she slowly reached out and placed a delicate hand on Therese’s arm, but stayed in the car.  The heat from Carol's hand flowed through Therese’s body like a tidal wave, and it had an instant calming effect on her. 

“You all alright?” A voice from the car that pulled up behind him spoke.  “It’s the damndest thing!  Ms. Abby called me and told me to be on this road around this time and I would find three people that needed a ride! I ain’t seen hide nor hair of anyone until now, so you must be them. I’m Phil.”

Carol undid her seat belt with one hand, keeping the other on Therese’s arm.  “Who did you say sent you?”

“Ms. Abby. She and her lady friend are staying in a cabin not too far from here.  I took them there earlier and then she called and said she’d pay me a right nice fare if I could find her friends and bring ‘em.”

“Abby Gerhard?” Carol said, disbelieving. How was Abby here of all places?

“Yes, ma’am! That’s her and you must be them. So, I can take you to the cabin or help you with the spare and then show you the way.  Whichever you prefer.” Therese stared down the man.  He was maybe in his 40's with short dark hair, wearing denim overalls, boots, and a flannel shirt.  How appropriate, she thought. 

“I don’t have a spare,” Dannie smacked his head. “I mean I do, but it’s flat.  We left in such a hurry I forgot all about it.”

“Alright then,” the odd human spoke kindly.  “We should probably find a safer place for your car for now.  I think there is a turn off just up the road a bit and we can call a tow in the morning to come and take it.  In the meantime, I’ll take ya’ll to meet your friends.”

Therese’s breathing was returning to normal, but Carol could tell she was still on edge.  Who was the strange man that had come for them in the middle of the night? How could he know they would be here? And who the hell was Abby? Carol moved in a little closer and whispered in her ear.  “He’s a human, dearest. He cannot hurt us.”

The nearness of her, the smell of her, the warmth of her, the 'dearest'…it all brought Therese back to her rational self and she relaxed a bit more. “Who is Abby?”

“Remember that friend I was just speaking about?” Carol smiled.

A surge of jealousy pulsed through Therese and she laid a hand possessively on top of Carols.

“We can trust her, okay?”

Therese nodded. The moved the bags to Phil’s car and then Therese slowly drove the car about a quarter mile up the curvy road.  Phil had been right, there was a slight turn off and a large shoulder where people could park and observe the valley below.  The car would be safe here for now.  Dannie left a note in the front window in case the police stopped stating that they would have it towed in the morning, and off they went in the Uber mobile.  

When they finally pulled up to the old cabin, Dannie shivered. “I’ve seen this movie.  We’re all going to die,” he whispered. 

The lights were on and before they got out of the car, Elena and Abby were standing on the porch waving at them.  “That’s my sister! That’s Elena! What the hell is going on?”

“Are you sure we can trust them?” Therese asked, keeping a protective hand on Carol’s leg.

“I trust Abby with my life, but I’m not sure about Elena. Just stay close to me, okay?” Carol looked back at Therese to see her smile. 

“With pleasure.” She smiled, but behind it there was an edge of something more, something darker.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Bridgette sat next to Harge on the plane, but Harris had to sit a few rows behind them since they booked last minute.  When she was certain that Harris was asleep, she leaned closer to Harge.  “This is awkward. Why couldn’t you just let her go? Then we could have been together?”

Harge shot her a hard look. “I may not love her, Bridgette, but I don’t want her harmed,” he said coldly.

“I know she went willingly, Harge. You can’t lie to me, so what’s this really about?” Bridgette was younger than Carol, but not as beautiful.  She was, however, a firecracker in bed, unlike his wife who was cold and disinterested. 

“She’s my wife, my responsibility.” He answered. 

Bridgette put some space back between them.  “Will you ever leave her? Or am I wasting my time hoping?”

“Just go to sleep.  We’ve still got to figure out how to find them once we get there.” There was an annoyed edge to his voice.

“That’s easy,” she spoke, looking out the window.  “We do the locator spell again with a local map. It should get us close enough.”

Harge guessed that would be the easiest way. “Where will we find the ingredients? I can’t imagine there are too many stores in Tennessee that carry what we need.”

“You’d be surprised.  I’ve heard stories of famous witches living in the mountains.  They tell fortunes and work as mid-wives, mostly, but they are there.”

“I’m glad you are here, Bridge.” He whispered with a smile, leaning forward to place a chaste kiss on her lips, trying to appease her.  She knew he was being honest and for now, it was enough.

 

<><><><><> 

 

The introductions were strained and odd when they initially walked in, but they quickly settled into the cabin.  Dannie would take the couch, Abby and Elena would share one room with the queen bed, and Carol and Therese would take the room with the two twin beds. when Therese and Carol came back downstairs after putting away their bags, they found the other three waiting patiently.  

“So you’re the vampire,” Elena said a little too curtly for Carol’s liking.  “I’ve heard a lot about you, but I must admit, you're shorter than I expected.  I thought most vampires were tall.”

Therese tilted her head, confused. "You've heard a lot about me?"

“Abby.  She can see things, and apparently she saw you a long time ago.”

Therese's eyes narrowed, disbelieving.

“So you’re the one who sent Phil because you knew where we would be?” Dannie asked from the sofa.

“Yes. Nice to finally meet you all.  I’ve seen you in my dreams enough to feel like I know you.”  She smiled sweetly and walked to sit next to Dannie on the couch.  Therese watched her in wonder at how easily she moved through the room.  How did I end up in a room full of witch's, she wondered?

Elena leaned over toward Carol and whispered quietly in her ear, but Therese could hear every word. “We need to talk.”

“We do,” Carol agreed, “but can it wait until morning? I’m exhausted.”

“Of course.” Elena backed up and walked over to stand next to Abby.  “I imagine we’re all quite tired, so why don’t we call it a night.  Tomorrow, we’ll talk and come up with a plan.”

“A plan for what exactly?” Therese asked, never leaving Carol’s side.

“There is a lot to discuss, Therese.” Abby explained. “Too much for tonight.  Elena is right, let’s call it a night and we can regroup in the morning.” Elena held out a hand, not even realizing, and Abby took it and they disappeared into the bedroom. 

Carol smiled as she watched her sister and her best friend walk away.  They seemed good together.  “Will you be able to sleep?” Carol looked over at Therese. 

“Doubtful, but I will lay down and rest while you sleep.” They both turned and looked at Dannie, who was already making himself comfy on the couch.  “Goodnight, Dannie.”

He yawned through a goodnight and collapsed into a pillow as Therese and Carol moved back up the stairs to their bedroom. 

“Take whichever bed, I don’t have a preference.” Therese said as she walked over to the window and stared out.  Carol choose the bed closest to the door and opened her suitcase and pulled out her pajamas.  I’m just going to go freshen up.  I’m sure my scent is strong after all of that."

Therese nodded and smiled, “I’m getting used to it.”

A few minutes later, Carol came out of the bathroom with wet hair, in her night clothes and sat on the bed.  Therese was still looking out the window.  “Do you see something?”

She shook her head.  “Animals, an owl, but otherwise, no.  Do you sense anyone?”

Carol closed her eyes and tried to concentrate.  “Other witches, a daemon, and a vampire,” she said with a smile.  Therese walked over and sat on the opposite bed, staring at her.

“Why did you want to know about Harge? About my marriage?” Carol asked her shyly.

Therese just stared at her, green eyes boring into her blue.  “Curiosity and I need to know if…” she trailed off.

“If I plan on going back to him?” Carol finished her question and Therese nodded in affirmation.

Carol didn’t divert her eyes.  “It isn’t an option now.”

“Why?” Therese asked quickly.

“Because of everything that has happened.  Because of you, because of me, because of—“

“Us?”

Carol didn’t reply, but kept her eyes locked with Therese, her heart rate increasing.

Therese was the first to shift her gaze.  “What do you know of vampires and mating, Carol?” Her voice was low.

The conversation felt dangerous. Carol just kept looking in the young face in front of her, wondering what it would be like to really touch her, to hold her, to kiss her.  She thought back to the stories she’d been told about vampires, needing to answer Therese's question.  “Vampires mate for life.”

Therese turned back, her eyes dark and stormy.  “Yes, they mate for life. When a vampire finds their mate, they become overly protective, fierce, and possessive. I feel that way towards you.”

Carol assumed some of the stories she been told as a child about vampires were just fairy tales designed to scare children, but based on Therese’s unyielding eyes, Carol now understood some of the stories were true.   

“I see.” She couldn’t hold Therese’s gaze any longer.  “So, you’re no different from him. You think I’m yours.”

“It is very different, Carol.” Therese said with a growl. “I would kill for my mate; die for my mate; take all they would give…but it would be given.”

Carol suddenly felt ashamed, understanding what Therese was implying. Harge had taken hadn’t he?  He had always just taken, never giving anything in return and she had always just let him, afraid of shirking tradition or of dishonoring her family.  She supposed it was too late for that now.  Carol wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but she did know going back was no longer an option.  In just a few days with Therese, she felt something powerful rising inside of her and she needed to understand what is was and why she felt it.  She needed to know why she felt so connected to this vampire, and why she would willingly leave her entire life behind and run away into the unknown.  She knew Therese was waiting for a response, but Carol wasn’t sure of what to say.

“Therese, I can’t deny an attraction to you, but I can’t…” Carol sighed unable to find the right words. “I only know that I want to be here…with you. I cannot make you promises that might cause you to get hurt. Can that be enough, for now?” Carol whispered.

Therese knew that Carol did not understand what she was really asking of her, but she also knew that no matter the outcome, no matter how bad it hurt, she would never be able to deny Carol. Despite living forever, when it came to love and mating, vampires could be incredibly impulsive and impatient creatures, especially the young ones.  She was already craving Carol, desperate to take her, to claim her, and to mark her. The longer they were together, the harder it would get and it would take every ounce of self-control that Therese had to keep the witch close and yet not truly be with her.

“Yes,” was all Therese replied. 

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, back in Boston...

 

The loft apartment was large and empty.  Samantha, Sarah, and Rebecca had spoken with the downstairs neighbor before breaking in and were told the apartment belonged to an artist, Theresa Albright, or something like that.  He described her as a young girl with dark hair, quiet, very private, and a bit of night owl. Rebecca stared at the large, unfinished painting that was left behind, something in the colors familiar. 

Samantha looked around the kitchen, seeing a discarded Styrofoam container that was stained red on the inside, on the counter.  “Two guesses what was in here. Gross.”

Sarah came to stand next to Rebecca, who was still looking at the portrait.  “What is it?”

“I think it is supposed to be Carol. That is the color of her eyes.”  She turned and looked more around the apartment.  Rebecca had a strange feeling that Carol had been there, but there were no clues left behind that hinted to where they had gone. 

“We need to contact the Congregation now, Rebecca,” Samantha said from across the room. “They need to know what happened and they’ll be able to help us before it is too late.”

Rebecca really didn’t want that. “Not yet. Let’s see if Harge and the others were able to track them in Knoxville.”

“Why wait?” Sarah asked.  “Aren’t you afraid that the vampire will hurt her or maybe even kill her?”

She turned and looked back and the painting.  “My daughter is alive.  That much I know.” She looked at the other two witch’s, feeling them poking around in her head.  “If Harge doesn’t find anything, we’ll call.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Therese heard something downstairs and sped into the kitchen, only to find Abby fiddling around, making coffee.  “Let me do that,” Therese offered quietly, not wanting to wake Dannie.

“Thank you,” Abby whispered and sat on the stool at a kitchen island.  “I’m still half asleep I’m afraid and it’s harder for me to see first thing in the morning.”

This made Therese wonder.  “How does that work exactly? Your sight.”

“Do you mean me navigating the world? Or seeing the future?”

“Both.”

Abby closed her eyes.  “In terms of this place, it isn’t exactly magic. I just have it memorized, a cognitive map of sorts.  I remember every detail from my childhood and I make sure nothing is ever moved.  Same with my house in Boston.  Out there,” she motioned out a window, “I just feel my way and trust my witch’s sight.  I don’t exactly see the world, I just have an instinct that tells me where not to go.  The other thing is harder to explain.”

Therese finished loading the coffee grounds into the filter and set the pot to brew.  “You don’t have to explain if you don’t want to.  I know I’m a stranger.”

Abby smiled at her.  “You aren't a stranger, Therese.  I've seen you in my mind for a long time.  Usually, I see flashes, moments in time, but never the whole picture.  If I concentrate on someone I know or care about, I can see a bit more.”

“How did you know about the tire or where we would be?”

“I knew to come here because I had a vision of this place and I just felt that this was where we needed to be.  Once Elena and I got here, I saw an image of a blue car on the side of the road and just felt that it was Carol. I didn’t know everything, but I sensed a general location, which is why I couldn’t tell Phil exactly where to find you.  Poor guy was probably driving up and down that road for a while.”

“So you get glimpses of the future?” Therese clarified. She had a question she really wanted to ask, but she wasn’t sure if she should. 

“Not of the general future.  I couldn't tell you who the next president will be or winning lotto numbers or anything like that.  I just see things about the people I care about.”

“And you care about Carol.” It was more of a statement than a question. The twinge of jealousy was building in her chest again.

“Don’t you?” Abby gave her a half smile and Therese smiled back in return.  “Look, Therese, Carol and I grew up together and I will always consider her my friend.  If you want to know if I’m in love with her,” Abby paused, “no. Carol was always destined for another.” She looked back at the bedroom door where Elena still slept.  “I was meant for someone else.”

“Can you tell me if…” Therese trailed off.  “Nevermind.”

Abby turned back to her, somehow knowing what Therese didn’t actually ask.  “I can tell you that you were meant to meet, years ago in fact, but I won’t tell you more until I speak to Carol.”

“Fair enough,” Therese replied.  “I think the coffee is almost ready.”

 

 

It took about 30 minutes or so to get the rest of the sleepers to awaken.  Once everyone was caffeinated and fully functioning, Abby made some decisions on behalf of the group. “I’m going to make breakfast while Carol and Elena chat.  Dannie you need to call about your car.”

“What about me?” Therese asked, suddenly feeling useless.

“I don’t really know,” Abby giggled.  “What do vampires do in the day?”

Therese rolled her eyes, “I’m going to go shower and get cleaned up, how about that?” She looked over at Carol, “Yell if you need me.”

“She’ll be fine,” Elena looked at her, still a little weary of the vampire.

 

 

Carol and Elena took mugs of coffee out onto the front porch of the cabin and sat on some wooden Adirondack chairs.  The mountain air was crisp and cool and Carol loved the quiet, so unlike the big city. “How did you know to come? Did mother send you to find me?”

Elena looked over at her sister, already sensing a change in her. “She knows I’m with Abby, but not where, though you know she’ll find out so we can’t stay in one place for long.”

Carol was confused.  “Why? Why are we running from her, too? I thought this was all about Harge.”

“Two heads, same snake.” Elena took a sip of her coffee.

“What does that mean?”

Elena wasn’t sure where to start. After everything Abby had shared with her last night, she herself was still overwhelmed.  “What do you remember of our childhood?”

“I…what? Elena, I don’t understand where you are going with this!” Carol was already feeling frustrated and it had only been a few minutes.

“What I mean is, do you remember having any powers when you were a child?” Elena clarified.

“Maybe,” Carol ran her fingers through her long blonde hair.  It was getting more out of control every day and she wasn’t sure what to do with it. “I’m not sure if those memories are real or imagined.”

“I remember you having powers.” Elena said quietly. “You would float around the house, not quite flying, but I knew you would be able to one day.  I remember you almost set the kitchen on fire when mom yelled at you, though I can’t remember what it was about.  I used to be so jealous of you because I couldn’t do any of that, and then one day…it all just stopped.  Do you remember any of it?”

Carol just stared at her, unsure of how to react.  She didn’t remember any of that.  “I...I remember moving stuff around the room just by thinking about it, but I always thought I just dreamed that.”

“It was all her, Carol. Rebecca.” Her voice darkened at her name. 

Carol had never heard Elena call their mother by her first name and it caused a shiver to run up and down her spine. “I don’t understand.”

Elena took a deep breath.  “Abby had a vision when you were children.  To simplify it, she saw Therese and she saw her drink from you and being so young, it frightened her.  She just assumed the vision meant you were being killed by a vampire and she told our mother. Rebecca decided then and there that she wouldn’t let that happen.”

Carol’s eyes went wide. “Therese would never hurt me!”

“Are you sure of that?” Elena asked first, trying to understand the relationship her sister shared with this other creature. 

“Yes." Carol set her jaw. "I trust her.”

“Fine.” Elena gave in before continuing, “But mother doesn’t understand that.  She is caught up in the old way of thinking…no intermingling of species, stereotypes, and all that bullshit. In her mind, you were taken, you are being held, and you are in danger and she will stop at nothing to put an end to all of this.”

“Do you believe me?” Carol said, her voice softer now.

Elena didn’t answer immediately, thinking back to everything Abby had shown her. “I believe in Abby and I believe in what she showed me last night. You and Therese were destined, soulmates or whatever.” She waved her hands around. “Mother was so determined to keep you from your fate, she…well she tried to change it all and wound up hurting us both.” 

Carol looked into her cup of cold coffee and a realization dawned on her. “She spellbound me, didn't she?” It was the worst fate, aside from death, that a witch could suffer. Though some witch's would argue that death was better.  Being spellbound meant that your powers were locked away and hidden from you. It basically turned you into a human, though it could be undone. 

Elena shook her head, “No, I think this was worse.” Elena looked up into the eyes of her older sister, and pleaded.  “Please don’t hate me for what I’m about to tell you.”

There was a beat of silence as Carol didn’t respond.

“You should never have married Harge." Elena said, hanging her head. "Rebecca hid your powers from you and found a spell to…to drain you, for lack of a better description.  She taught the spell to Harge and he’s been leaching off of you since the day you went on your first date.  I’d wager he actually doesn’t have much real power himself, just enough to cast the spell, but it allowed him to steal all of yours and it made him stronger.”

Silence.

“She made a deal,” Elena continued. “Harge vowed to protect you and to hide you, in exchange for your power and a baby.”

Carol’s face went red and her hands started to glow a slight blue color.

“Don’t you see? That’s why you were always so tired! It’s why you always felt so weak! It isn’t how you were supposed to be!”

All she could see was red.  Her heart rate increased and her blood pressure rose, and she prayed the water was loud enough that Therese wouldn’t hear it. “Why? Why would she do that to me?” Carol's voice dropped an octave, low and filled with anger.

Elena struggled to find a rational answer.  “Honestly, I think at first she really believed she was doing it to save you from the vampire, but at some point everything got twisted and it became more about saving her own ass. If the coven found out about this, she’d be kicked out and shamed.”

Carol’s hands returned to a normal shade of flesh and she reached out to her sister.  “You said she hurt us both and asked me not to hate you.  What did you mean?”

“You know what my abilities are, Carol.  She knew, too, and she made me use them to convince you…to marry him.  I knew you weren’t, well let’s just say I knew both of our interests laid elsewhere, but she told me I was saving your life by doing this…that I was protecting you and Goddess help me, I believed her! So I did it.  I ‘convinced’ you to go out with Harge and then to marry him, and I knew what it was costing you and how it was hurting you and I’m so sorry!” The tears were flowing now. Elena lowered her head into her hands and cried in shame.

Carol watched her and let her cry for a few minutes before finally reaching out to take her hand.  “It isn’t your fault, Elena. I would have believed her, too.”

Elena felt relief wash through her entire body.  She wiped her face on the sleeve of her robe and tried to calm down her nerves.  There were a few minutes of awkward silence before Carol finally spoke again.

“So…you and Abby? When did that happen?” She smiled at her baby sister.

Elena pulled Carol in and gave her a long hug, so thankful that her sister didn’t hate her.  “Nothing has happened…yet…but she is so beautiful, Carol and she’s the one that opened my eyes or my mind or whatever.  She gave me back everything Rebecca stole from me!”

“She took your memories?” Carol asked, remembering how Harge had tried to invade her mind the night she ran away with Therese.

Elena nodded, “But Abby got them back and now I know what Rebecca did and who she really is and I’m not going to let her hurt us anymore.”

Abby called from the kitchen to everyone in the house.  “Breakfast is ready!”

Chapter Text

Carol was distant and distracted over breakfast and Therese knew why. Despite trying her best not to eavesdrop, she heard the majority of the conversation between Elena and Carol thanks to her heightened sense of hearing.  Therese had stood in the bedroom, rage coursing through her as she listened to Elena explain everything to Carol.  She forced herself to calm down before she came down to join them all for breakfast.  Abby had been very thoughtful and had ordered some smoked salmon with her grocery delivery early that morning. 

As she watched Carol nibble on her eggs and bacon, she thought of the word ‘fated’ and how it had been mentioned twice this morning to describe her relationship with Carol.  They were meant to be together; Carol was meant to be hers and that made her smile.  

Therese couldn’t help but wonder how they would have met all those years ago.  She imagined a meet cute where Carol left her gloves somewhere and she tracked her scent to return them.  Would they have gone on dates? Taken a road trip? Could they have had a normal life? 

“You’re off in la-la land this morning,” Dannie came up next to her, placing his empty plate in the sink.  “Everything alright?”

Therese nodded, but offered nothing more in explanation for the smile on her face.

 

 

 

Breakfast now complete, Abby set the agenda for the day.  “We need to get Dannie to his car, so I’ll call Phil to come and get you.”

“What’s with this Phil guy anyway?” Dannie asked. “He’s just always at our beckon call?”

“Oh he’s just a sweet guy and I know his family needs the money. Plus, I can just tell he’s trustworthy, so I keep calling him,” Abby explained.

“Care to take a ride?” Dannie asked at Therese. 

Honestly, Therese had reservations at even the thought of being separated from Carol, but she agreed to go with Dannie to get the car.  She knew that even a few hours away would be difficult and her body raged against it, but Elena insisted that she had more to discuss with Carol, and Therese didn’t want to be in the way of their sisterly bonding. 

“You know Carol, Abby could help return your memories, too,” Elena recommended.  “She can do the witch’s kiss and—“

Therese let out a low growl, signaling her disapproval at the suggestion of another woman kissing Carol.

“Easy tiger,” Abby place a hand on Therese’s arm.  “It would just be on the head.  Nothing intimate.”

But Therese knew that it was actually very intimate.  Abby would have access to all of Carol’s thoughts, something Therese could never have, without drinking her blood of course. 

“I don’t want to know.” Carol put an end to the discussion. “I think I know enough, and honestly, it will just cause me more pain. I know what she did, what she took from me, anymore just seems… burdensome.”

Therese relaxed a little, knowing that Carol was just as opposed to having someone else kiss her as she was. 

“Right,” Dannie felt the awkward energy in the room.  “Let’s see about getting my car!”

 

 

 

Abby and Elena had a plan, shared in their thoughts to each other.  In only a few hours together, they had created their own secret form of communication, thoughts flowing so easily between each other, with everyone else, including Carol, seemingly oblivious.  They agreed that Carol needed to become more familiar with her powers and to learn to use them.  Abby knew she wouldn’t go for the ‘kiss’ idea, so the backup plan was to do it the old-fashioned way.  Carol was going to have to practice.  They would take her on walks, put her in different situations, and see if her witch’s intuition would kick in.  So when Dannie and Therese left with Phil to deal with the car, they took the opportunity for Carol’s first lesson.

“You two up for a walk?” Abby asked the sisters. “There are some beautiful hiking trails around.” 

“I didn’t bring anything for hiking,” Carol looked down at her yoga pants, lose sweatshirt, and athletic shoes. 

“That will be fine, it’s not exactly rugged.” Abby explained that she wouldn’t be changing out of her clothes either.  “There is beautiful clearing about half a mile from here and sometimes there are deer or even a baby black bear or two.”

Carol agreed and the three set off, strolling leisurely. Carol smiled when she noticed Abby and Elena holding hands. “So… are we going to talk about this?”

Elena smiled, “No, we aren’t.  I’m not going to question it.  I just know what I’m feeling and I’m going to just follow my intuition.”

“What she said,” Abby agreed. “We are going to talk about you, though. You’re brighter already, Carol and stronger… can you feel it?”

“I’m not sure,” Carol answered honestly, kicking a rock with her foot. 

“We should test some things,” Elena suggested.  “See how much your body remembers.  You up for it?”

“Okay,” Carol said tentatively.  “What do you suggest?”

Abby suggested they start with some basic elemental magic.  They entered the open area she had spoken of, which wasn’t too large, smaller than a baseball field, but filled with tall grass and surrounded by trees on all sides. 

Carol felt an energy around them. “This place is… special.”

“My grandmother told me stories of celebrations that took place here.  Bonfires and dancing by the moon, that sort of thing.  I guess witches have always been drawn to this place. You can feel the sacred energy emanating, can’t you?” She let her hands hover over the grass that came up to her knees.  “You have the power of witchwind, Carol.  Can you make the grasses move?”

Carol stared at the ground, but nothing happened.

“Stop trying to use your mind,” Abby scolded her.  “Magic isn’t rational.  It is desire made real, felt from your heart.  I don’t tell myself that I want to see the future, I just think of the people I care about most and how I desire to help them and the visions come naturally. You have to think of what you most desire and then trust that the magic will bring it to you.”

“Well I don’t exactly desire for the weeds to move.” Carol said sardonically. 

“What do you desire?” Abby countered. 

Carol thought about it for a few moments. “I desire… honesty… clarity… love… and freedom.”

A slight breeze blew through the trees, but they weren’t sure if it was Carol or just the actual wind.  “Close your eyes,” Elena suggested and Carol complied. “I want you to imagine freedom and tell me what you see.”

Carol created an image in her mind. “I see a large, open beach and the waves are crashing over my feet.  The salt air is blowing through my hair and I can hear the seagulls flying by.” Elena and Abby watched in wonder as Carol started to float about a meter off the ground as the trees and grasses swayed as if they were moving with the waves.   

“Open your eyes,” Abby was amazed at how quickly it was all coming back to her.

As soon as Carol opened her eyes, panic set in and tumbled to the ground as Elena and Abby cheered! “That was great!”

“I… how…” Carol was speechless.

“It will get easier,” Abby explained. “Your heart will remember.”

“Remember what?”

“It will remember being free of them,” Elena said, referring to Rebecca and Harge, “and it will remember the power it once had,  just like when you tried to set the kitchen on fire when we were kids.”

“So, we have confirmed witchfire and witchwind.  Any other tricks up your sleeve?” Abby asked. 

“When I cried last weekend, Mother said something about witchwater. I was crying and it was just pouring out of me. I filled up the kitchen sink in a matter of seconds. It came from my eyes, my nose, my mouth, my fingers… like I was a bucket with holes all through it.”

“Fire, Water, and Air. I don’t know of anyone who has yielded three elemental powers in several generations, but I always knew you were be special,” Abby explained. “In time, you will be incredibly powerful.”

 

 

They were walking back, laughing and giddy when Abby suddenly stopped, her eyes burning with white energy.  “NO!”

Elena’s hand was shaken loose, “What’s wrong? Abby?”

The twig snapped behind them and Carol turned just in time to see Harge before he grabbed her, spinning her around in his arms.  He pulled her backwards, close to his body, and she could already feel her power starting to wane. “No! Get off of me!”  She tried to pull away, but he had too strong of a hold. 

Harris and Bridgett walked up behind Elena and Abby, surrounding them.  “How did you find us?” Elena grabbed Abby’s hand, feeling the need to protect her. 

“Wasn’t hard with all the energy in this place.  Three witch’s together? Practically jumped out of the map!”

Harge gave Carol a wet kiss on her cheek.  “It’s time to come home, honey. You don’t understand what that vampire has done to you.  She’s poisoned your mind, holding you in her thrall. We’re going to get back to Boston and it will be all better.” His voice was dripping with fake concern.

“Therese has done nothing to me! I left you! You’re nothing but a succubus!”

Bridgett walked closer, inching closer to her lover, feeling jealous of how he held Carol.  “Are you telling us that she didn’t make you taste her blood?”

“Of course not!” Carol screamed! “She’s been protecting me!”

“Protecting you from your own kind? From your own husband?” Harris said with a tsk, tsk. “I can tell something has changed in you, Carol.  Maybe she’s already turned you.”

Carol struggled against the feel of her husband’s body pressing against her, wanting to get away.  She closed her eyes, I desire freedom, she thought.  Her hands started glowing and the blue flames rose in her palms.  She place her hands on Harge’s arms and the flesh started to burn!

He pushed her away and screamed in pain! “You fucking, bitch!”

“Therese hasn’t hurt me, unlike you! Did you think I wouldn’t find out about what you and my mother did? And you call her the vampire?” She spat as she stepped away from him and towards Elena and Abby. 

Bridgett moved to stand next to Harge, but Harris stayed behind the three women.  “What is she talking about?” she asked.

Harge didn’t answer and Harris averted her gaze.  They couldn’t lie.

“He’s been stealing my powers! Sucking me dry for years!” Carol’s eyes, now bright blue, turned to look at Bridgett.  “And you’re next.  You think he loves you? He’s probably already started! Ever feel tired after spending time with him?”

Bridgett took a step away from Harge.  “Is she telling the truth?”

“You know I am! Witches can’t lie to each other!” Carol screamed.

Abby and Elena had remained silent the entire time, or so it seemed.  Elena was working to hide Abby’s thoughts from the others while Abby called out to Dannie and Therese, praying they wouldn’t hear her. 

“How is that even possible?” Bridgett took another step away from Harge. “You don’t even try to deny it?” She was about to storm off, to return to the car and drive as far away from this as she could, but Harge suddenly burst forward, grabbing her arm.

“Don’t you dare walk away from me!”

Carol laughed.  “See? You’re already his next little pet project! Her hands still burned with the blue flames.  “Are you going to take everything from her, too? Drain her until she is a shell, like you did me?” The damn inside of Carol was opening and all of her rage was rushing to the surface! She was angry as hell at her mother, at Harge, at the world!

“I never took it all! But look at you now! So much more to give me!” He let go of Bridgett, casting her aside, drawn to the waves of energy flowing off of Carol.  He started chanting and like a magnet, Carol felt her energy being pulled out of her and into him. 

“Stop it!” She tried to resist the spell, but it was too powerful.

“You know the Congregation is on its way,” he took a step forward towards his wife, needing to be closer, to touch her, for the spell to work at its full force.  “They are going to take your little vampire and destroy her!”

As Carol’s anger increased, so did her power and Harge relished in it! “That’s it! Give it all to me! I will take every last drop!”

Elena dropped Abby’s hand and rushed forward to somehow stop what was happening, but Harris grabbed her from behind.  Abby’s eyes were blazing white now.  “Leave now, Harge! All of you! Let her go, or suffer the consequences of this choice!”

“NO!” He screamed.  “Carol is mine and I will take whatever I want from her!”

There was a sudden rush of wind and Harge was pulled backwards and away from Carol as she fell forward onto the ground.  He scream, but before anyone could react, Therese ripped into his jugular from behind and the blood started to gush.  Her eyes were like slits as she smelled Carol all over him, enraging her further. He reached back, trying to throw her off, but with the first drop of blood on her tongue, Therese was pulled into his mind and his memories.

She saw his past, his childhood, his adolescence, and then she saw Carol. Therese sucked harder and she was filled with images of Carol, his hands on Carol, his lips on Carol, his body on top of her, pounding into her at night, merciless, dry, hard… she could see the pain on her face and feel his revelry at hurting her so much. She felt all the pain he joyously caused! Her finger nails tore into his skin and she felt him drop to his knees as she continued to drink. He would never hurt her again.

Carol stood and cried out for Therese, but she was too far gone and the others just watched in horror at the savagery!  Carol stood and started to walk towards the violent scene but Dannie was suddenly there, blocking her path, “No! She won’t be able to stop herself.  Nobody move!” He yelled at everyone, turning slowly back to his friend. 

Harge’s body, now pale, dropped to the forest floor and Therese stood, panting, blood dripping from her mouth and covering her clothes. “Therese, it’s okay… it’s alright…” he tried to calm her down, but she growled at him, crouching down and preparing to lunge forward, like a lion with its prey. Dannie froze in place, but kept talking in a calming voice. Carol moved around him, floating a few inches off the ground, hands glowing a lighter blue color.

“Carol, don’t!” He tried to warn her, but she ignored his desperate plea. 

“Therese would never hurt me.” She moved closer, hands raised. “Would you, angel?” Therese growled at her, feeling enraged by the imagery still flowing through her mind. Carol reached one hand out, slowly… slowly. “Come back to me.” She spoke softly, her voice low. Therese blinked a few times, shaking her head, as if trying to dispel something from inside as she stood upright and with a sudden and swift rush, Carol was next to her, a hand on Therese’s heart. “I’m here. I’m alright.” She whispered to the disheveled brunette. “Feel me…”

The warmth of Carol’s hand spread from her chest throughout the rest of her body. The images in her mind were replaced with the feel of her hand, the smell of her skin, and the calm of her voice. Carol… Carol…

Therese fell forward into her arms, physically spent, while the other’s stood silent, unmoving, terrified. After a few seconds, Carol turned back to see Bridgett and Harris running into the woods, back to wherever they came from.  Dannie and Elena started to give chase, but Abby stopped them.  “Let them go! We can’t stop what’s in motion now.”  

Chapter Text

No one moved, seconds passed…minutes. “We need to go back,” Abby stated the obvious. “We need to…”

Elena looked at the young, brunette vampire standing several yards away, her older sister standing protectively next to her.  The realization of everything that had just happened slammed into her with a force and she doubled over, throwing up her breakfast.

Carol wasn’t sure what to do or say, but she removed her hand from Therese’s chest, her palm now covered in blood, and moved towards her sister, but Elena held up a hand to stop her. “No…I’m fine.” Elena wipe her mouth with the back of her hand and turned away from the group.  Abby wanted to help her, but she understood that Elena needed some space.

“We should all get back.” Dannie looked down at the body lying next to Therese’s feet. “What do we…um…what do we do about him?”

Therese looked down to where Dannie was pointing and awareness dawned on her.  Her hand came to her mouth, she felt the wetness and tasted the iron on her tongue.  Her eyes went wide, “Oh God…”

Everyone looked back at her now and Therese looked up to see the fear written on their faces, everyone except Carol, who looked at her with empathy.  “What did I do?” Therese whispered more to herself than to the group.  Her eyes started to well up and she felt a sudden need to run away from all of them.

It had been an impulse, a need to protect. She saw him hurt Carol and her instincts kicked in and all rational thought left her mind.  

“Therese, it’s alright,” Dannie moved a few steps toward her.  In all their years as friends, he’d never seen her like that before, so savage and brutal.  He knew it was the side of herself that she hated, and worked so hard to overcome, and now it had just revealed itself in the most violent way possible. Therese needed to get away from all of it.  Before Carol could stop her, Therese bolted in a flash, disappearing into the trees.

“Therese!” Carol cried out, but she was answered with silence. She needed to go after her, but Dannie stop her.

“Just let her go. She needs time to deal with what happened. She’ll come back when she’s ready,” he assured her.

 

 

Back in the cabin, Carol retreated to the shower while Dannie, Elena and Abby quickly washed up and then tried to determine their next move.

“Did you not see this coming?” Dannie asked Abby accusingly.  Elena knew she should have defended her, but she found herself wondering the exact same thing.

Abby sighed, sitting on a barstool, laying her head in her hands.  “It doesn’t work the way you all think it does.  I don’t see everything!”

“Did you see anything related to this?” Elena was gentler in her questioning, but she was still clearly accusing Abby of leaving out some important details.

“I knew they would come, I just didn’t think it would be this soon.” Abby wiped a tear from her cheek.  “I don’t know how to explain this all to you.” She paused, took a deep breath and sat up straight.  “I told you how I see flashes and then my intuition interprets that, but when there is a choice, it is like a fork in the road.”

“What does that mean?” Dannie sat next to her, her eyes pale white now. 

“We still have free will.  Yes, some things are decided, like Therese and Carol meeting, fate wants them together, but ultimately, we still play a role in our future and it can change…it changes.  I don’t always get to see the outcome until after a choice is made.”

“You told Harge there would be consequences,” Abby started to understand.  “What happened next was all based on his choice?”

Abby nodded silently.  “If he would have chosen to walk away, to let Carol go, I imagine our path would be very different, but he chose the power and that choice will ripple through all of us now.”

“So what happens next?” Dannie asked.  “Does this change what we do?”

“You and Therese need to go to New Orleans as planned.” Abby said, her eyes shining again.  “I see you there, and I sense you will find people to help her.”

“What about us?” Elena finally let her guard down and moved to hold Abby’s hand.

“You, me, and Carol need to stay here—deal with…that.” She waved towards the outside and the body they left behind.  “Carol still needs time and Harge wasn’t wrong, the Congregation will come, but I cannot see their intentions.  If we split up, we buy ourselves time and that is what we most need right now.”

 

 

Carol felt the hot water pouring over her body, washing away the blood, sweat, and tears of the day.  It would all be different now, this much she knew.  The images of Therese like that kept playing over and over in her mind, like a broken DVD, but what bothered her was why she wasn’t more disturbed by it all.  Therese had murdered Harge, her husband of ten years, right in front of her and then disappeared.  A barrage of questions swirled through her mind- Would she come back? Was she alright? Did this change anything? Did this change her feelings? What did she most desire?

It was too much to feel all at once and Carol sat in the bottom of the tub, pulled her legs up to her chest and hugged herself tightly and let all the anger, sadness, and pain go, washed away with the water down the drain. She wasn’t sure how long she stayed that way, but the water was starting to turn colder.  Carol stood and turned off the shower, toweled off and went to sit on the bed.  Wrapped in her towel, she laid her head down onto Therese’s pillow and overcome with exhaustion, she drifted to sleep.

She awoke some time later and realized the sun had set.  She looked around for Therese or any sign of that she had returned, but there was nothing.  She heard voices in the living room, so Carol dressed quickly into a pajama set and went downstairs to join them.  Therese was not there, either.

“How long do you think this will take?” Dannie asked the women who stood holding each other.

“A few weeks maybe?” Abby answered. “It really just depends on Carol.  Will you be able to take care of Therese?”

“I won’t lie to you, what happened is going to be hard on her and it will change her.  Therese has not taken a human life in over 50 years and she still deals with a lot of self-loathing because of things that happened when she was first reborn.  There will be repercussions, but yes, I can take care of her…just don’t take too long.  Therese feels connected to Carol and the longer they are apart, the harder it will be for her to manage her emotions.”

“So we are agreed.” Elena looked back and forth between them.

“Agreed to what, exactly?” Carol asked as she made her way down the stairs. “More people planning my future for me?” There was a bitterness in her voice.

“You’re awake! How do you feel?” Elena moved to her sister, wrapping an arm around her.

“Numb,” she answer honestly. “Where is Therese? She isn’t back yet?”

“No,” Dannie answered.

Carol sat on the couch, looking into the fake fire that reminded her of the flames that came from her hands.  She held her hands out in front of her and stared them intently. “So you all have been planning?”

“We need to split up,” Elena sat next to her.

Carol started to protest, but Elena held up her own hands to silence her. “Temporarily, Carol.  Danny and Therese will go on to New Orleans as planned and we’ll follow them there in a few weeks.  We have to deal with things here and you need time to heal.”

“That isn’t what I want! That isn’t what I need!” Carol dissented. 

Before she could argue further, a bloody and mud-covered Therese was standing breathless in the door.  She dared not step inside looking this…inhuman.

The numbness dissipated, replaced with relief as Carol stared at the woman in the doorway.  Therese looked frail, distraught and…broken.

“I’m…I’m so sorry,” Therese spoke softly, her eyes never looking up from the floor. “I couldn’t stop it…stop myself.”

Dannie was the first to go to her. “Stop, Therese.  This wasn’t your fault. We need to go get you cleaned up and packed. Then we’ll head out tonight, we could make New Orleans by tomorrow.”

“No!” Carol’s voice was pleading.

Abby walked across the room and placed a hand on Carol’s shoulder to calm her and a low growl escaped Therese.  “She needs to go Carol.  Therese needs time to deal with all of this well.  The Congregation will come…she’s killed a witch and Therese needs to find those that will help her.” Abby tried to explain it.

“I can help her!” Carol pulled away from Abby’s hand, seeing the effect it was having on Therese.

“They are right,.” Therese finally looked up into the blue-grey eyes.  “I need to go…I need to regain control and being this close to you makes it too…I need to go.”

Carol understood what Therese was implying, that she was afraid of herself and afraid of hurting Carol, though there was no doubt in her mind that Therese would never hurt her. Her battling mind and emotions still at war, Carol only knew she didn’t want to be away from her. She looked back towards Abby. “You said we were meant to be.”

Abby nodded, “You are and a few weeks will not change that.”  She looked over at the woman in her doorway.  “Go to New Orleans.  There are people you are meant to find, I just don’t know who they are.  We will join you, I promise, but others will come in search of you and you cannot be here when they arrive.”

Therese entered the house and slowly and carefully made her way to the stairs. 

“I’ll give you a few minutes and then I’ll come help you pack,” Dannie offered.

The numbness returned and Carol felt oddly cold. She curled up on the couch, not speaking, not feeling, not ready to face what was about to happen. How did her entire life change so quickly?  One minute she was an unhappy wife, weak, boring, and working at a library to hide from the world, and now she was some badass witch, falling for a vampire who had just killed her husband. Falling for…what did that mean? The battle inside her mind continued. Yes, she had feelings for Therese, but this went against everything she had ever been taught. The strength of her attraction to this woman scared the hell out of honestly. Was it possible to feel so much so fast? Was it sane given what happened just a few hours ago?

 

An hour later the car was packed and a somber Therese stood outside, leaning against the passenger side door, looking up at the stars.  Carol had not moved from her seat on the couch, had not even said good-bye or walked her to the car.  Fate or no fate, Therese felt it all slipping away, like sand through her fingers.  She’d honestly rather die than walk away from Carol, from her scent, her touch…her song.   

Dannie walked outside with his bags after saying his good-byes to the others.  He and Elena exchanged cell phone information so they could keep in touch and plan their meeting in New Orleans. “You ready?”

Tears welled in her eyes. She wanted to run back into the house, pull Carol into her arms and beg for forgiveness, but she turned and placed a hand on the door handle.  She felt as though time moved in slow motion as she slowly pulled, fighting her every impulse.

Carol felt it, the pain that would come from the separation and suddenly knew what she needed to do.  Without a word she was running out the door, past Abby and Elena, and to the car, and as Therese pulled the handle to open the door, Carol was there, behind her. “Therese,” she said, her voice raspy with need and pain.

The vampire was helpless to resist her and turned, grabbing the beautiful, blonde witch and pulling her into her arms, her mouth resting on her throat.  She placed a soft kiss there, feeling the blood pulse beneath and her breath hitch. “Carol,” her grip tightened and she knew that her scent would cover her now and the kiss on her neck would keep other creatures away.  

Carol pulled back and took Therese’s face in her hands.  Her blue-grey eyes bright and wet with unshed tears.  She traced every inch of the stunning brunette with her eyes before settling on her lips.  She felt the desire building, what she most wanted, what she needed, and the words poured from her without thought. “I am yours,” Carol whispered and pulled Therese closer, her lips grazing lightly.

Therese froze, not reacting to her kiss, as her mind caught up to her body.  To a vampire, the kiss was a promise, a vow…a gift not given lightly. She pulled back, looking deep into her eyes again.  “Do you understand what you are promising, Carol?” Therese’s grip tightened around Carol’s waist.  “Don’t do this if you aren’t sure because once I make this promise…once we say it…I won’t be able to take it back.  You will be mine and I will be yours…forever.”

Carol let a small smile play on her lips before she answered, knowing deep within her that this was the only thing that had ever felt right in her entire life. She leaned her forehead down, resting it on Therese’s, their eyes locked, lips painfully close, and she whispered so that only Therese could hear.  “I…am…yours, Therese Belivet.” She paused between each word, letting them sink in. “You are mine.”

And with that Therese lunged in, lips crashing hard.  Decades of longing, poured into that single kiss, a fate no longer denied.  It moved from crushing to passionate as their desire for each other grew.  Carol slid her tongue into Therese’s mouth, needing to taste her.  Therese moaned with need and turned them, pinning Carol between the car and her own body, her kisses hungry and devouring. It was the most intense thing Carol had ever felt and she never wanted this kiss to end. She could die right here, right now, with Therese’s lips on hers.

“Ahem,” Dannie cleared his throat.  Although difficult, Therese and Carol separated, suddenly remembering they weren’t alone, out of breath and panting.  Abby and Elena were watching from the porch and Dannie from the other side of the car, eyes wide.

“What does…uh..what does this mean?” Elena asked. “Does this change the plan?” she looked at Abby.  Is it wrong that I just got that turned on from watching my sister kiss someone?

Abby chuckled quietly, No…that was hot! “Nothing changes.”

Still ignoring the others, Carol looked only at Therese, she could see her green eyes swimming with lust.  She placed a sweet and chaste kiss on her lips before whispering in her ear.  “Wait for me, Therese.  I will come to you, but right now I have much to do and you, my darling, even more. I will join you as soon as I can and we will be one. Can you do that?”

For Therese that kiss meant everything.  It was indeed a promise and they were now mated.  She would bend heaven and earth for the woman in her arms. “So long as you are mine, I will give you everything you desire.”  Parting and being apart would still be incredibly painful, but knowing they would reunite eased the pain. Therese kissed Carol on the cheek, “see you soon.”   

She opened the car door and got inside, looking over at Dannie.  Her eyes told him everything she could not say, drive away now or I won’t be able to do this, so he sped out of the drive, driving away as fast as he could.

As soon as the car was out of sight, the rain began to pour from the sky and from Carol.  Abby and Elena walked down to join her, holding her safe in their arms.  “Tell me I’ll be with her again,” Carol begged through her sobs.

“Carol, you just promised your life to a vampire.” Abby looked at her empathetically.  “I feel sorry for anyone who tries to keep you two apart.”

 

 

<><><><><> 

 

Venice was a miraculous city, floating on islands separated by the beautiful canals and bridges. Ancient and once a center of financial and commercial power in Europe, it was now a major tourist attraction, but deep within, hidden from human view, Venice was still the center of powerful in the world of creatures.

Diana Bishop-Clairmont stood, wrapped in her cloak, hiding her true self from any human eyes, waiting for the boat to take her to the Isola della Stella.  The small island that was hidden from human eyes was home to the Congregation and an emergency meeting had been called, so Diana found herself back in Venice for the first time since the covenant was official abolished. Though the covenant that separated the creatures was now broken, the Congregation was still responsible for dealing with creature affairs.  The members of the council included, Agatha Wilson, Osamu Watanabe, and Tatiana Alkaev, representing the Daemons, Sidonie Von Borcke, Janet Gowdie, and the recently added Sarah Bishop, who just so happened to be Diana’s aunt, representing the witches, along with Domenico and Gerbert, two ancient vampires.  Officially, there should be three vampires, by tradition the third was always a representative of the De Clermont family, but since marrying into the De Clermont family, and Diana Bishop-Clairmont had been serving on their behalf.  As a witch married to a vampire, she was a woman between worlds. 

As they all took their seats in the large circle, Diana removed her cloak. The other creatures still gasped at her appearance after all this time.  Her hair was wild, as if it had a life of its own, her hands, arms and neck, covered with bright tattoos, and her eyes still filled with the book of life that she had absorbed a year ago.  Diana was the strongest witch to have lived in centuries, which is why she was able to produce two children with a vampire.  Gifted in all aspects of witchcraft, Diana was a weaver, or a creator of spells. She was also a time walker and an elemental witch.  During her life with Matthew, they had spent several months in Elizabethan England where she could learn from the witches of old, while she mastered her powers.  Now back in the present, she was the wife of a vampire, the mother of a vampire clan and a member of the Congregation. 

“I trust you are all well.” She brought the meeting to order.  “We have new business to discuss?”

Sarah Bishop stood.  “I have word from the states and it is disturbing.”

“Everything is disturbing in America,” Gerbert commented. He was an ancient vampire, predating even the Congregation.  Gerbert D’Aurillac was thousands of years old, once a Pope, and one of the founders of the Covenant and the Congregation.  He lived for one purpose, to return vampires to their rightful seat as the supreme powers amongst creatures.  He was meticulous, intelligent, and ruthless. Sitting to his left was Domenico Michelle, an ancient Venetian vampire, not quite as old as Gerbert, but just as ruthless.

Sarah looked directed at the two vampires.  “One of yours has murdered one of ours. Shall I continue?”

There was a general gasp around the room.  “Explain,” Gerbert stated calmly.

“A witch in Boston was taken by a vampire.  Her husband and several others went in search and it is believed that he was murdered by the vampire and the witch may still be in her thrall,” Sarah continued.  She looked over at her niece, waiting to see her reaction.

“How do we know the witch did not go willingly?” She asked for clarification.  Others had once accused Matthew of somehow keeping Diana against her will and they also accused Diana of bewitching him.  She was all too aware of the prejudice that existed in the world of creatures.

“We do not know, which is why coven leaders in Boston have asked for our assistance.” Sarah finished and sat back down.

There was a general discussion for several minutes between the groups, but Diana sat silent, listening. The witch’s would want an investigation, as would the daemons, and while the council’s decision did not need to be unanimous, it certainly made things easier.  Gerbert and Domenico stood in disagreement with the others, stating there was not enough evidence to even warrant an investigation.  Diana disagreed.  “Of course you do,” Gerbert said with a roll of his eyes.

Regardless of the outcome, to maintain peace between the species during this time of change, it did need to be looked into.  “Being as I am uniquely qualified, I will go. If the vampire did indeed murder a witch, she will be brought back to face this council.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Diana.  You can’t leave the kids and go across the planet. Plus, you don’t exactly blend in these days.“ Sarah tried to argue.

“Matthew is more than capable of handing the children and I cannot imagine this will take very long.” Diana defended her decision. She raised her hands above her head, twisted her hands as if she were tying several knots together, and before all of them, her appearance changed.  She looked almost human, like the woman she was before her adventures with Matthew had changed her.  Before them now stood Diana Bishop, History professor from Oxford University. “Will this do?”

“I believe a vampire should go as well, to ensure the fairness of all parties.” Domenico suggested.

“Then I will ask Matthew to accompany me, and if he is unable, I will ask our son Marcus to go.  He will represent the vampires. Agreed?”

A vote was taken and all were agreed, though Gerbert did so begrudgingly, still arguing that such affairs were beneath the Congregation. Diana Bishop-Clairmont would travel back to the U.S., she would find the missing witch and the vampire that had taken her. 

Once the meeting ended, Janet and Sarah joined Diana at a local café in the city for some herbal tea.  “Are you sure about his Diana? I could go with you.” Sarah offered.

“I don’t imagine this will take very long.” Diana waved her off.

“I have a feeling there is more to this story than we know.” Janet stared out a window, looking out over the water.  Janet was a very old and wise witch.  Though disguising spells gave her the appearance of youth, she was actually over a hundred years old.  “Prophecies have spoken of this time, the age of the Bright-Born, and many things are changing, but so much stays the same.”

“I am the wife of a De Clermont, Janet. No vampire in their right mind would hurt me.”

“You are also seen as a traitor by many witches, dear.” Sarah said, looking down. “Traditions and customs do not change so very fast in our world, you know this. You married a vampire, and some would…well they would wish to hold you accountable for that treachery.”

“I would like to see them try,” Diana said boldly. “And I won’t be alone.”

“Just be careful!” Sarah pleaded. “Yes, you are powerful, but you are not invincible.”

Diana nodded. “I promise.”

Chapter Text

Rebecca threw the phone across the room and screamed! That moron! She told him to kill the vampire, but he went to Carol first! He deserved a violent death for his shear stupidity!  And Harris, another weak little man, crying over his idiotic brother! She stood and started rummaging through her purse and then various drawers, “just when you think it can’t get any worse, you run out of cigarettes.”

“I take it that wasn’t the news you were hoping for?” Samantha walked into the room. 

Rebecca turned, her eyes narrowing, “Obviously.”

“What happened?”

“Harge is dead. The vampire…” Rebecca couldn’t continue.  “I should have gone myself.  Never trust a man to do a woman’s job and taking care of Carol is my responsibility.  I’m her mother.”

Samantha was only slightly taken aback by Rebecca’s lack of sympathy for Harge and his family.  “It is past time we asked for help.”

Rebecca shook her head quickly, “No.  I told you! I can handle it!”

“Clearly not,” Sarah said as she entered the room and sat down in a large, highbacked chair, staring down Rebecca. “And it’s a moot point now anyway, word has already been sent.”

Rebecca’s face turned bright red. “What???”

“I sent word once we left the vampire’s loft.” Sarah spoke calmly, but firmly. “I also know that you are hiding something, Rebecca.  There is a reason you didn’t want the Congregation involved, something you don’t want them to know.”

“You bitch!” She screamed! “Do you know what you’ve done?”

“What needed to be done.” Sarah stood and walked toward the front door.  “Samantha, if I were you, I’d come with me.  I have a feeling that when Rebecca’s secrets are revealed, we won’t want to be anywhere near.”

Samantha hesitated and looked back at Rebecca, who was now holding herself and overcome with fury. “What did you do?”

“I did what I had to do to save my daughter! I did what any mother would do!” She screamed.  “Both of you get out of my house! GET OUT!”

Samantha rushed to the door and stood behind Sarah.  “Goddess have mercy.” They walked out, leaving Rebecca alone.  Her mind was racing too fast to plan anything. 

“Darling?” Her husband, Carl Ross, walked in to the living room.  “Everything alright? I heard screaming. Is there word on Carol?”

Her dear, sweet, stupid husband.  He was a kind and gentle soul, a good father, but absolutely clueless. “Yes.” Rebecca knew the less she revealed the better.  “In fact, I’m going to Tennessee tonight to join her and Elena.”

His face perked up into a bright smile.  “That’s wonderful! Shall I come with you?”

“No,” Rebecca shook her head.  “I need you to stay here and keep up with the house and such.  I shan’t be gone long…a few days at most.” She walked over and placed a gentle hand on her husbands aging face.  “And when I get back, our family will be whole again.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Elena was quiet as she slipped into the queen-sized bed.  She stared up at the ceiling, wondering how her sister was fairing.  It always amazed her how different they were growing up, but given what she now knew, it made more sense.  She wondered what Carol would have been like if she had been able to make her own choices, free from their overbearing mother and abusive husband.  Would she have been strong and confident? Would she have been more like me?

“She would have been a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure.” Abby said, reading her thoughts.  She slipped into the bed, moving close to Elena, but not actually touching her. As close as they had gotten over the past few days, their relationship had not taken on a physical aspect, yet.

“Will she ever become who she was meant to be?” Elena whispered, her guilt sitting in her stomach like a rock.

Abby thought about it for a minute, “She will grow stronger, and she will heal, and her love for Therese will lead to many changes.”

“Love?” Elena rolled on to her side, looking at the beautiful woman next to her. “Do you think she loves her? It’s so fast.”

Abby smiled, understanding the hidden meaning in Elena’s question. “You don’t believe in love at first sight?”

Elena laughed lightly, “Absolutely not. Lust, yes, but love takes time…getting to know the other person.”

“Have you ever been in love?” Abby asked softly, she moved her leg in between Elena’s and felt a heat rise between them.

“You’ve read my thoughts…you already know the answer.” Elena couldn’t look at her face, suddenly ashamed of her past relationships, if they could even be called that.  Despite a series of one-night stands or short-lived dalliances, Elena had never really been in love before.  “What about you? You’ve been inside my head, but I haven’t seen inside yours.  Have you ever been in love?”

“Yes.” Abby shifted her left upwards, pressing firmly against Abby’s center. “I knew it from the first time I saw her.”

Elena assumed it was someone from her adolescence, since she described seeing her.  “What…what was she like?” She sighed in pleasure, the feeling of Abby’s body so close, so hot, so perfect.

“Blonde, blue eyes, fierce…powerful…beautiful…protective…and incredibly smart.” She moved so her face was right next to Abby’s.

Elena closed her eyes, understanding. “You can’t possibly…” she whispered, her hips moving and sliding along Abby’s thigh.

Abby placed a hand on Elena’s face, using her fingers to trace down her cheeks and across her lips.  She ran her thumb delicately across and licked her own lips. “I do.”

“How…how do you know?” Elena felt as if she was being incinerated from the inside.  Abby’s body was moving so slowly, but with a clear intent.

“The same way you do, my beautiful girl.” She took one Elena’s hand and placed it on her chest, so she could feel the pounding of her heart.  “My heart knows…so does yours.” She spoke in a hushed whisper. “Trust it…trust me.”

“I trust you.” Elena brushed her lips lightly against Abby’s for the first time.  It felt like a jolt of electricity through her body. “Oh goddess…”

Abby pulled her closer, wrapping her arms around her body and pulling the gorgeous blonde on top of her. Their lips explored each other, their tongues intertwined, and Elena shifted her legs, now straddling the woman beneath her.  She had never wanted to be with anyone more, never wanted to love anyone so much.

Make love to me. Abby whispered in her mind. 

Elena felt all her resistance dissolve. I love you, too.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Carol couldn’t sleep.  It had only been a few hours, but she already missed Therese terribly.  It was if her heart had been ripped in two.  She could feel the two women in the room under her where having a very intimate moment, and it only added to her sadness. What would it be like to be with Therese.  Just the one shared kissed had knocked her off her axis.  Kissing Harge had never felt like that.  Not even close. She looked over at the empty bed, wondering where Therese was now…how far had they gone?  She missed their easy conversations in the car.  She even missed Dannie.  Three weeks was going to be too long, that much she knew. 

Restless, she decided to go sit outside, giving her sister and best friend their privacy. She crept down the stairs, not wanting to disturb Elena and Abby, though based on the noises coming from that room, they probably wouldn’t hear her anyway.  She walked out into the darkness and was surprised by how bright it was.  There was a new moon, so it should have been dark, but the ground around her shone as if a full moon was shining down.  She looked around, trying to determine where the light was coming from and then it dawned on her.  Carol held her hands out in front of her and for the first time in her life, she saw her gleam.  

She studied her hands and her arms and then lifted the hem of her shirt. They were right, she did glow! Amazing and suddenly happy, she wished Therese was here to celebrate with her.  Three weeks was definitely going to be too long. 

She looked out into the darkness and suddenly thought of the discarded body still lying on the forest floor. He kept this from me, stole this from me, she thought bitterly. The plan had been to go at first light to bury his body, but Carol suddenly had a better idea.  The sooner he was gone, the better.  She started walking alone out into the darkness, allowing her intuition to lead the way.  Therese would have a fit if she knew she was doing this, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.  Carol wondered for a second about Harris and Bridgett.  Had they run all the way back to Boston? Were they holed up, hiding somewhere? Had they contacted Rebecca? A wave of darkness moved through her fueled by her anger and betrayal.

It didn’t take her long before she found the field and saw the body. She kept her distance, figuring all kinds of creatures had started to invade the corpse.  There were no tears of sadness, no regret or remorse for his death. Carol only felt a frigid coldness as she thought of the wasted years and all the pain. 

“You bastard!” She shouted into the night. Carol closed her eyes and thought of what she most desired.  She wanted the body gone and all evidence implicating Therese to vanish, but nothing happened.  She closed her eyes again and tried to imagine a bonfire on the beach, much like she had done that afternoon, but still nothing.  Why wasn’t this working?

Her frustration started to build along with her anger! “Fuck you, Harge!” Carol screamed!  “Even dead, you still find a way to ruin my life! It was always YOUR life and YOUR friends and YOUR job…and you wanted me to have a baby for YOU! It was always about YOU!” Her anger was flaring and she notice the blue flames coming from her hands.  “Fine! You want to do this the hard way?”

She moved closer, letting the anger fill her and her hands got brighter and brighter. She held them together and spun them around until she formed a blue ball of fire.  “I’m not scared of you anymore! You will not take another thing from me! You will never hurt me again!” She screamed and tossed the bright blue ball outward.  It crashed into Harge’s body which erupted in a blaze of blue flame!

Carol laughed hysterically, uncontrolled and spun around, her arms outspread and then she fell to the ground and sobbed violently.  She curled into a small ball and wept until there was no water left in her body.  She was drained and walking back seemed too daunting, but she wished for her bed.  She felt herself rise, floating, as if on a cloud and then slowly, she hovered through the trees and over the rocks and grass, until she found herself back on the porch of the cabin. The house was silent now, peaceful.  She grabbed a glass of water to rehydrate and crept back up the stairs.  This time she laid on the bed Therese had slept in the night before and exhaustion overtook her.

Chapter Text

Diana watched from the window as the plane circled Boston.  It had been quite some time since she’d been back in the states. After the birth of their children and Matthew’s abduction and subsequent torture, they had both taken a much-needed break from the world. Months later and Matthew still needed a cane to walk, but he grew stronger every day.  The twins would soon be walking, and it was only a matter of time before their powers started to manifest.  They would indeed be a handful.  As much as Diana loved her family, she was really looking forward to this break, away from all the family time.  She knew she wouldn’t be able to stay gone long, however, as Matthew’s blood rage prevented any extended periods apart.  The children helped keep him calmer, but it was still Diana that he most needed and craved. 

“We’ll be landing soon.”  Marcus Whitmore, Matthew’s vampire son, sat across from Diana on the plane.  He was handsome, forever young, and incredibly smart and brave.  A doctor and a genetic scientist, he agreed to come with Diana, not only to protect his mother on Matthew’s behalf, but also to touch base with some research colleagues in the states.  Both he and his father had been researching creature genetics for years, and the new developments they had discovered recently were opening all sorts of new scientific windows. 

It was once believed that the creatures were better off separated or segregated, but then creatures started dying off.  Witches were born without powers; vampires were unable to bring people back from the dead; and the daemons were going crazier, if that was even possible.  The union of Matthew and Diana had changed everything, but they weren’t the only ones. Marcus, himself, had fallen in love with a human, though Phoebe, his soon to be wife, had decided to become a vampire so they could be united forever.  Marcus would not be the one to turn her, however, as his blood carried the “blood rage” gene, as well.

Blood rage was a genetic illness that existed in some vampires, passed from vampire to vampire upon their rebirth.  It caused vampires to lose control and to be more violent in nature.  They were prone to stronger emotions that could trigger the violent outbreaks, and control was very difficult for them. Matthew and Marcus had spent years working on a cure, but so far, they had failed to find one.  Though Marcus did not suffer from the illness as his father did, anyone he sired would be at risk.  Marcus did have a few children of his own from his earlier vampire days, before he knew of his tainted genetics, but most had been killed in an effort to eradicate the disease.  His son, Ransome, was one of the few children he had left. He would make a point to visit him since they were in America.   

“Phoebe was alright with you leaving?” Diana asked, still looking out the window.

“She knows we’ll be back soon.” He said as he answered some emails on his cell phone. “I think she secretly enjoys it when I’m gone because she can sleep in the middle of the bed.”

Diana smiled.  Even after all this time, it was all still so surreal to her to think of Marcus as her son.  Vampire families were strange.  Though only in her 30’s, Diana was revered as the female head of her vampire clan.  She had ‘children’ and even ‘grandchildren’ that were centuries older than her.  “Well Thank you for coming with me, and thank her for letting you come.”

“You know Matthew would not have it any other way.” He smiled back at her.  “So, what is the plan?”

Diana pondered the question. “The witch who reached out to Aunt Sarah, is a family friend, Sarah Gowdie. she is meeting us at the airport, so we’ll meet with her first.”

Marcus laughed, “Why do you all have the same names? It is very confusing!”

“Why do vampires have so many names?” She laughed referring to her husband, Matthew Gabriel Phillippe Bertrand Sebastien de Clermont.

“Don’t include me in that! I’m just Marcus Whitmore!” He laughed and then she watched as his face turned serious.  “Do we have any reason to believe this is another of Matthew’s children? Another vamp with blood rage? I mean, I assume that is the real reason you wanted to investigate this?”

A pained expression crossed her face as she remember the events from the last year. “Yes, that is what we need to know.  We can’t have another Benjamin on our hands.”

Benjamin was one of Matthew’s first sires during the Crusades and he too suffered from the blood rage, though suffered would hardly be a good description.  He relished in the violence and the power it gave him. Matthew was almost immediately sorry for giving him life, but unable to kill him, he disowned him, casting him out of the family. Benjamin disappeared after that for centuries, or so everyone thought.

For a period of time last year, Diana and Matthew had time-walked, spending months in the 1500’s, so that Diana could learn about her own powers.  While there, Diana had become pregnant with Matthew’s child, though she later miscarried.  Unknowingly, Benjamin, who was in England during that time period, had learned of Diana’s pregnancy and became obsessed with the idea of producing his own biological children.  He began kidnapping and raping witches all through Europe and the Middle East, hoping to create his own biological family.  A vampire biologically reproducing should have been impossible, but somehow Diana and Matthew managed to do it a second time, resulting in the birth of their twins. Desperate to learn the secret, Benjamin kidnapped Matthew and tortured him, nearly breaking his body.  He also knew Diana would come to rescue her husband and he planned on taking her and making her his own.  Needless to say, he failed.

“Didn’t Matthew go through his family tree? We would know, right? If there were others?” Marcus was fairly certain that they had destroyed any and all of Benjamin’s offspring, but there was always a chance.

“He did and we are almost certain this vampire is not one of our clan.  But in any case, we need to find out who they are and why they kidnapped a witch, especially after what happened with Benjamin.”

 “What will we do if they are…one of us, I mean?” Marcus wanted to clarify.  He hated the idea of vampires being killed, though without a cure for the blood rage, he wasn’t too sure of the alternative. 

“We will bring them to the Congregation and let them decide. I won’t be an executioner.” Diana had killed before, three times to be exact.  Each time it had taken a huge toll on her and she was so very tired of death. 

 

<><><><><>

 

Sarah Gowdie and Samantha Le Fay greeted Marcus and Diana at the airport.  The two Boston witches were immediately disturbed by the presence of the vampire, worried that he would side with the vampire that had taken Carol.  Marcus, ever the charmer, quickly put their minds at ease.  “Ladies, my dear mother here is a witch, and I am simply here to assist her and look out for her well-being while she pursues the truth.”

Diana rolled her eyes, “I’ve told you to stop calling me mother. It’s creepy because we look the same age!”

“Hardly!” He laughed. “I look so much younger than you, mom!” 

She elbowed him in the ribs, and he laughed, but their easy relationship seemed to put the other two women as ease. 

As they made their way out to the awaiting car, Sarah filled Diana in on what she knew.  “We were told that a vampire broke into the house, the Ross-Aird house, and that she took Carol away with her.  Harge, her husband, was knocked unconscious.  We were able to track them to the mountains in Tennessee, but we got word early this morning that Harge was killed by the vampire when he got there.  Honestly, I think there is more to the story.”

“What do you mean?” Diana asked for clarification.

“You’ll have to meet Rebecca, Carol’s mother, for yourself, but for one, she didn’t want us to reach out for help. I just get the sense that she is hiding something and then when she got news that Harge was killed…there was just something about her reaction.”

“My mother’s name was Rebecca and so is my daughter’s.” Diana spoke softly to herself. I won’t have this name tarnished.

“See? This is what I was talking about on the plane!” Marcus teased her.  “You all have the same names! How do you tell each other apart?”

 

The car pulled up to the Ross-Aird brownstone first. After hearing of Harge’s death, Diana decided she wanted to see the place where the original ‘crime’ had happened.  The front door had been fixed, but there were still some blood stains on the front steps.  She closed her eyes and started moving her hands in front of her.  Diana needed to see what happened, so the easiest solution was to simply create a spell that allowed her to do just that.  Diana was a weaver, an incredibly rare type of witch with the ability to create new spells.  All spells were originally written by the weavers of the past and then past down for generations.  Once a spell was created and written down, any witch could then use it.  Diana’s hands and arms were covered in colored threads that looked like tattoos, her weaver’s cords. The burned bright when she was creating a new spell.  She tied the imaginary cords into special knots, reciting words to herself.  “With knot of one the spell’s begun…”

“We might want to stand back,” Marcus suggested as he and the other two witches watched from a distance.  A few minutes later, a scene was playing out before them. They stared in wonder as ghostly images reenacted the night Carol disappeared.  When the replay ended, Diana turned to look at the others.  “Looks like you were right,” she said to Sarah.  “There is more to this story and we do need to speak to Rebecca.”

When they arrived at Rebecca Ross’s house, she was gone.

 

<><><><><> 

 

New Orleans in the summer was hot, sticky, and had a smell that Therese did not particularly enjoy. “People actually choose to live here on purpose?”

“It’s not so bad! Look at the architecture and the history!”  Dannie convinced her that staying in the heart of downtown would be their best bet at finding other creatures, so they checked in to a hotel in the French Quarter. 

“It smells of stale beer and…piss.” Therese crinkled her nose.

“Isn’t it great?” Dannie replied excitedly. 

“You get used to the smell,” The hotel clerk laughed.  “It’s all the drunks out on the streets at night.  They act like its Mardi Gras all night, every night.  So, how long will you be staying Ms. Albright?” The clerk asked as he handed her back her credit card.

“A few weeks, is that alright?” Therese considered renting an apartment or at least an AirBNB, but it was difficult without knowing definite dates.  She had no clue when Carol and the others would arrive.  The reminder of being away from Carol led to immediate irritation on her part.

“An extended stay! How exciting!” The clerks face lit up, ignoring her sour mood. He handed Therese the card keys to their rooms. Therese had insisted on getting separate rooms for the duration of their stay.  If they were going to be here that long, she would need some privacy. “Here is a map of the city with the most popular attractions, and here is a list of some of our most famous restaurants,” he leaned in a little closer and lowered his voice.  “We aren’t supposed to say this, but do be careful at night, lots of strange things happen around here.”

Therese smiled disingenuously at the man.  “Thank you for your help.”

 

Therese had barely had time to settle into her room when Dannie came bursting in, but she didn’t move from the bed.  “What.”

“Let’s go out! See some sights! Meet some creatures! Find some answers!” He was too excited for her right now. 

“I’m tired, Dannie and I just want to rest.” She rolled on her side away from him and looked out the window of her room as the sun was setting. 

“You miss Carol and you’re depressed, but you aren’t tired.  Now get your ass up and let’s go!” He stomped over towards her but she let out a low growl of warning.  “Ok, ok…no need to be all grumpy pants! I’ll go out by myself! You stay here and wallow in self-pity.”

“Have fun,” she replied dryly. 

Realizing he wasn’t going to persuade her, Dannie turned to leave.  He knew this was coming, but had hoped to keep her from going too far down her self-loathing spiral. 

She didn’t move, didn’t blink, and barely breathed.  Her body ached for Carol, for her smell, her touch, her eyes and her hair…everything. A single tear fell from her eyes, but she dared not close them.  Ever since killing Harge, Therese had been plagued with images.  She saw him hurting her beloved over and over and even though she knew he was dead and gone, it still caused a deep fury to rise within her.  No…she couldn’t go out.  Therese didn’t trust herself to be around others.  She didn’t trust her feelings or her sudden cravings. She would need time to come down from the taste of human blood again, almost like a detox.  Therese would resist, she would starve herself in penance.

Though it had been around 80 years ago, she could still hear the voice of Sister Alicia from the Catholic girl’s home of her childhood.  She remembered the prayers and the Hail Mary’s and the acts of contrition they were taught, but her belief in God had disappeared the night she died and became reborn.  Still, the lessons of her childhood stayed with her.  Despite everything, Therese felt guilty for killing the asshat, the same way she felt guilty for killing that girl so long ago.  She had not chosen this life or the urges that came with it, but she wasn’t ready to die either.  She’d be lying if she said she’d never thought of it, but something always stopped her.  Therese wondered now if that something was the life she was meant to have with Carol.

Her thoughts circled back to Carol…always Carol. She could still smell her and taste her on her lips, the feel of her, the heat that poured from her mouth…she wanted more…needed more.  A few weeks would be an eternity.  

 

At some point, Therese had actually fallen asleep.  She woke to the sound of her door opening and bolted to a corner, ready to attack.  Dannie was drunk and disheveled, standing in the middle of her room and she instantly regretted not getting up to lock the door of her room.  “Jesus!” Therese relaxed.  “I could have killed you, Dannie!”

“Nonsense!” he slurred. “I have…*hiccup*…news!”

Therese sat on the edge of her bed and looked at the clock.  It was just after 3am.  She’d actually slept for four hours, but now that she was awake and there would be no more sleep for her.  “What is your news, aside from the fact that you are absolutely wasted and smell of cheap vodka?”

“Ransome.”

“I’m sorry?” Therese didn’t understand.  “Who’s being held for ransom?”

“He’s a vamp *hiccup* ire- The vampire down here! You need to get in touch with Ransome!”

The whole idea of their trip down here had been for Therese to find other creatures that would help her and Carol, and apparently this was the one to ask.  “Where can I find him?”

“Club on Bourbon Street, at the end, can’t miss it *hiccup*”

“Alright,” Therese sighed.  “But first, let’s get you to bed for the night, or morning.” She helped him to his room next door and led him to the bed where he promptly collapsed.  That was as far as she was going.  He could sleep in his clothes and shower tomorrow. She turned off the light and closed the door behind her and returned to her own room, locking the damn door. 

A shower sounded divine, but she hesitated, knowing that it would wash away Carol’s scent from her skin.  Still, she felt hot and grimy.  She took off her jeans and t-shirt and folded them up.  She would not wash them, hoping some of Carol would stay on them for a while longer. 

Therese showered and then examined her naked body in the mirror.  Her tats were mostly gone, time to get some new ones.  Her hair was a mess, all different lengths and textures.  Without her make-up and her piercings, she looked a little older than her 22 year old appearance.  Never aging sounds good until you realize it means never seeing something different in the mirror, no lines or wrinkles.  She thought of the slight lines around Carol’s eyes.  Carol would age…Therese would not and at some point people would notice the “age difference”.  A melancholy surrounded her as she realized Carol would die one day.  That would be it, Therese decided.  The day Carol was gone, Therese would go, too, tired of an unchanging existence.

I like you better without all the dark make-up, Carol had told her on their road trip.  Well, that was that. She would discard the extreme goth appearance.  The hair was another story.  Therese made a list, she would go out when the city re-opened in the morning and get her hair cut and buy some new clothes, something other than black jeans and ripped up t-shirts.  She would also get a new tattoo, but she wanted it to be a surprise. It would last a few weeks, if Carol wasn’t back, she’d get it again and again…until they were reunited.  Once all that was done, she would go in search of this Ransome character and see what sort of help he could offer.

Chapter Text

Someone once told him that there were five stages of grief, but Harris now thought that was complete and utter bullshit.  In the past two days he had gone through periods of horror, anger, denial, self-hatred, absolute sorrow…but he seemed to have finally settled on wrath.  He was angry at himself for freezing and not helping his brother.  He was furious with that vampire bitch for killing him, and he was pissed at Carol for siding with her. And then there were his feelings of betrayal after calling Rebecca.  She could have given two shits that Harge had been murdered.

Harris had gone back the next morning with the intent of retrieving his brother’s body, but all he found was scorched earth and a pile of ashes.  If revenge was a stage of grief, that is where he currently sat, and that is where he would stay.  They would all pay for this, every last one of them.  He knew Rebecca was on her way here, but she expected him to go back to Boston.  To do what? Forget? He would die before that happened. 

Someone sniffled from the other bed.  “Are you crying again?” He looked over at the despondent, pathetic girl.  “You barely knew the man!”

Bridgett looked at him in shock. “That isn’t true! We’ve been together for months! I loved him!”

“Oh Bullshit! My brother was using you! He didn’t love you, he only loved himself!”

“If that is true then why are you so angry?” She questioned.  “Why are we still here?”

“You can leave anytime you please.” He stood and walked to look out the hotel window.  “I’m not going to pretend that Harge was a good person,” Harris shook his head. “He wasn’t. But he was still my brother and I loved him.  Despite his flaws, he deserved better than that.”

She didn’t respond so he turned and looked back and the little, lost, powerless witch on the bed.  “Go home, Bridgett. Go home and find another wizard to seduce and move on with your life.”  It was cold, but he didn’t care.  He grabbed his jacket and his suitcase and walked towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Her voice trembled.

“I’m going to check us out of this hotel, and then I’m going to make them all pay.”

“How? It’s not like you are all that powerful, Harris! How do you expect to beat them?”

“I will find someone who is.” He slammed the door behind him, leaving the woman crying and alone. 

 

<><><><><> 

 

Therese barely recognized herself when she looked in the mirror.  The dark make-up was replaced with something simple and though still dressed in all black, she had managed to improve her wardrobe a bit, wearing a black jumpsuit.  The hair was the strangest thing for her.  Because of all the various lengths her hair had been, the lady at the salon had been forced to cut it into a really short bob.  Therese has also removed most of her piercings, leaving a nose ring and another in her eyebrow. She replaced the large black earrings to smaller ones. 

To say she didn’t recognize herself wasn’t really true, because she did recognize the girl in the mirror, as if she had stepped out of taxi in 1952.  “Jesus,” she shuddered.  “You’re a blast from the past. Maybe this was too much change all at once,” she spoke to the reflection in the mirror.

Dannie knocked on her hotel room door.  When she answered he almost fell over.  “Holy fuck!”

“Shut up,” she rolled her eyes and walked back into her room.

He eyed her up and down, disbelieving.  “Therese…you…I’ve never…wow!” He had known her for so long, but she was always changing her looks, playing with the hair and the make-up, but never going for ‘normal’.

“Ok, give it a rest! It’s a work in progress!”

“You didn’t have to do this for her, you know.  She loves you as you were.”

Therese thought about it for a few minutes before responding.  Did Carol love her? I mean she said, I’m yours, but that wasn’t quite the same thing, was it? “It wasn’t all for her. I mean she did say she like me with less make-up, so that part was for her, but the rest…honestly it was for me.”

The daemon tilted his head and gave her some side-eye.  “Why?” Therese had been so moody the past couple of days, and he’d barely seen her.  After he woke up after his first drunken night, he went to find her, but she was gone.  She’d left him a note, gone out, back later, don’t wait. He didn’t. He went out the next night and had a blast, hooked up with some random guy and then came back to find her locked in her room, sulking.  While he knew she needed to deal with what happened eventually, he wasn’t expecting the make-over.

“I couldn’t stand to look at her anymore.” Therese turned away from the mirror. “She was a murderer and an animal.”

“Therese,” Dannie sat on the bed, his eyes filled with empathy. “You protected your mate. Any vampire would have done the same. You cannot blame yourself for those instincts.”

“Can’t I? I didn’t ask for this! I never asked for any of it!” Her arms flailed.

He sighed and looked down at his feet. “None of us did, but that’s the hand we’re dealt.  Would you change it?”

Therese sat with a thud into one of the high back chairs in her room and closed her eyes.  “What do you mean?” 

“Well, knowing what you know now…about Carol and your feelings for her, and how that asshole had been hurting her, would you change it? Knowing that as a human you would have been helpless…and well, dead. Or at least in your 90’s…I doubt she would have fallen for you in your ancient state.” Dannie was making light of it, but she knew he was right. Everything happens for a reason. Everything comes full circle.

“I wouldn’t,” Therese accepted.

“So then accept that this is who you were meant to be and stop beating yourself up for what you cannot control! I would have killed him, too! Believe it or not, I’ve become quite fond of your beautiful, blue-eyed witch.” He smiled.

“They’re blue-grey…almost slate…greyer depending on her mood.” Therese said softly.

“Oh just shut up! That’s too sappy, even for me!” He laughed.  “Now, what is the deal with Ransome? Any luck?”

Therese shook her head and sighed heavily.  “Honestly? I haven’t tried yet.”

Dannie stared her down. “So, we’ve been too busy with the make-over to actually find the people we need to find to save our lives…got it.” His voice was filled with a sarcastic tone that Therese didn’t find amusing.

“Dannie, I’ve always been alone…well except for you! What do I do? Just walk into various clubs and start asking for vampires?”

“Jesus, Therese, no! How did you meet Genevieve all those years ago?”

“She found me…at a party following a gallery opening,” Therese said with a shrug. Therese really wasn’t sure how it had happened, Gen just started talking to her and they hit it off and realized they had something in common. 

“You’re bloody hopeless, you know that?” He said in frustration. “Alright, I need some dinner and then we’re going to go out to the club I was at the other night.  I’ll ask around some more and once I find him, we’ll get you a meeting.”

She nodded in agreement. As much of a pain in the ass as Dannie could be sometimes, she would be lost with him. 

<><><><><> 

 

The three witches sat on the front porch watching the sun set.  Over the past couple of days Carol had been improving by leaps and bounds, thought she was now struggling with controlling her powers. Normally, this would have been something she learned growing up, but as her powers had been kept from her, there was bound to be a steep learning curve.  She had mastered a few things, such as the ability find water in the ground, almost like a divining rod, and she was able to fly more easily. And after the funeral pyre for Harge, she better understood how her fire powers worked as well. Still, she felt uneasy, like she was missing something…or someone.

“We’ll go soon.” Elena spoke into the silence.  “Next week maybe? Do you want to call her in the meantime? I have Dannie’s phone number, you could talk to her, I’m sure.” Elena knew her sister was struggling with Therese’s absence, but she also believed it was good for her to spend this time to grow into her own.

Carol shook her head.  “I think it would only make it harder on her…another reminder that I’m not there.”

“Vampires are weird,” Elena said, shaking her head. They had talked about it a great length the past couple of days, and she was finally beginning to accept that her sister was head over heels for the strange little creature.

“Believe me, she is very much aware of your absence, as well.” Abby smiled at Carol gently. 

“Can you see her? Have you heard something?” Carol asked, her voice rising with her anxiety.

“No,” Abby shook her head.  “Nothing clear…just feelings mostly. I can sense she is unsettled, and I can tell she misses you.”

“I miss her, terribly.” Tears started to well in her eyes, but she held them back.

Elena did not like to see her sister so sad, so she tried to lighten her spirits. “Why is it she doesn’t have a phone by the way?” She finally asked the question that had been bothering her for several days.  “And speaking of which, why don’t you?”

The corners of Carol’s mouth pulled back into a slight smile. “I never asked, and Therese never said, but there wasn’t much in terms of technology in her apartment either, no television, no radio, no phone. I think she has the soul of an artist.” Her smile fell, “As for me? Harge didn’t want me to have one.”

Elena’s features darkened at the mention of his name. “I would think he would have wanted you to have one, if only to track your every move.” Elena said bitterly.

“Honestly, I think it was another way for him to cut me off from the world. I had my job at the library, my Saturdays with you and mom, but that was it. Of course, after everything you’ve told me, even those Saturdays at home…well, I can see even that was just another form of control, as well. All points of reference were him, his friends, his job, and his needs.”

Abby sneered.  “Patriarchal bastard.”  Her eyes started to glow a little brighter and Elena turned to grab her hand.

“You see something?” Elena was getting good at reading Abby’s facial expressions and eyes.  She could see the subtle changes in their color.

Abby nodded and squeezed her hand.  “I hope you are both ready, because she’s coming.”

“Rebecca?” Elena asked for clarification, already knowing the answer.

“And another,” Abby’s eyes brightened further, and Carol felt her body tense.

“Who? When?”

“Tonight, I think…one of them will arrive tonight. I sense a coming battle, ladies, but again, there is a choice ahead. A path must be chosen before I can see the endgame.”

“My only path is the one that takes me to Therese.” Carol said sternly.

Abby’s eyes dulled again, and she turned to Elena.  “It isn’t Carol that needs to decide.”

“Me?” Elena questioned. “What do I need to decide? I’m going to side with my sister! Rebecca Ross can go—“

“Can go what, dear?” And suddenly she was there, standing in the road in front of the cabin. 

“How? Where did you? What the hell?”  The questions came pouring out of Carol and Elena.

“Relax, it isn’t that exciting.  I was dropped off down the road and walked until I found this place.” She started to move onto the porch, but Carol stood and backed away.

“Are you frightened of your own mother, Carol?” Rebecca said with a frown.

“I’m more frightened of what I might do to you. I can’t control it all yet.” She said honestly, her hands already glowing a light blue color.

“Well look at you! Bright like a star in the night sky! I always knew you had it in you.” Rebecca beamed with pride.

Carol laughed and threw her head back in disbelief, “No thanks to you!”

Rebecca took a few more steps forward and sat in one of the chairs on the porch.  “I know you need answers, honey.  I owe you both that and that is why I came. I miss you both and want you to come home, where you belong.”

“Fat fucking chance!” Elena yelled.

“Language!” Rebecca rebuked her and then turned and smiled at Abby. “Nice to see you again dear.” The inflection on the word see was not missed by the others.

“The feeling is not mutual,” Abby countered with a smile. 

“Well,” Rebecca leaned back and crossed her legs, relaxing, looking at the appearance of the cabin.  “I hope the inside is nicer than the outside. This place is rather…rustic looking. Hardly a place for the Ross women.”

“Mother…” Carol pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration. “You aren’t welcome here. You should leave.”

Rebecca stood up quickly and walked towards her eldest daughter, but Carol raised her hands, now a brighter shade of blue, in defense. “Don’t touch me!”

Rebecca froze a few steps in front of her. “We are going to talk young lady! All of us! You have no idea what you’ve done!” She looked back over her shoulder at Abby and Elena, who were standing too close for her comfort.  “We are all going to sit down and talk like civilized women and afterwards, if you want me to leave, then I will go…but not before you hear me out.”

Elena grabbed Abby’s hand and shot a look over at Carol, trying to get her attention.

“Don’t start, Elena,” Rebecca smirked. “You know I can read your mind. Just let me try to explain. I’m not the monster you both think I am.”

Carol let out the breath she was holding with a humph. “Fine. We’ll talk. But I’m warning you mother…”

“No warnings necessary, Carol.” She motioned towards the front door. “Shall we?” Rebecca entered the cabin like she owned the place and expected the others to follow.  The sisters shared a knowing look with each other but dared not ‘think’ anything.  Abby tugged on Elena’s hand, remember what I said about choices.

Chapter Text

“Shall we make some tea?” Rebecca suggested, sitting at the dining room table, and making herself at home.

As it was Abby’s cabin, she knew she was expected to be the gracious host.  “Sure.” She moved effortlessly through the kitchen and got everything prepped, leaving Carol and Elena alone with their mother.

“I have truly missed both of you,” Rebecca looked back and forth between her daughters. “My two beautiful girls, both spectacular in their own way. Carol, my special girl, so beautiful, and generous and loving and Elena, my fiercely intelligent and--”

“Oh, cut the crap, mother.” Elena sat down across from her.  “We both know what you’ve done and kissing our asses isn’t going to erase history.”

“How very direct and misguided of you, Elena.” She cut her eyes to Abby when she said misguided. What had this witch been filling their heads with?

“You aren’t so subtle, mother.” Carol sat down next to Elena, keeping her distance from the older woman. “Abby has been incredibly generous and had helped me a great deal.”

“Well then I am in her debt,” Rebecca smiled and attempted to reach out a hand towards Carol but was quickly rebuffed.

There was a long period of awkward silence before Abby finally set the tea tray on the table and took a seat on the other side of Carol.  She was surrounded by those who loved her, she thought, and it made her feel stronger. She just wished Therese were there, as well.

“I love you, too, Carol, and it is best that the other creature is not here right now” Rebecca stated, looking directly at her eldest.

“I don’t think you know what love is, mother.” Carol cut her eyes away, unable to hold her mother’s gaze.

“You’re so very wrong about that.  What a mother feels for her children is the most powerful bond there is, and I pray you will both know this feeling one day.”

With a roll of her eyes, Elena cut off her mother again. “Why are you here?”

Rebecca sat back in her chair and looked reflective.  “You’re both so strong. Clearly I did something right.”

“Whatever we are, mother, is in spite of you.” Carol looked back at her icily, “You don’t get to take credit for this, not after what you did.”

“And what did I do, exactly? Aside from everything in my power to protect you from dying?” Rebecca really did not understand where all of the bitterness and rage was coming from.

Elena just shook her head, “Are you kidding me right now? You want to play the martyr or something? Well, gee! Let’s make a list of everything you did, shall we?” Elena stood up and started walking around the kitchen table. “You stole your own daughter’s power. Then you worked some spell to hide what remained from her, and then made her to feel like she was defective because of it; you lied to me so that I would convince her to marry that asshole Harge; and then you helped him leech off of her for years! Aren’t you just the fucking mother of the year! Oh, and let’s not forget how you stole my memories! I mean that’s just the icing on the cake!” Elena was yelling now but Carol had not moved an inch, sitting silent in her resentment.  She sat, back rigid, staring at her mother, her eyes frosty.

“Calm down, Elena.” Rebecca lowered her voice an octave. “You are always so overdramatic about everything.”

“Ha! That’s rich coming from you.” Elena replied.

“Everything I did, everything, was to save you, Carol.” Rebecca’s eyes started to water, but Carol could not feel empathy towards her.  “Can’t you understand that? When Abby told me about her vision, I knew I had to take drastic measures to change your destiny, but I would have done anything! Don’t you see? As a mother, my job is to protect my children!”

Rebecca’s voice was filled with emotion, but Carol could no longer feel anything in return, aside from anger. Her eyes narrowed and focused on the woman shedding her crocodile tears in front on her. “Protect me? You didn’t protect me! You’re the one who hurt me, and you let Harge continue to hurt me for years!” Carol did not want to cry, but the tears were coming none-the-less.  “You taught him what to do and believe me he hurt me more than you can ever realize!”

Abby reached for her hand under the table, offering what little support she could.

“I never meant for…” Rebecca started.

“You never meant for what, mother? For me to hate myself so completely? For me to submit to his every whim, letting him hurt me over and over?” The sobs were growing more powerful, and her hands started to burn. Abby had to jerk her hand away and stood to back away from the table as the water started to pour forth from Carol.

“Shit,” Elena could see that Carol was losing control.  “Carol,” Elena moved closer to her and tried to calm her. “You CAN control it. I know it’s hard, but you can do it. Don’t let her win.”

“I didn’t win anything. I lost both of you!” Rebecca countered. “You think I liked seeing you in pain? I figured a dull life was better than no life!”

“Just shut up, mother! You aren’t going to take responsibility for any of it, are you?” Elena turned back to her mother, once it seemed Carol was beginning to calm down a little. “You really don’t think you did anything wrong?”

“Right or wrong, I did what I had to do!” Rebecca yelled at Elena. “And you aren’t so innocent in all of this! You played a role in what happened to her, too!” Rebecca let the accusation fly about Elena’s mental manipulations.

“No,” Abby finally spoke. “You did what YOU choose to do, never giving Carol or Elena the chance to choose for themselves. You cannot redirect fate at your whim, Rebecca, none of us can.”

“I had to try! She was my daughter!” Rebecca slammed her hand down on the table causing the tea cups to fall over and spill their contents on the table. There was another long pause. Carol focused on her breathing, and Elena and Abby gravitated towards each other. “This isn’t getting us anywhere. I had hoped you would see that I only did what I did out of love.”

“You did what you did out of selfishness, Rebecca.” Abby’s eyes were starting to glow again.

“I’m not going to let you turn my children against me, Abby. Do they know your role in all of this?”

Elena looked over at Abby and remembered how she had explained her visions from childhood. “Unbelievable, you would blame the actions of a child rather than apologize for your own misdeeds?”

“I couldn’t know that her vision wasn’t accurate! I acted on what she told me! And she wasn’t wrong, was she? The vampire came! The vampire MURDERED your husband, Carol! And from what I’ve been told, you just stood there and let her do it! What will keep that animal from hurting you next?”

The tears were replaced with fire as her hands ignited. “Therese would never hurt me, unlike you!”

“She will hurt you! Abby saw it! Abby saw her drink your blood! Tell her!” Rebecca shouted at Abby.

“If it means spending eternity with Therese, I will let her!” Carol screamed and Elena was immediately taken aback by her confession.

“Wait…what? What do you mean? Carol, you’ve only known her for a few days! Be reasonable!” Elena’s voice was dripping with worry.

“She can’t be reasonable because the vampire has her in her thrall! Don’t you see that?” Rebecca turned back to her oldest daughter, “You can’t—” Rebecca had started to reach out to her eldest daughter again, but Elena stepped in front of her.

“Back off, mother,” Elena warned. “You’re the reason this is all happening anyway!”

“I will not! You need to let me help her!” Rebecca was screaming now, too. “I know how to control her!”

Control. The word sent Carol into a raging spiral! “And how is that mother? By whoring me out to the Aird family again? Maybe Harris would like to fuck me, too!”  Carol’s fury was overwhelming her, filling her, and was about to overflow.  She knew she needed to leave the room…to get to a larger space…before everything inside her erupted!

Rebecca squirmed uncomfortably, not liking the insinuations Carol was making, “That wasn’t what I did, I just needed to hide you,” she whined!

“Hide me?!?! You SOLD ME!” Carol was standing now as she screamed, backing away from the table as the fire inside her grew. “You let him USE me! And how exactly was that supposed to hide me?” Her voice was hoarse, raw, and trembling.

“I…I don’t…” Rebecca had no answers, no true justification for her actions.

“Brilliant!” Elena laughed sardonically! “The great answer to all our questions is you don’t know? My sister is ready to kill us all and give her body over to a vampire, because YOU DON’T KNOW!”

Abby had moved back from the other women and stood with her back pressed against a wall.  She closed her eyes tight, praying no one would notice the brightness within them.  This was it. 

Carol was pacing the room, willing herself to calm down.  She tried to picture Therese, her green eyes, and her soft lips, but it was no use…she was too far gone. If she did not leave now, she was going to blow and take everyone out with her. “I’ve got to get out of here!” She started running for the door, but Rebecca grabbed her arm and spun her back around.

“Wait! Carol, let me help you!” Her hands were upon her daughter’s face, and she started to mutter the words. “Elena! Get in her head! You can calm her down! This is the only way, trust me!” Rebecca looked at her youngest daughter, her eyes pleading.

Elena froze, her eyes darting around for Abby. When she saw her pressed against the wall, eyes tightly closed, Elena realized this was the moment her warning was about.  Elena had to make a choice, to trust her mother once again and help her drain Carol’s power, or to let Carol go, knowing she would most likely give her life over to the vampire. There was no time to think, to rationalize it away, she would have to trust her instincts and they told her to save her sister, but suddenly she heard a quiet voice in her head, a memory from moments earlier, you never let them choose for themselves. Elena realized that Abby had said those words on purpose. Elena didn’t move.

“NOOOO!!!” Carol screamed and with a flick of her wrist, Rebecca was flying across the room, slamming hard against the wall. Carol started to run out of the cabin and Elena watched her, still unmoving.

“Carol, wait!” Elena screamed, pleading with her sister. Carol paused for the briefest moment. “I love you! No matter what! Always remember that!”

Carol turned away and opened the door to run out into the night, but she found herself blocked.  Carol slammed into the body of a young, handsome, vampire and fell backwards, stunned.

Diana looked down at the woman, clearly about to lose complete control of herself.  She motioned to Marcus before bending down to look the other witch in the eyes. “Carol. Give me your hand.” She spoke gently and yet firmly.  It wasn’t a request.  Carol resisted, not trusting the strangers now surrounding her. 

“There isn’t time to explain, but I need you to trust me.  I am Diana Bishop and I’ve come to help you.” Letting her instincts control her reaction, Carol reached out and took Diana’s hand and passed out.

Chapter Text

Carol’s body felt heavy, and her head was pounding.  She struggled to open her eyes but the sun that was shining through the window was too bright.  She did manage to see enough to realize she was back in her room, still in Abby’s cabin. Feeling tired and sluggish, Carol curled into a ball and started to cry softly.  God, she’s done it again…she’s taken them from me again, she thought.  

“Who has taken what?” A strange voice spoke to her.  Carol opened her eyes with a jolt and looked around to find the source of the voice. Sitting in a corner, watching her, was a woman she vaguely recognized; the same woman who had taken her hand last night.

“Who are you?” Carol asked as she wiped her eyes and struggled to sit up.

“The drugs can make you a little forgetful, but it will all come back in a few minutes. I’m Diana, Diana Bishop, we met last night. Now, who has taken your powers, Carol?”

Carol’s mouth felt overly dry, like someone had stuffed them with cotton balls.  When she tried to speak it came out with a croak, so Diana walked over with a glass of water.  “My mother…and now you, I guess.”

Diana shook her head, “Not at all, my son just had to sedate you last night.  It wasn’t magic, it was just modern medicine.  When I took your hand, he injected you.  No one has taken anything from you, I promise.” She smiled at her sweetly.

Carol was confused and tried to sit up further. 

Diana moved to her side and helped her sit up fully. “Careful, the drugs can really knock you out.”

“Why did you do that? Why did you sedate me, exactly?”

Diana sat beside her on the bed.  “It’s a long story, but the short version is I used to suffer from adrenaline poisoning.  So now I carry a sedative with me wherever I go, just as a precaution.  Both my husband and son are doctors, so they do insist.  It has gotten a lot better since I was freed from my binding, though.”

Carol’s eyes stared at the woman sitting next to her, only understanding about half of what she said. 

“Come on,” Diana stood up and held out her hand to the blonde witch again.  “Let’s get some coffee and food into you and then we’ll talk.  You can tell me all about your mother. Based on how she was screaming last night, I’ll be it is an interesting story.”

“Wait!” Carol stood up too fast and fell back onto the bed. “Where is she?” Despite everything she had done, the last thing Carol wanted was for something bad to happen to her mom.

Diana moved to help her stand again, this time, wrapping an arm around her waist gently.  “She is here, my son has her locked in a room for the time being.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

“You’re THE Diana Bishop?” Carol looked over the rim of her coffee mug and Diana chuckled.

“Hmmm…not sure what that means exactly.  I am Diana Bishop, professor at Oxford, daughter of Rebecca Bishop and Stephen Proctor, wife of Matthew Clairmont, and therefore the female head of the Bishop-Clairmont scion; mother of Rebecca, Philip, Marcus, and Jack, and some would even call me grandmother.  I am also Diana Bishop, representative of the De Clermont family on the Congregation.”

“Well, you look young for a grandmother,” she smiled weakly, taking another sip.

Diana’s eyes twinkled and she smiled brightly. “There is much we should discuss Carol Ross.”

With a sigh, Carol corrected her, “Aird. Carol Ross-Aird.”

“Yeah, I’m not going to call you that because that is not who you are.” Diana turned and sat across from her, her own coffee in hand. “Look, I get it. It took me a long time to accept my witch heritage, but that is what you are, and as a witch, by tradition, we carry our mother’s name forward.”

“What if I don’t want hers either?” Carol replied gruffly and moved some strands of blonde out of her face.

Diana looked at her warmly, “Tell me what happened.”

Carol started at the beginning and told her everything that happened over the past week of her life, starting with meeting Therese for the first time and running away together and then learning about her powers and everything her mother and now dead husband had done to her.  She had easily been talking for at least an hour before she finally got to the events of the previous evening. “How did you find us, by the way?” Carol asked, looking into empathetic eyes.

“Wasn’t hard, really. I’m a weaver, I just created a spell to track your mother and it led me to you.”

“I’m sorry, what is a weaver?” Carol asked, confused. She had heard of elemental witches and spellcasters, but a weaver?

“I create spells,” she said with a wave of her hand, “but more about that later. Right now, I just want to confirm a couple of things.  So, you do want to be with this Therese, is it?” Carol nodded. “And you did accept her mating offer?”

Carol nodded again and smiled, “I do...I did.”

Diana tilted her head and looked at her seriously, “And you understand fully what that means?”

“I…I think so,” Carol didn’t really understand her question, but before Diana could clarify, they were joined by Marcus and the others. 

“Glad to see you are awake.” He smiled sweetly.  “Sorry I had to do that, but it was the fastest and safest way to calm you down.”

Elena walked gently up to her sister and wrapped an arm gently around her shoulder.  “Are…are we okay?”

Carol took her hand and pulled her in for a hug.  “We’re okay. I love you, too.”  Elena sighed with relief. “What a mess.”

Abby poured herself and Elena cups of coffee and brought them over to the table. “Thank you, love,” Elena said sweetly.  She looked up at Marcus, who was scrounging around the fridge. “How is Rebecca?”

Marcus shut the door to the refrigerator, realizing there was nothing in there for him to eat. “Oh, she fell asleep eventually. I’ll take her some food in a bit, once you all decide what to do with her.”

“What does that mean? When we decide? You were sent by the Congregation, right?” Elena asked.

Diana cleared her throat. “And if Rebecca had harmed a vampire or a daemon, we would intervene. But Rebecca has harmed another witch and a witch within her own family and coven at that. Tradition would have her coven decide her fate. You should take her home, present your case to your coven and let them determine her punishment.” Diana was looking at Elena and Abby.  Carol would need to stay with Diana and Marcus for now and they would travel to meet up with Therese and Dannie in New Orleans.

Carol did not speak at first, she just stared out a window into the morning light, setting her coffee mug on the table.  Returning to Boston was simply not an option for her, maybe ever. “Wait, what about Therese? She killed a witch. What will happen to her?” 

Marcus sat down next to Carol but did not move to touch her.  He had already carried her to the bedroom the night before and that was going to cause trouble enough. “I heard you speaking to Diana this morning. Carol, did Therese have reason to believe you were mated before Harge came? Had you two kissed or, and I know this is very personal, shared anything physical?”

Carol blushed and shook her head, deciding that honesty was the best way forward for now. “Not until after…right before they left, I promised her, and we kissed.” Carol shivered at the memory of their first and only kiss.

Marcus and Diana shared a look.  “This will complicate things,” he said with a grimace.

“How so? She was just protecting me. She knew Harge had hurt me in the past and was hurting me again.” Carol looked back and forth between the mother and son.

“She went beyond protection by killing him.” Diana spoke softly, not wanting to upset Carol after the events of last night. “We’ll figure it out, but the bottom line is we have to get involved now, if only to keep the peace between the groups. Once Marcus and I speak to Therese, I should be able to explain her actions to the witches on the Congregation, especially given the nature of your relationship.”

“They won’t understand,” Carol whispered. She thought of all the horrible things her husband and his friends had said in the past about vampires.

Diana reached out and held her hand. “You’d be surprised. I married a vampire, remember?”

“And did everyone just accept that?” Carol looked over at Elena, knowing that her own sister had struggled with it.  Elena shifted her gaze away from Carol, ashamed of her previous behavior.

“I won’t lie to you and say yes, but once they got to know Matthew, my friends and my family did, and that is all that ever really matters. It was just as hard for his family to accept me.  How does Therese’s clan feel about the two of you?”

Carol was silent. Therese had never told her anything about her family. “I haven’t met any of them and she doesn’t talk about her family.”

There was another shared looked between Marcus and Diana.  That was quite unusual.  “Well,” Diana spoke again, “my aunt is one of the Congregation members, so I’m sure I can sway her to your side, and now you have us.”

Her words did little to comfort Carol’s breaking heart.  She was becoming more and more aware of the hard road ahead.

The morning was filled with packing and travel arrangements. The cabin was a frenzy of activity and phone calls. Diana and Marcus had come on a private jet and that jet would take Elena, Abby, and Rebecca back to Boston.  Diana spoke with Samantha and Sarah on the phone that morning and arrangements would be made for Rebecca’s tribunal.  The plane would then return to take Carol, Marcus, and Diana down to New Orleans.  Diana knew that she and Carol needed some more time to discuss things in private, anyway, so this all worked out fortuitously. 

Diana worked a temporary spell to bind Rebecca’s powers.  They could hear Rebecca screaming and crying in protest, but her daughters were unsympathetic.  “Serves her right,” Elena mumbled. Rebecca would not have access to her magic for at least a month, and if her coven decided to make it permanent, Diana would oblige them and alter the spell.

Carol wanted to spend some time alone with her sister after the events of the previous night, so they decided to go for a short walk. Marcus insisted they not go too far, that way he could get to them if necessary.  “Is all of this really happening?” Carol stopped walking and looked at her sister. “I don’t know if I can do this without you.”

“You can,” Elena took one of Carol’s hands in her own.  “You are so strong now, stronger than you’ve ever been.  Plus, not sure if you’ve noticed, but there is another kick-ass witch in there that is going to be able to teach you so much more than Abby or I ever could!  Plus, Abby says this feels right, so we just need to trust it.”

Carol didn’t look up at her younger sister, “I’m so happy you too found each other. She’s good for you, you know. She is the emotion to your logic.”

“I am happy, Carol! Despite everything, all the crazy, I am crazy about her!” Elena gushed.

“Am I crazy for falling for a vampire?” Carol said in a hushed voice, as if embarrassed by her own feelings.

Elena laughed at her older sister, “Yes! But I don’t know that we get to choose who we fall in love with.”  The laughter died out and Elena pulled her older sister into a fierce hug.  “Just promise me you will think before you do anything…drastic.”

Carol knew that she was referring to her statement about letting Therese turn her.  “I will.”

 

 

 

Hours later, Marcus was on the phone in a heated discussion with someone.  Carol sat on the sofa, feeling melancholy now that her sister and best friend had departed.  “Who is he fighting with?” she asked Diana.

“Ransome,” Diana sat next to her, looking into the fire. “His son.”

Carol had to shake her head. “It’s surreal, I mean, he looks like he’s in his early 20’s and yet he has a son.  You are in your 30’s and he’s your son. I’m not sure I will ever get used to that.”   

Diana chuckled, “There is much you will need to adjust too if you are going to be mated to a vampire, and the age thing is probably the easiest one.”

“Will you teach me?” Carol asked, her voice tentative.

“What I can,” Diana agreed. “Rule one though, a vampire’s stories are theirs alone to tell.  I cannot tell you much about my husband’s past.  Marcus can tell you his, but I cannot speak for him. I can, however, speak in generalities.”  

Carol nodded, understanding. “Therese hasn’t told me her story, but Dannie, her daemon friend has told me some.”

“Which is why you don’t know Therese’s family name.” Diana concluded.

“What is rule number 2?” Carol felt her body relax for the first time in over a week. It was nice to finally have someone to talk to that would be honest and accepting about everything. Someone who could truly understand her feelings for Therese.

“No other vampire can touch you.” Diana looked at her seriously. “Therese will have to be told about Marcus carrying you up the stairs.”

“But that wasn’t anything—”

Diana held up her hand. “It’s a scent thing and we don’t have it, it’s strange I know.” She laughed but then turned serious again. “I’m sure you’ve already experienced the possessive and over-protective nature, but it will be worse once you too actually…well…you know.” Diana wiggled her eyebrows and smirked.

Carol blushed. She wanted to ask other questions, too. Questions about what sex was like with a vampire, but she kept them to herself. Diana smiled at her and snorted, “Let’s just say they have amazing stamina and leave it at that.” Then like whiplash, Diana changed back into her serious mode. “Her scent on you is a mark of ownership, Carol and no other vampire will ever touch another’s mate, which offers you more protection, of course, but it also makes them crazy if someone does actually touch you,” Diana sighed remembering all the times she had to calm Matthew down.

“What else?” Carol was growing more and more fascinated by the subject.

“Hmmm,” Diana thought for a moment. “Well, you don’t know anything about her family, but in general, the head of the family is the boss.  Matthew for example is the head of our scion, or family branch.  His word is law,” she smirked, “mostly.  Once Marcus meets her, we’ll be able to determine which clan she belongs, too, and then we can work on getting their support.”

Carol looked down at her hands, studying them as if they were foreign to her. “Have you ever thought about…I mean would you ever want…” Carol couldn’t bring herself to ask the question.

“Vampires, as a rule, do not feed on witches. But yes, I thought about it in the beginning…spending forever with him. He refused, of course. It does help to know that Matthew won’t be alone when I go, he will have our children.”

Therese and Carol would never have that. “But if I wanted to, what would happen?”

The conversation had Marcus’s attention now. “We’ll be there in a day or two, and I expect all of this to be dealt with. Do you understand? Good.” He hung up the phone and joined his mother and Carol in front of the fire.

“Mind if I join you?” He sat in a chair where he could see them both. 

“Carol was just asking, well…”

“To my knowledge it has never happened,” Marcus spoke honestly. “We have very strict rules against it. From a scientific point of view, I believe our genetic code would override you own, and you would cease to be a witch, so no more powers.”

Carol became pensive. “You know most of my life I didn’t know I had powers, but I have grown used to them.” 

“I do know that feeling.” Diana smiled.

“What happened with you?” Carol asked and Marcus smiled and clapped. “Ohh! Story time!”

“My parents spellbound me to hide me from Peter Knox,” Diana started to explain.

“Like my mother did to me?”

“No…not the same.” Diana clarified. “Peter Knox was a witch on the Congregation, and he had heard prophecies of my powers.  My mother was powerful and so was my father, and Peter became obsessed with both her and me. My parents knew the Congregation would take me away from them, so they bound my powers hoping they would lose interest, and they did.  But my mother was also a very powerful seer, much like Abby.  She knew that I would one day meet and fall in love with Matthew, so she tied my powers to him. Once I met him and we fell in love, my bindings were released. Your mother siphoned your powers and then taught your husband to do the same. It wasn’t based on love, it was based on her own fears and prejudice.”

“She thought Therese was going to kill me by drinking my blood.” Carol was still trying to rationalize her mother’s behavior.

Diana looked over at Marcus and gave him a look. “More than likely, she will…drink you blood I mean.”  Diana lifted up her sleeves to reveal several scars and then she pulled down the front of her shirt to reveal a scar above her heart. Carol’s eyes went wide.

“Vampire mates drink each other’s blood as a form of intimacy,” Marcus explained. “Your blood contains your secrets, your memories…everything. By sharing that with your mate, there are no secrets between you. It’s as close as you can be.”

“It’s like the witches kiss,” Diana helped explain.

“So…when Therese killed Harge, she saw all of his memories?”

“Yes,” Marcus answered her.

“God,” Carol ran a nervous hand through her increasingly wild hair. “No wonder she became more vicious.” Diana was right, there was so much more to this than she understood.  Being with a vampire was more than just being married or promised to each other…so much more.

“Carol,” Marcus continued, “Forgive me, but you and Therese haven’t actually mated yet, so there is time for you to change you mind if you are having second thoughts. Diana and I could go to New Orleans alone and…”

“No!” Carol’s bright blue eyes turned to him, “I need to be with her!”

Diana recognized that feeling all too well. “Then we’ll go.” She looked to Marcus, “is everything arranged?”

“Ransome was being an ass as always, but he’ll make it happen.  He wouldn’t want to piss off his grandmother, after all.” He snickered and Diana thew a sofa pillow at his head.

“Arrangements?” Carol questioned, laughing at their playful nature.

“Marcus and his son will go in search of Therese and her friend, while you and I work with a local group of witches to finally unlock all of your powers.” She looked back at her son, “I imagine it was finding the witches to help us that Ransome was so opposed too?”

“Obviously, but once I threatened him with a visit from you, he came around. Though he did warn that it might not be what you’re used to.”

“What does that mean?” Carol said with a puzzled expression.

“Voodoo,” he answered. “The few he knows are all voodoo practitioners, so…well…you’ve been warned.”

<><><><><> 

 

Therese and Dannie were walking the streets, enjoying the sights and sounds of the French Quarter.  Jazz and Zydeco music poured out of clubs on both sides of the streets.  Drunken tourists screamed and waved beads in the air, despite the Mardi-Gras season being long past. Daemon artists painted canvases and sold them on street corners. Street performers walked around half-naked or in full body paint, pretending to be statues.  It wasn’t boring, that was for sure. 

Therese came to a stop in front of a plain looking shop with some interesting trinkets in the window.  Clearly, it used to be someone’s house, but now there was a simple sign above the door read Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo.  “It that a shrunken head?” she pointed, her mouth wide open.  “That’s so cool! We should go in!”

“Absolutely not!” Dannie stepped back. “That place is no joke, Therese.”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s all just another tourist attraction, like the ghost tours and such.” Therese tried to pull him inside, but Dannie resisted, looking terrified. 

“Can’t you feel it?” His hands were shaking.

“Feel what?” Therese really didn’t understand what the big deal was.

“The energy of that place…no…that place is not meant for us.” Dannie took another step back, almost falling off the curve.

“You’re being ridiculous,” Therese tried to argue, but a voice from behind her suddenly changed her mind.

“You should listen to him, vampire.” Therese spun around. Standing behind her stood a magnificent, dark-skinned woman, with long braids.  “Tis not a place for your kind,” her accent was thick with Cajun undercurrents.

Therese didn’t react immediately.  The racism within the creature world was not new to her.  “I didn’t mean any disrespect.”

The witch moved closer, staring at her intently. “You are the one dey are looking for, aren’t you?”

“I’m sorry, who is looking for me?” Dannie moved to stand by Therese’s side, willing to back her up no matter what. 

“Your kind…my kind…dey are all coming for you, Therese Belivet.” She pronounced her name perfectly, her lips curving into a sick smile. 

“How do you know my name?” Therese whispered and taking a few steps away from the woman and pulling Dannie with her. They were not standing out on the main street. She had never feared a witch before, but there was something about his woman that made her blood crawl.

“Oh, I know lots of tings…best be on your way and take your little pet daemon wit’chu.” 

Dannie tugged hard on Therese’s arms, pulling her further back. “I told you! Let’s get out of here!”

The witch started to laugh, but it was almost more of a cackle. “See you later! Tanks for stoppin’by.” She walked into the voodoo shop and closed the door behind her, turning off the lights and closing for the night.

“Ok that was fucking weird, even for New Orleans,” Dannie shuddered as a chill went down his spine.

“We should go back to the hotel and wait for the others.” Therese turned around and started walking towards the hotel. Her senses were heightened, and she was feeling on edge. 

“What about finding Ransome?” Dannie questioned, following as quickly as she was. 

“Apparently he is going to find me, so we’ll just wait.” Therese reasoned out in her head.  “Can you call Elena,” she looked over at him, suddenly stopping on the sidewalk. “I need to talk to Carol.”

Therese was shaking now and she felt her control waning.  The brief encounter with the witch had left her even more unsettled and she refused to let herself go out and hunt. Dannie took out his cell phone and dialed the number, but there was no answer.  He left a message and then sent a text immediately after. 911

“Why isn’t she answering? Therese said with a fierce growl. Her eyes were dilated, and her breathing was becoming more ragged.

“I don’t know, maybe they stepped out or maybe her phone is dead or maybe…I don’t know? I need you to calm down, Therese.”

Her eyes narrowed into slits and her breathing increased more. Thereses mind started to go to some dark places, wondering if Carol was alright. What if something had happened to her? It would be her fault for leaving her.  “I should have stayed with her,” she turned on her heels and made her way back to their hotel more quickly. “I never should have left!” She yelled into the night, scaring some tourists.

“Therese, wait. I’m sure it’s all alright, just…”

She turned on Dannie suddenly, her face almost hollow and grey. “Just what?” Her voice was lower, a warning for him to tread carefully.

“You should go hunt, Therese. You need to feed, and you need release this tension.”

She locked her jaw and grinded her teeth.  “I will not!” Clearly this was going to be more of a struggle that Dannie realized.

“The bayou’s are filled with…”

“NO!” Therese moved dangerously close to him, and he felt his blood grow cold at her proximity. Therese had never threatened him before.  She inhaled his fear, letting it waft up into her nostrils, activating her need to hunt, but she resisted. “I will not feed.”

Dannie looked down at his phone as it vibrated in his hand.  “Oh, thank god!”  Elena’s name lit up on his screen. “Here!” He held out the phone allowing Therese to answer it.

Without a hello or a how are you, Therese immediately demanded to speak with Carol, her voice low and dangerous.

“Therese,” Elena answered her. “She isn’t with us. Abby and I just landed back in Boston and Carol is back at the Cabin.”

“What?!?!” Therese screamed into the phone, forgetting she was standing out on a very busy public street. “You left her alone?”

“Of course not! Calm down! She’s with Diana and Marcus.”

“Who the hell are they?”  

Elena realized they hadn’t spoken with either of them since everything went down the night before. “They are friends, Therese, I promise. Diana, as in Diana Bishop…you know the witch that fell in love with a vampire and broke the covenant? Ringing any bells?”

“NO!” She sneered aggressively.

Elena was getting frustrated but before she could answer, Abby had taken the phone from her hand, rolling her eyes.  “Therese,” Abby spoke in a soothing voice.  “Carol is safe, I promise. She is coming to you and soon. Sooner than planned.”

“Coming…” Therese repeated back to her. “Soon.” Her breathing started to slow, and she felt her muscles begin to relax.

“Yes, I’m sorry we haven’t had a chance to tell you everything, but she is safe, and she misses you, Therese. She misses you so much.”

Her eyes returned to normal, and she felt her shoulders drop.  “Thank you,” she handed the phone back to Dannie.

“Yes, thank you!” he was grateful to whoever had just calmed his friend down. “Now what the fuck is going on?”

Chapter Text

Therese sat alone in her room, holding her dirty shirt that smelled of Carol, and staring at the door. Abby said soon…how soon? Therese wasn’t sure how much longer she could hold herself together.  Dannie had tried earlier to at least get her to come out of her room long enough to go for a walk, eat some sushi, something, but Therese would not budge. After their encounter with the witch and her behavior towards him after, Therese was even more ashamed, and she didn’t trust herself to even be around him. Her self-imposed isolation was best, at least for now. She sat, punishing herself.  She would not eat, she would not hunt, she would not move until Carol came and she felt like herself again. Only Carol could bring her absolution.

Another knock on the door. “Go away Dannie. I told you I’m not coming out.”

*Silence*

Therese tilted her head and took a deep breath in and listened intently. It was not Dannie on the other side of the door. “Who are you and what do you want?” she yelled across the room, her voice low and gravely. It was a vampire, that much she knew based on the slow heartbeat.

They knocked again, a little more forcefully.  Therese froze and watched as the door exploded off the hinges. Her shirt fell to ground as she stood, but she did not resist as the two vampires grabbed her and drug her from the hotel room. She did not call out for help, knowing that no human would be able to intervene.  She did not look for Dannie, knowing he was out and even if he had been here, her captors would most likely have just killed him to get to her. These must be the ones the witch had warned her about, and clearly their intentions were not good.  She was to be punished for her crimes, maybe even killed, and Therese’s only thoughts were of Carol. She regretted that she would never get to see those beautiful eyes again.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Diana and Carol spent the next day together while Marcus went out hunting.  They worked on shutting down the cabin and cleaning, knowing that no one would return to this place for a while.  Diana showed Carol some simple cleaning spells and ways of using her powers to make the process go so much faster.  It was still a struggle, but Carol was slowly starting to get the hang of using her powers. 

They ate a simple lunch before tidying up the kitchen.  Their plan was to leave that afternoon and arrive in New Orleans that night.  Carol was anxious to see Therese again after so many days apart.  She couldn’t believe the original plan had been for their separation to be for several weeks. That seemed unbearable now.

“You miss her?” Diana spoke while dishes whirred around her, flying up in the air and into cabinets.

Carol could not believe she had been doing housework the hard way for so long. “It sounds crazy, but yes.”

“Why does that sound crazy?”

“It’s just so fast…I mean, when you stop and think about it, we’ve only known each other for a couple of weeks if that. And the past few days we haven’t even been able to speak to each other. How can I be so…well…you know…over someone I barely know?”

“I knew the minute I saw Matthew,” Diana confessed. “I mean not really, it’s not like I rushed into his arms and said I love you…but I was drawn to him, and I couldn’t resist his allure…and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t want to be without him.”

“That’s exactly…so you understand.” Carol felt relieved.

“I also understand how scary it can be to have feelings that run deeper than anything you’ve ever experienced before.  From what I gather, your marriage wasn’t exactly…happy.”

Carol looked down. “It was not.  I mean it wasn’t all bad…there were moments, but I know now that I never loved him, and he never loved me…nothing like this…and honestly, I’m terrified.”

Diana squinted her eyes and gave Carol a very knowing look. “I’m going to ask you a very personal question, and you don’t have to answer it, but I feel like you want to ask me things and you’re scared, too. So, what was sex like with your husband?”

Carol froze and a pot feel to the ground beside her. “It…I mean…I don’t know…horrible.” She huffed in frustration, bent to pick it up and turned away from Diana embarrassed.

“It’s ok,” Diana reassured her. “I can read your mind enough to understand…horrible is probably an understatement.”  Diana cleared her throat and looked at Carol, “And he was your only experience?”

Carol only nodded, clearly uncomfortably with the conversation.  Diana changed tactics and stopped speaking, choosing to simply think the words.  It will be different with her because you love her.

“I’ve never been with a woman, let alone a vampire.” Carol thought back, her eyes looking up.

“Just follow her lead, trust me on that…I wasn’t lying about the stamina part. As for the biology of it- just do what feels good.”

Carol blushed so brightly her gleam glowed with an orange tint. 

“That reminds me, I need to teach you a disguising spell. As your powers get stronger, your glow will be bright enough to be noticed by humans. I only use mine when I’m out amongst them. If I’m at home or with other creatures, I take it off- like a cloak,” she said with a smile.

“Thank you, Diana, for everything.”

Diana turned and looked at the beautiful woman next to her. Diana was not a seer, but there were times when her third eye opened and she could see small glimpses of the future. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that very soon, this shy, unassuming woman was going to disappear and a powerful and self-assured witch would be born, with powers that would rival her own. They shared much in common in that way, as Diana herself used to be quite reserved, until she met Matthew and discovered her true powers. It would be the same with Carol.  She knew that Carol’s world was about to break wide open, and much like a phoenix, a new woman would rise from all of this.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Therese sat alone in a dark room that had an overpowering smell of cleaning supplies.  Her captors had not bothered to blindfold or bind her in anyway, so she assumed that leaving this room was going to be impossible.  She just waited, for how long she wasn’t sure, and imagined all of the ways they would try to kill her. 

Suddenly, a light came on above her and her eyes adjusted painfully.  She looked around to see the room was actually quite large, filled with various crates and storage containers, like a warehouse.

“Sorry for the dramatics,” A deep voice with a southern draw spoke.  “It is so hard to find good help these days.”

“How very trite,” Therese replied dryly.  

Chuckling, the vampire walked into the light so Therese could see him, “and yet very true.” He was tall, blonde air and blue eyed, wearing a crisp white suite with a bolo tie.  There wasn’t sure if he was trying to look like he fell out of the 1980’s, but that was her first thought of when she looked at him.

“Who are you?”

“Name’s Ransome, and I believe you’ve been looking for me.  Oddly enough, I’ve been sent to find you as well, so apparently we were meant to be friends.”  His smile was so smug and disingenuous. “Gotta tell ya, you aren’t what I was expecting.  My father told me to find some small, skinny girl with dark hair, dark eyes, and lots of make-up and tattoos.  You don’t exactly fit that description, now do ya?”

“People change.”

“Do they? So, why were you looking for me, Therese Belivet?” How did everyone in this town know who she was?

“I was told you could help me, but now I think I was wrong. I’m probably better off alone.” There was a bitterness to her voice. 

“Not likely, we aren’t the loner types.” He grinned at her again. “I will say you seem to have friends in high places, though, which is lucky for you. You may not look like much of a menace, but you’ve got a lot of people after you.”

“Who? What friends?” Therese tilted her head.

“My father, Marcus Whitmore, for one. He told me to find you and keep you safe until he and my grandmother, Diana, get to New Orleans.  So here we are.  Are you hungry? I could wrestle up someone for you to eat.” He smiled again and Therese felt her stomach turn.

“No, thank you. I don’t feed off humans anymore.”

“Ah yes, I hear you prefer the taste of the magical type,” He snickered, and she wanted to punch him so hard he would never be able to smile again.

“NO! I don’t! That was…he was hurting someone I cared about is all!” She tried to reason it away, but Ransome just laughed. 

“I’m just raggin’ on ya, kid. Seriously, I can have my boys bring you some animal blood or actual food, whatever.  You look like you need to eat. Dad will be might angry if I don’t take care of ya.”

“I don’t need anything.” Therese crossed her arms in front of her. “Just let me go.”

Ransome moved slowly and walked around the room, studying her carefully.  “Belivet is not a name I’m familiar with. What is your family name?”

“That is my family name. It’s Chech, originally it was…”

“No, your vampire family name.” He interrupted and corrected her, but she didn’t answer.

“There is no point in hiding it, Miss Belivet. You’re safe here.” He watched her keenly.

Therese remained silent. This was the moment, like all the times before, when they found out she didn’t know her family name, that she was cast out on her own. Well, maybe that would work to her benefit now. “I don’t know,” she whispered.

Ransome stood up straight and then quickly moved closer to look her dead in the eyes. “What do you mean, you don’t know?”

“I mean I don’t know who did this to me; I don’t know who killed me; and I don’t know who turned me into this monster!” She screamed in his face, and he backed up, eyeing her in disbelief.

“That would be…I mean…damn!” He grabbed a chair and sat across from her. “Look, kid, I don’t know why that happened, but that is NOT the way the vamp world is supposed to roll, you know? How did you survive those first years without your sire?” His eyes looked genuinely interested now.

Therese felt her guard drop a little.  “I just did. I was an orphan as a human, too, so I guess I was just used to being alone.”

“Damn!” He slapped his knee. “I take my hat off to you, kid! I was crazed those first few years and would have been totally lost without Marcus, but you figured it all out on your own? That’s really something!”

“I’m not really a kid, you know. I know I look young, but I’m actually almost 90.” Therese finally let herself smile.

“Ha! You’re a fetus! I’m 218 years old, and my father is 244. My grandfather…well let’s just say he was around for the Crusades and leave it at that!” Ransom laughed heartily and for the first time since taking off with Carol, Therese felt safe.

“Most people…vampires…they leave when they hear my story. You aren’t afraid of me or something?” Her air of confidence was now broken, and she very much sounded like a kid.

“Afraid? Absolutely not! My dad will be able to help you with that, I’m sure. He’s some kind of scientist and does the whole gene’s thing. If you want to know, he’d be able to find out. Hell, maybe we’re related! Though I feel real sorry for the vampire that left you like that. They are in for a world of hurt, if you know what I mean.”

“I don’t…know what you mean.” Therese looked at him, her eyes wide with concern.

“Therese, there are rules for this thing.” Ransome’s eyes looked at her warmly. “First, they should have asked if you wanted to be reborn. That choice was taken from you and that ain’t okay in my book. Second, they should have stayed around to help you adjust and teach you about your family and such.  Third, vampires are pack animals, Therese. We aren’t meant to be alone! I honestly don’t know how you survived without going off the deep end, but that just tells me you are a lot stronger than anyone is giving you credit for. I don’t doubt that you deal with whoever else is trying to get to you. But let’s not test that theory.”

“Who else is after me?” Therese wondered.

“Word on the street is witches, but now that we’re friends, I’ll do some more diggin’. In the meantime, you’ll be safe. All the creatures in New Orleans will know that you are under my protection. Doubt anyone will deal with you.”

“What makes you so special?” Therese worried she might offend him, but he just laughed it off.

“Family name’s are everything in our world, Therese.  I a member of the Bishop-Clairmont scion. My grandfather is Matthew De Clermont, of THE De Clermonts, which I can see by the look on your face means very little.  You’ll just have to trust me.  I also run most of this city, so there is that, too.”

“Can I ask you one more question?” Therese still spoke quietly, still feeling quite unsure of herself. “Who are Marcus and Diana?”

Ransome laughed loudly, throwing his head back. “Let’s just start at the beginning, shall we?”

 

<><><><><>

 

 

Therese and Ransome spoke at length about his life and his family.  He wouldn’t go into too many details about the other members of his family, because a vampire’s tale is theirs to tell.  He said that a few times over the course of their time together. It was one of the rules no one had taught her, and she couldn’t help but wonder what other rules she didn’t know.  Eventually, the two vampires who took her, walked with her back to her hotel room to collect her things.  Marcus owned a house in the Garden District and Therese was to be taken there to wait for the others.  Ransome assured her they would find Dannie and bring him to her safely as well. 

When she entered her room, she nearly panicked. The room had been cleaned! She started looking frantically for the shirt she had dropped  and found it neatly pressed and folded on her bed. She nearly broke down into tears when she realized the smell of Carol had been replaced with laundry chemicals. She shoved the shirt in her bag with her stuff from the bathroom. “I’m ready.”

A car was waiting for them outside of the hotel and Therese was speedily whisked away to a beautiful house.  Did this qualify as a house? A manor? Am estate?  Did houses have wings? Because this massive structure had at least two wings.  There was a large fountain in the courtyard and marble statues in various places in the yard.  It was more like a museum than a home. 

They walked in and Therese was greeted by an older, warm looking woman.  “Good evening, miss. My name is Florence. Welcome to the Whitmore house. I’ll show you to your room.”

Therese followed the woman up a massive granite staircase and then through a maze of halls until she they finally stopped at a large wooden door.  “Just through here. I took the liberty of drawing a bath and there is some wine waiting for you. If you need anything, just ring.”

“Ring?” Therese was absolutely flabbergasted!

Florence showed her the intercom button on the wall.  “Just press here. I’ll leave you for now.” She turned and walked out of the massive room.  Set in the middle was a large king-sized bed, covered in a decadent bedspread of reds and golds.  The furniture was all mahogany and clearly antique, though she imagined Marcus probably bought it new.  On the far wall she found a door that led into a palace of a bathroom.  There was a large garden tub, a separate shower with granite tile, and a double vanity sink.  The floor was warm when she stepped inside, and she instantly realized they were heated.  “Jesus!”  

Florence had indeed drawn her a warm bath and there was a glass of port wine sitting next to the tub. It would be at room temperature, the best way to appreciate the flavors.  Therese let herself relax. Stripping out of her clothes, she soaked in the tub until her hands were pruning.  When she finally got out, she actually felt a little tired and knew she should rest for a while.  She laid on the bed in the nude and sank into the down mattress. It was absolute heaven and sleep came quickly.

She woke a few hours later and dressed so she could explore.  Therese took it upon herself to wander the house…who were they kidding, the mansion, until she  eventually found the kitchen.  “Oh hello, Miss Belivet,” Florence said, sitting at a rather humble kitchen table. “Do you need anything?”

“I was just wondering if my friends had arrived yet?”

"I received word that Master Whitmore and Mistress De Clermont would be arriving shortly.  I was told to make arrangements for a formal dinner.  Do you have any requests?”

“No, I don’t really…no.” Therese shrugged.  “I didn’t really bring any clothes for a formal evening.”

“Not to worry, miss. If you look in the closet of your room, I’m sure you can find something that will fit. Mr. McElroy did arrive earlier and I showed him to his room a few moments ago. He was just getting settled.  I imagine he should be—”

“Therese!” Someone was screaming her name.  Therese walked out of the kitchen and into the large foyer to find Dannie at the top of the stairs. “Oh thank God!” He came rushing down the stairs and gave her a large hug.  “Where in the hell are we? All those goons said was that they had you and I needed to come with you if I wanted to see you again.”

She laughed.  Ransome was right, good help was hard to find.

Florence approached the two visitors.  “Dinner will be served promptly at eight and it is just after seven now. Might I suggest you both return to your rooms to get ready?”

“How formal is formal?” Therese asked over her shoulder.

Florence shifted uncomfortably.  “Master Whitmore will expect you too look nice, but I imagine we can bypass the gowns for the evening, a nice dress should suffice.”

“Gowns?” Dannie’s eyes went wide! “Are you kidding me?”

 

 

An hour later, Therese was standing in front of a full-length mirror.  She wore a thigh-length, black dress that hugged her beautifully.  The leather bodice was cut just above her breasts, but there was a thin layer of lace that went up to her collar. She stood there, admiring the beauty of it when she heard it…like a whisper…calling to her.  She spun around, but there was no one there.  Therese ran to the door and opened it, but the hall was empty.  She ran down the stairs in her dress and bare feet. Carol was close, she could hear her blood song.  Finding nothing, Therese took a deep breath in. There…she started to follow the scent, back up the stairs and down an adjacent hallway.  She stopped in front of another massive door.  She heard voices on the other side, giggling and happy.  Therese knocked lightly.  A woman she did not know opened the door and smiled brightly.  “You must be Therese.” She held out her hand to greet her before ushering the slender brunette into the room.  “I’ve heard so much about you. I am Diana.”

Therese was speechless. This woman was beautiful, but she was not the woman she was looking for.  This was who Carol had been with? And she was a witch at that. Therese couldn't help but feel jealous.

“I must admit, you aren’t what I imagined. Carol described someone quite different.” Diana's smile was warm as she escorted her into the room.

“So I’ve been told,” Therese’s eyes narrowed and she spun around facing the door she just came through.  “Where is Carol?”  Diana did not answer, but her eyes shifted just to the right. 

“Therese,” Carol’s low, sweet, sultry voice came from behind her.  Therese stood frozen, her eyes closed, suddenly terrified to turn around.  What if Carol didn’t like the changes, what if Carol actually preferred the woman she was before the make-over? What if...

“Baby, turn around.” Carol had walked to stand directly behind her. Therese slowly turned to see the most breathtaking sight.  Carol was standing by the bathroom door, glowing brighter and her blood song is singing louder than ever before.  She was wearing a long greenish-brown dress that cinched in the middle with a flesh-colored wrap that circled her waist. Her arms were bare, and her blonde hair fell to just below her shoulders.  She was so fucking beautiful and with a rush of wind, Carol found herself suddenly pulled into the strong arms of her beautiful brunette vampire.

“I’ll just leave you two alone,” Diana slipped out the door, closing it behind her.  When she got to her room she called downstairs.  “Florence, I think we’ll be two less for dinner.”

Chapter Text

Therese’s senses were completely overwhelmed.  She heard the song, felt the warmth of her and needed to kiss her, to hold her, to…wait…She pushed back and growled lowly. “Who is that?”  

This reaction is what Diana had warned her about. “Calm down,” Carol took a step forward, but Therese looked up and gave her a look of warning. Carol did not take a step back. “Marcus just carried me up the stairs. Nothing happened, I swear.” Carol reached out her hand, but Therese would not take it. Her eyes were dark green, untrusting, angry, and filled with betrayal.

“We should go down for dinner,” Therese moved towards the door. “It would be rude to keep our host waiting.”

Carol remained patient and steadfast, unmoving. “I am yours, Therese. Only yours. He was only trying to help me, to help us. Can you please believe me?” She kept her voice low and soft.

Therese tried to shake the insecurities from her head, but she just could not get the imagined scenarios out of her head.  Another vampire had touched her, and she could smell him…HIM! “I’ll kill him!” Therese was about to follow the scent, to find this Marcus person, and make him pay for touching her, when Carol did the unexpected.

She remembered what Diana had told her, but she also remembered what Diana had showed her.  “Therese, wait!” Carol reached down to the hem of her dress and slowly started to pull it up and over her legs, revealing her thighs, her hips, her stomach, and then as if in slow motion, she pulled it up and over her head. She stood before Therese in only her bra and panties, alabaster skin on full display. Therese could feel her mouth water and her body tremble as she watched her, tilting her head, her cold body suddenly on fire.

Carol took another step closer and removed her heels. Now she was only a few inches taller than the brunette who was nearly panting in desperation.  “I will show you what happened…come here.” Carol raised her hand to her breast and pointed to a place, just above her heart. “I need you to taste me baby. Here.”

Therese was confused by the offer and shook her head defiantly. “No! I can’t…” She stepped further back, her back slamming against the door. “I won’t hurt you!” There was an anguish in her voice now, needy and frantic.

“My heart vein, Therese. Just taste and you will see everything. Please angel, you won’t hurt me.” Carol begged, her blue-grey eyes pleading.

Therese was still resisting.  Frustrated, Carol thought of how much she needed this to happen, how much she desired this, and as she ran her finger over the vein, a small cut appeared under her fingers and a trickle of blood ran down her breasts.  She moved closer to the woman pressed against the door, watching as she battled herself.  “It’s yours, Therese. I am yours, only yours.”

The smell of her blood flooded through Therese’s brain, overriding all else. It was irresistible and suddenly, without conscious thought she found her mouth and tongue lapping at the red liquid on the surface of Carol’s skin. Her arms encircled her waist, and she pulled her body closer. Images came rushing into her mind, she saw the man carry her up the stairs, where he left her to sleep. She saw the other witch teaching her, and she saw Abby and Elena leaving, and all the events with her mother. She saw the day she left her and felt the tears and anguish Carol felt at being left behind.  She needed more, to taste more, to see more. Therese began to suck slowly, and Carol gasped at the sensation. It was the most erotic thing she had ever felt in her life, and she felt a hot wetness pooling between her legs. She wrapped her hands around Therese’s head and held her closer, whispering, “take all of me, Therese.”

Therese opened her eyes and moved her mouth away from the small cut that was already healing just above Carol’s breast.  She was too turned on to stop now. She kissed along Carol’s neck and shoulders, as the taller blonde shivered under her lips.  Therese slowly walked them back towards the bed and laid her down. Therese moved over her and lowered herself to her mouth, her tongue immediately seeking entry.  Carol could taste the metallic remnants of herself in Therese’s mouth, and it only heightened her own arousal. 

The curtains started to blow as if a wind was blowing in through the closed windows.  Therese placed small, gentle kisses all around Carol’s neck and behind her ears, breathing in deeply at the scent that was naturally her, “divine,” she rasped.  She shifted and her skirt rode up, allowing her slender thigh to fall between Carol’s perfect thighs.  Therese could feel how hot and wet she was, and it made her hungry for more. 

Carol was grasping at Therese’s clothes, desperate to feel her skin against her. Therese sat up and pulled the top of her outfit up and over her head, revealing her small and yet perfect breast.  Carol was overcome with a need to taste them, and she sat up to pull her one into her mouth, sucking on one nipple and then the other while Therese straddled her leg. She playfully bit at them and became increasingly turned on by the gasping noises Therese was now making as her back arched giving Carol better access. 

Therese slid backwards and out of her lap, leaving Carol whimpering.  She stood up and then slowly started to lower her skirt, stepping out of it.  Carol’s heart pounded as she watched enraptured as Therese removed her underwear, now fully exposed to her lover, and that was when she saw the new tattoo.  Carol’s name was written in perfect calligraphy, just above Therese’s glistening patch.

“That better be a new one,” Carol’s eyes warned. “We’ll talk later about who you let get that close.” She reached behind herself and unhooked her own bra, letting it fall slowly forward, revealing her full breasts to Therese, but when reached for her own lace panties, Therese slowly shook her head and Carol stopped.  “Slow down,” Therese’s voice was low and raspy.  “I want to take my time with you.”

It was quite possibly the hottest thing she had ever heard, and just her voice along with the anticipation could have made Carol come undone.  Therese started to climb back on the bed, slowly crawling over her blonde lover as if she would devour her whole. Carol wished she would. Long, delicate fingers started at Carol’s ankles, joined by lips and her soft tongue, as she slowly made her way up each of Carol’s legs to the top of her thighs. Therese gently urged apart as Carol laid back, put propped herself up on her elbows, wanting to watch the young, beautiful vampire. Therese slid easily in between her legs, needing to feel every single inch of Carol’s perfect body as she pressed her backwards. She laid her breasts down on top of Carol’s and the sensation was exquisite.  The temperature of the room started to slowly increase. 

Therese kissed her, their tongues dancing together. Carol had never been kissed like this.  It would move from soft to hard, and then from tender to passionate, and then start all over. Therese shifted herself lower and started to plant kisses all over Carol’s shoulders and down her chest, taking each breast into her mouth and suckling them slowly, reverently.  Her thigh started to slowly grind into Carol’s center, and Carol moaned in pleasure. 

Therese laid her head down and listened to the sound of Carol’s heard pounding under her chest. She kissed the small, now healed, cut at the top of her breast. “The greatest gift you could give me…and you gave it willingly.” Her voice was soft and delicate and so full of love, as she traced the remnants with her fingers.

Carol pulled her back up into another passionate kiss. “I need you, Therese.” Her voice dripped like honey. Her body was glistening now and the heat radiating off her was almost painful, but Therese would not stop.  She would kiss, touch, and mark every inch of Carol’s body, even if she ignited in the process. There would no question left in this world, that Carol was hers and hers alone. 

She started to make her way down again, kissing across and down her stomach, feeing the muscles tighten under her lips.  She dipped her tongue out and swirled it around Carol’s perfect belly button, a hint of what was to come. Carol was writhing beneath her now, the heat building more intensely.  Therese could smell the arousal coming from below her and her mouth watered in anticipation of tasting more of her, as she slowly removed her soaked panties. She wanted to drown in her essence. As she kissed along the bottom of Carol’s pelvis, she lowered her hand and slid one finger softly through the silken folds.  Carol let out a loud and needy groan. “Fuuuuuck…” Her body was glowing now, but not the normal brightness of her gleam. No, Carol’s torso was lit up with a blue hue, like her hands would do when she was angry.  Carol was quite literally going to set them on fire with her pure, unadulterated need. 

Therese pulled her fingers out and slowly sucked the wetness from her fingers as Carol’s eyes went wide, pupils blown. If Therese didn’t take her right now, she was sure she would combust.  As if reading her mind, Therese slowly dipped her head between Carol’s legs and let her tongue drag its way from the bottom to the top. The curtains started blowing wildly as if a thunderstorm were approaching.  As Therese let her tongue circle and explore, the temperature of the room rose to an almost unbearable level, and then suddenly they were surrounded by a circle of blue flames. 

Therese realized that her powers were manifesting all around them creating the wind and the flames.  She smiled knowing that no one had ever given Carol this kind of pleasure before.  She moved her mouth to the top of Carol’s center and took the blood-filled bud into her mouth.  It would take all of her control not to bite, but Therese resisted, sucking and swirling her tongue as Carol started grinding her body into Therese’s mouth.  “God…Therese…. Oh my god…don’t stop…please don’t stop…” she kept panting, needy and desperate.  The flames around them grew hotter and higher.  Therese took one hand and held Carol down as she moved the other to the core of Carol’s desire.  It was hotter than lava, but she would gladly blister every inch of her body for this woman. She circled her fingers slowly before driving two of them into the scorching wetness.  Carol cried out in ecstasy as Therese licked and fucked her slowly…and then the tremble started. Somewhere beneath them, the earth started to shake as the flames around them started to reach the ceiling. The wind rushed around, blowing pictures off the walls. Therese wondered if this was how they would die, burnt to a crisp and buried under the rubble of this massive house, but then she decided it was the only way she wanted to go. She increased the speed of her tongue and fingers and Carol’s hips were moving in time, unable to hold back what was about to happen.

The earth quaked below them, the wind blew fiercely around them, the flames peeled the paint from the walls, and with a sudden clench and a cry of absolute pleasure, the room was suddenly flooded as the water poured from Carol’s body, dousing the flames and soaking the mattress and the carpets.  The tremors slowly stopped, and Carol gasped for air as she pulled Therese up to wrap her in her arms and suddenly, she started to sob.

Confused at first and worried that she had somehow hurt her, Therese tried to soothe her, holding her tightly, and running her fingers slowly through her hair. 

“I never knew….it could be like…oh god, Therese,” the words poured out of her like the water. “I love you…I love you…I love you, my angel.”

Therese lowered her head to snuggle up to neck, feeling her pulse pound under her skin and hearing the song, her song. “I love you, too.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Diana, Ransome, Dannie and Marcus sat at the dining room table, holding on to the table for dear life. Florence was running around the house picking up various items that had fallen.  When the trembling subsided, Marcus poured each of them a fresh glass of wine and they toasted to surviving the first earthquake to hit New Orleans in decades. 

“I guess we can add earth to the list of abilities?” Dannie mused to himself, and the others just giggled. 

“Do you think I’ll still have a house in the morning?” Marcus grinned.

The next morning, Marcus sat reading the headlines of the Sunday morning paper and nearly fell over in laughter. “Earthquakes Rattle New Orleans: Aftershocks Continue!”

Chapter Text

The small room was dark and smokey. The walls of the space were painted black with talismans from various old-world religions hanging on almost every free inch, along with artist renderings of Kali, Baba Yaga, Hecate, and other ‘dark goddesses’. In the center of the room sat a small round wooden table with four chairs and in the center of the table a single black candle that emitted a low flame.

“Why have you come?” The voice asked the middle-aged man sitting alone at the table.

He looked around, trying to see who was speaking, but could not see anyone in the room with him. “I need your help…I need power…I want revenge.”

“And if you had to choose one of those? We can’t always get everything we want.”

“Revenge,” Harris said a little too quickly, though it seemed an easy enough decision to make. He couldn’t determine if the voice speaking to him was masculine or feminine, but if everything he’d heard was true, he didn’t really care. Rumors in the witching world were that this unusual creature was incredibly powerful and willing to do just about anything for the right price.  Finding him…or her…or it…whatever…had proven difficult but throw enough money around to the right people and eventually you can find what you need. Harris didn’t care if he spent his entire family fortune, his brother would be avenged.

“Magic for harmful purposes can be costly, and I don’t just mean monetarily.” The voice spoke again.

“I’ll pay any price and make any sacrifice! They killed my brother!” A cloaked figure appeared before him and sat across from him at the table.  The fingers that just barely revealed themselves from the sleeves were long, slender, and abnormally pale; the face in front of him was hidden by shadow. Harris heard the voices in his head warning him to be weary of this creature, but Harris felt desperate.  

“Place your hands flat on the table so that I may see them.” Harris complied.  “Any price indeed…and you are quite sure this is the path you wish to take? Once we begin, there can be no stopping.”

Harris felt a cold chill move through his entire body.  He could see the replay of his brother’s murder play repeatedly in his mind.  That vampire had killed his brother and the witches stood there and did nothing.  They burned him, destroyed all that he was, and they all needed to pay. Harris didn’t consider himself to be a fool. He knew he wasn’t near strong enough to go after the women on his own. He needed help and a lot of it. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves. “I am sure.” He reached into his pocket pulled out a large wad of cash, setting it on the table.  The long fingers pulled it to the other side and Harris watched as the money vanished.

“Money got you in the door. What I require is more…substantial.”

“Wha…what do you want?” Harris’s voice started to shake.

“Not until we agree…this is your last chance.  Turn back now, walk away and we shall go no further in this. You lose your money but keep…everything else. If you choose to stay, you agree to my terms, and I will help you get the revenge you so desperately seek.”

“But what are the terms?” Harris didn’t understand.

“I will take from you what I wish- but you will not know what I will take until after the magic is done.”

“That’s…I mean…” Harris knew that it was a bad deal. He knew that this was an incredibly bad decision. Harge wouldn’t have done the same for him.

“Last chance…how badly do you want the revenge you seek?” The cloaked figure stood from the table.

Fire flashed in Harris’s eyes. “I agree to your terms.” Fuck! What did I just do?

“Then let’s begin,” A strong, pale hand reached out and grabbed Harris by his wrist. Pain instantly ripped through his chest, and he cried out in excruciating agony. “It will hurt less if you just let go,” the yellowed and sharpened teeth of the creature before him smiled devilishly.

Oh God, were Harris’s last words. What did I just do?

Back in Boston, Abby Gerhard woke up screaming.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Carol didn’t remember falling asleep, but she woke up feeling incredible, and a little sore, but in that ‘mind blowing sex’ kind of way.  The sun was streaming in and shining down on the bed, and she looked down at the naked brunette stretched out across her body. She twirled a piece of short, dark brown hair in her fingers thinking she never got a chance to tell her how beautiful she looked last night. Actually, there were a lot of things she didn’t get do last night.

After their first time, Therese made her cum three more times, which she didn’t even realize was possible. Carol had completely given her body over to the desire that Therese stirred within her and let the vampire take her over and over again. It was a true sexual awakening, in so many ways. She ran her fingers up and down Therese’s back, slowly…lightly…until she felt her stir.  “Good morning, angel.”

Therese moaned and stretched her body, feeling the warmth of the beautiful woman beneath her.  She looked up and her bright green eyes shined.  “Good morning.”

“I didn’t have a chance to compliment your new look, but I think you are gorgeous no matter what you wear…or don’t wear,” she smirked.

Therese just smiled, unable to tear her eyes away from Carol’s face. “You are ethereal in the morning.”

“That is some compliment,” she kissed her forehead.  “I’m happy to see you actually slept,” Carol kept playing with her hair.

“I did,” Therese laid her head back down onto Carol’s chest.  “You wore me out.”

“Does that mean you’re too tired for me to finally return the favor?” Carol trailed her fingers down Therese’s face. “I want to touch you, Therese.” Her voice dropped an octave and she felt Therese’s body react as her pupil’s went wide.  Carol rolled them both over so that she was now lying on top and placed a sweet kiss on her lips as she slid a leg between Therese’s thighs.  “I want to taste you,” she kissed her neck, her breasts, and then moved further down.  “I want to make you feel incredible,” she ran her hands across her stomach and down her hips and then kissed the name that was semi-permanently inked on her lover.  “What will you do when it fades?”

“Get it done again…and again…and again.” She lifted her hips slightly to let Carol know she was ready.

Carol looked down at Therese’s body and bit her lower lip. “I’ve never done this before.” 

“You don’t have to if you aren’t ready…it’s okay.” She started to pull Carol back up to kiss her, but Carol swatted her hand away.

“I said I’ve never done it, not that I didn’t want to do it. I want this Therese,” she could smell her readiness and it was having unbelievable effect on her own body.  “God, I want this…”

Carol lowered her head and took Therese’s core into her mouth. She was slow at first, exploring, tentative and unpracticed, but she was a fast learner.  She listened to Therese’s sharp breaths and quickly figured out what she liked and how she liked it. She savored the unique flavor that flowed through her mouth, unlike anything she’d tasted before. Therese tasted simply divine, rich and aromatic.  Carol was slow and delicate at first, lapping her tongue in long strokes, but as Therese started to move her hips, Carol picked up the pace and pressure of her mouth.  She pulled the swollen nub into her mouth and sucked as her fingers slowly circle her opening.  She wondered if Therese would like it this way, but Therese spread her legs wider, giving Carol easier access and letting her know she was more than eager for whatever the blonde wanted to do.  Carol started slowly with one finger, loving the wet sensation that now covered her hand.  God this is unbelievable. “More…” Therese moaned lowly. Carol added a second finger and flattened her tongue and Therese instantly reacted, moving her hips so that Carol’s fingers went deeper.  I want to be inside of her…I want to feel all of her, Carol thought. Therese gasped as a third finger slid in easily and Carol moved faster and harder, speeding up the machinations of her tongue until she felt the pulsing and clenching around her fingers.  Therese looked down at the blonde head between her legs and let go, allowing the wave to crash through her entire body, but Carol didn’t stop. She kept licking and pumping her fingers…harder and faster until Therese cried out from the second orgasm that ripped through her body, causing her to spasm and twitch for what felt like hours.   

As Therese slowly came down from the high of her climax, Carol laid her head down on her thigh. “I could get used to that.”

“God, I hope that you do…” Therese smiled lazily, momentarily sated.

Carol kissed her way back up her body, “Does it work both ways?”

Therese’s expression showed she did not understand the question.  “If I am marked with your scent, are you marked with mine? Will my kisses keep other women away from you?” She stopped at the tattoo again and traced it with her finger before sucking hard on the skin right above it. “Because no one else can have you, Therese.”

“You can’t leave a love mark on me, unfortunately. I heal too fast, but god is it sexy when you try.” She pulled Carol up and kissed her slowly, longingly. “And yes, your smell will cover me. Other vampires will smell you all over me now.”

“I never want to leave this room,” Carol laid on top of Therese, her body limp.  She had never been so happy and fulfilled in her life.

Therese twisted her head to look around the room, assessing the damage in the sunlight. “You might want to reconsider that. I really don’t think this room is going to make it.”

Carol opened her eyes and looked around for the first time before sitting up, pulling a damp sheet to cover her body. “Oh, my goddess…did I do this?” The expression on her face was a mix of horror and fascination.

Therese pulled the sheet away from her so she could appreciate her lover’s body. “You literally rocked the world, my love.” Therese laughed and pulled Carol backwards so that she was now lying with her back on top of her and in between her legs.  Carol twisted her head back so she could kiss Therese, and the vampire’s arms wrapped around and started massaging her breasts and teasing her nipples before snaking down and running her fingers between her legs.  Carol could feel Therese’s wetness against her ass, and it felt so sensual. “Tell me it will always be like this,” Carol moaned in pleasure as Therese’s long fingers began working her up. 

Therese slid them up, down, and around in circles at the tip, as Carol spread her legs wider, giving Therese easier access to her center.  “I will always want you,” Therese answered as she ran her tongue up and down the back of Carol’s neck.  “I will always crave you,” she sucked hard, leaving a dark red mark where her shoulder and neck connected.  Carol’s body started to shake, and the temperature of the room started to rise again. Therese slowed down her movements and Carol whined in protest. Therese whispered into Carol’s ear, “Control it, baby.  Feel it inside…feel me inside…but control it.” As amazing as their love making was, Therese knew Carol would have to learn to control her magical responses or they’d destroy the house and possibly the city.

Carol was writhing under her skilled hands. “I don’t know if I can,” she moaned. “Please don’t stop…Therese...please.”

“Yes, you can. I won’t stop…feel all of me…but keep it inside…keep it inside…let it only be for me.” She started to speed up again and Carol keened her neck and opened her mouth, needing Therese’s tongue.  Therese covered and filled her mouth and sped up her fingers, concentrating on that sweet bundle of nerves.  Her body was sweating and glowing, but so far nothing in the room was catching on fire.  Carol pressed her body back into Therese, feeling her breasts against her back, her hand between her legs and the other still fondling her hard nipples. The curtains shifted lightly as her body rocked, and then she threw her head back as her body fell apart in Therese’s arms, but this time only her body shook, not the ground beneath them.  “Good girl,” Therese whispered as she kissed up and down the side of her neck. 

Carol’s body was spent, and her stomach started to grumble, causing Therese to giggle.  “Someone’s hungry. We missed dinner last night.”

“I’m pretty sure I just ate,” Carol grinned mischievously as she slowly sat up from her reclined position against the brunette. “But I could definitely go for seconds.”

“You are insatiable,” Therese smiled as she rolled off the bed, stood and stretched.

“Says the vampire,” Carol teased, her eyes taking in all the beautiful woman standing naked before her. “You are so beautiful, Therese.”

Therese looked down at the blonde still laid out across the bed. “So are you my beautiful wife. We should shower, get out of this room and find you some food.” Therese recommended and reached a hand to help Carol out of the bed.

“Wait…what?” Carol’s eyes had gone wide, and she sat up, swinging her legs over the side. “Wife? Did I miss something?”

Therese nodded, “It sounds better than mate, don’t you think?”

And odd look crossed Carol’s face, and Therese mistook it for regret. A dark expression crossed her face and she looked down at her feet. “Please tell me you haven’t changed your mind about us…about this.  Carol, I wouldn’t be able too—”

“No, Therese, I haven’t changed my mind about being with you.” Carol took both of her hands in her own. “I just…it feels…I don’t know how to say this without upsetting you and it’s stupid and I don’t want you to misunderstand me and—” Carol let out of frustrated huff.

“Just say it,” Therese frowned and looked down at their intertwined hands.

Carol took a deep breath and let the words pour out. “It’s just that I feel like I should feel guilty because Harge died…a few days ago, but I don’t miss him…and when you said ‘wife’, I just reacted because I was his wife for ten years and I guess on some traditionalist level it feels improper, like I’ve betrayed a marriage vow or something and I know I should feel bad, but I don’t and I’m so incredibly happy and I know it’s stupid, but I think I should at least wait a few days before running out and remarrying.” Carol forgot to breath as she let it all out and then continued to hold her breath as she waited for Therese’s response. She wasn’t sure she had ever spoken that much all at once in her entire life.

Therese stood silent, staring at the woman she so desperately loved, trying hard to set aside her possessive nature for just a second. She knew she needed to be patient because not only were Carol’s feelings valid, but Therese was the one that had killed her husband. “It isn’t stupid, Carol, but it also isn’t entirely accurate.”

Carol looked up into the jade green eyes that were staring through her now.  “You were always supposed to be mine…my wife.” Therese emphasized.  “He stole what was meant for me, so I cannot think of him as your husband. I can only think of him as the thief who robbed me of ten years with you.” Therese reached up and brushed aside some blonde hair that had fallen into Carol’s face. “I’m not suggesting that we run out and make it official with a priest and such. I could care less about a piece of paper and formality. If one day you want to do that, then we will. But you have to know that in my mind…in my heart, you are my wife. I cannot change that...not now.”

She started to turn and walk away, but Carol pulled her body into hers. “I love you, Therese, and I am yours in every sense of the word. You have my heart, my body, and my soul and I am your wife in all of these ways.”

Therese ran her fingers through the blonde tresses and leaned down and placed a delicate kiss on Carol’s lips. “That’s all I need, now…let’s go shower and get you some food.” She led them both to the large bathroom and turned on the water.  She helped Carol in and then stepped in behind her, running her hands up and down her body lazily. Carol reacted to her touch instantly. She wondered if it was this normal to feel this aroused all the time. “How do you do that?”

“Do what?” Therese kissed up and down her spine.

“Make me feel so…” Carol whispered as the hot water poured down her body.

“So?” Therese moved her hands around to the front of the blonde’s body and started teasing her nipples softly.  Carol was too turned on to speak and desperately needed Therese to alleviate the ache between her legs.  “Can you control it?” Therese ran her tongue around the base of her neck and across her shoulders.

“I…I think…god…Therese, please…”

Therese groaned in satisfaction at how the blonde reacted to her. It made her feel powerful, more powerful than she ever felt being a vampire.  “The water might help you from setting the bathroom on fire.” Therese lowered her hand to run her fingers through Carol’s hot, wet folds and she felt her shudder.

“I can’t be held responsible for what my body does under your hands,” Carol teased her.

Therese eyed her naughtily, “Is that so? Hmmmm…I just think you need more practice.”  A few minutes later, Carol felt her breasts pressed up against the granite tile as she panted her wife’s name over and over again.  

 

<><><><><><> 

 

When they re-entered the bedroom after a very long, hot shower of pleasing each other, Carol realized that all her clothes were either singed from the flames or wet.  They wrapped themselves in some oversized towels and crept down the hall into Therese’s bedroom, which was so far unscathed.  At least they would be able to sleep on a dry mattress tonight.  Therese pulled out a casual black jumpsuit that she purchased a couple of days ago.  It would fit more like capris on Carol, but it would work for now.  She loaned her a pair of lace undies, but Carol would have to go braless, and Therese saw absolutely no issue with that.

When they finally made it downstairs, Dannie and Marcus were sitting at the dining room table, trying to look nonchalant.  “Sleep well?” Marcus asked with a shit-eating grin on his face, as he read the morning paper. “You feel those earthquakes last night? The USGS is coming into town later today to investigate!”

“Therese, this is Marcus.” Carol made the introductions, her face bright red.

So, this was the vampire who had touched her wife. “This is your house?” Therese tilted her head and glared at Marcus.

“Yes, it is! Welcome! Are you hungry?” He motioned at the table where Florence had laid out a spread of pastries and beignets earlier.  “Flo can prepare anything you like and there is coffee and orange juice for you Carol. Therese, if you are hungry, Florence can pour you something more palatable.”  

Therese nodded and Florence left the room to fix her ‘drink’, “Thank you for your hospitality and I am deeply sorry for the damages,” Therese pulled out a chair for Carol before sitting in the chair next to her.

“Damages?” Marcus coughed over his drink. “You mean aside from the earthquake damage?”

Therese just smiled and Carol blushed even more brightly.

“So, all four elements then?” Dannie snickered as he shoveled food in his mouth.

“I am learning to control it, I promise.” Carol was so embarrassed a part of her wanted to crawl under the table, and yet another part of her was too happy to care.

Therese smiled and nudged her leg under the table. “She’s doing very well, actually.”

Marcus sent an email from his phone to have a contractor come out and inspect the room. “We also need to see about getting Carol some more clothes,” Therese mentioned to everyone in the room. “Those were kind of destroyed last night, too.”

Dannie nearly coughed on his croissant and Marcus let his jaw almost hit the table. Neither was really sure how to react to the knowledge that a witch just destroyed the house simply by having amazing sex.

“Damn Therese! You got mad skillz!” Dannie smirked devilishly and wiggled his eyebrows.

Marcus decided to change the subject.  “I umm…I’m not sure it is safe for you to go out right now, Therese, but I do have a personal shopper who can come here.  I can have her meet with you both this afternoon.” He started typing another message and Dannie interrupted before Therese could ask about Marcus’s last statement.

“Alright lovebirds,” Dannie rolled his eyes. “I guess we do actually have some real issues to deal with.”

As if on cue, Diana walked in from the living room and set her cell phone on the table. “Good morning, everyone. Therese, so nice to see you again. You two sleep well?” She gave them a knowing smile and winked at Carol. I warned you about the stamina.

Carol smiled and giggled, and Therese felt a ribbon of jealousy run through her.  She did not like the fact that someone else could read her lover’s mind. Carol reached for a powdered sugar covered beignet. “We did sleep well, thank you.” She took a bite of the hot, fried, dough. “Oh, this is amazing.” She pulled off a piece and offered it to Therese. “You have to try some.” Therese acquiesced as Carol slid the food into her mouth.  Though cooked food was not really her thing, Therese did appreciate the way the sugar melted in her mouth, much like Carol did.  

“Everything alright?” Marcus looked at Diana seriously. “Was that Matthew on the phone?”

“No, it was Elena and Abby. They just wanted me to know that their coven is meeting tonight to decide Rebecca’s fate.” Diana took a seat on the other side of Carol at the large formal dining table.

Carol stiffened in reaction to the news about her mother and Therese reached over to grab her hand.  “Are you alright?” She leaned in a whispered.

“I’m fine,” Carol lied. Truthfully, she was still angry and hurt and a huge part of her wanted her mother to pay for her actions, but another side of her felt sympathy for her. Carol knew that Rebecca really believed she was somehow saving her daughter, she just went about it the most twisted way imaginable.  Therese squeezed her hand to let her know that she was there and supportive.

“Have you heard any more from Ransome about a local coven that will work with us?” Diana continued with Marcus, pouring herself glass of juice.

“He should be stopping by this afternoon with news, but I think it’s been harder than he thought.” Marcus said truthfully.

“Why?” Diana asked, already have an idea of the answer.

Marcus did not want to hurt his mother. He knew all too well the sacrifices she had made to be with Matthew, but he also knew, she would want him to be honest no matter what. “I know the covenant is broken and the world is slowly changing for creatures, but this is still the South and things tend to happen more slowly here.  Despite the openness of New Orleans, there are still some long held traditions against intermingling. Some consider you both traitors and would see you both run out of town. Just give him time, I’m sure he’ll be able to find some more open-minded people.”

“Wait,” Therese interjected. “Are we supposed to just hide out here until all of this is settled? Is there not somewhere else we could go? Maybe back up north?”

Dannie looked at her sympathetically before clearing his throat. “Therese, you killed a wizard. I’m honestly surprised we lasted as long as we did out there. Word on the street is there may be price on your head.”

“I’m sorry, what? Word on the street? What street exactly?” She stood from the table, feeling uneasy. “And what? I’m just supposed to hide here?”

Carol wanted to tell her to calm down, but she knew it was pointless.

“Look, I’m not saying that a mob of witches with torches will be surrounded the house,” Marcus clarified. “I’m just saying we need to limit your exposure to the outside until Diana and Carol are able to build an alliance down here. Obviously, you have the protection of my family and our name, and if need be, I’ll call in the Knights of Lazarus.” Marcus explained.

“I’m sorry, the Knights of Whatzarus and what spell?” Therese raised her voice in frustration.

“The Knights of Lazarus are the remnants of Knights Templar from the crusades, tasked with protecting the innocent,” Marcus explained.

“I’m not innocent,” Therese grumbled to herself before sitting back down.

“No one really is,” Marcus grinned. “But I’m the leader of the knights and they will protect who I tell them to protect. I hope it won’t go that far, but they are there if we need them.”

“You’ve locked yourself away before, Therese.” Dannie tried to sound supportive. “Will this really be any different? And it isn’t like you’ll be alone.”

“Of course, it’s different!” She shouted. “I chose to do that for my art and because I had to take time to alter my identity. I didn’t choose this!”

Marcus and Diana exchanged understanding looks, “You chose Carol, and that choice has consequences- both good and bad.” Diana looked at the vampire with an empathetic understanding in eyes. “Believe it or not, I was in a very similar situation not that long ago. The Congregation was after me and Matthew and we had to hide out.  We hid for a while in France and then we came home to New Haven, but ultimately, we had to hide in time to really be safe.”

Carol looked over at Therese before turning back to Diana, “What about Elena and Abby? Won’t they be joining us soon? How many people do we need for this spell?”

“A minimum of six, not including you, nine would be ideal. So that would give us three.  I can call Janet and Aunt Sarah, that would give us five. Honestly, if we could just find one local witch to help us, we might be able to pull it off.”

 “What spell? What is happening?” Therese did not like how she was feeling and ran her fingers through her hair nervously. She felt like people were keeping secrets or at minimum keeping important information from her.

“A coven is needed to perform a forespell,” Carol placed her hand on Therese’s arm, attempting to calm her nerves. “Diana said it will reveal all of my talents and help me gain more control.”

Therese thought about the destroyed bedroom upstairs.  “Control would be good, but is this safe?”

“Yes,” Diana wasn’t completely honest. There were always risks with any spell. “I promise we won’t have to wait for very long. I cannot be away from Matthew for too long a period.  I’m sure you both understand that now.” Diana looked at the two women. “Therese, I did want to ask about your bloodline. Marcus would be able to determine your clan, if that is something you’d want to know.”

“How?” She asked, remembered Ransome saying something about genetics.

“Easy,” Marcus answered. “Just need a vial of your blood. I’d send it to my lab and based on your genetic profile, we’d be able to determine your family line.”

Therese shifted uncomfortably.  She’d never known and it didn’t make much sense to find out now. “I don’t think I want to know. Carol is my family and I belong to her. That is all that matters.”

“Its more complicated than that.” Marcus took time to explain about the blood rage and how it would be good to know if Therese carried the gene for it.

“Why would I need to know that? I have no plans on turning anyone.” Florence set down a silver goblet filled with a deep red liquid.  She took a sip, making sure that Carol wasn’t watching, but Carol was fidgeting nervously beside her.

“What if…” she started, but stopped.

Therese looked at her, her features deadly serious.  “That isn’t an option, Carol.”

“It isn’t just about turning others, Therese,” Marcus continued. “It could also explain why you killed Carol’s husband…why you couldn’t stop yourself.”

Therese pushed back from the table abruptly and stood to leave. “I know exactly why I killed that son of a bitch and it wasn’t some genetic disease.  I saw everything he did to her in that first bite, all the ways he hurt her, and I wasn’t about to let him hurt her again. I killed him because he was a power hungry, abusive, asshole!” She stormed out of the room.

Carol sat shocked and silent for a moment before she apologized and followed.

Chapter Text

Elena had tried all day to get Abby to talk about her nightmare.  She was clearly distressed by it, but claimed to not remember much. “I know you aren’t telling me the truth, Abby.” Elena pinched the bridge of her nose.  “Just tell me what you saw.”

Abby would only shake her head, but her eyes had been glowing since the moment she awoke in terror. Elena knew she was seeing...sensing something.

“Why are you doing this? Why are you keeping things from me?” After everything they had shared, Elena did not understand why she was shutting her out now. Since returning from Tennessee, they had remained inseparable, aside from a few hours when Elena went to her house to get some clothes and such. She had joked at how stereotypical they were being, moving so fast, but Abby insisted that they were perfect. Things didn’t seem so perfect now.

“We have more to worry about right now, Abby. We need to be at Samantha’s house in less than an hour and I’m not entirely sure of what I saw or what it means, anyway, so please just drop it.” Abby locked her mind, refusing to let Elena hear her innermost thoughts.  Everything she just said was true, and there was no need to lie about it, but she needed time to understand it, and more than likely more would be revealed. S0, for now, it was best to not say anything and avoid the risk of something being misinterpreted...again.  What little she did understand told her one thing for sure…something was coming...something dark, and something that would change all of their lives. Once they got to New Orleans, she would share it with everyone involved.

“Fine. I’ll meet you at Samantha’s. I’ll assume you can get there on your own.” Elena stormed out of the room, grabbing her suitcase as she did. Apparently, this relationship would be just like all her others, filled with doubts and lies or half-truths.  As much as she loved Abby, she would not tolerate being seen as anything other than her equal.  They were either in this together or not at all.

“Wait! Where are you going?” Abby called after her. “Why can’t we just go together?”

“I’m going home because apparently I’m not needed here! I’ll meet you at Samantha’s, we’ll deal with my mother, and then I’ll meet you at the airport tomorrow. But I won’t abide lies and secrets, Abby. I’ve lived with that too long! So, either tell me everything right now, or I’m going!”

“You’re acting like a petulant child!” Abby yelled. “Why can’t you just be patient?”

“Because I can feel that you’ve shut me out Abby! Clearly you don’t want me in your head and that means I’m not going to be in your bed! I’ll see you around.” She walked out the front door and sped away in her car.  

Abby didn’t move to stop her and didn’t ask her to stay.  If Elena was this angry now, she was going to be absolutely livid in a few hours. 

 

<><><><><> 

 

Therese sat on the edge of her bed, feeling overly frustrated.  She didn’t like feeling caged.  There was a soft knock on the door before Carol stepped in. “May I come in?”

“Like I could ever tell you no.” Therese smirked. Carol sat down gently beside her but didn’t say anything.

“I’m sorry. I know it was rude for me to leave like that…I’m just annoyed.”

“With me?” Carol asked shyly.

Therese shook her head. “I hate being treated like a caged animal.  It makes me feel less…human.”

“It wouldn’t be all bad, you know. I’m sure I can find some ways to keep you occupied,” Carol leaned in a kissed her lightly on the neck.  “Just think of all the practice I can get controlling my powers,” she sucked lightly. “All alone…locked in this room,” Carol nibbled on her ear. It was definitely causing a reaction.

Therese turned to look at her, green eyes bright with lust. “Do you think they’ll mind? I mean they obviously know what we’re doing up here, but is it wrong to just hide out in someone’s house, fucking all day?”

Carol giggled, “The only one who seemed even remotely uncomfortable was Dannie and honestly I think he just misses you…but there is so much new territory for me to explore with you.” Her lips kept wandering up and down Therese’s neck.

Therese turned to look at her seriously. “Can I ask you something first?”

“Anything, angel” Carol sat back.  She could tell from how dark her green eyes had turned that this was going to be an intense conversation and their love making would have to wait.

“Carol, in 90 years, I’ve only ever loved one person…you. But, downstairs, you implied that…” Therese stopped and looked off into the distance.

“You’ve never been in love before?” Carol found that hard to believe. “I mean, you’ve been with other people before, obviously.”  The thought of Therese kissing another person, touching someone else, made Carol incredibly jealous, but she also knew there was no way Therese had been alone all that time.

Therese looked down, “I’m not a 90-year-old virgin, but I’ve never been in love…not until you.” She sighed and her deep green eyes looked up in the Carol’s icy-blues ones. “Which is why I would never be able to,” she sighed heavily. “I would never be able to do that to you.”

Carol knew what she was referring, too. “Therese, all I know is that I want to be with you.” Her eyes started to water. “I was meant to be with you, and I don’t think one lifetime would ever be enough.”

Therese wiped a tear as it slowly made its way down the blonde’s cheek.  “I wouldn’t change what happened to me because it brought me to you and last night…making love to you…was worth every minute of pain I’ve ever experienced. But we’re together now and you are perfect and powerful and I love who you are! I wouldn’t want to risk changing that. So please don’t ever ask this of me, Carol.” Therese’s voice was ragged, and Carol let it go…for now.

She placed her hands on Therese’s cheeks and pulled her in for a passion filled kiss. “Make love to me, angel.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Diana had moved to the living room to call Matthew.  He would not be pleased that she wasn’t coming home sooner, but they had been apart for longer than this before.  He let her talk to the children, assured her everything was fine at home, but he could tell that something was wrong with his wife.

“Tell me, ma lionne, what is bothering you?” His voice was low and soothing.

“I feel something that I can’t explain…like something is about to change. Are you sure the children are alright?”  Despite the strength of her witches intuition, Diana did not have the ability to see what was coming.  She only knew that she felt...off. 

He chuckled, “They are more than safe, surrounded by creatures who would die to keep them happy and healthy.  But if you feel so uneasy, perhaps you and Marcus should return to France. Bring your new friends. We could help them just as well from here.”

She closed her eyes, trying to see the something that was just out of her reach.  “We may do just that. Once I get everyone involved in this back to New Orleans, I’ll suggest it, but are you sure? Things just calmed down for us and our family and we are finally safe. Is bringing all of this into our home the wisest decision?”

“You are the wisest woman I know, Diana, so I will leave that to you. If you tell me this is best and necessary, then I will support you.”

She leaned back in her chair and tried to picture her beautiful husband.  “I miss you,” she breathed.

“I miss you, too. Come home to us soon my love.”

They hung up and she closed her eyes and willed her body to relax.  She wasn’t sure if she actually fell asleep, but something woke her with a start.  This time it wasn’t an earthquake or the magics of the lovers upstairs.  No…this was something else.  She could feel it in her bones. Change was coming.

 

<><><><><> 

 

 Rebecca stood in the center of the room, surrounded by the members of her coven.  She tried her best to look contrite, but a part of her wanted to spit in all of their faces. How dare you all sit in judgement of me.  Elena had just concluded presenting everything to them, as if this were in a court of law.  Rebecca watched how her youngest daughter moved, how she spoke.  Something was off with her. Rebecca looked over at Abby, who sat alone in a corner.  She was a member of a different coven and was just here to support Elena and provide additional testimony if needed. She could tell the woman was seeing something, as her eyes were bright. Rebecca knew they had not travelled here together, having arrived separately and about 30 minutes apart. Trouble in paradise already. She filed that insight away for now.

Samantha LeFay was the first to speak once Elena returned to her seat.  “Do you have anything to say for yourself, Rebecca?”

Rebecca turned her head to make eye contact with each and every witch in the room. “Three of you do not have children, six of you do. I would appeal to you.  Tell me what you wouldn’t give…what you wouldn’t do to ensure their happiness? To ensure their safety? I admit that I may have gone about this the wrong way, but I truly believed in my heart that I was saving my daughter's life.  I still believe that! A witch and a vampire should not be matting! We don’t have to be enemies, but we are not meant to be together that way. You all know this! I still believe that the vampire has my daughter enthralled, for she is acting so differently and I barely recognize her. Elena would have you believe they are in love, but I refuse to believe that any child of mind could ever do such a thing. I beg for you all to see reason.”

There was a general mumbling around the room.  Elena couldn’t believe this. Was she actually winning them over? “You weren’t trying to make her happy, Mother! Carol’s happiness was never something you considered. And if they let you go, you would just go back and try to wreck her life some more! Admit it!"

The group members mumbled again, but before Rebecca could reply, .Abby stood and asked to be heard.  The coven agreed and she walked to the center of the room, Elena staring at her confused.  “When I was a girl, I told Rebecca about a vision I had.  I saw what I assumed was Carol’s death at the hands of a vampire.  I didn’t understand what I had seen and being young and inexperienced, I didn’t realize that what we see is not always a direct reflection of what will happen.”

Elena realized she was speaking to her, as well as the group.  But why did it seem like she was suddenly defending her mother?

“I’m not saying that Rebecca’s actions were not abhorrent. Using her magics the way she did, was unforgiveable, however, it is also understandable.” Elena gasped from the back of the room. What the hell was Abby playing at? Why would she change their strategy now?

“We would all do anything we had to do to save the people that we love and I believe that initially, that is what motivated Rebecca.  I would ask that you all take that into consideration before levying your judgement.” She walked out of the circle and returned to her chair, looking pale and tired.  On one hand, Elena wanted to rush to her side, pull her in and protect her, but on the other, she wanted to run out the door and as far away as she could.  The woman she thought she loved was acting irrational and indifferent to all the pain that Rebecca had caused. Rebecca stared at her in disbelief! Did that witch just defend her? Why was she suddenly on her side? 

Abby didn’t react to Elena or Rebecca’s glares from across the room, keeping her unfocused eyes trained on the floor.  There was no time to explain to Elena why she just did what she did.  Abby herself, did not fully understand.  She only knew that having a powerless Rebecca was not in their best interest, not now. No…they were going to need her, now more than ever.

Chapter Text

Elena stood outside of Samantha LeFay’s house, foot taping roughly on the ground in frustration.  She had never picked up a cigarette in her life, but right now she desperately wanted to start! What the hell was happening?  First, Abby kept the details of her vision from her and then shut her out of her thoughts, and now this! The ultimate betrayal! Abby knew everything that Rebecca had done, so how could she have defended her like that?

Abby walked outside to wait for her taxi that would take her back home. She could feel the anger and negative energy radiating off of her girlfriend. Wait…was she still her girlfriend? “Elena, I know you’re angry, but--”

“Angry?” Elena interrupted. “Abby, what the fuck is happening?!?” Elena raised her voice and tossed her hands in the air.

Rebecca walked out the front door behind Abby. “What have I told you about that language?”

Elena’s jaw clenched so tightly she thought she might break a tooth.  “Mother.” Her voice was cold and hard.

“We need to fly to New Orleans tomorrow,” Abby started to explain. “I will get in touch with Diana, but we really do need to join them as soon as possible.”

“And you think Carol will be happy to see her?” Elena pointed at Rebecca.  “And what about Therese? You saw what she did to Harge!” She moved over and looked directly into her mother’s eyes.  “What do you think she’ll do to you?”

“Enough of this,” Rebecca stepped around her youngest daughter. “I’ve explained why I did what I did and I’m not afraid of that…creature. Carol would never let her hurt me.”

“I wouldn’t depend on Carol to save you, mother. Not after what you did to her.”

Abby sighed in deep frustration.  “Stop it! Both of you! Elena, I need you to trust me!”

“Well that’s rich!” Elena stepped back and started moving away from the other women. “Trust…you don’t trust me, so why the hell should I trust you! I’ll meet you at the airport in the morning, but don’t ask me to give you what you won’t give me in return. I’m going to go to help my sister,” she shot her eyes over to her mother again. “And to protect her from you. But I’m warning you, mother, if you so much as think about hurting Carol, I will deal with you myself!”  Elena stormed off down the street.

“She’s always been dramatic,” Rebecca smirked.

“Please don’t.” Abby felt a tear roll down her cheek. “She doesn’t understand and nothing I say will fix that right now. We just need to get to New Orleans.”

“Why don’t you just tell her about your vision?” Rebecca walked down the front steps of the old red LeFay house. “Taxi is here.”

“Because I need to understand it first. I won’t make the same mistake again.”

“Again?” Rebecca started to put two and two together. Abby moved towards the taxi that pulled up to the house. “You said again. Did you see Carol’s death again?”

Abby got into the cab and rattled off the address to the driver.  “No,” Abby answered honestly. “I did not see Carol’s death.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Therese was going stir crazy and it had only been a couple of days. Despite everyone’s attempts to keep her preoccupied, she was all too aware of the walls that surrounded her.  Marcus had arranged for new clothes to be delivered for the both of them and Therese liked the outfits the stylist and personal shopper had chosen for them. He also had a ton of art supplies delivered for Therese, and Carol had been given access to his large library, and then there was the unbelievable sex.  Therese craved her and Carol was all too willing to give her whatever she wanted every time.  Carol had whispered in her ear the night before about how she needed Therese in the same way she needed air. Every time they made love it was more passionate, more intense, and more…well hot. She could hear Carol’s voice in her mind, begging her for more…harder…faster…don’t stop…god…don’t ever stop

Carol was experiencing a sexual awakening and it was unlike anything Therese had ever experienced in her life. Despite all of this…Therese needed something…more.  She was pacing the living room, staring at a blank canvas, feeling completely uninspired. 

“You need to hunt,” Marcus stood in the hallway, watching her.

Therese gritted her teeth. “I don’t.”

“You do,” he insisted. “It is a part of our nature, Therese and trying to fight it only makes all of this harder.”

“Well I can’t exactly hunt from inside of this house,” she turned to look at him. “And since I’m under house arrest.”

“Not exactly, but I know of a place and we can go tonight…after dark. I’ll invite Ransome, as well.”

“But you said—“

“We won’t be around people or other creatures tonight.  Oh, but you might want to wear some high water boots.”

“Why?” Therese tilted her head, looking confused.

“They bayou can be swampy.” Her grinned at her sheepishly as he walked away.

 

 

Later that evening, Therese found herself standing knee deep in a swamp, while Ransome and Marcus sat comfortably in a small motor boat, safe and dry. “What the hell I am doing out here?” Therese said with more than a hint of annoyance in her voice.

“Hunting, kid!” Ransome smirked. “This will be good for you!”

“Are you kidding? I’m not likely to find a deer or something out here! Are you expecting me to fight a fucking alligator or something?”

Marcus and Ransome laughed out loud. “Wouldn’t recommend it, kid! Try for a wild boar or maybe a nutria.”

“A what?” Therese tried to lift her legs, but just seemed to sink deeper in the muddy water. 

“It’s sort of like a giant rat,” Marcus explained.  “What I do recommend is that you seek higher ground.” Therese looked at him confused until she realized he meant she should climb the trees. “You really don’t want to mess with the gators, so higher is better. You are strong enough and fast enough to leap from tree to tree. Just keep the boat’s lights in your view so you don’t get lost out there.”

“You two aren’t coming with me?” Her face froze in horror.

The men laughed again. “Therese, you are the one that needs to hunt,” Marcus was speaking again. “We’ll be here if you need us, but you really need to expel that excess energy.  Go- climb- have fun!”

Something scurried through the water close to her and with a strong leap, Therese was perched up on a large tree limp looking down into the water. Her pupils were dilated and her slow heart rate increased as she was on alert. She could see various things moving around her in the darkness and she inhaled the thick, moist air.  Something was close…she lunged and disappeared into the darkness.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Carol sat in the living room, book in hand, though she found it difficult to pay attention to what she was reading though, as her mind kept wandering to Therese.  Ransome and Marcus had taken her out hunting and while she knew that they would protect her, Carol would not be able to relax until her lover was back in her arms.   

Diana walked into the room and sat across from her, sitting with her back stiff and full of tension.  “Carol, I need to discuss something with you.”

Carol laid the book down on the side table as her heart rate increased. “What’s wrong? Is Therese is alright?” There was an edge of panic in her voice.

“No, it isn’t anything to do with Therese. I’m sure Marcus and Ransome are taking care of her. It’s about your mother.”

Carol’s eyes went wide as saucers. “What about my mother?” Her jaw clenched and her hands closed into fists.

Diana took a deep breath. “She will be joining us.”

Carol stood suddenly, “What?!?! NO! That can’t be right!” She started pacing around the room as her hands took on a blue glow.

Diana did not move and kept her voice calm.  “I know you are upset and I know you have concerns, but I need you to trust me right now.  We are going to need her.”

Carol spun on her heels, her piercing eyes boring into Diana. “I don’t need anything from that woman!”

Diana watched as the flames flowed around Carol’s hands, burning brightly.  “Please sit and try to calm down. I’ll explain what I can.”

“What you can?” Carol was confused. She sat back in her chair and willed her magic to calm as well as her heartbeat.

Diana debated what all she should say, but the issue was just that she didn’t know much at this point. “What I mean is that something is coming, Carol. Can’t you feel it?”

Carol shook her head trying to deny feeling anything, but she knew it wasn’t entirely true. She had what she could only describe as an odd feeling of dread sitting in the back of her mind. She assumed it was just the situation, worrying about Therese, and worrying about her sister and Abby.

Diana could read her mind all too easily. “You do feel it then, and it isn’t just concern for your friends and family.  That darkness that you feel is all too real and we are going to need all the help we can get. But I promise you Carol, if Rebecca even tries to hurt you or Therese, I will deal with her.”

Carol let out a long sigh. “What is it? What is coming?”

Diana stood and walked to look out into the darkness beyond the windows. “I wish I knew, but whatever it is, is sending ripples through the magical world.  I just didn’t want you to be surprised when they arrive later.” She walked back over, sitting across from Carol once again. “Look, once Abby and the others are here, we’ll figure it out and face it together.” Diana placed a calming hand over Carol’s. 

Just then the doorbell rang.  Diana stood, looking down at Carol.  “They are here.”

Florence opened to door and Abby, Elena, and Rebecca slowly walked in to the space. Carol immediately picked up on a tension between Abby and Elena and just assumed it was due to the presence of her mother.  Elena dropped bags by the door and moved quickly to pull her older sister into a fierce hug. 

“Carol,” tears dropped from her eyes, a mix of relief and sadness.

Carol gave her sister a tight squeeze. “I’m alright, Elena.”

Rebecca stood back, against the wall.  “No hug for your mother?”

Elena released Carol from her arms, but stood next to her. “Don’t start, mother.”

“You look different, Carol.” Rebecca noted. “Good, but different.” Carol did not acknowledge her mother’s remark.

Abby moved through the room carefully, making a mental map of the furniture in her mind. “Carol, how are you? How is Therese?”

Carol walked to her friend and gave her a hug.  “We are both doing well. What about you?” She noticed the distance between Abby and Elena again. Back at the cabin they could barely keep their hands off each other.

Abby just nodded, but did not answer, knowing she wouldn’t be able to lie about the rift between her and Elena at that moment.

Diana said her hello’s to everyone and then moved into the large foyer, instructing Florence to prepare some tea. She walked back into the living room and motioned for everyone to sit down.  “We have much to discuss this evening ladies, but first,” she turned to look at Rebecca, “understand that you are here on a probation of sorts, Rebecca. I will not hesitate to bind you for good if you make any move against Carol or Therese.”

Rebecca didn’t respond, sitting quietly across from the powerful witch in front of her. She knew she could not show any sign of weakness, but she also understood that she needed to tread lightly.

Diana turned back to the others. “My aunt Sarah and Janet Gowdie should arrive tomorrow and the six of us should be able to complete the forespell to bring all of Carol’s powers to the surface.  Once that is done, we will be in a better position to deal with what’s coming.”

Elena looked over at her older sister. “What is coming? I can’t seem to get any answers.” She turned her eyes to Abby.

Diana looked over at Abby, sensing her discomfort. “Do you want to tell them what you saw?”

Abby eyes were looking down, dull and lifeless.  The plane ride had been emotionally exhausting. Elena and Rebecca kept bickering the entre time; Elena practically ignored Abby all together; and she honestly wasn’t sure if she had it in her to provide the details of what she saw. “Darkness is coming, death…I saw…” Tears started to well up. Elena fought the urge to run to her side and wrap her in her arms.  She had to remind herself that she was angry, but seeing Abby in so much pain was excruciating.  Still, she did not move from her seat. “Blood, birth, and so much pain.” Abby continued.  “Nothing was clear yet, but I can feel it.”

Diana looked at Carol, who had closed her eyes.  “What…what does it all mean?” Carol spoke in a whisper.

Tears continued to roll down Abby’s face. “I only know that dark times are coming and we need all the help we can get.” She lifted her face, looking towards Elena, praying she would hear what she was truly saying.

They sat in silence, sipping their tea, when a loud commotion at the front door brought them all out of their quiet contemplation.  Ransome had clearly just told some inappropriate joke and both Marcus and Therese were mid-laugh when they entered the room.  Therese was practically covered in mud and traces of blood stained her clothes.  The three went silent when they walked into the living room.

“I see our guests are starting to arrive.” Marcus walked over to the women, shaking hands.  “Abby, Elena, it’s good to see you again.” He simply tipped his head to Rebecca.  “Let me introduce my son, Ransome. This is Carol’s sister, Elena, Abby, and this is Rebecca, Carol and Elena’s mother.”

Ransome acknowledge each of the women, before stepping back into the hallway.  A room full of witches was not a space he felt most comfortable. “Well, I’ll just let myself out and be sure to touch base with you tomorrow,” he looked back at Marcus.  “Let me know if you need anything.”

Rebecca looked at the older man briefly, before turning her eyes back to Therese, glaring in disgust.  She let out a humph noise under her breath, muttering something to herself.

“Don’t start, mother,” Elena spoke through gritted teeth.

“I’m just going to shower and change.” Therese spoke, looking over at Carol, her eyes begging her to follow.  Carol understood and stood to go stand next to her. 

“Do you feel any better, angel?” She asked softly. 

Therese nodded. “I’ll be even better once I shower. Meet me upstairs when you can?”

Carol nodded and walked back into the living room. “It’s been a long day and I’m tired. We are going to turn in.” She hugged Abby and then Elena and said her good-nights to Marcus and Diana. “We will see you all at breakfast.”

“Carol,” Rebecca called to her daughter, but Carol chose to ignore her and walk up the stairs to join her lover.

 

 

Marcus showed his new guests to their rooms.  “I’m sorry, but one of the guest rooms is under renovation due to some…water damage…so I’ve got a room for Rebecca and I assumed Abby and Elena would be okay sharing.”

Elena knew it would be rude to argue, so she simply nodded in agreement.  She could deal with sleeping beside Abby for one night.  “You’ve been more than generous. Thank you, Marcus.”

Abby thanked him as well before he turned to walk Rebecca to her own room on the other side of the house.  She would be far away from her two daughters. Rebecca never spoke to Marcus as he escorted her, their mutual discomfort evident.  “This is you. If you need anything, Florence can assist you.” He walked away, leaving her alone. 

She looked around the room which was, she hated to admit, was beautifully decorated. She moved to lock her door, realizing that it was stupid, but doing it anyway. Obviously, a vampire could bust down the door and kill her if they wanted.  She felt bile rise in her throat at the thought of her daughter sleeping with that disgusting creature somewhere in this house. This will not stand, she thought to herself.

 

 

Back in Abby and Elena’s room, the tension was palpable.  Abby kept her eyes directed to the floor. “Which side of the bed do you want?” she asked softly.

Elena looked around the large room.  There was a long settee in a corner by the closet. “I’ll sleep over there.”

Abby’s head popped up. “Elena, it is a king sized bed. There is no reason we couldn’t share.”

“You mean aside from the fact that you are keeping things from me? That you don’t trust me? Why would you trust me to sleep next to you?” Elena accused.

Abby started shaking her head emphatically, “I trust you more than anyone! Elena, I love you!”

“You have a funny way of showing it!”

Abby’s shoulders sank, the heaviness of her situation weighing on her.  “I cannot tell you what I don’t understand, Elena.”

“You certainly understood what you did back in Boston! You couldn’t even bother to prepare me for that?”

“I was going too, but you stormed off!” Abby insisted.

“Sure you were,” Elena looked down at her phone that was buzzing in her hand. “Fuck.” She shoved the phone back into her pocket and moved to sit on the very uncomfortable couch.

“What’s wrong?” Abby inquired.

Elena looked up at the beautiful face, resisting the urge to forget everything and just lose herself in her lips and body. “It’s my job. I’ve got to make some choices to make.”

“You cannot leave,” Abby pleaded. “We need you! I need you!”

Elena looked up into Abby’s face. “Yeah, well I need my job, so please enlighten me as to how I can be in two places at once! They are giving me an ultimatum. If I’m not back by Monday, they are going to fire me! I have bills, Abby! A condo to pay for! I love my sister, but really? What the hell are we fighting? I’m here, I’ll help her regain her powers, and then I need to go back to Boston.”

Abby felt the sting of Elena’s anger.  “I…Elena…you need to…” she dropped her eyes again and spun around.  She couldn’t risk telling her what she truly saw, but she prayed it wasn’t something that was set in stone. She suddenly understood a little more as to why Rebecca had done what she did. What wouldn’t we do to protect the ones we love? “Please…” Abby whispered.

Elena felt like someone was reaching into her chest and ripping out her heart.  “Please what?”

“Stay with me.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Somewhere in New Orleans a cloaked figure drifted through the French Quarter, followed by a pale, shell of a man. “Come along, Harris. I’m hungry and we need to find a quiet place for me to eat.”

“Yes, Father.” Harris replied, his voice as hollow as his body. “I live to serve you.”

“Yes you do,” he hissed in reply. “I sense them, you know. The ones who have hurt us. It’s almost time for our revenge. Just a few days more.”

Chapter Text

Sarah Bishop was jetlagged and incredibly cranky as the plane landed in New Orleans. Her wild, curly brown hair was not going to be tamed any better than her irritability with this humidity. Leave it to her niece, Diana, to get them all involved in another life-threatening ordeal, just when things had finally calmed down. 

Sarah had lost her wife, Emily, during their last “adventure” and though it took time, she was finally starting to rebuild her life with Agatha Wilson, a daemon who also served on the Congregation.  They enjoyed each other’s company and an easy friendship had blossomed into a late in life romance.  Sarah would never get over her late wife, but she knew that Emily would not want her to be alone, either.  And thanks to the end of the covenant, she and Agatha were free to explore their lives together. This time, however, Sarah had been adamant about travelling to New Orleans alone. She would not risk the life of another partner, no matter how much she missed her. Besides, Diana needed witches, not daemons, for this undertaking, which is why Janet was the perfect travelling companion this time around. 

Janet Gowdie was the granddaughter of a Bright Born. To hear her tell her family story was quite intriguing.  “My great-grandmother, Isobel, had a love affair with a vampire.” Turns out that vampire was none other than Benjamin Fox, Matthew’s blood-raged son.  “She gave birth to my grandmother, who I am named after. My grandmother lived an incredibly long life, being more vampire than witch.  Born in 1662, she lived until 1912.  My own mother lived for two hundred years.  But with each generation our lives get a little shorter.  I am one hundred and seventy, now.”  Janet used various spells to hide her appearance, for though she was over one hundred years old, she looked to only be in her thirties. Age aside, her spell-casting abilities were well known, and though not as powerful as Diana, she was a force to be reckoned with.

A car was waiting to take Janet and Sarah to Marcus’s home in the garden district.  “Goddess, is it always so damned humid down here?” Sarah whined, pulling her wild hair up into a messy ponytail.

“I’m afraid so, ma’am,” the driver said politely.  “The car should cool down quickly.”

As they drove along the bumpy and construction filled roads of New Orleans, Janet just smiled, studying the passing homes and architecture.  “Such an interesting mix of old and new, don’t you think?”

Sarah was too grumpy to really give a damn. “Much like you my friend.  Honestly, it just looks like a bunch of plantation homes to me and I much prefer my old house in New York. Hell, I wouldn’t even be opposed to being back at Isabeau De Clermont's castle at Sept Tours! At least the castle was cold.  This is just miserable.” As strange as living with Matthew’s mother in France had been, the chill of her castle was better than the heat that caused her clothes to melt into her body. “Marcus’s house better have freaking air conditioning or I’m checking into a hotel!”

A few minutes later they pulled up to Marcus’s large estate.  Though not a castle, it was definitely quite grand and looked to be one of the older houses in the district.  Surrounded by black, metal gates on all sides and with large marble columns in the front, it was definitely one that predated the civil war.  The two witches were escorted in, where Sarah was happy to feel the cool air rush across her skin. 

Diana rushed to greet her aunt.  “Sarah! Thank you so much for coming!  Janet, so good to see you again!”

“Thank you so much for having the AC on.”  Sarah smirked in return.

Marcus entered the hallway and gave Sarah a hug before greeting Janet. “So nice of you to join our little party! I’ll have your bags taken up to your rooms.  You’ll be in the east wing with Rebecca, I hope that is okay.”

Sarah just huffed.  “What? I don’t get a tower here like at your grandmother’s?”

Marcus smiled, “Not quite.  Come in and meet the others. I can have Florence make you some tea?”

“Tea sounds lovely, thank you Marcus,” Janet said politely as she made her way into the large living room where Diana made introductions. 

“Sarah, Janet, this is Carol, Therese, Dannie, Elena, Abby, and Rebecca.  Everyone, this my Aunt Sarah and Janet Gowdie. Both serve on the Congregation and they have agreed to help us.”

Sarah turned to look at the group.  “So, which of you are the two lovebirds we are here to rescue?” Therese grabbed Carol’s hand and pulled her closer.  "Of course," Sarah gave Carol a small sympathetic smile, but said nothing, turning back to her niece. “Alright, so these two fell in love, a witch got killed, and now someone is out to get revenge? Is that the simple version? Because based on the negative energy in the room, I feel like we’re dealing with something much larger.”  

Diana let out a heavy sigh as she motioned for her Aunt and Janet to sit down. “Honestly we aren’t sure.  Matthew and I were fairly certain we had dealt with all of his Benjamin's children, but I’m sure we are all sensing the darkness that is approaching. What we need to do first is to awaken Carol’s powers, much like the coven did for me when Matthew and I travelled back in time.”

Janet looked at everyone around the room, taking in everyone around her, until her gaze fell onto the beautiful auburn woman with the white eyes. “What an interesting mix we have.  Vampires, daemons and witches united again.”  She stood and slowly moved around the room, moving close to Abby. Elena was instantly overcome by feelings of jealousy as the beautiful witch with dark hair took Abby’s hands in her own. “You have the gift of sight, my dear. Your face tells me you something troubling to share. Will you tell us what you have seen.”

Abby felt her hands tingle as her eyes brightened for the first time in days.  “I…it’s jumbled and some of it is unclear.”

Janet ran her thumbs over Abby’s knuckles.  “Perhaps I can help you make sense of it? Will you let me take a look?”  Abby nodded hesitantly and Elena had to physically restrain herself from jumping over the furniture to throttle the witch who had her hands on her Abby!

Janet turned with a smile to look at Elena, whose face was flushed and bright red.  “I don’t need to read your thoughts to see this upsets you, dear. I won’t hurt her, but she needs help decoding the vision.” She grinned mischievously, “I promise not to dive too deep.”

Carol pulled away from Therese and moved to her sister’s side and placed a calming hand on her shoulder.  “We can trust her, I feel it.”

Elena’s eyes turned to look at her sister, opening her mind and letting Carol see all that had been happening between her and Abby in recent days.  Carol nodded with understanding. From Elena’s point of view, sharing her vision was an act of intimacy and Abby hadn’t even shared it with her, but here she was, willing to give her innermost thoughts to a complete stranger.

Therese slowly backed away from the other women in the room, choosing to stand next to Marcus and Dannie.  She leaned in and whispered. “What the hell is happening?”

“I don’t know, but this is intense!” Dannie smirked. “All these witches in one room! You can practically smell the power, can’t you?”

“We should leave them, head into the kitchen?” Marcus suggested and Therese and Dannie followed. 

Once safe from the magic that was about to spill over, Dannie let out a relaxed sigh. “It’s like a powder keg in there!”

Therese just nodded in agreement and looked over at her host. ‘Are you sure this is all safe? I mean…that Carol is safe?”

“Absolutely,” Marcus assured her.  “Diana will not do anything to hurt Carol. But honestly, there really isn’t anything we can do aside from get in the way, so, I highly recommend we just give them some space. We could go out hunting again if you'd like?”

Therese shook her head and tried to bury her apprehension. She could not stand to be physically away from Carol for very long.  Last night's trip to the bayou was about as long as she could stand. Even now, she felt her body twitch, longing to be back by Carol's side. 

Dannie broke Therese out of her inner turmoil. “You look better than you did yesterday. Good hunting?”

“It was…interesting...and very wet.” Therese did not eleaborate.

Marcus just laughed at her description.  “Nothing like hunting in the bayou!”

 

 

Back in the living room, Janet held Abby’s hands in her own as she closed her eyes.  “Will you open your mind and share your vision with us, Abby?”

Us. Abby understood better than anyone what was about to happen. Once she agreed to unlock her mind, every witch in the room would be able to experience her thoughts and parts of her vision, well everyone except for Rebecca.  Abby was mostly terrified of Elena’s reaction to what she was about to see, but she knew that it was time. She took a deep breath and opened her mind, releasing the vision.

The images and feelings swam into the minds of each woman in the room, only on different levels. Sarah was a master spell-caster, but she did not really have the gift of sight. She felt overcome with feelings, first of warmth and love and then of cold and death. Diana and Janet saw everything in all of the beautiful and horrific detail, while Carol, whose powers were still somewhat broken, only felt intense waves of happiness and then sadness and foreboding...and something more...something deeper. Elena was overcome with something almost unexplainable.  She was surrounded by a cold darkness and felt almost detached from her own body, like she was floating into some unknown abyss.  She tried to reach out, to grab onto someone, something…anything, but found herself slipping further away…and then as suddenly as it had started, it stopped and she was back, holding on to Carol for dear life. Rebecca, whose powers were still bound, could only watch their faces and infer that something very bad was coming.

“Oh dear,” Janet said sitting down on one of the leather high-backed chairs.  Diana looked first at Carol and then back and forth between Abby and Elena, understanding why Abby had not shared this before now.  She felt her heart break for what was coming. Could they stop it? Was this written in stone?

“No.” Carol was almost sure she understood, but she would not accept what she felt.  Abby didn’t speak or move, frozen in time.  Her eyes dimmed again as tears started to roll down her cheeks.  Elena wanted to go to her, but found herself feeling exhausted from the experience. She collapsed back on to one of the large sofas, her legs giving out beneath her.

“So? What was it?” Rebecca finally spoke, clearly frustrated to be out of the loop.

Diana wasn’t sure how to explain without scaring the hell out of both Rebecca and Elena. But first she needed to speak with Carol and Therese, alone.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Therese and Carol sat at the large dining room table, away from the prying ears and minds of the others. Carol’s hands would not stop shaking and Therese pulled her as close as she could, holding her and stroking her hair.  “What happened?”

Before Carol could explain what she experienced, Diana and Janet walked in to the room, speaking softly to themselves.  “As far as I know, it has never happened,” Janet mumbled before they both took their seats across from Carol and Therese. 

Diana started the conversation, knowing some very uncomfortable things were about to be discussed.  “Carol, how are you feeling?”

“What was that? What did we all just share?” Her voice was still quivering from the experience.

Janet and Diana exchanged a look before Janet continued the conversation. “Abby’s vision is a bit broken, most likely because it is too emotional and personal.  She has foreseen the death of someone she loves and a part of her mind is resisting that, fighting against it.”

Therese felt her arms tighten instinctively around Carol.  She would not let anyone hurt her. “Did she see Carol’s death again?”

Diana shook her head.  “No, it wasn’t Carol and it may be something we can prevent.  Janet believes part of her vision has already come to pass and another was a warning of what could happen, but not necessarily set in stone. In any case, we need to get Carol’s forspell done, tonight,” Diana continued, “but I need to explain a potential risk.”

“What risk?” Carol whispered, her body leaning into Therese. 

“I think you already know,” Diana paused, her eyes moving up and down Carol’s body. “Though how this has happened is beyond our comprehension and as far as we know, this has never happened before.”

“What are you talking about?” Therese’s voice dropped to a near growl.  “Do witches always speak in riddles like this?  Because it’s driving me insane! Just tell us what is happening.”

“Carol? Can you feel it?” Janet looked at her warmly.  “It would be very new, but very strong.”

Carol’s eyes went wide.  “I…I wouldn’t be able to…not yet.”  She turned, a terrified expression on her face, and looked at Therese.

“What?” Therese shook her head.  She could hear Carol’s heart racing, smell the adrenaline pumping through her lover.  “What do you feel?”

Carol wrapped her arm around her stomach.  It had only been a few days.  How would it be possible? How would she know? Unless…no…it couldn’t be…anything but that.

Therese watched her, watched her hands, listening to every sound her body made.  She could hear the straining of the tension in her muscles, and she watched as a small bead of sweat slipped down the side of her temple.

“Carol, I have to ask you,” Diana sighed.  “When was the last time you had sex with your…with Harge?”

Therese’s slow heart almost stopped beating.  Wait.

“It can’t be his.” Carol slammed her eyes shut and lot out a small sob. “It can’t!” 

Therese started to do the math in her head.  No. If it was Harge’s, she should hear two heartbeats.  She dropped her head and strained to listen.  Only one heartbeat, Carol’s heartbeat.

Janet reached out across the table, placing her hand close to Carol.  “Magic is desire made real.” 

“I…I wanted," Carol strained to get the words out, to explain.  She looked to Therese, "I needed you…I wanted a life with you.” Carol’s whole body started to shudder as she confessed her thoughts from their first night together. “I wanted a family with you…but it wouldn’t be possible. I just wanted you inside of me forever.”

“I think we all know that magic makes the impossible, possible.  So I guess congratulations are in order.” Diana smiled. “Your desire has manifested itself.”

Therese stood up, her brain disbelieving what she was being told.  “Are you trying to tell me that Carol is pregnant? And that somehow this child is mine?” It wasn't possible. I mean, obviously, it wasn't possible!  

Diana nodded, “It appears that way.  She’d be very early on and the only reason we know this at all is Abby saw her…saw the birth of your daughter."

"A daughter," Carol smiled.

"She will be a Bright Born, part witch, part vampire, incredibly powerful, and much like my own children, very special. She will need to be protected, to keep her away from those that would seek to use her power and this is why we need Carol at full strength, but it is also why I need to explain the risk.”

Carol wrapped both her arms around her waist and was slowly rocking herself.  “I won’t risk her life. She is mine...ours”

Therese was by her side in less than a heartbeat.  She bent to her knees and laid her head on Carol’s lap.  “I will protect you both, my love.” Therese looked up, her eyes were watering, and a huge smile lit up her face.  “We’re having a baby?”

Carol reached out and placed a soft hand on Therese’s cheek.  “I felt different, but I just thought it was all the love I felt for you.  You fill me, complete me, in every single way, Therese.  I didn’t know this was even a possibility.”

“The spell tonight,” Therese looked over her shoulder at Diana. “It could hurt the baby? Is that what you’re trying to say?”

Diana looked at Carol.  “You are barely pregnant…days if that…and honestly, at this point, a strong enough jostle could cause something to go wrong in any pregnancy. The spell tonight will cause magic to surge through your body.  I cannot promise that nothing would go wrong."

Janet interjected, "That being said, this is not a typical pregnancy and Abby’s vision tells us that your baby is coming. If her vision can be trusted, and we believe it can, it tells us that she will be fine.”

Carol looked at Therese. “I need my powers to protect her.”

Therese pulled Carol up from her chair and wrapped her arms tightly around the woman she loved. “I will protect you both, I swear to God, Carol.”

“I know you will, angel, but something else is coming. Diana is right, I need my powers…all of my powers. I need to be able to protect my family.  Do you trust me?”

“Yes,” If Therese squeezed any harder she would have crushed her. “I will not leave your side, though. If I sense that something is going wrong, I will end this spell. I will not risk your life or hers.” She ran a delicate touch across Carol’s stomach.

 

 

A few hours later, Therese stood with her back plastered against the wall.  There was no way she was not going to be close to Carol, just in case something went wrong.  Despite Diana’s assurances that this spell was safe, Therese had a twisted knot in her stomach. No one else had been told of the pregnancy, though based on Marcus' expressions Therese was sure he had heard the conversation.  

All of the furniture and rugs in the living room had been removed and a large pentagram had been drawn on the floor with salt to purify the space.  The windows and fireplaces had been closed and covered, and despite the full moon outside, the room was dark, lit only by candles. Diana did her best to recreate the same environment from when her own forspell had been cast in back in Elizabethan England, but they were missing a few elements from the time period.  She replaced the sacred brooms with various bowls of various herbs and plants and set them on fire to send a pungent air around the room.  She did not have the sacred knives that had been used back then, but having no clear replacement, chose to just do without them.    

Diana turned to stand before Rebecca and started to twirl her hands in front of her, as if untying a knot, casting a counter spell and removing the bindings from Rebecca’s powers.  With a rush, Rebecca felt something inside of her open once gain.  Before she could speak, Diana met her eyes with a stern look of warning.  "You share the name of my daughter. Do not make me regret this."  

Once the room and the women were ready, the witches formed a circle, clasping hands around Carol and Diana, who both stood in the center. Therese, Marcus, and Dannie kept their distance, standing against a far wall, but able to help if needed.  Carol’s heart was pounding as Janet started to murmur the words of the spell and a circle of fire moved from hand to hand, binding them all together. No one would be able to break the circle now, until the spell was complete. Therese could hear Carol’s heart and blood racing. It was both terrifying and arousing and it took all of her will power to stand still and not rush to her side.

Diana took Carol’s hands in her own and Carol felt a powerful surge of energy flow through her body. “Look around you with your witch’s sight,” Diana repeated the words that had been used on her spell, “and tell me what you see.”

Carol felt her witch’s eye slowly open and she looked around to see the four elements swirling around the room.  Could the others see this, she wondered? In one corner there was a ribbon of fire that twisted and spun, yet set nothing aflame.  In the opposite, Carol saw mystical pools of water that seemed to just be suspended in air. To her right she saw swirling clouds and heard the rush of wind and beneath her feat she felt the earth start to tremble.

Diana began to work the spell, using her weaver’s cords that only she could see to pull the four elements into the circle and around Carol.  “Let the elements fill you, Carol. They will not hurt you…they cannot hurt you…they are part of you.  Let them return home.”

Carol released her hands from Diana and held them out in front of her, palms open.  She tried to calm her nerves as she felt the flames lick her hands.  Her hands were already bright blue, a sign of not only her fear, but also of her increasing powers. The air around the room started to spin, blowing like a tornado around the women. Therese’s was ready to pull her from the circle, but Marcus placed a hand on her arm.  “Don’t” He whispered.  “She’s alright and you can’t break the spell!”

Dirt was coming through the floor boards and forming piles around Carol’s legs and slowly creeping up her body, threatening to bury her.  The fire kept spinning around her wrists and the water moved slowly into the ring around her waist.  The air in the room started to thunder as the energy in the room began to pulse in time with Carol’s heartbeat.  Suddenly, all four elements travelled up her body and formed a large, bright blue ball of energy that floated above her head. Carol’s eyes went wide as she realized what was about to happen. 

“Let go, Carol!” Diana screamed above the roar of the wind.

Carol dropped her eyes to Therese, who was standing, fists clenched, ready to pull her from the circle.  There was a large squawking sound as something started to fly around the room and everyone’s eyes started to dart around the room for the source.  How did a bird get in here?

“Let go!” Diana screamed again.  “This is your power! It cannot hurt you!”

Carol took a deep breath and closed her eyes and lowered her arms as the ball of energy opened.  She looked up and her mouth fell into a silent scream as the power poured into her body in a tidal wave of force. She let out a cry that sounded almost orgasmic and fell hard to her knees as the room went silent and still. The spell was done and the witches dropped their hands, exhausted and disbelieving what they had just witnessed.  Therese ran into the circle to support her lover, while perched on the hearth over the fireplace, a blackbird squawked again. 

“I believe your familiar has revealed itself!” Diana looked at the bird, amazed. 

“Witches don’t have familiars,” Rebecca shook her head, feeling the need to sit. 

“Ha! Tell that to Diana’s firedrake!” Sarah laughed.  “Only the strongest witches have them.”

“What the hell just happened?” Elena looked around, confused.  “I’ve never seen anything like that!”

“Your sister’s elemental magic has been awakened! She is indeed powerful!” Janet said, her eyes wide with wonder.  “I think she may be almost as powerful as you, Diana! Amazing!”

Elena couldn’t help but feel a small bit of jealousy in her heart at hearing this, and Abby grabbed her hand, reading her mind.  “There is a reason for everything, Elena. We will all need her strength for what’s coming.”

Elena turned back to Abby.  “What is coming? I still don’t understand.”

Abby nodded, knowing she had not experienced everything from her vision.  “Life is coming…and death.”

The room went silent as Carol moved to stand.  Her appearance seemed altered. She stood taller, stronger.  The meek and scared woman, so unsure of herself, had been replaced by a sheer force of nature.  Her bright blue-grey eyes were fierce and determined.  Carol Ross Belivet stood before them now- fully brought to life and goddess help anyone who threatened her family.

 

<><><><><>

 

The walls of the back room of the magic shop were shaking as Tomas stood before the old Cajun witch. Harris stood close by, pale and withering in his appearance, holding his masters cloak.

“Marie, it is good to finally meet you.  I’ve heard so many stories.” His voice was rough, deep, and insincere. “It appears I have arrived just in time.”

“I felt you coming,” her voice trembled. “But I cannot help you or your wraith. Leave dis place!”

Tomas started to move, seemingly floating around the room.  “Pay no mind to poor Harris here. He simply sold his body to me for revenge.  Did you know your grandmother and I worked together many years ago, Marie. It would be a shame to break with tradition. Besides, what I need from you is merely information, nothing more.” His voice was hollow and seemed to slither around the room, separate from his body.

Her eyes followed him as he seemed to disappear, blending into the walls.  “What do you want, den?”

Before she could react, a rush of cold air was upon her and long pale fingers wrapped around her throat from behind.  “I need to know where they are,” his fingers squeezed. “I need to know about this vampire...but mostly…tell me…did you foresee her, too?”

“Who?” Her voice cracked as his fingers got tighter. She tried to think of a spell, something to beat him back with, but nothing came to mind.  Her fear was overriding her conscious thoughts.  

“Don’t play with me, Marie. Out of respect for your grandmother, I will not kill you, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make this incredibly painful.  Nothing in your little voodoo shop will save you from me or the amount of pain I can inflict on you and your family. Now tell me…did you foresee her?”

“Yes,” Marie groaned in agony.  “Rindy is coming.”    

Chapter Text

Harris laid naked across the filthy bed wishing he was dead.  He wondered if death would ever be offered to him, or if he would spend eternity at the mercy of the creature that now owned his body.  When he had first agreed to the deal with Tomas, his hatred and need for revenge had blinded him to the true consequences of his actions.  He couldn’t undo it now. 

Tomas laid across his limp body and wiped his lips.  “You really do taste so good,” he whispered in his ear.  “Your power isn’t significant, but your blood is sweet to my tongue sweet Harris.”

“Yes, master.” Harris was stretched out on his stomach, laid bare before the creature that hovered over him.  At first, it was only the bite and the taking of blood. But every time they were together, Tomas insisted on more from him, things he never would have agreed to...if only he had known.  Harris resisted at first, but this just seemed to excite his master more. Eventually, he just gave in, giving his entire body over to the physical desires of the creature that now owned him, blood, body, and soul.  Some part of him hoped that the lack of resistance would turn Tomas off, make him lose interest.  It did not work. Tomas took what he wanted, regardless of Harris’ reactions, almost as if he didn’t really matter.  He was just a physical body to be used and discarded.  Revenge…that was what he had wanted. In the end, he got precisely what he himself deserved.

“There is something on your mind,” Tomas licked over the small holes he had just created on Harris’s neck.  “I can still hear some things you know…though not like I once could.”

Harris quirked an eyebrow.  This was the first time Tomas has shared anything remotely personal about his life.  “You…you were a wizard?” He asked tentatively, scared to rile him in any way.

“Am, not was. Can you not tell?” Tomas sat back and started to dress himself.  “Do you know of any other vampire with my gifts?”

Harris did not move from the bed, not until Tomas gave him permission.  “I don’t know too many vampires.”

Tomas chuckled and licked his thin, pale lips.  “We are done, you can dress.”

As he slowly sat up from the bed, feeling very lightheaded form the loss of blood, he decided to take the moment to learn more about his captor.  “If you were a witch, how are you now…this? Vampires are forbidden from—“

“Do you think everyone always follows the rules?” He spun, taking Harris’s face in his hands roughly.  “My father did not believe in the false conventions of this world. He made his own rules!”

“Yes, master.” Harris looked down, averting his gaze.

Tomas stepped back and slowly moved around the cheap hotel room. It was dirty and smelled of human refuse, but with his physical appearance being what it was, he had grown use to a life lived in the shadows. “This conversation has bored me. I’m going out into the city. I need to summon for my children to join us. If you’re lucky, I’ll find someone new for us to play with while I'm out." He turned and looked at the empty shell of a man sitting weakly on the edge of the bed. He was growing bored of this wretch of a man and would dispel of him soon.  "While I’m gone, I have a job for you.  I want you to follow up on the information Marie gave us…find the house and watch them…report what you find back to me.”  

“Just watch them?” Harris clarified, knowing all too well what would happen if he disappointed Tomas in any way.

“I trust you to do little else you weak little witch. What more could you possibly do? Take on a house full of witches? Kill someone?” His thin lips twisted into a sinister sneer. “No. You will simply do as I ask and in return I will honor our deal. I will kill the vampire that murdered your brother, and I will make that witch pay by making her my own…and since Diana Bishop has chosen to interfere in my family affairs once again, I shall avenge my father as well.  So much to do and so little time.”  

 

<><><><><> 

 

It was the witching hour and the house was silent, except for an annoying buzzing from the security gate.  “This better be good,” Marcus spoke into the speaker.  Though he had not been asleep, he still did not like the idea of visitors in the middle of the night while he worked on his research. Ever since Diana had discovered the Book of Life and had given birth to her twins, his scientific research into creature genetics had been going full force.  Despite not being in any of his labs currently, he was still receiving reports from his research teams each night to decipher.

“It’s me, let me in.” Ransome’s voice was low and serious. “I have some information.”

Marcus pressed the button to open the gate and opened the large wooden door. “Did you really need to buzz? I know you could have scaled the gates with no problem.” Marcus chuckled as his son walked up to the door, realizing that Ransome was not alone.   

“I can, but my friend here might not be so good at that.” Ransome slid over revealing the dark-skinned woman with long braids, “Let me introduce Marie Laveau, great-granddaughter of the one and only vood-doo priestess.”

Marcus’s eyes went wide in disbelief. He stepped back to welcome them both in, but he did not offer to shake her hand. “I knew her, you know. She didn’t like my kind and tried to run me out of town more than once.”

Marie looked him up and down, still not entering the front door.  “I’m not a fan either, but seems I have no choice but to work wit’chu now.” Her thick Cajun accent was filled with disdain.  Marcus looked at his son, his eyes pleading with him to explain.

Ransome looked at him seriously. “Let’s get inside, Marie. Eyes are watching and the night has ears.”

 

 

Therese had her arms wrapped around Carol’s stomach, watching her sleep.  Her blonde hair was splayed out above her, making her look more like a goddess.  Therese wanted to lose herself in this woman for eternity, in her touch, in her smell, in the sound of her breathing.  After the spell and the revelations of the night, the two had retreated to their room.  They made love, desperate and hungry for each other, for hours, until finally collapsing, temporarily sated.  Carol slept peacefully, and Therese reveled in her beauty and strength until the sound of the buzzer pulled her attention away.  Carol’s blackbird familiar watched over them and their dark eyes met. The blackbird was a symbol of wanting to be free and Therese knew that Carol wanted to be free from her past, from her family history, and from the memory of her marriage.  Voices were whispering in the hallway and Therese carefully backed out of the bed, overhearing the conversation from her room. She stealthily made her way to the top of the stairs, looking down at the scene, the witch from the French Quarter, Ransome, and Marcus were all standing in the foyer, whispering…conspiring. “What are you doing here?” She bit out harshly.

“Hello again little vampire,” Marie looked up and grinned. “I told you I would see you soon.”

Marcus looked from his guest to Therese.  “You two know each other?”

“She ran me off from her little voodoo shop a few days ago. Told me our kind wasn’t welcome.” Therese was quickly at the bottom of the stairs and by the door. “Must say, coming into the vampires den is brave considering how you feel about us.”

“I’m not here for you, vampire. I’m here for her.” Marie motioned her head to the rooms upstairs.

“Her, who?” Therese quirked an eyebrow, instincts kicking in immediately.

“Seems the prophecies were true, no?  The age of the Bright Born has come and a new world is upon us.”  Marie waved her hands in a flourish.  Therese took note of all the necklaces and gris-gris she wore.  She wondered if they were for protection or for other nefarious reasons.  Did the witch think a small bag of herbs would stop her from ripping her to shreds if she threatened Carol or her unborn child?

Therese’s body was tense and on edge, ready to strike, but Marcus moved to stand between them.  “Calm down, Therese. Ransome would not have brought her here if she intended to harm us…any of us.” He lifted an eyebrow making sure his meaning was clear. He turned back round to his visitors and escorted them in to the living room. 

As Marie entered and sat carefully down onto one of the large chairs, she took a look around the room.  Though the furniture had been replaced and the room cleaned, she could feel the remnants of the spell from earlier. “A powerful spell in a vampire’s house.  It is indeed a new age.  You have many witches here…powerful ones at dat.”

“My father is married to Diana Bishop, which I’m sure you know Marie. She is here, as well as a few other very powerful witches, so it would not be wise to play with us or waste our time. Now, tell us why you are here?”

“I have come with a warning, for de witches. Tomas is here and he is coming for you...especially you little vampire.” She spoke as if the others in the room should understand her. “I could care less if he rid the world of one more of your kind, but tis my duty to the witches in dis house to warn dem.”

“I’m sorry, who?” Marcus tilted his head.  “Is this name supposed to mean something to us?” He ignored her other comments purposefully.

“It should, especially to your kind vampire…and son of Matthew De Clermont.” She smirked.

A cold chill went through the room and Marcus was upon her swiftly, threatening.  “Explain yourself witch.” Ransome forced him to back away, but the tension in the room was thickening quickly. Marie grabbed on to one of her mojo bags and gave it a squeeze.  Marcus backed away and wondered if he should wake Diana, but before he could decide, Marie continued.

“Tell me, Marcus, what happens when a vampire turns a witch?” She looked up at him, unafraid, white teeth gleaming in the dim light. 

“It has never happened, you know as well as I do that there are rules.” Marcus spun and started pacing the room, while Ransome and Therese stood still, watching. Therese found herself way too curious for an answer, for all too personal reasons.

“Rules are often broken, much like your own father and dat witch upstairs, the one you call mother now?  Was dat not against the rules?” She smiled again.  “Was always a rumor and never confirmed, you see. De story my grandmother told was dat a wild and vicious vampire with an unspeakable rage travelled the land, taking whoever he wanted, killing most but sometimes creating many vampire children in his wake.”

“Benjamin,” Ransome’s face twisted in anger.  “She means Benjamin.”

“We destroyed all of Benjamin’s children!” Marcus’ voice rose, no longer careful of his houseguests. 

“How do you destroy so many?” The Cajun witch asked.  “Did you have a list?” She laughed sardonically. “Vampires and their silly clans and family hierarchies…so damned sure dat everyone is taught your rules.  Just ask the small vampire here, not everyone is taught the proper way to be, right little one?”

Therese just glared at her, not reacting to her taunt.

“So you are saying that Benjamin turned a witch and no one knew about it?” Marcus didn’t believe her.  “Even if that were true, the witch would lose all powers and become a vampire and nothing more.”

“You sure of dat?” She looked at him with a twisted smile.  “Ah, you trust your science, yes? Does your science tell you what should always be?  Tis my understanding a lot of tings defy your science lately,” she peered at Therese. “Isn’t dat so, mama?”

Therese started to lunge forward, but Marcus was faster, grabbing her by the shoulders.  “No, Therese!”

“How does she know? We only just found out!”

“What the hell is she rambling about now?” Ransome was getting confused, seeing Therese all raging and the witch all calm and clearly taunting her.

Marcus ignored his son for now, and turned back to the witch, still sitting calmly in his living room. “Assuming what you say is true, that Benjamin turned a witch and it survived, this Tomas, what does he want with us? Why would he be coming after my family and our friends?”

“Did you not just tell me you killed his family? His father? All of dem?” She cackled at his willful ignorance. “What do you think he wants? He wants revenge on those dat harmed him…but mostly, he wants power and the prophecy says there is a great power about to rise.  Those that control dat power will change the world!”

Ransome was lost and frustrated.  “Again, what the hell is the witch talking about? What prophecy? Someone needs to start talking and soon!”

Marcus looked at Therese.  This was her decision to make.  “Carol is pregnant with my child.” Therese admitted with a heavy sigh.

“Alright,” Ransome’s face was full on confusion and doubt.  “I’m gonna need a bit more explaining.  I mean aside from the fact that vampires cannot create life that way, well aside from Matthew and Diana and that was a very specific set of circumstances…the clear lack of…ummm…equipment…girl on girl kinda action as hot as it is, can’t make babies.  So either someone is lying, or—“

“Magic,” Therese said simply and Marie nodded and smiled.

“Desire made real,” she looked at Therese.  “Der was a prophecy that a child would come, ushering in the the age of the Bright Born. We all thought it meant the children of Diana and Matthew…but clearly we were mistaken.” Her eyes narrowed and took a deep seriousness as she left the taunting behind.  “Dis child will be in danger, vampire. If she was only yours, I would not care, but as she is also part witch…here I am.  Still, I offer no more than my warning.  But listen carefully, dis child will usher in a new world and she is must be protected at all cost. Do you understand? Tomas cannot gain control of her or her powers.  Guard your family, vampire…all of dem.”

Therese paced the living room back and forth, considering her warning. “I understand.”

Marie stood and walked back toward the door.  “He has eyes everywhere, Marcus. Take care of your family as well.”  With that she disappeared into the night, leaving the three vampires where left to ponder her warnings.  

Harris stood outside the black metal gates, trying to listen. Clearly the witches were all sleeping…all except one, he noted.  He watched as she exited the house and walked into the night, alone.  Tomas would want to know of her betrayal.  He stayed back, following from what he hoped was a safe distance, but he lost her somehow.  He started to turn back, moving back towards the dismal hotel.  He wondered if he should tell Tomas, or maybe…just maybe this might be his chance to change his fate.

Chapter Text

Therese opened her eyes as the pain momentarily subsided.  She couldn’t move her arms or legs and when she tried, a searing pain shot from her hands and feet.  She suddenly remembered the metal spikes hammered through her appendages, securing her to the wooden crucifix. The space was small and cold and white…was it marble? Cement? She couldn’t tell. She knew that as painful as it had been to pin her to these beams, it would be worse prying the metal out of her body.  Her clothes were ripped and in places, burned into her flesh.  Her body couldn’t heal as there was too much damage all at once.  Blood pooled on the floor beneath her.  He hadn’t killed her, but at this moment, she wished he would. 

“Good…” he voice dripped evil.  “I want to end this for you Therese…I want to save you from all this pain and release you.  All you have to do is agree to take her…turn her into one of us and I’ll let you go.  It isn’t that difficult and she’ll barely feel any pain.”  Her bitter breath was on her cheek and she felt the need to vomit.  Therese wasn’t sure if it was the pain radiating through her body or the smell of him, but she swallowed it down, willing her stomach not to lurch.

“No.” her voice croaked, blood forming a trail down the corner of her mouth. 

Tomas sighed and looked across the small space at his other hostage.  “She seems to care about you, witch. This seems like an easy choice to make, your life for hers. What power do you have over her?”

“Therese,” The blonde’s voice begged.  “Just do it! Please, you have to get out of here and back to the others!” The woman was obviously in pain. Therese could hear it in her voice and smell it in the air as spikes of adrenaline mixed with her blood. She tried to raise her head enough to see what he had done to her, but it hurt too much.

“Go fuck yourself,” she closed her eyes, ignoring the disgusting creature lingering between them. How long had they been in this room? She couldn’t remember. Hours? Days? Time had lost all meaning.

“I know you can smell her blood, vampire. I know you desire to taste her…you know you crave her! Tell me yes and I’ll release you. I’ll bring her close and then you can have her…it’s so easy.” The whole notion was repulsive to her.

“Get the fuck away from me you fucking freak!” Therese yelled, despite the pain it caused and two seconds later a hot metal iron was laid into her pelvis, destroying any sign of her tattoo, erasing Carol from her body.  She cried out in agony, tears spilling against her will.

“Therese!!! Stop this you fucking monster! Let her go! I’ll give you whatever you want!” 

Tomas moved to her side and ran a thick, slimy tongue up her neck, tasting her sweat. “See…that’s just not possible.”   Elena hung limply with her arms tied above her head, her feet not touching the floor.  He circled her, licking his lips hungrily.  Honestly, it took all of his willpower not to just take her himself, but revenge was a difficult trade.  He needed to make them pay forever, not just for one quick moment.  “I need her to kill you, to turn you…so you can become like me.  Do you not see the brilliance of this?  Only then will she truly be punished for killing the witch, her guilt destroying her humanity, and then your family suffers, the wife suffers, the vampire suffers…it really is perfect.”

“Why do you care about Harge?” Elena yelled. “He was nothing to you!”

“This is true,” he smiled, his teeth sharp and inhuman.  “But he did mean a great deal to his brother and I never go back on a deal.  Bad for business.”

Harris, of course. She tried to calm her mind enough to force a message to Therese, closing her eyes, she willed Therese to hear her and to do what she wanted. It’s okay, Therese. I want you to do this! You need to get out here, protect the others, and protect Carol and Rindy. I’m telling you to do it, begging you! You need to bite me!”

The voice in her head played on a loop and it was driving her to the edge of insanity.  “Get out of my head Elena!! I will die first!” Therese wanted quiet, darkness, and the peace that would come soon from her death. She thought back to the past few weeks and all the happiness she had experienced in such a short time.  She imagined sitting at breakfast with Carol, making their announcement about the baby and then they were packing and making love…and then…what happened? She struggled to remember.  Why was she in so much pain? Where was Carol?  She squeezed her eyes closed, trying to visualize her wife…blonde waves, bright blue-grey eyes, glowing skin that was warm to her cold touch. She willed her mind to remember the music…the song her blood sang that only Therese could hear it. She wished she could send out a song of her own, a beacon to be found.  She wanted to say good-bye, to kiss her one last time, to touch her and smell her.

“Therese!” Someone screamed and the room went black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

48 hours ago…

 

Elena sat staring at her mug of coffee, watching as the steam rose and disappeared into the air.  She was exhausted after being plagued by nightmares all night.  Dreams of emptiness and loneliness and just quiet, but not a peaceful quiet.  Abby had tried to comfort her, but Elena would not let her get close.  In a way she felt like she was now one with the steam, rising and vanishing into nothingness.  That was what she had felt last night before the spell, during Abby’s vision…like she was vanishing.  Somewhere, deep down in her unconscious, Elena wondered if that was what death felt like. 

Abby turned the corner into the large formal dining room.  She sat quietly next to Elena, but made no move to reach out to her. 

“I’m sorry if I kept you awake.” Elena said quietly, her eyes unmoving from the coffee.

“It’s fine.  I was having trouble sleeping myself.” A hot mug of herbal tea was set in front of Abby, compliments of Florence.  “Thank you.”  She turned back to Elena, “Please, tell me what you are thinking. Let me help you, Elena.”

“Isn’t that what I’ve been asking, no, begging for you to do for days now?  I know you could read my thoughts if you wanted, so why not just do it? Find out all you want to know.”

“I’d rather you tell me willingly,” Abby whispered.

“Why can’t you tell me what it all means…what is this that I’m feeling?” Elena looked up at Abby for the first time and saw the dark circles etched under dim eyes. Abby clearly hadn’t been sleeping either.  Her normally bright eyes were dull and lifeless.

Abby knew it was only a matter of time before Elena learned the truth about her vision. She wondered if it was wise to be honest. Does knowing something like that change it? Would it give Elena a reason not to fight it?

“Good morning,” Rebecca broke into the room before Abby could reconcile an answer. She was wrapped in a silk robe and was already bright and happy. “Well you two look dreadful this morning.”

“Mother,” Elena said though gritted teeth. 

Florence placed a mug of coffee in front of Rebecca, who only looked up and smiled.  She looked out the various breakfast items spread out on the table.  “I must say this, vampires are excellent hosts.  My bed was divine!” When neither Abby nor Elena responded, she frowned at both of them.  “What? Was your mattress lumpy or something?”

“Or something,” Elena growled, her eyes going back to the steam in her mug.

After a few minutes of awkward silence, Janet, Diana, and Sarah all joined the breakfast table, each nibbling on their selected items and savoring their morning beverages.  “Is Carol not joining us this morning?” Rebecca asked the group.

No one answered her and Janet and Diana shared a brief glance at each other.  Rebecca let out a frustrated sigh, “Is no one going to speak at all this morning? I mean, that was quite the experience last night, and I’m sure—“

Whatever Rebecca was going to say was cut off when Carol flowed into the room.  Her skin was simmering brighter than ever before.  Therese followed behind, pulling out her chair for her, and kissing her lightly on her head, before taking the seat next to her.  The room was still, the others unsure of what to say or how to react to Carol’s slightly altered appearance. 

Ultimately it was Dannie who drew them all from their staring, as he entered the room and slammed on the breaks upon seeing the beautiful blonde witch. “Wow! Carol! You look absolutely breathtaking!”

Carol shifted a bit in her chair. “Thank you, Dannie.” Even her voice seemed changed.  Every move she made seemed more graceful and strong and her gleam lit the room.  They all watched in wonder as different items started to float across the table and onto both hers and Therese’s plates. “I’m starved,” she winked at Therese. Everyone watched, amazed at how easily Carol had come into her power. 

Rebecca felt her jealousy rise like bile in her throat. She should be proud, she knew that. Both of her daughters were extraordinary, and while she was a cunning witch, she would never come close to having power like they did.  Joined together, they could practically rule the nation.  It was at this moment that she realized there would be no way to stop or alter her eldest daughter’s path. Everything she had done, every sacrifice she had made, had all been for naught and there would be no way to change her destiny.

Carol’s eyes frosted over and she turned to Rebecca, “You were foolish to try in the first place. All you’ve managed to do is delay fate, but you cannot change it, no on can.” Carol spoke the words and Abby felt her heart clench as she willed the words to not to be true.

“You should go home mother. Our lives are no longer a concern of yours and I cannot protect my family by constantly looking over my shoulder, worrying about your intentions.” Carol spoke, her voice unwavering.

“My place is here, with my children. I’m your mother and I am supposed to protect you.” Rebecca said sullenly. “Look, you have every reason not to trust me.  I did it all wrong and I’m sorry. But we all know that something else is coming and I need to be here, to help you…both of you!”

Elena just huffed.

“I’m pregnant.” Carol announced to the room and the sound of silverware fell onto plates. The conversation around the table had already been incredible awkward for the rest of the group, but this was about to cause some major family drama.

Elena quickly turned to Abby, “This is what you saw? Why couldn’t you tell me that? Why the big secret?”

“What the fuuuu?” Dannie looked at Therese.  “Who? How? What?”

Rebecca remained silent, staring at her eldest daughter, while the others sat, eyes wide and watching everything play out. Sarah looked at her niece and set her a quick mental message, should we take our breakfast in the kitchen?

No, Diana responded. There is more for us all to discuss, I’m just waiting for Marcus to get off the phone with Matthew.

“She will need to be protected, mother.” Carol spoke, ignoring the telepathic conversations taking place around her.  “Our daughter will be special and you can either be with us or gone, but I will not have you here if you are going to be fighting us or if I have to constantly be watching over my shoulder.  So, what’s it going to be?”

The room went silent again as everyone waited for Rebecca to answer.  “I will do whatever I have to do to protect my family, and that includes my granddaughter.” She lowered her head, submitting.

Elena had so much to ask, she wasn’t sure where to start. “Carol…I—“

“The baby is Therese’s, not his and all I can offer in way of explanation is magic is desire made real.  Abby foresaw her arrival and that is how we know she’s coming. And yes, to answer your previous question, this was a part of her vision.”

“A part. There is more?” Elena looked between Abby and Carol. 

Carol looked at Abby. I know what I said about fate, but this isn’t the same. You know as well as I do, we can fight this.

Elena looked between them, her frustration growing when she realized they were speaking in secret to each other, blocking her out again. “STOP! I’m done with this! Someone, tell me, right now, what the hell Abby saw or I’m leaving!” 

“Tell her,” Janet offered the group.  “Her knowing will not alter the outcome.  In fact, it may be the only way to change it.”

Therese looked over at Dannie and could tell he was equally as lost.  She wondered if they should stay or if they should leave the room and give the witches some space.  As she contemplated this to herself, Carol grabbed her hand under the table, almost as if she had heard her thoughts and was urging her to stay.  Therese knew it wasn’t possible for a witch to read the mind of a vampire, but a lot of impossible things had been happening lately. 

Elena stood, her frustration bubbling over.  “I’m so done with all the fucking secrets!  TELL ME WHAT IS HAPPENING!”

Carol looked up at her sister. “You are stronger than you want to admit, Elena. You would know if you really wanted to know.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Elena yelled at her sister.

Rebecca let out a deep sigh.  “She means you need to stop resisting your own powers, Elena!  Carol isn’t the only strong witch in this family! You are a telepath for goddess sake, able to manipulate the strongest minds out there! Yet you refuse to use it to your own benefit!”

“Magic for personal gain is not allowed! I know you haven’t always followed that mother, but it is what we are taught!”

“Not even self-preservation?” Rebecca countered.

“Abby has locked me out of her mind and I would never force my way back in! I would never violate her that way!”

Abby let out the breath she had been holding.  “Janet is right, Elena needs to see.  Can you all excuse us for a bit?” She stood and reached out a hand to Elena.  “Come with me and I’ll tell you everything.”

Elena’s heart stopped.  Why? Why now?  Still, she took Abby’s hand and followed her. The walked up the stairs and into the room they shared, leaving the others at the dining room table.  No sooner than they had left, Marcus walked in. 

“Did you speak to you Matthew?” Diana questioned. “What did he say?”

“He thinks we should stay and deal with it, but the earliest he could arrive is day after tomorrow. He thinks Sarah and Janet need to go back and ask the congregation for help. We would need a show of force from all sides, united, in hopes of preventing some kind of war between the species.”

“A show of force?” Dannie asked. “Did I miss something?”

“We had a visitor last night,” Therese looked across the table.  “Do you remember the witch from the voodoo shop?”

He nodded as a shiver went down his spine, “I told you that one was creepy!”

“She came with a warning about some creature named Tomas who was apparently a witch that got turned into a vampire and is really pissed about it,” Therese explained. “Short version, he wants the baby.”

“Right,” Dannie spoke, not fully understanding since he just found out about the baby. “So why don’t we just leave? You, me, Carol, car…vroom-vroom.”

“He would find you,” Diana explained.  “If Marie was being truthful, this…monster…is a son of Benjamin, and thus a member of our clan, though there is no mention of him in the Book of Life or any written records. Benjamin followed us for years, watching and waiting. If this Tomas is anything like his father, he would sit and wait and attack when you least expect it.”

“I think I know why he isn’t in the Book of Life, at least not the way we think,” Marcus replied, his brain trying to decipher everything to the others as he spoke.  “Ok- so for our new friends, the Book of Life a lost manuscript that was hidden in plain view and bound by a spell for centuries until Diana found it.  Once she was able to fix the book and unleash the magic, it became a part of her.  The book basically lives inside of her now, thus the crazy writing all over her arms that everyone tries to ignore.  Anyway, the book is basically a history lesson on the lives of all creatures, vampires, daemons, and witches, but he is something different, right? So, maybe he wouldn’t be in the book as he is.”

“Rebecca and Philip are in the book and they are…different.” Diana looked at him. “They are Bright Born.”

“But that’s just it! They were born of two creatures. Maybe the reason Tomas isn’t in the Book is because he wasn’t born- he was a creature that was destroyed.  Think about it, if Marie’s story is true, he was a witch and he was killed.” His eyes lit up, “He IS in the book! Just not as this creature! We just need to find a witch that died!”

“I would need more than that,” Diana huffed. “I can try to summon information, but I need to know what I’m asking the book for, specifically.  I can’t just say, find me a witch that was killed by a vampire, because there would be too many throughout history.”

“No you wouldn’t,” Janet looked over at her.  “Just weave a spell to find him, based on what you do know.”

Sarah perked up at that, “He would have Matthew’s blood,” she turned to look at the Marcus, “and thus yours! Diana could weave a spell to find anyone with your blood!”

Diana was shaking her head, “Again, we are talking hundreds of vampires! Then we’d have to figure out who was who in the family and that could take time that we don’t have.  I mean, maybe I could combine the two things…our family blood along with the information.”

“Ok- let me catch up,” Dannie for all his knowledge of the creature world, felt out of his depth.  “If the book is inside you, why can’t I just say- find me Tomas, a witch killed by a vampire?”

Diana’s skin was a flurry of action, words travelling to fast to read across her arms. 

“Right, I see.  Okay, so we need time. Wouldn’t it be best to get Carol out of town in the meantime?” Dannie asked the group. “At least until the reinforcements get there?”

Therese shook her head. “Dannie is right, Carol. We need to leave this place, buy some time at least. Diana can do this spell from anywhere.  If the reinforcements can’t get to us, we can go to them. Why not flee to Europe?”

Diana agreed, “She’s right. You could stay with us and our family while we figure out how to deal with Tomas, plus the Knights would be able to better protect you there. By the time he found us, we’d be ready.”

There was a general discussion of logistics until they all agreed. Everyone would pack for Europe. Once they arrived, Janet and Sarah would return to Italy to seek the assistance of the Congregation.  Marcus and Matthew would round up the members of the Knights of Lazarus and have them at the ready.  Diana would be better able to weave her spell in the comfort of her home with her children close by, and Carol and Therese would be safe.

“What about me?” Rebecca asked quietly. “How can I help?”

“You need to go home, mother.” Carol said sternly.  “You need to go home and tell the truth about everything.  They need to know what really happened with Harge and that Therese was just protecting me.”

“But,”

“No!” Carol cut her off. “I meant what I said, mother. I can’t protect her if I’m constantly worried about you.”

“And your sister?” Rebecca asked.

Carol looked to Janet and Diana. “Do you think it would change it? If we aren’t here?”

“Change what?” Rebecca asked, her eyes searching the group.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Abby walked Elena over to the bed and asked her to lie down on the bed.  “Before we do this, I need you to remember a couple of things.”

Elena’s heart was pounding in her chest and her voice was shaking. “Alright.”

“I will share everything I saw, but you must remember that often times what we see isn’t what will happen.  Remember what I told you before about choices?”

“Yes. What else? You said things, plural.” Elena willed her breathing to calm down. 

“I need you to remember that I love you.”  Abby laid on the bed next to Elena, shifting to that her forehead was directly in front of Elena’s lips. She closed her eyes and moved close, wrapping her arms around the woman she loved and holding her body tightly against her own.  It was the closest they had been to each other since Boston.  “No matter what you see, no matter what happens, I will always love you.” She lifted her head and placed a sweet, chaste kiss on Elena’s lips. “Ok, kiss me, Elena, and see everything.”

Elena hesitated.  “Why now? Why not before?”

“I was afraid if you knew, you’d run.  I can try to protect you…to change it…but if you aren’t here. I was afraid…well…I guess that’s it really. I was afraid,” Abby shared.

“Are you still? Afraid I mean?”

“Yes,” she breathed out. “But regardless, you have a right to know and you have decisions to make so just do it.  Kiss me and understand.”

Elena lowered her lips to Abby’s head and kissed her softly, feeling the slow build of a connection, until finally, like a bolt of lightning, all of Abby’s thoughts poured into her. Having never experienced visions before, the experience was disorienting and confusing and Elena was overwhelmed with random images.  She saw Carol and Therese, but they looked different, almost like it was a reflection through shattered glass and they were holding a baby, but the baby was covered in blood and screaming and there were people everywhere, but they weren’t happy, they were crying.  Abby was sitting in a corner, alone, and crying and there was a body on the ground…blonde hair. Wait…darkness…cold…death…no…wait.

“Wait!” Elena screamed as she pulled away from Abby’s body. She shuffled off the bed and started pacing the room in a frenzy.  “NO!” She yelled.  “That wasn’t me!”

Abby sat up slowly, but said nothing, giving Elena the time she needed to process. 

“NO! That wasn’t real! Those are just your fears!” She was attacking now, out of fear.

“That is the vision I saw. But you saw the fracture, right? You felt the disjointing nature of it?”

“What the hell does that even mean? I saw a body, a blonde woman, laying on the ground! That wasn’t me, dammit!”

Abby stood and walked over to try to calm Elena.  “It doesn’t mean,” she sighed.  “Maybe I shouldn’t have…this is what I was afraid of…your reaction.”

“How the fuck am I supposed to react to this, Abby?”  Elena spun on her heals and grabbed her bag and started shoving clothes inside.

“What are you doing?” Abby already knew the answer, her fears coming true.

Elena turned to look at the beautiful woman who had stolen her heart and now shattered her psyche.  “If I’m not here, it can’t happen and you know what? I love my sister, but I have a job and a life back home and I think it’s time I went back to contracts and corporations! It’s safe and it’s boring, and that,” she pointed to her own head, “won’t happen!”

“Elena—“

“Don’t!” she turned back to her bag, shoving everything in haphazardly, her words flying out of her mouth.  “Carol doesn’t need me now, anyway. She has Diana and Therese and all the others! What good can I possible do? No…I’m going home and you should come with me. We need to get away from here. We can go home,” she ran over to Abby, taking her hands in her own and kissing the knuckles, “we can go home and live our life together. We can be happy and in love and have the best sex of our lives and just LIVE.”

Abby didn’t move.  “I love you, Elena, but I can’t leave Carol, not now.”

“Suit yourself,” Elena stepped back and grabbed her bag.  “But I’m on the next flight out of this creepy town!” 

She stormed out of the room and a single tear fell down Abby’s cheek. “Shit…”

Chapter Text

Harris was beyond exhausted.  He had done as told and watched the house and then he followed Marie as she left that night and despite his initial thoughts against it, reported everything to Tomas.  Tomas did not react the way Harris thought he would, simply smirking before sending Harris back out to watch the house again, while he ‘dealt with Marie.’ Whatever that entailed, Harris didn’t want to know.

Back at the house, he watched with curiosity as Elena came around from the back of the house, almost as if she was sneaking away. She walked down the street, constantly looking back over her shoulder and once satisfied that no one was coming after her, she paused to click on something on her phone. He moved closer, but stayed out of sight, and watched as the Uber driver eventually approached.  This was his chance! There wasn’t time for him to plan or to really think, but he knew that there would be hell to pay if he let this moment pass him by.  He ran and poured himself into the back seat of car before they drove away.  “Elena,” he panted.

“What the hell? Harris?” Elena was shocked and honestly terrified at the man that was now sitting in the car with her.

“Is there a problem?” The driver stopped and turned back and looked at them both.  “Is he with you?” He looked pointedly at the pale man who looked borderline homeless. He was probably a meth addict.

“No! Get out of this car, Harris!” Elena screamed. 

The driver quickly got out of his seat and came around to the back door of his car, pulling it open. “Out, dude! You heard the lady!”

“I just need one moment, please.” He turned and looked at Elena with pleading eyes.  “I’m in trouble, Elena and I need your help!”

Every bone and nerve in her body told her to kick him to the curb and drive away, but for some unknown reason, she didn’t.  “You have until we get to the airport.” She motioned for the driver that it was alright and they set down the road. “What the hell happened to you, Harris?” 

He looked out the window for a moment to contemplate the past few days of his life. Was it days, or was it weeks, maybe years? He wasn’t sure how long he’d been kept under Tomas’ thrall.  “I made a deal with the devil. She killed my brother, Elena, I had to do something.”

“This,” she looked him up and down, disgusted at his appearance, “was not the way. And you saw the same thing I did that night. Therese didn’t have a choice. Harge was hurting my sister and he would have destroyed her for his own gain.”

The driver tried to keep his eyes on the road, but kept looking into the rear view mirror, intrigued by the vague conversation.  You just never knew what you were going to hear in this city.  “I know that now, Elena, but I’m trapped! He’s going to kill me if I don’t get away, but he’s taken everything and I just want to go home.”

Definitely a meth addict, the driver said, shaking his head. 

Elena eyed him disbelievingly. Was Harris crying? Why was she falling for this shit?  She shook her head. “I’m heading to the airport to go back to Boston. I’ll get you a ticket and get you home since you were once family, but after that I want nothing to do with you. Is that clear?”

Harris smiled and nodded enthusiastically, almost childlike, but he quickly frowned again. “I…I’ll need my wallet. I can’t get on a plane without ID.”

Alarm bells were ringing in her head and red flags were flying!  She knew she should get out of the car, go back to the house and get the others.  Why wasn’t she listening to her instincts? “Where is your wallet?”

“Hotel room, not too far away. Could we stop and I’ll just run in? Tomas isn't there, he's out dealing with some stuff. He told me to watch the house and when I saw you, I knew it was my chance to escape! Please, Elena. I promise it will only take me a few seconds to run in and out.” He sounded really desperate.

Elena nodded and told him to give the directions to the Uber driver. “You sure lady?” She nodded, despite every impulse in her body telling her she just made a grave mistake.

 

<><><><><>

 

The house was frenzy of activity, everyone packing and suitcases being delivered to the bottom of the stairs.  Marcus had arranged for several cars to pick them up at three that afternoon ad then they would all board the private jet for France. Matthew was expecting them and from there, Sarah and Janet would continue on to Italy.  

Carol sat on the edge of the bed, as Therese worked quickly, rushing around the room, throwing various items in their new suitcases. “You can slow down, baby. It’s only eleven, we have time,” she smiled.  Despite the fact that they were running from some unknown evil, Carol felt safe and relaxed in her lover’s presence.

Therese stopped in a flash before her.  “It’s alright, I think I have everything. We’re done, ready to go.”

Carol grabbed her hands, lacing their fingers together. “You know, we haven’t had a lot of time to deal with all of this.”

"Whenever we find ourselves alone, talking is the last thing we seem to do," Therese grinned at her as she ran a thumb over Carol's knuckles.

“Are you sure you are alright with us going to France?”

Therese looked longingly into her blue-grey pools.  “I would go anywhere with you, without question. I want you to be safe.” She ran a hand delicately across Carol’s stomach. “I want both of you to be safe.”

“It’s just…We’ve only been together for such a short time, Therese, and this all seems to be happening so quickly. I think this gives a whole knew meaning to the phrase whirlwind romance.  We just got together and a few days later we find out we’re having a baby and now we’re leaving the country! This doesn’t feel like real life!”

Therese lowered herself to her knees in front of Carol. “Maybe fate is making up for lost time," she trailed her hands lightly up and down Carol's thighs.  "Had we been allowed to be meet the way it was always intended, we would have had years together to make this happen.” She leaned forward, parting Carol’s knees and settled between Carol’s thighs. “She was always supposed to be a part of our life together.”

Carol shook her head and let herself get lost in Therese’s green eyes.  “I hope she looks like you. You are so beautiful, my love.”

“So long as she has your eyes.” Therese shifted her fingers so they were now dragging delicately up Carol's inner thighs, always stopping just before the apex. Carol's arousal was quickly building in her center and Therese’s nostrils flared, sensing the luscious wetness that was now waiting for her.  “We have time,” she purred, binding down to place kisses where her hands had just been.  

Carol pulled Therese up as she leaned back onto the bed, pulling the smaller brunette on top of her and in between her legs.  “One last time in New Orleans?” She kissed along Therese’s jaw and biting at her neck. Her body heat was rising quickly, so incredibly turned on by the weight of the woman on top of her.   

Therese hesitated for a second, looking down at Carol’s stomach. “I don’t want to hurt her.”

With a soft chuckled, Carol put her mind at ease.  “You can’t hurt her, Therese.” Her smiled was quickly replaced with a look of absolute desire as Carol leaned up to whisper into her lover’s ears, swirling a warm tongue around her lobe.  “I need you to fuck me, Therese. Make me forget everything and everyone but you.”

The words created a sensation of somewhat akin to lava being poured into her body as Therese felt her own arousal spike.  She looked deep into the blue-grey depths now pleading for her and dove into her mouth.  Their tongues glided against each other and their hips started to grind, full of desperation and need.  The passion was building quickly as Therese lowered her head to pull a nipple into her mouth, but there were too many clothes in the way and she couldn’t feel or taste her skin.  Therese growled and ripped open the button down shirt, roughly shoving the bra out of the way. She paused for only a moment to trail her tongue lightly across the scar just above Carol’s breast. Her scar, the place where Carol had given her the most precious of gifts.  That most intimate of moments would be shared again and again over their life, but right now, she needed to give her wife the pleasure she desired.  She took one nipple into her mouth, brightly lightly before soothing with her tongue and then the other, all the while her hip bones were moving, sliding up and down into Carol’s hot center.  “Therese…” Carol panted, urging her downward.

Therese had her hands working on the buttons of Carol’s pants, the smell of Carol’s want overtaking all of her other senses. Nothing existed but Carol’s body, Carol’s taste, Carol’s…

The piercing scream from downstairs caused them both to jump up! “What was that?” Carol sat up with a jerk, still panting with want, and moving to cover herself. 

Therese walked slowly to the door, trying to listen. There were gasps and more screams.  “Stay here.” She quickly ran down the hall, but stopped at the top of the stairs.  “Jesus Christ!”  The eyes of everyone at the front door looked up to see her there.  She could sense Carol approaching and held up her hand, begging her to stop, but Carol, holding her shirt closed with her hands, was now beside her. “What’s going…Oh My Goddess!” 

 

Sarah stood staring out the opened front door as everyone came running and gawked and gasped in horror at the body hanging lifeless on the front porch. Marcus moved her out of the way and slammed the door shut and quickly pulled out his phone and dialed his son’s number. “Come to the house now and bring everyone! As many as you can gather! NOW!”

Therese had her arms wrapped protectively around Carol at the top of the stairs. “Who was that?” Carol questioned.  Before she could answer, Abby was on the other side of Therese, her eyes glowing brightly.  “We’re too late. They’re coming.”

"I think it was Marie, the witch that gave me the warning." Therese whispered to Carol. 

Janet, Sarah, and Diana were huddled close with Marcus at the bottom of the stairs.  “We’re out of time!” Marcus called up the stairs to the other.  “Grab whatever you can carry and get down here now! We’ve got to go! Ransome is on the way!”

Diana tried to steady herself, but hearing the panic in her son’s voice was enough to drive her own. “Someone needs to cut her down,” she started.  “I’m going to call Matthew, let him know what’s happened.”

Dannie finally made his way into the fray, fresh from his shower.  “What’s going on?” He asked the group, huddled and clearly upset. 

Marcus looked up at the young daemon.  “Someone has left us a message. We are leaving in 30 minutes!”

Everyone was heading back up the stairs to their rooms to grab whatever they could when they heard it. The whole group froze at the sound of the loud crash that came from the back of the house. Marcus sprinted to check it out.  “Why isn’t my security system working?” He muttered to himself.  There was another loud bang from the side of the house and then a few more that came from upstairs.  “Shit!” He ran back to join the others, who were now gathered together on the large stair case. He looked at Diana, but she was already ahead of him, her arms out in front of her weaving a protection spell around everyone now huddled together at the bottom of the stair case. Wait…almost everyone. 

Carol looked around. “Where is Elena? Where is my mother?” Her hands were shaking, now a bright blue color as the fear built in her body. Therese could smell her panic and tried to move past the scent to find that of the missing women.  She tried to train her ears.  Nothing.  Carol looked to Abby, panic rising quickly.  “Where are they?”

Abby’s eyes were still bright white.  “Elena stormed out of our room earlier, but I didn’t know she’d left the house. I figured she’d come downstairs and make arrangements to go back home! I can’t see her!”

More panic, more fear. “What about mom?”

“I can’t see her either! They aren’t in the house and I can’t see them anywhere. It's like I’m being blocked!” She turned to face Marcus, “They are in the house, Marcus, but there are more outside…oh god,” Abby’s voice trembled.  Janet moved to stand beside Abby and placed a hand on her shoulder, hoping to see through her sight, but before a clear vision could come to mind, there was a rush of movement and they were surrounded by five ragging vampires, teeth bared and ready to kill. Marcus and Therese crouched, ready to lunge and defend, but Carol’s hands were in the air before they could.  The three vampires at the bottom of the stairs were quickly swept away as a river of water from the kitchen came rushing down the hall, carrying them out the front door.  Her eyes moved to the two at the top of the stairs and they went flying out the windows, blown by a hurricane strength gust!   The door was left open and the truth of what they were about to face was made apparent to all of them.  Moving behind the hanging body of Marie Laveau, was an army of creatures, slowly making their way to the house. 

“How long can you protection spell last?” Marcus looked over at Diana.

“Depends,” Diana tried to maintain her focus, but she could feel the counter spells that were working being cast against hers. 

“On?” Dannie asked with a high pitch in his voice. He had no powers, no super speed, nothing!

“How many witches are out there?” She kept her hands moving, trying to strengthen the spell. Sarah and Janet started muttering spells of their own, adding layers to the protection spell Diana had cast.  

Abby closed her eyes and tried to see.  “I see at least 9 witches. He has a coven united, along with…God! There have to be at least 50 vampires!”

“So much for them not coming after us with stakes and torches!” Therese looked at Marcus.  “So what do we do?” She tried to keep her voice calm for the sake of the others, but there was a definite tremor in her voice.

“We fight.” Marcus said it with a determination in his voice, but Therese could tell he was scared.  “We just have to hold them off until Ransome gets here.”

“Fight? Like hand to hand combat? This is like something out of the 1800’s!” Dannie screamed! “What do we do? How do I fight vampires and witches?”

Marcus whizzed away and was back in a flash with two hand guns.  “They are loaded. Aim for the head.”

“WHAT?!?!”

Chapter Text

Therese tried to open her eyes, but it was painful.  She could hear someone talking, but the sound seemed too loud and caused her to wince in pain.  She felt her body tremble and realized she was cold and lying on the ground.  When she finally opened her eyes and saw the pool of blood it caused a craving she didn’t understand.  She slowly sat up and looked around, confused.  What had happened? How did she end up hear? Why were the lights so bright? She was still dressed, but her clothes were covered in blood. 

“Are you alright lady?” A voice spoke to her. Whose voice was that? She didn’t respond as she slowly got to her feet, but stumbled, feeling queasy and quite out of sorts. 

“Where am I?” She managed to mumble.

“Back alley off Madison,” the stranger’s voice spoke again. “Do you need me to get an officer? I think you’re hurt!”

Therese felt a pain at the side of her neck, but it was dull.  She had a vague recollection of something like a pinch, or maybe a quick, sharp pain, and then darkness.  “I think I’m fine. I just… I need to get home.”

She started to move away from the voice and out the alley, but she was quickly the center of attention on the noisy New York street.  A crowd started to gather around her, gasping and pointing.  She was desperate to get away from the noise, from the people so she started to run. A few second later she was standing in front of her apartment. Wait. What? That wasn’t possible!  It was at least a 20 minute walk from Madison Avenue to her apartment. Did she lose time? She slowly made her way up the stairs and locked herself in her small apartment, still trying to understand what had happened.  Why was she covered in blood if there was no injury?  She looked at herself it the mirror of her bathroom.  Her clothes were caked in blood.  She examine every inch of her body as she stripped them off.  No gashes or cuts that she cut see.  When she looked up at her naked refection she gasped! She looked different! Her skin was perfect and was she taller?

The craving hit her again, like the worst hunger pain she’d ever felt.  She wandered naked to her icebox, but waves a nausea hit her whenever she picked out something to eat.  Was everything bad? It all smelled horrid! She tossed everything into the trash and wandered back to the bathroom.  She needed a shower.  She turned on the water, but couldn’t seem to get the water temperature right.  It was all too hot! She wondered if she had a fever, maybe the flu.

Therese put on a new outfit, a pair of chinos and a button down shirt.  The craving was getting stronger.  She’d go out to the store and see what smelled good, bring home something fresh.  The lights from the street lamps seemed brighter and the cars in the streets seemed louder and she could hear the couple talking across the street.  Why were they yelling?  A young woman walked by and Therese felt assaulted by her perfume and something else…something…oh.

She felt her stomach growl and a primal need took over her body.  Therese slowly started to follow the woman, even though the grocery store was in the opposite direction.  She didn’t understand why she was doing this, but she felt her heart beat a little faster and she felt an excitement building.  The blonde woman seemed to sense that she was being followed and started to move a little faster and this excited something in Therese even more.  She wanted her.  She quickened her pace until the woman broke out into a run and ducked down an alley, trying to get away.  Running had been a bad idea. Before a rational thought could form, Therese had her pinned against a brick wall, teeth aglow in the darkness. The woman tried to scream, but Therese had her teeth in her quickly, not allowing any of the warm, red, delicious nectar to escape from her mouth. 

When the body of the woman fell lifeless to the ground, Therese came out of her trance like state.  She looked down at the body, tasted the iron on her tongue and screamed.  What had she done?  She tore off in a sprint, only stopping once she reached the middle of central park, away from people, alone in the darkness.  Confusion took over again as she hit her knees and began to sob, alone. 

 

 

“Therese!” A voice called to her. “Please wake up! Therese!”  Who was calling her name? She tried to move her hands and when the pain surged through her, she remembered.  Throwing her eyes opened she looked up at Elena, hanging from the ceiling in front of her.

“Oh thank god!” Elena cried.  “I thought you were dead.”

“I died a long time ago,” Therese said, remembering the dream she had just awoken from. “Where are we?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Fuzzy…” Therese murmured as the waves of pain moved through her. 

“I don’t know how much time we have,” her voice was panicked. “Harris was working with Tomas. We’re being held somewhere, but I don’t know where. Based on the smell, I’d say underground. He wants you to kill me or bite me, but you keep refusing and every time you do, he tortures you some more.  You need to just do it, Therese!”

Flashes of memories, confirming everything Elena just said started to come into her mind.  She remembered the spikes in her hands and feet, the burning of her flesh, and the pain he inflicted every time she said no.  “I will not turn you, Elena,” Therese’s voice was gravelly.  “We just have to wait. They will find us. Carol will find us.”

“We’ve been here for too long, Therese!” Elena could no longer feel her hands and the pain in her shoulders was starting to dull.

“How long?” Therese tried to clarify.

“I don’t know exactly,” Elena admitted. “At least a day, maybe two.”

“She’ll find us,” Therese said again, closing her eyes.

A heavy door creaked open.  “You give her too much credit, Therese.” The voice sent a chill down her spine.  “But there is another way, if you are tired of all the pain. Just feed on this witch here and your body will be able to heal.”

“Go fuck yourself,” Therese wanted to spit, but her mouth was too dry.

“You will give in,” her grabbed her chin and pulled her head up.  “I can make this much more painful for you.”  Therese closed her eyes and tried to remember the events that led to her capture.  She still could not remember how she got her.

 

 

<><><><><> 

 

The house was in shambles, blocks of wood and shattered glass mixed with broken drywall all around them.  The fight had ended quickly, but the carnage made it appear that the fight had last for hours, if now days.  The last sound that Carol remembered was Dannie’s scream and then her own voice calling for Therese.  Where was Therese?

Despite the reinforcing spells cast by Sarah and Janet, the coven outside was able to create a hole in Diana’s protection spell just big enough for someone to get in and that’s all it took. One vampire inside their little bubble and Dannie screaming caused Diana to lose her focus and once the invisible walls that were protecting them fell, chaos reigned down.

Carol immediately reacted on instinct, her hands out in front of her, bright blue with flames.  She tossed various creatures through the air with witchwind and caused others to burst into flames with her witchfire.  Even still, she was so knew at using her powers, she could only deal with one or two vampires at a time, and they just kept coming for her.

Diana was able to toss others, too, but she spent more time trying to reestablish a protective barrier.  There were too many distractions and too many creatures attacking.  Marcus and Therese were slashing and biting and fighting like crazed animals in combat. They did their best to protect Sarah, Janet and Abby, while the three witches were casting various combinations of spells, trying to hold off the creatures. Still, they were easily overcome.  It was only the arrival of Ransome and his backup that saved them for a quick death, but even his reinforcements were not enough to save them all.

Carol started to panic when she lost sight of Therese and she started to lose control of her powers. When the ground started to rumble beneath them, Diana knew Carol would cause the entire house to crumble around them, killing all of them.  She needed to think, to come up with something, but only when she saw Ransome’s throat ripped out in front of her, did she finally feel that internal switch let go inside of her. With a scream, her body rose from the ground and her body was surrounded with energy.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to her words, but in a sudden flash and a loud roar, the house was empty, leaving only her, her family and her friends behind.  Every other creature, including Ransome’s back up, had vanished.

“What happened?” Marcus looked around. One of his arms was hanging loosely from his body, clearly broken and his body was covered in blood. 

“Diana?” Sarah was on her knees, also bleeding but alive.  “What did you do?”

She was out of breath and totally spent, barely standing.  “I think…I opened a portal…time…moved them in time.” The energy needed to move that many people in a spell had left her absolutely drained.

“Therese?” Carol was sitting on the ground, but started looking around frantically.  “Therese!” She screamed again.  When there was no answer, everyone started to look around, trying to take in the carnage that had befallen them in a matter of minutes.

“Did you send Therese away, too?” Carol asked with a desperation in her voice.

“No,” Diana tried to move towards her, but too much debris was in the way.  “You were calling for her before my spell.  I think she was taken.”

“Therese!” She screamed at the top of her lungs, but again, there was no answer. 

Marcus looked at the wreckage of his estate and took in the casualties.  Ransome was dead and so was Dannie.  Diana found Janet and Abby unconscious, but alive.  Though injured, Sarah was also alright.

Carol’s blackbird was still flying around the room, squawking.  During the fight she had pecked several eyes in an effort to protect her mistress.  The bird could feel Carol’s pain and needed to be by her side.  Carol’s eyes turned to her familiar.  “Find her! Find Therese!” The bird quickly disappeared out of shattered window into the afternoon sun. 

“Why would they take Therese?” Marcus asked right before he used the wall to slam his shoulder back into the socket.  His body was already starting to heal. 

“We need to regroup,” Diana said with a deep sigh.  “I need to call Matthew because this changes everything.  We cannot leave without Therese and we need to figure out what the hell happened to Rebecca and Elena as well. But first, we need to get out of here.”

“We’ll go to Ransome’s,” Marcus looked at his dead son on the ground. It took a massive amount of blood loss to kill a vampire, but it could be done.  He kneeled next to him and leaned in close to whisper in his ear.  “He will pay for this.”  Marcus stood and wiped a single tear from his eye.  “Gather everyone, I’ll get the car.”

 

<><><><><>

 

She needed a plan, but without friends or resources, she was at a complete loss.  She couldn’t call anyone back home and when she returned to the house it was destroyed.  Rebecca had followed Elena and watched, helpless as she saw Harris get in the car with her.  She was lucky enough to hail a cab, and was able to follow them, though from a distance. It felt like something out of a human action movie when she said, “I need you to follow that car.”

When they arrived at their apparent location, she watched from the car as Harris disappeared into the disgusting fleabag of a motel. Elena didn’t get out, seemingly waiting. What the hell was her daughter playing at?

To her surprise and horror, she watched as her daughter eventually exited her rideshare to follow Harris into the motel.  “What are you doing child?”

The taxi driver turned to look at her.  “What next, lady? You staying here or what? Time is money.”

Rebecca exited the cab and leaned against the driver’s window.  She held out her hand as if to hand him money, but shifted and placed her hand on his head.  He felt a quick, sharp pain and then woke up, sitting in his cab alone, wondering how in the hell he had gone from the garden district to the 9th ward.  His meter was running, but there was no passenger.  “Fucking hell?” he looked around. His boss would think he’d been drinking again.  He turned off the meter and quickly sped away.

Rebecca crept around the motel, not wanting Elena to see her.  She also knew if she got too close, Elena would be able to hear her thoughts and she wasn’t keen to fight about why she was following her.  When she couldn’t find any sign of her daughter, she decided that another fight wouldn’t be so bad. She opened her mind and listened, hoping to find some sign of her youngest, but there was only silence.  That couldn’t be! She had walked down this sidewalk and into the u-shaped parking lot not 3 minutes before! She listened for Harris, but again, there was only silence.  I must be too far away, Rebecca thought as she walked closer and up and down each row of motel room doors.  They must be in one of these! Elena! Call to me!

When her telepathic connection didn’t work, Rebecca took to screaming! “Elena! Where are you?” The silence was too much.  “I will not lose another daughter,” she spoke out loud as she made her way to the motel office. 

The disheveled young man behind the counter looked exhausted, thin, and underpaid.  There had been some strange people checking in lately, but hell, business was business.  When he noticed the older woman’s lack of bags though, he knew he’d have to tell her to scram.  “We don’t do none of that hourly business lady.”

Rebecca just stared at him, clearly insulted.  “I’m not a prostitute young man, I’m just looking for some information on someone staying here.”

“I can’t tell you nothin’ about our guests. Privacy laws and such.” He waited for her to offer him money, knowing full well he would tell her whatever she wanted if the price was right.  Instead, she just walked a little closer and leaned on the counter. “Well could you be a dear and help me at least call a ride? My taxi driver seems to have left and I believe I left my purse in the back of his car.” She put on her most innocent look.

“Oh! Yeah! I can’t help with that. Do you know the cab company? I can look up the number and we can call the cab back.” He walked over to the computer behind the hotel desk. 

“I’m afraid I don’t remember, but I would recognize a car if I saw one.  Could you pull up some images and let me look?”

He stared at her for a moment wondering if she was going to try to rob him of something if let behind the counter, but seeing her age and the fact that she wasn’t carrying anything, decided she was harmless.  He lifted the counter lip so she could sleep behind and look over his shoulder.  It was the last thing he remembered.

Rebecca had taken all of the money from his wallet and the register and was able to call an Uber to get her back to the house, but when she got there she felt her stomach plummet.  Everyone was gone, the house was in ruins, and she was in desperate need of help!

Chapter Text

The scene playing out before her was something akin to a grotesque horror movie.  The monstrous creature was screaming and flailing about and while Elena did not understand everything, she was able to gleam that Diana had royally pissed him off. Unfortunately, all of that anger was being taken out on Therese.

“They are all gone! She’s taken them all! That fucking witch will pay for all of my children!” Therese let out a guttural wail as the first spike was driven into her palm.

“Are you fucking mad?” Elena screamed at the top of her lungs!

The creature turned on her, hammer and metal spikes still in hand.  “Unless you would like to suffer a similar fate witch, shut your mouth!” He quickly spun back and drove another spike into her other hand.  The noises Therese was making were absolutely inhuman and Elena could only watch in horror as he finished his crucifixion.

When Harris suddenly appeared inside the small space, he looked meekly at Elena, almost ashamed.  “You fucking traitor!” she spat at him. 

The creature spun again, his fist striking Elena hard across her face, but she refused to give him the satisfaction of even a whimper. He took her chin into his long, cold, fingers and squeezed roughly. “I told you to shut your mouth and I will not warn you again.”

“What do you want?” She managed to squeak out. She looked over at Therese who had passed out from the pain.

“Obviously, I am servicing my client.” Tomas stood up tall and motioned over towards Harris, who was positively green at the gills, disgusted by what was happening.  “He paid me to avenge his brother and that is what I am doing. This pathetic vamp,” he grabbed Therese by the hair and lifted her unconscious head, “killed his brother and your sister helped her. So, as per our agreement, I will torture the vampire, have her kill you and then turn you into something like me. She will pay for eternity knowing what she did to her lover and Carol will suffer, really its genius.”

Elena looked over at Harris with disgust.  “You fucking liar! You said you wanted to get away from him! You said you made a mistake and wanted my help!”

Tomas looked over his shoulder at Harris who was trying to make himself disappear against a wall.  “Hmmm…did you now?”

“I just said what I needed to say to get her to trust me, master. I swear.” Harris’ voice was shaking and Elena saw her chance.

“So when you were crying that he was going to kill you and that you were scared and you whined like a fucking baby about wanting to go home…I’m supposed to believe that was all an act? Forgive me you piece of shit, but you aren’t that good of an actor!”

Tomas moved around the space, centering his attention on Harris, his dark eyes boring into him.  “I know when you are lying, lover.”

Elena felt the vomit rise in her throat at the mere thought of the two of them together, but neither seemed to notice. 

“I promised you, sweet Harris, that once your debt was paid and I had given you what you most desired that I would free you.” His voice seemed sickly sweet as his tongue skated across his thin pale lips. “Tell me, are you satisfied that the revenge I promised has been delivered?”

Harris looked down at his feet. “Ye…yes, sir,” he stuttered. “I am very happy with you.”

Tomas wrapped an arm around his shoulders and pulled his close to lick into his ear.  “I told you, I know when you are lying.” He leaned back, still too close for comfort.  He spun Harris around so that he was now standing against his back and leaned in, licking his ear again, as his arm wrapped tightly around Harris’ throat.  “You’ve done so well, Harris, giving me more than I could ever ask for, so I will honor our agreement and free you…soon. But first, you will help me kill Diana. Now run along. I need to know where that little group of misfits has gone…and Harris, do not lie to me again.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

An hour later, Harris was standing in front of the now destroyed manor.  He hoped to find a clue or a trail to follow, as he was too weak to attempt any kind of locator spell on his own.  As he walked around the outside of the property, he heard someone rummaging around inside and moved to quietly enter, hoping not to bring any awareness to his presence. When something hard hit the back of his head, he knew he had failed. 

“You son of a bitch!” The woman screamed. “Where is my daughter?”

Harris felt blood trickle down the back of his neck. He brought his hand up to cradle where the object had struck and could already feel a knot forming.  “Fuck! That hurt, you bitch!”

“There is more where that came from if you don’t start talking!” She yelled again.

“Rebecca, please just let me explain—“

His voice was cut off when the piece of wood slammed down hard on his leg.  “FFFUUUUUCCCK! Stop it!” It sounded almost petulant.

“You have 10 seconds to tell me where my daughter is or I swear to the Goddess, I will destroy you with my bare hands! 10…..9…”

Harris raised his arm in defeat. “Alright! Alright! Tomas has her and Therese!”

“Where?” Rebecca screamed “8…7…”

“At a cemetery somewhere! I don’t know exactly! He’s got some crazy spell surrounding it.  You go to the motel and there is a portal that opens in our room and then it just takes you there. I only know that they are being held in a crypt.”

“Not good enough,” Rebecca raised the wood over her head, ready to kill him.

“Wait!” Harris screamed. “I can take you there!” Rebecca lowered the object and looked with disgust at the heap of useless flesh on the ground in front of her. “But Rebecca, he will kill you! You don’t understand how powerful he is.”

“Get up.” She demanded and Harris struggled to his feet.  Pain shot down his leg and the world began to spin from his concussion. “I followed you to that motel but couldn’t sense my daughter.  What room is this portal in?”

“Room 41…but Rebecca, I swear, you cannot take him on alone!”

“Unlike you, you pathetic excuse for a man, I am not an idiot.  Of course I will not go alone. First, you are going to help me find Carol and then we will save Elena!”

“I have to report back when I find them or he’ll kill me.” Harris sighed.

“And believe me I will let him.” Rebecca’s voice was void of any compassion. “You made a deal with the devil, Harris, and that debt will be paid. I, on the other hand, prefer to take matters into my own hands. Now, help me find, Carol or so help me,” she raised the large plank of wood again.

“Alright, alright!” The two of them started to rummage around the wreckage, careful not to disrupt the bodies of the deceased, but when he saw one body in particular, he had an idea. “I think I know where we need to check first.  Come with me.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

The loft apartment over Ransome’s bar was not super spacious, but they would not be here long and since they were down to only five of them now, there was room.  Elena, Therese, and Rebecca were all missing, and Dannie and Ransome were dead.  Carol was a distraught mess, and Marcus worried he might have to sedate her again.  He made a few calls on their way to Ransome’s place to make arrangements for drugs and medical supplies.  He was able to bandage up Sarah’s head wound and give her some decent pain killers.  Thankfully, the others had gotten by with only minor head trauma and in an ideal situation he would have them all get head scans, but for now he would monitor for abnormal behavior.

“We have to calm her down,” Diana whispered as she came up next to him. “She needs to rest to replenish her powers.”

“I can sedate her if we need, but she’d be out for several hours, if not a day. Do we have the time?”

“Not really,” Diana shook her head.  She watched as the energy continued to crackle around Carol’s body, fragmented and uncontrolled. With a sigh, Diana realized they didn’t have a choice. “Will it hurt the baby?”

Marcus shook his head.  “Honestly, having her this worked up is more of a detriment to the embryo that a mild sedative.”

Diana agreed. “Fine. She can’t continue to run of fumes like this, so we don’t really have a choice and honestly, I need some downtime, too.  If you think we will be safe here for a least a couple of days, just do it.  It will give us all time to heal and regroup.”

Marcus whipped around the room in a flash, and before she could protest, the needle was in Carol’s arm.  She would sleep. She would recharge. And then…

 

<><><><><> 

 

“I can’t go in there, Rebecca. They’ll kill me!” Harris tried to pull away, but for an older woman, her grip was surprising strong.

“You are going to die one way or another.  From what you’ve told me, either Tomas will kill you or the people upstairs will kill you.  The way I see it, you have two options; you can beg for their mercy and pray they take pity on you or you can return to Tomas, who will have no pity.  Rest assured, when he has tired of you, he will kill you. So, what’s it going to be?”

Harris started at the ground beneath his feet. “I don’t know that I deserve a second chance, Rebecca, considering I’m the reason for all of this.”

“True.” Rebecca let out a deep, heavy sigh that was laced with deep-seeded feelings of guilt.  “Look, we can’t put this all on you.  I gave my daughter to your abusive, piece of shirt brother.  Granted, I convinced myself that I was saving her life, but maybe…well you could say that I am just as responsible for all of this as you are. If I would have let Carol and Therese live their lives as intended…” she trailed off.

“Has she forgiven you? Carol, I mean?”

“I don’t think she ever will, but I won’t stop trying and I will do that by helping her.  I will help protect my granddaughter and I will save Elena.”

Harris made a mental note about the granddaughter.  “What about the vampire?”

There was another sigh, but Rebecca did not answer.  “Make a choice, Harris. I’m going upstairs.”

 

<><><><> 

 

It had been just over 24 hours.  Carol had slept for over 12 of those and woke agitated and ready to find Therese, but her powers were better controlled.  Diana felt stronger as well.  It was only a matter of finding Elena and Therese at this point, but so far all attempts at locating them had failed.

“I don’t understand why the spell isn’t working!” Carol paced the room, her nerves still frayed. She turned to look at Abby who sat quiet and focused.  “You swear you aren’t seeing anything?”

Abby shook her head in response.  “It’s almost like they are being hidden.”

Sarah and Janet sat on an extra-long weathered leather couch in the loft. Despite a pounding headache, Sarah was feeling better. She thought about what Abby had said, trying to remember what she could from her family grimoire. “That is a possibility.  Just like there are locator spells, there are spells to hide.”

“Is there a way to break through the spell?” Marcus asked.  “Between all of you, I would think your combined strength would be enough to override him, or what have you.”

“I’d need the family spell book, unless Diana could write a new one for us to try.”

Diana had been staring out the dirty window into the street below.  “We may not have too.”

A few minutes later, there was a knock on the loft door.  Marcus let Rebecca in, but kept Harris in the entryway for the time being. “I should kill you right now.”

“Marcus, he can help us.” Rebecca tried to reason with the vampire. “He knows how to find Elena and Therese.” Rebecca turned to the group and Marcus backed up to let Harris enter the space.

Despite everything that had happened between then, Carol couldn’t stop from running to her mother and pulling her into her arms.  “Mom…I’m so glad you’re safe!” Tears welled in her eyes.  “What happened to you? Where did you go?”

“Well, when I saw Elena leave the house, I tried to follow her.  When I got back, the house was destroyed, you were all gone, and well here we are.” Rebecca was sure she’d never feel the warmth of her daughter’s embrace again and she relished it.  She could feel the power radiating from her and it caused a burst of pride. 

“Why was Elena leaving? I don’t understand.” Carol pulled away and turned to look back at Abby.

“We had a fight and she had her suitcase, but I didn’t know she’d actually left.  I figured she’d go downstairs and tell you all what happened, but then everything just went crazy and…I,” Abby felt suddenly very unsure of herself. “Something is really off.  I should have been able to see her leave.  Why didn’t I see that?”

Rebecca waved off her concerns, “Anyway, she never made it to the airport, thanks to this waste,” Rebecca motioned towards Harris.  “He tricked her and gave her to Tomas.”

“Wait, if Tomas has Elena that means Tomas wasn’t at the house,” Diana realized.  “He couldn’t have been there, otherwise he would have been blasted back in time with the others! So who took Therese?”

“You all really have no idea who or what you are dealing with, do you?” Harris smirked and started to understand that he might be able to come of this after all.  “Look, I can help you. I will tell you everything that I know and all that I’ve learned about Tomas, in exchange for my life.”

Everyone turned to look at him, Marcus was the only one who snarled.  “We aren’t executioners.” Diana explained.

“Speak for yourself,” Carol countered.  “If Therese or Elena die, I will kill you without question.” The room filled with an uncomfortable silence.  Did she mean it?  Diana thought of all that she had done to save Matthew not that long ago.  Yeah, Carol meant every word. 

“Let’s try to prevent that by saving them, alright?” Janet spoke, trying to bring some lightness back into the room.

Marcus moved a wooden chair and demanded that Harris take a seat in front of the others.  “Start talking.”

Harris took a few minutes to think about how to begin.  He asked for a glass of water, but everyone ignored his request.  He looked over at the door and wondered if he could somehow get away, but between the vampire and the five witches in the room, he quickly realized escape was no possible.  Clearing his throat, Harris opted to start at the very beginning.  “After Harge was killed, I was desperate to find a way to avenge his death.  I wanted you to pay,” he eyes looked up at Carol. “I wasn’t in my right mind, much like you probably feel right now. I started asking around and wound up in some shack in the backwoods of the Tennessee Mountains.  There was this old witch there and she spoke of a creature that could make dark things happen. She told me she could get me in touch with him, but she also warned me not to do it. Clearly I didn’t listen.”

He took a deep breath.  “I paid him, emptied all of my accounts, but that wasn’t his price.  Once I agreed to his terms, I became his property. My body is his to do with as he wishes. He drinks from me, takes what little power I have…and well…whatever else he wants to do.”  Harris looked around the room for any signs of pity, but saw none.

“Look, I know I screwed up, alright? But you have to understand I was blinded by rage! I wanted her dead and I wanted you to suffer!” Again he was looking directly at Carol, but her eyes were an ice cold shade of blue.

“Tell us about his powers.” Diana brought the conversation back to something helpful.

“He is part vampire and part witch.  He can move like a vampire and is incredibly strong and seems impervious to pain. He doesn’t need to use words to cast his spells, he just sort of wills them to be.”

“There are plenty of witches that can do that, spells without speaking.” Sarah wasn’t too impressed so far.

“He can create portals to move around, like how he created a portal from the motel room to place he’s keeping Therese and Elena.  I told Rebecca I think they are in a crypt, but I cannot tell you where, because the portal opens directly inside and when I leave I’m back in the motel room. That is how he took the vampire and was gone before you did whatever you did,” he looked at Diana.

“That portal could be anything,” Diana started to ring her hands.  “It oculi be a different time, a different place.  We have to narrow it down to find them.”

Janet wondered if he may have some powers similar to those of a weaver.  “Does he wave his hands or have any tattoos or markings on his hands?”  She asked alluding to the fact that Diana’s weaver cords had become a part of her body. 

“No,” Harris answer.  “He just uses his mind, nothing more. It’s like he has the power of will. What he will’s into existence becomes reality.  He also has a very violent temper.” He looked up at Diana. “After you took his family, he…well he took it out on the vampire.” Harris did not look at Carol this time, but he felt her eyes on him and his chair started to shake beneath him.

“Hold on, Carol.” Diana begged her. “Save your strength.”

The chair stopped moving.  “Are they alive?” Carol’s voice wasn’t as cold as her eyes.  Harris could hear the fear in it. 

“They were the last time I saw them, yesterday.  He sent me to find you all and report back your location.”

“What is the end game?” Marcus spoke again, his voice less angry now that the man was proving somewhat helpful.  “His final plan?”

“He wants Therese to turn Elena and then he plans on coming after Diana for taking his family.” Harris spoke the words quickly. 

“Turn her?” Carol’s eyes went wide. “You mean…”

“Make her like him,” he clarified.  “He said it was the perfect plan because it would destroy you both.”

Carol understood and he was right. If Therese gave in to her primal instincts and killed Elena, their world would crumble.  She had to believe that Therese was strong enough to resist, but for how long? “We have to find them.”  Carol looked up at the others in the room and her heart sank.  Too many lives had been lost over this already and she knew she could not risk any more.  “I will not ask any of you to go, but I’m going after them.”

“Carol,” Diana walked over to her. “You aren’t alone in this. We will all help you.”

“I can’t ask any more of you, Diana. You’ve already risked your life, your family.  Sarah has already been hurt, Ransome is gone.  It’s too much.”

“Tomas will come for my family if we don’t stop him and your daughter is too important, Carol.  I agree, not all of us should go.” She turned to look at the others in the room. “Sarah and Janet need to go back to the Congregation as planned and Rebecca and Abby can return to Boston.”

“I’m not going anywhere without my children!” Rebecca argued.  “Abby can go back if she wants, but I’m going with Carol.”

“I know I can’t go with you, but I want to be here for after…if…when you bring Elena back. She will need me.” Abby’s voice was small and uncertain, but no one questioned her. 

“Fine, Sarah and Janet will go, but the rest of us are staying and we will fight this together.” Diana said with a finality in her tone. 

“I have a suggestion,” Rebecca offered, hoping the others would listen. She was well aware that what she was about to suggest could backfire.  “I know a spell that could help.  It could increase our power.  It’s how I was able to control Carol and it was how Harge…well.”

“Mother,” Carol warned.

“Just hear me out. Sarah and Janet are leaving anyway, but before they go they could offer their powers. It isn’t like it would be permanent.  It would give me a boost and allow me to be more helpful and—“

“Wait,” Diana interrupted. “This isn’t a bad idea.”

Everyone looked at her like she was insane, until Diana clarified.  “This spell, could you teach us?”

Rebecca was confused by Diana’s questions. “Yes, but…”

“Do we have a say in this?” Sarah asked Diana. 

“Just listen,” Diana held up her hand. “What I’m suggesting is this, could we use this spell to boost Abby’s powers?”

All eyes went wide again. Rebecca wanted to argue and to protest, knowing that without that power boost she was basically useless against someone like Tomas, but she could see the logic in what Diana was saying. Suddenly, Janet and Sarah were more amenable to the idea, as well.  Still, Rebecca couldn’t help but try to argue her point.  “What if we do that and it doesn’t help Abby find them? The power would be wasted!”

“I think it’s worth the risk,” Carol moved closer to Abby.  “Maybe…”

“I’ll do it,” Abby didn’t question it.  “If there is even a possibility of finding them, I’ll do it.”

“Then we’re decided.” Diana sounded more confident than she felt.  “Rebecca, what is the spell?”

“You are all delusional,” Harris shook his head. “He will destroy all of you.”

Chapter Text

Carol needed a few minutes alone.  She hadn’t had a single moment to herself since Therese had been taken and she needed to time to come to terms with everything.  But there really wasn’t any time.  Diana, Rebecca and the others were in the other room readying the spell to enhance Abby’s ability to see, but the whole thing brought back some traumatic memories for Carol. Wasn’t that how all of this started?  Rebecca and Harge using this same spell to steal her powers for ten years? Isn’t that what brought Therese into her world in the first place?  And now where was she? What was Tomas doing to her?  Therese was being tortured all because she had dared to fall in love with Carol. 

She looked into the bathroom mirror where she was hiding from the others.  Despite the forced sleep from the sedative, the dark circles were still prevalent on her face. She felt like she had aged a decade in the past few weeks. She just needed to find some glimmer of hope or positive notion to hold on too, but it all just felt so daunting right now.  Carol closed her eyes and pictured Therese.  At first she remembered the night they first met, Therese and her goth-punk style with crazed hair and make-up, and then brought to mind the last time they made love, with her short bobbed hair and fresh face tossed back in ecstasy.  She didn’t care what version of Therese she got back, so long as the woman she so desperately loved was back in her arms again. 

There was a soft knock on the bathroom door.  “Carol, we’re ready to begin.” Janet’s voice was soothing and sweet. “Are you alright?” Janet knew it was a dumb question. Of course she wasn’t alright, but what else does one say at a time like this.

Carol wiped the tears from her face and took a deep breath.  “I’ll be right out.”  She ran some water in the sink and quickly splashed her face to cool off her cheeks from the tears.  She dried off her cheeks and looked deeply into the cold eyes that stared back at her. She willed Therese’s face into her mind and spoke to the image.  “Whatever happens, I’m coming to find you tonight. Just hold on, my love.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

The voice rattled in the back of her head, no louder than a whisper. “Hold on, my love.” Therese repeated the words out loud.

“What did you say?” Elena asked the black and blue woman hanging helpless across from her. 

“Carol said hold on.” Therese tried to explain, but her face was so busted up Elena could not decipher her speech.  She was able to make out the word Carol, however.

“Carol isn’t here, Therese.” There was a desperation in her voice. “It’s just us, for now, but that monster will be back soon enough and we need to get out of here!” Elena had wracked her brain for a spell that would undo the knots around her wrists or one that would at least drop her from where she was haning. Nothing.  She willed her mind to reach out beyond the confines of this tiny room, calling out to anyone and everyone. Nothing. Elena was exhausted and felt utterly defeated. Tears ran down her face as she made one last attempt to reason with her fellow captor. “Therese, you need to get out of here and get back to Carol and your baby. I’m supposed to die anyway. It is apparently by fate or destiny, or what have you.  I’d rather you do it than Tomas, so please, just do what he says and bite me.”

Despite the pain it caused, Therese lifted her head. Green eyes, swollen and blood-shot looked over at Elena.  Was that regret? Resignation? Elena wasn’t sure.  “I forgive you, Therese, and Carol will forgive you, too. It’s the only way.”

“No,” was all Therese muttered as she dropped her weak head again, but before she heard the words whisper in her mind again, Hold on, my love.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Janet, Sarah, and Abby sat in the circle, holding hands.  The spell was easy enough to recite, but Rebecca had never tried to move power from two witches into one.  She made a few adjustments and hoped they would work, well sort of. There was a small part of her that that wished the spell wouldn’t work properly and all of the power would accidentally flow into her.  Abby began reciting the words that Rebecca had taught her, “From thee, to me, your magic runs through me, I summon your strength, you vision, your clarity.” Abby repeated the words over and over, and though no one from the outside could see, there was a charge that was passing between the 3 witches in the circle. 

Abby’s eyes which had been dulled since they first came to New Orleans started to slowly brighten again.  “It’s working.” Diana whispered into Carol’s ear, careful not to disrupt the flow between the others.  They sat that way for 15 minutes as Abby repeated the words over and over as her eyes got brighter and brighter, until she suddenly released the other women and her head flew back. Her eyes glowed the brightest white anyone had seem and she seemed lost in a trance like state. 

Janet and Sarah each fell over exhausted, like they’d run a marathon, but they stayed close to Abby, watching and waiting. 

“I see a grave marker, Here lies Cy Harrison and his devoted wife Jeannette, died 1974, always in our hearts…white marble tombs…above ground,” Abby was turning her head as if she was looking at things around her. “Everything was under water and then free….I hear screams…There is pain…and Jesus Christ and blood…hands, feet, a cross.” Abby stood and held her body out as if she was on a cross and then she collapsed, landing on her knees. Her eyes went back to her normal shade of white.

No one moved at first, clearly waiting for Abby to say something more or to decipher what she had just said, but no explanation came. Marcus was the first to speak, “Ok then.”

“How do we go about finding one particular grave marker in a city known for its cemeteries?” Sarah asked the room as she slowly sat up and helped Janet to do the same.

He shook his head. “There are over 70 cemeteries in this city and we don’t have time to search them all. What else did she say?”

Diana started repeat the information that Abby had given them. There have to be other clues.  “Alright, we know the marker we are looking for, she said it was underwater. Weren’t a lot of cemeteries flooded during Katrina?”

Marcus nodded, “A lot of them, but I do remember despite the flooding St. Louis cemetery number 1 remained intact, we could start there.”

“What makes that one so special?” Diana asked.

“Well for starters, it is home to the tomb of Marie Laveau and a bunch of other famous people, musicians and such.”

“Isn’t it a popular tourist attraction?” Sarah asked, “Wouldn’t he avoid that one for fear of someone seeing him? It just seems too obvious.”

“He attacked my house in the middle of the daylight, without a care in the world. I seriously doubt he’s worried.” Marcus noted.

Harris sighed in frustration from his chair. Everyone had forgotten he was even there, until her offered some helpful advice. “I honestly do not know how any of you have managed to survive so far. Do a google search for grave location in New Orleans. You might be able to narrow it down.”

“He’s right,” Marcus said as he took out his phone and logged in to the laptop on Ransome’s desk, hoping to do two searches at once. “We might be able to at least narrow it down.” 

A loud squawking noise and a few hard taps on the window let Carol know that her blackbird had returned to her, hopefully with some news.   She opened the window to allow her bird to fly in and it perched on the arm of the sofa and looked to her. Carol ran a hand down the birds back, petting it lightly.  “Please tell me you found something.”

To everyone else in the room the bird was just making random bird noises, but to Carol it was clear. “Saint Roch’s” she repeated and the bird nodded.

“Are you telling me you just had a conversation with that bird?” Rebecca couldn’t keep her jaw from falling open.

“She isn’t just a bird, mother. She is my familiar and yes, she speaks to me as clearly as you do.  She said there is something at Saint Roch’s cemetery, something that prevented her from seeing everything clearly, like a mist. Do you know of this one?” Carol asked Marcus.

Marcus quickly did a google search and pulled up some images of the cemetery.  He wished Abby could look and see if this is indeed what she saw.  “It’s in the 9th ward, so it would have flooded.  There are several large tombs and a shrine that is gated shut and out front is a statue of Jesus on the cross.”  

Carol chewed on her bottom lip and closed her eyes, trying to feel for something, though she wasn’t sure what.  Call it a witch’s intuition. “We should look there first.”

“So what’s the plan then? You can’t just go charging in.” Harris stated the obvious.

“We won’t be telling you anything, so you’ll just have to wait and see.” Marcus informed him.  “Diana, Carol, Rebecca, can you all meet me in the kitchen?”

They spoke softly, but Diana still opted to block their thoughts from Harris, just in case this was all part of Tomas’s plan. Marcus laid out his ideas as to how they should proceed and Carol and the others agreed. “Attacking him on two fronts is our best bet and it prevents him from taking Elena and Therese and disappearing.  If he tries to exit the portal, someone will be there and if he tries to go out the front gate, someone will be there. Battle strategy 101.”

“Remember,” Diana warned them all, “Our goal is to get Elena and Therese the hell out of there! Let’s try to avoid an all-out war with Tomas until we have the Congregation on our side and know more about what we are up against with him. The plane will be standing by to take us to Sept Tours in France. Matthew and his family will be waiting to help us. Are we clear?”

“And if they aren’t there?” Rebecca asked.  “Are you sure it’s best for us to separate? I mean I understand the concept of a sneak attack, some of us from the portal and some from the front gate, but what if…”

“They are there,” Abby spoke directly to the minds of all the witches.

“Well,” Carol felt something like the flames of a fire rise inside of her. “That’s that. Let’s go.” 

Sarah, Abby and Janet left for the airport. They would make sure the plane was ready to go as soon as the others appeared.  The others separated into two groups, one going to the motel and the other heading to the cemetery.

“This is a terrible idea,” Rebecca felt her hands shaking as they stood outside the motel room door marked 42. She especially did not like being separated from Carol. “What if he’s in there? If he’s as powerful as Harris says, what are we supposed to do about it?”

Diana looked up at the older woman. “I know he’s powerful, but I’m pretty sure I can hold my own enough to get us out of there.”

Harris let out a groaning noise from under the duct tape that covered his mouth. “Shut it you buffoon,” Rebecca rolled her eyes. “We aren’t taking that off and risking you calling out to your master.”

Diana held her ear to the door and then placed a hand delicately on the outside.  She was fairly sure the room was empty, but they needed to give the others time to get into place.

 

Marcus and Carol walked between the long rows of marble tombs.  She thought it almost looked like a miniature city, the way the tombs looks like small buildings on either side of the sidewalk.  A blackbird flew high overhead and Carol took solace in her presence, knowing that her familiar was there to watch over and protect her.  They made their way towards the back of the cemetery, reading the names of each one until they found the one they needed sitting just to the left of a larger marble structure that looked like a small church. The Shrine of St. Roch’s was larger than the other structures on the property. There was a white marble statue of Jesus on the cross sitting directly in front, but the shrine itself was boarded up and gated to keep people out.  It would be the perfect place to hide.

The bird circled again and swooped down to land on Carol’s shoulder.  It started to make some soft noises in Carol’s ear and she nodded in understanding. It was time for them to join forces.  Carol spread her arms wide and the bird took to fight again before barreling straight for her back.  Marcus watched in fascination as the bird stretched its wings and bonded with Carol, melding into her skin. This is where she would stay until she was needed.

“How do we open the gates without making any noise?” Carol whispered to Marcus.  The sun was setting in the sky and there were no tourists at the moment, but Marcus was sure there would be some ghost tours or something coming through soon.

He looked into her eyes, but saw no fear. “We don’t. You need to blast that thing wide open Carol and we rush in. We cannot hesitate at all. Are you ready to do this?”

She took a minute to calm herself, feeling the fluttering of wings beneath her breast.  Her bird was there, giving her strength.  Carol let the power build within her, and Marcus watched as her hands started to glow with a bright blue energy.  It was now or never.  She opened her eyes and reached out her mind to Diana. We’re ready.

Several miles away, Diana nodded. Whatever magic was keeping Therese and Elena from being able to reach of that building, was not working on those outside of it. “It’s time.” She spoke back to Carol, On three then…three…two…

Diana waved her hand in front of her and the motel room door flew back with a crash.  The room was empty, which was good for them, but she knew they needed to hurry. She ripped the tape from Harris’ face and demanded the location of the portal. He pointed to the wall by an old, busted television and Diana grabbed his arm and pulled him along. “Let’s go!”  She walked to the space, held her hand out in front of her and felt the icy cold nothingness that led into the portal. She moved forward, holding onto Harris and assumed Rebecca was following behind them.

Carol let the energy build for 3 seconds before throwing her hands outward violently. In a loud, thunderous blast, the black metal gates, the boards, and some of the marble flew out in all directions, leaving a white dusty cloud.  There would be no element of surprise, Marcus realized and ran forward into the dust as Carol trailed behind him. 

As the dust settled, they moved into the small two-room building.  There was a noise to their right, and Carol raised her hands ready to defend herself.  She peered into a small room and gasped. All along the walls were various body parts. Carol walked into the room, her gleam lighting the room enough so she could understand what she was seeing.  There were prosthetic feet and legs and hands hanging almost everywhere in the room.  It was disturbing, but she didn’t have time to process it because suddenly Diana and Harris were standing directly in front of her. Carol stepped back, her hands once again ready to fight, but she turned instead when she heard Marcus yell.

“Over here!” Marcus called loudly. “Hurry!”  Carol and the others walked out of the small room and into the larger space and her heart stopped. Therese had been beaten and nailed to the wall and her sister was hanging by her wrists across from her.  Marcus was already working to pull Elena down, but he looked helplessly at Therese. “I can’t remove the spikes! One of you will have to do it!”

Elena was too exhausted to stand or speak after the bindings were removed, so Marcus picked her up in his arms. “I’m going to get her to the car! Get Therese down and I’ll be right back to carry her!”

Carol was breathless as she ran to her lover.  “By the Goddess! What did he do to you?” There were tears streaming down her face, and she reached out and placed a hand delicately on Therese’s cheek. 

“There isn’t time, Carol!” Diana was standing next to her. “We need to get her down, now!”

Carol’s mind was racing. Fire, Water, Air…none would be of any use.  The only thing she could do would be to move the earth and break the wall around her, but she knew it would cause Therese excruciating pain. “Can you remove the spikes?” She desperately pleaded with Diana. Diana closed her eyes and started to weave a spell, but they wouldn’t budge. 

“So many visitors tonight!” The creepy voice spoke from behind them.  “And look at this mess you’ve made!”  Carol and Diana turned to face Tomas.  He was dressed in dark robes and standing with Rebecca’s throat in his hands. Diana cursed to herself silently.  Had Rebecca not followed them in?

Tomas’s eyes looked to Harris first.  “You’ve been a naughty boy.”

Tomas then turned to smile at Carol and the sight of his sharp and blackened teeth made her want to retch. “You must be Carol.  I look forward to seeing you suffer.” He then turned to Diana and if possible, his black eyes got darker. “And you must be the great and powerful Diana Bishop.  I have special plans for you.”

Shatter the wall, Carol. Diana spoke to her telepathically, forgetting that Tomas was also part witch.

“Oh please do,” he dark eyes almost twinkled with delight. “I can’t wait to hear your lover scream in pain some more! Would you like to hear everything I’ve done to her so far?” Tomas tightened his grip around Rebecca’s throat and Carol hesitated when she saw her mother’s face turning red. “Of course, while you save your little vampire, I will kill your mother. Or…you could save your mother and I’ll kill your vampire.  You choose.”

At that moment, Therese started to come too and she mumbled something indecipherable, but it was enough for Carol to quickly make a choice.  She trusted Diana could save her mother.  The ground beneath them started to shake violently and the walls of the small shrine started to crack and break apart.  Therese cried out in pain, which made Carol rage internally, but there was no other way to free her. Diana held her hands up and tried to bring her witchwind to remove Rebecca from Tomas’s grasp, but he stood solid and unaffected by her magic. His grip tightened and she felt her witchfire build in her hand, taking shape as a bow and arrow. Twice before she’d been forced to kill, once when Juliette attacked Matthew and again when Benjamin tried to kill Matthew.  She hesitated now, not launching her arrow. “Release her or die.” 

Harris fell as the ground continued to shake violently beneath them. Tomas turned his attention to the pathetic excuse for a man on his hands and knees on the ground, but his grip never lessened.  “I do believe our time is up, Harris and as per the terms of our agreement, I release you.” Tomas shouted a curse and he lifted his chin quickly. With a loud crack, Harris’s head flew backwards and his body went limp. Tomas turned his attention back to the near dead witch in his grasp. Diana reared back her fiery arrow, ready to release, but before she could something large and hard struck Tomas from behind and he fell forward, releasing the older witch. Marcus moved with lightning speed, grabbing Rebecca and sprinting away before Tomas could right himself.  Tomas’s pale face flushed with anger and he raised his hands out in front of him, ready to attack. “Enough!”

Carol was out of time. She held her hand to the wall that had cracked under the force of her earthquake, but still had not fallen. She mustered everything she had left and screamed, commanding the wall to shatter, and it did. The metal spikes were still her in hands and feet, but Therese was free. 

Diana had to get them away from Tomas and now.  “Hold on to her!” She screamed and wrapped her arm around Carol before taking a step forward.  Carol felt disoriented and wanted to throw-up as the world around them disappeared and warped and then suddenly, they were back in the cemetery, alone and in the dark.  Carol looked around frantically trying to get her bearings as she struggled to keep ahold of Therese.  She saw the pile of rubble behind them, all that was left of the century’s old shrine. “Where are we?”  

“Same place, I just moved us forward in time,” Diana explained vaguely and pulled them forward.  “We need to go! I just pray the plane is still at the airport!”

“Wait! What about Therese?” Carol’s arms were burning and thankfully Therese had fainted from the pain as the wall tumbled around her. “I can’t carry her.”

Diana stood on one side and Carol on the other as they carried Therese, her feet dragging behind them.  They made their way out the front gate of St. Roch’s cemetery and spotted a black car coming around the corner. It stopped directly in front of them and Marcus quickly made his way out the driver door. “What the hell, Diana! A little warning next time! I’ve been driving around for hours, to the airport, back to the house, Ransome’s flat, and finally back to here! I didn’t know when you’d gone!”

Carol couldn’t wrap her mind around what he’d just said.  They’d only been gone for a few seconds, but Marcus said hours.  Marcus gathered Therese into his arms, gasping at her appearance and carefully placed her in the car as Carol got in on the other side.  She placed Therese’s head in her lap and sobbed.

 “We need a hospital.” Marcus’s voice was shaking as he took in her injuries. Her body was badly broken and in desperate need of medical attention.

“There isn’t time and we’ve got to get away from here. The plane is stocked with medical supplies yes?” Diana spoke as she got into the passenger seat. 

“Yes, but Diana, removing these things is going to require major surgery and she needs x-rays and bones set and look at the burns!” He eyes did another quick scan of the woman’s damaged body before he closed the backdoor and ran to the driver’s side.

“Good thing you’re a doctor! What happened after we disappeared? Where did Tomas go?” Diana looked at Marcus as the car sped down the street.

“I ran back to deposit Rebecca,” a shadow crossed his face, but Diana did not question it. “When I came back, you were gone and so was he. So I got back in the car and drove away as quickly as I could.  I figured you’d time walked, but I didn’t know if you went forward or backwards, thus all the driving around.”

Carol held Therese’s held still as the car sped towards the airport. “Time walked?”

Diana turned back to look at Carol.  “I’m a time walker, remember? Spent months in the 1500’s with Matthew.  Forward is harder than backwards though, since I’m not sure where I’m going to. I prayed a few hours would be enough and that Tomas would be gone when we got there.  I could have taken us backwards, but then the current us would have displaced the past us, and it would have complicated all of our plans.

Carol’s mind was reeling! “I…ho…wha…”

Diana let out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding.  “Let’s focus on one thing at a time. Once on the plane, Marcus can tend to her injuries.  Once we’re safely in the air, I’ll explain.”

The car pulled directly up to the private jet and Marcus carefully carried Therese into the plane.  The others gasped as he laid her on the floor of the aircraft before standing to close the plane door. Carol moved to sit on the floor behind her and placed her head in her lap once again. Sarah and Janet moved closer, ready to help as needed, while Abby sat in the back of the plane with Elena asleep in her lap.

 “Fly!” Marcus shouted to the pilot and the engines roared to life. Both he and Diana grabbed all of the medical supplies they had on board and Marcus quickly got to work.  Saving her life was going to be a miracle.   

Chapter Text

Marcus was working quickly and doing the best he could under the circumstances.  He tried to reason that this wasn’t much different from doing surgery on the battlefield, at least until the plane his an air pocket and everyone screamed as they dropped suddenly.  He flashed back to his time as a medic during the American Revolutionary War.  That was when he died and Matthew had given him the gift of life.

“Can someone please go tell the pilot what is going on back here! I can’t work with the bottom dropping out of us every ten minutes!” Marcus huffed and Janet stood and carefully made her way to the cockpit. He could tell they were dropping in altitude now and hoped it would help them avoid any more sudden drops, at least until he could finish his work.

Carol concentrated on holding Therese’s head, while Diana weaved a spell to keep the vampire asleep.  It would do no one any good if she woke up while Marcus was attempting to remove the large metal spikes.  The first one was pulled out, and the blood immediately began to gush from her hand.  Sarah held pressure, while Marcus prepared to stitch her up.  Being a vampire gave one super speed, but with stitches, one still had to be meticulous.

Vampires were notoriously hard to kill, but it was not impossible.  Given enough massive trauma and blood loss, they could die.  Marcus’ mind flashed to his son Ransome, and how he had been unable to help him due to the massive tissue damage.  He moved on the second spike and they started the process over again.  Marcus was most concerned with the damage to Therese’s feet.  Getting those spikes out would be much more difficult as the damage was clearly more severe. Without an x-ray machine, there was no way to know just how many bones had been shattered in her feet.  Assuming she survived, Therese would eventually heal, but it would take time. Of course there was a way to speed her healing process and he would discuss that once they got her even remotely stable. He moved to her left foot and then her right, and once the spikes were removed and the stitches placed, he bandaged all four appendages tightly.  He then worked on the other burns and abrasions that covered her body, slathering them in antibiotic and burn creams. 

Carol could not stop the sobs when she saw the burn scars that covered Therese’s lower abdomen where her name had once been tattooed. It had taken several hours to get Therese’s body sorted, but Marcus warned her there were no guarantees.  There was so much damage and they were still six hours from France.  He gave Diana a look and then stood, giving them some space. 

 Diana lowered her hands and then moved to join him towards the front of the plane, careful to keep her voice low.  “Will she survive?” 

“I don’t know,” Marcus answered honestly. “Matthew has survived worse, but we both know what that took. I won’t lie, it would be of great benefit to Therese if Carol would do the same.”

“I will tell her, but first, tell me about Rebecca. Carol hasn’t had time to register her absence, but she will soon enough. Is she alive?”

Marcus hung his head. “I honestly don’t know.”

She could tell by the look on his face that Marcus felt guilty.  “Just tell me,” Diana encouraged him. 

“I had to make a choice.  You and Carol were gone, Elena was unconscious and there just wasn’t time, but she was badly injured and in so much pain.  I bit my finger and forced her to drink a few drops and that seemed to ease her pain some, but her injuries were critical, so I dropped her off at a hospital. I told them I found her in a park and I didn’t know who she was because I didn’t need the warmbloods asking questions. Based on the bruising around her throat, she won’t be able to speak, and honestly, I’m not even sure she’ll wake up again. She’ll be registered as a Jane Doe until we call and can give them some answers.”

Diana placed her hand on his shoulder to reassure her son.  “You did the right thing, Marcus. She isn’t a vampire and her body will take longer to heal.  If we can get her back to Boston, her coven will be able to help her. We’ll call and make all the arrangements once we land.” She turned to look back at the others on the plane.  The past two days had been absolutely exhausting and she wasn’t sure if Carol was physically up for what she needed to do, but given Therese’s pallor, there wasn’t much choice.  “Your father would be very proud of you, Marcus.” Diana gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “Go try to rest.”

He nodded and looked back at the woman who he considered to be his mother now. “You, too. He won’t be too happy with me if you collapse.”

Diana nodded and made her way back over to Carol.  “How is she doing?” Diana sat in one of the captain’s chairs close to Carol.

“How long will your spell keep her asleep?” Carol’s blue-grey eyes were lifeless and bloodshot. 

“My spell ended once Marcus finished stitching her up. Nothing is keeping her asleep now, aside from her injuries,” Diana explained.  

Carol’s brows furrowed. “Why isn’t she waking up then? Vampire bodies can heal…I know I read that somewhere.”

Diana nodded, “they can, but it still takes time. There is a way you can help her to heal faster, but you need to understand the risks.”

“I would risk everything for her,” she ran her fingers through Therese’s dark hair. “She is my life, Diana. I know you understand that.”

“I do, but there is something else we need to discuss first.  Marcus has just told me about your mother.”

There was a deep groan from the back of the plane as Elena tried to sit up.  Abby wrapped an arm around her waist and held her tightly, giving her support.  “What about our mother? Where is she?” Elena’s voice was dry and cracking.

Carol started looking around the plane for the first time since they boarded.  Rebecca Ross was not on board.  “Oh no…” tears started to form in her eyes, but Diana was quick to jump in.

“She’s alive, well we hope. Marcus had to take her to a hospital in New Orleans.”

Elena was confused.  She looked at the unconscious body on the floor of the plane and then over to Abby and then around to the others.  She didn’t even know where she was or how she got there. “Where are we?”

Abby leaned in close. “We’re on our way to Diana and Matthew’s in France.”

“But I needed to get to Boston, I was heading home…” her voice faltered as she suddenly remembered the past few days.  Tomas, the torture, the pain and then she remembered the vision and yet somehow she wasn’t dead. “Why am I alive?”

Abby’s eyes brightened for a second.  “Choices, Abby. If you would have stayed in the house with us, maybe you would have died. You may still, I honestly don’t know. I think it’s a good sign that you survived being held by Tomas for so long. The fact that he didn’t kill you—“

“He wanted Therese to kill me, but she kept refusing…no matter how much he hurt her.” Elena’s eyes watered up, thinking about how many times she begged the woman to just do it.  “She made choices, too and she chose to fight for me.”

Diana explained to everyone that once they got to France they could make any arrangements for Rebecca to be moved to Boston.  Everyone seemed calmed by that information, but now it was time for a more immediate decision.

“Carol, Therese needs blood.” Diana spoke the words calmly, as if she was asking for a cup of sugar.  “In order to heal, her body needs to replenish the blood it’s lost, but we don’t have any blood on the plane, so…”

“She needs mine,” Carol understood.

Elena wanted to scream her objections! No! Absolutely not! But she was too tired and knew this was not her choice to make.  Therese had made choices to save her life and now Carol must make her own. “What about the baby?” Elena spoke softly.  “If Therese bites her and takes too much...” she left the sentence hanging.

“Obviously, that is the risk. We would stop her from taking so much that she killed you, Carol. Once she starts drinking, she will become ravenous, but Marcus should be strong enough to pull her away in her weakened state and I can push her back as well.  But,” Diana hesitated. “I cannot promise that this will not kill the baby. That life is barely there as it is. You could wait and we could see if Therese recovers on her own.  We could try to get her to feed on an animal once we land, but as you are mated now, your blood is more powerful for her.  It’s your decision.”

Carol ran her fingers through Therese’s hair again and leaned down to place a kiss on her mate’s forehead. If not for the baby, there wouldn’t be a choice at all, but she needed to take a moment.  She looked back to Abby and her sister.  Abby’s vision showed their daughter born, but it had also shown Elena’s death.  Carol realized it wasn’t a matter of choosing between her wife and her child, rather it was a choice to have faith or not.  She believed in the love that she felt for Therese and she believed in the love she had for her unborn child.  She had to believe that love would be enough to save both of them.  “How do we get her to drink if she’s unconscious?”

“Marcus will cut your arm and you’ll drip the blood into her mouth.  Once she gets a taste, her preternatural nature will take over and she will feed.” Diana explained.  “Are you sure?”

Carol simply nodded and held out her arm.  Marcus took a clean blade from his medical gear and carefully sliced just below her elbow.  The smell of blood called to him, but he would control himself.  He backed away slowly, all the way to the front of the plane.  It wasn’t enough distance to keep the smell from him, but it helped.

It hurt and Carol winced, but she did not cry.  She had to be strong.  She lowered her arm to Therese’s lips and let the blood fall on her lips.  “Drink dearest…drink and come back to me.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Rebecca was alone, surrounded by machines that kept making obnoxious noises.  The room was dark and her throat hurt.  In her mind, she thought that this was ridiculous.  Her coven would have been able to do a spell to reduce the swelling and the pain.  There were herbs and teas that would heal the damage.  Her children knew this, so why did they abandon her here with these humans and their drugs and machines?

“That is an excellent question.” The voice came from the darkness, but Rebecca did not open her eyes. 

She didn’t want to look at the creature that had invaded her room and her thoughts. The same creature that had nearly killed her, leaving her in this place to begin with. She could hit the nurse button, but what good would the humans do against him.  Why are you here? Need to finish the job? Rebecca couldn’t speak, but she knew that Tomas would be able to read her thoughts. He had shown to still have all of his witch powers, though she didn’t understand how.  Male witches were not known to be especially powerful in general, but somehow this creature was proving all of the legends and history wrong. 

“I’m here to offer you a deal, Rebecca.” Tomas stepped out of the shadows, still dressed in his dark robes.

Kill me if you must, but I refuse to even consider—

Tomas held up a hand to stop her thought. “Here me out first. I believe we could help each other, Rebecca and you aren’t really in any condition to refuse. Look at you, alone…abandoned here. Where are your children? Where is your family? Carol chose her little vampire bitch and left you to die. Elena let them dump you here like a weak little human and now they are off to where exactly?”

She tried to block her mind, but Tomas was filling her head with too many doubts.  I saw what you did to Harris, even before you killed him. I will never make a deal with you!”

“This would hardly be the same, Rebecca. First, I have more respect for you and you are hardly my type.” He moved closer as a chair moved on its own, allowing him to sit.  “I don’t want to take from you, Rebecca, I want to give.”

She turned her head away from him and squeezed her eyes closed. Leave! 

“I’m offering you what you most desire, don’t you see? You have always craved more power and I’m willing to give that to you.”

Rebecca couldn’t resist the temptation to ask, and what do you get in exchange?

“Information obviously. I imagine they have left for Europe, but I need to know more.  Diana has taken my family from me and while I could do a location spell, it would be so much easier if you just worked with me. Besides, what else have you got to do? Lay here and wither away in the land of the humans? I can heal you, make you stronger, and then together we will both get what we both want.”

And what do you most want?

“That witch took my family from me, much like she did yours from you.” Tomas paused to let that statement sink in. “After I destroy Diana Bishop and her clan, I will rebuild my family. It is my birthright and my destiny to lead the Bright Borns! You and I could raise your grandchild and Diana’s children together. We would be the most powerful creatures this world has ever seen.”

Rebecca tried to chuckled at the notion, but it hurt.  You expect me to sacrifice my own children to help you? I would never.

“No mother would ever do that. Obviously I would let Carol and Elena live, without their powers of course. Can’t have them trying to rise against us,” Tomas laughed.  He could tell his arguments were worming their way into her mind.  Between the pain and the isolation, she was more vulnerable and should easily fall under his influence.  “Tell you what,” he reached out his cold, pale hand and patted her arm. “You take tonight to sleep on it. I’ll come back tomorrow and check in, assuming you’re still here. I mean, if you children care about you, they’ll send for you, right? Of course, if they don’t, then maybe you’ll consider what I’m offering.”

She turned to face him, to tell him to fuck off, but he was gone.  Had he been there at all? Was it all in her mind?  She looked at the chair that was still next to the bed.  Surely, Carol and Elena would come for her.  At the very least, they would help her get back to Boston and to her husband, their father.  Despite her actions, her coven would still help her, wouldn’t they? Her mind was plagued now and Rebecca knew sleep would never come.  She just had to be patient.  Any minute now, her family would come for her.

 

<><><><><> 

 

 Was it real? Therese didn’t know if she should believe what she was hearing, but she swore she heard her song, Carol’s blood song.  It was loud and swimming around her head.  But Carol wasn’t there, Elena had said.  She felt something warm on her lips and the air around her smelled of iron. Instinctively she licked her lips, tasting the sweet, warm, and life giving blood. She craved more but pulled away, expecting pain at her movement.  No, she would not drink from Elena and this monster could not force her.  She heard herself growl, but forced her rational mind to stay focused. 

The music got louder and then there was her voice, “drink dearest…drink and come back to me.”  It was Carol’s voice. Carol’s scent flooded her nose. Images flooded her mind as she licked her lips again.  She could see herself, lying on the floor of a plane, she watched as Marcus tried to heal her body, she saw buildings exploding and…

Therese’s eyes flew open! She couldn’t move her body, but Carol was there, holding her.  This was a trick, it had to be, but she couldn’t think as the blood trickled into her mouth.  No one else would have that song…no one could imitate the smell of Carol…she was here, she was real, and she was offering herself.  Wait! What? Therese wanted to resist and she tried to turn away, but Carol moved her arm.  

“Therese listen to me! You need to drink! Let me help you, please baby! Please! I love you!” Carol’s voice was pleading and something primal was rising inside of her. Therese didn’t know how much longer she could fight the urge. Why did Carol want this? Why was Carol feeding her this way? It wasn’t like before. This wasn’t intimate. Therese felt her will lose the battle and the preternatural force within her took over.  Her pupils dilated and despite the pain, her hands reached out to grab Carol’s arms as she forced the open wound into her mouth and sucked with all her might.  Her life with Carol, all of their memories together flooded her mind and she continued to drink forcefully. She saw all of Carol’s life and history now in her mind. She was so hungry and Carol tasted so fucking good! She wanted to devour her, to take her and possess her completely! She sucked and she lapped up every delicious drop, demanding more.  Her teeth bit down into her warm skin and she heard Carol cry out.  Was that pain? Was that ecstasy? Therese wasn’t sure, but she wanted…and she wanted more.  She would drink until she was satisfied. Until…

There was a tight arm wrapped around her neck, pulling her away from the glorious feast before her.  No! She needed it! Needed her! She fought, but she was still weak. Therese growled in agony! Desperate for more of the nectar that was being stolen!

“Diana! Pull Carol away, quickly! Bind her arm!” Whose voice was that? Who was taking Carol from her? She would kill them! Therese turned to fight off her attacker, her eyes locking on to her target. She knew him. Wait. Something in her mind was telling her to wait.

“Therese!” Marcus screamed as he held her down.  Therese resisted, trying to fight and bite him, but he was too strong.  Her hands and feet started to burn in pain.  “Knock her out, Diana! Do it now!”

Darkness returned, but this time, she wasn’t alone…she was with Carol.

Chapter Text

Sept-Tours was an actual castle.  Elena found herself wandering the large halls and spiraling stone stair cases that each led to a tower.  One tower was reserved for Matthew and Diana when they had occasion to stay, another to Ysabeau de Clermont, Matthew’s mother and the owner of Sept-Tours, the third tower was home to Baldwin, Matthew’s brother when he was in town, which was rarely, and finally the last was reserved for guests. Each tower held a series of smaller bedrooms that eventually led to a grand, master bedroom at the top.  Carol and Therese were in one of the smaller rooms towards the ground floor for now.  It was a matter of convenience since Therese was still not fully awake and it made it easier for everyone to help.  Elena and Abby had been given the master at the top of the tower. 

There was a grand hall, a formal dining room, an oversized living room, and a huge library on the main level and on the lower level were the servant’s quarters and the kitchen, though Ysabeau no longer referred to her staff as servants.  Each had been made a vampire and a permanent member of the family.  They helped to take care of the castle and the family and this was considered a great honor. 

After exploring the main floor, Elena made her way back up the stone stairs to her bedroom.  Climbing them was better than a Stairmaster and she was out of breath by the time she made it to the top.  She entered to find Abby, fresh out of the bath, and settled on the large, King-sized bed, waiting for her.

“I know it’s late, but we should talk,” Abby spoke, sensing her presence. Elena sat on the edge of the bed, close but not touching Abby. “I feel like so much has happened and I just need to know that you are alright.”

Truthfully, Elena wasn’t sure how to respond.  She wasn’t alright and hadn’t been since the night they left Boston for New Orleans.  But all of that felt like a lifetime ago.  Hell, just 24 hours ago she was being rescued and thrown on a plane for Paris, and now she was sitting on a bed designed in the 1800’s, in a tower, in a castle in France.  It was surreal.

“How do I answer that, Abby? Honestly, my mind cannot keep up with everything.  I mean, one minute I’m being held captive in New Orleans and now I’m in France; oh and Carol is pregnant by a vampire, and there is a deranged creature trying to kill all of us.”  When she said it out loud it sounded ludicrous and she started to laugh and once she started she couldn’t stop.  Elena doubled over, her stomach hurting from laughing so hard and Abby just watched, unsure of what to do or say.

“I’m sorry,” Elena finally wiped her face. “I know I shouldn’t be laughing, but I think it’s just a stress release.”

Abby let out a breath she’d been holding.  In a way, Elena was right, everything that had happened since leaving Tennessee was absolutely overwhelming.  She let out a little chuckle as well before turning back to Elena and getting serious again.  “Diana said that Marcus was calling the hospital about your mother. I don’t even know what time it is, but he was going to wait until it was morning there or something.  In any case, we should know something soon.” Abby wanted more than anything to reach out and take Elena’s hand, to hold her and kiss her, but they hadn’t been intimate since everything went down with Rebecca in Boston, and it seemed like a great chasm separated them now.  

As if reading her mind, and she probably had, Elena reached out and took Abby’s hand in her own. “I hate that your eyes don’t shine for me anymore.”

Abby closed her eyes, hiding them from view.  How could she explain that she’d been trying to avoid her visions as much as possible?  Nothing good seemed to be coming from them and honestly, they were proving to be quite inaccurate of late, or so it seemed.  “I just don’t trust myself,” was the only explanation she gave.

“Trust yourself to do what? To use your gift?” Elena clarified.

Abby could only nod in agreement and at that Elena sat on the bed next to her, pulling her close to her side. “None of this is your fault, Abby. Yes, I wish you would have been more honest about your visions, but I understand why you were scared to tell me.  I mean, look at what happened when you did. I went out and got caught by the bad guy! I’m lucky to be alive, I know that. I also know I’m lucky to have you in my life.”

A tear fell and Abby quickly wiped her cheek. “I know it’s been hard and so much has changed, but I need you to know that my feelings for you have not. I love you, Elena…and I’m not saying that with any expectations.  I understand that it will take time to repair our relationship,” she bit her bottom lip and paused. “If you even want that.”

Elena turned to face her and tilted her chin up, placing a chaste kiss on Abby’s lips. “Of course I want that…I just think,” she sighed, trying to find the right words. “I think we all need time to decompress.  Carol will need help with Therese and with the pregnancy. We need to get my mother safely back to Boston and oh yeah! That monster is still out there.”

Abby dropped her chin to her chest, feeling her heart break. Elena had not said it back.  

“I’m not saying no, Abby. I’m just saying we should take our time.  We all need to heal, you included.”

Abby nodded slowly.  “Whatever you need.  It’s late, I think…we should get some sleep.”

The bed was large and Abby moved to scoot over to the far side, giving Elena plenty of space, but Elena reached out and grabbed her arm. “Can…Can you sleep closer? I need you close to me…not for sex, but…can you just hold me?”

Abby held up her hand to stop Elena from saying any more. “I would do anything for you, Elena.” She moved back so that she was right next to Elena and opened her arms that they could snuggle, tangled together. 

<><><><><> 

 

Marthe set a tray of tea down next to Carol who sat vigil at Therese’s bedside.  “It’s late and you and the baby need to keep up your strength. This tea will be good for both of you and help you rest.” Marthe’s thick French accent filled the room.  Unlike every other vampire Carol had met so far, Marthe actually looked like an older woman in her sixties. She had served the Clermont family at Sept-Tours for centuries and now that included their latest guests. 

“You know,” Marthe moved around the room, fluffing pillows and grabbing blankets, “I helped Diana with her twins when they were born and I will help you, too. This baby will be unique and she will need strong parents.”

“She?” Carol looked up at the older woman, her eyes tired and sleep deprived. “The baby is only about a week old, assuming it’s still there.” Carol didn’t want to think about it, but with all of the stress of the past few days and the blood loss on the plane, it was possible that she would lose the baby, if she hadn’t already.

“Nonsense. I have a feeling,” the older woman laughed. “And I’m almost always right. Now drink up and I will prepare a hot bath for you.  I have also set out some clothes by the tub.  I think Therese will sleep for a long while and her body needs it.  The more she sleeps, the better she will heal.  And your body needs to recover as well.  Diana told me that you let her drink from you and that kind of blood loss takes a lot out of you.  So, you will drink, you will bathe, and you will rest.”

“I appreciate all that you are doing for us, but I can’t leave her.” Carol couldn’t hold Therese’s hands, but she knew that Therese sensed her proximity. 

“The bath is just in the next chamber, 20 feet away if that. And that is a king sized bed, and you are mated. I assumed you would sleep next to her. She will rest better knowing you are close.”

Carol couldn’t argue, a bath did sound heavenly. How long had she been wearing these same clothes? She wasn’t sure anymore. They’d probably need to be burned.  “Has there been any word from the states about my mother?” Carol asked as she brought her tea cup to her lips.

“None that I know of, but it has only been a short time.  As soon as we know something, I know Matthew and Diana will let you know. Try not to worry.” 

Marthe scurried out of the bedroom and into the bathroom to run a bath.  Carol leaned down and placed a soft kiss on Therese’s forehead.  She couldn’t help but wonder what her wife was dreaming about, but she prayed it was pleasant. 

 

<><><><><> 

 

 

Diana lay naked next to her husband for the first time in weeks.  “I missed you ma lionne,” his whispered huskily in her ears.  His pet name for her was so sexy when he said it like that.

“I missed you, too. I hated being away from you and the kids, who I’m sure each grew a foot since I’ve been gone.”

“While they are growing fast a weeds, I doubt very much it has been a foot,” he laughed. “They will be happy to see you in the morning, but for now you are all mine.” He lapped kissed up and down her neck and shoulders as he pressed his long body into her.

After such a prolonged separation, Matthew felt the need to remark his mate.  Diana understood what he needed more than anyone else.  She ran her fingers just over her breast to the crescent scar where she would let him taste her blood.  Diana understood that Matthew would be anxious until he knew exactly what she had experienced and who she had been with while they were apart. Tasting her blood would give him access to all of her memories, and it was incredibly erotic in her mind.  After this, he would love her up for hours, ensuring that no other creatures would ever doubt who Diana Bishop belonged to. 

Several hours later, she lay safe in his arms, sound asleep for the first time in what seemed like forever.

 

<><><><><> 

Ysabeau De Clermont sat in front of the large fireplace, sipping a deep red glass of port.  Her home was full again, but she felt unsettled.  As Matthew’s mother, she would do anything for him, and that had included accepting the witch Diana and her family into her life, but now she was sharing her home with three more witches and a vampire from an unknown clan.  What was the world becoming?

Marcus and his mate Phoebe were staying at Les Revenants, Matthew and Diana’s place in Limousin, France. Their estate was about an hour away from Ysabeau’s home, and though Les Revenants was large enough to house everyone, Matthew felt that Sept-Tour would be safer for their guests. This was what had Ysabeau so disturbed.  Who was the creature they were hiding from? What had Matthew called him? Tomas?

She’d never heard of such a creature, but what happened in the America’s was not really the talk of the creature community in Europe.  The Americans were all considered new bloods, similar to new money she supposed. However, she was intrigued by the story she’d been told, assuming it was true.  There were a lot of younger vampires that craved fame and would make up crazy stories in attempts to make a name for themselves.  Even still, turning a witch was forbidden and to her knowledge, it had never been done, and yet this creature supposedly existed, going against everything in nature. 

She took another sip of wine.  She would reach out to Gerbert D’Aurillac, considered to be the oldest vampire alive since her husband Phillipe had been killed during the Second World War.  If anyone would have knowledge of such a creatures, surely he would.  He always seemed to have his ear to the ground on such matters. Of course she didn’t trust him, but if this Tomas was indeed what he said he was, it needed to be investigated.   

Chapter Text

Marthe had outdone herself with a grand breakfast spread in the dining room.  All of her guests, save Carol and Therese, were sitting around and raving about Marthe’s homemade breads.  Though vampires didn’t typically eat “normal” food, Ysabeau would never been seen as anything but a gracious host.  The witches needed to eat and this meal would give them all time to get properly acquainted.   

“I will take some up to Carol,” Marthe offered.  “I do not think she will leave her side anytime soon.”

“I think that is understandable,” Diana spoke as she played with her daughter in her lap. “You had to drag me away from him most days,” she leaned in to her husband, who held their son in his arms. The twins had been very happy to see their mother when they work this morning. They were just learning to run and were quick as lightning once they took off.  Having vampire-witch children was full of amazing challenges and it was best to keep a hold of them while indoors. 

Pleasant conversation was exchanged about their lives back in America until Marcus finally arrived late to breakfast.  “Good morning, everyone.” Despite the wear and tear of the time in New Orleans, he looked well rested.

“Where is Phoebe?” Ysabeau inquired. “Is she not joining us this morning?”

“Home, still resting. She didn’t get much sleep last night,” Marcus smirked.

Ysabeau rolled her eyes. “We have guests, Marcus, behave!”

Elena shifted in her chair, wondering if it was alright to ask her question.  Marcus seemed to be in a good mood, and she hoped that meant he had word from the states. “Umm…has anyone contacted the hospital yet?”

Marcus sat down at the table and tossed some nuts in his mouth.  “I called and left a message, but we are six hours ahead. I don’t expect to hear back until this afternoon.”

Marthe returned with news that Therese was still sleeping and Carol was staying by her side, as expected. 

“I’ll go check on them after our guests eat,” Matthew did his best to reassure everyone. 

Diana took her son from him. “You aren’t going to eat any of this. I’ll take the kids, you can go now.”

He nodded and stood, turning to look at Marcus. “Care to join me, doctor? How much did Therese drink last night?”

“Carol stayed conscious, so probably not enough.” Marcus answered quickly, “but there was the baby to consider.”

“Marthe, we’ll need to get her as much blood as possible.  Perhaps you and Maman could go hunting later this morning? The fresher the better.”

Ysabeau and Marthe agreed and Matthew turned to look at Elena.  “Try not to worry. Diana can tell you, I’ve been in much worse shape and I’m almost as good as new.  It will take time, but she is in good hands. They both are.”

 

 

 

Venice, Italy

 

It was a breach of protocol to have a meeting without all members present and Gerbert was going to bring this point to order first.  How dare Diana have the nerve to not show after the turmoil she had caused? Once the three daemons, the three witches, and two of the three representing the vampires were seated, he raised his voice in protest.  “The rules state that a de Clermont must call us to order.  Being as Diana could not be bothered to attend, I see no reason to continue.”

“Stop being a drama queen!” Sarah rolled her eyes at the ancient vampire.  “Some of us have been through hell and back recently, and this matter needs to be addressed.”

Gerbert did not like this witch and her caustic tongue. If he had his way, it would be cut out, and she would learn to be more respectful of her elders.  “We have rules and customs for a reason witch and they have been in place longer than you have been alive.”

“Rules? Like vampires not turning witches? Are those the rules you are referring too?” Sarah bit back and at this Gerbert stilled.  The other vampire on the congregation turned to whisper to Gerbert, but he did not share with the group.

“Now that I have your attention,” Sarah continued, “There is a creature that claims to be a witch that was turned by a vampire.  The rumors surrounding him lead us to believe he may be a lost child of Benjamin, and we are currently researching that. In any case, he does seem to possess powers attributed to both species.”

Agatha, a daemon and Sarah’s girlfriend, was the first to ask a question.  “How is that possible? The vampire re-birth should have destroyed any genetic witch traits.”

“We aren’t sure,” Janet added.  “If it is true that he was a witch, he would be the only known case of this in recorded history, but I believe he does not intend to be the last. Our understanding of creature genetics on this matter was based on theory and conjecture, and apparently wrong.”

There was a general murmur amongst the group, before Gerbert spoke.  “What are you asking us to do about it? Why should we get involved at all? If he is a child of Benjamin, it seems it should fall to the de Clermont family to deal with? I mean all of this would be caused by their faulty genetics and the blood rage, would it not? Their mess, they should clean it up.”

“And if this creature wasn’t trying to wipe out an entire family, I might agree with you.” Sarah’s voice was harsh. She was too tired for this bullshit.

“You appear to be making my point for me.” Gerbert smirked.

Sarah ignored him and continued. “The creature’s name is Tomas and he has declared war on Diana Bishop and the de Clermont family.  He is responsible for the death of a daemon, a witch, and a vampire. He also kidnapped another vampire and another witch and tortured them for days. We cannot turn our backs on this.”

At the mention of the murders, Sarah had everyone’s attention again.  Clearly, this creature was a danger to all creatures. She seemed to have most of the others convinced, but not Gerbert. 

“Why did this Tomas go after the vampire and the witch, exactly? I feel there is much not being shared…some vital information if you will.  You all were sent to investigate the kidnapping of a witch by a vampire and you’ve yet to share your findings on this matter.”

Sarah shook her head and pinched the bridge of her nose.  Janet could sense her frustration.  “Carol Ross, the witch in question, was not kidnapped.  She fell in love with a vampire and left her husband, Harge Aird.  It is our understanding that Harge came after Carol and attacked her and Therese. The vampire protected her. Harris Aird, Harge’s brother, sought out Tomas for the sole purpose of revenge.”

“So Tomas was paid to torture Carol and Therese?” one of the daemons on the congregation questioned.

“Yes.” Janet answered and continued. “Tomas and Harris kidnapped Elena, Carol’s sister and then sent his family to kidnap Therese.  We did our best to defend ourselves against his clan, but Diana was eventually forced to cast a spell to…displace them.”

Gerbert’s eyes perked up at this.  “What does that mean exactly? Are you saying she killed an entire clan of vampires?” 

“No,” Sarah had calmed down a small bit. “She moved them in time, though she wasn’t sure where or more accurately, when. Also, we cannot be sure that the vampires in question were actually sired by Tomas, given his genetic anomalies.”

“Why would you doubt that?” the vampire seated next to Gerbert asked.

“While he had them in captivity, he was trying to force Therese to turn Elena.  He said it was part of his plan, but I have to wonder if perhaps given his unique genetic make-up, he is unable to sire anyone.” Janet had not spoken of her theory to anyone until this moment and it seemed to leave everyone on the congregation speechless for a moment.

It was a lot of information to take in, but Gerbert saw a small opening to attack Diana and took it. It was no secret that he hated her and her kind and took it as a personal affront that she sat in the seat reserved for the de Clermont vampire clan, a seat that should have been filled with a vampires, not a witch.  “I believe that Diana is unhinged and must be stopped. Do you not all see this? She could very well have altered history with her reckless magic. What if a large number of modern day vampires were suddenly cast into the past? I must once again argue that she should not be serving on this council!”

“Can we deal with one issue at a time?” Agatha was getting frustrated, too.  “Where is this Tomas now?”

“No one knows.” Janet explained.  “After Therese and Elena were rescued, we all left the states immediately.  Well, most of us.  There is one person still unaccounted for.”

“And who is that?” the third witch on the council asked.

“Rebecca Ross, Carol and Elena’s mother.  She was taken to a hospital in New Orleans and we are waiting for word of her condition.”

“You left to the humans?” the same witch said, disbelieving. 

“It was a matter of necessity. Hopefully, she will be returned to her home in Boston soon.” Sarah explained.

“Fine, then the way I see it is we need to find this Tomas and bring him before the congregation for questioning. Our second priority is to find out where Diana exiled the other vampires, too.  These are the two most important factors that would fall within our purview.” Agatha’s wisdom seemed unquestionable, and all but Gerbert agreed.  As it was always a majority rule, he was overridden easily. 

“What about protecting Carol and Therese and their child?” Sarah asked.

The room went silent again. “What child? You did not mention a child.” Gerbert leaned forward.

“Carol is pregnant with Therese’s baby,” Janet explained.

“Nonsense!” he laughed.  “How is that even possible?”

“Magic,” Janet explained.  “Which brings us to the last matter we must address. We need to research the prophecy of the bright born. I know we spoke of this when Diana’s twins were born, but we need look at it again. This child may be the one the prophecies spoke of.”

Everyone looked around the room, the seriousness of the situation suddenly made clear.

 

<><><><><> 

 

“I see you are still here. Have you made your decision?” Rebecca wasn’t sure what time it was or how much time had passed.  She closed her eyes tight and tried to block out the voice.  She had left a message for her husband in Boston, but had not heard back as of yet, and she had to wonder why Elena and Carol had not come for her, and feared the worst.

“They are alive, Rebecca. I would not be here if they weren’t.  You know, in the grand scheme of things, you are of no consequence to me, but it would be interesting to see what we could do together.”

“If I mean so little, why are you here, begging me to come with you?” Rebecca’s voice croaked.  It hurt too much to speak.

“A means to an end, nothing more.” He waved his hand around the room.  She noticed that he wasn’t wearing his robes, but was dressed in a suit with his black hair slicked back. Was he trying to blend in?

“Rebecca, I believe we can help each other.  I will make sure you get your daughters and grandchild and I will get revenge for my family. It doesn’t have to be complicated.” He sat in the chair next to her bed.

“Making a deal with the devil is always complicated,” she wanted to roll over or jump out of the bed and scream down the hallways. 

“I’m a simple man, with a simple plan,” he grinned.  “I want you to help me, but I can and will do it on my own.  This way, you can ensure that I don’t accidentally murder one of your daughters.” The tone of his voice was unmistakable, it had been a threat.

He took her hand and held it in his own. His skin was ice cold, like that of a dead body.  “And I have your word that my daughters will be safe IF I agree to work with you?”

“I will swear upon my life,” he smiled and she winced at the sight.

“Your life means nothing to me,” Rebecca deadpanned.

He let out a small chuckled. “Do you not see that we have much in common? We will make a great team, Rebecca Ross; that I can promise you.”

“If I agree to work with you, I will not allow you to drink my blood and I will not become your sex-toy. I saw what you did to poor Harris.”

Tomas laughed out loud at her brazenness. “Harris served his purpose, but in the end he betrayed me.  Still, to address your other concerns…you aren’t my type.”

Rebecca needed time to think. She had no doubt that Tomas was more than willing and capable of killing her children.  If she didn’t go along with him, would he do it out of spite? She wasn’t sure.  She also knew that going along with him meant losing what was left of herself. He would most likely betray her.  Still, ensuring Carol and Elena’s safety was her highest priority.  She just needed more time to make the right decision, something she was not very good at.

“I can see you are still struggling with this, but I’m afraid I do need an answer.  Make your choice, Rebecca.  But do choose wisely.” His eyes were as black as oil and as he squeezed her hand again, she knew what she had to do.  Goddess help her.

Chapter Text

“Good morning,” Carol looked over at Therese.  “Did you rest at all last night? Or did you stay up watching me?”

Therese stared into the blue-grey eyes that brought her solace.  “I slept a little, but mostly, I watched you.  I can hear her heartbeat now. She’s strong, like her mother and I like to listen.”

Carol ran her hands over her small baby bump.  She was only a few months along, but she felt a bond like no other with this child. Therese ran a delicate hand over the slight swell of her belly.  “How is your pain today?”

“I want to try to walk,” Therese’s green eyes were pleading.  “I’m tired of that chair and needing Matthew or Marcus to get me around this place.  Even if I need crutches, I want to try.”

“If you think you’re ready, we will try. But promise me you will stop if it hurts too much.” Carol ran a soft hand down Therese’s cheeks.  “You’ve already come so far, and I don’t want to do anything that would set back your recovery.”

Therese groaned. “If by far you mean I can now sit up, hold a spoon to feed myself and wheel myself around, sure.”

“With the amount of damage your body suffered, we are lucky you are alive at all!” Carol sat up and readied herself for the day. She pulled a dark, cotton dress over her naked body, while Therese’s eyes took in her body.  It was starting to show the pregnancy in other ways, a slight increase in the swell of her breasts and an increasing curve in her hips.  “Now, do you want to eat breakfast up here or shall I call for Matthew?”

“I told you—“

“You want to walk, yes, I heard you Therese.  But let’s not start with twenty stone steps leading to the main floor.”

Therese pouted and folded her arms over her chest. 

“I think it’s adorable when a 90 year old woman pouts.” Carol mocked her. “Now, since you are so intent on walking, I will assume you can get up and dressed on your own?”

Therese sat up and twisted so that her legs fell off the side of the bed.  The last few months had been absolute hell.  When they first arrived at Sept-Tours, Therese could barely stay awake. When she did, it was usually just to feed on an animal and then she would fall back to sleep.  Every bone in her hands and feet had been shattered and Marcus and Matthew had worked tirelessly to help them reset properly.  No other human or creature could have survived that ordeal, but her vampire genetics allowed for healing, though the process was slow and incredible painful at times. 

After about a month, Therese was able to sit up in bed and worked on holding larger objects, such as a cup or a bowl.  Then came the wheelchair and using actual utensils, though it wasn’t really required.  Despite the majority of her daily diet being small animals that the others brought back for her, Matthew did insist on Therese eating a few “normal” items, such as cheese, milk, and rare meat and fish.  He insisted the protein and calcium would help her heal faster, so she complied without complaint. 

Aside from the time on the plane, Marcus and Matthew agreed it was best if Therese did not feed from Carol.  Now that she was in her second trimester, it was even more important for the health of the baby. Still, there were nights on occasion when Carol would share from her heart vein to ensure that Therese still felt connected to her, especially since other forms of intimacy were off the table for now. 

Therese felt her feet hit the stone floor and shifted forward.  She braced herself on the side of the mattress and slowly moved to put weight on her legs while Carol stood at the ready in case she fell forward. “I know you don’t see it, but every day you get stronger, dearest.”

She groaned from the amount of grit it still took to get her body to obey her commands, but Therese stood. This was her latest battle won, but next came moving one foot in front of the other.  Carol was right, doing this downstairs was probably best.  Her wife handed her a pair of pull on pants and a black button down shirt.  “Do you want to try to button it yourself today?”

Therese moved her hands to the front of her torso, but she couldn’t control her fingers enough for the fine movement needed.  Carol replaced her fingers with her own, but took her time, admiring the body she so desperately missed.  Her eyes looked down at the fading scars along her belly and breasts and she longed so much to touch and kiss every inch of her. “I don’t have to be a witch to know what you’re thinking,” Therese looked down and an expression of humiliation crossed her face.

Carol placed a finger under her chin and raised her head so she could look directly into her eyes.  “I think you are beautiful and I know that when we are able to make love again, it will be unbelievable.”

“I’m sorry I can’t please you right now. God knows I want too.” Therese’s voice sounded pained and fraught.

A small smiled played at the corner of Carol’s lips.  “Tell you what,” Carol leaned in close, her lips brushing Therese’s ear. “If you do manage to walk some today, I will find a way to reward you.”

Therese’s eyebrows rose the unasked question.

Carol placed a soft kiss on her lips, keeping her voice low and sultry. “I can think of a way for you to please me that doesn’t involve your hands.” There was a smoldering look in Carol’s eyes. 

“I will run a mile if it means tasting you.” Therese’s eyes returned the burning desire. 

“Well then, that’s that.” Carol finished buttoning her shirt just as Matthew arrived to help them downstairs. “Let’s see what you’ve got Mrs. Belivet.”

 

<><><><><>

Matthew and his mother Ysabeau De Clermont had been welcoming hosts. Carol could only describe Ysabeau as an intense woman who took pride in her appearance and in her place as the eldest member of her clan.  Despite her history of hatred towards witches, watching Matthew and Diana together had caused her to open her mind and heart.  She loved Diana and adored the twins and now she had opened her home once again to another witch and vampire in love. 

Matthew was exactly as Diana had described him.  He looked every bit the part of an Oxford professor, a man in his 40’s that exuded confidence and intelligence. Both Ysabeau and Matthew had pledged to help protect Carol and Therese, and that meant helping Therese heal. 

He sat her in the wheelchair that had once been his and wheeled her to the dining room.  “I want to try walking today,” Therese told him.

“We can definitely work on that today.” His tone was reassuring, being as not too long ago he was in a similar situation.  “Just don’t push too hard. I don’t want you re-breaking a bone. I do have a surprise for you, in the living room.  Marthe has acquired some painting supplies and canvases.  It will be therapeutic for your hands if you start to work on those fine motor skills.”

Therese made a face. It was easy enough to read her frustration over everything. 

“It took me many months, Therese. Please try to be patient.” His voice was surprisingly comforting.

Elena and Abby walked in to the dining room hand in hand, a small step forward in their relationship.  “Good morning,” Elena spoke to the group.  She looked immediately to Therese and Carol and repeated what had become their daily ritual.  “How are you feeling today? Any improvement? How is the baby?”

The morning pleasantries dispensed with, she moved on to the other daily discussion topics.  “Any word on mother? “As if on cue, Diana walked in to the dining room, deep in discussion with someone on the phone.

“Good morning everyone,” Diana leaned down and kissed her husband.  “This kids are upstairs playing and Marthe is with them.”

“Perfect timing, Diana. Elena was just inquiring about her mother.” Ysabeau smiled politely. 

Diana simply shook her head before sitting next to Matthew and fixing a plate of breakfast items.  “Both Sarah and I have been in touch with every coven when can think of and some of the most powerful seers, no one can find her. I’m sorry.”

Elena released Abby’s hand.  It was the one thing that was still coming between them, preventing them from truly moving forward.  Abby was purposely blocking out her own visions. It was not only causing daily migraines for Abby, but a rising resentment in Elena. “Maybe not the most powerful,” Elena muttered.

“You know why,” Abby said quietly. “I’ve explained.”

“You may not trust yourself, Abby, but I trust you. We all trust you.” The others at the table agreed.

Abby stared down at her plate of food, her appetite waning.  “I’ve been wrong before, misinterpreted so many things. It was an argument she just couldn’t have any more. 

Diana wanted to be encouraging without adding to the tension. “Abby, you know we are all here for you and I would help you.  I’m sure Janet would come as well…when you’re ready,” she added. 

Abby nodded and stood up. “If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll just go get some fresh air and take a walk in the garden.” 

Once she was gone, Elena sighed heavily.  “I just don’t understand why she won’t even try.”

“She’s scared,” Carol explained.  “You can’t force her.”

“I could, actually” Elena clenched her jaw.

Any icy cold sensation travelled through Carol’s body as she remembered the way her sister had once manipulated her to marry Harge. She’d forgiven her, but the memory was still painful. “And you would lose her forever.” Carol bit back. “Is that what you want?”

“Of course not! But we need to find our mother! It isn’t right to just abandon her with that monster!” Elena slammed her hand on the table.

“No one is saying or doing that! Diana and Sarah are doing their best and we don’t even know for sure if she’s with Tomas! She could have just gone into hiding.”  Unfortunately, the bickering between the sisters was also becoming a daily routine.

“I have some news,” Ysabeau interrupted them suddenly.  Since the arrival of her guests, Ysabeau de Clermont had been doing some research on her own, well almost.  Though enemies, Ysabeau and Gerbert D’Aurillac were two of the oldest creatures still roaming the earth and they had been working together to find out more about this Tomas creature.  “After your arrival,” she looked at her guests, “I reached out to an old acquaintance.  We’ve been looking into this Tomas person and he should be arriving today, hopefully with some news.”

Matthew’s creased his brows and then his eyes went wide with understanding. “Tell me you didn’t,” he growled as his features darkened.

“I did,” Ysabeau sat up straighter. She would not be shamed by her son.  “He may be despicable, but he does have a thousand years of history in his mind. I simply put it all to use on our behalf.”

“We cannot trust him!” Matthew wanted to take his mother and shake sense into her. How could she have gone to him, out of every one! “You know he was helping Benjamin and is responsible for Diana’s kidnapping!”

“I don’t trust him, Matthew,” Ysabeau grinned slyly. “I’m simply using him as a means to an end.”

“To what end?” Diana asked.  Everyone else at the table sat quietly, not understanding the conversation at all.

“The end to all of this, of course. If Gerbert finds this creature, he will destroy him simply for being the abomination that he is. I have no doubts about that and it would save us the trouble of dealing with it.”

“How can you possibly know that? If Tomas is a child of Benjamin, and my grandson, Gerbert is just as likely to bring him back here or take him before the Congregation simply to cause problems for our family. Destroying the de Clermont name has been his goal for centuries, mother!” Matthew shook his head in disbelief.

“First, Matthew, you are assuming that Gerbert will find him, and honestly I doubt he will. What I’m really hoping for is information.”

“In exchange for what?” Diana was baffled at Ysabeau and her course of action.

“That is for me to worry about,” she said cryptically and shifted in her seat. “But I believe I have something he will want.”

“I’m sorry,” Therese interrupted the family discussion. “But who is this Gerbert person exactly?”

Matthew let out a frustrated sigh.  “Gerbert D’Aurillac is the oldest vampire known to exist.  He has been many things throughout history, including a Pope at one point. He is one of the reasons we created the Congregation and the rules against creatures interfering in human government and religion because he was always creating havoc. He is cunning and in his ideal world, vampires would rule over all other creatures, especially witches.”

“Like a Pope, Pope?” Elena’s eyes were wide.

“I’ve read quite a lot about human religions,” Carol stated. “I do not remember ever reading about a Pope Gerbert.”

“He was Pope Sylvester II and it was back in the 10th century.” Ysabeau explained to everyone and Carol made a note to do read up on him later. “In any case, Gerbert is set to arrive this evening. He’s been in the states for the past few months, looking into the matter.”

Matthew was furious. “You had no right, maman! You should have spoken to me about this first!”

“Lower your voice, Matthew!” Ysabeau scolded him. “You may be the head of this family, but I am still your mother and I am no fool when it comes to Gerbert! I know exactly what he is capable of.”

Therese leaned in to whisper in Carol’s ear, “I have a bad feeling about This.”

“Me too.” Carol agreed.

 

<><><><><> 

 

“What are you doing out here by yourself?” Marthe asked Abby as the twins went whizzing past. “Do not leave the gardens, you two!” she yelled after them.  She sighed and took a seat on the garden bench next to the young witch.  “These two will be the death of me. Most vampires are adults when they are created, not children. Teaching a 40 year old how to control their powers is so much easier than teaching a baby.”

Abby chuckled, “I can only imagine.” Marthe smelled of baked bread and cinnamon and Abby wondered what the older woman looked like. Normally, her witch’s third eye would let her see the faces of those around her, but blocking her visions meant blocking all of her witch’s sight.  The hardest part was that it also meant not being able to see Elena. God, she missed that beautiful face.

Abby was slowly learning her way around Sept-Tours, though without the use of her power she was having to do that the hard way, bumps, bruises and all.  She and Elena had explored the gardens not that long ago, but all Abby could remember was the way to this bench.  She could smell the flowers in the air, but she could not see them. “Everyone is mad at me and I just needed some time to think,” Elena finally answered Marthe’s question.

“I can leave you if you’d like,” Marthe offered and started to stand but Abby reached out to her.

“No, please stay. I find your presence comforting.”  Marthe sat back down. 

Marthe lowered herself back on the bench.  “Let me tell you a story child,” Marthe started, her voice thick with an old French accent.  “I had the gift of sight, before I was turned.”

“You were a witch?” Abby’s eyebrows shot up.

“Hardly,” Marthe corrected. “There are humans with gifts, you know. Of course it was so long ago, I find it hard to remember everything.  I suppose it is possible that I may have been a daemon. What I do remember is having feelings and sensing things that others could not.”

Abby nodded and the older vampire continued.

“When Ysabeau asked if I wanted to stay with her forever, I said yes. Back in those days it was considered the greatest honor to be of service to the de Clermont family. Of course, I didn’t realize what it would cost me. I lost that sense, that sight. I still miss it to the day, but now I have the wisdom that comes with age.”

“And what does that wisdom tell you?” Abby asked.

“That your sight is a part of who you are and the more you fight it, the more you will suffer. Your headaches, your relationships, all of it.  We cannot let fear rule over us, child.”

“You’re a vampire.” Abby laughed. “What could you possibly be afraid of?”

“And you are powerful witch! Why should you be afraid of knowing? Of seeing?”

“Because I saw her die and it nearly killed me!” Abby brought her hands up to cover her face and eyes. “What if we haven’t altered her fate? What if she is still going to die? I cannot see it again!”

“Despite my long life, child, I will die one day, we all will. Yes, my death will mostly likely come at my own request when I am tired of this world or Ysabeau leaves me.  The point is everyone will die, some sooner than others. Death is not to be feared, but accepted.”

“Again, you’re a vampire. You could live forever, if you wanted. It’s different for the rest of us.”

“Forever is a long time,” Marthe sighed. “Do you know how many loved ones I have watched leave? So many people that I loved, gone, while I am left here without them. And yes, I do go on without them. You will go on, too. She will become a part of you that you carry inside forever, but you will go on. Of this I am certain. Time heals.”

“But I don’t want to go on without her,” Abby dropped her hands to her lap. “I love her more than I even knew was possible. How could I possibly go on without her?”

“One day at a time, surrounded by the others we love.” Marthe said the words as if it was so simple. “Of course, you are forgetting two very important things.”

“What’s that?” Abby turned her dull eyes towards the voice.

“The present. You are not your true self like this, holding yourself back. She loves you for who you are, Abby and when you lock a part of yourself away, it stifles that love.”

“And the second?”

“Your ability to impact the future. Too see!”

Abby shook her head, “I cannot change the outcome.”

“Ha!” Marthe laughed, “Says you!”

“If I see it, it is supposed to happen! That the way the visions work! I see the future!”

“No, you see a possible future, based on the choices we make in the present. If we do not like the future, we make a different choice, choose a new path.”

“You know that’s not how it works,” Abby tried to explain.

“You mean to tell me you never warned someone and watched them change the future?”

Abby thought and remembered the events back in the cabin.  “I warned Elena about how her choices could impact the future, but I did not tell her anything specific. If she would have sided with her mother, Elena would have lost Carol forever. Harge would still be alive and there would be no baby.”

 Marthe nodded, “And yet here they are together, yelling at each other every morning the way sisters do. You did that; you gave that future to them.”

Abby realized the old vampire was right. There were always crossroads, choices, and different paths that altered fate. It wasn’t set in stone. But opening herself back up was an all or nothing deal and not something she could ease back in too. “I just need a little more time.”

“I understand, but don’t take too much time.  You are not immortal, after all.” Marthe laughed and jumped to run after the twins.

 

<><><><><> 

 

 The afternoon dragged on and Therese became increasingly frustrated with her body.  “Why can’t I just do it? Why can’t I just will them to move?”

Carol sat across the room watching, keeping a safe distance as Matthew continued to work with her. She didn’t want Therese to see her cry.  It was painful to watch her struggle so much and be unable to help.  She had asked Diana about healing spells to quicken the process, but had been warned against them.  Diana spoke of herbal teas and healing balms to help with the scars, but spells to speed up the healing of flesh and bones were not practiced.  “Think about the pain if we were to come up with something and it didn’t work. We could set her healing back by weeks…months even,” Diana had warned her. “I know how hard this is, believe me. But remember, her vampire genetics will heal her. It just takes time.”

How much time? Would Therese be able to hold their daughter when she was born? Would she be able to feed her? Change her? That is what scared her more than anything else. 

“Try again, Therese.” Matthew’s voice was calm and even.  She was standing, her side pressed against a wall for support.  “Don’t think of it as a matter of will.  You cannot force yourself.”

That sparked something in Carol, a memory of standing in a field while Abby and Elena taught her to first use her powers.  “Think of it like magic,” Carol said from across the room, her eyes glittering from unshed tears.  “Desire made real.  What do you most desire, dearest?”

“To walk, obviously.” Therese said sarcastically.

“That isn’t a true desire.” Carol lowered her voice.  “What do you most desire?” She asked again, her voice deep and wanton, her blue-grey eyes piercing her with lust.  Therese felt the pulse in her stomach as it travelled lower to between her legs.  “If you truly desire me lover, come and take me.”

Matthew blushed.  Could vampires blush? He wasn’t sure, but he was pretty sure he was indeed blushing. 

Therese glared at her, angry, hungry, and flushed. Carol was teasing her and it wasn’t fair. 

Carol looked at the clearly uncomfortable man and smiled, “Matthew, could you give my wife and me a moment alone?”

He was grateful for the permission to leave.  “Yell if you need me. I can be back before you hit the ground. I’ll just go call Marcus and make sure he is coming for dinner tonight.”

 Therese didn’t move or speak, her attention still focused on Carol, who uncrossed and spread her legs in the chair.  She slid the hem of her dress up her long legs, revealing the creamy skin of her thighs.  Therese’s eyes went wide and her mouth dry. “See something you want?”

“Your teasing me doesn’t help,” Therese growled at her.

“Remember what I said upstairs? What I promised?” Carol ran her own fingers up her thighs and slowly let them disappear beneath the fabric of her dress.  “I know you want a taste, lover.” Her eyes flashed like blue steel.

“Not fair, not fair!” Therese wanted to scream.

“One small step, baby,” Carol ran her fingers over her panties, “and it’s all yours for the taking.”

Desire made real.  Therese craved her to the point of madness.  She wanted to take her wife, throw her against the wall and fuck her till she screamed her name.  She didn’t care if all of France heard them.  She wanted Carol so undone and out of control that the castle walls crumbled around them.  She wanted her tongue inside of her, lapping up every drop.  She wanted!

“Therese,” Carol stood up and kissed her passionately.  “Look down, baby.”

“Whaaa? How?” Therese had walked across the room.  It was slow and her feet practically shuffled across the floor, but she had done it without even realizing it. 

“I love you,” Carol pulled her in tightly and kissed her with abandon. “And tonight, you will get your reward!”

“Why wait for tonight?” Therese was holding her and kissing her, needy and desperate. 

Carol laughed.  “Company is coming for dinner, remember?  We need to get ready.” She leaned in to whisper in her ears. “But once we are alone in our bed, I will give you everything you most desire.”

Chapter Text

The table was set, the twins asleep upstairs, and the guest of honor had arrived.  Gerbert was too arrogant to ever feel awkward or out of place at a table of people who despised him.  In fact, he relished their discomfort.  Ysabeau sat at the head of the table, and despite Matthew’s protest, Gerbert sat opposite of her.  “It’s all an illusion, Matthew,” Ysabeau had explained. “You have to let him believe he has some power, even though he doesn’t.  I’ve been manipulating him for years, please trust me,” she said adjusting his tie.

Matthew sat to his mother’s right and then Diana, Carol, and Therese, who was to Gerbert’s left.  On the opposite side of Ysabeau sat Marcus, Abby, and Elena.  Marthe and the staff had prepared a grand dinner of rare prime rib, seared salmon, roasted vegetables and homemade sourdough bread.  A special dish had been prepared for Carol which consisted of roasted chicken which was considered safer for the baby. 

“Everything looks amazing,” Carol said, trying to break the awkward tension at the table.

“Thank you,” Ysabeau smiled at her warmly.  “I’ll be sure to let Marthe know. Well, everyone please,” she gestured at the table. 

Manners dictated that Gerbert should be fed first, and he took a generous helping of the prime rib, the juices still running bright red.  He skipped everything else and took a long sip of his wine.  “Is this a 1945 Bordeaux? You spoil me, Ysabeau.”

She smiled and watched as the others prepared their plates. As she was the host, she would be the last to eat.  Once everyone was settled, she placed a piece of salmon on her plate and took a few bites.  She would eat just enough to make sure her guests were not uncomfortable with her lack of appetite for food, and made plans to go hunting later to satisfy her true appetite.

“How was your visit to America, Gerbert?” Diana was the first to speak.  Ysabeau loved that the woman was fearless, but she also knew that Gerbert required special handling.  For Gerbert it was always about the long game, centuries in the making, of making sure vampires were on the top of the hierarchy of creatures. Witches were beneath him and his kind and he would not reveal anything of importance at a table of them.

Not wanting to seem rude to his hosts, however, Gerbert did answer in the vaguest way possible. “America is as it has always been, lacking the old world charm and history of Europe.” He took another sip of his wine. “I cannot fathom why anyone would choose to live there.”

“Mind your manners, Gerbert,” Matthew warned. “The majority of our guests are American.”

“I know,” Gerbert smirked. “Do you all not agree that France is so much more vibrant? So much more alive?” There was low muttering.  They were clearly all frightened of him and Gerbert savored it more than the $10,000 bottle of wine. He turned and looked at the young vampire in the wheelchair seated next to him.  “Ysabeau has told me little about you or your heritage.  She did mention that you are an artist?”

Therese shifted uncomfortably. “I was, yes.”

“And she will be again,” Carol added.

Gerbert ignored the witch.  “Anything I would be familiar with? What was your medium of choice? I remember the brilliance of the renaissance painters. Da Vinci was a good friend of mine for many years.”

Having only been alive for around 90’s years, Therese still struggled with the idea that there were vampires that had lived for millennia, yet here she was at a table with several of them. She looked over at her wife and her barely protruding stomach and a wave of melancholy washed through her.  She didn’t want to exist without them. Desperate to change the direction her mind was taking, she turned back to Gerbert. “I was a photographer and a painter. I doubt you would know any of my work, but my most recognized photographs were from the 70’s.  Before this,” she looked down at her hands, “I was mostly painting and had a few pieces in some New York galleries.”

“Fascinating,” he said insincerely.  “I sometimes forget there are vampires so young in the world.” Therese rolled her eyes at his snobbery.

“You would do well to remember who I am,” he looked at her sternly.

Therese held his gaze, unwavering, “You are no one to me.”

Gerbert shifted his eyes back to Ysabeau, who was beaming proudly suddenly felt incredibly at the young brunette vampire at her table.  “Times have certainly changed.  Can you imagine Phillipe sitting at a table of witches and such insubordinate children?” Gerbert grumbled at stabbed at his prime rib.

“I can, actually.” Diana answered before Ysabeau could.  “I sat at this very table with him many times.”

“Ah yes, your little time jaunts.  You seem to be mastering that power quite well.  Tell me, when you all were attacked in New Orleans, where exactly did you send everyone, too?” Gerbert asked.

Diana was not blind to Gerbert’s true motives with that question. She knew at some point she would have to answer to the congregation for her actions, but she would do so on her terms, not his. “I did what I had to do to save our lives. The point is I didn’t kill them, though they surely would not have returned the favor. The killed Marcus’s son and hurt a great many others.”

“Yes, but your actions may well have altered history,” Gerbert countered. 

“I’m a historian, Gerbert. I haven’t noted any impacts of my spell at all.”  Diana hoped he didn’t call her bluff.  The fact was, Diana had no idea where they had gone in the timeline, forward or back, and she had not had time to research if there had been any major changes.

Gerbert looked around the table for his next victim, setting his eyes on Carol.  “And you are the witch with powers that are said to rival Diana? The one who claims to be pregnant by a vampire?”

“Gerbert,” Matthew growled a warning, but Ysabeau placed a calming hand on her son’s arm. Not only was she watching Gerbert, but she was also evaluating her guests. Carol and Therese had a rough road ahead and she had to wonder if they were strong enough to weather it.

“My name is Carol,” her blue-grey eyes were piercing. “I am Therese’s wife and mate, a witch and yes, this is her daughter.” Her voice did not falter and Therese looked at her full of pride.

Ysabeau patted Matthew’s arm as if to say, see? They can all hold their own. 

The rest of dinner was eaten in silence with only the clanking of silverware on china to entertain them.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Elena and Abby were walking through the garden, enjoying the evening breeze and the full moon.  They held hands, but the ugency of their first few nights together had been replaced with doubts, mistrust, and fear.  Elena wondered if they’d ever get back to the way they were or if it was time to cut their losses and walk away.  Still…it seems like something she was physically incapable of doing.  She’d tried to walk away in New Orleans and it almost killed her…literally.  But she had to ask herself, was she staying out of fear? OR out of love.

“I can hear you thinking, though I won’t invade your privacy.” Abby squeezed her hand and led them to the same bench she had sat with Marthe earlier. “Will you tell me?”

“I’m scared,” Elena said simply, not expanding.

“What are you afraid of?” Abby questioned. “Are you afraid of Tomas returning? Or are you afraid of me?”

“Both.” It was honest. “When we first got here I kept looking for him. You know what the nightmares were like, but they are fading and I don’t find myself peaking around corners anymore. I think now I’m mostly afraid of the damage that he’s done. I’m afraid I’ve lost a part of myself. And I’m afraid of losing my mother, assuming she’s still alive and I’m afraid I won’t be able to protect my niece and…” Elena stopped before she said too much.

“And?” Abby coaxed her forward. “Nothing you say is going to make me run for the hills, Elena. I love you and I always will.”

“I’m afraid of that, too.” Elena said honestly. “I’m afraid it will never be like it was and I’m afraid all of this has broken us.” A tear ran down her face, but Abby made no move to wipe it away.

“I wanted to talk to you about that, too.” Abby tilted her head up and wondered what the sky looked like tonight. She wondered of the colors of the flowers is the pale light of the moon.  “I don’t know if you’ll ever forgive me, and I think that’s why I’ve shut down my mind.”

“I don’t understand,” Elena wiped her own tears away and turned to look at the beautiful woman sitting next to her.  Her auburn hair was shining in the moonlight and her pale skin made her look ethereal. 

“When I held back my last vision, I did it to protect you. When I finally told you, you nearly died. I blame myself for telling you.” Abby shook her head. “I shouldn’t have showed you. You blame me for bring Rebecca into all of this and I just can’t see how you couldn’t blame me for Tomas catching you. I mean, if I wouldn’t have shown you, you wouldn’t have run out that day. You would have been at the house, with us.”

“And I still would have been hurt or captured or worse.” Elena pointed out.  “What happened wasn’t your fault, Abby. You don’t create the events in your visions, I know that.”

“Then…why…you know what? Never mind.”

“Why am I not letting you back in?” Elena finished her thought for her and Abby nodded.

“I’m afraid you’re still keeping things from me. I don’t like that you are suppressing your abilities and I’m afraid we won’t be prepared for what is coming.” Elena grabbed both of Abby’s hands in her own. “Regardless of what happens between us, you need to be true to yourself, Abby. If I’ve caused you to doubt your abilities or your purpose in this world, I’m so sorry. I guess I’m holding back because I know you are, too.”

“I’m afraid of what I will see,” Abby hung her head. “What if it’s still there?”

“My death?” Elena clarified and Abby nodded again.

Elena let out a heavy sigh and wrapped her arms around Abby and held her close.  “Abigail Gerhardt, I love you,” she whispered. “I will never stop loving you. But I love the real you, the brave you. I fell in love with that girl who whisked me away to the airport with this amazing confidence and no explanation. I fell in love with the woman who didn’t need eyes to see the whole world around her, and the woman who opened my eyes to the truth. You’re scared and believe me, I understand that. I’m always looking around the corners for the boogeyman to return, but you have the ability to know if he is really there or not and to protect me if he is and that is who I need you to be. I need you to be the woman I feel head over heels for.”

Abby pulled back and reached for Elena’s hands again.  She took in a deep breath. “If I do this, you cannot run. No matter what. Promise me.” Her voice was demanding.

Elena’s voice was barely a whisper when she replied that she promised. “That isn’t good enough. I need you to promise me in the same way that Therese promised Carol. I need you to promise me in the same way Carol promised her in return. Do you understand?”

“I’m not a vampire, Abby,” Elena said confused.

“That’s not what I mean and you know it. No matter what, we both know that Carol and Therese are forever. They will fight, kill, and die for one another and for their child. I need that kind of reassurance from you. If you want complete honesty and transparency and if you want me to tap back into my powers, I need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will not leave me.”

“What?” Elena wanted to laugh or cry, or both. “Like get married?”

Abby dropped Elena’s hands and stood up to walk back into the house.  “I didn’t propose to you, Elena, but I did ask for a vow. One you are clearly not able to make.” She started to walk away, but turned back one last time.  “When you are ready to make that promise, to truly be with me, you let me know.”

“Maybe I need a promise in return!” Elena stood and shouted at her. “Maybe I need you to promise that you will share what you see and you won’t keep secrets! Maybe I need you to promise not to hide things from me and then hit me with everything all at once!”

Abby froze. She was right. “Fine. I promise to never hide anything from you. To share my visions with you and to always be honest with you!” Her voice was louder than usual, but she wasn’t yelling.

“Fine!” Elena almost yelled back. “Then I promise to stay, no matter what. To never leave you, despite what the visions show us!”

“Fine!” Abby took a step forward.

“Fine!” Elena took one, too.

“What does this mean?” Abby took another step.

“I guess it means we’re engaged or something!” Elena moved until they were right in front of one another, but Abby understood what it really meant.  What it really meant was she was going to have to keep her promise.

“We should go upstairs…this could be…painful.” Her voice trembled.

It was then that Elena realized what Abby was talking about. They weren’t going upstairs to make love, not yet.  They were going upstairs so that Abby could see.

 

<><><><><> 

 

“Well that was awkward,” Therese said as Marcus sat her on the side of the bed. Despite her advances in walking today, Therese still needed Marcus to help carry her up the stairs.

“Gerbert is quite the character. Always very full of himself, but do not underestimate him. He can be quite cunning. He’s always had it out for our family.”  

“Why was he invited to dinner then?” Therese cocked her head to the side.

“I’m sure grandmother had her reasons. I’ve learned not to question her over the years.  Anyway, Matthew, Diana and I will be in the library for a bit tonight if you need us,” he said as he backed out of the room. “Just yell if you need anything.” He turned and walked down the steps and Carol closed the thick wooden door behind him.

Therese sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for Carol to come help her undress.  “I know families and clans and all that are important in vampire traditions, but doesn’t it all strike you as quite…old fashioned?” she asked Carol. 

Carol smiled and nodded as she walked toward her.  “Vampire families are old, dearest. Did you want to wash up first? It looks like Marthe had a bath drawn for us. We could get in together?” Therese nodded and Carol walked over to the bed.  She lifted her own dress over her head, standing only in her bra and panties.  “You’ll have to walk, Therese. I cannot carry you.”

Therese slid off the bed and shifted her aching legs forward.  It was going to be slow and painful, but a bath with Carol would be absolute heaven. 

Carol watched her struggling and then a memory came to her. She was back in that empty field and flying off the ground and she wondered if she could call upon that same power now.  She wrapped an arm around Therese and told her to hold on. 

Therese kept shuffling her feet forward but then unexpectedly she no longer felt the hard floor beneath her.  They only hovered a few inches, but the pain in her legs and feet was suddenly replaced with the feelings of a soft breeze around her ankles.  Carol’s eyes were shut and her forehead creased in concentration, so Therese just held on tightly as they slowly and gently floated toward the bathroom a few feet away.  Therese let out a slight gasp when her feet landed back on solid ground, right next to the bathtub. “You’re amazing! Why haven’t we tried this before?” Therese looked at her wife in wonder. 

“I’m not sure,” Carol shrugged.  “Honestly, I haven’t been using my powers much since we got here and then I just remembered that time in the field when Abby and Elena were teaching me to tap into my powers.” There was a long silent pause between them.  That was also the night Therese killed Harge, setting everything in motion. 

“Will you be able to get us back to the bed?” Therese asked with a gentle smile, not wanting to dwell on that particular moment.   

“I sure hope so! Otherwise, we’ll sleep in that.” She pointed to the large, claw foot tub. “Big enough for two.”

Therese smiled and lowered her pants while Carol helped her with the buttons of her shirt. “You should just wear t-shirts until your hands finish healing.”  She always talked about her healing as a matter of fact, never giving any time or attention to doubt.  Carol then removed her own bra and panties and they stood bare before one another. Though they’d slept naked with each other every night since Therese woke up, tonight would be first night they’d try to be really intimate since New Orleans.

It had been months and Carol was nervous. “You have to promise me, Therese,” she ran soft fingers across Therese’s shoulders and down her arms, “if something hurts or it’s just too much, promise me you won’t push yourself too hard. I will stop if you need me too.”

Therese wrapped her arms around Carol’s waist and lifted her head to place a sweet kiss on the blonde’s lips.  “I promise, but I want you so badly I don’t think anything will be able to stop me.” She kissed her again. 

This seemed to appease some of the anxiety Carol was feeling.  “Alright, let’s get you in first and then I’ll join you. Can you sit on the edge of the tub and we’ll swing your legs around?” It seemed easy enough, but Therese sloshed into the tub less than graceful.  They both giggled and Carol slid in behind her, pulling her back so that Therese could lean against her chest. 

Therese let out a moan of pleasure as the hot water worked her tired muscles.  Carol ran her hands up and down Therese’s arms lightly, tracing her fingers across the faint scar lines that faded more every day. A part of her was desperate to move her hands to Therese’s stomach and breasts, but she was holding herself back.

  “This doesn’t hurt the baby?” Therese asked, worried that her weight would squish her.

“She is very safe,” Carol laughed softly. “Besides, if she’s hung on this long, I’m pretty sure she is indestructible. You aren’t hurting her or me, now lean back and just let me feel you.”  Therese did as she was told and Carol continued to let her hands roam all over Therese’s body. His time she let her fingers trace down her arms, across her stomach and up. She took her time as she caressed each breast and placed soft, gentle kisses on the back of Therese’s neck. 

Therese moaned at the contact. Her skin felt like it was on fire and she looked down at the water, expecting to see it boiling around them. “You feel so good…god I’ve missed this…missed you,” she groaned. 

Carol was desperate but in no hurry, enjoying the feeling of her lover’s body against her and under her hands. She could tell that Therese was getting needy and impatient, however.  She slowly lowered her hands beneath the surface of the water until she found the warm, wet place she was looking for. Gently, Carol started swirling her fingers in circles and then up and down Therese’s slit, before coming back up and circling her bud again. “I’ve missed you, too…missed the feeling of you. Even in the water I can feel how wet you are for me,” Carol whispered into her ear, taking a lobe into her mouth.  She was too afraid of hurting Therese to go too far, too fast, so she took her time, letting those lazy circles slowly build her lover up. 

It didn’t take too long for Therese to feel that tension in her stomach, announcing her approaching orgasm. “Wait,” she panted and Carol immediately stopped her fingers.

“Did I hurt you? Are you alright?” Carol’s voice changed from sultry to worry in flash.

“You didn’t hurt me,” Therese let out a breath. “I just want it to last.”

A naughty twinkle flashed through Carol’s eyes.  Therese wanted to linger right on that edge for as long as possible. Her voice dropped an octave as she pulled her impossibly closer and pressed her lips right next to her hear. “Baby, I can make this last all night if you want.  This is just the first round.”

Fire flooded Therese’s entire body and she tilted her head back and took Carol’s lips in a fierce kiss.  Her passion was suddenly desperate for release, even if her body was still weak.  “Tell me what you had imagined this morning. Tell me what I get to do to you.” Therese said as she placed one of her hands over Carol’s, begging her to start her circles again. 

“Well,” Carol kept her voice low and her lips against Therese, “As far as I can tell, your tongue seems to work just fine.” She sped up her fingers as Therese’s breathing picked up.  “I thought maybe you could lie on the bed and I would straddle you…let you lick me…taste me,” she moved her head and started kissing and sucking Therese’s neck.  

Within seconds, Therese was on the edge again but this time she didn’t stop Carol’s fingers.  “Fuck, yeeeeessssss,” she growled as the orgasm spread through her body.  It had been so long and she felt every single muscle and tendon tighten and then release. It felt like months of tension left her and she fell back, exhausted against Carol.  “That felt so…”

“Mmmmm,” Carol hummed in agreement.  She looked down and the sated woman against her. “Don’t you dare fall asleep on me Therese Belivet.” She wrapped her legs around Therese’s body.  “I’m absolutely aching for you.” Her voice was raw and needy. 

Therese sat up and tried to turn around, but there wasn’t enough room.  “Take me to bed.”

It took a few minutes to get them out of the tub and thankfully Carol was able to float them slowly back to the bedside.  They laid down and Therese moved to kiss her when the sound of a crash downstairs caused them both the sit up.  “What was that?” Carol said nervously.

With the solid door closed, the voices downstairs had been muffled enough for her to ignore, but if she focused Therese was able to hear.  Gerbert was still there and his voice was louder and clearly unhappy about something. 

Chapter Text

Marcus had joined Diana and Matthew in the library, shutting the door behind him. Tonight they would do some research to make sure that Diana had not, in fact, changed the course of history, but they didn’t want prying ears to hear. They would also continue their search for Tomas and hopefully get some news from their contacts in America about Rebecca.

“I just don’t think she would have gone with him,” Marcus said to Diana. “Not after everything he did to Elena.”

“I wish I could believe that, but I was privy to some of her thoughts and that woman had some serious jealousy issues, and we just can’t forgive her past. She used Elena, practically sold off Carol, and despite her helping us, I’m not convinced she was fully accepting of Therese and Carol together.”

“Maybe she just ran off on her own. She could be hiding from him, or maybe she woke up with amnesia and just wandered off into the world.” Marcus offered.

“You watch too many soap operas,” Diana shook her head. “I’m going to pull up some journals and see if anything looks odd or different.”

“Here is a mind bender for you, mom,” Marcus grinned. “If you did change history, will we recognize it? I mean would we know? Wouldn’t we just think it was normal?”

Diana let out an exasperated sigh. “Honestly? I have no idea.”

Matthew was only half listening when he had an idea and pulled out his phone. Relying on Gerbert to get any helpful information had been a foolish move on his mother’s part.  He wasn’t sure why she had even bothered with him. Sure, he was presumably the oldest vampire on the planet with contacts the world over, but he had returned empty handed.  It was time to let science to the talking.  He pressed a button and the woman on the other end picked up after two rings.  “Matthew, to what do I owe the pleasure.  Do you know what time it is here?”

“Good to hear your voice Miriam, and we both know you weren’t sleeping.  How are things at the lab?”

Dr. Miriam Shephard was one of Matthew’s oldest friends, and a vampire. “I know you did not call to express doubts on my ability to run our lab.  I also know you did not call to catch-up, so get to it. What do you want?”

Some would call Miriam catty or down right irritable, but Matthew knew better.  Miriam was dedicated, loyal, and had one of the greatest minds he had ever known.  “I need you to run some tests using the genetics samples we have.”

Miriam was working at the genetics lab at Yale University with Chris Roberts, a friend of Diana’s, studying creature genetics. Their initially research was in trying to explain why creatures were dying out.  Over the centuries more and more vampires were unable to sire new vampires, witches were being born without powers, and daemons were getting more unstable.  Evolution was not working in the favor of creatures and they were hoping to find the cause and possibly reverse the trend. 

Their initial discoveries were mind blowing! First, they determined that the “creature species” were not actually different species after all, but just mutations of different human genes.  For lack of a better explanation, creatures were simply humans with superpowers. They had also discovered that mixing of different creatures was imperative for the survival of all creatures.  While their findings had not been released to the general population, their discoveries were standing to make the rounds in the scientific communities.  In the meantime, Diana had used the discoveries to help end the covenant against the mixing of creatures.

“What tests are you wanting that we aren’t already doing?” Miriam asked.

“There is a creature in America, calls himself Tomas.  He claims to have been a witch that was turned by a vampire and based on what I’ve been told, he does seem to share some characteristics of both creature types, but…”

“I understand what you are saying,” Miriam interrupted.  “We’ve only looked at this from a heredity point of view. You want us to introduce the vampire DNA to an established sample. Are you sure this creature is real? I mean this would be unheard of. Vampires have always been forbidden from turning witches.”

“I’ve never known it to happen in my lifetime.”

“Mine, either and I’m older than you.” She reminded him.  “I’ll get with Chris and let you know what we find. Oh, and I’ll be coming that way soon enough. I’m assuming Marcus has explained that they chose me for Phoebe?”

Matthew grumbled and looked at his son. “Yes.” Phoebe, Marcus’s mate, had chosen to be reborn as a vampire to spend the rest of her life with Marcus.  Due to the blood rage gene in his family, they needed to find a vampire from another clan. Miriam was alone in the world and had been for a very long time since her husband’s execution.  When Marcus and Phoebe had asked, she had accepted, knowing that it meant she would finally have a real family of her own. It was not something Matthew agreed with, but he understood why they wanted it and could not prevent it.  Even if Diana asked, he would never be able to allow her to become a vampire. He knew it meant their time together was fleeting and precious, but he knew his children would live incredibly long lives, leaving him a part of her.  “Let me know what you find.” 

Matthew hung up and turned back to Diana and Marcus. “What are you hoping she discovers?” Marcus looked at him in confusion.  “We already know that the different creatures share DNA now.”

“We know what happens when we mix DNA through heredity.  What I want to know is what really happens when a vampire turns a witch.  Does the witch’s genetic code get fully overridden, like in others?”

Diana looked confused. She’d listened to Miriam, Marcus, and Matthew talk genetics enough to understand the basics, but she wasn’t sure if she was following at this moment.   

Matthew clarified on her behalf. “If I sire a human, their genetic code is rewritten by mine and they cease to be ‘human’. But based on what you’ve told me, this did not happen for him, at least not entirely.”

“And how would that knowledge help us?” Diana asked.

“Assume for a moment that his code was not totally re-written.  Then we figure out why, how, and see if we can…”

“Oh!” Diana understood suddenly. “You think maybe he is somehow…unfinished?”

Matthew chuckled.  “I guess that is one way to explain it.”

“You’re thinking we could finish it. Turn him completely into a vampire and then we’d know exactly how to destroy him,” Marcus added.

“If necessary, yes.” Matthew nodded.  “As strong as we are, we are not invincible. At the very least, we learn more about how he was created and hopefully a weakness.” Matthew was about to ask about the history research when a loud crash turned his attention. He and Marcus bolted out the door in a flash.  

 

<><><><><> 

A few minutes earlier…

 

Left alone, Ysabeau sat next to Gerbert on the stylish sofa in the living room, wine glass in hand.  A large fire was burning bright, lighting the room and warming the castle walls.   “Tell me,” Ysabeau took a sip of after dinner port.  “What did you think of Therese?”

“That vampire needs to learn her place,” Gerbert grumbled.  “Clearly the American vampires have lost touch with our traditions.”

“In more ways than one,” Ysabeau murmured. 

“Meaning?” he eyed her carefully. Ysabeau was clearly up to something and trying to get a reaction.

“Can you not feel it, Gerbert? Can you not smell it?” When he didn’t immediate reaction, she smiled. “Or perhaps you just don’t want to admit it.”

“What are you implying, Ysabeau?” His patience was wearing thin.

“Tell me,” she changed the subject, “what did you learn in America? Any word on this Tomas creature?” Ysabeau wanted to lure him in. She had peaked his interest, but wanted to keep him dangling just a bit longer.

“Do not change the subject,” Gerbert whispered harshly. “I know you Ysabeau, and I know you are up to something.”

She batted her eyes and took another sip of her wine. He did not know her as well as he thought. Gerbert was too arrogant for his own good and despite being bested by her many times, would never admit that she was smarter and craftier than him. “First, tell me what you found out. Then we will discuss vampires in America.”

Gerbert sighed and ran his fingers through his grey hair. “I asked around, followed his trail, but after that business in New Orleans, he just disappeared.  I did find out more about his origins, if the story can be believed.”

Ysabeau feigned disinterest, which of course caused Gerbert to continue talking. Men were so easy.

“If the stories are true, he was the son of witch. She was working as a fortune teller at the turn of the century, reading palms and tarot cards for gullible humans, when a drunken vampire came upon them and killed her. The boy apparently begged for his life.”

“And his sire? Was it Benjamin? I cannot imagine Benjamin letting him live.” Ysabeau turned to look at him, her eyes almost begging for it not to be him, to ultimately be her fault.

“No one seems to know,” he mused. Gerbert didn’t like the fact that he could not definitively pin this of the de Clermont family. “What they do know is that he started selling magic for souls. If you pledged your life to him, he would grant your greatest wish. From what you’ve told me and the stories I’ve heard, he keeps his victim enthralled and drinks them slowly.  Once he makes good on their agreement, he kills them. The interesting part is he only feeds on witches. He kills any human that dares to hire him and he will not feed on other vampires.”

“A vampire after your own heart,” Ysabeau laughed. “He seems to have standards, believing himself to be the top of the food chain.”  

Gerbert laughed. “Hardly, in my eyes he is still a witch and I would never claim a half-breed as my own.”

“Is that so?” Ysabeau had him on the line now; it was time to reel him in.

“Unlike the de Clermont’s, I believe in the purity of our kind. Vampires should rule over all other creatures, not marry them and breed with them. I dare say, you’ve gotten soft, Ysabeau. I remember a time when you would have killed a witch without a second thought.  Now you are living with them and raising their children. I do miss the old days.” Gerbert grumbled.

“You wouldn’t tolerate such a thing in your clan?” she asked, a knowing smile crossed her face.

“Of course not! Everyone in my family knows better! We are strong and my children obedient.”

“Therese Belivet.” She turned and looked at him.  “Daughter of Juliette Durand, and your grandchild, mated to a witch, and about to give birth to your great-grandchild, a bright born.” If Ysabeau was one to dance a victory dance, she would.  Instead, she just glared at her adversary with a wicked gleam in her eyes.

Gerbert was silent for a few moment and then burst into loud laughter.  “You are insane! She is not mine! I would know!”

“You would think, yes.” Ysabeau said sardonically and nodded. “I could smell Juliette on her the moment she entered this house. Are you telling me you could not? Are you losing your senses?”

Gerbert stood and walked over to the fire place. “You are lying.” His voice was hard and gruff. 

“Possibly,” Ysabeau stood and walked to stand closer to him.  “Tell me, Gerbert, where was Juliette in the 1950’s? Do you know?”

“What are you playing at? Matthew would never tolerate the daughter of Juliette to be in his home.” Gerbert looked frazzled. The truth is, he had no idea. Juliette Durand had been created and trained by Gerbert to be the perfect mate for Matthew, with the hope the two of them would cause enough chaos that the de Clermont family would fall apart.  It almost worked, but Matthew eventually came to his senses and cast Juliette aside.  After that she had wandered off on her own for a while before Gerbert forced her to return home to Venice where she was kept under lock and key until Gerbert needed to use her as his weapon or play thing.

“Matthew understands Therese’s history and does not hold it against her. She, herself, doesn’t even know who she is. All she knows is that she was attacked in an alley in New York, sometime in the early 1950’s I believe and then left alone to fend for herself, with no one to train her in our ways or to teach her to survive. She did all of that herself and became an incredible woman and artist. You should be proud to call her yours.”

Gerbert turned and smashed his wine glass into the fireplace.  Within a second, Matthew and Marcus were at Ysabeau’s side, ready to defend her.  “I know you’re lying!”  He turned to Matthew, “you can test it, test her blood.”

Matthew immediately knew what Ysabeau had shared. “I don’t need to test it to know it’s true.” Matthew smirked. “But if Therese agrees, I will.”

“She won’t agree,” Marcus explained. “I offered to find out once before and she refused.”

“What? Why would she not want to know her family? If she is my clan she will be brought in line,” Gerbert demanded! “No family member of mine will be mated with a witch!”

“Too late for that,” Matthew smiled. 

“Seems your house is not so pure after all,” Ysabeau smiled.   It was at this moment, Matthew realized why Ysabeau had invited him in to all of this.  Once proven as one of his, Gerbert would protect her. The clans would be united against a common enemy. 

“We’ll see.” Gerbert turned to storm out and then turned to call through the house, knowing that Therese would be able to hear him.  “If you are indeed mine, child, you will be brought to heal! I will not tolerate insubordination in my family! You will leave your little witch and come to Venice or I will kill you myself.”

“Tsk, tsk, Gerbert,” Ysabeau scolded.  “You will do no such thing. Therese and her mate are under our protection. She may be yours by blood, but she is ours by pledge.” She downed the rest of her wine before continuing. “Plus, there are rules, traditions we follow. Your daughter broke the rules and now you must accept the consequences, the same as us. We accept responsibility for Benjamin; you accept responsibility for Juliette. You cannot kill Therese without just cause, and this would hardly apply now that the covenant is no more.”

Gerbert ran out of the house, slamming the front door so hard it nearly splintered. “We’ll need to get that fixed,” Ysabeau said nonchalantly.

“Are you sure telling him our suspicions about Therese was the best move, maman?” Matthew asked.

She nodded. “I know Gerbert. He will protect her now, despite everything. If we can confirm it, he’s likely to go back to America and kill Tomas himself.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

“Could you hear what they were saying?” Carol stared at Therese who was even paler than normal. “What did he scream?”

“Something about being his and coming to Venice.” Therese’s voice cracked. “Does that mean…”

“He thinks you are a member of his family? I would think if he sired you, he would remember.” Carol wrapped an arm around Therese’s naked body and pulled her closer.

“There was something about a Juliette.” She shook her head. “I never saw who attacked me. It could have been a woman.” Therese closed her eyes and tried to remember the details of that night. “They attacked me from behind, but I do remember…a smell…a perfume maybe?”

“I don’t trust him.” Carol squeezed her arms tighter.  “And he most definitely did not like my kind.”

“I don’t care what he or anyone else thinks. I belong to you and our daughter and I will not leave your side. Even if it is true and I have his blood in me, I am not his,” she said with a snarl.

Carol nodded and snuggled into Therese’s side as they laid back down.  It was like someone had doused cold water on each of them, extinguishing the fire of the night. Therese rolled onto her side, facing Carol. She was determined not to let that asshole ruin their evening.  She let her fingers trace the contours of Carol’s face and looked deeply into the blue-grey depths of her eyes.  “I am yours…only yours. You and our daughter are the only family I will ever need.” She leaned in and kissed Carol’s soft lips, delicately at first, but it quickly deepened and within minutes the heat between them returned.  She felt Carol’s breasts against hers and their hands roamed, exploring the exposed flesh.  She wanted nothing more than to feel and smell Carol all over her. 

Therese rolled onto her back, pulling Carol on top of her.  She kissed along her jaw and neck and then smiled, “I believe I was promised something and I did hold up my end of the bargain.”

Carol let out a soft laugh and raised up onto her knees. Her eyes ran up and down Therese’s body taking in the eternal beauty of her. She ran her fingers lightly over the fading scar on her lower belly.  “One day…I want my name here again.”

“Yours and hers,” Therese ran her own fingers across Carol’s stomach.  Carol carefully shifted and moved one of her legs to the other side of Therese’s body.  They kissed deeply and passionately, tongues gliding and exploring each other. Therese wanted so badly to reach up and caress Carol’s breasts, to squeeze and fondle her nipples, but she worried her hands would be clumsy.  Instead she used the back of her hands, running them across the sensitive flesh, and feeling the softness of them. Carol moaned and lowered herself, allowing her breast to rub across Therese’s body, her nipples hardening.  The sight and feel of it was so erotic and Therese wondered if she would cum again just from the experience.

When the scent of Carol’s arousal hit her, Therese’s mouth began to water.  “Please, Carol…” Therese sounded so desperate and needy and it only increased the wetness pooling between Carol’s legs.

“Please what?” Carol whispered, her voice husky and seductive.

“Please let me taste you,” Therese’s said in a ragged groan. Her pupils were blown and she looked absolutely ravenous.

Carol lifted herself and shuffled forward until her knees were on either side of Therese’s head.  She carefully lowered herself, offering herself to her lover. Therese’s tongue made long, soft strokes at first, but once the flavor of Carol filled her mouth, the craving became overwhelming.  Therese closed her eyes and used what little arm strength she had to pull Carol down, burying herself in her delicious sex.  She wanted every delicious drop of her wife.  She licked and sucked gently, feeling the pulsing of the blood engorging Carol’s clit.  She resisted the urge to suck the blood to the surface and take a nibble, focusing instead on pleasing the moaning woman on top of her.  Carol’s incredible body was moving along with Therese’s tongue and she could tell she needed more. Reading her reactions, Therese used her tongue to dive deep into her center and Carol cried out in pleasure. There was a small rumble around them as the bed started to shake.  “Control it,” Therese pulled back just enough to remind Carol to control her powers and dove in again before moving her attention back to her clit.   

After so long apart it was difficult to control her powers, but Carol managed it, barely.  The bed shook a few more times and a bright blue hue filled the room as the powerful climax rushed through her body, but nothing caught on fire and nothing flooded.  When the final wave crashed, Carol fell over onto her side, feeling sated and exhausted. “I know I said I would go all night,” she panted, “but that was just so good.”

Therese pulled the blonde closer, wrapping her arms around her and nuzzling into her neck.  “Just being able to taste you again was enough…for now,” she grinned. “I do think we should break me back in slowly.”

Carol laughed softly, holding Therese tightly. “I love you, my angel.” She kissed her gently on the forehead.

“I love you, too.” The fell asleep, peaceful and happy, wrapped in each other’s arms.

Chapter Text

Abby was laying on the bed, arms at her side.  She was trying her best to relax, but the mere thought of doing this was causing her anxiety level to rise.  She felt the bed dip and turned to see Elena sitting next to her. Elena grabbed her hand and held it. “I want to help you. Just tell me how.”

“I’m scared,” Abby admitted and squeezed her eyes tightly.

“Tell me,” Elena said softly.

“I remember the first time I ever had a vision. It was overwhelming and I didn’t understand what was happening and I felt like my head and my heart were going to explode.”

Elena gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. “But this isn’t your first time, Abby. You’ve been having visions for a long time. There might be a rush at the beginning, but it won’t be something foreign to your mind. In fact, I’ll bet this current state you are in is actually worse, thus the migraines.”

“And if you don’t like what I see?”

“I promised you I wouldn’t run this time. No matter what.” And Elena had meant it. Running before had almost killed her. This time she would remain calm, supportive, and present.

“Will you lay next to me?” Abby opened her eyes, but saw only black. “Hold me.” It wasn’t a question.

Elena hesitated for a second and then did as Abby requested. She wrapped at arm around Abby’s waist and leaned in to her body. It was hard being this close to her and not being with her. She placed a sweet kiss on her cheek. “I’m right here.”

Abby turned to the sound of her voice. “I miss seeing your face,” her voice was barely a whisper. “Sometimes I wonder if I’ve forgotten what you look like. Will you look different from what is in my memory?”

“Blonde hair, blue eyes…still the same.” Elena tried to make her smile. “I’ve always wondered what you see when you ‘see’ me.”

Abby brought her hand up and cupped Elena’s face. “You are so beautiful. Blonde waves, blue eyes like the ocean, high cheekbones, full lips that were made to be kissed.” She desperately wanted to kiss her, but made no move to do so. Her fingers traced the soft lips she loved so dearly, and heard Elena release a shaky breath, but instead of moving forward she laid back into the mattress. Abby closed her eyes again and took a deep breath and releasing it slowly. “Here goes nothing.”

It wasn’t like turning on a light switch. Closing her mind had been like dead bolting a thousand doors. She’d have to mentally reopen each one until the visions returned.  With each lock, her body tensed a little more.  Elena wanted to help ease her anxiety somehow, so she let her fingers play on Abby’s stomach, making soft patterns. “It’s alright,” she whispered. “I’m right here.”

The first flash startled her and Abby’s body twitched. She likened it to being in a quiet, dark room and suddenly a burst of noise and light hits you. Her heart rate increased and Elena held on tighter. The second flash was longer and louder and Abby’s entire body tensed. She knew the onslaught was about to come.

“Tell me what’s happening.” Elena spoke softly into her ear.

“I’m not sure I can describe it. Imagine being deaf and blind and then suddenly you get those senses back. You are hit with a rush of sensations that you are unfamiliar with and everything is bright and loud and scary.”

“But that isn’t you,” Elena replied. “You could see before and you’ve always been able to hear. This is not new, Abby. Just relax and let your brain return to what it knows is normal. It’s your fear that is causing the pain and the anxiety. You resisting only makes it worse. Let is wash over you.”

“And if the current pulls me out to sea?”

“I will not leave you adrift. I am your anchor, your life boat.”

Abby nodded and willed her body and mind to relax. “I love you, Elena.”

“I love you, too.” Elena placed a sweet kiss on her lips.  And then like a tidal wave, the world reopened to Abby Gerhardt.

 

<><><><><> 

 

There was a soft knock on the door and Marthe cracked it open. “Good morning, you two. Coming to breakfast? Or shall I have it brought up?”

Carol and Therese were still in bed, wrapped in each other’s arms.  Carol lifted her head. “We’ll be down shortly. Thank you Marthe.”

The door closed and Therese moaned. “Do we have to get out of bed? You feel so warm and soft and I just want to stay here forever.”

“It’s not like you need the sleep Therese.” Carol smiled at her, but it was forced and Therese knew it.

“I don’t, but you do. I know you didn’t sleep last night.” Therese kept her arms tight around the woman she adored.

Carol shook her head. “Off and on, but you’re right.”

Therese sat up and the covers fell off her naked form causing Carol’s breath to hitch slightly. God the sight of this woman drove her mad. A part of her wanted to pull her back down and ravage her, but her mind had other ideas that seemed to tap down her arousal. “I can’t stop thinking about what he said about you last night and what that would mean for us.”

Therese twisted and looked down at Carol. “It doesn’t mean anything. I know vampire families and clans are supposed to be important, but not to me. The only thing that matters to me is this family,” she motioned between the two of them.

Carol wasn’t that naïve. “We should dress and get down to breakfast. How are you feeling this morning? Good to walk some today?”

Therese stretched her thin frame and heard bones crack. She felt a little stiff, but there wasn’t as much pain.  She wiggled her fingers and toes and then spun so her legs were hanging off the side of the bed. “I feel a little better, less pain.  I guess the orgasm helped. I think they speed the healing process.”

“I suppose I’ll have to just give you more tonight and we can test that theory.” Carol ran her fingers up and down Therese’s back. “Take two and call me in the morning?” Carol chuckled.

Therese hummed in agreement before adding, “I think I need at least three.”

“Greedy girl,” Carol hopped out of bed and walked around to help Therese.

Therese’s eyes were wide and adoring. Carol was still naked and all Therese wanted to do was devour every inch of her. “We could skip breakfast and start now.”

“Easy for you to say, you don’t require food. I however, am eating for two and our baby girl is hungry!”

“Do you think I can try the stairs?” Therese attempted to lift her leg. It hurt.

“I wish you wouldn’t. I’ll make you a deal, angel. One more week of you walking on flat, solid ground, and then we’ll work on the stairs. Alright?”

Therese reached up and caressed the soft skin of the breasts that were right in front of her. She leaned forward and took a nipple into her mouth, giving a slight suck and lick before Carol took a step back with a moan. “Breakfast first,” she winked.

 

<><><><><> 

 

The air at breakfast was filled with an awkward tension. Matthew had helped Therese down to the dining room, but she refused her wheel chair. She would walk, and she did, albeit slowly and with great effort. Ysabeau was notably absent from the table this morning, but no one asked about her whereabouts.  Normal morning pleasantries were exchanged as Matthew and Diana fed the twins and Carol ate her breakfast.  For some reason, Carol took notice of the juice bottle in little Rebecca’s hands.  It was filled with a bright red substance and yet, it didn’t look like juice.  Her heart skipped. Diana had told her about his, hadn’t she? So why was she suddenly so scared?

Matthew saw Carol eyeing the bottle and watched the myriad of expressions that crossed her face before he started to explain. “She is half vampire, Carol. We have to give her blood. Philip didn’t need it, as he seems to lean more towards his witch genes. She wouldn’t take Diana’s milk unless we mixed it in.”

“I…I just wonder. How will we know what she needs?” Carol stammered and looked down at her stomach.

Diana answered first. “Believe me, you’ll know. Rebecca wasn’t thriving and thankfully Marthe was here to help us, the same way we will be here for you.”

This seemed to calm Carol again, but before she could return to her breakfast Abby and Elena walked in the dining room.  Abby’s eyes were glowing bright white and everyone instantly knew what it meant.

Therese eyed Carol, hoping she could read her mind, seems someone else got lucky, too.

“Good morning! You seem to be in good spirits.” Carol stated the obvious. “Abby, has something happened? Your eyes…they seem…”

“I am seeing again,” she spoke as if it was no big deal. Everyone knew this was far from the truth. Abby seeing again meant that everything had the potential to change.

“Abby that is wonderful,” Diana said proudly! “Were you able to see anything that can help us find Tomas or your mother?”

“I can tell you that this beautiful, baby girl will be healthy and I think I know where Rebecca is. Also, I saw—“

“Good morning,” Ysabeau strolled into the room. “Sorry I’m late.”

“Good morning, mother. Abby was just filling us in on her latest vision.” Matthew stood and pulled out her chair.

“Well this is news! Please continue.” Ysabeau de Clermont looked almost regal as she took her place at the head of the table and something shifted inside Abby. She remembered a flash of something with Ysabeau and that vampire from last night and decided not to share everything with the group.

“That was really all. It was the first time I’d opened my witch’s third eye in quite a long time. I must say, now that I can see the castle, you have a lovely home, Ysabeau. Elena has promised to take me on a walk of the gardens today so I can truly appreciate the majesty of it all.” She looked over at Carol and Therese before adding, “Perhaps you would both like to join us?”

Carol looked at Therese as if to ask if she was up for it and Therese nodded. She’d heard the change in Abby’s heart rate when Ysabeau had entered the room. She could only hope that Matthew hadn’t been paying attention.

“Great. Well, I’m starving!” Elena filled her plate with fruit and pasties. “I’m going to miss Marthe when we have to go home.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Therese was getting tired and needed a rest but insisted that the other three continue on without her. She would sit and enjoy the refreshing air and would be able to hear everything anyway. It was clear that Abby had more to say and had stopped once Ysabeau had walked in and she was curious as to what Abby’s latest vision had shown them.

Once Abby felt like they were far enough away from the house, she turned and pulled Carol in close enough to whisper. “He will come for her, Carol and you must keep him away from her.”

“Who? Who will come for who?” Carol asked, clearly confused as her hands ran across her stomach.

“That awful man from last night will come for Therese. She cannot be allowed to go with him, no matter what. Do you understand?” Abby’s eyes glowed brightly as she shared this information.

“She would never leave us, and heaven help anyone who tries to take her from me again” Carol explained, her hands glowing slightly. She looked down at her stomach and then up into Abby’s eyes. “You said you saw her birth? She will be healthy?”

“Strong and healthy. I even heard her name!” Abby smiled.

“Don’t tell me! I haven’t decided.” Carol shook her head.

“Clearly you have,” Elena laughed. “So about mom. Abby doesn’t think she is with Tomas.”

Carol stopped walking, a chill moving through her body. “I guess that’s good, but then where is she? Where has she been?”

“I think she’s hiding. I don’t want to say where, but I feel like she had a good reason and we should leave it be for now. I feel we will meet up again soon, though.”

“And Tomas? Did you see him?” Carol inquired.

“Nothing, which is quite odd. We know he is coming for us and I know he has to be out there, but I can’t sense him at all.”

“He is part vampire,” Elena mused. “He could have a long game in mind. Wait for us to feel safe again, that sort of thing.”

Abby nodded, “Maybe. In any case, I will not close my mind again. I am feeling stronger and more like myself for the first time in a long time and I will let you all know as soon as I see something.” She looked at Elena, making sure she had her attention. “No more secrets and no more holding back.”

Elena didn’t speak, just let her piercing eyes gaze at the beautiful face looking at her so intensely. Abby meant every word she said. There would be no more secrets between them.

“Thank you Abby. Well, I should get back to Therese. See you both at lunch?” Carol started to back away, feeling the heat between her sister and friend building.

“Perhaps,” Elena winked at her sister. Carol walked down the gravel path and back towards Therese.

“Perhaps?” Abby questioned. “Did we have other plans for today?”

“All those visions and you didn’t see what I had planned for you?” Elena pulled Abby closer. “Kissing you last night, being together like that, I thought maybe we could—“

“Oh we most definitely can,” Abby spun on one heal and nearly pulled Elena’s arm out of socket as she started walking back to their tower. There was not a doubt in her mind that she was about to make love to Abby for the first time in months. “We probably won’t make dinner either.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Carol sat next to Therese and leaned over to kiss her sweetly. “I’ll assume you heard most of that?”

“I won’t go with him, Carol. No matter what.” Therese answered. “Like I said this morning, you are my family.” The sound of gravel crunching turned their attention.

“Ladies,” Matthew joined them in the garden. “The roses do smell especially good this time of year, don’t you think?” They both nodded. “Carol,” Matthew continued, “do you think I could have a few minutes alone with Therese?”

“No. Say what you need to say.” Therese knew her voice sounded harsh, but she wouldn’t apologize. “I have no secrets from my wife.”

“As you wish,” Matthew moved closer. “We have reason to believe, Therese that you may be a member of Gerbert’s family. It would be incredibly important to find out for sure and this can be done quite easily with a simple blood test.”

“Why?”

Matthew cocked an eyebrow confused. “Why what?”

“Why is it so important? And who is Juliette?” Therese asked.

His shoulders dropped slightly. “You heard.”

Therese nodded. Matthew wasn’t sure how much to share, but decided to just be honest. “She was a powerful vampire who nearly killed me. Gerbert created her for me a long time ago, and for a time we were together. When I lost the taste for the chaos of our life, I left her. She disappeared for a long time after that until Gerbert found her and brought her back home. You see, she was, how can I say this politely? Unstable. He kept her under lock and key until he sent her to kill me.”

“And you think this Juliette sired me?” Therese asked him pointedly.

“Yes,” he answered honestly.

“No,” Therese said emphatically. “I will not be his. I know that vampire tradition and families are very important to our kind, but I will not accept that. Blood test or no blood test.”

“It isn’t that simple, Therese.” Matthew tried to explain. “Gerbert’s family is rather small, unlike most other vampire clans; small but powerful. He was very selective with who he turned and insisted on absolute loyalty and obedience from his children and grandchildren. He has been known to kill those that disobeyed.”

Carol’s eyes shot up. “He would kill his own?”

“Without a second thought.” Matthew added. “And he will never accept you as her mate.”

“So why give him what he wants? Why take this test? If he can’t prove that I’m his then he has no claim to me.” To Therese is seemed so simple.

“You would stay an outcast amongst vampires? No clan means no familiar support.”

“You are helping me, are you not?”

Matthew chuckled, “I suppose I am.”

“Carol and I just want to live our lives and raise our daughter in peace. I can support us just fine without all of this,” she waved around at the castle that surrounded them.

“There is one other possibility,” Matthew paused. “You can swear allegiance to my family. You would become one of my children by oath and I would mark you as such. It would keep Gerbert at bay and offer you the protection of the de Clermont name.”

“My name is Therese Belivet-Ross. I have sworn my allegiance to her and will answer only to her, is that clear?”

“You are stubborn,” Matthew conceded. “Just know the possibility remains open. If Gerbert is able to prove that you are his family, he will stop at nothing to bring you under his influence and control.”

“He’ll have to go through me,” Carol spoke, sounding braver than she felt.

“I have seen that look in my own wife,” he laughed. “He would be a fool to try to separate the two of you.  Well, I must go help Diana with the twins. Just please think about my offer, Therese.” Before she could answer he was gone.

There was a long silence between them before Therese finally spoke. “I miss Danny.” She hadn’t really mentioned his name since they’d arrived in France. “He always knew what to do.”

“I miss him, too.” Carol added. “He was so protective of you. You haven’t spoken of him. I didn’t want to bring it up.”

“Am I doing the right thing?” Therese sounded unsure of herself for the first time in a long time. “Not with Gerbert, but with Matthew’s offer to join their family? Should I reconsider?”

Carol sat and contemplated for a few moments. “Let’s not make a decision until we discuss it with Abby and Elena. She did say we needed to keep you away from Gerbert, so maybe that was a hint that we should join the de Clermont clan.”

“We?” Therese lifted an eyebrow.

“I am yours, remember? Where you go, I go. My family is your family and your family is mine. If you become a de Clermont, then so do I.”

Chapter Text

There was nothing gentle or tender in what was happening.  Elena wanted to take Abby. She needed her to know just how much she had missed her and loved her. She wanted to mark her body with her mouth and her tongue and based on the ferocity in her kisses, Abby wanted to do the same. They tumbled through the bedroom door as clothes were ripped and strewn across the floor until they fell onto the bed.

There would be no waiting, no foreplay and no deciding who would go first. Kneeling on the large feather bed, they sought out each other’s bodies and within seconds their fingers dove deep into each other. “God I missed you,” Abby whimpered as her orgasm built too quickly for her liking. Too soon. It was too soon, but she couldn’t stop the torrent.

“I missed you, too.” Elena groaned. Her lips latched on to Abby’s breast and sucked hard. As soon as she heard Abby tumble over the edge, Elena followed behind, feeling the fire rage through her entire body.

The whole experience was over in a less than a minute and they fell back, panting and out of breath.  Abby started to giggle and Elena turned and cocked an eyebrow. “What’s so funny?”

“That took all of about 15 seconds,” she kept laughing. “Not that we were desperate or anything.”

Elena cringed and then smiled at the absurdity of it all. “Well now that we have that out of our system, we can slow down and do it right. I want to make love to you all night, Abby.”

“Yes, please.” Abby rolled over and pressed her body into Elena’s. She kissed her slowly, taking her time to feel every curve of her mouth and every inch of her body. She’d been denied this for too long. She rocked her hips slowly, feeling the slick heat and wetness in between their bodies. This was divine. “I need to taste you,” she slowly kissed her way down Elena’s body, taking her time to linger at all of her favorite places. Sucking each nipples, trailing kisses under each breast and across her stomach, her fingers followed behind her lips. 

Elena was moaning in pleasure. As much as she was enjoying the slower place, her body was throbbing with need again.  She needed Abby to touch her, to lick her, and to fuck her into next month.  “Baby,” she whined, “Please...”

Abby’s lips twisted in a smile against Elena’s stomach. “Please what?”

“I need you so badly...I’m aching for you...please...” Elena’s voice was low, and filled with lust and need.

It was all Abby needed to hear. She pushed Elena’s legs up and apart, settling her shoulder’s between them before lowering her mouth to Elena’s hot wet center. As her tongue slid between her folds, she knew without a doubt that the taste of her lover would be her absolute undoing.

 

“What time is it?” Abby lay naked on top of the covers, her body spread across Elena’s.

“Why? You have some place to be?” Elena laughed softly. They’d been at it for hours and were both exhausted and sated.

“I’m so hungry,” Abby whined. “Do you think there is any food?”

Elena looked at the clock. It was just after one in the morning. “You know Marthe never sleeps. I’m sure we could yell and she’d bring us something.”

“That seems so wrong,” Abby laughed. “Sorry, I can’t walk down the stairs because my girlfriend just made love to me for hours and hours and my legs no longer function. Can you bring me a snack?”

Elena wrapped her arms around Abby and squeezed. “We could get dressed and just go make a snack?”

“Clothes seem wrong, too,” she whined.

There was a soft knock on the door, but it didn’t not open. Elena sat up and listened carefully, waiting a few minutes before stretching and standing to go to the door. “Hello?”

When there was no answer she cracked the heavy wooden door open and peaked outside. There was no one there, but before she went to close it back, she happened to look down at the tray of assorted items sitting on the ground. Elena smiled and whispered into the dark hall. “Thank you, Marthe.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Rebecca sat and stared at the flames of the fire place.  After spending so many months in isolation, she’d gotten used to her own company and the sound of her own thoughts. She occasionally go into town if she needed something, but most often everything got delivered. No one questioned her staying there and no one from Abby’s family had come to kick her out. Either they didn’t know, or didn’t care. She wondered how her girls were fairing. The baby should be due soon. Was Carol alright? Was Therese alive? Was Abby using her powers? There were so many questions and they would be answered soon.

She’d poured over every spell book she could get her hands on in the past few months. The idea seems simple enough, alas, she wasn’t a weaver. She’d need the words of another witch to make this work. If all else failed, once she was sure there was no other way, she’d take her idea to Diana. Diana could weave the spell, once Rebecca was sure she had everything she needed.

The idea had come to her the night Tomas made his final offer. There had to be a way to undo it all. At that moment, with the vile creature sitting next to her, Rebecca realized that every decision she’d ever made had been based on fear and not love and she wanted to undo it, ever horrible choice she’d ever made. She wanted her children happy and healthy and loved. She wanted her grandchild to grow up in a world of magic, never knowing fear or pain. She just needed to figure out a way to fix all of it. So that night, she walked out of the hospital alone and disappeared.

At first she was unsure of where to go, but then a feeling took root inside of her. It was like an epiphany and she suddenly knew where she needed to go. So, Rebecca used her powers to make her way back to the cabin in Tennessee, knowing that Tomas would not find her there and she would have access to Abby’s family library. She could also get in touch with others if she needed help, but she doubted it would be necessary.

Eventually, she got word to her husband that she was alive, but he’d been instructed to tell no one and she’d been careful not to give him a location. She even went so far as to tell him it would be better if he moved on with his life as if she was dead. She was sure she’d never return to Boston anyway and he should just move on and find happiness. She stressed that it was imperative for the girl’s safety that no one know where she was. He must have honored her wishes, because no one from Boston had attempted to contact her.

Honestly, the time alone had done wonders for her heart and soul. She practiced her spells and meditated, trying to remember who she had been once upon a time...before Abby’s vision had brought out the worst of her. She used the silence and the solace to rediscover who she truly was and to come up with her plan and it was almost time to make it all happen. She would return what was taken and set it all right again, not matter what.

 

<><><><><> 

 

There were moments when Carol really missed her mother and this was one of them. As much as she loved the baby growing inside of her, she was absolutely miserable today. At 36 weeks pregnant, she was ready to explode and was terrified.  Diana helped her as much as she could, but she just wanted her mom. Instead she roamed around what she now described as “this fucking cold castle” and released her discomfort on anyone who happened to walk past. Abby and Elena had gotten good at staying out of the way, as had most of the men in the castle.

“Can I get you anything?” Therese asked as she leaned against the wall in the kitchen. It had taken almost 7 months, but Therese was almost back to normal. She wasn’t as fast as she was before, or hopefully would be again, and she still had a great deal of weakness, but she could walk, run, and take care of her wife, and that was all she ever wanted to do. “Are you hungry?”

Carol let out a harrumph sound. “I think you’ve done quite enough,” she grumbled. Therese couldn’t make it all out, but she had to giggle at Carol’s rumblings. Something about getting her in this position and being too old for this shit.

“I love you, Carol.” Therese just smiled, taking in the beautiful form of her mate. The roundness of her belly and the fullness of her breast was absolutely breathtaking. “Just tell me what will make you feel better.”

There was a long sigh. “Getting this baby off my bladder would be a great start.  And I’m hungry...I think...and my back is killing me today.” No sooner than the words were out of her mouth, Carol felt Therese’s hands rubbing into her muscles. She knew there were still moments of weakness and occasional trembles, but for the most part, Therese’s hands were strong and capable again.

“Like this?” Therese whispered into her ear.

The arousal immediately worked its way from her ear to her core. “Therese...” Carol moaned.

“I think I read that sex is a great way to ease some of the tension carried in the body during pregnancy.” Therese ran her tongue up Carol’s neck. In a flash, Therese found herself pinned against the kitchen wall, blue-grey eyes piercing.

“Take me upstairs, right now.” Carol demanded. Therese picked her up and whisked her upstairs as quickly as she was could. It was fast and frenzied and a mix of pregnancy hormones and their normal need for each other and as the orgasm roared through Carol’s body she felt a huge release. Wait...had she just? Oh god...the bed was soaked.

“Carol?” Therese looked down at the puddle between them. “Did you just...”

And then it hit...the first contraction. Rindy was coming.  

Chapter Text

Carol’s screams carried through the castle and everyone ascended to the bedroom in a flash.  Matthew and Marcus arrived first, but Ysabeau and Marthe quickly removed them from the room seeing that Carol was half naked. “We will call you if we need you, but I think this is best left to the women,” Marthe explained.

“Where is Elena?” Carol yelled. “I want my sister!” The second contraction ripped through her. Was it supposed to be this painful so soon?

“I’m here!” Elena came stumbling into the room. “Oh my goddess! It’s happening!” She ran to her sister's side, offering what little she could in support. 

Therese stood wide-eyed, holding her mate’s hand, looking around the room frantically. “She’s early!”

“It is alright, Therese.” Marthe tried to calm her. “We have two doctors in the house who can deal with any issues, but I think this one is coming right on time. Now, how far apart are the contractions?”

“Uh..I...” Therese didn’t even have a watch on.

“I’ll start timing.” Ysabeau offered, standing back against a wall and out of the way.

Diana and Abby entered quietly. “Is it happening?” Abby asked in a whisper and Ysabeau nodded.

“Carol,” Diana moved to stand by the bed. “Do you need help with the pain? I could...”

“No,” She quickly shook her head. “I want to feel her.”

“Brave woman,” Marthe chuckled. “Carol, do you mind if I look? I need to see if you’re dilated at all.”

Carol nodded quickly and then Marthe looked at Therese for permission. “I will need to touch her, alright?”

Therese agreed and then Marthe turned to everyone in the bedroom. “Alright, everyone out except the mothers.” Everyone stepped outside of the door, leaving Carol and Therese alone with Marthe. 

“You’ve done this before?” Therese asked as Marthe slid her hand between Carol’s legs.

“I’ve delivered so many babies over the centuries.” She made a humming noise and then stepped back. “Already moving along. I think someone is anxious to make her appearance. Still, you two are in for a long night, I’m afraid.” She patted Carol on the knee. “Try to relax.”

Ysabeau left her watch for Therese and everyone left the two lovers alone for a while. The contractions were coming about every 10 minutes, and now that Carol understood what was happening and tried to relax, she was able to breathe through them.

“We haven’t chosen a name,” Therese held Carol’s hand and kissed her knuckles as another contraction moved through. That one was a little stronger, Therese noted, based on how Carol squeezed and her pulse rate. “We’re at 9 minutes.”

“Nerinda,” Carol panted.

“I’m sorry?” Therese wasn’t sure she had heard her correctly.

“I wanted something original, because she will be original.” Carol sat back and adjusted herself to get more comfortable. “To our knowledge, there has never been a baby created from pure magic. She needs a name that will be strong and unique.”

Therese listened carefully and finally nodded. “Can I call her Rindy?”

Carol smiled brightly at her wife. “Of course, angel.”  She shifted again, clearly uncomfortable.

“Do you need something?” Therese stood, looking worried.

Carol rolled over on to her side. “Will you lay down next to me and rub my back? The muscles keep spasming and it’s just...”

Therese moved quickly, pressing her body against the length of the long blonde. She started at the base of her spine, kneading the muscles with just the right amount of pressure.

“God that is divine,” Carol moaned. They stayed like that through two more contractions.

“You’re already at 8 minutes now. I think we should have Marthe come in a check?” Therese recommended and Carol nodded.  

 

A few minutes later, Marthe returned with a bowl of warm water, a cup of ice, and a lot of towels.  

“Well someone is in a hurry,” Marthe laughed. ‘You are moving along quite nicely! The others are chomping at the bit to see you. Think you can stand a few visitors before things get more interesting?”

They agreed and over the course of the next few minutes everyone took turns coming in. Diana and Matthew wished them well, Marcus let them know he would stay at Sept-Tours for the night, and finally Abby and Elena came in. 

“Do you want me in the room with you?” Elena asked, feeling a bit on edg. She’d never seen a birth before, but she also wanted to support her sister.

Carol shook her head.  “I need you and Abby to do something for me.”

“Anything,”

“Find our mother. You said you thought you knew where she was. I need you to find her.”

There was a stunned silence while everyone processed Carol’s request, but Therese was the only one brave enough to ask. “Why now?”

Carol started to explain when another, more painful contraction hit her.  Once it passed, Therese wiped a bead of sweat from her head. She could smell the rush of hormones and it hit her like a drug. She had a sudden desire to feed, but she tamped it down.  It would do Carol no good to have her lose control. 

“I can’t fully explain...it’s just a feeling. I need her here. For Rindy.”

“Rindy?” Elena smiled. “That’s original.” She waited a beat and then took Abby by the hand. “If you’re sure," Elena hesitated for a moment, "we’ll get her.”

The next contraction hit hard and Carol once again let out a cry that echoed through the stone walls and beyond. There was a slight tremble beneath their feet and the room quickly filled again.  Carol sat up and Therese repositioned herself behind her and helped her to lean back against her. Matthew and Marcus stood at the door while the women surrounded the bed, and Diana began to speak softly as her hands began to weave a spell.

“Carol...you won’t be able to control your powers while you give birth. I need you to trust me to do that for you. Can you do that?” Carol panted and nodded as a light filled the room, forming a large glowing bubble around the women. “This should hold...I hope. Your powers should not be able to escape the bubble.”

“Can we get out?” Elena felt suddenly claustrophobic. Even though it was clear and bright, the thought of any confined space seemed to trigger her.

“Yes.” Diana waved a hand and a door of sorts opened. “Anyone else? It will work better if I can keep it sealed. Abby, Elena, and Ysabeau moved to outside of the magical chamber, leaving Diana and Marthe inside with Carol and Therese.

Just before she resealed the bubble, there was a magical tremble felt around the world.

 

<><><><><> 

 

He’d been patient, waiting for a sign. When Rebecca had disappeared, Tomas began to think that his plans would be thwarted, but something told him to wait. So, he spent time in search of power and formulating his plans.  His mistakes had taught him some valuable lessons. He would not rely on others this time, though one offer in particular intrigued him. Ultimately, he knew he could trust no one to get what he truly desired. This did not mean he was above using a few more people. 

And then he felt it. His skin prickled as the energy moved through him like a wave. This...this was the sign he was waiting on. Tomas took a deep breath and stood, looking at the body on the bed.  “Thank you for your time, but my time in this city has come to an end. I’m sure you can show yourself out?” When there was no movement, Tomas paused and keened his ears. “Well, that is unfortunate...no matter.”

He walked out of the room, leaving the body for the maid. There were important matters to attend too, but first he needed to return a very important message.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Rebecca sat up in her bed, not quite remembering what had awoken her. Something felt different, but she couldn’t quite place it in her sleepy state. Her mind felt so hazy, but she could feel something humming inside of her body and then she heard the voice inside her head. It sounded vaguely familiar, but faint. It’s time, mother. Sept-Tours.

Rebecca shook her head, as if trying to get the cobwebs out. What did that mean? Was that Carol? Was that Elena? She threw back the blankets and stood. She walked to the center of the living room, stood with her arms out stretched, ready to receive the message again. This time she heard Elena’s voice more clearly when the message repeated. She ran over to the laptop and typed in the words, unsure of their spelling at first, and then she saw it. As soon as she saw a picture of the castle, she knew that was where her daughters were and that is where she had to go and now.

Rebecca quickly packed a small bag, called for a car to the airport and went to find her daughters. It was time indeed.

 

<><><><><> 

 

Gerbert was pacing his Venice flat, fuming at the insolence of the girl. It had been months. His spies had told him that her body had healed and the baby was due any time now, and yet she had not come to him as ordered. This foolish creature would pay for her disobedience.

“Sir?” a young vampire entered the room holding out his phone. “There is someone on the phone for you.”

Gerbert growled. Though he had a cell phone, he despised the thing. He knew it was considered old fashioned, but he much preferred the lost art of letter writing. “Hello.”

“I received your message Signore de Aurillac.”

Gerbert frowned. “Who is this?” He asked, already knowing the answer.

“Let us not waste time on stupid questions. I received your letter and I am ready to be of service. I believe we have some mutual enemies and we can indeed help each other. Send your plane to New Orleans and I will join you post haste.” The line went dead.

Chapter Text

“Something is wrong!” Carol screamed as sweat trickled down her forehead. “I know something is wrong!” She was panicking and it wasn’t good for the baby. Therese tried to reassure her from behind, to hold her, but she was thrashing around wildly.

Marthe did her best to calm the panicked blonde, but the worry was written on her face. Something was indeed wrong. Though it had started easy enough, for some reason Carol’s labor had stopped progressing and Marthe could not determine the cause of the problem. The contractions were coming one after another and her cervix was fully dilated, but the baby was not moving. Marthe’s eyes searched the room, hoping to find an answer floating somewhere in space. Therese was still crouched behind Carol, supporting her and Diana stood to Carol’s left, keeping a magical protective spell in place that prevented Carol’s extraordinary powers from breaking free and destroying everything around them. It had been over six hours now and though the baby’s heartbeat was still clear and strong, Marthe knew that Carol could not keep this up. Despite her wild movements and screams, her strength was fading.

Therese could clearly sense this as well. “What is happening?” Therese barked loudly at the old woman. “Why are you just standing there?” Fear and anger were stretched across her face as she cradled her wife in her arms. “Do something!”

Marthe looked over at Diana and nodded. “We are going to need Marcus now.”

Diana was drained as well. Keeping the protective sphere around them for the past few hours had weakened her immensely and she worried that if she dropped it, she wouldn’t have the energy to get it up again. Her only hope was that Carol was too exhausted to do any real damage. She let her arms fall to her side and the magic dissipated.  Matthew and Marcus came sprinting into the room and Marthe and Diana backed away to give them room to work.

“Are you all right ma lionne?” Matthew took a moment to check in with his wife.

She nodded, but it was clear that she needed a break. “Go, rest, and get some food and drink. We will take over from here.” He walked her to the door and them moved back to begin assessing Carol.

“Therese, you may want to leave for this.” Marcus warned.

“I’m not going anywhere.” She said defiantly.

Matthew looked up into her green eyes. “We may have to do a cesarean and it’s too dangerous to move her to the hospital. There is no way for us to do an epidural. Do you have enough strength to hold her if needed? And can you resist the smell of her blood?”

Where they fucking serious? Did they really think she was thinking of feeding right now?  “Can you?” She screamed! “I’ll do what I have to do, just fucking help her!”

The two doctors worked quickly, readying the space. Towels were laid out with various surgical tools and within seconds both had sanitized and gloved their hands.  “Carol,” Marcus walked up and looked into her eyes. “I need you to listen to me carefully. Something is preventing the baby from moving, so we’re going to go in and get her.”

Carol wanted to object, but before she could, Matthew was talking to Therese and his words were even more terrifying. “I need you to bite your finger enough to make it bleed, Therese and then feed that blood to Carol...not too much...just enough to calm her.  She’ll be in your thrall and you can use it to control the pain and keep her still.”

“I’m sorry...what?” Therese was confused. “I thought that was a bad thing!”

“Usually, we discourage it, but right now it will help her with the pain and it will calm her down while we work. It works a lot like a spell.” He tried to explain. “The effect is temporary and we all know you won’t use it to hurt her in any way. Trust me, this will help you both greatly.”

As another contraction ripped through Carol’s body and the castle walls began to shake, Therese realized she had no choice. She leaned in and whispered into her wife’s ear, “I love you and I promise to take care of both of you always. Trust me, Carol.” With those words she bit down hard onto her own finger until blood pooled on the surface. She placed the finger in Carol’s mouth and without hesitation, the witch began to suck.

 

 

<><><><><> 

 

The loud cry of the baby echoed through the castle walls and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The grounds were still standing, and nothing had flooded or caught fire. A chill went through Elena just then, wait...that didn’t mean...

“She’s fine,” Abby reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder. “She’s sleeping.”

“You’re sure?” Elena felt her lips tremble as her adrenaline spiked and then started to drop again.

“I’m positive. I can see them honey. Therese is holding the baby and she is beautiful. Carol is asleep and Marcus is finishing up the stitches now.”

A few minutes later Matthew and Marcus walked down the stairs and made the official announcement to everyone. Nerinda “Rindy” Belivet-Ross was a beautiful, healthy, happy baby girl. Carol needed her rest, but everyone could stop in to say a quick hello. 

“So what happened?” Marthe asked. “In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Marcus shook his head. “There was nothing medically wrong. The baby wasn’t in distress, caught up, or anything. It’s almost like, well if I had to guess, it was like Carol didn’t want to let the baby go.”

Marthe’s eyes widened. “Like she wanted to keep her safe? Like something is coming?”

Marcus nodded silently, but offered no other attempts to explain.

 

The rest of the evening was spent in quiet celebration, with drinks and cheers and happiness in the dining room while the new mothers settled with their newborn daughter.

“Do you want to try to feed her?” Therese offered the swaddled infant to Carol. “They say it is a feeling like no other.” Therese placed the baby gently into Carol’s arms and placed a kiss on her head. “You are both so beautiful and I am so amazed by you.”

“Did...did they say what happened? What went wrong?” Carol shifted Rindy so that her little lips were nestled against her nipple and waited anxiously to see if the baby would suckle.

“Carol,” Therese kissed her again. “The only thing that matters is that you are both here and you are both safe and healthy.”

“She isn’t feeding,” Carol let out a frustrated sigh.

Therese picked up the baby and set her in the basinet that had been set up for them next to the bed. “She may not be hungry or she may be reacting to your energy. You need to relax.” Once Rindy was settled, Therese turned back and climbed into bed, careful not to hurt Carol’s stitches. “Seems it is your turn on the injured list.”

“I won’t be able to stay down for long. She’ll need me.” Carol felt a sudden wave of exhaustion hit her.

“She will have both of us. But for now, my love, sleep. I’m sure she’ll be up and hungry in a few hours, so rest while you can. I will keep an eye on both of you.”  Without protest, Carol fell into a deep sleep, but it was not peaceful. Her dreams were plagued with images of her family being ripped away from her and standing at the center of the chaos was the creature she had hoped to never see again.

 

<><><><><> 

 

 

“You guest has arrived sir and is waiting in the parlor for you.”

Gerbert let out a frustrated sigh as he closed his laptop. The latest news from Sept-Tour had arrived and he couldn’t help but wonder if forming an alliance with this beast was too little, too late. Never the less, it would be interesting to see what all the fuss was about.

He was interesting to say the least, pale with abnormally long arms and fingers, blackened teeth that had been sharpened, and black robes that didn’t exactly blend in with the latest in Armani fashions. Gerbert actually felt a queasiness at his appearance, and he had seen so much worse in his lifetime. “Thomas I presume.” Gerbert did not extend his hand. This was to be a business arrangement and nothing more.

“Gerbert D’Aurillac, lovely to make your acquaintance.” He strolled around the Venetian flat, taking liberties to touch the various antiquities in the space. “I see you have an appreciation for the finer things in life.”

Gerbert found the creature’s demeanor off-putting and his presence grated him. “Shall we bypass the pleasantries and get right down to business.” Gerbert motioned to two large sofas in the room and motioned for his butler to bring him a drink. “Would you care for a glass of wine?”

Thomas made himself comfortable and declined the drink politely, while Gerbert accepted the dark liquid without even a thank-you. “I must admit,” Thomas started, “I am not used to doing business in such a way. These things are usually handled in a much more private and personal manner, contracts and handshakes and such.”

“Yes, I have heard of your...magics. Spells for blood...magic for souls...if such a thing existed.” Gerbert smirked. “But I know better.”

“You don’t believe in the soul?” Thomas feigned surprise.

“A concept made up to control the weak. I should know, I was there when they wrote the books. I have lived longer than you can fathom and I have seen the depths and the depravities of all creatures, vampire, witch, and human alike. Would we be capable of such atrocity if the soul was real?” Gerbert hated to sound so philosophical. “In any case, I know how you typically operate, but this is not how that will go. We have a mutual problem and I seek a mutual solution.”

Thomas did not respond.

“I need a witch gone. She is keeping one of my family from me. She is being held in the family strong hold of a common enemy. Destroy the De Clermont’s, kill the witch and her bastard child. I get my grand-daughter, you get your revenge.”

The news of the child caused Thomas’s heart to quicken and though Thomas tried not to let his excitement show, Gerbert was clearly good at reading creatures. “Ahhhh...yes. You would like to keep the child for yourself then? So be it. I have no use for such a being.” He waved his hands absently.

“So the rumors are true. You do not believe in the mixing of species. Why would you allow yourself to work with the likes of me then?”

Gerbert stood and made his way over to a chess board that was mid-game. It sat unmoved since Ysabeau had been forced to stay there under a type of house arrest by the Congregation so many months ago. “Moves and counter moves...you are nothing more than a pawn in a very long game.”

Thomas’ head flew back in a wild fit of laughter. “Your honesty is refreshing Gerbert, but I am no pawn. I will help you, for my own agenda. I want the child and for that reason, the witch shall die. I cannot promise the life of anyone who tries to protect her.”

“Kill my grand-daughter and you become my enemy,” Gerbert growled. It wasn’t that he really cared, but there were rules and obligations that had to be followed.

“So be it.”

“So long as we understand each other.”

“I’ll assume you’ve made arrangements for my arrival to this stronghold?”

“As well as those that are loyal to me and will offer assistance.”

Thomas bowed his head in appreciation. “A lesson I learned well enough in New Orleans. I just need access, after that, I will trust no one...not even you.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Abby awoke with a scream, sitting straight up in bed. Elena was quick to turn on the bedside lamp before turning to look at her girlfriend. “Another nightmare?”

She took a minute to catch her breath before answering. “He’s coming, Elena. Thomas is coming.”

“We know,” Elena rubbed her hand up and down her back, helping to calm her. “You’ve been having the visions for days now. Carol’s been having the nightmares, too. We’re doing everything we can to prepare.”

“There is something I’m not seeing,” Abby turned her white eyes to Elena. “A figure...in the mist...he’s in alliance with someone I think. Someone dangerous...someone powerful.”

“And so are we. We have Diana and Matthew and Marcus. Carol is up and walking around and getting stronger every day. Therese is practically good as new. Hell, the entire village that surrounds this castle will defend us!”

“It just feels like we should be preparing for a war or something.” Abby finally let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding.

“Then we will. Tomorrow morning at breakfast, tell the others what you saw and let’s amp it up even more. Just remember there is a difference between last time and now.”

“What’s that?” Abby laid back down.

Elena’s voice dropped an octave, “This time, we know what this asshole is capable of and we will be ready. If it’s a war he wants, it’s a war he will fucking get.”