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We Are Nothing More Than Puppets

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Sara stood at the side of the crib holding Damien’s favorite stuffed toy feeling more lost than she had in a very long time. Tendrils of the Witchblade slipped out as they felt around for the baby they both had nurtured and loved for the last six months.  Sara could never really explain the sentient nature of the gauntlet that she finally came to fully accept over the last couple of years. She felt the searching as the power inside her looked for Damien and felt the anger and grief once again surge up through her.

Sara watched the little darkling sitting at one end of the crib and was surprised by the fat tears rolling down its face. That was something else she had to get used to. Jackie had never really had a tight reign of control on the vile little creatures but somehow they knew who was and who wasn't important to the man. In turn, she came to tolerate them and was often surprised by their sentience and intelligence. This was the one that had bonded with Damien and it surprised her that she saw actual grief off the demented little goblin.

 “Where is little master, mistress?”

“I don't know little one.”

“Will find?”

 Sara didn't answer the darkling as she clutched the panda closer to her not knowing how to answer the creature. She felt it when Jackie came to stand next to her, their daughter Hope in his arms.

“We will find him Sara. I promise.” She turned into him and let herself be held in his arms, his darkness also wrapped around her, and where at one time she found it repugnant, she and the Witchblade had come to find comfort in it. Through Hope they had found balance and when Sara was able to finally bring Jackie back home, extricating him from the mess caused by the Sovereign, they started to repair their damaged relationship.  When she found herself pregnant again Jackie told her he wanted to stay with her. He told her he regretted letting his anger and need for vengeance keep him so far from her and their daughter. She had originally wanted him to stay away because she didn't want Hope growing up around the barely contained dark anger that was so much a part of her father. When she saw how much Jackie had grown up and learned  control over his base nature she let him back into her life. Plus with Hope’s own growing powers, she needed the help. Now, Damien was gone and she felt completely lost. They had finally found some sense of peace and a little happiness, but it seemed that those forces they were irrevocably bound to wouldn't let them be happy.

“Yes little one, we will find him.” Sara said with more confidence than she felt, they had no clue and no one has come forward as of yet to lay claim to the kidnapping. No ransom, no notes, no phone calls nothing to tell them who took Damien.

 “I promise you Sara, we will find him.” Jackie glared down at the empty crib, his heart breaking as the darkness pooled out of him searching for any clues that could have been left behind.

The tone in her lover's voice had her turning her head up to look him in the eye. She knew that tone. It was the old Jackie peeking through. The assassin, the dark hunter, the man who had once thrilled in violence. Sara had no illusions, she knew that Jackie would always be there. But right now she needed her Jackie. The one who had learned his capacity for love and family.

“Please don't do anything reckless Jackie we are finally free of all the crap that has been pushing at us. I can't lose you too.”

“Someone took our son Sara.” One of the darkling’s bristled and pouted as he climbed into the crib. "And I'm going to find them.” His face twisted into a dark expression.

“I know we will figure this out Jackie but we both have to be careful. Our truce with the Angelus is fragile. I don't want to do anything to piss her off.”

“Unless she is the one who took Damien.”

“You think the Angelus would go back on her word? She promised Jackie, after the Sovereign she promised she wouldn't interfere in our lives anymore.”

“When have you trusted anything Heaven has told us? They tried twice to take Hope away from us. if anyone is suspect right now it is the Angelus. She might see it as her duty,” Jackie growled low in his throat at the thought. “To protect him from us. you know how much Heaven and Hell were angry when we called a truce with each other. They also didn't expect us to fall in love.”

Sara closed her eyes and tried not to sigh. She knew how much truth there was in Jackie’s words. The Angelus was the exact opposite to Jackie’s darkness. The Witchblade and the Angelus we're both supposed to be used to destroy the darkness. But Sara went against everything that was prophesied and befriended Jackie, then slowly they fell in love. Sara had resigned herself to her fate with the Witchblade a long time ago but it didn't mean that she had to be a slave to it.

“I love you.” Sara said a she buried her head on Jackie’s chest trying not to cry any more. She tried to reach deep inside her to pull on that strength she knew resided in her. Slowly, as she let herself be held in strong arms and wrapped in the comforting Darkness she pulled on her strength. She pulled on the Witchblade as she refused to crumble and give in to the crushing grief.

“I love you too Sara.” Jackie took a deep breath as he held Sara in his arms.

Jackie steered his lover back towards their room. He knew they couldn’t do anything at that moment but he knew once it was morning Sara would be out the door tracking down even the tiniest lead that they had.

“Let’s try to get some sleep baby. I know you’ll be out the door in the morning trying to track down any lead at all. Please sweetheart let’s try to get some rest.” First, he put Hope back in her bed and encouraged her to sleep. The little girl nodded up at Jackie as she snuggled down into the covers and tried to go back to sleep.

Sara had moved into the bedroom and waited for Jackie. She was sitting on the edge of the bed trying not to think about what could be happening to her baby. She knew she needed sleep but it had evaded her the last couple of days. She allowed Jackie to slowly undress her, his gentle hands helping to settle her. He guided her under the covers then rubbed slow circles on her back to try to help her relax so she could fall asleep. When he noticed she had finally succumbed he got out of bed and went to the window in the front room and stared out for several long minutes. He manifest several darklings and gave them various assignments. They could silently move about the city going wherever Jackie wanted them to go. He was following-up on his own leads and he hoped to have answers by the time Sara woke-up. He also was finally happy in what they had and he was angry that someone out there was once again trying to destroy what little happiness he had found for himself. After that was done, he went back and slipped into bed, pulling Sara close to him he drifted off into a restless sleep.

 

 

 

Jackie was standing at the large window in the living room looking out at the cold cloudy morning sipping his second cup of coffee. He stood with his legs apart, his hand in one pocket of his jeans and his long hair pulled back into a ponytail. He reflected on what the darklings reported back to him and tried to tamp down on the dark anger that was fighting to be free. He was almost glad for the weather for it matched his current mood perfectly. He took a deep breath trying to quell the storm of emotions that were his constant companions since his son had been taken.

Sara stood just inside the doorway between the hall and the living room watching him. Her heart ached with the knowledge of how much this was hurting him, but he refused to admit it. She hated to move because it would break whatever spell Jackie was in at the moment.

“The darklings have all come back. There is no sign of Damien in the city anywhere. I do have a lead though. The demon Asmodeus, he wants to talk to us later this morning. Told the darkling he may know where our son is.”

“You don’t think this could be some kind of trap?”

“I always think it’s a trap. Come on Sara, we’ve faced worse,” he said as he turned around to look at her.

“I know, but someone has our son so I’m more cautious than before Jackie.”

“I know baby, and I can assure you that we will take every precaution when facing this demon. We’ve come too far Sara and I’m not ready to give us up. Not for a long-time.”

Sara only nodded as she moved into the kitchen to fix a cup of coffee and some toast. It was about all she could stomach at the moment. As she was leaning against the sink trying to deal with her own emotions, trying to stay calm so that she could think like the detective she had been she saw Hope come into the kitchen looking disheveled and upset.

“Hey honey, what’s wrong?” Sara kneeled in front of her daughter and pulled her in close.

“I had a bad dream Mommy. I saw Damien, a man had him. The man wasn’t very nice.” Hope pouted as she fell into her mother’s arms. Sara could feel that she was holding back her tears. She slowly rubbed her back as she held her close trying to comfort her. Sara often worried about the connection Hope had to her brother but she tried to quell her fears, telling herself that being close it just might make them safer. Jackie had told her that he thought it was just a close brother-sister bond, but she didn’t quite believe him. She thought that it had something to do with the fact that she conceived Hope while wearing the gauntlet that gave her the Witchblade power.

“I promise you Hope, that me and your daddy will find your brother, okay?”

Hope nodded her head as she wiggled out of her mother’s arms and ran into the living room where Jackie scooped her up and held her close. He tried to reassure his daughter as well that they would find Damien.

Sara smiled sadly as she looked in on them, but was also happy at the same time that Jackie was there to help comfort their daughter.

            After a few minutes she went into the kitchen and fixed a quick breakfast for Hope so she could get her ready for school. It took some doing to get the little girl dressed because she had wanted to go with her parents to look for Damien. Sara took a few minutes to explain to Hope just why she couldn’t come. That the places they were going to go to were dangerous and not for little girls. Hope reluctantly gave in and finally got dressed and got out the door to catch the school bus before it was too late.

            Turning back into the house Sara slipped up beside Jackie and wrapped her arm around his waist.

            “When do we meet this demon?”

            “He told the darkling to meet him around eleven at Occupancy.”

            “The bar? Do I even what to know what a Demon is doing at a bar at eleven o’clock in the morning?”

            “No, I don’t think you do.”

            “You’ve been there?”

            “I’ve been all over this city babe. I know all the seedy places.”

            “I’m guessing I don’t want to know that either.”

            “No, you really don’t. Let’s just say my old bosses had more than just money laundering, gun running, drug running and prostitution on their books.”

            Sara was about to ask but thought better of it. She turned to go into the bedroom and didn’t ask Jackie anymore questions about how he knew about this place. She realized when Jackie came back and wanted to make a fresh start of things with her that she knew she was going to have to reconcile his criminal past. She knew he was violent, hell so was she but their moral compasses varied widely. The fact that they found a middle ground was testament to several long conversations the both of them had at night when Hope was asleep. One of their compromises was Sara wouldn’t ask Jackie about some of his past dealings with the old mob family he had worked for and Jackie wouldn’t tear everyone who looked at her wrong apart. Sara was a little amused by his jealousy but she would put up with it if it meant that he would be a father to Hope. What she hadn’t expected was just how good of a father he had become.

            

            An hour late they were walking into Occupancy. Sara looked around and realized quickly that almost everyone there had power of some kind. She could feel it all around her. She could also feel that the Witchblade wanted to wrap around her and protect her. She had to will the power back letting it know they were just there for information. Walking up to the bartender, Sara saw Jackie asking him where Asmodeus was. The bartender pointed out a rather good looking gentlemen sitting at a booth sipping at something Jackie was afraid to ask about.

            “But if you want to see him you are going to have to give him something.”

            “Like what?” Jackie growled as he turned towards the bartender.

            “You both need to show some skin, or he won’t talk to you at all.”

            “You’re serious.” Sara stared at the man as she crossed her arms. It wasn’t that the man wanted to see skin, she worked vice for a couple of years before finally making detective. It was that he wouldn’t talk to them unless they did.

            “Deadly. Look, he’s a...well, a sex demon. Showing skin is kind of like an offering. His tongue loosens up a lot more than if you did.”

            Sara chuckled and shook her head  as she easily shed her jacket and was clad only in a sweetheart neckline bustier. She wasn’t about to take off her jeans, but they were tight enough that it left little to the imagination. She had to draw the line somewhere. Jackie just shook his head as he took off his jacket and button down exposing his well defined chest. They both looked at each other and knew from their expressions that they hoped it was enough.

            They approached the table and Sara slid into the booth first, the Jackie.

            “The bartender said that you are Asmodeus?”

“Indeed I am. And you must be Jackie Estacado and Miss Sara Pezzini.” The demon smiled wickedly and the couple couldn’t help the way that smile made them feel. Sara started to get warm and her olive skin flushed a little as she tried to stop the unwanted surge of lust.

Jackie was glaring at the demon, not quite immune from his effect. The Darkness started to flare-up as the demon tried to slip into Jackie’s mind.

“You two are very powerful. Well done. Normal humans don’t really stand a chance when it comes to my considerable...charms. Now that we have that out of the way, we can talk about why you are here.”

“I heard that you have information on where our son is and who took him.”

“Yes. I do, and I’ll even give you the information for free, no strings. Hades, has taken your boy. He’s gotten into his crazy demon head that he is the boy that was prophesied to take over his little corner of Hell. He thinks to raise and groom the boy into his perfect instrument. No one in Hell wants this to happen and Lucifer himself charged me with seeking you out to tell you what is going on.”

“You’ve got to be kiddin me.”

“I’m afraid not Miss Pezzini. There is a prophecy, but there is always a prophecy, isn’t there? In fact between Heaven and Hell there are thousands of prophecies. The trick is to know which are real and which have the possibility of coming true.”

“You think this one is false and Hades is playing some kind of game?”

“It’s no game Mr. Estacado. It’s very real in his mind. But you need to save the boy before his influence over him is too great and you lose him forever.”

“How do we get to him?”

“You’ll need to know where an entrance to Hell is and a key. I can provide the location of the way in, but I don’t have a key. Demons, of course, don’t need one. You’ll have to seek out the earthly place of Hephaestus. He can forge you a key. He moves every few millennia, he says it keeps things interesting. You are in luck because he is currently residing here in New York. Have you heard of the nightclub The Foundry?”

“No. Where should we go looking, and how do we get in?”

“It’s in the West Village, 13th and Washington. Your Witchblade will see past the glamor placed on the outside of the club. Normally only those who often reside in the underworld are allowed in, but give the big cacao demon on the door this coin and he’ll let you in. Hephaestus will be residing in the VIP lounge on the third floor of the club.”

“And you are just giving us all of this information out of the goodness of your heart?” Jackie leaned forward with a scowl forming across his face.

“Dear boy, I don’t have a heart. But if I did, hmmmm, you would certainly break it.” The demon pushed on his power and flooded Jackie’s mind with images of things that he would do to them if he were allowed.

Jackie gripped the table with his fingers so hard that his knuckles were turning white. The Darkness started to wrap around him, pushing back at the demon to get out of it’s master’s mind. Jackie’s scowl deepened.

“How dare you! Get the fuck outta my mind,” Jackie growled as he was about two seconds away from attacking the demon on the other side of the booth.

Sara felt Jackie’s distress and the Witchblade reached out and gently probed. The Darkness quickly latched onto the comforting presence and used it to help push back the demon.

“Just a little taste of what I am fully capable of. You two may be powerful, but you’ll need to stick together if you want to get to your boy. I am not the only demon you are going to face so cut the macho bullshit boy and understand that I am not the only one who will poke at your head. I went easy on you…” Sara could feel the restrained power in the demon and knew that in a one-on-one fight neither of them would be able to take Asmodeus on. She knew he was right. She and Jackie needed to be more in sync than they ever were if they were to rescue their son. Sara reached out and laid a hand on Jackie’s arm forcing him to look at her.

“He’s right Jackie. We’ll need to stick together on this to get Damien back. I know we’ve both come up against demons before but I have a feeling this will be different. I think he was just testing us. Seeing how we would both react.”

“Don’t fucking do it again or I and my darklings will rip out your fucking demon throat. Now get the fuck out of my mind.” Jackie and The Darkness pulled more on The Witchblade and together they pushed Asmodeus completely out of his mind.

“Very good. Hold onto that resolve boy, Miss Pezzini, you’ll both need it. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” Asmodeus smiled at them that same deadly, lust filled smile and Jackie knew he had to get him and Sara out of there as soon as possible.

Exiting the booth he put his clothes back on as did Sara. As they were leaving she took one last look at the demon, who just raised his glass at her and smiled. She shivered slightly before Jackie steered her out the door.

“Let’s try to never need him again. I didn’t like him.” Jackie frowned as he curled his fingers with Sara’s and held her almost possessively close.

“I don’t think he was going to hurt us Jackie. I think he was just testing us.”

“The bastard can go back to Hell.” Jackie snarled his lips, scaring some of the passerby’s as they walked down the street.

“We should try to figure out more about this nightclub and what exactly we are walking into.”

“I think I know who might have that information, but you aren’t going to like it.” Sara sighed as she pressed in close to Jackie.

“What am I not going to like?”

“Ian Nottingham. He might have more information on the nightclub.”

“No. I am not letting you get near that psychopath. He nearly killed you, he nearly killed Hope before she was even born.”

“I know, but Jackie he knows more about the demon world than we do. He might have some useful information.”

“Dammit Sara.” Jackie wanted to argue even more but he knew Sara was right. The man had more intimate knowledge of the demon world than any other person they knew.

“Fine, but if he even twitches in your direction I’ll rip his fucking head off.”

“I know love. But this is our son we’re talking about. Isn’t it worth it? And this time we are together.”

Jackie held her hand tighter and acquiesced. He didn’t like it. He didn’t have to but he knew that they couldn’t afford not to use any resource available to them. Even if that resource was Ian Fucking Nottingham.

Sara had tracked down Ian after he had broken out of prison and acquired the blood sword. He hadn’t exactly turned his life around but he stayed quiet and lived a life of seclusion, at least for now. Sara knew that it wouldn’t last but she was grateful that Ian was staying put like she had asked him to. They had an uncomfortable truce between them, each having one of the thirteen artifacts. Each person that had one agreed to a truce, a stand down of sorts. They all agreed that no one person should have possession of all of them. Some were hidden, and some, like The Witchblade, were in the hands of someone who could wield it. But whatever and wherever they were everyone agreed to keep them safe.

As Sara pulled up into Ian’s hidden driveway she contemplated how to approach her former lover turned enemy. Jackie turned to her and cupped the back of her neck slowly rubbing circles around the base to help calm her down. She knew that after he had come back something happened to them that created a bond with each other. When they had sex a few weeks after his return she had felt it being created deep in the center of her very soul. She guessed that it was partly what her soul had craved and partly the influence of the gauntlet. She knew Jackie had felt it too though they never talked about it, and she knew they should. But, right now was certainly not the time, these thoughts were all racing through her mind as she let herself finally relax from the gentle massage her lover and bonded was doing to her.

“Come on, let’s get this over with,” Sara sighed as she stepped out of the car and stood looking at the Japanese style house. The walls on the outside were typical wood paneling but when she looked through the window after stepping-up to the wrap-around porch, she saw the classic rice paper walls. Stepping back from the window she knocked on the front door and waited. It was a few minutes later when the door was opening and Sara looked-up to see a very different looking Ian Nottingham standing there in front of her.

He was not in one of his typical bespoke suits. In it’s place was something that was reminiscent of something a Sensei would wear. Long white flowing pants and the matching white short robe with a bright blue sash wrapped around him. He had his hair pulled up in a loose bun at the back of his neck and he looked calm and relaxed. Ian had always had that same air of violence around him that Jackie has. Sara frowned and was taken aback by the feeling of peace that she felt coming from the man.

“Sara, Jackie. Please come in.” Ian stood to the side letting his houseguests in. “What can I do for you?” He asked as he walked them to his living room which was, again, another surprise for Sara. Where he had at once been almost cold and pragmatic in his decor this was nothing like that. The living room was sunken, with a long wraparound couch, several comfortable looking chairs and a long wall with bookshelves piled high with books. But what surprised her the most was the large reinforced window that gave anyone in the room an unobstructed view of the outside.

“Ian?” Sara turned to the man with undisguised shock on her face.

“You are wondering about not only myself, but my surroundings.”

“Well, yeah. This is all so different.”

Ian smiled, an actual fucking smile and it took Sara again by surprise. The man, at one time, had been so serious, almost cold and definitely dangerous. It was, to her chagrin, what had drawn her towards him in the first place.

“Ian, are you going to introduce me to your guests or keep me out of sight?” A voice said from where Sara assumed the kitchen was.

“Sasuke, come here please.”

Both Sara’s and Jackie’s jaws dropped at the tall, gorgeous Japanese woman that not walked, but seemed to glide into the room. She slid up beside Ian’s side and wrapped an arm around his waist.

“Sara, Jackie, this is my wife Sasuke. We met after I left here. I went to Japan to try to find peace and balance with the blood sword. I didn’t expect to find something more. Sasuke was studying at the temple that I secluded myself in. She slowly broke down my defenses. I didn’t expect to fall in love and I never expected to change like I have but it has been worth it.”

Sara smiled and bowed slightly, “Then it is nice to meet you Sasuke. I’m quite shocked to be honest.”

“He told me that people would not believe that he changed. But I can assure you both that he has. And he has more than one reason to.” Sasuke smiled as she laid a hand on her stomach, looking up at Ian.

“Oh, congratulations Ian. Truly, I am happy for you.”

“Sara, I’ve been meaning to come see you. I am sorry for the fight. Especially after I found out you had been pregnant..”

“Ian, it was a long-time ago. You’ve already apologized. I hate to be rude Ian but we are on a bit of a time crunch. The demon Hades, he has our son. We were told of a way into Hell but we have to go to a nightclub called The Foundry to seek out Hephaestus to try to get him to make us a key to unlock one of the hidden doors to Hell.”

“You know when we first met I had underestimated you. You hadn’t accepted the power of the gauntlet and almost were destroyed because of it. I learned that with you, trouble follows quite close. This does not surprise me.” Ian shook his head as he lowered himself onto the couch with Sasuke at his side. “So, what do you need from me?”

“You had always talked of demons and the underworld with me when we were together. I always felt hat you knew more than you let on. We have the means to get into the club, but do you know what we should expect when we go?”

Ian took a deep breath as he sat back against the couch and contemplated what he wanted to say.

“The both of you radiate power. But something has changed in you both. I see that a power exchange has taken place and I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that I believe that you, Sara could pull a darkling from your lover’s Darkness. You’ve bonded. You’ve bonded like no other wielder of your artifact has in its long past. This scares both Heaven and Hell. You together have become more powerful than you realize.” Ian looked at both of them with that other sight, that intuition that always sat within him. Plus in his short-time with the Witchblade he didn’t come away wholly unaffected. When the gauntlet had gone back to Sara it had left a little piece of itself deep within him. It was part of what had made him go slightly mad for a time. But now he could look upon Sara and see The Witchblade and how even now it twined itself around Jackie’s Darkness.

“I can also assume that Jackie, your Darkness can pull on Sara’s Witchblade in times of need, am I right?”

“You wouldn’t be wrong Nottingham.” Jackie thought back to the bar when he and Sara were talking with Asmodeus and he was trying to force the demon out of his head. He had unconsciously pulled on Sara’s Witchblade. He wasn’t sure what it meant and he hadn’t brought it up because he didn’t know how to. He wondered if Sara had felt it at all.

“The two of you may need to learn what it is that this bonding means for you. But, back to why you are here. The Foundry is a nightclub that is a haven for demons. If  you two walk in looking like normals, you will be in for a fight. Use your power. Sara, wrap the Witchblade around you, use it to clothe you like you have done in the past. Jackie, have several of your darklings around you and let your Darkness out. They will understand the power you both wield and back off as there is an unspoken truce within the walls of The Foundry. Once you are accepted, and you will know the moment, speak with a bartender named Asher. He will help you with the best way to approach Hephaestus. Then, I’m afraid, you are on your own.”

“Thank you Ian. That helps a lot.”

“I wish I could help you further in your journey but I have someone here to protect. Please do let me know when you get your son back safely.”

“I will, and again, thank you.” Sara and Jackie stood and they shook hands with a very changed Ian Nottingham.

 

They both silently got into Sara’s car, neither one of them talking about what they had learned from Ian. Sara knew about the bonding, but she hadn’t realized that they had actually exchanged power. She hadn’t even felt it when Jackie acknowledged he had pulled on her power. She wondered if she really could use the Darkness to call up a darkling. These thoughts and more were going through her head as she pulled up at their house about a half an hour later.

There wasn’t anymore they could do at the moment and it was close to the time for Hope to be coming home from school. Sara went into the living room and curled up on one of the window benches and looked outside contemplating.

“Are we going to finally talk about what each of us has been avoiding?” Jackie said as he slid into the seat with Sara and pulled her into his arms.

“Do you really want to do this now? With all the plans we have to go over and Hope will be home in a few minutes.”

“We need to at least acknowledge what’s happened Sara. I felt the bond happen just as much as I’m sure you did. And this sharing of power, it might be a good thing.” Jackie was thinking of how the Witchblade could be manipulated into weapons. He wondered just what they were capable of now.

“Yes, I did feel it. I still feel it. It’s like this low hum that sits in the back of my mind. I can sometimes feel your stronger emotions flow across it. When you woke-up and saw that Damien was gone I felt your anger, fear and need to harm whoever it was, is.”

Jackie pulled her against his chest and huffed out a breath. He finally got to the bottom of why his lover had been on edge before Damien disappeared.

“I feel you as well Sara. Sometimes it is a little overwhelming. But, I can’t say that it isn’t unpleasant.” He tipped his head down and took her lips in a soft kiss. When he did he sought out the bond and pulled on it. Sara moaned softly at the feel of the pull and felt something settle deep within her. Their acknowledgement of the bond flared between them and strengthened just a little more. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer.The bond grew as the kiss deepened and each of them pulled on it a little more. When the light inside the both of them engulfed them completely Sara screamed, not in pain but in complete and utter joy. The beauty of the light around them was almost too much to look at but she did. When she turned her eyes up to Jackie’s she saw he was feeling the same thing. The Witchblade reached out on its own and touched the light as did Jackie’s darkness. They both watched in fascination as the two powers entwined around each other and their masters. Sara felt some of the Darkness enter her and she didn’t fight it like she would have in the past. She let it in and she felt Jackie more completely than she ever had before.

Jackie let the Witchblade twine around his arm and felt Sara. He closed his eyes and let the power in and felt her joy at this completion of their bonding. He smiled as he took in the gift of her power. The light grew a little more when Sara cupped the back of his neck and pulled him to her, kissing him again. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his lap and moaned as she wrapped her legs around his waist. He knew they should probably move, That the neighbors were most likely getting an unexpected and unexplainable show, but he didn’t want to. There was something so precious about what was happening to them that he didn’t want to break the spell. He lifted his hand and carded his fingers through her hair as he kept his lips on hers. When it felt like he could no longer breathe, the light finally pulled back in and filled them both cementing the bond that had started to grow just after Damien had been born.

Panting heavily Sara laid her head on Jackie's shoulder and sighed in contentment as those arms pulled her even closer.

“Well, I think this bond was waiting for us to acknowledge it.” Sara fisted her hand in Jackie’s shirt, not read to let him go just yet.

“Come on love, let’s at least get into the bedroom and stop giving our neighbors a show.” Jackie joked as she pulled off him. They both stood on shaky legs and made their way into the bedroom. Peeling out of their clothes, the couple collapsed on the bed and wrapped themselves around each other. They were both very skin hungry after the intensity of the bonding. Neither of them were ready for sex because they weren’t sure what the intimate contact would do to the bond and with Damien missing they would hold off till they could bring him home. They just both needed to touch and taste. After a few minutes had passed they both fell asleep letting the bond and the shared power settle.

Sara was startled out of sleep with the closing of the front door. She was a little disoriented from earlier and went into protection mode. She relaxed a moment later when she heard Hope calling for her. Taking deep breaths she calmed herself down before extricating herself from Jackie and putting on her clothes.

Putting on a smile she padded out to the kitchen where Hope was sitting with her homework and doing some coloring.

“Hey sweetie. Do you want a snack?”

“Yes mommy.” Hope looked up and smiled, but Sara could see the sadness in her eyes. She knew that no matter how many reassurances she or Jackie gave her Hope wouldn’t be herself again till they bring her brother home. Ruffling her hair a little Sara bent down and placed a kiss on her forehead then went to get a snack ready.

Just as she was putting a plate of half an apple with a little peanut butter and some cheese with a glass of milk on the table, Jackie was walking out of the bedroom.

“Hey princess. How was school today?”

“It was okay Daddy. The teacher gave us homework. I have to color in the different parts of a flower, see?” She held up the picture and Jackie’s expression softened as he knelt in front of his daughter.

“I see. And that is a very pretty flower indeed.” He too gave her a quick kiss on the forehead before he stood. He also saw the sadness in her eyes but didn’t say anything because there was nothing he could say that he hadn’t already.

“Honey, Joe and Dalia are coming over tonight to watch you. Be good for them okay? Your father and I are going out to try to get more information on your brother.”

“Okay Mommy. Maybe Uncle Joe will want to color with me.”

Sara chuckled and shook her head, “Maybe he will.”

Later on, Sara fixed a light meal for all of them and waited with barely contained nerves waiting for her friend and former captain to show up. She hadn’t told him everything as of yet. She didn’t want to explain what was happening over the phone. Finally the doorbell rang and Sara practically flew at the door letting the older couple in.

“Hey kid, will you tell me now what is going on?”

“Damien disappeared. We’ve been on the hunt for leads as to who took him all day. We got a hit earlier today and need to go talk to some people. Please, Joe we need your help in watching Hope.”

“Sara, why didn’t you tell me? I could have had some of my contacts looking into this.”

“No Joe, you can’t help, please just trust me on this. Jackie and I just need you to watch Hope for a few hours while we chase down this lead.”

Joe narrowed his eyes at the woman he had always considered a daughter. He eyed her up and down and something told him that something had changed in her, but he wasn’t going to push her, not yet at least. When Jackie came into the room, he glared just a little bit. He was trying to get over his prejudice for the man because he knew Sara loved him but it didn’t mean that he trusted the ex-Mafia assassin. Not many walk away from that life and keep their humanity but when he looked at the man he too saw something different in him.

“Alright, just be careful. The both of you.”

“We will Joe. Thank you for this.”

“Anytime sweetheart, you know that.” Sara kissed his cheek and she did the same with Dalia. Then she and Jackie were out the door and headed to The Foundry.

 

Sara made their way into the city quickly and was parking in one of the elevator car parking garages. Getting out they made their way to the address and just as Asmodeus said they had no clue where the club actually was. Ducking into a nearby alley Sara let the Witchblade wrap around her skin under her clothes. Taking off her typical jeans and v-neck t-shirt she slipped them into the bag that she had brought just for this purpose. The Witchblade had fashioned a tight skirt that left little to the imagination and a top that stopped just passed her breasts. Her stomach was exposed as was most of her back and shoulders. Thigh high "boots” wrapped around her legs. She even let the Witchblade change her eyes.

“Well?”

“Yeah, that’ll certainly get some attention.” Jackie couldn’t help the surge of lust as he eyed his lover up and down. He felt the silent chuckle through the bond as he shook his head at her. He took off his jacket and button down and put them in the bag as well. Underneath he had on a tight mesh tank top that showed off his wiry muscles. He pulled on the Darkness and let it flow around him as he called up several darklings and told them to drape themselves around him. This was a good opportunity to test a theory he had regarding the bonding. He pulled on the power that the Witchblade had shared with him and forged a cane in his hand.

“Just like I thought.” Jackie smiled at the construct. “You try Sara. See if you can call-up a darkling.”

Sara looked at the cane impressed and wondered what else Jackie could do. She knew after they got Damien back the two of them were going to do some intensive training to see just how far they could take their combined power. At the moment though she pulled on that little bit of darkness and tried to call-up a darkling. It took a couple of tries and what she had wasn’t the typical little goblins that Jackie favored. This was a little dragon. The creature quickly flew up and wrapped itself around Sara’s neck. It pulled its wings into itself but it wrapped its tail around her neck.

“Oh, okay, that’s new.” Jackie knew that the darkness could call up other beings but he always preferred the goblins. Somehow the little dragon fit Sara and a part of him couldn’t help but think she looked both menacing and adorable with the creature wrapped around her neck.

Even though the situation was serious and their son still missing Sara couldn’t help but laugh at the shocked expression on Jackie’s face.

“Well, there are more than just goblins that the Darkness can conjure, you just prefer the vile, demented little creatures.” Sara tried again and another dragon appeared. This one she held out the opposite arm from the gauntlet. The creature happily wrapped itself around her arm with it’s tail reaching all the way almost to her shoulder and it’s head resting on her hand.

“I don’t think we’ll be any more prepared that we are now so let’s go.” Sara walked out from the alley and looked back across the street and saw it. She saw through the glamour with the power of the Witchblade just as Asmodeus claimed she would be able to. Before they fully left the alley, Sara handed Jackie the bag who then gave it to one of the darklings with express instructions to keep it safe. Once that was done Sara twined her hand with Jackie’s and they made their way to The Foundry.

Sara let herself relax outwardly but she was a bundle of nerves on the inside. She reverted back to her vice days and sauntered up to the cambion demon and pulled the coin out and handed it to him.

“You can enter. No funny stuff. No weapons. No fighting. No trying to influence anyone in the club. This is a clean place. Follow those rules and you won’t be thrown out.” The demon glared at the two newcomers.

“Oh sugar, I plan on being a very good girl. Isn’t that right Lucious sweetie?” Sara was dripping sexuality and Jackie almost broke his cover when he swallowed back the laugh at the look on the demon’s face.

“That’s right darlin’. Now you aren’t already causing a stir are you?”

“Always baby.” She winked as she sauntered into the noisy club with Jackie close behind. Demons, male and female, all turned their attention to the woman that had just come in, many of them instantly affected by the sexual prowess that Sara was giving off. She put a little more sway to her hips and smiled randomly at the demons. She even bit her lip coyly as she made her way to the bar. She leaned against the wood of the bar letting her cleavage show even more. When one of the bartenders came over she smiled wide and flipped her hair to the side.

“What can I get such a beautiful creature as yourself?”

“Oh, how about a dry martini, slightly dirty.” She smirked at the look on the bartender’s face. “And I was told to speak with someone named Asher.”

The bartender quickly made her drink just as Jackie came to stand next to her, his hand settling on her ass in a possessive gesture.

“Well you are looking at him. Why do you want to see me?”

“I was told that you are Hephaestus’s most trusted employee and that you could get us up to see him.” She let some of the Witchblade out as she laid a hand on top of his. It wrapped gently around his arm and slithered up under his shirt. The bartender’s breath caught in his throat at the feel of those tendrils caressing his skin.

“Um, yeah, yeah he, ah, he does trust me. Oh god what are you doing?” Asher’s eyes glazed over as Sara pulled back on the power.

“Just flirting,” She chuckled low when Asher caught himself against the bar.

“Damn if that is your idea of flirting, I can only imagine how you are in bed.” Asher smiled a wicked smile.

“So, how do we see the man himself?”

“Why do you want to see him?”

“We’ve heard he has some rather particular talents and well, Lucious and I are always looking for an adventure.”

Asher swallowed hard as he nodded his head in understanding. “I’ll be right back. Enjoy.” He handed Sara the martini as he moved off into a little snug at the back of the bar. She could feel not only lust and anticipation rolling off Jackie but a little jealousy as well. Sara turned and pulled him into a kiss as she pressed her whole body tight against him. She lifted a leg and wrapped it around Jackie’s waist as she deepened the kiss.

“Fuck Sara. You really get into your roles,” he whispered just low enough that only she could hear.

“I don’t feel that you are complaining.” She gave him a wicked grin as she pressed her groin against his. The broke apart only when they heard the clearing of a throat.

“He said that he would see you now.” Asher had obviously watched them for a moment, the evidence clearly in the hard bulge he couldn’t quite hide with the tight pants he was wearing.

Sara almost didn’t hold in the giggle watching the bartender trying to walk straight as he led them up to the third floor where Hephaestus was waiting for them.

Asher said his goodbye’s as he walked back to the bar. The bodyguard in front of the room opened the door for them letting them in.

            The being was not what they expected. Sara quirked up a brow at the burly but handsome man in tight leather jeans and leather vest. If the stories about him were true he was one of the greek gods and Sara knew they had to be very careful.

            “You both claim that you have heard of my talents. Tell me, mortals, which talents do you speak of?”

            “Please, sir we didn’t mean to deceive but we are desperate. Hades has taken our son. He somehow believes that the boy is part of some prophecy. We were told we could get into his part of Hell if we had a key that only you could forge for us.” Sara dropped all pretense and knew instinctively that honesty was the only way they were going to possibly get any help.

            “So my Uncle has lost his mind.” Hephaestus stood and walked towards them. “You wield the Witchblade and you are The Darkness. But…” The Olympian looked deep into each of them and laughed a deep hearty laugh. “By my Mother, I haven’t seen a bonding such as this in millenia. The Witchblade has accepted many hosts over it’s time in existence but only twice has it allowed itself to bond with it’s true mate, the Darkness. I thought to never have seen it again.” The being paced the room as he kept looking back at Jackie and Sara. He appeared to be in deep contemplation.

            “That means that your boy will be powerful, and my Uncle should not have access to that much power. I will help you. I will even lead you to his lair, but the rest will be up to you. Your bond is strong, almost unbreakable but you need to complete one more part of the bonding.”

            “We already figured that out. We aren’t ready for that till we get our son back.”

            “That is wise. It will take me a day to forge what we need. Meet me back here tomorrow at six. I will have what we need. Be prepared for a fight mortals for he won’t give-up the boy easily.”

            Sara tried not to be frustrated, but she was. She knew this was going to take time but they had already lost so much already but she knew they had to stay strong and not let their emotions get the better of them because she believed the Olympian that they were going to have a fight on their hands.

            “Thank you. I can’t express just how much this means.”

            Hephaestus’s expression softened, it always did around pretty women, and pretty women in distress made him weak in the knees. Of course that was why his wife was always mad at him, but he just couldn’t help it.

            “Children are precious. Besides I think my wife would have my hide if I didn’t help you.” His eyes sparkled at the humor.

            “We wouldn’t want the wife angry at you now would we?” Jackie shook his head as he could relate somewhat to the God.

            Hephaestus laughed out loud again as he led the two of them out the door. As soon as they were gone he left his club and went to his forge and got down to work. He knew deep down if his Uncle kept possession of the boy no one would be safe from him.

         

            All through the night and the next day Jackie and Sara were anxious. When five o’clock rolled around they were almost relieved and immediately made their way back to The Foundry. When they got there one of Hephaestus’s bodyguards was waiting for them. But, to their surprise, so was someone else. The Angelus.

            “Angelus, what are you doing here?” Sara asked as she walked-up to the woman she had once called friend.

            “I have heard of your foolish plan and am here to help. It will take all of us to defeat Hades and get your son back.”

            “You don’t have to do this. We have Hephaestus on our side.”

            “Yes, I know but I figured that the more of us there were, the better chance we have of getting Damien back.” Angelus frowned as she stared at both Jackie and Sara. “Something has changed with you. And I do not understand it.”

            “It’s a long explanation and we’ll tell you later but now…” Sara was cut off by shouting for them to wait. They looked towards the voice and saw Ian coming towards them.

            “I am going to go with you. The more we have on our side, the better the outcome. Don’t you agree?”

            “How did you two even know about this?”

            “I guessed.” Ian declared as he crossed his arms. Sara saw the two Katana’s peaking out of Ian’s back.

            “You guessed.”

            “Well, educated guess Sara. Yesterday you asked questions about The Foundry, and I figured if you talked to Hephaestus he would tell you that he would have what you needed today. So educated guess.”

            “And I heard rumors in Heaven that the boy was being held by Hades and I too figured out that this was where you were going to be.” Sara just looked at them both and was glad to have them on their side. She turned to the body guard and nodded that they were ready. A moment later, she and her companions were being led through the back end of the club then down. Sara wasn’t sure where they were going so on the way she conjured up one of her dragons and it once again wrapped itself around her neck. She looked back and several darklings were hanging onto Jackie with demented little smiles on their faces. This was one time that Sara actually was glad that the creatures reveled in chaos.  Angelus had the Sword of Light in her hands and was ready for anything. Sara had hope, hope that Damien would be in her arms before the end of the night.

 When they got to the bottom of the long winding stairs that they had been on the guard opened the door and let them through. They all entered a darkened room and the guard shut the door behind them. Lights all around them flickered on and before them was a long corridor. Sara called on the Witchblade and formed her own sword from it. Jackie had a dark short sword in one hand and his own Witchblade sword in the other. They all carefully walked to the end where there was another door with a gigantic door knocker. Sara felt through the bond the joke that Jackie was about to make.

            “Don’t even think about it.” She glared at him.

            “What?”

            “I felt you wanting to make an inappropriate joke.”

            “But I didn’t. Can we just get on with it?” He couldn’t quite help the smirk that formed and Sara gave him a mental slap. She reached up and grabbed the heavy knocker and could barely lift it. Angelus and Jackie helped and the three of them, together, were able to knock three times. They tried to wait patiently and were about to knock again when the door opened and there stood Hephaestus twice as big as he was the night before.

            “Enter. I see you brought friends. Good, the more that are willing to join the fight, the better for all of us. Here, for each of you.” He handed them each a piece armour. “This is forged from the steel of Olympus. The strongest among all the realms. It has been made specifically to defend against demon attacks.” He handed Sara a small piece of the steel and she looked at it in confusion but the Witchblade probed it and she felt the sentience almost purr in acceptance. The steel melted in her hands and the Witchblade folded it into itself, forging stronger weapons for them both.

            “Good, I had a feeling that the gauntlet would accept the gift. Use it well Sara Pezzini.” He handed Ian two Katana’s with the same kind of steel but the blades were thinner than even the ones he wore on his back. “Do not be fooled young Nottingham. These are stronger and sharper than the ones you are currently wearing.” He then looks to Angelus and she just smiles as she holds up the Sword of Light. “Well, I see you already have a powerful weapon. I have made the key, follow me and go exactly where I go. Do not stray or deviate in any way. Getting lost down here will not be good for any of you.” Hephaestus warned as they all finished putting on the armor that he gave to each other them. What surprised all of them was how the armor configured itself to each of them. It was like it read their power and adjusted specifically to their needs. The giant of a god shrank back down to his ‘human’ size, which was still larger than most humans, then started off towards the north end of his forge. When they all got to the other side the God opened the door and led them all through it.

Sara looked around her and moved closer to Jackie. She tried to quell the fear inside her as they all stepped out into the Underworld. Everyone stayed close to Hephaestus and did as he said, no one wanted to get lost down here.

They walked for several minutes when they came to the river Styx where the Olympian handed over a coin and he ordered everyone into the boat. Faster than anyone could imagine they were pulling up to another part of the underworld. And once again they were on the move. Sara was slowly getting her fears under control as they navigated the bowels of the underworld headed towards Hades’ domain. She kept wondering why the demons they kept passing weren’t attacking, but just staring at them. Some in awe, some in fear but a great many more were snarling with barely contained rage and anger.

“They aren’t attacking because they don’t want a fight with me. Once we enter Hades’s realm, it will be quite different. All of you will have to be on your guard.” The group diligently followed Hephaestus to a large wall. Or what seemed like a wall at first. Sara, however, saw several doors through the Witchblade sight. Each door had a set of runes etched on them and she wondered what each of them meant. She didn’t have to wait long before Hephaestus was opening one of the doors with the key he had forged and quickly ushered them all through.

Almost immediately they were confronted with several demons coming their way. Jackie instantly called up several of his darklings while he ran towards one of the demons with a conjured sword in his hand. The goblins swarmed one of the attackers taking it down quickly. The goblins were vicious as they attacked without reservation.

Sara was right by his side with several dragons and a sword of her own. She let out some of the Witchblade and it grabbed one of the demons strangling it as she decapitated another. The dragons swarmed much like the goblins but this time they were able to pull one of the attacking demons up in the air and dropped them down onto the ground, killing it immediately.

Angelus, using The Sword of Light, plowed through a new group coming towards them without even breaking a sweat. She closed her eyes a moment and concentrated on the light inside her and let it wash over her, letting it out. This was what she was made for and she relished the battle.

Ian and the others weren’t idle and before long there were bodies of demons strewn everywhere. Blood and gore littered the corridor they were currently running down. The group battled their way through group after group of Hades’s demons trying to stop them from getting to his main sanctuary. Sara and Jackie were at the forefront of the battle and nothing was going to get in their way. Their son was at the end of this blood fest and they each would do whatever it took to get him back.

When they were almost to Hades' lair, two large demons stood in their way. Hephaestus grew to his normal size and confronted the creatures. Sara and Jackie were both lending a hand. Running in between their legs Sara used the power of the gauntlet to weave strands of the Witchblade around the legs of one of the demons, keeping just out of its reach. She then ran through one more time using a blade, she cut the tendons on the creature’s legs. Just as Hephaestus landed quite the blow the demon went down in a tangle of legs and arms. As soon as he was down, the Olympian raised his large axe and took it’s head off.

Sara moved back to the rest of the group and as she was pulling her power back to her she saw the other demon being taken down by Jackie, Ian, and the darklings. Hephaestus once again raised his axe and cut it’s head off killing it.

The group all stood there panting, splattered with blood and gore trying to decide on how they wanted to proceed. Sara could feel Jackie’s anger coming through their bond. She too couldn’t help but feel on the edge of going feral. She didn’t care at this point as she turned to the door and with one powerful kick busted the door open. When she ran through, not heeding anyone’s cries trying to stop her, she raised her blade ready to strike at the being that was standing next to a crib. The being turned towards her and grinned.

“It is quite an honor to have the bearer of the Witchblade here in my domain. I hope you weren’t too put off by my welcoming party.”

“Hades, I assume,” Sara growled as she moved closer to Hades.

“And you would assume right. Come in Jackie, I have been waiting to meet you as well.” Jackie and the rest of the group came into the large room, Jackie immediately going to Sara’s side, wrapping his darkness around her in a protective gesture..

“What is this all about Uncle?” Hephaestus said as he stepped up looking from his Uncle to the the child in the crib.          

“Hephaestus, Nephew, did you really believe that I would harm the child?”

“I don’t know what your game was. I know you believe that he is part of some prophecy. That if he is the child of power that you seek, you gain control of all the realms of the Underworld, not just those held by us Olympians.”

“Then you know me not Nephew. Do you really think that Persephone would allow me to harm a child in anyway? I am also not stupid enough to incur the wrath of either my wife or my own children.”

“Then what was this?” Sara narrowed her eyes as tendrils of the Witchblade flowed from her, agitated, feeding off her own emotions and anxious to get to her child.

“A test. You and Jackie were tested with Hope when you remade reality, but no one has seen what you could really do, what you’ve become since your initial bonding.”

“A test. You took my child, a baby just to test us?” Sara rushed him and surrounded him in tendrils of the Witchblade, raising him up off the ground. Her anger fueling her as she held him steadfastly. “I could break your damn neck you bastard.”

“And it would get you nowhere Sara Pezzini. I am a God of Olympus. There are only a few things in all the realms that are powerful enough to end me. NOW PUT ME DOWN, MORTAL.” Hades raised his voice at the woman holding him.

“What is going on here?” A beautiful dark haired woman sauntered into the room. Power oozed off of her in waves as she approached Sara.

“This creature took my son. Came into my HOME and took him right out of his crib. And I want him back.” Sara’s anger increased and the tendrils tightened around Hades. She heard a bone snap and the being looked down at her in surprise. Three of the surviving dragons flew up and started to breath fire on him. Sara was surprised by the cry of pain that came out of Hades’s mouth.

“Husband, what have you done?” The Goddess crossed her arms as she glared up at the man being held steadfastly in the Witchblade. “You do realize The Artifacts are one of the things that can harm us, right? So you provoke one of the bearers? You will never learn, husband.” Persephone chuckled softly as she laid a hand on Sara’s arm forcing the woman to look at her.

“Let him go little one. My husband may be a bastard but he would never have harmed the child.” Reluctantly Sara pulled back on the Witchblade, untangling the power from around the God. However, she didn’t put him down first, so he fell face first onto the floor.

Groaning, the God peeled himself up off the floor and Persephone couldn’t help the hearty laugh at her husband’s expense.

“I think you rather deserved that, don’t you?” Hades glared at his wife as he pulled her into his arms at the same time.

“I regret nothing. I got what I wanted. Sara and Jackie, you two have a strength not just in yourselves but you’ve opened up and accepted each other as your bonded mate. The first time in centuries that the two opposing forces recognized their other half. Take care of the gifts that you have given each other and you will weather anything that comes after you. I have faith that your son and daughter will be well protected. And you always have an ally in me.” Letting go of his wife Hades walked over to a long table and gathered-up a couple of things then moved back towards the group.

“A boon, to each of you a single vial of the Elixir of Life. Don’t worry, it has not been made in the Underworld so if you find yourself in need of it’s use, you will not be bound to my realm.” Hades handed everyone except Hephaestus a small glowing blue vial. They each held onto it carefully. “And to you Sara and Jackie, I give you this demon horn. If you ever find yourself in need of my help, blow on it and I will come to your aide.”

Sara took the horn and couldn’t help the look of confusion on her face.

“You have earned my respect, Miss Pezzini. Now take your son and go back home.” Sara ran to the crib and gathered Damien in her arms. She practically cried with relief that the boy was unharmed. Jackie was right behind her wrapping his arms around the both of them, holding them tight.

“Let’s go home Jackie. I just want to go home now.”

            Before Jackie could say a word the three of them were back in the nursery in their own home. When Sara opened her eyes she cried out in relief and held Damien even closer. The baby hadn’t cried out the whole time they had been in the Underworld, and he didn’t cry now. He had a smile on his face as he pulled on Sara’s hair and kicked his feet in happiness. Relief that this was all over swamped her as she put the baby in his crib.

            They stood over watching Damien until the baby fell asleep. Steering Sara out of the nursery, they went into the living room, startling Joe and Dalia. They took a few moments to explain what happened and Joe couldn’t help the look of shock on his face. Sara knew that it was going to take the man a few days to process that Sara and Jackie just had a run in with several Greek Gods. They talked for a while more, then Sara ushered her friends out, she was exhausted, needed a shower and something to eat.

            By the time she was collapsing on the bed she was so exhausted that all she wanted to do was sleep. She smiled into the pillow when Jackie slipped in behind her, both of them feeling more settled than they had in a long while. She fell asleep quickly as Jackie’s arm laid heavy and protectively around her waist.

            Sara slowly woke the next morning with Jackie wrapped around her. It was unusual to find the man with her in bed in the morning. He wasn’t someone who slept past early morning, where Sara could literally stay in bed all day if she wanted. Smiling, she caressed a hand down his back, as she tugged on the bond. She felt nothing but calm from Jackie and she breathed a sigh of relief.

            She closed her eyes as she snuggled into Jackie’s warm, protective presence. She felt him stirring, then lips were pressed against hers as he moved on top of her, softly stroking her breasts he elicited deep moans from her. Wrapping her legs around his waist, Jackie didn’t waste any time as he slipped inside her already wet core. Sara shuddered as the bond flared between them almost painfully. She arched her back as Jackie thrust all the way in as he too felt the sudden surge of power between them.

            Gathering her in his arms, Jackie pulled Sara close as he sat up, wrapped up in his arms  he waited a moment as she wrapped arms and legs around him. Her head dropped to his shoulder as she impaled herself on Jackie’s hard cock. She opened herself and the bond fully to him as the Witchblade also flared out and wrapped itself around the both of them. Rocking her hips, Sara moved with her lover giving herself wholly and completely to him. The tendrils of her power slipped around Jackie caressing, probing. He got a shock when he felt Sara’s power probing his hole then slipping inside him.

            “Fuck,” he growled out as he pushed up in time to her movements. This was something new and unexpected but Jackie could admit it wasn’t unpleasant. As the power moved in and around him, another part of the Witchblade slipped down to where they were connected, wrapping around his cock warm and tight.

            “Sara, what, what are you doing?” He panted out as the power grew with the cementing of the bond.

            “I think it’s the bond, it’s pulling on the Witchblade.” She managed to get out. Jackie grabbed the back of her hair and pulled her face up to look in her eyes. The look of unrestrained love and acceptance of their bond on her face broke down Jackie’s walls as he felt the bond flare up even more inside of him. The Darkness opened to him much like the Witchblade opened to Sara. The bond pulled on his power and it filled Sara, also probing, seeking out all those places that gave her pleasure. It slipped inside that tight hole that only Jackie’s fingers had ever explored. Growling, Jackie pushed her down on the bed, hiking her legs high-up around his waist he felt his control snap as he started to pound into her harder and deeper. Their powers combining inside and out, heightening the pleasure plus the new sensations coursing through the both of them. When the power probing his ass brushed against his prostate, stimulating it, Jackie couldn’t hold back the powerful orgasm that was being pulled from him by the bond and the power coursing inside them. He grunted, his face scrunched in ecstasy as he came inside Sara. He didn’t stop though, he kept going, pushing his lover closer and closer to her own release. She arched up as he thrust in hard as the bond pulled on her as well pushing her past the edge.

            Collapsing next to her, Jackie tried to catch his breath as they were both still entwined in the bond and their own power. It was several long minutes before Sara was able to pull back on the Witchblade but finally the power let their lover go. Jackie gathered Sara in his arms, stroking her back and feeling the thrum of their bond inside of him, he realized that for once in his life he was truly happy.

            Sara smiled against Jackie’s neck as she was held tight in his arms. Everything they had gone through, all the years of uncertainty and now here they were wrapped in each other, bonded together in a way they hadn’t been before. Sara knew that nothing that came after could make her as happy and content as she was at this exact moment.

            “I love you Sara,” Jackie whispered against her hair as he continued to stroke her.

            “I love you too Jackie,” Sara sighed as she laid a hand on his chest keeping that connection alive between them.

            Of course, it wasn’t long before a six year old and a six month old started to demand their attention. Laughing they slowly extricated themselves from each other, threw on some clothes and started their day. Before they left the bedroom Jackie took Sara in his arms and kissed her softly, gently. He rubbed his lips across hers then pressed them once again before pulling reluctantly away.

            “I’m not leaving you again Sara. I don’t think I even could. You love me even knowing what kind of man I am and that is a gift I won’t ever abuse.”

            Sara smiled as she laid a hand on his chest. “I think we were meant to be Jackie. We just had to finally get here.” She stroked his cheek knowing that he was it for her. No one would ever compare.

            They both knew in that moment that they could weather anything that came their way. They were stronger together and the bond just proved that they were meant to be.