A section to comment on the Awakening series. You may find polls here, secrets answered, character bios–I’m not sure exactly yet. Please, if you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them!
As his heart slowed and the last hazes of lust left him, Evan started to feel nervous. He hadn’t seen Sebastian in years and now that he was seeing his uncle again he looked an absolute mess. Frustrated, he began pulling at his clothes, trying to get them in some sort of order. He even put his jacket and cloak on just so he could hide the torn state of his shirt and the wrinkles in his slacks.
Sebastian had taken Evan in when he was small and his mother had just disappeared. It had been great, of what he could remember. Out of all his relatives, Sebastian was his favorite even though he barely saw the man.
Sebastian was in the Guard, a military force of sorcerers. Beverly had been in the Guard too, but while she had only been a lowly soldier with little magical ability, Sebastian was among the notorious Nightbringers, an elite force of sorcerers that were unmatched by any other human and even some fae. Evan was very proud of Sebastian’s abilities even though he hated the Council of Sages that controlled the man.
His uncle had been his first taste of what those with power took. Alone with no father and a missing mother, Evan would always hate the Council that chose to take his Sebastian away from him. They had felt child rearing less important to his uncle’s duty of fighting, stealing and killing in their name. That they had also kept Sebastian from his quest to find his sister Cecilia, Evan’s mother, had been nearly as devastating. Sebastian had been certain she lived somewhere.
Brooding, Evan shook his head angrily but the bitterness wouldn’t abate. No, he had few nice thoughts when it came to the sorcerers that ran the magical world. And now he was in the Hierarchy, the place where those sorcerers were forged. The irony was not lost on him.
Nicholas sighed as the blond again tried to make his tie look anything but bedraggled. Evan was about to fold it up into his pocket when a wave of magic hit him, stopping him cold. His clothing gave a shudder, the material reforming, wrinkles smoothing out, buttons back in place and immaculate.
Hissing, Evan whirled on the elf, anger tight in his form. “That’s not okay. Don’t just spell me!”
Unmoved, Nicholas just raised an eyebrow. “If I wanted to kill you, I would have done it already. I’m an elf, not a savage.”
Scowling, Evan tried to see it rationally, but all he could hear was Beverly’s voice warning him to never let his guard down around the fae. Sure, it looked like a simple repairing spell, but for all he knew the kid was… What? Trying to kill him by cleaning his clothes? Evan really didn’t have the paranoia or experience that his cousin Beverly had when it came to these sorts of things.
“So, what, you’re in the Guard, then?” Evan gritted out, taking the last turn down the hallway, the Hall of Beasts coming into view where he had first arrived on the campus.
Nicholas shook his head sharply, his sleek auburn hair brushing long strands across his face. “I’m as young as I look, not some ancient, sweet-faced fae. I’m still in training with the Hierarchy.” Considering a moment, he held his hand out to Evan, his frown only slightly grim. “Nicholas Taxus of the Regal Sighe Clan from the Arc Fault. I did not feel comfortable introducing myself properly back there. I’ve been loaned to the Hierarchy so that I can learn more of your human ways.”
“Oh.” Evan shook the boy’s hand gingerly, magic shooting up his arm from the simple touch. “But you’re dressed like a sorcerer. I thought you would have dressed like your Clan…” He trailed off at the boy’s haughty look. Apparently he couldn’t say anything right without sounding like an idiot.
“At the Hierarchy, all types of beings travel through every day. It’s important I’m recognized as a scholar with the school. Otherwise…” Nicholas tilted his head back the way they had come, his expression hard.
Otherwise he might have to worry about brawling with a visiting incubus like Devlan, Evan realized after a moment of thought.
“So your kind still don’t like incubi?” Evan queried, watching the boy stiffen. “Wasn’t that war ages ago?”
“We have very long lifespans,” Nicholas said, as if that explained it all. But Nicholas was young, no more than eighteen, and to the best of Evan’s knowledge, the same was true of Devlan. Neither of them would have fought in the war.
“Are you fighting now?” There wasn’t a lot of news from the Arc Fault. Maybe that would explain the elf’s anger.
Glancing Evan’s way, Nicholas gave a curt shake to his head. “The incubi are… difficult.” He didn’t seem to be willing to explain more, his eyes staring straight ahead as they walked, ignoring the beautiful statues of mythical beasts as they passed.
Evan took the time to look, having missed many of the carved works because of his rush to get to orientation. He wasn’t in a rush now, feeling a shadow of foreboding at the prospect of seeing Sebastian again. It was always a wonder if his uncle’s letter would be the last, a stray spell, sword, or bullet finally taking the man down and permanently away from him. Somehow, seeing him in person made him feel just how real it would be to lose the man as well.
He had forgotten that the elves and incubi had once been at war. It had happened hundreds of years ago right before the Providence Treaty, a dispute between the fae races on territory that had gotten out of hand. Evan only knew because of Beverly’s insistence—The woman was obsessed with the Arc Fault and its history. The war had been two different sides fighting for territory instead of dealing with the encroaching human forces led by the Possessed. She had explained just how damning the conflict had been for the fae over five hundred years ago, yet it had also paved the way for the fae sorcerer relations they now had.
Both the elves and incubi had been nearly wiped out, the ancient, powerful races killed by each other far more efficiently than any outside force. While the two prominent races warred on the continent, the Arc Fault had been on the verge of being conquered by sorcerers and ravaged by the Unnamed One’s Possessed soldiers—men and women turned into nothing more than empty husks as they did the bidding of a higher being.
No one really knew just what the hell the Unnamed One wanted with the Arc Fault, but each time it showed up, it targeted the Gate to the Outer Realms, the only portal on the planet that led out into the Fae realm. Because of the potential fall of the Gate, the elves and incubi forced a hault to their warring, banding together to stop the Possessed. The humans that had not been possessed but seeking to stop their demented colleagues had thought to take the Arc Fault for themselves until a treaty was finally brokered with the fae.
But the Providence Treaty had only been signed by the humans and the elves, the incubi too wary of the foreign sorcerers. The elves recovered faster because of the help the Treaty offered, gaining more territory and wealth while the incubi struggled to regain their standing. Five hundred years later, the incubi were still being overshadowed by the elves, their numbers mysteriously culled by shadowy events while the elves flourished and ruled the Arc Fault, the last of the pure fae land left on Earth.
It was the only land left unpolluted, protected by the magic it held within its very soil and deep below the Earth’s crust. Located in Antarctica, the fringes were well loved vacation spots where humans and fae mingled without incident. The islands had magically controlled weather with few predators and had been gifted as a compromise by the Regents, the ruling class of elven fae, to dull the anger of the Arc Fault being closed to outsiders. Even now, the fae would not allow humans, sorcerers or not, into the fae land.
Beverly, Sebastian and Cecilia’s war had been in defense of that magical land from the Unnamed One and its Possessed. It was a war that never seemed to end, just pause as new victims found their hearts filled with enough darkness to be possessed by the ancient power that sought to own the Gate to the Outer Realms.
Five hundred years ago when the treaty was signed, no human had understood just how essential it was for the Arc Fault to remain intact. They had not even known the Outer Realms existed or had thought to fear what might step through from the other side. The fae had known, enough to stop a heated war between their own when the Gate was targeted.
No human had ever stepped outside their realm of existence—It is said that to even attempt it would be instant death in the inhospitable environment. But the fae had once come from the Gate, had once mated with humans long ago and gifted them with the ability to use magic. To damage, or worse, destroy the two Gates to the Outer Realms would be to risk unhinging the Earth from its gravitational rotation and killing them all.
Their was a northern Gate on Foil Island, 50 miles from the pole and was said to be inert, the magic from the Outer Realms no longer connected. The Council of Sages had taken it over, a magical barrier keeping them and any others from accessing the portal. But the southern Gate in the Arc Fault was said to still be active and guarded fiercely. Whatever the Unnamed One was that controlled the Possessed, it wanted access to the Gate. To leave or to allow something in, no one knew. The fae were certain it would be devastating for the Earth, whatever it was.
Not that that was the reason the Council of Sages gave for defending the Gate and sending soldiers like Beverly off to war against a creature so powerful it could control unwilling armies at a time. No, it was all about keeping the strained relations between the Regents and the Council of Sages from finally snapping.
Sorcerers liked to pretend they were all powerful but against a continent full of fae they were nothing more than children playing with fire. Among the powerless null humans there was a lot of fear towards the fae, the strange beings that looked and acted so different, always stronger, faster with so much power. That fear had lead to some humans calling to attack the Arc Fault with bombs and missiles hoping to strike first before the fae could conquer them as a history of humanity had conquered their own.
It didn’t matter that all sorcerers had fae blood in them, the only reason they could do magic in the first place. It also didn’t seem to matter that at this point likely no fae existed on Earth that didn’t also have human blood flowing in their veins as well. Some fae and humans only saw their differences and held fear and hatred for those not like them.
Finding elves like Nicholas in a place of power like the Hierarchy probably wasn’t that uncommon a thing. Beverly would have called it a strategic political attempt to keep the peace. Except, Evan was pretty sure Nicholas had little skill in keeping any kind of peace given the elf’s attitude.
“Are you a prince?” Evan asked curiously as they reached the portal. He had never met an elf, nor one of the Regents. Rulers were said to be ruthless even among their own. Serena, the girl at the desk, was still there, her plastic smile looking a bit wilted at the edges as she caught sight of Nicholas. Either she had trouble with fae or just trouble with the elf—The boy was caustic, to say the least.
“Don’t be foolish,” Nicholas snapped, ignoring the girl and approaching the large mirror floating in midair. Evan just shrugged and followed. He didn’t think he was being foolish.
Nicholas didn’t seem interested in chatting—the guy seemed to have a stick up his ass. Maybe he didn’t like having to talk to humans. Evan had heard that was a thing among the fae from the Arc Fault. The area was so large they had the luxury and the magic to isolate from human beings unlike other clans that lived in less large but still human adjacent areas of the globe.
“I’m not of the Regents and have little interest in joining,” Nicholas disclosed after a terse moment. “So they had no problem sending me to this godforsaken school to be surrounded by you nearly null humans and extremely lewd, backwater fae.”
Evan again felt a flare of annoyance at Nicholas’ attitude towards the lust creatures. “You know, just because they’re different from you doesn’t mean you’re better than them. You’re going to have a hell of a time trying to get along with anyone if you keep insulting strangers you just met.”
Turning and raising his head to meet the taller boy’s eyes, Nicholas said flatly, “Maybe I’d pretend to care if you weren’t the least powerful things I’ve come across so far, human. Let’s be done with this; I have better things to be doing.”
Deciding to ignore the boy, Evan gritted his teeth. What the fuck did he care if the kid wanted to hate every person he met just because they didn’t have some level of power to reach his criteria of worth? If he had his own way, he never would have ended up in a school like this with a fae like Nicholas to begin with. He probably hated people with power as much as the elf did of those without.
The portal gave a shimmer when the elf raised his arm, Evan’s reflections shifting and the room behind them slowly fading from view. Before them another room slowly appeared, an arrival chamber in another part of the campus coming into crisp focus.
Evan didn’t travel by portal often. Although extremely convenient and not requiring any magic on the traveler’s part when the mirror was enchanted, it was also very dangerous—Or so Beverly insisted. He had never feared falling through the surface of a lake, or puddle for that matter, and being stolen away by ravenous elementals. He also didn’t think much of being hijacked when stepping through a portal, some powerful sorcerer spelling things so the traveler could end up in an unintended room or attacked mid-jump. But these were the things that plagued Beverly and kept the woman from installing a portal in the house no matter how many times Stephan would point out how inconvenient it was to go without.
Nicholas waved his arm forward, unwilling to step through until he knew Evan was going to accompany him. The smell of ozone strong in his nose, Evan stepped forward, falling through the mirror.
Sebastian looked the same as always. Tall, beautiful, and casually immaculate, his jaw bristly with his goatee, long sleek blue-black hair thrown over his shoulder carelessly but in such a way that looked perfect. Half his head was shaved down to the scalp, the flesh tattooed with an elaborate symbol of the fae warrior goddess that protected his bloodline. The ink was blue just like Sebastian’s eyes; blue, sharp and with a touch of death from beneath heavy dark eyebrows and even darker lashes. Today he was dressed in his Nightbringer’s coat, the long oily-black dragonhide jacket reaching to his boots, the collar high and making Evan’s uncle look more an aristocrat than an assassin sorcerer.
It was almost alarming finding the man in an opulent office in the Hierarchy. Not that he didn’t look like he belonged, so much as it just highlighted how Evan had only ever thought of the man as his uncle, rarely seeing him in the places of power he protected daily. He would never dare tell Sebastian that he thought the man was a pawn to his work although his uncle might say as much in muttering passing. Sebastian believed in what he did even if someone was telling him to do it at the time.
“Evanel.” Straightening from his casual sprawl against the large oak desk where he had been chatting with the other occupant of the room, Sebastian looked close to tears once catching sight of his nephew. He had been that way the last time he’d visited, Antoinette having gone off to college and Sebastian stopping in to wish her well. He was the only one Evan didn’t mind saying his full name; the man was always so gruff and emotional, it was hard to care.
“Uncle Seb, you’re hurt,” Evan noticed with a start, his eyes falling to the tattoo on the side of Sebastian’s head symbolizing Scya. A scar now ran across the thin flesh of his scalp, nearly cutting the image in half.
“It’s nothing,” Sebastian assured, crossing the distance and pulling the boy into a big hug, his long hair tickling Evan’s face. He returned the embrace gingerly, worry tightening his stomach. It wasn’t nothing. Sebastian was an Elite warrior with training among the fae of the Arc Fault. To not be able to heal the wound away, to allow his symbol of the warrior goddess of their bloodline to be tarnished in such a way… It wasn’t nothing.
“You’re shorter,” Evan whispered hollowly, holding Sebastian tighter just in case it was the last time. The man’s job was dangerous and today Evan was certain his uncle was truly mortal.
“Nah, kid, you’re just a shit ton taller.” Pulling away, he gave the blond an accessing look. “Any particular reason you reek of incubus?”
Blushing scarlet, Evan broke into a fit of coughing. He had forgotten just how sensitive his uncle’s nose was. Sebastian might look human enough even with his outlandish hairstyle, but his extreme power came from his fae blood. The man had no fangs or claws but it didn’t mean his senses weren’t as sharp as the lust creatures that Evan had been practically assaulted by.
“He had an incident,” Nicholas interjected with a disapproving tone. “I found him being fed off of by an incubus while three other lust creatures from his class watched.”
Glaring at Nicholas, Evan turned to his uncle, trying to find the words to explain it wasn’t really as bad as it sounded. At least, that part hadn’t been.
Sebastian raised an eyebrow, having suspected his nephew preferred men for a while now. “Kinky. Sorry to pull you away from your fun.”
“It wasn’t…” Sighing, Evan couldn’t stop his grin. Sebastian was his favorite for a reason.
“Oh, I should introduce you to my good friend, Cory,” Sebastian said smoothly, stepping back and waving to the man at the desk. “Or I suppose, Master Cornelius Wilde, if you’re feeling very formal. Come meet my favorite, and coincidentally, only nephew.”
Evan had to bite his smile back when the sorcerer stood from his desk, the contrast between Sebastian and Cory striking. Cornelius looked much more how Evan imagined a proper warrior of sorcery to look. Sebastian was just too willowy and aristocratic featured to seem a real danger. Cornelius’s tallish frame was muscular and covered with a skew of silvery scars. He was dressed like a professor, if not a bit lazily, no tie to be seen, shirtfront half tucked, robe thrown over his chair, not to mention he wasn’t wearing any shoes. His dark blond hair framed his handsome face and fell across his eyes, short and mussed as if the man had just rolled out of bed and into his office.
“Don’t mind him,” Sebastian said when he caught Evan staring at Cornelius’s bare feet. “Cory is all glamours. He’s a fae under all that concealing magic and you know how most of them are about shoes.”
Evan nodded silently, holding his hand out to the blond when he approached. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Evan. Bast has told me a lot about you. As you can imagine, he’s excited to hear you’re coming to his old school.” Cornelius had a very wide, friendly smile, fangs glamoured away to keep humans at ease in his presence. Sleeves rolled up on his arms, Evan couldn’t help but stare at the man’s golden skin covered in thin slashes.
“If you can glamour…”
“Some things are better left out in the open,” Cornelius said simply but there was a fierceness in his warm, orange tinted eyes that gave Evan pause.
“Were you in the war with my uncle?” He finally asked, breaking from the man’s strong handshake.
“Of a sorts. Fae weren’t allowed to fight alongside the humans back then.” He glanced over to Sebastian, the brunette nodding his assent to his next words. “I met Bast on the Arc Fault while defending the Gate. Your uncle was very tenacious in his duty. He saved my life.”
“Only after Cory saved mine first,” Sebastian reminded gruffly.
“Sorry to interrupt, Master Wilde, but I’d like to go if you no longer need me,” Nicholas broke in, his mouth set in a grim line.
Evan could understand now why Nicholas was apprenticing for Cornelius; the man was a fae well adapted to live among humans, something the elf clearly struggled with.
“A little more of your time, Nicholas,” Cornelius said, his voice soft but with an edge of command. The boy scowled and folded his arms over his chest. He made no move to sit, Evan wondering if the elf would be petulant the entire time.
“I suppose I should get to the point of my visit,” Sebastian said, fixing Evan with a pointed look. “Your exritus is coming up.”
Stiffening, Evan exhaled sharply. “It’s hardly something I’ll need to worry about.”
Snorting, Sebastian grabbed his nephew by his shoulder. “Let’s see your back. I can tell from here; seventeen years and her magic is fading. The seal is weakening.”
Meeting Sebastian’s piercing gaze, Evan relented, turning and shrugging out of his robe. “I feel the same,” he muttered, paling when his shirt was pushed up. He had not told his uncle about Stephan’s new habit of beating the shit out of him when the man blissed out. Sebastian was busy trying to stay alive while killing whoever was unlucky enough to be placed in the assassin’s sights. His situation was nothing in comparison. Evan knew it now, having seen just how dangerous people were that ended up at the Hierarchy.
Hissing lowly when the boy’s scarred flesh came into sight, Sebastian laid his large hand flat on Evan’s back. “Beverly?”
“Like fuck,” Evan said with a huff. Beverly didn’t care enough to beat him.
Warmth rushed out from his uncle’s hand, moving over Evan’s back in a soothing wave. But it was just a tingling heat. The spell had no effect, Sebastian grunting as the boy’s flesh remained marred in front of him. Looking meaningfully over to Cornelius, he stepped back, the master sorcerer taking the Nightbringer’s spot to place his hand to the center of Evan’s back.
Nicholas made a choked noise of surprise when Cornelius’s spell failed as well. “There’s no reason that shouldn’t work. He’s a null. What the hell could combat the magic?”
“The seal is nearly broken, Evanel,” Sebastian muttered, reaching over and pulling Evan’s shirt down abruptly and wrapping the boy’s robe over his shoulders. “Cecilia’s magic is nearly gone, just as she had warned me would happen when she sealed you all those years ago. Be careful this summer. Your power is awakening and who the hell knows what that will bring.”
Staring resolutely at his feet, Evan didn’t say anything. Sebastian had told him that right before Cecilia had disappeared, she had asked her brother to help her with a spell. She had been desperate, nearly rabid and had made the spell by hand, needing her brother’s extra power to complete it. What the spell’s full intention was, Sebastian hadn’t known, but his sister had insisted it was to seal her baby’s powers away to keep Evan safe as long as possible. But Evan could remember feeling magic when he was younger before Stephan Grock had graced his life, so he wasn’t sure if his mother had been truthful.
Unfortunately, Cecilia wasn’t around to ask. That the seal had faded, it likely meant his mother was dead after all and never to answer questions again.
It shouldn’t have been such a blow; Sebastian had told him how he had felt his sister’s presence suddenly snuff from his awareness one day years after she had disappeared. He had not stopped promising Evan that he was looking but a fire had died in the man’s eyes. Still, Evan felt a fresh wave of sorrow, his mother’s magic soon to be no longer with him.
No one knew of the seal but him and Sebastian. Even Beverly was in the dark and, thankfully, so was Stephan. Evan hadn’t thought much of it in recent years, just glad he had a way to hide his power. Now… Now it seemed terrifying, his exritus looming before him and no way to know who he would be by the end of it.
Turning to meet his uncle’s sharp gaze, Evan asked quietly, “Will it be my father’s blood?”
“I don’t know,” Sebastian answered truthfully. “It could be your mother’s ancient fae blood that awakens like many during their exritus. It could be the goddess Scya that empowers you, as she did myself and Cecilia. Perhaps Silens; his blood runs through our family, stronger with the Tranza like Beverly.”
Evan nodded dully, feeling hollow inside. It wasn’t that he feared the fae, although some were worth fearing. He didn’t care if he ended up terrifying or strange looking, or even beautiful like his uncle. He didn’t want to be like Sebastian. The man was full of so much magic that he had to kill for a living to keep those that manipulated him from deciding he was too dangerous to let live. Sebastian’s reasons for his job were as much self-preservation as what the job itself entailed.
Sighing at Evan’s expression, Sebastian clasped the boy on the shoulder. “It’s not worth fretting over. We’ll do our best to prepare you.”
“We?” Pulled from his dark thoughts, Evan stared up at his uncle in confusion. Sebastian was a Nightbringer in the Guard. There was no way he’d be able to find the time to assist him during his exritus. It wasn’t like you could plan the exact day or anything, and the process could sometimes take weeks.
“I bought a house,” Sebastian disclosed with a small grin. “You’re an adult now, and it’s not like I’ll need to be following you around to make sure you’re not eating rocks or falling into wells. I’ll still be away a lot of the time, coming in at all hours of the night and day,” he added gruffly, shifting from foot to foot. “But you’ll have a stable home, food, and a portal to get you to school and back. There’s a huge bedroom with your name on it, Ev… If you want it.”
Evan was at a loss, something inside wrenching painfully at his uncle’s words. It had to be a dream. He had always dreamed but never allowed himself to actually hope of living again with his uncle. They had been the best years of his life, ones he could barely remember now and wanted back desperately.
“When? T-Today?” He asked shakily, his mind a whirl. He was going to live with Sebastian. No more paranoid, unfeeling Beverly or fucked up Stephan Grock. No more being afraid to relax in his own home, wondering when it would all go to shit. No more—
“Not that soon,” Sebastian said carefully, watching Evan’s expression. “The start of the school year.” Something seemed to crumple in the blond, Sebastian adding hastily, “It’s just a couple of months, that’s all. Your exritus shouldn’t start until after your birthday.”
“In June,” Evan whispered, flinching from the rawness in his own voice. Fuck. He stepped away and turned, glaring unseeingly at the floor.
The school year didn’t start until the end of August. Not only had Sebastian forgotten his birthday, but now he was facing another summer with Stephan. Fuck. This time while enrolled in the fucking Hierarchy, his seal nearly broken, and with enough magical power showing to draw a pack of lust creatures to him. The warlock was going to be furious.
“I have a mission, Ev. If I could move you in before it, I would, but there just isn’t time.” Sebastian gently turned the boy by his shoulders, looking down into his dark eyes. “If you can’t reach me when your exritus starts, I want you to call Cory. He’s more than happy to guide you through it. That’s part of the reason I called you down here.” He gave a small smile that Evan couldn’t match. “You made it to the Hierarchy, kid. You’re powerful and we’re going to do what we can to make sure you don’t end up going the wrong way because of it.”
The heat of Sebastian’s affection was threatening to warm Evan’s heart but it couldn’t quite reach. It felt eighteen years too late. One more summer too late. But he nodded to acknowledge his uncle’s words and to thank Master Wilde for offering his assistance.
Once summer came and his exritus started, there was no way Beverly would allow a portal for visitors. No way Stephan would let a strange sorcerer, fae at that, into the house to help Evan. If his exritus went bad—if he was disfigured in the transformation or started bleeding internally—there would be no one but Beverly. Evan had little faith the woman would do much to keep him from dying.
“I should get back to the tour.” Pulling away, Evan gave a quick nod to Cornelius. “It was nice to meet you, sir.” Avoiding Sebastian’s eye, he headed for the door, his throat feeling tight and legs stiff.
Falling motionless in front of the door, he couldn’t bring himself to turn. He heard Sebastian walk up behind him, the man sighing heavily.
“It’s going to be different. Better. I promise, Ev.”
Evan nodded, stone-faced and unable to speak. It shouldn’t matter. Half an hour ago he hadn’t even been thinking of Sebastian, hadn’t had any hope that his summer would be different. That he had let himself have that small hope had ruined everything and it was his own fault for wishing for something better in the first place.
“But if you’d rather, I can pay for a place of your own. Maybe in the dorms or—”
“No!” Whirling, Evan kept himself from actually shoving the man, instead grabbing Sebastian’s biceps. “That’s not what I want. I want to live with you,” he whispered furiously, glaring up at his uncle.
“Good,” Sebastian said, swiftly reaching up and pulling Evan’s hand free so he could then place something in it. “You’ll need this. A portal key to our new home.”
Staring down at the rectangular piece of marble, 37 Crescent Drive inscribed into the stone, Evan fought back tears.
“I know I wasn’t much of a guardian, Evanel. Sure as fuck would never make a proper father, that’s for sure. But if you don’t mind living with an old bachelor that comes in reeking of blood on most occasions, I’d be really happy to try and be a family.”
Nope, he was definitely crying, tears blurring his eyes, one fat drop landing on his hand. He didn’t struggle when Sebastian pulled him into another hug, the man’s coat perfect to hide his face in.
“It’s just a few months. I’ll be back in no time and we can get your room set up however you like. Then, once you get a few classes under your belt at the Hierarchy, I’ll show you how to do some fancy magic,” Sebastian muffled into Evan’s hair, not letting the boy go for long moments.
Eventually pulling away, Evan wiped his wet cheek with the back of his sleeve. “I don’t want to learn magic, Uncle Seb. I don’t want any of this.”
Staring at the boy calculatingly, Sebastian finally answered, “You’re not going to be like Beverly. And you don’t have to do the things I do—What it takes to be a Nightbringer is beyond most people’s abilities, and I’m not just talking magically. This is who you are, Evanel, even if you don’t understand just exactly what that means yet. Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t let anyone else ruin it for you.”
Evan nodded dully, having no good reply. Magic wasn’t who he was. This world wasn’t where he belonged.
“You’ll see once you have your exritus. It gets a bit confusing around this time, I remember.” Smiling wanly, Sebastian nodded his head towards Cornelius, who was giving the two space to talk while Nicholas looked about ready to jump out one of the large windows in boredom. “Cory sees it all the time with the new graduates coming in each year. You guys get a bit loopy with all that new magic in your bodies. Like a second puberty but with fangs and claws. First year is always the hardest.”
Looking over to where Cornelius was sitting quietly, the man riffling through a newspaper with mild interest, Evan had a sudden thought. “Are you two… you know. Together?” Sebastian never dated, at least, nothing serious enough that he felt the need to tell his nephew about it in his letters. He couldn’t help but think maybe his uncle’s old friend was a little bit more.
“Once, a long time ago. He had too much sense to wait around for an unreliable ass like me.” Sebastian glanced Cornelius’s way, his expression masked. “But he’s the most trustworthy man I know, Ev. You can rely on him for anything, especially at school. He’s seen more than a fair share of exrituses and he knows what to do. Just in case I can’t…”
“Is your mission dangerous?”
Sebastian nodded, his eyes hard. All Nightbringers were spelled to secrecy. Even if he had wanted to, he wouldn’t be able to tell Evan his mission. “It’s important. Bigger than the things I want out of life, otherwise nothing would make me miss your exritus. But I’m still going to make sure you’re set, kid. And who knows? Sometimes they come late. Mine was nearly a year after my eighteenth.”
Evan bit his lip, nodding tentatively. “I’m sorry I, well… I do want to live with you, Sebastian. More than anything. Just…” He swallowed, trying to fight the sorrow inside.
“Just waiting totally sucks. I know, kid.” Clapping his hand on Evan’s shoulder, Sebastian pulled the boy away from the door. “I was going to grab something to eat before I headed out. You hungry?”
After his insane morning, Evan could readily agree he was more than a little hungry.
“Good. I’ll just let Cory know and we can—”
“He can come, too,” Evan offered. “I don’t mind.” Sebastian rarely had free time and if Cornelius had been someone big in his uncle’s life at one point, Evan didn’t want to shorten their time together.
Raising his eyebrows, Sebastian nodded after a moment. “Alright. What about you, elf?” He asked Nicholas, the elf huffing at the idea of being dragged into lunch with the three of them next.
“Nicholas will be joining us,” Cornelius said, giving the boy a warning glare when he looked ready to protest. “Eating among humans is one of his more difficult adaptions.”
“If they wouldn’t chew with their mouths open,” Nicholas muttered to no one in particular, standing aside while the master sorcerer grabbed a pair of boots from under his desk and pulled them on.
“Do they care so much if you go barefoot around here?” Evan asked, curious why the professor would bother when he could just spell a glamor of boots on his feet.
“Part of deception is living the illusion,” Cornelius explained. “It’s easy enough to walk into enemy territory but the only way to truly look as if you belong is to quite literally walk in their shoes.”
It sounded too much like something Beverly would say. Evan wondered if everyone that had fought the Possessed were like that, years later just expecting the war to come again and them to be called back to the Arc Fault to fight. Cornelius was a teacher among sorcerers but he still did things as if he were waiting for bloodshed. And Sebastian… Well, he hadn’t stopped at all, had he? He was still fighting in the name of the Council of Sages, even if his targets were much smaller.
Hands buried in his pockets, Evan followed the men and elf out the office door, his thoughts too many to count at the moment. In his hand he still gripped the portal key that Sebastian had gifted him. It had been a good day. No matter all the strangeness and high emotion, and that very long unending second when he was certain he was going to be eaten by Asher. He was going to live with Sebastian and that made up for everything.
Once Sebastian left after they all shared lunch, Evan found he couldn’t focus. Not on the things Master Wilde wanted him to know in preparation for his exritus or the many things Nicholas felt the need to talk to him about when Cornelius insisted Evan share the elf’s dorm for the evening. Sebastian had a habit of moving through Evan’s life like a hurricane and this time was no different. All Evan could do was try to process now that his uncle was gone.
Nicholas, surprisingly, seemed just as impressed by Sebastian Reed as Evan tried not to be. As an elf of the Arc Fault, Nicholas had grown up with stories of the Nightbringers, the only group of humans skilled enough to be allowed entry to the continent during the Gate’s defense. They had fought side by side with the fae while other lesser humans had died to the possessed.
“I knew Master Wilde had fought in the war,” Nicholas continued, trying to draw Evan into conversation about his uncle. “But it’s kind of expected. You know, him being kind of like an ambassador at the Hierarchy. He’s very good at it; Master Wilde could train a person in sorcery or battle and they’d probably be the best by the end of it. But a real Nightbringer…” He glanced over to where Evan was staring at a painting, the two of them currently exploring the rest of the Magical Arts building. “You must be really proud of him.”
Evan nodded mutely. He was very proud of Sebastian for managing to not be dead or fucked in the head like most every other adult he knew that had been in the war with the possessed. He still would have preferred the man just be around to be his uncle. “Is Master Wilde an elf like you?” He asked, hoping to deter the boy from his hero worshiping.
“Gods, no. Ha!” Nicholas swept his gaze around the empty hall for good measure before tilting his head and whispering to the blond. “Master Wilde picked his name because he’s quite literally ‘wild.’ He’s not from any proper clan on the Arc Fault.”
At Evan’s blank look, Nicholas elaborated with an exasperated sigh, his voice pitched even lower. “It’s not really respectable to say, you see, where I’m from. You have those in Clans, like the elves and we’re very civilized. We have homes, communities, indoor plumbing… Laws,” he emphasized softly.
“What, like he’s homeless or something?” Evan asked, having no idea what the boy was talking about.
“No, he has a place to live. Probably a cave or something,” Nicholas said with a wave to his hand. “There’s are plenty of Tribes on Arc Fault with his type. They have no proper alignment or community and they don’t ever want to do anything useful besides hunt and sleep. They’re friendly enough when you don’t cross into their hunting grounds. But they have no regard for proper Clans, don’t care that the Regents rule or anything. They don’t listen to anyone.”
Fairly certain Nicholas was going on about things that really didn’t mean much to him, Evan tried again. “So if he’s not an elf, he’s an incubus?”
Huffing, Nicholas folded his arms over his chest. “Does he strike you as an incubus?” He asked tightly, looking at Evan as if he had only just realized how ignorant the boy was.
“I’m just trying to figure out if he’s like you or not.” Completely exasperated at this point, Evan whirled from the painting of some immortal fae and started walking away.
Following after the boy, Nicholas took a moment before answering. “Master Wilde doesn’t have a Clan so he doesn’t have a Clan name. I’m from the Regal Sighe Clan of elves and there are hundreds of us and we all have similar looks and magic. It’s not the same with Tribes. Even his own relatives will look different from him. They’re all unique so we just name them by their greatest Fae blood.”
“You mean their Fae ancestor? Like Sebastian’s tattoo of Scya?”
Nicholas nodded. “He probably learned of the custom from Master Wilde. He’s a fae descended from Dane. The Fae god Dane was said to be very fierce, very powerful and all his descendants are the same. Many are great warriors in his name. Master Wilde helped protect the Gate and he was integral in stopping the possessed. The Regents honored him for it after but he wasn’t interested in any of that kind of stuff, he just wanted to go back to the forest. I think the only reason he joined the Hierarchy was because of some war-hero he knew was attending here…”
Evan glanced over at the boy, Nicholas rolling his eyes as he put it together. “Your uncle is pretty badass,” the elf mumbled. “Not many humans can do the stuff he can do. And the fae that can, well, they’re usually like Master Wilde. Full of the forest and too raw and untamed to be around proper people.”
“Cory seems fine around people,” Evan said in defense of the man. “Out of all the teachers I’ve met today, he’s been the coolest. That Trundy guy was a total dick. And Master Fellet? Talk about creepy.”
“Master Fellet is a well-respected sorcerer.”
“Yeah, for a fucking creep.” Evan gave the boy a long side glance. “You’re lucky to have Master Wilde to teach you.”
Grunting, Nicholas kept his head down, his shiny auburn locks sweeping his shoulders. “He won’t teach me how to fight. Says I’m too obsessed about structure—Which is just stupid,” he snarled, his eyes flashing. “He’s the only fae here that’s been in the war and he won’t teach me a damn proper thing. Like I’m supposed to let some stupid human teach me how to fight?”
Blinking at the bitterness in the boy’s voice, Evan kept quiet. He had no idea how the fae and humans differed in fighting. But Nicholas had just been saying stuff about how Master Wilde was some sort of backwater, primitive fae, so it didn’t make a lot of sense that he’d want the man to teach him to fight if he didn’t even respect him.
“What are you looking to fight?” Evan finally asked, his curiosity too great. “Are they fighting where you’re from?”
“No.” Nicholas tossed his head back, his expression haughty. “It’s important that all fae know how to fight. Even the most well spoken fae are also warriors. We’re taught when we’re very young how to hunt and defend ourselves.”
“But you don’t know how?”
His eyes narrowed, Nicholas shook his head sharply. “My father died defending the Gate. My mother sent me to live with relatives, most of them too old and withered to teach me to fight. I had hoped to learn last summer but instead my family decided I was to move here. For the good of the Clan.” He snorted humorlessly, a bitterness to the twist of his lips. “I had hoped Master Wilde would teach me… But I seem to fail at all my tasks these days.” Sighing to himself, he led Evan out into the late afternoon light, green and unseasonably warm weather surrounding them in the gardens.
“I can show you the stadium if you want. It’s really popular.” Nicholas pointed down the field, a tall copper domed building seen straight ahead through the trees. “More statues, too.”
“Fine.” He fell in step beside the elf. He was feeling tired still, the day slipping away in a blur. “Did he say he’d never teach you, or that he wouldn’t teach you now?” Evan had a feeling Cornelius had good reason to not teach Nicholas.
“He might as well have said forever,” Nicholas snapped. “He said as long as I insist on being so obsessed with structure and caught up with the Clans, he won’t teach me. But how else am I supposed to be? I can’t just not be an elf,” the boy griped. “I can’t just open my arms to every incubus that comes skipping in or powerless human. I have to have some standards.”
Yeah, plenty of good reasons. Evan didn’t want to think of Nicholas’ haughty attitude being backed up not just with magic but an ability to slice someone through with a sword too. He was growing to like Sebastian’s old friend the more he learned of Cornelius.
Stopping in front of the shining, domed building, Evan stared up at the carvings of winged beings on the roof where copper met limestone. He wanted to call them angels but knew better, their forms varied, some long and twisted, others perfectly beautiful while among them crouched their monstrous brethren. He had already found three other depictions of the Exault at the Hierarchy so far. The deadly winged army of the fae Moon God, they were both a warning and an enticement to all that used magic. The Exault were beautiful, shining and insane like the god they served and the deadly power he gifted.
Evan was not religious, nor were many sorcerers. Sebastian had tattooed Scya on his flesh to protect him in battle, but the man didn’t observe the gods more than that. Even the fae barely spoke of the gods except when speaking of their ancestry. They believed that the powerful fae that had sired their bloodlines still lived outside of their realm, ageless and immortal.
Beverly, unfortunately, believed something similar.
Evan recognized the Exault because they were another thing Beverly was terrified of. She allowed no depictions of angels and especially none of the more popular gods, the Children of Light. Young fae and sorcerers alike would go to bed to stories of the insane siblings and their quest to woo their beautiful brother, the moon. The mad gods would fall to Earth and destroy the land each time until the shadow faced brother finally descended and silenced them all with his love, bringing peace for a short while.
Beverly told the story different, her voice a mixture of reverence and fear and full of a terrible belief that made Evan feel ill whenever he heard it. When the shadow faced god descended, he was set upon by his brothers, torn to pieces and devoured. His sacrifice of flesh was the only way to pacify the insane gods that were the Children of Light.
Beverly was a believer. Of what, Evan could not really say. Just that she held a pendant of the shadow faced god around her neck, mumbling of the importance of the sacrifice of flesh whenever she remembered the war too well. That she feared the shining gods as if she expected their armies to take flight and hunt her down was just another sad quirk of the broken woman.
“Evan,” he corrected quietly, turning his gaze from the perfect, shining face of the nearest winged statue. He tried to shake away his feeling of unease. Beverly had been right in her many fears so far. He could only hope in this she was just plain crazy.
“Evan, why didn’t the spell work on you?” Nicholas asked, his brow furrowed as he thought back to before lunch. “I can’t stop thinking of it. It was a simple healing spell—Master Wilde is not one to fail, nor is a Nightbringer. Why didn’t it work?”
Forcing his gaze to the elf, Evan could only shrug. “I don’t like magic.”
“So?” Nicholas stared up at the boy in confusion.
“So, my seal is nearly gone and I don’t like magic.” Evan stepped through the archway, his eyes moving over the statues that were carved into the walls. There really wasn’t much point in trying to explain it to the elf. He didn’t fully understand it himself. It was something in his mind that when he went to peer close and discern it, it would skitter around his awareness just to fade into the background. He did not like magic and because of it, magic did not work on him unless the matter was forced.
“What happens when your seal is gone?” Nicholas asked, apparently unwilling to let the subject drop.
“I suppose I’ll no longer be sealed,” Evan replied flippantly, ignoring the scowl the boy sent his way. “How many incubi have you met?”
Huffing, Nicholas glared at the floor. “Three.”
“Any of them beat you up or something?” Evan pressed. “Or did all your old relatives just make you think you were supposed to hate them because they did?”
Nicholas continued to glare at the tile and Evan had a feeling he had guessed the kid’s problem. “You ever been kissed by an incubus?”
Growling warningly under his breath, the elf went to stalk past Evan. “Come on, there are trophies in the back.”
Smiling to himself, Evan followed after the angry boy. “Hey, don’t knock it until you try it. He’s a really good kisser.”
Nicholas gave another vicious growl, only proving that he was listening. Evan chuckled under his breath, feeling somewhat satisfied that he had found such an easy way to piss the boy off.
Evan awoke with a gasp, his eyes snapping open to stare blankly at the dimly lit ceiling. The moon was shining in through the blinds of the dormroom he was sharing with Nicholas, casting long lines over the elf’s curled up form on his bed. The room felt strangely quiet, foreign and too large. He couldn’t remember the last time he had slept outside of his room… Well, except when he ended up sleeping out in the yard to keep from running into Stephan.
He vaguely remembered falling asleep, his day having caught up to him with such an exhausting wave of dizziness he had barely made it to the bed Nicholas spelled for him. Now awake, the strangeness of the room with its odd smells and unfamiliar shadows left him feeling so out of place he couldn’t sleep.
His eyes falling shut, Evan let his dream slowly slip back in. Devlan’s odd amber eyes gazed out at him from the darkness of his mind. He suppressed a groan, his body tingling from the memory. What a pain. The incubus was waiting for him, hanging out in the gardens that surrounded the dormitory out back. His lashes fluttering open, Evan sat up slowly in bed, pushing the light sheet off of him as quietly as possible.
The dormitory was as normal a building as one could expect compared to the many ancient and luxurious stone palaces the rest of the Hierarchy was composed of. There were no statues or paintings in the hallways he walked through, likely because of the scars on the walls and floor speaking of magic gone wrong. Nicholas was on the top floor of the dormitory, apparently receiving some sort of honor with a larger room and whatnot because he was an Elite. Not every student had the privilege of apprenticing for one of the master sorcerers at the Hierarchy. The other kids seemed to think it was a big deal, looking up to the elf like he was a minor celebrity. Nicholas might have been a tight-ass but the boy still had power, something Evan was happy to ignore.
The air was still and cool when he stepped outside, the moon so bright that the soft orbs of light floating along the path were unnecessary. He tried not to think of just what the hell Devlan would want from him in the middle of the night. That he wanted to see the incubus was probably a problem all its own. After the way they had parted, Evan’s thoughts had strayed too many times to Devlan, from his annoying attitude to the firmness of his lips.
Even though the dormitory was devoid of art, he almost thought he had come across another statue in the garden when he first arrived and found Devlan leaning against a low wall. That was until the pale boy next to him moved, smoke blowing smoothly from his lips as Vesper exhaled a drag of his cigarette.
Swallowing with difficulty, Evan forced his legs to move forward even as two predatory gazes fixed on him. The two boys were beautiful in the moonlight, the night making them seem more otherworldly than before. Vesper’s eyes glowed cold fire even as Devlan’s glinted warm passion. Trouble, Evan decided. A whole lot of trouble. The hellspawn was nowhere to be seen and Devlan had called him out there through his dream.
“Wasn’t sure you’d show.” Devlan pushed himself off the wall, the tall boy back in his long leather trench coat, the buttons undone to reveal his shirtless, toned muscular chest and abs leading down to leather pants and boots.
“Yeah, well, it’s hard to ignore the guy whispering in your dreams,” Evan pointed out, stopping a few feet away from both boys. “Nice to see you’re no longer drooling on the floor.” He said it to Devlan but he couldn’t keep his eyes from moving to Vesper, the boy so still and silent and absolutely breathtaking.
Vesper looked the same as when Evan had last seen him, his straps of leather holding his blades on his otherwise bare, porcelain torso. He was still dressed in his ceremonial kilt and leather pants and boots. His white hair was loose, the long strands sparkling in the breeze. The boy looked made of the moonlight, beautiful and impassive. He was also staring back at Evan, gaze moving over the blond’s rumpled clothing and mussed hair intently. Evan wished he had his robe in that moment, suddenly feeling exposed even though he was the most dressed out of the three of them.
Devlan stepped forward, the brunette holding his hand out. Staring at it a moment, Evan reached out, letting the incubus pull him close. “You have beautiful eyes,” Devlan murmured, his lips brushing against the blond’s ear.
“You’re lame as fuck,” Evan grumbled back but didn’t pull away when the boy’s hot mouth attached to his jaw. The brunette held him by the bicep, tongue sliding slowly down the side of his neck. Evan gasped as Devlan nipped his throat, fire sparking through his body from the sharp pain. “Is this why you called me out here?” He asked unsteadily, his lashes fluttering shut when Devlan nipped him again, smooth lips immediately sucking on the sore spot after.
Fingers deftly moving down the front of Evan’s shirt, Devlan undid the blond’s top two buttons and reached for the next. “Can you blame me? We’re all leaving tomorrow morning and I won’t see you again for the entire summer.”
“So?” Evan swayed, Devlan pulling him tighter against his body, heat engulfing him when the brunette’s arms held him tight. He could feel the boy’s bare flesh against his back as he was situated within Devlan’s leather coat, lips still moving slowly down his neck. He was getting hard, Evan’s predicament growing worse when he blinked his eyes open to find Vesper watching him. The blond looked expressionless but there was a hunger in his ice blue depths as his gaze trailed down to where Devlan was pulling free the rest of his shirt buttons.
“I want to finish what we started, Reed,” Devlan murmured, his large hands finding their way under Evan’s shirt. “That you’re here makes me think you want that too.”
Biting his lip when hot hands stroked up his flat stomach and torso, Evan exhaled loudly. “And him?” He asked breathlessly, eyes flickering to the pale boy watching only feet away.
“Your chaperon for the night,” Devlan said with a snicker as he lapped a swatch on Evan’s neck, his mouth opened wide. “He wouldn’t let me call you unless he could make sure I’d behave.”
Evan wasn’t sure he was awake, his body too hot, mind feeling heavy and full of lust as he met Vesper’s haunting eyes again. Devlan’s touch was dizzying, the boy’s mouth wet and taunting as he sucked a line of small red welts down his throat and to his shoulder. Teeth nipped into his flesh, Evan tensing, then falling back weakly against the incubus’ strong form.
“Lose the shirt,” Vesper ordered softly, crushing his spent cigarette between his fingertips.
His eyes widened when he felt Devlan peel his shirt from his torso, cool night air flowing over his heated flesh and creating a contrast to the brunette’s warmth. Vesper’s eyes never left his form, Evan’s pulse increasing as he began to understand the implications of the boy’s stare.
“We’ve come to a compromise,” Devlan explained, his fingers teasing over one of the blond’s hard nipples. “Malice won’t interfere as long as he gets to watch.”
“Watch?” Evan choked out, hips rocking forward when Devlan pressed the flat of his hand down the front of his slacks. He was rock hard and both boys could tell, the night doing little to hide his state. God, he had to be dreaming. What exactly was going to be happening that Vesper wanted to watch? He didn’t remember agreeing to much of anything, just that he hadn’t slugged Devlan yet for getting too handsy with him. He still wasn’t beating the fuck out of Devlan even though the incubus was all over him and assuming he was going to let him… “Oh, fuck,” he gasped, fingers teasing over his zipper and the hard flesh beneath.
“You can tell him to stop whenever,” Vesper spoke up, gaze burning into Evan’s. “I’ll make sure he listens.”
Evan had no idea what Vesper was getting out of it. The platinum haired boy didn’t seem unhappy to be present, didn’t seem upset or saddled with some boring chore. And why would he care what Devlan did to him? Why would he agree to let the incubus touch him in the first place if only to watch?
Evan’s spinning thoughts left him with a gasp, hot fingers teasing beneath his waistband. He stared down, panting as he watched Devlan’s hand push beneath the fabric of his slacks and underwear. The brunette pushed up tight against his back, his hard cock rubbing against his ass in lazy thrusts. Groaning from just how crazy he was feeling, Evan let his head fall back against Devlan’s shoulder, his heavy eyelids open enough to see Vesper gazing to where Devlan was teasing the taut flesh beneath his clothing.
Evan could feel himself giving in to the boy’s hot touches and couldn’t find a proper reason not to. It was good. Devlan felt amazing. His touch wasn’t as insane as last time without Asher’s magic leaving him sensitive but still, his hands were rough, strong and his teeth sharp and mouth wonderfully hot. It was definitely good, dizzyingly so, Evan peering up to find the brunette’s attractive features staring down at him hungrily.
“Reed?” Devlan whispered huskily, pulling the blond back harder against him. Hot hands ran down Evan’s side, Devlan’s burning amber eyes replaced in intensity by the boy’s mouth as he kissed down his shoulder.
Evan jerked when he heard his zipper unfurl, his breath coming out in fast pants. God, was he seriously going to let the kid just— “Oh.” Devlan’s fingers traced down a wound that curved the length of his hipbone, his hips rocking into the touch reflexively.
“You’re so beautiful.” Fingers gripping his flesh roughly, Devlan pushed Evan’s pants down his thighs, the blond’s eyes fluttering shut.
Fuck, he was nearly naked in the damn garden. Evan had to wonder if he was losing his mind. But he could still remember what it had felt like to be so overcome with lust that his body had been pure fire and nothing else. Whatever this was, it wasn’t that. This was still hot, still a flood of sensation but not a drowning. When Devlan’s hands ran down his outer thighs, it wasn’t overwhelming, although damn near close.
Evan swallowed hard when he felt his underwear being pushed down, his eyes kept resolutely closed when his pants fell around his ankles. The heat of Devlan’s body suddenly withdrew, fingertips brushing his waist and hip and the faded scars marking him as the incubus slowly walked around him. He could feel the boy’s stare, could feel them both and he wasn’t sure if he could meet them, instead focusing on trying to breathe.
He gasped when those same hot fingers teased over his shaft, his eyes flying open in response. He was greeted by the sight of Devlan and Vesper glaring at him, the boys a contrast in every way except the fire in their eyes. It might have been weird the way the two looked like they wanted to devour him but Evan decided against saying anything just in case they stopped. He didn’t want it to stop even if his heart felt too fast, his flesh too hot.
Hesitantly, he traced his fingers over Devlan’s wrist, turning his hand to press the point where his jacket sleeve failed to cover. It must have been some unspoken answer because Devlan immediately grabbed him, his lips crushing his, arms wrapping around his waist and pulling him up tight against his tall body.
Pushing back into the kiss, Evan parted his lips wider, tongue meeting the brunette’s stroke for stroke. His knees felt weak, Devlan’s hands supporting him even as the boy roughly squeezed his flesh, moving down to his ass and spreading his cheeks.
“Wait,” Evan gasped breathlessly around the boy’s lips, a finger sliding down his crack and teasing over his entrance. The scent of Devlan, the smoothness and roughness of his clothes, the heat of his bare flesh and the tickle of his hair was all driving him mad. Just, whatever reason he had come out there, it hadn’t been for the now two fingers probing between his cheeks, Devlan’s free arm wrapping around his waist and holding him in place. “Just… Hold on,” Evan whispered through his haze. “I don’t want to…”
“Devlan,” Vesper growled, the boy’s voice low and coarse and sending a shiver through Evan. Devlan gave a huff in reply, but his hand moved to cup Evan’s ass instead, squeezing the boy tight as he slid a leg between the blond’s thighs.
“It’s okay, Reed. I like that you say no,” Devlan said with a grin, finding the boy’s jaw and nipping. “I like that you can tell me to fuck off when no one else can.”
“Fuck off,” Evan said roughly, unable to stop his smirk when Devlan gave a hungry groan in reply and gripped his hips painfully tight, grinding his dick against his hip. “Hell.” Gripping Devlan’s sides, he pushed his hands up the boy’s torso, feeling his sweat and each ripple of muscle beneath his jacket. Devlan’s hand again began to stray, Evan moaning when a thick finger rimmed his hole in a slow circle. He grabbed the boy by the closest nipple, twisting until Devlan relented with a hiss.
“You want it, Reed. You want to be fucked so bad, I can taste it,” Devlan insisted against the boy’s throat, his tongue moving in slow swipes.
“Fuck off,” Evan growled, meaning it more that time than the first. Devlan’s response was another hungry groan, the boy’s grip demanding as he moved up and down the blond’s back and thighs. Evan had to wonder if he’d be fending the incubus off just to feed the brunette’s weird kink to hear him talk mean to him.
“Have you ever?” Vesper asked, Evan’s gaze flying to the pale boy the same moment Devlan tongued over his nipple.
“Have I…?” It was hard to focus, Vesper’s eyes glowing danger, voice entrancing and mesmerizing.
Gaze moving to where Devlan was sucking the thin flesh at the center of Evan’s chest, it took Vesper a moment to remember his question. “Have you ever been fucked?”
Evan exhaled heavily, shaking his head. His body felt so tight, Devlan’s hands again moving too boldly over his ass, the side of the boy’s palm grinding into his crack. He couldn’t stop from arching his back, his hips pushing into the touch, his hole aching at the thought of being taken.
Vesper slipped a small step forward, his head tilted and breath just a little too fast. “What if I want to see you like that? What if I want to see you filled by his cock, begging and completely dominated by Devlan? Would you for me?”
Heat flooding through him, Evan wasn’t sure if he was going to faint or come. “I don’t give a fuck what you want,” he muttered darkly even though his face was flushed, his body so tight with lust. The idea of Vesper wanting to see him like that even as he knew Devlan definitely wanted to be with him that way was just too much. God, if Vesper just pushed a little, just got those eyes of his glowing a little bit with the right command, he knew he wouldn’t fight it. He’d let the boy do just about anything to him and he was pretty sure the blond could tell.
“I’m not a toy,” Evan whispered even as he half felt like one. Devlan was licking and sucking every inch of his flesh, turning him as he wished to get better access and he wasn’t stopping the boy. No, he was rocking against him, getting off on Vesper watching him. “I’m not prey,” he amended hoarsely, fairly certain he wasn’t lying about that.
A ghost of a smile flitting across the pale boy’s lips, Vesper nodded. “No, not that, at least. Prey would know enough to be afraid, Evanel.”
Not sure exactly what the boy meant, Evan flushed, this time to hear his name said in such a way that his knees nearly threatened to buckle. Devlan gave a growl, the brunette grabbing Evan by the hips and kneeling in front of him. “Fuck… Oh, fuck,” Evan gasped out, the incubus’s mouth hot and wet, Devlan wasting no time in finding the head of his cock and engulfing him in his heat. “Fuck…”
“Do you like it?” Vesper asked, stepping around the incubus to stand next to Evan’s shuddering form. “Devlan’s usually the one with a group of young men on their knees around him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him put so much effort into a feeding. He must truly like you.”
Gasping softly from the feel of Devlan’s tongue on the underside of his shaft, the brunette eagerly taking him in deeper, Evan couldn’t answer. He didn’t know why the hell Vesper felt the need to have a fucking conversation with him at the damn moment, but the boy’s voice was sexy, his eyes bright and cheeks and lips flushed. He was nearly close enough to feel the heat from him and Evan wanted nothing more than to have the boy wrap around him, hold him so he would stop swaying, kiss him to muffle his increasingly loud cries.
“That’s it, Evanel.” His eyes moving down the blond’s body, Vesper raised his eyes to find Evan staring back, his dark eyes full of intense need. “You want to come. You want to be fucked raw until you come and then held for even longer.”
“Damn it.” Grasping Devlan’s hair too tight, Evan did his best not to fall forward. His eyes were drawn down to just how wide the brunette’s mouth was, Devlan’s lips swollen and slick with saliva and precum. “Hell.” He came with a hoarse cry, Devlan’s large hands holding him by the ass to keep him from collapsing.
“God…Just, god…” His hands were trembling and Evan couldn’t do anything about it. He closed his eyes, hoping to block both boys from his view so he could catch his breath and not feel so insane.
After drinking his cum down, Devlan continued to kiss the shaking blond, lips moving over his hips and the lithe, flat planes of his stomach. Evan wasn’t sure how he was sweating, the night air cool and him nude, but it was still too hard to think. The incubus’ hands kept squeezing the globes of his ass, kept reminding him what the boy really wanted and it was hard to remember why it was such a bad idea. It wasn’t the pain or even the fact that Devlan was an ass at times or even that they were out in the open where anyone could see them. It was definitely something he could never allow though, something that would make him too weak, too vulnerable and needing for another human being. Needing others always led to disappointment.
Vesper took another step closer, Devlan stiffening when he noticed. But the silver haired boy was only staring at Evan, watching the way sweat was dripping down his bare torso. “Tell me something about yourself, Evan. Something personal.”
His lashes blinking open, Evan found Vesper standing too close, the boy’s eyes burning ice blue fire. It made his breath catch, all worry of needing slipping from his mind. Vesper was someone that needed probably even more than him, and Evan couldn’t help but want the boy. “What?” He asked softly, resisting the urge to reach across the small space and actually touch his glowing white flesh.
“You need to tell me everything you can,” Vesper explained with a low growl, “Because I need to feel really fucking guilty.” His fingers twitched at his side, his eyes fixed on Evan’s lips as the boy panted softly for air. “Really guilty.”
“Guilty?” Evan repeated dumbly, his body responding to the boy’s tone and the hunger in Vesper’s eyes. Fuck, he really shouldn’t have come out there.
Nodding silently, Vesper took a final step closer, Evan holding his breath. Vesper’s flesh was hotter than others, the pale boy radiating such heat, it was a wonder the air didn’t wave around him. The boy dipped his head forward, his strands of white hair brushing silkily over Evan’s face and shoulder. He was close enough to see just how thick and white his eyelashes were and the perfect straight slope of his nose and swell of his lips. “I want to be the one to touch you. To fuck you. To get lost in you.” Vesper’s voice didn’t waver but his fingers gave another twitch as the boy fought with himself. “You need to remind me why that’s a bad idea, Evanel. I’m forgetting the longer I look at you.”
Evan opened his mouth to answer but no sound came out. It wasn’t a bad idea; it was a fucking brilliant idea. Vesper was so close, his lips barely inches away. “Kiss me,” Evan demanded, only to gasp when Devlan suddenly pushed him back, the incubus a shield between the two.
“Sorry, Reed.” Turning his back on the boy after throwing his clothes at him, Devlan fixed his glare on Vesper. “You want me to remind you how your demon master will kill the kid? He’ll probably just crush his throat with his fangs if he’s feeling quick about it. Maybe he’ll like how the kid looks; he could rape him first, flay the skin off of him before finally killing him. Feel fucking guilty enough yet, dumbass? You promised you’d stay at least five feet away.”
Breathing unsteadily, Vesper just nodded, his face an impassive mask again. He pulled a cigarette free from a small pocket in his kilt, lighting it with shaking fingers. “Thank you,” he finally said after a long, quiet drag.
Dressing silently, Evan didn’t bother to button his shirt. He felt shaken in a way too familiar from only hours ago. He didn’t understand just how easy it was to wish to throw his life away for Vesper but he didn’t enjoy the reality of it. He wasn’t suicidal and he sure as fuck didn’t fall in love, so he really couldn’t comprehend why he suddenly felt like both in the matter of a day.
He started when Devlan’s fingers curled around his wrist, the boy’s strange amber eyes glaring down at him. Did Devlan really like him the way Vesper had suggested? He really didn’t know shit about incubi. Devlan didn’t seem too sweet on him, but the brunette didn’t seem like the type to be sweet ever.
“I should go.”
Devlan nodded but refused to release Evan’s wrist. Instead he pulled the blond closer, wrapping the shorter boy up tight in his arms. He could feel the incubus smell his hair, something he had been certain Vesper had been doing as well. It was just another weirdness on top of everything else, Evan waiting it out. When Devlan pulled away there was a fierceness to his expression that hadn’t been there before. His fingers tangled into the blond’s shaggy hair, tilting Evan’s head back roughly. “I want you, Reed, fucked up scars and all.”
“So?” Evan retorted flatly, hating the flutter of nerves in his stomach from those very demanding words.
His glare only growing, Devlan swooped down and kissed the boy, biting at Evan’s lower lip so sharply that the blond tasted blood. Devlan lapped the stinging flesh in mild apology but Evan knew he’d be feeling the burn of it for at least the rest of the night. Maybe that had been the point. “You have a summer to decide if you want the dragon boy that will get you killed with one fucking touch, or me.” He twisted Evan’s hair tighter, his gaze moving over the boy’s face intently. “You should pick me. I want you to pick me.”
Pulling from the boy’s grasp, Evan patted his hair down while glaring at the ground. “Who says I want either of you?”
Vesper snorted, the boy sitting on the low wall and ignoring the twin glares sent his way.
“Lust creatures are designed to sense it, Reed,” Devlan finally said but Evan was barely listening. He wasn’t sure just what the fuck he had gotten himself into, but a love triangle between an incubus that was probably feeding off of every eligible guy in the Hierarchy and a boy contracted to a murderous demon hadn’t been it. Mumbling a curt ‘get bent,’ Evan wandered back to the dorm, his mind strangely blank and body numb.
Evan stood outside the gates where Beverly had dropped him off just the morning before. The air was chill, the night wrapping around him even though the lights floating kept the dark back. It felt a lifetime since he had left home and the idea of returning was a numb spot in his mind.
His Sunday had been spent avoiding Devlan and Vesper and the annoying feelings that arose every time he thought of the two boys. Nicholas had eventually decided that Evan wasn’t going to get himself mauled if left alone even if he was just a human, this being, of course, less than half an hour before Beverly was due to arrive and pick him up. Evan didn’t really care—the elf would probably make a good nursemaid or some shit if he didn’t hate on everything.
Nicholas had grown on him. He wouldn’t rush to spend a day with the boy but the kid was smart and they’d had a few interesting conversation where Evan hadn’t felt like he had to pretend to be an idiot to fit in. Nicholas didn’t care what other people thought of him to the point of being an annoying dick at times and Evan could appreciate the sentiment.
“You gonna stand there all night?” Evan finally asked, not bothering to raise his head. He was leaning on the wrought iron fence, feeling the buzz of magic trying to repel him away. It was mildly tickling and distracting enough to keep him from thinking about all the things he didn’t want to think about, mainly Sebastian and the ridiculous amount of hope and hate warring within him over moving in with his uncle.
Gilda stepped out from the shadows, her silent footsteps intentionally heavy so as not to startle him. While Evan was in his rumpled clothes of the day before, she was clad in a new set of creamy leathers, these looking more eye catching with slashes of rust orange color splashed across smooth expanse with a window to show off her cleavage and cut to cling to her tight waist and toned thighs. Her dirty blond dreads were pulled back in a thick ponytail making her unmasked violet eyes look sharper and more dangerous. But Evan had already dealt with Asher and Gilda was a sweet, sharp clawed kitten in comparison to that weird freak show.
“Wasn’t sure you’d welcome a goodbye,” Gilda said with a smirk, a wariness shown in her stance. They hadn’t spoken since Nicholas had accused the group of lust creatures of attacking Evan and, considering the incident, the boy could understand Gilda’s worry that he might never want to see her or another lust creature ever again. But Evan wasn’t a normal kid and Gilda sure as fuck wasn’t normal and he might just like the fierce siren who had led him into trouble and defended his life just as readily.
He patted his hand to the spot next to him welcomingly. “I’m going to be here a good fifteen minutes. Long enough for a goodbye or a see you later, anyways.” He hadn’t found a way out of the Hierarchy just yet. Evan could expect to see Gilda once again and he’d prefer it to be on good terms.
“Actually, I was thinking you might want to check out my village,” Gilda said with ease, going to lean against the spot Evan had indicated, only to jolt away when magic sparked at her angrily from the fence. “Fuck.” She gave the blond boy a dubious look, Evan shrugging apologetically. “Have you ever been to the Rocky Mountains? My Clan’s village is up there—A town, if you want to get technical—but you wouldn’t really recognize it as one. Half of us live at the foot of a cliff and the rest take up the old hollowed out rooms in the mountain face above. We even created a waterfall that rains down from the very top that we all swim in at the bottom. It’s really unique and the view gets tourists coming in from all over.”
Evan raised a brow, smirking slightly. “What exactly are the tourists going there to look at?”
Gilda grinned back, relaxing completely. “I’m sure it’s the mountains and sky. Totally couldn’t be all the hot women with allure my Clan is known for. Probably doesn’t hurt that we all swim naked.”
Evan snorted softly, meeting her eyes flashing with mischief. Gilda certainly sounded like she didn’t have to fear starving even when living on the side of a cliff in the middle of nowhere.
“So, what do you say?” She prodded, plucking at one of the feathers tied into her hair. “We could make a month of it or whatever. It’s not like I have pressing plans or anything. Once this Hierarchy crap starts up, it’s going to be more networking and kissing sorcerer ass until I want to hang myself.” She glanced at him sideways, her gaze assessing. “You know, unless you have plans or something.”
Evan couldn’t think of anything he’d like more than to spend his summer seeing Gilda’s village of sirens, even if they were all women. He also knew there was no way in fuck Stephan would allow it. He shrugged again, pushing his shoulder blades flat to the fence to feel the magic try and fail to snap him away. “I don’t have plans… A village of lust creatures probably wouldn’t be the best place for me given my current record.”
Fixing the boy with a stern look, Gilda tilted her chin up. “No one will fuck with you while I’m around. No one, fae or human. I can show you how to use magic, Evan. I can show you how to protect yourself.”
Evan didn’t reply, his gaze stuck on his boots. He didn’t know how to go into the whole Stephan Grock thing and wasn’t sure he even wanted to. He was used to struggling alone and somehow the idea of speaking of the problem was more anxiety causing than just living with it as he always had.
“My village has a barrier in place,” Gilda continued, “to protect visitors and us. We’re not a barbaric people even if we feed off of the lust of those who visit. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You could use help with your exritus and there is no one better equipped to help a newborn than an entire village full of fae, Evan.”
Evan forced himself to look up, finding the girl staring at him with a fair amount of worry hidden in her violet depths. He wasn’t used to that look being directed at him but he was pretty sure the girl was afraid for him. He hadn’t dared to look at his back in years—It probably hadn’t been a pretty sight.
“I can’t, Gilda. It sounds cool, really, but I can’t.”
Pursing her lips, she nodded curtly. “At least give me your contact info. We can talk and stuff until it’s time to come back here.”
“I don’t have a portal.”
Her frown growing, Gilda folded her arms over her chest. “Fine. Email, phone number. We have shielded tech at the village. We can IM.”
Evan shook his head wearily, feeling for the first time the absolute weight of his situation. “My aunt doesn’t allow technology in the house, shielded against magic or not. She might let a letter through on occasion, but that’s about it. And it can’t be with the mail cus Stephan will literally go through and throw the stuff out he doesn’t like. The only way my uncle could reach me was with the sicarius, and for real, Gilda, that shit is expensive. I think he only used them because of his work. He probably didn’t have to pay anything.”
“Your uncle is an assassin sorcerer?” At Evan’s silent nod, Gilda straightened, inhaling sharply. “Bitchin. I always wanted to get in with the Nightbringers. I don’t think the Council would even consider me because of my Clan roots, though.”
Feeling a twinge of bitterness, Evan leaned his head back against the fence, his hair fluffing up from the flow of magic. “Oh, I’m sure they’d be happy to exploit you till you’re dead. It’s the Council way.”
Gilda nodded slowly, falling silent. She ran her tongue over her sharp teeth, shooting the boy a careful look. “You know what you can get if you’re a Nightbringer?”
Evan shook his head, not sure if he really cared.
“Passage to the Arc Fault,” Gilda explained. “A lot of other shit too, but believe me, for a Clan raised outside of the ancient lands with little hope of ever seeing home, it’s a big deal. I’m going to be killing anyways—All fae train to fight the Possessed. We live too long to be allowed to pretend the Unnamed One won’t effect our lifetime. Being allowed to see what we’re fighting for, our homeland, it helps things. Reminds us what’s at stake.”
Evan processed what the girl was saying, not having realized Gilda had grown with the understanding that she was probably going to war. “Why can’t your Clan return to the Arc Fault?”
“We got too buddy buddy with the humans.” Gilda’s grin was vicious. “Don’t let the talk of the civilized, merciful Regents fool you, kid. Those elves are fucking bloody. My Clan has lived in peace with the humans, and the Regents think that we’re soft because of it. They have it in their head that we won’t kill the Possessed as needed because it’s always a mass of soulless humans running at the Gate, not fae. I can tell the difference between a Possessed and human but I have a feeling the Regents would prefer us just to kill any human that comes too close, just to be safe.”
Evan was waiting for the day when someone would tell him about a leader or government that didn’t seem ruthless as fuck. The Hierarchy probably wasn’t the place for that wish to come true.
“Anyway, don’t worry about the letter thing,” Gilda said, returning to her original point. “We’ve got ways for communication. Even if I have to hire the damn sicarius, I’ll find a way.” She flashed him a wicked smile, leaning close to whisper in his ear. “Or, you know, I could just have Devlan get you in your dreams. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
Fighting back a blush, Evan glared warningly at the cheerful girl. He had a thought to shove her into the fence but had a feeling Gilda would easily break his arm if he even attempted it. It was still a difficult urge to fight.
“What’s his deal?” Evan finally asked, wondering if Gilda might know more about the incubus because they were both Clan raised. “Is Devlan ever, you know, serious about anyone?”
Her eyes narrowing, Gilda looked him over calculatingly as she thought. “Devlan’s not a bad guy, he just gets into a shit ton of trouble. He has an attitude problem—And believe me, he was tame this weekend. Probably all the monitors in this place. Devlan gets into shit and pisses a lot of people off, especially the sorcerer types. The kid is a fucking terror with his mouth and loves to cause drama.” She sighed, fiddling with her hair again as she drew her thumb down the length of a feather. “But under it all, Devlan is a total sweetheart. I can honestly say when I don’t want to kill the kid that I actually like him. He’s never hurt a person in a way that crossed the line and, being an incubus, that would be really easy for him. He’s a loner and a jackass, but he’s not a bad guy. I can bear to share space with him… when I don’t want to beat his head in.”
She flashed him a small smile, tilting her head closer. “And he might not suck as a boyfriend. Probably. If you like that sort of thing.”
Evan huffed, glaring at his boots again. “I don’t want him for a boyfriend. I was just curious.”
“Sure, right, whatever.” Gilda waved her hand dismissively, only to continue on as if Evan hadn’t spoken. “He’s an incubus, so he’ll either be fucking you like twenty-four seven, or getting off on anything hot that walks by. You know, unless you have a huge amount of magic after your exritus to be able to feed an incubus by yourself. An incubus’ mate usually has to be really strong in power and a total sex fiend. Incubi need sex to live. Without a mate, Devlan will need to feed constantly.”
Evan scowled, hating himself for his next words. “And if he has a mate?”
Gilda wagged her eyebrows at him. “He’ll still want sex, don’t worry. Sex is kind of their thing; you really can’t expect them to be monogamous. Not easily, anyway. Incubi mate by tying their energy to their partner. It secures the incubus, grounds him so that his intense need balances out. Most incubi will mate young for that alone; some to multiple partners for the extra stabilizing energy.”
Her smile fell and she gave a little sigh. “But Devlan is all alone in this area. His Clan came from the Arc Fault not too long ago but they were wiped out. He was the only survivor. He’s living with an adoptive Clan in New York but they can only do so much for him. Incubi outside of the Arc Fault are rare, and believe me, it’s impossible for them to get back home once they leave. The few Clans that moved out in the hopes of starting a life without the Regents giving them shit all ended up wiped.”
“Shit,” Evan muttered, running his hand through his hair and patting the blond locks down. “Are the elves, like, killing them all?”
“No one knows but there are a lot of theories. It’s never obviously connected to them, you know?” Gilda’s expression suggested she thought it was, though. “An Incubus Clan was wiped just five years ago by some sort of sickness. Devlan’s Clan was taken out in a fire. They credited it to the Possessed running around at the time, the theory being that they sensed the incubi were connected to the Arc Fault and were ordered to destroy them. It was a terrible blaze—What it would take to kill a Clan of warriors fresh from the Arc Fault…” Gilda shook her head, looking off into the distance of the forest. “I don’t think the Possessed have it in them.”
Devlan had to have been a kid when it happened. Maybe a baby. That fully grown warriors similar to men like Cornelius and Sebastian in ability could have been destroyed in one fire while a baby had survived didn’t make much sense at all.
Evan could see Devlan’s glowing amber eyes in his mind, the insanity of the night before rushing over him. It had been really strange. Confusing. He wasn’t even sure why he was thinking about it. He couldn’t be with someone like Devlan—Hell, he couldn’t be with anyone.
He needed to find a way to get out of the Hierarchy and to stop thinking about dick.
Vesper’s face flashed in his mind and Evan suppressed a sigh, rubbing his hand down the front of his face. He was losing it. A fucking weekend with these people and he was losing his fucking mind. Dead. He’d end up dead. Vesper was just a really fucking hot guy—everyone thought so—in a shit situation. Evan didn’t know fuck about him except that trying to get to know Vesper Malice would end up with him being dead.
Dumb. He was being so fucking dumb.
“Keep an eye out for my letter,” Gilda spoke up, straightening and taking a few paces idly. “I’ll let you know how my exritus goes.”
“Is anything going to happen for yours?” Evan asked, unable to hide his curiosity. He knew that most human looking people got different in some way or another with their exritus. He didn’t know what it would do for a fae, especially one that already had claws and fangs.
Gilda shrugged, not looking too concerned. “Wings, maybe, but that’s rare. My allure might kick up hardcore. I’m a siren, descendant of Siren. We all know what our ancestors used to look like when the blood was strong with magic. Nowadays, you don’t see many transformations, so I’m not too worried.”
Evan blinked, his gaze on Gilda shifting dizzily. For a moment, it was like Asher was grabbing his hand and he looked around, trying to see if the boy was near and messing with his head. He couldn’t find anything beyond the light’s illuminating the dark but when Evan turned back to the girl, she still looked different, the anticipation of energy in her calm, small, fluttering wings spread out on her back with a crown of feathers rising from her forehead.
The illusion didn’t dim, Evan’s eyes narrowing when Gilda turned to him and gave him a concerned look. “You alright there?” She pressed her hand to the boy’s forehead, Evan’s gaze focusing on the petite feathers dusting her wrist.
“Come visit this summer, Evan. It’ll be fun. Safe. I can show you around and, if you want, I can even call Devlan down. It’ll be hard for him to get into trouble in a village full of sirens.”
Evan didn’t speak, his eyes glued to Gilda’s forehead and the way her eyebrows had changed, a light spray of soft feathers teasing from the tips to join her hair. He sensed the car before it pulled up, felt Beverly’s presence more than the engine.
“Think about it, Evan. We have plenty of room.” Gilda kissed his cheek before he could find the strength to move. When she pulled away, her eyes were piercing, a violet-gray storm belonging to a deadly predator, her fangs elongated, demeanor regal. She was something different and Evan was certain he was going crazy.
Evan shook himself fiercely. Beverly was there. If he knew anything, revealing any sort of insanity was equal to death; one of Beverly’s big lessons. There were plenty of reasons he could be seeing things and as he blinked a few more times, the image faded, Gilda back to being her domesticated self, the sounds of the night roaring back around him.
“Do you have a ride coming?” He asked, his voice too hoarse sounding.
Gilda gave him a look, one he was growing familiar with. “I’m teleporting home. Magic, kid. You really don’t know what you’re missing out on.”
Evan wasn’t fully convinced on that topic even after a weekend at the Hierarchy. Stephan didn’t have the power to teleport but he made a big deal about portals. Evan didn’t want to do anything that would draw the man’s attention.
Nodding goodbye to the girl, he got into the waiting SUV, staring out at the window at Gilda. He wasn’t sure, but he had a feeling he was going to miss her. Evan couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a conversation with a person. Even though Gilda was weird and a siren and all, she had listened when he talked and had been interesting. He couldn’t remember anyone ever inviting him over to their house. If Evan was the type to have friends, he’d probably put Gilda at the top of the very empty list.