The safety and darkness are ripped from me suddenly as I wake up alone in my bed. I sit up with a start as that painful fire begins in my stomach again. Then the blackness of my room bursts into brilliant light as flames of fire completely engulf the room. My heart races in my chest as I try to breathe through the burning pain.
The smell of acrid stench of Sulphur is suffocating and making me want to gag as I try to desperately to breathe. My eyes dart frantically around the room as I search for Max. He’s nowhere to be seen. Every floor board and piece of furniture in my room is on fire. Even the wall paper is bubbling and cracking under the intense flames. The feeling in my stomach gets more painful and I almost wretch from the strength of it.
The heat is drying out every bit of moisture in my body as I feel like I’m turning to paper and burning from the inside out. My stinging eyes are suddenly drawn to a dark figure in the corner of the room. Untouched by the flames and staring right through me with those glowing blood red eyes. I grit my teeth in anger as I search for the bedroom door determined to run. The door has vanished.
Where it should be stands only a wall of flame. I look to the window and see the same thing. A sick cackling sound comes from the direction of the shadowy figure. “Where are you going to run little Daarnya?” He hisses manically. I grip my stomach in pain trying to suppress the agony as I stare back at him defiantly. I get to my knees on my bed and try to square myself off against him.
He looks at the arm wrapped securely around my torso. He tips his head seeming almost curious as his eyes narrow. “Hurts doesn’t it.” He coos. “I can take away all your pain Daarnya. Just say you’re ready and I can end the suffering of your life. You can join me and we can begin our fun.” His voice slithers as he moves closer towards me. I scowl at him defiantly.
“Never.” I spit at him. He laughs again as he moves to sit on the bed with me. He reaches out to touch me and I back away from him the way someone would a poisonous snake. He smiles wickedly as his eyes roam over me.
“You’re even less fearful than the last time we met.” He hisses as his tongue whips out like a snake lapping up the air between us. He smiles the most malicious smile. “But you have nothing left to live for my dear. So why prolong your suffering?”
“Because it’s my way of saying Fuck you.” I seethe at him. He claps his hands together and laughs a deep ground shuddering laugh.
“How glad I am that your defiant spirit has bloomed over the years. Perhaps I should let you live a while longer. Your soul is like a fine wine Daarnya. It seems to be getting more delectable by the year. Your devastated heart only sweetens the stench of it, I should allow your sorrow and misery to continue to ripen until you beg for me to come and end your life.”
“I didn’t think you had that sort of patience after you had Kane try to kill me last week.” I hiss at him and his eyes flash with rage as he pounces on me to pin me back to the bed. His eyes pierce mine as he looks deeply into them. I try to move out from under him but I’m being restrained by invisible bindings.
His tongues laps out as it travels down my cheek. I try to turn my head but I’m frozen in place. “You speak the truth.” He says almost imperceptibly. He waves his hand and the fire in the room disappears completely along with the Sulphur stench. I take a deep breath of cool air and he looks at me curiously. “Kane will not bother you again. On my word the only daemon to end your life will be me.” He seethes angrily.
I glare at him incredulously. “Your word means exactly dick to me.” I protest. He narrows his eyes at me.
“Question my motives or actions, but never my word.” He hisses and I glare at him defiantly. “Careful little Daarnya or I may find a more amusing toy and leave you to rot.” He hisses manically. I let out a deep exhale.
“Why me?” I ask the question I’ve wanted to know the answer to my whole life. He leans a little closer to me and runs one talon down my chest ripping a burning trail of fire as it goes. I scream out on pain before his lips press to mine.
“Because I like the way you scream. When you screamed as a child while you were being tortured it pierced the barriers between Earth and Hell. It was like a Sirens song to me.” He whispers cruelly as he rips another shred of my torso open. I scream out on pain again as I shoot upright in my bed in the dark. Hands grab me in the dark and I scream again as I fly out of the bed to huddle my body protectively in the corner. A light flicks on in the dark as a shadow moves towards me.
“McKenna?” His concerned voice pierces my nightmare. I look up at him in disbelief.
“Where is he?” I demand panicked as I scan the room furiously.
“Who?” Max’s stance turns into alert warrior in a flash. I shake my head as I look around trying to shake the nightmare from my mind. Then I feel the warm strips of fluid gathered on my chest and torso. I look down in shock and gasp. Max’s attention snaps to the same area as I start to get to my knees.
He drops to a crouch in front of me cursing in that language he uses. His hands apply pressure to the wounds but it’s almost unnecessary as they start to close before my eyes. “What the fuck is going on?” I plead urgently as my wounds completely heal. Max looks at me worriedly as he helps me off the floor and back into the bed. He disappears and is back in an instant with a warm wet cloth as he wipes away the blood from my perfectly smooth skin.
“Kenna what happened?” He demands urgently. I look up at him sharply.
“Where were you?” I demand heartbrokenly. He looks stung by the accusation.
“I’ve been right here beside you. You woke up screaming and fled into the corner of the room.” He declares indignantly. I shake my head at him.
“No. You weren’t here. I was alone, then he came.” I cry out whimpering as my lip trembles.
“Who came?” He demands more forcefully. I shake my head trying to dispel the images from my head.
“The room caught fire.” I breathe out exasperated. He breathes out a deep exhale as his eyes look pained.
“McKenna. It was a nightmare. The room didn’t catch fire, and I never left your side.” He tries to pacify me and I snap my eyes to his.
“Then how did he cut me? How did he burn me, if it was just a nightmare why can I still feel the trail his tongue licked up my face like a trail of acid on my skin?” I demand through angry tears. Max looks furious as his eyes scan the room. His eyes soften when they find mine again.
“Show me where he licked you.” He orders me and I glare at him disgusted. His eyes plead with mine and I finally relent tracing the line down the length of my face. He leans closer to me and plants a feather light kiss at the top of the trail before making his way down the trail replacing each inch of disgust with a kiss of pure compassion. I smile at him sweetly as his lips move down my body to leave a trail of kisses over where he ripped me open with his talon.
My hand caresses the back of his hair as he brings his eyes up to look into mine. “Did I miss anywhere?” He asks sweetly. I look at him sadly as I point to my trembling lips that still taste like ash. His sweet face turns to a look a pure righteous fury. I caress my lips harshly trying to rub the contact from my memory.
Max’s hand grabs mine to stop the assault. His mouth moves to within a hairbreadth of mine. “Let me take that monster’s trespasses from you.” He declares boldly before gently sweeping his lips across mine letting his tongue trace the outline of them both before parting my lips. I succumb to him letting him erase the tormented experience from me on every level.
As I lay in his arms watching him breathe I dare not fall asleep again for fear of being ripped from him for good. This is bad. Never have I suffered so cruelly as I did today, yet never have I had more of a reason to live. I caress his breathing chest lightly. I lose myself in regret filled thoughts. I couldn’t chase him away with indifference. I didn’t scare him away with an overload of emotion.
I sigh in defeat. He’s too much of a stubborn ass warrior to walk away from me in fear. His chest vibrates as he suppresses a chuckle. I look up at him shocked and annoyed at myself for forgetting that he reads minds. “Did you just call me a stubborn ass?” He asks playfully. I duck my head in shame.
“I was just thinking random thoughts.” I lie to him. He shakes his head at me.
“No. You were trying to think of how to get rid of me again. We never did get to finish our discussion about that.” He explains ruefully. I exhale in defeat.
“You know why this is a bad idea.” I tell him sadly and he nods. “Lucifer is not going to be happy to find out that you were playing with his new toy. What if he kills you?” I plead.
Max looks angry for a moment before fixing me with a serious glare. “You are not a fucking toy McKenna.” He declares angrily. “As for killing me, trust me when I tell you he has plenty of other reasons to try, but so far has been unsuccessful.” He smirks proudly. I look at him incredulously.
“What is wrong with you? Do you have a death wish?” I exclaim heartbroken. His playful smirk fades as he looks at me seriously. He shakes his head solemnly.
“No. I have a problem with authority.” He smirks again as I watch him glance at me sideways. I try to suppress my proud smile as I recall our situations reversed when he asked me why I provoked Kane the first night we worked together.
“Touché.” I grant him and his smile widens as he pulls me closer to him again. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt because of me. I don’t think I could survive that. Its why I’ve never let myself get involved with anyone before.” I confess before I purse my lips together to stop any further embarrassing confessions from slipping out.
“McKenna. The only way I’m going to be hurt because of you is if you keep trying to think of ways to get rid of me.” He declares exasperated. I look at him guiltily as I caress his cheek.
“I’m sorry I can’t protect you from your dreams. I wish you would sleep, you need the rest. You’re completely exhausted. I promise you that I will be right here the entire time. I won’t let go of you for a moment.”
“What if you have to pee?” I challenge. The most unrestrained laugh bursts from his lips as he smiles down at me shaking his head indulgently.
“I’ll hold it. Now go to sleep you fascinating creature.” He orders me with a chaste kiss.
“I have one more question.” I warn him and he looks at me and nods permitting me. “What does Proditor mean?” I ask thinking back to the surname he used today. His entire demeanor turns dark and haunted.
“It’s Latin, it means traitor.” He breathes out. “It’s what the original bible called the fallen angels.” I press my lips to his bare chest over his heart shaking my head.
“I think you should change it.” I tell him in a whisper as I lay my head over his heart.
“To what?” His curious tone asks quietly. I wrap my arm around his torso as his tighten around me.
“Guerrier.” I breathe out as a wave of exhaustion hits me.
“What does it mean?” He pleads quietly. I can barely hear him over the sleep trying to drag me under.
“Warrior.” I whisper against his heart as his chest rises and falls with a deep breath. My eyes droop closed as I feel myself falling into darkness.