Chapter 11. // Unexpected Visit
*two month time jump*
Sunlight filtered through the windows and a soft groan left Grey’s lips as a strip of light lay across her closed eyelids. Her body felt heavy, and she tried sitting up, but a weight pinned her down. Slowly peeling back her eyelids, another groan left her as her vision blurred and focused on her painted ceiling. It was bare before, but in one of her hyperactive moments, she somehow managed to get a harness and a lot of paint, then went wild. The scene was of the Western Palace in its glory days, blended with it in its ruins. There were other scenes strategically placed, creating a visual summary of Grey’s life.
She tried sitting up again, but a low groan and the weight pressing heavier on her brought her out of her reverie of her past. Grey glanced down, and her nose brushed the top of jet black hair. Finally fully regaining her senses, Grey became painfully aware of the hulking body of her ward and soulmate. He lay atop her fully, with one hand underneath her, and the other under her shirt. One of her legs was hooked around his waist, and the other touched the top of one of his bare thighs. Her hands, previously at her sides, gently touched his back and he winced, a soft hiss leaving him.
The memories came to her all at once, nearly knocking the breath out of her. Scavengers… that hooded figure… Alice’s voice in her head… Raphael… his Markings!
Against the force pressing her to the bed, Grey shot up, cradling Raphael’s head to her chest; the man in question hummed, sending pleasurable vibrations through her body as he snuggled closer to her. The planes of Raphael’s back was decorated with intricately curving lines, with what little clear skin a painful shade of red. Grey sucked in a deep breath, her hands quivering violently as they struggled to hold her up. If Raphael had his Markings, then that meant that Alexavier did as well, and time was creeping up faster than she thought. She didn’t realize that she was panting until Raphael let out a soft groan; shakily sucking in air, Grey calmed her breathing and recalled the night before.
The nights were still cold, even if it was March. The time flew so quickly that Grey almost forgot herself. The Augustine’s and Rossellini boys, plus Val and Hunter, spent Christmas and New Year’s together, alternating between Raphael’s and Grey’s house. Raphael wanted to spend time with her, but they were always stopped by their family being nosy, or work matters, or Raphael and helping his father run the Clan from here, and of course, Scavengers attacking, hoping to snag just a piece of their target’s clothes to return to their Master, who would send in those nasty Retrievers to capture.
She was doing routine patrolling around the suburbs; ever since that attack on Val at her house, Grey shifted to patrol the suburbs with Jett, Violet, Azula and Ash, while the others slinked through the shadows of the city. Azula walked beside her, whistling a happy tune as she typed away at her phone. Grey smirked, startling the distracted girl by nudging her gently, then wiggling her eyebrows at her once she shot her a questioning look, inciting a furious blush. Azula nudged her back and she chuckled, then cleared her throat as she sobered up. “Have you given him a half-truth yet?”
Her voice was soft against the stillness of the night, the only sounds and movements being that of nature. “No, actually. I try to avoid it at all costs; I just don’t know how to tell him without mentioning Tai-“ Azula’s throat closed and she paused, shakily taking a breath. Grey squeezed her hand in comfort; or was it to draw comfort to herself? She wasn’t sure which.
“I’m scared to see how he takes it, Kat. I’m so scared that he’d hate me…” Azula had whispered, her voice cracked, broken, and filled with despair. Grey stopped in her tracks, not only because she wanted to comfort her sister, but because she started to feel uneasy. Azula froze as well, growling lowly. “We’ll finish talking after.” Grey murmured as her eyes swept through the darkness, searching for any undulating figures. For a second, her eyes skipped over it, but a second was all it needed to let out a piercing screech and lunge towards them, swiping with their bear claws. The pair leapt backwards as they drew their weapons and other Scavengers lunged out of their cover in the darkness towards them, screeching and chittering.
Grey and Azula swung their blades with precision, dancing around each other and away from the venomous claws of the Scavengers, who screeched and chittered away, trying to make sense of their own words. Grey heard her name in one of their piercing whistles, and was knocked over when she froze, still caught off guard by the fact that they could formulate words. From her memory, Scavengers do not have a voice-box. “Are you hurt?” Azula yelled, ducking under the limb the swung at her and rolling across her shoulders, thrusting her blade upwards, piercing the Scavenger’s back. The viscous blood squirted out and hit her cheek and she hissed as she slashed at another’s disfigured legs and sunk her blade in its chest cavity as it fell. “Fuck, this shit burns.”
“I’m good!” Grey yelled back, using her position on the ground to slice off three pairs of legs in one smooth swing of her katana, and pulled her arms to cover her face as the Protection rune she had Violet put on her took action as the Scavengers fell around her, erupting into limbs and viscous black goo with a blast of soft violet light.
“Oh, well would you look at this…” The remaining Scavengers folded in on themselves on the spot as the dark voice rung out in the sudden silence. Grey sprung to her feet, whipping around for the source of the voice. Azula held her blade out before her, following her sister as they turned, scanning the darkness for a figure that doesn’t belong. A twig snapped and the pair whirled to the source of the sound, shoulder-to-shoulder and blades pointed outwards. “If it isn’t Obscura and Agneyastra; what a sight for sore eyes.”
Cloaked, the figure stepped out into a sliver of light. Although her heart pounded in her chest, Grey’s grip on her weapon didn’t falter as she caught a glimpse of a crest that she dreaded: The Council of the Order of Guardians.
“Who are you?” Azula asked firmly, glaring at the figure and tightening her grip on her blade. A deep, dark chuckle echoed in the uncomfortable stillness of the trees, and Grey became aware of a rise in the temperature. “Oh Agneyastra, you shouldn’t worry yourself with such things. What you should be worried about, however, is what little time you have left before The Council sets their war in motion to seize every kingdom, and eventually, every timeline.” A sinister laugh rumbled like thunder, and a dreadful shiver snaked down their spines.
“Not if we can stop you!” Grey yelled, taking a minute step forward. The cloaked and hooded figure laughed again, the flash of white teeth stark against the darkness surrounding them. “No one can stop us.” In a flash of black smoke, the figure disappeared, leaving the scent of burning wood and the crest of the Council singed into the grass. Grey’s feet acted on their own accord, and before she knew it, the crest was staring up at her, almost laughing in victory.
Azula’s laboured breaths and chanting brought her out of her staring contest with the dreaded crest. “Ohfuckohfuckohfuckingfuck-“ Azula’s weapon was abandoned to the ground, and Grey’s followed suit as she cupped her sister’s face and her hands took a soft blue glow, healing the burn on her face and easing her nerves at the same time. It did nothing unfortunately, and Azula began to hyperventilate, her words coming out in a jumbled mess.
Grey pressed her forehead to her sister’s, shushing her as she brushed her thumbs across her cheeks. “Clio Azula Hera Argyros, no matter what they say, we will get through this and we will stop them. The Council will be destroyed.” Grey murmured and Azula nodded frantically, taking deep breaths in an attempt to calm her rapidly beating heart. She met her sister’s green eyes, littered with brown and blue pieces with her own golden-flecked brown orbs and held her gaze, which eventually evened out her breathing and filled her eyes with a new strength. “The Council will be destroyed.” Azula repeated firmly, and the sisters smiled at each other, drawing strength on those words.
They picked up their weapons, and in a short burst of fire, the crest of the Council and some surrounding grass went up in blue flames, leaving behind a charred circle once the flames went out. They continued on their route, Azula back on her phone, no doubt texting Taj and Grey scanning their surroundings as they walked.
“GREY!” the voice was so loud that she screamed, whipping her head around as she searched for the danger. “Grey! The Council, I-I saw Torin! It was him!” Alice’s voice rung out in her head, not filled with fear, but seething hatred and anger.
“Yes, Azula and I saw someone too, but I don’t know who it was; by the scent of burning wood it might have been Uzziah.” Grey replied, reassuring Azula with a gentle squeeze to her forearm that she was alright.
“FUCK!” Alice screamed again, and this time Grey didn’t flinch as she felt the same anger pouring through her veins like hot lava now that it all passed. Now, she wanted to hunt them down and slay them where they stood; but that would not be wise in the slightest. Silence ensued, and Grey wondered if Alice was gone, but then her voice rang out in her head again, eerily calm, yet the undercurrent of seething anger was still prominent.
“I’m making the arrangements to get to you ASAP; if they want war, then they’ll get their fucking war.” Grey smirked. “Hell yeah.” She murmured, and Alice’s connection faded, but pulsed heavily. Grey turned to Azula with a smirk, who looked at her expectantly. “We’re going to war, baby sister. You ready?” she looked taken aback, but it faded into a look of fierce determination. “No; but if it’s to avenge Taiya,” she cracked her fingers, a smirk forming on her lips, “then fuck yeah; I’m ready.”
The rest of the patrolling was uneventful, and the girls made their way back home, meeting Jett, Ash and Violet on the way, who had no attacks or mysterious hooded figures appearing from the darkness then disappearing in a cloud of black smoke. Neither did Sage and the others in the city. ‘Why did they target me and Azula then?’ Grey thought to herself as she scrubbed herself red under the warm water, watching as the dirt washed away.
“Maybe… because you’re the ringleader.” It was the voice; that voice she hasn’t heard in ages. She could feel Cassandra and Sidra stiffen, and the other silent occupant was cowering at the sheer power of the voice, despite how soft it was. “They wanted to get their message across.” Grey murmured out loud, and the voice spoke again. “Exactly. That is a move of confidence.”
“I’ll make sure they don’t win.” Grey spoke aloud again as she shut off the water and dried herself. “That’s what I like to hear.” The voice whispered, then grew silent again; Cassandra, Sidra and Tabitha, the young witch soul that she had saved, eased up upon the retreat.
“We’re going to have to leave you soon, won’t we?” the young witch spoke for the first time since she began to share Grey’s mindspace, and Grey nodded sadly, swallowing the lump that formed in her throat at the thought of leaving Cassandra and Sidra. “Yes, I’m afraid. I’m sorry.” She whispered, and Sidra choked out a sob. “I don’t want to leave you, Katty.”
Grey sighed as she stared in the mirror, dressed in one of Raphael’s shirts from long ago. “I don’t want to leave you either, Sid.” Blinking back tears, Grey turned away from the mirror and turned off the lights, and was about to crawl into bed, but instead found herself racing down the hall and stairs, towards her front door. The cold wind that blasted as she threw the door open made goosebumps raise on her skin; that and a shirtless and sweaty Raphael kneeling at her door, his hand raised as if he was about to knock. “Grey…” he whispered, and his mouth opened to speak, but his words turned into a pained scream, and he hunched over, the skin that lay across his back raising unnaturally, as if there were extra limbs that wanted to break free from their confines.
He was thrown on his back, and the same unnatural raising of his skin was showing on his torso. Raphael let out another pained scream as his body contorted and convulsed in pain. Grey rushed to his side, laying her palms against his head and drawing it onto her thighs as she sat down on the cold ground. “Shh… baby you’re going to be okay. I’m right here.” She whispered, stroking his hair with a soft glow to her hands, hoping to lessen the pain.
Even in the dark of night, Grey could clearly make out the lines and swirls as they printed onto his skin, embedding themselves, forming symbols of power and meaning. His pained scream pierced the night again, and Grey sobbed, the glow in her hands growing brighter as she continued to stroke his hair. “You’re gonna be okay baby, you’ll be alright. It’s going to be over soon.” Grey whispered through the sobs, hating that there was nothing more she could do to take his pain away.
They remained in that position for what felt like hours, when it really was mere minutes, with Grey stroking and kissing his hair as he panted and convulsed and screamed in pain, until it died down and his breathing evened, and the Markings were all over him, covering his once clear skin. Raphael was unconscious and Grey, tired as she was, tapped into that reservoir of magic to give her enough strength to rise to her feet and levitate Raphael, carrying him into the house and up to her room. She settled him down on her bed, then collapsed into it herself, letting unconsciousness consume her.
Grey inhaled deeply then proceeded to shimmy out from under Raphael, but that only caused friction, and they both groaned lowly at the sensation. Grey wasn’t sure if Raphael was still unconscious when he ground his hips against hers, her mouth growing slack as her body involuntarily responded. Their hips continued to move in sync, and Grey was internally screaming at her body to stop, but… it just felt so good. The leg hooked around his waist tightened as a soft moan slipped off her lips and a soft growl vibrating against her chest sent pleasurable tingles straight to her core. She moaned again, and their movements became faster, her hands finding their way to his hair, in fear of hurting him if she gripped his shoulders; they moaned simultaneously as Grey tugged on his hair, slightly raising his head off her chest.
His blue eyes, full of mischief and lust, met hers and he winked at her; Grey chuckled as his grip on her waist tightened and he ground his hips harder against hers, cutting it off and turning into a moan. Raphael pulled himself higher, burying his face in the crook of Grey’s neck and sucking the sensitive skin gently, inciting a soft moan from her. Their soft moans and groans blended together as their movements sped up, and the bed creaked softly under their weight. “Oh shit…” Grey whispered, feeling that pressure build up inside of her. She bit her lip, stifling the loud moan that wanted to escape her as her eyes crossed, and the mural above her blurred. “Raphael,” she whispered and he moaned, muffled in the crook of her neck. “Baby…” he groaned, his grip tightening on her waist and her leg tightened around his waist, raising her hips to meet his. Grey’s mouth fell slack, and she slapped her hand across it in time as a loud moan slipped off her lips and her body shook with her release. A few seconds later, Raphael followed her and he fell limp against her, both of their breaths laboured.
“I think this is the best way I’ve ever woken up.” Raphael murmured against her neck once their breathing evened out, and Grey burst into laughter. He raised his head and stared down at her, committing her, in this moment, to his memory with a soft smile on his face. Grey was beginning to sober up when her door flew open, and Taj stood there in striped pyjama pants, but no shirt. The pair stared at the door, still tangled up with each other. “Mom and Dad are here.” Taj rushed out before his nose scrunched up.
“Ew… y’all did the nasty, huh?” he murmured, a smirk growing on his lips. “Get out; I’m coming.” Raphael said as he slowly untangled himself from Grey. “You already did.” Taj murmured again, and two pillows hit him square in the face and knocked him off his feet.