Chapter 8. // Getting Close
Time really does fly by when you’re having fun. It was mid-afternoon, the sun being surprisingly unforgiving in December. Everyone was in the house now, more specifically, the kitchen, where they waited for the groceries to be brought back by Jett, Hunter and Theresa.
Raphael, no matter how hard he tried, couldn’t take his eyes off of Grey. Olivia had called moments before, informing him that the humans were coping well, and had been sent home due to a ‘gas leak’ that caused hallucinations. The injured were being taken care of, and the dead would be returned to their families to be buried. Raphael had nodded solemnly, an ache in his chest for those who fell.
He had questions for Grey, but he didn’t want to bombard her yet; she was having so much fun with her family here. He could feel her excitement as she learned that this was permanent, and her twin and elder brother would now be working with Lini Co.
Grey could feel his eyes on her, and the guilt built up. She knew that she had to say something, but the consequences were greater than keeping him in the dark. She focused on Val, who told her how she stole Sage’s number from her phone and they started talking, how she wasn’t actually drunk yesterday, but just moving her things over to the house, with the help of Sam and Hunter.
“Is that why you were so pissed off, Taj?” Grey asked, shifting her gaze between the cousins. He nodded, glaring at Val, who simply poked her tongue out at him. Grey chuckled, despite the burning gaze on the side of her face. She looked to Sam, who worriedly shifted his gaze to Raphael, then back to her, and she nodded, silently walking away from the group, and grabbed Raphael’s hand on the way out.
Her siblings noticed, and kept Taj and Val occupied, knowing that their respective Guardians would explain with a half-truth first, then the full thing once the time was right.
Despite the Guardian in her, Grey missed the warmth and tingles she got whenever she held Raphael’s hand. It was forbidden for a Royal and a Guardian to be romantically involved, yet, there were pairings on all three sister planets; Alice and Alexavier being the most controversial one.
“Well, he did love showing her off to everyone; bowing to her and kissing her hand at every public event, and even moving her to stand to his right, instead of his left.” Grey thought to herself, a smile growing as she recalled the very first time the incident happened.
The courtyard had erupted into the screams and shouts of joy of the Northerners and the Westies, while the Council members threw a fit. It was to announce the marriage of the youngest of both kingdoms, yet, the people were more excited about the obvious display of affection by the future King of the Northern Kingdom towards his Guardian.
She remembered Alice looking to her with uncharacteristically wide eyes filled with shock and pink hair, and all Grey could do was shrug her shoulders, failing miserably to hide her grin and obvious excitement as she shouted along with the people.
It certainly was a very bold move on his part, and everyone, apart from the Council members of course, absolutely loved it. No one had ever seen the woman with any other hair colour than its usual calm sapphire, enraged red, and neutral ashen white, much like Ash’s own hair.
Grey was pulled out of her memories when she bumped into a surface that steadied her from falling. Shaking her head, she came face to face with Hunter. “Where are you going, zoned out like that?” he asked worriedly, avoiding Raphael’s glare which was unnoticed by Grey.
“We need to discuss some things.” Was all she said, and he nodded in understanding, then made room for the pair to walk out of the house, down the driveway and stop at Raphael’s car. He unlocked and opened the passenger door for her, and they got in, silently driving away from the house, and further away from civilization.
Grey usually wasn’t nervous, but she was jittery, bouncing her leg and keeping her gaze off of Raphael. She didn’t notice that they had stopped, but the hand slapping down on her thigh made her aware, and she squeaked, snapping her head to the owner of the hand. Grey squeaked again, realizing that she was under the gaze of swirling red, blue and yellow eyes.
“What is it that you need to tell me, mia regina?” the voice was still Raphael’s, yet, not quite; there were deeper baritones that made her other occupants squeal with delight. Grey gulped, tearing her gaze away from Raphael, trying to ignore how close they actually were, and they inappropriate words of her other occupants.
Breathing deeply, she began to speak, her voice soft in the silent car. “I know how your kind feels about us, but I’m not a monster. A Hunter’s mission is to deactivate those who mean to cause harm, and protect the innocent; we don’t just go about killing random supernaturals. Much like our Shadowhunter counterparts, we stopping that practice a long time ago with a truce.” Raphael knew; his grandmother was there on behalf of the Italian Lycanthropes.
He watched her, confused as to why sadness and anxiety rolled off her. “There is too much I need to tell you, yet I can say none of it. I cannot risk the Mania.” The last sentence was a whisper, and if it wasn’t for his heightened hearing, Raphael would have missed what she said. She looked at him then, hopelessness in her eyes.
“Please don’t hate me. There’s a very valid reason why I can’t say anything else to you.” His heart clenched, and he reached over the console to undo her seatbelt, and cupped her face, stroking her cheeks with his thumbs. “Mia regina, I could never hate you. I will wait however long it takes until you can tell me what you have to say.”
Nodding weakly, Grey reluctantly pulled his hands away from her cheeks, but she did hold them on her thighs. Raphael’s eyes flickered to her lips as she licked them, then her soft voice filled the silence again.
“I will tell you this: I may be a Hunter, but it is not my purpose. I took an oath well before I adopted the mandate of a Hunter, and that oath was to you.” Grey stopped there, waiting for Raphael’s eyes to cloud over in confusion, then sudden realization; then for his pupils to dilate to the point where his iris was no longer visible.
She waited for his screams, his anger at her, and the hysteria; the pure agony as panic gripped him and ate him from the inside-out. She waited for his body to crumple as the life was drained from him, as he foamed at the mouth and twitched uncontrollably, then stilling as the last of his life force was consumed by fear; she waited for the feeling of her soul being torn apart.
But it never came.
Grey looked him in the eye, waiting with bated breath for him to say something; anything. He gathered his words, then spoke slowly, trying to make sense of the words as they came from his own mouth. “Being a hybrid, I am much older than I appear to be. But, I only remember the first three and a half centuries of my life, then I come up blank, up until about eighty years ago. I could never get an answer as to what happened to me, but something deep inside me tells me that you know.”
Grey began to shake, and Raphael squeezed her trembling hands. “Yes. Yes, I know. But to both our discontentment, I cannot tell you just yet. I will though, that I promise you.” Raphael nodded, and raised Grey’s hands to his lips, hot breath fanning across her knuckles. “Thank you, mia regina. I feel at peace, knowing for certain that I will get an answer.” Grey nodded shakily, suppressing a shiver as his lips pressed against her knuckles.
Noticing that his eyes were still a swirl of blue, yellow and red, and his voice was still not quite his, Grey decided to change the subject. “Can, uhm, can I meet them?” she asked timidly, and the orbs of swirling colour bore into her. “Are you sure?”
She nodded, squeezing Raphael’s hands still in hers. Of course she had met Andrei and Dimitri before, yet, like Raphael, they have no memory of her, or their soulmates, Cassandra and Sidra, who share her body.
Blue disappeared from the swirl of colours, and his eyes settled on yellow. Sidra screamed excitedly, and Grey flinched before giving up and allowing her to push forward.
Sidra had midnight blue hair and unusually green eyes. Grey knew that her appearance had changed to fit the hair and eyes, yet her face remained the same. It was like an out of body experience, yet, she was still viewing everything through first person.
Dimitri’s voice was thickly Italian, and Sidra shivered, already feeling herself tipping off the edge. “Mia regina, you look different from Raphael’s perspective.” Saliva prickled her dry throat and she nodded, her voice coming out soft, but heavier accented than Grey’s. “It’s all part of what Grey can’t tell you, my love.”
He nodded in understanding, and brought her hand to his lips, placing quick, gentle kisses to the back of her hand. Sidra’s heart fluttered behind her ribcage, and she tried not to swoon. Wordlessly, he scooped her up from her seat and she squeaked as she was settled in his lap, straddling him, and his face buried in the crook of her neck. “Raphael is too much of a pussy to hold you or touch you in any way.” Dimitri murmured against Sidra’s neck, a violent shiver coursing through her making him chuckle, inciting another shiver, and a soft moan.
His head snapped up to meet her eyes, and his own clouding over with a look Sidra knew too well. Taking deep, ragged breaths, he closed his eyes and when he reopened them, the haze was gone. The woman wanted to scream in frustration.
An entire half-century she spent without her soulmate. She was on the brink of madness, and decided she would go peacefully in her sleep. An odd concoction of all the contents of the medicine cabinet was taking its effects, and before she could be pulled into dreamland, where her beloved awaited her with open arms and his charming smile, she was forced out of her own body and into another. When she awoke, numb and viewing life from someone else’s perspective, she knew it had to be that odd woman she kept seeing, watching her beloved like she knew him too, in the same ways she did. It infuriated her to no end, and Sidra refused to communicate with the brown eyed woman with whom her soul was trapped; but once she explained, well, she made a truce and decided to open up to her and the other active presence she felt and came to know: Cassandra. There was another, an unbelievably powerful aura surrounded that particular soul, yet she was dormant, and Grey wouldn’t say who, or what, it was; neither Sidra nor Cassandra had enough confidence to ask. Grey may be a sweet soul, but there were moments where the two were terrified of the vessel they travelled with.
Not wasting another second, Sidra snaked her hand around to the nape of his neck and tugged his head forward, kissing him with all she had, with every emotion she kept bottled up for so long; the longing, the sadness, desperation, anger, hurt, undying love; all of it, and Dimitri returned eagerly.
His hands snaked around her, leaving a path of fire, even through the material of her dress, wherever his fingers brushed. Her hands were in his hair, on his face and neck and shoulders, and she internally begged Grey and Cassandra to keep her from ripping his clothes to douse the inferno that was quickly consuming her. The windows had a light coating of fog when they pulled away for oxygen, still touching, still memorizing with their fingers. “If we don’t stop now, then…” Sidra trailed off, and Dimitri nodded, running his hands down her thighs and back up again, careful not to raise the light blue dress she wore, even though he desperately wanted to. “A car is the last place I want to mate with you.”
Sidra’s cheeks flushed and she found herself giggling. “Our first time was in a cave!” she wanted to yell, but she kept her words to herself.
“You think that’s bad? Try a damp dungeon that reeked of death. My moans weren’t the only ones that were echoing off the walls.” Grey murmured, and Cassandra snickered; Sidra tried her best not to burst into laughter.
“You people have no class.” Cassandra said snobbishly, which was quickly followed by a painful “Ow!”
Dimitri cupped his mate’s flushed cheek and kissed the other, smiling as the red deepened. “I’m being kicked out, mia luce, but we will see each other soon.” Sidra nodded, the joy she previously felt vanishing instantly, and replaced with sadness. Dimitri kissed her lips and cheek, then the yellow eyes mixed with blue and red again, and settled on red.
“Finally! Move it, Sid.” Cassandra said excitedly, her thickly French accented voice still holding fatigue in its undertones. Sidra rolled her eyes, but gave up control to Cassandra, the red haired, golden eyed Vampire whose eyes only turned red when she was enraged or hungry.
Rogue Hunters with a special bone to pick with Vampires had attacked her coven, and she was the only one left when Grey had arrived to the massacre, but she was already at Death’s door. Knowing that she was the Beloved of her Raphaellie’s current reincarnation, she offered to house her soul, until she was able to give her a proper body; but when the time came for that, Cassandra was rather reluctant. She was Grey’s first, active companion. They grieved together when they lost Andrei, and that’s what brought them closer.
“My love.” She whispered, cupping his face. His red eyes fluttered close, and he sighed softly, holding a hand that lay gently on his cheeks. Andrei brought it to his lips and kissed her hand, inhaled her scent. “My Beloved; how I longed to hold you.” Cassandra choked out a sob, and lay her head against his shoulder. Andrei didn’t mind at all, and held her closely, running his fingers through her hair.
It was a peaceful half hour; Cassandra counted each minute that went by in her Beloved’s arms. All too soon, she felt a distant tug and Grey’s panicked voice echoed in her head. “Cass. Cass someone is in trouble and they need us.”
Cassandra wanted to cry. She pulled herself up abruptly, startling Andrei. “My love, what is wrong?” he asked worriedly, but she didn’t have much time. “I’m sorry, my darling.” Cassandra whispered, placing a quick kiss to Andrei’s lips before she felt herself, Sidra and Grey being tugged away from their body and into another who was in need. Her body grew limp, and she fell against a panicking Andrei.