I don’t know how long it hurt- all I felt was pain, then some relief before the pain set in again. I heard sobbing, words being spoken, doors occasionally opening and closing. The pain always returned with a vengeance when I was awake, and even in my sleep all I could think about was pain- dreaming of the vines tearing me apart.
Finally after what felt like a life time I opened my eyes with the sun shining on my face. It was midday and I was covered in a sheet in what had become my room well stocked with clothing that I originally had borrowed from Rose- now with clothing I had changed the color of since I couldn’t create objects from paint like she could and her tastes where more colorful than mine.
Ian walked in with a needle on a tray before stopping and looking at me for a moment. “You’re awake. Are you in any pain?”
I blinked at him a few times, moving to try and sit up and wincing. I felt like I had ran a marathon the day before, my whole body ached and burned but not as bad as it had. “A little but I’ll survive. What’s that?” My throat was dry and hoarse. It hurt like I had been screaming. I probably had been.
“Spelled morphine, Rose and I have been using it to ease your pain the last three days. The regular stuff didn't do much so she mixed some of her blood into this and spelled it. Managed to keep you under for most of it. She's a universal donor and I assure you she's not ill.”
I stared at him for a minute, my lips parted as I took in what he said. Three days. I had gained a month of time away from the curse and it had come back with a vengeance. I guess it made sense- time worked differently here but that didn’t make this curse go away. Instead the more time I had free of it- the more time it would have to hurt me. “Is Rose ok?”
“She's been utterly distraught..." He set the needle aside on the dresser looking down at it and away from me. "You're her fated one aren't you?"
"What?" I asked my voice cutting out- partly from pain and part from surprise.
He sighed heavily turning back around his hands folded in front of him. "She didn't tell me if you're wondering. I suspected at first that she had taken such an acute interest in you due to being a student. I know enough about her life though that I recognized when we began to be awake more, smiling more. She may find the idea of being forced to love someone quite repulsive but I find the notion quite romantic. Someone made quite literally for you." His gaze softened a bit. "I am a shell of what I once was, I recognized her unhappiness with me but I was not going to deter her from staying. Loving someone isn't just about making them happy, it's also about letting them make their own choices."
I was silent frowning. It sounded almost like he consented to our relationship- that he was ok with it. It felt.... wrong. "B-"
Ian waved a hand at me to silence me as he began speaking again walking forward to sit on my bed. "I have no problem with you two being together. She's happy, she's youthful. My life is over- it's been over the moment she left to the human world the first time. I got time with her that if we were both human wouldn't have even been possible. I'll always be thankful for that. You have to remember though... she finds the idea of being forced to love someone distasteful." He ran his hand through his hair. "She's requesting that I tell you to leave. Honestly I don't agree with it. She was so frightened for your life I think she's just feeling to much to think clearly."
"I have to see her." I croaked moving to get out of bed- only to groan realizing I couldn't. The pain was to intense.
"I will try to bring her here- you need to rest. Would you like more morphine?"
"I'm not in that much pain." I said glancing at the needle. I hated needles- plus I also knew what addiction looked like. The difference was that for most witches it was opium use. "I'm sorry, if I had known-"
Ian held up a hand to stop me a small smile on his face. "I understand why you came, I also understand you wouldn't have any idea who you were fated to be with. It happens. I'm more upset she's been hiding this from me, and that seeing you in pain has her hurting so much and being with you has made her pull away to the point of hardly speaking to me. If I didn't know you two were meant for one another I would have requested that you leave."
I gave him a weak smile- to be honest I expected him to be way less understanding. He was always polite but didn't ever say much to me compared to the first day we had met. There was no part of me that believed this might be a sinister plot- he seemed genuine.
"I'll get you some tea, we might still have a mix from the last time a student came in ill with a cold." Ian said kindly.
As soon as he left the room I felt myself sinking back into the pillow with tired eyes. Everything hurt. I must have slipped back into sleep because when I next opened my eyes Rose was in the room looking out the window with her arms crossed. The room was dark and she was looking over the pond.
"Rose?" I whispered.
"You have to go now." She said- her voice was firm.
"I don't want to go." A frown formed on my face, I felt a bit displaced; but it was likely from all the sleep. My body still hurt, and also sort of itched.
"You have to go. I can't stand looking at your face anymore."
"You're lyng." I said shaking my head. "You love me." The words fell from my lips with such ease making me uncomfortable. We hadn't said those words let alone kissed again.
"I said go!" She shrieked.
I woke with a start sitting up in bed sweating, trembling. She was going to make me leave. She was going to-
My lower lip trembled. Ian hadn't been lying, she was going to reject me. The anger in me fueled my aching body as I threw off the covers and quickly yanked on some clothing, not bothering to lace my boots before hopping out the window like I had the first night I had spent here. Just like then the sun was slowly starting to rise.
Instead of heading to the beach I ran to the last blank area we had practiced at- the buckets of paint still sitting there undisturbed waiting for her to expand this place near the river with koi fish. Without a thought my boot connected with a vibrant blue. Then magenta and a deep red. Picking up the black I chucked it at the invisible barrier making it splatter across it's white surface like a wall without a seam- just curving in on the land it's self so my boots tracked prints into the running paint as I threw another and another screaming with frustration.
I was going to die and she didn't care. A whole month with her hadn't changed anything. Even with Ian consenting she still was going to reject me. My anger began coursing through my hands as I threw around the buckets, finally punching at the barrier. I didn't care anymore. I wanted out of here- if I was going to die anyways it would only be a few days not later.
Her voice. Her voice. I had to get out of here. I wasn't going to be rejected now- I wasn't going to let her be the one to tell me she didn't want me. I pushed more of my will into my hands, begging to be released from this cursed place.
"Raven! No please! Raven!" She cried out seeing what I was doing.
Tears pricked my eyes and she sounded so upset and desperate. I clenched my fists sobbing as I punched it once last time before turning in defeat to face her. She was several feet away from me running across the meadow her face full of fear and rejection.
She hadn't even known- how could she it was the future. As a clairvoyant I of all people should know a vision like that could be days, weeks, months or even years from now. "Ros-" I started to say but I noticed something now that my anger had dissipated. Liquid paint had snaked up my legs willed by my magic- pulling and stretching almost painfully.
This was a mistake- I wanted to cry out and scream that I was sorry. To take it back.
My back slammed into a hard stone floor knocking the wind from me before I could even make a sound though. I was back, and a very annoyed angry dragon was looking down at me in his human form- hands tucked into the ugly red robe he always wore encrusted with jewels around the neckline and gold on the sleeves when he was not in a meeting with Nicodemus. His greasy snear was enough to make my blood run cold.