The Crown that Was Never Meant to Be

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Chapter Seven

Cazriel bid them a good night after the meal, and led them through his home.

Right to Evelynn, who seemed to have just arrived.

Angelica gave Cazriel a glance, and he smiled.

Yes, he knew she was out there. Yes, he'd had them leave so that they might run into Evelynn. Yes, the girl was there for a reason.

So Angelica approached the girl, Nyx in her arms.

Evelynn snorted, amused. "Cazriel always does stuff like this."

"I'm not surprised," Angelica replied, "So, what's up?"

"Well," Evelynn said, "Ember says Damon's going to be alright. And that Jewel's going to be staying with him, so that he can monitor her food intake."

Angelica nodded. "Is Damon taking visitors?"

"Yep," Evelynn nodded. "He requested you specifically."

Angelica smiled, a bit of joy sparking in her eyes. Then she paused.

"Um," she said, "Where are the others going to stay?"

Evelynn paused. "I mean, Serafina and Diego have a room already. I can get the others rooms, and I can get you the room you had earlier."

Angelica dipped her head, thankful.

"How many do you need?" Evelynn asked.

Angelica considered the number.

Jackal and Domino and their children would be sharing a room. Diamond and her brother might as well. The others would likely be on their own.

So... "Six," Angelica replied, "Seven, for when Jewel's ready for one. Eight, maybe, so we can have room to meet."

"I'll just get you ten," Evelynn said, "Including yours and Sera and Diego's. Just in case."

Angelica dipped her head. "Thank you."

Evelynn nodded. She bit her lip, then asked, "Say... could I take Nyx out tomorrow?"

Angelica hesitated. Nyx perked up, tilting her head, curious.

"...Why?"

"The other kids want to play with her," Evelynn replied, "That, and I figure she's going to need to get settled in. Meet teachers. See the school house. See where she's allowed to go and where she isn't."

Right. Nyx would need an education.

But leaving her sister, even in the hands of someone she trusted...

Angelica bit her lip, looking to her sister.

The girl held her gaze, excitement within them.

"Would you like to?" Angelica asked.

She nodded, her blue eyes glowing.

Angelica took a moment just to consider it. Eventually, she nodded. "Get me the rooms, and you can have Nyx tomorrow."

Evelynn squealed, throwing her arms around Angelica in a tight hug. When she drew back, she said, "I'll take them to the hotel. You go check on Damon. Do you remember where the room is?"

Angelica nodded. "Yep. Thanks, Eve."

Again, the woman hugged her, and she turned to the others.

"This is Evelynn, for those who don't know her," Angelica said, "She's going to get you guys places to stay. Don't give her any trouble."

Maroon sketched a bow. "Your wish is my command, Majesty."

Angelica snorted. "I'm going to go check on Damon."

"Have fun," she replied.

Angelica waved them off, turning for Ember's house.

She was stopped halfway by the man himself, Jewel at his side.

"Going to see Damon?" Ember asked.

She nodded. Ember fished a key out of his pocket, handing it to her. "You know what room he's in. Hopefully he's still awake."

"Thank you," Angelica said, and looked to Jewel. "You feeling alright?"

Jewel shrugged. She wouldn't meet her cousin's gaze.

A pitying pang rang through Angelica's chest.

"Hey," Angelica said, taking one of her cousin's hands, "I'm here for you, Jewel. If you ever want to talk, I'll be either with Damon or in my room. Ember knows where it is, so he can take you there. Don't be afraid to stop by."

She just nodded.

"You heading somewhere special?" Angelica asked.

Jewel again shrugged. So Ember replied for her.

"We're going to meet Cazriel," Ember said, "I figure he'd want to meet her."

Angelica nodded. "Have fun."

Jewel didn't reply. Ember gave her hand a gentle squeeze, an almost loving glance.

"Well, try not to have too much fun with Damon," Ember said, "He's still got stitches."

Angelica did not comprehend.

"Right. Innocent demon," Ember sighed, "I'll see you around, Angel."

"You, too," she replied, and they departed.

It took Angelica two tries to unlock Ember's front door.

It wasn't her fault. She didn't know which way to turn the key.

Nyx laughed at her when she tried and failed to open the door. Angelica stuck her tongue out at her sister.

Angelica locked the door after stepping inside, then thought better of it, as Ember now didn't have his key. So she unlocked it and headed straight for Damon's temporary room.

A spark of worry bloomed in her belly, but she ignored it.

Damon was fine, she told herself, There's no need to worry. He's fine.

He laid awake on his bed, staring at the ceiling, his hands clasped over his abdomen. He noticed her as soon as she walked in, however, perking up.

"Well. That was fast," he noted.

"Hey, Damon," she greeted.

"Hey, Angel," he replied, his gaze softening, "Come to watch me suffer?"

She snorted. "No. Just to check up on you."

"Well, it's very much appreciated," Damon said.

Angelica walked over, setting Nyx on the floor. The girl ran to Damon, leaping upon him.

To his credit, Damon managed to keep from yelping in pain as Nyx landed on his abdomen, hugging him tight.

"I missed you, big brother," Nyx said, burying her face in his clean white shirt.

"I missed you, too, little Nyx," Damon replied, brushing a hand down her blue curls.

She smiled, relaxing on his abdomen. Damon glanced to Angelica, who sat down in the chair beside his bad. A smile graced her lips, and she watched her mate.

"Yes?" Damon asked, raising a brow.

"Remember when you were concerned about how well you and Nyx would get along?" Angelica replied.

Nyx blinked, her eyes widening in curiosity.

"Back when Angel was first with me," Damon said, "When she was talking out bringing you here. I wasn't sure I'd be a very good influence."

Nyx snorted. "That's stupid."

"That's what I told him," Angelica said, "Except nicer."

Damon smiled, looking down to the girl. "You were right, I'll give you that."

Angelica smiled, and she leaned down to kiss his cheek. He shifted his gaze to her, turning his face to meet her lips.

"You're wonderful with children," Angelica said.

"Just Nyx," Damon replied, "I don't think I'd be very good with any other children."

"I'm sure you'd be good with our children," Angelica said.

Nyx frowned. "You don't have children."

"And we are not going to be having children any time soon," Damon replied, "Especially with this stab wound."

Angelica cringed. "Yeah, that wouldn't be a good thing."

"Exactly," Damon said.

She took one of his cheeks into her hand, leaning her brow against his. "Please don't get hurt again. You scared me."

He snorted. "Alright. Next time I'll just ask my opponent not to stab me."

Angelica rolled her eyes, "Oh, shut up."

His eyes lit up in amusement, and he leaned in to kiss her.

Angelica however, had other ideas.

"Can I talk to you for a minute?" Angelica asked.

Damon drew back, worry replacing the amusement. "Is everything okay?"

She nodded. "Yeah. Everything's fine. I just want to talk."

"You never have to ask to talk to me, baby," Damon said, "I'm here for you, whenever you need me."

She smiled, again leaning her forehead on his. He pecked her lips, murmuring, "What is it that you want to talk about?"

"Well, two things, really," Angelica replied.

Damon waited patiently.

"I suppose I'll start with sleeping arrangements," Angelica said.

"Well, I'm stuck here until this wound gets better," Damon replied, "In case you were wondering."

Angelica sighed, a little bit of her disappointment revealing itself withing the breath.

"How long is that going to be?" Angelica inquired.

Damon shrugged. "Two days. Maybe three. Whenever Ember will let me out of this bed."

"Three days. You want me to wait three days before I can hold you?" Angelica questioned.

"Sadly, it isn't up to me. If it was, I'd be snuggling with you right now," Damon replied.

It brought a smile to her lips.

"Or kissing you until we both passed out," Damon added.

Nyx let out her usual 'blegh' noise, and Angelica snorted, even as she blushed.

"Damon."

"Angel."

With a sigh and a shrug, Angelica said, "Oh, alright. I suppose I can manage."

"I'm not so sure I can," Damon said.

She chuckled, rolling her eyes. "You're insufferable."

"I try."

Again, she chuckled. Drawing his face closer, she closed her eyes, enjoying his presence.

"Are you planning on kissing me or not, babe?" Damon asked.

"Would you like a kiss?"

"I would."

Angelica grinned, drawing back. "Too bad. I've got Nyx to think about."

The little girl muttered her thanks. Damon rolled his eyes.

"That, and I'm going to refrain from kissing you until we're done talking," Angelica added.

"Then we're done talking," Damon said.

"That's not how thinks work, babe," Angelica said.

"Oh, so it's babe now?" Damon playfully questioned, "No 'insufferable' or 'scary'?"

She flushed.

"I must say, I do like the new nickname," Damon commented, "And how I love seeing you flustered."

"And what's gotten you so talkative?" Angelica retorted.

"I don't know what medicine Ember gave me, but I think I smelled alcohol in it. Plus, you know, delirious from blood loss," Damon replied.

Angelica snorted.

Of course.

"Well, try not to say anything too bad. Nyx is still here, after all," Angelica said.

"Exactly." Nyx agreed.

"Oh, alright. I have something to talk to you about when you're done with whatever it is you need to tell me," Damon said.

"Nothing bad, I hope," Angelica said.

"Oh, quite the opposite," he replied, a wide grin spreading over his lips.

She snorted and leaned in to press a kiss to his forehead. His grin only grew, and he leaned into her touch.

When she drew back, he said, "Now, hurry up and get done with whatever it is you need to tell me."

She chuckled, leaning back in her chair.

"Well," she said, "Apparently we're going to be electing a leader."

Damon stilled, the amusement fading from his eyes, seriousness replacing it. He didn't speak. He just waited for her to go on.

"They're dead set on it being me," Angelica added.

Damon clenched his jaw.

"I don't expect anything from you," Angelica said, taking one of Damon's hands, "I don't expect you to want to rule beside me. But if it's going to be me, I don't want to do this without you. I know I won't be a perfect ruler, and I know I can't handle stressful situations like you can."

"And?" Damon questioned, his voice quiet.

"And I'm telling you that if you want to rule at my side as king, I'll gladly give you the position. And if you don't, I will think no less of you for it," she replied, "But no matter what, you're always going to be my mate. My position will never change that."

"I want nothing to do with being a king," Damon said softly, "I escaped one set of shackles already, Angelica. I don't want another."

"Then you don't have to," she promised, giving his hand a squeeze.

"I don't think you fully understand," Damon mumbled, "I want nothing to do with it. Nothing. I don't want to be king, I don't want to be consort, I don't want to be husband to the queen. I want nothing to do with it."

Angelica paused. Fear rose in her stomach as Damon dropped her gaze.

"Angel," he mumbled.

"What are you saying?" Angelica questioned, her voice barely above a whisper.

"I'm saying I don't want you to be queen because I don't want to be associated with that," Damon said.

"And if I become a queen anyway?" Angelica asked.

"I don't know," he replied.

Angelica gripped her mate's hand just a little tighter. An unspoken plea, if anything. A plea not to leave her over it.

"Damon," Angelica whispered.

He didn't meet her gaze.

Nyx snorted. "You're being dramatic, like Maroon."

Damon blinked, shifting his gaze to Nyx. "What?"

"You're not going to be king. I don't see the problem," Nyx said, "Angel isn't mean. She wouldn't make you do anything you don't want to."

"Nyx, I don't think you get it," Damon said.

"No," she agreed, "I don't. I don't get what's wrong."

"I don't want to a country looking at me for leadership. I don't want a country to give me that sort of attention," Damon said, "If I'm the queen's husband or consort or lover or mate or whatever term you want to use for it, then they will. And I want nothing to do with that."

"Why?"

"Because I was a prince, and I hated it, and I got away," Damon said, "I don't want that again."

Nyx frowned. She looked to Angelica, then to Damon, then said, "You're being stupid."

Damon gritted his teeth, and Angelica could tell that he was considering shoving Nyx onto the floor.

"Do you really think Angel would treat you like they did?" Nyx questioned.

"I think the country would treat me the same way," Damon replied.

Nyx met his gaze, almost staring into his soul, and said, "Averrok doesn't hate wrong winged."

Damon opened his mouth to disagree, then paused. Shutting his mouth, he contemplated the girl's words.

"So stop being stupid," Nyx said, "You don't want to be king, you won't. but you hurt my sister and I'm going to-,"

"Alright, that's enough," Angelica said, lifting Nyx into her arms, "No threatening my mate."

Nyx snorted, even as she hugged her sister. "He's being stupid."

"I wouldn't say that," Angelica said, explaining as gently as she could, "You don't understand, because you don't know what happened to him. But he's not being stupid."

Nyx frowned.

"I'm going to talk to him about it later, okay, little Nyx?" Angelica said.

She nodded. Angelica kissed her forehead and turned back to Damon.

He didn't meet her gaze. Angelica sighed.

"I'm going to go drop Nyx off at the room, and then I'll be back. Okay, Damon?" Angelica said.

Damon nodded. She gave him a quick peck to the cheek before she left.
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