The Crown that Was Never Meant to Be

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Chapter Thirteen

"Why must you kick me while I'm down?" Damon questioned, glaring at the flower crown placed on his forehead.

Angelica had taken a pit-stop at the field to both weave her mate a flower crown and calm her nerves. The nervousness of not having Nyx with her was eating at her, and weaving flower crowns seemed to help.

Seeing said flower crowns on Damon definitely helped.

"Because it's funny," Angelica replied, smiling widely at the look of pure annoyance on her mate's face.

"This is not funny," Damon ground out.

"Yes, it is," Angelica replied.

"I have been stabbed. I do not need you to crown me," Damon said.

"Then consider them get well soon flowers," Angelica replied, taking his hands.

She brought his hands to her mouth, pressing a loving kiss to his knuckles.

"Cheeky bastard," he mumbled, although he slipped one of his hands into her hair, drew her close, and kissed her forehead.

"Flower boy," she replied.

He chuckled, brushed a kiss over her brow, and drew back.

"Any updates, Angel baby?" Damon asked, his thumb brushing over her cheek.

Closing her hand around his, she leaned into his touch, a smile on her lips. She met his gaze, his blue eyes calm and focused on her, and she debated kissing him instead of answering.

"Well, I'm queen now," she said, "And I'm going to talk to Cazriel about what to do next when I'm done talking to you."

"Wonderful," Damon mumbled.

He took in a breath, let it out, and again met her gaze.

"Alright. You're queen. You are queen, and I am your mate, and I am okay with this," he said, his thumb still brushing over her cheek, "I love you, and I am going to stand by your side through this."

It might not have been to reassure her, but still, she was grateful for it.

Leaning in, she met his lips in a gentle, loving kiss, and she murmured onto his lips. "I love you, too, and I thank you for being beside me."

His lips curved into a smile against hers, and he opened his mouth to hers, accepting her kiss. When they drew away, Damon asked, "Would you like me to go with you?"

"Would Ember be mad at me if I took you out of your bed?" Angelica replied.

He briefly kissed her. "Yes, but being cooped up all day is driving me insane."

"I'll bring Nyx next time, then. Maybe she'll be able to cheer you up," Angelica said.

"You're enough," Damon promised, "You're enough."

Her grin widened, and she again met his lips in a kiss.

The kiss was interrupted, this time not by Ember, but by Nyx.

"Big sis!" the girl squealed, lunging into her sister's lap.

Angelica jerked away from Damon in time to catch her sister. Evelynn popped her head inside the door, an apologetic smile on her lips.

"Sorry. She wanted to visit Damon, and when she heard you were here too, she just ran off," Evelynn said.

"It's okay," Angelica replied, shifting her sister in her arms, "We were actually just discussing bringing Nyx to see Damon."

"Really?" Nyx asked, her dark blue eyes wide and wondrous.

Angelica nodded. "Damon, it seems, is missing the outside world."

Nyx smiled, looking to Damon, mischief flickering to life in her eyes when she spotted the crown.

"No," Damon said, already seeing the wheels turning in her mind, "I know what you're thinking, and the answer is no."

"But Angel made you a flower crown!" Nyx protested, pointing at the crown.

"Yes, and I am not happy about it," Damon said.

She snorted. "Meanie."

Damon frowned.

"You're a big meanie," Nyx repeated, as if that was the worst insult on the planet.

"Okay," Damon replied, "And?"

Nyx stuck her tongue out at him. He sighed, took the crown off his head, and set it on hers. The little girl blinked, looking up at the crown.

"I'm sorry, little Nyx," Damon said, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "If you want, you can make me a flower crown."

The girl beamed beneath his affection, and Damon drew away.

"I'll make you a hundred flower crowns!" Nyx exclaimed, her eyes bright and excited.

"I don't think he quite needs a hundred," Angelica said.

"Sure he does," Nyx said, "Flowers make him look less mean, and he's going to need a lot to look nice."

Damon snorted. "I do not look mean."

"Yes you do," Nyx said.

Damon looked to Angelica, his eyes asking her to help him.

"I mean," Angelica said, "When you do that protective thing around me, you do look a little mean."

"I promised you I wouldn't do that anymore," Damon mumbled, frowning.

She leaned in to kiss his cheek. "I know, and I thank you for it. And I love you, whether you look mean or not."

Damon sighed, but gave Angelica a smile. "I love you too, baby. I love you, too."

She pecked his cheek again and backed away. Turning her attention to her sister, she asked, "So, what all have you done so far today?"

"Not much. We just went to her place and introduced me to her family," Nyx said, "Then I said I wanted to visit Damon. We were gonna go see my new teacher first, but I really wanted to visit him. And then I found out you were here."

Angelica chuckled, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "So, who told you I was here?"

"Cazriel," Nyx replied.

Of course.

Angelica chuckled and kissed her sister's brow. Leaning her forehead against Nyx's, she asked, "So, how long do you plan on staying?"

She sent a glance to Evelynn, who responded before Nyx could.

"Not long. We do have a lot to do today," Evelynn said, "Especially since we do need to get to school before the day starts. Which is in half an hour. So we should leave soon."

Nyx frowned. "But we just got here."

"I know. We can come back later, if you want," Evelynn said.

That excitement returned to her eyes. "Really?"

Evelynn nodded. Nyx looked to her sister, her excitement swelling. "Is that okay? Can we come back later?"

Angelica nodded. "Just be careful with Damon's wound, okay?"

Nyx squealed, hugging Angelica tightly. Angelica barely had the time to return her sister's embrace before she scrambled out of Angelica's lap, grabbed Evelynn's hand, and dragged her away.

Ember popped up soon after, tired confusion in his eyes.

"What was that?" Ember questioned, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

"Nyx," Angelica replied.

Ember paused, blinked, and squinted at her. Leaning heavily on the doorframe, he questioned, "When did you get here?"

"Oh, five, ten minutes ago," Angelica replied.

"I didn't leave the door unlocked," Ember said, frowning, "Did I?"

"Apparently," Damon said, and shifted the subject, "When can I get out of bed?"

"When your wound is good and ready to let you get out of bed," Ember replied.

Damon narrowed his eyes at the man.

"That is not an answer."

"Well, I haven't seen the wound, so I can't tell you," Ember replied.

"Maybe if you hadn't have slept in," Damon growled, "You would have already."

Ember sighed. "Listen. My magic is exhausted. I woke up at three because Jewel was vomiting. I spent a good hour with her until she calmed down from a panic attack. My spine hurts like all hell, and I do not have the energy to wake up early, especially when my- when Jewel was still asleep as well."

"Then deal with it now," Damon said.

Ember sighed. Pushing off the doorframe, wincing at some pain, he wandered inside.

"Are you okay?" Angelica asked.

He waved the question off, retrieving his medical supplies. Kicking Angelica out of the chair, he flopped down heavily on it, and bit down a yelp.

"Ember-,"

Again, he waved her off. Taking in a deep breath, he straightened his spine, and began the process of unwrapping and cleaning Damon's wound.

Angelica had to give Ember credit, the wound looked much, much better than it had the day before.

When he finished cleaning and re-wrapping the wound, Ember took in another deep breath, set aside his supplies, and just waited.

"Yep," Ember mumbled, "Not getting out of bed tomorrow."

"Alright, what the hell," Damon questioned.

"Oh, don't mind me," Ember said, pushing himself out of the chair.

Angelica almost rushed to his side, but he held up a hand.

"I'm fine," Ember promised, "In a bit of pain, but I'm fine."

"What happened?" Angelica asked, worry in her eyes.

"My spine was broken when I was really young," Ember said, "My magic acts as a brace. I wear it out, the brace loosens, and it hurts. I won't be able to feel my lower body tomorrow, but I'll be fine."

"That does not sound fine," Angelica said.

Ember again just waved her off. "I've survived this long with it. Only annoying thing about it is your mates wound. If my magic wasn't so exhausted, it'd be healed, and he could be out of here."

"I'm going to be polite and not take that as an insult," Damon said.

"Thanks," Ember replied very, very sarcastically.

Damon frowned, and the two men had a glare-off.

"Ember?" a small, tired, scared voice asked from the door.

Ember tore his gaze away from Damon's, almost whirling to the door where Jewel stood, concern sparking in his eyes.

"Yes, sweetheart?" Ember asked, taking a step toward her, "Do you need anything?"

She shrugged, allowing him to envelope her in a hug. Her blanket around her shoulders, she leaned against him, holding her blanket tighter. With a yawn, she thumped her head on his shoulder.

"I'm tired," she mumbled, "A little hungry, too."

"Then I'll make you breakfast," Ember said, kissing her forehead.

Her lips curved into a smile, and Damon stared, confused.

Jewel, noticing Damon's stare, stiffened. She snuggled further into Ember's arms, a fear entering her orange eyes as she stared back.

An animal caught by its prey. That's what Jewel looked like.

"Stop staring at her," Ember almost snarled.

Damon immediately shifted his gaze to Angelica. Jewel relaxed just a little, and she mumbled a thank you to Ember. He kissed her forehead again, and asked, "Do you want to stay here and talk to Angel, or do you want to come with me?"

"I want to go with you," Jewel replied, her voice quiet, "I feel safer with you."

Ember's expression softened, any pain in his eyes dissolving, and he kissed her forehead. The two remained in each other's arms for a long moment more. Then Ember patted her back, letting her know to back away. Still, he took one of her hands before leading her away.

"Are they mates?" Damon asked after their footsteps faded.

Angelica frowned. "Ember had a mate already. Can you have two?"

"I have no idea," Damon replied, "I didn't think so."

"Huh," Angelica said, blinking.

The two stared at the door a moment longer before shaking off their confusion.

"Anyway," Angelica said, "How long do you think it's going to be until you can leave?"

"Hopefully not long," Damon replied, "Two days, maybe, until the stitches can come out. If that."

"Can you even leave after that?" Angelica asked.

Damon shrugged. "I'll still be patching myself up beneath the skin."

"Then you still probably couldn't do much," Angelica said.

"Sadly, I think you might be right," Damon mumbled, glaring down at the wound.

She frowned. "Shouldn't your magic be helping to heal you?"

"It is," Damon replied, "Just very, very slowly. I have ice magic, a branch of water magic. Water magic has healing properties, meaning ice does as well, but not nearly as much. That's why it could only fight off the infection instead of fighting the infection and patching up the wound."

"Well, that's not fun," Angelica said.

"No," Damon agreed, "It's not. It means I have to stay here longer."

"You never did like staying in one place for very long," Angelica said, almost teasing him.

He rolled his eyes. "It does get boring."

She grinned, and leaned in to kiss his cheek. "Then I suppose I'll just have to pop up more often."

"I am not opposed to that idea," Damon replied.

They exchanged a nuzzle, and Angelica set her head on his shoulder. One of Damon's hands slid into her orange curls, and he began playing with her hair.

"I miss you," Angelica said, "Being out there at my side, I mean. I miss having you with me."

"You don't know how much I miss being by your side, too," Damon replied, pressing a kiss to her forehead.

He kept his mouth pressed against her brow, taking a moment just to breathe her in.

"You know, you smell like flowers," Damon said, "And ash. You wouldn't think those would work, but they do."

She chuckled, backing away. His hand slid to her cheek, and he drew her back against him.

"I really, really want out of this bed," Damon said.

She snorted. "Quite romantic."

"Well, when getting out of this bed means that I get to spend more time with you, I should think it is."

Angelica smiled, and she pecked his lips. He met her lips before she could draw away, holding her a little closer as he kissed her.

When he drew away, he mumbled, "Come visit me again soon, Angel."

"I will," Angelica promised, a soft smile on her lips, "I love you."

"I love you, too," he replied, "And let me know what Cazriel says, okay?"

She nodded, slipping out of his grasp. "Will do."

"Goodbye, baby."

"Goodbye, my beloved Damon."

He chuckled as she slipped out the door.
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