Reconciliation in a Dream
Stairs! If she could grab Maeve and get upstairs, at least they may dodge the abomination’s efforts. Paige spared a quick glance towards her guardian but could discern the other woman within the mass of hands. Only the sword’s glowing light let Paige know that the creature had not pulled Maeve into the portal yet.
The momentary lapse in attention cost her. Her only warning came in the form of a murmured incantation as ghostly hands brushed by her neck. Anna must have an arsenal of spells ready. Choking by ghost hands was definitely not high on her list of ways to go out. Paige brought the blade up to cut in the air. By sheer luck, the touch dissipated.
When in a fight, a moving target is much harder to hit.
Dante’s advice surfaced in her mind. This would be the same whether it was a strike or a spell and she hoped Anna’s worked the same way. Paige scrambled, choosing a zig-zag pattern rather than running in a straight line.
A whiff of wind brushed by her face and she changed directions. But by then Anna must have learned her pattern. The forces batted at her this way and that like a cat playing with a mouse until she neared Maeve. An invisible force slammed into her body, striking true this time to send her body spinning in the air. Paige’s eyes widened in terror. With no control of her trajectory, her body travelled in an arc right into the centre of the portal.
Time slowed. The hands withdrew from Maeve to embrace their new prey. Anna’s eyes glittered in triumph. Paige knew with a certain clarity what she had to do. “Maeve, catch!”
With all the strength she could muster, she flung the necklace to Maeve just as the hands closed in on every part of her limbs, restraining her.
“No!” Anna’s scream tore through the air even as she extended a hand towards the vial with Davin’s essence glittering within. The scream tapered off into another incantation, the words too soft for Paige’s ears to pick up.
The vial wobbled, struggling against an invisible opposing force that tampered with its natural path even as Maeve reached out in a desperate attempt to catch it. All three women watched in horror as the necklace brushed by Maeve’s outstretched fingertips then fell straight to the floor, shattering open.
The golden essence swirled in the air and another shadowy hand shot straight towards it. Anna threw herself in the same direction, trying to intercept. Paige strained and fought against the hands as more and more enveloped her, screaming in wordless rage and grief.
Helpless in her restraints, something broke inside of her and scorching heat surged from the pit of her belly up to fill her entire body. Some part of her registered that she glowed with an aquamarine light that grew with intensity. But that was soon eclipsed by the inferno that burned every part of her, inexplicable flames consuming her until her grief became blinding pain.
And then that something burst from her and she shut her eyes with a shout. Stillness descended.
Paige opened her eyes, squinting as her eyes adjusted to the soft light. She stood, dream stuff floating by her ankles, blanketing the ground beneath her feet. This wasn’t her own dream or even their place. The twilight of dreams.
Her eyes filled with tears at the familiar voice. Paige pivoted on foot, spinning around to behold the great golden eyes that looked on her with equal parts warmth and confusion.
Was this her dream? Did she conjure him out of her own desires to see him?
“Davin!” They both turned to watch Anna struggled to make her way towards them.
Nopes. Paige would most certainly not be conjuring that witch if this was some wishful dream.
Paige’s hand dropped to her side, seeking the blade she had come to rely on, then startled in surprise when she realized it was not here. In fact, she had none of her weapons with her. Paige shivered, hating how vulnerable she felt without her blades. When had she become that attached to them?
As Anna came up to both of them, both women glared at each other. But when Anna raised her hand to prepare for an attack spell, Davin moved to stand before Paige, shielding her from any harm Anna may intend to inflict on her
“That’s enough Anna.” Tendrils of dream stuff bounded her hands together. When her mouth opened, Davin shot her a look full of threat. They all knew that in dreams, the incubus held the most power.
Only when Anna snapped her mouth shut did Davin speak once more. With a heavy sigh, he pushed his hair back. “I know I did you wrong. I thought the binding would be a way to make it up to you but if we’re here, it means for one reason or another, it didn’t work.”
Paige could sense the frustration in Davin’s voice as he searched for the right words.
“It didn’t work because that bitch there had help,” Anna hissed.
Davin cast a glance back at Paige, question in his eyes but she shook her head. He needed to focus on this, to find closure, for all three of them. Questions about Paige herself could wait.
“Would you have been happy with me as your mindless slave?” Davin asked, his voice quieter now. “Would you have been satisfied knowing I was there because I was obligated to, because it was what I had to do to protect Paige?”
Anna opened her mouth to protest but fell silent before she could muster any words.
“Do you still love me, Anna?”
To Paige’s surprise, tears began streaming down Anna’s face.
“That’s not a fair question, Davin.” Her voice was small. In that moment, Paige saw her for what she was, a woman imprisoned by a desire she had no control over, a desire that drove her to make one mistake after another. That she tried so hard to let Davin have his freedom all this time was a testament to her sheer will.
Davin took one step closer but made no move to touch the witch. “You loathe me, don’t you? For ruining your life. There may have been infatuation, even love at one point but that has long turned into hatred.”
Anna gritted her teeth, hands clenching into fists as she sucked in a breath, attempting mastery over her crying. “Yes. Yes, I hate you, Davin. I hate you for making me want you. For this hunger that I can never sate no matter how hard I try.”
“Then let me try to fix it. Let me do the one thing I should have done all those decades ago instead of running. Let me try to find a cure for you.”
Was that possible?
A harsh laugh. Anna shook her head. “You think I haven’t tried? I’ve searched through the entire occult world.”
For the first time, Paige spoke. “What about other forms? Like Sidhe magic?”
Anna’s eyes widened in surprise.
“There are other avenues, Anna. Let’s not give up, okay?” Now Davin offered a weak smile. “Let us all help you. You don’t have to do this alone. Not anymore.” Without waiting for a reply, Davin released the bonds on her wrists.
“You’ve changed.” Anna looked up at Davin with soft sad eyes and a bittersweet smile. “I’ll take what you offer and hold you to it, Davin Murphy.” And with that, as if she willed it on her own, she faded from their dream.
Davin let out a long exhale as he turned to face Paige once more. “I missed you.” Now he took a step forward and opened his arms.
The offer was all she needed as she tumbled into them. His scent surrounded her and she buried her face against his chest, allowing herself a good cry at last. This, this was what she needed, what she fought for. It didn’t matter if he was human or demon. She loved him.
“Ah Paige, I’m so so sorry. I hurt you, didn’t I?” Davin brushed his lips against the top of her head
She smiled up at him through the curtain of her own tears and in return, he took slow care in wiping them away. Time passed unnoticed as they stared at each other, reunited once more, albeit temporary, hearts too full for words
By and by, Paige came to herself once more and turned to look around the dreamscape. It had shifted back to their bedroom.
“Did you bring us here?” Paige kicked herself in her mind for the question. It was the last thing she wanted to say. She wanted to tell him she loved him, that she forgave him and wanted to be with him. But the words wouldn’t come, not right now when she knew what awaited her once she left the twilight of dreams.
Davin tilted her head back and closed his eyes then turned back around to face her. “No, not entirely. I sense Sidhe magic blended with mine.”
The fire that exploded from her. Was this her doing?
A sheepish smile tugged at Davin’s lips. “I talked big in front of Anna but fill me in on what happened? The last I remember, Anna’s binding ritual held me immobile and then that dark entity had you.” As he spoke, horror dawned on his face as the realization hit him. Davin’s arms tightened around her. “You are real right? You escaped somehow.”
Laughter bubbled at the irony of his words. Paige reached up and stroked his face with fondness. “Yes, I am real. I survived. I had some help from a fae named Maeve. She cut the circle that powered Anna’s binding spell, which is how your essence got completely dissociated from your body.” It was the best reader’s digest version she could give, unwilling yet to go into details, in particular, the part about her being some royalty changeling. Davin has had enough shock for the day.
“Maeve,” Davin repeated the name with a blink as if still trying to come to terms with her explanation.
“Yeah, Maeve is a Daoine Sidhe. If you need help with Anna, ask her. Tell her it’s a request from me.” She hoped Davin wouldn’t notice the finality in her phrasing.
About to ask for more, Davin paused when everything in their bedroom began to waver and grow more translucent. Whatever time their combined powers bought them was running out.
“Davin, listen to me.” Paige reached up, cupping his face with both hands, urgency now driving her next words. “Your body is at Dante’s. Use the dreamscape to get back to it.”
“What about you?”
Paige shook her head. “I’ll be okay. Maeve and Dante are both with me. What’s most important is that we get you back to your body.” She was lying through her teeth, remembering the last thing in the waking world being captured by that thing. Who knew what she would wake up to. But Dante must have survived the flying heads and if she could distract the eldritch monster long enough, Maeve should be able to escape. Maybe Anna would even help.
She saw his unwillingness to leave her in the way his eyes narrowed and the way his arms only tightened around her. That wasn’t good enough. He had to leave. Her powers rose in response to her needs. With a small smile, Paige leaned up to kiss him, to taste his lips. It was a desperate kiss, full of wants and words unsaid. She felt him respond, his lips moving against her with an urgency that spoke of promises and desires, promises that she wished with all her heart she could hold him to. With tears once more in her eyes, she shifted her hands to place both palms on his chest, and with her own powers unfurling, she gave him a hard shove, pushing him out of their dream and on his way back to his body.
Around her, the dream shimmered and faded. Paige closed her eyes and readied herself. It was time to face the end.