Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 39

Despite the angry words Aidan had left Haven with, he was still somewhat relieved to have been provided with any other explanation other than the one he had held upon entering his Prince’s home that night. However, there were others who most likely still held that previous explanation and he would have to deal with that and them, sooner rather than later. He allowed a heavy sigh as he forced his feet to carry him back into Sean’s and Claire’s home again that night. It was only mere hours after he had been enjoying such pleasure under that roof, misguided though that pleasure was in so many ways.

When he entered the main room of the home, neither Sean nor Claire was still seated where he had left them. Though he was not sure whether that gave him any more or less comfort in all honesty. He allowed another heavy sigh as he pushed his feet to carry him back toward the cellar stops, willing away memories of what he had thought he had been doing down there so very recently.

He couldn’t help glancing briefly into his own quarters and the disheveled bedding that did well to shake his composure even further. One more pause to steel himself before he moved to the door of Claire’s and Sean’s bedroom and wore an almost pained expression as he willed his fingers to gently rap at the door.

Already knowing who was at her door, Claire allowed her own dread-filled sigh as she forced her strangled voice to speak despite how raw it had felt to her in the hours she had now spent there crying on that bed, a pillow to her chest, already bloodstained from the tears that seemed to have no end “come in” she forced herself to respond.

Aidan slowly pushed open the door and warily stepped inside to find Claire alone. Not that he was very shocked by that fact, considering what Sean had believed had happened between the two of them that night “I didn’t see Sean upstairs” he managed, though his own voice seemed choked as well.

“I know what you two think happened now. It wasn’t me, Aidan. I swear” she told him in a shaky whisper.

“I went to speak to Haven about all the damage that had been done here tonight, and he came to the same conclusion; that it wasn’t you that I was in the room with at all” he agreed, his voice apologetic and full of regret as he pondered whether or not he should even let the door to her bedroom shut behind him or not, all things considered.

“So, we all know that it wasn’t me now. Is that all you needed to tell me, then?” she asked in the same hoarse whisper, her eyes glued to the doorframe behind him instead of being able to look up into his eyes at all right then.

Aidan looked at her with a bit of confusion coloring the regret that already saturated his aura “so, if we all know that it wasn’t you who…did that with me tonight, that would mean Sean knows it wasn’t you as well, right?” he asked with a bit of hope, pained though it still was.

“Yes Sean knows now, that it wasn’t me” she agreed as her voice broke again and she cast her eyes downward once more.

“So, things are ok then? Well, not ok” he added “but at least ok between you and Sean?” he hoped aloud as he only allowed himself to move a step or two closer to the bed.

That was when another sob shook her body as Claire moved her hand to her eyes once more “not really, Aidan” was the only answer she could manage.

“Well, if he knows that you didn’t actually…” he shook his head, that confusion still remaining despite one of the mysteries of the night having been uncovered “then what is it? I mean, I know you two still have a pretty good reason to be upset with me” he admitted guiltily “I mean I did take you to bed without a second thought. Even if it wasn’t actually you” he added, and then quickly moved on “but how does that translate to there being something wrong between you and Sean, still?” he asked as though he honestly did want to understand.

“Because, when Sean thought it had been me in there with you…” she sniffled a bit, not even sure she had the strength to form the words “he told me why he thought I would do that to him.”

“I’m sorry Claire. I know this is hard; but I’m really not following” he apologized as he finally moved to sit at the foot of the bed, trying once again to push memories of the earlier part of the night out of his head.

Claire forced a strength she didn’t truly feel in order to give any answer at all “Sean thought I went to bed with you… to get even with him” she whispered, biting back her emotions painfully.

“Even with him for what?” Aidan asked slowly.

“For Awsha” she choked, eyes darting downwards again.

“Awsha?” Aidan replied with a bit of surprise “I thought you two were way, way past that” he stated with further confusion.

“I got past it when it was her powers that made Sean be with her. After all, it wasn’t his choice… that time” she cried the last two words as she curled up against the headboard, burying her face in that already bloody pillow once again.

Aidan closed his eyes a moment, taking in that confession before finding his voice again “and when Sean did actually choose to be with her again… It was after she had tried to kill you?” he then had to add “it was after what she had done to Erica for all those years?” he asked for clarification that he hoped he would not actually get. After all, Aidan didn’t even love Claire the way Sean had always claimed to. He wasn’t even sure he loved Erica as much as Sean had supposedly loved Claire. And even he could no longer bring himself to touch Awsha after hearing of her crimes against both Claire and Erica.

“So, no; things really aren’t ok between me and Sean” was the only confirmation Claire could even manage then.

“I don’t understand this at all” Aidan replied after a long moment, though his voice was only a whisper “and we’re sure that Awsha didn’t use her powers on him again?” he had to ask.

“She’s bound to Haven, Aidan. She couldn’t have been with Sean at all… unless Sean actually wanted to be with her” she admitted out loud, no longer even having the strength to continue to try and deny that fact any longer herself.

“I just don’t understand it” was all Aidan could repeat, his own voice shaky as he finally moved across the bed to wrap his arms around Claire, kissing her hair and offering her the only comfort he could. Though he knew that no comfort would ever be enough for this kind of heartbreak at all.

Once Sean began moving slowly, deliberately, emotionless down the beach away from Awsha after their previous conversation, she summoned every bit of will she could to call after him “You can’t kill Taylor, Sean.”

Sean simply scoffed at her words, but turned back to her nonetheless “oh I assure you, I can” he promised her coolly.

“No, you really can’t!” she argued as she moved to catch up to where he had taken a few short steps back toward the dock in front of Haven’s home.

“Keep defending her and you’ll see what else I can do now, Awsha. I hate leaving anything unfinished after all” Sean told her, the threat clear in his tone and his expression as those rage-filled pools of blue moved to her neck just to drive that threat further home.

Awsha was halted for more than a moment before she found her voice, brittle as it was “I’m not trying to protect Taylor. She’s becoming just as much of a threat to me as she is to you. And not just because she has you so filled with rage that you just threatened me” she had to add with a bit of hurt “I’m trying to protect you. Trust me when I say you cannot go after Taylor” she told him with as much conviction as she could in that moment.

“Her little illusions and games won’t save her. So you should really give up on trying to either. It could be unhealthy for you” he stated plainly.

Trying to ignore yet another threat, Awsha continued “yes, I know you could easily kill Taylor. I’m not debating that, Sean. But I know what will happen if you do. There will be a very bloody retaliation” she warned, then forced more willpower to add one last warning “she’s his favorite pet, Sean. If you hurt her… I know he’ll hurt you back a thousand times worse” she finished in a whisper as tears formed at the corner of her dark eyes.

“He huh?” Sean narrowed his eyes at that, but moved on before asking for any more information on who this ‘he’ actually may have been “do you honestly think there’s anything left on the planet that could actually hurt me now? There’s nothing left to hurt. Even if he kills me, it won’t matter. None of it matters anymore. I just want her to pay first. That’s all” Sean finished in the same terrifyingly calm tone, especially whilst talking about his own death.

“He won’t kill you Sean. At least not before he hurts you” Awsha told him with a sad shake of her head.

“I just told you…”

“What? That there’s nothing that could still hurt you?” she scoffed then “believe me, there’s one way he could still destroy what you claim isn’t even there to destroy. And that’s exactly who he’ll go after. She has literally no value to him at all, except to use her to hurt you. And he will” Awsha promised “so, do you still think you wanna risk that? Risk her… just to get even with Taylor? Would that…. Would anything be worth that to you, Sean?”

Sean was quiet for a long moment, doing all he could to hide any emotion produced by Awsha’s words. Finally he spoke again “I assume this ‘he’ that you’re talking about is this serpent we’ve been looking for since the day we came to this place?” Though Awsha could provide no verbal response as she simply looked down; and this gave him her answer. The emotions he had been drowning in all night finally gave way to a more rational thought “you’ve known who he is? Where he is? That Taylor’s one of his minions? What he’s actually like and what he’s willing to do? And you never told any of us? You never told Haven?”

“You don’t understand how terrifying Baron is. How strong he is. The things he can do…” she just shook her head, though Sean appeared to have heard none of her excuses.

“You’re no longer bound to Haven, are you?” he whispered, which only caused her to close her eyes against the accusation “how….” Sean then just shook his head “never mind how. I really should just kill you right now. Fuck Taylor. You’ve always been the real problem, haven’t you Awsha?” another look of accusation toward her then “you knew all about him and you never even tried to help us stop him. You really are content to just watch him destroy everything; destroy all of us. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked at all, should I?” he added, though with barely any volume.

“Sean, you don’t understand. I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell all of you. I just…” she just looked down once again.

“Don’t tell me you’re bound to this serpent now. Do not tell me that, Awsha. Don’t tell me you let him feed… corrupt you that way” he corrected as he watched that first part of the prophecy very well unfolding before his very eyes that night. The same night in which he had lost the one thing that had always given him the strength to try and deal with any tragedy he had ever had to endure.

“I swear I never drank his blood, Sean” she defended through tears.

Sean adjusted his sight to gauge the truth of that claim, and found that she was indeed telling him the truth about not being bound by blood to the very serpent that was prophesied to corrupt her into murdering their sire. But if she were not bound to him, then that would only leave one other explanation.

“So, if you’re not bound to him. You really did just choose to keep your knowledge of him a secret. Do you think that somehow makes this better?” he told her with disbelief.

“I don’t know, Sean” she insisted “I know I never drank his blood, but for some reason I just can’t do anything at all to help any of you fight him. It’s like he somehow can still keep me from ever truly acting against him, even without ever feeding me his blood at all” she whispered, trying to make sense of it herself “I mean, if he could do that sort of thing…” she just shook her head again.

Sean’s first reaction was complete disbelief that she would try to use this current explanation to justify anything at all she had done or not done. But when he looked inside her head, he knew that she was not lying, and that she was truly terrified that what she had described actually was the truth.

Sean paused a long moment before reacting “we need to find out what he actually did do to you” he stated as he grabbed her arm and began leading her toward Haven’s home, knowing that their sire would be able to make much more sense of this. Or rather, Sean hoped he would. If nothing else, he knew that Haven could see a lot more of her thoughts than Sean ever could hope to as she was technically at least his match mentally when it came to many of their psychic abilities being able to be used on one another.

It was only moments later when Sean pushed open the door to Haven’s study, still holding Awsha tightly in his grip as he tossed the door shut behind them. Haven raised a brow at the rather dramatic entrances he was being treated to that night, and even more dramatic exits. Not that ‘treated’ was all that accurate of a term “don’t tell me she was somehow behind the fiasco with Aidan?” he attempted a guess at the reasons for their presence there.

“In some way” Sean scoffed as he glared down at his vampiric sister “but that’s not the biggest part of the problem.”

“There’s a bigger part of the problem?” Haven asked with a bit of disbelief as well as dread at the thought as he watched Sean forcefully push Awsha down into the chair that Aidan had occupied not much earlier.

Not having any patience left to do anything but get directly to the point, that is precisely what Sean did “is it even possible for someone to make you behave like you have a blood bond to them, even when you’re nowhere near them and you’ve never even tasted their blood, allegedly?” he had to add more quietly as he cast a sideways glance down at Awsha. It was true that she believed that she had not tasted this Baron’s blood, but he wasn’t even sure if her aura would have revealed that to him if someone had taken the memory from her.

Haven was quiet a moment, his blue eyes moving between his two childer. After another moment, he allowed an answer “considering I have that ability, myself; I would have to agree that it is indeed possible” he admitted quietly, as both sets of eyes widened at him. Ignoring their obvious shock, he attempted some little comfort “however, if one is already blood bound. It would be a tad more difficult for the mental bond to surpass the…”

“She’s not bound to you anymore” Sean interrupted, which did cause Awsha to immediately shrink back into her seat as her sire’s eyes darkened as he fixed them on her.

Haven was silenced a long moment as he continued to hold Awsha in his gaze “I won’t bother asking for any explanation of that right now” he swallowed a bit, “but I assume this turn of conversation has been brought on by someone replacing Awsha’s physical bond to me with a mental one to them instead?” he stated, forcing all emotion out of his tone as best he could.

Sean had to force his confirmation as well “not just someone. The daughter has been corrupted by the serpent after all, father.”

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