Sidero was sitting up in bed, staring at her hands. The skin of her hands had turned black as night, her nails turned into talons. Her body was shaking.
Her entity was stronger – stronger than I gave it credit for. It was pushing through, beginning to take over Sidero’s body now that they were free from being trapped in humans for centuries. I was doing my best to keep it pushed back as long as possible.
I rested my hand on her back and played with the ends of her hair as a low rumble sounded from my chest. She swung her eyes to me, her eyes blood red, a malicious glint in them. I let my own eyes turn pitch black, my fire rising to reflect in my eyes. Sidero’s beast hissed but retreated, allowing my mate to come forward again.
She slumped down onto the mattress beside me, her body trembling. I drew her into my arms, wishing I knew how to just toss that thing aside so Sidero would never have to suffer again. “I’m here, my love.” I soothed.
“I hate that it comes forward so easily.” She whispered, sounding completely spent and exhausted. I squeezed my arms around her for a moment. She spent every waking moment fighting her beast, trying to keep it tampered down. I knew it had to get exhausting for her.
I brushed my lips over her forehead. It was cold as ice. I knew that her other entity tended to suck the life from Sidero, but it never fully killed her. It just made Sidero feel like death.
I pressed my hand to her back between her shoulder blades and let my heat slide into her. She sighed softly, relaxing into my touch. “Oh, I missed that.” She said softly. “I’ve been cold for centuries, Vulcan.” A low rumble sounded from my chest in displeasure. I hated that I hadn’t been there to keep her warm. “I never forgot you – I always remembered you, and I craved you so, so badly. I craved the warmth you could give me, the safety and security that I felt wrapped up in your arms.” Her body shuddered. “She became so uncontrollable after two centuries. I succumbed to her until I felt Jupiter release his hold on your mind.”
“Never again, my love.” I soothed. “We’ll never be separated again. I’m going to do this right this time around. We will defeat that monster inside of you, Sidero.” I promised her. One way or another, Sidero would be free.
“I find it so hard to believe that.” She said a bit brokenly. My heart broke in my chest for her. “She’s been tormenting me for so long. I don’t even know how to lock her down anymore. She controls me.”
“You never wanted to fight her before, Sidero. What’s changed?” I asked her as I trailed the tips of my fingers down her spine.
“She cost me my mate.” She replied, looking up at me. “She cost me you, Vulcan. I never want to go through that again. But I fear that I’ve waited too long now to put her back to sleep again.”
“We’ll figure it out,” I promised her. She wrapped her arms around me, holding me tight to her. “We’re unbreakable, Sidero. We always have been. Had Jupiter not wiped everything about my true being, I have no doubt in my mind that we would have destroyed everything in our paths to find each other again. I know you can become strong enough to defeat her again.” I told her, wishing she would just believe me. She was so strong; she just needed to call on that strength within her.
Her beast pulsed forward, hissing. She turned Sidero’s eyes blood red, beginning to turn her skin completely black – like the darkest ink.
I growled, forcing her back down. Sidero trembled in my arms again, her once warm skin now ice-cold once again. I brushed my lips with hers, slowly sharing my heat with her. “Get some rest. She drains you, my love. I’ll keep watch and keep her down.” I assured her.
She snuggled closer to me. “Please do not leave my side, Vulcan.” She begged me, sounding completely broken – like she was giving up.
It left a sour feeling in my gut.
“Not now, not ever,” I assured her as I pulled her hand up to my lips and pressed a light kiss to her palm.
Do not give up, my love, I silently begged her.
Pluto stood next to me, his eyes watching his daughter as she moved through the garden outside. Her entity kept pushing forward, but I was doing my best to keep it pushed down.
I knew she was tormenting Sidero. I just didn’t know what to do to stop it. Sidero was right; her entity was stronger than it had been all that time ago. It was pushing through the barrier I put up against it.
And every second I stood here trying to figure out what to do to help save Sidero was another second wasted. Time was ticking down – slowly but surely – to that three-month mark.
“Any luck?” Pluto asked me, breaking our silence.
I shook my head at my best friend. “No,” I grunted. “I’m lost. If I knew how it got inside of her, I could begin to figure out how to help her. But I don’t know how it got there.” I sighed. “I’ve been wracking my brain for some kind of answer, some kind of sign of what to do, Pluto.”
“When I found her with her mother, the entity was already inside of her,” Pluto informed me. “I don’t know how it got there, and her mother has disappeared since you two were placed back together. I don’t know how to find her. Believe me, I’ve tried.” Pluto told me. “I’m terrified of losing my daughter, Vulcan. She means the world to me. I searched for centuries to find her again.”
I clenched my jaw. “Any witches, warlocks – someone – that could help me figure out how to beat this thing – to get it out of her?” I asked him. “With every passing second, it grows stronger and stronger. It’s even stronger than it was five centuries ago.” I told Pluto. “That worries me.”
“I know,” Pluto grumbled from next to me. Sidero’s entity pushed forward again, Sidero’s nails turning into talons as her eyes gleamed a glittery, blood-red color. I growled loudly, and it hissed, but went back under, allowing Sidero forward again.
My beautiful mate looked at me, nervousness ringing in her eyes. I just shook my head at her, a silent instruction for her to go back to enjoying the garden. “I need you to locate a witch,” I told him, not removing my eyes from my woman. “I need answers – sooner rather than later.” I urged him.
Pluto nodded. “I’ll be in touch.”
He disappeared, the smell of smoke and brimstone lingering behind where he had been standing.
I moved towards the garden where Sidero was sniffing a rose, one I had specifically planted for her – the black rose. It was her favorite flower, and after a lot of tweaking and tuning into a bit of my power, I had been able to grow it for her. It was a rare rose – one of the rarest plants in the world.
Thankfully, it seemed Pluto had the garden taken care of while I was gone, so it was still as beautiful as it had been when I had planted it for her.
And her rose was still blooming just as it should be.
“I planted that for you,” I told her as I came to stand behind her.
She straightened up and smiled at me over her shoulder. “It’s so beautiful.” She softly spoke. “Thank you.”
“You said it was your favorite,” I told her. “I wanted you to be able to see it whenever you wanted.”
Her smile widened, her eyes sparkling with happiness. The sight was so beautiful that it took my breath away. “You remembered.” She breathed.
I reached up and cupped her face as she turned to face me. “Baby, I remember everything about you,” I told her honestly. “Jupiter might have buried who I was, but he could never remove you from my mind. I could never forget you, Sidero. I never forgot a single thing about you, my love.”
Her entity pushed through, using her happiness and her love for me as a weakness. I growled, but it hissed back at me. Sidero’s skin turned black, her eyes turning into a blood-red color, glittering maliciously. Fangs grew from her teeth and talons grew from her nails.
I roared in rage, hating that this monster had officially taken over my mate, had fed off of her love for me to finally gain the strength to push through.
I had to trap her, otherwise, her entity would fight me every step of the way, regardless of how her more human part of her vessel felt. “Forgive me, my love.” I rumbled, hoping Sidero could hear me wherever she was inside of her body.
I reached forward and snapped her neck.