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"I'm so stupid," I whimpered as I hung my head in my hands.

I was already dozens of drinks in, and just the mention of his name still nagged me. Aggravated. Denarius this, Denarius that. Never has she ever been so focused on him before! Why? Why was it so important for her to focus on him now of all the times she could've over the years we've spent together?

For better or worse, this was it. No melding to force our feelings. That's how I knew that I loved her- that I really loved her. No mantle for Michael to place his daughter on, and more importantly, no one to truly thank but Denarius. Stripped the melding away and freed me, and I didn't even have to ask. Gave me the chance- no, the opportunity to see Ash for who she really was.

Remembered. I'd been so blindly infatuated... but then I remembered how it felt to have all of it torn away.

Her words...

Remembered all of it, but how was I supposed to remember who she was?

I remembered everything. Seeing her for the first time, after he broke it.

No, after he broke Dhej... Siha... me.

It was only her and Ethan. Showing up like two idiots playing hero to drive the villain away. Found us as who they thought we were, but not as we truly were. Not the same. We weren't the same. She was too late. Years late. Blamed her for decades, but neither of us knew.

She was sentenced with Ethan, imprisoned in Sanctuary for God knows how long because of me. Because of what I started. Because of who I destroyed. But I couldn't recognize her, no. Some stupid blonde, lost. Wrong place, wrong time. But I could hear her.

Soft, beautiful voice. Alluring to those naive, but obvious to those that devoured her kind. Vampyres were no different than the others. Like all lures, their voices were hypnotic and the sway of their walk left all to fantasize their lust but how could I forget her? How did I let myself forget about the same woman who asked for my hand in marriage?

Still, I remembered my room. Listened, as I always did. She kept asking and asking, but he only continued to decline. Not a moment later, she spoke of fortunes all for just a few seconds with me. But for what purpose? I couldn't remember at the time, but I remembered the way he had asked her to leave. Said it nicely too. Doesn't do that often. He never did that often, no.

Instead of leaving, she just stood there. Calling to me as though she had known who I was. Calling me her little rabbit, like I was some toy for her amusement. Of course, I remembered all of this now but how was I supposed to know? How was I supposed to stop myself from trying to disgrace her?


Don't use that voice here, he threatened. No growling, no biting. There were no alphas in his fortress, only slaves. Didn't need an individual, didn't want one. No, he wanted mindless puppets to pull the strings of.

Who better than his Ravager?

My fists formed tightly. Blood drawn, rusted smell. Claws cutting through the flesh, but never easing. His pet name never stopped. Hated it. Nothing like her pet name. No, her words were kind. Rabbit, always said with affection. Sweet and soft, but I wasn't a slave anymore. I was free to be with her now, but how could I possibly say that to him?

"Hey," I heard to my right. But I didn't move. Kept my head down.

His voice was older than the others. Aged, like humans did. Odd. Rarely encountered the old ones. Most were killed off, and most never made it past a certain age nowadays. Easy targets, easy prey. But his voice was also welcoming, in a way. Like he'd been genuine. Curious, but so fucking annoying.

"Fuck off," I said clearly, angrily.

God, I hated strangers. The worst were the ones that tried to make conversation. Nothing was more fucking annoying, especially the humans. God, the humans... I didn't have many in my family back then, though the few that existed had my protection. But they never stopped pestering, always wanted something. Always.

I raised my head just enough to see the empty tankard. Droplets of the tavern's worst ale. But then, they were all terrible. But, no... this one was the worst. I know. How? I tried them all since I'd been sitting here. Remembered how things used to taste before it was taken from me, of course. But this one left me feeling cotton-mouthed. It was nothing like spiced rum. I missed spiced rum... but I missed Ash more.

"Ash?" The old man spoke again. Did I say her name out loud? "Don't suppose that's the name of your boyfriend?"

"She's my better half," Words rolled off the tongue and corrected him.

Boys, girls... I didn't notice others like Ash did. No, I only had eyes for her- the only person who made me both happy and sad. Someone who made me feel as normal as possible... like turning an animal into a human or at-least as close as someone like me could, and there was no one better than Ash, no one else I could call my person.

"Ah, I see." Sounds of his metal tankard clanked against the counter-top. His throat was bare, could hear him drinking, swallowing his liquor down.

"You know, it helps to talk about your problems... even if we never see each other again."

"Turn to dust, old man, and blow away with the fucking wind." I pushed my drink-ware to the other side carelessly. Couldn't get a real buzz off this crap. No, it just went through me like air to my lungs. Lasted a brief second for every few empty bottles.

"That's a good one!" He laughed, somehow finding my insult genuinely funny.

I rolled my eyes. He wasn't leaving. Just sat there, laughing. Perhaps, he was just happily drunk? People still do that, right? Drunk and fumbling over air? Pissing themselves and whatever else humans often did, right? Pathetic.

"So, where is your lass?" He pushed again.

A good question, but one I didn't have an answer to. Could pinpoint her location, but no... I didn't want to burden her. Left her alone at the park. Blew up at her, said things I didn't mean. Did things that were too cruel. She was probably furious with me, but I was furious with her. She wasn't right this time. No, she was being unreasonable! I love her. So very much. Dearly. But she wouldn't stop, and I just wanted her to stop.

If it wasn't about Denarius, it was about sex. Often pushed, but I wasn't like her. I didn't get aroused like she did. No, I didn't spend my early years sleeping around and feeding off my one-night-stands like she'd been doing. Can't blame her though. No guidance, no love. Always looked down on, especially after losing her mother. She spent years alone, teaching herself how to not kill the people she often slept with. Stuck on the belief that she could find satisfaction with a different lover each night of the week but she couldn't. Not until I came into her life. It wasn't until then that she tried to settle down, to try and win me over- but I was already hers. Shit, I knew that from day one.

Still, I wasn't interested in the sex. Not because I didn't like her. No, I loved her. In fact, I enjoyed doing all sorts of things to her- to satisfy all her little fantasies. Seeing her in such a euphoric state... it drove me insane. But I didn't always feel this way.

No, we spent a lot of time together at first. My best friend, my Ash. Remembered when she asked me to stay the night, but what drove me to say yes was the smell of her scent. Nervous, aroused and anxious. Worried that I'd say no, and I did. I had to admit that while I was interested in loving her, I wasn't keen on the physical intimacy she often craved, even if it was a little bit of a lie. She took me by surprise though. Asked me if I wanted to watch her in bed, and I just couldn't say no.

Weeks. Months. Remembered as time passed in the fortress. Time spent outside of the cages or even away from the others. Lingered over her scent, images of the times we spent beneath our covers. The pleasured whimpers of an intense orgasm, or the soft nibbling of my ear when she felt it was my turn to feel the warmth of a hot tongue.

But that wasn't the point. No, I just wanted space from the topic of Denarius, that's it!

But, no, she just pushed and pushed! Jealous of Denarius, she claimed. But why? 

There was only her.

I only ever saw her.

"We had a fight," I sighed, defeated. His pestering was endless.

"You don't seem like the kind to explain things properly," He commented, and he wasn't wrong. "Does she even know what you were fighting about?"

When she started talking about what she knew the day of the explosion, I panicked. Thought she really knew, but she didn't.

She really had no idea...

"She thinks she knows," I stared blankly at the empty tankard in front of me, "but she's never really known."

"And you've never bothered to try and explain things, have you?"

"She wouldn't understand," I dismissed the thought of any explanation.

Ash was sweet and kind. Never intentionally cruel, but she was protective. Didn't like to see me hurting, and she definitely didn't like the part Denarius played in my upbringing.

No, if she ever found out about... no, something like this would not only infuriate her. Worse. It would put Denarius' life in danger. No... worse for her, especially if he... no... which was worse?


I can't think like that. She'd forgive me, right? She would eventually understand that I owed him for saving my life, right? Couldn't hate me, not forever. No, no...


I thought eagerly, awaiting for her to respond as she always did. Maybe, she wasn't as upset as I thought she'd be. We could meet up back at the motel she'd brought us to, and all of this could go away. We'd fight for a moment and say some silly things we didn't really mean, but then we'd apologize and get over it... right?

I whimpered miserably once again.

Why wasn't she answering me? Did the topic of Denarius upset her that much?

"Maybe you should explain things," The old man's voice suggested. "Fights like these don't often last long. Problems can always be fixed, so long as both parties are willing to listen."

"No," I shook my head defiantly. "This sort of thing- it would ruin us."

"I'm not sure what sort of thing you're keeping from her," He commented thoughtfully. "But not telling her will ruin you both completely, and it'll ruin the opportunity for a second chance."

Second chance? What the hell did he know about a second chance?

Not only did I try to rape her that day, but I had already won his favor and trust so much that I wore my collar out of pride. But Ash? I didn't know Ash, not at the time. She asked me to come home with her, like she had won over Dhej. But I didn't want to leave with her, so I made my mark on her back. Fantasized the idea to rip her throat out just after I finished defiling such a holy creature. I would've succeeded if she hadn't fought for her life. Almost killed her, almost. But Denarius stopped me. Told me that she was his guest, so I stopped.

It wasn't until I saw her crying that I remembered everything. Her sweet whispers, the way she rolled her beautiful blue eyes. Parties we danced, or even nights we'd spend lying out on the grass and staring out at the gorgeous sky. But it was too late, and I didn't realize until it was far too late.

"This is my second chance," I narrowed my eyes as I faced the truth of it all.

I tried to get her to stay- to apologize for ever touching her. I tried to explain. I remembered her, but she sent her lightning down my spine to ensure her own escape. Didn't recover in time, but I tried. No, instead I watched helplessly as she summoned her wings and vanished with Dhej.

After that day, I couldn't get her out of my head. Requested, no. I pleaded with Denarius, wanting Ash to stay with us at the fortress. Demanded that he bring her back. Remembered that she was mine, and that I needed her to ensure that I could rebuild my family with an heir. But he denied me. Refused to bring her back, so I demanded a replacement.

Like her, I tried to be with both men and women. Denarius would bring many of them as my reward for years. Ash-lookalikes that would soon end up a rotted stain on the cold, concrete floors of the fortress. It wasn't along before I realized that none of them could replace Ash, no matter how much they tried to appease me. Some acted out of fear, others were genuine. But they weren't her and before I could ask for another chance to bring her back, I discovered her engagement to Ben from an invitation written at my apparent request.

"You're still young," He pat my back as a friendly gesture, though I made no effort to do what I so desperately wanted and bite his hand off. "You can still tell her before it's too late."

"That's it?" I finally looked up and turned to my right. "You interrupt my attempt to fall blindly and happily drunk as you are, and that's all the advice you have for me?"

His brown shade of skin had been significantly aged and wrinkling like most elderly. Blemishes and freckles along the middle of his face, more noticeably near his nose. His hair was ashen, like mine but he was nothing like me. Old and fragile enough to break more than just his hip, but me? No, I could endure worse. No, I've survived the very worst.

"You've got a good head on those shoulders," He gave a kind smile. "I remember my youth and let me tell you, I had an attitude like yours. Impulsive and reckless. Had a sharp tongue too. I was so absorbed in my own problems that I didn't give a rat's ass about anyone else in the world, but I learned from my mistakes and I hope you can pull those walls down long enough for this young Ash of yours to show you how understanding she really can be."

"You don't know a god damn thing about her," I countered. "For all you know, Ash could be a completely heartless bitch."

"Well, I know you aren't human." He whispered in a more hushed voice.

"Whatever!" My eyes narrowed upon the realization that I've been vulnerable and reckless yet again. "That doesn't change the fact that you know nothing about her!"

"I don't have to know anything about her to know just how much she truly cares about you," He gave an even bigger smile.



"God, you're so fucking annoying." Kali responded as the elderly man chuckled.

"I hope you'll take the chance to talk to miss Ash," The man's eyes met mine briefly as he slyly tipped his hat to me all while rising from the bar counter and leaving a few bills for their waiter.

"And if I don't?" Kali asked brashly, having her back turned to me. After having been used to her sensing me, I rarely had the opportunity to actually sneak up on her. Honestly, it was a bit odd to see that I had remained completely unnoticed by her.

"You may very well regret it for the rest of your life," He responded sensibly, taking one last drink of his beverage.

The man gave Kali one final smile shortly before his eyes returned to mine. Every word to leave his lips had now been redirected toward me and made my presence known, "I suppose you must be the better half of this one?"

"Better half?" I asked, riddled by his words as my hands reached for Kali.

"Her words," He clarified with a soft smile.

Saying nothing more to the man, I returned his smile with one that was both polite and well-practiced. "Thank you for taking the time and keeping her company," I said just as I felt Kali put her hand over mine and proceed to caress it with great affection.

He tipped his hat one last time and turned away from us both, making his way toward the exit.

We waited several moments longer, though the silence grew far more uncomfortable as our love felt more and more severed with each fight. I massaged her neck briefly, watching as the ashen creature remained as she had been before my arrival. She did nothing but stare at the empty collection of bottles atop the counter before her, making no attempt to turn toward me in the slightest.

I took a brief sigh and glanced around at our surroundings, doing anything to distract myself from the fact that she wasn't ready to see me just yet.

It was an old, decrepit place with crumbling bricks and cementing paste. Damp flooring and walls painted with piss and alcohol; men and women visiting the tavern held no shame, violating one or the other from the few booths shadowed in the darkest of corners. The musk of sweat and sex did well to fill the room, something everyone in the area seemed to be used to at this point. Meanwhile, there were those finding entertainment in small games of pool and arm-wrestling- an activity I thought might have garnered my lover's attention, but I suppose she was too upset with me to focus long enough to kick the ass of someone thrice her size.

"Truly amazing." I glanced down briefly, listening to her sarcasm from behind. "I'm surprised you didn't rip the old man's throat out feed 'til your heart's content."

"Mock me if it pleases you," I spoke with what little patience remained as my wife kept her stone-hearted appearance, "but neither of us walk these realms a saint."

"Heh," She chuckled softly and drummed the tips of her fingers lightly along the countertop as if she were in thought, though her words grew gentler and light-hearted. "How could I possibly think to be one of those saints when I've already fucked the devil disguised?"

"Mind your tongue." My lips curled into a smile as Kali spun around in her seat completely with one devilishly charming smile on her face. "These thoughts are the very reason all of the heavens conspired to keep us from one another, rabbit."

"Fear wrought by the old crones and their so-called words of wisdom," She rolled her eyes childishly. "Believe me, we're better off far away from Sanctuary and whoever else that truly believes in such fallacies."

"They're as real as you ignite under the warmth of my hands," I laughed.

Kali's smile eased, though it seemed to falter completely as her eyes began to focus on the lower half of my face. Despite her thoughts wandering, I felt the words in her heart as her gaze searched briefly for the black blood that she had previously marked me with- the same blood that I hesitated to wash off my lips just before I heard her sweet voice from the park.

"I'm so sorry," She muttered with the utmost sincerity and broken confidence, all while the palm of her hand had reached out and laid rest on my cheek.

"I'm the one who should be apologizing," I shook my head and took the opportunity to drape my arms around her neck as I took a seat on her lap. "I've hit you not once but twice now."

"Your flair for the dramatic are the least of my concerns," She offered a teasing smile, though she did best to remain on topic as her eyes began to narrow. "No, I'm more interested about this incessant need of yours to talk about Denarius."

"He played a much larger role than you care to admit." I felt my throat getting tighter from the sheer mention of his name but the last thing I wanted was to fight about him again.

"That's sort of my point." She frowned, though she made herself very clear. "All you want to do is talk about Denarius but I don't want to talk about him any more, Ash."

"I don't mean to sound prissy but I-"

"Don't talk, just listen." Her words grew softer as I fell silent. "Despite what we may think of each other and the terrible things we often do to the other, you're very special to me. You were my first in everything, and there isn't anything that anyone can do to keep us-"

Before she could say another word, I swung my hand across the countertop, and pushed away the nearest glass and metal containers of wine and ale. I grabbed a firm hold of her thighs and lifted her into the air for a brief moment, though it was long enough to raise her to the level I needed her to meet with me.

"What are you doing?" Kali stared at me, displaying no clear emotion as she fought to try and determine how she felt about her current predicament, although it didn't look as though she was angry or upset.

"I am yours, my alpha." I bowed my head in submission, moving my hair to one side as I fully exposed my neck for her to do as she saw fit.

I could feel her gaze resting heavily on me, like she'd been waiting to see if I'd break too early. But I knew all the laws of her family, including the ones written specifically for the alphas- the one that said I was required to show my respect to all alphas and that I could not break until the alpha accepted my submission. Though she often exempts me from the rule as the leading alpha, it still didn't feel quite right to be the only one who didn't show some sort of respect.

"Is this your way of telling me to shut up?" Her words grew forthright. "Because, Ash, we have to talk about what happened. What you did while I was asleep, that's not ok."

"I know that," I insisted with a softer tone.

"I don't think you do," I felt the palm of her hand touch the side of my neck affectionately. Small, barely noticeable tugs of the bond caressed the remainder of my body.

I sighed one last time as I held my position. "That didn't sound quite like a dismissal to me, little rabbit."

"May as well lift your head then, Ash." I glanced up from her genuine tone, witnessing the sight of her arms having been crossed over her chest along with that sly grin of both mischief and satisfaction which struck across her lips. 

"That's it?" I cracked a smile. "I slap an alpha, and I don't get so much as a stern talking to?"

"You want to be punished?" She chuckled with piqued interest, like I'd just given her something to milk for the next few hours. "Well, I guess I can think of something."

Submitted: February 05, 2016

© Copyright 2020 JaayAnon. All rights reserved.


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