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Black Magic Sanction

Black Magic Sanction: Page 10

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"They already knew. And yes, I confirmed that you were a witch-born demon and that your children will be demons able to exist on this side of the ley lines. They knew my father made you, too. I don't understand it." He frowned, clearly more worried about himself than me.

"You little bastard," I growled. "I never told anyone what you are."

"Because if you do, you die," he said, his chin raised and his color high. I could smell the scent of cinnamon and wine as his temperature rose. It wasn't as if Trent's being an elf was that great a secret anyway, but still he clung to it. Sort of like I clung to being just a witch when logic told me I wasn't.

"They're going to take you, Rachel," Trent said. "Dissect you to find out what makes you different. Unless... "

His eyes flicked to the paper under my chair. "I become your slave?" I said bitterly.

"Sign the paper, Rachel," he said dryly. "I lied for you. I told them I could control you, destroy you if necessary. It's the only reason they didn't murder you outright."

Oh. My. God. "Excuse me?" I said, furious. "You told them you can control me?"

Trent shrugged. "They're understandably uncomfortable with a demon running around this side of the ley lines."

"I am not a demon, you little cookie maker," I nearly hissed. "I'm a witch. And your dad didn't create me. He only made it possible for me to survive what I'd been born with."

His eyes narrowed. "A mistake that I'm honor bound to do my utmost to contain."

"Oh really!" My boot heels clunked as I moved until only feet separated us, my hands on my hips. "You want to contain me? Is that a threat, Kalamack?"

Trent arched his eyebrows and backed up a step. "I'm trying to help you, though now I can't see why. You have a way out of this. Sign the paper. Become my legal responsibility. The coven will stop trying to give you a lobotomy. I might even get your shunning revoked."

I was shaking, overwhelmed. I didn't believe him - I couldn't. He had turned my own people on me because he knew they were the only ones who had the finesse to bring me down.

"You planned this, didn't you?" I accused softly, very aware that a room full of FIB officers was just out of earshot. "You told them what I'm capable of so they'd come after me; then you hold out your little safety net thinking I'd fall right into it. Playing both of us against each other so you can't lose. God, Trent, Ceri was right. You are a demon."

Jaw clenched, Trent went to push the door shut. I leapt into motion and got in front of it, and Trent pulled back, stymied. "I didn't tell them," he said, so close I could smell his aftershave. "But if you own me in the ever-after, I'm going to own you here."

My mouth dropped open. "Those are words on a paper! I made you my familiar to get your ass out of there, that's it! Have I ever once even hinted at using you? Have I done the charm to forge a link between us? No! And I'm not going to!"

"But you could," he said, and for an instant, I saw fear flicker under his anger.

Disgusted, I crossed my arms over my chest. "I should have let you rot there, that's what I should have done, you ungrateful snot. Do you have any idea what I put up with from Big Al every week so you can sit at home and watch TV instead of playing blow-up doll to a demon?"

Stone faced, Trent looked at me, his tan pale and the hem of his slacks shaking. "I will not be owned, Rachel," he said softly. "Not even on paper. And never by a demon\"

I took a breath, exhaling when the sound of pixy wings broke the tense silence. Trent retreated, his head down as he calmed himself. The familiar cadence of Ivy's boots sounded over the ringing of a single phone, and I retreated deeper into Glenn's office.

"Rache!" Jenks shouted, his high voice coming clearly as he rounded the door ahead of Ivy. The pixy stopped short, hovering at head height, his wings flashing red with anger as he saw Trent tugging his cuffs down. "Holy crap, Rache," he exclaimed, coming in to buzz irritating circles around me. "What did you get greenie weenie for this time? Bowling in black socks?"

Trent gave us a dry look, eyes going to Ivy when she halted in the doorway. Glenn was behind her, and the man had to push to get past her, anxious to be back in his office and head off the coming interspecies incident. His jaw was clenched, but what had he really expected? Trent and I didn't like each other and we argued. A lot.

Even as angry as I was, I watched the swift exchange between Ivy and Glenn, wondering if the tension in the room was solely because of me, or if there was an undercurrent of a secret not shared. Ivy's irritation could easily be a cloak to hide guilt, and Glenn was equally hard to read when he was in his hard-assed FIB detective mode.

I wouldn't hold out my hand for Jenks to land, so the pixy alighted on my shoulder instead, coating my sticky jacket in a fading glitter of dust. He was dressed for the chill spring weather, his wife, Matalina, finally having perfected pixy winter wear that gave him both freedom of movement and protection against the cold that might send him into hibernation and possible death. The tight black silk, red bandanna, and wooden-handled sword about his middle made the four-inch man look like a mix of theater and inner-city gang member.

In a smooth motion, Trent swooped forward to pick up the paper from under my chair. I stepped back out of his reach, my instinct to keep space between us kicking in. Refolding the contract, he tucked it away in his jacket. "Let my office know when you change your mind," he said, then headed for the door, jerking to a stop when Ivy didn't get out of his way.

"Let us know when cherry lollypops come out your ass," Jenks said, and I leaned back against the tall file cabinet, arms crossed over my middle.

Glenn cleared his throat, and Ivy slowly moved out of Trent's way.

"Your team is as professional as always, Morgan," Trent said lightly. Nodding at Glenn, he turned and walked out. A buzz of conversation rose behind him from the open offices.

I exhaled, shaking. "I hate him," I said, moving to my chair and plopping into it, making Jenks fly up. "I really do."

A glitter of silver sparkles hit my hand an instant before Jenks did. "Did he wave money at you again?" he asked, telling me he hadn't been eavesdropping. "I told you I've got this, Rache. I don't even want you to pay me back."

I winced. If only it were that simple.

Ivy turned from watching Trent make his way to the elevators. "How much was it?" she asked, staying where she was so the accumulated emotion of the room wouldn't hit her as hard. Her eyes were dilated more than the electric lights warranted, but she looked okay, especially if I'd interrupted her plans this weekend and she was hungry. Glenn, I noticed, wasn't fazed at all by her state, almost nonchalant as he moved behind his desk. Yeah, they had definitely been spending time together. His cologne smelled kind of citrusy, too.

"He tried to buy her," Glenn said for me. "In exchange for getting the coven of moral and ethical standards off her back."

"How did he know it was the coven?" Ivy wanted to know, and I stared at Glenn.

"How do you know what Trent wanted?" I asked him, my foot twitching.

Smiling grimly, Glenn punched a button on his phone and a light went out. "How else would I win the office pool?" he said, leaning back in his chair. "Rachel, you are in deep doo-doo."

"Yeah, tell me about it."

"Doo-doo? Call it what it is," Jenks smart-mouthed. "She's so far up shit creek, she could float down with the rest of the turds." I sighed my agreement as he settled himself on the warmth of my hand. "What does the coven want?" he asked. "They already shunned you."

"Someone - Trent probably - told them what I was," I said softly, depressed. Glenn already knew. He'd been there the day I'd figured it out. "They want to put me in a cage and dissect me."

Ivy stiffened, and Jenks's tiny features bunched up. "You're a witch," he said vehemently, and I felt a sense of peace at his loyalty.

"Thanks, Jenks," I said, though I didn't know if I believed it anymore. "Trent fed them some line about how his father made me so he can control me. Destroy me, even. They'll let me roam free and in the wild if he takes legal responsibility for me."

"That's a lie," Ivy said from the doorway. "He can't control you. And he didn't make you. His father simply found a way to keep you alive."

I lifted a shoulder and let it fall. "Looks to me like he's doing a damn fine job of controlling me right now." Stupid-ass businessman. I still didn't believe him. No one else knew what I was capable of except my friends - and Newt, on a good day. Sighing, I thought back to who'd been there the evening Trent told Minias what I was: Marshal, Ceri, and Keasley - but they wouldn't say anything; neither would Quen, but if Quen knew, then so did Jonathan, the prick who organized Trent's life.

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