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Black Magic Sanction

Black Magic Sanction: Page 31

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"He's not from around here," I said, tired. Ivy got to her feet, and I stared up at her.

"Stay here, Rachel," Ivy said as she headed for the foyer, coming out with her purse in her good hand. "Glenn can take me. I'll be gone a few hours. Can you sit tight for that long?"

She was getting bitchy. That was a good sign. "What am I supposed to do till you get back?" I said, patting the smoldering leather. "Hide in my closet? I'd rather be with you."

Jenks made a gagging sound. "This is so sweet, I think I'm going to barf fairy farts."

Glenn rocked back out of Pierce's way as he edged past him to hand me an amulet. The witch had his hat in his hand, and I wondered if he was leaving, too. My fingers touched the amulet, and a wave of relief flowed into me.

"I'll take Ivy to the emergency room," the FIB detective said as he jiggled his key. "And I don't want you to be here, Rachel, when I get back. "

"Excuse me?" I stared at him from the couch.

Glenn smiled at my affronted expression. "You need to leave town," he said. "Take a vacation. Visit your mom." He hesitated, then added, "Find a hiding spot for a few days?"

My eyes opened wide as I got it, but Jenks took to the air, a vivid silver falling from him. "No fairy-ass way!" he exclaimed, his kids in the rafters going silent. "She's not leaving here."

Ivy took a defensive stance, holding her arm tight against herself. "The church is safe."

Pierce, though, was nodding, glancing at the broken shards in the sun before saying, "I'm of a mind you don't understand the danger. Glenn is right. You need to leave."

My mouth dropped open. "We don't understand the danger?" I said loudly. "Are you serious? Pierce, we can handle this. We have before." But my thoughts were on Ivy, languishing under twin white spells. Twice today a benign charm had been turned to one capable of doling out death. It was so hypocritical it made me sick.

"I'll admit your diggings are a fine defense," Pierce added when Jenks's wings clattered. "And your skills, Jenks, are a caution, but that was the coven's plumber. The best action is not to be where she expects you to be."

Confused, I asked, "The coven's what?"

"Plumber," Ivy said, looking pale as she leaned on Glenn. "You know. Stops leaks?"

Oh goodie. I'm a leak. "Look, the church has kept me safe for over a year. Jenks is here, and I'm not leaving."

Jenks landed on my shoulder, his relief obvious. Pierce, though, was scowling. "How can I keep you safe if you don't do what I say? Get your things."

Do what he says? Jenks's dust was starting to feel warm on my shoulder, and I put up a hand to keep him from flying at Pierce. "I'm not leaving," I said softly from the couch, but I was pissed. "And no one asked for your opinion. You were wrong about not telling Al about the coven, and you're wrong about this."

Pierce frowned, but my attention jerked to Glenn, who had also taken a defensive stance. "What can it hurt?" he said, and Ivy gave him a dark look. "Really, what's the big deal?"

They didn't understand. This was my place. My security. I'd made it, and to leave it felt wrong. "It doesn't feel right," I said, thinking it sounded lame, yet my gut said stay. But what the hell did my gut know? It told me there was just as much good in Trent as bad.

"Your 'doesn't feel right' will get you killed," Pierce said.

Jenks darted from me. "We can keep her safe," he said, inches from Pierce's face.

"But not from witches, and especially not from the coven." Frowning, Pierce backed up, touching everyone's gaze before returning to Jenks's. "I've been betrayed by them before. Witch magic is Rachel's greatest liability, and until she sets herself beyond it, she won't have a chance. She's not good enough."

"But you are, huh?" Jenks said snidely, hand on the hilt of his sword.

"I'm better than you, pixy."

This was getting out of hand, and I glanced at Ivy, who was watching it all with growing agitation. And what had Pierce meant by "set myself beyond it"? Did he mean until I started doing deadly black magic, like him? "Jenks, relax," I said, and he drifted back, hands on his hips and his wings clattering harshly.

"One spell, and poof," Pierce said casually, and Ivy's face creased.

"I can take a coven of witches, you fairy fart!" Jenks exclaimed. "And lean take you!"

Concerned, I looked at the broken glass on the floor, remembering Ivy lying on it. I couldn't have saved her, white magic or not. Jenks was clueless as to how close it had been. "Maybe I should go," I said softly, and Jenks spun in the air, dropping three inches.

"Tink's titties. Rache, we have this!"

I took a deep breath, my stomach knotting as I exhaled. This felt wrong.

Ivy, too, looked uneasy. "I don't think this is beyond us," she said, "but Pierce is right. A moving target is harder to hit. Rachel should go."

Jenks flipped her off, and my stomach hurt even more.

"I'll talk to Rynn Cormel," Ivy said, adjusting her purse and clearly ready to leave. "He can put us up for a few days. Sound good?"

No, it didn't sound good, but even the coven would think twice about taking on the master vampire who had run the free world during the Turn. "Okay," I said softly, and Jenks flew an erratic path to come between Pierce and me.

"Rache, no," he pleaded. "This is wrong!"

I glanced at Ivy and Glenn, neither one looking happy. "I don't like it either."

Pierce cleared his throat, and Jenks glared at him, a burst of light seeming to push him into the air. "I'm going, too," he said. "I don't want you alone. And not with him). His aura is freakier than shadows during an eclipse."

"You can't," I said, remembering Pierce standing at the door watching Vivian flee, and the last parting shot that hadn't been necessary. Animam, agerey efflare... Didn't that have something to do with breathing? No wonder his aura was as dark as mine.

Jenks's dust shifted to an ugly, burnt gold. "Why the hell not?"

I looked at him, seeing the distress on his face, wishing I could do this differently. "Someone needs to stay and make sure the coven doesn't come in and grab a focusing object."

"They could hit her from a distance," Pierce said, his face so grim I wondered if he had been taken that way. "It wouldn't be legal," he said as his eyes met mine.

"But they'd do it," Ivy said softly, and Glenn frowned. I nodded, thinking of the leather jacket I'd left at the coven's circle, glad now that Oliver's charm had tainted it.

"Tink's dildo," Jenks said softly, falling until he stood on the coffee table. "Rache?"

"Glenn's right," I said, remembering that it was his idea first. "If they sent Vivian after me again, then they don't have anyone who can summon me - yet." And if Nick goes back to them, Yll give him to Al and worry about my guilt later. "Until then, they're reduced to snag-and-drag. If they can't find me, they can't snatch me. I'm leaving, but you're staying. I'm sorry. I need you here, Jenks." This felt wrong, but the logic was sound.

Jenks's wings hummed loudly as I stood, wavering until Pierce's fingers cupped my elbow. The Turn take it, my knees still hurt, but I could walk with the pain amulet. Maybe I could make this work for me? I had an old-lady disguise charm in the back of my cupboard.

"Ivy, call me when you know how bad it is?" I asked, and she nodded. Her hand was starting to swell, and it looked awful. Ivy's purse was in Glenn's grip, and it looked funny there. I thought of them together on a date - then squelched it.

"Soon as I clear it with Rynn, I'll let you know," she said. "Stay in a public place?"

"Not a problem." I came forward to give her a careful hug.

"This is fairy crap!" Jenks exclaimed, looking miserable as he hovered beside Glenn. "It doesn't feel right, Rache!"

"I'm right with you, Jenks," I said, then to Ivy, "You be careful." I breathed deep as I let her go, pulling the scent of vampire incense deep into me, mixing with my raspberry smell of the detangling spray and the cloying stench of the smoldering couch. I prayed that it wouldn't be the last time I saw her. This really felt wrong. "Don't tell Glenn that Nick was here," I whispered, and she sighed.

"Here, you'll need this," Ivy said, shoving a wad of cash at me, pulled from her purse, still in Glenn's possession.

I took it so she wouldn't get pissy. And then it was just Jenks and me, watching Glenn help Ivy to the door, looking right next to each other. Seeing them make their hesitant way, my heavy feeling of foreboding grew worse. The door shut behind Ivy, and the church became silent. Through the broken window came the melancholy hooting of a mourning dove.

Hand full of cash, I turned to Pierce, feeling the wrongness seep deeper into me. We were all going different ways. Not good. Forcing a smile, I started to shuffle to the kitchen. "So, Pierce. How would you like to learn how to drive?"

My lungs seemed reluctant to rebound after I exhaled, and my breath came slowly as I sat at the small round coffeehouse table and waited for Pierce to return with a caffeine-and-sugar buzz.

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