"It really doesn't look all that dangerous," Gretchen remarked as we sat in Calc's living room, staring at the small stone cherub that stood on his coffee table.
"Yeah," Wolf agreed. "It's hard to image that the infinite powers of Hell are contained in that small Cupid statue."
"Well, they are," I replied.
The seven of us had made it back after the incident in the graveyard, exhausted, bloody, but alive. The wolves had shone up (late as usual, according to Calc) and were taking care of the rest of Antonio's followers, those who hadn't run away, at least.
As soon as we arrived back at Calc's house, Damien and I collapsed in one of the guest rooms, and for the first time, did nothing but sleep. I was exhausted. Mentally, physically, and emotionally.
After a good restorative sleep, we were waiting in Calc's living room for the sun to go down so we could figure out what to do with the statue.
Damien had slammed back three bags of blood to replace the stuff he lost, while I nursed a single cup of it.
"So?" I asked finally. "What are we going to do with it?"
"I'll take it," Calc said, tapping his finger against his chin.
The rest of us looked at each other and shrugged. Calc probably was the best person to look after the statue. After all, he probably had connections that the rest of us couldn't even begin to imagine.
"But it's over, right?" Gretchen asked. "We don't have to worry any more about this thing?"
Calc nodded. "Kate's wards are sufficient for the time being. I know someone who will be able to reinforce them, and then I will go about finding a way to return this back to its own plane."
"And you are unhurt?" Odette asked Damien.
"Yes, Odette," Damien said, curling his arm around my waist. "I am feeling much better."
"Are we certain that Antonio will not be returning?" Raph asked in his quiet accent.
"Yes," Damien said, sadness darkening his eyes. I wrapped my arms around his midsection, offering my support. "Jessica's stake stopped his heart, and I removed his head."
But you saved us all, I said in his mind.
Hmm, he returned, noncommittally, but I could still feel his remorse. After everything that Antonio had done, family was still family, and Damien had been involved in the death of two of his siblings. He truly was the last of his family.
But not alone, I reminded him. We are family now. All of us.
I know, querida, but I still think of them.
Well then, I said, allowing a small smile to curve my lips, I'm going to have to keep your mind off of such things.
Damien lifted a brow at me in surprise, but then his entire face slid into a seductive grin.
"I agree, Kaitlyn," he said aloud. "I guess I still am not quite recovered from last night's events. I believe I will return to bed."
"That sounds like a great plan," Wolf agreed, his brown eyes twinkling.
Calc leaned back, his normal amused look on his face. "You all have the night off, people."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh thank you, glorious commander," I said, laughing, as Damien grasped my hand and pulled me out towards the bedroom.
Damien had me naked in record time.
"Tell me that you need me," he rasped in my ear as his hands drove me insane.
"I need you so much that I might just die from it," I replied, ripping at his shirt, trying to dislodge it from his skin.
He practically threw me on the bed, discarding his own clothing. He took my mouth and slid into me at the same time, but even more than that, he opened himself fully to me, showing me his need, his desire… his love.
Much, much later, Damien and I took a much-needed break, lying together on the bed. I amused myself by drawing little curlicues on his chest as Damien pretended to sleep.
Do you have a particular need to ward me, querida? he asked, raising an eyebrow, but not opening his eyes.
"Actually, yes. Since I met you, you've been staked in the arm, shot in the stomach, and run through twice," I responded, a little testily to be honest.
Ward away, then.
I paused in my warding. "I do love you, you know, Damien," I blurted out, needing to say it. His eyes shot open and connected with mine. "And the truth is, you did rescue me. You rescued me from a hollow empty life."
I heard myself say the words and made a face. "That was probably the corniest thing I have ever said. Ever."
He laughed. I filled with warmth at the sound and was sure that it would always do that to me.
"That was pretty cliché," he responded honestly, pulling me underneath him, "but it is alright because I love you too, Kaitlyn Kafelnikov."
"Well, then, my life is perfect," I said, and when he kissed me again, I knew it was.