Woah. It's been forever. I'm way sorry. I'll be posting some new work soon, though.


Chapter: …24? POV; Roark

I gasped. Jonathan lay prostrate in the far corner, face down. There was something wrong with him, I could tell by just the slight stirring of his back with breath.

"J-Jonathan?" Meghan stuttered.

I stepped across the room, careful not to trip on a heap of linens, and knelt by his side, grabbing his arm and trying to push him over. Meghan joined me a moment later, and looked at me with horror in eyes. I stared at where her hands rested on his side, and saw blood. We pushed at the same time and his body rolled over easily, limply.

"Oh, god," Meghan said, and turned away.

I stared, numb. The damage on his body was incredible, frightening in its extent, cruel beyond what I cared to imagine. His lip moved, and he spoke a single word in a voice harsh with pain.

"Roark?" Nothing more than a croak, nothing more than breath. I pressed a hand into my mouth. My eyes burned with tears. Behind me, Meghan gave a dry sob.

"It's alright, Jonathan," I said, speaking as steadily as I could. I had never been upset by gore and death before, perhaps the echoes of Saise courting shadows in my mind, but I was unprepared for this. Even in the macabre arms of death, he was beautiful.

He couldn't die. I wouldn't let him. "I'm here, and I'm going to fix you. Just…"

I reached for my magic, praying I had enough, drawing up reserves of energy I didn't know I had. His damaged body sucked life from my fingers, and I let it.

I knew how to heal sparingly, without leaving myself weakened, but I threw the knowledge away and let power poor from my core and into his. I'd learned control at his command, after all, and that would be for not if he died not a foot away, blood invisible against the red of the rug he lay on.

When my magic faltered, faded, Broken's mind slid into mine. I accepted her help without pause. There would be time enough for questions later.

Her magic was cold, raising goose bumps along my arm. The unbridled strength left me breathless.

Jonathon's back arched off the ground and his eyelids fluttered madly against his cheeks. He made a gasping noise and drew in a deep, shuddering breath, before falling back to the floor, chest rising and sinking rapidly.

"Roark," he said again, and tears spilled over in my eyes, carrying an odd feeling with them. I reached up a hand to touch them, watching them on my fingers for a moment, then looked down at Jonathan. Something in me constricted, and a wave of heat and happiness stole my senses.

I leaned down, completely with humility, and kissed him soundly on the mouth. An electric shock shot through every piece of my being, and even allowing the sharp smell of blood at close proximity, it was the most amazing experience of my life.

Broken's laugher made me pull back hard, and Jonathan's eyes were fully open. He didn't say anything. Suddenly filled with shame and confusion and adrenaline, I looked back to Meghan.

"Come help me get him up, Meghan," I said, and she spun, eyes wide with hope. An amazed smile spread across her face, and she fell to my side.

"Jonathan, you're okay!" She cried, the picture of untainted happiness, while I hovered between guilt and anxiousness. She brushed her hair from her face and bit her bottom lip over her smile.

He nodded slowly, lifting a hand and flexing his fingers. Blood flaked into powder across his knuckles, showering the floor. "So I am," he said.

I wondered, suddenly, if he was aware that I had kissed him at all, or if his cognition had only just been grinding into gear. He'd said my name, but he could have been delusional, simply spitting fragments of memories as his brain fired randomly.

I wasn't sure if I wanted him to remember. It wasn't just admiration and loyalty fueling my actions around him, it was love. I was in love with Jonathan. In love.

My heart beat hard against the inside of my chest, and I realized that my wings were gone. I was nearly drained. No matter, Jonathan was at full strength, and if worse came to worse… My eyes slid to Meghan, and I tucked my hands into my pockets.

"Are you going to help me with him?" She asked. She already had an arm under his and her feet braced.

"I think I can do it myself," he said, surprising both of us. His voice was soft, but something about it gave me pause. He smiled, meeting my eyes where before her had been looking at the floor, and my worries vanished. "Roark, you are an excellent healer. I have my life to thank you for."

I smiled back, glowing with pride. Meghan let him go, and he stood up with a measure of caution. I watched him rise, and then followed in doing so.

Broken's giggling had returned, bubbling over my mind like a stream between pebbles, distracting my thoughts. I shivered.

"What's so funny?" I hissed, glancing downward and narrowing my eyes. Meghan shot Jonathan a baffled look, and he shifted his shoulder what might have been a shrug. I ignored them for a time.

Broken's satisfaction prickled the hair at the back of my neck. She hummed a few notes of a song I didn't know, but didn't answer.

"Is there a problem?" Jonathan asked, raising and eyebrow.

"Broken is… positively giddy." I scoffed, affecting disgust. "She's ecstatic at the prospect of seeing her old mistress."

He looked thoughtful for a moment, and I noticed weakness in the hold of his mouth. Almost fear, were that possible. Whatever the demons had done to him, I was aware again of its mercilessness.

I hesitated, biting the inside of my mouth. "Are you sure you're alright?" I asked.

"Yes," he answered without pause.

Meghan made an excited noise, her previous fear already forgotten. "And Ivette said that Audrey was alive, too."

"Ivette?" He asked.

"She was an incubi. We met her down bellow, and she told us to come here to find Audrey."

"But you found me instead." He frowned and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. "Were either of you captured before?"

"No," Meghan answered. She folded to the floor, resting her head on her hands. I let her talk, content to watch the slight movement of Jonathan hands and legs, the way his breathing was regulating.

"And the portal closed after Audrey?"


"And neither of you were seized when you crossed into heaven? I'm assuming that you went."

"Yeah, we went, and no, we weren't kidnapped. But the portal opened from the other side, so maybe..." she trailed and shrugged.

"And you came here on a rescue mission, alone? Does Bell know you are here?"

Meghan looked at me quizzically, and I answered for her. "Yes. The highest ring voted against a rescue, but Bell knew I was coming and told me to bring Meghan."

Jonathan looked up at me, eyes unreadable.

"How strange," he murmured, and I realized that I was lacking some vital piece of information. I didn't ask, but Meghan did.

"What are you talking about? I mean, does Bell normally not act like that?" She gave me a harassed look, dropping her hands into her lap palms up. "Is there something going on here that you won't tell me, or are have both of you just totally lost it?"

Jonathan put a hand on her shoulder and smiled. "We will consider these details later. For now I must conclude that Saise knows we are here."

"That's what she said," Meghan said, nodding to me, then she let out a choked giggle. I raised an eyebrow, and she blushed. "Sorry, that's just… there's a human joke like that."

Her face flamed even brighter in the silence that followed. What was she talking about? "But really, you were saying that Saise knew where we were earlier."

He looked to me and was pleased when I nodded. "I must further conclude that she meant for you to find me here."

"Why?" Meghan asked, mouth dropping open.

"This is Audrey's room. Ivette knew this location, but not the one where I was kept prier to this. Someone put me here knowing you would come looking this way."

I closed my eyes, listening to distant, eerie laugher.

"Why would they have done that?" Meghan asked. "If Saise knew Roark was here and knew where she was going, why aren't we dead? Or captured, or whatever."

"It would seem, Meghan, that they wanted Roark to find me." He looked up at me with unreadable eyes.

"I am weaker now," I said. "Still, together, we are just as strong. And there are many other ways of weakening me."

"There are. Now Meghan, can you give me the name of one person in the Adair who wants me alive? One person who Saise needs something from?"

I stared as the significance of those words poured down around me like rain. Oh no. Oh no.

And Broken was still laughing.