The Holly and the Ivy

Proofed by Lisa

This story was kind of an experiment. I wanted to see if I could get it done in 12 chapters with the main characters not knowing each other for long and a halfway plausible reason they fell in love so fast. It might still feel rushed, so I decided to write a second part where they have to deal with that. I'll take a break of 4-6 weeks, think about an outline for part II and maybe write two, three chapters and see how the story develops. I have some ideas already, but I'm also curious: What do you think is gonna happen in the next part?

For those who subscribed for this story, chapters of part II will be posted right here.

Thank you for reading, rating and commenting.

Chapter Twelve –The End… for now.

I balance the overloaded breakfast tray with one hand trying not to spill the juice while opening the door to our room with the other. 'Man. Keith really overdid it this time.' Closing the door behind me with my elbow I walk around the bed. The red curtains are still closed, but I know the one facing the window is open. We love to watch the stars and the snow covered campus, cuddled together under the warm blankets.

Reaching the open curtain I look directly in Diarmad's dark blue eyes. 'Is that a hue of silver?' I roll my eyes inwardly. 'What did I do now?'

And here it comes. "Don't tell me you were out in the kitchen like this."

Holding the tray away from me I look down at myself. Seeing my bare feet partly visible under my favorite washed-out jeans I can almost hear my mom calling after me, "Noël, put some shoes on, or at least warm socks; it's too cold to run around the house in your bare feet." 'It can't be that, can it?' I mean the entire penthouse has under-the- floor heating. So I ask, "Like what?"

He makes a gesture with his hand which encompasses my whole body. "You don't even wear a shirt."

Now I visibly roll my eyes at him. "And why should I do that? It's freaking warm in here. I just threw some jeans on to get us breakfast from the kitchen, so what's the big deal?"

"Well the big deal is that I don't want you to run around the house half naked."

"Please, nobody in this household cares about that. Landyn only has eyes for Simon, Ronan for Becca and Keith for Lionel. I don't think they will notice if I walk around the house buck naked."

"That may be so, but I would care, very much so, and you never know who else is in the house."

"At eight on a Sunday morning?"

"Landyn's men are here all the time."

"Yeah and they would hit on the king's mate, because they're famous for their suicidal tendencies, right? Come on, D, give it a rest."I put the tray on the nightstand and climb back in the warm bed. 'My feet did get a little cold.' Making myself comfortable, I lean against the headboard, take the 'king mug' and hold it out for Diarmad, "Coffee?" He takes it but I can tell he's still upset. Getting myself the second mug, I close my eyes and inhale the heavenly scent of freshly brewed coffee. "Mmmm… heaven."

Suddenly I hear a low growling beside me and the mug in my hand is gone. Opening my eyes I find myself caged between Diarmad's arms. Leaning down, his mouth brushes my ear, "I don't want you outside this room like this ever again, at least not when I'm not with you."

I grin at him, "Possessive much?"

Wrong answer. I feel his lips briefly touching my neck before suddenly sharp fangs pierce through the skin. 'F-ck!'

The pain is soon replaced by surges of pleasure running through my body. I moan, involuntary tilting my head further to the side to give him better access to my neck.

It's sensuous and oddly satisfying to feel him sucking at my neck, hearing him swallowing my blood. 'As if I'd nurture him and give him sustenance.'

I have to hold on to his shoulders. Arching my body up; I need the friction, I need to feel more of him. As if he heard my silent pleading he lowers his still naked body between my spread legs just a little bit more, but it isn't enough to touch him, to feel his whole body against mine. 'God, just a bit more…'

And it's over. He lifts his head, laps at the bite, gives me a quick kiss on my forehead and takes his coffee back from the nightstand as if nothing had happened.

Still panting, trying to calm myself I ask, "What was that?"

He shrugs, "Just showing you who's in control."

"What? Are you f-cking kidding me? You can't be serious…" Seeing him leaning comfortably against the headboard calmly sipping his coffee I realize he is serious. 'Just you wait… Two can play this game.'

"Okay, well good morning to you too." I push myself back against the headboard, wiggling around making sure that my slightly too large jeans descend a bit more still and my mark is showing. I know he won't be able to resist touching it. He never could since he gave it to me, even when we were talking to Cieran O'Connor he had his arm wrapped around my waist, unconsciously caressing it, sometimes even slipping one finger under the waistband.

And just as I thought he would, he leans over to my side and starts to run a finger along the ivy vine, stating, "So, Andra told me you already manage the power of telekinesis just fine…"

I snort while picking a bagel from the tray beside me, "If you mean by just fine that I'm able to knock a lab cabinet over to bury a crazy doc under it, than yes I do. I think Andra would have preferred a more sophisticated approach like getting out a bottle of inflammable liquid instead and throw that at the doc."

Still following the outlines of the mark he objects, "I still think that was remarkable. We weren't fully mated then, and despite that you could already consciously access your power, without much training. Landyn told me you only practiced once."

I eye the bagel in my hand from all sides to look for the best spot to bite into it without making a mess while asking him, "So now that we are fully mated you think I can do better? Like if I wanted to have that napkin over there I just reach out, will it to me, and woops it flies into my hand?" Doing as I said, I almost drop my bagel when the napkin lands in my hand. "Wow."

"Just like that," he grins, by now he's running his finger over the part of the mark that still lies under the waistband.

Putting the napkin on my left thigh I take the bagel in both hands and sink my teeth in the delicious goodness. "Ahh… hmm…" I moan, "This is so great. Keith really knows how I like them…"

After lapping up some juice from the tomato running down the bagel, I take a leaf of rocket salad between my teeth and pull it slowly out from between the two halves. Using my tongue to finally suck it into my mouth, I hum, "Hmmm… perfect." I'm blatantly ignoring that his eyes are now riveted on my lips. I let the tip of my tongue get some residual cream cheese and then ask conversationally, "So me being a telekinetic is because you are one also?"

He stares blankly at me obviously needing a moment to comprehend my question. 'It's working…'

"Yes, usually the former human will adopt at least one of his Seraei mate's powers. Uncharacteristically, you started to feel this power way before we were mated. We think that can be explained by you being my third mate and Tristan was a bonded. But that you actually could use this power before we were mated is highly unusual, the same applies for your precog. I believe yours could even be stronger than mine."

"Hmmm, I can taste the freshly ground pepper and this cream cheese… awwwesome." I swoop some cheese up with my finger and lick it clean, making sure it looks like I'm thinking of licking something entirely different while doing this. "God, this is perfect…"

When I hear a sharp hissing noise beside me I look up as if I just came out of a cream cheese induced high. Shaking my head slightly I ask, "So which other powers will I have? Or won't there be any other powers? What about you; which do you have beside telekinesis?"

Knowing that his gaze is still fixed on my lips, I make sure to lick them continuously.

"We'll have to wait to see which other powers you'll have. Seeing you're high precog we already conjectured it could be telepathy, which is a very rare and sought after combination. Even if you're not a full telepath but only an empath it's still very rare. As for me, I can manipulate energy. I can give and take energy from almost every source including living beings; I even can use it as a weapon in the form of lightning bolts and such." Hearing him answering my question almost absentmindedly, I know it won't take long now until his control snaps.

Finished with the bagel I suck each of my fingers clean from any remains of cream cheese totally aware of the fact that he stopped drinking his coffee and is now staring at me with an almost feral expression on his face. 'Uh…oh…'

I'm still absolutely not prepared for what he does next. Leaping out of bed, he grabs me by my ankle and pulls me down on my back with a thud before he takes my jeans off with one quick move.

Hearing the tearing of fabric, I yell, "Hey these are my favorite!"

"You should learn not to challenge me then." With that he crawls back to me on his hands and knees. I look at him when he's hovering over me, he's eyeing me up as if I were prey. Then his lips are on mine, taking my mouth in a dominating kiss, all I feel is an invading tongue, teeth clashing against teeth, hands in my hair. I press my palms against his shoulders, trying to push him away but then he starts to rub his naked body against mine. 'F-ck…' Spreading my legs wider I move my hips up to meet him halfway.

Finally breaking the kiss, his lips move down my throat, his fangs gracing over my pulse; and I hear myself moaning,"Yes! Bite me!"

But he doesn't hear my pleading. Or he doesn't want to. I can't think anymore. Shuddering with need, everything is reduced to sense when his hands never stop touching me; his fingers dance over the skin of my stomach until they find my mark again. All I want is to touch, smell, taste, and feel him…

A sharp pain brings me out of my daze, sending sends jolts of pleasure directly to my cock. 'Shit… He bit my nipple' Lapping at it soothingly before switching to the other, he does it again. 'F-ck!'

I can feel him slowly sliding down my body, suckling and nipping at my skin, licking at the spot right over my navel, pulling at the hair below it with his lips, nuzzling my mark with his nose… 'Oh f-ck!' Running his tongue from the base of my cock to the tip, swirling it around the crown for a few times and he takes just the head into his mouth, sucking on it while rolling my balls in his hand. 'Oh God…'

He pushes his mouth down and has my entire cock in his mouth and throat forcing every other sensation out of my awareness except his hot mouth on me... Pulling my balls gently down, he swallows around my cock, sending waves of pleasure through me. I can't help but start to thrust into his mouth and he lets me… 'Almost there… almost there… I need… I'm…'

Trembling, I gasp, "I…" and he takes it away from me; the hot, wet warmth… gone.

Through the fog surrounding my brain I can hear a needy whining. "No… don't stop …need… to come," and when nothing happens my hand goes south only to be slapped away.

"Yes baby, but not until I tell you to." And then I find myself with both my wrists pinned on the mattress above my head, in a move so fast I didn't see it happen.

'What?'

Squirming under him I try to free my hands but he just shifts his body onto me, using his weight to press me on the bed. Now being able to hold both of my wrists in his right hand he takes my cock in the other and starts to stroke me. Bringing his head down to my ear he whispers, "Remember, I'm in control… "

Something in the back of my head rebels at that and I pant, "Dream on…"

"Yes, I dreamt of that… you at my mercy… writhing under my hands…"

And I thrust into his stroking hand. I don't want to, but I need… 'Yes…' "I'm going to come…" 'Shit, idiot…'

Halting his hand I hear his stern voice, "Not yet."

Taking in deep breathes I try to calm down… and it goes away, the urgent need it goes away.

"That's it baby…" He caresses my thigh soothingly but when he touches my mark I hiss and buck in his hand.

"Ah ah ah, nothing of that. Leave your hands where they are, grab the headboard when you must." He lets go of my wrists.

And then a lubed finger slips inside me, thrusting gently, seeking the one spot I remember so well.

"Ahhhh," I scream, instinctively lifting my hips, "Faster!" but his pace doesn't change. And I know there is nothing I can do, he won't go faster until he decides to do so. 'Damn.'

He finds it again and I cry out, shuddering beneath him. He chuckles.

"F-ck you…" I pant.

"All in good time. Right now it's my turn… soon."

Leaning over me, he thrusts his tongue deeply into my mouth, and removes his fingers. Hot breath against my ear he whispers, "Open your eyes, love. Look at me. See me."

I do as he says and he gasps, "Your eyes are silver… my mate..." Kneeling between my legs he lifts me up until my a-s rests on his thighs, and then he pushes into me with one single slow thrust.

"Finally… took you long enough."

He pulls out only to push back in. "I. Take. As. Long. As. I. Want." Emphasizing each word with a powerful yet gentle thrust, he whispers, "… as this is only your second time, love."

And I suddenly understand that at the end he'll never intentionally hurt me. 'He is in control…'

"You can let go; lose yourself… I'll catch you… protect you. Come for me."

It is all too much, and trembling I obey. With a sob I let go, because I can, it's safe.

Seeing this, watching me to give myself over makes him thrust harder and faster, then his body goes rigid and he shudders before he finally collapses on top of me. 'How I love this man… my man.'

Later he gets up, coming back with a wash cloth and a towel. After cleaning me he throws them on the floor and wraps me in his arms, nuzzling his face into my hair when he pulls the blankets up covering our bodies.

Burying my face in the warmth of his chest, I let my hand brush over the mark I gave him, tracing the outline of the cat with my finger I whisper, "Diarmad…" Unable to form any other word, realizing I love to feel that I can let go with him, knowing he'll be there to protect me, catch me. Not that I'd ever tell him. 'Not yet.'

"You have to be by my side at the counsel meeting, so please try to be ready in half an hour, love. I'll call you."

'Great.'

That's why I'm standing in front of the large mirror in our walk-in-closet right now plucking at my hair to no avail… 'What can you do with almost shoulder-length brownish wavy hair, needing a hair cut?' I don't do straighteners… and I doubt I could find one in this men's household. 'Wait, maybe Becca…' ah sh-t, I don't do straighteners. Looking back at the mirror, a guy in black slacks and a white button-down shirt with a high collar stares back at me. I think he'll do. He has to because my phone starts ringing and I know it's Diarmad, calling me to the meeting in his study.

To get there I have to cross the living room, where I find Andra sitting on a couch with her father on the opposite couch, flanked by two of Landyn's men. Keelan McGill looks deathly pale and appears oddly apathetic. 'Did they sedate him?' I can't think of any other reason for him being like that. I'd expected him to be yelling and raving, not acting like this when I thought I'd see him again. 'But with all that happened to him…'

Nodding briefly at Andra I enter the study and find myself confronted with all eleven counsel members. They get up and bow when they see me. Slightly embarrassed I give a short bow back. Taking the place beside Diarmad, I notice that I'm sitting on one of the two oddly decorated, uncomfortable looking armchairs which normally stand in some corner of this room. The armchairs are only used to pile books onto when we have yet to place them back on the shelves. Seeing that Diarmad is sitting on the other one, it dawns on me that they have a purpose. 'And I always wondered why Diarmad had these things in his study; obviously they're reserved for the king and his mate to sit on during a meeting, some kind of throne or something…. Oh sh-t.'

When the counsel members are finally sitting down again, Landyn and Ronan come into the room to stand slightly behind us. Landyn stands on my side, and Ronan stands on Diarmad's. 'Do they fear some of them might attack us?'

Looking around to make sure he has everyone's attention, Cieran O'Connor gets up, and bows again, and I have to control myself not to roll my eyes at him. "Before we begin, I've been asked to officially welcome the king's final mate Noël, in the name of all counsel members. We're more than happy and relieved to see you by our lord's side."

'And he bows again.'

I feel a short jab at my side. Looking at Diarmad he looks at me as if he wanted to say… 'No, no… I hate speeches. I can't do this.'

Slowly getting up I'm aware that the eyes of every single counsel member are on me, and I take the opportunity to look back and memorize them. The woman with the curly red hair beside Cieran O'Connor, who doesn't look me in the eyes, the man beside her with the friendly blue eyes, the tall lanky guy with the shoulder-length black hair —HE IS TOO YOUNG— 'Wait, what was that?' I look back at him, but I'm sure he didn't say that out loud. Then there is the blonde, who fidgets with the sheets of paper in front of her, the elderly man with the big glasses, the big guy with the white blond buzz cut —CUTE— 'F-ck, he didn't just say that out loud, did he?' I look back at him and I know I'm blushing and he's grinning knowingly back at me. At least until he, like everyone else in the room, hears the light growling coming from the chair beside me. Quickly skimming over the rest of them; the little brunette, wrapped up in colorful shawls, another redhead with amazing green eyes and a diamond stud in his ear, a guy in a gray suit looking somehow familiar, and another one in a green cashmere sweater with a scar over his left eye. Clearing my throat I then say, "I'm more than happy to be by his side myself." Sitting down again Landyn mutters behind me, "Nice and short." 'Shut up!' —HEY GET OUT OF MY HEAD! 'What?' I turn my head finding him scowling at me. When he sees my puzzled expression he seems to understand something I don't and nods, smiling again. 'What? I'm failing to get something important here… Wait… it can't be… telepathy, no.' "No…"

Fortunately Diarmad addresses the counsel, getting everyone's attention back on him. "We're here today to decide about Keelan McGill. Depending on how serious this counsel will evaluate his crimes, the outcome will be either his death or exile. My mate and I will abstain from voting in this case as we are directly affected by his deeds. We won't be able to vote unbiased."

'Who would be?'

And the discussion begins. The slightly familiar looking guy in the gray suit, who seems to be a member of the McGill clan, adamantly demands the death of his former leader. The little brunette disagrees. "Exile is enough punishment, think of what he's lost already."

Then the shouting and yelling starts and Diarmad has to admonish them to calm down more and more frequently.

As far as I can see, there will be no decision made anytime soon. And I don't know how I feel about killing the man. And send him into exile? What would he do somewhere else, away from his family, his clan, alone? Probably seek revenge… I mean one part of me wants him dead; wants him to suffer for what he did to me, to us, but another part of me thinks he's suffered enough. His plan on becoming the next king backfired on him dramatically. He lost his favorite child. As bad as it may be to even have a favorite child, Moira was his only hope for grandchildren as she liked men … And on top of that, being deposed by your clan, your family? Maybe showing mercy will persuade some undecided members of the McGill clan, who are afraid they would be punished also, that Diarmad is not holding any grudges? It would also support Andra as their new leader; showing them that she made the right decision by siding with Diarmad.

Interrupting a heated fight between suit guy and diamond stud I blurt out, "What about a third alternative?"

"A third alternative?" Cieran O'Connor asks hopefully.

"Yes, can't he be stripped of his powers as punishment? Permanently I mean? Wouldn't it be better to have him here on Earth under our control than somewhere else, planning his revenge? Wouldn't this be a signal that we are willing to live together and to bury our differences? It will take time to get there but it could be a concrete step in the right direction. He has lost so much already." Suddenly aware that everybody is looking at me again, lets me start to fidget with the hem of my shirt.

Not sure how he thinks about my idea I look at Diarmad, who watches me as if he's never seen me before, then he starts to smile, "This is what I hoped for; a third alternative. Thank you Noël. Tristan would have wanted Keelan's death. Seeing how he already suffered Luis would have wanted to forgive him. You found the third alternative by combining all of it and add some more. To answer your question now, love: Yes, he can be stripped of his powers permanently. I can do this." And to the others, "I think we should hear Andra McGill now. She should be heard before we make the final decision. As his daughter and the new leader of the McGill clan, she will be the one to take care of him."

The counsel agrees and I get up and call Andra in.

Diarmad explains the situation to her and after briefly closing her eyes she declares, "I will personally take care of him; he's my father and our former leader. I know he must be punished but I'm relieved and thankful that you found another way besides killing him or putting him in exile. That may be egotistical and selfish though, driven by the thought that I do not want to lose the last one of my direct family. Stripping him of his powers, losing my sister; this might be too much for him. I have the hope that he'll understand, but if he prefers death over this, I ask you to show one last act of mercy and grant him his wish." She bows and sits down.

After a brief discussion the counsel agrees to her wish and I get up again this time to call Keelan McGill in.

When he stands in front of us, Andra puts her hand on his shoulder and after a while he seems to come back to us, for the first time realizing where he is.

Asked if he prefers death over being stripped of his powers and living under house arrest for the rest of his life, he looks at his daughter, then at us. "I've lost everything that I thought has value in my life; my child, possible grandchildren, my rank, my goal. And I can't blame no other than myself of that, I know that now. I infected Moira with my ideas; I never valued my other child. I underestimated my king and his determination to be with his mate. And finally I see the wisdom of fate as well as its irony; learning that my chance to stay alive and with my daughter and my clan was given to me by the man I wanted to torture and kill. I know this is unpardonable, but I will try anyway." And he kneels down; he actually kneels down.

Seeing the man kneeling in front of us, looking as if he's doing this with a contrite and humiliated heart has me swallowing around the lump suddenly forming in my throat. And I think I'm not the only one. And still back in my head I do not trust him. 'I guess this needs time.'

Sitting on the piano bench I ask Diarmad, "What do you want me to play for you?"

Diarmad thinks a bit about it and then says, "Something nice. I need something nice like Robert Schumann's Träumerei." Then he looks at me and asks, "And what do you want to play?"

"21 Guns."

End Part I