A/N: Hey guys :) Here it is! The sequel to Almost Living! YAY :D I am currently working on chapter three so I'm a little ahead on this story, though not by much. I just wanted to thank you all for your awesome reviews and comments on Almost Living and tell you how much that meant to me :) Because it meant a lot! A whole lot! And I was sad to see that story end but I had a lot of ideas for this sequel so I was eager to start working on it. I finished this chapter like over a week ago but wasn't sure how I felt about it so I didn't do much with it. I figured it was a good enough way to start, right? And then backtrack later maybe XD
Anyway, just wanted to thank you guys for the prequel's reviews and whatnot and I hope you will enjoy this story just as much! I will do my best to not disappoint you :o)
Chapter length: 3708
Song(s) listening to: "Angel with a Shotgun" by The Cab; "I Did it for You" by David Cook
Now let us begin :D
Sequel to Almost Living
Written by Averick
Warnings: Story contains strong language, violence, bloodshed, a slash pairing, and possible sex scenes depending on if I decide to incorporate them or not. Basically everything that was in the prequel. If that is not your glass of pineapple juice please return to the fridge and try again.
Chapter One: Mission – Failure
Such a simple word. Honestly, I never thought much of it. I knew the United States was at war with the Middle East, but knowing about it and experiencing it were two entirely different things. I had no military background, and neither did anyone in my family. I wasn't familiar with anything military related, and yet I was now part of a war I didn't entirely understand.
I gripped the blade tightly, my arm throbbing painfully, a dull ache which I knew was not my own. Kieron was hurt but I didn't know where he was. The light brushes against my mind assured me he was fine – irritated, but fine. This caused my skin to burn a little less and allowed me to focus more on the task at hand.
The clearing before me housed at least three men. They looked normal enough but they were not, in a way, human. They were Etherians, and while they looked human to me, I knew they weren't. I'd been deceived too many times by their appearances. Before, that was okay, but since this war came into play nearly five months ago, I knew more about deception than I had right to, really. And I wasn't always the one being deceived.
These men were hunting me. That wasn't unusual, though. Before them, it was the screamers hunting me. I was always being hunted because according to some kind of prophecy, my coming was long ago foretold and everything was predetermined. My bond with Kieron was predetermined, as was my ability to see them for what they were.
Now, though, I was being hunted for two different reasons.
The screamers wanted me to take me to the Master, who felt he should have been the one to become my bond-mate. He tried to kill Kieron and very nearly succeeded. According to everyone around me, he should have succeeded but he didn't, which we were still trying to understand. I knew I wasn't complaining.
Sharpness nudged my mind, a mild, sudden pain and I sighed, nodding even though I knew no one could see. That was my cue to stand still. We'd practiced ways to alert one another to moves and whatnot, and this seemed the most effective. Kieron could nudge my mind in either a dull ache – irritation – or varying degrees of sharpness. In this instance I knew it meant for me to stay put. It almost always meant that because I was lucky I even got to come out of hiding to help him with any of this. If he had his way, I'd never leave the safe house.
I couldn't just let him do everything alone, though. We were bond-mates, after all. Boyfriends, even, if this classified as a relationship, which I was pretty sure it did.
Across the clearing, Kieron noisily made his way through the bushes. Through the darkness I could just make out the sharpness of his blue eyes as they looked at the trio in the center of the clearing. The moonlight shone down on his head, creating a blue halo, though he was anything but angelic. One of the men lifted a sword while the other two donned crossbows, taking aim at the blue-haired immortal.
I tried to keep the growl from rising in my throat but it was rather hard. I swallowed it down and took in a slow breath, Kieron's quick thoughts nudging against my mind, too quick for me to have a hope of deciphering, but they calmed me in a way. I shouldn't worry because none of these men had anything gold on them, so it was unlikely they had the type of weapon which seriously posed a threat to Kieron, but somehow that didn't stop me from worrying.
He could still be hurt.
Which meant I would feel the pain.
As it was, I knew his arm was hurt but due to the dark long-sleeved shirt he wore, I couldn't see the wound.
"Whoa, take it easy, guys," Kieron said, stepping toward the trio, raising his hands to show he was harmless. Mentally I snorted and something stabbed through my mind, leaving me scowling.
Sorry, I thought.
The pain ebbed away and I sighed, clutching the knife tightly, keeping my feet somewhat parted so I could run forward if necessary. I shouldn't need to as this was a fairly simple mission, hence why I was actually allowed to come with Kieron. Generally Ashere kept me on a rather tight leash, much to my dismay, and rarely let me leave and go with Kieron anywhere.
Kieron, on the other hand, was rarely allowed to stay with me. Due to being 'low on the food chain', so to speak, he was forced to go on all kinds of missions, all of them potentially dangerous. Most of them I didn't get to go on, but this was one of the few Kieron begrudgingly accepted my company with.
The moment chaos struck happened slowly. Kieron eased forward, and it looked like the three men didn't know who he was. If they did, I was sure they would have attacked by now. As it was, they let him come forward, clearly un-armed, and when Kieron got a few feet away from them, he moved with the speed and gracefulness of a cheetah on steroids, there one second and gone the next, dodging the swing of the sword and an arrow fired from a crossbow.
In one fluid movement he whacked his open palm against the side of one guy's head. The guy crumpled to the ground in a motionless heap. In the next second, Kieron spun and backhanded the second guy in the chest. The guy went flying sideways, smacking into the third, who loosed his arrow just as he was being hit.
I felt the pain before I saw it happen. Felt the phantom ache in my side and then heard Kieron growl. With my own growl I came out of hiding, shoving through the bushes until I was in the clearing. Kieron tore the arrow out of his side and snapped it in half, stomping toward the two sitting on the ground, clearly disorientated from his last blow. Their eyes widened when they saw him coming, awareness dawning on them that he was, indeed, a perpetual and could kill them quite easily.
Kieron grabbed one of the guy's by the front of his shirt and hauled him up, feet dangling in the air. Then he glared down at the one on the ground.
"I'm a perpetual. If you don't want me to kill your buddy here, I suggest you stay perfectly still and don't piss me off," he said, voice eerily calm despite the growl located deep within. The phantom ache was growing and as I approached him, I could see the blood staining his shirt.
Blue eyes snapped toward me, and I waved slightly, unable to stop myself. Kieron nodded his head toward the guy sitting on the ground, staring up at him while the guy in his grasp tried to tear his grip away.
Kieron shook the guy somewhat. "Stop that," he chided. "That's just gonna irritate me." His gaze flickered back toward me. "Do it."
I nodded and knelt next to the guy sitting on the ground. The man flinched when I grabbed his hands, and spun toward me as though to hit me, but the cry of pain of the guy held in the air left him freezing.
"I said don't piss me off," Kieron said, shaking the guy again. The guy groaned and the one sitting on the ground nodded, allowing me to grab his wrists and yank them behind his back. From my belt I pulled a length of rope, firmly tying it around his wrists in the way it had been tied around mine far too many times. I looked up and nodded at Kieron once I was done, satisfied with my work.
Kieron dropped the other guy to the ground. He landed with a soft thud and stared up at him.
"You can go," Kieron said, gesturing toward the side.
The guy looked at the one sitting on the ground. Well, at least he was loyal enough.
"Nope, he stays here," Kieron said. "Now go, before I change my mind. And take your friend over there with you." He gestured at the motionless guy who still lay in a heap on the ground, breathing slowly.
It took a moment, but the guy finally did as he was told and got to his feet, moving toward the unconscious man. From there he hauled him gracelessly to his feet and staggered away, into the trees. A few minutes later, Kieron knelt next to the guy sitting on the ground at my feet.
"We're not going to hurt you," Kieron said slowly, "unless you make us. I'm still pissed about that arrow so don't think I won't hit you. This here?" He gestured at me. "That's who you are going to talk to. And if I find you said anything out of line, I'm gonna be pissed even more. Do you understand?"
The guy nodded quickly.
"Good." Kieron grinned and looked at me, looking a little too happy with what had taken place. Of course, this was his job. This was his job long before I came into the picture. He was the little 'foot soldier', according to him, low on the food chain so to speak. He probably did stuff like this all the time.
"Up," I said, looking down at the guy. I grabbed his arm and helped him stand, and together we left the clearing. Kieron followed behind us, crossbow casually slung over his shoulder, looking as calm as could be.
It didn't surprise me. This was his element, after all.
It was what he was made for – literally. He was of the type of perpetual who was created for the simple purpose of battle. He was at his element in a fight.
That didn't mean I had to like it, though. I personally didn't like fighting, which was why I was only put on missions where we didn't kill anyone. That didn't mean people didn't die, but it meant we went into it with the goal of not killing anyone.
"What do you want with me?" the guy asked quietly, speaking for the first time.
"What's your name?" I asked.
He hesitated, clearing not expecting that. "Jorro," he said quietly.
I nodded. "Well, Jorro, we're not going to hurt you. We just need some answers."
His gaze flickered toward Kieron, who now walked on his other side.
"Don't worry about him," I said. "He's a big softie."
Kieron looked at me, brow quirked, but I only smiled back at him.
"He's a perpetual!" Now the guy paled. "You're one too… aren't you?"
I scowled. "If I was a perpetual, I would work out a hell of a lot more," I muttered, shaking my head. "Nope, not a perpetual."
"Then why are you working with them!"
"Why are you working against them?" I countered.
"Because people are dying because of them!"
That knot formed in my stomach again – that same, familiar knot of guilt. People weren't dying because of perpetuals. They were dying because of me.
Sudden pain in my head. I fought the urge to groan and tossed a glare at Kieron, who rolled his eyes at me. Get over it, his look said.
If only it were that simple. Five months later and I still felt horrible about everything. The only bright side was that Kieron wasn't among the death toll.
Yet, a part of my mind said.
I took in a slow breath and tried to shove that thought away. Kieron nearly died because of me once, and I wouldn't let it happen again.
That phantom pain throbbed in my side again. I tossed a glare at Kieron. "How hurt are you?"
He scowled. "I'm fine."
"Uh huh. How close are you to passing out?"
That was how he healed, after all. Sleep. It wore him out.
The scowl deepened. "I've got time. I'm fine."
I sighed and shook my head, but left it at that. I didn't want to argue with him and I knew he would be okay. That didn't mean I couldn't worry, though. I'd seen him far too close to death to not worry. I'd also seen him shot with arrows before, and rammed through with a sword. I knew he wasn't always fine, even if he would be okay.
"How can you be so friendly toward him?" Jorro asked with this disgusted lilt to his voice.
A growl rose in my throat and I glared at him. "That's my boyfriend you're talking about, so be careful what you say," I snapped.
His eyes widened even as Kieron tossed me a quick glare, irritation flooding through the bond, this odd yet comfortable link in my head. It was like a light at the end of the tunnel, hidden just out of sight, something I couldn't see but knew was there. A bridge between my mind and his, forever connecting us in a way I couldn't understand.
Despite the irritation flooding through me from his end – I was never very good at reinforcing my 'wall' – I felt warmth as well, because despite what he thought, I knew somewhere, he was pleased with the statement. He wasn't used to people caring about him, having been raised under the guise of perpetuals not being able to care about anything or anyone other than a strong sense of duty, especially those of Kieron's rank. He could argue all he wanted, but I knew he liked it when I said something about our relationship.
Nothing more was said as we continued walking. All we had to do was give this guy to Ashere and go on our merry way.
Fuck my life.
Why was nothing ever simple?
Not five minutes after we arrived at the designated cabin, people came out of the woodwork and the guy seated at the table grinned, flashing teeth up at me as Kieron pulled back the edge of his shirt to reveal some kind of goo. A snarl rose in Kieron's throat as he grabbed my arm and threw me-
Just as the guy exploded.
He fucking exploded.
So did half the room.
I was lucky because Kieron threw me over the table and toward the doorway. When the guy exploded, the table was thrown toward me and acted as a sort of shield from the direct hit of the blast. A loud ringing in my ears left me deafened for a moment, smoke burning my eyes as dust flew through the air. My skin itched and burned but that might have just been because of the heat of the blast and the smoke being inhaled into my lungs.
"K-" I coughed, managing to clear my throat. "Kieron?"
I shoved the table off me, broken bits of debris and wood sliding to the ground. The entire room was covered in blood and scorch marks. The ringing in my ears slowly died down as I glanced around at the carnage before me, mind blanking somewhat. How had this happened? What kind of goo was that?
Where the hell was Kieron?
I scratched my hands up and down my arms, a growl catching in my throat as I looked around through blurred vision due to the smoke and heat.
"What?" he groaned from somewhere to my left, and I glanced over to find him shoving bits of the ceiling off him. Only the ceiling around where the guy had been sitting had caved in. Blood coated Kieron's face and I hurried toward him even as he got to his feet, running his hands down his clothes, grimacing as blood smeared on his hands.
"Kie, geez, are you okay?" I asked, frowning at the blood.
"I'm fine," he said, scowling. "Not my blood."
He nodded grimly, mouth a thin, hard line.
It was then the people from outside clambered in. Ashere had gone to see what the fuss was about, leaving Kieron and I with the guy. I had no idea where Ashere was but Kieron hadn't cried out in pain, so I knew he wasn't dead. For some reason, due to the odd mental bonds, perpetuals felt it when a fellow perpetual was killed. It left most crying out in pain, but usually just left those like Kieron grimacing and in pain but they usually didn't cry out that much. Something about being used to pain, which I hated.
As it was, though, I knew he was okay but didn't know where he was. People entered the broken down cabin and instantly crossbows were aimed at the two of us. Two people approached Kieron and grabbed his arms, a sword held firmly to his throat. Kieron growled but didn't move, tossing a look toward me.
The remaining two had crossbows aimed at my face. I took a careful step back only to have my back press against a hard body, and I grimaced when the point of an arrow pressed against my spine.
"Gotcha," a voice hissed in my ear.
I froze, not even daring to breathe, glancing toward Kieron. Kieron growled again, that blade pressing a little more firmly against his throat.
"As perpetuals, you are both sentenced to death," said the guy behind me, a deep baritone voice I'd never heard before, sentencing an end to my life. "Any last words?"
"Whoa," Kieron said, "wait a minute here. I'm the perpetual here, he's not. He's actually a prisoner we were interrogating, but… well. Kill him if you want but you're just killing one of your own people." He shrugged like it was no big deal, even as a growl lodged in my throat.
The fuck are you doing? I threw at him, urging him to hear it.
He blinked. Saving your life, shut up.
Be nice. Or do you want to die?
I don't want you to die!
Relax, they don't have the type of weapon.
How the hell do you know? It could have just been hidden, after all. They knew Kieron was a perpetual and were sentencing him – and me – to death, so they had to know about the weapon which would kill him.
Trust me, human.
I scowled because I hated it when he used that against me. He knew I trusted him – would always trust him. Had no reason not to trust him. He didn't seem very worried, and that left me relaxing somewhat.
"How do we know you're not lying about him not being a perpetual?" the guy behind me asked, that arrowhead pressing more into my spine, leaving me grimacing.
Kieron shrugged. "You don't, but are you willing to take that chance? Put your necklace on him if you think I'm lying."
The guy behind me stiffened. The tip of the arrow shifted somewhat, even as I frowned at Kieron.
What the hell?
The guy removed the arrow from my back and stepped around me, now standing in front of me, crossbow held lightly at his side. He brought a hand up and carefully pulled the gold chain off his neck, moving it toward me. I stared at it, feeling a growl catch in my throat because Kieron said there wasn't any gold here.
The necklace slid easily over my head and rested around my neck. Absolutely nothing happened because I wasn't a perpetual and thus gold did not affect me. I wasn't sure if it was just gold, or if there was something else added to it to make it so lethal to perpetuals, but either way, it didn't affect me.
The necklace was removed and the guy took it toward Kieron.
The word shot through my head with a resounding loudness, echoing through my mind, leaving me wincing. I'd been about to snap at the guy to stop, but now I closed my mouth and glared.
The necklace was placed around Kieron's neck. Kieron stiffened and closed his eyes as steam rose up into the air. The guy who put the necklace on him laughed, gesturing at the guy holding the sword to his throat. He kept the necklace there, steam continuously rising into the air, leaving little red burn marks around Kieron's neck. Pain echoed in my own neck but I bit down on my lip to keep from growling or commenting on it. Kieron didn't want me to say anything, even though this was ridiculous.
"Alright, perpetual," the guy said as he finally removed the necklace. "Any last words?"
Kieron tilted his head to the side, opening his eyes. "I don't suppose 'go to hell' would suffice?"
The guy laughed and shook his head. "Alright then. Goodbye." He nodded at the guy with the sword to Kieron's throat.
I growled and took a step forward.
A second later, Ashere broke through one of the remaining windows, a snarl emerging as he easily knocked away the two guys around me. Their crossbows clattered to the ground and slid away. I hurried toward Kieron.
The guy with the necklace turned to look at me, eyes wide as I barreled into him, slamming him harshly against the wall. In the next instant, Kieron ducked under the edge of the sword, the Etherian startled at Ashere's presence, and backhanded the guy hard across the face. The guy staggered into the wall and in the next second, Kieron had the guy's arm twisted behind his back, the tip of the sword held firm in his grasp, now pressed against the guy's spine.
I watched as he paused and glanced at me, in the middle of the chaos. I looked at the scowling, sneering Etherian, and knew what Kieron was asking me.
If we don't kill him he'll talk and there will be more, I sent to him, despite the fact I felt sick to my stomach at what I was doing.
He blinked once, acknowledgement of my consent.
Then he rammed the sword through the guy's back and spine.
A/N: And there's that XD Hope it wasn't too horrible! Hope it sounds okay and that you enjoyed the first chapter :) It is set a few months after Almost Living, so there's a bit of difference in their relationship and whatnot. Anyway, thanks for reading and please review!