DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to the very talented Kim Harrison. No copyright infringement is intended. I own nothing but my kitties, please donít take them away.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thereís these books ... you see, and Iím totally obsessed with two of the lead characters ... and itís hard to find fanfic so Iíve decided to write my own. The books are Dead Witch Walking and its sequels by Kim Harrison. This follows on from the first book. This is one huge spoiler for the first book so be warned. This is un-betaíd. All mistakes are my own.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Black Roses Red
"You're not going after him again, are you?" A curtain of thick black hair hid Ivy's face as she rinsed dishes in the sink.
Rachel sighed. She licked the remaining ice-cream from her spoon before moving to the other woman and dropping it into the sink. "You know I was only teasing. Jenks and Keesley got it."
Rachel turned away from her friend and partner. Getting too close to the living vampire was not always the best idea so she crossed the large kitchen and sat at Ivy's antique table.
Ivy spun with the athletic grace of a vamp, suds dripping from her hands. "Promise me you'll leave Kalamack alone ... please, Rachel."
"I can't do that." The words were almost a whisper but she knew that the other woman would hear them clearly. Rachel started as Ivy grabbed her chair and pulled her around until they were face to face. She hadn't even heard the vampire move across the kitchen.
"After everything that's happened to you?"
The redhead watched in morbid fascination as ebony began to eclipse the warmed chocolate colour of Ivy's eyes. She knew that things were getting bad but there was a note of pleading underneath the smooth silkiness of Ivy's voice that made Rachel stay where she was.
"The I.S. death threat, the demon attack, Kalamack keeping you locked in a cage and then trying to kill you in the rat fights? Why is it that you can never learn your lesson, Rachel?" Ivy gripped the other woman's chin so that she couldn't look away. "If you go after him ... you're still a dead witch walking and try as I might I can't keep you alive forever."
Rachel jumped to her feet almost knocking Ivy backwards. She ran fingers through her frizzy red hair. Ivy's eyes were almost black now and Rachel's heart had begun to thump faster. She watched as Ivy took a deep breath and knew that she was tasting the air between them.
"Trent's a murdering sonofabitch Ivy, and I will get him." She held up her hands as the other woman shifted from foot to foot like a predator ready to pounce. "I'm not saying tomorrow or even next week ... but if the opportunity ever comes up I'm gonna be the one to take his twisted ass down."
"Rachel ..." Ivy breathed.
"No." Rachel shivered at the sound of her name spilling from Ivy's lips. "And you're wrong Ivy. There is one lesson I've learned and that's to keep the hell away from you when you go all vampy." She took a step backwards and half turned towards the exit. "Goodnight, Ivy. I'll talk to you tomorrow when you've calmed down." It was only two in the morning and she felt more awake than she'd ever been but she wasn't about to spend one more second with the threat of Ivy tearing her throat out. She remembered back to when Ivy had pinned her to the couch in the living room. She shuddered at the remembrance of hot breath and saliva on her neck. Ivy had given her a book the next day on dating vampires. Rachel had discovered with a blush that she had been acting like a vamp hussy and had been pushing Ivy's buttons since she had moved in.
Emotionally charged situations coupled with Ivy's vampire instincts coming into play, screamed at Rachel and told her to leave the immediate vicinity.
"Rachel!" Ivy called out as the redhead left the kitchen. She watched as Rachel's footsteps faltered but continued. "You scare me, Rachel." Her voice softened as the other woman stopped in her tracks. "You scare me ... and I don't like it. We've only been living together for a couple of months and in that time I've nearly lost you at least three times."
Rachel wasn't about to let on that she had almost been killed way more than three times since leaving Inderland Security. She turned slowly so that she could see Ivy. Relief took her breath as she gazed in to the normal hazel colour of Ivy's almond eyes.
"I'm supposed to be the scary one, Rachel." Ivy shrugged her shoulders. "I'm a Tamwood. My mother would kill me twice if she found out that a witch frightens the crap outta me."
The redhead caught a glimpse of sharp teeth as Ivy chewed nervously on her lower lip. "I'm sorry, Ivy ... I ... didn't mean to scare you. But, I've been a runner for a long time and I'm a damned good witch. I can take care of myself."
"Maybe that's what scares me the most." Ivy couldn't look up. As she spoke she slipped into her chair and buried her face in her hands.
"Ivy?" Rachel came back into the kitchen and sank to her knees besides the other woman. "You know I love it here. I love working with you and Jenks. We're a team and I'm not going to leave."
Ivy sighed. Lifting her face from her fine boned hands she looked at Rachel through her dark fringe. "Is that all I am to you, Rachel?"
"A work partner and roommate?"
Rachel's eyes widened as realisation dawned and she finally figured out what Ivy was asking her. She swallowed hard, her eyes flicking from the other woman's eyes to the lip caught between very sharp white teeth. "You're my friend too."
"But that's it?" Ivy's chair squeaked along the linoleum as she stood up. She pushed her hands deep into the pockets of her leather pants as she moved across the room and away from Rachel. "Just friends?"
"Ivy." Rachel sighed as she slid into her roommate's now vacant chair.
"And what about Nick?"
"What about Nick?" Rachel puzzled over the man who had saved her life and damned her soul at the same time.
Ivy swallowed past the lump in her throat. "I've seen the way he looks at you."
Rachel pursed her lips and scratched at her head. "Nick's cute but there's something about him I just don't trust." She shook her head as she thought of a possible 'thing' happening between her and the man who clearly had no qualms about summoning demons. "I could never be with someone I don't trust."
Ivy scoffed derisively. "And I know that you don't trust me."
"I trust you, Ivy." Rachel almost whispered.
"What?" The brunette breathed, her eyes widening. "How can you Rachel? I don't even trust myself."
Rachel stood and moved slowly across the kitchen. "I know you, Ivy." She sighed as the distance between them lessoned. "I know how much you hate what you are and what you're capable of. I know that when you go all vampy on me that it's mostly my fault." Rachel gave a small smile at the incredulous look from the other woman. "I know that you're fighting your instincts every time you're in the same room as me, Ivy ... and ... I know that I push you too far sometimes. But what I know more than anything else about you ... and it's the main reason I trust you ..." Rachel came to a stop in front of the living vampire. Reaching out she brushed the hair away from Ivy's eyes and tucked it behind her ears. "You would rather die twice than ever hurt me."
"Be my scion, Rachel." Ivy pleaded.
Rachel shook her head. "I won't be your puppet."
"It wouldn't be like that." Ivy gripped both of the other woman's hands in her own and gave them a gentle squeeze. "I've told you before. You'd be my partner ... my equal."
Rachel shook her head again. The offer was a tempting one. Ivy was powerful for a living vamp, almost regarded as royalty. There would be no more death threats under the protection of a Tamwood and other vampires would think twice about messing with her vamp/demon bite because Ivy would claim her as her own. But Rachel could remember the way that Piscary, Ivy's master vamp granddaddy, could control his scion, Kisten. He could be in Kisten's head, making him do things against his will and Kist couldn't do a damned thing about it. There was no way in which she was going to give up that kind of control. Even if she did trust Ivy to keep her word for the time being, Rachel wasn't so sure she would be able to give Ivy the same level of trust after she died, and that was why she said no. "I'm sorry, Ivy."
Ivy spun around on her heels so that her back was to Rachel. Her shoulders slumped and her hands were spread wide against the work surface. She had never asked anyone to be her scion before. It was meant to be a show of commitment and love, a partnership between two people and Rachel had turned her down twice. It was embarrassing and it hurt like hell. "Why?"
Rachel took another step forward. She ran a hand gently down the other woman's spine. "I trust you now, Ivy. I believe you when you say we'd be equals but what about after you die." Her voice was low as she spoke honestly. "What happens after you lose your soul?"
"I'll have no trouble using you and bleeding you until you can no longer stand." Ivy's voice was hollow. "Just like my mother does with my dad."
The redhead sighed. "And just like your dad ... I would let you."
"What if things were different?" Ivy's dark watery eyes looked over her shoulder. "What if I could find a cure for the vamp virus? What if I could find a way so that I don't lose my soul?"
"That's a lot of what if's." Rachel swiped her thumb over a tear that had managed to escape the other woman's eyes. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Maybe."
"Maybe?" Ebony eyebrows knitted in confusion. "What are you saying, Rachel?"
"I'm saying that ... maybe ... I'd consider being your scion ... your equal."
Ivy swallowed. She turned so that she was facing Rachel again. "You're already my equal Rachel." She lowered her eyes shyly. "Will you help me?"
The redhead nodded before realising that Ivy was looking at the floor and wouldn't be able to see the gesture. She cupped the living vamp's chin and lifted her head until their eyes met. "I'll help you." She smiled warmly as she gazed into hazel eyes.
Ivy licked her lips nervously. "So what happens now?"
"Huh?" Rachel was distracted by the glimpse of sharp teeth.
"What do we do now?" Ivy couldn't help the small smile that lifted the corners of her mouth. "Until we find a cure?"
Rachel slipped her hand around Ivy's waist, letting her fingers dip underneath the other woman's charcoal vest. She smiled at the gasp she elicited and watched for any sign that Ivy was vamping out on her. "I like you, Ivy." She breathed into the air between them. "And I trust you." She flicked her tongue out to dampen her lips. "And there are still things we could do that doesn't involve you drinking my blood ... if you think you can control yourself."
Ivy's mouth opened as though she was about to say something but nothing came out. She pressed her lips together and cleared her throat. Taking a deep breath she tried to speak again. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"
Rachel chuckled lightly. With the hand that wasn't caressing the soft skin at Ivy's waist she ran her fingers through impossibly silky hair. "I'm saying that we could kiss and stuff. You know." She shrugged her shoulders as she blushed. "Maybe ... we could be together like non-vamps."
"But I like to bite, Rachel."
Ivy's voice had become as soft as her hair. Rachel shuddered. "Do you think you could do it without ... taking blood."
Ivy dipped her head forward and captured Rachel's lips with her own. She moved so that their bodies were flush and as they kissed her fingers found the edge of the other woman's halter top. Finally, panting heavily, they parted. "You know I'd do anything for you." She smiled shyly and licked her lips to taste the other woman again. "We're just gonna have to take things slowly."
Rachel frowned. Slowly? Why? And then it dawned on her. "Just tell me, okay? When I'm going too fast or pushing you too far, let me know and we'll slow things down."
Ivy nodded, her smile making her look younger than ever. "I feel like a teenager who has to wear her caps."
The two women chuckled together before pressing closer.
"Ivy?" Rachel spoke breathlessly just as their lips were about to touch. "I promise you that I'll do everything I can to help you keep your soul."
"Thank you, Rachel." The living vamp wrapped her strong hands around the redhead's waist. "Now shut up and kiss me again."
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