Thank you for all the support if you have decided to take this journey with me this far in the Tales. I would humbly ask that if you are a fan please take a moment to write a single review for any of the 5 books in this series so far to help me in sharing it with others.
(A simple sentence about why you like the stories would be GREAT!)
Now lets get into book 5! I hope you enjoy!
I sense there’s something in the wind, it feels like tragedy’s at hand.
And even though I’d like to stand by him, I can’t shake this feeling that’s deep within!
The worst is just around the bend!
And does he notice my feelings for him? And will he see how much he means to me?
I think it’s not to be...
Does he see how much he means to me?
And will we ever end up together?
I think it’s not to be...
-Amy Lee (Sally’s Song)
Chapter 1 - Aftermath
“I love you Brandon...”
It had literally only been a good three minutes since Ezekiel had let the simple confession fall from his lips. Brandon didn’t know what was going on. He didn’t know what had happened with Hovel and Jacob. He didn’t even know how he had awoken in Ezekiel’s embrace.
But undeniably....the first and only thing that overcame Brandon as he looked into the strong eyes of the Guardian.....was utter joy. A swell of emotion so strong that warmth and pain became synonymous. Then Ezekiel lips touched him and softly devoured him. The heat of his hands, the strong resistance of their bodies shifting on the bed. the wave of sharp pleasure that seemed to wash over him as he felt the Shifters attentions and sensed the delicious hunger that he was holding back.
If there was anything that could have unbalanced and settled him more in that moment it was the touch of the man, he had feared he was never going to see again. His eyes stung as tears gathered but didnt fall.
The sharp graze of fangs on his lips had Brandon shivering as his body slowly came alive and his mind emerged fully from the funk of pain and darkness that he had been lost to for an untold amount of time. Ezekiel drowned him in his gentle taste, they both seemed to shudder from the bliss of their hot tongues meeting then caressing in a way that Brandon found set his brain on fire...then Ezkeiel pulled back.
Brandon was left feeling both awake and dazed. And even as Brandon knew that Ezekiel was most likely awaiting his response to his confession Brandon could only sit there fighting not to bask in the pleasure caressing the places where thier hips and chest met. He held back from licking his abused lips, when all he wanted was to chase the sweet taste of Ezekiel that lingered there.....
Instead he hesitated to spill out the words he had held secret in his soul for weeks.
Because even as his body was coaxed from the edge of death and his soul was lit up....Brandon couldn’t help but think about everything that was boiling back in the darkness.
Erin’s screams had tortured him in his unconscious state. Drin’s bloody face had chased him. The soft buzzing life of Erin’s unborn child had seared his heart. He once more felt the gushing blood from Erin on his hands and he felt a ghost of his own blood raining down from the gaping hole in his throat. The thick essence of his body fleeing, and flooding his lungs feeling like bricks smoothing the life from his body.
The unbeatable flush of power in his body as the Flame healed him and destroyed him with agony.
Still more then all of these feeling and memories....there came the chocking sensation of undeniable guilt and responsibility for every single thing that had transpired. For every single terrible thing that had happened to Ezekiel and his family.
His fault. All of it was his fault.
If Ezekiel’s confession had given him some joy and wind beneath his wings....everything else crashed and crushed such feelings into dust in his heart and replaced everything with sorrow.
Leaving Brandon feeling weak and lost...and anxious to fill in the gaps about just what had transpired
Against his will Brandon felt painful tears prick his eyes and with a weak, but desperate motion Brandon tangled his fist in Ezekiel’s shirt and asked.
“Are you okay, Blue boy?” he felt a sharp ache in his core and in his throat, but for the moment Brandon’s thoughts and eyes were only for Ezekiel. He glanced around the Guardians face and chest looking for injuries.
Ezekiel smiled softly and calmly replied. “It’s okay. I’m perfectly fine Brandon. Take your time. You must be disoriented.”
Brandon let Ezekiel pull his fist from the cloth of his shirt, lift it to his lips and press a kiss to the back of it. Brandon subconsciously noticed that his hands were bare, but even as the warm brush of Ezekiel’s kiss settled on his skin Brandon urged himself forwards with more questions. “What about Erin....? Drin? Everyone? Are....are they okay too?”
“Yes...” Ezekiel easily replied lifting his eyes to Brandon’s. It was quite obvious that something heavy lingered between them, something that Brandon was purposefully ignoring. But for now Ezekiel wasn’t demanding anything of him or pressing. He seemed to simply want Brandon to come down from the confusion and panic.
“I’m sorry....but can you tell me what happened?” Brandon begged him. “I’m a little confused. I can’t remember too much.”
A part of Ezekiel didn’t want to rehash the things that had happened nearly a week ago, but at Brandon’s request Ezekiel knew he couldn’t leave him in the dark.
“We all went to the meeting....” Ezekiel softly began....then he proceeded to outline everything that had transpired with him and his family and Hovel out in the woods. Wishing that he could gloss over the details, but respecting the fact that Brandon deserved the truth, Ezekiel strived to concisely lay out everything that had transpired. Ezekiel told Brandon that Glen and Lander had both suffered grievous wounds, but he was sure to inform Brandon that both Glen and Lander were now fully healed and in no pain.
Then Ezekiel began to rounded the story back to the encounter between him and Nate, with Hovel and Jacob.
“When we got here...Hovel was attempting to escape though a portal, the same black ovals he used to invade the forest with Ghouls.” Ezekiel outlined. “He was attempting to escape with you and Jacob.” Ezekiel hissed as he recalled seeing Jacob holding Brandon bloody and bruised in his thick arms, Brandon’s blood on his lips and chin.
With a small shake Ezekiel swallowed an intense wave of hatred and murmured. “Jacob had....injured you deeply, bitten into your throat. Me and Nate engaged him. Somehow he hurt Nate, but in the ensuing fight I nearly decapitated Hovel and Jacob was driven away and nobody was killed.”
Ezekiel took a deep deep breath and finally finished his tale that had taken more then a dozen minutes to recount.
“As of right now....” Ezekiel shrugged. “We are all kind of in limbo waiting for the next shoe to drop. We don’t know if they will return for you, but if they do? We are all going to be prepared for a fight this time...”
Ezekiel stopped and looked to Brandon as Brandon took a weary sigh, lifted his hands and whispered.
“I remember Jacob capturing me now.” Brandon informed, swallowed and blinked rapidly. “Jacob took me to my father. Soon I realized that they had taken Erin and Drin and hurt them....so badly. I....I went to try to protect them, but I couldn’t! Hovel and Jacob were too strong! Then Hovel used his Alchemy on me.”
Brandon clenched his hands so hard that the small bit of blood in his palms fled. “I also remember that I used my power against Jacob somehow. I just wanted him to stop trying to hurt you so I just..." He stopped with a small shiver as if he were disgusted with himself. Finally he continued in a hollow whisper. "After feeling his body crumple beneath my hand Ezekiel I don’t remember much?” Brandon swallowed, and looked into Ezekiel’s eyes, begging for an answer. “Did I kill him?”
Instantly Ezekiel sensed that Brandon was both frightened by the possibility and hopeful that Jacob had fallen. Once more sensing the undeniable connection that bound Jacob to Brandon Ezekiel ignored his own feelings and tried to sooth the man’s chaotic heart.
Wanting him to focus on him and not Jacob, Ezekiel ran his fingers down Brandon’s cheek, eliciting a small shiver as the tightness in his body suddenly unwound. Then Ezekiel replied.
“You inured Jacob deeply....” Ezekiel slowly informed. “But because Jacob had taken your blood in...He was able to survive. He didn’t die, but he was forced to retreat.” Ezekiel answered.
“The other Guardians and the entire Clan have been scouring the woods for days, but there hasn’t been any sign of him.” Ezekiel growled feeling his inner Leopard snarl at the memory of the cocky Lion. “For now It’s safe to assume that Jacob had scrawled back to his master by now....If Hovel survived his own wounds that is.”
Brandon didn’t reply. But there was a definite battle in Brandon’s eyes as both relief and anger mixed. Brandon still loved Jacob and he abhorred death. So he couldn’t fully hide that he was happy Jacob had lived....but the pain and hatred that he also seemed to hold for the Lion was there in his gaze as well.
Knowing that he couldn’t simply erase the things that existed between them in the past, Ezekiel tried to turn the conversation to a new topic.
So capturing his troubled green eyes “Brandon explain everything that happened. Why did Jacob take your blood? And how did you manage to do what you did with your power? I saw you turn it on Jacob and him....broken apart beneath you. How?”
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