Senias was pacing, as he would normally do when he wasn’t sure what to expect. Sebastian had agreed to come to Gabriel’s home. So, Senias had made sure that there were drinks and snacks for all involved to one side and he’d set up the smaller research table for this, so that they each had a side of the table, most importantly, since it seemed Lical had an issue with him and he… with her… so they would be seated facing one another for this.

He looked out the window. He wasn’t just worried about this. Gabriel had told him what Skinner had threatened. It made him more paranoid just thinking about it. And yet, the man had been keeping away from him over the last month or so, barely even calling him in. The draconic man wasn’t sure if he should be thankful for that or if it should set off alarms.

The butler had greeted Sebastian at the door and had shown him to where the others would be. To his surprise when he walked in Senias was alone. The vampire glanced around with a raised brow as he removed his jacket so the servant could take it and see it put away properly. This left him in a burgundy colored t-shirt and his jeans as he took the few steps necessary for the butler to close the door. This was rare that they were ever anywhere alone these days and so it felt…odd.

Senias turned, expecting Gabriel and Lical, and finding himself facing Sebastian, instead. He was trying to be un-intimidating to the girl, considering their first meeting. He was just dressed in what had been his tucked in, nice white shirt, since… he’d pulled it out, his well toned waist covered by a white undershirt and rumpled at the top of his jeans, which oddly enough seemed a bit big on him. He’d been on the go so much as of late that he’d lost some of his poundage in fat.

“See I can be early to a gathering.” His hands clasped before him, “Where’s your prudish half? I assumed that when he arranged this little meeting he’d be on time. I know Lical will be here shortly, she has figured out how to text and take pictures on the phone big brother got her.”

“She’s smart. Like her father and brother.” Senias turned from the window he had paused in front of to smile at the vampire. “As to my prudish other half, he’s been held up at the Chamber, but said he’d be on his way as soon as he could possibly pull away.” He stopped looking at Sebastian and motioned with his hand to the table on the side of the room, where refreshments were gathered. “I made sure to get some of your specialties, as a thank you.”

Walking over to the table Sebastian lifted a brow as he looked down at the offerings. As he was unable to tolerate human food, the vampire actually smiled as he lifted a vial and uncorked it to smell. His ruby gaze glittered as he chuckled while re-corking the glass. “I’d ask where you got these treats, but I wouldn’t want you in trouble for my sake.” The blood from some of the rarest creatures wasn’t easy to obtain these days. Sebastian figured the black market had seen a pretty penny from the dragon for such treasures.

He lifted another marked Fae and uncorked it to dip his pinky nail in before re-stoppering it. Sucking the wondrous nectar from his nail Sebastian closed his eyes as his head tipped back and he looked like he’d just orgasmed. “Mmmm I haven’t tasted that in a very long time.”

“You’re welcome. I know you, still. And I know this is going to take some energy from you. I didn’t want you to be without,” he was warm with his voice.

Once more Sebastian looked at his old friend/former lover and he sighed, “I sure hope you know what you are doing in requesting this from me.” He’d do what was asked only because he’d known the moment Gabriel had made the request just exactly who it was for, no one else knew he was capable of such.

“I know it’s more dangerous for me than it is for her. I know it’s going to wind up being a test.” He lifted the whiskey he had made earlier from the table nearby and took a drink. “I don’t know what else I can do to help with peace. She is who she is and she was just a kid, Bastian. Her memories are all disjointed and she’s probably made up her own history of events.”

“So why not a memory spell instead of a truth spell from me? They both cost the same amount from me and yet a memory spell opens less doors on your part old friend.” Sebastian walked away from the table of temptation and moved to the one that the trio would be seated at. “She wants her past and neither of those Kennedy descendants need access to any part of yours that doesn’t include them. Either one could start opening all sorts of doors on you with the rightly worded questions.”

“I know that there are things that I need to share with not just Lical, but with Gabriel that… I have buried. I wouldn’t normally be able to share all of the details with them, simply due to it being a natural memory barrier. But if you are mediating the questions and you use this truth spell on me, it frees my mind of those barricades. It also leaves them with no doubt where I am concerned – that last part being more for her than him. If she’s to begin trusting me, I feel this needs to happen and it will go a long way that I’m the one taking the step and allowing it.”

“I want to help Lical, I do. But at what cost to you?” Regardless of their shared past, Sebastian knew that if it came down to choices he’d keep Senias safe above the other two. He hadn’t spilt near the blood with either Lical or Gabriel that he had with Sen.

Senias smiled and sat down at the table on Sebastian’s side. “Don’t worry over me, Bastian. If things come out of the closet that I’d rather forget, it won’t be the first time and probably won’t be the last. I just… as stupid as it sounds…I feel like I need this confessional to happen. And if she still needs help clearing her memories so she can see them properly, then do it for her. Only if it’ll help.” He grinned, his eyes seeming a little tired.

“Very well but don’t expect me to be sympathetic if it all gets fucked up.” Sebastian didn’t have time to say anything more as they were joined by Gabriel still complete with his suit and tie in place. With a chuckle and a slow shake of his head, Sebastian walked from the table back to the blood and lifted one to uncork and toss back. “Welcome home Mr. Kennedy.” He set the empty vial down and licked his lips as that nice buzz of energy began trickling through his veins.

Cautiously Gabriel narrowed his gaze at the vampire, “Are you drunk?”

Now that had Sebastian laughing so hard he could have cried. If the human had any idea how ridiculous that question was right then.. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no I’m not drunk. You see no Bloodwyne upon the table do you? I assure you that in order for me to become intoxicated it would take several bottles of that or a very, very drunk being of a large enough body mass to provide such a sensation.”

When Gabriel lifted his brow at him, Sebastian looked at Senias and suddenly regretted agreeing to this gathering. But, he politely explained, “What I’m about to do takes a lot of energy, hence the half a table of vials there. Some have more energy than others. I figured I’d juice my batteries a little before we started.” He hoped that would make due because he wasn’t getting any deeper into the explanations as to how his kind worked.

Senias chuckled at the exchange and took another drink of his whiskey. Lical was shown in by the butler at that point. She said thank you using ASL and then made her way to join the men in the room. She smiled at Sebastian.

“Fair enough.” Gabriel moved to the side table and poured himself a drink.

Once Lical joined them, Sebastian drank another vial down and then settled the trio at the table as he needed them. Lical had written up questions and given them to Gabriel to ask. One of course, was the most important to her – had Senias killed her parents and what had happened the day she was taken. Senias had also written questions out, so that in case the spell was too strong, Gabriel could ask them. Of course, the dragon had told his kindred that he could ask what he wanted as well, after the lists.

Lical and Sen were across from one another and he was across from Gabriel. Sebastian stood while the others remained seated. “When I start you can’t move from your chairs. If you break my concentration it can be very bad for me so don’t do it. If you ignore this warning I won’t be responsible for anything I do.” He grinned and placed a hand on Senias’ shoulder and a hand on Lical’s shoulder. “Here we go.” His gaze focused on Gabriel as his skin paled out to start revealing his markings subtly like faint traces beneath the surface. “Begin.”

Gabriel went first, “Let’s start easy, what are your full true names?”

Senias felt himself relax and his eyes became half-lidded. “Senias of Murias holder of the Cauldron of Dagda, Lord of Dragons as Commanded by the Fourth Council.”

~ Wow. That’s a long name. ~ Lical also looked drunk. What she didn’t know was that neither of the men there had ever heard Senias use his full titlement and now that Gabriel had studied so much of dragons, he would realize what the last title meant. Sebastian did not know this either. It had happened after his imprisonment and before his freedom. ~ Liandra Calistra Vernon but I’ve always gone by Lical. ~ . She had taken and used her maternal name all her life, so she wouldn’t respond otherwise.

Lord of Dragons.. Oh yeah he and his old friend would need to talk after this. He sucked in a breath and focused again.

“Okay.. alright… we’ll need to talk about that Lord thing later. Now, Senias this one is for you. Did you kill Lical’s parents and if you did why?” He thought it would be an easy answer.. He didn’t know how wrong he was.

“I killed William Kennedy by throttling the bastard off his own office building and letting him go.” Senias stated bluntly.

Lical flinched as if she’d been hit by a ton of bricks. ~ No, I saw you stab him! This is wrong! ~ She stirred, but closed her eyes and placed her hand atop Sebastian’s as if to remind herself that she shouldn’t move.

“He’d made so many lives miserable and then he’d made one last grasp at my chain. He made sure Skinner had me busy and he made sure the plane blew up over the Atlantic while I was somewhere on the West Coast of America. He was never good with keeping his brags to himself, especially when it came to pillow talk. So I found your mother a week later and I asked her using a spell similar to what Sebastian is using right now. I asked her what he’d done. And she told me everything and then she stabbed me with a slaying dagger that she’d imbued herself. You saw it. You saw me get stabbed and that’s when you ran. I saw you run out the door. William came in and in a fit of fury, thinking she’d taken me from him, he took the dagger from me and slit her throat. As soon as the dagger was out, I could be healed – You can look for hospital records… human body… not much to hide. As soon as I was treated, I feigned ignorance. I pretended to belong to him. He knew that Jonathan had wanted my bond to go to Gabriel, but he had no idea that the man had already passed it. When I had my chance, I took it. He was going to go after his own son next. I couldn’t let him.”

Gabriel held a hand on each of them to keep them seated. “Fair enough, Lical he’s telling the truth. He can’t lie right now without letting me know and hurting Sebastian. It wasn’t our father that you saw Lical, it was Sen. The crash he’s talking about was our grandfather’s and he would’ve loved you.” Looking Sen’s way he nodded and then looked at Lical, “Your turn Lical. Are you in any way involved in any kind of Dark arts? If you are what kinds?”

~ I know some of the rituals that the old woman known as Maisin practiced on the other side. They are as close to dark as I can get. It makes me ill. I don’t want to cast it, but she had said I was to use my gifts for helping her people. Then they were attacked and I had to find another place. My mother and father never taught me… ~ Lical paused. She looked like she was looking at Senias but she wasn’t actually… she was looking beyond.

~ I don’t know how to use it. But I saw…it. That energy? It…it made me sick like the stuff the Dwellers had. I saw them casting. Is that what you call dark arts? I… ~ She closed her eyes as she fought to try and remember, but the memory just… it was so blurry. ~ I’m sorry. Maybe…maybe daddy did. It made me cold and sick and I had to leave. ~

Senias nodded. That was fine. If it made her sick, she couldn’t cast it. That was the answer.

“Okay take a breath Lical, you did fine. No further answer is required.” Gabriel looked Sen’s way and he started to ask something regarding the vampire, but just changed his mind. “Is there anything else either of you wish to know before we end this? Lical do you have any further hesitation regarding Sen? Do you feel that you understand all you wish to from him?” He looked at Sen again, “Do you have anything else you would like from Lical?”

~ Did you really not know? ~ Lical asked Sen directly. No one else heard it.

Sebastian had held his focus and yet it was starting to fade. He was determined to hold it longer if the two needed further questions answered. Otherwise he was going to break the spell.

“Lilandria Vernon had two children. One left this world because there were so few of the old pards left. His name was Simon. He had a family and I had someone track him down for me. I found you through paid divination and I took you over to him and his wife. I don’t remember her name. I just wanted to get rid of you.”

Lical’s eyes hardened.

~ Get rid of me? But you knew where I belonged. You denied me of that. ~

“I did not. You’re here now, aren’t you?” Senias replied.

~ How did I lose my voice? ~

“Your father never could stand the sound of babies crying. To keep you alive, your mother used an old technique to paralyze your vocal cords, by cutting into the nerves at each side precisely. Sebastian might be able to help you with th…” he stopped because she was apparently asking another question mentally. Gabriel and Sebastian were getting left behind.

~ Are you his slave? ~

“Yes. But he doesn’t use the mark against me, he refused… why are…” his eyes narrowed.

“Sen?” Gabriel watched his dragon with concern. He had no idea what Lical was saying to him. That made him nervous.

~ Would I have rights to you as well, being in the Kennedy line? Since my grandfather didn’t know about me… and I have gifts, too? ~

“Yes. But not such as…” Sen’s heart rate went up immediately. His fears were all there, and even though neither of the other men in the room could hear Lical’s side of the conversation, and Senias couldn’t let them know what it was about, they could feel his fear. Would Gabriel be in just as much danger from this girl as he had been from their father? “Lical, would you do this?” He needed to know. He would protect his kindred, even if it meant killing her.

“This is done. You’re questions have been answered.” The vampire was ready to yank the plug on this conversation regardless of the repercussions he was dealt.

“Do what?” Gabriel asked as his as narrowed on his sister. “What are you two talking about? Sen? Lical?”

~ I should. Shouldn’t I? I should be the monster you just told me my mother and father could be. I have every excuse. ~ She stared at him and he was likewise staring at her.

“No. You shouldn’t. What we come from affects us, but it doesn’t define us. We’re above that.” She had asked a question and he had given the answer. “You are not them.”

Lical looked down a tear falling. She shook her head. ~ I am not them. ~

Sen closed his eyes and relief flooded the dragon. “I needed to know she wouldn’t take you. Sorry.” He took the blame off of Lical’s shoulders. He prayed that was the right thing to do this time around. “I don’t have anything else to ask.” He looked at the others at the table. “Anyone else want to give me a heart attack tonight?”

“Do you still love Sebastian?” Gabriel asked the question of his dragon.

Senias glared at Gabriel. Well, he’d opened the door, hadn’t he? Before Sen could answer, Sebastian was withdrawing his hands to step/stumble back a pace. The vampire had all of their attentions. Lical rubbed her eyes but got up as if to help the one who had been kind to her while these two had questioned her honesty. She had no idea what this was about, but it was pretty clear there was more going on between these three than she had realized!

“Not what this was about. Keep your focus Kennedy.” The vampire turned quickly away from them all before Lical or Gabriel could see his face as his facade wavered from his energy drain. As quickly as he could, he was popping the corks on vials and tossing back the contents.

Gabriel moved from his chair to help and actually heard the vampire rumble at him.

“Give me a minute.. Don’t come over here.. Stay at the table.. I just need a moment..” The way the words sounded would let them all know that his fangs were fully out which sometimes made it hard to talk. He needed the distance from the arrogant ass Councilor. Sen’s feelings were his own and no one’s business. ~ Don’t answer that question. Fuck him. ~

“Yes.” Senias was not one for backing down, not even when his vampire told him to do so back in the day. Why would now be different? “Not that it matters. You probably would prefer the truth spell still be hanging over me. But I think being honest is easier than lying. Sebastian’s been my companion and more on and off for centuries. I will always love him. Now, if you want to know about how our relationship has changed, I think that’s more of a private conversation that we can have. Lical wasn’t here for opening that particular can of worms, love,” Senias gave Gabriel a wary smile before looking back at the little sister. “Anything else before Lical goes to rest? I believe both of us and Sebastian … well, this is very tiring… draining…”

Gabriel was not surprised by Sen’s answer. It was actually a weight off his shoulders as he no longer needed to wonder about Sen’s feelings towards the vampire. But both were right as this wasn’t the time for that conversation. His attention turned to Lical again.“Lical, what did you ask Sen?” Gabriel was very serious as he faced his sister. Something in Gabriel’s gut just wouldn’t let him not ask the question. If she had threatened his dragon in any way, he’d personally pack her bags himself and put her in the first taxi to wherever she wished to go that was away from them.

~ I asked him about the deal. I know about it. I remember the stories. And when he answered my questions, I remembered what my father had told me and why he had been upset with me the last time he tried to show me a ritual. I got sick. He was mad. And he said that just because he didn’t have a dragon slave, didn’t mean I couldn’t have it. I had to know if it was true. And now what I know about my father… it’s real… and the good memories were… were lies. ~ She shrugged and wiped a tear away. ~ He had me for a reason. If he couldn’t have Senias, he wanted me to have Senias so he could control him through me. I’m just a loophole. And I can’t. I could never make someone a slave. I know how that feels. I could never do it to someone. ~

Gabriel wasn’t sure how to digest what she’d just told him. But he knew that she hadn’t done whatever their father had wanted her to in order to obtain control of Senias. For that he was grateful. Helping her to her feet Gabriel pulled her in for a hug she seemed in dire needs of. He wasn’t a very hands on person to many, but those that he was that way with would never feel as if he didn’t care.

~ I’m sorry… I wanted my version to be true… ~ the younger woman cried silently into his shoulder.

“It’s alright Lical.. If it’s any consolation I don’t think of you as a loophole. I’m actually thankful for a sibling of my own and a sister I can spoil a little.” He glanced Sebastian’s way and could see that Senias was handling the vampire.

Senias moved to Sebastian.

“It’s me. Calm down. Did I get you enough, or should we go to the next room?” He could easily let the vampire drink from him. But only after he’d tried the essences he had bought first.

“This is plenty..” After about the twelfth vial Sebastian was feeling a buzz kicking in. He’d given the trio all the energy he had in him and now as his system was flooded and processing the highly energized ampules Sebastian was like a druggy getting a fix. Not to mention it helped him recover from Sen’s declaration. While it seemed to ease the tension in the damned human it added it to the vampire which he covered with sarcasm really right then. “You should see to them.. They haven’t felt the effects yet.. Of ending the spell.” The vampire and the dragon knew the pair would feel a few moments of the world spinning and a touch drunk before everything righted itself.

“I will. Let me get you to the couch. Then I’ll handle them. And then I’ll come back and see if I can get you somewhere safe before daybreak.” Senias saw the sway and instead of humoring Sebastian, he picked the man up and carried him to the couch to let him have one corner. Then, he moved to Gabriel and Lical.

Sebastian watched everything play beneath hooded lids.

“You’re about to begin to feel the after effects. It shouldn’t last as long as Sebastian’s will, but, we all need to take seats. I made sure the couches and chairs were all pulled together here. I know once my head clears, I’ll need to get Sebastian home or to my lair. Whichever is most convenient and safest.” Sen shooed the two siblings over to the little seating area on the other side.

He was already feeling tipsy. He grabbed the back of a chair and waited til everyone else was sitting before finding the other side of the couch and having a seat.

“Well, that was… a rollercoaster,” He chuckled finally. “I think we can at least trust one another?” he looked at the girl.

~ Yes. I mean, if you ever wrong me… ya know… ~ She smiled and would’ve laughed if she could have.

“Ohhh… you are evil. Just in the way I like evil. I can handle that wit.” Senias looked back to the vampire. “I need to get him underground. We’ve used a good portion of the night.”

Gabriel let his head fall back on the love seat as it swam and he chuckled a little drunkenly.

“Okay.. take care of him, we’ll recover and.. eat some to help this blow over.” He had no idea how that sounded and right then he really didn’t care. Was this how it was when people strung themselves out on drugs? He chuckled again at the thought that was completely unlike himself.

“Mmm.. blowing what a naughty thought to have right now.” Sebastian chuckled low.

“You can try. I put all the supplies you need on that table. Just be sure to get the food and not the booze?” Senias was sobering up quicker than the rest.

Relaxed into one side of the couch as he was Sebastian could look over and see the siblings.

“You know if Gabriel was a smoker I’d say he was stoned.” The man was the exact opposite of himself right now. He never saw Gabriel Kennedy so laid back and relaxed. He could almost see the appeal. He shook his head and closed his eyes a moment. While his facade was back in place he still didn’t feel quite himself.

Sen knew Sebastian didn’t need to travel when he was standing over the vampire and almost got a giggling jumpscare out of him.

“Okay, let’s go. It’s too close to dawn and you can’t take yourself. I have a bed with new mattresses and freshly cleaned sheet set on it. You’ll be completely safe.” When Sen offered, Sebastian was in no condition to refuse him. He wouldn’t drink from the dragon because he didn’t need the headache that would come from what Kennedy would see as a trespass. But he needed to sleep and didn’t have the energy yet to take himself to his own lair. “Let me get him in bed and then I’ll handle you two. Lical can sleep here, tonight.” Senias didn’t want any damn accidents.

“I don’t think that we will be going anywhere.” Gabriel watched as Sen picked up the vampire. He was being honest when he’d said he wasn’t going anywhere. Sen was going to have to help him up to their room.

Sen moved his palm outward that was closest to the door and cast his energy outward. A blue green portal formed and soon, they were stepping into the Kennedy Estate lair. All of the torches came to life, then readjusted to the dragon’s will. He made his way to the bedside so he could more easily help Sebastian get comfortable. The man didn’t need to be in shoes at the very least. It was still a tricky maneuver, considering the vampire was near as tall as him.

“I’m not helpless, Sen, and that is no longer your job.” Sebastian laid back on the bed and situated himself properly on it. He was already very close to sleep and he knew this because his illusion was falling away.

“I know it’s not. But I’m all you got here for now, and I don’t think you want to sleep in shoes. Not like I was stripping you naked… now who’s the prude?” The dragon chuckled before lowering the lighting even more.

“Mmm wishful… thinking..” Sebastian felt himself drifting deeper. “Why did you tell him that? That you love me?” He was still buzzing but that confession just wouldn’t let go of him.

“I was telling the truth, whether you believe it or not, whether you care or not, whether it makes a difference to him or not.” Senias swallowed. “I stand by my vow, whether you believe it of me or not,” he whispered as he finished removing Sebastian’s shoes and placing them near the head of the bed.

Sebastian sat up quickly to grasp Sen’s wrist, “I believed you loved me once and we both know how that turned out.” He lifted his other hand to cup the face that had kept him company and tormented him at every turn and through every moment that passed in that Crimson cell. He ran the pad of his thumb over Sen’s bottom lip, “I was fool enough to think love would be enough to pull you from this family’s grasp, then. I am not fool enough to think it will, now.”

“Good. You don’t play the fool well.” Sen opened his mouth slightly and licked Sebastian’s thumb. The vampire let go and fell back on the bed with a heavy sigh.

“All you’ve done now is to give him a reason to be suspicious of us every time we are alone together. He will make your life hell for that confession Senias. Are you ready for that?”

“That was already inevitable, Bastian. I’m not going to hide anything from him. If he doesn’t already feel it in me, he would eventually. Besides, I love him. Isn’t that reason enough to be honest with someone? You love Samantha. Wouldn’t you want to be honest to her?”

“I am honest with her.. she knows how.. I feel.. about.. you..” The vampire let the illusion completely go and was thankful he was clothed against Sen’s probing eyes. Sebastian knew that no matter what the dragon said or how pissed he was at Sen, he would always be there for anything the male needed. Because, regardless of whether Sebastian ever confessed it or not, he would always love Sen. He would not ever give himself over to that love again, though. For Sebastian once burned was all it took. He didn’t believe in second chances when it came to that emotion. That was what neither Gabriel nor Samantha would ever understand. He’d never turn down the chance to help Senias, fight with Senias, fuck Senias, but that’s all it would ever be now.

“They just need to understand our relationship is all. I don’t think either of them are experienced enough to grasp what we are to one another.” Senias sighed as he stood up. Sebastian was already asleep. “Sleep well.” He reached over and pulled the covers over the vampire, then made his way back upstairs to find that each of the siblings had already fallen asleep where they were. One in a large comfy chair and the other on the loveseat.

“Well… okay…” He flopped back on the couch where Sebastian had been and kicking his shoes off, he stretched out on the damned thing. “Guess it’s a good day to you, two …too!” and with that, he closed his eyes.

It was only a few minutes before Gabriel joined his love on the couch. Still feeling the drunk effects, he crawled up and laid atop Sen low enough that his face was on his dragon’s chest.
One arm tucked between Sen and the couch while the other fell down to the floor. Hearing the steady heartbeat he was quickly back to sleep.

“I know. I love you, too. And I’m yours…” Senias chuckled at the unspoken physical communication he’d just got from his kindred.

What a convoluted life! But then, if it weren’t this exciting, would it be worth living?

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