Acquired Taste | iv

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With her in the lead, all the hellhounds started their march. Overhead she could hear the creatures she could not see. Below the feet of the hound she rode, she could feel the vibrations from underground running through him into her. Nerina smiled. A silver lining. Power also came in numbers. The breaking of the crystal had been purely accidental but the benefits she could yield were starting to unfold before her.

Also, before her stood her past. A solid manifestation of a memory not forgotten, but had long been let go. She signaled the hound she rode to stop and all the others stopped, getting into fight formation. Growls and barks rang out around her. Nerina knew they were waiting for her signal. The low throaty growl of the hound she rode vibrated through its body. Smiling she rubbed his thick neck.

"You make a habit of showing up everywhere."

"Not everywhere."

Nerina dismounted taking a few steps forward. She looked over her shoulder as the hounds followed her lead.

"Made some new friends?"

"What do you want Fionn? Shouldn't you be in some lofty cloud relaxing now that the witchy little wife is out of the way? You're welcome by the way."

"Shouldn't you be keeping out of trouble?" Fionn asked.

He stood in front of her hands behind his back. Nerina had seen him standing there in her path for some time before she had reached him. He had been waiting.

"I find that to be a hard task for me. Trouble hounds me."

"So I see."

"I'm really in no need of saving so you can be on your way."

She turned back to walk to the hound who lowered his head, eyes still on Fionn waiting for her to mount.

"Saving is the least of what you need at this point."

Nerina mounted the hellhound in one fluid move. "Exactly as I said."

Both remained as they were eyeing each other. The hounds were becoming agitated. With a curt bow, he was gone. Nerina remained where she was for some time looking around. Fionn was the most powerful man she knew. Not for his strength but for his magic. Without the magic, she knew he would be fodder in her hands. Satisfied that all was as it was before he had come she moved on. She was in need of a portal.

Fionn's role in her 'silver lining' did not dawn on her until the third portal she found gave her no entrance. The sneaky witch had helped the werewolves. He was the one keeping her here. He was the only one powerful enough and he had happened to appear in her path. He must have been there all along.


She only had to call him once and he was there. "In need of rescuing now?"

"Unblock the portals." It was a command.

"Unless what? You'll have your dogs descend?" His form shifted reminding her that he was not actually there—not in the flesh for any of them to sink their teeth into.

Her agitation rose and the hounds' with her. Nerina knew the hounds had no chance at beating Fionn. One wave of his hand and they would all be dead. She knew however that he would never hurt her. She was his Achilles heel. Why else would he constantly appear even after his ascension? Why would he have brought her back to life? Yes, there had been an issue of a wayward immortal and a psychopathic red head but there had been more than that. She had seen it in his eyes. He still loved her.

Nerina walked over to him. Fionn did not move as she stood arm's length away closing the gap between them. She was almost against him when she stopped, the space between them no wider than a sheet of paper. He knew what she was trying to do but even then, his body and his heart threatened to betray him. Nerina reached a hand out so it hovered over where his heart should be. Confident he would never hurt her. Confident that in this moment she had the upper hand.

"You play a dangerous game Nerina," he said. Fionn knew the years and the things she had been through had forced her to lose sight of many things. Lose sight of who she was. He also knew the role he had played in making it worse. In shadowing her path causing her to lose her way.

Her hand hovered over his face, tracing a line in the air. "What is an eternity without a little fin once in a while?"

"You call this fun?"

"Don't be a bore Fionn. We could do so much together."

Fionn was a man before everything else. He also loved this woman despite all she had done, despite her attempting to use his feelings for her to her own advantage. "My apologies if I do not take what you have done in good humor."

Nerina took a step back shrugging. "You left me," she said attempting now to prick at his guilt. "I had to find something to do with myself. What is life if not for living? You did bring me back."

"I did not give you a second chance for this." That second chance he knew had had adverse effects to put it mildly. What he and the others had done had changed her. After bringing her back, he had done all he could to stay away from her. To not monitor her. He had blocked himself from her until one of the others had called his attention to her actions. It was then he realized what had happened. What had gone so horribly wrong.

"Then take it back Fionn. You gave me life so take it back." Nerina stretched her hand out to the side smiling. She laughed when he did nothing but stand there. His heart was in his eyes though he thought he was hiding it all from her. He could never hide his feelings from her. "You won't hurt me," she said shaking her head. "You can't hurt me any more than I can kill you." She sounded disappointed at the last fact.


"Blow your smoke elsewhere witch. I have things to do. Places to be... People to kill." She grinned at him before turning away.

"I do love you Nerina. Please remember that."

Nerina turned with a jab on the tip of her tongue, but he was gone. The tone of his voice had her brows knitting now. Nerina shook off the feeling. He would never hurt her. The second she turned her back to where he had been, a fist slammed through sinew and bone to wrap around her heart.



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