Slay Thy Demons - 6 | i

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Garrick changed back to human form the process painful. He had never felt pain while turning before. Since his mother turned him, changing was as simple and as natural as breathing. Now as his body mass adjusted, his skeletal structure snapping back in place, he was in agony.

Ava was the one who heard him and came running. When she knelt beside him, he held onto her for support. They were both shocked at their ability to make physical contact but at that moment with Garrick writhing in pain, it did not matter. She stayed with him until the change ended and the pain ebbed away. Sweat had his clothes clinging to his skin.

"You changed." Ava helped him to sit up.

"Never thought I would say this but I would rather never to do that again." As the pain cleared from his mind, Garrick looked at Ava. "How am I touching you right now?"

She pulled her hand from his standing. "I do not know."

"Am I like you?" Garrick asked.

"No." Ava walked off.

"Would you stop walking away from me," Garrick shouted. He stood, swaying before he caught his balance. "I did not ask for any of this."

"But you are not trying to distance yourself from it either."

That was a fact he could not deny. "Tell me what is happening."

"Marx roared and you changed."

"Between us, I mean."

"There is nothing between us. Whatever is happening now is likely a side effect of me guiding your soul back with mine."

Garrick's brow furrowed. "You sound as if you regret it."

"I do not regret it; I need to fix it. Whatever you are feeling now is not real. Know that. And know that Daniel and I are together. If you get between us, I will end you before he can phase to do it himself." Ava pulled herself back closing her eyes. She opened them again. "I am sorry. That was—" Ava sighed. "None of this is your fault. It's mine. I'll fix it, I promise."

Ava walked off, and Garrick watched her leave. He was not sure how to react. Not to his spontaneous change and not to his obsession with Ava. Because that was what it was turning into—an obsession. His life was going out of whack. Sometimes he could barely see himself anymore. He needed to leave. He needed to get away. He needed to put distance between himself, the Mountain and everything that had come together to throw his life unbalance.

Back at the house, he found it empty. Garrick packed his things, leaving before the others returned. When Helick came back, all he would see was a note and Garrick's request for space. Though Marx's roar had caused him to change, Garrick still could not do it himself. He needed time. He just needed time.

***

The celebrations came to an abrupt end with all the participants except the humans and vampires blacked out. Only one person was hurt when he dropped too close to the fire. It was hours before everyone was awake and on their feet. No one seemed to remember what happened before the collective fainting. One minute they were enjoying the tribal war rite and the next thing they remember was waking up feeling disoriented.

Ichiro helped Shea to her feet. "How are you feeling?"

"Like I got ran over. What the hell happened?"

"We were hoping you," Anabella said, looking around, "or someone else would have the answer to that."

Shea pressed two fingers against her temple that was throbbing. "All I remember is the dancing, and then waking up on the ground."

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