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Tuxedo house possessed the old world facade of a country manor; the interior appointed with a style only described as 'cozy Goth'. Cy loved it.

Roaring Feline heads adorned the mahogany archways leading from room to room. No hallways and no doors to put periods on endings. Cy wandered from arch to arch, stopping behind one of the three rococo settees framing an Aubusson in the formal living room. A painting rested above the fireplace and he stared at it. A man standing with his back to the painter faced a window with his hand pressed to the glass. Cyan blue eyes set in a Lion's face reflected back, watching Cy's movement.

Heartbeats thrummed in the reverent quiet and held his smile to himself. "You painted that," Cy said as Raven stepped up beside him on silent feet.

"I did, yes."

"If I hug you will someone be offended?"

A soft purr vibrated Raven's chest and Cy hugged him anyway, wrapping his arms around him and touching his forehead to his. "You've been in a fight."

"Nick's been trying to kill me. He can manipulate time and pulled the dead from Wynter House into an alley in North Garden. I summoned your sword when I couldn't reach you."

Raven's hand slid under his hair to cup the back of his neck. "How long did the fight last?"

"Twenty minutes? I'm not sure. Az knew them, Raven. They'd been his friends. I knew them too, but as my prison guards. Shi and Kansas showed up, and we had to take the train. We'd lost months."

"I thought you'd left when Lucah and Scot argued over the flowers."

"Never. I was hoping to get your number and possibly conversations before dating? Scot asked me to leave you alone, Lucah told me to leave Scot alone. My yesterday, Lucah used an aluminum bat to redecorate my car."

"And you sent him flowers." Raven laughed.

"I delivered a note to Sam for Kansas. As I watched him reading it, I thought about doing the same to you. We aren't teenagers." Cy smiled. "Az and I decided flowers for Scot and Lucah, so I could send you a message."

The scent of strawberries caressed his lips and Cy gave up on conversation, angling his head to taste the scent. He didn't want words. He wanted to come home.

Voices penetrated the quiet and the green lit the black in Cy's colors. They landed in a different room, not escaping the dark or cozy. Raven pulled away long enough to remove his sweater and Cy's hoodie. Fingertips whispered over his skin, raising the flesh in more ways than one, and the heat of Raven's lips followed. When those hands reached the first button of his fly, Cy pushed his jeans down his hips and stepped out of the cotton, kicking out of his shoes, too.

Raven pushed him to sit and instead of joining him on the bed, Raven fell to his knees in front of him. Cy was naked, but Raven was vulnerable.

"Ma Lueur."

It was all he had to say. Raven sighed, a soft little sound, not filled with resignation, but hope.

Cy pulled himself further onto the bed and Raven followed. Cy tore at Raven's fly, using his feet to push the barrier away from flesh Cy wanted to touch. Those warm lips met his again and among the sounds of breathing and heartbeats, a drawer opened. Raven began the torturous path again and when he took Cy in his mouth, slick fingers followed. Fingers moved more slowly than the slide of Raven's tongue and the fire built in the places they were joined.

Fangs pierced his flesh, and the fire consumed him. His release breached the heat, bringing it down to a simmer. Raven crawled over him, his gaze questioning, and Cy hooked one leg around him in invitation. It burned for a moment, almost painfully so, and Raven waited for Cy to adjust.

Felines and man were one in Skin as pale eyes highlighted by the black mask met Cy's. Raven braced himself on one arm as his other hand came up to trace Cy's cheek.

"Ma lumière dans le noir," Raven whispered.

Cy cupped the back of his neck, pulling him into another kiss, and the movement drew Raven further in. Cy pushed back and Raven froze.

"Keep going." Cy smiled.

"Are you sure? I'm..."

"Raven, move." Cy murmured against his lips and Raven set a pace slower than Cy wanted. Cy urged him faster and Raven let go. Hope rolled through the colors. Raven had laid himself bare and Cy welcomed him.

"Je t'aime. Je t'adore. Toujours et pour toujours. Tu es à moi. Je suis à vous."


Raven left the little ones with Cy because Scot hadn't returned. Nick assumed he and Scot were on opposite sides of the war, but they'd played the game for days and hours. Sometimes the words flowed with rote accuracy and neither paid attention to the rambling of the other. It led the world to believe they hated each other and worked when the battle lines blurred.

He filled beers for the Alpha plane crowd when two voices heightened in a friendly argument came from the direction of the door.

"Rave, tell Caleb the new Demon is faster than a Lamborghini," Connor said as Raven placed a jar of Grace on the bar.

"True. Even comes with a kit that keeps it from being street legal." Raven grinned and Caleb rolled his eyes.

"Chilled glasses," Connor said and Raven pulled out a tray, set the jar on it, and two glasses from the freezer. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. Collin and Adam have the pool table in the corner if you wanted a friendly game of eight-ball," Raven said as Ceael ducked into the bar with Claud tucked into his side. Raven added another jar and two more glasses to the tray and Caleb walked away with it. Connor pulled Ceael into a hug, and Raven lifted his chin at Claud. His brother smiled back as if the argument between them had been forgotten.

Raven turned to find Crow deep in conversation with Drake and when their eyes met, Raven smiled.

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