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watching Ladyhawke, and Bracken left right when the hawk got shot, and then he
came back with the ending credits.
"Impossible," Bracken burst out, still confused and hurt. "It was a
minute& maybe two, to clear my head.
"It was probably an hour, Green said gently. "And you've probably forgotten
the part where you got laid.
"He got what?" Cory burst out, at the same time Brack said "I did not!" and
any lingering resentment Green might have had towards Bracken evaporated,
because never in his long life had he seen a man so devastated and so
beleaguered at the same time.
"He doesn't remember it," Green interrupted flatly, because Cory looked like
she was going to rip his lungs out, and she turned a disbelieving face towards
him. "It's an old battle tactic it was used a long time ago, when the Tuatha
de Danaan reigned with an iron fist, and the sidhe and the high elves were
looking for an advantage. Sylphs are neutral they always have been. Their sole
purpose is for companionship. Usually they determine their companion, right?
But, because they're weaker, they can be forced& 
"But don't they decide their gender?" Nicky asked.
"Exactly," Green replied, anger and disgust lacing his voice. "They are
compelled to choose a victim usually an enemy and the sylph bonds with him or
her immediately, choosing a gender to seduce the enemy." Green blew out a
breath. "A lot of things happen at once, then. Yes, there's sex. And since the
victim wasn't bonded with his free will, he won't remember it it's part of the
compulsion. And then the secondary compulsion is transferred& through touch,
blood, and song, right?
"So& " Bracken looked like he might burst into tears again. "I did?" Cory put
out a hand then, to touch his arm, to apologize, to give solace and sympathy,
but Bracken shook her hand off as though she might contaminate him. Cory's
tears overflowed from her already bright eyes instead.
"I'm afraid so, Bracken," Green murmured, with infinite tenderness. Then,
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"Come here, brother." And Bracken stepped towards his leader trustingly, like
a lost child. Green took his hands and looked into his eyes, and saw, and saw,
and saw&
"You were supposed to kill us, he murmured. "Me and Cory you were supposed to
kill us in our sleep." Green smiled gently, still reading the magic around
Bracken like a soiled book. "Like that would ever happen, he murmured
reassuringly. "You wanted her far more than you wanted me dead& and we had just
talked about binding, and now you knew the words you heard the sylph say them
as you bonded& and when you woke up, Cory was there& and she smelled like me& and
you wanted and you wanted and you wanted& and binding her would hurt me, and
that was as far as you'd go& 
Green broke away from Bracken and touched the other man's brow gently. "You
did good, Bracken, he said seriously. "You were told to kill us, and you got
married instead.
"What killed the sylph?" Renny asked, as though her curiosity had gotten the
better of her.
"She was bound to Bracken." Green took Brack into his arms and let the sidhe
shudder against him, as the compulsion cleared and the fear and disgust and
guilt took over. He murmured into Bracken's hair, softly, and then, when the
other man had calmed he continued, because they all needed to understand.
"When Bracken took Cory, and bound her to him, the breaking of the first
ritual& well, it probably broke her too. Poor thing," He added, "Odds are great
this wasn't her choice." He looked around and swore to himself because Arturo
wasn't there Arturo was out inviting the enemy to a fucking banquet, and all
hell had just broken quietly loose in Green's own ground.
With a grunt of frustration he caught the eyes of Mario and La Mark. Not his
first choice, he thought grimly, since it put them in Goshawk's path, but it
couldn't be helped. "Gentlemen," He murmured, "Since you're here, could you go
find her body? It's probably in an alleyway or dumpster not far from here I
would imagine Bracken didn't have much time to& bind& to her before he came back
up. And& gentleman?" They both turned to look at him seriously. "Don't talk to
anybody especially not helpless looking young people. She might not have been
the only mind-wiping time-bomb Mist compelled." They nodded gravely, but Green
was far from reassured.
"So& infidelity means death?" Cory asked, before breaking into a panicked
coughing. The two young men passed by her, laying supportive hands on her
shoulder as they went. Later, Cory would remember that, because she hadn't
even met the two of them yet, and that contact steadied her enough to calm
down her coughing fit. Green smiled at her a little in reassurance as the door
closed behind them.
"It's okay, baby, he said, in a voice meant for her alone. "You and me, and
you and Nicky& we happened before you and Bracken& The sylph's spell is encoded
with her genetics it's a part of her very soul. I doubt this spell is like
that even Mist and Morana wouldn't even know how to eliminate previous
connections. Most bindings are done without any. I'm pretty sure you're still
safe with us.
"Thank the Goddess, Nicky said unashamedly, and Renny pat his shoulder in an
obvious show of sympathy.
"However," Green added, with a glare at Nicky, "Anyone else Andres, for
example?" And she closed her eyes at this, "He would need Bracken's approval
and permission maybe even his presence and& well, his participation.
Otherwise& well Bracken's fate would be like that of the sylph.
"Oh Goddess," Cory choked, and she looked at Bracken, and reached out a
helpless hand to take his in comfort. She cringed, with a little moan in her
throat when once more he shook her off as though he couldn't bear her touch.
"We're bound& I'm married& his life depends on me? Bracken didn't even have time
to ask me& or me to say yes& or& " She looked at Green, still helpless. "Or you
and me to say yes, or any of us to choose& and now& is this for always? For my
life?
"Both of your lives," Green replied, "But one sided. When you die, Bracken
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will die, but you can survive his death.
Cory turned white, and swayed on her feet for a moment, and if he didn't have
an armload of despondent elf, he would have reached for her. "Oh, Jesus.
Bracken, you wanted to do this?" she asked devastation clear in her eyes.
Bracken was enmeshed in his own private hell, and couldn't answer her, but
Green could. He met her gaze levelly, tenderly, and murmured, "He'd already
asked me about it. If you said yes, I was going to let him.
Cory took a deep breath, closed her eyes tightly, and opened them as Bracken
looked painfully over his shoulder at her and nodded. Oh, Goddess, Green could
see her thinking as she opened her eyes, the pain of it all was still here. A
third time she reached out a hand and a third time Bracken burrowed into
Green, looking for solace and redemption. Cory took a stumble back into the
wall and looked blindly at Bracken's hand, and then met Green's gaze with her
own tortured eyes. "I've got to get the fuck out of here, she whispered
hoarsely. Green didn't try to stop her none of them tried to stop her, and
after grabbing her purse and her jacket, which were hanging in the entry way,
she did just that.
"Fuck," Green swore succinctly, in the silence left by the slamming door,
"Renny, Nicky follow her do you have your phones? Great." The two of them were
already grabbing jackets and halfway down the hall. "It's full fucking
daylight, there's not a vampire in sight to protect her& bugger-fuck it all& "
he swore as they disappeared, and Bracken staggered against him. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]