Author’s note: bad language warning
“Another nightmare, dear?”
I trudged down the stairs trying not to feel panicky. Davy came over and kissed the corner of my mouth before returning to fixing breakfast. I reached down to idly pet Max as he meowed for attention. “Yeah,” I finally answered.
“Well, you did eat that cheeseburger before going to bed,” she chuckled.
That’s not what caused the nightmare, I thought but said nothing. My nightmares were definitely from magic. Over the summer I had slowly been plagued by them more and more until they became almost a nightly occurrence. Grams had sent me some potions to help but they were all sleeping potions… and now that classes started up again I couldn’t risk taking them on some nights, in fear of not waking up in time for some of my classes. It had been a month now, and I could only take the potion a couple times a week which left me with nightmares four to five times a week.
At least they haven’t found me yet… That certainly was a blessing, though I still didn’t know how long it would last. I’d be twenty-two soon, and then my final semester of college so long as everything went smoothly in regards to my grades. Then what? I couldn’t go back to Midnight Hollow now, since Davy at that point would still have two more years of law school to get through so we’d just be staying here for that time. I guess find a job around here.
“Thanks,” I said as she put the plate of pancakes down in front of me.
“Maybe you should see a doctor about the nightmares,” Davy suggested as she sat next to me. “Maybe you should take a sleeping aid.”
I tried not to laugh, not telling her I had been before. “Maybe. Jeez these pancakes are delish. Did you do something new?”
“Yep. They’re my Nana’s pancakes, she finally released the recipe from her tight fingers to me and my mom,” Davy giggled then the smile disappeared. “Mom asked me again. Last night, when I got the recipe.”
I nodded, not surprised by this. It had now been over four months since our wedding and almost every time either of us spoke to relatives they asked if we were expecting yet. I knew they all were waiting for the news of a pregnancy announcement, and all were waiting to have it confirmed we married because we had one on the way. But we told them truthfully we were not pregnant. The only one who knew the full truth, of course, was Lumie who didn’t say a peep about it. Though when I told her over the phone she traveled from Midnight Hollow to Redblood so she could comfort me and Davy in person.
“My family has stopped asking since Vilkas’s announcement,” I said, biting into the scrumptious pancakes. My brother had phoned me up the week before to give me the good news–there’d be a little Niveus baby in the spring. Per an agreement with Vilkas’s long-dead grandfather, the baby needed to take the clan’s alpha bloodline surname of ‘Niveus’.
Davy smiled. “I bet he or she will be a little cutie. I hope we get to meet the baby.”
“Me too. I’m sure we will. No matter what his clan says, Vilkas is never gonna just abandon his family,” I said, getting up to get some OJ. I refilled both our glasses then gave Max a small dish since he swatted at my ankles in protest.
“That cat is so weird!” Davy watched as Max lapped up the juice then lifted his head to glare at her some before going back to the juice. “I swear, sometimes he seems almost human with the way he reacts to things. Oh crap, it’s getting late I need to get to class.”
I drove her to class then since I had some time to kill I decided to hang out at the library to do some work on a project. I had added a few courses in so I could become a PE teacher after graduation if I wanted. I figured, why not get the bachelor’s degree and open up new possibilities for my life? It meant more of a workload for my final two semesters but I didn’t mind the extra work.
They’re coming, they’re coming for me, they’re here, they’re attacking me, their hands on my throat, they’re killing me, THEY’RE KILLING ME–
I woke up, falling out of bed loudly. I feared I had wakened Davy but saw something else had woken her up already. She got out of bed, helping me to my feet, asking if I had gotten hurt. “Just a bruise maybe,” I panted, clutching my stomach.
“You really should see a doctor about the nightmares,” she said a bit stiffly.
“I–I’ll see what I can do,” I said then frowned, seeing the scowl on her face. “Is something wrong, love?”
“No.” I raised my eyebrows at that and she snorted. “Well. Yes. It’s just you kept saying a name over and over in your sleep. Loudly. As if… as if you needed that person.” Oh shit. Whose name would I say? Wait, they were nightmares not wet dreams. I didn’t have anything to worry about. Right? “You called out Max’s name.”
I chuckled, rubbing the back of my head. “Did I? Didn’t meant to w–“
“You said it several times, in a needful way,” she continued. “Almost a begging way. You know, I still don’t know much about him. He’s never talked about his past. How long have you known him?”
“Pretty much my whole life–“
“Then how come Clay had never met him?” she interrupted.
No, not this this now. “Because they never met,” I answered, spreading my hands out. “He knew me through family. Clay and Trysh never really met him. Lumie’s met him before, you can ask her. Why don’t we go back to bed, all right?” I kissed her but she didn’t kiss back. “Why are you so upset about Max?”
“I don’t know,” she sighed. “There’s just something about him I don’t like. I’m sorry. I know he’s your friend but…”
“It’s fine. You don’t have to like all my friends,” I promised, bending down to kiss the tops of her breasts. Davy gasped a bit then melted into me, pulling me down onto the bed. I grinned. “I take it we’re not going back to sleep.”
“Nope, you need to work hard for forgiveness.”
“Forgiveness!” I gave a mock gasp as we rolled over, her on top of me. “And what exactly needs forgiving?”
“I don’t know,” she laughed, hands moving to my chest. “I’m sure I can come up with something. But you better work hard for it, whatever it is.”
I smirked and pulled her down to kiss. “Your wish is my command.”
September stretched on without many problems aside from my nightmares. I took to taking the sleeping potion more often but I took them early on in the night so I would wake up in time for classes; this unfortunately meant less time for studying. So I had to study harder in the daytime which meant less time for other… more pleasant husband-wife time. Davy and I did our best but we slowly began spending less time together.
One night in late September we set aside all work for a proper date. We went out to a fancy dinner then returned home, kissing frantically and beginning to strip each other the moment the front door shut. Her hand slid into my pants and I was unhooking her bra when someone knocked at the door. We paused, then decided to ignore the person since all the lights were still off and the blinds shut so our visitor couldn’t look in. We returned to kissing but then the visitor knocked harder, then harder.
Davy pulled away, rehooking her bra. “Let’s just get rid of them,” she said. “S’probably one of your friends.”
“Always accusing my friends.” I stuck my tongue out and she winked as she turned the lights on.
Davina opened the front door. “Can I help–oh! Mrs. Funar. What are you doing here?”
I tried to look past Davy then not needing to as an elderly woman pushed her way inside. “Hello Davina dear,” she said, adjusting her glasses as she stared at me. “You must be her husband. Sarah’s spoken of you. Congratulations on your wedding. I… was very surprised to find out about it.”
Davy looked a bit anxious. “Well, it happened quickly so we didn’t really have a big wedding. Um, what are you doing here? Oh! Er, Zaid, this is my next door neighbor. Er, of my parents. Mrs. Funar this is Zaid. My husband…”
“Nice to meet you,” I said, offering my hand.
Mrs. Funar shook it very hesitantly as if she were worried she’d be hurt if she held onto my hand properly. “Yes. I used to babysit Davina quite a lot. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you, dear,” she added, glancing quickly at Davy before returning her gaze to me. “Sarah’s mentioned the wedding often of course, though she didn’t really mention your name until the other day.”
Something about the way she said that end a shiver of worry down my spine. Davy came over, standing next to me. “Yes, well, as I said the wedding happened pretty quickly.”
But I barely heard her. Mrs. Funar just kept staring in my eyes so intently and soon I knew why she had come. I swallowed and put my hand on the small of Davy’s back. “Sweetie, why don’t you go upstairs,” I said, trying to keep my tone calm.
“Zaid, don’t be rude,” Davy hissed. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Funar–“
“Davina, go upstairs.” I physically turned her and gave her a push to the stairs. All the hair on my arms were standing up and I wondered how quickly I could get to–SHIT the daggers were upstairs. “Go!”
“Zaid stop it!” Davina snapped, hitting my hand. “You’re being extremely rude to–… to… uh, Mrs. F-Funar?”
I looked over my shoulder and my fears were realized as Mrs. Funar pulled a wand out of her purse, pointing it straight at me. “I agree with your husband, you should go upstairs, dear. No need to see this.”
“That’s a wand,” Davy said flatly.
“I’m a witch.” Mrs. Funar raised the wand a bit more and smiled in a sweet, grandmotherly manner. “Now it would be best to go upstairs before–” She stopped talking and began screaming as something black and furry launched itself at her. Max, in cat form, had leaped on her with his claws and fangs at the ready. I grabbed Davy’s arm and dragged her up the stairs ignoring her shrieks of worry about Mr. Fluffy attacking her. She struggled against my grip but I kept a tight hold, pulling her into the bedroom. I shut the door then pulled the dresser out from the wall, grabbing one of the daggers that I had duct taped to the back. Davy screamed at the sight but I ignored her, just going to the door.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” Davy yelled and I shut the door behind me, dragging a chair over to block the door. Davy began pounding, yelling at me to let her out right now or else.
I ran down the stairs and yelled out in horror. Mrs. Funar had thrown Max to the ground and blood seeped out of multiple cuts on him. She made a slashing movement with her arm and Max cried in pain as another gash appeared on him.
“YOU BITCH!” I screamed, launching myself at the old lady. Pain filled me as she used the cutting spell on me but I ignored the sensation, tackling her to the ground. We began fighting and she proved to be stronger than I imagined. But it didn’t take long to get the upper hand and pin her down to the ground. “How the hell did you find me,” I demanded. “Who is your mistress?”
“Mistress?” she choked out, fingers twitching trying to reach her wand. “I have no mistress, I’m head of my coven. When Sarah told me your name I knew who you were right away and came here to kill you before you destroy magic.”
“I am not going to destroy magic,” I hissed. “It’s a rumor, you crazy woman. Gossip.”
“It’s a prophecy!” she laughed. “You will be our downfall. You will destroy us all. But not if… oh… get off of me, you’re hurting me, I don’t understand what’s going on!” Her voice changed to that of a feeble old woman.
“Stop acting like–” I began but then something struck the back of my head. I fell to the side, grabbing my head, wailing.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Davina gasped out then knelt down next to Funar. “I am so… so so so SO sorry I have no idea what’s gotten into him or the cat, I–I–let’s get you to the hospital.” She helped Funar up and the moment the old lady steadied her feet she pointed her wand at me and sent a spell into me that filled my head with a high-pitched screeching sound. I clapped my hands over my ears but it didn’t help. “Please, let’s get you to the hospital–ahhh!”
The sound of flesh hitting flesh and then I saw Davy collapse to the ground, groaning in pain. I scooted to the side of bit, whimpering from the pain of the sound in my head but groping for my dagger. My fingers closed around the handle as Funar faced me again. Up went the wand and then it fell when I threw the dagger and the blade dug into her shoulder. The old lady stumbled back. I pushed myself to my feet and went over, wrenching the dagger out then picking up her wand and snapping it in half.
“You have two choices. Leave and never come back, or die,” I said, putting the dagger against her throat. I didn’t want to kill her and hoped she wouldn’t force my hand since I doubted I could slice the throat of an old woman, even if she was actively trying to kill me. But I didn’t need to worry about it since Max in human form stumbled past me and walloped the side of Funar’s head, knocking her out.
He bent down, pressing his hand against her face and murmuring spells to put her to sleep and erase her memory. I staggered back and collapsed down, breathing heavily. “Davy,” I managed to say but she didn’t respond. I touched her neck, relieved to find she had just fallen unconscious and not–…not. “Max, you all right?”
“No,” he said angrily. “I’m going to take her to Gretchen. Do you think she told her coven?”
“I… don’t know,” I said, closing my eyes tightly. “You should heal yourself.”
Max came over and put his hands on me, sending pleasurable feelings trickling through my body as he healed me. Then he healed whatever Funar had done to Davy. Then he finally healed some of his cuts before picking Funar up. “I’ll be back later. You two should go to a hotel tonight.”
I nodded, no intent of doing so. Max left the house and I stretched out, wondering if maybe I focused hard enough time would go back and none of this would happen. Maybe none of it did happen, maybe this is just another horrible nightmare. I sat up slowly and crawled over to Davina. “Davy?” I whispered but she remained unconscious.
I picked her up gently and carried her upstairs to put her in the bed, having no clue what to say to her when she did finally wake up.
A scream woke me up an hour or so later and I jumped to my feet, prepared to fight the next person that came to attack. But the only person in the room was Davy, standing up by the bed and looking panicked.
“Zaid?” She stared at me, chest heaving with each breath. “Please tell me that it was just a nightmare. Please tell me it didn’t happen. Zaid, please–Mrs. Funar–she–she–” I went over to hug her but she backed away from me. “What happened? What–the–there was–she–Zaid? What happened?”
I let out a long sigh. “Mrs. Funar is a witch and tried to kill me.” Davy just continued to stare, eyes huge. “I’m sorry you had to see the fight. I tried to keep you–“
“SHE’S MY NEIGHBOR!” she yelled. “She baked me cookies? She babysat me? She–she was there when I learned to ride a bike? She taught me origami? SHE ATTACKED YOU! Why? Why did she do this? WHY DID YOU ATTACK HER?!”
I held up my hands, trying to get her to calm down as her voice rose. “Darling please, I–I’m sorry. I didn’t know this would happen. I’ll explain everything just please calm down.”
“CALM DOWN WHEN MY NEIGHBOR TRIED TO MURDER MY HUSBAND?!” Davy spun around and began pacing, arms folded around her waist. She sounded as if she were hyperventilating but after a few seconds her breathing returned to normal. “What the hell is going on?”
“I have supernaturals after me,” I said quickly before she could start yelling again. She froze, eyes fixated on me. “There’s this rumor, this–this prophecy. About someone causing the downfall of magic, or the end of magic, or–or whatever. No one knows for sure what it means but my name got tangled up in the gossip and now a lot of supernaturals and magic-users and stuff think I’m going to cause this, and they’re trying to kill me before I do.”
She took in a few shuddering breaths. “You’re trying to destroy magic?”
“No!” I exclaimed. “No! I never! I don’t want that to happen, I will do anything and everything I can to keep that from happening. But people think I will and so they’re after me. They’ve been after me for years. Most of them are from one group headed by someone, we don’t know who, but occasionally there are people working individually. I–I think Mrs. Funar was working by herself.” I turned away, rubbing my forehead. “I hope so, I wanted a couple more years of peace.”
“Grams… my grams…? She’s a witch and she did some things to help me come to college without being tracked down,” I explained. “No one has come after me in the past three years, since I started college. But I guess Funar found me because your mother talked to her about me and mentioned my name, and she–she knew who I was and…”
Davy took a few cautious steps towards me. “I don’t understand. If it’s just a rumor why are people trying to murder you?”
I shrugged. “Because they believe it’s true. People… believe what they want to believe. And some of them think they can save themselves by killing me. Or else…” I paused, not sure if I should say this bit but I knew I had to. “I believe… we believe… that some of the people after me want to use me, to destroy magic. Or–or something else.”
“What? What else?”
“I don’t know.” I pushed my hair back and went closer to her but she backed away. “We think the person who is behind the main attacks on me is the one who wants to use me for something not good.”
“You don’t know for sure?” she asked.
“Damn it, Davy, it’s not like I sit down for a nice chat over tea with them while they’re trying to drag me off to who-knows-where!” I snapped then flinched as she cowered back. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell like that. I just–I’m really frustrated right now.”
“YOU’RE frustrated?” She let out a disbelieving gasp. “I feel like you’ve been lying to me. You’ve been keeping something like this from me?! I thought you loved me–“
“I do love you!”
“–and now, and now this? And now–I find out you have a bunch of monsters after you–“
“They’re not all monsters, just supernatural–“
“MOST SUPERNATURALS ARE MONSTERS!” she yelled. “And if they’re trying to kill you, that seems pretty monstrous to me. We’ve been married for months now. We–we got together a year ago! And you NEVER thought to tell me?!”
“I’M SORRY, OKAY?! I’M SORRY!”
“WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?!”
“Because I’m an idiot!” I shouted. “I am an idiot, okay?! I got too relaxed! I let the three years of peace get to me. I slacked off and forgot, in a sense, how bad it could be and I should have told you but I didn’t do it to hide it from you, I just–“
“Oh, you weren’t hiding it?!” She folded her arms, lifting her chin, eyes blazing. “Then what were you doing, Zaid? Hmm? Selective amnesia or something?”
“No, I just… I didn’t think…”
“No. You didn’t. You never do.”
“What is that supposed to mean?!”
She clenched her teeth and then came closer, putting her finger in my face. “You have been hiding a big damn secret from me. From me. Your wife. How would you feel if I hid something from you?”
“I would probably feel as hurt as I’m guessing you’re feeling now,” I said and she looked as though she might slap me. “I’m sorry. Davina. I fucked up big time and I’m sorry.”
“Do you… trust me?”
“Yes!” I insisted quickly. “I do. I trust you. I love you and I trust you and I’m sorry.”
Silence, except the sound of us both breathing hard as if we had run a marathon or something. Finally Davy retreated from me then spoke again. “Is she dead? Mrs. Funar?”
“I–I don’t know.” She snapped her head up to stare, slightly open-mouthed. “Look, I don’t know. She–she should be with my Grams soon. Someone took her. I don’t know… I don’t think they’ll kill her, probably just erase some of her memory so she doesn’t remember hearing my name. Though that might just mean a repeat of tonight, when she hears my name again from your mom.”
“Don’t blame my mother.”
I gaped at that. “I’m not? When did I blame your mother? I’m not blaming anyone except Mrs. Funar for what she did.”
Davy wandered over to the dresser, running her fingers along the surface. “She was always such a nice old lady. I don’t understand why this happened, why she… why she’d try to hurt you. Why she hurt me.” Her other hand reached up to touch her head. “She hit me and used a spell. It hurt. I should go to the ER.”
“Max healed you,” I said without thinking.
Davy whirled around. “What?” Then before I could say anything she said, “Max!? Max knows about all this?! He was here?”
Oops. “Yes,” I said, then decided I had to tell her the complete truth. “Max… is sort of my bodyguard/tutor type of guy, he taught me how to throw daggers, and do archery, and all that stuff. He’s also been protecting me a lot, physically. He’s… he’s, uh…” You need to tell her he’s Mr. Fluffy… but maybe you should wait till he’s back, to tell her himself. “There’s a bit more but it’s better if he tells you.”
She marched over to me and slapped me across the face. “You’re hiding more things from me. You and Max. You’re hiding things from me! I’m your wife! You said you loved me–“
“I do love you! Davina, I! Love! You!” I grabbed her shoulders and she began trying to get free. I just continued to hold on for a few seconds so I could say what I wanted to her face. “You are my wife, and that makes me so incredibly happy. I am so sorry I kept things from you but I swear it wasn’t out of ill intentions, or the desire to lie. It was simply because I am an idiot and didn’t really think much about it. There is something else but since it’s to do with Max, he should tell you. Not me.” I then let go of her shoulders and she slapped me again. “Ow.”
“You’re sleeping on the couch,” she snarled.
“The couch is like, a third smaller than my body!” I squeaked, rubbing my cheek.
“I don’t care. I don’t want to see you right now,” she sniffled.
I sucked in several deep gulps of air, trying to remain calm. It barely worked but it did work enough for me to keep a level tone as I said, “Davina, I’m really sorry. Honestly–“
“Just go.” She opened the door and stood there with a determined look on her face. “Please. I need to be alone right now. I–I need to be alone.”
I clamped my mouth shut then nodded, leaving the bedroom. She slammed the door behind me and I stormed down the steps, feeling bitter and angry. Okay maybe I deserved some of it for not telling her but I did not deserve the slaps. Rubbing the sore spot, I hunkered down on the couch and wished Max would come back. I thought about what he said, about going to the hotel. But no way would I be getting Davy out of that bedroom now. I just hoped nobody else showed up.