The following week wasn’t easy. They couldn’t attack without a plan and being prepared and as protected against spells as possible. Yet at the same time they didn’t want to miss this window of opportunity either with dragging out the preparations for too long. They could never know when and where the witches might attack next.
They had to notify the leaders of the other clans they were working together. Discretion was the key, though. They had to do this in a clever way. If there was too much moving around in the clans, it could tip off the spies that the clans were preparing for something. Then their surprise attack would go up in smoke too. So they were preparing slower and more hidden from prying eyes.
True to her words, Cristina sent only Stacey over with weekly updates. To Mick’s utter enjoyment. Something was blossoming between the two, everyone could see it and it made Jim smile to himself. Mick deserved a girlfriend and maybe later a ‘mate’, too. Someone who’d love and support the big demon.
The kids could feel too that something was up and the adults – and as their mentor, Jim – spent more time with them, explaining and preparing them for what was to come. Of course they would stay back with their caretakers and a few selected warriors and extra protective spells, but Jim could still feel that some of them were a bit scared.
Pauly was different though. He wasn’t scared.
“I want to go too. To help,” he said on his determined small voice on the day before the battle as he was helping Jim clean the warrior’s throwing stars that he’d found in his old room along with his previous set of knives. He knew he’d need to take everything with him this time.
“I know, Pauly…” he sighed a bit bitterly and put down a cleaned knife to stroke the black locks. “And you will one day. In a few years. Corey and I have a more important task for you,” he smiled down at the boy he and his mate both considered as their son by then.
“What? I’ll do it! I know I can!” he said, his brown eyes looking up at Jim hopefully after carefully putting the star and cloth down on the floor on which they were sitting. In front of them laid out there were two dozens of knives, the same amount of throwing stars and even Jim’s rarely used katana that he also saved from his Bloodstone room.
He had to chuckle lightly from the eagerness in those small eyes. “We’ll need you to keep all the kids safe. Can you do that?”
“Yes!” he said without any hesitation. “I will. I promise.”
“Thank you, … son,” Jim murmured, into his hair before kissing the top of the boy’s head, who – hearing how Jim called him for the first time – threw his little arms and body against Jim and held on tight.
Watching from the wardrobe while getting his stuff ready too, Corey smiled. He was already thinking about making weapons that would fit their son the most. He had an old broken katana, light enough to forge a short sword for the little hands. For now he had to think the plans over.
“I want a hug too, Pauly,” Corey fake-pouted as he walked out and in response a little demon hit him with the biggest hug he could give. “We have to get going soon, son. And you have to go to be with the others and keep them safe,” he kneeled down and rubbed the small back of the boy who nodded. “You will do great and we will too,” he released him with a smile and kiss on top of his head as he ran to the door to join the other kids.
“Everything's alight with the plans, babe? I and Mick and Eric will go through the tree tops before you all and I contact you about the details.”
While watching Pauly with Corey, Jim tried to collect himself and rein in his emotions. This wasn’t their final goodbye, but it was still harder to go to battle – to win a war – knowing that these kids will probably worry themselves sick about those who will leave for the fight.
To his mate’s question Jim nodded after a sigh. “Yes. Everything’s set. The rendezvous point is already secured. We’ll meet the other clans there then move out to take up our positions. Except for the East river clan. They’ll go straight to north to get behind the witches’ hideout and cut off their way if they try to retreat,” he said. “We’ll surround them in no time. The first wave of attack will have to come from the front since they’ll probably notice their protective spells being tampered with by you, Shawn and Ella from the Bloodstone clan…” he went through the steps one more time as he reached out for Corey’s hand and pulled him down onto the floor and Jim’s lap to hold him there securely for a few minutes.
He knew Corey could take care of himself, but that didn’t mean Jim wasn’t worried about him when they were fighting. Especially knowing that the witches were after him for so long because of his unique powers. “I’ll lead the attack of the ‘archer’ demons.” They could be considered the archery because these demons had long-distance kind of weapons, like throwing knives and stars, and bows of course – among others.
“Will these talismans work?” Jim asked lifting the charmed stone on a black leather string from his chest. The shamans have handed such protective necklaces out to everyone in hope of deflecting at least a few offensive spells from the witches.
“Yes, I, Shawn and Ella put the protecting spells into them. They are good to put a shield around you all when witch magic is around and easily stands three or four direct strikes too. But still be careful, please,” Corey explained nuzzling into Jim's hold. “As the battle begins at land with the lower ranked witches coming out to the messed up protective spells, I, Mick and who can move on trees attack from inside and above directly at the base and everyone comes in to a massacre. I have black candles to smoke the place and block the magic. So bare muscle power from then. All is clear?”
“I’ll be careful. But I ask you to do same, love,” he whispered against the side of Corey’s head as his arms tightened a bit around him, their lightly leaking powers mingling lazily, making the air shimmer in that lilac hue around them. Of course Jim was a bit tense and nervous, because he knew that tomorrow could be the day when they wipe out the witches from the area and that they could bring peace for at least a while.
“Yes, everything’s clear. Call me to where you are, if you have to. Although I’ll try to stick close to you as much as possible, since we are stronger then,” he added, looking at his cleaned and lined up weapons on the floor in front of them.
Then he tipped Corey’s head up and kissed him softly. “I love you,” he whispered afterwards, looking into the beloved blue eyes. “Let me make love to you tonight.”
“I love you too,” Corey smiled into the hazel orbs. “I was about to ask you to do so…” he whispered closing his lips to his mate's.
The morning came early for them all. Not much sleep came to the ones going to battle.
After meeting up with the other clans’ warriors, they quickly divided into the groups and each knowing their duty they went on their way.
The beast, or half-beast warriors who were more mobile and could go ahead through the tree tops cornered the small, seemingly innocent grown together wild bushes. From above they could see inside the nature-made fence and the camouflage spells did not work from above. The path was clear for them.
Meanwhile Jim and the demons under his command soon followed and took their position, some climbing onto the trees too to have cover while sending their arrows and knives, some staying on the ground, backed up with the first wave of the hand-to-hand or short-distance kind of fighters. They were all waiting for the shamans to break the protective spells.
Jim could clearly feel his mate somewhere a bit more ahead and to the east from where he was, because they left the bond wide open just in case.
The tension was palpable in the slightly humid early morning air. Everyone was buzzing with excitement. Jim used the last minutes to re-check all his weapons. Now he had additional sheath wraps on both thighs and ankles as well as his usual ones on his wrists, chest and at the small of his back. The little arsenal was completed with the katana strapped onto his back in case he ran out of his knives and stars.
Looking around, his senses scanning the area, he reported to his mate through their bond that everyone was in their position, ready for the attack.
Corey felt Jim's message while working on the shield and trying to break the spells without getting noticed much.
The three shamans were working in sync and Corey let his red power cover them all and strengthen the others’ skills too. Together they managed to break the shield unnoticed and the beast signaled to his mate to attack as silently as possible while he and the other beasts got into the territory over the trees and tried to get more to the center before the witches would strike back.
“Well done…” Jim murmured to himself, proud of his mate for being able to do the spell-breaking unnoticed. Not many could do that, he knew.
Looking around he signaled the others to get moving. Now that the spells were broken, they had the chance to find closer and better positions for their attacks. Soon Jim found himself an old oak tree and climbed up on a thick branch with ease. It was close to the witches’ natural fortress and he could both hide and keep an eye on the fight from there.
He was looking for any movement and soon they found not just one. Two witches were quietly talking as they were walking unsuspecting towards a vegetable garden to the left, near the trees from where death quickly found them in the form of a pair of arrows, some demons on the ground dragging the bodies behind the cover of the trees.
Meanwhile Jim kept his eyes on two other witches coming out to a balcony. He signaled to one of the archers to work with him. The first witch dropped dead from an arrow, the other shocked one following soon after from a throwing star sticking out from her chest.
Unlucky for them, the second didn’t drop backwards as they expected, but fell over the railing and landed on the cobble stones with a quite loud thud. “Shit…” Jim cursed under his nose.
“Shit...” Corey echoed the curse hearing the sound of the corpse landing. Soon he and Mick would have to come out of hiding as they were running out of tall trees to hide on and jump to as they got closer to the center building.
Eric on their heels with his bow took down the few witches around the main building from where Corey felt prisoners and slave youngsters kept. Forwarding this information to his mate and the others he, Mick and Eric landed on a small balcony and with the signal to the outside ones they burst into the building.
From there things got a bit more hectic. Jim didn’t like it that he couldn’t see Corey anymore, but at least he’d feel if something was wrong. He told the others about the slaves and youngsters and sent a few warriors with Jay’s leadership that way to free them. He also sent two archers to cover them from the air.
Then his attention turned back to the witches that were pouring out from the building now, sending curses towards the attacking first wave. Birds flew scared from the trees as the battle noises and yells shattered the peaceful silence of the morning. The war was on and Jim found himself soon jumping down from his hideout to land next to a witch, one of his knives severing the artery in her neck as he landed on his feet. Then he disappeared in the crowd of the unfolding bloody battle.
Inside the building Corey and the others quickly found themselves facing a handful of higher class witches. Corey casted a spell of shield over the warriors, Mick and the others fighting their way through them. Room by room raiding the place in a deathly cleaning up, without taking any hostages. The shaman beast felt the others getting inside and working their bloody way to the basement and a group of warriors upstairs to meet up with the beast squad.
As the mates were getting physically closer, their powers were reacting to each other's in the heat of the battle and they soon made the building protected and swimming in light lilac mist as everyone got covered in witch blood.
Jim let his instincts take over, but his head stayed cool as he became a ruthless killing machine, his Earthly and beast sides working in perfect harmony, especially once he got closer to his mate and their energies were starting to mix and produce that protective fog around their men and women, adding to the spells of the lightly shimmering protective talismans in everyone’s neck.
“Come on, you fucking bitches!” Jim roared, very much enjoying himself, his beastly features visible, eyes glowing with a golden light as he blocked a knife with one of his last ones that would’ve otherwise hit his mate’s shoulder. His answer to that was a black star in the guilty witch’s throat, letting her choke on her own blood. Jim chuckled hoarsely and pulled his katana out of its sheath on his back. The day before he asked Corey to charm the blade that would repel spells, which was working beautifully, because that’s what he had to do the next moment then he threw himself back into the battle, severing heads, hands and other body parts mercilessly and not caring about all the blood drenching him.
There was no way to stay civilized by then. Corey was holding one sword and was already counting over the numbers. He sent the message mentally to whom he could that it was just a bloodbath after this. The witches were outnumbered and defeated, the demons that stayed outside were killing the few that tried to flee.
The group with Jay stood strongly in the basement and blocked the way of any attempt to escape from underground.
It was just slaughter from that point on, and the shaman beast wanted to enjoy every second of it as he and his brother Mick by his side were tearing throats open and biting out veins, letting their raw wild side to run free and take what it needed.
Feeling that his mate was starting to ease up and enjoy the bloodbath too, Jim grinned, showing off his sharp fangs as he was fighting with a desperate black-haired witch, who managed to burn his shoulder with a spell, but was weak in physical combat and was soon impaled on the tall and deadly demon’s katana.
Quickly looking around to size up his surroundings, he saw Cristina and Stacey fighting not far from them. And he had to give it to his ex-lover that despite the bloody cuts on her body and face, for a change she was giving her all to the fight, like a clan leader should do. Maybe she was finally starting to grow up to that role.
“Come on! I’m just getting started!” That was Stacey with a maniac smirk on her pretty face, eyes glowing in a similar color like Jim’s as she was slaying the bitches with her light blade. She was covered in blood too, but mostly with their enemy’s. She had a moment to look up too and she smirked and winked at Jim for a moment before shifting her eyes to Corey and Mick. And it stayed on Mick for a long moment, clearly mesmerized by the big raging beast fighting like an animal. “Holy shit… so damn hot…” Jim heard her yell, which made him chuckle then his attention was drawn back to an approaching spell that he dodged with the katana, sending it back right into the middle of the unprepared witch’s chest who dropped to the ground dead in the next moment. They were winning and everyone knew that!
Gulping down the blood of a young witch while hearing Stacy's yell over Mick, who had blood dripping from his long black hair and beard, his eyes glowing and his fangs glistening from fresh blood as well, turning with a smug beastly grin at the female, Mick held up a torn out spine for her as a trophy.
Corey just laughed and kicked the back of the older witch trying to attack his mate from behind. With the next move he slashed her side open and let the guts pour out.
“Woot woot!” and a giggle were Stacey’s response to the trophy before she threw herself back into the battle.
Meanwhile Jim realized what was going on literally behind his back while he was occupied with that other witch and turning around he watched the guts spilling out. Stepping over the still screaming bitch, he crushed her windpipe with his heel to shut her up and a clawed hand grabbed the back of Corey’s neck and pulled him into a rough, bloody but quick kiss, pushing another wave of the lilac fog through the room.
Then they didn’t stop until the last witch was lying dead on the floor and all that they had to do was take care of the freed slaves and clean up then burn the bodies and the whole fucking place to the ground.
It was a victory well-earned. And a time for celebration.
The battle was won. For now anyway, and the clans and demons of the area could have a breath of peace.
Corey sat on top of a tree with a bottle of white wine, all bloody and still letting his beast form on the surface as he watched the old guys from the Eastrivers play some old blues and classic metal. The spontaneous celebration looked like a rock festival by the afternoon. All the food and wine stock of the witches used up for the party and the huge fire as the building was burning to the ground provided the perfect background to the drinking, dancing and totally bloody demons.
It was a great view for sure. From up there Corey could see how Stacy was carrying that spine Mick had torn out to impress her, and the pair got very close and snugly at edge of the clearing. The saved slaves found new places at the Eastrivers and the smaller south clan that also joined the fight and their alliance. And Corey just enjoyed the overview of all with the wine, until he felt a very familiar presence walking around the tree and trying to climb up. And that just made him smile and jump up on an even higher branch.
As the building in the background was crackling and moaning under the raging fire – which’s smoke the shamans have hidden not to draw the humans there – it felt as if a huge weight was lifted off their shoulders. The merriment was contagious and after delivering the good news to the ones that stayed at home, everyone got lost in it. They all cheered every time a part of the building caved in or dropped to the ground under the hungry flames.
Jim followed their example after collecting all his weapons, but cleaning them would have to wait. Luckily not many of their demons have fallen thanks to the protective talismans and the by then dissolved lilac fog. The tall demon was still riled up, relieved, tired yet euphoric from their huge triumph.
Raiding the piled up food and wine stock came naturally for everyone. Some of the warriors were washing off most of the blood with swimming in a nearby pond, but most were just drinking, celebrating, singing or eating while sitting in the grass.
By the time Jim found the tall tree on which he could feel his mate above, he was a bit more than tipsy and still euphoric. “Little fucker. I’m gonna get you…” he chuckled, sending that message to his mate through the open bond too and finally managed to grab a lower branch to climb up.
“You're too clumsy and big for that,” Corey chuckled and looked down, pouring some wine from his bottle onto the head of his mate who tried to climb after him. Looking up there was still a few levels up where he would fit. “It's a nice view, though… Did you bring some food with you, at least???” he yelled down teasingly.
“Fuck you, you little shit!” Jim yelled back up after feeling the wetness on his head and face. At least he caught a few drops with his tongue, along with some dried witch-blood. “If I fall and break my neck, it’ll be your fucking fault that you will be left without a mate!” he half-grumbled, half-laughed as he kept climbing higher and higher. Even if it seemed he was annoyed, he was enjoying the chase (or rather foreplay?). “And you can get food once you stop climbing away from me!”
“If you fall and die cause you're too clumsy then you deserve it,” Corey laughed and sat down in the crook of a thicker branch, waiting and drinking. “Are you okay? You're breathing funny... Like a big old man overworked…”
“My breathing is perfectly fine. Something must have gotten stuck in your ear. Maybe a piece of witch?” Jim snorted as he finally reached the branch next to Corey’s. It was close enough to his that if Jim wanted to reach his long arm out, he’d be able to touch his mate. Sitting down into the crook of that branch, legs dangling off on both sides, he took a deep breath from the clear air that had only a hint of the smoke and looked around.
“It’s beautiful up here. You little spy…” he murmured, noticing Stacey pulling Mick further into the trees by his big hand, stopping every now and then to kiss. “I think Stacey will be going to join our clan soon…”
“I think we should start a fan page about a beast and earth demon's romance and complain about the noise from Mick's room… Just for the fun of it,” Corey laughed and offered the wine bottle to Jim. “We have so many requests around the area that we will have to go on tour starting the next month. You think they would be safe till that? And anyway, you came from that clan too and it turned out... okay-ish...” the beast teased his mate laughing.
“We abso-fucking-lutely should! That’s just fair,” he chuckled. “The bored and sexually frustrated housewives would eat that hetero story up,” Jim added and took the offered bottle to take a good swig from it before handing it back. “Yeah, things around the band are finally taking off too. Who knows? Maybe in a few years we’ll be playing sold out stadiums,” he chuckled. “I think everyone’ll be okay for a while. We made and will make sure of it. We’ll solidify the peace as much as it’s possible. Maybe even sign a peace treaty with the clans we’re in alliance with. What do you think? And I’m not hitting you for that comment only because it’s gonna be you who falls to his death from it and I’ve got… kinda used to having you around,” he grinned at his mate.
“You are so precious and generous that I'm out of breath!!” Corey laughed hard on Jim's comment then using his powers and claws he simply climbed across to Jim like an elegant cat and sat between his legs on the branch, facing his mate.
“I hardly fall ‘cause of anyone... Feel special!” he smiled smugly, hugging Jim's neck and pulled him down for a short kiss, then just rested his head on the taller demon's chest watching the festival under.
“A real written down and blood sealed peace contract over how we all should work along would be a good idea. Also, maybe we should secure the whole area and be like our village was once… What you say? Taking in and giving a safe place to all kinds of breeds equally?”
“Oh I feel special. Every damn day I get to spend with you,” he murmured lovingly and a bit more serious while caressing his mate’s back. “You were amazing today, baby. You took my breath away a few times, not the tree-climbing,” he chuckled lightly, holding him securely to his chest. “And I really like the idea of continuing your family’s legacy. Together and on a bigger scale. Because there’s always going to be people of our race that’d need some help.”
“We will work on that then after touring the area,” Corey said kissing Jim's chest as they stayed there like that just drinking and watching everything from up there. It was a nice little peace they both have been missing. Close enough to everything under them, but still in their private little world.
Until Shawn started yelling up at them about getting the fuck down to grab some guitars ‘cause if the band didn't play something, they would be the next to quickly get cut down and burned.
What can a demon do when the fans are calling...? Climb down and play of course. And the rest of the night was about joining the party and celebrating with everyone.
It was quiet in the whole hideout. Everyone was still sleeping except for Jim. He was sitting on their bed cross-legged and very much naked, an ashtray next to him and a big mug of coffee in the other (just in case Cor woke up and snatched the rest) as he was silently puffing smoke into the sunrays. He loved how they made Corey’s strawberry blond hair glisten as if it was gold or some shit.
Smirking to himself he kept watching his sleeping mate. On the smooth tattooed skin of his back there were no signs of the bloody wounds Jim’s fangs tore into that tasty flesh the night before once they managed to get back from the celebration at the burning witch hideout. Just to celebrate some more with the rest of the clan who’d stayed at home. His own skin was flawless by then too and he had to smile again remembering how they both renewed their claim marks in their drunken and passionate stupor. It was a day he’d never forget, for sure.
Just like the rest of the clan. Jim’s smile softened as he remembered how Pauly and the other kids welcomed the victorious group with huge hugs and wanted to hear everything. They were drinking in Mick’s – sometimes slightly exaggerated – tales as he was sitting on some huge pillows, the kids and some of the adults surrounding him with food and drinks. Corey and Jim were listening to him for a while too and they both noticed and felt the difference in the other beast. He had a mate now so Jim was already thinking about sitting down with Cristina and Stacey to talk over this new situation, because probably she’d join this clan and move in to the Grays rather than the other way. Either way, even if because of the difference in their breed they wouldn’t be able to mate like Corey and Jim did, it filled the mates’ heart with joy that Mick finally found his fitting pair.
As he was sitting there on the bed, silently admiring his mate, Jim finally felt complete. He was so very far from that negative, depressed and emotionally dead demon he used to be while living his life of lies in the Bloodstone clan. Looking back the road was fucking bumpy and there were things – like the after effects of his torture – that he still had to get over, but he never wanted to forget it either, because of what it had taught him about his own strength and the strength of their love.
All in all, he knew that fate knew better. Jim had to be set free, no matter how reluctant he was for quite a while when he unexpectedly bonded with Corey. Of course he could’ve blamed that on the mind-block he had back then, but that wasn’t all. The pain the block could cause him wasn’t the only thing that wanted to make him back down from accepting their bond. It was also about his insecurities and the unknown, stepping out from his comfort zone, the life he’d got used to. To embrace the changes and the new life he was given by Corey and his clan. A better life.
Now, after everything they’d gone through, Jim dared to believe that he was worth to be saved. Because that’s how he felt in this new life with the clan, Corey and their son: set free and saved. And loved. Corey… Corey was the best choice he’d ever made. If we don’t count the bond and its effect on him, Jim still had to make that serious decision: staying with his new mate or severing the bond. He chose Corey instead of staying the Negative One.
And what a mate he’d gained with that choice!
Letting his satisfied eyes slowly roam over every inch of that mouthwatering body, Jim had to take a deep calming breath before sipping from the coffee and taking another drag from his cigarette. But Corey being his type in men was beside the point now. Cor’s heavy past, the strength to survive it and move forward, that driving force, the beast, the leader and shaman… all that was beneath the physical form of his mate and he never ceased to amaze Jim. Even the cocky and mouthy little fucker he could become and whom Jim wanted to just simply spank good… Jim loved that in him too. Fuck, he was in love from head to toe… He’d have never thought that he’d be able to feel so many emotions at once. But he did. And he liked it. He never felt so alive like when he was with his mate. Or now when he felt as if his heart was going to burst with his love for this little fucker. Even if it sounded cheesy and Cor would probably tease the shit out of him if he knew. He probably did, but whatever…
The point was that no one had ever loved and cherished Jim like Corey did. Even their small fights didn’t bother Jim. It was part of the package, so to say. Besides they always ended with awesome make up sex, so he couldn’t really complain. No, Corey accepted and loved all of him and that indeed made Jim feel special. And he knew he wouldn’t get that from anyone else. It was something Jim swore to himself to try returning every single fucking day.
Fuck, Corey was turning him into some emotional chick or something… He chuckled to himself as he stubbed his cig out then drank some more coffee.
But then again… maybe it wasn’t just Jim. Maybe Corey was the Negative One too before they’d met. Maybe they were both set free and saved. By each other.
“It's all you...” Corey murmured on a deep sleepy voice, turning and opening his eyes half-way at his mate. “Where's my coffee, my lovesick wifey?” he chuckled at Jim's face. It seemed the tall demon hasn’t realized that he was not fully sleeping and also "heard" all that long litany of thoughts.
Having mercy on him the beast sat up and kissed him lovingly as he took the coffee mug from the big hand with a naughty grin. “I love you too, you know… And glad that you became my mate. But you won't write lyrics with these fluffy thoughts, that's for sure...”
“Shut up, fucker…” Jim murmured then grinned down adoringly at the little thief. “You love my fluffy thoughts,” he added, watching him drink the stolen coffee. “Anyways, we have a busy day ahead with starting the practice for the tour… But first…” Jim took the empty mug to put it on the floor then pushed Corey onto his back, lying his long body on top of him. “We have some time to kill until the others wake up…” and with that he leaned down to kiss the living shit out of his mate.
Follow-up one-shot: Circle
Full sized picture HERE