Chapter 17 : family drama
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“Get back here. You can’t be finding out that you’re my kinsman and then just go stomping off,” Dageus snapped at Godric’s broad retreating back.
“Watch me,” the towering barbarian flung over his shoulder.
To the waitress, he ordered in Voice, “Make our food to go. We shall return for it anon. You will not speak of me or my woman to anyone.”
Banding an arm around the curvaceous, honey curled haired woman’s shoulder, he steered her toward the door.
“We have much yet to do before meeting your friend, lass.”
Dageus watched in disbelief as his ancestor, Godric Gryffindor, he was assuming it had to be the ninth century Godric Gryffindor standing before him, for he’d never heard of any other Gryffindor with that name, prepared to stalk off into the Highlands morn without so much as a “fare-thee-well.” Without even having offered a “good-morrow, kinsman,” for that matter.
He walked away without so much as a blethering word of clanly tidings, and without a single explanation for this incomprehensible happenstance!
Furthermore, the man was indiscriminately using Voice, left and right, as if no rules applied to him whatsoever.
“I assume you’ll be paying for that,” Dageus said pointedly.
“Ye assume wrong.”
With that, the massive, wild looking, tattooed Highlander guided the woman out the door, the waitress hurrying to get their order together for their return.
Dageus glowered at the closing door. Merlin, his ancestor was a savage! The legends had obviously perceived him in a better light than reality because of his many accomplishments of the time. From Dageus point of view Godric looked uncontrollable, and the power he sensed in him was amazing.
It was clear that raw, rich, potent magic flowed through the man’s veins, and not blood.
What was he doing here? How had he gotten here? Where had he been for the past eleven centuries? Who was the woman with him?
He had tried probing her while she had stood at Godric’s side, but had encountered some kind of sleek, smooth barrier. Maybe she practices Occumlency?
“Drustan’s not going to like this,” he muttered darkly. “Nay, he’s not going to like it at all.”
If a willingness to sacrifice everything for those he loved characterized Dageus, an abiding, unrelenting honor and desire for a simple life uncomplicated by magic characterized his elder twin Drustan.
When he heard tell of this latest news, Drustan would undoubtedly try to blame him for this disaster. There was no way he was taking the blame for the sudden appearance of their controversial and famous ninth century ancestor. Just because he had been recently reading up on him did not mean that he had somehow summoned him up.
He rubbed his jaw, frowning, wishing he could be entirely certain of that last fact. There had been that time right after he turned 20 where he inadvertently summoned the spirits of some evil wizards while reading about them within the standing stones.
Once loose the spirits had tried to possess him, probably sensing the large amount of power that ran through his veins. It had been his willingness to sacrifice his life to save his family that helped to remove the spirits and send them back to where they belonged.
Overall it had been a disaster of epic portions that his twin brother never let him forget about. Every time something went wrong that involved magic, his brother looked to him.
Especially since his brother had warned him not to read the book, and not to practice spell work with the standing stones.
It had been some time before he realized that, although the possession of the evil souls was brief it had left a mark on him. It was as if his brain now held more knowledge than it should.
In turn each day he discovered something new about himself. Lately he had even caught himself muttering bits of a spell beneath his breath that he’d never read or practiced, and he knew he’d somehow plucked it from the endless vaults of knowledge now inside of him.
So the possibility that he inadvertently used a spell to call up his ancestor was a possibility. If he had, this was his fault and he had to fix it.
If he hadn’t, he still had to do something. He couldn’t just let the oversized heathen stalk and stomp about their Highlands, using Voice on all and sundry, stealing goods from simple merchants honestly endeavoring to support their clansmen.
As if you’ve never stolen anything, his conscience jabbed.
“Aye, but I always gave it back, eventually.” He didn’t think Godric Gryffindor had any intention of making eventual amends. He didn’t look like an eventual amends kind of man.
Sighing, he tucked the box containing the apple pie that Jenna had requested safely beneath his arm and walked out the door after his ninth century ancestor.
As he stepped into the sunny Highland morn, he looked left, and then right. He spied neither hide nor hair of Godric. Back at the castle, his five month pregnant wife awaited him. Pregnancy suited his lovely Jenna like a Highlander’s wet dream; she was even more amorous of late, and she was quite the lovely vision.
He was of no mind to be separated from her for long. They’d planned a hike in the hills today and a leisurely picnic. It was warn enough today that there was no chance that she might catch some chill. He was of no mind to alter his plans to accommodate this recent unexpected development. A highly unexpected development, at that.
Drustan, remember our ancestor, Godric, who I was talking about the other day after finding that journal about him under the study flag stones? Well, uh, he’s here.
He shook his head, muttering a string of curses. He thought for a moment, absently watching the still fully compelled waitress through the diner window pack up his ancestor's food order.
It was obvious that his ancestor didn't understand that in this century there were rules against such magic.
Irritated he turned away, his attention catching on a black SUV parked in front of the diner.
Curious he moved closer to the vehicle and peered into the windows of the SUV. He blinked and then blinked again, very slowly, keeping his eyes closed for a moment before opening them. It was still there.
Pulling out his wand, he unlocked the door to the SUV, and reached in to push aside the blanket that was half concealing the object. Another string of curses spilled from his lips.
However, the proof of it was right there before his very eyes. He’d never seen it before, he never thought to see it, but here is was the fabled Dark Glass. How in the world did my legendary ancestor get possession of one of the forbidden Faery objects? With that, how is he alive and here in present day?
The situation was far grimmer than he’d thought. Rubbing his jaw, he pondered his options. They were few. He’d felt the power in his ancestor. He didn’t delude himself for a moment that he’d be able to subdue him with magic, unless he called on some truly dark stuff, which was something he really didn’t want to do.
He couldn’t hope to use brute force without the possibility of innocent bystanders getting caught in the fray, especially not if the formidable Wizard simply lashed out with a spell to stop him and yet he needed to get the man to Griffin Castle.
Once there, mayhap together he and Drustan could bind him, question him, discover what was going on, and what to do about it. His glaze slid back to the Dark Glass.
It exerted an unpleasant pull on him. It made him hunger to touch it. He’d heard tell that the Dark Objects tended to have such a dangerous effect on men with power in their veins. He’d never experienced it before and hoped not to again. He felt both a constant, irresistible urge to reach for it, and also a bone deep chill warning him away.
Eyeing it warily, the simplest solution occurred to him. One that would keep him need to touch it to a minimum. His ancestor wasn’t the only one who could use Voice. Dageus excelled at it too. Though he doubted he could outright contradict anything his ancestor had commanded, he was fair certain he could work around it.
Walking back into the diner, he borrowed a pen and paper from the compelled waitress and scribbled the address of Gryffin Castle and the spell that will allow them to get past the main gate.
“You will give him these keys, and direct him to that vehicle.” He compelled the waitress handing her his own set of keys and then pointed out the window to the vehicle he’d recently purchased. The waitress nodded blankly.
Dageus had no doubt his ancestor would come, sword swinging, to reclaim the Dark Glass. The man was fiercely aggressive by nature and, given that he was freely dabbling with black arts, he would be even more so. Like as not, he’d be dangerously violent.
He and Drustan would be wise to get Jenna, Gwen, and Drustan’s young twins out of the castle. He walked over to his vehicle and made sure to leave his address where the Highlander was sure to see and then walked back over to the SUV.
Carefully, without making contact with the glass, he rearranged the blanket over the mirror. Then, circling round to the driver’s side of the SUV, Dageus placed Jenna’s pie unto the passenger’s seat, climbed in, pointing his wand at the steering wheel, fired up the engine, and headed for home.
“But he’s your descendant, for Merlin’s sake!” Hermione exclaimed. “How can you just walk away from him?”
The moment she’d seen the man “Dageus” scowling at Godric, she’d been struck by their sameness. The more convinced she’d become that they had to be related somehow. Though Godric’s descendant had been dressed in expensive, tailored black trousers, a black turtleneck, and a buttery soft leather jacket, though he’d been well groomed and polished, his civilized appearance had failed to conceal an innate primitiveness that was just like Godric’s.
She’d tried to point it out, but they were kindred even in their edgy tempers and excess testosterone. She’d not been able to spit the whole sentence out because they’d kept talking over her. She’d continued her assessment, periodically attempting to interject her thoughts, to no avail.
Both had long reddish brown hair, both had strong, chiseled Celtic features, both had arrogance shaping the very curve of their spine, conquest in the cant of their heads upon their shoulders, and an extra something running in their veins besides very blue, very pure blood.
Both had a base of seething sexuality. Both had powerful, highly developed physiques, and there was no denying it, Dageus was incredible looking. However Godric was more man than his descendant, rawer and more elemental. Dageus was leaner and prettier. Godric was larger, rough, tough, down and dirty, hands down sexier.
“Hey, wait for me!” she called, sprinting to catch up with him. While she’d been mulling over her thoughts, he’d stalked off again. He was disappearing from her view down the jeans aisle.
For a man from the ninth century, he was a quick study. Upon entering the store, he’d eyed a cart glancing around at the other customers, snatched it, and begun pushing up and down aisles, examining the different clothing items, selecting various items and tossing them in.
Levi’s yea!! Hermione took two pairs of Levi’s down from the shelf as she sped by, caught up with him, and dumped them in the cart.
“Aren’t you the least little bit curious about him?” she pressed.
He grunted. “Now is not the time for new beginnings, lass.” He cast the words over his shoulder at her with a scowl. “I’ll make none.”
Though she tried to hide it, a flicker of hurt flashed across her face. No new beginnings, I knew that and it shouldn’t bother her. It wasn’t as if they were making a new beginning or anything like that.
They were just stuck with each other for a while. He wanted sex from her, nothing more, and this morning, he’d not even wanted that. She was merely his means of remaining free from Salazar until he could have his vengeance. For that matter he was merely her means of staying alive.
He couldn’t have made his feelings any plainer, really. Since the train station, all she’d gotten in the way of a kiss had been a stupid peck on the forehead that a chicken could have done better. However, like an idiot, she’d begun reading more into things than was actually there.
They were forced to share close quarters, there was danger, and it was just making everything feel more intense than it was. On top of it, the man was devastatingly sexy, powerful, smart, and magic. Who could blame a girl?
No new beginnings, it shouldn’t bother her, but it did. She tried to turn away, but his hand flashed out and caught her by the chin.
“Let me go,” she snapped.
“Nay,” his grip was implacable on her jaw.
There was little point in fighting for control of her face; he could have hoisted her into the air with that one big hand on her jaw, if he had wished, and there were too many muggles around for her to fix stunning him.
He searched her gaze a long silent moment. “You truly doona ken it, do you? Expecting with you, Hermione. You, lass, are the exception to everything,” he said softly.
As if he’d not just knocked the breath out of her with those words and left her feeling weak kneed, he released her chin, turned away, and began pushing the cart again.
Hermione stood in the aisle, gaping after him. Then she broke into a sprint and caught him again. Closing a hand on his forearm, she tugged him to a stop.
“You mean, you’re not just stuck with me? You like me?” She wanted to kick herself the moment she blurted the stupid question.
His gaze was dark with some unfathomable emotion as he stared down at her. She stared, trying to determine what it was. It was an emotion she’d seen several times before, and at the oddest moments. It was regret, she realized abruptly.
A subtle yet bottomless sorrow in those beautiful, darkly lashed eyes, but what was he regretting, and why at this moment, as opposed to any other? It made no sense to her!
Suddenly he smiled, and the sadness was vanquished by whisky heat.
“Aye, Hermione, I like you. I’m not just stuck with ye. Ye fit me here, woman.” He thumped his chest with his fist.
Then he shook her hand from his forearm and pushed off with the cart again. Hermione watched him more down the aisle, all sleek animal muscle and dark grace.
Wow, he wasn’t a man of many words, but when he used them, he certainly used the right ones.
It was how she’d always thought a relationship should be. People should fit each other: some days like sexy, strappy high heeled shoes, and other days like comfortable loafers, but always a good fit. If you cared about someone, they should be the exception to everything; the number one priority, the one who came before all others.
He was halfway down the aisle from her now, plucking a sweater down from the shelf. As she watched, he examined the sweater intently, and then returned it to the shelf and chose another, repeating his thorough study of it.
The contrast between his rough, tough guy appearance and the domestic act he was performing did funny things to her head. She had a sudden, breathtaking vision of a dark haired little boy sitting in the seat of the cart, laughing up at Godric, grabbing at his swinging braids with chubby little fists, while his daddy inspected baby clothing.
Her mind’s eye picture of sexy, strong man with beautiful, helpless child made something soft and warm blossom behind her chest. Just then, two women sashayed around the corner, toting lingerie on their arms. They were about her age, model slim and very pretty.
When they saw Godric, their eyes widened and they did double takes.
Her soft and warm feeling popped with the abruptness of a balloon bursting. As they made their way down the aisle toward her, the nerve of them, they turned around three more times to check out his butt.
Her hands fisted. A thundery little storm began to brew. Unfortunately the women ruined the beginnings of a perfectly good brood by smiling at her and whispering in a sisterly, conspiratorial manner as they passed, “Heads up, sweetie, major eye candy ahead. Check it out.”
As they moved into the next aisle, Hermione blew out a gusty sigh. They’d just had to be nice.
Crossing her arms, she glared at Godric’s butt. Did it have to be so perfect? Couldn’t he have been a little shorter? Maybe he should cut his hair. No, she amended hastily, she loved his hair. It was sexy and silky, and she really wanted to see it without all those braids in once.
Something in her stomach did a flip flop. It wasn’t a comfortable feeling. It was a scary feeling. The dratted green eyed monster had gotten her again. She felt downright possessive of him, like he was hers or something. What was happening to her?
Godric turned just then and glanced back at her. His eyes narrowed. His hot gaze swept her from head to toe. He wet his lower lip, caught the tip of his tongue between his teeth, and flashed her a wicked smile.
His expression could not have more clearly said, “The moment I get through doing what must be done, I’m going to be all over you, woman.”
She brightened. “Okay,” she said, nodding agreeably.
It was looking like it might just turn out be a banner day in Hermione’s world, after all. He tossed his dark head back and laughed, his gaze glittering with lust and unconcealed masculine triumph.
He was still laughing when he disappeared.
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