Raven's Cry

BY : FlameWolf
Category: 1 through F > Crow, The
Dragon prints: 251
Disclaimer: I don’t own anyone or anything from ‘The Crow’ franchise. This is just for fun and no profit will be made from this.

Author’s Note:  Just a tragic scene in a cesspool of a city.  A scene most will not remember or even know about, save one man.



 

Raven’s Cry

 

By: FlameWolf



 

    Tears mix with the rain, a lone figure sitting on the sidewalk while fog curls around them like a living thing.  It’s been a year, yet all the events are fresh in her mind. Maybe that’s why the city’s dreary weather seemed appropriate where it would have normally annoyed her.  Still, the rain in and of itself was painful; bringing memories of a song by one of her dearest friends. Closing her eyes, she tilted her head back into the downpour; rain mixing with the tears rolling down her gaunt cheeks while she travelled down memory lane.  To a time that was both worse and better. A time she had been just another face wasting away in the alleyways and she had long given up on human kindness.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Four Years Ago~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    A shuddering lump that seemed to be made out of several remains of blankets and various clothes huddles in the furthest corner of the alley, trying to find any protection from the neverending rain.  Its only a pair of voices incessantly conversing near the heap that causes any signs of life. Slowly, cautiously, a dirty face surrounded by matted, black hair pokes out of the self made sanctuary. “...have to at least try.  Whoever it is could die in this cold,” urged a concerned, female voice that filled the dweller of the rags with confusion. A male sigh responded before footsteps approached the occupied pile.

    Then they were kneeling down, dark eyes meeting the feral gaze of someone who had been on the streets for far too long and had been badly misused by them.  Wide, fearful green eyes stared up at him from a filth covered face, the greasy, matted, uncombed hair making it impossible to tell the gender of the person.  “Hey,” breathed soft baritone, making the shadow of a human flinch back instinctually. It seemed they were expecting to be hit, suspicion clear in their wild gaze.

    “Easy, my girlfriend and I don’t want to hurt you,” soothed the quiet voice from before, holding a strange tone the person hadn’t heard in a long time.  Then the man looming over the rags was holding up his hands to show they were empty, grimacing when the shuddering homeless person shrank away.

    “Eric...,” husked the female voice from earlier, sounding strangely nasally and just a bit clogged.

    “I know Shelly but we can’t spook her.  Poor thing’s frightened to death,” murmured the stranger, taking the hidden female off guard.  How on Earth had he known her sex while she had been hidden under this pile?

    Wanting to shrink back into her home until the couple had gone away or had finished teasing her, the young woman began to shake uncontrollably.  “Back up just a bit hun. I think two of us is too much for her at the moment,” advised the dark haired man in front of her, the glint of the sun drawing her gaze to the leather jacket hanging off his torso.  Eyes travelling to his face again, she found herself taking him in for the first time since he had started talking to her. His face was pale as well as handsome, holding some vaguely asian features that told of his heritage.

    “Wanna come in from the cold for a bit?  We can give you a warm meal, a shower and a place to get some rest,” husked an offer she was almost certain she had hallucinated.  Staring up at this stranger, she felt something stirring inside her for the first time in a long time. It almost felt a bit like hope.

    Tempted but unwilling to leave the safety of her rags, she craned her head to take in the other person that had accompanied the male.  She was young and pretty, heart-shaped face framed by light red hair. Green eyes met her own steadily, the kindness in them helping set her at ease.  Shuffling free of the scraps she had painstakingly gathered over the years, the long neglected female was shocked when the man placed his coat over her skeletal shoulders.  “Good. That’s a brave girl. Let’s get you inside,” purred in her ear before she found herself being ushered into the apartment building she had been camping beside.

    In a matter of moments, the rag covered woman found herself in a rather humble, studio apartment.  While being rather sparse on furniture, the decoration they did have seemed to fit the pair. A large, squishy looking couch took up the center left of the space, a custom guitar leaning against its front.  To the right was a massive, four poster bed. Thin, lacy curtains hung from each steel pillar, giveing a slightly ethereal appearance to the entire thing. Something furry rubbing against her drew her gaze to a long furred, white cat looking up at her with blue eyes.

    Leaning down slowly, she offered the feline her hand; smiling when he simply headbutted her hand.  “I see Gabriel introduced himself. Glad you like cats,” husked the man from behind her while the woman ran to the meager kitchen they possessed.  Then he too was entering the abode, leaving the small shadow they had brought in with them feeling a bit displaced. Everything looked so clean, she would hate to get any of the filth covering her on anything.

    “Make yourself at home,” came an offer from the kitchen, the woman smiling at her with an abnormal amount of gentleness.  It was almost like the female was an angel brought to Earth. Though, given what had happened so far, she wouldn’t be surprised if it was true.

    Moving to the couch, she carefully moved the instrument that was against it to one side.  Last thing she wanted to do was knock it over or worse. Taking a seat, she smiled when Gabriel hopped up to join her.  Scratching behind his ears, she felt herself begin to relax. Something about the atmosphere made her feel safe. Made her forget the past few years of having to eat from dumpsters.  “Have some cocoa to warm you up,” murmured a quiet baritone to her left, making her jolt slightly as her head turned to look at the possible assailant.

    When she only saw the man from earlier, she carefully took the hot mug from his hand.  Allowing the heat to warm her numb hands, she blew on the steaming, brown liquid within before taking a sip.  Warmth exploded inside her body, eyes slipping close while she was transported back to a time when her grandma or mom would be giving her cocoa after playing in the snow all day.  She was unaware of the man next to her watching her every expression thoughtfully. What she did notice was a weight sinking down a couch cushion next to her.

    Scooting away from the stranger instinctually, she grinned a bit apologetically while taking another sip of the cocoa.  The woman from earlier came to stand behind him, kind, sad eyes meeting her own. “What’s your name?” the unknown female asked, taking her more than a bit off guard.  It had been so long since she had used her name that she couldn’t remember what it was. Hands tightening on the mug she held, the rag covered female furrowed her brow as she did her best to remember.  She had a name once.  Everyone did when they were born.

    “Hey, if you can’t remember right now its okay.  We’ll just have to think of something to call you until you do,” the man murmured, still smiling kindly.

    “Though, we really haven’t introduced ourselves,” the woman behind him whispered while a light chuckle.

    Letting out a quiet rumble of laughter, the man brushed his lips against the woman’s knuckles before turning back to her.  “Name’s Eric Draven. This is Shelly Webster, my fiance,” he introduced, finally giving an identity to the kind faces that had taken her in.  If only for the night. Nodding, the homeless woman set down her drink as Gabriel crawled back into her lap; curling into a purring ball. Running a thin hand through his soft fur, she felt more memories tickle in the back of her head.  Pictures of a black cat she had cared for like her own child. Pictures of her eventually having to give him to a trusted friend when she was kicked out of her apartment.

    Feeling wetness slide down a grimy cheek, she touched the moisture; a bit stunned to see she was crying.  It had been so long since she had done such a thing that she thought she had forgotten how. Then a pair of strong arms was pulling her into a hug while Shelly took a seat behind her.  “Shhh, you’re alright now. Even if you can’t speak and you don’t know your name, you’ll be okay,” assured a soothing baritone from above her while the woman behind her began rubbing her back.  Shuddering, the stunned female felt herself slowly relax as she started to feel safe, truly safe.

    “Now, let’s get you all cleaned up and in some actual clothes.  You’ll feel a lot better afterward,” Eric suggested before they were all getting up.

    Taking the lead, Shelly lead her to a tiny bathroom with a shower right next to the toilet and sink.  While the size of a broom closet, it was the most beautiful thing she had seen in years. Yet, she kept looking over her shoulder for the strange man.  The one that had made her feel safe the moment their eyes had met. Catching her gaze from across the room, he closed the distance to join them in the already crowded room.  Smiling at both her and his beloved, he left the door open so they could at least remove their clothes. Tossing them outside the room, Eric closed the door before turning on the shower wordlessly.

    Ushering her into the shower, the pair sandwiched her while they helped her wash.  Years of muck rolled off her body, turning the water running off her a distressing black.  “Poor dear. You’ve been out there for so long,” cooed a female voice in her ear while two pairs of hands continued to wash away the evidence of her rough life.  Yet, as the layers of dirt were washed away, more marks were uncovered. Scars resembling bitemarks and knife cuts littered her back, telling the pair just how abused she had been by their city.

    Rather than being ashamed or trying to hide the marks, the young woman didn’t even seem to notice.  Sniffling as she fought back tears, Shelly set aside the loofa so she could work on the other woman’s knotted, matted hair.  There were literal clumps of heaven knew what wound into a large amount of the mats and it was hard work just getting the mess damp enough to shampoo.  Doing her best not to hurt the homeless female, the angel in human form managed to finally pry apart some of the mats. With a lot of patience as well as some help from Eric, the hair was finally in a state where a comb could be run through it.

    Not seeming to mind the pain of the brush pulling through years of neglect, the silent female simply closed her eyes and smiled.  With her condition, it was apparent it had been years since she had received any form of decent treatment. Let alone felt any form of affection, even platonic.  She was so absorbed in just enjoying human contact, she didn’t notice the pair meeting gazes over the top of her head. “Its a bit tight but... we’d like you to stay with us.  You obviously have nowhere to go,” Eric husked, making her green eyes pop open once more. Looking from one savior to the next, she began to cry silent, happy tears; leaning into Shelly as the other woman’s arms wrapped around her.

    Making a soft noise of pleasure, he pressed his lips to her forehead before turning off the flow of water.  Then the pair was dressing her, Eric’s jeans hanging off her hips as Shelly’s were far too tight. Taking a shirt from the other woman, the homeless female slipped it over her torso; relishing the feeling of clean cloth against clean skin.  “Now... for a name,” husked a baritone in her left ear while a large hand played with her ebony hair.

    “Raven.  After her hair color,” came a gentle suggestion to her right as she was led back to the small room that was living room, bedroom and kitchen all in one.

    A light chuckle came from Eric, dark eyes glimmering as he sat on the couch with their new roomie.  “Might as well call her Ebony or Midnight at that rate. Still, Raven does seem to suit her. What do you think?” he asked, the mere fact they were allowing her to make her own decisions making her feel even more off balance.  Licking her lips, the nameless woman gave a shy nod while Gabriel resumed his previous position in her lap.

    “That settles that, it seems.  I’m going to go help Shelly with some dinner.  Just try to relax,” purred a gentle proposition before he was getting up to join his partner in the kitchen.

    Watching the couple for a few seconds, she still found it hard to believe that the other shoe hadn’t dropped yet.  By now, she would have been either beaten or raped. Instead, both these people were acting like she was a close friend or even one of their family.  Wishing she could say something to express how grateful she was, the newly dubbed Raven made up her mind to earn her keep. While she would be unable to work for the time being, she would at least be able to help keep the place clean while her saviors were gone.  Maybe even cook, if she could manage to make something without burning the place down.

    Finally noticing the plate that was being held in front of her, the mute female took it with a grateful smile.  Baked chicken legs sat on her plate, accompanied by a buttery pile of mashed potatoes as well as a pile of golden corn.  It was the most real food she had seen in years. Carefully shooing Gabriel off her lap so she could put her food there, she began to eat with gusto.  While some part of her was embarrassed by her appalling manners, she was far too hungry to really care. Thankfully, the pair that had taken her in understood entirely.

    This city was notoriously one of the hardest to live in and the pair had been through their own share of hardships.  This nameless woman wasn’t the only waif they had taken in due to their own experiences and she wouldn’t be the last.  So, after she had eaten, they set her up with a bed on the couch. Immediately cuddling into her makeshift nest, ‘Raven’ let out yawn while her eyes fluttered closed.  Smiling to eachother, Eric and Shelly moved to their own bed; reading quietly so they wouldn’t disturb their new roommate.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Few Hours Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    In the dark room, quiet whimpers are heard while a shaking figure huddles on the sofa.  Wide, fear filled eyes stare blankly ahead while she rocks herself. One of the forms on the bed shifts, sitting up slowly before walking over to the distraught woman.  She’d had another nightmare, visions of things that had happened long ago and she had shoved into the back of her mind. She was so wrapped up in her own fear, she didn’t notice Eric’s presence until he placed a hand on her right, upper arm.

    Jolting away instinctually, she covered her head and curled into a tight ball; bracing for a beating or worse.  When the dark shape pulled her into a tight hug, she was more than a little surprised, Snapping out of it a bit, she looked up to see the shadowed face of Eric.  Whimpering, she hid her face in his chest; breathing his scent for the first time. It was mellow; a mix of sandalwood, orange peel and a natural musk. Almost immediately, it helped to soothe her; the last of her shaking slowly fading away.  “Shhh, you were just dreaming,” husked his half awake voice while he rubbed her back.

    Whimpering, she nodded but still clung onto him.  It had seemed so real, the fact she couldn’t remember it fully only distressing her more.  Humming softly, he scooped her into his arms; carrying her to the bed he shared with Shelly.  Laying her so she was in the middle, Erice curled protectively around her while his fiance stirred.  Without a word, the other woman also pressed against her; humming softly while the man on her other side pressed his lips to her forehead.  Soon, the pair had her drifting back off; their combined warmth helping to keep the nightmares away for the rest of the night.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One Year Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    It had taken many, long months for the nightmares to stop.  Thankfully, the couple didn’t mind making the damaged female a permanent part of their bed.  In fact, they had insisted on it after her third night waking up in a catatonic state. Especially Eric.  Sensing she was more attached to him, he took it upon himself to ensure her comfort as well as safety. He had even been a bit reluctant to return to work a few days after they had taken her in.  Just going to the store often resulted in him cautioning her to close the door once they were gone.

    Shelly was no different, having taken the stranger under her wing.  She gave the mute woman invaluable instructions on how to cook as well as how to do simple chores.  All things she had long forgotten how to do while on the streets. Soon, she was cooking dinner for them just as she had wanted to on her first night there.  An action that was highly appreciated by her new roomies.

    Today was no different, a pot of spaghetti and sauce boiling on the oven while she waited for the pair to come home.  So, when a knock came from the locked entry; her heart immediately leapt into her throat. While she had lived here, the pair hadn’t had any visitors.  The fact there was someone here now was a frightening anomaly. Approaching the polished wood of the door like it was a viper waiting to strike at her, she looked through the peephole.  Outside was a little girl dressed in tattered clothing, looking filthy as well as rather thin. Blinking, she backed away from the door; opening it cautiously.

    The girl came in like she owned the place, already talking to a pair that wasn’t there.  “Sorry guys. Darla is... Eric? Shelly?” she began, trailing off to an unsure whisper when she realized the pair she was looking for wasn’t in the room.  Turning slowly, she saw a rather stunned Raven staring at her while the door swung shut on its own.

    “Who are you?” the bold child asked, her voice slightly scratchy while she lowered her worn, soaked hood.  Blonde hair fell loose of her ponytail, framing her young face while her blue eyes assessed the silent female before her.

    Wishing she could speak or even write, the mute female known as ‘Raven’ simply shrugged.  Letting out a tsk, the young girl shook her head before setting down the skateboard and backpack she had been carrying.  “Jeez, you must be pretty messed up if you can’t even speak. Name’s Sarah. I’ve been a friend of Eric and Shelly’s for a few years now.  They... they take care of me,” came an explanation that instantly filled the older woman with sympathy. Nodding to show she understood, she motioned to a chair by the counter before returning to the kitchen.

    Watching as the strange female stirred the tomato sauce, Sarah found herself wondering what the woman’s story was.  It was no surprise her friends had taken her in, however. Whoever this person was, they were incredibly screwed up.  Some part of her even wondered if this person would be able to take care of herself. Still, this woman seemed harmless; pausing long enough to get her a glass of chocolate milk from the fridge.  Reaching down to scratch Gabriel when he rubbed against her legs, she was a bit surprised to see a plate of spaghetti when she looked back up.

    The dark haired stranger merely smiled, gesturing at the food before getting her own plate.  Moving into the living room to take a seat on the couch, she began to eat while Sarah eyed her own food.  Finally, the child gathered her plate to join her older companion. They were just picking up their forks to start eating when Eric and Shelly came in through the front door.  “Why was the d... oh, hi Sarah! I see you met Raven,” he began, concern turning to a wide smile while he shut the door behind him. Smiling at the pair on the couch, his fiance went to the kitchen to fetch a plate for the both of them while he made his way to the couch.

    “Is that her name?” the girl questioned, taking a hearty bite of her food and getting sauce all over her face.

    “Actually, we have no idea what her name is.  Shelly and I just decided to call her that until she can tell us what it is,” came a soft response, a large hand coming to ruffle blonde hair.

    Raising a brow, the twelve year old took another bit of her food as she analyzed what she’d been told.  While she was loathe to trust strangers, there had to be a reason her friends were keeping this person around.  Besides, ‘Raven’ didn’t seem like a bad person. Just damaged like the rest of them. “You guys are always picking up strays,” the child remarked with a grin, blue eyes meeting those of the newcomer.

    “And you’re one of our favorites,” Shelly remarked playfully as she pressed a kiss to the top of Sarah’s head.

    Watching as the twelve year old flailed in a good natured manner, ‘Raven’ couldn’t help but smile.  It had been far too long since she had felt so at home, so at ease. Like she was part of the family.  Feeling a heat settle in next to her, she turned her head to see Eric. Dark eyes met green while he smiled softly at her.  “Thanks for taking care of Sarah. She’s like a child to us,” he remarked before twirling some sauce coated pasta around his fork.  Shrugging, the mute female began to eat her own food.

    In her mind, there wasn’t much else she could do.  This kid was obviously someone who had known the pair much longer than she had.  On top of that, she was just a girl. A girl that seemed to be having problems with her own mother.  Still, it wasn’t really any of her business. Leaning into the man beside her, she smiled when Shelly took a seat on her other side.  Ever so slowly, a romantic tension had been building between the three of them. Something the damaged female never thought she would feel again after all the times she had been violated.

    Watching the trio from her position on the chair, Sarah couldn’t help but chuckle quietly.  It seemed like the mystery had been solved. While a bit strange, she wasn’t going to judge any of them for their choices.  After all, if it wasn’t for Eric and Shelly she would have likely been dead or prostituting like her mother by now. Finishing her food, she went to the sink to put her plate away before turning back to glance at the trio.  All three were cuddled closely, Eric placing a gentle kiss on ‘Raven’s’ left temple. Maybe now would be a good time to make her exit. It seemed like they wanted to be alone and she could always go to Albrecht.

    Deciding to take her leave, the twelve year old said a quiet goodbye as she gathered her stuff and left.  Only once they heard the door click shut did they realize they were now alone. “Thanks for making dinner and watching the place while we’re gone,” hummed a baritone in ‘Raven’s’ ear, making her shudder all over while desire began to swirl in her lower stomach.  A soft chuckle came from her right before Shelly was kissing her right cheek.

    “It means a lot to us to know you’ll be there for Sarah too,” sighed the other female, leaning a dark haired head on her shoulder.

    Heart pounding, ‘Raven’ took a breath before tentatively resting her lips on the woman’s head.  Letting out a sigh, the angel in human form leaned into the contact before wrapping a loose arm around her waist.  Not to be outdone, the male to her left began to nibble at her neck; large hands massaging her shoulders. Letting out a soft noise, the female in the middle of the couple leaned her head to one side to allow better access.  “I see you trust us a lot more than you originally did when we initially took you in,” observed a husky voice in her ear before blunt teeth were giving her pulse a gentle bite.

    Whimpering, the unsure woman placed an unsteady hand on Eric’s back while Shelly moved up to nip under her chin.  Some part of her felt she was intruding on the couple’s relationship. The other part just wanted to sit back and allow this to happen.  Since the first night she had been invited to their bed, she had felt a growing attraction to the pair. Especially Eric. “Any time you feel uncomfortable, tap either of us twice and we’ll stop.  We don’t want to take advantage of you,” sighed the voice of the angel in her other ear.

    Shaking her head, ‘Raven’ wished now more than ever that she could speak.  Unfortunately, the ability to form words still hadn’t come back to her. She was beginning to doubt it ever would.  A fact that filled her with a profound sadness. The thought that she would never be able to express her gratitude or her love for this couple had made her cry more than once.  Feeling the telltale closing of her throat even now, she forced herself to focus on what was happening. Right now, the pair were massaging her breasts; each taking care of one by themselves.

    In alternating rubs, they brushed against her nipples; drawing quiet gasps from her lips.  Yet, despite enjoying what was happening, she had no idea how to react to it. Being much more used to being taken by force, she found herself nervous about what they were doing to her.  Let alone the almost foreign feeling of actual lust beginning to tingle in her limbs. As if sensing her discomfort, Eric looked up from his position at her neck to meet her eyes. At the same time, Shelly pulled up as well; showing just how in sync the two were.

    Smiling, the man to her left went in for a soft kiss; his partner following in his wake.  “Its okay. We won’t hurt you,” he assured, Shelly nodding in agreement.

    “After all you have likely been through, the last thing we want to do is traumatize you more,” she whispered, resting her forehead against ‘Raven’s’.

    Overwhelmed with emotion, the woman in the middle closed her eyes while happy tears rolled down her pale cheeks.  She had spent so long on the streets, feeling rejected. It was almost strange to feel this accepted, this wanted.  Wrapping her arms around her saviors, she kissed them both in turn before moving her hands to the hem of her shirt. To her shock, she was stopped by a strong hand and she looked up to see Eric; an oddly starved look to his brown eyes.  “Let us unwrap you,” cooed his gruff voice while more feminine hands replaced hers on her shirt.  In one motion, the article of clothing was removed; revealing her to the pair.

    Rather than try to hide herself, she allowed them to gaze over her.  Soft noises of displeasure escaped them while they traced over scars that littered her front and sides.  Like before, they served as reminders of what had happened to her while on the street. Kissing a rather nasty looking bite scar, Eric let out a particularly angry snarl.  “You don’t have to worry about something like this happening ever again. You’ll always have a home here, even if you decide to move out on your own,” he assured while his fiance kissed ‘Raven’s’ tear-stained cheeks.

    Soon, she found herself laid on the bed; the half asian man hovering over her while his lover locked the apartment door.  “Just relax and enjoy it. I promise you can trust us,” purred his baritone before he resumed playing with her perky breasts.  Of all the parts of her body, they held the most bite scars. Making an animalistic noise, Eric closed his mouth around her right nipple while Shelly crawled back onto the bed.  

“Poor darling.  Such a sweet girl being misused like that...,” the other woman husked in her ear while rubbing the breast her fiance wasn’t occupied with.

    Sighing, ‘Raven’ placed a cautious hand on Shelly’s upper back.  She was rewarded with a kiss under her chin. Strange, pleasant sensations filling her body; the damaged female closed her eyes as she finally stopped struggling against them.  In an instant, the feelings washed over her and a small gasp issued from her lips. Taking that as a sign, Shelly closed her own mouth over an unoccupied nipple; sucking gently while her and Eric’s hands intertwined over the other woman’s stomach.  Burying her hands in their hair, the mute female arched into the couple as a hot coil began to curl tighter in her womb.

    Tongues laving over sensitive flesh, she felt the tingling in her extremities intensify while needy whines left her unconsciously.  A large hand slowly moves down to cup her nethers, callused fingers playing with swollen lips while a strange noise huffs from ‘Raven’s’ lungs.  Shelly’s tongue cups her left bud, rolling it while her hand twines with her fiance’s. Letting out a soft noise, one hot mouth releases her. Letting out a displeased cry, the lust blind woman reaches for Eric; her gaze focusing enough to see him give a firm shake of his head.  Whatever was about to happen, he wanted that part of her to himself for now.

    Chuckling, the angel on her left also let go of the flesh in her mouth; leaning over a shuddering body to kiss her beloved.  Just as the shaking woman below them thought she was going to go mad from the sudden deprivation, a warm heat was closing around her left button once more.  Letting out an almost musical sound, ‘Raven’ placed kisses on Shelly’s forehead in thanks while the weight to her right shifted lower. Next thing she knew, there was something hot and wet covering her womanhood.  Looking down out of simple shock, green eyes met brown while a wolfish smile curled mostly hidden lips.

    A hot, flexible tongue parted soaked folds and she was being flung into depths of pleasure she had never felt before.  Strangled cry leaving her throat, she clutched at Shelly’s hand in a desperate attempt to help anchor herself. Making a soft noise, the female to her left increased suction on the nipple she had in her mouth; fingers flexing around ‘Raven’s’.  Growling, the male between her legs clutched her hips; mercilessly attacking her throbbing clit while she began to wail. Tighter and tighter, the coil within her wound. Until, finally, it exploded into a sweet, yet hot feeling.

    Gasping, she reached for Eric as he crawled his way up her body; nuzzling between her breasts before kissing the tip of her nose.  Beside her, Shelly pulled up as well; kissing her fiance passionately before meeting ‘Raven’s’ eyes. “Try to catch your breath now hun,” sighed out a breathy, kind voice while she reached to brush her beloved’s very obvious erection.  Groaning, the built male closed his dark eyes as his entire body shuddered. Leaning back while his muscled chest heaved, he let out a low snarl as his zipper slowly slid down.

    While the silent female watched, the brunette slipped her hand into her lover’s jean; working his member free of the confining material.  Breathing becoming erratic while his pupils widened, Eric carefully crawled off ‘Raven’ until he had Shelly on her back below him. Taking in a deep breath, he burrowed his face in the right side of his fiance’s neck while she began to move her hands slowly over his member.  Groaning out her name, the shaking male pulled himself out of her hand to rest against her clothed junction.

    Moaning softly, the gorgeous woman under him lifted her lower half to remove her jeans; sliding them over her hips with ease.  Feeling a bit awkward about being around the pair while this was happening, ‘Raven’ found herself torn between watching or excusing herself to the bathroom until she was sure they were done.  The only thing that kept her in place was the suspicion the pair would have asked her to leave if they had wanted her to. Her suspicions were confirmed when both parties looked up at her, as if to make sure she was still there.

    Reaching for her discarded shirt, she got partially dressed while the couple began to kiss passionately.  Lifting one of Shelly’s legs, Eric positioned himself before filling her with a singular thrust. Just the sight of it was enough to make the sated lust within ‘Raven’ rekindle once more.  The pair groaned in unison, taking a moment to savor their union before the male was setting a slow but steady rhythm. Biting her lower lip while the fires within her began to burn high, the shy mute beside them slide a hand beneath the waistband of her panties.  Fingers moving in time with his thrusts next to her, she was soon letting out soft sighs that mixed easily with the other woman’s.

    As if aware of what was going on, the dark haired man began to alternate his movements.  Sometimes moving in small circles and sometimes in short, quick bursts. It wasn’t too long before both Shelly and ‘Raven’ were crying out in unified orgasm.  Stiffening above his fiance, Eric let out a soft noise before rolling so he was lying between both women. Still breathing heavily, he wrapped an arm around each of them; pulling them close so they were curled up on either side of him.  Breathing evening out, the trio slipped into a deep and very peaceful sleep.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One Year Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    Watching as Eric tuned his guitar, ‘Raven’ found herself stunned by the fact he was confident enough to just quit his stable job to pursue his passion.  He had started his band in earnest some time before he had saved her, had even played a few gigs while she’d lived here. Still, she had never thought it was anything more than a hobby.  At least until he had come home, bouncing with excitement due to the announcement sealed behind his lips. Thankfully, Shelly had been in full support. It had taken time for the mute woman to adjust to his constant presence, however.

    It was no secret to the pair their silent ward held a rather large crush for the musician.  A fact Shelly had been amused by and silently encouraged. Some part of the fashion designer hoped the broken female would learn to trust more through the exercise.  Might even regain her powers of speech. Besides, ‘Raven’ seemed to like her as well. Also, it had been entertaining to watch the withdrawn woman act almost like a teenager around the object of her affection.  So, when she had to leave the pair alone for the day, she couldn’t help but smile to herself as the door slid shut.

    Sitting on the chair while Eric began to strum and hum to himself, the silent female found herself feeling more flustered than normal.  While she had thought she was being subtle about the feelings she harbored, the glances he was sending her way every so often were telling her otherwise.  Smirking in a way that heated her blood, the talented guitarist began to sing a song that was quickly becoming their song. Not only did he maintain eye contact the entire time he was singing, he had yet to perform it for anyone but her.  “It can’t rain all the time. The sky won’t fall forever,” he began, his voice low and smooth.

    Closing her expressive eyes, she allowed the lyrics to flow over her.  “And though the night seems long, your tears won’t fall forever,” he continued quietly, the words almost seeming to tell of her tough life.

    “It can’t rain all the time.  The sky won’t fall forever,” repeated his soft voice from a bit closing, making her open her eyes to see him kneeling before her.

    “And though the night seems long, your tears won’t fall forever,” sighed his baritone, almost like an assurance before he was setting his instrument aside to reach for her.

    Blushing, she fought to stay in place while his roughed palm touched her satin soft cheek.  Licking her lower lip, she forced herself to try something she had been practicing for months now.  Something that had taken a surprising amount of effort and she wasn’t quite sure she had mastered. “Eh-ri-k,” she enunciated carefully, painfully, wincing at how horrible the pronunciation sounded.  Then she noticed the man in front of her had frozen in place, a strange look on his handsome, pale face. His almond shaped eyes were wide and he even seemed to have stopped breathing, staring at her like she had grown two heads.

    Beginning to think she had offended him, she began to turn her head to avoid his gaze.  Suddenly, the hand on her cheek shot to her chin; making sure she kept eye contact while he seemed to regain his composure.  “Say it again,” he husked out, his expression gentle despite the firm grip he had on her face. Licking her lips and feeling more than a bit unsure, she tried again.        “Er-ick,” came out this time, making her flush more as embarrassment filled her.  She had tried so hard and she was still getting it wrong when it mattered most.

    To her shock, a soft pair of lips covered hers while strong arms lifted her in the air.  Breaking the liplock to look up at him in astonishment, she sucked in a breath when she saw desire and pure joy shining in his dark orbs.  “You said my name. Of all the things you could have chosen to say first, you chose my name,” purred out of him as he rested his forehead against hers.  Laying her on the bed, he leaned down to take her lips in a loving kiss; laving her lips seductively with his tongue. Opening to him eagerly, she twined her tongue with his while his hand travelled under her shirt.

    “How long have you been working on that one word?  I can only imagine. I just wish I could do more to show my appreciation,” sighed in her ear while his hand travelled up to cup one of her scar covered breasts.

    Gently, his callused index finger brushes over her nipple while a soft sigh escapes her.  Humming in approval, he nipped at her neck while he began to roll the nodule between his thumb and index finger.  Dulled zings of electricity raced through her veins, the familiar feeling of desire building in her center. “Mmm, from your reactions; it seems this is reward enough,” sighed a soft growl before the hand on her breast was coming to rest on her ribs.  Before she could protest, the appendage was moving lower; coming to a stop just above her panties.

    Carefully looking into her eyes, he waited for a sign of consent before continuing.  Taking in a deep breath, she put her all into this final attempt. “Eric,” sighed into the air, soft and husky and more than enough of a sign for him to continue.  With a shudder, he nodded before delving past her waistband.

    “So wet already.  You must really love me,” rumbled an observation that made something inside her shudder with a jolt of fear.

    Gasping, she began to pull away; prompting the musician beside her to reach out with his free hand to catch her wrist.  Meeting her frantic gaze, he smiled while the appendage at her nethers resumed its ministrations. “Its been obvious for awhile but... I had no idea just how much you regarded me,” he purred, smiling kindly while his index and middle fingers slipped into her slick, silky passage.  Letting out an unbidden moan, she renewed her struggles while shaking her head. Last thing she wanted to do was come between this perfect couple.

    Tightening his grip on her, he studied her expression for a few minutes before letting out a low chuckle that had her looking at him in simple astonishment.  “Do you think I would be doing this if I thought for a moment Shelly wouldn’t approve?” he pointed out, his words helping her relax immensely.

    “She fully supports this, even kind of ships us a bit.  Its adorable really. Besides, its not like you haven’t shared our bed many times,” continued his throaty voice as she finally began to allow the lust building within her to roll over her body.

    Some part of her had longed for a time it would just be them but had long ago accepted it could never happen.  She was just some waif they had taken into their home and not a permanent addition to their relationship. Or, so she had thought.  What Eric told her had her reconsidering a few things. “To tell the truth, I’ve come to care for you quite a bit myself,” cooed in her ear, causing her heart to stutter in her chest while a terrible hope filled her.  Meeting his dark eyes while he removed his hand from between her legs, she couldn’t help but think she had heard wrong.

    Then he was cupping her face, not caring about the dampness of the fingers on his right hand.  Taking in the smell of herself while he pressed his forehead against hers, ‘Raven’ took an unsteady breath while her heart hammered away in her chest.  “You’ve been special since the day we took you in. It wasn’t hard to fall in love with you,” came a confession that made her heart leap into her throat.  Tears welling in her eyes, she reached for the guitarist; letting out a soft sigh of his name while her lips brushed his cheek.

    Growling softly, he moved down so his lips were there instead.  Lapping at her lips once more, he pushed her down into the mattress as she opened to him.  On instinct alone, her legs spread for him; allowing him to nestle against her junction with a content sigh.  “I think you’re a little over dressed for this occasion, don’t you?” rumbled from above her before he was helping her to sit up so he could remove her shirt.  Pants and underwear followed soon after, leaving her bare before him.

    Admiring her body with dilated eyes, Eric slid off his own shirt before reaching for his skin tight jeans.  Reaching forward with an unsteady hand, ‘Raven’ stopped his movements. Looking down at her with confusion clear on his face, she nibbled her lip while a light blush colored her cheeks.  This first time they would have alone, she wanted to be the one to undo his pants. After all, there was no guarantee this would ever happen again. Seeming to understand her nonverbal signals, he removed his hands to watch her with dark eyes.  Taking a deep breath, she carefully placed her hands on his chest first.

    Despite how much she trusted Shelly, it had always felt awkward to touch the woman’s fiance in a sexual manner while she was in the same bed.  This would be the first time she would be able to touch Eric without feeling that slight bit of guilt in the back of her head. Running her hands over his pecs, she was a bit surprised by how smooth his skin was.  Trailing them lower, she explored his defined abs with her fingertips; relishing his sharp intake of breath. Yet, he did nothing to hurry her exploration; hungry orbs observing her every move.

    Eventually she reached the rim of his jeans, a very obvious bulge standing out under the taut fabric.  Timidly, she reached for the anomaly; giving it a very gentle brush with her fingertips. A breathy groan issued from above her, lithe hips leaning into her touch.  Yet, he still said nothing despite his very obvious need. Panting heavily while his arms shuddered, he met her eyes steadily; silently urging her to continue. Being careful to maintain eye contact, she pressed her palm against his throbbing member.  Hissing, he tilted his head back; gritting his teeth while he fought to maintain control over himself.

    Deciding to take mercy on him, she undid the button before lowering his zipper.  Reaching into the tight denim, she pulled his rather impressive, uncircumcised erection free.  Letting out a huff of relief that was mixed with a sound of anticipation, almost black eyes snapped open to meet hers once more.  Instead of the kind warmth she was used to, there was now an animalistic hunger that made her skin tingle in the best way. Feeling a sudden burst of confidence, she gave him a rather saucy smirk before placing a kiss on his tip.

    Time seemed to freeze while his hands tightened in the sheets below them and he sucked in a ragged breath.  Seeming torn between continuing to allow her to do as she pleased and just taking over, Eric closed his eyes again while a muscle twitched in his pale cheek.  Both emboldened and a bit intimidated by his reaction, she bravely closed her mouth over his head. Running her tongue experimentally between his foreskin and tip, she was rewarded with a breathy hiss of her name while an unsteady hand came to rest on the top of her head.  Looking up she saw black had completely overtaken his eyes and a fine sheen of sweat now coated his skin.

    Ebony bangs hanging in his sculpted face, he breathed heavily through flared nostrils while she continued to explore his tumescent flesh.  Moving her tongue to the underside, she applied a small bit of suction while taking him in bit by bit. Eventually she wasn’t able to take anymore without gagging.  Wondering what to do next, the inexperienced female lapped at the hardened flesh she had in her mouth. It was salty, musty and a little unpleasant. Yet, she found she couldn’t get enough of it.

    Growling quietly, Eric tightened his grip in her hair; his breathing sounding more strained than earlier.  Of their own accord, his hips thrust forward; giving her a clue for what she had to do next. Letting out a soft sigh around his member, she began to move up and down slowly.  “Ah, fuck,” snarled from above her, the hand leaving her head to grip the sheets once more. Taking this as a positive sign, she increased her speed. Suddenly, a glob of salty liquid dribbled onto her tongue; the texture making her curious enough pull off the shuddering man to see what it was.

    A white substance was leaking out of his now angry looking tip and his breathing had taken on a much more ragged cadance.  Touching the odd fluid, she was a bit surprised by how warm and thick it was. Letting out another, more primal noise, the musician in front of her reached up to cup her cheek with a shaky hand.  “I need you Raven,” husked out of him, setting her entire body on fire. Then he was leaning forward to take her lips in a passionate, needy kiss. Opening to him, she laid back on the mattress while he came up to cage her with his defined arms.

    “Please baby, say I can have you now,” rasped a plea when he broke the kiss to meet her gaze.  His hardness was pressed against the seat of her panties and every muscle in his body shook with the effort of holding himself back.  Still, he waited for her consent.

    Reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck, she nodded as a husk of his name passed her lips.  Releasing a soft groan that was colored by both pain and need, he pulled back to remove the rest of both their clothes.  Then he was on her, placing himself at her eager entrance. Making sure to keep eye contact, he thrust forward. Gasping as pain and pleasure lit her system, ‘Raven’ tilted her head back while she tried to relax as much as possible.  An action that would aid both of them in the long run.

    Pausing while soft growls escaped him every exhale, Eric began to kiss her neck while he allowed her body to adjust.  “So tight,” rumbled an approving baritone while the sensations inside her went from mild discomfort to something more... urgent.  Moaning softly, she gave him a gentle squeeze with her inner walls; smirking when he bit down out of instinct. Laving his tongue on the small mark he had left, he began a slow rhythm that had her toes curling.  What felt like white fire filled her limbs and all she could do was hold on while colors exploded in front of her eyes.

    While this was far from her first experience with sex, this was the first time it had ever felt like this.  It was almost more than she could bear, yet she didn’t want to stop.  Felt like she would die if that happened, in fact. Running blunt nails down his muscled back, she let out a strangled cry of his name when he began to go faster.  Soft snarls mixed with hot breath hit her ear, driving the strange flames inside her higher and higher. Crying out for the man above her, she fell into oblivion; Eric close on her heels.

    Rolling so he wouldn’t land on top of her, he scooped her into his arms; burrowing his lips in the hair on the top of her head.  “Can’t wait to tell Shelly about you saying my name. She’ll be thrilled,” purred a sleepy voice, the words making her snap back to reality.  Turning to face him, she gave a shake of her head. As much as she loved the other woman, she wanted this to be something just for them. It was a small thing but she wanted it just the same.  Raising a brow, Eric gave a small nod before pressing his lips against her sweaty forehead.

    “Okay, it can be our secret for as long as you want it to be,” he cooed, large hand running over her midnight hair in a soothing manner.

    Soon, she was falling asleep; unaware of the fact Eric was staring at her intensely.  Strange emotions shone through his dark eyes, guilt mixing with the affection. Sighing, he pressed a kiss to her temple before pulling a blanket over them both.  He was starting to love this broken female as much as he did Shelly and, the weirdest part was, he didn’t mind as much as he thought he should. Crinkling his brow, he held ‘Raven’ close while she slept.  The only thing he could hope was that Shelly was as open to it as she had seemed to be.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Week Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    As it turned out, Shelly had approved entirely.  Had even taken to sharing tips and tricks with ‘Raven’.  Soon, the pair were ganging up on him; torturing him with pleasure until he begged them to stop.  Without question, the silent female was made a part of their relationship. A fact that still baffled her as much as it pleased her.  Maybe it was because of this acceptance that some of her memories had started coming back. It had started the second time she and Eric had made love alone, a bit about her past before the streets returning to her.

    Watching while he tuned his instrument, she still felt guilty she hadn’t shared any of what she had remembered.  Not that she had much ability to, despite practicing her speaking every day once Shelly had left for work. Best she could manage were very simple, caveman-like vocalizations that were more than just a bit embarrassing.  At least Eric always encouraged her, smiling whenever she made an attempt. Whenever she got a word right, he rewarded her with a kiss; helping give her motivation not to give up.

    Getting to her feet, she went to the kitchen to get him some water.  Halfway there, something sparked across her brain. A name in neon letters that made her head hurt.  Falling to her knees while clutching her head, she was unaware of Eric coming to her side while everything rushed back.  Even the things she had long ago buried to stay sane. Gasping, she buried her face in his chest subconsciously; trying to hide from the images flashing through her own head.  Her name was Elise and she had moved here to go to college as well as to start her whole life. Needless to say, it hadn’t exactly gone to plan.

    Finally, the maelstrom stopped and she was able to hear a baritone from above her desperately calling a name that didn’t really belong to her.  “Elise...,” she finally managed, just shuddering at the sound of it. The moniker carried such terrible memories with it. Yet, it was hers and she would have to accept it.

    “What?” questioned an astonished, worried voice before the man holding was pulling back so he could look down at her.

    “M-my name... its Elise,” she whispered, her ability to speak having returned with the rest of her memories.

    Staring at her for a moment with an utterly astonished expression, Eric suddenly swept her in his arms to spin her around.  “You remembered! I’m so happy for you!” he cheered, his arms almost crushingly tight around her. Smiling, some part of her couldn’t help but feel a bit sad.  A part of her feared the pair had only felt sorry for her. Now that she had recovered, the thought crossed her mind that they might push her to move out. A pair of lips covering her own startled her out of her thoughts and she felt her worries crumble away.  Eric and Shelly loved her. As long as they were alive, she’d never have to worry about finding a place to live ever again.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One Year Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    Elise and Sarah watched Shelly model the wedding dress she had made.  The ceremony would be the next day and everyone was excited. Yet, some part of the quiet female felt a bit jealous.  While she hadn’t really expected to be part of the pair’s ceremony, it still stung to feel a bit like a third wheel. Especially given what they meant to eachother.  The only solace she had was the fact they had both promised they would a have a private ceremony with her at home. As far as they were concerned, she was already married to them both.

    Admiring the fitted, pearl white dress, Elise let out appropriate coos of appreciation.  “Eric will love it,” the dark haired femme assured, the young girl next to her nodding in agreement.

    “Thanks guys,” the brunette angel before them whispered, a joyful smile on her radiant face.  Then she was heading into the bathroom, presumably to change back into her normal clothes before her fiance returned home.

    When she came out with another dress, both her companions were shocked.  Then, understanding was shining in Sarah’s shrewd, blue eyes as they flicked toward Elise.  Smiling at the girl she considered her daughter, she focused her gaze on her lover. “I want you to wear this to the ceremony as well as after,” she insisted, carefully placing the carefully crafted dress on the other female’s lap.  Letting out a small sob, the midnight haired femme wrapped her arms around the designer.

    “Thank you... you have no idea how much this means to me,” she whispered in a tear choked voice.

    Hours later and Shelly was back in her normal clothes while Eric played the set he had planned for the reception.  Rather than just sit on the sidelines and allow another band to perform, he wanted to use this as an opportunity to get his name more recognized.  All the songs he had chosen were beautiful, easily winning over the two women. Chuckling while Shelly kissed him, he met Elise’s eyes carefully. Releasing his fiance, he walked toward her to take her into his arms as well; lips brushing her right cheek.  “I’m glad you approve as well, my little Raven,” husked in her ear, a phrase that had quickly become like secret code for them. In fact, he was the only one she still allowed to call her that name.

    Meeting his eyes, she smiled while her heart cramped painfully in her chest.  Despite all her fears, they were doing all they could to include her in the process.  She would even be up front with Shelly, even though she would be have her own ceremony with the pair later.  Brushing her lips against his cheek, she motioned for Shelly to join them. “I love the both of you so much. Thank you for allowing me into your lives,” husked out of her as her arms wrapped around the pair.

    “No sweetie, thank you.  You’ve made everything so much brighter, opened our eyes to something neither of us would have thought of before,” Shelly assured, only making more tears roll down her cheeks.

    Allowing this to go on a few more seconds, Eric pulled away from the pair with a wide grin on his face.  “No more tears! Today is a happy day,” he announced while the phone on the nightstand began to ring. Wiping her eyes with a chuckle, Shelly nodded as she went to answer the irritating device.

    “Hello, Shelly Webster speaking,” declared her soft, gentle voice.

    “Oh!  Great!  I’ll have a friend of ours pick it up,” she chirped excitedly after a pause.  Then she was hanging up, turning to face them with the expression of an excited child.

    “The cupcake order for the reception is ready!  Would you mind running down the street to get it Elise?” she asked.

    Since she had started speaking again, they’d had her making small trips down the street to help build her independence a bit.  While it still scared her, she knew the couple couldn’t always be home with her. Eric was looking at becoming a famous musician while Shelly wanted to pursue a career in fashion.  She would be alone a lot, save for Sarah. So, with a nod, she grabbed a leather coat Eric had leant her. “I’ll be back as soon as I can,” she assured before making her way into the claustrophobic hall.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Few Minutes Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    The shopkeeper had been a bit more chatty than she was used to but still pleasant.  Humming one of Eric’s songs to herself, she made her way back down the street. She only got a few steps when she saw something was terribly wrong.  Fire trucks, police cars and ambulances swarmed the front of the apartment building she lived in. Feeling an instant rush of dread, she made her way to the scene while Sarah exited an alley beside the bakery.  Soon the child was right on her heels, heading toward the scene with the same urgency.

    The word please came from her lips over and over, her heart hammering behind her ribs as she hugged the box of cupcakes to her chest.  Not feeling the frosting splatter across the front of her shirt, she began to run; unaware of the smashed cardboard slipping from her grasp to drop to the pavement.  As she got closer to the scene, she saw a very familiar body crumpled on the ground. Both she and Sarah got the barest glimpse of Eric’s bleeding face and dead eyes before he was covered with a tarp.  Shielding the young girl against her, she looked toward the apartment while a bloodied Shelly was wheeled out.

    Rushing to the woman’s side, both Elise and Sarah winced when they took in her condition.  She was covered in blood from various stab wounds, not to mention what had happened to her after Eric had been disposed of.  Reaching for the injured woman’s hand, the ebony haired femme had barely enough time to assure her Sarah would be fine before she was wheeled off.  Staring after the ambulance while it roared off, she felt a disconcerting feeling of numbness settle over her.

    Not even the presence of a policeman next to her snapped her out of her daze, rain pouring down her face while she turned to look at the crumpled, covered body of her other lover.  Slowly, an inhuman wail began to fill the air as she slid to her knees; unconscious that the sound was coming from her own lips. Bit by bit, she broke on the inside; the paramedics surrounding her while tears of grief rolled down her cheeks.  It wasn’t until she received a shot of something in her arm that she became calm, her body slumping to one side while she slipped into unconsciousness. The last thing she was aware of before she dove beneath the darkness was the sound of Sarah desperately screaming her name.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Few Days Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    They had been killed by a gang simply because they dared to want to get married on Halloween.  A day the gang thought belonged to them, along with the rest of the city. It seemed like such a useless waste.  Gathering what belongings she had, she made a last ditch effort to find Gabriel. Since that horrible night, the cat had been nowhere to be found.  Hopefully, he had run away to find a better home. As for her, she could no longer stay here. Not with their blood still on the floor. Not with the signs of violence still very clear in the room.

    Just looking at the window Eric had fallen through wrenched her heart in a painful manner.  Doctors had assured her he had been dead before he hit the pavement but that had been of little comfort to her.  If only she had stayed with the couple. If only she had returned just a bit quicker. If only she had gotten them to come with her.  If only she had seen the threats the pair had been carefully hiding from her. Swallowing tears while guilt coiled around her very soul, she took a last look at the only place she knew she would ever truly call home.

    A few moments later and she was in the back of the taxi, holding Sarah’s hand while they made their way to the funeral.  They would be the only people in attendance save for an officer named Albrecht. He had done everything he could to save the couple.  He had even gone to the hospital with Shelly, staying by her side as she died on the operating table. Staring at the rain dribbling down the windows, Elise found herself hoping it would never stop.  After what had happened, she didn’t feel like the world deserved sunshine.

    Getting out when the car came to a stop, she wandered up to the graveside where the priest and policeman stood.  As she got closer to the coffins, she felt her heart becoming heavier and heavier in her chest while it started to get more difficult to breathe.  Suddenly, all she wanted to do was join them. Just fling herself into the deep graves without a care for what would happen to her. The only thing that kept her from doing so was the feeling of Sarah’s hand in hers.  The girl would need someone to watch out for her. Even if Elise herself now lacked a place to call home.

    Taking in a breath, the broken woman forced herself to be brave for the child at her side.  To swallow her pain and tears through the sermon. To halt the pained wail in her throat when they lowered the pair of coffins to their final rest.  To stop from vomiting when she heard the thud of dirt on the coffin lid, sounding far too much like knocking. Then it was all over, mercifully over and they were alone with the policeman.  “You...uh... you guys going to be okay?” murmured his deep, comforting voice, concern on his deep bronze face.

    “Yeah, we’ll survive,” Sarah assured, before leading her zombie-like companion out of the cemetery.

    Blindly following the tugging of her hand, Elise allowed herself to drift away from reality.  Away from the pain she felt. She almost didn’t stop when Sarah did, finally pausing when she felt a sharp yank.  Focusing her bleary vision she saw an even worse apartment building in front of her. Parts of it were burnt out from fire damage and others were rotting off entirely, giving the place a rather seedy appearance.  The drugged out shadows of humanity lingering on the front steps certainly didn’t help. Many of them were covered in sores, more skeleton than human; only interested in their next fix.

    Feeling dull horror when Sarah led her past the doorway, she took in a rotted leaning staircase that led up several floors.  “I know its a hole but Darla’s never home. You should be able to stay with no problem,” came an announcement that made her skin crawl.  Still, she found herself with little choice. Besides, at least this way she could make sure the young girl had plenty to eat. So, with little resistance, Elise allowed herself to be taken up the soft steps.  A few boards even gave way beneath her feet, making her vaguely grateful when they finally reached the door that belonged to Sarah.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Present Day~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    Despite her best efforts, it had only become harder for her to continue with her life.  Not even Sarah’s appalling life was enough to draw her out of herself for very long. Soon, she had found herself returning to the building where she had lived with them; staring up at the still broken window.  While she couldn’t bring herself to go back inside, it was getting harder and harder for her to leave the building. Most days, she spent her days in the alley where she had been found; as if waiting for them to come back.

    The only time she moved was at night.  That was when she went home to make dinner for Sarah and keep the girl company for the night.  Unfortunately, she was quickly losing the motivation to do even that much. Even now, she was huddled against the cold, brick wall; staring at the other brick wall in front of her.  This time however, she had a blade in her hand. It was Devil’s Night, the anniversary of their deaths. A perfect night to join them. Wiping her soaked hair out of her face, she ignored the shadows of the people walking past.  After all, they were taking no more notice of her.

    Closing her eyes, she placed the cold metal of the blade against the inside of her arm.  One quick motion downward and she would be bleeding out. She would finally be joining the only people she had loved, had trusted after her ordeals on the streets.  With a flick and a jolt of sharp pain, she closed her eyes while a warm sensation began to pour from her wrist. She didn’t notice when some drunk man stumbled into the dumpster behind her.  Instead, she tightened the leather jacket she wore around herself and simply waited for him to be on his way.

    Rummaging around the top of the dumpster, he pulled out a pair of soaked boots before his dark eyes were landing on her.  Something about his hidden face was familiar but she was too far gone to care about it. Already, a welcome heaviness was filling her limbs and she could feel herself start to drift away.  Suddenly an ice cold hand was grabbing her wrist, much too cold to belong to a normal person. Jumping from shock, she looked into the dark eyes of the man that had stumbled into the alley earlier.

    His face was so familiar it made her heart ache.  So, reaching up with her free hand, she moved the hair out of the way to see Eric staring down at her.  Confusion was now in his bottomless orbs as well as poignant pain. “My little Raven...,” husked out of him, his voice on the verge of heartbreak as he released her wrist.  To her shock, the wound she had inflicted upon herself had disappeared; leaving her to wonder if she had finally snapped and gone insane. Suddenly she found herself in his arms while the man rushed them inside the empty apartment building next to them.

    Charging up the stair, he kicked open the door before entering what remained of his home.  Placing her on the ground carefully, he met her gaze while Gabriel came out of nowhere to rub against his legs.  Backing away from him while he bent to touch the cat, she watched as his back heaved upward. Suddenly, he seemed to be reliving the night he and Shelly had died; yanked about by invisible forces and held by the arms.  Then he was jolting, acting as if he was being shot. Finally, to her horror, he was being flung toward the window.

    While still doubting what she was experiencing or seeing, she had no wish to witness the man she loved die all over again.  Rushing toward him to stop his backward momentum, she gasped when he grabbed onto a frame above the massive circle that opened out to the street.  The glass that was still on the wood tore into his hands easily while his momentum carried his body outward to hang over the street for several, breathless seconds.  Then he was swinging himself in, landing on the glass coated wood with a crunch. Haunted eyes went to his ruined hands while Elise kneeled beside him.

    Tearing off a bit of her shirt, she began to dress the bleeding cuts; feeling his gaze burning in the back of her head.  “I’m back for Shelly. I’m back to avenge what happened to the both of us,” he explained, making her heart ache in the center of her chest.

    “I had a feeling.  Still, why did you bother to save me?  I died the same day the two of you did.  How am I supposed to continue on?” she whispered, not daring to look up at the apparition of her lover.

    Unfortunately, an icy hand was reached to grab her chin in a painful grip forcing her head up so their eyes met.  The only warm part of him was the blood covering her skin while he glowered down at her. “Never say that! Not ever!  Do you know what your death would do to me?” he snarled. Unswayed by his words, she pulled free of his grip to begin wrapping his other hand.

    “What would it matter?  You’re not going to stay here after you kill the people who murdered you and Shelly.  Once your task is done, you’ll return to peace. You’ll also be with the woman you love.  What will I have?” hissed out of her, a bit of anger mixing with the pain she felt.  Backing away, she averted her gaze from the ghost in front of her. Knowing she was about to lose him a second time, she couldn’t bear to be in the same room.

    With disturbing speed, he was across the room; creepily chilly hands settling on her upper arms.  Then he was gripping, hard.  Pulling her toward him, he took her lips in a vicious kiss; his strangely cold tongue prying at her lips.  Opening to him out of sheer instinct, she placed her hands on his naked pecs; stunned to feel scars from his bullet holes under the palms.  “Stop it, you hear me?! No more! You have Sarah! Besides that, I want you to lead a full life. I know Shelly would want the same thing,” he bit out, his wrapped hands coming up to grasp her face.

    “Would you be able to live on so easily if both me and Shelly had died while you survived?” she asked, watching as his expression went from angry to slightly unsure.  

“Even with Sarah, it would be hard just to breathe; wouldn’t it?” she continued as comprehension finally began to dawn in his gaze.

    Letting out a sigh, he removed his hand to pull her into a hug; resting his cheek on the top of her head.  “I think I understand now but... I can’t take you with me and I can’t stay,” rumbled from above her, driving the spike in her heart just a bit deeper.

    “Still, I love you my little Raven.  I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to you.  Just, promise me you will try to live on just a bit longer,” begged his raspy voice while his lips brushed her forehead.

    Leaning into the contact, she began to sob; a year’s worth of pain escaping her while the crow that had followed him in made itself comfortable on a vanity table.  After a few moments, she pulled away with a shaky sigh. Then she was heading to where the bird was perched, taking in the jester masks that hung over the mirror. Both of them sported identical make-up, giving her a brilliant idea.  Gesturing Eric over, she began to make over his face to resemble the masks. Using a white paint first, she coated his face; taking the time to relish the fact she was actually touching him again. No matter how brief. Then she was taking a brush, painting black stripes above and below his eyes as well as at the corners of his mouth.  Taking a stick of black lipstick as well as matching eyeshadow, she filled in the area around his eyes as well as his lips. Once she was finished, she barely recognized who he was anymore.

    The bird perched on the mirror above cawed its approval before alighting to Elise’s left shoulder.  Now he looked like the avenging spirit that he was, dark eyes taking in the transformation in the mirror.  Then he was looking back at her, a bittersweet smile on his face. Slowly getting to his feet, he pulled her into a tight embrace; her body heat helping to warm his grave cold skin.  “I wish you could stay...,” she whispered, knowing he longed to stay as well. Resting his chin on the top of her head, he simply held her until his avian companion let out a loud caw.  As if to ask what was taking so long.

    Pulling away reluctantly, he gave her a crooked smile before bending to take her lips in a gentle kiss.  “Wait at the graveyard,” husked out of him before he was pulling on a black shirt and walking out the door.  With a final glance back at her, he was disappearing into the night, some parts of the city already burning due to the activities of the gang.  Standing where she was for a few moments, she bent to gather Gabriel in her arms before exiting the building. To her shock, she ran into Sarah outside.  Without a word, the girl headed down the street while she made her way to the graveyard.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Hours Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    The rain kept pouring while she huddled against Shelly’s gravestone, staring at the ruins that had once been Eric’s resting place.  Shielding a very unhappy Gabriel in her leather coat, she looked up to see a soaked figure stumbling toward where she was. To her horror he seemed to be injured as well as exhausted, crimson blood pattering onto the ground beneath his boots.  With more running down his chin, he lifted his head to fix his gaze on her. Next thing she knew, she was dropping the cat to run toward him; placing herself under his arm to help him limp toward Shelly’s grave.

    They had almost made it to the tombstone when they heard Sarah screaming for help from the church across from the graveyard.  Seeming to have renewed energy, Eric pulled away from his companion; ignoring her frantic attempts to get him to stay where he was.  “At least let me go in your place! You’re in no condition to...,” she began to protest, cut off by a harsh kiss that was more teeth than lips.  A kiss that tasted faintly of blood.

    “Stay here.  I’m already dead anyway.  It doesn’t matter what they do to me,” he snarled, the heat in his dilated pupils leaving no room for argument.  Then he was rushing toward the building, leaving her to watch with her heart caught in her throat.

    As much as she wanted to help, she knew she would only be another distraction.  One that could get Eric hurt and Sarah killed. Still, listening to gunshots followed by cries of pain made it hard for her to remain where she was.  Then she saw something that made her heart plunge into the pit of her stomach. There were two silhouettes on the roof, one looming over the other while a third came up to join them.  Breath caught in her throat, she watched as the taller of the three figures raised a gun.

    Her body was moving before she was consciously aware of it, heading toward the church before an ethereal hand landed on her shoulder.  Turning her head, her jaw dropped when she saw the ghostly figure of Shelly behind her. A whisper of her name escaped shaking lips before she was whirling to see what was happening on the roof across from them.  Eric had crumpled, the taller figure shoving Sarah to one side so he could move toward the fallen man. “His task is nearly done. As painful as it is, there is nothing we can do but watch,” whispered from behind her while the man they both loved was ran through with a sword.  Feeling her heart break, Elise slid to her knees; ragged sobs escaping her while she watched him reach for his killer. Grasping the taller man’s temples, something seemed to happen; causing the man to convulse violently. Then he was falling, impaling himself on a lightning rod on one of the steeples below.

    With the last of his strength, the remaining silhouette made his way toward Sarah; scooping the child into his arms before heading back into the building.  After a few, agonizing moments, Eric came stumbling out of the building; barely able to make it to the graveyard before collapsing. In the distance, police sirens began to wail; closing in on where they were with a disturbing speed.  Ignoring all of this, Elise ran toward her beloved; kneeling to help him to his feet. As they straightened, she noticed Shelly had disappeared; filling her with a vague sense of confusion. Still, she couldn’t worry about that right now.  Right now, she needed to help her bleeding lover back to his grave.

    Half dragging, half holding him up; she helped him over to Shelly’s tombstone.  As soon as his shaking hand touched it, she was appearing. Laying him down on the soaked ground, she took a step back to watch the odd reunion.  Smiling kindly at her fiance while the rain washed his make-up off, the brunette angel knelt to cup her face with both hands. Giving him a kiss that seemed to heal his wounds as well as renew his strength, she helped him to his feet before they both turned to look at Elise.

    While a ghostly aura began to enclose Eric, the couple approached her; the coffin and dirt falling back into his grave behind them.  Enclosing her on both sides, the pair pressed their ghostly lips to her head while they wrapped their arms around her. Letting out a sob, she leaned into their touch; on the verge of begging them not to leave her.  Unfortunately, she knew they had no choice. In fact, she should be grateful for the small amount of time she had with them. “I’ll always love you both. I also promise I will do my best to continue on with my life as well as watch out for Sarah,” she whispered, kissing them both in turn before Shelly was pulling away.

    Eric, on the other hand, stayed with her; a somber expression on his pale face.  Then, with a look back at his fiance, he placed a hand on her lower belly; closing his eyes while a warm feeling filled her abdomen.  “While we can’t stay or take you with us, I can at least leave a bit of myself with you,” husked out of him, dark orbs opening to fix on hers.  Comprehension dawning on her face, she threw her arms around his shoulders one last time; choking back a sob.

    “I will be watching you both, my little Raven.  Until the day you can join us,” husked his baritone, lips resting over hers one last time.  Then they were both gone, leaving her with a hollow feeling in the center of her chest.

    Closing her eyes, she tipped her face into the rain while the sirens closed in; resting a hand over her womb.  With a sad smile, she turned her head toward the yelling voice of the cops; raising her hands to show she was no threat.  Spinning to face the lawmen, she was stunned to see Sarah running toward her. The young girl looked frantic, tears in her blue eyes while she wrapped her hands around the older woman’s lower legs.  Kneeling slowly, Elise wrapped her arms around the young girl. When she felt the child was shaking, she felt guilt spear through her heart. “Don’t worry, I won’t leave you alone,” she promised, the rain finally letting up to a drizzle and finally tapering off to nothing.



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