Shadow Walkers Chapter #12

The candles burned, on the birthday cake,
We joked and laughed, not a thing at stake;
One long deep breath, one wish to claim,
Then the air we were laughin', went up in flame. ~ On The Drift/James Hazlerig

Michael cupped his hands protectively against him, glaring at Borias. "Ye big dumb shite, ye hurt him! How could ye do that? He be a wee babe!"

Borias pushed himself up stiffly to a sitting position with Caeoimhin's help. "Mick, I dinna..."

"Ye did too, ye big clodhopper! Ye stepped on him and ye broke his wee leg!" Tears filled Michael's eyes when Faolán urged Caitlain forward. "Look what he did to me wee Digby, Fal!"

The fear in Caitlain's eyes changed to wonder, when Faolán leaned over her shoulder to have a look, at what Michael held in his hands. "Is that a...a dragon?" she barely whispered.

"Aye and Sasquatch over there went and stepped on him," Michael fretted.

All four of them watched her as she very carefully reached out her right hand, letting it hover for a second over Digby, who seemed to watch her just as well. Then with a forefinger, she gently touched the tiny creature on top of it's head. The spiny protrusions weren't rough, she realized, but soft like wispy tufts of hair. Digby rewarded her with a mewling sound not much bigger than he was, causing her eyes to fill with tears.

"He's real. He's really real."

"Digby be a wee faerie dragon. An elemental," Faolán told her gently.

When Digby held up his right front leg and mewled again, Michael turned pain filled eyes to Borias. "He never hurt ye, Bri. Why did ye break his leg?" Michael sniffed and Caitlain frowned at Borias.

"Dammit to hell! I dinna step on the wee hellion, Pup!"

Caeoimhin satisfied Borias was none the worse for wear, left him sitting where he had landed, and went to see what he could do for Digby and his young master. "Let's take him to the surgery and have a wee look at him, Mick."

"Dinna hurt him like Bri did, Cam. He be just a wee babe," Michael pleaded, as Caeoimhin led the three of them toward the hall.

Borias shoved himself up with a groan. "I dinna do it! The hellion be a wee faker!"

Caitlain stopped, shooting him a look that said she'd had enough for one day. "That little baby's hurt. That's why he's holding up his little paw, Magilla Gorilla!" She started to follow again, when she stopped and looked over her shoulder.

"And go wipe that brown shitty looking stuff off the side of your homely mug. There be no maid service here, ye scrawny arsed hellion." She stopped again and mockingly gave him back one of his own grunts. "Oh and Buttcheeks? It wasn't that much of a kiss. I've had a lot better."

His teeth jammed together when she disappeared through a doorway. Damn the woman! She had a sharp, wicked tongue about her and that damned Look of Doom she gave him...that was enough to make a man want to turn her over his knee. And Digby! The wee traitor! If he didn't know better, he'd swear the two of them were in cahoots together. He'd seen the faerie dragon on the banister, when he'd put his hand on the rail to follow her up the stairs. That was when Digby had reached out, and latched on with two tiny rows of sharp teeth, and bit the hell out of him.

He turned his hand sideways to see the damage. There was a small red spot just below his little finger, that was beginning to turn purple. A single drop of blood had barely congealed making him frown. He would have sworn as hard as the tiny creature had latched on, he'd be missing a chunk of flesh. That didn't mean it didn't sting any less, but he knew he hadn't stepped on it, no matter what she believed. "They believed, not she," he corrected himself, glaring at the empty doorway.

In the surgery Faolán and Caitlain both gathered around the examination table, to give encouragement to Michael, and watch Caeoimhin look over the tiny patient. After a few minutes, Caeoimhin was ready to give his verdict. Going over to a brightly colored tin on the shelf, he took off the lid and pulled out a piece of sweet apple taffy.

"The good news is, this wee rascal will live," he told them, peeling off the foil paper, when he walked back and sat the taffy down in front of Digby. "The bad news is, Bri be right. The wee hellion be a faker," he informed them, when Digby pounced on the candy with all fours. "See what I mean? There be nothin' wrong with his leg."

Digby looked up at him and blew Caeoimhin a raspberry. "Behave ye wee rascal, a'fore I give yer taffy to that bigger hellion out in the hall somewhere," he laughed. "Now if ye all dinna mind, I think I'll be goin' to eat. I'm fair starved and it feels like my wame be rubbin' against my backbone."

Digby squinted his eyes at the elf. "Mine, mine, mine," came the tiny indignant peep, when the faerie dragon crouched protectively over the candy, causing Caitlain to stare in disbelief at him.

"Oooookay," she nodded as she turned and walked slowly back to the door. "I'm going to wake up in my apartment any minute. That's it. Yeah. I fell off the chair and knocked myself out, when I tried to kill one of Joe's talking cockroaches with a flip-flop, when it came to visit."

She opened the door and stepped out of the surgery, walking back the way she came. "Uh-huh any minute now. I'll have a bump on my head the size of a goose egg, and then I'll call Aine and Finn, and tell them I can't make it to dinner, because I think I slipped a couple of cogs. Then I'll call the nut doctor, and have them come after me with a butterfly net."

She passed Borias who started to scowl at her, but he stopped as she went past him and started up the stairs. "Yeah and he won't be there either with that homely mug and...them perfect lips, and that hard body and those strong arms. He'll just be a crazy dream I had when I was knocked out, along with a talking dragon, and a vampire that wants to turn me into a Happy Meal, cause the Bear didn't like me. Just a crazy, crazy dream."

He hadn't missed the blank look in her eyes, and it worried him more than he wanted to admit. He started to follow her up the steps when Caeoimhin, Faolán and Michael came through the doorway.

"Bri? Go easy. She be walkin' on thin ice as it is already," Caeoimhin warned. "Everything is still just settlin' in, and she doesna need no high handed tactics or a lot of your snappin' at her."

"Nor tellin' her ye set her up, whether ye did it or no," Faolán accused.

Borias swung around to face him. "Twas no my idea! If ye want to blame someone, ye put the blame where it belongs, Pup! You put it on Lochlainn, no me!" Borias ground out. "I only wanted to make sure she was safe. Hell, I dinna even want to bring her here. That was all his idea. And after what Mick and I heard the other night, I wish the hell I had left her where she was, and let Lochlainn and his people deal with her."

"It marked her, Bri," Caeoimhin offered. "No matter how mad ye are, ye canna very well blame her fer that. Tis no her fault."

A dark fire lit in the depths of his indigo eyes. "I dinna blame her. I blame Lochlainn. I would wager even money, he knew what that fookin' thing did." Borias nodded his head angrily. "Aye, he knew and sonuvabitch dinna tell me. He only said, since she saw the crest and could identify it, that, that alone put her in danger. A'cause the thing would want to make sure, the wee hellion could no describe it later. Then he told me, if she was out of the country, it would no be able to find her, and like a damned fookin' amadan I believed it."

Caeoimhin heaved a sigh, looking up at the steps. "Yer no fool, Bri, but the fact is she's here now. Whether ye want her here or no, ye and I both know, if anyone can keep her alive, twill be us. Would ye really want to trust her care and safety to Lochlainn and his people?"

Borias' upper lip curled in a sneer. "Hell no. That bunch be as useless as the tits on a damned boar. I would no let them guard Mick's holey skivvies, let alone protect a wee snip of an angel from that fookin' strigoi."

A sideways glance passed between Faolán and Michael. Caitlain had gone from being a wee hellion to an angel in only a few breaths. "Then ye know what has to be done, Bri," Caeoimhin went on. "Ye have to calm that damned temper of yers, and quit takin' it out on her and the rest of us. We're no the enemy here and neither is she. If nothin' else, calm it till after we kill that damned thing, and then use it to punch Lochlainn in that fookin' hard head of his."

"Dinna temp me," he grunted in return, leaning against the rail. "I dinna think the hellion would like the way, I would rearranged his homely arsed mug for him."

"Then Bri could save the rest of his energy to kiss her breathless," Faolán winked at Michael, causing Borias to once more jam his teeth together when he started up the stairs.

"That will be the damned day," Borias huffed indignantly.

"Ahhh Bri?" Caeoimhin called softly. "A word of warnin' if ye do kiss her? Ye may want to wipe Digby's shite off the side of yer heid."

Borias reached up with a frown and made a swipe at the side of his face, and stared at the wet brown smudge on his hand. "Awww shite!"

"Exactly," Caeoimhin chuckled, when Digby poked his head out of Michael's pocket and called Borias a cac heid.

"I am no shitehead, ye wee hellion." He gave Digby an animated look, when Digby chirped merrily and climbed out of Michael's pocket. He suddenly took flight soaring straight at Borias, who ducked covering his head.

"Did ye see??!! Did ye see what that wee hellion did??!! That be one of the reasons I dinna work with dragons!" he exclaimed as Digby flew up the stairwell, and disappeared from view.

Borias frowned suspiciously at the stairwell. "He be just waiting' up there fer me to show my face, so the wee devil can attack me person again. I can feel it."

"Well, while ye be goin' up there anyway, take this with ye. Ye may need it," Caeoimhin chuckled, tossing him a couple pieces of taffy. When Borias grunted, Caeoimhin grinned at him. "Think of it as a peace offerin'."

Borias gave a small groan in his throat that sounded more like a growl, when he started cautiously up the stairs once more, keeping watch for any sign of the small winged flying deamon. "He already left a piece on me damned heid once today. I dinna know how much more I can take."

He stopped and looked over his shoulder, at the snickering trio at the foot of the steps. "And the wee hellion bit me too. He took out a big old chunk of me hide," he pouted. "If the wee hellion was any bigger, I would turn him into a damned wallet," he mumbled, making them laugh louder before he again started slowly up the steps.

A few minutes later as Borias neared the third landing, he found her sitting there on the top step with her head down. In her arms she cradled Digby as if he were a tiny doll.

"Netta?" he called softly, hoping she didn't bolt and run when she looked up at him.

She looked fragile sitting there with tears streaming silently down her cheeks. It gave him the impression of children he'd seen pictures of, in war torn third world countries, whose lives had been turned upside down by the madness around them. Their expressions like her's, were haunted, hopeless and right there and then, he promised himself he'd do everything in his power, to keep from every seeing that look on her face again.

"I don't want to be scared anymore," she whispered tearfully, cuddling Digby close when Borias sat down next to her. "I just want to be me. I want to be like I was. I don't want to be like this. I want to be brave, but I don't want to get ate either," she cried. "If you hated me so much, why didn't you just push me out in front of a bus or something instead of setting me up?"

His arm slipped around her and she laid her head on his shoulder and cried, as his father's words came back to him. "The tears of a woman are no to be taken lightly', Bri," his father had said once. "There be eight kinds of tears cried in a woman's life. Love, happiness, pregnancy, birth, anger, fear, pain and grief. Be damned mindful to the one's you cause, Pup."

"My Netta, my wee champion," he murmured soothingly, rubbing his cheek on top of her head. "Ye have to believe me. All I wanted to do was keep ye safe. I swear it. That be why I brought ye here to Maidin Realta Grianán. I dinna even know ye were marked, till I heard ye speak with Mick that night. Twas Lochlainn that set ye up, no me. I dinna know the bastard was usin' ye as bait. If I had, I would have..."

"Left me where you found me and let Lochlainn, and his people deal with me," she nodded against Borias, making him stiffen. "I heard you the first time, when you was hollering downstairs at your friends. I don't blame you, you know. I would have left me too," she broke down sobbing. "It would have been safer for you and your friends."

Borias moved just enough to place his finger under Caitlain's chin, and lift her face to look in her eyes. "Netta, there be no a one of us, that would no be willin' to give our life, if it meant that we could save ye, Lassie. Believe me when I say that wee one, fer it be the truth."

Caitlain shook her head, a determined green fire sparked in her lavender eyes. Funny he hadn't noticed the blue flecks before he thought, but there they were. His reminiscing was cut short when she sniffed.

"No. I don't want that. You don't understand. I want to protect myself. I want to take my own chances. Just tell me what to do and then send me on my way. If I die, then I die, but I do it without taking you and your friends with me."

"Digby save Netta. Yep! Yep! Yep! Digby brave. Me drop a load on Buttcheeks for Netta downstairs, r'member? You want Digby do it again?" the faerie dragon crooned in a tiny voice.

Borias scowled at him," Behave a'fore I turn ye into a pair of boots fer a pixie, ye wee devil."

"Digby tellin' on Buttcheeks!"

"Tell and be damned, ye wee hellion," he grunted back. "Now behave yerself. Our wee Netta be upset enough, without ye droppin' shite on unsuspectin' folks' heids." He felt her tremble against him. "Netta..."

"I don't want him hurt either or that great big dog. I just want to be able to fight back and leave before I get you all killed. I was brave before all this happened." Her face crumbled. "I even pushed some idiot off a train once, when he tried to bend me over a seat," she whimpered.

Knowing that someone had hurt her once before, caused the anger to knot inside him. It made Borias wish he had the bastard here now, so he could deal with him. The sonuvabitch would never force himself on another female as long as he lived, Borias vowed silently, and if he should ever meet him, then...then Goddess help the bastard, because it was a sure thing no one else would.

"Netta, lassie do ye want to tell me what happened?" When she shook her head 'no', he sighed, holding her protectively. "Alright, but if ye do, I will be here to listen, but I will promise ye this, if I ever see the bastard, I will make him sorry he was ever birthed," he promised in a low and dangerous voice.

When Caitlain looked back up at him, he saw the determination in her eyes. "I want to fight for myself, not have somebody do it for me. Just show me what to do and I'll do it."

"Alright if that's what ye want, then so be it," he sighed heavily, pulling away and stood up. Holding out his hand for her, he looked down at her. "But first we eat. Ye will no learn no a thin' on an empty stomach."

Back                         Home                          Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!