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    Celian
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Ink and Flowers - 11. Emmett

The sexual assault warning applies here.

For days I had been looking forward to my date with Dex. Excitement tingled in my stomach. Now that he was back, we could make things a little more serious.

Dex lived in northwest St. Beatrice and I had to take two different bus lines to get there. As I got off the second one, not far from Dex's apartment building, my phone rang.

"Hey Jake, what's up," I greeted cheerfully.

"Hey, are you on your way to Dex?" Jake asked back. There was a murmur of voices in the background.

"Yeah, why?" Since Jake sounded strangely worried, I stopped, my good mood taking a dampener.

"Oh well... I spoke to Dom this morning, we bumped into each other at the supermarket. And he said Dex had been kind of weird the last few days," Jake said slowly.

"Okay...?" A frown crept onto my forehead. I was admittedly slightly confused.

Jake took an audible breath. "I didn't think anything of it at first, but one of Mom's cousins works for the police and made a comment and... and I know you're sensitive about moods. I saw the way you handled Finley, okay? I don't want you taking on so much emotional baggage from others."

Wow. I hadn't expected that and blinked in surprise before a touched smile appeared on my lips. "That's sweet of you, Jake. But I'm good at cheering people up."

Jake sighed. "If I understood Dom correctly, 'cheering up' probably isn't the right term."

"And why doesn't he tell me himself?"

"Probably because he doesn't know you're seeing Dex again. He hasn't read our chat in ages."

Not that I liked or missed Dom too much, but it was a bit sad that he neglected his other friends like that. Maybe, it crossed my mind, alpha shifters and humans combined just weren't made for lifelong friendships.

"Hmmm..." I said noncommittally. "I'll see what Dex is like. How's your family party?"

The sound coming from Jake could best be described as retching. "Do you want to know how many people have told me I should open my own bakery?"

"Too many," I guessed.

"Damn right. And no one- Ah, I'm afraid Great Aunt Cynthia won't be dissuaded any longer. Later, Emmett!"

"Have fun." I shoved the phone into my jeans pocket and took a deep breath. Dex was waiting.


 

Dex grinned as he opened the door. "Come in and be my guest."

I grinned back and put my hand on the doorframe. "I come as a friend and honor your home." A warm breeze washed over me as the protective threshold magic accepted me, and I stepped over it. Only to pause immediately.

On the one hand, because Dex immediately kissed me intensely without even closing the door, on the other, because his apartment smelled. Like dust and animal and fall forest.

"Hey, Honey..." Dex said when he finally let go of me.

"Woah..." I smiled wryly. Admittedly, I was a little dizzy.

"I've been waiting for you." Dex smiled. Something about it bothered me, but couldn't put my finger on what. And to be honest, he looked even more exhausted than he had barely two weeks before.

"And I was looking forward to this," I replied with a wink.

He let me enter fully, still with his strange smile on his face, and closed the door. "I have several options," he then said.

Because he was barefoot, I took off not only my shoes but also socks, and then hung my jacket on a hook while he talked about dinner. However, as I followed him further into the apartment, which was mostly open plan kitchen/living room, I began to suspect what Dom had meant.

It was chaos. Dirty chaos, I realized with discomfort. It seemed like Dex had spent the time since he'd been back here doing everything except tidying or cleaning.

"I like the pak choi and mushroom version," I replied when asked which type of potato curry I preferred.

Dex grinned. "It's my favorite." After a quick hard kiss, he pulled me into the kitchen corner. "The original is with chicken. A vegetarian friend puts tofu and feta in instead, but I think tofu is gross."

"I'm not a fan of it either," I remarked, looking at the messy mountain of groceries piled up on the worktop. Some of it urgently needed to go in the fridge. "Meat? What do you want with this?" I then asked in surprise and picked up the respective packet.

Dex looked at me, strangely puzzled, as if he was taken aback by my words. "The old lady next door asked me to bring her some stuff," he said, shaking his head with a wry smile. "I guess the pack ended up in the wrong bag." He shrugged and took it from me to put it in the fridge.

"Is everything okay?" I then wanted to know. "You seem a bit scatterbrained."

"Yeah." He nodded, smiling weakly. The exhaustion was written all over his face, his eyes looked darker than usual, a little bloodshot. "Probably the after-effects of a week-long adrenaline high."

"Come here," I replied gently and hugged him. One hand I placed at his neck, the other at his back under his dark shirt. I didn't hold back my aura and, together with the skin contact, it caused Dex to relax noticeably after two heartbeats.

He intensified the contact, mimicking me, and so we just stood there for a little while. "Thank you, Honey..." He kissed my throat.

"You're welcome," I said with a small shudder. My whole being was satisfied that I had been able to help.

"Your little magical talent is really handy..." Dex then said with a certain undertone, however, and my shudder suddenly turned into a shiver.

I had heard something similar before. Back then, I had been so stupid and naive - a barely grown-up being coming from a small, isolated village - that I had told more about my abilities. Jason, my first real boyfriend, was fortunately just a money-hungry human and not a criminal genius, so his plan to sell me to dubious circles had already failed in the execution of the kidnapping. Thanks also to Tony, who had suspected something.

After that, we had left the small town near New Orleans and come to St. Beatrice. Since then, I had been overly cautious when it came to showing off my abilities or if it went beyond a few vague descriptions like "I have a calming aura".

But Dex, a deer shifter and clever to boot, not to mention a cop with contacts in all directions...

To prevent him from realizing how intense this second shudder was becoming, I gently pushed him away from me. "So, dinner?"

"Dinner." He nodded and smiled.

A slight dizziness came over me when he let go and for a split second I thought something dark was hanging in the air. But both disappeared as quickly as they had come.


 

Together we prepared the curry. Potatoes, pak choi, mushrooms, lots of coconut milk. In the meantime, we talked. Although Dex was obviously not allowed to give many details, he told about his case - kidnapped prey shifters who had been forced into questionable shows, cage fighting and prostitution, many of them underage. It wasn't a very pleasant subject, but Dex didn't seem to realize how uncomfortable it made me feel, he really got into it.

When I finally managed to change the subject by asking about Dom, he waved it off.

"That girl has really turned his head," he grumbled grumpily. "Grandpa is convinced and wants to get straight down to herd politics."

"How long have they been together now?" I asked, stirring in the large pan. "It can't have been that long."

"Three months? Four?" Dex shrugged a shoulder. He collected his clothes, which were lying on all four chairs around the round dining table, with anything but enthusiasm. Apparently, he had noticed that it was otherwise difficult to sit and eat there. "Mom seemed pretty excited, but more likely because she's looking forward to grandkids. Dad is... hard to read, for that matter."

"Are you ready to be an uncle?" Amused, I grinned at him as he gave me a somber look.

"I can't do anything with children. And then at some point, they'll be plodding around and get stuck in the middle of the shift? Gods have mercy!" He shook himself and disappeared into his bedroom with his pile of clothes in his arms.

My grin disappeared. Something was not right with Dex, not at all. I'd found hoofprints on the floor - walking around this small apartment as a full-grown stag was madness - and the feeling of something sinister hanging in the air had returned. What's more, the contents of his fridge didn't look like a vegan's should; the wrong diet could do serious damage to prey shifters.

Dex came back, wrapped an arm around me and took the ladle from me to poke around in the curry. "Hmm. I think the potatoes still need some."

I nodded. The curry smelled heavenly and I was honestly hungry, but suddenly a strong animal scent came from Dex, accompanied by something musty, like damp clothes. "How did you-" A kiss interrupted me.

He tasted of the almonds we had roasted for a crunchy topping, his hands wandered over my body; I could feel them trembling slightly. But when I reached out with my magic, consciously this time, I bumped into barriers. Barriers that shouldn't be there, because shifters couldn't create them. Barriers that couldn't have been there earlier, because otherwise he wouldn't have reacted to my aura.

I was confused, to say the least. But that didn't stop my body from responding to Dex's attentions. He pressed me against the counter next to the stove, awakening crotch against awakening crotch, and I buried a hand in his hair as he kissed along my neck.

A sound escaped him, a kind of growl which turned into a moan, then he nibbled gently at my skin. "You smell good," he murmured. His breath gave me goose bumps. "So sweet... and fruity..."

"Mmhhh..." I made neutral in return.

"I love fruit." There was surprisingly little of it in his kitchen, though. "Do you taste like them too?" He leaned back and looked at me with half-closed eyes and a lazy grin, and he actually had more of a hunter-shifter appearance than a stag at that moment, but the impression was dampened a little when one of his hands landed in my groin and squeezed gently.

"Figure it out," I returned, faking a grin. It was uncanny to see how his grew in response. Honestly, I was losing that kind of appetite.

"Yeah..." he drawled before claiming my lips again in a hungry kiss. Hungry and hard and demanding, his kisses had almost nothing in common with the ones we'd exchanged a few weeks ago.

"Dex, slow down, we have-" I started, but he interrupted me.

"I want you," he whispered rough. His fingers were literally yanking at my pants, seeming to have forgotten how to undo buttons.

"Can we," I turned my head to the side, "can we eat first? What did we cook for?" I grabbed his wrists, but honestly, I doubted I'd be in any more of a mood after dinner than I was at the moment.

"Now." he growled, however, and disengaged. His normally light brown eyes gleamed black like polished onyx.

Puzzled, I stared at him.

Instead of mine, he was now fiddling with his own pants. "Dessert first," he announced and I raised a brow.

"That's not-" I broke off as antlers began to sprout from between his hair. Those, too, were jet black. "Dex... what's wrong with you?" My words were little more than a stammer and I'd barely gotten them out when his hands were on me again, tearing at my pants once more.

"You could help a little." he growled, gritting his teeth.

"Dex! I- I don't want! Stop!" I tried to push him off but to no avail. Dex might be shorter than me, but he was trained and formally educated and my resistance was planless and caught off guard. Fighting is against my nature, my defensive strategy is running away; not for nothing do I have magical tattoos allowing me to run faster and with more stamina.

Dex cursed between clenched teeth. After a brief tussle, he had turned me around and pushed my head down, my face hanging inches above the simmering food, hot droplets splattering my skin. With his other hand, he tugged at my jeans while I half tried to brace myself so as not to actually end up submerged in the curry and half reached for him.

He didn't seem to notice at all that I was digging my fingernails into his arm, or that I was kicking at him. His unwavering determination, however, made me erratic. Fear crept up inside me, turning to panic as air brushed over my suddenly naked bottom.

And then I had no choice but to resort to pure magic. A raw blast of it and I was free to turn around.

However, I couldn't help but notice that Dex wasn't overly impressed. He blinked, puzzled, but had only taken about two steps back.

"I'm sorry," I whispered, my whole being aching at having caused someone else harm. I just can't help it.

A sound came from Dex that neither man nor deer should ever make.

My hands, which had pulled my briefs and jeans back up, paused at the button as black lightning flashed between the ends of Dex's antlers, which had grown considerably in the meantime. My jaw dropped.

Dex was tainted. Corrupted. Blighted. Whatever you wanted to call it. I may be a healer, but this is one of those things that nothing and no one can cure. Only death can help.

Halfway into the shift, Dex rushed at me and with a scream of pure panic ringing in my own ears, I hurled again as much raw magic at him as I could.

How much it affected Dex, I couldn't tell, because now his protective threshold magic kicked in and threw me out. Literally. I was sent flying through the air, crashing my shoulder and head into the door of the apartment opposite his and then slumping to the floor, dazed.

From Dex's apartment came the angry roar of a deer.

With a gasp, I scrambled to my feet. My self-healing cleared my head, making the throbbing in my shoulder disappear. Stunned, I stared at Dex, who now stepped into the doorway, even though he was mostly human again.

How? Why? - it pounded in my mind.

"Emmett..." He grinned lecherously, lurching towards me.

My flight instinct took over without a second to spare and I ran. Down the stairs - luckily Dex only lived on the second floor - and out onto the street.

"Emmett!" He yelled after me.

I could hear him running behind me, which spurred me on, even though my bare feet were more accustomed to grass than concrete and asphalt. However, if Dex were to shift, I had a problem. It was hard to outrun a deer, even with magical tattoos. In my true form, though...

Well, as for my true form, with a tainted soul, I wasn't even sure if he'd be able to see me or not. But I didn't want to risk anyone at all seeing me. So I kept running as a human.

In this area I had only been once before, so I had no idea where my dash was taking me. I only stopped when I landed on a busy main street, directly opposite a small inner-city shopping center. For the moment, I was probably reasonably safe here and I didn't feel Dex's corrupt charisma as strongly as I had at the beginning. But of course I couldn't stay here.

I felt lost. And, admittedly, not in any condition to take the bus home or entrust myself to a stranger as a cab driver - the thought alone made me squeal. With trembling fingers, I pulled out my phone and called Tony.

It rang and rang and rang, but he didn't answer.

Another wave of panic threatened to overwhelm me. Jake was at his family party somewhere off-site, Mike was also out of town. Mo didn't have a car and Ben didn't even have a driver's license. The Millers? Patricia?

I pressed the call button again. Again it rang endlessly before the voicemail answered.

Finley?

I chewed on the possibility while I tried calling Tony again. Besides, I was getting cold. Wearing only a thin long-sleeved shirt and barefoot, sweaty from running, the cold evening wind had an easy play with me. Tony still didn't answer.

A senior couple who came towards me holding hands eyed me critically. Some stupid comment was just what I needed, but they remained silent. At least it gave me the final push to call Finley.

He answered almost immediately. "What's wrong?" There was something calming about the low hum of his voice, even through the phone.

"Can you pick me up?" I couldn't get out more than a whisper.

"Where are you?"

Not having a real answer, I said: "I'll send you my location."

"Okay."

I typed away on my phone accordingly and after I sent the message, I looked around. Now I would have to wait here. What if Dex showed up in whatever form?

"Give me twenty minutes," Finley said, as taciturn as ever.

"Okay," I whispered. "Okay." I wanted to add that I would let him know if I went on, but he had already hung up.

It wasn't that late, the street was busy, but the prospect of having to stay put was becoming less and less appealing. My flight instinct was strong.

Twenty minutes.

Copyright © 2024 Celian; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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akascrubber

Posted (edited)

Damn--Emmett met Dex and surprisingly found out he was corrupted and tried to rape him. Something very bad was wrong with Dex.

Emmett ran away from Dex who chased him. He lost Dex for a while and reached out. Only Finley was available, but he could not reach  him until 20 minutes. He was far away.

Emmett hoped he could stay hidden from Dex. I bet Finley can save him from Dex when he arrives.

Edited by akascrubber
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I'm so curious how Dex will handle a confrontation with a dragon. Smells like BBQ

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What the hell happened?  How did something corrupt Dex so completely and no one notice?  I mean his brother, a true Alpha, only noticed something was a little off.  What kind of creature could have corrupted him like this.

I certainly hope that Dex is nowhere near when Finley arrives, I don't think it would be good for anyone involved.

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At least Emmet was aware enough to get away from Dex before he was raped.  I’m still thinking Finley will do something to Dex after he finds out what happened. His desire to protect Emmet is strong.  We still have yet to know what Emmet truly is. He wouldn’t shift in that area. He must be something extremely rare.

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8 hours ago, johnnyboy2285 said:

I'm so curious how Dex will handle a confrontation with a dragon. Smells like BBQ

If it comes to a confrontation, it smells a lot like BBQ. Though i guess not like one anyone would enjoy. (Apart maybe for Finley. Roasting enemies surely has something satisfying.)

3 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

What the hell happened?  How did something corrupt Dex so completely and no one notice?  I mean his brother, a true Alpha, only noticed something was a little off.  What kind of creature could have corrupted him like this.

I certainly hope that Dex is nowhere near when Finley arrives, I don't think it would be good for anyone involved.

Emmett will share his thoughts about this in his next chapter, but I can tell you already, there are two ways of corruption. Getting corrupted and self-corruption (for example through going against the own nature). Corruption is a slow process and especially the one who embrace it are able to hide it for a long time.

Knowing Finley is a trained soldier and a dragon who can spit fire even in human form this sounds like a precise and effective encounter, but who can predict the outcome in terms of collateral damage? And apart from roasted deer I don't think Emmett would like this encounter much.

48 minutes ago, VBlew said:

At least Emmet was aware enough to get away from Dex before he was raped.  I’m still thinking Finley will do something to Dex after he finds out what happened. His desire to protect Emmet is strong.  We still have yet to know what Emmet truly is. He wouldn’t shift in that area. He must be something extremely rare.

Emmett is something rare and precious. He just told us how is first boyfriend tried to sell him after finding out what he is. Enough reason to hide his true nature I would say.

 

Thank you all!! ❤️ 

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Holy flippen intense. Even I'm shaking while reading. I feel like everything just got pulled into the eye of a storm that's backbuilding. 

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Of course I am take by the mystery that is Emmet's true nature....

very fast, very magical, empathetic, incredibly rare/desirable, or such - and obviously rather prey than a predator himself. After eleven chapters I put UNICORN on my secret card...

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4 hours ago, IBEX said:

Of course I am take by the mystery that is Emmet's true nature....

very fast, very magical, empathetic, incredibly rare/desirable, or such - and obviously rather prey than a predator himself. After eleven chapters I put UNICORN on my secret card...

I'm a big fan of theories! Always out with them!

(I do hope you understand I can't say anything more to that ;) )

Thank you!

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