Five (2/2)
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Kevin stepped in the door of his bedroom, and paused. Something had disturbed the wards he'd automatically built into it. Disturbed them violently, in fact. He tracked the source, and pulled the chest holding his great-grandmother's tools out of the closet. Faint traces, on the Spanish steel cup; then he reached his knife.

He wasn't sure quite what he felt, about that. A certain amount of sympathy, for how much it had to have hurt Jesse in his present state; an uncharitable righteousness, that he'd asked for it; amusement and apprehension about what else Jesse had been into and what conclusions he was making; annoyance because only his own peculiar layered shielding had protected the spells on the knife, and they were going to need work to fix regardless.

He kept the knife out to start on later. It was going to take a while, since he was still recovering, but he rarely used them anyway, and really didn't need them at all; normally he only brought them out when helping Deanna or Cynthia with the ritual magic they were so much better at. His own abilities worked just fine without props. He returned the rest, and added an extra layer of protection around it. Although, he thought wryly, that was a classic example of locking the barn door after the horse was in the next county. He doubted Jesse would forget this quickly.

Had he gotten into Cynthia's or Deanna's? Cynthia's power was so much more subtle than his, she lacked the unique protections he'd built, and she used her tools more often than he did. On the other hand, he doubted that any amount of unauthorized handling could cause Deanna the slightest trouble with her tools. He left his room, the knife under his pillow and out of sight, and went to Cynthia's. The chest opened immediately under his hand. He checked each briefly, the crystal sphere that had been her grandmother's, the mostly newer tools, and found everything as it should be.

Then, just for now, he wouldn't mention this either, any more than he had Jesse's attempted midnight flight. He didn't think Jesse had meant any harm today, he couldn't be blamed for curiosity.

Still, this was getting a little out of hand.

He headed back to his own room, mulling over what he might be able to devise to keep Jesse out of things. For his safety and theirs. He was saying that a lot lately. Keep everybody safe.

Inner senses picked up Bane's presence; he turned around, just in time to watch his dark coven-mate lean against the edge of the doorway, arms crossed. Even from here, Kevin could see the gold flaring in his eyes and hear the low rumble of a growl.


“He was in my room,” Bane said, each word precise, reminding Kevin of the sharp edge of his knife. “His scent is everywhere. I want him out of my territory. Now.”

“Can we talk about this? Please? For my sake and Gisela's, at least?”

Bane didn't move for a long moment, then he nodded curtly and came farther into the room, turned the chair from the desk backwards and straddled it with his arms crossed on the back. Kevin glanced at the door, and it closed itself with a soft click.

“Why should I not chase him off?” It still held more than a hint of growl, but the edge was muted somewhat.

Kevin sank down on the bed, facing him.

“Lots of reasons.”

“Start listing them, then. And don't tell me again that it's dangerous to send him back to the outside world with no knowledge of what he is. He'll never heal completely, Flynn's cards are wrong this time. Whatever the unfinished business is he keeps getting on every reading, that isn't it.”

Kevin tried to put his tangled thoughts in order.

Okay, he's not going to listen to logic this time.

“There was a time, once, when Deanna and I ran away from Rebecca,” he said quietly. “And you were the only one in all of Haven who was willing to give me a chance. Remember?”

“You didn't take advantage of hospitality and trust to violate privacy!”

Oh, if you only knew about Jess trying to leave in the middle of the night...

“No, I had attacked Flynn for voicing an opinion—which was shared by just about everyone and was in fact extremely valid—and terrorized Cynthia when she came after me for it, and got in a fight with you when you told me that I'd be taking my life in my hands to go anywhere near them ever again. Among other things. I racked up a long list of sins in a very few months.”

The angry gold faded from Bane's eyes, and his expression softened. “That was a long time ago.”

“A couple of years isn't so long. Less than that, actually. A couple of years ago, around now we were all meeting Rebecca. You had stronger reasons to distrust me, but you took a chance. Please. If you don't want to, that's your choice, but don't stop me from making my own choice.”

Bane rested his head on his arms, silent for what felt like forever, then he sighed heavily.

“I'll be glad forever that I took that chance on you. For the moment, I'll let him stay. But he's running out of chances, phoenix. Put him on a leash if you want him around, okay?”

“I'll get Dia or Cynthi to help me put short-term specific wards everywhere and on everything we can think of,” Kevin promised. “But I bet he learned his lesson.”


“There are psychic fingerprints all over my knife.”

Bane grinned, showing even white teeth, the pointed canines just slightly longer than the rest. “Aw, poor baby, he got a shock?”

“A pretty good one, I'd say.”

“Good. Maybe it'll teach him to keep his hands off other people's stuff.” He stood up, and stretched. “For your sake, I'll put up with him. But you remember what I said.”

“I will. I'll keep an eye on him, I swear.”

“You do that.” He padded over to the bed, leaned down to give Kevin a tight hug, and wandered off.

Kevin sat quietly for a moment, shivering a little as he forced the old memories into the back of his mind and reoriented on what he could do at present. Wards, first.

And somehow, somehow, he had to get Jesse to trust them. He was sure Jesse was only there because he was responding unconsciously to the triangular connection that had formed when Kevin and Gisela healed him, an unanticipated little consequence that probably wouldn't have stopped them anyway. Without that, surely, he would have left days ago, and Brigid and Lugh knew how long it would take for the paranoia he kept sensing to win over the tentative power of that link...

The same link, he thought wryly, that had an equally strong effect on all three of them, aware of it or not.

* * *

The house was very quiet. Jesse lay still, comfortable on the couch, especially after some of the places he'd slept. Listening to the silence, wondering what secrets it was keeping.

How long had he been here? Days, two weeks, three. He had to leave. Nothing else spooky had happened, although he hadn't ventured any further exploring, but he didn't want to chance sneaking away again. He had to leave, and during the day, openly.

Damn it, Jess, you can't afford to care! Get back to Shaine, forget all this.

Caring would get him in trouble.

He'd have to leave. Tomorrow.

* * *

It took a messily long time to convince them that he needed to leave. He had to swear to call once in a while and to remember that he was welcome back any time. Flynn insisted on giving him a ride home; and Jesse surrendered without much protest. At least Flynn was more likely to be willing to compromise and drop him off wherever Jesse requested, instead of right on Shaine's doorstep.

“Take care of yourself,” Kevin said softly, just before Jesse escaped out the door. He sounded like he meant it.

Jesse had to grin. “I do my best. Always.”