Bad Moon Rising (Page 26)

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Bad Moon Rising (Dark-Hunter #18)(26)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Damn you, Thorn, for not telling me everything.

Aimee flashed them back to Fang’s bed and then helped him to lie down. "I’m going to get Carson."

He grabbed her hand and held her by his side. "Don’t. There’s nothing he can do."

"But, Fang-"

"Aimee, trust me. I just need to rest alone for a little bit, okay?"

He could see the debate in her eyes as he tightened his grip on her hand.

After a few seconds, she nodded. "You need me at all. . . ."

"I will call you. I promise."

She patted his hand before she removed it. "All right. Rest well."

Fang didn’t relax until she was out of the room. Only then did he lay back and give in to the conflicting emotions that lacerated him. He wanted to kill something.

Anything.

But he knew he couldn’t.

The only thing was, he didn’t know how long he’d be able to hold the demon in him at bay. By the feel of it, he was going to turn Slayer. True Slayer.

And that, in their world, carried a death sentence.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Fang lay in his bed as a wolf, his mind trapped by the demon powers that were warring inside him as they converted his body even more. He was only vaguely aware of the sounds of the outside world.

He now saw things in infrared while he slept. Every tiny insect in his room. Every creature that walked past his room in the hallway. He was aware of everything on a level he’d never imagined, but unable to respond. He was like an outside viewer who couldn’t break through the glass case no matter how hard he struck it.

"Fang?"

Vane. He’d know that deep baritone anywhere. But in Fang’s mind Vane was nothing more than a reddish outline standing beside his bed. There was a woman with him. One who smelled sweet and all human. She stood so close to Vane that she appeared tucked in there.

Fang tried to reach out to his brother, but couldn’t. It was almost like he was back in the Nether Realm where only voices could reach him. Only now he couldn’t understand the words his brother was saying to him. They were jumbled and malformed as he and the woman said things.

Hanging his head, Fang sighed wearily.

"Aw, what’s wrong, little wolfie? Can’t you get up?"

Fang went ramrod stiff as he heard the raspy voice of a demon. "Alastor." He didn’t know how he knew the creature’s name, yet he did.

His body went straight into the demeanor of a lethal predator. Fang lowered his head and watched the demon closely with his peripheral, ready to strike him down with deadly precision when the time came.

Small and wiry, the demon was ugly and gray-skinned. Worse, he stank of sulphur and blood. His hook nose and bald head made him look like a gargoyle. In the darkness of his dream, something silver flashed.

Fang reacted on instinct. He caught the demon’s hand to see a dagger held there. Laughing at the audacity, or more to the point the stupidity, he wrapped his other hand around the demon’s throat and lifted him from his feet.

The moment he did, he saw Alastor’s thoughts in his mind. Heard his own mother telling the demon to kidnap Vane’s mate and bring her to his mother’s pack so that Bride couldn’t complete the mating ritual with Vane. It was a pact his mother had made with the demon to capture all of their mates to prevent them from having even a small chance of happiness.

Or more to the point, to keep them from procreating and spreading their animal natures that his mother despised so much.

Raw fury exploded inside him.

"You rotten bastard," he snarled as his demon’s bloodlust ripped through him and the demon inside him roared to life. It wanted him to rip the demon’s head off with his bare hands and feast on his entrails. Never had he experienced anything like this.

"I was just doing as I was told." The whine in the demon’s voice was like a chair scraping across a floor. It made the hair on the back of his neck rise and did nothing to curb his blood fever.

Before Fang even realized what he was doing, he sank his teeth into the demon’s throat so that he could taste his blood.

Stop!

The sound of his conscience succeeded in reaching him. Choking on the thick liquid that tasted like warm metal, he forced himself to step back. Alastor slid to the ground, holding his neck as he pathetically begged for his life.

Part of Fang demanded he kill the sniveling beast at his feet. It was what he deserved. But the part of him that was wolf refused to kill for pleasure.

Katagaria only killed to protect or to defend. They never killed for amusement.

At least not often.

But the wolf in him also couldn’t let the demon go while Alastor posed even the hint of a threat to his family-that wolves killed over without remorse. "You hunt any of us or those we love again and so help me, I won’t stop until I’ve pulled you into so many pieces, you’ll think you’ve been through a grinder."

Alastor bowed low to the ground as he thanked him for his mercy. "I will never hunt again, master. I swear it." He vanished instantly.

Fang wiped at his lips that were still coated in the foul demon’s blood. He cursed at what he’d done. But worse was the desire still in him to cause pain and to kill.

The demon was strong within him and it was hard to resist.

"I won’t do it," he snarled at himself.

Ever.

He was a Were-Hunter, not a demon, and he wouldn’t cede himself to this hell. He wouldn’t become one of them. Not for anything. No matter the temptation or hunger. He would stand strong.

Wake up!

He couldn’t. Cold panic consumed him as he staggered through the darkness that had no form or substance, seeking something to return him to his room. Had Thorn relegated him back to hell after all?

No, this was worse than the Nether Realm. There were no caves or anything else here. This reminded him of walking an endless desert that had no sides or borders. The landscape was obsidian and there was no respite.

"Fang?"

He heard Aimee calling to him, yet he couldn’t find her in the oppressive black. That was even more terrifying to him than being locked in here. "Aimee?"

"Fang? Wake up, sweetie." That precious, siren voice . . .

If only she could find him again.

"Aimee!" he shouted until his throat was raw, but she didn’t seem to hear him this time.

What was going on? How could this have happened to him again?

Something struck him hard in the back of his head.

One moment he was lost in the dark, and in the next he was in his bed with Aimee leaning over him, her features contorted by her fear and worry.

Aimee started to pull away as Fang shifted from wolf to human, but the panic in his eyes riveted her. His breathing ragged, he held on to her hands as if they were a lifeline for him that he was afraid she’d remove.

It made her ache for him. "Are you all right?"

He grabbed her and pulled her into his arms where he held her in a crushing embrace.

She frowned as she realized he was shaking all over. Scared for him, she wrapped her arms around his body to help as best she could. "What is it?"

"Nothing."

But she knew better. Something had happened to him again. Something he didn’t want to share.

Fang held her close, letting her scent and arms anchor him back in the world of the living. Closing his eyes, he tried to settle his nerves and his breathing. He felt like an idiot for acting like this. . . .

But the trauma of the Nether Realm was still raw and biting. He never wanted to go there again. He never wanted to go to sleep without having a way to come back.

Shell-shocked and weak, he wanted to feel safe again. But he seemed to have no control over himself anymore. No control over anything.

It was a feeling he hated.

Aimee pulled away to look at him. She placed her hand to his cheek as she searched his eyes with her gaze. "You’ve been asleep for two days. I was beginning to worry that you were lost again."

He stared at her in disbelief. Two days? Had it really been that long. "What?"

She nodded. "Today is Thanksgiving and you’ve already slept through most of it."

Fang shook his head as those words sank in. How had that much time passed and he not known it? It seemed like he’d only just lay down to rest.

Aimee scowled. "Did you not hear when Vane and his mate came in to talk to you a little while ago?"

"No," he lied, not wanting to admit to her how close he’d come to slipping back into the comatose state he’d been in before. "Are they still here?"

Both of her brows shot up as she cocked her head suspiciously. "You didn’t hear the commotion in the connecting room a few minutes ago?"

"What commotion?"

She gestured toward the wall where a giant mirror was mounted-strange how he’d never seen through that in his sleep. Only through the door. "Vane’s mate, Bride, beat your mother down in the next room when Bryani came here to kill you. Bride actually caged her during the fight . . . did you really sleep through all that?"

He was aghast at what Aimee described. His mother had come for him?

Was that why he’d seen Alastor?

But the most incredible part was that a human had defeated their mother . . . that took courage and strength. And a giant boatload of stupidity.

"I guess I did."

She shook her head. "I’ve heard of heavy sleepers before, but dang, wolf. You’re special." She stepped back. "Vane and Bride are still downstairs if you’d like to see them before they leave."

That he had mixed feelings about, but his brother needed to know he was alive and back in the world of the living. At least for the time being.

At the rate he was going, he could be sucked back into hell in a heartbeat.

Without a word, Fang dressed himself in a long-sleeved black shirt and jeans before he got up and almost fell again. He caught himself against the bedpost, despising the fact that he was still weak. He needed to be in fighting strength as soon as possible.

She put her hands on him to steady his balance. That innocent touch burned him to the core of his being. Covering her right one with his left hand, he gave a gentle squeeze.

Aimee paused at Fang’s uncharacteristic action. Normally he’d be pushing her away, telling her he was fine and cursing her for treating him like he was helpless. That alone told her just how shaken he was from whatever he was hiding from her.

He was a strong wolf and a proud one.

She stepped back to give him space as he made his way to the door and walked out it. The fact he didn’t use his powers was also very telling.

Aimee followed him down the hall to the stairs and to the kitchen that was bustling with activity. One of the few times of the year that Sanctuary was closed to the public, Thanksgiving had always been a celebration for them, a time when they held a massive banquet. All of the Were-Hunters who lived in Peltier House came together to feast and hang out, and this year they also had several of the former Dark-Hunters, and Acheron and Simi, in attendance.

Everyone was laughing and partying. Their cheer echoed into the kitchen where Cherif and Etienne were spooning out more potatoes and meat and adding a lot of barbecue sauce to it-Simi must still be hungry. Smiling at the thought of the Goth Charonte demon who could eat an elephant’s weight in food, she returned her brothers’ cheerful greeting as she helped Fang to the door.

She paused there while Fang continued into the bar and over to the table where Vane and Bride were sitting together and holding hands. He stood tall and moved fluidly, but she could sense his hurt and unease. His buried anger at the fact that Vane hadn’t been there for him.

"Good luck," she whispered under her breath. She hoped everything worked out between them.

Her gaze went to Fury who froze and looked stricken the moment he saw Fang upright and moving. How she ached for all of them and for the family they would now have to piece back together.

A lump in her throat, she scanned the room to seek her own family . . . Alain who sat with Tanya and their cubs, feeding them honey sticks while trying to keep Zar from playfully stealing them. To Kyle and Cody who laughed at something Colt had said while Carson pulled a beer away from the twins. Maman and Papa sat to the side, holding hands while they whispered to each other like two teenaged humans wanting to be alone and knowing that they couldn’t. Dev who sat talking and laughing with Remi, Acheron, Jasyn, Quinn, and Simi while Simi plowed through a plate of turkey, stuffing, and ham.

She couldn’t imagine not having them in her life. Through everything, family was family, and yet Fang and his brothers were now suspicious of one another.

That broke her heart.

Fang wanted to turn around and leave as he realized every eye in Sanctuary was now on him. Most of them had had no idea he’d awakened and he felt like a freak in a lab where everyone was trying to figure out what had gone wrong in his DNA.

But he wasn’t a coward.

Ignoring the cold lump in his stomach and wrapping his arms around himself, Fang kept his gaze on the goal of his brother and his mate. Even though Bride was seated, he could tell she was tall and Rubenesque-just the way Vane liked his women. With auburn hair and eyes so bright they danced with life, she was exquisite. And the love in her gaze as she looked at Vane was something rare. Something that should always be cherished and never abused.

His brother had done well for himself and that only made the lump inside him that much tighter.