Heylo, chapter four is finally being posted and I hope the size of this offering pleases all of you. I didn't mean for it to be so long, but I just kept adding parts to the chapter and I hope it was wroth it.
Thank you to everyone would has reviewed. I love knowing that people enjoy reading this story and because of that I shall continue writing. Thank you again.
Also, after you read this chapter, please go over to MoonlightDewz' Youtube account because I made a Bartimaeus music video to the song "Blow Me Away" by Breaking Benjamin and I would really appreciate it if people would comment on it.
Now, before the mad hoards of spirits are released from the Other Place and try to devour me, let us begin.
Suggested Listening - What Have You Done (Feat. Keith Caputo) by Within Temptation
Would you mind if I hurt you?
Understand that I need to
Wish that I had other choices
than to harm the one I love
What have you done now!
I know I'd better stop trying
You know that there's no denying
I won't show mercy on you now
I know, should stop believing
I know, there's no retrieving
It's over now, what have you done?
What have you done now!
I, I've been waiting for someone like you
But now you are slipping away... oh
(What have you done now!)
Why, why does fate make us suffer?
There's a curse between us, between me and you
What have you done! What have you done!
- What Have You Done (Feat. Keith Caputo) by Within Temptation
As I floated in the Other Place, my essence healing quickly, I hoped I would only be gone for the night. Since time is not measured in the Other Place I had no idea how long I'd been away, but I decided to get back as quickly as possible.
I didn't like the idea of leaving Ptolemy alone for long, especially after the attack the other day. Granted, I was pretty sure that whoever had summoned those seven djinnis would not be to quick to summon more after I had killed the first set, but you could never be to careful.
As soon as my essence was no longer burnt and sore, I reached out to my master's pentacle. I could not leave the human world without a dismissal, but the modified pentacle let me come back as soon as I was healed. I felt the cool tendrils of Ptolemy's spell reach back to me across the planes and wrap around my essence. Then, as the spell tightened around me, I was ripped from the Other Place and back to my master.
When I returned to the pentacle, free to escape it if I wished, the sun was just beginning to peak over the houses from the night before. I looked around the dim room. Ptolemy was asleep in his bed, his lips pressed into a line, the fingers of his right hand clamped over his throat. I walked over on silent cat feet and hoped onto the bed.
I wondered what he was dreaming about. Was he having a nightmare?
As I sat there, watching as his faced tightened, fingers digging lightly into his skin, his back curled him into a slight ball, it almost seemed like he was trying to protect himself from something. To try and relax him I rubbed the cat's body against his side, and he gasped quietly in his sleep at my touch. His lips moved, parted, and he whispered.
He did not awaken, and did not speak again, but I stayed as quiet as I could. His release of words seemed to liberate some of the tension in his body because he uncurled a bit, his fingers eased their protective grip and his face relaxed. After a moment of watching him to make sure he wouldn't tighten up again, I moved to the windowsill to watch for danger.
What had he been about to say? Was he dreaming about me, or was it just a reaction to my touch? I thought about my questions while the sun rose and the bedside clocked changed and glowed seven am.
When Ptolemy woke he didn't seem to be bothered by his nightmare dream, so I released it from my mind as well. No need to worry about something that didn't exist when there were bigger dangers.
"Good morning, my friend." He said to me, smiling as he sat up in bed.
I nodded and asked, "How long was I gone?"
Not long, I found out. It was Monday, June 6th, and Ptolemy had to go to school.
After getting dressed 1 (School uniform, white button-down shirt, long black pants, and a black jacket, I was slightly surprised the school didn't make him wear a tie as well) and collecting his things, he and I let Kitty drive us to the school. 2 (I was a fly, buzzing inside against the closed car window.)
She dropped us off, told us she'd be back by three thirty, gave my master a mother's kiss, and then drove away to her job. 3 (Which was working for the government. She was trying to recruit more commoners into the government, and she had even written a pamphlet titled Historical Notes, by Kathleen Jones (Hyrnek Publishers, London), which was supplied to all incoming MPs in the new People's Parliament. When I asked why she had taken to working for the government she had been trying to overthrow, she said it was because of her son. When she was eighteen she had refused, but after she realized she'd have to provide for not only herself but Ptolemy has well, she had to get a more stable job.)
For the rest of the day Ptolemy attended classes and I hung upside down from the ceiling as a fly, watching for any danger with multifaceted eyes. I wasn't too worried. As I said before, the enemy wouldn't make a go at attacking for a little while, and if this school was letting magician children attend then there had to be some type of magical protection for the students.
I checked the planes. There was a magical blue mesh on the second and third planes that covered the windows, and in every room I checked throughout the day had a djinni or foilet keeping guard as a hat rack or bookcase. 4 (They gave me odd looks, but since I was not attacking any of the students in their district, they left me pretty much alone.)
Those defenses seemed good enough for keeping out some lower magical entities and small spells, but they wouldn't hold if something, say an afrit, tried to break in. Although I supposed it was safe enough.
Ptolemy, despite the fact that he did not look like a native of London, seemed to fit in rather well among his peers. During class he would answer questions, but still let others try to answer first, giving them a chance. Not many took it, they were rather quiet in the class, but some spoke, and it made the class seem even. For that, the teachers enjoyed having him in their classes.
Girls giggled and smiled at my master when he needed to walk down the hallways, and even some boys turned to watch him pass, their eyes glued to his form. I smiled from my place on the wall. With his tan skin and slender dark eyes, he really made an impression on people. 5 (I should know, I am one of those "people".) To the people around him, including myself, he was exotic, beautiful and alluring, and in a few years, he would be irresistible.
Of course, I'm not saying that all the attention Ptolemy was getting wasn't stopping from making me feel just a bit smug. I had kissed those soft lips, I had held that warm gorgeous body in my arms, I had made love to that form, and they hadn't.
People liked my master as a person, but none of them had gotten close enough to make him theirs'.
As unfair as this sounds, I was glad he hadn't been claimed. I was in love with him, and if I had to fight with some type of jealous, fawning, high school girlfriend for him, I might have blasted her into bits. I had waited over two thousand years, and I wasn't about to let some girl with a name like Mary Sue have him.
However, it wasn't just his looks that attracted people, but his kind heart as well. When he helped someone, commoner, magician, or spirit, he wasn't expecting a thank you of any kind, he just acted because he could not stand to see anyone hurt or in pain.
This kindness was shown during lunch. Ptolemy was sitting at a table in the courtyard, studying, and I was perched on his book as a small butterfly. 6 (After all, would who smash a cute yellow butterfly? Famous last words.)
A girl with blonde, slightly curled hair, books wrapped in her arms, was making her way passed us on her way across the courtyard. She saw the yellow of my wings, paused for a moment, and then came towards us to get a better look at me, her long black skirt swishing around her ankles.
When she got to my master's table she smiled, her blue eyes watching me and said, a cooing quality to her voice, as if she was looking at a puppy or a kitten,
"Oh, its so cute."
My master looked up from his book, he had been rather focused on it, and while I knew he'd probably rather go back to reading, he was generously polite to the girl when she asked, "How do you get it to stay there like that?"
"I do not do anything really," he said, watching her watching me, "I just hold still and it comes."
I fluttered my wings gently for her. She held her breath, afraid I may fly off, but relaxed and smiled again when I didn't move.
Unfortunately, this was about the time when the girl's jock boyfriend came wandering over to see where his girlfriend had got to. I could tell by his face that he didn't like it that she was talking to Ptolemy, or watching me for that matter. I stilled myself. This situation could get extremely dire if this boy meant to do all the things his body language was saying.
"What are you doing?" he asked the girl when he approached the table, feeling like his territory was being threatened.
The girl straightened, she could tell by the boyfriend's posture that he didn't like what she was doing, so she addressed him.
"We were just talking about this butterfly, Charlie." She said, gesturing lightly to me.
Charlie's eyes narrowed at me. He wasn't pleased, probably thinking I was just an excuse for the girl to talk to Ptolemy. Perhaps I was, but despite that, I would not allow any harm to come to my master. I held still, and Ptolemy's hands tightened lightly on his book.
He didn't want anyone to get hurt, but he'd fight if he had to. With words if not strength.
Charlie scoffed and said nastily, "Yeah right."
He didn't accuse the girl outright, but I could tell what he was thinking.
Ptolemy could tell as well and he tried to calm the boy for the girl's sake.
"Now there is no need to accuse anyone, sir." He said, serenely, holding his hands in a calmly manner, "She is telling the truth.'
The girl nodded.
Charlie ignored them.
"Anyway," Charlie said, glaring at me, but talking to the girl, "If this stupid bug gets your attention so easily then we might as well take it with us."
Then he started to reach down to grab me with his ruff grip. I could have tried to fly, but he wanted to hurt me and I was worried he'd just swat me out of the air before I got clear. I didn't want to, but if this boy, who didn't have the faintest idea how to handle my delicate butterfly body, got to close I would change form.
It might label Ptolemy as an outsider, and I didn't want to do that to him, but I didn't want to be crushed.
To her credit, the girl tried to jump to my rescue.
"Don't Charles." She said, tugging at the boyfriend, "You'll hurt it!"
He ignored her. His hand was coming closer, but I wanted to wait to the last moment. If I couldn't help alienating Ptolemy then I would change, but not before. I stiffed as I felt a think finger just brush against the tip my yellow wing, hearing the membranes of the wing straining against the pressure.
A hand came down, but it wasn't Charlie's. It was Ptolemy's.
"Stop!" My master said, standing up, his hand blocking the hand that would have crushed me. I sighed quietly and, hidden by their hands, changed into a wisp of smoke so I could float out of danger. With any luck, the girl and her boyfriend would think I had flown away.
I had been more concerned of being smashed to keep my eyes on Ptolemy, but now that I had a chance to look, my master looked rather angry.
"How dare you." He said, his eyes hard, voice calm and steady, 7 (It was the kind of voice that was more threatening than a scream. When you hear that voice, you wished he'd just yell so you won't feel like he could crush you with the weight of his words) "What right do you have to take another creature's life? It was doing no harm to you."
Charles' yanked his hand back, his fists clenched and he glared. He was mad as well, but he only had his physical muscle to back him up.
"Well who do you think you are?" Charlie asked, his voice just below a roar, a nasty look on his face, "Trying to steal my girlfriend from right under my nose!"
"I was doing no such thing." My master replied, his hands dropping to his sides, "We were only talking, nothing more."
"Like hell you weren't!" the boyfriend yelled, aiming to hit my master.
That was the deciding factor to my problem.
I moved and changed.
There was a sound as if a bag of flour had just been hit and Charles' fist stopped five inches away from my master's nose.
Ptolemy didn't even flinch, he just stared ahead, back straight, eyes dark and hard.
The boyfriend was no magician, and due to the fact that he had no lenses, he could not see my essence stopping his attack. He was confused at first, not understanding why his fist hadn't made contact with his target. He tried to push his fist closer to Ptolemy but it wouldn't move, so he tried to pull back.
His confusion was replaced by worry as he tugged again.
He couldn't pull away his paralyzed limp.
"What?" he said, his voice small as he tried to pull his arm away from me but I held on, keeping it perfectly still. He had made a mistake trying to hurt Ptolemy. I was determined to make Charles pay for his mistake.
Luckily, Ptolemy, who did not care to wear his magician lenses, could not see me. If he didn't know what I was doing, then if he was questioned about what had happened he could plead ignorance.
"W-What have you done?" the boyfriend questioned my master, his voice cracking with fear as he continued to pull.
The girl's eyes had gotten very wide and Ptolemy stayed motionless, the look on his face never wavering. He didn't speak, he just looked with those deep, dark, hard eyes. At the time, even though he did not like violence, I think my master wanted Charles to be punished just as much as I did.
However, I wouldn't hurt the boy, just frightened him a little.
He was frightened. His breathing was getting faster as he panicked and the occasional whine would come from his throat. He was deathly afraid of the thing he couldn't see and as he continued to try and pull away, so frightened that he was probably willing to lose his arm if that meant I would let go of him, I reached out and supported his shoulders from behind. I didn't need him to pull his shoulder out.
"Shhh." I hissed in his ear, my face splitting into a smile he couldn't see. He froze and quieted at my voice, at the touch of my hands, his eyes wide and afraid.
"Now be silent and listen," I said quietly, my voice smooth and cold, and he nodded, mutely. "You will turn around, walk away, and never bother him again. Understand?"
I didn't need to explain who "him" was, Charles knew because he nodded mutely once again, shivering in my grip.
I chuckled darkly as released him. He stumbled back but kept his balance and didn't giving anyone, including himself, a chance to say anything; he just turned on his heal and ran. The girl watched him go, but Ptolemy was already silently packing up his books and turning to leave.
I followed my master as he walked away; and we left the blonde, blue-eyed girl alone in the courtyard with the wind and the silence.
If there's one thing I've learned about humans is that 1.) they love to gossip and that 2.) rumors fly fast. Ptolemy ignored them, but I couldn't. I couldn't in Egypt, and I couldn't here, even if it was only classroom banter.
The rumors started innocently enough, simple questions or speculations of what really happened, but by the end of the day they had grown into unbelievable stories. I heard one of these stories from two boys who were talking in the hallway.
"Hey, did you hear?" the one asked, "My friend said that a boy was mauled by another kid's thoughts!"
"His thoughts?" the other boy said skeptically, a disbelieving look on his face, "Oh come on, you're pulling my leg."
"No, no." the first boy said, "My friend saw it with his own eyes. The boy tried to punch the other kid in the face and some invisible force mauled him. I'm telling you, that kid has something powerful on his side."
The second boy looked nervous now and asked, "What was the kid's name?"
The first boy wet his lips and whispered the name to his friend, "Jones."
It was about this time that my master looked over at them while he was walking by, and they grew quiet and stared, waiting until he had passed before they began talking again.
I sighed and shook my head. I knew this was going to happen. One of the reasons the magician's had put themselves in places of power in the first place was so that they didn't need to hide what they really were. But now that England, at least, was changing, Ptolemy was being treated the same way he had been in Egypt.
You are a sorcerer who consorts with demons.
Unless something happened to change those rumors then my master would be alienated, persecuted, and maybe even feared and despised.
For the rest of the day Ptolemy went to his classes and I perched as a spider in a corner, hoping that the rumors would not led any of the teachers to falsely accuse my master.
Luckily, none of the teachers or staff asked him what had happened. Some came close, and some gave worried looks, but they didn't ask. None of the staff had seen me "maul" Charlie and no one had told, so they could do nothing since they could not act on silly rumors.
Then, shortly before three thirty, the girl from before found Ptolemy on his way out of the school.
"Hey," she called, raising her hand to get his attention, "Wait please."
Ptolemy stopped at the doors and waited for her, while I poked my head out of his schoolbag. 8 (I was a mouse at the time.)
The girl walked towards my master, brushed her hair back, and began speaking.
"Um… Mr. Jones?" she asked, her mouth pressed into a worried line, nervous as she looked down at her fingers.
I wriggled the mouse's nose. At first glance the girl may have seemed afraid, but that wasn't the case. She was unsure and slightly embarrassed of course, but her human body was also a bit warm, and it wasn't from the walk. She bit her bottom lip lightly, sneaking a quick glance at the boy who stood in front of her from underneath her lashes. From the way she was acting I could tell at least one thing about her.
This girl had a crush on my master.
The mouse blinked, buried itself deeper into the school bag and ignored the girl. Why should I care if Ptolemy was the subject of a schoolgirl's crush? A simple crush didn't last for long anyway and besides I had kissed Ptolemy. She hadn't. I had the upper hand, but…
The girl stuttered and Ptolemy took pity on her.
"It's all right," he said, "You may call me Ptolemy if you wish."
I looked to see her reaction. The girl looked up, her body relaxing, and she smiled at his kindness. She took a breath.
"I-I just wanted to say that I think you did the right thing, Ptolemy." She said, "Charlie had no right to try to hurt you and he deserved what was coming to him. I don't blame you."
"Thank you," He said, a small smile on his face, "Miss?"
"Vanessa," She said, smiling as she turned away, "Vanessa Palmer."
The mouse's eyes narrowed as she walked away, a car horn beeped, and my master went out to Kitty's car.
The next few days were, eventful, to say the least.
The rumors continued on their destructive path throughout the school. They spread like wild fire and some of the lies made me grit my teeth. I was uncomfortable and edgy, and while I knew how to deal with the rumors about my master's goals and character, 9 (I had experience with those before) I could not over look the lies forming around Ptolemy and Vanessa.
The rumors said that they were becoming a couple.
I couldn't overlook such a lie because I understood why the people had started talking about it.
My master and the girl were very different. His hair was a dark black while hers was a light blonde. His eyes were as deep and dark as the bottom of the Nile River and hers where as bright and as blue as the sky. His tan skin contrasted sharply against her pale flesh and due to the rumors of attack, Ptolemy was being stereotyped as the sensual bad boy while Miss butterfly was the sweet virgin in a white dress.
He was dark while she was fair and they made a pretty picture, anyone could see that.
Also, as fuel for the rumor mill, Vanessa had taken to sitting with Ptolemy at lunch, her little schoolgirl crush making my essence clench as she giggled and played the innocent angel while Ptolemy, who did nothing to stop the rumors, actually enjoyed Vanessa's company.
If Ptolemy returned her feelings and it actually came down to him wanting to be with her instead of me, then I wouldn't stand in his way. I wanted him to be happy, but that didn't mean I had to share that happiness.
In a way, I was acting just like Faquarl and Nouda. They had been so obsessed with getting their revenge that they had cut themselves off from the Other Place, never to return. They had been filled with anger, pain, and bitterness. They had let the human world twist and poison their essences, and I was the same.
I was in love with Ptolemy and because of that I was so attached to him that when he died the first time, I had become cynical, sarcastic, and even bitter to deal with his death. He was like a drug to me, something that did my essence harm but I craved all the same. He made me happy, yes, but I also felt incredibly angry with anyone who would hurt him, and horribly distressed if I did anything to harm or displease him.
I was also jealous.
Horribly, raving jealous of a schoolgirl.
I watched as Ptolemy smiled softly and was nice to her, and she'd never talk his ear off or be annoying to him in anyway. She almost seemed to good to be true.
I pressed my lips into a line and stayed quiet, but I wasn't fooled for a second, not by her.
I kept my eyes on her, glaring at her when she wasn't looking my way, and I decided that if she ever tried to hurt Ptolemy, whether physically or emotionally, then I would do to her what everyone "thought" I had done to Charlie.
I squeezed my eyes shut.
I really was like Faquarl.
Unfortunately, Vanessa and the rumors weren't the only things I had to worry about.
My master had been having some, unsettling, dreams as of late. Sometimes they would be minor and only cause him to react in small ways. A tightness of his lips, tenseness in his form, small things, but occasionally these dreams would cause him to react in larger ways.
It surprised me, the first time he did it.
I had been sitting near the window, thinking, watching the clouds pass in front of the moon. He had been in a deep sleep, not troubled in the slightest, then suddenly, his eyes had snapped open and he had quickly sat up, fully awake.
He didn't make any noise; he just breathed in the cold night air for a moment, his eyes wide and his hands clenched into the blankets. I had moved from the window and asked him what was wrong. I expected some type of answer, but he just turned his head and stared at me for a moment, then shook his head.
"I'm fine." He had said in the dark, voice just loud enough for me to hear. "It's nothing."
Then he slowly lay down again to sleep, eyes staring at the ceiling. He fell asleep right after, but I kept a close eye on him for the rest of the night.
I had expected this. If he had dreamed about the Other Place when I hadn't been in the human world, then what was he dreaming now that I was here?
He never told me what he dreamed, and I didn't push him to tell. I was sure I would find out soon enough.
A little more confusing, but mostly harmless, was the habit Ptolemy had taken of accidentally slipping foreign words into his speech.
The first time he did it was on a Wednesday afternoon and, while he was studying in the dining room of the house, I had confided in him my concern about the rumors.
"It is only false talk, my friend," he had said, "I am not worried, for as soon as they have nothing to fuel their lies, then the rumors will disappear."
"But what of the people?" I had asked, "What if they believe what they are told and act on it? What if someone comes seeking revenge on you?"
He looked up from his book, cocked his head in that way of his, and smiled.
"I have no fear for my safety," he said, "Because I know you will always be by my side, Rekhyt, and besides you shouldn't worry so, I am sure the rumors will die by the end of the renpet."
I blinked and looked at him as he paused, confusion painted across his face, the foreign word still on his tongue.
His mouth had said "renpet", but his mind had said "year".
He was speaking Ancient Egyptian.
It seemed like his past life was catching up to him quicker then I had imagined.
He stayed still, gazing at the table, frozen, confused about what he had just said, so to ease his tension I said, smiling,
"Neat trick. Where'd you learn that?"
He didn't answer me right a way, but his voice came eventually, "I-I do not know."
His eyes hardened in thought, and I knew I wouldn't be able to get him to speak to me, so I let him think and didn't bother him.
The days slowly passed like this, rumors growing, Vanessa, nightmares, the Egyptian language, and I tried to take all of it all in with a calm and relaxed manner.
Needless to say, I failed miserably, and because of that everything fell apart.
It was Thursday, lunchtime, and my master and Vanessa were sitting in the courtyard. Ptolemy had an open book in his hands and while he read it silently, so did Vanessa, the girl reading over his shoulder.
I was a wasp, hovering and buzzing between the leafy branches of a nearby tree. I didn't like that the girl was sitting so close to my master, her head almost resting against his shoulder, her fingers lightly touching his arm.
I landed on a thin branch and resisted the urge to fly over and sting her.
Vanessa smiled, her eyes moving from the print on the page to Ptolemy and she whispered something to him. I wasn't sure what she had said since I was to far away and she had been rather quiet, but Ptolemy turned his head to look at her.
Then, right before my eyes, the butterfly girl smiled again and lunged, her mouth crushing against Ptolemy's lips.
I wasn't shocked. After all, the girl had a rather overbearing crush on my master, and it was only natural for her to want to kiss him. I stared as Ptolemy's eyes widened, shock painted across his face and I expect him to push her off, push her away.
But he didn't.
He just sat there, letting her fondle him, his hands slowly coming up to rest on her shoulders and something inside of me let out a quiet, keening cry. My essence painfully cracked and my unfeeling observation of the whole spectacle quickly seeped away, leaving me feeling miserable and broken. I shut my eyes and turned away so I couldn't watch.
Him and her.
Not he and me.
I loved Ptolemy, and because of that I wanted him to be happy. If that meant that I had to disappear, then so be it.
As I perched there, in that tree, hidden between the leaves, the sadness was slowly eaten away, and a somewhat selfish thought came to mind.
Yes, he deserved to be happy, even if it was with her, but what about… what about me? What about my happiness, my life? Didn't I deserve to be content, just as much as anyone else? What was so different about me that made me not worthy in his eyes?
I realized then, as my translucent wings twitched and a heated anger began to build inside, what was wrong with me. I almost let out a bitter laugh because of the reason, but held it in.
I was Bartimaeus, Sakhr al-Jinn, N'gorso the Mighty, Serpent of the Silver Plumes, a djinni. I would do anything and give him anything he wished. If he wanted me to kill thousands I would do it without blinking. If he wanted me to love him I gladly would. If he wanted me to disappear forever I would do that to. If he wanted me to be someone or something else I would. I could be anything he desired me to be, but I could not be human.
I was a spirit of the Other Place.
I wasn't human. I could look human, I could act relatively human, but no matter how hard I tried, I would never, truly, be human. I didn't deserve happiness because, to him and all other magician's throughout time, I was just another spirit. I was their slave, to be used and abused as they saw fit until my essence was finally destroyed and I could have peace.
I was also a demon who could not be trusted. A sinful, cursed, wrathful demon that was feared and despised.
My anger devoured me, heart and mind alike, and as the madness rose up and consumed me I buzzed furiously, to agitated to even think straight.
He was just like the others, just like the magicians who had come before and would come after him. Horrible, wretched humans that forced me to do their biding, raped me of my freewill and then betrayed me, cast me aside when they saw fit to do so.
However, despite this I would not hurt him. The thought of standing in his room, moonlight pouring over the floorboards, glaring over my shoulder at sightless dark glazed eyes, cold white skin, a pool of red moonlighted blood forming under a prone slender form that lay on the wood, still sickened me. I couldn't do that, not to him. But, I convinced myself, if I ever laid eyes on him again, if he ever had the nerve to summon me again, I would punish him for his actions.
I was so angry and heartbroken and lost, that I couldn't stand being there, watching them, so I changed into a falcon and flew from the tree, not caring if anyone saw me leave.
I just wanted the pain to stop.
The London air was cold and damp from a recent rain so as I flew straight up through the clouds, trying to reach the boundaries of the sky, I felt ice begin to form on my feathers. The cold air soaked down into the core of my essence making me feel numb, empty, and I was glad for it.
I didn't care where I was going, didn't care that I had left Ptolemy behind, didn't care that I had promised Kitty that I would protect him. The world could have frozen over and I wouldn't have cared.
I just flew on, trying to kill the pain inside.
Eventually, as the air grew thin and I reached the edge of the sky, my wings grew heavy with ice crystals and I couldn't keep myself up. My essence felt sore and stiff, and since I had nothing to return to, I let out a falcon's screech, forcing all my pain into that one scream, and then my ice-encrusted wings folded in on me.
I fell towards earth like a stone, letting gravity have its way with me.
Then, as the ground rushed up to greet me, my awareness fled and I fell into darkness.
He was gasping as he ran, breath labored from having to run the whole way, but he was almost there, almost home, almost to the summoning pentacle. The road was still wet, and he had to be careful about not slipping and falling, but he knew he had to get home as soon as possible. He didn't even want to think about what would happen if he didn't.
He had been a fool.
He should have never let Vanessa get that close to him. He knew Bartimaeus was nearby, watching him, but he didn't think Vanessa would be so eager to kiss him.
He had meant to push her off, but he knew that she liked him and he didn't want to hurt her feelings. He did eventually push her away but unfortunately, because he took so long to react, Rekhyt misunderstood and now the djinni was gone, angry and most likely in a huge amount of emotionally pain.
Ptolemy's only hope would be to summon his friend and try to explain. He only hoped it wasn't too late.
His mother wasn't home yet, so he rushed through the dining room, took the stairs two at a time and ran into his room. Only then, when he had gotten to the edge of the pentacle, did he pause to regain his breath.
Ptolemy only paused for a moment before he began the summons.
The words were smooth and easily flowed from his mouth as he spoke despite his lack of breath, but the ease in which he summoned barely hid the fact that he was more frightened then he had ever been.
What would he find when he summoned Bartimaeus? The djinni could be injured or worse, and on the upside, even if he wasn't hurt, Ptolemy could be facing a rather angry and powerful spirit.
Not to mention heartbroken.
While he spoke, one of Ptolemy's hands came up to rest over his own heart.
Yes, he knew that his Rekhyt would be heartbroken, for the sin that he had committed against the djinni was a horrible one to inflict on a being that seemed to care for his master so much that it was love.
Ptolemy knew, on the day of the attack at the shop, that Rekhyt loved him, for the boy had acted on impulse and instead of becoming mad or disgusted, Bartimaeus kissed him back, and the spirit had savored it.
At that time, Ptolemy had only know the djinni for a couple of days, and the same could be said of Bartimaeus, so why was it that the spirit seemed to know the magician child? Why was it that when Ptolemy had acted on impulse with a sense of deja vu, feeling like Bartimaeus was going somewhere and may not come back, the djinni had accepted? Why was it that he felt like he was falling in love with Bartimaeus, a shape shifting spirit that he saw in his dreams?
So many questions he couldn't answer.
The summoning finished and a small body formed in the pentacle. The breath Ptolemy had regained did very little to sustain him when his body decided to hold his breath at the sight.
The falcon that had appeared in the circle, splayed out on the wooden floor on its back like a shot animal, was Bartimaeus. Ptolemy knew it was because he had called the spirit's name during the summonings, but that didn't help to take away any of the disbelief.
The spirit was unconscious, limp wings stretched out along the floor, eyes closed, and a clear liquid was pooling around the underside of the djinni, almost as if his essence was bleeding from his body.
Ptolemy resisted the urge to scream and instead moved closer, his hands coming in contact with wet, soft feathers.
Bartimaeus was ice cold to the touch, but the feathers seemed stable enough. Ptolemy bit his bottom lip and tried to think. If his Rekhyt was not losing form, then that meant that the spirit was not dying. A small ice crystal slowly slid from one of the falcon's feathers and into Ptolemy's palm and the boy understood.
The liquid wasn't essence. It was water.
The magician let himself take a breath in thankfulness but soon got back to trying to arouse the unconscious spirit.
"Rekhyt?" he questioned, his fingers sliding gently through sleek brown feathers, trying to ease a response from his friend, "Rekhyt, please wake up."
The bird's body stirred, ice melting from its form and one yellow eye snapped opened, sharply focused on the child and the falcon quickly made to stand up, feathers ruffled, talons scraping at the floor or flailing in mid air.
Ptolemy quickly pulled his hands back as the sprit righted itself and when Bartimaeus had gotten to his feet the spirit glared with yellow eyes at his master and spoke,
"Hesy mes." he hissed with a closed mouth, the voice seemly coming from every direction, filling the air with its hurtful words.
Ptolemy didn't speak right away; he could tell that the djinni was horribly angry, but the boy stood his ground, his memories somehow helping him interpret the djinni's words.
"I am not a wretched child, Rekhyt." The boy said, stern but calm, his fingers curling into his palms.
The spirit laughed, deep, dark, and mirthless and changed its form into a girl with blond hair and blue eyes. She sat on the floor, inside the pentacle; her pale legs crossed in front of her and cleared her throat daintily. She would have looked innocent and angelic if not for the leering eyes and smirking mouth the spirit had on its face.
Ptolemy was unmoved; he kept his back straight, dark eyes narrowed softly.
"There is a reason you mortals call us demons." She said, studying her nails as if she was only talking about the weather and could afford such distractions, "Do you know what it is?"
"It is because people misunderstand you." Ptolemy stated.
"Yes," the girl mused, her mouth forming a pout while she looked at her fingers, "You would think that, wouldn't you? But you are wrong."
She waved one of her fingers, first to the right, then the left, making a tsking noise to show that the boy had made a mistake before she spoke again.
"You call us demons because we are crafty, sinful, and can not be trusted. We are not human, so we do not follow human rules, and are dishonest."
"That isn't true." The magician said, his voice rising slightly, "It is only the way spirits are treated that cause them to be untrustworthy. They are not sinful by nature."
The girl moved, to quickly for the boy's eyes to see, and suddenly she was close enough that if she had breath Ptolemy would feel it on his face.
"Do you really believe that?" she questioned, her hand reaching out towards him, her other arm slinking around his back, locking him in place, "Like I said before we are not human, child, and no matter how much you wish it… we never will be."
The girl smiled, soft fingers running through his hair, along his jaw, yet still he remained motionless.
When he was a young boy, his mother told him stories about the exploits she had experienced when she was a young girl. She told him about the resistance, and the magician Nathaniel who had given up his own life to save her city. Ptolemy listened with rapt attention, his young eyes wide, always wanting to learn more about his mother's past. Then, when he reached the age of twelve years, he made the decision that he wanted to be a full fledge magician, going above the basics of summoning his mother had taught him, and so she told him about the djinni Bartimaeus.
Something clicked at that moment, something deep inside Ptolemy that he hadn't realized was there, came to life, and he wanted to know more about this spirit that had helped his mother and Nathaniel save London. She told him everything she knew but for some reason it wasn't enough to sate his curiosity. So, he planned to summon the spirit.
His mother had not wanted him to summon the djinni, not even to try. It wasn't as if she didn't think he could, and it wasn't because she was afraid, but she had been worried that her son would be disappointed when the djinni didn't show.
She said that Bartimaeus was dead.
She said that he had been destroyed when the spirit Nouda had murdered Nathaniel.
But Bartimaeus was not dead. Oh no, he was alive, because the spirit was teasing its master, its fingertips gently brushing against his lips, tempting him, coaxing him into giving in, to respond to its touch, and Ptolemy didn't want to hold still. He wanted to respond, to close his eyes, wrap his arms around that neck and let the djinni have its way with him, no matter what that way was. He wanted all this because it was Bartimaeus, his Rekhyt, not Vanessa and the spirit was warm and alive. It took almost all of the magician's will to refuse, because he knew that if he reacted then he would fail the djinni's test and it would prove to Bartimaeus, no matter how wrong he was, that Ptolemy cared for Vanessa more then the spirit.
"You're lying." Ptolemy stated, tranquil and still, and Bartimaeus laughed again, deep and dark like chocolate.
"Lying is what demons do, boy." The spirit said, "You should remember that if there is a next time."
Ptolemy stayed still; he wouldn't be intimidated by a hollow threat.
"You won't hurt me." He said, looking the spirit in the eyes, seeing the yellow under the blue, "You love me to much."
At those words Bartimaeus' form stiffen for a fraction of a second, and while a less trained eye would have missed it, Ptolemy saw.
The spirit sneered at his mistake, and said, an almost snap in his voice,
"Like the way she loves you?"
The boy didn't need to ask who "she" was, he already knew, so he kept quiet, and the girl quickly reached out and grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him closer.
"Do you wish you could be with her?" The spirit murmured, lips gently brushing against the shell of his ear, the tone of voice almost accusing, "Do you dream about her?"
Ptolemy closed his eyes. This little interrogation had gone on long enough. Moving slowly and smoothly, the boy raised his arms and when his palms came in contact with the spirit's shoulders he pushed back, pushed the girl away from him.
Bartimaeus offered no resistance, it almost seemed like he wanted to be pushed away.
"No," the boy said softly, his hands still resting on the djinni's shoulders, keeping the spirit an arms length away from him, "I dream about you, Rekhyt."
That was the truth, because he did dream about the djinni. Rekhyt haunted the landscape of his dreams, a place of sand and heat that was set in a time very different then his own. He dreamed of sitting and talking with the spirit in this place and time, dreamed of the djinni leading him by the hand through the alleyways of a Egyptian city in the noonday sun, dreamed of a time when he stared out a window over a large river, waiting for his friends return.
Then, more recently, he dreamed of incensed darkness and moonlight, a warm form and silk sheets, yellow eyes and whispered words. He dreamed of warm hands on his body, gliding down his skin and easing him into mewling in pleasure like a kitten. He dreamed of a pain that shot through him and made him hiss his Rekhyt's name, but the pain was sweet and when it died he felt whole, somehow. He dreamed of feeling needed, wanted, loved until the end of time.
He dreamed of Bartimaeus, his dearest Rekhyt, who was his friend…but once was something more.
He had started having these "dreams" when he was about twelve years of age, but they had never been so numerous before. However, they had always been exceedingly detailed and vivid, always, and so he knew they couldn't just be dreams.
Not when he felt as if he really knew Bartimaeus even though he have never met the spirit before in his life.
Not when his body kept reacting to things Rekhyt said or did with no clear explanation.
Not when he awoke at night and could only stare at the djinni who protected and cared for him.
No, they couldn't "just" be dreams.
They were definitely something more, and even though he wasn't completely sure what that something more was, he had an idea and a way to figure out if he was right.
However, first he need to make a decision, and he had to make it soon because Bartimaeus was watching him with narrowed eyes and if he did not speak and give his answer then he could very possibly lose his friend forever.
Ptolemy took a breath, eyes still closed, hands dropping from the spirit's shoulders.
So, first the question needed to be asked.
Did he care about Vanessa? Did he love her?
The answer was simple.
No, he did not love her. She was a friend, nothing more, and despite her attempts to snog him, he did not like her in that way.
So what was left for him?
He opened his eyes, and saw his Rekhyt watching him. The narrowed eyes had softened slightly, curious about why his master had been quiet for so long, lost in the thoughts of his dreams. The spirit, although still angry, was still his friend, his djinni, his Rekhyt.
His dearest Rekhyt.
Internally, making sure it didn't show on his face, Ptolemy smiled.
His decision had been made. He just needed to be sure before he spoke to Bartimaeus; he wanted something solid to base his theories on so he didn't make a mistake.
He took another deep breath before speaking.
"Rekhyt…." He only paused for a second, just enough time to wonder if he was making the right choice. What if he was wrong? He could be making a mistake that could never be fixed. He had caused so much pain for his friend, he didn't know if Bartimaeus could handle another blow should his master be wrong. What if he made Bartimaeus even angrier? What if he caused Rekhyt even more pain?
Ptolemy's fingers curled into his palms, steeling himself.
No, he had to know. He would never be able to prove his theory if he didn't try, didn't ask. He had to understand, both for Rekhyt's and his own sakes. He swallowed his fear and spoke, keeping his voice steady.
"Rekhyt, who was Ptolemaeus of Alexandria?"
Bartimaeus didn't speak; he seemed frozen, body perfectly still as he stared at the boy in front of him. The anger had drained away, leaving the djinni looking stunned, eyes wide, mouth set in a line, almost like he was afraid of something. The spirit's eyes unconsciously flicked from blue to yellow and the temperature in the room sharply dropped.
The air grew bitter cold as the warmth was sucked out of the air and ice started to appear. The ice formed much to quickly to be natural as it raced along the floor, freezing the wood and climbing the walls. The ice cracked and spread quickly over the glass of the windows, locking its occupants inside.
Bartimaeus was freezing the room.
Ptolemy brought his hands to his chest, trying to keep the warmth of his body from escaping into the air. He was deathly cold, his breath coming out as wisps of mist. His body tried to keep him warm by shivering, but the air was so cold it felt sharp and it was hard to breathe.
He had felt something like this before, hadn't he? He remembered telling someone about it, a time when he was very young, newborn, and he had been horribly cold. He had almost died. But, wait, that wasn't right, was it? He had been born in a hospital in Cairo, and it had been safe, warm. His mother had been there, hadn't she?
"Stop." He said, just enough air in his lungs to whisper, "Please stop."
When I had fallen from the sky, I should have hit the ground, the bird's body broken and seemly lifeless on the cement, but when I woke up to find myself inside a pentacle, warm and safe on a wooden floor, I knew what had happened.
My master had summoned me, and I knew what I had to do.
He had betrayed me by not leaving me be, so I would see him punished for his transgressions.
I treated him badly, viciously attacking him mentally and emotionally, killing the trust and hope in him as I killed myself. I was just so angry and I reacted without thinking. I changed into Vanessa and threw his sins back in his face. I wanted him to feel the way I did, and maybe… maybe part of me wanted to be proved wrong. I wanted to know that he didn't really care for her, and even if it was a lie, even if he looked at me and lied right to my face, I wanted to believe that he saw me as more than just his slave.
Then, he pushed me away and told me.
I dream about you, Rekhyt.
I stopped then, because I knew that he wasn't lying. He had told me, before he even knew her name that he dreamed of me. I knew he wasn't lying.
Then, he asked a question.
Rekhyt, who was Ptolemaeus of Alexandria?
I froze. The world seemed to tip sideways and as my mind unfocused, those words echoing inside, I starting pulling all of the heat out of the air, making the room freeze.
I was afraid.
If I told him, if I told him about his past life and the Other Place, his gateway, what would he do, how would he react? Would he think I was insane, or would he actually believe me? I didn't want to frighten him with the truth, but I didn't want the past to repeat itself. I didn't want to lose him again, but I knew he wouldn't let me lie.
I couldn't lie, but what if he blamed me? What if he learned about his death? Would he accuse me of not protecting him, blame me for my mistakes that led to my dismissal and his murder?
I didn't know if I could tell him. I was too terrified of what would happen.
At the time, I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing. I knew the room was growing cold, I just didn't notice how much until…
I blinked, the world righted itself at his quiet, whispered words, and the coldness instantly rushed away. The air grew warm again, and Ptolemy gasped, the cold air no longer stabbing his throat and lungs. Ice melted from the windows and walls, puddles formed on the floor and dried, and I… I looked at the shivering form in front of me.
What had I done?
I moved then and when he did not move away I gently put my hands on his shoulders to warm him, say I was sorry.
Sorry, sorry, so sorry, always sorry. I didn't mean it, I am sorry.
I frowned, my hands gently running over his jacket covered back, trying to bring the warmth back into his body after I had leeched it out of him like a parasite.
Why were things like this? Ever since Kitty's son summoned me I had been taking one step forward and two steps back. I would make a mistake, I would apologize, and he would forgive me with his kind heart. But how many apologizes could his heart take? Eventually I wouldn't be able to mend him with an 'I'm sorry.' It was time to stop the cycle.
Ptolemy continued to shiver, even though my hands were still moving, and I could feel how cold he was through his clothes.
He was so cold.
Yes, the cycle needed to stop now. Even if he was willing to forgive me I wasn't willing to let him. I had hurt him too much this time, and I wasn't worthy of forgiveness.
"Master," I said, trying to keep for voice neutral, "Dismiss me."
At my words his body suddenly stopped moving and he became completely still, not even a quiver giving him away. He knew what I meant. Total dismissal, so he'd never suffer from my presence again. When he looked at me his eyes were empty pools of dark water, and his body was taut like a bowstring, back straight and tense, and my essence felt like a lead weight for making him look at me like that.
He was in pain, but at my words he smiled wistfully, trying to hide his pain from me, and spoke.
"I understand, my friend," he said, and even though his voice was calm and steady, I could feel the tremble under his words, "So if you wish it, I will…"
He trailed off, but I knew that he had given his consent for my dismissal, so I was content.
"Thank you." I said, and I looked away from him as I moved my hands away from him.
He was right to choose her over me because I didn't deserve him. I didn't deserve his time, his words, his kiss or his touch. I didn't deserve any of it.
I didn't deserve him.
He was right to desert me because I was doing nothing but causing him pain.
It was better this way.
Ptolemy took a breath, but just before he began the dismissal he said, "I will miss you, Rekhyt."
I shrugged like nothing mattered, and in truth, nothing did, not anymore.
I wouldn't say goodbye, partings are always more painful when goodbye is said, and I didn't want him to suffer anymore for my sake. However, leaving without speaking to him would be cruel.
"Well," I said, trying to scramble up something to say, "I wish you well in your future endeavors, and I hope you have a happy union with your new…"
I trailed off for a moment, trying to bring myself to say what I knew would save him from me. I swallowed and continued.
Ptolemy blinked in confusion.
"My what?" he inquired, "My friend, what you are talking about?"
"I understand that Miss Palmer is your new lover," I said, still not looking at him.
He stared at me and opened his mouth to speak, but I cut him off.
"Don't try to deny it, I was watching you. Now," I said, finally turning to look at him. "Please dismiss me."
I was using Vanessa as an excuse to hide the real reason I wanted to be dismissed, but I didn't think I would be able to explain the real reason to Ptolemy, not if I wanted to keep my resolve from crumbling.
I couldn't stay, not if I was just going to cause him pain.
Two thousand years ago, in the sands of Egypt, things were simpler. I didn't have to worry about what other people thought because they were "below" my master on the social ladder. Ptolemy, while he didn't think of himself as being better than any other living creature, was the Pharaoh's nephew and cousin to the crowned prince of Egypt. The local girls, relatively, stayed away from my master because he was "higher" then they were in the social scale and if they did something to upset him, or the rest of the royal family, their heads may have left their shoulders. However, I was under the radar because I was a spirit. Since I had no family or property I could do nothing to bring gain or disaster to the royal family, besides murdering them all. The pharaoh cared very little whom his nephew shared his bed with, so I was able to stay with my lover and not worry about some human girl coming into my territory.
However, now everything was so difficult. Ptolemy had a mother that loved him, a girl that was willing to take the next step in her relationship with him and here I was, the wrench that was jamming the works. I needed to disappear because I was just making my master's life difficult and painful, and I loved him too much to do that to him.
I had to let him go, to be free to choose his own path. I had gotten in the way before, and it had gotten him killed.
He had died because of me, so I had to let him go.
However, my master didn't want to let go, not yet.
"Rekhyt… you think I…" he said, his voice breathless, and I knew he was having second thoughts about letting me depart.
I had made up my mind and I knew what I wanted. I didn't want to stay here. I wanted to go back to the Other Place. I wanted to go home.
I wanted to forget my pain because I could no longer fight against it.
I, Bartimaeus, was giving in, and so I had to persuade Ptolemy to give up on me as well.
Reaching out a hand, I gently tipped his head until he was looking at me, and rested my forehead softly against his. Then, I spoke again, whispering my wish to him,
"Please release me, hekau," I pleaded, knowing that he understood my words because I could feel his quavering breath, the flutter of his heart rippling through my essence, "Do not bind me here."
Don't make it any harder for me to let you go.
His hands reached towards me, hesitated, and dropped. He didn't speak; he just took a breath, backed away from me, and stood. I watched him move away and he looked at me with slim, Egyptian eyes. Something inside me tensed in warning at that look and his answer to my plea came quicker then I expected. He took another breath.
"Bartimaeus, I charge you to kneel before me." His voice was commanding and durable, unyielding. He wouldn't take no for an answer, and that surprised me.
My eyes quickly locked onto him and I stared. The pentacle he had used to summon me was a couple of steps behind me, useless. He couldn't give me a charge unless I was in that pentacle, and he knew that, but the fact that he was actually ordering "me" like that was unheard of.
"You what?!" I questioned, my eyes wider and voice louder then I would have liked as I quickly stood.
Ptolemy was looking at me, and I could tell by his face that he was expecting me to do what I was told, like some type of pet or a little child.
"Do it or I will have to force you." He demanded, and because I knew that he could follow through with his warning, I narrowed my eyes and did as I was told.
I kneeled on the floor at his feet, my head down, staying silent like a good slave, and I hated myself for it. I felt angry and betrayed because it was him who was ordering me to do such an oppressive action.
I was the demon slave and he was the holy master, and the truth hurt so much more because I loved him.
Why was the world so ironically unfair?
While I was cursing my ill fortune, my master had crouched down as well and was looking at me.
"Djinni," he said, "Let me ask you a question."
I nodded, my eyes narrowed to angry yellow slits, because it was the only thing I was willing to let myself do. I didn't want to be tortured in this way anymore, not with love and betrayal, not with emotional pain. I'd even take the shriveling fire over this type of pain.
"Why do you want me to dismiss you?" he asked.
I sighed heavily. "What do you think?" I mumbled under my nonexistent breath.
He was quiet for a moment, and when he spoke, his voice was strong and unwavering, but still soft in some strange way.
"I don't love her." He said, and I smirked.
So, he hadn't chosen her over me, but that still didn't change the fact that I had to leave.
"Well, thank you for sharing that with me." I said, my smirk softening, "But I still want to go home so, dismiss me, now."
His voice was soft then, "But Rekhyt…I…"
"Now." I demanded, and turned around so he was behind me, so I couldn't see his face.
This "battle" wasn't getting us anywhere. Ptolemy had an almost endless reservoir of patience and I… I was endlessly stubborn. We could spend days at a stalemate, neither one of us willing to give in. But Ptolemy wasn't going to wait that long.
My master sighed quietly and, murmured, very softly, "Is that so?"
Something… something about how he said those three little words caught my attention and then his hands were suddenly wrapped around my wrists. I stopped.
He was breathing into the base of my neck, hot little breathes of air against my skin, fingers clenched around my wrists. I frowned.
"What are you doing?" I asked, "Do you think you have enough power to hold me here, child?"
I felt him then, his lips brushing the back of my neck, so gently, and my essence quivered inside at his touch.
"I know that I have hurt you, my friend," he started from behind me, voice calm, "and I know you wish to leave here, but I… I do not wish for you to leave…I…"
Here his head dipped, his forehead resting against my back, and he sighed but it wasn't a sound of sadness, it was a soft, slightly frustrated sigh.
"I don't know what to think anymore, Rekhyt," he said, his voice calm, tired, "There must be something wrong with me."
His hands were still wrapped around my wrists, but they had loosened their hold just enough for me to free myself. However, instead of pulling away I slid my hands back until I could take his hands with my own.
"There is nothing wrong with you." I said, holding his hands, her white skin against his tan.
He shook his head slowly.
"No," he said, "I don't understand so many things, and I don't know what to do. I just don't know."
I looked over my shoulder at him; saw his head buried in my back, and very quietly groaned to myself in frustration.
I was jealous of Vanessa, I was afraid of telling him the past, I didn't want to hurt him anymore then I already had, but all those reasons, all of them, didn't nothing to hide the fact that I didn't really want to leave him. All my reasons were justifications for my actions so I could run away, but they weren't good reasons at all, they were just flimsy excuses, and that was all they'd ever be.
I couldn't stay angry, I couldn't stay silent, I couldn't stop the pain.
I couldn't run away, not anymore.
As I gently clasped his hands in mine, I pulled his hands up towards my mouth. His hands were still gentle, still lithe and soft, but they smelt like her. Not strongly, of course, he hadn't touched her enough to get a very rich scent on his skin, but it was there, and I didn't like that. I wanted to wash that smell away, make it so it would be that she never touched him, but in order to do that I had to convince him to let me touch him enough to drown out her smell, and that would mean I had to give him what he wanted.
I had to tell him. I no longer had a choice.
He lifted his head, tender breathe against the back of my neck, so I moved carefully, smooth and slow, and when he did not pull away I brushed my lips against his skin, kissed his fingertips, oh so gently.
"Don't worry," I softly whispered against his fingers, feeling his breath quiver with longing against my skin, "I'll tell you what you want to know."
I felt the desire and anticipation in his body cause him to shudder lightly against my back, and when I released his hands, he let me go.
I stood, moved away from him and looked at myself. "Vanessa" was a mess. Not only were her eyes the wrong color, but her voice was deeper then it should have been, and there were wood slivers under her finger nails from when I scraped against the wood floor. 10 (That reminded me of a woman I had met when I was in America. She had been the wife of some American president, if I remember correctly. She "died" before her husband and when they went to bury her body next to his they found that she had been clawing at the lid of her coffin, trying to escape being buried alive. Kind of sends chills down your spine, doesn't it?)
I changed and turned to face my master.
The girl disappeared and was replaced by a dark-skinned, fourteen-year-old boy. Ptolemy's eyes widened in surprise and he stood, probably to get a better look.
He had seen this form before, back when he first summoned me with Kitty nearby and when the ghoul djinnis had attacked, but not for long, and not so close, so near.
I smiled and he smiled back, a perfect mirror.
Granted, I was wearing nothing but a wrapped loincloth and a pair of sandals, but other then that my form was a prefect copy of the magician.
"This," I started, spreading my arms so my master could see, the gold bands wrapped around my wrists and neck flashing in the dim light, "Is the Egyptian prince, Ptolemaeus of Alexandria."
Ptolemy nodded, staring at me, and I continued.
"In the year 127 B.C I was summoned by twelve year old Ptolemaeus and was under his charge. He was, unusual, for a magician and at first I didn't trust him. So many magicians before him had used me that I had gotten use to being mistrusted. But he trusted me and because of that I respected him. Eventually we became close, and then… he was gone."
Ptolemy's eyes narrowed in confusion, but I was trying to buy myself some time. I still didn't want to tell him too much about his past life, so I was being vague for a reason.
My master may not have known what that reason was, but I knew he would ask and I couldn't stop him. I could not ignore, impede, or prevent his need to know, so I let him speak, let him come, for he would ask.
He only needed to ask one more question, one more piece of the whole, and my answer would tell him everything.
He looked away from me for a moment, gathering his thoughts, then steeled himself and locked eyes with me.
Ptolemy took a deep breath, filled his lungs, and asked in a rush,
"Rekhyt, was Ptolemaeus your lover?"
I looked back at him, inhumanly still and silent, dark eyes staring into his own, and the boy knew the answer to his question before it left my lips.
"Yes." I breathed.
That was it. That was the answer to his question.
Ptolemy stared at me for another moment, his eyes still narrowed in thought and then, suddenly, his eyes widened and something changed.
Something in his eyes, his body, something about him was different.
His eyes were wide, his body quiet and still and for a moment he didn't even seem to be breathing. He seemed lost in thought, as if he wasn't seeing what his eyes were showing him.
"Ptolemy?" I asked, almost feeling like I was trying to get the attention of a marid that had mercifully forgotten I was there. Then, at my words, my master's eyes shifted to look at me, and I could only stare. His eyes had gone dark and deep and I felt pinned. I stayed completely still, wishing he would say something and come back to me and then, he did.
"I was right." He whispered, almost to low for even myself to hear, a smile beginning to curve on his face, "I was right."
What? I tilted my head in silent question, eyes narrowing slightly and leaded forward just a bit to hear better.
Then, just as was about to open my mouth to ask him what he meant, Ptolemy suddenly started screaming.
"Yes!" He cried happily, startling me, "Yes, I knew it! I was right!"
His eyes had lit up with bliss and he smiled like he had discovered the meaning of life while I just stood there, my mouth hanging open.
This was not the kind of reaction I had expected. Ptolemy was normally a very calm and level headed person, so even though I had seen him get incredible excited before 11 (i.e. about his research and his gateway) the fact that he seemed to be so happy for no obvious reason was a little strange, especially when I had no clue what he was talking about.
"Wait a moment." I said, bringing my hands up to get his attention, "Ptolemy, what are you talking about? Why are you right? What do you know?"
"Oh, Rekhyt, do you not see?" he asked me, beseeching me to understand what he meant, "I had the answers in front of my face the entire time and I did not see it, but everything makes sense now, it is so clear. I finally know what I must do."
He came closer to me then, looking into the face of his own copy with soft eyes and then I understood.
The reason he had changed, the reason why he had looked different, was because something in him had awakened.
There was a wisdom in him, knowledge of the past.
He was remembering, or at least realizing that he had remembered, and I couldn't speak.
"My dearest friend," He said, his voice soft, sounding so happy that he could weep, "The present is built on the past and because of that you have given me a most precious gift. No amount of thanks can tell you how grateful I am for the insight you have let me achieve, and because of you, I understand who I was and who I am."
Then, he reached out to touch me but I took his hands instead, tenderly capturing his fingers within my grasp.
"Then tell me," I said, after I had found my voice, because I almost couldn't believe this was happening, couldn't believe it was true, "Who are you?"
He smiled, and it truly was a smile of a beautiful happiness, a smile I hadn't really seen in two thousand, one hundred and forty-nine years.
"I am… Ptolemaeus of Alexandria."
My eyes widened, I smiled so widely I thought my face would spilt, and I said, in breathless expectation,
"Tell me what you remember."
To be more comfortable we sat on his bed and as the rest of the ice finally melted and the wooden floor dried he told me.
He remembered Egypt, his uncle, his cousin. He remembered the first time he had summoned me, the times he had talked with me, the first time he had released me from my pentacle. He remembered the human assassins his cousin sent after him, remembered Affa, Penrenutet, and Teti. He remembered his gateway and his trip to the Other Place, but he didn't remember his death, or the death of the other djinni, and for that I was glad. I would have been perfectly content if he never recalled how he had met his end.
He remembered me, remembered the first time I touched him, remembered the time I had to go off to war and had kissed him, remembered how I had returned and…
"Rekhyt," he said, "Before I continue I would like to tell you something."
He frowned, but spoke.
"I have caused you an unbelievably amount of pain, and I am sorry for what I have done to you. I wish to be forgiven, so I will still honor your wishes if you want me to dismiss you."
Some of the happiness dimmed as he continued to speak, the pain that I had seen before, the pain that made his eyes hollow, was coming back.
I faltered then, my smile slipped and I grew quiet for a moment. How could I forgive him when it was I who was the sinner, I who hurt him, I who tried to run away like a coward? 12 (Not saying that running is always the work of cowards, mind you. When you are facing a being that is much stronger then you and can smash you into pulp, then by all means, run for your life! It's what I usually did.)
"What is it?" Ptolemy asked, curious and worried at my reaction.
"Why are you asking if I forgive you?" I said, "I am the one that should be beseeching you for your forgiveness."
"Why?" he asked, his hands touching my shoulders, "You have done nothing wrong."
I almost winced then, hesitated in his kindness and I told him,
"I have made so many mistakes I have lost count, and every time I apologize for one of those mistakes you forgive me, but I know you can not always forgive. I know that someday you will no longer be able to pardon me and I am…"
I grit my teeth, stopping the 'sorry' that was going to escape. 'Sorry' wasn't going to fix this, not again. 'Sorry' couldn't fix anything. I shut my eyes tightly.
I felt Ptolemy's hands on my shoulders, smoothly gilding across my skin, along my neck, and stopping under my jaw to hold my head. I opened my eyes and he smiled kindly at me and spoke.
"I know that you regret your mistakes, my friend, and so, because of that, I will forgive you for all time, no matter what."
"Why?" I asked, breathing out the simple question.
His eyes were soft and dark and when he came closer to me I closed my eyes to listen only to his words.
"You made love to me on silk sheets when you could have very easily taken my life, and so I will forgive because, my most beloved Rekhyt, I love you."
But I love you, Ptolemy.
I love you to.
The last time I had heard those words from him, he had been dying, blood leaking from his body as his life drained away, but this time it was different. He wasn't mine, but after two millennia he was safe and alive, and I had waited so long for him. My eyes opened slightly, and I gave my master a slender, seductive look as I smiled wickedly.
Yes, I had waited, locked my heart away because I didn't want to hurt or be hurt, didn't want to forget him, and when I had met him in this life I had strained at my chains, just barely holding on to my sanity. However, now I could unchain myself from my self-imposed shackles. He remembered me, remembered how much I loved him, and he remembered how I had made him mine. I did not have to wait any longer. I felt naughty and sinful with yearning and I wanted to tease him, gently, entice him so that when the time came he would crave release just as much as I did.
"Prove it." I quietly whispered against his lips, eloquent and smiling in sin, "Prove to me that you love me."
I could finally make him mine again, wholly and completely, claim him like I had done two thousand years before. My master would belong to me.
"All right," Ptolemy said, his smile eerily matching mine, "Change into another form if you desire, it does not matter what you choose."
I nodded and stood, backed away from the bed and turned my back to him. Changing was no problem, but what should I become? I wanted to please him, but didn't want to make it to easy for him. Something nice but enticingly nasty that fit my needs would be good, but what?
I looked down at myself and smiled, an idea forming in one of my many consciousnesses. I wanted him to prove that he really loved me, so what better way then to show him what I truly looked like, make him know what he had "really" fallen in love with. My true form, or "truer" form, I should say.
I changed, and my essence took the form of… myself.
Faquarl had tons of tentacles and made ravens die in shock or lose their "Tower of London breakfast special". Queezle had been smoother and had a good amount of dorsal tubes. Most likely, they had been of the water element while I was of wind and fire, so my preferred form was different then theirs.
I didn't look like any type of living thing on earth, but then again, I wasn't suppose to. This was my truer form, so it is kind of hard to explain, but let me just say that my flesh smoldered with heat and when my leather wings unfurled they sounded like a cracking whip.
I looked at my master over my shoulder with yellow eyes and smiled, fangs making their appearance.
Ptolemy stared for a moment, his eyes wide and astonished as I turned and started walking towards him. I stopped about a foot away from him, crouched down to his level since he was still sitting on the bed, and waited for him to make the next move.
He smiled and slowly reached out for me.
"Be careful." I warned gently, his fingers reaching out to touch my skin. I was a fire and air djinni, and while my truer form wouldn't hurt him, my skin was tough as leather and quite warm.
It couldn't be pleasant for him to touch me when I was in this form.
His eyes were studying me, a contemplative look on his face, and he continued to reach until his one hand was rested tentatively against my face, reaching back towards one of my pointed ears, his touch nice and light.
His fingers curled into my hair so I closed my eyes and gently nuzzled his hand, my lips tenderly brushing against the part of his wrist not covered by his jacket.
His skin was warm and sensitive, the pulse of his heart veiled under his flesh, and I craved him.
"I want you so badly," I said, voice velvety smooth, my eyes closed, a purr coming unbidden up my throat.
I heard him laugh kindly and when I felt his other hand under my jaw I opened my eyes for a moment.
"If that is what you desire, fair djinni, then you may have me." He smiled, and kissed me.
My tail shot out straight behind me, and I had to stop my hands form grabbing his shoulders. This wasn't a quick, attentive kiss that you'd give a friend or a cute pet, he was really kissing me, and I was in my truer form!
I realized then that he hadn't been lying when he said that he forgave me. He would forgive me, no matter how many times I messed up, because he truly loved me.
As I pulled back I stood and changed, so when I came back to him his lips would brush against a creature with yellow eyes and tan skin. 13 (Besides, if Kitty came in and saw her son kissing an unknown species, she might call animal control, or at least start worrying about his health and sanity.)
He was sitting on the bed, eyes and body filled with longing as he waited for me, so I came to him and rested between his legs on my knees.
"What is your desire?" I whispered gently in his ear, my hand coming to support the back of his head.
He smiled, his eyes dark and deep as his arms wrapped around my neck. He pulled me down, so I lay over him on the bed and he said the words I wanted to hear.
"You. I want you, Rekhyt."
Then, in the privacy of his room, with only he and I as witnesses, I loved him.
I kissed him slow and sweet, easing him into the feeling of my lips against his and when he was ready he opened his mouth and I slipped my tongue past his lips, causing him to shiver in untainted yearning.
Two thousand years before, I had kissed him, saying the final goodbye. I had been torn away from him, left him for murder and death, and that was it. I should have never laid eyes on him again, never heard, touched, or kissed him again. I was not allowed by fate to love him again. Yet here we were, picking up from where we left off.
His jacket slid from his shoulders, and I took care to go slow because even if he did remember, even if he was wise beyond his years, even if he did crave my love, he was still a child and needed gentle handling. So, after a few moments I broke our kiss, lingering just enough to show I loved him, and let my master fill his lungs with air.
He breathed in soft, little pants, tender and precious, his hands lying against the bed, and as I supported his head in my hands he looked up at me, serene and vulnerable.
I wanted him but I had to be gentle, for his sake and mine, because my essence would depart this life if I lost him, if my love killed him.
It was so strange in a way. Here I was, a five thousand year old djinni of fire and air, a being of the Other Place, and there he was, a human child who had ensnared me with his kindness and curiosity, a being of resurrection and rebirth.
We shouldn't have been in love, in Egypt or otherwise, and yet we were, essence and soul trying to meet through our earthly bonds. We were draw to each other like a moth to the flame, but who was the moth and who was the flame, I couldn't tell you.
Perhaps this was wrong.
Perhaps we caused each other sadness and pain.
Perhaps we should have let each other go.
Perhaps we shouldn't have been together because of what we were.
However, I still loved him and because of that he was mine. Mine to kiss and claim and possess.
Mine to gently tease and entice.
"Answer me this, Ptolemy." I said, voice deep and smooth as I tipped his head, "Do you desire to be possessed by me? Do you wish for me to make love to you?"
With soft eyes he shifted slightly against me while his voice purred, gave a little hum in pleasure and desire and he answered, breathless and soft.
I kissed him then, lingering as I slipped my hands under his shirt, my fingers gliding smoothly up his sides, making his heart begin to speed. I felt his tan skin under my fingertips, warm and smooth, and when my fingers slid down over his skin, over his stomach, slipping past the waistband of his pants to dance near his hips he gasped and shuddered, his hands fisted in the sheets.
I finished the kiss so he could speak.
"Rekhyt." He said, his voice a breathless and quiet hiss, head being thrown back to expose his throat, "Please, do not tease me so."
"Why?" I asked, smiling as my hands moved upward and easily unbuttoned the bottom of his shirt, "Do you have a distaste to being teased, my master?"
I shifted, lowered my head to his exposed skin and tasted his stomach with my lips, letting him feel my ripples of satisfied laughter as he mewled in beautiful ecstasy.
I could feel how his skin grew warm; heart sped, panting for air and I knew that his body was begging to be claimed.
I smiled against his skin.
Then, I heard it, the distant rubble of a car engine coming up the street, and I paused. My smile faded and I lifted my head, my arms supporting me as I leaned over my master and listened. I knew whose car that was; I had been hearing its engine all week.
Silently, I pointed one of my hands toward the door, causing it to swing shut and Ptolemy, who was looking at me with a curious and slightly disenchanted look on his face, opened his mouth to ask me what was wrong. I spoke before he did.
"Your mother's coming." I said, but made no movement to get up.
Kitty was coming home but the choice of whether she learned the truth about us was up to Ptolemy, not me. It was his choice because to other humans, magician and commoner alike, I was the wicked demon while he was either my hapless victim or a lonely child who was possibly insane because he found comfort in me. I was "safe" from the people's views because I was "suppose" to act in a way that proved my sinful temperament and Ptolemy did not have that "luxury". If word of our relationship got out among the people then my master would have to take the brunt of the peoples' abuse and I could do almost nothing to stop it.
I didn't want that to happen to him. I didn't want him to be alienated and hated because of me. Besides, I knew Ptolemy loved me, so I didn't have a problem with being his dirty little secret if I had to be and, personally, I would rather not have Kitty barge in on us and have to tell her straight out that I was sleeping with her son, but as I said, the choice was my masters' and I had no say.
It was his choice.
He sighed, head back against the pillows, eyes shut, but his heart was still pounding, body still heated from my teasing, and I knew that if he chose not to tell her then he'd have a hard time trying to explain our positions.
"How far away is she?" he asked, mind unnerved and anxious, eyes still closed, trying to force his body to calm down but just getting himself more worked up.
I shifted and leaned over him again, my fingers coming up to rest against his lips.
"Don't worry," I said, gently hushing him, trying to help him become quiet and still, tranquil, "If you feel that it would be best not to tell her about us, then it's alright."
He opened his eyes, pupils dilated like a cat's for a few seconds, and I removed my fingers.
"No, Rekhyt." he said, voice soft but determined as he reached up to wrap his arms around my neck, "I love you, I can not ask you to keep quiet for my sake, not if it is going to cause you to feel abandonment."
"It won't." I said, helping him button his shirt, "I understand what is happening and I am prepared for it. Besides, I think it would be for the best if we let your mother figure us out on her own."
Ptolemy turned his head, a slightly sad look on his face. He sighed.
"Yes." He said, "That would do well, especially when I have hurt her so much already."
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to ask my master what he meant because the front door of the house suddenly opened, closed, and footsteps started coming up the stairs.
I stood and backed away, changing into a slender, graceful Egyptian cat, and watched Ptolemy with yellow eyes from the floor as he sat up, just before the bedroom door opened.
Kitty Jones, Ptolemy's mother, stepped inside and I plastered the biggest smile I could make on my face, just to give my master a little more time.
She looked at me, a look on her face to show curiosity and confusion, and then shook her head, probably thought I was just acting silly, 14 (which I was) and ignored me.
She looked at Ptolemy and crossed her arms.
"I saw your bag downstairs," she said, "Would you like to tell me what you are doing home so early?"
Ptolemy looked at her calmly, but he was nervous, his feelings masked just under his skin and on top of that he was trying to hold his breath so he wouldn't pant.
"I came-" he began, but his body needed to breathe and his lungs decided to use his open mouth to get some air, so he had to start again, "I came home because I-."
It was at this point that Kitty knew something was wrong with her son so she started forward.
"Are you alright?" she asked, a mother's worry filling her eyes, "You seem rather hot."
She placed one of her hands on his forehead and the other on her own to check his temper and that's when I decided to intervene. There was no telling what she would think if one of us didn't speak up.
I walked over and hopped onto the bed.
"I brought him home from school because he has a slight fever." I stated, my tone cut and dry as I sat.
She looked at me.
"A fever?" she asked, one eyebrow rising like she didn't really believe me.
"Yep." I said, and curled my tail around my legs.
She looked at my master, made a humming noise in the back of her throat, and conceded.
"Well, you are a little hot," she said to Ptolemy, removing her hands. To me she asked, "How did you get back here?"
"I carried him." I easily lied; turning my head to look out the window like it was no big deal.
She looked at my master again, saw him panting lightly, the heat rising from his skin, and her mother instincts overrode her suspicion. She straightened.
"Alright then," she said, "I'll go get some water and be back. You two stay right there."
Then she turned, left the room, and Ptolemy looked at me, a disbelieving look on his face.
"What?" I asked, "It was the best I could come up with on such short notice."
My master sighed and looked away from me.
"I know." He said, and I knew he disliked lying to his mother, even if it was I who was doing the lying.
I rubbed gently against his side to comfort him; the heat in him already lessening.
"It will be alright." I said, "Your mother is a smart woman, she'll figure out our secret soon, and then we won't have to lie anymore."
He reached out then, gathered me in his arms and held me against his chest where he whispered to me, his head down.
"I love you, my dearest Rekhyt, but next time, if you plan on teasing me, then please do not leave me feeling this way. I feel…empty, hollow, for some reason and I am not sure why."
"I am aware of that." I said, sighing and rubbing my head against his chest, trying to apologize without saying the word sorry.
I had made another mistake. By worrying about Kitty and how other humans would see my master, I had not finished with my teasing and had thrown his human body into disarray. This treatment had left him feeling unfulfilled, cheated, abandoned, and unless I did something soon, he would continue to feel this way.
He would forgive me for this, but he would not be able to forget. Not something like this, not unless I did something about it.
"When this whole disarray with us is cleared," I said, "I shall give you your release, I promise you."
"Do you?" he asked, his voice sounding oddly small, and I stretched myself up so my head was near his and I whispered softly, swearing my oath to him.
"Yes, I shall claim you tomorrow night, this I promise."
He shivered lightly, held me tight and then told me, his voice stronger,
"Tomorrow, I would like to stop the rumors. The lies will only cause more pain, and it is about time they were disposed of."
"Do you have a plan to stop them?" I asked, and he smiled in a way that set the fur on the back of my neck stand up.
"Yes," he said with that smile on his face, "I do."
"Well," I mused, "As long at it's not something too crazy."
"It will work." He said, "I am sure it will."
He finally looked up at me, looking determined and strong.
"Please have some faith in my plans, my friend," he said, smiling gently, "You shall probably enjoy tomorrow just as much as I will, of that I am certain."
Soon after this Kitty came back with a glass of water and a couple of small wet towels and began to help her son relief him of his "fever" while I could only watch, watching the boy whom I called my lover, his words echoing inside of my essence.
Ancient Egyptian Translation
Renpet - Year
Hesy mes - Wretched child
Hekau - Magician
The next chapter shall be coming soon but in the mean time please review and I shall see you later.