Epilogue

"Rachel." A wisp of air brushed over my cheek. "Rachel." The soft voice repeated my name with a bit more urgency. I rolled onto my side, curling inwards. My arms ran into something solid and my eyes flickered open.

I blinked in the dim light of my room. It was early, far too early in the day for me to be awake. The soft light of early morning was still filtering through the windows.

I tilted my head until I could look into Ivy's unblinking eyes. They were dark, only a hint of brown in the black depths, but what had frightened me for so long no longer did. It was a sign of desire - Ivy's desire for me, and that was certainly nothing to be frightened of.

Meeting my eyes, Ivy smirked slightly as she ran her short, close cut nails lightly down my arm, until she gently picked up my hand and wrapped my fingers through hers. Keeping her eyes locked on mine, she raised my hand to her lips and pressed a light kiss to the back of it.

I shivered at the feel of her mouth on my skin. She let out a low chuckle at my response. I frowned and resisted the urge to stick my tongue out at her. I wasn't used to this side of Ivy, playful and open, but I had a feeling it was something that I could get used to very quickly.

I saw a flash of surprise on her face as I leaned in closer to her. I rubbed my cheek against hers and dropped my head down to rest on her shoulder, breathing in her scent. For once the thought of all the calming, arousing pheromones surging through me didn't bother me in the slightest. I couldn't resist pressing a light kiss on the base of her neck and then sprawled onto my back.

Ivy followed me until she was straddling my hips.

"You woke me up," I mumbled as I raised my arms to circle her waist.

"I couldn't help it," she said softly. "You were sleeping and I wanted to talk to you."

"Oh," I struggled to bring my mind out of the fuzzy, still half asleep state that it was currently in. "What did you want to talk about?"

"I wanted to ask you something." Ivy paused. "I couldn't wait until the morning." She bit her lip, and suddenly I was worried.

Ivy was looking nervous, and that was making me nervous.

"What," I blurted out. "Is something wrong? Did I-"

Ivy flashed me a grin and put a finger over my lips to silence me, but when she had my silence once again her nervousness returned. She leaned over me slowly, her short hair falling forward around her face, before she kissed me, enveloping my mouth with hers. I lost myself into the kiss until I was breathless and panting. I'd never imagined that it could be this good with Ivy. I never had a clue.

"I love you, Rachel Mariana Morgan," Ivy spoke slowly and softly. "And I wanted to ask you something," she repeated. "Don't think you have to answer now; don't think you have to say yes."

"Ooookaaay," I drawled slowly, the worry that had been erased by her kiss, now slamming back into me.

"Will you be my scion?"

I blinked up at her, words deserting me. Of all the things that Ivy could have asked, I hadn't expected for it to be this.

"Ivy..." The enormous responsibility of what she was asking overwhelmed me. When the idea meant more than I thought I could handle, the answer had been easy and clear cut. Now it was murky and uncertain. The thought of being held responsible for someone else's life and complete and total well-being after their death was enough to fill me with fear. And if I couldn't find a way to keep Ivy's soul intact, well it wasn't something I'd be able to deal with. The thought of doing that all for Ivy..

"You don't have to answer now," she repeated quickly, worry creasing her face. She thought I would refuse and yet she'd asked anyway. It was incredibly brave; I wasn't sure that I could have done the same thing in her place.

"Ivy," I slid my arms up, tugging her upper body down and pulling her closer to me, until her body was pressing up against every inch of mine. "I'm scared. I'm scared of loosing myself in you. I'm scared of not knowing that I've lost myself."

She opened her mouth, and it was my turn to press a finger to her lips, silencing her.

"But above everything else, I trust you." I couldn't hold back the smile that was suddenly threatening to split my face. "And I love you. So yes, I will be your Scion."

Ivy stilled in my arms. Only the feeling of her heart beating against my chest told me that she was still alive.

"Rachel." Her voice was full of wonder as she breathed my name. "Thank you."

The look in her eyes made me blink. I'd never seen anyone look at me that way before. Her eyes were filled with the purest love and trust that I'd ever seen. It was a far cry from the usual broken cynicism that she usually showed. The thought of every doing something to betray that trust made my heart ache. I would simply have to make sure that never happened.

Ivy had spent years protecting me, now it was my turn. Not simply to protect her body, but something far easier to break - her heart. As long as it was mine, I would do my best to make sure that never happened.

(4/4)