Sorry, this is a short one. It's because I'm at a crossroads and the resolution defines the rest of the story. There's a lot to think about so that everything somehow (even loosely) fits together. Thank you for reading. :)


Nothing moved, nothing made a sound. Al silently sat at his chair, thoughtful and neutral.

Different feelings were streaming through Rachel's conciousness. She raised her gaze to look upon the now transformed demon, wearing his ordinary green business suit and a familiar face of an english gentleman.

Rachel was still reeling from Al's display. She could still see Ivy in her mind, clear as day.

"You bastard." She muttered.

Al stayed silent and continued to be interested at his sleeves, and the extravagant buttons in them.

"Damnation, I think I need to send this one back to the tailor." He was completely oblivious to Rachel's current mental anquish, and was only waiting for the final conclusion.

"So, you want a mark, then?" Rachel asked.

"No, I want two." Al replied coolly.

"Two! But that would mean..."

"Exactly. Don't even try to say it's not worth it. To be fair, I could limit it to hundred years for good behaviour. Doesn't sound so bad, now does it?"

"Have you lost your mind, that's half of my lifetime!" Rachel shouted.

"And how much exactly is Ivy's life worth to you?" Al shrugged.

I would probably give my life for hers. But not like this, not like this!

"What would be the point? Everyone I knew would be old or dead the time I got back." Rachel spoke, her brow tensing.

Al sighed. "Look at Ceri, she's doing just fine, isn't she? It wasn't so bad. You might actually survive to live that long. Rachel, dear, everything always has a price."

Rachel was listening but didn't like it one bit.

"Do you want to go to the morgue and identify Ivy's dead corpse, lifeless and drained of blood. Multiple brutal cuts on her neck and arms? Because that's how those vampires kill their targets, they drain them. Very slowly. It's said that the slower the death, the sweeter the blood." Al grinned wickedly.

Rachel had gone a whiter shade of pale. She seemed like she was about to vomit. "Stop that. That's not necessary." She managed.

"Fine." Al sneered. "Just remember that you have limited time with very few actually plausible options to save her, or make no mistake: she will die. Just think of what you will lose. Perhaps you will have regrets. Something you never told her, something you secretly wanted, but never dared to. Or perhaps you even didn't recognize it for what it was?"

Rachel felt something tickling at the back of her mind, nagging. Almost reachable, but not quite. "What are you talking about?"

Al sighed. "Oh, Rachel. Very well. Let me put it this way. Rachel Morgan, are you sexually attracted to Ivy Tamwood?"

"What? No!" Rachel gasped.

Al took a small pause. "Rachel, do you want to make sweaty, hot, girl-lovin' with Ivy?" Al grinned.

"I already answered that question. Stop asking that."

"No you did not. I can smell it when you lie. Remember, you're carrying one of my marks. And you just now did tell a lie."

"So you're saying that I want to bang her like crazy?"

"Well, do you?"


"A lie."

"This is completely stupid." Rachel raised her hands in outrage.

"I don't really care at all. Your suffering just causes me amusement to no end. It is also faschinating to observe why would you deny from youself something that very few people are able to find. Just because the target of those affections happens to be of the same sex?"

Rachel digested that bit for a moment. "What do you mean by 'very few are able to find'? Isn't love about the most common of human emotions?" Rachel was baffled by Al's so-called revelations.

"I'm not talking only about love, dear girl. At least not the kind of ordinary." Al answered mysterically. "Also, you're evading my question."

Al pulled out a golden pocket watch and glanced at it. "You have five minutes. After that, the dust will evaporate and time starts running again. So make your choice fast."