...left of you.
was eerily quiet when Jenny stepped inside, braced like a warrior
about to face his demise. She held her head high, resolving to at
least pretend to have some dignity left.
"I'm home." Jenny made herself call out.
She frowned and glided up the stairs when silence met her. Julian wasn't in the room, and Jenny locked the door behind her gratefully. She dressed in a pair of denim cut-off shorts and a snug fitting tank top, kicking the long, stylish, violet dress aside dismissively. She never wanted to look at it again.
brushed her hair with firm strokes, watching the static lift golden
strands in the mirror.
"Julian?" Jenny called out when she heard a faint noise outside.
Silence. Jenny put the brush down, her frown deepening. Why wasn't he answering? Unless he wasn't in the house...
The cellar. He had to be in the cellar, and didn't hear her come in. She could get down there while he was in there, she could get her friends out. Jenny whirled around – and screamed.
A thing was right in front of her. It rippled in the air, eye level with her, covered in a hooded cloak of shadows. But the face staring back at her from within the black folds was fading with beauty. Skin as white as ash, with high, hollow cheekbones and equally pale lips set in a grim line. There was no emotion on the face – but its eyes held the malice of hell. Black on black, deep endless abysses that reflected light back at her, taking nothing in. It was terrifying.
fibre of her body turned to aching ice and Jenny stepped away from
it, knocking hard into the dresser behind her. Then she'd flung the
door open, and she bolted down the stairs wildly.
The TV was on, and Jenny ran into the lounge. Julian was sitting on the couch, wearing modest faded grey jeans with a black leather belt. He was shirtless, and there were expensive-looking boots on his feet – which were propped up on the coffee table. His hands were clad in black leather gloves, showing the flesh of his fingers and his knuckles, like some gangster out for trouble. In one hand he held the remote, flicking through the channels. In the other, a slice of pepperoni pizza was oozing with cheese. He was lounging comfortably, not at all disturbed by her flustered entrance.
Jenny's voice hitched in her throat.
He put the remote down and smoothed the frost blonde hair back from his forehead – and looked at her. He was beautiful, yes – frighteningly so – but the eyes were wrong. They weren't an indescribable blue, or heavy lidded. They were wide-set, narrowed at her, and as cold and blue as ice. There was faint stubble on his chin, perfectly sculpted lips pursed. It took Jenny's baffled mind a long moment to come to the conclusion that there was a stranger in her house. One that emanated a frostiness that made the thing upstairs almost seem warm and comforting.
failed her when he suddenly rose to his feet and walked over to her
slowly, his steps calculated and precise. He stopped in front of her,
leaning against the wall with his elbow, and took a bite of the
pizza. His gaze was scrutinizing as it wandered up and down her body,
undressing her without shame. A light flickered in the heavenly
depths of his eyes.
blinked hard. There was an energy around him that crackled in the air
and sent chills through her blood.
"Want a bite?" He asked, nodding at the pizza in his hand.
Jenny glanced from it to him, and swallowed hard. "Who are you?"
"Take that as a no." He said good-naturedly.
His voice was beautiful, too. Not in an elemental way like Julian's, but it was deep, and warm despite his aura – and it strangely set her at ease.
Julian?" Jenny asked quietly.
"He got a little held up with some old friends. He'll be here soon." He said reassuringly.
Jenny backed up when he stepped up to her, and tensed when his face drew within inches of hers. There was pepperoni and coke on his breath, and Jenny flinched. He brushed his nose against her cheek softly, his lips nearly grazing against hers. Was he smelling her?
His eyes met hers evenly. And his lips twitched into an amused grin.
away from her abruptly, staring at her in awe. "Well." He said,
It was a genuine, heartfelt laugh that lit up his eyes, and did something inexplicable to Jenny's soul.
"This is most certainly not what I expected."
"Who are you? What do you want?" Jenny asked when she could breathe again.
"Mikael," He made a graceful bow, and his voice was playful. "And you are Julian's. Correct?"
Jenny shifted uncomfortably at his words.
"His scent is all over you." Mikael said, and chuckled again. "That kid is just full of surprises."
opened her mouth in stunned realization, and glanced toward the door.
"What are you doing here?"
"My purpose doesn't involve outsiders." Mikael said, his tone bearing no tolerance for further discussion.
"You... you're looking for Andrea, aren't you?" Jenny stammered, and choked down a breath when his expression changed.
The light in his eyes turned into cold fire, the smile disappeared off his face. All trace of good cheer snapped off.
"He said he's keeping them in... in some half-way place between here and the Shadow World... they're in the cellar but..." Jenny trailed off, frightened at what she could see in his eyes.
"I came through the door of the cellar. There's no one there." Mikael said coldly.
"What?" Jenny exploded. She didn't wait for any clarification. She hurried down the hallway, and flung the cellar door open. She stumbled down the steps.
"Audrey? Michael? Anny, are you here?" Jenny called out into the darkness.
her footing, and became air borne for a second before arms coiled
around her and steadied her. Jenny screamed.
"There's no one here, I told you." Mikael's voice chided impatiently.
"He lied to me. He said he was keeping them safe..." Jenny said wildly, struggling against him when he started to pull her back up the stairs.
"Oh. Since that's the case, I think I ought to return the favour." Mikael said. "Stop struggling. You're coming with me, whether you like it or not."
"Let go of me!" Jenny cried, trying to kick him. It was hard, because she couldn't see a thing in that darkness, and she only got him in the shins on her third try.
rip a string of profanities. His grip on her changed, and then she
was lifted over his shoulder with a shriek.
"Put me down!" She blindly beat at him with her fists.
He dropped her on the floor when they were back in the hallway, his expression stumped.
"You're an aggressive little thing, aren't you?" He stared at her, intrigued.
Jenny climbed to her feet, breathing hard, and glared at him.
Mikael burst into laughter again, and shook his head in delight. He closed the cellar door firmly and glanced at the front foyer briefly. His eyes were dancing when he stepped closer to her.
"Mind not sharing any of this with your love? Things might get ugly." Mikael said, and winked at her playfully.
not my love," Jenny bit back coldly.
Mikael arched his eyebrows at her sceptically. "Really?"
"I'm here because I have no choice. I don't want to get involved in whatever else is going on, because I'm having a hard enough time dealing with what I've got."
Mikael took a step back, his eyes searching her face. An uncertain smile tugged at his lips.
"Huh, I don't think I've ever come across a lady who could resist our charming little spawn." Mikael said, a peculiar lilt in his voice. "You're here by force?"
"He was going to kill everyone else." Jenny said, shifting under his gaze. "Like I said, I have no choice."
stared at one another for eternity. There was a faint softening in
"How profound."Mikael said, and narrowed his eyes at her thoughtfully. "I didn't catch your name."
Julian's voice physically jolted her away from Mikael, and then he was between them, shielding her.
"Still in the habit of inviting yourself where you're not welcome, I see." Julian said sharply.
"Oh. Now." Mikael said, spreading his hands in mock surrender. "I wasn't aware that we parted on bad terms."
Julian's laugh was like cool velvet. "Not very observant, are you?"
"Andrea's missing. Naturally, the first person I thought of holding responsible was you."
Julian rolled his shoulders, and stepped up to him threateningly. "And?"
"And, she's not here." Mikael said, looking strangely satisfied.
They were standing face to face, mere inches apart. The tension was thick enough for Jenny to touch it. Julian looked ready to launch an assault, but Mikael looked indifferent to it.
"So what are you still doing here?" Julian spat.
"Your girl." Mikael's eyes darted past him to Jenny. "I had my Fly tag her today. He gave her a bit of a scare upstairs. He's a bit of a peeping-tom. Naturally."
remembered the black thing she'd seen in the graveyard, and
"I find her resemblance curious." Mikael added.
"Touch her and you're dead." Julian said ominously.
Jenny wanted to run then. She started edging her way toward the front door, despite Mikael's eyes still on her.
"Maybe, if I can't find my little fire, I can take yours as a substitution." Mikael said mischievously.
"That's not going to happen." Julian's eyes were blazing with hot rage.
Mikael let out a long breath, and finally looked at Julian.
"You still haven't let it go, have you? You're mad at us, and now you're taking it out on an innocent girl." Mikael said coldly, and Julian backed down. "I admire your perseverance, kid, but you know the laws."
laws don't apply to me." Julian shot back. He was radiating
violent menace. Jenny edged toward the door, trying to put as much
distance between herself and them as discretion allowed.
"You know what's funny? Loki said the exact same thing to me. I gagged and bound him with a viper until Ragnarok comes. His screams echo off the branches of Yggdrasil." Mikael said dangerously, and poked Julian hard on the chest. "Don't mess with an old dog, kid. I will rip you apart."
"Then do it." Julian challenged.
An indefinable expression crept across Mikael's face. "You disrespectful, revolting, sadistic little..."
"Get out before I do something we'll both regret." Julian spat in his face.
Mikael was the one to back down this time, slowly. "What business have you got with Andrea?"
"I made her a promise." Julian said menacingly. "I'm just keeping my word, that's all."
"Ah. I remember," Mikael's eyes flashed. "May I remind you the promise I made to you in return? Come near Andrea again, and I will bring a war to your front door." He smiled disconcertingly. "I'm big on keeping my word, too."
Something was coming over Jenny. She'd started to feel very strange during the banter going on, and now her head filled with drunken dizziness. She was fighting to hold on to consciousness.
Julian's smile matched Mikael's coldness. "Shed one drop of blood of mine, and she dies."
thing Jenny heard was Mikael's voice, echoing through the heavy
"A life for a life, brother."
Jenny succumbed into floating darkness, and silence veiled her.
A/N: Mikael is so awesome, he needs his own friggin theme song. I love Mikael. Almost as much as Julian. Maybe more. Review and let me know what you think of him. Depending on the amount of love he gets from my readers, I might do a sequel to this fic :)