Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, they and the world they live in, belong to the wonderful Kim Harrison. I just need an outlet for my Ivy/Rachel frustration.

A/N: Alright, I just want to make something clear. I lo-o-o-ove Ivy Tamwood. I have nothing against the svelte, sexy, and oh-so-edible leather-clad vampire. Nothing she could ever do or say in the books could possibly turn me away from her. This fic is not a way for me to convey my dislike of Ivy's character. It's just an idea that I've had for a while now, and one that I wish to develop. If you don't like the summary, close this window, and don't bother reading the fic. Period.

"...Even though I'm the sacrifice,
You won't try for me, not now.
Though I'd die to know you love me,
I'm all alone.
Isn't someone missing m—"

I shut the radio off and sat back in the leather armchair, suddenly depressed. Why would they choose to play that song tonight? Of all the songs? Why!? Ivy had left about two hours ago, after we'd gotten into a huge argument about sharing blood. The sides were simple: I wanted to, she didn't. Why the Turn did everything always have to be so damn complicated? All I had ever wanted was to give my best friend what she deserved—proof that someone in this world did care about her. I could have cared less about the searing ecstasy that sharing blood entailed, all I wanted was to make her happy. Well, I mean...it was perhaps a small percentage of the reason...

I didn't even know where Ivy had gone. Probably to some all-vampire club, to try and soak up the most pheromones she could. I snorted aloud at the mere concept of Ivy Tamwood actually trying to enjoy herself. Did I even care where she had gone? Hell no. Yes.

"Shut up," I muttered softly to myself, sulking quietly. Yes, fine, I did care. A lot. I was genuinely worried about Ivy's well-being, especially when she stormed out on me like she just had. Generally, after walking out of the church with an expression that wasn't exactly the most of friendly, she'd come back home hating herself—yet again—for having done something irrevocable and absolutely inhumane. But she just didn't seem to understand that it was a part of her; etched within her genes to constantly crave the blood that seemed to flow stronger within the people she loved most. And lucky for me, I happened to be one of them.

I hated the fact that she wouldn't share blood with me because she wanted more than blood. I had thought about it. What it would feel like to be with Ivy in the way she wanted us to be. But I just couldn't bring myself to see us more than just friends. And it pained me to have to admit it to myself—a small part of me had always wanted it all to turn out to be denial, so that I could finally give Ivy what she wanted; what she deserved. But the truth was that I really wasn't attracted to Ivy. The random urges that popped into my mind whenever they pleased were because of her vampire status. The power. The dominance. The control.

I shook my head rapidly, as if it would help dissipate the negative images that were forming in my mind. Another thing I hated to admit: Ivy scared the crap out of me. The way she could overpower me so easily had always made me insecure around her, leaving me feeling feeble and vulnerable. I brought my knees to my chin and tried to stifle a sliver of ice that made it's way down my spine, remembering all those times where Ivy had had me pinned somewhere—anywhere. The feeling of absolute helplessness, my life held directly below the sole of her foot. I knew she would never take my life voluntarily, but a small voice in the back of my mind told me that I needed to get out from under there! It was just too easy for Ivy Tamwood to stomp down and end everything once and for all.

I sighed, glancing at the clock. It would be about another two hours or so before Jenks and his kids would wake from their rest. For once, I actually wouldn't have minded little pixies flying all around the church—breaking things, asking to borrow my dish towels to make forts with, braiding my hair, screaming high-pitched enough to make my eyeballs hurt. All things that would commonly make me want to throw them out of the church and breathe, "good riddance." It might have been because I wanted someone to talk to, someone to comfort me, or just someone who could keep my company, but those two hours would never go by fast enough. I didn't want to be alone with my thoughts; alone with the racking guilt that had settled itself inside of me ever since Ivy had bluntly told me of her feelings. She'd do anything for me, that I was certain of. She was ready to give her life, her soul; all within my reach. And she chose to stay with me—to protect me even if to do so she'd have to end her existence with the sliver of humanity that remained within her—in exchange for my friendship. Nothing I could ever do would be enough to repay her for everything she'd done for me.

It was as soon as that last thought flitted through my mind that the front door of the church slammed open. I jerked suddenly at the unexpected resonance, smacking my knee against my chin painfully. I swore quietly to myself while I got up, bottom lip throbbing from the blow. I stood, gripping the side of the table clumsily—I had been sitting so long, it was as if I had forgotten how to walk. When I thought I'd be fine, I let go and looked toward the threshold of the living room...and that's when I saw her.

"Jesus," I said softly, unable to think of any other word to describe what I was seeing.

Her shirt had been torn at the cleavage, held up by her right hand currently curled into a fist. Whoever had done this evidently had in mind to expose her neck, which was now ravaged and bloody. She had stabilized herself on the door frame, seeming incapable of supporting her light weight any other way. I stared, unable to tear my gaze from the horrific sight, as a trail of crimson made it's way from Ivy's neck to disappear in her cleavage—making sure to mark it's path as it passed. Her supporting arm began to quiver, and suddenly she collapsed under her own weight, head smashing painfully against the frame.

"Ivy!"

That was all it took for me to lunge toward her and crouch to her level, grasping her shoulders and hoisting her head up on my lap. She made a soft sound of discomfort as her neck raked the side of my leg, but it dissipated to an almost inaudible whimper before Ivy let her eyes close and her breath come out slowly.

"Ivy? Wake up, Ivy." I stroked her hair, removing the few strands that had mingled with the ravaged bits of flesh that hung gruesomely from her neck. "You can't fall asleep on me. Wake up."

I leaned in to check her breathing, and was startled when her eyes shot open. The black of her pupils had completely engulfed the rest of her iris, leaving her eyes looking eerily intriguing. Never had I voluntarily been this close to Ivy when she was in this state, uncontrollable thirst dominating her every thought; her every action. I froze—which probably wasn't the best thing to do at that moment—strangely mesmerized by the way her eyes focused too intently upon my neck. Her lips parted as if she was about to ask me something, but all she did was allow me to get a clear glimpse of her small canines. I shuddered.

"Rachel," the word was barely audible, and yet the sound of it surrounded everything around me, leaving my head spinning. Her eyes dropped to my lips, and I suddenly felt the urge to wet them with the tip of my tongue. My neck throbbed with promises of more, anticipation swirling around in my stomach, even as fear pulsated through my veins. I knew what was going to happen, and I don't know why I couldn't bring myself to move away.

Ivy's hand came up smoothly behind my neck and she pulled me down towards her. I was frozen, incapable of moving away as she drew me closer to her with every breath I took. Her lips locked onto mine with a force that was on the brink of being forceful, and I gasped in surprise. Not exactly what I had been expecting, I had to admit. Unfamiliar arms enveloped my back to pull me closer to what lay beneath me, nails clawing into my back for support. I didn't know what to feel, what to think; my lips did not move against hers as she explored the inside of my mouth with her tongue. At first, it had been hesitant, but her foreign touch became more aggressive as time flew by. My breath hitched audibly as a sharp pain re-emerged from the interior of my bottom lip, throbbing all the way down my jaw line. It was her hoarse, responsive moan that had me pulling away from her, dreading what negative repercussions this would entail. I flung myself back and away from the vampire with such force that I nearly hit the wall. It was just as my elbows hit the ground in impact that the pheromones kicked in and I was forced into a fetal position by the savage ecstasy. It wasn't as pleasant, I had to admit, as when one had a vampire latched onto their neck. This feeling was sitting on the fine line that distinguished pain from pleasure.

I breathed in deeply, trying to relax the muscles that had clenched in response to the pheromones Ivy was throwing out—whether it had been intentional or not was my main problem at the moment. My core throbbed with the illusion of desperate anticipation, and my nails dug into the flesh of my palms as I tried to resist the urge to emit a disgustingly sensual moan. I could fight this, damn it!

It was then that I realized my mistake; nothing I had done intentionally had provoked Ivy's vampire instincts, however I had attempted to soothe her while my bottom lip had been bleeding from my self-served blow to the chin. How stupid could a witch get? I looked up to Ivy, expecting her to be in her usual straight-jacket position or not even there at all. And yet there she was, sitting a few feet away from me with her head cocked eerily to the side; a delicate smile illuminating her dark visage. Her pupils had not yet returned to their initial size; it was almost as if they had expanded further, adding to her creepily beautiful stance. Her hand had dropped it's hold of her shirt, leaving her left breast partially exposed and covered in blood. Ivy wasn't moving, but I could tell that she was planning out her every following move with precise accuracy as we sat there, quietly staring at each other. It wouldn't end like this.

"Ivy, calm down. You don't have to do this."

She didn't speak. She didn't move. All Ivy Tamwood did was sit there, cross-legged a mere five feet away from me, and stare directly into my eyes, as if she could pierce my soul with her very gaze. Her skin so pale she looked like Death itself, blood still trickling down her neck and onto her newly exposed chest. Then, she blinked, and it was as if that was all it took for her body to fully function again.

She said one word: "Why?"

I was taken aback by the nonchalance in her tone, the absence of humanity present in her eyes. This creature before me was not Ivy. And yet I could not harm it. Hence the reason I was feeble, weak.

"I know you're in there, Ivy. We can fight this together." My voice shook, plagued by the fear that had settled itself deep within my core. Then, she did the most sinister, unbelievable, bone-chilling thing imaginable.

She laughed.

She looked right at me, and laughed.

Ivy never laughed.

"I am Ivy!" she said, stretching her arms out to full capacity as if announcing it to the world. I crawled backwards as she came forward, backing away from what would certainly be the end of me. And when she was directly before my face, Ivy leaned in as if to kiss my neck. She continued along to my earlobe and nipped it gently, but not enough to break the skin. The scars on my neck throbbed with an almost painful pleasure, and my fingers trembled when I forced them away from the near-invisible blemishes. A soft sound of content escaped her, and she whispered softly into my ear: "Who else would I be?"

My body sent an unexpected wave of adrenaline surging through my veins at those words and I roughly pushed her off of me, surprised by how unresisting she was being. I felt my back press onto the wall behind me as all Ivy did was laugh again, seemingly mocking my defensive behavior. As if she believed I was stupid to even attempt to fight her off. And I was. But I would.

Ivy leaned back onto the wall opposite to me, her expression evidently indicating that she was sardonically waiting for me to catch my breath, waiting until I was once again fully ready to fight. My teeth ground together as the corners of her lips quirked into a smile at my realization. The frustrating part of this all was that Ivy was right, no matter how little she had said directly. My aura was still ragged and torn from the banshee attack, and I wouldn't be able to tap a line without probably rendering myself unconscious. I was trapped, like a mouse in a corner.

The feline straightened herself and rose up off of the floor to stand at full height, taking her time with the knowledge that her prey would not have the agility or opportunity to escape. Her movements were slow, calculated, and cruel. Deliberately, her eyes remained locked upon the meal that was soon to occur, though both she as well as the mouse were well aware of the fact that the feline would be very much capable of focusing regardless of eye contact. No, fear was the predator's main objective. And the mouse had unwillingly, but without doubt, taken the bait.

Ivy sat down in front of me and clasped her hands in her lap, giving the distorted impression she was perfectly harmless. Luckily, I knew otherwise. She twiddled her thumbs for a while—eyes locked upon the absolutely fascinating way her thumbs rotated around one another—as if debating whether or not to reveal what was on her mind. Finally, she took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, folding her hands together.

"I went to see Rynn." The way she said it was almost as if she was ashamed of having to admit it. But then I looked at her neck once more and understood—though Ivy usually cleaned up before coming home from either being a meal or receiving one. Not that I was essentially worried about Ivy's hygiene at the moment.

"Did he attack you?" I tried to sound as calm as I could, but the fact that the hostile vampire was sitting within arm's reach did not ease the tension much.

"He wants me to kill you."

I opened my mouth to say something, but was interrupted by her hasty words.

"Or bind you." Right. As if there was a difference.

"Ivy, you don't have to listen to what he sa—"

"But I want to!" The anger in her words surprised me. "At night, I either fantasize about draining you completely or making you mine. There is no middle ground, and I can't go on living like I don't care!"

Her tone was loud but calculated, as if she was intentionally keeping it low to evade suspicion from the sleeping beings around us. Ivy's words surrounded me, adding to the fear that was already coursing through my veins. All these years I had been pushing and pushing and pushing her, and now it was going to come to bite me in the ass. I had never given her anything but friendship; disgustingly raw in comparison to everything she had given up for me.

"Ivy—"

"You're so beautiful, Rachel." Her hand came up to caress my cheek, though the action was far from being soothing. "Did I ever tell you that? So beautiful..."

I tried to press back away from her, but my back was already crushed painfully against the wall. Blood dripped down from her ravaged neck onto my clothes, though her hand kept stroking my cheek as if nothing was wrong. As if we were the only two beings in the world. She wasn't smiling anymore, any cruel facial display was gone to leave an expression of sorrow. Ivy's big bad vampire instincts had almost completely been stripped away to reveal the rawness of her soul, the desperation of her need. All that still remained to remind me of her irrevocable nature was the blackness of her eyes. The hand caressing my cheek had begun to tremble with delicate care, almost as if she was afraid to break me.

"All I ever wanted was to be a part of your world," moisture filled her eyes as she spoke the words softly, barely a whisper. "But you never let me in. I always stood by you, never leaving your side even in the worst of situations. The only times I couldn't help you was when I was more of a threat than what you were already facing. But I backed away." She squeezed her eyes shut at those last words, allowing a single tear to drip down her cheek until it mingled with the coagulated blood at her neck. "Everything I ever did was to protect you. Because I love you."

I leaned forward slightly and parted my lips to speak but Ivy pressed her finger aggressively to my mouth, eyes blazing in fury. "Stop! I am talking, Rachel. Not every fucking thing is about you." She pulled the hand at my mouth back and curled it into a fist, slamming it into the wall beside me and making me jump. "You never loved me! I did everything I could, but you never loved me! All you did was take everything I offered, never even stopping to think that there was anything you could give back. All these years you blissfully trotted along, not caring about anyone but yourself. Piscary, Skimmer, Kisten; they're all gone because of you. You ripped them from my life because it was what was best for you, Rachel. And I'm sick of being your domesticated pet. I want everything back."

Ivy's second fist smashed into the wall on the other side of my face as she finished her sentence, her arms forming an inescapable cage around me. The passionate rage in her eyes blazed like fire, burning a hole through my heart. She was right. I had taken everything. Now, all that was left of Ivy Tamwood was an icy, hollow shell; inhuman. And it was my fault.

"I'm sorry." My voice cracked and a lump settled itself in my throat at the thought of Kisten. "I didn't mean to—"

"No," she cut me off carelessly, "of course not. You never mean to do anything, do you, Rachel? Of course not. Well one thing I can say is that I do take responsibility for my actions. What I'm about to do? It's because I want it; Rynn has nothing to do with it, neither does Piscary. This is me. This is Ivy."

One of her hands came around my neck to grab a handful of hair that rested at it's nape, throwing my head off to the side callously. I cried out in pain as the sudden movements and tried to squirm away, but every movement was quickly turned into agony due to the position of her grasp. I took in a harsh breath as her head swiped down in the crevice between my neck and shoulder, tongue caressing one of my old scars. I breathed in short, shallow pants as she massaged the other side of my neck with the tips of her fingers, knowing exactly where to apply pressure for maximum effect. Curling my hands into fists, I tried to block out the searing pleasure that emanated from every place her skin touched mine.

"And this could be you," she continued, her lips brushing against my neck with her every word. "We could have been together with you remaining who you are. But you don't love me, Rachel. This is the only way it can be."

It doesn't have to be like this, Ivy. We can find another way around this; you don't have to do this. I'll find a way for you to keep your soul if that's what this is all about. Just listen to me, you can fight this. I'll help you, Ivy! The words were clearly formulated in my mind but whenever I tried to project, all that I'd be able to emit would be unintelligible mumbles and gasps.

It was over.

I was well aware of that inevitable fact as soon as I felt the ecstasy of her fangs slide into my neck. This time—unlike the others—I could very well tell what she was doing. Fear had plagued my ability to move, so I lay there, feeling my aura being savagely ripped away from me. It was not gradual, like the few other times we had attempted sharing blood. No, this time I could feel my blanket of protection being violently torn from my soul, stripped from my body. I felt my eyes fill with tears as it left my body, when I could sense my will trail along behind it.