Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not even a cool ring that lets me use my super special secret sorcerer powers. *snorts*
Balthazar loved Veronica.
It was simple really. Veronica was…beautiful, graceful, and everything that Balthazar could never be.
Balthazar didn't wear skirts, she didn't have long, luxurious hair. She wore leggings and tunics and spoke in public and, and…wasn't a woman at all. She wasn't soft like a woman, she didn't behave like a woman, she might as well have been boy!
But Veronica…sighing, Balthazar stared back down at her book blindly. Veronica's soft, luscious figure stood just a few feet away and for as close as Balthazar really was to her…
She might as well have been miles away.
Staring at the silver mirror that her Master had gifted to her on her coming of age, Balthazar touched her face thoughtfully.
She was…handsome. High cheekbones, a softly curving chin, and piercing eyes.
But her brows were flat and her nose was kinked and her top lip was too thin, her bottom one constantly pouting out.
She sighed; she would never be beautiful.
Closing her eyes, she leaned onto her hand. Her amber ring gave her little comfort, the feeling of magic bubbling under her skin just another reminder that she was different than almost every other woman in the world.
Startled by the loud knock at her door, she grabbed the mirror from the wall, rewrapped it, and shoved it under her mattress just in time for Maxim to barge into her room, demanding that they spar.
Like always, she responded in kind with a crooked smirk of anticipation. Beating Horvath would make her feel better.
It always did.
Balthazar's head jerked up, her eyes widening. She looked up, Horvath standing above her with a blank face. He towered, casting a shadow on her forgotten reading.
"W-what?" she stuttered, shocked into silence. His abrasive tone was familiar but his words…unthinkable for him to utter such to her! Her! Balthy-boy, as he had so dubbed her during their younger years.
"You heard me," he said shortly, his brows furrowing at her opened mouth stare.
The candles covering the shelves flickered as Balthazar lost control for a fraction of a second in her surprise.
"But, but I," she was cut off by the gasp that resounded throughout the study.
Both Balthazar and Horvath turned with the ready to fight only to see Veronica standing in the doorway. Her dark eyes filled with tears and her hand covered her mouth as she stared at them. Betrayed.
Balthazar stood, a hand out to stop the woman she loved only for Veronica to turn, flying from the room.
"Horvath, please," Balthazar begged, taking hold of his hands hesitantly. His wide, dark eyes stared at her with astonishment. She never touched people, not even their Master, and when she did…it was with a tense, purposeful demeanor.
Maxim slowly closed his hands over hers, swallowing dryly to find her suddenly so close, her eyes meeting his and her hot breath mixing with his and her nose softly touching his stubble covered cheek.
Before he had become aware of his feelings, being this close to her in a spar wasn't unusual- her face damp and her hair wild and her mouth grinning that crooked, awkward smile as they locked blades and sent their thoughts into forms to attack each other. But now, as he did everything in his power to pursue her, to win over her affection, she no longer came so close to him. He savored it, wishing he was brave enough to draw her into his arms and hold her close for eternity. As his only. As his partner. As his bride.
"Please," she whispered one more time, her crystalline eyes searing his soul. He would do anything for her, Horvath realized as he watched her pink tongue drag absently along her perpetually chapped lips. He wondered if she knew that.
"Anything," he swore to her.
Then, he sealed the deal.
Her lips were rough, but softer than he had imagined as mouths touched in a chaste kiss. Eyes opened, Balthazar watched him, her hands clutching his. When he moved to pull away, she followed him, her breath touching his as she angled her face and touched their lips once more.
Then, watching him, her hands white knuckled in his hold, she slowly parted her mouth and slid her tongue languidly over his top lip. He tasted like skin and sweat and meat as he stilled against her at her actions.
He was on her then, fiercely holding her to his chest as he dropped her hands and melded their mouths together. Helplessly, her eyes fluttered close, her body savoring the feeling of his body pressing to hers. His hot, wet tongue was pushed into Balthazar's mouth and her hands were clawing at his back and tugging at his long hair. He walked them back, holding her slim hips and pushing her into the chilly stone wall of his bedroom.
Their teeth clicked together and Balthazar hissed as he bit into her pouty bottom lip and pulled. His burning mouth placed molten kisses on the side of her own, trailing over her jaw and settling to suck at her pulse point gently.
She gasped, trembling beneath him as his hands slowly moved to her ribs, rising and falling with her frenetic breaths.
Her heart pounded in her head, blurring her thoughts and sending her sight swirling dizzily.
"S-stop," she gasped out when his fingers moved below her breasts, almost touching her.
Horvath stilled immediately, his mind catching up the thinking his other head had been doing.
Swallowing, he clenched shut his eyes and slowly pulled from Balthazar, taking a step back.
His breath left him as he opened his eyes. Balthazar leaned against the wall, her hand fluttering over her red throat and her chest heaving. Her eyes half-lidded, she stared at him as she tried to catch her breath. Her lips were wet and swollen, her tunic wrinkled, her arms trembling.
She stared to slide down the wall, her knees weak.
Horvath moved to catch her and stilled when she held up a hand.
She sat on the floor, tilting her head back and trying to forget the unnamable passion that she had felt boiling in his blood.
"You wish them to be happy," Merlin said, adding another ingredient to his potion. Balthazar sat across from him, her eyes lined with purple rings of sleeplessness and her face gaunt from all of her worrying.
"And you love the beautiful Veronica?"
"And you do not love Maxim?"
"…I do, in a way, but Veronica…she will die without him, Master. What am I to do? I don't think that I could bear it if I lost Veronica or Horvath!"
Merlin turned to her, his green eyes piercing hers. He made her feel like a child again as he slowly laid an age-gnarled hand upon her head and told her sadly, "And yet, to help one, you must loose the other."
Dreaded silence cloaked the room.
"You betrayed me!" Veronica screeched, throwing a vase at Balthazar, her purple ring shinning maliciously from her finger as she jerked her hand at her one-time friend.
"No!" Balthazar protested, trying to explain. Where had she gone wrong? She had Horvath go to Veronica, profess his love. It may have been false, it may have broken Horvath's heart, but he had sworn to her he would do as she wished. Veronica had been ecstatic.
"He loves you!" Veronica snarled, her face twisting into an ugly mask as she hurled a bookcase as Balthazar. Her cheeks were stained with tears.
"Veronica, please, I love you!" Balthazar cried, jumping out of the way of Veronica's latest fit.
"I will see you dead!" Veronica vowed, continuing to rain her anger down upon the furniture.
"She was not in the deal!" Horvath said sharply as Morgana stood over the lax figure of Balthazar, her hands glowing.
"Very well, as you wish apprentice," Morgana said mockingly, turning to leave. Balthazar stirred.
"Horvath?" she asked weakly, staring at him in confusion.
"You…" she said haltingly, spotting the figure of Morgana walking away. Confused, she turned…
Her stomach dropped through the floor.
"Balthazar, please, see-" Horvath reasoned with her, kneeling down to touch her arm.
"Shut up!" Balthazar screamed, hatred burning in her gut.
Veronica lay motionless in the corner.
"Hello, Dave, I've been waiting for you for a very long time."
"Get away from me," Balthazar said thickly, glaring at Horvath.
"Balthazar, she never loved you," Horvath said, pity in his eyes.
"And I never wanted you!" the Sorceress snarled, her eyes like fire.
Horvath chuckled uncaringly, his eyes soft as he tucked a strand of twisted blonde hair behind her ear. His fingers caressed her dangling earrings, gently trailing down the pale expanse of flesh that they dotted like stars.
"You're still not a very good liar, my love."
"I, I can't work with you if you don't tell me what's going on, Balthazar!"
"Please," Dave begged, staring at his Master's back.
"Very well," Balthazar said solemnly, her eyes pinning him to the spot where he stood.
"Wait, wait, wait. So, you love Veronica, Veronica loved Horvath, and Horvath loved you?"
"That sums it up," Balthazar said flatly, shutting the book she had been showing Dave.
"That's…man, that sucks!" Balthazar's lips twitched up in a self-deprecating movement.
"You're telling me."
"Balthazar, I promised Veronica that I would see you dead for your betrayal. Say goodbye," Morgana crackled, her eyes shinning.
"Goodbye," Balthazar whispered, tears welling in her eyes for the first time in over a thousand years as she watched the shinning ball of light rush towards her as she stood in front of Horvath.
"You and you're stupid old-man shoes, and your crazy training and, and, come on Balthazar!"
Another bolt impacted with her chest, sending her body shaking as Dave knelt above her.
"I think that I love you," Balthazar said, her voice far away, her words fleetingly being carried away on the New York wind as she watched Dave fly off into the distance.
"I know," Horvath said softly, reaching out to hold her hand.