Rachel pulled up to the church far later than she had intended when she left and with a pricey cab ride to show for it. Getting rid of couple of squatters took longer when they were warlocks that didn't want to cooperate and simply vacant the property. The fight was short lived and by the time everyone cleared out the place didn't seem all that worse for wear. No one even mentioned taking the cost of a new door out of her fee, which was a pleasant surprise.

Typically, bad luck followed behind her like a less amusing version of Jenks, but in the last couple her runs were starting to go remarkably. They were even getting fewer calls with job offers that were likely just made up in hopes she would accept so someone would kill her and even some of those actually worked out. "Or when I get there and a couple of squatters turn out to be three warlocks."

Tired, sore and more than a little hungry the redheaded witch put her bag on her shoulder and walked into the church. Typically she would be sure to offer a friendly smile and wave to her neighbor to show she was more alive than usual, but it was an odd moment in time where most intelligent beings, interlander, or human, were enjoying the comfort of their beds. The last couple of weeks for their little group included screaming lunatics, spells thrown at her with threats of bursting her internal organs on contact and Ivy's aggravation that an emergency call about people being tortured came from a drunken idiot at a karaoke bar.

Although, in his defense, it did sound like the woman on stage could be mistaken for a banshee from what she could hear on the phone over Ivy's irate shouting. Combined with her trips into the Ever After it was shaping up into a practically normal month in comparison to the rest of their lives, though that did not make her body any less bruised.

Being lost in her own weary thoughts it did not really occur to her that a familiar sensation was crawling up her spine. The church was completely dark inside. If someone had made an effort to cover the windows it would have been pitch black. Why, no one should be up to greet her that did not make the feeling any easier to ignore.

Doing her best to keep a calm fa├žade with deep breaths and deliberate head movement why her hand slipped for the splat gun poorly placed in her bag. Rachel could feel her actual nerves starting to shake, but she wouldn't give fear the satisfaction of making her hands twitch. This was her home, she shouldn't have to be afraid and why that didn't entirely ease her concern it helped knowing there was an arsenal in her kitchen and a ley line in her backyard.

She didn't hear, or see, the shape move; it was her skin that caught the movement of the air coming behind her. Quickly dropping the bag on the ground and turning to shoot whoever was stupid enough to invade her home had been the entirety of her plan and it failed rather fantastically as the tight coiling of fingers around her wrist caused the gun to drop. Her amulets wouldn't be much good in the dark, but her left hand was free and she was still standing. Throwing her fist at what she assumed was the area of someone's face worked to get her other hand free, but her attack only struck the air.

Rachel figured the rapid increase of her heart rate, her breath sticking in her lungs until it was finally forced out and pain in her wrist staying long after the physical separation took place could only mean one thing and that only spurred her on more. She wouldn't summon a circle and any precision ley line magic to subdue her target would take longer than it would for her attacker to close the physical distance between them. No, she would regain control over the situation without magic, assuming she could avoiding get killed in the process.

The first attack came from her left and she deflected it easy enough, but she recognized a feint when it happened. The second was from behind her, just as quick and lacking in commitment as the first, but she almost missed the kick aimed at her left leg. It had forced her away from her bag of tricks and if it hadn't been for the knee she threw after her block the fight might have ended right there and then.

Now though, with the door to her back, her eyes adjusted there the clear outline of a shadow. It moved as if it was a predator circling its prey, except this was not about necessity. Rachel knew this hunger was personal. There wasn't enough light to actually see who it was, but she had been through this dance with vamps before and her roommate would be the only one waiting for her in the church.

"Ivy, whatever is going I need you to listen to me."

"You're home late." By now Rachel didn't even notice Ivy's inability to listen to reason when she got overwhelmed. The vamp would say whatever she wanted and at some point that would include a vague resemblance to an understanding that things weren't right. It just required a deeper understanding of the woman to decipher when exactly that would happen.

"Ivy, calm down and we'll talk this out."

"I think you enjoy making me wonder if you are alive or dead." The vampire kept her eyes fixed on the witch, never stopping her movements as they spoke. "You don't do recon ahead of time, you set arbitrary deadlines when the run will be over and you never call for help when you get in over your head."

She was tired, she was sore and frankly a little pissed off that they were having an old argument again. None of which was helped by her roommate stalking around her like a damn lioness. Life was just grand. "I do not need you tell me how to do my runs."

The conversation had put Rachel into a pattern and Ivy had her against the hard surface of the front door before she could break it. "You could have prevented all this if you just stopped by for longer than thirty seconds." Ivy made certain Rachel's dangerous hands were behind her back before leaning in to take in the witch's heavenly scent. Most of what masked Rachel's fragrance had been lost through the course of the day and the vamp could feel her head swirling as she slowly inhaled. "I almost went into your room tonight, but I wanted to be down here when you walked through that door."

"Things got a little more complicated after I got to the job. You know if I was in serious trouble I would have taken a line home immediately." Probably not true, but being pressed between Ivy and the door didn't seem like the best time to start being completely honest. The vamp was in a position to do whatever she wanted right now and Rachel really didn't want to acknowledge she really had been through worse. The anger over Ivy ambushing her after the hellish day she had been through was there and the witch tried to focus on that feeling in her gut instead of the one that had settled slightly lower. Anger would keep her level headed whereas the other thing would have her tilt her head so she could feel Ivy's breath on her neck.

"Always taking risks, never thinking ahead, and having to show off how incredible you are even when it is going to get you killed." Ivy nuzzled the exposed length of collarbone as she spoke, immensely enjoying the combination of their scents just starting to mix together and the softness of Rachel's skin. More than anything else, it was reassuring that her witch was home safely.

"Ivy, I want you to let my hands go." She didn't intend on hitting the vamp, with a spell or otherwise, but she needed something from her roommate that showed the woman was still in control. Somehow, her brain settled on stopping the discomfort in her wrists instead of the warm lips grazing along her skin.

"No." Rachel's hands had a tendency to push instead of pull and Ivy didn't intend to be pushed away. Her witch's skin felt so good against her, how could she ever stop touching it?

Rachel felt a warm soft tongue languidly make its way from beneath her collarbone to the underside of her neck. The feeling harkened back memories of that first night where Ivy's warm saliva made her skin burn, the time where she was seconds from giving fully into Ivy request to become her Scion, the first time the vamp drank from her as those longer fingers went up her ribcage and when Ivy kissed her. So yeah looking back there were some warning signs over their time together that things weren't exactly platonic between them.

Her body had lost control of the anger as the old memories brought back familiar sensations. What was it that Ceri had called her that one time? Stupid, ignorant, witch? Well, that certainly seemed to fit given ten minutes ago she would have blasted someone into the Ever After for claiming she would be enjoying Ivy's remarkable talents and pushing for that overwhelming love to overtake her tainted aura again.

Ivy for her part just attempted to keep focused at the task at hand. Not easy when she wanted to stake herself for abandoning a plan to wait up and just check on the witch to see how things went with training, but Rachel pressing against her didn't help. Everything had changed when Rachel didn't show on time. In their church, they were always so close to being one that Ivy couldn't consider the redhead anything except her partner. Their relationship was just different from most that was all. Realizing her witch lived in another world where vampire strength and status meant nothing ripped that simple plan to shreds.

Stupid and rash were Rachel's trademarks and Ivy had to come to accept that as part of just who Rachel was, but that didn't make her the easiest woman to live with. Training with a demon in a land where no one could reach her was bad enough, doing that then coming in late from a run was completely unacceptable. At first, her thoughts were to get to after the witch no matter what, but after reminding herself Rachel could take care of herself and had her own protection against crazed interlanders eased that fear. What really had set her off was realizing Rachel would come home acting as if it was no big deal. "Tsk tsk, naughty witch getting me all worked up."

Rachel moaned, not quietly, not half-caught in her throat, but a full on, someone was going to be murdered if they interrupted this, moan. The attraction to Ivy had always been there in some form. It was impossible not to look upon perfection dressed in leather and without a mark on her after beating the hell out of some ghoul and not be impressed. Being between the vamp and a door, or a chair, or the floor, with those black eyes locked onto hers just had a way of bringing it to the surface.

The redhead's reaction to that simple comment was more than she could have hoped for and as Ivy moved her bare thigh in between Rachel's leg and brought the witch against her body she wanted more. It was like that first pull of her blood all over again, except this time she wasn't nearly in as confined of space for her pheromones to be affecting the witch, let alone triggering blood ecstasy. Rachel enjoying the thrill of danger and sex had been obvious for a while, sort of annoying habit when not on the receiving end of it really, but now it was just incredible to witness and they were just getting started.

Each little noise her dear heart made, the ever-increasing rate of her heart, and the unmistakable rush of blood to sensitive areas she had wanted to explore for so long told her this was right. If the witch wasn't enjoying the attention than she would eat her leather boots, though there were hopefully more tasty things waiting in her future. God, she could smell Rachel's blood practically boiling.

She wanted to claim those lips with her own, she wanted to tear off the shirt and get to the pale skin beneath. She wanted to taste every inch of the woman before slipping into her. She wanted to claim her. No one else should have her. They weren't worthy and they would hurt her. If Rachel left her protection the others wouldn't know what a wonder the witch was and they would make her run away forever.

That wasn't going to happen. There were two people left in her life that meant more than the rest of the world to her and the one was a living vampire with their undead mother watching over her, Rachel didn't have those luxuries. That made the witch her chief concern and Ivy could feel thousands of years of tradition whispering how best to protect her dear heart from the evils of the world.

As her lips moved over the old scars she had left on the otherwise flawless skin, Ivy knew there were others that did not belong. She could make them go away. There would be her mark, and no one would leave another. Rachel would truly be safe wherever she went, even if she had to follow the witch into the Ever After. Rachel would be free to love her and she could show Rachel how much she truly loved her. How could something that sounded so perfect seem so wrong though? Why did the feelings begin to slip from her when they were so close? Somewhere in the haze she heard the witch's pleas, but they weren't the same as before.

"Please Ivy." Somewhere along the way Rachel felt herself pass go and whatever she collected was a hell of a lot better than 200 bucks. She wasn't even sure what she was pleading for, but Ivy would, no matter what the circumstance Ivy knew her better than she knew herself and Rachel trusted in that.

There it is, my first Hollows story, set in loosely in the time line of after BMS yet before Pale Demon. I am in no way going to profit from this, nor do I intend any theft of anything except the time of those that read this. I've simply had some ideas for this amazing duo in my head for a while and figured I'd share them for those that were interested. Rachel and Ivy fully belong to Kim Harrison, the grammar mistakes on the other hand belong to me.