"Jade, wake up."
Jade groaned in response and rolled over, presenting her back to Tori. "Jade," Tori purred again, rubbing her shoulder gently.
"No," Jade grunted firmly.
"It's 10 AM. Time to get up."
"No," the hybrid repeated.
"We're meeting the elders in an hour," Tori reminded.
Jade groaned again and flipped onto her back, forcing her pale eyes open. She rubbed them vigorously with the back of her hands before pulling her pillow out from under her head and burying her face.
"Want me to make some coffee?"
"The demons smashed my coffee maker." Came the muffled reply.
Jade and Tori lie in the wreckage of Jade's apartment. Tori had forfeited her hotel to Aria, Sikowitz, and Maddie for the night. The other Guardians had returned from whence they came, leaving the elders to discuss unfinished business with the two hybrids.
The pair had salvaged what they could of Jade's bed and made do for the evening, much to Jade's disappointment.
"Want me to go get coffee?" Tori tried again.
"Yes, go away," requested Jade.
"Get up, you slug."
"I'm a being of darkness."
"You're a being of ridiculousness."
Jade remained silent.
"I'll show you my boobs if you get up," the Latina bribed.
Jade lifted the pillow enough to peer out at Tori and considered the offer. The younger girl sat cross-legged on her mattress in one of Jade's old t-shirts. What was left of her mascara smeared across her eyes, and her wavy hair stuck up at odd angles from a night of heavy sleep. She wore a sleepy smile as she dragged two fingers up and down Jade's arm, her brow raised in triumph.
"Whip 'em out," Jade instructed.
"Classy. Sit up first."
Jade yawned as she pushed herself upright and propped herself up on her elbows. "I'm up. Pony up on your end of the deal." She wagged her fingers.
"Useless." Tori smiled and leaned in for a kiss. The older girl hummed in pleasure as she felt strong arms wrap around her and pull her close. Jade reached for the hem of Tori's shirt and tugged at it impatiently. The Latina giggled and obliged to the silent request, raising her arms so her lover could pull it over her head.
Jade's hands roamed over Tori's body, shuddering and tingling in all the right places when she felt good vibes pulse from her body. The pair fell back into the sheets with Tori half straddling the girl beneath her. "You're awake now I see," she purred as she felt Jade's hand brush against her panties.
"Mhmmm," Jade hummed, kissing the young girl again.
"Jade," Tori whispered softly, biting her full lip.
"Hmm?" Jade loved hearing her say her name. She was finally willing to accept that she wanted the peace Tori brought to her life. Waking up like this, however initially annoying, was worth it.
"Good. We have a meeting soon. Let's get coffee." She patted Jade on the bare thigh and rolled away, sauntering to the bathroom in nothing but a pair of teal panties.
Jade narrowed her eyes, suddenly reconsidering her decision.
"Good morning, ladies," Sikowitz greeted warmly.
Jade grunted to him but said nothing as she crossed into the hotel room and claimed a seat at the table across from Maddie, nursing her much-needed coffee.
"Hey, Sikowitz," Tori smiled.
"Sleep well?" Aria asked, sliding a plate of fruit across the table towards their guests.
"The bare mattress springs were a nice touch," Jade grumbled.
"She's cranky," Tori explained as she popped a blueberry into her mouth.
"We'll certainly replace that for you," Sikowitz proposed.
Jade leaned back and crossed her arms. She was suspicious of this offer, what strings were attached to it. "Does that mean you're not going to haul me off to some dungeon somewhere for violating all your sacred rules?"
"I wish," Maddie scoffed.
"Madeline, shut up," Aria sighed. "You have trespassed a great number of our laws," she conceded, "but without you there's a very real chance Eris would have succeeded. And you've proven that, with the right company," she nodded towards Tori, "you're not at risk of being possessed by Shade."
Jade glanced at the girl next to her. It was true. Now that the threat of an apocalypse wasn't weighing on her, she had felt more at peace than she had in a very long time. She could hardly sense her demon anymore in her presence. Life felt bearable again.
"We don't deem you a threat to yourself or the public. We see no reason to take you in," Sikowitz finished.
"There is, however, the matter of your disappearance," Maddie chimed in. "We can't overlook that." Jade rolled her eyes.
"There is that," Aria nodded. "We understand too from our scryers that Tori no longer appears on our map either. We know it has something to do with Eris. Would you please be so kind as to let us in on it?"
Jade perked a brow and reached for a strawberry. "So you can figure out how to bypass it and track me down whenever you'd like? I don't think so."
"Tori?" Aria turned her attention to the Light hybrid. Jade glanced at her expectantly, wondering how she'd reply. Tori was a rule follower through and through, denying a direct request from the Brotherhood would be unprecedented and highly unlikely.
"It's… it's not my secret to tell," Tori fumbled. "I'm sorry."
"If it's the same method Eris used to hide her army we'll figure it out eventually," Maddie reminded.
"I doubt you possess the mental capacities to achieve such a feat, Maddie, but good luck," Jade taunted.
"Jade," Sikowitz interjected calmly.
"Look, if you figure it out on your own there's nothing I can really do to stop that, can I? But for the time being I'll savor my privacy."
"So you're not coming back, then?" Aria asked. "We could use you. What you did at Pandora–"
"Was fun, yeah, but I'm not a team player. All of you know this. If you need my help feel free to track me down," she paused, smirking at Maddie, "but I'm not your errand girl at your beck and call anymore."
"We can expect you to stay out of trouble, then?" Aria sighed.
"All right, then," she conceded.
"What?" Maddie demanded. "That's it? Just like that? She breaks our law, she keeps valuable secrets, and we're just going to let her go?"
"She's earned it, Madeline," Sikowitz smiled.
"I'll be keeping an eye on her," Tori assured.
"Oh, like you could stop me," Jade laughed.
"Aria!" Maddie waved her hand in the hybrid's direction as evidence. "See? Trouble!"
"Oh, please, Maddie. Take a joke," the pale girl smirked.
"As long as Tori can get in touch with you that's all that matters, assuming you won't be falling out of touch the second we leave either?" Sikowitz asked hopefully.
"Nah. I like being your errand girl," Tori shook her head. "There're still a ton of demons to track down, anyway."
"Indeed," confirmed Aria. "We're already working on that. We've alerted other posts across the country, and discovered a handful of cells in Europe and South America. It's going to be a challenge."
"I'm looking forward to it," the Latina smiled.
"Good. We need all our empaths leading the charge. If you don't mind summoning Lucia again…" Aria trailed off.
Tori flashed a thumbs up. "Will do."
"What about Eris?" Jade interjected. She again glanced at Tori, noticing how her jovial demeanor wavered. She could only imagine what the Guardians were doing to Trina wherever they'd taken her. No one ever came out of the Brotherhood's crypts.
"She's contained. Our telepaths are working with her; she's reluctant to give up any information," Sikowitz explained.
"And once you get everything you need to know?" Tori asked anxiously.
"We work on putting Trina back in control. I promised you that, Tori. I'm going to do my best to follow through. No harm will come to her," Aria assured.
"When will I see her again?"
"Whenever you like. We encourage it. We're hoping your presence can help Trina regain ground," Sikowitz said.
Tori nodded in relief, clearly satisfied with that answer. "I'll be by soon. I'm taking a few personal days."
"Very good," he smiled.
"Is that it, then?" Jade interrupted.
"I suppose it is," Aria agreed.
"Wonderful." She rose to her feet, tossing the last of the few blueberries into her mouth.
"Don't be a stranger, Jade," Sikowitz smiled, opening his arms for a hug.
"Oh," she stepped back, "yeah, still not a hugger." His arms fell to his side and he sighed.
"It was a pleasure to finally meet the infamous Jadelyn," Aria extended her hand. Jade reluctantly took it in her own, yelping and yanking it back after receiving a light shock. "That was revenge for the shower," she explained wryly.
"I saved your life," Jade reminded. "This is what I get?"
"You deserved it, don't even," Tori interjected, looping her arm through Jade's. The action did not go unnoticed, but none of the elder's raised any questions about it.
"We'll see you soon, Tori?" Aria asked.
"In a few days. I haven't been to New York for fun in decades. I want to see what's changed around here," she explained.
The group bid their farewells and the pair exited. As the door clicked shut Jade could hear Maddie complaining behind them. Never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined things ending like this: walking away a free woman after a meeting with the Brotherhood. Her years of constantly looking over her shoulder were over. The years of cutting and running after crossing paths with a Guardian were over.
She was free.
Arm in arm with Tori, the two sauntered out of the building into a bright New York morning. She breathed in deeply, savoring the moment.
"Feels good, doesn't it?" Tori asked as they walked down the sidewalk.
"Closure. Reconciling with the Brotherhood," she replied.
"It does," Jade nodded.
"Did you mean what you said about helping out if they need it?"
"It depends," she said.
"How nicely you ask me," Jade answered matter-of-factly.
Tori snorted. They continued on in silence for a moment before she began chuckling. "What now?" Jade asked.
"A century ago you were ready to break my neck. Hell, a week ago you were ready to break my neck. And last night you were my little spoon," she teased.
"Watch yourself, Vega."
"You let me play with your hair and fell asleep in my arms," she continued.
"You know Shade's likely to come out and play if you piss me off too much."
"I think I can soothe the savage beast before it gets to that point." Tori leaned over and planted a quick kiss on her lips. Jade grabbed her by the back of the neck and held her before she retreated. Their eyes locked and they both smiled before Jade pulled her back in.
"I'm sure you can," she whispered before kissing her again, lowering her walls and allowing Tori to fill her with an ecstatic joy.
No, never would she have imagined things ending like this.
AN: 3 years and counting, guys. Final comments will be so greatly appreciated. I appreciate those of you who've stuck with me this far. It's been a wild ride over here for me. Lots of ups and downs. It feels good to finally wrap this up for you all, and I'm sure I'll be back soon with a sequel (that I promise to finish this time).