Nyx: Yay! Update time!

Puff: After much bitching and whining and moaning you finally finished it!

Nyx: He has a right to complain, I've been bothering him all week.

Puff: You've been outright pain in the ass. 'Puff I don't know what to do past this point!' 'Puff, stop staring at the doughnuts!' 'Puff stop eating and give me advice'!

Nyx: Alright, you made your point. Don't own, whatever, happy reading!

So just hold on we're going home (going home)
Just hold on we're going home (going home)
It's hard to do these things alone (things alone)
Just hold on we're going home (going home, going home)

-Hold On We're Going Home, Drake

Chapter 39. Redeundo

Bella was aware of Azazel sitting ramrod stiff all the way back to New York, looking nervous as he twiddled his thumbs. Jasper was both amused and concerned having never seen Azazel look as jittery as he did the entire way back. He had a feeling it had something to do with a certain psychic, especially since Bella had told him it had been his idea to leave Nim behind.

Usually the half-demon boy was the cool brick wall of the group; solid, emotionless, and you could always rely on him to take an objective look at things. But the boy was practically a wreck in the face of going home to the love of his life, who was undoubtedly livid at being left behind to worry. Peter and Charlotte were content in the front seat, the latter at the wheel this time.

Bella managed to stay conscious after putting up the portal, even though, technically she was still in recuperation mode. She still leaned against Jasper, nestling into his side, enjoying the silence. She could feel Azazel's life-energy next to her, hear the subtle hiss of his Time slowly trickling away and had half a mind to demand a refund from Susan. But there were no refunds, so she would have to learn to shut off those part of her senses when she needed some downtime.

The life energy of the three vampires in the car wasn't warm and loud like the humans in the car that had just passed, instead it was cool, muted and subtle enough to ignore. There was no obvious use of Time as vampires were pretty much immortal. But still, they used it all the same, and when a vampire died, their Glass simply disappeared instead of the sand running out, like they had never existed.

The thought of Jasper's Glass disappearing from the Halls made her feel sick and she immediately diverted her thoughts elsewhere. She had told him that she loved him last night and the look on his face was initially one of shock, so much so she had almost laughed at him outright but then the smile that had overtaken his face had stunned her. After Edward had left her she had promised not to fall under a vampire's glamour again, not to let another one dazzle her. But Jasper hadn't intended to do what he did by giving her a gorgeous genuine smile, making her heart skip and her skin heat.

He'd made her blush last night and it had been years since she'd done so. And he'd taken great pleasure in kissing her heated cheeks until they cooled, demanding she say those three little words over and over again. They hadn't made love last night, content to just be together, sex could wait. After all they had a lot of time on their hands. The transition from Washington to New York was smooth, yet still disorienting passing from one side of the country to another.

Azazel was starting to ooze anxiety in the seat next to her and both she and Jasper gave him an irritated look. "Would you relax? You're starting to make me nervous," Jasper snapped.

"You've never had to face an angry Nimueh," Azazel retorted and Bella nodded in understanding.

"He does have a point," she conceded and Jasper blinked a little, trying to imagine the calm collected psychic in an absolute rage and he found that he couldn't do it. Nimueh couldn't blow up whole city blocks or throw him clear across the country like his mate could, so he was a little more afraid of his girl than he was of the psychic. But Azazel was the one who was in complete and utter love with the girl, so his fears were not unwarranted.

Bella told him that Azazel had been besotted with the psychic for years, and had never said anything, not just out of fear of rejected but he had led himself to believe that he didn't deserve her, that Nimueh deserved better. Jasper couldn't help but sympathize with the poor boy, though he had only been in love with Bella for a couple of months then was driven batshit when she'd disappeared for months on end.

His musings were broken by Peter's chuckle in the front seat, "I have a feelin' this is gonna be entertainin'," he said laying his drawl on thick. Charlotte couldn't help but agree, exchanging a look with Peter. The rest of the drive was spent in anticipatory silence, and Azazel's anxiety never ebbed. Bella and Jasper exchanged a look, the both of them feeling a bit of sympathy and a little exasperation for the half-demon Reaper who's knee had begun to bounce in a very obvious show of anxiousness.

As it was late morning, the streets of New York weren't as clogged as they would have been during the early morning rush to get in to work, but the city was still very much alive. People rushing about, some trying to stay cool in the late-summer heat while the rest had their minds on Wall Street. The second car took a different turn off, most likely heading to drop off the others at their respective homes before high noon hit, and so the Nightwalkers could go home and get some actual sleep.

Meanwhile Azazel was ready to explode with dreaded anticipation when they pulled up to Nimueh's blue-bricked brownstone. Bella could see the wards, a slight shimmery shield around the house, imbued with transparent runes. They all got out of the car, Jasper shooting Peter and Charlotte a quizzical look, having hoped that they'd want to go get a hotel room.

"We ain't missin' this, not for the world," Peter drawled, waggling his eyebrows. If Azazel had been paying attention he would have given the Daywalker a look that would have clearly said he was very unimpressed. Bella lowered the wards with a flicker of thought before ascending the steps.

She turned and saw Azazel still standing on the sidewalk looking absolutely terrified. "I," he swallowed hard, "I don't think I can go in there." Bella rolled her eyes and Jasper focused his senses, listening hard for a heartbeat.

"I don't think she's home," he said, "not yet at least." Azazel still looked apprehensive but ascended the steps and Bella unlocked the door with magic, letting them all into the house. Azazel immediately headed for the kitchen to make himself a hot beverage while Bella pulled out her phone, sending a mass text to the unit. They all replied within minutes, collectively letting her know that they would be there in the evening and that they would keep a sharp eye.

Jasper sat on the couch, pulling her down onto his lap and nuzzling her neck, making her outright giggle and Azazel stared, his mug in his hands before shaking his head and going back into the kitchen, "Obviously I've entered the Twilight Zone," he muttered.

"They are so adorable," Peter muttered at vampire speed to his mate.

"He looks happy," she replied, nodding, unable to help the fond smile and the warm fuzzies in her chest. Bella was the real deal, she could see that now, after all Jasper had never starved himself for Alice. Azazel came back into the living room, rolling his eyes and turned on the TV, settling in for the dreaded wait, trying to ignore the couple being disgustingly happy on the couch next to him. Peter and Charlotte had taken up residence in the armchair, also being disgustingly couple-y and Azazel sat there with his cup of tea like a fifth wheel, keeping his eyes on the television.

He was saved when Liam came over late in the afternoon, having obviously gone home to get fresh clothing and no doubt get ribbed by his mother for disappearing on short notice, but no doubt the woman was used to it. Liam told the two snuggle-y couples to get a room, and Bella zapped him making him yell in pain and fall off the couch just as Carrie walked in, fresh-faced and happy-go-lucky. She spotted Liam on the floor and rolled her eyes, "When are you going to learn?" she asked, but Liam only spread his arms wide to her.

"Comfort me," he demanded, instead she kicked him in the shins. "Ow! What the fuck Carr?" he yelped, inspiring yet another argument between the two.

The two Nightwalkers remained absent, most likely out on the town for a much needed hunt, while Max came by without her new Lycan boyfriend. Bella got up to get herself a cup of tea, asking if anyone else wanted some but getting no raised hands, while Azazel asked for coffee, going into the kitchen to get a reprieve from the onslaught of life-energy. "B?" Max asked, having followed Bella into the kitchen.

"What's up?" Bella asked, putting the kettle on and spooning out fresh grounds into a new filter for the coffee machine.

"Um...well," Max shifted, "it's about my wings."

"What about 'em?" Bella asked, getting a cup down and a box of teabags.

"I want you to kind of, take them away," Max looked sheepish. And Bella frowned at her.

"Did Cato ask you to do this?" she asked.

"No, God no. He loves them but it's just...difficult, they make everything harder," Max frowned, "I talked it over with him and he says its my choice."

"I can't make them go away," Bella said, "Maybe I could...turn them into something else? They're a part of you, and taking that away would be fundamentally wrong." Bella mused over it while the wheels turned in her head. Max just stared at her, unsure how to put the urgency of her desire into words until Bella said, "How do you feel about tattoos?" she asked and Max shrugged.

"They're alright I guess, on the right people they're awesome," she said.

"What if I turned your wings into tattoos? Technically they would still be apart of you, living in your skin."

"That...doesn't sound like an awful idea," Max said slowly.

"Give me a couple of days to come up with a spell," Bella said with a smile and Max slowly returned it.

"Thank you," she replied just as the door slammed open.

"Nim's home," Bella muttered, turning the stove off with a wiggle of her fingertips and the two Reapers poked their heads out of the kitchen, seeing Nim standing on the threshold dressed in a nice pencil skirt and blouse, looking all professional and clean save for the piercing she'd left in her eyebrow.

"Well...it seems I wasn't invited to the party," she said calmly, her eyes scanning everyone with a bit of relief but they tightened when they reached Azazel who was sitting, frozen on the couch.

"Glad to see you're all okay," Nimueh said, meeting Bella's eyes, her lips twitching upward in the slightest of smiles.

"Where were you?" Bella asked.

"They asked me to do a lecture at the University, a summer seminar type thingy," the psychic waved, "it was boring. Coffee was shit. I'm going to go shower now." she made for the stairs and Azazel got to his feet.

"Nim-" he began, but the psychic turned on him radiating ice.

"What was that?" she asked.

"You understand why I-" he started again.

"I understand why you did it, but what I don't understand is you not leaving a fucking note! Or a box of chocolates! Then I might have forgiven you sooner!" she said, making it clear she was very unhappy.

"We couldn't afford to lose anymore time Nim, you know that," Azazel said.

"Leaving me here to worry," she went on to rant, "you have some nerve Aza-" she cut off with a squeak as no one had seen Azazel move, the boy swooping in and planting a big fat kiss on the irate psychic.

The house went silent, everyone present watching with wide eyes and jaws completely slack, all eyes on the couple standing just at the bottom of the stairs.

"Finally!" Bella crowed, doing a victory dance and making the two separate. "You two have no idea how fucking stupid you are, driving me up the goddamn wall for years!" the Warlock ranted, "Honestly, what took you so fucking long?"

Nyx: For the record, I'm not overly fond of Drake. Scratch that, I'm not fond of him at all. His song just happened to be useful. For once.

Puff: Oh come on! Did he at least give her tongue? You gotta give us more detail than that!

Nyx: Hush you horny little vagrant. Reviews would be lovely.