A Word of Caution

Welcome to the realm of the Unseelie Court. Feel free to wander and browse, but know that the content you will find here is not for the faint of heart. The visions portrayed are often darkly erotic, even disturbing, and should be traversed only by those with the appropriate character and mental age.

You have been warned.


Poppins’ Return

Chapter 19 – Grief

When I was a young boy, I had a little dog. He was a mangy brown mutt with a lopsided trot and one ear that didn’t quite stay up the way it was supposed to, but to me, he was like my best friend. He would wait by the door of Brightly house, panting happily for me to come home from school each day. And every day, it was as though we hadn’t seen each other in ten years. He’d all but knock me down in an attempt to lick my face in greeting; his tail wagging so furiously that Gran never bothered to sweep the porch. I loved that dog.

One day, I took a different way home from school so I could drop by a friend’s house. I ended up coming down the opposite side of the street. When I got near my own home, my faithful dog was there waiting impatiently for me, and I whistled and called out to him. Wanting only to please me, the furry beast launched himself off the porch like a cruise missile and made a beeline in my direction. I never saw the truck turning around the corner behind me, or I would have done… something.

My dog was hit across the back half of his body and shattered like a kite in a tornado. I never forgot the sound of his back legs snapping as the heavy moving van rolled over him, and I will never forget the look in his eyes in the last few minutes of his life as he laid there in the street dying. It was a look of confusion and sorrow, but not from the pain. My dog died looking up at me with the deep regret that he was unable greet me with kisses and tail wagging.

What I had done to Ananha was much like this. Over and over I played back the events that had been erased from my memory by high fever, but had been revealed through Rachael. The sound of her forearms snapping haunted me unceasingly, but it was the look on her face at that moment that had the greatest effect on me. It was the same look that my little dog had. Confusion and regret. Even when she fell to the floor, wailing in pain, her face looked up to mine in desperation; pleading with me to say it wasn’t really happening.

I realized that I had betrayed her. Through all that had happened since the night Marly and I had been attacked, and even before, she had stood by me as a friend, and protector. When I called to her, she was there, without fail, and had risked her own life to help me and Marly. She had fallen in love with me from the very first night.

And I can see how it would look to her. Marly and Keila shared something more than casual friendship. They were long-time lovers. And even though I knew Marly would always choose me over her faerie partner, I gave her no reason to give up that relationship, nor would I want her to. But that did leave me alone in bed with Ananha, who saw that I needed someone. And I did. And I realize now that I did fall in love with her too.

And then X’carin took Marly while Bazerith tried and failed to take me. And Ananha was right there to comfort me. Instead of thanking her, I asked her to do something that was probably terribly painful emotionally. I asked her to help me save the one person in the world who could take me away from her… Marly.

And she did it. And when I was nearly killed in the process, she was right there to heal my wounds. I saw in Rachael’s memories that the faerie had stayed at my side for five straight days to make sure that I was cared for night and day. She worked her healing magic on me so diligently that it left her drained and weak to the point that the others were beginning to fear for her.

And then the fevers came. She continued to stay by my side and tend me, even while I thrashed back and forth calling out Marly’s name instead of hers. The final night, when in my insane condition I got out of bed demanding incoherencies, she made a desperate attempt to keep me from hurting myself by hugging my mindlessly berserk form. Instead of calming at her touch, I turned around, looked her in the eyes, and then broke both her arms.

I had rejected her in the worst possible way. And above it all, Ananha had been willing to come back into my room and not only stay with me until I awakened, but had made love to me to drive me back to sleep once she was certain that I had returned to sanity.

When Rachael finally let me go, I raced into the bathroom and vomited until I was heaving dry.

I knew that faeries healed very quickly, and repairing her arms would have been a simple matter for one of the others or even herself, but they still felt the pain of such a trauma. No wonder Ananha was so preoccupied with my arms. She was probably debating whether or not she wanted to snap them once I was fully healed.

“Where is she,” I asked Rachael solemnly as I exited the bathroom and pulled on a pair of sweat pants. I’m sure I looked like a complete wreck, but I didn’t care.

The nymph watched me sadly and knew I wouldn’t tolerate any games. She closed her eyes for a moment, then answered at once. “She’s downstairs. Room 2C.”

My brows rose up and I did a double take.

“A lot has transpired in the last ten days, Mark. Go… She knows you’re coming now. She might try to hide from you.”

I nodded and opened the door into the hall. Mac stood there leaning against Marly’s door. His arms were crossed over his chest, his face passive and unreadable. He was the perfect sentry. Then it occurred to me that standing there, he probably heard Rachael and I having sex. His Rachael. I felt my face go hot, but I couldn’t deal with the way I felt about it right at that moment. Mac saw that I was about to walk past him.

“Good luck, Mark,” he said without moving. I stopped and turned to face him. He was smiling. I had just fucked his girlfriend within earshot, and he was wishing me luck?

“They need you,” he continued, cryptically.

I sighed at the implications of that statement and turned to walk down the hall.

The second floor of the Brightly house was much like the third but with an extra two rooms. I went to 2C and raised my hand to knock but stopped. What was I doing? How would confronting Ananha now help anything? I decided that it didn’t matter. I had to see her. I had to at least let her know what a blind ass I had been and ask her forgiveness. I reached out my hand for the door knob but then snatched it back.

Out of habit, I had checked the paths of time that were present around me and discovered that they almost all seemed to fade abruptly into darkness. Was it death? I was instantly alert for any danger, but could sense nothing out of the ordinary. Was it Ananha? Was she the one in trouble? I grabbed the knob and burst through the door, my heart beating wildly.

“Ananha!?” I called out as I rushed forward. The room was dark, and even though I knew the basic shape well, I was lost in the odd shadows that played across the floor and walls. I stepped on something that crunched under my bare feet and crouched down. When my hands found the dry leaves and sticks, I stopped breathing.

“Oh god… NO!!” Sorrow and dread filled me. When Bazerith had died, her body turned into the same dry leaves that I felt now. I could easily picture a distraught and heart broken Ananha, ending her life on the hardwood flooring; her body changing into what I now held. Tears streamed down my face and I slumped to the floor, my stomach knotting into a tight ball of sorrow.


Her voice came from the far corner of the room, and I was up and running before the echo had faded. I couldn’t see her, but I knew that she was alive and hiding in the shadows. I put out my hands and reached into the darkness. Suddenly, my fingers met warm flesh and I breathed again. Without a word, I gathered her into my arms and began to sob against her. My knees must have buckled, because we were both suddenly kneeling on the floor.

And then I was kissing her. It started slow; tentatively, but quickly built until we were both moaning and shaking. It was a lover’s kiss; deeply erotic and filled with consuming passion. I knew in an instant that she had forgiven me, but I still needed to hear it from her lips. When I came up for air, I broke away and met her eyes.

As always, they were filled with concern, for me.

“I have been such a fool, Ananha,” I said, taking her face in my hands. “To not see your love for me… I feel like a complete idiot…”

“No Mark, you mustn’t think that,” she returned. “You and Marly are destined to be together. What I feel doesn’t matter.” She let her head drop, and I could see the sadness creeping into her soul. I quickly lifted her chin and forced her to look at me.

“You’re wrong, Ananha. You DO matter. What you feel makes a big difference to ME.” I saw her breath catch as she heard the words she had been waiting for for so long. “Whether Marly recovers or not, I want you in my life. I know Marly, and she would have it no other way.”

“But don’t you understand? You’re the fulfillment of prophesy, Mark. You and Marly are the restoration of the Tuatha dé Danann. Through you, the bridge between humans and Fae can begin again. I can’t stand in the way of that.”

I laughed. “Stand in the way?! Ana, you have nearly single-handedly saved us! Both Marly and myself owe you our very lives, but more importantly, we both WANT you. I want you! I won’t let another hour pass without you knowing how much you mean to me. I didn’t understand it at first. Things happened too fast, and I was being an idiot not to notice. But somewhere in all this, I fell in love with you, just as I have Marly. You two are like two sides of the same coin, and I can’t have one without the other.”

“You… love …me?” She asked slowly.

“With all my heart!”

“And you also love Marly?”

“I do. But I realize now that I can’t live without either of you. I won’t, and if I know Marly, she won’t let me. I need you, Ananha, just like Marly needs Keila.” I took her hand. “Please say you will join us…”

I waited through five long seconds before she answered. “I will,” she replied, a wide grin forming. “I would like nothing more…”

I took her into my arms and held her close, her scent filling my nostrils. It was the smell of her hair that brought out the memory. I suddenly stiffened. Noticing my change, Ananha asked me what was wrong. I held her at length, my face pained with sorrow and guilt, and ran my fingers down her arms, from her elbows to her wrists where the breaks would have been.

“Mark, you mustn’t feel…” I stopped her.

“Ananha, what I did to you, whether in my right mind or not, hurt you. It especially hurt you because of your love for me. I just want you to know that I am truly and deeply sorry for having caused you that pain, and I ask your forgiveness.”

Emotion welled up in the faerie and she burst into happy tears. I knew that things would be alright now, and without a word that she had forgiven me. She reached out and pulled my face against hers, our kiss continuing and growing.

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