Bewitching Claims

The sleeping time of the night is still the hardest for some people. One of them in particular has continued to have issues to the point where she actually sought out medication. Now that it isn't unnecessary, it actually is doing some good. At least, she's not trying to strangle her boyfriend in the middle of the night.

Currently Rose is asleep, which is oh so wonderful for her to claim to. It's about time for her to get up anyway, since she's always up before Ivan leaves in the morning. As per usual, she's not really moved much during her slumber. Faith is currently on her side, her hair whisked out behind her, revealing her neck. If someone were to look close enough they would be able to see the faintest hint of a bit mark that is almost healed.

Today's schedule is a little bit different. An interview with a couple of radio stations beside the mayor has been scheduled for noon, and so until then, he is free to sleep in as much as he'd like. Ironically, however, this night it was Ivan turn to sleep light, sleep fitfully. It's a small price to pay, however, and one he would pay gladly if he knew that he could find a way for Faith to sleep silently like she is now.

After a couple of minutes of tossing and turning, the man finally chooses instead to blink open his eyes and stare at the ceiling. Upon realizing that Rose is still asleep, he shifts just slightly, sniffing and sitting up on the bed with his bare back resting upon the headboard. For a good long while, he merely looks to her, drinking in her deceptively innocent expression, trying his hardest to not wake her. Not that it works, exactly. Because soon, the urge to reach over and just touch that porcelain, angelic skin becomes too much for him. Hesitant, he moves his hand forward. It's light, the barest ghost of a touch, but his warm thumb brushes the top of her cheek and then moves to sweep aside a few stay strands of her hair.

And then, his heart stops. That isn't…it can't be, on her neck? How didn't he notice it before?

She is an innocent person, or as innocent as one can be given her situations. When she's still she actually doesn't appear harmed, crazy or all that young. Sleep is such a rare thing for her and so few have gotten to see this aspect of Faith. For Ivan to see it? That's something to her.

Still, it is getting to be rather late, at least for her. Her body is already trying to get her to wake up before he makes his move, so it is with little surprise that she feels his gentle touch. "Mmmm." It's a slow process, waking up from a medicated state, but it is happening. Faith snuggles into the covers slightly before daring to open her eyes. Having successfully avoided the conversation of her most recent bite many times over already, the last thing she even thinks about is that the marks could be noticed. After all, they are extremely faint and will be healing fully. Thankfully.

"What time is it?" This is said as she rubs her eyes to try and look at a clock. "Shouldn't you be up already?"

The moment Ivan realizes exactly what those twin incisions are, his hand shoots away from her, as if burned. Darkly, his brows furrow and he turns away from the woman, allowing his thoughts to enter the the darker, unpleasant territories that he usually keeps at bay. If she has been bitten, it can only mean one of two things. Either she has been glamoured by Hiro who has taken advantage of her…or she's been trying to keep this liason a secret. Or, wait - the vampire that accosted them at the theaters. Perhaps she was attacked by a random vampire, and simply didn't want to worry him?

Either way, his thoughts are not pleasant, and this combined with the worries of her claiming as well as general lack of sleep does not put Ivan in a good mood. He doesn't even notice the fact that she has stirred, as a result, until she directly addresses him. "I don't need to leave until fifteen before noon today." He informs her passively, clearly distracted. He still hasn't looked to her.

"Then you still have time to sleep." It's all innocent, at least to her. Faith slowly props herself up with an elbow, rolling to be able to watch him. There is nothing but love in her eyes, until it slowly begins to register with her that something might possibly be wrong. Ivan doesn't have to constantly have eyes on her, but after the wonderful night they had she is assuming that all sourness is behind them.

She must be wrong.

"Ivan?" Eventually she brings herself to sit fully upright, her posture still amazingly perfect despite everything. Concern is clear as Faith watches him, her hair falling to cover that extremely faint mark. "What's wrong? I didn't try to attack you in my sleep, did I?"

Brooding. That's what Ivan is doing. He's not used to it, it's unfamiliar on the features of his face, so often split into a smirk or a smile of some caliber. The result is that when he is moody and troubled? Well, it's very, very evident. It's no wonder she jumps to the conclusion that there's something wrong, it's the only logical one to make. "I do," Ivan agrees with her dispassionately, his voice so detached that it seems surreal.

But then she's asking what the matter is, and jumping to the conclusion that it must have been something she's done. And instead of reassure her that he's fine, that she's done nothing wrong at all, Ivan remains silent for a long, drawn out moment. Apparently, sleeplessness has robbed him of his patience.

"You've been bitten again." And apparently, his tact.

He's a man of little words this morning which furthers her concern. It doesn't help that afterward he remains silent for quite some time. Faith makes a motion to reach for him, but stops short once he explains what exactly is going wrong. That hand instead moves to her neck, to the very same spot that he noticed the bite marks. Immediately she moves her eyes downwards, down to bed.

"I tried to tell you," Faith offers meekly. "You said you wanted me to talk to you, and I was going to." The way she's sounding indicates the addition that is coming. There is always a 'but', it seems. "But you were so happy, and you said that you didn't want to deal with it. So I didn't want to force it on you." Those eyes slowly move back up to him, to somehow seek out forgiveness. "I like you happy. I'm sorry."

For a little while, it almost looks as though Ivan has been turned to stone. Petrified by the ghost of Medusa or something. He barely moves, barely blinks, and if it wasn't for the way his chest rises and falls ever so softly, he'd look dead where he sits. He's not even angry, or sad, or any of those emotions that might make sense in this situation. He's detached. He's left his body behind as his mind battles against some invisible demons, as he tackles the pervasive questions troubling his life and his world, entirely. Then, suddenly, he blinks, and he returns. With a shudder, Ivan cants his head to the side, looking over to the woman in his bed.

"I can understand that," he offers, a little more warmly then his previous dispassionate exclamations. After all, how can he be mad at her? He did ask her not to tell him. And sure, he said that he wanted to hear about it when they got home, but there was a reason they both didn't bring it up. But now, now it's time for the shit to hit the proverbial fan. "It's okay. I get it. I would've…" But, was she going to tell him? Ever? Casting that thought away, he closes his eyes. "Tell me now."

He should know Faith better than that. The truth always comes out, and she's more than willing to fess up about it. This is especially true if one considers the promise that she made to him. A promise is a promise no matter how painful it is. All the young woman can do is watch him, study him, and pray that this doesn't end with her on the streets. It is a very real fear, after all. "Okay." There is hesitation to her tone, but she doesn't actually sound afraid.

"Well, you remember that guy we ran into?" Faith takes a deep breath, figuring that this may be the best way to go about explaining things. "When he mentioned me showing up on Saturday? He meant to Bloody Mary's for some sort of Valentine's Day event. Apparently that is where I'm needed to be with whoever it is that is going to claim me in order to prove that it wasn't done by glamour. Or something." She is struggling with the story, but only because she only has certain information to go on. "I guess when I was proven to be sane again the lady who wants to eat you decided to tell Hiro and Michael in case they wanted to try and claim me. She made some sort of game out of it, and announced it in front of a bar full of others."

"She told me about that, actually." Ivan admits simply, offering this over to Faith as he opens his eyes to fix upon her person. "Granted, she didn't mention the fact that she fucking announced it…" His tone is wry, but not amused. More like, bitter. "Also, your presence there wouldn't prove anything. Vampires can very easily glamour you into going and forgetting all about it. I've seen it happen with my own eyes. Anyway - that doesn't explain why you're bitten. Which one of them was it?"

His words nearly cause her to fall back, but she catches herself. Those very few words have such a profound effect on Rose, considering who is involved. "You spoke with her?" She by far isn't angry but rather is concerned. "She calls you her dinner and still you talk to her?" Oh, well. He's in one piece and that is really what matters. "And I honestly wasn't there. I have no desire to go anywhere near Bloody Mary's. I just heard about it, and the only reason why I believe it is because several strange vampires have come up to me since."

Amazing how Faith is so passive about it. It really has gotten to a point in her life where she isn't upset about being around the vampires anymore. It has been proven that she just can't escape it. "I don't know the details, I really don't. But I do know what a glamour is. That's what made me broken." To this she points to her head, as if he wouldn't know what she meant. Then the young woman goes silent, just staring at him, waiting for him to explode. "It wasn't because I'm claimed." She isn't, as far as she knows. "But this is why I wanted to tell you about it. You told me to tell you if anything like that happened."

"Which one was it, Faith," Ivan repeats, sounding a bit impatient at this point in time. "If you weren't glamoured, and you aren't claimed, then he forced it. He He fucking raped you. I just need to know what fucktard to kill." Because he fully intends to exact sweet, sweet vengeance. Even if it is just for him. He's selfish like that. As for the rest of her words, he still has the presence of mind to answer her other questions calmly and simply. "We were in public, with witnesses all around. She wouldn't touch me. Beyond that, she doesn't want my blood as much as she wants my connections. I have a deal I may or may not make with her."

Now he's starting to take things a little farther than she would. Faith just watches Ivan, watches how he reacts, finally getting scared. It's almost as if he's caused her to freeze up, to simply forget that time is passing. "I don't like that word," she finally says. "I wasn't raped. I've not been touched like that by anyone other than you." And in that moment she pulls her knees to her chest. She wasn't raped. That's what she's telling herself, over and over.

"It wasn't exactly my idea," she goes on to explain. "But he's protecting me, and teaching me. I tried to pull away at first but he's strong. And it didn't hurt all that much." The thought of it causes her to feel what she felt when it happened, yet thankfully she doesn't freak out this time around. "It did hurt here." Again she points to her head. "It just brought back so much that I passed out, I think. He wasn't trying to hurt me." And with that, Ivan really should know who did it.

Faith isn't forgetting that he met with Isobel, not one bit. For now, however, she has more important things to talk about.

Suddenly furious, suddenly set aflame, Ivan runs his hand through his hair stubbornly in an attempt to calm himself down, to keep from leaping onto his feet and pacing around the room or grabbing Faith by the arms and shaking her to make the truth sink in. "It's rape. It's abusing your body without your fucking consent, it's using you," These are all strong words, punctuated with anger and hatred, but hissed softly inbetween ground teeth. "He's not protecting you, Faith. Not in that way. He's just making sure no one fucks with his food. No - you're not going to see that motherfucker again. I told you. I told you he only helped you for a fucking reason, so he could drink from you. That fucking bastard. Faith, you have to realize. Whether he hurts you or not, he doesn't fucking care. If you tried to pull away and he didn't stop, it proves everything. It proves that he doesn't give a fuck if it hurts or not, he's just looking for one thing."

It isn't what he says that is triggering her reaction; it's the way he says them. Perhaps it is a mixture, but she isn't upset with what he's actually saying. When it begins Faith merely stares at him, almost as if biting back tears. By the end of it she's lowered her head into her knees, with her arms covering it, and is shaking. No, she can't actually be heard crying, but it couldn't be any more obvious that she's having a hard time with what is being said.

"It's my fault, okay!" She isn't angry, but is doing her best to spit out her response. The words will more than likely be muffled by the fact that she's hiding herself. "I told him I'd pay whatever it took to be trained. I opened myself up to that, even if that's not what I meant." It could be that Faith is being hard on herself, or it could be that she's standing up for Hiro. "I'm not telling you not to be upset, with me or with him. But please, do not say that I -can't- see him." He's angry, so Ivan might not understand the significance of this. "Tell me you don't want me to but don't tell me that I'm forbidden."

"So you offered to pay him, and he took advantage of that fact to attack your body?" If she had been trying to paint Hiro in a better light, she's failed. Magnificently. There's nothing that can redeem the salaryman at this point - not even if he single-handedly found the cure to cancer. "So he perverted a request you gave him, taking advantage the fact that you're a woman, and a human, and physically weaker then him, and forced himself upon you…" His teeth grind together, and as his fist balls up in the sheets and his eyes close in a bid to get control over himself. He's trying. He's trying hard. But then, her plea, and he flashes his eyes open to practically growl at her. "Why! Why can't I tell you not to see your fucking rapist! A man who would fucking kill you if there were any benefit to it!"

Yes, she failed. She failed bad. Still, she's not angry. In fact, that icy anger that she's acquired recently doesn't seem to be anywhere during this conversation. The twin is very likely to concede to him, to admit that he's right, and even turns to him to do so. What she finds, however, is him yelling. This causes her to jump back. The hands that are bracing her find the edge of the bed but slip, sending her crashing to the ground. No matter that the situation, she's always falling. Such is the story of her life.

"Because," she finally says, no sign of resistance left to her tone. "I have really bad memories of being restrained and I don't want anyone to ever make the comparison." See? Faith is being somewhat level headed. "If you ask me, right now, to not go see him again I will honor your request. I'll do whatever you want. Just please, -please- ask me." It doesn't seem all that much, at least not to her. Yet, with everything that's going on, Faith decides to just camp out on the floor. It's comfy, and honestly standing up is going to be a pain.

At first, her fall draws no reaction from Ivan, uncharacteristic in itself. It proves just how passionately, how red-hot he smolders. But as she speaks, and as he peers to her down on the floor, a transformation comes across his features. The realization that this isn't about his pride, or it shouldn't be. The realization that the priority should not be, should never be retaliating against Hiro - it should be protecting her. And there she is, hurt, on the floor…an almost pitiful sight in the sad sense…

With a blink, Ivan lets out a breath of air as if punched, and he screws his brows down to furrow above his eyes, leaning over towards her side of the bed. And then, without further ado, he slips his legs over the edges of it, before moving to crawl towards the girl, an indiscernible expression on his face. "Are you alright?" He asks, soft in tone. Licking his lips guiltily, he moves an hand towards her, only to hesitate afterwards. Will she still want him to touch her, after that bout of childishness? "…I'm sorry. I'm sorry, baby. I just, I can't stand the thought of you getting hurt, getting touched by anyone. I'm sorry. I'd just…you shouldn't see him again. I don't want you to."

Ironically, it doesn't seem to matter to her that he doesn't come running towards her immediately. In fact, she almost prefers it. In the struggle to regain independence she has gotten a little hot headed herself. The last thing that Faith wants is to lose anything around Ivan, especially during such a serious conversation. So no matter what, even if it is silence, she sort of enjoys her place on the floor. In fact, Rose lays there, not even wanting to sit up at this point.

Before she can even make up her mind, however, he's moving towards her. He is given the look at first, though. The look that signifies that she's afraid of more yelling. Despite the look she doesn't pull away from him at all, and in fact finally attempts to at least prop herself up on her elbows. It really did hurt, and he may be able to tell, but she's not going to comment. "Then that's all you have to say." It may not be what he's expecting, but there it is. "I like Hiro, I won't like. Despite his shortcomings, I like him, but we also know how warped my mind will always be." Multiple glamours can do that to a person. "But that doesn't mean that it's worth losing you. But someone has to let him know. If I stop going to my lessons, he'll get worried and come to me."

She's not pulling away, or shying from his presence, despite the look he shoots him. This heartens Ivan, enough to try and wrap his arms around her gingerly, to draw her into his boxer-clad form, still warm from the sheets that had covered them over the night. And with his head dipped down, almost as if in shame, he holds her to him like she's precious to him. It takes everything in him to keep from trying to convince her how evil Hiro is, and to keep from bristling at the remark that she 'likes' him, but he demonstrates his occasional maturity quite well. "I'll arrange it for him to be told," he murmurs, voice gruff. "He'll know. And he'll pa-…Listen, let's get you up, okay? Off this floor. C'mon. We can grab breakfast together." There is something else to be discussed, but knowing Faith's opinion of Isobel, and considering her precarious situation with him for the moment, he decides that it can wait for a bit.

He will find that she doesn't actually resist him. Very few times has she ever told him no, pushed him away. It just isn't how Faith operates, especially when dealing with Ivan. The first opportunity she gets, the young woman is all but clinging to him. She's still quite upset, visibly so, but she isn't crying. Having him close and not yelling is doing a world of good. "He'll what?" She didn't quite catch what was being said and is asking more out of curiosity than anything.

Yet he mentions getting up and Faith sighs. "I don't want to," she eventually says. "It's going to hurt." There, in that very moment, it's almost as if all the work done to make her sane has been unraveled. Given all she's been through, however, can anyone blame her? Oh, if he thinks that she's forgotten about Isobel he has another thing coming. "She told you about it, didn't she? About all of it?" Of course, Faith has no idea that Isobel was implying that Hiro either has or is trying to sleep with her. That might set her off.

Ivan strokes the back of her head, licking his lips as he clutches to her. The moment she comments on how she's hurt, he's once again stricken with something almost…grief-like. "I'm sorry, Faith. I am." He sounds down, and sad. "Where does it hurt? D'you want me to carry you to the bed? You don't have to move, I'll move you for…er…you." In an attempt to distract her from it, he lowers his head to place a kiss upon her forehead.

Oh, but then she's questioning about Isobel! There's no need, desire to keep anything from her. "Yes, she did. She explained to me what claiming was last night, when I went out to grab a drink before coming home." It's not a ritual she doesn't know about. Occasionally, Ivan does take a pitstop to grab a glass of scotch. "According to her, she was instructed to tell Hiro and the other vampire you had connections that the vampiric protection the Sheriff had over you when you weren't sane? It's let up. Did you know that?" Beat. "She offered to…to protect her. Not for nothing, of course. I just them more when there's a barter going on, a contract to be upheld."

It is far from her intent to guilt him, honestly. Faith is just trying this whole being open thing. "It isn't your fault. I really need to stop falling. It isn't good for me." It is true that she blames herself for this. She always does because she knows that she is accident prone. "I just don't have their blood in my system anymore. The way I healed after the attack, I think, made me feel invincible. I'll be fine." She will, too, even if she will be sore for quite some time. Still, she's happy to just be where she is, and so close to Ivan.

"It's nice to know what it involves, isn't it? At least it was for me since I was claimed and never really knew the situation." Faith just sighs and nods into Ivan when he asks about the Sheriff. "I got him blown up, Ivan. Do you really think he'd want me around? He doesn't care about me at all. I'm always a pawn. That's why he put you in charge of me." Okay, so Faith could be completely off in what she's saying but it is how she feels. He will be able to feel her tense, though, at the mere suggestion of the offer. "Fuck no." The words are so soft that he might not even hear them. "I don't want to be near her. I just have a bad feeling about it. And I sure as hell don't want to owe her anything."

Ivan seems unsure, a bit uncomfortable with the thought of leaving her on the floor even if he's going to stick around, but ultimately this is a battle he allows her to win. There is the slightest of shrugs, followed by the attempt by Ivan to pull Faith onto his lap affectionately. "Mhmm. Well…I can't always stop you from falling. But I can promise to pick you back up off the floor every time." He offers her, his lips twisted into a wry smile that he then casts in her direction. Anything to make her feel better, to get her to smile.

But then she mentions the explosion, brows arching slightly. "To…be completely fair, I got him blown up, not you. The whole parade was my idea in the first place. I requested the Sheriff's presence personally. That was…well. That's what I asked for in return to getting you to meet him." Beat. "I caused this, all of it, with my naivety. But, it doesn't matter. I can't afford to make mistakes like that anymore." The vehement denial of Isobel earns a low, deep sigh from Ivan, and he strokes her back gently. "You don't have to be near her, ever. In fact, I'd rather you weren't near her either. I'd rather prefer to keep you away from all vampires, everywhere. But taking her claim would protect you, from everything. She has no interest in you - whatsoever. She only feeds from men. She knows I would be most displeased if anything ever happened to you…and you wouldn't be indebted. I would. She already told me that she would not ask to feed from me." Beat. Suddenly, he has inspiration… "At least…at least consider it, baby. Please? For me?"

Next thing she knows, she's in his lap. Honestly, if he wanted to move her all he'd have to do is try. She's not about to fight against him, but rather wishes not to inconvenience him any further. "That would be picking me up quite a bit, it seems." Her poor tailbone is going to break at this rate. "I just really like being this close to you. Have I said that before?" Sadly the alcohol filled night isn't very clear to her. "I'm not trying to change the subject, but I have to say it."

This is going to be one of those moments, where everyone blames themselves. "You couldn't have planned it," Rose says. "Me? I could have stayed here when you found me. I could have not been on that stage. That's why he got hurt. To protect me for I don't know what reason, and that's why that lady doesn't like me." At least, that's how it appears to Faith. "You do realize that she could make my life miserable? Look at what she's already done to it. You've -seen- what happened because of what she said. I'm sorry but I just don't trust her." So he doesn't trust Hiro; that's beside the point. After all, she already said that she'd stop her lessons. "And you're not owing her a favor because of me. That will get you in deep. If she doesn't turn you, or kill you, she'll ruin your career and I'm not going to be the cause of it." Ungh. He's being so sweet when asking, but this is a big deal and she can't just cave. "Why do I need to be claimed at all? That's what I don't understand."

Ivan meant it literally, metaphorically, and a host of other things. The fact that she seems to take it at face value prompts a fond look of bemusement to cross his features. She is then given a soft, affectionate squeeze. "Yeah, well? You're worth it. I don't mind." But then she derails the train of topic with that bit, blinking twice before smiling broadly, and quite genuinely. "Yeah? Heh…no, I don't think you ever have. What about it?" He can't help it. Even with the severity of their conversation, he cannot allow an opportunity to stroke his ego pass by.

"It's not your fault," he assures her, suddenly somber. "He protected you…I don't know why. But, he's fine now. Not hurt, and still immortal as ever. No use to feeling guilty or sad over it. But…to be fair, she said that it had been the Sheriff who asked her to inform people of the fact that you were free game. She works for him. And she wont make your life miserable. I wont let her." Stubborn little bugger, isn't Ivan? With his jaw set, it slackens before curling into a smirk. "She wont. I'm not particularly dim, you know. I know better then to promise everything and anything and to make a deal without conditions. But…err…if you were claimed, it would protect you from the likes of those vampires…like the one that accosted us at the mall."

Why is he looking at her like that? She said something stupid again. She can just tell. Faith sighs at this but then leans her head against him, opting to just be close instead of watching him give her look. "It's hard to describe, but I feel safe here, this close to you. Like I can be myself, and be strong. That's why I'm trying to be stronger, so I don't have to rely on you so much. I'm pretty sure, though, that if it weren't for you I'd be back at the facility, or some mindless tool back at the estate." It is meant to be sweet but the conversation patterns are making it difficult for her. "I just like it. Being close."

Now that the mushy is out of the way, back to business. "None of it makes sense, Ivan. Not any of it." Why she was saved, who put her in danger and what Izzy is up to. None of it adds up. "She might work for him but I highly doubt he told her to tell a bar full of vampire that I was fair game. It doesn't seem like something he would say." Admittedly, Faith doesn't know Will all that well. "And if so, should I really be trusting him so much? That sounds like a deliberate way to make me miserable. And telling you before I could sounded like a good way to come between us so you would become a free snack." She actually manages to say this without any venom or malice in her voice. "I can think about it, but I really don't want to. I don't trust her and you don't just get claimed by a vampire if you can't trust them. Besides, I fended off that one well enough on my own." She at least was proud of the way she acted.

He's looking at her like that because she allows him to. He's looking at her like that because she's making him, what with her words. With a broad grin, he leans forward to press his lips against the side of her face in a little peck. "I'm glad you like it here. I like it when you're here too." He assures her. But that's all he can get out when she's already giving her denial of Isobel. The persistence of it prompts the lad to furrow his brows thoughtfully. "Mhmm…I'm worried, Faith. I'm worried about you, if you're not protected You've this…unnatural way of just summoning vampires around you. It's like they see what I see. And that scares me." Beat. "If…if it gets worse. We'll revisit the issue, okay? If…it keeps going like this, then we'll consider what we can do to keep things from happening. Is that fair?" Beat. "By the way, I wouldn't be a free snack even if something did get in between us. Which wouldn't happen, anyway."

Sometimes she likely allows far too much, but that's just the way that she is. The past few years have taught her some level of patience, even if minor, and it's different with someone she feels so strongly about. With his words and kiss she nuzzles against him, almost as if she's content to nest in his lap. Yet, yes, all good things must come to an end. Faith blinks, several times, before she moves to pull herself away from him. It hurts her to do so, but she's going to be sore so she doesn't react. Instead she just looks at Ivan. "See what?" Although she finds herself almost melting. Almost. No matter how sweet he is she can't just give in to Isobel. "I know. I keep telling people and no one believes me. I could spend the rest of my life as a nun and still be surrounded by them." All because Tripp died for her way back when. It doesn't need to be said. Ivan has far surpassed Tripp. "I promise, if the situation warrants it I'll consider reconsidering. But right now I just want to be claimed by you, that's it." His last comment causes her to grin but it's not enough to ease her worry. "Sometimes you don't have a choice."

Ivan does not miss a beat, even though she's pulled away from nuzzling into him. He peers over to her, solemn and serious. "See what I see: how…valuable and precious you are. What an amazing woman you've become. How your life is something to be…I don't know. You make me want to be around you. All the time. I can only imagine it's the same for all those vampires." He pauses, examining her expression and reaction thoroughly before continuing with a smile, easy and slightly sheepish. "That's, honestly, all I can ask for. Thanks." Beat. With a broad laugh, he turns his green eyes to shine on her particularly. "D'you know how they go about the claiming process? I could, you know," he teases. "Claim you as mine. So long…so long as you consent. Then, to all the other witches out there, they'll know not to fuck with you or I'll make them regret it."

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