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Love Never Leaves, Not Really

Loud music filled the room, making it hard to hear anything else. The sound reverberated through the floor, filling Lynn’s ears like thick cotton and rattling her ribcage with it’s booming tone. It was exactly the kind of place Lynn would have loved to spend her night mingling in — if it weren’t for who stood beyond the throng of pulsing warm bodies.

He is here. He is here and Lynn is alone. (Well, it is better to say she is alone with hundreds of possible casualties. Better to say she is without people who could actually help her.)

Thick perfume, smoke, and the bitter and sickly sweet scents of the bars drinks fill her nose and her fluttering lungs. Lungs that even if she were standing in a wide empty space would probably be just as useless as they were right now.

Fleeing, Lynn knows, is just as useless, but she does it anyway. She claws at clothed and unclothed shoulders, her sharp elbows catching ribs and noses. She snarls curses and apologies in turn as she fights to get free of the mass of stifling bodies. A little bit of space to breathe, a quieter space where she can scream — that is what she needs. She needs to be able to scream and cry, curl into a little ball and wait for the storm to pass. And —

No.

No. What she really needs is to get away. Be just a few steps ahead of him, and she can call for help. The people here are too drunk or drugged to be helpful with normal people. Not to say that sober humans outside of here will be of any help — not if he gets to speak. If he gets one word out, she’ll be done for. Dismissed as easily as a tantruming child.

Not that she’ll be immune either. She’s not confident she’ll be able to escape if he catches her, if she hears him ask her to stay. The memory of that voice echoes in her head, and for a split second — Lynn considers letting him catch her.

It would be so nice. He was so wonderful, so powerful, and —

And nothing. He was a drug and she was a barely- recovered addict. Even after so many years, he still had her. She had understood he always would own a part of her, but Lynn had hoped she would be stronger than this —

But wouldn’t it be so wonderful to kiss him again. To be held in those arms, to be looked at like she was the most precious thing in the world. He was her world after all and —

Lynn shakes her head, violently. She slams into a couple, then pushes off and forces herself forward before anyone can stop or question her. She growls, eyes burning, ears hot. She grinds her teeth, and the amount of anger she exudes must be quite impressive, because soon enough, people are making a path for her.

Lynn marches, steps heavy but quick, and then she’s throwing her shoulder against the door and then — cold air hits her. She gasps, stumbling onto damp concrete as the door slams shut behind her. She blinks, and tears drip down her cheeks. Lynn nearly sobs in relief before remembering he was right behind her. But her throat is too dry to call for help, her hands too unsteady to dial any familiar number. So, chest tight, heart pounding, Lynn spins and stumbles towards the streetlights.

Soon enough, she’s sprinting down the road, her steps echoing like thunderclaps in her ears. She must make quite the sight — a woman dressed in leather and bright clothes rushing from the back alley of a nightclub like the devil himself is after her. Lynn rushes through the streets, weaving around what little traffic remains at this time of night.

She runs, lungs and legs burning, barely aware of her surroundings. She runs, unable to shake the feeling of eyes on her back of her neck even though she hears no following footsteps. No one calls out to her. No hands spring from the darkness to grab her. Lynn is truly alone — but she doesn’t feel like it. Lynn wonders, dimly, her mind swirling, if she will ever feel properly alone again.

(She doesn’t linger on that thought for long.)

Finally, finally, after so long, Lynn rounds a corner and her safe haven fills her blurry vision. Lynn cheers, swaying, as she races towards her safety. As she approaches, the runes and protection spells she’d installed two years ago burst to life. The symbols glow a familiar gold and blue. Lynn leaps over the boundary line, and the magic she’d painstakingly etched into the foundations of her home rush over her in waves of comforting warmth.

The moment her hands slam against the glass of the front door, Lynn’s legs give out. She collapses on her shops welcome mat, presses her forehead to the chilled glass, and breathes.

She rests in the cold, unconcerned by the thought of him chasing after her. Her shop, her home, filled with magical books and supernatural artifacts, is her safe haven. Nothing gets in unless Lynn wills it so. Not through all those shields she’d pinned up with crystals, ink, and her own blood.

Lynn breathes, and then, too tired to get out her keys, softly asks for the House to let her in. It complies, as it always does, and Lynn stumbles inside. She makes it a few steps past the front room before the door shuts, and then leans against the wall, using it to keep herself upright.

Something not quite a voice, not quite a feeling, rushes through Lynn’s veins, filling her with warmth and the sense of safety. Lynn smiles, and gently pats the wall. She hums back in a familiar tune, reassurance fills the connection to the House. Her House sings back and relaxes, though its defenses remain firm.

Lynn, with the occasional mental prompting, makes it into the back. She can’t quite make it up the stares, but the cot she’s placed down here for emergencies and long nights is enough. (And quite comfortable given it’s mostly comprised out of large soft pillows and fur blankets.)

Lynn shrugs off her coat and boots, and collapses onto the bed. The rush from her earlier fear (and the exertion from her mad run) dissipates, and leaves Lynn feeling completely drained. Both physically and emotionally. She probably wouldn’t be able to fend off much in this state, and normally she’d be a bit concerned about that, but she can’t bring herself to care.

He can’t get in. Her House, and the strength it gives her, won’t let him. Lynn is safe, for the moment. And safe girls who successfully escaped their monstrous fae ex-boyfriends, get to sleep.

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