The time on the bedside clock read seven-fifteen. The calendar in Seymour's room displayed a date of February 20th, 2017.

When Draco had informed him a long ago that after all her souls combined, it would knock her out, Seymour never bothered to ask how long. On Ivey's second day of being knocked out, he contacted Draco for an exact timeframe. Unfortunately, the bastard didn't know either and informed him that it might be a couple of days.

And so…a couple of days turned into four.

And while there was a lot to be said about Draco's personality, he was never one to lie.

Today was the fifth day, and Seymour was just about to settle down for the night when he felt her energy changed, increasing in intensity and warmth. The small sounding barrier he had set around her started to vibrate in his head. Recognizing that Ivey was finally awake, he had taken a moment to compose himself before calling her room across the hall.

Seymour leaned back against his chair and suppressed a chuckle. Ivey had always been a curious person. Her mind perpetually jumped from one thing to another, so it was of no surprise that she missed the instructions on the dresser when dialing an outside line. She had always been quick on her feet, so much so that she would forget to follow directions sometimes.

The only difference was, he was used to seeing her wait to be rescued, not up, and moving around trying to save herself.

Either way, whenever it came to Ivey, he was a hopeless fool-both physically and mentally.

Seymour rubbed his face, the lower part of his body already responding to her proximity. Remaining at the bottom of the lake for so long should have cut off all blood flow to specific elements of his body, especially beneath the waist.

It didn't.

Visions of flush red lips and sultry hazel eyes imprinted his mind against his will.

The tension in his body built, and Seymour stood up to relieve some of it. It had been a long time, but damn it! It shouldn't be this quick! He was acting like a wild animal spotting his first prey in…well…forever! It should have taken, at least, another month or so for his body workings to get itself together after being comatose for so long underwater.

Seymour grabbed the remote, switched on the TV, and flipped through a few channels. If he ignored his other half, it would eventually go away on its own.

It didn't.

And so, Seymour's mind drifted back into the past as the TV continued in the background.

It was something of a miracle that Draco was able to save her soul—all her souls—and placed most of it within another vessel. Never mind the fact that the mother was Draco's own sister, who didn't mind carrying the weight of the entire clan on her shoulders.

In all honesty, Seymour could barely remember all the events that led up to Ivey's death. He barely recalled everything after the demise of his lover, just that it shook him to the core.

He had failed.

That alone had sent him into a deep dark hole he never recovered from. It was similar to when his mother had abandoned him.

Memories flooded...

Blood...everywhere...mingling with the streams emerging from the walls. It stained the pavement red...and there was so much of it.

Ivey, crumpled on the floor...deathly still, her clothes wet, tinted in crimson...

Inside the cave, a path of illuminated candles on the walls led to the main chamber. Ivey's body was there. Her soul had just returned after completing her Vision Quest. She had been too weak to go back with him. Stepping through a portal wasn't an option, either. It would have shattered the last of her strength. Instead, Seymour had sent a message to the clan for help and to bring medicine. Who would have thought that once he turned his back, she would use those skills on him, knocking him out?

Seymour had felt uneasy from the beginning before her Vision Quest. He was hopeless when it came to Ivey, but he wasn't an idiot...okay, maybe he was. He shouldn't have trusted her, but he did.

She had promised—his hands clenched and unclenched even thinking of it now—looked him in the face and swore there was nothing else going on. He had trusted her—believed her—and that had gotten her killed.

The small currents of water from inside the cave created a hypnotic, melancholic melody. Along with it, Seymour heard her struggles to draw in air, her attempts to feed her stay alive.

He said nothing. All he could do was kneel beside Ivey, pulling her close to give her some warmth. Still, she knew. No matter how selfish Ivey got, she always had a knack for understanding his emotions. To understand and manipulate...that was what she did best.

Ivey always got everyone around her to do what she wanted, and he had played right into it.

"Not…your…fault," Ivey surprisingly didn't blame him. Her bloody palm pressed against his cheek "You did not fail…"

The high pitch of the alarm inside his head sent him reeling back into the present. It was nothing like the soft alarm earlier.

Seymour drew in a few harsh breaths, not realizing how far back he had gone.

"Crap," he breathed, thankful for the intrusion. It seems unwanted guests have arrived.

The past was the past for a reason, and Seymour had almost gotten lost in it again. He thought himself long passed all of that, no longer haunted by the visions.

He rubbed his face and combed his fingers through his hair, a little surprise at how unsteady they were. It looks like Ivey wasn't the only one who was having a hard time adjusting to the situation.

Grateful for the interruption, Seymour shrugged off the last of the memories.

The high pitch alarm in his head would only increase unless he directed it off. Rather than doing that, though, Seymour dulled it down to a whisper.

Eyes closed, he spoke, "What's going on out there, my friends?"

Eyes still locked, the view before him began to unfold from the sky—through the thickness of the trees and cloud, the fog, he could see the shapes—white. Some were long sticks with legs that appear to be walking. Others were a gigantic blob crawling its way across the ground. He recognized those shapes, those figures, primarily because they didn't have a face. Their tortured moans filled the air, though, and stirred the night for the select few that could see and hear them.

Seymour soared even higher above the earth to get a better view. There were quite a few of them, all heading towards one location…

Seymour changed scenery, no longer viewing them from above the sky, but up within the trees. There were quite a few more of them on the ground, more petite, which meant less powerful. His keen eyes scurried from one shape to another, analyzing. At the last second, Seymour moved his small furry body, jumping off the tree branch and clinging onto another as one of the white figures—the taller one—reached out to seize him.

Seymour bared his teeth at the shape before letting go of the picture.

His eyes opened. Seymour's vision returned, focusing on the wall in front of him. The bed was to his left. The TV had an automatic timer enabled, turning off a while ago. Everything else was exactly like he had left it, including the Shaman Queen, who remained in the room across the hall.

"We're surrounded," he spoke again to no one in particular. In fact, if he was the enemy, what better time to attack than after the Queen's awakening when she would be weakest? The protection spell he wove was strong enough to keep the fiends at bay, but there were too many of them. It wouldn't hold for long.

It didn't help that he was still a stranger to this world and everything about it. After Ivey's death, he remained only long enough to name a successor to the clan before going under himself.

Seymour had no desire to be part of a world where Ivey no longer existed.

It was different now.

She was back. And he had returned.

If anyone, or anything, wanted her, it would be over his dead body. This time it wasn't just a promise.

It would be their demise.