Embracing the Dark @rubberduckiez
To Tell the Truth

Maeve continued to pace, waiting for Seth to show up. She was still on edge as she tried to process what she had learned that day. She then stopped and looked to the kitchen. She beelined for the bottle of wine she had there, pouring herself a large glass. She felt she needed it to take the edge off. To prepare herself for what she was about to do.

She had spent her entire life hiding who she was, never telling anyone including her fiance and the man she had hoped to spend the rest of her life with. Once upon a time, she had thought she could leave it all behind, like she had done with her past. That she could truly be happy with Christopher. Dancing. And that her mother's words really were just crazy ramblings. That she could ignore who she was and not have anything to do with the faery world.

It had been so easy to ignore when she was away from Huntsdale.

But Fate had other plans, showing her that she couldn't run away from what she truly was. That she wasn't normal and never would be.

Not to mention, when she really thought about it, she could never leave it behind. Chaos always followed her. Her childhood had been nothing if not chaotic. And even though she had a few years of respite, once again her life had been thrown into chaos. The difference was she had barely survived it this time.

She had just taken a large drink when there was a knock at the door. She looked over, knowing that it must be Seth. Still holding the glass, she walked over and opened it, feeling mildly calmer at seeing him there.

"Bit early for that, don't you think?" he asked as he stepped in, his eyes falling on the glass in her head.

"Need it," she said, shutting the door and turning to follow him into the living room. He was looking around, taking in the high ceiling and then the photographs on the wall.

"You and Christopher?" he asked, glancing back at her. She nodded but didn't say anything. That wasn't why she had asked him to come over. Placing the glass on the table, she took a deep breath and faced him. "What happened, Maeve? You seem upset."

"I met with Ash today," she said, wrapping her arms around herself. Seth didn't reply, just stood there waiting for her to speak, though his eyes traveled to the flesh exposed on her neck. She reached up and put her hand over it, just now realizing that she had forgotten to put her scarf back on.

"It's okay," he said, giving her a reassuring smile. "How did that go?"

"I…" Maeve looked away, gathering her thoughts. She then met his eyes. "How long have both of you been faery?"

"Me, not so long. Ash… over a year," he said. Maeve nodded. "Didn't she tell you that when you spoke with her?"

"We didn't get to that point," Maeve said. Seth frowned in confusion.

"Then how did you… oh," he said, his eyes widening slightly. "You can See, too."

"Always have," Maeve said. "Since I was born. Known about faeries. Or well, to be honest, I'm not completely sure how much of it I can trust considering it came from my mom. And she doesn't have the best grip on reality." Seth was silent a few moments.

"Why don't you tell me what you've heard, and I'll let you know what's true and what's not," he said calmly. Maeve nodded, fear seizing her heart for a moment. This was just the beginning. She was about to tell him something that could put her in danger. For his part, Seth kept his distance, sensing she needed the space.

"I've always been able to See," she started. She reached up and pulled the charm out from under her shirt. It was probably better to show him as she told him. "My mom can't See… I suppose that's how she got into the mess that she did. She didn't used to be the way she is, or most of it, from what Aunt Elena's told me… She, ah… she met a faery one night at a bar..." Seth remained silent. Maeve reached behind her neck and unclasped the necklace, taking it off and setting it down on the table. She didn't meet his eyes, unsure of how he would react. "And well… got me as a result."

She finally looked up at him and found his eyes wide in surprise. But there was no judgement. No hatred. Just surprise.

"He, ah, left that charm for me. Told Mom that I had to wear it at all times or else the others… they would know what I was. They might try to hurt me to get to him," she continued. "Or take me away."

"Maeve, do you know who he is?" Seth asked softly. Maeve shook her head.

"I don't even know his name," she admitted. "Just that… he was part of the Dark Court. That's it. And apparently hated Summer faeries. Mom was pretty messed up when he left. I mean, occasionally she would try and hold it together, but then… well… you know... "

"Does Ash know about this?" he asked. Maeve shook her head.

"I freaked out and ended up running out of the apartment as soon as she got there. Mom said I couldn't tell anyone," she replied. "That it wasn't safe. That they could… hurt me. Especially the Summer faeries. She really seemed to hate them."

"I can understand why. There hasn't been that much love between the Dark and Summer Courts. I mean, there's barely peace between them now even though there's a new Dark King," Seth admitted. "But it's not as bad as it was when you were born." Maeve breathed a sigh of relief.

"So, Ash… she wouldn't… we'll be okay?" she asked. Seth didn't answer for a while, which only made her worry more.

"We're not really talking right now, but… I don't think Ash would do anything to hurt you," he finally said. "She's…"

"Some sort of super powerful Summer faery," Maeve finished for him. "I could tell that much. Even though I ran out pretty quickly. Just… kind of brought up bad memories and all…" Seth stared at her in confusion for a moment before his eyes fell on her scars again. Understanding came into his eyes.

"Right," he said. "She's the Summer Queen." Maeve's eyes widened.

"No shit… suppose that was the complicated you mentioned," she said. A pained expression came over his face.

"Yea… I still love her. And I think she still loves me, but… it's definitely complicated," he said.

"Because she's got a king now, right?" Maeve asked.

"Well… I mean… yea. But it's more than that," he said. "But that's for another time. Right now, we're talking about you. You're half faery." Maeve nodded.

"Yea," she said.

"And you don't know who your dad is," he continued. "Just that he was part of the Dark Court."

"Still correct," she said. Seth looked away from her, seeming deep in thought. "Do you… do you know who he could be?" Seth sighed.

"There's only so many faeries in the Dark Court capable of being with a human and not killing them," he said. "But you're definitely not half Hound."

"Hound?" Maeve asked in confusion.

"I'll introduce you sometime," he said, smiling at her. Maeve nodded, feeling somewhat better. "You should probably speak to the Dark King. If your dad is one of his, he can probably help you find him. Will probably want to take you under the Court's protection as well."

An involuntary shiver ran through her. She had overcome part of her fear - finally told someone her secret. She wasn't sure that she was ready for the entire world to know about it. She had no idea who her father was or what kind of enemies he might have made. Actually, when she thought about it that way, maybe she should go see the Dark King right away. If only so she felt protected.

"It'll be okay, Maeve," Seth said, taking a step towards her. "You've already met him, actually… Niall." Her eyes widened as she thought to the quiet, handsome faery. She had sensed that he was powerful and now she knew why. Perhaps that's why she had felt an odd pull to him.

Perhaps allegiance to the Dark Court was a genetic thing.

"Do we have to go now?" she asked, starting to feel slightly overwhelmed again. "I mean, yea, I know that I should go, but… this is all… a lot."

Seth walked over and pulled her into a hug.

"Sure, we can wait a bit. But don't wait too long… and I think you should speak with Ash. Tell her the truth," he said softly.

"I will, I just… I need to think about all of this. You won't say anything to him until I do, will you? Or Ash?" she asked, stepping back from him. "Not until I'm ready?" Seth sighed and then nodded.

"But if he asks me… I can't lie to him," he said, not mentioning Aislinn.

"I know," Maeve replied. "Whole weird faery thing… I can still lie, but it's uncomfortable." He nodded and glanced around the apartment.

"Anything else you want to know?" he asked.

Maeve laughed shortly and shook her head. She then walked over and sat on the sofa, absentmindedly massaging her knee even though the pain had subsided.

"I mean - yea. Sure, there's a lot for me to learn, but… if it's alright, I think I just need to process," she admitted. Already she was clearly thinking about where she wanted to go. While her leg kept her from professionally dancing, she could still do some. As long as she didn't push it.

It still helped her clear her head when she needed it.

"Alright. You can call me anytime," Seth said, standing. "And I'm serious… you need to talk to Niall soon."

"I know," Maeve replied. She walked him out, then turned and looked over at the charm. Sighing, she walked over and put it back on, then went upstairs to her bedroom to change.

~~~

Niall felt like an intruder. He shouldn't be there, but yet, he couldn't stay away. He had intended to just wander around, but then he had come across Maeve as she was walking down the sidewalk. He wasn't sure why he followed her, but there it was. The pull. Without thinking he had followed her to the dance studio where she worked, his shadows happily dancing around her as they walked.

His feet had taken over his body, leading him after her even though his mind was clearly telling him that this was wrong. Following a human woman who didn't know he was there. Hadn't he already gotten himself into trouble this way before?

The dance studio was empty with all the classes for the day finished up, but after unlocking the door, she went straight to a back studio and sat her bag down on the floor before pulling off her shoes and then jeans to reveal black dance leggings underneath and then walking over to a stereo and putting on soft music.

He leaned against the wall, telling himself that he wouldn't stay long. He just wanted to see her dance. That was it. He'd watch for a bit and then leave her in peace.

Maeve walked over and stood in front of the mirrors a moment before taking a deep breath. Reaching up, she pulled off the scarf from around her neck, dropping it on the ground, and then reached down to the hem of her long-sleeve, loose shirt, slowly pulling it off. Niall sucked in a quick breath as he pushed off from the wall.

She was in a gray, tight tank top, but it left a fair amount of skin on her upper body exposed. Puckered and discolored skin ran all down her right arm and up across her right shoulder, chest and back, stopping just under her hairline. It was in stark contrast to the smooth, pale skin on her left arm and shoulder.

Maeve stared at herself a moment before she tossed the top aside and moved to the middle of the room. She closed her eyes and began swaying slightly with the music, listening to it.

Then she moved.

It was as though someone - or something - else had taken over her body as she lost herself in the music. She had opened her eyes, but she wasn't there. She was somewhere else, some other plane. Niall stepped away from the wall, completely entranced. He had never been drawn to human dancing, but there was something different here. Something… otherworldly.

His shadows began to follow, mimicking her. They then spun around her, following her as she floated around the room.

She then spun across the room and leapt into the air. But when she landed, there was a grunt of pain and she fell to the floor, gripping her leg. Niall found himself moving towards her but stopping. She didn't know he was there. She couldn't know. The shadows hovered over her, worried.

It didn't stop him from wanting to make sure that she was okay. To take away the obvious pain that she was in.

Maeve took deep breaths, closing her eyes as she massaged her leg, grimacing slightly. She then straightened her back and opened her eyes, wiping the tears off her cheeks. She stood, putting most of her weight on her good leg and limping over to her bag. After tossing everything in, she reached down and slung it over her shoulder, turning to the door.

Niall held his breath as she passed by him, flipping the light off. For a moment, he swore that she had glanced at him, but there was no way she could know he was there. He then followed her before she shut the door, expecting that she would head out. But instead she limped towards the back. For a moment, he wondered if he should keep going, but found his feet taking him after her, his shadows keeping at her sides and reaching out to touch her. She walked into a locker room and dropped the bag on a bench and then walked over towards the showers, turning one on and then limping back to her bag. He looked towards the door, knowing that he definitely should leave.

She sighed heavily and pulled her tank top off, revealing a sports bra underneath. Her entire right side was indeed covered in burn scars that continued down under the waistband of her leggings. She then turned and limped to the mirrors there, studying her body. She frowned as she turned, lightly running her fingers over the damaged skin.

Something stirred in him, seeing her pale skin forever marred. He wanted to rush up to her, take her into his arms. Caress her. Whisper to her that she was beautiful. That she would always be safe with him. It shocked him how strong the compulsion was, coming seemingly from nowhere.

But he didn't move towards her. Instead, he turned and walked out of the room feeling as though he had already intruded enough on her privacy. However, he also knew that he couldn't stay away from her. Not even if the Summer Queen and King demanded it themselves.

~~~

As Maeve moved back to the bench to finish undressing, she knew that he was gone. Had seen him leave out of the corner of her eye, his shadows following him. Part of her had been surprised when he followed her to the studio, but she chalked it up to curiosity. His shadows certainly seemed curious. It told her that he didn't sense what she truly was, and that Seth had kept his word. Otherwise he wouldn't have followed her to the locker room.

She wasn't sure why, but she wanted him to see her. All of her. Had taken a slight thrill in the fact that he was watching her. A thrill she hadn't felt in a long time. It was strange. She had never wanted anyone to see her scarred body in its fullest, but there was something about the Dark King that had her losing her fears. It was odd - a being that existed to incite fear in others incited excitement in her. Though that was the other side of the equation - the Dark Court lived off lust just as much as anger, chaos and violence.

It was a nice feeling, she had to admit. She had lost her confidence after the accident. She had lost a lot after the accident. Limping to the shower, she stepped in and let the hot water pour over her, feeling the tension slowly leave her body.

She thought over the day. Discovering her cousin was a Summer monarch. Coming clean about her own background with Seth. Now that it was all said and done and the dust somewhat settled, a small feeling of contentment ran through her.

But there was still fear there. While she felt better about finally telling someone, there was still so much more that she didn't know. Who could be out there that might want to hurt her just because of who her father was - whoever he ended up being.

It was going against everything her mother had ever told her. Don't tell anyone. Don't let any of them know that you see them. Keep quiet. You're only safe if no one knows what you're his daughter.

Maeve chuckled darkly to herself. How would anyone be able to know that she was his daughter if she didn't even know who he was.

But that was something to worry about later. For now, she just wanted to get home where there were no faeries to secretly watch her. Hopefully.

1. Going Home 4116 0 0 2. To Be Safe 3573 0 0 3. To Tell the Truth 3007 0 0 4. Keeping Secrets 3341 0 0 5. Misunderstandings 3373 0 0 6. The Truth Shall Set You Free 3343 0 0 7. Another Day 3958 0 0 8. Dark Confusion 3579 0 0 9. Confronting the Past 3735 0 0 10. The Truth About Love 3309 0 0 11. Conflicted Feelings 3417 0 0 12. Wooing Maeve 3239 0 0 13. Finding Acceptance 3450 0 0 14. Daddy Dearest 3203 0 0 15. To Have a Choice 3144 0 0 16. Letting Go & Moving Forward 3208 0 0 17. Letting Go and Moving Forward 3256 0 0 18. To Become a Queen 3208 0 0