Embracing the Dark @rubberduckiez
Dark Confusion

Niall sat on his throne in the warehouse where the Dark Court resided, not really paying attention to anything going on around him. The rest of the court was doing what they usually did and he knew Gabriel was talking to him about something. However, for some reason, Niall couldn't stop thinking about Maeve.

He had been relieved when he discovered she wanted to talk about her father rather than what had happened between them at the Crow's Nest. Of course, now they had even more in that regard to discuss, though he wasn't sure he was ready for that particular conversation just yet.

Niall was no stranger to the physical pull someone - mortal or faery - could have over him. He had spent several years with Irial giving into the pleasures of the flesh, leaving a wake of dead or mad humans behind them. It was who he was, after all. Even before Maeve arrived, he could feel the need starting to build up in him, knowing that he could only abstain from it for so long before he would need to give in.

And then there was Leslie. And Irial.

But this was somehow different and that was what left him confused and concerned. He couldn't quite understand what it was, having never experienced such an intense connection in such a short amount of time. It transcended the purely physical - though there was most definitely more than enough temptation in that regard - but yet wasn't exactly romantic, though he could feel himself developing those feelings as well.

He had an intense need to be in her presence. To protect her. To draw from her strength as well as to lend his own to her. Anytime she was in his arms, something began coursing through him, a sort of strength or power. It defied any sort of logic, in Niall's mind.

When she had kissed him, for a moment he completely lost control of himself, unable to stop or do anything but reciprocate. It wasn't like before, when he was drawn to humans. This was an all-encompassing desire that refused to be ignored.

But somehow, he had grasped back onto reality, shocked by what he had seen in Maeve's eyes. For a moment, they had gone completely black, morphing into dark, vast pools with shadows swirling in them.

He then managed to push her off, but by that time, they had returned to their normal dark blue and he wondered if perhaps it had just been a trick of the mind. It had been dark, and he had been rather consumed with the heated makeout session.

"Niall?"

He started, looking up with wide eyes to see Seth standing next to Gabriel, the two of them watching him curiously.

"I'm sorry," he said, sitting up slightly. "What were you saying?" Seth glanced over at Gabriel and gave him a short nod, then turned back to Niall as the Hound walked away, shaking his head.

"Let's take a walk," Seth suggested. Niall nodded and stood, following him out of the warehouse. Probably wouldn't be a good thing to allow his court to see him distracted and daydreaming. "Want to tell me what's going on?"

Niall sighed and pulled out his cigarettes from his pocket, not stopping his stride as he lit one and blew out a stream of smoke.

"You have to ask?" he replied.

"Something happened with Maeve last night," Seth stated rather than asked. Niall nodded; his brow furrowed.

"I don't understand this," he said.

"Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that she's half-human?" Seth suggested. "And well, it's been awhile since you've… you know. Perhaps it's just that time…"

"It's not that, though her mortality could have something to do with it… But I've never felt this intensely about… anyone," he said. Seth stopped.

"What do you mean?" he asked. Niall shook his head, coming to a stop and looking over at Seth.

"It's more than just lust, though plenty of that," he said, frowning slightly. "It's hard to explain exactly what it is, but it's not like it was with Irial or Leslie." Seth let out a low whistle and then started to smile slightly.

"Careful now, sounds like you're falling for her, Niall," he said lightly as he started walking again.

"I barely know her," Niall retorted.

"You barely knew Leslie. That doesn't mean anything," Seth replied. "What did she want to talk about?"

"We… talked about her mother," Niall said, a slight surge of anger shooting through him as he recalled what Maeve had experienced as a child. How she had been abandoned by her father. It was unfair to her and her mother.

"Ah, right. Suppose that was a difficult conversation," Seth said. "For what it's worth, her mother did try… sometimes…"

"It wasn't her fault or Maeve's," Niall growled. "It was her goddamn irresponsible father." Seth glanced over at him, seeing Niall's shadows begin to swirl around him, feeding off his anger. "If I ever find him, I will make him pay for the pain he caused by abandoning them."

"Any closer to figuring out who he could be?" Seth asked, hoping to calm him down before he destroyed something or someone just to get his anger out.

"No, though I'm sure now that he's Gancanagh," Niall said. "Which means she's half-Gancanagh." Seth nodded slowly, thinking over the information.

This was interesting and Seth wondered how this factored into Niall's obviously growing attraction for her, if at all.

"You think she's Irial's?" Seth asked cautiously, though he couldn't help but think it was the most obvious choice. Abandoning her and her mother sounded like something Irial would do. Though keeping it secret from Niall, that didn't really sound like him. Or maybe it was - he had kept secret what Niall was for years.

"One problem with that - if it was Irial, her mother shouldn't have been left addicted," Niall said with a sigh. "He was the Dark King at the time, rendering him safe for humans, or well, from addiction at least… and he tends to not leave his playthings alive."

And even though he and Irial hadn't been on speaking terms at the time, surely his former lover would have mentioned something to him about having a daughter.

Wouldn't he?

"So, if it's not him… who could it be?" Seth asked. "Surely you two aren't the only ones in the world."

"We're not," Niall said. "Though the others, they're mostly solitary. I have Gabriel working on names for me - Gancanagh who may have been part of the Dark Court at the time Maeve was conceived and then left. Hopefully we'll find him soon."

"Well, at least that's one issue being taken care of," Seth said cheerfully.

"Yes," Niall replied as his thoughts turned to the other, more pressing issue.

Just what the hell was going on between him and Maeve? And what the hell was he supposed to do with it?

But it seemed as those answers were to elude him, at least for now.

~~~

"Good! Very good!" Maeve called out as the room full of preteen girls hit their final poses. She grinned, happy to see them pick up the choreography rather quickly, though there were several areas in need of improvement. She hadn't gone easy on them, that was for sure.

"Now, that time was better, but you need to watch your developpes," she said, moving to stand in front of them, facing the mirrored wall. Maeve then demonstrated the move with ease, a smile appearing as the students watched her with wide eyes. She had spent all day in her classes demonstrating technique full out that she hadn't been able to do since before the accident and reveling in it. "That's all for today. I will see you next time."

The girls all began chatting loudly as they moved to their things, taking off their pointe shoes and in general getting ready to leave. Maeve drank from her water bottle, then reached down to pull off her ballet shoes, tossing them into her bag. It was her last class of the day and she was eager to get home.

"Maeve," a voice said from the door. She looked up, watching as the owner of Frederick's - Lara Willows - glided into the room, greeting a few of the girls before fixing Maeve in her sight. "I just wanted to say that… even though you haven't been with us long, we are so pleased with how you're working out so far."

Maeve smiled and nodded.

"Thanks, Lara," she said.

"Really, you are one of our most successful graduates," Lara continued, looking at her closely. "Though… something seems different about you today… did you change your hair or something?" Maeve's cheeks turned slightly pink.

"No," she said quickly. Lara studied her a bit more and then shrugged.

"Just try not to push yourself too hard with those extensions," she scolded. "I know it's fun to show off every now and again, but we really would hate for you to get injured again." Mauve looked down at her leg and then back at Lara.

"Don't think you have to worry about that," she replied.

"Well, great. I'll see you later!" she called out as she left the studio. Maeve sighed and pulled out her clothes, quickly pulling her jeans on before getting into her street shoes. She then packed everything back into her bag, before pulling on her coat and rearranging her scarf.

She walked over to the door, flipping off the lights before walking out and waving at the receptionist as she passed. Breathing deeply, Maeve reveled in the crisp fall air, happy that it was finally getting cooler. She adjusted her bag on her shoulder and set off for home, already thinking about what she wanted to make for dinner.

And try not to think about what had happened last with Niall.

Though now that her thoughts had turned in that direction, she couldn't help but feel a shiver run down her spine as her body began feeling warm and tingling again. Every time she had closed her eyes last night, she saw herself in yet another racy or steamy situation with the Dark King. It was like her brain was stuck in horny teen setting.

Even now, she couldn't help the wave of desire that rushed through her at the thought of him.

"Fucking get a grip," she whispered to herself, shaking her head. She then sighed and turned to go into the small shop near the studio to pick up a few things. When she walked out, she stopped and checked her bags and then looked up, freezing slightly as she met the eyes of the dark-haired faery.

He was back. And she had forgotten to ask Niall about him. Which had been the whole point of asking Niall over last night.

Frowning, Maeve checked to make sure no cars were coming and then started across the street towards him. She figured it was about time to figure out what he wanted with her.

The faery maintained eye contact, smirking slightly, before he turned and started down the street at a quick, but leisurely pace. Maeve huffed as she continued to follow him, starting to jog down the sidewalk. She wanted to shout at him to stop, but there were others around and she could tell that he was hiding himself from humans.

He continued moving, though glanced over his shoulder at her before turning a corner and walking into an alley. Maeve began running, turning the corner not far behind him. She then slid to a stop, finding it empty. She looked around the alley, but he was nowhere.

"Goddamnit!" Maeve shouted, angry that he had gotten away. Of course, she should have suspected as much. She was no match for faery speed and agility, though she was faster than the average human. Huffing again, she turned and started home, deciding if she saw him outside her apartment, she'd try again.

~~~

Maeve paused in chopping vegetables to take a sip of her wine. The faery had disappeared and had yet to show up, so she focused on making dinner. The fire was going in the fireplace again and she had music playing. It painted a rather cozy picture, she thought. Her eyes then fell on the sofa. Memories of the night before came back to her in quick flashes.

Niall's dark eyes.

His lips against hers.

His hands running through her hair. Down her body.

His hips grinding against hers.

Maeve threw the knife down, hearing it clatter against the counter as she closed her eyes, taking a few deep breaths and attempting to clear her head. It was just a side effect from Niall's healing. That was all. A physiological reaction. Nothing more.

Then what was that night at the Crow's Nest?

"Alcohol," she said aloud as she opened her eyes. "I drank. That's it." But even then, she knew that wasn't true. She had started feeling it before she drank. "Ok… It's just physical. It's been years since… that's what that is. And he's the Dark King. That's his thing. He makes people hot and bothered."

She looked up around the empty apartment and then shook her head. God, she was talking to herself. This was crazy. She reached for her phone and looked through her text messages. Still no response from Ash.

Fuck, she needed a girlfriend right about now.

She quickly sent off another message to her cousin, hoping maybe this time she would answer. Maeve then put the phone down and reached for her glass, taking another sip.

"You don't feel anything… like that… for Niall," she said to herself, frowning. She looked over at the photographs on the wall and then made her way over to them, studying Christopher's face. "God, I miss you…" She reached out and gently touched his face, feeling tears well up.

She then walked over and sat down on the sofa, running her fingers through her hair.

She had come to Huntsdale to start over again. To get away from the painful memories of her life with Christopher. A life that had been happy.

Maeve had finally gotten everything that she wanted when she left this place. She was dancing professionally. Found a man who loved her. She had friends. An active social life. Loved her job. Loved the apartment that she shared with Christopher. Loved the life she had with him.

And then she had lost everything in a manner of minutes.

Or perhaps it was destined to end in flames anyway? Though perhaps not literally.

Maeve looked back up at the photographs. Now that she knew what her father was - what she was - she couldn't help but wonder if it was real. Or if Christopher was only with her because he was addicted to her. Supposedly her charm was supposed to bind her abilities, whatever they were - keep her from hurting others. She looked down at it, picking it up and rubbing it between her fingers.

It was the only connection she had to her father. While Maeve never considered herself the sentimental type, part of her had always wondered about him. What he was like. If he would have been proud of her. If he loved her.

"Where are you?" she whispered to the charm. Frowning, she thought over everything her mother had told her. It wasn't much. Maeve then looked up as the idea came to her. It was a long shot. It was likely that the conversation would go exactly like every other time she had brought him up.

But she was getting treatment again. Hadn't been allowed to drink. Should be clearer. Perhaps this time would be different. And it wasn't like Maeve had many other options.

She needed to go visit her mother.

~~~

Aislinn looked down at her phone, seeing another text arrive from Maeve. She started to reply, but then stopped, unsure of what to say. She tossed the phone down on the couch next her, frowning as she drew her legs up and wrapped her arms around them.

She was still reeling from the fact that her cousin was a faery - well, half faery - and she had had no idea. Aislinn vividly remembered the day she had told Maeve that she could see them - she had only been about 4 or 5 at the time. Surprisingly, even though she was older, Maeve hadn't batted an eye and believed her instantly. Though now Aislinn knew why. Maeve had known about faeries all along. Was one.

It wasn't so much that she felt betrayed or lied to. If anyone could understand why Maeve would keep something like that to herself, Aislinn could. There was a lingering guilt as well. Life had not been easy for Maeve and once again, there wasn't anything Aislinn could do in that regard to help her.

Aislinn picked up her phone again, staring down at the texts. Why was she finding so hard to put together a simple text message to her cousin? She knew that she needed to talk to her. That she wanted to talk to her.

"How are you?"

She looked up, seeing Keenan walking into the living room, a look of concern on his face. She sighed and looked back down at the phone.

"Just… thinking about Maeve," she said. Keenan sat next to her on the couch and placed a calming hand on her shoulder. "I should talk to her."

"Aislinn," he started.

"She's my family, Keenan. I have to go talk to her," she retorted quickly as she looked up at him. Keenan couldn't help but frown slightly. "God, what is it? Is she hurt?"

"The guards I have watching her place saw Niall go in last night," he said. Aislinn just frowned. "Ash… they think this means she's joined the Dark Court." Her eyes widened as she looked back down at her phone.

Would Maeve do that? Especially after knowing that she was the Summer Queen? They were family. Had known each other since they were kids. Why would she join a court led by someone she barely knew over one led by her own cousin?

"She wouldn't do that," Aislinn said. She then stood. "I have to go see her." Keenan stood as well, stopping her.

"We don't kn-"

"She is my cousin! And I wasn't there for her before. I have to be there for her now!" Aislinn shouted, flames now clear in her eyes. Keenan took a few steps back from her, his hands up.

"Calm down. I was just going to suggest that we think about this," Keenan said. "We have to be extra careful right now and you know that. With Bananach-"

"That's exactly why I should go see her!" Aislinn snapped. "You think I want her out there, defenseless, when the crazy War faery shows up?!"

"She could be working with her for all we know," Keenan snapped back, causing Aislinn's nostrils to flare in fury.

"HOW DARE-"

"Okay, fine! But even you have to admit that it's a bit intriguing that she would arrive back in Huntsdale right now!" Keenan shouted over the wind that was starting to pick up in the room. "And that she never told you!" Aislinn didn't respond. "Would you calm down? I'm just trying to keep you and our Court safe!"

Aislinn opened her mouth to speak, but stopped, knowing that he was at least partially right. They did have to be careful right now. She sighed heavily and began pacing around the living room.

"How did she even meet Niall?" she wondered out loud. She then stopped and looked up. "Seth."

"Pardon?" Keenan asked, now frowning at the mention of her ex's name. Aislinn shook her head.

"Maeve and Seth… they were friends… they must have reconnected, and Seth introduced her to Niall," she said. She sighed as her worry began to grow.

She knew that Niall was no longer harmful to humans. And that Maeve was only half human. But she couldn't help but worry for her cousin if she truly was thinking about joining the Dark Court. While Maeve was strong, there was only so much one could handle. And Aislinn wasn't sure if she could handle the chaos and depravity that was the Dark Court. Even if Niall wasn't like Irial.

She needed to warn Maeve. Bring her to the Summer Court where she would be kept safe.

"I have to talk to her," Aislinn said again, looking over at Keenan. "If anything, to warn her about the Dark Court, Niall. Make sure that she's safe from Bananach. Whatever you may think, there's no way that Maeve is involved. And she probably doesn't even know about any of it. I have to warn her." He stared at her a moment and then sighed heavily.

"I'll go with you-"

"No. I do this alone," Aislinn said firmly.

"But-"

"She's my family, not yours. I'll take the guards, as usual, but I need to speak with her on my own," Aislinn said. For a moment it looked as though he was going to argue with her, but then he finally nodded.

"Fine," he said before turning and walking out of the living room. Aislinn groaned softly and sat back down on the couch.

He really could be frustrating sometimes.

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