"What's going on Kevin?" I asked

He had his arm poised head high with his sword in a piercing position. There was no wavering in his stance and his eyes remained hard.

"I don't know what or who the fuck you are, but James died two days ago."

I recoiled at the news, and I searched everyone's faces. "Pounamu," I said, my face pleading, "We shared blood within your chalice; surely you know it's me?"

For just a split second, I saw Pounamu waver. But it died a quick and sudden death. "I sense Fae blood mixed in you. I know nothing of the sort."

That stopped me cold. I puzzled over how I could have fairy blood flowing through me. I could feel an ache build in my throat as all those eyes promised death. It dawned on me what it could be. Those fucking old hags and their food! I racked my brains trying to convince them of my sincerity. "Tell me what has happened that one glance at me would have all of you ready to kill me on sight."

Kevin laughed; it hurt my ears to hear the bitterness and pain there. "You're putting on this act again, Summer Queen? I mean, how dumb do you think we are? You took over James' doppelganger, and you think the same ruse will work again. How many times do I have to kill you?"

I sank to the ground, shock racing through me. Now I knew what the Summer Princess had been hiding from me. Her fucking mother had taken over my doppelganger. All those that loved me now saw me as the enemy. After everything that I had gone through, this was too much. I huddled in on myself and began to keen. Great racking sobs were pulled from my chest. As hard as I tried to stop it, I couldn't hold it in. I knew my body was reacting to the shock, and that my mind was caving in from my ordeal. But, the harder I tried stopping, the louder my sobs became.

Kevin lowered his sword to a slashing position. I watched the tension in his entire body. "Do you think your tears will help you, Summer Queen?"

Pounamu walked up beside Kevin. "That's enough."

"NO!" Kevin shouted. "This bitch killed James! I had to murder the last remaining memento of him when I killed his doppelganger. I refuse to go through all this bullshit a second time!" He gripped his sword so hard, I heard his knuckles crack.

"Kevin," I pleaded, "It's me." I felt emotionally exhausted. I spread my hands out, imploring him to see.

His painful laugh grated across my ears. "This time, I'm going to burn your body and spread the ashes to the four winds." Standing above me like an avenging god, I watched as he raised his sword. I felt my warrior stir, but I held his leash. There was only one way I was getting out of this. I closed my eyes pushed my head forward and bared my neck.

The sword made a whistling sound as it descended towards my neck. Kevin, in the meantime, was shouting as the lunge to end my life reached its crescendo. How do you measure your life? For me, it was in the times I had spent being happy and being loved. In my short life I had faced death so many times. To have someone who loves you end it was a heavy burden for me, but I didn't want to fight. I had realised that when it was time to kill the Lord of Lies and I had refrained. I knew that the longer I stayed on this path, the easier it would be to kill. When you're stuck between a rock and a hard place you have to deal with the situations that arise. So, instead of fighting, I closed my eyes and waited. I had to believe that my love and trust would shine through where my pleading had not.

I felt the sword touch my skin and shuddered. I could hear it calling to my soul, demanding my death as the price to pay for being wielded. I wanted to whimper under that demand, but clenched my teeth instead. There was a slight pin prick, and a whimper escaped as I felt that malicious thing absorb my blood into its blade.

"He is the Guardian," the sword shouted.

I kept my head lowered as I felt the sword leave my neck. A small trickle of blood slid toward the front and I watched it drip as a lone, red tear. I heard the sword clang as it dropped beside me, and I was pulled into a rough embrace. There was a grumble from the haphazardly placed sword. But my mind was busy absorbing the presence of Kevin into my soul. He rocked me with his face in the side of my neck.

He felt hot against my skin, and his body shook with pent up emotion. It rolled off him in waves. I placed my hands around his shoulders and held him tightly. Pounamu came over and placed his hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him, but his eyes remained focussed on our surroundings. I buried my face into the side of Kevin as he continued to rock me.

"Take us home," I communicated telepathically to Pounamu.

Kevin lay beside me, touching me. I was clean and in my own bed. There was lethargy in me that I couldn't shake. It scared Kevin to see me so unresponsive to him and, as much as I wanted to help reassure him, I just couldn't.

"Are you punishing me, James?"

I looked at him. We had not spoken about anything since I came home. The family had welcomed me with open arms. Even Leila had given me a crushing hug. Through it all I still felt as if I were in a little surreal bubble with me at the centre in a quiet space all my own. I just couldn't shake it, and part of the reason was because my mind and body was still in shock. All I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. I needed to find my focus because I felt so very fragile.

"I'm not punishing you. I just feel so very weary and tired." I turned over on my side and attempted to close my eyes.

There was silence before I felt Kevin pull me into his side. "Then sleep, babe, sleep."

I woke up as the sun was just lightening the day. Kevin still held me against him. There were deep lines on his face that had not been there before. Even in sleep he looked troubled. I needed to take a leak and I gently pried his hand from me. He frowned and tried searching for me with his eyes closed. I placed a pillow beneath his searching hand and felt instantly guilty for doing it. But I needed some thinking time.

Yesterday Kevin had scared me and, although I knew he would never hurt me intentionally, seeing that sword pointed at me left a bad taste in my mouth. I had to admit that, for the first time, I was afraid of Kevin. Obviously much had happened since I left here and I needed answers. But I hadn't even reached my 17th birthday and I felt much older. I wanted some time to recover. I just wasn't sure that I would be getting it anytime soon.

I walked outside onto the back porch, once I had relieved myself. The weather was warming up quickly. Soon I would be in my own room with the air conditioning on. But right now I needed to sit and think, alone.

The first thing I asked myself was if I still loved Kevin. The answer came fast and hard. It was a resounding yes. So why was I feeling weird around him all of a sudden? Then it hit me. Intellectually speaking, I understood that Kevin had thought the Queen was impersonating me. But deep inside I felt betrayed because Kevin hadn't been able to tell the difference between us. I realised with sudden clarity that, to a certain degree, Kevin had lost my trust. Not to mention that before I had left to go to the Fae realms Kevin and I were not exactly on speaking terms.

I pulled my legs up to my chest and rested my chin on my knees. What a hard damn pill to swallow. I was under the foolish notion that love could conquer all. I took in a deep breath. Enough of the pity party; it was time I tried to sort out what had happened in my absence and how long I had been away.

No matter how hard things seemed to get, how much physical, emotional and mental duress I was put under, this was my life. I had to accept that. In saying all of this I needed to create happier times to get me through the dark ones. Even though my trust in Kevin was shaken, I need to keep my heart open. That was the key lesson I had learned when I went to rescue Leila. That same motto still applied.

Feeling lighter and brighter, now that my head was sorted a little better, I stood up. Kevin was watching me from the doorway. He reminded me of a small child on a cold winter night, looking in the window of a family that he wished he was a part of. My heart hurt seeing that look. I walked slowly towards him and saw his shoulders slump the closer I got near him. He bowed his head and refused to look at me.

It was too much for me to bear. I loved this man, warts and all. I walked into his body, my arms encircling his waist. I grazed my mouth on the side of his face and felt the stubble against my lips. He felt rigid in my arms and I hugged him tighter. With each exhale, I felt his body relax against me. His hands slowly swept up my back. Due to our height difference, I felt his body curl around mine as he pulled me deeper into his embrace. I lost track of time but it seemed we stayed like that for quite a while.

It was I that pulled him back to my room. It was I that stripped him of his boxers and singlet. But it was all him when it was my turn to strip. When we were finally skin on skin it was a renewal of our physical love and we were going to take our time in proving that.

No words were spoken as our hands caressed each other; it wasn't needed. I watched those thick brown lashes sweep over his cheeks as his lips and tongue slid against my skin. I squirmed beneath him. He raised his face, and I felt his morning bristle against my stomach. Instead of detracting from the pleasure it gave me another texture for the pleasure we were generating.

I felt his hands trail down the side of my ribs, over my flanks and down as far as he could reach without breaking eye contact with me. His green eyes were pools of tenderness, love, need and, hidden in those depths, fear. I didn't want this time for talking or explaining the pain I saw in his eyes. That would come later. Right now I needed to feel his arms around me, his body inside me and the connection that we shared brought back to life.

I could have opened my mind and shared my inner thoughts, or I could have used my empathy to enhance the pleasure we were already feeling, but I knew that was the wrong thing to do. This needed to be about us, without my powers or the strange energy I sensed inside him interfering with this reunion.

I pulled his face up to mine and we kissed. I opened my mouth for a deeper invasion, feeling his tongue slide gently over mine. He licked down the side of my neck, grinding himself against me. I couldn't help but utter at the sensation of him gliding against me with his hard cock and his wet tongue. It was a dual pleasure that left me wanting more.

I could never get enough of Kevin's love making. That is what we were doing. There were times that we fucked, and we played and laughed during sex. But this time it was about rebuilding that trust in a physical way.

I flipped Kevin over and began tracing my tongue over the contours of his chest. There were no hairs on that smooth plain and the sensation of his resilient skin under my tongue sent a shiver down my spine. His moan of pleasure made a wicked grin spread across my face. He looked down at me and I watched his passion glazed eyes stare intently at what I was doing.

I couldn't turn my eyes away from him, as I slid lower down his body. My hand grabbed hold of his cock and his hips moved rhythmically as I pulled my hand up and down on him. I watched his mouth open and his breathing get heavier as I licked the tip, tasting precum before I concentrated on my task and slid my mouth over him.

I tickled his scrotum with my fingers, as I worked mainly on the mushroom head. I heard a drawn out moan as my tongue swirled over the frenulum. I looked up to see his back arched and eyes closed at the sensation. Varying the pressure and the way I licked and sucked, I had him rolling his head side to side.

I revelled in the power I had over him as he became my whimpering puppy. It gave me a great sense of power knowing that this stunning man was at my sexual mercy. I took a deep breath in, relaxed my throat, and pushed his length past my tonsils. His whimpers became a shout of euphoria. He wrapped his hands in my hair coaxing me to go deeper.

I pulled off his cock gasping. "Keep your hands by your sides or I'll stop." I stared at him, seeing if he would test my warning or if he would obey. There was a dark possessive look in those eyes, and I gave him a knowing smile. He raised his hands in the air, before placing them at his side.

I chuckled before I grabbed a hold of his pulsing cock. "Your turn will come," he warned me, involuntarily moving his hips in sync with my gentle stroking.

I licked the tip of his cock, slowly and thoroughly. "Hush," I said, "enjoy the ride, babe."

"If you keep this up, the ride will be over soon!" he warned.

I gave him a mock serious look. "We can't have that now, can we?" Pulling my hands away, I placed them in my lap and gave him big, sad eyes.

He narrowed his eyes at me. "Don't you dare stop!"

My smile was very toothy, as I moved back up his body to give him a deep, stirring kiss. I lay fully on top of him and felt his arms hold me in place as he thrust against me. His tongue glided against mine, urging and taunting. I felt myself sliding into his web of desire.

Before my senses came back to me, I was the one lying on the bottom with his hands holding mine above my head. He gave me a cocky grin and proceeded to suck on my neck. That was one of my erogenous zones and my body bucked against him. He licked and nibbled over my body and I mewled and pleaded with him. When he came to my cock he bypassed it, to my annoyance and frustration. I heard his laugher vibrate through his body into mine.

He lifted my legs and I felt his long tongue slide down my scrotum and further between my ass cheeks. I shouted as his tongue tickled and teased at my sphincter. He rumbled again and it tickled against that sensitive flesh. My eyes fluttered to the back of my head as his tongue probed at my opening. My body was starting to go into an overload of pleasure and looking down at Kevin; I knew he had only just begun.

He grabbed a hold of my cock, but I held his wrist. "I want you inside me, I'm too close, I want to feel you in me when I blow." I gasped.

As if those were the magic words, his smile lit his entire face. It left me speechless as how breathtaking that smile was. My heart turned in my chest, because this would be one of my most prized memories. This look is the one I would have in my minds eye when the things I had to do to save this world and the people I loved became more than I could bear.

With that in mind, I kissed him, putting all the love I had in that kiss. We pulled apart gasping. With shaky hands, Kevin hastily applied lube to my already moist hole and some upon his hard cock. I pulled my knees up to my chest and felt the thick end of his cock probe at my ass. With a small amount of resistance and pain, I felt him breach me, and sighed with satisfaction.

Kevin echoed me and I felt his soft pubes against my ass as he bottomed out. We stared into each others eyes, hidden in a world of our own choosing. I traced my hands over his face, following the frown marks that seemed to ease at my touch.

He turned his face and kissed my palm. I pulled his face down to mine. We kissed and I felt him move deep inside just as his tongue slid over mine. I clawed my hands down his back and felt him thrust even harder inside me. I loved it as Kevin muffled my moans with his mouth. His pace increased further and I bit into the side of his shoulder. He groaned and he jack hammered into me. The blunt end of his cock was smashing into my prostate and my orgasm hit me before I could take a breath. I shouted and Kevin kept up his pace. I watched the muscles in the column of his neck strain as he rode me to reach his own climax. He shouted and melded his hips to mine, trying to get as deep into me as he could. He held that position for a few seconds, before he sank down onto my body, sweaty and replete.

We lay together, entangled with arms and legs. He was idly tracing his fingers up and down my arm. "How long have I been away?" I asked.

He shifted his head so he could look at me, "About a month."

"What happened while I was away?"

Kevin stopped his stroking of my arms. "Let's get showered and cleaned up," he sighed. "It's a long story and I'm starving."

Dad and Sara were already up when Kevin and I arrived at the table for breakfast. Sara kept touching me, making sure I was truly here. Dad gave me a searching look and when I stared at him he turned away. I wasn't sure what he was looking for, but he must have found it because his face relaxed and he finally maintained eye contact with me.

The retelling lasted over two hours. By the end of it, I was seething with impotent rage. The queen had been a busy bitch in my absence. What scared me was that she had my memories up to the time of our battle. She also had access to my powers. Pounamu had popped in and informed me an hour into the telling that he had assumed the doppelganger truly became me because he sensed a new essence inside the `fake' me. It wasn't until two weeks later that everyone, including the family, was convinced the person impersonating me was not the real me.

My shoulders sank lower when I was informed that my doppelganger, under the control of the Summer Queen, had blatantly used my powers on students, teachers and, the worst shock of all, my father. When she had realised the game was up she tried destroying the family, and that's when the Maori were called upon to help. However, the biggest shock came from Kevin. He spoke of an elderly Asian man who visited him in a dream and bestowed him with `the sword of no name.' Kevin had awoken with the distinguished sword in his hands and the means to wielding it. He called the sword Redemption.

I looked at the sword that was leaning against the windowsill beside us. I had felt the malevolent and strangely, positive energy inside that thing. That sword was as alive as the crystals I had seen in the Maori's grove. In history, the sword was portrayed as a weapon of great power given to the King of Yue to help him defeat his enemies. What it didn't mention was its keen intelligence and its thirst for vengeance and blood. I guess books had painted a rosy picture of the sword. I knew better.

Looking at Kevin, I picked up a strange energy that flowed deep inside him. What worried me was how that power would change him. Redemption was a two edged sword; I sensed that much from it. I just hoped for Kevin's sake that the sword wouldn't ask too much of a sacrifice from him because I suspected that there was a price to pay.

I had the strongest urge to touch the sword, but refrained. I didn't want to get near it, but I was compelled to stare at it. "You can't take your eyes off it either," Kevin whispered in my ear.

I hadn't heard him come up beside me and I jumped at the sound of his voice. I nodded my head. "The sword whispers and talks to me day and night. The first time it stopped talking was when I had you in my arms."

The sword had a rhombi pattern etched into the sword. It was 55.7 centimeters long with a 4.6-centimeter-wide blade and 8.4-centimeter-long handle. Each side of the blade was decorated with turquoises. On the blade near the handle, there were eight seal characters that constantly flowed and moved. If you listened carefully, you could hear those flowing characters whisper. I shuddered as the whispers sounded ominous.

I turned around and hugged him. "We'll find a way to return the sword to where it belongs," I assured him.

He pulled out of my grasp. "It belongs to me. Now that I have the sword I can help you with your work. For the first time I feel as if we are on more equal ground."

I turned and looked toward Dad and Sara. For privacy's sake they had pretended not to hear and were talking quietly with each other. Pounamu had already teleported off to wherever he went. I turned back to Kevin. "Each time you use it that sword asks for something in return. I can feel it as sure as the sun will shine."

"I am willing to pay that price, James. You won't change my mind on this subject."

I sighed, frustrated with him. "So, when the Summer Queen fought using my powers, you were able to deflect my telekinetic knives?"

Kevin nodded his head smugly. "I could see them swirling around her. In fact, it was because I could see her real face that I knew she wasn't you."

I stared indignantly at him when I remembered my treatment at his hands earlier. "So why didn't you believe me when I said it was me yesterday?"

"Because your entire body was covered in light. Something a Fae would do to hide his true self. The glamour broke when Redemption touched your skin."

His words reminded me that there were things going on with my power that I needed to sort out. I needed to start training and searching deep within to discover how my powers were operating. If I were able to use glamour then I needed to know how it worked and how it would affect my other powers. There certainly was a lot of work ahead of me. As for the Summer Queen, I had the distinct feeling that I hadn't seen the last of her. After all, if the Summer Princess was correct she would become the new Queen and she seemed as devious as her mother.



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