roborant: a strengthening medicine; a tonic; a restorative
"Come on, Sarah," urged Paul, fingers massaging his unconscious girlfriend's throat in an attempt to get her to swallow. Fear trembled, half-born, in his belly for a moment then muscles moved under his hand and he sagged with relief as she finally took down the potion that was the only thing keeping her alive. He leaned down and kissed her cheek gently, murmuring, "That's my girl."
As he rose from the chair next to her bed, Paul became aware of a hulking shadow lurking in the doorway of their room. He forced a smile and said to it, "She's still with us."
"I know," growled Devin, his voice carrying a throatier, deeper note to it than it usually did. He stepped forward out of the shadows then and his appearance reminded Paul of how far his best friend had come in the past year.
And just how far he would fall - how far they would both fall - if they lost Sarah.
Instead of his normal rake-thin figure, Devin sported a physique that would have given most athletes an orgasm. His shoulders were three times broader than they had been and his chest and arms were bulked with heavy, powerful muscles that stretched his shirt to its limits. More muscle filled out his legs, tightening the baggy pants he wore, and he was six inches taller than his normal six foot nothing. And that was the end of what the orgasming athlete would notice as good before he wet himself in fear out of the other changes.
Devin's fingernails were gone, replaced by three-inch long black claws that Paul could personally assure were capable of cutting through a solid steel door with the strength of those muscles behind them. Short, dark fur was showing in patches across his skin but could be tucked away by a denying vanilla mortal as just making him a guy with a lot of hair. His hair, which had grown several inches and fell in a bristly mane around his shoulders, covered ears that now ended in a sharp point and were capable of hearing a mouse's heartbeat from miles away. Most obvious, most telling of just what his friend was, were his eyes: none of Devin's face had really changed except to become a little thicker, a little heavier, but his eyes were a bright burnished amber that wasn't possible in humans and full of a fire that was all animal.
Slowly Devin moved over to the bed and knelt, carefully taking his sister's hand into his own that was now over twice the size of hers. He stared down at her for a long moment, a muscle jumping in his cheek, then turned to look at Paul. "Have you figured out who did this yet?" he asked.
Nodding slowly, Paul ran a hand back through his hair before he answered.
"The poison's magical," he explained, "hence why my potions are working on it. It's slowly..."
"Paul," rumbled his friend, the underlying growl in his voice deepening as he spoke, "I don't care how it works. I want to know who poisoned my sister so I can tear them limb from limb."
"My bloody fucking ex, all right?" exploded Paul, running both hands through his hair as he started to pace. He heard something starting to rattle in the apartment as his magic reacted to his mood and continued in a rush, "Melinda Emerson. From back -"
Devin nodded and Paul trailed off as he interrupted, "When you were Dark. I remember."
Paul just snorted at that. "Her signature's hidden amongst the magical body of the poison but obvious enough to someone that knew her. Knew her magic." He shuddered and came to a stop with his hands planted on the back of a chair, fingers clutching at the fabric. God, he knew Melinda's magic all right. How could he not with the spells they had performed together? They had summoned impossible demons, pulled off feats of unimagined complication, and even taken their sex life to new heights because of how well they'd gotten to know each others magic.
There had been a point where they hadn't even had different base magical signatures.
That time, though, was long gone. He'd changed. From what he could tell, Melinda hadn't. And part of him wanted to have that oneness with her again, the connection that he could never have with Sarah or Devin.
Paul felt a heavy hand on his shoulder, claw tips carefully pricking his clothes, and looked up at his best friend. Devin knew. He had ignored Paul's behavior back then, just been his ignorant seeming best friend even though they had both known what each other was. It had been an unspoken agreement back then between them. That and that Paul wasn't to go anywhere near Sarah while he was Dark.
"I can track her," he said after a moment. "We should...we should try and talk the cure out of her first." Paul shook his head, unaware of why he was even saying this but he felt he had to. That he had to give Melinda one chance.
He'd tried to kill Devin for a damn spell component and been forgiven, given a second chance. She should get the same.
Devin had an expression on his face that said he knew both things but that he expected things to go bad. Which was perfectly fine - Paul expected them to go that way himself.
"Tag her," growled Devin, "and we'll go talk to her." He took a deep breath then, his shirt creaking with the strain, and looked over at Sarah. "Will she be okay without us here?"
"Right now my magic is battling Melinda's," answered Paul. "It should hold out while we're gone." He then shook his head, choking out a laugh, and said, "Maybe we should pray."
Devin blinked down at him at that then noted as quietly as he could, "It couldn't hurt." When Paul looked up at him in surprise, he shrugged his broad shoulders and added, "Maybe whatever likes her will listen to two of the Dark who just want something Light to live."
That made Paul smile - an honest, if tired smile - at his friend's much simplified way of looking at what they all were. "Okay," he said, moving over to the bed again, retaking his chair as Devin knelt next to him. His hand found Sarah's and then Devin's curled around both, securing them all together as one, as family.
Then he closed his eyes and made a wish.
Let her live. Please...for me, for Devin, whoever you are that listens to Sarah, that helps her, let her live.