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Bound.

We are bound to each other.

It was not until he was outside that he truly understood the meaning behind her declaration.

That she had spoken literally, not just metaphorically.

For when he reached the driveway he felt something pulling him, preventing him from going any further. Something inside him, a part of his body that he had never known the existence of until now.

It was a wrench to part from her even without this cord, this chain, pulling him back. It was only a few hours ago that he had kissed her. He could still taste her on his lips, still feel the softness of hers, the depth of feeling in her response.

'What spell have you put on me,' he had said as he kissed her. She was too breathless to deny it, not that she needed to, for it was no spell that made him kiss her then, just as he had in her rooms before they left for Sept Tours and when he kissed her wrist that day in the sun outside her college. He had known then what he had yet to admit out loud. The moment his lips left her skin as he paused with his mouth hovering inches from her wrist, to inhale her sent.

That was the moment he knew he was in trouble.

He should have parted from her then. Made it clear that they should keep things professional between them, told her about the covenant. Instead he had taken her wrist and bestowed a kiss, the old courtly gesture that had evolved into a sign of intimacy, before dying out like other gestures that were once considered proper when with a lady, such as opening a door.

She may have objected to that, but she never uttered a protest about the touch of his lips upon her wrist.

Instead she had looked at him in wonder, as he did her when he kissed her tonight and when he kissed her in her rooms, feeling wretched at her surprise and hesitation to respond at first, a result of him not kissing her back when she first touched his lips after their dinner.

It had taken all of his control not to kiss her back then. He had wanted to, from the moment her lips touched his. Even before, when he read her intentions, when he pulled her to him in an effort to show her that it was dangerous to ask a vampire what she would taste like, that he was dangerous to her, that she should not feel safe with him.

He had agreed to have dinner with her out of a desire to spend more time with her, to protect her from Peter Knox, to understand how much she knew about vampires and the Book of Life. To make sure she felt the same way he did, that she understood the risks involved in breaking the covenant. That she understood the risks involved in being in a relationship with a vampire.

The risks involved in being with him.

Those desires were somewhat followed through, though it appeared to him that while she may not know everything there was to know about vampires, she knew the depth of her feelings and hoped he felt the same. He had given her every reason to do so when he kissed and lingered over wrist.

He had hurt her when he failed to respond, just as he was hurting her now by leaving, by deciding to respect the covenant. He had no desire to do either. Above all he wanted to protect her. She was in danger as a member of the Bishop family, the untapped potential of her powers and the discovery of the Book of Life. Breaking the covenant would only put her in further peril.

Yet he felt the truth of her words, the strength of the chain that bound them to one another. The knowledge that if he took another step he would be crying out in pain by pulling the chain which bound them together too tightly.

By pulling too far away from her.

The congregation were too late. His mother's words of caution were too late. Her aunt's advice was too late. Peter Knox's threats were too late.

This parting was too late.

He heard her before he saw her. The quick pace of her heart, her breathing as she ran to catch him. The sudden faltering as she found him standing in the driveway.

He turned to face her, catching her in his arms as she came to a halt.

"Please," he could hear her crying, as her tears fell on her face, on his and on his clothes. "Please don't," as the rain began falling from the sky.

'Please don't leave.'

"I have to," he replied as he held her, tenderly trying to soothe her with his hands, his embrace and his voice. "I have to go back to Oxford, back to check on the lab. But I'm not leaving you. I will return."

"But what about the covenant?" she managed to find the strength to ask.

"I don't care about the covenant," he assured her. "I only care about you and the dangers you could face when we break it. I have never felt so protective over anyone. That's why I keep pushing you away. I don't want you to get hurt. By me or anyone else."

"I'm safe with you," she said once more, raising her head from where it was previously seeking comfort under his chin to look at him. "Safe only with you. When we're apart we're in danger. If you must go, please remember that."

"I must and I will," he promised. Titling his head he kissed her.

The rain started to lessen.

When he pulled away, smiling a little. "Is this you? Witchrain? " he asked.

She shrugged shyly.

"Remarkable,"he murmured. Unable to help himself, he kissed her again.

Reluctantly he parted from her and this time she let him go.

"I will return to you," he vowed once more, before turning to get in his car.

The rain increased as he left, then slowly lessened the further away he drove.

He marveled once more at the woman he had fallen in love with. He only hoped that this was not a sign of the storms to come.

And if it was, they had the strength to walk through them together.