[chapter ten]

Disclaimer: If you've heard of them, I don't own them. Everything else is mine, so no stealing, pretty please. ;-)

**

They drove in virtual silence until Jimmie pulled the car into the parking lot of a deserted park, surrounded by trees and hills away from the noise of the city.

They stepped out of the car and silently climbed a hill to a bench, lit only by the light of the moon. Jimmie sat down, Vrai beside him, and breathed a huge sigh.

Vrai felt the winds swirl around them momentarily and she raised her face to it, inhaling deeply and murmuring more to herself than Jimmie. "Eastern wind tonight."

"What does that mean?" Jimmie asked quietly.

Vrai gave him a small shrug but said nothing.

"I'm scared." Jimmie said softly and Vrai fought the urge to wrap her arms around him and pull him close. "I'm so scared."

"Of what?" Vrai questioned.

Jimmie looked up at the sky. "Of everything. Of what's happening to my father, of everything you've shown me…hell, I'm scared of myself."

"I'm right here, Jimmie. There's no reason to be afraid." Vrai said, her voice comforting and warm.

"I'm scared of this magic, I'm scared of you…I'm scared of not having you." Jimmie admitted, not daring to look at her. Vrai's jaw dropped slightly at his words but she quickly regained her mental balance.

"You don't have to be scared of not having me, Jimmie." She whispered into the dark. "You have me. You had me years before you walked through that door. I've been waiting for you, and you've been waiting for me. You know that as well as I do."

"What does that mean?" Jimmie asked plaintively.

"It means we are meant to be bound together in some way. I don't quite know in what way, but we are. You know that." Vrai said gently.

"I know." Jimmie nodded. "I know, and that scares the hell out of me."

"What can I say that will make you less afraid?" Vrai asked, genuinely wanting to know what words to say to comfort him, to let him know that everything happens for a reason.

"Nothing." Jimmie muttered, crossing his arms and hugging himself against the eastern wind blowing.

"I can teach you, Jimmie." She offered quietly. "I can teach you not to be afraid of what you are."

Jimmie nodded. "I know. And that scares me too."

"Magic isn't to be feared. I can teach you to harness your power, to understand it. But in order to learn, to conquer the fear, you have to embrace it. You have to embrace what you are. I know how you feel - I was scared too."

Jimmie looked at her, waiting for an explanation.

Vrai gave him a small smile. "You think I wasn't scared when I began making things happen without knowing it? I'm a natural witch too, just like you. It can be scary. Luckily, I learned that when I was young, and I had a good teacher."

"Who?" Jimmie asked.

"My mother." Vrai said, her voice warm. "She was a natural witch as well. The shop was hers."

"Until?" Jimmie prompted.

"Until she died and it became mine. But she taught me…and I can teach you." Vrai paused. "But only if you are ready."

"I don't know…" Jimmie trailed off, his mind a jumble of confusion and emotion.

"Do you deny that you have natural powers? Or that you can see things before they happen?" Vrai questioned gently. "Do you deny that you feel it? Because I promise you, that's the hardest part. Once you know that and believe it, the rest is easy. The learning is easy. I promise."

"I can't deny any of that." Jimmie said, squeezing his eyes shut. "And I…I want to…"

Vrai filled in the silence for him. "I'll teach you."

chapter eleven