But he was still breathing. Which meant I wasn’t too late. I had to hang on to that, because looking at my twin right now made me want to sob.
I reached into my purse, for what felt like the millionth time in the last few hours, and placed everything on the bedside table.
“What do you have?” Beth said, as she came up behind me.
I blew out a breath. “I have the hair and hand of a sainted mage. I also have his ring and an athame. And a small, white-magic infused crystal—but it’s burnt out.” There wasn’t even a tiny glow from it anymore. It looked gray instead of white. “What to do with it all… I don’t have the time—not to mention the supplies—to do any real potions with the hair. But…” I untangled the tiny braids, and pulled one free. “I guess I’m going to wing it.”
I turned to Raphael. His arms and legs were tied down, so he couldn’t do anything to me, but he started hissing and cussing as I came at him with the braid. I wrapped it around his wrist four times before I tied it off. As I wound it, I said the Lord’s prayer. The white aura cut through the muddy color of my brother’s aura, revealing a little sliver of his normal bright blue and purple.
Raphael started screaming. “You stupid fucking bitch. How dare you try to bind me.”
I ignored him. This wasn’t my brother. Not really.
The mage had been wearing the ring, which probably meant that it had some protection abilities. I was glad I was wearing it. I was going to have to touch my brother, and I didn’t want the demon to jump into me.
“What are you going to do now?” Lucas asked.
I stared down at what was left. The hand. The athame. The crystal. “I don’t…” I swallowed down the fear that was choking me. My hands shook as I reached toward the nightstand again.
I grabbed the pinky and broke off the tip of it. The bone was brittle and white. I turned to Beth. “Do you have a mortar and pestle?”
“Sage. Cloves. And cinnamon. And holy oil or water, if you have it.”
“I have everything but the oil or water.”
It would have to work. “Shane, will you—”
“Boil water. On it.”
I turned to Lucas, hands shaking.
“No matter what happens, I’ll be here for you.”
A tear rolled down my cheek, and I brushed it away. I could do this.
Shane and Beth returned, and I ground the bone down to dust. I wished there was time for me to steep the tea, but I couldn’t. I poured the mixture into a little glass cup.
This would work. It had to.
I started to climb on the bed, and Raphael started thrashing. He was tied down, but if he didn’t stop, I was going to spill the brew. “Hold him.”
Adrian, Lucas, Beth, and Shane each grabbed a limb.
I reached over my brother. “I love you, Raphael. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
“I hate you, you fucking cunt whore. You’re sleeping with the fucking dogs now. You’re nothing but—”
I covered his nose, and his mouth opened. I poured the brew down his throat. He sputtered, choking. His mouth started foaming. At first the foam was white, and then it turned into black sludge.
I slid off the bed, stepping back until I hit the wall, hardly breathing.
Raphael started convulsing and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I sobbed and crumpled to the ground. Lucas’ arms came around me, but I couldn’t look away from my brother. He wasn’t breathing anymore.
I’d killed him. He was dying. And it was my fault. I killed him.
My breaths came so fast that I almost threw up.
“Calm down, Claudia.” Even Lucas’ soothing voice couldn’t keep me from losing it. “Breathe. Breathe. Slower. Slow it down, princess.”
I tried to follow his orders, but my heart was shattering into a million tiny pieces and I didn’t think there was enough glue in the whole world to put it to right.
Raphael let out a scream, and I froze. At first it was raspy and had too much texture too it—like it was more than one voice. And then it changed. It was his voice. And then he started coughing as a white light filled the room.
I blinked as my eyes adjusted to the light.
I scrambled up and looked into his eyes. They were clearing. His skin was less gray.
Shane leaned closer, studying my brother. “He’s back.”
Adrian, Beth, Lucas, and another wolf who I’d never met before came around the bed. All looking down at him.
“It’s okay,” Lucas said as he ran his hand up and down my back. “I think he’s going to be okay.”