Matt was released the next day, as doctors were unable to explain what had happened and chalked it up to a medical miracle.

Will had had to go to school the next day, but Matt stayed home. Despite her exhaustion, Will felt through the roof. Not only had she managed to save her boyfriend from being abused by Nerissa, she had managed to use her powers in a way she never had before to make sure that Nerissa could never get to him again.

When she relayed the story to the other guardians at lunch, they were pretty psyched too. Horrified at what had happened, but super excited that Will had unlocked a new aspect of her powers and had saved their friend. Will didn't think the day could get any better, until Hay Lin, who until this point had been largely quiet, spoke up. "Will… do you know what happened in the hospital room?"

Confused, Will asked, "What do you mean?"

"Uh, Will…" Hay Lin said quietly, "You went elemental during that."

That silenced everyone instantly. They all remembered the terror of not knowing who they were that came with their zenith forms. All eyes turned to Will. Will felt as though someone had sucked all the air out of her lungs. "What do you mean?"

"You somehow shifted into your elemental form about two hours in, and Matt…" Hay Lin continued quietly. "These bands of white energy started rolling over his skin but they were connected to you like tentacles… Grandma and I didn't know what to do. Grandma thought that the only reason you were able to pull the rest of us out the first time against Cedric was because of your bond with Matt. And then…" She sighed. "You just suddenly turned back, and you were okay, and…"

Will was shaken. "How…?"

"I don't know," Hay Lin said. She paused a moment, and an indecipherable look came over her face. "But after you and Matt talk this afternoon, because I'm sure you will, Grandma wants to see you when the Silver Dragon closes."

There was something in the usually light-hearted air guardian's tone that worried Will. "What's going on?" She asked.

Hay Lin wouldn't meet anyone's eyes. "I'll let Grandma explain," She said, "I don't really fully understand it myself."

With that lovely bit of news, Will felt her high plummet. She made it through the rest of the day on autopilot, just wanting to go see Matt and find out what Yan Lin was talking about.

She wasn't dreading the conversation with Matt per se, but she knew that Matt probably would have preferred her to not see the things she had seen. Although so many of the things he hated her doing made much more sense.

She found herself outside his apartment, still not sure if she was ready for this. Matt answered the door almost without her knocking.

He must have been waiting for her.

"Come on in," He said quietly, opening the door for her.

"Hey," She said, and didn't expect the massive hug she got as soon as the door closed. She hugged him back tightly, but asked, "What's going on?"

"I can feel how worried you are," He answered.

Will nodded, before his choice of verbs struck her as odd. "Wait, feel?" She pulled back from the hug to see his face.

"Yeah… uh…" Matt scratched the back of his head. "I can uh… kinda sense how you feel right now. And uh… always." His eyes widened as he read her confusion and alarm, "And yeah, all day." His brow furrowed, "What happened at lunch?"

Will's mouth was wide open, eyes as big as saucers. "Uh… when did this start?"

"When I woke up this morning," Matt said. "I've discovered I can shield myself from it but… the lunch emotions came through pretty strong and I'm not shielding now." He might have read her face or maybe she was projecting more than she thought, because his next words were, "Yeah, I guess we need to talk, huh?"

"So… yesterday…?" Will started, and Matt winced.

"Yeah," He agreed. "Let's uh… go up to my room, okay?"

Will nodded. He offered his hand and she took it. They climbed the staircase in silence, and made it all the way to his bed together, where they just sat on the edge.

"So… what do you remember?" Will asked, needing somewhere to start.

Matt nodded, seeming to steel himself. "So… I woke up with a massive headache, like I told you, and it got really bad in chemistry and I uh… I passed out." He chuckled suddenly, as though something had just occurred to him. "You know, I am so sick of passing out from pain." It was a comment made in jest, but Will winced and clutched his hand tighter. "Sorry," Matt apologized, but Will shook her head.

"It's okay," She met his eyes reassuringly. "What's the next thing you remember?"

Matt's whole body shook then, and his face twisted. "I guess lying won't make you feel better?" He asked. At Will's resolute gaze, he sighed and continued, "I woke up in Nerissa's alternate world. I guess she summoned me because she missed torturing me." His eyes closed. "That went on until you came and got me."

Will nodded. She had thought so, but not wanted to think about it. Her stomach churned at the memories of what she had witnessed. "Do you remember anything after that before you woke up in the hospital?" She asked.

Matt paused, "Kind of?" He said, head tilting to one side, as though trying to recall. "I feel like I remember your presence, and feeling Nerissa's presence, but then that part of her slowly started fading away and I started feeling your energy stronger and stronger until I was soaked in it and then… and then I woke up."

Will nodded. That sounded about right. "So my turn," Matt interjected. "How much did you see before you set me free?"

Will froze. "Uh…" She started, "Do you really want…?"

"Not really," Matt said honestly, "But I need to know Will," Matt said, turning to grip her shoulders. "Please tell me."

Will nodded, looking down. "I uh…" She swallowed, "I came in when she was forcing you to beg her for… and you were calling her mistress and screaming, and then I had to watch the whole time while she…" She collapsed into tears. Matt pulled her into his arms, but his body was rigid, and it was clear to Will that he was absorbing that she had witnessed his entire rape.

It what silent for a moment except for Will's sniffling, before Matt broke the silence. "So you saw that I liked it?" Matt asked quietly in her ear.

Will stiffened. "What?"

Matt scoffed. "You saw me. You saw what she did to me and that I liked it. I came what, three times?"

"Four," Will interjected, not able to get those details out of her head.

Matt shuddered. "Four times," he agreed. "By the end of it I liked it when she beat me, I liked it when she electrocuted me and forced me to react. God, there has to be something wrong with me…"

Will gripped his face. She had read about this in her research in the aftermath of finding out what had been done to him. "Stop Matt, your body creates all sorts of chemicals during violent situations and some of those can lead to… that reaction. It didn't mean you enjoyed it, there's nothing wrong with you."

"But it doesn't stop there," Matt cried, as though she wasn't getting the point. "Did you know I woke up from a wet dream this morning in which it was you torturing me?" Will froze, and he continued, "You were slapping me, and shocking me, and riding me until I-" His voice cut off on a yell of pain.

Will jerked back, just now noticing the sparks dancing on her finger tips. "Oh God, Matt, I'm so sorry…" And then she felt a jolt of arousal so intense it made her shake. But it wasn't from her. She met Matt's eyes, seeing desperation, anguish, and lust in his eyes. She looked down at his crotch and saw that it wasn't just his eyes displaying arousal. Another throb came through their bond, and she was sure now that was what it was, to her and Will whimpered with the power of it.

"Matt I…"

"Will, please…" And it was that tone that made her harshly press her lips against him and slam him down against the bed. Matt groaned into her mouth, thrusting his hips up against hers where they were pressed together. She didn't know what had come over her, but she needed to prove that he was hers, not Nerissa's, not some broken monster, but hers.

"Will…" Matt moaned, thrusting up against her as she grabbed his chin to start nibbling at his neck. "Harder," He groaned harshly, "Bite me." And for some reason she listened, and bit him hard on the side of his neck, and he sucked in air and let out a broken moan that Will had never heard before.

"Shirt off, now," She commanded, and Matt obeyed instantly. She fell to his chest and stomach, remembering those purple and black bite marks that she had seen and needing to replace them with marks of her own. The harder she bit, the louder and higher Matt keened, and those noises were interspersed with whimpers and moans of, "Please Will please, God, yes…"

"You're mine, Matt, mine," She growled possessively, having no idea what had come over. "She can't have you because you belong to me."

Matt cried out, his hips bucking up into her, "Yes, yes, God, Will please…"

"She will never touch you again," Will asserted. She felt his arousal pumping through her, mixing with the energy that they shared and creating a maelstrom that she wouldn't be able to fully recall if asked about it later. Somehow she found herself climbing on top of him, their pants and undergarments lost to the wayside, and she was sinking down onto him, and they were both moaning and crying out in ecstasy, and sparks were running all over her skin and up and down her arms and if Matt felt them it only made him hornier and then she was bent down with her arms around her neck and he was thrusting into her for all he was worth and then…

Everything broke. There was a crash of the energy that had built up so high between the two and something was shattering and they were yelling and crying out their releases… for one perfect moment everything made sense. They were joined mentally and physically and everything was perfect.

Of course, reality had to set in. The euphoria slowly faded, like a bright light slowly dimming back to normal, and that was when Will finally came back to herself. She was lying on top of Matt, their bodies sticky with sweat and Will slowly realized exactly what they had just done.

"Oh God," She whispered, but didn't have the energy to move. "Did we just…?"

"Yeah," Matt confirmed, out of breath, his arm flopping off her back and onto the bed. "I think we did." He let out a breath. "Wow…"

"Amen to that," Will agreed. She slowly opened her eyes and lifted her head from its position in the middle of his chest. The first thing she saw was the angry red mark rapidly turning purple on Matt's neck. "Oh God," She weakly clambered off Matt and saw the start of dark bruises from bite marks on Matt's chest, and deep red gouges in series of fours that must have come from her nails. "Oh God…"

Either Matt had started to freak out too, or he was reacting to the panic feeding across their bond, the bond that Will could clearly feel now, feeling Matt like a constant presence in the back of her mind. He pushed himself up, looking at the new marks on his chest, and she could feel confusion first and foremost from him, but was that also pride? Matt met her eyes, and both of them held the other's gaze for a moment, hearts pounding and breathing racing.

"I'm so sorry, I totally should not have done that, not with that you just went through and-mmph!" Matt cut her off with a kiss. Her arms waved in confusion for a moment, before she relaxed her arms and tried to just enjoy it.

When he drew back, she could feel conflict, but also contentment radiating from him. "I don't regret it," He said evenly. "I mean, maybe it was a bit too soon but uh…" He blushed, "I just needed… you, I guess." His face suddenly contorted in worry, "Did I…?"

"No… I uh… I wanted it…" Will said, pushing her sweaty bangs out of her face.

"I didn't use you…"

"No," Will said. She paused, and then gestured to his chest and neck and general state, "I'm sorry about…"

"Hey, I asked you to," Matt chuckled nervously. "Guess I've got a bit of a pain kink… and besides," He met her eyes, "Proves I'm yours right? Not hers. Yours." He rubbed his neck and winced. "Badges of honor."

Will smiled nervously. "Yeah, I… I guess." Somewhere in her she kind of liked the idea of marking him, and she could see Matt react to that thought, meeting her eyes and then tracing the bite and nail marks on his chest. "Mine," She whispered faintly, looking at them.

Matt nodded, looking at her. "Yours."

Eight o'clock found the two walking up to the Silver Dragon. Matt tried to brush his hair so that it covered the massive hickey on his neck, but a good portion of it still poked out. Will hoped Yan Lin would have the tact not to mention it, but the woman was fairly blunt and it wouldn't surprise her if she did.

When she had told Matt about the conversation during lunch, his demeanor had shifted to worry and concern. As such, both of them were bundles of nerves when they opened the door to enter the Silver Dragon.

The restaurant was quiet, and Yan Lin was sitting at one of the tables. "Come sit," She patted the table and the two teens walked over to her, anxiously awaiting the revelation.

Will half expected the old woman to try to put the two of them at ease, but the serious look on her face didn't falter. "What's going on?" Matt asked when the two had sat down.

Yan Lin looked at them for a moment, her eyes widening momentarily at the mark she clearly saw on Matt's neck. Will's cheeks pinked in embarrassment. Yan Lin finally met her eyes and said, "Will, do you know what you did last night?"

Will was bewildered by this whole situation. "Uh, I pulled Matt out of Nerissa's mind trap? Wait…" Her eyes widened. "Did Nerissa find out?"

"No, no, I checked on that today and she is still happily in her fantasy world, no attempts to escape," Yan Lin reassured her in a flat tone. "I mean, do you know what you did after you pulled Matthew out?"

Will frowned. That whole energy experience was so hard to explain. "I uh… I kinda saw all the energies that made up Matt," She said, and felt surprise through the bond from Matt. "I saw the part of him that Nerissa left behind and I removed it. Permanently."

Yan Lin still didn't seem happy. "But what did you do after that?"

Will shook her head. "I don't understand."

Yan Lin sighed, leaning forward and rubbing her temples. "Do me a favor," She said, "And tell Matthew to do something."

Will had no idea where this was going. "What?"

"Give him an order, and make it specific," Yan Lin's voice was tight.

"Okay, uh…" Matt looked at her in concern. "Matt, get up and do jumping jacks." Matt stood up and started doing jumping jacks. Will glanced back at Yan Lin. "I don't under…"

"Matthew come sit back down," Yan Lin said, but Matt kept jumping.

Will felt confusion and the start of fear coming over the bond towards her. "Matt, what are you doing?" She asked, mirroring his reaction.

Matt's voice was tight when he answered. "I… can't," He said roughly.

"What?"

"I can't stop." Will's eyes widened. They made the realization at the same time.

"Matt, stop jumping," Will said, and he did.

"Clap your hands." He did.

"Stand on one foot." He did.

"Oh God…" Will suddenly realized what was happening. Yan Lin's face was grim, as though they had confirmed her hypothesis.

"Uh… feeling a bit silly here," Matt interjected, frustration clear in his voice.

"Crap! Matt come sit back down and stop clapping." Matt relaxed and joined them at the table with as much efficiency as he had performed the other tasks. "Uh… do what you want," Will said quickly, trying to cover all of their bases. Matt nodded at her gratefully.

"So… what happened?" Will asked, kind of terrified. "What did I do?"

Yan Lin sighed, and leaned back in her chair. "I think," She started, "What when you purged Nerissa's energy, you bound him to yourself in the process." Will remembered back to that place, thinking, he's mine, Nerissa can't have him, he belongs to me… "Oh!" She cried in despair.

Yan Lin nodded. "Not having any experience with that element of your quintessence you merged your energies and bound him to you in the process of removing that energy." She shrugged, "On one hand, it reads a big 'Do Not Touch' sign to those who know what to look for, but on the other, it appears he'll be compelled to obey any direct order you give him…" She cast her gaze to Matt and Will did the same.

Matt's eyes were closed tightly, fists clenched on the table and Will could feel the start of a panic attack coming on over the bond. "Matt, I'm so sorry…"

"Is there any way to reverse it?" Matt asked forcefully, and Will pretended she didn't feel just a bit of hurt at the question. "It's really not you, Will," Matt opened his eyes to look at her. "I just hate the idea of being compelled to obey anyone, given my… history with that… even it it's you."

Will nodded, but Yan Lin was already shaking her head. "It's an incredibly strong bond," She said, "Made stronger by the fact that the two of you just had sex." They both blushed at her comment, but she pretended not to notice. "Unless there was a life threatening situation it would probably do more harm than good to you two to try to remove it."

Fear, pain, anger, frustration, resentment; all sorts of negative emotions rolled over the bond from Matt towards Will. "I… I'm so, so sorry, I really had no idea…"

"I know," Matt said tightly. "I can feel all that." Yan Lin sent them a questioning look, and he said, "We have an empathic bond now." She nodded in understanding.

Matt stood up quickly and started walking away. "Matt, wait, stop," Will called before realizing her mistake. Matt froze awkwardly mid step. Resentment hit her so hard she gasped, saying quickly, "Matt, move as you want but I…" How did she not word this as a command? "I really don't want you to leave."

Matt turned around to look at her, and his eyes were unreadable. "I'm going to the bathroom," He said tightly, and spun on his heel to walk away.

When the door closed Will let out a sob. Things had just been so good and she had screwed up, royally. "I didn't know…" She said quietly. "There's no way I could have…"

"I know," Yan Lin said, and her voice finally had some of the comfort Will had come to know. "But you played with powerful magics you didn't understand and now he is paying the consequences." She gave Will an attempt at a comforting look, "No one will be able to attack him mentally again, but how you handle this new dynamic in your relationship is up to you."

Will nodded, but then a question hit her. "I mean, what did I do wrong? I should have just been able to pull Nerissa's energy out, right?"

Yan Lin nodded. "That is one of the powers of quintessence. However, during this process my guess is that you subconsciously replaced her influence with your own, adding your own energy in its place." Will made a noise of affirmation, remembering seeing the white and green and blue energies melding in Matt's core.

Will scrubbed her face with her hands. Part of her wanted to cry, but then, Matt was the one being jerked around on a leash again. "I'm so sorry," She whispered.

Yan Lin stood up. "We can discuss the full potential of your bond at a later time. Right now, I think you two need some time."

Will could feel Matt coming in over the bond, and she listened, trying to figure out if he wanted her to talk to him or not. She didn't feel hatred, so she felt mildly safe enough to venture to the bathroom.

It was a single, unisex room. Will stood outside the door, pondering if she should knock or just go in when his voice came from inside. "Just come in already, I can feel you worrying in here."

Will flushed and pushed the door open, finding Matt curled into a ball against the wall, not looking at her. "Matt, I'm so…"

"I know," He said, cutting her off, "But that's not going to change anything is it?"

"Matt…" Tears welled up again.

He met her eyes then. "I'm gonna need some time to absorb this, okay? I know you can keep me here until I talk to you no matter what I want…"

"Matt, I wouldn't do that." Will hated the defeated bitterness in his voice. "I didn't want this."

"I know…" Matt said, but she could feel the uncertainty at this statement from the emotional bond they shared. "Right now… I think I need to go home and do some thinking."

Will could feel tears pushing at her eyes, but she nodded. It was the least she could do after doing this to him. Matt shifted forward, cupping her face and kissing her gently. She felt love coming from him, and that calmed her a little, but the negative emotions still lurked on the edges. "I'll talk to you tomorrow," He promised, and then he was gone.

ooo

Despite her exhaustion from the day and previous night, anxiety kept Will up well into the night that night. She didn't know how well Matt would react to all of the girls knowing about this newest development, so Will was up late talking about it to Hay Lin, who she suspected already knew the bulk of it.

"I don't know Will," Hay Lin responded after Will had filled her in through tears that night. "I mean, I can't even imagine having that happen to me and Erik…"

"But I didn't mean to do it," Will said miserably. "And I'd never use this compulsion against him. He's been through so much already and I hate that this time it's me…"

"I mean, look at the bright side," Hay Lin reminded her, "This means that no one can ever mentally control him again right? Grandma said that. And if he's abducted again we have a fast way to find him." Will tried to focus on the positives, she really did, but she kept feeling that having done this to Matt made her no better than Nerissa…

The other girls probably picked up that something was wrong when Matt didn't sit with them at lunch. Irma, always the blunt one, was the first to say something. "Yo, where's Matt? You two are usually inseparable. Especially everything that just went down."

Will colored and the shame and fear from last night rolled over her. She didn't meet anyone's eyes. Irma looked around to make sure that everyone was seeing this, and then leaned forward. "Okay girl, spill, what happened?"

These were her best friends. And she needed their help. "So…" She started quietly. "You guys know how I was able to pull Nerissa's energy out of Matt, right?" They all nodded. "So… turns out, when I did that, I created a bond between us."

"What kind of bond?" Taranee asked.

"Well, it started just being that he could feel my emotions, like, all day at school yesterday, and then I went over there yesterday and…" Will's cheeks turned bright red. "And uh… things happened…"

Cornelia made the connection the fastest. "Wait… Will Vandom did you two have sex?" When Will turned dark scarlet, Cornelia shrieked. "Oh. My. God. Will, you had sex and you didn't tell us?!"

Will buried her face in her hands as Irma and Cornelia pressed forward. Hay Lin's eyes lit up and she realized she hadn't told the Asian girl that detail yet, and Taranee grinned. "Well jeez," Irma teased, "Our little leader was the first one of us to do it!"

"Guys stop…"

"Go Will!"

"I always knew it!"

"It wasn't like…"

"You'd better tell us all about it, girl!"

"Was it good?"

"Was he good?"

"Dude, I don't want to know that!"

"Shut up Taranee!"

"But wait," Cornelia cut off the barrage of words off, "Why aren't you two like, all ooey gooey right now?"

They other girls quieted, meeting Will's eyes. She took a deep breath. "Because of what happened after that." And she filled the other girls in on what Yan Lin had made them realize.

There was stunned silence after that. "You can do that?" Irma asked, shocked.

"I guess," Will offered helplessly.

"Wow," Taranee whispered. "That's heavy stuff." She adjusted her glasses. "What are you two going to do?"

"I don't know…" Will said quietly. "Something? We're going to talk later today…"

Irma rested a hand on Will's shoulder. For once, she seemed to feel offering jokes wasn't appropriate. "We're here for you, girl." She said. "If everything goes badly tonight," She seemed to realize her mistake, "Which it won't!" She asserted quickly, "You know where to find us."

Will smiled at her and the rest of the girls. "Thanks guys," She whispered through a tight throat.

ooo

Will was pacing in her room when Matt knocked on the door. "Oh God," She whispered, "Here goes nothing…"

Matt looked pensive when she opened the door. He took a few steps forward and hugged her tightly. "Hey," He said, his voice rough.

She felt like crying again, but battered it back. "I missed you," Was all she said. She felt Matt nod. They walked up to her room, the scene oddly reminiscent of the previous night. They sat, facing each other on her bed. "So… I've been thinking…" Matt started, "A lot."

Will nodded, not knowing what to say. She was terrified of what he might say next. "I don't blame you," Matt said, catching her gaze earnestly, "I know you really did have good intentions when you did what you did. This is just a really unfortunate side effect." Will's throat was tight, and she didn't have a good answer. "So… we're going to have to set up some ground rules."

Will looked at her hands, folded in her lap, but Matt caught her chin and forced her to look at him. "First off," He started, "Don't make me do stupid stuff for the fun of it and don't just order me around, please?"

"Matt, I wouldn't…"

"And if you accidentally trigger whatever this compulsion is, you have to stop it as soon as you realize," Matt continued. His whole body was tense, and Will could only nod her agreement. "The idea of being someone else's mind monkey terrifies me frankly, and the only thing keeping me together right now is the fact that it's you. Otherwise I uh… I really don't know how I would be handling this…" His voice wobbled a bit at the end and Will just wanted to reach out to him but she didn't know how he would react and…

"I love you," That phrase cut through her mental breakdown and she met Matt's gaze. He smiled gently as he said, "I love you Will Vandom, and if I'm going to be bound to anyone, for life I guess, I'm glad it's you." And he held his arms out.

Will let out a sob and threw herself into his arms. "I was so scared you were going to tell me to never talk to you again," She whispered.

Matt tightened his arms around her. "I could never do that," He said tightly. "Will, what you mean to me…" He choked on his words a little bit. "No one else knows me or my demons like you do. You were there for the hardest part of my life, and…" Will started to feel thick waves of love and emotion pulse over the bond, and she was almost overwhelmed. "And you got me through it. Your love is literally what set me free, and I couldn't ask for anyone more than you."

Will hugged him tighter and whispered certainly, "Mine."

Matt chuckled through his emotions. "Yours. Forever."

She didn't want to let go. She was overwhelmed by the love she felt pulsing through the bond not just to her, but also from her, and knew that Matt could feel it too. They shifted down onto the bed, her head cradled in Matt's chest. The exhaustion and stress from the past few days was starting to catch up with her, and she was just thinking about drifting off when Matt said offhandedly. "Guess I need to find a ring now, huh?"

She was awake instantly. "Wait, what?" A nervous flutter was starting in her stomach, and she looked him in the face.

He grinned at her nervously. "Well, you know, if we're really bound for life I should get you some kind of ring. We're probably a bit young for an engagement ring but I think maybe a promise ring…" She grabbed his face and kissed him silent.

Yeah... she could definitely do this for the rest of her life.


I hope you guys enjoyed! Let me know what you think!