Jeaniene Frost created these wonderful characters. I'm only playing with them. The writing in italics is a direct quote from One Foot in the Grave.


Mencheres POV

The knife hovered over her palm for an instant that seemed like forever, before she swiped the blade across it. Covered in Grendel's gore, her body tensed with power and passion, her eyes locked with Bones'—she was magnificent.

"Bound together forever, huh? Sounds good to me. By my blood, Bones, you are my husband. Is that what I'm supposed to say? Is that right?"

Her voice was strong and unwavering, as was his response. Together, they transcended magnificent.

Almost five years of nudging destiny into place culminated tonight with a single slice of a blade. They were the product of fate, circumstance, and manipulation, so perfectly arranged.

The power in their comingled blood converged magically with mine, creating a sensation that was intoxicating and rich, like sweet wine running in my veins. Was it his love for her I felt, or my own love for him? Both justified my actions. Both soothed my undead soul.

Tonight's event consummated what I had recognized long ago. My power was his destiny, and by association, hers. Instinct told me centuries ago there would be no other to take my place and protect my people—my visions merely confirmed it.

Yes, Ian would be incensed at the perceived slight, but impulse and arrogance were the hallmark of soldiers, not leaders. Ian's gift of ruthless manipulation would serve best elsewhere in the protection of my people. While I loved Charles, his extreme loyalty and depth of emotion favored a different role, one rooted in his friendship and affection for Bones, a role yet to be carved out.

No, it was Bones who was naturally ordained to inherit my line upon my final death, his prowess as a leader equal to mine, with the potential for so much more. Being master of his own line, and married to this fierce woman, would bring him one step closer to his destiny.

Would he understand why I kept them apart for more than four years when I had possessed the information to reunite them? It took my power and quite a few favors, but I had known where she lived, and where she worked for some time. From a distance, I observed the weight of her loneliness, supported by her immense resolve to protect him. She possessed an astonishing power of mind and body with a willingness to stay the course at great emotional cost. Her need to protect him was no different from mine.

I withheld her location from him, while he learned the measure of what he could bear and deepened his already considerable skills in patience and persistence. In return, I secretly watched over her, protecting her from harm. Her death was the one thing I would not allow him to endure. This I did for him, not to fulfill my visions, but because I loved him.

On occasion, his loneliness and longing shredded his determination, and I was tempted to ease his pain. I resisted with clear intent to sustain my line and preserve his destiny to rule it. However, my resolve was not always strong, and I brought some modicum of relief to their loneliness in the form of Denise and Randy, without upsetting plans already in motion. I had not anticipated or envisioned what was to come from these actions.

Denise would never remember meeting me that night in New York, nor would she remember my suggestion to move to Virginia. Beautiful and quick-witted, she reminded me of Cat in some ways, and complemented her in others. Although I set up the vampire bite that allowed Cat to rescue Denise, a friendship formed quickly there, and I did not even have to use my influence to seal their affections. It was simply a matter of putting them together at the right place, time, and circumstance.

Randy posed a stronger challenge, with his natural immunities to mind control, but in the end, my power and a few well-crafted suggestions meant that Bones would never know I had delivered an expert computer hacker into his hands.

When Randy and Denise fell in love, it was a pleasant and unexpected turn of events, one not foretold. I wondered if the gods were directing me in my manipulations. When their human wedding ceremony became the stage for Cat and Bones' reconciliation, surely Isis rewarded my intentions. How could I think otherwise? I may have positioned the players but their actions and outcomes were either fate, or the work of gods.

Now, Bones and Cat were blood bound forever, a formidable force of love, power, and destiny lashed together. Would their journey have taken them here without my intervention? After four thousand years of existence, I still do not know if my visions are absolute truth or simply possibilities. I would not wager my line to answer that question. I did what I must.

My attention turned back to the arena before me. As I listened to Bones reveal Max's treachery, I saw us all moving forward on our collective journey. Bones and Cat were in place for their next lessons, with Spade and Ian as collateral protection. I smiled as I watched Bones, Cat and Spade leave. My visions told me onerous days would soon be upon us, and I would heed their message, as always.

Many thanks to my wonderfully talented beta, Kristin Elizabeth, I can never thank you enough.

And thanks to all the readers that stuck with this story, my first multi-chapter fic. *hugs*