Thursday, February 3, 2011

To Love a Were chapter 9- Posted!

Chapter 9 is progressing really well... much to my surprise. I think I took the story into uncharted territory because even I did not think that the story would take this route. So I'm happy.

My only concern is that it gets too drama-heavy for some readers. But this is non-human fiction and so I do have the liberty to let my mind run wild. Oh yes, thanks to one reader [you know who you are] I found your email really useful and although I have the ending in mind, I somehow found my muse again and thus I think Chapter 9's going all right!

Okay, I have a question though... if I were to pair a female character with either Alaron or Draven, which one would be a better option?

Anyway, here is Chapter 9 for those of you who cannot wait to read it on LitE!


Sydney looked at herself in the mirror and caught Fiona’s eye.
“I’m kind of nervous,” she said with a jittery laugh. Fiona smiled and placed a gentle palm on Sydney’s shoulder.
“If it makes you feel better, I think Dominic is just as nervous. Maybe worst. I saw him puking outside his house not too long ago.”
“Really?” said Sydney, suddenly brightening up.
Fiona laughed, “It made you feel better didn’t it? That’s all that matters right now.”
Sydney was smiling as the door opened slowly and Sophia peeked in.
“All ready girls?” she asked and offered a hand to her daughter. “Your father’s waiting for us outside. I think he’s going to cry,” she said with a wink, making Sydney burst out in giggles.
True enough, Edward was holding a handkerchief to his face; trying to blotch out the tears that had escaped his eyes.
“I’m having a ‘butterfly kisses’ moment,” he said with a sniffle. “Except you didn’t bake me a cake or gave me any butterfly kisses at night.”
“Oh Daddy…” said Sydney, squeezing his hand tight. “It’s time to give me away now. No one likes a crybaby,” she teased. Edward gave a hearty laugh and patted her shoulders.
“Yes, you’re right… no one likes them… especially when they have such intense green eyes and soft strawberry blonde hair. I’m not pointing any fingers,” he chuckled as he offered his arm for her.
Fiona smiled at Edward’s comment but at the same time, it made her somewhat sad. Her real father would never have a chance to give her away at her wedding. For a moment, she wondered if he was just as funny as Edward or as serious as Aramis.
To be honest, Aramis Culzean was more a father to her, even though he insisted on her calling him ‘grandfather’. Whatever his title was, she loved him and was looking forward to letting him know about her plans to get married with Eian. It would make him so happy.
At that moment, Pearl and Sydney’s sister-in-law joined her and together they walked down the aisle towards the end of the hall. There was a make shift raised platform and podium where Dominic stood, dressed in his smart black tuxedo. On his left was Eian, dressed in a similar fashion with his brown hair tied neatly at the nape of his neck. His eyes flickered to Fiona’s face for the briefest moment before it focused on Sydney as she entered the hall hand in hand with her father.
Oh man…  Eian! She’s beautiful!
Yes she is. But Eian was looking at Fiona once again; watching the way her eyelashes fluttered as she tried to look away from his gaze.
The reception was held outside Dominic and Sydney’s newly built home. Tents and marquees had been put up to accommodate the few hundred guests that were present for the wedding. Food was abundant, as was the wine and music. People were making conversation, taking photos with the bride and groom and getting drunk.
And yet, Fiona was sitting quite alone at the far end of the party, blending in with the partial darkness of the night. She watched as Dominic and Sydney opened the dance floor with the customary newly-wed first dance, followed by Sydney’s parents, Pearl and Mike and then everyone else. Eian stood under the floral arch, greeting guests and showing them to their table. She knew that he was searching for her but his attention was always diverted by various guests who wanted to thank him the host, or by other ladies who wanted to have a dance with him.
She told herself that she wasn’t the jealous type but the more she sat there watching the people milling around her, the more she felt sick. She hadn’t been feeling too well since the wedding ceremony in the great hall. She had initially blamed it on the lack of sleep or excitement but it had gotten worst as the day drone on.
As the night got older, Fiona drifted away in the darkness towards the edge of the water. She was cold even though there was hardly a breeze in the spring night.
Then she started coughing; feeling herself choking as though oxygen was knocked out of her lungs. She couldn’t take it anymore. There were just too many humans around her and they smelled… different from the wolves. They enticed her and it had taken a lot of her self-control to stay as far away from everyone.
Fiona squatted and tried to curl herself into a tight ball to quell the thirst. She clenched her fist tight as she felt herself shivering but it was useless; her nails were growing longer and she felt her canines elongating. She had only felt this way once. It felt like the attack on the man in the woods all over again. It scared her to know what she could possibly do to everyone within her vicinity; to herself or Eian, if she didn’t do something right now…
Without entertaining another thought, she jumped into the lake; letting her shouts of pain burst underwater. Even as she grappled with the intensity of the pain, she forced herself to move through the water to the other side, to try and put as much distance between her and the others.
It felt like forever but she finally managed to gain enough strength to pull herself up the bank, almost ten miles away from the MacFarlane lands.
The pain had stopped but she was feeling too numb to know for sure.
“You need to feed,” said a voice from behind her. Fiona’s instinctive reaction was to clamp her hands around the person’s throat, slamming the body up against a tree. However, the familiar face of Alaron smiling at her forced her to let him go. He was not food.
“Here. Drink this,” he said, offering his wrist. When she gave a disgusted look, he rolled his eyes and pressed it to her mouth. “It will quell that hunger for awhile. We need to get you home… or somewhere safe for you to feed.” Fiona didn’t reply him for she was fang deep in his flesh, drawing upon their shared blood with an astonishing hunger.
When she finally pulled away, she felt herself slowly returning to normal; fangs and nails retracting. Somewhat shocked at herself, she collapse on the floor and begin to cry.
“What… what’s happening to me Al?”
“I can’t say for sure but I think you’ve never been exposed to so much… prey, at one time. I’ve told you haven’t I that the most basic need for the Vampire is to sink his teeth into moist, plump flesh… of a human.”
“Shut up! Don’t say that! I… I am not like that!” she shrieked.
“Don’t lie!” he shouted back, pushing her such that she rolled a few feet away from him. Fiona’s eyes hardened. In a blink of an eye, she returned his assault by knocking him down with a blow to the stomach.
“Why were you following me? And why is it I didn’t sense you?”
Alaron leaned against a tree and scoffed. “Like I’d ever let you out of my sight. I made sure I kept my distance; far enough to ensure that you won’t catch a whiff of me. But it’s not you I’m worried about. It’s that dog you’re sleeping with that annoys the hell out of me.”
Fiona looked up and narrowed her eyes at him. “I told you not to speak of him like that haven’t I? I’ve got to get back now. He’ll be worried,” she said, trying to get on her feet.
“To where prey is plenty? Don’t be stupid Fi. You might even attack that dog you love so much and that’ll be the end of it,” he said casually before frowning. “Come to think of it… maybe I should just let you go back. If you manage to kill him by accident then I’ll stand a chance.”
In a blink of an eye, her hand was at his throat again while the other clenched into a fist, aiming for his face. However, Alaron remained calm and laughed hysterically.
“I dare you to do it,” he taunted, still laughing at her feeble attempt to attack him. Fiona glared at him angrily but released her grip around his neck and lowered her hands.
“I’ll go with you,” she said after awhile before looking at the other side of the lake. She tried to get one last look at the people but she couldn’t see anything much except the glow of lights.
She felt Alaron’s cold hand slipping into hers and then they were moving at light speed, further and further away from home. She felt the air growing warmer and warmer and realised that they were moving down south.
“Where are we going?” she asked but he didn’t reply and kept a tighter grip on her hand.
Finally they stopped and Fiona had to blink a few times to clear her vision. They were at some private airport for she saw only two or three personal jets in the vicinity.
“Come,” he said, pulling her along.
“What is this place?”
“Surely you don’t think that father expects his kin to travel using public facilities do you? This is the family’s personal hangar. And this… is my baby.”
The jet was literally called ‘My Baby’ and Fiona wondered who had come up with such a terrible name for the aircraft. Must have been Alaron.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked the moment they ascended into air.
“Across the Atlantic,” he replied calmly. “Just lean back and shut up Fi.” Fiona scowled at him. “Tighten your damn seat belt and switch off your phone. Otherwise it’ll interfere with the signals.”
“I’m calling Eian the moment we land at wherever,” she said irritably as she switched it off and tucked it into her pocket.
Alaron scoffed and kept silent until the aircraft was stable in mid air.
“Why do you love him so much?”
Fiona looked out the window into the darkness. “Maybe because I’m his mate.”
“You fool!” he snapped. “You cannot be his mate! I will not allow it!”
Fiona felt her temper rising and flashed him a heated look. “I do not need your permission to be with him! Grandfather has given me his blessings for our marriage and he, of all people, has more right over me than you!” she spat and unbuckled her seat belt.
“Father doesn’t know any better and neither do you!”
“Oh? And you do?” she asked in annoyance.
“As a matter of fact I do and that is why I have to take you as far away from him as possible. I can’t let you mate with him Fi… you will die.”
Fiona’s venomous anger sizzled slightly at Alaron’s last words. Shock had clearly replaced her angered expression and she leaned back in her chair slowly.
“What… what do you mean?” she asked although part of her didn’t want to hear his answer.
“You won’t believe me anyway,” he replied nonchalantly. “You’re too in love with that dog to ever believe me. Tell me I’m wrong then.”
“Don’t say that… please. I don’t want to be forced to choose sides right now. I just want to know the truth… or whatever it is you know. You’ve kept so many things from me Alaron. Can’t you just grant me this one respite?”
Alaron shrugged. He knew he was being a jerk but that was the only way he knew how to treat her without falling into the pleading, teary, desperate self that he truly wanted to be around her.
“I was supposed to be following Draven but I’ve decided to take a hiatus from that and so I’ve been travelling… reading up legends as well as old records in the archives of the Vampire clans in the region. As you know, for centuries, our kind has lived almost antagonistically with the Werewolf packs in the country. The reason is simple. Back in the time when blood banks were not the norm, Vampires still attack humans to feed. Some Vampires, more than others don’t give a damn about who they attack… especially Werewolves. Somehow Werewolves emit one of the most enticing scents; I don’t know why. But can you guess why biting a Werewolf in his human form is the most dangerous thing to do?”
“Because the wolf blood is poisonous?” she answered curiously.
“Ah… not at all. Their blood is of no threat to ours although our venom is an instant killer to them. Like I said, Vampires were meant to feed on humans, not kill them. Our venom is in place not to poison them but to help accelerate blood clotting. It helps heal the punctured wound. However, Werewolves cannot catalyze this venom and instead it interferes with their own body’s natural healing capabilities and so they die.”
Fiona gasped and covered her mouth. Now she understood the weight of Eian’s rules. He must have known all along that her venom was fatal and yet he had never said much about it.
“It’s the same thing if they bite us too… although they usually don’t bite us since they don’t eat cold blooded animals. But they will if threatened. That’s why some unfortunate Vampires who stupidly bit them ended up dying together with their victim. Such a waste.”
Alaron shook his head then laughed.
“Strangely, despite these deaths, both our kind still co-existed well until the 15th century when one of the Vampire lords developed a kind of… fetish perhaps for werewolf blood. Sick, I’d say but he enjoyed it. Killed a whole pack in a month. But of course he died soon after. A pureblood doesn’t need that much feeding. So gluttony killed him, mostly. Anyway, after that incident, the remaining pack Alphas had an agreement with the various Vampire clans to stay as far away from each other as possible. And so the myth of our hatred for each other was coined to keep youngsters away from danger.”
“But that has nothing to do with me. I have never ever tried to bite Eian,” protested Fiona.
“But he needs to bite you to mate doesn’t he? Oh yes… I read all about it. And their bite is as lethal to us as our bite is to them.” Alaron kept his eyes on Fiona. “And you know what else I found out? He has never mated with a single human or wolf or any other species for that matter for centuries. Ever. Why do you suppose that is?”
“I… I am not sure,” she replied. Or was she?
“In the legends, the original werewolf was a descendant of wolves. I don’t know how true it is but that’s what it says. The Vampire archives have no actual records of the first few Werewolves so I can’t ascertain the truth of it. But what it does confirm is that the original Were has never had any of its own offspring. And… do you know who’s that original Werewolf, Fi?”
“I thought you would. Father has an extensive collection about the noble families since the first Kingdoms were formed. You’ll see for yourself that the genealogy for MacFarlane stops at Keiran MacFarlane.”
“But the pack…”
“They are just adopted into the pack. You do not include such adoptions into your royal genealogy. That just screws up the whole inheritance thing once you die. I don’t mean you of course. Father has included you in our records so you won’t be left with nothing if he dies.”
“Right… that makes it all better. But you still haven’t told me why Eian… well… the original Werewolf remained unmated for so long…”
“How would I know? But my guess is that his bite or his gene is extremely lethal- even to his own kind. The toxicity probably reduces down the line. Mmm… It’s like the Psilocybin mushrooms you know? The people who eat them first hand experience the most intense high then the poorer people who can’t afford them, drink their urine and experience a much more mild high.”
“God! That is just sick! Do you have to use that analogy?”
“But hey… you get the picture don’t you?”
“I don’t think his bite is lethal…” she said slowly. Hadn’t he bit his mother? Then why hadn’t he ever mated with anyone? Was he… waiting for her?
“That’s just wishful thinking Fi…” said Alaron as he studied her face. “Don’t even think for one second that he was waiting for his soulmate or whatever. No such thing. Okay? It’s just a romance crap those wolves came up with to stamp out infidelity.”
“You’re such a cynic Al. Just wait. Someday some woman’s going to make you fall on your knees and then you’ll believe in it.”
Alaron rolled his eyes and began fiddling with his fingers, ignoring her. Fiona didn’t mind that they weren’t speaking at all at the moment. She was trying to digest everything that Alaron had told her. There were some truths to what he had said. Didn’t Eian tell her that he had invented all the pack rules? So most of the ‘mating’ issues are just ritualistic isn’t it? She’ll ask him when she has the chance… but for now, she needed to be somewhere where she will not be harm to anyone.
“Al… why didn’t you just take me home to the castle? Where exactly are we going?”
He ignored her and pretended to sleep.
“Alaron!” she snapped, pinching his arm. “Are you kidnapping me?” Alaron opened one eye and closed it again.
It was nearly 3am when the guests had finally cleared the clearing outside Dominic and Sydney’s home and retreated to their own beds. With a sigh, Eian took a chair and sat down in exhaustion. He had been standing, dancing, walking around and entertaining for the past six hours or so. He was tired. All he wanted was to curl in bed with Fiona and sleep.
“She must have been so tired that she went home first,” he whispered to himself as he walked slowly home. With a smile, he turned the key to his front door, and then climbed upstairs to his room. It didn’t bother him too much that she wasn’t in her own room for he expected her to be in his.
“Fiona? Sweetheart?” he called out softly as he entered his own room. It was cold and smelled only of his clean sheets and of the oak panels. There was no trace of her anywhere. His senses were immediately on alert as he went through every room in the house to look for her.
Panic washed over him as he tried to recall the last time he had seen her: she was sitting quietly, watching the celebration. She had looked slightly pale but he had dismissed it for she would have told him if anything was wrong. Frowning to himself, Eian dialled her cellphone but got no response.
“Damn it Fiona… where the hell are you?” he slammed his fist on the wall. “How many times have I told you not to run off without telling me?” Eian placed his next call to Aramis’s private number. He didn’t care if it was three in the morning.
When Aramis’s lazy voice replied on the other end of the receiver, Eian immediately spoke, “Is she with you?”
“What? No… What’s this all about Keiran?” asked Aramis, sounding more alert.
“She’s gone. We didn’t quarrel or anything so I don’t think she’s having a tantrum. I’m worried Aramis. You know bloody well that I can’t scent her if she’s not within my one mile radius!”
Aramis gave a worried sigh and tried to calm Eian down but to no avail. Eian was adamant to begin searching for her even though Aramis told him to wait till morning.
“She could be dead for all I know! Damn it Aramis. She’s a vulnerable youngling.”
“Wait till morning Keiran… you’re going to push yourself too hard if you begin the search now. I know you had a long night with the wedding and all.” When Eian didn’t reply him, Aramis tried to pacify him in another way, “I received your letter. It gave me one hell of a laugh. You know as well as I do that I want to see both of you married… so trust me when I say you need some sleep. I’ll make some calls and see what I can find out. You’d want to be alive and alert when you go out to look for her; not dead and sleepy.”
Eian didn’t reply for a long time and merely grunted before he disconnected the call. Just where the hell did she go to? Surely someone must have seen her?  
Meanwhile, Aramis did the first thing that came to his mind- he called Alaron. To his surprise, his son picked up.
“Yes Father?”
“Where the hell are you?”
“In New York…”
“Please… I’m a single, breathing male in a strange land… chicks are crowding around me.”
Aramis ignored him completely, “Put her on the phone,”
“What? I didn’t know I need your approval to do anything Father.”
Aramis gave a low growl and frowned, “I will personally come and break your neck if you don’t put my granddaughter on the phone right now. Put her on NOW!”
“Chill old man. God you’re such an insufferable ancient artefact!” he rolled his eyes and passed his phone to Fiona. “It’s for you.”
Fiona took the phone gingerly and placed it at her ears, “Yes?”
“My child… where are you?” he asked with a gentle voice.
“I… I don’t really know Grandfather… but something’s wrong with me… and I’m scared.”
“What did that son of a bitch… I mean Alaron do to you?” he asked angrily.
“Grandfather!” she exclaimed. “He didn’t do anything! In fact if it wasn’t for him, I would have killed everyone at the wedding!”
“Pass the phone to him,” he instructed. When Alaron’s annoyed voice came on the line, he exploded, “Bring her back to me right now you fool or I’m disinheriting you. She needs to feed and you’re endangering not just yourself but also her.”
Alaron didn’t answer his father but simply disconnected the call. Fiona looked at him with curiosity.
“What did he say?”
“He said to treat you well and make sure you get fed. Now come on,” he said, grabbing her by her arm. “There’s something I want to show you.”
They had been inside a building that looked like a medical facility to her, only that it was much bigger and was eleven stories high. He led her through some security doors and finally pass a glass door into a lab.
“Draven and I have been working on the blood tablets that we’ve told you about. We had to run through many batches to perfect it but this here is the first batch that has successfully passed all the testing so far.”
“Oh no…” she said, backing away towards the door. “I’m not some guinea pig!”
“It’s compacted with blood type ‘O’ so it’s user-friendly for all blood types and it’s fortified with iron, zinc and an enzyme inhibitor x.”
“What is that?”
“Well, I’ll only tell you after you eat it,” he said with a smile. “Don’t worry… you’re not gonna die. I won’t let you. You know I love you too much to do that to you.”
She eyed him warily. Did he really think she was this naïve? She narrowed her eyes at him and glared at him with as much ferocity as she could muster.
“Stop that!” he said suddenly. Fiona blinked in surprise when she saw him massaging his temples in annoyance. “Fine fine… I’ll eat it first. If I die, it’s all your fault.”
She continued glaring at him and watched in amazement as he simply put down the pill that he was about to put in his mouth. Fiona blinked again and saw the flash of annoyance on his face as he picked up the pill again. Curious now, more than anything, she focused once again on him with the sole thought of wanting him to put the pill down… and he did.
“Stop it! God damn it. That was annoying Fi. Where the hell did you learn that?”
“I… I don’t know! I just did it coz I was angry at you.”
“Fine. The bloody enzyme inhibitor x is a compound that serves dual purposes. One one hand, it stimulates our natural abilities… like for example, it will make me ten times more smarter.” When she gave him a dubious look he rolled his eyes at her. “Cerebral monitors proved it. I solved a thousand different mathematical problems in under an hour. Now usually I will take at least a week.”
“So for argument sake, that’s true… then what’s its second purpose?”
“We haven’t found much proof to support the second theory yet… but it behaves in a similar way to contraceptives. Cool huh. Now you can eat it and not have weird Vampire-Wolf babies.”
“I hate you.”
“I know.”
However, Fiona accepted the pill that Alaron offered her. She looked at it and gave a long sigh.
“And this would make mating or whatever it is possible?”
“Maybe. It inhibits any foreign gene and I suppose venom too, from being catalyzed in your body. So it can work against the bite but so far we have not had any tests done on that yet. So I see you’ve volunteered to be our first test subject.”
She gave him a sideward glance before swallowing down the pill.
The sudden burst inside her head hurt; it felt like a thousand needles were pushing through her brain. When the pain calmed, she felt a sense of satisfaction; her appetite was satiated but she wanted something else… like sex.
She lifted her eyes to stare at Alaron in shock. She could see that he was smiling.
“I’m right here if you want me,” he said, leaning back in his chair. Fiona scowled at him. She was really trying to stop herself from moving towards him. It was then that she remembered that her power of suggestion would have been enhanced so she tried it on herself.
“I can wait until I’m home with Eian. This feeling can stop. This feeling can stop. This feeling can stop.” When that didn’t work, she tried another suggestion. “I am sexually satiated. I am sexually satiated…” She felt herself drawing a deep breath; her eyes fixed upon Alaron with utmost contempt and distrust.
The next moment, he was picking up a scalpel and placing it at his neck. His eyes were looking at her fearfully but she didn’t stop. She saw the thin blade slowly grazing upon his skin; blood was trickling down his neck.
Fiona blinked and tried to shake herself out of her increasing lack of self control. She heard the sound of metal hitting the floor and saw Alaron taking in deep breaths to calm himself down. Fiona could see the cut healing slowly. Turning around she knelt down and told herself to relax. This unleashing of her vampiric abilities also increased her capacity for anger. She hated it.
“My god, Fiona…” said Alaron in a hoarse voice.  
“Shut up or I’ll have you severe your own head for real,” she warned, trying to steady herself on her feet before turning to look at him. “Stay away from me…”
Then she backed away towards the door and tried to find a way out of the building.
She wasn’t sure where she was at the moment. It was still dark but she could see the first rays of sunlight at the far end of the street. She was cold and still feeling slightly dizzy but she managed to walk down a few blocks, albeit aimlessly.
“That idiot must have been lying when he said it was a contraceptive or whatever,” she scowled to herself. She didn’t think he would have stooped so low to get her to sleep with him. Asshole!
Fiona really didn’t like staying angry but it was the only way, at the moment, for her to maintain the suggestion that she was satiated. She was afraid that once she relaxed and let down her guard, she might actually attack someone; a human. Shivering slightly, she continued walking until she found an alley that was relatively quiet and secluded. There were many recyclers, dumpsters and various amounts of trash littered everywhere but she couldn’t care less.
She managed to squeeze herself between two large dumpsters and slid down to the ground, curling herself tight.
“I’ll be fine…” she told herself as her fingers shakily reached for her cellphone in her pocket. She switched it on and was instantly bombarded with messages and missed calls from various people, including her grandfather, Eian and Alaron. Reading some of the messages, she knew she was in trouble.
She dialled Eian’s number and waited for the call to connect… but to her horror, there was no response, except a flat tone on the other end of the line. She tried again and still she couldn’t get through. Fiona began to panic.
“Oh my god… wait… think, think! There’s a code… international code maybe?” Fiona eyed her phone curiously and wondered if her power of suggestion could hoodwink the electrical device. “Right… I’m talking to an inanimate object now. I must be desperate.”
When she failed to get through once again, Fiona decided to forget it and just get some rest. She pulled her knees closer to her body and tried to make herself as hidden as possible. With a sad sigh, she closed her eyes and fell into slumber, mumbling softly, “Eian… help me…”
Almost 3000 miles away, Eian was pacing his living room. It was almost noon and Aramis hadn’t called. Eian was tired. He hadn’t rest as advised but had scoured the woods in the compound to look for her the whole morning. Just an hour ago, he had set up a search team of his best trackers to sniff her out.
He knew that his body was about to crash in awhile so he simply leaned against the wall and slid down to the floor, feeling the fatigue creeping in.
A sudden knock on the door jerked him awake. He rushed to the door only to find that it was Amber.
“I just came to check on you… you need rest or I’m going to force anaesthetics into your body,” she said, stepping inside to take a better look at him. “You look like shit. It was a good thing that Pearl sent me to check in on you. She’s taking care of the cleaning at the moment and she hasn’t told Dominic or Sydney about any of this. They’re going to fly off for their honeymoon soon…”
“No, don’t tell them. I don’t want them to worry,” he said as he sat on his sofa and leaned back in exhaustion. He wanted to think of more to say to Amber at the moment but his mind was too tired to think.
He heard her moving about in his kitchen and a while later, she placed a glass of water and a sandwich in front of him.
“Eat. This is doctor’s orders. I saw you standing the whole night without consuming a single thing and then went out with the search party early this morning on an empty stomach. So eat or I’ll shove it down your throat.”
Eian looked up at Amber weakly and nodded. He was too tired to argue. He took a bite out of the sandwich and heard the slight grumble of his stomach, indicating that he was hungry after all. When he drained the last drop of water in the glass, Eian felt slightly better although his head still throbbed from lack of sleep.
As he got to his feet to head upstairs to his room, he persuaded Amber to the door. “I need some sleep, yes I get it. Meet me back here in three hours.”
“You need at least six hours…”
“Three. I’ll see you then,” he said, cutting her off and literally pushing her out of the door.
Three hours later, Eian felt slightly more alert. He took a cold shower to refresh himself before heading down to his living room. As he expected, Amber had already let herself in but she wasn’t alone; Big Mike was there too. When he saw Eian coming down the stairs, he got to his feet immediately.
“Alpha, please let me come with you.”
“No. You have young pups to take care of. I want you to stay here and take care of the pack in my absence. Dominic is on his way to the airport and so that leaves you as the next in charge.”
“But Alpha… My tracking skills are exceptional and I would be a better candidate…” he paused, looking up and down at Amber, “… to accompany and protect you.”
Eian gave a smile and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder to calm him. “I need you to protect this pack; protect our homes, our young and our family. This is not an order Mike… but a request,” he said. Mike blinked a few times and nodded. Eian smiled and then turned to look at Amber.
“Have sufficient on-site medical supplies and emergency equipment ready in an hour. I want you to anticipate the least and the worst case scenarios and then pack accordingly. We leave in an hour.”
It had taken Alaron a very long time to shake himself off Fiona’s hold on him. He couldn’t sense her at all and each time he had a hint of her presence, he would get a mind-splitting headache and hear her voice telling him to stay away from her.
Nevertheless he continued looking for her; calling her cellphone every few minutes or so. In fact, in the last hour, he had rejected almost ten calls, mostly from his father and from Eian. He didn’t want to give them the chance to find Fiona before he did.
It was close to noon when he finally found her. He understood the moment he saw her why he was no longer under her power; she was fast asleep. Alaron crinkled his nose slightly as he stepped closer to pick her up. The smell of the decomposing trash was unbearable.
As he carried her away from the dumpsters to his car, he felt her stirring. Looking down, he saw that her eyes fluttered slightly before she looked up at him. Her lips were curving as though she was smiling but her eyes did not seem to show any happiness. She looked… sad. Even as she leaned her head on his chest, Alaron couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty.
“We’ll go home… you need a bath,” he said as he lowered her onto the passenger seat. Fiona simply nodded and gave him the same sad smile. “God, you’re killing me Fi. Don’t look at me like that!”
The strangeness of the city seemed secondary to her even as she stared out the window. All she wanted was just to be alone. She wasn’t sure if she was safe enough to return home but at the same time, she didn’t want to be with Alaron. It was only her love for him that made her sit still in the car.
“Fi… don’t just keep quiet… please,” he begged.
“I could suggest you to crash the car,” she said softly but Alaron heard it and flicked his eyes towards her for a second. “But I won’t.”
“I’m sorry… about everything. I… I know I’m selfish and a real jerk. Truthfully, you have every right to tell me what to do… even if it is to go kill myself.”
“You don’t listen to anyone but yourself… you even believe you deserve the right to end your life on your own terms. I don’t think so.”
Alaron was surprised at the calm yet vicious tone of her voice. He had never heard her speak to anyone like that. Alaron didn’t dare to say anything. Apart from Draven, no one else in the Culzean family ever displayed such dominant abilities before.
When he reached the gates of Draven’s house, he was not surprised to see that it was already open and his brother was standing at the front door waiting for them, with a grim expression on his face. The moment the car stopped, Draven opened the passenger seat door and carried Fiona out by himself; ignoring his brother.
He continued walking through the hallway and into a quiet little room. He didn’t say a word for he could hear everything that she wanted to say to him even though she was silent.
“I need you to take a warm bath right now and then lie down. There are some shirts and pants inside the cupboard. They might be too big for you but they’ll do for now. Can you do that for me?”
Fiona nodded then looked up at him with pleading eyes. Draven felt his heart sink.
“Yes… I will teach you how to control your powers. But for now… bathe and rest.”
When he left her and walked to the sitting room, it took all of his patience not to smash his brother’s face into the wall.
“I don’t want to hear it,” he said, putting his hand up to silence Alaron’s excuses. Alaron kept quiet. It was pointless to try and persuade his brother to reason with him for Draven had honed his skill to the point where he could select when and how much information he wanted to read from a person’s mind.
“Father doesn’t know that she’s here does he?”
“I thought so,” sighed Draven, pacing slowly before turning to face his brother, “I do not need to explain the magnitude of your actions for clearly it is a waste of my breath. However, I will say that bringing her here to me is the only right thing that you did in the past 24hours.”
Draven gave Alaron the look of absolute displeasure. “I had no idea she had so much latent power. It was best that they had remained dormant for she’s still a youngling and not equipped with the experience or patience to control it. Until she learns to control these powers, she cannot be around humans… or Werewolves for that matter. Just one suggestion from her could kill an entire pack, town or worst… country.”
“No! You can’t keep her here like a lab rat!”
“I didn’t choose this for her. Once again, you’ve made her life a living hell Alaron. I’m surprised that she still has the kindness to spare your life. But her mate might not.”
“They cannot mate! That’s just impossible!” said Alaron defiantly.
“Yes they can… even if it means they have to die to do so. That is their choice, brother… not yours,” replied Draven patiently.
“I will NOT let her die!” Alaron spat angrily. “Fuck this. Just do your thing and leave me alone to do what I want!”
Draven looked at his brother intently for a moment then burst out laughing.
“I’m sorry brother… but I cannot do that. You are to stay here. Who else can she practice the extent of her control if we don’t have a volunteer? You are as weak as the next human being so you’ll be a more accurate gauge of her control. I am far too ancient for her powers to work effectively.”
Alaron stood up in shock. “What? No! That’s just rubbish. You’re trying to get back at me aren’t you?”
Draven shrugged. “You can leave but she will make you stay- willingly or not.”
Alaron turned to look at his brother; realization of the truth sinking in. He loved her too much and she needed to learn how to control her powers. He would stay out of his love for her… but if he chose to go, she would force him to stay against his will because she needed him. He didn’t think she was the vindictive sort but the onset of her powers might change things.
“Ah yes… I’m afraid she’s not going to be the sweet, demure little child that we used to know. Oh and yes, it will hurt. It will hurt so bloody bad that you’d wish you were never born,” said Draven nonchalantly as he walked out of the room. “Just be thankful that you’re really good at healing”
The next day, Fiona woke up to a splitting headache and almost fell off the bed in her attempt to get up. When she finally steadied herself, Fiona opened her eyes carefully and walked to the bathroom.
“Oh god I feel sick…” she managed to say before throwing up in the toilet bowl. Looking down she saw that it was covered in blood. “Gross,” she said, wiping her mouth. That was probably the last meal… or pill rather that she took. Now, she was just ravenous.
She went to the sink to wash her hands and then splashed water on her face before looking in the mirror.
Then she screamed.
Both Draven and Alaron were beside her in a second; staring at her with concerned looks on their faces.
“Just look at that!” she said pointing to the mirror. The two men looked but didn’t get what they were supposed to see. “I said look!” she screamed and this time, the two men felt their eyes unwillingly forced to see what she wanted them to see.
They were staring at a reflection of her… except that it did not look like her at all. The woman in the reflection had dark brown hair and looked older and insanely beautiful as Vampires tend to be in their immortal glory.
“I… I think you look beautiful… more beautiful than anything I’ve seen,” said Alaron, daring himself to speak.
Fiona turned sharply to look at him and frowned. “That… is not me. Get out… get out!” she screamed before passing out; falling to the floor.
“I am going to need to sedate her. Alaron… please call father and tell him where the both of you are. If you play this right, you might not be blamed for anything. I’m not saying you’re not to blame… but right now, it is more important that we try and help her. Go… now.”
Alaron simply nodded and ran out of the room while Draven carried Fiona onto the bed. He didn’t think it was possible for an awakened Vampire to be… well, awakened again but right before him was evidence that it was possible. Draven left her for a while and when he came back, he injected some sedatives into her blood stream to keep her asleep for awhile more.
As he sat beside her, he thought about how it was possible for her powers to awaken at such a young age. Throughout history, it was rare enough for Vampires to have abilities. Although it was concentrated amongst the Purebloods, it still took them almost a century to actually realise their potential and then another century or so to perfect it.
It was only when Alaron came into the room that he realised why.
“Have you called father yet?”
“Yes… and you know who is also coming. Pathetic.”
“Who, you? Yes you are. Now tell me, dear brother… when you met Fiona two days ago, what condition was she in?”
“Umm, she was ravenous… I mean she had never been around so many humans in her life and all she wanted to do was suck the living hell out of them.”
“So did she?”
“Of course not! That’s why she tried to get away from them and bumped into me,” he said. When Draven raised an eyebrow curiously, he rolled his eyes. “Fine… I went to look for her. I’ve been keeping an eye out for her and when I saw her in such an unstable condition, I took her here…”
“With the sole purpose of testing that pill we’ve been working on,” said Draven matter-of-factly. “You know that thing is not 100% tested yet. Her body probably rejected the matter and went into fight or flight mode,” he said, shaking his head. “Guess the little one’s not so weak after all… since she chose to fight to stay alive. That probably triggered her powers. I mean, they’re after all designed to aid the Vampire in capture of prey.”
“Thank you brother. I feel much better now,” said Alaron sarcastically. “But how do you explain the sudden ageing? It is impossible for her to awaken again is it?”
“Ah… this is just merely speculative. As you know… your mother was human and so are her parents. I guess the fight or flight mechanism also triggers the human genes in her body to fight as well. It’s like getting sick you know; your antibodies fighting with the bacteria and virus.  Only in this case, our gene is the virus… and her human antibodies are winning…”
“Thus displaying her real dominant traits? Yeah… she was a brunette when I met her.” Alaron gave a loud sigh. “I am so sorry about this…”
“You should be. We’ve got company… and by the looks of it, they want you to be really sorry,” said Draven with a smile. “I’ll greet our guests.”
Draven approached the front door with caution; confident that his father would block any irrational attack from his Werewolf guests. He could tell that the male Were was harbouring rather vicious, murderous thoughts.
“Good evening father,” he said with a smile before turning towards Eian and bowing. “Your Excellency… and Lady… oh, Miss Amber MacFarlane? Welcome to my humble home. Please come in.”
“Where is she, Culzean?” asked Eian the moment he stepped inside.
“Your Excellency… please sit down. Unfortunately, there is something that we need to discuss before you can see her.”
Eian eyed Draven curiously but sat down nonetheless to listen to Draven’s explanation. He didn’t interrupt until Draven was finished.
“So you’re saying that Fiona is not just an unstable violent time bomb but she’s also becoming human again?”
“Not exactly… if she’s human then she can’t possibly have such a powerful ability.”
“My son! Are you saying that my only female descendant will eventually… die?” asked Aramis, clearly in shock.
“We do not know anything at this point Aramis… I want to see her. Please,” said Eian sadly, turning to Draven.
Draven nodded and ushered them towards the guest room but did not open the door to let them in.
“I would like to forewarn you, Your Excellency that she might suggest you to do harm onto yourself… or worst, herself.”
Eian didn’t answer but placed a gentle hand on Draven’s shoulder and nodded. When he entered the room, he saw that she was conscious but still in a daze; lying on her right side and staring at the window.
“Sweetheart… it’s me,” he said gently but didn’t make an attempt to get closer. It was not just her appearance that was different but her scent too. When she didn’t say anything, Eian called her again, this time, taking a step forward.
“Go away…” she said softly but didn’t turn around. Eian heard Draven taking in a deep breath.
“Sweetheart… I’m really sorry that I couldn’t come sooner. I looked everywhere for you… please look at me…”
“I only want you in the room,” she said in a soft voice. “Get everyone out… before I do.”
Draven, Amber and Aramis quickly moved away from the door upon hearing her words. With as much care as possible, Eian closed the door and began to walk towards Fiona.
“Sweetheart…” he murmured as he sat on the bed to look at her.
“My life has been very tumultuous… I’m tired Eian…” she said, turning her head to look up at him.
“I know,” he whispered and held her close. “I’m here…”
Fiona simply moved closer towards him, pressing her face against his thigh. Slowly she felt the tears escaping her eyes but she tried as much as possible to hide her face from his sight.
“Eian… I’m sorry,” she whispered. “But you have to go… I cannot risk having you around me.” She felt his muscles tense up as the words sunk in.
“No… I can’t just let you suffer on your own… Please Fiona, I want to be with you.”
Fiona simply smiled, still hidden from his view, “I might hurt you… and that is the last thing that I want to do,” she said. “I might have sudden bursts of anger and say things that I don’t mean. I can’t Eian... I just can’t…”
“I won’t leave you Fiona…” he replied calmly. “Unless you make me.”
Fiona moved away from him and raised her eyes slowly to look at his; her icy blue against his intense green eyes.
“Walk out of the room, Eian… and… just keep walking,” her voice was almost a hiss but he heard it loud and clear.
His legs felt like something was crawling on them and they were wobbling slightly. Even then, he didn’t take his eyes off her and watched the way her irises darken to an ebony hue. He could sense her anger and scent the heat coming from her body but he refused to give in to his legs’ desire to walk.
He kept his eyes fixed on her for as long as he could… before everything turned black….

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