Frank seemed somehow glad about
the way the Richie had reacted. It made him feel that he hadn't
misjudged the young looking man quite so much as he could have.
There were no such feelings in Julian Luna, and he wanted answers.
The expression on Richie's face said he was not in the mood to
"I asked you nicely,"
the Ventrue said calmly, "now I'm insisting."
The Kindred pushed his face directly
into the younger man's line of vision and Richie's eyes opened
in shock as Luna's irises turned a violent yellow. Julian was
not pulling any punches, and the force of his will came down on
the Immortal like a tone of bricks. His mind really didn't like
that much, but at first it was helpless.
"What is your full name?"
there was no holding back with the enquiry, and Richie's will
caved like a house of cards.
"Richard Ryan," he
"How old are you?"
"Why were you fighting?"
There was a slight hesitation
before the young man replied.
"There can be only one,"
Richie eventually responded, as the familiar line came into his
"One what?" Julian
was quick to jump on the information.
"Immortal," the blond
man responded with even more of a pause.
It wasn't taking long for Richie's
mind to find a way to fight the influence that was being exerted.
Unfortunately, it was not the most coherent defence and it was
taking time getting going.
"How many of you are their?"
if what this man believed were true, then the Kindred might find
that they had a problem.
"Don't know," was the
It was becoming more difficult
to answer, and the words came slowly.
"Is Duncan MacLeod one of
your kind?" Julian asked, oblivious to the fact that his
control was slipping.
"Yes," the response
was dragged out of the young Immortal, and now his inquisitor
noticed something wasn't quite right.
"If there can be only one,"
Luna tried a slightly different approach, "why are you travelling
with one of your own?"
There was a long moment when
it looked like Richie wasn't going to reply, but he lost the battle.
"He's ... my friend,"
it was almost a look of pain that creased the Immortal's features.
"You're loosing him,"
Lillie commented as she watched.
The Prince just glared at her
as if to say `I know' and continued.
"How do you kill each other,"
there was nothing for it, he had to try the direct line of questioning,
before it was too late.
The battle being waged was slowly
tipping in the Immortal's favour, and that was just the wrong
question to ask. Some information was simply off limits, and that
was the point when Richie's mind totally rebelled. He felt his
mouth about to betray him and he dipped into the will power that
made him what he was. What he found was as much of a surprise
to him as it was to the vampire trying to influence him. He reached
into himself and found Mako's unwavering following of the law,
and he used it as a mental club.
Julian stepped back a little
startled as he actually saw blue lightening lance across his subject's
eyes. The essence of Richard Ryan fought back and the vampire
felt what could only be described as an unadept, mental battering
ram. The trance like state was broken instantaneously and the
Immortal found himself staring into the eyes of a Kindred unmasked.
"Jesus," he managed
breathlessly and, despite the command to stay still he sent, his
body, moved backwards sharply. "What the hell?"
Frank knew the feeling and couldn't
help but sympathise. He, however, wasn't an Immortal who seemed
almost totally invulnerable, so the emotion lasted only a few
seconds as he remembered that Richie was.
all Julian said and let his eyes fade back to their normal dark
The two vampires looked at each
other as if they were not quite certain what to do, and then the
Ventrue made a small signal with one hand that the Toreador understood
instantly. A feeling of dread threatened to take Richie as he
saw the smile that Lillie gave him: it was just so disarming.
"You're tired," she
said gently, "sleep."
Now this was a totally different
form of attack and the Immortal had no defence. This command gave
no threat to what he was and he felt his eyelids become heavy
before he could do anything. The Primogen of the Toreador clan
waved her hand in front of his face and he literally relaxed into
"We have to know more,"
Luna said firmly, "but we're not going to find out anything
by forcing it out of him. Have him taken back to the alley, and
make sure he forgets all this."
With a thoughtful glance, Julian
turned to the still slightly bemused police officer.
"Frank," he said lightly,
"how do you feel about keeping an eye on this young man for
"Are you going to kill him?"
the cop asked suspiciously.
Kindred did seem to have a tendency
to terminate anything they perceived as a threat.
"The truth is, I'm not sure,"
the Prince had learnt that he had to be honest with Frank, nothing
else worked. "At this point I don't think so. I have to speak
The only mortal in the room reluctantly
agreed, what else could he do?
The first thing that occurred
to Richie when he opened his eyes, was that there was no pain.
This was odd since he definitely remembered a dagger protruding
out of his chest in the recent past. The second thing that entered
his head was that Frank was staring down at him with said dagger
in his hand.
"You're alive," the
cop did a very good job of seeming surprised.
Everything but the fact that
he had been discovered fled from the young Immortal's head.
"Ah, I can explain,"
were the words that came flooding out of the blond man's mouth.
Now Frank was not here to be
difficult about this, in fact he was sure the best way to keep
an eye on this man was at a distance.
"Man, I don't want to know,"
the cop shot back with just the right amount of fear cum repulsion.
"What I don't need is having to explain you to anyone, just
get out of my sight."
Richie couldn't believe his luck,
and he scrabbled to his feet quickly. He didn't quite know what
to say, so he picked up his weapon and did as he was told. The
street was empty as he virtually fled round the corner. In the
alley, Frank counted to twenty and then very carefully followed
Alexae was mourning the passing
of the young man and had tried, unsuccessfully, to find something
to distract him in the Haven. As it was he couldn't get the pale
face out of his mind, and decided it was time to go back to the
apartment in which he was staying. He concluded thoughtfully,
that in his current sate of mind he might even be able to produce
a work of poignant pain. He was an Artiste, eventually everything
came down to his next creation.
What he definitely did not expect
when he wandered out of the club was the sight that met his eyes.
Complete incomprehension washed through him, followed quickly
by a wave of red hot desire as he watched his Adonis leave
the alley opposite and jog down the street. When Richie had turned
into a possession was unclear, but Alexae did not argue with his
own psyche. All that mattered was that his life was incomplete
without the youth heading quickly in the wrong direction, and
he needed him. This Toreador was not going to go through
the same experience of earlier that evening, again, and because
of that he saw only one way forward.
With half a smile he set off
after his living work of art, the logical course of action clear
in his mind. He was not going to loose his Adonis again,
and so he was going to take him home.
One moment Richie was moving
rapidly down the empty sidewalk, intent on getting back to the
hotel, the next his way was blocked by a dark figure. He was in
such a hurry that he didn't realise who it was until he tried
to go round, and the man moved to block him.
"Oh, no, not you again,"
the Immortal said.
Tonight the world seemed to be
conspiring against him. As if dying in front of a cop wasn't bad
enough, he had an admirer, who although he was very good looking,
was of entirely the wrong gender for Richie's tastes.
"Look, I'm not interested,
so would you mind just getting out of my way?" he was a little
too annoyed, and way too aware of the bloodstain on the front
of his shirt to be particularly polite.
"I can't do that,"
Alexae purred back, as if it was the most normal thing in the
This time the Kindred was in
no mood to play mind games, they had proved too unpredictable.
Instead he went for the direct approach and threw a very hard,
very fast punch at Richie's jaw. The Immortal didn't stand a chance,
even invulnerability had it's limits and he folded into blissful
It was just not possible, there
was no way anyone could just vanish into thin air like that. Frank
was having trouble believing that he had managed to loose Richie
quite so fast, but the empty street spoke for itself.
"Damn Immortal's as slippery
as Kindred," he whispered to himself, and tried to think
of a way to break this to Luna. "Later," he concluded
finally, "I'll tell him later."
There could be a trail, something
to indicate where the blond man had gone, so Frank started to
He was annoyed, very annoyed
and Richie began to spit curses the moment he opened his eyes.
He awoke to find himself tied to a chair in what appeared to be
an art studio. This state of affairs did not please him, and what
pleased him even less was that someone had relieved him of most
of his clothes. On a quick inspection the only garments he retained
were his boxers and his jeans. He remembered the last time he
had been the victim of a mad artist and realised with a sinking
feeling that there would be no MacLeod to rescue him this time.
"Oh, you are so beautiful,"
a voice said from just beside him, "truly one of mother nature's
"Wait `til I get out of
these ropes," Richie growled back, throwing all of his anger
into the words, "then we'll see who's beautiful."
It really didn't surprise him
when Alexae laughed.
"I can't explain how you're
alive," the Toreador said with a wide smile, "maybe
it has something to do with Luna, but I'm not one to question
such good fortune. Neither did I expect you to understand all
He closed his eyes and listened
to his prisoner's heart beat for a few delicious seconds. He could
almost feel the blood coursing through his Adonis' veins,
and he could barely contain his longing.
"You're so perfect,"
he continued and ran his tongue over his lips, "so unmarked."
Richie never thought he'd regret
his Immortality in quite the way he was doing so now. There was
something very alluring about the man standing in front of him,
but there was also something that made the younger man draw back
as the other took a step forward.
"Tonight I'm going to change
you," the Artiste said and much to the Immortal's growing
horror, ran a finger down his cheek, "I'm going to give you
"I already have forever,"
Richie couldn't help it, it was the only thing his desperate mind
could throw up as a defence.
That drew another laugh from
"Ah, the young," the
Kindred said calmly, "always so thoughtless to the rigours
The young blond man stiffened
as the prowling vampire wandered to the side of him and round
behind where he could no longer be seen. The hand rested on the
side of his neck, the fingers gentle, but oh so cold.
"You will understand soon,"
Alexae purred into his victim's ear, "and then we shall have
Long delicate nails stroked the
side of Richie's neck for a tantalising moment, and then suddenly
there was the pain as one of the fingers dug in. The Immortal
would have cried out, but the sound stopped in his throat as a
mouth replaced the hand and the agony became ecstasy. It was like
nothing he had ever felt before, as he literally experienced the
life being sucked out of him.
Part of his mind screamed, but
the rest of him revelled in the sensation. His consciousness soared
away as his body submerged in the overwhelming stimulation of
nerves and muscles. His thoughts likened it to a Quickening, but
this was all being taken from him, not given to him, and he surrendered
to it like he never thought he could. A connection was being made,
but it was not of his doing, and all he could do was let it happen.
As his mind gave in to Kindred dominance all the events of the
night came flooding back. He now knew everything that had gone
on, but he had no will to care.
The mouth at his neck was more
tender than a lover's embrace, and yet more savage than a sword's
bite, all at the same time. The moan that escaped his lips was
involuntary, but totally revealing as he gave himself to the pleasure
When something wet and metallic
was forced to his lips, he was barely aware, only instinct led
him on. Instinct and a gentle voice that coaxed him to drink,
like a mother to a babe.
Alexae cut the ropes that bound
his captive with one hand and prevented the young man falling
out of the chair with another. His childe had collapsed into exhausted
sleep, and the Toreador was pleased with his work. Gently he lifted
Richie into his arms and carried him over to chaise by the far
"So beautiful," he
whispered as he put him down carefully, "like an angel. You're
a fallen angel now, my Adonis," he continued quietly, "but
you will be so for always."
With a smile he stood back and
then picked up a paintbrush. With the joy of one who was doing
what he loved most, he began to paint, and record forever the
last moments of his childe's mortal life.