"Good evening, Mr MacLeod,"
Luna greeted calmly, "please, have a seat."
There were chairs positioned
at the end of the table which obviously did not usually belong
there, and from the seating the Highlander quickly realised that
he and the new face were the only two who did not `belong' in
this room. There were five of the others and it did not take much
to work out that they were used to their places.
"Thank you," the Immortal
replied as he sat down, "you phone call said this has something
to do with my companion."
There was no point in wasting
"That it does," the
Prince replied, happy with the Highlander's wish for speed, "but
first I think there are a few things you should know."
If he was going to be able to
help, first he had to understand, and although it could be considered
dangerous, the ruling body had agreed that the Immortal should
be told the truth. MacLeod's people had their own Masquerade,
and screaming to mortals about vampires would not be a probable
course of action.
"You know that Lillie is
not quite what she seems," Julian began evenly, "anymore
than you are. What you do not know is what she is, and therefore
what we are."
A slight nod gave the indication
that Mac was following this perfectly.
"We are known as Kindred,
Mr MacLeod," the Prince informed him slowly, "or more
coarsely, vampires. We live among humans, just as you do, hiding
what we are, and continuing with our lives. We need blood to survive,
but we do not kill to get it, that would endanger the Masquerade.
We create more of our own kind by embracing carefully chosen mortals,
which is what brings me to the problem at hand."
MacLeod's gaze did not falter
as he looked directly into the Ventrue's eyes. The Prince was
given the distinct impression he was looking at a man just as
powerful as he.
"We became aware of a battle
that took place in an alley close to the Haven, and we found what
we assumed was a dead body. Because of the unusual circumstances
of the death we chose not to inform the police," Luna continued,
"and shortly after discovered that the young man we had found
did not stay dead. We questioned him, made him forget he had ever
seen us and let him go. It was then that he disappeared."
The glare that he was sending
in Alexae's direction made it very clear who was to blame. It
didn't take much to read between the lines, and Duncan reached
a conclusion before he had to be told.
"Are you trying to say that
he embraced, Richie?" the Immortal didn't sound particularly
happy about that at all.
"It's all right, Duncan,"
Lillie put in rapidly, "we're almost sure he's returning
to normal. We are completely incompatible with your physiology,
and you friend seems to be fighting off the change."
That made Mac feel a little better,
but he was still not best pleased.
"Why did you ask me to come
here then?" he enquired pointedly. "You must have a
very good reason."
"We do," Julian returned
with his usual calm visage, "we want to find out exactly
what happened to Richard when he was embraced, and make sure it
never happens again. You see, your companion did not become what
could be considered a ... normal Kindred." He paused to try
and decide how to phrase what he was about to admit. "In
the last twenty four hours he has, ... disabled his sire, taken
on six males of another clan, at the same time, broken into my
home, past my security, and held his own against the strongest
of us all."
By the time, the Prince had finished
there was a low chuckle coming from the Highlander's mouth.
"Richie's kicking ass,"
he said, finding the whole thing quite amusing, "and you
don't know what to do about it. I'm sure there's a motto in there
There was a slightly unhappy
look on Luna's face as he saw the Immortal's reaction, but he
did not choose to voice his feelings. Instead he sat forward and
waited for the sombre mood to have it's effect on MacLeod.
"That is not the centre
of the problem," he commented slowly as the Highlander became
serious again. "What I wish to know, is how a twenty two
year old man can transform into the equivalent of a Kindred many
centuries his senior. What is it about your kind that gives you
that sort of power?"
That stopped Duncan in mid thought,
as he could not help but come to one conclusion. To give them
the answer he would have to reveal part of his own secret, but
they had already seen the idea in his face. He was a strong willed
man, but he had taken in the underlying atmosphere and realised
that he could probably not stand up to six vampires.
"We are not just what we
were when we died for the first time," The Highlander finally
said slowly, "and it isn't just age which makes us powerful.
If you saw a fight and questioned Richie, you must have found
out that we battle our own kind, and attempt to kill each other.
What you don't seem to realise is what happens when one of us
He paused to make sure he had
everyone's attention: he didn't what to have to repeat himself.
"The victor gains the essence
of his dead opponent," Duncan wasn't quite sure how these
people would react, but at one level he didn't really care. "Richie's
taken the heads of several old Immortals, and therefore their
Quickenings. The only thing I can think of to explain what you've
been telling me is that the combined power of those who've challenged
him, translated directly into whatever you perceive as ability
in your race."
could not contain his wonder: very little could be said to captivate
the Nosferatu, but this newly discovered species had him hooked.
It was at that point that he
skipped ahead of most in the room and realised there was more
to it than that.
"Could these ... Quickenings,
explain the rapid personality changes that Mr Ryan appeared to
go through?" he enquired politely.
Those words caused Duncan to
go cold all over, although the only obvious sign was the way his
heart beat speed up. His mind flicked unbidden to his own battered
soul when the dark Quickening had taken him. Without letting himself
dwell in the memory he prayed that his protege was not in as much
turmoil as he himself had been.
"Yes, they could,"
the Highlander said with no sign of emotion. "It's not unknown
for an Immortal to suffer from multiple personalities, although
there was no sign of any such thing in Richie before you
got your hands on him."
It was a direct accusation that
he could not help, but he pushed it aside quickly. All he could
hope now, was that with these people's assistance he would be
able to bring his young friend back.
"We'd better find him, soon,"
was all he said.
The apartment was small and full
of nondescript furniture as Jessica let herself and Richie in.
That was all that had passed between them since the roof, a swap
of names, there had been nothing else to say. She had decided
to die, and she didn't really care who this man was, she just
knew that if she had jumped she would have missed something interesting.
He threw his coat on the couch
as the white panel door clicked shut and blocked out the outside
world. It fell open as it landed and the hilt of the sword it
contained became obvious. With a fascinated little stare she just
looked at it for a while, not quite sure what to do now. If she
gazed back at him she probably wouldn't even think about it, but
just for a moment she wanted to feel the long dead emotions that
it stirred in her. There was just a little fear at the sight of
such a weapon, and to experience something she had decided she
had lost, was good.
"A sword?" she said
quietly, still not turning.
"Yes," said that sweet
voice in her ear, "does it matter?"
"No," she replied after
a moment, and finally let herself face him.
There was something almost magical
about him, and he captivated her on more than one level. He was
handsome, he showed the signs of a man who could handle himself,
and yet there was a strange gentleness in the gaze that caught
hers. He reached out and cupped the side of her face in one tender
hand, the half smile playing at his lips again.
"A goddess who has seen
heaven, but can no-longer find her way there," he said quietly,
and his tone almost made her want to cry.
So many emotions that she had
buried so long, in such a short time, she was almost giddy. He
stepped towards her and drew her to him in one swift move. There
was such a sweet taste in her mouth as his lips covered hers,
and the kiss was long and passionate as strong arms held her.
She clung to him as if he was the only thing that could keep her
head above the waves, and yet she already knew that what he offered
was not something she had ever been given before.
Jessica was a mouse, but she
had had her share of lovers, and this man did not represent the
same things they had. It was funny, there was the small pit of
fear in the recesses of her mind, but it did not well up and consume
her as so much of her life seemed to have done. Maybe it was something
to do with the presence that she felt from her companion, maybe
it was because she had given up on her life. Quite frankly, it
didn't matter anymore.
His skin was cold against hers,
and his touch was excitingly chilly as his hands pushed the jacket
off her slim shoulders. She was a beautiful woman, but the nagging
doubt from a childhood of being teased, had always stopped her
from allowing herself to fall for the kind of man who could show
her more than a quite, harmless relationship. She wasn't going
to let that stop her this time, and she gave herself to this man
she had only just met.
The fingers may have been cold,
but they caused such warmth as they ran over her body, and she
thought the heat would consume her as he kissed her neck and ran
his tongue over the edge of her ear. Her hands reached blindly
for the buttons of his shirt as his gently teased down the zip
at the back of her dress. She pulled back slightly as he ran one
limb through the gap where the fastening came away, and stroked
one finger under the rim of her panties.
The desire showed in his eyes
and his slightly parted mouth, but he did not move as his companion
just stared at him. With the intimate touch came the realisation
of what she was doing, and just for a moment the reality of the
situation impinged on her conscious brain. There was surprise
on her features as he did not try to force her any further, and
left her to her own decision.
"Tell me to leave and I'll
go," he said quietly as she almost lost all contact with
Her passion had beeen re-ignited,
and he knew that she wouldn't walk up to the roof and throw herself
off tonight, maybe tomorrow, but not tonight. Such a lovely creature,
almost innocent in her misunderstanding of human nature. He was
filled with a desire for her he could not explain, and yet to
touch her if she did not truly want it, would have been worse
"No," she said finally,
"I want this."
Even as she spoke she took another
small step backwards, but it was not a withdrawal, more of an
encouragement. She let the light cotton dress fall to the floor
around her ankles and revealed a pale, naked torso to the dimly
lit apartment. Her body showed all the signs of arousal, but she
just reached out and took his hand. With a slight smile on her
face she led him towards the bedroom.
The top button of his jeans gave
into her ministrations quickly, and he helped the process of disrobing
by puling his silk shirt over his head, throwing it to one side.
She had long, elegant fingers and he watched as they unbuttoned
the rest of his fly with dextrous precision. Her smile widened
as she realised that he wasn't wearing any underwear.
"Free spirit?" she
asked mischievously and ran her hand down the inside of the denim.
The breath hissed between his
teeth and he reached out to her immediately. Naked skin rubbed
against naked skin as he pulled her close once more and she melted
into his arms.
"You need me more than I
need you tonight," he whispered in her ear as he ran his
nails down her back, "let me give you what I can."
She didn't need telling twice,
and there was no resistance as he swept one arm under her legs
and carried her to the bed. Her choice of clothes had not been
exactly in line with the climate and she had walked to the roof
barefoot, he took a moment to kick his footwear aside after laying
her on the soft covers. With a lopsided grin he then pushed his
jeans down and stepped out of them as she watched.
The sound of her heart beat was
loud to his supernatural hearing, and he could smell her arousal.
The beast in him rose, but he pushed it down viciously as he centred
on very human pleasures. He climbed onto the bed beside Jessica
and lay down beside her, pressing himself up against her and kissed
her shoulder lightly. His arm brushed over her breasts and she
relaxed back onto the bed with a small moan of pleasure. The kisses
that he layered all over her body were feather light and tantalisingly
short as they set her skin on fire.
Her body moved of it's own accord
under his tender care and everywhere that his mouth wasn't, his
hands seemed to be. Eventually she couldn't stand it any more
and she started pushing her briefs down with the one hand that
wasn't entwined in his hair. That drew a small laugh from her
partner, but he took the hint. Her hips rose helpfully as he took
hold of the elastic material and gently pulled it downwards.
With closed eyes she arched her
back as his hand ran up her inner thigh. His fingers slipped into
the soft moisture with no resistance and her legs parted further
as she groaned and demanded more of him. His touch was so different
from the clumsy ministrations of the only sort of men she had
ever let herself become close to, and it consumed her totally.
He sunk two fingers into her slowly, running his mouth over one
breast as he did so. She thought she'd loose it when his thumb
began to gently stroke between the slick folds of skin at her
centre, but he controlled her like a fine instrument.
She pushed against him as he
tried to start a gentle rhythm with his fingers, but he would
not let her have her way. He almost withdrew the intrusion and
she dug her nails into his arm in protest. That just succeeded
in drawing the small laugh out of him again.
"We have plenty of time,"
he said gently, and then proceeded to show her exactly how he
wanted things to go.
The first shuddering orgasm took
her as he finally plunged his fingers in to their full length,
after he had shown her the edge several times. She cried out in
a way she had never thought she could and finally understood what
she had been denying herself for so long.
By the time she had come back
to herself he had pushed her legs apart further and manoeuvred
himself above her. His hips brushed the inside of her thigh and
she opened her eyes to look up into clear blue irises. She had
no intention of denying him anything and hooked one knee around
him eagerly. The second intrusion was not as shudderingly new
as the first, but her filled her and touched places she didn't
know she had.
They moved together in what became
a desperate dance, each straining to give the other all they had.
Their bodies slid apart and then came crashing back together as
again and again, they reached for the release of sexual climax.
When it came it was like a wave of pure ecstasy and took them
both into uncontrollable spasm. Jessica's legs locked about her
lover and she clung to him as if he were her life.
He relaxed on top of her slightly,
half his weight on an elbow, the other on her, and buried his
face in her shoulder. She was so soft and warm and he felt a different
hunger stir in the pit of his stomach.