is the non ADULT version of part 7
For the ADULT Part 7 go here
"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
"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 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 wins."
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
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
"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.
They spent a long time in each
others arms, but eventually the human contact had to end. There
was a reason Richie had come to her and a different hunger stired
in the pit of his stomach.
of Part 7