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May 9 10 11:56 PM
Anelise GoudeauFlorabel the Obedient
At that time, a restless Adam was sitting in the living room. He tried to watch T.V., but his thoughts were racing too fast to focus on anything, let alone slow down long enough to let the mind numbing from watching it set in. From what little he heard about this "Headquarters" place from Marcus and the female vampire, he didn't like it at all. It also seemed crazy enough for him to be worried.
'They're only interested in Sam now...' Marcus' words ran in circles around his head. Everytime it completed a lap, so would the questions that came to his mind as soon as he heard that: who exactly is interested in Sam, what would they do to her, is she going to be okay... He let out an aggravated sigh and put his head in his hands. All this worrying wasn't getting him any answers, and neither was Marcus. After repeatedly asking him some of the same questions in his head, and not getting any real answers, he finally gave up and sat off to the side by himself.
Marcus eventually left the apartment after about half an hour of listening to Adam's thoughts being projected to him. It became obvious to him how much he cared for his sister, but telling him not to worry-- that she was actually in capable hands, believe it or not-- most likely wouldn't work, because he would then ask for details. Details that either Marcus didn't know yet, or couldn't tell Adam without having him become even more upset. He told himself that he was leaving for that reason, not the fact that the endless projecting of the same doubts and fears towards the company that he was now working for were starting to unnerve him...
Nadia stepped up to Adam as soon as Marcus made his exit. She took a seat across from him, and said nothing to him for awhile. When she finally broke the silence, it was so soft that she doubted that he even heard her at all. "How are you doing?"
Adam glanced up at Nadia, before looking away and answering. "Not so good." His eyes hardened as he continued. "This is the first time we've ever been physically separated, and I hate it."
Nadia fought down the overwhelming urge to apologize. It wasn't any of their faults-- they had no control over what was happening, and those that did were only doing their jobs. She remembered Cassie's bitterness when she was talking about the people she answered to. Granted, that part must suck, having to do whatever the hell people told you to do, but then you also saved lives on a daily basis, both humans and vampires. She'd most likely never understand it, nor would she want to try to. "You only told me about your mom-- what about your dad?" Nadia asked, changing the subject.
"I don't know," he replied. "He was never a big role in our lives..." Adam trailed off as his mother's words rang in his head. He stayed on the team and helped create the medicine, and suggested more experimenting on her. He looked back at Nadia. "I need your help with something."
"Okay, what is it?" Nadia asked, suddenly confused.
"Before she died, our mom told us that our father stayed on the team and created the medicine, or at least helped. I want to know if he's still there."
She nodded. "Okay, I can do that." She stood up and looked around the apartment for a computer, eventually finding one in Cassie's room... along with Vlad, going through a chest.
When he came up with a small crossbow that he handled like a pro, she gasped aloud. At the same time, Adam placed himself in front of Nadia and asked Vlad, "What are you doing?"
Vlad audibly jumped when he heard Adam's voice. "Shit!" Upon seeing both him and Nadia standing there, he stood as well. "You know, you guys should make more noise if you're going to be moving around like that." Upon seeing the two of them flinch a little, he then realized that he was gesturing with the crossbow still in his hand. "Oh," he said, putting it away and closing the chest after it. "I got bored and curious, which is not really a good combination."
When he saw that Adam didn't move, save for looking even more suspicious of him, he held his hands up. "Okay, look. You somewhat trust Cassie, don't you? And she hasn't steered you wrong, or hurt any of you guys?" At their silence, he continued. "I've known her for a while now, and we trust each other. She'd kinda know right away if something was 'off' about me. So, relax."
Nadia wasn't sure to make of that at first, but she always trusted her own instincts. They told her that he was one that could possibly be trusted even before she walked up to him in the nightclub. They haven't steered her wrong as of yet, either. So, she sidled around Adam-- whom she was flattered with because of him protecting her, even though she'd most likely heal faster than he could-- and walked over to the computer. Thankfully, it looked newer, meaning it wouldn't be as slow as molasses, giving her plenty of time to "play". Adam, keeping his eye on Vlad, soon followed.
"What'cha doing?" Vlad asked.
"Looking for their dad," she replied, jerking her head to Adam as she logged onto the Internet and started typing quickly. "He apparently joined the same cause that made Sam and myself this way after the procedure was done to Sam, and Adam wants to see if he's still there." Nothing else was said for a few minutes, since the boys were busy watching Nadia work. She didn't mind it so much, she could easily put them out of her head. Once she got onto the system, she asked Adam for their last name, and resumed her furious typing once he told her. It wasn't even a minute when she brought up the private files of Zachary Gibbons, father of Test Subject #29460.
"Well," Nadia started, quickly skimming through the file, "it doesn't really say that much about him. He simply followed along, not really coming up with grand ideas, and it says... that he left the cause about three weeks after the final formula of the medicine was created."
"He left?" Adam asked, surprised. "Any reasoning?"
"Nope, none at all. Simply that he requested that he resign, and a couple of days later it was granted."
"Okay, this may be the 'conspiracy theorist' in me talking, but something is off here..." Vlad thought aloud after a few minutes. "I mean, a team of mad scientists trying to create an entire army of you guys is going to suddenly-- and willingly-- let one of their own men go?" He shook his head, and continued. "No, something must have happened."
"Okay, hold on," Nadia said. She exited out of the program, erasing her trail as she left, and pulled up Google. At Vlad's snort of amusement, she turned to him with a short smile. "What? I'm just following my own mantra-- 'When in doubt, start big, and work your way down.'" She typed in Zachary's name, and when she hit enter skimmed through the first few entrys. None of them sounded like the same man they were looking for, until she clicked on a link at the bottom of the first page...
"Zachary Gibbons, age 29, was found in his car at the bottom of the Cliffside Ravine this past Tuesday," Nadia read aloud. "Police experts say that Gibbons, a worker at Tepes Hospital, was drunk driving on the roads when he somehow lost control of his car and plummeted off the road. An anonymous phone call documented these facts to officers, but once they arrived on the scene it was too late to save him. The only way that they could identify that it was in fact Gibbons was by running the licence plate on the car through their system. Friends and fellow co-workers will be holding a memorial service for him this Friday." A glance at the website she was on told her that she had gotten onto public library records, in a small town in Washington state. "I'm sorry, Adam."
"No, it's okay," he assured her. He didn't really know his father that well, and therefore didn't really feel any remorse.
Vlad took a closer look at the screen. "Sonovabitch," he muttered to himself. "They've been hiding this in plain sight, practically."
"Well, of course," Adam spoke sarcastically. "Doing all of this and yet functioning as a normal hospital at the same time--"
"No, I mean the name of the hospital," Vlad interrupted, pointing at the screen. "Does that mean anything to you?"
Nadia glanced at the screen, then back at Vlad. "Should it?"
"Tepes. Vlad Tepes, also known as 'Vlad the Impaler', who would sooner be known as 'Dracula' and become one of the more famous names in the 'Hollywood vampire' world." Vlad shook his head. "Not only are they hiding it well, they're practically flaunting it in our faces. Hell, I don't know how Cassie's guys back at HQ didn't catch this sooner! I mean it's almost too much of a coincidence naming a hospital after a man that perfected the term 'vampirism'."
"Well, they sure as hell know now, now that there's undeniable proof of what's really going on." Adam stood, and paced the room. "As soon as Sam gets out of there, we're leaving. We now have a location and a name, and if we're lucky we can get there in time to torch the place with as many people in there as possible."
"Wait a minute, it is a hospital. What about the normal patients?" asked Nadia, rising from her seat.
"They most likely wouldn't be grouped with the other half vampires, so I think we can get them out safely."
"Adam, I don't really think it's going to be that simple," Vlad said. "I mean, there's only four of us, and half have a slight advantage over the other half, which can easily be taken away from them if I understand it correctly. You do have a good plan going: a place like this needs to be destroyed and soon, but we need the firepower to do it." Vlad pulled out his cell phone and started dialing a number. "And I know just the person to ask for the metaphorical blowtorch."
May 12 10 11:42 PM
"Alright. What you're telling me is that these half-vampires were created by this hospital team either almost immediately or not too long after they were even born, and they have an 'off button' that comes in the form of this medicine that can take them out easily and keep them out for awhile," Matthew summed up.
"Yes, that's what it comes down to." Now, all we have to do is go to this place, wherever it is, then--
"No," Matthew interrupted, letting her know that she was projecting her thoughts to him.
"No?" Cassie echoed. "Well, why the hell not? They have something that can make half-vampires immobile, who knows what the hell that it could do to us, and when I start thinking of a plan to put a stop to that you tell me 'no'?"
"We have what they need to follow through with their plan in the first place. You said so yourself, they're being followed by some of the hospital staff members, supposedly, so if we keep them here, we can strike a bargain with them and that will be that."
"I understand your 'not wanting to shed blood' way of thinking, but these are the same people that have access to our blood in the first place. Meaning, either they're taking it by force or they have vampires joining them and freely donating it-- both scenarios that I'm not really fond of."
"I'll send some men in after those particular 'workers' then. Your job, now, is to train the girl to help better control her new side, then leave well enough alone."
Cassie pursed her lips. "So. I'm training Sam, then leaving her to her own devices. Perfect."
Matthew set his hands on her shoulders. "Cassie. You're already deep enough in this as it is, and you're starting to sink faster by having some attachments to this girl. I can't afford to have a great Rogue like yourself wind up being killed by something she started losing her head over."
Her mouth pursed further as she slowly nodded her head. "Right," she finally said before backing away from Matthew and heading towards Sam's room. As she got to the door, she had to stop and lean against the wall, taking deep breaths. It wasn't fair at all, in Cassie's point of view. Sure, she was caring for these two girls and their well-being, but Sam in so many ways was like Cassie when she first was turned: trying to be strong for the sake of those around her when in reality she was petrified. Sam couldn't even be near her brother without "the beast" in her wanting to start feeding from him, but she wanted to hold onto the last part of normality that she had in her life, one that stood by her when their lives suddenly went to hell in a handbasket.
No, she couldn't do that to Sam. Cassie was not only given help when she was first turned, but also the chance of having a new family. If she couldn't do the exact same thing, she could get pretty damn close to it. She gently opened the door to Sam's room, then peered inside to find her curled up on the bed, asleep. A quick look at the watch ascertained that it was late, and that Sam wasn't quite used to her new "schedule", if she even had one. She slipped into Sam's room and shut the door behind her. All the bedrooms were soundproofed, by the off-chance that someone in the process of turning were to be brought in. Vampires could speak to each other telepathically also, so if they were to get into any trouble while in one of these rooms, they could still send a message to everyone within range. Cassie, however, wasn't planning on doing that anytime soon, at least not here. In fact, she was blocking her thoughts from everyone else so that no one could listen in on what was going on in this room.
The phone vibrating in it's carrying case startled her, but she quickly recovered and pulled it off of her hip to answer it. "Cassie here," she spoke softly, for Sam's benefit.
"It's me. I have news for you and a favor to ask."
Vlad. "Okay, what's going on?"
"Sam's father apparently helped at the hospital for a few years before he was killed off. Their records say that he resigned, however newspapers say that he got in an 'accident'."
"Did they also say that he was a former worker?"
"No, they didn't. So, that means that they're very possessive of things that are their's--"
"And are still willing to keep a game face on for the public while also possibly covering their tracks." She sighed into the phone. "This isn't good, Vlad. How much is this place a part of the community?" If it was a huge part, that meant that there would be followers, and they couldn't have that if they were going to do something about it.
"It says that few of the workers of Tepes Hospital are avid community members, but not all."
Cassie rubbed her eyes to keep the headache from setting in. "Okay, so there's still some part of the town that would..." She trailed off as something he said hit a chord in her. "Tepes. The name is Tepes Hospital?"
"Yeah. Tepes, as in Vlad 'The Impaler' Tepes."
She bit her lip hard to keep from cursing aloud, both physically and mentally. Those sons of bitches, I knew something was sketchy about that hospital! She broke from her thoughts to realize that Vlad had told her something. "I'm sorry, what was that?"
"Adam's all gung-ho in wanting to go and destroy that place, but I told him we needed back up which is why I called you. We need you to get as many people as you can together, then--"
Silence. Then, "What do you mean by that?"
"I've officially reached the end of my chain. Matthew wants this to end as well, but as violence-less as possible. He wants me to train Sam to better adapt to her vampire ways, then back off and let someone else take care of the rest. He also plans on keeping both Sam and Nadia here to use them to put an end to this."
"How the hell's he going to do that?"
"Leverage. We give the seekers Sam and Nadia when they promise to behave themselves and not do this anymore."
"What the hell kind of sick, twisted logic is that?!"
"I have no clue, but apparently it's a sound plan that he's willing to follow through with."
"Are you, though?"
This was where Cassie sighed. "I don't know... We keep a very close eye on each other, so if I do help I'll have to be very careful about it... I've got it. I'll still be training Sam, but she'll want to see her father, or at least where he's buried, which will bring us to Tepes Hospital--"
"We need more of you guys coming with to take it down, though."
"I'll feign interest when I get there. That'll get me inside the building to see what's really going on behind the scenes. Then, I'll call back Matthew with my findings and more unmistakable proof of what really needs to be done, then the rest will take care of itself. You guys will be coming along, all the more to keep Sam and Nadia safe and to see if you can at least take a seeker into your custody and get some answers out of him."
"Alright, so are we leaving soon?"
"We should wait a few days, give Matthew some time to be distracted by other things before we suddenly disappear in the confusion."
"Man, I'll have fun telling Adam this. Should I also tell him that you threatened to eat him if he objects to it?"
Cassie chuckled. "No, he's already freaked out by all of this. This'll give him a little bit of time to become adjusted to this and ready to roll." She paused, then added, "You can tell him I said that."
Adam laughed. "Alright then, T-minus three days."
May 17 10 12:50 AM
To Sam, those were the longest three days of her life. It was extremely intimidating to be living amongst vampires, even if it was for such a short amount of time. She was either sneered at, hissed at, or completely ignored. Yes, she realized that it was unnatural for a vampire to have a heartbeat, but she felt like screaming at them all in frustration. Yet, once she was woken up by Cassie and told of the plan that she had come up with with Vlad, it gave her something to look forward to. In the meantime, she learned everything that she could about her self-control and threw herself into practicing that. Anything to make the three days go faster...
Once the day did come, however, she couldn't have been any more nervous if she tried. She had no idea how things worked at HQ, or what would happen to Cassie if someone found out what she was really doing, but she was told to not worry about that. But Sam didn't really want to be the possible cause of punishment for someone who was trying to help her, so the nervous feeling remained.
Cassie could almost see the nervousness radiating off of Sam, but didn't try anything further to prevent it. It would help her cement her excuse should any of her co-workers, or Matthew, ask... Which, thankfully, didn't happen, since Cassie's nerves were just about feeling shot as well. She escorted Sam into her car and quickly pulled out of the mansion's massive driveway. Once they passed through the outer gates, Sam visibly relaxed next to her. Cassie, however, didn't really relax since she started that plan, and doubted she would until it was over, which could take days. Man, she couldn't wait for it to end.
The drive back to the apartment was silent, with Cassie going over the plan again in her head to make sure that everything would work as smoothly as possible, and Sam anxious to see her brother again. Sure, she was used to him being away for soccer games and such, but it never was for this long. And being away from him for this short amount of time made her realize how special their relationship was to her. I guess it must be a 'twin thing', she thought ironically to herself.
Seeing Nadia's truck parked outside, with their motorcycle right alongside it, made her feel happier. They were first greeted by Vlad. Sam was glad to see that he was doing better, since she didn't really see him since the night she bit him. He noticed the relief on her face, and pulled her into a hug as she stepped out of the car. "Everyone there is so uptight, aren't they?" he asked her right away.
It took her a second to figure out what he was talking about, then let out a laugh. "Yeah, I couldn't believe it."
He stepped back and studied her for a second, before turning to Cassie. "It looks like she made it out with her sanity intact. What's your secret?"
Cassie rolled her eyes at him, then headed inside. Sam soon followed suit, laughing under her breath. Vlad was something else entirely, she mused. She got into the apartment, and while Cassie and Marcus were finalizing the plan, soon to be joined by Vlad, she did some exploring. Cassie has a very nice place, she thought to herself. I guess immortality can give you the time and means to gather this much money together. She explored a few rooms, and came across one that had the door closed. She placed her hand on the doorknob, when Vlad suddenly came down the hallway after her. "I think I should tell you--"
Sam opened the door to see Adam and Nadia kissing each other. Sam let out a squeak and slammed the door, turning around to face the other way. "Something," Vlad finished. "Adam and Nadia have a thing for each other," he added helplessly.
"So I see," she commented. She tried mentally scrubbing the image out of her head. Sure, he was her brother, and she couldn't hate him for liking someone, but that was just gross. The door opened behind her, and she automatically joked, "I hope you're decent."
Adam snorted in mild amusement, then pulled her into a tight hug. "It's good to see you, Sammi."
"Good to see you too, Adam." She turned in his arms, and hugged him back with all of the strength she could use without crushing his ribs.
"Can I have a hug too?" Vlad whined. Both Sam and Adam made a disapproving noise and hugged each other tighter. Vlad stared for a second, then commented, "You guys are so much like twins, it's not even funny."
"That's probably because they are," interrupted Nadia, coming out of the room behind Adam.
"That makes sense," Vlad said slowly.
Nadia gently pulled Sam out of Adam's grasp and, amazingly enough, she was let go without protest. A confused glance at her brother gave her an explanation, though. He looked absolutely smitten with Nadia. Wow... This is really something else. He never acted that way with anyone else before. Maybe Nadia and I will have to have a little chat...
"Please say you're not mad," Nadia said, interrupting her from her thoughts.
"Why would I be mad?"
"Because he's your brother."
Sam waited for Nadia to continue, but when she didn't she moved her hand in a circle in front of her and said, "And..."
"You're really not mad?"
"No. I mean, yeah, he's my brother, and I care about him, but he's my brother, not my boyfriend or anything like that... And now, I'll have to scrub that image out of my brain as well."
Nadia smacked her lightly on the arm, then pulled her into a hug as well. "Welcome back, and thanks."
"It's good to be back, and that's no problem. It's actually nice to talk about 'normal' things for a change."
"And while we're in a good mood right now, Adam, can I--" started Vlad.
"No," interrupted Adam.
"C'mon, you can't just answer 'no' right away; you don't even know what it is."
"Yeah, but I know what it's not."
Sam put her head in her hand to hide her laughter, as Vlad scoffed and said, "Whatever."
Nadia nudged Sam's arm, and said under her breath while giggling, "I think they like each other now." Sam pressed her hand to her mouth to try to hide her laughter, but it escaped anyway. A sharp look from Adam sobered them, but not for long.
"Okay, guys, it's time to go. Are you ready?" Cassie asked.
Adam came back to both girls, and took their hands in each of his. He encouragingly squeezed hers, and Sam took a deep breath before answering for all of them. "Yes. As ready as we'll ever be."
May 19 10 1:20 AM
Somewhere outside of Kansas City, Missouri, the odd group checked into a small, out of the way hotel, at around 10 o'clock at night. The two "pure" vampires weren't used to traveling with such a schedule, wanting to stay indoors in the morning hours and travel by night. They did realize that while Sam and Nadia were only half vampires, and that gave them certain strengths, they could still be tired. The two boys obviously were, so Cassie and Marcus decided to give the traveling a rest.
Cassie escorted the girls to one room; Marcus and the boys in another. "Girls," Cassie spoke to them as they settled their respective bags on their beds. "Myself and Marcus aren't going to be retiring at this moment. We stopped because you four need the rest. So, I expect the four of you to get that rest while we're here. The two of us are going to check out the area in the meantime, see what we can pick up if we can get anything." Cassie was almost jumping at every shadow at this point, thinking that one of the other Rogue's could be hiding in them. If she was spotted heading anywhere near Washington state, it would be the end. And, it wouldn't just be for her.
"No problem," Nadia replied, stretching her arms up over her head. Sam nodded in agreement, sitting down with a sigh on her bed.
"Do either one of you need to feed?" When Cassie saw two shaking heads, she nodded. "Good night, then. Once we get back, we won't be too far away." She stepped out of the room and closed the door behind her as Marcus stepped out of the other.
He thought to himself for a second, then looked at Cassie. "Do you have a padlock on hand?" he thought-asked her.
"He's planning on going out, isn't he," she replied in reference of Vlad.
"I didn't hear anything, but I want to be safe."
She rolled her eyes, then figured it would be a good idea if she did the same for the girls' door as well. "I'll get it," she reassured Marcus.
"I don't even want to get out of these clothes," Nadia commented, flopping backwards onto her bed. "Riding in a van all day sucks."
"You're telling me," Sam replied. She hadn't realized how much she missed the freedom that came with a motorcycle until today. If only she could have tried to convince Cassie to let her or Adam drive it on the way up. Who knew if the two of them would be staying over there or not... But, even though she missed the bike, she did know that it suffered more than a little bit from the crash with the car crash earlier that week.
That thought made her shift on the bed. "I can't believe it's nearly been a week since we all met," she spoke aloud.
Nadia turned onto her side, then raised herself up on an arm. "Yeah, it has, hasn't it?"
"Now, it seems so much longer."
"No kidding. I mean, a lot has happened since then... Well, besides the constant driving."
Sam laughed. "No kidding." Looking over at Nadia, she changed the subject. "So... You and Adam, huh?"
Nadia sat upright, keeping her eyes on Sam. "I really do hope you aren't mad at me, or think I'm taking him from you or anything. I wouldn't want to do that at all."
"I'm not mad, and I don't think that at all." In reality, it was different to get less attention than she was used to now. Before, she would have easily cursed his hide at worrying over her so much; now, knowing what was occupying his time, it felt more like a bittersweet victory. "I just worry about him. He doesn't know this, but I worry alot over him. Being the 'star boy' back home and all."
"Did he have any other girlfriends?"
"One or two... They didn't last, though. I guess we both saw through them pretty quick." Seeing Nadia's confused look, Sam did her perfected imitation of the shallow, airheaded cheerleader that she would bring out with Corrinne. Tossing her hair repeatedly, she said, "Because, like, you know, he's just. So. Totally. Hot... Like, ohmigod, you know?"
Nadia threw back her head and laughed. Wiping the tears from the corners of her eyes, she asked, "Honestly?"
"Oh yeah. That made for some pretty interesting conversation. It just made me sad, knowing that they would be the one's running our futures someday."
"I don't mean for this to sound shallow or wrong, but what can they do to us? We're living with the short end of the stick, and can at least work that to our advantage. Acting stupid all the time gets you nowhere, and you can't really use it to get a good thing. Unless you want to be a gold digger. Then it would be perfect."
Sam laughed at Nadia's view of their unique situation. "You know something... I used to envy them and feel sorry for them at the same time. Now, I could really care less."
"And that's how it should be," Nadia congratulated her. "I always wanted to have that kind of high school experience, but if it's anything like it really is in the movies..."
"I guess it varies," Sam replied after a little thought. "I only truly experienced that in the last week I was there." Not to mention the last day, before it turned nightmarish.
"Wow... Does it suck, compared to all the time before?"
"Yeah. I hated being noticed like that. I don't know what was worse: being stared at like a piece of meat by the guys, or being stared at for a different reason by the girls."
"What about Vlad... or, rather, Craig?" Nadia teased. "You wouldn't mind it that much if it was him, huh?"
Sam responded with a blush as she suddenly became interested in the carpeting. True, she minded when she was getting extra attention from the guys back at her school, but that must have been because of them seeing her constantly as a wallflower before. The sudden change made her wonder what it was they really saw in her. But with Craig, who hadn't seen her as a wallflower before, it gave her a small sense of relief. There were no excuses to hide behind since he already knew about her, and he had only just met her, meaning there was no history to hinder any new impressions. It was a relatively clean slate.
Of course, she noticed that Adam must not have liked it too much, since he kept such a close eye on the two of them. She wondered if he could possibly be watching her with Nadia right now, listening on their conversation. The thought was so creepy, she jumped a foot in the air when someone tapped on the window to their room. Nadia started as well, but went to the window to see who it was. She peered around the curtain, then closed it again with a giggle. "Speak of the devil," she told Sam.
"Is it seriously Vlad?" she asked, coming off the bed to join Nadia.
"Yeah. Look." Nadia pulled the curtains apart with a flourish, revealing a slightly startled, yet grinning Vlad. He waved to the two of them, making the girls giggle and wave back. "What do you think he wants?"
"I don't know," Sam replied. She watched as he motioned for the two of them to come outside with him. "Out there?" she asked him, pointing. He nodded, and she promptly shook her head. She laughed when he actually pouted at her, then decided to talk to him. She grasped the opening latch and started to crank it, but gasped as it gave and broke completely off in her hand. She held it up for Nadia to see with a sense of awe and disbelief mixed together. "I swear, I need to master this before it kills me."
"Look on the bright side: you won't struggle with toothpaste caps or pickle jars anymore." She resorted to pushing open the window, loosening it from it's track and swinging it completely open. "To what do we owe this honor?" she asked as Sam tossed the crank aside.
"I'm bored. Come club hopping with me."
"There's clubs around here?"
"Yes. I feel a severe disturbance in the force, meaning there's a party in town, and I'm not there to partake in it. I need hot dates to go with me, and the two of you automatically sprung to mind." He stared right at Sam as he finished his thought, making Sam shiver and blush once more.
"Oh, please tell me you aren't believing this," Adam's voice popped up from outside of their view.
Vlad turned a marginally peeved gaze to his right. "Seriously? I just had the two of them convinced, and then you say something like that."
"It doesn't matter. Give us three minutes to change," Nadia hastily interrupted before yanking the curtains shut.
"Change?!" Sam protested.
"Yes," Nadia insisted, grabbing Sam's hand and pulling her towards the middle of the room.
"I'm timing the two of you," Vlad called in through the curtains.
"I don't know why I agreed to this," Adam muttered once more.
"Because you're wanting to get to know Nadia more," Vlad replied.
"I could do that in the van."
"Can you go on a date in the van? No. Therefore..."
"I could have just taken her out someplace. I mean, why do you have to come along on what is technically our date?"
"To chaperone, keep an eye out for vampires, and erase my own boredom."
"And how does Sam play into all of this?"
Vlad turned his gaze towards Adam, seeing him relaxed against the outside wall in nonchalance. His hard eyes told Vlad an entirely different story. He snorted at the sight and said, "Just say what you want to say and be done with it."
He blinked in surprise, but replied anyways. "I don't know what your intentions are with her, but so help me, if she cries for any reason that involves you in any way, you'll be hurt. Get me?"
"I may make myself out to be an idiot sometimes, but I can assure you that I'm far from being one. If I ever do hurt her, God forbid, then I give you permission to beat the shit out of me. Hell, I'd want you to, and would gladly accept it."
Now, this really confused Adam. Most guys would have just started tossing 'okay' or 'sure' at him at this point, but hearing this vehement request was different. "Why?"
"Because I know a good thing when I see it. Your sister has a bigger heart than she gives herself credit for, and a trait like that is something I've hardly ever seen in my life. That's why I'm so interested in her." Plus, she was very cute, but he stopped himself from adding that aloud. Adam might not want to hear that about someone he grew up with.
Any reply was cut off by the sound of the curtains opening again. Nadia jumped out first, then looked back inside the room, obviously at Sam. "Come on!" she insisted, waving her arm towards herself. She then looked determined and added, "Don't make me go in there and drag you out."
"Okay!" Sam exclaimed before following suit. She landed in a crouch then slowly stood, feeling more than one set of eyes on her. Her usual shyness kicked in, making her clam up and start to withdraw, but she still followed Nadia as she pulled her towards the guys.
"You guys ready?" Nadia asked the two of them.
Vlad couldn't take his eyes off of Sam as she slightly fidgeted. It was a big change to see her in a more fitted halter top other than her usual large tees and sweatshirts. It was obvious that she was uncomfortable with the choice, but was willing to rough it out anyways since she was now wearing it. Still, he wanted Sam to be relaxed while they were breaking the rules set down by Cassie and Marcus. He had an idea right away, but didn't want Adam to think any differently of him, so he instead turned to Adam. "Can I have your coat for a second?"
He arched a brow, but surrendered it silently. Vlad in turn extended it out to Sam. "I don't want you to freeze," he explained, giving her a smile.
She uncrossed her arms, and accepted her brother's jacket. "Thanks," she said, more grateful than her tone implied.
May 20 10 11:56 PM
The mismatched quartet of teens walked into town, coming into a downtown area that held more nightlife-- much to Vlad's enjoyment. Sam shook her head at him once more as she watched him take in all the sights with a sense of childish glee. When he said he enjoyed parties, he must have meant it. Sam, being on the total opposite of the social spectrum, understandably wasn't. However, his enthusiasm was catching onto her, and she soon forgot about how different this was for her.
It also made her forget about the intent way that Adam would watch the two of them every so often to make sure that they weren't doing anything. As if she could sneak anything in during his near constant chatter. She listened with amusement as he told her about the many adventures that he had shared with Cassie, including the one about how they first met, and the ones that eventually included Marcus. He was a rapt storyteller, holding her attention and knowing just when and for how long to pause at crucial spots. Hearing him make different noises of disapproval at some points during the beginning of their journey would make her roll her eyes, but she would smile with satisfaction at hearing Nadia scolding him not too long after.
They walked in pairs, Adam and Nadia as a duo right behind Vlad and Sam. Vlad would sometimes take the moments when he knew Adam was watching to hold her hand or turn up the flirting just a little, but the excitement of being in a new town eventually won over his attempts at irking Adam. Pointing out different people and sights, and telling her about how it would remind him of something he saw or did... Most would be bored by now, or angered by not getting a word in themselves. Sam was actually having a great time, hearing all of his stories. Never having met someone who experienced as much as he had, it was a rare treat.
And he must have experienced a lot, she thought to herself, as he set an arm protectively around her waist to guide her past someone selling stolen items on the street. He didn't break his stride, didn't even so much as look at the street hawker, making her wonder how he learned that particular lesson. He kept his arm around Sam, walking her forward as the seller called out after them, but Sam took his actions to heart and forced herself not to turn and look.
"Good girl," Vlad congratulated her afterwards. "Guys like that are nothing but bad news."
"Should I ask how you know?"
He gave a noncommital shrug and answered, "Common sense." Seeing her looking up at him, he then laughed and added, "I would answer that with another story, but I think I've talked your ear off enough."
"No, I don't mind," she reassured him.
"Are you sure? Not a lot of girls can say that."
"Not a lot of girls are like me."
"And what are you like?"
"The kind that stays silent, obviously."
Laughing again, he said, "Well, that may be true. But, there's two kinds of silence."
"Oh really?" she asked, wanting to hear where this was heading.
"Yeah. There's the kind of silence that comes from someone that wants to be alone: they give short, one word answers that do nothing but cut off your conversation shorter than it rightfully should be, they nod along but they don't really pay attention, and they stare at you intently," he said, ending his first thought with a wide eyed, cold stare at Sam.
She fidgeted under his sudden stare. "I know how that is," she commented wryly.
"But then, there's the kind of silence that means they're really listening to you. They give one word answers, yes, but in a tone of voice that says they follow you so far and want you to keep going. They nod along, but they smile as well, showing their interest in what you have to say. And there's always a smile in their eyes as you're talking to them."
"You read people so well," she commented.
"And I use that power well, since you told me more about yourself by saying absolutely nothing at all."
Sam gave him a curious glance, then thought to herself, and blushed when she realized he was right. He chuckled, seeing her sudden distress, causing her to say, "Now you're just teasing me."
"I tease out of love and respect, darling," he flirted, giving her a wink.
She blushed even more if it was possible once he looked away. Damn boys anyway for being so charming sometimes.
Stepping into the first dance club seen, Vlad took a big breath and let a large smile cross his face. Here, he was in one of his many elements, one that fortunately let him have fun without having to worry about your friends or allies. Here, he didn't have to worry about any of the stress or the actions to be taken to hide the vampire existance from the general world. Here with Sam on his arm meant he could do something that he had to push aside for a little while to make room for the newer aspect of his life: dating.
Being the first date that he had been on for a few years, he had forgotten how much of a joy it was to be out in the world with someone you want to know more about. While it was slightly frustrating for him to not know as much about Sam right away, he knew that once she eventually overcame her initial shy nature, she would be more like the open book he was. He supposed that if he had an ounce of Sam's self restraint, maybe then Cassie wouldn't have to worry about him so much.
He had kept up with his calm until he saw the near unearthly grace of a group of people in front of him and Sam. It was the kind of grace that he had seen nearly every day. While he had gotten used to the sight, in a room full of mortals it made them stand out. Vampires. Wonderful. So much for completely relaxing tonight.
"You okay?" Sam's voice carried to him over the pounding music, making him look at her. She was looking up at him, and even though she had on her dark glasses to ward off the flashing lights, he could just imagine the speculation behind the gaze.
That also meant that he knew something else about her, he told himself. She was very attentive. "Yeah. Things are fine," he replied, not wanting her to share the same worries he did. Since he had more experience in the world, he could deal with his own inner worries without attracting as much attention. Keeping up the appearance of nothing being wrong, he led the way into the club. What he wasn't expecting was to feel Sam's arm coming around his lower back, gently squeezing before relaxing in that same spot. Oddly enough, it felt very comforting to him, setting him more at ease.
Throughout the night, he kept his unspoken promise to Adam by not doing anything threatening in his eyes with his own sister, but kept his spoken bargain as well, giving Adam and Nadia enough space to enjoy the date they were on. It meant that Sam and he spent the majority of their time on the dance floor, but she didn't seem to mind that either. "This is the most fun I've had in a long time," she commented, coming back towards their spot after returning her brother's coat.
"I doubt that," he replied, bringing his mouth closer to her ear to be heard over the music.
"How come?" she protested, looking at him in confusion.
"It hasn't been that long of a time since you discovered your other half."
"I know it hasn't, but that doesn't mean my own world was anything close to this."
"You had friends," he suggested. "Normal, good friends that were just as unassuming as you were."
"Friend," she corrected. "And she did have her moments where she was snooty to me. She envied the more popular girls, wanting to be more like them as we grew older, as did I. The only difference was that she made her wants more open than I did."
"Just one friend? I find that very hard to believe."
"Well, we lived in the kind of neighborhood where we all knew each other since we were toddlers. They had all seen me through my awkward, growing up moments, while they seemed to flourish like flowers. Honestly, I was very surprised when they had started taking notice. It was like I had shown up out of the blue, a shiny new toy that they had never seen before, when in reality I was right under their noses."
"And this friend of yours? What did she see?"
"She was wanting to learn my secret so that she could join in the 'being noticed by everyone' phase."
Vlad winced at hearing that. "Well, it's shameful to say that nobody you lived with knew who exactly you were. Adam was the only person that did, but I'm guessing everyone took what he said about you as brotherly love and nothing more."
"You mean what exactly I was, right?" Sam asked.
Rolling his eyes, he replied, "No, I meant who. Being a vampire doesn't completely change you. Yes, you're more brutally honest and are more protective of those you care about, but you don't really change. And you're only half vampire. That gives you an advantage in the mortal world since you aren't prone to walk on eggshells around everybody, say what you mean, and not give a damn about whatever it is they think."
"What about in the vampire world?"
"You also have a censor to all of that when it comes to the vampire world." He pinned her with an honest look when he added, "Trust me. After living with a couple of vampires, having a censor to the protective nature and the refreshingly brutal honesty is something vampires should envy."
She gave him a polite, yet disbelieving look in reply. "I'll believe that I'm one-of-a-kind instead of a freak of nature when I see it."
By the time she gave him that reply, a slow ballad had started to blare over the speakers. It seemed to suit the turned mood in the duo as the truth finally came out in Vlad's mind. She honestly had no idea how special she was to most people, even though this was done to her for the most cruel of intentions. That was just as depressing to him as hearing it fashioned in the polite reply she gave him. Taking her hand and pulling her closer to him, he started to slowly sway them to the music. "If only you could see what your brother can," he replied to her. Or what I can...
He nearly shouted in frustration when she didn't reply, but seemingly drew back into herself. She was still relaxed in his embrace, but her silence spoke volumes to him. She still didn't believe him, but this wasn't swaying his determination. She was too good of a person to not realize her own worth, and he planned on showing her exactly that.
During the dance, he let his gaze drift around the room, flitting on the group of vampires once more. They were talking to people that they would pull off of the dance floor momentarily, sending a few on their way when they were unsatisfactory. It seemed that they were hunting for their next meal, an act that he was more than familiar with, but one that now made his arms stiffen in protection around Sam. She wasn't going to be made a meal out of anybody; he'd make damn sure of that.
Forcing his gaze away from the vampires, he looked around the crowds once more, settling on another group in a different spot in the room, standing stiffly. He continued looking at them as they seemed to search for something, when one at the edge of the small circle nudged the person next to him. Following their gaze, he saw that they had caught sight of the vampires at 'work', and it hit him in the gut when he realized who the second group was: vampire hunters.
Hunters and vampires in the same building? Aw, shit... Things are going to get ugly fast. Meaning that it was best for him and Adam to get their dates out before something happened that they would regret, and possibly pay for with their lives.
May 23 10 12:22 AM
Vlad, of course, couldn't leave without warning the vampires first, since living with a pair of them that prefered to be warned of trouble around them put him in that particular habit. He looked back at the group of hunters quickly, then focused on one of the vampires in the group. Now was a good time to practice what Cassie had been teaching him: trying to get a single vampire's attention with just his thoughts. Good luck, Vlad, he told himself.
"Hey! Hey, you!" he thought, taking care to amplify them as if he were in a stadium trying to get someone's attention in the back row of the seats. "Pasty white chick, wearing the really outdated clothes!! Yo, look at me, I'm over here! Hello, hello, HELLOOOOO--"
The vampiress he was trying to contact whipped her head around to his. "You had better have something important to say mortal, unless you want us to kill you," she replied.
"Hunters. Three o'clock."
Her eyes widened as she picked up his thought. "You're sure?"
He watched her straighten her back, take a quick glance to her right, then turn her head back to the vampire sitting beside her. She whispered something imperceptible to him, who in turn relaxed the hold on the woman he was holding onto. As he alerted the rest of the small clan through quick word exchanges, both vocal and mental, the vampiress looked back at him and gave a short nod. "You are familiar with vampires," she commented. "Your concern for us is refreshing, compared to the mortals I deal with. Even though you did insult my choice in clothing."
He smirked, keeping his laughter down with great difficulty. "That was kind of the first time I did that... And what a great time to perfect it, too."
"Indeed. Take your date and leave quickly. I thank you for warning us, but what we have planned may get you hurt as well. I don't wish to do that, knowing you've helped us."
Instead of replying, he took the vampiress' advice. He turned his mouth closer to Sam's ear, but was cut off by her speaking. "Something's happening, isn't it?" she asked.
He paused, momentarily surprised, then asked, "How did you know?"
"I... I don't know." She looked up at him as she continued. "You were talking to someone... with your mind? I couldn't hear words, not exactly, but I felt-- I knew-- that it was urgent somehow."
He stared at her, hard. If she was picking up on the gist of his thoughts without realizing what it was... "I think you're more powerful than you realize. But you're right; something's happening. It's bad, but it's not directed at us. Even so, it's better if we leave now." Seeing her nod, he then grasped her hands with one of his own and started to lead her to the table where Adam was sitting. Finding it vacant, he cursed softly. He quickly searched the dance floor, found him with Nadia, and cut through the crowd as fast as he could. Not bothering with being polite, he clapped a hand on Adam's shoulder.
Adam jumped, startled, and turned his head around to find Vlad. "What?" he asked.
"We're leaving. Now."
Confused, Adam exchanged a look with Nadia before looking back at Vlad. "Why? What's going on?"
"I'll tell you after we've left. Let's go." He stopped Adam, grabbing his arm at the elbow, as he started to leave Nadia's side to go to their table, no doubt to get his coat. "Is it really needed?" he asked Adam.
Adam gave Vlad a hard stare before pulling his arm out of Vlad's grasp, then turned and continued on his mission. Nadia rolled her eyes and shook her head at the show of testosterone, then asked Vlad, "What is going on?"
Vlad set his jaw, then pointed at the stiffly standing group of humans watching the vampires. "See them?"
"Yeah," Nadia replied, nodding. "What about them?"
"Hunters. Know them well, since I don't think they'd take to you just being half-vampire."
"Meaning there's real vampires here," Sam guessed, putting together what she noticed from Vlad earlier with the intensity of their stare at a different place in the room.
"Exactly. This is something I don't want to get involved in--"
"But we have to warn them!" Nadia protested, a little bit too loudly as one of the hunters in the group turned, searching for her voice in the crowd.
Vlad sucked in a quick breath and turned the trio of them around, away from the group. "I already did," he reassured Nadia. He stopped her from turning back around to see if the one hunter was still watching, and said, "The only thing we can do now is get out of here. Preferably quietly." He waited until she settled down before looking back himself. The odd hunter out fell back with the rest of the group, silently watching the clan of vampires. If they're planning to attack, what the hell are they waiting for?
He took the lull in the action to study the hunters before him. They were wearing plain clothes, but they carried themselves a lot differently than other hunters than he had seen. He'd seen some that were cocky, those that read too much about vampire hunting from fictional books, or those who watched too much TV, and then there were hunters who at least knew that what they were doing was dangerous. They were the ones to watch out for. It was still early to tell which group these guys belonged in.
What he thought was different about this group in particular was that they had identical patches on their jackets. He was too far away to make out exactly what it was, but he could make out the basics: a white outline of a man against a blood red background, with what looked like a red plus sign in the center of the man's chest. He was trying to figure out why they would have that particular design as their logo when the apparent leader of the group made the first move. He reached inside of his coat, pulled out a crossbow, aimed at the group, and quickly started firing. Once the leader started, all of the other members of the group joined in.
Needless to say, once they started firing, the room went into chaos. People started screaming, running towards any available exit, or were pushing themselves away from the action. Those that were running for the exits were pushing others out of the way, trying to get out first. Among those that were shoved out of the way was Sam. The first shove pushed her out to the extent of Vlad's grip on her hand; the second tore them apart completely. "Vlad!" she cried out, trying to get back to him without starting to panic.
"Sam!" he called back, Nadia joining his efforts to fight through the crowd. He gave up momentarily, finally remembering Nadia behind him, and Adam still nowhere to be found. "Nadia," he ordered loudly, turning around to face her. "Find Adam and get out of here."
"What about you?" she asked, holding onto his arms to keep from being shoved to the side.
"I'm going to find Sam. Meet us at the edge of town, before the turn to the hotel." He started off into the crowd without waiting for an answer, not sure about what his plan of rescue was yet. "Sam!!" he called out again, trying to make himself be heard.
Sam tried to call out to Vlad again, but it was very hard once people started to elbow her in the ribs every so often. The entire place was in a bedlam, and at the near center of it all was a fight between vampires and their hunters. A couple on each side were either already dead, or near dying as far as she could tell. All she knew was that she had to get out, now.
The last shove broke her away from the stampede of humans and into the wall. Her head and shoulder banged sharply against it, making her wince. As she tried blinking her vision into focus, a man came up to her and touched her shoulder. Thinking it was someone trying to hurt her, she started to pull away from him.
"Hold on, hold on," the man reassured her, tightening his grip. "It's okay, I want to help you."
Looking down at his other hand, she saw a crossbow firm in his grasp. He's one of the hunters! "Oh God," she moaned aloud, hiding her face from his.
"It's alright. I'm not going to let any of these beasts hurt you." He tucked his fingers under her chin and started to raise her head. "Are you okay?"
"Please, just leave me alone," she begged him, backing away. When he kept a stronger grip on her arm and pulled her closer, it made her raise her head to his. Seeing his face turn to one of shock could only mean one thing for her: he saw her fangs, which had slid down when she hit the wall.
"You're one of them," he accused her, his friendly tone turning to acid.
"Let me go," she begged again, trying to pull away.
He pulled her roughly back to him, forced her back against his front, and pinned her arms in front of her with a hand. He ditched his crossbow for a crude wooden stake, which was now being held against her throat. She found herself facing a vampiress that had started to advance on the two of them, but stopped at seeing the situation turn into something different. Sam watched the vampiress give her a look mixed with confusion and awe, telling her that the vampiress could see her fangs as well. "Stay back," the hunter warned. "Or I kill her."
Instinct kicked into Sam's gut, telling her to fight back. Screaming loudly, she turned out of his grasp and faced him, raising her now freed hands. One swiped at the arm with the stake, knocking it away from her, while the other clawed at his face. He staggered away from her, pressing a hand to his bleeding wound, giving her the out she needed. She ran for the nearest door and burst through it, finding herself in a bathroom. All the stalls were empty, and there was a window at the end of the room. Adrenaline pumping through her, she rushed to it and smashed her fist through the glass. It broke on impact, leaving some pieces on the edge of the sill and on the floor at her feet, but once she brushed them out of the way and onto the alleyway below, she jumped through, running away as soon as her feet hit the ground.
May 24 10 10:38 PM
"Sam! Where are you?" Vlad called as he roamed down the streets. He had missed her entirely in the nightclub, getting distracted by a lone vampire cornered by hunters. Instinct had him thinking quickly, having him change his direction to distract the hunters. He had picked up a couple of abandoned beer bottles from the bar, pitching them at the heads of two of the hunters, leveling the playing field so to speak. He kept their attention on him by loudly proclaiming that they wouldn't be able to catch him, a vampire as well, before turning around and running out of the club.
Now that he had lost the duo, it was time to find the reason why he stayed behind: Sam. It occured to him a couple of times that maybe she was heading back to the small hotel by herself, but he still wanted to make sure that she wasn't somewhere in the city, hiding out in an alleyway. He didn't care that he could catch major shit from not only Adam but from Cassie as well; he just wanted to make sure she was okay.
And people still sneered at him as he strode past them. If only they knew the kind of life that he was living, or what he was thinking at that moment, maybe they'd overlook the state of his dress, ridiculous as that seemed. If only he stayed at home all those years ago, instead of going out for a walk and eventually meeting Cassie, maybe then he would be that ignorant. I think I'd sooner let myself become a vampire's midnight snack.
"Sam!" he called out once more. "Can you hear me?"
A hand on his shoulder turning him around kicked his fight instinct into gear, so the person behind him was met with a right hook across the jaw. Seeing it was the vampiress he warned from the club make him curse aloud. That, and the pain that had shot through his hand. While he was glad to see that his hit didn't seem to faze her, it still hurt like hell! "That must have hurt," she stated, keeping her gaze level with his. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah. Sorry about that," he explained. "I'm just nervous."
"As you should be. Your date is not who she seems to be."
"What?" With his confusion about the vampiress' warning came exasperation. What else could Sam be hiding? Bat wings?
"Your friend... She is not as human as she appears to be."
"If you're talking about her fangs, I know about those already."
The vampiress regarded him closely. "So they aren't fake. Those fangs are real."
"Unfortunately for her, yeah, they are." Now angered about the turn in his thoughts, he renewed his search. "She's also missing right now, and I need to find her."
"I can help you," the vampiress offered. "You've saved my own from a certain surprise attack, and helped us fight them. I owe you for that."
Vlad turned back to her, shaking the last of the pain out of his right hand. "You don't owe me anything... But, I'd appreciate it if you could help me find her."
Nodding, the vampiress answered, "Follow me." She then turned around and headed back to the alleyway beside the club, keeping an easy pace for Vlad to keep close with. The trail she picked up from Sam had started with a circle of broken glass on the ground, continuing down the alley and out to a different part of the neighborhood. With fewer houses and more farms at this side of town, Vlad was starting to wonder if she mistakenly got herself lost, or intended it to be that way.
The vampiress finally stopped him, pointing to a large tree by the side of the road. He wasn't sure, but he thought he could see someone there... "She's sitting right there," the vampiress whispered. "She sounds very upset, though."
"Thank you," he replied, now distracted once more. Maybe she did intend to get herself lost after all. He started forward, not saying anything until Sam noticed that he was walking towards her. Before she gave him a chance to talk, she stood and bolted up the tree. He quickened his pace, wanting to catch up to her before she disappeared on him again. "Sam, wait!"
"Go away!" she called back down as he reached the trunk. She situated herself on the highest branch she found, staring out into the beginnings of the countryside.
"Please, just listen to me."
"Vlad, I... I'm a monster! I'm nothing but a monster to any of them!"
"No, Sam, they just don't understand you." Hearing no reply, he sighed deeply. Sometimes a guy had to do what a guy had to do. Why did it have to be this, though? He shook his head quickly, then set his hand on a branch above his head.
Sam didn't know how long she sat there, lost in her melancholy thoughts, before a strange sound crossed her ears. Something was coming up the tree after her. Thinking that it could very well be a bear, or something else just as dangerous, she spared a quick glance down, ready to make a break for it. Seeing Vlad instead made her scoff aloud. Was he crazy?! "What are you doing?" she asked him.
"If you're not going to talk to me down there, then I'm coming up to you," he replied, reaching her height. "Either way, we're going to talk about this."
"There's nothing to talk about. I can't fit in anywhere! I'm not human because I have fangs that come out when I'm hurt or scared, and I'm not a vampire because I still have a heartbeat. How in the world am I going to go through life knowing that I'm some kind of... of... a freak! That's all I'll be to them: a freak."
"It's a miracle no one's killed me yet! Even though it was pretty close tonight--"
"Sam! Stop for a second and think about this. Yes, you'll come off as someone very different for vampires. But, they're usually more sympathetic to the humans that help them, so I'm sure that you sharing parts of their curse wouldn't have you looked at like a freak."
"How different would it be?" she challenged him. "Would they pity me? Welcome me? Respect me, like the one woman did you?"
"Yes," he replied, nodding. "When it comes to humans, though, they often reject what they don't understand. It doesn't mean you should take that to heart. I mean, dozens upon dozens of vampires go through the same thing every day. That doesn't mean they'll just roll over and take all the words they hear literally."
"What about the hunters?"
"They don't even count for anything," Vlad stated with a laugh. "They dread Halloween because they can't tell the real vampires from those that dress up as one and chug down watered ketchup." Seeing Sam start to giggle raised his hopes, so he pressed on. "Why take their word on how you should be anyways? I mean, they go around killing people all the time. They have no life outside of that, because that's all they can think about."
"What, and they don't know me like you do?"
"Yes, you, and all the other vampires in the world that were wrongfully killed. Believing people that only know how to kill things when they call you a monster is just as ridiculous as it sounds."
She went quiet at his words. "I am a monster, though," she insisted. Hearing his scoff, she glared at him. "I know I'm a monster because I..."
"You," Vlad prodded.
"I'm afraid of myself. I'm afraid of what I can do," she admitted. Suddenly, she climbed down from her perch and landed on the same branch Vlad was standing on, bringing her now extended fangs close to his neck. "I can smell your blood, hear your heart pounding faster-- things no one should be able to do. And you stand there and say that I don't scare people? I sure as hell scare me, and that's enough most times." She tilted his head to the side, exposing a large vein to her eyes. "You are afraid of me," she guessed.
"No," he insisted. His grip tightened on the branch he was holding onto, and said, "I don't like that you're on the same branch as me." He met her curious look, but he soon slammed his eyes shut as the branch under his feet started to crack. Oh God... "Sam, I'm serious. Please..." he begged, his words choppy.
She quickly stepped back onto one that was slightly lower down from him. "You're afraid of heights?" she asked. When he nodded quickly, she continued. "If you're afraid of heights, why climb a tree to come after me?"
"I told you before; I wanted to talk to you, but you weren't listening to me down there. So, I wanted to come after you." He finally opened his eyes and cautiously looked down at her. "Sometimes life is about facing your fears. If you're afraid of yourself, you're going to have to get over it, because you face yourself when you look in the mirror each day. If you don't want to be a monster, then don't. You're more in control of your fate than you give yourself credit for."
She found herself unable to answer him for a short while. How could he say that to her? He didn't see the things she did, or hear what she had done. Yet, he put so much blind faith into her being normal, or at least his version of normal, which had stretched to include her freak of nature status. "I still can believe you're up here, being so afraid," she commented, not standing the silence that had fallen.
"Yeah... The big trick will be getting me down from here."
"You don't think I'm a monster?" she asked him, testing his faith in her.
Stepping back up to Vlad's branch, she wrapped her arms around his waist, holding him tightly. "Meaning you trust me, right?"
"Answer me," she insisted. "Do you trust me?"
His heart was jackhammering behind his ribs, his hands had grown clammy, and he was finding it very hard to breathe normally. Still, he found the will inside of him to nod and let go of the limb above his head. "Yes," he replied, his voice higher than he was comfortable to admit.
Keeping her hold on him steady, she stepped up onto another branch that pointed out across the road, and pushed off of it with all of her strength. He sucked in a sharp breath and clamped his hands down on her shoulders, but she ignored them for now. She was bracing herself for their landing, which she could tell would hurt more than just a little.
The breath knocked out of them on impact, as they rolled to lessen the blow. The hold on each other loosened, bringing the two of them to a stop just outside of arm's reach. Vlad wound up looking at the night sky, chest heaving as he struggled to get his breathing in control. A shaky hand came up to his forehead to wipe away the beads of sweat starting to fall. He hated trees; nothing changed in all the years.
Hearing harsh breathing beside him turned his attention to Sam. Her back was to him, and her shoulders were shaking while she drew her legs closer to herself. He slid across to her, turning her onto her back, but still she kept her face away from him. "Please, leave me alone," she whispered to him.
"Let me help you," he urged her. He slipped his left arm out of his coat, rolling the sleeve up before holding it close to her mouth. "Nothing you can do is going to scare me off, so you may as well get used to me. I put my trust in you; now, you have to trust me."
Sam opened her eyes, focusing on his arm. She shuddered, forcing herself to turn away from it. Seeing his concerned gaze on her made her blink in surprise, but her eyes were reverted back to that one spot on his neck where his pulse was still pounding. Keeping that in her sights, she didn't notice that she was pushing him back onto the ground, her fangs sliding out of her gums and to their normal length. The normal, fearsome voice of her conscience started in, telling her that she was going to hurt him if she didn't stop now, but she bit him anyways. Maybe once she came out of her feeding craze, she'd find that she'd come to trust him as much as he did for her.
A startled breath whooshed out of Vlad as Sam quickly sank her fangs into his skin. He tensed himself, preparing for the pain that would start to follow, but he felt a numbing start to settle in. The more she nursed at his neck, the more the feeling spread, sharpening to a pleasant warmth in it's wake. So, it wasn't just because of her feeding from his arm before, he mused to himself, thinking back to their first feeding. It had felt so fantastic that he didn't think to stop her, but just now figured that it must be something about Sam herself.
For now, he just had to remember to remain relaxed. Getting worked up could carry over to her, making her bite more lethal to him. Trust was finally gained-- even though it was on shaky ground. He was now determined to keep it.
May 28 10 9:49 PM
"There it is," Sam softly spoke, her breath fogging in the night air. "Our hotel."
Vlad looked up as she pointed the sight out to him, slightly leaning into her. She could support him, thanks to her boost in strength, but it was embarrassing for him to be helped upright by a girl. Thankfully, it wasn't a girl that was holding it against him, but scolding him for letting it happen. It was a long walk from the field she fed from through the town, and even though he was slowly getting his strength back, she still felt that she had to take care of him the entire while. "Yeah, there it is," he stated.
"Cassie's going to give you hell," she said, seeing the light that looked like it was from her's and Nadia's room on.
He shrugged in indifference. "She always gives me hell for something. This isn't any different."
"Do you need a break?" she asked him.
"Yeah, a short one," he admitted. He let her help him down to the ground, where he laid himself down against the cool grass, letting a deep breath out.
"You should have stopped me," Sam scolded, yet again. At the rate she was going, she was afraid that she would have drained him dry before he would have had a chance to say something.
"Sam, it's fine," he insisted.
"No, it's not. Craig, I could have killed you."
"But, you didn't. And I like to think that it's because you would have missed my boyishly-handsome charm too much."
In spite of the situation, Sam laughed. "Oh yeah, that was the reason. I would have missed your flirting with me, and would have had to find another boy to flirt with instead."
"Another boy?" he teased. "Thinking of pushing me off a cliff already? I'm surprised."
She continued to laugh, resting her head on his shoulder. "No, I'm not thinking of killing you off. I like you too much." A few moments passed before Sam realized what she just said. Well, look at you, Miss Sassy Flirter. You just about put him on his deathbed and now you're flirting up a storm as if nothing happened.
Vlad set his hand on the side of her jaw, tilting her face towards his. He smiled, meeting her gaze, saying, "You said you like me."
A hot blush creeping over her face, she stammered, "Yeah... I, ah... You don't have to... I mean, you can, but still... I didn't... Well, I did..." She gave up with an embarrassed groan.
He meant to tease her, saying that she was very cute when she got flustered like that, but he was surprised to hear something else entirely. "I like you too much, too." They both froze, staring at each other as the truth hung between them.
He moved closer to her, slowing when her soft protest caught on a gasp. Unsure himself of how to proceed, he stayed that close to her, gently tracing her jaw with his thumb. He could see her wide eyes in the soft glow of the moonlight. It didn't take a genius to know she was scared, but there was still the hopeful side of him. She worried at her lower lip, gathering her courage together, before she shifted her face closer to his.
"If you don't want this," he started, wondering what she was really thinking.
"No... I do."
He paused, then spread his hand out across the side of her neck. He slowly closed the distance between them, not wanting to blink, let alone breathe, in fear that this moment would end too soon. He felt the tentative touch of her mouth on his, as light as a feather. He didn't pull away, but didn't move closer, wanting her to be comfortable... But that didn't mean he enjoyed it any less. As the kiss went on, they melded closer together, insecurities and doubts fading away with the passing minutes. She clung onto him, feeling like she was drowning in the excitement of her first kiss. Now, she knew exactly what she was missing, and that nothing would be the same from this night on.
Even though she didn't want to, she had to stop and catch her breath. Plus, they were just wasting time at this point, not wanting to get back to their lives. At least, Sam was. "We have to get back," she breathed.
He mumbled a protest, shaking his head at her. "No, we don't have to."
"Yes," she insisted, firming her resolve. She raised herself onto her knees, away from the smiling temptation below her. "Come on, Vlad."
He sighed. "Bossy lady," he protested, forcing himself to sit up. He liked being rewarded with another kiss from her, and gave him enough incentive to stand and start walking back. But, a second reward wasn't going to happen, since he saw Cassie standing outside their windows, waiting for them. Turning his gaze to Sam, he said, "Good night." That meant that he wanted her to go to her room, and have him take the fall.
She looked at him. "Are you sure?" Seeing his confident nod, she agreed and gave him a last hug before doing so. The first person who she saw was Nadia, sitting on her own bed, watching the TV. Nadia took one look at her, and regarded her with confusion when Sam blushed profusely. Nadia's jaw then fell, her eyes widening as she figured out what it was Sam could possibly be blushing about.
Cassie waited until Sam was safely in her room once more before starting for Vlad. Any anger she would have felt had faded at seeing his condition, since he was almost entirely supported by Sam. Once she reached him, Nadia's shocked cry reached her ears: "You did not!!!"
Cassie looked back at the open window as excited laughter poured out soon after. Turning back to Vlad, she asked, "I suppose you had something to do with that?"
He grinned sheepishly, having heard Nadia as well. "I might have."
Cassie rolled her eyes. "Sometimes I don't understand you." Reaching Vlad's own room window, she stopped him, propping him up against the outside wall. "So, hunters, huh?" she asked, bringing up the story he heard told from Nadia and Adam once she found the two of them waiting in the shadows, just out of sight of the hotel.
"Yeah." He shook his head, sobering as he remembered the strange group. "I've never seen anyone like them. It was like they didn't care if they got caught, or if anyone could see-- which plenty did, I'm sure of it."
Cassie considered Vlad for a few moments, then said, "Good job tonight."
"Don't do it again."
"Can't make any promises there."
Of course not, Cassie thought to herself. It would be so unlike him to not help any vampires now, she'd be surprised if he agreed to that as well.
A few days after the incident that happened to the small group in Kansas City, and hundreds of miles away, a woman wearing a plain t-shirt and worn blue jeans strode through the front doors of Tepes Hospital like she owned the place. Her dark sunglasses hid her eyes from the world, but she eyed everyone sitting in the waiting room quickly as she made her way to the front desk. As the nurse looked up from her computer at her, she pushed a section of her straight blond hair behind an ear and said, "I'm here for an appointment to speak to the head of the hospital."
As she spoke, the eyes of everyone else in the waiting room bore into her back. Not seeing, or maybe just ignoring, the grouped reaction, the receptionist then asked, "May I have your name please?"
"Elaine Smith." As the receptionist turned back to her computer, Elaine half turned to eye the people sitting behind her. They turned back to whatever they were doing quickly, giving cautious glances back to her to see if she turned away yet.
"Um, I don't see your name here on the computer, Ms. Smith," the receptionist interrupted.
Elaine knew it was against the rules, but she leaned over the counter to peer at the screen. "Are you sure?" She searched for a second, pulling down her shades to see better, then pointed at the screen. "Wait, right there. There's my name. If it was a snake, it would've bitten you." She finished with a smile on her face, and her eyes met the receptionist's. Elaine then reached into the other woman's mind with her's and mentally ordered her, "You can see my name right where I'm pointing on the screen."
The receptionist blinked at her as the mental command registered somewhere deep in her subconcious, then looked at the screen where Elaine was pointing, and sure enough, there was her name. "Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't see it before!" Both women shared a laugh, and the receptionist pulled out a visitor's pass before handing it to her. "Now, you just head to those elevators, and take it to the fifth floor. Dr. Lawrence's office is the third door on the right, and I'll let him know that you're here."
Elaine took the pass and thanked the receptionist before taking the directions that was told her. She slid inside the elevator as the doors opened before pushing the uppermost button and watching the doors slide shut. She looked around, satisfied that she was alone after spying no cameras. She then closed her eyes and "searched" for Marcus. When she recognized his mental signature, she sent a message to him: "I'm in."
"Good, bella. Now be careful."
Cassie smiled to herself as she was told that. There was no need. If she could get in easily, she could get out just as quickly as needed.
Jun 1 10 12:47 AM
At a bus stop on the corner, citizens of the unsuspecting town passing by without a second glance, two men sat side by side, not moving or speaking. One was dressed very casually-- a wrinkled t-shirt under a cardigan, torn jeans, and Converse sneakers gave him the same unassuming slacker vibe his sitting position did. The man next to him, however, looked more professional than the other. He sat forward, adjusting the jacket over his three-piece suit, before brushing off a miniscule spot of dirt on his knee. Neither one acknowledged the presence of their silent companion, nor of anyone else that temporarily waited at the same bus stop.
They only took notice of their boss, waiting across the street from them, always in plain view. The woman was sitting in a café, an untouched glass of tea in front of her. Her phone rang, yet she remained silent as she answered. It didn't matter; she heard the words that she was waiting for, and nothing else. She discarded money onto the table as she stood, returning the phone to her pocket. A look across the street and a nod were all the two men at the bus stop needed for confirmation as well.
Both men finally looked at each other, their eyes flashing silver behind the dark sunglasses they wore. The 'slacker' looked up at the target apartment they were to hit, reveling in the adrenaline that spiked through him. He was going to enjoy this new job he was assigned.
A soft knock on the office door fell on the ears of Don Lawrence, M.D. He glanced up from his paperwork and said firmly, "Enter."
The door opened and shut, admitting a blond woman wearing plain clothes into the room. She approached the desk and held out her hand. "Hi, my name's Elaine Smith, and I would like to talk--"
"Sit," Dr. Lawrence ordered her. After a brief awkward pause, Elaine sat. "I run a tight schedule, Ms. Smith. I can't have people convincing my wonderful, hard-working receptionist that they have appointments with me at any given time of day. Now, the sole reason that I'm permitting you to remain sitting here and not be escorted out by my hospital security is only because I'm curious as to how you got past her in the first place."
Cassie, refusing to be intimidated, spoke clearly. "I'm a very persuasive person, Dr. Lawrence. Whenever I want something, I don't stop until I have it."
"And that specific something is that you want to speak to me. What of?" He folded his hands and set them on his desk, waiting for her reply.
"I have a feeling that you are in need of my services here at Tepes Hospital."
She's got to be kidding. "You came here, persuaded my receptionist to let you into my offices, dressed like you just got off the street, to come here and ask me for a job? I'm sorry, miss, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
"Nothing will persuade me otherwise, miss. I don't want to hear it."
"Not even the fact that I'm not just looking for any job here, and that I haven't been a miss for almost eighty years?" She watched as his gaze turned to her in an almost confused glance. She almost had him... but, now, for the finishing touch. "Well, if even that can't convince you, I guess I'll just have to take my business elsewhere." She stood from her chair and addressed him again. "It was very nice to meet you, Dr. Lawrence." She then turned on her heel and headed back towards the office door.
Her hand was on the handle when his voice stopped her. "Stop, wait a minute."
She allowed herself to smile then. Hook, line, and sinker. Dashing her smile away from her face, she turned back and put on her most irritated look. "Look, Doctor, like you I'm a very busy person as well, and unlike you you have the advantage of getting it done in daylight. I could be sleeping right about now with my handsome sire, but since you never see your clients after dark--"
"Elaine! I truly apologize about you being inconvenienced like this, but if what you are saying is true, I might have to do a couple of tests to make sure."
Cassie huffed. "It better be quick," she muttered.
Dr. Lawrence pulled out a stethoscope, placed the earbuds in, and set the other end on Cassie's back. "Breathe in... and out," he instructed. He heard the air whooshing into her lungs... but no heartbeat. He moved the end slightly to a different spot on her back, and she repeated the action with the same results. Removing the stethoscope, he placed it into his white jacket pocket and stepped around her. "Show me your fangs," he ordered, not even flinching when she opened her mouth, and lowered her fangs. Nodding in satisfaction, he opened the door behind her, and gestured for her to follow. "Welcome to the team, Elaine."
Cassie followed the "good" doctor into the elevator, her senses on high alert. This was the man running the whole show, most likely the one that came up with the idea for all of this in the first place. A sideways glance at his graying hair put him in that time frame of when Sam was born, maybe even earlier. She had to keep her game face on, but be wary of her surroundings because this was definitely a man she wouldn't want standing behind her.
As the elevator descended, he pulled a plastic tube out of his pocket, opened a hidden panel above the elevator buttons, then pushed the tube, most likely a key, into its appropriate hole and turned it to the left. A ding sounded from somewhere in the elevator, and an electronic voice asked for positive identification. He then turned his plastic I.D. card hanging from his coat around and held it up to a scanner. The electronic voice noted that it was positive identification, and welcomed him. Cassie took all of this in silently, thinking that if she had to come back down here for any reason, she'd have to remember all of this.
The doors opened, and a rush of cool air met the two of them. Cassie could smell the earth coming in through the walls, and knew they were underground now. She half wondered what kind of convenience that made for their work... muffling the screams, or the smell of death. She heard/smelt neither, but it was still early yet. He stopped her in front of a room filled with recliners. Their backs were faced to her, but she could see heads poking up above the tops of them. A few nurses were walking in between chairs and doing something that looked like they were checking the stats of the people sitting there. Tubes were leading from the chairs to bags on small tables next to the chairs... which were filling up with blood. Well, it looks like they're willingly giving it away.
"This is the donating area," he spoke next to her. "We make sure that they are as comfortable as can be. Taking their blood does take a lot out of them. Follow me." He headed further off down the hallway, Cassie following, taking a lingering gaze back at the room. The room that he led her to next made her want to turn around and leave right then. It was a nursery, full of newborns. Few were awake and crying, the rest were sleeping, oblivious to the doom around them.
She forced the anger out of her voice when she asked, "Why are there babies here?" She knew why they were there, what she really wanted to know was how messed up this man was that he would prey on innocent children like this.
"We can only administer the blood to our... patients when they are in their infancy. We have tried it on adults before, but the process was too painful, and came to drastic results. With infants, we can use less vampire blood, and more medication to ease their pain."
Meaning that some of them in there could be drugged right now... God, I'm getting sick. She swallowed thickly, and said, "Hm. Makes sense, I guess."
He must have noticed something in her tone, because he faced her with a mocking brow raised. "Not thinking of backing out, are you?" He pulled out a scalpel as he continued further. "Because if you are, bad things may happen to you."
To other people, mortals especially, they'd be leery at this point over the fact that he's holding a knife in his hand. To Cassie and other vampires, their main problem wouldn't be the knife in general. She could heal from most knife wounds with only a couple draws of blood. But what she was really concerned about was what the knife was made of-- silver. She could smell the burn of the metal all the way across the space between the two people. She had to give him credit; it seemed he did his homework on vampires. Silver combined with intimidation would make most vampires start to cave. But then, he didn't see the things she did for the past fifty some odd years.
She arched a brow and said, "Boy, I have woken up in my bed next to things that were scarier than you. Don't waste my time."
"I don't think you understand--"
"I don't think you understand, either. Everything that threatens me--"
"You kill and eat. Face it, you're not that scary either. In fact, I'm starting to find you predictable."
Cassie tilted her head, and said, "Well, I don't really kill them... at least not right away. And eating them? Please, how do you think I'd keep this figure if I ate everything I killed?" She stepped up to him, closer to the silver weapon, and said, "No, what I really like to do is take a... souvenier, just to show it off." Her gaze dropped to his groin as she paused. When she raised her gaze back to his face, she was met with wider eyes and a shallower breath. Oh yeah, I pushed the right button. "And in your case, it'd be a small souvenier. I'm sure some Viagara could fix that, though... Do you find me predictable now, doc?"
He slipped the scalpel back into his pocket and straightened his coat with a quick jerk. "Shall we continue?" he asked her, his voice growing hard.
She set her jaw and met his gaze, then spoke evenly. "Youngest first."
He stepped to her side and turned her around, his arm around her back to usher her along down the hallway. He walked them down a couple of yards before reaching that same arm up and grabbing a hold of her hair-- or at least, her wig, since it came off of her head with a sharp tug. His other hand went back for his scalpel, to slash across this woman's face as her head was yanked back as well.
The force of Cassie's gut reaction to get away from the knife sent her face first into the wall of the hallway. She thought the wig would be secure on her head with the bobby pins, but what she wasn't counting on at all would be that he would use enough force to take some of her hair with the wig because of the pins. So, not only did she have a festering wound on her face due to the knife, she was also bleeding from quite a few spots on her head.
Call it a woman's wrath, but it wasn't the fact that she was outsmarted by a mortal, or that she almost let herself be wounded by a silver weapon that pushed her over the edge into her anger. It was the fact that she was now missing hair. That made her feel just a tad bit miffed.
"I think you ought to tell me who exactly you think you are, and what you want, right now," he threatened.
She turned back to him, her eyes turning silver as her fangs slid out. She wiped a flow of blood away before it ran into one of her eyes, and she spoke clearly for his benefit. "I don't know if you met someone like me before in your short life, but I'm your maker." She crouched into a fighting stance, and continued, not bothering to hide the growl in her voice. "And right now, I'm feeling very fucking pleased to meet you."
Jun 6 10 10:18 PM
Marcus was waiting at a restaurant parking lot a few blocks over. He had wanted to go in with Cassie, make sure that she would be safe, but he also had to stay within his mental hearing range of everyone else. Granted, Cassie couldn't hear much farther than he could, which made her almost unwilling to go in the hospital, but she eventually talked herself into it, and him out of it. He shook his head to himself. "I'll never understand bella women and their ways," he muttered to himself. He was always a sucker for a woman with a beautiful face...
He was pulled away from his thoughts momentarily as a car roared into the parking lot and screeched to a halt in the row behind him. His eyes widened behind his sunglasses as he caught a glimpse of her in the rearview mirror. Talk about a beautiful woman, he thought to himself, watching her seemingly unfold herself from the sleek yellow Mustang and shake out her red hair in the sunlight. She stepped around the car, almost in slow motion, and quickly changed his mind about being a sucker for a pretty face-- it was now legs that were longer than sin. If she wasn't careful, she'd find his heart in the backseat of her car. Most likely with him attached.
"Marcus, start the car!" Cassie's voice shouted in his head, jarring him out of particular fantasies of long legs being wrapped around him. The car roared to life as she hood-slid over to the other side, and she practically threw herself into the passenger seat, shouting, "Go!" He didn't need to be told twice.
He slammed on the gas, and turned the wheel sharply to the left, the tires protesting the sudden strain. A vampire landed on the front hood of the car and snarled at both of them. Marcus snarled back and slammed on the brakes, sliding him off of his car. He switched gears to reverse and slammed on the gas again, glancing backwards to see a couple more vampires running full speed towards them. He didn't let up on the gas though, and was satisfied when he ran one of them over. He kept on going backwards, over the concrete edge of the parking lot, across the grass, and onto the street beside it. He turned the wheel sharply to the left and slammed on the brakes, switching the car into drive before taking off down the street again. He took several turns down different blocks, in the case that some could be following by vehicle. He nearly got lost himself, so he pulled into an alleyway before shutting off the car.
Finally satisfied that they wouldn't be following him, at least for now, he then chanced a glance at his partner. He had been entirely focused on getting away, and she was moving so fast that his distracted mind couldn't follow, or make out any details. Now that he could, he felt the rage boil up in him. Dried blood left dark red trails down different parts of her face and neck. Her clothes were torn, dirtied, and blood stained, and more dark red trails were running down her arms. Her need to replace the blood that was lost made her breathing ragged, and her body shake slightly. "Jesus, what did they do to you?"
Cassie's head fell forward, and she started chuckling softly. "They tried kicking the shit out of me is what they did." She laughed a little bit more as she sat back in her seat.
"You look like you've been hit with a sledgehammer--"
"Maybe because I was, along with quite a few other things."
"How can you be laughing about this?"
Cassie laughed louder as she pulled something out of the front of her shirt. It was a plastic tube on a small rope keychain with what looked like an I.D. tag clipped to it. "Because a badass vampiress Rogue resorted to petty thievery to get was she wanted. Which is, in short, our all-access pass back into where all the action is."
Marcus looked back and forth between the hunter and her prize with a confused look on his face, and shifted the car back into gear. He turned back to the road, and shook his head slightly. I'll never understand women-- period.
On the way back to the apartment they momentarily rented Cassie was able to convince Marcus that she wasn't as off of her rocker as she appeared. She also-- very gladly-- got in quite a few hits to the doctor, making him need to personally see how his own employees were working. She especially enjoyed pulling out some of his hair. Damn, vengeance felt good. Marcus was helping her up the staircase to their floor, when she felt something off. She stopped, bringing Marcus to a stop beside her. "What is it?" he asked her.
"It's quiet..." Too quiet for Cassie's liking. She started up the stairs again, picking up the pace. Reaching their floor, she turned down the hallway where their room was, and noticed a light from their room spilling out into the hallway. She froze, then started cautiously forward, her fighting mode kicking into high gear once again. She pushed open her door, and peered inside. It looked like a war broke out in the room-- furniture pushed out of place and overturned, glass everywhere on the floor... the smell of blood in the air. "This didn't happen too long ago," she told Marcus, who was behind her. She stepped inside--
A baseball bat caught her in the head, making her stumble to the side and crouch down in surprise. Vlad pulled back for another swing, but stopped, recognizing Cassie. "Oh, it's you, Cassie." He set down the bat and knelt down by her side, weaving slightly off balance. "Are you okay?"
She looked at her mortal friend, and took in his injuries. A cheekbone was starting to show a bruise, and little cuts covered some parts of his face. Blood trickled down the side of his head, she noticed, as she caught the smell of blood again. Forcing her fangs back, she gently grabbed his arms and led him to a chair. "I should ask you the same thing," she told him. "What the hell happened here?" she asked as she sat him down.
"They took them."
A cold fury settled in Cassie. They did not... "Say that again?"
"Adam, Nadia... Sam. They came for them, and took them."
As Cassie replaced the ice pack on Vlad's forehead, she went over everything that he had told her... which wasn't much. They had simply rushed in, taking them by surprise and off guard, and even though everyone put up a fight-- hence, the huge mess in the apartment-- they were still able to make off with the three of them. Vlad, knowing too much about vampires, at least had a fighting chance, and managed to stake one before they left. "Is he still here?" she asked him.
"Yeah, he's in the other room."
She rose and sought out the other vampire, who was on the ground, a shocked look on his face as blood soaked a large circle into his t-shirt. She had to give it to Vlad; he really payed attention. A stake through the heart couldn't kill a vampire... but it could paralyze them. She knelt down, coming into his line of sight, and said, "You really shouldn't underestimate the company I keep." She straddled his stomach before continuing. "However, if you underestimate me, that might be the last mistake you make. So, believe me when I say that if you so much as start to get up and head for the door, this stake I'll be pulling out will be put back into your body, only this time in a more sensitive place."
She gave him a little time for that to sink in, then wrapped her hand around the stake and pulled it out with a sharp tug. His back arched off the floor, and as he sucked in a deep breath, she barked, "Now, start talking. Why are you here?"
His response was to spit in her face. She let a deep breath out through her nostrils, discovering the second thing in the world that truly pissed her off. "You know," she said, wiping off her face, "I'm not really in a good mood right now, so let's cut to the chase." Turning her upper body around, she planted the stake right in his groin. As could be expected, he tried folding himself in half in pain, but was blocked by Cassie. She grabbed his shirt to keep him from laying back down, and said, "When I say something, you had better be damn sure that I mean it. Now, I'm not really into repeating myself, so..." She let herself trail off, then twisted the stake in further.
He let out what could better be known as a squeak, then said in a pained voice, "We were told that we could have them."
Oh, shit no. "What did you say?"
"This guy, he found us, saying that he knew where they were... We reached a compromise with him, and he let us have them, saying we wouldn't get punished."
Her first thought was that it was Matthew, since that was what his plan was. But, something about hearing that he told them he would let them off the hook didn't sit too well with Cassie. How would he have known where they were anyways? It didn't take them that long to get to Washington, and he hadn't called, meaning that he caught onto that they had given him the slip yet. "Then, why did you take the blond mortal with you?" she asked, testing him.
His silence was enough answer for her. Her eyes narrowed in mock thought, then she said, "Well, then I see that this stake won't be enough... Should I get my tomahawk or my meat cleaver?" Taking small satisfaction that he had started to turn green, she called out, "Oh Marcus! Can you get something for me?"
He walked into the room, then quickly turned his head away and groaned loudly at the sight before him. " Oh, bella, that's not a good thing for a man to see at all."
"You know what else isn't a good thing for a man to see? A woman getting busy down there, but not in a good way. Get my hacksaw."
"WAIT! Waitwaitwait, I'll tell you! I'll tell you everything!!!" The other vampire squirmed in her grasp, simultaneously moving the stake around he soon realized with a deep wince. Stilling, he spoke quickly. "We picked up Sam's trail when she was in that 'safe house' for a few days, and we basically followed you into town. When you and he went away to the hospital, we got the word to go ahead and get them. We were planning on taking them all to use as leverage against the Rogue's, but that dark-haired one is a lot better than I thought he'd be."
"Who told you where they would be in the first place?"
"Someone from the inside," he sneered.
Twisting the stake sharply, she repeated, "Who?"
"We don't know his name!" he cried, his face contorting with pain. "He only told us where the kid was living, who she was living with... Then, she was in the safe house for a while, a safe house that had a reputation, and we figured that we could use her and her friends as leverage."
Again with the leverage, Cassie thought to herself. Stilling her hand, she asked, "Why would you want leverage against the Rogue's?"
He smirked at her, and answered, "We've been taking blood from some Rogue's that have fallen out of line for quite some time now... The rest didn't readily volunteer, but we 'convinced' them."
"So, what you're saying is you were planning to go against your own boss' orders and barter the four of them with the Rogue's, in exchange for a fresh supply of blood to feed your boss' sadistic plan?"
"Why not?" he asked. "I mean, why take sudden interest in four brats when you can have power handed over to your front step?"
Cassie's face took on an ice cold demeanor. "Damn, makes me wish a Rogue is here to hear this... Oh, wait." She shrugged the coat off of her right shoulder, and pulled her shirt away to show him the top of her tattoo. "Would you look at that," she commented dryly. "I wonder how that got there." Replacing her shirt and coat, she took the stake out of his groin and stabbed him back in the heart. His face blanked out and his hands fell down at his sides. She simply let him drop back down to the ground, and stood slowly.
"What are we going to do about him?" asked Marcus.
"What we always do to traitors of the vampire race, and what I plan on doing to the rest of the merry crew." She turned to the vampire laying on the ground and spoke clearly for his benefit, since she was sure that his ears could still work. "Burn them." She left him lay in the bedroom, and back into the living room, heading straight for her duffel bag. She opened it, and made an inventory of the weapons that she had in there when her cellphone rang. Not bothering to look to see who was calling, she answered after the first ring. "Cassie here."
"And where exactly is here? You wouldn't mind telling me, would you?" Matthew's voice came over the phone. His voice was very calm, given the situation. Meaning, she was in deep shit right now.
Cassie groaned inwardly and replied. "Washington."
"Doing exactly what I told you not to do, I presume?"
"Yeah, I am, but let me explain--"
"No. I don't want to hear it. You directly disobeyed orders, putting more than one life in danger by doing so. Not to mention, you're training someone to be a Rogue in the process! He's basically learning that anyone can do things like this at any given time! But, I'm putting a stop to this right now. You're coming back to HQ right now."
Cassie had put her head in her hand during his tirade, only to snap it up when he gave his order. She blinked a couple of times, then said, "What?"
"You're coming back, right now. Drop everything you're doing, and come back here. Now."
She sat down in the nearest chair and put her head on her hands in disbelief. What the hell was she going to do now? Now that she had a direct order, yet again, she had to obey it this time, or else she'd have the huge possibility of being put to death by her own co-workers. But, these three innocent people needed her help now, along with some number of innocent vampires, and a lot of healthy newborns that shouldn't even have to know about this existance.
Her mind made up, she put the phone back to her ear. "No. I can't go back. There's some serious shit going on over here that I need to put a stop to... not to mention, I got us into some even bigger trouble today." She shook her head, now determined that she was making the right choice-- damning the consequences-- and said, "I got us into this mess, and I'm going to get us out... even if it kills me."
She hung up, cutting off Matthew's protest, then turned off her phone and tossed it on the ground in front of her. She stared at it for a few moments, gathering what was left of her courage and strength, before standing and facing her friends. Meeting them both square in the eye, and putting on her 'game face', she spoke evenly. "Let's go."
Jun 9 10 11:33 PM
Sam's eyes blinked open, but her vision was very fuzzy. She blinked several times to clear her vision, only to have pain fill her head slowly. A bass drum was beating in her skull by the time it cleared, and memories of being taken out of the apartment suddenly came to the front of her brain. She tried sitting up with a start, but something was holding her down. She raised her head and looked at her wrist-- a leather cuff was buckled around her wrist, which was connected to the metal table she was on by a solid chain. She whipped her head around to look at her other wrist, but groaned and lay her head back down, closing her eyes, as black dots appeared. What the hell did they hit me with?
A door opened somewhere in the room, and Sam's eyes blinked open. She turned her head, more slowly this time, towards the noise, and found someone coming in the room. It looked like a nurse of some kind, wheeling in a cart with a tray in front of her. Many wicked looking instruments lay out on the top of the tray, and Sam could feel her eyes bugging out of her head as she looked at them.
"Hello, Sam, how are we doing today?" a man asked as he breezed through the door as well.
"What the hell is going on?" she shot back, struggling to get out of her restraints.
"We're simply doing a checkup, Sam. See how things have been progressing." The nurse helped put rubber gloves on his hands, and Sam struggled harder to get out.
"Why am I really here?" she asked him. She figured if she could keep him talking, then he'd probably be distracted long enough for her to get out miraculously, or for someone to come along and save them.
He turned with a smirk on his face, and said, "Well, to be honest with you, we can pretty much figure how your powers and such are coming along. It's simply the fact that you've been out of our service for far too long, and may be too rebellious. We want to give you an example of what happens when our patients aren't... willing to abide by the rules, so to speak."
Now she wished that she had just shut her mouth. He raised a syringe full of some mysterious liquid and pushed in the plunger some, making it squirt out of the needle. She didn't have to ask what that was, since she figured that was their weapon of choice where she was concerned. Fear planted itself somewhere in her mind and started spreading quickly, making her tremble. He came over to her, swabbed off her arm, and said comfortingly, "Now, this won't hurt. You'll just feel a little sting..."
Fifteen minutes later, which seemed so much longer to Sam, found her shaking like a leaf with a scream dying in her throat. She found out the hard way that silver, something that was lethal to vampires, was just as painful to her. They had started by laying whatever tool it was flat against her skin, to have it start burning her mere seconds after. She was also trying valiantly to break through her bonds once again, but the pain outrode everything else in her head soon enough.
"She's too responsive," the nurse spoke.
The doctor glanced up from slicing into Sam with yet another intrument, then looked at her closely. "You're right. Start an IV."
As the nurse went off to do what she was asked, Sam started to beg. "Please... Don't do this anymore..."
His response was only to look at her more curiously. "You're very responsive." Glancing at the clock and back down to her, he asked himself, "What did she do with all of that medicine we gave her?"
"Please, just let me go! I'll do anything you want, just don't do this anymore and let us go!" She fought her restraints with the last of her failing strength, but it was no use. They had her trapped. The nurse chose that moment to come in with an IV filled with the medicine. She set it on a hook hanging down from an overhead light, and started to insert the needle into Sam's arm. Sam gave up on pleading with the doctor, it was useless. Her breathing quickened as he picked up a newer instrument, but felt it slow as the medicine took effect on her body. Cassie... somebody... God, please... help me...
"Okay, so what's our plan?" Vlad asked Cassie. They had driven from their small apartment to the large stretch of parking lot in silence, mentally preparing themselves for the battle ahead. Now that they had reached their destination, he wanted to make sure that they'd be all on the same page before they even set foot in that building, which he couldn't get over how... normal it looked. It could almost make someone sick, thinking about all of the possibilities of what could be going on behind the walls. He knew that Cassie would never tell him what she saw while she was down there, and had the head doctor's guard down, given the way that she had set her jaw once she set her sights on the building again. But, he figured that he'd see for himself once they were down there.
"Our plan? Well, we go down there, beat the shit out of a bunch of vampires, most likely killing quite a few in the process, get Sam, Adam, and Nadia-- along with all of the infants down there and the patients on the upper floors, and blow the place to hell where it belongs," she replied very calmly.
Vlad considered this for a moment, then nodded. "That seems like a good plan."
"But, what about this Dr. Lawrence? What do we do about him?" Marcus asked.
"I think he falls under Cassie's 'people that must die in a very painful way' list at the moment," Vlad commented.
"No, Marcus is right. Even though I'd love to do quite a few more things--"
"Cassie..." a voice echoed through Cassie's head.
She was so startled by hearing Sam's voice in her head, she stopped and spoke aloud. "Sam?"
"You hear her? Is she okay?" Vlad asked, concerned.
"Yeah, I can, but she's very faint... We're running out of time." She looked at Marcus, but he had suddenly gotten very stiff, looking at something behind her. The hairs on her neck stood straight up, and she turned around sharply, quickly pulling her dirk out of its sheath strapped to her arm and holding it to the neck of the person standing behind her. He jerked at the sudden move, and raised his hands in the air.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he said.
She said nothing in reply, just tilted her head. She studied him behind her sunglasses. There was something familiar about him, something that she must have seen about him in the past. "Have we met before?"
"No, we haven't," he said, his voice even and slow, not wanting to startle the woman holding the knife to his neck.
Still, Cassie wasn't satisfied. There was something about him that was reminding her of... She shook her head, unable to silence the nagging voice in the back of her mind. "Are you sure?"
Glancing at the outstretched blade still held against his throat, he replied, "If we have, I doubt you would have forgotten it."
"Why does he look familiar?" she asked Marcus and Vlad, not taking her eyes off of him.
"Beats me," Vlad stated.
"Who are you?" Marcus asked him.
"Rick Thompson...." He took a deep breath and muttered quietly, "At least, I am now." He met the stare of Cassie, who just raised a brow at him, having heard what he said. "I've taken different aliases over the years, but I used to be... Zachary Gibbons."
"Gibbons?" Cassie repeated. All at once, the connection clicked into place. Gibbons, as in Sam and Adam Gibbons, the same twin siblings they were getting ready to save. The two of them looked just like him, Adam especially.
"No, you're not!!!!" Vlad loudly proclaimed, apparently connecting the dots as well as Cassie did. "I read that newspaper article, saw the picture--"
"Of the remains of my car, yes," Zachary said, while nodding. "And while everyone has been saying that I was dead, I simply let them believe that. But, as you can see, I'm still alive."
"You faked your death?" she asked slowly.
"Yes, I did. Believe it or not, it was the only way to get out of there alive," Zachary replied, nodding his head to the hospital.
"Then, who was in the car?" Vlad asked.
"A vampire that I was ordered to get rid of. On the way to the site where we usually go, he told me about Dr. Lawrence's plan with those children... with my daughter... and I knew that I couldn't just stand there and participate in something like that. So, I came up with the plan to make myself disappear."
"What about that vampire? Did he want to die, or did you just volunteer him for that?" Cassie asked harshly.
He met her stare hard. "He wanted to die. When you have that much silver in you, you'd want to die as well."
Cassie brought her gaze down, and lowered the dirk. "So... what have you been doing since then?"
"Laying low, searching for my children... and regretting my actions." He lowered his hands, knowing that these people in front of him wouldn't hurt him. "I take it you know where they are?"
"Yes, we do. They're in there," Cassie stated, looking at the hospital.
"Then, I'm going in there," he stated firmly, starting forward towards the doors.
Marcus quickly pulled him back. "I'm sorry, but it can't be that simple. They might recognize you instantly. You may have changed your name many times, but some minds in there never forget anything--"
"My children are in there. I may not have been there for them in the past, but by hell, I'm going to be there for them now!" He struggled to get out of Marcus' grasp, but it was no use.
"You want to help them?" asked Vlad. "Then listen close, because I have an idea."
Jun 13 10 6:45 PM
Two vampire guards were pacing in front of the elevator doors when the alarm came in through walkie-talkies that someone had infiltrated the hospital, and were armed. Then came in a more frantic voice that it was becoming a hostage situation, with the possible hostage takers heading over to the elevators. That last part made the two of them snap to attention, and they brought their guns over to the elevators, just as a ding sounded from inside it. They braced themselves for whoever it was behind the doors, but stopped in surprise to see a mortal-- and only a mortal-- in the elevator. His attire definetely looked out of place for him to be a hospital worker, so they kept their weapons trained on him. "Identify yourself," one barked at him.
"Hey, dudes, easy on the guns there," Vlad stated, raising his hands at head level. "I'm looking for a..." He looked at the plastic nametag in his hand, then continued, "Dr. Lawrence. He dropped his nametag, so I came here to give it back to him, or something..."
"Why didn't you drop it off at his office?" the other guard asked suspiciously. "Or, at the front desk."
Vlad let his arms fall to his sides. "You know, it's because I just felt like pissing people off today. Then, I saw the two of you, looking so official with your 'rent-a-cop' uniforms on, and I thought to myself, 'Hm... could be fun.' So, here I am, pissing you off." He finished by flipping the two of them the bird, smiling the biggest smile he could muster.
The two vampires growled at him and started forward, but didn't get very far. Cassie and Marcus whirled around from the inside of the elevator, raised up their crossbows, and fired into their cold hearts. The two dropped to the ground instantly, and they both pulled out smaller swords from the scabbards hidden underneath their coats. They finished killing the two vampires quickly, and Cassie picked up one of the guns to hand to Vlad. "You really had to go there, didn't you?" she asked him, a smirk covering her face.
"Hey, it worked," he replied, feigning a look of innocence while accepting the gun.
"You realize that an innocent look doesn't really mesh with a semi-automatic rifle."
He paused, then said, "Okay, I tried. But, I'm only human. So sue me."
"Just stay in the back, and we won't hold it against you," Marcus said.
"I would say how racist you guys sound right now, but I'll refrain." Cassie and Marcus stared at him hard after he said that, but it didn't affect him at all. "C'mon, let's kick some vampy ass!"
The two vampires looked at each other, forcing down their laughter, then led the way.
Adam struggled at his cuffs holding his hands above his head yet again, but soon gave up, realizing that it was useless to waste the energy. Since he woke to the extreme feeling of pain in his wrists, not to mention his head, he'd tried everything from squeezing his hands out of the cuffs, to sliding them across the bar that kept his arms above his head, searching for any weak spot or opening, to even kicking the walls/door and shouting as loud as he could. Either he was in a soundproofed room, or no one else could hear him-- both options that he didn't really like.
Somewhere, wherever they were, Sam and Nadia were getting hurt. He knew it. And it was pissing him off.
He was just about to start kicking at the walls again as a fresh wave of anger overcame him when he heard the sounds of a fight breaking out on the other side of the room he was in. He stopped and listened as he heard different shouts, the sounds of things breaking, and animalistic growls. Finally, everything went quiet. Adam strained his ears for any sound at all, and was so intent on it that when he did hear some knocking on the door, he jumped. He recognized the pattern of the knocking... Yep, the trusty 'shave-and-a-haircut' knock. He kicked the door twice, and the mystery person set to work right away on the door. Finally, the door unlocked and opened to reveal Vlad. Adam squinted in the sudden bright light, and blinked everything back into focus. "I guess this is the only time in my life that I can say I'm glad to see you," Adam said.
"Yeah, yeah, we can go through that mushy stuff later." Vlad dragged a chair from the first room to the edge of the closet and stood up on it, soon getting to work on picking the handcuffs.
"And how did you pick this up, I wonder to myself?" Adam asked, gesturing to the handcuffs.
"I'm a truly unsavory character with many secrets up my sleeves... that, and I have too much time on my hands." The handcuffs fell away from one wrist, and Adam thankfully brought his arms down, restoring the circulation as best as he could. Vlad jumped down from the chair and picked the cuff from the other wrist, letting it fall to the floor when it finally unlocked.
"Did you find them?" Adam asked.
"Not yet, but we're going to."
"Where's Cassie and Marcus?"
"Well," Vlad started. "Marcus is outside the room, watching for people, and Cassie's--"
He broke off as Cassie came back down through the opening in the ceiling that she had chased the last vampire in the room up. She landed in a crouch on the counter that she used as leverage to power herself up there after him and looked at them. "You alright?" she asked Adam. He nodded, and she climbed down from the counter. "Okay, then, one down, two to go."
The head nurse in charge of child care had just left the room for a quick break when something that was the equivilent of a freight train slammed into her, pushing her up against the door to the nursery. Whoever it was placed a very cold hand over her mouth and whispered in her ear. "Don't scream, I'm not going to hurt you. Understand?"
She nodded, then whoever it was continued. "I'm sure you've heard of the hostage situation going on upstairs, yes?" Cassie waited until the head nurse nodded again before continuing, making sure that her little group could sneak by without getting noticed. One person giving her bad news was enough... four, however, half of them especially looking like they just got in a fight, was almost a bit much. Cassie wasn't wanting to risk it. "Well, I just found out that he has a bomb on him as well. So, I need you to help get everyone out of this hospital as fast as you can."
The nurse started to mumble a protestation, so Cassie let her hand go. "Everyone's safe down here. I was told that this floor is basically bomb-proof."
"From the outside in, yes. But what about from down here?"
The head nurse paused. "You think he'll be coming this way?" she asked.
"I know it."
"Okay, I'll do it," she said quickly. Cassie let her go then, and started back down the hallway towards where her 'team' was waiting for her, when she was stopped. "Wait! Who are you?"
Cassie stopped and turned halfway back, thinking about how best to answer that question. She then half shrugged as an answer came to her. "I'm a 'savior' of sorts." She then turned back and continued down the hallway, not giving the nurse a backwards glance. Her hearing the nurse spring into action was all the proof she needed to tell her that the words had some effect on the nurse. It made her day, knowing that at least someone in this hell hole cared.
Jun 22 10 4:48 PM
Marcus, who was then leading the group, stopped them suddenly. His nostrils flared as he smelled the air above his head. "I smell... blood."Cassie joined Marcus and did the same thing. "Yeah, I do too... Okay, I think we need to split up." Cassie paused a moment to remember all that she saw of the layout of the floor they were on. "Marcus, if you keep on going down this hallway, then I think you're going to find all of the other vampires. Save the ones that can and want to be saved.""What about you?" Marcus asked.She looked back at the room up ahead of them and said, "I have every reason to believe that either Sam or Nadia are in there. So, I'm going to do what I do best.""So, are we following him or you?" Vlad asked."Neither. The two of you are getting back to the rendevous and staying there.""But Cassie--""Vlad, I'm serious. Yes, you were able to stop a vampire and you've been a huge help here, but should something go wrong from here on out... I don't want to risk you getting hurt any worse. Besides, there's a certain someone waiting for us there." Seeing Vlad's dejected face, she leaned in and gave him a smile. "Hey, give us ten minutes. If we don't show, I give you every right to come back and start looking for us. Okay?"He took a deep breath, then said, "Ten minutes.""Alright, then let's go."~~Vlad and Adam got up to the main floor without any problems. What they met with when they reached that level could be best explained as hysteria. Nurses and doctors were scrambling to get patients both bed-ridden and not out of any exit they could find. "Damn, it's like a zoo in here," Vlad commented."What happened?" Adam asked, incredulous about the sight before him."Well, we came in, guns blazing and such. Marcus was shouting that we planted a bomb in the building beforehand-- a little white lie, yes-- and that he was going to level the foundation in about ten minutes, no matter how many people were in here.""So, there could still be people inside when this 'bomb' goes off?""That's why there's a nice little window of time. Give some people a chance to get out." The two boys stepped out of the way as some nurses scrambled into the elevator, on their way down to the basement to help with the child care. "Hopefully, the ones that are going to be left behind are the ones that don't deserve to live in the first place.""Are any of the workers going to find us?""No, I think we can get lost in the crowd. Follow my lead." He then stepped out and placed a hand on a passing bed. "I'll take him, you go back for someone else," he spoke to the nurse pushing the bed. She nodded gratefully, then left the patient with the two of them. Adam grabbed a hold of the other side of the bed, and keeping their heads down left the hospital. They both made sure that the patient was safe in a doctor's hands before parting from the crowd. Vlad led Adam back around so a side entrance where a van was parked. Vlad banged on the side of it twice before opening up the door and climbing inside. He then set a timer on his watch to go off in exactly ten minutes. He was going to take what Cassie said literally. But first, he had to wait... something he hated to do.Adam didn't necessarily trust Vlad right away, but he did save Adam and hasn't done anything to cause suspicion as of yet. The van made him think of flashes of movies where the unsuspecting victim gets into the stranger's van, just to be taken away, and almost didn't step in. This could be a trap, yes, but Cassie knew that this person would be here, as probably did Vlad, since the two of them could trust each other.A voice coming from inside the van made him pause, however. "Adam? Adam, is that you?"He peered inside to see an older man sitting in the front seat. "Yes... Can I help you?""Oh, that's right, your mother probably didn't tell you about me."Suspicion crept into Adam's voice. "How do you know my mother?""Because, once upon a time, I fell in love with her, married her, and had two beautiful children. Twins, to be exact. Then, I made a mistake, and lost it all...""... Dad?""Yes, Adam. It's me," Zachary replied."I..." Adam passed a look to Vlad, before climbing into the van to take a closer look. He wasn't shown any pictures of his father, and save for the one that he saw in the newspaper article, this time would have been the first time he saw Zachary. He looked the same in the picture, but no other resembling traits came to mind. "I thought you were...""Dead?" Zachary suggested. "Yeah. For some time, I thought you were dead too."Adam sat back in his seat. Vlad noticed this, and asked, "You okay?""I'm still confused, and my head hurts."Laughing, Vlad replied, "I guess that's better than nothing."~~Marcus kept close to the far wall as he followed Cassie's directions. He soon found the room that she must have been talking about. People were sitting in black chairs that were facing the other way, set in a line. There was only one nurse inside at that moment, thankfully, someone to easily overtake. Maybe there was a closet in that room that he could lock her in...A clicking behind his head made him stop. "Don't move," a male voice ordered. "Put your weapon down, and your hands above your head."Marcus made a thinking sound with his teeth without moving anything else, then said, "No, I think not." He brought an arm back, bent at the elbow, against the man's arms, turning at the same time. The gun fired as the arm's hit the wall, barely missing Marcus. Marcus dropped his gun and rammed his other hand in the man's face, then dropped down to a crouch and swept a leg around, knocking his attacker's feet from underneath him. He 'tapped' the gunman's temple a couple of times, ensuring the man would be down and out, not coming after him.Marcus leapt up and sprang to the door, twisting the knob. "Locked. Damn." He kicked the door a couple of times but it didn't break down. He looked around, then saw the attacker still on the ground. He then, feeling 'creative', picked up the unconcious man and tossed him in through the window into the room."When in doubt, wonder what Cassie would do," he muttered to himself, going through the now broken window. The nurse ran over to what looked like an alarm, and Marcus quickly stopped her hand from pushing the button down. "No, no, bella. We can't have you be doing that." He covered her mouth with a hand while keeping both hands against her with the other arm. He quickly dragged her back to another door that was in the room, and let go of her mouth long enough to open it."Nadia?" he asked, suddenly finding her in there.~~Cassie crept closer to the door at the end of the hallway. She couldn't necessarily hear anything going on in there, and when she tried mentally communicating with Sam, she wasn't getting any response. Now, how to get in? Coming up with a quick plan, she knocked on the door and waited, looking up at the window in the door. A shadow passed in front of a light... almost... almost... A face came in the window then, looking out cautiously, trying to see down different parts of the hallway. Gotcha.She focused her anger, her rage, from this mission and missions past where she had to rein it in, keep it hidden, and brought it to the forefront. She could feel the color of her eyes changing, leaving a distinct burning sensation, only this time it was more powerful. Taking a deep breath, she channeled her energy into her closed fist and pulled it back. With a loud cry, she shot her fist forward-- through the door-- and grabbed a hold of the front of the person's clothes, then pulled them roughly forward, knocking their head against the glass window, cracking it right where it made contact.Cassie then pushed the now limp body away from the door roughly, and pulled her hand back through the new hole she made. Keeping her rage up, she brought her foot up and connected it to the door, kicking it in. Two of the hinges broke from the sudden impact and the last bent, making the door tilt at an angle. The loud crack echoed into the silence as she gathered the rest of her rage together.She slowly stepped into the room, flexing the pain out of her hand, pure hatred running through her veins. She peered at the doctor standing over Sam with a bloody silver tool in his hand. The doctor looked up, and she recognized his face immediately. Dr. Lawrence? Well, I guess I didn't give him a good enough beating last time... She spoke aloud as she shook from her anger."What's up, Doc?"
Jun 28 10 6:15 PM
"Well, well, well... Just when I thought that you wouldn't be coming, here you stand," he taunted.
"I assume you don't really use your brain too often, since you think so many wrong things about me."
Dr. Lawrence laughed darkly, then said, "Oh, if anything, there is one thing I know about you perfectly well." He quickly bent to get something that was hidden by the table Sam was laying on. Cassie rushed forward, thinking that she could get there in time to stop him, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case. He came back up with a crossbow loaded with three arrows and shot them into Cassie's chest before she could stop herself. She let out a howl of agony as she sank to the ground. Blood ran down the arrows and soon started a puddle on the ground around her.
"The one thing I know perfectly well about you is that you always rush into a fight with everything you have. This time, I was expecting it." He knelt down over Cassie, who was now panting heavily, clutching the skin around the arrows, but not quite touching them. "I also know that working with vampires for a living has it's perks-- finding out about your little 'allergy' to silver made me a little... creative, shall we say, hence the silver arrows." He leaned in closer, and whispered, "What you should know, is that you should never underestimate those of us that are seemingly weaker than you."
Her eyes focused on something behind him, then smiled as best she could through her pain. "You should take your own medicine," she raggedly replied.
"Oh really?" He smirked as he straightened and turned back to Sam. He paused, seeing she was now on her knees on the operating table, holding a cleaver from the table in her hand.
"Yes, really," she said, before swinging the cleaver with all of her might into his neck. She let go as he stumbled back in shock, and grabbed the edge of the table as a wave of dizziness overtook her. She spoke again as it cleared, pulling the IV from her arm. "You know, I think... that you should listen to your own words. My mother gave me this medicine everyday... which kept me human." She looked up at the doctor before continuing. "Thanks to you starting an IV, that basically put me back in that stage."
The doctor fell back against the wall and slid down as he expelled his last breath. Cassie tried to grab the arrows, whimpering in pain as they burned at her hands. Sam carefully made her way off the table and to Cassie's side. Sam's vision was blurred at the edges, but she wished that it was completely blurred, seeing the arrows protruding from Cassie. Sam reached for them, only to be stopped by Cassie. "Don't," she rasped at Sam.
"No, it's okay," Sam insisted. She grasped one arrow, prepared herself, then tugged firmly. She stopped when Cassie's back arched up, crying out in pain. "Oh God, I'm sorry--"
"Give me your hands," Cassie ordered. She placed Sam's hands back over the three arrows before placing her own hands over them. She steeled herself for the pain she knew would follow, and pulled sharply at them, cursing loudly as it tore at her flesh all over again. When Cassie's hands fell away, Sam tossed the arrows off to the side, feeling about ready to collapse. There was so much blood around her. How could Cassie stand it?
At this point, Cassie had two choices before her: attack Sam for blood, who was still alive with the more than tempting heartbeat right next to her, or the dead body of Dr. Lawrence not a few feet away from her. The appeal of draining a dead body dry won over, and Cassie pulled herself over to the corpse against the wall. "Sam, look away," she said before the beast in her took over, viciously attacking.
Sam looked away, laying herself down on the floor, feeling weak from the loss of blood and trying to keep the pain at bay. She had to admit... now that she was human again, it really sucked. She set a hand over her stomach to staunch the bleeding, clamping her eyes shut as if it would help drown out the sounds she was hearing from the other side of the room.
Cassie came back to the real world and pulled away from the doctor. Turning back to Sam, she saw her curled back up on the floor, surrounded by blood. She wasn't exactly sure who's was who's, but still remembered that Sam was suffering right now. She slid across the floor to Sam's fallen side, bit into her own wrist, then held it out to Sam. Seeing Sam turn away from it quickly had Cassie's heart going out to the poor girl. She was wanting to hold onto that last part of humanity as tight as she could, and Cassie remembered a time in her own life when she could sympathyze with what Sam was feeling. "Sam, don't fight it, you need to feed," she told her softly.
"I can't. I meant what I said to him... I'm not exactly part vampire right now."
Cassie closely looked at her, confused at what she meant. There was something different about her, now that Cassie could see her like this... the changes were miniscule, but they were still there. It was almost as if her features were softened, her skin appearing clammy. "Alright," Cassie said, gently picking Sam up from the floor. "Let's blow this joint."
"Marcus?" Nadia asked weakly, turning her face towards him.
"What on earth are they doing to you?" Marcus asked in shock. Her arms were strapped down, outstretched on the table she was on, filling up blood bags that were laying on small tables on either side of her.
"What? What are you talking about?"
"They were... injected... with my blood... Kill them!"
Marcus turned back around and looked closer at the people sitting in the seats. They were held in place by tightened silver cuffs-- which were now burning their skin. Some had pure white-colored eyes with red around the irises, while the rest had silver-colored eyes. All of them had fangs, yet those with the silver-colored eyes had blood dripping down them, coming from their own mouths. Their bones were growing much longer than normal as well, contorting their bodies out of shape.
"Merda..." Marcus swore aloud. He shook himself to look away from the sight before him, and set back to work. Taking off the nurse's lab coat, he moved her to Nadia's table and set her down in a crouch. Tying her hands to one of the legs of the table, he noticed that the temperature was cooler in the room. "A freezer... of course." Finishing his work and making sure that the nurse wouldn't make a break for it, he set to work on Nadia. "How long have they been doing this?" he asked her, pulling out the first needle.
"I don't know... I lost track... of time..." she replied, sounding even weaker.
"Okay," he said, taking out the other needle. He released her from the cuffs that were around her wrists and picked her up. "We'll be out of here soon, I promise," he comforted her.
"Wait. We can't..."
"They'll be taken care of, Nadia. Don't worry," he reassured her. He nearly reached the door that led to the outside, and ultimately their rendevous point, when he heard Cassie's voice calling to him. He stopped and turned as she came up to him. He didn't ask about her condition, even though she did look like hell.
"I need to set up everything. Take Sam outside, get her in the van, and tell Zachary to start it up," she told him sternly. She was most likely still in pain from her wounds, but she didn't care. She had to finish this.
"Make sure to get the room with the black chairs," he told her evenly, shifting Nadia to one arm and taking Sam with the other. Cassie blinked in confusion, and he added, "You'll see." He then turned around and headed outside. Shifting Nadia a little bit as he neared the van, he pounded on the side twice. Vlad opened the door almost right away.
"Where's Cassie?" he asked with concern, eyes widening as he took in the sight of Nadia and Sam.
"Adding her finishing touches. Start the van," he added louder for Zachary's benefit. He complied as Marcus handed Nadia off to Vlad, who took her to one of the back seats. Adam came forward, and Marcus handed Sam over gently.
"Oh, shit, Sammi, what did they do to you?" Adam breathed as he and Marcus set her down in the seat.
"Something that I gladly returned," she said softly, a wan smile on her face.
Adam laughed through his gathering tears and set her head on his lap. "Everything's going to be okay now, Sam." He cast a glance to his father's reflection in the rearview mirror. "You'll see."
Cassie set all of the bombs up on the walls and activated them. She was especially glad that Marcus told her to get to that specific room; what she saw in there would give any normal person nightmares for weeks. She stopped near the side doorway, and set the main detonator down on the floor. She set the timer for two minutes and started it. Starting to say a quick prayer for the souls of the innocents in the building, she pulled a red rose out of her bag. She paused in the middle of the prayer to stare at the rose for a few moments, lost in her own contradicting thoughts. What am I really doing here? Have I strayed from my original mission?.... Is all of this really worth it?
She straightened determinedly, and skipped the lengthy prayer altogether. Crossing the air in front of her with the rose in one hand, she spoke aloud, "Go with God, and rest in peace." It may not be worth everything in the long run, but it was worth something right now. She was ending a nightmare for countless of families. It'd be enough. She dropped the rose outside of the building before climbing into the van. "Let's get the hell out of here," she softly said.
"With pleasure," Zachary agreed.
Jun 28 10 6:16 PM
They had sped a couple of miles out of town before Tepes Hospital met it's match. Zachary stopped the car and parked it, then half climbed out of the car to watch the fireball fade into the sky. Cassie and Marcus soon joined as the sirens started. The four teens stayed in the van, watching through the windows. A whole plot of the sick, twisted mind of Dr. Lawrence had ended in one fell swoop, and everyone was safe.
Zachary climbed into the car as Marcus turned away from the fire to Cassie. "It's over," he said in relief.
"And the fun's just beginning," Cassie replied sarcastically. "I'm still in official deep shit, but I actually feel good about this."
"Well, there's my impending doom waiting for me back at work," she started, climbing back into the car. "And that Matthew's going to be gunning for me any moment now. But, yeah, I'd say I feel pretty good about this."
"Where are we going now?" Zachary asked as he drove on.
"Into hiding, preferably," Cassie replied. "You know any good places?" she asked Marcus.
"Unfortunately, not on this side of the globe," Marcus said. He looked down at Sam, rested across the seat with her head on Adam's lap, holding tightly onto one of his hands. She was injured greatly, as was Nadia. But there was something different about Sam... Her fangs aren't out. Comparing her to Nadia, who was feeding from Vlad in the seat behind them, it further proved the point that something was just more than off about Sam. It reminded him of someone putting a piece of dark cloth over a lightbulb. The light still shone through, but it was dimmer than normal.
Pulling one of his knives from his leg sheath, he cut open his own wrist, holding it over the worst of her wounds on her stomach. If Sam couldn't help herself right then, someone else had to.
"Wait-- is that safe?!" Zachary protested, seeing the actions in the rearview mirror.
"Yes, it is," Cassie said. "Since we're immune to any and all disease, and can heal faster than anything, we're actually helping her."
"Won't it make her more like a vampire?"
"Not if we use too much."
"And trust me on this," Marcus interrupted. "I have an idea on how much would be too much." He wanted to give her enough to kickstart her vampire abilities, but would have to settle with enough to heal the worst of her injuries. Who knew how much it would take to get her back to normal, and getting her back to normal could possibly convert her just as quickly. There was such a thing as having too much of a good thing.
Vlad moved forward in the van as Marcus finished his work. "Adam, take over for me in the back," he said, wavering in the motions of the van.
"You okay?" Adam asked.
"Yeah. There's just only so much blood I can give, you know?" With some careful maneuvering, the boys switched places and caretaking roles. Sam smiled wanly up at Vlad as he took Adam's place, just before Marcus reopened the wound on his wrist, moving to one of her arms.
"Hey," she greeted softly.
"Are you okay?"
Vlad smiled, amused at her actions. "I'll live. Don't worry about me." He looked back towards Adam, who was sitting right next to Nadia. Her mouth was at his neck and he was blinking rapidly while taking some deep, yet forced, breaths. "It feels different, doesn't it?" he asked Adam.
Adam started to nod, then remembered Nadia and spoke instead. "Yeah. Really different."
Vlad nearly let out a laugh. It reminded him of the first time a vampire fed from him. Even though it was more than 'really different' considering the pain that was involved, in some way he had gotten used to it with how often he helped vampires out. Dismissing those memories, he turned back to Sam, wanting to keep a check on her.
Her head was turned away from him as her breathing grew difficult. "Sam?" he asked.
"I think it's coming back," she gasped, a hint of a fang coming back. She curled into herself with a small cry, springing Vlad and Marcus into action. Vlad started rolling up his sleeve as Marcus thrust his wrist into her face.
Seeing Vlad's readied response, Marcus sighed and said, "Your intentions are noble boy, but you're no good to us dead. She'll need more than you can give her now, since you were helping Nadia."
Before Vlad could argue, Sam savagely bit into Marcus' arm, sawing at it with her rediscovered fangs. Marcus started to restrain her, and Vlad forgot his previous mission to help the vampire out, considering he only had one arm to use. The two of them subdued her in a manner of minutes, even though she held onto Marcus like a treasure that could be snatched away.
Cassie had half turned in her seat and watched the scene unfold, her silver eyes flashing in the sense of danger. Nadia was well enough to stop feeding from Adam, but was keeping Adam from trying to see what was going on. She must be afraid to let him near Sam... I would be too with what just happened. She exchanged a look with Marcus. It seemed like Sam needed more teaching. Much, much more.
Sam noticed Cassie watching and let out a low growl. An answering growl built in Cassie, her eyes narrowing in challenge. The sight of Sam not backing down irked the animalistic instinct deep in Cassie, making her hiss loudly. Sam, in turn, growled loudly and tugged on Marcus-- hard.
"Hey," he barked at Cassie, turning his head towards her. "Don't go starting a 'turf war' with the newly turned we just calmed down. I'd like my arm to remain attached to me today."
Cassie let out a long sigh and forced herself to stand down. He did have a point, after all. Marcus' and Vlad's hard work would have gone to waste if she all of a sudden picked a fight. She gave a side glance to Zachary, who was looking backwards in the rearview mirror, and nudged his shoulder. "Eyes on the road," she reminded him.
Taking a deep breath, and a last look at his daughter, he asked, "Where are we going?"
"I'll let you know as soon as we get there," Cassie replied. She knew they would have to keep driving for hours, not stopping for any simple reason. Who knows how many Rogue's could be chasing after them now?
"Well, Cassie... you did it this time."
Matthew stood off by himself, studying the nearly collapsed hospital with hard eyes. She just had to directly disobey his order's a second time around, giving him the slip while she did so. And it was bad enough that she knew when exactly to leave-- right when he was distracted. Sometimes, he would think that he knew her perfectly well, then she would pull something like this and leave him guessing once more.
His foot nudged the remains of the rose she left behind. The search and rescue team couldn't find many remains in the level where the bombs went off. Most of the children made it out alive; he found that to be both a good and bad thing at the same time. Most made it out, but a few select families were going to be heartbroken.
"Sir," a worker of Matthew's interrupted.
"Report," Matthew growled, not taking his eyes from the wreckage.
"No one remembers anyone matching your descriptions."
"Of course no one would. The only one who can is right there," Matthew stated, jerking his head to one of the body bags being loaded into an ambulance. Cassie had only been with Matthew for half a century, but that didn't mean she was still ignorant. She didn't know all the tricks, but she knew enough to piss Matthew off.
The second vampire flinched as if guilty, and asked, "We're waiting for our next move."
The next move... three simple words that gave Matthew a mountain load of frustration. When it came to next moves, the thing that Matthew would do was examine all of his options, and choose the path that came easiest to him. He had plans on coming to this building, sneaking in, and gathering what evidence he could before shutting the place down-- quietly. Cassie took the half vampires here for a reason that might be right. Marcus coming along could be understandable, since he could have grown close to Cassie. But, what was the reason?
More importantly, where are they headed now that the possible reason could have been taken care of?
"Contact our trackers," Matthew finally spoke aloud. "I don't care what it takes, how long it takes, or how many wrong answers we get. Cassie will be found, now."
Jun 28 10 6:17 PM
Much time had passed on the group riding along in the van. State lines had been crossed, and eventually night had fallen. The large amount of driving was starting to take it's toll on Zachary, Cassie could tell. I'll bet he's not the only one, she thought to herself as she looked in the backseat. Nadia and both twins were asleep for some time, and Vlad had finally succumbed to his own battle against it. Vlad knew enough about his vampire companions to be concerned enough to keep an eye out with them, but there was only so much that a human could do.
Cassie could feel her demeanor softening. She cared about the four of them, even though she only knew the latest three for such a short amount of time. It was almost like they were her own children... Shaking her head, she faced forward once more. That was a dangerous thought to dwell on, especially at a time like this. "Take this exit," she softly ordered Zachary, resisting the urge to hold her hand to her stomach.
Zachary blinked rapidly, then spared a glance to Cassie before he merged into the exit lane. "Are we finally stopping?" he asked.
"Which hotel?" Zachary asked, looking at the sign advertising different lodgings.
He whipped his head around to look at Cassie. "None?" he repeated.
"That's exactly what they want," Marcus added from the back. "They want a Jane Doe that no one remembers to check into a hotel. We're probably going to stay in the van tonight."
"No," Cassie replied. "We're ditching this van as soon as possible." And not too soon after that, they'd be picking up a new vehicle to travel in. Whether or not it was an airplane, Cassie had yet to decide.
"Wow, a day in the life of the vampire," Zachary started with a sigh. "Arson, murder, bomb threats--"
"Grand theft auto," Cassie added, cutting him off. "And I have no doubt in my mind we'll be adding to those charges as the night goes on. So, the question I have for you is if you're really ready to face all of this. Because if you're not, you can leave right now, and no one will be the wiser."
Zachary looked back to his children in the rearview mirror, a determined look crossing his face. "I'm not leaving."
"Good. Then turn right." She would have to do almost every single thing that a Rogue wouldn't do if she wanted to last the night... but wait. What if that was what they were counting on as well? Maybe even more so? They all knew that she was basically a fugitive at this point, and would be desperate enough to throw them off of her tracks. Would she be crazy enough to follow protocol then?
A plan started to form in her head as she resisted turning to look back at Marcus. "Grand theft auto..." she thought-spoke to him.
"Yes, bella, if it comes down to it."
"Would you put an extra emphasis on 'grand' though?" She could almost see a single arched brow in her mind, and Cassie pushed on, whether or not Marcus understood her train of thought. "That's your job for tonight: take as many vehicles as you can. Put them in parking lots, garages, the bottom of a lake, anywhere. In the middle of all of that, take a larger vehicle from a car dealership for us to use."
"My job? What about you?"
"What about me?"
"What will you be doing?"
"Nothing... it's just that a Jane Doe that no one will remember is going to check into a hotel a couple of towns over. I don't intend to miss it."
Marcus chuckled darkly from behind her. "Crazy," she heard him softly mutter.
"Tell me something I don't know," she replied, fighting her grin. Now that they had cover for when they would most likely leave in the early morning hours, all that remained was a place to stay. She fell silent along with Marcus as they looked around the town, looking for a perfect candidate.
"How about here?" Zachary asked, pointing to a building on the left. Cassie looked closer, seeing a shell of a house with an abandoned set of carpentry tools dotting the front lawn. "It's enough of a shelter to be safe in, plus I doubt anyone is actually living in it yet."
And since it was still being worked on, their scents could be covered from anyone that were planning on looking hard enough. "It's perfect," Cassie said. "Turn off the lights and park in the driveway." He did what he was instructed, turned off the van, and moved to take the keys with him. "Leave them," Cassie ordered, starting to climb out.
Marcus climbed out of the van, holding onto a still-sleeping Sam, and led the way up the bare lawn. Cassie soon took Marcus' place and gently shook Vlad awake. As he started awake, she kept her hand firm, and calmed him down by saying, "Take it easy. It's just me."
Feeling grogged, Vlad looked around himself. "Where's Sam?" he asked in a bleary voice.
"Marcus has her. We've found a place to stop for the night, and I mean the night. As soon as dawn breaks, we're out of here."
"All this worrying and sneaking around... I'm already getting gray hair."
Gray hair? In a lightly teasing tone, she replied, "You're sixteen. I doubt you have chest hair, let alone any gray hairs."
"I'm nearly seventeen, thank you," Vlad replied, trying-- and failing-- to sound offended.
"And you act so much older," a voice chimed up from the next set of seats back. Adam stretched as he shook the last bit of sleep from him, then showed a smile to the duo. "I'm sure in no time at all you'll be smoking cob pipes and complaining that the music's too loud."
Laughing good naturedly, Vlad stepped out of the van. Once he was out of earshot, Cassie turned to Adam. "Play nice, please."
"He likes Sam. Therefore, I deserve to give him crap for a little while."
Rolling her eyes, she let go of the issue for now. "Marcus and I are going to cover our tracks, and we'll be back soon. You think you can make it to the house from here?"
Adam looked behind him, then nodded. "Yeah, I can make it."
Cassie gently untangled Nadia from Adam and carried her from the van, letting Adam climb out by himself. She started heading towards the house when Adam interrupted her trail. "I'll take her. Go do what you need to do."
"Yeah." He waited as Cassie seemed to internally debate this, and accepted Nadia as she eventually made up her mind.
Cassie watched Adam go, still debating with herself. She needed to go cover her tracks, give Matthew a false trail to follow, and she needed to do it fast. But still, there were people here that relied on her, and needed her to be here as well. She couldn't very well leave the four of them to their own defenses. Yes, they had Zachary now, but could she trust him? He did say he didn't want to go anywhere, but people say one thing and mean another all the time. She had to protect them; she had to stay here.
But dammit, she'd protect them more by leading the enemy away from them! She determinedly marched herself back to the van and started it up again. She was on a mission, she had to complete it, and that was that. She would not stay and try to figure out why she was feeling the need to protect them like they were her own children. Not for one second!
It was now a couple of hours later, and she was still trying to figure her new feelings out. Damn... this isn't going to work.
Cassie was standing on the edge of an unknown lake, watching as the van they previously drove for hours with sank to the bottom. Her first thought about that was to keep driving it into the middle of the lake, but walking back to their home base with soaking wet clothes was out of the question. It would slow her down and leave an obvious trail, plus she didn't really have the time.
Now that she had the van indisposed, and an alias checked into an hourly-rate hotel, that left her mind free to wander since it didn't have a strict mission to focus on. And wander it did. Sure, she cared for Vlad since he was around for a long time; and yes, she could feel bad for Sam and Nadia, being forced to live under half of a cursed life. Adam could also be pitied by association, since it was his life that got turned upside-down by all of this as well. So, why the sudden want to keep them close? Was there something she was missing from all of this?
Zachary first came to mind. The absent, and apparently reformed, father that had some baggage like nothing she'd ever seen... He did save his children from a fate that he had helped create. He told her that he was determined to stay with them, looking at his children as he said this. But for what reason? She was so distracted on getting to safety that she didn't bother to check and see what his intentions were. Was this a case of not really leaving the past behind?
Her cell phone rang, startling her. Who would be calling her? Marcus should have no trouble with the cars; it was late enough at night, and he was smart enough to figure out which car not to take. Unless he somehow still got caught?
She fished the phone from her pocket, and spied a number she didn't know in the caller I.D. It must be one of the Rogues... she had Matthew's number programmed, along with a few other coworkers, but this one was different. The phone abruptly stopped ringing before it had a chance to get to her voicemail, yet she still stared at it, wondering if she made the right choice.
A text came not too long after. This was just getting ridiculous! Opening the phone, she read the text aloud to herself. "Answer the phone, it's safe. S." 'S'? Did she know an 'S'? Yes, she knew a few... The phone rang again, brightening the screen up with the same number as before. Whoever this was was really insistant, weren't they? And they did say it was safe, even went out of their way to tell her so. What did she have to lose by answering? "Yeah?" she said into the phone after picking up the line.
"Didn't I tell you it was safe, Cassie?" a male's voice chided her.
"Who is this?"
"I do? How about you humor me for a few seconds?"
A sigh, followed by, "I can't tell you right now."
"You can't, huh? Should I just call you 'S' then?" She sighed, then shook her head. "Look, I'm not going to start chasing you in circles, so I'm just going to--"
"Shut up and listen to me!" he nearly shouted.
Cassie rolled her eyes, starting to turn around.
"Don't move," the male voice told her.
Freezing in her spot, she started to turn her head.
"Don't look around, either."
After blinking rapidly, sorting her thoughts together, she opened her mouth to ask if he could see her.
"No, you're alone," he interrupted her.
"Damn, you're good."
"I saw this happening before."
Now that he mentioned it, a bit of familiarity started to tug at the edges of her brain. An 'S' name that could see the future...
He swore, then whispered quickly into the phone. "I have to hang up before I get caught, but know that you should have listened to your first instincts."
The man's last words echoed into her ear as the other line died. She should have listened to her first instincts? Meaning she should have stayed behind, and now they were in trouble since she didn't. "Shit!" she cursed herself, starting to run back in the direction she came from.
Jul 20 10 9:59 PM
Cassie burst in through the doorless entryway, looking all around her for any signs of an attack, or of a possible ambush. Having done this much exertion in the day while not taking any blood yet had started to take a toll on her, which explained the heavyness of her breathing. But, damn her, if this was an attack waiting to happen, she needed to be quiet! "Marcus?" she whispered. He might have heard her fast running coupled with her breaths, so he would have known to listen for her... or come out to meet her already. Did this mean something?
Yeah. That he's still doing the mission you sent him on.
Still... To make sure, she used her skills and opened her mind to the occupants of the house. Four teens, fast asleep, and one adult that wasn't. Herself made six-- and she was getting paranoid. But she couldn't forget the warning in the caller's tone... this mysterious 'S', since for the life of her she couldn't remember his exact name. It wasn't unusual for everyone at HQ to take on aliases, as Cassie often did while on missions if communicating with others couldn't be avoided. Therefore, she remembered people better through faces.
Marcus she knew well since he was around constantly, and Vlad was an impossible person to forget anyways, strange name or no.
Renewing her mission, and now satisfied that she wouldn't be ambushed anytime soon, she crept silently towards the sounds of heartbeats. Upon reaching the spacious room they had overtaken for the night, she paused to assess everything. The four teens slept closer to each other, while Zachary was sitting against the wall, keeping watch. He had distanced himself from the quartet, but was it to keep an easier eye on them?
She strode to Zachary and bent down enough to touch his shoulder. He started, before looking up at her and relaxing. "Back so soon?" he softly asked.
"It might have been a little later if..."
"If...?" he prompted.
"Did anything happen while I was out?"
Zachary thought to himself before shrugging. "No; they just kind of settled themselves down and I kept watch from over here." Stifling a yawn, he added, "Although I'm glad you're back. I could use a small break."
"You can go ahead and get some sleep."
"No, I'm used to pulling all-nighters. All I need is to walk around for a little bit, make sure I don't cramp any muscles from sitting for so long."
"That's fine," Cassie replied, absentmindedly. If nothing was wrong, why the hell shouldn't she have left? Maybe there was something wrong at the site? As Zachary passed her by, she recounted her previous thoughts. Maybe something was wrong here... "Is that blood?"
"I smell blood on you."
"I... oh. That." Pushing up his coat sleeve, she was shown a freshly scabbed-over scrape on his arm. "I tripped. No electricity in this place, and I couldn't find a flashlight around here after looking for one." Pausing, he asked, "Why?"
"Nothing..." Other than being more paranoid than was natural for even her. What next, she'd start jumping at shadows?
As he turned to leave, she added, "Stick close. Just in case." His only response was a sage nod as he continued on his way, leaving her to stew in her own thoughts.
Taking Zachary's seat, she mulled over the phone call. Was that a premonition meant for someone else? It easily could be; who knew what went through one of their heads on a daily basis? Personally, having that power would make her crazy, having all those images and thoughts of others swimming around in the edges of her head, waiting to be shown. If that even how it worked. It could easily belong to someone else, who would have reacted in the same exact way that Cassie did. So maybe he was mistaken?
Worth a shot. Pulling the phone back out, she dialed "S's" number back, hoping to catch him in a moment where he was possibly alone. He was worried about someone finding out he had called her before, so it only made sense to have this caution--
"Sebastian here," a tired male voice answered, the same as before.
She snapped her fingers. That's his name! "It's me," she replied. When there was no other noise from the other line, she added, "Cassie. From before."
"Oh," he said, sounding like he was clearing sleep from his brain. "Sorry. Visions take a lot out of me."
"I understand." Taking a deep breath and keeping her voice purposely neutral, she continued. "Well, there's nothing wrong."
"Isn't that good news?"
"Yes and no. Yes for obvious reasons, and no as in me rushing back to find nothing wrong. I wasn't attacked on the way, there was no ambush waiting for me, no one died..."
"I'm still not seeing your point."
"My point is... I think that vision was meant for someone else. I mean, you get how many visions a day?"
"Way too many," he replied, a world of weariness in his voice.
"Exactly. Maybe they could have gotten mixed up, or you saw different people in trouble and thought they were under my charge. Or, maybe you saw me in the fray and involved me in it--"
"That's not how they work, and it sure as hell isn't what I saw. They may be a pain in my ass, but they haven't let me down yet." This time, his tone was sharp, definitely on the defensive.
"Okay, then," she backed down. "What did you see?"
"Your phone, with my text on it saying to answer the phone because it was safe. Then, I called, you thought that I was a very insistant person, and I did tell you it was safe, so what was the harm in answering. Then there was the conversation we had, and the slight irritation you felt at my cryptic answers in the beginning, but me redeeming myself by giving you those instructions: don't move, don't look around, you're really alone. And, even though I didn't understand it at the time, me saying that I had to hang up, but you should have listened to yourself."
"Wow," she replied, shocked at how precise that happened in his vision.
"Then you started your two-town marathon sprint to get back to whoever you needed to save, and I snapped out of it."
A small drumming started in the back of her skull. This was making her brain hurt, and she wasn't the pregocnative. Was he just a precognative, though? "Do you... do you see the past, by any chance?"
"I really have no control over what I see," he replied gently. "And I see the past less often than I do everything else."
"But you do see it, though?"
"Every now and then." He paused, then asked, "Is there a point to this?"
"How do you keep sane, with everything you see swirling around in your head?"
A silence long enough to worry Cassie passed between them, before he finally answered. "The same way you do, I guess. Don't let the pain of it-- whether it's your turning or the years immediately afterward-- overtake you."
She fought against the sudden chill she felt sliding down her back. "I thought you didn't see the past," she managed to say.
"No, but I do see the future," he reminded her.
Oh hell, he saw my turning before it happened... The drumming in her head increased, seeming more erratic as she was floored with this information. Wait though... that's too erratic for a regular beat... unless it's from a heart. Looking over to the small group across the room, she saw one starting to toss and turn in her sleep. "Hold on a second," she instructed Sebastian, making her way over to Sam's sleeping form. It seemed like this girl wasn't going to get any real rest for awhile...
Sam quickly sat up after she was shaken awake, and Cassie reacted automatically by moving backwards enough to not appear as a threat. "It's just me," she added once she was sure that reality was back in focus in Sam's mind. "Are you alright?"
"Yes," Sam replied, trying to slow her breathing down. As Cassie moved closer in a mixture of being unsure and concerned, she repeated, "I'm fine, Cassie. Thanks, though."
"You're welcome, Sam."
A cry from the phone drew both of their attention to it. "Who is that?" Sam asked as Cassie brought the phone back up to her ear.
"Sebastian?" she asked into it, answering Sam's question while trying to get his attention. She only heard more pained cries from him, but nothing else in the background, so he wasn't being beaten by anybody. But still, she felt weirded out. It was strange only listening to what was going on through the phone, and could only imagine what was going on over there.
Minutes passed like hours before he suddenly quieted down. It rang lightly in Cassie's ears with the echoes of the last moan she heard. Sebastian used another minute to compose himself before picking up the phone. "You still there?" he asked, sounding pained.
"Yeah. What's going on?"
"Bad shit," he replied, abruptly hanging up.
Dec 6 10 11:12 PM
Sam couldn't sleep. After the strange dream she had, followed by the equally confusing phone call that she had only heard the tail end of, her mind was awake and racing ahead. After what felt like a few restless hours to Sam, she had finally had enough. A walk should calm her down, or exhaust her enough to try another round of sleeping on the floor.~~The new van that Marcus had chosen for the rest of the journey pulled silently into the gravel driveway in front of the empty house. His sight fell on Cassie, sitting near the doorway, resting her chin on her folded hands. He paused for a brief moment, wondering what was going on through her mind right now, when he thought that it probably wouldn't hurt to ask. He decided that whatever she was thinking was pretty serious, since she didn't even acknowledge his approach. As he slid down the wall to sit beside her, she finally spoke to him. "Something's bugging me.""What is it, bella?"She pressed the heels of her palms into her eyes. "I don't know. And that's bugging the crap out of me too."After listening to Cassie explain the phone calls to him, he grew confused as well. "What bad things could he be talking about?""Who knows? He must see half a million things a week. Who knows if it even pertains to me?""If it didn't, he wouldn't have to tell you," Marcus agreed."Yeah, but if it did, he would... right? Unless I'm not supposed to know about it yet?""What about when he said, 'You should have followed your first instincts'? What were they?""At the time, it was to stay here, protect the teens. Then I got back here, and found out that nothing was wrong. The most that had happened was Zachary tripping over himself and scratching his arm.""Maybe there's something that we haven't seen then?" he suggested."What could that possibly be?" she muttered. "Now really isn't the time to have everything against you, and then have more just spring up out of nowhere.""Good point," he added. He continued to contemplate their situation as Cassie kept guard. He may have not been exactly new in the vampire world, but when it came to being a Rogue, that was just as confusing as starting an immortal life. With so many rules to follow, and as much backstabbing and two-faced ways that he'd never seen, it was a miracle he kept up with it all so far. Eventually, he stopped trying to figure out what Cassie was warned, and kept watch with her.Cassie was the only one that moved when Zachary came back to the house. Without rising from her seat, she looked at her watch, did some quick figuring, then dryly said, "Since 'stay close' means very little to you, you'll have to catch up on your sleep so that you don't cause an accident. I'll have Vlad and the rest of us drive first."Zachary sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I know," he replied, stepping back into the house.Once he was out of earshot, Marcus stated, "I'm not sure about him.""You and me both," Cassie added."What kind of a father would do that to his own children?""If he didn't work for the hospital after that was done to Sam, I'd probably call him desperate."With a confused look, he turned to Cassie and asked, "Desperate? About what?""Sam's life. She would have either died right away or had complications later on. If I were him...""You'd put this kind of life on her? Always cautious, always careful about everything she says and does?""No... not immediately, but more like a last resort." With a grimace, she asked aloud, "Why am I even talking about this?""Maybe you want a future someday?""Maybe..." she thought aloud. She had been married once before, and it wasn't so bad. In fact, it wasn't bad at all. To have that kind of experience again..."Cassie," Marcus softly said, bringing her from her thoughts."Yes?" she replied, looking at him.Before she could react, he placed his hand on the back of her neck, leaned in, and kissed her. Cassie, naturally surprised at the action, felt her eyes widen with the emotion and froze in place, not encouraging it to continue but not pulling away. Marcus pulled away enough for her to focus easily on him, lost in his own reaction. "That wasn't... what I expected," he slowly said."That wasn't what I expected either," she replied.He laughed softly, withdrawing back to his previous position against the wall. "I apologize, bella. I was only wondering if I would feel the same way I did a few minutes ago.""... Do you?" she tested."No. I don't." Quickly, he added, "And I'm okay with it... unless you...""No, no. I'm okay with it too." She had to remark to herself though. All this time, and she didn't even notice. "So, calling me bella all the time--""Every woman is bella to me," he stated with a smile, his accent laid on thick with self-pride.She couldn't help but laugh at the display, although she had to force herself to keep it quiet. "You know, you're going to make some woman very lucky... and very happy," she replied, keeping a smile."I hope so," he said, starting to keep watch over the neighborhood again, his features not as tense and serious as they were before. Cassie, sensing the end of the conversation, took his lead.It was just before the sun rose when Cassie finally stood and said, "Stay here. I'm going to check on things." Marcus nodded and did as she asked. Walking into the house, she listened for a brief moment and heard the sound of soft voices. Her guard kicked up, but relaxed when she recognized one of the voices as Sam's. Her head peered into the room where the rest of the kids were sleeping, and she found the young girl talking to Zachary by the window. Once they noticed she was there, Cassie stated, "It's getting to be that time."Sam nodded in acceptance as Cassie walked into the room and woke up the rest of the teenagers. The room filled with shifting from the three as they woke and rose stiffly from the floor. Cassie stood herself, then softly ordered, "Let's go."Zachary led the way out, followed by Cassie, with the final four bringing up the rear. Cassie hung back a small distance before turning around and catching Sam's eye. "If you see anything different about him, or if he tells you something that you think is wrong, be sure to let me know," she telepathically told the young girl. Seeing her nod in reply made Cassie relax... if only for a moment."Can I drive?" Vlad asked, sounding too hopeful."No," she firmly stated, turning back around."Come on, I'm perfectly..." His protest was cut off by a large yawn."You were saying?" she requested teasingly as Marcus joined the group.Grudgingly, he said, "I doubt that anything I'll say can redeem me, so I'm just gonna shut up.""Wise choice."
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