A/N: I am sorry this took so long. Again with the writer's block! It truly sucks, let me tell you. Anyways, here's the conclusion to this story. I'll continue it in a series later. It's been fun. For the last time, on with the show.

Disclaimer: Yes, we all know I own nothing.


Sasha stood outside the Conclave room with her ear to the door. Lorraina was pacing a few feet away. They'd both been assigned to keep an eye on the sleeping Firestarter while Julian convened an emergency meeting of the Conclave. No matter how hard the she tried to eavesdrop, the door was just too thick, even for Sasha's preternatural hearing. "Damnit! I can't hear a fucking thing!"

"Why don't you just give it up? You'll find out what's going to happen when the rest of us do, Brujah." Lorraina retorted. At this point she didn't need the annoyance that the Prince's niece constantly represented. The Gangrel had no idea how she kept getting stuck with the chick, but it was really starting to piss her off.

Sasha glared at her. "What do think is gonna happen, Leech? Julian's gonna crucify that little tart. She blew up a building for fuck's sake!"

Anger flared in Lorraina, but at this point she was too tired to fight. "Look, bitch, you just don't seem to get the severity of the situation. The Prince has to deal with Charlie but she can blow the us all to Hell if she wants to."

"I dunno about that, anymore." a voice whispered from behind Lorraina. Charlie was wobbling unsteadily on her feet. She hung on to the walls as she walked in an attempt to steady herself. Lorraina almost went to help the Firestarter in her journey to the chair next to the Conclave's doors but thought better of it. The blonde Kindred no longer knew where she stood with such a dangerous friend. The Fledgling looked like she'd been through the ringer but could still possibly pose a threat. Mostly it was the shock that kept the Gangrel rooted to the floor.

This morning, the redhead had been vivacious and lovely, dressed in her best suit. The Charlie McGee that stood, or rather sat, before them looked nothing like that human woman. Her beautiful red locks were matted with blood and dust. Her skin was paler than it ought to have been considering all the blood she'd consumed so recently. Her clothes were caked with all manner of dirt and gore, and she looked likely to topple over at any moment. But even with all that, Charlie somehow managed to sit up straight. It was with a measure of grace that the Firestarter awaited the punishment that could very well mean her death.


The Prince stood and gazed upon the faces of the assembled Conclave. All were weary with the ordeal they had been through, Cash in particular. And most were genuinely upset about the decision they had all come to. But it was something that had to be done for the good of all Kindred. He himself wasn't too happy with what had to be done, after all, he kind of liked Charlie. Lillie looked distraught about the whole thing, but Julian knew that it wasn't half of what Cash must be feeling.

"So it is settled. All are agreed as to the punishment?" Each Primogen nodded their assent. Their primary loyalties were to the Prince and to the City, after all. Even Cameron didn't have the energy to smirk or gloat. He just let the thing take it's course without comment.

The Prince called to the guard at the door. "Bring in the prisoner."

The guard opened the doors to reveal Charlie precariously perched on a velvet chair in the hallway. She rose slowly, trying desperately to steady herself. The guard had to help the Firestarter into the room. A pained look was fixed on Cash's face and he could barely look his Mate in the eye. Blood tears began to form in Lillie's eyes at the sight of her Childe in such pain. The doors were closed, once again, with Sasha and Lorraina shut out of the room. Julian stared gravely at the young Fledgling who had caused such trouble since her Embrace. He felt a twinge of pity for her. But that was not going to stop him from doing what needed to be done.

The Prince stood to face Charlie. "Charlene McGee, you have broken the Masquerade. The punishment for this violation is Final Death."

Charlie hung her head, ready for the final blow. Julian continued to speak in measured tones. "However, the Conclave recognizes that your crime was committed in an attempt to protect the Kindred from our enemies. There is not a life in this room that you haven't saved or protected in the last few hours. For this reason alone, I am prepared to let you live. But again, this does not excuse what you have done. You will have to be punished."

The Prince paused. Charlie took this as a leave for her to speak. Her voice was shaky, as she was still weak from her ordeal. "I realize that I have committed a crime against the Masquerade. I am prepared to accept the consequences. I submit to your will, my Prince, and to the will of the Conclave."

Julian nodded. He looked around the Conclave table then back to Charlie. "Very well. You will be taken to the Prison of Light and staked there for a period of two weeks. During this time, any Kindred who wishes to may visit. They may look upon you as an example of what happens to those who take the law into their own hands. After your sentence is completed you will undergo extensive retraining of your abilities under Daedalus' watchful eye. I do not want anything like this to happen again, Charlie. If it does, I will be forced to banish you from the City, or worse, to call a Blood Hunt for you."

Charlie nodded her understanding and, at the Prince's signal, was taken away by a guard. As soon as she was gone, Julian turned back to the Conclave. "This meeting is adjourned. Go home and get some sleep. I can see we all need it. We'll deal with what remains of this mess later."

The doors opened to the Conclave room and Sasha could finally see inside. As the Primogens began to excuse themselves, Cash approached the Prince and whispered a request into his ear. The Prince simply nodded and the Gangrel disappeared a second later. Seeing that Lillie was distraught and putting up a brave front, Julian took her arm and began to lead her away to the new transportation he had arranged, upon their arrival at The Haven. He was immediately confronted with a curious Sasha badgering him for details as to what was going to happen to her rival. For once, the Prince had no trouble telling his niece, in no uncertain terms, to mind her own business.


Charlie had finally managed to prop herself up against the wall of the Prince's cellar. This place would be her prison for the next two weeks. Her body was so weak. Even with her powerful blood, she had expended too much energy in too short an amount of time. The Toreador had just managed to raise her head to stare at the UV lamps on the ceiling that would soon be turned on to activate the Prison of Light. Then, she felt a shiver shoot up her spine. The redhead didn't even turn around to speak to the newcomer.

"It took you long enough." she sighed. With some difficulty, Charlie turned around to stare into the anguished eyes of her Mate. "Didn't your mamma ever teach you that it isn't nice to keep a lady waiting?"

Cash waved wordlessly, indicating to the Gangrel guard that he should leave. When his subordinate didn't comply, Cash let out an ominous growl that sent the Neonate striding up the steps in an instant. The Gangrel Primogen turned his attention back to his love. The stake in his hand felt like it was burning into his palm. He really did not want the duty he had come to complete.

"You don't have to do this." Cash whispered.

"Yes, I do."

"No... you could run. I'd help you get out of the City."

Charlie smiled slightly, raising a hand to caress Cash's cheek. "Now, you know I can't do that."

"But..." Cash was cut off by a finger placed lightly over his lips, a gesture he was honestly getting quite fond of.

"I can't leave here for the same reason you wanted to be the one to stake me, Cash. You're my Mate and I will not leave you alone. And I won't let you destroy yourself for me." Cash nodded, understanding.

"Besides," she continued, "I can't leave Lillie. I'm to New to be without my Sire." Cash flinched a bit at this and Charlie continued to caress his cheek. "Also, I gave my word to the Prince. I pledged loyalty if he would protect you... and he did. I can't go back now."

"I hate this." Cash said simply.

"I know." the Firestarter responded. "But it's only two weeks. How bad could it be?"

Cash glared at her attempt at levity. This was not a laughing matter. She would be paralyzed by the stake in her heart for two weeks. She'd be subject to all kinds of humiliation that came with being put on display. *How can she laugh at a time like this?*

"To keep from crying." Charlie replied, reading his thoughts through their bond. "Cash, just do it. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can be together again. Please, the waiting is killing me."

"I don't think I can." he croaked.

The red head's eyes flared. "God, what does a girl have to do to get staked around here? Just do it! Don't make me kick yur ass!"

Cash almost laughed that time. He took one last look into the eyes of his beloved before turning his head and shoving the wooden stake into the Toreador's chest. He could feel her pain almost as intensely as if it was happening to him. Charlie coughed a bit and went limp in his arms. It was all the Gangrel could do to arrange his Mate peacefully into a sitting position on the chair provided before he switched on the UV lamps and ran out of the cellar.

The pain in Cash's chest was so great that he barely made it up the stars to the main floor before he collapsed into unconsciousness.


Two weeks later, Lillie's eyes were locked to the face of a grandfather clock in the parlor of the Luna Mansion. There were barely ten minutes left before Charlie's sentence was up. Lillie was at the end of her rope, between intimidating the spectators to the "Firestarter Display" and giving Julian the "silent treatment." And the Toreador had every intension of running down the stairs to relieve her Childe as soon as the clock chimed. It had been hell this last couple of weeks. As a Sire, Lillie had an undeniable urge to take care of her Childe. As it was, all she could do was keep any Kindred that tried to go to the cellar to gawk at Charlie away using stone melting glares and the occasional feral growl.

"The clock hands aren't going to move any faster just because you're staring at them, Lillie." The Prince said as he entered the parlor, followed by his bodyguard. In truth, Julian was more than a little concerned for the Gangrel Primogen. For the last two weeks, Cash had been walking around like a zombie. He didn't speak unless asked to. He barely slept, and only fed when ordered to by the Prince or when Lorraina begged him to. It had been at least a half hour before Daedalus had found him on the stairs after he'd administered Charlie's punishment. At present, the Gangrel was slumped in one of the parlor chairs, looking off into space.

Lillie had also noticed Cash's depression as of late. Although, she characterized it by his pitiful appearance. His sweater was shabby and his slacks weren't pressed. The Gangrel hadn't even cleaned the dust of the road off his trademark leather jacket. The Toreador was also upset over Charlie but at least she had the decency to dress for the day. She still had to have a bit of sympathy for the young Ancillae, though. After all, he was her Childe's Mate.

After a few moments, the clock began to chime. Neither Lillie or the Prince saw the blur that was the Gangrel Primogen as he suddenly came to life and rushed out of the room.

Lillie reached the cellar door just in time to run into Cash, who was carrying an unconscious Charlie in his arms. He simply asked, "Where?"

The Toreador understood what he meant instantly. "Upstairs. There's a guest bedroom right next to mine that's already been made up for her."

Cash didn't need to be told twice. He took the stairs two at a time up to the indicated room and deposited his beloved on the velvet bedspread. The Gangrel bit into his wrist and placed the wound to Charlie's lips. He had been sure to feed plenty today as he knew the Toreador would be week upon awakening.

"Come on, baby." Cash whispered, willing her to drink. The redheads eyelids fluttered and she began to draw from the wound. She had taken a good cup of blood in before finally opening her eyes completely. When she did stop, Cash drew his arm to the side to caress her face.

Charlie spoke softly in a raspy voice. "Hey."

"Hey." Cash replied. "How are you feeling?"

She smiled a bit. "Pretty much as good as you look, I'm guessing."

The Gangrel laughed at this. Evidently, Charlie wasn't too worse for the wear. She still managed to keep her sense of humor.

"I've been telling him to get off his duff and get cleaned up all week," said a feminine voice from behind Cash. Two head swiveled to see Lillie, who had just entered the room, followed by Julian.

Charlie sat up straight against the headboard with some effort and Cash's help. Lillie sat down on the bed on her Childe's other side and ran her hand comfortingly through the girl's hair. "How are you feeling, dear?"

"Okay." Charlie muttered reassuringly. She turn to regard the mansion's owner with some trepidation. Charlie addressed him guardedly. "My Prince."

Julian leaned against the doorjamb, just studying the Fledgling for a few seconds. When, he did speak, Julian Luna stood straight and spoke in clear, measured tones. "Let's get something straight here, Charlie. I don't agree with your methods but I understand why you did what you did. You have completed your punishment and proven your loyalty to your people as well as myself. Just keep up the rest of the deal, complete your retraining, and don't ever let anything like this happen again. Do these things, and you have nothing to fear from me in this City or in this home."

The Toreador nodded earnestly. The Prince addressed his bodyguard, calling the Gangrel's attention away from doting on his Mate. "I have some business I need to go over with you, Cash."

"Now?" Cash asked reluctantly. The Prince simply nodded sternly. The Gangrel Primogen let out a growl of frustration. He turned and looked into Charlie's eyes. She smiled and whispered for him to go, reassuring him that she would be fine. Cash kissed his Mate's forehead and shuffled reluctantly out of the room after his employer.

Once, outside, Cash asked the Prince about his afore mentioned business. Julian rambled off a few instructions regarding the various Hunter manufactured bombs his security team had found around the City in the past few weeks. Rainbird hadn't been kidding about his "little surprises," they'd found out. After assuring the Gangrel that Charlie would not be going anywhere any time soon, Julian finally dismissed his bodyguard.

In truth, Julian needed to temporarily get rid of Cash for a very selfish reason. He was sick of the "silent treatment." Lillie could be absolutely impossible to live with when she was pissed at him. The Prince figured that giving his ex some time alone to pamper and dote on her Childe might improve his standing with the Toreador Primogen. Julian could hear her cooing over Charlie even then. He laughed a bit to himself before walking off mumbling something about the beauty of the Toreador clan and the hearts of the Nosferatu.


Almost a week later, Cash was leading a blindfolded Charlie up to the roof of the Luna Mansion. He'd finally convinced Lillie, after much pleading and bribing, to let Charlie out of her sight for the evening. Tonight, the Gangrel Primogen was going to do his own kind of pampering. He led his Mate to the wrought iron fence at the edge of the roof and removed her blindfold.

Charlie blinked, staring at Cash quizzically. "Okay... so, here we are, on the roof. What was this big surprise you just had to blindfold me for?"

The Gangrel grunted humorously before spinning his Mate around so she was facing away from him and toward the view of the impending sunset. Charlie let out an "oooooh" noise at the beautiful colors swirling around the horizon, and leaned back to relax against Cash's chest. He smiled into her red tresses, wrapping his arms around her. "Yeah, nice. …But that's not what I wanted to show you."

It was Charlie's turn to grunt. "Well whatever it is, you'd better show me quickly. Lillie is expecting me to be across town within the half hour."

The Gangrel chuckled. "Well, I don't think that'll be too much of a problem. I know it's past our four-month anniversary and all, but I wanted to wait until you were strong enough."

"You know Cash, cryptic does not suit you very well. You'd better tell me what you're up to soon or I'll..." Charlie was silenced by Cash's finger resting on her lips.

"Did Lillie ever tell you that Kindred can Shapeshift?"

Charlie nodded, uncomprehending. "She mentioned something about wolves and birds of prey. You Gangrels are supposed to be the best at it, though."


"I don't get it."

Cash ran his hands down Charlie's arms seductively. The Gangrel placed a trail of small kisses over her shoulder and up the Toreador's neck until he came to nibble on her ear, sending little shivers down Charlie's spine. He grabbed her wrists and raised the redhead's arms into the air on either side of her. Cash whispered softly, "You wanna feel what it's like to fly, Charlie?"

The Toreador took a moment to register this before turning her head to gaze into her Mate's laughing eyes. "Are you serious? You mean it Cash?... You're gonna teach me to fly?"

The Gangrel Primogen nodded, stepping to stand beside Charlie. "You fed like I asked you to, right?"

"Mmm hmm. As much as I could without taking too much."

Cash took her hand. "Look at the sunset. Concentrate on the horizon. Imagine yourself approaching that line. Let your blood carry you."

Charlie leaned into the fence, concentrating as hard as she could on the horizon. The Firestarter's blood began to tingle within her veins and she felt a bit lightheaded. It wasn't long before she noticed the absence of Cash's hand within her own. Or rather, the absence of her hands altogether. She was soaring through the air away from the Luna Mansion, chasing the sunset into the distance. Charlie tuned her head to see a darkly colored falcon close on her tail and she knew it had to be Cash. The Firestarter glided through the air on her way to The Haven, soaring with her Mate and enjoying the most amazing feeling she ever had in her relatively short years. Charlene McGee was finally free, and she was home.


As Julian Luna climbed out of his newly repaired limo with Lillie on his arm, he was shocked and a bit amused to see a falcon soar overhead. It was not an uncommon sight in the Bay Area. The unsettling part was seeing the falcon's Mate alight on The Haven's roof beside him. She had bright red plumage the likes of which The Prince of San Francisco had never seen. The only thing he could relate it to was a picture of a mythical bird he'd seen in some of Daedalus' ancient texts, the Phoenix.

The Ventrue shook his head a bit, knowing exactly who the bird must be. He turned to his companion as he escorted her into the club. "You let him teach her to fly?"

Lillie shrugged, "I have been monopolizing her a bit this past week." The Toreador admitted. Seeing the uncharacteristic smile and raised eyebrows on her date's face, she elaborated. "I'm not as heartless as you may wish to believe, you know. And anyway, he is her Mate," Lillie concluded. The Prince began to chuckle a bit as they sat down in their usual table. Lillie glared at him a bit. "What?"

"Nothing." Julian replied. "It just occurred to me... you know what they say in situations like these?"

Lillie was unamused at the Prince's attempt at levity but decided to humor him. "What do they say?"

"There goes the neighborhood."

THE END....for now.

A/N: Well that's it. Let me know how you liked this story. R&R, Please. If you feel inclined to do so, check out my other stories. I'm starting a Wolf Lake/Charmed/Kindred crossover next. It should be fun, so come see. Until then, thanks for all the wonderful feedback. B'dee, b'dee, b'dee... That's All Folks!