Title: Linger

Author: Misty Flores

Email: mistiec_flores@yahoo.com

archive: www.stoic-simplicity.net/imperfect

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Underworld - post movie - spoilers

Teaser: They spoke little, she and her beast - the thing she herself had created when she had shattered her world and everything that had meant anything to her. He was lost beside her, powerful and unique, unsure and weak, a faithful dog trailing after his new master. And still, he clutched the chain.

Note: unapologetic romantic sap

--

The medallion never left his fingertips.

Throughout their journey, he had clutched the chain, bare-chested and shivering, a pale remnant of the specimen he had become.

The metal, rinsed of the blood and the grime once they reached the upper world, rain washing their bodies, soaking her with the cold, wet drops, gleamed in the moonlight. She barely felt the chill.

Beside her, he appeared a wet dog, shaking the drops from his face only to have more splash against him, emitting a low, unconscious growl that drew a shudder along her a spine. The reaction was unconscious - past memories of battles with lycans once again reminding her conditioned mind what he had become, while questioning why it no longer seemed to matter.

They spoke little, she and her beast - the thing she herself had created when she had shattered her world and everything that had meant anything to her. He was lost beside her, powerful and unique, unsure and weak, a faithful dog trailing after his new master.

And still, he clutched the chain.

Selene was never one to pity herself. She knew the consequences of her actions the moment she made them, from the second she drank Viktor's blood more than two hundred years ago until now, when she alone was responsible for the master vampire's death.

She was the hunted, she and Michael.

It was a terrifying world she faced, and at the moment, she could not think of the aftermath - of what would occur the moment the vampires, her coven, would come together, truly understand what it was she had done.

A glance behind her, at Michael, fingers clutching a chain that belonged to a dead man who had inadvertently saved his life, and by extension, her own, forced her mind away from such things.

Selene was a warrior.

This was war.

Nothing more.

The safehouse, broken and dirty, littered with bodies and the stench of rotting flesh, was her first choice for a suitable recluse. The vampires, her comrades the Death Dealers, would be reeling from their loss of numbers, from the murder of the elders - they would not come after her immediately, and this was the last place they would look.

It was safe - for now.

Goosebumps raised on her cold flesh, and she longed for warmth, her mouth itched for blood. Michael was without clothes, soaked pants his only protection from the wind and the rain, and she knew, it was simply not enough.

He never questioned where they were going, never said a word as she led him through the streets and eventually into the darkness of the abandoned building owned by the vampires.

His eyes were sad and brown, mouth set in a thin line that seemed to tremble on his handsome face.

Any other person would have worried.

Selene was a warrior, a vampire, who had killed countless lycans and led the Death Dealers to war beside Kahn himself.

She had much more to worry about.

If Kahn had even lived through the night, after she abandoned him for Michael.

She had abandoned them all.

The lycan blood, dried and clotting, floated into her senses, and it caused a hiss, as she paused in the doorway, surveying the damage caused by her own hand.

A cold body pressed behind her, Michael catching his breath.

"Oh my God..."

His half brothers.

She clamped her jaw shut, kicking an arm away with a booted foot and stepping over the body of a lycan. "Come on."

He lingered, to do what she did not know. With a strong stride, she clamped shut the windows, found her gun, forgotten and scattered on the floor.

Two bags of blood were thrown on the tray next to bloody silver bullets, and she turned. "Michael..."

She found him in the middle of her carnage, eyes focused on the medallion in his palm, staring down at it with an expression that froze her voice.

"What are we doing..."

His voice was a husky whisper.

"Michael," she said again, this time louder, gentler. For the first time since the incident, she touched him, cold vampire hand touching his warmer one, fingers sliding over his palm, forcing his dark eyes on her. "Come on."

He followed, fingers clutching hers, as she led him around the bodies and pushed him gently into the chair.

The medallion tingled in his grip.

From the closet in the corner, she retrieved the pants and shirt that had belonged to Rigel, discarded one night on an all night hunt. He would not need them.

The leather pants and black shirt were placed next to Michael, and pushing his knees gently apart, she moved between them, reaching for the bloody forceps.

"We have to get those silver bullets out," she said flatly. The ones her brothers had made when they shot the hybrid. The brothers she herself had killed. "I don't suppose silver could hurt you now, but I'm not willing to take the chance-"

"He wore this for six hundred years."

The whisper, soft and awe-struck, made her hesitate, tongs in hand as Michael continued his obsessive gaze on the metal trinket that had belonged to Sonja.

"For six hundred years, she was all he thought about."

She said nothing, cursed her own fevered blood as she took the forceps and probed at a wound. He never noticed the pain.

"Michael," she said softly, firmly, "I need you to look at me."

He did, soaked tendrils of hair plastered against his beautiful features, lost and hungry in his gaze.

"Lucian is dead," she said matter-of-factly. "You have his story, his legacy, in your mind. His memories are important - but they're not yours."

He breathed raggedly, a low grunt coming from him as she managed to find a bullet, heard it clatter with a clink next to her on the blood-stained tray.

"He's not dead," he said, voice a distracted, weary tone. "I was there. I felt the whip- I saw her die, and he loved her for six hundred years-"

She found another bullet, pausing only to gently wipe the bangs that fell carefully from his forward, combing them back to find herself in full view of his dark gaze.

The third bullet was on its way out when a warm hand branded her on her shoulder, somber brown yes staring up at her intensely. "Have you known anyone to love for six hundred years?"

Kraven's obsession with her had always been tiring. Since her change, he had sought her, marked her as his, and it had been irritating - her work as a Death Dealer had left little time for love.

Michael himself wasn't love - couldn't be love. He had been an oddity, something to protect, and then a symbol to give her absolution from Viktor -

It had not turned into love. She would have stopped it.

"I've seen it," she said finally, breath shaky, voice shattered. "I've seen it happen. Once or twice. Some immortals know no other way to love. Others are simply not capable."

"And you?"

"And me what?"

"Are you capable?"

The fourth bullet caused him to hiss, a low mix of a growl and a sneer. The vibration of it she felt underneath her fingertips - she felt everything. The rushing of his blood, the shallowness of his breath, and she wondered if he needed to breathe anymore - if it was now just habit that he had fallen into because his organs were still somewhat alive and immortal.

Lower lip bitten down by her fangs, she cut the soft skin, felt her tongue slide over them, tasting the blood, bitter copper creating a feeling that was heady, unsure.

Everything about him was different.

What had possessed Sonja to fall for a Lycan?

"I've never given it a second thought," she said frankly, wiping at his chest carefully, reaching for the shirt and placing it into his lap. "Here. Warm up."

"He still loves her."

She swallowed hard, back to him now, staring at the decrepit room used for torture and interrogation, littered with bodies, and housing a man, a lycan, whom she had given up everything for.

"I'm sure she does," she said headily. "Put those clothes on," she reiterated, palm blindly reaching for the packets of blood. "We must drink. Keep our strength up for whatever lies ahead-"

"Selene-"

She couldn't look at him. Not now. Her voice was deceptively light. "What is it?"

"Why did you save me?"

The laughter that came involuntarily, a short, bitter chuckle that seemed foreign in a face that had forgotten how to smile the moment she had awoken to her mother's screams, almost scared her. "I'm not sure. It seemed a good idea at the time."

She didn't dare glance back in the silence that followed. Instead her body tingled, her mind splintered, and Selene took the blood in her shaking hands and bit the hole in the plastic with her teeth.

It didn't matter now whether it was warm - nothing mattered at that moment but not looking at Michael.

The syrupy copper flooded her senses, as it rushed into her mouth, down her throat, a lust for it never quenched. She had tasted Michael today, sank fangs into his pliant, beautiful neck, marked him as hers.

She had tasted his blood, felt it rushing down her throat, hot and burnt with silver.

He came up behind her, pressed fingers to her shoulders and turned her to his side, until she faced him, mouth tainted with her blood lust, eyes a light, damning blue.

He took her in, now dressed in Rigel's leather, hair flattened against his face. A droplet of rain, loosened from his sopping wet bangs, trickled down his forehead.

There was the urge in her to bring her mouth to it, taste his salt.

"What are we going to do?"

It was his eternal question. He was asking her to guide him, save him from the eternal damnation she had given him, the life of a hybrid, an abomination - a recluse.

That had been her gift.

Because she had not been able to let him go.

"I don't know," she said finally, bag of blood spilling on the floor, teeth painted red as it dripped from her mouth.

He watched her seep the cold plasma, touched it to his fingertips, digits skimming the bottom of her lips to gather the redness on his finger.

Michael, a man who had dedicated his life to medicine, to saving lives, closed his eyes and pushed his finger in his mouth, tasting his first blood - cold and thick and from her mouth.

The thrill at the act was chased by sorrow, the stab of guilt as another innocent was lost to the world.

And the medallion dangled from his grasp.

Shaking, Selene took it, fidgeted with the clasp, found herself tracing fingertips over the cotton of his covered chest, over his shoulders to gather at the nape of his neck, snapping the chain, until it rested on Michael's chest.

He studied her, heart beating so loudly against her she could almost believe it was her own.

"He loved her for six hundred years," he whispered.

"I know," she answered.

"He still loves her."

"I know," she said again.

His dark eyes sought hers, and he was so close - no one had been this close in two hundred years...

Warm hands cupped her cheeks, fingers skimming her jawline. "Selene..."

And he kissed her, lips opening to embrace her blood soaked mouth, arm crushing around her shoulders to bring her hard against him, a ravaging kiss of a beast that left her shaking with need - feeling plundered and nearly violated and aching for more.

Sonja had loved Lucian.

Sonja had died for Lucian.

Selene, who had been prepared to die - would die tomorrow for Michael - finally understood why.

Fingertips traced the medallion in the aftermath of the embrace, as his heat engulfed her, made her heady and unsure, and more frightened than ever.

"They'll come looking for us," she whispered.

"I know."

"We're as good as dead."

"I know."

Eyes fluttered closed as she slid her nose along his cheek, feeling the sandpaper of his stubble, shuddering in response. Her palm, sliding from the column of his neck where her bite still lingered, found the hot medal of a medallion.

Her eyes opened.

"We may be running for the rest of our lives."

He regarded her, a small smile suddenly drifting on his face.

"The rest of our lives could be six hundred years."

The words stuttered her heart in a phantom beat, a jolt that made her gasp, stare at him in wonder.

"I suppose," she answered haltingly.

With a gentle hand, Michael covered her palm, enclosing her fingers with his own, the medallion sandwiched between her fingertips.

"You think you could put up with me for six hundred years?"

Breathless, cotton-mouthed, and suddenly heady, she found herself giving a response that could only be attributed as sarcasm. "I suppose I don't have much of a choice, do I?"

"No, I don't think you do."

The medallion warmed in her fingertips, settled against his chest, body surrounded by his warmth in the stale coldness of a room of pain and death.

For the first time in two hundred years, Selene felt none of it.

She supposed Sonja must have felt the same way, at some point in her too short life. She had gotten burnt alive for her trouble - there was no reward in being an abomination.

But Lucian had worn this medallion for six hundred years, letting his memories and love linger, now alive in the heart of Michael.

Somehow, Selene knew -

Sonja loved him still.

FIN