In the darkness of his coffin, the vampire's eyes blinked open, staring at the lid inches from his face. With his exceptional senses, even in total blackness, he might have been able to see it. "Wh-?"

"Ssshiiiido...come to me Shido..."

A slow blink, as he tried to place the voice. Female, seductive...very, very seductive...A remembered flash of golden hair lifting where there was no breeze - a deep rose colored gown of silk dripping with pearls and crystals...and blood... His hand trembled as he reached up to open the lid of his enclosed bed.


"No -NO! Go away..." He slammed the lid of the coffin back, blinking once at the brightness of the dim twilight; springing out of the confinement as if moved by terror. The room was empty. Outside the room there was the sound of traffic and a few stray lights as people went about their business unaware.

Standing by the window, he pushed his hair back and looked out, his eyes scanning not just the street nine stories below, but the buildings and rooftops round about. Nothing seemed to move, to attract his attention. Nothing seemed out of place. And then...and then...

Even with his trained senses and the skills of his profession, the vision was gone before he registered he had seen it. Eyes, he thought later. Red, feral, unblinking eyes...but only for a brief instant and hovering midway between his window and the next building - which would make them roughly 100 feet off the ground. Shido blinked, his ears and mind straining for another sound of the voice, but he heard nothing but the normal night noises.

He jumped a foot when the phone rang, his hand shaking a little as he picked up the receiver. "Yes?"

Yayoi's voice was tense. "Shido? I need your help..."

The vampire detective listened intently for a moment, his mind taking refuge in his work and steadying his nerves. When Yayoi was done, he nodded to himself. "I am on my way..." He hung up the phone, and grabbed up his trench coat from the chair on his way out the door.

Shido slipped from the shadows into the periphery of police cars and video camera lights, as Yayoi came to meet him.

"Are you alright?" the woman asked, frowning, as he glanced nervously around the area.

"Fine, fine...breed?"

"Looks like it – three killed, one missing - a little boy..." She caught his wince and nodded slowly. "Yes, I have a description."

Shido nodded, turning his collar up slightly and sighing inwardly as Yayoi's boss approached them. Unlike his usual hostile manner however, he seemed genuinely grateful for Shido's help.

"We have witnesses who saw the boy taken" He pointed off past the glare of lights around the wreckage. "That way, they told us – he was taken that way. They say he was alive and only slightly injured if at all – Mr. Shido, we need him back."

"Mmm..." Shido looked around again, still feeling that someone was looking at him, but seeing nothing. "Not that it matters, but who is he?"

"He is the Prime Minister's grandson," the detective told him. "His only grandson...and his son and daughter-in-law died back there. Please, you need to-"

Shido instinctively stepped aside as the detective reached for his coat front, one hand blocking the touch, as he nodded. "I'll do all I can to find him..."

"Bring him back alive - I know I've said mean things about you in the past, and I still don't like what you are. But if you can do this, I will owe you - we will all owe you." He sounded shaken. "You have to get him back-"

Yayoi rolled her eyes at the detective as she took her boss gently by the arm and walked him away for a moment. Shido looked around again, taking in the actual scene of the deaths. Two wrecked cars formed a t-shape at one side of the road, one of them on its side. Ambulances and personnel made a garish pattern of light and shadow against the night around the wrecked cars. Doors slammed and one ambulance took off into the night. For the other, there was no hurry as the three casualties were loaded into the back.

He searched the area around the cars, swearing softly at the mess the attendants had made of the scene. Even so his keen eyes spotted a partial footprint in dark shiny blood. Without another word, he slipped down the alleyway following the marks, his eyes scanning the road, finding mark after mark, although growing fainter.

The end of the alley was a factory wall, but the ladder that went up to the roof was in good repair, and Shido went up it with hardly a thought. On top of the three-story building, he could see flat roofs a block in any direction, mostly broken here and there with piping and air conditioner units. He stood, looking around for a moment, then down at the roof. The dark tar of the roof cover almost - but not quite - hid the smudge of blood. From the glow, it was breed blood - even better. Shido took another look in that direction, using all his focus and ability. Still nothing – it had quite a head start on him.

He stepped down from the roof edge and followed the glowing smudges across the roof. Partway there, he noticed there were two roofs - and a small gap between them. He leaped on to the next roof, and looked down. And the smudges were nowhere to be seen.

"Damn," he grumbled, turning back and looking over the edge of the roof into the narrow gulf between the two buildings.

Red floating eyes looked back at him, moving closer, and in his head, the voice sounded again.

"Shiiiido...Ssssshiiido...Come to me, Shido..."

With a near-scream, the vampire threw himself back from the edge, his teeth drawing blood from his hand to form the sword he used so well. He fell backward, rolled over and came to his feet, backing away from the gulf to have room to swing the blade, and watched in dread at what rose over the edge of the roof to meet him.

The eyes came closer...a soft form of mist gathering around them as if to shadow a form - feminine and angelic. Despite the benignity of the apparition, Shido continued to move back, slow step by slow step, into the most open area of the rooftop.

A gasp of terror and surprise burst from him as he bumped something where nothing should have been. For a split second he pulled his eyes from the golden female before him, to see the long golden waves of hair spilling partway over his shoulder. A masculine arm came around him, pulling him back against a well-muscled body.

"No, Drusla - this one is mine, and mine alone. You will hunt elsewhere this night." Cain's voice held it's old arrogance, and Shido squirmed, wanting to be free, and yet... He stopped in surprise at her voice, and the effect it had. His body shivered as if on the verge of orgasm, a wave of heat washing through him at the sound.

"Spoil my fun, Cain - you always were a spoilsport..." the seductive voice held a pout that was felt like velvet on the skin. "Wouldn't you share? He is very lovely, and we could have such fun the three of us..."

Cain's other arm came round the younger vampire protectively, and his voice went from cold to steely.

"I have told you once - I tell you only once more. He is mine - MINE. And if you touch him, it will be war between us."

The figure moved a bit closer, filling Shido's vision with such beauty he almost - almost - wished to touch it. Beautiful, and deadly, his mind told him over and over. Beautiful and deadly - remember deadly.

"So be it then." There was both challenge and amusement in the voice. "I'm very bored - a war would be a good way to relieve the tedium."

"I warn you, Drusla - you and your mistress could not best me before, and still less can you do it now. Leave him be - there are many others - you could even make one of your own. I will help you - I know the city well."

Her laughter was a soft furry sound that seemed to crawl inside Shido's skin. Without thinking, he found himself backed up tight against his sire, and feeling his lean hardness with surprising clarity despite being fully dressed, setting off an entirely different collection of memories.

"I - I know her...I've met her before..." he managed to stammer softly.

"Yes, Shido...when you were young among us, she was your - mmm - playmate would be too soft a word. But yes, you have met, spent time together." Cain turned Shido to face him - effortless as if the detective weighed nothing - and dismissed the woman with a meaningful glance. "I give you this choice one time – if you wish it, you can go to her – go with her. It will grieve me, but once it was our intention, so I stand by my given word. The choice must be yours – unforced and willing."

Shido blinked, looking at his sire with startled eyes. "I-what? No - no I do not want to go with her."

The ghost of a smile touched Cain's coldly beautiful features. "You will stay with me then, come back to me?"

Shido twisted in his sire's arms, slipping from his grip to face him, anger written in every line of his body. "I don't want to stay with you; I don't want to go with her. I want to be LEFT ALONE!"

Throwing a look over his shoulder at the woman, who still stood with a soft smile on her face watching him and Cain, Shido let the blood sword dissipate and turned, walking away from both of them across the rooftop.

"Shiiiido..." her voice called after him, sweet, light and as insubstantial as gossamer. "I will wait, Shiiido..."

Cain's voice was lower, and full of emotion that the other lacked. "You are being a fool, Shido, as usual. Impertinent, and foolish - but that is how you are. If you need me, call me. I will be here." Slight pause. "I love you, Shido."

The wind swept Shido's trench coat and twisted it behind him as he stalked away choosing to ignore them both. Finding a roof ladder on the far side, he jumped the low curb and disappeared from sight.